Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My boss uses certain phrases quite often that I feel should be stricken from the English language.  Some of them don't even exist in the English language, and that makes them even worse.

"Same sheet of music"
This one just irritates me.  He uses this as a way of saying "I want to ensure we all know what is going on."



"Smoke Testing"

This term in and of itself doesn't irritate me.  It's just that he uses it too fucking often.

"A lot on our plate"

Just fucking say we've got a lot of work to do.  You're just making me hungry with all this talk about things on a plate.

"Dry runs"
Seriously, this makes me think of powdered diarrhea.  He uses this as a term to describe testing a scripted demonstration or training session before hand. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

I've Never Heard of Poets of the Fall Before Tonight

Tonight I finished Alan Wake's American Nightmare, and it took me just under three hours in total.  That is short, yes, but I knew that going into the game.  It's basically glorified DLC, and I'm fine with that.  I have several things that I think are worth talking about.

First, the variety of enemies.  Aside from the Splitters, the next new kind of enemy I ran across actually surprised me a bit:  Big spiders.  People who make video games seem to think every person that plays them has arachnophobia.  I certainly wouldn't like seeing a spider as big as a dog coming at me, but they don't cause me to be scared.  I found their addition to Alan Wake to be quite out of place.  So that wasn't so good.  The next new thing also surprised me, but this time in a GOOD way.  If you remember the first game, you had to deal with black birds -- they are probably crows or ravens -- that would swoop down on you in a big murder.  This happened to me tonight, and Alan's quip when they showed up was, "Oh no, not birds again!"  Well, suddenly the murder transformed into something that looked like Nosferatu.  Yeah, that one impressed me.  Well done, game.  The last type of new enemy was a HUGE thing with a buzz saw.  It's a fucking BITCH to kill, let me tell you.  Near the end of the game, I had to fight two of the big fuckers at once.  That pretty much served as the game's "Final Boss Fight".

This brings me to my next topic of discussion:  The difficulty of the game itself.  Actually, place that thought on hold for a moment.  Before I get to that, I need to discuss one other thing.

Okay, so the game is not only short, but it actually...repeats.  Part of the plot is that Alan is trying to alter reality into a certain way that will defeat his dark self.  I think he's referred to as Mr. Scratch in the game.  So here's the thing:  Alan is caught in some kind of time loop.  At one point, you get sent right back to the beginning of the game and must start all over.  Things are slightly different this time around, and bit harder, but it felt really...CRAPPY...to be doing the same things again.  After that second go through, it happened AGAIN.  This time, it was again a little bit different and quite a bit harder still.  I found the third (and final) time to be more tolerable, because it was heavily abbreviated and it was actually resolving things for a change.  I'm...torn on this method.  The obvious conclusion that one would make is that it's lazy game design to re-use the same levels over and over.  On the other hand, it used different sections of the same levels, it wasn't exactly the same, and it was actually a neat plot device.

Of course, one of the main complaints about Dragon Age 2 was how they re-used the environments.  I personally didn't have a problem with that, but every other human being on this planet thinks I'm wrong.

Alright, now on to the difficulty.  Really, three quarters of the game is ridiculously easy.  I never died and actually only got HIT maybe once or twice.  I was actually quite disappointed by that, and I'm not a person who generally likes games to be super difficult.  I want to be ENTERTAINED, not FRUSTRATED.  But...it seemed too easy even for me.  In the last quarter of the game, when the time loop started for the third time, things got real, though.  It was on like Donkey Kong.

It also took the game this long to make me jump.  In this last part, the enemies started coming from multiple locations at once, just like they did through ALL of the first game.  This leads to some of them sneaking up on you while you're focusing on something else.  There was one point where I turned around, and there was a Taken right in my face behind me.  I screamed pretty loudly at that.  It was the ONLY time playing the game that I jumped.

While we're still on the difficulty, I only died in the game about 5 times.  One of them was me trying to back up on a buzz saw monstrosity and not realizing the gate had closed behind me.  The other 4 times were all in the same spot -- on the part where I had to fight 2 buzz saw monstrosities at once, along with about a half dozen smaller Taken.  THAT was difficult.

Seguing into something else, I'd actually like to talk about the music.  The music composed for the game was done by the same person who did the first game, and naturally it's quite good.  What I found surprising, though, was the licensed music.  First of all, there was a rock song playing during the first puzzle.  (So, it played three times if you've been keeping up.)  I recognized this song not because I'd heard the song before, but because the band sounded incredibly familiar to me.  I looked it up after I'd finished the, and sure enough, it was Kasabian.  Brilliant.  It was the song Club Foot, if you're curious.  Great tune.  Probably my third favorite Kasabian song now.

Even more brilliant was the song that played during the last big fight.  (Yes, that fight with the 2 monstrosities that kicked my ass 4 times.)  Boss fight music is always interesting, because usually for me I'm too focused on the boss fighting aspect of things to really pay much attention to it.  When I notice boss fight music, you can sure it's GOOD music.  I mean, take the boss fight music in Diablo 3 as an example.  That's amazing music.

The song that played during the final fight in AWAN was amazing in a different kind of way.  Blizzard's music is epic music.  It moves you.  It makes you feel the emotions that are being played out in the boss fight.

This song in AWAN simply made you feel, "Oh, it's time to kick ass."  It put a smile on my face.  Look it up if you'd like.  The song is "The Happy Song" by Poets of the Fall.  Imagine starting a boss fight at the 45 second mark, and you'll know exactly what I mean.

I'd never heard of Poets of the Fall before tonight, either.  I've since downloaded their album that contains The Happy Song, and I'm digging it quite heavily.

Anyway, let's get back on topic now, shall we?

All in all, I found Alan Wake's American Nightmare to be a very enjoyable little piece of gaming.  As I said before, I really enjoyed that old-time science fiction feel to it layered over top of a modern game and story.  The ending was formulaic, and y'know what?  I like formulaic endings, damn it!  Bad guy loses.  Good guy wins.  The end.  Thank you very much.  Call me overly romantic or boring when it comes to story telling; I don't much care.  I like optimistic endings.

It's never about the ending, anyway.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Waking Up in a Nightmare

If you haven't read the three posts that I made about Alan Wake back in February, I recommend that you go check them out before reading this post.  Don't worry, I'll wait.  

Back?  Good.  On Tuesday, the...damn, I don't know what to call this.  I was going to say DLC.  But it's not.  Alright.  It's called Alan Wake's American Nightmare, and it's a standalone release.  I guess I would call it a continuation of the original game, but your guess is as good as mine.  Like the first game, the story is very classic, very basic science fiction.  (Hint:  That means you won't really know what the balls is going on.)

So we'll just keep it simple and say it's a continuation.  If you don't want spoilers, stop reading now.  The first game ended on a rather sour note, and I think I complained about it back in February.  This game solves that problem, actually, because you're given hints that this is really picking up right where the first game left off.  Alan was stuck in the darkness, trying to write his way out.  Well, now he's out, and he's landed in Arizona.  The darkness came with him, and it seems it has manifested itself into a dark version of Alan Wake himself.  I've seen it on a TV screen -- from what he said, it seems like he's trying to take over Alan's life.  Sort of like it wants to actually take his place.

The game plays exactly like the first one.  It looks like there have been some graphical improvements -- Alan looks better; especially his clothes.  The lip synching is still bad, though.  That was a problem in the first game, too.  Remedy aren't exactly known for their great lip synching, so I'm not going to dwell on it too much.  Hell, Max Payne 1-2 didn't even have moving lips.

There's one thing I'm wondering, and it's a pretty significant change from the first game:  Alan Wake had many wonderful jump scares.  It kept me on edge, and I yelled at my screen on many occasions.  This game lacks that.  I think it may have been a design choice.  It's playing more like an action game rather than a survival horror game.  I'm not exactly sure I like that; not yet anyway.  I'll have to see how things play out with the rest of the game to make a final decision there.

A few new things have been added.  The manuscript pages are back to find, but they actually serve a purpose now; you can use them to unlock weapon cases that give you a pretty significant edge against your enemies.  It's an interesting way to actually reward the player for exploring aside from just giving them achievements for collecting the pages themselves.  I'm in favor of this.

I've seen one change to the enemies so far.  There's one kind of Taken that will split into more Taken when you shine your flashlight on them, making them weaker but more numerous.  It's a cool change of pace when they are thrown into the mix.

One change that amused me the most was the narration.  In the first game, it was Alan doing the narrating himself.  That's changed now -- it's a totally different voice doing the narration, and it's done in the most blatant rip off ever of The Twilight Zone.  The entire game is presented like it's an episode of a TV show just like TZ.  It's corny as hell but brilliant at the same time.

Also, it feels like they are trying to push the envelope on the feeling of an open world.  They're no where near a Skyrim or a Fallout, or even a GTA for that matter, but it was cool to have this safe haven in the middle of the map and being able to explore out from it to get what I needed, and then make my way through the darkness back to that brightly lit area.  It was a good immersive technique.

That's about all I have to say on the game for the moment.  I've got just under an hour of playtime on it so far.  Given the price, I'm not expecting more than a couple of hours.  You can pick it up for under $13 currently on Steam.  If the rest of the game plays out like it has been, I would definitely say it's worth the price.  Even if the scares aren't there, I'm still having a lot of fun playing as Alan once more.  It's good to hear him again, and it's good to experience that oddball, quirky humor that so entertained me in the first game.

Below are a few screenshots I took tonight for your viewing enjoyment.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Do you know what's odd?  I really love the smell of coffee, but I borderline detest the taste of it.  I think that, perhaps, I have an addiction to sugar, or just to sweet tasting things in general.  That may explain my equal dislike for vegetables.

I don't necessarily have a point here.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Nothing puts a big, fat wedge between two sides of the gaming community than a AAA title that's taken 10 years to release.  Unless it's Duke Nukem Forever.  We all agree that we hate that one.  

No, I'm talking about Diablo 3 of course.  

It just so happens that I quite like the game, and I would like to share my views in some way, shape, or form.  To do so, I decided the best thing to do would be to pick apart a negative review of the game.  My reasons for doing so aren't to try and "prove myself right", or prove the writer of this other article "wrong" -- this is opinion, after all, and there is no right or wrong.  No, it's more because I needed talking points, and this article provides them to me.  It's also an effort to show you that there's always more than one viewpoint when it comes to...well, anything, really.  

The article I'm dissecting can be found here:

I very much recommend reading RPS often.  It is a very good PC gaming website.  

Let's start with the second paragraph.  The original articles contents will be in blue.  My comments will naturally be in my native orange.  

Diablo III is mostly very slick. It’s a very decent game. The first three hours are very gratifying, a sense of having everything done right. It’s an aRPG born of decades of experience, streamlined and minimalist to the point of diamond-like perfection. But much like a perfect diamond, it bears a lot in common with a bit of glass. That all-encompassing need to Just Keeping Clicking is there, the sense of continuous, satisfactory progress is in place. You’re never not improving your equipment, skills and crafting abilities. It’s the concept of Diablo, and of a decade’s Diablo clones, refined. But with absolutely nothing new.

So, the first argument against Diablo 3 made here is that it didn't do anything new.  If you're going to look at the bare bones idea of Diablo, saying that it does nothing new is sort of like saying "Oh, it's a new car.  All you do is drive it.  Therefore, it is bad, because it has no other use."  I have to wonder, what else is it someone would want from Diablo?  If you do something new with it, something that alters the core of the game...well, then it's not Diablo anymore.  I, along with what I think is the majority of fans, WANTED Diablo out of Diablo 3.  And that's precisely what we got.  If you don't like that original type of game, that's all well and good.  But I don't understand how you can fault Diablo for being Diablo.  It seems silly.

As I explore Act II, I’m still bewildered as to how they could have taken so long to make a game that adds so little. The engine is pretty enough, lavishly detailed, it does the job, but remains extremely dated in concept – there’s no analogue zoom (you can uselessly zoom right in on your character, which is great for screenshots and not a lot else), you can’t rotate the camera, you can’t interact with the world while the map’s on screen, the inventory covers up the map, and the tool-tips for loot seem completely arbitrary as to whether they’ll show up or not. No, rotating cameras aren’t necessary. But it’s important to keep in mind how relatively primitive the game is, when then taking into account its failings.

Do any of these things take away from your enjoyment of the game?  I have yet to feel the need to either zoom in or rotate the camera.  Unlike when I'm playing League of Legends, I've never felt that my camera just wasn't in the right place.  I feel that way a LOT with LoL.  A lot of the times the camera feels terribly clunky to me.  I've never had that sensation in Diablo.  I suppose it would be cool to interact with the world while the large map is up, but I can't honestly say I've ever wanted to.  The mini-map is usually more than sufficient for me to find my way.  On the few occasions where I've had to bring up the large map, it was only for a few seconds.  I was able to glance at it in that time, see where I needed to go, and then continue on my way without incident.  If you're looking at your inventory, why do you need to also simultaneously look at your map?  When I'm looking at my inventory, I'm studying gear to make upgrade decisions.  I'm not also looking at where I need to go.  This is sort of like saying, "Well, I can't see the road when I pull down my visor to fix my make-up in the vanity mirror."  Well, yes, that's because you're not supposed to be driving while you do that.  And I have no idea what you are talking about when you refer to the tooltips.  They always work for me.  I realize that doesn't mean the issue doesn't exist...but that seemed like a really obtuse thing to mention.  

And they all come in the form of the always-on DRM. Yes, people are sick of the topic. But that doesn’t make it something that can be ignored. It was because the connection dropped in the solo game I’m playing that all those events in the first paragraph took place. Eventually, about fifteen minutes later, it admitted the connection was gone, and restarting yet again put me back at the last checkpoint, one dungeon and an entire map ago. And nothing – absolutely nothing – interesting lies between me and where I’ve reached twice before.

Okay, the always-on DRM is hated.  This one I can get behind, in a way.  I can completely sympathize with people who hate it, and who just want to play the game solo and not really worry about anything else.  You have my empathy.  However, I also cannot legitimately criticize Blizzard's decision.  They want their games to be part of a large community.  You may not agree with it, but that's their business model.  They want to keep people on Battle.net.  You can make all the accusations you want about them trying to leech money out of their customers, but what you -can't- deny is that Blizzard does a whole fuck-of-a-lot of things for the gaming community.  Has the DRM annoyed me?  Sure, on more than one occasion is has.  But I don't let it bother me too much because I view Diablo 3 as an online game.  If you try to argue that it's not, you have already lost the argument.  Blizzard has DESIGNED it to be an online game.  Who do you think you are to say that's incorrect?  

These failings, the DRM-based brokenness of the game, breaks the spell. While you’re able to just endlessly progress, endlessly improve, endlessly move forward, the illusion is cast around you and there’s enormous fun to be had. But in repeatedly forcing you to pointlessly repeat swathes of the game, it reveals just how little there really is.

Okay, well, now I think you're just angry about the DRM.  I've had to repeat the same dungeon on one, maybe two, occasions.  Each time, I got a new random event that I hadn't gotten the first time.  I also had different rare monster spawns that dropped rare loot that I hadn't seen before.  I found a new niche of the dungeon that I hadn't found the first time.  I don't understand this complaint at all.  It sounds like you're trying to justify your hatred of DRM by taking it out on the other aspects of the game.  Granted, that doesn't mean that I'm saying server issues are okay.  Certainly they are not.  You are more than justified to complain about them.  

But what does Diablo III actually add to the franchise, and even to the genre it created? The skills are made more simple, but in doing so actually end up feeling restrictive. Switching off those limitations only seems to confuse things. The inventory is less of a Tetris-frustration, but in that regard just means you portal to your base, sell all, return, and it plays no meaningful factor. (And the Act II base is hopelessly poorly laid out, meaning running to the one merchant is a bore, and the nearby town a chore.)

I've got no issues with the skills.  I have the auto-setting disabled, and I put things where I want them.  It's rather intuitive.  I don't find things too simple or restrictive -- each time I level up, I enjoy pulling up the skills window and analyzing each new thing to see if there's something I want to swap out.  Sometimes I replace an old ability with a newer one.  Sometimes I bring an old ability back because the newest rune makes it seem more interesting or fun now.  Sometimes I move things around.  I think maybe on one occasion I didn't make any changes at all, but I still sat there for about ten minutes thinking it over.  It was FUN.  Might it be too simple for some gamers?  Sure, I suppose.  I'm not exactly what you would call hardcore.  

In regards to selling things, well I never just simply sell things.  I disenchant my blues and yellows that I'm not going to use, I stash the items that I feel I may use on other characters, I craft some new gear with the materials I received from disenchanting, I craft some gems that I'd found along the way, I make sure I have enough health potions, and then yes, I sell some things.  I sell some things after listening to the amusing things the merchant has to say to me.  Since I find all of this to be rather fun, I would say it plays QUITE the meaningful factor.  

Also, you lose a bit of validity from me when you say running to a merchant is a bore.  That tells me that you don't particularly care for this type of game at all.  I love just running around the game world.  You never know what you're going to find.  

Monsters don’t attack in interesting new ways. While what almost everyone wanted was a click-fest, it would have been nice for there to be a reason for having those extra skills. I forget they’re there until I reach the toughest bosses, and then just hammer randomly. I think I’ve died four times thus far, playing solo, and try as I might can find no way to increase the difficulty to anything halfway interesting. I mean, I’ve 87 health potions in my inventory – what are they even for? The game drops so much health in every fight that it’s mostly impossible to get hurt.

As I've said before, I don't think a majority of people waiting for this game wanted anything other than Diablo.  Despite that, however, I actually question whether or not you were paying attention to how monsters attack.  There are arrows and fireballs to dodge.  There are axe swings to sidestep.  There are knockbacks to avoid.  There are lines of wasps to run away from.  And some of the times, avoiding these attacks will cause the monster to become stunned, disoriented, or otherwise open to more attacks.  There are some monsters that move incredibly fast, necessitating the need for a snare or slow of some kind.  Some explode upon death, necessitating you stay away from them until they do.  Some spawn more monsters after they die.  Some, you have to focus quickly before they finish channeling their super-oh-I-don't-want-that-to-happen spell.  Some need to be focused because all they do is stand there and spawn more monsters, or they resurrect the ones you're killing.

Are we even playing the same game here?  

And in regards to not getting hurt, I guess you're just too epic at this game.  Surely better than myself.  I'm playing on the first difficulty, and this game does tend to have teeth.  I've found some parts of it to be quite difficult.  I've died a few times, but moreso I've ALMOST died quite a number of times.  And it's thrilling when that happens.  

The only novel enemy attacks I’ve noticed are the waspy dragonfly things, who just fly away from you, meaning if you’re not playing a ranged character they’re just tedious to fight. And there’s the beasts that cast fear on you, constantly taking away your controls, which has been fun in this many games: none.

Oh, you mentioned the wasps!  Cool.  And I forgot about the guys who fear you.  See, there's another in the list!  More to the point, however -- I guess I just don't understand how you can say the game is too easy in one paragraph, and then complain about fast wasps and monsters who fear in the other.  I suppose I can understand you just not liking their abilities.  But with so much VARIETY of monsters, contrary to what you might think I suppose, there are bound to be a few that you don't like.  I guess what I'm trying to say is...you can't have it both ways.  

The other huge problem is loot and shops. I’ve bought almost nothing from a merchant, since their goods are always generations poorer than anything I’ve looted. And worse, weapon drops haven’t meant anything since the merchant I helped out in Act I sold me weapons literally twice as powerful as I’ve found since. The balancing here is utterly dreadful, and that’s perhaps the most crucial thing for an aRPG to get right.

I simply find this to be untrue.  I'm consistently replacing gear, no matter where I get it.  I've bought things from vendors.  I've crafted things.  I've gotten drops.  (Lots and lots of drops.)  And I'm always getting new things.  I love having to analyze every good drop I get, or every good item the merchant has, and finding out if I really want it.  And furthermore, the stuff the merchants have is random and changes often.  So again, I find your comments here completely untrue.  

Of course, people will argue that to solo Diablo is to miss the point. Two responses to that. Firstly, the game does offer a solo game, and is designed to be played that way, so it’s absolutely vital that it be balanced and worthwhile. And secondly, and perhaps more crucially, of all the points above the solo aspect really only affects the difficulty levels – the rest remains an issue no matter how it’s played. Oh, and if you’ve not had server issues, others have, and that doesn’t make server issues okay – kind of a crucial one to remember there.

Well, since just about the only thing I've really agreed with you on so far is the server issues, I'd say I'm doing alright!  

And yet, all these gripes, all these issues, I’d likely have just clicked past were the game not so woefully and deliberately broken. It’s fascinating to realise just how important the spell is to Diablo, and quite how damaging it is to have it broken. What’s revealed is a hollow game, that in no way fills in the gaps with the frankly abysmal writing. Of the three companions so far, none is even tolerable, and my monk is a sanctimonious moron. My NPC accompaniment repeat their lacklustre lines of nothingness with the sadness of a dementia patient, half the time talking at the same time as a book I’m reading. And as I face repeating the same damned map for a third time, watching my characters stagger about trapped in lag despite my strong, steady internet connection, I just start thinking about Grim Dawn and Torchlight II, and how much I can’t wait to see what they add to the genre. Because as far as I can tell Diablo III, as fun as it is when the spell lasts, has added little more than wantonly stupid DRM.

Abysmal writing?  This has to be the most ludicrous statement I've ever read.  The story has me ENTHRALLED in the game.  Most of the time, even though my wrist and eyes hurt, I keep playing because I want to see what's going to happen next in the story.  I want to fight the next boss because the story has me WANTING to see that demon dead.  I find the companions charming -- especially the Templar who I keep with me solo just about all the time.  I love listening to them banter in town with each other.

I would have called your article very well done if it weren't for this last paragraph.  In it, you manage to do a lot of damaging things.  First, you pretty much hit home that the reason you don't like Diablo 3 is because of the DRM, since it's about the fifth time you said so.  This makes all your other arguments weak, because everyone is going to assume they're just fluff to add to your DRM complaint to make it seem more justifiable to call it a bad game.

I don't necessarily blame you, however.  With the way Torchlight 2 markets itself (cheap, no DRM, mod support), it's not hard to see why you'd feel the need to plug their game in your Diablo 3 article.  This is despite the fact that the reason Torchlight was so well regarded was because it didn't change ANYTHING and kept it bare bones SIMPLE, which are precisely the things you are criticizing about Diablo 3.  And with how long Diablo 3 was in development and how much hype was behind it, it's oh-so-easy to pick it apart and bring it down.  It probably feels rather satisfying to do so, as well.

There's one other thing I'd like to mention, and it's actually something in support of always needing to be connected to Battle.net while playing the game.  (Shock, horror, get ready to lynch me!)  I like being able to pull up my friends list and see who is playing D3, just in case I might want to join them or simply to ask them how their making out in their progress.  That's pretty cool.  (Jab, jab, poke.)

That's all I've got.  

Monday, May 14, 2012

So far, this has been a lovely month for fantasy.

To start with, I've been reading The Wind through the Keyhole.  The Dark Tower series has always been a bit borderline on its fantasy.  It definitely has it, but it also has a lot of other things too, such as horror, western, science fiction, and good 'ol fashioned drama.  So you never totally get that immersive feel that you'd get reading, say, Tolkien.  This book is different, however.  I'm currently in the story that is the story within the story in the story (yes, you heard me), and it's very much fantasy.  I mean, there are dragons!  Can't get more fantasy than that.

Next, getting back into Skyrim has been some good relaxing therapy for me.  It's no secret that work has been a major pain in my ass lately, and it's been nice to be able to unwind with it some more.  Also, I like how the size of the game to be BEFORE I replayed it was "huge", but now it's "fucking huge" because of the unbelievable amount of additional content I'm finding.

I also have a rather interesting story to tell, but I've suddenly lost interest in telling stories, so that one's going to have to wait until later!

Also, Diablo 3 soon.  It's a necessity that I mention that.  It's a necessity that the entire WORLD mentions that.  

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

In addition to the current subjects currently being taught in public schools, I have one that should be added to the list:  "How to properly voice your own opinion."

I say this because a vast majority of people have no idea how to properly do this.  I shall share with you the most controversial example of this that I can find:

This week, the state of North Carolina amended their constitution, adding vague verbiage to define marriage as being between a man and a woman only.  One of the supporters of this passage said, and I quote:

"We are not anti-gay; we are pro-marriage.  And the point -- the whole point -- is simply that you don't rewrite the nature of God's design for marriage based on the demands of a group of adults."

Okay, let's get down to the business of picking this quote apart piece by delicious piece.

I will avoid a few things here to make this short.  I won't go into my distaste for organized religion, for one thing.  I also won't go into my thoughts that religion has ABSOLUTELY no place in government.  But please do keep those two things in mind as you read this rant.

So let's just go with the obvious.  When did God explain his design for marriage?  I certainly didn't hear it from him personally, and I seriously doubt if anyone else on this planet has, either.  If the so-called "design" is being interpreted from The Magic Book of Magic Answers, also known as The Bible, then I have some bad news for these people, since that book was written by humans.

Furthermore, this person goes on to say that rewriting the nature of God's design for marriage is wrong.  But I guess rewriting government law based on the demands of a group of adults is okay?  What a hypocrite.

Any and all of that is pretty secondary, though.  The bottom line is that no one has the right to tell another person how to live their life.  You can disagree with someone all you want.  Hell, you can even hate them if you're that kind of person.  But the moment you start trying to dictate how they live their lives is the moment you become wrong.  It's that simple.  That's not even an opinion.  It's common sense.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

I am amazed that my ancestors even made it onto this continent from Europe.  Given how fucking INEPT we as humans are at driving in the rain, the European explorers should have drowned on the trip over here.

Sunday, May 06, 2012

I saw a meme the other day featuring the Y U NO guy.  It said, "Seasons, Y U NO in order this year?!"  It made me laugh because it's pretty accurate.  The winter was incredibly mild.  It was actually quite nice, but we're going to pay for it.  I seem to recall reading somewhere that mild winters lead to summers that are really bad for bugs.  This makes sense to me when I think about it -- if it doesn't get cold enough to freeze quite deeply under the ground, then all those damned eggs the insects laid are going to survive.  Lots of them.  I think it will be quite unpleasant.

In any case, the seasons really were out of whack.  We had three weeks of wintry-type weather in late April, and that really sucked.  It was really nice out for just about all of March and part of April.  Because of this, as you may recall me posting here, I started a bunch of seeds indoors, thinking that I would plant them sometime in late April.  Given my description of late April above, you can imagine it didn't quite work out that way.  This weekend was the first really nice weekend in about a month, and the seeds I've planted are now a gangling, stringy mess.

I took the stuff outside today, and I salvaged what I could -- this amounted to about five pumpkin plants and two bean plants.  We'll see if they actually grow.  I haven't really looked at the flower seeds yet, but I think all the Alyssium are salvageable.  The rest, probably not.

That's okay though, it's not like seeds are expensive or anything.

Aside from that, I got a lot of other things done outside today.  I purchased 4 tomato plants and 4 pepper plants yesterday, and I planted all of those.  I have no doubt they will fare better than my attempt as germinating seeds indoors.

Friday, May 04, 2012

I'm sitting here testing a VBA coded Excel spreadsheet.  As I'm testing, I'm wondering how the hell any of this is going to be ready in 10 days.  I'm also shaking my head at how ridiculous my job is.  I am the "Conversion Manager" by title; this means that I handle new, incoming accounts that sign up for this particular software service.  The manager portion of the title is also quite laughable.  I don't manage anyone.

Nor do I do anything else that is described in my job title.

This isn't necessarily a problem for me, because I enjoy most of what I do.  But it begs the question:  Whose job am I doing, and why are they getting paid more money than me for not doing it?  And yeah, I know, "Oh, you should just be happy you have a job!  There are so many people who are unemployed!"  You know what?  Fuck you.  If I wanna bitch about the incompetence of the human race in a corporate structure, I'm going to fucking do it!

To list all the hats I'm wearing for this next software release:  Business Analyst, Quality Assurance Specialist, Junior Developer, Project Manager, Risk Assessment Consultant....

The reason I'm bitching about doing all these different things isn't because I don't like it.  It's actually cool to do this stuff.  It's also cool to be relied upon and to be considered knowledgeable enough to be given these tasks.  What I find irritating is the whole mentality of the corporate structure where apparently a normal work day doesn't even exist anymore; you're expected to be working all the time.

This isn't the case with me, but I can see how very easily I could let it happen if I didn't flatly refuse to even bring my work-issued mobile device home with me. When I leave this office, preferably after 8 hours of work, I'm DONE WORKING.  A lot of people seem to have a large amount of trouble with that concept.

Do you want to know my theory on why obesity is such a problem in America?  It's not because we're lazy and stupid.  It's because everyone is working too fucking hard, and they don't have the TIME to eat correctly and exercise.  They're too busy obsessing over all the e-mails coming in on their Blackberry.

So perhaps the "stupid" part of it is correct after all.

And the reason for this is the reason for all the stupid shit that happens on this planet.  It's the reason why politicians are all liars and don't give two fucks about the average person.  It's the reason why our rights as human beings are being infringed upon by large corporations.  It's the reason we can't have nice things.


Politicians only care about the people who give them millions of dollars for their campaigns.  The MIAA and the RIAA have billions of dollars, and use those billions of dollars to make sure they get MORE billions of dollars by giving those said politicians billions of dollars so that our rights as people are taken away though the censorship of the Internet and harassment by court orders and subpoenas.  And we can't have nice things because we don't have enough money to afford them.  Ever.  You may as well stop trying.

Oh, and need I mention that the more money you have, the less you have to pay in taxes?  I could talk about how fucked up governments are all day long, but quite honestly I'm already tiring of it.  

Back on the point in topic, everyone is overworked because corporations refuse to hire the appropriate number of people to get a job done.  Why?  Because then they will make more MONEY!  MONEY MONEY MONEY!  Therefore, those that are hired are squeezed for every last will of life they have, pouring every waking moment of their existence into their job, just so they can make ends meet.

Pretty bleak outlook, eh?  Sadly it's not entirely far from the truth.

When I start going off on rants such as these, it's an indication that I've been staring at the same spreadsheet for far too long this morning.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

I like bad movies.  I think the reason for this is because most of the time, bad movies are a hell of a lot more fun than good movies.  For example, I rather enjoyed the movie 2012.  It was a cool idea, I love John Cusack, and I just really enjoyed it.  The Artist, on the other hand, can go die in a fire.

Perhaps the problem is that my definition of a bad movie is incorrect.  I suppose it's logical to conclude that just because critics don't like a movie, well, that doesn't necessarily make it bad.  I'll use the movie 2012 as an example.  The critics didn't particularly like that movie.  Does that make it bad?  Perhaps not.  Popular opinion on the movie is also negative.  I hate using Metacritic -- I honestly wish the website would die in a fire, too -- but the movie is old enough now that the user reviews should be a rather accurate representation of what the average person thinks of it.  So that's two strikes against the film, I suppose.  On the other hand, the movie made almost $800 million.  Does the box office draw of a movie hold any weight when it comes to judging the "goodness" of a movie?

Or should I just say "I'll like a movie if I fucking want to, and no one else is going to tell me otherwise!"?

I kind of like that.

All that being said, I've been working with movies a lot over the past week, and it got me thinking because all the movies that I'm in the mood to watch at the moment aren't particularly award-winning films.  As odd as it may be coming from me, I seem to really enjoy dumb action films.  It seems odd, because it's nearly the opposite mentality I have to the kinds of video games that I enjoy playing.  If you took the kinds of movies that I like to watch, and applied it to video games, you would probably assume that my favorite games would be Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty.  And you would be so far off from the truth that the universe would die a heat death before you got back.  I find that amusing.  (Not the heat death thing.  The video game assumption thing.)


Holy smokes.  The last post I wrote for this blog was on October 18, 2017.  Through the little more than  two years since, this blog has be...