The Night is Dark, and Full of Terrors…

Tonight marks the second occurrence of something stupendous.

Game of Thrones night.

Myself and the other two members from the fabulous work trio have taken it upon ourselves to get together every fortnight for the partaking in what I like to call “The Tyrion Lannister Stories”.  So far it’s been a smash success, and means the other two hooligans are forced to descend upon my little abode, as I am the only one that pays for premium cable.  I also supplied the meal, and Shawn was so kind to bring his many bags of games.

We only got around to one of his many games, but it’s one I thoroughly recommend.  Quarriors! is a fairly fast paced dice battle game.  It reminds me of Magic in some respects, but is much simpler and revolves around a shared pool of “capturable” dice.  The rules took a little while to suss out, but once we were up and going it was roughly 30 minutes for a game.  2-4 players, so not a huge party game, but good for a small group of fast friends.

After a few rounds of Quarriors we caught up on last week’s episode of Game of Thrones, filled our bellies with roasted vegetables and turkey meatloaf, and had just enough time to watch an episode of the new Avatar series, Legend of Korra.  We may add this to future Game of Thrones nights, as the first episode was quite good.

Then, of course, came the latest episode.

I’ll just say there’s a reason we have Game of Thrones night.  The series is good.  Damn good.  The source material is excellent, and they have (so far) been quite faithful to it.  It begs the question as to what they’ll do when they catch up to the books, but they do, at least, have some time to get there.  I foresee the upcoming books being split into multiple seasons of the show, and you’ll likely see a lot of reshuffling of content so that there is a continuous timeline.

At any rate, I don’t worry too much about it.  I’ll enjoy what we have for what it is.  Fantastic entertainment.

And an excuse to get together with good friends.

One Crazy Week (with Movies!)

So work deadlines have been looming this past week.  Tomorrow is the final filing date for E-rate funding, so I’ve been neck deep in crossing t’s and dotting i’s, making sure Uncle Sam doesn’t come after me with a big stick because I didn’t report something just quite right.  Fundamentally, I really appreciate the E-rate program, in that it enables schools the like the one I work at to integrate and acquire hardware and networking equipment that there is no way we could afford otherwise, or at the scale we need.  On the other hand, I loathe paperwork.  And yet my life the past few weeks has been paperwork.

I have become the thing I hate.  *existential moment*

Okay, now that the moment has passed…

To survive this onslaught of tree slaughter, I’ve been heading out with the two other resident knuckleheads for some movie watching.

Last weekend was John Carter, and just this last Saturday we went and saw Arrietty.

Both movies were good, but not great.  John Carter trips over itself in some fundamental ways, and I personally had a hard time connecting with any of the characters or caring what happened.  I actually found the character of John Carter far more interesting before he ever arrived at Barsoom.  Woola was amusing, at least.  You can truly see a bit of the Pixar magic shine through when it comes to the eager-to-please xenodog.  Otherwise, it is competent sci-fi, with a storied pedigree… and for that reason alone I support it.

Arrietty also has an excellent pedigree, but I would say the more disappointing of the two movies.  It truly felt like Studio Ghibli was restrained when making Arrietty, and the depth and amazing Japanese charm and craziness I have come to love about their movies just wasn’t there.  I suppose that’s somewhat to be expected, given the already heavily adapted source material of The Borrowers, but I was hoping for something more.  Don’t get me wrong, the animation and care taken into each scene is evident throughout.  It is a truly beautiful movie.  The most scathing criticism I can level at it, in all honesty, is that it felt “safe”.  Maybe I’ve been spoiled lately by watching Mushi-shi.  (Which I’ve now finished and highly recommend.)

What’s next?  Well… Avengers is coming.  That should be sufficiently crazy, and I’ve made promises to one of my former bosses that we’d go see it together.  I am also strangely drawn to the Michael Bayesque trainwreck that will be Battleship.  I’m not sure why, exactly.

Also Frankenweenie and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter both tickle my unconventional side.

More recently, 21 Jump Street has been receiving good buzz… but I’m just not convinced.  Maybe if Johnny Depp has a cameo in it, I could be convinced to watch it.

At any rate, it should be an interesting year for movies.  Which is great, because I’ll need something to stave off all this work.

I hate Windows

Maybe “hate” is too strong a word.

And to be honest, it’s not entirely Windows’ fault.  I mean… Windows 7 is actually pretty decent.  It has things I like about it.  The new taskbar is a thing of beauty, even if it does steal some ideas from Mac OS X.

My current Windows Desktop.  Me and Happy Deer are friendsOriginal by Nathan Lanier on Flikr.

So let me be more specific.  I hate administrating Windows.  Especially when it comes to deploying software.

If you’ve ever had to manage a large group of Windows systems, or a large group of computers in general, you probably know what I’m talking about.  Even with Active Directory and Group Policy software deployment, you are just too limited to be able to easily administrate any software package that comes along.

Especially poorly designed software installers.  *queue angry glare at older Adobe packages*

So what is an administrator to do?


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Return of the Blog

…or: How Adam Learned How To Stop Worrying and Love the Inane

So I have seriously neglected this place. If you find this… seriously, you flatter me for keeping me in the corners of your mind for so long. It’s kind of creepy actually. I’d say you’re stalking me, but honestly I haven’t given you much to go on these past few years.

Let me attempt to fix that.

And, if I am talking to myself…

Hey, me. How the hell are you?

Let’s catch up on what we’ve been up to.

The past year has been full of changes. It’s my second year as Tech Director for a local school… and the job would be great if I didn’t feel like I was constantly a month behind. The projects just seem to pile up and I find myself spending more time working on the day to day then I am able to progress any major changes I’d like to see happen. Honestly though it’s a great place to work. The staff is always understanding and grateful for our expertise and help. I have another school year there before I decide wether I stay another year or not. I honestly don’t know what I’ll do quite yet.

I have my own place again. It’s been a welcome change, and I enjoy having my on space again. I will say that it’s also been an excuse to be unsociable and just stay at home… Which is something I want o change this year. My goal s to at east get out on the weekends… wether it’s to explore the local flavor, or to get over to Seattle, which is much closer now. With any luck I can share those experiences here.

Otherwise, it’s business as usual. I still love my music, movies, games and media. Speaking of which, I figured I’d share what I’ve been watching recently.


Mushi-shi is hard to categorize. “Japanese folk-lore retelling with undertones of horror” would probably be closest. The episodes so far stand by themselves, which makes it a fantastic anime to watch in short bursts. I’ve been watching an episode or two when I get home, just after catching up on The Daily Show.

The episodes are steeped with Japanese folk-lore… from forest gods to possessed ink stones. And each episode tells a beautiful, if at times deeply disturbing or distressing story. The episode I just watched, for example, relays the story of a wife that is possessed by a mushi (the titular creatures the stories revolve around) that devours her memories. Her husband has been long missing, and the only reason she remembers him is because of the rituals she keeps every day to keep his memory alive. The episode does not have the happiest ending… most of them don’t. But it is poignant… and unsettling in a way that makes you introspective.

So yes… Mushi-shi. I recommend it.

And hey… You should update your blog more, Adam.

I mean, seriously.


So it’s late, and I should probably be in bed considering I have a big day yet tomorrow… but I just had to share.

I just got back from Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, and it was amazing.

Cirque's Grand Chapiteau

Our seats were almost a little too close to the stage, but it was fantastic, being up close and personal with the performers. There were some incredibly memorable performances, and the audience participation moments are fantastic.

Of course there was all too much I wish I could of bought in the merchandise area, including some fantastically gorgeous masks, but I did manage to convince myself to get the program guide and CD at the very least.

Program Guide and CD

All in all this will be a night I don’t soon forget.

We’re heading out tomorrow for the Seattle grand tour… the Art Museum (which I absolutely love), the Japanese Garden, and of course the Apple Store. There may be a quick run to Chinatown for lunch as well, and a walk through Pike’s Place market and possibly the Aquarium. All in all a packed day really.

The show must go on!


I did something for the first time this last Saturday.

I participated in a caucus.

All in all it was pretty simple. About 30 people or so arrived at the local High School Library, we divided into our local voting precincts, and decided who we would support for the democratic party nomination.

My precinct consisted of me, Shawn, and four others from our neighborhood. Shawn actually knew a couple of the people there. The family of a mutual friend was there as well, though they were in a different precinct.

The decision at our table was rather easy. We were all in favor of supporting Obama, so there was little debate or wrangling of numbers involved. A couple of the other precincts had a tougher time of it, and ended up splitting their delegates between the two candidates. We sat around and ate candy for most of the meeting.

The tough part was choosing the three delegates that would go to the county meeting from our table. No one seemed very keen on the idea, so I stepped up to the plate and volunteered myself. Another individual did the same. And finally, Shawn came around (with a little pressure) and decided to go as well.

So… April 19th I’ll be going to the county convention. Not really sure what happens there, other than choosing individuals to go to the State Convention. Where they’ll pick people to go to the National Convention. I know I won’t be able to go to the National Convention at least.

I’ll be in Australia when it’s going on.

Scrumptious media.

Anyone knows me will realize that I am a complete media whore. Whether it’s movies, books, music, games… you name it… I generally am interested in it. Lately I’ve been upset because I don’t spend the time reading like I used to… but I do still manage to catch a movie or two here and there, and I still am an avid gamer.

So I saw two things last week that really piqued my interest.

First, on the gaming side, Tecmo has announced Fatal Frame 4. For the Wii! This makes me happy.

Fatal Frame 4

Fatal Frame (or Project Zero, for those of you in non-US territories) is a fantastic series of games, and its good to see it come out for a platform that is a perfect fit for it control wise. I’ve yet to play through all the Playstation incarnations of this game, but fully intend to before the new one releases this summer. This has to be up there with Fallout 3 as my most looked forward to game this year.

The other little gem I’ve found is a movie by producer Guillermo del Toro and director Juan Antonio Bayona, named The Orphanage (imdb link, official site, quicktime trailer).

The Orphanage

One of del Toro’s previous movies, The Devil’s Backbone, is one of my favorite movies of all time, so when I saw that his name is attached to The Orphanage, I was immediately intrigued. Unlike Devil’s Backbone, however, del Toro is strictly a producer on this movie, but Bayona’s directorial work looks not only polished, but chilling. Just watching the trailer gave me shivers for this movie. And the reviews and critical comments have been resoundingly positive. Right now it’s in limited release in several large cities, but I’m hoping it eventually comes out a little closer to home, much like Pan’s Labyrinth eventually did.

Do I know you?

One thing that sucks about working in the town you grew up in: running into people. For the most part I don’t mind, but occasionally you get the nut job that feels like they need to “catch up” or know “what you’ve been up to”. And the people I knew generally fit into two categories: old classmates or people I knew from church. Neither of which I ever really felt like I related to. And especially don’t feel like I do now.

Especially some of my old classmates. Most of them are married now. Most of them have kids. A good portion of them have multiple kids. Which is great for them… but continues to remind me how different my outlook on things are.

Of course lately I look at myself and wonder what the hell I’m doing.

I’ll be 30 this year.

It just all seems so surreal.

Where has the past 10 years gone?

What will the next 10 years bring?

How scary is it that I have no idea?

On a less introspective note, the little Mexican restaurant Shawn and I found in town is actually quite good. After you get past the whole “old acquaintance showing off their kid to you” bit.

Super… stuff.


Today the Patriots faced off against the Giants.

I spent the day at work to avoid it.

And to get some work done, actually. But that’s my fault for saying certain things would be done by Monday. They’re still not completely ready to go, but I can at least get things sorted on Monday instead of being several days behind.

I never really understood the big deal about the Super Bowl really. I’m not much of a professional sports watching person at all. Though I do find some things fascinating. I remember watching a Cricket game during one of my trips to Australia, and just trying to figure out what was going on was amusing.

Maybe it’s just American sports. It just all seems too… commercialized really.

What I’m really interested in is the current political scene in the states at the moment.

Super Tuesday is this week… and the democratic candidacy looks more and more interesting. Personally I’m rooting for Obama. His whole campaign currently is based around change… and though a lot of people have scoffed at the whole “change just for the sake of change” thing… honestly, this country needs some change. And its heartening to see others, from other countries, rooting for him too. Maybe at some point I won’t actually have to feel ashamed for living in this country. It at least has pried me out of my apathy this year to actually get up and be involved more. I’m going to make every attempt to attend the local democratic caucus this year. It should be a learning experience if nothing else. I don’t expect much of a turn out, considering the area where I live is so Republican it scares me… but it is one of the few times where a voice, no matter how small, matters.

Scary Hillary

Besides, Clinton scares me. There’s something about her that is unsettling. And I’m tired of the same two families being ensconced in the White House for… what? The past 20 years? It’s absurd when you think about it. I’d say it’s past time for some new blood.

So I guess I’m publicly stating that I support Obama for the democratic nomination. It seems to be the popular thing to do lately.

Otherwise, life moves on. Work sucks, haven’t talked to my family for a couple weeks, feeling a bit cut off… the usual. It may be time to get in touch with some people I haven’t seen for a while. If they haven’t completely given up on me.

One last note. If you get the chance, watch Six Feet Under. It’s the Netflix series de jour at the house here, and it’s amazing. There is a complexity to the characters that is fascinating, and it has a fantastically morbid, dark humor to it at times. It is, after all, set in a funeral home. Highly recommended.

Windows into the past.

So… hello.

It’s been a while. I’m not going to make excuses or say that things have been busy and mildly insane lately. A lot has happened. And those of you I’ve kept in touch with know what those things are.

I thought I’d share a small facet of the aftermath of all that here though.

For Christmas my family found itself going through a lot of old family paraphernalia. A good portion of it was in photographs. My mother was notorious for taking pictures. Any time the family was together, she’d have the camera out. As kids (and adults) it generally became something we’d dread. My mother didn’t understand the concept of candid photos. Generally we’d have to pose or be gathered together for the big family portrait. Because Lord knows when we’d have such a photo opportunity again.

To her credit, though… there are a lot of photos and history that wouldn’t exist without her efforts. And she was damn good about notating the photos afterwards, so that a lot of the photos where we’d have no idea when or what was going on, there’d be a little note from Mom on the back.

After going through about a dozen boxes of family photos and history (I kid you not. A dozen boxes.), I have about a six inch stack of photos just of me. Most of them are scary. Very scary. But I figured I’d share a few choice ones here.

Mom and me.

One of the few shots I have of me with my mother. There’s not many because she was usually the one holding the camera. This was taken when I was about a month old.

Dad and me.

And here’s my Dad… who I still affectionately call Pappy. Not sure what I’m trying to stuff in his face here. Whatever it was I sure found it amusing. Just a little over a year old in this photo.

Messy me.

Ah the dazed, messy, satiated look. I’d like to say I was just a messy kid, but I’m still messy. Also taken when I was just over a year old.

Penguin shirt.

I had to include this one for the shirt. I’ve had a long standing love for all things penguin, and this just takes the cake. Also, I had really blond hair as a child. You’ll see more evidence of that in the next couple of photos. Taken just before I turned two.

Looking cute.

This was one of my grandmother’s favorite photos. She used to have it hanging right by her office desk. It’s still hard to believe it’s me. I just look way too cute. This was taken on my second birthday.

Me and my ass.

I love telling people that my favorite play toy and companion as a child was my ass. Here I have photographic proof. I miss that damn toy. Also taken on my second birthday.


Jump forward 11 years. Here’s (from left to right) me, my brother Pete, Matt, and Kerri. You can also make out my grandmother in the background… looking like she wants to be somewhere else. I apologize for the shirt I’m wearing. I had no sense of taste as a teenager, I assure you. I do love Pete’s snake skin boots, though.


This is how I spent most of my teenage years. Before I finally was able to get my hands on a computer full time, I spent a good chunk of my time reading. Voraciously. My love of epic fantasy and science fiction came out of the time spent reading as a teenager. I just wish I had the time to read like I once did. I’m 14 in this photo.


And finally a family Thanksgiving photo. My grandmother is sitting on the left, with me and my little brother Matt on the right. My grandmother is a fascinating lady, and I’ve been wanting to go see her for a while now… especially as her health and mental faculties have been going downhill lately. I remember her being a strong willed individual, and likely instilled in me my independence and sense of right and wrong more than my parents did. This is one of the few photos that’s not dated on the back, but by the looks of it I’m like 14 or 15 in this photo.

And that’s all for now. This is a sampling from just a small, small stack of the photos I have. I may post more if anyone is interested. It’s been a crazy holiday this year, with everything that’s happened… but I’ve had a sense of connectedness and family that I haven’t felt in a long time.

It’s been good.

VNV Nation

I’ve recently gotten back from the VNV Nation show in Seattle.

To sum up my feelings of the show, and to quote VNV themselves, all I really have to say is:


The show was awesome. VNV has always had a killer sound, and it came off beautifully tonight. And the energy in the crowd was incredible. I think it helped that it was the last show for their North American tour, so they wanted to go out with a bang. Four encore songs and a whole lot of audience screaming saw to that. They played a good mix of tracks off the new album, including Farthest Star, Nemesis, Testament, and Illusion… with Illusion probably being the most low key, mellow piece they played all night. Old tracks were also mixed in, including Saviour, Honour, and Darkangel, among others that I couldn’t place.

The only thing that really sucked was the venue. The place was literally packed wall to wall. You could not move in any direction without running into a wall of bobbing, dancing people. I’m a bit of a wallflower so I stayed in the back, but it was great watching all the people in front of me and feeding off their energy. The place also, however, has no air conditioning. Minutes into the show the place was a sauna, and everyone I saw walking out at the end of the show was sopping wet with sweat.

Fucking awesome show, not so great on the location.

And they took my camera! I was hoping to post some shots of the show, but I had to check it before going in, which was upsetting. I’m actually glad I checked it, though. I noticed people that had snuck cameras in where quickly getting nabbed by security, which were all over the place. Ah well.

I was mildly disappointed as well to find out And One would not be the opening band. A band named Babyland was filling in from them instead. They weren’t too bad, though. Heavy percussion and mildly screamed lyrics. The percussionist was actually pretty kick ass though. He had a bizarre setup of steel drums, piping, and other odds and ands that he played with reckless abandon. Not as good as And One, but still not too shabby.

So I’m in a hotel tonight and will be making further forays into Seattle tomorrow. At the bare minimum are plans to hit up the museum and the Japanese garden. A Chinatown trip happened today as we found some dinner before I headed off to the concert. I had the best Chinese I’ve had in a long time. We missed dim sum unfortunately, though… something Shawn and Danie have yet to experience. Maybe next time.

I hope to take loads of pictures tomorrow at least. Hopefully I can make up for my lack of pictures from the concert tonight.

Until then…

Photo Hunt Week 20: Clouds


Another shot from my recent weekend adventure. This was taken from one of the parks I visited, over the lake and train tracks that I framed in the photo hunt update for Lines. The clouds that day were sparse, but had that funky cotton candy look to them… where you almost feel you could pluck them out of the sky and have a taste of sugary goodness.

Damn. Now I’m craving cotton candy.