Monday, April 30, 2007

eHarmony Date #4

I went out on my fourth eHarmony date (#4). This one also went well. I do have to say that none of the guys I have met have been jerks. At least not on the surface. They've all been quite polite, respectful and overall, very nice.

#4 called me on Saturday and amazingly I was actually home! We chatted for a while and then set-up lunch plans for 1 PM on Sunday. I met him for sushi in Burbank and we had a very nice lunch. We never ran out of stuff to talk about and I had fun. I realized while I was talking to him that my life might sound weird to guys. He said, "It sounds like you're pretty good friends with guy Y and guy Z..." I said, "Yeah, I probably see those guys like four times a week." Now if I had a boyfriend, obviously, that would decrease. Maybe I shouldn't mention them so much when I first meet someone, but there was a lot of conversation that involved them peripherally, so they got mentioned. Not talking about them wouldn't change the reality that they exist and that I do, in fact, spend a lot of time with them. It also doesn't help that my best friend's name is Shane, but she's a girl!! I made sure to mention that fact while when I was talking about her.

There were a couple quick hugs at the end. We'll see if he calls. Verdict is same as the others, no huge spark, but I'd go out with him again just to see...

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Buckling down on the eHarmony train

Lately, I've been making a better effort to really answer all the questions that my matches have been sending me. So now I'm at "open communication" with several of them, just trying to set up times to meet. I am visiting a friend out in Kansas City the first weekend in May and after that, I think I'm home for the next six weekends!!! Hallelujah! I think that may be the longest I haven't been on a plane in a long time! Not that I mind it at all, but I think it would be nice to unpack stuff before I reach the one year anniversary of living all by myself in my apartment!

Back to the eHarmony guys... there is one in particular that I'm very interested in. I can't lie. He's VERY cute! And he likes Disneyland. And he buys a different DL hat every time he goes (have I ever mentioned that I like hats?). He really liked one of the pics I have on my profile of myself with my Minnie ears on! I just sent him an email. He asked about getting together this weekend, so we'll see if that works out. I suggested Sunday evening because I'm pretty much busy the rest of the weekend.

As for the cute gamer guy with whom I had the awkward first call, I haven't heard from him at all. So, I guess that's that. I followed Erin's advice because I knew it was right and I didn't call or email him to prod him. The good thing is that I believe that is the right decision.

There are several others and at this point, I'm trying to just let them ride til next week because I know I'm busy the next two weekends. I'm hoping to meet up with many of them during May since I'll be home most of the month! That way, I'll either know they're a match or not and I can go from there. Every time I log in and see the long list of guys, I just feel a bit overwhelmed. I guess that's the problem with having too much fun stuff to do. The dating kind of falls by the wayside. I've been trying to bump up the importance of that recently. I love my friends, but unfortunately, they won't keep me warm at night!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Couch Surfing - Guest #1

My first couch surfing guest arrived *late* last night around 1:00 AM. His name is Shannon and so far, everything has been great. I had actually dozed off by the time he was leaving LAX. The rental car place only had two people working and it took him over an hour to get his car.

He arrived and was actually cuter than his picture (I'll see about posting a photo). I showed him the couch. I had already set aside everything he'd need. He's here trying to get in touch with some agencies to do modeling/acting. He used to be a PE teacher and coach college basketball when someone approached him about modeling. So, he's been in some commercials and is giving it a shot! There was a screaming deal on Spirit for $38 round trip to LA, and he said that he had to give it a shot!! How can you pass up such a cheap ticket!? Especially if you don't have a 9-5 type job to hold you down. He's couch surfing to save the $$, which I totally understand.

He says he has a gift for me too, I'm curious as to what it is. I do know it's some type of clothing. This is the first time he's ever stayed on someone's couch. He's hosted a few people before. We'll see how tonight goes. He might be interested in playing some dominos (Carribbean-style) if anyone wants to come over and meet him!

The cool thing is that if this goes well, I will have someone whose couch *I* can sleep on the next time I'm in Miami! Awesome!!

Update: So, he stayed until Friday morning. We stayed up til 4 AM chatting on Thursday night. He was very chatty and very nice. We started talking about couch surfing and basically came to the conclusion that it takes a certain kind of person to do couch surfing and to sign up to offer their couch up for a complete stranger.

Oh! The gift was a sarong! I will definitely be wearing it this summer! We took a picture together, but it's on his camera. Once I get a copy, maybe I'll post it. Overall, I had a very positive experience with him. I think I would definitely host again, and perhaps I'll even try staying with someone when we go to Europe this fall!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The first phone call...

The gamer guy from eHarmony that looked and sounded very promising wrote back and explained what an odd week he had had last week (he had a kidney stone and had an unexpected out-of-town visitor) and then said he'd call me on Saturday. Which he did. Unfortunately, I was in the middle of a game. Rather than let it go to voice mail, I answered my phone, asked if I could call him back and did so about 20 minutes later. We had a somewhat disjointed conversation that didn't really "flow" for about 10 minutes (plus, I couldn't hear him very well because I was outside and there was airport noise overhead) before he asked if he could call ME back on Sunday because he was at a restaurant and had just been served his food. He had mentioned during the first call he was headed to a Dodger game that evening, so I said, "Sure, sounds great. I should be home tomorrow." (Which I was, doing my taxes, ugh!)

And then, come Sunday, he didn't call. And hasn't yet. It could be that he's just been busy or something, but I'm wondering if our first awkward conversation made him less interested. It wasn't great, I admit that, but I wouldn't categorize it as *SO* awful that I wouldn't want to talk to him again. But maybe he did. If he doesn't call, he doesn't call. I could send a prodding email to nudge him a bit, but why? If he's interested, he'll call. If he's *that* easily deterred/discouraged, then I guess that's that. Although, I'm SO tempted to send an email that says, "Hey, I know our first conversation wasn't the best, but let's try again!" or something to that effect. A few friends I've discussed it with have had mixed advice on that. I'll ponder that this weekend and then decide for sure next week.

I remember when I first met Jason, the first several times I talked to him on the phone were awful! In person, it was great. The reason? Something like 80% of communication is non-verbal. That's why it's especially difficult to talk to someone you don't know over the phone. For this very reason, I've been suggesting to eHarmony guys that we meet. I really don't need to go through a couple weeks of back and forth emails. I'd rather just meet and see if we click, or even semi-click. I haven't had a lot of dates though because unfortunately, I've been lax on answering the open-ended questions. So, my goal lately has been to answer one guy's questions a day. Sometimes I've been succeeding and sometimes I haven't. I need to get back on that.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Couch Surfing

Months ago, I read about in the paper (maybe the Travel section or Parade?). The idea is that you sign up on the website and then you host - let people sleep on your couch, or surf - sleep on someone else's couch. Since I signed up last year, I've had several people contact me, but for one reason or another, I've never let anyone actually come surf on my couch. Until now.

I got an email today and it's a guy (why are they ALWAYS guys?) and judging by his profile, he sounds fine and he's actually hosted people at his place, so I told him he could stay for two nights. I gave him the warning that I snore and the couch isn't actually all that comfy, so we'll see if he accepts. But if he does, he will be my first official couch surfer!

So far, my only experience with couch surfing has been through my friend Stephanie, a fellow couch surfing member. She has hosted a few times and I met one of the groups. They came over for swimming and beer last summer. They were from Wales and we had a great time. I'm curious to see how this goes. I just hope he's not an axe murderer or something. If he does accept, he'll be spending the night next Wednesday and Thursday night.

eHarmony Date and more

I had an eHarmony date last Saturday. It went as the other two have gone. Nice guys, pleasant enough, but not an instant spark. This one loves sports and I'm fine with that, even though I don't watch a ton of them, but he also loves food. Specifically, he loves trying new foods and restaurants and likes watching Food Network, so we definitely have that in common. I told him I'd go out with him again if he was interested (even though I really didn't feel it), so we'll see if he calls. I would prefer the instant chemistry, but I know there are people I've met that it wasn't that way with, so I'm trying to keep an open mind to the fact that maybe it'll be the 2nd or 3rd date before something clicks.

On the eHarmony front, there is one guy who I am particularly interested in based on his profile and pics. He sounds way more like "my type" - geeky, smart, into games, cute! We're almost at the stage where we can email each other through the site. I'm just waiting for him to answer my last set of questions. The questioning process... that is another post all together.

I am getting together with someone I met totally organically the first night I went to the Guitar Hero Bar I've been frequenting lately. He's cute and funny, and hey, he likes GH, what could go wrong? :-) He asked for my phone number the last time I saw him saying that he wanted to "get together to play some GH." Well, he called and we've been exchanging emails, so he's coming over Friday. I asked a few of my GH lovers over to play also, so we'll see how it goes.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Guitar Hero News

Can it be true that Activision is releasing a new PS2 game before GH3 comes out? I read on this website that they are planning on releasing an 80s version this summer! I really hope it's true! According to this website, it's on its way!!

That news was last week's news! Today's news is that there's a ROCK BAND game by Harmonix and MTV coming out!!!! You can play with four players and it will have a guitar, bass, singer and drum kit! That is going to rock! If my neighbor didn't love me already... ;-)

The only downside to this new game is that it's for the XBox 360 or the PS3, neither of which I own. Oh well. Might be time to pony up for the 360. After seeing a demo of Viva Pinata, I might be interested in checking out some of the other 360 games. It looks super cute!

Update on 4/7/07: I think Devon thought this might be an April Fool's joke, but here is an article on Yahoo that talks about the Rock Band game and the 80s version coming out later this year. It also mentions some other titles that might be guitar related.

Friday, April 06, 2007

I'm done with organizing the lunches

At my office, there's a mix of people who bring lunches from home or who go out for lunch. For years now, we would order lunch on Fridays to be delivered or I'd run an pick up a big order for everyone in the office so we could eat together in the conference room and catch up with each other. We switched it to Thursdays when one of the people changed her schedule so that she never works on Fridays now.

However, as of this week, I'm done. I'm done with organizing, taking the orders, calling it in, handling all the money, picking it up, etc. I'm done with all of it. First of all, the lunches have deteriorated to just being an ordering/delivery service. We used to sit together and talk while we ate. We'd catch up on life events, family, friends, etc. However, over the last six months of so, people have started just picking up their food and going back to their offices without hanging around to chat!

Another office tradition revolving around our lunches: Anytime it's someone's birthday, I always organize lunch for that day (or a day close to it). Sometimes I even make sure we have cake or cupcakes (homemade or store bought).

My birthday was last Saturday, but because I was really busy at work last Thursday and Friday, we pushed my birthday lunch to be on this past Monday. Since I'm usually the one who handles all the lunches, fine... I took everyone's order and collected the money. Usually, everyone usually chips in a couple extra bucks to cover the cost of the birthday boy/girl's lunch. So, of the four people who ate lunch with me on Monday...

1. One person gave me the exact amount for his lunch, not one dollar extra. He's the one who can most afford it and the one who is constantly offering to or actually buying my assistant's lunch throughout the year.

2. One person offered and actually gave me $2 dollars to contribute towards my lunch.

3. One person said he'd contribute towards my lunch, but then realized that he didn't have enough cash on him to cover his own lunch and had to borrow money from person #4 who...

4. Also said she'd contribute towards my lunch, but didn't have enough for both her lunch and to let person #3 borrow money, so I ended up putting in money to help cover the deficit.

Both #3 and #4 said they'd pay me back. So far, nothing.

So, it was my birthday lunch, which person #2 contributed $2 towards and I *still* paid $8 out of my pocket. The total cost of my lunch was $8.50!

Do I care about $8 out of my pocket? No, it's not the money. It's the fact that it's CONSTANTLY like this. People don't have enough money, they'll pay me back. No one else wants to go pick up the lunches. If I weren't the one spearheading the Thursday lunch, I don't think it would exist. So I'm letting it die. I'm tired of getting stiffed for a few dollars each week and not being appreciated.

When did I decide I was *done* with this? When person #1 came to me yesterday and said, "Is anyone ordering food for Thursday lunch?" and I said, "Nope, I'm not and I'm done with it." I hadn't consciously thought about it before he asked the question. It just popped out of my mouth. This person never brings his lunch and hates to drive anywhere for lunch, so everyday he asks if anyone's going out to pick up lunch so that he can give them money to pick him up lunch too. He doesn't want a Thursday lunch, he just wants food. He's one of the ones that gets his food and disappears into his office. I'm not his lackey.

So, after the fiasco with my birthday on Monday and him not offering one single dollar, I decided that is it. I'm through. They can all take care of ordering their own damn lunches. At this point, I don't want to eat with them.

Hacking Guitar Hero

I'm going to just keep updating this post so that all the "hacking" stuff stays together.

Travis borrowed a hacked copy of Guitar Hero from a friend who is on a two week vacation. We plugged it and and got it to work! Basically, the hacked copy means that there are new songs on the game that regular GH-lovers have programmed the notes for. For example, somebody wanted to see Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" on GH, so they got the song and programmed it with INSANE notes! I think I make it about 2% of the way through the song.

Chris did some research and found out how to do it, so we planning on doing a mod to my PS2 so that we can play our own hacked GH. In fact, we found instructions on how to do the programming too, so I think we're going to try to make our own songs! Now I just need to make a songlist of which songs I want to convert to GH format. This is gonna be awesome!!

Once I start doing it, I will post the progress regarding how I did it and how well it worked. I'm hoping it's easy because I'm not super-techy. Now I just have to find the time!!

Apparently there are two ways to mod a Playstation. You can sauter a chip into it, but it sounds very difficult if you don't have experience with sautering OR you can use a network adapter. I already have a network adapter, so this is the method we're using. This method works best with the old, fatter PS2s because you need to add a hard drive inside the console which will not fit in the newer, slim PS2s.

I think the basic idea of the hacking is that once you put a hard drive into your PS2, you will upload Guitar Hero to it and then replace some of the files with the "new" music/notes files. When you start up the game, the copy we have shows all the "normal" songs from GH2, but when you pick them, they have the alternate music/notes on them. On the copy we have, instead of "Shout at the Devil," we have Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper." Some people programmed in multiple levels (medium and expert), some didn't. Some of the songs stall out and crash, some work just fine. Some of the notes are synced up properly, but I think that's more of a tweaking thing that will come later.

Here's what I've done so far:
1. I have a network adapter attached to the back of my old, fat Playstation2.
2. My computer guy gave me a 20G hard drive and an ethernet cable. Now I just need to figure out how to install it.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Kitties + Warriors = Fun stuff

I stole this from who stole it from somewhere else I'm sure. It's so cute! :-)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My new gambling love... poker!

I went to Vegas last weekend for my birthday and the first night there, Travis asked if I want to hit the poker room. I've never played poker for any money ever and pretty much have just seen some World Series of Poker episodes on ESPN, so I have an idea of how it works. And of course, I know the order of ranking on the hands. It was getting close to 1 AM and we hadn't gambled at all yet, so I said, "Sure, I'll give it a shot."

We stayed at the MGM and their poker room is actually not a room, but a barricaded area. It was pretty cool. We put our names on the waiting list for the $2/$4 limit table and while we were waiting, Travis filled me in on the procedure of the table. After about 10 minutes, we both had seats at two different tables.

I started with $100 just to test the waters. According to Travis, I bet loosely because I almost always put in my $2 to see what the flop was even if I had crappy cards. Then, I'd even go ahead and put more money in to chase a card on the 4th or 5th one. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. I'm sure there's lots of room for improvement in my betting strategy.

Travis would come over periodically and see how things were going. Around 3 AM, he said, "Just let me know when you're ready to go, we can leave anytime you want." I furrowed my brow and thought, "Does Travis really not know me?" He walked away and I told the guy next to me, "That's like a drug addict telling another, I'll stop using drugs when you do!" Around 5:30 AM, my eyes were getting pretty tired, so I told Travis I was ready to go back up to the room.

The verdict? I had $97. Not too bad. At one point around 4 AM (?), I had almost all my chips in a big pot that I won (whew!) and came back to almost even money. So, overall, not bad at all, considering it was my first time playing ever.

We played a bit at the Flamingo on Sunday and while I think I was betting a bit better, I didn't get that great of cards. So, I think I lost about $40. The thing I didn't like about the Flamingo was that we were seated at the same table. I prefer being at two separate tables. However, the Flamingo had this jackpot board, so you could win $$ if you hit certain hands, mostly 4 of a kinds and straight flushes.

I'm totally ready to hit Vegas again and try my hand at more poker. I have several friends who are into poker though, so I'm sure I'll get lots of advice from all of them. I'm sure I'm doing everything wrong, but whatever. I had fun.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Getting back into eHarmony

I was feeling very overwhelmed in February with eHarmony. I had several guys that I was communicating with and I just felt like I didn't have time to deal with all of them, much less get new ones, so I requested that eHarmony stop sending me matches. Plus, I was getting ready for my big trip, so I felt like I had even less time to try to meet with any of them.

Now that I'm back from my whirlwind of gaming conventions and finishing up my work issues, I think I'm ready to start at it again. I told eHarmony to start sending matches again and recontacted the guys I'm already communicating with to schedule times to meet so I can see if I click with any of them.

I'm also going to be more discerning. I usually don't close matches, but I think I'm going to be a bit more liberal with them. I usually want to close a match when I see the guy works out 7 days a week or does all kinds of extreme sports because I just think to myself, "Wow, I'm SO not into that!" And I expect that most likely, he'll want a partner who shares his interest in lots of physical activity, which I clearly don't. I don't think playing board games falls into any kind of physical activity. It's the anti-physical activity hobby because you're usually drinking something and munching while doing it!

We'll see how it goes. If I put forth the effort, at least I won't always wonder about it.