Monthly Archives: November 2007

Rosalyn Hart Remembered


My grandmother Rosalyn Hart died on November 9th and her memorial service is today. The picture above was taken in the early 1980’s at my grandparent’s house in Stotts City, MO, a place that we’ve all come to call special. Of all of the photos I’ve seen of Rosalyn in the last few years, this older photo says the most about her. She was a family person, quick with a smile for nearly any occasion, an avid reader and loved a good spy novel. It was my grandmother who got me hooked on [Clive Cussler]( novels, reading copies from the local library in a hammock on summer nights.

From more than anyone before my wife, I learned about music from my grandparents. While Bob took a classic and “be bop” jazz approach, Rosalyn had more modern tastes. She encouraged me to listen to newer artists and be muscially open-minded.

Goodbye, Grandma. You’ll be dearly missed.

Rocket Race on Halo 3

One o the best kept secrets of [Halo 3]( is a game called Rocket Race. Generally played on one of two maps, Valhalla or Sand Trap, Rocket Race is a great social 8-player game. Four pairs of two player ride the new Mongoose vehicle on in a race from waypoint to waypoint. Waypoints are randomly activated, so after one team reaches a checkpoint, another random point is assigned. That leaves the teams scrambling to find a new direction to race towards.

Did I mention the rockets?

One person drives while the other has an infinite supply of rockets. The team’s VIP is the “rocket man” and is prevented from driving anything. Also, the VIP is the only one that can “score” by reaching a waypoint. That means that each team is desparately trying to rocket the other team out of the way. You’re invincible except for the ever-present assisnation attack or classic “beat down”.

This odd combination of parameters boils down to fun gameplay. No one can camp out and rack up kills like Team Crazy King (of the Hill) and it forces the two players to work together. I played with 7 other random people on Xbox Live today and enjoyed every minute.

Thanks Bungie!

Courtesy and Recklessness

I made a mistake today while driving home from work. I stopped short of an intersection to let another car in to traffic. The traffic in front of me was stopped and had little hope of moving within a couple of minutes. The minivan was trying to enter from the side street, one typically jammed with traffic during the end-of-day rush hour.

I broke my own rule.

I *never* let people out from side streets because of what happened next. From far behind me in traffic, a driver decided that they couldn’t wait for the normal flow of traffic. They pulled in to the center “turn” lane and proceeded the 300-500 feet to my intersection, accelerating in order to make the left turn signal only 500 more feet to my north.

In the meantime, the nice lady that I let out in front of me failed to see the rapidly oncoming car (moving at nearly 40MPH by this point) because she was looking for traffic coming for the right. My eye moved to the expected impact point, wincing as part of the process. It was a near miss.

I won’t soon forget the mental snapshot. The speeding car was a light metallic green 1996 Honda Accord 4 door that served quickly to the left, then right, dodging the nose of the 2007 Chrysler Pacifica. The distance separating the cars was no more than 12 inches. Watching the cars pass at that close of a distance was shocking. I immediately turned to the person in the driver’s seat of the Pacifica and realized that she had not realized the danger. Her car was still creeping ahead during the incident and her expression (and body language) did not change until the car passed into her field of vision. Remember, she was looking to the right and from her perspective, the danger car was passing from left to right.

She was 12 inches from disaster and didn’t know it until the danger passed. The thought was sobering. How many times in your life do you let your awareness of your environment pass without a thought? For that matter, how many times each day are you moving without thinking?

Driving a car always requires attention, no matter what you tell yourself and no matter what the circumstances. While no-one was hurt, the incident served its purpose and reminded me of the dangers in everyday life. Don’t wait for an accident to remind you.

What's up with Steve?

I haven’t written in awhile and a lot of that has to do with real life getting in the way. I spend a fair amount of my day in front of a keyboard and a screen, typing and mousing for a living. Sometimes, the very last thing I want to do is type.

Book Darts

Cool Tools: “I am a student in a masters program and read numerous texts at the same time. For years I used sticky plastic flags, but they are not reusable. These thin, folding book darts are flush with the book, and unlike the plastic flags, don’t get bent or torn out while in my book bag. They also solve the waste problem. With an order of a hundred I am able to mark all of my books with passages that I need to remember for class discussions. Once done with that class, I simply pull them out and then use them for another class.”

Pac-Txt: A Pac-Man Text Adventure

Kotaku: “I’m not sure what’s more soul-crushing—that someone took the effort to write a web-based Pac-Man text adventure in the style of Zork or that I just spent fifteen minutes ensuring that it adhered to the maze layout perfectly. Regardless, your semi-daily reminder that someone has far too much time on their hands is at the official Pac-Txt site.”