Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I Never Liked Aqua Teen Hunger Force

My Halloween costume from 2004 not withstanding, I've never liked Aqua Teen Hunger Force and I've made no secret of that. Evidentally, two guys in Boston put "illuminated electronic devices" of Mooninites flipping the bird at several sites around the city. In our post-9/11 world, highways, bridges and a section of the St. Charles River were shut down before the devices were determined to be harmless, other than the damage done to the brain when the cartoon is watched.

Monday, January 29, 2007


Cory just called to let me know that he made it safely to Thailand! He does not have internet access yet, so hopefully that will be available soon. Otherwise it will be a long 2.5 months with me as your cyberninjet of the dojo.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

All By Myself...

...don't want to be All by Myself anymore...or for the next 2.5 months...

Well, I drove Cory to the Portland International Airport this morning and waited around until he made it through the security checkpoint successfully. The nice gentleman who helped Cory check in at the self-check-in kiask reminded him to be careful of bombs.

I was feeling a little sad on the way home, so I stopped at the outlet stores at Woodburn and blew a bunch of money to make myself feel better. My money went to the Gap, Banana Republic, and a home store for a set of springf0rm pans so I can make cheesecake.

This evening I also signed up for a Gold's Gym membership, but am having serious buyer's remorse, mostly I think because the kid who signed me up for it was possibly the worst salesperson in the world (handshake of a dead fish) and it pains me to know that I helped him toward his commission. I wonder if part of my problem is that I've left the lap of luxury (the Refinery) and nothing else will ever compare. It's a year's contract, but I have three business days to get out of it. What do you think?

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Scan on a plane

Welp, tomorrow I fly out to Thailand. The flight will take about 24 hours, so I've packed a number of crappy sci-fi novels and protein bars to ensure my brain survives the trip. I also got a travel guide to Thailand so I should be an expert on the country by the time I land. It even has helpful short Thai phrases I can annoyingly practice on the plane.

I kind of envision this little trip as one of those made-for-tv movie about the laid-back American ne'er-do-well who goes to the really sanctimonious Asian country and has all sorts of hilarious misadventures as he solves the theft of the Pink Panther diamond from the King's treasury before the crowning ceremony of the dastardly power-hungry duke. I'm sure its going to be a lot like that.

I'm also going to go see the Jedi while I'm there. I understand the Buddhist temples in Thailand are totally awesome.

First though, I am going to Bangkok for two weeks where I will help a lab set up some scientific equipment the U of Illinois sent them. While in Bangkok I'll have to find an expat bar or something where I can go watch the Superbowl. Maybe the hotel I'm staying it will play it, I guess I don't know how popular the Superbowl is outside of the US of A. I guess most countries don't like how violent the unofficial national sport of the USA is.

After watching the Superbowl in Bangkok, I'll be going up to Chiang Mai, Thailand to build a new visible-infrared laser-induced fluorescence small-molecule detection instrument for a lab up there. It ought to be pretty interesting trying to build a new instrument in a foreign country, and when I say "interesting" I mean very likely "frustrating." Ah well, maybe I should stop complaining and just learn how to speak Thai already.

See you folks on the flipside (of the Earth).

Monday, January 22, 2007

Bears and Beavers

So since I've moved out to Oregon, I've met a few folks around here. One topic of discussion that is bound to come up when you are talking to guys you've never met before around this time of year is football. Its an easy ice-breaker. Well, most folks around here are either Seahawks fans (obviously) or, get this, Packers fans. When I was asked by a couple of guys who I was rooting for I froze for a second and then spurted out..."The Bears!"

So thanks to the influence of Tim and Muncher, two avid Bears fans, I have officially chosen my favorite football team, the Bears. I've never been into sports at all before, and in fact felt disdain for anyone who wanted to discuss sports, but recently I've started to enjoy watching football. So when it came time to announce my allegience I decided to stick with my buddies out east and represent for the Bears on the west coast. It doesn't hurt that the two games I've seen the Bears play since have been excellent. The fact that they are playing in the Superbowl means I will have to find some way of watching it while I'm in Bangkok.

Mary and I saw a huge beast prowling around our apartment building as we came home late one night. We didn't get a good look, but we could tell it was much larger than any urban critter we were used to, so we were perplexed. Then, the other day we saw it (or one like it) again during the afternoon, and I fortunately had my digital camera with me.

I quickly fell upon the knowledge gleamed from my wilderness survival merit badge and identified the giant creature a huge goddamn beaver. I did not know that beavers got so big. The thing has got to be 3 feet long and about 1.5 feet high! I'm not exaggerating about the size. And since we live next to a large creek, there are probably hundreds of them out there, just waiting to chew our apartment into a pile of so much kindling.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Muncher's Kin

So while Mary and I were in Portland today we decided to go on a quest to find another member of the mysterious Muncher brood. Our clues were few: A Muncher relation is known to work at a Game Crazy in the Portland area (I happen to be an "MVP" and Asylum member at Game Crazy, even have a membership card -- nerdcore 4evar). After a few phonecalls to Randa Kay and old man Woods later, we found the rare brother of Munch. Behold, Levi Morden!

Levi turned out to be a really nice guy and, while he and Muncher don't look anything alike, they do tell humorous anecdotes in the exact same way. They are truly brothers.

Who you goona call?

Now, normally I wouldn't want to update just for a video on YouTube, but I think that after watching this you'll understand why I felt it was necessary to let you know about a game currently in production for the 360 that will harken back to better times...

He doesn't seem to be using the trap, but maybe that'll just be for bosses. Here's one of our favorite parapsychologist...

The stars are right!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Letter of Recommendation

So get this, I have to get a VISA to work in Thailand! Can you believe it? Outrageous! I mean, I'm an American! We should be exempt from such rules due to our strong moral values and nuclear world dominance, right? Cripes.

Anyway, in order to get a work visa I have to get a letter from the head of the Chemistry department at Chiang Mai university to show to the Honorary Consulate-General at the Thai Embassy in Portland, OR. The letter I recieved is in Thai, which I can't read.

Hopefully this letter says "Dr. Cory Scanlan is great, please give him a Visa," and not "Kill the bearer of this letter with extreme prejudice." I guess I'll find out tomorrow when I truck on up to Portland.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Scan - THAI - bulous

That's right, ladies and gents. I'm going to Thailand for a few months to design and set up some laser-induced small molecule detection systems for the universities in Bangkok and Chiang Mai. You see, they needed a skilled PhD-holding laser instrument specialist from my old boss's lab, and when they couldn't find that, they noticed I just graduated from his lab and figured I must've at least picked up a few things.

So I'll be flying out of lovely Portland, OR in two short weeks to Bangkok until I return on April 18th. During the trip I'll likely be confused 80% of the time and frustrated 10%. The other 10% I'll be excited to eat the food. Just like grad school. In preparation for the trip I had to get a shitload of shots because as far as hospital travel agents are concerned, Thailand is a land of steamy disease and sickness. Here's what I got vaccinated for:

Hepatitis A
Polio (booster)

The government probably snuck some tiny nanotransmitter in one of those shots to track my comings and goings, just to be dicks.

Now I'm trying to decide what to take with me. Besides tools and equipment I mean, like, should I take Planescape: Torment, or Fallout 2? I'll only have a laptop to play games on, and I have to leave my 360 here, so its going to be difficult choosing just one laptop-friendly game from circa 2002.

I should probably also pick up a book on "conversational Thai," but I wonder if I even have a change of learning even the rudimentary parts of their strange moon language while I'm there. I did pick up a book to prepare me for all the technical aspects of the job:

I seriously did really pick up that book. What? Those are good guides! Now, I will be taking a webcam and microphone to talk to my lady, as well as any of you who are cool enough, on Skype. My Skype name is valhallan, so add me to your contact list suckers.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I give up -- I'm a blogger

That is freaking it!

The webserver I've been using, b2evolution, has become so chock full of patches to patches to patches that it has become completely unusable to run the technodojo. I can't even upload my own pictures on there anymore, and upgrading thier software is like jamming a crescent wrench up my anus. And I get to pay $10 a month for that? If I can't upload my own pics, and people can't comment on my posts, and my page is constantly immersed in spam that regular free blogs can screen, then b2evolution has less functionality than a simple free blog on blogspot! That's ri-god-damn-diculous. So I'm taking a cue from my buddies Brando, Paul, Travis, Eric, and Mike, and just going with the nice, free blogspot to make my frickin' posts.

I used to pride myself on having a for-reals website and ftp location and everything. Now all that just pisses me off.

Welcome to the new (easy to use) Technodojo!

8 Linear Feet

Word up homies,

Mary and I have moved in. It was a terror of epic proportions. (Note to self -- if you are moving to a place where you don't know anybody, don't pack a lot of shit that you can't move without the help of 4 good buddies.)

By the way, for those of you that helped us pack all our shiznit in the truck, we were only charged for 8 linear feet (rather than 9 like we had anticipated). Thanks for your help in that venture and you guys saved us some serious cash on that extra foot.

Getting our stuff out of the truck was an adventure. I rented another 16' UHaul, only when I went to get it they only had a 26' available, but gave it to me at the 16' price. A 26' truck is like a semi. Its huge. And while Mary and I were able to back it up to the semi truck and load all our stuff into it, we couldn't leave it in the parking lot overnight like I had planned due to its hugeness. You see, I met a dude named Ryan while I was scoping for apartments early last month and he agreed to help me move on Saturday morning (as he works on Friday). The problem was that the trucking place was not open on Saturday so our plan was to load up the uhaul and then unload it on Saturday. But you can't park a 26' truck anywhere overnight that won't take up 4 parking spaces.

So we had to move it all ourselves on Friday. Up three flights of stairs. Unfortunately, a lot of our stuff requires 2+ people to move. Mary made an excellent showing by helping me move the couch upstairs, but then couldn't move her arms. So I was at a loss. Fortunately, one of our new neighbors came home at that time (we were taking up his spot, but he totally cool with it). I shook his hand, told him we were moving in, and in desperation offered him $60 to help me move our stuff in. He said he'd do it for free. Then he (Jordan) got his roommate (Aaron) to help a little bit as well, and Jordan and I got all the heavy stuff into our apartment just as I was about to pass out from exhaustion. I then offered him money again, I mean really pushed it on him, and he refused! I would've totally taken the money as it was a serious job (we were all gasping by the end), but he didn't. He said we can cook him dinner sometime. A true class act.

Then on Saturday Ryan suggested we go out to a place called the "Bier Stein" on saturday and meet his buddy Dan, so Mary and I did. The Bier Stein is a bar/restaurant here in Eugene which has beers from around the world, both on tap and a grocery-store like cooler where you can just grab a bottle and take it up to the register. Its really an awesome place and I know Brando, for one, would love it. Here's Dan and Ryan:

Also since Eugene is in the Willamette Valley, which boasts the one of the highest numbers of Sasquatch sightings in North America (the Cascade Mts are teeming with the suckers), there are "life-size" smiling Sasquatch statues to pose next to (Mary presented for scale):

I hope you sons of bitches are prepared for some Sasquatch huntin' come this summer. I don't want any pansy excuses either. You think people are dissapearing in the mountains because of the winter weather? Think again.