Thursday, February 14, 2008

Things I would like to fix.

This is list may seem odd to some, but the deal is as such: I am a student, with no income, busy schedule, and bad sense of humor. I live on enough, I eat enough, and I sleep enough. One day however, I will eat things I like, buy gifts for family/friends on holidays, and repair things that break. This is a short list of the items in my life I will at some point repair.

10. The Lights.I know most people never really stop and think about it, but how dreary is it to be in rooms alone, with only the hum of electronics? Several people who know me right now are probably choking on their mustaches to read this, but I enjoy being able to find my glasses at night. As of now, there are 9 bulbs with burned filaments in the apartment that I know of.

One very rarely realizes the importance of flicking a light switch and seeing. Its a comforting action that you may preform multiple times a day. Flick, and the room a-glows with color and (in my case) a very beautiful mess. But when you press that piece of plastic, and the room stays dark, and the walls seem to melt into the floor with shadows, those are the times when one wishes for a candle of some sort.

However, like the wise Mr. Scrooge advised, Darkness is cheap.

9. The Kitchen.The corner of the kitchen, between the sink and oven, is of poor construction. I can't fix this, and of course do not wish to become blamed for such a situation, but it is true. Holes are visible, when a closer inspection is held, and both the oven and dishwasher are obviously recent additions that did not quite fit in their new homes. This corner of the apartment will probably always have a slight chill.

I won't say I am surprised by this, who would be? Water and heat damage probably. There is no easy fix, and any attempt to do so would be expensive, and disable the area for food preparation. Even if I had the funds, it would be easier to find a home, or a different apartment than try to fix the many, small issues it possess from a lifetime of use. Windows with broken storm shutters, that leak air, have been covered with plastic for now.

We keep the doors closed, and do not set the thermostat too high. It is a temporary fix.

8. My speakers.For my computer, one of the only items I possess that is valuable to me. The computer has had a long life, a hard one, and I have kept it alive. The speakers on the other hand, are of low quality. Cheap, bought on sale, the lowest of the low, the best I could afford.

The LED's are dead, the sound quality varies between fine and horrible depending on the wire's integrity. The Bass speaker was long since discarded as over sized, underpowered, and badly designed.

7. External Hard-drive.
This one hurt a lot. My family had a tight year, and none of them could afford what they wanted to give one Christmas. Still, they managed to find a 500 GB hard drive, external, and a good brand as a plus. It was very touching, especially since they don't love electronics the same way I do, and that they realized I was having problems really made me feel good.

Unfortunately the hard drive was flawed. It possessed a tiny fan in the back of the case, which was installed slightly off center, allowing metal to scrape metal. The fan was loud, annoying, and ineffective. A fix was too costly, and I would never part with it (I still have it ^_^), so I created a temporary solution by inserting a small object to stop fan flow, allowing the heat sync metal body to disperse the heat.

It was a good fix, and with a little monitoring I made sure it stayed cool enough to be safe to use for a long while. However, one day the stand it was situated on popped off, and it fell sideways while on. This damaged the hard drive. It is no longer able to spin the disk internally. All data was lost.

I do of course regret the loss of my data, but it is still valuable to me as a gift from my family.

6. Monitor.Ah, the SyncMaster 150mp. 15 inches of 1024x726 beauty. It includes a tv-tuner and inputs for other electronics (VCR, etc). I was given this as a gift when I first entered Birmingham Southern college, way back then, and it was the monitor I used as I became a computer scientist student.

Unfortunately, the world of OS's are moving along, and desktops are rapidly growing larger than what my screen can handle. Also, if you are not able to use certain resolutions, you won't be able to offload your work to the video-card as easily, as the processor will try to do it instead.

It is old, it is beaten, and the remote at one point was used as a hammer (A good one at that). Still, even when I one day replace it, it would be very hard to let it go.

5. Chair.This was given to me by my Grandmother, a wonderful woman whom let me choose most of my furniture from her house when she moved into assisted living. My desk, table, couch... almost anything I have is thanks to her generosity.

However, I am not a small man by anyone's standards, and this device is failing. Tilting back, forth, side to side, this wood/metal hybrid is close to death. The other furniture isn't exactly grand either, but they are all well appreciated.

It would be nice to have a good chair, maybe with armrests that I could lay back in without falling. Of course, it is not vital at all.

4. PS3's Hard-drive.This one isn't actually broken. I don't have access to it right now, but when it comes home I plan to upgrade it's 5400 RPM 60GB hard drive with at least a 120GB 7400RPM notebook hard-drive. It should decrease load times, give me enough room for my shows so I can share them with my family when I get to see home, and allow me room to try out the various things that Sony releases.

I hear that sometimes the PS3 still gets to be played, so I am glad it is not just in storage right now.

3. Car.This one is also not broken (yet). It is a mostly reliable car that starts when I ask it to and stops when I hit the brakes. I can see out the windshield, and it can reach highway speeds with little effort. There are lots of tiny things wrong with it, from the cloth coming off the roof to plastic bits coming off, but nothing large.

The only reason I worry is that if something goes wrong I will be in serious trouble. Other than that, the car is very low on my priorities.

2. PSP.I was once the proud owner of a Hacked 3.30 OEA playstation portable. I had designed everything manually, from the custom icons and text to the sounds and intros. Tracy had designed a background just for my theme, and it was good. This game system could play all nes, snes, game boy, game boy color, game boy advanced, genesis, wonder-swan, atari, and ps1 games I wanted, in a small portable package.

It's screen broke. I can not fix it for now. It is missed.

1. My Computer.My baby, my child, my creation. A horrible combination of parts, slowly upgraded part by part using anything given or bought. I fixed this thing across over ten operating systems, from the ground up. I reinstalled it hundreds of times, in dozens of different ways, and I slowly learned what I needed to make a good computer.

And just as slowly, I realized I had a problem.

My motherboard can not support a good video card. It has neither a PCI express nor AGP slot. There is no manner of hacking and pleading I can do that would enable this machine to come with me into the future of computers.

From the ground up, I need a new machine. And it hurts to say that, due to the history that I have had with this machine. It was my first semi-informed purchase, done at the beginning of my computer knowledge with the help of a couple of friends and family. It has been with me through two colleges and all my hardships, and it has been a way for me to connect with people around the world.

My system can not be upgraded. It can not handle a 64 bit processor, more than 4 GB of ram, or a dedicated video card and sound card. It won't die out, its not a poor computer, but it can't continue to be improved. and that hurts. I will probably turn it into a server of some sort using a linux OS later in life, but I want a computer that can continue to grow as I do.

So, when/if I can ever get out of the situation I am currently in, I plan on replacing my HP a1120n computer. One without a "goldfish 3" motherboard, that can hopefully handle a linux Bios. One that can have a dedicated Video Card, and with a multiple core processor.

And I plan on making it something to be proud of.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Things to *not* do with a baby.

So, you think that everyone is capable of raising children? Well, just in case some of you have some questions, here is a nice, easy to read list of things NOT to do with a baby.

10. Go golfing.Ok, so maybe this isn't to scale, but you get the idea. Why you would want to subject a child to 4 hours of direct sun at 120 degrees is beyond me, but a baby should at least get a little umbrella hat. Whats worse, he could fall into the golf hole. Dangerous indeed.

Also, he can't even count up to "Fore".

9. Rock climbing.That is not proper safety equipment. Your father should be at least twice as tall. I suggest returning him at your earliest equipment. Although I think I did this once as a toddler, a baby should NOT be climbing mount everest, old fort, etc.

If this is surprising to you, then you need to contact a foster home now. Or build stilts, to get the father to optimum safety code. Oh, and here is the correct method for baby rock climbing:
Climbing mount mommyest. Or Daddiest if mommyest is sick and tired of her precious darling at the moment.

8. Used as Bait.
Please, remember that children are human too. Do not cook/ingest them if at all possible. Also, when the baby's shell turns red, that means that it is properly cooked and ready to be served.

Warning: This may make him/her crabby.

7. Contact Lens Cleaner
While baby's tiny fingers can be used to get into those hard to reach places, please remember that they have little if no dexterity. Keep them well away from sharp or fragile objects. Your eye should be considered a fragile object.

Also, while diapers can cause static, the long term advantages to wearing them out weight the alternatives. Please diaper your baby.

6. Political Commentary.This is actually directed both to the candidates running and the fans/enemies in the audience. Please stop using children too young to sing along with Barney to further your career. It is sad, morally wrong, and appeals to the lowest common denominator.

For the record though, Hillery did have it coming in this particular scene.

5. Used as a Babe Magnet.
Yes, I know women love the babies. No, do not use one as a conversation starter. There is only one of three ways you got a hold of that baby, if you are picking up women. You either a) Are married, cheating; b) Was married, bf/gf, etc, not cheating; or c) Stole it.

With two of the three options pretty bad, I pray to god there isn't a missing oompa loompa just so you can go flirt with that girl in the park. Besides, 80% of the time the baby comes out ahead anyway.

No really, stop it. Bad Wonka.

4. Push Music Sales.
Yeah, I know. People will buy stuff if the baby wears bling. Get over it, it doesn't mean your band sucks any less if you have to use children to peddle your garbage to the masses. And straighten your hat up son. Nothing urks me more than a slanted, "I am rebelling by being the same" hat style. Have some dignity.

Can't even throw up any signs anywho. So whats the point?

3. As a farmer.
Do not use a baby as a farmhand. He tends to lay about on the job, demand nap time, etc. Not to mention, have you seen the produce he tends to grow? Disturbing.
Something is seriously wrong with this. Click here to grow your own.

Create a Great Warrior.Do not mock wookies. Even a child wookie can rip your tongue out. Do not mutate your child to achieve a hairy perfection long missing from our world. Do not enhance his biology to near God-like proportions, the likes of which the universe has not known, in the hopes of designing the future of humanity.

Least, thats what the she told me. *sigh*

I mean really, could you fight this?

Several movies were based on this concept, from Superbabies 1 and 2 to this bad boy:

1. Do not create a Little Sister.From Bioshock (PC/Xbox 360), the little sisters were little girls with creatures inside of them that harvested the... umm... Well, lets just leave it at that. The day our children become farms for parasites is a bad one indeed.

Honestly everyone should know this by now, but just in case, please do not experiment on children in an attempt to become psychologically powerful.

Oh, and this big guy is the "Big Daddy", also known as "Mr. Bubbles" by the little sisters. He protects them against bad guys who would hurt them:

Oh, and here is a video of what not to do:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weapons of Warfare

The best weapons are those that cause fear, compliance, and milk from the nose. In this vein allow me to introduce the ten most horrible, fearful, and hated weapons used in combat (Real or Fictional):

10. Long Distance Sniper Rifle.
This weapon was really used in the Trigun Series by Gung-Ho Gun Cane the Longshot. His rifle was huge, over 20 feet long, and he was deadly accurate from over a mile away. Able to provide cover for friends, terror for foe, the sniper is always watching and able to surprise any gathering. Common tactics include wounding one enemy to hit the people who assist them and disabling machinery.

9. Gun-Blade.
Wielded by Squall in Final Fantasy VIII, this sword packs a devastating surprise (If you didn't hear the name of it). Contained in the blade is a simplified bullet delivery system, allowing you to use explosives and shrapnel to open up blade wounds.

Brutal, upclose, loud and confusing. This weapon is a mass of pain for anyone dumb enough to put up their dukes.

8. Lightsaber.

This blade was used by Jedi-Knights as a symbol of peace, power and control. Shaped by crystals held in the hilt of the blade, some could change length or color as the need arose. Almost anything could be used to create a lightsaber, however the user had to use the force to fuse it together and charge it the first time, fixing any flaws in the process.

Able to reflect energy, light, and able to melt and cut through flesh and steel, the blades make up for their lack of subtly with raw power. Do not use when wet.

7. Snu Snu.
An act of unspeakable... umm... well, lets stop there. Practiced by giant Amazons on a remote future matriarchal settlement, it is a method by which the male prisoners are executed, the female citizens are pleased, and the pillow gets fluffed (In no particular order). Awareness of this act was spread by Leela, Amy, Bender, Fry, Kip and Zapp Brannigan from the show Futurama.

Leela mentions that condo prices are affordable. Fry and Zapp recovered after eight months of rehab and two casts each. They have mixed feelings about the whole affair.

6. Rumble Balls.
A chemical pill designed by Dr. Tony Tony Chopper, member of the Straw Hat Pirate crew from One Piece. It allows him to enhance his form changing abilities, and become stronger, faster, smarter, or better defended at a whim. It lasts for three minutes, and can/should only be used once every six hours.

If you overdose to two times in six hours, the form changes are uncontrollable. Three times... well, it turns out badly. The form created is mindless, unstoppable, and doesn't stop after three minutes. It slow kills the host just due to the amount of power it takes to exist.

5. Notebooks. Dead ones.
Light Yagami from the series "Death Note" is the wielder of this deadly device. The Death Note is a small notebook carried by the Shinigami (Death God) that can be wielded by humans. In return, the human allows his life to be terminated by the Death Note's master slightly before his natural time, and those years of life are bestowed upon the Shinigami. The human can also half his lifespan in return for obtaining the eyes of a Shinigami, so that they can see the names and lifespans of all mortals.

Any name written in the book, with a mortal's face in mind, will die. Only the intended will die, regardless of other people sharing a similar name. If you write a cause of death within 40 seconds, it occurs... else you die of a heart attack. You can add in details about the death in the next 400 seconds.

It works from anywhere on anyone, if you know their name and face.

Oh, and it's on sale. Here is a link where to get your own Death Note.

4. Materia.Described in Final Fantasy VII, and created by taking the spirit energy of a planet and crystallizing it into a vessel of magic, summoning, and raw power. It allows ordinary people to create fire, lighting, or gain abilities like stealing or incredibly long reach. The large scale harvesting by the Shinra Corporation began killing the planet, leading a number of small resistance cells (terrorists by today's standard) to try and destroy the plants that were polluting the atmosphere, blacking the sky, and poisoning the water.

Materia was being used as fuel for cars, energy for electricity, and for mutating solders to make the faster, more powerful, and superhumanly gifted. Certain types can be combined with others, creating a chain of effects over normal magic (Such as fire on everyone, while stealing from them, and poisoning them, and casting it four times, etc). Some materia is so powerful that it was sealed away from society on remote islands and caves. Some threaten the world itself.

The true danger of materia was the fact that a small stone could make anyone powerful, and allowed a few people amazing, unstoppable might.

3. Pokeballs.Smaller than a finger, able to contain creatures larger than a bus, Pokeballs are easy to sneak into a fight and hard to defend against. In a toddler's bottle you could have an army of dragons, in a balloon you could sneak an armada of electric mice. Whats worse, these things can contain creatures with an IQ, with self awareness and with the ability to communicate to humans. Whats to stop someone from catching a roommate? Does that roommate have to battle giant turtles now?

The whole thing smells of slavery, or at least kidnapping. Let's beat an animal until it can't struggle anymore, then stuff it in a ball! Now we are best friends.

However, ignoring the issue of fighting intelligent monsters together for fun/profit, these pokeballs are astounding. If they can contain a bull, why not sandwiches? Carry enough sandwiches in your pocket to feed a nation, and it still weighs nothing! These devices are the ultimate in transportation, allowing mass deployment across long distances with no obvious side effects. Beware.

Also, they creep me out. You never know if a gold fish or a tiger is gonna come out of one of those things.

2. Flowers. Red ones.
Yeah, it looks innocent. But if you even slightly touch it, your DNA is rewritten. Millions of years of development is wiped clean as your skin, your clothing, everything is redesigned to hurl flames from your mouth. Your lungs, throat, lips, teeth, all get replaced or adjusted to handle intense heat and pressure.

Even your eyes get a thicker coating, to prevent drying out. Everything down to your mustache is insulated and strengthened, aging you from a child into a mutated man of the world. Your body becomes so powerful, you can consistently hurl fumes from your lungs, catch them on fire with your saliva, and bounce them toward your fleeing foes.

Or they are spicy, and Mario really likes eating fresh salad straight from the ground.

No gardener could construct such a devilish tulip. It is surly the work of a sinister mind. Say goodbye to lettuce on airplanes.

1. Cuteness. Aka, Puchuu.
Creatures from another world! Even and bent on destroying earth! Also, very cute.

Thats it, earth has lost to the Puchuu from Excel Saga.

All hail our cute overlords.