Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another thing that pisses me off

Firefox 3's location bar. I don't mind the one click bookmark thing, that's actually useful. But the so-called "smart" feature that searches through your bookmarks and history instead of just matching the beginning of previously typed URLs like in Firefox 2? GTFO.

I don't need my bookmarks appearing. I have Fast Dial, so all my bookmarks are visible any time I open a new tab.

There are about:config options for this, some of which don't do shit. It tries to learn based on your usage, but when your desired usage is the old functionality and that takes forever to even approximate, why bother.

Where is the option to just go back to Fx2's location bar? Why not have the thing be configurable? More options = more customized user experience = users get exactly what they want out of the browser = good. They've suggested that someone make an extension to provide the old behavior, but this is the kind of thing that should be a browser preference.

There is one about:config option that does have a notable effect: browser.urlbar.matchBehavior. Set it to 3 for best results. While you're there, set browser.urlbar.matchOnlyTyped (strangely, no mozillazine entry for that preference) to true. The bookmark-related options found by entering places into the filter box look like they might change something, but after changing them to 0 (the recommended setting to prevent bookmarks from showing in the list) and restarting firefox, nothing's different, bookmarks still appear in the dropdown. This might be because my bookmarks end up in my history. Because I use my bookmarks. lol.

I don't know if this is just by design or if it's a quirk that could disappear, but disabling the history isn't exactly the same as setting it to clear it after 0 days. Setting it to 0 days basically makes the history session-only, which when you think about it is pretty neat.

My Firefox is highly configured for screen space and usability, and to not have the option to make the location bar work more to my liking is inexcusable. There are extensions to fix it, but they either do stuff I don't want or don't do enough, so I haven't installed any of them. Now that I think about it, I should do an updated Firefox Extensions post, since I've added a few, and maybe go into UI config and extension setup a bit more than I did before.

Also I still don't know what that one site was that I had in Fast Dial. I have the empty spot waiting for it, but I just can't remember what it was. I guess I didn't use it all that often, seeing as how I've remembered all 18 of the other sites I had in it. Maybe I should just fill that spot with the next site I bookmark. Maybe then I'll remember it.

I said I needed to go to sleep two hours ago. I think I'll go do that now.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another thing that annoys me about food

Recalling that post a while back, I was reminded of something else I absolutely hate.

Food that's obviously packaged as a single-serving convenience food item, yet upon inspecting the nutrition facts lists itself as multiple servings.

The only reason I can think of that they do this is so they can get the nutrition fact numbers down and make you think their shit is more healthy than it really is. So basically they're manipulating their serving size to misinform the consumer about the contents of the package. No doubt another contributor to the glaring weight problem America collectively has.

Even Pop-Tarts are guilty of this. Pop-Tarts are packaged in boxes containing bags that have two Pop-Tarts in each, right? Take a good look at the nutrition facts. Serving size: 1 Pop-Tart. Even though they're sub-packaged in twos. Just so they could list it as having only 5g of fat per serving. Most people I know that eat Pop-Tarts (including myself) eat them two at a time.

Coca-cola got a lot better recently about stuff like this. Their 20oz bottles used to have a ridiculous 8oz serving size. They still list the 8oz serving size's nutrition facts for whatever reason (even though there's 2.5 servings at that size), but now they also list the proper 20oz serving size's nutrition facts.

That reminds me of another thing I hate that goes along with the whole "manipulation of nutrition facts to intentionally misinform the consumer": Trans Fat amounts. Just because the nutrition facts say Trans Fat: 0g, doesn't mean there's actually zero trans fat. The FDA has left open a loophole that allows them to list something as 0g when there's less than a certain amount (I think it's 0.5g). Inspect the ingredients list of something claiming 0g trans fat. If you see any partially hydrogenated oils, they're lying their asses off. Fully hydrogenated oils and oils that haven't been hydrogenated don't contribute any trans fat. The concept of zero inidcates that there is nothing, it shouldn't be allowed to be used when there actually is something.

Pop-Tarts are guilty of this too. Or at least the Cookies 'N Creme flavor is. The sprinkles have partially hydrogenated cottonseed and soybean oil. It's ambiguous as to whether or not the soybean oil is partially hydrogenated (whoever wrote their ingredients list needs to take a refresher course in Technical Writing), but I'd lean towards it being partially hydrogenated also. They do have a little symbol next to this that expands to "less than 0.5g trans fat per serving", but why the fuck don't they just fucking put that in the fucking nutritional facts instead of fucking making the reader hunt all over the fucking package for it?

A third (and final, for this post at least) thing: When the package imagery doesn't accurately reflect the serving size. Hillshire Farms lunch meats are very guilty of this (oh and whaddaya know, Pop-Tarts are too. Three for three!). Take a look at any one of their packages, they show a sandwich with a massive amount of meat on it. Take a look at the serving size, it's generally 3-5 slices. To get what's in the image, you generally have to use the entire package. Actually, I'm convinced that's actually what they want you to do, since they seem to make sure the slices are hard as hell to separate neatly. This is partially fueled by how thin they're cut, they just stick together. The other factor is that they seem to take it straight from the pile that falls off the back of the meat slicer and shove it into the package as-is instead of neatening it up a bit.

At least they stopped that stupid High School Musical 3 promotion. Honestly, nobody bought the first one, nobody bought the second one, and nobody who's buying meat is going to save a few Hillshire Farms meat UPCs to send in for a rebate on the third one. Worst-targeted promotion ever.

Globally installed Firefox extensions suck

If you install the latest Java, AVG (maybe other virus scanners too), Skype, or one of Microsoft's recent .NET updates (may even happen automatically if you have automatic updates turned on - I don't), you may have noticed extensions in your addons dialog whose uninstall buttons are disabled. For whatever reason they don't want you to uninstall these things, but they don't generally tell you what they do or why the hell you want them in the first place, and don't give you the option to not install.

So here's how to remove these things. Instructions are Windows only. Sorry 'bout that, but I don't have any globally installed un-uninstallable extensions on linux, and I don't have a mac.

Warning: These instructions involve editing the registry. The thing to note about the registry is that if you haphazardly change things you can fuck your computer up. So to obtain the desired results with no ill side-effects, follow these instructions exactly.
  1. Go to Start->Run. If you're on VistAIDS and haven't configured your start menu to show the Run... option, do so now in the Start Menu options.
  2. Type regedit and press Enter. If you're on VistAIDS, you'll probably have to answer a UAC prompt, and if you don't, turn UAC the fuck back on.
  4. Expand SOFTWARE.
  5. Expand Mozilla.
  6. Expand Firefox. (not the one that says Mozilla Firefox (or Mozilla Firefox <version number>), but the one that just says Firefox)
  7. Select Extensions.
  8. You'll see the list of globally-installed extensions in the right-hand pane. Right click on each name and select Delete. You should be left with just the (Default) REG_SZ (value not set) line.
  9. Close regedit and restart Firefox.
Once that's done, your Firefox will be free of these pests. Enjoy.

Note: If you're uncomfortable editing your registry, you can just simply disable the extensions. They won't be removed entirely, but they won't affect anything either.

On a different subject entirely, I got the K-On! ED single on Monday. Immediately ripped it to FLAC using Exact Audio Copy. Freedb actually had the tags for it, though the artist tag showed as question marks, which means EAC doesn't support Unicode (Further testing shows that the title is entered as question marks in freedb itself, meaning the program that submitted the tags didn't support Unicode, but EAC also doesn't support it, as it's in their feature wishlist). I replaced them with "Sakurakou K-On Bu", which is on the album cover. The lyric in Don't say "lazy" is actually: Please don't say "you are lazy" だって本当はcrazy (note the quotes around "you are lazy"), which makes me think the one that's actually crazy is the speaker and not the person being spoken to (so it would be "because I'm actually crazy" instead of "because you're actually crazy"). The phrase leaves it ambiguous, so it's hard to tell for sure, but I think the speaker doesn't want to be called lazy because they're actually crazy. It makes sense to me. The B-side, Sweet Bitter Beauty Song, is kinda catchy and reminds me of something I've heard before but I can't quite place it.

The limited edition's booklet isn't actually a booklet (dunno if the RE's was this way or not). Instead, it's five separate cards with a picture on one side and lyrics, credits, and the like on the other. One (that's the default album art) has Mio, Ritsu, Tsumugi, and Yui on it, the other four are character-specific. I immediately swapped it around so my album art is Mio.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

So my onboard lan died.

Hence the cause of all my fucking troubles.

Luckily, I had a spare 3com 10/100 NIC lying around that I could shove in. Back online, no random freezing, no having to run xpnetdiag.exe every two minutes, etc.

Even though I technically didn't need to have reinstalled Windows to fix this (since it was hardware and not software), I don't regret it. Sure, reconfiguring is a bitch, and there's one site I had in Fast Dial that I can't remember what the hell it was, but my aging install of Windows was due for a reinstall anyway. I'm even up to XP Service Pack 3 now. lol get with the times, right?

Part of me keeps saying "hey, we could go back to Windows 7". It would probably have the driver for the 3com card (they're fairly damn common, we have a pile of them). I'd have to start it up without the network cable so I could disable automatic updates, which it's fairly zealous about getting as soon as it discovers internet access.

The rest of me is saying "fuck Windows 7, we have a working setup, don't fuck with it". For now, I think that's what I'll do.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law

I've noticed many cases where I'll be doing something that's technically illegal, but given the circumstances has no bad repercussions. It's moreso than just doing it with no cops around. I'll try and explain with some examples.

You're at a stop sign. There's a car in front of you. You want to turn right. You can clearly see the road in both directions. A spot opens up and the car in front of you goes, and you notice you can safely turn right and do so. As in, when they go, you advance forwards and then make your own turn without re-stopping at the stop sign.

The letter of the law says that you're supposed to stop at the stop sign. Being the second car in line doesn't count as actually being at the stop sign. Yet the spirit of the law is to get you to stop and observe the situation and make an educated decision about when to continue your journey. This situation, while technically illegal, is still perfectly plausible.

Another example. You're at another intersection, this time with a traffic light and a "No Turn On Red" sign. It's 4 AM, there are no pedestrians, and the light has a ten minute cycle, meaning you're going to be sitting there for a while waiting for it to turn green. However, since there are no pedestrians, you make your right turn and go on with life.

This is once again illegal. After all, the "No Turn On Red" sign is there for a purpose. This intersection is in a highly foot-trafficked area within a state university. Disallowing turning when the light is red can easily prevent 99% of all pedestrian injuries. However, as previously stated, it's 4 AM and there are no pedestrians. It's always going to be illegal to do that right turn on red, but the pedestrians the turn restriction is there to protect aren't there, so safety isn't an issue.

As you can see, there are plenty of situations where understanding the spirit of the law technically brings special cases where the letter of the law can be justifiably questioned. However, this kind of works against us as well, as in this next example.

The speed limit on the road you're driving on is 25MPH (typical two lane residential street). There's no traffic, no pedestrians, and nobody backing out of a driveway or wanting to enter from a side road. The letter of the law states that the speed limit is 25MPH, plain and simple. The spirit of the law is to make sure that people on the road are going a speed that gives them enough time to react to changes in conditions, and to some extent, to cut down on noise. In this situation, it's possible to be going faster than the speed limit and still be in control of the vehicle, and without endangering anyone else. If it's during the day, you're only going to be bothering the nocturnal people who apparently don't have the right to a good day's sleep. Grr.

Oh I thought of another example.

You've been at a friend's place, and had some alcohol (not much, I'll use tonight as an example since this actually happened about an hour ago, so you've had an ounce of irish cream, an ounce of strawberry irish cream, and maybe two ounces of a cheap kahlua knockoff, and you're a fat bastard who can handle your alcohol). It's been a few hours since your last drink, you know your limits and definitely know you're not truly impaired, yet at the same time you figure that if you were to be pulled over, you'd fail the breathalyzer. The letter of the law states if you're over a certain BAC, you're under the influence. However, the spirit of the law is taking the typical range of lightweights and heavyweights into account and providing a general guideline as to what is considered safe. While probably being over that BAC, you're not really impaired and in fact make it home without event, issue, or interruption.

If the spirit of the law means nothing then I guess there's three things I've done before. Not that I haven't ever broken the speed limit, but I try my best not to, since it saves gas.

Also, lol disclaimer: The above post is not intended as legal advice and should not be interpreted or construed as such. I am not a lawyer, I'm just a 26 year old NEET with nothing better to do. If you do something stupid and get caught, you're a moron. Also, I'm not responsible for your actions and decisions.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

hahaha oh wow

How the hell did I manage to get this score?

Since my desktop's out of commission for the moment, I'm using my server. Which, yes, is running xubuntu. It's slow as shit, it won't be able to decode any anime fast enough to watch it, but it gets me the internet.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


I'm not using VistAIDS, but I feel like Windows is giving me the middle finger and this is the best image I have to represent that with.
This is now the second time I've had to start over typing this, so it'll be short and sweet. Well, not really.

I woke up yesterday to discover that my computer couldn't access our local network, or for that matter the internet. I tried everything I knew and nothing could get it working, no amount of rebooting, release/renew, etc. would fix it.

So I overreacted. Honestly I don't know what else I could have done, but whatever.

I opted to wipe my OS hard drive and reinstall Windows. It had needed it for a while, what with all the posts about my computer shitting bricks and whatnot a while back.

At first I tried to put the Windows 7 beta on it, but even after a successful install I couldn't get it to refrain from BSODing upon reboot.

So I reinstalled XP, then went through hell getting it up to SP3. What hell did I go through? First off, after a virgin install of SP1 (what my XP Pro disc contains), you can't just grab SP3 off of Windows Update. Microsoft can't make anything simple to save their lives. You have to update to SP2, reboot, and then update to SP3. On top of that, every few minutes it goes "lol what's a network connection?" and I have to run XP's uber-hidden network diagnostic tool to fix it.

For reference, this tool is xpnetdiag.exe. Search it up. You'll have to allow windows to search in system directories to find it.

I'm typing this on my crapass laptop that's basically fubar but can still boot an Ubuntu livedisc.

Actually, the network connection might have relaxed a bit. I don't know if it's because I'm not using the computer or what, but I haven't had to run the diagnostic tool to fix it in a while. I've got Azureus going with a few torrents and they're still active. (inb4 it craps out again)

If it's directly related to user activity, which seems a little weird, I'll have to shift my use pattern around to my other computers, perhaps using this laptop a bit more. I hate laptop keyboards though, I've had to backspace so many fucking times already.

The problem that forced me to type this on my laptop isn't the intermittent connectivity issue. It's one that's far more aggravating (and just happened again). The computer will simply just stop accepting input. The keyboard doesn't work, my trackball doesn't work, nothing fucking works. The screen doesn't even update if things should be changing. Yay reset button.

What all this boils down to is that my desktop in its current state is unusable. I'll have to replace it with a brand new computer a little sooner than I'd predicted. Which means going out and getting a fucking job during a fucking economic recession just got a little more fucking important.

Shit really? It just fucking stopped again. No more than a minute after rebooting, logging back in, and starting Azureus again. What the fucking hell. Shit's definitely unusable.

You know what forced me to have to type this again? Pretty much the same fucking issue, only this time on my laptop. I got out my USB flash drive to store the file on, plugged it into my laptop's only USB port, and it froze. What the hell. After rebooting my laptop I immediately made a text file on my USB drive and have been saving every so often. I can deal with the line ends being unix format. I'd just like to have something to fucking post.

I need a lot of alcohol. Now. Found a bottle of rum (not spiced, sadface), made rum and coke (zero).

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Waifu challenge?

Akiyama Mio (3)
  • plays bass guitar (+1)
  • is smart (even)
  • shyness (+1)
  • doesn't want me to say I'm lazy, because I'm actually crazy (+1)
Mizuhara Koyomi (6)
  • meganekko (+2)
  • zettai ryouiki (on a regular basis!) (+1)
  • most grounded with reality of any character in Azumanga Daioh, thus easy to identify with (+1)
  • is also smart (even)
  • it's kinda cute how she keeps trying different diets to lose weight but keeps failing to keep them up (+1)
  • the maturity shown by her constant concern over her weight (+1)
Yomi's winning currently, but we're only 3 episodes into K-On!. The only logical course of action at this moment is to wait for the rest of K-On! to come out. Then marathon both and produce the complete list.

Will 2009 see a change in hands of the prestigious title of "mai waifu"? Only time will tell.

Also, preordered the limited edition version of the K-On! ED single, due out on the 22nd. As for limited edition vs. regular edition, they were the same price, so why not go limited? The last time I buyfagged anything like this was the Katamari Damacy soundtrack. It's been a while.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Please don't say you are lazy

datte hontou wa crazy

I mean


When does the K-On! ED single come out again? (while we're on that subject, how about the Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood OP single as well)

In the meantime, I've begun the long and arduous process of making a custom of the tv-size version in World Tour. So far I've got the drum lead-in and the entire bass track (<3 Mio). I can only really hear the lead guitar and the keyboards in a couple places, which is kinda irritating. I'll probably have to bullshit a guitar part that combines lead, some backing rhythm, and the keyboard stuff. I guess Yui plays rhythm guitar. lol.

Getting the song's BPM was actually rather easy. The first result of my google search for "bpm calculator" was exactly what I wanted: something where I could just tap a key on my keyboard and it would display my average. I clocked it at around 180.5 BPM, which can't actually be specified in World Tour (it maxes at 160), so I charted it at 91 BPM with notes twice as often, to effectively be the same thing. It's not quite right (90 was too slow, 91 is still too slow but it fits a lot better, I suspect 92 would be too fast), but the song clocks in at 1:27 with just one part charted, so I can't be that far off.

In the charting process I realized moreso than I already have just how much the music creator sucks. It's so unintuitive. Something as simple as changing the pitch for a specific note color takes so many button presses. You have to hop out of step recording, bring up the "pause" menu, select Scale, scroll down, select the fret button, then scroll through a list of note names. Then you confirm each one as you change it, and back out and go back into step record mode. Luckily there were only three places in the song where I needed to change it up, and they were all right together.

The BPM issue could be better. Seriously, why have such a low upper limit? I would have much rather charted the song at 180 BPM.

Furthermore, you can't ever change the time signature. It's stuck at 4/4. There's a bass bit about halfway through the song that offsets the rest of the song by half a measure (well, at 91 BPM, a quarter of a measure) that if I could I would just make it a 1/4 measure so everything after it would line up properly.

It decides hammerons/pulloffs all by itself, which is nice at first but you can't manually override it. Which means every time the bass part changes pitch there's a hammeron, when in reality the only place where I would willingly chart hammerons is the aforementioned bit that I would have put in a 1/4 measure if I could have. If I could have charted it at 180 BPM, ironically, the song wouldn't have any HO/POs at all since it would be eighth notes and the automatic HO/PO timing is on an eighth triplet. I haven't experimented with nudging notes with my snap set to precise, which is 64th notes, but I don't think preventing the auto HO/PO would be as simple as adjusting the first of each color by 1/64th, and that would mess with the timing windows ever so slightly.

I've known this for a while but still hate it: You can't place star power wherever you want it. It just randomly decides (based off of time) to add a star power phrase of apparently fixed length (in notes). In the 1:27 that the song lasts, it has two phrases. I know there'll be a lot more when I get the other parts in there, but still.

Since you can't provide your own audio, there's no easy way for me to get the vocal track in there, so the song will be vocal-less.

At some point I might put up a video of it. I really just made it so I could play the bass part (which I've already FCed) but... yeah.

In other Guitar Hero news, I finished sightreading World Tour Expert Bass finally. All I have to say is: Whoever thought that Tool would be a good group to add was sorely mistaken. Their songs are too long and ramble on for-fucking-ever and don't end when they sound like they're about to. One musical idea per song plz.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A wallpaper update? On MY blog?

It's more likely than you think.

That's right, I haven't forgotten about wallpapers, I just haven't really been looking for any in a while. Then the spring anime season started and brought us K-On!, so here are 13 wallpapers from that, all widescreen even (can't say as much for the show's raws :( ).

If you visit Sankaku, you'll probably recognize all of these, they posted a gallery not too long ago. There are ones I didn't save in there. Oh and in case you didn't know about Sankaku already, it's pretty much always NSFW, so expect tits.

Perhaps I'll write up something about K-On! later. I kinda need more than two episodes, and that's all that's aired right now. So far all I can say is "<3 Mio".

Monday, April 6, 2009

I use (too many) parenthetical statements

This is always a bad habit of mine. Using too many parenthetical statements makes things hard for the reader to follow. Yet since most of my posts here are nothing more than stream of consciousness babbling, I use the parenthetical statements to hold the sub-thoughts as opposed to working them into the paragraph proper or leaving them out entirely.

I even go so far as to have parenthetical statements inside parenthetical statements every now and then.

They get me in trouble too, I was reading through my previous post just now and noticed not one but two parenthetical statements that were missing their closing parentheses. FIXED.

I did quite well in Technical Writing. I can even be quoted as having said "Everyone should be required to take Technical Writing." Simply put, the entire point of Technical Writing is to teach you how to write so that your audience can understand what you've written. This means that everything is clear and concise, using terminology that your audience either already understands or is explained in a glossary. Regular English courses don't teach this, and in fact usually emphasize the exact opposite. This is because English courses in the US, maybe elsewhere as well, tend to be poorly disguised Literature courses. If you "get" imagery in prose, you'll do quite well. But for someone like me who thinks logically and not artistically, English was always my toughest class. Up until recently most double meanings, including but not limited to innuendo, were completely over my head. I've gotten better at finding the double meanings in things but it still takes a while.

You know every instruction manual you've read that you've ever felt is inadequate? Bad technical writing. Every e-mail that's coarse and awkward? Bad technical writing. Every time you hear some word or phrase like "alcopops" or "erectile dysfunction"? Bad technical writing. Technical writing affects so much of modern society, yet the focus in schools is on the very literature that ignores its principles entirely and the Technical Writing course is reserved for people who want to go into a computer-related or technology-related field, and not usually encountered until one enters college.

Parenthetical statements do have their proper use. They're typically used on short explanations of things, or to hold the page number that something is on in a manual when it's mentioned elsewhere. Both of those are perfectly fine. I, however, tend to just start another sentence in the middle of a sentence using parentheses. That's the bad use of them. However, it plays right along with most of my posts being stream of consciousness babbling. Since human memory is highly contextual, I often won't remember some point I wanted to make until mid-sentence discussing something related. What I should do is just lay it all out and then organize it so it makes sense, but I'm too lazy to do that.

Oh well. Here's to a post containing no parentheses.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Transportation troubles aside, Washington D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival was actually pretty good.

I got up at 6 AM (yeah, there's a 6 in the morning too apparently), had the awesomest breakfast ever, consisting of Stonyfield Farms Organic Fat Free Chocolate Underground yogurt and Coke Zero. Met up with CAINE at 7 AM. An entire car didn't show up. We were supposed to have three cars and 15 people, instead, we had two cars and 10 people. We gave them 10 extra minutes past our originally scheduled launch time, determined that they weren't going to show up, and left.

I topped off my gas tank just so I could be sure I wouldn't have to get price-gouged later near D.C. Decided I'd try out the Kroger gas station instead of going to my usual one, and I think I ended up saving more. Kroger lets you save $0.03/gallon (if it were Verizon, that would be 0.03 cents, or three hundredths of a cent, Verizon fails at math) with your Kroger card, but when I scanned it, it said "use $0.10/gal. savings?" to which I said "yes" and got gas for $1.85/gal instead of $1.95/gal ($1.92/gal with Kroger card).

Fast forwarding past transportation issues, we met up with a CAINE graduate who lives up there (contributing the third car mentioned in my last post and later on in this one as well), successfully navigated the clusterfuck of people buying Metro passes (while getting our own passes) and got on the Metro. Federal Triangle is the perfect station to get off at, it dumps you right in the thick of things at the Cherry Blossom Festival. We got some taiyaki (fish-shaped pastry with sweet red bean paste inside) and met up with one CAINE member who was already up in D.C. for whatever reason. Then we looked at our watches (or cell phones, kids these days) and noticed it was right around lunch time, so we went and bought everything else we could find with "yaki" in the name: takoyaki (fried dough balls with octopus meat inside), okonomiyaki (a pancake-type-thing with vegetables and stuff), and yakisoba (fried noodles).

After eating we split up to go peruse the festival. Apparently I was the only one required to be on the buddy system since I was the only one that didn't have a cell phone. Whatever happened to the "okay at $TIME we'll meet back up right here" tactic? We found a place selling manga and artbooks where Citrus got a Lucky Star manga (I was thinking it was a doujin because of the decidedly non-official cover art featuring Konata and Kagami, but it was rather thick and had 4koma in it at one point). We wandered down the way bypassing all the really expensive stuff and the beer gardens (I would have gotten some if Kirin wasn't the official sponsor of D.C.'s Cherry Blossom Festival, I much prefer Sapporo). Apparently some people see any event that's remotely Japanese in nature as an opportunity to cosplay, so there were some (no doubt roasting, it was actually warm out when the wind wasn't going like crazy) people in costume.

At the other end we walked past a booth where they had Rock Band, DDR, and Wii Sports going. Katsucon's booth had Guitar Hero 3 (seriously get with the times, World Tour and Metallica are out now) where I took a two second look at the screen (lots of ambient noise, couldn't hear it) while two people were playing and determined solely off of the note chart that the song they were playing was Through the Fire and Flames. When we got closer, my ears confirmed that. I never actually played any GH after that, but whatever.

We spent most of the festival wandering back and forth from one end of it to the other, each time noticing things we hadn't before. After a while, we got out of the crowd and walked over to the Washington Monument where they have a whole bunch of cherry trees that were still in bloom because we didn't time going up there horribly like last year. So we relaxed for a while, took some pictures, and watched people flying kites and stuff.

After that we made one last sweep of the festival, this time actually using the "okay, at $TIME we'll meet up right here" tactic, which didn't really matter because most of us went back to the booth that had the manga and artbooks. Honya (whose blog the pictures linked above are on) trolled Citrus by not actually being able to buy an artbook that both of them were looking at until the last second when he found out he could actually use a credit card. Well played, sir, well played.

Back on the Metro, we decided that the Orange Line trains out to Vienna were a little too crowded (from the experience of trying to find a parking space, I guess everyone else had the same idea: "Hey, let's park at Vienna and ride the Metro!"). So since the Blue Line stays right with the Orange Line for a while, we decided to get on that instead (it was a bit less crowded). Except we missed the transfer point and had to come back. But whatever. Getting on the orange line (at Rosslyn, for anyone who's got a D.C. Metro map open right now), the trains were still crowded as hell, except this time people were getting off. We didn't position or time ourselves correctly for a while, and finally just said "okay, everyone just spread out and GET ON THE DAMN TRAIN, we'll regoup at Vienna." Except that the next train after that, we all made it on.

It was around 6 PM at that point (and if you haven't been skimming, you'll realize that I'd been up for 12 hours and was driving), so we were discussing getting food. Some of us, including myself, were like "omg let's eat asian food" while the rest of the group just wanted cheezburger. We debated for a while, I realized that asian food is more expensive than cheezburger and switched opinions, and we ended up caravanning to Fuddrucker's. I got a taco salad, and was making horrible takoyaki-tacoyaki (both are pronounced the same way) puns for a little bit before I decided that I'd killed enough of my friends' brain cells. Having never been to a Fuddrucker's before, it was a little strange. They give you one of those little wireless things with the LEDs that go crazy when they finish your order, and they have a completely non-understandable PA system. The LED thing seemed arbitrary as to whether or not it would go off (mine didn't), I just happened to barely make out "Chris number 6" over the PA.

We ate, I made sure that my last drink was caffeinated (it didn't really help), and we left for Charlottesville.

The I-66/Route 29 interchange has been redone recently, and I must say: If you're on I-66 West and wanting to get on Route 29 South towards Charlottesville, it's now a lot more obvious where you should get off. There's a sign that says "Exit 43A 29 South Charlottesville" and another sign before it that says "29 South Gainesville Warrenton Second Right". I managed to keep it between the lines, dropped everyone off, came home, and then got a weird boost of energy out of nowhere and made the post about Google Maps and checked a few other websites before going to sleep.

Google Maps directions require accomplishing the impossible.

So CAINE (UVa's anime club) decided to go to the Cherry Blossom Festival (or as we call it to try to sound cool (inb4 GIRUGAMESH), Sakura Matsuri, which is "Cherry Blossom Festival" in Japanese). Getting there from Charlottesville is simple. Take 29 North to Interstate 66 East, then exit at the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station, park, and ride the Metro the rest of the way to avoid the nightmare that is driving in Washington D.C. Getting back is equally easy, just get back on I-66 West, and then 29 South. Not hard, right?

Google Maps wanted me to somehow dart across the 4-lane-wide Capitol Beltway (I-495 loop around Washington, D.C.) from an entrance ramp to an exit ramp.

Of course I have a link. (and the above screencap in case they've fixed it)

Zoom in where the blue line crosses itself and you'll see what I'm talking about.

How should it go? Here are revised directions, (screencap thereof above) created by dragging the endpoint around to bring the route within the possibilities of human capability. Purposefully created with the same viewport and zoom level so you can see the difference.

I've sent them a support thing telling them of the error, providing the first link and the suggested (and correct) correction of using I-66 exit 62 instead, which dumps you right into the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro station parking lot.

Now, I am partially at fault here. I wasn't in the rightmost lane when we noticed the sign clearly stating "Vienna/Fairfax-GMU Metro Station Exit 62". This is due to my habit of driving one lane over from the rightmost lane anywhere in or near a huge city like Washington, D.C. I do this so that people can enter and exit onto the highway without me having to slow down, speed up, or change lanes to accomodate.

However, the sign is entirely too close to the exit (too close for me to have changed lanes and gotten onto the exit), and SERIOUSLY GOOGLE WHAT THE FUCK DRIVING ACROSS A 4 LANE HIGHWAY IN LESS THAN A TENTH OF A MILE DID YOU SERIOUSLY THINK THAT WAS POSSIBLE. There's only one time of day where such a maneuver is possible, and that's at midnight when nobody's on the Beltway. We were attempting it just before 10 AM. I made it two lanes, had I tried for a third or the fourth plus the holy grail, there would have been a pileup. Not to mention that the parking lot for the Metro station is NOT on the other side of the road, so the effective U-turn these directions gave was invalid to begin with.

What did we do? Well, I couldn't traverse the remaining two lanes in time to hop off at route 7 and get on 495 going the other way, so I did the very next exit, turned around in the driveway of the CapitalOne building, and after much frustration we made it to the Metro station.

Getting home was relatively pain-free. We did caravan three cars from the Vienna Metro station to the Fuddrucker's in Annandale where we ate dinner, but we went right over 495 in the process so I just hopped on that (going north, seems unintuitive but isn't, we were south of where I-66 meets I-495) and then hopped onto I-66 West and we were on our way home.

At this point it's less of an "I was stupid" issue and more of either a "Google can't give directions to anywhere in Washington D.C. worth shit" or a "Washington D.C.'s signage is seriously lacking" issue.

The festival itself was great. Perhaps I'll make another post after I get a fuckton of sleep that describes some parts of it in greater detail.