Sometimes things just fall into place.
17 December 2014
Power level is displayed through five blue lights, visble through the "cartridge slot" of the Genesis cover, which is a clever design choice. The first of the lights is a simple "working" light whenever the unit is connected. It is also touch-sensitive, serving as the power butto. The other four represent the remaining charge, and carry on the Sega motif by looking like the chaos emeralds of Sonic fame. Nice touch.
Accessories include a velvet drawstring pouch with a small partition for the handful of cables it comes with, one long and one short. Both are flat, red, and fit very loosely in the three connectors on the top of the unit. On more than at least one occasion, I did find that a cable had come loose during charging, which was a tad annoying. Meanwhile, other USB cables feel like a tight fit, especially my Vita's cable. It took a bit of forcing, and I was worried about snapping the connectors. There is also a small, thicker white cable, but it is a mini-USB, which neither of my devices use, so I couldn't test it.
As a rule, these batteries usually give out after about 500 charges before they begin depleting their max (Tommo's site says about 75% is the next step down). Unlike some other USB power supplies, the internal cells are not replaceable. So, when this thing goes, that's it. However, given that I've been using it about every other day, that's at least a year away. After that, I'll be upgrading my Genesis to a Saturn.
16 December 2014
30 November 2014
It's the final day of NaNoWriMo and, in short, I have absolutely nothing to show for it. I had two short stories that had been in the works for some time that I meant to finish, only for them to languish despite making some really good progress at my writers' meet-up.
At best, I've made books as opposed to written them. My upcycled blank journals now number eight with at least enough material for three more. After that, I have to resort to my new cover materials, like the VCR dust-cover and an old purse. The purse is a very nice black leather that I'd like to make into a slip cover for a marble composition book, the small pocket-sized ones. I had found a few pre-made ones, ranging in price from less than 10USD to over 40USD.
Historically, October has always been a rather hectic month for me. However, this year November has taken up the charge. It's the good kind of busy, mostly making travel plans for the coming weeks.
So, I've been productive, just not in the areas in which I first set out to be produtive. The stories will be finished, they simply won't be finished today, tomorrow, next week, or maybe even the end of next month. Right now, I'm on a bit of a bookbinding kick, and I plan to ride that out as long as possible until I'm sick of it.
01 November 2014
Well, National Novel Writer's Month begins today. On the whole, I've always had mixed feelings about the project. On the one end of the spectrum, some people turn it into a kind of pledge drive that's meant for charity yet they can't stop talking about how the money will help them personally and how big a cut they will take. That's an extreme example, mind, and it's a trend I have seen diminish more recently. I'm never one to shame self-starters, but one of the great things about writing compared to other art forms is that your startup cost is ultimately nothing. If you need financial incentive for that, you're participating in NaNoWriMo for the wrong reason.
There's also the more practical notion that, given you're hammering out in a month what some writers devote years of their lives to, your end result is most likely not going to be of significant quality. Sure, some people can't probably take full advantage of that breakneck pace to draw on a creative wellspring that's otherwise throttled by a lack of a deadline. Time makes people do incredible things.
That brings me to what I've found to be the best approach to NaNoWriMo: it's not about the final product, it's about the process. In short, if you're an especially goal-oriented person, this is not for you. What this event is, more than anything, is a kind of bootcamp for writers. Some people are extremely casual about their writing projects, to the point that a paragraph can be the result of years of off-and-on tinkering. Usually, in those cases, the writing is purely recreational, self-indulgent. I don't begrudge those people; art is for the artist, a sundae, everyone else is whipped cream and a cherry.
The only trouble with the whole casual approach is that it tends to make people lax, and worse, easily-discouraged. Creativity is a fickle thing, fragile even. Too hot, it melts. Too cold, it shatters. Too much time, it gets bored. Too little time, it collapses from the stress. It's rather like a kid, you've got to push and challenge them, but you don't want them feeling pressured.
Basically what I'm saying is that this event is a learning experience in every sense of the term. It's meant to be a kind of litmus test to see just what your creativity is made of, because it's easy to let it slip away from you going the "whenever" route. It's a rigid structure (X number of words/day to meet goal) and a seemingly daunting task, but as the saying goes, you won't know until you try. Sure, you may fail in the end and not produce your novel, but you've either given yourself a great headstart or gotte into a good groove to work on something else.
As for me, I won't be participating per se. I wrote a novella years ago, and it took me from about the start of October to the first weeks of January. During that time, with very few exceptions, I would come home from work in the afternoon and stay at my computer until I went to bed, which was about 6 hours later. Apart from meals and bathroom breaks, I did not get up. Some days I belted out whole chapters, while others I'd struggle to get one sentence to come out right. So, I feel like I paid my debt to the creative work ethic gods on that front.
I do, however, have to small short stories, one I've been working on for a few months off-and-on as part of a Meetup group I started hanging out with, and another I've barely begun taking notes on. I intend to work on both of them this month, up from my one last year.
The former story, called Echidna, is one I haven't decided on a publication method for. It's erotica, and fairly crass at that. I kind of started that project with the mindset of, "Take it all the way, damn the inhibitions." as well as the naive idea that I'd have it bashed out in a night. That was at least two months ago... dammit.
The latter story, called The Loneliness of Amy Bryce, is a little more sober, ultimately the result of watching the entire series of Twin Peaks (working on snatching up a copy of Fire Walk With Me) while trying my hand at a more Lovecraftian sort of horror. It's less Cthulhu/Kadath and more Terrible Old Man/The Outsider to give a better yardstick of exactly what strata of Lovecraft I'll be exploring.
Best of luck to all of you, whatever your goal may be.
26 October 2014
I'm taking a break from Deadly Premonition. I'm at a point (fairly early on in the game) when all I have to do is literally wait between 0700 and 1500 for the next part of the game to progress. My options in this time are: 1) sidequests, 2) explore the town, and 3) sleep. Given that, apart from sleeping and maybe some story segments, this game moves in real time. This is padding, plain and simple. There's no more discouraging feeling in a game than not knowing what to do or where to go next. It's one thing when you're stuck on a boss battle or a puzzle; you can work through those. However, simply killing time or not knowing how to move the story forward is downright insulting. I remember there was a Spider-Man game back in the day that literally gave you 24 hours for a time limit (years before the game based on 24) and thinking, "Dear God! Really?" instantly regretting my rental choice. It turns out the time limit is a bit flexible, but that didn't stop the game being ultimatey too challenging for my little 12 year-old brain to fully appreciate. I'm wondering now, though, what that version of me would have thought about newer games.
Anyway, by taking a break from Twin Peaks: The Game (and I mean that affectionately), I played Rain instead. Something I like about a lot of modern games is the way they break themselves up into chapters or individual missions (compared to MMOs and their hours-long dragfests). It gives me a good way to pace myself so I don't get burned out (I can't imagine what it's like for reviewers to basically pull all-nighters to meet deadlines). That did get me thinking, though, about somethinng I played a few days earlier. I think it was Bayonetta. I kept running out of time and dying on this early stage, and I think on the third time it gave me the option to skip.
I'm still not sure how I feel about that sort of thing.
I'm hardly the manliest man you'll ever meet, my most masculine traits down to the Greg Behrendt duology of being kinda big and loving women plus the added qualities that I love taking things apart and, here's the kicker, I hate asking for help. It's less to do with some idea about gender roles and more to do with being the youngest in my family on top of having to ironically fight tooth and nail to be given a chance to prove I can manage more on my own than otherwise expected. It's also one of those factors that helped feed my growing depression through college, but we're getting off topic.
Years ago, during a review of Rampart, I mentioned the gameplay mechanic in the PS2 version of Rygar wherein you unlocked easy mode by dying a certain number of times (Rampart worked in a similar fashion by offering you more cannons on your next try). I joked about it being condescending, and then I recalled all the flack the reboot of Alone in the Dark received for its chapter skip option not only being available, but practically encouraged in some of the marketing materials. I'm an old-school gamer; I like a challenge. SHMUPS are one of my favorite genres, known far and wide for their difficulty. I like Demon's Souls and endlesss runners. I like the YS series and gallery shooters. On the other hand, I like my challenges to be fair, and sometimes that's a tall order. Other times, I simply play for the story, turning the difficulty down, using the occasional cheat code, and even using a Game Shark once to watch all the cut scenes from Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero. In Deadly Premonition, for example, one of the DLC packages I got with my bundle was an outfit that triples your attack power; it's practically an "I Win" button, to say nothing of the infinite ammo machine gun the N64 version of Resident Evil 2 furnished you with. Sure, playing a game for the story, to crib a phrase from one of the DOOM devs, is like watching porn for the story, but then again, I've seen some pretty classy porn, and there's nothing wrong with loving a game entirely for its narrative, even if it means bypassing its core gameplay. My point is, when it's a more story-driven game, I don't think it's such a big deal to have various, for lack of a better term, handholding options. That said, if you're playing Bayonetta for the story, best of luck to you on that front. Finding the balance between story and gameplay is a game unto itself, one not many developers have really mastered, with gameplay usually nabbing the bigger piece of pie. In the case of the opposite, I think we need a kind of mutual understanding among gamers that sometimes bad gameplay is bad gameplay. In fact, the biggest reason for all the hullabaloo around the chapter skips in Alone in the Dark was that the driving mechanics were so amazingly broken as to make a normal play-through impossible. This led to the consensus of the chapter skip being more like a cop-out of better QA and testing than an optional way to enjoy the game. This is really unfair in the grand scheme of things. While it's usually a lost cause to compare games to other mediums of entertainment, Jim Sterling had the right idea when he quoted a friend of his: Imagine you're reading a book that suddenly changes its language halfway through. Some people might welcome the challange, while most will probably hunt down the author and beat them to death with their own hardcovers. The point is, gamers are a diverse bunch, and complex within ourselves to boot. We enjoy different games for different reasons and in different ways. I don't care that someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of the Halo universe has never picked up a controller; that's not what they like about it.
Games are supposed to be fun, and as long as the means by which you have that fun don't interfere with other gamers (cough, cough... gold farmers, cough), then there is no shame in using the walkthrough or reading the wiki or even using the good ol' thirty lives code.
Say it with me now:
B A START
22 October 2014
I've been thinking about crowdfunding lately, and not merely because WayForward's new Shantae game is nearing a broader release beyond the 3DS. I started supporting a few people on Patreon, including an artist friend of mine, which kind of got me thinking about what I would do to become a Patreon "creator". Unfortunately, I can't think of anything I'd do regularly that would warrant a kind of subscription service like that.
As for something like Kickstarter or IndieGoGo, I have had some amusing little thoughts from time to time over the past few years: what I would make, how I'd go about getting started, how much I'd ask for, what promises to make, how often to update, and what exactly the money would go towards. I could go on and on about those, and I could go on even longer about the various points of criticism people have brought against crowdfunding (I kind of did a few months ago, when someone criticized the practice as a form of "socialism"), but overall nothing reached much higher than a flight of fancy.
Now, I may start taking it a little more seriously.
About two years ago, I made a short film for Halloween, a disposable little tribute to John Carpenter's Prince of Darkness. It was shot on an old phone, had a silly voiceover, and wasn't very good (though it got a fairly decent response most places I posted it). I'd considered doing a follow up to it, something more tongue-in-cheek as the main gimmick of the short was about the "impending doom of 2012". A few weeks ago, a little idea popped into my head for somethinng different. It would be stylistically similar to last year's, with similar production methods, and probably work better as a kind of demo reel than a proper short film. I sketched up some storyboards and made some "to-do" lists like for props and maybe even locations. It was all coming together so well, I started thinking it may be worth going forward with. Unfortunately, it's been a few weeks, and I don't think I'd be able to finish it in time for Halloween.
Next Halloween, though...
Rather than bash out something unpolished and hurried, I take the opportunity of the time to try and turn it into something with slightly better production values. That's when I started thinking of Kickstarter. I don't want to say a whole lot about it because I could well wake up tomorrow and decide the entire thing's a boring mess that deserves to rot on the back burner until Heaven falls. What I will say, though, is this:
1. I'm not going to ask for a lot of money, and likely it would be for cutting the film together (I'd rather hire an editor than work at it myself, someone with better gear than me). That kind of "in the can" model seems to work out best for filmmakers, especially since it's a lot easier to be upfront about costs as there aren't usually as many setbacks in post as there can be in production.
2. Backers would get an early release of the film (I mean, we're talking about October 2015, here), as well as some incentives I've cooked up.
3. On the off-chance this becomes the next Potato Salad campaign, I do have some ideas about stretch goals, like other actors, a few more scenes, a big screening, a film festival submission, among other things.
So, as much as I don't like to talk about things I'm planning in the near future, let alone next year, I figure maybe I shoud throw this out there, get some feedback and advice as early as possible, gague just how plausible this whole thing may be.
04 October 2014
02 October 2014
|"Aw, Hell, yeah!"|
1. Everything is an improvement.
The first Velocity game had a straightforward, NES-era sensibility to it, reminiscent of games like Metal Storm or Contra. The art direction and level design was simple, some might even say bland or samey, and enemy variety was a tad underwhelming, but it was cohesive and solid, everything fitting together perfectly. On top of that, it had very tight controls and unparalleled gameplay. It was almost perfect, hardly feeling like a Playstation mini.
Velocity 2X might seem like it does very little to build on its predecessor, with many changes so subtle, they can be easily missed, and it's doubtful many will appreciate them. The artwork is still overall minimalistic with its textures and color palettes, but many levels have such fine details and subtle touches (like waterfalls that surprise you with a sense of height) that it's easy to get lost in the sheer beauty of certain spots.
2. Gunning and running.
When I first saw the screenshots of the "on foot" segments, I was a little bit worried. It seemed like the step the folks at FuturLab took off the ship was a timid, cautious one that played it safe and checked with its neighbor. Frankly, it looked like an endless runner. Don't get me wrong, that would have made sense, and I love many of those games like Jetpack Joyride and Canabalt, but it would have felt like a token gesture toward expanding on the original concept. Luckily, I was so very wrong and I couldn't be happier about it. It is, in fact, a fully-realized sidescrolling platforming shooter with puzzles and exploration. There's even some combat and physics thrown in for good measure. It reminded me of Major Havoc with a touch of Metroid, all with the slick polish of WayForward's Bloodrayne: Betrayal. Kai Tana has extremely fluid and graceful animations, whether it's leaping across a disintegration field or firing her palm blaster (which makes me think of Vanessa Z. Schneider from P.N.03, a stylistically similar title I also happen to love) or even waiting for an elevator.
3. That certain... I don't know what.
Actually, I do, but it's a little hard to describe. The short, crude version of it is: it makes you feel like a badass. Word is that the development team had to insist on a female lead even as far back as the first game, when we never left the ship. I, for one, am glad they stuck to their guns and delivered an awesome character who manages to be dead sexy, and does so on her own terms. When you're standing in a chamber of crystal deposits firing that hand cannon in a circle, shards of glass and debris falling all around you, it's hard not to let a smiling, "Aw, Hell yeah!" escape your lips. Before long, you're taking down Vokh patrols like it's second nature. You'll be flinging bombs at switches and turrets like you can see the future. You'll have distributing telepods down like a science. All, this, and you'll know it's you doing it, not some contextual action script set to Quick Time Events or button-mashing. That's a hard feeling to achieve, and this game nails it.
What doesn't work
1. The side scrolling stages have room for improvement.
It was often difficult to use the teledash while jumping or falling, and it would be nice if I could simply tap the screen rather than aiming exclusively with the controls. It would also be nice if your telepod inventory was separate from those you have for the Quarpjet (there's a notable size difference). I actually managed to just about break the game because I didn't realize I'd used up all my telepods back on the ship and got myself stuck. Of course, I could probably have backtracked to the ship, but since I didn't realize the inventory was shared, I thought it was a glitch. On that note, while the idea of the telepods to get through narrow hazards is great, it felt like I was having my hand held for far too long. At various points in the levels, there are these pads you're meant to stand on and aim your telepod at. I could understand these in the level wherein you're introduced to the mechanic, but having them throughout the game feels like there's no strategy to it.
2. Speaking of telepods...
While micromanagement of telepods is vastly improved, namely the fact that you can retrieve spent pods through the map screen, the "shortcut" of hopping over to the last pod dropped by double-tapping the triangle button is a surefire way to get innards smeared across a bulkhead. At least two out of three tries caused me to drop two more pods where I stood. That double tap has to be just perfect, and I could never do it on command. The sidescrolling stages didn't have this problem, which makes me wonder if this could possibly be a runtime issue.
3. Speed Pads Are Worthless.
Velocity is a thinking man's shooter. In a game that already invigorates its genre by favoring pre-planning and exploration over twitch reflexes, having parts that railroad the player onto a fast track feels tacky. What's the point to the thrill of the added speed if you've got to be that much more alert with your teleporting? It's not even as though they're placed in strategic locations that would give you the best of both worlds if you were quick thinking enough to hit each one in rapid succession. To be fair, toward the end, one mission had them placed so close to upcoming walls that I had to resort to the old control method of teleporting, which was admittedly a nice touch. Still, I'd rather speed pads have been part of the DLC or bonus missions.
4. Mission 42 became the bane of my existence and nearly led to a ragequit.
As great as touch controls are for teleporting across the map, it's not half as precise as it could be. I was convinced I'd found a bug because no amount of tapping could get me into a space after deactivating its force field. I restarted the level twice before I found out, practically on accident that the actual "'portable" area in the space is so small that even aiming the cursor with the analog stick felt like threading a needle on the roof of a speeding train.
But my absolute biggest gripe...
5. The calculator is not scientific.
I mean, come on, guys. You know the Vita can handle it. Hell, the PSP could have done it (though the lack of a touchscreen would make things a bit tricky). I'm not looking for graphing capabilities or currency conversion or reverse Polish notation, I just want to know the spirit of the great warrior shaman SoCaToah is watching over me wherever I take my Vita.
What I'd like to see next.
By favoring exploration, Velocity solves the problem of the Vita being widescreen. In typical SHMUPS, the gameplay favors verticality, with many arcade cabinets having their monitors mounted sideways. Velocity, meanwhile, started on the PSP, and therefore added a more pronounced X-axis to the movement repertoire. That said, I would love to see a version of Velocity that favors a vertical screen, namely a smartphone. Between Playstation Mobile and Playstation Now, I'd really love to see what Futurlab can do with more visual real estate.
Cooperative play may not be any sort of a game changer, but it may be a fun idea to explore. As a fan of The Last Starfighter (which, given some of your alien companion Ralan's lines, I think the developers are, too), it would be a great exercise in teamwork to relegate flying to one pilot with weapons and teleporting to a co-pilot.
01 October 2014
I don't begrudge anybody for their efforts in these endeavors. I'm no better on a lot of levels. However, I like to think I seek attention responsibly, treating others as individuals, taking a rational approach to earning respect, trading value for value, and only dispensing charity and favors on my terms.
What I do take issue with, what absolutely torques me rusted beyond a mere pet peeve are the people who think they're being fair about seeking attention, but could not be more vapid and hollow about the whole thing.
I'm going to describe a profile for you, and I want you to guess what kind of person I'm describing.
Complete absence of a real identity. Check.
Transparent statement of agenda. Check.
Going to this person's page revealed little more than a handful of rather uninteresting selfies, a few complaints about living with her parents, and an assortment of trophies atop a dresser. That last detail really crystallizes the whole situation. It's so goal-oriented that it doesn't' merely marginalize the process of reaching the goal, it negates it.
20 September 2014
17 September 2014
I only found out today that my policy of one post a month (whether I've got anything or not) hasn't gone so hot, as I've managed to give August a complete and total miss.
In my defense, it's not for lack of trying. The Blogger mobile app is in serious need of fine tuning, the kind it's not likely to get given Google's focus on Plus. I tried to post links to a journal I'd been keeping on Evernote. The post could not be published because of some issue with the attached photos. I meant to try again on my laptop, but simply forgot about it.
Still, it's not right that I neglected this page. Fortunately, I've got a game review in the works, as well as a short story I may post here depending on how I decide to distribute it.
So, terribly sorry for the dull "status update" sort of post, but it's only because I've been genuinely busy with my other sites. This negligence will be rightfully rectified.
28 July 2014
Okay, yeah, the door being held open by a crowbar is kind of a big screw-up, but using the antiquated computronics is actually rather a stroke of genius and lateral thinking. There's some joke in hacker/computer geek circles that the US Army has the most secure computer network in the country entirely by virtue of the fact they haven't upgraded it since 1992, so not only is most of it offline, but hardly anyone works in it primary programming language, and there's so little RAM to go around that running a virus would likely crash the system before it did any real damage.
Also, bear in mind the US Army had its ass handed to it in Vietnam by farmers with sharpened bamboo sticks instead of sensible footwear.
Anyway, going back to the silos...
Because the floppies are so prone to erasure from interference, they have to be stored very carefully. Removing them or tampering with them would likely corrupt them, making them useless. Considering the way Mutually Assured Destruction is supposed to work, I feel very comfortable knowing our nuclear missiles are most likely to do absolutely nothing. Optical media may not be indestructible, but their relative longevity compared to those disks makes them a liability. In other words, "this message will self-destruct in five seconds."
As for the computers themselves:
Keep It Simple, Stupid!
Those computers aren't exactly versatile, but the one thing they're literally built to do, they do fine and dandy with a cherry on top. There's a reason why people marvel over their old Atari consoles still working while XBox360s get made the butt of jokes for their Red Rings of Death.
Richard Garriott, the creator of the Ultima PC games, said in a recent interview that while aboard the ISS, a daily ritual was to reboot the PCs running Windows to reduce their chances of crashing. Similarly, the computers aboard the Space Shuttles had about as much processing power combined as a Blackberry from 2002, but the R&D and Quality Assurance behind their construction is without question because they are made to work. Your average desktop PC has to be a kind of Jack-of-all-trades/master-of-none, but these are purpose-built machines that don't waste time, space, or energy they don't need for their primary function.
So, frankly, I think all this uproar about old tech in the private sector is unbearably naive and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. As penance, dig out your old GameBoys (or get one if you don't have it anymore) give it a warm, loving kiss, place it on a pillow, and tell it how grateful you are its processing power would have been overkill for the Apollo missions.
16 July 2014
For the record, I take no issue with Thor being a woman. I am, however, puzzled by the decision, and worried about its implications.
1. The last time Marvel did this was with Ghost Rider, when sales dropped and the book was in danger of being canceled. It did not help. In business, this is called the glass cliff. It's a kind of "last resort, pandering while thinking outside the box" sort of synergistic effort in which a business that's not doing well will promote someone they wouldn't normally give the job to, the hope being either 1) They turn the company around, and they get to look progressive in the process, or 2) The company fails, and they get the protection of being able to say, "We tried the woman, and the woman didn't work out. Oh, well... Que Sera Sera." Speaking of intentions...
2. This is where matters get really touchy, so let the record show this a very broad generalization with a lot of assumptions which are most likely wrong. When a fictional character typically portrayed as white and male gets a race or gender swap, there's an issue of "why/why not?" that inevitably comes up.If the decision to make Thor a woman is "Because we can, so there!" Then it's arbitrary and therefore token, a stunt (see point 1). If, however, there's meant to be a greater significance to Thor being a woman, a comment on gender roles or a criticism of women in western mythology, then the risk is that the message overshadows the medium, Thor the character being traded in for Thor the statement. Granted, there's nothing wrong with that, Wonder Woman is a similar kind of statement, but she's also an interesting and compelling character in spite of the socio-political connotations attached to her. Similarly, when it came to Loki...
3. When Loki became a woman, it was in Lady Sif's likeness (she'd been killed in a recent story arc) to taunt Thor and play on his feelings of guilt. In other words, there was an in-narrative reason for the change that was in line with the original character, not merely a swap for swap's sake. Speaking of Lady Sif...
4. The comic Thor actually has a surprisingly good batting average when it comes to gender representation. There's Lady Sif, Amora the enchantress, Hela of the underworld (Loki's daughter), Brunnhilde and her Valkyrior troops, to name a few. Really, it's not like Thor was hurting for female characters, apart from a touch more variety outside of a love interest for The God of Thunder.
5. The idea of someone else being able to wield Mjolnir (by essentially the law of averages) was already explored with Beta Ray Bill, which makes the passing of the hammer seem all the more token. Thor doesn't work nearly as well as a legacy hero compared to, say, Green Lantern or The Phantom or even Batman (Knightfall, Beyond, Incorporated...).
6. What exactly will this mean for the films? It wouldn't be surprising if Tom Hiddleston passed on the role to Jaimie Alexander since there's a precedent for it in the comic. However, while we don't know the context for this change in the comics as of the time of this writing, Chris Hemsworth's commitment to his role plus the task of finding someone to take up the role in his place (given what a hard time it's been to bring Wonder Woman to modern audiences), it would make more sense for Marvel/Disney to leave the comic to its own devices and maybe consider following suit if the movies were to show a drop in box office returns. Given how the films have fared thus far, that sort of change would be years away even in the worst case scenario.
7. Does all this have anyone else thinking of the Silicon Knights' game Too Human, or is that just me?
As I've said, it doesn't bother me in the least that Marvel wants to make Thor a woman. It's piqued my curiosity, and I think it could be pretty cool. I simply wonder piquing interest and looking cool is all that's gone into the mission statement behind this venture. If so, that will be sad, so here's hoping I'm wrong.
13 July 2014
Before I get a bunch more questions like "what about __?", my opinion is the same: socialism has no place in for-profit business and hobbies
— Buckley (@ADoseofBuckley) July 13, 2014
28 June 2014
22 June 2014
18 June 2014
We had our annual company picnic, which involves a raffle for various prizes donated by sponsors, namely other companies we work with. They're often fairly substantial, with things like televisions, grills, tablets, small refrigerators, and all the way up to deck furniture.
I happened to win tickets to a Cardinals game. I really didn't want them. I don't like baseball, I hate driving around St. Louis, and it doesn't help that my last outing to that area was less than pleasant. Of course, I didn't want to seem rude or ungrateful, so in a pinch a little white lie slipped out. I said I couldn't go on that day. They asked me to come up and draw another number to give the tickets away. Good, I thought, problem solved. A few minutes later, they had another set of tickets, and just outright asked me if I could make it to a different game. Okay, they caught me. I said I don't watch baseball.
The president of the company asked me to come up. As I walked to where all the prizes were gathered, he said, "We've been doing this for years, we've never had someone refuse prizes like this." This isn't 100% true. Since everyone in attendance gets a raffle ticket, the higher-ups and visitors (from other companies) often give their prizes away. It occasionally happens with those lower down the ladder, but apparently I'm the first to do it twice. Anyway, as a consolation prize for putting me on the spot about the baseball tickets, he told me I had a choice of a prize. The choices were a tent, a gazebo, and a gas grill.
I live in a fairly small apartment (
Okay, he was smiling as he said it, and in addition to raffle prizes, he would give out a few hundred dollars for various reasons (if someone brought a certain household item, or had a birth date closest to one of our guest's, or had a baby recently, anything like that), so this wasn't any sort of upset in the grand scheme of things, simply awkward. In fact, when I got back to my seat, my supervisor leaned over to me and said, "Good holdout strategy."
I gave the money to my roommate. She's going to Florida in July to visit her boyfriend, so now she's got a little extra spending cash.
11 June 2014
25 May 2014
- My mental state of late has not been well. It hasn't been well for some time. I had a wake-up call, and I'm now getting the help I need. I am being treated for depression. I'm not suicidal, I'm not violent, and I'm not so emotionally drained that I don't even want to get out of bed in the morning. I'm just sad and tired. That's not trying to diminish the problem, mine or anyone else's, only to alleviate anyone's fears. I am fine.
- Art has been my coping mechanism for a number of years, and my motivation and output has diminished. This was part of my wake-up call. I still fully intend to make as much art as I possibly can, hence my most recent pieces. It's simply difficult as I get my priorities in order. Expect a drop in quality is all I'm saying (not that it was ever terribly high).
- I'm going to start making my own iced coffee. I've got a grinder and some nice roast of a rather geeky variety on the way, so I'll be posting some tutorials and experiments in the near future. The only coffee I've made myself has been of the crystalline variety, and that's simply been terrible, absolutely terrible.
- I've been absolutely hooked on Strikers 1945, a classic SHMUP from Psykio. I absolutely adore games of this genre, and this one is practically perfect.
- Also, Soldier Blade is a classic. The weapons and power-ups system is pure genius.
- May has been a very busy month for going to the movies.
- Pinterest is awesome.
- I was hoping to take advantage of an upgrade offer to get a new phone that would get me out of my contract early, but unfortunately it requires trading in my old phone, which would only credit me four dollars (to go towards my ETF for my other carrier). Looks like I'll be waiting a bit longer on that one.
13 May 2014
11 May 2014
04 May 2014
Found this pretty little guy under my mailbox when I was stepping out for coffee. I'd never seen a green one before, so I assumed maybe it was freshly hatched, hence its mobility issues. I learned later from my friend who runs DorkStitch by way of an article link that this is a Luna Moth. They live for about a week and the males have no mouth. They're also nocturnal. Given that, it's more than likely this poor thing was on its way out, though he was upright and on his feet when I got back.
Moths used to terrify me as a kid; they were big and had fur, which simply seemed "wrong" in my mind. You have to admit, seeing these gnarled, twig-like legs poking out from soft fuzzy cotton is eerie and odd. Now, especially ones like this with those feathery antennae and wing-tails, I think they're beautiful.
30 April 2014
I had told them this earlier in the year, and set plans for the change in the subsequent months. Today, however, after a quiet period, we ended up having a talk about it again, and it was almost as if it were the first time it was brought up. Admittedly, very little progress has been made as far as the plans for moving go, which can be attributed to a number of factors. As I've said, I've tried to be patient about this, but it has taken its toll on me, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
In terms of what's brought all this on, I've tried to work that out for some time, amid a lot of doubts, feelings of guilt, soul searching, second guessing, and maybe even a little denial. What it boils down to is two simple facts that I cannot put any other way:
Changes need to be made.
27 April 2014
|Pictured: Tangential Learning (this will not be on the test)|
Brief Tangent: Remember AOL Keywords? You know how ad campaigns have started using hashtags as a means of marketing & promotion rather than simply referring people to a website? In all, I don't see any of that as harmful, but something about how this movie markets itself is a bit worrying. The end title to this trailer has the following phrase above its web address:
YouTube Search: Paris Catacombs.
This bothers me for a few reasons. Firstly, the Paris catacombs are a real place, and likely there's a number of YouTube videos about them. This may well have been the intention of the film's marketing team to help spread word about the film and help aid suspension of disbelief by having people do research and get a better appreciation for the source material. Frankly, I don't buy that notion for a second. I think this is a case of YouTube selling search results to the highest bidder, not unlike promoted Tweets. Again, this shouldn't be anything harmful, but why not have the terms in question be the film's title or some cryptic phrase relevant to the movie? Why a vague geographic reference that's likely to flood the search results of people not interested in the film but the actual location? I'm not saying it's socially irresponsible or anything like that, but it's a sign of a bad trend I hope dies.