i just spent two aweful hours to get my computer working properly again. my best guess is that de-installation of some software fucked up the registry and a lot of things were no longer working. i am now very much indebted to the excellent WinsockXPFix that put all of it right again (you can find it in lots of places, i got it here).
for more good news i wish everyone reading this a very merry christmas and i hope you made some people happy by giving them nice presents and maybe you got some, too. i made out some photo calendars and gave some books to birgit who is seriously hooked by terry pratchett by now. one more for the fantasy-crowd! i got some more tea and some gimmicks that everyone should have who is seriously into tea-brewing. i also got a signed copy of the limited gene wolfe's novella "memorare" (number 104/500, whoohoo!).
so far i have played far less computer games than anticipated. mostly it's "sam & max, season 2" as well as some abandonware adventures on my wii. "flight of the amazon queen" is a hilarious game. i've never played it before but it's great fun!
okay, this is a weird entry. it's very late at night (or pretty early morning, depending on which way you look at it) and i kinda feel like rambling ...
since this page is up i am keeping a list of book that i have read. it's over here if you don't know what i'm talking about. this year i read more than any of the years before (although i wrote pretty much the same about a year ago). nevertheless books are piling up all around me and there a lots of book i mean to read but somehow i never get around to do it. i want to re-read "stardust" for over a year now. same for "american gods". "the essential ellison", a retrospective of a lot of short stories harlan ellison has written in the past 50 years is lying on my night stand for over a year, too. and these are just examples. everytime i see one of these books i feel guilty somehow. but there is hope. i read some of those books that have been lying around for a long time this year. "the time-travellers wife" -- which i got from birgit btw, thank you so much! -- turned out to be fabulous, i count it among my favourites now.
i discovered the unbelievably amazing kelly link this year. i absolutely adore her style of writing. she could probably write about washing her socks and i still would pay for it! (btw, lots of her stories are online, see here. i also discovered ted chiang this year and he may be even more awesome than kelly (although for completely different reasons). incidentally, a lot of ted's stories are online, too.
i am not entirely sure what i want to say by all that except giving a few shout-outs for authors i think people should read and to reading in general. somehow i am thinking that i still don't read enough, mainly because i know how much time i waste on the internet or watching (stupid) movies (this is true for a lot of movies. there are very few that are truly worth watching!).
so, keep reading. keep reading fiction, there are some excellent books out there. and if you ever find yourself in the free people's world tree library be careful not to get caught by the forbidden books.*
*this is a barely concealed hint that you should read kelly link's "magic for beginners". it won some major awards. it is one of my favourite stories ever. you can find it here.
i am set up at my parents' now. i didn't quite know if i would get the weird internet connection here working on my machine and indeed it took quite a while. but all is well now. i brought more games, movies and books than i can possibly deal with over the christmas break but i am very much looking forward to some free time.
yesterday we did a christmas party at work. it was pretty enjoyable and i did drink more than i can remember drinking at any other time over the year (although you might argue that if i actually can remember how much i drank it wasn't quite enough).
also i spent a lot of time this week choosing and tweaking pictures for photo-calendars for next year. i am usually very critical concerning any photo-calenders and in the same way i tend to be discontented by the ones i put together myself. but usually they turn out to be nice enough nevertheless. *keeps fingers crossed*
don't feel like writing so here's a list on what happened last week:
- cut my hair ... but just by two or three inches at most.
- was in leipzig on friday where i went shopping and got a large and very beautiful calendar for next year
- got the brilliant new cds by congregation and digitonal
- replayed "loom" and "monkey island 2" this weekend on my wii using scummvm. currently i am trying my luck with goblins 3. this one's hard!
i haven't bought a computer game in quite a while (apart from the wii stuff) but last week i got three!! the first is "sam & max - season 2" which i ordered directly from telltale games. so far i only played "episode 2x01: ice station santa" but i liked that one a lot. next i got "fallout 3" (uncut english version -- you never know!) which arrived this weekend but i haven't checked it yet. and last, but definitely not least there is "bioshock". it's already over a year old and i always considered buying it but somehow never did. now i got it for just a few bucks and so far it's an extremely intense, thrilling and brilliant game.
i am probably unconciously preparing for the christmas break which usually involves a lot of gaming on my side. so ho ho ho, clean up the vault, check on the zombies and beware of cute little rabbits with big guns!
today, i finally got my signed copy for kelly link's "pretty monsters". whoohoo!
also, i ordered a bunch of books by gene wolfe recently. some of them are surprisingly hard to get. on saturday arrived "pandora, by holly hollander", the most difficult to find (so far), but - ironically - the first to arrive.
and last week i watched "the strangers" in cinema. i wasn't so sure if that was a wise choice but i really did like the movie. it was scary (as is should be), there was an surprisingly small amount of blood and most of the time the people acted logically (except once towards the end -- i would not have gone back to the house! ever!). anyway, despite mixed reviews i'd recommend that one. also i was very pleasently surprised when i realised that "sprout and the bean" by joanna newsom was part of the soundtrack! i also watched the "max payne"-movie but i'd rather not talk about it. this is a no-go for quite a number of reasons ...
and we made cookies this weekend! yay! and as always we ended up with many more than any sensible person should eat.
just a little update on the wii-thingie to finish that subject for now: doom is working now, as is quake. whoohoo! but it's even better that scummvm is supported. i played some "monkey island 2" today just to test everything and it's awesome. with scummvm comes a huuuge list of old dos-games that runs on wii without the need for a conversion. and because all these things also work on my pc (at least if run with dosbox) i should prob'ly also mention that there's whole bunch of non-pc games as well as a lot of emulators for many other consoles that are also worth looking at.
so i guess i have my hands full over the next weeks ...
returned from my sis this evening. didn't quite know what to do (nothing on tv, etc.) so i decided to hack my wii :)
it's rather easy and today i felt like risking it. there is a rather neat guide on how to do it on lifehacker and much more comprehensive info over at wiibrew.org. it worked like a charm and the result is (so far) that i can now play dvds as well as videos and mp3s on my wii plus a few homebrew games. one of the games i tried is a wii-conversion of "commander keen" and how cool is that?! so i sat down in fond memories of old times and played some "commander keen" on my wii tonite when i actually wanted to go to bed early. there's also a wii conversion of "doom" but so far i can't get it running. maybe later. sleep now!
i am going to leave for my sister's tomorrow so i will be off the screen for a few days.
watched the new bond-movie this week. it was a pretty fast and good action movie, i'd rate it about as good as casino royale (which is pretty high in my book but not in the opinion of some bond-fans i know).
and i got "twilight princess" as a new game for my wii. so far i've basically just watched the intro and ran around a bit. the game is from 2006 but i still think the graphics is not that good. anyway, i hope it's still fun to play and even if not, i still have further use for it. got it on ebay for half-price, so even if it sucks (which i don't think it will according to some reviews i've seen) i can live with that ...
just read that michael crichton has died. to be honest i haven't read anything by him in a long time. but i liked a lot of his older books like "the great train robbery" and "congo" (the book, not the movie) when i went to school.
also, i finished "the graveyard book" today. it took me a long time but not because it is a boring book. there were just so many other things that kept me distracted. in fact, i enjoyed reading it very much, even when i found the last quarter of the book very foreseeable (which is unusual for a book by mr. gaiman).
and when i came home today, the retroadapter for my camera was waiting for me. i've already played around a little and it is very fortunate that even if the pictures get messed up somehow, the results still look very interesting. i suspect i have to go and find some small things tomorrow and start taking pictures of them.
(all of this happened today, so what happened on all the other days you ask? i don't know. i was a little messed up over the week myself. that's all you need to know, yes?)
i did a real long photo walk the other night and took lots of pictures of the local industrial plant and of the night sky. i have to say that manually focussing the camera for good pictures of stars is a real bitch. but they pics where the focus is right look brilliant. also, i took a lot of pics of crows on the fields around here (or was it rooks? i can never tell. probably it was rooks, really.)
thanks to micha and his tips the next thing i'm going to try is macroscopic photography using a retroadapter. expect first results within the next week. hopefully.
last week i was watching "hellboy ii" in the cinema. the movie looked extremely good (especially the troll market was awesome) and was pretty funny. unfortunately the story was a bit too simple for it to be a really good movie. but it was entertaining eye-candy nevertheless. i also saw the first german trailer for "watchmen" that day. i just hope the translation of the movie will be better than the one of the trailer.
currently i am kind of stranded at my parents house. my car was leaking brake fluid and replacement parts had to be ordered and it all takes much longer than intended. plus i really don't do anything useful.
last week i was in berlin again for another concert. this time bohren & der club of gore who just released their new cd "dolores". the concert was ... intense. support was alexander tucker who did a solo multi-instrumental psychadelic post rock show that was really cool just for the sheer number of instruments and layers he used. after that the room and the stage were darkened. it got very very quiet. and from the darkness errupted some massive bass that let the whole room vibrate. as i said: intense. bohren did about two hours of their dark ambient jazz stuff and it was really cool and very different from any other concert i've been to.
over the weekend i played some "red alert" and remembered why i always preferred blizzards strategy games over the "command & conquer" games. even their old games like "warcraft 2" had much more intuitive controls and a much more well arranged and helpful user interface.
i also ordered some more stuff for the new camera. it seems like it is a bottomless pit for money because there are so many cool things to get. i haven't ordered it yet but i am sure i definitely need a zoom lens. damnit.
just a quick summary of the past week before i forget everything i wanted to write:
i also got my feegle-shirt from paul kidby's website after long weeks of waiting. it's adorable and i felt much braver wearing it (because everybody knows you don't mess with pictsies! ever!!)
and i am usually not a big fan of electronic arts but they surprised me by giving away "red alert" for free and thus get a mention here. i also liked the trailer for "red alert 3" (on the same page).
okay, still too lazy to write regularly. so this is probably gonna be a long one again.
the coolest news is of course that i was at the amanda palmer concert yesterday. actually amanda palmer and friends. there were four(!!) support acts and everyone did a completely different kind of music. first was jason webley. the best comparision i can come up with is that he was kinda like a young tom waits. singing sea shanties and drinking songs and being incredibly funny. he got the whole crowd going and did a great show. next up was zoe keating, who also performed with amanda later on. she did some classical music on layered cello. very beautiful and mesmerising. and she was also very nice when i talked to her later on and got a cd signed :).
next two acts were battle circus from new zealand (sounding kind of like the early iron maiden. is that a good comparision? i don't know.) and michael krebs who did some very funny stuff. both okay but not that special.
then, finally amanda palmer herself. she was amazing. energetic. sexy. the show was very much along the whole "who killed amanda palmer"-theme and she was doing great despite having a broken foot. poor girl. she did a lot of funny stuff. there was a "ask amanda"-section mid-show. how cool is that? she did two german songs! (and surprisingly good, too). one of them was "ein stuhl in der hölle" (originally by einstürzende neubauten) and again: how cool is that? and best of all: as an encore amanda and jason performed an incredibly funny version of "living on a prayer" by bon jovi, including a discussion on the meaning of the lyrics halfway through the song. priceless! all in all i had a very long and amazing night with lots of really good music and lots of fun.
as for other news (trying to keep it short as i tire of typing):
on saturday i was in leipzig and had a great time, too, when this month's rpg session took place. olli was gm and it was a lovely evening and at least i had a lot of fun.
also i got a telescope lens for the new slr camera last week. i haven't had a real chance to test it yet. i just did a small walk on friday to kind of try what i am able to do with it. (it's a 55-200mm lens, in case anyone's interested.)
and the new rose kemp cd finally arrived. officially it's out for a few weeks already but i wasn't able to get it anywhere. it sounds really really good. it's much more goth-rock and much more metal-influence than on the last album but it sounds great.
oh yeah, and i nearly forgot to mention that i watched "burn after reading" last week. as expected it was a good movie but i didn't like it as much as "no country for old men". nevertheless, go watch it, it's funny and has a pretty unlikely story (who would've guessed).
guess what i got! a brand-new digital slr camera! woo-hoo!
(the rest of the entry will probably turn out to be one big advertisement so if you're not interested in my new camera you might as well stop reading now.)
it's a canon eos 1000d (a.k.a. rebel xs) and it's utterly brilliant! one of the nearby electronic stores sold them as a re-opening bargain so i was practically forced to get it because how was i ever to forgive myself if i hadn't?!
so far i had thought by old g5 did a fairly good job but the new one is just awesome. picture quality is on a completely different level. options are numerous and useful. i am a little disappointed at the workings of the live view feature although it prob'ly still is better than having no live view at all. also i am gonna miss panorama mode. but the rest more than makes up for that. so far i just got the standard canon lens they give away with all their cameras (an ef 18-55mm is, although the image stabiliser really works amazingly well) so i'm already checking out the available lenses. there goes my hard-earned money.
on completely different news: birgit arrived today from vienna. which is great. but i would've liked it even better if i didn't leave tomorrow night and we would've had a few more days. well, gotta take what you get.
anyway, gotta sleep now. but first another chapter from "the graveyard book" ...
ps: small beer press have put kelly link's second book "magic for beginners" out for free! (well, most of it, two stories are missing). this is one of my favourite books and i think everyone who likes weird fantasy stories should read it. (they also currently have a sale where you can get most of their books for ridiculously low prices. no, i don't work for them, i just think they're great)
is it just an impression on my side or is it getting increasingly unlikely that you write some news the longer the last entry is past? which is kind of weird because the longer the time, the more things should have happened to write about. this would certainly explain why matti updates his page only every few month.
at least i have some semi-reasonable excuse for not updating as i was really doing some work again. currently i am writing the chapter on related work for my thesis and this sucks so badly ...
and since i haven't written an update for so long, i haven't mentioned that i was in berlin about two weeks ago, visiting matti just for the fun of it. there was also some serious steak-eating involved. memories of that evening are fuzzy. but i saw micha again briefly which was nice.
also lots of new books are coming in. neil gaiman's "graveyard book" is out since tuesday and i got my copy today. that was fast! and neil is posting tour readings of the whole book on his mouse circus-website. isn't this the awesomest thing? i also got the new gene wolfe book last week thanks to the rather neat idea of ordering it directly from the u.s. -- for some strange reason it will only be published in europe in november. and kelly links "pretty monsters" should be on its way, too. her site has been redesigned (imo it doesn't look as good anymore but contains more cool stuff) and there are some of her stories there to read for free (among them "the hortlak" which i like immensely).
finally, i was watching "der baader-meinhof komplex" yesterday. it was a pretty good movie although i think it helps to know a lot about the RAF beforehand to get certain parts of the story (especially towards the end) and some (in my opinion) important bits have been left out.
i finally got around to digitilising some pics i drew a while ago. it kind of seemed like a good idea of the time. you might even get some ideas of your own if you take a look*.
*like, to encourage me to do some more drawings. or to burn all my pens so i might never ever get the chance to draw anything ever again. ever!
currently i am so very very lazy. i'm not getting anything done. been planning on writing this entry for at least three day but somehow "never got around to it." damnit.
last week i got my copy of the new order of the stick-book including a free fridge magnet. it's awesome :)
and over the weekend i was in leipzig again to meet friends and to talk and somewhere in there was also an rpg session. which was all very nice except for the rpg'ing where i should've been better prepared.
also last week (while i should've been working) i read about and installed lots of small but exciting programms on my machine. for instance, i am using the free CDBurnerXP now to burn cds, i've installed shutter for automatic shutdown of my pc (i used to use a handwritten script for that but shutter is so much cooler!) and i also got serious samurize which is just plain cool (it allows you to do all kinds of weird stuff with your desktop). not to mention the open source alternatives page where you can find all kinds of cool free replacements for commercial software.
oh, and before i forget: the new "hydrophobia ep" from entertainment for the braindead is out and it's very beautiful (and it's free, too).
back from leeds. the conference was pretty good (even if the accomodation wasn't that hot) and i got fed a lot of food and had some discussions and all in all i liked it there. also, the university in leeds is nice and big and kind of a maze. i had about three days of packed schedule and free time for the other two days. central leeds was lovely but unfortunately not that big. you can easily see all of it in about one day. also the weather wasn't on the upside, as it was raining a lot of the time. this was especially annoying on friday since this was my free day and it was raining the whole day (and i don't mean some light drizzle, i mean rain).
on thursday i got "nation" (the new book by terry pratchett) a little ahead of time. amazon lists the release for september 11th but appearently borders was a little ahead of time. and i am not picky about such a thing particulary when i get some discount as well a special "nation"-pen.
due to the rain i had a lot of time to read (especially on friday) and so i finished the excellent "the time-travellers wife" by audrey niffenegger as well as ray vukcevich's "the man of maybe half a dozen faces". the later was hillariously funny. it's currently out of print but if you like funny detective stories with a slightly futuristic touch you should definitely try to get it. it also features some of the weirdest "yo momma"-jokes i ever heard about :)
the flight back from manchester yesterday was brilliant. there were nearly no clouds and i saw lots of interesting stuff during the flight (i am very much a constantly-looking-out-of-the-window person during flights ... i also enjoy google earth a lot but it's not quite the same). arrived home only late at night which didn't matter as i could sleep in today.
and i did.
tomorrow i am leaving for england. again for a conference, this image it's the british machine vision conference in leeds. i haven't got a lot of free time on this trip but i hope leeds will be nice enough to entertain me for the week i am going to be there.
last week i forgot to mention that i got "edna bricht aus", a really oldschool point-&-click adventure that is hilariously funny and cute. there's a demo-version on the page if you want to check it out.
and this week i went and watched "the dark knight" and it really is as good as everyone says. heath ledger as the joker is brilliant and i can understand everyone who talks about a posthumous academy award for his role in the movie. it really is that good.
visited the games convention yesterday together with matti torben and leo. last year i lamented about the fact that a lot of interesting games where only shown in a sealed-off area where you've had to wait in line to get in. same thing this year, only with longer lines. i would've loved to take a look at "left-4-dead", "far cry 2" or the upcoming "call of duty" installment but i didn't want to spend an hour waiting for it. most of the open stuff wasn't that interesting (for me) so i had only a few personal highlights. the best thing (for me, again) was a sneak-peak on "risen", the new game by piranha bytes. mike hoge and a few other piranhas were on location and instead of doing a loud show they simply sat down, showed a teaser trailer of game, talked a bit about features and story (which seens not that different from the "gothic"-games) and even did a q&a afterwards. i think the whole thing was pretty cool and in the end they gave away an surprising amount of posters so that most people got one (an exception at the gc). (i found another pic here by some other guy. try to find matti and me :))
other interesting things were the jowood booth showing a demo of "gothic 3 - götterdämmerung" (which looked suprisingly unimpressive, a fact that was of course interesting in itself) and the rockstar games booth. there was also a very nice exhibition about old games and old computer models. and you could sit down on a lot of them and play the original version of, say, "space invaders" or "rayman" among others. brilliant! :)
in the evening we were of to dinner which was pretty good, too (even if the staff at the restaurant was unorganised at best). and that finished of a great day.
i also read a lot this week. more than 500 pages of "bone" and a few of the nebula- and hugo-award nominated stories, among them "tideline" by elizabeth bear which is the winner of this years hugo for best short story (and it's really lovely indeed). and while talking of the hugos: sadly, gene wolfe didn't win best novella. i haven't read "all seated on the ground" yet (which did win), maybe it really is a better story. but anyway.
and on wednesday we went to eat sushi again for the first time in ... three month? it was good though.
so, what happened last week. not much (because i have a boring life where i try to write a thesis which takes up way too much time). but on saturday i went to leipzig just for shopping and strolling through the city. i didn't do that in a long time and i liked it a lot. took a look at the new university buildings that are slowly taking on their final shape. got some clothes. ate ice cream. got my ticket for the games convention on the coming weekend. and i already mentioned that i got a new bookcase. getting all the books out of the old one and partitioning them up again was quite some work. but it was fun, too.
i also got the rare "signal to noise" radio adaption cd by neil gaiman. i got it from jazz cds in london which i think is an unlikely place to get something like that. but they've got a nice selection and were incredibly helpful and fast (because as ever so often not everything went quite as expected).
i meant to write an entry all weekend long. but didn't ...
but i got a new (small) bookcase and now the whole thing looks something like this. it's not quite finished yet and things will be added but it's already a huuuuge improvement to the cramped single bookcase i had before.
finally finished "bully" on my wii. as i said before, it's a brilliant game if you like gta-like games and it makes great use of the wii-controllers. but what am i gonna play now??
also, we did a rpg-session in leipzig this weekend. the first in two month. it was pretty good, even if we didn't play the regular group but just some fun stuff.
besides that it was a very relaxing week so far and i even got some stuff done ...
it took a lot more time than actually planned but i finally put some pictures of scotland online. i even included some panoramas although they look not nearly as good as they do in their larger versions. i did a lot of panorama shots in scotland and still haven't put them all together (i've mentioned it before, hugin is an awesome tool for such things). i also updated the pics of the week, with yet more pictures from scotland as well as a few others.
that's all for now. got next week off but plan to work on my thesis nonetheless. let's see what i get done. also my parents are back home which means i'm done housesitting. which is a relief as it was a lot of work even if i didn't mind doing it.
also, i got the bunny moon-laser shirt from split reason. i like it a lot, it's really cute.
yes, i know. still no photos. i'm working on it. sorry.
a bunch of cool stuff arrived. very special things. for instance a signed edition of the very hard to get "a walking tour of the shambles" by neil gaiman and gene wolfe. yes, it's a tourist guide. for a part of chicago that doesn't really exist (or does it?). so what? also a bunch of cds from kristin hersh's very own throwing music store, including the incredible 5cd "10-4 all" package of acoustic versions of over 60 of her songs. very special indeed!!
there's more, and still more on the way but that's all i'm gonna mention for now.
again, spent the whole weekend gardening (this time i did - among other things - lawnmoving, blue berries and beans). also, i started the one hundred push-ups programme this week. i am done with week 1 and so far i am doing fine. let's see if i can finish it. more in a few weeks :)
and i did extremely tasty wild berry muffins yesterday. and if you think it's silly to mention this here, please keep in mind that i will have yummy muffins for breakfast this week and you won't!
and finally a quick correction: the sure-to-be-awesome watchmen movie will not start june 3rd but march 6th. damn the u.s. date system.
the first teaser trailer for the watchmen movie is out since yesterday and it looks absolutely stunning. if you don't know "watchmen": this is not just another comic book, it is probably the best graphic novel ever written (and by non other than the ingenious alan moore) and as far as i am aware, it is the only graphic novel which made it onto time magazine's list of the 100 best novels of the 20th century (i know such lists are objectable but it is significant nonetheless). from what i've read so far the movie will be very close to the book and the only bad thing about it that comes to mind is that i will have to wait until 2009 to see it (in the u.s. it starts one day after my birthday. so this should be a good memory hook to remember my birthday. you may send me presents, too ;)).
at least "the dark knight" starts in august, this should be brilliant, too.
in real life nothing much happened though. had lots of work this week and now i do a prolonged week-end to chill a little before exams at the university start on monday and will take about two weeks. this should be fun (<-- irony!!!).
meanwhile i am still house-sitting my parents home and i already did a little gardening today.
* in case your latin isn't what it used to be: "who watches the watchmen?"
just rewrote the holiday entries which was quite some work to do (i just hope there aren't too many typos in there). if you want to read them they start here. pictures will prob'ly take a bit longer as i've got lots of work to do so don't expect anything before the weekend.
as for the last two days: i was indeed in edinburgh castle on saturday and it's really huge. if you're interested in military history it's the place to go. i went there in the morning and there were lots of tourists there anyway. when i got out in the early afternoon more and more people came and it was nearly impossible to take photos without lots of strange people in the picture. saw the scottish crown jewels and really liked the part on medivial prisons. i pretty much chilled through the rest of the afternoon as i was pretty exhausted. and yesterday i got home again.
but the coolest thing: today i checked mail and guess what i found!! i got my clothbound limited edition of kelly links "magic for beginners" from small beer press!!! number 29 of only 150, signed by both kelly and shelley jackson (the illustrator), including postcards, bookmarks, a poker set (again, a special thing with illustrations by shelley) as well as a bonus chapbook by joan aiken. this is so unbelievably cool. i think it's the most expensive book i've ever bought but it's really brilliant! (i took a photo of the complete package, see here.)
also, the second subscriber package from kristin hersh arrived, including photos by lisa fletcher, who does the "covers" for each of kristins monthly songs at cash-music. and i like them very much although they undeservingly pale in the light of kelly's book.
yesterday started out very cool. i did some of the walking tours around applecross. the weather was once again just lovely. i saw the rhododendron-tunnels (i have never seen rhododendrons nearly as big as here in scotland. there more like trees) and highland-cattle and even a doe (which my dictionary tells me is the correct term for a female red deer, i.e. a female stag). i always assumed that it was just tourist-bait to announce that this region is deer-stalking country but obviously that's really true. or i was just lucky. anyway, i decided to move on around noon because silly me was afraid the time to get back to edinburgh might be a bit short otherwise. so i follwed the coastal route till torridon (again, a really lovely little town), did a short trail there and started on my way back.
originally i had estimated that i'd arrive somewhere on saturday in edinburgh, repack all my stuff in the evening and then fly home on sunday. but the direct route back was very direct indeed and since it started to rain shortly after i left the highlands i didn't really do any stops and got nearly to dundee in the evening. finding a campsite proved difficult and i finally stayed at a small but neat site east of blaingowrie (about 20 miles from dundee). today i arrived in edinburgh just after noon and am staying now again at the pollock halls at the university. did another tour around edinburgh, visited the forbidden planet (f.p. is a very cool sci-fi/fantasy/geek/comic-store chain in the uk), was at waterstones where they sold books by pratchett, jordan and lots of other authors i like at 3 for 2 prices. but there really is no room in my pack for at least three discworld books! damn! i also leafed through the new 4th edition d&d books which was pretty cool. and of course i did a little sightseeing, too
tomorrow i'll probably visit edinburgh castle for lack of other plans. ans supposedly it's very interesting (if expensive).
today was brilliant! currently i am sitting out in the sun in applecross and am regretting that my vacation ends in only four days.
i started out on the eastern coast of the trotternish peninsula in the north of skye this mourning. went all the way around and back at the western coast. short stop in uig which is a rather pretty little town and then back via portree and broadford to the mainland. i did a detour to glenbrittle, too. but if you're not into serious mountain climbing and/or taking really long hikes it's the wrong place to be. stopped at the lochalsh woodland gardens and then went on the wester ross coastal trail. the highlands at the west coast are really spectacular. to get to applecross i had to cross the infamous bealach na ba - pass to get to the west coast of the peninsula. the pass was definitely worth seeing. single track serpentines again, but with a brilliant view over the loch and the peninsula. and now i am at the western coast of applecross, which is - as far as i am aware - the most beautiful place in all of britain. i already did a detour to explore the south of the peninsula and i had a nice meal at the flower tunnel bar (which is a bar with greenhouse-like tunnel full of ... flowers where you can sit and relax).
the weather was sunny all day and i am seriously thinking about cancelling some of the remaining places i wanted to visit to stay here a day longer. but i guess i'll dcide on that tomorrow. cheers!
i am now officially in the highlands. the part of scotland where street signs and so on are written in gaelic and are only subtitled in english. sometimes they are not subtitled.
anyway, i went a wee bit north in the morning to invermoriston and took a short trail to the waterfall there. then due west to loch duich where i did a quick detour to totaig (on a roadthat wasn't even a b-road! but it wasn't that bad). spectacular views over the loch and the five sisters of kintail (a famous mountain formation). then on to eilean donan (the castle where part of "highlander" was filmed). the castle is actually pretty small and in retrospect i am not sure it was really worth the money.
got to the isle of skye in the afternoon. currently i am at the north-eastern coast at staffin. skye got some spectacular cliffs, lots of sheep, mountains and grass. it's really reminding me of iceland.
i think it's time to lament on the rain a bit. more specifically on the fact that over the first five days here in scotland - while i was still staying at hostels - it was raining only once for more than half an hour. that has changed by now. i was okay with it raining during the first night i was camping, especially since it had stopped long before morning. i am not quite okay it started to rain during yesterdays entry and only stopped around noon today. the rain made my visit to elgin quite pointless. i'd considered to stop at the glen grant distillery in rothes (it does tours, too) and planned to visit the ruins of the immense cathedral in elgin. as it was i just took a few pics from the outside and even during that i was afraid of soaking my camera. (and just in case you wonder why i didn't go in the cathedral: as i mentioned it is in ruins and has no roof.) fortunatly the rain finally stopped on the way to nairn (i've read that it's the town with the least rain in scotland. true at least from my pov). i took a look at the harbour and then went on to inverness ("capital of the highlands"). i had to go through inverness on my way to loch ness (there seem to be only a very few city bypasses in scotland) and it seemed quite beautiful. unfortunately the town was buzzing with local markets and with parking space what it is in scotland i couldn't find a place to stop near the center. anyway, on to loch ness. my tourist guide recommended the less travelled route along the east coast and it was really very lovely. i did a few short hiking trails and visited the waterfall in foyers. took a lot of pics too over the afternoon. the road itself is worth mentioning, too. i had read it is an old military road. about half of it is single track, there are serpentines and enourmous differences in altitude (the maximum rising i encountered was 14%).
at the south tip of loch ness is fort augustus where i am staying for the night. it's a lovely little town, nice harbour, cascaded from loch ness to the canal connecting it to loch oich. really nice campsite right in town. but of course it started to rain again shortly after i had pitched the tent. cats'n'dogs-style! a real downpour for about an hour. for now the rain has stopped so i am keeping my fingers crossed on nice weather for tomorrow
yesterday i rented a car and now i am off north exploring scotland. and i realised how much i have come to associate the smell of new cars with holidays and camping.
from edinburgh i headed along the east coast via kirkcaddy and buckhaven to st. andrews. i visited the ruins of the cathedral there but skipped the castle because of the high admission fee and the short time i was willing to spend there. then further north, via dundee (again, although this time i went over the tay bridge) on the east coastal tourist route to montrose, including a short visit to the harbour in arbroath.
camping at the very nice site at miltonhaven where i explored the coastal trails a bit in the evening.
today i went to the ruins of dunnottar castle. the castle is historical important and it looked quite mysterious when i arrived there in the morning with bits of fog floating around. i took lots of pics and the whole thing was really worth seeing. i enjoyed it sooo much.
after that it was pretty much a driving day. i cut inland at stonehaven and went via banchory, atford and rhynie to dufftown. dufftown is the self-proclaimed "malt whiskey capital of scotland" and there are nine distilleries (i think) in town and many more around. i took the tour at the famous glenfiddich distillery. the whole estate is lovely and the tour was pretty interesting. i even got a small bottle to take away because i didn't participate in the tasting -- drinking and driving is a bad idea, especially when you have to keep driving at the wrong side of the road!
and that's pretty much it for today. although i should mention that there's an enourmous number of cute little bunnies hopping around in scotland (which includes the campground where i am currently staying). also, ive never seen as much roadkill on the streets anywhere before (and the bunnies unfortunately have a fair share in that).
as i am writing this i sit somewhere in holyrood park in edinburgh on the hill/mountain called "arthur's seat". edinburgh is great, or as they say here: lovely ("luv'ly").
karin and i arrived on thursday. flight via amsterdam to edinburgh, bus transfer to dundee, location of this years miua. on tuesday evening there was an informal meeting in the dundee city hall including the official welcome by the lord provost of dundee. after that we were at jimmy chan's for some serious chinese food buffet which was pretty good,
on wednesday & thursday was the conference. the people and the organisation were great. i've never been to a conference where i chatted as much with people as this time. everything was so much more relaxed than anything i've encountered before. congrats to stephen and jesse for that.
on thursday evening bus transfer back to edinburgh. we're staying here at the university, too, as they rent sudent rooms over the summer break for very reasonable prices. edinburgh is extremely expensive and staying at the university is a great alternative (especially as the service includes lots of little extras that make life so much easier).
today we went on exploring downtown edinburgh. walking around old town and new town for about six hours. walked the royal mile from the castle all the way to holyrood palace (which is the queens palace here in edinburgh) and have seen lots of side streets (usually calles gates, closings, etc.), churches, graveyards, etc.
and as i mentioned above, currently i am exploring holyrood park which is located directly at the university. it's huge (about five miles across) and i just opted for the straightforward option of climbing the highest mountain.
next week it's off to scotland but until then i've got a lot of stuff to do. gotta prepare talks for scotland and after the holidays. did my taxes today (finally!). still need to do a few preps for the vacation.
i don't even have time to play "bully" (which is great, btw!!). it's shame.
also did some housekeeping last week at my parents. found a frog in the garden for the second time this year. which is interesting because there's no water nearby. but it seemed fine. also getting stuff done in the garden as currants, cherries and peas are ripe.
finished reading "return to the whorl" by gene wolfe, which concludes the 12 books of the solar cycle. "the book of the new sun" was definitely hardest especially if you're not used to gene wolfes particular writing style. i need to read it again now that i know much more of its background and that i've become accustomed to the style. in retrospect i liked "the book of the short sun" best, although it might very unfold its larger-than-life qualities only if you've read the previous books (here is an excellent review of the books). i just wanted to write a few words about these superb books because neil gaiman is right when he says that gene wolfe is not nearly appreciated enough.
i put creative commons buttons and notices all over the page. i opted for the by-nc-sa-license which basically expresses how i feel stuff on the internet should be allowed to use. while i admit that this may be a bit ridiculous given this puny little page i also wanted to note somehow that anything on this page may be used by anyone (as long as it's not commercially used and shared again under the same conditions) and creative commons simply seems the best way to do so. also this may raise a tiny little bit awareness among people stumbling unto this page not knowing what cc is actually about.
which reminds me, that a new nine inch nails ep is out as well as the blender-animated short movie big buck bunny. and you can get both for free, naturally. (and in this context it seems needless to mention that of course you can get blender for free, too).
got belated yet very cool birthday presents from birgit: pulitzer prize winning "the road" by cormac mccarthy (he of "no country for old men"-fame) and the first futurama movie "benders big score". all of which makes me very happy. (also, the trailer for the 2nd futurama movie "the beast with a billion backs" is out!)
also i got "bully" by rockstar as first "real" game for my new wii. so far i like it a lot. it really is very similar to the gta-series.
and i was watching m. night shyamalans "the happening" on thursday. i have to admit that i was disappointed. i had very high hopes from watching the trailers but after a pretty good start the movie gets .... well, not really boring, but there's not really a story either. it probably would've been a really good short movie but as a real movie its got not enough story and too many annoying details.
i've got internet at home! finally!!
time will tell if it helps working or delays working.
now i just have to decide if i want to get the wii online, too ...
had a great weekend. went to berlin on friday to visit markus and we went to see one of the few "harmonie desastres"-shows by meret becker and ars vitalis. it was absolutely awesome and funny and an overall great experience (here is a short trailer what was going on). i didn't bring a camera for which i am sorry now. and the whole thing makes me wish that meret would release a cd again. i don't even care if it's just cover versions (she did three really amazing tom waits covers this time!)
on saturday i went to leipzig for an extended rpg weekend. there was much progress story-wise but i had great fun anyway.
and of course i played a lot with my new wii. my muscles were aching from tuesday on from the wii-sports-stuff but now it's okay again.
finally, i just want to mention that i ordered the hypersomnia-cd from julia. it's great music and you can get it for free, too.
intense heat over the whole weekend. not nice and cozy but stifling and sweaty. went swimming for the first time this year yesterday late in the evening. the water was a little colder than expected but it was quite okay after a while. also, i was the only one in the water at all. 'bunch of pussies' as kristin would say ....
and i'm once again trying to get internet at home. this time via cable with a local company. sounds good so far ... i'll know if it works in about a week.
last week i got weak and went to see the new indiana jones movie. considering what i've read before i wasn't disappointed. the movie was quite entertaining although not nearly as good as the old ones. and towards the end it got way to spielberg-ish (i.e. too much alien-stuff). also this might very well have been the movie with worst part ever played by cate blanchett (whom i think of very highly, usually)
also, someone got a nintendo wii as a birthday present. it might be me. (technically, i only got half a wii as a birthday present, but that's beside the point.) so i am already checking out games worth getting. until than, it's wii-sports which is good enough for now.
and i forgot to mention last time that i got the limited edition of gregor samsas new cd "rest" ... number 168/500! *beams happily*
just a short message to keep the page up to date. nothing exciting happened but the weather is nice so weekends are spent mostly outside walking or biking.
the rest of the time i try writing my thesis which drags on impossibly slowly. i'd rather not talk about it ...
ordered ray vukcevich's "meet me in the moon room" after reading the sample stories at small beer press. "whisper" is one of the scaries or funniest (i'm not sure, maybe both) short stories i've ever read. also, it's worth to take a look around on the website, there's tons of free stuff there.
i got a paper accepted at miua2008 in dundee which means there will subsequently be a vaccation of not yet defined length in scotland. which is immensely cool. i already got my rough guide to scotland and discovered lots of places i wanna go to.
also along came neil gaimans "dangerous alphabet". i've already read it and it's very nice but awfully overpriced for it's extremely short length. then again, the illustrations by gris grimely are stunningly good.
and besides all this stuff i got, i also went to leipzig last monday, first for a bbq with micha and some of his friends and then on to a gregor samsa concert. support was phil elverum a.k.a. mt. eerie who did a really great acoustic gig, some jokes, very enjoyable. next were no kids whom i didn't like a bit. just not my cup of tea. then finally gregor samsa: the show was great, i really liked the music (obviously!) but the location was just too small. the stage was too small for seven people including all the fancy stuff they use and there were too many people in there (although i got a really good spot up high in the back).
so ... that's all for now. i should update more often to avoid these long entries. trying to find my bed now. g'night.
after reading this, i remembered that i hadn't cleaned my keyboard in over a year. so i did it today. it wasn't nice. please remind me not to wait this long again.
also, i finally saw the "iron man" movie tonite. it was very entertaining and i liked robert downey jr and jeff bridges a lot in this movie (then again, i like'em in a lot of movies). if you plan to watch the movie stay till the very end, there's a cool surprise ...
had some very nice days off work. weather was warm and sunny and i spent a lot of time outside. on friday i was in the historic park in wörlitz (among other things watching unbelievably cute baby swans) and sunday i spent pretty much the whole day in the zoo in leipzig.
also, some stuff: the final cut of "blade runner" arrived and i like it a lot. all the things changed from the other versions of the movie work very well for me and watching it makes me want to play the exceptional "blade runner"-game by westwood again. also the new portishead cd is finally out and it's great, too. the special concert on current.tv is available here.
and some news from the free music front: after nine inch nails released their awesome "ghosts i-iv" collection back in march ("ghost i" is free and the booklet contains awesome photographs), the new album "the slip" is already out since yesterday and it's completely free and available in various formats (i just downloaded the FLAC version).
ah, sweet vacation! i've taken a few days off and enjoy doing nothing. well, not exactly nothing. i am gardening wildly and i am reading a lot. it's just that all of this stuff has absolutely nothing to do with work. which is great!
and talking about reading: my copy of "the starry rift" has arrived. so far i've only read neil gaimans "orange" (since i am currently being in the middle of the fabulous second volume of the short sun cycle), which is simply hilarious! but the book looks like a really fine collection and i am very much looking forward to reading it.
also, this years nebula winners have been announced. ted chiang has won the best novelette award (and rightly so! yeah!!) and gene wolfe sadly didn't win best novella. i still have to check out "the fountain of age" which did win best novella. nearly all nominees are still available online via free sf online.
there are no great real-life-news since i had a paper deadline this monday and did a lot of work last week. keep your fingers crossed it wasn't for nothing ...
had a nice weekend in leipzig which consisted mainly of roleplaying. i also took a few pics, but the weather wasn't that great for hanging around outside.
and i discovered hugin, a great tool for making panorama pictures. i looked up all my old panorama pics and re-calculated them using the amazing distortion correction and all the other cool stuff.
also, this is the reason why this weeks potw is a panorama pic of the leipzig town hall calculated from ten pics. i did the pics from a distance of less than 100 meters and nevertheless you don't notice many distortions.
and i didn't mention that i finally got the third season of "lost" on dvd. i ordered the swedish version (containing englisch and german language tracks) from an american retailer. oh my, the lengths i go to ...
also i bought sam & max: season one last week. i was a bit late with that one as season two is already finished this week, but it's great fun and i am nearly done with the game already. the original "sam & max hit the road" by lucasarts was the first game i ever bought (and i still like it a lot) and it's nice to see that a lot of the lucasarts guys went to telltale to do these games. also, episode 1x04 "abe lincoln must die" is available for free all over the web (a quick google gave me this url for example).
also, i already finished kelly links "magic for beginners" today. it's the kind of book i read till late at night and then set my alarm clock to wake me early so i could read a few pages before i go to work. all the stories are weird (in a good way) and i can't remember loving the way a book is written as much since neil gaimans "american gods" (and maybe not even then). so this is the second book in a row that would easily make it into the top ten of my favourite books.
had a nice weekend when birgit arrived from austria for a visit. also i saw sabine again (who used to live next street) after ... years, i guess, which was very nice, too.
then a birthday thing on saturday and extensive gardening (including vicious fights with roses larger than me) on sunday.
also, i am very excited because tomorrow "the starry rift" will be released. until yesterday i didn't know this book existed, but this is where you will be able to find neil gaimans "orange" (listen to it here). also, there's a new story by kelly link in there and some other neat stuff.
back from berlin (yet again). besides visiting the conference there where a few cool things going on. i stayed at markus' which was pretty cool. on sunday we went to see josef hader at the admiralspalast. it was a great performance and we had a lot of fun. and on monday we played pool. i haven't played in ... well ... i guess approximately two years? nevertheless it was great fun and i was not that bad.
and now i am back at work and in absolutely no mood to do anything. but of course there are deadlines and students and i should be busy instead of writing this ...
also, i added a short stories page including all the stuff i read so far.
was in berlin yesterday for the portishead concert. and it was great! stunning! whoa!! as if the 10 year break just didn't happen.
they did all they songs anyone could wish for plus lots of the new songs. stage setup included lots of little cameras projecting images back to the back screen (see for instance here and here) which gave a number of great effects. highlights (for me) were "glory box" (it's still my favourite, i guess), "wandering stars" (done acustically, pretty much like here) and a stunning drum solo by geoff during "machine gun" (for the original vid click here).
the next cool thing: i wen to watch "juno" in the cinema and it was really, really great! it's funny in pretty much the same way that "sideways" or "little miss sunshine" are funny. also, the soundtrack was extremely good. so go and watch it!
and finally i want to mention that ted chiangs "story of your life" is a great book indeed. it definitely contains some of the best short stories i ever read (most of them are also online, see here, for a quick read take this one).
and i got "magic for beginners" by kelly link since i like her more with each story i read. i guess "stranger things happen" will follow soon.
well, that's enough for now i guess. i am going back to berlin on sunday for a conference, so possibly more news after that ...
it's been a while since the last post. i had nearly a week off for easter and my sister visited and nothing really exciting happened except for way more snow within that week than in the past months. also, theresa was there for the first time this year, i guess (and i even attended church with her on saturday).
besides that i just read a lot (as you may have gathered from the links in the last few posts) and took some pics.
and i got some cool stuff: the limited edition of bardo ponds latest album arrived (it's actually a vinyl with two bonus cds. funky!). also i got the probably geekiest battery charger ever, take a look here for more info.
and on the completely unrelated topic of flash-games: i really like this site!
the week started with a big downer as i got notice that the paper i wrote back in january was not accepted. damnit.
fortunately things got better, as i got my first free present as a subscriber to kristin hersh's c.a.s.h.music project. i also got a free download of one of her "work in progress"-cds which was also a great thing.
so far i am very happy with these get-stuff-directly-from-the-artist - things (if you read this page frequently you may know i did this a few times before) but so far kristin's stuff is the best with all the freebies and thank-you-cards ...
also, on the whole book and short-story thing: yesterday i finally printed and bound gene wolfe's "memorare". it available for free at the magazine of fantasy & science fiction. also i found kelly link's "stranger things happen" (free under creative commons), which includes the fabulous "the girl detective". not to mention the free e-books you can currently get from tor (although you have to sign up for these).
on top of that i got "stories of your life and others" by ted chiang this week (not for free. i bought it. regularly.). supposedly it's one of the best books in speculative fiction you could possibly buy. currently i am not sure when i will find time to read all this stuff.
and because it somehow fits this post (although it's a downer): one of my favourite short stories ever is "the nine billion names of god" by arthur c. clarke. he died yesterday.
had a busy week due to a deadline but by friday everything was done and now i can relax a little.
i am trying to take a few days off over the next two weeks (around easter) which is not as easy as it sounds as there're still lots of things to do.
last weekend i got "two tales for voices" by neil gaiman. it's a very beautifully packaged 2cd collection, including the magnificent "snow glass apples", one of my favourite short stories ever. it's available for free over here. and there's some stunning artwork inspired by the story here. don't read the text if you don't know the story, it gives away the ending.
i also read a lot of cool short stories lately. i haven't linked to Free SF Online before, but it's a great site.
and finally i went and watched "no country for old men" on wednesday. it was a really good movie (although it reminded me a bit of "fargo", storywise) and it was funny and had a disturbing story and i really liked the way they didn't show certain things at all that would've been important in most other movies while elaborating on seemingly unimportant details. excellent storytelling!
last weekend rpg in leipzig. it was nice. had fun.
and now i've got a flu. which sucks. badly.
i've been playing around a lot with tex and gnuplot lately. officially this is for my thesis, of course, but also did some neat stuff for other purposes. e.g. defined my own style sheet to set up all the cool short stories i found on the web over the years to a uniform style. that sort of thing.('what short stories?' you ask? well, for example, neil gaiman made some of his short stories available here, the sci-fi channel has lots and lots of stuff over here, and so on.)
last weekend we started to do some gardening as it is pretty warm already. bees and ants have started swarming around, too. so i guess that's alright.
and i went to see sweeney todd. it wasn't a bad movie. actually it looked great. but the whole singing stuff was a bit too much for me. i went even though i knew it was a musical but i disliked most of the songs (two or three were pretty good, though). so this is a pretty limited recommandation i guess.
not much real news over here.
i officially started writing my thesis last week. actually it's not such a big deal as i had some stuff written already but now i updated my tex and i have an official "thesis"-doc. also, i finally got rid of the adobe reader and went for the cool alternative: fox it to read pdfs and pdfcreator to, well, create them.
and i finally finished gothic 3 again, played three of the possible endings. and i gotta give a big thumbs up to the community patch. it does fix a lot of stuff that didn't work right before. and maybe now i finally get to all the old stuff i mean to play for such a long time.
today i did the first photo-tour in a looong time (if memory serves, i did the last back in october). the weather was great and i really enjoyed going places and taking pics again. obviously, the lack of new photos is also the reason for the very erratic updating of the potw section (although it is updated now!). the other reason, of course, is just a mixture of lack of time and overall laziness.but anyway, the weather was great today (i.e. not winterly at all), it was very warm, very sunny and i just had to be out for a few hours.
last week sucked pretty badly. we had to do exams more or less the whole week (mind, i am not the one being examined but the one examining!). but on the bright side, we went for sushi on thursday, which was great, and i went to the cinema on monday to see cloverfield. it was pretty entertaining, although i do think that with only a few tweaks they could've made a really great movie instead of the entertaining but mediocre thing that it is. brian at bbspot did a good review that pretty much sums up all the things i didn't like (it's full of spoilers, though, so beware!!).
and last but not least, i did my first chocolate muffins and they were great. i used the recipe from cacaoweb and can absolutely recommend it, except that they're a bit optimistic on the heat. also, i can't believe that i am talking recipes here. what will be next? knitting-tricks?
so ... here we go again! had a few days off last week to compensate for the very long week before. and as announced i was in leipzig again for the weekend and had a lot of fun there solving our roleplaying murder mystery adventure. also, i was eating way too much ... again!
and sunday was more or less a walking-through-the-woods-day. first with micha & juli, then with my mom. i was so bloody tired in the evening that i didn't do any gaming at all and went to bed well before midnite.
and i finally got a gyrotwister. okay, i am about five years late in getting one, but it's great fun anyway. (i also got a muffin pan, but i rather not mention that because of the whole eating too much thing ... damn!)
met the deadline and got it all away in time. much too close for my taste. now i am catching up on all the stuff i had no time for last week. but the worst is over ... for now.
also, i got finally got a lifetime membership at librarything because i really like the stuff they do and wanted to support them. same for kristin hersh's c.a.s.h.music-project. the third song was out last week and it's great.
currently it's all work. even working through the weekend because i have a deadline on monday. *sigh* but it's more or less done now. some minor corrections tommorrow i guess. and then hopefully a quiet week.
and maybe i should mention that i went to leipzig last weekend for some roleplaying. and if all goes well i will do the same on the next weekend.
that's it for news. need sleep now ...
it seems i am doing the one-post-per-week-thing again. on the other hand, nothing really exciting did happen.
yesterday was the first big sushi event of the year with a few friends and ... well ... lots of sushi.
this made a bit for the bad news of the week which was that i am not allowed to be a student anymore due to new regulations of the university. bummer!
also i finally got my "lost room"-dvd box from the u.k. and am now waiting for my "lost"-season 3 box from ... sweden (i think). it's amazing where you have to get around here.
and i had a new highscore on chain factor today, so now i am no. 25 in daily ranking with nearly 280.000 points.
mmh ... i guess that's all. as i said, nothing exciting.
late first post for a new year. i am already at work again, longing for the next holidays.
spent the new years eve with markus and judith and peter and was amazed when at midnight all hell broke loose all over berlin. i had expected a lot of fireworks and a lot of people but these masses were ... unexpected. anyway, we had quite some fun and we all got away without burns or other injuries.
the rest of the week was more or less just chilling along (except for an unplanned visit to the dentist) and i even updated the missing pics somewhere in-between. hooray!
also, as a sidenote, i just realized that i've written nearly twice as much over the last year in this log than in any of the years before since this page is up. also, i read more books than in all the years before, but i suspect that this might be strongly correlated to the fact that i played fewer computer games. i guess that's all the statistics i am willing to do.