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05/22/2006: "Let's Not Shit Oursleves (To Love And Be Loved)"

Once again, I've fallen way behind. It's becoming something of a habbit.

What's happened since March?

I quallified to Nationals! Woo. It took me three qualifier tournaments to do it, but in true Tom Hogan fashion, I sufficiently confused the shit of everyone. NFL Congress: Finally made it to Super Session after 4 years, only to botch that. NFL PFD: My saving grace from last year became a bitter return, as we suffered two losses we shouldn't have. NFL Individual Events: After giving a million practice speeches in stupid ol' Domestic Extemp, which I've done off and on, whenever I felt like it, for the past few years, I got 1st. I beat people who basically own that event. It was kinda neat. The downside being, now I have only 3 weeks to prep for it. Have I mentioned I hate extemp?

Another big that that happened since we last spoke:
I graduated! Opting out of all my finals but Math (and Video productions, but that doesn't count), I somehow managed to weather the final days of high school. It was kinda sad though... at that point I was so bitter and jaded towards the entire experiance that it was pretty difficult to enjoy it. In any case, it's finally over now, for better or worse.

My computer broke too. Not cool at all. I started getting these terrible 'boot disk error' messages, and then it would refuse to start up. After one such episode I made a copy of my entire hard drive onto my parents computer. The next day the computer refused to load Windows 98. I felt smart. So the quest began to get me back into the computing world. I had a single starting point: A processor my uncle had given me on a whim. I next found a motherboard that would take that processor, and RAM to fit that motherboard. Next I found a case with suitable powersuply to run the entire mess. The final step was a new hard drive (Serial ATA, blazing fast...) and Windows XP. I had all the parts I needed to make a monster.

So I set up base camp in the basement. I commandeered my fathers workbench, and bolted anti-static material to its surface. Above me I placed a high powered work light that I'm pretty sure burned a little bit of my hair throughout the process. Next I got some rubber gloves so I wouldn't risk building up static electricity. I was ready to create a monster.

With one of its sides removed, the case lay open and cavernous on the workbench. In went the motherboard, secured with some small brass screws. Next I attached the processor, and as I was putting the fan/heatsink combo on above it, I heard the sickening noise of stressed sillicone. Panicing, I reversed my actions, removing the fansink, and trying to get the processor out to examine it. But it was stuck. This was not good.

Actually, turns out I was just not undoing the CPU latch correctly. The processor was fine, and the fansink just binds very tightly, and so hence the sound of strained sillicone. I pressed onward. The 512 MB RAM fit in nicely, and secured quite snugly. I think it would like some friends in the future though, to be snugly with it. Optical drives were next: Initially I had a DVD-ROM installed, but I opted to ditch it for the CD burner, which is its own story.

I was cleaning my room because my parents were making me, for my graduation party, where NO ONE CAME UPSTAIRS, and I found a CD burner in a box. It was just there. So I installed it and it works and I'm incredibly satisfied, never having had one in my own computer before.

Then the hard drive, with its cute little SATA cable that kinda looks like a long piece of chewing gum; it's that thin. Everyone recieved a link to the powersupply, and it was... oh geez. What time was it?

Game time. What time?
GAME TIME. What ti-
G-A-M-E T-I-M-E!

oh. Alright then. I carted my monitor downstairs along with my fancy split keyboard, and the ugly mouse with purple detailing I sort of hate, and I was ready to power up. And powerup I did. Windows XP installation went off without a hitch, and I must say... I'm quite impressed. I doubt many of you people remember Windows 98. It [SUCKED] Think of Windows XP as a nice new Honda Civic, and Windows 98 is like a POS Taurus from the 80's when there was that energy crisis and everyone had locks on their gascaps that didn't do any good becuase the whole damn thing was rusted clear through.

That's Windows 98. Up until quite recently, I loved this OS. Primitive yes, but reliably so. I knew all the fancy little shortcuts and easy workarounds. However, it crashed far more than my previous automobile analogy could possibly permit. Short story: I love XP. It's very glitzy and doesn't crash, and natively supports CD burning, as well as giving lots of room for customization.

With XP installed, my computer was essentially done. I had to get come crucial apps on, but the only one worth talking about is Firefox. If you're running Microsoft's Internet Explorer right now, do me a favor and heed the following message: I'm not going to get all bitchy and start ranting about 'Micro$uck', or anything silly like that. Microsoft is quite exceptional at creating operating systems. I'm a huge fan of XP, and previously Windows 98. They've created a program that practically anyone with a computer is familiar with. Similarly, Internet Explorer is easy for most people as well. However, the internet is quite treacherous for even the average user, and IE WILL LEAVE YOU VULNERABLE. A good quick little run down of the pros and cons will give you [an idea] why it's best you switch.

Firefox is open source, which is another rant entirely, but that means it's much more secure, because you've got a multitude of people probing and working on security, as opposed to just a few. It also comes with a huge myriad of extentions that do cool little things like give you the weather and make the interface more fun. All in all, it does what IE does better, and more. My one request is that you [Give Firefox a Try] for just a day. If you don't like it, just uninstall it. Windows will have no qualms about blasting open source software quite easily, so if you dislike it, making it go away is easy.

So that was a little long-winded. Sorry. I'm all about the Firefox.

I figured out how to get pictures off our digital camera very easily, so I'm going to buy my own small memory card and start uploading an obscene amount of images.

After I fix my parents computer, which just broke a few days ago.
A little quick-fix on my part will keep it puttering along for a while yet, but god damn. I hate these things. That's why I'm trying to quit my job and work at a computer store. Where I get these ideas, I've no clue.

This entire thing has been really technical, I'm sorry. But that's essentially what you missed in the past few months. I got an iPod for my birthday. It's slick. Side note: podcasts are the shit. My favorites: NPR's Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me! and [Ask a Ninja], kudos to Lizz for the latter. She got me hooked.

I'm gonna try to blog more as always, especially as the BrakBlog winds down in its final days. As usual, I'm trying to flesh out new ideas for the college/life blog, so we'll see where that leads.

On that college note, I decided to go to Truman State in Kirksville, MO.
Jillian will be there too, making me feel like an underachiever.
Hank will be rooming with me. "No dorm deserves that..." -Mrs. Reynolds
Lizz will be hastling me down there too.

It promises to be interesting, if nothing else.

Cowboys never went to school,
but the idea of a cowboy college seems like a good one.

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