Saturday, December 29, 2007

Being Friends With A Former Love Interest

Is it possible to be friends with a person that you have had a strong romantic interest in or a person that you had a relationship with? I've been forced to wonder about this a lot lately. I don't know if I can do it.

For me, there are so many mixed up emotions and blurred lines that shouldn't be crossed that it's a pretty difficult scenario. I want to remain friends, but I don't know if I can handle it and retain what's left of my sanity.

In my experience, I find that my expectations never quite seem to match up with her expectations. I mean, the obvious solution is that the boundaries of the friendship are determined by intersection of the sets of expectations (sadly, math terminology is the most clear to me in describing this). However, that means that neither person's expectations will ever be fulfilled.

This is a pretty painful prospect for two people who once shared something far more. The only real question is if it's more painful to not be friends or to be friends.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Sarah McLachlan + John Lennon

This has been my favorite Christmas song since last Christmas when it was released: Sarah McLachlan - Happy Xmas

I'm a big fan of both Sarah McLachlan and The Beatles, so any time they're combined, I'm kind of a sucker for the result. Also, the similar context of the time when the song was written and the current time of war just makes the song so fitting.

Holiday Blues

The holiday season always gets me down a little bit. This time of year for me is mostly about family and my family still feels broken ever since my sister's death. I don't know if it's possible for anyone to ever recover from something like that, but I know I still haven't.

I'm a relatively boring person. Around the holidays, usually, my sister would be the more interesting person. She'd have ideas for christmasy stuff to do and that sort of thing. She was always kind of the complementary element to my personality, since I typically prefer not doing much at all for the holidays. In her absence, the holidays feel uninspired for me. I'd even go as far as to say they feel hollow. I can't not think about her around this time of year, and that of course drags down my spirits.

I have to keep reminding myself that she would want us to be happy, so if nothing else, we should be happy for her sake. It's hard, sometimes, though.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Media Player Boosts WOW Performance?

Quick side note to anybody out there who plays World of Warcraft: I haven't confirmed this myself, but this article suggests running Windows Media Player in the background boosts performance of World of Warcraft.

I honestly can't see those huge gains happening on my computer since my loading times aren't even 15 seconds to begin with, but hey, it just might work for you.

I Miss My (Roommate's) Kitty

My roommate went home to see her mom for Christmas. She took her cat with her so that I wouldn't have to take care of her cat for her while she was gone. Not to say that I don't miss my roommate, but I miss her cat a lot too.

Recently, her cat started sleeping on my lap while I was on the computer. I even have scratches on my legs from when she suddenly decided to jump off on several occasions to prove it. There's just something so nice about having a cat happily on my lap while I do whatever I'm doing. In general, the cat would just come around periodically to see what I was up to and cause some trouble when she wanted attention. Sure, she was sometimes a little bit of a nuisance (like when I'm trying to fold my laundry but she wants to bury herself in my warm clothes), but at the end of the day, I really like having a cat around the house.

I'm going to be even more sad when my roommate finishes her degree and moves back home. I really want to adopt a cat of my own at some point now. I think I've proven that my allergy to cats has diminished enough that I can handle it. =)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Leadership Skills

It's funny, playing arena in World of Warcraft has made me realize how rare it is that people are able to be good leaders. On my warlock's team, I'm the leader, so we have a reasonably good leader. Consequently that team has been fairly successful consistently.

On my priest's team, we continually have problems with coordination because I cannot lead the offense as a priest whose main job is kiting and defensive type stuff. Our main warrior is an awesome guy, but he's of the simple "tell me what to kill and I'll kill it" mindset. Our warlock is trying to step up into a leadership type role, but he honestly lacks the tactical knowledge to make the right calls and quickly. One of our two mages is also very quiet and not confident enough to call plays. Our other mage would be fairly capable to calling plays, but he's not always in the game and he is not the sort who volunteers to do it. When he does it, though, he does a fairly good job. We really need someone on the team to assume the role of leader of the offense.

Being a good leader is not easy. You need to have the confidence and knowledge to quickly call plays that will determine your team's fate. It's not easy to accept the responsibility that a lot of times when you lose, it's your fault for calling the wrong play. You have to have the patience to teach your team what you want them to do better when things go wrong. You have to also have the desire to win so you can inspire your team to keep pushing just a little farther than they thought they were capable of. You have to be able to adapt on the fly as situations arise but you have to still never lose sight of the overall strategy. You need to have the patience to manage the team members and the organization to track people's schedules.

Honestly, when we started my warlock's team, I didn't think we'd be capable of getting much more than an 1850 rating by the end of the season. However, we've come quite far since then, even finishing last week as the number 1 team on my server and 80th overall in the battlegroup.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I was recently curious about wasabi, that spicy green paste you get with sushi in Japanese restaurants in case you didn't know, so I snooped around a bit a stumbled into this article on wasabi. I had no idea that real wasabi was extraordinarily rare and expensive and that the vast majority of restaurants use a mixture of horseradish and green dye in its place. I mean horseradish and wasabi are closely related, but it was a tad disappointing to find out that I've probably never had real wasabi.

Real wasabi, apparently, only grows under very rare circumstances, namely they need to grow with clean, flowing water with a particular mineral balance. There are only a handful of places that naturally have the right conditions, but people grow wasabi with hydroponics now. I think I should make it a quest to find some place where I can try real wasabi. =)

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Game Review Sites

Major game review sites are completely biased. I never really trust their reviews. Then recently, a GameSpot editor was fired after he gave a harsh review of a very big advertiser who paid GameSpot a lot of money.

Yeah, that move makes you look really good, GameSpot. Keep up the good work.

This is a neat site:

It tests your vocabulary and each time you get a question right it donates 20 grains of rice to end world hunger via the United Nations World Food Program. On top of that, it will adapt to your vocabulary level depending on how well you do. You can get up to level 50, but the FAQ says that it's pretty rare to even get above 48. So far, I'm having trouble pushing beyond level 45. =( Trying is fun, though, and I can help feed starving people in the world while I do. ;)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It Was Inevitable....

Some website offering to sell you a spot in Heaven.

It's funny because it points out a lot of the absurdity in religion. This guy's product is just as verifiable as any other way to get into Heaven.

Monday, December 3, 2007

2, The Ranting Gryphon

I have no idea who this guy is, but I stumbled across a couple of entertaining rant videos he made on Youtube.

Global Warming

He mixes a bit of being right with a bit of being funny, angry, and offensive. =)

Freedom Of Speech Needs To Be Protected

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is fighting a battle to protect freedom of speech in blogs.

Why is it that one of America's founding principles, freedom of speech, is under so much attack these days? Even the realm of anonymous blogs is under attack. Why should a blogger be forced to reveal his identity against his will? If there is no reason to expect a blog will incite others to commit crimes or otherwise cause anyone harm, why is there a problem?

Political Compass

I remember stumbling across a while back and finding it to be a very interesting site. They attempt to add one more axis to the usual "right" and left" labels that are used in politics. They achieve fairly interesting results. I recommend taking their test to figure out where your political leanings are just to get a good idea.

This is a graph of their results for the current crop of presidential candidates.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Arena Season 3 In World Of Warcraft

Season 2 had a very disappointing end for me (hence my lack of posts lately). I've been dealing with keeping my arena teams functional for the close of season 2 and preparing them for the start of season 3. First off, my dear friend paladin's computer totally died during Thanksgiving week and we had some serious issues getting the team functional even. She had to pull out an old backup computer from her basement and install it, which made it pretty impossible for us to succeed through our regularly scheduled sessions. She did turn off every graphical option possible to boost performance so that we could do one last good push on the last day of the season. We got to within 10 points of our goal (earning the "Duelist") title, but then fell back down. That was a real downer, but so many matches we lost were extremely close and we would have had a very good chance at winning if we had a slightly different class composition. So I've had to fight my own frustrations and push my teams forward.

On my warlock's team, we did an impromptu session yesterday, starting off this season 10-0 just to get the ball rolling. We'll be running our usual sessions this weekend and we've decided to start recruiting a good discipline priest (if you coincidentally are one and want to play on Kilrogg with us, lemme know!).

On my priest's 3v3, I convinced my dear friend rogue to spec more for PVP instead of PVE and we took off to an 11-1 start this season late last night. The one game we lost, we simply didn't manage to finish off the other team's warlock in the opener and after we used up our super aggressive opening tricks, we lost the endurance match to their superior endurance composition.

On my priest's 5v5, our original paladin showed up again late last night, so hopefully we can run him and our new paladin while we get our new paladin geared up. Our original paladin was by far our best paladin of the 3 we went through in season 2 in terms of gear and skill. His one problem was his temper. =(

Hopefully Season 3 brings good fortune and possibly Duelist titles for both of my characters. I feel like this season will probably be my last arena season, so I want it to be good.

Friday, November 23, 2007

"Ave Maria" from "Hitman"

Sometimes movies(and games) that I wouldn't expect to have really beautiful music in them surprise me. One such example is the new "Hitman" movie. The movie is about a hitman who works for some strange outcast sect of the church and kills for good. In summary, it's a violent video game movie. However, the movie features a rendition of "Ave Maria" performed by Christina England Hale that is quite beautiful.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

My First World Of Warcraft Add-On

I saw a PVP video of a shaman where he had some mod spamming his party's chat with all the debuffs he purged. I thought that that was a good idea, so I tried to see if there was something like that for priests. I couldn't find anything, so I decided to make something for priests. Priests in arena have some of the most important jobs in dispelling, since priests are the only class that can remove paladin bubbles and mage ice blocks and can dispel offensively and defensively.

I made DispelReporter to fill this niche. It started off as a brain dead simple mod that would shoot out a raid warning whenever some key PVP buffs were dispelled (e.g. paladin bubble, mage ice block, etc). However, oddly, the first few comments made on my mod were from hunters who wanted various things supporting their arcane shot dispels. So my add-on mutated into having configurable options so people could have it function the way they wanted. Then another hunter asked to have it report dispels to another mod called Scrolling Combat Text. So I quickly released a third version that supported optional output to SCT.

Not bad. 3 versions in less than 24 hours after I first started working on it. There might be more versions to come if there is continued interest in it. It's sometimes funny how things turn out, though. My priest mod seems to be popular with hunters. Heh.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Billing Stub Quirks

My cell phone company, Sprint, has an interesting payment stub on their bill because in the section where you fill in how much you're paying, it has enough digits to allow up to 7 digit dollar amounts. Do people really need to pay over 1 million dollar cell phone bills or do they just use that exact same form to bill other things as well?

Then my land line company, AT&T, has a strange payment stub too. They list a "due by" date then say that if it's not paid by four days after that, it's "late" and you have to pay a penalty. So if you miss the "due by" date but pay it before the "late" date, what is it?

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cal Band Video Game Halftime Show

Sometimes my alma mater makes me proud. The University of California at Berkeley band did a video game medley at a recent football game. They did a fairly impressive job of even animating gameplay from some of the games. Go Cal!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Federal Court Rejects Truck Fuel Standards

I never really understood why (besides greed) SUVs and similar abominations were permitted to exist when the environment is in such a dire situation. I didn't know the court system was so closely involved in policymaking in our country either, but apparently a federal appeals court rejected the fuel standards bill that pretty much exempted light trucks (the classification SUVs fall under) from being anywhere close to the passenger car fuel standards.

When you see SUVs on the road, how often are they hauling cargo versus how often are they just used to carry around passengers? Nearly all the ones I see are simply carrying passengers. Therefore shouldn't they be passenger vehicles?

This court ruling is awesome news to me. It's a long road to saving the world from global warming, and every step counts.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Who Should You Vote For In 2008

This is a nice little flash app that lets you answer some questions and then matches you to which political candidate answered the most closely to how you answered. My one beef with it is that it only goes for 100% matches. There are some questions where there were several appealing choices, so really I could go for a candidate that chose any of them.

Anyways, surprisingly, Barack Obama came out as third closest for me (due to the lack of gray support). Instead, Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich were closer matches.

However, the best part about this app is not their matching system. It's that if you hover your mouse over each of the questions, it will show you a quote expressing each candidate's stand on that issue. Thus this thing provides a very convenient way to do some quick research on the candidates you're considering.

WoW Arena Difficulties

Yesterday, I downloaded a video of one of the best warlocks in World of Warcraft, Azael (now Azazael after transferring to my battlegroup). He was on the highest rated 5v5 arena team in the world. However, due to some strange team drama, their team reformed under a new roster, resetting them back down quite a lot of rating points. However, watching his team play was very interesting to me because he plays a warlock in 5v5 with almost the same spec I have, so it was a good glimpse into top level warlock play.

Last night's arena sessions started off fairly well. My warlock's team pushed over 2000 a couple of times only to get pushed back down, but we weren't doing too badly. Then amazingly, we got matched against Azael's new roster and got stomped pretty hard. Luckily they were back up over 2400-ish already so we only lost 2 points. By the end of our session, we finished at 2010, our first finish over 2000 ever. Yay!

Then I had to go run on my priest's team. Things were pretty miserable and we ended up tanking about 50 rating and finishing under 1900. Along the way, we got matched against another of the teams in Azael's video and lost 1 point to them in that crushing defeat. So it was kind of a difficult night.

I'm not sure why things sometimes work out that way, but I think it's getting pretty clear that my warlock's team is better than my priest's team. We just execute offense more consistently cuz I boss people around. My priest's team lacks unified and experienced offensive coordination.

I did find it amusing that I had to face two of the teams in that video I had watched earlier in the day, though.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Bush And Pakistan

I really enjoyed this editorial I read today discussing how Bush claims to be all about spreading democracy throughout the world but stands by and watches as the democracy in Pakistan disappears. Actually it's worse than that. He actually sends them money simply because they are supposed to be helping us fight terrorism.

I suppose the erosion of democracy in our own country shows Bush's true feelings about democracy.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

T-Mobile Trademarked Magenta?

T-Mobile claims a trademark on the color magenta in the telecom industry? That's some funny stuff. I think I should trademark the color black in blogs. Black backgrounds are obviously my signature style....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Orange Guard

One of my friends today introduced me to Orange Guard, an insecticide / insect repellent that's pretty environmentally friendly and actually smells nice. A few years back, ants attacked my apartment... my roommate and I ended up buying insecticides and ant traps. I really was reluctant to have to turn to that because I don't like the idea of having toxic chemicals around the house. If only I had known about Orange Guard back then.

Apparently the key component is orange peel oil, which repels and kills insects. Next time I have an insect problem, I'm definitely going to give this stuff a shot.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Getting Close To 2000

My World of Warcraft news: My warlock's 5v5 arena team finished this week at 1986 and my priest's 5v5 arena team finished at 1961. Both getting close to hitting the 2000 mark! =) Because this arena season has continued for so long, my priest has already bought 2 pieces from the DPS priest set and my warlock has full season 2 armor and is gonna buy the spellblade this week.

I feel kind of proud that my teams have come this far. I built and trained my warlock's team from scratch, pretty much. I even assembled a team website to explain arena strategy and stuff to my team members for that team. My priest's team, I'm the only remaining member who has been in every single game since the team was formed. Our paladin initially also had similar attendance, but he quit the game, sadly. It's exceptionally hard to get a strong arena team going on a PVE server like mine, especially in the infamous BG9 where many of the top arena teams have gathered. As far as my server goes, my two teams ("Fodder Time" and "we pew pew u qq") are among the best....

Next season will be the first season that my characters don't start undergeared compared to everyone else. It will be interesting to see how it goes.

Friday, November 2, 2007

The Desire To Create

I think people have a basic urge to create things and to leave a mark on the world. That's a big reason why blogs are so popular: they provide a convenient way for someone to create something small on a regular basis and throw it out into the infinite internet as a mark of their passing existence.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Game Design Flaw In World Of Warcraft: Tanking

At least on my server in World of Warcraft, it's becoming harder and harder to find good tanks. I was thinking about why, and I believe it comes from the basic design model of "threat."

World of Warcraft is still approximately based on the principle of tanks, healers, and damage dealers. Tanks are built to take a lot of damage without dying, but generally don't deal very much damage. Healers heal wounded players, generally focusing on the tank. Damage dealers do damage to things, obviously. The game would be too easy if enemies always automatically attacked the tank, so the game has a concept called "threat." Enemies will attack whoever is the biggest threat to it so the idea sounds good on paper, but in my mind the mechanic somewhat fails overall. It's silly that an "intelligent" enemy would not realize that he's hitting the guy in full plate armor and is not killing him and doesn't go kill something wearing cloth, but I digress. Dealing damage and healing both generate threat, so it is the tank's responsibility to generate the most threat on the enemies to protect his team. Since he doesn't deal that much damage, the class has a bunch of abilities with "increased threat" so he can not do much damage but be ahead of the damage dealers on threat.

This model drives tanks from the game for several reasons. I myself have played a tank, healer, and a damage dealer, and playing a tank is by far the most stressful job. I believe this stress causes people (like me) to eventually retire from tanking and do other jobs even if we are quite good at tanking. Most people play this game for fun and it's not fun to have to focus that hard for that long all the time to do your job well. In 5 man instances, maintaining aggro (i.e. being the highest threat) on all enemies can be nerve wracking, when damage dealers attack the wrong enemy or the healer's general healing threat pulls aggro off you. In raids, controlling multiple mobs is rarely a problem, but then you have the challenge of being the highest in threat, even compared to the highest threat generating damage dealer in your raid. The tank has some error margin, but if he lapses in threat generation for even a moment, the raid will often be wiped out because the damage dealer who is trying the hardest will take aggro off the tank. When I was tanking on raids, it pretty much felt like I was always competing against everybody else in the raid and if I wasn't number one all the time, we failed. But in a sense, that's exactly what this threat model requires.

Additionally, being the tank is the most gear intensive role because if your gear is not good enough, the group fails. If a damage dealer is under geared, he simply does less damage, the group doesn't fail. If a healer is under geared, he may not be able to keep up with the healing load, but a well geared tank compensates for it because he takes less damage. If a tank is under geared, he takes too much damage and forces a healer to heal excessively, which can generate too much healing threat and the group will fail. If his gear does not allow him to generate enough threat, the damage dealers can generate more threat than he generates and the group will fail.

Nowadays, there are fewer and fewer people willing to take on the responsibility to always be playing 100% your best and to always have the best gear possible. I now play a damage dealer most of the time and I find it so much more relaxing. If I don't concentrate too hard and I am late on nuking something, nothing bad happens. In fact, it simply makes it easier for the tank to do his job. Even being a healer is somewhat stressful, but this is mostly only in 5 man instances where you are the only healer because if you are late on a heal, sometimes, the tank dies and the group fails. However, there are more healers around in game, because raids bring many healers so as long as one or two are not late on a heal, nothing bad usually happens.

Yet another factor is that most of the really good tanks I've known have since changed their role to damage dealer. There's this sort of mini-game of who can deal the most damage that damage dealers play with each other. We all run damage meters that tally up all the damage each player deals and we can see who is doing the most damage over time. Since most of us former tanks are used to playing at such a high concentration level, we typically dominate the damage meters as well, but the difference is that now we don't have to try as hard if we don't want to. The only bad thing that happens is our ranking on the damage meter is a tiny bit lower.

There always will be a few individuals who love the responsibility of being a tank, but most people eventually give it up to relax when they play the game instead.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cute Cat Animation

This thing is so cute. They got in so many little cat mannerisms and then a comical ending. =)

Instant Oatmeal vs Real Oatmeal

My roommate had a couple of packets of instant oatmeal that she didn't want to eat, so I said I'd eat them. I usually eat real oatmeal most morning, so I figured I'd just eat instant oatmeal a couple of days instead.

Instant oatmeal is disgusting compared to real oatmeal. I'm not clear on what they do to it to make it instant. In its dry form it looks like regular oatmeal that's more powdery. Well, whatever they do to it makes it have this weird taste that's kind of hard to describe. Real oatmeal has just a hint of that taste but the warm taste of oats dominates it. Instant oatmeal completely lacks the taste of oats.

So yeah, blech to instant oatmeal. Take the time to make real oatmeal instead and you may find that you like oatmeal more than you did before.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

FEMA Fails Again

FEMA had employees pose as reporters in a news conference on the California fires. I mean seriously, wow. This is like something you see happen in a comedy movie.

Sometimes Timing Is Everything

Southern California burns during a stretch of dry, gusty winds, burning half a million acres of land. Now it's starting to drizzle a little.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Zero no Tsukaima

I happened to stumble across an anime series called "Zero no Tsukaima" on Youtube (both seasons that currently exist are available there) and I was pleasantly surprised. The series admittedly has some fanservice going on, but there's a little more to it than that. It reminds me a little bit of "The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi" in the sense that there's a little more to it than the superficial level of silly humor, cute girls, and romance.

This series happens to deal with class systems and oppression, a bit of science meets magic, and of course, the horror of war.

The theme of nobility vs plebians runs throughout the series, especially since the nobility is determined through the ability to use magic. It also seems that there is a bit of a "might makes right" theme in why a magic user is above a non magic user. However, the good nobles do use their power and influence to protect the people of their land while the bad nobles abuse their power to oppress the people of their land. The nobles are obsessed with concepts like honor and reputation, for better or for worse.

The theme of science meets magic creates some amusing scenarios, like the Mitsubishi Zero being a "dragon" and the gasoline it runs on being "dragon's blood." The Staff of Destruction being a rocket launcher is probably the goofiest. Apparently their world gets little bits and pieces of our world somewhat frequently. Even an accidentally summoned porn magazine becomes a family's heirloom in their world.

The theme of the horror of war is pretty frequently referenced too, particularly in the second season beginning with the captain of the royal guard seeking revenge for massacre of her home town. It turns out of course that the massacre of her home town was due to political motives by a fairly evil high ranking noble to the horror of the captain who burned the town. The captain realized his mistake and gave up on war to try to atone for his crime by becoming a teacher. He dies saving the captain who wants revenge on him, resolving her need for revenge without her having to kill him at least. This message about the value of life continues to the final segment of the second season where Louise attempts to sacrifice her own life to buy time for everybody else and Saito takes her place to protect her and our two lovers have to confront each others' deaths. I have to admit, I was pretty sad by this section because it really did feel like the two were finally getting things to work between them.

Yeah, I guess I've gotten sappier in my old age. I think it's a bit due to my issues with the women in my life (who seem to bear a slight resemblance to Louise). But due to some totally unexplained chick with big boobs, Saito survives. Apparently there's more information about that chick in the manga, but I'm too lazy to read the manga to figure it out. Hopefully the next season will explain a little more....

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

"Extraordinary Rendition?"

This is completely screwed up. The United States claims to be the defenders of the free world, but we allow this "extraordinary rendition" to occur? Basically, they can take anybody, ship him off to another country where torture is legal (since most torture is illegal here still for now), and have the other country torture the person for as long as we want. Plus, we don't need to have just cause....

I mean seriously, how is this okay??

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dumbledore Is Gay?

I just read this article discussing J.K. Rowling's announcement that Dumbledore is gay. I have to agree a little bit with the article that announcing this after the fact is a bit weak on her part. There's no reason why they couldn't have alluded to it more explicitly in the books themselves if this were the case. I mean in hindsight, I suppose that there is a little bit of reasoning that Dumbledore and Grindelwald had stronger feelings for one another than explicitly stated. Then again, I also can understand that since it was a very private relationship between the two and that Dumbledore is quite secretive, that there was no point at which she could have explicitly revealed it without it sounding forced. Either that or she would have had to make some significant plot or character design changes.

But yeah, in other news, Southern California is still burning. I just read an article saying that the average temperature here in Southern California is about 10 degrees hotter than it usually is, simply due to the fires. That's insane. I had just been thinking that it was awfully warm out today. The whole area is illuminated by this surreal reddish tint. It's not quite as bad where I am as it was during the last huge fires, but it seems like things are gonna keep burning for a little while longer. =(

Monday, October 22, 2007

Southern California Burning Again...

What a terrible day yesterday. It was extremely windy in general. I was stopped at a traffic light in my car and I could feel the wind pushing around my car. Then of course the fires that broke out around Malibu and elsewhere spread like mad because of the wind gusts....

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Old Lady + Hammer vs Comcast

An old lady who got exceptionally bad service from Comcast took matters into her own hands and smashed up some stuff in the Comcast office. I can't say I really blame her. Violence isn't really a good solution to anything, but in this day and age, companies tend care too little about providing good service. Hopefully her point got through to them.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

67 Million Dollar Lawsuit Over A Pair Of Pants

Okay, everyone's heard of the multi-million dollar lawsuit over spilling hot McDonald's coffee... This one is even worse. A guy in New York filed a 67 million dollar lawsuit claiming a dry cleaner gave him back different pants from the ones he dropped off. Fortunately he lost. I mean seriously.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Click Here To Become A Terrorist....

A boy in the U.K. is accused of "possessing material for terrorist purposes" because he had a copy of the old Anarchist's Cookbook.

Fortunately, possession of this document is legal in the United States.... If you want to see one version of the actual document, just click here:

The Anarchist's Cookbook

And just like that, if you're in the U.K. you may be charged with "possessing material for terrorist purposes." Wasn't that easy?

Monday, October 1, 2007


Words lost in chaos
Like every blog entry here.
Why do I bother?

Women And Relationships

It seems like women these days fall into two categories.... the ones who are obsessively attached to one guy or the ones who refuse to be attached to one guy. Ironically, the two even seem a bit related. For example, the woman may refuse to be attached to one guy now because she is obsessively attached to a guy from her past.

I'm sure there are some who follow the middle road, but I seem to find a lot more of the two extremes.

Monday, September 10, 2007

John Watson

I just found out that my friend and former coworker, John Watson passed away this weekend.

John was an incredibly hard worker. He was the sort of guy who would be at work until 4am fairly regularly because he wanted to make the game better. There were those who disagreed with him on what would make the game better, but John certainly worked incredibly hard to achieve his vision.

He was a great guy to work with in general. He stayed very grounded in logic and reasoning in terms of both game design and implementation, so I got along very well with him. We frequently had late night discussions about game design (both about the games we were working on and the games we thought we should work on one day) and there were some truly good ideas tossed around. These ideas will probably never come into existence now without him, though. All in all, John was one of those rare game developers who could both come up with a solid game design and be capable of implementing it in script.

As a friend, he was always good to talk to. In a company where frustration ran rampant because of decentralized design and general lack of guidance, John always just kept his mind focused on making the game as good as possible. I found talking with him always restored my hope a bit that the game would be good. John basically carried himself with a maturity that most game developers seem to lack.

John, you will be missed....

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Seagate Tricked Me

The hard drive I put in recently also started to fail. I saw the signature symptoms.... for example, it would occasionally say I didn't have permission to write to it. Last night, it started hanging a lot when I did simple tasks like playing World of Warcraft while listening to mp3's. I didn't put the clues together till they hit me right in the face, though.

This morning, Windows couldn't boot. It could get pretty far in the boot process but would always just lock up and fail. Seeing that I would have to reinstall Windows again, I decided to declare it a hardware failure and just went back to Fry's to get a new drive. I decided that since it had only been 2 weeks, I would just return it and buy a new drive of a different brand.

I bought a Maxtor drive of the same size and specs. Little did I realize how similar the specs were. I noticed the packaging was very similar... both drives were made in Thailand... then when I hooked it up, my motherboard identified the drive as STM-3500.... That's odd, that's like a Seagate drive identifier (ST = Seagate Technologies). Finally I decided to check and sure enough: Seagate owns Maxtor now. This isn't breaking news to anybody who follows hard drive manufacturers, but since I don't, it was news to me.

Basically I went to the store with the intention of getting a different model just in case but I ended up with the exact same drive just sold under a different brand name.

Ah well, this is your second chance, Seagate.... don't fail me again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Pink - Dear Mr. President

I heard Pink's Dear Mr. President on the radio a while back and I thought the song was good. I had no idea it was Pink singing it. I kind of mentally had her categorized as one of these modern pop singers that has no substance. However, eventually I found out who it was, and I really can't deny that this song is good. Most famous musicians wimp out of such politically charged songs, so I give her a lot of credit for singing it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Hitachi Hard Drive Equals Junk

A few years back, I purchased a 100 gigabyte Hitachi hard drive.... Little did I know how much trouble it would cause me in the long run.

The drive started off okay, it did well on artificial benchmarks, but it felt like in real practice it would occasionally hang briefly. I couldn't pinpoint it to being the hard drive's fault so I let it go and continued using it. About a month after I installed Windows on it, my Windows installation got corrupted. Fine, the weather was hot and I wasn't sure if some components in my computer were overheating, so again I couldn't pin it on the hard drive.

I reinstalled Windows and things seemed okay again for a while. A month went by and my Windows installation got corrupt again. I still couldn't be sure it was the hard drive, but I was starting to be very suspicious, because all the other components in my computer hadn't had this trouble until I introduced the Hitachi drive.

I decided to give it one last chance and reinstalled Windows again. This time it made it about 2 months before Windows was corrupted again. This time, though, I had had enough. I actually brought it back to Fry's Electronics, where I had purchased it from, and complained to them that the hard drive was defective and it had taken me this long to prove it. They were kind enough to accept the hard drive back in exchange for another drive of the same model even though it was well outside the store's warranty.

I figured the hard drive I got must have been defective. It happens to every manufacturer sometimes. So I gave the new hard drive a chance. It was noticeably better than the other one I had returned (in the sense that it didn't randomly cause my system to hang). I let my guard down a bit and started moving in (installing all my usual programs and stuff). A year later, I upgraded a lot of my components so I reinstalled Windows. I was still a little distrustful of my Hitachi drive, so I made it my boot drive where I kept my Windows installation and just installed programs (as opposed to my documents and data, which are far more valuable). It hung in there so I moved in a bit more and let it accumulate even more installed data.

I still thought of it as a temporary solution, though, because I was just waiting until Windows Vista came out so I could install that and enjoy the latest and greatest Microsoft had to offer. However, my plan was thwarted by Microsoft's need to play Big Brother with Vista. I decided not to upgrade to Vista and thus my Hitachi drive continued to host my Windows installation for another half a year.

It hung in there until today, when it died on me. After trying to resurrect it and reformat it and various other things, it still remained unusable so I had to give up on trying to get Windows running on it. Instead, here I am running Windows on a Western Digital drive that is about 2 years older than the Hitachi drive but has never failed me a single time nor has the file system on it ever become corrupt.

In summary:
Hitachi - 4 file system corruptions (including 2 drive deaths) in about 3 years.
Western Digital - 0 file system corruptions in about 5 years.

I have no plans to buy Hitachi drives in the future, in case you couldn't tell.

Friday, August 10, 2007

World of Warcraft Arena Team

I freely admit that I probably take video games more seriously than a person should. I enjoy competitive video games for the most part.

Not much in World of Warcraft makes me enjoy the game, but I finally feel like my arena team is starting to click. We achieved a rating of 1809 last night, which puts us solidly in the top handful of arena teams on Horde side on my server. It's also a pretty respectable rating, considering we are in Battlegroup 9 ("Bloodlust"), which is arguably the toughest battlegroup in the world. Battlegroup 9 is home of the most famous and arguably best arena team ("Team Pandemic") and it happens to be where a lot of top players from other battlegroups have been transferring to compete, which definitely makes it a lot more competitive.

Anyways... yay! We are hopefully on our way to making a dent in the arena system and representing Kilrogg well. Gogo PVE servers!

Friday, August 3, 2007

Unexpected Anti-gay Sentiments

Last weekend, I went rollerblading with some friends near the beach... well two of us rollerbladed, one jogged, one biked. We had to rollerblade from my friend's apartment down to the beach by going down a lot of busy streets.

Along the way down, some people in a passing car went by yelling various anti-gay obscenities at us. I guess rollerblading with friends is an exclusively gay activity, as opposed to the exclusively straight activity of yelling at such rollerbladers. Anyways, luckily, my buddy (who came here from France) didn't really catch what they were yelling, because at that moment I was pretty embarrassed about Americans.

We live in a pretty diverse area. There are people of all races and sexual orientations around. For this sort of harassment to occur here of all places really shocked me and disappointed me. If this kind of stuff still happens here, what must the rest of the United States be like?

As if this wasn't enough, we continued farther and another guy in a passing car also took the time to yell a simple "F__ you!" at us. I'm not sure whether his motivation was the same, but given the first car, I'd assume so.

Before you ask, no, we are not gay. It's so ironic, because my buddy happened to be pointing out a rather attractive woman on a motorcycle right when the first car went by.

Me vs. Blogs

I've long been very anti-blog, but I think that viewpoint stems from the fact that people place expectations on their readers. I had a big problem when I talked to people directly and they would ask me, "Did you check my blog? I put an entry about it there." That's utterly moronic. If a person feels like writing on a blog, he should go ahead and do it. However, it's not a replacement for talking directly to people who are talking to him.

Anyways, I find myself here starting a blog so I can rant about stupid crap. I'm not going to tell any of my friends this is me. I'm just going to write what I think here in anonymity. I feel like that's the only way I can get any sort of satisfaction from blogging.