Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I Painted Fruits and Veggies

Plus also, it's my birfday in two hours!


The board is a tad warped, so things look a little more misshapen in this photo than they are in real life, and I probably shouldn't have turned off the flash on my camera, but if you have a problem with any of that, I'm gonna have to turn you over to my good friend Whatevs.

* * *

Have you heard any of the new Bishop Allen songs? Are you listening to any of their music? You should. There's a certain ditty that just won't leave my head, and you know what? I'm okay with that. Listen!

If you're the sort who likes moving images, there's a video for this song, as well.


I like the part where they blow out candles 'cause it's like a birfday.

Presenting Modern Moonlight, Just As Advertised

BlackBerry's slogan is, "Connect to everything you love in life." The commercials go on to describe the telephony device as "bold" and "beautiful."

This discomfits me.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Blue Monday

Actually, it's been a very gray Monday (though there was none of the forecast snow), but my guitar is making the sweet sounds and the sweet dreams of New Wave. I think now is a very nice time for some chilling out. The comforting songs of bygone years pouring from my hands, followed, perhaps, by a good book. Enjoy the silence.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Shine On, You Crazy Button

Well, well, well, I do believe it's time for a Shiny Buttons update. As you may have gathered from my uncharacteristic brevity, I barely managed to sneak in a blog post yesterday. I really thought I might finally miss a day, but I forced myself to make an effort, and as a result, I'm still in the running for the Gold Button.

I mention this because while I narrowly managed not to miss yesterday, not one, but two challengers failed to post. Here are the new standings:

Thrillin'
Jake

Chillin'
NicoleJoanna

Illin'
NoraPhilTaylorJaimeVera
Update: Another on bit the dust.
Update Update: Jaime celebrated her birthday by losing the challenge.
Update x3: Vera lost this friggin' challenge so hard.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hey, Pizanos!

I'm watching the Super Mario Bros. Super Show!

Friday, March 27, 2009

This Can't Be Happening!

Sorry, blog. It's a little late and I don't know how much thought I care to give you tonight. I would've gotten to you earlier but I was a little busy running away from zombies.

Man, there's no way it's already Friday night. You know when you get time away from school or work and you're so stressed about about the homework you have to do or simply about the fact that you will, indeed, have to return at the end of your brief respite that you can't even relax and enjoy your freedom? That is this Spring Break. I swear, it doesn't feel like I've had more than a weekend, and I haven't even touched my homework (fortunately, I don't have much, but I also don't have much time left in my break). I'm just exhausted and stressed and I want to be done with school. Four more weeks left...

...of this year. Two more years left after that... Ugh. At least I've gotten my application into Nintendo already, so hopefully my summer will be good. Actually, Nintendo pretty much got my Spring Break. The most fun I've had this week has been playing video games and guitar.

It's weird to me that at a school entirely devoted to gamemaking, most the people here aren't really that into playing video games, or if they are, they play one or two games obsessively, and nothing else. I've always enjoyed a very wide variety. I've taken some tie to catch back up on Super Mario Galaxy, WiiFit, Dewy's Adventure, and other fancy Wii games, but mostly, I've been really into older horror games over the break.

This guy (I think it may even be fair to call him a... friend?) was at my apartment on Saturday and was talking about something that was supposed to be scary in a game called Dead Space. This prompted me to ask if he'd ever played Eternal Darkness. He had not, so I dragged him into my room, shoved a controller in his hands, and he didn't stop playing until 7:00 or 8:00 the next morning. He wants to come back tomorrow and finish the game.

Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem is a mad, mad, mad, mad game. It's an adventure in which you play as 12 or 13 different characters in as many different time periods and work through chapters of Lovecraft-inspired horror, which is all well and good, but the most important part comes from the characters' quickly waning sanity.

The game is better the less you know about it before playing, so if you have a GameCube or Wii and like the idea of a horror game, you should find an old copy rather than reading the below description and spoiling anything.

Eternal Darkness may be the only video game that opens with an Edgar Allen Poe quote.

As you wander around and find zombies or, let's say, your former friends or servants who have been possessed by demons, who start to go insane. Not just your in-game character, but you. Your character might swing his sword without you pressing any buttons. That bust in the hallway - is it looking at you? You walk into a room and it looks... different. Why are the walls bleeding? And are you walking on the ceiling? The best effects, though are things that utterly break the fourth wall of the game, like when the TV appears to turn off, or when it looks like there are beetles crawling over your screen. Man, the first time that happened to me, I freaked right the heck out.

So, yeah, Eternal Darkness - awesome. I've also been replaying Resident Evil, and introducing it to my roommates. It's a little more traditional. The plot is straight out of a B-horror movie: You're a member of a special police force called S.T.A.R.S., sent to investigate a series of grisly murders. Your team is exploring a spooky forest when - oh no! - you get attacked by zombie dogs! Quick, gang, let's hide out in that creepy mansion! And you do. And then someone recommends splitting up. And you do. And there are zombies and monsters and giants spiders and snakes everywhere.
Resident Evil or the current situation in Florida?

The thing is, this game is severely freaky. I don't get scared by movies. Ever. At all. But Resident Evil is tense. I think the big difference between horror movies and horror games is that in a movie you're shouting, "Don't go in there!" In a game, you're pushing forward on your own. You're not watching from the safety of the audience; you're making your character walk up to the door and praying that there isn't a zombie on the other side.

But the day is done and I need to wrap up this blog, so I'll save my theories on fear for another day.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

I HOPE This Is a Joke. I FEAR It Is Not.



Update: The video I embedded before was pulled from YouTube. I've replaced it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Bed Bed Bed

I've been looking for a bed over the last week or two. I've decided it's time to finally replace the spine-mangling lump of metal I currently use with a real, live mattress, but I can't afford anything new, so I've turned to Craigslist.

Here's the e-mail I've sent to people with promising ads:

Do you still have the twin-sized bed for sale? I'd like to check it out if possible.

Is there anything I should know about the bed? Are there any stains on it? Do you smoke or have any pets?

And perhaps most importantly, do you have any way to help move it? I don't have access to a vehicle that can carry a bed, but I'd be happy to reimburse you for your trouble if you do.

Thanks!

Typically, the response is something like this:

They r clean i dont smoke no stains there is one small tear in the box spring cover that u cant see with the mattress on top other then that good. Thanks Greg

Thanks, Greg. One li'l problem though - you kinda forgot to answer my questions. Some people, rather than directly answering any of my questions, will ask for a phone number so they can call me, or give a number so I can call them.

A typical call:

THEM: Hello? I'm calling about a mattress I'm selling on Craigslist?

ME: Oh, great, yes.

THEM: Did you e-mail me about a mattress that I'm selling on Craigslist?

ME: Yes, I did, hi.

THEM: Is this... Let's see... Is this Jake?

ME: Yep, that's right.

THEM: Hi, Jake, how are you?

ME: I'm fine, thanks, how are you?

THEM: Good, good. Okay, yeah, I got your e-mail about the mattress.

ME: Fantastic. Can I come look at it some time?

THEM: Oh, I'm not home right now. Can I call you back around 7:00?

ME: Uh, sure.

THEM: Alright good. Yeah, it's a really great mattress.

ME: Excellent. Oh, by the way, I mentioned in my e-mail that I don't have any way of moving a mattress on my own. Do you have a truck or some way that I can get it here? I'd be willing to pay a little extra if you do.

THEM: Oh...I can't fit it in my car. Do you have a truck or a van?

ME: Um, nope.

THEM: Where do you live?

ME: Redmond.

THEM: Yeah, I don't think I can get it to Redmond. Do you have any way of moving it?

ME: No, no I don't. Well, that's too bad. Thanks -

THEM: Well, do you still want to come out and see it?

ME: No, thanks a lot, though.

THEM: Oh, okay, yeah.

ME: Thank you. Goodbye.

THEM: Alright, bye.



The title of today's post is a song by They Might Be Giants. I tried to find a recording on YouTube, but couldn't find anything of very high quality. Luckily, I happened upon a more fitting video.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Take the Skinheads WiiBowling

Sometimes, whatever part of my brain is responsible for writing has a bad day and my blog ends up suffering for it. I think I got in the way of my own point yesterday, and while I don't want to spend two days in a row saying the same thing, ignorant hysteria over video games is an important issue to me, and something that could very well have a direct effect on my career.

I made my post yesterday largely a messy, unexplained smear about crazy ol' Jack Thompson. Make no mistake, the man is crazy, he deserves to be called out on his fear mongering, and while it's an unfair tactic to simply call opponents and dissenters insane while saying that you shouldn't even have to explain why because the reasoning should be so obvious to any reasonable person, I'm not using this space for formal debate. The man's nuts, duh, let's move on.

Where I went wrong was in in writing specifically in one man's crusade, rather than noting what it means on a larger scale. See, it's one thing for a wacky disbarred lawyer to promote himself and his agenda through occasional TV appearances and publically released e-mail. It's quite another when the president of a powerful nation is saying the same thing.

GamePolitics.com reported today that German president Horst Koehler is contemplating a ban on violent video games and movies, a reaction to a recent school shooting. The article goes on to note that "ban" may have been a mistranslation. In any case, Germany already has very strict rules about what sort of content can appear in fictional media, as I understand it, and if the president is saying something that could be misinterpreted as ban, I think that's worrying.

Attacking games and movies gives people an easy answer, albeit a false one. I posted a video yesterday in which the game Counter-Strike was blamed for the Virginia Tech shooting. What's interesting about that is that the shooter didn't play Counter-Strike. He didn't play many video games at all. Now, the German shooting is being linked to the exact same game.

I don't really like writing about this subject and I don't think I'm necessarily the best person to write about it. To me, there's no question about whether or not video games cause violence. They absolutely do not. I've plated violent games since I was a little kid, but I've never had any urge to kill real people. That's not the way it works, and it bothers me when idiots who've never touched a game say that it is. As an advocate of games as an art form and as entertainment, I feel it's my responsibility to state the obvious in this case: Games do not cause, condone, support, or train violence, and banning a medium out of fear is wrong. It is that simple.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Murder Simulators

I don't quite know what to think of this yet. The future is weird and fascinating and a little scary.

Here's a short article about something called OnLive, which should be available by the end of the year. Playing computer games has always come with a number of problems on a technical level. They can use a lot of computer memory, they may run slowly or improperly if you don't have modern, expensive hardware, and very often, due to some incompatibility, they don't run at all. This is a bit of an oversimplification, but basically, OnLive allows you to virtually play games on a better computer. While you're playing the game on your computer, the actual computing is being done on another computer, which is reads what you're doing via Internet connection.

I'm probably making this more complicated and difficult to understand than the full article. Just read that instead.

On a related note, it looks like I'm not the only one sending letters to the president. Professional psychopath Jack Thompson has sent a hot, steaming pile of crazy to Obama demanding a repeal of the First Amendment.

Let's talk about this Jack Thompson clown real quick. Dude's straight-up out of his mind. For the past decade he's been making up statics and stories and appearing on news shows as a self-proclaimed "expert" on violent video games. He was an ambulance-chasing lawyer until being disbarred last year, but he's still as involved as possible in the legal system, despite his apparent unfamiliarity with the US Constitution.

His big thing is school shootings. Every time someone brings a gun into a school, Jack slips a business card to the victims' parents, then finds a news camera so he can start ranting about how video games are "murder simulators" that are used to train our children to commit crimes they were not previously trained to commit. His argument generally goes something like this: "The shooter's friend/roommate once saw the shooter playing a video game, and the shooter was very good shooting people, because he was trained on violent 'murder simulators,' just like the ones the army uses to train soldiers . Therefore, video games should be banned." No, seriously.



I'm not going to spend too much pointing out all the nonsense and fallacies in his arguments because I respect my readers enough to assume that you're not morons, and I'll be happy to talk more if you want me to defend my dismissal of Jack Thompson or anyone else who wants to make video games a scapegoat. For now, I'm going to write an open letter of my own to the President.

Dear Obama,
Hey, buddy, me again. Sorry to bother you, but we need to talk. Do you know this Jack Thompson guy? I guess he's pretty upset about kids killing each other, and I must agree, that stuff is totally lame, but I can't really side with his proposed solution. See, I kinda think art is worth defending, and since there's no evidence at all that video games cause people to act violently, I don't see any good coming from banning the sale of video games. On fact, I think it would cause tremendous harm to our culture.

Mr. Thompson says that even though violent video games are not meant for young children, and even though stores have voluntary policies of not selling Mature-rated games to kids under 18, the still manage to get these games. He says that because of this, we should not allow these games to be sold at all, to anyone.

I have a different idea. Instead of trampling on a good Amendment, what if we went after the Second? I think these kids would have a much harder time shooting their classmates if they didn't have any guns, right? I know, I know, kids aren't supposed to get guns, but they do. Why, it almost seems as if this is the same thing Jack is saying about games. The difference is, guns don't really have any use beyone making things dead or injured, whereas game enrich lives and can have a positive impact on those who can differentiate fantasy from reality.

Let me know what you think.

- Jake

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Those Sponges and Soaps are Like Shackles and Ropes

I have this problem. Maybe not so much a problem - let's face it; I'm pretty much flawless - but more of a quirk, I suppose.

See, I have an incredible tolerance for repetition, and I can eat more or less the same meal every day of my life. Most days I boil a pot of noodles, set the noodles to the side, then use the pot to stir fry some vegetables. I've probably been doing this for the last five years, and the groceries I buy tend to follow the assumption that this will be my primary food for the coming week.

The trouble is, I only own two pots, and they get used quickly. I also hate hand-washing dishes. I'm not sure what that's about but I avoid hand-washing at all costs. I have a dishwasher, a huge machine with no purpose beyond washing the dishes for me.

So here's the aforementioned "problem." I don't want to wash my dishes, I have and use so few dishes that it takes a while for the dishwasher to be filled, and I need my most frequently used dishes in order to make my most frequently eaten meal. To break it down a little more simply, my pots are dirty and I won't clean them.

I went to the kitchen to make dinner several hours ago. My pots are dirty. So I walked away. I went back a little later. Pots are still dirty. This time, I managed to find some lunchy leftovers in the fridge. I ate that. It wasn't much. I'm still going to need a real dinner. I need to use more dishes before the dishwasher will be full enough to justify running it. Pots need to be clean before I can use them.

This happens to me a few times a week.

Obvious solutions? Plenty. Odds I will employ any of them? Slim.

Have you heard that the south is being overtaken by deadly snakes?
The Daily Show With Jon StewartM - Th 11p / 10c
Florida Pythons on the Loose
comedycentral.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesImportant Things w/ Demetri MartinPolitical Humor

Saturday, March 21, 2009

E-mail to the Chief

In the hour since I last blogged, three things have happened.

1. I watched the Christmas Lights Guy wander around on his balcony, which ended not with him taking the lights down, but with him turning them on.

2. I made a delectable plate of lentils and rice.

3. I found out that www.whitehouse.gov has a page that allows you to send e-mail to Obama and the gang.

Despite all the complaining I do about the banality of the Web, I have to admit that's pretty cool. I'm not naive enough to believe that anyone important actually reads these, and the illusion that you can quietly stay in direct contact with the PUSA from the comfort of your own home probably is more harmful than beneficial, I like the gesture. Calvin Coolidge never accepted e-mail from the public, and when was the last time you heard someone fondly reminiscing about the good old days of the Coolidge administration?

Below is the e-mail I sent. In retrospect, I wish I would've changed a little bit about it before hitting SEND, and I didn't even think to mention things like the electoral college (speaking of which, the electoral college is a disgraceful embarrassment that should have been abolished years ago [or, better yet, never established], but there should be enough time before the next election to take care of this, and the war and depression are probably a little more urgent).

Hey, you know all those people who are risking their lives in order to kill innocent people in the Middle East? What's the name for them - the military? Do you think you could be a pal and bring them back to America?

Great. Thanks a lot. Oh, by the way, the sooner you can get on that, the better, so no dillydallying. I know you didn't start it, but this is pretty important.

On that subject, it would be super if you cleaned up a few other messes, like the economy or noninclusive, for-profit health care.

Let's do it in this order: stop having American troops murder people, then give Americans enough health care to not die, then maybe let them have enough money to live. That's not to say you should give money to the rich folks who already have loads of it, by the way. Seems pretty obvious, but your predecessor seemed to have a little trouble with that one.

Fantastic. I hope I'm not asking for too much. If you finish all that (and I encourage you to hurry), don't hesitate to have some fun making higher education affordable to all Americans or allowing people to marry the ones they love, regardless of gender. You know, the types of things most people in this country want.

I would also like a pony and a new bike, as I have been very good this year.

Say hi to Michelle and the kids for me.

Much thanks, your pal,
Jake


So, yeah, not perfect. Plenty of other issues to bring up and minor corrections to be made to my statements - like, distribution of tax spending should decided on a smaller, perhaps even individual basis, so I can make the personal choice not to contribute any money to war. Also, higher education should be made more affordable and available not just to Americans living in America; education should be a collaborative goal across nations, with the option of exchange at a low cost, though charity begins at home, and I wouldn't mind seeing America take the baby steps necessary to offer tax-funded education to its people, like the first-world countries do.

Yep, there is always more to say. I've just begun, but you know who should speak up? You. Give it a try.

After These Messages

Fun fact: I love talking about toys. I will be doing more of it in the very near future.

Not right now, though. This is Spring Break, after all, and the sense of freedom that brings places blogging on a slightly lower priority tier than when I'm slave to a schedule. So there may be more toy talk tomorrow, but no promises.

As it happens, I went to a Toys 'R' Us today and found all manner of new delights worthy of your attention. Oddly, I went to the store not by my own choosing, but because Robin wanted to get the exclusive Pokémon download the store was offering, and I was given the privilege of tagging along. I don't want to give away too much future blog material, but take a look at this majestic thing:


I wish he was my daddy

One last, unrelated thought for today - paper shredders. I understand why a person would want to own a piece of office equipment that can make confetti and has a "CAUTION: WILL REDUCE YOUR FINGERS TO DANGLING MEAT STRINGS" warning symbol on it, but practically speaking, wouldn't a bucket of water be able to more quickly render a stack of papers irreparably illegible without risk of jamming or burning out? Plus, water damage is far more likely to look accidental when you're under federal investigation.

You can thank me later, AIG.

Friday, March 20, 2009

What Walks Down Stairs Alone or In Pairs?

My birfday is only about a week and a half away, and you know what that means - new toys on our their way to my mailbox!

My own Globey's arms fell off long ago

Toys and I have a funny relationship. I love 'em, sure, but largely, I don't get them. As you may have picked up, I am a boy person, and as such, there's a certain expectation that I should like action figures. And I do, but probably more out of obligation than anything else. I appreciate and action figure for it's artistic qualities. I love the look and feel, and examining the finer details of the figures, but beyond that, I'm kinda clueless about what you're supposed to do with them. Play, obviously, but action figure play isn't something that ever came naturally to me.

I know from commercials that you're wrap your hand around the toy's midsection, shout menacingly, and knock down towers of generic pop cans, but that's just the mechanical side of it. I guess what I'm lacking is the why. Why is that so fun? It was never enough for me to merely shout at Batman. I need to know my motivation.

The funky-fresh rabbit who can take care of it

Maybe part of the problem is that I didn't have that many action figures. That's misleading - I did have a pretty rad collection of Ninja Turtles, Bucky O'Hares, and Pee-Wee's Playhouses, but then I would go to my friends' houses and be confronted with enormous totes filled Ghostbusters and He-Mans. My family's not poor, but we definitely didn't have the disposable funds to get caught up in that fully-articulated detachable plastic arms race.

So I never got terribly into action figures (at least not compared to the other kids I knew), and for the most part I didn't feel like I missed much. There are, however, two exceptions. First, I never had a Transformer, and that's always bothered me. It's not out of any love for Optimus Prime and Auto Bunch - outside of a single episode of Beast Wars and the music video for "The Touch,"* I've never seen any of the Transformers cartoons or movies. Because I felt ridiculous staging imaginary battles between Darth Vader and Beetlejuice, I was always most drawn to the action figures that were either based on characters I loved with a passion (i.e., Turtles, Bucky, and Chairy) and action figures that did stuff, and in that realm of figures that do stuff, there's no beating a Transformer. As a result of never having one, I never quite got the hang of how they worked. I'd go to friends' houses and they'd hand me a Decepticon to play with. I'd be all cool and non-chalant, ready to find the robot lurking within the car, but that thing would be like a friggin' Rubik's Cube to me. Nothing makes a seven-year-old boy feel inadequate quite like a Transformers-solving deficiency.

Magnificent

The other exception is not a type of action figure, but rather the habitat of the action figure: the playset. In my family, we have a few fantastic Little People playsets - the two-story house that can be split into a sort of cross-section, the A-frame house, and this funky old McDonald's, which isn't technically a Little People playset, but it's the right scale, and that's all that matters in the world of action figures - but Fisher Price toys don't compare to the unbelievable baddness of a behemoth like the Technodrome, which may be the coolest toy in existence. Playsets are awesome because they take the few things I like about action figures - namely the artistry and interactivity - and blow them up into an explorable environment. On TV, you're left piecing together the backgrounds of a few shots of Krang bickering with Shredder. With the toy, you're free to poke around every corner of the Foot Clans secret base. This desire to immerse myself in complex imaginary worlds is probably a big part of the reason I'm such a video game nerd, but that's another subject.

So, to sum up the last eighty paragraphs, action figures ain't really my thing. The toys I do like are the ones wher I get to make a difference. Woody and Buzz are nice, but give me Mr. Potato Head, and after I've gotten tired of sticking an upside nose in his eye hole and given him an arpit moustache, I'll be ready to move onto the Hots Wheels tracks, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs, Erector sets, K*Nex, and, above all else, Legos.

Dudes and dudettes, Legos really and truly rock. You know how I like to ramble on and on when I'm trying to make a point? No need here. Legos are da bomb - I know it, you know it. Whether you're following instructions or going freestyle, building a little red house or jumbling in some blues, blacks, and those yellow bricks with the smiles on the side, they're the best. No more to say.

I will go back to Hot Wheels tracks for a second, though. I've never much cared for cars, outside of toy cars shaped like rats and robots on wheels, but I can say nothing bad about a toy set that encourages you hurl chunks of metal and plastic from the top of the stairs at Mach 2 down a rickety track with a lopsided loop and a ramp at the end. Sugary breakfast cereal,cartoons, Hot Wheels tracks, and building a living room fort out of pillows and blankets - if you have not spent a Saturday in this way, you have not lived.

Those Hot Wheels tracks with the electric motor things that just fly around a pre-made course are stupid, though.
Dumb

Okay, time to wrap this all up, and I think the only way to go out is to tell you bout my #1 toy. After all my ranting about the strengths of complex, interactive toys, this may be a bit of a surprise. He's about 2 cm tall, doesn't have any points of articulation or other mobility, and he has a hard body covered in short, blue fur. His name is B. Bunny, and I will love him forever. My older sister had an identical pink bunny, but, I assure you, B. is much cooler.

[Picture not available]
B. Bunny is too fly for your undeserving eyes, anyway.
This is also the first time I've ever referred to him in print. There's a good chance his name is really Be Bunny or Bee Bunny, but B. safely covers these possibilities.


* Challenge: I'm trying to compile a collection of music videos in which guitars are used to fire beams of energy. So far I have "The Touch" and "I Believe in a Thing Called Love," but I know there must be more. If you know any, help!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

This is Just a Tribute

Last night I had two fantastic ideas: The first was an idea for an amazing blog entry, and the second was to write a reminder to myself so I wouldn't forget the idea. Well, the first was forgotten and the second was ignored.

Most reasonable people, in a situation like this, would simply move forward, come up with something new, maybe even better. We here at JakeyPen take great pride in doing things just a little differently. We know visit each and every day to find that unique JakeyPen style you won't find anywhere else. When you click the JakeyPen link in your list of bookmarks, you can be sure that you're on your way to nothing but the finest rambling about about blogging you'll find anywhere, on any blog. Hand-picked, fresh-squeezed nonsense, straight to your browser. Only the finest quality claptrap - that's our promise to you.

I've been sitting here for hours trying to remember what I was planning on writing about. I was seriously pumped about it. I thought it was going to be the post that would save this blog.

So far, my best guess for this forgotten subject is "something about LaserDiscs."

One more day until Spring Break.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Homework Masquerading as a Blog

My finished painting:


Certainly not perfect, but considering I've never really painted anything before, I think it turned out decently.

And here's my most recent animation, not because I think it's something worth sharing with the world, but because I haven't posted much animation lately and uploading a single picture seems like kind of a cheap way to get out of blogging for the day.
video

I don't completely hate it, but I do think it needs about twice as many drawings in order to work properly. The chewing part (which was supposed to be the focus of the assignment) is pretty rough. The dude's face just randomly flaps around. There are also some timing issues, and the hand is stationary for a few frames when it should be jerking back and forth. I added some music, and the video opens with a few seconds of black so I could sync up the audio and visuals somewhat without too much effort.

I'm also breaking all sorts of copyright laws by putting this here. The song is "Moody Shuffle" from the Jet Grind Radio soundtrack, the character is some Duck Tales thing, I think, and the whole animation belongs to DigiPen, which probably doesn't have any rights to have its students animate Disney characters, but whatever.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Top o' the Mornin' to Ye

Hey, did you guys know it's St. Patrick's Day? Redmond chose to celebrate the same way this town celebrates every holiday - by not acknowledging it. Seriously people, I'm not wild about St. Patty's, but, honestly, how difficult is this one? Wear green. That's all you have to do. Who doesn't own something green? This place is stuck in such a time warp. No one ever seems to have any sense of when it is, particularly the people in the apartment across from me who still have their freaking Christmas lights turned on. Ugh.

I feel like my blogging has been so boring lately, but it's simply a reflection of life around here. Three more days until Spring Break. Three more days... three more days... three more days...

There was one bit of interest today: the fire alarms went off during a class. It was weird because no one even reacted. Everyone just ignored it for a minute, and when they finally grasped that, yes, those lights and sounds are really happening, it was as if they found it rude and inconvenient that they were being forced to get out of their chairs. Personally, I welcomed the chance for escape.

Once people started getting outside, I learned why they were so disinterested. Someone told me this was the third time he'd had to evacuate that building this year (I missed the other two because most of my classes are in the other building). So there you go - the one thing I thought was interesting today was, in fact, dull and routine.

And now I must finish a painting. If I finish before midnight, I'll post it here. If not, I'll use it as a cheap way to get out of tomorrow's blog. It's another one of those things where I have to copy a picture that some other artist already made. Here's the goal.

And here's where I am right now.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The World is a Strange Place / Heavy or Light?

During a grocery shopping trip with the roommates this weekend (even though they live in the same apartment as me, it seems like we only see each other when we need to buy food - we have some serious hanging out to do over Spring Break), we played an impromptu game: "The World is a Strange Place." The rules are simple - point out some example of the strange nature of this world. It's all about the subtle things.

I started. "The World is a Strange Place. In between a McDonalds, a Dairy Queen, and a nail salon is a place where you can buy home-owner's insurance. That's strange."

"The World is a Strange Place. If you buy a box of Apple Cinnamon Cheerios, you get a coupon for two-for-one haircuts at Great Clips. That's strange."

"The World is a Strange Place. 'Pepsi Natural' is a real product that's really for sale. That's strange."

"The World is a Strange Place. I saw two different packs of Lightsaber-shaped Nintendo DS styli. Not two different Lightsaber styli - two entirely different packs featuring different sizes and designs. That's strange."

These weren't all of the examples, but they are the ones I remember; the ones that leap most readily to mind. What does it say about the world that all of these cases prominently feature brand names? Or, maybe, about me?

* * *

Okay, double post tonight, 'cause I've been reminded of another game I recently played with the roomies, and I was surprised to learn they'd never played it. If you haven't heard about this one yet, it's time to get excited. It's time to learn about America's fastest growing game!

Heavy or Light?

Here's how it works: Pick an object. It needs to be an obeject near you, something you could physically lift. Then ask another player if they they think that object is "Heavy or Light?" For what it is.

That player will then guess that the object is "Heavy" for what it is, or "Light" for what it is. You must then lift the object and judge it as either heavy or light, for what it is.

Here's a real-life example. I pointed to a jar of peanut butter and asked, "Heavy or Light? for what it is?" One of the roommates guessed, after several minutes of rules clarification, "Light." Too bad. For a jar of peanut butter, it was heavy.

We moved on. "This fork," I said. "For what it is, Heavy or Light?"

"Heavy?"

I slowly wrapped my fingers around the fork, feeling its mass weigh down on me, a smile crossing my face. "Heavy," I said. "For what it is."

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Baby

I wasn't the only one in my family who was expecting, and now it would appear that my cousin Mark and his wife Susanna have beaten me to the punch of making my Grandma and Grandpa great-grandparents.

Congratulations, Mark, Susanna, and new baby Gemma!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Waiting For the Clock to Set Us Free

25 days until my semester ends, not counting weekends and Spring Break. I'll be doing plenty of work during weekends and Spring Break, of course, but I don't want to count those. 25 sounds like a manageable number, but I don't want anything higher than that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Atari Lynx

I think I'll pass on being clever and creative today (which is not to say that I've written anything original or insightful lately, only that I'm willing to admit it today). Instead you're getting links to stuff from other people.

If you enjoy a fine assortment of Web links, you should point your attention toward Bill Harris' Dubious Quality. People send him links all week long and he posts the best ones each Friday. Like this madness, for example, an article about how the government can totally read your mind, maaan. No, seriously, this is about new technology that makes iy possible to extract images directly from the human mind. Frea-ky.

In cuter news, the albino dolphin is the most adorable thing ever. My new career goal is to be a marine biologist so I can devote my life to hanging out with it.

Awwwwwww!

Making the strained title of this blog post relevant, here's a sort of overview of a new book that explains how the hardware of the Atari 2600 worked and the effect it had on the way games were designed for the system. I don't know how interesting a read the book itself is - it sounds a bit technical for my taste - but the tidbits revealed in this article are pretty remarkable to a geek like myself.

This next one is not an old Atari game, but an upcoming Wii game, but if you only saw a still image, you might think otherwise. It's called Bit.Trip Beat, it's a $6 downloadable WiiWare game, and it should be available to download soon. I don't think I'll be buying it myself, but it's beautiful to watch, and the brilliant concept - it's a cross between rhythm/music games and Pong - makes me very jealous of its creators. It's the first in a series, and I can't wait to see what's next.



And to wrap this all up, you know who has good links? Olde English. They're currently in this period of not making funny videos, which is sad, 'cause I love their funny videos. I think they're trying to work out some sort of deal that allows them to keep making funny videos and continue living inside building and eating food. Whatever. All I know is that their blog is packed with good links these days. Check it. Most of these links are provided by OE members Adam and Raphael, who run their own link filled sites.

So there you go. Lots o' links. All the links you need. Whole sausages of links.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A Fly Marrying a Bumblebee

When was the last time you saw the Happy Happy, Joy Joy* dance? There's no real reason I'm posting it. It's just really, really funny. I think that's enough.

Actually, the reason I watched it today is that I just discovered that John K was kind enough to upload high resolution copies of many of the music videos he's directed, and apparently he counts this as a music video. I'm not going to link all of them - some of them go far outside the "family friendly" boundaries I've set for this blog - but I can't resist linking a few that balance carefully on the edge.

Björk - I Miss You
"Weird Al" Yankovic - Close But No Cigar

I wish every cartoon could be funny and well animated.

*These links are all large .zip files. I was able to open all the videos without having to save anything to my computer or unzip them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Honey, I Shrunk Joanna

No, I don't know what's going on here, either.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Stalking Made Easy

You know that creepy thing Google has that lets you virtually roam the streets and look through people's windows? It's been updated to include my current town of residence.


View Larger Map

I'm not going to be pointing out where I live, but there are really only two other places where I go, excluding grocery stores. Wow. My life is pathetic. Anyway, above, behind the trees and 7-Eleven, is the DigiPen "Main Campus." Below, in the middle third of the part of the building you can see, is the "Art Campus."

Some of the pathways in the area are a little wonky (particularly around the Main Campus/Nintendo area), but for those of you who are my mom and would like to see where you sent your son, it may be... well, not interesting, but... minimally boring.


View Larger Map
(This one is zoomed in - you'll need to zoom out before you can move)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Aaaaaaaaaaaaah!!

Sooooooo excited! Can't write full sentences! Can't even read full article!

Axis of Justice tour! Here! During Spring Break! $15!

Ahhhhhhhhh!!

I get to see Serj!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update:

Poooooooooooop. And now I wish I would've read the article before getting excited. Serj is one of the many guests who will be playing one of the three shows. Apparently Seattle doesn't deserve good things.

Moreover, "convenience charges," "processing charges," and "taxes" raise the price by nearly ten dollars. So, all profits go to charity, but half the cost of admission goes to Ticketmaster. Rock 'n' roll. At least I read the article before grabbing my credit card.

Maybe I'll just go downtown that day and see if I can do some volunteer work alongside Tom Morello.

Cravings

As a pregnant person, there's nothing unusual about me having strange cravings, but this is one I've had every few years for a while now, even before I was with child: Yogi Bear Capri Sun.

Remarkably, this seems to one of the only things I can't find online. There are, like, one or two references on message boards where people say, "oh yeah i remeber those" or "yogi bear caprisun was awsome lol," but not much more. No images. No tribute pages. No petitons to bring it back.

It's not like stupid old Ecto-Cooler. Man, everyone thinks it's cool to be nostalgic about Ecto-Cooler. Pictures? Sure. Tributes? No problem. Petitions? Regular or menthol?

But Yogi Bear Capri Sun gets no love, and to be honest, I don't think it deserves any. It wasn't that good. Like all varieties of Capri Sun, it was nothing more than water with a slightly fruity/chemical-y taste. I remember it disinctly, and I can assure you it tasted nothing like Yogi Bear.

But it had Yogi and Boo Boo on the label and aparently contained some habit-forming substance and now my bady needs it and there's nothing I can do.

It's sad, but not nearly as sad as this: while looking for pictures or references, I went to Yogi's Wikipedia page, where I learned the residents of Jellystone are getting the semi-live-action Alvin & the Chimpmunks treatment. Why? Oh, why?!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Won the Race But Lost Your Mind

I think I'm finished with the Internet. The two of us a through. Splitsville, Daddy-o. I'm so tired of being able to know anything instantly.

Obviously, you can't undo the Web - there's no Ctrl-Z for history - and, of course, there's plenty to love about it. But don't you ever wish you could go back to a time when every answer wasn't waiting for you in the machine on your desk? And now with cell phones, it's all right there in your pocket. And so we've harnessed the power of the gods and what do we do?

I think my earlier sickness has passed, but I started wondering if Superman ever gets sick, or if he has a Super Immune System. I looked up "superman sick," and the first result was fan fiction. I revised my search.

Not only did I immediately find several relevant answers, but a search for "superman immune system" returned 558,000 results. I do not need this. You do not need this.

What does this say about the status of the human race?

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Rocky, Colt, and my Tum-Tum

The bad news: I'm still feeling pretty miserable, particularly in the tummy region, but I think I know why...

The good news: I'm pregnant!

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Kiss to Make It Better

The so-so. The tremors. I think that I'm dying. Do you want to go out? 'Cause I do. Or did. Tonight is the night of the Say Hi to Your Mom concert that I've been talking about for, like, a month, and wouldn't you know it? I'm sick. Super. It really is.

This also means I'm missing Visqueen. I wish I had gotten a Vaxxine.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pancakes For One Are No Fun

I'm writing this because I need a reminder to myself. I need a document. I need to be able to reference this in moments of weakness or uncertainty.

Jake, you don't much like pancakes.

I know, I know, you think they sound good. They have the word cake in them, but you get to eat them for breakfast! They're a breakfast food, but you can choose to have them for dinner! You can put a smiley face on them!

Well, Jake, I'm afraid they won't put a smiley face on you. They'll only make you feel gross and regretful. It's true. Somewhere along the way, you were taken in by the lies of the pancake industry, but now you need to listen to me. They're no good.

They're not a meal, first of all, or even a part of this complete breakfast. Seriously, they're, like, a bunch of flour covered in syrup. What's good about that? Well, the syrup, obviously. I know what you're thinking - maybe I could still have them as a snack or dessert. That's crazy talk. The syrup... I grant you, that stuff is good. But the pancakes? Forget it. You don't need 'em. Not even with chocolate chips. Just find some other syrup-delivery system, or move on.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Convincing!

The site where my teacher posts homework assignments...
The file that opens when you click the "ASSIGNMENT 8" link...

- - -

Boy, do I have egg on my face! I can't believe I fell for that one! As you can clearly see from the pictures above, I didn't have to paint 2 paintings per page on 20 pages in a sketchbook, nor did I have to do a "Box still life." Ha, ha, I sure feel stupid. Good one, art teacher - ya got me!

I feel especially dumb because I was apparently the only one who fell for this hilarious joke.

Ever Need a Time Machine?

Remember last week when I worked through the night and didn't finish my homework until 7:00 the morning it was due? I know I remember.

I thought my teacher was being cool this week by not assigning too much. I thought that until a few hours ago when I discovered that he snuck another assignment onto his Web site without my knowledge. It's cool, though. I mean, who wouldn't want to spend their night painting over forty pictures?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

One Fell Off and Blogged Her Head

You were the first to miss a day, but I still thought you had what it would take to pull through, Nora. Now you are gone, but you will never be forgotten.

Gold Medal Hopefuls
JakeNicoleJoannaVera

Silver Medal Hopeful
Jaime

Lowly Bronze Medal Chumps
NoraPhilTaylor

Monday, March 2, 2009

Come With Me and You'll See a World of Pure Imagination

I'm excited about this. GameInformer.com has been kind enough to upload several pictures from inside Nintendo of America. It's a small area, and the close-up focus of most of these pictures means that they're leaving quite a bit of this area out, but it's nice to finally be able to show you guys where I used to work. I can't wait for summer so I can apply again.


I used come in here almost every day during my lunch break. I'd spend eight hours a day testing video games, but I'm not strong enough to resist the allure of Donkey Kong, perhaps with a bit of Contra or Super Mario Bros. 3 on the side, followed by a quick perusal of the Fun & Games store.

Shoobie-Do-Wop

Say - can I interest you in a revolution?

A crazy, ten minute take of "Revolution" by the Beatles has wiggled its way out of recording history and onto my blog. Listen to it now before someone yanks it off YouTube.

In other news of impermanent music on the Internet, Say Hi to Your Mom's latest album is available for streaming play in its entirety this week only. Listen listen listen. Spending money on concert tickets is probably not the best idea for me right now, but, maaaaaan, this is some fine music. There's a concert/CD release party downtown this weekend (with awesome special guest Visqueen), and missing it does not much appeal to me. Maybe I'll just take a week off from eating...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The King of Kong

Ya know what movie you would like?


So, first of all, this is a documentary about competitive Donkey Kong playing, but for those of you who aren't sold on that description alone, stick with me for a second. It's "about" a video game, but this is really a story about competition. Just like you don't have care about hockey to appreciate a movie like The Mighty Ducks (and who doesn't appreciate The Mighty Ducks?), Donkey Kong is simply the forum for a universal tale of rivalry.

The rivals in this case are Steve Wiebe and my new hero, Billy Mitchell. Billy's probably the most famous competitive video game player in history, the Red Baron of Donkey Kong and Pac-Man, but high scores have never been of any interest to me. Billy's not just a winner at video games; he's a winner at life, and he's not afraid to tell you how great he is. He cannot stand to be less than the best at anything, and he isn't.

USA

...Until Steve Wiebe beats his high score for Donkey Kong. I don't want to give anything away, but the man's unwillingness to lose his ranking is incredible. Just take my recommendation on this and rent The King of Kong. You'll be glad you did.


There's also a scripted adaptation of this movie in the works, which might be okay, but I don't see any way that it could be as good. Combine the obsessiveness that comes from competition over world records with the geekiness of video games and you get characters that no actor could portray without accusations of over-acting. There is no substitute for Billy Mitchell.