Deviant Paradigm: Of The Wolf Within
Random garbage. Remarks about the comic Deviant Paradigm, notes about my life, comments about politics. This is my place to rant and rave. Fear this, World! FEAR IT!


Nickname: Avvy
Age: 24
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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.

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Deviant Paradigm
--My Webcomic--


Enea Volare Mezzo
-- Sapph's Blog --

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-- Jonathan and Luke's Blog --

Fear No Darkness...
-- Jamie's Blog --

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-- My source for political news !!Conservative Site Alert!! --

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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Not to Be
Well, seems I miscounted the hours. The guild election in Imperian ended in a tie, but I wasn't part of it. So we still don't know who will be GM, but it won't be me. In a way, it's a relief. I wasn't sure if I wanted to win or lose, this whole time. But now...I kinda wish I'd have won. It was one of those things that gave me a focus, something I need right now. This means that things are going to get worse. Not for the guild (necessarily) but probably for me. Well, I'll quit whining now...This'll all pass.

Remembered this
Just remembered this image I promised to post. This is one of those pictures that Sapph (you can find his blog on the sidebar) made for me. Yeah, I paid for this one. It's the only way to ensure that I get what I want, instead of what he feels like making. Sometimes what he feels like creating is great stuff, like this one, things I wouldn't mind hanging on the walls -- and sometimes it's not. At the very least not for public display, and highly dependent on personal tastes. But that's something else entirely. As I promised, the group picture Sapph crafted for me.

From left to right: Aya, Av, Sapph, and Mal.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"My life never ceases finding new and exciting ways to disappoint."
Been in kind of a funk lately. You know, as I said, usual thing for the usual reasons. And, in my infinite foolishness, I've just been making it worse. I've been adding more comics to my reading list, and the other day I added a nice little one called TwoKinds. The kid responsible for it is quite skilled (yes, he does mention his age, and while he's not a kid any longer, he's still five years younger than I am). And perhaps more of a testament to him, I identify with the characters really well. It's a nice story with good art to go with it, and it's a pleasant little furry comic, so right up my alley. Except it's a love story at its heart...which twists my own knife bit. Like I said, just makes things a little harder on me.

In other news, I think I'm getting myself into deep water in Imperian. I'm in the running for guildmaster of my guild now...and I have a reasonable chance to win, I think. Based on how the the Imperian Forums are suddenly jabbering about how Lorekeepers are a viable combat class, they must be hoping for a combatant to come out as GM. I think everyone knows which four of us are up for the election, so I'm really confused as to how they think they're going to get a combatant out of it; unless they count "Suicide-charge" Loenar as some sort of warrior. I'm afraid that might be true -- I was allowed to buy credits from the city that are reserved for combatants a few weeks ago. Maybe being able to fight isn't as important as being willing to fight. I guess we'll see how everything turns out in about another day.

Oh, by the way, the title is a quote from the latest Order of the Stick.


Monday, September 25, 2006

Finally Fight Club
Well, a couple weeks ago I finally saw Fight Club. To be honest, I wasn't nearly as impressed as everyone else. Maybe it's just a case of overblown expectations, but I think there's more to it than that. Oh, don't get me wrong, it was a good movie, but it wasn't a great movie. I'm told it's very quotable, but...Well, I'll get to that in a second.

I think the reason that the movie didn't really get to me is a fundamental difference between my beliefs, the core of my being, and those of the movie. It's not just that the political aspects (support for anarchy, etc...) seems dumb to me. Honestly, I consider anarchy to be the resort of those who have not thought through what they're suggesting yet, or have some fundamental argument against some authority figure and support the concept of anarchy solely because they "don't want to be bossed around anymore," not because they actually understand what anarchy entails beyond never having to follow anyone's directions again. No, my argument with it was something deeper. Let me put it this way: K-PAX resonated with me for all the reasons Fight Club did not. Fight Club espouses an odd view, and almost all of its "quotable" moments fall into this view. Fight Club argues that no one is special -- "You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else." Fundamentally, this bothers me. If you feel like you live a purposeless existance, perhaps this would resonate with you, but not me. I might sometimes feel like I live an existance without hope, but I have never been missing the feeling of purpose. A man makes himself if need be. Sure, you might start out as "not special" so you find an opportunity to make yourself special. Telling everyone that they are not special is as bad as telling everyone that they are. Like respect, this is something you have to earn. And for being someone who occaisionally hears the voice of dissent in his head -- my Wolf is not terribly unlike Tyler Durden -- a lot of the movie seems like so much garbage to me. At its best, it's a good movie, with a strange plot and some interesting bits (along with some very funny ones). At it's worst, it's an annoying bit of claptrap with wacky overtones. Fortunately, Fight Club is far more often at its best than at it worst. Like I said -- it's a good movie. Whether it'll end up in my collection, well, that's something I'm not sure of yet.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Musings of a Technomancer
Just some idle musing of mine. It is equally valid for men and women, so replace things as appropriate, I write from my point of view. In no particular order:

  • Yes, I hate fixing other people's computers, particularly because they do such stupid things. No, I am not likely to stop doing so. Partly this is because they pay well. Partly this is because I always hope the next time they'll refer me to the beautiful girl with a technology fetish, some FPS skill, and no boyfriend. Yes, this is unrealistic, but if I am faced with the choice between unrealistic optimism and a lifetime of reading bad Seven-of-Nine Slash Fanfics, I will choose the optimism every time.

  • No, buying a shirt from ThinkGeek will not impress me. Buying things from ThinkGeek marks you as more of a nerd poseur than buying things from Hot Topic marks you as a goth poseur. I am only guaranteed to laugh at any given technology related joke once. I probably saw whatever witticism which is emblazoned on your chest on the Usenet discussion it originally appeared on. Yes, that means I will not be laughing at your shirt, and may, in fact, be somewhat offended.

  • If I ever call myself "leet" (or any modification there of, I am fluent in that "language," if only for the purposes of mockery) I am being facetious. I have nothing but contempt for the wannabe's who think poor grammar and incomprehensible character substitution makes them impressive computer users. That said, I do like to spell things the way they do -- such garbage makes for very secure passwords. Nowhere else is this junk permitted.

  • Yes, people who think leet is cool are very annoying. A normal person might find them irritating. Someone like me finds them insulting. For most people, confronting the stereotype of their group makes them very angry. Nerds are no different. This makes my enjoyment of Megatokyo even more curious, as Piro's parts feel like being an adolescent male watching a soap opera and Largo's parts feel like being an African-American watching a black-face pantomime.

  • Eventually you get very jaded concerning computer hardware. It becomes like parents do after their third or so child -- very little forms a real emergency any more. The amateurs (or the burned) invest in anti-static mats; people like me tap the case three times and expect that, unless someone switches on a Tesla coil, there will be no further problem with static electricity. You might short boards out on the case, but you won't kill things with static electricity.

  • If you want to set your computer on fire, so be it, but do not expect me to get greatly impressed. A true master may have overclocked his system, yes, but he realizes that clock speed is not everything, or even anything. It is far more impressive to make a 486 do what it was never meant to do without making it act like a Pentium by generating more BTU's than a space heater than it is to watch you push another hundred megahertz out of your latest generation AMD 64 at the cost of a few degrees on the thermostat and five more bucks to the power company every month.

  • A true master may well be part of an overclocking forum, but that is only to help those who are not masters do what he has done. He has no interest in bragging about how big of numbers he has achieved. Such things are childish and below him. When pressed, he may speak about overclocking something to 100 MHz, a paltry number, until he reveals that it is a 386 he is talking about.

  • Do not get involved in a dispute over frames per second unless there is no other recourse. This is nothing but a pathetic pissing contest. It should be enough to simply point out that your computer is currently both the Counterstrike and UT2k4 server, while you yourself play a rousing game of Marathon and listen to music streamed from the Internet.

  • This is especially true when talking to console people, most of whom do not even know what a "frame" is, and why you want as many of them per second as possible.

  • Some people may tell you that they prefer to play first-person games with controllers, "because they are better with a controller." That may be true for them, but they are an unusuality in the world, and probably spent most of their time learning FPS's with Halo or something else like that. They will never learn the proper way to play because they will always choose something to play like Counterstrike or UT2k4 and be so totally defeated that they will swear off such games. It does not pass into their mind that the reason their opponents are twice as fast and accurate as they are has more to do with not hamstringing themselves with a terrible interface than it does with skill.

  • Being the "greatest console FPS" means almost nothing. Notice how strictly the market is controlled? Compare this to the cutthroat nature of the PC market and you can see why "best console FPS" is sort of like claiming the title of "best slingshot for hunting ducks." Okay, that's great, but why am I not using a shotgun?

  • This is also analogous to being the "best PC sports game."

  • Software people are mostly liberal and hardware people are mostly conservative. No, I don't know why this is the case, it just is. Like bugs in a browser, it is simply universal truth.

  • Almost nothing can break us of our preconceived notions. It doesn't matter that Firefox has more exploits and vulnerabilities found in it than IE for almost a year running, many of us will assure you that Firefox is, quite nearly, better than sex, and certainly better than IE. The other part of us will assure you of exactly the opposite.

  • I have spent most of my life studying computers and technology. Do not think you can lecture me on something. I don't care if you just read it somewhere. Just because it is in Wikipedia, that does not make it right. In fact, that probably makes it wrong.

  • Wikipedia is a better argument against Randian objectivism than anything else I can imagine.

  • Nerds are, in their own way, even more elitist than the Indie folks. We have a nose for those who are faking it, and let me tell you, there is little more pathetic than being snubbed by a nerd. Then again, pretending to be a nerd is probably in that "little" to begin with. If you're going to pretend to be something, why not pretend to be something popular? Or at least not something with a significant social stigma attached to it.

  • Every nerd idolizes Weird Science in a way, even though they may not know it. I myself have not seen the entirety of the movie. But, and it doesn't matter who the nerd is, we all like to imagine that there is a gorgeous babe out there, who will find us and what we do absolutely fascinating. Also, universally, any attempt to become suave to impress those we are attracted to is doomed to fail from the start.

  • Shiny has more than one meaning. I have heard other people use it exactly the way I do, so I know I am not the only one aware of this. Shiny, as in an object, is desirable. While what specifically is shiny may differ from person to person, we all want shiny objects. Old, eldritch technologies are very shiny. The other form of shiny is related to the computing phrase "bloat." A shiny UI, for instance, while looking very pretty, probably leaks memory like a sieve, and all the useful functionality is jammed beneath layers of fluff. Flash-based websites are often this form of shiny (because the creator hates all humanity). Yahoo's Messenger Y! (especially the Windows 98 port) is this kind of shiny. (Shiny in this context should not be confused with "polished." Polished items are generally nearly opposite that of shiny objects).

  • No matter what I say, Google is not out to get your soul. They have no use for souls. What they want is your identity, so that they can use it to generate advertisements. The least you can do is be aware of this, and, if you must, accept it. I give great credit to the only Google-drone I know, because he, like me, has a rather cynical view of "privacy" on the Internet, and accepts that he is owned by Google. In that, he is probably wiser than I am.

  • Google now knows more about you than the NSA ever will, barring actual employment with them. Then there might be a tie. The sad thing is that no one cares about Google collecting all of your information, it's only the NSA we need protected from.

  • Yes, I do realize the irony of using Blogger to criticize Google.

  • Web 2.0 is gibberish. Just techno-babble. Even Sir Tim Berners-Lee (who won many points from me with this comment) isn't impressed -- it's just "Web 1.0" wearing a new shirt. Anyone who tells you differently is either selling you something or is one of the drooling supporters of the concept. Honestly, I find their vision of the Internet both frightening and unrealistic. Imagine what "all user contributed collaborative content" will do to Internet pornography.

  • Sometimes I will say something that makes no sense and then laugh hysterically. I find myself very droll, and am prone to making inside jokes, often ones for which I am the only one on the "inside." It is best to simply grin stupidly and look away. This list is probably one of these things. The next point most certainly is.

  • If I had one bit of advice to offer a new technomancer neophytus, just getting root for the first time, it would be this: There is more to performance than mere numbers. Never be too impressed with the numbers behind a system. In the end, numbers are just shiny, in both senses of the word. Power and capability are more than Megahertz and Gigabytes. Exploit what you have, push it far enough but not too far, and never forget that you have abilities that others do not. Use them.

There should be a review of Fight Club (yes, it did take me this long to see it) and a discussion of secrets, lies, and government coming soon. Maybe. You know me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Updated Status
Sorry for dropping off the edge of the world and leaving everyone hanging. My brother got out of the hospital last Wednesday. I need to call him tomorrow and see how he's doing now, he was still pretty doped up when I spoke with him last week. Thanks to all offering their prayers for him, he's on the road to recovery now.

I got my phone back last Thursday. As it turns out, the officer who found my phone turned it in to the Campus Security Office. Of course, she didn't leave her name or precinct number, so I had no idea where to find it. I was pretty much grasping at straws. Fortunately, one straw was the right one.

I'm hoping to drag myself back to Imperian tonight. I've been gone for two weeks, and there might be a couple people who miss me.

That's really the cause of my latest silence and solitude. I'm feeling a bit depressed, you know, the usual thing. For the usual reason. I'll probably get over it.


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

So Much For Good Fortune
Well, it seems my life is rapidly falling apart here. First, my birthday was...okay. Then my folks come up to celebrate with me and my brother immediately ends up in the hospital, so they leave to be with him. Imperian's becoming less fun, so I play it less. Unfortunately, that leaves my responsibilities in the game to just build up on me. Then I lose my phone last night. Someone gave it to the police, evidently, so I'm trying to get it back from them. However, the property room doesn't have it yet, I can't get it directly from any precinct, and the property room is closed tomorrow. That means the earliest I can get my phone back is Thursday. Lovely. And, just to finish out my current run, my watch just stopped and no one will change the batteries in any watch that they didn't sell. This has not been my weekend.


To My Brother
My brother ended up with ruptured appendix this Labor Day weekend while he was out on a trip with his girlfriend. So he was stuck in an emergency room in South Dakota while my parents tore up there to try to see him before he went into surgery. He is recovering, thank God, but I don't know how long he'll be in the hospital before they let him go.

My prayers are with you, bro, and you know I'd take it for you if I could. Get better soon.


Saturday, September 02, 2006

"Hope you like the Shadowlands, Silent Man. You've lost this time!"
Wednesday we finished up the Haunted House in Spycraft, at long last. There's just one problem: I'm not sure I can top this one. It had so many cinematic moments. Honestly, it was one massive role-play adventure -- there was very little combat in it. But it produced comments like the above one, and I had the characters going insane (literally -- Johnny spent some time mumbling to himself about things not making sense) or scared out of their wits. Then at the end we had that tag line, a banishment ceremony that ended with a "Fifth Element"-esque burst of incredible light, Brick shot a keeper (think zombie) in the face then blew the door open with some primer cord Donovan happened to have, and Johnny ran out, fell to his knees and shouted "The clean," then the house promptly collapsed behind him. Then most of the group just dropped from exhaustion. While I'm worried that the Silent Man was a bit too easy to deal with, he did have pretty constant Willpower 20 saving throws battering the players. Apart from that, it was spectacular. Even better, the mission started to pull the curtain away from the cracks in the Conspiracy, which'll leave the characters ready for the Season Finale. There's one more adventure before we do the season finale, a little romp in the middle of nowhere in Nevada, field-testing some new equipment. I think everybody enjoyed themselves. I just hope I can do as well with the season finale. Especially since I've now got them at the point where they'll draw guns when they hear children laughing. I've got my work cut out for me.

And Thursday I turned 23. So far, not much has changed. I guess we'll see if this year is any different.

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