Sunday, April 27, 2014

Let's just clear the air

I keep seeing the arguments online going the same way they always do, and while I seriously doubt anybody who needs to hear this ever will, I'm going to say it anyway, just on the off chance one of them might be listening. Sorry if it gets too long-winded.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Some updates

Just a few things regarding me, and things I may or may not make for the Internet.

Real LifeTM

I can report that work hasn't killed me yet, and I still kind of enjoy it most of the time.

I've saved up enough money to completely pay off my remaining student loan balance from one of the two services I've used, and possibly close out one of the loan groups from the other one. The larger of the two providers shows a balance that is still largely unchanged, but the point is I'll be able to whittle my sizable debt down to just one manageable monthly payment, rather than having it spread across three.

Speaking of that, I'm not sure why the larger one wants me to pay one of the loans on a different day of the month. I assume they're trying to make it harder for me to keep track of the due dates and stay current on my payments, because they're a miserable band of sadistic psychopaths who derive a sick pleasure from human suffering.

Anyway, once I've reigned in that loan debt a bit, the next step is to look at apartments in the city. I'm not too picky; a studio is fine if it's got heat in the winter and Internet access year round. Living within walking distance of my workplace would be ideal, and is probably one of the biggest deciding factors at this point. Why? Because hell is a 45 minute commute on a busy highway where people will spontaneously crash their vehicles and create massive delays simply because their level of driving skill has not adequately prepared them to be able to drive safely when it's fucking sunny out and there's not one cloud in the god damn sky.

Gun to my head, I might be willing to take a bus to work. And given I'm talking about living in downtown Albany, I can only assume there will in fact be a gun to my head at some point. It's a shame because I don't really carry cash on me anymore, and I have an old phone that isn't worth anything. It's just a waste of time for them, really.

This might be a podcast:

Being pretty busy at work and easily distracted in my free time, I haven't made much progress on the podcast I promised a little while ago. However, I have written up most of my monologue for the first (possibly only) episode, having changed the topic at least once. I've downloaded some software to facilitate discussions over Skype/Tinychat/whatever if need be. At this point I just need to record the monologue, get a few people with less obnoxious voices than mine to sit down for the discussion portion, write up and record a final segment, and edit it all together.

So basically, just 90% of the actual work remains to be done. I'm obviously not foolish enough to offer you a projected release date at this time, but I think I can say with some reasonable certainty that this will happen at some point.

Regarding the extended cut I was promising, that may not happen since Soundcloud places limits on their free accounts and I can't really justify paying for a subscription to a service I barely use. I will keep the extended cut on hand, though, and if there happens to be a massive demand for it from my adoring fans, I'll somehow make it work, presumably by selling the tears from my unicorn to get money to hire Bigfoot to maintain a web server for me. These are all things of equal likelihood, after all.

Things to do with Dark Souls:

I've continued to slack off on the Dark Souls challenge thing. I've technically stuck to the parameters of the challenge, and even kept up the daily mini-workouts more than I ever would have expected, but the number of play sessions I've had is embarrassingly low, to the point that even a monthly highlight reel isn't much to talk about, and even when it is, there's just something lost in translation going from the original experience to a written chronicle, and as much as I was enjoying the direction I tried to take it recently, I'm not sure I'm talented enough to consistently find the funny side of Dark Souls lore.

To my mind, the most noteworthy thing that's happened recently on that front involved falling off the catwalks in Blightown and landing on the water wheel, then trying frantically to run on top of the spinning wooden wheel while being shot at with toxin darts and realizing to my great dismay that there was absolutely nowhere safe to land. This would be one of those events that lends itself so much better to a Let's Play video than to written word, because the humor there stems largely from the visual of my grisly wanderer being turned into a hamster on a wheel, and partly from the stream of panicked nonsense that sputtered out of my mouth while trying to extricate myself from the situation.

All this is to say that while I'll keep my personal challenge going in private, I won't keep logging it or doing write-ups here. If time allows, I will see about getting some decent video capture hardware for a real Let's Play. It'll have to be live commentary or not at all. As much as I like my dry wit that comes with revisiting the events, I think there is a lot more comedy gold to be found in my less calm and collected moments.

Also, I have bought Dark Souls II, and by pure luck got a hold of one of the day-one special editions in the bad-ass looking tin case. If I do get the necessary accouterments for a Let's Play, I may skip recording my completion of Dark Souls and go straight to the sequel. We'll see how I feel. I kind of doubt anyone wants to see just the latter part of a game that's been out several years, and I don't really want to start another play-through at this point.

Okay, I guess that's all for tonight. I should really be sleeping now. Peace and love, you crazy kids.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Defending Forrest Gump

I've heard Greg Proops express scorn for the film Forrest Gump on several occasions on his podcast. I can't understand where that level of animosity comes from. It's not my favorite film by any means, but it always strikes me odd when he lashes out at it, when practically everyone else on earth seemed to like it. Well, it turns out this year marks the 20th anniversary of the film's release, so I figured I would try to offer sound rationale for what makes it a good, or at least memorable, film.

Friday, April 04, 2014

More Adventures in Social Awkwardness

My quest on this day should have been a fairly simple one. I needed $5 to contribute to my office water club, but I only had a $20 bill. No one I knew could break a twenty, so it seemed my final recourse was to buy something to get change. This in itself is a notion that bothers me because I already dislike spending money, never mind spending money on things I don't need. I'd essentially be paying for smaller bills; it's silly.

This is why I want to do away with paper money altogether and work exclusively in debit and paypal transactions. Granted, the ease and speed of digital transactions of currency are at least partly to blame for how utterly broken our economy is and how shamefully rich some people on Wall Street have gotten, but that's neither here nor there.

I walked down to the little convenience store located conveniently in the basement floor of the building. As I walked in, I noticed a display of birthday cards. My mother's birthday is coming up and I hadn't gotten a card yet. So now the money being spent wouldn't be totally pointless. In fact, I'd be making progress on two quests at once. Gotta love that kind of efficiency. I picked up a card, and a fig newton too, because screw it, I like food.

As I walked up to the checkout, a delivery guy came in with a pallet of stuff for the store. He shouted his business to the older man behind the counter, who acknowledged him and got out a record book. I assumed they had some business to conduct, so I waited by the counter, items placed in front of me and wallet in hand, prepared to carry out my transaction afterward.

The trouble is, no business was being conducted. The man who came in began stocking shelves, and the gentleman behind the counter seemed to just be waiting with the book. I grew a little impatient, but not wanting to be rude, I just waited quietly, again assuming that he would get to me when he was ready.

This went on for a couple of minutes. The man behind the counter didn't acknowledge me or make eye contact with me. I started to wonder whether he was the one being rude, and then whether he had seen me waiting at all. Then, a thought occurred to me. Sheepishly, I muttered, "I'm about ready to check out." The gentleman stepped up to the register and asked, "What have you got?"

Yup. He was blind.

I was thoroughly embarrassed that I hadn't realized sooner, that I'd been standing there like a dope for a good two minutes. I was also relieved he couldn't see the look on my face. I proceeded to tell him what I had. He asked that I read the price on the birthday card, which he punched in to the register. The price of the fig newtons he had memorized. He gave me my total, $3.72, and I gave him the $20, stating it was a $20 bill.

It occurred to me that a worse person could likely have taken advantage of this man at this moment. I could have, for instance, handed him a one and claimed it was a twenty. No items were being scanned, and I didn't see a security camera (not that I look for them), so it would not have been difficult to get away with scamming him. The fact that I even thought of this kind of bothers me, but that's just how my mind works.

The gentleman proceeded to count out my change for me. I don't know how common this is where you live, but I've seen it a lot and totally appreciate it. There are enough cashiers who make mistakes, and enough obnoxious customers who insist they've been shortchanged because they don't know how to count, that this practice is often necessary for business owners to avoid incidents and losses. Nobody wants to have an excruciating 5-minute argument with a complete stranger over how to perform simple math, but it does happen, and more often than you'd think.

Have I mentioned how much I pity people who work in retail? I really do, and I admire your intestinal fortitude. I couldn't handle your job.

So, as he hands me my change, this is how he does it: he hands me the loose coins first, a quarter and three pennies. "There's one," he says. He hands me a one. "And one is five." He hands me a five. "And five is ten." He hands me a ten. "And ten is twenty."

Now, I'm not normally mathematically challenged, but the way in which he phrased that process left me cross-eyed and confused. Wait, he said one is five? And five is ten? No, one is one, five is five, and ten is ten. That's why they're different numbers. For a moment, I really thought he might have been way off, but I didn't want to drag out our interaction any further, so rather than question his unorthodox methods of addition where numbers are other numbers, I just said, "Okay, thank you. Have a nice day."

It wasn't until I was walking away that it dawned on me. Wait... this is correct change. He didn't make a mistake. I'm just stupid.

From there, I went back to my desk, somehow not feeling like I'd made progress on two quests at once so much as feeling like an awkward doofus who has trouble functioning like a normal adult. To top things off, the person I was supposed to give $5 to wasn't in the office, so I didn't even get the satisfaction of being able to check that item off my task list.

Yes, I literally have a task list. Organization is hard.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Random religion rant

I stepped into a tired, circular conversation about the existence of God online. This is what I had to say about it.

You know, I've spent many an hour pondering the big mysteries, on whether we have a creator or not, about whether there is a life after this one, and so on. This is what I've most recently concluded: I don't care.

How the universe came to be is fun to think about, sure, but now that it's here, it doesn't really matter. I think there might be some kind of divine power beyond our understanding, and even some form of life after death, but neither of those things have too much bearing on this life and this world. All a person should need to live this life well is the understanding that what they do affects other people, and their lives are no less important than your own.

Those big questions don't have much effect on this world. What does is the distance people will go to and the depths they'll sink to in order to rationalize their most hard-fought deeply-ingrained beliefs. If beliefs were valued simply as ideas like they should be, they could be shared more freely and with a lot less grief. What's more, if people didn't cherish their own beliefs so much more than the next person's, maybe they wouldn't be so slow to empathize with and respect them.

All that's required to commit an evil act is to diminish someone enough to convince yourself that hurting them is acceptable. If you don't respect their ideas, that's very easy to do.

My point is, have fun thinking and talking about the possibilities, just don't take it too seriously. We've all got to die someday. Until then, we should try to be tolerable to be around.

That's it. Thanks for reading, and thanks even more for listening. Peace and love, Internetizens.