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30 April 2008 @ 10:03 am
So there I was, having a nice, relaxing Sunday afternoon, recharging my mental batteries with a few rounds of Quake, when a nice big BSOD hit me.

...Okay, whatever. Reboot. "You must activate this copy of Windows in order to use it" *click* "This copy of Windows has already been activated", repeat ad infinitum. So I delete the files that are used by activation, hoping to reset it. Turns out on the next boot my mbr, as well as several segments of my hard drive have been corrupted. For the second time in a year.

So I'm done with Winblows. Totally totally done. I spent the next 8 hours installing and configuring Ubuntu (mostly compiling quake sources). I'm not new to linux, having dual-booted several times in the past. I can get around comfortably, but I've always been able to go back to windows for things like xfire, broadcasting, etc. I don't really have that option any more.

The result of this is me feeling really really clean (not at all elitest like I thought I would), but a little timid as well. It's like being in a familiar forest past dusk, where everything is just a little more treacherous than before. But, again like the forest, you know that you're just as safe as always.

No more windows for me. Ever.
23 April 2008 @ 03:45 pm
Some mornings, I think I look like Bilbo too. My feet do anyway. This semester is coming to a close, and I'm really shooting myself in the foot by being apathetic towards the assignments. I simply haven't been getting them done (even now, I'm doing this instead of an essay), but I won't fail anything. I'm determined in that. After this semester... lordy, that's why I'm writing this in the first place. I need to get my head straight.

Things I'm currently involved in:
-The OpenArena Leagues (referee and shoutcast)
-The other Tastyspleen leagues (same)
-Helping Tastyspleen take over the bloody world (by having servers for each game, and eventually running a multi-game league, aiming to bring people in from all over)
-The youth group
-The clan
-Quakecon (more shoutcast, domain dealings with Hollenshead)
-Assisting GygaxGamers with loads of things, including Lejendary Adventure
-Applying for GarageGames
-Planning for a move to Eugene

Sometimes I think I'm spreading myself too thin, then I get tired easily and overwhelmed. Looking at a list, I don't really have my fingers dipped into too much (maybe a little though). I just keep construing things to seem bigger than they are.

I discovered Tiddlywiki, and it's a pretty powerful and slick-feeling tool. Going to be using that more for organizing thoughts. Wee.

This is probably going to be one of the most eventful years of my life so far, and I'm scared of things not falling in place smoothly. I know they won't, and I can probably deal with that... but again, it's the calm before the storm. I'm looking so far ahead that I'm having trouble concentrating on the tasks at hand.

Time to set up tiddlywiki and organize myself.
23 April 2008 @ 12:33 am
Michael Krause makes me do the shotgun dance... one of the few mappers I know who manages to play subtle jokes on you. Long hallway, beveled alcoves along the way, alternating from left to right. Few imps in each one... swing, boom, swing, boom, all while moving foward. It's beautiful. The last alcove contained nothing but a lamp though- I laughed out loud. His levels always keep you moving, from tight confines to wide expanses. He understood geometry and movement. Where the hell is he now?
22 March 2008 @ 12:49 am

ZeroPunctuation is a guy who does humorous video reviews of games that are great in a ranty kind of way. He's generally great fun, though he does fall into the crowd that likes half-life for arbitrary reasons. However, in the posted video, he deals with modern fps', and he pretty much hits the nail on the head - especially when he speaks about how games used to not take themselves so seriously.

Looking back to the 90's, games in general seemed much more human-made. Back then, it was still okay for the games to mess with their players a bit, just for fun. I don't think I'm too far off base when I say that games used to have more secrets, more inside jokes (that weren't instantly turned into memes), and more rebellious than today. Scar3crow had some cool insights about how music has changed as well, and I find that the very mood of the things match almost exactly. The 90's were the time for Paradise Lost and Fear Factory, and they didn't have total media saturation. Maybe that's what's changed - "subculture" has as much marketing and commercial support as anything else these days (Hot Topic, anyone?).

So this is pretty much to give this guy the big thumbs up on this video, though it makes me feel a little bit like an old man talking about the good ol days.

One last note - Halo did bring two *good* things to the fps table. They may have existed before, but I sure hadn't seen them: offhand grenade and offhand melee. Having those actually made sense and added depth to the gameplay. As often as Halo is mimicked, I wish others would take those two features and leave the rest. Fps' in general have gone the way of MTV.
21 March 2008 @ 12:16 pm
This is just to dump my brain and make a list of what games I'm currently playing, and what I should stop wasting time on:

Quake 2
Quake 3
Urban Terror
Paintball 2

Single Player:
Guilty Gear XX

And a load of others that are just sitting on my hard drive(s).
My main fear is that I'll spread myself too thin to be any good at any of them. That's the theory anyway. I don't feel less proficient in Q2 because of Urban Terror. Perhaps if I really want to devote more time to following leagues, shoutcasting, and doing about 5 times the community involvement stuff then before, then I suppose it's good to cross-connect all these different groups of people.

Lately I've been helping out organize the Tastyspleen Leagues, and that's been including hunting around for md3 model replacements lately, as well as making brightskins (ugh) for Open Arena. I keep telling myself that this is good news for down the road, and so far it's paying off (press pass at quakecon this year? yes plz!). Oh yeah - Pro Gam3r signed me up for writing for them. At the moment, the pay isn't all that great, but I value the oppurtunities to climb the social gamer ladder a bit. They've got some respectable people over there, and I'm sure I'll soon be proud to be among them.

Will this get in the way of things like AGOKS or other things? Or is this a hint that I might be able to apply myself like this for fun and profit in years to come? These days I certainly feel involved in the community(s), and making strong efforts to bring more people into the fold, cross-network the different games, and plant seeds for a stronger community to come. I say community a lot, don't I? The people I've met at Tastyspleen and BTF have since become extended family, and are manifest of the kind of community I want to see develop around our games in the future.

I think AGOKS will draw a peculiar kind of crowd. Since we're putting a lot of effort into infusing a sense of mystery into almost every aspect of the game, one of the main goals is to make AGOKS feel... alive. I don't mean in a gimmicky-that-almost-works Bioshock\Crysis kind of way, but in a way that you feel yourself put in an utterly alien realm that is totally consistent, but never entirely understood. I like exploring. I like finding secrets. I like stumbling on things and feeling like I'm the first one to ever see something. My belief is that there are a great many people out there who feel the same way.
06 March 2008 @ 12:41 am
From the title, album cover, and what I've heard so far, this is really rich and almost ambient stuff. Think Aphex Twin's ambient albums... except this is still decidedly Trent. Taking out the vocals removes any hints of the pretentiousness that he's been accused of lately. Frankly, I've been liking With Teeth more lately (especially All the Love in the World and similar tracks).

Year Zero was pretty good, but I would be lying if I said I didn't miss the more raw sounds of albums like the Fragile and the Downward Spiral.

The way I see it, he's doing what he wants, and that's okay. As long as I'm fairly certain it stems from his own talents, and not any external marketing or financial ploys, it's cool. This stuff is getting popular fast, due to the open-source nature of the release. Hell, he's even releasing individual tracks for sampling and remixing purposes. Surefire way to get attention.

Listening to the tracks themselves though, it's very tidal in a way that only Trent can pull off. It swings effectively from his low piano chords to the teeth-grinding high guitar riffs and buzzes. Some of it is plodding and methodical, some is searingly energized, but it's all Nine Inch Nails.

He's never going to be angsty the way he was when he was younger, so now we're just seeing things develop into a different age. It's highly fascinating, like it or not.

Instrumental stuff has always been a favorite of mine, and I'd even say I sway more towards instruments than vocals, as a rule. Instrumental music is constantly open to interpretation and review. It's more flexible that way, I suppose, as well as mysterious.

Holy crap, some of this sounds like it belongs behind a Doom level, preferably something like Eternity or Requiem. I say Doom here instead of Quake because Doom historically has more thematic variation than Quake. Quake has awesome atmosphere, but it was always more ridgid due to the narrower color palette.

Now the album is back on the upswing, with some funky drum and bass backed by intermittent guitar riffs. Trent was always adept at making those little guitar riffs echo across songs, albums, and years. The same motifs always seem to leave footprints in things to come. Rather than seeming repetitive, they actually provide a semblence of meaning.

Anywho, I'm going to keep listening well into the night. Biology sucks.
05 March 2008 @ 02:26 am
I can't really think of a verse or a phrase to sum anything up, but Gary Gygax was a man among men. I count myself as one of the proud few who were exposed to his largely unsuccessful, yet favored, creation: Lejendary Adventure. His love for his craft and hobby, and the people surrounding it, were by no means affected in any way by monetary success. He was consistently involved with us, and easily included others into his world.

I won't get all weepy and geeky over what he brought many of us, but I will note his character as evidenced by his passion for what he loved. That means more than any dice game or fantasy land. He had an undying joy that stemmed from creating stories and worlds together with friends. Critics can say what they will of dark rituals, dangerous crowds, and social outcasts, but at it's core, his games were always about friends. Getting together with some friends and spending time doing something collaboratively.

I never met him personally, and was only honored a couple times by his conversation, but one can only imagine that what I know of him is merely the tip of the iceberg of his character, and only his friends and family can say more.
19 February 2008 @ 09:53 am
Not to sound like a broken record, but school really does sap away time that could be used in the multitude of projects, large and small, that I am much more passionate about. At this point, it's still up in the air whether or not I will continue formal education after my Associates (which I get in a few months... yeesh). Even if I do decide to do so, it will have to occur at a location significantly distanced from here. I suspect, overall, that it would be wise of me to get my hardware\software certificates, but really, my interests lay in the Tastyspleen community, AGOKS, Pro Gam3r Magazine (yes, they are still alive), mapping, and the youth group here. The youth group thing is especially tricky, because it's directly tied to my physical presence here. This means that, at best, I have about another year to get a stable infrastructure set up. However, it happens to be one of the few things that has the availability of other people who can help.

With a lot of online projects, it's no problem for me to get things started, but for sustainability, it really takes someone else as interested as I am. As might be guessed, this is rarely the case.

Mapping is the thing that has fallen off to the side with everything else pressing in. I hate having aspects in my life that are easily displaced by my current situation. It just so happens that those are the things that are probably most important. I actively enjoy the activity of mapping - it's just difficult to get into it for some reason. I suppose it would help if I could be more mobile with mapping. If I could take a laptop into the hills, waterfalls, etc. - that would be nifty. It would probably help if I could have everything on a usb drive, and ftp the compiled bsp's to my tastyspleen account... hmm. That may be worth pursuing.

Anywho, I'm here at a lull in school, trying to get myself organized with what I need to be doing. I've taken Jujitsu back up after a long period. Physically, it's good for me. It's also good in a relational way, due to the close ties I have with the people I consider family at the dojo. Why I make it out to be a major time drain (2 hours a week at the moment) bewilders me. I need to stop letting these things back me down.

I want to map right now, but I don't have any of the tools. That little 2 gig flash drive has to be utilized for this. Something new for me to work on.
27 January 2008 @ 12:25 am
Something profound is happening. As some may know, my life hasn't been effecient, productive, or beneficial to anybody lately. The oncoming waves of Responsibility and Decision are weighing down on me as is natural. As is also natural, doubts creep in.

However, I've been able to take some time lately. Time partly for myself, but moreso for my relationship with the Director of my life. I try not to call the shots - I have no idea how this world works.

Another thing that helped was reading some Chesterton, who I am crowning as the master of Uplifting Literature. His joyous characters truely embody that kind of pure happiness that comes from being both secure in the world and not giving a damn about it. Some call this insanity, but his characters are insane through a supernatural understanding of the Way Things Work. That helped.

There are a lot of radical changes I would like to make in my life and character that I know aren't going to happen overnight... but there are areas I can *improve* in. I figure that if I do a little better with accomplishing what I say and intend to accomplish, I'll spend less time diving into the pools of guilt and meloncholy that are so encrusted over by my failed undertakings. I can't rely on to-do lists - they are easily pushed aside. Rather, planning must come from the *exclusion* of activities so that others may be performed. I have a nifty Palm Pilot. It's time to utilize it in a way that honors the tool it is.

And it's time for me to utilize my energies and abilities in a way that honors the One who entrusted me with them.
17 January 2008 @ 02:13 pm
New semester, and things are so paradoxical right now that the only way I can get any sense of this is by ranting my poor audience. Yes, both of you.

Last semester, I actually Failed an Astronomy class due in part to the Pox (chicken variety) and the fact that the teacher cared more about tenure and scientific journals than teaching. I could have re-taken the course with another teacher in order to repair the grade... OR take a class to get me in good standing with the guy in charge of IT and therefore get me a job with the department.

Guess what's more important to me right now. Turns out the guy WANTS to give me the job. However, I don't have Financial Aid, and that's the conduit he has to use in order to pay students. I don't have the aid due to my parent's income, which I'm not getting much of anyhow. So, I gotta move out to get the aid. Moving out takes money, which takes a job, which I can't get because I can't get aid.

Huh? How the hell am I going to become financially independent like this?