What American accent do I use?

What American accent do you have?

Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak “Standard English straight out of the dictionary” but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like “Are you from Wisconsin?” or “Are you from Chicago?” Chances are you call carbonated drinks “pop.”

The Midland
The Northeast
Philadelphia
The South
The West
Boston
North Central
What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

What I’m watching these days

I’ve been watching a fair bit of anime the last year or so, and people always seem surprised to find out (and I, likewise, have been surprised to find out which friends of mine have already been watching a lot of it as well).

Maybe I’ve been poisoned by the mainstream TV networks in the US, and admittedly, I don’t get out much beyond what’s on TV, but the cartoons we have in the US just don’t seem hold a candle to the stuff they’re putting out over in Japan (and this includes most of the imports from Japan that have made it to the US, which the US networks that are carrying them have usually done a good job of butchering up either the plot lines or the music, or otherwise making unnecessary changes to “westernize” them). There are many Japanese shows (even the stuff aimed at kids) which impress me with the depth of the characters and the detail they include in the stories. You just have to live with reading subtitles, unless you know Japanese.

One of the most-detailed and heart-tugging of these (that I’ve seen) is the original Futari wa Pretty Cure series, and its followup series Pretty Cure Max Heart. This show is aimed at kids, and it’s definitely a kids’ show, but even with that in mind, we get to explore the entire community that the main characters live in. The other students in their class at school actually exist, and aren’t just there to fill the extra seats in the classroom. We get to hear almost every student’s name at some point in the series. A large number of them have important roles in at least one or two episodes. The main characters have a family life outside of school, and we learn a great deal about their siblings, parents, and grandparents. And every episode is a heart-tugging demonstration of learning to always trust in each other and never give up, a moral that they almost go overboard with, but you can’t help loving it anyway. Yeah, it’s magical girl genre, and they fight bad guys, but out of each 25 minute episode, they usually spend about 5 or 10 minutes on fighting bad guys, and the rest of the show is all about their relationships. I’ve never seen anything like it broadcast in the US.

Lots of people when they hear “anime” automatically think of “mecha”. Transformers came out of that genre after all, as did Voltron, and the various Gundam stuff (and although it’s not exactly anime, you can’t leave out the Power Rangers and their Zords). The Japanese seem to love their giant robots. 🙂 But there’s a lot more to anime than giant robots, and I’m not that much into the robot stuff, personally. My watch list tends to have more magical girl and drama type stuff in it.

Stuff I’m currently watching:

  • Chocotto Sister (drama/romance)
  • Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kai (mystery/suspense/thriller)
  • Lucky Star (high school comedy)
  • Nanoha StrikerS (scifi/magical girl)
  • Ojamajo Doremi Sharp (comedy/magical girl)
  • Potemayo (comedy)
  • Powerpuff Girls Z (magical girl)
  • Pretty Cure Max Heart (magical girl)
  • Pretty Cure Splash Star (magical girl)
  • School Days (high school drama/romance)
  • Sky Girls (mecha/drama)
  • Sugar Sugar Rune (magical girl/fantasy/drama)
  • Umisho (high school drama/comedy)
  • Yes! Pretty Cure 5 (magical girl)

Other stuff I’ve watched in the past:

  • Fairy Musketeer Akazukin (fantasy/adventure)
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure (magical girl)
  • Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight (high school drama)
  • Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya (scifi/high school drama)
  • Nanoha (magical girl)
  • Nanoha A’s (magical girl/scifi)
  • Ojamajo Doremi (magical girl)
  • Ojamajo Doremi Naisho (magical girl)
  • Rocket Girls (scifi/adventure)
  • Starship Girl Yamamoto Yohko (scifi/adventure)
  • Tokemeki Memorial (high school drama/romance)
  • Venus Versus Virus (scifi/thriller)

And yes, I have actually bought DVDs with English dubs. This is fantastic and entertaining art, and well worth supporting the artists and producers when given the opportunity, and a good way to encourage them to continue to allow worldwide distribution of the subtitled versions (it’s the best form of advertising after all).

So hopefully that’s a little insight into my artistic likes these days.

Vacation, life, hard drives, and basements

So two weeks ago I had scheduled to take a week of vacation from work. My parents’ 40th wedding anniversary was coming up, and my sister and I had planned an open house for almost everyone they knew to come and party that first weekend of the vacation. My parents were then going to take my kids with them up north to spend a week at their cottage on Secord Lake. Swimming, fishing, pontoon rides on the river, all that fun stuff. While we were kidless, my wife and I were going to work on cleaning out all the junk in our basement in preparation for another round at our seemingly never-ending quest to get it remodeled.

Well, the night of the party (but after the guests were long gone), my mom gets a phone call that her father had passed away. We’d kind of been expecting it, as he’d been in and out of the hospital a lot recently, and had been in the hospital and deteriorating for the previous week. So the kids came home with us instead of going up north, while my parents went down to Ohio to be with my grandmother the following day. I made arrangements with my boss to extend my vacation by a few days to buy more time for the original basement cleanup plan.

While at home, the computer in the family room is acting weird (won’t launch one of the games, hanging at weird times, etc). It just felt wrong to me, and stupid me, I rebooted the computer. I was then greeted with the little icon that indicates that it can’t find a disk to boot from. Oops. I managed to mount the disk over Firewire from another computer though, and started rsyncing the contents of the user home directories to the fileserver in the basement. It did not manage to grab everything though, and we lost a lot (the kids bookmarks, my wife’s email, 4 or 5 months’ worth of digital photos). I know, backups. I’d always intended to, and never got around to setting it up. Fortunately for the photos most of them got uploaded to Shutterfly, so that wasn’t a total loss. As of this writing, I now have an automated daily rsync of the /Users directory to the big fileserver downstairs.

But there wasn’t much time to deal with the computer, that would have to come later. Tuesday meant heading to Ohio ourselves for my grandfather’s funeral. The funeral and the family luncheon were quite nice. There were a lot of family there that I hadn’t seen in many years. After the funeral, my parents took the kids, finally off to their trip up north. My grandmother also went with them. Spending a week with the great grandkids on a river/lake system with lots of fun stuff to do… what a great stress relief for her after all that happened the previous several weeks.

As the kids headed up north, Lori and I headed back home, in theory to finally work on cleaning out the basement. But now we’re back to that eMac with the dead hard drive. I made a quick trip to the local Circuit City (I don’t like them either, but they had the best locally-available deal and I was in a hurry) and picked up a new hard drive, 4 times the size of the one it was replacing. Now came the fun part of actually replacing it. The eMac (like many modern Apple products) was not designed with hard drive replacement in mind. Just getting to the hard drive required an almost complete disassembly of the eMac, complete with discharging the CRT to make it safe to work with so I wouldn’t get a 10,000 volt shock touching the wrong part, since the hard drive is right underneath the bare CRT tube. The entire process of disassembly and reassembly took most of a day, between research to make sure I could do it without killing myself and quick trips to the store for required tools I was missing. I then formatted the new drive and spent the next day or two installing Mac OS X 10.4.6 (that’s the install DVD I had), upgrading it to 10.4.10, and reinstalling all the software we use.

Now we’re up through Monday of that vacation that now ends Wednesday. Suffice it to say that I did get a little bit of cleaning done in the basement. But it was nowhere near the goal, and nowhere near being able to allow contractors to touch the place, so I think I’ll be finding myself requesting additional vacation time from work in the near future as soon as I get caught up there again.

Vacation and work travel

So this last week I’ve been on vacation, but just hanging out at home hoping to catch up on some things.  One of the projects I’ve been working on this week is trying to write a driver for lirc to use a USB-attached IR receiver on Mac OS X.  One of my MythTV boxes is running on Mac OS X, and it’s annoying to have the little white Apple remote be the only one that works on it (it’s a nice simple remote, but there’s just not enough buttons on it to be useful for a full entertainment center).  I’ve been hoping to get that driver working before I left so my wife could use a real remote while I’m gone.  Not quite there yet, not much time left.  I made major progress on it this afternoon though while the kids were watching the new movies they got in their Easter baskets.

Tomorrow afternoon (Monday) I leave to head out to Mountain View for our quarterly all-hands meeting at Mozilla.  The following week I’ll be attending an Asterisk training program put on by Digium in San Jose (teach me everything I need to know to run the PBX system at Mozilla), so I’ll be away from home for two weeks.  It’s always fun visiting Mozilla, but it’s not going to be fun being away from the family for that long.

MythTV rocks

I’ve been toying with the idea of setting up a MythTV box on and off for a while, and with family members complaining about the difficulties of getting a VCR programmed for the correct time, the allure of a DVR where you could just point it at a show in the program schedule and say “record this” was getting high.  Just before Christmas, I ran across a new startup company selling preconfigured dual-tuner Home Theater PC boxes with Ubuntu and MythTV preinstalled on them, and for a pretty decent price, so I wound up purchasing a Hannibal Duece+ from them.  I got the machine a couple weeks ago, and have had a lot of fun fine-tuning it.  Having a web interface on the box to point your browser at it and view the program schedule and schedule recordings is a kick, too.  The machines are still a little rough around the edges with the initial configuration, but TVEase is showing a lot of promise, with an active forum and a definite open source attitude about how to configure the machines for new customers.  The only current drawback is the deathgrip the cable industry has over the digital channels – trying to get off-the-shelf hardware that supports CableCARD® is a bit of a joke currently.  If you’re in the market for a DVR, and aren’t married to all the high-numbered channels, I’d definitely recommend picking up one of these things.