Friday, December 14, 2007

UPDATED: FSM/Cthulhu '08

Remember the FSM/Cthulhu shirt design from last Friday? Sure you do.

Well, I was inspired by that to make these:
In association with Zazzle.comIn association with Zazzle.comI'm not sure how they're going to turn out. Usually Zazzle prints great stuff, but the graphic on this one...

Well, it's not my best work. Let's leave it at that.


OK, let's not leave it at that. Here are the things wrong with the graphic:

First, I'm using the following two source images:

Now, first off, I should have looked harder for a Cthulhu image. This one is ... kind of blurry. Which is not a good starting place. But I had FSM reaching out left and Cthulhu reaching out right (or perhaps dropping a guy?)... too good to pass up.

But then, I combined them into this image:

There are a number of problems with this image. Who can spot one of the major ones?

Here's a hint: Look at Cthulhu's head.
Hint #2: Look at the crack.

The crack stops at his head! What what what? If this is supposed to be a painting, HOW does the crack mysteriously stop right at his head?

Of course the answer is that I pasted Cthulhu over the original image. And I'm lazy. And I didn't notice. So there it is.


Well, of course, I couldn't let it stand at that, now could I? ^_^ I found a better Cthulhu image:

AND learned about color matching. And learned new tricks for transparent layers. So, the updated version is:

There are still problems (there always are). Look at the buildings/rocks in the bottom right. Yeah, that's all messed up. But overall, I think it looks much better now. ^_^

Now I just need a campaign slogan....

SADNESS! Terry Pratchett Diagnosed with Alzheimer's

"One of geekdom's most popular authors, Terry Pratchett, has announced that he has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's. The OBE-winning author of the Discworld fantasy series made the original announcement on the website of Discworld illustrator Paul Kidby. Pratchett remains optimistic: 'I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as 'I am not dead'. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think - it's too soon to tell.'"
I don't really have anything to add to this. :-(

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

GotD: Lost in the Static

Game of the Day:
Lost in the Static (Only for Windows, I'm afraid)
Now, this is not one of those magic-eye 3D images above. It's an actual screen-shot of a game. Everything in the game is represented by static, but different types of static move differently. It's hard to explain, unless you play it.

Also check out the Modding and Behind the Scenes pages for bonus insights. ^_^

This was made by Silver Spaceship Software, whom you may recall as the guys that made Chromatron.

Speaking of which, Chromatron is now entirely free, and available for both Windows and Mac. ^_^

ILotD: St. Gabriel Possenti Society

Interesting Link of the Day:

In 1860, a band of soldiers from the army of Garibaldi entered the mountain village of Isola, Italy. They began to burn and pillage the town, terrorizing its inhabitants.

Possenti, with his seminary rector's permission, walked into the center of town, unarmed, to face the terrorists. One of the soldiers was dragging off a young woman he intended to rape when he saw Possenti and made a snickering remark about such a young monk being all alone.

Possenti quickly grabbed the soldier's revolver from his belt and ordered the marauder to release the woman. The startled soldier complied, as Possenti grabbed the revolver of another soldier who came by. Hearing the commotion, the rest of the soldiers came running in Possenti's direction, determined to overcome the rebellious monk.

At that moment a small lizard ran across the road between Possenti and the soldiers. When the lizard briefly paused, Possenti took careful aim and struck the lizard with one shot. Turning his two handguns on the approaching soldiers, Possenti commanded them to drop their weapons. Having seen his handiwork with a pistol, the soldiers complied. Possenti ordered them to put out the fires they had set, and upon finishing, marched the whole lot out of town, ordering them never to return. The grateful townspeople escorted Possenti in triumphant procession back to the seminary, thereafter referring to him as "the Savior of Isola".

Hence, the Saint Gabriel Possenti Society, an organization dedicated to promoting St. Gabriel Possenti as the patron saint of handgunners.

Ah, religion and firearms. Is there any greater combination?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

It's got what plants crave.

If for some reason you haven't heard yet, Brawndo the Thirst Mutilator, the drink from the movie Idiocracy (It's got electrolytes! It's got what plants crave), is now a real, actual drink. Here's the drink, here's a shop, and here's the commercial:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Random Links

First, 50 Answers from the Stereotypist. People asked a question in each comment, and he answered the first 50 of them. With a comic, each. Sounds like fun, eh? Someone here should do that. Not it!

Second, I found this FSM/Cthulhu '08 campaign design:

But then I lost it. While searching for it, I found a vanity plate on this page. Speaking of the old one, can I assume that everyone else has already seen the Calls for Cthulu series?

Finally, a music video: Here Comes Another Bubble - The Richter Scales (v1.1)

Where's my Friday Funday, Thomas? I needs it!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tetris Jesus


ElGarlic: Spending your life waiting for the messiah to come save the world is like waiting around for the straight piece to come in Tetris.
ElGarlic: Even if it comes, by that time you've accumulated a mountain of shit so high that you're fucked no matter what you do.

Friday, November 30, 2007

On Ze Frank, Post-Show (UPDATE)

If you don't have an RSS feed for Ze Frank (and you might not, since it's limited to Best-Of episodes now), you may have missed his three new post-show updates.

Strike Day


Strike #2



(If you don't know who Ze Frank is, you can just get out now).

Friday, November 23, 2007

On the cake, and what a lie it is

Portal has been out for a while now, so if you haven't played it yet, you must not be a gamer.

And that's fine. But this post isn't for you, then.

If you don't have Portal (and why don't you?), you can always play Narbacular Drop for free.

Narbacular Drop was a Digipen project, and is the game Portal is based on. You can download it, as well as a number of add-on maps, for free at the Nuclear Monkey Software site. Made by the same developers, the gameplay is very very similar (but not identical) to Portal.

Of course, there is no Weighted Companion Cube, so you won't understand the poignancy of what Jesus would do for cake.

And although you may not realize it, that brings us to Portal's strongest selling point: it's pitch-black humor. People that haven't played it can't understand it, and people who have can't explain it, so I won't even try.

Portal is short. I played it all the way through twice, the first time took about three hours, and the second, about one and a half. The brevity is a good thing, because you really should play it through in a single sitting. It's like a movie. Also like a movie, there's a commentary option you can listen to. There will probably be a lot of details you miss the first time around, so while you're running around the second time catching up, you might as well get the inside scoop.

In fact, after the first play-through, I considered Portal a good, but not great, game. After the second.... well, now I have Weighted Companion Cube wallpaper on my desktop. Part of the reason I missed so much the first time was because I played in low res, and didn't realize how much graffiti on the walls I was missing until nearly the end. Thankfully the PUB computers (which have Portal on them, gratis) aren't as lame as my three year old laptop.

Also, as a bonus, the song played at the end during the credits is written (but not performed by) the excellent Jonathan Coulton. It's almost worth it just for that. The song can be found online, but I recommend not looking for it if you haven't played Portal yet, because it's spoilerific.

Finally, and because he can say it so much better than I, I'll leave you with the previously mentioned Yahtzee's review of The Orange Box (Portal review at the end).


On The Awesomeness That Is Yahtzee

And I'm not talking about the deadly game of skill and chance.

I'm talking about Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw.

I first ran into Yahtzee's work with 5 Days A Stranger, a Home Of The Underdogs Top Dog. "One of the best freeware adventure games I have ever played," starts the review, and it's pretty spot-on. It has garnered a small cult following, and some fans are even remaking the game in 3D. All of Yahtzee's games, including 5DAS, are available on his website.

But if he just did games, he wouldn't be awesome enough for me to post about, would he?

He also did some webcomics, including "Yahtzee Takes On The World". Mad genius Yahtzee plots world domination from his hollowed out volcano (but laments that it's not a missile silo*).

He also did "Chris and Trilby", a comic about two guys that have adventures and aren't gay. Not my favorite, but it did have a nice comic where they meet God and talk about religious people.

Alright, enough beating around the bush, I'm really posting about Yahtzee because I want to talk about his phenomenal game reviews.

They're short, they're funny, and they're DENSE, if you know what I mean when I talk about density in entertainment. I recommend them highly, even if you're not a gamer.

Three YouTube videos on this page, start at the top and work your way down.

The rest are on The Escapist Magazine's site, here. Start at the bottom and work your way up.

Or you can go to this page with all the videos on it, if you want to crash your computer. Updated to play nicely

New videos are posted (almost) every Wednesday, and you can grab the RSS feed here if you're so inclined.

* Found here.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

On The Weather, And How I'm Under It, Part 2

You know what sucks about having the flu on a major holiday?


So, it turns out that I didn't have a cold. I have the flu. Which is much worse. Normally, I would go to my brother's house for Thanksgiving, but he has a kid, so that's out. So how am I celebrating this wonderful feast holiday?

I'm stuck in my room, sipping Sierra Mist. Mmmm....sparkly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

On Talking Cats

First, the cute cats talking to each other:

Second, the translation of what they were saying:

And a bonus:
I found these videos on the Internet. You don't know about the Internet? Perhaps you should order this 430-Part System. Fax them your e-mail address now!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Weather, And How I'm Under It.

Hey, you know what sucks about being sick when you're at university?



Seriously, WTF?

(Wikipedia, which helps not at all)

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Front Fell Off

If you haven't seen it yet, you really should:

"A wave hit the ship."
"Is that unusual?"
"Oh yeah. At sea? [One] chance in a million."

John Clarke and Bryan Dawe

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

On being homeless in Japan

RSS subscribers, rejoice! There be updates...

Due to unforeseen circumstances, I find myself with a non-refundable ticket home to America dated August 24th, and an expiring apartment contract on August 1st with no backup place to stay for the intervening 3 weeks. How this came to be is another story. Today, I'm going to focus on what it's like to find oneself in Japan with no place to go.

That's right, I'm homeless! Again!

Also, I'd like to note that I'm very very tired as I write this. ^_^ I last slept in a bed on July 31st, from 7pm to 11pm. It's now August 2nd, 5am.

This all came down minutes before the welcome dinner for new ALTs (Group A). So I went to the dinner still processing the fact that, after the dinner, I would have no place to sleep. Of course, just about every JET who heard my plight offered me a spot on their tatami, because FJETs are cool like that, but I can't see myself imposing on others in that way. At least, not with most people. There are a few JETs with whom I am comfortable enough for something like that. Am I shy or something? News to me. Anyway, I digress.

So the party wears on, and Karl, who shall henceforth be known as Awesome Karl Whom I Love (In A Totally Heterosexual Man-Love Way), tells me about a new inn in Fukui. It's cheap and near the station. Problem solved!

I drive over (picture, if you will, me in my tiny k-car filled with my belongings. The seats don't recline, there's just too much stuff. Rear-view mirror? Who needs it?), pop in and ask for a room.

They're full. No vacancy.

Since the other hotels are too expensive, or don't have rooms after 11 or so (this was midnight or 1am, and checkout is usually 10am) I was in a bit of a spot. But this isn't my first dance; actually, this is the FOURTH time I've been sans home. So, I decide to rough it in my car.

But....where to park?

Parking in Japan is kind of strict. In America, land is cheap and plentiful. Here in Japan...not so much. Pretty much every parking space everywhere is accounted for. This goes to this apartment, this goes to this store, etc. So, where can I park my car?

My first instinct was to park in the spot for my old apartment. I know my successor isn't there yet, so it's empty. ^_^ Unfortunately, all of my old neighbors would see me and it would no doubt get back to my supervisor, and I'm not ready to bring him in on this. So that's out.

1st try: Combini
On my way down Route 8, I felt like I was falling asleep at the wheel, so I pulled into a combini for some coffee. After I made my purchase, I thought, why not just park myself here for now? Doze off for a bit...

Well, no sooner had the thought occurred than a semi-truck pulled up next to me. Was he makin deliveries to this combini? I don't know. I just know that he sat in his truck, staring at me. Creepiest thing ever. He basically didn't move until I gave up and drove away.

2nd try: Genki
Genki is a drugstore, and on Route 8, there's one with a HUGE parking lot. And since the store is closed (being 3am), it's completely empty.

Well, almost. The Genki parking lot is bordered on three sides by big bright lights from neighboring businesses. But there is the fourth side, the dark spot, away from the road noises. The ideal spot for a bit of shut-eye. That spot was of course occupied by another car. Doh!

I ended up near the road, and while I gave it a good try, the lights and sounds prevented me from sleeping much. So I decided to move on.

3rd try: Freaks
Freaks is a cyber-cafe. With reclining chairs. ^_^ Obviously, this is where I'm writing this. Internets!

It's also expensive. Roughly $5 for the first hour, and $1 for each 15 minutes after that. At that rate, I could have afforded a hotel.

And that's where the story catches up with reality. More news as it happens, later. Assuming I'm not shivved by a hobo.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th of July.

(The following is from the excellent Questionable Content webcomic author, Jeph. He said it much better than I)
It is the Fourth of July! Today I am going to eat some hot dogs, drink some beers, and think about all the innocent civilians and armed forces personnel who have been killed due to the actions of the Bush administration. Granted, it takes a lot of fun out of the holiday, but I am certain that being alive is more fun than being dead so I guess I have it better than all of Dubya's victims.

Have a safe holiday, fellow Americans, and everyone else have as pleasant a day as possible.

PS: if you send me angry letters because I DARED to criticize our FEARLESS LEADER I will delete them, unread. Don't waste your time or mine.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tax Day

After having been warned for the past 2.5 months that this day was coming, I felt pretty prepared when my Inhabitants Tax form came in the mail yesterday.  I was told in no uncertain terms that I had to pay it right away.  If even a SINGLE ALT didn't pay their taxes, NO ONE would get their reimbursement in the July pay period.

So during my lunch break today I went to the bank and paid it.  It was 176,000yen.

For those not up on the yen-dollar conversion, a yen is roughly a penny.

Now, I had been previously told that the amount would be between 1man and 9man (man = 10,000yen).  9man is pretty steep.  My tax bill was almost twice that.

But I paid it nonetheless, because if even a SINGLE ALT...yadda yadda.  But it still stung.  Payday is a week away.

So when I got back to the office, I sent an e-mail about the sticker shock to the head ALT.  I had heard from other ALTs that their bill was less than 2man, but they didn't live in Takefu, so...

Quite soon after I sent my message, my phone rang.  It was the head ALT.  "You didn't pay that tax bill yet, did you?"

Uh, oh.

Yeah.  Clerical error of some sort.  So I'm broke now, and they're trying to figure out how I can get my money back.

Today was not a good day.

Thursday, June 07, 2007


So, having been busy with life for a while, I finally get a chance to slow down and play some games. I break out my old PS2 and pick up a used copy of MGS3, which I have been dying to play forever.

I start with disc 2, Persistence, the online component.

That was about 30 minutes ago.


I think you can see where this is going. (If not, check out this informative link)

What the *$$@?

I finally finally finally get a chance to play Persistence, and...I don't. Why didn't I find out about this sooner? Sure, the Persistence - Coming Soon ads were plastered everywhere, but the Persistence - Say Goodbye To Your Purchase ads? Nowhere to be found.

Where's the emoticon for ::devestated:: ?

I understand why the game was so cheap now. If it seems too good to be true, it's probably Konami screwing you over.

Best part: "As the team now moves on to the next phase, we hope that you will continue to offer your kind support for future MGO titles."

Oh, OF COURSE. I'm going to rush right out and buy the next game you make, since your dedication to customer service is unmatched!


(And yes, the irony of the name is lost on nobody)

Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Simplest Ideas

The simplest ideas are often the best.

This thought occurs while I'm watching YouTube videos. Recently I watched the "I'm a Marvel, and I'm a DC" series. It is sort of a parody of the Mac/PC ads, but more of a commentary on the various comic books and their characters.

It's also just a guy playing with his action figures.

Here's a sample for those that haven't seen it:

These are consistently highly rated, and the premise is very simple. Simple to shoot, simple to edit, just mix in a little cleverness and Bob's your uncle.

The early Ask A Ninja videos were the same, just a guy in front of a camera. Again easy to shoot and edit, and highly popular.

So where is your simple idea?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Blogger Beta Blows pt 2

Remember when all that stuff you put in your profile had a purpose? You could click on an item and see all the other people that put that same item in that same question. It was pretty cool.

Well, that's gone. So WHAT'S THE FUCKING POINT of the questions?

The more I use the new system, the worse it gets. It was FINE when it was OPTIONAL. Now that it's mandatory, it sucks.

Ironically, my efforts to return to blogging (which forced the conversion to the new shitty system) may be what pushes me away permanently.

Way to go, Google.

Thomas' Meme

  1. What is your official job title?
    Assistant Language Teacher Until the end of July anyway. Then I will be returning to EWU as a grad student and working as a systems administrator. Yay for me!
  2. Do you wear a watch? If so, is it digital or analog? If not, why not?
    I wear a dual analog-digital Fossil. It's way old, but I love it. It has the time in Japan and the West Coast, so I know if it's a good time to call or not. Sadly, they don't make this model (or anything remotely like it) anymore.
  3. What's a really great but fairly obscure website that you visit regularly? is where Lore Sjöberg went to after he disappeared from the formerly-excellent Table of Malcontents. (Here is a small taste of what it used to be like) He also writes Alt Text.
  4. How long can you hold your breath?
    I'm back up to 2:45. Not quite three minutes, but I'm almost there again. (I think it helps that I have basically no muscle mass to drain that precious precious oxygen from my blood ^_^)

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Blogger Beta Blows

I logged in from an un-blocked computer last night, or at least I tried.  It turns out that you can NO LONGER user Blogger log-ins, you must now use Google log-ins.  And that converts all your blogs to the new blogger beta.  AND deletes your old profile.  UPDATE: AND changes the e-mail address to send new posts to.

This is ridiculously retarded.

Anyway, I redirected my blog to a different domain, so I could access it at work.  And it turns out that is accessible from work, AS LONG AS you only use blogger beta and Japanese pages.  I can't change the language to English, so I don't know what most of the buttons do anymore, and I can't post from there (still only via e-mail).

So the stupid blogger beta and the stupid blocker at work, two great tastes that go great together.

Ah, technology.  What a bitch.

Late (update)

I went downstairs to take a picture of the "T.T." in question (not that I can send pictures to the blog ...yet), but it has already been changed to tomorrow's schedule.  Doh!  I hate missed opportunity.

However, *ALL* of tomorrow's Team Teaching lessons (regularly scheduled and otherwise) have BIG "T.T."s on them.  Someone may have been scolded for my tardiness this morning, and it wasn't me.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


I was late to my first class today.

Let me explain why: I had dropped by a convenience store to grab some breakfast, because I was too tired/lazy this morning to make it myself.  So, that put me a few minutes behind, and I was a bit late for work.

This is normal for me.  I'm always late.  Ask anyone.

Last school year, I was late so often that they stopped scheduling 1st-period classes for me.  I would be late up to an hour, but I'd stay after two or three (or often actually more) hours, so it MORE than balanced out.

This school year, however, I have many more classes, so my schedule is pretty full.  I can't afford to be late regularly anymore.  That's fine, I can make it on time if I try.  But today I didn't have any 1st period classes, so I was taking it easy.

This week, for some reason, we are on 45-minute lessons, and the schedule is pretty random, so when I got to the school, I checked the teacher's schedule board.  If classes are rearranged, it will be reflected here.  Last school year, this would even indicate whenever I had a Team Teaching class, because it was kind of a special class (each class would see me only once every two weeks).  Every Team Teaching lesson would have a big " T.T." written on it in yellow chalk (which stood out clearly against the normal white chalk).  This year, since I see every freshman class at the same time every week, my lessons aren't so special, so they are not indicated unless there is a change.

So anyway, I checked the schedule board, and there were no "T.T."s, so I knew my schedule hadn't been changed, and I wouldn't have class until 2nd period.  I went upstairs to my desk and sat down to enjoy my breakfast.  While I was eating, I noticed a note on my desk from the teacher I would be Team Teaching with 2nd period saying that the schedule was changed.

To 1st period.

I looked at my watch.  Class had started 10 minutes ago.  As I'm running through the halls with my stack of worksheets, I couldn't help wondering "WHY WASN'T THIS ON THE SCHEDULE BOARD?"  And, why didn't anyone call me?  My cell-phone number is on a piece of paper, taped to the bookshelf by my desk, in clear sight.  How could you miss that?

Anyway, I got to class (JUST as the teacher was about to start an alternate lesson, after having apparently waited for me for 10 minutes), apologized for my tardiness, and rushed the lesson.  It went OK (I plan flexibility into my lessons for a reason), but I was still upset at being late.

I was so mad at whomever wrote up the schedule today.  Immediately after class I went back to the schedule board to confirm that there was NO indication that I had a Team Teaching lesson 1st period.

And that's when I noticed that, next to the kanji for "English" for that class and that period, was a small " T.T." in white chalk.

In clear sight.  How could I miss that?

Monday, May 21, 2007


Recently, I was chastised by Thomas for not posting to my blog for a year.  He is not wrong.
Also recently, my school beefed up their computer security, so I can't bypass the block and at least read blogspot blogs anymore (farewell, Worthless Hack).  Not that I could post comments anyway, but at least before I could read the original posts sans pictures.

Well, this aggression will not stand, man.

I'm (hypothetically) going to actually start posting again, via e-mail.  This post, for example.  There are some drawbacks:
  1. I won't be able to respond to comments, although I should have the comments e-mailed to me by the blogspot system, so I'll be able to read them.
  2. I won't be able to edit my posts.  If I make a smistake, just live with it.  I won't even be able to see it.
There are lots of things I'd like to post about, but didn't have time to before.  Now I do.

What will I miss about Japan?  What will I NOT miss about Japan?  What am I looking forward to, back home?  How am I getting back home?

Look forward to it.  This is just a test post.  And a new post after a year of silence?  THIS is what RSS was invented for.  ^_^

Be seeing you.