Sunday, December 30, 2012

Goodbye 2012: Blog Year in Review

Goodbye 2012. We had a good blogging year; go ahead and browse through the archives on the side panel if you don't believe me. We rescued a cat, helped with some Dragon Dice, played some Final Fantasy and even talked a bit about Star Ocean, looked at America's Greatest Enemy and spent some time at the Smithsonian. Somethings were too high, while other things were just all around bad ideas. Also, a lot of goose poetry. I don't know why.

The Supreme Court made some big decisions, and I thought we may have outgrown MMOs as a genre. We also talked some theory on gaming and talked about how writing all sorts of things is hard. However, despite all of this, I have managed to keep on keeping on with my side projects. In fact, this blog has some of my better (and worse) stuff. But, before we end 2012, how about a Fiction of 2012 Review? Included here are two pieces (at the bottom) that I think I have not shared before. Let me know if any of the links don't work for you; older files might require a download, mattering on if your copy of Google Docs has updated to Drive or not.
Here are the non-page-a-day fiction that I've uploaded for your reading pleasure
So, have a Happy New Year, and let's see about making 2013 as interesting as 2012. I'll again try for a page-of-fiction-a-day, which gives me tomorrow to figure out what the first story of 2013 will be. I'll need to come up with a few other resolutions, too, I guess.

    Wednesday, December 26, 2012

    Selective Enforcement of the Law Is Wrong

    If David Gregory were a member of the Tea Party, we would not even be having this discussion. Look, try this (actually don't, since you're not important, you'll be arrested.) Go down to Washington and wave around a high capacity magazine. Inform the police you are going to make a demonstration with one. When told you cannot do so, do it anyway. Publicly flout any other law you want, and you will usually quickly be faced with consequences. This is how the law is supposed to work.

    Sometimes, though, there are are bad laws. These are laws that are so bad, people willingly break them as an act of civil disobedience and use their immoral (but technically legal) incarceration to protest against the law in question. That is not what is happening here: Gregory is not for the legalization of these magazines in the District. He wants them to stay banned, in fact. So, to prove how important they stay banned he... goes on TV to break the law and people now insist he should face no consequences for breaking the very law he wants to see strengthened? If he thinks the law is reasonable, he should pay the piper.

    I'm not the only one who thinks that enforcing laws is a reasonable thing to do, by the way.

    If David Gregory can go on TV and blatantly disregard the law with no consequences, why should any other citizen expect to suffer consequences for breaking the same law? Some people might claim it is a waste of resources to run him in; it is not. Not only that, but I have some other questions: How did he get possession of the magazine? Was the initial purchase legal or illegal? Did he use a straw buyer? Did he smuggle it into the district illegally? Did he use his name when purchasing it? How many laws was Gregory willing to break to, essentially, wave a prop in the face of someone he was interviewing? That's the beautiful thing about our legal system: Breaking one law usually entails breaking any number of other laws, some of which are much more serious than the minor infraction you're initially brought in on.

    There should be an investigation, and we should ask him the same questions we'd ask anyone else seen carrying illegal weapons. Because that's what he did. On television, in the full view of millions. A press pass may get you in to some places, but it is not a magic shield to protect you from prosecution. You know what would be a good way to avoid these thorny legal issues? Don't break the very laws you advocate for, lest you get hoisted on your own petard.

    UPDATE: Althouse links to here. Let's take a few of the thoughts and show why Kurtz is wrong. First: "Let’s get real here. People who don’t like Gregory, or his network, or the media, or gun control are using his little stunt to express a bit of manufactured outrage, as though he were some kind of criminal."

    O'Keefe called and would like to know where Kurtz was when he needed him. Oh, that's right. Kurtz doesn't like O'Keefe, his network, his media or what he stands for and doesn't seem too concerned with protecting him. As to the police probe being a waste of time: See above where we need to know how Gregory went about breaking this law. He may have done worse than just procure and own an illegal object.

    Next: "Gregory had no intent to commit a crime; he was committing journalism instead." Intent is written into certain statutes; this one does not care about intent. Intent, like ignorance, is no excuse.

    Finally: "Gun owners often say they want the government to leave them alone; why then are some clamoring for Gregory to be prosecuted?" Who would have guessed? Law-abiding gun owners like to see the law upheld and not used solely as a tool to oppress Kurtz's political enemies. Funny, that.

    ----

    P.S.,

    If this were the only time NBC had messed up in a major way recently, maybe we could ignore it. It is not. Whoever is running things at NBC is running it shoddily, letting their on air talent violate the law and their behind the scenes talent to screw things up. NBC needs to clean house.

    Sunday, December 23, 2012

    Final Fantasy 4: Onward to The After Years

    FF4 is a surprisingly quick game (completed in under about 17 hours played.) There are a few points of real difficulty, but even those can be breezed through by simply doing fights as they come. I reached the end game on the moon at about level 57 across the party by the time we used the crystal in the last fight. Simply knowing how the Active Time Battle system works this time changed the whole world. I knew what counters were used by what monster; Behemoths were no longer a long, drawn out fight once I realized they countered every hit with a nasty attack. Rubicant was no longer a stopping point once I realized how his cloak works; and the water turtle demon Caganazzo, or whatever, was a push over.

    Friday, December 21, 2012

    Final Fantasy 3: The Last of the NES Era

    After beating the Cloud of Darkness, we say a fond farewell to the NES era Final Fantasy games. Even though I was playing the remake, I still felt the danger of things going wrong in the battles enough, and there was a real hint of danger throughout the game play. Coming off of FF2, the body count among our heroes is much lower, and the tone is lighter. Most of the world is not destroyed, and our friends are reunited in the end. FF3 sets up a nice, hopeful spot between the depressing worlds of FF2 and FF4.

    Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Journalistic Ethics: Interviewing Kids After Tragedy

    There's a lot of talk about interviewing the children who survived the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary school. My initial instinct is to shun the idea of exploiting the kids for a media circus. This, I think is a correct instinct, but it assumes all journalists are vultures. However, I think I've come up with an acceptable compromise that builds off of the nonsense of quote approvals for public figures.

    The point of the quote approval is to protect the speaker; when dealing with PR people and public figures, that seems silly. But, when dealing with elementary school students, that seems incredibly prudent. Here's my compromise: Allow the interviews of the children provided the following:

    1. Parent/guardian approval
    2. The interview is not live
    3. The interview is only conducted after appropriate grief counseling as required
    4. The final tape of the interview is signed off on by appropriate parent/guardians
    5. The kid maintains anonymity throughout

    I think this would help balance journalists' desire to get stories out there with our actual need to protect these kids. Is this a reasonable compromise, or do you think that there simply should be no interviews whatsoever?

    Saturday, December 15, 2012

    Squirrel!

    For all your distraction needs.
    Squirrel!

    Get It Right -- Even If You Don't Get It Fast

    This is a lesson we're supposed to learn every time there is a terrible tragedy. We are always told that we should slow down, wait to have all the information before making ill-formed opinions and statements. I've discussed this before here and here. So, we're back to this pressing question: How can we encourage the media to actually do their job and get breaking stories right before accidentally sending out loads of incorrect information? In what other field, besides blogging, politics and journalism, do we allow this level of incompetence to go unchecked?

    So, when you decide to report on a mass shooting, it behooves you to get the right suspect, describe the attack correctly, identify your victims correctly and behave like decent human beings while doing so. Not getting things right also causes people to wonder why journalists might accidentally embarrass themselves in other ways. Journalists: These sorts of stories are easy lay-ups if you would be patient and not be suckers.

    Verify your work. It's not that hard, and if you were in any other field and routinely turned in such shoddy, poorly checked work, you would be fired. Sometimes, it is OK to be a little slow if you can get it right without having to embarrassingly backtrack and say "Never mind." Ignore the Second Amendment issues for all purposes on commenting and focus on how we can convince the media that accuracy is more important than showmanship.

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    The Public Says It Wants Compromise

    Namely, they want it on the fiscal cliff. Yet, every action the public has taken gets in the way of compromise (electing a divided government, remaining blissfully ignorant about Simpson-Bowles, kicking the can down the road for decades to reach the fiscal cliff, not punishing politicians who won't even pass a budget, etc.)

    Compromise requires both sides to give something up that they want, and it often requires what is given up to be a little painful for both sides. It requires parties to negotiate in good faith, and it requires stakeholders in the negotiations (that is, average Americans) to pay enough attention and hold people accountable.

    If you want compromise, then vote for people who are likely to reach compromises as opposed to political ideologues, whether they be Tea Party extremists or Pelosi-wing Democrats. America will not get compromise if we keep rewarding behavior that has never, in the past, brought about compromise. Now, doing something is not always better than doing nothing, and if the something being offered by both sides is unacceptable, then the only something that will happen is sequestration.

    Now, here's the interesting thing about sequestration: Like any bargaining position, you should not agree to it or make a threat unless you are willing to pull the trigger on it. You don't kick in the door to your bank and yell at them about bad service unless you are willing to cut a check to yourself for your entire account and walk to the next bank over and open up shop there, for example. So, everyone who agreed to sequestration made a sort of tacit agreement that this was a worst-case acceptable compromise if they couldn't come up with anything better.

    So, just remember that if it happens, and act accordingly.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2012

    Condemn Political Violence

    Sometimes, the press serves up a nice, slow ball right across the plate. It just begs to be hit over the fence. Then, sometimes, a P.R. person screws it so epically bad that I just can't imagine what possessed them to force an error. While batting. Can you even make an error on offense in baseball?

    Here's a quick, easy guide to public relations. When someone asks you, essentially: "Do you condemn violence to silence someone's political opponents?" You say no. You do not waffle.

    You do not say: “I haven’t see those comments, and I’m not sure they mean what someone interprets them to mean." You say: "No. There will not be blood. We should not encourage the being there of blood. In fact, I would suggest everyone stop mentioning the being or not being of blood."

    This is a really simple, basic P.R. tip. I'm not even going to charge for sharing it. When given the chance to condemn political violence, condemn it.

    ----

    P.S.,

    Violence is rarely the best way to persuade people. Your right to swing your fist ends at another person's nose. Or the back of their skull. Or their personal property. Beating people and drawing knives on them to slash their property are not protected by the First Amendment.

    Sunday, December 9, 2012

    Photos From Zoolights

    I also had a picture of the raccoon that was at the front entrance that I came in, but that was before I realized you needed to fiddle with your camera to get even half-way decent pictures of Christmas lights. Now, some people will tell you that it was not a raccoon, and that it was a red panda. Those people are wrong. What did we learn from last night?

    1. Raccoons are better than red pandas
    2. My camera has settings I never knew it had.
    3. Frozen yogurt makes everything better.

    Probably my favorite picture I took.

    Saturday, December 8, 2012

    Men, Women, The Wars There Of

    So, after I gave such a bang up review of the Demise of Guys, there's a new book that seems to want to talk about the same theory (though I don't yet know what it suggests.) Now, obviously, Men on Strike has not been released, so I can't make any judgment what-so-ever on what it says. This is important for you to remember. I have no intention of reading that book either, it really isn't my cup of tea.

    First of all, I don't think there is a War on Men, though I do agree with the author's point that we should not solely be looking at men as the cause of the problem. It's a very feminist and egalitarian opinion I hold, but: I think both genders are contributing to whatever problem (if indeed, there is one) with lower marriage rates.

    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    Extra Credits Video

    Video here.

    This is something that I try to explain to people, that I think this video does better than I could. One thing I try to explain when playing games is the difference in power in classes, strategies, etc. For example, in most Final Fantasy games, you can pretty much ignore much of the complexity the game offers by simply finding the exploitable bits and exploiting to the hilt.

    Wednesday, December 5, 2012

    One Reason I Don't Watch a Lot of TV

    ... is that I notice things.

    For example, I like Frasier. So, to fill in between writing, I am half-watching it. Little things bother me all the time, but sometimes, there's just a big thing. In Episode 4, they set four places at the table; only after Niles arrives does he tell them Maris isn't coming. If that's the case, why do they only set four places?

    This is why I can't have nice things.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2012

    Spheres of Competence, Gun Violence

    I'm going to be up front. I don't know anything about football. I accept that as a fact, and because of that, the only time I make pronouncements about football is in a tongue in cheek manner, like that the Mets will win the Super Bowl. It is one of the greatest gifts for any speaker to ever get to learn their spheres of competency and know when they are about to say something that will not go over well. Many of these people, if they something stupid enough, cause a backlash against either their brand, business, employer, religion or political party.

    Unless you are Bob Costas. Then, everyone, I guess, just sort of accepts that you were an idiot saying idiotic things. Here are the three things that Costas appeared to want to be talking about in the "90-second weekly spot:" “The football culture, the gun culture [and] domestic violence.”

    Monday, December 3, 2012

    Tax Law: Eagle Art




    Interesting tax question: Should art be valued what it is technically worth (in this case, the appraisers are right in my opinion: It is worth zero dollars since any sale of it is illegal) or what it would be valued at on the open, non-law influenced market? Several important folks came to my same decision: "Since the artwork couldn't be sold, logic dictated that it be listed as having zero value, which is what the Sonnabend family's three appraisers, one of them Christie's auction house, did."

    Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Final Fantasy 2: Complete

    I finished Final Fantasy 2 yesterday evening. One of the most interesting things about this is that it was actually, for all its NES-level story-telling capability, a fairly dark game. A lot of heroes end up dead, and our heroes do not reconcile with each other at the end. Leon is sort of a proto-Kain, but he pulls it off better since he doesn't seem to slip in and out of mind control as easily as a cartoon character. As with FF1, the early limitations really showed in the game; grinding by hitting yourself and your friends in the head is... thankfully a system Final Fantasy dropped. The other problem with FF2 is that, much like some of the later Final Fantasies, your characters start to blend together, ability wise, if you're going for max effectiveness. By the end of the game, Firion, Mariah and Gus were only different in that Firion swung two lances, Mariah used two swords and Gus had two axes. All three could heal and buff effectively, and attack magic was of nominal use.

    This is another game that is fun in the sense that you get a feeling of overcoming challenges, until you hit the mid-game when some odd combination of equipment and spells lets you sit on easy street until a random encounter in the final dungeon with monsters that do a percentage of your max HP as damage. Then, once you clear the two floors they are on, it is smooth sailing. I expected the boss to actually transform into a super powered. final true evil form. He did not. Oh well, on to Final Fantasy III, which brought us the Job System as we think of it.

    Below are some pictures from my failed adventure to the Air and Space museum today, as the lecture I was hoping to attend was canceled.

    Friday, November 30, 2012

    Things Matt Links, Nov. 30

    I am in the final leg of NaNoWriMo. By necessity, that means your links are less linktastic.

    Cool things to find.

    Games in World War II.

    Hope for the future.

    Want it. Now.

    Go forth and write.

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Friday, November 23, 2012

    Final Fantasy 1: Complete


     Between down time in Delaware and the train up, I've completed reading Redshirts and finished FF1. Tomorrow/later today, I'll be starting up on FF2. This is one I don't even think I started. But first, let's reflect on what we've learned from FF1. Why the delay? NaNoWriMo has done a number on my pushing through Final Fantasy.

    First, the game did not age well, even with a graphics update. The dungeons start off incredibly harsh, but by late game, you can trivialize them all with usable equipment. The only resets I was forced to make were in the ice caves in random encounters against multiple dark wizards who spammed Fire 2. The actual figuring things out part was fun, but I wonder if anyone who didn't have the where-with-all to talk to everyone would be able to do it. I finished the game, on Normal, at average party level 31. A bit high, but there were too many encounters that, even with a thief, attempting to flee ended up costing too many resources if we failed.

    For when it came out, the game was innovative, fun, and it gave people a chance to dabble in party creation and minor customization. The amount of character customization is going to go up (then ratchet back down later in the series), but for an NES-era game, the initial four-man choice gives it some potential. There was a time when the purist in me would want to suggest people start with FF1 for learning the series; that part of me died when I realized that, while I liked the novel challenge of managing resources and juggling potions and antidote supplies, most players will not.

    Oh well, let's see what FF2 brings. Oh? Red Shirts? I approve (even if at some points it is written in present tense.)



    ----

    P.S.,

    Hopefully everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving! Now that the festivities are over, if you plan on going out into the wild during Black Friday, have fun. If you can. It just seems unnecessarily hectic and crowded. Two things I do not like.

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

    A Fundamental Misunderstanding of Free Speech

    "After the Citizens United decision on free speech and political spending, he found a way 'to save the court's credibility.'"

    Here's a question: Why was the court's credibility in any danger? Citizen's United, at the most basic level, says people are free to associate together and spend their personal money as a collective enterprise to engage in Free Speech. Why, exactly, is that bad thing? I'm big on free speech, and if we restrict people's ability to work as a group to attain political speech, then we don't have free speech.

    That is the fundamental misunderstanding: That we can restrict political speech because more than one person contributed to it. Private citizens should have the ability to coordinate together and put out political messages. The answer to bad speech is more speech. If you don't like the political movie, don't pay to see it, or kickstart a counter-documentary. In today's connected world, there is no excuse for quashing unpopular political speech just because it is unpopular.

    Right, back to not blogging as I head home for Thanksgiving.

    Thanksgiving Blogging Sabbatical

    Thanksgiving is this week. That means, on Thursday, you should be with family, even if it is just e-with family. Skype'em if you can. Odds are that there won't be any blogging done until sometime next week. So, consider this your formal heads up.

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

    When the Law Is Broken, Fix It

    "Although Montgomery's conviction was thrown out, he was not freed because Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli blocked the decision, saying the Hampton judge did not have proper jurisdiction to make the decision that falls under the Virginia Court of Appeals."

    There are times when following the law to the letter makes sense. There are other times when our elected officials should find and exploit the loopholes required to do the right thing. Since Cuccinelli has clearly demonstrated he's a screw up on this simple case, I think that when Virginia's next Attorney General election comes up, we find a replacement that is not going to idiotically leave an innocent man in jail.

    Despite whatever other service he's done for Virginia, this is a screw up that is big enough that I will go on record: If Cuccinelli seeks and gets the Virginia governor nomination for 2013, I will not vote for him. There are plenty of good politicians in Virginia who have not decided that we should jail innocent people for stupid reasons.

    If our AG continues to be stubborn over this, then this is one of the rare cases that I think an executive can rightly issue an absolute pardon. There are often people in our justice system who claim that they are wrongly imprisoned; we very rarely get such a clear cut case presented to us. Gov. McDonnell: Screw the appeals process, issue an absolute pardon and get this guy home for what will probably be the best Thanksgiving of his life.

    I am generally a law and order type of person. But, part of having law and order is that, for people to be willing to submit to it, it has to be a just law and order. This action on Cuccinelli's part makes it clear that he is unable to deliver that. In addition, every state -- especially Virginia -- needs to get a law on the books that declares when a conviction is thrown out, the person is immediately free to be released (provided they are not serving any time for other crimes.) This is probably a small problem, but it is a discrete, easy to solve problem. So, let's solve it.

    Saturday, November 17, 2012

    Mice and NaNoWriMo

    35k, so my goal for today is reached. My personal writing goal has been modified to take into account missing some days while I am in Delaware; if you are shooting for an average words/day rate to hit 50k, by the end of today you should have 28,322 (roughly 1,666*17). Spoilers below, so avoid reading this if you want to be able to read the mouse story when it is done without being spoiled.

    Friday, November 16, 2012

    Things Matt Links, Nov. 16


    Now that that is out of the way, click below for the rest of the links. Following that up is a lot of relatively light-hearted fare. You also don't know how happy I am I was linked to this before I posted this blog. Maybe we can change Big Brother, one random act of kindness at a time.

    Thursday, November 15, 2012

    I Like Lawful Good Heroes

    “You were supposed to stop them,” Uzzah said, almost hissing as he drew nose to nose with Thomas.

    “No. I enforce the council’s ruling. You’ll find I have done so. To the letter.”

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Birds!; Mice and Mystics; NaNoWriMo

    Birds!
    I apologize for lack of blogging, especially for the next few weeks. Here is my one-paragraph review of Mice and Mystics. First, the minis, rulebook and physical stuff is pretty awesome looking. The cards and map tiles aren't extremely durable feeling, but they held up to a day of play just fine. The rules are crisp, easy to pick up and relatively intuitive. Having only played through the first two scenarios (and only partially through the third), one thing I thought was odd was not letting everyone have access to all six heroes in the first scenario to pick from. Splitting the party in the second scenario also was awkward feeling because the player who played Lilly had a pretty boring experience until we got there. Overall, I approve. Next time I play, I'll try and take some pictures of the board and give you some more important thoughts. Below the fold is my NaNoWriMo update.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2012

    On People Not Being Suckers

    If it looks like it is fake, it is probably fake. A lesson someone in Denver is probably learning right now. Painfully so, in fact. On the bright side, if you live in the Denver area, I have a sneaking suspicion a position or two may be opening at this ABC News affiliate.

    Journalists: Get it fast, but get it right.

    I'm going back to NaNoWriMo, where the mice at least do their due diligence.

    Sunday, November 11, 2012

    Veterans Day, 2012

    “At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month! A simple telegram of three lines brought us the great news: ‘At eleven o’clock today in accordance with the terms of the armistice, firing ceased on the American front.’ It meant five words to us ‘The War is Over!’ and ‘Home.’ We knew it was true and for days we knew it was bound to come, but still it didn’t seem real. Could the world really be freed of the curse that has infected it for fifty-two months, could the end really have come to the organized efforts of men to kill, could we look forward to tomorrow without wondering what horror it might hold in store for us and those for whom we cared!”  -- Hermann Moyse, Sr., letter to his fiancee
    ---

    "I have today signed a proclamation calling upon all of our citizens to observe Thursday, November 11, 1954 as Veterans Day. It is my earnest hope that all veterans, their organizations, and the entire citizenry will join hands to insure proper and widespread observance of this day. " -- Pres. Eisenhower, on signing the bill that changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day. (Photo here)

    ---

    Today is Veterans Day. It was originally Armistice Day, which marked the end of what is now known as World War I, but is now known as Veterans Day. Remember that; it's important.This link has a photo of the post-armistice signing. Here is the official homepage for Veterans Day.

    Saturday, November 10, 2012

    Mice and Mystics

    I finally got to open my box of Mice and Mystics. From the rule book and the training video, it looks like a nice cross between Super Dungeon Explore and Warhammer Quest. This is a thing I can get behind. Pictures are below.

    Civil War Lecture Series at the Smithsonian

    Hey, you know what is happening tomorrow? An amazingly cool sounding lecture in DC. The one I'm talking about is "Astride Two Ages: Technology and the Civil War Symposium." Right now, there is a U-Stream where they're discussing intelligence and the telegraph system in the Civil War and how it was used for command and control by the Union and Confederacy. Did you know that the Confederacy lost loads of experienced telegraph operators, which hindered their capabilities?

    Also, the guy giving the speech just said: "The Yankee Juggernaut." PhotoShoppers: Make it happen.

    ----

    P.S.,

    On Twitter, Lee Stranahan said: I'd like a world where Harry Reid and John Boehner are both co-manging a Denny's in Butte.

    I replied: Let's write a Web TV Series. He's an ex-boxer from Nevada; he was raised in a saloon. Together: They Fight Crime.

    Things Matt Links, Nov. 10

    I'm technically late; these things normally go live on Friday. I'd apologize, but I doubt anyone noticed.

    I was going to make a joke about Petraeus' affair. Then I learned his mistress was his biographer and the title of her book was "All In," and I gave up trying to parody reality. ... should affairs get the Romance tag? I guess so. Here's a question: Why do people say that his wife must be embarrassed? Hint: She didn't mess up or break a sacred trust. The only person who should be ashamed is the one who cheated.

    First up, Lee Stranahan has a newsletter. I like Stranahan, so here's a shameless plug for Stranahan.

    Here are two clips from Penny Arcade. Well, there's one. Here's two.

    Thinking about math is painful. No, really.

    Mice are helping to save the world. No, really. What do you mean that link is a year old?

    Have you helped to Kickstart Rogue to Redemption yet? If not, and you would like to, here's the spot to click. The Coles have always done right by me; I expect they will continue to do so.

    And, finally, some feel good pictures from the archives. Smoosh the Cat!

    Now, to get to doing my actual writing I'm supposed to be doing.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    Last Politics Post for Awhile

    Standard politics disclaimer. Below the fold is politics. Do not go there if you don't want to deal with politics. Frankly, I didn't either. But, judging by the Internet, some last few things need to be said.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Random People, Random Places

    I have a weird compulsion to say "hello" to total strangers when I walk past them. I feel this makes me non-threatening and friendly. Today, I said hello and asked how a gentleman was doing while we were on the elevator. He responded "Totally crappy." I told him that I was sorry and that I hoped things turned around. We spoke for a bit, general stuff like; "Things will get better." At his floor he said "I think you're right. This'll blow over. Thank you, bro, have a good night" and we went on our separate ways. I will probably never know what, exactly, had him down. And it did not matter.

    Just a little story to reinforce that politics is a thing, but it is not the biggest thing.

    I'm also a day behind on NaNoWriMo for electoral reasons. Yet another reason that politics is terrible. Time to play write up.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    I Voted

    I voted today. While I was there, I saw a deer. I tried to take a picture of the deer, but my camera is not very good in the darkness, and I was afraid getting too close or the flash might spook the deer. So please accept my impressionistic deer photo as a new kind of art. Which probably exists elsewhere on the Web, and you are sure to mock me for not knowing this.

    I named it Mosby.

    Go vote, then go watch the returns come in. Or do something constructive, like write. Also, my boss did a voting sticker check. That's pretty awesome.

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Remember to Vote Tomorrow

    No matter which person you are voting for (even if it is a third party, or if you are taking a powder on the presidential level and only filling in things down ticket), remember to vote tomorrow if you have not already voted. If you Google "find my polling place," you should find any number of online tools to help you do exactly that. Plus, you get a neat-o sticker. Who does not like neat-o stickers?

    But, after you vote is when the important part happens. Even though we might vote for different people, that doesn't make us mortal enemies. Politics, particularly since the Internet moved into its more recent incarnations, has become a poisonous cesspool of tribalism and angst, like a bad high school revenge antics movie without the heart warming redemption at the end. Err, assuming it isn't one of the murder-revenge movies. We're not that bad yet.

    I can almost guarantee that probably anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of the people I know will vote for differently than me tomorrow (of the subset of people I know who will vote tomorrow.) Likewise, I'm willing to bet many of the people who vote the same way as I do will do it for different reasons of varying levels of in synchness with my own political philosophy and ideology.

    Ultimately, no matter who you vote for, things will not get better unless you do something. Cut a check to a cause you support. Give blood. Maybe just write a nice letter to someone you know who likes to get handwritten letters. Your reach may not be long enough to impact the world; most people's reach is limited. You're going to spend most days interacting with a few dozen people at most, so make that count. Who you voted for will, after tomorrow, be merely a data point in your life. A rather insignificant one, at that.

    This is not to denigrate anyone's political theories or opinions. It is simply the fact that when it is time to decide whether to give to charity, help your family or assist a stranger on the side of the road -- Romney and Obama become minor figures that do not deserve much (if any) screentime in the drama of our lives. They've unfairly monopolized our thoughts for the last several months. Our time could be productively used doing other things that make us (and those we love/exist within the same world as us) happy or more comfortable. This is a necessary evil of our as-close-as-we-feel-comfortable to democratic process. After tomorrow, it's over. Let's wash oour hands of it, move on with our lives and go back to ignoring whether the country is red, blue or purple.

    ----

    P.S.,

    I still hate people; but this is about how you treat persons. A fundamental difference I don't think I know how to explain better than that.

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    NaNoWriMo: Day 4 Update

    Day 4: 7,400~ words. That puts me slightly ahead of the day to day words-to-day curve to hit 50,000. So far, I'm taking it slow and steady. I'm also keeping in mind that people publish Stephen King, so I don't need to worry too much about quality.

    Friday, November 2, 2012

    Things Matt Links: Nov. 2, 2012

    Have you paid your start of the month bills? If not, hop to and be depressed. Welcome to Day 2 of NaNoWriMo, though I haven't done my writing for today yet, so no major updates like yesterday. It is still early enough you can recover if you haven't started yet!

    First things first, writing this much can be painful. Luckily, science is here to help. Hopefully, no one takes this advice seriously and beats themselves up to make writing easier.

    I don't know how I was never exposed to this before. Not sure you want to read it? Here's a quote: "When I was at school, I was taught that 'good manners are contagious' but this is clearly bullshit." Clearly, you should read it.

    More science marching forward, a nanotube chip breakthrough. I'll be totally on the level with you all, I'm only vaguely aware of what this could possibly mean. Most high-tech breakthroughs for me are put in two categories: Will bring Matt closer to a robot car and Not important. This, tentatively, is in the first category. Let me know if I should put it in the second.

    Here, though, is something that will potentially bring us closer to a robot car. Imagine if we could teach robots to drive by having them watch people drive. Well, good drivers drive. Also: How do I not have a robots tag yet?

    Here's a quick note on Sandy photos. Remember people: Don't be suckers.

    Speaking of Sandy, the Red Cross could use your help.

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    NaNoWriMo: Day 1

    Today has been slow on the writing front. Namely, we're about 1,700 words after the first spurt of writing. There's still some more to get done today (namely, my goal is to get to the point where our hero and his trusty companion make it to the giants' lair, so probably another thousand words or so.) One thing I've found is that I actually like this story. I've decided that instead of giants and regular sized people, the story is going to be about mice and human scientists. I'm going to avoid spoilers, but I also like the ending. The mystical artifacts are actually things that have gone missing from the laboratory that the scientist wants back, which he enters into a pact with the mouse: If the mouse finds his missing items and returns them, the scientist will agree to stop his testing on animals and free the ones he has in captivity.

    Now, since simply writing such a cheesy story (see what I did there?) was going to be too easy, I've added a layer of challenge. That is this: Since the main of the story is told from the point of view of the mice, who live in a small community in the sewers of any city, U.S.A., with everything above ground simply being The Sky (sort of like Fraggles and Outer Space, I realized after writing these first few pages), they should never call themselves mice. They also really shouldn't take much special notice of their mousey features. Having a tail or whiskers is normal to them. Like I explained to someone, we wouldn't have people say: "My brother, the human, said," so the mice are just mice. They'll not refer to rats as rats; their rather large, wild predators that hunt in packs through the sewers. Birds and stray cats on the surface are sky creatures; people are giants.

    I don't know why the mice all have Biblical names (including minor ones), but I do like it. I also like that I've decided our hero mouse is not the most competent of the scouts; the story begins with him being caught trying to sneak out after curfew and being chewed out for his incompetent nightly excursions that have cost the community two of their other scouts. There are some obvious influences that you can see right away on the story (see the reference to Fraggle Rock above), but I also see obvious Red Wall type allusions. Probably Mouse Guard too, if I had read more than the Free Comic Book Day Mouse Guard story. Even though I haven't received my copy of Mice and Mystics, that's probably nestled somewhere in my subconscious and driving the plot and characterization. So, despite initially not being too in love with this topic, I am actually falling in love with the story potential and the characters.

    National Novel Writing Month Tip 01: Write. No matter how bad or clunky the words feel: Write. You cannot edit an empty page. I think I should make that a quote for the blog and on my Facebook page, since it is probably the cornerstone of my developing writing philosophy.

    ----

    P.S.,

    Do you want updates of the Mouse Story as I write it? Contact me, and if there's enough interest, I'll transfer the file to Google docs and post updates with my NaNoWriMo blog updates.

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Process of Elimination

    With NaNo looming in the next few hours, it is time to cut down my 20 ideas. Watch as I winnow them down below the fold.
    1. Build on Protagonist #1 or #2's story from last week. I feel this is cheating, since several pages of writing are completed before November begins, so I probably won't choose this.
    2. During a storm, a luxury cruise liner begins to sink, and the survivors are rescued by unknown forces from under the ocean.
    3. Comedy, modern setting. A man learns his wife has been cheating on him and makes an unexpected new friend. I hate love stories, even love stories about broken love.
    4. Comedy/Drama, modern setting. A private detective is tapped by NASA to investigate a murder in space. Potentially fun to write, but mystery-comedies are hard to do well.
    5. Medieval High Fantasy. A young squire meets a wizard, falls in love and abandons a corrupt empire. Trite, cliche, but fun to write.
    6. Kilgore Braineater, in novel form instead of as a comic book.
    7. Fantasy space exploration. The captain and crew of a long-range exploration ship lose contact with Earth, journey home and find the planet completely devoid of life and must decide what to do next.
    8. A newspaper photographer stumbles across an arcane conspiracy and is forced to learn the truth about a series of missing persons aboard a luxury cruise liner.
    9. An amnesiac wakes up in an alleyway covered in blood with a faded journal; new entries appear as he watches, setting him off to find out what has happened to him.
    10. After a widower remarries, she finds herself haunted by the ghost of her dead husband, who claims their daughter killed him.
    11. After being kidnapped by giants, our hero makes a deal with them to recover the giants' three sacred treasures from tribes of sentient rats and birds that have infested the giants' castle.
    12. People have started going missing from the local mega-mall, and the owner has hired a psychic to help him find the source of the disturbance.
    13. A government conspiracy is attempting to cover up the details involving a small town on the border with Mexico.
    14. A team of trained paranormal special operations warfighters are deployed to an undisclosed location to thwart a supernatural threat.
    15. High fantasy: As the caves in their mountains slowly flood, a race of underground people must begin their journey to the surface and their exodus to find another, suitable home.
    16. A man rescues a dog, finds love, and learns the meaning of friendship, told from the dog's perspective.
    17. A strict, by-the-book cop, is shown up again by the department's consultant, decides to quit his life as a cop to start a band. A sort of parody/send-up to the glut of amateur sleuth genre that remains popular today.
    18. A dying girl's parents make a terrible choice to save her life, and their community suffers.
    19. On her first day on the police force, a rookie cop's trainer is killed by what seems to be a werewolf.
    20. After failing out of college, a young woman decides to pursue her dream of opening an ice cream shop.

    Tuesday, October 30, 2012

    National Novel Writing Month

    With 2012 coming to a close, my page-a-fiction a day has been in stops and starts. Now, while I have no intention of joining the actual website, National Novel Writing Month is an amazing motivational tool for lots of writers. So, for the month of November, I'm going to change gears, and instead of chewing through a variety of short stories (most of which I disliked), my goal is going to be to tell an overarching, longer story. Frankly, my biggest worry is that I'll waste a lot of time writing crap.

    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Shameless Self Promotion & Sandy

    Here is your note that regular blogging is still not back on schedule, due to Sandy. However, all plans to begin the Final Fantasy Marathon are on track, though I am having difficulties with the Playstation Network (shocker, I know.) This means Final Fantasies 3, 5, 7, 8 and 9 are currently unavailable. This should be remedied shortly.

    If you're stuck at home with Sandy, here's some fiction for you to read, courtesy of me. It is bad fiction:

    Additionally, WSJ is free to view today, and they say they'll have storm tracking. This is more dramatic though, and you know I love drama. I particularly love all the news stations asking for pictures of the storm, with a quaint little reminder to stay safe.
    ----

    Photos from the Zombie Apocalypse Sandy.

    The wind isn't even that bad yet
    ... Why did they drop their cards?

      Saturday, October 27, 2012

      Potential Protagonist #2

      Here's the link to Potential Protagonist #1. As before, thoughts are in the P.S. section, and drafty copy is available below the jump.

      Friday, October 26, 2012

      Things Matt Links: Oct. 26

      Below the fold will be the link to the story I mentioned yesterday, along with a brief bit of my thoughts on it. Until then, enjoy some links. Some of these show that I am both lame and behind on my internet linking.

      First up, some science! People really do get dumber in a group, it is science. It also explains why the House is even more dysfunctional than the Senate. Either or, let's ignore their caution that we shouldn't extrapolate from their tentative findings. Be a hermit, for your intelligence.

      I don't think there are more jerks today than before. I think it is probably the Internet just lets us get in touch with them more frequently. Also: Television.

      Speaking of intelligence, here's an interesting thought. So, what have we learned? Stupid people are genetically inferior. Wait. I don't think that's the message I was supposed to get from this article. Maybe I should read it again.

      Also: Mimicry. I think this is kind of cool. Think of what terrible secrets are whispered in the deep. By Beluga whales. And/or Cthulhu.

      Score: 1 whoever made this sign; 0 Metro.

      Thursday, October 25, 2012

      Potential Protagonist #1

      Skip below the fold for the actual fiction piece; go all the way to the P.S. section if you want to read my explanation/thoughts before the fiction piece. Either way, this is a long one.

      Wednesday, October 24, 2012

      Fergie Goes Home

      I haven't blogged recently due to work and a special guest.
      She was deciding if she should stay or if she should go.

      Friday, October 19, 2012

      Rogue to Redemption Kickstarter Now Live-ish

      I love Quest for Glory; I very rarely link to Kickstarter projects. But, I am doing it now. Rogue to Redemption is already two things: It has a punny title that I love. It is made by people I love. I am always wary of giving money to Kickstarter because I don't know the quality I'll get; I know it with these folks.

      The quality? Epic. So, you know, if you loved the Quest for Glory games growing up, which I did, this seems like a pretty safe bet. Economically speaking, you're almost guaranteed bang for your buck.

      ----

      P.S.,

      I get the GOG spam so you don't have to. Quick note on marketing: When advertising bundles, make individual games clickable so that someone can see what they are getting. It's kind of a shame that I saw this the same day I saw the Kickstarter open for Rogue to Redemption, because I can only justify blowing so much money on gaming, and the Coles have been good to me since the 90s. I'm mainly posting these because if I had done my link round up on Friday instead of Thursday, these would have definitely been included.

      Thursday, October 18, 2012

      Things Matt Links, Oct. 18

      I won't be around this weekend, so here is an early edition of our links for the week. The first one is a bit of disappointment. I want to believe these are actors, I really do. But, I also know that they probably are not. Such is life. Here's another thing with the debates.

      I was unaware there was a new Bond movie in the making. There is; the question now is, will I be motivated enough to go? All clues point to no.

      I read this article and realized that the answer really should be, "Whatever neighborhood has a bunch of friendly old people." They always have the best candy. Or raisins. It is perhaps a child's first introduction to gambling.

      In science, you can lie to children. This is why I love science.

      Here's an article I linked earlier, maybe it was a Twitter only link. I could probably write a post on this article on its own, but some parts are worth mentioning, even without much context. The author says: "Most encouraging of all, Helen Lewis, deputy editor of the New Statesman, is a dedicated gamer, and she’s not even a man." She must be unaware of recent demographic trends across gaming as it is steadily moving towards gender parity. An interesting read (I had never heard of this award before), and it is always interesting to get an outside looking in perspective on something you know fairly well. There's some bias here, like, you know, describing a guy who goes out of his way to create a game as "ignoring his girlfriend for years;" gee, or we could call it "earning a living." You know, connotation is a powerful thing. Also: "Oh, you want me to manipulate a tiny guy on a little screen? Let me do this without my glasses and then complain about how hard it is." Two other things: Mass Effect 3 and Catherine seem like bad games to use to introduce people to gaming.

      Since we're somewhat in the realm of science today, here's some science about urban coyotes. Literal coyotes, by the way. Not like, desert desperadoes.

      ----

      P.S.,

      The Smithsonian sent me a letter with their Air and Space lecture schedule for the next year or so. I plan to make time to go to some of them. More details as we get closer to them.

      Wednesday, October 17, 2012

      The Undecided Voter: Myth or Reality?

      I have a theory. It is somewhat mirrored by all that talk of preference cascading that's been going on at sites like Ace of Spades. I think most "undecided voters" are engaged in an epic level of self-deception.

      Rewatch the debate; each undecided voter had built in biases into their questions (the easiest to see is anti-Romney in the Bush question and anti-Obama in the Libya one); they've made a decision, they just haven't actualized it in their mind. Sort of like the undecided voter in the Fox panel who said she was undecided between Romney and not voting, or the woman in the MSNBC panel who said she was voting for Obama for reasons never mentioned in the debate.

      It's possible there are people who are really conflicted/don't have an opinion yet, but the vast majority of undecideds are simply waiting for something that brings them to realizing what everyone around them already knows. It's sort of like the cuckolded husband; he's always the last to know. Everyone else knows before hand, but him? Oblivious to the reality around him.


      I think that's the way for a lot of decision making though, and it isn't necessarily bad. People like to take their time coming to a decision, especially if there is no need to rush. Additionally, in today's hyper-partisan world, being undecided makes you less likely to accidentally lose friends and alienate people. Indecisiveness may actually be an evolutionary strategy.

      The other issue is that I think a lot of "soft" supporters of a candidate are chunked in with undecided voters. Take the two women on the panels I cited above. There's no reason to consider them undecided; they've made a decision. We're just led to believe that they are either persuadable (to change their vote) or possible to depress out of voting. That's hardly the same as what we mean when we say "undecided" voter. If I'm undecided about where to go to dinner, I have no preference. If I kind of want Italian, but could do whatever, I have a preference. It is just not strong.

      Yes. I just used dinner and adultery to make points about politics. Today is lazy, bad analogy day. 
       
      ----

      P.S.,

      This gets a romance tag! I'm also going back and tagging the 3-d puzzle heart with the romance tag. Now if you need a website to explain how much you love someone with low-quality photos, you can come to me! ... Don't come to me for this. What? You wanted real politics? Fine, just remember, politics is a sometimes blog topic. Also, I'm incredibly lazy and pretty much just swiped this word-for-word from a post on Facebook. Rule #1 of Matt Blogging: Easy content is the best content. Except poll analysis. Never, ever do poll analysis.

      Tuesday, October 16, 2012

      Debate Night

      It's a debate night tonight, which is a lot like date night -- two people argue for over an hour while everyone else looks on, feeling a mix of awkwardness and amusement. The question for tonight: Will the moderators continue to lose?

      Also, people have reached my blog by using dwarf runesmith (awesome!) and... "accidentally slandering someone." Not so awesome.

      Go be a good citizen and watch the debate.

      Monday, October 15, 2012

      Concurring with PvP

      What you need to read before you read me.

      Stories should have an ending. Whether it is due to author existence failure or due to a well written ending, works need to stop. The only story that doesn't end is real life. And, for a lot of reasons, that makes a terrible narrative.

      End your stories, or someone else might end them for you. And that person might be Brian Herbert.

      Saturday, October 13, 2012

      Walking Dead: Episode 4 Review

      Walking Dead, Episode 4: Review (now that I've played it.) Spoilers. You will be spoiled. Do not go below the fold.

      Friday, October 12, 2012

      Things Matt Links: Oct. 12

      Well after yesterday's debate, and this week's slow posting, it looks like it is time for a series of links for lazy posting. Yes, my commitment to Friday laziness knows no bounds.

      First, The Guild Season Six.

      All those weird unemployment numbers not making sense has finally gotten attention. I'm not sure what to do about it, but I think a new metric might be in order. Hopefully nothing so depressingly named as The Misery Index though.

      Khan Academy is an interesting idea, that I like. CNN has an interesting editorial on it.

      World of Warcraft was hacked. Oh, in this manner, to be more specific.

      Walmart is trying same day delivery. If this takes off, how will I ever live without the People of Walmart photos?

      Is there a new public editor at The New York Times? Because this one seems to be doing less water carrying for the paper and more... public editorializing. PS: Yes, it should have been front paged.

      Potential: High. Chance for disappointment: Also high.

      Thursday, October 11, 2012

      Hey Readers, It Is the VP Debate

      Starting at 7:00 PM Eastern.

      So, flash poll team Recording of Interesting Things: What gets name dropped first? Libya or Big Bird?

      ----

      P.S.,

      Title convention via here.

      Sunday, October 7, 2012

      Today in Sweets

      Have I ever made a post and snarkily noted "first-world problems?" If not, let today be the first with some news in the world of sweets.

      First, the Wall Street Journal, brings us news of something dire in the land of Starbucks. I can't think of a reason we'd be so low on such a vital product, but I do feel for those who cannot get their fix. I like that the WSJ is able to be a bit tongue in cheek about it too: "Then, a 'terrible tragedy happened,' he said. 'I placed my order, and the barista informed me that they were out. I was so distraught.'"

      At least, it is tongue in cheek, right? Right? The Romenesko quote reminds me, vaguely, of the story of Russians (or Cubans, mattering on the anecdote) ruefully thinking about the ruling class's incorrect belief that there is bread in the store because they see it in their own. I kind of want to go to a Starbucks, buy a pumpkin spice latte, and then take a picture of it to this blog with a caption: "I don't even like coffee, and I got one."

      But, I also don't want to start a riot.

      In our second bit of news for today in sweets, MSNBC brings us one of those accidents in science that might revolutionize an industry. Namely, colored honey. Except, well, the people who stumbled upon this discovery have decided that they, well, actually hate novelties and making money, and will instead turn their noses up at the discolored, but otherwise perfectly normal honey. No, really:

      "As for the M&M's-infused honey, union head Frieh said it might taste like honey, but there the comparison stopped. 'For me, it's not honey. It's not sellable,'" he said.

      Think of it like when you would add food dye to water and set some white carnations in it to get pretty colored flowers. Only, instead of flowers, it is honey. Colored honey could be the wave of the future (something Sarah Hoyt on the Instapundit blog pointed out as well.) Here's my plan. Create a bee-friendly green house filled with candy plants, a la Willy Wonka.

      Bam. We've protected bees, and we will be able to sell color-coordinated honey to people who may want green honey. Because it worked so well with ketchup. Look, I'm just the idea guy. But, if a bee keeper, an engineer and a candy magnate want to get together and make this idea come true, I'm only asking for 5 percent.

      ---

      Edit: Today in sweets, ice cream goes to space. It is like the world always conspires to give me the best link for any post after I hit publish. No matter. This is the internet, and I can edit to my heart's content. The coolest part of this is that the freezers storing the ice cream double for science research once it gets to space.

      ... Did you see what I did there?

      Saturday, October 6, 2012

      Choose Your Questions... Carefully

      Standard politics disclaimer; skip if you'd rather avoid politics.

      The Washington Post engaged in a bit of silliness today. Now, Ace of Spades has some fun simply gawking at the WaPo's stupidity. Allow me, however, to illustrate an important point any budding debater, political reporter, blogger or really, any person who doesn't want to look stupid should learn.

      Do not ask questions you do not have the answer for. As a reminder, here is the headline question: "Mitt Romney is worth $250 million. Why so little?" My answer appears below the fold.

      Friday, October 5, 2012

      Things Matt Links: Oct. 5

      Before I get to the links below, allow me to teach you about IRONIC OPPORTUNITY COST via gaming. The more points you spend to make a character intimidating, in most point buy systems (or more resources in a feat/skill point by level system, etc.), the less actually intimidating they are. This is because you only have so many points to spend, and so to get one thing (Intimidation scores of reasonable levels) you must suffer mechanically elsewhere. In any real world application, simply being actually more dangerous would be more intimidating, yet, by electing to be less dangerous you can make yourself appear more dangerous. With your mind suitably blown, onward to links.

      Thursday, October 4, 2012

      On Secrets and Worlds

      So. My hiatus on the Secret World has gone from "unknown" to "probably permanent." It isn't that The Secret World is a bad game; it does a lot of things well. Character customization is fun, when you can find groups dungeons are quick, fast and challenging. The plot is that better than most MMOs, and stronger than some single player games.

      I don't want to rehash everything it did wrong and that it did right. It was an ambitious title, and it succeeded in delivering a lot of things (and failed in others.) This is not a knock against The Secret World, but I only have time for one MMO, and sadly, Guild Wars 2 is that MMO. I like what both are bringing to the genre (that is: more customizable characters, more detailed worlds, ways to dip to play with other characters, etc.)

      If someone were to write a history of MMOs, the Secret World deserves an honorable mention. There have been a lot of forgettable MMOs, and a lot of MMOs that promised a lot and petered out. But, from the word go, you could tell The Secret World was a labor of love. Either way, I think that it was a brilliant game (and still is, actually.)

      Oh well. Tomorrow, links; next week, back to normal blogging.

      Wednesday, October 3, 2012

      Pick Your Poison

      Much of gaming comes down to opinion, really, I think. I had been kicking that idea around when I talked about game reviews, but then, I came to the conclusion that there were objective measures by which you could review games, besides, you know, popping the CD/disc/.exe file in and seeing what happens.

      I kind of like this multilevel bifurcation of gaming, because I think it shows that it is more than just technology that is evolving. There has always been a wide variety of games, but just going on Steam today, I saw the wide variety (in genres, art styles, themes and quality) available.

      Really, some of the games I have installed: L.A. Noire (have not played), The Walking Dead, Transformers: War for Cybertron (also have yet to play), Sanctum, Magicka, Bastion (also unplayed), Mass Effect 2, League of Legends (which I guess is not a Steam game... but whatever), Dragon Age: Origins, Hack Slash Loot, Left 4 Dead 2 and Hero Academy.

      It used to be that the 16-bit era was something of a high-water mark for gaming in my mind. I think the digital distribution model, though, will probably be the next major chapter in video (or should we be calling it digital?) gaming history.

      ----

      P.S.,

      Also, here's picking your poison in a political sense for watching the debates.

      Tuesday, October 2, 2012

      Walking Dead Game Episode 4 Trailer

      Telltale's Walking Dead has a trailer up for Episode 4 (warning, below there be spoilers.)

      Monday, October 1, 2012

      The 9 Percent

      You've probably already read this. Apparently, only about 9 percent of people respond to polls when called. That's an incredibly low amount, but makes sense. I don't know a lot of people who have ever been polled, and most people I talk to (myself included... wait, that came out wrong) actively avoid being polled. Per Slate, though, it seems that the random sampling manages to avoid being biased too much one way or the other, but it is still interesting to keep in mind.

      Telephone polling is easy to ignore. I bet if I got on the Metro this Saturday and asked random people to marry me, provided I was not arrested for harassment, I could get a higher than 9 percent response rate (note: This is a response rate not rate of yes responses.) There's something about being asked questions in person that prompts people to respond more, even when the question is absurd. Maybe if the question is extremely absurd, it is easier to respond quickly and negatively than questions dealing with deeply held beliefs.

      Of course, I can't say for sure more people would break my heart than respond to political polling, but I have a good feeling that they would. Maybe someone would like to spend some money on a study, for science?

      Sunday, September 30, 2012

      My Heart

      For those who wanted pictures.

      Good night!

      Darker.

      Lighter.

      Saturday, September 29, 2012

      Politico Seems Surprised By a Pedestrian Happening


      There's a Politico piece feigning shock that Jim Webb would attack Romney, and it showing how incredibly bad Romney is when Webb, of all people, would attack him.

      Also, Webb is a partisan Democrat who has few qualms about making public unserious attacks on Republicans, various levels of propriety and seriousness, and had made it clear he has no real care about respecting Republicans. So, yeah. Politico? This behavior from Webb? Not unexpected. How is this out of character for Webb, or worthy of special attention? It's a campaign surrogate doing things the campaign wants.

      If this is the quality of the bloggers Politico hires, and their knowledge of politicians, Politico: Hire me.

      ----

      P.S.,

      Let's first remind people that Romney gave a speech to veterans earlier, which Obama passed on the opportunity, and did mention the campaigns.

      Friday, September 28, 2012

      Things Matt Links: Sept. 28

      Unexpected things I've learned: Despite being a ranged fighter, Laguna does better with the charge that brings him CLOSER to bad guys. Yeah, I don't get it either. Anyway, a few links for your linking pleasure.

      First, shameless self promotion via Reddit. I don't know who put me up there, but hey, thank you! I should probably do another Secret World post. Maybe title it "How Secret World Lost Me" in homage to a certain blog I read.

      I don't know how such a test works for video game bots, but here it is. I don't know what that says about the people who seemed more like a bot than a player. Were they really good? Really bad? What was their deal?

      I think I linked this earlier, but just a reminder: If it is too good to be true, it probably is.

      As much as I hate linking to ABC News because their videos auto-play (what are they using, Geocities), here's a heartwarming story.

      I had some complaints about the Vita earlier, but here's a thing Sony is sort of doing right? I don't know.

      I still have not purchased a Moogle, but I have something in the mail which, if it is what I think it is, might mean some pictures over the weekend. Have fun, read the news, play games!