Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Genealogy Of Jesus

The author(s) of the bible take a peculiar interest in the ancestors of Jesus. In fact, they're so interested, they write two independent and different genealogies for the same person.

Two interesting pieces of trivia about this:
  • Shouldn't a person only have one father? Surely Joseph can have only one father, unless "alternative lifestyles" were popular in the late Roman Republic.
  • It's odd that the bible spends so much time describing Joseph's parentage, considering that the modern Christian faith insists that Jesus and Joseph have no biological relationship whatsoever.
It's almost as though the author(s) of the bible didn't know that Jesus was born of a god in a literal sense. It's seems they thought he was a "Son of God" in the sense that we owe our loyalty to God as we owe our loyalties to our biological father. After all, he was known to speak in metaphor.

Anyway, for those who believe that Jesus was physically born of a god and a human, where did he get half of his genetic data? Does your omnipotent, Omnipresent Energy Field God have 46 chromosomes?

This would make the idea of Jesus fathering children even more troubling.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

One May As Well Be a Prime

There's a pedantic insistence that one cannot be a Prime Number. After all, a Prime Number must be divisible by only itself and one. This argument seems to imply that the grammar supersedes mathematical usefulness.

In fact, it doesn't matter whether one is a prime or not, and the distinction is entirely arbitrary. This doesn't stop people from arguing about it heatedly.

The "debate" over one's Prime-ness can be instructive:

Con: "Primes must be divisible by one and itself. Since that implies that one and the number are distinct, one cannot be Prime."

Pro: "One is not divisible by another Integer. Surely it is Prime."

Con: "It must be divisible by two integers! One is..."
And so on

What do we see here? Two arguments which skip past definitions, and jump squarely into the conclusions. Since the debaters haven't agreed on a definition, they could argue all day without producing anything but anger and frustration.

Remember what Voltaire said, "If you would debate me, first define your terms". I can't imagine how many arguments would be instantly resolved by this approach.

Monday, December 22, 2008


This American Life recently did an episode on people who ruin it for everyone else. They bravely ran a segment about a family that didn't vaccinate their children.

There's a group of paranoiacs out there that believe that vaccinations cause illness, particularly autism. The fact that this is not true is not a concern for these people. There are a group of celebrities who go around on talk shows to spread these lies.

These people kill. When you don't vaccinate, you expose other people to potentially fatal diseases.

Celebrities like Jim Carrey, (one of the paranoiacs,) are responsible for more deaths than any serial killer using traditional means.

The fact that the "arguments" used against vaccines make a mockery of science and reason only disgusts me further.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Do you have an iPod Touch or an iPhone? If you do, you should go to the apps store and get toppler. Right now it's free, and it really shows how nice the tilt sensor is on the system. If that impresses you, you should definitely get Dropship. At the moment, it's temporarily 99 cents, and it's a remarkable twin-stick shooter with performance I wouldn't have thought possible for such a little system.

The same company has also released a game called Rolando, but I haven't summoned the courage to drop the ten dollars. It's been described as the Mario Bros. of the system, and I've only heard good things.

If you have an iPhone, you clearly have some money to spare; at least give Dropship a chance if you like space shooters. I think you'll be impressed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

So Long, Bush

It's no wonder Bush was so good at getting out of the way of that shoe, he's been dodging the press for eight years now!


Sunday, December 14, 2008


I've been reading Angler, a book about the Cheney Vice Presidency. I had heard of the idea of a "unitary presidency", and knew that Cheney supported it, but I really had no idea how extreme the position of the White House was.

Dick Cheney believes that by arming and maintaining an Army, the Congress gives the President Carte Blanche to use that Army anywhere, at any time, and for any purpose, and that no action they take can reduce that ability.

You may know that if the President and Vice President were to die, the power would devolve unto the Speaker of the House, then the most senior member of the Senate. After that, it would move on to the members of the Presidential Cabinet. The internal Cheney position on this was that the presidency could not devolve to the members of congress. This position has not been voiced publicly. Presumably, the plan was to spring the largest constitutional crisis on the country with absolutely no warning whatsoever. This position would inevitably create a "dual presidency" crisis if we were to suffer some catastrophic attack, but some people think that it's better to keep it a secret.

I'm not going to list every crazy position here, but I'll summarize by saying that every single position they have is as extreme as you could possibly conceive.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Valve Blog Updated!

Only two months after the previous blog update, the TF2 blog has updated, and it's big news:

The scout will have the next update. This is precisely what I predicted. Ignore the fact that I also predicted the spy and the sniper too, the point is that I predicted the scout. Seems like my rule of "least played class is updated" still holds up, after four updates. That's a pretty good record if you ask me.

In an attempt to help the most played class, the Engineer will soon have upgradable teleporters and dispensers. I think the thing I'm most eager to see here is the new design. I guess that makes me a bit of a nerd.

Also, the spy's invisibility will be recharged by picking up ammo. This could be a big deal, but we can't know the effect until we see how much of a recharge it grants. Theoretically, a Spy could be perpetually invisible if he stayed near a fight. This would be worthless, but interesting.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Valve Updates

I think Valve's next major update is pretty obvious: bringing versus mode to the other two L4D maps. After that, I'm hoping to see a scout update for TF2.

I think that L4D has endless options for new content, since there can be all sorts of new zombies. Technically, there's all sorts of maps already, since you can play TF2 maps in L4D, even though it wouldn't be particularly balanced.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Luke 16:18

"Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery, and the man who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

PS. The penalty for adultery is death.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Best Of Both Worlds

I've been watching some Star Trek lately. The two part episode "The Best Of Both Worlds" is some of the best Television ever made. They really throw everything at you all at once. The Borg come back, the biggest danger the Federation has ever faced. Riker has a crisis about his role, and has some of his best moments ever.

PS. And my god, Riker's beard! He wears it like a king wears his crown.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Firefly Effect

TV Tropes defines the Firefly Effect as a hesitancy to commit to a show since it may be canceled. I would say that it's more of a James Dean effect: when something dies early, it's much harder to see the intrinsic flaws.

The martyred Firefly is infinitely better than the successful alternate universe Firefly that went on for three seasons. In a single season, nonsense and contradictions have little time to accumulate. The super fans of the Star Trek series, on the other hand, could talk about inconsistencies for hours.

The thing that particularly irritates me is the Reavers. Space Pirates aren't practical in the first place, and Zombie Space Pirates couldn't maintain a space ship for very long, not to mention taking over other ships and eating their crew.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I May Have To Change The Subtitle

If you search for "carsonist" nowadays, you still get this humble blog, but now it prompts you by asking "did you mean 'carsons'?" What an odd change. Seems like if it changed at all, it would just change to redirecting to my site, since I clearly dominate the word.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Hollywood Cold

I know Hollywood lies a lot, but fiction's approach to cold is a personal affront to me. Very rarely will a character wear anything more than a light jacket, and almost never wear a mask or large hat.

I suppose the wardrobe decisions are for the benefit of recognizing characters and seeing their faces. This doesn't excuse the simple fact that people should be reacting to cold weather. If it's blowing snow in your face, you don't just walk into it, idly looking around. Your body hunches up, and you bury your face in whatever you can, turning away from the wind whenever possible.

Whenever I see someone blithely walking through a snowstorm in a light jacket, my suspension of disbelief is ruined.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

OK, Star Wars May Still Suck

I know I've been praising the latest Star Wars cartoon. I have to issue a partial retraction: Episodes that don't star Jar Jar Binks are pretty good. The episode with him is the worst piece of Television programming I've seen in a long time. They took a character that was already CGI, and brought him to a CGI world, and made him look monstrous. And for some reason, he was wearing a purple tie and sleeves that he must have stolen from a prostitute.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Carsonist The Merchant

Do I have a Deal for YOU!

Yes, I do.

You may have heard that Left 4 Dead is out. In particular, you can buy 4 copies on Steam for 150$, a savings of 50$, which brings the price down to 37.50 per person. If you want in, drop me a message.

Also, do you want hundreds of rubber bands? I have those too. In fact, I have access to a supply of hundreds of rubber bands every week. If you want lots and lots of rubber bands, drop me a line.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Wii Time Is Me Time

Have you heard? The Wii has finally reached its saturation point. You can go to a store today and get one. Or two. Or three. They're all over, and they're not getting picked up as soon as they arrive in stores.

I was thinking about getting Mario Galaxy, but it still costs $50, or $45 used. That's ridiculous. I'm going to check the internet now to see how it looks there.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

No Marriage

There's all this mess about Gay Marriage. Here's the simple and good solution: The state shouldn't recognize marriage. Allow churches to marry people, but don't give it the force of law.

If people want to raise a child, or form an economic union, or give someone else visiting rights in a hospital, have a generic form for those things.

Ta-da! No more problems.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Some Thoughts On The New Star Wars Cartoon

This new Star Wars cartoon is actually rather fun. I don't know if you've seen the latest episode, but it looks like they've done another layer of graphics. The models are improved, and so is the lighting. Even the humans don't look too bad any more, and the spaceships and robots look genuinely good.

Some random thoughts:

  • I'm falling in love with General Grievous. He's so deliciously over the top, he cracks me up. Whenever he encounters a setback, get ready for an "Impossible!" delivered in the classic super villain style.
  • I know that it's a tradition to say it, but when your spaceship is on fire, and you're about to crash, you don't get to say "I have a bad feeling about this." You don't have a bad feeling; you're on fire.
  • Asoka still hovers between being a good character and being more annoying than she's worth. I think she's making positive progress though.
  • Speaking of Asoka, it seems like the only way her story can be resolved is with her death. I understand this part of the canon isn't really defined, so we'll see.
  • Why must the droids be stupid and insolent?
  • I'm impressed by the show's willingness to have a pretty large cast and a setting that spans over a lot of plots and subjects. I'd have expected less from a 22 minute cartoon.
  • Is there some law that expansion material for the show can only exist between Star Wars II and III?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's Over

I think even Republicans are glad the election is over. Even more than that, I think we're all happy that it's immediately and decisively over. There's no accusation of theft, no contested states, a vote so solid that there's not hope of overturning it.

I'm sure accusations of theft are being quietly broadcast now, and will become more public in time, but at least we know who the next president is, unambiguously.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Calling The Election

Here it is, 11:20 AM, and I can't find a single site definitively calling the election. What happened to news agencies? They used to call elections as soon as they became aware that there was going to be one. Now I can't even find a single state being called, even though some of them are leaning 95%+ in one direction.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Who Will Don The Republican Mantle

I think I can safely say that McCain is going to lose this election. The real question is this: Who will come to embody the soul of the Republican party while they're essentially a non-entity in government?

I think we can divide the choice into two categories:

The True Believer: Someone like Sarah Palin. Charismatic, outgoing, extremely popular with the Republican base, but completely insane. This would be best for those who want the Republican party to die like some vestigial limb. Sarah Palin in particular will only be a fading star insofar as she remains in the spotlight.

The Practical Operator: Someone like Newt Gingrich. Although he has his own views, completely willing to project a public image of a centrist with bare Republican leanings. If McCain had run a less vicious campaign, I could imagine him falling into this position. This is the position that will rebuild the party, and the sooner they adopt it, the quicker they'll come back into the majority.

I don't think there's any realistic chance of getting a new party to replace the Republicans, like the Whigs in the 1800's. There are simply two many laws that embed the Republican/Democratic system into our political structure. A third party today has an essentially impossible task.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beatles Not On Rock Band

The Beatles are going to make their own game instead of joining up with Rock Band or Guitar Hero. Who made this disastrous decision? Since Ringo Starr is incapable of making a mistake, I can only assume that this is Paul McCartney's doing.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Pleas From a Data Entrant

As someone who professionally enters data, I send this plea to the rest of the world: Please do your end of the job. When you fill out a form, keep in mind this simple rule: someone else is going to have to deal with the stuff you write, no matter how badly you write it.

In particular, try to avoid indicating that a field is blank by filling it with a vertical line. In our culture, that line has another meaning.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Permanent Majority

Isn't it funny that within 8 years of the establishment of the "Permanent Republican Majority", we're seeing the largest growth of the Democratic Party since FDR? It turns out that when a party has everything, they completely blow it. Odds are extremely good that we'll see a filibuster proof majority in the Senate, and a comfortably sized lead in the House.

Friday, October 24, 2008

NPC: The Game

Here is my gift to the world: an idea. NPC: The Game, stars you, but as an NPC, who has to walk around and say the same thing over and over again. You also jump out around corners, only to be cut down by much more powerful player character. You get sick of this kind of treatment, and decide to do your best to make the PC's life a living hell. The drive of the game would be parody of the major genres.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

World Of Goo

As you probably know, World of Goo is out, and the demo is free on Steam. I'd highly advise at least trying the demo; it's a lot of fun by itself. I'm on the fence about buying it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

TF2 Hiatus

Valve has announced that they're not releasing any new TF2 content until the next year. That sucks. I was a little impatient with their roughly bimonthly release schedule, but I could handle it. I'm not sure I can be so blasè about not getting my spy update for more than three months.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Napoleon And Alexander: Foe-Yay

The French had beaten the Russian Army. All that remained was a treaty. For the discussion, the Tsar Alexander and the Emperor Napoleon created a building on a raft floating between the two armies. Both Emperors set out to the raft simultaneously, but Napoleon had naval rowers hurry him across to arrive first. He quickly moved across the hut, and opened Alexander's door as he arrived at the raft.

As the Tsar entered the building, he said to Napoleon, "I hate the British as much as you do." and Napoleon responded, "then we already have peace." Smiling, Alexander said, "then what shall we do for the next fifteen minutes?" Returning the grin, Napoleon simply replied, "I think I have an idea." as he closed the door behind them.

Three minutes later, a more rumpled but still grinning Napoleon emerged from the raft, and called for the treaty negotiators and a physician.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


I've been listening to a Napoleon Podcast, distributed by The Podcast Network, Australia's first podcasting company. Anyway, Napoleon is a pretty amazing guy. Few to no people have been so successful in war for so long. Depending on how you count it, Napoleon was batting over .950 for about 20 years.

He is possibly the only person in history to be the recipient of a declaration of war. That is to say, an alliance of nations declared war against a single person. Not the country he ruled, but a war against a single man.

When he suffered his first exile, he returned from Elba and retook France in less than two months, and all without firing a shot. This might also be an event that has never occurred before or since.

If you guys are lucky, I might write some moderately erotic fanfiction featuring him and the Tsar Alexander.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Today is a day that will be spoken of in legend. For today, I am having a haircut. A haircut not administered by myself.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Economy Freeze

You want to know the problem with the economy? It's complicated, but here's the basic deal: companies aren't willing to loan out money to other companies because they might have such severe secret debt that the creditor might not get paid back, since the creditee might go bankrupt before they paid the debt back. This is what happened when Lehman Brothers went out of business.

This problem is particularly exacerbated by the fact that in the past few years, companies have been selling insurance against another company going out of business. It was seen as such a safe bet, that everyone did it, and people that were holding insurance would sell a slightly pricier policy to another company, thereby making "free money". The problem is, if any company on the chain of insurance become unable to pay through going out of business, the entire thing goes down. If the entire market went into free fall, these bits of insurance would explode and kill most anything involved in them.

What the government needs to do is what it did in the Great Depression. It needs to go into companies' internal affairs and certify them as being sound. Once the fit businesses are publicly declared as such, it will eliminate much of the fear preventing day to day lending.

The Bush Administration will not do this, however, because it is against regulation or Government interference. This could lead to a global economic collapse. It doesn't matter how much money the Government pumps into the economy, companies will not be willing to loan to each other so long as they don't know who's standing on the brink of a precipice.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Japanese Space Elevator

Apparently about a month ago, Japan announced that they'll make a space elevator for 10 billion dollars. If it's actually possible to do it that cheaply, or even if it cost 100 billion dollars, then every country in the world that can scrounge up that much money should get on it today. It cuts the price of putting something in space a hundred fold.

If Japan (or any country) has a space elevator, and no other country does, then there will be no "American" or "Russian" space program. There will be no national program but the one that has the space elevator. If you could do a project for 1% of its original cost, it makes any inconvenience worth it. A space elevator makes getting into space so cheap, that you could go for your vacation.

It's too bad that the American government has no sense of vision, has no direction, and has absolutely no sense of priorities, since I guarantee that building a space elevator of our own would give innumerable benefits, and we're going to be late to the party, because we're focusing on stupid things of the moment.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

You Lose

So, the bill passed, and everyone in America lost. I won't blog about it anymore, I swear.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Do Something!

Here's the thing Democrats: The Republicans have shown that they don't have the organization or the plan to fix the economy. This is your chance to propose your own plan. You can't sit back and wait for them to propose something else.

I don't know if you noticed, but the fed went and put $630 bn into the economy despite the failure of the bill. I wonder if the Bush Administration would have gone into Iraq even if that bill had failed.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Justice Prevails!

The 700bn failed in the house! Whooo!

Now we just need to find who voted "aye" and try them for treason.

700 bn

The thing that really enrages me is the way that once the $700 bn dollar "Plan" was suggested, it became Fait Accompli. Are Democrats really so devoid of the courage of their convictions, and so completely without ideas, that they can only tack a couple modifications to the largest increase in Executive Power since the last Bush Administration bill? Guys! You hold a majority in the House and Senate! Don't let the Republicans screw you over politically and legislatively! Don't you know that most Republicans plan on voting against the plan?

You can't win on this plan. If it goes well, then the President saved the day. If it doesn't save anyone, (much more likely, if you ask me,) then the Democrats who voted for it will take the heat. I've said it before and I'll say it again: The Democrats are idiots, and the Republicans are villains.

PS. I know I've been doing a lot of political posts lately, but I find it absolutely enraging that the least popular President in history is being obeyed like he was a king.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Approaching Disaster

This bailout deal is treated like something that has to be done, and something that will be done. Only the details are a valid point of contention. I'll say this: If you vote for any form of a bill that gives 700 billion dollars to a single person to dispose of at his whim without any form of review, then you lose my vote. Forever. Haven't we learned by now that the Bush Administration grasps at as much power as possible, then abuses it in ways that we couldn't even imagine? There's also the fact that the plan isn't a 700 billion dollar donation, it's the creation of a 700 billion dollar slush fund that gets refilled when it makes a bad investment, and the function of the fund is to lose money.

The Congress has shown its true colours during this entire affair. They've been "working" on a solution to the housing crisis for months now, and they haven't even produced an idea for a bill. The way I see it, homeowners' inability to pay for their loans with impossibly high rates are the driving force of this downturn. Well, they can solve both problems today, if they wanted to. If you really want to lose 700 billion dollars or more, why don't you consolidate the loans of people who can't afford their current payment structure, and write a bill that creates a maximum interest/payment scheme for mortgages in general? The housing problem would be greatly ameliorated, the junk loans that are dragging down the economy would see renewed value, and not all the money would be lost, just most of it.

This approach is actually pretty similar to the Bush Administration plan, (at least the way they've described it. If they were going to execute the plan honestly, they wouldn't have written all the clauses that indicate they don't have to,) except the money goes through the people, not through the businesses. Also, mine makes it so that the Government doesn't have to become the biggest holder of mortgages in the world, thereby creating an absurd conflict of interests in the foreseeable future.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Resistance II

Have you seen Resistance II? Before you answer, if you've seen Call of Duty 4's XP system, TF2's class system, and Halo 3, then the answer is "yes".

Friday, September 26, 2008


All of McCain's back-and-forth lately shows that his decisions are not motivated by any particular political beliefs or ethical positions, but are the result of political calculations.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Federal Funds

One Trillion dollars is the price of buying out the latest incarnation of the Great Depression, according to the Bush Administration. The reason that solar panels are as expensive as they are is because they can not use economies of scale. If there was a large order for solar panels, we would see a reduction in price. We could spend 10 billion dollars on solar panels to make every federal building more self-sufficient. It'd be an investment for the future, and it'd give the industry a huge kickstart.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Civilization II: Everyone Hates Me.

I've been playing some Civilization II. It is a fun game. Unfortunately, diplomacy seems to be an impossible option, at least for the long term. You can bribe someone with all the money and technology you want, only to find that they hate you five turns later.

There's a mode where you can re-enact historical scenarios. There are only two in the game at start, but I assume that there are more on Internet somewhere. I've played WWII a bunch of times. Hint: Play as Germany. They win.

Another hint: Do not play as the "Misc. Countries" team. They have only 4 cities, and one of them is conquered by the Nazis on turn one. Before you even get to go. I tried to stick it out, relying on the fact that the other teams had bigger fish to fry. Then I received this message:

Apparently, they had heard about my plan to colonize the uninhabited Middle East, and thought they had to set aside their differences to stop me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Second Worst Economic Collapse In American History

So the Bush Administration wants to spend a trillion dollars on shoring up the economic crash. Doesn't that suck? At least we have the party of "small Government" in the White House.

Imagine if there had been some regulation on the mortgage market. It would have slowed the world market! It would have reduced profits and the growth of wealth!

It would have prevented the worst economic collapse since the great depression! (I might be speaking too soon. The market has not bottomed out yet.)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Update # 4

I have several things lined up to blog about that aren't TF2, but screw you.

It looks like the Spy is going to be the next update, what with the TF2 blog having an update with no actual information, but with the rather obvious title of "Gentlemen," and the Heavy Achievements include "Spyalectical Materialism", which features an image of the spy wielding a silenced pistol. There's also my theory that each update "cancels out" the previous update, (Medic -> Pyro -> Heavy -> Spy could be a "Rock Paper Scissors" style classification of those classes.

Also, they have always updated the classes that see little play, and Spy is currently #2 least played character. Personally, I have no idea why this is, as Spies are simpy ridiculously awesome on Badwater Basin. Whenever I'm playing without one, I feel the need to immediately switch.

Anyway, my backup, "wacky" theory is that they update the Sniper and Scout simultaneously. A valve person has pointed out that they definitely don't want to do the Sniper update all by itself, as playing a team of 90% Snipers would be absurd. (Unless it's 2Fort, where it's all too common.) Scouts are the least played class, and I'd really like to see them made more viable in a world where Engineers are the most played class and Sentries are all over the place.

My backup less wacky theory is that they do Sniper and Spy simultaneously.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Palin

Isn't it funny that the arch-conservative Sarah Palin comes from America's closest approach to a socialist state? Taxes on the oil industry in Alaska are distributed to each human being in the state annually (a status oddly similar to Venezula's economy), and Alaska receives far more money from the federal government than any other state, on a per-capita basis.

People say that Sarah Palin wasn't vetted before her nomination. This is absolutely not true. They asked both of the questions that mattered:
  1. Are you female?
  2. Will you sign off on the basic Religious Right list of issues?
She said "yes" to both questions, and they're off to the races!

John McCain, in a similar attempt to appease the Hyper-Right, has announced that human rights begin at conception. In this view, two conjoined cells are a person, including issues regarding the 14th amendment, and so on. This leads to some absurdly difficult problems, if considered even momentarily. The Right likes bills where a murderer who kills a foetus is tried for two cases of murder, since the foetus is also a person. One in three pregnancies ends in stillbirth. Should each of these stillbirths be investigated as a murder? Justice would demand it, since the McCain United States would have abortion criminalized, thereby forcing it underground. Similar problems emerge when it comes to taxes, property rights, etc. etc.

There's no biblical support for the idea that a foetus is a person. There are two passages that people use in support of the idea, and neither of them are relevant when looked at seriously.

There's no point to this entire argument anyway. The Republicans have no intention of making abortion illegal. They know that it would absolutely kill their chances at being re-elected, and that abortions would continue regardless. The issue is simply a means of drumming up votes, and has been since the Religious Right made it a centerpiece of their political platform. It has always been a cynical attempt to deliver a bloc vote to the Republican Party.

Oops! I did another political post!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Large Hadron Collider

The Large Hadron Collider is firing up soon. If you like to talk about it, then you are a stupid, bad person, and you should not be allowed to talk to people, go in public places, or be on the internet.

The entire thing is a fad anyway; you weren't talking about particle physics last week, and you won't be talking about it next week.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Spore Release

Spore comes out tomorrow! Glee!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

BG&E: Just in Time

Beyond Good and Evil. I beat it. It's a good game.

Do you like Zelda games? BG&E takes the Zelda formula and makes it a lot better. There's a real story. The stealth sequences are a lot better, and I never got stuck.

It seems that Ubisoft was willing to admit their debt, since the town is called Hyllis, making the citizens into Hyllians. If you recall, Link is a Hylian. I don't know if it's a coincidence, but it seems awfully close.

There's a trailer for BG&E II on the dang ol' internet. Of course, like any good teaser, it teases you by not showing you the protagonist, who the company clearly thinks has a pretty face, since BG&E is designed to show you it again and again, both in game, and in cutscenes.

McCain: Alternate Vice President

Why, oh why, couldn't McCain have gone with Lieberman? That would have been great!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome

I got Google Chrome, and I'm using it now. So far, it's only exploded my computer once, and I think that probably has more to do with my computer having some bad memory or something, which leads to periodic crashing.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Finally, Some TF2 Content

I know my readers have been dying to hear more about TF2 on the blog, and I live to please. Have you ever checked out the TF2 Statistics page that Valve maintains? Some things are immediately obvious: If only 58% of players have the most common achievement, and not even 50% have the next most common, we can safely assume that most people who own TF2 haven't played it all that much. For purposes of determining Achievement frequencies, I'd double the percentage of people who have earned the particular Achievement to determine the number of people who have earned it that have played for more than a few minutes.

Despite this adjustment, we find that only 50% of people, (adjusted from 25%), have earned possibly the easiest achievement ever: Surgical Prep. A weight on the left mouse button can charge a full über before the round starts, yet more people have killed 1.000 people than have held down the heal button for about 40 seconds.

The first achievement in frequency that I don't have is Sentry Gunner. I just don't play the "safe" locations for sentries, and when I do, some über comes in and rocks my base. The thing is, people have gotten better at dealing with sentries over time. If I had played engineer at the very beginning of TF2, I could have walked away from a level 1 sentry and earned the achievement in the first round.

Everyone loves the unlockable alternate weapons for the classes, and I've thought of one that could be cool. You know how Solid Snake can plant C4 on people's backs, then set it off later? I think it'd be neat if a spy could put a bomb on someone's back instead of backstabbing them. It might not drop disguise, since there would be several penalties:
  • The bomb would have some sort of countdown, and would have a beeping noise, or something to that effect. Medics could activate übers, or overheal the target, bringing them outside of the fatal range.
  • There would be limited ammo, so a spy couldn't bomb everyone on a team all at once.
I don't know how practical this would be, but it seems like it could be fun. I'm sure there are balance issues that I'm not anticipating, but I don't imagine it would have a huge game-changing effect.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Venture Bros is at it Again

Did you see the Venture Bros Season finale? More show than most have in an entire season.

I don't want to spoil it, so I'll just say that there are at least three things that I never would have expected.

I have a feeling that there is something very important hidden in the statue of Jonas Venture in front of the Venture compound. If this turns out to be true, then I am awesome. If it turns out to be Jonas himself, somehow sealed in carbonite, then I get bonus points.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Russian Georgia

This entire "Russia invading Georgia" thing just drives me crazy. If the US did have most of its military bogged down in the middle east, and had not annihilated its international reputation, there's no way that Russia would have tried to pull this garbage. This is clearly a political move, timed to coincide with the media attention on the Olympics, then pulling back to make concessions, but still keeping what they want.

I don't like talking about political type things in this blog, but I had to get this off my chest.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Review

While watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars, I came up with a variety of reviews. For the first half hour or so, I had settled on a review that said simply "Sh*te".

After the first hour, I had settled on, "varies from 'so bad it's good', to 'so bad it's terrible'.

Now that I've had time to consider the entire movie, I have a review:

"There is a Hutt who is apparently based on Truman Capote."

I don't think there's anything else to say.

It turns out there is something else to say: "Ziro was originally going to speak Huttese. George Lucas stepped in and specifically asked for Ziro to sound like Truman Capote."

From the Wookiepedia.

Screw you George Lucas, please leave Star Wars alone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My Computer Sucks

So, the heavy update comes out, and I get the sandvich, which, by the way, is awesome, then my computer decides to pee itself.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


You may have seen the latest part of the Heavy Update: Arena Mode. I'm going to give it a chance, but my initial reaction is negative. The last thing that I want to see is Team Fortress: Counter Strike, and I have a feeling that that's what this will dissolve into, especially in random public games.

One thing I do like: With a more open, less structured map, with only one key point that isn't necessarily important, scouts will have a chance to really shine.

They've also revealed an alpine environment. Not too exciting for me. I'm going to give that a chance too, though.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Half Life 2 Ep 1: Gnome of Your Business

So a friend of mine had an extra copy of Half Life Two, Episode One, and gave it to me. I realized that I would have to either play it or look for a job, and the course became clear: I have to get the achievement for launching the gnome into space. That's right, I'm going to get one of the harder achievements in video games, and I'm not going to use a guide. I'll have updates of my progress as I go.

Yes, I know that people that are more interesting than me have done this months, or even years, ago. I don't need your sass.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Heavy Update

If you're me, you've been looking at the Heavy Update page eagerly. They've announced two of the alternate weapons, and a new map.

A common thread runs through each of the updates. The primary item for each class, (the flamethrower, the medigun, and now, Sasha), have poor replacements. The Kritzkrieg is almost universally mocked, the Backburner was only an improvement when it gave +50 HP, and Natascha's slowing effect probably won't compensate for the -25% damage.

I think keeping the primary weapon the same makes the classes more predictable. I approve.

The Achievements are laid out. They've cut short the tradition of getting a million "whatevers" for each class. Instead, the Heavy needs to get 1.000 assists. I wonder if the focus on getting assists for the achievements is due to the nature of the heavy, or due to the designers wanting to make it less rewarding to play like an idiot to earn achievements. If you're going for an assist, you need to 1. Be near allies, and 2. Shoot the enemy. If an ally of mine was grinding achievements like that, I honestly wouldn't mind.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'm off!

I'm going to be away at the boundary waters for the week starting monday, so good luck getting a game going without me, losers!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Boxey To Perched

The map that I've been making for TF2 has gone through a bunch of iterations, and I give each one a new name. This is boxey.

I know you're saying, "carsonist, how could someone possibly improve on this?" Well, shut your filthy word-hole, because there's a lot of work that I did to make it even more awesome, if that's possible. Here's Expanded, almost the most recent draft. I've added more expansive windows in the current version, but it still looks basically like this.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Map Making In TF2

I haven't updated in a while. I was hoping that someone would solve my character contest before I did another post. This one isn't nearly as hard as my other unsolved character.

Anyway, I've been making a map in TF2 lately, as anyone that I regularly talk to knows. It's been improving to the point where soon the entire thing will have to be scrapped and replaced with a new map. Next post, I'll get some screen shots showing the progress my map has taken. It's pretty drastic.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New Character Contest

For some reason, writing up this character interested me.


ST 8 [-20]
DX 10
IQ 10
HT 10

TL: 1 [0]

Flight (Temporary Disadvantage (One Arm)) [34]

Sense of Duty (XXX XXXX) (Large Group) [-10]
Social Stigma (Minority Group) [-10]

Preachy [-1]

Public Speaking IQ/A - IQ-1 9 [1]

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Hellboy 2 Review

Hellboy 2 is pretty good. Fantastic CGI, (possibly the best I've ever seen in a movie), fun moments, and good action. The only major problem is the first five minutes or so, where Professor Bruttenholm tells a disturbing-looking Young Hellboy the plot of the rest of the movie.

The movie stars Ron Perlman.

5/5 Ron Perlmans

I was tempted to dock a fractional Ron Perlman for the Young Hellboy sequence, but it wasn't a big deal.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Dr. Horrible

Have you seen this? It's pretty fun, and for right now, it's free.

Monday, July 14, 2008

iPod Misc

Have you seen that Square made an iPod game that turns your songs into fighters? I got it, it's interesting. I haven't played it long enough to get a feel for it. One thing: a character made from a song doesn't seem to retain any label associated with that song. That is, if I look at my fighters, there's no way I can tell which one is made from "Dream On", and which one is from "Paradise By The Dashboard Light".

To update the iPod Touch's software, I'd have to pay ten dollars. That's a bit ridiculous if you ask me. They release a new iPhone, which does everything that mine does, but more and better, and which costs less, then they expect me to pay money for update my iTouch just to allow me to use apps.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


It's been raining so hard, it looks like an aquarium out there. One of life's true pleasures is to go out in simply miserable rain, then to come back inside and get dry and warm. It teaches you to appreciate the little things, like freedom from the elements.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Hackmaster: A New Record!

I played my first game of Hackmaster in a long time yesterday. It may have been the first game I've played as a PC. I managed to set a personal record: I managed to lose a character without making a single die roll. My character didn't attempt a single thing that required a roll during her entire brief life.

By the way, I put at least five hours of labour in to character creation.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

American Medicine

Thank god America doesn't have universal healthcare, otherwise we'd have to face long lines, which is far worse than dying because you don't have any insurance. Imagine living in a country where a woman dies because she was ignored as she lay on the hospital floor for an hour. Oh, wait, we do live in that country (unless you're reading this from a country that isn't the US). The hospital promises that they'll work to reduce the waiting time to a mere ten hours.

Monday, June 30, 2008

A Riddle

What has four legs, sharp teeth, and feasts on human blood?

It's a pair of medics from TF2.

One medic übers the other, who stabs people with his übersaw to charge his über meter. By the time the invincibility runs out, the second medic should be fully charged and able to make the first one invincible, who then charges his meter using the saw, repeating the process until there are no more enemies around. This method is totally silly, and can be devastatingly effective. It is also a lot of fun.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Book Meme

I saw this on someone else's blog, thought it might be fun. Anyway, I'm not sure what "barge pole" means, and I can't get underlining or strikethroughing to work on Blogger anyway. If I could underline books, I've had done at least Catch-22 and Hitchhiker's Guide.
  • Bold those you have read.

  • Italicise those you intend to read.

  • Underline the books you LOVE.

  • Strikethrough on the "barge pole" ones

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 The Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones's Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte's Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Shakespeare: The Tempest

I read The Tempest. To be blunt, I don't get the appeal. I was looking forward for a confrontation between Prospero and anyone, but there wasn't one. He was angry at some people, but he forgave them before they met up. Could someone explain the appeal?

The characters and the action just didn't interest or entertain me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

I Found A Bug!

I found a bug in the back yard. It looks like this:

I was wondering if it looked good enough to be sent to Insect Picture of the Day. What do you think?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

4e campaign

Looks like we may get a D&D 4e game going. My character is pretty awesome. I dare you to find something cooler than a man-sized dragon that breathes acid. I've been putting him on a character sheet, and I've been pretty disappointed by the character sheet design. Particularly, there is simply not enough space to record the statistics for your abilities. Instead, I'm making a word file that has the abilities recorded with all the calculations done in advance.

Another minor quibble: the skill list is absurdly short. Every edition, they cut it down. There's not even a Knowledge (Whatever) option any more. My character has the skill History. He now knows the history of every place on the planet, and in every time period.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Pyro Achievements

The Pyro Achievements are awesome, and so is the airburst of the old flamethrower.

I got the Achievement OMGWTFBBQ, and I earned it (To earn the achievement, you have to taunt someone to death. Since this taunt is a one hit kill, it's slightly easier than you may imagine). I snuck around the back of the enemy base, looking for snipers. Instead I found a spy on my own team, surveying the fight. My suspicions aroused, I snuck up on him and gave him the taunting of his life. Since it killed him, I can guarantee it was.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Calm Down, Everyone

Pyro Thursday, probably worse than Black Friday, is Tomorrow. All the details can be found here. Also, Meet The Sniper is still out, and it's pretty good.

It seems that they're adding another ability to the basic Flamethrower too. The ability to "push" people is an interesting one, and something that hasn't really been explored yet. I'm very interested. This is pretty cool, since the basic Pyro set-up is probably the worst class right now.

The next month or so is just going to be hell for Spies. An army of flamethrower wielding maniacs who only thirst for achievements, many of which require the player to kill a spy.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Grizzly Coast

Recently the Minnesota Zoo added a new section: The Grizzly Coast. It's pretty good. It has bears, sea otters, wild pigs, and some large cats whose name I can't remember.


Saturday, June 14, 2008

Pyro Update

Steam has announced that the next class to get the Achievement/new equipment treatment in TF2 is the Pyro. This is going to be a dark day for the game. Pyros are probably the crummiest class in the game, and having an army of them on both teams will make games look like dodgeball players in the middle of the D-Day Invasion.

I do think that Pyros are bad, but I think there is a way that they can win. I haven't tested it anywhere close to thoroughly, but when two Pyros are together, enemies die almost instantly instead of being lit on fire, running backwards while shooting the Pyro, then finding a health pack. Too many time I've seen a Pyro light five people on fire and get zero kills. Two pyros would have killed at least the medic, which would have made the rest of the process easier.

One can only hope that the new equipment will improve the class as much as the medic equipment does.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Campaigns: Items of Fantastic Power

Red Mage introduced this campaign to my world: The Awesome Object campaign. Each member of the party gets a fantastic artifact, and The Man, (or original owner) wants it back. Anyway, it would be a cool way to give each player a completely different role, and give a fantastic power to an otherwise mundane person.

Possible items/artifacts/possessions:
The Portal Gun
Power Droid
Master Chief Suit
Soul Cube
That Illusion Disguise Thing From That Bad Movie
The Healing Gun The Medic Uses in TF2

And So On


I've run quite a few different RPGs over the years, and I typically only run each one for one or two sessions before I get distracted. Not to mention all the times I'll get a campaign idea, then not run it even once. I'm going to see if I can exorcise this demon impulse by writing about campaigns I would run if I wasn't being faithful to the one I end up running.

If you have no objection to this plan, say absolutely nothing.

Sunday, June 08, 2008


Have you seen D&D 4th Edition? I've been reading it, but I haven't read enough of it to get a comprehensive idea of it. At the moment, it seems good. I made a character, and the process seems simple enough. I think it's interesting that they now provide three different ways of generating your core stats, and rolling your dice is the last method they suggest. What a strange world we live in.

I appreciate that they were willing to mix things up, with changing races around, and core abilities, but I don't like the cases where they take a term we already know, like Saving Throw, and make it similar, but not similar enough to be functionally the same. If something tells you to make a saving throw in 4e, and you're in a 3e mindset, then you're going to do it wrong.

When it comes to new races, I like the Dragonborn, and I don't care for the Tieflings. Seems to be a catch-all race for emo roleplayers. Also, if you're going to include the spawn of demons, why not the Aasimar, the spawn of angels?

The illustrations have hardly progressed from the fantasy illustrations of thirty years ago. Fantasy women are still strapped for cash, it seems, since they simply cannot afford covering as much of their body as their male counterparts. Worst offenders: The dragonborn with breasts, and armour that emphasizes it, (Lizards do not nurse their young), and the female warrior in full plate mail that doesn't cover anything north of the nipples.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Kritzkreig Get!

I unlocked the Kritzkrieg for the medic in TF2. There are three more achievements I'll get without having to cheat. The other ten are hard enough that I'll either need a lot of luck, or to cheat. I do want that ubersaw, so I may cheat it up.

I'm just not sure about the Kritzkrieg. Getting all crits is nice, but being invincible is so much nicer. There are too many times where I've had to take out two turrets, and there's no way that a person could survive that without being invincible. It charges faster, but that's the only other benefit. I think I'd be for it if it healed faster or something.

I'm selling my XBOX 360, since I need the moneys. I could make a brief comparison between TF2 on the computer and on the Box:

Cost: free vs. monthly fee
Updates: free vs. none at all

In other words, Live costs money, where the internet on a computer has no additional charges. Winner, Internet.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

An Open Letter To The Minnesota Zoo

Hey, zoo: If you're going to cancel an event, you might want to, you know, tell someone. Before they get inside the building. There are many means of telling people something in this modern age: you can use email, phone calls, etc. or you could even put up a sign outside the building. It's raining out, and you think it's cool to let people walk all the way in before letting them know that they came in for no reason.

Not very cool, Minnesota Zoo.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Indiana Jones and the Intolerable Nonsense

I saw the latest Indy movie. Some of the stuff in there was just too absurd even for a cliffhanger in the Indiana Jones genre. If you've seen it, then all you have to hear is "monkeys" to know what I'm talking about.

I am completely willing to accept the supernatural stuff: the other movies had the Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail, etc. Some of the stuff that was supposed to be mundane was just too insane.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Venture Bros Season 3!!!!

Did you see the latest Venture Bros? If you didn't, you can see it at this poorly designed website. Anyway, it's good to see it back, even if it's unusually crazy, even for the Venture Bros.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Grah, Computers

So, I've gone through the most thorough computer surgery possible. Every file has been replaced, and the hardware has been thoroughly cleaned. Can you guess what didn't happen? I'll tell you. The computer sure didn't get fixed. It must be a hardware problem at this point.

I hate computers.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Compy Times

I'm trying to work on the stupid computer right now. This is the reason I like consoles: they just work. With a computer, there's always some new problem to make your life a living hell.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Homeward Bound

I've been cleaning out my apartment, and it is hard work. One thing I've learned: the cleaning power of a product is directly proportional to the health risks on the label. To get something truly clean, I'm looking for a product that says, "in the event of contact with skin, contact a mortician."

PS. I did this joke the day before Colbert did it. I stole it from someone else, but I can only assume that he stole it from me.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Team Fortress 2 Get!

I got the stand-alone TF2 for the computer, since I've sold my XBOX copy of the Orange Box. I'm glad that they made it possible to play with little in the way of system requirements. Most people don't have unbelievably powerful game machines, and the game looks great even with very poor specifications.

Computer Troubles

No one likes losing. I'm frustrated and angry at the moment because my computer has been inexplicably shutting down and restarting every few hours. This problem has beaten me again and again, despite endless theories about the cause. I'm frustrated and peevish.

At the moment, we think part of the hardware is bad. It could be the memory or the power supply. I don't know, I'm not a hardware kinda guy.

Now playing: Chicago - Beginnings
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 23, 2008

Twilight Princess Get!

I beat Twilight Princess. I think it does a good job building character and story. I didn't want to do the sidequests because I felt that I should be getting the main quest done.

Now playing: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Fit the Eighth
via FoxyTunes

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gold Rush

I finally got to play that new TF2 map. Seems pretty good. That last push to the final point is hard, but not impossibly hard.

Those new medic achievements are crazy. Crazy fun! (Some of them are just regular crazy.)

An Open Letter To Engineers:
Please help the team. I know you enjoy setting up a little base on the sidelines and getting nothing done, but it would be nice if you would actually put your turret in a place the helped us get objectives.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Twilight Princess

Yahtzee likes to hate on Nintendo's repeating of games, but I think that Twilight Princess is awesome. The crazy top that you get to ride around is totally awesome. I just finished the dungeon that you get the top in, and I have a feeling I'm not going to have much use for it any more. It's too bad really, that top all by itself justifies the game.

Now playing: Radiohead - Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Farm Bill

So the congress has passed another disastrous farm bill. The Bush Administration is right *retch* to call it a bloated program with gimmicks. After all, this "farm bill" includes a tax break for racehorse owners.

However, this program that costs 300 billion dollars over 5 years costs half as much as the war in Iraq, and it doesn't kill one American or Iraqi.

PS. Of course none of the presidential candidates could find the time to vote on one of the most important bills of their career. What a coincidence...

PPS. I dare any member of congress to prove that they have even the most basic knowledge of this monstrosity. The table of contents is daunting by itself. I've tried looking at a few of the subsections, and they're impenetrable to anyone who doesn't have a lot of time to look at other bills that are being modified.

PPPS. It seems that congress' bills are designed to be unlinkable directly. This should take you to a list of bills. The real one is the last one.

Big Dog

So, this is pretty unbelievably awesome. At times, it seems that it must be fake, but it seems to be real so far as I can tell.

Monday, May 12, 2008

8-bit Theater

The venerable 8-bit Theater is ending soon. It's run through a demented version of Final Fantasy for seven years now, and the author says that he's wrapping it up when he gets to the thousandth page, although it might not be exactly 1,000. That leaves him roughly 10 pages to resolve a story that isn't anywhere near resolving. This from a comic whose first 15 pages could be summarized as "They arrive at town," and whose first 88 pages can be accomplished in the game by pressing the d-pad down for roughly 3 seconds after the opening text. Frankly, I don't see it ending any time soon, but I'm ready to be surprised.

There's a real evolution to the comic. It's gone from terrible art to art that is pretty good, but still in its signature 8-bit style.

I believe the author has said he's not going to do Final Fantasy II, but how could he not? That's like making The Empire Strikes Back, then retiring.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Lost Potential

One of the frustrations people have about Iraq but rarely voice is the lost potential it represents. When the US pays 10 billion every month, or 1,000,000,000 every three days, on essentially nothing, it prompts some imagination on what could have been.

Example: Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. They have essentially no way of digging themselves out of poverty, since they've already destroyed any infrastructure or trees they have to survive in the short term. If we hadn't gone to Iraq, we could have had a Marshall plan for Haiti and other impoverished nations. Haiti has 8.7 million people. If Americans decided to feed Haiti at 1$ a person-day, it'd cost 3.175 billion dollars a year. That's a lot of money, but it's only 10 days in Iraq. Keep in mind that there are many Haitians that aren't in crushing poverty, and we find that 10 days in Iraq keeps Haiti fed for at least two years.

Let's skip a full month in Iraq. That leaves us with 6.825 billion dollars. I'm no expert on building roads, planting trees, or water sanitation, but I have a feeling that 2 billion dollars each can build a lot of roads, plant a lot of trees, and build the facilities to treat a lot of water. That leaves us with about 850,000,000 dollars for miscellaneous expenses and loans to help spur small business. If one in ten people need a loan to start a business, and half of the fund goes to loans, that means that we could lend each of them about 500$ without any hope of return. Most micro-credit loans are roughly 100 dollars or less, so this is probably more than necessary.

I'm not saying that we could have "fixed" Haiti for the price of staying in Iraq for a month. I'm saying that we could do it for the price of staying there for two months.

By the way, we've been there for more than 60 months now.

Now playing: Beethoven - Moonlight
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, May 08, 2008


As you should be able to tell from the right side of this page, I've incorporated Twitter into this site. Who knows if I'll update it frequently enough to justify its inclusion. I just thought it might be a good place to insert information that doesn't justify a formal post.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Genuine People Personalities

Humans have a tendency to see patterns where there aren't any. It goes back to our hunter-gatherer days. If you think a sound might be something rustling in the woods, it's better to assume it's real than to be eaten by a tiger.

There's a similar phenomenon in anthropomorphism. People assign personalities to almost anything. An owner of a Roomba will probably be willing to tell you about how their Roomba feels, and how it's "special". Most Roombas have a name, like you would give to a pet or a human.

When people hear about this tendency to assign personalities to things that have none, they smugly smile to themselves, sure that, "I'm not that silly." I look at it the other way. If humans are known to create imaginary personalities, then the most reasonable assumption is that people and animals don't actually have a personality, and we are merely projecting this facade onto what is essentially a robot made of meat.

Now playing: Lynyrd Skynyrd - Sweet Home Alabama
via FoxyTunes

Friday, May 02, 2008

GTA VP: Casual Games Suck

In a strange interview, the Vice President of Rockstar said he didn't like casual games. (This means the Wii, in game developer code). Instead, his company is leading in story based game play.

I guess no one told him, but the previous GTAs (I can't comment on the new one) don't so much have a story as a pastiche of other stories interspersed with random missions where you kill people for no good reason. No one is going to say that a game that stole its entire story from something else has good writing. (Well, idiots will.)

The other funny thing is that most people don't play GTA for its story, and the people that do go through the story mode aren't invested in it. Talk to someone who's been playing GTA for a while about what they've been doing lately. I guarantee their story will be about what they did for fun, and that it had nothing to do with the story mode.

I'm not sure why this guy is trying to sell GTA as a story game, since
  1. It doesn't have that great a story in the first place.
  2. People don't care how good the story is.
Anyway, GTA games are fine, don't take this as a rant against the games in general.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Book Review: Life of Pi

I just read The Life of Pi. I read it basically in one go, it was such a page-turner. It was a good book. If you have any interest in reading it, do not try to find out anything at all about it in advance. This is always my advice for consuming media, but Life of Pi is particularly spoiler-able. Don't look at the cover, don't read the inside cover. Just read the book straight through.

PS. Apparently, this is the first post I've made about a book. That's a little disappointing.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

RPGs in Video Games

I was listening to some people talk about Grand Theft Auto, which I've personally lost affection for, and someone described it as the RPG that no one knows it's an RPG. There was some brief debate on the subject. It has a structure that tells a story, and it allows you to play a character with more freedom than most RPGs provide you. Eventually, someone ended up pointing out that it doesn't have twinking. That's right, video games can only be RPGs if you are messing around with numbers. THAT'S THE OPPOSITE OF ROLEPLAYING! This is the curse that Final Fantasy has brought upon the video game community.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


This is a fun little game.

Now playing: George Baker Selection - Little Green Bag
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Smash Bros Missing Character

There's one character that's missing in Smash Bros. Brawl: Me. That is to say, Mii. There wouldn't be any abilities, I guess, but they don't have to be balanced.

I think people would be happy to play as themselves, even if the character wasn't as good.

Now playing: Barenaked Ladies - Leave
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I have a problem. I need Metal Gear Solid games like I need oxygen. Unfortunately, Metal Gear Solid 4 would cost me five hundred dollars (plus tax). I bought a PS2 to play MGS2, but there's no way I'm going to get a PS3 at this price.

I've been looking for The Twin Snakes for a couple weeks now, and I guess it's a bit of a collector's item, since no one's selling it for a reasonable price. (If you have it, and you're reading this, could you lend it to me? And if you're not reading this, go to hell.)

I know that some of you people haven't played the Metal Gear games. This is a problem. Fortunately, you can fix that. To get people up to date for MGS4, Konami is releasing Metal Gear Solid 1, 2, and 3 for thirty dollars. Thirty dollars! I highly suggest you get it.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I rarely dream. I understand that people dream most times they sleep, so I guess I just don't remember my dreams. That's all right with me. I get enough nonsense in my regular life without trying to remember things that didn't happen, especially things that didn't happen that no one else has heard of.

When I do dream, (which is probably at a rate of once a year or less) it's nothing interesting anyway.

Now playing: Flight of the Conchords - Most Beautiful Girl in the Room
via FoxyTunes

Friday, April 18, 2008

Holes in Ancient History

There's so much we don't know about Ancient History. Do you know how gladiators would say, "Those who are about to die salute you!"? Well, they didn't. Or at least, we don't know if they did. There's one time in history where anyone was reported to have said that, so it's probably more likely that they didn't say it often. If it was a common event, why would it bear mention in an unusual event?

Anyway, there's all sorts of things we have absolutely no idea about. It's frustrating to the serious historian, even if the problem is invisible to the casual eye. To put it in comparison: There's a "mystery" about the assassination of JFK. Some insist that the killer is not John Wilkes Booth. Yet we do know the exact time, down to the second when he died. We know the injuries he suffered, and what gun shot him. That moment in history has had tomes written about it, and so much data that it could fill a small library.

Compare that "mystery" to another historical mystery: We don't know whether King David was a real person. He's the second king of historical Israel, if real, but we just don't know if there is a person that occupied that place and time. I think that puts it into perspective: 99.9999% certainty about a precise moment versus profound ignorance about an entire lifetime

Now playing: DragonForce - Above The Winter Moonlight
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Simulating Techno

The latest XKCD takes a shot at techno. And so does this (less recent) Strong Bad Email. I know of yet another way to produce techno music: play regular music on a computer that is overwhelmed with tasks. It'll start playing the same fraction of the song over and over again. If you really hit the sweet spot of overwhelming the processor, the song will progress a fraction of a second every time it repeats. At first, the song sounds like the original music, but if you keep listening to this repeating brief sound, it will take on a whole new, techno-ey character. I kinda wish I had some sound editing software to make my own techno out of Bob Dylan songs.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Naming Day

It's tough to think of names for things. Anyone in Role-Playing has first-hand experience with that fact, especially if they're the GM. Every character needs a name, and so does every place, and every object that doesn't exist in real life. There's even the joke where a player asks a character his name, then checks the GM's reaction: if he has the name written down, this is an Important Character.

Magic: The Gathering has an interesting approach to this problem, which is a huge one for their industry. Not only is it hard to think of names, they can never ever re-use a name for a card. The solution? Have setting specific prefixes. For every set, there's a new setting, with new countries and factions. For example, Mosswort is a recent name for green things, and boggart is a recent name for goblins. Let's say that Hasbro wants to make a card that is maniacal. Instead of naming the card "Maniac", they can name it "Boggart Maniac", make it a goblin, and they're set. Using this technique, they could make a new card whose name means the same thing for every set until the end of time.

Which seems to be roughly the plan.

Now playing: Beck - Sweet Sunshine
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The Great Maze

No one was expecting the Super Smash Bros. solo experience to be amazing. And it's not. It has a few flaws, particularly with co-op mode.

Unfortunately, the Smash Bros team decided that the SubSpace Emissary had to be better, or at least longer. So they commit one of the worst sins you can: they make the player go back through the game again. You have to defeat every boss, and run through every level, all over again. Not entertaining. This is particularly bad because beating the SSE is the easiest way to unlock several characters.

I'm not saying it's hard; it's not. It is tedious and repetitive. It's the definition of repetitive. My question: Why? No one was expecting an amazing campaign mode. The Great Maze adds nothing but time. There are no cutscenes during the Great maze, and no new materials. It is clearly an attempt to lengthen the game.

It hardly kills the game, but it's a mystery.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I'm finally getting a Wii of my own. Tonight. I'm quite glad.

Now playing: Apoptygma Berzerk - Moment Of Tranquillity
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Old School Gaming

I've been listening to the Retronauts podcast for a while now. I've realized something: new games suck. My XBOX 360 broke, I can't find a Wii, and I don't want to pay 600$ just to play MGS4.

I'm going to go back and find Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes, and once I'm done with that, I'm going to get a game that's older than that. Every time I finish with a game, I'm only going to get one that's older. Eventually, I'll have to start running ROMs. I guarantee you, the games will only get better as I get further back in time

Now playing: Mozart - Violin Concerto No. 3 in G K..
via FoxyTunes

Monday, March 31, 2008

Third Parties '08

I've predicted that the Republican Party will have at least one major third party break from its ranks this year. After all, the current nominee isn't very acceptable to the Libertarian or the Religious wing of the party. It seems I was wrong about that. The Republicans have always been good at getting into line, and they're staying true to form, it seems.

I was right about something else, though. It does seem that the Democrats are going to the convention without a candidate, since I sincerely doubt either of the candidates are going to drop out at this point.

Months and months ago, someone said, "The Democrats are polling so well, they seem to have this election guaranteed. It'll be interesting to see how they screw it up." At the time, I laughed.

Now playing: Bob Dylan - Just Like A Woman
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fixing The Xbox

I went to Microsoft's website, and I actually found that they're pretty good about accepting requests to repair the XBOX 360. I think the issue is that the breakdown rate is so high, that challenging people's claims would be too inefficient.

PS. Someone gave me an interesting link: it has the sales for all the major consoles. I had no idea that the Wii was doing this well. Why can't I have one, Uhara-Mazda?

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

iTunes And Album Art

I don't care about album art. Occasionally, it looks good, but it doesn't actually cause music to sound any different. I still have this attitude, but now I spend hours of my life searching for hundreds of album covers on the Internet, and it's all thanks to iTunes and the iPod Touch. Since the Touch provides the option of looking through your music by scrolling though the album covers, I feel compelled to have a cover for every album I have. This can be tricky, since I have songs that aren't from any album, like Portal's Still Alive, and Crazy Utahraptor, by Ryan North. Also, some songs are singles that were never released in an album. I tend to delete this sort of song, even though I might like it as a song.

What really gives me work are the poorly formatted songs. First, I have to find out that the name of the file is that actual name of the song. Then I have to find what album that song is from on the 'pedia. Then I'll have to surf the internet for a .jpg of the correct size, then download it. This might not sound like much work, but it adds up. I've made this my little project for a while now, and I still have over 400 unformatted songs with no album art.

Now playing: Pink Floyd - Shine on You Crazy Diamond (part two)
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Lately, I've become quite a fan of the LOLcats. I'm extremely late to the boat, I know. But this does not make the LOLcats any worse. In fact, I've found that the average recent LOLcat is better than an older one. Anyway, in honour of the site, I've made a LOLcat of my own. (With a little help from a friend). It's not that great, but I don't care.

PS. Note to self:

Golden weapons in Role-playing game: 60 * 20 * original value. Ultimate show of adventuring wealth.
Now playing: The Beatles - Golden Slumbers
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Breathe and Breath

Dear Internet,

The word "breath" is a noun. It's the air that you breathe.

For example:
  • "I took a breath. Then, I continued to breathe regularly."
  • "If you cannot breathe, than you cannot take a breath."
  • "his breathing became irregular, then he drew his last breath, then he died."

Get it right next time, ok?

Spoiler alert on that last example. Don't read it unless you want to know how every single human story will end.

Now playing: The Rolling Stones - its only rock and roll
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


First of all, this is my three hundred fiftieth post. Woo!

I was going to drop some pearls of wisdom on this momentous event, but something important has happened. Something.... enraging.

The Red Ring of Death.

That's right. As of today, it appears that my XBOX 360 has died. There's no guarantee either way, but I'm not too optimistic. Now I'll have to see what byzantine system the Microsoft people use to deal with fixing the 'box. Sigh.

Now playing: Bruce Springsteen - Hungry Heart
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, March 16, 2008


I have two phobias. I'm not going to tell you the one that is easy for any idiot to use against me, but I will tell you about the other.

I have a phobia of underwater stages in games that generally aren't underwater. More specifically, it's the giant fish that inevitably appears. The one that is capable of eating you in one attack. This danger, combined with an awkward control system for being underwater, has led to a persistent and irrational fear of this sort of thing.

Now playing: Bob Dylan - Dark Eyes
via FoxyTunes

Friday, March 14, 2008

Little Post

I can't sleep, but I have no energy. I suppose this is my overnight job coming back to bite me; I can't sleep on demand.

Now playing: Yes - Owner of a Lonely Heart
via FoxyTunes

Monday, March 10, 2008

Smash Bros Initial Thoughts

After playing some Smash Brothers, here are my first impressions:

  • I desperately need to find a Wii. This is driving me crazy.
  • The cinematics in this game are fantastic. There are more "wow, that was awesome" moments in this than in any other game's cutscenes.
  • Solid Snake is too cool.
  • The designers have done a good job of making different characters actually different, instead of just a paint-job on an old character.
  • No huge changes in the core gameplay. If you didn't like the old games, you probably won't like this one.
  • Picking up items is a lot easier. You can pick them up whilst on the run or in the air by just pressing "A". This reduces the value of my ultra-L337 item-grabbing skills from Melee.
Also, did I mention that Solid Snake is awesome? He totally is.

Some Other Thoughts:
  • Those little white balls that have the letter "B" on them? STAY AWAY!
  • Yes, Final Smashes are overpowered, but they are also COMPLETELY AWESOME!
  • Has anyone tried making a custom level that's just a box with a small aperture? This would make for some strange fights with lots of damage.
  • The attention to detail in this game is fantastic. You can tell the the creators cared very much about it.
  • When it comes to level design, my only complaint is that the game is a little too awesome. Some of the levels can be a little distracting with all the stuff in the background.
  • Snake!

    Now playing: Radiohead - Morning Bell/Amnesiac
    via FoxyTunes