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!

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.

Now playing: Eric Clapton - Forever Man
via FoxyTunes

Friday, December 28, 2007

Your Webcomic Is Bad And You Should Feel Bad


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
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.
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.)

Now playing: NPR - It's All Politics December 14 2007
via FoxyTunes

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.

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.

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

Saturday, December 01, 2007


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
Now playing: John Lennon - Imagine
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