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User Journal

Journal: 24-hour stores

Journal by iocat
The existance of 24-hour stores, such as Meijer Thrifty Acres in the midwest, or the Long's Drugs at 51st and Broadway in Oakland (which, it must be stated, is far more than just a drug store and in fact is equal in square footage to about one half of a Target, but without as many clothes, so the actual selection of non-clothes articles is both deeper and broader (where else can you buy a live lemon tree, a fishing rod, a bolt of fabric, your choice from an entire AISLE of shelving paper, and a bear-claw all in one shopping trip?) than your average Target or K-Mart), while awesome, is significantly mitigated if you never wake up at 4am and are wide awake and desperate for something to do. I mention this for two reasons. One, so I could make a super, super long sentence, and two because while I used to always either wake up or still be up at 4am, and looking for some fun place to hang out, these days I seem to go to bed early and wake up late. Possibly due to oldness.
User Journal

Journal: clock tower 3

Journal by iocat
The last boss in Clock Tower 3 is really just annoying. But other than that I loved the game. I beat it -- ok, I got to the final boss -- a super long time ago, but just scammed a save off a friend tonight so I can just see the ending movie w/o having to beat the final boss.
User Journal

Journal: medical marijuanaand potheads 1

Journal by iocat
Why is it that the only people who seem to really need / want medical marijuana are like burn-outs driving VW micro buses? I mean, are they reflecting the classic stereotype of pot smokers *before* they need medical marijuana, or does using medical marijuana for dodgy reasons like "back pain" somehow *cause* one to become some kind of hippy throwback?

You never see some guy in a suit talking about he needs pot because of his back pain... it's always some person who looks like they just wandered out of Humbolt County. It's amazing to me how just as soon as medical marijuana was legalized in CA, all these burnouts suddenly developed medical-marijuan-requiring conditions...

Anyway, just for the record, my current thought is that I am pro-legalization of most recreational drugs. Using drugs is incredibly stupid and self-destructive, but since most drug users just self-select themselves out of the way of non-drug-users' lives and career paths, it's really no skin off my nose if they want to ruin their own lives. Criminalizing drugs just creates a black market and the attendent violent crime and lengthy, pointless, jail sentences for non-violent offenders.

Games

Journal: RPG DAY

Journal by iocat
The day after Thanksgiving should officially be known as RPG DAY. On this day, the shoppers can go shop, and the gamers can spend the entire day playing RPGs.

Normally I'm not much of an RPG player -- I like action, fast games, racing, etc. RPGs take too much time for too subtle a pay-off (not to put too fine a point on it, but when I want stories, I read books). But every now and then, you do want a linear, structured, environment in which to experience success, and nothing fits the bill like an RPG.

RPG DAY -- a day when there's really nothing else to do -- fits the bill perfectly. Nothing else is calling your time, chores can still be put off to Saturday or Sunday, and there's a great feeling of holiday quiet that can't be duplicated any other day of the year. Oh, and left-overs and leveling up just go together in a way that can't be articulated.

So my advice to the world? Pull out Zelda, Final Fantasy, or even go old-school to Wizardry on your Apple II or emulator, and get ready to spend a whole day immersed in hacking, slashing, and mindless leveling up!

For me, this year, my poison of choice will be Gladius from LucasArts. Happy RPG day!

User Journal

Journal: Teller and moderation

Journal by iocat
I'll probably get meta-moderated into oblivion, but I just moderated the hell out of the Edward Teller comments. From what I saw, comments fell into these categories:

1) Comments bashing Teller because he ratted out Oppenheimer and/or because he was all about nuclear weapons.

2) Comments praising Teller for being a badass.

3) Comments that were praising his accomplishments, but taking note of the fact that he did some fucked up things and was a pretty complicated individual.

What irritated me though, was that comments in the first category were all at 5, and the other two were either at -1 Flambait/Troll or just 1 or 2. I fall in category 3, but I just feel like people who made/moderated comments in category 1 just are either naive or ignorant. The soviets are a big joke now, but back in the day -- when Teller was saying the only thing that would hold them back was the H-Bomb -- they really WERE bent on world domination, and you know, evil. Like, do some reading (gulag archipelago, the richard rhoades books, etc.) before you start saying the world would have been a better place if Teller was never born!

User Journal

Journal: healthy fast food 6

Journal by iocat
When evaluating the health quality of fast food, it's best to just look at calories, not anything else. Calories are all that matter in weight loss, anyway (don't believe me? check out the hacker's diet for details.

Anyway, eliminate Burger King immediately. The Whopper is like 600C w/o mayonaise. If you're trying to keep under 2000 C a day, this is worthless, since the Whopper isn't even filling.

At McDonald's, a Big Mac is 590 C, which is a lot, but can be the basis of a 1000 calorie lunch, when paired with small fries -- the kids' size ones -- and a diet coke. But the smart money is on a Quarter Pounder with no cheese, at only 410 calories, and a fairly satisfying burger, especially with the onions. Don't fall into the siren song of getting two cheeseburgers -- at 330 calories each, they're worse than a Big Mac! The real Calories in fast food burgers are in the buns...

Wendy's is going to be your low-cal fast food savior. A Single, no mayo, no cheese, is only 380 C -- that's only 100 C more than a McDonald's hamburger! Make it a Double, which is a pretty satisfying burger, and you've only added 200C, still a tiny bit less than a Big Mac. Skip fries and replace them with 5 chicken nuggets (only 99c and 225 Calories) and you're either at 605 with a Single, or 805 with a Double. Finally, throw on a side salad with 1/2 pack of French dressing (35 and 45 C, respectively) to round out the edges and you have a pretty filling fast food meal thats under 700 or 900 Calories (again depending on whether you went with a Single or a Double). The salad is even sort of healthy, in a fiber way (it's long on lettuce, short on everything else), and the dressing is pretty good.

User Journal

Journal: 5:00am

Journal by iocat
Ok, it's 5am, I got a proposal done 30 minutes ago. Do I go home and sleep for two hours or stay up? I will be hella tired and in a bad mood either way, but if I stay up, I don't have to deal with the pain of *getting* up. I also reek. I wonder if it is light outside. Staying up all night gets somewhat less fun as you age, I think.
User Journal

Journal: Come to my GDC speech

Journal by iocat
I'm giving a speech at GDC:

Saturday, March 8 9:00-10:00AM Lecture: Designing Original Games Based on Licensed Properties

If you're up early, or more to the point, still up, and want to hear some GBA licensed game horror stories, stop by!

On the one hand I am bummed that I got such a crappy time, but on the other, anyone who shows up, I'll know really was interested in the topic.

User Journal

Journal: Wooden Train Sets

Journal by iocat
There are basically three choices in wooden train sets: Brio, Thomas the Tank Engine, and the cheap one from Target. They are all entirely inter-operable, and feature wooden tracks, and wooden train cars with magnetic couplings.

Brio is so outrageously expensive that is clearly exists only for rich people to demostrate their wealth. A starter set in a figure 8 with 3 train cars (~20 pieces total) costs $40. A slightly larger set costs $100. The accessories are just vulgarly expensive: A crane costs $31 (this is one track length with a plastic crane); a small, matchbox sized cop car is $12, a 2 car and 1 engine Santa Fe branded passanger train is $46... and these are discount prices online.

The Thomas the Tank Engine trains, which feature the painful english license, are about 60% of the cost of the Brio trains. Still, a 45 piece set with bridges and crap runs $240 at retail.

From Target, I just bought a 140 piece set for $39 (it's actually $59 at target.com, but cheaper in the stores -- this is very common for Target). It's exactly the same stuff.

Anyway, it's fucking insane that Brio charges as much as it does, but it's even more insane that people pay those prices for their precious children.

I like what one woman I met did: her kid was bugging her for those trains at Christmas, while they were in one of those yuppie stores that sell them, and she was like "This train set costs as much as an Elephant. We don't have elephants at home, we go to the zoo. This store is like the zoo. You play with the trains here, and then we go home." I wish I had thought of that line of reasoning.

Anyway, no clue how the generic trains will go over, and my dad claims he will subsidize the purchase of Thomas trains to go on the track, so we'll see.

FWIW, a real HO scale electric train set runs $39 and up, with most coming in around $69. HO trains kick the ass of wooden trains.

User Journal

Journal: mech assault

Journal by iocat
I don't know why I like this game so much. It's repetitive, simple, and pretty each -- circle strafing and patience enables you to get through most missions unharmed. And yet, it's totally additive. I just want to see what happens next.

"Probably the best operating system in the world is the [operating system] made for the PDP-11 by Bell Laboratories." - Ted Nelson, October 1977

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