Man, found some great possible flags:

National Council of Astronautics from 2001.  I didn’t even know this flag existed, and now it’s all I’ve ever wanted.

House Atreides

Lots of great Futurama flags. I love the Globetrotter homeworld and the Neutral Planet flags.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind’s science team

If I want any of these and can talk K into any of them, I might have to resort for making them myself.  I would have to learn how to do that.

So, moving is pretty durn awful.  There’s no way around it.  We were actually excited to do so anyway, because this move was an upgrade: owning instead of renting, bigger space, better space.  This was an in-town move, an upgrade from renting a townhouse to buying a small house with yard.  And overall it went about as good as one could imagine it going.  We took the whole week off to do the work and settle in, and this is an approach I would strongly recommend.  Let’s recap.

Up through Monday March 29: Packing and prepping.  One has to play this sort of mental game of chicken with packing.  Procrastinating a huge packing job and retaining even moderate mental health are incompatible.  But if you start too early, you sit around for days/weeks with a bunch of boxes, living in utter disarray.  And needing to get things back out of the boxes.  Because this is why you keep things around, to use them.  You WANT to need these things.  Because you need to justify the fact that you’re going to the trouble of packing them up and lugging them to the next place you live.  To anything that you can pack up for a month beforehand without a though, you must ask, “Do I really need this plastic lightsaber?  Couldn’t I live without this cracking, yellowed kitchen device of dubious purpose?”

I think the major takeaways of this edition of packing are: I have too much stuff and can never weed enough of it, even the most organized move results in completely losing track of several important items, and I better really be serious about finding a use for all these old computers I’m keeping around.

Monday, March 29: Moving Day.  Crew of three movers showed up about 8:30, and my first action was to try to herd the cat into the kitchen to keep him out of the way.  Like all cats, his response is to very badly want to do the exact opposite of the thing you really need him to do.  Which resulted in his freaking out in my arms and his claws missing some of my vital throat blood vessels by an uncomfortably small margin.  I’m glad we only had one pet for this move.  The logistics of moving a pet are the domain of some operations management dissertation or a Werner Herzog film.

The movers themselves were machines.  Two of the guys were already lugging boxes out to the truck by the time we’d even gone over the paperwork with the boss.  I can’t say enough about the decision to pay people to do this labor for you.  These are experienced movers, and they can lift a lot of stuff, and bring it up and down stairs.  They can also, as I learned, stand still and hold many pieces of furniture in the air while I fumble with attaching soft padding to the underside.  This does not faze them.  By contrast, I am a librarian.  Librarians, as you may know, don’t even push carts and shelve books.  We pay students to do that.  The point is, I can conceivably lift nearly all the furniture I own with 1-3 other people.  This would probably still take days and likely result in the dramatic shortening of my lifespan.  The movers had our place cleaned out within a couple of hours, and the whole lifting and moving stuff portion of the job done by 1:30.  Amazing.  We got the cat moved, unpacked a bit, had some frozen pizza and beer and went to bed freakishly early.

Tuesday/Wednesday: Laborious unpacking.  K spent a whole day in the kitchen.  I spent a whole day in the basement.  K cleaned up a bunch.  I mowed the lawn.  All was brutal but necessary.  I would describe my mood during this period as “crabbily content”.

Thursday-Sunday: Mostly done but still a lot of running around on errands and feeling like you’re just about done until you remember that you’re nowhere close.  Also you discover  bunch of little quirks in your house that you never noticed before, but you will have to eventually pay to fix.  Associated chores can be fun or infuriating.  I thoroughly enjoyed a trip to the hardware store then we got totally lost trying to find the new nearest bank.

Anyway, we’re here.  This is the place.  Disgustingly cute, right?

My house

I already took down the American flag, is all.  It was (a) a bit more demonstrably patriotic than exactly suits me and (b) it was really big and blows in your face whenever you go to the door.  Still, I took it down in the night when no one could see me because I felt like I was doing something wrong.  I am trying to find a good replacement flag, but I think the flag marketplace is pretty poor.  There are cheesy dog/flower/nature flags (uh, no).  There are flags for places (either not applicable to both of us or simply not interesting). There are nerd flags–I’m sure I could get a Klingon Empire flag, for example, but that’s something you better be sure about before you put it on your house.  We’ll probably end up with a windsock.

My apologies, four people who ever have or perhaps ever will comment on this blog: I’m getting a ridiculous number of spam comments so I’m modifying the comment settings a bit.  It’s supposed to post your comments immediately if you have ever commented before, but your comment may get held for moderation.  This should kill off spammers but be a slight unfriendliness to actual humans occasionally.

Hey also, I move into my new house Monday.  I’ll endeavor to share some pictures and generally keep you posted.

The internet has waited long enough for a review of all Chocobo Theme songs.  Luckily the internet has prepared a video just for this purpose.

Section 1. Comments.

FFII.  Simple and jangly.  The basic awesome melody is there with few extras.  But definitely sowing the seeds of greatness.  This is the work of a budding genius.  I imagine this as the Chocobo Band’s first album, recorded for $700 over a weekend in a garage.

FFIII.  Actually a downgrade from II.  I think maybe they didn’t know what they had on their hands.  Sounds like they tried to go lo-fi and work just on the melody. Perhaps some music intern took over or it was overlooked by an unconscientious producer.

FFIV.  Here’s where things take off.  I’m pretty sure this was my first exposure, in the American “FFII”.  The tune has been filled out and grown into something special.

FFV. Some kind of tropical remix.  It’s a little goofy, but I appreciate where they’re coming from and it keeps its essence.

FFVI.  Brilliant.  The Chocobo Theme at its self-aware peak.  Someone lovingly crafted this who knew their way around a Chocobo Theme.  The sparse melody has been fully realized and built into a colossally layered electronic beast.

FFVII. A kinder, gentler Chocobo Theme.  I’m not sure of the context here–were the Chocobos drugged?  Or were they shooting for a gentle denounement from the glory of FFVI?

FFVIII.  Another where I wonder if I’m missing some context.  If I had to guess, I’d say this is heard when the hero discovers a playable version of FFII in an old barn.

FFIX. Are all the Chocobos old in this one?  You can’t ride a Chocobo to this music.  You put it out to pasture and start explaining to the kids that Old Chocy might not be with us much longer.

FFX. Complete unrecognizable and hideous. Is this a bad Saturday morning cartoon theme?  This is some kind of crime.

FFXI. Something about this one is a little off.  I like the idea but it’s oddly out of tune.  Or they’re meddling with the formula.

FFXII. Pretty great, ambitious orchestral version.  A true revival.  Complex and mature.  Kudos.

Section 2. Rank. Subjective but undoubtedly correct.

  1. FFVI
  2. FFIV
  3. FFII
  4. FFXII
  5. FFVII
  6. FFV
  7. FFIX
  8. FFIII
  9. FFVIII
  10. FFXI
  11. FFX

Section 3. Actual research*.

Composers: Nobuo Uematsu has sole credit for the score in games II-IX. FFX and FFXI have two other co-composers and FFXII is entirely some others. I also found out that there is a whole Chocobo video game series in which the music is composed by one of the FFX composers.  Considering FFX has the worst Chocobo theme, I’m not as excited about this as I should be.

*I’m going to go ahead and assume that wikipedia is crushingly accurate when it comes to video game information and not check any other sources.  Wikipedia also makes it clear that I have a lot to learn about the Chocobo Theme

A consequence of buying a house is that my sense of what constitutes “expensive” is totally out of whack.

Context: we talked about getting a gas oven.  We don’t need this per se, but would like it, and figure it’s a good investment to get something really good that will be used daily.  The stove that comes with the house is electric, and has the coils.  I’ve had a glasstop stove for a while, so it’s a downgrade.  No one has ever endorsed the coils as the premier surface for cooking and easy cleanup.

Anyway, normally a $1200 purchase (plus or minus) would be a significant expense and I’d do a lot of research first and probably put it off for a while just to let the sticker shock settle in.  But when you’re already committed to a house like ours, $1200 is like a 0.5% extra expense.  It feels like practically nothing.  It’s NOT, of course.  It’s $1200.  It’s more than a week’s work.  But then again, the house itself will cost me 30 YEARS of work. Will I be mad, when I’m 63, that I can’t retire on Friday because I bought that stove in 2010, so I have to wait until next Friday instead? Gosh, I hope not.

I posted on twitter that I have the hearing of a 16-year-old and the eyesight of a 50-year-old.  I picked those ages somewhat arbitrarily, but genuinely trying to guess my age equivalencies.  It occurred to me later that my actual age is precisely halfway in between those two ages.  (Determining the numerical value is an exercise left to the reader.)  It’s a little weird to think I’m as close to 50 as I am to 16.  Sixteen kinda seems like a long time ago, but then again, it kinda doesn’t.

Totally unrelated, some items of interest:

*The Chilean earthquake actually shortened days on Earth. Wow.

*I’ve been obsessed with this video since lambwaffle shared it.

*A croquet set.  I am considering leaving a fake review suggesting shoppers look for something of higher quality. Also: laser mallets!

We were trying to think of the most famous Todd.  The best I could come up with was Big Head Todd of Big Head Todd and the Monsters.  K had never heard of them.  She thought of Todd Palin.  I wasn’t sure which member of the Palin family was Todd.  (And I really hope that in five years when I re-read this I’ll be baffled at who Todd Palin even could have been, but sadly I don’t think this will be the case.)  She also thought of Todd Rundgren.

Point is, there is definitely a vacuum for Most Famous Todd.

Similarly, a while back, whilst listening to some Moody Blues, I declared that Justin Heyward must be the most famous musical Justin, since I could think of no challengers.  A bit later K remembered Justin Timberlake.  I never ever would have thought of him, which gives you some sense of where my head is at with regard to modern pop music.

I’m also changing feed readers.  I give up on Bloglines.

Listen, I really really wanted to like Bloglines and used it for years.  Today was the last straw: I realized it was not picking up this very blog.  That seems inexcusable.  This is a very basic wordpress blog.  WordPress is only the world’s most complete and widely-used blogging software.  What more do you need from me, Bloglines?  I have endorsed you.  I have supported you.  I have told classrooms full of open minded college students to start using Bloglines.  No more.

The problems:

  • Constantly dropping feeds.  I notice a blog hasn’t updated in weeks.  I check the site.  They’ve updated, all right.  Bloglines just didn’t bother to let me know.  This is the basic duty of a feed reader, right?
  • Frequent unresponsiveness.  I click a feed, I wait and wait, and then it’s done loading with nothing to show for it.  Sometimes when I re-click, I see items.  Sometimes, they’re gone.  Thanks, Bloglines!
  • Bizarre errors.  I always get the thing where I log in and every one of my feeds has 9,999 “new” items.
  • Can’t see LiveJournal feeds.  (Well, who can blame them?  And anyway, I want to follow like maybe two feeds in there.  But still.  No excuse.)
  • Utter lack of technical support.  I wrote them probably a dozen times to ask about the problems.  Never got a single response.

Honestly, I would’ve bailed on Bloglines a long time ago except that I didn’t want to adopt Google Reader and rely on Google for yet another vital web service.  But Google Reader has shown me none of these problems.  (Yet.)  I’m open to other feed readers, totally.

End: complaining about a free web service that has largely benefited me for several years.

The number two thing you have to do new you get a house is sign a whole lot of stuff you only mostly understand.  (The number one thing you have to do is be willing to get into staggering debt.)  And you sign knowing that every word in every paragraph was written to protect someone other than you for an event that possibly no one can control.

For example, our homeowner’s insurance policy makes a point to define “three volcanic eruptions taking place in a 24-hour period as a single volcanic eruption event.”  I take this to mean that if my house is damaged by three volcanic eruptions in a single day, I can only file one claim.  Lest I take unfair advantage of the system.  Let me emphasize that the insurance company has gone out of their way to include this information in their policy. So, if my house is melted by lava, I need to hope that the next eruption takes at least a day to hit.  Am I to understand that they’ve been burned in the past by clients hitting them up for damages from three separate volcanic eruptions?  And this happened so often they needed to include the clause in all future policies?  Suddenly I am more frightened that I ought to be of both my insurance company and the Earth’s volatile magma chambers.

I’m sure there are some other wonderful things in this policy.  I’ll post more later.

Now I’m looking at the waiver I need to sign for the flooring contractors before they can work on refinishing the floors.  I have to initial a statement that “Wood is a product of nature and therefore may have some natural imperfections.”  Luckily for them I am willing to stipulate natural phenomena.

Sometimes internet memes are enjoyable, but for some reason on Facebook I find them very irritating.  One recent exception is that people were changing their profile picture to a celebrity doppelganger.  I normally feel like I have no celebrity doppelgangers.  The closest I can find is Matti Vanhanen, the Prime Minister of Finland.  This is him:

Matti Vanhanen

By reference, me:

I dunno. I guess so. Except he’s 20 years older.  And the leader of a notable European nation.  I am not, as yet.