Dec 9 2018, 16:30
Where I Discuss People Being Too Hard on GDQ
The hot new GDQ news: two speedrunners have been banned from attending GDQ. Specifically, and according to the "smoking gun" screenshot, these two individuals were banned for sexist and transphobic language. The ban itself is completely understandable; it is against GDQ policies, not to mention that GDQ and speedrunning community does not tend to take this issue lightly.
What is also interesting is the tumultuous path taken to get to this ban.
A user posted several screenshots of these two users making divisive comments in a Discord and asked if GDQ is "okay" with it. To be clear, AGDQ is over a month away, so GDQ has plenty of time to make a decision about this. In fact, they have essentially until a couple of days before the marathon because the only goal is to stop these individuals from coming to GDQ. So, if GDQ really needed to address this story, the only thing necessary is a tweet that says, "We have banned two speedrunners from the GDQ event due to espousing harmful and dangerous beliefs incompatible with GDQ", after completing a thorough and methodical investigation. (Admittedly, the tweet probably isn't necessary if only a handful of people knew about these Discord screenshots.)
Instead, GDQ quickly tweets out that they are aware and will be "investigating to determine the authenticity of the reports". My initial thoughts, having no previous knowledge of this event, were, "Who's in trouble now? Is there a murderer in the speedrunning community? Did someone get convicted for marijuana possession? Did someone die? There are so many questions that I'm probably not going to get answered." The tweet itself comes off as a lot more urgent than it really needed to be. My curiosity was piqued and I, and presumably many others who follow the GDQ Twitter, needed to do some informal investigations of our own to determine what the issue was. After discovering the issue was simply some divisive language and not actually an immediate matter of life-or-death, I began questioning why we needed this tweet in the first place. This just stirred the beehive of inquisitive people.
GDQ then released a second tweet stating that they've completed their investigation and determined that no action will be taken because "unfortunately, pictures can be edited". This one went down a lot worse to our increasingly inquisitive audiences, as it should have. It went so poorly that official GDQ Twitter deleted this tweet by the next day. After several hours of "investigation", it appears that the extent of their investigation was an investigation of a picture. Of course, my first reaction was, "I can imagine how disappointing it would be to see this", followed immediately by, "Hold up, did they spend hours investigating a *.png file?" Presumably, some of the GDQ staff had a meeting somewhere to discuss how they were going to deal with this issue, made the smart decision to not take the image at face value, but then maybe asked around, being unable to find any way to vouch for the veracity of these pictures, and then found themselves at an impasse. At this point, official GDQ Twitter decided to make this unnecessary tweet, as well. Again, there's so much time that they could've taken to do this "investigation" and that there is no actual rush to resolve this situation in one day. In addition, the ability for GDQ to begin and finish an investigation in one day means that the "investigators" had the free time and ability to hastily rally these people and resources without anyone to say that they should take this slowly and carefully.
After a few more minutes of an overly inquisitive and now increasingly vitriolic viewing audience, GDQ had to clarify that they don't agree with the comments and that they were still accepting reports. At this point, this tweet was now a lot more necessary than the previous two as a means to get GDQ out of the hole that they've dug for themselves. This tweet is still up and you can take a quick look to observe how much discontent there was in the community (compare to the first tweet). My eyes were drawn to the word "reports". Why are they calling them "reports"? After observing an investigation begin, end, and begin again in the span of six hours, I started believing that the official GDQ Twitter account was like a small child pretending to be a criminal investigator except with the confidence of a 25-30 year old. Criminal investigators don't ask the public for "reports"; they ask for "help", "advice", or "tips". The conclusion of an investigation means that enough evidence was made to make a comprehensive decision. Crime shows have difficult investigations become "cold"; they don't "conclude". Concluding the investigation sounds a lot more like, "I cannot be bothered to investigate this", rather than, "I need your help to determine our actions here".
After another three hours of investigation, the GDQ investigators reached their decision to ban for an indefinite length (practically forever), which was again tweeted out by the official GDQ Twitter. Of course, this tweet was now necessary, but it was also the only tweet that I said was necessary in the first place (just remove a few words to make it not sound like excerpts from a soap opera). There are many lessons to be learned from this, which is, of course, why I'm discussing it. The only tweet that was necessary was the final tweet announcing the conclusion of the investigation and the ban, which again, I argued that this tweet is also unnecessary. GDQ has been (sometimes infuriatingly so) reluctant to discuss reasons why people are banned from their events (to protect the individuals from harassment by others, according to someone that I can't remember right now). When people were banned from GDQ, you'd know who it was, but not specifically why, Here, we know why, and, with a small amount of reply checking, you can figure out who.
Some people have been upset that these individuals were banned "indefinitely". The precedent for indefinite ban is already set with another attendee banned for possession of marijuana and distribution to a minor, which is against the law, so they've done it before. At the same time, they've also had encounters of specifically racially-insensitive speech at most being met with a regular-length ban (allegedly, and I forgot who told me this). Meanwhile, GDQ still has regular attendees that have got off free of punishment for espousing this speech.
Some people were upset that GDQ didn't immediately ban these two individuals after the screenshot was posted, which shows a gross misunderstanding of fairness. Anyone can fake screenshots, but you should believe me anyway. It would greatly inconvenience me to show concrete proof of this crime, so just take my word on it. This idea is extremely detrimental to the community, especially when a permanent ban is involved.
Some people are still upset over GDQ's handling of this event, so much so that they've never forgiven them for it. This seems overly excessive and I think these people are just being too hard on GDQ. GDQ can be fixed and it has demonstrated from this event the ability to fix and improve itself, which is one of the most important things for adults to espouse. If GDQ did something beyond forgiveness, it would have to be a lot worse and more personal than this. However, I do like the idea of shuffling the speedrunner stratum at GDQ; it would probably lead to a more diverse GDQ event.
That being said, the official GDQ Twitter account really does a lot of unnecessary stuff. Between slightly condescending quote-retweets and inconsistent interest in the people that official GDQ Twitter interacts with (see one month ago here and here, GDQ Twitter has demonstrated a questionable command in public relations. Since GDQ Twitter has demonstrated an ability to acknowledge its weakpoints, hopefully we'll be seeing less of this in the future!
Sep 30 2018, 20:43
"I'm literally Pie right now" - Ivan.
May 20 2018, 9:46
No one is saying that Someone is probably saying that. Saying "No one is saying that" is recklessly neglectful and bordering on disrespectful. Instead, I recommend saying, "The people who are saying that are uninformed" or, even better, if possible, investigate it yourself.
Imagine that I had a conversation with a low-level staff member of a large organization that said, "We're running behind on production of glass-top blue-metal tables." If I gather a hundred acquaintants to complain about the company running behind on table production only to get met with a spokesperson that says, "No one is saying that we're behind on table production", then my first inclination is that the spokesperson is either lying or uninformed. Either option doesn't look good on the company.
Let's say that the spokesperson said, "The people who are saying that are uninformed". In this case, the spokesperson may still be lying or uninformed, but opens the possibility that the spokesperson knows the truth and that I just talked to a person on their way out.
Even better: "We will look into this issue and get back to you". The promise of getting someone to research your viewpoint is greatly appreciated. It is, however, a promise, and shouldn't be broken very easily.
Apr 24 2018, 13:14
What do the following sentences have in common?
"Crappy fact: Sleep is a break from exhaustion, not a way to fix it."
"True joy comes from helping others. Not yourself."
"3K ppl died on September 11th and not a single gun was used. It's not a gun problem, it's a people problem."
These sentences all involve someone trying to "disprove" something by "proving" that it is something else. This appears in a few realms of communication and mostly used incorrectly. "X is not Y; X is Z." implies that X cannot be both Y and Z. This only works if Y and Z are mutually exclusive; that is, X cannot be both. Thus, in order for this argument to work in the first place, the two ideas that are being compared cannot possibly both apply.
Post-Edit Upon further analysis, if Y is a "superset" of Z, then these statements can also be valid. For instance: Cars are vehicles; they are not boats. Here, an object in question can be both a boat and a vehicle. However, if the object is a boat, it is, by default, a vehicle. Similarly, if an object is not a boat, it does not necessarily lose its status as a vehicle.
"True joy comes from helping others. Not yourself."
One can receive "true" joy from helping both others and themselves. In fact, I, personally, would declare that true joy requires helping both others and yourself. If you are not able to help yourself, for instance, when you drive into a ditch, drop your phone off of a bridge, or, to be more mundane, at a self-serve restaurant where you are literally offered to "help yourself to the buffet", how can you say that you will receive joy? Yet, this is what the sentence appears to say or, at the very least, imply. "True joy does not come from helping yourself. True joy comes from helping others."
Of course, the argument can be easily hidden in the definition of "true joy", which causes me to question what "false joy" is. Can you receive false joy from helping yourself? Can you also receive false joy from helping others? Is it really worth it to explore what "false joy" is when it's not true in the first place and wouldn't require anyone's help to discover? Regardless, since joy can be found from helping yourself, this statement is easily flawed. An easy fix would just be to remove the fragment of a sentence ("Not yourself") altogether.
"3K ppl died on September 11th and not a single gun was used. It's not a gun problem, it's a people problem."
Oftentimes, in political discussions such as this one on gun control, you'll find sloppy arguments such as this which don't serve to advance the policy and are just there to argue for argument's sake. "It's not a gun problem, it's a people problem." Here, the problem is presented as a people problem and, since the problem is a people problem, it cannot be a gun problem. The problem, itself, is admittedly nebulous in context, but it is the problem of preventing or reducing mass shootings (in the same vein of the school shooting problem from last time). Here, a specific school shooting, like many other shootings, is described as both a "gun control problem" and a "mental stability problem". Yet, the statement "It's not a gun problem, it's a people problem" immediately attempts to rewrite the two issues as mutually exclusive, even though the argument was initially proposed as twofold. Such is usually how the discussion of dealing with mass shootings ends up (just in case you were wondering how important it is to understand the argument). A quick fix: "The people problem is more important than the gun problem."
"Crappy fact: Sleep is a break from exhaustion, not a way to fix it."
Here, the writers would like you to believe that sleep cannot fix exhaustion, because if sleep could fix exhaustion, then it would also serve as a break from exhaustion. The first question that comes to mind: "What kind of exhaustion do you have that sleep does not fix?" It wants to purport the idea that "exhaustion" is a pervasive state of mind that requires psychological intervention and, while these states of mind do exist, they're in direct conflict with the classical definition of "exhaustion". For instance, if I work a job that requires lots of focus for extended periods of time and we experience an increase in workload with multiple requirements before the next morning, I can be understandably tired, even exhausted, after finishing work. This fits the definition of "exhaustion", yet, if "exhaustion" also describes a chronic state of being drained or reaching a point of burnout, then the two words should not be used in the same manner. My exhaustion after a day of work differs from your exhaustion after years of work. Nevertheless, one cannot simply use "exhaustion" as the latter when the former is also included and thus making the sentence incorrect. However, does sleep both serve as a break and a fix for "chronic exhaustion"? Probably not, since it won't "fix" the cause of chronic exhaustion. Therefore, provided that an acceptable description of "exhaustion" is used, this statement is probably valid (hey, I didn't say they were all bad).
"Artists opening commissions isn't being greedy, it is offering a service in exchange for money and can sometimes be someone's only income"
Charging money is not an altruistic action, so one cannot definitively say that opening commissions is not greed. Providing income for yourself is generally considered a necessity that does require some level of self-preservation. Self-preservation is inherently selfish and, therefore, opens the possibility of being greedy. "Sometimes" being someone's only income means someone "sometimes" "isn't being greedy".
"[Immigration rules are] not a matter of toughess, it's a matter of enforcement. LEGAL immigration is hard the issues come from ILLEGAL immigration."
Using commas instead of semicolons and spaces in place of commas is not advisable; it makes you look silly, but you won't realize it because it's too intimidating. On a serious note, enforcement requires a certain degree of toughness that goes without saying. How much toughness is up for debate, but it does require some level. For instance, if I wished to enforce a rule that stated "no smoking in lobby", I have to have some degree of inflexibility for things such as smoking while standing in the doorway of the lobby. (Technically, it's not in the lobby, but you have the smoke coming into the lobby. You have to let them know that you also aren't going to allow smoking in the door of the lobby.)
Yes, I noticed that it said "Toughess" and not Toughness.
"consent isn't about getting permission, it's about caring for other people's comfort, decisions and autonomy"
Consent isn't about getting permission? Definition of consent as a noun: "permission for something to happen or [permission] to do something." Definition of consent as a verb: "give permission for something to happen". So yes, I'd say consent is about permission. Consent can, however, be about more than permission, such as caring for another person's comfort, decisions, and autonomy. But it's still about permission.
Side note: Article on "Is exhaustion a legitimate medical condition?", that says decisively that exhaustion is a medical condition, which I will still contend is a bit sloppy as it ("clinical exhaustion") shares its title with a more innocuous temporary condition of "exhaustion". Otherwise, if exhaustion is treated this way, it will end up like "depression", which can either refer to the temporary condition of being sad about something happening or the more long-term condition of "clinical depression" or "major depressive disorder". Nevertheless, if someone admits to "suffering from exhaustion" or "suffering from depression", one would naturally conclude the more pervasive version.
Mar 14 2018, 21:48
Video Game Violence Revisited In light of the school shootings, people in charge who still view video games as "that thing that cannot be controlled, so it must be despised" come down again on video games. This response then triggers the traditional response from the video game community, who cite research results to justify their position.
The problem isn't that they're citing research results; the problem is what they're citing, which is one of the following two phrases:
A: Studies have not shown that there is a causal link between video games and gun violence
B: Studies have shown that there is not a causal link between video games and gun violence
On the surface, the two sentences look identical, but they're not. Sentence A indicates that the studies are incomplete, which, they have to be, since there are both existing obstacles to studies involving gun violence and only a small sample of the population that engages in gun violence in order to correlate with any significance.
Quite simply, the results go like this: there were anywhere from 300-350 mass shootings that occurred in the USA in 2017. A large number, sure, but when compared to the total number of people in the USA, this represents one-millionth of the population. A large number, sure, but the metrics that they are being compared to are substantial. The percentage of USA households that own a gun are 42%. There is (obviously) a causal link between owning a gun and committing a mass shooting, yet this is already restricted to 42% of the population. Compare that to the percentage of households that own a video game console (80%). Since there is a causal link between owning a gun, applying a rule to video game console owners only reduces the applicable portion of the population to 34% (assuming ownership of a gun and ownership of a video game console are independent, which it probably isn't). The point is that the standard is far too broad to be of significance. It would be similar to trying to find a correlation between adults with ten fingers and gun violence. There's probably a correlation, but the applicable fraction of the population affected is far too large to justify sweeping concessions.
On the other hand, statement B implies that the research is complete, and that further studies will undoubtedly yield similar results, otherwise the study itself is wrong. Thus, statement B is dangerously priming its audience to reject the idea that video games cause violence even if indicated in a future study. Sure, statement B is similar sounding to statement A, but it is well-known that people will not seek to verify the results for themselves. I posted a link earlier in 2013, which stated that people shouldn't become overly attached to the idea that video games do not cause violence.
While there may not be a causal link found yet, that does not mean that there is one. I've previously mentioned that the causal link between video games and gun violence is likely similar in appearance to the causal link between sports and gun violence: both sports and video games bring out aggression and increased energy levels with its participants. It certainly isn't unfeasible to believe that aggression and excitement may be characteristics that could lead to gun violence.
Similarly, a link to violence and video games is likely similar to that between violent movies and video games. Consider that young children's first exposure to guns is, to some extent, from television shows (such as cop shows, crime shows, and other shows with lots of action), movies (PG, PG-13, etc.), and, to a lesser extent, video games. At this point, curiosity would set in and the child begins to ask questions about guns. At this point, the parent is expected to step in and provide a reasonable description about guns and how they're used in society, including why you don't just kill people with guns.
Regardless of the existence of the causal link, the main reason that reduces the gun violence is that they're illegal. Regardless of how the child is raised, they will *eventually* learn about guns, their capabilities, and hopefully, their implications. Assuming that video games can bring up the destruction caused by guns without consideration of their effects in reality is a fantasy.
You also have to consider that people who make their living off of violent video games are probably going to push back against any notion that might affect their livelihood. Just as gun companies are pushing back on ideas that will cause them to lose sales, video game companies will push back against notions that lessen the value or demand for their games. I've observed one instance where a person, dealing to great extent with violent video games, decided that Sentence B is perfectly valid.
In addition to sentences A and B, some people believe that, because video games can do good things to people, video game can't possibly do bad things to people. This is nonsensical. Cars allow people to travel great distances independently and are a great convenience. They're also massive and fast-moving weapons that have been used in multiple acts of terrorism. Obviously, there are upsides and downsides to using cars. Choosing to focus on their benefits does not mean that they are not used to maim or kill. You can clearly see cars being used as weapons in most action movies and, to some extent, TV shows. Interestingly enough, guns themselves also have pros and cons.
The idea that a concept which can be explained with explanation X must therefore not be explained with explanation Y is a rampant fallacy on the internet, and we will discuss this soon!
Mar 3 2018, 22:25
Last time, I said that "unfairness" was expanded in single-player video game experiences to accommodate the player's expectation and preparations for the game. I was unable to determine any relation to the traditional idea of "fairness", but I had a major development recently. Well, to be exact, the major development happened at the end of January.
The idea here is that "fairness" means "playing by the rules". In this context, it is unfair for a team to break the rules. This brings up another issue: what are the rules? Does the game have an obligation to follow a set of rules?
The quick answer is "no", as most realms of art pride themselves on pushing the envelope and breaking the norm. Yet, video games are subject to implicit rules as well, with ideas such as "Avoid frustrating the player", "It shouldn't be laborious", and my most maligned "Things the player should know", but that's a different discussion.
Breaking implicit rules has to be the source of "unfairness" in these video games. Who defines the rules? Well, obviously, the person playing the game. Therefore, the rules vary from person to person and, while there are certainly some rules that are quite common, there are other rules that are not. Thus, unfairness is still majorly subjective, but now for a different reason.
Jan 17 2018, 19:36
What Does "Unfair" Mean? Happy New Year, even though I'm a few weeks late.
I had a brief period of embarrassment and confusion a while back because of the definition of "unfair". Traditionally, when something gets described as unfair, it means that certain people would have a clear disadvantage against others. This is based off the idea of "fairness", where everyone gets an equal shot.
Indeed, I remember, as a child, the idea of fairness meaning that no person had an advantage, and it being unfair to compete against a person who is out of your league. "It's unfair that I have to work so hard to get an 'A' when this other person doesn't even have to study to get it." In fact, it's one of the driving forces for me to teach: to increase the efficiency of students that are working hard to improve their grade. Life is not fair. Some people will have an advantage in a given situation and some will have a disadvantage. (Admittedly, sometimes these disadvantages are not adequately addressed, but that's not the point of this discussion.) It's not fair to play basketball with a 7th grader competing against an NBA professional. At its core, the idea of fairness and unfairness revolve around the idea that someone is at a disadvantage. Well... that works until we get to the idea of video games.
Coming off of the previous discussion of fairness and unfairness, you would conclude that the only way for something to be unfair in a video game is if you're in competition with someone else. The competition would then seem to eliminate the notion of fairness in a single-player game, relegating discussion of unfairness only to multiplayer games and bringing to mind multiplayer cheaters that use programs in order to move at superspeed, have perfect accuracy, perfect luck of item pickups, and other inhumane cheats. These cheats allow these players to receive an advantage that is, well, unfair. This notion of fairness is in line with the description of fairness from above: a person in a competition with an advantage that is not given to other competitors. So, what's the problem?
The problem is that there are notions of fairness in single-player games as well. "This boss is unfair", "this level has a jump that is unfair", etc. In each case, the player who is playing the game by themselves can invoke fairness discussion. How? There's no other person to compare advantages with. The only advantages are those that exist inside the game itself and, even if those are skipped, it doesn't cause someone else to put them at a disadvantage. The only competition that might exist is the competition between the player and the game. So what gives?
As it stands, the notion of fairness is "expanded", in this case, to describe the single-player experience. The idea of a task in a single-player game being unfair is rooted in the idea that the player is expected to be able to complete the task with a certain degree of success. In this case, the description of fairness becomes decisively more arbitrary. Here, we're no longer comparing experience and aptitude levels of people involved, but comparing a single player's skill and aptitude with the expectation and preparations of the game.
The question at hand: does this latter description of "unfair" have any relation to the former description of unfair? As it is, it seems like the only relation here is that experiencing something unfair is discouraging. "I can't do it!"
Dec 20 2017, 8:38
Does Not Finishing A Game Invalidate Your Opinion On A Game? Context: Link at ResetEra that was linked to me (somehow) via Twitter. The word "Invalidate" is a very strong word that the author uses, but, more importantly, we need to discuss the importance and value of opinion, what it means for an opinion to be invalidated.
In the world, you hear a lot of talk about facts (facts, false facts, alternative facts, when confronted with facts, face the facts, etc.), but it seems that how to handle opinions seems to be lost on others, so I will provide my perceptions of opinions and how I think they are and should be used.
Opinions are simply someone else's perception on an issue (usually on subjective terms, but sometimes objective). Margaret says, "Five pounds of shrimp is a lot of shrimp." The concept of shrimp or five pounds are not disputable in this case; what is disputable is the non-numerical usage of "a lot". What constitutes "a lot" of shrimp? Is five pounds truly a lot of shrimp? To a five-year-old, five pounds is probably a lot of food that would take, perhaps, a week to consume, but, to a much larger adult, five pounds can be consumed over a weekend and, therefore, is not that much food. So, what use is there for such an opinion if its not applicable to everyone?
The value comes in how well you relate to the person stating it. If Margaret is, for instance, someone you've been close with for a while and have similar tastes, then Margaret's opinion of shrimp is much more valuable to you than if Margaret was, say, much younger/older than you with a considerably different lifestyle and diet. This is what opinions are: convenient ways of conveying information based on previously observed similarities. Margaret could say, "Well, the average adult consumes five pounds of shrimp over the course of a month and generally not all in one day," but that's wordy, complicated and, even in its verbosity, doesn't quite convey the same message as "Five pounds of shrimp is a lot of shrimp".
Is Margaret's opinion on five pounds of shrimp valid? Well, as previously mentioned, her opinion is valid as long as she knows what she's talking about. Perhaps, Margaret comes from a country that doesn't use pounds. Perhaps Margaret accidentally interpreted pounds as kilograms, so she thinks five kilograms (which is 11 pounds) is a lot of shrimp. Perhaps, Margaret is used to a certain type of shrimp that has added vitamins that, if consumed in five pounds, would be a larger percentage of your daily value of iodine, for example. Other than that, her opinion is valid.
Compare with the initial statement: "Does Not Finishing A Game Invalidate Your Opinion On A Game?". An invalidation of your opinion of a game only comes from the instance where you never played or otherwise observed any aspect of the game to begin with. So, at face value, no: Leaving a game unfinished does not invalidate your opinion on a game... however, the rest of the initial post indicates that the original poster should not be concerned over whether their opinion is valid so much as whether their opinion is valued.
"I feel as if Game X isn't as great as everybody is saying", I say.
"Yes, but you also never finished it, so how much does your opinion really matter?" Does your opinion matter? Interpretation of how much an opinion matters could be construed as either "The opinion matters to everyone" or "The opinion matters to me". It's the Internet, so it's sufficient to assume that people are only actually talking about themselves under the belief that the majority agrees with their every idea. "So how much does your opinion really matter [to me]?" In this context, it should be easier to see that the issue is the value of the opinion as opposed to the validity of the opinion. So, let's rewrite the question.
Does Not Finishing A Game Devalue Your Opinion On A Game?
My answer: yes. In this regard, why would I value an opinion of someone who finished the game and got a more complete experience less than someone who gave up halfway or, worse, didn't get past the tutorial? You can read the whole post and decipher almost every argument as "Opinion Invalidated" or "Opinion Devalued"... except, of course, the people who replied to point out the difference themselves.
Now, maybe you can take issue with people that think that their opinion should be fully valued simply because it's valid. This is not how opinions work; we (that is, everyone) have to share enough of a common set of values for a single person's opinion to be valuable to us.
I think climbing up stairs in twos is silly, dangerous, and leaves you unnecessarily prone to stairway accidents. You don't need to value this opinion as it wasn't valued by most of the people I work with. However, my opinion is still valid and would have mostly remained to myself except that I just wrote it here.
Dec 10 2017, 9:59
As Promised, Submission Form
It's not going to be very long. I just ran out of time in the last article. Anyway, the form is found here and, presumably, you can still make a submission to run in Harvey Relief Done Quick, even though the event is already over.
"HOW THIS WORKS: You submit this form" - is this truly necessary to say? The large header just above says "Harvey Relief Done Quick - Run Submissions", so naturally, this is how you make submissions, right? Perhaps, the only "issue is that it stands out on its own line, rather than being included in the next line.
"2. Committee will immediately begin processing submissions, because of time constraint" - if the time constraint were looser, would the committee not immediately begin processing submissions? Does the person who submit the form care about how long the committee spends processing submissions? How can the committee "immediately" process submissions which are going to be received over several days? The presence of "immediately" is largely unnecessary; the only requirement are that the runs are processed before the schedule is set to be released. The presence of "because of time constraint" seems more for protecting the committee than it is for conveying useful information to the submitter. In addition, the comma in this sentence is out of place. Quick comma rules - "Contrary to popular belief, commas don't just signify pauses in a sentence". Number 2: the comma does not separate the phrase "because of time constraint" at the end of the sentence. If it were at the beginning of the sentence, then it would be acceptable. More on commas later!
"4. You will be emailed when your run is selected. CHECK FOR THIS EMAIL by around 8PM EDT Thursday" - There's an almost sarcastically large number of TALKING IN CAPITALS in this form. Generally, talking in capitals means that you're yelling. Yelling in this context is unnecessary. Could you imagine if you were going to apply for a job and the person helping you out just started yelling at you? You would conclude that you either messed up and should reconsider applying for the job, or the person helping you out is experiencing some catastrophic mood swing and probably shouldn't be helping you in the first place. Of course, neither of these are actually applicable, yet the question still stands. What is the purpose of the capitals? In addition, the firm nature of "CHECK FOR THIS EMAIL" is immediately offset by the wishy-washy phrase, "by around 8PM EDT Thursday". Check by 8pm? Check at around 8pm? How about checking for this e-mail Friday? Why is the demand higher for the submitter to check for the e-mail than it is for the e-mail to be sent at 8pm? Much like point 2, the content of point 4 seems more for protecting the committee just in case it doesn't send all of the e-mails at exactly 8pm (or some other time after 8pm) than it is for conveying useful information (e.g. by saying decisively that the e-mails will be sent by Friday).
"5. The email will provide instructions on joining a particular Discord server. You MUST BE IN THAT SERVER by Friday at 12PM (Noon) EDT. That is how we will verify you are available for your run." - more CAPITAL LETTERS. Note the suddenly firm time for being in the Discord server. Why wasn't this firmness shown in #4? Is it because only the committee gets the leeway? Note the dangling modifier on the last sentence - it took me a few re-reads to understand this sentence. "That is how we will verify you are available for your run." From this sentence, it sounds like joining the server by 12pm Friday is going to somehow be used to verify the submitter will be available for the run, but no, that doesn't make sense. More than likely, being present on the server just before the run is scheduled is how the organizers will verify the runner is available. "SUBMITTING HERE WILL NOT AFFECT YOUR AGDQ SUBMISSIONS, FEEL FREE TO RE-SUBMIT THE SAME RUN. " WHY IS THIS SENTENCE IN CAPITAL LETTERS? Why does this sentence have a comma splice? To me, it feels like if I'm getting yelled at, the yelling is greatly undermined by comma splices. But seriously, grammar aside, why is this sentence in capital letters? It's different from the previous all-caps phrases that were used to specify requirements; this sentence is just providing extra information. Also, I was (and still am) a little skeptical of the idea that submitting a run to HRDQ not having an influence on AGDQ. The entirety of HRDQ was completed before the AGDQ games list was selected. If a run was submitted for HRDQ and it went very well, does it make the game more likely to get accepted at AGDQ? What if the run goes poorly? Are the submitters truly expected to believe that no one considers running the game at another online marathon (such as HRDQ) has no effect on AGDQ submissions?
"However, if you do manage to get yourself banned, that will remove you from AGDQ." I'm generally of the mindset that dealing with rule violators should be done behind closed doors and should otherwise not look like it does here. The way it's presented here makes it look like every Games Done Quick event has several hundred people that get banned and that addressing the crowd of people who are going to "get themselves banned" is a worthwhile endeavor. Also, "you do manage to get yourself banned" can be shortened to "you get banned". I understand that it's helpful to think of being banned as something that's hard to do, but I'm also sure that anyone with the will and desire to get banned can do so.
"There is no specific deadline, however we will be emailing the accepted/backup runners by 8PM EDT on Thursday." - but didn't the rules just state that submitters need to CHECK FOR AN EMAIL by around 8pm Thursday? Here's a few timing details: the submission form was released on Wednesday, submitters need to check for an email by (around) Thursday 8pm, and accepted runners need to join the Discord by Friday at 12pm. Now, we're saying that there's no deadline?
"TECH REQUIREMENTS 1. We will be using a private RTMP server for your stream. Don't worry, it's very similar to Twitch." - I like the last sentence because it makes me smile . In addition, it is now required that you don't worry. Worrying is a violation of the technological requirements. Don't worry!
"TECH REQUIREMENTS 3. A webcam is not required, but you may provide it. (We are working on logistics of this, we may drop it later)" Isn't it strange that the tech requirements contains an item that is "not required"? More importantly, comma splices inside of parentheses are still comma splices.
"We may allow you to invite others for commentary, but do not rely on this!" - It seems like this sentence is supposed to read, "We may allow others you have invited for commentary," but as it stands here, it reads as if you're not allowed to invite others for commentary.
"TECH REQUIREMENTS 8. You MUST be in the Discord and ready to go & respond at least 30 minutes prior to your run. " - I may accept that comma splices are slightly arcane in regards to grammatical rules. This is a run-on sentence. The use of the never-seen-before ampersand (&) shortly after "and" really brings it out.
"If you have tech questions, do NOT wait until the last moment, or your run will be replaced." - this sentence sort of encapsulates most of the problems that I've already talked about: the capitalized "NOT" used to provide a firm stance on an ambiguous phrase such as "the last moment", and the definitive follow-up consequence ("your run *will* be replaced") of violating the aforementioned ambiguous requirement (the requirement reads as if asking a question too late gets your run replaced whereas, in practicality, the requirement would be "having an unaddressed technical issue with too little time to address until the run is scheduled").
"Why are you being picky? It was a successful marathon" - remember that the point of this and most other discussions is to point out problems that can be easily fixed to enhance the professional appeal without compromising the marathon. In order for video games to overcome the preconceived notions and stereotypes placed on them, it is beneficial for communities around them to look desirable to as large an audience as possible. I don't feel that any video game community is representing itself well with phrases such as "The email will provide instructions on joining a particular Discord server. You MUST BE IN THAT SERVER by Friday at 12PM (Noon) EDT. That is how we will verify you are available for your run."
Dec 7 2017, 10:01
A while back, Games Done Quick had a marathon called "Harvey Relief Done Quick" to raise funds for Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in Houston. The event raised over $227,000 dollars for the charity organization Houston Food Bank. Among one of my favorite things, however, was the break in pattern from previous Games Done Quick events. Normally, there's Awesome Games Done Quick (AGDQ) and Summer Games Done Quick (SGDQ), but this new marathon is called Harvey Relief Done Quick (HRDQ). The difference in pattern caught a few people off-guard, as you can see by doing a Google search for "HGDQ2017". HGDQ is not a thing (Harvey Games Done Quick?), and since Hurricane Harvey is, thankfully, not a recurring event, the year is also redundant. Thus, the only thing you *should* be seeing is "HRDQ".
Another thing with Harvey Relief Done Quick is that the event was set up very quickly. It started with, I assume, discussion between organizers behind the scenes and then a quick poll. Side note: Polls such as this one are biased from the start, considering the options. Honestly, who would say no to some extra entertainment in the name of charity with no burden of participation? If the downsides of each option aren't readily evident, there's no incentive for people to disagree. It's along the same vein of questions that I've seen on YouTube videos and such.
"Should I hold an extra event on the 3rd?" has no downsides mentioned. The question itself is the same as asking, "Should I do something fun with no implications on the future?".
Instead of asking, "Do you want me to get a special item and come back to defeat this monster?", you might as well ask, "Should I finish playing the game or do you want me to not make any meaningful progress?"
Instead of asking, "Do I continue trying to do this trick or do you want to see me do a different level?", you should ask, "Do I make myself annoyed or do you want to see me do something exciting?"
It's a line of questioning that's designed to look like it gets viewer/community feedback, but is worded such that people who pick the alternative are either contrary or making a large assumption about the consequences.
"But Iceplug, why is there a 12% selection rate for the 'No' option on this poll?" I can think of a few reasons. Firstly, an old idea from previous GDQ events is, "Why aren't there more GDQ events every year?", and the answer to it is usually something along the lines of, "If there are more events, it will reduce the effectiveness of the marathon/people will get tired of GDQs faster/the organizers won't be as focused on the individual marathons as much as they are now". Neither of these options have been observed previously and probably won't be observed this year (but we will see), so all of these rules are speculation. A simpler answer would probably just be that the organizers don't want to, since it requires signifcant resources and manpower to run the two marathons now. This could be an assumption made by those who clicked "No".
Secondly, for whatever reason, GDQ seems to have a bunch of conspiracy theories surrounding the charities, the organizers, the events, and other ideas that aren't substantive enough for me to investigate, but may still cause others to click "No".
Thirdly, the short turnaround time for the marathon may have fallen into people's normal work schedule and they wouldn't be able to set aside the time or money to donate. After all, the poll does ask if you would be willing to "support/donate", and, to some extent, support and donate mean the same thing. (Technically, donations imply support, but you can support without donating by retweeting and advertising the event to others.)
That's all the time I have now. Next time, I'm going to talk about this submission form.
Nov 28 2017, 9:45
Black Friday Deals
Hopefully, you all had a safe Black Friday. I actually went to Wal-Mart during Black Friday (mostly to spectate), but I got some great deals!
Percentages were slashed off of EVERYTHING! Let me chronicle my journey.
12% off normal traffic speeds... always a plus!
60% off the number of free parking spaces - what a bargain! Only took twice as long to find a park.
Bought a 50-cent Honey Bun for 0% off! No, it's not a Honey Bun named after 50-cent; it's a Honey Bun that 50-cent was named after.
Yes, I went for a handful of snacks for the weekend, but...
44% off of a "Fresh" Salad (the "fresh by" date was Black Friday)
48% off of "Fresh" Fruit (same deal, except I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna be able to eat all this fruit and the salad in one day)
Maybe I should pour the fruit into the salad and make a fruit salad.
75% off of the normal grocery section traffic, though! $_$ !
Number of people using self-checkout SLASHED IN HALF... well, not physically slashed in half... please understand I meant that the number was slashed in half.
Patience of other customers in the store and in the parking lot - 10 to 50% off!
Being considerate of other customers in the store - 20 - 30% off!
Walking speed of this ONE COUPLE I WAS WALKING BEHIND FOR ALMOST A MINUTE - 40% off!
Clearance to get around this ONE COUPLE I WAS WALKING BEHIND FOR ALMOST A MINUTE - 80 to 90% off!
(Seriously, not only were they walking slow, but apparently they both just got back from doing deadlifts or something and were walking with their shoulders and arms outstretched so far that you couldn't get around them)
(And I'm sitting behind them like "Do you mind not acting as swollen as you think you are?")
So that's all of the big Black Friday deals that I found.
I saved over a thousand dollars this trip!
Hopefully yours was as successful!
Day after Black Friday Addendum: I saw that slow walking couple again on Saturday, but they were elsewhere in the store.
By the way, going to Wal-Mart on the Saturday after Black Friday is like walking in a dreamland and highly recommended, especially if you're not expecting to buy anything.
Nov 18 2017, 8:03
Here Comes The Hot Stepper
Here comes the hot stepper, Somari
It's the superspeed gangster, Somari
Pick up the rings in a-de area, Somari
Softlocking like that, Somari
--- -- 2017, 13:19
A while back (early September), I wrote an article about the journalist having difficulty in Cuphead, from which I went on to talk about the skills assumed by video game purchasers and players about the person reviewing the game, the stance about making a tutorial that is acceptable to all or indicative of the general skill level of the game, and about assumptions that video game players make at their baseline level.
I'd like to revisit the idea that video game developers posed about making the tutorial for Cuphead more straightforward (a.k.a. easier). The issue is that, back in September, I surmised that the tutorial's difficulty would be indicative of a game that assumes the player is experienced or at least somewhat familiar with the genre (Cuphead is a game reminiscent of Contra and Mega Man; a side-scrolling shooter or, as the game calls it and to my own chagrin, a run-and-gun). Now that Cuphead has been released, it turns out that Cuphead is a "fairly difficult" game. Personally, I feel that Cuphead is "difficult by today's standards", but I'd hesitate to say that I call it difficult.
The first thing I thought back to was the tutorial comment. If the tutorial were made easier to encourage the player not to "give up at the tutorial and refund the game right away", then what would be of the final game? It would certainly be a sharp constrasting difficulty between the tutorial and the game, leaving the player feeling that the tutorial was not adequate in preparing for the game, when, in fact, the tutorial did not prepare the player for the pace of the game. Next is the idea that, if the tutorial were made easier, would the entire game be made easier? Certainly, that seems to be the next logical step if the tutorial isn't "straightforward" (easy) enough. This almost certainly starts going against the aim of the developers. Yet, there is still support for it.
Statements along the lines of "developers develop games to be experienced and yet hide the experience behind a wall of difficulty" and "there's nothing wrong with making an easier difficulty setting for the game" speak to people's desires that Cuphead be an easier game to play. However, this is a slippery slope. Who gets to make the decision that a certain game needs to be easier? Who defines when a game is too difficult? Will this eventually devolve into large bundles of games released in the upcoming years that the average gamer nowadays will find not particularly challenging? In fact, there doesn't even seem to be a consistent measurement for personal levels of difficulty. Certainly, difficulty is subjective, but that doesn't mean that it is undescribable. Personally, my stance on difficulty is that it is a frequency of failure in combination with the penalty for failure. This is much in line with the concept of risk: probability of failure in combination with the penalty of failure.
In addition, do difficulty games *need* a setting for easier difficulty just so that the less-capable gamer can experience it? I would argue that difficult games, in and of themselves, are already closing off their audience to the most capable. Again, as mentioned last time, the developers of difficult games and their tutorials "know their audience". Is there truly a need for a development team with a completed game to hold off their release so that a six-year-old or other non-proficient person can beat it on an easier difficulty?
The next question: does it tarnish your experience to complete a game heralded as being difficult that is easily beaten by a sizable portion of the population? Is it acceptable to feel good about yourself for doing something that someone else is incapable of doing? Personally, I think so. After all, not everyone can be a university professor, CEO of a million-dollar corporation, or a professional football player. Everyone is trying to find their niche in life and it's only a problem if the situation is basic. For instance, it's acceptable to reject someone for not having a clean bill of health if they're going to a space mission, but it's not acceptable to reject someone for not having a clean bill of health if they're going to vote. Video game difficulties are like this: it's okay to limit the audience, because everyone is not required to play the video game and the video game's sales will, more than likely, be reduced to account for their smaller audience. It's selfish to then try to tarnish the game for having a smaller audience when they're also having to deal with a smaller number of sales. (Part of this also comes with the idea that video game sales are very random, with greatly developed games getting smaller sales numbers in comparison to games such as Goat Simulator)
Then, how far does this idea go? What if Cuphead was instead, a game about divisive concepts presented from a destructive point-of-view? We've certainly seen games like this (being released and generating lots of media attention) make considerable sales figures. Is there an obligation to tarnish a game for spreading a bad message? It seems like a tricky idea, but I'll assert it this way: games about divisive concepts (that is, a game where the controversy surrounds non-game elements) are, by the topics that they bring up, accepting and requesting the discussion and resultant fallout, whereas games that remove part of their audience by having a higher difficulty do not request a corresponding fallout.
Certainly, the discussion can still be had. However, talking poorly about a game being too difficult is a concept that I don't understand. I liken it to students that think math is terrible just because they're terrible at it: it doesn't change the fact that math has led to numerous inventions and other quality-of-life improvements. Video games aren't math, yet every thing in the world is not for everyone.
Sep 18 2017, 12:53
AGDQ Registration Math
September 9th, AGDQ 2018 registration opened and within roughly 24 hours, registration closed. I registered the morning of the 10th under the assumption that registration would not fill up overnight (this assumption is based on an observed tendency for video gamers and associated groups to stay up until 2am - 3am and then tucker out), despite numerous Twitter posts expressing the usual expected surprise that registration is filling up faster than expected (SGDQ 2017 earlier this year filled its registration slots in about eight days while AGDQ 2017 filled registration in just over 2 months).
After registering and due to the exorbitant amount of tweets detailing the number of slots available for registration, I decided to estimate how long until registration would remain open. It was pretty clear at that point that registration would be full before September 11th and, instead of just following what everyone else was doing (posting the number of tweets), I wanted to post this estimate.
So, up to this point I had observed tweets at certain times mentioning the number of slots available or, slightly less desirable, the percentage of slots available. I compiled these into a short little table (along with the information available when I registered):
|Registration opened at 9:30pm (0)|
|370/1850 slots were taken at 9:51pm yesterday (1)|
|615/1850 slots were taken at 10:31pm yesterday (2)|
|925/1850 slots were taken at 11:44pm yesterday (3)|
|1207/1850 slots were taken at 7:17am today (4)|
Sep 9 2017, 8:40
Here's a video games journalist playing a videogame very poorly
The game is Cuphead, to be specific, and the game journalist did not ultimately turn this into a review. Thank goodness. Online reaction to this video was swift, questioning this guy's credentials as a video game reviewer and even as someone who is just in video games as business. The problem is that this is just a person who plays video games, is playing a genre that they admit as their own weakpoint, and has a lot of learning to do to play this game. He just *happens* to be a video game reviewer.
The first concern that is brought up is from people who fear that there doesn't seem to be that many credentials to being a video game reviewer. All you have to do is like video games and have good writing skills and you get the job. I admittedly don't know much about what it is to be part of a video game journalism team, but I am more inclined to believe that video games journalists have to meet similar standards that regular journalists have to meet: fact-checking, how to present information, final check by some editor or something, etc. The point is that I don't know how well video game journalists are required to know their games. Apparently, the public shares this uncertainty and yet it's very difficult to then provide a wholly encompassing set of requirements of the ability of a journalist to have in order to review a game.
The fallout, of course, begins with sweeping generalizations, which, in addition to raising the issue, throw sweeping generalizations at video game journalism as a whole, which certainly does not help the situation. "How can we trust videogame reviewers if they play like this?" The problem with sweeping generalizations is that there are people who actually believe them at face value: there are people who hear it and then immediately conclude that every single person in an 86-member review company does reviews like this. Whereas level-headed individuals would then rightfully question the generalization, "Surely, every journalist doesn't do this", there's that small impressionable mind that goes right along with it and suddenly, their trust in journalism is shook. For this point, people (journalists, developers, and others) have to then defend the rest of videogame journalism to those gullible minds. No, every journalist is not secretly trash at their game. Most journalists have been playing videogames for as long, if not longer, than the audience that they entertain.
But then, the question remains: "How many are bad at the games they play?" "How many times has a review blasted a game for having terrible controls when the reviewer was just new to an established genre?" "How many times has a game been punished for a bland storyline when the player didn't bother to pay attention to it?" "How many games have been described as being cheaply difficult when the reviewer failed to pay attention to the warning signs?" Ultimately, we may never know. Reviewers are just like people: they have faults and generally address the ones that they know about. In addition, everyone has opinions. Everyone can let their audience know about their opinion. The important part is that not every opinion is valuable and it's up to the audience to determine if an opinion is valuable. If I don't trust a certain reviewer's rigor in analyzing a game, I ignore their review. I even ignore reviews of reviewers that I am familiar with if it seems like they did not perform to my satisfaction level.
It's easy to then turn around and condemn the entire reading audience, "You can't just ignore a reviewer just because they said that a game is too hard." Of course not, since that brings me back to the paragraph before this. It's important that both the journalist and the reader understand both of their roles in the review and what's expected of each other.
The other side of the issue is videogame developers encountering someone who plays your game like this. While some developers accept that some people will play their game as if they haven't played the game before, some defended the journalist by arguing that the tutorial is not clear enough. "The tutorial expects the player to think for themselves and combine two ideas." "The player is taught to jump over the box instead of onto the box." This is one of the difficult problems that developers have to face and it ultimately comes down to knowing your audience. A person who argued that the tutorial was too difficult noted that if you have a young child (or an adult that is unfamiliar with the genre, in this case), requiring too much of them in the tutorial can just cause them to quit and refund the product. On the other side of things, players that are more well-versed in 2D shooting platformers would, perhaps, have no difficulty with the tutorial and would be more turned off by a more "holding your hands" tutorial. Of course, with two different takes on this, naturally, both sides of the development philosophy then argue that their side is correct. Regardless, as a developer, you should know which audience your game is geared to. If it is geared towards newer players, then your tutorial must be, as previously mentioned, airtight. Every obstacle must test a specific skill set, and every skill must be thoroughly described. If it is geared towards the intermediate-level player, then your tutorial only needs to cover controls and non-traditional ideals (which is what I would assert that the tutorial is doing here). You don't need to teach how to jump over things in this style; simply saying that A is jump and presenting a box to jump over is adequate. Things like airdash are then alluded to in the tutorial. A sufficiently knowledgable player could figure out how to do it just by knowing which buttons do things.
Of course, you could argue that there is a way to do tutorials that both beginners will understand and experts won't be dismayed by. A person who is reasonably good at the game could just skip them (if available, and it should be, in my opinion) or go through them with great ease, quickly getting into the actual game and faster than a normal player. How high does the skill ceiling go? Even Super Meat Boy isn't afraid of killing you with hard tricks in the first world. Wouldn't you expect that the difficulty of the tutorial translates into the ultimate difficulty of the game?
The other thing to note about this video: this video is easily people that you know that have played games before. In the case of the reviewer, it's important for the reviewer to get the trust of their audience. For a consumer, there is usually no audience and thus there is no necessity to win their trust. Usually. The exception, of course, is consumers that have audience. These are the people who play games and upload them to their YouTube channel or play them on Twitch. What does this mean? Well, again, everyone is a person and is going to mess something up at some time. You expect them to learn the game from the ground up, just like a normal player does. You expect them to make gross mistakes due to forgetting important information and having to backtrack to get it. All of these are normal experiences that any videogame player gets. The exception, of course, is when the player confuses of their simple shortcomings with shortcomings of the game. Both of these ideas exist and both perpetuate each other. A shortcoming of the game can cause the player to fall short. A player's shortcoming causes the game to appear offputting. Personally, I respect players a lot if they can admit their own shortcomings, but too frequently, I see players that insist that every difficulty that they encounter within the game is a fault of the game itself. It's strange, I don't understand it, and, with the exception of the game controls, it's not like the viewing audience can't tell if the problem is due to the game. I frequently see things like, "The game didn't explain this very clearly", when I'm watching them read it. So, when I see this tutorial, I also see some YouTuber struggling to jump up to this platform, ranting about anything in the world, riling themselves up, and then blasting the game for having a difficult section.
It's like you expect to run into a difficult obstacle and then get surprised that you ran into it.
"But certainly, all YouTubers / Twitch streamers don't do this." Of course not. Those YouTubers / Twitch streamers that have earned my trust by acknowledging their shortcomings receive more value in their assessment of the videogame that they're playing. The bottom line is that trust has to be earned from all parties involved. Generalizing the entirety of some group or asserting your opinion as the only valid viewpoint devalues your opinion immediately. Honesty and relatability help build trust between the parties involved.
Side note: remember that the videogame journalist that played the above video did not write a review for the game.
I often see people ridicule the idea that "videogame journalists should be good at their games". The idea is that a videogame journalist puts themselves in a position to accurately experience the game. There's nothing preventing people from watching a videogame and then writing a review about it despite never actually playing the game. The problem is the value that their review brings. If they play videogames like a seven-year-old, I will value their opinion commensurate with their demonstrated ability, and I don't take videogame recommendations or value opinions from seven-year-olds.
"Do all sports reporters need to be professional athletes?" - I suppose this made sense in someone's mind without thinking it through. Sports reporters are reporting to an audience of television watchers, not professional athletes. Sports reporters are only required to anticipate the thoughts of people who like watching sports, not just of those who participate in sports. Equivalently, video game journalists are not writing about games just for people who like to watch let's plays; they're writing for people who want to play them. Know your audience.
Aug 16 2017, 19:36
Testing PNG files.
Aug 6 2017, 15:22
How Twitter and other Popularity-Centered Websites accidentally promote unfollowing Popular Figures
Jul 25 2017, 11:48
In the shadow of the popular
"Avoid comparing your successes to the successes of others. This almost certainly leads to you feeling worse."
This is a sentiment that I agree with. Oftentimes, I ask myself, "Why am I having so much difficulty getting recognition when this other person has no problem with it?" I then begin to doubt all of the things that I've learned and re-evaluate all of my personal weaknesses. Up until recently, the only time this happened personally was when I thought of more successful peers on the job and, to a lesser extent, catching up with old friends. Comparing myself to well-establish celebrities was essentially a non-issue, as they always felt as a fantasy, far removed from reality. Now, with social media, the veil of fantasy is removed. The popular people become more connected and accessible and it becomes easier to see yourself in their shoes, thus bringing up the problematic question, "How can I get this to happen to me?"
It doesn't help that sites, such as Twitter and Twitch further emphasize the importance of popular figures by giving you more and more of their content over that of other people. Twitter and Twitch are in it for the dollars, and risk-aversion by these companies naturally gives way to helping establish popular names. The issue is not the popular figure; the issue is the importance given to them by the site(s) that they use. The mystery surrounding popular figures is removed; they're normal people that just have more perceived importance on their statements and thoughts. Their ideals aren't more insightful or more inspired than everyone else's. Their thoughts are not more challenging and inspirational than other ones that already exist. What they are are personal reflections by a single person. We all make them from time to time and range from profoundly inspirational to questionably antagonistic. They're just normal people, like you and I.
So then, how did they get to where they are? The tried-and-true method to success is "when preparation meets opportunity". Preparation is largely deterministic and very easy to assess personally. Opportunity, on the other hand, is largely probabilistic. I feel that opportunity is largely ignored and overlooked, leading to people erroneously believing that success is only determined by preparation. Believing that success is only a result of preparation allows others to feel justified in asserting that popular figures are the most diligent figures and are now more worthy of the recognition. "They've put in a lot of hard work", which is certainly true, because they've met the *preparation* aspect of success, but doesn't explain their fortune and misidentifies the work of the less fortunate.
The overemphasis on the thoughts of popular figures often leads them to appear more informed than they actually are. One would naturally expect them to be more informed because there are more people for them to talk to, but this is not always the case. Just like any person in real life, they have to parse the thoughts of many people and determine what is true and what is not. How do they know what is truth? It's important for these popular figures to have a support base to keep them grounded in reality as well as to correct them when they are wrong. In a way, the value for a popular figure comes not only from the figure themselves, but also from their support; that is, the company that they keep. When this support base is inadequate, the popular figure often drifts away from the respectful ideals of the general public and, being unable to handle it gracefully, falls apart. For those of us who lie in the shadow of popular streamers, it's important for us to prevent our ideals from being left unchecked by the singular popular figures that have enormous sway over their respective communities. Be skeptical of normalizing statements that are contradictory to what you know and believe.
Jul 18 2017, 16:51
Difficulty and other Video Game Aspects
I could have sworn I wrote an article about this earlier. The only other article that I've written on video game difficulty was a list of most difficult games that I disagreed with.
Anyway, to properly introduce this idea, I want to bring up some common points seen in discussions about video games and their strengths/weakness.
The first one is difficulty. On the surface, it seems that difficulty is a fairly easy concept to measure. Did you die a lot in this game? It must be very difficult. Did you find any obstacle particularly challenging to overcome in this game? This must be a difficult section. However, the idea of difficulty can't possibly be this clear-cut if only for the idea that difficulty is relative. An obstacle that causes great difficulty for some can be comparatively easy for others to figure out. Player A is very good at mashing buttons on a controller and will find the shooting sections easier than that of Player B, who plays more calming games.
You would expect that the astute player will recognize when his/her strengths are being catered to as well as when the video game puts forth a challenge that falls into the player's weaknesses. I must reiterate that every player has his/her own strengths and weaknesses. In addition, I won't make any assumptions about how game review organizations conduct their reviews. I would like to believe it's always a large set of results that are consolidated for accuracy and a greater representation of the general populace. I know of a few game magazines and publishing companies that follow this mandate.
However, I know some entities that do not do this. Some players realize that their individual skill set is valuable but fail to recognize it as unique. Their assessment of video games is based on how well the game played to their strengths and avoided their weaknesses. Their assessment tries to establish normality in their personal skill set, shunning creative or, otherwise, eccentric ideas that are difficult for them to understand. The player subconsciously decides that difficulty in "execution" is acceptable, but difficulty in "understanding" is a weakness of the game rather than a weakness of the player. The overly proud player, in addition to this, will actively avoid these unfavorable ideas and attempt to reform the game into a more acceptable alternative, becoming more agitated when their attempts to reform the game fail due to refusal to accept the game on its own terms.
This is then reflected in reviews of the game, with major discussion points being presented for "difficulty in understanding game concepts" as "an overly complicated system" or, more deceptively, a "non-intuitive system". The problem that I have with using "non-intuitive" as a basis for a negative reaction in a game is that it puts forth the precedent that all aspects of a video game must be intuitive; that is, it must take a minimal amount of time or effort in understanding. This concept serves to put implicit bounds on what ideas or challenges video games can present.
Following along the tutorial in Mega Maker (downloadable here) serves to reinforce these ideas. Don't put too many death traps in your game. This can frustrate the player. Don't just spam your level full of enemies. These are ideas that have good intentions, but come off as very restrictive. While it is true that putting too many death traps will frustrate a player, the idea of too many is, again, completely relative. There are large areas of the classic Mega Man series that are over a bottomless pit with small moving platforms over them. Is that too much? Indeed, old video game concepts from the NES era would have been insurmountable to a newer audience. The idea of enemy spam is another relative concept. Sure, simple-but-effective enemy placement was essentially required on old NES systems, but how many is too much? How would video games have fared today had NES programmers and level designers not have to face a heavy constraint on number of enemies? Would enemy spam be more normalized, or would the dual efforts of PC and console video games cause enemy spam to reach equilibrium to where we are today? Side note: I often see the adverse effects of enemy spam described as placing enemies without thinking. Then, who gets to decide who did the correct amount of thinking.
Yet, despite these "sanctions" on video games, they still manage to fall outside of the envelope. Do they fall outside of the envelope because of necessity or do they fall outside in defiance of the rules? I feel that, in order for video games to be art, the rules which define them should be bendable and sometimes breakable.
Taking a break from difficulty, the other topic that I wanted to talk about is the other non-interactive aspects of video games. In particular, I think that video game music is a topic that usually works out in favor of a video game. As time goes on, I find more great recommendations for video game soundtracks. Indeed, video game music is very special and can be easily used to trigger old memories of a video game. Perhaps, moreso than any other factor of a video game, the music is what players remember about old video games of yesteryear. So, it should not be a surprise that a lot of the ratings for video game music are fairly high or otherwise relatively constant. Modern video game music is either essentially on par with current music found on the radio or reminiscent of tunes from the days of your favorite old consoles. The question that I wonder: how critical is the person rating the music? What levels of detail does the person rate the music? Is the standard for acceptance just as low as saying, "The music wasn't annoying but it was unmemorable?" Perhaps the critical ear has no place in the justification of video game music.
Interestingly, players readily recognize that music tastes vary considerably from person to person. However, as curious as it may be, video game music also tends to experience this "enveloping effect" that I mentioned earlier. The types of music that I mentioned earlier comprise a majority of video game soundtracks. Most of the time, I hear only chiptunes, orchestral tunes, or rock tunes. If there's not a guitar riff or shred in the background, there's a chiptune. If there's not a chiptune, there's a string and brass section. There are so many other types of music performance out there; how did we come to have mostly these three? Admittedly, there are other types out there, but they usually fall in deference to one of the three aforementioned types -- piano solos and concertos appear in the sound track, but as a change of tone rather than a pivotal melody.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Am I out to lunch? Am I close to the mark? Is this just the ramblings of an old man? Let me know what you think on Twitur (you may also be mentioned in a future article). And yes, I spelled Twitur correctly.
Jun 29 2017, 17:50
I seem to be destroying all of my pants. Maybe it's just a sign that I need to start dieting. All of my pants are ripped around the thighs, so maybe I need to find a new workout to add to my regimen.
As a side note, I thought a little more about the point I made yesterday. It's a statement that's frequently made in politics to purport the idea that a person that supports one given aspect of a particular party must endorse every stance for a given party, as in, "The people who [are in support of Party Stance A] are the same people who [are in support of any stance of this party]." I am, of course, going to avoid discussing political affiliations here, but it is worrisome to see people try to force an entire party's beliefs into someone using this method.
Jun 28 2017, 19:45
Are These The Same People?
One of my favorite pastimes is the Big Brother season. The show itself is interesting, despite questionable decisions and differences in focus, but what I'm mostly interested in is the Big Brother fanbase. I watch Big Brother every summer (admittedly, not as much as I used to due to other obligations) and what I find myself spending so much of my attention on is the interpersonal communications that occur in the house and, to a lesser extent, the Big Brother Twitter handle (I know, highly refined literature). The Big Brother Twitter beast is quite the spectacle, with a large group of die-hard fans (including me) expressing their dismay with the newer Big Brother season mindset. Of course, you can't have large groups of people expressing their dismay without sparking a few wars of words.
One of the more curious statements I've seen in the Big Brother Twitter handle are quotes that I've seen earlier that leave me a bit puzzled: "The people who are arguing against [New Idea] are the same people who supported [Old Idea]." Surely, you've seen people say things like this. My problem here is that this reads as a desperate attempt to make the two groups identical, when it's almost impossible for the two groups to actually be identical.
Starting with a clarifying example: "People who drive all day are the same people who complain that there is too much traffic." If we took any given person and asked him/her if they have ever complained about there being too much traffic, then you would be able to say that this person has driven all day. Since the people are the same in both cases, then there should be no person that: meets the first criteria but fails the second, or fails the first but meets the second. This is to say that there should be no one who complains about traffic that doesn't drive. What you'll find in every case is that the two people can't actually be the same.
An example I found today: "People who get offended on the internet are the same people who take mini golf seriously." Of course, in practice, these examples are going to be covered in more abstract terms (for plausible deniability). For this example, are there truly no people who don't get offended on the internet but also take mini-golf seriously? Are there truly people who get offended on the internet, but don't participate in mini-golf? I'm sure there's at least one exception to this.
"The people who actively find faults in others are the same people who are completely blind to their own." Is there truly no person that is completely blind to their own faults that keeps their criticism to themselves? Is there truly no person that knows one of their own faults that also nitpicks others? I feel that I, as well as many other people, actually identify with the latter. Therefore, this quote can't possibly be true. So what's the point? Are you sensing the trend yet?
These examples are all used to disparage someone for doing by trying to insinuate (without any actual substance) that every single person also has a less agreeable stance. These sentences actively promote stereotyping behavior by implying that the two effects are together, even though it's highly improbable that it actually applies to everyone.
Oh, is someone actively trying to find a fault with you? Sure, go ahead and assume that they also have faults of their own that they are completely blind to! Go ahead and assume these things! It won't be an assumption because you know they're the same person.
Even if they are demonstrably not.
Mar 20 2017, 20:51
Truth, Lies, and Ignorance What is a lie? Well, I asked Google, and it tells me that a lie is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional untruth; a falsehood. But there's more to a "lie" than that, isn't there? Often, when listening to people talk, there is a great deal of emotional implication placed on calling something a lie. It's usually used to tarnish and destroy not only the statement but to damage the reputation of the person that brought the statement forward. It's a tool used to put people into check or to question the statement at hand. Since there's so much riding on the statement, it's good to put a little effort into understanding what it is and when it should be used. Otherwise, it'll just end up being another word that only finds its home when trying to win frivolous arguments (see "common sense" from earlier this year).
Let's unpack the definition of a "lie". Many people would consider "a false statement" to be a lie. Could you imagine 3rd graders being sent home with graded homework assignments that read "89% B+. You lied in your answer to #3"? Could you imagine being called a liar if you said that "New York City is the capital of New York State"? Thus, in this regard, the definition of lie continues to include that the statement is "made with deliberate intent to deceive". Yes, your 3rd grade child is not a liar; he/she was misinformed -- probably because he/she wasn't paying attention in class. You were misinformed if you thought that New York City was the capital of New York State. (In case you're wondering, the capital of NY is Albany).
Why is this important? Consider the event that you didn't actually know the capital of NY and wanted me to tell you the answer. There are two conditions that you should be aware of. Firstly, do I actually know the capital of NY? If I do know the answer, what happens next would be expected to be me, proudly declaring, "The capital of NY is Albany." This represents the ideal communication that we have with all human beings on Earth. It's correct and completely innocuous, but we rely on it everyday in more ways than we think. What if I didn't know the answer? You would expect, "I don't know the capital". Even worse, what if I "knew" the capital of NY was New York City? Now you "know" the capital as New York City and, hopefully, will find out sometime later that what you "know" is wrong.
Let A represent the truth and B represent something untrue
How we expect to communicate with people: they know the answer and are willing to tell you what the answer is.
This person is misinformed. They have good intentions, but fall short at correctness. These people can be fixed by giving them correct answers.
Secondly, and to go along with the definition of "lie", what if I knew the correct answer but told you the wrong answer? Suppose you wanted to go the capital of Louisiana and I told you "New Orleans is the capital of Louisiana" (which you know is incorrect because I've just started talking about lying)? Did I lie? Well, in order to determine if I actually had "deliberate intent to deceive", you would have to know a little bit more about me: for instance, I know all the lyrics to this song, I lived in Louisiana for over twenty years, including all 3 of the largest cities in Louisiana, etc. Even then, you can't be certain that I *know* the capital of Louisiana (I know a few people who probably don't know the capital of their home state), but it's a good starting point. At this point, you probably start wondering, "Is he lying to me"? "Is he trying to fool me?" (Incidentally, two sentences which should be synonymous.)
This person is lying. Trust is eroded and is difficult to win back.
The issue here is that a person who demonstrates the capacity for lying is much more difficult to ever trust in the future and, as you probably already know, trust is a very difficult thing to get back. Whereas a person who tells you the wrong answer because he/she doesn't know the right answer can be fixed by telling them they are wrong, it is a lot harder to fix a person who knows the right answer but tells you the wrong answer. You cannot fix this person directly by telling them the correct answer (they already know the correct answer), which is a large factor of how difficult it is to gain back trust. Secondly, demonstrating willingness to lie can become a factor in every form of communication with this person. How do you know they're not lying to you right now? Yes, actually... RIGHT NOW. How do you know they haven't lied to you in an e-mail or given you something with the intent to deceive?
HOWEVER, do not assume that, once a liar, this person cannot change. Know that not all liars are intentionally mischievous. They may be ill-informed of the consequences of lying and, once they realize the consequences, may opt to give up lying and tell the truth, ashamed of their gross ignorance. In fact, in this position, you can take on the role of the teacher and allow them to experience the consequences such that they "learn their lesson". Or... you could just pass and just let someone else teach them, which seems to be what many opt for anyway.
The point of all this is that the word "lie" brings with it a lot of emotional connotation, so it's best not to apply this liberally to every person who's ever told you something that is untrue. People in more professional and friendlier contexts refer to this with the softer word "untruth" or "falsehood", purposefully avoiding the divisive word "lie", keeping the door open to explain the "untruth" with blissful ignorance, and thus maintaining what's left of their existing beneficial relationships. Also, if you know someone that can lie to you and if you have the fortitude, teach them a lesson or two. Just as little kids learn not to lie to their parents, don't let people lie to you. Don't let them tell you "falsehoods" either. Depending on where you are, Google is just a quick click away.
The capital of LA is Baton Rouge, the capital of NY is Albany, and the capital of PA is Harrisburg... but you'd know that if you watched the video
Feb 27 2017, 7:55
Twitch Communities, Speedrunning Community, and the Twitch Speedrunning Community
The Twitch Speedrunning Community makes speedrunning identity accessible, provides a better representation of speedrunning, and increases speedrunning visibility of all types.
Firstly, it's a great way to establish content as "Speedrunning" and instantly become a member. Throughout the history of speedrunning, getting recognized as a speedrunner often meant doing several tedious things related to speedrunning. When it was only SDA, it seems you had to have a run posted in order to be a speedrunner. When GDQ started to become the rage, perhaps you had to have a run in GDQ to be a speedrunner. We're fortunate enough to have leaderboards now, so that you can submit a time to a leaderboard to let people know you're speedrunning this game. The Twitch Team system was a decent way of becoming part of the speedrunning community, but, again, this required you to first be invited to the group, which required lots of streams and actively hunting members in the applicable community. The point is that establishing yourself as a speedrunner was often only a decision that you make yourself and having others vouch for it was unreliable.
With the advent of the speedrunning communities, individual streamers can now denote their own stream as speedrunning content, bypassing the rigmarole of previous speedrunning community aggregation sites (not being placed on the SDA wooty list, not being in races to get on the SRL runners list, or otherwise not being in the right crowd in order to get added to a database). Twitch Speedrunning allows anyone to join the speedrunning community and feel like a part of the community like never before.
Were you watching AGDQ and learned that the only thing to become a speedrunner is to play a game with a timer? Were you watching SGDQ and got curious as to why there are no speedruns of your favorite game? Twitch Speedrunning Communities is an excellent way to get traffic to your speedrunning plans. You'd best believe that there are people like me who browse up and down the Speedrunning Community directory (mostly down) to look for original and innovative speedrunning ideas. Sure, there is a top to the list, but that list looks just like other speedrunning directories (for the reasons mentioned above). This list is a great way to get traffic to lesser known speedgames and provide a more realistic snapshot of the speedrunning community as a whole.
I've lamented speedrunners consistently underestimate the size of their own community and the representation at GDQ. Consider that, at the time of the first draft (6pm on a Sunday), there are over 200 active streamers in the Twitch Speedrunning Community. Combine this with the speedrunners who aren't awake, don't stream on Sunday, have other obligations, or are otherwise not streaming now. I feel more confident than ever that there are over 1000 speedrunners around the world.
I think that, personally, my only issue is that there are still speedrunners who still elect to not perform their speedruns within the "Speedrunning" community and, instead, have fractured into a more specific speedrunning community, which reduces the exposure as any subcategorized speedrunning community will receive less traffic from other speedrunning channels. This is more a problem of human nature, I suppose, and that, in every large group, partitioning still occurs between subgroups that are more closely connected with each other.
Overall, this is a great idea for actively making the general speedrunning community more inclusive. I tip my hat to the great innovators at Twitch for this idea.
Jan 12 2017, 14:56
There's A Difference Between X and Y There are two answers to this. Answer 1: Yes, there is, but the writer is going to make them sound like the difference is subtle. Answer 2: No, there isn't, but the writer is going to try to define them differently. The "bigger" the difference, the less difference there actually is between the terms. Sometimes, the difference isn't explained, which leaves it up to interpretation what the difference is. Sure, you could probably figure out the difference, but that's not what I'm here for. I'm here for making fun of English vernacular.
First up, There's a difference between interest and commitment. Yes, there is. "Commitment" is how one might get stuck in a mental institution. "Interest" is what others feel watching you doing whatever it is you did that got you in the mental institution in the first place.
John Scalzi says, There's a difference between the fact that the universe is inherently unfair on a cosmic level, and the fact that life is unfair because people are actively making it so. Why, yes, there is. The first fact is redundant as anything that is "unfair on a cosmic level" must involve the universe as "universe" and "cosmos" are synonymous.
But, Iceplug! There's a difference between the cosmos and the universe! No, there's not. Actually, yes, there is. One has an adjective "cosmic" which is frequently used to describe the actual "universe"; the other has an adjective "universal" which is frequently used to describe technology developed on Earth. Don't even think about bringing up Little Debbie's "Cosmic Brownies" as defense, either!
Next up, There's a difference between surviving and living. I suppose there's a more nuanced definition that I can think of, but I'm going to settle for the following difference: There are living rooms and living quarters, but no surviving rooms or surviving quarters.
Did you know that There's a difference between giving up and letting go? In fact, there is! When people start to pass away, they are said to be "giving up the ghost". Try to tell your friends a story in which someone dies and describe that person as "letting go the ghost".
Here's a good one. There's a difference between judging you fairly and insulting you. There's also a difference between judging you unfairly and insulting you as well, but I guess that difference requires a little more insight. The same kind of difference as telling about the good things about yourself versus bragging about yourself. Sure... the difference is in how overbearing you are, but is it really the same kind of difference? The same difference as being confident versus cocky. Sure... the difference here is that a cocky individual is a confident and arrogant individual. Again, is it really the same kind of difference? You know what? There is a difference between "the difference between judging you fairly and insulting you", "the difference between telling about the good things about yourself versus bragging about yourself", and "the difference between being confident versus being cocky". I like it!
Stop pretending there's a difference between online and real-life. But... there is a difference. Civilizations removed from technology have experience real-life but may not have been online. Perhaps, this should have said, "Stop pretending there are no similarities between online and real-life".
Next, There's a difference between helping someone and enabling them. Yes. There's a difference between hurting someone and disabling them, but you don't see me waving my crutches around, do you? The take-home question: is it the same difference?
There’s A Difference Between Thinking Someone Is Cute.Having A Crush On Someone.Being Interested In Someone.Liking Someone.Loving Someone.Being In Love With Someone Yes, but more prominently, there's a period between those as well that I'm at least equally interested in.
DMX says, There's a difference between violence and senseless violence. Iceplug asks, "How did DMX get inspirational quotes in a quote database?" Should we also ask Ja Rule for inspiration (NSFW Audio)?
Jan 1 2017, 6:02
Happy New Year!
Dec 31 2016, 18:05
Common Sense, Commonality, and Faking Knowledge
The question of the day: what is "common sense"? It's a phrase that, perhaps, almost everyone has used in their lives. Common sense is usually equivalent to common knowledge, but what does it actually mean? What is it?
At its surface, common sense is a reliable set of skills and ideas that can be assumed of everyone, from things learned while growing up to things expected of everyday people. For instance, one could say that "touching fire will hurt you" is common sense or, alternatively, "file an income tax report at the beginning every year". In this way, you can make yourself feel superior to others by arguing that a particular concept is "common sense" without having to actually prove or demonstrate it as such.
The concept tends to break down upon closer inspection. The simplest example is to define how common "common sense" actually is. How many people know that they need to file an income tax report at the beginning every year? Sure, most working adults file these every year, but children and other dependents won't have to file one. It should be theoretically possible for someone to never have to file taxes for their entire life and never learn about income taxes as well, correct?
But just because these people exist doesn't mean that it's not common sense. Common sense only needs to be *common*. *Everyone* doesn't need to have common sense. Now consider this next example.
What if I said, "It's common sense to know where Iraq is on a world map"? It's probably not actually common sense. It's probably not even known by 50% of people. Here's a poll indicating results are around 40%.
What if I say, "Knowing where United States is on a world map is common sense to its citizens"? Here's a poll that suggests that 94% of USA citizens know where USA is on a world map.
A brief tangent here: when I consider something to be common, I consider it to be at least 50% in abundance; that is, if I select a sample of people, I would expect at least half of the sample to have the aspect that I'm looking for. There are other alternative ways to interpret what it means for something to be "common" yet still less than 50% in abundance, but I will still use my 50% protocol since it is more restrictive. With this in mind, I still consider the concept of knowing where USA is on a world map is common sense to Americans, but not the concept of knowing where Iraq is on a world map.
Taking a step further back, can I reasonably expect a random person that I talk to to know where Iraq is on a world map? Probably not, since it's not common sense. What about the 94% abundance of people that know where USA is on a world map? I could probably expect it, but in the back of my mind, I would know that there's a small chance that this person doesn't actually know where USA is on a map.
If I then let common sense include ideas that are less than 50% in abundance, then, suddenly, being able to locate Iraq is common sense. But it wasn't common sense earlier. What happens here? Well, now you have two different ideas of what it means to be common sense. If instead, these are two different people with different interpretations of common sense, who gets to embarrass whom? Who gets to feel superior?
From time to time, I see people in charge trying to have a group of people follow some group of rules in order to perform some task and the leader insists on having his/her followers "use common sense". As you might imagine, this could open the door to a great deal of misinterpretation, since any number of people in the group have different interpretations of common sense. This, undoubtedly, ends in a situation causing the leader to either specify what "common sense" actually includes or, in more punitive environments, getting rid of people that don't share the same idea of "common sense", where the latter situation could have been avoided by following the outcome of the former situation. Really, does telling someone to "use common sense" actually mean anything? In this way, the leader is telling his followers to follow an unspecified list of rules.
In short, common sense isn't common and the belief that common sense is shared among everyone (or anyone) is a setup for failure and disappointment.
Other fun "common sense" stuff: I heard Guy A exclaim that Guy B has more common sense than anyone else. Who examined Guy B to determine how much common sense Guy B had?
Here's a YouTube video where a purported 10% of people that were asked questions that ostensibly have "common sense" answers. Again, who determined that the answers are common sense? Guy B? At any rate, it's a fun video to laugh at the answers. Once you're done watching the video, try to imagine how common sense would help you out in any realistic scenario. Then go down and read the comments from people (perhaps, like us) that don't have enough common sense to answer the questions correctly.
Taylor M gets it
Dec 4 2016, 16:04
I've been a bit negligent with updating the site and that's because I've been focusing most of my time towards research. I promise that I will have at least one more article up before the end of the year. I also have music that I want to upload as well, so stay tuned.
Oct 23 2016, 10:57
And That's How Rumors Get Started
For the past three summers, I've been playing PS2 videogames based off of either a TV or a movie franchise. Of course, video games such as these have all suffered similar fates as they are generally seen as attempts to bring in extra money to the publishing companies and not to provide heavily innovative gameplay. The games that I played were, in chronological order: Alias in 2014, released in 2004; Minority Report in 2015, released in 2002; and Iron Man in 2016, released in 2008.
All of these games lacked in some way or another. For instance, all of these games are highly linear (during the first decade of the new millenium, truly-open world games were fairly rare) and all involve some slightly nuanced combat system. Of these shortcomings, Alias is the most linear, with no personal progression and only level progression through the eight areas in the game. Minority Report offers save files to provide the ability to return to earlier games to beat up the mundane enemies with your newly purchased moves. Iron Man offers the same system except that some moves cannot be downgraded. In terms of the combat system, Minority Report's combat system *looks* the most complex, but the difference between moves was barely noticeable. In contrast, Alias's combat system was a lot simpler but each moves offers more practicality, with the ability to attack with other items and having a different set of attacks depending on which item is held. Iron Man, being what amounts to a third-person shooter with flying, suffers a lot more in this regard, as the entire game revolves around moving a cursor onto an enemy and pressing the shoot button.
Another thing that I did not mention in the above list is how each area offers new gameplay ideas. This is where the release date shows. In Minority Report, right around the halfway point (mission 20), it started to become clear to me that there weren't going to be many new innovations over the course of the gameplay. Alias improved upon the repetitive nature by having new tools to use in each area as well as only having eight areas (albeit longer). Iron Man also seemed to continually produce new enemies, although they had to be spread out over the thirteen missions. In terms of bosses, Minority Report's bosses all seemed to have some bizarre gimmick required to damage them. Bosses in Alias were essentially normal humans except with a larger health pool. Iron Man's strength really stood out in the multiple and unique bosses in the game (I counted 10 bosses in 13 missions, although it can be argued that some of the bosses had laughably small health pools).
Despite all of these shortcomings, I enjoyed all of them to different extents and the more recent games were the most enjoyable. I was a bit surprised by the ratings for these (50-54 for Minority Report, 55-64 for Alias, and 32-56 for Iron Man). However, these are just Metacritic numbers, and the success of a game cannot be accurately quantified at such a small level for such a large userbase. Interestingly enough, notice how the spread of each score increases as the game becomes newer (the spread is due to different platforms for the game; the low score for all of these games (with exception of the high-score for Alias) is for the PS2 version: thus the scores are 50 for Minority Report, 64 for Alias, and 32 for Iron Man.
The thing which surprised me was the abysmally low score for Iron Man. While I admit that I enjoyed Alias more than Iron Man, I cannot say that I enjoyed Alias twice as much for my first play (I suppose that that is just a shortcoming with how I interpret these game ratings). Furthermore, I didn't *despise* Iron Man, as several reviewers did.
In fact, if you were surfing the Internet around 2005-2006, during the birth of popular video sharing sites such as YouTube, you'll remember several prolific video uploaders making entertainment from their struggles with video games. Perhaps, this also caused reviewers to be less reserved in writing about problems that they encountered while playing games in order to write a review because having an 18-point difference between Minority Report and Iron Man (the two games which I enjoyed almost equally) seemed a bit excessive. People seem to be more critical of video games after this point, which nowadays manifests itself as shortcomings made by the reviewer occasionally being translated into faults of the game ("it's not my fault that I can't figure this out").
Case in point: the difficulty setting in Iron Man affects the damage that enemies deal as well as how many lives ("backups") are available at the start of each mission (3 on easy, 1 on hard). To see reviewers discussing how easy it was to blaze through levels and then mentioning that they had three lives is negligent as it now merely says that playing the game on easy made the game easy.
"Your only real concern of taking on damage is when the enemy surrounds you and starts firing from all directions. It does take a toll on your armor and can eventually cripple you to the point where your heart stops. But the second that happens, a mini-game will appear in which you have to tap out a sequence on the control buttons to restart your heart. Failing that, you will give up one of your three lives and get tossed right back into the game. It's like playing with one all encompassing cheat code enabled."
Read more at CheatCodeCentral
"Luckily and sadly, Iron Man isn't hard. At all. Enemy attacks do little to no damage, but if they should gang up and whittle your armor energy down to nothing, you'll have the chance to restart your heart. Basically, a minigame pops up where you have to tap a corresponding button to register a heartbeat. If for some reason you fail at this simple task, you'll consume one of your three backup power cells and be tossed back into the game."
Read more at IGN
"Using the unibeam is doubly risky because it draws power from your suit, power that you'll constantly need to recharge your life meter. Five or six missiles to the chassis while attempting a unibeam charge are enough to force your suit to power down, which you want to avoid (especially later in the game) because you can recover from a power down only three times before failing the mission."
Read more at Gamespot
To be fair, that last review was expressing difficulty while on easy, though. The point is that, even in this day and age, reviewers can still become negligent. Are there truly any procedures in place to call out reviewers that put out false information aside from just spamming in comments or sending letters to the company? Is it truly the duty of the public to protect itself from incorrect information pushed due to time constraints? Granted, reviewers usually get it right, but the possibility still exists that the reviewer could be wrong or just not understand the game well enough and that this misinformation gets widely demonstrated... "and that's how rumors get started".
Aug 19 2016, 21:23
There must be some way to stir the pot and create speedgame diversity within the speedrunning community.
Jul 28 2016, 12:06
A while back, one of my friends was showing interest in being on the TV show "Big Brother". Now, I will freely admit that I am a Big Brother fan and, although I can't name all of the competitions, I can name the winner, runner-up, and some of the big plays of each season. That being said, I will never apply to be on Big Brother.
First of all, applicants for Big Brother often put their life on hold for a considerable amount of time (the Big Brother show lasts for about three months, depending on how long you stay on) and I've heard a few contestants state that they have effectively given up their job just to be on the show. Indeed, having a job that can function without you for July to September is probably a job that can function without you for the rest of your life. Even for colleges and universities, with their typical May to August summer break, the summer break still doesn't align with the full length of the show, so you still have to take off a semester. So, that little job title that contestants show underneath their names may only be a reflection of their past life, if you will. One can only wonder what sorts of jobs people can hold and still come back to after three months? I would wager that any job, such as "model", "actor/actress", "entrepreneur", and, obviously, "unemployed", can be returned to after three months, but most houseguests don't have these job titles under their names.
Secondly, even if you're lucky to get on Big Brother with a job that is waiting for you to get back, your actions on the show may be enough to lose that comfortable job and you won't know it until you leave or win the game. 24/7 Big Brother recording makes it easy to catch you at your lowest of lows. Add in a small subsection of the viewing audience that probably doesn't like that you're in an alliance opposed to their favorite character, has someone that will capture and collect negative things that you've done (or, sometimes, things you haven't done) as if to add in a portfolio, and has someone even less scrupulous with a flawed sense of justice that would try to do it.
Thirdly, your expectations for the game may not be in line with what the general public wants. The goal of Big Brother seems to be "to win the $500,000 grand prize", but once on the show, there are a lot of people who seem to change their goals. Some houseguests find love, others find themselves. The second place prize in Big Brother is $50,000, which is a respectable amount of money. Consider that you can win $64,000 by getting eleven questions right on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, which is (for some) less work than floating all the way over the three months of the show to be the second place to the winner. Viewers seem to react bitterly to anyone who is not playing the game solely for the $500K. Comments range from "it's not a game about loyalty, but about backstabbing", "it's a game you gotta be in it to win it". "It's just a game"
After watching almost every season of Big Brother (except for the first once which I'm never going to watch), is it really "just a game"? If it's just a game, then your actions within the game should not have any ramifications to your life outside the game, which I've just shown in the previous paragraphs that it does not. What game requires you to risk your job in order to play? What game allows your professionalism to be ruined based on (some of) your own indecencies towards humans revealed after a few hours of prolonged camera exposure? What game will change your life goals for better or for worse? If you find such a game, is it truly "just a game"? The players in a game will get out what they will. Some will leave the game with new job opportunities, new friends, new relationships, and/or a greater understanding of themselves, which may be worth more than the $500K!
In short, I won't ever be on the show, since I don't want to risk the rest of the summer as well as my professional and personal stature. I would rather "live vicariously" through someone else on the show, provided contestants that share similarities with me actually appear on the show. Don't get me wrong; I'm all about some deceptively clever gameplay and who deserves the $500K for it, but it's not something that I would ever try to do.
Jul 1 2016, 21:46
Summer Games Done Quick 2016
Next week, I will be away at sunny Minneapolis for SGDQ 2016. I don't have a run in this year, but please watch some games being played quickly for charity's sake. The charity is the same as usual for SGDQ: Doctors Without Borders. Last year, over a million dollars were raised and I hope that we can do it again this year. The charity is a noble cause and the games are a good watch.
Of note, the SGDQ 2016 schedule features a particular run that I'm very interested in: Jumper 2. If you've been around my website for long enough, you've probably found the custom Jumper 2 map downloads in the "Other Stuff" section (I probably should do something else with this section as everything else is neatly filed... maybe a sitemap?) The reason I'm excited for this game is not only because I played this game intensively in 2002-2003, but I've written one of the songs for the game. The song in question is this one, an adaption of the Ghost Robot fight from Mystical Ninja Starring Goemon. It's a song that I wrote waaaaay back in April 2002 and is currently the 73rd oldest song that I have (out of almost 1000). The song is kind of embarrassing for me since it is both very old but could be the most famous of all of the songs that I have ever sequenced. It was done completely by memory, a practice that I generally stopped doing back in 2005; you can probably notice the difference between the first song and the newer song (by only two years), which I uploaded here back in 2004 (yes, technically the newer one is a different boss, but the themes are mostly identical). To be fair, the game developer himself feels similarly about having such an old game being shown off, so I feel less embarrassed now.
In other news, a speedrunner will be on TV, specifically on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert tonight (in about an hour), so please watch. MitchFlowerPower, a long-time SMB3 runner will be on the show running (presumably) the any% (with wrong warp) run of SMB3 that takes about three minutes to pull off. The concern that I have is that the any% run of SMB3 isn't exactly straightforward. It's a nice trick (and, arguably, a good fit for a show that also has to fit in commercials), but I hope that it brings speedrunning to light. There's a lot more to speedrunning than just glitching a game and getting to the end, something that I believe gets put on such an unecessarily high pedestal in regards to live marathons, and I hope that this run can still do it justice despite neither being straightforward nor being the most popular category.
At any rate, the video should be up on the official channel (hopefully) afterwards. I'll probably be asleep by this point as I am getting ready for SGDQ 2016.
Jun 28 2016, 16:02
Today's bit comes from a news article about difficulties in math. But, oh, no, it's not an actually mathematically intensive problem. No, no, no... it's another one of those questions that involve "Order of Operations".
The answer is one using the standard order of operations
Adults frequently fall for it, as evidenced in the comments, and decide to blame their inability to solve this problem on math being not necessary in the world. These questions pop up so frequently that I'm sure some people just completely bend over when they see a math problem and say, "Here's my butt, math. Give it a good kick." The problem is that the order of operations (typically referred to as PEMDAS, BODMAS, "Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally", etc.) is one of those mathematical rules that we've sort of agreed upon to help us solve math problems. It's not entirely necessary to have PEMDAS, as you could just specify the order explicitly with parentheses anyway. But... that would make this math problem too easy... at the cost of every math problem looking a lot messier than it should be.
This should be a lot easier, but won't make the news, sadly. So, the question here is: why should we care this much about PEMDAS? Why are we making them look stupid by implying that they don't know how to do second grade math when they actually don't remember PEMDAS? Because it's fun, I guess. Meanwhile, a real world application wouldn't be quite this ambiguous with the order of operations. Let's say that I walked nine feet to the mailbox. Suddenly, I walk three yards back to the house and then walk one more foot towards the mailbox. Let's say that I'm an idiot and forgot how to convert yards into feet, looked in a book, and saw that one foot is equal to 1/3 yard. So, now I have 9 ft - 3 yd / (1/3 foot/yd) + 1 ft. Now, can you look me in the eye and say, "Well, you have to add 9 ft to 3 yd to get 6?" In any actual application of this question, it would be pretty clear from the question that three is being divided by one-third and the result is then subtracted from nine and one. This example, on the other hand, is purely academic, which, unfortunately, makes it look *more* mathematical. Thus, without context, we can succeed in embarrassing impressionable young, malleable, fully grown adults over their abilities.
60% can't do it, and the other 40% also don't know how to do it... Speaking of yards and feet, the English system is frequently the subject of ridicule as the units and conversions in the system aren't pretty. Before I continue, I would like to note that calling these conversions "random" means that they are unpredictable, but I'm fairly certain that a yard is always three feet. In addition, calling them arbitrary means that there was no reason for picking them, but there certainly was. At any rate, the arguments for the English system are, as stated in the video, "Why isn't there just one system?" While there are certainly many reasons to have a single measurement system, which would make mathematics and unit conversions a lot easier to remember and perform, I would generally like to start off with a little bit of devil's advocate...
Suppose I asked, "Why isn't there just one language? Why don't we all just speak the most popular language in the world?" If you're thinking like me, you're probably thinking, "There's so many languages. Should we pick the most popular language? Is there another language that is most similar to all of the other languages in the world? If we all spoke the same languages, what implications will this have on theatrical performances?" There's a significant amount of history involved that's frequently overlooked in the fervor to eliminate the English unit System. In addition to that, several aspects of the U.S. development are deeply linked to the English unit System... for instance, highway speed limits and distance markers (that's a lot of unnecessary money spent on moving and updating signs), manufacturing guidelines for U.S. machinery, typically involving English units, and weather/public safety guidelines (how do you convey the severity of hurricane winds to the public in km/h when they already are trying to understand the difference between sustained wind speed and gusts? Just let them figure it out and leave them cowering in fear over 70 km/h winds?). Consider the Rankine temperature system and how it was so beneficial to use Fahrenheit temperatures instead of converting to Celsius in order to convert to Kelvin that the Rankine scale was developed as a zero-based temperature variant of the Fahrenheit scale. Granted, it's not used frequently, but is a good indicator that it will take more than a personal effort to get rid of the English unit system.
I would also still like to point out that the units in the Système International (metric units) aren't foolproof either. While there's a comfy relationship with the units and the metric prefixes (kilo, milli, etc.), why do we still use hours and years instead of kiloseconds and megaseconds? Because it's not necessary to convert time to these units? Then, why is converting miles to kilometers necessary? The temperature of the sun is almost 6000 K. Not 6 kilokelvin, but 6000 K. The core of the sun is 15 million degrees C. Surely, a mess of words when you could just say that the temperature is 15 degrees Megacelsius... or 15 Megadegrees celsius... or maybe 15 Megakelvin if you don't like degrees used with metric prefixes.
In addition, there are still odd unit conversions within the metric system, so it won't get rid of all of the weird conversions: Pascals, derived from basic SI units, lead to equally "unpretty" conversions such as 101.325 kPa = 1 atm. The use of hours and seconds leads to some unfortunate values of 3600 in conversion from m/s to km/hr, from Joule to kW/hr, and milliampere-hour to coulombs.
"Weird measurements no one knows about such as nautical miles", as quoted in the video. I would like to point out that those are used when at sea and I wish you the best of luck trying to convince harbors, coasts, and navies around the world to not use nautical miles.
At any rate, if you think the English unit system is weird, then steer clear of whatever unit system this is:
Units of pain, about as measurable as units of panic, love, and... well, ignorance.
Jun 23 2016, 8:09
In the wake of the toddler killed at Disney World by an alligator, unnamed experts have risen to give us tips on how to survive an alligator attack. I'm pretty sure that they just got someone who spent the night at a Holiday Inn to give us these tips.
The first tip is to run, with extra emphasis on "in a straight line". I think adrenaline would have handled pretty much all of this one for you. I also find it curious that "in a straight line" is part of the tip... since the only time you want to run in a zigzag pattern is if the alligator has a crossbow as well. One of those rare Disney World Bowmen Alligators, perhaps.
The second tip is to fight for your life if the alligator gets ahold of you. It's at this point where I really feel like they just needed to add video length. Who do you have to tell this to? Who would, after finding their arm or leg in the grip of an alligator's mouth, would just try to fashion a white flag, start trying to have a peaceful conversation, or otherwise just "relax and let it happen"? Again, adrenaline usually handles this one for you.
Finally, after a mere 23 seconds in, we get details on how to fight the alligator, with tip #3 to "smack the snout". That would be right around the nose area and you pop that alligator just like you pop someone disrespecting you: right on the "mouf". Except, don't put your hand in there. Tip #4 is to gouge the eyes. Incidentally, these are nearly identical to the tips for surviving a shark attack. In both cases, if you need to fight back, you have to go for the eyes or the snout (or similar feature on a shark). Well, I suppose you're probably not terribly worried about sharks on land unless you're in an episode of Sharknado.
What's Sharknado? "Enough said!"
At any rate, I'm instantly skeptical about articles that attribute something to unnamed individuals. Obviously, someone had to have brought forth the knowledge in the article. Why just shuffle it under the rug? Why can I not call into question the number of experts that brought this knowledge forward? Is there another expert that has more information to contribute? Are there experts with less to contribute? How much of an expert are they?
Even worse than "according to experts" (translation: I talked to some people and they told me this and others agreed) is "according to science", "according to physics", "according to math". First of all, science doesn't talk. It doesn't have ears, eyes, or the ability to hold a conversation about itself. (And, if you are one of those people that say that science is talking to us everyday and we just have to listen, please check yourself, because that's not what I'm talking about.) Secondly, why is it "science"? There are many different branches of science, where some rules apply moreso than other rules.
"Here's the best way to tell if someone's lying, according to science" - which science? Social and behavioral science? Neuroscience? Biological science? Earth science?!? According to the numerous polls and statistics mentioned in the article, it's a study on the way that humans are bad at detecting lies, which would then indicate "behavioral science". The end result of the article is that, since humans have a very small chance to tell if someone is lying, getting enough people together will increase the accuracy for the group to determine if someone is lying. That is the best way to tell if someone is lying, according to science. All of science. Earth science included. Never mind the people who study liars or body language or anything like that.
"Aliens Will Be Bear-Size, According to Math" - not to be outdone by "science", we lumped an entire application of science into the generous subject of "math". Of course, the article uses a few numbers here and there and states that the math involved is "Bayesian statistics", but the point still stands: you can't just describe real-world features (observed or not) with math alone. It requires some assumptions and some measurements from something. So, what happens here is that a cosmologist takes a few data points about earth, makes some assumptions about points, and comes up with an answer at the end. Mathematical, yes, but it would be more apt to be named "cosmology" than math. Even better than saying, "according to cosmology", how about saying, "according to cosmology professor". Perhaps, writing "according to cosmology professor" makes him sound like an outlier among his group, so, in order to make his idea sound valid based on the headline alone, perhaps it should be named "according to cosmology experts". But now, I'm back to where I was with the alligator article and my skepticism of expecting "unnamed experts", but in this case I'll know who the experts are after reading the article. How about "according to cosmology studies" if they insist on having "according" in the title. I'm more of a mindset of "Cosmology studies show ...".
"8 Things McDonald’s Can Do to Save Itself, According to Serious Foodies" - okay, we've got a very descriptive group here... what the heck are "serious foodies"? I think "foodies" is a word that will not enter my vocabulary, mostly because I can't tell if a "foodie" is the thing doing the eating or the thing being eaten.
"This image perfectly sums up inequality in America, according to the Internet" - well, we know this isn't true because the Internet can't agree on anything. So, I will provide a counter-image that "perfectly sums up why the Internet can't have accordance with anything, according to science".
I considered making it "according to experts", but then I would have been skeptical. Sorry.
Jun 13 2016, 18:43
What Does My Name Mean In Japanese Today's target: "What Does My Name Mean In Japanese?", a website devoted to giving you something in English that may have something to do with Japanese... or does it? I found this site after I saw someone show me what their name meant and realizing that their name, while probably not the easiest to make into Japanese, somehow came up with a simple end result. So, I decided to give it a try.
|So, you're greeted with this screen, which completely makes sense, until you notice that this is "Question 1 of 10." Hopefully, you're thinking what I'm thinking: "Why are there nine more questions after this? Surely, the only thing you'd need to determine what someone's name means in Japanese is a name." Sadly, it doesn't work like this. So, I just put in my name and hit continue.|
The obvious question, of course, being about what my propensity for keeping secrets has to do with my name. It's also a bit off-putting to get to a question that sounds like it's about to be followed by some sort of confessional that you aren't quite ready to hear. "Can you keep a secret? OK... so, I've been robbing banks and getting away with it for three months now..." and then you're thinking, "I really did not want to hear this..."|
At any rate, I just select the first option and go to the next question.
|This question sounds like a "personality profile" question, which I'm sure is the intent of this entire series of questions. I'll humor them and go along with it, even though I'm convinced my envy has little to do with a name given to me thirty-some years ago... and, by humoring them, I'm merely selecting the first option.|
|Only the most important details are required to determine what my name means in Japanese. Also, just wondering a little bit... if it's gonna ask me a question based on how popular my name is amongst my peers, why wouldn't it just be able to make a ballpark guess based on how common the name is. I suppose the question is actually sort of vaguely trying to determine how many friends I have, because, as we've discussed previously, my personal preferences have a significant level of control over the Japanese meaning of my name.|
|If I select option one, does my name turn into more of a Matthew-y James or does it turn more into a Charles-y James? Is this kind of like a Rorschach test? I didn't realize that the Rorschach test was used to interpret names.|
|Again, for the obvious, why does this matter? But, for a little extra, why does the third option lump Both with someone else? What does this even mean? If both of my parents agreed on my name, does that have the same weight as my great-uncle deciding on my name at a "Name The Baby" party? Surely, when step-cousin Richard means "James", he means more of an earthy James, whereas Aunt Lucy thinks more of an airy James. What if it was the dad's idea to name the boy and the mom just agreed to go along with whatever dad decided? What if the dad just scribbled out the mom's name on the birth certificate and wrote his own?|
The first thing I'm wondering is why this isn't done automatically with the test since it already knows my name. (Or does it?) Why is this questionnaire asking me questions about the name that I've already provided? What does it not know about the data that I've already input to the system?|
Secondly, why are my options so sheepish? "I guess so"... I have never in my entire life heard anyone have difficulty pronouncing my name. My option here should be an emphatic "Yes". But WAIT, we get a firm "No" at the bottom, as if the name that I put in had no way of being commonplace. So, with this information, it looks like my answers here are essentially "Zero people that I've met know how to say my name", "Maybe half of the people I met know how to say my name", and "A little bit over half of the people I've met know how to say my name". At any rate, I selected the first option, which is the only thing I've been doing for each of these questions.
Eight questions in and we finally get one that might have some reasonable relevance to my name's meaning in Japanese... or so, you'd think. Turns out that selecting Yes for this question (which I didn't do this time) does not branch to a different question asking what your middle name is. The only important factor is the presence of a middle name. Probably not surprising, since this questionnaire doesn't make it seem like it has remembed my name or any choices that I've made so far.|
Also, why is the third option "I've got more than one."? Surely, having a choice that reads, "I've got more than one." be covered by the choice that says "Yes". To be clear, the "Yes" would probably be better posed as "I have only one middle name", but it probably doesn't matter anyway since it doesn't ask what your middle name is even if you only have one.
|Just steer me to the option that reads, "Because you don't really know what my name means in Japanese." Never mind that, I select the first option, with a chuckle.|
|If you needed any more proof that it doesn't remember my name. First year programming students know how to answer this question. Again, I select the first option with a little bit more than a chuckle this time. Those who know me know that I often make fun of people and things that ask questions that I know they already know the answer to (don't do this; this is a bad quality to have, as I figured out, but that's a story for another time)|
Results are that my name means "The Blessed". Also, why do I have a horoscope reading based off of what my name means in Japanese? The only thing that should be underneath my name, which ostensibly means "The Blessed", is a definition of blessed, or something like "Yeah, it means Blessed, but not like the 'You're going to have a good job' blessed, but more along the lines of 'You're going to somehow figure out how to use a computer by the age of ten' blessed. You know what else means "The Blessed"?|
This, which is also not my name, or "my name in Japanese".
So, after a bit of skepticism and a longer bit of laughter, I decided to try again, because there's a button for me to do it again... yet, I'm not sure why anyone would want to seeing as how names usually don't change in the 2-5 minutes it takes to do the questionnaire. Anyway, I decide to give the questionnaire a "softball" and quite literally give it a word in Japanese.
|So, here we go. I've given it the Japanese word which means "newspaper". Let's see what "Newspaper in Japanese" means in Japanese. Unfortunately, I have to go through those silly questions again, so, as I did last time, I will just answer each question with the first answer. Final result should be "newspaper" if everything goes correctly... .|
|Result. No, I'm pretty sure that the correct answer is "newspaper". Conclusion: the first question is merely a formality and it decides the name in Japanese merely based off of the OKCupid questionnaire that follows. Thus, this has almost no Japanese significance. I mean, the result could very well just tell me what my name means in English and it would be just as relevant. To add to this, the two character Kanji on the side doesn't even translate to Blessed. I didn't have to translate it to know. You want to know how I figured it out?|
|This is a formality anyway.|
This is my result. Note the Kanji is identical, but the meaning is different. So, there's essentially as much Japanese in this test as there is French in a bag of French Fries. Also, I interpreted this result to be something along the lines of "You answered these questions as if you didn't want to take the quiz. You must be very eccentri-- I mean, introverted." I mean, look at some of these lines: "Only a couple of people really know what's going on inside your head" a.k.a. "You're going to be locked up in a few years, but hopefully it'll be in an insane asylum." You wouldn't want to "be part of a huge group where no one really knows each other". Really? Sounds more like an apprentice horoscope writer: "If I make their personalized message sound like a good thing, they won't reject it and maybe they won't question that I'm just sort of making this stuff up."|
So, what's the point of this entire thing if it doesn't make any sense, doesn't use your name, and doesn't have anything to do with the Japanese language? Well, ad revenue seems the best explanation. There are six to eight ads which appear on the page. Once you're done, you're encouraged to share on Facebook to get your other non-Japanese-cognizant friends to take part in this meaningless questionnaire (which is, of course, how I found it) so that they can share with their non-Japanese-cognizant friends. In fact, if you were so inclined, you could make a similar questionnaire and do the same thing except make your meanings come from some other foreign languages. And I'll leave you with this final note: Your name in Japanese "means" what your name means in English. My name, "James" means "James in English" in Japanese, or, simply, "James" in Japanese.
May 2 2016, 21:08
Apr 19 2016, 18:32
Super Mario Bros. Speedrun World Record If you haven't heard by now, the Super Mario Bros. videogame for NES has been beaten in world record time: 4 minutes and 57.26 seconds. It's one of the most optimized speedruns of any videogame (which makes sense as it is one of the oldest and most well-known video games); the previous world record was less than a half-second slower. It's one of the announcements which appears to have brought the entire speedrunning community together in celebration, with recognition from both Nintendo and YouTube (the former probably preparing on how to monetize the video and the latter celebrating ironically since they're probably about to mark it for third party content matching). The widespread accolade of Darbian's new world record for SMB is indicative of a few things. Firstly, video games are becoming more accepted within the media... well, at least the new ones such as Internet news. There was no article or newspiece on CBS Evening News. There is this article on a local CBS outlet which links the Tool-Assisted Speedrun. The TAS provides a statistical lower bound for the world record and, as such, differs from the normal speedrun world record. It's also not the same person .
Secondly, speedruns exist of multiple different games. Having any speedrun getting lots of publicity helps to legitimize speedrunning as a respectable pastime. Speedrunners typically hone their craft during their free time outside of work/school and many, I believe, are still unknown in their own hometowns. Even further, speedrunning still hasn't reached that ultimate goal of late night/pay-per-view with some snarky and slightly condescending host... okay, maybe it's not THE ultimate goal.
Against my better judgment I checked the comments on the news article about the new SMB world record. The comments fall roughly into three categories: "Congratulations on your run. I could never do this", "I saw some places where you could save some time", and "This is a waste of time". All of these, with exception of the second one, are typical responses to every online news articles. Some commenters just insist on having every news agency release only the news stories that they care about and actively go to articles they don't care about just to write about it... I don't understand this line of thought. Should I just drive around my city and go into buildings which don't provide goods or services that I'm interested in and complain to the manager about it?
Scrolling down to the bottom of the comments inevitably leads to the "implied virginity" comments, which are practically hallmarks of every article about "impressive feats". "meanwhile his friends who aren't spending 12 hours a day in front of a TV playing video games are out there experiencing life and getting laid." - Yes, nothing says "Great Life Experiences" such as scores of child support payments for having scores of illegitimate children between several different women. "So basically back then you paid for a 5 minute game?" Yes, just as buying a pool table is paying for a 16-second game of Pool. "This is why we have kids who think college, insurance, cell phones, tv's, cars, houses, etc....should be free....they are living in a virtual fantasy land." - Now, you're not even trying to make sense .
"I played the game many hours and no the hit detection is not garbage. He literally went through two hammer heads that you could never do in the game. He was using an assist tool unless the version he was paying was a later version where the kill zones didn't exist." - one of the more interesting things that you learn when getting involved into how video games actually work is instances such as this where the game does things that you didn't expect was possible. When the unassuming video gamer sees something like this which "look like it shouldn't happen", they become curious as to how this is possible (or, in cases like this, just claim cheating and try to leave the burden of proof on someone else). As video games have improved over the years, most eccentricities have been removed in favor of more "straight-forward" game operation. Video gamers growing up with the "what-you-saw-is-what-you-got" mentality seem to have a harder time accepting that it is possible to do things such as a jump through the end of the hammer stream that Bowser throws.
Mar 28 2016, 19:27
Too Much Political News
When I made this blog section of my website, I said that I would avoid hot topics such as politics, but I've been on a slump. Yahoo's news section bogs my computer down something fierce with what seems to be hundreds of video advertisements all vying for my computer's CPU cycles. I've had several news trips lead to a freeze-frame of the first page as hundreds of advertisements all slowly pop into view. It may sound like a virus, but I can assure you that it's just the news websites that I've been visiting recently.
The few clicks that I get are mostly part of the ridiculous presidential campaigns that are running right now. I've seen such a high level of 'credibility smearing' and controversy with this presidential campaign this year that it makes the previous election years seem nice. I've said a long time ago that the presidential election season is a mass display of some of the most sophisticatedly juvenile behavior by adults in the world today. (Such behavior is only rivaled by YouTube videos of adults acting like complete donkeys (NSFW Audio) in front of a camera.) Don't worry, I'm not going to discuss anything political or presidential. Just know that I'm looking at the election season coverage with my face in my palm, with one eye peeking through my pinky and ring finger.
While we're on the subject of being in front of a camera (and to celebrate that I found a non-political article), there are fine points when modeling underwear to keep in mind, as this guy (Gary Woodland) found out. Step 1: Golf is not Survivor; you have to wear pants. Step 2: If you're not going to wear pants, make sure to tuck your shirt into your underwear. Step 3: Profit, because you get more media coverage as you get less clothing coverage (and, ostensibly, less advertisement money).
Jan 19 2016, 22:11
Powerball Lady of Tennessee
A while back, there was a great stirring throughout the nation. Something that would upset the very core of what we hold dear. Yes, the Powerball Grand Prize was at 1.6 billion dollars. People around the nation were losing their collective minds over the thought of possibly receiving this amazing sum of money -- almost to the point of forgetting all of their grade school division. I'll have you know that there are NUMEROUS articles about this erroneous claim of giving 300 million people an even share of the billion dollars would somehow solve any problem of the economy. The most upsetting thing to me is, as you may have guessed, the sheer number of people that didn't question it. It should really make you consider how many other things get told to you over your life that no one has bothered to question.
Despite the great embarassment that every math teacher around the world felt, I was even more surprised by the aftermath of the Powerball results. In particular, this Powerball lady in Tennessee. She set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for herself because "we spent all of our money on lottery tickets (expecting to win the 1.5 billion)". I would like to emphasize that I threw my hands in the air when she mentioned that she "expected to win" the lottery. Yet, I had to take a quick pause and think to myself that she is going to learn her lesson when she realizes that no one is going to donate for such a silly cause. And that's when I read further and realized that she had ALREADY raised $800. The last line of the article: "Can you really be mad at her for trying?"
Instinctively, I say, "Yes", aloud, to myself. Yet, I took it back. I'm not mad at her. I'm mad at her spending habits, I'm mad at her expectation of winning, and, most of all, I'm mad at the people who donated $800 for her gambling habits. The feedback given to her by one person, as quoted in the article, matches with my thoughts very closely: "Guuuuuuuuuuurl…….I ‘SWEATERGAAAAAWD’ if I see one person give you one rusty copper penny ... ". I will at least give her a credit and compliment her honesty.
Except now, her GoFundMe page got shut down. Although she didn't receive the $800 donated for her, that does not diminish my disdain for the donators. She has also stated that it wasn't a serious post. This now places me in the strange position of having to revoke my credit for her "honesty" and giving her a credit for not actually spending herself into "dire straits".
Some people in the comments didn't quite come to grips with it as well as I did, though. "The page wasn't serious? Really? Then why was it even up?" Another commenter relates her story to that of a "Nazi sympathizer that thinks she is the reincarnation of Hitler" (?!?!?!) and is convinced that both need "a brain transplant" (side note: I can only conclude that one single brain transplant operation is desired here, as opposed to "brain transplants", unless it is between both of the women discussed, in which case that would be weird).
But, can you really be mad at her for trying? "Guuuuuuuuuuurl…….I ‘SWEATERGAAAAAWD’"
Jan 1 2016, 10:00
Happy New Year
Nov 28 2015, 15:53
If you were here last year, you already know what this post is going to be about. Yes, it is that time of the year again. Time for us to reflect upon the hardships that we have endured and through which we have persevered. It is time to reflect upon the sacrifices that we make to give to our families...
We sacrificed our forearm muscles and bones when someone decided the best way to get what they wanted was to shove as many people as possible in random directions.
... and our neighbor's shoulder and face because we just had to jump over that guy to get the widescreen TV.
... and our friends because if "you broke it", then you'd better pay for it... in blood.
... and this guy's pants because he should have known better than to jump "mosh pit" style at the pallet that was previously stacked with TVs.
... and our sanity when we realize halfway up that this escalator is going in the wrong direction.
... and that one lady outside the store that was encroaching on our vantage point.
... and this mild-mannered guy versus the husband and wife that are probably *actually* football players.
... and our job. Save money. Live better. Yeah, except for that one chick in the checkout line.
Of course, some had to pay the ultimate sacrifice...
Sadly, only one person can buy this flatscreen TV (now with rapidly decreasing resale value)...
... or this flatscreen TV which is a few grabs away from coming with a free iPod.
... or this tug-of-literal-war over this HD TV between two men and one woman...
... or this... I don't even know what's in the box, but it's probably not worth MSRP anymore.
What better way of introducing your children to the sacrifices you make and the evils that you have to deal with?
Nov 12 2015, 8:49
The Martian, The Facts, and The Future of Population Control
What a dire sounding topic, but I'm about to bring you into the future as desired by some commenters.
A while back, there was a movie released about a guy being left on Mars because he was presumed dead by his crew. You may have heard of this movie named The Martian. It is a movie that I wished I could have watched in theaters (movies will not do your homework for you), but I'll just have to deal with it.
A week later and we run into this article (from Yahoo's suspicious "Finance" section, no less) about people who thought that The Martian was based on a true story at some point and tweeted about it: "Just found out The Martian isn't based on a true story, honestly pretty disappointed", "Sometimes I'm smart, and sometimes I google 'is the martian based on a true story'. For the record it is definitely not." How embarrassing to have your tweet about your own lack of knowledge about an actual trip to Mars become part of a Yahoo article to make an example out of you!
Buuuuuuuut... just in case that wasn't enough, we then go to the comments. "Wow!! I'm actually starting to worry about the future of our country", because the fate of the United States is obviously heavily dependent on everyone's knowledge of the history of space exploration. If you don't know all about the history of space exploration, it's just like you don't know how to multiply or how to drive on the correct side of the road. "So Sad! Thats all I can say, well, that and some people should not be allowed to procreate!" The vast majority of people in the world are serving a functional part of their own society that has nothing to do with their knowledge of how many planets we've visited. The judge issuing verdicts on a homicide case doesn't need to know how many moons Neptune has. Safety and health investigators don't need to know how we managed to crash a probe into Mercury. The person bagging your groceries at the store doesn't need to know the number of people that have landed on planets outside of Earth. "I swear, there needs to be a minimum IQ standard before people are allowed to breed." - How about a minimum IQ of 0? That seems like a good enough standard. Now, people are allowed to breed. "We are doomed. Such aggressive ignorance is the reason we face imminent annihilation. Maybe we deserve it." - half of the tweets are people correcting themselves... who has the "aggressive ignorance" here?
Oct 13 2015, 21:19
I spend a lot of time listening to people speak. I listen to people speak and I am amazed. Speaking is hard. When I'm writing, I can plan out what I'm going to write about, what pictures and references I need to bring in, and I don't have to worry about any sort of time constraint. Speakers don't have this luxury (most of the time). I am always impressed by people who can discuss complex topics off the top of their head and not have to backpeddle or correct themselves. That being said, everyone who talks well is not actually intelligent. I get to listen to a lot of people who *think* they are intelligent and try to talk as if they are.
One of the first things that instantly makes me wary is when people use "by definition". Proper uses of definition are usually in an argument where it is important to know what the definition is and what is derived from the definitions; if the derivations are getting cloudy, boggy, and confused, and the audience is unsure as to how they got to some conclusion, it's important to rein in the common ground and bring out the definitions, axioms, and other basics that keep things in check. Example: "A rectangle has four right angles by definition". "By definition" is used to relate one idea to another idea's definition. You can even say "By definition, the phrase 'by definition' relates one thing to the definition of another thing".
The idea of "by definition" seems to have gotten taken over by people who want assert a relationship (in particular, try to win an argument) between two things by its definition. One only needs to search Twitter, for instance, to get a bundle of hits. Each tweet is, as you may imagine, someone arguing (indirectly, of course) with some other entity (that probably isn't even a part of the discussion) about how two things are related by a definition.
We'll start with probably the best example: "If gun owners don't have guns, by definition, they aren't gun owners." One can readily define a gun owner as "something that owns a gun". A person without a gun is not a gun owner. Notice that "by definition" is never necessary. The word can be completely omitted and the point will still be there. It doesn't add anything of value to the sentence. If I remove "by definition" from the above, then the sentence reads, "If gun owners don't have guns, they aren't gun owners.". The meaning is all there. Adding "by definition" also adds that thin level of "I'm going to pretend like I'm a dictionary for a bit, so humor me, okay." Unfortunately, this was a good example. There are plenty of bad examples to follow.
"Heuristics are bug ridden by definition." I checked the definition of heuristics; heuristics are, by definition, an "approach to problem solving that is not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals." Bugs, in the sense of programming, are, by definition, an oversight in programming. Heuristics are intentional, bugs are not. Therefore, neither "heuristics" nor "bugs" are defined by the other term.
"A woman with a voice is by definition a strong woman." Does this mean that a woman without a voice is not a strong woman? Or is this the "voice" in the sense that "anyone that can communicate has a voice"? I looked up "strong" in the dictionary and it is, by definition, the ability to withstand force or pressure. I don't have to define woman since it's obvious that a woman is a woman, by definition (that's reflexivity ). Yet, communication does not define strength and strength does not define communication. I would recommend swapping out "by definition" with something like "by virtue". I like virtue. It sounds really nice and, most of all, it doesn't have to deal with definitions.
"Trigger Warning: 'Trigger Warning' is By Definition Triggering and Should Be Replaced with 'Content Warning'". It takes a bit of looking into this one to figure out what is defined here. At any rate, I'll spare the analysis, because "by definition" seems to have just been added here purely for argumentative purposes. The words "Trigger Warning" is doing the triggering here and definitions don't have anything to do with it. I would recommend swapping out "by definition" with something like "since I don't actually have a dictionary".
"Laughter is by definition healthy." - laughter is now defined as a noun, meaning, "a healthy thing to do". Now, you can replace laughter in all of your sentences with our new definition that this person has just pulled out of his/her backside (with minor interpretations by me ). I went to the comedy show and the room was filled with a healthy thing to do. A healthy thing to do is the best medicine. Jessica went into Frank's room and all you could hear was Frank's healthy thing to do downstairs.
"Sobriety by definition is safe." - let's try this one the opposite way. Safe is now defined as an adjective meaning "sober". I keep my jewels sober by putting them in my secret basement. My brother sends me pictures that are not sober for work. I ran home the other day to make sure that my kids were sober.
"calling me a closed minded anything by definition makes you the bigot." - You can have fun with these.
"Logically by definition you qualify as a bigot." - when one adverb isn't enough to make the correlation.
"Though overuse of almost anything is by definition inadvisable." - You can, by definition, add, by definition, this phrase, by definition, anywhere.
"Yes by definition, those are two totally contradicting concepts. " - You could also just omit "by definition". Also, check out "totally contradicting": because "partially contradicting" doesn't contradict enough for my tastes.
"i think, by now, umpires are inconsistent by definition." - read: "I also like to think of myself as a dictionary"
. More Reading
Oct 4 2015, 18:51
Won't Someone Please Keep The Plains Clean?
You should get dressed up to get on a plane and here are four silly reasons why you should do so. "You might get an upgrade" - if you dress in some uncomfortable clothing, there's a small chance that you get an upgrade. If you don't, however, you're screwed AND you're uncomfortable. "You'll save space in your suitcase" - this is why I wear jackets and, in general, the biggest things that I've packed. The suit is not necessarily the biggest thing that I've packed. "You'll feel better about yourself" - no, I won't. Chances are that I'm either wearing the suit because I have something planned shortly after landing (in which case, I don't really have that much of a choice as to what I'm wearing) or, if I don't, I now have an important set of clothes that I have to wash when I get to the hotel. "You'll make work more pleasant for the flight attendant" - what? This doesn't make any sense aside from "They'll take me more seriously if I'm dressed up and look nice". Why are the flight attendants so testy about people who aren't dressed up? Is there a secret code amongst flight attendants to assume that people in "basketball shorts and flip-flops" are going to cause trouble? Do they just assume that everyone on a plane is making business trips and that people who aren't dressed properly are secretly violating their office dress code? If you're constantly harassing people on the plane, annoying the flight attendants, and not following instructions, it doesn't matter what you're wearing.
A commenter provided a better reason to get dressed up (if it still counts): if you need to slide down the Emergency Exit slide, you don't want to do it in shorts and flip-flops. That being said, I still don't see a reason to get any more highbrow than jeans and tennis shoes. The commenters agree, for the most part (and are a funny read, as always). "I suggest you wear clothes that increase your likelihood of surviving a survivable plane crash" - I think suits are more survivable than basketball shorts and flip-flops, but then again, any long pants should do the job. "Lets play a game called i paid for this and you get paid to be here. The stuardess will attend me no matter what im wearing." - you still have to wear something though, otherwise the "stuardess" will have to deal with you and then you actually will be deserving of that fourth reason listed above.
"I don't know WHEN they clean those plains, everything is DIRTY and disgusting, and SERVICE?" - Well, some lines just pop out at me for the wrong reasons. For starters, plains are not cleaned as extensively as planes are. In Spain, for example, they are usually cleaned by the rain which mainly falls there. Randomly placed words in uppercase are easy things to look for in case you are like me and looking for horribly-constructed sentences and paragraphs. Yelling doesn't make your grammar mistakes go away, boo-boo. "and prizes are UP, at least KEEP THE PLAINS CLEAN ! Same goes for food, cheaper Diesel, food prizes up." - suddenly, we're talking about diesel and... food prizes? I don't know about you, but I have never won any prizes on a plane.
"As a Airline employee let me point out 2 things I see people doing wrong all the time. First wearing flip flops, sandles & high heels." - Yeah, you can only wear one so people wearing all three would probably tend to hold up lines. He then gives us a complete discussion using (simplified) math: "just for the ease of math lets say a 777 holds 300 people, to be certified boeing had to prove the Aircraft could be evacuated in something like 90 seconds do you think they want you tripping over 600 pieces of footwear before exiting the aircraft" (and, no, I did not omit a question mark). The Boeing 777 certification test apparently requires the aircraft to be evacuated in 90 seconds with less than 600 pieces of footwear on the floor. "Second after throwing yourself down the escape slide about halfway down your going to realize the first thing digging into the concrete is your BARE FEET." - About halfway down my what? "Second, Women, I very much enjoy seeing a fine dressed woman but ..." - this is the second 2nd point that he has brought up thus far. I guess this for extremely large values of 2. "Oh as a side note about skirts and dresses, you women who like to go pantyless, You have any idea how many people #$%$ & #$%$ & puke all over those seats every day, don't think there giving a good cleaning because there not " - I just like to think that there's just an assembly of people who go into every plane every day and then "#$%$ & #$%$ & puke all over those seats". Seriously, how often do people puke on plane seats? Is it daily, as this guy wants you to believe. They're probably just babies or flight-sick people; the rest of the passengers don't. Or, to quote, "there not".
"Absolutelly! And her trips were never longer than 3hrs (with delayed include). " - Don't ask me what a "delayed include" is because I have absolutelly no idea. "Especially if the flight is not sold out and all their "Diamond/Plantinum" members have been taken care of. " - Plantinum . "This is the dumbest article I think I've ever read." "Dumb article. Contentions are inaccurate and not supported by facts." "Very stupid article." "I think this article was written just for the sake of writing an article and filling up space. " - I think they're trying to tell me something. There was another comment when I first viewed the article that I can't find anymore, but it was a discussion on a guy discussing the wardrobe choices of his "aquatints".
Pleased to make your aquatints. How did you become aquatinted with each other?
Aug 23, 2015, 20:25
Thank Goodness We Didn't Go Outside To Look At Mars There were a few (that is, more than one) articles about a hoax that is being circulated on Facebook. Since it was a few, I figured it would be some hoax about laws, health, or something generally about well-being.
No, it's about looking at Mars. The hoax is that Mars purportedly becomes "visible" at the end of this month and it won't become "visible" again until 272 years later. Now, I would ask that if Mars is "visible" on this day, how does Mars become "invisible" for the rest of these 272 years? Cloaking device? Does it hide on the other side of the earth? Does it hide next to the sun? Does it hide within the "physiological blind spots" within the human eye, reacting proactively to eye movement to remain hidden in plain sight?
Well, no. Mars is always "visible". It just doesn't get this close. But, why listen to me say it when you could read any of these articles? It's not like people are going to go out on August 27th, look at the sky, try to find the new "visible" Mars, get upset when they can't see it, and then explode. They'll just go outside and look like a fool expecting a giant Mars. Plus, if they're stargazers worth their salt, they wouldn't have fallen for the hoax in the first place... especially since there's a ton of articles about space exploration in the wake of the direct images of Pluto.
So, why all the fuss about this relatively harmless hoax when there are much more hoaxes that are potentially dangerous than this? Why is there no plethora of articles debunking backwards PINs which somehow make an ATM call the police? Why is there no cavalcade of articles discussing why drinking water before a bath somehow lowering blood pressure is incorrect?
Anyone still up for some articles covering why the world isn't going to end on December 21st, 2012? At least that one was for a life-saving cause... perhaps.
Aug 19 2015, 19:30
Rediscovering What We Already Knew
Over the last week or so, an "important" study was released showing a link between video games and violent behavior. News outlets swarmed the study -- there were three articles on Yahoo at one time I checked:
Here Is A Slightly Memory-Intensive Page, Probably Because of the Advertisements.
The First Word In The Title: Insufficient
Has Annoying Ads
What's the issue here? Didn't we have this conversation just about two years ago?
In fact, we did. October 4, 2013 is when I wrote about a Yahoo article about Red Cross and video games: "Of course, previous studies have yet to determine a causal link between in-game and real-world violence, which could derail the Red Cross's argument. Observers are keeping a close eye on a study by the CDC, however, as the issue continues to simmer on the political radar."
I then wrote about the link between video games and aggression that is similar to that experienced by sports players. Did we develop a new causal link between in-game and real-world violence? It certainly looks like we rediscovered the old link.
Perhaps, if an infinite number of psychology studies are performed, at least one will give us the link that we're looking for, even if it doesn't exist.
Aug 9 2015, 19:03
Nine Things Mentally Strong People Do Every Day 9 Things Mentally Strong People Do Every Day
What is this supposed to mean? If I do these every day, do I suddenly become "mentally strong"? What if I only do some of them but I'm not good at one or two in particular? What if I do them all, but only on six days of the week? Am I mentally strong if I'm REALLY good at only one of them?
That being said, I can also provide nine things that mentally strong people do every day:
If you do all of these, you will also become "mentally strong". However, if you cannot do all of them, you can still consider yourself mentally strong if you, for example, breathe. If you're REALLY good at walking, you can also consider yourself to be mentally strong. If you don't sleep every day, you may not be as mentally strong as someone else. If you are not very good at maintaining a pulse, you may not be able to consider yourself mentally strong.
What is this supposed to mean? If you're weak, do people ask if you're okay? Whoops! People should ask if you're "Okey". A quick Google Search shows that "Okey" is a Turkish game with numbered tiles and such. So, if you're strong, should people wonder if you are a numbered-tile game? If you are, in fact, a numbered-tile game, should people conclude that you are strong?
But seriously... if you want people to ask if you're okay, you should stop acting strong. If you aren't strong enough to be okay in your circumstances, stop pretending! Stop putting on a front and crumbling on the inside. You should be strong enough to know when to look strong enough. Better yet, don't bother waiting for people to ask if you're okay. Be strong enough and tell someone that you need help. You're not a lion. Lions can't talk. You can always ask for help. You're not a numbered-tile game. Numbered-tile games are unable to hear. You can help someone in need. You are, however, fallible, like everyone else. For instance, you may have accidentally wrote "Okey" on a JPG and distributed the image throughout the Internet. It's OKAY (no pun intended)! This will not adversely affect your job performance (unless this was your job). If you are, in fact, strong, you should be able to accept your shortcoming and remember to use spell check. You shouldn't be crumbling on the inside because you wanted someone to ask if you're okay when you previously believed that you were strong enough to write text without a spell checker.
Don't worry; everything will turn out okey. Yes. Everything will turn into a numbered-tile game!
Jul 27 2015, 12:16
It has been a while since I have updated my website. First of all, I am going to be at Summer Games Done Quick for this entire week. I will be playing Rockman 3 Burst Chaser on Thursday, July 30, at 3:30PM CDT (time is subject to change based on marathon setup times). It will be a blast and I hope you enjoy. Second, I have been doing a little work on Quadrill 5, but I have been spending more time working on graduate research. Hopefully, I'll be able to do more work on Quadrill 5 in August.
Jun 3 2015, 13:30
Another Math Puzzle I've updated the Quadrill 5 section with some more Quadrill 5 updates. Now, let's do some math. Not to be outdone with a puzzle that makes you do some critical thinking (in reference to the birthday puzzle that I discussed on April 18th), a new hard math puzzle has reared its head: Third-Grade Math Challenge. The puzzle is described as "deceptively simple", but the article describes it more like "deceptively challenging"; perhaps the puzzle is to describe the puzzle accurately.
The goal is to place the numbers 1 to 9 in the empty squares and only use one of each number to get the solution. The colon operator (lol) is division, as you probably can guess. Sounds easy? Maybe. It isn't "easy" in the sense that I couldn't look at it for five minutes and get the answer. However, note that there are, in theory, over 300,000 possible ways to arrange numbers into the boxes (a few rounds of deduction can reduce this to, perhaps, 800 reasonably close combinations). This puzzle, while difficult, doesn't really require the in-depth thinking that the birthday puzzle did. The challenge lies in finding this one combination out of 300,000 that works, rather than determining how to do it. So, why not just put the numbers into a computer program and solve it?
Naturally, people get all bent up on the axle of order of operations, rather than solving it with order of operations and without. Personally, order of operations wasn't taught to me until maybe 7th or 8th grade, so I'd lean more towards solving it without order of operations. At any rate, my brain doesn't hurt.
A commenter says, "If you actually double-check the 'solution' by plugging the numbers back in it is wrong." ... maybe, just maybe, you did the math wrong. Maybe you could have been just a little bit skeptical of producing wrong numbers and maybe the person who uploaded the solution may have actually double-checked the numbers that were going to be scrutinized by hundreds or thousands of other readers.
It's the same reason why these 'images of math puzzles' (why an image of text? please! it's 2015!) keep circulating around the internet: With no clear set of rules, you can guess a few responses to this puzzle (56, 50, and 44 are the first three responses that I saw). For extra fun, figure out what order of operations you need to set up to get each of those numbers from the problem. That being said, 50 is obviously the "right answer". If you got it wrong, don't worry! You are like most people and have a head full of rocks (according to the image)!
I mean, we've also got trick questions and trick responses such as Mount Everest isn't the tallest mountain, where Mount Everest is the tallest mountain, as measured from sea level and Mount Chimborazo is the tallest mountain, as measured from the center of the earth, as opposed to Mauna Kea, which is tallest mountain as measured from its base. I suppose I should be more confused as to why this part of the finance section.
May 19 2015, 21:38
Quadrill 5 Updates I've updated the Quadrill 5 section.
May 2 2015, 21:42
Why You Can Never Plug In Your USB Plug Correctly The First Time, Justice, and Quadrill Updates
I'm sure you've done it before; you've tried to plug in a USB device into your computer and got it wrong. You then asked yourself, "Why do I never plug this thing in correctly on the first try?" Well, don't worry, because I have the answer.
The quick answer is because you're too hard on yourself. Do you honestly expect to plug the thing in correctly everytime without looking at it? You have a 50% chance of getting it right, which means you also have a 50% chance of getting it wrong.
Suppose you plug it in right the first time. How would you describe how you felt on a scale of 0 to 10? Probably about a 6, I'm guessing. It's a minor victory, so you won't get too excited.
On the flipside, suppose you plug it in wrong. How would you describe how you felt on a scale of 0 to 10? About a 4? That would be too easy, wouldn't it. In reality, you'll get annoyed and frustrated because you were probably in some slightly uncomfortable position that you now have to stay in for a few seconds. You probably dropped the USB plug and now have to pick it up off of the floor or behind the coffee cup that's in front of the computer. So, you may want to bring down that 4 to something like a 2.
Now, we invoke a thing called statistical expectation. Statistical expectation gives you an average value that you can expect when doing something that involves randomness. In your case, your randomness is getting the USB plug in on the first try. The value that you feel when plugging in a USB device is weighted by the chance of it actually happening. This also applies to when you don't plug it in correctly. So, now that you've got your values, you realize that you have a 50% chance of feeling like 6 on your scale of 0 to 10, and you have a 50% chance of feeling like a 2 on your scale of 0 to 10. But, wait! When I average them, I get 4! You may expect this value to 5, but I convinced you that it's 4. The four simply comes from you being too hard on yourself when you plug it in incorrectly.
So, you may ask, "What can I do about this?" There are many ways.
Firstly, you can stand to feel better about yourself when you plug in your USB right on the first try. It doesn't have to involve confetti and baked goods, however.
Secondly, you can look at the USB connector and USB port before you blindly start plugging it into your computer. The plastic part inside of the USB connector goes on the opposite side of the plastic part inside of the USB port. There are a few handy shortcuts, though, if you simply cannot look at the port.
Apr 18 2015, 21:43
Clad in Logic
Let's get this out the way: everyone is now calling everything viral that people can't agree on as something derivative based off of that dress (the one that I talked about over a month ago). Case in point: a viral math problem. It's actually a logical problem that was offered to Singapore students. The (probably translated) version is what you see in the link. I've also added it below:
However, if you want the solution, you'll have to look that one up on your own (the solution is in the link above).
There is a lot of beauty in this problem that I cannot quite describe, but the problem is indeed solvable. Naturally, the comments underneath the article are the list of excuses of "Why I couldn't solve this problem". "Why doesn't Cheryl just tell them their birthdays?" "The problem is written poorly." "Obviously Cheryl doesn't want them to come to the party." "This question serves no purpose." "I could have had a computer solve it in milliseconds."
Then why didn't you?
These excuses echo back to a few experiences that I had when people (including me) gave up too early. The comments section reflects this idea of what it looks like when someone gives up too early (and why you should never give up). Granted, it is just a logic problem for Singapore math students in a high-level math competition, but don't give up. Otherwise, you'll look like these poor souls in the comments section.
Alternatively, you could become the guy that writes, "Eliminate all of the impossible answers and you will be left with only the right answer." How descriptive.
In other news, I've updated the Quadrill 5 section.
Apr 10 2015, 21:30
The Cat Is Going Downstairs
The mysterious photographer taking slightly ambiguous pictures is trying to conquer the Internet again with this picture.
Is this cat going upstairs or downstairs?
You can look at it for a minute and make up your mind and then I will tell you why you are right. First of all, the picture is grayscale, so I don't have to use my color identification program . Secondly, in order to determine if the cat is going up or down the stairs, all you need to do is figure out if the picture is taken from the bottom of the stairs or the top.
The thing that pops out (somewhat literally) to me is the raised portion of the stairs protruding a little. On all of the steps that I have climbed, the protruding part is usually from the horizontal portion of the step (that way, you trip on them while going upstairs ). If the protrusion came from the vertical portion of the step, you would trip on it and fall downstairs, which is highly unlikely. Therefore we must be looking at the vertical portion of stairs and thus, the cat is going downstairs.
At least Business Insider agrees with me, with a lot more detailed pictures.
"Actually the cat is going upstairs..." No. No, it isn't.
The correct answer, as provided by the comments below the article: "I've watched this photo for 10 minutes. The cat never moved, so I say it is not going up or down. It seems to be just standing still." This is entirely true. The cat in this photo is not moving and, consequently, neither answer is correct.
"Not rocket science." Of course it's not rocket science! Anyone who argues that something isn't rocket science probably doesn't know what rocket science is. I also acknowledge how weird it is that I went into discussion about which way the cat is going before linking to the article, but at least I didn't post it in the comments section saying the same thing!
Fortunately, not that many people would comment to an article that shows which direction the cat is going with arguments that were already brought up in the SAME article to which they're replying.
At least, in my case, I formulated my answer BEFORE reading the article (maybe...
TODO: subtract a few hours from posting time)
IO9 posed a few (twelve) ways in which mankind could destroy the entire solar system. Not gonna lie, while reading this (especially after looking at the picture for "stellifying Jupiter"), I was thinking back to the old FF7 days and Sephiroth's Super Nova... attack (spell? magic?).
Yes, in order to kill these three people who I have been fighting, I'm going to start up this (literally) two-minute long and drawn out sequence, where I summon what looks like a simple comet with Orbital Mechanics Equations (lol, there won't be any orbits left afterward), destroy the sun and half of the solar system (I concluded that Earth was destroyed in the ensuing Super Nova), but it's just gonna do 75% of your maximum health. Furthermore, if you give me more time, I will destroy the same planets that I just destroyed (and this won't kill you either ).
Well, since we can't die from annihilation of our entire solar system, let's start doing some of these projects right now. Although, not to be outdone, Ultimecia of FF8 also tries to kill you with the solar system, smacking you with four planets (this one can actually kill you, though), but at least she does it quickly, only taking a little under a minute to do so. Necron, from FF9, follows that up with an even shorter (by a few seconds) and more deadly Grand Cross, which doesn't look nearly as deadly as Super Nova or even Great Attractor (it looks like six planets parked outside of the earth and then a whole bunch of what I just refer to as celestial lightning).
Apr 6 2015, 20:06
I have updated the Quadrill 5 section because I have built a natural gas processing facility.
Also, if you look over at the navigation bar, you will notice that the donation button is gone. The donation button wasn't working for, probably, several years, until someone mentioned that it didn't work (I may have checked it previously and found that it didn't work). Well, that should be resolved because I have gotten rid of it and replaced it with a pitch-in widget that should receive donations. If you would like to support my hobby-endeavor, please give me money.
Mar 20 2015, 19:16
From Denver to Daytona
I have updated the Quadrill 5 section to reflect all of the work that I have done on Quadrill 5 so far. I am continually building upon the marshlands of Denver as we speak.
If you have not played Rockman 4 Burst Chaser Air Sliding, I highly recommend it. I had time to kill, so I recorded myself singing along with Dive Man's stage music, interestingly enough, based off of the Daytona U S A Song. The page and song can be found here.
Mar 16 2015, 21:02
A History Major's Weather Forecast
The first article I found wanted to find the answer to the question, "Why does Mario run from left to right?". The answer is, of course, because that's which way you have to go to get to the finish point. But why do you have to run from left to right? Well, if you would like to know, you could ask any computer programmer why characters typically move from left to right.
Just kidding, we asked a PSYCHOLOGIST. Seriously, a psychologist? That's like asking a museum curator for a weather forecast. If you would have asked me, I would have regaled you on where the origin for most display devices is on the screen. Perhaps that was the actual meaning of the article? Perhaps none of the computer programmers interviewed knew why the origin is typically the top left corner of the screen. Well, at least we can rest easy, knowing that modern psychology agrees with what most computer programmers expected: the origin is in the top left corner of the screen "because players like it".
I had to cleanse my palate and find a more serious article to read. I'm pretty sure I found gold, though, and you will realize it as soon as you get a load of this headline. British Airways Flight Reportedly Forced To Land Because Of 'Smelly Poo'.
That's just golden right there. I don't even need to write anything about this. This is the news article to end all news articles. While everyone else is reporting on plane crashes, Ebola virus infections (yes, the Ebola virus is still out there, and probably not in hair extensions from Monrovia), and other dangerous issues affecting lives across the world, we have a plane with 'smelly poo'. I just have one question: have we identified the person who dropped this massive and, quite literally, "flight-diverting" poop? Secondly, we need to identify just what this person ate. If this mystery deuce-dropper ate at the airport, then I believe that we should quarantine the entire food court until the cause is identified and annihilated. If the food was from outside the airport, we need to demolish the building, parking lot, and nearby constructions... because one does NOT simply poop on a plane and send it back to the airport. Thirdly, and this (yes, just this) is for my own personal interest, what did this person do after destroying the toilet? Calmly sit down and start reading. Did this person walk out of the bathroom like Ace Ventura and yell, with the decisiveness of seven warriors, "Do NOT go in there"?
Of course, no silly story is complete without a good old trip to the comments section.
"Couldn't they have just opened a window or lit a match.", yes, the fart was so bad, we had to depressurize the cabin. A couple of snakes flew out as well, but, honestly, we were more concerned about the smell. Upon further inspection, a disturbing number of people have suggested opening a window. Maybe you should double-check who is sitting in the exit row next time you're on a plane, or you might find yourself going from a stinky situation to a sucky situation (pun completely intended).
"That was a really [crappy] situation."
"Never heard of air freshener." Something tells me that the fart may have been just a little bit too much for 12 ounces of your favorite fragrance to cover.
"Poignant and thought provoking journalism." I wholeheartedly agree.
Mar 6 2015, 10:00
The Internet Is Rife With Discussion About The Color Of This Dress
I'll be honest; I thought it was white and gold (also, "I'll be honest" makes it seem like I'm normally lying). I tried to look at it and see blue and black, but I couldn't see it. So, I decided that I need an unbiased eye to help me determine the color of this dress. So, I have created (fabricated, if you will) a small clip of one of the dress colors with no other background objects or lighting to influence my guess.
What color is this fabric? Well, it looks blue. It even looks blue against my blue website background.
What color is this fabric? This looks like a very ugly and crusty goldish-brown. I cannot see this as black, even with/without the extremely bright background of the image. Obviously, I'm going to need some help here.
Of course, the best way to kill a mosquito is with a handgun. I wrote a quick program that calculates the average color of the blue fabric shown; the result is the RGB color 123, 136, 170 (or #7B88AA), which is a very grayish-blue:
The same fabric with the average color shown as the form background.
The other fabric is 102, 92, 81, which is even more grayscale than the blue, but still a decently golden brown, as I mentioned earlier. (#665C51) So, my computer agrees with me: this dress is actually #7B88AA and #665C51.
Now, let's get a larger sample size by examining a larger swath of this dress fabric to help show that these values have not been "fabricated":
As you can see above, I've color-coded the two different colors of the dress from the right image into two false colors (red and green) in the right image. The pixels at each red and green point are averaged separately and the output is at the top of the second image. The numbers are slightly different, but still close enough to their original values; the dress is brown and blue, #8E5348 and #717998.
"Actually, the dress is blue and black." ... ... ... ....
Jan 1 2015, 08:40
Happy New Year
It's now 2015, which is going to be a busy year for me as I have to finish my Master's studies this year. Before the semester starts (in a week and a half), I will be attending Awesome Games Done Quick 2015 as I did last year. For more information, click on the banner. The show goes from January 4th until January 11th.
I've also updated the Music section. In other news, I've been working on porting Quadrill 5 over to .NET and it looks AMAZING! I'll try to get a screenshot to upload soon, but my word will have to suffice for now.
December 26 2014, 18:14
'Twas The Night After Christmas
I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and continue to have safe drives during the holiday season. The night after Christmas begins the slow (?) transition from Christmas mode to New Year's Day mode, where resolutions are made and subsequently broken because it's not the New Year yet. Yahoo news didn't waste any time with the weight loss and gym resolution bait articles: they're already out. It's the day after Christmas! We're still transitioning!
I've updated the Music Section with one last update before the New Year. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
December 21 2014, 13:48
We Need To Do Better
Rarely is the question asked: "Is Our Children Learning?".
At this school in New Jersey, prominently displayed for every child to see: "Dicember 2014" and "18 Progress Reepor". Is our children learning? Our children is learning how to live with grammatical deficiencies.
This school had an "assaignment" and students found it "inapproporiate". I agree; they should have been doing critical thinking on the benefits of spelling classes for adults. Notice that even the hyperlink misspelled "assignment".
Thursday Night Football: Saturday Edition, better known to the viewing public as "Saturday Afternoon Football", but I guess there's something magical about watching football in the afternoon and convincing yourself that it's nighttime... as well as convincing yourself that it's not the weekend when it actually is. Or is it?
Yahoo provided several quick tips to help protect yourself from injury when you wake up in the morning and realize that you need to shovel newly-fallen snow from your driveway. Commenters didn't pick up on the nuance that the article is talking about things to do that morning and argued twice for long-term hints such as starting an exercise regimen. "Hal, it snowed last night. Can you shovel the snow off the driveway while I put our boxes in the car?" "Sure thing, babe... but first, let me go to the gym, start up an exercise regimen that will continue over several months, and then I can shovel the driveway sometime in early 2015." I was also gonna say, "Maybe you should stop sacrificing your book-reading and critical-thinking time for gym time", but that may have been "innaproporiate". I just wanted to believe that our children islearning.
Notice: "Are our children learning?" is the correct sentence.
December 13 2014, 22:49
Happy 12/13/14. In this day and age, you can talk to almost any random Sam and Joe and get (questionable) fitness advice. I am not one of those people. Don't bother asking me how to lose weight. I don't know how. I also will not give any advice on how to get in shape and feel great. You can go practically anywhere and figure this stuff out. Let's take a brief moment to celebrate the people who are helping to work out one of the most important muscle in the human body: the brain. The more you use your brain, the stronger it becomes. Don't get wrapped up with ideas like IQ scores and such; real knowledge comes from working out your mind. "Success is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration" is a famous quote from Abraham Lincoln who also made other important quotes such as the one below.
Yahoo wants to teach us about Standard Deviation. It's a fine article; it's not a Wikipedia article where the author explains the term with several other advanced terms each with their own links. The other fact (that probably shouldn't have been nearly as surprising as it is) is how few comments there are (only 24). Naturally, I ask, "Why are there so few comments on this article when other articles have thousands of comments?" Well, the answer is probably what you're thinking now, so I won't say it... and you should feel bad for thinking it (I'm just kidding).
What is more surprising (again, probably a bit moreso than it is) is how every commment, except for the first, is a bunch of people arguing about how confusing the article is. "A long and confusing explanation. SD is simply a measure of how spread out the numbers are from the mean" even though the article says, "Standard deviation is a measure of how far away individual measurements tend to be from the mean value of a data set." Does the abbreviation of Standard Deviation as SD make it that more understandable? Another reader was outraged at the article, stating, "Heaven forbid he'd try to tackle efficient frontier, SML/CML, or *gasp* the Black Scholes Binomial option pricing model." (in defense, this user apologized later) Another reader expressed concern that Standard Deviation is for "nerds". Why be afraid of being called a 'nerd'? In some circles, knowing how to multiply makes you a nerd. That boat would be long out to sea when you're calculating "SD" .
Oh, let's keep going down this rabbit hole! Another reader asks (rhetorically, of course) "Understanding what SDEV is qualifies you as a nerd? You do know that is a FUNDAMENTAL math concept that you learn even before high school right?" Yes, totally fundamental for students to take the "square root of the average of the squares of the difference from the mean" before learning Algebra (it's possible, I guess... definitely not fundamental to any math class that I know of) But we did SDs all the time. We would do SDs during recess. We would find SDs of everything that had a number. Totally fundamental. You might catch an SD on a late-night make-out session that gets a little heated when you bring up size comparisons... specifically, how bigger your car is when compared to the average... yeah.
Well, maybe I'm not a very smart man, so let's talk to a man who IS smart. Who is REALLY smart. He's the world's second-smartest man. He's so smart, the writer or the page couldn't figure out how to write his name down! "Rick Rosner Rick Rosner", "Rick Rosner Rosner", ehh, we'l just call him "Rosner". The article from which this article comes from is an interview in U.K... we'll just say that the article from U.K. provides a more complete view of the "world's second-smartest man". The Yahoo article is only focused on the pills that he takes everyday. I guess there were some inquiring minds that were interested (see bottom of U.K. Business Insider article) in the (possibly) "world's second-smartest" pill-popper.
The fun doesn't stop in the article, oh no! The comments are peppered with discussions of IQ: some of the comments I agree with; I think that a lot of care must be given to comparing IQ scores with ranking the 'smartness' of a person. Other comments are fruit picked fresh from the Tree of Internet with statements along the lines of, "This guy is the smartest alive, but he's not smarter than me!"
"High IQ doesn't mean common sense", shared by one reader, is a line of particular interest. The idea of "common sense" is always a great one in that it's generally used in an argument to say, "I am smarter than you in my special little category of smartness", sort of like "street smarts".
Other readers had a great takeaway from the article: the average IQ is 100. Perhaps, they should have correlated with the article on SD with an extra tidbit: IQ scores have an SD of 15. I mean, it's FUNDAMENTAL, right? Surely, we calculated the SD of IQ scores after playing Dodgeball during Recess. "who could afford these pills, and how did you get ahold of them? what by going to different doctors, and the money spent on them", from another reader, who wrote in Internet English. The article mentions several ways in which Rosner makes money (writing questions for quiz shows, for example)... but, perhaps, the reader expects that Rosner gets his medicine from a group of pill-pushers.
Nov 29 2014, 10:10
As November comes to a close, I would like to take this moment and look back on the November holiday season. Arguably, the entire November holiday season can be represented by a single day. No, not Thanksgiving! I'm talking about the day after we meet up with family and friends to gorge ourselves over Thanksgiving dinner. The day where we realize that Christmas is only about a month away and that we need to shop for presents for ourselves and, to a lesser extent, others. The day where we all show our true selves as we lunge mercilessly for some $5 headphones.
The day where we decide to show kindness and fellowship by not kicking that guy in the groin because he wants the same TV that we want.
The day where we decide to show humility by allowing the police officer to subdue us after kicking and throwing elbows because we wanted this 23" TV that was on sale.
The day where we decide to show calmness by putting on our wig when it falls off despite a crowd of hundreds of people recklessly preparing to charge into the store in the next few seconds.
The day where we decide to show flexibility by hopping over a queue of grocery carts for no reason at all.
The day where we decide to show civility by getting into fights with people twenty years younger over Grand Theft Auto V and realizing it was a bad thing after we won the fight.
The day where we decide to show mercy by employing non-lethal takedowns on the fairer sex because we wanted a second flatscreen TV for the basement.
What holiday might I be talking about which shows how we display (questionably) our human virtues to the unassuming public?
Why, it's none other than Black Friday! There is so much to say about Black Friday that I could write about its magic forever. It's the day where I stay at home and look at the Black Friday fallout from the safety of my own home, facepalming over the display of primitive behaviors. The day where I feel slightly embarrassed because my friends overseas might be watching, but I console myself by saying, "Surely, they must also have a holiday where they act like complete donkeys to the general public, as well." The day where I watch adventurous souls that have camped outside of their favorite store for hours in advance.
I'm definitely not the only one who looks at Black Friday in a perpetual facepalm with fingers spaced just enough that one eye can still witness the horror. There was a car commercial on TV where a guy gets some boxes out of his trunk and his neighbor notices that he has a black eye. "Black Friday", he says. It makes me feel a little better knowing that we can now comfortably show all of our fellow U.S. citizens how uncivilized Black Friday is, in general. It's definitely not uncivilized everywhere, but this uncivilized behavior has almost become synonymous with Black Friday. If you're one of the ones shopping at Black Friday, I hope it was very civil where you went to shop. If it wasn't, I hope you are okay... and that you have some awesome video footage of it.
Speaking of ads, the person responsible for this ad should have went to the Wheel of Fortune Black Friday edition where vowels are 40% off... ($150 vowels, what a bargain) with all three contestants furiously reach for the wheel at the same time, slapping and cutting each other with the "JACKPOT!" pick-up card, and contestants from past shows rushing the stage, flipping over the letters in the puzzle trying to solve it by yelling the answer incoherently... but, I digress. Seriously, that looked horrible in my guestbook, it looks horrible in my e-mail spam folder, and it looks just as horrible on Yahoo's main news feed.
Nov 17 2014, 17:27
Short update for today, but I just wanted to share David Pogue's anti-clickbait article series on Yahoo: it's a good read and is surprisingly not an article that I'm making fun of. I like this guy... and yes, I realize that posting a link about clickbait is inherently going to feel like clickbait itself.
Nov 15 2014, 12:21
An article on a homework assignment that, while humorous and insightful, is sadly not acceptable at your local middle school full of impressionable youths desperately trying to figure out how to apply what they learn at school to real life. (Okay, maybe "desperately" isn't the right word to describe schoolchildren... "occasionally" would work better. ) A quiz on genetics at some school in Charlotte (I'm assuming CMS is a single school, which is probably not correct) featured this lovely question: "LaShamanda has a heterozygous big bootie [sic], the dominant trait. Her man Fontavius has a small bootie which is recessive. They get married and have a baby named LaPrincess. [...] What is the probability that LaPrincess will inherit her mama's big bootie?" I'm not sure who wrote that, but I was instantly outraged by the usage of the word "bootie". Honestly, whoever spells the word like this is either referring to articles of clothing worn around the foot or, more likely in this case, needs to learn the difference between "bootie" and "booty". For instance, Kim Kardashian posted a picture of her showing off her booty to the world for some incomprehensible reason. It's not like we haven't already seen her booty, already. In the case of the quiz, a big booty can be inherited genetically; a big "bootie" is a "hand-me-down". A simple Google search would have revealed the answer, as well: searching for "bootie" links to several shopping sites; searching for booty links to Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea in a (probably NSFW) music video wearing very little around their... well, booty.
I got a chuckle from the names, as well: LaShamanda, Fontavius, and LaPrincess... well, I can say with confidence that, of all the people that I've met that have had the same name as someone in the same room, they've never shared either of these names. Searching for "LaShamanda" in Google now yields a ton of links to the same article and, thanks to the virality of the Internet, several images of women showing their booty. "Fontavius" links, somewhat ironically, to a juvenile sex offenses website via the Department of Corrections in Florida. "LaPrincess" matches a famous actress and a cardiologist.
The question statement also notes that Fontavius is LaShamanda's "man". Not "husband", not "boyfriend", not any other specific term that describes the relationship... nope... her "man" .
I stumbled upon an article yesterday: 8 Incredibly Difficult Games. It's important to note that this list changes very slowly. If you ask any person for a modern game that can be described as "hard", they'll give you the same (possibly, canned) response: Super Meat Boy and Dark Souls. That has always been the answer for about two years. So, the games listed in the article are: Dark Souls, Super Meat Boy, 1001 Spikes, Spelunky, Hotline Miami, Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze, VVVVVV, and Cloudberry Kingdom (the website's load times are a bit odd; the first three pages load right away, but the next ones take too long). I disagree with VVVVVV being classified a hard game, but that depends upon the eyes of whomever is playing the game. I also disagree with Spelunky, not for the fact that it is difficult to complete, but that the entire genre that Spelunky lies in is like this. It also includes games such as Risk of Rain, which takes about twice as long, but is suspiciously missing from the list. Donkey Kong Country Tropical Freeze is also a bizarre entry. I would also like to point out that, of the eight entries on this list, six are platformers in some sense, showing that some people are just bad at jumping (or falling, in the case of VVVVVV ).
Nov 5 2014, 19:38
Every now and then, we take a few moments to honor the people who have made a small little difference in the lives of others, who have selflessly contributed to others, or otherwise performing great acts and expect little or nothing in return (by we, I am, of course, referring to news articles and other media outlets). It warms my heart to see someone who has done great works or put so much on the line to get the recognition they deserve.
Alex from Target... what is this mess? This is a teenager working at Targét, doing little more than checking and bagging merchandise. There's a hashtag on Twitter for this kid, as well (#AlexFromTarget). There are so many more eligible people to highlight: how about Joe from the Fire Department, Shelly from the Municipal Clinic, Terry from the State University, etc.? Fortunately, Twitter wasn't having none of this #AlexFromTarget foolishness: "Everyone has a talent ... except #AlexFromTarget", "You know you've made it when you have an entry in Urban Dictionary #AlexFromTarget", "Me trying to figure out why #AlexFromTarget got to meet Ellen", and, my favorite:
Fourteen years ago, I was a freshman in college when I read an article about the "Halo Effect". If you haven't read about the Halo Effect, I recommend doing so. Once you do, you can figure out exactly what you need to do to become Internet famous overnight. First off, you need to look hot, attractive, sexy, and other shallow things that people seem to like when they're in their 20s. Secondly, you need to mix the first rule with a whole lot of luck. Education, interesting hobbies, and talents are a bonus, but are not strictly required as you have just read about #AlexFromTarget. Things you'll have to deal with afterwards: strangers from all walks of life harassing you about the past, media coverage over trivial stuff that you do (don't like having your shopping trips televised?), and other intrusive behaviors by these "harbingers" of morality.
Speaking of "harbingers of morality", they've also decided to help us illustrate the "Halo Effect" with more praise for hot convicts. Stop. Just stop. It wasn't cute the first time. It's not cute now. Breaking the law isn't supposed to be a gateway to success. Yes, I am just jealous of them because they look better than I probably ever will.
Perhaps we can just have them all apply to the Beautiful People Club...
Oct 28 2014, 11:50
I'm looking through Yahoo for silly news stories again. Yahoo has got these undercover ad articles now, which are off-putting. Example:
I accidentally clicked on one the other day and was instantly ambushed by a million in-page videos, audio tracks, and pop-up windows. So, I've had to browse more carefully nowadays.
Recently, there are so many articles about this "Ebola crisis" that it's starting to serve as a daily reminder about why I continue to make fun of media and news outlets pushing issues onto the unassuming public... follow it up with people trying to push made-up issues out into the public as well. Look at this picture that someone tried to trick me with the other day. First of all, it's a still-motion picture of a CNN news story. It would have been minimal effort to link to the actual video on YouTube... if it existed in the first place. "Ebola has been found in numerous packages of hair extensions in the U.S." Nope, not the ebola virus, just ebola. Just... some guy named "Ebola" that was hiding in a giant pile of weave that was laying around on a floor in some warehouse in the United States. Never mind the fact that we seem to have a (diminishing) difficulty in telling if actual humans have caught the ebola virus, let alone food shipments, which would have been more reasonable to check. Someone was just sitting around with an ebola detection kit (or whatever it's called) and said, "Well, it doesn't look like there're any people that need to know if they have caught the ebola virus. Let me test some cosmetic enhancements. Oh, I know. Hair extensions!"
Furthermore, there are a bevy of news articles about people suspected of having Ebola. The fact is that, as of today, only four people in America have had the ebola virus in the past month, and only one has died. There have been at least 20 reports in the past week about people being checked for Ebola virus (there has probably been at least one report of someone in your own state or neighborhood being tested for "Ebola-like symptoms"). How about waiting until we find someone who ACTUALLY has the Ebola virus?
More in Ebola: Pay Dr. Evil one million euros or he'll spread Ebola to the Czech republic, Ebola Halloween outfits (a great example of why Halloween is a dumb holiday for silly people... er, I mean, Halloween is a great holiday ), but thank goodness the West Africa travel ban looks like it's not going to actually come to fruition.
Currently, I'm stuck in front of my computer doing an assignment which requires me to press a button every 30 minutes for 18 hours, at the very least, not including the time required to set up the program, troubleshooting (which typically appends another 3 hours per test), and the fact that I have other things to take care of, such as bathing, bills, and breakfast.
Oct 15 2014, 17:29
I got suckered into this article about how Final Fantasy 15 would look if it were on the PS1. So, I was thinking, "Well, if Sony was unable to produce an updated Playstation for the ~20 years since it was initially released, then the Playstation would be pushed to its limit and games would look really good, possibly as good as Playstation 2 graphics." (though, the Playstation, which relies on CD technology instead of DVD technology, would have unbearable loading times... let's be honest, they were barely tolerable on release ) Worst case scenario: Final Fantasy XV would look like Final Fantasy 9, the last major Final Fantasy released for the Playstation 1. Pictures for your reference:
Notice the growth and development of the graphics. Look how spiky Cloud's hair is in FF7. Look how the dragon looks like it could be a thorny plant if only the purple berry. I'll be honest, FF7 is a highly engrossing and detailed game, but the graphics aren't what games are made of nowadays. Remember that the characters look twice as worse outside of battle. Move over to Final Fantasy 8, where the characters in battle only look a little better, but the characters outside of battle actually look like the in-battle characters. The graphics are still sharp: the spider machine has some sharp spots up top. Over to Final Fantasy 9, the graphics are improved overall (yeah, the characters have oversized heads), but look at the plant. Look at how the vine of the plant is flexed like a smooth curve. The graphics aren't recent, but you should see that they're definitely an improvement over FF7.
So, what would FFXV look like if it were developed for the Playstation 1? Final Fantasy 9? Final Fantasy X?
No, apparently, it would look like Final Fantasy 7... ... have fun with loading times and your 12-discs of Final Fantasy 15.
Sep 29 2014, 10:29
I got challenged last week to do some on-demand lerping (which is substantially different from larping), so I updated my lerp page with more pictures.
Sep 1 2014, 22:23
I've added songs to the Music section. Happy Labor Day!
Aug 29 2014, 13:28
I made a page that describes how the remote modem works in Alias for PlayStation 2 for reference's sake.
Jun 20 2014, 12:29
In health news today:
Bad habits: Snacking during the day is unhealthy for you.
Contrast with: Snacking during the day is healthy for you.
Neither author has credentials that I can find. So, what can I make of this? Health advice is muddied so thoroughly and so frequently by faceless 'health experts' that aren't saying the right thing (or, they just don't know what they're talking about ) that it's so easy for people like me (I'm 'underweight') to just ignore them altogether. What message are we trying to tell people who need this advice? I'm thinking, "Don't believe everything you read on the Internet."
In other, less ambiguous and less contradictory news, I will be traveling to Summer Games Done Quick 2014 (SGDQ 2014) in Denver, CO, to put on a good show in the name of Doctors Without Borders. If you are not familiar with Doctors Without Borders, I would recommend browsing the DWB website for some interesting articles about what Doctors Without Borders does for people in less-fortunate locales. Otherwise, you can click on the image below to go to the SGDQ 2014 mainpage.
Jun 17 2014, 16:22
News days on Yahoo are kind of awful right now, so here's a hopefully clever distraction away from the same-old arguments: hidden weapons! (there's some strong language in there, too, so if you're into that, even better, but hopefully you'll understand why)
"This cleverly disguised weapon may look like a tissue box"... um, no, that looks like a tissue box disguised as a shotgun. Clever? I'll show you clever.
This is a tissue box cleverly disguised as a Rubik's Cube, but once you invite your friends over who are good at solving Rubik's Cubes, you may end up without a tissue box.
This is a tissue box cleverly disguised as a Minecraft TNT Block. However, you can place an electrical switch next to it and it will not explode into a cloud of tissue, sadly.
This is a tissue box cleverly disguised as a large LEGO brick. Despite its convenience, you probably don't have any LEGOs sized appropriately to fit on top of this one (unless it's actual size; in which case, the tissues are about as wide as a string of floss).
This is a tissue box cleverly disguised as a washing machine. Just don't pour washing detergent in there, or you may end up with a bunch of ruined tissues.
This is a tissue box cleverly disguised as a book... you know at least one person that wouldn't even notice the difference between this and a regular book if it were sitting on the table in front of them. Books are, unfortunately, intimidating to a few people that I know.
This is a tissue box cleverly disguised as a lollipop-chainsaw miniature tissue bazooka... or a guitar, I guess. Children have such great imaginations.
Speaking of disguises, this is a worrisome article cleverly disguised as a positive article... except that it's sort of in the middle. This is an article about a study done by CDC (if you remember, this is the same group that is purportedly trying to find a link between video games and violence), so I zeroed in right on the bar graph and the pair on the right. This rightmost pair is the one which represents video game activity (generously lumped in with cellphone and computer usage). "Non-TV Screen Time" has increased from 31% to 41%. Naturally, I started wondering, "Well, what about TV Screen Time?", which is suspiciously absent from the list of "Risky behavior by teens". What about TV screen time? What's the big deal about "Non-TV screen time" that's so risky? The video (which is where "click to see photo" took me; perhaps our definitions of 'photo' differ in some regards ) doesn't mention anything about either TV or Non-TV screen time; it specifically mentions "texting while driving", which should have been labeled as such and not dumped happily into "Non-TV screen time". The actual report is on CDCs website (scroll down to about page 153 for the numbers). The study lists both TV and Computer Usage time, presumably, as a risk factor for physical activity. So, then, where did "Non-TV screen time" come from in the original article, and why does the writer bring it up? Also, a little "Correlation does not imply Causation" for you: "Non-TV screen time" has risen 10%, but fighting has dropped 4%.
"Health experts advise that teens get no more than two hours of recreational screen time a day"... perhaps I'm just a cranky old man, but I appreciate it when reasons for recommendations are provided. What's the reasoning for "no more than two hours"? Is it specifically for teens or does it apply to adults to some extent? Am I screwed because I have mandatory computer labs to attend? Who are these "health experts"?
I did enjoy this: "Through texts and social media, young people are doing more communicating and living in an online world in which it's easier to think they're the center of the universe [...]", which "can lead to a form of extended adolescence". There's certainly no shortage of adolescent behavior on the Internet.
This is a grown-up's comment cleverly disguised as that of an adolescent. For all I know, it may actually be a tissue box, as well.
Jun 7 2014, 11:31
Shoutouts to this lady: "Excuse me, but can you tell me when we're gonna land after this flight? I know it got delayed, but can you give me a good estimate of when we're gonna get there?"
Stewardess: "I honestly don't know if we're going to leave the terminal anytime soon."
Lady: "You can't give me an estimate of when we're going to land, something at least?"
Stewardess: "Sorry, I have no idea. I can only tell you that, once we take off, the flight will be an hour and 45 minutes. So, if you want to use the flight time, it's going to be an hour and 45 minutes once we take off."
Lady: "Okay. Thank you very much. Thanks for nothing. Okay."
Co-pilot: "We're getting ready to leave the terminal. Our flight to Houston is going to be an hour and 45 minutes..."
Lady: "An hour and 45 minutes. Why couldn't that girl have just said that?"
Just to reiterate, the stewardess told her how long the flight was going to take and she told her twice. Some people just hear what they want to hear.
May 27 2014, 10:20
The Huffington Post has released an... interesting article about 8 Things to do before "Anything Else" in a Hotel Room. I tried to think of eight things off-hand before I read the article: I only came up with 'inspect the hotel room', so I decided to expand it into more specific concepts, such as "inspect the bedroom", "inspect the bathroom", "inspect the closet"... after all, you get what you inspect, not what you expect! Turns out that I was only about half correct. The article provides very proactive things to do upon arrival such as "Sanitize", because you can't trust anyone whose job it is to clean! Also, checking specifically for bedbugs (word and emphasis added by me), because sleeping with snakes and spiders is not a problem, but bedbugs are where the line is drawn. The best suggestion, though, is to "check hiding spots" for "an intruder" that is "lying in wait". I would do this with a flashlight and yell loudly behind the bathroom door, "Hello? Is there a cat burglar in here?" This same suggestion also touts the idea that many guests have found dead bodies underneath their bed (I sincerely hope that they got a very scathing review on Google Maps). So, grab your flashlights and yell under the bed, "Hello? Is there anyone dead in here?" For added effect, get some night-vision goggles and search, as well.
To add to the graveness of the situation, the check for dead bodies is right before making sure temperature controls work (because you might wake up "unbearably" cold) and unplugging the alarm clock (don't inspect it, just unplug it, because you might wake up "unbearably" early). To add the final cherry on top, "study the fire escape map"... even though it is "unlikely that you'll ever need it". Sorry, if I fall a little bit of character for this one, but... look, I just checked my brand new hotel room for dead bodies and cat burglars, which are things that I'd expect any competent housekeeping staff with functioning eyes or noses to find out during their "cleaning" session, which is apparently not good enough because I need to "sanitize" right after them. After being told that I need to check the hotel room for dead bodies, intruders, and other CSI implements, you don't think that I'll ever need to evacuate a hotel room for a fire escape? Really? I mean, Really?!? (side note: of the estimated 200 people in the room in this video, how many do you think found a serial killer or dead body in their room?).
May 23 2014, 7:31
I fixed an error in Platform Tour that caused it to crash because it tried to change the volume of music on platforms where it is not supported.
May 15 2014, 18:01
Yahoo insulted me to my core today by telling me that I don't know how to say "GIF" correctly. The "article" (if you want to call it that, because it's actually one of Yahoo's weird videos that read the text that's written after the movie) insists that I learn "the correct way to say this stuff" so that I don't "come off sounding silly next time you’re chatting with nerds". For the record, I enjoy sounding silly when I chat with nerds, and I enjoy knowing that I actually know (or don't know) what I am talking about. So let's go with "10 Tech Terms That I Don't Care If I'm Pronouncing Correctly Or Not":
So, let's get right to it. "Aereo" is pronounced (Why-am-I-u-sing-this). I don't know exactly what it is, but all of the TV shows that I watch can be watched later from their host sites or watched at someone else's house . Honestly, if I *had* to say this out loud, I don't know how else I would pronounce "Aereo" other than "Air E O". Also, "cache" is a pretty common word, however, I don't mind the occasional "cashay" when I'm shopping at Targét (pronounced "Tarzhay"). "Meme" - well, I do see "may-may" every now and then (keyword: see, not hear), however I'm pretty sure I've never said meme out loud. I'd probably end up saying "may-may" or "me-me". Who says "mem", though? I'm just saying that one of the first English lessons that I took in pre-Kindergarten was the pronunciation of short vowels and long vowels. If you have a word such as "cop", "met", or "scrap", and you add an "e" to the end, the short vowel sound turns into a long vowel sound, as "cope", "mete" and "scrape".
"OS X" - he's trying to tell me how to pronounce a Roman numeral. I will say X however I please, thank you very much. If I see MMXIV, I'm not going to say 2014, I'm going to say "Mmm... ksiv"... well, maybe I won't. I suppose that this is just my history with the Megaman series coming into play. The X in Megaman X is not pronounced as 10, because Megaman 10 is a different game. Final Fantasy X is similar, except some people still say Final Fantasy 10. I don't, because Final Fantasy 10-2 sounds weird (but then, I'm sure that having a sequel of only one of the sequels of Final Fantasy isn't quite common, either).
"GIF" - sorry, this is going to be "gif". Anyone who insists on a "correct way" of saying this will just have to deal with it. If I'm really worried about sounding like a dummy with the word "GIF", I'll just say "Graphics Interchange Format"... granted the meaning of the acronym isn't that valuable (as is the case with a lot of acronyms spawned from the Internet). "Imgur" - one of the liberties that any company or website takes implicitly when they decide to make ridiculously ambiguous clumps of letters that vaguely resemble some word in the English language is that someone is going to mispronounce it. I support their endeavors and will oblige them in assisting in the mispronunciation of their name. So, in this case "I M Gur" or "I M G U R"... and "Im jour" for me. Seriously, though, if the pronunciation of "imgur" were as big of a deal as made in this article, then Imgur should have added an official pronunciation beneath their logo. Also, "I'm uploading it to imager right now" sounds weird... just my opinion.
"Data" - how does one mispronounce data? The word has been in existence for much longer than the Internet has and the only thing to mess up is the pronunciation of the A. Admittedly, the underused singular "datum" doesn't appear that often and I find it bizarre when it does appear. The article itself says that it's hard to mispronounce, so I then have to ask why include it in a list of "10 Tech Terms You Might Be Pronouncing Incorrectly"? See also "Nokia", the next entry, in which the ambiguity is, as far as I can tell, only in regards to which syllable gets the accent.
"Asus" - lol. What do you get when you assume? What do you get when you "Asus"? The point is that I may just add a very harsh "a" sound at the beginning to make it sound like I'm referring to a bunch of donkeys (depending on whom I'm talking with, it may be appropriate) rather than a Spanish pronunciation of "Jésus". "Pwn" - if there are rules to pronouncing typographical errors, then these rules shall surely be bent by me. "Pwn" can be considered as defeating a opponent/monster in such a way the monster is (indirectly) turned into money, similar to the way that unused items are taken to a "pawn" shop, where they will be traded in for money. This similarity is why I always pronounce "pwn" as "pawn" and only use it in the case mentioned above.
I'm ready for any other words that I'm probably pronouncing incorrectly and don't care. In other news, Twitch is spotlighting the speedrunning community in the month of May, according to their blog. I would recommend any watch on the list, as their streams are all better than mine. Also, here's another article on The Daily Dot about Summer Games Done Quick 2014.
Apr 7 2014, 9:04
Tomorrow is the end of Microsoft support of XP and I'm going to port things over to my Windows 7 computer. However, I have a huge list of things that don't work on Windows 7. For starters, VB6 doesn't work, so all the programs that I made for it won't work. Secondly, a lot of really good games (that are also about 10 years old) don't work on Windows 7. So, I'm still going to keep my XP computer up; I don't care what Yahoo says! Yahoo, or rather, AFP, describes me as a person "clinging to Microsoft's aging Windows XP operating system", making me look like the lunatic. Hey, buddy, when you've got almost 50 programs that didn't work on either Windows Vista or Windows 7, you have to ask yourself at some point: "Do I really want to lose all of these programs?" Sure, I could probably get some goofy thing in Windows 7 that will run a few of them, but I could also... not do that and stay with my XP operating system. Understandably, I can see why Yahoo supports XP... because loading times for Yahoo pages are garbage on my XP computer with Internet Explorer (I assume they're better on Firefox or Chrome). I've had pages transfer me through two or three auto-forwarding sites which make your back button obsolete, a video advertisement that failed to load and crashed the entire program, and a fake window that stayed centered right on top of an article that I was trying to read (oh, nevermind, that's what it's intended to do... how obnoxious ). I will happily stop browsing the Internet on my XP computer so that I don't have to put up with that again.... Except that my Windows 7 computer with Firefox also goes through auto-forwarding advertisement sites, fake windows that stay centered on pages I'm trying to read, and video advertisements that crash. Darn! The loading times are faster, though.
I remember back in the old days of Extreme Visual Basic Forum when I had to field questions from new programmers trying to make video games. There would always be the inevitable questions such as, "Hey, I want to make a game like Quake, Diablo, etc." (I suppose nowadays it's Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto V, and Battlefield) and in the same post, "I made a Snake Clone so I should be good to go, right?" As much as I expected, newcomers are still trying this today. I stumbled upon this article about taking small steps... because I was drawn in by the big opening Twitter line, "You want your first game to look and play like games that took 85 full-time professionals 2 years and $20 million? But more features?" Yeah, that sounds about right. Back in the day (2003, to be exact), it was usually a poor newcomer with great ambitions and dreams to make a Quake clone. It's possible... just not really practical. One user (I don't remember names as it was over 10 years ago) insisted that placing pictureboxes on a form was the hardest part about making a Quake 3 clone... the code was "the easy part" (I suppose if you just called quake3.exe within the window, it would work... no points for originality, though).
So, I will see you all next time from Windows 7. All of my programs listed above should have a version that works on Windows 7 (which is the most recent version). I suspect that there are also quite a few XP users based on the number of Q3 and Q4 downloads for the version that's only for XP. If there are any problems, send me an e-mail (refer to the bottom of this page), or tweet at me, or pick up your Internet connection and a magnet and see if you can move your hand fast enough that it sends me an e-mail.
Mar 25 2014, 8:23
Yahoo News has as much reputation for real news as the Onion: this article was posted a while back about a high schooler getting detention for calling his teacher communist because she wanted to teach rather than show the hockey game. While there's nothing too bizarre about the story (you'd wonder why it's even in the news in the first place; I know a few students who got detention for being disruptive, but they didn't get into the news ), the article praises the student's behavior, condoning such recklessness to where I thought I was reading a parody news article (did I fall into a parallel Onion story?). The student is described as an "undeniably great American" ... am I missing something here? Am I a lousy American because I got my high school education?
In related news, I got a personalized ad a few days ago encouraging me to go back to high school and get my "high school education"... even advertisements are making fun of me.
Feb 3 2014, 21:28
I just ran across this article about funeral and casket outlets in the mall. I have to admit, though, that having a casket shop in a mall seems a bit odd. I wouldn't know too much about the average mall visitor since I don't go to the mall that frequently, but I'm having a hard time believing that people would ever go to the mall to get some clothes, some electronics, oh... and let's go get a nice burgundy casket for so-and-so while we're there. In my mind, you either go shopping or you go to pick out caskets. Maybe there are people who, as the article suggests, seem to live in the mall; therefore, it's only fitting that they should plan for their eventual death there, as well. After reading through the article, it seems that, in addition to having an installation in California (not exactly a surprise since that's possibly the mall capitol of the world), they've also posted shops in "Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana and Texas". I'm guessing that their efforts have failed on the east coast, but I can't imagine why there would be any difficulty in adding a funeral shack to a mall! A quote from the spokesman, "We try to reach our audience where they are at ...". Do you know who else says that? Answer: The Grim Reaper. The best quote is from the Executive Director listed in the article, which says, "Nobody gets up on a Saturday morning and says, 'Gee, it's a nice day. I wonder if I can go out and get myself a burial plot.'
Jan 19 2014, 19:30
So, if you didn't watch AGDQ, I would recommend taking a quick look while I briefly go over the highlights. First and foremost, we raised over a MILLION dollars for the Prevent Cancer Foundation! The event was a great success from just that aspect alone and there wasn't a person at AGDQ that would disagree. Secondly, there was a lot of coverage for AGDQ as well that was surprising, such as the twitter hashtag (#AGDQ2014) trending, as well as a few tweets which read something to the effect or "I was wondering why #AGDQ2014 was trending. I'm glad I found out why!". Third, if you've missed it, I highly recommend the four-way Super Metroid race (incidentally, Super Metroid was trending on Twitter, briefly) as well as the blindfolded Punch-Out games.
Naturally, when I got back home, I thought, "Wouldn't it be great if there were actually a Yahoo article about Awesome Games Done Quick raising a million dollars for charity? Well, there was... sort of. There IS an article... there are no comments, though. Perhaps it only appeared in the giant pile of news articles at the bottom of the mainpage. It's more pleasing to my mind to assume that everyone who viewed the article was left with nothing to say. The article on Neowin had a bit more talking, though.
In other news, I've started graduate school, so updates *may* come a bit slower than usual, so bear with me.
Jan 3, 2014, 17:04
I felt that I should give you all something while I'm gone for AGDQ. So, I've updated the Quadrill 4 section to discuss a few things that I need to fix with the newest version (that's Quadrill v4.1, by the way) before I begin working on Quadrill 5. Now, down to business .
I had to take a quick look at this article about a boy who saved his family from a fire while playing a video game. It's a nice article that doesn't really have anything to do with video games (it's merely a reason for him to be up at 3:00 AM, when everyone else is asleep), but the writer just had to gravitate towards something, I guess. I, personally, was very drawn in towards there being a family of "11 (!) siblings", but I wanted to check in briefly to see the what the big comments were. Most of them were pretty favorable; however, the "irony" of an ice machine catching on fire was completely lost on me. I think a couple of people should have received a "How do Ice Machines Work?" book for Christmas... either that, or I'm just an old mustached samurai that doesn't understand machine jokes. The highlight of the article, though: "I was on this kind of important mission and I smelled something really funky - and I thought it was me - but then it wasn't,". I'm thinking that when he normally does marathon play-sessions, he starts smelling really funky at about 8:00 in the morning, got surprised that he was getting funky so early, and stopped to investigate.
I hopped down the related links "rabbit hole" to an article about Video Game Records... but not normal video game records! No, no, no... these records are "ridiculous", according to the title. I'm not sure if this writer is excited or not, but I would have saved that "ridiculous" part for a different story. The video game collection record was a previous story for a while back (looking at that picture with shelves and shelves of video games makes me feel all warm and anxious inside) but the real silliness is the comments (there are only 5, which is the fewest I've ever seen on a Yahoo news article) about the guy in the picture (Michael Thomasson, FYI) being a girl . Yes, the first person mentioned below the picture is "Carrie Swidecki", but that doesn't mean that the picture in the article is a picture of her, for goodness sakes! I couldn't help but notice a speedrunning record posted within the article: "Sean 'DarthKnight' Grayson, who beat the sprawling, open-world action game Batman: Arkham City in just 2 hours, 3 minutes, 19 seconds.", which you can find on Speed Demos Archive and on YouTube. Take this as a lesson though: make sure to explain what you're doing in great detail so that people don't get the wrong idea. If you ever doubt yourself, just come back, laugh at this for a minute, facepalm for a few seconds, and then you should be good to go!
Jan 1 2014, 10:52
Happy New Year! I've been taking a break getting ready for graduate school. In addition, I'm going to be going to Awesome Games Done Quick next week.
I still have Quadrill 5 next on my "To do" list, but I don't know how much time I'm going to be able to spend on it while in graduate school. We're going to have to find out as we go through the year.
Dec 23, 2013, 23:40
Quadrill 4 for .NET is available for download. I haven't made any updates this month because I told myself to focus solely on Quadrill 4 (and other things in life, obviously). In all honesty, I just wanted to have Quadrill 4 ready to go before the end of the year. So, I give you all a Christmas gift, a gift that carried me through the year of 2004 and into the year of 2005, when stresses, strengths, and hopes were high, to even now in 2013, where everything comes full circle back to thee (that was a poem, by the way) . If I don't say it on the 25th, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and I hope that you are doing what you hoped to do.
Dec 3, 2013, 15:27
Quadrill 2 for .NET update (also known as Quadrill v2.1.1) is now available for download. It's got music this time . I guess it's now time to start working on Quadrill v4.1 for this year, like I promised on the first.
Dec 1, 2013, 18:39
Well, it's been a while but I've got several big pieces of news to share.
Firstly, I have to put the Guestbook down. The reason being that it's not adding too much to the website (from what I can tell) and it's taking up too many resources to maintain. So, the guestbook and all posts on it are going away . If you would like to send me something, feel free to send me an e-mail (Iceplug) at blackout119(at)yahoo(dot)com (The first seven letters should be "Website", otherwise there's a chance it goes into my spam folder). If you would rather not send me an e-mail, you can find me on any of the sites listed at the top of this page with stars next to them. I really hate to bring down my guestbook, though. I still pat myself on the back for making that simple little textbox which deterred every spambot that I sent. Let's face it, I wouldn't have been comfortable adding CAPTCHA and I can barely read those things myself.
Secondly, I have been accepted into Iowa State University's Graduate school! This means I'll probably be around a lot less often next year, but I'll still try to get out some updates occasionally to let you know how I am doing. Interestingly enough, if you browse backwards through the old news archives, you'll find the really really old entries from way back in 2004 (this is back when I was at Louisiana State University) when I was still using that 168-hour clock (wow, that thing was confusing lol) and when I started the Platform Tour tutorial pages. I find it interesting how my stance on video games has changed over the past 10 years (apparently, I was not a fan of Grand Theft Auto back then).
Thirdly, I'm going to Awesome Games Done Quick in 2014. It's on the 5th-11th of January this time and we will be helping to raise money for the Prevent Cancer Foundation, because we could use a little less cancer in our lives. More details will be coming up when we're closer to the event.
Fourthly, I will upload Quadrill v2.1.1 shortly, then begin chipping away at Quadrill v4.1 for the rest of this year. It's probably going to get ugly, so I want to take care of it now, while I have the free time.
That's all I have for updates. Have a wonderful day and I will chat with you all next time.
Oct 22, 2013, 13:13
Quadrill 3 for .NET (also known as Quadrill v3.1) is available for download in the table above or via Quadrill v3.1 (VB.NET 2003). It has music this time, so don't be surprised if you hear tunes. Quadrill 3 was quite difficult in its original form (still available for download at the botom of the table above); this version is much easier because of checkpoints. Quadrill v1.1.1 is also available for download as well via Quadrill v1.1.1 (VB.NET 2003), with music added and area names available for display, as well as two blocks set up to help people not get stuck in the Cereal Forest. It's also the fourth anniversary of Platform Tour download, so if Quadrill is not your thing, take a second to reminisce with Platform Tour.
Oct 16, 2013, 12:29
The Quadrill 3 section has been updated. I'm having quite a time with Quadrill 3. I need to make another run through it to get the secrets and polish things up.
I found this article on Yahoo about empathy games. I checked it briefly for any video game violence propaganda; fortunately, it didn't have any. I checked the comments and it was mostly full of negativity. I then asked myself, "Why do I even bother reading the comments". For a different, reasonable opinion of the article. Instead I got statements such as: "You should read a good book, instead" and "You should go volunteer, instead".
So, let's move on to a more exciting topic: immunity to movie advertisements. What could provide such a thing? Showing up 15 minutes after the listed movie time? Headphones with loud music playing through them? Distracting cellphones? Sitting next to a hornet's nest? Nope, it's eating popcorn... and, of course, the effect is overstated, because it's news! Best line of the article: "The mundane activity of eating popcorn made participants immune to the pervasive effects of advertising," Sascha Topolinski, a researchers, said in the study’s report. The word choice there, "pervasive", really makes you think about why some advertisements are the way that they are. (Writers note: if you want to be successful at advertising to me, you have to entertain me AND give me the crunched numbers... after all, you're the one with the camera.) Also, the article describes Sascha Topolinski as a "researchers". Chewing popcorn does not make me immune to typographical errors.
Are you bored? Here are some other people who are bored. Synopsis: Jennifer Wade is bored, apparently. Boredom can cause death, so some bored scientists kept themselves occupied by studying boredom. Boredom makes you "[...] want to claw your eyes out."... figuratively, of course... because I don't think that clawing ones eyes out would be a boring thing to do... it's actually quite intense and you'll regret it shortly afterwards (and during, and before). Theresa Bryner is struggling with boredom. She wanted to clean her closets, but "got depressed and really did nothing." She's really bored... and lethargic, apparently, which is a bad combination. I'm really bored. If there was ever a time for me to drop the 'first-world problems' line, it would be here. I'm bored enough to do so.
"People made to feel bored in the lab are more likely to behave in risky or impulsive ways in computer games, he said."... Personal conclusion: Boredom makes you better at video games. Could it be that playing video games makes you immune to boredom? It's an exciting prospect, but having a single video game in your repertoire won't prevent boredom for the rest of your life, even when you don't have one... however, there are people way pickier than I that get bored with an extensive collection of video games far too easily, in my opinion. I would conclude that video games have a positive effect on reducing boredom in all testable age groups. Now, that's science (and the best science is science that we already knew)!
Oct 8, 2013, 17:11
I've updated the Quadrill 3 section. Hopefully, Quadrill 3 will be available by the end of the month. I am aware that I didn't add music to the other Quadrills. I'm still working on that. I may update all three Quadrills in a single pass. I want to make sure everything is good to go before beginning the "monumental" task of porting Quadrill 4 over to .NET (it's going to be epic and quite intimidating, but I'm looking forward to it).
Oct 4, 2013, 17:19
Also, remember that the evidence is statistical, therefore, does not describe what a person will do in any given situation.
I've updated the downloads with compatible Windows version, DirectX version, and RAM usage rounded up to the nearest ten MB as observed from a brief check while playing close to the end of each game. My current project is to get Quadrill 3 and 4 compatible with DirectX 9 and, therefore, compatible with Windows 7. Afterwards, work will resume on Quadrill 5.
Oct 4, 2013, 14:47
Today is brought to us by the letter Y, as in "Y did you have to go there, Yahoo?": the Red Cross wants video games to punish war crimes. The article specifically calls out "areas of concern: Torture sequences, shooting civilians and killing prisoners". Being honest, my vast experience with first-person shooters is mostly limited to titles such as Perfect Dark, Far Cry 3, and Medal of Honor: Allied Assault. In these games, none of them featured torture or prisoners from the player's control, and the only one with killable civilians is Perfect Dark, which emphatically fails your mission with a giant red Objective 5: Failed if you kill any noncombatant. With that in mind, I'm not sure if I am a player of the game(s) in which Red Cross is expecting changes.
The article mentions that Red Cross isn't about removing torture, imprisonment, or, possibly, more scandalous ideas in games. To me, Red Cross seems to be going, "You know what would be cool is if there was a game that had penalties for breaking war crimes.", just like countless other video game players. The article mentions that Red Cross doesn't want the games to be "preachy and boring". I don't know about you, but I simply love playing "boring and preachy" games. The critical line from the interview is that the Red Cross's description of preachy and boring is "interrupting the game with pop-up messages listing legal provisions or lecturing gamers on the law of armed conflict". Well, I could safely tell you that there are other ways of being boring and preachy than interrupting the game with legal messages, even though some games do it, anyway .
That was the extent of the interview with the spokesperson from Red Cross: the article was just another game suggestion. I instantly glanced down at the third comment, "I want off this planet", "political correctness has entered the video game industry", and other comments which suggest (to me) that they thought Red Cross was giving a mandate for the video game industry to "make players do this, or else we'll repossess your children".
However, they probably deserve it for the last line of the article: "previous studies have yet to determine a causal link between in-game and real-world violence, which could derail the Red Cross's argument". No, the article was not about violent video game behavior (surely, we were just talking about the Red Cross likes in games). The inclusion of that ending bit just reeks of someone's "closed mind". The CDC study "could derail the Red Cross's argument"... when, in actuality, I cannot conceive of a scenario where linking video games to real-world violence would destroy the Red Cross's suggestion to add in penalties to a video game other than outlawing these games (which is unlikely to happen). Indeed, the presence of "could" sounds more like "I hope, I hope, I hope, with all fingers crossed that this study will break the video game industry". "Observers are keeping a close eye on a study by the CDC"... why would they be doing that?
Before we get 'revolutionary', let's get our facts straight. Most of the controversy with video games and violence is that there are those who state that "there is no link between violent video games and real-life violence, so stop wasting our time", and then, there are others who state that "video games have caused all the senseless acts of violence". The fact of the matter is that we don't know what the effect is on everyone, but we only know the effect that it has on ourself and, for the most part, those we know and love. Additionally, if I were to cling to one side too heavily, I'd simply just refute all of the evidence from the other until I have no leg to stand on. There have been studies that have already shown that, statistically, exposure to violent video games increases aggressive behavior. There are additional studies that show the same results with exposure to violent television shows, movies (often, much more realistic and not in the viewer's control, see previous link), and sports. The argument is more about the attempt to draw an arbitrary line around video games as being "too violent", while other "violent" forms of entertainment are okay. A Slate article warns video game enthusiasts not to stand behind the idea that there is no link to aggression when it hasn't been discovered, yet. Even if the results were to prove a link between violence and video games, most of the problems that arise from it are marketing video games rated as "Mature" (or equivalent) to under-aged children (then, obviously, it falls on the parent or guardian to make the right call).
Despite all of that information, though, the Yahoo article's desperate grab at video game violence is a terrible move that Red Cross does not deserve to have associated with its good name.
Oct 1, 2013, 21:44
Our victim is this study on people with wide faces and how they are reportedly more likely to be less trustworthy than their skinnier-faced peers. Further studies indicate that facially endowed people then cause their skinny-faced friends to act less trustworthy toward them as well, creating some sort of domino effect. Whatever, the bottom line from the study is that people with wide faces are more likely to be mischievous. So then, what are the hot topics in the comments? Why, it's full of comments that insist that the study is wrong because "I know a lot of skinny-faced people who will screw you over." I had to take a quick reality check on myself: does that sentence actually have any merit to the study? Does it circumvent the study to say that, because I know a lot of skinny-people that can't be trusted, people with wide faces aren't more likely to be mischievous? Of course, the answer is no, but I started to doubt myself after seeing countless articles, which all post statistical paragraphs about liars, followed by silly comments trying incorrectly to prove that it's false. Here's the thing: A statement such as "Wide faces are more likely to be less trustworthy" is not successfully countered by "I know a lot of skinny faces that aren't trustworthy", the same way that a statement such as "Red cars are more likely to get pulled over" is not successfully countered by "My white car has been pulled over more than any other car that I know". The reason is that, even if I knew a million skinny-faced people that were dishonest, that's still less than 1% of the United States' population and much less than that percent of the world's population. I suppose the most ironic statement from the article is "the findings seem so bizarre on the surface that even the lead author [...] urges 'caution in interpreting this". Evidently, caution is not a factor to some.
Also, did you know the Cookie Monster is aquatic? I know what you're probably thinking, "Another animal in nature named after something in Hollywood", but no! It's a bunch of sea sponges that look like the Cookie Monster... sort of... if you recolor it... and give it fur... and gave it pupils... and a larger smiling mouth... well, to be frank, it looks like "something", and the Cookie Monster was probably the closest thing that came to mind (I probably would have freaked out and hit it with something... that's why I don't go on nature dives ). Also, if they called it "Uncle Steve", I don't think it would have made the news, sadly. But anyway, the real treat is the spelling and grammar smackdown going on in the comment section (as well as the unfortunate 'grammar aesthetics' arguments). I've had a long standing annoyance with the use of "of" in place of "have", as in the case of "You must of missed that episode" and I had to stand up and clap for that one. Also, I happily accept any grammatical suggestions. I realize that some people get extra defensive about having their grammar checked (not me), but to turn away anyone's help is, in my opinion, foolish. Analytical writing was my weakpoint the first time I took the GRE (over 10 years ago). Since then, I've improved by two points (it's a six point system) and I can only credit my increase in performance to the work that I put into this website.
In other news, Terraria 1.2 has been released and I am excited.
Sep 24, 2013, 22:52
Welcome from Ames, Iowa. I finally got my Internet setup in my new house and now it's time to go over my trip. Starting from San Diego and driving about 5 hours on I-5 and I-15 to get to Nevada, I realized one thing... I really don't like vapor-recovery gas nozzles. What a great way to protect the environment by minimizing the amount of gas that goes into your gas tank. First, vapor recovery nozzles don't have an automatic shutdown feature (at least not the one that I used to "test"), so if you keep pumping gas into your car, the gas that would have shut the gas valve instead goes elsewhere, like, around the inlet to the gas tank where it won't be of any use. Secondly, if you do pump gas correctly, you spill a bit more if you pull the pump out too early. You have to sit there and hold it in the tank for a few seconds as if it were an infant that needs its bottle just to save the air. Let's protect the atmosphere by punishing the earth!
After arriving in Nevada, I took a little detour in Las Vegas to see the Hoover Dam. There was no dam guide, so I didn't take all the dam pictures that I wanted to. I took a picture of the memorial bridge which overlooks the dam. Arizona lies on the other side of the dam and bridge. Afterwards, I returned to Las Vegas to get back onto the I-15... unfortunately, traffic in Las Vegas started to pick up, so it took a little longer to do so than I wanted it to. I wrapped up the first day with the remainder of the ~80 miles of NV and the ~25 miles of AZ and ending the trip in St. George, UT. While I did appreciate the Burger King that was within walking distance of the hotel, I did not appreciate the exit advertising a Wendy's that didn't exist.
The next morning, I left St. George and headed over through the oddly named Hurricane, UT and into Zion National Park. The shuttle ride to the end of the trail was cut short because of construction at the final stop; however, the park allowed people to walk to the end of the shuttle path. So, that is what we did: we went marching, marching, marching, marching... to beautiful Zion. Other sights were this conspicuous stone along the trail at the end of the shuttle path which ran alongside a river, this groove cut into the side of the peaks towering above the trail on either side, this ridiculously photogenic squirrel (take that jiu-jitsu guy and heart surgery girl... wait, what am I saying?), a surprise swamp with cattails within the valley of Zion, this suspicious depression in the side of the mountain (presumably, where Batman enters the bat cave), and the end of the trail, which turns into a creek jaunt along the Virgin River or, as a guest called it, the Dirty River. After the exploration of Zion National Park, I returned to I-15 and traveled up to the completely unremarkable area where I-15 meets I-70. The trip along I-70, while vertically interesting, seems to pass through no cities or towns while on its path through Utah. I had to exit from I-70 onto another highway just to get to Moab, UT.
When I arrived in Moab, I didn't realize that everybody and their mama was visiting on the same day. I wanted to stay at the Red Stone Inn to satisfy the Minecrafter in me, but it was full. After about a half-hour of searching, I got the last room at the Super 8 on the edge of town: a suite with three beds and a window which overlooked the majestic and luxurious... pool surrounded by trees. But, it was all they had! If they didn't have a room, then I would have just cancelled the visit to Arches National Park and went straight for Colorado.
Speaking of Arches National Park, that's where I went the next morning. I stopped briefly at this balancing rock (to balance it, of course... duh!) I took a picture of this valley, because ain't no mountain high enough and ain't no valley low enough!
I made the visit to Arches National Park a bit short because I had quite a drive through Colorado to make and, in addition, there were none of those Golden Arches in the park. I stopped at a gas station in the middle of nowhere to get gas... but it turns out that the Mystery Machine was already there, as well as a car from the "Cars" movie. I-70 heads straight into Colorado, where the scenery changes quickly from the dry, lifeless hills of Utah to the moist, grassy mountains of Colorado (well, there's about a 20 mile stretch where the grass disappears, but it comes back soon enough). Colorado has some very unique city names: Parachute (where I stopped to get gas), Silt, Rifle, Vail, Eagle, and plenty more. This exit is original in name. I-70 in Colorado also features the highest point in Interstate elevations of the United States: the entrance to Eisenhower Tunnel is at 11,158 feet above sea level. Once out of the tunnel (and after a few dozen miles of travel), drivers are greeted with odd sign warnings, such as TRUCKERS: Don't be fooled! FOUR more miles of steep grades and sharp curves! as well as TRUCKERS: You are not down yet! Another 1 1/2 miles of steep grades and sharp curves to go! (emphasis added by me).
The direct path to Iowa would have led me directly into Nebraska on the I-76, but I took a detour on I-25 to go north from Denver to Cheyenne (don't worry, the I-25 was fine in regards to Colorado flooding at Boulder). The featureless 90 mile trip was full of cars, though, and, aside from the distant buffalo statue on a hill and the highway marker suddenly turning into yellow rectangles, I was in Wyoming without even knowing it. I stopped at an important place in Cheyenne, WY, before going to the Motel 6. The bed on the right was stress-tested, probably by someone with a generous helping of self, as the bed sunk to a near foot from the floor when I sat on it. The motel was also a short distance from the loud railroad track through the southern part of the city... but, hey, it was 49 bucks!
The next morning, I got up onto the I-80 and headed east into Nebraska. The 450 miles across Nebraska were uneventful, except for Kearney, NE, home of the Lincoln highway museum. I stopped by the museum to partake of the stories from old colonial times where people headed west along a route which was similar to mine (albeit, heading west instead of east) in search of gold and other things. I also partook a picture of this bison statue outside . After refueling, I finished off the trip across Nebraska thinking of miscellaneous Final Fantasy X sayings with Nebraska in place of Braska. I arrived in Omaha, the home of Lord Nebraska's Final Aeon, a stone's throw away from the Iowa border. I stayed at the Countryside Inn at Omaha for only twenty dollars more than what I spent at the Motel 6 in Cheyenne, but the beds were even, there were clocks, and the door was flush against its own frame... but they didn't leave the light on for me (probably because it was only 6 PM).
The final day contained the entirety of the 150 miles along I-80 to Des Moines and I-35 to Ames. A short trip, but I got my house, as well. I stopped to rest at the GrandStay to celebrate the ~2,000 mile journey that I just completed.
Sep 15 2013, 22:44
So, it's about the time for the move to Iowa. It's a 25-hour drive that I will not be performing single-segment. In particular, while I will be driving the whole way there, I'll stop to see a few sights along the way (and no, I'm not stopping by Four Corners again to take a better picture). I'm planning to stop by Hoover Dam (though it's quite out of the way), Zion and Arches Natural Park in Utah, and whatever there is to see in Nebraska and Kansas that's on the way.
Speaking of driving, I'll be driving to Iowa in this car :smugface:. Although there are no doors, windows, ceiling, rear windshield, trunk, or other things that serve to protect you, it does have a floor. It's not quite Fred Flintstone, but it would almost be worth it. The article mentions that this electrically-powered car (no surprise, there) has these things removed to dispense unnecessary ballast ... if the car weighed any less, it could be powered by wind ... somehow. I want to take a suitcase, but I guess I'll just have to hogtie it to the back of the car as I drive along the Interstate. Oh, no... it's going to rain! Wait! Let me "roll the windows up" and then watch as disaster strikes. I'm guessing that this car won't be used for much aside from driving in between places in California because the rest of the United States has this little thing called "weather"
Speaking of golf carts, I consider it part of my American Dream to own one... mostly because golf cart drivers drive and park them all over the place. Side note: some people may refer to them as 'utility vehicles' but, let's be frank, if it's smaller than a compact and doesn't have both a side door and side window, it's a golf cart to me. Anyway, you can find them parked haphazardly on the curb with one (or two) wheels still in the street, parked on sidewalks, parked in front of building front doors, parked on stairs, and parked in parking lots with no way to pass by them. I would get one just to park in all of those situations previously mentioned, my dream will come true.
Also, the American Dream has not changed, but this article would make you think that it did. The gist is that the second most common description of the American dream is simply to achieve freedom from debt (done) and the rest of the article is "back in my day, I wouldn't be satisfied unless I had a house, a car, a wife, and two children in college". The fact of the matter is that it's only the second place and the most prevalent description hasn't changed. The highlight of this article is obviously the credit card advertisement placed IMMEDIATELY below the article. Well placed, Yahoo... well placed! So, what was that article talking about?
That's right, DREAMING! In that S.T.L., this waitress got a tip for 200,000 dollars! The dream ends shortly afterwards because the credit card in use (VISA) doesn't allow excessive tips, so that $200,000 tip is about as tangible as the $200,000 that I type in this text file. And you know that I can't ignore the fact that they didn't even have the decency to add the numbers up correctly... LOOK, if I were making preparations to give somebody as much as a $20 tip, I would be making sure that my tip looked as legitimate as I could make it. We need to ask ourselves an important question at this point: how in TARNATIONS (that's my word of the year) did the tipper "add" $111 to $200,000 and get $211,000? First of all, where did the extra '1' go? Second of all, didn't she find it odd that there were all of these zeroes between the 1 and the 54 cents? Math aside, an even more important question: how does this woman have access to $200,000 and not have access to a calculator? One of the important lessons in life is that if you're not good at math, grab a calculator! What job do they have where they just have this much money and can't add it correctly? What sort of confidence can I place in this two-bit, yet well-paying, company if this woman only had two numbers to write and didn't give a cursory glance to say that it looks good? How does she balance her budget at night? How does she know how much money is in her account? If you're still reading this thank a math teacher. Second, this story is such a scam and somebody should have been reported or, at least, been hit fiercely with the doorknob in the spine on the way out. I'm very defensive when it comes to adding money.
Sep 10 2013, 8:02
Platform Tour v1.0.3 is ready for download - select either the MIDI version (small) or WAVE version (large). Updates are listed on the project page. As always, feedback is appreciated!
Sep 5 2013, 08:16
I forgot to mention that, while I was at PAX, I went to the "Game Station Podcast" and got pictures with Total Biscuit, Dodger, and Jesse Cox.
Sep 4 2013, 22:21
I arrived back in California about 20 hours ago from my foray into the Pacific Northwest. What a great trip! I probably spent most of the trip smiling away (having a good music selection helped). So, I flew into Seattle and immediately drove the 400 miles to Montana to get it out of the way. The drive along I-90 through eastern Washington was fairly uneventful, but after about 100 miles, I got to this river with a mountain overlooking it, also called the "Iron Horse Monument"... named from the iron horses on top of the mountain. The river that it overlooks is the Columbia River, by the way. The hike to the structure looked fairly simple: it's about a 500 to 1000 foot walk (or about 250 meters) to the monument... but the monument is on a hill, and in order to get up the hill, I had to walk along this path that was at about a 45 degree angle. In addition, the trail is composed of mostly rocks, loose gravel, and loose sand... so, it's quite possible for me to make a bad step and make no headway , or worse, slip down the trail. But that's just for me, though. There were a couple of people looking at me a little awkwardly after I found myself essentially crawling up the trail . I stopped in Spokane, WA, for gas and then continued the next 20 miles along I-90 into Idaho. I stopped at the tourist center, which was unfortunately closed, for some pictures. I stopped at the Arby's in Coeur d'Alene, ID, then drove through the Idaho Panhandle National Forest to the Idaho-Montana border at Lookout Pass. It's a ski resort in the winter, but it's not really effective in the summer. I suppose you could grab an empty box and keep yourself quite entertained here. Also, in the parking lot: a helpful and endearing sign. After continuing from Lookout Pass into Montana, I stopped in DeBorgia, MT, which seemed to consist of solely this building and these vehicles parked off to the side. I spent the night in St. Regis, MT's Super 8, which was only a few miles away. The next morning, I wanted to see a ghost town, so I drove to Superior, MT. Unfortunately, the road to the ghost town was closed off... so, I just went back to Seattle... eventually.
The return to Seattle brought me back to Mullan, ID... or, as I referred to it, Mullan Rouge, ID. Gitchy gitchy ya ya, indeed. I wanted to go to the museum, but it was closed . Other stops were a sign called "Compressor District", except without stopping... or even a picture. I did stop at this Great Fire Memorial, but I only took a picture of this silly sign and this mock-up of a mining tunnel. Next stop was Coeur d'Alene, again, but I followed this sign to Sandpoint. Yes, if you go the other way, you go to Moscow. Moskau, moskau! But, if you continue going North from Sandpoint, you'll drive to this little village named 'Canada' . I did drive the 50 miles out of the way to Sandpoint for a reason, though: I have a county up there named after me... maybe . I returned to Coeur d'Alene for the connection back to I-90 (with another stop at the Arby's, of course) and then back through the state of Washington, in all of its non-descript glory, as evidenced by the ton of business waiting for me at the Ephrata, WA exit. Fortunately, there were sights such as a truck kebab and a petrified forest on the way... and I got another chance to take a picture of the Columbia River. There's supposedly a dam down there, but I can't see a dam.... I also got fooled and went to see the Gorge Amphitheater, but after driving the ten miles to get there, I found it to be closed and had to drive the 10 miles back to the interstate .
After the remainder of the I-90 back to Seattle, I got to my hotel room, although it seems to be made of three rooms rather than the usual two. In addition, the hotel is within walking distance of the hotel. After two days of PAX Dev, I took a few pictures of PAX Prime: this getup, combining virtual reality with a treadmill that turns your walk and run into movement in the video game and a rifle that you use to shoot in the game. Also, a realistic racing game simulator, and a small chat with guys behind the creation of Gunpoint (they were excited that I told them about completing Gunpoint in under 12 minutes - my record has been shattered since, though). After PAX, it was time to head to the next stop, Alaska. But first, it's time to move to the country and eat me a lot of peaches... millions of peaches, peaches for me.
Alaska wasn't nearly as cold as it was rainy. It was overcast in Alaska almost the entire time that I was there, and it rained often. Alaska was basically what I figured that Seattle would be. So, the car rental place also ran out of the car that I selected and my options were limited to: SUV. Driving in any vehicle that keeps me a great distance off the ground messes with my speed perception. As a result, I'd find myself barreling down hills at ludicrous speed because it didn't seem like I was going very fast. But, anyway, enough about that SUV. The hotel lobby at Anchorage seems to have something about it that sets it apart from the previous hotels... I can't quite put my finger on it, though. And, while Anchorage doesn't lie within the Arctic Circle, there may not be a midnight sun, but the sun didn't set until about 9:20pm while I was there. The next morning was time for the adventure into the Alaskan wilderness, or just to this bridge with paper written on its support columns. I also went to Mirror Lake and Earthquake Park, where I got a picture of Super Mario relics, such as a Super Mushroom (Spoilers: it's poisonous and won't make you bigger), and a Fire Flower: it wilts and dies in the summer, but can burn you if you touch it. Also, many types of Minecraft trees are found in Alaska (not pictured: most of the Minecraft trees). The next day consisted of a jet boat ride along the Susitna River, where we saw trees that beavers have eaten and a Bald Eagle, because... America. We found forest berries and examined native American outposts, complete with fur samples of foxes, bears, and minks (I can probably turn this into a handbag). After the river ride, it was time for some sled dog rides. I rode through the woods of Talkeetna, AK on a machine with multiple H-to-the-usky husky setup, as you can see in this picture. But what's even more endearing than huskies? That's right... Husky Puppies. Just go ahead and click on it and say, "Awwww... ."
That's about the end of my trip. The last day, before my flight, I drove the 129-mile path past Beluga Point (all the beluga whales are gone, so there was no point in me stopping at the point to look) all the way to Seward, AK. From here, you can see the glacier called the 'Exit Glacier', one of about 20 glaciers that are branches from the Harding Icefield, which is nestled in the mountains northwest of Seward, AK. I arrived back in California only a few hours ago! Now, it's time to get ready for the move to Iowa. No time to rest!
Aug 24 2013, 12:38
Re-iterating that I'm going to Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Alaska for next week, so there won't be any updates during that time. I'm packing my bags and getting ready to go tomorrow morning.
Aug 18 2013, 08:00
As I discussed earlier, I may be moving to Iowa next month. So, now is the time to start making moving preparations, figuring out the logistics of that long drive from California to Iowa (it's 25 hours and 1800 miles according to my phone). I passed on the Arches National Park stop-through in Utah... mostly because I had hours of driving to go. One thing that I wanted to do that I may have to pass on is the stop at Redwood National Forest in Northern California. It's just too far away from Seattle and San Diego.
Speaking of Seattle: at the end of this month, I'm going to Seattle (again) for PAX Dev and PAX Prime, since it was such fun last time. Before PAX, though, I will be taking a quick trip to Idaho and Montana, since they're close by. I'll follow up PAX with a stopover in Alaska (you know, to check it off the list - I don't have anything planned to do in Alaska). What interesting things are there to do in Alaska?
Aug 10 2013, 16:10
I have returned from my trip in Iowa. It looks like, if I play my cards right, I'll be moving to Iowa next month. What all will that entail? Well, we're going to find out next month! I had a great time sleeping on planes, but I did find it funny that I wound up in Denver, again, for a layover. I wanted to take a picture of that creepy blue horse with glowing red eyes. The plane ride from Denver to San Diego was kind of unfortunate, though, with the rowdy party animals ahead of me, the screaming kids behind me, and the one guy who wanted to read seated next to me .
Also, I got my sideview mirror fixed earlier this week, but I forgot to post about it. It wasn't really a big deal, though. I'm more confused by the letter that I got in response to it that wants me to call a phone number to take a survey (when I could have, you know, just filled it out on an attached form). Phone conversations often prevent me from multi-tasking, which is why I want to avoid them.
I'm going to attempt streaming on Twitch sometime soon just to see if I can. Since so many people requested, I'll try to do a speedrun of sorts for AGDQ next year. This overwhelmingly positive feedback that I'm getting... I really don't deserve it. I just like video games and it's surprising to me that so many people do. After being surrounded for so long by people who don't play that many video games, this is a nice change of pace.
Aug 6 2013, 19:57
OK, it's time for me to go to Iowa and look at houses. Hopefully, this trip won't be a complete waste. I scheduled it on a whim about a month in advance. If things go well, I'll have a nice house in Iowa rather than an expensive apartment in California.
Aug 3 2013, 13:59
Well, I've finally made it back to my home, after an exciting drive back (and not in a good way). Got hit while on Interstate 15 and lost my sideview, so, there won't be much driving right now... although I'm not really in the mood to do much driving now anyway, seeing as how the trip to Denver was almost 24 hours and the return trip was 20 hours. Anyway, road pictures: almost ran out of gas driving to Seligman, AZ. There were thunderstorms in AZ as well and I was not used to seeing thunderstorms in California, just clear and hot deserts. Kayenta, within the Navajo Nation, I think. Incidentally, following the main highway through here leads to several 'labeled Navajo highways' which seem to quickly and visibly turn into unpaved roads just after leaving the main highway. Here's a picture of a woman who left her kids as she went to three other states. Well, at least it was at the Four Corners monument and they were all within sight of each other. Utah..., yeah, we'll see more of you later. Four Corners, and its inset. The southwestern corner of Colorado is filled with mountains, thunderstorms, fields, and epic construction projects. Arrived in Denver, to 'Mini-Carmageddon' on Interstate 25 and 225. A wild rabbit appeared outside of the hotel.
A double-rainbow blessing on the last day of streaming. I followed this up with what was supposed to be a short trip to Taco Bell and the gas station... the short trip to Taco Bell lasted about 20 minutes (it wasn't very "fast" food, and IHOP could have ran circles around them), and the gas station wasn't very good either when the cashier spent copious amounts of time to give me a $10 bill. Also, Denver westgate airport, we need to talk. I, personally, find it very odd that, in order to get to passenger pick-up, I have to drive through a parking garage. I also find it misleading that, in order to get to passenger drop-off, I have to take an exit that is not labeled as passenger drop-off that leads into a field and then reconnects with oncoming traffic on my right. Also, that blue nightmare in front of the airport that has glowing red eyes and, perhaps, several imprisoned souls within it... well, I guess that's okay. It's probably just an airport mascot. Also, the eastgate does not have this problem, so I will give you a half-standing ovation (a hunched-over slow-clap, I guess that's what you'd call it).
Returning through Utah on Interstate 70... it's quite featureless for the first 100 or so miles, but then you run into stuff like these mountains and hillsides. Welcome to Beaver, UT, the high country, the opposite of Charleston, SC, the low country.
Spent about an hour and a half driving through Los Angeles traffic. At the time, I was thinking to myself, "Driving through Los Angeles is like permanently wading through post-accident traffic."... but then, I got to Interstate 5... which was jammed the WHOLE WAY to San Diego! Why? For starters, it was Friday afternoon, and everyone was getting out for the weekend. Secondly, there were about five accidents, including a totaled car that looked like it had to be put out by the fire department, a burning building just off of the interstate, and a ladder that was blocking the two outside lanes on the interstate (not exactly the climb to success). I got on Interstate 5 at mile marker 105 at 15:30, I made it home at 19:15 (it's only supposed to take an hour and a half!)
Anyway, SGDQ pictures: before the magic happens, there are practice runs and meetings, then the stage is set. Batman race aftermath, and Rockman No Constancy bonus stream. SGDQ is recorded in front of a Live studio audience. A cheat sheet of Final Fantasy V (not puwexil's). This is not a chair. It's a table with a backboard on it, I guess. The stream is over and now it's time to go home.
The girl in this picture is totally saying, "Oh my God, it's Total Biscuit!". Or, "OMG, TBISC" means OMG, this bed is so comfortable.
Jul 30 2013, 21:12
Summer Games Done Quick is coming to a close, but we raised over $253,000 for charity. I'd consider that a success! I've watched probably half of all of the games at the marathon and, if you haven't watched it, it was exciting. I may or may not have danced with my biggest fan in front of ten thousands of people. . Two, as far as elephants in the room, thanks to the many people who have decided to give me support and subscribe to my YouTube channel (all 70+ of you), follow my Twitter account (all 50+ of you), and follow my Twitch page (even though there's nothing on it, all 100+ of you). I cannot guarantee that I will actually be streaming any speedruns of video games, but I'll see what I can do over next month (you'll find out here if I commit to it, or on Twitter if I decide to stream). If you want to see videos of games that I am only playing skilled and possibly casual playthroughs of, go to my YouTube page. Three, a person has asked me if I am "a nuclear physicist, MENSA member and Navy submariner"... the answer is, of course, yes... although I can't say that I contribute heavily to either of those titles, I would say that I meet the baseline levels.
Four, thank you everyone, for your patronage. I did a google search for "Iceplug" and found my website as the top result. Thanks for all of your hard work and dedication. You should celebrate by playing Platform Tour.
Jul 26 2013, 16:04
As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm now in Denver, supporting Speed Demos Archive and Speed Runs Live charity event for Doctors Without Borders. One of the best things about watching it in person (rather than via streaming video) is that you get to enjoy all of the games at 60Hz (well, if they run at that speed to begin with) ... although, I'm sure you can feel the tension in the air when watching two speedrunners (SRKFunkDoc and Sinister1) racing against each other playing Batman on the NES.
Lovely old Denver... I had to drive 24 hours to get here... well, I stopped by the Four Corners National Monument on the way here. One of the interesting things about the trip is driving through 'Navajo Country' in Arizona. Let's put things into perspective: California is at Pacific Daylight Time (GMT-7), Denver is at Mountain Daylight Time (GMT-6)... sounds easy, until you realize that there are about six different timezones on the route. Arizona does not observe Daylight time, so there's no actual time change, despite actually changing timezones (Pacific Daylight Time to Mountain Standard Time, both GMT-7). Driving to the northeast corner of Arizona, you'll enter the Navajo Nation, which does observe Daylight Savings Time, so you have to change times to Mountain Daylight Time (GMT-6). If you drive into the southern portion of Navajo Nation, you'll enter the Hopi Nation, which does NOT observe Daylight Savings Time (therefore, it is GMT-7)... and the Hopi Nation is completely surrounded by the Navajo Nation. Continuing east, regardless of the path you took, you'll reach New Mexico, which is Mountain Daylight Time (GMT-6).
The route that I took led me into the heart of the mountains of Colorado. After nearly running out of gas en route to Seligman, AZ, I was EXTRA careful about gas consumption. I wasn't terribly prepared for the mountains of Colorado, though. The highways that I took seemed to continue going up... and up... and up... and with each up, my car, from whatever speed I decided to use to boost my way up the mountain, had slowed down to about 40 mph. Fortunately, everything else that was going up these mountains traveled at 40 mph as well. There are also towns deep in the mountains as well... just at 10,000 feet above sea level like there's nothing wrong. Maybe it's because I started feeling kind of weird when I ran out of breath while driving. Even now, in Denver, I occasionally feel the effects of being at a high altitude... presumably because being in the Navy tended to leave me in cities that are on the coast.
At any rate, I should be returning to California at the beginning of August, avidly avoiding the southwest corner of Colorado (did I mention that there were 6 construction zones that I had to drive through compared to only 2 in Arizona?)
Jul 22 2013, 21:22
OK, so tomorrow, I'm taking off to go to Denver for Speed Demos Archive's Summer Games Done Quick:
In the link (via the banner) above, you can find all of the information about the games being played (no, I'm not playing any games) and prizes that you can win for donating. Doctors Without Borders is the charity where all of the donations will go. Doctors Without Borders helps provide medical aid to impoverished, less-than-fortunate locales. There're quite a few interesting articles on the site, so if you've been feeling nauseous from the deluge of Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman news feeds that every single news outlet is pumping, head on over and read about some hard-hitting stories from the other countries of the world.
Two, it appears that I mislabeled the previous entry as 'Jun' rather than 'Jul'. W A I T... ... I'll fix it.
Three, protect your child from the "growing threat" of falling TVs and replace them with computers .
Jul 12 2013, 0:34
A week or two ago, there was an article about this 19-year-old 'Justin Carter' making a comment to someone else in response to a game. In response to being told that he was 'messed up in the head', he responded by saying something like, 'I think Ima shoot up a kindergarten / And watch the blood of the innocent rain down/ And eat the beating heart of one of them.' and then 'lol jk'. Well, I'm not the first person to say that that probably wasn't the most tactful thing to say, apparently some woman thought so too and called the authorities... which then leads to Justin getting arrested and spending months in jail. Well, that escalated quickly. The comments were posted on a Facebook page and, as everybody knows, anything you post on Facebook ALWAYS comes back around to get you (see any news article about a person getting fired for posts on Facebook). This sets a weird precedent though that is the center of debate: should you have to do prison time for making stupid statements on the Internet? Keep in mind that Justin was looking at 10 years in prison and, as the report reads, a "sky-high" bail of $500,000... which is ridiculous. Also, to note: the initial article often separates the 'lol jk' from the statement in question. Everyone on the internet (that knows what jk means) knows that it's not serious and, while it doesn't give you complete freedom to say whatever you want to say, it lets others know that you know that your sentence is a terrible thing to say. Why several of the articles separate the 'lol jk' is unknown to me.
The second half of the story is the big show of support for the family: they've got over 100,000 signatures on their petition for their son to be released as well as an anonymous person donating the entire "sky-high" bail of $500,000. slightly out-of-context from Yahoo and that hyperlink has so many dashes. It's definitely a movie that throws science out the window, where it gets eaten by a shark that has somehow maintained itself conscious and alert enough to eat people despite being, literally, a fish out of water, flung around at hundreds of miles per hour.
I'm now up late watching Two-Headed Shark, which has a little bit more (incorrect) science, but at least the shark has a sense of morality that lines itself up nicely with the group.
Jul 7 2013, 21:29
Secrets to healthy eating. Step 1: All food is bad for you and starving is the healthiest way to eat. Step 2: Exercise does great things.
I took a look at an article about gross things that you're eating. Well, I thought about writing a whole bunch but I'll let you read the article here at the risk of having to wade through a ton of advertisements. I got about three pages in before I realize that the back button log was filled with about nine auto-forwarding ad links. Dear friends, can we NOT have the auto-forward ad links on random websites? I'll tolerate the advertisements that float obnoxiously on the bottom of the screen and the ones all along the side, but I want to have the ability to click the back button to go back.
In more pertinent news, I will be separated from the Navy this week and making plans for a hopeful return to college. I'm considering moving to Iowa, but I could end up returning to Louisiana. I have to play it all by ear - hopefully, I'll get enough information and assistance soon so that I can make my move.
I've been working on Platform Tour and just picked up Quadrill 3 for more work (which is in great need of optimization, as it's currently running at 58 FPS).
Jun 30 2013, 20:18
Platform Tour section has been upgraded for the new and shiny cables and upgrade descriptions.
For further news, I will be going to Denver, CO for Summer Games Done Quick. What is it? A bunch of people playing videogames in as short a time as possible. But, before I get to that point, I have a pile of papers, documents, and appointments for this week .
Jun 24 2013, 07:13
Last Saturday (15th), I took a trip to Death Valley. Oh, boy. What a trip! The full route, as charted on Google Maps, was a little under 13 hours (so, lots and lots of driving) through the heart of Death Valley (so, lots and lots of heat). I left the morning at 4:40, nice and early (not bright and early as it was still dark), plus there wasn't much traffic on the road, so I made pretty respectable time to Death Valley. I spent what was probably more than two hours on driving on US-395, which isn't a very entertaining roadway, as it sort of parallels Death Valley on the west, thus goes through large expanses of unremarkable desert, with the occasional town popping up every hour. Incidentally, you can turn left at some point from US-395 to go to the Sequoia National Park (I didn't go there). At any rate, about five hours after leaving the house, I made it to the northwest entrance to Death Valley. Following the entrance were a plethora of great views of the mountain ranges surrounding Death Valley, but what was most impressive was how straight the road went for miles and miles, almost to infinity. Spoiler: most of the roads in Death Valley around the edges are like that. I reached the actual northwest visitors entrance about an hour later, and it's set up like an old west town that you see in the Country/Western movies, complete with saloons, water troughs, and considerably large barrels. Just after the visitors center is Death Valley, a REAL desert. I mean, get a load of these sand dunes! Other sites (only about thirty miles from each other) include Mustard Rocks -- if you look closely, Black Mesa is in the background... or maybe it isn't -- and borax-covered desert floor -- I'm reminded of borax as the soap when I used to work in Hawaii, when it would just be thrown all over the bathroom like they let a five-year old go berserk. I then made it to the southern visitors center, which was more impressive than the northwest one. It had a thermometer and a height marker so you know how much you were suffering (I also broke my CD player - it probably says "Do Not Use in temperatures over 100F", but I didn't think of it until it broke). The hottest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 134F in this area in Death Valley (hence the large thermometer) a hundred years ago to this day (well, five days later, actually ). No, no, no, this isn't the depths of Death Valley. I have to keep going.
At about 13:00, I reached the lowest point in Death Valley, Badwater Basin. What's interesting is that it's not the hottest area of Death Valley; being the lowest point in America, winds from *everywhere* are blowing down into this basin. There's also a large salt flat which extends west for about a mile (you can see it in the background). If you can't read the sign, it's 282 feet below sea level. The Dead Sea in Southwestern Asia is more than 1000 feet below sea level, FYI. At any rate, I then decided that it was time to leave. I drove through about an hour and a half of mostly featureless desert (occasionally, there was a sign pointing to side "streets" (desert without shrubs growing on it). There was a desert bush with a clever police car parked behind it (just what the doctor ordered, a chance to get a speeding ticket after you've went through all of that torment). I traveled to the village of Shoshone, population 10 (according to the sign). Though there may not be that many people who live there, there are quite a few that work there. There's a school, a gas station, a saloon, an airport, and other buildings. Another 60 miles south takes you to Baker, home of the world's largest thermometer (I was in a rush to get home, so I went immediately onto the Interstate). Sights on Interstate 15 include a ghost town (full of people, so it seems a little bit odd) and Zzyzx Road, certainly a clever ploy to make your way to the bottom of an alphabetical list of anything. I made it home a few minutes before 20:00, exhausted from all of that driving and heat (traffic jams on I-15 coming in to San Diego didn't help )
Jun 14 2013, 07:00
I don't play games for the storyline. I play them for the fun! Games should not feel laborious just to finish them. It turns out that there are those who like stories in videogames, though, and it would be a disgrace to leave them out in the dust. What should I do? Perhaps, I should actually put a story to the Quadrill series. Despite how large Quadrill 4 was, there wasn't a story. Before you ask though, Power II did have a story and does have more downloads, but that's because it's been on my website for longer than Platform Tour and I only recently posted Quadrill 4 up for download. What do you all think? How important are storylines in a game for you?
In other news, I rearranged a couple of links on the main page (and added the download link for Quadrill 2).
Jun 8 2013, 15:47
Quadrill v2.1 is now available for download. It was a good idea that I worked on both in parallel, right? More information can be found on the Quadrill 2 project page. Next stop: Quadrill 3 remake plus adding the sounds to Quadrill when possible!
Jun 2 2013, 08:39
Quadrill v1.1 is now available for download. See the Quadrill project page for more details.
May 28 2013, 06:52
I checked my statistics yesterday (they don't seem to be compiled for history's sake). The number one download as of last week was Power II: The Island Demo (there are 138 downloads for it... apparently, you guys like the Power series... maybe I should revive it in the future?). Second is Platform Tour at 83 and third is Quadrill 4 at 81. Thanks, everybody, I couldn't have done this without you. Well, I suppose I could have downloaded my own file hundreds of times, but then, that would be stupid .
I've updated the Music section. for some first half of 2013 links.
Also, if you find yourself the victim of a holdup and manage to get out of the building, I recommend hopping into the car that's idling in the parking lot, because that's probably the robbers' getaway car. That's what happened with an employee at a Burger King in Sacramento. To be honest, I was actually expecting the employee to be reprimanded by some overzealous boss. Turns out that Burger King employees also think outside the box .
May 19 2013, 20:24
Platform Tour v1.0.2 is ready for download. For details, see the Platform Tour project page. I'll be doing some more work on Platform Tour as well as finishing up a special surprise that I'm going to add to Quadrill 1's and 2's remake. I've also started doing some brainstorming for a new game (a smaller one) that involves pipes and power plants -- no, it's not going to be SimCity! It's just brainstorming and it may not actually get anywhere, because I'm kind of busy doing other things right now, such as people who don't know what engineers actually do (Question: what's the difference between a mechanical engineer and a mechanic? The same is true for a computer engineer and a system technician. Let one more person tell me that I am a computer engineer therefore I should know how to use [insert random application here]).
In somewhat related information, someone supposedly "caught" me using bad grammar by pointing out (not directly on a medium that would have been suitable for me to reply) a statement that I made and that it was incorrect to use a question mark at the end . An example of usage, "Her dog's name is Rover?" If you were to examine the sentence, it would look like a statement and should end in a period as, "Her dog's name is Rover." The problem though, is that it doesn't convey the meaning that the first one does. In the first sentence, the writer is showing that he is not sure of the dog's name and is guessing. In the second sentence, you would imply that the dog's name is Rover and there's no question about it. A third option would be to rephrase the sentence in the form of a question (wait a minute, I've warped into the land of Jeopardy) such as, "Is her dog's name Rover?", but then my sentence demands a response of yes or no. It's possible that I didn't want a response. Perhaps I wanted a response that was the correct name of the dog. You can achieve the same effect of my question mark in normal speech by raising your voice a little at the end. Therefore, I conclude that I am not incorrect, even moreso because I'm on the Internet.
I did a search for my name (in quotes) on the Internet. Apparently, my YouTube vidoes feel like they are important enough to clog up the majority of the pages aside from the first three. Also, I do not play League of Legends. That is not me. I would still like to make it above the other "iceplug" site that appears above me on Google (when searched without quotes).
May 14 2013, 14:37
I took a plane ride to Seattle this weekend (for a wedding). The first part of the first day (the day before the wedding) was spent taking the I-5 south for about 170 miles to travel to Oregon (mostly, just to say that I've been there). It looks like Oregon doesn't have speed limits, just speed requirements. Speed 45 - you must drive at exactly 45 MPH (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating)! Here is WA and OR in the same picture - an Oregon beach in the foreground, Columbia River, and across the river is WA. Also, Oregon trail - I considered looking for an organ and captioning a picture "Organ Trail", but I didn't know where to find an organ.
Next stop, Mt. St. Helens, after the eruption, obviously. The large indent in the hill, if you've read up on the eruption, is because a piece of the mountain fell out in 1980. On a lighter note, here's a peaceful picture of the rolling hills (or, jagged mountains) near Mt. St. Helens. Also, there appears to be snow on the ground in certain patches. I wouldn't make a snowman out of it, though...
In the city of Seattle, I saw lots of tall buildings, a labyrinth of streets, a "riot" - "riot" in quotes, because one of the protest signs said "riots" on it, even though it was more of a peaceful protest (and I probably wouldn't have taken the picture if it were a large riot), though the protest did prevent me from driving directly to my destination. A peaceful lake in Seattle, where lots of yachts, seaplanes, kayaks, and sailboats loiter. The Seattle Space Needle. How did it come to be? Somebody said, "Oh, we need to make a landmark in Seattle." "How about a needle with a room on top of it?" "Mmmkay..." Here's a Gasworks park picture. It doesn't work. Maybe if I open this conspicuously located valve? Afterwards, I drove about another 110 miles to the Canadian border. I didn't actually pass through the country gates, but I did stop by the peaceful arch - the 49 N line which separates most of Canada from the United States passes through the center of the arch. I have to say that I was more impressed with this penny: "Yo, dawg. I heard you like pennies. So, I made a penny out of pennies."
The last day was spent traveling to Mt. Rainier. The entire mountain was covered in a thick layer of clouds, so I couldn't look all the way up to the top of the mountain. I took a stop here at Paradise, with all nonessential walkways covered with what looks to be a generous nine feet of snow (the roadways were respectably deiced, no worries there). I took another stop here at Nareda Falls, which I think is a combination of river drainage due to mountain dew or snow caps melting and spring temperatures melting the existing snow. Also, an animal stalked me to my car.
Hey, y'all! I stopped by that Puyallup on the way to the mountain!
May 3 2013, 09:14
Time for another round of making fun of news articles. For today, we have: Donald Trump's Hair caterpillar and Hilarious Court Ruling.
So, first: Donald Trump's Hair caterpillar: the story is that researchers found a caterpillar covered in thick hair that's bright yellow and *supposedly* looks like Donald Trump's hair. *Supposedly* is in asterisks because I'm looking at the caterpillar and Donald Trump side by side (because both pictures were provided in the article) and I don't see the resemblance. First of all, the caterpillar has bright yellow hair, and Donald Trump's hair is non-existent, er, I mean, brown. Secondly, the caterpillar has a full girth of hair, whereas Donald Trump has less. In fact, the only thing that the two have in common is that there's a small "lift-up" on the end of both pictures (that, and both things would probably hurt you severely if you touch their hair).
If you remember my entry a year or so ago about the fly that was named after Beyonce, you'll note that I expressed distaste for scientists naming animals after celebrities. This isn't an exception, either. Again, naming animals after celebrities is kind of like a cheap way to make yourself into these ridiculous news articles. Also, I don't think Donald Trump would like to be known as a poisonous caterpillar (much like Beyonce as a ravenous fly). Whatever happened to descriptive names, such as Yellow-Haired Poisonous Caterpillar?
Hilarious Court Ruling: I thought about writing about this one to keep you all abreast of what's going on, but I decided against. If you need incentive: the case is titled "The Case of the Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Bikini Top v. The (More) Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny Pastie" and features lines such as "Plaintiffs clothe themselves in the First Amendment", "the Court encourages reasonable discovery intercourse", and "to bare, or not to bare, that is the question"
There was another ridiculous article on tests, but they took it down just before I got the link to it. At any rate, the Quadrill 2 section has been updated: all of the maps are done.
Apr 30 2013, 08:49
Guess what? You can sign up for a trip to Mars!... in 2023... after six to eight years of training... and it's a one-way trip. While I'm sure there are probably really good reasons to colonize Mars, that one-way trip is probably the most frightening thing in that list - basically, they're sending you to Mars to live the rest of your life. That sounds all too much like a life sentence in prison. But you're free and can walk anywhere you want - just not back home to your family, friends, etc. The World Wide Web is a little bit different on Mars as well. There's no surplus of web articles or Youtube videos, although you can, in theory, still run offline computer applications, watch movies on TV - if you're lucky, watch or listen to feeds from Earth (hah, you thought the 8 second delay from the other side of Earth was bad?). Pets? Nope. Have a Mars rock and hope that it doesn't kill you like in Apollo 18 and NASA somehow extracts the footage from the incinerated spaceship from another country, somehow. Quality of life? Have fun playing games, making babies, and taking long walks on the extremely high mountains/polar ice caps/low-G valleys. Need to go swimming? Good luck with that - it's probably drinking water for everyone else. Requirements to join? 20/20 vision is probably the biggest hurdle (unless eye surgery is allowed), and "You must be at least this tall to ride: 5 foot 2 inches". You also have to be 18 years or older (duh?) - really, this all sounds like a prison for people with good eyesight and dedication. 20,000 people have applied - that's 20,000 people who would go to prison if it didn't affect their professional status. Jobs? Well, the possibilities are limitless, but the demand is very low. Also, they will only send four people every two years! Can you say, "Boring?" I get bored with 20 people in about 3 months. "So, what did you do, today?" "Ah... stuff." I also forgot to mention that the lucky winners will be selected by a television audience. Yes, move over, American Idol, it's Mars Idol - hopefully, without a ridiculous voting system and exorbitantly long episodes. At any rate, I hope they have a great time doing whatever it is that they'll be doing ten years from now.
I've updated the Quadrill 2 section. Quadrill 1 remake is waiting for bug fixes, but is otherwise ready for release.
Also, lol "will it boost my immune system if I eat boogers?" <-- THIS IS NEWS?!
Apr 20 2013, 20:22
It's the weekend! And, I have updated the Quadrill section. All of the maps are done and all I need to do is support game saves (which were NOT present in the original Quadrill 1). I guess that means that it's time to start working on the Quadrill 2 remake.
Apr 18 2013, 21:35
For the sake of my own sanity, here's a public service announcement: the difference between a suspect and a convict seems to be lost upon a decent fraction of the population. Convicts are people who have been declared as the person who has committed a crime. Suspects are people who we think may have had a chance at committing a crime. Some people have their priorities mixed up: we're supposed to be hard on the CONVICTS and hold up on the suspects. Since we've got pictures of convicts for the Boston bombings, all that means is that they need to go to the police station, get asked some questions, and then we'll have the trial later. That does not mean that we need to kick down our front doors with Judge Dredd gear on and a couple of sawed-off shotguns trying to find suspects. Getting all riled up about suspects completely ignores the possibility that the actual killer is neither of these people and that law enforcement agencies may not have the right lead. The last thing the police needs to do is put the wrong people behind bars.
In other news, I've tweaked Quadrill a bit to get to that second SFlag, but didn't post a picture because I've got a busy day tomorrow.
Apr 16 2013, 19:48
The Quadrill section has been updated again. Only a few more tweaks left before I'm up to SFlag 2 (about 16% done).
In other news and *speaking of LA, also known as Louisiana*: sagging pants have been banned in Terrebonne Parish. This is so deliciously ridiculous that it only makes sense that a state such as LA would think up something like this. What happens if you're caught with sagging pants? A fine of fifty dollars. Apparently, LA isn't making enough with speed traps on I-12 and are trying to take it away from the youth.
But, seriously, what's the point of this law? It seems more like a way to get back at 'urbanized' individuals in some broad and unrelated attempt to reduce crime. I guess that having people look at you like a fool with your pants on the ground wasn't enough for Terrebonne - they have to make some money off of it. Other highlights of the article: the provision also bans saggy skirts - yes, ladies, while you will most definitely look like a fool with your skirts on the ground (among other things), you also will be assessed a nominal 50 dollar fine .
How exactly will this ban be enforced? If I leave my house, drive to the grocery store for bread and milk, and then realize that I forgot my belt, am I going to be assessed this $50 fine? What if my skin/underwear is not visible because, when my pants are sagged, I decided to tuck my shirt into my pants? Indeed, this seems to be a war on trends and fashion with negligible disruption to the public that's being declared by people who don't understand such trends - that's a dangerous practice.
Good lines: "Hopefully, it’ll get these young men to pull up their pants". Then why does it also call for skirts? This ban doesn't know what it wants to do, unless someone's taken the time to get offended by young cross-dressing men that decide to wear saggy skirts! "The problem is our young men are emulating prisoners." Yes, prisoners are well known for wearing sagging pants. Any reference to men in prison wearing sagging pants as a reference to sexual prison relationship is silly - who looks at saggy pants and thinks, "Wow, this person is ready for some prison sex"? Not me! I just say that they look like a fool. Perhaps we should also ban the practice of wearing clothes that are too tight - I'm sure that people walking around in too-tight elastic/undersized clothes will cause problems as well.
Apr 14 2013, 20:55
I just want to take this extra post to thank all of those users rummaging through my site and following my progress. I know I can't see your faces or anything, but I know you're there, downloading my games and whatnot (according to my traffic log), and I appreciate your interest.
Apr 14 2013, 20:42
I've updated the Quadrill section with the new, overhead 3-D remake of Quadrill, as well as some insight as to my project status over the next few weeks.
Also, last week, I completed my TAP class. It's a class designed to help veterans transition from military life to civilian life. I'd like to think that I remember much of what I was doing before I joined the military - I guess time will tell. At any rate, the class was great once I figured out where it actually was taking place - turns out I was on the wrong side of the city.
Apr 14 2013, 07:09
This is the picture that pops up in my mind whenever I see LA casually pop up outside of context.
Apr 9 2013, 21:50
I took the GRE last Friday. It seems that I overestimated the difficulty of the quantitative sections of GREs. They don't actually seem to require much in the realm of calculus. If only I had read their website beforehand instead of going into the exam blind. At any rate, the results will probably end up getting here in May and again, I don't profess to be the expert in anything in regards to writing - I just put a random sequence of words that make sense to my own brain on this website. No one reads these things anyway... I think.
Apr 2 2013, 22:14
Apparently, I REALLY like Platform Tour, because version 1.0.1 is now available for download at the downloads section at the top of this page. For more details on the changes to 1.0.1, see the Platform Tour project page. I know that I said at some point this week - I figure that I'd just go ahead and get it done with. I'm sure it looked like all was lost in regards to Platform Tour, what with the hard drive failure and loss of important files and applications. But, I told you that I would find a way!!!
Please report any bugs that you may find in the new Guestbook, via e-mail, via Twitter, or whatever.
Apr 1 2013, 22:40
I hope you all had a wonderful day... an April Fool's Day. Yes, April Fool's Day, the day when nothing on the Internet can be trusted except, of course, archived and old news. I usually try to stay as far away from the crazy news: the brief time that I've browsed the Internet today, several major organizations have folded under, sold out to bigger organizations, or otherwise have misled their customers... of course, with the good old April Fool's Day line thrown in at some point. So: don't trust anything you see on the Internet.
Speaking of things you probably can't trust, this week, I'm going to upload the update to Platform Tour (version 1.0.1) that I've been trying to make for the past three years. Basically, what happened is I found my Visual Studio CDs and installed them today. Following that up, I have to port Quadrill over to .NET so that it can work with something other than an XP computer.
Mar 31 2013, 21:38
I've rewritten the guestbook - it's got what I'm going to call a 'extremely-simple robot-defeater'... what it is is a textbox where you have to put in the first letter of the name in order for the message to be accepted. I did a little bit of research (Google searches, of course) and found out that, although I usually don't have a problem with the more popular 'captcha' robot-defeaters, other people do. Simpler alternatives were provided (particularly, those that are easier to solve by robots and humans alike), but do you really need sophisticated images that picture-processing software has difficulty solving? We're going to find out. Let's take a look back this Friday to see how the guestbook turned out.
In addition, I need to really start thinking outside of the box, now. This last week went by so quickly that I don't even know what I got accomplished. Possibly, the only thing that I can take away from it was that PAX was so awesome, everything else seemed like a blur.
Mar 29 2013, 18:47
More ridiculous stories: today, ridiculously photogenic jiu-jitsu guy, to round up the ridiculously photogenic threesome, which started with the ridiculously photogenic runner and the ridiculously photogenic heart-surgery girl. Strange, whenever, I try to do a ridiculously photogenic pose like that, it doesn't work... I wonder why? At any rate, if it makes you feel any better, the ridiculously photogenic runner, in the picture, is running *behind* two girls and next to two more, so he does have a reason to smile in addition to the photographer on the side, plus since he's running behind, he's *clearly* not as tired as everyone else! For jiu jitsu guy, you can tell he hasn't been fighting for long, since most fighters end up with face asymmetries due to one of two phenomenon: "getting hit in the face" or "falling flat on your face"... also, most aren't making faces like, "I just remembered my PIN" or "I wonder what's for dinner, tonight".
Also, from this guy in Norway, the 25 least visited countries in the world. North Korea... only in 16th place, because, apparently, people like 'big brother'... but without cameras spying on you, there are people that have to be with you 24/7. Crime is at ~0%, which is more than what you could say about Libya at 15th place (I don't have to say anything about it if you've already read the 'Spring Break in Libya' article). "[In Bhutan,] you will see penises painted on many buildings around the country. They are signs of good luck..." WTF? No, not just WTF, but SSMTWTF!? There are some great articles on the site for travelers as well - I'd be willing to take a second look.
Mar 28 2013, 16:20
I've made it back from PAX in Boston. I had a WONDERFUL time! Even looking back on it now, four days later, the trip was well worth it and I find myself smiling all day long (and no, I'm not smiling because of illicit drugs, how dare you ). Specifically, I got a chance to talk to a lot of video game developers and realize that, for the most part, we're all in the same boat... except some of us have more experience than others (namely, all have more experience than me ). I also watched a Video Game Awards debate which was simultaneously thought-provoking (there's a word combo that I haven't used before) and entertaining. I got to meet Jesse Cox from... well, Jesse Cox. I finished up PAX with a rousing bout of Rock Band and found out that horses make everything better. I'm definitely going to make plans for PAX in Seattle at the end of this year - I had a blast. I also took pictures: of BAUSton, city of BAUSses; of Sam Fisher, from Splinter Cell - foot is stepped out, I think he's killing a spider; in the hotel showing off 'normal-sized' pillows and the ones on the left which I called 'milli-pillows'... specifically because I didn't notice they were small until I went to sleep, rolled around in the bed, grabbed a pillow and thought, "Where's the rest of this pillow?" (not pictured for hopefully obvious reasons, the 'Church' toilets in the bathroom, because there's apparently a company named 'Church' that makes toilets); of the entrance to PAX; of miscellaneous soldiers (I don't know what game this one is from) that are in the 'death-pose' or, as some refer to it, the 'teabag-me-pose'; of myself with my homie, Jesse Cox; and of Rock Band, which is NOT complete without dancing horse girls!
Games that I stopped for: Legend of Dungeon homepage, Children of Liberty homepage, Galactose homepage, and City of Steam homepage. NavGTR awards debate panel: Escapist Magazine, Charles Battersby, FPS - First Person Soda, Computer World.
I have to be in a wonderful mood, because my taxes are SCREWED this year... let's just say that I need to do a follow-up appointment at H&R Block. Also, I have hit a roadblock in terms of Quadrill 5, mostly because DirectX 7 doesn't seem to work on Windows 7 - but only for Visual Basic. I need to rechannel my efforts to make Quadrill in .NET, possibly in DirectX n, where n is whatever version of DirectX that I can program use with Visual Studio 2012!
Mar 18 2013, 20:24
I am such an idiot! Quadrill 4 is available for download in the downloads section (above). The long-awaited final episode of Quadrill 4, ready to be downloaded. Unfortunately, if you're using Windows 7 (and presumably Windows 8), it won't run because ActiveX can't create DirectX 7 environments for some reason, despite "backwards compatibility"... so, it LOOKS like I'm going to have to invest some time in making Quadrill run in .NET in order for it to run on Windows 7. I was working on this a while ago, but my efforts were lost when my computer hard drive died in 2010. Quadrill 4 does run fine on Windows XP, if any of you still have it... otherwise, if I'm not back in five minutes... just wait longer!
Mar 17 2013, 20:56
Friday evening, I had a dream about what it meant to give so much of yourself to something for so long and finding out that it doesn't matter in the end. I felt that it was, more or less, an analogy of what it's like for couples who break up and say all of the things that they usually say about their relationship after, even though there were no couples in the dream. I don't actually remember much about the dream except waking up with that thought in my head. The point that I got out of it is this first: "Would you have done things differently if you knew that it doesn't matter in the end?", to which I answer, "Probably, yes...". The second point: "Is it worth trying in the first place?", to which I also answer, "Yes". At any rate, it helped put things into perspective, and, even though knowing the analogy probably won't help me out in the end, I still took it to heart.
I mean, it's better than LAST week, where I had four consecutive nights with dreams that I would have probably considered as nightmares at any earlier period in my life (all of which involving dismemberment). So, I wanted to figure out why I was having these 'nightmares'... well, I, kind of, didn't figure out anything. I just slept with my blanket off of my legs and things were fine.
Also, again, quick reminder that I'm going to PAX East in Boston next Sunday. Yes, today was St. Patrick's Day - I considered carrying a large set of pliers in my hand for the lack of green that I would be wearing. "Go ahead, try to pinch me."
Mar 13 2013, 21:35
Finally! A step in the right direction! Summary: A driver received a ticket because she was driving slowly. Why is that good? Because she was driving in the left lane. The article in particular is here: Cracking down on barricade drivers. When I read the article, I was initially puzzled as to why a police officer would EVER pull anyone over for driving too slow - sure, it's annoying to be behind them, but they're just trying to drive safely and make it home. The big reveal is that she was driving on the left and, after two years of driving in Hawaii, I almost wanted to stand up and start clapping (I figured that it would be a bit ridiculous to start clapping, seeing as how I'm just reading a story on the Internet and no one else is around ). On any given drive to and from work in Hawaii along the two lane-two lane "interstates", I usually end up caught behind somebody driving in the left lane with NOTHING on their right. This is ridiculous... there are signs EVERYWHERE that say "Slower Traffic Keep Right". If there is no traffic on a car's right, that means to get into the right lane. Otherwise, and what usually happens is, a 'moving roadblock' gets set up when the car in the left lane starts slowly approaching a car who is minding their own business in the right lane. Normally, it's not a problem as the car in the left lane usually passes the car in the right eventually (as in, it takes about ten seconds). In Hawaii, however, they "interlock", sort of, and start driving at the exact same speed. It sounds completely ridiculous, I know. It LOOKS ridiculous, I know. But it happens far too often. It leads to large clumps of traffic all arriving at the same time to Interstate exits, on-ramps, and other traffic direction schemes. I applaud any police officer that enforces this rule in some fashion. It doesn't seem to be enforced in certain places at all, encouraging drivers to just drive leisurely in the fast lane for no reason. I remember that I was driving about 1000 feet behind a car on the interstate and that car just changed lanes and got into the fast lane for NO REASON! WHY? I was so angry, I followed it all the way until it got off of the Interstate (Hawaii interstates are only about 30 miles long at the most) just to confirm that this car got into the fast lane for NO REASON - in fact, moving out of the fast lane for the sole purpose of taking the exit off of the interstate. There was NO traffic except that car and mine, by the way, so it's not as if there were any other motorists to overtake.
Here's a video of someone else illustrating what I was talking about - see, I'm not alone in this issue and I can sense that others are too. The article may give the woman an out if, for whatever reason, there's a strong gust of wind that only blows in the slow lane (?), but the principle is still there: the fast lane is for passing slower moving cars. It's not for passing non-existent cars in the slow lane, and it's not for getting passed by cars at all. Bravo, good cop, bravo. Come to my house and I'll bake you some cookies!
Speaking of driving, there is a ridiculously "pimpalicious" car that is parked on the street next to the McDonald's that I was mentioning earlier. It's there quite frequently and it seems to belong to someone who works nearby. How "pimptastic" is this car? Well, the car is painted in two different shades of purple - one is a bluish-purple color which is on most of the raised portions, and there's a reddish-purple everywhere else. The car sits on what I'm sure that some would refer to as "them thangs"... gigantic gold-colored rims (do a google search for "purple car gold rims" and you'll see EXACTLY what I mean). This car is a hot mess and is just ignorantly parked out on the street FREQUENTLY! I will refrain from hating... it probably makes the women say "Yeah."... or maybe it's a lunchbox? (And a lunchbox is a vehicle that is used to transport individuals of the opposite sex back to an unspecified location where eating will take place)
Also, as far as gold, everybody just ain't able to have a different car every day of the week... but I definitely found somebody who does: Monday, the pick-up truck; Tuesday, the family sedan; Wednesday, the minivan; Thursday, this gnarly muscle-car; Friday, well, I think Friday is the motorcycle, but I'm not sure. I can confirm, however, that the purple and gold car is NOT one of them as this car is in a totally different location (just in case you were wondering).
Mar 11 2013, 21:06
Today: I found out that it's actually hard to determine handicapped drivers by assessing them through the windshield. Case in point: walking across a handicapped parking spot this morning when a gentleman turned to prepare to park his car in the handicapped parking spot. I was about to look at him with a raised eyebrow, thinking to myself, "You don't LOOK handicapped"... but instantly caught myself: what do people who drive cars with handicap permits LOOK like? I suppose that I was expecting someone to be driving around with a prominent walking frame somewhere directly in between them and the steering wheel... or two crutches that are, sort of ignorantly placed across the top of the dashboard like a badge of honor. TURNS OUT that there's a little decal on the license plate, usually. Well, at least it was breakfast at the time and I wouldn't have to go far to get egg all over my face.
Mar 10 2013, 22:42
I'm celebrating the beginning of Daylight Savings Time by being tired all day today and expecting my fatigue continuing on into tomorrow morning. Being awake this late probably isn't helping either.
There was an article on Yahoo a few days ago - I forgot to get the link to it. Long story short: Men drive longer distances than women, but women are more likely to get in car accidents than men. The article just screams [insert joke about women drivers here], however, I think that... maybe, they could have waited to release the article during some other month in th year, maybe? It made me feel a little guilty about rolling on the floor laughing about "Because she'll be getting ready while driving, putting on lipstick and deodorant... and then, when she gets there, she's going to park the delivery truck all upon the curb..."
At any rate, I would mention Daylight Savings Time, but chances are that, if you have a computer, your time has already been adjusted. However, you should consider setting your clock back an hour rather than forward an hour so that you are two hours late for everything. The advantages of doing this: well... I don't really know, but it could be useful in some situation.
Mar 6 2013, 06:35
This guy apparently can tell a small detail about you by your signature, which the news story quickly cautions us by saying that "it's difficult to truly read a person's character". One person that I knew in particular used to sign their name with a semi-hidden smiley face inside. After a couple of unfortunate months of bad events, the smiley face disappeared. However, when things went back on the upswing, the smiley face didn't return, contrary to what others expected. This probably doesn't have anything to do with the article, but I found it interesting. I don't think signature analysis is anything that I'd base anything off of. The article, however, does state that Larry Page's vowels are all open... well, there are only three and only one of them is open. I would have considered his signature to be on par with Bill Gates's signature: what you see is what you get.
Also, I will be heading to PAX East in Boston on the 24th of March. They've finally put up a schedule so I'll have some idea of what's going on. All of the big stuff is happening on Saturday and the tickets to that were sold out months ago. As perspective, PAX Aus, which doesn't start until JULY is already sold out of every day except Friday. Hmm... ...
Mar 2 2013, 04:21
Here's an article about a man who wanted to skydive with an umbrella Mary Poppins style. The article itself praises the man's innovation... which is fine. The ridiculous part: the article seems to really lather up the idea that what happened was not what we would expect. Ask anybody who carries a normal umbrella outside on a windy and rainy day what happens to umbrellas in high gusts of wind. Note that if you watch the video, you can see the skydiver clearly didn't buy the ten-dollar umbrella on the rack next to the checkout line at Wal-Mart - he's got what looks like an industrial grade umbrella. The umbrella lasts about ten seconds (can't really tell, there's some editing for some awesome aerial shots though) before it rips off the fabric. The article explains to us that the "air pressure" is what caused the fabric to rip off... which, of course, really bothered me, as there's less air pressure up there, just a substantial amount of air friction (and relative air flow) as you're falling to earth at terminal velocity (of the umbrella and skydiver together). The increase in air pressure when near the surface - is that really what did it? Somehow, I'm a bit skeptical.
Feb 25 2013, 12:28
I looked at Yahoo news today... apparently, they had an awards show or something last night. How did I find that out? Because there are way too many news articles on it! Here's all that you need to know about the Oscars in a nice little animated GIF featuring Sandra Bullock. Someone described her face as "comically grotesque". A Yahoo News commenter detested the word "grotesque" and suggested "hilarious" instead. Take a second and think about this in greater detail: if you say stuff like "comically hilarious", you may not be considered to the general populace as a professional writer. I say "may" because my writing skills, while they're not exemplary, they aren't "horribly terrible". (Case in point: that grammar error in the previous post that I wrote last week.)
Feb 19 2013, 21:00
Many times I find that people who feel like they have a miniscule amount of power often approach issues in such a heavy-handed way that I can't help but enjoy when they get served up with style. Case in point: Getting witness statements from a dog. The CPS (who I mistook for Child Protection Services, whoops!) in England needed a witness statement from someone that they knew as "PC Peach" (sounds like Princess Toadstool at a computer). Turns out that "PC Peach" is actually "PD Peach", a dog. After the local police department told CPS that they just asked for a witness statement from a dog, CPS insists on getting the witness statement. Now, a little side note, this sounds like somebody in a low-ranking position filling in the role for someone who obviously hasn't prepared them very well on how to do stuff - I know, I've found myself in this position before, and it's HILARIOUS... when you look back on it years from now. Anyway, when the police get the request for a witness statement, they sent this phrase to CPS: "I chase him. I bite him. Bad man. He tasty. Good boy. Good boy Peach." with a completely ignorant dog paw "signature" on the page. Now, on another side note: if I received this and worked at CPS, I would be laughing out loud -- this is where you find out that it's not me (obviously) and, presumably, not somebody in a low-ranking position filling in for someone with the know-how. CPS then complained to the police chief that someone was mocking them. GEE, YOU DON'T SAY! Of course, now they're investigating the matter. What does that mean? The people at the police station are all collectively sitting around the water fountain laughing their behinds off, CPS people are getting ticked off because of someone's own stupidity and trying to hold it in by sticking together for some dummy... with a select few laughing and saying stuff like "That's what you get for being an idiot", and now that it's on Yahoo, the Internet gets to enjoy the story as well! Even the Police Federation Chief was like 'he obviously did it for the lulz'... single quotes because that's not an actual quote.
Speaking of lulz, a program at work tried to teach me something a few weeks ago... specifically risk management. The equation for risk (named by me) states that Risk is equal to Probability times Consequence. Now, I really love equations based on superlatives: they're possibly the most ridiculous thing to look at from an engineer's point-of-view. So, let's analyze this equation: risk = probability x consequence. Since probability is a number that varies from 0 to 1, one can quickly conclude that the sign of risk is only determined by the sign of consequence. What does that mean? A verifiable, positive risk will always lead to a positive consequence. Negative consequences are only produced by a negative risk. So, risk management, in a nutshell, clearly(!) states that you should always make positive risks. That way, nothing can go wrong!
Feb 18 2013, 21:38
Updated the Quadrill 5 section.
Feb 3 2013, 21:58
So, I've been working on Quadrill 5 a bit. I don't have an actual update that I can upload yet, but one is coming soon. I'm making roads, streets, cities, underground bases, economies, seaports, etc. As usual, one picture won't do it justice. But, you'll just have to deal with no picture or update for now.
Also, there was a rogue entry earlier on Yahoo News about that monkey that I mentioned almost two months ago. My first reaction upon seeing the article was: "It's over! We don't care about that story anymore. There is other news!". To preserve my own sanity, I didn't actually read it, but I imagine it's simply "What are we going to do with the monkey?". I can easily see five or six people running around in circles waving their arms in general panic for some reason. Fortunately, Yahoo is completely covered with Super Bowl news, so I don't have anything else here.
Since we're entering the Mardi Gras season (which doesn't exist in San Diego, as far as I can see), I decided to order a King Cake from Haydel's Bakery. I ordered it on Friday, because they only ship next-day deliveries (makes sense, it is a cake, after all)... unfortunately, it didn't *actually* ship until Saturday evening (I forgot, they have to actually make the thing ). So, UPS was scheduled to deliver it on Monday, which, to me, means that I'm going to miss the delivery because I'm at work. It goes without saying, that I, well, missed the delivery because of work. UPS actually got to my door 6 minutes after I left for work . So, I called UPS to see if I can just pick it up. After playing around with the pre-recorded menu, I got a message: "Someone will call you within the next hour to confirm your pick-up". Two and a half hours later, I get a phone call which was basically telling me to go to an address and bring your photo ID -- but, arrive at 8pm. So, I had to drive across half of San Diego in the darkness of night to this store. Well, after an uneventful, yet quick, drive (surprisingly, only got caught behind about 2 of 30 red lights the entire trip), I found the road where the UPS store was on. Now, bear in mind that all I have is an address. I pull up to ... the UPS compound. There's some newspaper stands on the side of street and a couple of cars parked on the side, the UPS compound has got all of its gates raised up, people (presumably, employees) are walking out of the store with purses and car keys, there's barely any lighting anywhere except a few lights on the gate and a few on the inside of the compound, and it looks, in general, like they're not about to be passing out any packages tonight. I park in the employee parking lot (it's the only one around with the exception of the cars on the side of the road I just came down) and walk toward the gate. Before I get to the gate, I overhear one of the employees talking with someone else: "Are you here to pick up a package? You see all of those cars on that street? They're also waiting. They'll let everyone in at 8 o' clock." So, after hearing this, I quickly jump back into the car and drive back to the street and get a park. Funny, it looks like the cars were just parked there and the people inside were at work, somewhere. As I pull up behind the last car in line, I can't help but notice a giant "No Parking" sign on the side of the road. I think to myself, "Great, let us all park illegally for a few minutes".
Now, I'm parked in this line of cars on the side of the road. The road has no lights on it and is otherwise shrouded in darkness except for the lights from the gate and other faraway buildings - if there were more trees in the city, it would be completely dark on this street. I see the cars parked in front of me, occasionally getting a glimpse of someone's head leaning over and then popping back in front of the headrest. At this point, I'm thinking, "Well, it looks like we're about to start a drive-by. Check y'all weppins!" I see other cars pull up and do essentially the same thing that I just did: pull up and park in some area where it looks like customers are supposed to park, but, in actuality, are supposed to park in this totally counter-intuitive location. I see a car drive up and park directly in front of the gate (wow, that's a wonderful idea... not), then drive right in the way of an incoming UPS truck. I was expecting the car to drive in right after the truck and just look on with pure amusement as to what would have ensued, but the car just drove into the parking lot (again, the wrong area). I then ask myself, "How are all of these people supposed to know to wait over here on the side of the road? It's certainly not intuitive to wait on the side of the road for a gate to open, but even moreso on a road with no lighting on it, with a "No Parking" sign on the side, and behind several other cars which look parked (especially since there's no lighting on the cars).
After three or four additional cars pull in (only two of which parked behind me), the gates open. Simultaneously, all of the cars crank their engines and start driving in. "All right, we're rolling out. Let's hit these fools up!" - me thinking again. Well, I start driving and we make a little line of cars into the UPS compound. I encounter one of those obnoxious speed bumps - the ones you have to be traveling less than about 5 mph for it to at least feel smooth - and then get ready to park. The four cars in front of me, through some bizarre circumstance, all park in rapid succession, almost as if they were parking to music or, perhaps, if they had done this before. I attempt to do the same, park a little crooked, but figure that as long as it *looks* like I parked in time, that everything would be fine. I then go into the store, get my King Cake in a box, make my way back out, and back home. I make it home at about 21:15 and open my King Cake box. Oh, what delight. It was exactly what I wanted and everything that I hoped it would be. It took me four days to eat the whole King Cake. Maybe I should order another one, but make sure to order it on Thursday.
Jan 14 2013, 06:43
I have updated the Quadrill section. In other news, an eerie cold has fallen over San Diego, causing temperatures to occasionally dip into the 30s. In Hawaii, the coldest that it ever got while I was there was about 60 degrees. Just sayin'.
Jan 1 2013, 13:47
One of the greatest things in life to seek: How to make easy dotted lines.
Jan 1 2013, 08:57
Happy New Year! I realize that I kind of forgot to write several things that I wanted to put on my front page. Well, I'll get to them - while I listen and recap my top ten music files of 2012.
So, we'll kick things off with my traditional Top 10 MIDI for 2012. I said quite a few times that I felt the music quality was good overall this year but, let's be honest, 2011 music was ridiculously sparse with how little free time I had from work. The last six months that I've had have been amazingly productive: between all of the work I've been able to put into Quadrill 5 and making music, I got to move to California (Kal-ee-forn-ee-uh). I don't contribute most of my productivity to living in California but, rather, just the fact that I'm not at work working long hours when I'd rather be at home.
Also, a picture of the south with a hurricane on it...
Of course, you can't live in places such as California without finding somebody that talks like everybody from the South is a blithering idiot that's unaware of the world - somebody who looks at places like LA with binoculars on like "Should we go there?" "Not yet! Wait until it's civilized". Just know that whenever anyone says that, realize that I'm looking at you on the other side of this computer with a smirk and my arms crossed
I've been playing Far Cry 3 and having a blast with this ridiculous main character and the equally ridiculous cast of characters. However, I feel that the game has an undertone of an article that I commented on a while back... yes, the Spring Break in Libya. I encourage you to read the article. Granted, it's not Libya, and it's not a student that's there by choice because he felt like dying while working at an almost $100,000 a year job, but the rest of the similarities are there, including guns, fighting with rebels, and having people with you that look like this the whole time.
Dec 20 2012, 15:07
Here at "Slightly Science Studios" (well, Yahoo News comment section), there is a discussion on how a man turned boiling water into snow in Siberia. I'll quickly walk past the idea that, apparently, we covered the Mpemba effect in high school chemistry when I wasn't paying attention (it's been over 10 years and, while I would have definitely remembered a name like "Mpemba", we probably didn't call it that, but discussed it anyway). The article mentions that boiling water freezes faster than cold water, but the "phenomenon remains a mystery to many". Also, "Not even scientists can agree why hot water tends to freeze quicker."
Therefore, let's let the Internet tell us how the Mpemba effect works! The first comment that caught my attention was this one on Newton's Law of Cooling: "this phenomenon can be explained by newton's cooling law. it states that the rate of heat loss of a body is proportional to the difference in temperatures between the body and its surroundings". We don't need capital letters! Anyway, while it is true that if you put a bucket of hot water and a bucket of cold water in -41C (that's essentially -41F just in case you wanted to know how cold -41C is in Fahrenheit), the hot water will cool down faster than the cold water. Eventually, though, the hot water will be about as cold as the cold water was... but, the cold water will always be a little bit colder than the hot water.
Oh, wait, a rebuttal! "Why are you getting so technical? Did you just finish a class of physics or chemistry?", another person says, and then follows with another technical explanation. "So the water disbursed as it fell ... " -- yes, the water started passing out checks and $20 bills... he literally just made it rain!
These replies raise an interesting question: why do some users assume that they can explain turning boiling water to snow without getting technical? I don't think you can go much farther than 'Because it's cold outside' without getting technical. Also, if scientists can't agree, why do some users "know" the right answer?
Closing comment: "Tune in next August, where snow turns to boiling water in Houston."
Dec 19 2012, 17:40
Well, to clear up some loose ends, I was right on the money with respect to "a bunch of babies being strangely born at the same time": at 12/12/12 12:12 - no fewer than five children were born at just that time. While I'm not exactly an expert on the practice of baby birthing and what exactly a woman goes through in order to deliver a baby, I've always considered that picking the time for a woman to give birth as a little excessive. But, clearly I've been proven wrong as five women all got it in their heads (with probably some assistance in the form of husbands/doctors posting a huge clock on the wall for her to look at) to deliver their baby at 12:12.
I have updated the Quadrill 5 section to reflect the new dramatic camera panning. Now, as winter slowly rolls in again, it's time to get ready for the new year... 2013 (which will be the first year I've been in that contains consecutive digits (out of order, but hey, 2345 is over 300 years away).
Dec 12 2012, 12:12
As we approach the auspicious date and time of 12/12/12 12:12, let's take a moment to put things in perspective.
On the topic of celebrating children who turned 12 today, realize that we're going to be celebrating children born in 2000 for the next 100 years. Guess what? He's going to turn 13 in 2013. The kid who turned 11 on 11/11/11 11:11 was born in 2000. I graduated from high school in 2000 - I'm a 12-year alumni in 2012. On 5/2005, I celebrated my five-year graduation anniversary.
On the topic of noting 12/12/12 12:12 around the world, I would also like to laugh at the people who 'did it wrong'. Just noting the fact that celebrating 12:12 doesn't count twelve minutes after midnight . Just go to a self-respecting time website and you'll see that the time is 0:12. But, you know what? Does it really matter? I'm about to set my clocks back an hour so that I have another chance to celebrate 12/12/12 12:12. I invite you all to laugh at my ridiculousness.
On the topic of marking 12/12/12 12:12, I envision people waiting around 12:11, doing nothing otherwise, but waiting for the second hand to pass the 12. Once the clock says 12:12, I envision a bunch of logs and events happening to be recorded in history as happening at 12/12/12 12:12. I see a bunch of babies being strangely born at the same time today.
I also see myself uploading this a little bit before 12:12, but don't worry. I've got several clocks that are all a minute off from each other. I can verify that at least one clock says 12:12. . Again, feel free to laugh at my facetiousness.
Dec 10 2012, 08:08
More silly news: A primate was found hanging around (or, "loitering") outside of a Toronto Ikea. The article describes the monkey as "clad" in a coat. Who says stuff like that: "clad in a coat"? When I think of clad, I think of something that's completely wrapped in a whole bunch of a certain item. Example: the ship is clad in iron. Can you be clad in one single object?
Enough about cladding - what you can infer from the article (well, what I inferred, because I'm eccentric): It was actually just (insert name of famous person here), asking questions to shoppers.
Dec 7 2012, 07:06
A sucker is born every minute. Actually, good people are born every minute. Here's the story: a person released a game (Notte Luminosa), people played it but only a few. This person then posts, what I assume, is several months later saying that he has leukemia and his "one regret is that Notte Luminosa never got Let's Played by someone". Now, if you're someone like me, who's been around on the Internets (no, not like that) know that one of the most important rules is "Don't believe what you read on the Internet". However, the story seemed pretty genuine that a lot of good people (what other people call "suckers") actually started playing Notte Luminosa as a favor for a dying young man. I, however, instantly saw red flags popping out of it (but, you know, I was just a little skeptical). The result: well, it doesn't look like he has leukemia. Remember that people LIE... especially on the Internet, where there is no face-to-face confrontation, no verbal gestures, no visual identification. All you have is a person who puts in a username and a password that is within your system. That being said, I am most pleased with the response to his "dying wishes" that says to me: there are a lot more people who tell the TRUTH and show considerable amounts of COMPASSION, DESPITE no face-to-face confrontation, verbal gesture, visual identification, etc. etc. While I may not have been surprised by the lie, I was quite surprised with the overall response to the people for this person on his "death bed". This is why I continue to keep in touch with the Internet - it's such a dynamic little subset of the entire world, good and bad.
Well, if you're wondering about me: I am perfectly healthy, typing away on my computer, sitting upright in a small house in San Diego. Feel free to believe it: it's not a publicity stunt and it doesn't gain me anything since I'm sure most of you are perfectly healthy as well.
I'm working on a bunch of bugs that I've put into Quadrill 5. No, I shouldn't call them bugs, but rather, design features. Nope. They're bugs. They have six legs and walk around inside of buildings. You can shoot them to kill them.
Dec 2 2012, 17:45
It's the most wonderful time of the year... well, it's December. I would normally talk about it being cold, but it doesn't really get very cold in San Diego. It's 60+ degrees for most of the day. It's cooler than Hawaii, but not by very much. You can really feel it in the morning, but by the afternoon, it has warmed up sufficiently.
I have updated the Quadrill 5 section with some things that I've developed recently. Otherwise, I'm getting ready for Christmas with some more Christmas-themed MIDI files!
Nov 3 2012, 18:34
Tomorrow, Daylight Savings Time ends, meaning that it'll now be REALLY dark at about 5 PM everyday. Interesting thing to note: when you are closer to the Equator (in a place such as, say, Hawaii) darkness comes in later than it does in places that are farther up North (or south of the equator). Thus, in San Diego, I get to fool around with a lot more darkness in the wintertime than I did in Hawaii. It may not be a lot, but it's definitely something that I have noticed.
Yahoo brings us another article: Spring Break in Libya. The gist of the story, if you haven't read it, is that a student from UCLA decides one day to fight with some rebels in Libya. The story is quite far-fetched that it seems all the more believable. However, I couldn't help but notice (and a couple commenters noticed as well): he had an internship in which he was making 9000 dollars a month, but he got bored with that and wanted to go "pot shot shoot and pop shot guns". Ironically enough, the article says, after spending most of the day in a cubicle, he "felt like he was dying" -- apparently, "dying" wasn't happening fast enough, and he went to Libya. The next bit of the article provides quite a read, almost as if I'm reading a piece of combat fiction from the bookstore. He then returns home and, as you might expect, he doesn't find school nearly as interesting now (apparently, neither is that internship with making five G's every two weeks) and goes back to Libya, but this time, he's brought a friend . The novel continues some more with him and his friend in Libya, in which you can just picture the friend making a face like 24/7... well, more like 24/2 as the friend promptly fled the country after the first night. Nevertheless, the article was a nice read for a change.
Oct 25 2012, 07:45
It's 57 degrees in S.D. right now.
I remember sitting in the library in NY in anticipation of going to Hawaii, where the temperature in NY was around 20 degrees and the temperature in Hawaii was almost 80 in the middle of winter. Also, I went perusing through the old links: Remember those Giggle Drops?
Oct 20 2012, 18:08
On the 12th (and the 13th), something interesting happened in San Diego... it rained. It rained for about an hour. I didn't realize that it could rain in San Diego, so I consulted the Weather Channel for more information (turns out that, upon further research, it rains about 20-30 inches a year in San Diego). So, my claims that I made earlier were wrong! San Diego actually does have weather that is described as other than clouds in the sky, clouds on the ground, or no clouds at all. I watched a couple of movies: "Argo", "Seven Psychopaths" and "Alex Cross" - and even though each movie features lots of guns, these movies are vastly different from each other. There's not that many movies that I like to watch, because it's that time of year again -- when the theaters get flooded with all these pathetic horror movies. I want to see some Action and Comedy! But, I digress... .
I have updated the Music section with those links I promised, including "Investment", which I promised from a while back. As you can see, it looks like I have been doing about the same amount of work in regards to making music, as I have only added eight new tracks. Hopefully, I've increased the musical quality of the pieces over what I've done before (which, really, is quite a pointless sentence now that I write it, as I'm *always* trying to get better little by little), but I'm trying to reach back/out to those other styles that I've been neglecting recently. Also, I need to get some music ready for Quadrill 5, which I should be able to resume development on next month. Speaking of next month, I still don't know where I am going to be working next. The guys who write my orders are still deliberating; hopefully, I'll know by next month.
Oct 8 2012, 20:52
My website was inaccessible for some reason for most of last week - I don't know what happened, but I couldn't connect and I got connectivity a few days ago. So, what have I done since last update? Well, I watched a couple of movies: Looper and Taken 2, both excellent movies that I recommend to you all. I have not heard any news on where I will be going - but, hopefully, if I am going somewhere, that it'll be sometime before next year. I bought Pokemon Black 2 and I'm going to try to catch them all again (they kind of dropped that statement from the game, as there are over six hundred Pokemon and it's getting ridiculous to try to catch them all - but I'll try...). I've got some music set up for the second half of 2012, but it's not ready yet. The music will probably be coming in the next update as I need to sort out the music first. Last, but not least, I got to celebrate Columbus Day today. Columbus Day takes the cake for the most inconsistently observed day - some people get Columbus Day off, and some don't. I usually just assume that Columbus Day is a work/school day and get pleasantly surprised when it is a day off.
Sep 27 2012, 20:55
Firstly, I would like to congratulate myself again on passing that "OC Spray" course, however, the game has changed... again! I got word this Friday that I'm going somewhere else - hopefully, somewhere else in San Diego - but exactly where I will be and what I'll be doing is not yet determined. The catch is that I really like where I am right now - a challenging and rewarding job (from what I've seen so far) and I don't know if the next place will provide that challenge. I can only hope... . In other military notes, I celebrated my submarine heritage by watching "Last Resort" - probably every one of those actors have more sea time than I do.
Sep 19 2012, 20:22
Today, I went through an "OC Spray" course (an example). To be direct: this was probably the hardest and most painful thing that I've ever been through. I got sprayed by this stuff and in about two seconds, it felt like each droplet had turned into a burning spiky barb -- the entire concoction feeling like someone just wrapped my face in duct tape and set it on fire. The ~five minute course itself isn't hard when you can get your eyes open long enough to see what you are actually supposed to do. But getting your eyes open is the second challenge after you've accepted the immense pain that you are currently in. Once you get past those two obstacles, the next obstacle, after completing the course, is to figure out how to get the stuff off! I spent about five minutes washing, cleaning, and drying my face to get most of it out. The rest of the stuff in my eyes is slowly going away and my nose is still runny -- everything smells like the lid of a pepper shaker. Hopefully, all of this stuff will go away by tomorrow morning . At least, I didn't cry/bawl/etc and talk about quitting at any time during this course - I made it a point not to give up!
Sep 9 2012, 17:56
Last week, I got taken for a drive to the range to shoot some guns, such as a .50 Caliber Machine Gun, and other guns that you see in the movies (think Jason Statham from "The Expendables"). But, I can't just mention it without talking about the desert that we were shooting in. Recall the 106 degrees in the Joshua Tree National Park - now, it wasn't THAT hot, but after working a machine gun for a bit, you start to feel it. I got a newfound respect for the people who actually use those things in actual deserts.
Two weeks ago and for chuckles, I took a Mensa admission test to see if I would make it. I just got my results this Wednesday and I made it! To clarify, Mensa admission requires that you make a score on an accredited test (IQ test) that places you in the top 2% of the country. Initially, I was thinking that you had to score an IQ of 180 to get into Mensa - well, that's totally wrong, but I didn't find out the score until I was sitting down to take the test. (The admission score is around 133 for an IQ score.) To loop this paragraph in with "The Expendables", Dolph Lundgren is rumored to have an IQ score of 160. I don't have my IQ score yet, because the test that I took was only a "go/no-go" test, so I can only "rumor" my score also.
Sep 2 2012, 20:16
September has finally come upon us. I celebrated September with a quick trip to Hollywood. Also, Los Angeles is HUGE, but I'm sure you already knew that, with a population of over 4 million people (according to the sign on the interstate). Secondly, if you have not driven to the vantage point for the Hollywood sign, let me tell you firstly that it is a maze of roadways which all lead uphill (well, they all lead uphill if you're going the right way), all in the shade, and all in residential areas with cars (and people) parked on the side of the road. I even had phone directions which said to travel along this street for 80 feet, then turn right. Once you're there, you're greeted with about ten signs that basically say, "Don't walk to the Hollywood sign". But it was all worth it to get the picture. Here is also a picture of a street surrounded by really tall palm trees.
In other notes, I picked up a Keldeo from GameStop the other day in my quest to catch all of the Pokemon. I'm not doing a very good job of it (I'm only about 15% of the way there), but I'll try harder when the two latest versions are released this October. Also, I've picked up two games from Steam: Divine Divinity (it's an RPG) and English Country Tune (it's a puzzle game). I would just like to say how much I am enjoying these two games (and yes, I could also do that on Steam).
Thirdly, I've started working again, and right now, work promises that it is going to be challenging, but in a new way that I am looking forward to. I'm going to have to find out how this is going to impact my ability to keep you all updated, but I don't think that will be a problem. Perhaps you could keep yourself busy with finding all of the upgrades in Platform Tour?
I got a flat earlier this week, but it was a non-issue, mostly because I noticed that the wheel was going flat right away. On that same line, I couldn't help but notice how bad the roads in L.A. are (catch the periods, and if you don't get it, please read the archives), including the Interstates. Several times, I just found myself just getting thrown around like a rag doll on the streets because there were so many cracks and uneven areas. In combination with the labyrinth roads to get to the Hollywood sign, let's say the driving experience was an interesting one.
Aug 27 2012, 20:27
Hey, guys. Want to learn how to "hack" Google Street Viewer? It's simple! You don't need any computer or even any electrical knowledge. All you need is a bucket of paint. At least, that's what this next article will lead you to believe.
The premise of story, as you can read in the article, is that this guy doesn't like Toyota and wants to let his disdain for Toyota show. So he paints the top of his house so that it says "TOYOTA SUCKS". And, according to the article, he has "hacked" Google Maps. So, when you say that someone "hacked" Google Maps, you would think, "Oh, he somehow got one of the satellite pictures and went into like Photoshop and drew in "Toyota Sucks". This article leads you to believe that hacking is the same thing as painting. Amazing! I would like to hack into my car so that it is green. I will need to go to the Sherwin-Williams hacking store, where you can learn how to use spray-hacking and hacking buckets. Or maybe I'll just use Hack Shop Pro and hack into my own picture of my car.
Also, the article mentions the Google's Street View car and says something to the effect that the street car is taking pictures of the top of your house. That would have to be quite a car to be able to look down on someone's roof and take a picture. Anyone seen any flying cars? Typically, we see aerial views of something via satellite, not a car. Maybe... it's a car satellite? A "car"-tellite?
Aug 26 2012, 20:00
I forgot about one thing on going to California: Earthquakes in Socal. To quote the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: "Aftershock is NOT in my vocabulary. Buildings, women, cheesesteaks - these are things that I know. I want to go back to Philly where the ground stays still and the people move." Quote is only for the "lulz" though, as I don't really feel like going to Philly. And (at risk of totally making a complete inside joke that some of you probably won't get) I'm not hiding underneath a table with a empty case of breath mints while wearing a fake wig, stuck in a basement, sitting on a tricycle, girl getting on my nerves ... .
So anyway, back to the earthquakes: the first one was "magnitude 5.5 and centered about three miles NW of", what the article describes as "a small farming town east of San Diego". The small farming town east of San Diego that they're talking about is "Brawley". Having driven through Brawley, let me just mention that the report almost makes it seem like Brawley is a 10-15 minute drive from San Diego. However, it is not, and, for some reference, Brawley is 95 (and a half) miles from my house. Let's see: I could make it there in 15 minutes if I go about 360 mph. I'm sure it makes sense if you know how eastern california looks... the answer is "quite empty" and if you drive east out of San Diego, you get to drive through about 60 miles of mostly vacant hills, serene mountains, and desolate deserts, thus the "east of San Diego" almost puts you directly at the border to Arizona (or Nevada).
My final note: if you've ever been through an earthquake, it's pretty exciting if it's a small one (the big ones aren't that nice) unless something breaks, then it's not that exciting.
Aug 20 2012, 12:14
Oh, the Internets, how you never cease to amaze me. Well, I'll start off with Yahoo news, as usual . I was harmlessly reading an article about the No. 1 party school in America (which, apparently, is now West Virginia University), which included other statistics such as number of fires set, with a record of 273. (We can beat that! Get me some cigarette lighters!) However, a Yahoo! reader points out the name of the title, which I completely missed : Survery: And the No. 1 party school in America is .... Oops!
Aug 19 2012, 21:17
Here are some pictures from my foray into the deserts of Southeastern California: Joshua Tree, More Joshua Trees (it's 106 degrees), Adobe - no acrobat here, View from a point in the desert, Skull Rock.
Aug 16 2012, 12:40
Time for those pictures that I promised: View from Garden of Eden Arboretum in Maui Plant named Sexy Pink A small but nice looking waterfall On top of Haleakala (find Mauna Kea on the horizon)
Scorched earth from old lava flows Dry desert shores on the walk to the green sand beach
An orca from SeaWorld (killer whale) Tide pools covered with gnats and water French Quarter in a Lego motif
In other news, I got my goods in California now, so I'm ready to go. Plus, there's a lot to do so I need to get busy!
Aug 11 2012, 20:35
I have finally got Internet connection here in San Diego. So, let me briefly catch you up on all of the stuff that's happened since then. As I said in the previous post, I caught a flight on the afternoon of the 27th after I dropped off my car for delivery. Destination: Maui. The trip was complicated because I had about a hundred pounds of stuff to lug along while on my vacation (including this computer that looks like it will fall apart in high winds). Got my rental car for Maui, which was a piece of automotive engineering genius. I forgot the name of the car, though.
By the way, I have a "tonne" of pictures on my camera, but I don't have the cable that is necessary to transfer the pictures from the camera to the computer. Once I get the cable, I will definitely upload pictures as they are amazing.
July 28th, I spent driving around Maui. The first stop: the heliport. The goal was to find out if I could ride a helicopter around the island. The answer was no. The solution: drive around half of the island. The result: I visited a couple of crop fields in the rural areas of Maui.
The first destination was the "Garden of Eden Arboretum", where I took tons of pictures of weird plants (coming soon). Also of note: the areas of Maui are where the picturesque scenes of Jurassic Park were filmed.
The second destination was the Haleakala Crater, which is the biggest mountain on Maui. The east side is a huge slideoff into the Pacific Ocean, the mountain itself is 10,023 feet tall, and the land looks devoid of life (but they assured me that it was not as I had to stay on a bunch of trails). One thing that I wasn't prepared for was how thin the air was at 10,000 feet - my body wasn't used to it. I climbed a set of about 16 steps fairly industriously only to find myself running out of breath afterward. Speaking of breathtaking, the pictures are about as breathtaking as the climb up those stairs: they're amazing. I couldn't stay for long because I needed to catch the flight to the next island.
So, that evening I flew to the Big Island. My rental car was a weird one: the turn signals don't illuminate in the car or make the ticking sound that most turn signals do. You could be driving around for hours and not know that your turn signal is on.
The first destination was the rural areas of the Big Island - only because I got lost trying to find the one highway that goes along the south end of the island.
Once I actually found the highway, the first stop was Kilauea. The views of Kilauea were probably better at night when you can see the glow of the lava ("magma"). However, I did get a good few pictures of the scorched earth south of Kilauea, a lava tube, a steam vent, and a foggy view of the crater. One thing to note that Kilauea is only about 4,000 feet tall, however breathing was still (kind of) a concern due to sulfur dioxide in the air. Fortunately, there was negligible SO2 for me to worry about.
After the trip to Kilauea was the great Green Sand Escapades. So, the drive to South Point (that is, the southernmost point of land of the United States, on the Big Island) was about 70 miles to the west and I had about 5 hours before my plane ride left. However, in the miscellaneous papers that I got detailing the trip to the Green Sand beach promised me an extensive hike on foot once I got to the parking area. Naturally, I said "Let's do it", assuming that there would be a little parking lot off the side of the highway with a tourist shack detailing the road of how to get there, complete with a nice relaxing walk through the forest to this lovely opening with a green sand beach. The reality was not quite that... easy. Firstly, there was a road that shot off of the highway that drove to the South Point that was about 70 miles from Kilauea, complete with low speed limits once you get around to the curvy roadways and small towns which slow you down a little bit. Once you make the turn onto this "Road to South Point", the road gets gradually smaller as you begin driving through vast farmland, with huge open fields and cows/horses on either side. And then, the road becomes a single lane, then continues shrinking into... nothing at all! The huge farmlands that are on either side become more and more inhospitable looking - because the South Point is actually desert/grassland. The green grass slowly turns into a pale yellowish-brown color. After a brief bit of driving on ravaged roadway, the road smooths out only to go away again. You find a crossroad: right to the Southernmost Point in the U.S., left to the Green Sand Beach. Continuing to the Green Sand Beaches, the road becomes dirt, however, you find a flattened area of dirt where about twenty cars are parked. The scenario: it is a three-mile hike to the green sand beaches, in the desert, on sandy and rocky road, next to the shore, in an area that probably doesn't get any rain for months on end. It's at this point that I now have 3 hours before my plane leaves. I decide to go out and tackle the three-mile hike (unprepared). I do some quick calculations while walking: it's a 6-mile round trip and I walk somewhere between 3 and 4 mph. So, it's going to take at least 1 and a half hours, plus I need to drive the rest of that 90 miles to the airport. After about 45 minutes of fooling around on uneven rocky surfaces in the desert, I turn around and head back to the car. (Looking back, I could have just caught a later flight back to Oahu.)
After that was done I had a little less than 2 hours before my plane leaves. I consider stopping by the black sand beach that's off of another branching road a little closer to the airport. Turns out that the black sand beach was only about a mile off of the main road. It would have really been a shame if I missed it.
July 30th, I fly out of Oahu en route to San Diego on a new flight via San Francisco and arrive in San Diego at about 8 PM (which for me is like 5 PM... ahh, jet lag). I check into my motel, complete with liquor store across the street and fire truck sirens bellowing through the night. The next morning (that's the 31st, although I'm sure you could have figured that out), I go house window shopping in Imperial Beach. August 1st, I secure a house that's only a stone's throw away from the beach and get setup. So, here I am, ten days later, after waiting for Internet service to be connected. In a few more days, all of my stuff will be here and I'll have pictures to display.
Jul 27 2012, 7:31
Well, it's about that time. I'm packing up everything and making preparations to move to San Diego and go to the photo-op on the other Hawaiian Islands. Hopefully I have everything and I will see you all in about a week (or maybe sooner).
Jul 24 2012, 19:51
So, just to reiterate, I'm leaving the Hawaiian Islands this weekend. Destination: San Diego. All of my goods are packed and ready to go with a few things that I need to destroy. Before I leave, though, I'm going to take a brief stop in the islands of Maui and Hawaii's Big Island, the former is to "go chasing waterfalls", and the latter to look at the volcano. When I am able to upload pictures, I will do so, much like I did when I first got to Hawaii. I am currently using the same keyboard that I had in Connecticut, except after its 'reconstruction'. The keyboard seems odd though, as it randomly cuts out while I'm using it for about three seconds, which causes some bizarre text to get passed through to the computer. Example without pausing and fixing the text: "The quickbrown fox jjue rthe lazy do." - Kind of annoying.
Jun 3 2012, 7:46
Here's a pretty sad article: "Phoenix police have arrested a woman who allegedly drove off after forgetting that her 5-week-old baby was in a car seat on the roof of her vehicle." After all of those stories about moms leaving their babies in hot cars in Phoenix, I guess this one decided to take her baby and set it outside to keep it cool. But, you got to remember where you put the baby~! "officers were called out early Saturday after witnesses found a child strapped in a safety seat in the middle of an intersection." "The boy wasn't hurt. He's now in the custody of Arizona Child Protective Services." - it's very fortunate that no one hit the baby - although, I'm sure you'd have a couple of cars swerving and making a roadblock around it. So, why did this mom leave the baby on the roof? "Authorities say the child's mother [...], her boyfriend and their friends had been smoking marijuana earlier in the evening at a nearby park." She also "went to the home of friends and smoked more marijuana." - One of our readers asks "How do you forget your baby?", with a crafty response of "Smoke weed". Also another reader has decided that he is going to not vote for this woman as "Mother of the Year".
May 28 2012, 20:42
I was looking at the articles on Yahoo today and these two stood out at me. It seems like someone was looking to put something up for Memorial Day and didn't realize that Memorial Day had already passed? Specifically, these One- To Two-Word Article Names such as "Bubbles!" and Arms Up, which, as you can see, takes you to articles with one sentence containing poor writing ability, almost like they let the night shift chucklehead write some extra short news stories.
Apr 30 2012, 0:42
Wow, I should really be asleep... but I'm not. Here's another winner article from Yahoo on two girls sunbathing on a rural street that got run over by a car. Now, how many bad choices were made that led to this result? First--that one of the girls thought it would be a good idea, second--that the other girl agreed, third--that they thought it would be so foolproof that they both fall asleep, and four--that they didn't just sunbathe off of the road. As usual, the internets didn't let me down on this one (although 'Faces of Meth' was better, see December 19th): "If they find any brain damage, they may have to consider that it was a pre-existing condition", "When you sunbathe on the road, there is NO protection against SUV rays.", and "Confucious say, person who sleeps on road wakes up with a run down feeling"
Mar 5 2012, 21:22
There is an unnatural amount of rain falling all over the island of Oahu. The biggest concern is that all of the really lopsided streets have huge puddles. Last night, there were some bolts of lightning going through the sky. So, if anyone asks if there's lightning on Hawaii, the answer is yes (rarely).
I fixed the Minecraft link above because it was incorrect on multiple accounts. I've found myself busy recently and it is keeping me from working on Quadrill 5 a little bit. Right now, I am filling in at work for someone else.
Feb 12 2012, 20:37
I watched three movies this Saturday when I should have been working on Quadrill. I need to get my priorities in check. At any rate, I guess I should tell you about what I watched.
Movie number one was The Grey - where a bunch of people survive a plane crash and then fight off wolves to survive. What I will say about The Grey is that the movie started off all right enough - it's real and believable - but perhaps a bit too real. Right around the halfway mark, it feels like all of the people in the film had death wishes or they lost that 'survival feeling'. At the end of the movie, I didn't really feel like I connected with any of the characters of the film - like I was watching a bunch of weird people in the snow.
Movie number two was Chronicle - a bunch of high-schoolers get telekinetic powers. I enjoyed this movie mostly because it wasn't a 'superhero' movie, like Spider-Man or things of that nature. Well, I saw advertisements for it and I thought the movie would be good - but my expectations were met after watching the movie - it was good. I feel like all of the characters were believable - well, some of them. Some of them were idiots , but the three students with mystic power were developed very nicely. You should watch Chronicle if you go to the theaters.
Movie number three was Safe House - a CIA movie. That's what it was... a CIA movie. Most CIA movies and shows are all predictably unpredictable. It's the same formula that keeps driving me to watch. A whole bunch of random people randomly fighting other random other people with random objects - or maybe someone just gets randomly shot. There was probably a reason, but I can't be bothered to figure that part out - I prefer to just sit and watch the random battles.
Also, Whitney Houston died while I was watching movies... or maybe it was a little bit before. So, instantly, I put on some audio of Whitney Houston singing "I Will Always Love You". Currently watching When You Believe.
Jan 30 2012, 22:21
Quadrill 5 section has been updated. The updating is going very smoothly - a little bit of planning goes a long way. Now, it's time to get some z's.
Jan 29 2012, 22:46
I have updated the Music section with some new tunes. As you can see, I've got up to half of them as original, with more on the way. Most of them are for Quadrill 5, but some are not. I have quite a few old songs from 2011 that I didn't upload. Some may have been uploaded with the Top 10 of 2011 list. I'm listening to some original music called "Investment" right now, but it's not ready yet. But, when it is, it will be super epic!
I should *really* be asleep right now getting ready for tomorrow. So, next time, I'll have an update for Quadrill 5 for you all. I'm working on adding sprites to the map.
Jan 26 2012, 21:29
Getting ready for another one of those busy weekends. You can never have too many of them.
Jan 20 2012, 19:50
Yesterday, I took a quick drive to Best Buy around 3 PM and realized something: there are too many speed traps between here and downtown Waikiki. Nothing says love quite like turning around a corner and seeing a cop on a motorcycle pointing a speed detector right at you. Instantly, you get put on edge because of how menacingly they perch on their bike with that thing, how they hold it with the zeal of taking down the greatest scumbags that are driving cars (the zeal that you conclude is the same that they would use to solve other job-related demands), and how they always seem to concentrate in the areas with the lowest numbers on the speed limit signs. And before you ask what I mean by that whole 'how they hold it' thing - let's just say that you hope that thing isn't a pistol, not that you would have that much time to react to it if it were. So, I'm heading to Best Buy minding my own business (that's a lie, because I constantly have to drive around people who are) and driving through a tunnel. As I reach the exit of the tunnel, I see some shadowy figure pointing something at me. Instantly, I think, "Oh, no, quick, get in the other lane. Oh, there's someone in that lane." (Why do I think that? I really don't know other than I hate seeing something pointed/focused/aimed at me.) One bad/failed lane change later, I then realize that it's a cop on a bike and think, "Nevermind, it's a speed trap." Every speed trap isn't complete without the requisite car that's already been pulled over and the cop also on the shoulder who's probably been handing out tickets like we were just grabbing numbers at the DMV and waiting in line. Anyway, about 5 miles down the road was another, more classical speed trap: a policecar on the side of the road with another speed detector poking out of the window. This guy appeared to be alone and I'm sure he wasn't catching *that* many speeders, seeing as how there was already a speed trap set up further back that I just went through. Regardless, I thought to myself that it must be Speed Trap Thursday and that I've never had to go through two speed traps set up on the same road.
So, I go to Best Buy and buy some music CDs, stop for something to eat, and head back home on a different street: Interstate H3 - yes, there are Interstates on Hawaii which are, essentially, highways with exit ramps. There's another tunnel on the H3 which is followed by a sudden drop in the speed limit - a prime place for a speed trap. However, the speed trap was merely further down the highway underneath a bridge. Fortunately, this time I was already expecting to see a police motorcycle setup, so the only thing I had to worry about was making sure I was at the speed limit. I couldn't help but notice that that was the third speed trap that I drove through. Maybe I should stay off of the roads for the remainder of the day.
Jan 18 2012, 5:48
Well, I have returned from DC and I have passed the Engineer's Examination. Now, back to business. I've got loads of pictures to share with you. Capitol Building from a position where other people taking pictures of Capitol Building are not visible Washington Monument, named after Washington, DC The Lincoln Memorial from the outside The closest I will ever get to meeting the President..
Secondly, if you haven't heard of the SOPA and PIPA, I recommend you do a Google search because I don't have the capacity (mental) to discuss it here. Some sites have put up banners and some sites have temporarily went down to protest. But, a beneficial side effect is that Wikipedia is down. Well, it's only for one day. Maybe people will actually use the Internet to browse for correct answers from the experts and not for useless junk written by someone who thinks they know the facts.
Well, maybe I am a *little* rough on Wikipedia since there are actual experts who post to Wikipedia and some of the articles are tolerable. Just remember that the experts and the newbies all look the same on public posting sites. And, if I follow that line logic, I can just note that a "renowned expert" recently said, "There does not seem to b a function within 2005 express to create an .exe file. So i can't distribute my soon to b award winning ;] software." But, I digress....
Third, we've found the Lady Gaga of Egypt! What? Another hilarious and ridiculous article to look over. The article says the singer (presumably, the Egyptian one) sang "for a revered deity who was buried some 3,000 years ago". When you think of a singer for a revered deity, does Lady Gaga come to your mind? Apparently, the Swiss archaeologists who discovered her thought so. The article doesn't say if the Egyptian singer wore meat dresses and horned outfits, but it looks like she's got a Poker Face like no other *groan* . Not to be outdone, we've also found the Beyonce fly! What? So, we found a fly 30 years ago with a golden backside and we've decided to name it after Beyonce (the "Scaptia beyonceae horse fly"). If you were Beyonce, would you be flattered that you have an insect named after you? Especially a fly that is "widely considered a pest". But, since "the insect's behind made it the 'all-time diva of flies'", that kind of fits with the "pest" part... sort of. "The CSIRO has contacted Beyonce for a response but is yet to hear back." - that sentence reminds me of the kid in school who tries to impress a girl by giving her some insect and she instantly freaks out. In addition, a reader on 'teh internets' was surprised to note that the animal names such as "Scaptia beyonceae" are just made up. Perhaps he/she thought that every animal in the wild has a little post-it note with the animal name on it. "HELLO! My name is Scaptia Beyonceae."
Jan 8 2012, 14:22
I will be headed to Washington, DC on Monday for the "exciting conclusion" to my Engineer's Examination and I'll be there all week (or at least until Friday). Hopefully, I'll be able to provide some pictures of DC when I'm done. Also, the big thing that I am worried about in going to DC is how cold it will be. I've gotten use to Hawaii being at or near 76 degrees year round and I'm sure that, in DC, it won't be. So, I'll have to break out my winter apparel, bundle up, and drink lots of Orange Juice.
I've been plugging away on Quadrill tile information and I wanted to have an update for today or tomorrow, before I leave.
And, in less than a month, we've suddenly found ourselves in the midst of another one of those real-life horror movies again: Devil Inside - and that movie poster totally looks like it's conveying a concept that it wasn't intending to. Just remember: if the video footage was actually real, you wouldn't be seeing it in movie theaters. It did, however, place as the highest grossing movie of last week according to IMDb with low ratings across the board. No worries, there'll be another similar movie out in about 8 months.
Jan 1 2012, 9:57
Happy New Year! And as per tradition, I've updated the Music section with my top ten. As a double treat, I've updated the Quadrill 5 section as well. Now, before you say anything, I know that I need to make more original songs and I've already got a plan. Currently, I have two computers that both work - one is great for making music, and one is great (well, it's the only one that works) for making Quadrill 5. So, I went to Best Buy and bought a KVM Switch (lets you operate two computers with one mouse, one keyboard, and one monitor). Now, I can make music AND work on Quadrill 5.
Dec 28 2011, 23:35
The Power of IMDb (and I'm about to spoil some Horror movies that have been released, so if you don't like spoilers, skip today's update): so, I watched Apollo 18, which is listed as depiction of actual events behind a super secret moon mission that took place in 1974, where the video shows the real reason that we've never made anymore trips to the moon. I was intrigued at the concept while looking at the advertisements for it a while ago, but my natural resistance to any movie that is listed as a 'Horror' kept me from watching it alone (much like Paranormal Activity and Fourth Kind, more on those later). I did a quick IMDb of it and I quickly got the impression that the movie isn't real. Hmm.... So, I watched it, feeling about 80% that the movie isn't real (which didn't make it any less creepier) and I felt glad that I watched it. Like any movie or video of moon footage, the physicist in me immediately takes over and starts pointing out things such as "Well, the gravity on the moon is 1/6 the gravity of earth, so it should be fairly easy to lift and throw things around..." and "There's no air on the moon and therefore, no wind resistance or sound." Then, I went to IMDb... and IMDb pointed out exactly what I was just saying to myself. However, the interesting thing is that, while you're watching the movie, you think that the movie has a chance of being real and that these events actually happened... except the question is, if we've never gone back to the moon, how did we get the video? Other stuff: those guys that got killed on live footage? Why are they starring in TV series released two years ago?
Okay, so maybe they're actors. I then decided to IMDb Paranormal Activity. Remember that update from about two years ago?: I watched Paranormal Activity - that movie is pretty weird and I heard rumors that it was doctored, but I don't know... have plans that will keep you up until the next morning . Apparently, the couple is alive and well, and here they are on a morning talk show, talking about how they filmed Paranormal Activity. OMG! You're supposed to be deceased! At any rate, my mind is slightly unsettled, thinking that these people were dead, when they're alive (even worse, they used their actual names in the movie). I also find myself slightly enchanted and intrigued by these people, only because I thought they were dead. You can't believe everything you see on TV!
So, I then went to IMDb Fourth Kind (I apparently never posted this update back in 2009) and, although there's apparently less credibility in Fourth Kind than the previous two movies, there also doesn't seem to be any actors with exception of the obvious ones. For a little background, when I initially went to see Fourth Kind, I went with only seeing one preview and feeling that this movie has about a 90% chance of being real. After watching it, I felt that it was only about 50% chance of being real. How strange that the movie that I was most skeptical of is suddenly the most realistic movie so far (mind you, I'm at about 5% right now, only because I keep remembering oddities from the movie).
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed my little 'come-clean' on actual event horror movies.
Dec 19 2011, 17:50
I stumbled upon an interesting article today about shoplifters getting robbed while they were stealing from a grocery store. I initially rolled over it thinking "another story about shoplifters" before I realized what it actually said. But, it gets better...
Upon actually following the link to the article (which, mind you, if you mouse over the link, you'll see that it is approximately 200 characters long for some unknown reason), you get instantly treated to a picture of the personnel involved... namely the completely normal looking man and the ... well, the woman. Maybe she's never seen a camera before?
Of course, 'teh internets' didn't let me down here - scrolling through the comments, you get some great captions for the couple's photo. So, if you haven't clicked the link already, one comment says, "I think that websites should issue a warning when graphic images are posted because I nearly fell out of my seat before I began reading the article from that woman's mugshot.", another "When I saw the pics I didn't even read the story... I went directly to the comments lmao!!!", and "They told her she wouldn't be able to smoke crack in jail right as they snapped the mugshot.".
Dec 17 2011, 7:07
So, after a little fiddling with the new old computer (yes, that's my name for it), it works great. I set up a donation button over in the navigation toolbar, so if you have some money you are willing to donate to my website, click.
Second news: It's the holiday season and I hope you all have great plans to celebrate. My holiday season will be filled with work - hopefully, this will be so that someone else can enjoy theirs.
Dec 5 2011, 21:35
The new old computer is installed and ready to go! No problems noted during initial startup. The only issue left is to consolidate the new files on New Old computer and the Old New computer, then I'll be ready for development once again.
Nov 25 2011, 8:18
Got my new computer parts and will be installing them in about 12 hours from now. I just have to set the stage! Hopefully, this works out, because I haven't planned very well on which parts I am going to swap over. So, what parts of a computer can you swap out before it officially becomes a new computer? What parts of the computer can you swap out before installed programs (i.e. Microsoft Office) say that you have a new computer and have to re-register? I would conclude that the motherboard is the answer to this question and the motherboard is the main thing that will be switched out.
Second news, I'm trying to find an affordable version of Visual Studio to upgrade to (and, by upgrade, I mean new version). My web search found that Visual Studio Premium cashes in at $2,299... that's more than my computer! Who can afford such a thing? That's a tenth of a car! Third, I've found the identity of a few songs that I couldn't identify last year. I thought I uploaded more of them, but there was only the one Touhou song from Scarlet Devil Mario. Fourth, playing Minecraft.
Nov 6 2011, 6:20
So, here's a status update. The old computer (the one with Quadrill 5) doesn't open the BIOS anymore. Remember when I said that I isolated the problem to the sound card? Yeah, that was a lie. Currently, the computer powers up, but nothing happens after that. I've "reisolated" the problem to the CPU or the power supply. So, now I have this computer, the "Computer of Retribution" (it needed an awesome name), that I'm using until I can salvage some or all of my old computer hard drive (in progress, the parts should be coming to me). It has Windows 7 on it, but as long as it's not Vista, things should be fine. I started making music on this computer as well and, the one major benefit for me for having Windows 7 is that every computer that I've had Windows 7 has had negligible latency in recording music. Secondly, I found out what was wrong with the old computer with the CHKDSK obsession... the hard drive failed... although, I'm sure I said that earlier. I merely swapped out the hard drive with another one and it runs great. The only thing is that the computer refused to install Windows XP probably because the computer is designed for 64-bit operations, and Windows XP is not a 64-bit OS. Thirdly, playing Terraria on Steam. Fourthly, studying for an Engineer's Examination, which consists of multiple little "examlets" followed by a few big 'uns occurring in early January. I should be studying now, but I decided to procrastinate until tomorrow. Fifthly, Quadrill 5 progress is *actually postponed* until I can C/I/R the XP computer.
Sep 5 2011, 17:45
I've updated the Projects page with some Quadrill 5 screenshots. Get excited, Quadrill 5 progress is *actually happening*! In other news, my computer failed the 24-hour "seasoning run"... in the eighth hour. So, I can't really run the computer without expecting it to randomly shutdown at some point in the day. Let's hope that I can write this message before it shuts down. Regardless, the computer runs for much longer than it did when I was using the sound card. Also, don't use the word "Irregardless"... what does irregardless mean? I think I know what it's supposed to mean, but I also know what it actually means... so, if I regard something, that means that I'm considering it, right? So, regardless means that I'm not considering something. Then, irregardless means... ? Also, I finished Portal 2 last week. It's a good game, much like the first Portal, with lots more unique features.
Aug 29 2011, 05:45
I've isolated the problem in my computer to the new sound card that I installed. So, after not using the sound card over the past week, my computer hasn't automatically shutdown or restarted. Perhaps the problem was due to overheating - or just the sound card being weird. At any rate, I ran my computer for 12 hours back on Wednesday to see if it could pass a "seasoning run" - and it did, once I unplugged everything from my sound card and stopped using the sound card to play my music/sounds/etc. Perhaps, I'll be able to resume working on Quadrill 5 now.
Jul 15 2011, 05:16
Status update: The computer seems to run longer when I don't run it for a longer period of time. However, it is telling me that there is "not enough space in SMBIOS" before Windows starts.
Jun 18 2011, 23:51
Victim number three: my computer only runs for about an hour now. For some unknown reason, it stops sending out any external signals - the keyboard turns off, the monitor loses signal, and the computer appears to still be running. I assume that something is wrong inside of the computer. Recall the old computer which would just take 30 minutes to do something. This computer does things perfectly... it just stops doing everything after about an hour of operation. I need to figure out the cause of this, because I don't like having all of my computers catastrophically fail.
Jun 12 2011, 21:57
So, I just got off of my short little hiatus and am back to making some music and some projects. I'm working hard on Quadrill 5 right now after a brief slap in the face from reality. Why did I decide to make Quadrill 5 out of columns? It seemed like a good idea at first until I realized that, over three months of brainstorming, not one idea made me say "Well, it's a good thing that I'm making columns." Also, I was going to implement some tile-based flags, which columns don't support. These tile-based flags you'll probably see in the first update that I post of Quadrill 5. I also uploaded some music for 2011. I missed the second half of 2010, but I'm making up for that by giving you some really good stuff this time. A lot of it is music that is already made for Quadrill 5, but I have a few songs from other games. You may notice that 'TaleSpin' and 'Arc Rise Fantasia' were released about 20 years from each other, but I've added music for both games at once. I'm just appreciating good videogame music, regardless of age, origin, or... genre? Well, I won't talk about what genre is in regards to videogame music, but feel free to enjoy some MIDI. Also, I recommend downloading Platform Tour and giving it a try if you haven't already. I may not be able to run VB.NET on my computer, but I will someday, and I appreciate any feedback for the future.
Mar 4 2011, 08:55
Obvious note of the day: The new wave of new bubble tents do not offer much privacy. I'm really glad they paid someone to tell me that. Seriously, I'm looking at the picture provided (which you can see if you google "bubble tent") and I can see the forest and sky behind the tent. It's not like we're in Perfect Dark and the tent is a cloaking device. I can even see the furniture in the tent!
Feb 1 2011, 06:32
Just got my new sound card today. I wonder what exciting new possibilities it will open up. Also, I'm wiling away my time playing Eve. Also, I'm making some music for 2011, but I'll upload some when I get enough made. So, in short, this update is just saying that I'm about to update a whole bunch of things.
Jan 1 2011, 08:09
Happy New Year! As always, I updated the MIDI section to show rankings - although, I need to actually upload the songs. I'll do that when I decide which songs to upload. I also need to start making more original content... otherwise, I won't have any material for Quadrill 5. Oh, by the way, I'm working on Quadrill 5. Expect some pictures and development progress soon and also expect Quadrill 4 full edition, because the only one I have on the website currently is the demo. Also, please play Platform Tour and give me some feedback. I haven't heard from anyone in a while. I apologize for not updating recently - being lazy.
Oct 30 2010, 20:26
So, I spent a few weeks investigating what was wrong with my computer. At first, I noticed that it took a few more minutes for Windows 7 to start up with every reboot. Start up time reached about 30 minutes before the computer randomly popped up a CHKDSK scan before starting the computer. CHKDSK successfully froze on a "Usn verification check complete" line. Restarting the computer from this point caused Windows to start up fairly quickly... but then Windows became really slow while operating... taking almost five minutes just to pop up My Documents and Internet Explorer was DOA... but I copied at least what I could to a disk... the computer froze completely while I was copying files. I next tried to do a System Restore... but, apparently, I never used it. I refused to believe that I didn't make a System Restore point. Perhaps it got consumed by the computer. I spent several startups caught in a "mandatory" CHKDSK scan which again always froze on "Usn verification check complete"... as well as press any button to skip the CHKDSK scan failing to skip the CHKDSK scan... and then another CHKDSK scan failing at the same point. I left the computer starting up at 11 in the morning. I came back to find that Windows 7 miraculously started up six hours later after whatever it is that the computer was trying to do for six hours. I tried copying a few more files to my external drive... but, that failed instantly as double-clicking on Windows Explorer caused the computer to do something for 30 minutes... then giving me around twenty error messages all saying something similar to "The file xxxxxx could not be found at address xxxxxx. Please run the CHKDSK utility." Which would be nice if CHKDSK actually finished the scan... but I was more skeptical of twenty different errors referring me to the same program which didn't work... so, I formatted the computer. After formatting the computer, Windows 7 started up like a dream. I even got to use the Internets! The second startup was uneventful and took about a minute. The third startup took around three minutes... at least it's better than six hours! Each startup again taking a bit longer than the previous. The last startup for that computer took around ten minutes... while I was using the Internet, I opened My Documents... and waited... and waited... BAM! Blue Screen of Death! In Windows 7! Something was definitely up. After restarting the computer and expecting CHKDSK to popup again, I was pleasantly surprised to note that the computer was telling me that there was no operating system on the computer... so, now I have a confused look on my face. I placed in the Windows 7 CDs and was even further surprised that the computer now was telling me that there was no hard disk in the computer. So, I, being the patient and understanding person that I am, chucked that computer out of my room and got a new one. This one, roughly half the cost of the previous computer, runs excellently and quickly. The only other thing to note is that it is currently running Windows XP. Hey, I used Windows XP for seven years and, although the problems were probably not due to Windows Vista or Windows 7, I won't know for sure. The other side thing, Quadrill 4 runs perfectly on Windows XP with a simple installation of dx7vb.dll!
Aug 21 2010, 21:05
More Hawaii pictures: Wildlife of Hawaii: Centipede and Millipede... remember that a centimeter is bigger than a millimeter and, by the same vein, a centipede is bigger than a millipede. Why is it so dark in here?
Not sure what additives you add to soap to make it this bright? Stare at this picture long enough and you'll forget ... something. A snail that stopped by after a rainstorm
SCENICE! I can haz mango tree in my backyard?
Aug 9 2010, 21:45
Iceplug is a walking advertisement for Arby's. Well, I do tend to have an Arby's bag in my hand while I'm walking through the mall and to the car.
Aug 8 2010, 18:46
I am currently playing Final Fantasy XIII (That's 13) and it is a treat. Very lush environments and has a pretty odd type of challenge that I am enjoying at the moment. I guess I'll spoil it a little for you. Similar to Persona 3, if the leader dies, the game is over. With that being said, if you aren't paying attention to the leader, the enemy can quickly pound you into a game over. I'm sure that doesn't sound very glamorous but the game allows you to 'Retry' a battle, which puts you on the map just before the battle occurs -- it's as if the battle never happened . It's down to business, nothing cumbersome like the old games, where you watch game over and the system resets itself causing you to have to reload your save file... none of that. You will simply find yourself staring at the monster that you were initially fighting and you can get right back to business! Nevertheless, I probably hit around ten game overs so far.
Stay tuned for updates in the Music Section. I've had lots of time to work on music due to, um, free time? You may see me on Steam, but I have no idea what I'm doing. That is, in fact, me on Steam though, if you see me there. Direct link coming soon.
Aug 1 2010, 17:47
So, a little comment to let you all know that I am still here: I watched Inception in the theaters last weekend and it was a blast. I have never had so much fun keeping up with a plot in the movies than I have watching Inception. I suppose that part of it is because I haven't watched many movies this year. I was thoroughly pleased, although I may have to resolve against watching too many movies so that I have a good time watching some other movie this year... if that makes sense. It probably doesn't make sense, because I'm not good at making sense.
Apr 19 2010, 16:42
Between the hours that I work and when glass repair places are open, I may never get the glass in my car replaced. It's pretty hard to get an empty block of two hours when the place is only open from 8:00 to 16:30 on Monday to Friday. Surely, I cannot be the only person who works from 8:00 to 16:30 on Monday to Friday.
In more positive news, I added a whole bunch of MIDI files to my music section. Note, the files that have the source as 'unknown' should suggest that I am not sure of where the source comes from, but I *could* tell you where I heard the song from. Also, more Touhou music, but I'll leave it up to you to figure out which one it is.
Apr 5 2010, 4:00
Okay, so I'm taking a break from programming for a bit and spending my time working on music. I'll probably have some musical updates coming later this month or maybe next month. Also, I went to the Navy Submarine Birthday Ball Saturday. I actually had fun for the most part and it seems like everyone had a good time. Now, it's time to go to work... and yes it is four in the morning.
Mar 10 2010, 19:57
I set up a Facebook account, although I'm not sure how often I'll actually use it since I have my website here. Come to think of it, I haven't really even used the website that much since I started work. Hopefully, I'll be able to drop a few messages here.
Feb 9 2010, 19:47
Now, I forgot to mention this in the last update, but erm...
Who Dat Say They Gonna Beat Them Saints?
Feb 8 2010, 17:53
I bought my Windows 7 upgrade and installed it last night while I "slept"... actually had to wake up a few times because it insisted on asking me lots of questions where I was expecting it to get with the installations and stuff. I slept for about 7 hours while the installation was doing its thing. I'm trying out Windows 7 now. I noticed instantly that Google Earth now runs smoother and isn't getting swamped when zooming into Hawaii and the trillions of pictures available. I still need to look at a couple of things that need to be reset in Windows 7 - or if they can be reset - such as putting write privileges on the C drive because I have programs that write stuff to the C drive (it's a bad habit of mine that I should stop) and these programs raise errors when accessing a file on the C drive.
Also, I've started work right now. It's pretty light, but it will pick up soon. I'm also kicking around the idea of making a Facebook page... but I'm not sure if I want my face on Facebook. A little bit of FYI: if you look at the location of Hawaii with respect to where timezones usually are, you'll notice that Hawaii is a bit to the west of where you'd expect the timezone line for Hawaii to be. What does that mean? Well, sunrise and sunset seem to fall at around 7 o' clock rather than 6 o' clock.
The pictures below don't seem to work for some reason.
Feb 4 2010, 16:02
Well, we finally got the Internet connection in the Hawaii house. I bought a new keyboard which actually does a very good job of recording music! Perhaps this will be a sign of lots of music coming soon. As far as work, I think I got conned out of my full February break... we'll see.
Feb 3 2010, 10:32
I figured that I'll share some Connecticut snow pictures from the blizzard we had earlier:
Jack Frost has lost his mind, What has science done?, Snow Rocks, ICE COFFIN!!!.
Hawaii pics: Waikiki Hotel Area, Look'it them Hills!.
Jan 30 2010, 17:11
I had to fly from Hawaii to Newark to get my car shipped, then turn right back around and fly from Newark to Hawaii. Just a little quick note to consider with the previous sentence: a direct flight from Hawaii to Newark and vice versa is 4966 miles (or approximately). That means that flying directly to Newark from Hawaii and back is only 68 miles short of 10,000 miles. Now, that would be fine and dandy if I caught direct flights going both ways. I flew out of Hawaii to Las Vegas and had an eight-hour layover. So, I decided to check out the city of Las Vegas - it is in fact, in a very desert-like environment. I didn't take any pictures of cacti because they weren't far enough away from the highway. I have other pictures though - they didn't really come out very good because I hadn't had that much luck with the night feature of my camera.
Luxor Pyramid, An Obelisk With Luxor on it, Mandalay Bay, I think, A Roller Coaster and a Building With a Guitar, Excaliber Casino. Another interesting feature: Las Vegas' Airport has slot machines in the waiting areas. Too much?
Next, I flew from Las Vegas and landed in Charlotte. The flight was uneventful because everyone on the flight was asleep (it arrived in Charlotte at 6 in the morning). The flight from Charlotte to Newark was not as copacetic: my seat had a cup full of mystery beverage (we'll refer to it as Sprite) in the seat pocket and there were Mentos everywhere. I guess they didn't have time to clean inside. Also, this may be my inexperience(?) with planes, but I would prefer to use the restroom before boarding the plane, because, after the bags are stowed, the people are seated, and the plane begins to move, that's generally not the time to spring up and walk casually into the restroom. We hit quite a bit of turbulence flying into Newark as well... sufficient to frighten a couple of people on the plane (I guess it was their first time). A woman across the aisle was freaking out and a woman further ahead in the plane sprang out of her seat as soon as the plane landed, looking a bit more awake than others on the plane. Well, flying isn't for everybody, I guess.
The next gem was that the temperature in Newark was "a nice and balmy 16F". Not something I was looking forward to after the 76F of Hawaii... and I was going to be in Newark for the next few hours. So, first I had to pay 200 bucks to get my car out of the parking garage after leaving my car there for a week. Next, I had to drive far enough to deplete the gas in my car to under a quarter of the tank. Third, I had to actually find the place to get my car shipped. Fourth, and, in my mind, not much to be worried about, I had to be back at the airport for boarding in three and a half hours. I found the shipping place fine, but then I had to deplete the gas inside. So, I drove around looking for a gas station that would take gas out of the car. Got lost. Drove on a highway, tried to get back on the Interstate, but missed and drove into another town, got even more lost until I found the Interstate, retraced the path from the airport to get back to the store. When I got back, I had an hour left before boarding began, but at least I was below a quarter of a tank. The taxi driver which drove me back to the hotel was amazing. I got to the front entrance of the airport just as boarding began. Fortunately, I already had the ticket, so I got on to the flight with no problems. Except for the 11 and a half hour flight back to Hawaii. Phew! I don't think I'll be doing much flying anymore this year - at least, not to the mainland.
Jan 24 2010, 14:25
Aloha! It's Iceplug from Hawaii. My keyboard seems to be having trouble processing what I type for some reason. Anyway, what a trip! On the 21st I drove to Rhode Island to visit family. On the 22nd, I received an award for my supreme skills in 'getting schooled': a large picture. Though the picture is nice, it was much larger than I anticipated. I managed to somehow fit in my luggage for Hawaii.
So, after receiving my award, the task was to go drive from Eastern CT to NJ in order to have the car shipped to Hawaii in three and a half hours. One of my passengers figured that a reasonable intermediate stop from Connecticut to New Jersey that wouldn't take too much time was a bus station in Manhattan of N.Y. Yes, you read that correctly (I hope): N.Y. ... not NY... N.Y., as in New York City - and Manhattan of all places! Out of the goodness of heart, I went to N.Y. - I suppose part of it was that, deep inside, I still wanted to go to N.Y.C. The decision was a poor one: three hours into the trip, we still weren't at the bus station. If you've never drove in Manhattan, it's pretty rough. It's basically as bad as people say it is, but, as with a lot of tasks that I end up facing, there are people who can do it, so there shouldn't be a reason why I can't do it. However, you should do it with a complete list of driving instructions! Although I was only in N.Y. for about a hour, I must've gotten spellstruck, because I think it is a beautiful city, undeserving of the negative comments that I may have mentioned earlier on my front page.
This left us with a little less than a half hour to go to NJ - the risk wasn't worth it, and my other passenger needed to catch a flight out of Newark. So, I drove using gut instinct and somehow (I still don't see how) made it out of Manhattan in under 10 minutes. Driving down the NJ Turnpike to the airport was fairly good, but wasn't enough to get there in time. So, the car was not shipped and we missed a flight (not my flight!). FYI: You need to make it to the airport *at least* 45 minutes before your flight. 26 minutes before is inadequate as we observed on the 22nd - and also taking your time to get there 47 minutes before is not good either as we observed on the next day! Really! What a stress! Fortunately, I checked my stuff in two hours before my flight (probably just out of pure disdain) and caught my flights to Hawaii. A quick stopover in L.A. (You read that right, Los Angeles) revealed some really tall mountains that you really don't get to see on the East Coast. I noted to myself: I've now been in N.Y. and L.A., despite thinking that I'd never be in either. (I guess LAX doesn't really count as being in L.A.)
So, upon landing in Hawaii, the sky was very ominous and overcast due to 'vog' (fog due to volcanic activity), but beneath the vog, Hawaii looks wonderful. I'll upload pictures once I get my camera connector. I have to fly back to Newark to ship my car on a later date, which is a hassle: the flights usually add up to 12 hours from Honolulu to Newark. *Sigh* I'll be glad when this is over with.
Jan 20 2010, 16:50
I've got a little bit of downtime. I've had to do a lot of running around taking care of business in regards to the car since I just got the registration for it. I took it to the car dealership for service and found out that I had to get several fluids replaced. So, they set me up with a rental car so that I could drive around the city for a few hours while I wait for repairs. I got lost several times looking for something that wasn't there. I ate at a Deli, windowshopped in GameStop, and drove to a city called 'Mystic'. I hear they have good pizza, but I didn't see anywhere to park. After getting my car back, I took all of the change in my car that I accumulated for the past four years (I found some coins that I probably put in my car when I first got a website in 2004) and took it to a CoinStar machine. It came out to be around 30 dollars according to the machine... I had 5 dollars worth of pennies, which is a lot of pennies for one person to be carrying around in their car. I decided I would donate my $30 to the Haiti Relief efforts - there's my feelgood moment for the day. I then spent the rest of the day driving laps around the state of Connecticut looking for people with bags and bags with people. I got an eye inspection ... I mean, an 'optometry appointment' today, which was uneventful, and got boxes moved out of my place here in Connecticut. It's almost time to leave CT - the feeling is bittersweet, because I didn't really get a chance to drive around and see a lot of the area. I drove through Hartford on my way here and then I am going to end up driving through New Haven to leave. Some trivia for you: Yale University is in New Haven, CT. I should drive through and look at their video game programming curriculum lol. Connecticut is the 3rd smallest state, beat by Rhode Island (1st) and Delaware (2nd). I'll see you all later with possibly more trivia and more updates.
Jan 11 2010, 19:05
I got my registration in the mail! Yeah, boy! Now, I have to get everything done for the car but at least I have peace of mind in knowing that I can get my car to Hawaii.
Jan 8 2010, 16:08
Still waiting for my registration in the mail. I also was told that I need to get a bevy of checkups at medical, so I'll have to do that in addition to all of the other stuff that I need to do over the next two weeks in preparation for the move to Hawaii. Just think... in three weeks from now, I will be on an island!
So, here's today's Physics lesson. In the absence of air, if you dropped a rock from the top of the Burj Dubai, how fast would it be moving when it hits the ground? Seriously, Burj Dubai is a frighteningly tall building. According to the linked site, Burj Dubai is 818 meters tall. That comes out to a little over half of a mile. It looks like it is about twice taller than the second-closest building in the world. On the top floor, you get one great window view, though. So, for those of you who actually calculated out the speed of the rock at the bottom, you got (a little under) 127 m/s, right? That comes out to about 280 mph. That's a speedy rock!
Jan 5 2010, 13:48
Still waiting for my registration in the mail. I just spoke with LA DMV and they said that the registration and things are in the mail and I can expect to receive them any day now. That's just what I need, because if I don't have registration before the 22nd, I can pretty much kiss my car goodbye. However, I want my car en route to Hawaii as soon as possible. When I get my registration, I'll do a little dance.
Also, I seem to have a few too many boxes here in CT! I need to get rid of a few before I can be able to get on a plane. Graduation here is on the 22nd, and I am planning on flying to Hawaii ASAP to enjoy the lush tropical island. But, I can't get on the plane with eighteen bags of gobbledygook, so we'll just have to kick those bags into bins in CT or donate some stuff to charity.
Speaking of Hawaii, all of the pictures I've seen of Hawaii are beautiful. It's a bit intimidating if you can't find any really ugly pictures of, you know, torrential downpours, ugly sunsets, or polluted beaches. Come to think of it, I'm not sure anyone in their right mind posts pictures of ugly sunsets or polluted beaches. Oops! Nevertheless, it looks pretty, and I'm looking forward to tour each island for a bit.
Jan 1 2010, 9:02
Traditional update to the music list to show the list of the Top 10 MIDI Files for last year. This time, I've uploaded them all so you can decide if you agree with my top 10. Music that I didn't compose typically falls lower because I give points toward composition and sequencing - if the song was composed by someone else, then I can't receive credit for the composition... period! Also, I find that songs that I use a lot (that is assigned to a project that I work on a lot) tends to do better. Also, you may be surprised, but Perish Song did not make the Top 10! Mutiny! What about that huge article that you wrote about your love of Touhou music? Well, ah... um... I don't know, but I liked some other songs. I've heard a rumor that the song at tenth place is from Touhou, but it doesn't sound like it is... . I can write about my love for Ys music, I guess . Also, I was a little troubled because I didn't compose many 'original' songs this year, as you may be able to tell from what I uploaded this year.
Anyhow, Happy New Year and Happy New Decade(?). We have some snow falling outside - currently, on the ground, there is snow from two different years: 2009 and 2010.
Dec 31 2009, 16:35
It's the last day of the year 2009. The jury is still out as to whether this is the last day of the decade, because we have yet to decide if 2010 is the last year of the decade or if 2009 is the last year. *sigh* You wonder why we're having such problems with this. It's getting annoying.
So, according to wikipedia, the decade ends on the year 2010. Therefore, I can conclude that this decade actually ends on the year 2009! Phew, I'm glad we cleared that up. Oh yeah, and for those of you who saw that I went to wikipedia: don't worry, I'm all right. It was just a little joke. For those of you who don't get the joke, please find my rant about wikipedia. I may not have uploaded it yet, but I'm sure I've mentioned something to this effect.
So, let's take a little look back to 2009:
My website was down during the beginning of 2009. What you need to know from the beginning 2009 is:
My mom died at the beginning of the year. I was sad, not only because we were really close, but a whole lot of other things changed afterwards and I'm not happy about those... but, what can you do? Keep on living. I moved most of my really important things from home (HS diploma, LSU degree) to NY with me and put the rest into storage in hopes that I'd be able to buy a house in the near future (near future became far future about three months ago).
On a lighter note, after slipping and sliding on the ice-covered sidewalk in front of my house in NY, I finally got a cutting rod and dug down to the sidewalk, only to find that there were actually two feet of ice on top of the sidewalk! I bought Magic Salt to cut the ice down to size. The best part about Magic Salt? It makes the ice go Snap, Crackle, and Pop when you put it on. Ultimately, I bought enough to reveal a mat that was lying on the ground in fall that got buried by two feet of ice. I get a little too violent with the cutting rod on my car and chip off some of the paint. There's a large snow mountain on the side of the road that is about 4-5 feet high. It takes nearly two months of 50 degree weather and diligent snow chopping to remove this snow mountain completely.
On Jan 15th, a pilot safely landed a plane in a river after some birds blow out the engines and nobody died. That was amazing, especially when you consider what a pilot actually *has* to do to land on water - just note that the pilot cannot have any view of the water when landing on the water! However, the fact that it had to happen in the state that I was in at the time kind of ruined the overall mood (?) of the plane landing.
I went skiing at Mount Gore for Martin Luther King Day. I tore those bunny slopes up! And, of course, I had to pretend like I was sliding down D'boutit Peaks from Quadrill 3!
I went skiing again at Mount Gore, but I decided to actually go onto an "Easy" slope. After falling face first in the snow three times on the way down, my glasses broke and the screw to put them together fell in the snow. I should have just brought a cardboard box and slid down the mountain on that. But, it was some extreme speed! I'd say that I was going about 30 mph before I ate the snow on the last fall.
I must have been doing some extreme sitting during February, because my back hurts when I breathe in.
Platform Tour development during January and February 2009 was excellent. I had just set things up so that once you beat the boss of the first world, you get warped to the second world. I was left with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.
I got this website back up and running and now you should be able to follow along with the old entries from 2009 and entries from earlier (2008, 2007, 2006, etc.) .
Dec 26 2009, 12:02
Updated the Code section one more time to finish up all of my C# progress. I spent the last couple of days writing an expression evaluator in C#. No matter how many of these things I write, there's always something that I miss. Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful and merry Christmas. Celebrate by playing the Platform Tour! If you get any errors when trying to run the game, please tell me via e-mail or guestbook. Regardless, for those who have got it to run, I appreciate your positive comments and hope you are indeed having fun playing. I still can't believe how much fun I'm having playing through the game using various weapons.
Dec 20 2009, 20:06
Updated the Code section to reflect my current progress in C#. Just to clear up any confusion, I do not plan on abandoning VB.NET like others have done. The main reason for me learning C# is to be proficient in the current language for the new wave of development from the Microsoft front - read: XNA. And, although, I won't have any real time to work on C# for the next couple of years, I figure I should make the necessary preparations as soon as possible.
Anyway, the Survivor Finale is on. Let's talk later...
Dec 17 2009, 21:17
The Top 10 Happiest States. Of course, you obviously must have some idea of which state is revealed to be number one by the fact that I'm randomly posting a link to a Yahoo article. "Might not reflect current levels of well-being since the data were collected before [...] Hurricane Katrina." Regardless, that means that Louisiana would have been the happiest while I was there. Aw... this makes me happy! Superfluous smiley faces... .
Dec 17 2009, 19:53
I put up a little page of me making small steps back in to C#. This is mostly coming as the reaction to Microsoft not giving Visual Basic compatibility with all of its new stuff, namely, XNA, which apparently, only works with C#. That, in addition, to C# being fully tricked out with the latest technology each release and VB.NET still tricked in (?). Example: they still leave Option Strict off for new versions of VB as the default, but it's default turned on in C#... and still much stricter than in VB. But, I'm not going to get started on this. It's almost Christmastime! Make a VB Christmas Tree out of Classes or something.
Other news: I just got a letter from Louisiana DMV stating that they apparently couldn't find the enclosed letter stating that I don't have any debt on my car. So, it looks like my six-week wait was in vain if they couldn't find something that was already there... this poses a problem. If I can't put a current plate on my car, my car cannot go anywhere. Specifically, it can't go to Hawaii and will probably remain in the towing area of Connecticut, forever lost, because I cannot drive my car to Hawaii! Speaking of driving to Hawaii, they have Interstates in Hawaii - that's an interesting concept. How can you have an Interstate that is only in one state? I suppose I *really* can't say too much about it, because Louisiana has Interstate 12 which connects Interstate 10 in Slidell to Interstate 10 in Baton Rouge. Oops.
Dec 14 2009, 19:31
I have updated the Power II section to prove that I am still making developments on Power II. I couldn't help but notice that Christmas is just around the corner and I haven't made any Christmas songs yet. There's always "A Covert Christmas" in the Music file section, but I think I want to make something similarly odd and Christmas-themed. I think I'll keep it a surprise (even to myself) until then. I'm redoubling my efforts to become good at C#. Despite how similar C# is to VB.NET, there are still some nuances that I just haven't gotten the hang of yet. I already had a C++ quick runthrough, complete with extraneous pointers, pointers to structures with pointers, structures with pointers to structures, and pointers to classes with overloaded operators using pointers to other classes with pointers. *Sigh* At least, there are no excessive pointers required in C#.
Dec 7 2009, 10:44
It's getting pretty cold here in CT. It snowed two days ago and there's still ice. Fortunately, I don't have to drive around excessively like I had to in NY. I'm still working on Power II and I expect to have an update done sometime near the end of this week.
I watched The Box yesterday and I'm still confused. At least Cameron Diaz is easy on the eyes, as always .
Dec 4 2009, 21:42
Chat with me. I can be found on openircnet's IRC channel #code. Of course, to talk on IRC, you'll need an IRC client. I recommend downloading mIRC. I am around most days from 16:00-21:00 Eastern Standard Time (21:00-2:00 GMT). Remember: /server irc.randomirc.com:6667 to get connected.
In other news, I added Platform Tour's Lurk-A-Lurk Music to the Music Section. I have been working on Power II, but I haven't got any good updates yet. I've spent a lot of the time making tools in VB6 to make Power II easier.
Nov 22 2009, 16:07
Well, here's something that I've noticed a lot more in Vista and the new age of applications that are out there, ready to be installed on someone's computer with a bunch of undocumented features. Well, I'll show you the history leading up to this point via programming threads at XVBT.
So, what do these threads have in common? How do I get my program in front of every window? I don't think SetWindowPos works for DirectX or OpenGL (fullscreen) games or applications... What a hard question!
Can I show and keep a regular window/form on top of a running full screen directx game? Gee, there it is again!
I want to know how to make a form always visible while running any fullscreen game. Well, I can show you how to keep the running fullscreen window visible!
what can I do to make a form appears on top of any other appz like the MSNMessenger? lol, appz. Not to be confused with apps or applications :p.
I'm wondering how to get complete control of the computer resources when running my program in fullscreen mode? (I want to prevent programs like MSN messenger from displaying on top of my program). This is another hard question.
So, there's a war going on between those who want windows to show up in front of fullscreen games (and, I guess, movies) and those who want their fullscreen games on top of applications that popup over fullscreen games. Well, you can compare the number of entries on either side to see who won the war.
See my reaction here
Also, the Z key broke off of my keyboard! This computer is barely a year old and already keys are coming off? Gee. Well, upgrading to Windows 7 doesn't magically fix broken keyboard keys.
Nov 20 2009, 19:08
Well, I'm still in Connecticut. I got to watch 2012. It's a fairly good movie if you're into apocalypse movies. At first, I was taken aback from the whole 'movie is two and a half hours long' thing. But aside from that, it was pretty good. The effects are nicely done, the acting is good, and I liked it. Now, the plot, hm.... Well, after watching tons of apocalypse, better known as 'Science FICTION' movies, you know that there's going to be some really cheesy scientific explanation of what happened. "Hey, if all the planets align, neutrinos can mutate"... and I'm like "Word?"... yeah, that's the best you can do after hyping us up for almost a year? But, hey, whatever, it's better than other movies, such as The Core (yes, I thoroughly disliked The Core). Also, some of the scenes in the movie are ridiculously cheesy... but I suppose that I've come to accept that. I mean, it wouldn't provide the same feeling if the main character was driving at 80 mph with nothing following them.
Now, everyone is (read: news outlets vice people) getting all worried about the movie (which is the initial reason as to why I did not want to watch this movie ever since the first trailer)... "omg, is the world really going to end in 2012". The movie even goes as far as to put a specific date on it, which makes the problem worse. Fortunately, NASA comes to save the day by saying something to the effect of 'it is unlikely that the world will end on this date'. Thanks, but I don't think the efforts of NASA are necessary for a measly old Hollywood movie that wants to win a few awards. Also, I'm not repeating the date, because it's not important, I'm not sure of the exact date, and I think it better that the date not be beaten into the heads of everyone so that we can subdue chaos on the actual date. Hey, it's not the end of the world if the world doesn't come to an end!
On a much lighter note, I watched The Men Who Stare At Goats - an enjoyable movie. It's not exactly a 'non-stop laughter' movie - it knows when it needs to develop the plot more. But it's also not entirely devoid of comedy - we'll say there are spots that are pretty funny.
Also funny (weird funny): U.S. President bows to Japanese Emperor - world is outraged. Uhm? Isn't that how people greet others in Japan? They're talking as if the President was doing the 'Ride The Pony/Shake Your Booty' dance in front of the Japanese Emperor. But anyway, I'm sure you've heard this topic beat to death from both sides already, so I won't delve into this any further.
I've also found myself messing around with Lunar Magic and SMW Central. I can't say that this will last for very long, but I'm doing it mostly as an excuse to see how games such as Super Mario World work. I also received some bizarre e-mail stating that I need to renew my account with this random company. This doesn't make any sense, so I will contact the original company about this matter.
Nov 7 2009, 17:59
I am in Connecticut now and boy is the weather average here! Well, at any rate, I got into a little issue with that whole NY registration thing. Before I could even get my car parked in Connecticut, I got a citation for invalid registration. So I've sent some paperwork to the LA DMV (Again, LA is Louisiana and L.A. is Los Angeles, but I won't get into that discussion again) asking for help. I think something special happened once I paid the car off, though. Hopefully that something special is LA registration. Also, I had the pleasure of going to Koto's Japanese Steakhouse - it is very nice. I watched Paranormal Activity - that movie is pretty weird and I heard rumors that it was doctored, but I don't know... have plans that will keep you up until the next morning . Also watched a funny spoof of it called Sexual Activity (hey, if you got a video made mostly of a couple in the bedroom, you're asking for someone to make a sex-related parody of it)! Plans are still set to go to Hawaii at the end of January 2010. Other than that, not much other news here.
Oct 31 2009, 3:34
Driving on teh Intertstatestes lol. Yeah, sorry about that, but I'm about to drive to CT in the early morning hours - (hopefully, if I get everything packed in time - I suppose this isn't helping me meet that time requirement very much).
Oct 30 2009, 15:29
I'm disconnecting the Internet. See you all in CT or HI.
Oct 29 2009, 17:09
Oh-em-jee, the rooms have never looked so empty here. The movers came a bit later than planned, but earlier than I expected. They came in like a Kansas tornado, almost, and all of my stuff was gone in under an hour. Now, I have to get ready to drive to Connecticut - I'll probably head out early Saturday morning. I'll have to pack up my computer - I'll do that after my internet service disconnects at some time today. After that point, I'll be out of touch. B-B-L
Oct 26 2009, 18:23
Uhm... so yes, today I got my orders at about 10:00 - I am, in fact, still going to go to Hawaii after going to SOBC in Connecticut. Important detail: I have to be in Connecticut by next Monday (That's Nov 2nd - after we set the clocks back)! The next matter of business is to schedule my stuff for being moved. Since I need to be in Connecticut by next Monday, I would like to move out before then, kthx, and I cannot have my stuff moved over the weekend - so that gives me only four possible days - Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday lol. So, naturally, I haven't started getting ready yet (I mean, I have organized a few things, but I haven't made any earnest effort to getting ready).
With that in mind, I'll let you take a wild guess as to when the movers are coming. Would you like the answer? No, not Tuesday, thank goodness. No, not Friday, although that would have been desired. Nope, Wednesday... which means I have less than 48 hours to make some order out of the chaos of where I live currently.
In other news, I added a guide on how to download .NET programs in the above section - you can also find it here. So, I just decided to write about what is going on, because I may be out of touch in a few days. Also, I went to Best Buy and realized that they sell WTF Blankets there. I should get one and blog about how comfortable I am.
Oct 22 2009, 15:57
Platform Tour is now available for download! Like most of my other .NET Downloads, this requires .NET Framework and DirectX. Let me know what you think - does something look really nice or does something look not really nice? I accept feedback via email or guestbook.
Oct 22 2009, 7:44
There are only three more things that need to be fixed on the Platform Tour. I plan to upload after work, so hang in there.
Oct 20 2009, 16:03
I fixed an error that I put in the Music section.
Oct 19 2009, 7:09
Platform Tour will be complete on October 22nd! Updated Platform Tour section.
Oct 15 2009, 7:04
Updated Platform Tour, Music, and Quote sections. Platform Tour is coming in a week (hopefully)! Get excited! :D
Sep 22 2009, 7:25
Updated Platform Tour section. In other news, looks like I will finally be able to leave NY this November... but this isn't written in stone (or on orders) yet. I completed FF6 Advance special dungeon and now I'm working on some more music - some of which is for Quadrill 5, which I don't think I'm going to be able to finish anytime soon, but maybe I'll be able to start it. We'll just have to see what the future holds.
Jul 12 2009, 23:40
Just finished Valkyrie Profile about an hour ago. Yes, I only went for the B Ending as that one is the most intuitive IMO. It is a great feeling, having Valkyrie run all over Jotunheim Palace, kicking bad guy butt and taking names. Bloodbane was kind of tricky though, but I got him defeated. Surt got his behind good and kicked. We mopped the floor with him! Anyway, that concludes my Valkyrie Profile weekend. Now, to get back to work on the Platform Tour.
Jul 12 2009, 7:39
Yesterday's jaunt through Valkyrie Profile got me through Chapter 4 and 5. I finally found a spot where it is possible to build levels. While exploring the Arkdain Ruins, I was moderately surprised to run into a throwback from Legend of Zelda. It's a small room with two monsters in it, but the door behind you shuts and locks. You have to engage battle with both of the enemies and defeat them in order for the door to open. Everytime you enter the room, the monsters come back so you can fight them repeatedly. The other monsters elsewhere in the game disappear after you beat them. I stayed for about 4 minutes there and then left. Right now I'm on Chapter 6 and I'm loving it whenever Freya says, "It is magnificent!!", in response to my performance. All right, back to the game.
Jul 11 2009, 9:25
Played Valkyrie Profile yesterday and got up to the Black Dream Tower. My party got into a battle with some monstrous glowflies. I figured it'd be a good idea to use a Dark Savior to knock them down... unfortunately it knocked the first one right into explosive range - the monstrous glowfly promptly explodes and kills half of my team, knocks Aelia down to 8 HP, and Valkyrie is OK (she has over half her HP left). I somehow managed to kill them with just Valkyrie, but that's where I'm at today.
Jul 10 2009, 8:08
So, now it is the weekend. I am going to play Valkyrie Profile as I promised. Unfortunately, for me, I have a bit of a headache from yesterday that carried over into today. Hopefully, this doesn't interfere with my plans.
Jul 4 2009, 10:11
I received Valkyrie Profile in the mail yesterday and am excited, because I've wanted to play this game for almost ten years -- ever since I first saw someone playing it during my first year of college. I figure I'll play it next weekend. This weekend is Independence Day and I have other plans for today... which may be cancelled because it looks like it will rain. *Sigh*
Jun 29 2009, 17:33
I updated Music section. Specifically, Perish Song? is from a Megaman Hack, however, the actual song referenced is a bit different from the in-game music. The music can be found here as #6. Anyways, I had a few more songs that I wanted to post, but I kinda have to make them first. It seems that I have misplaced my camera which had the last pictures of my house in LA. I hope I haven't thrown it into the garbage... I would be DEVASTATED. I feel DEVASTATED. I also feel like typing DEVASTATED in caps also. It's also about 90 degrees here. Not bad for Upstate NY! I figured it wouldn't make a degree over 80, but looks like I was wrong.
Jun 10 2009, 8:31
I have updated the Projects area again after quite a bit of programming and work. It's almost summertime here in NY and racing season is just around the corner. Still, I hope to be leaving NY sometime very soon, but I don't think that it is going to happen. *sigh*
Mar 29 2009, 18:22
Today, the ice has melted off of my sidewalk. Spring is here. But even more important than melting snow: marijuana-filled brownies. I can just imagine some cop just sitting on the sofa, eyes bugged out with a vacant expression on his face with lifeless arms and back, and the wife collapsed halfway on a sofa and the floor, also with the same expression on her face.
Mar 25 2009, 13:29
More bad news. I downloaded something from the Internet that has somehow prevented the Microsoft AudioVideoPlayback.dll from playing MP3 files. All applications that play MP3 files will hang as soon as the application tries to stop the music which should have been playing. I even tried it out with a test program and the test program hangs when trying to stop the music. This is a minor setback, though, as I can still work on the game... I just have to disable the music. MIDI files still play fine.
Mar 15 2009, 8:30
The question that I had to face before this weekend: would it be easier to get this title form filled out and notarized (you know, the notary I mentioned last week) OR would it be easier to get a form from the DMV that says that I don't have a title from them? Silly me, I thought that it would be a quick little printout that would only take a DMV worker a few minutes to printout. Boy, was I wrong. Did you know they have a form for that, too? Not only that, I have to put it in the mail and it's going to take several weeks for them to reply, saying that I don't have a title in New York. *sigh* You know, the problem isn't NY... it's that DMV. I'm starting to realize that people don't like DMVs because of the ones in NY. As if it isn't enough, I have to jump through all of these miscellaneous hoops to get registered here (probably not going to meet my March deadline) and the roads and traffic lights aren't even that great. But anyway, I still have more forms to fill out.
Mar 5 2009, 20:02
I just played through Eversion. It is a, um, interesting game to say the least. I was going to get some things done today, but I got very frustrated. First of all, I can't figure out how to get Vista to change the default MIDI output. Second of all, what is the body of a car? (I was thinking more along the lines of 'Yes, there is a body there'). Third, I need to notarize a signature and I don't even know the purpose of a notary. I just remember the notary from Syberia. Fourth, we are beginning long hours at work today, which will prevent me from doing anything else until the next Thursday. And, on that note, be back on Thursday (or maybe Wednesday).
Mar 2 2009, 10:09
Well, here I am looking over the list of items that can be accepted as proof that I am who I say I am, and all I can say is, "Goodness Griefous". I just want a license plate! So here we go:
Welfare Card - Sorry, I'm not on welfare.
NYS Learner's Permit - Sorry, I know how to drive...
NYS Pistol Permit - The time it would take to get one would be better spent driving home and getting one there, if possible.
NYS Professional License - This is why they call it the Empire State... because you must be part of the Empire before you can become part of the Empire!
NYS Registration Document - Ah, now this one I actually have and my name is correct... 33% done.
NYS Certificate of Title - What in the world is this? Pass.
Driver's License - Check... 67% done.
Mohawk Tribe Photo - Sorry, but once again, I am not from the Empire State.
US Military Dependent Card - Well, I do depend on myself, but I can't use this because my name doesn't match... *sigh*
College ID with Transcript - I think I threw the ID away and the transcript is a definite NO.
High School ID - I suppose this would be in schools up here, but not where I'm from.
US Marriage Record - Oh, I can just go to the club tonight and pick up a quick bride to get this one lol.
Social Security Card with Signature - Sorry, but for some reason I don't have one of these... brb.
So, yes. It sounded easy over the phone until I told her that I lived in NY. The receptionist exclaims, "Oh...", defeatedly. The next part made me laugh. "Here, in the country [US?], we just go to the social security office." Yes! Proof that NY is it's own country! :P Bottom line: it's going to take a week for this one.
Computer Printed Pay Stub with name - Do Photoshopped pay stubs count? At any rate, my name doesn't appear on any of them.
Employee ID Card - Again, same as miltary ID: names don't match.
High School Diploma - DING! Unfortunately, it's half as valuable as a driver's license and assuming that it has my suffix as well... 83% complete, possibly.
Supermarket Check Cashing Card - Um...? Can I give them two loaves of bread as proof of identity?
Union Card - Nope. How about a Confederate Card? I don't have one of those either :-\
US Health Insurance Card - I may be able to gamble with this one as I do have one but I'll have to look for it and hope that it has my name on it identical to my driver's license.
Life Insurance Policy - I'll write them a letter, "I promise not to die unless death takes me first...". I don't think that one will go over well.
Utility Bill - now this one is curious because I currently don't pay the bills here. I give money to someone else who pays the bills.
Veteran's Photo ID - Um... sorry.
W-2 Form with SSN - brb. OK, the name doesn't match. So close.
Bank Statement, Credit Card, ATM Card, or Check - yes, I have all four of these, but only one is acceptable... however, it may be just the amount of information that I need.
US Birth Certificate - well, it's not even worth any credit as to who I am according to NY DMV. The fact that I am alive is meaningless to the DMV unless I work in the state? Must be a whole bunch of zombies somewhere out there. Can you say 'Resident Evil'?
Canadian DMV - Ah, shoots, I don't have one.
So, looks like I need to bring my Registration, Driver's License, High School Diploma, Car Title and ATM Card to the DMV. What a random list of items! I'll also bring my Super Nintendo, a set of headlights, and a gallon of vinegar, as well... and I just checked my diploma, and it doesn't have my suffix. Zrcfzrcfzrfzrf!
Mar 1 2009, 20:58
Well, March is here and it's about the same temperature that it was for the last four months - the snow mountains still haven't melted off of the side of the road enough. I've uploaded some quotes about threads (threats) in the quote section.
Feb 28 2009, 17:52
Let's talk 'Bad Ideas'. Bad Idea: driving home with dilated eyes. I'm sure it sounds bad, but it at least provided the illusion that it was a clear day outside with bright skies (and very dark roads). I drove to Albany yesterday morning to get my eyes checked for spots and I got some pictures taken of my eyes - I felt like an eye model lol. Before that, I got my eyes good and dilated. Things started looking brighter afterwards (bad joke *groan*). After I got my eyes photographed, the doctor found nothing wrong with them so I left on my merry way back home. I walked out of the front door and then it hit me- my eyes are still dilated. I spent a few minutes trying to find my car in the parking lot and got in. At first, I thought, "Maybe I'll just suffer all the way back to the house.", but then I figured that that would be too dangerous on the Interstate. So, I slept for a little bit in the car until it got too cold, then I went ahead and drove home. I worked on the platform tour some more as I wondered what I am going to do about this driver's license (I am basically waiting for duplicates of hundreds of documents to come in the mail so that I can renew my license). This'll be fun... .
Feb 25 2009, 21:18
A wise person once said, "If you don't know, then you better [axe] somebody.", so I'm going to ask somebody what I should do about this license plate fiasco (it should pose as some sort of insurance that I'm not the only person who knows about this) - or maybe I'll be told that I am stupid ... that possibility always exists. Also, what are giggle drops? This commercial always makes me laugh - probably because I have no idea about what they're eating and what chocolate doo-diddles and giggle drops are (sprinkles and gumdrops, perhaps). Perhaps, I should go to Price Chopper and ask for some giggle drops.
Feb 24 2009, 02:00
So, here's the situation (ignore the time, that's not important )... the DMV is pretty much making it impossible for me to get my driver's license renewed here, as I need about five thousand forms of ID just to renew a license plate. That leaves two options: renew from South Carolina or renew from Louisiana. It doesn't seem like it will be too much of a problem to renew from either except there's a major flaw in both: I have no addresses in either state. However, the plate is from SC and the license is from LA (the insurance is from NY, thank you). I'm still on the fence about which one I should do... I think either outcome is going to have me jumping through hoops like a fool. I also need to find something to do rather than business... ugh.
Feb 20 2009, 10:43
I was told from a reliable source that there will be no more snow this winter. It makes me happy and it makes me sad. I am happy because it means that the snow mountains can begin to start disappearing off of the sides of the road and sidewalks will be in use again, but I am sad because I didn't build a snowman. I did, however, have a commemorative snowball fight in a parking lot at work; an experience I will never forget. I will also not forget doing the fishtail up an inclined bridge at night with a large truck stalled in the middle of the road at the foot of the bridge ramp. But anyway, spring is only a month away, and with spring comes lots of rain to fall and freeze and make lots of lovely ice.
Feb 18 2009, 12:25
Been working on the Platform Tour mostly. I'm still hesitant to get my license plate renewed up here in NY, for fear of me having to take part in some ridiculous NY verification and continuous checking process. Maybe it won't be that bad. Or, I can try to get a hometown license plate through the military. I'll just need to put in the paperwork for it over the Internet. It's supposed to snow tonight for the last time this winter, but we'll just have to see about that. Hopefully it snows while I am asleep.
Feb 15 2009, 16:47
I did, in fact, watch Taken last night, in a crowded movie theater. I usually don't enjoy a movie as much when the theater is crowded because somebody is always talking about something related to the movie, or throwing their two cents into the pot, when really I just want everyone to sit down and shut up. But, everybody was cooperating throughout the movie -- I was pleased and it made me enjoy the movie even more. I thought Taken was another one of those good old-fashioned one-man army movies (I like one-man army movies), but I don't want to spoil it for you all :P go see it. Now, I'm not sure what movie I want to see next... maybe I'll wait for next movie cycle... or maybe I'll watch movies that I didn't want to see in the first place. In other news, I did a whole bunch of work on the Platform Tour and now it's time for a break. Also, Amazing Race comes on tonight (or should I refer to it as THE Amazing Race?) in about three hours from now. lol I just remembered that, in the sold out movie theater, people were placing their jackets and coats in chairs to reserve them and to let people know that "this seat's tahyken".
Feb 14 2009, 15:40
I spent most of this morning working on the boss for the Platform Tour and it looks like I'm almost done with Zone 2... that means it's time to move to Zone 3. I'm also considering going to the movies tonight and seeing Taken... which (if you've watched and remember from Forrest Gump) I just can't help saying in a thick Alabama child accent "Tahyken". "This seat's tahyken"... "can't sit heah". I like that movie.
Feb 14 2009, 0:08
OK, so I recently heard about another plane accident that has occurred in NY. No, not the one where the pilot saved the lives of all 150 people on board. No, this one resulted in the death of all 48 people on board and another person on the ground. It's so sad to see news like this. However, it got me thinking: why is all of this bad stuff happening in NY? Yet another reason I am ready to leave NY and go to another (safer?) state. Remember that plane flights are, in fact, much safer than cars (just drive around for a few minutes and you'll probably sense this), so having two plane incidents in such close proximity to each other is a bit unnerving. On a lighter note, I went to the movies and watched "Slumdog Millionaire" today, which is a good movie (and coming from me, 'good movie' means almost nothing). I also worked a little bit on the Platform Tour, and I'll post an update later today.
Feb 12 2009, 19:55
Well, the snow is melting in New York, so driving should be a little bit safer now than it was last month. As you all might know, I have a pretty decent toleration of cold temperatures and a healthy respect for "nasty" cold weather... however, my tolerance for the cold is lost when everyone expects everyone to pretend like this is nothing. I personally believe that we should show some discretion when there is a HUGE FREAKING SNOW MOUNTAIN on a corner of a street that people might just want to see around. The problem here: if I don't pull out several feet past the stop line, I can't tell if traffic is coming and then I'm just playing Russian Roulette at every intersection. The other problem: In order to see around the mountain such as, I have to pull out into the street, probably into a lane of traffic, to see if any traffic. Well, Survivor 18 is coming on, so brb.
Feb 11 2009, 18:21
I have updated the Projects section for the Platform tour and the Quotes section. I figure I'll update piece by piece. Right now, I am going to go house window shopping on the internet.
Feb 11 2009, 18:21
I just got finished shoveling a snow mountain from the front of my house. Normally, it wouldn't be much of a problem, but, since something is wrong with my back, it was quite painful. However, I couldn't give up since it's 47 degrees, and probably won't be above freezing for much longer. The snow was more slushy than usual, but there were still some hard pieces requiring "surgery" lol. In other news, I need to work on the rest of my website to reflect recent changes and other things I need to add. brb
Feb 11 2009, 05:40
I have restored my website from the ashes! lol But I haven't actually updated anything yet. I'll consider updating things after work today. Also, my back is KILLING me. I don't think it's actually my back, but something inside of it.
Mar 23 2008, 9:41
I hate taxes... .
Jan 1 2008, 16:05
I've updated a bunch of pages on my website: the ones that used to say terminology should all say something different now. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a good and safe New Year's Celebration. I am currently celebrating right now with lots of bedrest... and fluids... and high body temperatures, aches, lots of phlegm. Does it sound like I'm sick? You bet. I've got a fever of all things.
I've been working on the Platform Tour, but I didn't post any information about it over the past year. I uploaded songs that I made to the Music Section, but nothing too exciting here.
Dec 28 2007, 09:52
Updated Power II. I'm about to go through and remove all of the Terminology titles. As you may have noticed, I made the title of each page 'Terminology', but not every pages is actually a terminology page. That was me being lazy.
2008 is almost upon us. I'm still waiting on my gift from Santa. I'll probably have to go get it from him. I'll probably also have to pay for it. I'll have to figure out which store Santa is in. He's also probably not going to be dressed in red, but probably some sort of store uniform. Heaux heaux heaux, got any coupons?!
(P.S. Heaux heaux heaux is used in Louisiana and certain other locales because the other spelling is used for something else)
Dec 14 2007, 18:02
Two weeks ago, I was heading to choir practice, and I was late because there was a parade. In an effort to find another way around the parade, I traveled around many roads, down many streets, and by many houses - it was apparently a residential area with only one outlet. The parade cut off the main intersection near my house, so I had to take the back way out.
After about an hour and a half the parade was still going so I had to backtrack to the back entrance to get to my house. When I got there, I found a couple of high school students trying to get a drink from a vending machine (through some means that I wasn't sure of) to no avail. So, I gave them some quarters so that they could buy a "soda". They thanked me profusely and one particular statement that made me wonder was the tall girl who said under her breath, "Thank you sir, you are the s***." I asked myself, "Do I remember anybody from my school who'd thank a stranger by saying that they are the s***." Shrug. Currently, I am doing nothing right now. *sigh* Bored.
Nov 20 2007, 5:03
Just providing a little bit of an update. Well, I forgot to mention that last month, I was selected to join the submarine force. I'm really excited about this choice because I applied for it last year, and now I finally got picked up. So, training begins January and I'll probably not have enough time to do as much work on my projects as I want to next year.
Also, driving continues to be an interesting experience. Some times it seems like the traffic light system is out to get me. Sure, I've been through each intersection light a few times and have the patterns down, but that still doesn't allow me to get to the intersection when the light is green. It also doesn't help that all of the pathways that I can take to get to an intersection default to red in my direction! Even more mystifying, the way that traffic builds up around the lights, I have a much higher chance of catching a red light when going the other way. Shouldn't it be 50/50? If not 50/50, at least 20/80 so that I have a good chance of catching the green lights going the other way?
Oct 14 2007, 19:23
I've updated the Power II section. Don't worry, Power II is not on a backburner like other projects that I'm "working on".
Sep 30 2007, 09:36
Taxes are evil. Even now, 5 months after they were supposed to be turned in, they still continue to vex me. Consider this: For 2007, I actually got a nice refund from the Federal Taxes. I was thinking that maybe this year would be a good tax year. Finishing the South Carolina taxes quickly got rid of that apparently nonsensical thought. You got to pay SC over one thousand dollars! xcvmnklvnxlkn ( <-- ASCII yelling ).
Not content with paying them the arm they requested, I get a letter in the mail last week. "You paid XYZ dollars, but you were only required to pay ABC. You paid us $60 too much." The stuff in quotes isn't exactly what the letter said -- I'm just paraphrasing. Here's the silly part. "As penalty for not correctly estimating (??) the amount of taxes you should have paid, we will assess this penalty fee of $31.", which was conveniently not taken out of the $60 overpayment and I don't know where the overpayment went. I will never understand tax stuff. vopifnwklejvnksf!
Sep 25 2007, 20:35
When you have a group of people performing a task, one person will do the best job (this person will be referred to as the star), and one person will do the worst job (this person will be referred to as the donut). Nobody wants to be the donut. I always try not to be the donut in any group setting. Consider this:
If your group is tasked with something, the supervisor typically expects the star to do the job wonderfully. The donut, on the other hand, has varied expectations from the supervisor. The most interesting thing, in my opinion, is how much the supervisor's expectations of the donut vary from supervisor to supervisor. The supervisor spends time to groom the star while doing *something* to the donut. Some supervisors take active roles in helping the donut, some task the star to help the donut. In all cases, the supervisor should at least help the donut - that should be straightforward.
However, the interesting and sad question is: How can the donut not become the donut? Well, there is a simple answer - I say simple because it doesn't take a lot of thinking to get the basic idea. If you don't like being the donut, improve so that you're better than someone else! Well, the next question is how does the donut improve? There has to be some possible way that the donut can use to become better than someone else. Consider the "ease" at which the star can improve his/her performance - I put the "ease" in quotes, because the supervisor can make it look easier. A donut must spend a lot of effort to improve on his/her own. The donut must endure a lot of hardship on his/her way to improvement. The donut must maintain a strong work ethic and patience, despite being the donut. If nothing happens, this can instantly cause the donut's performance to go into a downward spiral. This must be prevented, unless everybody this donut works for (stars and supervisors) is cold-hearted, selfish, or needs to have someone excluded from the group (this one's a tough one to deal with both ways).
The simple way to not become the donut, if you find yourself in that position, is to find ways to improve. Observe how the star does his/her business, take ideas from other people (with their consent, mind you!), and most important of all, the donut must not lose hope (it sounds cheesy, but it does work). Signs to let you know that you're the donut: everything involving your work seems to change very quickly - due to coworkers and/or supervisor changing their game plan of how to fix you.
If you are the star, you should help the donut. Having been the star and the donut at some point in life, when the star helps the donut, the donut appreciates it, and the star feels better.
If you, as a supervisor, can identify a donut that you work with, then you should take steps so that that person is no longer the donut. I personally believe that the best group environment is not one where there is a single individual that is consistently the donut. Rather, I think that the best environment is one where the "donut" status gets to be passed along from task to task.
I do seem to be speaking cryptically, but that's the best way I can summarize my experience as star and as donut.
Speaking of cryptic, here are some funny classified ads.
Sep 21 2007, 06:49
Last Wednesday, I got "promoted" to Bull Ensign. With promotion to Bull Ensign, I get to wear big oversized Ensign collar devices. People in the hallways look at them funny - my those are big bars you've got there.
But anyway, they get to rest today as I try out my new full service dress white. For an example of full service dress white, look at the captain's picture here.
Sep 18 2007, 18:58
I was driving home from work today around where I live. As I'm rounding a speed bump, some child throws a ball into the street. The ball rolls slowly and exactly into the middle of the street. It's not everyday that you see a child throw a ball into the street and the ball stops exactly in the middle. The other thing: the kid didn't run carefreefully (ok, carefreefully is not a word, more like carelessly) into the street to grab the ball. Instead, the child ran the other way... as if the ball was nothing more than an object of uselessness... instead opting to play a game of hide and seek I think. Confusing. So there I am in the street trying to drive around this little ball, looking around for other children. Perhaps the ball was thrown to someone on the other side of the street. This was an idea that I could have accepted if there were people on the other side of the street, but there was not a soul on the other side. Next, I thought, maybe there's an invisible child in the street and I shouldn't run over him. But, then, if I run over an invisible child, how could you tell that he/she was run over by a car? Tread marks seared onto the child's invisible body, laying clean in the middle of the street? No blood, no sweat, no tears! It would undoubtedly hurt my conscience knowing that I killed an invisible child.
I wouldn't be the first person to run over an invisible person. Even worse than invisible people are people who suddenly become visible. More fun with invisible driving antics. I had to laugh at the one "The pedestrian had no idea which way to run, so I ran over him".
I'm reminded of the street I was driving on when I took this picture in WNY. A few miles back, there was a curve going off to the right. On the inside of the curve was a large golfing field (I didn't know it was a golfing field until I got further down the road) and on the outside was a house on a small hill. As I passed around the curve, I noticed an object falling from the sky. At first, I was thinking that it was a piece of trash that was just carried away by the wind. Then, I watched the object hit the ground 20 feet in front of my car. It bounced back up about 20 feet. Trash usually doesn't "bounce", does it? It came to rest in the house lawn across the street at the foot of the hill. A couple hundred feet down on the right: "Golf Course ->".
Sep 13 2007, 19:02
I just took another look at the Miss USA South Carolina speech. The best part about the speech is the part where she says "[...] I believe that our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. [...]". That part always makes me laugh.
But on a different note related to this thing: A lot of talk seems to be going on about how dumb she is for saying something like that. Being somebody who's been in a similar situation, I have to disagree. If anything, she needs to work on her public speaking skills. Whenever you have somebody going up in front of thousands of cameras, are caught off guard by some type of response, and are not very experienced in handling themselves, they can say some jacked up stuff. For instance, when I'm teaching, I'm sure that I say some completely screwed up stuff from time to time, as many of my students point out all too often - that doesn't mean that I don't know what I'm talking about - no, it simply means that I'm not good at expressing what I want. That's what people fail to realize about this Miss SC speech - she's not saying the mumbo-jumbo because she's an idiot, she's not making any sense because she's trying to answer the question and but doesn't have her thoughts together.
Also, people are using this to say that her education system is poor. Well, given that her public speaking skills are out of wack, that would imply that there needs to be a better public speaking course in school - since she's a teen, this also implies that we need public speaking courses in High School. Now, there are definitely high school courses with public speaking courses, but how many students actually take them? Add to this the number of students who go through high schools that don't have public speaking courses. Certain jobs don't even *require* public speaking (accounting, analysts, programmers, engineering), so they don't really need to take public speaking courses anyway. Saying that U.S. education is poor because Miss SC said this is saying that everybody in the U.S. needs to take a public speaking course (no, more than the 11th grade history report that you read to the class or the 12th grade speech that you gave in English class, a purely public speaking course - in high school, regardless of if you need it or not).
I remember my communications class - was awful. I think the instructor assumed that we were all very well-versed people and just knew we were going to do well... that is, until I gave my report. I made every error in the book, but I passed! And we spent months in the class too. The best thing that I remember from the class was that there is no such thing as an equal group of three, all groups of three are made up of two really close people and a "third wheel". How true. Gee, I think our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S. .
Sep 9 2007, 20:52
Correction to previous: I tried to follow the laws, not to break them. And the 200 ft is supposed to be about 50 ft.
Sep 9 2007, 18:18
I have returned from my trip to Niagara Falls, and what a trip it was. The first thing I do when I arrive in Niagara Falls is visit the actual Niagara Falls themselves (yes, there is more than one). Here are some pictures:
Niagara Falls - one of my better pictures This is the most beautiful picture ever! A little cascade right before the free fall Niagara Falls can make you thirsty! Forecast for the next 20 years: 100% chance of rain Across the river is a tiny place called Canada Some people threw in some coins - should I have picked them up? Is this a groundhog?.
After I thoroughly visited Niagara Falls, I checked in. The next day, I decided to drive around NY and see what was there. I knew driving in NY could get tricky, but I didn't know that it was that way on purpose lol Yes, there are rural areas in NY, especially WNY (West New York). There's Lake Ontario You see lots of Canadian Flags - no I didn't go to Canada!. I also took a ride on a jetboat through parts of the Niagara Gorge as 14+ feet waves soared overhead, soaking me completely. Needless to say, I don't have a picture of waves such as. I bought dinner at McDonald's - probably just because of this sign. Club 2-Shakes sounds like it is off the heezy lol.
Day 3, what did you do, Iceplug? A: I drove to Ohio. Seriously, I drove to Ohio. Niagara Falls to Ohio is only a quarter of the distance from Niagara Falls to N.Y. So after paying about $250 in tolls, (actually it was $5.20 total to use the NY Speedway), I was able to add part of Ohio onto my trip. Granted, I only went to Geneva. Geneva Rockstone! There's Lake Erie Get Some! When I took this picture, the first thing that came to mind was "Coral Ensemble. DO NOT HAMMER ON SIDE.
Day 4, I returned home. Of course, I knew I was missing something ... New York traffic jams. It was an exciting trip. Here's one last picture of Niagara Falls. This is also the first trip that I've been on where all 4 of the flights were on time! Amazing!
I did have to drive through Pennsylvania to get to Ohio. I have no pictures of anything in PA, because I-90 in PA, while only 40 miles long before going into Ohio, was under road construction for most of the distance.
I ran over 0 pedestrian during my trip. I ran only 1 car onto the shoulder. For some reason, a lot of the drivers just loved to drive in my blind spot. I overtook 2 cars, drove off of the road 0 times, was stopped by 0 police cars, and hit 0 cars. I drove over the speed limit for most of the Interstate, but not on streets and highways, and maintained safe distance (compensation?). I drove approximately 500 miles during these four days. I probably broke some driving law in NY, but I tried. Just two questions left unanswered
1. If you come to a stop light that has a flashing red circle and a green arrow right, do you have to stop before going through the light to the right?
2. If you come to an intersection with two stop signs and one of the stop signs is 20-40 feet closer than the other, do you have to stop for both?
I also realize that stop lights are supposed to be timed so that a car can go from speed limit to stop while the yellow light is active, but they are not all of the time. Case in point: I ran a red light at one intersection because the light was yellow when I was estimated 200 feet away - usually, close enough to go through before the light turns red. Sadly, it turned red before I got to the stop line! FFgegf But not to worry, SC drivers do that all the time lol .
Sep 4 2007, 18:05
Tomorrow morning begins my trip to Niagara Falls. I get to fly from Charleston at 7 in the morning and arrive in New York at 11. For some reason, when I say "New York", people think I'm talking about New York, NY. Not quite. Though, the only suitable way that I can think of to be distinct about New York, NY and NY is the same way that I differentiate Los Angeles and Louisiana's abbreviation. As Louisiana gets the postal abbreviation LA and Los Angeles gets the dots (L.A.), the state of New York gets the postal abbreviation NY, and the city of New York gets the dots (N.Y.). But, since I will rarely ever refer to L.A. and N.Y., that makes things much easier. . Anyway, I'll be in Niagara Falls (again, not actually inside of the waterfall, but the city) tomorrow. I'll take lots of pictures -- of course, none of the pictures will be a first-person view of me going over the edge, merely because I don't think the camera would survive the fall like I would, so why bring it duh! . I'll probably also drive around the area. I hear it's only 60 miles from Niagara Falls to Pennsylvania and only 40 more miles to Ohio. I still have to get around how small the Northeast states are - plus the speed limits are probably much lower than they are on the opposite sides of the U.S.
Aug 22 2007, 21:37
Here are some more pictures of my aircraft carrier ride: Plane. The steps are very vertical - about a 60 degree incline.
Aug 21 2007, 7:06
I am starting to feel less and less powerful as everyday goes by. I look at all of the things that I *should* have done and regret that I should have done more. I would like to simply say to not do it again, but I often find that I would rather ride it out. But, oh well, I don't *have* to do pushups every morning . I guess we'll just have to see what happens. When you're rock bottom, the only place to go is up, but there are those who would look down at you and give you a shovel (which is annoying)... .
At any rate, I feel for the people who are being attacked by Hurricane Dean right now - I was in that position two years ago.
Aug 19 2007, 22:07
Today is my birthday. I turn 24. I celebrated my birthday by doing some paperwork that I can't finish today. However, I did treat myself to a nice Southwest Taco Salad from Wendy's. I also just returned from my aircraft carrier ride, which was excellent. I have a few pictures to upload, so let me go ahead and link them up...
Ring ring ring... the plane! - If you don't have earplugs, your ears will be ringing if you're outside and one of these comes near.
The Navy has the best rolls and the best chocolate milk ever - you know it's good by the darkness of the brown shade of the milk, plus it took an entire minute to pour from the machine into the glass.
Surrounded by miles of ocean. Over a mile away from land in all directions: North, East, West, South, even down, probably!
The hangar bay is big enough to fit a building inside of it. Since planes are, technically, buildings (things that are built)... Sunrise at sea
- it's a pretty picture that I think I will use in one of my games as a background. A landing It was a great trip - I learned a lot and enjoyed myself. Next trip is Niagara Falls in early September!
Aug 12 2007, 06:40
Right now, I'm getting for my trip this week. I will spend a week on an aircraft carrier to see all of the interesting things that go on and the people who man the aircraft carrier. I should be back by the 18th - just in time for my birthday which is exactly one week from now! Yay... I turn 24 next week... time to start lying about my age.
Aug 9 2007, 20:09
104F heat index ... and this is at 7 PM. It was brutal 6 hours ago as I was running errands. Tomorrow, the heat index gets to go up to 116F. Fortunately, I will actually be inside for most of it. And, this could be much worse -- consider Alabama, currently with a 109F heat index. Consider the fact that it will be 118F in Basra tomorrow (which is probably today, right now). I'll post some updates when I get around to it. It probably won't be next week because I am going on a boat ride and be a pretend-sailor.
Aug 7 2007, 22:06
I finally have the guestbook up and running with some new "features" installed (no, not bugs) that should help me maintain the guestbook immensely. I invested quite a bit of time in PHP to add these things, but I hope its worth it. Now, I will pay for it tomorrow (long day). Today was another good day. It had the potential to go down quickly but, fortunately, these disasters were averted and I came back home in a good mood. And as usual, I'll post some updates soon (like, this year). Now, time for some zzz.
Aug 6 2007, 20:51
The guestbook is still disabled and I really should go look for a PHP page that tells me how to do it correctly... I'll add it to my to-do list. For me, today was a really fun day - for no apparent reason, today was fun. I realized yesterday that I've lost several important documents and I should search profusely for them. I seem to have a good knack for losing things (assuming that these documents were actually lost and not thrown away), as I'm sure many people do. To top it off today, I left my house three times today, realizing that I've forgotten something. I've also lost my checks - I managed to get all the way to work before realizing that I forgot them! Of course, I don't find them when I return home ... . Oh yes, these checks that I didn't find, I wrecked the apartment again looking for them, so now I have to clean up the apartment again.
Other fun things that happened today: I tried to take a "shortcut" to work during the afternoon. This "shortcut" added 6 minutes onto the usual time that it takes me to get to work. It was also incredibly hot today! The heat index for today was 102F, which is WAY higher than the melting point of ice. I, of course, had the task of walking back and forth in the heat in uniform (if my intuition was correct, I should have been inside with a big pool of sweat on my uniform - smart sitting can hide any sweat stain). Of course, with temperatures so high, organized outdoor physical training is prohibited (indoor is fine and I guess, unorganized outdoor PT - go pushups!), so that means running after work would not have been a good idea.
But, I assure you that today was indeed fun. Yesterday, I forced myself to do today with exactly 4 hours of sleep (close enough). A funny thing that I've noticed is that, when I'm low on sleep, I tend to become happier, which doesn't make sense to me. (adaptation to work?) I was happy all day today. I thought to myself, "Why can't everyday be like this?".
I got plenty of things done that I need to get done today (I'm sure that makes most people happy), including putting in my leave request for Niagara Falls (I spelled it Niagra on the first one - arg, those things have to be perfect!) and getting my information in order for my boat ride next week. Everyone at work seemed very happy today too, so maybe it's contagious. Plus, I think the person who did interviews with me two and a half years ago finally checked in today. I just have to take a moment and realize how much my life has changed in the past 3 years (as I did when I was talking to a YNCS today).
Now, I'm listening to music and procrastinating about looking up PHP. Updates coming sometime this year!
Aug 3 2007, 06:44
I've temporarily disabled my guestbook, until I figure out some way to stop the spam. But, anyway, in other news, I'm going to visit Niagara Falls in September sometime (on the American side). Maybe, I'll even get a barrel and go over the edge! Or not... . I don't know what will happen there. I'll probably just go tour a big chunk of New York.
I'm spending a lot of time working on Platform Tour and work. Updates coming sometime this year!
Jul 24 2007, 05:41
Well, I'm somewhat back again, and I am now filtering out spam on my guestbook. *Sigh* Is nothing sacred?
So, last month, I decided to try to start playing Final Fantasy VII again. This failed horribly! I played for about an hour and for most of that hour, I was trapped on an island. Yuffie takes all of my materia and I can't leave. So, I walk to Wutai (about a 10 minute walk), fighting monsters, who are annoyingly boring, the whole way. I get to Wutai and think, "Now, how do I find Yuffie?". So, I walk around and find stores and such, and I eventually get tired of looking around the town and leave. Then, I remember that I can't leave the island. Oh, great! So, I turned it off and played Tetris instead.
Apr 30 2007, 20:27
I just found a little article about video game addiction. Of course, I got sucked in by the rhetorical question "Does video game addiction exist?".
Given that a person can be hooked on anything, the answer seems to be yes! I can also be hooked on blowing up stuff. These people get good paying jobs blowing things up (I think). Unfortunately, the whole video game addiction thing is being presented to the people from the reporter and editor's point of view. The news reporters and editors are probably not of the generation that grew up playing video games - and aren't exactly itching to try one of the newer (or older) video games. I find that a lot of the reports about video games are quite one-sided. Instead, we get all of the negative stuff flooding our news, going right into the ears of already partially skeptical people, who are just waiting for some reason to throw little Jimmy's Nintendo away forever. "OK, so somebody spent 5 days playing a game and is now in a life-threatening condition." Quick, somebody throw all of the PS3's away!
There seems to be quite an extreme mix of college youngsters these days that are either "Games rule!" or "Games drool!". Why such extremism? Could it be that the people who like games grew up in households with other older people who like games? Maybe the people who didn't like games are part of a household that has not had someone who used to play video games.
It's also possible to be hooked onto television, cigarettes, and eating. Let's throw away all of the TVs, liquor stores, and food!
My stance on this "video game addiction" is this: the biggest problem with video games is that they are not a substitute for physical activity (unless you really want it to be). If you play all day, you turn slow. But, must we continue and find a bunch of other stuff to tag along to video games? What next? "Are video games linked to skin cancer?"
Apr 29 2007, 20:10
Perhaps I'm just one of those raving crazy grammatical police lunatics, but the one thing that always gets me is when I'm reading a really long sentence (or paragraph), and everything is very-well written so that you can understand exactly what the author intended, you get to that one thought or sentence in the paragraph, and you're completelyhaltingly bearings your reading expire eons crashing down. Isn't that annoying? I find myself reading "articles" on the web and encountering these bizarre sentences. Then, I have to sit there and read the sentence over again to figure out what the author intended to say.
Occasionally, people nag at me for picking about their spelling and grammar. I try to be as nice as I possibly can (only throw tomatoes at them rather than the usual paperweight ), but, inevitably, I get either the response "close enough" or "but you knew what I meant".
Firstly (and this is where I start reaching for the paperweights), everyone should care (to some extent) about their spelling. Secondly, I, personally, don't like spending a minute reading the same sentence because someone spells "because" as "b-e-s-i-d-e-s".
English is already hard enough to interpret when everything is spelled correctly. Even my students have fussed at me for using 'it' and 'this' too much.
"An apple is bigger than an orange when it's chemically treated." - is the apple chemically treated or is the orange chemically treated? These are the kinds of sentences which, when placed in a larger paragraph, require me to read it (the sentence) again. Oh, let's also use "then" instead of "than". "An apple is bigger then an orange when it's chemically treated." At first glance, now it looks like a list: The apple is bigger, and then the chemically-treated orange is smaller. *Sigh*
Anyway, I hope this lets you see where I stand in regards to spelling.
Apr 24 2007, 19:51
I just realized how intriguing video game history has become. After taking a few good looks on the web at old video games and new video games, it is amazing how 20 years ago, the primitive graphics of the Nintendo were really the bomb. Anyway, I'm somewhat back.
Feb 1 2007, 22:35
Yes, I am still alive. I just haven't made any meaningful updates. I could just give you pictures of the same old update over and over again, but I figure that I won't do that. Anyway, I realize how old I'm getting by seeing this new level of absurdness going around on the web. Case in point: Vista. It just doesn't seem like 2 + 2 = 4 with Vista. Maybe I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it, but from what I've already heard, VB.NET's life ends at the Vista, and VB6 continues on. So, most of my games and tips and stuff for VB.NET will be useless to Vista users. So, not only do the people who visit my site to download games have to have a newly downloaded .NET Framework (and DirectX 9), but must also remember that it won't work in Vista! Secondly, you got to have a beast of a computer just to be able to run it! Gee, if people had beasts of computers, they could run my games on XP no problem (I think). But, anyway, I just felt like doing a little bit of typing this evening.
Jan 16 2007, 19:05
I added an update on Power II.
Oct 23 2006, 19:43
I forced myself to work on a few more maps for Power II - I find that the biggest thing that is slowing my progress for Power II development is creating maps. I, surprisingly, have not much trouble actually adding treasures and monsters to the map, which actually takes the most effort. By forcing myself to make at least one map everyday, I figure I can at least have the entirety of Swole, Eriega, the Milly Forest, and Weber Mountain Pass done by the end of the year. If I look back at all of the days that have passed since I started this project, I should have had at least 700 maps done (I have 208 done so far - 700 would definitely have me at Lukarm and even farther past the point that my story has developed :P). I updated Quote and Other Stuff.
Oct 21 2006, 7:12
This link takes you to a really neat and useless graph creator - give it a webpage and it spits out a bunch of colored circles with lines connecting them (looks pretty). On a side note, isn't it annoying when you read something like this, advertising how pretty and neat a webpage is, but there's no link to it? Heh heh heh heh!
Oct 15 2006, 21:21
So, I was browsing a few sites and found some game reviews. One thing that I do like about reviews - they are good for things that you're thinking about buying when you get a nice positive review. And, that's about it... Sure, having a couple dozen people act as critics does help to get the point across, there comes that fine line where criticism stops and personal feelings comes in. I like to hear some good remarks about some things and, when something falls short (maybe play control is a bit odd), we could be straight to the point... but nooooo we have to go on and on about how slightly bad something is, pulling out all of our nice metaphors and catch phrases. (Ugh, the play control felt like oil, the characters looked ugly like trucks - trucks and oil in one game!) However, the best things that I've discovered from reading reviews is that it's a great excuse to be funny ! I find it enjoyable reading reviews on games (that I don't plan on buying anyway) and reading all of the "this game sucks" reviews (don't get me wrong, some of the good ones are funny too).
Anyway, I updated the Power II section.
Oct 8 2006, 17:27
Here's an interesting article on Windows Vista and its lackluster support for .NET! According to the article, VB6 works in Vista, and all VS.NETs do not work. Notice that VS.NET 2005 has the greatest chance of working out of all of the .NET versions... making 2002 and 2003 into little pieces of bridge that connected the two versions. But anyway, I added a download for the last Platform Tour tutorial.
Oct 2 2006, 16:14
I am working on some things, but I haven't got any nice pictures as of yet.
Sep 7 2006, 20:05
I made some bug-free water on the first attempt today - you can jump into the water by going here.
Sep 4 2006, 17:07
I've made just a few small updates to the Computer section.
Jul 2 2006, 7:48
I've been tinkering with DirectX 3D recently for .NET and it is fun! Tutorials coming soon! Plus, I've been playing the Super Nintendo recently.
Jun 1 2006, 20:40
I just realized that somebody dropped a whole bunch of dots in my guestbook. If anybody would like a bucket full of dots, feel free and I'll send you a file containing each of the dots . In other news, I haven't actually been working on anything recently, however, as promised, I will start working with DirectX 9.0 3D soon (eye candy)!
May 29 2006, 12:07
I found this very amusing - why children should be accompanied by an adult while surfing the internet. So, I decided to do a Google Search on the word 'teh'. Unsurprisingly, the first link that appears is a link to a wikipedia article - the source of all reputable (yeah, right) knowledge on the Internet. You can see that the article clearly suggests 'Teh' as an alternative spelling of the. So, I've misunderstood all of these years! I can use 'teh' in place of 'the' on all of my reports and still retain that professional document feeling. In other news, I worked on Power II - updates coming soon.
May 21 2006, 18:24
Updated Power II. Right now, teaching is how I am spending most of my free time... that, and I bought Final Fantasy VII for my PC (wow, Square has come a long way since FF7, looking at screenshots for FF12.
May 8 2006, 20:03
I did a little bit of updating in Power II, mostly music and graphics, but I added some interesting stuff. I looked at the name of my city by the name of "Swole" and thought to myself, "Is it really spelled that way?". This question is ultimately doomed to failure, because 'Swole' is slang (for Swollen). I conducted a research (the re in research stands for Google) and found quite a few hits on the world Swole. These consisted of, mostly, the proper usage of Swole (as I could tell from the number of Rap and Urban dictionary articles that I got), but I also got a few articles on muscle-enhancing drugs... ironic. My next search was on 'Swoll', and the first hit that I get contains cursewords. The first part of the hits for 'Swoll' were proper usage as well - the remainder were from people who have a last name of 'Swoll'. So, which one is right? I think the results are very inconclusive for three (3) reasons.
1. Swole/swoll is slang anyway - it's used in speech and not in text, so I wouldn't expect there to be an exact spelling.
2. The research hits that I got for Swole were 227K, counting the muscle-enlargement pages, and the hits that I got for Swoll were 295K, counting the various Mr., Ms., and Mrs. Swoll households.
3. Swell is the root, and Swollen is the past participle. Swollen is a silly-looking past participle anyway, with similar past participles appearing quite different (Tell -> Told, Sell -> Sold, Dwell -> Dwelt, all of which end in d/t and have the same number of syllables as the root). So, is swollen misspelled? Sure it is. So, I figure, if the past participle breaks rules of English, surely the slang variant can break rules of English. I think it would make much more sense to have a "Swelled" or a "Swelt" eye than a "Swollen" eye, but then again, I didn't write the language. Plus, we're used to it anyway. So, feel free to use Swole and Swoll interchangably.
May 4 2006, 20:20
What am I doing up at 20:20? Updating my website of course. I updated the Power II section. In other news, tomorrow is May the 5th - only FIVE more days until I begin teaching! I also killed an exceptionally large roach on Monday. They run quite fast. The big roaches are the ones that you must smush by bringing your shoe all the way to behind your head and swinging ... splatter ... anyway, it was an uninvited guest, so I promptly showed him the floor.
Apr 25 2006, 18:57
I found a couple of wonderful articles on the web about how to make transparent GIFs and animated GIFs in .NET. I had so much fun making these that I felt like sharing these with everyone. This is link to a page with two links.
Apr 24 2006, 18:47
The road that I usually take to go to work everyday was apparently the site of a major prostitution bust yesterday (Sunday). The police caught a couple of prostitutes in daylight... must not have been very sharp prostitutes. On the TV shows, they always show prostitutes hiding in poorly lit areas so that police don't see them. Anyway, the police caught them and then sent a few more undercover police dressed as prostitutes to catch some unsuspecting 'customers'. About 15 people got caught! That serves them right for showcasing prostitutive supply and demand in broad (no pun intended) daylight. The interesting part is that the street that they caught them on is only wide enough for exactly two cars to fit on. The shoulder is nonexistant and mere inches off of the side of the road anywhere is a mailbox, a bush, a tree, or a garbage can. So, I figure these prostituents maximized their chance of being caught on location as well. With a cop car on one side of the street, you only have room enough to fit three people (two cops and a prostitute)... any more people added and somebody would be falling off the side of the street. So, yes, prostitutional exchange is easy to catch on Sunday afternoons on narrow, well-lit streets (and trees do not make streets poorly-lit ... unless the street goes through a rainforest or something) .
In updates, I have been working a little on the artwork for various games (Bomberman Six and Power II).
Apr 14 2006, 19:11
Have I mentioned that I love my job? Teaching is definitely something that makes me feel all warm inside (you may be able to tell due to my collection of 'tutorials'). My first class begins on the 10th of May, but the promise of teaching makes me happy even if it won't be but until a year.
Anyway, in other news, I realized that I find passing gas funny. Today, for exercise, we were stretching our ankles for a brief run, getting warmed up (though, at 85 degrees, this wouldn't take too long) and getting loose. One member of our group decided to pass some gas and get "a little too loose", as our coordinator put it.
Apr 13 2006, 20:18
I was browsing around forums today and I came to the striking conclusion that I have probably seen all words of a basic fifteen-year old's vocabulary misspelled at sometime in my life. So, I'll take a brief time to reflect on five of the more funnier ones that I can remember:
board - something wide, as in a board-tipped marker, a boardsword, or Boardway.
tpye - sorry, this one's just a mistpye
lien - supposed to be a wild animal; king of the (financial?) jungle
scentence - a sweet smelling sentence (Courtesy of Squirm for finding this one for me
) thurst - rockets move off of the principle of thurst - I guess if you remove all of the water in the rocket, it'll move faster?
Apr 12 2006, 20:04
Now, I've done some large-scale updates. I've updated the Projects section to reflect what I am actually "working on". I've updated the Music section... sort of. I'll probably have some more updates coming later this year. By the way, the Guestbook still works.
Apr 11 2006, 19:43
Yay! We are open and in business!!! After a long 3 month break with the collapse of vwebservices, we are back in business. I still have a few updates to make like in the subcategories off on the left. Welcome back.
Apr 11 2006, 18:58
Well, here we are on our new site. Right now, I'm just shuffling things around in place and changing all of the vwebservices references to .us references. Right now, I'm more interested in the fight that is taking place nearby... but anyway, welcome.
Feb 12 2006, 19:40
Here I am talking to myself once more about updates that I already know that I made to my website - unfortunately, no one else can see what I am talking about. The Power II section is updated.
Jan 25 2006, 20:08
Website still down... and this message is totally pointless since no one can see it... well, except me.
Jan 15 2006, 16:13
So, apparently my website is down but if you can somehow see this, the map tiling tutorial has reached a level of balance (not necessarily complete). I may update it from time to time as I see fit.
Jan 1 2006, 13:23
Happy New Year! I've updated... some stuff.
Dec 28 2005, 9:12
Updated the Power II section in the Projects Page.
Dec 26 2005, 19:30
I've started working on a tiling tutorial from the ground up. We'll see how long this lasts. Also, I have started work on Power II again, but I haven't actually written anything for it yet. The New Year is almost here.
Dec 20 2005, 19:20
I have updated the Music Section with links for this (Winter) quarter, and I have also added a new article for API in .NET. This one is on GetShortPathName, used with mciSendString. Happy Holidays! Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!
Dec 14 2005, 17:17
Wow, time flies! It's already 8 days later. But anyway, I've added a Quote, so things aren't totally stagnant here. I have several mini-projects that I'm working on and I need to finish one so that I can finish some more. I certainly hope everyone is prepared for the holidays. Shop early, shop quickly. Don't attempt to manage a vehicle unless you are sober and wide awake. I am going to update the music section as soon as I can find something that I've written recently.
Dec 6 2005, 6:40
Still here... going to work sometime this morning. Most of my work has been on my MIDI Compiler, although I have been spotted working on Quadrill 4.
Nov 28 2005, 17:00
Well, I've finally got electricity in my apartment! Now, we just have to get some Internet connected and we'll be ready. What, no furniture yet? Well, that's not as important as getting an Internet connection!
Nov 21 2005, 15:47
Tomorrow I will execute my Permanent Change of Station to South Carolina. I should arrive by the 23rd and hopefully, I'll be able to set up headquarters shortly thereafter.
Nov 20 2005, 16:20
I'm back! I had a great time at Newport -- the weather was nice and cool the whole time. I was not prepared however, for the gangs of ducks, seagulls, and geese (gooses, as called by some people) walking around and setting treasures everywhere! Yes, we did lots of pushups and the classes were fairly short and interesting *grin*, but firefighting and weapon training were exceptionally more fun... . We also were given the opportunity to travel for about 3 miles on foot (at miscellaneous speeds) on busy streets, swim in a pool filled with real-life shark impersonators (you'd be surprised at how much they resemble fake shark impersonators), extract injured personnel prototypes (crash-dummies) from damaged submarines in thick smoke (no one got asphyxiated), and, of course, have a night on the town for celebration and dancing. Anyway, I moved my old news updates to an old news update page as far as 'updates' go.
Oct 15 2005, 8:14
Well, it's about that time. Tomorrow, I "disembark" from southeastern Louisiana and travel up north to Rhode Island. I will be taking what I'll summarize as "Navy School" in Newport, which will be a jam-packed five-week labor session, complete with pushups, condensed classes, and low temperatures. I will probably not be in contact with a computer and definitely not the Internet, so don't expect any updates anytime soon. I will see everyone in November sometime (hopefully).
Oct 13 2005, 21:36
Added an article on Pool and Billiard Physics.
Oct 10 2005, 10:15
I am attempting to revive the .Net Platform Game Tour. The first phase of this revival is to complete all of the C# tutorials that I neglected to do last year. The only thing, I only have a week to do it, as I will be absent next week. I added the PII Fight Song to the Music section (somewhere) as well.
Oct 3 2005, 21:41
It's the lovely month of October. I've added a Color and Font article.
Sep 28 2005, 18:38
Added the Color Matrix article to the Computer section. It is almost October!
Sep 26 2005, 19:00
Updated Quote, Computer, and Other Stuff section.
Sep 24 2005, 15:13
The demo for Power II is available for download - all 3.25 MB of it. It only took a year. Details available on the Power II Project Page.
Sep 22 2005, 11:44
Updated Power II section. Not again... Rita!
Sep 18 2005, 9:22
Added my Prompts Namespace article to the Computer section.
Sep 17 2005, 14:33
Hurricane Katrina started hitting us at about 6:00 on the morning of Aug 29. The power went off at 5:51 and the water went out at about 8:00. It was an interesting sight to see a major hurricane in all of its (somewhat weakened by landfall) fury. The eyewall began passing its large self over us sometime at around 10:30... that's when the really nasty weather came. Our neighbors across the street lost a few chairs and a swimming pool that wasn't bolted down very sturdily. Worse than that, a really old tree in their front yard was totally knocked over onto their power lines. Damage to our house was pretty small... a few shingles on our former shingly roof blew off. Large quantities of rain gave the North, West, and South faces of the house a pretty good washing... the moist conditions on the north wall of the house led to water leakages, specifically in my room and the useless room that is next to mine. A piece of roof side paneling came aloose and added more noise to an already noisy storm. The highway in front of our house is almost surrounded by trees and power lines. When the storm started to subside at about 14:00, we could clearly see the highway and how it was made impassable with downed trees, power lines, and power lines. An old uninhabited cabin behind a few trees lost a roof, but fortunately no one was inside. My car got a nice jet washing since I had to park it outside during the storm. Fortunately, I parked on the east side of the house, the side that handled the hurricane best. The mail delivery didn't run (unsurprisingly)... whatever happened to the old saying "neither rain nor snow... " (kidding) ? The night after the storm was a hot one. No moving wind to provide some coolness. A couple of people (I assume they were city workers) made their way along the tree, wire, and pole laden highway, clearing the highway with bulldozers and saws of every size, power, and timbre. They were able to clear most of the trees off of the highway by nightfall. The day after the storm we looked around town. Lots of destruction... several areas, which were considerably more forested than ours, were battered by fallen trees. Power lines lay across the road and a few power poles were snapped into two, toppled over, or otherwise made useless and dangerous. The road to the Primary School is obstacled with large trees covering large portions of the road, but the road itself was still negotiable. The school itself was fine - only lost a few shingles and a really large tree that was positioned next to the swing sets was uprooted. Traffic lights in town were out - driving up to one was filled with rhythmic anticipation like the same anticipation you get when you try to jump into a jump rope game. We actually saw how many people treated it as an "all-way STOP" like they are supposed to... . Several businesses lost their windows and glass covered the sidewalks. A certain shop had its front awning collapse in such a way that it protected the large windows in front. The Elem and Jr High schools appeared unscathed, but the library (situated next to a forest) was practically hidden; trees were toppled over into a pile on the parking lot. A few trees had actually landed on the library. The stadium district had few trees, but lots of power lines - the north end was practically a spiderweb of power. The practitioner's district, where the doctors and professionals set up shop was mostly intact. The church up the street had several power poles snapped in two like toothpicks. The high school, which is practically out of town, was intact, but all roads leading to it (except the one we took) were blocked. Four days after the storm, we made our way to the local distribution area. We got some free (somewhat) ice, water, and military rations (MREs). Cellphone reception is nonexistent; I have "0 bars". After about 7 days with no power, the refrigerator was starting to stink and get mildew. Fortunately, our water was on. Certain sections of town started to get power and get back to business. We bought some groceries and stuff. We drove to a Wal-Mart in another city and I bought a camera. The final 10 days were just waiting, studying. I got a German and a French book so that I could learn a few more languages. We saw a few electricity maintenance trucks snooping around on Day 13. They were actually parking and had finished replanting power poles by Day 15. By Day 16 they were really showing some progress and at the end of Day 18 (Sep. 15) our lights come back on. .
Many trees were laying after the storm.. The forest across the highway from our house. Even brick columns were ravaged.
Aug 28, 2005, 19:45
More updates! Specifically updates to the Music section.
Aug 28, 2005, 10:17
Updated the Power II section. Now, back to the issue at hand... Katrina.
Aug 18, 2005, 16:19
Updated the Power II section again. Things are looking good! Also, it is my birthday tomorrow. I am planning on eating at a very nice (costs more than $7 USD to get full) restaurant... although it is Friday, so they'll probably be full if I go for lunch.
Aug 17, 2005, 21:08
Finished an article on Gaussian Random Numbers. It can be found here.
Aug 14, 2005, 21:08
Updated Power II section.
Aug 13, 2005, 19:38
Having a time trying to think of some good tutorials to write with my "webpage" application. I updated the music file section and added the Fall File selection. It looks kind of small because it's mostly recent work and I have artist's block. I am still looking through DirectX9 as well - at least that's going smoothly.
Jul 26, 2005, 20:53
I fixed the Exit Statement article and added an article (which happens to be supplemental in nature) on Interpolation, since it seems to pop up anywhere in programming. Among other news articles, we did have a successful launch today, and Grand Theft Auto finally got the AO rating it deserves! Condolences to the people in London because of the train bombings.
Jul 23, 2005, 8:09
Well, I added one tutorial. The last three weeks have been pretty busy with conference preparations (going to Iowa for a few days). Also, I was working on a little application that is kind of like FrontPage, but it converts RTF to HTML. I didn't have any book on Rich Text Format, so no one could tell me "RTFM." (Rich Text Format Manual", not the other, more vulgar one...). But, I've written that tutorial here on Avoiding Exit Statements.
Jul 4, 2005, 11:05
I guess I should explain Project DamageZone. This was the little "project" that I gave myself (accidentally) to do during the month of June and this project (I called DamageZone) was to build a computer from the ground up. It started when I decided that I needed to upgrade my graphics card so that I could use DirectX 9 3D (which is just waaay too restrictive). So, I started looking at the big bad NVidia GeForce 6800... so it uses an AGP slot (I really should've actually looked in my computer instead of in Device Manager)... according to Device Manager, I had a ProSavage graphics card connected via (VIA) the AGP slot (yes, I should have known better). So, I uninstall the drivers and hustle off to Best Buy and pick up a NVidia GeForce 6800 that requires an AGP slot to connect to. Now, I make it back to the house, open my little-bitty HP computer and search for the AGP slot. I didn't find it. Strangely, the ProSavage drivers have mysteriously reinstalled themselves on the computer... I ignore that and think over my next step.
So, I called BFG Tech customer support to try to figure out why I can't find the AGP slot... of course, it is because there IS NO AGP slot in the computer (despite there being a ProSavage graphics card in it). BFG Tech customer support was friendly, recommending me to either return the card (I came too far to give up now) or look on TigerDirect for a motherboard or motherboard-CPU-combo that has an AGP slot. They also recommended me to call HP support as well. So, I then called HP support, which eventually led nowhere... my warranties expired at the beginning of this year (perhaps that's why no one wanted to help me). This led me to TigerDirect, looking at motherboard-CPU-combos.
Eventually, I settled on the Chaintech SK8T800 that comes with an AMD Athlon 64 3000 processor. At this point, I'm lost, so I head on to mIRC (openircnet.ath.cx:6667) for some tech support... I was led to first getting a case that is big enough to hold this big motherboard... so, I opted for the ThermalRock Dragon ATX at AllStarShop, big enough to hold the motherboard (and probably big enough to pack the kitchen sink). The next thing was to get a fan for the new Athlon 64 3000 CPU, since a fan did not come with the motherboard-CPU combo. I returned to TigerDirect to look at my motherboard-CPU... TigerDirect was nice enough to list some additional recommended products - one of which is a nice Masscool CPU Fan. I was also recommended (I couldn't have done this without gentle recommendations to the right products) to get some DDR RAM... I found some inexpensive ULTRA 512MB RAM at TigerDirect. Rounding out the recommendations, I needed to get a power supply - GavinO recommended this specific one - a Silencer 410W ATX for powering my graphics card. Thank you GavinO, Rust710, and wakjah .
So, I had 5 items being shipped to me and next came the task of putting it together. I followed this very nice tutorial at ExtremeTech on how to install motherboard stuff. First, the seemingly simple task of putting the CPU into the motherboard - according to the article, the CPU should slip into the holes and the lever will easily lower back to the base... well, the CPU slipped in easily (alignment was never an issue), but the lever didn't lower so easily. I didn't want to push too hard because the CPU is delicate. I tried something which didn't work too well, and got a couple of the CPU pins to be crooked. So, I took my Kinko's Card and tried to align the pins (I had to reattempt in the morning - I started to think that I'd need another CPU if any pins broke) - eventually I got to a point where the CPU would fit into the holes - I then pressed that pesky old "zero force" lever down onto the motherboard. I heard an unsettling, but quiet "crunch" sound - the sound you get when biting into a Snickers with no almonds or something.
Then, came the even more laborious task of installing the CPU Fan. I put the little whip cream cooling stuff on the CPU and on the belly of the CPU fan, of course, not without getting some on my fingers and clothes . Getting the CPU Fan on top of the CPU was the task. This was about 90 minutes of playing with the CPU fan base, screwing it out and rescrewing it back in, examining the screw position, and deducing what I already figured - I'd have to mash this sucker into my motherboard. Getting it to connect required me to bend the hook while pressing down on the fan - considerably - with a force that would break other things laying around the house. Next was the task of screwing the motherboard into the case. This went without a problem except for a lack of enough screw holes - my motherboard is now hanging in by three screws (maybe four, but I only remember 3). I paused to admire my handiwork, following the tutorial, again... before realizing that I forgot to put in the I/O connector panel - so now I have the naked connectors protruding from the back of the computer.
After a bit of recuperation time and work, I began to put the power supply (also called the power supply unit, for some reason) into the case. None of the screw holes aligned. But according to the picture on the box, I should be installing it this way. So, by chance I decide to insert the power supply into the computer upsidedown. Surprisingly, all of the screw holes were aligned. I went ahead and added the screws, puzzled as to why the picture on the box is upside down. Next, came the relatively simple task of inserting RAM, PCI cards, and, of course, my new NVidia GeForce 6800 into the new motherboard AGP slot.
Then, I took all of the drives out of my tiny HP computer and threw them somewhere inside the case: the floppy drive, also with no cover, sits next to the power button, while the CD-R drive floats in the center 5.25" slot, two slots away from either end... it is resting upon the hard drive (conveniently tall enough to rest the CD-R into the 3rd slot. None of the screw holes matched for the CD-R; that's why it is hovering in the 3rd slot... the hard drive screws are too degraded to unscrew from the hard drive container, so I unscrewed the entire container and put it inside the new case. Attaching the case wires to the motherboard required a little investigation - all manuals listed indicate that red is positive and black is ground (I knew this from engineering classes), however the Power LED had green and white wires. I just made a guess as to which is positive (white). I figured ground is green in this case. Finally, I connected all of the power connectors (dongles is such a silly word that I refuse to use it) - fans, drives, mobo. If I was more observant, I would've actually connected the motherboard power under the case bar - all twenty of the wires are flattened against the window of the case between the cover and the case bar. I also put in a new sound card.
The moment of truth: the power button. Nothing happened at first because my surge protector was off. But, afterwards, I got a successful boot into the BIOS. I set the time and other stuff, then I tried to boot into Windows. This is where the final test was: about 15 seconds into trying to boot into windows, I get a STOP message. If you don't know what a STOP message is, it's the more aggravating version of the BSOD: it flashes on the screen for a TENTH of a second (only long enough for two or three glimpses) and all it says is that there is a problem at some spot(s) in memory, no names or anything to go by, and the help just says to try again. I sat there foolishly trying to write part the message down everytime it occurs (I could've just hit F8 and disabled automatic restart, had I known what it was). Windows would boot into safe mode and I eventually concluded that it was either SP2 or my drivers not uninstalling. I attempted to uninstall drivers, but nothing happened.
After accidentally disabling VGA, I lost Safe Mode. There's only one option left - system recovery. Most of the articles on the web only tell you how to do this if you have Windows XP Disks, but my situation was complicated by the XP disks being installed on a hidden partition. Finally, I found a site that explained how to recover with a hidden partition - you merely press F10 while starting up the computer. After waiting for about 30 minutes for the recovery, Windows finally loaded (in SP1, but it loaded). I followed all of the little intro screens and finally got into Windows again. The graphics card works, but my new Creative Audigy 2 ZS sound card didn't seem to work. Turns out that it just plays quietly, so the volume is turned up all the way. The only thing that remains is I now have to install and reregister all of the applications that aren't standalone, such as Visual Studio .NET, Microsoft Office, and stuff. The plus side: since doing the system recovery, I can use all of my expired software again that is supposed to end after X days (I'll only use them for a little bit). And, that is "Project: DamageZone"
Jul 1, 2005, 11:00
We're back! Apparently, the server that this site was on decided to suspend all of its websites, leaving us out in the cold. But looks like things are up now. At the moment, I am still trying to get everything reorganized after "Project: DamageZone" - I'll explain that sometime later. I also seem to be unable to work on my exvb blog. But, the good news is we're back! If you haven't already downloaded the Q4Demo, then you're missing out on an exciting new Quadrill adventure.
Jun 4, 2005, 9:08
The demo for Quadrill 4 is finally up after over two years of waiting and development. Also, if you look around, you'll see that I added some nice little VB6, VB.NET, and C#.NET graphics in the Computer and Projects section.
Jun 2, 2005, 19:33
Blockserv is now updated. Download version 1.1 which includes Training levels and more key commands. I am preparing to make a move to the Baton Rouge area on the 6th, not that this should be as much of a concern as my ongoing computer upgrade saga. It's not being written anywhere, so don't go looking for it. I may write on it once it is complete, but not right now. Also, the demo for the eagerly-awaited Quadrill 4 is coming very soon. And, yes, I decided to put my name all over the main page.
Jun 1, 2005, 20:57
Updated Music section and added Spell Check article to Computer section.
May 29, 2005, 15:13
Added section on DirectX Audio Video Playback. Memorial Day tomorrow.
May 23, 2005, 18:06
Updated Computer section and added summer quarter files to music file section.
May 22, 2005, 10:42
Finally completed and uploaded Blocks ERV (Blockserv) for VB.NET 2003. Have fun.
May 21, 2005, 10:50
Put in a few more pages under the Computer section. Also, I've updated the Guestbook a little bit so that you can look at the entries.
May 7, 2005, 17:03
Updated Blocks section of Project list, where I am working on the new and almost complete new update to Blocks in .NET.
May 4, 2005, 22:35
I added a mciSendString snippet in the Computer section and updated the music section to reflect the new contest.
Apr 30, 2005, 10:56
Miscellaneous updates in the Music, Quote, and Other section.
Apr 20, 2005, 11:49
Well, I've updated the JumpCross section, added a mini string-parsing introduction, and then there's this old game that looks like Quadrill that I uploaded (in Other Stuff).
Apr 10, 2005, 10:25
After a long break with me getting other things together (such as car insurance that reflects my excellent -- pronounce as 'DREAD-ful' -- driving skills), I updated my site again for the first time this month.
Mar 11 2005, 8:20
Fixed the songs in the Music section and updated the Q4 section.
Mar 4 2005, 8:56
Updated Power II: Island section, Other Stuff, and added the Music File List for spring quarter.
Feb 18 2005, 17:19
Made a few additions here and there - Part 25 added to Platform Tour.
Feb 8 2005, 15:18
Updated Computer section and Power II section.
Jan 29 2005, 18:00
Updated Computer section again.
Jan 27 2005, 16:26
Updated Computer and Quote section.
Jan 20 2005, 17:54
Updated the .NET Platform Tour with Part 23 and Quadrill 4 section.
Jan 9 2005, 19:13
Fixed the VB and C# Syntax highlighter. Apparently I forgot to test the C# vB tags.
Jan 6 2005, 13:13
Added the VB and C# Syntax highlighter.
Jan 1 2005, 20:20
Updated Music section. Happy New Year.
Dec 31 2004, 11:38
Updated Periodics section and Power II section.
Dec 24 2004, 21:11
Update the .NET Platform Tour with Part 22.
Dec 23 2004, 15:00
Updated more miscellaneous parts of the website. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Dec 18 2004, 19:48
Updated... well, I forgot now, but I updated the Computer section. I also added the Foreword, because I feel that some people may have been confused coming to my site and being lost. I'll put up a section just on me... sometime next year. There are less than seven days until Christmas! I changed my main screen's background color, too.
Dec 7 2004, 8:02
Updated the Power II section . I am going to update the .NET Platform Tour. I am aware that the link to Part 21 goes nowhere, and is gone for now.
Dec 1 2004, 10:26
OK, I've updated practically every section. I added a DrawImage page to the computer section, and an update to Q4 in the Projects section. I have added the new winter links for the music sections. I also created a little page where you can leave a message for me or just fill it out with random silliness. I wiled away a few days learning PHP, so test my page here.
Nov 22 2004, 9:56
Mostly, updated the Power II section .
Nov 18 2004, 17:32
Updated the Q4 section and added Part 20 to the Platform Tour.
Nov 11 2004, 17:19
Added small part 19 to the .NET Platform Tour.
Nov 7 2004, 15:54
Updated a few things within the Computer section, and posted my update to Power II.
Nov 4 2004, 15:48
Updated the .NET Platform Tour with Part 17. Have a Happy Thursday.
Nov 3 2004, 19:04
Updated the .NET Platform Tour with Part 16.
Nov 1 2004, 6:41
Added a bunch of periodic sections in the Computer section, as supplements for the .NET Platform Tour (not quite finished yet, though).
Oct 24 2004, 17:45
Updated stuff in the Computer section, like the .NET Platform Tour.
Oct 18 2004, 19:21
I'm back. What was I doing? I was working on my next project and trying to finish Quadrill 4 (Among other things of course).
Sep 16 2004, 11:02
Added Part 13 and Part 14 to the .NET Platform Tour.
Sep 11 2004, 13:54
Added Part 12 to the .NET Platform Tour. I hope everyone is having a safe Patriot's Day.
Sep 5 2004, 16:42
Updated the C# sections of the .NET Platform Game Tour.
Aug 31 2004, 21:53
Jump-Cross, a secret game that I was working on is now available for download on the main page here. It's just a simple little game to pass the time. It's written in VB.NET 2003, so you need the VS.NET runtime files installed to run it.
Aug 30 2004, 20:38
Added Part 11 to the .NET Platform Game Tour. I'm going to finish the C# section as well... but on Wednesday, probably.
Aug 26 2004, 17:27
Updated Quadrill 4 and Power III... I think I've updated the Quadrill 3 section. I've added more music to the Music section as well. I am now using 24 hour time on all date and time listings (not all of them have been changed yet), and I've added the Q3 map editor.
Aug 20 2004, 141:03
Updated Quadrill 3 and Power III sections of the Projects.
Aug 16 2004, 35:18
I have updated the Quadrill 3 Player's Guide a little.
Aug 13 2004, 137:37
OK. I have updated the Quadrill 4, Quadrill 3, and Quadrill sections. I have added little to nothing else. More stuff to come soon.
Jul 30 2004, 129:15
Well, it was long break, and then, I lost all of the changes that I made before I uploaded my updates, so I had to make them again. I added table borders on all of the Platform Tour pages and added a section to the Quadrill 4 section.
Jul 5 2004, 44:35
Part 10 has been added to the .NET Platform Tour. Also, there are a couple of updates stashed around somewhere.
Jun 25 2004, 135:51
I added Part 9 to the .NET Platform Tour.
Jun 16 2004, 90:39
Well, I've changed the second section to Computer. Part 8 is now in the .NET Platform Tour, and there is another section added to Power III under the Project menu.
Jun 11 2004, 138:13
Hmm... nobody noticed that I actually misplaced the 's in Wise Man's Computer (well, I hope not)... so I incinerated that entire name. I added a name to the Purple list as well. I am going to add a few more MIDI files sometime during this weekend.
Jun 6 2004, 15:01
I added 4 versions of the Platform tour for C#. Now it looks really busy. I guess the section can't be named VB Walkthroughs if there are examples. That's why it is now known as the Wise Man's Computer. Also added another person to the Orange People list.
Jun 4, 2004, 138:51
Part 7 of the Platform tour has been added. There's also another small section on Binary in the Walkthrough section, and a little section added to the Quadrill 4 section.
May 31 2004, 45:30
Part 6 of the Platform Tour has been added. I meant to update the Q4 section today, but a mysterious program cleared the screenshot that I took of myself going crazy in the Surgerius building. I'll try again tomorrow.
May 30 2004, 13:53
Part 5 of the Platform Tour has been added. There is a new section in the Projects page, but how long will it last? Hmm.... I have added another name to the Orange People list
May 26 2004, 90:53
Part 4 of the .NET Platform Tour has been added. I am going to add another section on Boolean and Binary about And, Or, <<, and >>. Also, I am going to start adding some C# examples... once I get my syntax highlighter to accept a C# file. I need to find some time to update the DirectX articles as well.
May 24 2004, 45:27
The Quadrill 4 section has been updated for the desert. I have added the third part of the .NET Platform Tour. I think I did something else today, but I'm not sure. I'll probably think of it sooner or later (after I upload). Ah... I added a new name to the Orange People list.
May 23 2004, 10:34
Added the bitmap for .NPT section 2. Save it to the bin folder with your application in it for part 2.
May 23 2004, 10:27
I added the code to the first Platform game section using my newly updated code syntax highlighter. I don't think all of the bugs have been worked out yet, but I plan to post it when I am finished. I also added a few links here and there in the Code section as well. I have to leave soon for Sunday, though.
May 22 2004, 166:22
Added section 2 to the .NET Platform Game section. I went to a lovely cookout today where we had shrimp and fish, and I was composing a beautiful MIDI symphony as my experimentation with expression continues. I'll let you hear it when I'm finished. (I think I have to listen to it 14 more times to add expression.)
May 21 2004, 134:36
The Quadrill 4 section has been updated... and that's about it.
May 20 2004, 118:08
.NET Platform Game section 1 has been added. Also, I added direct links to all of the News items. Haven't updated the Quadrill 4 section, but I will soon.
May 20 2004, 112:16
I have updated my VB walkthroughs section and added another small little code snippet showing uses for API FindWindow, FindWindowEx, FlashWindow, and SendMessage. I think the Marching.mid has been fixed now. I am going to update the Quadrill 4 section in a few minutes... or an hour.
May 19 2004, 86:38
I have added several MIDI files for this quarter (May - July), some of which include the already successful Attack Ship music, the (somewhat) famous Acknowledge music, and the highly anticipated Magnet MIDI file. I also cleaned up the music section a lot, so it looks a little bit sparse (and it's now a bronze color). I've added an explanation below of the 168-hour clock stamps that you probably see around here a lot, so check it out.
May 19 2004, 81:27
Well, I've changed the water color that used to be over there to the left (not the right ). I've changed the silly text that was at the top of this page. Expect it to expand soon. Yes, the .NET Platform Tour will have its first installment on Friday of this week. Yes, there will be some more MIDI files up today. Your wish is (sometimes) my command. The math section, however, will not be up by today.
May 18 2004, 67:31
Well, we are now at a new home on the vwebservices domain, as we wave farewell to the cs-soft domain.
Anyway, the .NET Platform Tour is coming soon. I'm going to resolve to update my webpage daily, or at least biweekly.
I will also be adding some new projects that I am working on to the projects page along with some more MIDI files and thinking about opening up a
math section. Stay tuned!