Monday, February 6, 2012


I established this blog years ago, made a few inane posts, and never returned to it. I've begun some introspection and decided it would be helpful to post that material here, so from time to time moving forward there will be occasional posts on my personal journey through this world.

     It was only recently that I consciously realized I've been hiding from myself for as long as I can remember. My three primary hobbies (which I'll be discussing later) all demand full attention, or they at least ask for it politely and I grant it.
     If I'm going to try to break the pattern I've established for myself, I should probably begin by acknowledging who I am. I could quote things like "know thyself" and "I think, therefore I am" but the truth is that I don't quite agree with the latter comment. Descartes' entire cogito relies upon the existence of a God, capitalized because in this instance it is a specific benevolent, omnipotent, omniscient entity. I don't delude myself with such beliefs, but I'm straying from my original intention and will likely have to return to this at a later date. Suffice to say "I Am."
     Specifically, I Am twenty-three and deep in denial. At this point, I have to fight my long-seated urge to deflect from a painful truth through a humor injection about the Egyptian river. I Am, by the societal definition, a loser and waste of limited planetary resources. I Am, according to the powers that be, an intelligent (or seemingly so) college dropout with zero marketable skills or work experience. I Am, surprisingly some, in possession of a rather strong will-to-live. I Am, if not actually so, at least expressing several of the classical symptoms of clinical depression.
     My hygiene is an incontrovertible disaster; I bathed myself once in the past ten days only because I was to visit a family member. I actually couldn't tell you the last time I brushed my teeth, let alone flossed, not because I suffer from the ability to communicate or memory flaws but simply due to the recency of the event. (Gingivitis is the number one cause of all tooth decay!) Truth be told, even thinking about my teeth sends me into a panic attack, but scarier yet is the thought that I experience said attack as a mental barrier to prevent myself from actually having to resolve the problem. I'm overweight, seldom exercise, and rarely leave my apartment. I don't see any friends, though I talk to several daily online.
     Brief tangent: many studies have indicated the differences between face-to-face and electronic communications.said studies make it readily apparent that the benefits are not equally achieved across both methods. On a semi-related note, extraversion is directly correlated (repeat after me: correlation is not causation, etc etc) with individual happiness.
     It's remarkably cathartic, writing this. There's something about exposing one's self to the world (I swear I didn't realize there were children in that park, Officer. Ha-ha, I know, my jokes suck.) Admittedly, it helps that I'm publishing this, without fanfare, in the relative anonymity of the  web. There are, by my (admittedly rough) estimate, at least ten million other such blogs filled with trivial garbage among which the ripples of my statements will propagate little, and hence remain unnoticed. I myself, in what would later be recognized by the state as a fit of megalomania, link to it once when I was under the mistaken impression that all of my ideas were original and worth the time a reader would spend digesting them. Regardless, I find it rather amusing that I can safely publish such dark, dreary, personal thoughts where they will remain hidden in plain sight.
     So, my dearest-and-most-absent reader, thank you for being the rubber ducky of my catharsis. (Said term arises from working through a programming bug by explaining the issue to someone else, regardless of their understanding or state of animacy. But I find myself veering yet again from my topic.) I'd be deluding myself if I said it would be easy, but I do hereby state my intent to change. With a bit of luck, it may even be fore the better, ha-ha. I've taken steps to loosen the grip my hobbies currently hold over me, and thereby reduce the utter disregard I seem to hold for my own status and reality. I'll begin taking the multivitamins that have for the past months sat within arms reach of my own personal poisonous timesinks and force myself to intake quality nourishment on a semi-regular basis, rather than the pitiful excuse for food that I currently consume. I also mean to get back together with my torturous ex Ercise, hopefully for keeps, and return to my various studies of shorthand, writing, and drawing. Thank you , my pleasantly silent and nonjudgmental reader, for acting as my notary. Please sign at the dotted line while I wish you good morrow.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I finally finished my new computer and I must say, it is certainly an upgrade. Many people are using equipment that was new four years ago, and not long ago I was one of them. I noticed an incredible difference with my new hardware. To sum things up...

There is something magical about being able to install Oblivion and Supreme Commander at the same time as listening to music, surfing the internet, and archiving files.


AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000+ (3ghz dualcore, overclocked)
2 GB DDR2 RAM (dualchannel, PC6400)
2-320 GB SATAII Hard Drives, in Raid striped
1-250 GB SATA Hard Drive
DVD Burner (+/-, dual-layer, DVD-RAM support) (SATA)
DVD Reader (SATA)
X-Fi Sound Blaster audio card
XFX GeForce 8500 GT graphics card (overclocked)
22" Widescreen LCD Monitor
5.1 Surround Speakers

In summary... w00t!

Splendid-Tastic(R) Quote:

Doctor: She appears to have lost her will to live.
Husband: Isn't there anything you can do?
Doctor: I'm sorry. Will-to-live donors are few and far between.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Common sense for n00bs

I managed to miss my bus back home, so I got plenty of time to think about life in Chicago. Safety isn't really too much of an issue, but I swear there are like ten thousand homeless people that try to beg some money off of you. So, without further ado, a bit of advice (mostly common sense) to avoid the panhandlers.

1. Don't look like a tourist.

If you must carry stuff around with you, avoid luggage if at all possible. A single backpack or briefcase/messenger bag is no big deal. Also, look at a map before you get there if you have a specific destination in mind.

2. Don't be a total jackass.

If you are going to be travelling both alone and late at night, don't dress in exorbitant clothing or jewelry.

3. Always look in a hurry. Failing that, look pissed off.

If you cannot avoid looking like a target for the panhandlers, put on your most "I'm behind, don't mess with me" face. I have mastered what I will call the 'crazy-pissed white boy' look. It either says a)mess with me and die or b)I have nothing of value. I'm not sure, which, but it really doesn't matter.

--Just a few more words on the panhandlers (beggars)--

Some of them will ask for your money outright. Others will offer to hail a taxi for you (rofl) or give you directions in exchange for some money. Shoe cleaning services are also 'offered' in this way.

The most subtle and clever panhandler I met was still quite stupid. Here's the story...

I was coming out of Union Station to wait for my bus to arrive, and on my way out the door, some random guy (with a stuffed duffel bag and wallet/checkbook thingy/passport booklet in his hands) made a comment about 'getting the runaround in this place.' I said nothing, and sat down outside to wait. He proceeded to sit down next to me and tell me some sob story about how 'Amtrak screwed up and wants to give me a voucher and you know what vouchers are it means they are good at a later time but I gotta get there tomorrow but I don't have enought money because I already paid for the ticket once but they gave me a voucher...'[blah, blah, blah, etc. The lack of punctuation was me stressing the rambling nature of his speech.]

After this had gone on for a while, he eventually moved on to how 'I ain't even that much short of a ticket but I gotta get there tomorrow because my sister broke her leg.' Even if you are a total dumbass with absolutely no sense of intuition, at this point there should be no way you should think the guy is telling the truth. No one gives a shit if they show up a day late for a broken leg. I decided to humor him and see how gullible/stupid he thought I was. After I played along for a bit (this was the first time I responded to anything he had said) I convinced him to tell me how much he needed. This is what he said, verbatim: 'I ain't even that much short, just two hundred dollars.' So I made some comment to the effect of "Oh, that's too bad, but I just gave my last $200 to the beggar before you." He shot me a dirty look and got up. I heard him mutter under his breath 'How the fuck did he know?'

All in all, that situation was hil-freakin-arious.

Splendid-Tastic(R) Quote:

He wouldn't recognize subtlety if it hit him over the head.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Copy Protection

Wow... I don't know how to begin this one. Alrighty, how about an example?

On February 16, 2007 GasPoweredGames released Supreme Commander. Before you accuse me of being unfair, let me point out that SupCom is easily among the top 5 games I have ever played; absolutely amazing. Anyway... I believe the "high-quality" SecuROM piracy prevention system was a bit overzealous. Thousands of users were unable to play the game WITH THE ORIGINAL DISC because the copy protection detected their discs as copies (please make sure the official disc is in your disc drive). Eventually, in order to make the game playable, GPG released a "patch." I put that in quotes, because this has to be one of the rare occasions in history where the most critical patch to a game eliminated the copy protection software.

Wow. What a testament to the usefulness and efficiency of piracy prevention software. It is now clear why every user from around the world should support the efforts of developers in utilizing copy protection for their products.

Alcohol 120% has been ballyhooed as the "ultimate" way around copy protection; it makes "perfect" 1:1 copies of almost anything. However, the same effect can be achieved with legal, free, software.

Now, developers, let's be realistic. Between the *free* version of Alcohol 52% and Daemon Tools, I can play my games without the disc in the drive. Curiously enough, if I save the .iso to a disc as a file instead of an image, it can be mounted with Daemon Tools. Suddenly, the much-heralded 1:1 copy is no longer necessary. THe only disadvantage to this method is that the disc image (along with MDS and subchannel data) is slightly larger than the amount of space used on the original disc. Realistically, however, how many games have been released on a single DVD with more than 8.5 GB of space used up? Any game that I have seen can be saved in this manner on a single dual-layer DVD-R disk. Conceivably, larger games could also be distributed in this manner through the use of a archiver/file splitter such as 7-zip.

To put it quite simply, disk-based copy protection simply does not work. I applaud developers that recognize this and release their games without any; one notable example is Elder Scrolls: Oblivion.

There are two kinds of copy-protection that DO work.
1. key-based (online play)
2. quality-based (offline)

To explain what I mean, let me give another example...

A friend of mine gave me a StarCraft disc he had copied from his own. I installed it, and began to play. I soon discovered that it was not his actual disc; it was one of those elusive 'warez' I had heard about. The game was great; the online play was nonexistent. An hour after installing it on my computer, I was in the checkout line at Best Buy purchasing my own copy of the game and the expansion; an hour later the illegal one was removed and I was online on the real deal.

This happened because Blizzard managed to make a game so good that I WANTED to pay them money for it. The same goes for Oblivion; this is quality-based protection.

If I had not thought it was high-quality enough to pay for it at this poing, however, I still would have bought it for the online play. This is key-based protection. For the uninitiated, under key-based protection, each copy of a given game has a product key. When playing online, there are 2 methods this is implemented. A) only one copy of the game per product key can be online at once OR B) Each product key is irrovacably linked to one and only one account. The idea behind key-based protection is the (correct) assumption that most people want to play the online version of the game rather than the offline.

Although this post got much longer than I intended, the message still stands. Developers, your job is to make your products so good the public wants to pay for them. Give them online play with a key; has anyone successfully pirated Guild Wars? (rofl.. this is offtopic, but on eBay, there are people that sell used CDKeys, usually for about $1. Of course, they claim that it was a "returned open-box product, and, as such, we cannot guarantee the purchaser's ability to play the game with the included CD-Key. Therefore, no refunds or exchanges are available on this product." [note: that was not a quote, it was paraphrased] If you don't believe me, check it for yourself.)

Splendid-Tastic Quote:

Friend: You're awfully skeptical today.
Me: Oh yeah? Prove it.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Splendid-Tastic New Blog!

I figured I would join the rest of the modern world and say worthless things that no one will ever read. That's right, I started a Splendid-Tastic(R) Blog!

Splendid-Tastic(R) Quote:

"Hard work never hurt anyone, but hey, why take the chance?" -Richard Nixon