Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I like Thanksgiving, and my reasons for liking it are quite simplistic. I like any holiday because it means a day off from work, and I enjoy days off from work. When it comes to Thanksgiving, I get exactly the same amount of days off as I do for Christmas. Christmas, however, takes exponentially longer to prepare and organize, whereas Thanksgiving is a simple dinner. It's less work for the same reward. How can I not possibly see this as superior?

That being said, I'm looking forward to Thanksgiving and the two days off I will have from work. Oh, and the dinner too, of course. I also really like how the actual holiday is on the very first day off, meaning that the next day and the weekend to follow are just a bonus with absolutely nothing to worry about. Rack up another bonus point in Thanksgiving's favor.

All that's left to do is survive the remainder of this work day.

Can we call it day?
Now would that be okay?
Can we just go our own separate ways?
Cause I'm cold and I'm wet,
And I'm willing to bet,
That you constructed this maze.

Call It a Day by The Raconteurs

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's performance review time here at my office. This year, my hatred of these reviews is at an all time high because of all the bullshit my company is putting into them. The thing I hate the most are the acronyms. The front of the review states that we are ONE LEARNing TEAM, and it breaks down each letter to mean something, like this:



Entrepreneurial Spirit
Metrics focused on results

Give me a fucking break.

But alas, I can't just not do the review, since my job depends on it. But I can protest the stupidity and pointlessness of these things in my own subtle way. And I shall use their own methods to do so.

Section 1: Here I need to list the goals that were established for me last year and report on their progress. I had 4 goals from last year. Re-wording them a bit:

Convert PCTB calculable contract accounts and any other new accounts into Rate Builder.
Organize and expand the conversion team.
Create protocol for the transition of DRB conversion accounts into publishing maintenance accounts.
Keep gaining experience with SQL.

And using the first letter of each of those, it spells COCK.

Section 2: Here they have provided a list of 8 competencies, and I must rank myself and provide reasons for such ranking. So...8 of them. 8 letters. Take the first letter of each of my comments and you get ASSHOLES.

Section 3: Here I must provide examples of how I have developed additional competencies. I listed 4 examples, and they spell WANK.

This was the most fun I've had writing my performance review, ever!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cool, the WoW servers are down for their weekly thingie. I can actually take the time to blog!

We had our first snow over the weekend. I like snow when I don't have to drive in it, but there's one other thing about it that is kind of annoying. When I wake up in the morning, my eyes are typically pretty sensitive. This is a completely normal occurrence. So, the last thing I want is the sun reflecting off a horribly bright white surface outside. I actually hit the floor this morning when I went upstairs it was so fucking bright.

It reminded me of Brad's frost traps in Scholo. My eyes!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I haven't said a word about Proposition 8 on here yet. I tend to dislike discussing a topic capable of causing such division. But, I recently saw a video of a Keith Olbermann commentary on the topic, and it prompted me to post it here. If you want to know what I think about this topic, watch the video. That's EXACTLY what I think.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

And now, by popular demand, a Wookie story.

I have probably mentioned this before, but it is worth mentioning again just in case because it is quite relevant to the story. The Wookie is not only very hairy, but she's also (according to her) very frail. Hypochondriac is more the appropriate term, if you ask me, but that's beside the point. She claims she is allergic to a lot of things -- including certain food additives, hand lotion, perfume, and smoke. Judging by her appearance, she must also be allergic to soap. Yes. Ew.

That being said, I will first share with you what she had for lunch yesterday, as witnessed by a horrified co-worker of mine who then had to come tell me about it: Chef Boyardee ravioli with popcorn on top. I'm still shaking my head over that one.

Anyway, some time last week I was at my desk talking to Mark. I think it was actually work-related for once, which is amazing in and of itself. So we're standing there, and all of a sudden we hear a sound that quite resembled the Pamplona Encierro. (The Running of the Bulls for you uncultured twits.) We turn around and see the Wookie go running down the hall, through the kitchen, and to her desk. As she was running, she had her right hand planted on her neck.

Mark and I looked at each other with bemused confusion, and I said, "I need to find out. I'm going to regret it, but I need to find out."

So I went in the direction from which the Wookie came, which was our Publishing Department. Apparently, this woman over there named Cheryl touched the Wookie's hand after applying hand lotion to herself. This is what caused the Wookie to run away in a panic. As far as I have learned, the Wookie did not actually get any lotion on herself whatsoever. She simply knew Cheryl used it and reacted accordingly.

I know what you're thinking, and I was thinking the same exact thing: "It puts the lotion in the basket or it gets the hose again."

As utterly disturbing as this is, I'm a pretty rational guy. I know this woman (thing? it?) is insane, and I accept that. But as I strolled back to my desk to let Mark know what had happened, my mind started to wonder. She ran from the Publishing Department and past my desk, where there is a door leading out into the lobby where the bathrooms are. If she was truly having an allergic reaction to lotion, she could have gone there to wash her hands. But she didn't. Also, she ran through the kitchen/break room. There's a sink there, where she could have washed her hands. But she didn't. Instead, she just ran back to her desk.

My guess is that she needed to be in her "safe, happy place" after being "traumatized" by the lotion.

And these are the kinds of people I work with. Actually, I won't even say I work with them, because I don't. They're in different departments. I just get to observe, but that's scary enough.
As a result of Blizzard's epic fail with their servers last night, I loaded up Doom 3 and played it for a few hours. Games like Doom 3, at one time, were the epitome of what a computer game was supposed to be. But in this day and age, it's all about the realism. Any shooter you pick up today will undoubtedly be tactical in nature, requiring you to play with a bunch of NPC team mates, give them orders, develop a strategy, and execute that strategy to complete your objective. I am not opposed to these types of games in the least -- I think they can be a lot of fun, and also rewarding. But for me, sometimes there's nothing better than playing solo and just blowing shit up. This is why my list of favorite shooters is topped by Half-Life (all incarnations), Doom (all incarnations), Max Payne (all incarnations), and Quake (most incarnations). While the stories of all these games are all quite different, one thing remains the same -- you're just one guy in that game world, and you get to shoot, blow up, ignite, run over, and slice up everything in your way.

I feel this type of game is a lost art, and I will lay the blame on two different sources:

1. I blame crappy game developers. You created too many shitty first-person shooters.

2. I blame the critics. You keep pounding your chests for MORE REALISM, MORE REALISM, MORE REALISM. Shut the hell up, you're playing a guy in a nano-suit who can jump 40 feet into the air while invisible and head-shotting aliens 300 yards away. Oh yeah, that's realistic.

All is not lost, however. My niche games still do exist, and they are still being made. And they are being made in such a way as to garner very favorable reviews from critics. You've got the Gears of War series, which has been very successful. Additionally, you have such games as Dead Space. That is one that I really think I need to play. It's your classic "sole survivor on a spaceship filled with killer aliens" game. And let's not forget that Wolfenstein is being remade.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The following information would have seemed disturbing and bizarre to me, if it weren't for the fact that I work in an office that has its own Wookie. As such, this really doesn't come as any surprise to me at all.

I was reading my PC Gamer magazine last night, and I came across an article about Spore. If you're been living under a rock for the last year or so -- Spore is a computer game released quite recently that allows you to create a little single-celled organism, and evolve it up to a space-traveling intelligent life-form. You can customize everything about your little creature -- how it looks, sounds, moves, eats, etc.

Back on track: It seems that the modding community went a little overboard with their...ahem...creativity. Apparently, a lot of people have been creating porn with their spore creatures. The community has dubbed this as Sporn.

Yes, Sporn.

Now, as I said, had I not been exposed to the types of individuals I have thus been exposed to, I would have shaken my head and said, "There's no way anyone would enjoy something like that."

But now I can actually name a few who probably would. I think this falls into that "furry" category, if you want to get right down to it. If you don't know what I mean by "furry", go Google it. There's no way I'm getting on that topic right now.

So there you have it. If you're bored with porn, there's always sporn.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Yesterday was bad movie day. I like watching a bad movie every so often, because it renews my dream of one day being able to make my own movie. If movies this bad make it to the big screen, I can certainly come up with something better. Ok, so I'm not really serious about that. But hey, who doesn't enjoy a bad movie every now and then?

The movie I watched was entitled Event Horizon. It's a science fiction horror movie, starring two actors that I particularly like -- Laurence Fishburne and Sam Neill. The movie was released in 1997.

I decided to watch this movie after a friend of mine mentioned it to me a little while ago, stating that it was a horrible movie, but a horrible movie that you need to see once. That, coupled with the plot device of a man-made black hole (I have a fascination with black holes), led me to download the film this weekend and watch it.

The movie itself was not exactly what I was expecting. I'm actually trying to remember what I was expecting, because seeing the movie has utterly changed that idea I had about it anyway. I think I was expecting something like Alien, or a movie where the dangers of using technology you don't really understand bite you in the ass.

Instead, I was left with a very eerie sense of familiarity as I watched the film, because the events are ever so similar to that of the computer game Doom. It's uncanny.

1. Both take place in space and belong in the "science fiction horror" genre.
2. Both revolve around an experiment, which no on really understands. Said experiment then goes wrong and bad things happen.
3. Both suggest that the "other place", which is opened by the experiment, is actually Hell.
4. Both contain acts of self-mutilation, cannibalism, disemboweling, stringing humans up by creative and gory means, and insanity.
5. Both end with the survivors being found by a rescue squad.

I've also heard that the computer game Dead Space, which was released quite recently, actually follows the storyline of this movie even more closely than the movie followed Doom. Seems like a popular plot these days. Heh.

In any case, I got very little enjoyment out of the movie whatsoever, but that was the whole point.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

It's the holiday season...OH NO!

The holidays are coming. I don't mind the holidays. The family all together, the food, the general feeling that everyone is in a slightly better mood than they are at other times of the year. It's good stuff. The problem I have is the gaming companies. They are sadistic mother fuckers, and I'll explain why.

What do kids want for Christmas? They want games, of course. The game publishers know this. So, what do they do? They release all of their best games in the two months before Christmas, because they know they're going to sell the best at that time.

What this means for me is that all these great games come out at once, and I have zero time to play them all. Damn you, Santa. Damn you and the fat ass sled you rode in on.

Monday, November 03, 2008

So I made a valiant attempt to write a Halloween themed story, with the intent of finishing it before Halloween rolled around. Surprisingly enough, I probably could have finished it in time, but I sort of got stuck on the plot. (Give me a break, it's been a while since I sat down to write something.)

I think the problem is that I really don't enjoy writing horror, and this excercise has solidified that opinion of mine. Additionally, while I would like to believe that I have a vivid imagination, I rarely allow books or movies to frighten me. The last time I can clearly remember being afraid was August 1st, 2005 when I was hit nearly head-on by a driver who fell asleep at the wheel. I can play that scene over in my head like it just happened this morning, and this incident is so frightening because of the possibily of death, which is something we're all afraid of. If even just a little bit.

The point is, this was frightening because it was REAL, and because it happened to ME. Reading about the same exact thing in a book or seeing it on a TV screen will not even come close to having the same effect. And this is why I have difficulties invoking the emotion of fear in my writing.

So, I'll just chalk this story up as a failure and file it way. I will, however, share the basic plot with you.

The story focuses on one man, who starts to notice strange things happening on Halloween morning. He feels uneasy. People are ignoring him or don't see him. He has trouble holding on to things. We eventually learn that these things are happening because he's beginning to disappear, and the reason for this phenomenon revolves around the spirit of Samhain slowly ripping him away from the physical world. I hadn't precisely fleshed out why Samhain was doing this yet, but it was going to be related to the way this guy was living his life. So basically, it was the guy's own fault he was being deleted from existence, and I just hadn't determined exactly what he was doing to cause it. On the most basic of ideas, it was going to be because he refused to show he cared about anyone else. But it was going to be more complicated than that, because the guy DID care about the people around him very much. He just refused to show it. I had yet to develop the psychological reasoning that was causing him to do this, which would have served as the "trigger". (Or "twist", if you prefer that term. For example, Chiitsu's transformation, Kobal's transformation, Ren's sword being unsheathed, etc.)

The story was actually going well until Samhain appeared. Then it just got silly. I should have picked a different villain, because all I could imagine was the episode of The Real Ghostbusters where they fight Samhain, who was a ghost with a huge pumpkin for a head. So.Not.Scary.

This idea of self-isolation (that's the best term I have to describe the theme) is a recurring element in the stories I've written, with Chiitsu probably being the best example. But none of my previous characters had kept themselves so tightly closed as this character, and he was actually beginning to intrigue me as I developed him.

I will have to place him into a plot that is more suited to my writing talents.

I close both locks below the window.
I close both blinds and turn away.
Sometimes solutions aren't so simple.
Sometimes goodbye's the only way.

Linkin Park -- Shadow of the Day


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