25 October 2011

Fk me I can ramble

I read an article just before about the state of PC Gaming and standardising systems. I found it was an interesting article and got me thinking about two things. One is building my own PC, something I had a friend do a few years ago with my current PC (Which has a wonderful time dancing through games like Crysis which is a system hungry game) and PC Games themselves, and the quality thereof.

When I got my current computer built all those years ago, probably about 3-4 years now, I gathered up a bunch of money and said "Take this and build me a slightly above average PC for the time. It was a good PC and outperformed his own (A small shot to his pride I believe, though he did make it... I liked taht he called it Beast-09)

The thing he was irked about was the case. He was adamant that I would need a new Case for my PC. However, I refused. I already had a computer tower and I just wanted it gutted and filled back up because for one, I wasn't going to fork out another $200 for a fancy box, and two, the case that I owned had a very comfortable handle on the top. So if I had to move it around, it was very easy. And three, even if I could get a new case that fulfilled the such needless desire of point 2, I still didn't want to fork out $200+ for a new case.

I was happy with this.

So I had him build it and did it for about $800 with almost the entirety of the internal hardware being refurbished. It was wonderful and it still is. I use it to play the PC games that I do have, and if I purchased any recently I would probably still be able to play it, though chances are that I may need to tone down some details.

Actually I haven't bought a PC game in a few years, so I'm not too sure on that, but I'll be sure to let someone know.

I've been thinking about case mods over the past few months though. I was originally thinking along the lines of my consoles, the Xbox260 and the PS3, but after surfing for ideas I couldn't really get any ideas on what I would want to do to either of my consoles. I'd want something unique so that it's MY console. Not anyone elses. Mine.

I also looked at computer Case Mods too, and there are some really nice ones out there. Some themed around computer games, some hilarious, and some you just laugh at because you're aware what it's a joke of.

A little while before I started searching case mods, I was also thinking about my "Nerd Hold", the game cave I had thought about at the time. How I wanted game tables and a small lounge in front of a projector or large TV. That sort of thing.

But what I didn't really think about was the Decor of Nerd Hold. In my mind, I kept thinking of something that didn't have much effort put into it. Like a large corner studio apartment with a support pole in the middle of the room, sitting a couple of stories up from the inner city street below visible through the slat windows that went from waist high to the ceiling.

In one corner is the kitchen on a raised level, with oven and a centre table, and either cupboards all around with corner steps leading to each other section. In the opposite corner are the lounges with the TV or top quality projector which is connected to the PC and consoles (naturally). In the windowed corner, a Wargaming table and painting desk, and I forgot what I was going to put opposite that. I think it was a Pool Table.

And apart from the kitchen, the entire thing is cement floor with rugs over them.

But that doesn't sound like a nice place. Sure, it's good enough for Nerds, but what's wrong with doing something nicer? Like I could go for class, and have polished wood floors, desks with leather trims, coffee tables that hide the PC's and consoles and display onto a wood framed television, or a theatre screen flanked by burgundy curtains, and just close enough for the 120* of vision. The kitchen would be as mentioned before, but put it level with the floor. and the inner corner is a Bar. I'd debate taps.

I'd match the Pool table to the theatre with Burgundy felt, and a flourescent light over the top with a wooden cover (rather than the usual metal one finds these days. The Wargame tables would have to be custom made, but something like the pool table without pockets. Like The Sultan.

Grain walls and polished floors, I wouldn't be able to get away with it unless I were rich or knew how to build it all myself. Which I don't.

But going back to the subject of Case mods, I had seen several Wooden Case mods which gave me the idea of the room just mentioned, and they were really nice. They could be used as really nice couch side tables.

There's always the idea of using the actual table though as the Computers Case. Given a bit of thought into the internal structure, and some space for air and such, and you'll have a really nice computer blended in with the scenery. Quiet too, as the wood absorbs fan noise and vibration very well.

That's one thing I like about PC's. Though they take up a large amount of space, you can make them look really nice. Alternatively, you can get them as small as a laptop. And while it won't be as powerful as a desktop (debatable), it's still the ability to have something that will do the job and cover as little area as possible.

20 October 2011

I can't even remember what day it is

I was meant to write here a lot more over the past three weeks. "At least once a week I will put up a post to let everyone know that I am alive, and that Jenny hadn't put me in an ice bath and replaced my kidneys with a potato and some cool looking stitches" I said to myself. But, to misuse a word and include a suffix, I was suffering a bad case of Distractedness by a beautiful and wonderful woman that I want to spend the rest of my life with.

But so everyone knows, I didn't have an ice bath and gain cool scars and have my kidneys replaced with Potatoes. I DID however stub my toe on my suitcase one night as I was drunk stumbling to bed (details later). Bloody thing swelled up, turned black and now it still kinda hurts but only when I force it to do something, or drop something on it.

The last three weeks were fantastic and, because my Jewish powers of money calculating failed me, I ended up overspending my money. But then again I didn't leave with much in the first place. And LAX hit me fkn hard too. Three double Rum and Cokes and a breakfast burrito cost me $47. And that's BEFORE Tip! But I'm glad I had those drinks, I had a Fkn sore neck from the Bris-2-LA flight and that just really loosened me up.

The first week was probably the least pleasant, because of the weather. It was a little miserable and I had picked up a cold, or a bad case of jetlag, but I was coughing and sneezing and trying not to choke on my own mucus while staying in bed and keeping warm while waiting for Jenny to get back from Work. She'd taken the first week as half days because her Holiday hours weren't quite enough to cover the three weeks, not to mention she has to save some time for when she comes to Brisbane.

We started off a little late getting into photos (I think?), because it was about a half week in and Jenny turns to me to say "Have we taken any photos?"
"Uhh, I don't think we have yet."
Suddenly, like a magician performing a card trick, her phone appeared and started taking happy snaps of us and Taz in bed, smiling and kissing and generally being really fkn cute. Except Taz. He just looks like that all the time.

Now, I want to place this disclaimer that the following events are all true, but are completely out of chronological order. My memory is like one of those shoddy motorcycles that needs about 8 kick starts. Or in my case, A Photo!

This photo starts me off on the second last day Ii was there. Well, the Last Night I was there. I hadn't cooked anything for Jenny for all of the three weeks, though I meant to do some stuffed potatoes for her because they're good and really satisfying. But we never actually got around to it because we were doing something else, or I just couldn't be arsed.

But Jenny says to me as we watched Outrageous Fortune (details on that later) "I'm hungry, but I don't want to eat potato chips for the rest of the night."
"You're right," I replied. "We need something that will satisfy our hungers. Something that we can really enjoy. Something that I can actually cook."
That's when she reminded me we got stuff for Spaghetti Bog, like the sauce to which I remembered something about Marinara sauce and Bolognaise sauce and how they're different, or the same, or something or other, and ran with that. I even looked at the ingredients of the Marinara Sauce (Tomato, Tomato, Tomato, wine) and was happy with what was in it. So I took the risk and through blind luck, it was really good!

As I was cooking, and getting worried that I hadn't cooked the meat enough though I couldn't tell because of the sauce making it look like a freshly killed animal, Jenny wanted to get a video of me and so she recorded "A Womans Ultimate Dream", where a man is cooking in the kitchen and singing Madonna.

Now I was singing Madonna not because I like the song "Beautiful Stranger", but because I have a weird habit of singing it in a funny accent. I like to think it's South African, but listening to the recording the accent kinda ran to the frozen wastelands to sound very "Comrade" about halfway through the song. But now it's up and available for my friends to see and now I think there's going to be a few good laughs tomorrow night at the Lads Night Out about my 15 minutes of Singing Stardom.

Most dinners we had though throughout the weeks weren't at home. We spent many many nights going out for dinner and enjoying ourselves, because I think I explained myself before about where I stand with making dinner. One of the best dinners we had was at Old Chicago, a franchise restaurant that does Chicago Style Pizzas.

I ordered an individual serving of a normal pizza, because I didn't know what to expect and I didn't know how to ask for the Pizza that looks like a friggin cheesecake. It was the nicest pizza I have ever had. A wonderful crust, and the sausage and pepperoni and the sauce... I'm salivating right now just by thinking about it.

That night was with Jennys workmate David, his wife Jessica (I think that's right?) and their youngin, Jonathan. One of the cutest babies you'll come across, and he really plays up the attention. He even turned up to Jennys Birthday for a little bit and everyone was like "Aww, look at him". And the little poser kept posing for Jennys Mum as she took photos! Cheeky bugger.

Side Note: This was going to be a group photo of Jennys Friends, but I didn't feel comfortable with it so I've given you a Squirrel that Jenny and I saw at Notre Dame. We felt we had to take a photo because I've never seen a Squirrel before.

Jenny was really happy on her Birthday party, the saturday after her actual birthday. So many of her friends turned up, and even her Grandmother and Aunt Colleen made an appearance! Not to mention Jenny was given lots of drinks. I think there were 3x Dirty Girl Scouts, 1x B-52, a Flaming Red Head (I don't think it was set on fire though) and like 3-4x Long Island Iced Teas. She was absolutely tanked. I'm so proud of her. That was the night I stubbed my toe, too. Bastard suitcase.

Naturally, the next day we sat at home and recuperated. "Oh I won't be having drinks for a LONG time after this". Which is fair enough, though like a week or two later she was complaining that her Pepsi didn't have enough alcohol. Which is when I solved her problem with Bacardi 151 (That's the proof btw) which we bought at the start of the holiday and we still haven't finished the 2 litre bottle.

I laughed too when she said "Oh my god, fourty bucks? That's expensive!"

Luckily that was all after we went to Notre Dame, the University down along the northern border of Indiana to the north of a place called "South Bend". Aside from the little bit of irony that South Bend is to the north of a state, I was quite surprised at how close Indiana is. An hour and a half drive I think it was.
Side Note: Jenny wore her Felafel Shirt this day!
From what I have been told, Notre Dame is one of the more prestigious schools across the US, with a large Gridiron following across the country. There's even a movie about it! We watched some of it on Recuperating Sunday and Jenny pointed out where we'd stood in the movie, like the Grotto and the Park and the Lake.

I was surprised at the size of the campus. It's the size of a friggin suburb, and it's just... pretty. Picturesque trees across covered parks; long lines of old dorms with green strips straight down the middle where people played with frisbees across the zig zagging footpaths; the Golden Dome of the Basilica with a statue watching over the people driving up the main drag into the Campus.

Everything about it was really nice. The Grotto was impressive too, with people walking in to light a candle and pray for loved ones and such. And the gate to the stadium? Well you can see the photo above. It kinda looms above you.

Though the most surprising thing about the campus was walking between two of the Dorms to look up and see a Bike Riding a Tree... Or a Tree attempting to ride a bike... Whatever it was, it wasn't working.

I kinda pity the poor sod who has lost his bike.

It was a nice walk around the campus, and there were a lot of people because it was the day before a game, and Jenny kinda hoped that Regis Philbin because he apparently walks around on that day since he's such a big fan. But if he was there, we missed him. I reckon he may have been in the Throng of people that were at the "Bookstore". It's a big store, and it doesn't just have books, it's got clothes and a coffee place, and novelty stuff, and it seemed like there was no heating because it was bloody hot. I was afraid Jenny was going to faint.

Mum wanted me to get a flask for when she goes to the Ice Rink for my Niece. But all the ones that she's gotten here have either fallen apart or just haven't kept her coffee cold. So thinking that because in Kalamazoo they get such serious winters, they must have a decent way of keeping coffee warm in their flasks. I'll get results within the next few weeks.

The other present was a stubbie cooler for my manager. She likes getting Stubbie Coolers from various places so that was easy except for the choice of a normal stubbie cooler, or a jersey one.

When Jenny moves to Australia, I'm going to have to find out what channels the NFL is on so Jenny can watch the Packers and the Notre Dame games. We may even have to set something up for every Saturday/Sunday where we get a few people over and watch the game over lunch.

Y'see, just about every Sunday, Jenny and her family go to a pub called Shakespeares to watch the Green Bay Packers play. Now I don't know if there's a pub or restaurant here that play the NFL games, though I'll probably have a look around, but the alternative is to get some other fans over and watch it at home. Though the only other NFL fan I know is one of my workmates who lives at the Gold Coast. To boot, he's a Chicago Bears fan, so there'll be a fun rivalry there, especially when both teams play each other.

One of the most amazing things that we did was just a few days before her actual birthday. Her parents and a few others had hired out a house along the beach of Lake Michigan, and it was one of the nicest houses I'd ever seen. I'd been to a few houses since we went to a Parade of Homes, Where you get a ticket and walk through a couple of houses in the area that have been recently built, remodelled, or were made by certain designers.

Now the house at the lake, it was designed in the likeness of a ship. Not to say it had a galley and there were hammocks everywhere (though that would've been cool), but the general shape was like a ship. Pointed towards the bow (and a garage extended out), and widens at the aft. Inside was three storeys and a basement. The top floor, which lead up a square spiral staircase, was a single room that looked out onto the lake, with a balcony as well. The view was fantastic.

Getting to the beach was intimidating though. It was a long climb down the stairs and the stairs were mostly rotten and slanted, so I just didn't want to take the risk going down the 100+ precarious steps so I could get some sand between my toes. Jenny agreed so we went and sat down at the firepit which had several chairs placed around it. There was no fire going, but that's okay. The whole house was amazing.

For the Parade of homes, Jenny and I visited 3 houses, two of which were like small mansions and the last a cosy little home in the outer suburbs. The first house was really nice, and i was quite taken back by the enormous basement and the really nice Bar in the middle of it. The other really impressive thing was the long bathroom they had. Jacuzzi and shower with granite tables which looked out into a forested yard. It was a pretty awesome.

The second house was cosy, but a bit disappointing. It was small and had some nice views, but it was already lived in, so it wasn't quite as fun as browsing the brand spanking new house we saw before. I can't remember what quirky thing we found about it though.

The last house was my favourite of the three. It looked out onto a lake (as in one you could see the other side of) which didn't seem too safe to swim in, but it was nice to look at. The house was like two houses put on top of each other, and just melding in at the middle. Sub-letting downstairs wouldn't be hard at all, if it weren't for the view from the basement, my favourite part. The windows looked right out onto the back yard, and was open and just had plenty of potential for an entertainment area. I really liked it and wished I could afford to buy the place, though half the house we wouldn't know what to do with ourselves.

And I'd have photos of it here, but we weren't allowed. Which sucked, because the view out the window on the top floor was pretty awesome.

One of the first outings we had was the Walk for Altzeimers. Jennys friend was part of the Event Team and invited us along many months ago. It was a simple 3k walk, so we figured it'd be nice and we brought Taz the Shit-zu (yes I know that's not how you spell it) so that he could go out on a nice long walk, and because Jenny was Dog-sitting for her Brothers Girlfriend, we brought along Whiskey the Jack Russell.

Now we were expecting Taz to act out like crazy, because he acts like a brat at home by bothering us when we're trying to do something. For example, Jenny will open her laptop and Taz will grab his favourite toy (I think he favours the colour Green) and put it on her lap. And when she doesn't do anything, he'll climb further onto her to get her attention, and usually trying to drop it onto her lap.

Same thing with me, but I'm usually lying down so he'll drop it on my chest, and eventually shove it in my face. But then as you go to grab it, he'll bite down onto it, sometimes he'll catch you fingers, and just try and fight you for it.

But strangely, Whiskey was the annoying one. People had food all over the place and he was obviously hungry. Jumping up onto his hind legs, and having me pull him back all the time from people. the walk was easier, but he was enjoying all the smells and sights and sounds. He just couldn't keep still. It was funny, but made wrangling him a challenge.

Another walking-with-Taz moment was not long before I left, we went out to a park a little way away from Jennys parents place, and as we walked around the park we walked under a particularly cool looking tree. And what do I find?

We didn't take it home, but it was a random thing to find in the middle of a park while walking a dog of his namesake.

Strange toys were apparent at Kalamazoo too. Jenny had a funny idea of taking funny photos of a toy that I'd brought along. I don't have many stuffed toys, and recently I had received a Blastoise from my friends Aaron and Caryl. So I took him.

The family was a little confused that I had brought it with me to Jennys family dinner at Fletchers Pub. "What is it? What's it from? Is that a native Australian Animal?" Yes, that was an actual question from Jennys Grandmother, the lovely lady. It was fun seeing her at Jennys Birthday and I swear she was putting the moves onto me. "I'm sorry, but your granddaughter has already scooped up my heart." I dunno if I said that to her, but it would've been a great line.

Not to say that Jenny is an Organ harvester. Though she has been watching a lot of Dexter, so she may have learnt a thing or two...

As for TV Shows, Jenny has been engrossed in watching Outrageous Fortune. We watched as much of it as possible so that she was able to understand most of the terms that come along, and because she's gotten used to the accent she likes to have the two of us count to ten in Kiwi Accent. She loves it so much and hopes to get her mum into the show too. I'm waiting to see what her mum says.

One thing Jennys family and I didn't do last time I was there was try Vegemite. Now, it's something that had to be done because I got them interested in this anomoly, this Black Tar that smells so gross, but is eaten with toast by Australians.

So Jenny and I trekked to World Market and had a search for it, because I hadn't brought my own jar along. Which is a shame because I spent $9 on a Small Jar of the delicious beer by-product. Ridiculous! While I was there, I showed Jenny where to find the Tim Tams (which are just packaged as "Arnotts Originals"). Jenny likes Tim Tams, thanks to Girl Clumsy, who happily sent her gifts which included said Tim Tams.

But the Vegemite, when tested, got a few funny looks but no looks of absolute disgust. "It's a little salty, but doesn't taste like anything in particular". Which is fair enough, but I think I just didn't spread enough on there. Jenny was really scared to try it because it stank so much. One time I kissed her after having a slice of toast and Vegemite and she's like "OMG EWW EWW EWW BRUSH YOUR TEETH EWW EWW EWW".

Now there's a few things in America that Jenny and I did that we don't have here in Australia. For one: Halloween. Now I know it isn't impossible to do over here, but it's just that it doesn't have a big following, because it's an American Holiday and all.

So Jenny took up the chance to go Pumpkin Hunting and Carving. So we went to Gene's Pumpkin Patch. Gene has a farm a little way out of town, and his farm really gets into the theme of Pumpkins by having just about everything painted Orange. He even wears an Orange Shirt and Orange Hat.

We had a quick browse around the farm, and found ourselves a couple of pumpkins that looked good (According to Jenny, I saw Orange and just didn't know what to do with myself) and took em home for some carving. And with a little knife I dug into that bastard only to find out how bloody stinky these pumpkins are. There's stringy bits and bucketloads of seeds and you gotta scrape em all out with this curved plate and it's gross and stinky, but FUN! Like playing with mud. Only it's pumpkin.

We carved out some pretty good ones, if I do say so myself.

The other thing that I can think of (because I forgot the second thing I was going to say (I think it was something to do with Squirrels)) that they do that we don't do is DRIVE THROUGH BANK TELLERS. I don't mean ATMs that you can drive up to and push a few buttons and wait for the BEEP BOOP BOOP to say that your money is out and you can take your receipt and whatever, I mean PNEUMATIC TUBES AND A PERSON AT THE OTHER END OF A RADIO TO SERVE YOU! MADNESS! I sat there in the passengers seat looking through the sunroof and watching the capsule with Jennys Bank Details fly up into the ceiling and come back down with a receipt for her to sign and to send back up the tube to come back down with an envelope with cash and another receipt and her bank card!


Now there's more that I've missed because in the flowing rant that I have here it just hasn't come up, but it has been a fucking fantastic 3 weeks with Jenny. It was really hard having to leave, because she's just so wonderful to be around and that hole that one feels when they're alone? She fills it perfectly. I came home only to be happy that I'm off a fucking plane (Sore neck again) and I went to bed feeling unnatural because I couldn't cuddle her again.

But, fingers crossed that something terrible doesn't happen, Jenny can come here to Brisbane in March and we can cruise around like we're on top of the world, even though it's not quite the arse end of the world (but you can see Logan from a safe distance *Badumtish*).

This is my favourite photo of her. I Love Her. And I miss her already.