Saturday, August 30, 2008

Little Known Facts of the Magic 8-Ball

Little Known Fact: Sarah Palin... the 494th pokemon, and she wants to pwn your pikachu.

...can squeeze rocks into other rocks. With her eyes.

...used her snowmobile to take Gary Gygax's magic dice to the vault at the Fortress of Solitude.

...fought Chuck Norris until the entire planet of Namek was destroyed.

...can talk to beavers.

...occasionally stops time to help Doctor Who fight the Daleks.

...wrestled Cthulhu to steal ellipses for this blog.

...has tiny Magic 8-Balls behind her pupils.

Magic 8-Balls say...

The Daily Show dynamic might be in for a major backfire. There's a pretty huge swath of young democrats that have been trained to align their politics with their sense of humor. Many of those same people would happily follow Chuck Norris into the sun.

Absurdism has become an actual cultural force. As it should be. I, for one, couldn't be happier.

[This blog entry is a forgery created by three different Andy Warhols.]


Friday, August 29, 2008

A word, by any other name...

It's Friday night and I'm sick with some kind of Central American Lizard Flu. What a pain. I could be nerding out with the other virgins right now, but no, instead I'm sniffling and tracking down ex-girlfriends in Guadalajara.

Anyway, I thought I'd stop by and give the award for the best internet expression ever. Bruce, if I could get a drum roll. Thanks, Bruce.

And the winner is...


Alright, that's all. Get out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Vancian Spellcasting

The only Jack Vance book I ever read was fascinating. It was all about language, and how the very words you speak shape your thoughts and experience. The premise of the book was that whole worlds could be redesigned with linguistic overrides and manipulation.

The Languages of the Pao.

The basic idea is so clear and obvious and correct... I doubt I'll ever stop thinking about it. It's one of those concepts that shifts your perspective into a slightly different place. The words you know, and the structure of how they flow together, affects your future and potential just as clearly and impeccably as your genetic heritage. The way you learn to speak is the way you learn to think.

Interestingly enough, Vance himself has an unrivaled vocabulary. Click click click...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

EMOTICON DIPLOMACY FAILS - U.S. at war with Chinese gold farmers

Read a good article about gaming yesterday. The most interesting part is this idea that major corporations are going out of their way to hire WoW guild leaders for their organizational skills.

Topical, because only a week ago I tried to drag one of my arch-gamer cohorts over to Eve Online from Xbox Live. The results were disastrous. My friend, Killer, who is an utter badass with a 360 joystick, was 100% dysfunctional once you took away the spoon fed tutorials found in his "native" software. It was just sad. Like trying to teach a dog to fly a helicopter. Seriously, his intellect and the game's level of complication were that far apart.

Aside from the direct personal ramificiations, I was highly disturbed by the realization that my friend is actually one of the smarter kids I know. I immediately wondered how things like business and government were going to survive Killer's generation.

The answer, apparently, is that at least the people running World of Warcraft guilds will have the skills required to maintain infrastructures.

Well, I stand corrected. Problem solved. Silly me for worrying.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Congratulations to Maria del Rosario Espinoza and Guillermo Perez for winning gold medals in Taekwondo! And to Tatiana Ortiz and Paola Espinosa for bringing home the bronze in Synchronized Diving! [1]

Very cool guys. Way to represent out there.

ok, the truth is I didn't watch much of the Olympics. I rarely do. The most exciting part for me personally - getting to try Microsoft Silverlight. [2] Still, it was much more fun to eavesdrop on the games this cycle than usual. The opening cermony was insane and wonderful, and when Tatiana and Paola won their bronze medals I was pretty excited for them. [3]

Perhaps more interestingly, so was my mother, who lives in LA and visits me down here very rarely. In fairness, she doesn't always have the best experiences as a tourist in Baja, but she still considers Mexico her other home team. Which if I'm not mistaken, is actually the point of the Olympics. [4]

[1] I'm going to let you guys slide on making up new sports, but only because you invented one where hot chicks jump off things. But I'm watching you people. You are not to show up in 2012 holding lawn darts.

[2] Silverlight seemed nice... but I think mine's broken. I can't get it to transform into the robot at all.

[3] The other little girl was cute too, China! Are you all licking pandas to get high?! Hold on. I'm training fifteen hundred people to stand on a LCD screen the size of an aircraft carrier and facepalm in perfect unison...

[4] Apparently that magic torch they stole from Zeus is working. Death to the gods!! Peace in our lifetime!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Thirdrail Ink

I bought my first Tablet PC, a Fujitsu Lifebook [T4220], about a year ago now. Her name is Daisy. I never thought much about tablets until I wanted one for drawing. Now I can't imagine ever going back to the oldtech laptops.

I'm also certain Bill Gates is right about tablets being the future of educational computing. Any computer task even remotely resembling schoolwork, writing, or note taking is many times easier on a tablet. It's also a more casual experience. The tablet sidekicks like a clipboard, not a computer. It's that simple. The difference is amazing.

There have been a number of telling moments since Daisy's arrival.

Fujitsu, unlike any pre-built pc company I've ever dealt with, put virtually nothing extra on my hard drive. Some little photo handler program called "Picasso" and a Realtek audio manager program are as close as they got to saddling me with "bloatware". [I've dealt with HP, Compaq, Gateway, and Dell pre-builts in the past, and always had to spend the first day clearing drives of their nonsense and then defragging.]

She's the first computer to get dragged around the house with me. In tablet mode, it's just so easy. The DS is the only other device I own with comparable tote-ability.

Kid's adore Daisy. My friend's daughter never asked for my DS again. She only wanted to draw on the tablet. [Kudos to Alias Sketchbook on this one too.]

When I brought Daisy home, I was hanging out with a lot of Mac users. It was the first and only time I've ever seen Mac people feeling inferior without the words "game" or "market presence" being involved. The two classic strong points of Macs, ease of use and technological superiority, both seem outdated in the presence of a tablet.

When life outside the tech belt brought my desktops to their knees, Daisy was forced into being the "main computer" for several months. Despite having no real video card [965 chipset, at best a pseudo-card even by laptop-go standards] Daisy managed to play Dawn of War games and made Eve Online [classic graphics] look good at 35-50 fps.

Stepping up as prime game machine and holding your ground... there's probably no better way to prove your technological qualifications here in the kingdom of the Thirdrail.

Which in turn earns Daisy and the tablets their two cents. There you have it.

Interesting footnote - Daisy stopped me from going Apple. I left the house that day thinking I would check out the tablets while buying my first Mac laptop. I was literally obsessed those beautiful backlit keys and I wanted a smaller, lighter computer than my HP Notebook. After comparing the two formats, I was blown away by how cool the tablets were. Apple didn't make one, and still doesn't. [Except for their phones.] Which is sad, because the Mac Air as a tablet would allow me to declare the future officially open for business...

Go Team Venture! Just promise to come back.

Venture Brothers just wrapped up its third season. The finale was a little reference heavy, even for VB, but awesome nonetheless. This has turned into one of my all-time favorite series.

It's odd, I've also been watching the Colbert Report lately, and as funny as his show is, I can't help feeling like he really screwed up when he bailed on Venture Brothers. I mean yeah, he's no doubt got a much larger audience at the moment. But what about the future?

I can just barely sit through an episode of the Daily Show or Colbert Report from three months ago. I'd never watch an episode of those shows twice. Conversely, I've got every episode of the animated Tick series sitting on an active drive right next to me. And that's The Tick, which had moments of genius [fe Mr. Smartypants], but nowhere near the consistent quality levels of Venture Brothers.

Anyway, congratulations to Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer and all their people on turning a good show into a great one. I can't wait for next season.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Get the hell off my lawn.

Do I hate Gamespy more than Steam? Or do I hate Steam more than Gamespy?

It's impossible to tell. They're both such awful spyware.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Mysterious Chicken

The Pokemon Mystery Dungeon games are the best of the Pokemon series. They have great writing and much more challenging game play than the other Pokemon games. I highly recommend them.

Also, I suggest using a Torchic or Cyndaquil as your partner (if possible). I have no idea if they're "powerful" or not, but they're super cute. Plus, the npcs in Darkness/Time will be calling your timid partner a "chicken" pretty often, which makes for great comedy when you're actually talking about a chicken.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The kids, they never listen...

The file sharing conflict has been going on for quite a while now. It's p2p vs. the megacorps. Little guy vs. big guy. David on Goliath.

David and Goliath is right... funny, I've never understood why that story gets read the way it does. I mean we were supposed to be surprised that a deity's champion defeated a mere giant? Goliath was hosed from the moment that scenario began.

Much like the forces trying to stop file sharing. Allow me to explain, in simple terms, why p2p piracy will always win...

File sharing is owned, operated, and maintained by nerds. Nerds, by definition, are the smart ones. So when you set out to stop file sharing, the deck is stacked against you from the start. Now, in Sun Tzu's honor, let's look at the terrain. Where will the battle be located? On computers you say? I see. So now the plan isn't just to outsmart a bunch of geeks, but to do it via the computer. That's a stupid plan.

A more fruitful use of corporate energy would be curing the ails that drive people to p2p in the first place. Lower prices, remove commercials, return to corporate values that emphasize quality products over maximized profits... just a few ideas.