Monday, March 30, 2009

It are done

Finshed! Friday night, I got through the finale of Persona 3.  The final fight was stupidly easy, entirely due to me putting in way too many hours making my characters absolutely, completely, hideously overpowered.  Some people would say that the final fight should always be challenging.  I disagree.  If I spend the extra time improving my character beyond what's strictly necessary, I should be rewarded, and that reward should come in the form of being able to crush supreme evil beneath my bootheel like an emo-haired god.

Final tally on the game was 103 hours.  That brings me up to three games finished this year, with a total of approximately 163 hours played.  For those of you playing at home, that apparently averages out to 13.5 hours a week.  That's some scary shit.  

Of course, the gods of fate decided not to smile on me last night.  I was cleansing my palatte by playing a dopey (but pretty good) casual game.  I was about 2/3 through, with maybe three hours invested, when I ran into a crash bug that makes it impossible to continue.  It's a known issue and there's a fix, but it looks like I'll have to restart.  I like the game, but I'm not convinced I want to replay the whole thing just to work around their bug.  I do enough of that crap at work.

Speaking of, today's our first day of crunch on the Beatles game.  That means working 10am-9pm Monday through Thursday, and 10am-6pm Friday and Saturday.  This goes on for three weeks, then we have a week of regular schedule, then supposedly we're done.  Of course, crunch schedules are fluid things, so I'm pretty much planning on crunching until mid-June, and if we're done sooner, awesome.  So if you don't see much of me, or if movie days become slightly scarcer, that's why.  Pray for Mojo.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I feel like I'm in college again

Last night I stayed up until 3:30am playing a game.  I did this because I'm stupid.  I got up four hours later.  Now I'm at work, and I can't believe I have another three hours to go.  I'm doing that whole light headed, nothing makes a lot of sense thing.

Still, in college, I wrote some of my best papers when I was pulling all-nighters, and those felt a lot like this.  My most epic one was a paper I wrote on Seven Samurai.  I needed to re-watch the movie and take notes (as I do just before writing all my film papers), but I had to work until nine the night before it was due.  I got home at 9:30, took a half hour to unwind, and put the movie on at 10:00.  Of course, it's Kurosawa, so I didn't finish it until 2am.  the paper was a minimum of eight pages, and was due in eight hours.  Got that sucker done (I think it weighed in at 12 pages, because I'm stupid), and got an A.  Reading through it after, I had no recollection of writing the last five pages, but whoever did it was an excellent writer.

So now I'm on four cups of coffee, about to go get my fifth, and remembering that I'm now old, and shouldn't do that kind of thing.  So sad.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


So tomorrow, someone famous is coming into the office to see where the magic happens.  We've all been placed under strict instructions to "be cool".

I'm not sure what to make of the whole thing.  It's a strange job that I have.

I'm surrounded by assholes

I ride the bus to work.  I'm amazed on a daily basis at how completely oblivious people are.  If the seats fill up, people have to stand.  It's like there's a force field halfway down the aisle that people won't cross.  Almost every day, I see people stop at that point, and not move.  The entire back half of the aisle will be empty, and the people at the front will be falling out the door, and that jackass in the middle will not go to the end.  Sometimes, they'll even look around, assessing the situation, and then decide that they're in a good spot, and not move anyway.  Sometimes they'll move two steps down and stop again, satisfied that they've done their part to improve the world.

I swear to god, if I had a cattle prod, it would be used judiciously on these jackasses.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Networking still sucks

The other night, I was doing some mild mucking about in my PC case.  Somehow, even though it wasn't involved in the mucking, my network card decided to start acting strange.  I can sort of connect to our network, but the connection would be beat in a race by an anemic 56k connection.

Of course, this isn't so bad.  It's not like I use the internet for anything on my...oh fuck, I use the internet for everything!

Needless to say, there has been a great gnashing of teeth, rending of garments, and rubbing of dirt into my hair.  Of course, troubleshooting network problems is only slightly easier than diagnosing chronic stomach pain in an angry horse.  There are no pleasant experiences when trying to figure out why something isn't working.

I have some help from the internet people, and some things I'm going to try when I get home.  If that doesn't work, I've got a 30' network cable coming tomorrow, and I'm just going to say screw it to these invisible magic waves that bring the interweb to my computer box, and go with the reliable old cable that just works, and can also be used to hang myself with when I'm unsuccessful at troubleshooting other network problems.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tolerance for bullshit falling...

I've watched a lot of shows that required some pretty serious suspension of disbelief over the years.  Full House, Home Improvement, Sliders, Quantum Leap, Knight Rider (or anything else with the Hoff), all require that you check your brain at the door.  24 falls squarely into that category.  How else can you explain these  guys running all over LA without spending entire episodes stuck in traffic.  And a black man getting elected president? What the hell is that?

Yet, in the interest of enjoying myself, we all do that whole "suspension of disbelief" thing.  That's where you ignore that Rambo has been shot 357 times and still charges into the enemy, or laugh even though you know that Will Ferrell isn't actually funny.  It lets us enjoy things that our brain says we shouldn't.  

Somewhere along the line, I stopped being able to do that.  Instead of blithely accepting this crap like I used to, now I smack my forehead and yell about it.  Kt can attest to this.  My head is actually getting kind of sore.

The two shows I've noticed this in lately are Heroes and 24, with Heroes taking the cake.  I decided I couldn't stand it anymore when I realized that I was smacking my head every five minutes.  24 has almost as frequent head smacks, but it also has frequent gunfights, torture, and general action movie manliness, while Heroes turned into The Days of Our Super-lives somewhere.

What I'm still trying to figure out is whether the shows have changed, or if my bullshit tolerance is falling.  My head says that a bunch of dudes with scuba gear and a hand drill shouldn't be able to open up a 5' hole in the roof of an underwater tunnel through 6-8" of solid rock in under five minutes without using explosives.  But is that any worse than some of the things that went on in the earlier seasons of 24? 

I feel like the writers have either run out of clever ways to geting things done, or realized that we as an audience are just really willing to accept whatever crap they put in front of us.  Either way, I find myself less and less willing to watch it.  I've got many other things that I could do with my time, things that don't ask me to swallow this kind of lazy writing.  Or maybe I'm just turning into a cranky old man.  That's entirely possible.  Hopefully I go senile soon so I can go back to enjoying TV again.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Too bad I stopped playing in Little League

So I played my first real game of MLB The Show last night.  Sorry Sox fans, but we got pounded 11-0 by the Rays.  I couldn't hit anything to save my life, and it turns out the Rays really like to hit off of Timlin.

My biggest problem was hitting.  In that I couldn't.  Which seems to be a problem when it comes to scoring in baseball.  Eventually, I did manage to get the wood on the ball (heh) fairly consistently, but kept hitting grounders out to the short stop.  I did manage to get one guy on base with one out.  Then the next batter grounded to the short stop, and they (unsurprisingly) turned the double.

Of course, if I'd stayed in little league past the point where the coaches lobbed you underhanded pitches and you didn't keep score, I might be able to tell a curveball from a slider from a circle change.  In my current adult life, I can only tell you that those pitches exist due to the game listing them on the pitch selectiom meter.  Most of my pitch detection skills boil down to "OH GOD, IT'S GONNA HIT ME IN THE FACE!"

Then I had a moment of revelation when one of the players got up to bat, and I noticed in the stats ticker that he's 24.  Holy shit, did I wind up in the wrong line of work.  Think it's too late for me to make it in the big leagues?  Maybe I can move to Canada and take up curling.  It's gotta be a real sport if it's in the Olympics. 

Strike that.  According to, the average salary for a professional curler is $13,000.   That's probably in Canadian too.  It could also be for a hair curler, the site isn't terribly detailed.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Strange how things work

I've noticed a strange pattern that happens every single time I go through a concert prep with my chorus.  Things will be going along okay, and then suddenly, usually about a month before the concert, I'll have an absolutely terrible rehearsal.  I'll screw up notes and rhythms like I've never seen the music before.  The director spends the entire night yelling at my section, and deservedly so.  I go home resolved to spend some time during the week working on the music. 

Of course, I never wind up working on it.  I suck at working on music at home, it feels too much like homework.  Then I go into the next week's rehearsal, and it always goes amazingly well, and usually keeps going well through the concert.  I've got no idea how it happens, because I didn't do anything to make it happen.  It also happens every single concert prep, usually with the exact same timing.  

Well, last week's rehearsal was about a month before the concert.  It went...poorly.  This week's, polar opposite.  I still don't have any explanation.  The way the mind work completely eludes me.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

It was cold last night

I know that it was cold last night because I went out to Gamestop at midnight to buy this year's baseball game.  Believe it or not, I did that because it was more convenient than getting it today.  I bet you didn't even know I liked baseball.  (I don't, but sometimes I like playing a baseball video game.  Just like sometimes I watch cooking shows.)  My early impressions are that buying a game at midnight is still dumb, because when you get home, you're too tired to play it.  But at least I don't have to make a trip today.

And we wonder why they hate us

PC games used to be very popular.  Now, they're the red-headed stepchild of the gaming world, unless your game happens to be called The Sims, Peggle, Bejeweled, or World of Warcraft.  It's very sad, but not entirely surprising.  Last night, I got a harsh reminder of why they're in the position they're in.

Frankly, they're just not friendly.  If something about them doesn't work, you're more or less on your own to figure out why that is.  Technical support is, by and large, useless.  Compounding that, there's approximately ten hojillion things that can go wrong with a computer game.  Between the countless different combinations of hardware a computer might have, all the programs and settings, device driver versions, internet connection settings, and on and on, frankly, it's amazing anything works at all.

PC games have gotten many times friendlier than they were in the past.  Back in the day, you had to run them through DOS, which was its own barrier to entry.  It wasn't uncommon to need to make a boot disk for individual games that was tailored to free up the proper amount of high and low RAM (bet you didn't know there were two kinds, huh?).  Any trouble shooting had to be done without the aid of the internet.  Things were very complicated.

These days, things are much, much simpler.  However, when something goes wrong, it's frequently no easier to fix.  Last night, what I thought was going to be a simple installation of a game turned into a two hour troubleshooting process.  The root cause? Someone logged into their account on my PC.  This is a perfectly ordinary process for that service, but somehow it screwed something up that hosed a vital bit on my system.  It was an easy (if annoying) fix, but a user with less experience might not have figured it out, wrongly blamed the game, and tried to return it.

Of course, that would've failed.  We're at the point where if you open a game, movie, CD, box of ceral, it's yours, and the stores will only give you the same thing back.  That's the unfortunate reality of retail today.  Except that if a game just won't work on your computer (and that occasionally happens), you're screwed.  

All this adds up to it's just easier to game on consoles.  Since there's so many fewer options on consoles, shit just works.  If it doesn't work, it usually means something is broken.  Like so many things, a car analogy can illustrate the difference between console gaming and PC gaming. 

Console gaming is like driving a Camry.  You buy a Camry because you want a car that drives, and only requires you putting in gas and occasionally taking it to the mechanic.  You don't care what goes on under the hood, as long as it goes vroom when you turn it on.  PC gaming is like driving a rebuilt '67 Chevy.  That you restored by yourself.  With some modifications.  You love popping the hood and getting your hands dirty.  If you can spend two days fiddling with it and get an extra 2 HP out of it, that's awesome.  Something going wrong is a chance to dig inside and figure it out, it's an adventure.  At the end of the day, it takes more work, but you wind up with something that's more your own, and will get you places with more style than the Camry.

There's a reason there are more Camrys on the road than rebuilt '67 Chevys.  It's not a bad thing, it just is.  Sure, sometimes I like monkeying in the guts of my computer and figuring shit out.  But sometimes I just want to go to the store and get some ice cream.  That's when I'm hopping in my Camry.