Monthly Archives: July 2005

New Computer '05

I final­ly got my com­put­er, and have the week­end to spend set­ting every­thing up.

Let’s talk geek.

Processor: AMD Athlon 64 X2 (Dual-Core) 4400+

Thumbnail: Large CPU heatsink

The sex­i­est stock heatsink I’ve ever seen. Notice the dense fins, and the sym­met­ri­cal cop­per heat pipes. I did­n’t dare take it off the cpu for a pic­ture. One time, after I pulled the heatsink off a P4, I noticed that the proces­sor was stuck to the bot­tom while the proces­sor lock was still in place. The ther­mal paste had caked and turned to glue. The edges of the cpu were chipped and a few pins were bent, but I care­ful­ly put them back in place and it still worked.

This one is an AMD though. It’s clocked at 2.2 GHz, with two megs of lev­el 2 cache (one per core). Even though it can almost be con­sid­ered unrea­son­ably expen­sive, I went with a dual-core proces­sor because I want­ed some­thing that could han­dle both sin­gle-thread­ed and mul­ti-thread­ed apps. All the reviews I read said that the Pentium Extreme Edition chips were slight­ly bet­ter for the lat­ter but much worse for the for­mer, so this marks my first for­ay into the use of an Advanced Micro Devices proces­sor, at work or at home.

Continue read­ing “New Computer ‘05”…

I Bought A New Computer

The last part came in from back order today and they’re run­ning the burn overnight, so it’ll be ready for me to pick up before the week­end.

It’s the most expen­sive sys­tem that I’ve ever bought, but also the most guilt-free. At home, I spend the major­i­ty of my time at the com­put­er — I use it to write, manip­u­late pho­tos, ren­der video, play games, com­mu­ni­cate with friends, watch movies, lis­ten to music. I could sur­vive on my cur­rent sys­tem, but I could also take advan­tage of an even bet­ter set­up.

Some of the parts may be a lit­tle exces­sive, but why not go all out? I only know a few peo­ple, such as Trolley, who could appre­ci­ate a top-of-the-line sys­tem in the same way. Ever since Intel announced their line­up of dual-core proces­sors in the first quar­ter, I’ve been sav­ing my mon­ey, keep­ing track of the parts I’ve want­ed. By the time AMD announced their own dual-core archi­tec­ture, I had a com­plete list of com­po­nents for my dream sys­tem. Most stores could­n’t even get their hands on the chips, so for two months I would peri­od­i­cal­ly check for avail­abil­i­ty. Eventually, I end­ed up going through a cor­po­rate con­tact, who has his own direct con­tact to AMD. To boot, he gave me a dis­count (rang­ing on 15%, which is insane, con­sid­er­ing the tiny mar­gin on com­put­er sys­tems) since I’m a busi­ness client as well.

The kick­er is that my work just hap­pens to need a com­put­er capa­ble of han­dling some heavy graph­ics edit­ing. The com­put­er most ade­quate to han­dle this usage is mine, since it’s also the fastest in the office, so I get to give up my already ade­quate sys­tem for a bet­ter one. I got approval to order the same sys­tem that I bought myself per­son­al­ly. The same sys­tem that I’ve been dream­ing of, plan­ning for, and drool­ing over since February.

The Next Level, Part 2

It’s get­ting eas­i­er to write again. Ideas are com­ing a lit­tle more flu­id­ly, and aren’t quite as strain­ing to devel­op any­more. Perhaps there’s been an excess of inspi­ra­tion in the last while, from the music that keeps me mov­ing, to the peo­ple I inter­act with, to the tem­per­a­ture of the sea­son, to the words in the books that I’ve been read­ing with rel­ish.

Life is a series of sen­sa­tions that gal­va­nize, encour­age, pro­voke, and teach.

I can nev­er seem to get it all down.


Thumbnail: Kitchen gadgets
Thumbnail: Bowls and placemats
Thumbnail: Brushed aluminum goodies
Thumbnail: Clocks and vases
Thumbnail: Coloured glass
Thumbnail: Desk clocks
Thumbnail: Stir sticks
Thumbnail: Plants with lights
Thumbnail: Salt and pepper shakers
Thumbnail: Shower curtains
Thumbnail: Wall clocks

Every time I’m in there, I want to buy some­thing, any­thing. I want uneven, hand-made chop­sticks, and wine glass iden­ti­fiers. Transparent coast­ers that form designs when stacked. Milk frothers. Sushi rolling mats. Designer veg­etable brush­es. Hand-craft­ed Italian mar­ti­ni glass­es. Retro wind-up desk toys.

Slave to the Ikea nest­ing instinct.

Christie Had A Speech Impediment

Her unwit­ting nick­name in high school was Fudd (as in Elmer), because her “r“s came out as baby­ish “w“s.

This was par­tial­ly due to the fact that she would imi­tate her old­er broth­er in admi­ra­tion dur­ing child­hood, after he devel­oped his own imped­i­ment from an oro­fa­cial sports injury. The oth­er, and much more severe, aspect of her imped­i­ment was a ran­dom and sud­den inabil­i­ty to speak. No stut­ter, no slur.

As her speech ther­a­pist explained, it was a short-cir­cuit in the brain, caus­ing her to believe that a sen­tence was fin­ished when she was only half-way through say­ing it. The only prob­lem was that she would get stuck on a word. On good days she sim­ply could­n’t repeat it, on bad days she could­n’t speak at all. Most peo­ple thought it was brought on by a rather trau­mat­ic series of events brought on by her sup­posed friends in high school. The was­cals.

I always found it endear­ing, but she nev­er cared for it. One of the tricks she used to get by was to take her time in say­ing a word. E‑nun-ci-ate. It was like mas­sag­ing the ten­sion from a mus­cle, and slow­ly, she would be able to speak again. Another trick was to imag­ine being in a com­fort zone, which was her room, to relax when she was flus­tered.

I’ve always found that girls share some intrin­sic bond with their rooms. It’s almost as if they’re fol­low­ing an evo­lu­tion­ary nest­ing instinct, and their rooms become their homes. A place to grow and be safe. Along with the care­ful­ly lined-up books and the ran­dom pieces of jew­ellery, the hid­den cache of pho­tos and the pur­pose­ful­ly placed can­dles (some of which must nev­er be lit), are the char­ac­ter­is­tic quirks.

Christie could nev­er fall asleep if one of her dozen stuffed ani­mals were fac­ing her. Her bed­time rit­u­al was to make sure that each one was turned away.

In time, Christie’s com­fort zone became the walk-in-clos­et of my room. She was old enough to make love, but simul­ta­ne­ous­ly too young to stay overnight, so we would spend most of our time in there, the place where we could reach out and feel the walls around us, con­fined to the inti­ma­cy of the enclo­sure. We spread out the blan­ket, lit the can­dles, and closed the door.

After a while, the humid­i­ty would build up, and this was no more appar­ent than in the win­ter when we would crack open the door and tan­gi­bly feel the chill on our skin. Opening the sun she called it, as the day­light sharply spilled on the blan­ket that cov­ered us. It was the only place where we could shut out the world, the only place that felt like night.

In a rela­tion­ship, shar­ing the night is more impor­tant than shar­ing flu­ids. Falling asleep with some­one is an accep­tance of trust, a way of say­ing that we’re com­fort­able enough to drift into our sub­con­scious minds. Perhaps it was the unavail­abil­i­ty of such a rit­u­al that’s giv­en the night so much sig­nif­i­cance.

Having no night of our own, we had to make due. I cov­ered one side of a card­board pan­el with glow-in-the-dark stars and sus­pend­ed it from the top of the room. The pan­el was large enough to fill the vision, and in the dark­ness the clos­et became a micro­cosm of the star­ry sky. Even in the mid­dle of day it was near black­ness, and we’d lose track of time, hud­dled under the blan­kets with her sleep­ing at my chest, or lying there face-to-face, talk­ing while I ran my fin­gers through her hair. Sometimes, all we would do was get togeth­er and nap.

And even­tu­al­ly, Christie did­n’t have much trou­ble speak­ing any­more.