Showing posts from 2007

Holiday Gift Results

We opened holiday presents last night and let's just say things went well.  Actually, let's not just say; let's elaborate.  Here are the things I got for the holidays:$15 gift card to Sharper Image $25 gift card to Borders Box of chocolates. $50 in cash. AN IPOD TOUCH!!!Yes, that's right.  I got the touch.  I've already loaded it with tons of music and podcasts, and I've bookmarked all kinds of webapps for productivity, travel, entertainment, reference, etc.  This iPod will not only serve as my PMP but also my PDA.  It has all kinds of cool features beyond just playing music.  Of course, I'll almost never be bringing it out of the house, except for long car rides and vacations.Now you might be thinking: Why didn't Eric get any Star Wars stuff?  Well the truth is, there isn't much Star Wars stuff that's out right now that I either a) don't already have or b) can't buy on my own.  An example of the latter is a Star Wars novel, which I woul…

Back from Vail

Oh boy, am I tired!  Our flight yesterday was supposed to take off at 3:45 PM MST, but because of the weather it kept getting delayed.  First it was pushed by to 5:00 PM, then 5:30, then 5:40.  Luckily we were at DIA, which has free Wi-Fi.  Unfortunately, the signal strength was very low and I wasn't able to get a very good connection.  That, and it was ad-supported; it's got to have some catch, right?  Finally we left at 6:00.  I was terrified that we'd slide across the ice on takeoff!  Luckily, we made it to Washington okay and I'm safely ensconced in my room again.  I only have a few more days of school-free, care-free, and homework-free enjoyment.  Then I have to start working on a major history class debate for which I'm barely prepared.  And it's next Friday!Tonight we're opening holiday presents since we haven't already.  I expect great things to pop out of those boxes...

Nothing new to report

Surprisingly, not a whole lot of news in my life since the first day we got here.  Every day is the same routine.  Anyway, tonight is our last night and we're going out to a pizza restaurant for dinner.  Tomorrow we have a 3:45PM (mountain time) flight which gets in at 8:56PM eastern time.  Maddie will be at home by then, having been picked up tomorrow by our housekeeper before we arrive home.  Every time we get back from a trip, Maddie is, to say the least, ecstatic to see us.  This time around, we expect things to be no different.

Arrival at Vail and a Technical Difficulty

We just got to our hotel room in Vail.  To my knowledge it is the exact same room as we had last time (same building, same room #).  We had an initial fiasco with the Internet when my travel router appeared to cause connection problems.  Attempting to browse the Internet when using the travel router (as opposed to just plugging in) caused the browser to go back to the hotel's landing page every thirty seconds.  I called the front desk and must have scared them, because minutes later it was working fine.  (Knock on wood!)  Anyway, my mother and sister went out to rent their skiing equipment and we are deciding on when to buy groceries.  Exciting stuff, I know.  I plan on relaxing tonight, as I still have to adjust to the new time zone (two hours behind D.C.).  Look for more updates as the trip rolls on. UPDATE: A few hours after posting this, the Internet failed yet again.  I called the tech support department of the hotel's ISP and they told me to spoof the router's MAC ad…

Winter Break Plans

For Winter Break this year, my family and I are not breaking tradition one bit.  We are going back to Vail, Colorado, staying in the same hotel, and doing pretty much the same things.  My mother and sister are avid skiers, so they will be going out on the slopes daily.  My father and I do not ski, but as was the case last year, we will be keeping busy regardless.  I am bringing my laptop and a travel router, because our hotel room has complimentary wired Internet access.  In addition, my sister and I will be going up to the ski resort's mountaintop "Adventure Ridge" at night.  The mountain has tubing, snowmobiling, and ski biking activities.  I did tubing last year with my sister and my mother's friend's son (who was also at Vail at the time).  I liked it a lot, so I will be going back.  Adventure Ridge also has some restaurants where we'll be eating.  The gondola ride up the mountain is especially beautiful at night.  Don't be surprised if I link to some…

Holiday Gift Wish List

As the holiday season is practically here, I would like to take a moment to be completely selfish and write all about me and what I want.  After all, this is my blog...what's stopping me?  What I'm trying to say is that the second annual Headlines from my Head holiday gift list is here.  I've already submitted this to the gift-buyers, and with all the poking and prodding I've been doing, I expect good results.  Check out my list below:MOST WANTED:Apple iPod Touch Super Mario Galaxy for the Wii Wii Zapper with Link's Crossbow Training for the Wii Logitech ClearChat Comfort Headset Sony LF-V30 LocationFree Base Station LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga for the Wii Sony DRX840U 20x External Dual-Layer DVD Burner

The Day After Thanksgiving

Overall, Thanksgiving break was fun.  When my cousins came over with Zelda, Maddie went crazy and they started sniffing each other.  They weren't allowed to run around in the backyard because Zelda has hip problems that aren't conducive -- to say the least -- to running.  But they still had fun meeting each other, although they seemed to be fighting during dinner.  The adults maintained that it was just roughhousing, but I was concerned for both dogs' safety.  They didn't seem to know their own strength.My sister and I went downstairs with our cousins to play the Wii.  We started with Wii Tennis.  Me and my younger cousin played against my older cousin and a computer player; my team won.  But then my sister joined my older cousin and they beat us.  Then we played Wii Baseball.  That got boring after three innings of no scoring, which I attribute to both my unstoppable pitching and my terrible timing at bat.  We then went on to play Wii Bowling.  I got a few strikes and…

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I had lunch with my grandmother yesterday. She called me at 9:30AM to ask if I wanted to come over; turns out my mom's side of the family was also joining her. My uncle said that while the drive down here was long (eight hours, though my youngest cousin said it felt like "forever"), it was very manageable. According to him, my cousins read books and watched DVDs during the ride, and Zelda slept in the back of the car on her portable bed. We had a nice lunch together, after which we inflated the air mattress that my mother bought for my grandmother. My cousins had fun lying on the mattress and adjusting the firmness. My grandmother needed it because my cousins were sleeping at her apartment with her and she only had one extra bed.My family and I will be leaving at 6:00PM to go to my father's brother's house for our official Thanksgiving dinner. There will be several other people there in addition to the six of us, but I'm confident …

Upcoming Thanksgiving Plans

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I couldn't be happier.  Because you see, Turkey Day has some of the best food all year long.  You've got turkey and gravy--the latter of which I love so much, I could drink with a straw.  And you've got pumpkin pie.  I once had six slices of pumpkin pie in one night.  My sister was contemplating making three pumpkin pies instead of the two we'd need for our party, and I said, "Go for it.  I'll have the third one myself."But this Thanksgiving isn't just about giving thanks or eating a lot, it's also about seeing my mom's side of the family whom I haven't seen in forever.  My aunt and uncle, as well as their two children and their dog, live in Michigan, and I've only visited their current house a few times in my life.  Granted, I visited them at their old house several times as well, but either way I haven't had a chance to catch up with them recently.  Another positive is that their dog, Zel…

Problems with the Driver's Ed Routine

Seeing as I'm halfway done with my driver's ed classes, the time has come for me to start thinking about getting my learner's permit.  Initially, I had thought that the permit was actually the highest driving certification I could get before a full license.  That is wrong, however.  First I need the learner's permit, which is good for a year and enables me to complete the sixty hours of in-car practice required for my provisional license.  I must hold the permit for at least six months.  Unfortunately, in order to get my provisional license, I would need to wait at least half a year from now (remember: minimum six months) in order to use those sixty hours towards getting my provisional.This means that from the time my class hours finish in late December, to the time I can submit my in-car hours, it will have been ... let me just pull up Google Calendar ... five months!  That's a long time, and I'm worried that my class hours, both in the classroom and in the ca…

Halloween Semi-live-blogging Extravaganza!

As all of you hopefully know, tonight is All Hallow's Eve.  My sister has about a dozen friends over for a party, which will culminate in a quiet evening for me as they depart on a trick-or-treating spree.  In keeping with my annual tradition of live-blogging the entire evening (which I just started this year), I present you with the live-blogging extravaganza...6:48 PM Just finished greeting my first trick-or-treater of the night.  We saw them come up the driveway, so we opened the door.  But the little girl (who couldn't have been older than five) wanted to ring the doorbell.  So we watched as her mother lifted her up to reach our doorbell and waited the customary three seconds before opening the door again.  The girl promptly grabbed two Kit-Kats, but her mother said, "Only one, dear!"  My mom, who had bought way too much candy, insisted that she take two.6:50 PM There's another group of trick-or-treaters at the door.  The dad is waiting by our front steps wit…
For all you 24 fans out there, let it be known that the season 7 trailer is live! And by live I mean here. This really does look like the best season so far. I mean, season six was good, and season five was ridiculously good, but the plot for this new season will certainly be better. Seriously, just watch the trailer and tell me that January 2008 won't be the start of edge-of-your-seat, jaw-dropping Jack Bauer goodness!
Yesterday I took the PSATs. I had to wake up at 6:30 AM, because they started at 8 AM. Now, my school is only fifteen minutes away, but I wanted to leave a lot of extra time before I left. The test wasn't that hard per se, except for the second math section. In this part, half of the questions were multiple choice and we were supposed to fill in the numerical answers for the other half. We were given 25 minutes for this section, but by the time the teacher called a ten minute warning, I still had lots of questions left. I had to rush to get to the last question, and I ended up skipping about six problems! I still think I did well overall. Last year I took the SSATs and got into the 89th percentile. I did perfect on the writing skills section, but I basically flunked the math section!
I was browsing the CNET Forums this morning, when I came across a hilarious video. It's a spoof of the PC vs Mac ads with the makers themselves, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. The video's about four minutes of hilarity, but at about three minutes and forty seconds, it gets inappropriate for about fifteen seconds. Regardless, a great watch for those of us who get the jokes.

Here's the link:
Driver's Ed was fun today. It was my first class--I need to take ten 3-hour classes in addition to my actual driving sessions. I already had a quiz (a simple one, on requirements and restrictions for different license types) and I got a 90%. Not too shabby. I just hope I score better in the car, when the time comes.
I have updated my blog over at with some new entries. Check it out if you're a Star Wars fan!

Start your engines!

Well, this is it.  In five days, I start taking classes for Drivers' Ed.  While I won't be getting on the road [with an instructor] for quite some time (about 10 weeks), I will be going through the mundane process of learning about turn signals, car proximity, and how to tell if it's a three-way intersection or a four-way.  So wish me luck!Oh, and I do have something on a more technological note.  I'm going to a preliminary meeting at my school for their Film Festival.  Now, you might think, given my love of (and proficiency at) filmmaking, that I might submit something.  Well, you're wrong.  There's actually a spot available on their team to design the official Film Festival website.  And yours truly here is going to volunteer.  Because who else would dare to challenge me to an HTML, CSS, XHTML, or JavaScript coding contest?  With my use of templates and online tutorials, I'd kill them! :-)
I just realized--you guys reading this blog might think that all I use it for is to complain about life, and, well, stuff. Well, I submit to you that that is untrue.

I also use it to talk about pictures like this one:

It's a tiny camera inside what is ostensibly a maple seed. But instead of free-falling, this thing has jet boosters--jet boosters!--to keep it in the air while its wireless communications equipment sends data back to its controller. Apparently the military will be using it to monitor hostile territory, scout out enemy troops, and detect chemical or biological weapons.

I wouldn't be surprised if individuals on the CIA watch list find their houses bombarded with maple seeds.

(image from CNET's Crave Blog)
Got my laptop back a little while ago, but until a few days ago I've been very busy packing for an overnight "bonding" trip with my schoool. Almost everyone in my grade went on it (it was mandatory for everyone in my grade, but some people got out of it), and...well, let's just say it wasn't fun. We got rained on all night, during which time everyone kept me up by talking, yelling, and generally being nuisances. Mind you, they didn't do it with the intent of keeping me up, but that was one of the results. As if the trip wasn't bad enough, we were also forced to do all kinds of activities that, let's just say, I wouldn't prefer to do. Overall, not a good way to spend Thursday and Friday. But I'm back now, and everything's right with the world again.
It's like the technology gods hate me or something. I sent my laptop and the new optical drive back to HP so they could replace it themselves, as you know. Although I sent it two days ago, I just checked its status today, and apparently it has STILL not arrived at the HP service center. That makes me worried that it may not get there; it's a very expensive laptop and I'd hate to wait for another one to be made (on HP's money, of course). In other news, I also need to send in my old Dell RAM that went bad, but the UPS truck that I scheduled for a pickup a few days ago has STILL not arrived.
The bad news just keeps coming, as I found out yesterday. Turns out I partially stripped (ruined) the screw on the underside of my laptop. So now I have to go through a lengthy process of sending the laptop to HP for them to replace the optical drive. A process which, at the worst, involves me being without a laptop for up to ten days! HP says once they get it, it will take 3-5 business days for me to get it back, or 7-9 business days at the latest. But I have my doubts about the HP service centers, especially after both the optical drive and the screw holding it in place proved unacceptably shoddy.

More later as the situation unfolds. Except I'll be posting from my old desktop. *sniff*
Got my HP optical drive replacement! Unfortunately, now I can't find the right screwdriver to get the old one out. Oh well, to the hardware store...
Just a quick update on the HP optical drive issue. I received confirmation that my replacement will arrive by September 4th at 3:00 PM. If only that precision extended to their actual repair jobs. Oh, well...
Drat. My new school starts on September 4th, giving me only a few more days of freedom. And I still don't have school supplies! As if things couldn't get worse, the DVD drive inside my laptop suffered a hardware failure. I called HP and surprisingly, they said I could get it replaced for free. Most likely it's because my laptop is quite new and under warranty.
California was great! We had a nice hotel room with a view overlooking the hotel's jacuzzis, which we went to on the last night. We also had a partial view of the beach, which was connected to the hotel property through a bridge. We went to the beach on our first full day. We also went into Laguna Beach during our vacation, and did a lot of shopping there. We went on a full day excursion to Catalina Island, off the Californian coast. There, we went on a rafting trip around the island looking for wildlife. We found a group of dolphins and got some great pictures! A few days later, it was time to head home again. Unfortunately, our plane was delayed an hour, so we ended up getting home well after midnight!
Just a quick update: the family crisis was partially abated and we made it to Orange County, California. The hotel is very nice, with a partial ocean view. Speaking of oceans...the beach is great! It's our first full day here and we managed to get a good spot on the beach. Unfortunately, the hotel was all sold out of umbrellas so we had to get one from a different store. The sun was merciless!

More after the trip.
Free at last! I'm now posting to this blog from my new laptop, the HP Pavilion dv9500t. The Wii is all set up, as is the new 46" Sony Bravia HDTV. Our new family computer, the HP Pavilion m8100y, and my sister's new computer, the HP Pavilion s3100y, are on the way. We are supposed to be leaving for Orange County, California, tomorrow morning at 5:30 AM! Unfortunately, an unexpected family emergency has arisen and we might not go. I'll post again after the trip or with any other updates.

Just BTW, I won't have Internet all that much in California if we go, so don't expect too many blog posts.
My school has a summer session. I know, it stinks. But it'll be over in five weeks, and then I start at a new school in September. As an end-of-the-year present, I'm getting a laptop. And that's just the start of the new electronics that will be making their way into my house in the next month. I'll tell you all about it when I'm home again, which will be on August 15.
Bermuda was great! I've been back for a while now, but I've been too busy to post here. I'll be heading back to school for a summer session on July 10th, but then I'm out for good on August 16th! I expect to get a laptop as a congratulations present from my parents. That will be exciting for me, because this will be my first laptop and I'm looking forward to increased mobility in my computing. Among the other accessories my house will be augmented with during the summer are a Wii, a new kitchen computer (HP's Touchsmart IQ770), and a Belkin N1 Wireless Router.
Just FYI, I will be in Bermuda from June 14 to June 19. Check my website for pictures of C4 when I get back.

Well everyone, it's finally over. Star Wars Celebration IV has wrapped up at the Los Angeles Convention Center. I had a great time for the 3 1/2 days I was there, out of a total five. I bought a four-day pass a while ago (just around the pre-registration deadline of March 30) and with my Star Wars Fan Club membership, I was able to get in for the fan club-only day on Thursday, May 24. Here's an overview of my trip. At the end, I will detail my convention purchases.

I arrived at the convention center at around 10:30AM, waited in line for about one and a half hours until the 12:00PM opening. When I got to the convention center, I was immediately overwhelmed by how massive everything was. I had heard good things about the Exhibit Hall, which at the time I had assumed was the area where costumes, props, and the like would be on display. Upon arriving, I discovered that it was actually an Exhibitor Hall. …
Just a few quick things:

1) I now have my own website, graciously hosted by Microsoft Office Live. You can find it at:

2) Wow! Only two weeks to go until Celebration IV! I have my convention packet (with my admission badge and fan club lanyard) and the receipts for all my on-site acquisitions such as autographs, photos, and collecting accessories. I have saved up tons of money, and my friends and family will be donating large sums as well.
Hello everyone, from the tropical nation of Costa Rica! I am currently at my second of three hotels, where I have already done a river safari tour; a zip-line adventure over the treetops of the rain forest; and a hike across multiple bridges suspended way above the ground. At my first hotel, I went sightseeing at several powerful waterfalls and walked through hummingbird gardens, aviaries, and frog and snake rooms. Tomorrow I will be moving to my third and final hotel, which is on a beautiful beach. As the last leg of the trip, this hotel will provide rest and relaxation, with no commitments to excursions whatsoever.
Just to let you all know, I will be gone on vacation to Costa Rica for nine days. I will be leaving on Monday morning at about 3:00 AM! Anyways, I think I will have an active internet connection at two of the three hotels where I am staying. If not, I will not be able to respond to comments until I return.
It's confirmed, I'm going to Celebration IV! I already bought over $200 worth of celebrity autographs, and I've reserved a time to shop in the Celebration Store. I've also got plane and hotel reservations squared away. In fact, the only thing I haven't done is buy admission tickets to the convention. I am only waiting because I have an important question for the people running the convention.
Sorry that I haven't updated in a while, everyone. I just found out that I'm probably going to Star Wars Celebration IV, the huge convention celebrating the saga's 30th anniversary. If anyone else is going, comment on this post and let me know! I am going to be meeting a lot of famous people, including the hosts of's weekly podcast. I'm sure it'll be lots of fun and I'll keep you guys updated. MTFBWY!
Happy New Year everyone!

2006 was a great year for me, and I hope 2007 will be even better. I start school tomorrow, and I'm really excited to see all my friends and teachers again. My family and I watched the ball drop in Times Square, NYC. When the counter hit '0', we all cheered and my dog got freaked out!