First of all, Gutsy Gibbon (Ubuntu 7.10) has a few small improvements that are already nice things for me. The big thing is I was running an older copy of Beryl and the Compiz Fusion bundled with Gutsy is noticeably improved in a few areas. Chief among them is it works like a charm in suspend/hibernate. [1] Also, fullscreen windows are remembered correctly [2] and the bars don't overlap the window as often.

Second of all, I'm still not sure I'm entirely sure what I'm doing, but I broke down and bought an HD-DVD drive for my nice 720p+Xbox 360 setup. At BestBuy I got the drive's worth of free movies to go with it. So I watched Transformers tonight [3] and I got Batman Begins waiting [4], both free at checkout. I got a raincheck from them for my free copy of Heroes Season 1 [5], as they had just ran out when I got there [6]. I've got a rebate for 5 more discs out of a more strict selection that I'll mail shortly. [7] King Kong (Peter Jackson's recent remake) came in the box with the player and I look forward to watching that for the first time. Now I just need a surround sound receiver and I'll be all set.

So the past couple of days I've been thinking of some of my currently "useless" skills.

I can swirl a professional looking ice cream cone from soft-serve machines. Possibly one of the most important things I learned in a summer and a half of theme park food service, and not that tough to learn nor that useful other than as a fun parlor trick [8] with those ice cream machines that every buffet in the country is required by a law of nature to have. [9] 10 year old girls find it amazing when you have a good looking, tall ice cream cone. Maybe some day I'll find someone closer to my age that's easily impressed by feats of dairy dexterity. [10]

Another useless talent to me is my nearly eidetic memory for music lyrics. Most days it merely serves as an annoyance as it makes me more susceptible to earworms [11] than the average person. But I can do some amazing feats of Karaoke if I'm drunk enough. I just try not to drink too much in or around Karaoke bars for fear of being expected to repeat a performance. [12] I figure I could attempt to attract a mate with this talent [13], but other than cruising disturbing nests of Karaoke warbling I have no idea how to do it. [14]

[1]I had a very simple script to shut Beryl down and had to restart it manually. Only noticeable glitch now seems to be with the Reflection plugin. [15]
[2]Under Beryl I'd have to re-fullscreen every time.
[3]Definitely the best Micheal Bay movie I think I've seen and a weird mix of nostalgia and explosions. Also, 2-Disc Special Edition. I haven't even looked at the special features disc yet. I'm hoping for some cool things.
[4]I thought Batman Begins was brilliant when I watched it in the IMAX when it came out. Definitely the best Batman film to date. Period. [16]
[5]$100 in HD-DVD discs alone, and awesomeness in the form of a box set. You know where I'll be tonight (Monday).
[6]I got the last one the store in St. Matthews had today. I took it as an omen that I needed an HD-DVD player. After hearing about these deals last night I was surprised that they even had a single one at 3 in the afternoon.
[7]My choices currently look like: The Italian Job, Pitch Black, Full Metal Jacket, some U2 video concert or something [17], and Troy.
[8]I'm sorry. I couldn't avoid it. Please excuse the pun.
[9]Also, Jason's Deli locations.
[10]I'm sorry. Please excuse the alliteration.
[11]You know what I'm talking about, those snippets of a tune that gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day or if your unlucky an entire week until you get so sick and frustrated and nearly insane you are forced to sing Old MacDonald's Farm backwards while drinking a glass of somewhat soured milk and hope that you don't have to call a witch doctor again for his song exorcism skills. [18]
[12]Or, worse yet, asked to tryout for American Idol... Who knows what I might sign drunk in a Karaoke bar. It would be weird to finally get over my months-long hangover to find I'm the next Aiken or Hung, paraded incessantly in front of a docile, ovine public that can't get enough of me.
[13]Avian-style, dog. You know it.
[14]I'm sorry. I apologize for the over-extended and unnecessary metaphor.
[15]But I just realized I hadn't destroyed my hack script. We'll see next time.
[16]I even just re-watched the last half of Tim Burton's first film and as much as I love that camp gothic style I loved the serious take on the matter more. Fingers crossed for The Dark Knight Returns.
[17]Not really interested in Firewall (saw some of it, bleh) or The Frighteners (horror, sigh), so U2 is last option for that category.
[18]Also, I called the witch doctor and he told me what to do. He said... "ooo ee ooo ah ah, ting tang wanna wanna bing bang..."