27 October 2004

I'm sick.

I'm sick. It's not just that I am decidedly unwell, with a fever and chills. It's not just that every morning when I get up and read the paper, IT comes up. It also isn't just that every time I turn on NPR in the morning, IT comes up. No, it's not even that every night at dinner, IT comes up.

At this point, you're probably wondering what "IT" is.
IT's the election.

I'm sick and tired of hearing about Bush and Kerry. I am sick and tired about hearing how Nader is going to upset the whole bloody apple-cart by taking votes away from Kerry. I'mpissed that I can't vote. I'm angry that one of my old teachers who I know very well and like a lot as a person has decided to vote for Bush and I can't make him see the light. I am also sick of hearing how the bloody G.O.P. is already cheating its way into an unfair victory. I am sick, pissed off and TIRED of hearing that so many Americans AREN'T going to vote NOW, of all times. Why that last bit? Well, let me give you a piece of my weltansicht (that's world view for those of you who don't sprechen sie deustches). This election in our country is going to be the most important election to date. Right now we're still moving out of the Cold War in a lot of ways. The psychology of our nation is FINALLY accepting that the Soviet Bear is gone, and we are the only superpower left. The nations that were formerly within the Soviet bloc are still moving out of that reality too. These new nations are trying to carve out spheres of influence in Eastern Europe. Thy're globalizing, participating in world society for the first time. It's not easy for them. Many of the countries have big growing pains. Society is moving too fast for the government, and as a result crime and poverty are rampant. The Ukraine, for example, has become the closest thing to a data haven that exists in our world today. The software and music pricay problems are SO huge there that the government has simply given up on trying to stop them. In these countires there are tons of young, smart people with good computer skills that have nothing to do. So how do they amuse themselves? They crack games, they write no-cd patches, they crack and 0wn servers, they write viruses. These people are the epitome of the frustrated, unknown, unappreciated technological elite. they have so many good ideas, so much potential, and because of narrow-mindedness and bad luck... they have turned to a life of crime. But more importantly, their state is a symptom of the chaos that is befalling our world. A house divided against itself cannot stand, and if ever there was a house divided against itself, it is the United States of America.
We deserve better than four years of Bush. We deserve a man who is willing to make hard decisions and swallow his pride for the good of others.
I don't want to hear about the election again until November 5th. And if ANY pissant, narrow-minded, obstinate Republicans ever TRY to talk to me about this, I WILL SMASH YOUR FACE IN. I'm tired of dealing with idiots and morons who insist that staying with a known imbecile is better than taking a chance.
As the Supreme Court ruled in a case of mandatory sterilization of the daughter of a family of idiots: "Three generations of imbeciles is enough." Well, it seems we need to re-invoke that law. Two generations of Bush is more than this country can stand.

26 October 2004

And now, movie reviews!

Well, it has been some time since we checked up on our old friend the Widowmaker. Let's go into the lair and see how he's doing, shall we?

Well, what has the Widowmaker been doing?

Playing Counter-Strike Source and loving every minute of it, even as he screams impolite imprecations for those "CAMPING *bleep*ERS" to "STOP *bleep*ING AWPING GOD*bleep*IT". He's also been playing Warhammer 40,000: Dawn Of War. Getting his ass kicked by greenskinned aliens (and then handing THEIR asses to them, choppped, blendered and thinly sliced with a mushroom garnish) was never so fun. Also fun is ASSAULTING them with MASSES of SPACE MARINES and then STOMPING them into the ground with DREADNOUGHTS.
I've also been re-writing some rules and things for several games I own and have created. Most notably: www.games-workshop.co.uk. Those guys make Warhammer 40,000 (dawn of war is based on it), a fine game in its own right, now in the fourth edition and better than ever! Only 40 dollars for a rulebook and you'll be addicted for life. Also they make a wonderful large-scale skirmish game called Inquisitor, for which I have written some supplements and character sheets. *gets off soapbox*
Now, down to business and the title of this entry. Jsut saw Shaun of the Dead. Verdict? Undeserving of the 'as funny as 28 days later was scary' moniker. However. That said, a positively wonderful movie all around. VERY funny in the beginning, getting darker as it moves along. By the end, it's kinda hard to see the humor anymore. Great fodder for social commentary, even if you don't get all the British dialogue (which is hard to get in some points). Many great little 'real-world' things in it... some of the characters play Timesplitters 2, the music is good (don't ask), and the bar? Well, it's a DAMM good bar. I loves that rifle. (in joke)
See it on DVD. Now. Before it's too late.

17 October 2004

Over Hill, Over Dale...

Please note, it's not unpatriotic to link to a website that has nothing to do with your country.
It makes me sad that when I typed in the link, the first thing I thought was "Hmm, better write a little disclaimer so some homeland security goon doesn't push the "HOLY CRAP" button."
This blog comes to you time-delayed 3 hours from the fair state of Massachusetts, specifically the hamlet of Northhampton on the Connecticut river. Just finished dinner (comparatively) at a positively stunning Tibetan resteraunt, the Lhasa Cafe. Anything but a cafe, this place was small but stunning in the way that only a 5-year-old carrying a load of bricks can be, when his head rams into your stomach at high speed. The food was a great deal more enjioyable than the aforementioned circumstance, which I still hope never to experience. Besides, where else besides Beirut do 5-year-olds carry bricks? But I digress. I consumed some daihatsu dumplings called Mo-Mo (think WONDERFUIL SMALL!), with chicken, vegetable and beef flavors. Like little depth charges they were, solid lead except uniquely tasty. Then I got some unidentified chicken soup stuff which was quite good. In conclusion, Tibetan food is yummy.
In case you-all didn't notice, I'm off on a college trip. And feeling quite hung-over to boot. Bad week + plane flight + late bedtime + time change = I hate the world. Got to see Marlboro college (the granola-girl granary, small and irritating) and a bit of Hampshire (more tomorrow but verdict so far is 'would make a great Cthulhu/ zombie movie set'). Food aside from the Tibetan atom bomb has been uniformly mediocre and laden with acid reflux and self-loathing. TV has been depressing, what with war movies featuring Denzel Washington (what is it with him and the army? He's got like five movies in which he's some random army guy), and True Lies, starring a non-governating Arnold Schwartzenegger and Tia Carerre (oh god, why do the massively hot stars ALWAYS have to be evil?).
Bonus Tia Carerre facts: 1. She gets knocked out by someone WAY uglier than her. 2. She went on to do a Full Motion Video adventure game called "The Daedalus Encounter," which as far as games with hot people in them go, was pretty damm good. She got to laugh at her co-star drinking out of an alien toilet, anway. Oh, and before the comments (OMG rotflmao!!!111! can u hav mad monkee secks with her? omglolwtfbbw!!!111!!!) start to roll in, I can definitively say that in the game, you are a robot probe [edit: probe... hah hah, think probe DROID, sickos.. although that may have made an interesting game by itself.... Daedalus 'encounter'..... hahah] .... and she STILL finds you sexy. Maybe it has to do with the fact that you were lovers before your tragic accident that placed you inside the robot in the first place. Enough with that though, go forth and buy a copy on ebay, because games that bad need to be EXPERIENCED, not merely told of!
I mentioned the time-delay earlier (plus three hours from the displayed time), and that means I'm off to bed.

kill your television

12 October 2004

Der "Bigwun"

This update is going to be a BIG one. A lot of important stuff has happened lately.
Volume 1- Woohoo, I'm an evil genius!

I AM 83% EVIL GENIUS!
83% EVIL GENIUS
I am pure evil. I lie awake at night devising schemes of world domination, and I will not rest until all living souls bend to my will.

That is all.

Volume 2- Counter-Strike: Source
In some idle time after taking the SATs on saturday, I re-discovered a "Free copy of Half-Life 2" offer that I got in the box of my graphics card (a RADEON 9600SE. Pity me). Because I was bored, I fired up Steam and entered the key... To my astonished delight, it worked, informing me that I now owned both Counter-Strike: Source AND Half-Life 2. "CS: Source," said I. "Sounds more like CS:... SAUCE! And I like sauce!" So saying, I spent an hour of my life downloading, and then proceeded to play what I will definitively say is the MOST pleasent game I have ever played 'out of the box' (so to speak, for there is no box). Counter-Strike: Source (CS:S) is everything I hoped it would be, and more to the bargain!
Item 1: It's better.
Upon playing a few rounds of CS:S, I was struck by the overall 'feel' of the gameplay. It was fast-paced, much more so than Counter-Strike 1.5 or 1.6 (CS). Jumping no longer slows movement, weapons no longer slow movement, and although the knife speed boost is still gone, the overall normal movement speed is a great deal faster, I'd say about two time faster than regular CS. Walk speed in CS:S is a bit slower then a full run in 1.6. Weapons do more damage and fire faster (seemingly), grenades are MUCH more effective, and the AWP dominates no more. All changes for the better, in my opinion.
Item 2: Pretty colors!
Of course, how can I speak of CS:S without mentioning the GRAPHICS? As many of you won't know, CS:S is based on the upcoming Half-Life 2's rendering engine, as opposed to the so very tired, just-about-to-be-put-out-to-pasture Half-Life 1 engine. The Source engine is shiny and pretty. Every surface reflects light, water is downright SCARY in its realism, and best of all, there's physics! Shoot a pail and it gtes kicked along the ground. Throw a grenade into the market in cs_italy, and watermelons explode, bananas fly, oranges splatter on the walls and dust sprays everywhere. Shoot at a wall and chips of stone fly away. Shoot a chair and it explodes into splinters, shoot a bottle and it breaks. Shoot a derelict car and bullet holes apear, DYNAMICALLY MOLDED INTO THE MESH OF THE CAR. That's right, the holes are actualy deformities in the car's body, not just decals. Shoot a barrel and it falls over, ROLLING DOWN A HILL. Now THAT is awesome. BUT WAIT THERES MORE. You can actually shoot a barrel, knock it over, roll it down a hill, and then crouch behind it and USE IT AS COVER. You can knock large flower pots over and hide behind them, too. God, the detail is mind-blowing. And one more thing: in de_dust, the center area has light coming through the ceiling with ACTUAL DUST MOTES floating in the air.
Item 3: Er... it's new?
Like any good franchise or corporation, Counter-Strike needs reinvent itself every so often. This reinvention has come at a particularly auspicious moment for VALVe. In between code theft, no release date, no press coverage, and Vivendi Universal's little hate-note saying that "we'll keep HL2 in quality assurace as long as we damm well please", everyone was banking on HL2 being another piece of vaporware. When DOOM 3 went gold, Gabe Newell of VALVe took the oportunity that HL2 would arrive... real soon. Well, thanks to the release of CS: Source, the gaming community's pirahna-like attention span has latched onto (or should that be bitten a chnuk out of?) CS: Source as the harbinger of good things to come. This and the upcoming relase of HL2 are also VALVe's first chances to see how a 100% online distribution of a full-size game will go. I, for one, can say that my download was problematic at first but went quite smoothly after a computer restart and a reconnection. My preloading of Half-Life 2 was flawless. The content downloaded and is now sitting on my hard drive wating for that elusive day when the folks at VU Games will push the Big Button labeled "Half-Life 2 Cage Door Locks", and release a screaming, starving, ravening beast of a game to the public. And of course, I'll be sitting here at my desk, gleefully anticipating every deliciously agonized moment of it devouring my life in great bloody gulps. Well, maybe not. But I WILL have the game a full week or so before it hits store shelves for the rest of you poor mortals to purchase. Of course... it is entirely debatable whether that first week will be spent ironing out bugs or not. Regardless, it is a giant step forward for game distribution. Cue the world with binoculars to see if it's the last one.

Volume 3- ART!

Rage
Originally uploaded by Usagiyojumbo.
FEEL THE RAGE. Or something. It's entirely debatable whether I should have posted this at all, because I feel it is not up to snuff and suffers from a lack of inspiration. I probably should have left out the words. I'll make another version later sans words and see how everyone enjoys it. In the meantime, I'll be plugging away at Envy, the third image in the Rampancy trilogy. While I'm at it: I'd like to give a shout-out to Bungie Studios: Sketchfactor, Frankie, Alta, all the Cananimators and EVERYBODY ELSE. You guys ROCK! Halo 2 is DONE, go PARTY, go HAVE SOME FUN, because you guys have just finished the MOST AWESOME GAME EVER. Hell, I don't even own an Xbox, I'm buying one just for Halo 2. You guys represent that last vestige of creative, non-adversarial game design that still exists in our world. You people deserve a spot in the walk of fame at the Metreon for the sorely under-appreciated contributions you have made to gaming history. This is the last word, and I'll stop embarassing myself by being a Bungie fanboy: The Master Chief, the Mjolnir Mk. IV, the nameless commando, Konoko, and the nameless narrator ALL owned YOUR MOM, IN BED, LAST NIGHT, with an SPNKR. BLAM.

08 October 2004

Minor edits...

New theme. New picture at flickr (Username is usagiyojumbo), all old pictures are named and organized. Working on Rage, no inspiration. More later maybe.

07 October 2004

And another..

Wow, posting to my shiny blog is getting addictive.
I have a challenge on the magnitude of the google labs challenge for anyone who wants to try it. Decode the following cipher. Then post a comment with your email addy, and I'll give you my email, so you can email me the answer AND how you did it. If it is satisfactory, you'll... get satisafaction? You WILL gain 1337 points though.

/begin cipher
0014211021101001100
1111010101010010130
0001411001101214000
0100110120131012000
2110111100111011120
2101111101010111001
/end cipher
All lines are equal length.

Decode THAT, Holmes.
In other news, Bush has decided to make another tax cut. Bush: Stop. It's not working. If you cut taxes on the rich, you just give them more money. Money equals power in today's society, as I'm sure you're aware. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We DON'T need more rich people that will do anything to keep hold of their money.
If you cut taxes to the middle class, they will buy more amenities. Thus, they will boost the economy. And since they are living more comfortable lives, they will be happier, and happier middle classes are good for society. Place too much burden on the poor, and eventually they will revolt.
With that in mind:

WORKERS OF THE WORLD, UNITE! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE BUT YOUR CHAINS! And all rights and possibly your U.S. citizenship, if you're declared an enemy combatant. And don't forget, if they find out you were sharing files, you're really dead.

Wouldn't it be great if we could just Death Star all the idiots in the RIAA and MPAA?
Just saying... maybe Reagan was on to something with the Star Wars program... I'm sure we have a nice big laser somewhere.

democracy delivered by the bomb and the gun is terror elsewhere in the world i'm from
- MC Frontalot

06 October 2004

Woo!

I'm hosted! Yay!
Now all of the UHS community can see my crappy art, read my crappy
writing, and comment on my life. Finally, some critcism.
I'm working on Rage... it's coming along, but not ready for release yet.
Read the Marathon story
page
, stay sane, and keep on truckin'.
Linkspot of today: Slashdot. Read daily.

Oh, and because I need a cryptic tagline:
14211021101001111110101010100101314110011012
Decode it and win a prize. Really. I'm totally serious.

An explanation

Erm, I think this is kind of awkward, posting this "after" my first post. Meh. For those of you who are coming in late: Read the post below, check picture, yadda ya.
Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.
What happened today was in some ways not unexpected. When you love someone as much as I do, it's inevitable that you will put her ahead of other things. These thing may, in someone else's mind, be more important. In mine they are not. Right now, my priorities are her first, me second, everything else third. Although it changes daily to some extent (might have an assignemnt due or something drastic), I try to to keep it relatively the same.
Well, I didn't pay attention to something imporant: the phone bill. When things are going bearably, like they were, you know something bad is on the way. It's the way life works, cycles. I stopped paying attention to when we talked, and for how long; God knows I wasted time when I could have been paying closer attention but didn't, and I'm sorry I did... because now I'm five hundred dollars in the hole, and I'm not even in college yet. Great. Really bodes well for later life, eh?
Fortunately clemency was forthcoming from my parents. I appreciate it. A lot. But for the next two-odd months, I'm going to be paying for any phone time out of my own pocket.
I suppose some explanation is in order- She's currently resident in Canada. Although I have no hate for canadia, I do dislike (just mildly) the fact that it is not here. Not seeing her for long periods of time is, shall we say, very boring (in the utmost British sense of the word, oh I love that nation of chronic vast understatment). It's driving me up the wall.
Earlier tonight I could have been crying, but I'm past that now. Melancholy is over. Next stage is Rage, I believe. Now who's rampant?

tick tock watch the clocks 7777777

05 October 2004

More artsy-fartsy.



Wahoo, after my massively sucky technique of posting image links yesterday (didja even notice?). I've decided to try posting the actual image. Let's see how this works...

The work is titled Melancholy, owing to recent circumstances in my life. There will be an explanation later. It's (hopefully) part of a trilogy detailing the three stages of Rampancy. Click linky for details.

Props to flickr for hosting my images.

Danger, writer writing.

Too tired to explain this right now. Unfinished. Lack inspiration. Read and be happy, and STOP ASKING ME FOR NUTS. Damm squirrels.

I woke up drowning. They'll tell you that it's the safe, normal reaction to having your lungs pumped full of fluid that doesn't quite suffocate you and being left that way for a decade or so. It's still a damm unpleasant experience. I clawed my way to the surface of the world, hacking and spitting, trying not to throw up until I could lean over. And then it was too late, and I vomited anyway into the tube that was still in my throat. I choked for a moment, and against my better judgment (which said to just die), ripped the tube out. It felt like sandpaper in my throat, but I could at least breathe when it came out. Wow, I though, colors again. An improvement over last time. In response to this wild rush of adrenaline and pain, I passed out.
I came to leaning over the side of my cryo-tube, which was not supposed to happen. I was supposed to be rushed to the cryo recovery area, given a hot meal and a bed ASAP. That was supposed to be standard procedure. What I got instead was an explosion in the distance. It sounded like a breaching charge... but how would I know that? Abruptly, my mind fell of a cliff. How did I know that? Nothing sprung into view of the mind's eye. Long-unused dendrites failed to fire. What did I know? Sanity returned with a screeching halt. I was aboard the Sylvester, bound for... a blank spot covered my destination. After a brief look around the room I was in, I concluded that I had either been sequestered from the rest of the cryo-passengers (unlikely), or that I was the only cryo-passenger (still not very likely). It was all about to become academic, though, because I was weak and sick, and needed food and water badly. I heaved myself out of the cryo-tube with great difficulty, atrophied muscles straining and convulsing. I took two short steps across the cold steel decking, and promptly fell on my face. The pain was good, because it would help me concentrate. But there was a slight problem. I couldn't walk. I mumbled something about inefficient cryo-sleep techniques and dragged myself across the floor to the bench built into the wall of the room, and sat on it. I closed my eyes for a moment, and passed out again.
I woke up still on the bench, still with a broken nose (although the blood had clotted by now), and still hungry and thirsty at the exclusion of all else. I lolled my head to the side, and beheld lockers set into the wall above my bench. I turned with difficulty, and began to methodically inspect the locker behind me. It appeared to have a simple thumb-print security system and a capacity of 12 cubic feet. I pressed my thumb against it. Against all rational thought and hope, it opened without a sound. I simply sat there, a cold spike driving into the back of my head and spine. What were the chances that the single random locker I had picked to pass out against responded to my print? Zero, that's what. Trusting to Lady Luck that things were going my way, I opened the locker. The four-foot deep interior was shrouded in gloom, and I thought I heard skittering sounds within. Squaring my jaw, I reached a hand in, fumbling blindly for the contents. My searching hand fastened onto a chain of some sort, and I pulled. The object moved slightly, with a screeching sound. I yanked again, and it moved a bit more. Desperate, I threw all of my meager weight into the pull, and the object cannoned out, over my head and into the opposite wall. It bounced off, and then began to slide towards me. I gaped, unable to reconcile what I was seeing with my understanding of gravity. I blinked. The box continued its motion, picking up speed until it smashed into the bench beside me with a hollow boom. I looked around, a germ of an idea forming within my head. The laws of physics and gravity were not about to get broken by a silly box. If I had woken up on an angle, it would explain quite well why I had fallen and why the box had been so hard to retrieve. But that just left one problem. My inner ear should have told me that I was on a slant... unless there was something gravely wrong inside my head. I ignored that problem for now, and looked to the box. I was in dire need of nourishment. The box was around two feet in length, and one in width and height. It had a simple latch and pounded metal hinges. It was held together by rusty rivets, and had two handles made of chain crudely welded on to the side. It was nicely rusted all over, giving it a decidedly antiqued feel. I struggled with the latch for a while, and finally just snapped the rusted top off. Inside was a steel lunchbox, and a brown paper package secured with duct tape. I opened the lunchbox and found a 'Double-injected, vacuum-packaged, self-sealing-and-heating authentic processed REALKRILL loaf.' I tore into it and it tasted like heaven.

04 October 2004

The 1337 and the dead.

Well, here's my first attempt at blogging in HTML only.... Need to wean myself off of the tools that blogger puts in there for the less-than-1337. Oh, you didn't hear about how I'm 1337?
Well.
Guess it would be time to explain, then.
1337-ness (or leetness, as one would read it), is not an inherent quality. That is to say, no-one is born 1337. However, through constant exposure to the gaming world and diligent practice and study of its customs, one may become 1337. However, that kind of 1337-ness is transitory. It is but a poor substitute for the real deal. To be truly 1337, you must have 0wnage. 0wnage is a mystical quality, like coolness. If there were more gamers in this world, they'd call cool-hunters 0wnage-hunters. When something 0wns, it is blatantly obvious. It is evident that this item is, beyond all doubt, capable of laying the smackdown on any object that would challenge it, viz. an Alienware ALX versus your computer. I don't care WHAT you have, the ALX 0wns it. The ALX is so much better that there isn't even any competition. If your computer and the ALX were in a no-holds-barred cage fight, the ALX would proceed to slap your computer in the face, throw it onto the ropes, chlothesline it, then do an elbow drop, climb the turnbuckle, do some fricking crazy aerial move, and then proceed to slam-dunk your computer down the cannon of an M1 tank firing a nuclear shell. And after the nuke went off, the ALX would still there without a scratch.

Ok, so maybe I lied a little. But that is 0wnage.
To put it succinctly, I'd like to link to one of my works of art. Title is Chunky Monkey. All works copyright by me of course. (God, I hate having to put that)

02 October 2004

Questions already?

So here it is, day two and I already have questions. What am I going to write here?
Sounds like a stupid question. I mean, I already made this blog, didn't I? And what is a blog but the chronicle of someone's day-to-day thoughts, censcored (because this is, believe me) and published for the masses to view?
World-changing? No.
Life-changing? Possibly (and I'm not being grandiose).
A commitment to be honored and considered fairly? Yes.
So that's what it is to me: a commitment to write interesting, regular posts on topics of my choice, to articulate my thoughts for any who care to listen.
There's going to be cop-outs, reposts of things I've done before elsewhere. But that is life, because words don't always come on demand and in the form you want them to.

A commentary on us geeks.

(Disclaimer: The use of the male pronoun in the following post is not intended as a sexist remark. I realize there are many female 'geeks,' and in fact I know some of them. Power to you, gamer grrrls. ^_^)
For some reason, this question has always bothered me: What makes someone a geek?
Is it what he likes? Is it how he dresses (because I've seen the pidgeon-holing happen on that basis alone)? Is it what he does in his spare time?
Assuming there are different sub-categories of geeks, what makes someone a car geek as opposed to a computer geek? Oh, wait, I'm sorry. I forgot that we don't have car geeks in this society. No, all we have are car enthusiasts. Isn't it interesting how the word 'geek' has so quickly come to refer only to those of us in this society who are interested in computers and the like?
Like it or not, society, geeks are here to stay. Stop marginalizing us and shoving us out of the way. If we get pissed and decide to stop coming to work, who's gonna fix your computer, your database, your purchasing software? Nobody.
We own this world. It's time we started begin treated like it.

01 October 2004

Short one (doesn't count)

Need ta post this as a short edit. Web sites you MUST visit:

www.penny-arcade.com
www.machall.com
www.applegeeks.com
www.hardocp.com
www.slashdot.org
www.splitreason.com
www.tshirthell.com
www.ocremix.org

That's all for now.