Monday, December 31, 2007

Coming Up On Two Years

My first blog post was on February 2nd, 2006. I may do something for the event. To be honest, it probably won't be that amazing.

In the meantime, Gibbon!



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Now playing: Monty Python - Always Look On the Bright Side
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 29, 2007

2007 Retrospective: Global Warming

Everyone loves writing about the ending year in late December. I'll just say that it seems that this is the year that Global Warming reached a tipping point in the public perspective. Just in time, too. It's only been known in the scientific community since 1824, after all. And it's only been mentioned in a famous movie 34 years ago.

There are obvious events like Al Gore's Nobel Prize, but there are more subtle indicators too: 2007 is the hottest year on record for hundreds of cities and the North Pole.

I can't help but be irritated at how the largest disaster in world history gains so little traction in the media. I suppose US scientific illiteracy doesn't help either. To someone with no scientific education, there's no easy way to determine whether something is true, especially when you have a misinformation campaign spending billions of dollars and a president intentionally blurring the existence and seriousness of this issue.

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Now playing: Eric Clapton - Forever Man
via FoxyTunes

Friday, December 28, 2007

Your Webcomic Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad

So.

I have mixed opinions on this one.

Your Webcomic Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad is funny, and it provides a good service. It deflates those uptight webcomics that should just die. I'm particularly glad he's attacked VGcats, something that hasn't been funny for two years. I also appreciate the title, a reference which few people will recognize.

I wish the author would change one thing: I wish he wouldn't attack people that are so obviously untalented that no one could possibly love them.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Xmas

One and All.

The snow outside is as picturesque as it could be. Just what someone would imagine as Xmas snow.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Shakespeare: The Two Gentlemen Of Verona

It's reassuring to we that write that even Shakespeare can make something that just isn't any good. While I've heard bad things about plays like A Winter's Tale, I haven't read them yet, and can't honestly comment on them. What I can say, though, is that The Two Gentlemen of Verona is an extremely poor play.

I sincerely believe that Shakespeare must have been facing a deadline and finished the play in a panic. It's a shorter play, and it spends much more time than a regular story establishing the basic problem: three men are in love with the same woman.

To understand the suddenness of the ending, I have to explain the basic idea, so bear with me...

Valentine and Sylvia are in love. Proteus used to love Julia, but has fallen for Sylvia. Julia still loves Proteus, and follows him around dressed as a boy/manservant. Thurio, the son of the Duke, is courting Sylvia, and the Duke banishes Valentine for showing interest in the woman he wants his son to marry.

The ending goes like this, and I am not exaggerating...

All the major players are together

Julia: I'm not a boy, I'm your former lover!
Proteus: Ah, I remember you! I suppose I'll fall in love with you again now.
Sylvia and Valentine: We still love each other.
The Duke and Thurio: Well, why didn't you say so! We're no longer interested in Sylvia, and we'll un-banish Valentine and his gang of murderers and thieves.

Nothing really happens to justify these changes. It's as though he wrote himself into a corner, had to finish the play, and just said, "Screw it! Everyone lives happily ever after!"

Shakespeare Count: 7 down, 30 to go.
Next Up: Love's Labours Lost
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Now playing: Irene Cara - Flashdance
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Microsoft Word

You have to love Windows, its applications mesh so seamlessly. Example: I was editing a speech Ronald Reagan gave, and Microsoft Office was all too eager to schedule a meeting for the D-Day Invasion.




Word automatically formatted all of this, including meeting at "the shore of France". This is actually pretty impressive, since Reagan mentions the shore in a previous sentence, with lots of information between the date and the place. This reminds me of the popular saying: "computers would be geniuses if they weren't such idiots".

PS. The Gamespy games of the year are just stupid. Bioshock above Orange Box? I'm not a huge fan of Half-Life Two, but at least the Orange Box comes with multiplayer. Come to think of it, I think Orange Box would have been a better offering without Half-Life 2, since its flaws are so obvious. Portal, Ep. 2 and TF2 would be a solid product for 30$. (They actually planned on doing that, and calling it "the Black Box", but they realized that they like money more than their fans.)

I guess I shouldn't say that the entire list of games is bad, just the prominence of Bioshock as #2. I wonder how much it costs to be Gamespy's second best game of the year? I think they should have splurged and payed the extra 50$ to get #1.
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Now playing: Eric Clapton - White Room
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Finals Done

I've finished with Finals, and there's only one paper to do before I'm done. Soon I'll have a review of The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Finals Season

I may not be blogging much soon; I have finals for the coming week, and I have to focus on that.

(Things I've been doing lately: reading Johnathon Strange and Mr Norrell, playing video games, reading GURPS High Tech, and spending about thirty seconds actually studying.)

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Now playing: NPR - It's All Politics December 14 2007
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Wikipedia, Again

First of all, I forgive you, Wikipedia. You didn't get rid of the Chain Chomp entry out of spite or malice.

But Wikipedia users disgust me. First, check this page. It may not have the same statistics when you read it as it does now, but I feel safe in saying that it won't say anything good about Humanity. Today, the most read page on Wikipedia that isn't about Wikipedia is the article on Naruto. In number 10 comes the Transformers movie. Surprisingly, there are 16 articles before the first article about sex, which is followed with yet another article about sex.

There is an article about a specific Naruto clan before the article about the 9/11 attacks. Simply disappointing.

Anyway, I'm sure you can find similar data to be embarrassed over on that page. One redeeming factor: The Simpsons scores higher than Family Guy.

PS: My blogger application still doesn't think Wikipedia is a word. Honestly, what do they have to do to get recognition? They're one of the top ten websites!

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Shakespeare: A Comedy Of Errors

I've now read the first of Shakespeare's comedies. Surprise number one: It's genuinely funny. The plot is about as contrived as something can be, but the humour is more tangential. One thing suffers: puns don't last 400 years.

This one would not be part of the Space Opera continuity.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Internet Dependance

The Internet at my my apartment had been out for the past day and a half, and my actions were basically those of an smoker without any cigs. Someone could say that my pathetic dependence shows that there's something wrong, I like to think that I'm the first of a generation that this will be the norm.

I was trying to replace my regular Internet with my iPod Touch, and I have to say that the honeymoon is over. The iPod Touch is designed to download mp3's. If I wanted to buy a song over a wifi network, I could do it right now. If I wanted to get a podcast, though, I can go to hell according to iTunes. I'm more than a little irritated.

Also, where are the downloadable applications? Why must I only use html web-apps? Why can't I add a dice-rolling program to my main menu? Enraging. In fact, there are software features on the iPhone that aren't on the Touch. That is simply inexcusable.

I still like the Touch, I'm just frustrated that Apple decided to make it worse on purpose.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

An Inauspicious Sign

Two containers of floss ran out on me this morning. This, surely, is a bad omen. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Star Wars RPG: Twinking Jedi

I've been reading the Star Wars RPG. (No need to comment, haters.) It reminds me of a joke from The Munchkin's Guide to Powergaming: "Your gun is your skill list"! In any circumstances, says the guide, you can shoot your way out of your problem.

In the Star Wars RPG, The Force is your skill list, and if you're not running Jedi, then there's something terribly wrong with you. Feel free to multiclass, but makes sure that your first level is Jedi, and that you max out charisma, and spend your first feat on focusing on the Use The Force Skill. Even the basic tricks of the Use the Force skill are worth wasting your first two levels. With this basic investment, you can send a telepathic message to anyone in the same quadrant of the galaxy 25% of the time, more if you have a good charisma. (And that's just a silly example!)

The Force Powers, which you do not need to spend extra resources on, are even better. With the same basic investment that I mentioned earlier, you can Force Choke people like Darth Vader does 75% of the time, and still maneuver freely. That Force Choke can be inflicted on anyone within Line of Sight! I think you know how ridiculous that can be.

"But carsonist, you incredibly insightful person," you cry, "you only get to use your Force Powers once a battle! What happens when you run out?"

First of all, thank you, you stupid idiot, for bringing me to my next point. You will notice that your Force Powers all return to you if you roll a nat. 20 on a Use the Force check. This does not have to be any check in particular. In fact, when you roll to deflect a laser, you roll against your Use the Force skill. I assume you see where this is going. Since you can maintain your Force Choke on someone indefinitely, (even if they die) and it's fair to assume that you're being attacked, you have a 9.75% chance of regaining your Force Powers every turn, even while you're maneuvering and deflecting shots. If you're really desperate to get your powers back, you can Sense Surroundings or Surge as a swift action every turn. Although it doesn't really get you many benefits, it does increase your chances of regaining your powers to 14.2625% a turn.

Oh, and even if you don't get your powers back or twink your stats, you still have the most powerful melee weapon in the game, and have the ability to block incoming lasers. So there.

Yes, I am aware of what you think of me for writing this.

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Now playing: Radiohead - Morning Bell/Amnesiac
via FoxyTunes

Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus

When people think "Titus Andronicus", they tend to think, "why did I think that? Am I going insane?"

Much more rarely do they think of the Shakespeare play. When they do think of that play, they think of the gore. The dying, the mutilations, the rape. It is a really bloody play.

What I think of is racism. Hideous, absurd, racism. The first black character in Shakespeare's plays is Aaron, the hopelessly evil character. When he thinks of his life, he only regrets that he hasn't done as much evil as he could have. He doesn't really have a character, though, he's just bitterness and dickery. We never see any backstory or motive for Aaron, so I can only conclude that he's supposed to be evil simply because he is a "Moor".

Anyway, one of the characters calls on the name of a saint. The setting is Imperial Rome. I'm 97% sure that's an anachronism.

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Now playing: Queen - Somebody To Love (1991 Remix)
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, December 01, 2007

AD&D DMG

I found the AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide at a used bookstore, and I couldn't resist getting it. A Role-Playing Book from 1979 for 8 dollars? Too awesome. I've been reading it, and the humour value alone makes it worthwhile. The book has the best example of adversarial GMing I've ever seen:

"It is incumbent upon the Dungeon Master to do his utmost to convince players that a cursed scroll should be read. This is to be accomplished through duplicity, coercion and threat, etc." (121)

This is particularly funny, since a cursed scroll has a 53% chance of killing the reader, turning him into a hostile NPC, or teleporting the party to "another planet, plane or continuum" (121)


Gygax, Gary. Official Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide by Gary Gygax 1979 Random House USA
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Now playing: John Lennon - Imagine
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Friday, November 30, 2007

Family Guy Special

I guess I shouldn't be surprised that Family Guy has yet another endless action scene instead of any jokes. What did surprise me was the parody of The Matrix. Really, the Matrix? You are aware that the first parody of the Matrix was discovered on cave paintings in southern Europe, right? The Matrix is roughly seven million years old, and that's the most recent thing you can think of? You guys really are stuck on 10-30 year-old pop culture references. Making the entire thing a dream sequence was predictable, and unnecessary.

I admit that I laughed at the Lethal Weapon II reference.

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Now playing: Meat Loaf - Dead Ringer For Love
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 29, 2007

300 post spectacular!

This is my 300th post. I wanted to do something special, but I couldn't think of anything special to do. That's why it's been a while since my last update. I ended up deciding to do a multi-post: several of my themes wrapped up into one big post.

Shakespeare: Richard III

This has the best writing of any of the plays to date. If you only have a minute to look it over, I would strongly advise you to look at the scene with the two murderers. It is easy to find: just press ctrl+f on the Project Gutenberg page and type in "FIRST MURDERER". That should get you to the right general area.

Anyway, good play. It fits the space idea even better than the previous plays. The bit with the murderers is quite funny, I don't know how well that would translate to the space opera since their argument is largely about their religion.

Why I Won't Be President: Soldiers

In America, soldiers are idolized for some reason. Soldiers generally go to war because they hope to get money, and a future assured of potential security. In fact, soldiers tend to be less intelligent and "good" than an average non-soldier. This is mainly because soldiers are younger than an average person, and therefore less knowledgeable, and because soldiers are put in a situation that is detrimental to ethics.

Soldiers are not universally bad or stupid, but there's no reason to respect their opinion or hail them universally as heroes.

(If that doesn't kill any chances I have of getting into politics, I don't know what will.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wikipedia Sucks

As you may know, my very second blog entry was about how Wikipedia is great. Unfortunately, I've changed my mind. I started the article on Chain Chomps, but it's been smooshed together into an overarching article on Super Mario enemies. Where's my glory? Where? How am I going to get any cred from saying I started an article that's now a redirect?

Screw you, Wikipedia.

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Now playing: The Beatles - Paperback Writer
via FoxyTunes

Fascism in America

This is a good article. The only part I find hard to believe is the part where she tells us that our voters are active enough that they will resist a fascist takeover in America. What America is she from?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Apologies

Sorry, endless legion of fans, but I'm too busy right now to write much. Stupid papers I have to write. Grr.

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Now playing: Jethro Tull - Thick As A Brick
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, November 24, 2007

WIWBP: Ethanol

Here's the first reason I won't win any elected office: Ethanol is a scam designed to funnel money to farmers. Because farmers like money, they vote against people who point this out. If I were ever elected to anything, I would make it my purpose to end the subsidies to farmers who don't need it.

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Now playing: They Might Be Giants - Sleepwalkers
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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Why I Won't Be President

When Teddy Roosevelt was Governor of New York, someone mentioned that he was on his way to becoming President of the US. TR told him never to say that, since if he was thinking of becoming President, he wouldn't be thinking about what he was currently doing. In that vein, I've decided that I will disqualify myself for any public office by posting some remarks that will automatically give any election to my opponent.

Basically, I'm going to say the things that ruin politicians. All I have to do is disagree with powerful political factions. These groups include the NRA, the "Pro-Life" cabal, and less obvious organizations like the military, the elderly, and parents.

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Now playing: Meat Loaf - Bad For Good
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Team Fortress Classes

I like all of the classes in Team Fortress 2. Unless you count the Engineer as a class. On defensive settings, the Engineer is a more like a D-Day simulator than a class.

Has anyone else played 2Fort with ass-Engineers who block up the entrance to the second part of their base with a turret? It's incredibly frustrating, mainly because the games often have no time limit, so a single round can go on indefinitely. People seem to actually favor this particular set-up for some reason; more than half the games I find are small team games on 2Fort.

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Now playing: Genesis - That's All
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Henry VI, Part III

I finished Henry VI, Part III. I'm looking forward to the Space Opera.

The most absurd moment: The king is alone on a battlefield for some reason. He doesn't even have a guard or something. A man drags a body on stage, only to discover that it is his father. A moment later, another man drags a body on stage, only to discover that he has killed his son. While they are complaining about the injustice of the war, Henry VI speaks sad words. Neither of the soldiers notice the king or each other. The soldiers carry the bodies offstage, and the king complains some more.

Oh, Shakespeare, it's possible to make a point with subtlety. (Like I'm one to talk.)

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Now playing: The Doors - Love Her Madly
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Sunday, November 18, 2007

Shakespeare: Henry VI, In Space!

As you know, I've been going through the plays of Shakespeare. I believe that Henry VI, which I am nearly done with, would make an excellent space opera. It's a trilogy, and Science Fiction movies are naturally trilogies. The only change you would have to make is making every piece of Middle Ages technology into Sci-fi tech by adding the word "space" or "laser".

ex.
Space Henry VI retreats to his Space Castle defended by hundreds of men with Laser Swords and Laser Cannons. Richard, the Duke of Space York, lays siege with his laser cannons.

Perfect!

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Now playing: Flogging Molly - Another Bag of Bricks
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, November 15, 2007

iPod R.I.P.?

The latest iPod software update seems to have screwed over my iPod. While it works fine whilst connected to the computer, it refuses to admit that it has any music on it when it's by itself. I've been thinking about getting a iPod Touch for a while now, and this may be the tipping point. All I need to do now is think of a motto from Dinosaur Comics to engrave on it.

Turns out there's nothing wrong with the iPod. I just hadn't updated the iTunes software. You can all return from the edge of your seat.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Blearg

I am sick as a dog with a mild cold. Leave me alone.

PS. I'm better now.

Monday, November 12, 2007

You'll Never Stop the Simpsons

I saw the latest Simpsons. It's like watching the long, painful descent of an aging relative whose reduced faculties make them more and more embarrassing. Please Simpsons, there's something to be said for a graceful retirement.

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Now playing: Beck - Loser
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Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Armada

I've been reading a book about the Spanish Armada. Interesting fact: the Spanish published every known figure about the fleet. They published the number of ships, guns, soldiers, pounds of food, everything they knew. Since the Armada was held in port by weather for weeks after publication, most of Europe knew the size of the fleet before the first shots were fired. English captains going to the battle carried a list of the enemy's plans.

The book makes it clear that the Armada would have lost anyway, since they had fewer ships, worse technology, bad sailors, and a tactical plan that relied on a miracle. Publishing the plans couldn't have been too big an influence, but Dios Mio, is that ever stupid.

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Now playing: Meat Loaf - Dead Ringer For Love
via FoxyTunes

Friday, November 09, 2007

Henry VI: Part II

I got through Henry VI: Part II. All the characters whose names I bothered to learn died. Waste of time. Anyway, some highlights:
  • Another woman summons a demon. Is there some anti-feminist (or pro-demon) theme in Shakespeare?
  • "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers."
Good times.

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Now playing: NPR - It's All Politics November 8 2007
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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

TheDailyShow.com

As you may have heard, the Daily Show has a new website. It is going to host every episode aired during Jon Stewart's run. A key feature: being able to search for videos by your favorite guest.


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Now playing: Tom Lehrer - The Elements
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Monday, November 05, 2007

Shakespeare: Henry V, Part I

I've decided to read the plays of Shakespeare. The book I have orders them by their assumed chronology. The first up in Henry V, Pt, I. It's nothing special, but there were two good parts: where Joan of Arc blandly summoned and spoke with demons, and when Margaret and the Earl of Suffolk ignore each other and answer in asides instead. (It's funnier in the play.)

PS.
There are several documents which bear Shakespeare's signature, and none of them have the modern spelling of "Shakespeare".

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Now playing: Capcom - Dr. Wily Stage 1
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Colbert Denied

I'm sure you know that Colbert has been denied in his quest to run as the Favorite Son of South Carolina. Although none of this is public, I can tell you what the Democratic Committee was discussing.

Position #1: This is making a mockery of South Carolina.
Position #2: This could bring some attention to South Carolina, and therefore, some money.

I can assure you that no one was concerned about whether he fulfilled the requirements to become a candidate. Which he did. This is a perfect example about how politics is run by insiders instead of the people. Colbert submitted the right form, and the right amount of money, and he had more support than a few of the candidates who will be on the ballot, but he was shot down by some committee members no one has heard of.

And if the Democrats are this corrupt, you can only imagine how bad it must be to run as a Republican.

PS.
If you like Bob Dylan, but don't have his music, I'd suggest his recent album Dylan. It has most of his classic greats.

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Now playing: Beck - Farewell Ride
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Gaming

It's Halloween, and you know what that means: sitting around working on a paper. Also, I'm trying to get on the one-day-only Halo 3 playlist of zombie games. Unfortunately, certain people (I'm looking at you, everyone) is hogging the Internet around here. My connection is awful right now. If you're reading this, you're on the Internet. Get off, and leave some bandwidth for me!

That is, unless you're living near Bungie, and sending the electrons my way. If you're doing that, try to send as many files as you can to the general Minnesota area. I need all the electrons I can get at this point.

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Now playing: Paul McCartney - JET
via FoxyTunes

Monday, October 29, 2007

Orange Box Update

Looks like Valve is Updating the Orange Box. This is good news for me, since it claims to reduce bandwidth usage, and I'd been having some lag. I'll report back later if it worked or not.


PS.
In the RPG I'm running, someone has a Vulpix Pokemon as sort of a mascot. I did an image search to see what they look like, and OMG, what the hell is wrong with people?
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Now playing: Meat Loaf - Objects In the Rear View Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Picasa

If you're using Google's de facto OS accessible from anywhere on the Internet (see Google Docs, etc.) you may be interested in using Picasa. It's a program that finds all your pictures and gives you basic photo manipulating tools. Like all Google programs, it makes finding your files so easy you begin to hate Microsoft for being so cumbersome. Also, it coordinates well with the internet. For example, you can find all of the pictures I've taken that are any good at my Picasa site.

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Now playing: Queen - Who Wants To Live Forever
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 26, 2007

Anyone Want an iPod?

I'm thinking about getting an iPod Touch. This means that I need some money, and I won't need my current iPod. It still works fine, and it has literally thousands of songs on it. Does anyone want it? I don't know how much money I'd want for it.

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Now playing: Beethoven - Ave Maria
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What the Hell

I'm still plugging through half-life 2. Never have I felt more railroaded in a game. The absurd, impossibly counter-intuitive things you have to do in this game sometimes baffle me. "Hmm... There's a chain-link fence here. I suppose I'll have to look in the nearby buildings and hire Rube Goldberg to set up a device to set up a mechanism to make a small ramp. What do you know, Rube must have already been here! All I have to do is throw this switch!"

To get past an electric fence, you have to throw a nearby switch up in a building. Why is the switch there? Who the hell knows? I tried cutting the cord which was obviously supplying the power, but no. That isn't exactly what you're supposed to do, so you can't do it. To do anything, you have to explore the area around you for a switch. Imagine the "puzzle solving" if it was a text based adventure!

You enter a room. It is lit by...
>Throw switch

You fall through a trapdoor. The nearby...
>Throw switch

A zombie looms above you!
>Shoot Zombie

The boss approaches you and says, "hello...
>Throw switch

You win!


PS. Your gravity gun has infinite batteries, but the damn flashlight only lasts for 15 seconds? Come on!

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Now playing: Bedlam - Magic Carpet Ride
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Why Portal is Better Than Half-Life

Although both Half-Life 2 and Portal have similar gameplay, (solve puzzles in a 3-D environment), Portal is vastly superior to its larger brother.

Why?

1) Half-Life 2 is a liar. It is dressed up as an action FPS, but it is a series of abstract puzzles occasionally interrupted with shooting brain dead soldiers. Portal plainly calls itself a puzzler, and has depth (both puzzle-wise and plot-wise) beyond most puzzle games.

2) Portal has no boat segment.

3) Portal is funny.

4) While HL2's detailed environments are great for setting the mood, they are positively cruel when the game makes you find some ladder or item to solve the current puzzle. Portal's much simpler look makes solving the puzzle a test of brainpower, not "until you find that ladder in that alcove, there's no where you can go."

5) When you're railroaded in Portal, it's expected. It's a series of aptitude tests. It makes sense that there's only one way to go. In HL2, you're in a vast cityscape, and there's still only one way you can go.

PS
It's a wonder Gordon's foes didn't place a waist-high wall across his path somewhere. Without items to make a little ramp, he'd be unable to scale the barrier slightly higher than his pathetic jump height.

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Now playing: Beck - Readymade
via FoxyTunes

The Cake is a Lie

As you can tell from my gamercard, I've been playing The Orange Box. Portal is as good as everyone is saying, if you ask me. My TF2 games have been exceedingly laggy for some reason, so I haven't been able to get much of a feeling for it. Half-Life 2 is just as tedious on the console as it is on the PC.

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Now playing: The Rolling Stones - Paint It Black
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Orange Box

I've decided to get this product called the Orange Box. I'm not much of a fan of the Half-Life series, but they are packing a bunch into that box.

I wouldn't have decided to buy it if I hadn't purchased Halo 3. After I got it, I eventually got linked to a review of the game. It's by my new favorite game critic: Yahtzee. His english wit is quite entertaining, and I highly recommend listening to all his reviews, even if you're not concerned about the games. Anyway, his review of the oddly named Orange Box convinced me to pick it up.

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Now playing: Barry White - Can't Get Enough of Your Love
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Midterm

I have a midterm in less than two hours, and a terrible price to pay for it: I can't play video games for that entire period. I suppose blogging is no more helpful, come to think of it.


PS.
I'm taking a class on the Ancient World, and it makes the movie 300 seem absolutely absurd. Leonidas won't shut up about the slave-holding Persians, ignoring the fact that Spartans became such a great warrior race so that they could more effectively oppress the slave class of Sparta.

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Now playing: "Weird Al" Yankovic - Don't Download This Song
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I was just gonna say...

If you say, "I was just gunna say" before you say something, you sound rather stupid. Also, you're wasting precious time.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

No Halo 3 News

So... I don't have anything to post about Halo 3 any more. I'm still playing it, but I've got nothing new to say about it.

PS.
Saw the latest South Park. I've lost any respect for them I once had. I don't like Bono either, but South Park's version of insulting something is just making up characteristics that the person doesn't have. Way to mock someone you made up, Matt and Trey!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Neat Vid

The new "Theater" feature of Halo 3 allows people to look back at previous games and analyze what happened. Thanks to this new technology, someone has recorded what is possibly the trickiest sniper shot I have ever seen.

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Now playing: The Beatles - Got To Get You Into My Life
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Reviewing Halo 3

Reviews of Halo 3, in fact, reviews of all games, have a terrible problem: what do you set as the standard? Once you have a standard, how do you compare another game to it?

Unlike movies, which are hard to rate as it is, video games don't have a "standard" length (about two hours, in movies' case). They don't have to have a story to be good. If you ask me, two games could have no elements in common whatsoever and still both could be good games. (Look at Geometry Wars: no story, no fancy graphics, only one mode of gameplay, still excellent.)

The other problem of rating is whether your rating system should be subtractive or additive.

In a subtractive system, you start with a full score, then deduct points for every problem. Bad graphics? Take away a point. Story idiotic? Another point. Some minor glitch? Maybe the game only loses a tenth of a point. Game breaking glitch? Maybe half the points are lost. This approach rewards conservative games that do only what they can do well. In this system, Geometry Wars would be penalized if it introduced a solo campaign with a story, or a multiplayer mode. The story (for example) wouldn't be very good, and that would become a new flaw.

The additive system rewards going for everything you can stuff in there. The GTA series is clearly pursuing this route. Like Tycho mentioned in Penny Arcade, if you just give them a score for each thing in the game, you'll eventually get up to ten. This doesn't mean the game has no flaws, though.

It's hard to get a rating system along either of these lines that doesn't occasionally deceive people. I suspect that most reviewers have a middle path: they give higher scores to big games, then dock points according to the flaws. Personally, I have a much better system than any of these: I see how much Ron Perlman there is in the game.

Halo 3 Review
Ron Perlman plays an Admiral called "Lord Hood". Appears rarely, although you hear his voice every once in a while, and he's in the end credits.

Halo 3: 2.5 / 5 Ron Perlmans


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Now playing: Bob Seger - Old Time Rock & Roll
via FoxyTunes

Friday, October 05, 2007

Free Bungie

Bungie has been freed from Microsoft. Good times, everyone. Now we can return to the Myth series, so long ignored by the world.

Come to think of it, they also made Oni. *Shudder* This might not be a lucky break after all...

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Now playing: Johnny Cash - The Legend Of John Henry's Hammer
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Whining, Blogger Style

Lately I've been busy, hence the few posts to the ol' blog.

Anyway, I've settled on this template for the site, drop a line if you think strongly about it one way or another.

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Now playing: Lulu - The Man With The Golden Gun
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Honeymoon's Over

Turns out Halo 3's online matchmaking was free only for the opening weekend. Too bad. Looks like it's time to get some LANs going.

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Now playing: Bob Dylan - When The Night Comes Falling From The Sky
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Break Time

As you may have heard, a game called Halo 3 came out recently. I've been playing it a bit. In fact, I had to leave it behind this weekend so I could get my schoolwork done.

I've beaten it on Normal, and I'm more than halfway done on Legendary. It's pretty clear that Halo 2 is the hardest of the series.

Best Halo 3 moment:

I am following our flag carrier toward our base. He's killed, and I rush to grab it. I kill three enemies, kill a fourth with the flag, (getting an Overkill), and take the Jump toward base. On the other side, I accidentally take the Jump going back toward their base. I panic, throw the flag back towards home in mid-air, but it falls off the edge of the map. The flag returns and the enemies capture our flag for the win.

Good Game.

PS. Here's a link to that game, if you want to see the stats.

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Now playing: Bad Company - All Right Now - Free
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Halo 3 Update

I got Halo 3 at another Target. Hooray. Back to Halo 3.

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Now playing: Al Green - Simply Beautiful
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Halo 3 - Missing

I had to write this post three times. The first time, the post was so full of profanity, it was hard to read. Also it was very offensive.

The second version of the post was the same post, without any profanity. I don't think "Halo 3 --- it --- the --- and---!" would make a very good post

Anyway, the local Target is out of Halo 3, and I feel my head is going to explode.
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Now playing: Beck - Static
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ultra-Summary: Family Guy Star Wars Special

How to make a Family Guy Star Wars special:

1. Remember the jokes you've heard about Star Wars before? Here's one.

2. Wouldn't it be funny if something out of the our modern day suddenly appeared in the Star Wars setting? No? Dang.

3. Repeat 800 times.

Halo 3 Release

Halo 3 comes out tonight. Since I'll be in the strange land of Minneapolis, I don't think I'll manage to get to a store at midnight. I don't really mind, though; when I was at the midnight release of Halo 2, I didn't feel a sense of community with the people around me, I felt that they were standing in my way. I'll get it soon, though. See you on Bungie.net!

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Now playing: Beck - Earthquake Weather
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Halo 3

Halo 3 comes out in 3 days! I am very excited, even though a couple of idiots accidentally spoiled the ending. To be honest, I'm not that concerned about the ending, but it's still a dick thing to do.

In the future, I've decided to play it safe and never talk about the ending of anything, or the concept of endings, or spoilers. That way, no one will inadvertently spoil it. I know it's a concern, because the very same duo accidentally spoiled the entire "Snape kills Dumbledore" thing. Again, not that I really care, but it's still irritating to have things spoiled.
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Now playing: The Doors - Light My Fire
via FoxyTunes

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bioshock Revisited

Oh, Bioshock, why must you make me hate you? If it weren't for your laggy glitch, I'd agree with people that gave you a perfect score. As it is, I don't think I can play anymore, I'm so angry.

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Now playing: Manfred Mann - Blinded By The Light
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Complete Tool

I'm enjoying Bioshock, but the protagonist is a complete tool. At least in this game, they point out that he just does whatever anyone tells him to, instead of acting like he's a complete hero like the Half-Life games.

The part where you hunt with a crossbow people on behalf of a psychotic, I'm just not sure why I did that, even now. Seems like an unethical thing to do, if you ask me.

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Now playing: Judas Priest - Angel
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 17, 2007

Bioshock

I just borrowed Bioshock from a friend. I'm going to have to hurry, though, Halo 3 comes out in 8 days. I have a feeling I'm going to have a hard time getting my schoolwork done in the foreseeable future.

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Now playing: Bob Dylan - Pledging My Time
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Copernicus, Darwin, and the Human Psyche

I don't know if it's possible to imagine what it was like for people living around the year 1500. To believe that the Earth is literally the center of the Universe. That the Universe exists, clearly, to entertain we poor Earthlings, and that the stars provide an occasional look into the realm of God himself. Can you imagine what it was like to discover that the Earth was the center of nothing? That humans had absolutely no significance on the cosmic scale? I can't.

Today, we're used to the idea of being a random planet in a boring part of a middling galaxy, so a faith developed today casually accepts this unimportant role. At the time, I imagine that many people's faiths were threatened.

The only other revelation as powerful as that one is the Theory of Evolution. Although various evolutionary theories had been floating around before Darwin's, His was so elegant, so obviously true, that it left little necessity for any Divine figure in a creation story. All evolution needs is a single self-replicating chemical.

Today, people grow up with Evolution coloring all Biology. At the time of Darwin, a lot of the Bible was literal. Since then, Metaphor has replaced basically any part of the Bible that isn't purely theological. Without the knowledge that their sacred texts were "only kidding", it must have been traumatic to find that there was no basis for the idea that species had spontaneously arisen from the Universal Will.

I don't think it's possible to create a psychic shock like that again. Einstein's Theory of Relativity is extremely important to science, and redefines our world view, but few religions explicitly require travel at the speed of light to be possible. Quantum Theory says that a Quantum switch's results don't occur until they are checked. This can lead to some sticky theological issues, (does God wait until the waveform collapses to collect the soul of that poor cat?) but it hardly challenges our assumptions about Quantum switches. After all, we didn't have any assumptions about them. Hell, we still don't know what they are.

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Now playing: Edwin Starr - War [What is it good for]
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blog Matters

Since I updated the blog's format, the tracker I've been using stop collecting data. This looked identical to a complete halt in visiting the site, something that I found completely believable. I've fixed the problem now.

In other blog news, I've set up the notice below, a little something that will record whatever song I'm listening to at the time of the post for all eternity.

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Now playing: Jimi Hendrix - Red House
via FoxyTunes

Monday, September 10, 2007

What Is Wrong With People?

Check this picture:



First of all, I'm not apologizing for my fondness of Ringo Starr.

Second of all, look at the most popular movies! The best movie on there is Zoolander!

Wild Hogs? Who likes that? What is wrong with you people?

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Free Will

I think arguing about Free Will is a waste of time, so I'm going to make this brief. Free Will is purely an invention of people who don't understand the laws of cause and effect, or it is redefined into meaninglessness. Additionally, it adds no value to our conception of the world or of humans.

Just because the idea gets me mad, I'll ask this question to Free Will supporters: if you had a robot, a human, and a chimp, and they all did the same thing when exposed to the same stimuli, how could you tell which had Free Will?

If they all acted differently, would you be able to tell which one had Free Will?

In other words, how can you tell if something has Free Will? And if you can't tell, what value does the theory have?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Character Details

The following is a list of things to consider for characters in my Supers Role-Playing Game, but most of them apply to any character in any RPG, and, in a larger sense, to characters in fiction in general.

  • Where did you get your Powers?
  • What is your opinion of your own Powers?
  • What is your relation to the state? (Criminal, Government Tool, etc.)
  • What is your relationship to the "Super Community" and the "Normals Community"?
  • What are your plans and goals?
  • Do you have a Super-Identity? ("The Weasel", "Ape-Man, etc.")
  • Do you have a Costume or a distinct Appearance?
PS.
Realistically, you should have some life skills that aren't skills relating to being a super or murdering people. Most jobs have some sort of skill involved; if you don't have any talents at all, you should have an appropriate history: convict laborer, slave, person locked in a trunk, Security Monitor, that sort of thing.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

GURPS Martial Arts

I finally have GURPS Martial Arts. It is very good. Like all of the 4th edition GURPS books, it has a bunch of sometimes humorous, sometimes serious, quotes from other media. This one may have the single best quote in any book to date.

Anyway, PCs in any game I'm running should stay on the lookout for hook-sword wielding ninjas and clowns dealing out Flying Atomic Wedgies for the next few months.

PS.
Last post was no. 250! Only 3,132 to go until no. 3,382!

Friday, August 31, 2007

Di

I wish I had been born into obscene wealth. Apparently, it gives you a free pass to embarrass your family, waste millions of dollars on clothes, have torrid affairs, and still be universally loved, so long as you give a fraction of the money you don't waste to charity.

I guess I'd have to die early, like James Dean, to maintain my image forever.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Bleach

I've been watching the anime Bleach. It's a strange combination of drama and comedy. It has a continuous plot instead of an episodic one, so I don't know where it's going. I'm enjoying finding out where it's headed.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The History of Supers

This is another post about my setting about supers.

Historians go back and forth calling various historical figures supers. Napoleon, Alexander the Great, Buddha, etc., are all tossed around as potential historical supers. The first supers for certain were born around 1900, and came into light when they reached their mid-teens around WWI.

In both World Wars, supers fought and died, but their actions largely canceled each other out. Each side of the war had roughly proportional super forces. Since a tank shell could take out most every historical super, they weren't able to run rampant on the theaters of war.

During the Cold War, supers had a more important part to play, since a man with nearly undetectable abilities has great value in a war of shadows.

With the fall of the USSR, the super world had a general feeling of relaxing. CoCMH regained some symbolic power, and El Campeador led a movement to make supers known to the public, less intrusive, and more scrupulously ethical. This attitude earned the super community some criticism after 9/11, although accusing a super of "letting" 9/11 happen is a good way to get punched in the mouth. Or disintegrated.

Now, our world is in an eternal war between abstract concepts. There is a new wave of secrecy and paranoia in the super community. It's thought that there are super-terrorists, but there is nothing known about them, if they exist.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

CoCMH

CoCMH is the organization of Supers in the Super game I may be running later. The rest of this post is a description of the organization.

CoCMH (The Council of Concerned Meta-Humans, rhymes with "Rock-muh") was founded in 1950 in an attempt to provide a "super" counterpart to the UN. Unfortunately, it turned out to be an embarrassment to the UN, since all CoCMH did was provide a forum for people to complain and no one was willing to give it the authority to actually enforce any of its declarations.

Since the fall of the USSR, there has been renewed interest in CoCMH, but almost exclusively as an American institution. It still has little power, but it has provided arbitration for some Super-disputes.

Although CoCMH has a complicated parliamentary procedure, it is largely ignored. Instead, the most powerful person generally controls the flow of debate and has a strong influence on votes. Fortunately, the current most powerful super, El Campeador, isn't interested in rules, and is a generally good, if naive, man.

A super can register with CoCMH at any time; he must swear an oath to uphold the laws of his nation and of CoCMH, and provide his personal information to the Council. This is a quick way for a super to declare his good intent and presence to the state. If a super is operating without registering through CoCMH or other means, he is assumed to be hostile by both the USA and the super community.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Bill Maher Interviews Dennis Kucinich (04/27/07)

I'm putting up this video to test the system for putting up videos, but it's also interesting in its own right. Dennis Kucinich is deemed an "also-ran" by the popular media, but the issues that he supports: Exiting Iraq today, Universal Health Care, etc. are supported by either a majority of the people (Leaving Iraq today and Universal Health Care) or are supported by a strong group.

Why is one of the only supporters of the most popular choice in the most pressing issue in politics today polling so low? Because the media decided that he can't win, a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

4th edition

D&D announced it's going to release 4th edition soon. If you were interested in the subject, it was already apparent, but now it's official. This just goes to show a little difference between GURPS and D&D: GURPS hadn't had a new edition for 16 years when it released its fourth edition. D&D had released a new set of core books less than five years previous.

PS.
GURPS Martial Arts is in the US. They're only selling it at Gencon right now, and it's driving me insane. I bought it online about a month ago!

Monday, August 13, 2007

New Look

As you can probably tell, I've changed the look of the ol' blog. Blogger has had a new system for a while, and I thought I may as well bite the bullet and update the thing. If you don't like it, please comment. I'm still messing around with the options/look of the thing, so we'll see.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Wussification of Games

Over time, video games have become easier and easier. There are a lot of factors that contribute to this. One of the most basic is the size of games over time. Games like Zork and King's Quest I can be finished in less than half an hour. (I understand Zork can be finished in less than a minute, since it's a text based game.) The first Mario can be beaten in five minutes. People want a return on investment, and a 5-minute game wouldn't be much of a payoff for 60$.

Since you can't make a game bigger on the NES, (there's only so much filespace, after all) you have to make them harder to make the game take more than half an hour. You can play Mario for hours because it's very hard.

Nowadays, you can make a game take as long as you want by adding more levels. File space isn't infinite, but it's so much more than earlier generations that it allows a whole new type of game design. Super Mario World didn't have to be hard to entertain for hours; only the most ambitious speed-runners could finish it in less than half an hour, and there's no way a first time player could stumble on to the absurd path necessary to finish that fast.

Anyway, I've been playing the REAL Mario 2 lately, (The Lost Levels) and I can understand why they didn't bring it to the US. It is really, really, really, EXTREMELY hard. (I've been playing it on the SNES Mario All-Stars, and that is actually an easier version than the original NES version.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Clean House

I'm back from the Boundary Waters. While away, I've come up with the basic precepts of my new political party, the Clean House Party. (Clean is meant as a noun and a verb). Basically, a member of the Clean House Party has only internal reform as issues. Everything else is done only to the degree necessary. (Ex. A Clean House President would direct troops in a war since it is his role to do so, but he would not make the case for war, since that is the role of the congress.)

Anyway, to be a member of the CHP, you must believe in these issues:

*Publicly funded elections
*The creation of a new branch of government whose role is to investigate the activities of the other branches
*Uniform enforcement of the law
*Balanced Budget

That's it. Any other issue is not appropriate for a CHP politician to pursue. Once passed, laws in this regard will be self-perpetuating. This means that the CHP is attempting to eliminate its reason to exist. If this occurs, a new party with new issues may arise, but it will need to stand or fall on its own merits.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Gawkers

As you may know, I work security, Because of this bridge falling down, I've been reassigned to redirecting traffic away from the bridge area. This is not very rewarding, and it means I have to work in the outdoors. This does not please me.

A note to the people trying to see the bridge:

1. You are ghouls. You sicken me.
2. Much worse than that, you made me stand out in the sun. I hate you.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mario

I've been playing the first Super Mario. (The one for the NES). Look at it with eyes unprejudiced in expectations of "fancy graphics" and it's still a good game. In fact, the level of variety and interaction it offers through an extremely simple and intuitive interface would be the envy of some of the more popular games out there today.

Modern games seem to want to use every button on the controller, and give the player the fanciest looking 10 hours of gaming that 60$ can buy. I'd rather play a modest game with a good interface then another Doom 3.

PS. A bridge collapsed in Minnesota, and there's a new state law mandating that everyone on the internet mention it. I'm doing my part.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Help! Help! I'm being repressed!

The psychological concept of Repression (the blocking of traumatic memories) is not a real condition. People who suffer trauma have the opposite problem; they are unable to forget the memories that haunt them.

Apparently, the idea arose from psychologists who relied on a formulaic theories of input/output along the lines of, "If the victim has problem X, then they had history Y." The problem with this theory is that people don't necessarily have that history. In this case, the psychologist attempted to "draw out" this memory from the patient's subconscious. Unfortunately, humans are extremely suggestible, and patients were easily persuaded into memories of events that never happened.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Harry Potter

I finished Harry Potter 7. It was alright.

*Spoiler Alert!*
The series is over.
*End Spoiler Alert*

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Back From the Cabin

I just returned from the family cabin. I have 82 unread feeds. I have some reading to do. Later, I'll put up some pictures from the trip. (Unless I don't).

Monday, July 09, 2007

Knock-Out Darts? No Such Thing!

If you are a human being, then you're probably aware of "knock-out" darts: small, painless darts that knock out a human in a few seconds after being shot with no serious after-effects.

Like the knock-out punch, which has similar literary and film uses, (I'm looking at you, Lost!) the knock-out dart doesn't exist. Although it is possible to knock out a human with a dart, you cannot have that injection be both fast and safe. If you want to knock out a human in seconds, his heart will stop in minutes. Soldiers would kill for a dart that worked like the one in the media (and they've often killed for lack of it), but no amount of funding has produced this miracle.

PS. I saw Ratatouille again. Excellent.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Minnesota Trail

The Minnesota Trail at the Minnesota Zoo is open. I went there in a special pre-opening event. Although the event was nominally for members, they never checked IDs, so I have a feeling that there was a large deal of non-members there.

Anyway, all the old animals are back, and there are a couple new ones.

PS. Jonathon Coulton is a pretty funny guy.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Elderly

The Simpsons has a habit of giving Abe Simpson some rambling speech that goes nowhere and is probably inaccurate. It's implied that, given the time, he could go on until he fell asleep. This is a cruel joke to make on old people because it's both sad and 100% accurate.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Simpsons DVDs

As my friends know, I've been snapping up Simpsons DVDs like they've been going out of style. (Which, I suppose, they are.) I just got Season Seven -which has some excellent episodes- and it came with a ticket to the Simpsons movie. That's a pretty good deal, if you intend to see the movie.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

I need Peter the Great

For the first time in my life, I'm suffering from a toothache. I can see what all the fuss is about now. I have to say, it's pretty irritating.

PS. I'm over it now.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Photos, No Contest

Although I had a photo for the subject of games, no one else sent me one, so there will be no contest today. Instead, I'll just put up some pictures that I've taken lately.





Saturday, June 23, 2007

Major History

When I tell people that I'm a history major, the most common follow-up is, "and what do you plan to do with that?"

All people with a good knowledge of history have two options:

1. Create a crazy theory where the "progress of human history" will lead to some sort of utopia (or more rarely, a dystopia).

2. Look with a melancholy resignation on world events. (History people know what I'm talking about.)

I'm probably going to stick with option 2. Although our technology may have improved, our society has only "improved" past the Ancient Romans in a few areas, and has actually regressed in others. Unless some mutation in the human strain causes a real change in the course of events, we'll be no better in another 2,000 years.

PS.
The problem with the possibility of a "new" human arising from the current breed is that the current breed is optimized for one function: preventing the growth of things different from it.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Illness in the Family

I am sick. Take pity on me, people of the world.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Photo Contest: Wheels

Well, I've been a slacker lately and I don't have a photo for this week's photo contest. Someone else did, so I thought I'd put it up even though he has no competition.

This week's subject was Wheels. Next Week's subject is Games. If I don't have a picture for that, you'll know that I'm done.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Ratatouille

I just saw Ratatouille. Excellent. The thing with Pixar is that they produce a product that excels in all it's various parts. They are never satisfied with doing an acceptable job, they do an exceptional job. In everything. The writing, voice acting, and music are all excellent, but I think the graphics stole the show. Never have I seen graphics that good before.

I shouldn't say graphics, because that implies that it's simply a matter of rendering power. The images of Ratatouille are art. I believe you could take a random frame from a pixar movie and odds would be good that it would be impressive by itself.

The short before the movie proper was also very good.

Ratatouille gets 1 out of a possible 5 Ron Perlmans. Congratulations!

1/5

Oblivion

I've been playing Oblivion for the XBOX 360, and I think it's pretty good. It has its host of little glitches, but it saves often enough that it's always possible to just go back.

My favorite personal glitch: fleeing from an enemy in the sewers, I jumped away, only to fall through the floor and into the water below. The walls of the sewer were solid from the outside, but were only visible from the inside. I could see into the rooms, but I was trapped outside. Fortunately, the game doesn't check whether there's a wall between you and a door, or I never would have escaped.

In the capitol city, there's an officious guardsman who wants to destroy the thieves' guild (of which I am a member). I saw him walking along the road, snuck over to him, and picked his pocket. Now I have the police chief's key to the city. Stuff like that is what makes the game worthwhile.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Internet's back, thank god

There was a rough patch recently where there wasn't any internet at my place. Blaming a person who I don't like and who has sole access to the hardware responsible for the problem would be petty, so I'm not going to. I'm just reveling in the recovered internet.

You may have noticed that there hasn't been a photo contest for two weeks now. It seems that the contest may be dead. We'll see by next monday.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Cavemen Don't Exist

Some people say that modern television is bad. I think this is terribly inaccurate. In fact, modern television is unacceptably poor. The fact that someone is turning a commercial which mentions cavemen into a program is the latest symptom of the disease that is modern television.

Anyway, the program seems to think that cavemen are a separate race from us human beings. They are not. In fact, the "cavemen" of this program seem to lack the defining characteristic of cavemen. They do not live in a cave. The writers are probably thinking of Neanderthals, who have two advantages in my mind:

1) Neanderthals are a separate race from us.
2) Neanderthals are real.

See, cavemen are not real in the generally accepted sense of the term. At no point in human history were humans limited to living in caves. Caves have always been a shelter for man, and they remain so today, but never has man been limited to living in caves alone.

So why do we think of cavemen as being a class of historical persons? Because artifacts are perfectly undisturbed in caves. A group of prehistorical men could camp in a cave for a week and we could find that camp today, relatively undisturbed. When prehistoric man left a camp next to a stream, it would quickly be destroyed by wind and water erosion (and a variety of other factors). Since the proof of cave life was so much more preserved, it may have seemed that early man lived there exclusively.

Anyway, I already saw Cavemen when it was called 3rd Rock From the Sun.

"Look! We're from outside your culture, so we're doing something that someone in your culture wouldn't do!"

(laugh track brays)

Monday, May 28, 2007

No Photo Contest

No one sent me any photos this week. I didn't have any particularly good ones either. Anyway, I went to the zoo today and got some pictures, so I'm putting them up instead. Enjoy!

The otters were swimming about, which was a lot of fun to see. Usually, they just laze about in their little nest of hay.


There are a bunch of neat flowers in the zoo right now. I liked this one a lot.


The prairie dogs just had some youngn's, it seems. Their hive was swarming with them. There was a prairie dog digging a new hole. It seemed to be making a lot of progress for something so small.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Neverwinter Nights 2: Re-Review

Neverwinter Nights 2 is a good game until you get to the last chapter. No, that's not entirely accurate: the game gets worse as you go. That's a much better description. One of the many little frustrating things of the last portion of the game is that every single enemy you fight is undead. This means that many abilities are worthless: sneak attack, critical hits, ranger's favored races, and so on.

Maybe the particular problem is unique to me, but when I got to the last dungeon, the AI of my allies simply ceased working. The NPCs would do nothing at all without orders. I lost several characters at the entrance to the dungeon, since they died without resistance before I realized what the problem was.

The last dungeon doesn't let you rest to recharge your spells and HP, either. Instead, whenever you try to rest, a group of (presumably ninja) mummy lords materializes around you. This meant that my wizard, in particular, became worthless pretty quickly once he ran out of high level spells.

Anyway, if you are interested in NWN 2, keep in mind that once you're done making your character, it's all downhill from there. (Not that making the character isn't fun).


PS: I don't know if I mentioned this in the previous review, but the loading times are criminal. It was to the point where I felt I should be playing some other game while waiting for the next zone to load.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Photo Contest: Wet

The subject is Wet. Next Week's subject is Pets.


Don't Cross The Streams


Lettuce Pray


Water Drop


Untitled

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The World's Longest Running Blog

Isn't mine. In fact, the oldest Blog is none other than GURPS' Sjgames.com. You can see their full archives here, beginning in November 1994.

PS. This Realistic-looking Dinosaur Comics is pretty awesome

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Neverwinter Nights 2

A friend of mine (who is practically illiterate), has said that I have too little writing here, and too much photo contest material. I've decided to rectify that with a review of Neverwinter Nights 2.

NWN 2 is a good game. It has some issues, (long loading times between zones becomes frustrating quickly, and the processor intensive graphics limit the computers it can be played on), but it is enjoyable despite them. You can make a large variety of characters, and the NPC companions are interesting and numerous. The voice acting is definitely on the good side of the scale.

It does a great job of capturing D&D for a pseudo turn based computer game. Whether you enjoy this is dependent on how much you like D&D, really. All of the basics are there: races, classes, feats, skills, etc.

Social interaction is done very well, for a video game. It'll never approach the infinite options of a pencil-and-paper RPG, but it does a good job of giving you options, most of the time. Some conversation trees seem to lead inevitably to giving offense, or making some stupid statement. Your dialogue choices do affect the game, which is always nice. You can make your companions more or less friendly, and you can use conversation skills in dialogue trees to make fights easier or avoid them entirely.

The graphics are quite nice, although, since it is a computer game, this means that fewer people will be able to play it. (Does anyone know why games don't have a "this will work for older computers but it looks like a bunch of cardboard cutouts" mode? Seems like some people would appreciate that.)

Overall, I'd give Neverwinter Nights 2
.85 Out of 5 Pongs

Monday, May 14, 2007

Photo Contest: Soft

This Week's subject is Soft. Next Week's is wet.

Only Two pictures this time. I imagine everyone was busy with finals. Now that it's summer, there'll probably be more participation.

Wind Baby


Kitteh

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Personal Loss

My Sixth-level Bard/Paladin just died, so I'm a little down. I'm making a rogue, but I just don't know if my heart is going to be in it.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Photo Contest: Light

Next week's subject is Soft.


On the subject of Light, we have:

Sun Flowers


The Monsters


Eat My Beams



Holding The Darkness At Bay



Late entry...

Glowing Candles

Friday, May 04, 2007

Republican Science

In the recent Republican debate, three of the ten men running for president don't believe in evolution. How is this possible? I suppose it's possible that some of them are just pretending, but that would be even worse. I vowed I wouldn't make this a whiney, emo political blog, so I'm going to stop now.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Photo Contest: Dappled

Next Week's subject is Light.

According to Dictionary.com:
Dappled. Adj.
having spots of a different shade, tone, or color from the background; mottled.

For the Subject of Dappled, we have:

A Universe in Every Drop, A World in Every Speck of Light


Mossy Shade


Field of Yellow



Winner:
Universe

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Photo Contest: Home

The subject is Home. Next week's subject is Dappled.

According to Dictionary.com:
Dappled. Adj.
having spots of a different shade, tone, or color from the background; mottled.

Anyway, here are the pictures for the subject of Home.

To Vote, include your alias/name and the name of the photo you are voting for in the "comments" section. Click on the pictures to see them full size.

The House that Jack Built


Chaos is My Home


Butterfly House in a Garden


No Trench Like Home