Monday, March 31, 2008

Sakuracon 2008 Dance, Part 1

Here are some photos from the rave dance on Saturday night at Sakuracon 2008. I will post more dance images here later.

Also look for my full convention report, coming soon at JLHLS.

I like how the photo above turned out, it looks like a ghost materializing, or someone being teleported in, or maybe like an apparition coming from the mind of the girl sitting on the floor.

This (above) is the guy with the big blue glow bar.

I like the way the same dancer is in this photo twice, on the left and the right side.

I think the other JLHLS photographer got better pictures of this dancer, but I like how the laser beam appears in this one, as if she is holding it.

Update: read my full Sakura-Con Report

Quote of the Day

TV Advertisement: "Some nights, it takes more than a pillow to fall asleep."

My girlfriend: "Yeah, it takes a hammer!"

Sakuracon 2008 Cosplay, Part 1

I went to Sakuracon in Seattle this past weekend, to cover the convention for JLHLS. Here are a few cosplay photos. Look for my full convention report at JLHLS soon. The cosplayers above are dresed as characters from the Soul Calibur video game. They had great costumes and poses.

The costume in the photo above looked amazing. I've seen professional costumes from movies that did not look this good.

I have a lot more photos that I will post later, including concert photos and pictures from the rave.

See also:
Update: read my full Sakura-Con Report

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Get A Grip

Some people seem to be having trouble grasping the credit crisis:

"But the overwhelming majority of homeowners are doing just fine. So how is it that a mess concentrated in one part of the mortgage business — subprime loans — has frozen the credit markets, sent stock markets gyrating, caused the collapse of Bear Stearns, left the economy on the brink of the worst recession in a generation and forced the Federal Reserve to take its boldest action since the Depression?" -- The New York Times

Look at it this way. The overwhelming majority of football players are doing just fine. So how is it that a late score in one football game could ruin so many problem gamblers?

A bad bet on a football game can cost you much more than the price of the ball.

A lot of the money in the economy is riding on bets. They're complicated bets that a lot of people don't understand, but in simple terms, they're just bets.

That shouldn't be so hard to understand.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Pink Unicorn Cocktail

Tonight I invented a new cocktail that I think is one of my best yet: the Pink Unicorn.

Pink Unicorn recipe:
  • 1 part coconut juice
  • 2 parts Absolut Mandrin vodka
  • 4 parts watermelon juice
  • add a bit of fresh grated Meyer lemon zest
  • stir and serve over ice
This drink is delicious, its only possible drawback is that the ingredients and the name are somewhat girly. So I also created a much more masculine, heroic version, called the Pink Unicorn With A Rocket Launcher. The recipe is the same, except add two dashes of bitters.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Oblivion Sigil Stone Mad Dash

I've been playing Oblivion lately, and you have to close Oblivion Gates by getting to the top of these big towers and reaching the Sigil Stone at the top. Up until recently, I had been doing this the obvious way, by fighting my way through each room and level, then healing and repairing my weapons and moving on to the next, until I finally reached the top.

But then I realized something that should have been obvious. All you have to do to close the gate is get that stone at the top, nothing says you actually have to fight anyone! If you're fast enough, you can make a mad dash to the top, dodging and running from all the enemies until you finally tag the stone. They will chase you but they may not catch you. Sometimes you have to jump to get past enemies so they don't block your way, so Acrobatics helps. Athletics and speed enhancements are useful, and some healing potions are also helpful for when an enemy gets in a lucky hit as you swoop past.

You don't get any treasure or skill points on the way if you do this, and it isn't very heroic, but it is super funny, which is reason enough to do it at least once. It's the "Run, Forrest, Run!" strategy for closing a gate.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Bank Invents Time Machine For Losses

The New York Times reports that French bank Société Générale has put their 6.4 billion euro losses behind them, so to speak, by claiming that they occurred in 2007:

In moving the loss from 2008 — when it actually occurred — to 2007, Société Générale has created a furor in accounting circles and raised questions about whether international accounting standards can be consistently applied in the many countries around the world that are converting to the standards. -- The New York Times, March 7, 2008

In related news, though I lost money playing video poker last week, I am revising my statements to show that the events occurred when I was a small boy, and the experience helped
me get through the second grade. Once I perfect the technique, I plan to send my losses even further into the past, so that my distant ancestors can pay them off in goats and stone knives.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Expensive Placebos Are Better

Science Daily reports that expensive placebos work better than cheap ones:

Half the participants were given a brochure describing the pill as a newly-approved pain-killer which cost $2.50 per dose and half were given a brochure describing it as marked down to 10 cents, without saying why.

In the full-price group, 85 percent of subjects experienced a reduction in pain after taking the placebo. In the low-price group, 61 percent said the pain was less.

That settles it. From now on, I'm only using the most expensive, designer brand placebos. None of those cheap ones for me, only the best.

Also, wine tastes better when it costs more, even when it is the exact same wine:

The subjects consistently reported that the more expensive wines tasted better, even when they were actually identical to cheaper wines. [. . .] When subjects were told they were getting a more expensive wine, they observed more activity in a part of the brain known to be involved in our experience of pleasure.

So here's my plan. When I'm at a restaurant, I'll order a bottle of wine, then ask the waiter, "could you please charge me $10 more for it? I want it to taste a little better than normal."

Sunday, March 02, 2008

World's Widest Border?

I recently heard about someone's theory that terrorists who "had been in Iraq" then "slipped across the border into Afghanistan." That would have been quite an amazing magic trick, possibly involving that teleportation gun from the video game Portal, since the two countries do not share a border.