Crash Party
11/03/29 at 23:25 EST

There was an accident on the highway near where I live. An SUV was in a collision and got rolled onto its hood so, of course, it caused some mild traffic congestion and slowed me down on the way home. This actually came as a surprise to me, because I don't take the highway home. The accident caused traffic congestion on the nearby street running parallel to it because over half a dozen vehicles had pulled over to gawk at the crash scene.

A flipped-over SUV is probably not something you see every day, I get it. Go ahead, stop on a single-lane, bi-directional street and gawk away. The chances of seeing another accident any time soon are pretty slim after all. Unless, of course, you were to contribute to one.

5-star vehicle safety ratings are definitely a product of the Supply and Demand function.
Tagged under: derp
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awplog Food Development 1: The Meatza
11/03/23 at 20:35 EST

Decided to do some off-roading with dinner tonight to see if I could find some delicious way to make myself ill so I don't have to get out of bed tomorrow morning, and here we have the meatza: pizza for people allergic to bread and vegetables.

The Dough

Shaved/sliced meat. Steak shavings or a bacon weave are preferred, but I only had salami at the ready, and you work with what you've got. Lay the sliced meat in an orderly fashion, interlocking slices for stability's sake. Vary the thickness to your own liking, but remember that you will need to cut through it, and the cleaner the cut, the better. Some meats are better for cutting than others. Again, salami's not the best, but you work with what you've got.

The Pizza Sauce

Ground beef, the groundier the better. What? There's no room for tomatoes here. Grow up.

Add some cheese

If I had mozz I'd use it, but I'm working with what I've got. This part is to provide something of a pallet to put the toppings onto, and helps hold things together.

Add some toppings

The beauty of pizza is that you can dress it to suit. I went with Swedish meatballs and pepperoni, seasoned with Montreal Steak Spice.

Add some more cheese

Your arteries deserve a nap. Clog 'em right up and give them a rest. The cheese will hold everything together. It's like mother nature's glue when there's a shortage of horses. All set? Pop it in the oven on low for a few minutes to let that cheese melt everything into a tasty pie.

Eat the damn thing

If you didn't go overboard with the meat/sauce, you did it wrong. But on the lighter side, if you did it wrong, you might be able to fold it up like a burrito and eat it with your bear hands. I made good use of a pizza spatula that I found while the meatza was in the oven.

Grab a rum and coke, sit down in front of the tube, and watch some digital entertainment while you feast. Epic Meal-Time seems like a no-brainer here, but I'm a scholar so I ate a few animals while watching a couple episodes of Dilbert.
Tagged under: life
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Sony MDR-XD200 Stereo Headphones
11/03/22 at 17:39 EST

The headphones I'm wearing atop my head have been in my possession (though not necessarily clinging to the aforementioned skull) for a while now. I bought them back in May 2010 to use with my V-Drums. They're big (huge, really), they're comfy, and they sound pretty good. I didn't get much use out of them, however, because I've been using them exclusively with my drum kit until recently, when a pair of decent Fender Stereo headphones took their place. I'm not saying the Fender headphones are better, but they're good enough to have made me think about a more optimal usage pattern. I'm at my desk at work for about 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. On average I'd say that 6 of those hours may involve usage of headphones, which is likely more in a day than I'd use everywhere else combined in a week, so why not put my best foot (or in this case audio delivery mechanism) forward in that respect?

This is all a precursor (and, in fact, largely irrelevant) to what I'm about to say. The MDR-XD200 headphones tote around a "dual-setting" feature: each of the speakers (that's Left and Right, yes) has their own individual settings. By settings, I mean there's a switch on each speaker labeled "Sound Mode" with the options: Music and Movie. Both modes of entertainment offer different optimizations in the ranges of sound being delivered.

The switch, however, does absolutely nothing save a satisfying "click" sound when toggling between settings. I am all but convinced that this is nothing more than a placebo; a marketing gimmick for a product that does just fine without it. When these headphones go the way of all electronic devices made after the mid-90s and eventually stops working, I'm quite tempted to take them apart and see if the switch is even connected to anything else.

These headphones are nice, but I feel like they're making a fool of me.
Tagged under: music
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Bioshock 2 is a weird game
11/03/14 at 11:34 EST

The following is a snippet of an actual conversation I had with my brother on Steam at 4 in the morning on Saturday:

Brother: You should go to bed!

awp: But I have to abduct little girls and make them drink the blood of corpses so that I can shoot bees from my hands!

My goals in Bioshock 2 seemed innocent enough, until I tried to put it into words. I think I've just ruined my immersion in that game forever.

On the plus side, I'd recently installed Fallout Wanderer's Edition onto Fallout 3, in tandem with some other mods I've grown accustomed to, but I have to say FWE certainly increases the intensity and immersion of that particular game. I'd found my way into the Chryslus Building because I was looking for a place to sleep, and due to a mod I had installed, nights in the Wasteland are pitch black, making the great outdoors a dangerous place to be when the sun sets.

I wasn't then aware of the fact that A - there are no beds in the office building, and B - the place was infested with mutants, and before long I was drunk in the basement swinging an axe at what appeared to be hordes of Centaur triplets. Good times with whiskey and weapons.
Tagged under: gaming
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Some sprites from last week
11/03/12 at 01:15 EST

Finally got around to compiling/exporting some sprites. gif format, as apng isn't fully supported across all good Browsers yet, and my apng plugin is dodgy. Hell, my gif exporter is crashy, too. I really need a better program for drawing and exporting sequences of sprites. Maybe I just need to find a better plugin for Paint.NET...

Tagged under: sprites
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11/03/08 at 15:35 EST

My post count just hit the big 100 right there. Sorry it was a lousy post.
Tagged under: site
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Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4.
11/03/08 at 15:34 EST

When I was taking the stairwell (my exercise regime for the winter) up to my car in the parking garage after work yesterday, I could hear the elevator talking on the fourth floor, so I poked my head through the doorway to the fourth floor.

Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4.
Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4.
Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4. Parking Level 4.

The elevator was looping inside a subroutine, repeating the same thing over and over, the door permanently agape. How do you screw something like that up? It's an elevator.
Tagged under: failure
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The Shortest Straw has been pulled
11/03/07 at 13:01 EST

If it weren't for this, I'd be working straight through my lunch break uninterrupted. My usual mealtime regimen involves a lengthy trip over to The Escapist for some news and entertainment while I engage in the indulgent ritual of eating, but a temporary shift in focus will leave me back in the dark, arguably where I belong.

It's crunch time at work again, and this time around, the shortest straw has been pulled for me. Without me even pulling a straw, as a matter of fact, though the titular Metallica song never really implied that one pulled the shortest straw for oneself, so it's fitting, I suppose. At any rate, crunch time involves testing jumbled, yet very real, customer data, as oppose to the usual riff-raff of keyboard battery and internet-meme data, but there's one customer that's bigger than allllll the rest. Considerably bigger. Tenfold, in some cases. The shortest straw for the biggest pile of data to sort through, as it were. Oh well, I'll find other time to do some sprite work.

I mentioned earlier my suspicions that I'm improving my craft, and that suspicion proved true. I was able to crank out an animation from one of my static images last night, and in admiration of my accomplishments, took a look at some older sequences, only to realize that they were repulsive in their lack of fluidity. The most telltale sign of improvement lies in the knowledge that everything I have done to this point is in effect worthless (as a product, though the learning experience remains invaluable) and can be revisited in the name of improvement in a vicious cycle that promises nothing of a conclusion. But it should at least be very pretty.

I was hoping to have some images up here last night, but my apng sequencer is not without its flaws, and the web hasn't fully embraced the format yet, so I'll have to fall back on gifs for now. That way everybody wins, and who doesn't want that? No need to short-change Chrome users.

As a closing afterthought, for those of you who suck at Mario Vodkart: hey, you suck at Mario Vodkart. You know who you are. You can tell that by sucking at Mario Vodkart when you play it.
Tagged under: sprites, work
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Everyone is out to get me
11/03/03 at 13:58 EST

Story time is over. It was a fun little diversion (for me) while it lasted, and was a bit of a learning exercise from a literary standpoint. I have a nasty habit, when writing, to let events in a story chart their own course, only to have the world I've created betray my expectations and evolve as it goes. The problem with that is, the beginning no longer coincides with the current state of the world, and I have to reshuffle, redesign, and rewrite. I've been doing this with a novel-in-progress of mine since 2006. And this time, I think I have all the pieces in place, but it won't be until I've re-written up to that critical juncture that I'll know for sure, in which all likelihood will dictate history repeats itself.

And now that I've managed to alienate my entire audience, I can start posting my spur of the moment whims in here again. I didn't want to break the flow, you see. And before anyone who hasn't been scared away thinks the universe I've depicted in the Hero's Diary deserves greater exploration, well, good news: it already has. It's not mine. It's not my idea, the events are not of my design, and the characters are not of my imagination. I suppose, despite how it ails me to admit, it's something of a "retelling" of the first bundle of events in Zettai Hero Project: Absolute Victory Unlosing Ranger vs. Darkdeath Evilman, written from my perspective of the main character's perspective. The universe of ZHP really is so bizarre that any observer, such as that of the main character, must have an intriguing viewpoint on the matter. And while attempting to stay faithful to the source material, one cannot help but infuse a portion of their own identity into anything they do, which was something I did at regular intervals in a fit of self-indulgence.

But that is neither here nor there. As I've stated before, with that uninterruptable diversion at its end, I can turn my indulgences to something with less structure. I received a call at work today (this is, believe it or not, a very uncommon occurrence; I'm not an aficionado of the telephone) from a business to which I am affiliated, with the aim of a promotional offer for this or that. That immediately raises a red flag in my psyche - I tend to be a rather tolerable person, and branching from that, I find ways of making myself content with the way things are. This is a pleasant way of saying I hate change. Even though I'm not keen on watching things as they become more and more routine, while I may fantasize about some marvelous invasion into my lifestyle that upsets the natural order, I still dislike change. And when I am approached about something by a company whose services I am affiliated with, I often regard the offer tentatively.

Incentives, designed to make the offer seem more appealing, have the exact opposite impact on me, making me even more wary about the insidious inner workings, ever-perceptive of this seemingly-innocent proposal's ulterior motives. If this package, this offer, this service - if it is really so wonderful, so beneficial to myself or humanity as a whole, why do you need to bribe me with a 50 dollar coupon just to sample a free trial?

Abate my fears, would you please - mention something offhandedly, inconspicuously, that makes me believe I've spotted the "gotcha" as it were. In this case, it was an opt-out program. We give you this voucher, and we let you sample our awesome service for 30 days absolutely free - but if you don't tell us you don't want it, we'll automatically start billing you for it.

This seems like something obvious to me - something terribly easy to take advantage of, that there must be some other "catch", something else preventing the offeree from taking advantage of the offerer. The fact of the matter is, however, that the majority of people out there actually are stupid, and in this case I could easily be grouped in with them, as I am dreadfully forgetful. If I were to gamble on this, to hazard a guess, I'd say that the target market for this promotion is forgetful people. It's an inconspicuous, fully-automated charge to the signee's account, and something that is quite easily overlooked. That's where they getcha.

I've been working away on a project for a while now, one I've deliberately refrained from mentioning by name or description, due to my terrible habit of abandoning every acted-upon idea halfway through, but this particular project (it is a video game, if that was necessary to whet your appetite) appears to have already overcome the worst of the hurdles. I'm at another peak in the mental fun vs work graph that has left me on the sidelines for now. In order to improve my rate of progress on this project, I must first break it entirely, but this hangup is an exercise in wasting an afternoon at best, as it is optional. Depends on whether I want some personal growth from the experience or not.

The other interference is - you guessed it - another project, though I'd rather call this one a budding hobby. It's no surprise that I'm a fan of the Scott Pilgrim books/film/game. I didn't expect to enjoy the game all that much - I enjoyed River City Ransom, but I was by no means crazy about it - but the entire package had such charm and style to it. The gameplay was solid and flexible, evolving just enough in complexity to have admirable depth and challenge to it, while remaining accessible. You can get through with "approach, punch, repeat", but it only gets you so far, and lacks the grace of one who makes good use of their potential. The graphical style is the current focus of my affection however, and that tip of the hat goes to Paul Robertson and his team. It's not just the fluidity of the animations, but the sprites themselves are so very lively and colourful, as expressive as O'Malley's source at times. I decided to experiment with it a bit using a mascot I designed for a certain PC rhythm game and the results of that provoked me into doing a few more sprites, both of fictional people and real people, and a couple in between. Since then, I've gotten a number of requests, and I'll be pounding out a few more in the next little while. I seem to be improving at it too, as sprites drawn from scratch seem to take me about 75% of the time they did half a month ago to get right. I'll post some of them here when I have the time. At the moment there are a few in stock poses, but they require animation. I hope you like apng (and Firefox).
Tagged under: life
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Hero's Diary: Day 1, Part 20
11/03/01 at 13:21 EST

I'm still alive, for what that's worth, and thank you for expressing your concern.

Forgive me if I sound distracted while recording this log. It's not as though I have a choice. It's the belt, I think - the belt, or maybe the helmet. It has a device that's hooked into my brain, and it's automatically recording my immediate and recent experiences. It takes these recordings and sends them as transmissions somewhere. I don't know where, and I don't know why, but in all likelihood, Etranger has the answers.

The reason I'm distracted is pretty simple: she and Pirohiko have sent me into another twisted dungeon on another wild goose chase for another insane target. This guy's a terrorist who wants to ruin everyone's day because he was teased in highschool. He's not some clock-tower college student, either. He's like, 45. And he happens to be working on his grand scheme in the basement floor of a hot, noisy, poorly-maintained mechanical factory full of - what else? - deranged creatures that want to make silly hats out of my innards.

You know what I consider to be the worst of this is? It's not the constant, alien tingling in my body from whatever the hell that kindergartner did to me while I was under the knife. It's not the fact that everything I meet wants me dead. It's not Etranger, and her bossy, spoiled attitude. It's not Pirohiko, and the fact that he's the reason why I'm involved in all of this. It's not Pirohiko, and the fact that his ineptitude is constantly worsening the situation. It's not Pirohiko, and the fact that he has done nothing to actually help. It's not the absolute impossibility of my wife and daughter. It's not the fact that, at the end of this ordeal, I'll be unceremoniously launched back to Earth where a gigantic lion-man in a suit of armour will rend me within an inch of my life, only to be sent back into Outer Space to embark on another wild goose chase in another deranged dungeon pursuing another dangerous individual. And it's not that these maniacs haven't even had the common courtesy to ask me for my name.

The worst part of this is that it is becoming routine. In all of its absurdity, in all of its implausibility, in all of its impossibility, this has become my life.

At least, for today.
Tagged under: ZHP
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