Sunday, June 26, 2005

Sailing into Baltimore!

sailing 033
Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
Yesterday, my dad, my friend Elisa, and I sailed on our boat, Daydreams, into Baltimore's Inner Harbor. While my dad and I have sailed into the harbor before, we've never docked. Yesterday, we did just that--$5 for four hours, certainly better than paying garage fees for parking a car!!!

Anyway, on this boat trip I was playing somewhat of a tourist, snapping shots whenever I could. The day was a little hazy, but it was still a great day to be out on the boat. Clicking on the picture will take you to a bigger version of the shot. Or, you can check out the photostream for the trip. While you're there, check out the rest of my pictures at flickr. I have some newly updloaded ones, so enjoy... :)

Monday, June 20, 2005

Gender Equality in Video Games?

Final Fantasy II imbalance
Originally uploaded by terpkristin.
This shot is one I took of my early party in my current game of Final Fantasy II, which I've been playing lately on the Gameboy Advance SP via the Final Fantasy I & II Dawn of Souls game.

While playing, I happened to notice that the female in my party was way behind (in terms of HP) my male party members. At the time, the first male character had 447 possible hit points, the other male had 583, while the female had a paltry 209. "Where's the gender equality in that?!?" I wondered.

Yes, I KNOW that how much HP you gain in this game is about how much you get hit and thus having her in the back row meant she got hit less, thus gained fewer HP.

The imbalance still amused me, particularly in light of more recent Final Fantasy games, where the female characters are quite powerful; for example Yuna in Final Fantasy X. For what it's worth, I've played quite a bit since that shot was taken, and Maria has been moved to the front row. Currently, Firion has 1521 HP, Maria has 1228, and Guy has 1807. Maria's still a bit behind the "boys" as it were, but she's got the best weapon skills (ice bow!) and is currently the only party member who's adept at Holy, so she's still pretty badass.

I still find it interesting, though, that Final Fantasy II, first published in 1988, incorporates weaker women than current games do, when compared to the men of the game. The video game evolution of gender equality does seem to mirror the "real life" evolution of gender equality...any thoughts from the peanut gallery?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

More Star Wars

After seeing the previous post "Star Wars Episode III," a friend sent me this Star Wars spoof, produced for your amusement and education by the Organic Trade Association. Again, it was good enough that I decided to pass it along to you, my dedicated readers. For this one, be sure the volume is turned on on your computer. May the farm be with you...

Star Wars Episode III

First off, I've got to say I hate Star Wars. That said, I saw this at a message board I frequent and it was too good not to pass along. Enjoy!

Star Wars Episode III, The Backstroke of the West
(copied from which was down last time I checked)

i saw revenge of the sith last weekend at a local theater with my friend joe who was in town on business. it was much better than the first two movies and a fitting end (err.. middle) to the star wars saga.

the next day i was walking past my friendly dvd salesperson and decided to check out the revenge of the sith. i was assured the quality was good and for 7rmb why not give it a shot.

aside from the counters on the top of the screen and a distorted perspective it was ok- not high quality but watchable. the captions were a direct english translation of the chinese interpretation of what the script was saying. it varied from being somewhat close to the script to being 'far far away'....

amazingly enough, the beginning scroll is mistranslated even though the words are right there on the screen!

'the backstroke of the west' is the english translation of the chinese title, which i'm not entirely sure is the 'official' title.

count dooku talks tough.

that's chancellor palpatine speaking, talking about obi wan.

general grevious gets some bad news.

the general considers punishing his troops.

sounds like something yoda might acually say... maybe.

troopseses!!! (Kristin's note: LOTR/Golem, anyone?)

anakin gets frustrated with the jedi council.

this seemed completely random until i figured out that 'jedi council' was being translated into chinese then back to english as 'the presbyterian church'.

i won't post any spoiler screen shots for those who haven't seen the movie yet- this is a memorable scene towards the end of the film. needless to say, obi wan wasn't actually speaking like yoda in this scene.

captions they be, mistranslated they are.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


About two weeks ago, I happened to be driving on Centennial Lane here in Columbia/Ellicott City and noticed that a house had, in Christmas lights, made out the number "1649" on their fence. I didn't think too much about it at the time...I figured it was a house number or something.

Today I drove by the same house again. Today the number was 1670. All of a sudden, it clicked: this person is keeping track of the US death toll for the war in Iraq. It's one thing to hear about a specific attack or set of attacks injuring or killing 8-10 soldiers. I mean, it's still awful, but it can be easy to forget the magnitude of what's going on. Seeing those Christmas lights was a painful reminder of how many lives it truly is--something that's too easy to forget in the nightly news.

I've never been "for the war." I assumed that the Bush regime was lying to the American public before invading, and I 100% believed it was a mistake to go in. That DOESN'T mean I don't support the troops. It's certainly not their fault we're embroiled in this mess, and I respect what they do. Regardless, I want to see a quick resolution or end to the mess in Iraq, and for our soldiers to come home. Is this what it felt like during the Vietnam era, to scroll through the obituaries and lists of the dead to see if anybody you know has been killed in a pointless war?

It's time to face facts.
BushCo lied about WMD and Sadaam's ties to al Queda.
1669/1670 (numbers vary depending on source) brave US men and women have given their lives so far (courtesy of this page and Specials and of
There is no exit strategy for getting our troops out of there and back home.
Most of the al Queda terrorists involved in 9/11 were from Saudi Arabia. Note we will NEVER invade them because of oil.
The US cost of war (in dollars, not lives) is rapidly approaching $200 billion. 2E11 for you engineering types (source

So, these were my thoughts as I finished my drive back home. Then, I went over to FOFC, a message board/forum related mostly to sports that I frequent. Every now and then somebody posts something with a political bent. Tonight was one of those nights. Already frustrated and emotionally charged because of 1670 Christmas lights, I read about something called the Downing Street Memo. This is a recently declassified document from the UK, outlining their pre-war plans for involvement in Iraq and at the same time pointing out some dubiousness of US intentions. Though this document has been public for about a month over in England, the media here hasn't picked up on it. Now John Conyers, Jr., a representative from Michigan, has a petition going. The petition asks for Bush to respond to questions about this memo, which so far he (and his entire regime) refuse to do.

The time to act is now. It may be a Republican-controlled Congress, and because of that we'll never get him impeached like we all know he should be, but at least we can start to get some answers. Or, at least, more lies. Please, read the Downing Street Memo (the link I have for it is through the UK Times Online, if that link is dead, a Google search of "Downing Street Memo" will return a bunch of hits). If you, like me, would like BushCo to answer questions that arise in part because of this memo, please visit Conyers' site and electronically sign the petition.

And, if you're looking for more information and facts about BushCo and what you can do, please check out the following:
The Democratic National Committee
Mark Morford's columns at the SF Gate

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Got Email?

Through Lifehacker today, I came across an article entitled "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People With Email - Pt. 1," and it quite honestly made me chuckle. If I had a penny for each email I've received that violates the "rules" that Bert lays out...well, I probably wouldn't have to look for a job anymore.

If you, like many, tend to receive emails that break these "rules" from so-called friends, feel free to pass it along to them as a "friendly reminder" of how not to drive other people bonkers.

If you're one of those people that tends to send these sorts of emails...well, take a hint please.