OK, folks: I am out of here! Wish me luck. And as always, feel free to check my Twitter feed for breaking updates from the field. :-)

flyin'. and drivin'. in that order.

OK, so American Express and JetBlue teamed up a little while back with a travel offer of sorts: take any round-trip flight by mid-June and they'd both (a) knock $25 off the purchase price of the flight and (b) kick in bonus mileage points equating to half of a free round-trip flight. "Buy a trip on sale, plus half a trip for free", more or less. Fair enough.

It should be noted that in the context of this offer and their trip-bonus system in general, JetBlue does not differentiate between flights. The flight that you take now, at the discounted rate? Oh, that can be some dinky little two-sawbucks-each-way puddle-jumper if you're so inclined - still counts as a promotion-qualifying flight, it does. And the free flight that you take later? Oh, there are no restrictions on that one, either - it's good for anywhere JetBlue flies. So if you can wrangle yourself a seat on a long-haul plane to Bermuda, hey, that's a perfectly valid use of your free round-trip flight right there.

So if you were so inclined, you could buy a flight down to Long Beach... at about a one-third-off discount, on account of the sale price... and parlay that into half a flight to anywhere? Man, that's a hell of a deal right there! And on that note: I am so inclined! So that's what I'm up to this weekend: taking myself a little jaunt down to Southern California, for flight-system-gaming purchases. (Modulo JetBlue staying in business long enough for me to cash in on all my free-flighted goodness, natch. I would probably settle for "not closing up shop while in mid-trip, stranding me in some far-flung city" in a pinch, really.)

Mind you, not that I really have anything to do in SoCal. No family members, no hobby conferences, no super-close friends - nothin'. Which means that this may turn into a Let's See How Many Southwestern Counties I Can Visit affair, for lack of any better idea manifesting. (In the most extreme scenario, where I do not run into bad weather, or some awesome exhibit I want to check out, or get seduced by a truck-stop waitress, or otherwise decide to do anything but maniacal driving, I could probably pull of something like this. The prospect of which is either awesome or terrifying, depending on your vantage.)

leveling up our living room

Ealasaid and I had our first anniversary a couple of weeks ago. Our "paper" anniversary, I guess it's called - though I couldn't think of anything I especially wanted that was made out of paper. "Innumerable twenty-dollar bills", I guess... though I think U.S. currency is actually mostly cotton-based, so that was out.

So anyhow: in lieu of exchanging anniversary presents, we decided to communally upgrade our living room TV from "adequate" to "the largest television that we were physically capable of extracting from Costco". This is literally true - note the eight femtometers of clearance inside the vehicle. Mind you, not that we had the presence of mind to actually check that the TV would fit before we had it in the parking lot; it is only through sheer idiot chance that everything worked out so non-tragically.

The pics tell the story: old and busted; new hotness. Given the (lack of) size of our apartment, it is a terrifyingly large television - one should probably not be viewing a 50" TV from a distance of six feet. Then again, achieving the "optimal" viewing distance would likely involve burrowing through a wall into the neighbor's living room; the present setup is probably the more amenable of those two options.

(This is the portion of the post originally dedicated to the hours-long gnashing-of-teeth ordeal required to get the Rock Band lag calibration into some semblance of adequacy. But apparently, in contrast with every other HDTV I have ever had the misfortune of playing on, I got everything spot-on awesome within fifteen minutes or so. So never mind.)

you are now free to move about the country

Hey, out of totally idle curiosity, I wonder where all SwissAir flies? Well, let's just go check out some likely-looking airline route website....

Um. Huh. Apparently, SwissAir flies to the apocalyptic future, wherein The Big One has caused many cities to migrate, occasionally by hundreds of miles. Or something. I mean, I knew that Cleveland was called "the mistake on the lake"; I'm just pretty sure the lake in question wasn't Lake Huron. I also don't recall the leisurely hour-long coastal drive from San Francisco to Oakland, thought admittedly I haven't been paying a ton of attention to such matters.

On the bright side, this means that New Orleans won't have as many flooding-related mishaps from here on out. And I could probably drive to Las Vegas in about four hours or so, which is nice.

(Link ganked from here, for those of you playing at home.)

achievement unlocked: damaged vocal cords

(Video game information ahoy. If'n you don't care in the slightest, now would be an excellent time to avert your eyes.)

The Rock Band "Endless Setlist" accomplishment, while decidedly challenging, is kind of dumb. It involves playing through all 58 of the on-disc songs in a row, in one continuous set. Oh, sure, you can pause the damn process as often as you like, taking breaks for food / restroom usage / wallowing in one's self-loathing. Still, that notwithstanding: it represents four-and-a-half hours of gameplay, essentially in a singular run. And what do you get for your troubles, should you happen to succeed in the quest? A slightly differently colored icon - "platinum" if you toiled away at everything on Expert, as is our wont.

Ealasaid and I had done this before, on a pair of plastic guitars, with little platinum-colored guitar icons to show for it. But y'know, I'd been practicing my vocal actions as of late... and I was sure we could pass every song again, with Ealasaid rocking the plastitar and me wielding the microphone. And really, I totally wanted my little microphone icon to be all silvery and shimmery, too - empirical proof of my pitch-matching chops, don'tcha know. Anyhow: one looooong Sunday full of gameplay later, voila: we have successfully re-beaten every song in our new configuration! The little platinum microphone icon is mine.

Conclusions to be drawn from this? (1) Omigod, we are SUCH DORKS. (2) Heaven help us once Ealasaid becomes an Expert-level Rock Band drummer - we are totally burning yet-still-another weekend on doing this epic marathon of gamery again. For that is how we roll.

"a meme I actually participate in!" redux

Well, I suppose I'm long overdue in revealing the songs behind the lyrics spouted in the memetic post from last week. (As appears to be the style of the times with jus' 'bout everyone who participated in the meme, as best I can tell.) Anyhow, follow the aforementioned link if you're late to the party but still keen on participating; answers (complete with running commentary) behind the cut.

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Here concludes the random walk through my MP3 folder. We will now open the floor to questions.

a meme I actually participate in. zounds!

As first seen at beccajoojoo: put your music player on shuffle/random. Post lyrics from the first 20 songs that play (ignore instrumentals!). Have your friends guess the songs - or just marvel at your strange music collection! OK, firing up the Omni-Shuffematic 8000, one moment please....

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Twenty songs... and the fates of randomization give me two artists twice. (Also, a TV theme song - yeesh.) The rest of it is broad-spectrum decades-spanning pop- and alterna-rock, for the most part - representative enough, methinks. (And gives folks a better shot at recognizing many of these than most folks' lists, I would think.)

Guess away, if you're so inclined. I'll post the actual answers in a couple days' time.

I am outta here!

OK, party people: off I go for my weekend in Florida! To do... uh, activities to be determined! I guess! Wish me well - and, as always, should you feel the need to cyber-stalk me, I shall be updating the Twitter feed will some regularity from the road.

(Also, happy birthday to mazeyminda! A day late! On account of ongoing suckitude on my part!)

ze plastic flatware, it does nothing

At work, in the common area, there's a collection of sundry fruits, suitable for random folks to nab and nosh on during the day. This is not out of the ordinary. Out of the ordinary, however, is one of the fruits in question: next to the box of bananas and the crate of apples is a single, lonely-looking pineapple.

Who the hell is this for? Who's out there going through the effort of coring and eating an entire unprocessed pineapple, in cubicle, for a midday snack?

america's wang ahoy

What with the whole JetBlue American Express card that I use for... well, just about every earthly purchase, really, I accrue an ass-ton of JetBlue free flight "points". So much so that it got to the point that if'n I didn't fly somewhere by April, they were going to have one of my free round-trip flights wink away into the aether. That was the stick they threatened me with, anyway; the complementary carrot was "hey, if you schedule your trip pronto to get your flight on by mid-February, we'll shower yet still even more free flight goodness upon you".

So anyhow, long story short: weekend after the Super Bowl, I am burning myself a random-ass three-day weekend in Palm Beach! The flights are booked, as is the rental car; if nothing else, this'll permit me the opportunity to go on a random-ass road-trip towards my lifelong "attempt to visit, however briefly, every county in the U.S." goal. Either way, never been to southern Florida - it'll be an experience. Should there be anything there in particular that I ought to keep my eyes open for, this would be an excellent time to clue me in.

Fun fact: what with the quirky limitations JetBlue imposes on their free flights, severely constraining one's potential destination cities, the almost-selected Plan B was flying into Portland, Maine... despite the fact that portions of Maine are likely to be snowed to pieces at the time, to say nothing of the potential below-zero temperatures that I'd be wholly unequipped for. But such is the allure of supplemental gratis airfare! (And hey, at least it would've made for a story. Maybe next time! Doubly so if I can con someone into coming with!)