Tax Refund Joy

I am going to be receiving a fairly large chunk of change from the US government. Here is the stuff I am buying myself…

• That root canal and cap. Insurance is only paying an iddy biddy bit.
• Refinance the house. New mortgages aren’t cheap.
• New portable hot tub. Finally won an ebay auction for a 6′ spa-n-a-box. The hot chicks are not included. Damn.
• How to speak Wookie on tape.
• Buy a Klingon cloaking device.

That oughta cover it.

What a Weekend

Great Lan Party this weekend. A group of 15 or so computer gamers got together this weekend at a residential place in Lake Elmo, MN. I managed to spend 6 hours Friday night and nearly 12 hours Saturday at this gathering of geeks. What made this a great Lan Party is the old games we dusted off. Here is the list of games we played.

Quake 2 – Weapons Factory
Quake 2 – Chaos
Quake 1 – Rocket Arena
Tribes 1 – Renegades
Enemy Territory
Enemy Territory – Fortress
Battlefield 1942 – Desert Combat

The best of the bunch, in my opinion, was Enemy Territory – Fortress (ETF). ETF is a well-designed, free, class-based mod for Enemy Territory (also free). All the Team Fortress stuff from Quake 1 was there. I started out using the soldier class, but moved to the Engineer class when I sensed our defense was hurting. That move turned the game around in our favor. I wasn’t doing diddly for the team as Soldier. When the defense was tightened with my Engineer’s sentry turret, down by our flag, we caught up and eventually dominated. I might just have to go online and play ETF, now that I have the bug.

When I drove back to the Duluth area today (Sunday), a friend of mine cooked up a mighty fine spaghetti dinner and provided good company. An excellent dessert to this great weekend.

YOU Make the Call

Warm and sunny day tomorrow. But precisely how warm? The model output from the ETA model says 43 for Duluth and 49 for the Twin Cities. The GFS model has 36 and 41 respectively. The forecast from the National Weather Service is 42 Duluth and 46 Minneapolis. The record highs are 47 Duluth and 52 Minneapolis. What is my call? I like being a pessimist, 38 for Duluth and 44 for Minneapolis. Warm air aloft will have a tough time mixing down… especially over snow covered Duluth area.

Model output under the cut.

Shill Bidding or No

I wanna hot tub. So I go on ebay and place a maximum bid on a portable hot tub that I see on ebay. The high bid on my first visit is at $350. I place a maximum bid of $700. So now I am the current high bidder at $355. According to the bidding history, a couple hours after I place this bid, another bidder with no prior ebay history, starts to bid up the price. This user then magically stops at my maximum bid. I am now the high bidder, but with the price right at my maximum bid of $700. What I think happened, that isn’t shown in the history, is that this user bid once more above my maximum, then the seller deleted that bid so I am back to being the high bidder. The buyer and seller were working together.

So in other words, I suspect shill bidding. Shilling is the practice of bidding on an item with no intention of buying it, merely to raise the price. Shill bidding is illegal on ebay.

My question… am I being paranoid? Or do you think my suspicions are correct. Any evidence that I am missing? I am relatively inexperienced with ebay, so I could of missed something.


Last night, we went to Senser’s in Roseville for eat and drink and NTN trivia. We managed to get a perfect score in NTN trivia. The third game of trivia questions were identical to the first game’s. So the 3 consoles we had running at our table received perfect scores of 15000 (15 question, worth 1000 points each). I used the nickname of “Zoyx” for trivia. Because ties were broken reverse alphabetically, I was awarded first place. Not only first place at this bar and grille, but in the national NTN network. Right now, even Chuck Norris fears me. I am impervious to his roundhouse kicks.

One thing we didn’t like was that Senser’s decided to shut down trivia, so someone could watch North Dakota college hockey. We were pissed and left early. Probably be awhile (if ever), before we return.

In other news, I managed to plaster a living room wall at the condo. I used Behr Venetian Plaster. The color chosen was green. I am doing a green theme in the condo, so this marbled green was what seemed to fit best. It looks fine, but it has that amateur look to it. The excess off of the edges of the trowel, produced dark ridges. These don’t look very good in my eye. The marble effect isn’t very prominent, either. I might try and do some sanding on it to make it look better. Although, this might end up making it worse. We’ll proceed slowly.

I am beginning to wonder if it is all worth it. I keep fighting the good fight on my Call of Duty game server, but we don’t seem to be any closer to winning this virtual World War 2. One of my comrades in this electronic war (click for article) is pondering the same thing.

Sceptre Monitors That I’ve Owned

I have owned this LCD monitor for 4 years now. Look at that response time of 40 ms. You are not supposed play fast action games on anything more that 16 ms, due to ghosting. I have used this for gaming for all those years and haven’t really noticed the ghosting. I spent over $400 for this monitor back then. Right now, you can get a better 15″ monitor in the $150 range.

I bought this Sceptre 19″ two years later. This time I paid attention to response times. This monitor has a 16ms response time. Besides being faster, it had a truer black, compared to the 15″ version.

Some Drama

Earlier today, I found out that I did not get the job I applied for down in the cities. Which opened the door for me to follow through with refinancing my Duluth home. So my variable interest rate loan has been gobbled up by the new fixed rate home mortgage. Also my home loan was set to become variable in 3.5 years. Another thing that induced me to refinance was the big scare that interest rates will be heading upward here shortly. According to the news articles I read back in the Fall, 30 year mortgage rates were expect to be %7 by now. I just signed off on a %6 loan. Shows you shouldn’t believe all of the scary stuff you read in the papers.

So Thats Done

The bad tooth is all capped. Gums were roughed up a bit, but they should heal up in a few days. I can now do a thorough swishing after brushing my teeth. For months before the root canal, swishing hurt that tooth. To rinse, I just put water in my mouth, then spit it out again. Now I am back to swishing, a simple pleasure.

Still looking at Home Theater PCs. ECS displayed this unit at CES. I want it. Problem is that it hasn’t hit the market, and it will probably be quite pricey. Still darn cool though.

FutureMark released 3DMark2006. This is an artificial gaming benchmark. Here is my pathetic score. All these tests do is make you feel inadequate. Now I have to buy a new PC.

So Minty, So Fresh

So a friend of mine bought me some minty shower soap. I love it. I come out of the shower so fresh and pepperminty. Besides the pleasant smell, it clears the sinuses.

So the question I put before you dear reader, is this… Is my fondness for minty smelling bath soap gay or not gay? My very manhood and self-image is in your hands, so don’t screw up.

An Endocrinologist prescribed Cytomel for me. Maybe I can get some energy, be less achy, lose some weight and feel less chilly. Time will tell. I’m not holding my breathe. Thats because if I hold my breathe, I would suffocate and die. That would be stupid.

I am going to get the root canal tooth capped tomorrow. The temporary filling has resulted in curtailing my honoring the Donner party. All good cannibals takes good care of their teeth.