Sunday, December 28, 2008

Some Random Things I Will Miss About Knoxville

1) Hong Kong House: It's currently owned by a Sxechaun chef. I think it's currently the best it's ever been.
2) Doug Banister: My old pastor from Fellowship Church, now leading a smaller, cozier congregation at All Souls.
3) The Kroger at 4918 Kingston Pike: I think everyone there recognizes me.
4) Wondering how many weeks before the current new restaurant at 6400 Kingston Pike closes, and wondering what is it about that building that spells doom for every business that moves in there.
5) The fake bears they used to have all around town: My favorite was the bumblebee bear.
6) The Christmas tree lights on every commercial tall building: An annual tradition!
7) Brie the wonder dog: Brent and Marci's oldest kid!
8) The Korean grocery store on Sutherland Avenue: I think everyone there recognizes me.
9) Dippin Donuts: I just love the old-fashioned counter seating they have.
10) My friends: They are not really a "random" thing I would miss, more like a given thing I would miss. But I can't think of a random 10th thing!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I LOLed, I cried, and I :rolleyed:

Yoga Flame!

"It is inappropriate. It can destroy the faith of a Muslim," Council chairman Abdul Shukor Husin told reporters.

It's true, yoga has awesome destructive power. Just ask Dhalsim.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My One Hip-Hop Artiste Plug For This Decade

It's been a busy month at work, but things are winding down. I've been working on a complete rewrite of an old Visual FoxPro application, porting it to C# in .NET. I did get to work in Visual Studio 2008, though, and it has been a pleasant experience. However, since it was a Windows app, I didn't get to use the integrated AJAX stuff. I still got to use a few nifty threading tricks, though, which was quite a learning experience in itself.

I've been listening to an online radio station called Pandora for quite a while. It allows you to specify a few seed artists and songs, and then it will try to pick out songs that it thinks you will like. Occasionally it hits the spot and I hear something I really like. Sometimes it plays things that drive me up the wall... thankfully you can tell it when you don't like something, and it will never bring it up again. For the most part, it seems to have me pinned pretty well now, and I'm rarely offended by what it picks out for me. However, it never occurred to me go out and buy something new I heard on the station. That finally changed last week, after hearing the hip hop of Emmanuel Jal.

There's a concise Wikipedia biography for Emmanuel here, which saves me the trouble of having to say to much about the man. In short, he was a former child soldier from Sudan who got rescued from his former way of life, found Jesus and a new purpose, and now spreads his message of peace and redemption through hip-hop. Though he preaches love, his message isn't sugar-coated or banal. It's often hard-edged, poignant, and personal. No matter what tone the music takes, it always sounds genuine.

The album I bought is the 2008 release, Warchild. You might expect someone with his past to hit the same notes over and over. However, there is a surprising amount of variety in what he sings about. Yes, he does sing about his past (on the title track 'Warchild'), the things he had to do to survive('Forced To Sin') , and the way he was rescued from that way of life('Emma'). Along the way, though, he takes time off to sound off on the state of America and its failure to help its own in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina ('Ninth Ward'), offer mainstream hip-hop some advice about the image and values they sell ('50 Cent', 'No Bling'), and even reflect on the insecurities of a young lady who reveals "too much" on a date ('Skirt Too Short'). He often injects a gentle-spirited humor into his lyrics, which makes the message both engaging and accessible.

I got the album on iTunes, which let's you preview a little bit of each track before making a purchase, so you can try that if you're not sure if this would be your cup of tea. There is some digital rights protection that comes with the files you get from iTunes, but a quick burn to CD and re-import later fixes that (am I allowed to say that?). Or you can just go out and get the CD!


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wedding Invitation pic

Here's a draft of a pic we might use for the wedding invitations. It's photoreferenced like the last one... I pencilled over the photo and then colored it in Photoshope.

Free Image Hosting at

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kyeonghi (Photoshope version)

I did this yesterday from a photo we took in Chicago. I'd post the original, but I got a couple of the proportions wrong... I'd rather save myself the embarrasment =).

Click on the image to see the large version.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Slow Days

You get em at work sometimes. And today is one. All I'm doing is waiting on Visual Studio 2008 installation files so I can work on a new project. Since I was talking about 2DFighter yesterday, I thought I'd briefly share about some of the games I've been playing on there.

Street Fighter Alpha 2

This was my all-time favorite game on the Sega Saturn. I never really got good at it since competition was somewhat lacking (me not being in the arcade much and all), but that didn't stop me from having a whole lot of fun. It also handled like a dream, thanks to the uber-responsive Saturn joypad. These days I have to put up with a Saitek analog pad, so it's hard to tell if I suck because of the pad or because I'm getting old.

I'll blame the pad.

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Sakura: All kinds of wrong since 1996.

Breakers Revenge

This game is relatively new to me. A while back when I was messing with emulators I spent some time with it, but never bothered to figure it out. Thanks to a guy I know from, I've decided to give it another chance. It's relatively easy to get into, has forgiving control inputs, and looked pretty good for its time. It used to be on the Neo Geo... I'm a little surprised I never saw this in Malaysia. Or maybe I did, and instantly dismissed it because of it's rather generic cast of characters. A lot of them are just remixed Capcom/SNK characters with their moves traded around. Despite the uninspired characters design, the fighting engine is solid. It might be the most fun fighting game nobody ever played.

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Hey, it's Ryu! And Chun-Li! And Fei Long! And... wait... why does Blanka have boobies?

Super Street Fighter II Turbo

The grand daddy of 2D fighters. Of course, this was one of several updates to the original Street Fighter II, but this is the one that gets the most action on 2DFighter. I'm not particularly good at this game, but the beauty of SSF2T is the damage is scaled so high that I can scrubbily pull off a win from time to time. Well... that goes for any other game I guess.

This is just an excuse to embed a youtube video on my blog for the first time.

Garou: Mark Of The Wolves

And now we come to the mutant step child of SNK's flagship Fatal Fury series. Don't take the "mutant stepchild" part the wrong way... it's a great game, but it's very little like the games that preceded it. For one, Fatal Fury has always been unique for it's line-battle system, which allowed players to move in and out of different planes on the battlefield. I think of it as a really slow dodge... real FF fans would probably get on my case for saying that. Also, it throws out most of the FF cast in favor of new people, many of which have no relation to previous storylines or characters. Terry Bogard is the only guy who sticks around for this game, and he sports a completely new look.

But I digress... All that's just to say Mark of the Wolves isn't really a Fatal Fury game. It was SNK's answer to Capcom's Street Fighter III, and it was similar in that it had a deep, technical fighting engine that gave hardcore players a lot of little tricks to master. Of course, if you were to just see me play it, you wouldn't know. Like every other game on this list, I relay on stupid 2-hit comboes like crouching punch -> burning knuckle to get by. That doesn't mean I don't have fun though!

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This guy's name is Kushnood Butt, which makes G:MOTW even better.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Suppose I Had A Time Machine

Ok, useless hypothesis of the day (or month... or year). Suppose I had a time machine. A fully functional, honest-to-gosh, send-you-to-any-point-in-the-past-or-future time machine. Oh, and lets make it a spatial displacement machine as well, so you also go anywhere. Though, if you think about it, aren't all time machines in fiction spatial displacement machines as well, since the earth is hurtling through the universe at some... great... speed? And at any different point in time, you really wouldn't wind up on earth if you went back or forward in time on the same exact spot? Or does time travel preserve momentum? That would be convenient. But I digress.

Suppose I had a fully functional time machine. Well, except it was missing one function: the function lets you pick when and where you want to go. And I stepped in said Time Machine, because, hey! Time Machine! Who cares, right? Except for the aforementioned possibility of winding up in the black, cold, void of space. That freaks me out. However, this Time Machine is guaranteed to put you somewhere on Earth, at such time and place as to be convenient for a completely useless hypothetical discussion.

So I step in said Time Machine, and I go back in time about, oh, 16 or 17 years I think. And I wind up in Malaysia, and the Sungei Wang shopping mall in KL. And lo and behold! I see myself with my dad, contemplating the purchase of a state-of-the-art Sega Saturn videogame console.

Why? Because it has a port of Capcom's X-Men: Children of the Atom! I see myself salivating at the thought of playing this beaitful 2D fighting game at home, on my very own television. My dad is getting ready to pull out the cash for the system and game... it wasn't cheap. The equivalent of close to $1000.

What would I do?

Why, I'd walk right over there to little me and dad, and tell them "Put your money away! That's far too much to spend on something that you're going to get to play for free on your pc, with opponents from all around the world!" Then they would look at me, realize I'm basically an older, fatter version of my younger self, and freak out. At that point, I probably should jump back through time to avoid ripping apart the time-space continuum. Nevermind that I risked it in the first place... common sense tends to set in slowly in mind-boggling situations such as these.

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In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have!

So anyway, yeah, playing 2D fighters is exactly what I get to do these days, on, a aptly-named but fairly nondescript little website that offers you the ability to play a whole bunch of old-school 2D fighters on the internet, with little to no lag. Street Fighter, Fatal Fury, DarkStalkers, Art Of Fighting, KOF 98... there's lots of golden nuggets of fun waiting to be had for old-timers like me who grew up pining for our turn to play these games at the local arcade. Because it's on the internet, you can play with just about anybody in the world with an internet connection, I'd imagine. My little younger self's head would have exploded with joy at the thought. I'm pretty happy too.

If any of my old buddies out there still know how to do down, down-forward, forward, punch, I'm on there as 'greyhoundbus'. Look me up! These days I get on there for about an hour after work, if I have the time.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Summer '08 Super Hero Movie Roundup

I've officially seen more superhero flicks this summer than any other. Granted, I've probably watched more flicks this summer than any other (Even 'Sex In THe City' snuck in there... but it wasn't my idea!), so that doesn't necessarily reflect a sudden rise in the number of superhero flicks this year. There were undeniably a lot to choose from, though. I haven't seen them *all* (the one that comes to mind is Hellboy 2), but I think I got pretty close.

I just thought I'd give my two cents on the movies I saw, since, well, I haven't blogged in a while. Sure there's a ton of things going on in my life right now (planning a wedding, first and foremost), but it's fun to talk about movies. Everyone's a critic for a reason. It's FUN.

Iron Man

This has been out for a while, now, and most everything that has been said about it has been said, so I'll keep it short. I liked it enough to go see it twice, and it was pretty good for a super hero flick. First, the bad. It had an underdeveloped supervillain, which is one flaw that seems to dog a lot of traditional superhero origin movies. I cannot help but wonder why. X-Men managed to pull it off years ago, but every other origin movie in recent memory always manages to screw it up somehow. Now the good. Robert Downie Jr. Enough said. He was so good here, that goodness spilled over and subsequently almost made him the best thing about The Incredible Hulk movie. Speaking of which...

The Incredible Hulk

The Incredible Hulk works for three reasons: 1) Hulk says "HULK SMASH!", and then proceeds to smash. 2) The villain is an obsessed military-type turned giant super-soldier psychopath, and not a giant cloudish, elemental... thing. Fisticuffs > Whatever it is Ang Lee's Hulk did in the final showdown of that movie. 3) Tony Stark drops by and says hi.

Ok, those aren't the only reasons, but those points do illustrate what a different direction this movie takes from the previous one. This movie was just more intense. It helps that it isn't trying to tell an origin story, so the plot basically hits the ground running. The first movie meandered in various different directions with little to hold the whole thing together. That's fine for an art film, but if you're going to have a giant green CG monster headline your movie, all the introspective stuff needs to be tight, focused, and keep the intensity at a certain level. The new Hulk keeps the plot tight and focused. Basically it's a fugitive story in comicbook wrappings. Who doesn't like a good chase?

Also, it's interesting that Marvel is trying to tie its franchises together by having the Hulk and Iron Man coexist in the same universe. The foreshadowing of Captain America and the Avengers is great fan service and builds anticipation for what's to come. The only downside is you are left wondering if all of this effort is going to pay off down the line for the fans. After, all they are now more compelled to invest into Marvel's subsequent movies. For instance, the Thor movie. I wouldn't have been particularly interested in watching that per se, but if it ties into the larger universe... hell, now I have to.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things don't start to suck.


This was VERY different from the source material. The comic book Wanted was built on a fascinating premise: supervillains are real, but after a war in which they won and defeated all the superheroes, they remade reality into what we have today, a world where superheroes and supervillains are remembered only in comics. Super villains live in the shadows, controlling everything in secret, keeping their activities clandestine for fear that the superheroes of the multiverse will bear down on them if they reveal themselves.

The movie Wanted is about... a secret league of assassins. Who can shoot bullets that curve. Ok! Long story short: turn your brain off, and you might enjoy this. It's very dumb, but fun if you're in the right mood. I wasn't quite in the right mood, but I did manage to turn my brain off once bullets started curving, and I came away relatively unscarred. If you must leave your brain on to enjoy a movie, then I suggest you take a pee break when they start talking about rat bombs. Spare yourself that much, at least.


This is the only superhero movie on the list that isn't based on a preexisting property. The reviews had been mostly negative, so I went in with low expectations. Maybe the low expectations had something to do with it, but I came away pleasantly surprised. It did not suck nearly as much as the reviews said it would. It was definitely not as bad as Wild Wild West (which was atrocious). In fact I liked it a lot more than Wanted. I think what bugged most people is the slightly unexpected change in direction and mood the film takes partway through.

The movie starts out as a really fascinating look at the reformation of a really powerful bum, who feels compelled to help people but can't seem to keep it together enough to prevent massive property damage from occurring. It's funny, it's smart, and it seems to be making some sort of commentary on how American society treats it celebrities. All good. Then the plot does a 180, things seem to get grimmer, and it threatens to end in tragedy. Not good?

Here's how I look at it. The first half was brilliant, but I had a hard time figuring out how it was supposed to end. The second half was brilliant in it's own way, though the critics are right in saying it failed to deliver on what the first half promised. What I think the second half delivers is something else entirely that was still my cup of tea. I like tragic heroes, so shoot me. Maybe there was a better way to stitch up the two ends of the movie, but I also happen to like twists like the one Hancock throws at you. It was a little jarring, for sure, but not entirely illogical, and I thought there was enough foreshadowing in the first half that there was something else going on under the surface.

I hope they follow up on Hancock. They've created an interesting character here that deserves a little more time in the spotlight before he's retired for good.

The Dark Knight

I kinda had the opposite problem going into this movie that I did with Hancock. The reviews and word-of-mouth for The Dark Knight were so overwhelmingly positive that I had convinced myself it couldn't possibly be THAT good. I was sure I was going to be disappointed.

Well, it's good to be wrong once in a while.

Believe the hype. The Dark Knight delivers on every promise and then just keeps delivering. I honestly cannot recall the last time a movie kept me on the edge of my seat for two hours straight. Well... maybe Terminator 2 did, but I was a kid back then. Doesn't count.

I probably don't need to gush over the acting in this film (I hear Heath Ledger's performance is a posthumous Oscar wild card), since everyone else has done that already. I don't need to harp on the brilliant pacing and plot either. I'll just explain the main reason I want to see this movie again.

Christopher Nolan has a habit of crafting tales that make you think twice about what you just saw, and in the light of new information, whether you interpreted things right the first time. Momento and The Prestige come to mind. It's not too much of a stretch to say that Nolan regularly lies in his stories and then hints later on that he was fibbing, but doesn't always come right out and says so, leaving the viewer to wonder what was really going on at any given moment. In The Dark Knight's version of the Joker, Nolan has basically created a character that embodies Nolan's distinct approach to storytelling.

The Joker lies. Sometimes his lies are harmless, and sometimes they make the difference between life and death. But they are all sinister lies, and it is difficult to tell when they cease, if they ever ceased at all. This Joker injects every scene he is in with a thick air of unpredictability that spills out into the rest of the movie. You're never sure if you can trust the Joker, and eventually a sort of paranoia sets in that makes you fear the worse for everyone in the movie at any given moment. That's how effective the Joker's lies are, and that is what makes him the greatest movie protagonist I've seen on screen in a long, long time time... perhaps ever.

The best part is that the Joker, like Nolan, never explicitly tells you when he was lying and when he wasn't. You have to pay attention to what's happening to figure that out. So it would just be fun to go back, watch the movie, and reevaluate his motives and goals at any given moment, and rethred the labyrinth of the Joker's psychological mind games.

Also, I was too freaked out most of the time the first time around to really think straight. Yeah I'm a wimp.

In Conclusion

This has been a really interesting year for superhero movies. The big two, Marvel and DC, attempted things that can potentially advance the genre to heights unseen. Marvel has begun the process of presenting its heroes as part of one, coherent, shared universe. The Hulk can show up in a future Iron Man movie, and vice versa, and both movies dropped huge teases about future heroes that will get the big screen treatment. That's a fantastic premise and I can't help but wonder what took them so long to get round to implementing that approach.

The Dark Knight, on the other hand, really upped the ante in terms of plot and complexity. Never has a movie succeeded so gloriously at telling a serious, compelling, grounded story about a man who runs around in tights fighting evil. The folks at Marvel should be wondering how they can do the same for their franchises. Here's hoping they swing for the fences like Nolan did. The recent Iron Man comics have been telling interesting espionage-themed stories of late... maybe that's one way to go?

In any case, this year has really set everything up for good things to come. It may be downhill from here... I do have a hard time imagining how another batsequel could possibly top The Dark Knight, and I harbor fears about the Marvel movieverse crumbling under its own weight.

I'm an optimist though, and I'll see you at the Thor movie!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Make A Note (A Very Happy Note)

Well, I gone done it. I got engaged to the woman of my dreams. She's smart, funny, beautiful, and loves God. She's also got a funny accent and she gets a little cranky when she's hungry (or bored, or tired), but nobody's perfect. KIDDING! She loves me and I love her, and that makes her absolutely perfect to me.

It happened two days ago while I was driving her back to Hattiesburg. We stopped at Chattoonaga, drove up to the top of Lookout Mountain, and visited Point Park (an outdoor Civil War museum/memorial of sorts). It was sunny and warm, and the view was great (except for the general haziness of the Tennessee valley), so we took a few photos. I saw my chance next to an old cannon sitting on a rock outcropping. There was a sign warning people not to get too close to the edge on one of the lower rocks, which I used as an excuse to get in a kneeling position, asking Kyeonghi to take a picture of me with the sign in the background.

I already had the ring in my hand, which she of course couldn't see through the camera. She took the photo and looked up. Right then, I said "While I'm in this position, I've got a question to ask you...", holding the ring up. A couple squeals and and an affirmative reply of some sort later ("Yes" would have sufficed, but she mumbled a bunch of things, including "Thank you"), we were engaged!

Here's a picture of the ring on her hand (I'm holding her hand):

We were fortunate enough to have some people come by who could take a picture of us at that exact spot to commemorate the moment (you can see part of the cannon towards the right):

So there you have it! We were engaged on the 21st of June, 2008. That also happened to be the summer solstice, the longest day of the year. I think there's poetry in that.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Shortest Verse

Ok, here's my go at blogging a shirt on my Printfection store instead of Spreadshirt. I decided to use imageshack to host the design... click on the image below to go to the store and check out the various shirts I've got the design on. (There's a little verse on the back of the shirts, too!)

I've actually ordered one just to see how it turns out. Can't wait to get it!

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Da-da-da-da-da, Feelin Groooovy

While I was doing my daily surveillance of teh internetz today, I happened across this article on CNN:

Slow Down, You're Movin' Too Fast

I'll let this quote explain the gist of it:

Cahn is a leader in the "slow movement," a national campaign that claims that speed kills. Its leaders say that Americans are so starved for time, our need for speed is destroying our health, families and communities.

Well, I'm not saying I'm overworked or anything, but I do fervently believe (and have said so for years) that if I could just take a half-hour nap after lunch, I'd be way more productive in the afternoons. Nothing in the article specifically about fighting for your right to nap, though. Just things like "turning off the BlackBerry, cooking unhurried meals with friends, cultivating a garden and taking long walks."

Sigh, even my fellow lazybones don't have my back.

Friday, June 06, 2008


Ok, so, as I get older, it gets harder to think of good blog post titles. Hit the big three-oh this year, a couple months ago. My old wit has started to fade already. OR it might have nothing to do with age. It might have more to do with the fact I played a lot of Rayman: Raving Rabbids 2 on the Nintendo Wii last night. It was the semi-regular geek night of the ex-Netlearning Programmers, and this time the theme was videogames. Wii and Guitar Hero, to be specific, though there was a little Rock Band action before everybody showed up.

Rayman: Raving Rabbids was alot of fun, in large part due to its disturbing sense of humor. It's basically a party game along the lines of, well, Mario Party, which gives up to four players the chance to go head-to-head in a battle for supremacy at a bunch of loony minigames. It'd take to long to describe the entire game in a way that does it justice, so I'll just describe one mini-game. It has the four players looking at a bunch of screaming baby bunnies in the back seat of a car on a road trip, and anytime a bunny start crying or jumping around, you need to point at it with your wiimote and make a slapping motion with the nunchuck, which shuts the lil bugger up and nets you points. Brad Buchanan put it succinctly "And they're getting on Grand Theft Auto IV for being too violent". The game was a ton of fun, and got me wondering if I should get a Wii myself... I might, since Kyeonghi doesn't seem too adverse towards the idea. It'll be a while though.

I've started a new T-shirt store on Printfection, mainly because after some research I saw good things being said about it. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to come with a handy-dandy blogging function, so I'll have to figure out another way to peddle my wares. I also need to rearrange the store a little. It doesn't do a great job of ordering the stuff you put up. Still, there's a few things I like about. I'll probably stick with both stores til I decide which one I like the best.

Here's the current URL:

Happy window-shopping! (Or actual shopping)

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Am Iron Man

Well, this kinda saves me the trouble of doing a movie review. Heh. Make a tacky t-shirt instead. Now you too can have a chestpiece ala Tony Stark! Hmm.... I'm gonna have to fix up the transparencies on the images I upload. I seem to have a white leakage problem around the borders every time.

EDIT: Nevermind... it looks perfectly fine when you put against a colored T-shirt. Looks pretty badass on a black T. That's the color I got on the T-shirt I have in my shop right now. I don't know what's up with the pic Spreadshirt's Blog It function links me to. Maybe I ought to buy one for myself just to check... hehe.

 I Am Iron Man

I Am Iron Man

Sunday, May 18, 2008

My First Spreadshirt Design

I'm just testing out Spreadshirt's Blog It functionality... and shamelessly peddling my first design! The design has a transparent background, it doesn't show up very well here. Sorry! I'm too lazy to do anything about it.

 Peace I Leave With You

Peace I Leave With You

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Some Updates

Well it's kinda hard to summarize a whole year, so maybe I won't even try. All who are near and dear to me (and not so near but still dear to me) know pretty much what are the big changes in my life lately. Of course, I have a been seeing a very charming lady by the name of Kyeonghi for close to a year, now. I'd like excuse the year of inactivy on that, but truth be told, I wasn't really blogging much before that either. What was it, once a month? Yeah I needed to quit for a while.

Now I'm feeling the urge to tell the world what's up with my life once again, though it is mostly for the sake of this blog itself. Shame to let a 4-year old institution just die like that, you know? Especially since Blogger was so nice to keep it around for me.

First things, first, I've randomly decided to try and sell T-shirts! I signed up on one of those make-your-own T-shirt sites that let you sell the designs you make. Right now I've got one design there, and I planted it on a T-shirt and a mousepad (though you get to put it on anything else you like that they have available, I get a commission if the design is used). I hope as time passes by I get round to building a half-way decent portfolio. I don't know if they ship to outside of the USA, so if you're in Malaysia (or anywhere else) you may be out of luck. Or in luck, depending on how awful you think my designs are. Grr.

Enough bellyaching! Here's a link!

Link To My Spread Shirt Store (Soon To Be Impressive, As Opposed To Underwhelming, Hopefully)

If you have a suggestion for a piece you want me to do, feel free to leave a comment here. You're under no obligation to buy anything if it comes out not quite the way you envisioned it =)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

That's One HUGE Dustbunny

Oh-ho! And you thought this blog was dead! Well, it's coming back, and... well, that's all I got for now.

Matt Forsythe, if you're reading this... where's your blog?!