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.