Jim's Ramblings

Random happenings from my mostly boring daily life!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

California trip details!

I figured its time I told you all about my California trip. But first, a little news. I am, as of May 14, officially graduated from law school. Hard to believe I'm truly done! But there's still a bit more to go - bar review begins Wed. May 24, and I'll likely be fairly busy with bar exam stuff through late July. Then my true freedom from academic things begins!

Enough of that though - time for some background on the trip. We arrived on a Saturday morning. Our trip first took us from the San Francisco airport, straight down the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway (California Rt. 1) to Monterey, where we stayed the first night. The next morning, we got up and proceeded to explore some of Monterey. Mainly, we did a little shopping on Cannery Row, one of the main downtown areas. After that, we made our way down to the Big Sur Lodge, stopping to check out the Carmel Valley along the way.

On Monday, we went hiking, a 3.5 - 4 mile hike called Buzzard's Roost that began in the forest, went up to dry chaparral, and at the summit had a nice view of the ocean. We then drove south about 40 miles along the PCH, taking in the scenery along the way. We returned to the Big Sur Lodge for the night.

On Tuesday, we began to make our way back up to San Francisco. We took our time in the morning, stopped at Point Lobos State Preserve, and did the "17-mile drive" through Pebble Beach. We drove briefly through Carmel-by-the-Sea, an interesting little town. Bit "yuppyish" but it would be neat to spend a few hours in some day. We then blew up to SF and got in late, around 8:30.

Wednesday, we did a walking tour of Chinatown, and also saw some of Union Square in the process. In the evening, we tooled around various parts of the city in the car, checking out various neighborhoods and such.

Thursday, we drove through Golden Gate Park, up the pacific coast, through Lincoln Park and the Presidio of San Francisco, then across the Golden Gate Bridge. We went on to Muir Woods (Big Redwoods) and Point Reyes National Seashore, before returning to the city for a late dinner at a restaurant called "The Stinking Rose." Great place that does Italian and other food, heavy on the garlic. I had the garlic roasted prime rib - absolutely phenomenal.

Finally, on Friday, we got up and reluctantly made our way to the airport for the ride home.

As you can see, it was a whirlwind trip - we squeezed a ton into 6 days. I'm planning to go back in August, hopefully with Ryan and Phil, and see some stuff in more detail - mostly, lots more hiking. ≈

I decided to put my pics on yahoo photos, mainly because there are so many. They can be found here. Best thing to do is view the slideshow.

Monday, May 01, 2006

PC Gaming -  a one-generation wonder?

Matt's latest post on his blog about the physics cards got me thinking.  They have been talking about these things on the AnandTech forums for a few months now.  I see it almost as a negative development.  PC gaming is already heinously expensive.  Heck, a decent video card alone costs as much as a Xbox 360.  Now they are going to tell us (eventually) that we need physics cards, another 250 bucks down the drain.

I don't like console gaming but I question how long PC gaming will continue to be a viable industry when you have to sink that kind of money into it just for games to be playable.  Teens are already priced out of the market - a decent gaming PC can cost as much as some kids' first cars.  It used to be you needed a PC for non-gaming, so if you threw in an extra 150 for a decent vid card, you could then play games too.  Nowadays, a $500 computer can MORE than handle all your everyday tasks (internet, email, music, writing papers, etc).  By the time you throw in a video card and physics card, along with the super CPU needed for today's games, you are talking 3x that amount in most cases (or more).  Most parents aren't going to be able to justify sinking this kind of money for Christmas or whatever else so their kids can play games - not when Xbox 360 is 300 bucks.  And for some teens, a gaming PC can cost a whole summer's earnings (assuming they work) - also a hard sell.  And heck, we are talking a "basic" gaming
PC here.  If you want to talk top of the line, there are people spending $1200 on 2 video cards ALONE (they run them in "SLI mode").  That's just insane.  And of course, the whole thing is outdated in a year anyway.  And of course, game developers seem to insist on taking every ounce of power (and then some) with their new games - so your new machine you spent 3 grand on last year chugs on the new games unless you  turn the graphics way down.  The price of this hobby has just skyrocketed in recent years in my opinion.

Obviously people of our generation grew up with PC games, and now we are employed and have money to keep up with things to at least some degree.  But today's kids are more and more growing up only on consoles as PC gaming becomes more and more cost prohibitive.  I wonder if PC gaming will die with our generation.