Saturday, January 31, 2009

Fallout 3

I've decided to do a series of posts about Fallout 3. First I've decided to issue a series of pictures I took.

The first few are of my apartment. I couldn't have it cleaned, so forgive the dingy-ness.

My table, with my Minigun and the Mechanist's costume.

My shelves, with my collection of Nuka-Cola Quantums, (some of them are multiple bottles in one "item")

The costumes on the left are the Ant Agonizer and a radiation suit.

My end table, with a few mementoes of my adventures. If you can tell what the two tubes are, then you deserve a prize.

My bedstand, with my Abe Lincoln action figure, and a pile of Benjamins.

The Lincoln Memorial, stark in the cloudy evening.
The Washington Monument, still standing, but just barely.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shakespeare: King John

King John is pretty good. There are some very dramatic and emotional scenes. Here is the best scene of all time:

~War Was Beginning~

King John:
I am dying, and my last thread of life is hanging on your report. Tell me how the war goes.
Bastard: We were marching toward the battle when most of our troops were washed into the sea.
King John: [Dies
Hubert: What are you talking about? The French have sent an emissary to negotiate peace. The war's over!
Bastard: Whoops!

12 down, 25 to go.
Next Up: The Taming of the Shrew

Friday, January 23, 2009

Star Wars For Kids!

First of all, last week's Star Wars cartoon was actually pretty good. The battle at the beginning had good special effects and action.

The show got me thinking: there are children today for whom the cartoon is the core Star Wars experience. To them, Ahsoka Tano is the main character of the series. I imagine this will disturb some people.

The Face of Star Wars. (Thanks to Wookiepedia)

Personally, I like Ahsoka. I know it's personal correctness, but it's nice to see a positive female character, even if she is essentially dominated by a male figure. Her presence doubles the number of female characters who don't suck in the Star Wars series.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

WALL-E Oscar Nominations

Oscar nominations have been announced, and WALL-E got 6, a respectable number. I think it's a shoo-in for Best Animated Film, which should be titled, "The category we invented so we don't have to deal with Pixar movies in real categories". I also bet they'll get Best Sound Editing, since the sound really made the film. It's a film that doesn't have any real dialogue for more than half an hour, and there's never any confusion about what is going on.

I think it's ridiculous that they nominated Heath Ledger for Best Supporting Actor. Who are they saying is the Lead Actor in Batman? The guy who played Harvey Dent? Morgan Freeman? The mannequin that inhabited the Batman suit? I'm not sure what they're trying to say here.

The category he should be nominated for is Actor in a Leading Role, since that's what he had. Of course, this is the perfect solution for the Academy, who would sooner die than taint their biggest category with a "super-hero" movie. Snobs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Wait, I'm A Historian!

Bush has said that "history will be [his] judge". Finally, my History major comes in handy. Bush is the worst President in American history. Even Bush supporters limit their support to the idea that he has prevented any further attacks on the US. This is an eccentric argument to make. After all, I wouldn't brag that my president only suffered the worst defeat in American history once. I'm not claiming that Bush caused 9/11, but his administration was criminally negligent in defence.

Other Presidents have been disasters on single issues, (Johnson and Nixon in Vietnam, Hoover in the economy, Harding for his corrupt administration and backdoor deals) but Bush has been reprehensible on every aspect of being president. We've suffered the worst attack on our soil, we've been in a disastrous and voluntary war that was completely mishandled, and we've had an economic collapse that was entirely preventable. The corruption and backdoor dealing of the Bush Administration should make an entire book.

Just to make it clear: I, as a historian, name Bush the worst president in American history.

PS. The World Of Goo soundtrack is online for free. I highly suggest you pick it up.
Now playing: Kyle Gabler - The Goo Filled Hills
via FoxyTunes

Monday, January 19, 2009

Wii Fat

I've been doing Wii Fit lately. It has its plusses and minuses. First of all, the exercises and games are done pretty well.

The graphics aren't anything special, roughly the same as Wii Sports. There's no support for a "playlist" of activities to do in succession, which would have been very nice. Since it's a Wii game, it's safe to say that we're not going to get a patch over the internet for it.

As a philosophical point, I don't like the emphasis on weight. Someone can be a reasonable weight and be unhealthy. Heart health and body strength are both things that need to be maintained to be healthy, but Wii Fit can't be bothered. The only thing that it tracks is your weight. I'd love to see an option that lets you select a body region you want to work on and creates a regimen to follow every day.

Now playing: They Might Be Giants - Experimental Film
via FoxyTunes

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Democracies Don't Invade Other Democracies"

There's a theory that Democratic governments don't invade other Democracies. You can read the Wikipedia article Here. You can also read about the various wars between democracies in this page. This is a great analysis of the issue. There is a counter-argument for each of the examples, largely claiming that at least one of the parties was not a Democracy. Under the objections in the article, it seems that there aren't many Democracies to go to war in the first place. If you can exclude any nation that uses political officers to ensure that a party retains its power, then I doubt there are any democracies in the world.

Let's look at Nazi Germany. They rose to power in democratic elections, and they went to war. Critics will quickly point out that by 1939, there was no Democracy left. It seems to me that we shouldn't say that "Democracies don't wage war against each other", we should say, "Democracies coincide with peace and stability". After all, if a nation is strong and stable enough to hold together a strong Democracy, you can be assured that most of the motives for war are already satisfied. Instead of Democracy stopping wars, both wars and un-democratic government have similar causes: poverty, corruption, desperation.

But who cares? We are already in favour of Democracy, since it's a superior form of government to any of its known alternatives. People aren't trying to pin the name of Democracy on nations like a talisman to end wars!

The only problem is that people are doing just that. Tony Blair, in an interview about the motivations for invading and occupying Iraq, said again and again that "Democracies don't go to war". He doesn't seem to understand that it's all too easy for an impoverished people -like the Germans of the 1930's- to throw away their Democracy for some perceived security.

PS. Tell me where I quoted Darth Vader in this essay, and you get a point!

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

Huge L4D Update

Big L4D update, everyone. I'll post everything at the end.

They patched a bunch of exploits that I've never heard of, so I don't really care about those. I'm glad they prevented Survivors from climbing things that only zombies are supposed to be able to climb. They also did some things to make the appearance of the Tank and Witch consistent for both teams' run.

The part I DO care about are the changes to make zombies more powerful against the irritating strategy of "everyone hide in a corner and spam rightclick". Previously, only the Tank could beat this strategy, and the Tank never appears in the set piece battles. Now, a smoker can pull people out of this formation, and the Hunter does more damage on a pounce and has a better chance of penetrating through a guy spamming melee attacks.

This still doesn't fix the fact that any game I join is "clan vs. my random team of losers", but it's at least possible to beat the clan now.

Now playing: Rush - The Necromancer
via FoxyTunes


  • Fixed Survivors being able to climb surfaces marked for versus infected only
  • Fixed a class of SurvivorBot bugs dealing with rescuing downed players
  • Players can no longer grab ladders while flying through the air after a Tank punch
  • Shooting near a car with an alarm that has already fired the alarm will no longer make chirping noises
  • Improved loading time
  • Fixed mini-gun physics exploit
  • Fixed propane tanks (and other physics objects) causing players to fall through elevators
  • Fixed rare achievement bug issues
  • Fixed several map exploits
  • Fixed various match making issues
  • Fixed NAT traversal issues

Versus Changes
  • Added HUD elements to show status of other infected players
  • Changed color of infected player name in chat to red
  • Fixed exploit where players could spawn infected bots
  • Fixed instance where a Survivor changing to the infected team would be attacked by infected bots
  • Normalized special infected melee damage
  • Made the following client commands cheat protected: "Kill" and "explode"
  • Fixed exploit where infected players could run away and teleport back to gain health
  • Players can only change teams once per map
  • Players can't change teams while other players are still loading
  • Tank spawns at the same % through the map for both teams in versus mode
  • Made the Tank and Witch spawn directly on the escape route
  • Increased chance of getting the Tank or Witch
  • Fixed team swap issue

  • Easier to pounce a Survivor who is meleeing
  • Increased Minimum damage a Hunter pounce does

  • Fixed Smoker tongue tolerance
  • Smoker now has to be killed or the tongue destroyed for the tongue to break
  • Survivors cannot bash someone off the tongue until the Survivor being pulled is paralyzed or hanging
  • Tongue attacks that fail to paralyze or hang a Survivor will use the shorter ability delay timer
  • Fixed cases where the ability timer was not using the correct time
  • Fixed case where you could point at a Survivor but not register a tongue hit
  • Fixed Smoker tongue not targeting and landing properly through PZ ghosts
  • Smoker tongue does damage every second while dragging paralyzed Survivors

  • Bashable objects now appear with a red glow
  • Tanks hitting a car with an alarm disables the alarm permanently
  • Tank frustration timer is only reset by hitting Survivors with rocks or fists
  • Reduced autoshotgun damage against Tanks

  • Witch spawns at the same % through the map for both teams
  • Avoids spawning within a certain % of the tank
  • Fixed an exploit where the Witch could be woken up and tricked into attacking Survivors

Monday, January 12, 2009

Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Yes, the Shakespeare tour bus is still sputtering along!

I didn't care for A Midsummer Night's Dream. In fact, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to like. The wacky, "people magically fall in love with the wrong person" storyline doesn't really work for me.

If you want my advice, just skip to the last act, where there is a play within the play. That part is pretty good, and you don't really need to see the previous scenes to make sense of it.

11 down, 26 to go.
Next Up: King John (Blearg)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Julius Caesar: No Big Deal?

I don't get why people give Julius Caesar so much credit. The Roman Constitution killed the Republic, not Julius. In the end, Julius ran around killing foreigners, then returned to briefly become dictator before being assassinated.

Augustus Caesar, on the other hand, was an amazing man. Without being seen as a dictator, he took on semi-dictatorial power, and he rewrote the Constitution in such a way as to preserve the nation for either 500 or 1500 years, depending on how you measure it. All this, after winning a three-way civil war without alienating a province enough to cause it to permanently secede.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Israel In Gaza

At this point, I don't blame Palestinians for believing that Israel is intent on the destruction of their peoples. These tactics of terrorism and indiscriminate destruction of civilians is just as intolerable for the Israelis as they are for the Palestinians.

We need to actively engage the peace movement that exists on both sides of this conflict, and this incursion will only set the entire process back.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Yes Man

Yes Man is a formulaic comedy, with all that entails. I feel that they should be paying me, with all the product placement in the movie.

In every romantic comedy, there's a loose plot that must be followed, as dictated by some inscrutable gods:
  • A leaves his boring ex and sets out on his own, is lonely.
  • Wacky antics bring A to B.
  • A and B couldn't be happier.
  • B discovers that the wacky antics included some sort of lie, or wacky scheme.
  • B is so outraged upon this discovery that B leaves A forever.
  • A does something else wacky, validating the previous wackiness and begging forgiveness.
  • B forgives A, and they kiss in a way that reminds you of their previous wackiness.
This routine is fine in and of itself, but once you've seen it a few times, only an idiot would be afraid that Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel won't make it. Also, the thing that gets B outraged is often so trivial that they look like either a self-absorbed jerk or an idiot.

Anyway, there are some fun jokes in the movie, but I wouldn't pay money to see it.

Yes Man
.5 out of 5 Ron Perlmans

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Links at Right

So when I read an interesting news item, or a funny comic, I link it on the top right of this website. You probably can see the links right now. I put in a new link just about every day.

I'm just wondering, does anyone actually click on these things? Some of them are quite interesting.