October 7th, 2005

lon chaney

Birthday party

Yesterday, for my birthday my folks took me to Daimo, an excellent Chinese restaurant at the Pacific East Mall in El Cerrito (actually, technically Richmond I think). We'd been there before and liked it, and we knew it served duck (a tradition on my birthday). I ordered Shanghai-style steamed pork dumplings for an appetizer, then Peking Duck (it's the only restaurant I've been to where you can get Peking Duck without ordering ahead) served 2 ways: the crispy skin was served with buns, hoi-sin sauce, and green onion to be eaten like little sandwiches, while the meat was served in a stir-fried noodle dish. I also ordered tender pork with preserved green (which we'd had before and loved) and steamed mustard greens with bamboo pith. The bamboo pith had an interesting texture: it was full of little bubbles that would pop when you chewed, like miniature bubble wrap. It turned out to be way too much food. We finished off the dumplings and duck skin (which were the first dishes to come, in that order) but ended up with substantial leftovers of everything else, which is just fine because they reheat well and will serve as delicious lunches for days).

It'd be a good restaurant to go to with a large group, say six people.

Back home, after a little time to let the food settle in our stomachs, it was time for cake, tea, and presents. None of us had room for more than a thin slice each. My aunt, uncle, and cousins sent me a CD of Richard Yardumian's Armenian Suite and Symphony No. 2 performed by the Utah Symphony Orchestra, which they found on my Amazon wish list, and which I'd been wanting to get my hands on for some time. I'd read about the tertian twelve-tone system Yardumian had devised (independently of Schoenberg's atonal tone-row system), and wanted to hear what it actually sounded like. Sounds good!

The gift from my parents was a new computer and a flatscreen monitor. I didn't really know how to react. On the one hand, hey, new computer! I wouldn't have to use my dad's, and could go back to doing all my Intarweb stuff in my own room. On the other hand, I'd promised myself that my next computer would be one I'd built myself, with three hard drives in a RAID-5 array using Linux's software RAID driver. I also already own a good monitor. So, while turning it down would be stupid and ungracious, I still felt kinda let down, and angry at myself for feeling let down. Anyway, I figure I can either try to use both monitors in a multi-head arrangement, or just give my dad my old monitor to replace his, which is slowly growing dimmer and dimmer (very dark images may as well be entirely black at this point). Maybe I can fit a couple more hard drives in there and do the RAID array anyway.
  • Current Music
    Utah Symphony Orchestra - Richard Yardumian - Armenian Suite
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Lecktricky computar machine

Okay, I've taken the computer out and popped it open. There are two large bays and four small bays: one large bay is taken up by the CD-RW/DVD-ROM drive, and three small bays are taken up by the hard drive, various sockets (like for headphones and USB), and a bunch of memory card slots. The last I find kind of irritating, because while it's something I might've liked to have had just for "extra geegaws" bonus geek points, it's not something I'd ever actually use (I have no digital camera and, with my swanky SLR, no real desire for one) and it takes up a valuable spot where I could put a hard drive. I could take it out, but the case is designed so there's a hole for it (fucking made-for-a-single-configuration cases) and it doesn't come with a flat replacement faceplate. The other option is to buy some sort of adapter for fitting a hard drive in a large drive bay—but that would put that drive right next to the CD/DVD, which probably runs very hot.

This is sort of pissing me off*, since I'd been looking at cases with several internal drive bays, which had the sockets next to them so they didn't take up any bay space.

I really shouldn't be this annoyed by a gift like this.

EDIT: *Just to clarify, I'm not pissed at my parents. I'm pissed at Compaq for not using more configurable cases.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
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