May 2008


A blog isn’t really a blog unless it contains a fair amount of whining, and I think I hit my limit after that last YouTube video one. But really, it makes me want to punch small, cute things. Grr.

Anyway, it seems like I’ve been focusing much too much on stuff that’s wrong. Quotation marks, video games, my own blog, et cetera et cetera and so on into infinity. So here’s something different: A blog post about how awesome the world is!

Things that are awesome:

  • Chocolate milkshakes. Seriously. Where would I be without chocolate milkshakes? Probably several pounds lighter.
  • White Castle. The only place I know that can make food out of plastic, although “food” is stretching it a bit.
  • Fnoodle. Fnoodle is an awesome name.
  • Lolcats. You can’t get much more awesome than them.
  • Johnny Depp. No explanation needed.
  • Ice cream.
  • Bubble wrap. I don’t care how non-nerdy you think you are, you cannot dispute the awesomeness of bubble wrap.

The world is clearly just freaking awesome. No need to panic.

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What I should be doing, considering this post is scheduled for the 30th of May, is talking about prom. It is, after all, prom night; at this point, I’ll be halfway through the prom itself. Well, all I have to say about prom is: If you’re reading this right now, why didn’t you go?! Seriously.

This being my blog and all, however, I don’t actually care what I should be writing about. So I’m just going to write. Tough cookies.

YouTube is an awesome thing, isn’t it? Post videos of yourself yappin’ away, or maybe tripping some old lady in the supermarket. (I have to get someone to do that someday.) YouTube itself is a great place to browse if you’re really bored out of your skull and there’s nothing good on TV. But there’s nothing I hate more than the dreaded random YouTube link.

When you’re in the middle of an IM conversation, or a chatroom, and someone – without any description of that the video is – posts that familiar looking URL:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4nd0mlO0k1ng5h1t

Then they proceed to say, “WATCH IT!!!”

So you’re going to make me stop talking to you, as well as the other four or five people I might be talking to at the time, to watch a 5-minute clip of a terrible music video, or another Dramatic Hamster spin-off, or, God forbid, Never Gonna Give You Up by Rick Astley. Now I have to put everything on hold just to watch this damn video that isn’t even funny anyway.

Granted, there are some YouTube videos that are worth the watch, but most aren’t even worth the page load. And there’s nothing wrong with linking to YouTube videos, but for the love of God, at least tell me what the hell it is!

The only thing that’s worse is when someone gives you a 9-minute clip and you watch it in a moment of weakness – and the person proceeds to IM you during those nine minutes. Shut up. Just shut up.

Then again, maybe they’re just trying to get me to shut my trap for five minutes. Hmm…

The Internet is an amazing place to find stupid things on. The Pain Series. The Pain Olympics. Sites that claim they know the truth. Anything pro-McCain. As far as stupid thoughts go, though, nothing beats a good old blog.

…what are you giving me that look for?

Anyway, here’s a new one for you: This asshole thinks quotation marks should be used for emphasis. “Quotation” marks? For “emphasis”? We don’t use air quotes for emphasis. We use quotation marks to, I don’t know, quote, and sometimes suggest double meanings. For example:

I helped her “study” yesterday.
Without quotes: A sentence about someone helping a fellow human being with their studies.

With quotes: Sex.

Let me help you “peel” that “banana”.
Without quotes: An offer to assist with the consumption of fruit.

With quotes: Sex.

I saw the “greatest” “movie” the other day.
Without quotes: A sentence about movie going.

With quotes: A jab at the movie’s quality. Alternatively, sex.

“LOL”
Without quotes: A sad, pathetic attempt at conveying laughter across the Internet. Also a sign of lack of creativity and sincerity.

With quotes: A clever, sarcastic, witty parody of the Internet’s lack of creativity, or perhaps even the creativity of the joke just told. More than just an acronym, it is a statement. Probably only done to get attention, and, ultimately, sex.

None of these quotation marks mean emphasis, dipwad! The English language is convoluted enough as it is. If quotation marks were emphasis as well, how could we tell sarcasm from sincerity? What a “brilliant” “idea”.

For more reasons why this guy is stupid, click here. To exit the Internet, click here.

Making a video game can best be compared to operating an enormous puppet. Actually, it can’t, but I still have Little Shop of Horrors on my mind, so naturally enormous puppets are too. The more complicated it is, the more people it takes to operate it, and the greater probability that it’ll all come crashing down.

I have a book, one of several, about video game design. In it, it has a little chart showing how many people it required to make a game per generation of video games. Text-based games were innocent enough, they only required one or two people. A lot of basic games could be made individually or in a small group. Around the time of the first PlayStation – the time when I jumped on the video gaming bandwagon – a typical video game needed about twenty-five people to make. A PS2 game needed about fifty, and next-gen games are predicted to need about a hundred or more.

It’s possible I haven’t played enough next-gen games yet (something I hope to fix soon), but I think the PS2/Xbox/GameCube era (technically, the sixth generation of video game consoles) was where classic video games hit their peak. Enough detail to form a rich world and environment, but not enough to make it movielike. Sixth-gen games, as realistic as some of them look, still have an element of fantasy to them that separate them from, say, CGI movies. In other words, sixth-gen games were smooth but not realistic.

So far, it feels like the seventh-gen games don’t give the game designers enough limits. With seventh-gen games, you can throw as many levels and graphics in as you want. Sixth-gen games still relied on tricky algorithms and clever level mapping (especially in the Jak and Daxter series, for example) to fit as much detail as possible in without overloading the system. But now? I look at a game like Assassin’s Creed, and it’s all detail and no design. Honestly, the only reason why it kept my attention for so long was the sheer level of detail. If it were a sixth-gen game, I’d have quit halfway through thanks to the repetitive gameplay.

Soon, though, the impressiveness of seventh-gen games will wear off, and focus will return to gameplay once again. But what about those games two generations before, the fifth-gen games, where it was all gameplay and no graphics?

I miss the old games like Spyro the Dragon. Running around, collecting little gems, deciding who to “charge” and who to “flame”. Going to PlayStation Notebook gives me gaming nostalgia. Okay, so maybe not really, but it might do that to you. But damn, I miss those days. It didn’t matter how good the game looked, because really, you didn’t have that much elbow room in terms of graphics. It was all about whether it was fun.

The new Spyro series sucks, by the way. Know why? Because it’s all graphics and no gameplay. DUH, people.

I’m dying to play the newest Ratchet & Clank game, and I wonder what the makers of Sly Cooper and Jak and Daxter are up to. Hopefully they won’t be hit by the graphics craze and they’ll continue making good games.

But seriously, Spyro kicked ass. I would not want two little dragon horns stuck in my back. And he’d set anyone on fire. Although, the dragons you freed in the first game were kind of annoying. “Thank you for releasing me!” “Thanks for leaving me stuck in this game without any kind of help whatsoever, jerk! Respect your elders? Hah!” The second game just gave you “orbs”. The third game was by far the best, though, where you got to save little baby dragons. When the little baby dragons didn’t give you any useful gameplay tips, well, that was okay, ‘cuz they were cute.

I gotta find my memory card and boot up Spyro again someday. Have you collected all 150 eggs and 20,000 gems in the last game?

I’ll never understand drugs. Why do people need to have chemicals flying through their brain in order to act stupid? Just act stupid, I say. And if you get in trouble, at least you won’t be caught with illegal substances in you.

There are plenty of stupid things you can do without drugs. Like, for instance, fold the world’s biggest paper airplane out of poster paper and toss it back and forth down a school hallway. Plenty of stupid, but entirely drug-free. Just make sure you don’t hit your future Philosophy teacher in the process.

What got me onto the subject of drugs was a comment by my fellow typing classmate Sean. Once, as we were struggling to survive through another session of typing class, he said to me, “Trees always win.”

Trees always win? I thought. And recently, I’ve seen it in his IM profile as well. I’m not sure what it means, but it certainly is true. It reminds me of a local concert I once went to, held in the basement of a church. I have three memories from that: One, the music was way too loud (and not good enough to be allowed to be so loud); two, I hit a priest in the butt with a Frisbee (not exactly earning good karma points here); and three, it was 4/20 – unofficial marijuana day – so a good chunk of people were not in their right minds.

Everyone thought I was high. I don’t know why. Maybe it had something to do with how, halfway through the concert, I found a fake sword in the kitchen. When you’ve got a sword, and lots of people that won’t remember whatever you’re doing right now in a few hours, suddenly you get this urge to charge. Or maybe that’s just me.

Needless to say, I spent a good part of the night charging through random crowds of people, threatening them with a fake sword. I got into a duel or two, actually, although I’m not sure to this day where the other swords came from. Towards the end, I was getting really good at clearing paths straight from one end of the room to the other. Finally, I decided to take on a more challenging opponent – a tree just up the stairs and outside.

I have to say that Sean’s statement rang true, even two years ago. I chopped and hacked and screamed, but the tree would not give into my awesome plastic sword. The tree… won.

People were giving me weird looks for a long time after that one.

So is this post.

Have you ever wondered what would happen if philosophy became a profession, that you could just get paid for sitting around with a bunch of other philosophers debating? Well, first off, I’d be first in line. Although it would suck if I got fired because I couldn’t defend my own ideas. Or maybe they’d get paid by impressive quotation, who knows?

At any rate, what would a modern-day philosophy debate sound like? Or perhaps one where the philosophers had an off day?

Philosopher A: Let us conduct a philosophical inquiry into the subject of spacing.

Philosopher B: Spacing? Such as the space between the celestial bodies and how it may or may not have an effect on our daily lives?

Philosopher C: Hey, B! Correlation does not mean causation!

Philosopher A: No, no, not at all. [takes sip of tea] I mean the spacing in between sentences.

Philosopher D: If sentences exist at all!

Philosopher B: Quiet! [hits D over the head with a book of Descartes’s]

Philosopher A: Is it “correct” to use one space in between each sentence, or two?

Philosopher D: If correctness exists at all!

Philosophers A & B: Shut up!

Philosopher B: Well, I would say one space is sufficient. There’s a punctuation mark; what more information do you require to draw the conclusion that the sentence has ended? Nearly all sentences end in punctuation, it’s a reasonable conclusion.

Philosopher C: Correlation does not mean causation!

Philosopher A: But! It has been a grammatical law for years that all sentences have two spaces in between them.

Philosopher D: If space exists at all.

Philosopher B: That’s bloody brilliant. “Oh, but it’s been a law! Deary me, we shan’t go against the law.” The human eye does not care whether there is one space or two.

Philosopher A: I beg to differ! It is for aesthetic reasons; the human eye can tell how many spaces are in between sentences, and two spaces help them to discern one sentence from another, to make them entities unto themselves!

Philosopher B: What does it matter? In a few more years everything’ll be on the Internet anyway, and no matter how many spaces you type on the Internet it only comes out as one space!

Philosopher A: Oh really? Everything’ll be on the Internet?

Philosopher D: If the Internet exists at all.

Philosopher C: Where do you think porn comes from?

Philosopher D: YOUR MOM! WITH A CAMERA!

Philosopher E: Where’s the loo?

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