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Kistaro Windrider, Reptillian Situation Assessor

Unfortunately, I Really Am That Nerdy

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Among other things, I got another USB-based flash drive for Christmas. I already had a USB 1.0 128 MB device; I got a USB 2.0 256 MB device, better in all respects- and it's SanDisk, rather than some Korean company I've never heard of before, so I'm more inclined to trust my data to it.

It has one really, really annoying habit, though.

The Korean drive indicates that it is active with a little tiny green LED at the end of its translucent casing. The SanDisk drive indicates that it is active with a really fucking bright blue LED that could act as a flashlight, at the end of its transparent casing.

Did I mention that I'm photosensitive? The thing blinks rapidly when it's accessed- and I'm extremely sensitive to blue glowy things such that it gives me a headache to have the damn thing in my field of view.

WAY TO GO, DUMBASS DESIGNERS. Why the fuck do they think I want a flashlight sticking out of my computer? Perhaps it's because it makes the entire casing appear to glow, which I admit is cool, but it hurts. I know I'm not the only one sensitive to that- the brightly blinking thing has to be distracting to everybody. What's so bad about a small discreet LED?

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Wrap the case in electrical tape. Leave a small spot so you can still see that it's on, and cover that with masking tape or another translucent tape if it's still too bright. Problem solved! *grins*

Seriously... I'd rather have red lights than any other color. Red lets you keep your nightvision, which is ideal for walking through the woods to go stargazing or working backstage for a play or anything like that. Blue's less noticeable to the audience, but red's better for the stagehands.

Woo, babbling. Heh, sorry.

That's probably the best solution to it, really- what I had been doing was laying a CD case I had lying around over it, but that's a more elegant and permanent solution. Thanks!

For a small indicator, I don't care what color it is, as long as it's a reasonable intensity. I can handle blue glowy things within reason, just not extremely bright blue glowy things...

When I was in 6/7/8th grade (it was one year for me...), I participated in a musical. (It was a Jewish musical entitled "The Role Model", which I was given a major part in despite not being jewish. Louis "I'm A Boy And I Can Prove It" Sloven, however, very much was; he was the one who suggested that I audition. (It's also his fault that I prefer turkey hot dogs. (Woo, nested parentheses!))) We didn't have much to worry about with regard to the audience seeing lights, as there were no lights. We sort of relied on the spotlights fading slightly through the backdrop as we stumbled our way across.

This also featured the rather notable quick change, in which I (cast as a person playing Dreyfuss- yes, I was playing an actor, as the basis of the musical was a class trying to create a music video) was dragged offstage wearing a military uniform, and had about twenty seconds to get entirely out of it and don a suit jacket (provided by my father). Eagle-eyed spectators would have noted that- erm, was her name Erica? I don't remember, so I'll pretend that's what her name was- had been wearing that suit jacket during the portion of the scene in which I got dragged offstage, then left the opposite side of the stage chanting "Down with the Jews! Death to the Jews!" And that's the side I was to enter from.

We refined our timing to a fine art and it worked perfectly for all six performances. Stephen (I think...) helped me out of the uniform (hung on to the back of the ill-fitting shirt while I sort of jumped forward out of it- and the ill-fitting pants), and he put that up in the right spot while I went in a flat-out run for the other side of the stage, across backstage. Erica had removed the suit coat at this time (I already had the relevant pants on and the proper undershirt) and held it out for me, in a style not entirely unlike a matador against a charging bull. Continuing to run to the upturned crate on which my one prop- a tattered sheet of paper- was, as I buttoned the suit coat, I grabbed the paper, ran to the other side of the stage, and had all of five seconds to catch my breath and appear to be completely unrushed, calm, and an utterly different character before it was my cue.

After that, we had a good two minutes for me to get the suit coat back to Erica, while I changed pants (the shirt I had under the suit coat and military uniform worked just fine for the last part).

And they say theatre isn't athletic.

In conclusion, ha! I believe I have clearly demonstrated that your weak babbling skills are no match for mine!

*giggles* Well, I refrained from actually telling stories about my various mishaps...

Like the time I discovered that the T-shirt I was wearing, the black one with the soft tan wolf silhouettes on it, actually glowed in the dark. I liked wearing that shirt, because the tan and brown design was a lot less noticeable than the greens and blues on most of my other black shirts, but I'd never had reason to wear it in total blackness before. Almost always, we had a bit of blue light when the curtain was closed, but this time it took a while for the light board op to throw some up for me and Mark, who was working the other side. End of the chorus concert, I'm crossing the stage in the dark behind the curtain, and Mark comes towards me, snapping softly as a way of letting me know where he is. As soon as I hear him, I mimic him - but he chuckles and tells me not to bother, he can see my shirt. I look down and giggle, because the wolves are glowing just enough to be visible.

I kept wearing the shirt - the glow's soft enough to be invisible in anything but almost complete darkness, and most of the time I was up in the booth where it didn't matter anyway.

Then there's the boxes. Wooo, the boxes.

Some years before I got to the high school, they'd put on Fame. As part of the sets-props stuff was a dozen sturdily built boxes, about knee high, with solid three-quarter-inch plywood sides and holes on two sides just under the top for handles. The things were virtually indestructible - I think they were reinforced inside with 2x4s or something, in addition to being a heavy plywood. But by the time I got there, there were only about four remaining, one of which had been artfully painted into a wooden crate by an art student who'd just graduated.

For one of the chorus concerts, the music teacher wanted them all painted white and put on stage as places for people to sit. Hmm. We weren't giving up our crate, so we told her we couldn't find it and gave her three. She didn't complain.

But then somehow we acquired a large number of fake Fame boxes (as we called them). These were white boxes of about the same size, but instead of being solid plywood, they had internal frames (two squares) of 2x4s, then had what we called quarter-inch for sides. (Same stuff we used for flats, in fact...) Handles were metal and affixed to the sides, because cutting out holes would significantly weaken the structural integrity. I tended to not trust them at all, because I could throw them a fair distance, which was worrisome.

But they had their uses. After the show where they were used (and stood on! Brave people), we took possession of them and discovered their great stress-relieving properties: get stressed, shut yourself in the crew room with a fake Fame box and a hammer, and have at it. I liked to use the hammer, because I didn't like the bruised knuckles I got the one time I did punch straight through the side of one. Kicking was fun, though, especially with hiking boots instead of sneakers.

I think we went through all the fake boxes in under a year. Heh.


We used "stage crates" for The Role Model, too. It's amazing how much scenery can be made with a big wood box.

The weak variety doesn't sound well-constructed to me; if I knew more about the material, I could say something more intelligent. A safer way to do it would be to have a pair or X-shaped supports on the bottom, with marks on the top at the center of each X. That denotes ideal foot location, for best support- although, ideally, you wouldn't need that for something you're supposed to stand on at all...

In my Acting 1 class I took last spring, we used these carpeted cubes and L-shaped blocks equivalent to three cubes. Careful assembly created couches, beds, dressers, stereo systems, computers (the Cubeintosh), tables, etc. Useful things. One class, they were conspicuously missing; we did without. The next class couldn't do without them- they were found at the bottom of the stairwell that leads into the theatre we held class in.

Since I didn't have class for an hour and a half, I hung around and helped Dr. Matthews haul them- and the table- back up the stairs. They're heavier than they look, they are...

The high points of that were Dr. Matthews overacting pretending to have a hernia (and watching a good actor deliberately overact is a really amusing sight), and the extra credit he gave for my bothering to hang around and help...

Yeeeeah, the boxes were cheap. Really cheap. The fake ones, I mean - the real boxes were great. We could jump up and down on the solid plywood ones and they wouldn't even wibble. The others.. well, one jump and you'd be on the floor, with splinters around your knees. Hehe.

Those cube things sound like fun! Reminds me of polyominos, or the SOMA cube, sort of. (More the latter, really.) It's truly amazing what you can do with a bunch of cubes and some creativity.. and how brain-breaking the same bunch of cubes can be if you selectively affix them to each other in odd shapes, and then have someone else try to copy a certain design. Hehehe.

Tangent babble - I've always been fascinated by spatial relationships. I love jigsaw puzzles, and polyominos, and tangrams, and SOMA, and really anything similar. I'm also really good at packing, for some reason.. I can fit sleeping bag, pillow, and a week's worth of clothes into one duffel bag, and a week's worth of books and entertainment into my backpack. *grins* Gets lots of funny looks and questions about Bags of Holding when I have to pull stuff off the top to get to the bottom of either. You'd think people'd never heard of packing smart...

I think that's why I love some of the online puzzle games so much. Bejeweled/Diamond Mine, Snood, Zuma, Alchemy, Cubis, Collapse, Toki Toki Boom, JT's Blocks.. (Most from Yahoo.) All the Tetris-type variations. Shape manipulation, pattern recognition, and rewards for fast processing time. SET's another great one, but it's much more fun with other people. Solitaire SET just isn't quite the same, though it's a good exercise. And Puzzle Pirates has some really creative variants on the classic puzzles (one's a Pipe Dream derivative, for example), and has a social component to boot. It attracts people who are game geeks, puzzle nuts, and typically fairly technologically competent.

Doesn't explain why my best puzzle is gunning, which is almost entirely reflexes...

SOMA is so much fun. I put my fifty-cent SOMA set at one of the better yard-sale finds I've made. I fully admit I'm not that good at it, but it's fun.

Sounds like you tend to pack things the same way my father does- it drives my mother nuts, but that doesn't stop him from re-packing the three suitcases she filled into one suitcase, with room to spare...

It might be a bit like my belt pack, though. It's for my asthma medication, but it's become my general accumulator. I think I had 15 pens in it at last count, counting highlighters as pens. Also a small screwdriver set. And my forehead-mounted flashlight. Oh, and there are the four-each of AA and AAA batteries, because I never know when somebody near might run out.

I tend to be a bit excessively prepared. On the flip side, I tend to become spontaneously and temporarily popular on homework due days, primarily because I keep a stapler in my backpack.

I also keep a granola bar in my backpack, because I have had times my previous meals utterly give out on me in the middle of lecture and I start to develop a hunger-based headache. When somebody inevitably makes fun of my carrying a granola bar with me (why, I have no idea, but people do that anyway... people are weird), I just shrug. Then I wait for the day I see them looking hungry in lecture. That's when, whether or not I'm actually hungry, I make sure they can see me eating the granola bar. (Kistaro.isEvil = true;)

Yay Snood, Tetris, Alchemy, Collapse, and Zuma! Bejeweled isn't really my thing- which is strange, because I'm completely addicted to Tetris Attack, A. K. A. Pokemon Puzzle Challenge (same game, different characters, and the added feature of a save function that makes it worth paying for it again- color helps, too), A. K. A. Squeezeball Squeegee League. (This is an in-joke in my family, which my mother has sworn me never to tell anybody else. But considering what she considers public information about me, I have little inclination to hold to her "don't tell" request. Y'see, my mother keeps really late hours. (Never mind the fact that I'm posting this at 4:00 AM...) So when my father took me to Best Buy to obtain the game, my saying "bye" to my mother before we left was when she was in a state very far removed from wakefulness. It led to this conversation:

"Unghh... what is it you're wanting to buy now?"
"Remember? I told you about it already. I budgeted for it. It's--"
"Right, right, I remember. Squeezeball... no... squeegee- league? Yeah, Squeezeball Squeegee League, right?"

Probably the most amusing part was how absolutely certain she was that she had the name right.

How far have you ever gotten in Zuma adventure mode, if you have Zuma Deluxe (read as: you forked over your twenty to those capitalist scum. Long live the glorious revolution of the people!) or the online version has that mode (I don't play the online version, so I don't know if it does)? I've gotten to stage 11-something, I think.

Also: Snooood. I've registered it, too, and I'm trying to build a level set. I've got about 18 levels so far, I think; I'm shooting for 50. If you've registered the game so you can use custom levels, I'll be glad to send you what I've got- it's incomplete and I know that Downstack 2 is impossible with a bad set of pieces, which I'm trying to figure out how to fix while retaining the challenge. (The Downstack levels have the interesting feature of a one or two unit Danger Bar...) And hey, if you like level design, we could build levels as a team...

I'm sort of obsessed with level design. Something that really can be a selling point for me for a game is if it's got a level editor. I have great fun making Mario levels for "Super Mario 86"- there are other versions of the game with better engines, but none with as good a level editor. Hence my preference.

It's also why I've got a Commodore 64 emulator on my computer. (It's software piracy, but it's not exactly software that has significant current market value.) Nowhere else can I find a working version of "Pinball Construction Set" or "Stunt Racing Destruction Set"...

I like SET. I'm not that great at it, but I enjoy the game. I can't usually find opponents, though.

I'm too cheap to play Puzzle Pirates...


I'd babble at you s'more, but I'm waking up in just over 2 hours to go work for college again. Heh.

Luckily I slept 5:30-midnightish, so I hopefully won't be as dead on my feet as I was today after only 4 hours. (A 5-hour phone conversation ate into my sleeptime.. but it was worth it.)

Poke me later, remind me I wanted to babble about this stuff.

Yay for weird sleep schedules. It's weird how that whenever I have something to do, I can wake up in time for it with no problem- but when I don't, my sleep schedule breaks down. I woke up at 3:30 PM today...

Hah, that was exactly what I was thinking!

There's something in particular about blue LEDs in that they almost have to be piercingly bright. My new Pocket PC has one which fortunately is rather subdued, in order to indicate Bluetooth activity, but there's one on the front of my computer which illuminates the room quite well in the dark.

Incidentally, I wish my Pocket PC would stop blinking a red LED while charging. It means I keep having my eyes drawn to the right where it sits in its cradle.

Blinking lights in general that do not represent an error condition strike me as very poor design. Flashy things are to draw the eye- so if that's what you want, go for it, but if it's regular use, it's a bad idea. In a sense, I understand it on USB drives; it's an "I'm doing something, really!" indicator. But still, there should be some other solution...

I agree. I much preferred my old Pocket PC's indicator, which was a simple LED.. I can't remember if that one changed colour when charging was complete, but my Series 7 used a yellow LED which changed to green when it was done. No flashing involved.

The PPC does also flash while Bluetooth (blue) and WiFi (green) are active, also slightly annoyingly; it's fine when it flashes when a reminder is due, though.

Incidentally, I just thought, is the 'piercingness' of blue LEDs anything to do with their photon energy, or is that complete nonsense?

Blue is the higher range of light-wave frequency, so blue light essentially caries more energy per photon. Of course, one could just have something shoot out fewer protons, but that's not how things tend to work.

...It's 5:00 AM and I need sleep, you're making me think about Physics, which I haven't had for a semester, give me a break here! I might have an actual correct answer later...

*grins* Well, I have a quantum physics exam coming up this month, so it was on my mind.

Go to sleep! :p

My surround sound has a piercing blue light when its on, and my computer itself has a fan control for four fans, each knob glowing a nice bright blue as well.

Blue is popular.

Not that I mind blue. :)

Yeah, I'm a fan of the blue LEDs, as they look sharp...but I've learned recently just how annoying they can be. My computer uses all blue LEDs—one on the case, and three on the keyboard (the "lock" indicators, which thankfully don't have to be on all the time). Only this semester, when I got a single room where I had no choice but to locate my desk directly across from my bed, did I realize how freakin' bright the one on my case was. I realize now why my roommate last year always turned to face the wall at night—the LED must've kept her awake. Too bad she didn't tell me that at the time...

In any case, I had to tape a piece of black cardboard over the case light so that I could actually sleep at night—and even that wasn't enough to completely block out all the light that baby put out.

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