Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Collecting rears it's ugly head again...

With less than 72 hours until "Midnight Madness", the collecting bug is currently flying around and threatening to bite me once again. For anyone reading this that doesn't know what Midnight Madness is (highly unlikely), allow me to summarize:

For the last 6 years, we've been treated to Prequels to the Star Wars trilogy by George Lucas. Accompanying each movie release has been the release of the toy line that goes along with it, and Toys R Us has held events along with each movie to celebrate your ability to buy the toys. Basically people line up about 100 heads deep and wait to rush down the aisles when the clock strikes 12:01am to find and purhcase as many Star Wars figures as possible.

This year is no different, but will be for me. This year, I actually have early access to the toys, because we'll be participating in an event at my local Toys R Us dressed up like Stormtroopers. So basically, they're giving us first crack at all the gear. Now, with an opportunity like that, I should probably purchase everything I can get my hands on......right? Saving for the wedding this year makes that difficult, but we shall see.

I haven't decided exactly what my budget will be, only that I WILL be participating in "the hunt" again this year. I go from Toys R Us at midnight to Target first thing in the morning, to Wal Mart...and then possibly on to other stores. I'm sure I'll have an excellent post summarizing this adventure in a few short days.

Tonight at 7pm, I've got a meeting with several local Seattle area collectors (most of whom I've met via collecting websites and traded toys with several times) to talk about this wonderful upcoming event and also to discuss Celebration 3, which many of us are attending. Oh yeah, and we get to have hamburgers too, so there's that.

And finally, last but not I had an incredibly cool event when I arrived at work. One of my co-workers was cleaning out his storage this weekend and came across two boxes of Star Wars toys he is no longer interested in. He made these a gift to me and I promptly decorated my office with them.

So as you may be able to tell, the collecting fever is fast approaching, and I fear it's going to sweep over me this weekend much more than I had planned for.

In other (but still Star Wars related) news, we put a lot more work into the Rebel Pilot costumes for Celebration 3 last night, and it looks like we have a really good chance of finishing before the blessed event. I sure hope so.

Let's see. Should I include ONE thing in this post that is not related to Star Wars collecting/costuming or the upcoming convention? Yes, I should.....just to keep the last shreds of a normal appearance for any random passer-by.

Last night at midnight, I worked some more on our wedding website, and I'm now comfortable saying that it's 90% online. All I really need is some formatting, a picture or two and the ability to password protect it so that only our guests can access the thing. I'll try and finish that stuff up in the next day or two, and then Heather can mail the address out to everyone we're inviting. Yahoo!

Monday, March 28, 2005

Birdhouse in my soul

This weekend was as busy as I thought it would be.

I spent the first part of Saturday relaxing at home, playing some Halo 2 on Xbox Live and generally enjoying my lack of anything more important to do. About 8pm, Heather and I headed down to Elizabeth's birthday party at the Rendevous in Seattle. We picked up Jason on the way, as he knew where the place was and would be a useful navigator. Plus, that way he didn't have to find parking in downtown Seattle on a Saturday night.

Elizabeth had rented out the downstairs of this bar, and set it up with balloons and other decorations. I brought along some DDR stuff so people could do that, as well as my 4-track and some cables so that we could wire the place up for Karaoke later in the evening. A few people played DDR (including myself) but everyone eventually become so intoxicated that Karaoke never happened.

I took Heather home at about 11pm and then decided that I wasn't tired and headed back down there. We closed the bar down and then proceeded to head over to Minnie's for a bite. Unfortunately, the line there was insane, so we went to the Hurricane at about 3am and stayed there until 4:30. I didn't get to sleep until about 5am.

We spent Easter Sunday at a brunch at Heather's parent's house and then I spent the rest of the evening trying unsuccessfully to get to sleep. I think I finally fell asleep at about midnight and I've been tired all day long because of that.

Tonight, there is a free They Might Be Giants concert I could go to, or I could skip that and go home for some much needed rest. Decisions Decisions.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Fridays are best spent at home

Oh how I wish the work day was over. I cannot wait for my weekend to begin, despite the fact that it will be pretty jam packed with obligations. I've got to finish up the website I'm making for the wedding, go to Elizabeth's birthday party and have easter brunch on Sunday at Heather's parent's house.

The wedding website has been a real pain, because I couldn't get the online RSVP thing working for the longest time. I also have to put up our registries and make the whole thing look nice before Heather sends it out for all of our guests to see. I hope to tackle that project by sometime tomorrow afternoon.

I did not one but TWO radio shows this week. That's pretty cool

In other news, I'm working on a Rebel Pilot costume for Star Wars Celebration 3, along with a bunch of others who are going from Seattle with us. Julie is sewing all of the vests, Badger is working on accessories for us, and the rest of us are doing our own helmets and chest boxes. The rest of it can be purchased from various places. It's a lot of work for everyone involved (I don't think any of us have the spare time to throw around) but I think when we're done it will be cool to have a whole squad of pilots walking around at the convention. Plus, it will be a lot more comfortable to wear than my Stormtrooper (which I'm also bringing).

Speaking of Star Wars, next Friday night we have a really fun event with the Stormtroopers at Toys R Us in Bellevue. The toys for Episode 3 get released that night and we're going to go out and stand out there so people can take pictures and stuff. It's going to be a great time. Plus, we also get our first crack at buying the toys before everyone else, which is very cool.

We still haven't gotten our hotel room picked out for the Wedding trip. There are a lot of choices, and we're struggling with which one is the right one for all the angles. There is the "cost" angle (this wedding is going to cost a lot, and cutting corners anywhere is great). There's the "Practicality" angle (we won't be spending a lot of time in the room). Then there's the "once in a lifetime" angle which seems to often dominate all other angles. So....we may get a nice room for most of the week then switch to a really nice one the day of (or before) the wedding until we leave. Which one that will be is still up in the air.

Last but not least, only 54 Days until Episode 3! Even though I know pretty much everything that is going to happen thanks to toys, internet spoilers and other methods that I've used to spoil the surpriseds movie for myself, I still can't wait!

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

At long last: Stepmania!

When I got my Cobalt Flux, one of the biggest deals about it was that you could supposedly get this USB adapter that would allow you to play the PC version of DDR called Stepmania with it. DDR for those that don't know is "Dance Dance Revolution", the video game that you play with your feet, stepping along with the beat of the songs and trying to hit the buttons on your dance pad at the exact time the arrow indicators on the screen tell you to. It's incredibly difficult and can be quite a bit of exercise the better you get at it.

Stepmania is the same thing, except the song list is better. People have created "levels" for just about every artist imaginable, and it's all shareware. While this program may somehow encroach on some musician's rights somewhere, I doubt they are going to be too worried that I'm trying to get a "AA" score on their song that I've downloaded as a part of a computer video game. It's not like you're listening to their music outside of the video game anyway, and there's something really cool about trying to beat a song you just heard on the radio that afternoon. It's a lot better than the Xbox version of the game where 90% of the songs are tunes you've never heard of.

Anyway, when I got the Cobalt, I figured my DDR fun was going right to the next level. I opened the thing, did some setup and it worked fine with my Xbox. Later on, I used it on the Playstation 2 (which it's designed for) and as expected, it worked fine there. However, I tried two different USB adapters and neither one of them worked with Stepmania on the PC.

On Friday, I finally caved and bought this one off Ebay that is supposed to be the ultimate adapter for my particular dance pad and the PC. It arrived yesterday and it turned out to be everything it was advertised to be. It cost me 50 bucks, but now I can play all my favorite songs on Stepmania, as well as all of the past DDR games. I consider 50 bucks a small price to pay for that feature.

Now I just need a computer I can hook up to my TV screen so I can have all of my DDR junk in one room instead of hauling that pad back and forth from the downstairs game room to the office.

50 days to go

Star Wars Celebration 3 takes place in only 50 days. That really doesn't seem too far away. I can't wait. I tried to take advantage of this nifty countdown clock feature that my web host provides, but apparently I can't paste it into this stupid blog.

Oh well, I'm sure I can just do the math myself.