Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Ties That Bind

Territory cannot bind people together forever. The human soul is too powerful to be held together in communities based on arbitrary ideals such as location. We make relationships of all kinds and forms, and we make them best with those who resonate with us, but we do it anyway with anyone we can. As a species we cannot live in a vacuum of interpersonal communication. The wider spread and more powerful communication is, the greater chance of bonding with people who are not bound to you by territory.

As a child I moved to a new neighborhood in the fourth grade. Bullies surrounded me, and people who liked to treat me badly. I sometimes resented it; mostly I was just lonely a lot. I eventually got friends; one at a time, then lost them all and then got a whole bunch in like, one day. I’ve done pretty well. All of my friends have stuck with me for life, so far. But in my lonelier times, I found game rooms online, and I have completed a rather strong list of friends who agree with me on so many ideological grounds and such that it intrigues me. What if one day a government forms that is not defined by territory, but rather is cobbled together out of people who are sprinkled across the globe like seeds, defining a whole new sort of community?

It’s sort of a little dream. How far is it from reality? I don’t know. Maybe it’s just so far fetched it’s impossible. Then again, maybe someone reading this is a part of an online community. Spending large portions of their days being a part of something that they don’t have physical access to.

The Corpse Bride is really good.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Help is Appreciated

Got to cook for Jake’s parents for the first time today. At first Jake’s mom was just going to have a taste of the Mediterranean salmon that I was cooking, but after she had one bite she started giving me a lot of very nice compliments and she had a whole helping, and even got the recipe from me. That felt really good.

Before that, though, I went to sign the lease for the house, which felt really good. I had been kind of feeling bad because I felt like I was abandoning Chuck until I told him about it and he told me something that really hurt and not feel bad about moving out at all.

Before that, I got a first aide kit for my car since Pattie told me that I should. She’s awesome, her mom is a nurse and she knows lots of cool things. She even linked me to a website with a complete list of things to put in a first aide kit. Some days I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. Was I not fully prepared for life out on my own? On days like that, Pattie is one of the ones who helps me out and gives me the okay or helps me figure out what to do. She talked about a first aide kit like I simply should have had it without even thinking about it.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Other Worlds

I remember the first time I played Zork on my dad’s apple //c way back when I was a very young child, still living at my parents’ first house in Abilene. I didn’t even know what I was doing. I was lost and confused and had no idea that all I had to do was tell it what to do. It is one of the greatest games ever made. To this day I still yank out Beyond Zork and give it a quick play through every so often, when the mood strikes.

Before Zork, the only games I knew were Space Quarks, Q-Bert, and Galaga. It revolutionized the way I thought of gaming. Funny thing was, THIS was the game that came first. Things have sort of always gone kind of backwards for computer games, and a lot of it has to do with the way they’re perceived, with the people who spend the most money on them, and a general lack of understanding of their potential, which is only recently beginning to head in the direction of being realized again. Every medium struggles to maintain its art in the face of commercialism, not that commercialism isn’t art or doesn’t produce art, but when it does it is very rare. In that way though, all good things are rare, regardless of the breeding ground for them.

Indigo Prophecy is a stepping-stone, it’s closer than lots of other games have ever come to being a story that includes and unfolds around your character without feeling contrived. When you fail, it feels like an ending, and you replay that segment. It’s not the end of the game, just an ending that is not optimal. This is a really awesome idea, and it’s been done before, if not recently. It can be done better, but the idea that greater effort is given greater reward, but that you are not punished for not putting that effort into a product is the way to go. It makes everyone happy.

Other games have gone far in advancing video gaming as a medium for telling incredible stories that incorporate and evolve around the actions of the player. Knights of the Old Republic I & II, Planescape: Torment, Gothic 1 & 2, to a lesser extent Deus Ex and Deus Ex: Invisible War. There are others of course. The player is rewarded for playing in your own style by getting an experience different from someone who plays with another style or goal, and yet still unfolding as though the overall course of events to tell a very powerful story.

To see new games heading in this direction is moving, after years of stagnation, it helps put aside the worry that games aren’t going anywhere. When Half Life came out several years ago, it broke new ground in story telling that hadn’t been touched till Doom III came out, and even still, it is not quite on par. Half Life 2 came really close. In 6 years that’s a total of 2 games that followed suit after a groundbreaking new kind of story telling experience has been discovered. F.E.A.R. comes out very soon, and it looks like it may be a very similar game. That’s exciting. After six years, three games that use this new near unbroken experience show up at once.

Maybe one day soon, there will be more real advancement. Till then, what gamers have now is awesome, and re-playable. Viva la révolution! Viva Zork!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

A Myriad of Topics

Well, I find this intriguing. How can I not find that appealing? I mean, I don’t think the game would even run on a modern computer. It takes REAL style to release an expansion pack for a game that’s 8 years old and requires the full, unmodified version of the original to run. I don’t know if this is some kind of odd kindness, or if it’s 3D Realms’ way of saying to me, “You want wash wang? Or watch Wang wash wang?”

I never even played the full game, just a demo I got from a friend. Maybe from a CD. I got it from somewhere.

Today I’m doing quite a bit of reading about scene graphs and the middle colonies. You may ask, “What do those have to do with each other?” To which, I would respond, “Everything”.

I might even hand you a book about the interconnectedness of all things. I’d be joking in part, I mean, certainly there would be underlying truth to my joke, and certainly any number of people could easily draw important connections between the middle colonies and the implementation of screen graphs in Java 3D, but the most meaningful connection is that I am simply studying them separately.

Tonight I make more French onion soup. I will then proceed to feed Jake, as it were. In the literal sense, anyway, since Jake will be there.

By the way, this go problem is awesome:

If white plays well, there is only one correct move for black to survive. Black to play first.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Missing School

I missed school today. Sometime over the weekend I put together a play list in sonique, and told it to stop playing songs as soon as they were added so that I could still add songs without interrupting the ones that were playing. So when my computer opened up the song I wake up to this morning it didn’t play. Really, my computer shouldn’t even be playing it in sonique, Windows Media Player is the default program because of crap like this. Why wont my computer play mp3s in the default program to play them in? Lord only knows. It makes me mad though. I had to uninstall sonique 2 because it was what my computer opened them up in if I had it installed. And it wouldn’t play them either, it would just open them up. Why will some things just not do what they’re supposed to? I mean, if I double click on an mp3, it will just start playing in WMP, why can’t windows scheduled task do that? Then I could have whatever player I wanted installed.

I just finished watching Sesame Street at work. The first thing I saw after it was over was a chef saying that his favorite drink is a frozen pineapple. He proceeded to inform us, the audience, while demonstrating, that you begin with crushed ice and then add pineapple, honey, lime, and rum before blending. All less than 10 seconds after Maria was making funny faces at Elmo. Am I the only one who thinks there’s something a little odd about that?

Frozen Pineapples for everyone on Sesame Street! If you thought Oscar was a grouch before, wait till he’s slapping      the kids around and yelling before Bert and Ernie have to tackle him to the ground while he’s screaming, “I don’t have a problem! You ****ers have a ****ing problem, I’m going to kick your mother-****ing ***es!”

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A 4000 Year Old Treasure

Today is a really nice day. I got to relax and eat more French onion soup, which came out really good, surprisingly. I’ve watched a lot of food network today, and I’ve done some reading, and I got all my homework done. Took a test and got an 80, plus wrote a paper that was over 500 words, way over. I hope there wasn’t a 1000 word limit. Right now people are baking cakes on food network. Last night I let Marcia get some practice on my car to get ready to get her driver’s license. She didn’t do that bad. I don’t think my car is the best for learning it, but I don’t think any damage was done.
I was going to let her drive some more tonight, but if she doesn’t call me soon, I won’t be able to. I have to go to sleep early tonight because I have school in the morning.

It’s a calm evening. I beat Deus Ex: Invisible War today. On to something else.

Go… I want to play lots of Go. I know just the place too. Would anyone like to play Go with me?

Friday, September 09, 2005

Absence Makes My Heart Grow Fonder

It’s a really beautiful day outside. It’s Friday. It’s already 6:30 and I’ve been active and reading with no sleeping. Life isn’t perfect, but today has been good from the moment I woke up. I can only think of one way my day could get better. I might not get online when I get home, I think I’ll re-arrange my room and do some serious cleaning. My room certainly needs it. I might even finish up all the homework for IMED 1301 so that I don’t have to do any over the weekend.

So far it looks about as fun as intro to computers. The first assignment sucks. Analyze three different websites and write a paper on them. Wow, gee. A paper that takes exactly 0 imagination and thought, and will take up several hours possibly, minimum 500 words.

Le Sigh

I might also do some writing tonight. I have an idea for a story, that’s really growing. It may be time to put it to paper.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Erecting Lingual Structures

Strange that the only day I posted this week was my day off from work. That’s kind of inverted, the idea was to post here every day I worked then avoid the weekends and holidays. Oh well, I’ve done worse things. I’ve gone months without posting in the past, and at least I’m posting regularly now, thanks to Metamucil.

I’m feeling really passionate and creative right now. I’m also listening to some awesome music, I wonder if those two things are connected?

This morning and last night I tried out a demo for a game called Indigo Prophecy, which actually looked rather boring because it was labeled as adventure, and I didn’t see anything that didn’t bring to mind anything other than the game Myst to mind. A good enough game, but only if executed awesomely. For the most part, games like that really suck the big one bad. Then, I was reading Penny Arcade yesterday, and it was brought to my attention that I was not the only one who had 0 interest in giving a second glance to that name which was tied to those pictures of questionable origin.

For the reason that it happened to be a playable demo of it on a disk with many other demos that were actually wanted, it was played, and mentioned with a glow somewhat akin to how people do after great sex. On this post coital recommendation, I downloaded the demo last night, and played it this morning, and find myself in a related state of being, with a smile creeping up on my face as I get subtle reminders of the experience.

This demo is good. Because of it I will buy that company’s product. It is different, it is a REAL adventure, and it just made me feel good inside to play. I felt tension as moments got close to over flowing and replaying those moments made me feel that way again. That is a real turn on. I will have to think of this experience as foreplay. I want the whole thing now. My mouth waters for it, my palms are sweaty. Am I the only person who gets this way over literature and stories?

It’s like my life is driven by fiction, I live 6 hours away from one of the most amazing events ever, and I am awed by that. I am compelled by how it is so surreal that it is in itself almost fictitious. I partake, and even revel in the real world, but I love and crave the fictions that are weaved by the people in the world around me. Maybe to say they drive me isn’t accurate, but I do so love them.

Monday, September 05, 2005

I am a d8

No use trying to fight it, you're an eight-sided die, a d8. A fine example of simple elegance, the d8 is one of the least appreciated types of dice, and is often neglected. You are known to be quiet and shy, outward traits that conceal viscous sarcasm and mean wit. You are very smart, yet wise enough to hide your intelligence the quicker they found out how smart you are, the sooner they'll put you to work, which is something you can do without. People call you dark and pessimistic, or moody and cynical. You find little point in arguing.

Take the quiz at

Eat to Live, Do Not Live to Eat

A friend said this to me in an email, “I just don't like the idea of dying because there are things I don't want to leave undone.”

And so I thought, and I replied this:

Well, to confront your idea of leaving things undone, don't you really have to ask yourself just what exactly it is you're doing? How do youmean "undone"? In the worst case scenario life is incidental, and(I believe in God, but God's existence and the idea that people were"designed makes them less beautiful) when you think about that, everything that we do, in any way, is more than we would have done had we incidentally not existed. In the scenario where God does exist and we each have a purpose, there is nothing more to do than what we do, otherwise we'd be going against the plan. In every single case... death is ultimately rather meaningless. It's mostly about how and whatyou do while you're alive.

Sometimes you can give your death meaning, by accomplishing something significant, but in that case, it doesn't really do you any good, unless that accomplishment is in step with doing what you feel isimportant to do. In that way, dying becomes a sort of living...

Even I get lost in that. In life, the phrase it's the journey that's important, has more meaning than anywhere else. If in your life, as a decision about how to live, you set certain goals above others, and in the course of human events, circumstances arise in which the highest service you can do to the goals that you live by, and define yourself through, is to die in some way, then, in that way, you live better by dying. In that same way, to live for the sake of living alone, is a death of sorts. To live for the sake of living.. how can any other point of view be more blind to what makes life worth living.

In simple terms, you ask, "Why live?" And after asking that, the answer, "Why not?" just doesn't seem to answer it. Does life need meaning and definition? Does a wolf or a raven live for a purpose?Someone might argue that they're almost machines, and that they live to spread their genetic patern, in a way, like the old program "life".Take basil, the herb, it lives to procreate, it flowers, and seeds, and imediately dies. Given the right climate, you can keep a basil plant alive indefinitely if you cut off all its ends before they flower and seed.

Are people no more than animals and plants? That's not a rhetorical question. You have to really answer it for yourself. For my part, I think we are more than plants and animals. I understand that this may be mere arogance on my part, but humans are so much more dependant on what we learn from each other to determine who we are than anything else. You might argue that more than half of what we are, or what we become is due to the people around us. Some people are stronger, and they make themselves in part, but still, all people are more than partly defined by the people they came from. We live for joy, for feelings, for a lot of things. In every case, a person always needs a reason to live, even if it is simply that they have no reason to die. Sometimes it's deeper than that. Sometimes it's not.

In every case, the preservation of what's worth living for, is worth dying for, because without it, there is no reason to live. When life itself, when not dying, becomes your sole reason for living, then you are clinging to, and attatching yourself to something that you are destined to lose no matter what, unless you're me and immortal. That is the best case scenario. It's like being a zombie, in a way, like losing that piece that makes you human, losing that need for something that drives you to give your life value. Life, as beautiful and precious as it is, is beautiful and precious because of what it contains and it loses every bit of that when you cease to appreciate it for the sake of it. Like something beautiful that never gets used for the sake of preserving its value. Like an old woman who dies with a 90,000 dollar beanie baby collection in her closet that was never touched, or played with, or appreciated.

You live to die. Live well, and you will die well.

Any thoughts? Agree, disagree?

Friday, September 02, 2005

Sleepy Sleepy

It’s been a pretty good day. I really didn’t do much, aside from a lot of work at… well… work. After that I went home, and on the way there I called Jake and decided to drop by his house for a few minutes. Ended up playing games and chatting till about 11:15 before I had to just go because it was getting so late. School was really good this morning, and it was interesting because some information about Vlad the Impaler came up. Apparently John Smith, of Jamestown(1607) was a soldier for him. Lots of really awesome info, maybe I just love history.

Been a bit of a lonely day, but you can’t have the company you want every day. I’m starting to get really tired, so off to sleep I go.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Sinus Relief

Today was a good day. Nothing really to speak of happened. I woke up, I went to work, I did my thing there, I came home, ate dinner with Mike, discussed the issues of the day, plans for the weekend. Then I rented some games and came home. It was uneventful, but satisfying. It was the first time in two months I didn’t have to worry about work tomorrow or how long I had my vehicle for. I love that feeling. It just feels really good.

Oh, I also got a neti pot, and some vicks vapor rub. Vicks for tonight, the pot for tomorrow, or when I’m feeling adventurous. It’s not that scary, it’s just.. the thought of lots of water running up my nose. It’s never been pleasant, but supposedly it works. And I’m into things that work.

Going to sleep early, I have school tomorrow. *big smiles*

Red Rover

Well, it’s really quite a beautiful day. I missed class today, which is sad, because it was the first lecture day. I made up for it by digging into the first book assigned by the professor. At least I had a good reason; I was buying my set of wheels, a ’96 Jeep Cherokee. So far, I love it quite a bit. I like owning a car with air conditioning, I like how smooth it runs, I like the paintjob, I like everything about it. I can’t wait to drive it somewhere. I feel like taking a nice long vacation and a trip somewhere when all the insurance issues are ironed out.The past two day’s I’ve spent at my mom’s house. I love her dearly, but I can’t wait to sleep at home tonight, shave, relax in front of my computer, and just in general spend some time there, maybe with some friends. Maybe not, though, maybe I’ll save all my socializing for a celebration party on Saturday or Sunday.I’m thinking quesadillas and a beer butt chicken. I’ve never had a beer butt chicken, and I’ve been meaning to try it. Maybe I’ll do something else, who knows? Anyway, I have the rest of the week to mull it over. Everyone is invited.
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