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Technomancer and troubleshooter by trade. Programmer by choice. Creator of Deviant Paradigm, somewhat by accident.
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Sweet God! It BURNS!
Finally Bottled the Wheat
Cut Things Close
The Big Gay Post
Halloween Party: Images 2005
Deviant Paradigm: Beware of Catgirl
Semper Nox Noctis
Semper Nox Noctis: Memoirs of the OverAlpha 1
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Saturday, February 24, 2007
Stop Abusing My Childhood
Well, I ordered Balto and Balto 2 from Amazon and they came in the other day. The DVD cover art is atrocious. But that I'll forgive; you don't buy DVDs to look at the cover art anyway. So I finally saw Balto 2. Sapph led me astray. It was nowhere nearly as impressive as he suggested it would be. The writing was physically painful. It bought into a lot of neo-native american philosophy with a bit of eastern philosophy mixed in. And then it beat you with it. Now, I'll grant, I know who I am, so coming-of-age finding-yourself stories aren't my thing any more. But I also am not fond of movies that are just about the journey. Not the experiences of the journey, many movies, including the original Balto (which is a-freaking-mazing), are about the experiences of the journey. Balto 2 is about the fact that they're going on a journey (a spirit quest in this case). So the characters aren't growing because of what they experience on this journey -- they simply reach the end and get magically endowed with enlightenment. Speaking of that -- DON'T PUT MAGIC INTO A STORY WHICH IS ROUGHLY BASED ON REAL CHARACTERS. Balto lives in Nome, Alaska. I don't happen to remember the Inuit ever making totem poles, so why the hell is there one? Please, if you're going to abuse my childhood memories, at least do some research so you can abuse them properly. In Balto, the hardships he faces cause him to come to terms with himself and his heritage, along with proving himself to everyone and heroically saving lives. In Balto 2, all we have are mystical portents, songs, and spontaneous leaps of logic. I'm ashamed by what they did to one of my most beloved movies. This is worse than going from Aladdin to Aladdin 2, mostly because Balto 2 had a moral that they had to get across in every single scene. And finally, I miss Kevin Bacon. David Carradine was well cast, though, he was perfect for his character. Now, if they'd rewrite the movie so that it was good, maybe involve this wolf pack (which also irritates me because they all look like Balto-esque wolf-dogs instead of the very distinctive wolves of Balto) way earlier in the story instead of at the last minute, it could be enjoyable. As it stands, the movie just hurts.
Monday, February 19, 2007
Prepping For Failure
I've been busy lately. If only I'd been busy doing homework. This week is going to do bad things to my grades -- fortunately, each of these stupid math assignments is worth almost nothing. I did a stupid thing and finally bought a PS2. Yes, that means I'll be reclaiming my copy of Guitar Hero soon. So far, I put eight hours into Okami, a couple into Dynasty Warriors 4 and one into Ghost In The Shell (the new one -- though I should see if I can get farther in the old one than I have). Did I mention I just got the PS2 on Friday? Though I've been thinking, if you were to make a game like Black & White, only in the style of Okami (the games are similar enough as it is), that would make for one awesome multiplayer game. Okami is also gorgeous. Amaterasu makes for a very pretty wolf. Okami is one of very very few times that I'll admit the 3D cell-shading effect not only works, but looks good doing it. Ordinarily I hate the look, but they obviously put a lot of effort into Okami, and it shows. Outside of cursing at the thumbstick because I have to draw circles all the time, I've also evidently been giving Sapph the sort of dreams that seem great until you wake up, and then you realize it was a nightmare.
I went to see Ghost Rider last night, and it was great. How could a movie about a guy with a flaming skull for a head go wrong? Honestly, it was an anti-hero movie (which I like a lot) that was pretty dark in nature, but they kept the jokes fast and strong to keep the attitude from desending into weepy emo-land. It doesn't hurt the cause that I happen to be a Nic Cage fan. Tim Buckley doesn't seem to agree with my assessment of Ghost Rider, but I'm going to suggest that perhaps he is one of those guys who likes Spider-Man and watching Marvel make a complete mockery of science using a character who is a Papa Roach song and a Livejournal account away from wearing black and slitting his wrists. Seriously, I liked '70s era Spider-Man because he was witty. Lately, Spider-Man is mopey. And I don't really like Tobey Maguire. He's a good enough actor, but he's way more soft-spoken than I like my heroes. It's like Harry Potter -- I remember what high school was like, thanks. I hated it, and don't want to have my escapist fantasy trap me inside it again. Making it so that the hero can't approach women either doesn't really help me relate to him. Being as I'm a guy who already accepts responsibilities, the Spider-Man clap-trap isn't so appealing. On the other hand, Ghost Rider is a vengeance story about second chances, and playing the cards you're dealt, even if it's a bad hand, to win the game. Beating the odds; those are the stories that interest me. Oh, that and crushing the forces of evil using a flaming chain as a whip. That's cool too.
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Val's Day Plans
Well, it's Valentine's Day, and in an attempt to prevent myself from lighting myself on fire, I think I'm going to go drinking, then curl up with Balto and drink some more. This is probably the one day where I'm grateful for my soul-crushing whole day worth of classes. I was going to watch Balto 2, but it looks like every freaking copy Blockbuster Online has is cracked clear through on one side. It's like it was systematic. Someone didn't like this movie. Since this is the only movie I've had the slightest problem with from Blockbuster Online, it's got to be something like that. I know they didn't get Kevin Bacon back, but they've still got some A-list voice actors. And "Hey Kids, it's Mark Hamill!"
Sunday, February 11, 2007
Av's TwoKinds Resolutions
I've been wasting more time on the TwoKinds Forum than is probably wise. It's got the camaraderie that I remember from the Imperian Forums, only without all the flaming bile, which is one reason why I don't spend much time there anymore. That and the fact that I haven't played Imperian in a long while. The forum's been a source of great amusement to me, particularly when one user predicted the brain-shattering moment that Februrary ninth's comic featured. I'm still drooling. Apologies to those offended, but I'm a lonely guy with a penchant for wolf-girl furries and a deep respect for Tom's abilities as an artist. I am unabashedly a Natani fanboy. My only complaint is that he waited to update until just after I got to work on Friday, so I couldn't gawk properly until Saturday evening (I went home Friday to get new lenses, and wow, it's nice to be able to see without a peeling scratchcoat rendering everything foggy). I should also mention that one or two of the forumgoers have been here (I linked myself, somewhat embarrassingly, in a discussion on religion) and I received the high praise of having respectable arguments. That's actually not sarcastic at all, I do consider that high praise. I spend a lot of time formulating the reasoning behind what I believe, and to have that respected by someone that I have at least some measure of contact with but doesn't know me personally is really something. One last note before I launch into the point of this post: Keith's nosebleed reminds me -- at some point in Deviant Paradigm, it'll be necessary to mention those. Av being human from something like our Earth doesn't get them like that. So he will undoubtably make a comment like, "Where I come from, our nasal capillaries are a bit more durable. And besides, the blood has other places it would rather be." Yes, I still intend to use my blog a place to make private jokes that no one on the forum (and fewer people on the wide Internet) will actually get. If you don't like it, too bad. Anyhow, without futher ado:
I resolve that
I think that's about it for this set. Time to get back to work on my Number Theory homework. <shudder>
Sinfully Together (part 1)
On my last analytical post on human nature (yeah, I have a pretty dim view of it don't I?), Sapph had a good comment, and one he's made before.
..I have a problem with calling things sins when the lack of the sin in that person's life causes emotional trama[sic]. Concidering[sic] homosexuality to be a sin is to say that all homosexuals are required to live lives of celebicy[sic]. That they must give up happiness of a romantic relationship with a person they love. It seems more than cruel that a good and loving god would require that of people in order to follow him. I mean, you know first hand what it's like to see all of the happy couples in the world and the loneliness that not having someone to hold and chrish causes. Imagine what it would be like if you actually met someone that you could be with, and who wanted to be with you. But you had to give up that relationship, that chance to be like everyone, that chance to be happy, all because you were told that your desires are wrong. That they are sinful. Would you believe them? Why would a god who supposedly loves you and only wants what's best for you tell you that you must remain alone when it does nothing but cause you emotional pain so severe that it physically hurts?...
You'll note that I promised to turn my mind to this question, and so I begin. This is, however, a difficult one, especially for me, so it'll probably take a while for me to put together a full analysis. I'm certainly not very qualified, so I'm going to start by consulting the one guy who would have the knowledge to put this together -- King Solomon. There are, as you might know, three books in the Bible attributed to Solomon, and they are each unique. Song of Solomon, or Song of Songs, is a rather stunning writing of romantic love. Proverbs is a bit of analysis of human behavior, so there might be something I can use there, but the question isn't truly one of behavior. So instead of those, I'm going to spend my free time (what there is of it) in the next week reading through Ecclesiasties, the most jaded and cynical book of the Bible. If Solomon came up for an answer for this, it'll be there, so that's where I'm going to start.
But to begin, let us establish my assumptions and the position I'm working from. As a Christian, I believe that all mankind is destined for Hell due to their sinful natures, unless God, in His grace, saves their souls. There is nothing that a human can do by themselves to secure salvation. I believe that the path to grace is through Jesus Christ. Belief in Jesus is necessary and sufficient to secure a place in Heaven. This is independent of anything else that may affect your life, so what you do or how you have lived have no effect on salvation -- even murderers can be saved if they come to faith. These are some of the essential tenets of Christianity, and form the basis of my arguments. I have outlined before that I find human sexuality to be absolutely unique in the world (see my post on Natures). I believe that we have a loving God who cares for us and wants nothing but the best for us in the end. I believe in a rational God, who did the math and when He laid down the universe, so that He can trust that the planets will keep orbiting without His direct intervention so that He can spend His time, infinite though it may be, with his favored creations, humanity.
I believe that Sapph's point is a good one that needs addressed because I do not believe God made us to be alone. It is well and good to be celibate your whole life like Paul, but unlike him, I do not delight in it, nor do I believe that God truly does either. To support this, I put forward Genesis 2:18-24, which is the creation of Eve. If all that we needed in life was God and God alone, He would not, in His infinite wisdom, tried so hard to find a suitable companion for Adam. And when one could not be found among creation, God made one. (Yes, yes, I'm sure someone will find argument with this; I don't care, my point stands even if you make the entire passage allegorical instead of literal.) So if we are not to be alone, how does it work that God allows there to be relationships that truly leave those involved happy, but in a way that He despises? That, as I understand it, is the gist of Sapph's question. I am hardly qualified to find the answer, but since I have seen so few try even looking, perhaps I will be granted the revelation to share. I promise there will be more to come on this as I seek out an answer.
-- Update 02-12-2007 AM --
Fixed a minor error -- I had the number of books for which Solomon is the accepted author incorrect. I had forgotten about Proverbs.
Monday, February 05, 2007
A Werewolf Weekend
Well, I just got through with what I've been calling "a werewolf weekend," where I tried to watch a werewolf movie every night. So I've seen Cursed and Ginger Snaps, now. Cursed was actually surprisingly good. The werewolf looked decent and the movie was a laugh riot, not because it was terrible, but because it was actually well-written to be so. Between the "How did you know?" conversation (which Sapph called, making me laugh uncontrollably through the whole thing), to the "best part of being a fairy" line, there were parts that you just couldn't help but burst out in laughter at. The end was kind of eh, but I guess not everybody is like Sapph and I, rooting for the happy werewolf family.
Ginger Snaps was a totally different sort of werewolf movie. Much more of a thinker than what I was expecting. And now I have learned a disconcerting amount of information about PMS that I'd hoped to avoid amassing until I had a good reason to do so. (For those of you who haven't been paying attention, that means "until I have a girlfriend and must deal with it first hand.") It wasn't really bad, I mean, how often do you shout "listen to the drug dealer!" during a movie? It was just very different than what I expected to see. And if you wanted a movie where most of the characters seem to be on drugs, this is one for you. Only the father seemed to be a normal human being. The mother was on some sort of crazy concoction, like taking Zoloft™ and meth at the same time or something. She was insane. I will see the sequel out of more than a dedication to the sub-genre, and I might rewatch this one. I'll bet it'll seem way more interesting to me now that I know what to expect.
In other news, I'm way behind in homework (like usual), putting a lot of stress on me for Spycraft this week (again). I'm trying to stat up "the Ninja," a European mercenary who pretty much fights like a huge ninja ("two ninjas taped together to make one big ninja"). Only he's got an invisibility suit and an electrified nine-ring broadsword. He's designed to actually be able to handle my players, most specifically Donovan and Rattlesnake. If all goes well, they'll get a big showdown with him while the others are distracted with other business. But before I can do that, I have to get the ninja ready (including naming him once and for all), and redo a batch of rules, including the Shinobi "turn invisible" power, which is totally broken. I wish SpyCraft 2.0 was solid. It's got some great parts, and it's a quality system, but it's incredibly frustrating for me, because I used SpyCraft 1's frontloaded weirdness for everything. This is almost all missing from SpyCraft 2.0, and what's there tends to be very badly broken. And they can't for the life of them publish any books on time. <sigh>
Finally, I've about got the script reworked for Sapph for the prologue on our new project. I had it done, but it was essentially written in XML, which I found very clear, but he did not, so I'm rewriting it in a more traditional form. I find it more difficult to follow, but I'm a programmer, not an artist, so I'll do what he wants with it. I'm getting worried about my abilities for this project. I mean, I'm pretty good at manipulating reactions, just ask my players. I had them jumping at shadows two missions ago, even doing stuff that I imitated as, "I am Galstaff, hitman of light! I intimidate the darkness!" And they're still freaked out enough to pull their guns when they hear the laughter of children. Good times. So anyway, I can manipulate reactions just fine, but I am significantly less sure of my abilities in manipulating emotions. And if I'm going to be writing this project properly, I have to be able to manipulate the emotions of the readers. Now, don't take that the wrong way, everybody does that, that's part of what makes a good story, the fact that you feel for the characters. I just don't know if I can do it. I guess we'll see.
Well, after the scare with Xotz's power supply, it occurred to me that it had been months since I ran Windows Update. I'm on the full version of IE7 now, and I am not being super impressed. I'm still pissed about the UI changes. Why in hell would I want things that do not have to do with the tabs on the tab bar? It does seem to have a smaller memory footprint than beta1. Not that that helps me much, since it seems unstable as all get out. It's crashed three times on me just this morning, and I haven't had more than eight or nine tabs open. Maybe I've got more bad RAM than I thought. I don't have these sorts of problems when I use it on my laptop, but then again, I don't stress it on the laptop either. I guess I have no choice but to pull RAM sticks and see if that helps.