Tuesday, March 30, 2010

My girl Shepard

I got sunshine on a cloudy day. What can make me feel this way?

After enthusing about my wonderful spring break in the Mass Effect 2 universe, I figured I might as well show the face I was wearing for the week.

She's got the visor that increases headshot damage. I have to say, a good headshot kill always makes me laugh involuntarily (a smug little heh heh heh). Kind of disturbing.

I'll make a post later this week about the greatness of Mass Effect 2, but right now I'm totally bogged down with all the studying and problem sets that I completely ignored over break while I was busy saving humankind from the Collectors. It'll have to wait. Real Life is such a nuisance.

Speaking of BioWare games, there is currently an event going on at BioWare called the BioWare Bazaar. Unfortunately, only people in the 50 states (except Florida and New York) and D.C. can participate (legal issues...), but they're holding a mock auction for various BioWare-related merchandise. Which is awesome because, as should be readily apparent from my blog, BioWare is the developer of my favorite computer games. The top prizes are things like gaming laptops customized with Mass Effect 2 or Dragon Age: Origins art, but there are also smaller things like lithographs, posters, and t-shirts. I don't expect to be able to compete for the top prizes, but I could really use a "Genius" poster for my office (I adore Mordin).

Anyway, the currency for this auction is "tokens" which can be earned in various ways, one of which is clicks on our unique user URL. I need people to click on this link, once a day through the end of next week if possible. It will probably direct you to some page where you can buy Mass Effect 2 or Dragon Age: Origins - Awakening, or something, but ignore it--it'll count the hit. So help me decorate my office and home with geeky gaming junk.

Click here!

Thanks! And if anyone else out there wants some BioWare stuff, too, I'll certainly help out!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spring Break 2185 (Mass Effect 2)

I just finished Mass Effect 2. Holy crap. It was frakkin' amazing.

I'm still a bit jittery from being terrified for the whole end game (Oh god, who's going to die?!), but also my head is buzzing with excitement. An awesome game ending kind of gives you a high like that.

Unfortunately, I can't chatter on here too much since I need to go to bed because tomorrow morning I go back to school. Back to the real world. Back to problem sets and studying and advisor meetings. It's all so mundane. Seems utterly insignificant coming off saving the galaxy. I'm not sure how I can motivate myself. I try to console myself about spring break ending by reminding myself that the Housemate is coming back from vacation tomorrow. But even he seems boring compared to the friends I've been hanging out with on board the Normandy*.

Perhaps there is something unhealthy about delving so deeply into a game--committing so completely to a fantasy--for an entire week. I did a few miscellaneous other things over break: made two trips to the grocery store, watched some TV shows, did a load of laundry, fed myself,** slept. But Mass Effect 2 was never far from my mind, and it certainly enjoyed a plurality of my waking hours. Mass Effect 2 really was my vacation. How do I now deal with the shock of crashing back down into my dull Real Life?

I guess it's not so different from someone coming back from a Caribbean cruise, facing job and house chores after living a week of luxury and beauty and gluttony and relaxation and entertainment. I'm just coming back from a cruise in the Terminus Systems. I'm sure I'll be fine.

It may be hard to explain to some people at school ("So what did you do over break?" "Played a computer game." "Anything else?" "Uh, grocery shopping?"), but I had a really, really great break. I had a lot of fun, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment (even if my accomplishment was a virtual one). I'm satisfied. I'm happy. And I have no regrets.***

* I told the Housemate via video chat that I had cheated on him with a romance in the game.
Housemate: Do I need to come back and (pounds his fist into his palm) teach the guy a lesson?
Me: Well, he's kind of like one of the top assassins in the galaxy, so you might not want to mess with him.

** Thanks to my first RPG, Baldur's Gate II, for teaching me good gaming habits with its load screen advice: "While your character does not have to eat, remember that YOU do. We don't want to lose any dedicated players." Words to live by. Thanks, BioWare, I've certainly been a dedicated player.

*** As long as I don't remember all the studying that I need to do.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Our cat

After all those dead animals in my previous posts, I should probably put in photos of a live animal to compensate. I may not have mentioned it on this blog before, but there is a stray cat who comes by our house quite often. There are a lot of feral cats in Hawaii, and I see many on the UH Manoa campus, but most of them shy away if you try to approach them. This one may have belonged to someone at some point, since it is very friendly. Sad, if someone decided they didn't want it anymore and cast it out.

The cat can meow for minutes on end when asking for food. Our cat-loving housemate usually gives it milk if she hears it meowing (she and her husband buy whole milk, which the cat probably likes more than it would like my skim milk, anyway). We used to have a bag of little frozen anchovies that we'd feed it, too, but we ran out at some point. I've fed it a few other things, like leftover ham, but having been brought up as a dog person, I'm always surprised when it passes on things like cheerios or potatoes. "Beggars can't be choosers" I tell it, but I guess it isn't that desperate. I think there's at least one other neighbor who feeds it, and it did catch a mouse for us once, so it may not need our charity that much. But it still looks so skinny.

The cat sometimes gets on my nerves because it'll get under my feet when I'm carrying groceries up the stairs to the door. Plus it usually tries to slip in the door when we open it (our rent agreement forbids us from keeping pets). Then we have to go after it and kick it out. But really, it just wants to be loooved.

Cool cat

Cat gets bored of my camera

Love me, please

Friday, March 26, 2010

Dead frogs

That dead gecko yesterday reminds me of the first summer I spent at the lab I worked at for two years after graduation. That "first summer" was actually the summer before my last year of college--I returned to the lab after graduation and worked there for two more years--but that's not really important for the story. It reminds of that summer because of all the dead frogs I found and photographed.

First, here's you're run-of-the-mill roadkill dead frog. Kind of boring. And ew.

It gets better, though. Here's one I found out in the grass. It looks a bit like it met a nasty shotgun.

This one was in my office, behind my desk. First a shot to give you context.

It looks like it was hopping along and then just stopped. Gave up living, and died, no struggle, no nothing. And now it's turning to dust. I call this frog (*whispers:*) Miranda.

And lastly, the most famous of the dead frogs: the frog in the door jam. My sense from others in the lab was that he'd been there for a while before we found him, and he was still there when I left the lab three years later. Here's a close shot of the frog.

And here's his...residue...on the door.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dead gecko

You know how some people have the head of dead moose or deer hanging on their wall? Well, we have a dead gecko.

No, it's not taxidermied and no one put it there on purpose, but the gecko died while on the underside of the roof over our porch and has remained stuck there for a long time. I don't know how long; it was already there when I moved in last July.

Here's a shot taken from our doorstep.

And a closer view of the little guy.

It's hard to tell from the photos, but its mouth hangs open. It frightened one of my housemates the first time she noticed it--with her limited English, she dubbed it a "monster." We thought about knocking it down, but it's not worth the trouble, and I'm kind of curious how long it will stay up there. Maybe some day the little monster will fall down itself...onto a poor unsuspecting person coming up the stairs below.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Spring break

This week is spring break for the University of Hawaii, and while some cynical old grad students might say "break" really means "time to do research," in my first year I don't really have any ongoing research yet and my advisor has been fairly quiet about the issue, so I've decided to run with this freedom while I still have it. I am also single for the week, since the Housemate has gone to visit some family on the mainland (i.e. the continental U.S.) over break. That means I am free from school and boyfriend!

So naturally, I've been playing Mass Effect 2 all day. When I was single, I would play computer games pretty frequently both in the evenings and over the weekends, but now that I have the Housemate I barely get any time to play. A week without the Housemate is a week for gaming. Since Friday, I have left the house once--to go grocery shopping. I went through all of Saturday without any direct human contact. I did talk to two people on the phone, one of whom was my little brother. I whined to him that I didn't know what to do over spring break, and he pointed out,

Well, you are spending spring break in Hawaii.

Oh, right.

I have a week of spring break in Hawaii, and all I can do is sit in my room playing computer games. (But it's so exciting! And is Illium really such a bad place to hang out for spring break?) The truth is that the Housemate is the one who always thinks of interesting things to do, suggesting the beach or a hike or whatever. I am just a body at rest, staying at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. And this week, I have no outside force.

So there it is. I need an intervention. I am at risk of spending my spring break in Hawaii indoors (but with the windows open, at least). What should I do? If you had spring break in Hawaii, what would you do?

Monday, March 22, 2010

Reasons not to eat dolphins

In my last post, I talked about how I thought The Cove was a great, entertaining documentary that deserved its Oscar win. I did not talk about the reasons why I agree with the message it was trying to give: Dolphins are friends, not food.*

People who protest the killing and consumption of dolphins are often criticized by cynics as defending dolphins "just because they're cute." While this may be one of the reasons I don't like to see dolphins slaughtered, it is not a convincing reason to stop the practice, since cuteness is subjective; if someone told me that they think ducks are adorable so I should stop eating them, I would tell them no way, ducks are delicious, so quack off. Really, ducks are pretty cute (think mallard family crossing the street, a la Make Way for Ducklings). So are baby carrots, and only that fruitarian in Notting Hill would protest the murder and consumption of carrots. It seems cuteness alone is not a deciding factor for why something shouldn't be eaten. More importantly, it will not change anyone's mind who has already decided that, whatever the animal looks like, it is still good to eat.

So why shouldn't we be eating dolphins?


Whatever your vegetarian friend tells you is unhealthy about beef, dolphin is worse. Dolphin is known to contain dangerously high levels of mercury, reaching about 20 times the recommended limit. Why so high? Mercury is naturally deposited in the ocean, but current levels are very high due to our burning of fossil fuels. In the ocean environment, mercury enters the food chain at the lowest levels and then bioaccumulates. This means that when an animal consumes something that contains mercury, the mercury in the eaten is retained by the eater. As it works its way up the food chain, higher and higher concentrations of the substance are found (bald eagles had a similar problem with DDT, if you're familiar with that story--lucky thing no one was eating bald eagles). Since dolphins are the top of the food chain and relatively long lived, they accumulate extremely high levels of mercury.

Mercury inhibits brain function, and the effects of severe mercury poisoning are heartbreaking. So it's not just that dolphin meat is unhealthy--it's that it's poisonous. There are much better foods out there to be feeding people than dolphin. This is perhaps the strongest case for crossing dolphin off the menu. It is for this reason, after all, that members of the school board in (dolphin-hunting town in The Cove) Taiji itself were able to get dolphin taken out of school lunches: parents were fearing for their children's health.


Have you ever calculated your ecological footprint? There's a really cute site here (takes just a couple minutes), or a simpler one here. I can't find the site that I used back in an undergrad course, but I remember learning two main things from it. First, if everyone lived like me we would need over 4 Earths to support everyone (and I think of myself as fairly eco-friendly), and second, the best way for me to reduce my ecological footprint was to be vegan. Think about it. How much land over how much time does it take to grow the food to feed a cow until it has grown enough to kill for meat, or to give milk so you can eat cheese? How much more food could you have made if you had just planted soybeans (or whatever veggie) instead? The answer to both questions is a lot. So much energy is lost at each trophic level that the higher up the food chain you eat, the less efficient your food source is. And remember what I was saying about dolphins being at the top of the food chain? Eating herbivores like cows is environmentally bad enough, but dolphins are carnivores that eat carnivores that eat carnivores... That's very inefficient. So basically we have the "it's like eating cows but much worse" argument again.

Not only do we not have enough Earths to support people eating high order consumers, but from what I hear, we're likely to run out of the phosphorous stores that we use to fertilize our fields before the end of the century. This really is a legitimate problem to consider.


Here's a sticky argument. Like the cute argument, it's not likely to change the minds of many people who already think that dolphins are reasonable food--after all, I'll eat pig but not dog, even though pigs are supposed to be smarter. But it is an important reason to me why we shouldn't eat dolphins; the previous arguments explain why it is impractical to eat dolphin, but not why it might be morally wrong to do so, as I believe it is. And since this reason is one attacked by many cynics and skeptics, I feel I should take the time to defend it.

There are few who would deny that killing innocent people is very wrong. It is possible that we believe it is wrong merely because of an instinct that evolution has granted us, since our genes may be better propagated if we don't kill our own, but I think there is more to it than that--it is something we can justify with morality and reason. We know how we ourselves would feel to face death. We know the pain of watching people we care about pass away before us. If we ourselves value our own lives and want to live and experience more life and can't bear to think of how our loved ones would react to news of our death, we can assume that other people feel the same way. Thus, through fairness, a do unto others as you would have them do unto you agreement, we should not kill other people.

Such reasoning, however, allows us to justify the killing of other organisms as long as we believe that they do not feel and think the same way we do. If they do no feel pain as strongly, if they do not love their lives and experiences as dearly, if they don't care as much for their loved ones--if all the things that make our own lives worth saving are lacking (or sufficiently lesser) in other creatures, then their lives are worth less and we can justify their killing if it benefits us. In a way, it boils down to relatability. If the life in question is a life we can relate to--if we can believe that it feels in a way sufficiently similar to the way we feel about our own lives--then it is wrong to kill it. Otherwise, it can be sacrificed, for example for food.

But where do we draw the line? What counts as "sufficiently similar"? And if we cannot effectively communicate between species, how do we even know how the other species feel?

It is a difficult dilemma, but everyone draws a line somewhere. Some draw the line right below people: If it's not exactly like me, then it doesn't deserve saving. Some draw the line right above fish, refusing to eat chicken or beef but enjoying tuna. Some take into account how the animal was treated in life--it's OK to kill it, as long as it lived a comfortable life. Some draw the line somewhere in the invertebrates, not eating meat but never mourning the death of a spider, or maybe a flatworm. At the very least, people draw the line after animals, since otherwise they could not justify eating vegetables. Besides, surely non-animals are not conscious in the way that we are. Right?

There is no perfect place to draw the line. Many positions can be defended. Apparently, I draw my line somewhere between dolphins and pigs. I believe that some animals, including dolphins, chimps, orangutans, and gorillas, have exhibited evidence of intelligence and depth of feeling that make their lives valuable enough to make sacrificing them wrong.

What is so special about dolphins? They exhibit complex communication. They have even been taught to communicate simple concepts with humans. They play; there's a beautiful clip in The Cove of a dolphin playing with a ring of bubbles, and, after all, dolphins are the original surfers. They even have sex for fun. They are self-aware, recognizing their own image in a mirror or in a picture. There is plentiful if anecdotal evidence that they have deliberately saved the lives of humans. And they just seem to have have a knowingness about them that I also sense when a gorilla looks into my eyes at the zoo. Maybe some of these are misunderstandings, or things I'm seeing as I want to see rather than for the truth. But I can't believe they all are. For these reasons, I believe that dolphins are intelligent enough that I do relate to them and their feelings. They are "sufficiently similar."

In The Cove, surfer Dave Rastovich tells a story about how a dolphin once saved him from a tiger shark. Maybe the dolphin was being self-serving, or it was confused, or just aggressive toward the shark. But maybe to some extent, dolphins identify with us humans, and they deem our lives worthy of saving. Having watched clips in The Cove of Mandy-Rae Cruikshank swimming with curious dolphins in the open ocean, I could certainly see this being the case. Can't we return the favor?

To lighten the mood, I leave you with these two amusing bits:

From The Onion: Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs. "Holy f*ck" says mankind.

From the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie: "So long and thanks for all the fish" (starts 25 seconds in)

* It's a modified Finding Nemo quote, though it loses the alliteration of "Fish are friends, not food." Maybe "Dolphins are darlings, not dinner"?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Oscar-winning documentary The Cove

It's now been almost two weeks since the 2010 Academy Awards. Neil Patrick Harris had a fun opening number. I thought The Hurt Locker was a great movie, so I'm glad it won lots of awards (especially Bigelow's Best Director!). I felt a little bad that Avatar didn't win more, but it definitely deserved the visual effects, art direction, and cinematography awards it took away. Essentially, it was by far the best looking of this year's movies. I was pleased that Star Trek got something (for makeup). District 9 walked away empty handed, but it was great that it was nominated in such competitive categories (best picture and best adapted screenplay).

Still, the win that I was probably most excited about was The Cove for Best Documentary. I haven't seen any of the other nominees, so I can't really say if The Cove was the best, but it is probably the best documentary that I've ever seen, and I think it deserved the award. Sadly, the winners were shuffled off the stage before the second producer, Louie Psihoyos--the one who was also the director--was able to say anything. You can see what he would have said in his Oscar speech here (not even that long--would have been 30 sec). The cameras also managed to show only the briefest flash of Rick O'Barry's sign saying to text DOLPHIN to 44144.

One of the great things about The Cove is how entertaining it is. It has an exciting story with an intriguing setting and interesting players. Most of it is set in the town of Taiji in Japan, a quiet little fishing town. It seems idyllic, but of course beneath the surface is an industry that regularly herds dolphins into a hidden cove and slaughters them. They kill about 23,000 dolphins a year; their business is legal and carefully protected from publicity by the government. Taiji even has a nice aquarium where you can see the smart dolphins perform in cute little dolphin shows...while you munch on a snack of dolphin meat. The fishermen are understandably sick of outsiders coming in to protest their work, but it is still kind of funny seeing them try to provoke the visitors in different ways to attack them so they can get the pesky visitors arrested. What is especially troubling is that the fishermen don't even make that much money from the dolphin killing. They make most of their money from selling live dolphins they capture to dolphinariums and the like--it's about $125,000 a pop. The money for dolphin meat is much lower, since other whale meat is much more expensive than dolphin (in the documentary, they found dolphin meat being sold under false labels, but that's a whole other can of worms there). One organization offered to compensate the fishermen with the same amount they earn from killing dolphins--paying their salary--but the offer was declined.

The main player in The Cove is Rick O'Barry, the dolphin trainer for the popular '60s "Flipper" TV show. He seems a bit of a fanatic, but his story is an interesting one. After his TV show went off the air and his dolphin friends were sent to aquariums, he saw that they were really depressed there. Not only were they confined to limited areas, but they were highly stressed by the noise--not just of the people, but even of their own tanks and filtration systems. One of the dolphins he had loved and worked with, he says, was so miserable she committed suicide in his arms. She looked at him and then just stopped breathing (dolphins, unlike humans, have to make the conscious decision to take each breath, which makes sense given that they live underwater). That is what set him off, and he saw that the show that he had participated in had now popularized these dolphinariums which were making the dolphins miserable. Furthermore, since the fishermen of Taiji really earn their living by selling live dolphins to dolphinariums, as he sees it the popularity of dolphin shows is funding the slaughter of 23,000 dolphins a year in the Taiji cove.

In The Cove, O'Barry recruits a special team to his cause. Someone in the movie compares their team to Ocean's 11, and that is a bit what it's like: different people with different specializations (for example, champion free-divers, and a movie set designer who made rock-looking casings in which to hide cameras) brought together to carry out a heist. Their mission: to get video and audio footage of the hidden cove where the dolphins are all killed. It's pretty suspenseful as they carefully observe the guards' routines and then descend on the cove in the middle of the night, literally fearing for their lives as they trespass on forbidden property.

The documentary also has clever clips selected to give you a sense of the ridiculous arguments made by the defenders of the dolphin harvest. It's the kind of pleasure you get when watching Jon Stewart show clips of Glenn Beck or Michele Bachmann. They also have good "gotcha" moments in some interviews, with satisfaction similar to that found in The Daily Show or Colbert Report interviews (the silly pre-taped and edited ones, not the ones during the show). For instance, there's an exchange with someone from Japan's fisheries department that goes something like this:
Fisheries guy: But the dolphins are slaughtered very humanely, with a special knife that they stick right through the spinal cord so they are killed instantly.
Director Psihoyos: If they weren't killed that way, would it be wrong?
Fisheries guy: I don't deal with ifs.
Director Psihoyos: Well, take a look at this.
Shows clip of fishermen on boats lazily spearing dolphins with jabs of long harpoons, after which the dolphins swim helplessly through the water, bleeding out over periods of minutes, until finally going under.
Fisheries guy: (Watches silently, and then--) Where and when did you get this footage?

There are also some relaxing, eye candy moments in the movie, with clips of dolphins in the waves, and of one of the free-divers swimming with dolphins in their natural habitat. One wonders if the dolphins are all calling out to each other Hey, look, it's a human, come check her out! Isn't she cute? It looked like so much fun, I realized that if I ever do swim with a dolphin, I want it to be out in the open ocean where they are free. Yeah, I was totally jealous of that free-diver and her monofin (I want to swim like a mermaid, too!).

The documentary offered a pretty one-sided look at the story, certainly, but it made a convincing case. One wonders whether the movie, and its increased publicity from winning the Academy Award, will be able to bring the change it aims to inspire. The trouble is, as pointed out in the documentary itself and in Psihoyos's (extended) acceptance speech, it's the people of Japan who need to know what's going on. The Japanese government won't change its policies because some outraged westerners are telling them that Taiji's practices are wrong. But the fact is that it seems most people in Japan don't view dolphin as a food animal--it's just in the small region around Taiji that they eat dolphin. And even within Taiji, there's some disagreement about the consumption of dolphin meat for health reasons (they were planning on putting it in mandatory school lunches, but some concerned parents prevented it). If enough people in Japan protest Taiji's dolphin slaughter, maybe the government will stop protecting the Taiji fishermen, and the fishermen will be convinced that the small profit they make from selling dolphin meat isn't worth it.

Time will tell what the documentary can accomplish. For now, I will just highly recommend that you see this Oscar-winning documentary if you get the chance--it's on DVD. It's fun, moving, and meaningful--what great entertainment should be.

Go to http://www.takepart.com/thecove/

This post explains why I enjoyed the movie, but my next post gives reasons why I agree with its message: Reasons not to eat dolphins

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Midterm madness

I've never kept a regular posting schedule, but if you've noticed me making fewer posts in the past week or two, it's because I have midterm exams now and have been miserably studying.

I have managed to fit in a little bit of Mass Effect 2 playing. I just bought myself fish for my fish tank and my own little Boo who comes out of his hiding place to squeak at me. You have no idea how excited I am about both. It is the best improvement from Mass Effect 1: decorations for the captain's cabin--particularly the pets. I wish my rent contract allowed me to have pets in real life. I would so have my own real-life fish and space hamster (though I should note as I have before on this blog that I prefer gerbils to non-space hamsters).

To make myself feel better about working on midterms, I named the Matlab code file for the take-home midterm I have been working on MassEffect2.m. That way, I could tell myself that I had been spending all day playing around with Mass Effect 2. It almost helped.

Anyway, I hope to get back to more regular posts once the dust from my midterms settles. Probably nothing until the weekend.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Givin' up on you, MacBook

Where do we go?
Where'd it all crash?
When did it start to fall apart?

After all we have been through
I can only look at you
Through the eyes you've lied to
I'm givin' up on you
After all if there is no way out
If you cannot stand beside me
If there isn't love, there is only pride
I'm givin' up this fight

I detailed last week how my 7-month-old MacBook Pro was failing. It got worse last Monday, when it had three kernel panics in the space of four hours. I decided to wipe everything clean and reinstall the operating system. I got a new Snow Leopard DVD (newest version of the Mac OS) and popped it in. After installing for a while, it told me that the OS had failed to install, please restart and try again. I did. It told me the same thing again. I went to try one more time, but now the computer just got stuck on the Apple screen. I couldn't get the disc out. I took it to an IT guy on campus who had to clear the PRAM to get it out. He tried a couple things and decided that my computer was broken and I should take it to the Apple store. I went to this tech guy in our lab who had the warranty for my computer (since it was purchased through my lab), but he wanted to take a crack at fixing it. He noticed that the Snow Leopard DVD was now scratched--several thin, perfect, co-centric circles were gouged around the DVD. No human could make perfect scratches like that. Interestingly, he thought the best thing to do would be to try to use his own Snow Leopard DVD. He told me not long after that my computer had crashed on installation, but he didn't mention if his DVD has also been scratched. Hope not. Anyway, I now had his blessing, too, to take it to the Apple store.

I set up an appointment at the "Genius Bar" in Ala Moana mall. The guy who helped me was very nice, had a good sense of humor, and managed not to make me feel stupid about anything. One of those rare computer nerds who is also a people-person, I guess. He was probably just glad that he was talking to someone with a legitimate computer problem and wasn't the "Genius" next to him who was explaining to a couple how to navigate to and sign into their AOL email. Classic. Brought me back to hear the old "You've got mail!" It was an elderly couple, so they're excused of course. Anyway, I told him my sad tale and showed him the scratched DVD. He gave me a new DVD and said he'd also give me a new optical drive. He guessed that it was either the RAM or the hard drive giving me problems, and he had those parts right here and would fix it up, and it would probably be ready by tomorrow.

The next day, I got a call saying not that it was ready, but that they had thought it was the hard drive but when they put in a new one it still didn't work. There were several new theories as to what was wrong with it, but they involved shipping parts from the mainland and would take an additional 5 days. I was pretty annoyed. I thought about my poor lonely computer sitting in pieces in the back room of that store, but at the same time, I had kind of written it off in my mind. We no longer trusted each other. I just wanted to start over with a new computer.

I've been behind on work the whole week because I lost all that time to wrestling with my computer. The one upside is that as I wait for my MacBook to be fixed, I get to use my own PC that I use for personal (read: gaming) activities at work... Hooray for Mass Effect 2 breaks in my office!