Saturday, February 28, 2009

The bomb has been dropped

I made my final edits on my manuscript and sent it to the publisher whose name I won't mention because if anyone reading this happens to be a writer and submits their own work to the contest it decreases my chances of winning even further.


Okay. So, for anyone who wants to read The GeneTech Incident, I've uploaded most of it to my WEbook account (link in the sidebar). You don't need to sign up to read it. The last few chapters are missing, but I'll be adding them in soon. Not all of them, mind you. On the off chance you like it, I'm going to make you buy the book to see the ending. Muahahaha! MUAHAHAHA! *cough* Ack. Excuse me.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Well, I made a quiz on Facebook for the fun of it. I think it came out pretty well, so give it a look if you like taking quizzes.

Also, to further motivate myself, I'm telling everyone that I'm close to being done with my manuscript. I just have to make a few more minor edits today and tomorrow, and possibly write something for the epilogue, and I'll be done. This means I might actually have it done by my goal deadline. If I experienced excitement, I'd be full of it right now.

That's all for now. More novel info when it's available. Peace and love.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Well, there's a buzzkill

If you were psychic, you might know that I occasionally enjoy Pat Condell and his somewhat bleak version of humor. I'm subscribed to his page on YouTube. If you have a YouTube account and are not subscribed to Pat Condell's videos, you're probably a Nazi.

Anyway, something he's been talking about a lot lately is the rising influence of Islam in Europe and elsewhere. If you're living in the UK or the Netherlands, or you're like me and give a shit about the rest of the world, you should really look into this stuff.

Particularly, take a look at this film Fitna if you get the chance. It's only 15 minutes, and it's a pretty grim reality check. The dramatic mood music is a little cheesy, but it doesn't change the fact that the film makes a good point.

While you're at it, watch Pat's latest video. He really drives home the point that Islam extremists are getting way out of control in the UK, and unlike some YouTube mouthpieces, he has the courtesy to link to news articles about what he's talking about.

I signed the petition he links to, and I'd suggest you do the same.

That's all for now. Peace and love.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Oh, what the hell is this?

Look, I'm not in the habit of complaining about dining hall food. I know working in a college kitchen is no one's dream job, so if the food isn't spectacular, I put up with it. But this...

This was in my jello today. It appears to be made of the same material as the jello around it, yet it's shaped like a piece of clear tape, and it has the same taste and consistency as a rubber band.

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I ask you, how in the flying flamboyant hell do you screw up jello?! It's jello! You mix it with water, heat it, throw it in the fridge, and you're done. How does something like this even happen? Should I be in fear for my health? Did I almost ingest another alien life form?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Short Tales

Just in case anyone out there is thinking, "Hey, I like this blog, but I wish it had more posts, and those posts were shorter and much more pointless." Well, I've got this tales thing on Human Pets. It's like a blog, only not. I'm working on a way to incorporate it into this blog so you can find all your Dan-related goodness in one place. Until then, you can find the tales thing here:

God help you if you actually read more than a couple of those.

Okay, who the hell is Bon Scott?

I feel like I should know this. Anyone mind saving me the trip to Wikipedia?

Also, internet memes never die, they just go back to hell to regroup.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Ow. Pain.

Still playing Baroque and loving it. I realize I may need to revise my impromptu review from earlier. Remember how I said things get easier as you go? Yeah, that was a lie. I hadn't realized it, but the story isn't the only thing that is revealed as you die over and over. Somewhere after death #12, new sections of the tower opened up. Aside from getting to meet a new character and finding a new consciousness orb, I was introduced to two nasty new enemies.

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One is basically a wall with an evil face that wants to kill you. They love to block paths pretending to be a wall, then spin around and beat you senseless. This sucks because it makes the coward routine of running like hell to the exit point very difficult. I'm not usually one to chicken out from a fight, but if I've got half a dozen Liars and death knights on my tail, mobility tends to be my best ally.

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Plus, these wall things are tough to fight even one on one. They have a heap of hit points, high attack power, and there's really no sound strategy to attack them without getting hit. Plus, even when they're finally dead, they can still collapse onto you and crush you to death. Hard to avoid that one in a cramped hallway.

By the way, I'd like to take this opportunity for an important complaint: hallways are the worst place to be in a fight. Ever. In any game, or real life. If some guy challenges you to a fight in a hallway, run like hell. You're screwed.

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Then there are the hungones. They hang from the ceiling and take cheap swipes at you. Not so scary on their own, but supporting other enemies, they're dangerous. What's worse, they have the ability to poison, lust, or paralyze you. Since when is it legal to give an enemy three different status ailment powers? On the bright side, they do have a wide range, which means other enemies in the area end up feeble and at your mercy.

Hey, I said I liked a challenge now and then. I guess I'm getting it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Breaking the Block

I've been in kind of a writing rut lately. I had made a goal to finish my novel manuscript and submit it to a contest. Well, entries started January 15th, and that was my completion goal. But for one reason or another, my laziness kept me from getting it done.

It's really quite sad. My problem isn't writer's block. At least not anymore. The problem is that writing doesn't carry the same joy for me as it used to. I used to enjoy it so much. But now, trying to finish up a manuscript just feels like a chore to get out of the way. It breaks my heart to think I could be losing interest in something so important to me. I still love writing my short stories and stuff, but working on a novel is pretty brutal.

I had a nice breakthrough last night, though. I finally convinced myself to sit down and get to work. To my surprise, the words just came back to me. I hardly broke pace for a good hour and change, and I managed to get about four good pages done. Those first four pages of this chapter should be the hardest, so the rest should be smooth sailing.

I'm thinking about adding another chapter or two in the middle, but other than that, this is the final chapter of the book. So, I figure I should try to keep this momentum going clear to the finish line. The contest is rolling submission, up through June, but judging starts in March, and I want to be done before then.

And so, my new deadline goal is to have the manuscript finished and submitted by the end of the month. If I can sit down and seriously write at least once every three days, I should be able to easily make that date. For once, I plan to hold myself to this one. It's a new year's resolution, after all, and I don't think I'd be very proud of myself if it took me until June to write one or two chapters.

That's about it for now. I guess I'll check in when I'm finished. Remember, if anyone is interested in giving me their feedback on this thing, I have the first 3/4 or so of the initial draft uploaded to WEbook, so you can read it online here. If you've got some free time, let me know what you think of it. Peace and love, people.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Not Always The Best Medicine

Demetri Martin made me laugh so hard it hurt. As it turns out, laughter feels pretty bad when your windpipe is loaded with mucus. Instead of laughing normally, I made a grotesque wheezing noise and hurt my still-sensitive throat. But I couldn't stop.

On the bright side, I can confidently say now that Important Things is probably the best show Comedy Central has had in years. It was one hell of a premiere episode. I can't remember the last time I laughed so hard it hurt. I won't be able to say that after today, huh?

So, if you didn't watch the show, do it. Until you do, I will hate you. You not-Demetri-Martin-watching jerk.

Lazy Update #5ish

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

RE: The Economy

I'm sure there's plenty I could say here, but I think this about sums it up.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Baroque in a Nutshell

This is pretty much the whole outer world before you enter the Neuro Tower. Don't feel bad if you get confused. The Arch Angel is the only one who isn't totally insane.

Hey, I told you, Coffin Guy is a riot, right?

Into the depths

Still sick, so I'm trying to distract myself from the fact that I can't really breathe. I've been playing Baroque on the Wii. It's funny how the more IGN hates a game, the more I seem to enjoy them.

In this case, I can understand some ill feelings people might have. This is basically a game that was two generations old. It was released on the Dreamcast, and I imagine at the time people were interested in a unique dungeon-crawler adventure game. Then it was on the PS2, and nobody cared. But they released the game again on the Wii, and surprise surprise, still no one cares. To be frank, releasing a strictly classic-control 2-gens-ago game on the Wii makes about as much sense as buying new sneakers for an amputee.

Nonetheless, I am enjoying this thing. The combat is surprisingly deep. The item-throwing system definitely took getting used to, but is really a lot of fun. The story setup and everything is really unusual, and that's probably the problem people have with it. By people, I mean the wussies at IGN who call themselves gamers.

Let's be clear: I am a hardcore gamer. Getting my ass kicked for the first few hours of a game is normal to me. That's how you get better. You keep going, and as you persevere and become better at it, you have a genuine feeling of pride at having conquered the challenges set before you.

"Gamers" these days want everything handed to them. God forbid you do any thinking or practice of your own. The IGN reviewer given Baroque was clearly mismatched for the task, because this is not a casual game. You are going to die. Get over it.

And every time he dies, "ZOMG Lvl 1 again?!? This is bullshit!!!" The whole idea of levels is to reflect on the fact that your fighting prowess has been growing as you go. It's nothing altogether irreplaceable, though. Hacking and slashing flying fish for experience doesn't exactly require talent. You don't even need to be that high a level to get through the game. Aside from the VT system, there's little to stop you from dropping your sword and running like a little girl all the way to the exit point.

"There is a certain breed of gamer out there that enjoys these "roguelike" adventures and aren't bothered by having their characters reset every time they die. These brave few may find Baroque to their liking, but most of us will wonder what we ever did to deserve this punishment."

Granted, I know where he's coming from. I absolutely hated this game for the first hour like everyone else. "I can die just by standing still too long? WTF?" But it grew on me. And believe it or not, the game actually gets slightly easier as you go. You'll encounter new kinds of enemies, but their power won't increase at the same rate as your Level, and the floors of the tower are littered with shiny items to help you along, including brands and parasites that decrease your VT consumption to the point that you don't really even notice it anymore.

By the way, I'd just like to say that I still think the tutorial coffin guy is funny as hell. He's supposed to be a foul-mouthed punk, but the game is rated T, so the most he can do is pepper "Goddammit" into every sentence.

I understand if some people can't appreciate the hardcore experience like I do, but today's series of casual games are making gamers soft. They don't work for anything. I get the desire for quick and dirty enjoyment from games, but some of us actually want a deeper experience than that.

So, I think the point I'm trying to make, if any at all, is judge your games slowly. If you go into a game like Baroque with specific expectations, you are going to be disappointed. I doubt many people thought games like Ico and Shadow of the Colossus could sell, but now they're both cult classics. Keep an open mind, and you might just enjoy the ride.

Friday, February 06, 2009

A more serious note: Our Soldiers Abroad

Today, some people at SUNYIT set up this table for sending letters to soldiers abroad. I wrote one, but it was really stupid, and barely even coherent. You've seen what happens when I try to write on the fly.

Really, though, what sucked about it was that it wasn't genuine. The whole point of sending letters is to give these guys and gals a heartfelt message to lift their spirits. My message was weak and phoned-in. Something like this, I think:

"Calling you heroes doesn't even begin to say it. Stay alive, okay? You guys rock."

I know, it's awful, right? And the main reason is that, for me at least, it wasn't real. I somehow doubt I could have said it to any of their faces. Hell, I barely managed to write anything at all.

The problem I have here is that I'm reluctant to express how I really feel. Don't get me wrong; I have all the respect in the world for our troops. The fact that they put their lives on the line for our country is amazing, and the word 'hero' really doesn't do them justice. But this is a complicated issue. As you may know, I've always been against the war, and the more I see of the results, the more my opinions seem to be reaffirmed.

The Iraq war never should have been started. I know Saddam Hussein was a rotten guy and a ruthless dictator, but who are we to get involved in that? The Middle East has always been, dare I say, fraught with turmoil. Hussein was just the most recent in a long line of corrupt despots in that region. Religious, racial and political differences have always been the catalysts for war in the Middle East, even among the people living there. The whole Sunni/Shiite conflict still blows my mind.

My point there is that we didn't really do anything. We put one dictator out of commission and introduced the ideas of democracy to Iraq. Honestly, how long do you think that will stick? Hey, I might be wrong on this one, but if history is any indication, trying to establish Western ideals in the Middle East doesn't end well.

Even more importantly, I thought the whole point of going to war in the first place was to combat terrorism, but we haven't accomplished that at all. Even if we had invaded the right country, terrorism isn't restricted to any one of those countries, or even that part of the world. There will always be psycho extremists in the world; you can't just declare war on them and expect to put a stop to it. You can't fight them on the battlefield, and you can't negotiate in the embassy. All you can really do is kill them before they kill us, and that's not exactly a moral way of conducting international relations.

The bottom line is, the troops shouldn't be in Iraq. They still shouldn't. They may have done some good over there, but I don't see how it can last. God knows we can't keep them there forever, unless we just want to outright overthrow the country and make it a territory of the US. Those kinds of actions tend to be frowned upon in the 21st century. Whatever little good our men and women have done over there can be undone in half the time. In 90% of the population, fear is a more powerful motivator than hope. As long as the past is there to haunt Iraq, the people living there have no chance for a better future.

You know why I couldn't be sincere in my letter to the troops? Because the truth isn't what they need to hear, and I just don't have the balls to say to those soldiers what I really want to say. If I did have the balls, it would probably sound something like this:

"I'm sorry. Come home soon."


I'm still sick. You ever cough up something so big you have to spit it in the sink? And then when it slithers down the drain, you swear for a second it was alive? I'm having one of those days.

In related news, I may have released some kind of phlegm-like mutant creature into the sewers under Utica. If some horrible disaster ensues involving people getting eaten alive by some freakish sewer monster, you now know who to blame for that.


Thursday, February 05, 2009

That is one crazy Swede

I'm just saying, this is a little crazy.

Question for you:

Should I even bother doing my taxes this year? My total income last year was on the order of $500. I made a lot of donations to charity, but the cutoff is something like a thousand dollars. I've looked at the forms. Part of me is thinking about trying the free edition of TurboTax just for kicks, but those kinds of thoughts scare me. I mean, who does their taxes for fun?

Well, I should at least think about doing it. I'll need the money. I still haven't bought any of the books I need for my classes this semester. I'm wondering how long I'll be able to get away with this. Can I get through the whole thing without buying any of the books? It's unlikely at best.

More ramblings when I feel like it. Love you. <3

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Train Leaves At 3:15 Sharp

So, I've been dicking around on WEbook a little. I read this one piece by some guy. It's a little outside-the-box, but then, boxes are for squares.

Anyway, I just thought I should keep my posts flowing here, so I just thought I'd write a bit here even if it's nothing entirely important. Honestly, if you're reading this at all, there's probably nothing especially pressing on your To-Do list for the day. So, take a second and go for a metaphorical walk with me, will you?

It gets scary some days, thinking you're one of the last sane people on Earth. You know, they say that a million people can't be wrong. Well, if a million people walk off a cliff and plummet to their deaths, I'd go so far as to say they were wrong. The cliff, of course, if metaphorical. I'm talking more about things in our everyday lives. Things that, while they won't kill you quickly, will likely kill a couple brain cells, as well as drastically cut your opportunities for the future by closing your mind to the unordinary. That, by the way, is a new word I'm coining. Use it in your own everyday speech if you like it.

The thing is, most people stay with what they know in their lives. They're resistant to change, and for good reason. New things are unknown things, and if there's one thing mankind fears above all else, it's what he doesn't know. Ironically, people will say they want to pursue knowledge, only to find out that they were happier not knowing things. Like, how is a hot dog made? How many bacteria are living on the keyboard I am typing on this very second? What do third-degree burns feel like? Exactly how many polyps do I have in my colon right now? These are things I probably don't want to know.

I know those are extreme examples, but the truth is that pretty much all knowledge comes with consequences, and they're usually unpleasant. A wise man once said if you keep too much of an open mind, your brains will fall out. By the same token, though, if your mind stays too closed, it'll suffocate and leave you a drooling dunce.

So, like all things, we must strive for that perfect balance. We must acquire enough knowledge to get by, and for some of us, we need quite a bit to feel fulfilled. At the same time, though, we must remain ignorant enough to keep from becoming utterly insane. Believe me, this can and will happen. Some of the smartest people on Earth are sitting in a padded room agonizing over what the well-read refer to as "the imponderables."

Anyway, that's what I've been working for. I'm stupid, though. I always want to learn more, because I'm a curious creature by nature. Inevitably, though, I'll probably end up going off the deep end without even realizing it. After all, it's not as though you wake up one morning stark raving mad. It's something you move slowly towards. Not coincidentally, this is the same trend by which one becomes a learned, intelligent person.

In truth, I think that ultimate knowledge is, in itself, insanity. What we consider sane is base on us having certain expectations of our world, and as long as we keep those, our minds are closed to the deepest depths of knowledge. This is both good and bad, since we don't want to be crazy, but we also thirst for knowledge.

It's a matter of greed, really. Nobody honestly needs to know everything there is to know, but we still want to. The trick is trying to figure out when we know enough. But, like the love of money, food, or any other vice, the love of knowledge is unquenchable. The more you acquire, the more you'll want.

So, what it comes down to, if you ask me, is figuring out when to call it quits. Sooner or later, you just have to close the book and quit cold turkey. Either that, or keep the advance of your knowledge gradual enough that your mind can slowly expand to encompass it. Like how you let your pants out after Thanksgiving dinner. Don't want to bust the seam and send a button flying across the room and break the lamp. That's the pants metaphor for a mental hospital.

I've tried several times in vain to close this train of thought, but maybe this time I will for real. Because that is the ultimate lesson here: moderation. You have to know when to put a lid on it. I'm sure I have plenty more to say, but I'm not going to, because just like the acquisition of knowledge, the dispersal of it must be taken in moderation. So, before I go any further, I'm going to shut up now.

Peace and lover, readers.

Oh, and if you're still reading, do yourself a favor and remember when to quit. You'll be left wanting more, but that'll always be the case. Better to stop and be left wanting more than keep going and want even more. Still with me? Good. I guess that means we're not crazy yet.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Re: Facebook Ads

What is with these IQ test ads? Do they really expect me to believe that Barrack Obama and Randy Orton have the same IQ? What does that say about their online IQ tests, I wonder...

Also, to all the dating sites that want my business: Okay, I get it. I'm single; there are singles sites on the web that could change that. I don't care. Stop trying to make me feel about myself just because I don't want to ruin two people's lives at once by getting involved with someone. Even if I was looking right now, why would I go to Christian/Gothic/Asian/Nerdy/Black/Over-50 specific singles sites? What kind of sick perv do you think I am? It's probably nothing compared to the sick perv I actually am, but it's still a little insulting.

Here's your forecast:

It's gonna be cold, it's gonna be gray, and it's gonna last you the rest of your life.

By the way, why is it that whenever I get talked into watching the Superbowl, something fuck-all crazy happens? Toward the end of the first half, it still seemed like it would be anybody's game. Arizona was about the make a touchdown and just about tie things up. Then, just when you think it's touchdown time, the Steelers' defensive guy intercepts the ball in the end zone, runs like hell the whole 105 yards to the opposite end zone, gets pulled down by the jersey at the last second and just barely makes the touchdown by landing on his head and twisting his neck at a very awkward angle.

What... the... fuck? How does something like that even happen? Is this guy seriously defensive lineman of the year, or does Arizona really suck that badly?

Besides that, from the way he landed, he should've been dead, or at least out of the game for a while. They cut to the guy a minute later, and he's walking around like it never even happened. They give him a little oxygen, and he's good to go for the second half. Has this guy been tested yet? Not for steroids, I mean, for alien DNA? No human being can possibly shake off a landing like that. Except maybe Johnny Knoxville, but then I'm not convinced he's human either.

Okay, enough about football. Last random thought for the day: is it unhealthy to eat an entire plate of cookies by yourself? My stomach's making some unusual noises.

That's enough for now. Peace and love.