|Reading||December 1, 2015, 10:39 am|
As a quiet misanthropic person I always found it kinda peculiar that I never really took into reading books as some people with similar traits do. It seems like the type of things most people like me get into, but many of my experiences with books often ended pretty quickly with the author writing too heavily into detail about seemingly innocuous things without really developing the plot. Or if the plot was developing, it must have been going over my head. For that reason, I find it kinda weird that novelists are celebrated so much as I get much more entertainment value from short stories and poetry. Maybe it's just a great accomplishment, but for what its worth, I feel a similar and more effective way of telling stories can be accomplished in less paper.
Still yet, I've never really picked up many books. While I really like the idea of having shelves loaded with books and an endless supply of reading material, Books always seem like commitments. Like TV series, sometimes a show can grab you with a colorful plot and interesting characters, then towards the later seasons, the plots don't seem to be going anywhere and there are filler episodes to take up time before the next set of events occurs. I don't want to feel like my time is wasted.
However, my time spent in my college classes helped me to discover a newfound love for writing -- more specifically, taking notes. I managed to find some effective tips at taking notes and outlining your notes in a neat legible format. I've used this as an opportunity to learn and have recently become engrossed in watching documentaries with a composition book and pencil in hand, and jotting down things I found interesting as if I were studying it for a quiz. In the end, the writing helps me retain the information better, even without any intention of reading and studying the notes later. It just helps me feel more worldly and understanding of different viewpoints about controversial issues and history and science that I didn't understand before. Youtube has been a surprisingly thorough and bountiful resource for this. Tomorrow I'll be buying a fat stack of composition books and a pack of freshly sharpened Ticonderoga pencils from the dollar store to fill with notes from all the documentaries I recently added to my list.
I believe this somehow fueled my interest in reading lately. A recent epiphany reminded me that with the internet, you can pretty much learn anything in the world as long as you know what questions to ask (and can identify a biased source when you see it!). Now I've been dedicating a couple hours each day to actively fill my brain with things I didn't know the day before, and spending other time throughout the day listening around for things I don't understand, and embracing the fact that I really don't have a thorough understanding of it and that I should educate myself about it. Recently I've thoroughly studied how the economy is powered, the biography of Donald Trump so I can have a better understanding of whether or not he would be a good president other than looking like a moron, how a car engine works so I can understand what the fuck is going on under the hood of my car that makes it go, statistics related to climate change over the last century and natural disasters that might await us in the future, etc.
The thing about the internet is that it can sometimes be hard to find reputable sources of information. But if you're a writer and you can get your book published, then you're probably more credible than the average blogger. Websites like gutenberg.org is loaded with digital texts from political figures, scientists, and other reputable writers. And for fictional stories with strong ethical and moral messages involved, sparknotes.com has many thorough chapter summaries to breeze through and understand the underlying message being communicated. And if I really like a book, I might purchase it, or better yet, listen to the audiobook on Youtube or Audible while playing Doom.
Listening to audiobooks is hardly reading, but I've found that turning off the sound and music in Doom along with the focused actions of dodging fireballs and killing monsters has a really strong symbiotic relationship with listening and retaining information from an audiobook than I would if I were to sit in a chair and listen to the audiobook alone. So now I'm subconsciously learning things while doing what I love to do. I've also embraced some pretty noble writers such as Dickens, Frost, Vonnegut and Orwell, as the stories they tell through their writing provides a lot to learn about the types of people you might meet in real life.
Anyway, for anyone who has always been a reader, good on you. You probably know a lot more than I do. And for those who don't, I'd recommend it :)
|Car Stolen||August 30, 2015, 7:20 am|
Last night, up till 10pm watching music videos on YouTube.
Go to bed, wife locks doors and joins me shortly after returning from the King of Prussia Mall. She came home in her friends car.
Forgot to change the alarm so I wake up at 3:30am, an hour earlier than intended.
Walk the dog at 3:30am, observe my car still in front of house. Observe nothing unusual. Very quiet Sunday morning.
Return home at 4am, car still parked in front of house.
Feed dog, eat a banana, observe car keys sitting on kitchen counter.
Go up stairs to bed, nap for an hour because I don't have work until 6:00am (didn't lock front door, didn't think id need to for only an hour -- and after walking up and down the neighborhood without seeing anything suspicious,)
Wake up at 5:00, brush my teeth, change clothes, put on deodorant, come down stairs, look at phone for a few minutes to kill some time, then go to kitchen.
Can't find keys.
Retrace steps around the house, thinking if I moved the keys to a location where they'd be easier to notice for about 15 minutes, its now 5:50am
Look out the window -- CAR IS MISSING.
Call police. Officer on the way.
Call work, tell them I cant come in, car is stolen, work uniform in the car.
Officer arrives at 6:10am gets some information. Asks if we were drunk last night, if the car could possibly have been repossessed, if we have any friends who might have believed it was okay to borrow, if there's something of value in the car, if we have enemies (crazy ex girlfriend, crazy relatives) that might want to get revenge for something, but we answered no to all the questions.
My wife and I are the only ones who live in the house. We haven't had any guests at the house for weeks, we don't have any enemies (afaik) that would want to do something to us, our crazy schizophrenic next door neighbor doesn't drive and has been in the hospital for the past five days. And my car isn't really worth anything or has anything of value in it.
The crazy thing is that someone entered my house WHILE I was in the house, with my wife and my dog. I don't know how they got in without alerting my dog, or me, or anyone. The keys were not in a very obvious place, I don't think, at least not more obvious than other things such as an iPad that was sitting on the living room couch, a Nintendo Wii, a bluray player, expensive makeup my wife came home with, an engagement ring that was in the bathroom(!!)
I don't know who could have done it. I honestly dont have any friends who know me so personally to know my morning routine, so I can only imagine it was some stranger stalker in the neighborhood who saw an opportunity (not even a good opportunity either, we were all in the house!) couldn't find anything else out of place or unusual with the house. This person was really inconspicuous for someone who would commit such a risky crime for a relatively little reward.
I am however, relieved no one was hurt and other than my missing car, nothing was damaged or destroyed.
I know statistically that most people that steal (or get caught stealing) vehicles often take them for a joy ride and dump them off somewhere else usually pretty far away and that most people who do often get away with it. Most of them usually aren't even recovered. The officer said this is a very strange and unusual case that we don't know anyone or can suspect anyone who would have done it, to freely enter our house, take the keys and leave with the car. Its a super ballsy thing to do.
If anyone has had any experience with having a stolen car, or has any advice they heard from someone who had their car stolen, I could really use it. At the moment im changing the locks on all my doors and waiting to get a call from the police to tell me they found it.
|My Doom Presentation||March 11, 2015, 11:45 am|
I'm taking a public speaking course, and one of the assignments was to prepare a speech about a hobby. So naturally I chose to talk about Doom. I presented it this morning and did so pretty successfully. Many of my other classmates were nervous wrecks and were very unprepared. So I sort of over-performed for the expectations of the class. I think I sold the game really well!
First I want to apologize in advance to TimeOfDeath, as I used screenshots of some of his weirder maps as examples of "bad maps" but only because they were very obviously weird just from looking at the pictures. I don't actually feel that way towards his maps. Most screenshots of 1994 maps I found were mostly just bland, had a slime trail here and there, and didn't appear to look far from what you would see in the IWADs. Some of the screenshots I chose for the presentation don't necessarily or accurately represent the points I wanted to make, I just thought that they would be the most visually appealing, obvious, and communicative of the particular point I was making.
Second, a good bit of the information in my presentation was a bit over-simplified. My original presentation was loaded with statistics and technical explanations. Even though I was sure I was clear, my wife said it was way too complicated for a presentation and no one was going to get it. My wife helped me simplify it (against my will) to break it down so that it was much easier to understand. I think it came out much better that way in the end.
Another thing I want to mention is that while some information is mostly pretty accurate, some of it is pretty embellished, and in some cases is downright wrong. I only did this because I was sure no one would call me out on it, and that it helped the presentation seem a bit more interesting.
There are plenty other points I wanted to talk about, such as what a wad file actually is, the differences between IWADs and PWADs, random level generators, source ports, capture the flag, TC's like Aliens, Batman Doom, Ghostbusters Doom, Simpsons Doom, demo recordning and speedrunning, but it was a lot to squeeze in a presentation that was assigned to be 3-4 minutes long.
Anyway here you are. The gif animations only appear correctly through google slides. If you view it in powerpoint, the animations choke up. Not sure why.
Below is the script I made for my presentation. Each greater than symbol (>) represents a point where I'm supposed to click to change slide or move on with the presentation.
|I have a professor who doesn't believe in evolution||February 24, 2015, 2:04 pm|
I have a professor who teaches my Exercise, Nutrition, and Wellness class who has hinted on more than one occasion that the theory of evolution can't be true.
He thinks the claim that human beings evolved from primates, and by extension microorganisms is totally bogus. Human beings, particularly how the body works internally, are far too complex, mysterious, and perfect to have possibly evolved from things that are so simple and vulnerable.
Having been in his class, he's highly educated, enthusiastic about the subject, and far from stubborn. I trust his judgment on a lot of things and he's by far more involved with the class than any of my other instructors. I don't know for sure if he believes in creationism, but I've overheard him telling a story to someone about some people he met at a church, so he may be an active church goer. He researches nutrition and physical exercises daily on the internet and on youtube and has something new to tell us every class, often finding out interesting stuff, and even finding articles claiming some human body functions that scientists have yet to have clear explanations for.
I'm not necessarily saying I agree or disagree with him, but I find it interesting to hear someone like him who is well educated and otherwise very open-minded make the claim that evolution can't be real. I haven't yet picked his brain about it, as I'd rather complete the semester and get my final grade before possibly offending him if I sound too contrarian to his beliefs.
|Online Classes Suck||January 27, 2015, 12:55 pm|
I just started taking my first internet class at community college, and it blows.
I thought it would be kinda cool since it's set up like an internet forum like doomworld is, but getting work done for it is the most time consuming thing I've ever endured, and I just started. It's a computer information systems and technology class, and many of the points are involved in class participation, so the teacher will post a list of questions that are required to be answered in the form of a new thread. Most of the questions require you to click links and read a long article, or browse through a website and pick your favorite page and write a summary about it or something. In addition to that, part of the points involved are to visit other student's threads and respond to their answers in some way or another.
I'm a pretty self-motivating guy in most conditions, but I'm having a really hard time already keeping composed, mannerful, and polite to talk about something so hideously boring. It doesn't help that my teacher is flooding the announcements page with 10-15 minute long youtube videos related to the subject, links to other uninteresting websites, and isn't clear whether or not it's required or optional to view.
I feel like I'm going to be spending 20 hours a week of my own personal time just to keep up, while my classes on campus are a fucking piece of cake. I literally just show up, take some notes here and there through the lecture, and complete the assignments the instructor hands out in class, or immediately after class, and my mind is free for the rest of the week, while this online class has so much reading material drilled into that I feel like I'm neck deep in quicksand already. Anyone have any tips on how to get through this?
|My dog owns me||November 14, 2014, 4:28 am|
I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but I've never really been a dog person until I met my wife. I've grown up with cats for most of my life and she's infatuated with puppies, so when we moved in together I became part owner of her dog. Until I've gotten more accustomed to her dog, I was always bothered by the way dogs bark and shout and jump all over you the instant you walk into a dog owners home. I'e grown to be more accepting of it as time passes, and to my surprise most people who've owned dogs or are best friends with a dog owner are too. But sometimes it makes guests uncomfortable.
Speaking of making people uncomfortable, my dog tends to make excessive eye contact as a way of getting attention. Naturally she follows me anywhere in the house I go. I think in part due to her separation anxiety, she needs to constantly be informed where I am at all times. I've kinda just adapted to it, but lately I'm beginning to suspect that she is learning that this is a tactic she can use to get what she wants.
I walk my dog every morning at 5:30am. It's the first thing I do when I wake up besides put on pants and shoes. It chills her out for most of the day and keeps her from doing things like peeing in the house or digging in the trash when my wife and I are out of the house. At 5:30am, It's dark and quiet and free from distractions and beats the neighbors who walk their dogs in the morning too, so my dog doesn't get all riled up and start yanking on the leash and trying to pull me around. I don't have any tolerance for that shit so I usually shorten the length of her walks if she starts acting up to keep her in line. After about the usual 45 minutes of walking her, I get home and take a shower, get dressed, then drive my wife to work, then I drive to my college classes. That's my morning routine almost every morning.
One morning I didn't have to go to school or work and chose to sleep in. At the time I woke up, around 9:00am or so, I went downstairs to watch some TV. As I was laying on the couch my dog, simply walking around in circles around the house as she usually does sits right in front of me on the couch and just looks at me. Unsure, I started petting her head, scratching her back, playing with one of her toys, but these only seem to distract her for a minute and the instant I stop she's back to sitting 6 inches away from my face staring at me with her big ol eyes wide open, occasionally making a quiet drone or moaning sound or something. This is annoying evil cat behavior except with the way my dog is, I find her exhibiting this kinda behavior to be much more noticeable and awkward. I think because cats have a way of acting where sometimes you're not even sure they are aware you exist, while my dog is always constantly alert of my whereabouts and responds to everything I do. I can't focus on the TV show and she continues making me uncomfortable, so against my will I take her outside for a walk in the afternoon in the hopes it would calm her down.
It works and she chills out for most of the day. At least until the next morning. I guess in excitement for going on these morning walks, she's awake earlier than I am. Sometimes I will wake up before my alarm goes off with my dog apparently staring directly into my eyes while I'm sleeping. Only inches away from my face, occasionally making that stupid moan noise, I accept the fact that with my dog's eyes fixated on me the entire time, and sitting invasively in my personal space, close enough that I can almost feel her breath when she exhales from her nostrils, that I'm not going to feel anymore refreshed trying to sleep during the remaining hour before my alarm goes off than if I just wake up now. This is becoming a daily affair and I'm beginning to suspect she's learning to do this conciously as a way to make me nervous and uncomfortable and give in to any of her demands.
Today I woke up at 3:30am. What do?
|trash picker trash picker||September 8, 2014, 8:50 am|
A couple nights ago I started watching a TLC 'reality documentary' series on netflix called extreme cheapskates. I'm a bit of a stickler at times in regards to spending money, and it was a bit relieving to see people so radically in that direction.
On the first episode, first guy they interview, out of all the episodes on netflix I watched, was the worst. He air dries his paper towels on a clothesline so that he can use to dry is hands or clean up a mess as much as five times. He puts a brick in the back of the toilet tank to displace the water so it uses less per flush, sharpens his disposable razors, picks up any amount of loose change, buys expired foods from the liquidation store, even asks people at restaurants for their leftover foods when they're done eating!
The worst of it though was, that his wife and him were talking about their wedding day, and how he had orthodontic surgery the very next day with no insurance. She had a job and insurance, which was the reason he married her.
The episode continued, and it's the morning before their 25th wedding anniversary dinner. And he had to get her a gift. She said she's given up expecting any sort of jewelry or fancy restaurant or whatever. The self-proclaimed extreme cheapskate spends the day seeking a variety of gifts to get for her wife for their 25th anniversary dinner -- starting with the dumpster. In his searches, he finds four wilted roses, to which he proudly states "nothing says romance like flowers" and a teapot, which he defended his finding by saying she's always drinking tea.
Later on he moves on to the discount food store, purchases a bottled water for $0.15, and a miniature box of animal crackers for $0.30. "Not even expired!" he exclaims. Then he 'splurges a little' this year by buying her a skull shaped stress ball for $0.99. When he gets home, he finds an old greeting card his sister in law gave to his wife when she was ill. He crosses her name out on the card and writes his own, and paperclips a piece of paper reading "Happy Anniversary" over the message in the card!
When they go out to dinner that night to the local diner, she begs him, for this one day a year, not to take other people's leftovers. They bicker about it back and forth on the ride there. When they get there, he says he needs go to the restroom, but instead gives the $0.15 water to the diner staff and asks them to refrigerate it for him, so that they can serve it to his wife in lieu of paying for a normal beverage.
The night proceeds with him giving her the garbage he collected for her. While not ungrateful, she's obviously not impressed. He later starts scavenging tables where the guests left their leftover food for the wait staff to collect, embarrassing her like no other. The episode ends with her consolidating herself by saying these things happen, but she gets over them in time. I thought to myself I would never be like him.
The very next morning I go out to walk my dog just before sunrise. As were walking, my eyes fall upon a trash can. Perched directly on top, is a 21 in flatscreen LCD computer monitor in great condition. Much bigger than my current monitor. It wasn't even in the trash, but sitting on top of an old beanbag, filling up the can. I stared at it for a while, but it was still dark out, no one was around. I hesitated. Started to walk away, then turned around and yanked it out of the can. I took it home, tested it, and it works fine! Much larger than my current monitor which i paid over $100 for, and the colors really pop. It's not in my interest to pick from the trash, but I can't help but feel like I really scored big.
I hate myself.
|Teaching my wife to map||August 22, 2014, 9:21 pm|
During one of our random uplifting chats, the topic of holidays came up and we agreed to spend all the major holidays away from family and only with each other this year. Out of curiosity my wife asked me what I would like to get from her for christmas, and the only thing I could think of wanting for christmas was more Doom maps to play! So I told her I want her to make me a map! She could tell how enthusiastic I was about it, and it wasn't the first time I attempted to show her how to make Doom maps, so she happily agreed if I can give her lessons.
So naturally, I went right to work writing up some sort of a lesson plan on how to teach someone who doesn't know anything but the general gist of Doom how to create a map. I thought something like this might be helpful in case anyone here wants to teach someone how to map.
Hopefully, if I've done a good job, she might complete making a decent short episode for Doom 2 on her own time for me to play on Christmas, and I can share with you guys :)
I've only worked on the first lesson so far; more lessons to come. Could probably use more Doom Wiki and Unnofficial Wad Designer's Handbook reference, but this is basically what I intend to go over with her to get started. I'm thinking Lesson 2 will be placing things, Lesson 3 will be editing sector properties, like light values, sector effects, and floor/ceiling heights. Lesson 4 will be understanding Upper, Middle, and Lower textures, front and back sides, and picking and choosing textures, Lesson 5 would be basic Linedef types (like doors, switch operated doors, lifts, moving floors, etc. Lesson 7 will probably be going over using the F_SKY flat to create skies. I haven't thought too far ahead, but I do hope to eventually go over the basics of texture alignment, trapping the player, difficulty progression, health/ammo balance, skill level implementation, consistent texture themes, layout flow, detailing, and some special editing tricks like instantly raising floors. There's a lot to go over, but I think if I keep it brief and easy to learn, she'll make progress quickly and get a lot of positive feedback.
Here's the first lesson I intend to go over with her tomorrow:
|itchy nose||August 1, 2014, 9:54 pm|
Here's an award winning thread:
almost every day I go into work, my nose starts to get itchy. I feel it on the tip of my nose and the outer parts of the inside of my nostrils. Its a lot like when you visit someone who owns a hundred cats and there's a thin coat of fur on every surface of their house and they just turned on an oscillating can. Its an infuriatingly annoying feeling and I only feel at work. As soon as I go home the feeling is gone. Theres no furry things where I work. I work in food service and the air isn't stuffy or anything, and I don't have any allergies, or a cold or anything. My nose just gets super itchy.
anybody have any idea what's up?
|On The Fence||February 17, 2014, 4:55 pm|
I think I'd truly regret calling this an announcement of my official retirement from Doom mapping, but I think I may be coming to the conclusion that it's time to quit kidding myself.
With certain circumstances in my life sucking up my time and negating my ability to pursue Doom mapping as a legitimate hobby, I've been balancing a weight on my shoulders with rather small unfinished projects that I'm struggling to bring to completion. Things are moving at a glacial pace and my future only looks to incorporate more extra-curricular activities in my daily routine, making my absolute favorite pastime look more and more like something that's only fit to be put in the attic and left alone as a distant memory.
A few years ago, mapping seemed to flow naturally out of me, which is where the majority of my body of work came from. I began to concentrate on more complex design strategies in order to construct more unique looking and replayable doom levels. Unfortunately this started shortly before I bought a house and got married and such. If the kind of levels I really want to make were a piece of jewelry at the bottom of the swimming pool, my responsibilities are the air-inflated floaties pulling me up to the surface. My wife would be offended if she saw me describing things that way but it's about time to admit that Doom mapping wasn't much more than a timesink to get myself to the point in life that I am at now. Now that I'm living it, there isn't much room to squeeze it back in. There really hasn't been much room this whole time and anything I've released since shows it.
While reverting to my older mapping style would probably be much more productive, I'd still have the reminder that "I can do better than this" lingering over me as I play through them. I think there are enough mappers here who can create similar enough maps. I'm not really interested in being a part of that category of mappers.
But anyway, it hurts my ego every time I come back to mapping after a long unavoidable hiatus with an intention to create a design that I feel has finally manifested in my mind after many weeks. The lack of regular practice with Doombuilder 2 is clear in my attempt to rectify it when the design comes out sloppy and inconsistent. I begrudgingly close the laptop lid and go do something else. If I find myself a career path that pays much better and has an unusual amount of downtime and low-stress, I may be able to get back into the groove and nullify everything this blog stands to declare. Until then, I feel as though the only other appropriate time to get back into mapping is when I retire and wait to pass away.
What does this mean for UAC Ultra 2? Not sure. For a long time I've been epitomizing UU2 as a way to "go out with a bang" and encapsulate as many of my ideas as humanly possible into a single megawad and live the rest of my life comfortably with the satisfaction that I've exhausted as much of my potential as I could into a final product. Then I'd leave everyone in the community with a sick megawad to play in many different styles with hundreds of hours of gameplay depending on how one chooses to play it. I'd also hope it would stand as a model for what I'd like to see more mappers do with their maps. I can't say I'm pulling the plug on it, but the rate of its progress is mirrored by my motivation to complete it without an optimistic partner or small team to share it with. I hope I can garner enough strength to make my ideas come to fruition, but until then, I've put a pin in it until things change.
In the meantime, I have no trouble checking on Doomworld and posting every now and again. I still have an insatiable urge to kill monsters and fortunately, playing the game and all the new wads that come out for it is significantly less taxing than editing it is. At best, I think tabling my mapping career may be excusable in exchange for offering myself as a mentor for any interested mappers (PM me!) or volunteering myself for a rather minor role in a major project. It breaks my heart to tell myself that it's time to call it quits, and I'll fight with every fiber in my body to keep the candle lit, but I just wanted you guys to know where I'm at.