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viridian_moon Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read.

--Groucho Marx

Title: Life in Mintland, take two.
Posted: June 26, 2008 (10:36 AM)
Since I continue to be an awful correspondent and some of you may be interested.

Well, this is my third week at work. The job site is about a mile from my house, which is nice, but the guys here don't really have that much for me to do, so basically I'm getting paid $10/hour to play computer games and occasionally file something. It's pretty nice, although I feel vaguely guilty about getting paid to be useless. They hired me in the first place because they have an arrangement with the mayor's office to hire a graduating high school intern for the summer, not because they actually have anything for me to do, so that's the deal. I will be buying a nice iPod in the near future and saving the rest of my money for school, since I'm rather fond of eating and would like to continue in the future.

I also sprained my ankle a couple days ago. It was pretty rough! I was fighting off a pack of wild lions and gave one a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick to the skull as it lunged at my throat, gooey ropes of saliva dripping from its foot-long fangs and all, and the blow was so powerful it just about knocked my foot off! Crutches are a pain in the ass, though. It sucks.

In other news, Oblivion has taken over my life. I seriously can't stop myself from playing it whenever I have a free moment! It's rough around the edges--it has balance issues with the spellmaking/enchanting system, is really glitchy, and the level-up system is retarded in that it is impossible to get good stat gains if you pick your major skills logically--but it's really addictive anyway. I've clocked 90 hours in a depressingly short time, and I've barely touched the main plot. Also, as of last night, I'd saved, uh, about 730 times, I think. I save a lot, it seems. But yeah, I'm an altmer caster, L20 right now, custom class, vampire as of late, and I like to kick ass with some custom 2HKO spells that add elemental and magicka weakness 100% for like 3 sec on strike. Also have a nice custom enchanted dagger that absorbs magicka when I'm running low, plus fire shield boots/gauntlets to compensate for my horrible fire weakness and actually give me some AC at the same time. (Body armor is for sissies when you can wear a badass robe.) I have decent blade skill and am thinking about enchanting up a glass short sword with something nifty just because I can--seriously, what else am I going to do with 15 black soul gems? which I filled by slaughtering necromancers, haha irony--but I probably won't use it much.

I've done the Mages Guild, Thieves Guild, and Arena (which is, by the way, totally pathetic if you jump up on the pillar next to the door and use ranged/summons), and I think I'm going to leave it at that, because being the head of five guilds is pretty silly. (Honestly, I would've preferred that the game just leave you as a high-ranking member instead of the head of the freaking guild, which strained my credulity pretty seriously in some cases, but whatever.) I'll do the Dark Brotherhood and Fighters Guild on a replay sometime. Like EmP, I started the game a while ago, played for a few hours, went "bleh, overrated" and wandered off, then came back only to get hooked and sink 90 hours in without noticing.

Oh yeah, and my free laptop is being retarded. The H key keeps falling off, and the spacebar screwed up recently, and I broke off one of the brackets for the retainer when I was trying to fix it. Yippee, now I get to get it repaired! Oh, last night it also decided that it didn't like the power cord, so now it's dead and I can't charge it. I kept getting some error about the AC adapter not providing a high enough voltage or something, don't remember now. I hope it's the power cord, anyway, not the laptop. Get what you pay for, I guess!
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Title: Free laptop specs.
Posted: May 30, 2008 (02:24 PM)
For those of you who didn't read my previous blog post, yesterday school randomly called me and said, "Hey, APS is giving you a free laptop, come pick it up," so I was like "Sweet" and went to get it today. Here are some numbers:

Windows XP Pro SP3
1.59 GHz AMD Turion 64
1GB RAM, possibly 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM, but I dunno for sure
100GB hard drive
15.4" widescreen
Nice battery life; this specs page says 4.5 hours, but mine is clearly a cheap knockoff of this model.
This site also claims it has an ATI Radeon X1250, which may or may not be true.

Predictably, it isn't exactly a dream machine, but the price was right! It might be okay if I upgrade the RAM, but 1.6 GHz is not great, and I don't know what kind of software I'm going to need to be running at MIT. I haven't decided whether I'm keeping it or pawning it and getting a new one at the end of the summer. I guess I could just use it my first year and get a better one later if I need to.

EDIT: You know, I think I am going to keep it. It'll at least last me through my first year of college, I'm thinking, and if I need to get another one, nothing lost because this one was free! I wouldn't get a whole lot of money for this anyway, so I really might as well hang onto it.
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Title: Life in Mintland!
Posted: May 29, 2008 (05:55 PM)
As some of you may have noticed, I've been AWOL for some time, so I figured I'd update everyone here. Apologies to everyone who's tried to get in contact with me, as I've been very spotty recently. I've had a lot more going on than I thought I would!

Well, I just graduated high school yesterday. Going to MIT in the fall, although the decision wasn't as easy as you might think. Um, let's see. I have a summer internship with a construction firm courtesy of a program for high school seniors the mayor's running (internships and financial aid for college), and it pays $10/hour with 35-40 hour weeks. I'm gonna be rich! But I have to leave the house, which is kinda scary! I also found out today that the superintendent of the Atlanta Board of Education has randomly given me a laptop for being salutatorian and STAR Student (highest SAT score in the class, 2330/2400 if you're interested--the only section I didn't get a perfect score on was math, and I'm going to MIT, haha), so I need to go to school and pick it up, hopefully tomorrow. Ha, it's funny that I managed to avoid taking public transportation anywhere during my entire high school career, but now I have to use it to go back there after graduation. Atlanta's public transportation kind of sucks, but oh well; I need to take it to get to work, so I'd better get used to it. Plus, I mean, free laptop--I'm not complaining even if it blows.

Let's see, what else. Uh, MIT's Freshman Essay Evaluation starts tomorrow; I'm given three days to write two great essays so I don't have to take a writing-intensive class in the fall. A five on the AP Lit exam would've exempted me from it, but since my high school requires us to cough up $84 to take AP tests, I elected to do the FEE instead. I can only get credit for AP Latin, so I skipped the tests for the other three classes. (Warning: rant ahead!) But even though we covered 90, 95% of the curriculum, two of the seven passages were stuff we did not go over, one was from something we didn't go over well enough to remember, and one more (a translation) was the only Catullus poem we read that I didn't go over (I was out that day). So I studied 90% of the curriculum and knew less than half the material on the test! That pissed me off, but oh well.

So yeah, busy times. I turn eighteen on the eighth, and all this adult stuff--job, playing phone tag with people, massive amounts of paperwork, etc.--suddenly came down on my head at once. It's kind of an odd feeling, but I'm managing.

Well, just thought some of you might be interested.
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Title: Quick review on Christropher Paolini's Eragon that I wrote for school.
Posted: February 09, 2006 (07:18 PM)
Christopher Paolini himself has called his utter travesty of a fantasy novel Eragon an “archetypal hero story,” but that doesn’t even begin to do it justice. To call it archetypal is a gross understatement; it’s more along the lines of nauseatingly generic, although even that barely scratches the surface. It may be true that there’s no such thing as a truly unique story and that all fantasy is derivative and so on and so forth, but Eragon doesn’t even try. It distills every last stereotype of the fantasy genre and jumbles them together into such a mind-numbingly formulaic product that Paolini must have written the book with a “Top 100 Fantasy Clichés” checklist at hand – but even that wouldn’t necessarily condemn it if it were in the hands of a skillful author. A special flair is required to take that sort of unoriginality and turn it into something readable, and Paolini just doesn’t have it. Never does he offer a refreshing take on the grossly overdone story elements he incorporates. Never does the book deviate from a straight, predictable, and ultimately very boring path.

Eragon is a simple orphan boy with a mysterious past who has been chosen by Destiny! When his small backwater village is tragically torched by random evil lackeys, he swears revenge and embarks on a noble and righteous quest to rid the world of its obligatory evil overlord. Accompanying him are his faithful pet dragon, Saphira, and the mysterious old man Brom, who despite knowing everything about the plot never tells Eragon anything, because he, um, doesn’t feel like it or something. Along the way, Eragon encounters elves, dwarves, orcs Urgals, and other members of Tolkien’s menagerie, as well as many bad guys to be slain and elf maidens to be rescued.

Everything in Eragon has been done before, and it’s been done much, much better. It’s been done in every other fantasy novel ever published, except without the clumsy, heavy-handed storytelling with its completely transparent plot twists, two-dimensional characters, and poor pacing. It’s been done without the amateurish writing, the constant stylistic mistakes, and the overabundance of linguistic clichés (single tears rolling down cheeks “like liquid diamonds,” etc.). Poor writing can be mitigated by good ideas, but since Paolini has neither, the experience is not merely dull: it’s painful, really, truly painful. If Paolini’s parents hadn’t owned the publishing house that first put Eragon into print, this putrid piece of trash would have been flat-out rejected by any sober editor, no questions asked. With the way the book doesn’t come anywhere close to meeting the standards of the publishing industry, it should come as no surprise that Paolini wrote it as a teenager. You can tell. You really can.


[Note: The review has been edited and about 100 words were added. I was originally trying to keep it brief because it was already far longer than my teacher wanted, but I decided I was going to fully develop my ideas and length be damned.]

Title: Woo, space art.
Posted: January 16, 2006 (02:24 PM)
I actually did some space art for the first time in nearly a year!

King of the Gods

Just thought I'd share... >_>;

I beat Xenosaga II recently. It was a good game except for the sucky gameplay. Maybe I'll review it!

Vet-rookie comp is coming up. I intend to review Fallout 2.
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Title: Norweian black metal band bios are the best.
Posted: December 29, 2005 (12:15 PM)
Lead vocalist Dead committed suicide in 1991 (two years after joining [Mayhem]) by shooting himself in the head; Hellhammer made a necklace using some of his skull fragments, and Euronymous reportedly cooked and ate pieces of Dead's brain. Euronymous, in turn, was stabbed to death while in his underwear on August 10, 1993, by the band's bass player, Count Grishnackh (born Christian Vikernes). Grishnackh's alleged motive was jealousy over the fact that Euronymous had a more evil reputation; he inflicted 23 separate wounds, it was also rumored, so as to outdo rival band Emperor's drummer, Faust, who was convicted in the stabbing death of a homosexual acquaintance. When police arrested Grishnackh, they found over 150 kg of stolen dynamite in his house, complete with a plan to blow up a large church on a religious holiday.


On a vaguely related note, Emperor's label supports PETA. \m/

I'd better go ahead and do that review for Fix's contest... I'm reviewing Castle of the Winds, for all who care. It's another one of those ancient shareware games.

Boo, stop editing my damn blog.
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Title: Woo, blog got a facelift.
Posted: December 28, 2005 (08:51 AM)
I've been meaning to make a banner and stuff for it for ages. Now I have; hurrah. It doesn't look bad for the sporadic 20 minutes I spent on it, even if it bears only a vague resemblance to a star field. I <3 textured brushes.

Yikes, I've gotta hurry and learn HTML and some other programming languages before school starts again... I'm helping out with the robotics team's website for the FIRST competition, which starts as soon as school comes back in. I'm the only Photoshop nerd on the team, and someone has to do banners and things. That reminds me that I was going to design a banner for the site...hmmmm, I should get on that.

Robotics is for cool people. I'm going to be way overloaded this time, though, as I'm on three subteams...

[insert more droning on about my very boring life here]

Baha, callipygian is in the moods list.

Being sick on break really blows.
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Title: My thoughts on my joke review for the challange contest and HG.
Posted: December 22, 2005 (06:33 PM)
The issue I have with the recent fiasco over my joke review for the Challange Team EmP competition isn't that my review wasn't posted. I wrote it because I didn't think anyone would mind, as joke reviews have been accepted in the past. This site isn't GameSpot or IGN; it's a small site with a close-knit community that I assumed would be more accepting of silliness, as many of its well-respected members have posted joke reviews before and were lauded for their efforts. I don't mind the fact that I've apparently crossed the line, even if I disagree with where it's placed.

What I have a problem with is the unprofessional way in which the matter was handled. Since apparently HG is now a serious site, its administration should have reflected that. The matter should have been handled privately instead of being discussed on the board by Zigfried. Also, he knew what I was doing several hours before I submitted my review and made no effort to contact me about it despite his determination to make sure it wasn't posted, which I also take issue with.

The fact that I mentioned my review in the review submission topic wasn't an excuse to "call me out." It would have been just as effective and far more appropriate to inform me of the situation via e-mail or HG mail.

That said, I think the place where HG draws the line on joke reviews makes no sense. Certain other submissions clearly detract from the seriousness of the site, submissions that would never be accepted at another site like GameFAQs; making up a game isn't exactly that much worse. Besides, GUTS's Test of Fire was up for three or four months before it was deleted, so apparently it isn't that big a problem.

Either HG is a serious review site or it isn't. Either reviews that aren't serious should be condoned or they shouldn't. Make up your minds.

Edit: Zig and I have worked the situation out. My main issue has been resolved.
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