oddEvan

Slightly uneven since 2005

Category: ramblings (page 1 of 2)

Satoru Iwata

My first great garage sale find was an original Nintendo Entertainment System with all the cords, 2 controllers, and 4 games including Super Mario Brothers 3 and Contra. All for seven dollars.

We sold Contra for seven dollars. I later heard about Contra and all it entails, but I don’t really regret that sale. We didn’t enjoy that game a whole lot (mostly because it was super hard), and it meant we basically got the NES for free.

Now, this was back in the days when GameStop still bought/sold classic games. We picked up original Zelda and sold it back. We found a copy of Super Mario Bros / Duck Hunt and might have sold it back; I can’t really remember.

And then we found Kirby’s Adventure.

When the Virtual Console for Wii was announced, I explained why I was looking forward to playing Kirby’s Adventure again:

First, Kirby’s Adventure is fun. Plain and simple. Not many games from this time period let you fly to get around puzzles, let alone absorb abilities from your enemies. Second, the game is expansive. There are at least six different worlds, each with several levels and minigames to boot. Third, powerups. One minute you’re throwing razor-sharp boomerangs, the next you’re a fireball, and the next you’re a floating UFO shooting laser beams. Don’t like what you’ve got? Press select and find a new one. But my personal favorite is the surprise ending, where [spoiler deleted] and you find out that [spoiler deleted].

Kirby’s Adventure is one of the best games of the 8-bit era. It has an unusual game mechanic, plenty of secret areas to discover, save files, a surprise ending, and one part even has parallax-scrolling backgrounds that most games didn’t see until the Sega Genesis / Super Nintendo era.

Satoru Iwata was a producer on that game. He’s most known for working as a programmer at HAL labs, working on games like Kirby and Earthbound (and even doubling the size of Pokemon Gold/Silver!) before moving on to become the president of Nintendo. He was there for Nintendo’s release of the Nintendo DS and Wii which were responsible for the company’s massive successes last decade, and when the 3DS and WiiU didn’t sell as planned, he himself took a pay cut. And when news of his death was released yesterday, it took so many people–myself included–by surprise.

He was an authentic president, a skilled coder, and he will be missed. Rest in peace, Iwata.

Justice

I’ve largely been silent on the issue of Ferguson, MO. Most of what I’ve “said” on the topic have been retweets and reblogs of what other people have said. Since I’m not on the ground there, I’ve ceded my voice to those that are. Since this doesn’t feel like my story, I’ve ceded my voice to those who it is.

Though I’ve been developing opinions of my own on the subject, I was waiting for the evidence and the investigation to be made public before saying anything. I feel that I need to be serious with my words; firing off half-baked opinions about a controversial topic based on shaky evidence is not what I want to be known for. I trusted our justice system to conduct a complete investigation and give Officer Wilson a fair trial.

With Monday’s announcement that there would be no trial (at least at the state level), that trust has been shaken. And so I write.

I firmly believe that there is enough doubt around the circumstances of Michael Brown’s death that a trial is deserved. The solution to conflicting reports is to bring them out at trial. The solution to conflicting evidence is to investigate it. There is a lot of noise around this event; we need a real investigation and a real trial to cut through the noise and find the truth.

Many people have bemoaned how the court of public opinion has already found Officer Wilson guilty of murder. The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney could have taken the judgement to an actual court, but chose not to. Perhaps I am being unfair–after all, it was a Grand Jury that chose not to indict Officer Wilson. Yet Attorney McCulloch had a simple job and failed to do it.

These events have shaken my faith in the justice system in my country. I’ve always believed that the system was fair; I see now that it isn’t. I have thought that the disproportionate targeting of African-Americans by police was a factor of wealth or some other circumstance, but now I’m wondering if racism in the police force is a bigger problem than I first believed.

Even if Michael Brown was a thug that deserved to die, Officer Wilson did not have the right to make that decision. The death penalty, even where it exists, can only be given out by a jury, not a single officer. If Michael Brown did not deserve to die, then this is a crime. This needs to be investigated. We need the truth.

This Kony 2012 Stuff

Having kept track of or been involved with Invisible Children in one way or another since 2006, I’m excited to see their latest video getting so much attention.

Having kept track of or been involved with Invisible Children in one way or another since 2006, it’s easy for me to believe the recent accusations against them.

I do not have a firm opinion on this nor the time to properly formulate one.

The Late Unpleasantness

Have a few brief thoughts on this whole Bin Laden kerfluffle that are too long for twitter, so here goes.

  • At the Phillies/Mets game the news broke in the bottom of the 8th, prompting a spontaneous chant of “USA! USA!” that got the crowd excited and utterly confused the players. Why one of the players didn’t turn around and ask someone in the stands is beyond me (unless there’s an MLB rule against it or something).
  • There’s lots of scripture being tossed around twitter right now. Most of it is a variation of God not taking pleasure in the death of the wicked, but there is also the occasional “when the wicked perish there are shouts of joy.”
  • The most balanced take so far is probably Derek Webb’s:

don’t celebrate death, celebrate justice

And now I should get back to work.

We Are Hiring… O RLY?

In the spirit of John Gruber I am going to bring the smack to this unsolicited e-mail I was just sent because some company is trolling a popular job search website.

Hi, my name is Andrew W. King and I am the President of United American’s Branch Office Division.

I believe we have a winner for the “Most Obscure Yet Oddly Professionally Sounding Name Of A Company” award!

I found your resume online and wanted to contact you.

If this wasn’t an obvious form letter, I’d appreciate that. But it is, so I don’t.

We are now hiring applicants from a wide variety of backgrounds and we believe you are an outstanding match.

In other words, I have a pulse.

We have immediate openings for motivated individuals like you.

You could tell I was motivated just by my resume? Then you obviously didn’t catch that I’m living at my parents’ house.

First year earnings can range as high as $100,000 for new representatives and management positions are awarded for excellence, regardless of prior experience.

So, if I “award” you the award mentioned above, will you “award” me a management position?

If you are goal-oriented with good communication skills and have a desire to succeed within a company that has a well-known industry reputation for financial stability, quality products and streamlined services, then I would like to speak with you at your earliest convenience.

Rule Number One for Evan: NO SALES POSITIONS I’m sorry, but this is not negotiable. Unless you’re Apple.

We are a part of the Torchmark Corporation.

Found them. Do not want. I mean… really do not want.

Moral of the story: don’t spam. You’re wasting the time I could have spent trolling craigslist.

Maybe

I may or may not have attempted to grill pork on the stove.

I may or may not have set off the smoke alarm.

The local fire department may or may not have been called.

This may or may not show up on my student account.

Maybe.

Update: I did. I did. I did. It won’t.

Limericks Galore

So the genius behind xkcd just opened up LimerickDB. Be warned, many (if not most) are definitely NSFW, but I find many of them quite clever, which I have repeated below.

#286

There once was a buggy AI

Who decided her subject should die.

When the plot was uncovered,

The subjected discovered

That sadly the cake was a lie.

#34

A woman in liquor production

Owns a still of exquisite construction.

The alcohol boils

Through magnetic coils.

She says that it’s “proof by induction.”

#292

A preoccupied vegan named Hugh

picked up the wrong sandwich to chew.

He took a big bite

before spitting, in fright,

“OMG, WTF, BBQ!”

#257

There once was a small juicy orange,

…f–k.

#107

See that lighthouse beam in the sky

That guides yonder ships going by?

My friend shines that beam;

She’s living her dream.

I’m in grad school. I still don’t know why.

#21

There was a young woman named Bright

Whose speed was much faster than light.

She set out one day

In a relative way,

And returned on the previous night.

#282

A programmer started to cuss

Because getting to sleep was a fuss

As he lay there in bed

Looping ’round in his head

was: while(!asleep()) sheep++;

#119

The limerick’s structure somewhat

necessitates eloquent smut.

If you haven’t the time

to learn meter and rhyme,

then don’t write them, you ignorant s–t.

#177

There once was a girl named Lenore

And a bird and a bust and a door

And a guy with depression

And a whole lot of questions

And the bird always says “Nevermore.”

#11

There once was a man from Japan

whose limericks just wouldn’t scan.

When asked why this was,

he answered, “Because

I always cram as many syllables into the last line as I possibly can.”

#22

There once was a maid from Madras

Who had a magnificent ass.

Not rounded and pink,

as you’d possibly think;

It was gray, had long ears, and ate grass.

#12

There once was a gal from Peru

whose limericks stopped on line two.

#189

There was a zookeep from Nantucket

Who was struck by a fish — couldn’t duck it

He was thrown from the cage

By a pinniped’s rage.

Quoth the walrus, “You can’t has mah bukkit!”

#109

A newspaper poet for Hearst

Deprived of his reason

By uncontrolled sneezing

Was by phantasmal demons coerced

To write all of his limericks reversed.

#2

The limerick packs laughs astronomical

in a space that is most economical.

But of the ones that I’ve seen,

so few have been clean,

and the clean ones are seldom so comical.

#77

A dozen, a gross, and a score

plus three times the square root of four

divided by seven

plus five times eleven

is nine squared, and not a bit more!

#111

There once was a fellow from Xiangling

Whose greatest delight was in mangling

Poems. He would drop

Words between lines and lop

Their ends off, and leave readers dang

#333

There was a limerick I heard,

With stressed syllables quite awkward.

Rhythm was somewhat

Still present in it, but

It forced mispronouncing every word.

#290

To the skeptics I say, oh come off it.

Your aluminum hat? You can doff it.

To me it’s a riddle

Just what’s in the middle

But I’m sure that the last step is profit.

#127

There once was a girl named Jude,

Who’s skirt by the wind was strewed.

A man came along,

And unless im quite wrong,

You expected this last line to be lewd.

#271

Ther once was an old man of Esser,

Whose knowledge grew lesser and lesser,

It at last grew so small

He knew nothing at all,

And now he’s a college professor.

#145

A student as smart as could be

Had to integrate x to the 3

He said “x to the 4

over 4, I am sure”

But was off by a constant of C.

#355

Since your poems are clumsy and s–te,

No longer can I be polite:

Come on you f–ktard,

It’s really not hard,

to get the d–n syllables right.

#65

A poet ran out of ideas;

Because he had no more ideas;

He repeated himself,

By repeating himself,

Because he ran out of ideas;

#277

Two eager and dashing young beaux

Were held up and robbed of their cleaux

In summer it’s warm –

They’ll come to no harm

But what will they do if it sneaux?

#131

There was a young man who said “God

Must find it exceedingly odd

To think that the tree

Should continue to be

When there’s no one about in the quad.”

“Dear Sir: Your astonishment’s odd;

I am always about in the quad.

And that’s why the tree

Will continue to be

Since observed by, Yours faithfully, God.”

#264

There once was a poet named Gunderson

Whose rhyme schemes were all very cumbersome.

With each botched refrain,

he’d be heard to exclaim,

“Oh, how do I get myself into these situations?!

Violence In Games

If you haven’t heard about all the to-do about Manhunt 2, the wikipedia page has a nice summary. Basically, someone made an extremely violent game, got an Adults Only rating from the ESRB, which makes it against company policy for it to be stocked at most major retailers or played on the major game consoles. What follows is my thoughts from this discussion at Wii Fanboy.

I don’t have a problem with people making AO games or buying AO games as long as they are of the proper age. However, I fully respect the right of the major retailers to not stock the games. Best Buy, Target, and the like don’t carry NC-17 movies (do they?), so it makes sense that they won’t carry AO games. There’s plenty of opportunities for small, specialty retailers to carry the games.

As for Nintendo and Sony refusing to license the games, it’s their decision. They’re not entering this decision lightly; with all the hype this game is getting, licensing this game is like money in the bank. But if they want to keep their platform at a certain level, that’s their decision.

And folks, please please PLEASE don’t call this ‘banning‘ the game or ‘censorship‘. The government is not involved here and no one’s going to jail. These are decisions by private corporations; no one is being forced to not carry Manhunt 2.

I think the core problem is that video games are still fighting for acceptance as an art form. Games like this won’t be acceptable until after that happens, not before. Games like this–unfortunately–will do more to hurt games’ acceptance than help it.

Flowers For Jack

I left a note for Jack Thompson over at Joystiq that he’ll probably never read, though I’ve heard he goes there every-so-often.

STOP CALLING YOURSELF A CHRISTIAN, JACK THOMPSON.</p>

Yes, I was one of the signers of the letter (though I was too cheap to donate anything). I disagree with much of what you’re saying, but that’s beside the point. I’m not angry because I disagree with you.

I’m angry because you are knowingly distorting information and “bearing false witness” against those that ordered flowers. If you would take the time to read the letter you would realize that the flowers were simply to get your attention. It was believed that you would appreciate flowers better than sex toys, copies of GTA, or pizzas you didn’t order. Apparently we were wrong.

Jack Thompson, it is my firm belief that by proclaiming God to be on your side in this battle is defaming the name of God (Exodus 20:7), similar to those who proclaim that “God Hates Fags.” You are associating the name of God with a message of hate. I am not saying God does not hate sin. He does, but he does not hate sinners. He sent Jesus for sinners.

I realize I have not been very coherent in this post. I would love to dialogue with you further on this (an e-mail form can be reached from my website). However, since you seem to have mocked our request for a civil forum with you (see the FFJ letter), I don’t hold much hope for that. In fact, I doubt you will read this at all. You’ve probably already written me off as a damned Pixelante, not bothering to notice that I, and many others, hold the same Faith you claim to have.

In Christ,

Evan Hildreth</blockquote>
I had to get that off my chest. Sorry.

Another Flame War

The comments on this digg story have once again degraded into another flamewar. Because the simple mention of anything religious in the tech world is absolutely taboo. This comment really took the cake, though:

If “Christians” wanted to make this world a better place, they’d immediately either denounce their religion or kill themselves. There is no room in this world for those who believe in fairy tales and are over the age of 10. I have no doubt that some of what is written in the Bible is historically accurate to some degree, but ALL religions blow it WAY out of context and attach their own beliefs and propoganda in order to suck new members into their respective branches of Christianity. DOWN WITH THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT!!!

And here is my ill-deserved responce:

Truly spoken like someone that doesn’t have the faintest clue what Christianity is about. I don’t care if you went to church every single day of your life; that doesn’t mean you know anything about it. Let’s look at things logically here:

“If “Christians” wanted to make this world a better place, they’d immediately either denounce their religion or kill themselves.”

Contrary to popular belief, there are true Christians out there that are actively trying to make the world a better place. WorldVision is a good place to start. And if we all took your advice and killed ourselves, you’d just look at us and say, “Wow, look at all those idiots who killed themselves.” Cults have mass suicides. Christianity doesn’t. In fact, if you actually read the Bible, you’d see that Jesus brought someone back from the dead. Hardly the action of someone endorsing mass suicides.

“There is no room in this world for those who believe in fairy tales and are over the age of 10.”

No one over the age of 10 seriously believes in fairy tales. Christianity isn’t a fairy tale. Fairy tales are defined as being “extremely happy.” People going to hell isn’t happy. It’s one of the things I like least about Christianity, but it’s still there. And I still believe it.

And what if it is a fairy tale, anyway? It gives me hope, helps me survive, and makes me a better person. If I didn’t have this hope, I would have already killed myself.

“I have no doubt that some of what is written in the Bible is historically accurate to some degree, but ALL religions blow it WAY out of context and attach their own beliefs and propoganda in order to suck new members into their respective branches of Christianity.”

Okay, are you talking about all religions or just Christianity? Make up your mind.

Some is historically accurate? How about a book that has more than ten times as many usable sources (manuscripts within one generation of the original) than anything by Plato or Aristotle? How about a book that has survived with no substantial changes for over a thousand years? Works of fiction don’t do that. Works of fiction don’t inspire people to change their lives.

And don’t judge a religion by its followers. It’s the same reason you shouldn’t hate the Mac just because some Mac users are complete zealots. Yes, some preachers throw on their own versions of Christianity. That’s how cults get started. And the majority of thinking people in this world see them for what they truly are: quacks.

Propaganda? Sounds like you’ve been reading your fair share of anti-Christian propaganda.

“DOWN WITH THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT!!!”

The religious right, as much as some people would like it to be, isn’t Christianity. Don’t judge a religion by its followers. Go to the source (the Bible) and decide for yourself.

Seriously, you need to read Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. It does a good job of presenting the core beliefs of Christianity without any of your so-called “propaganda.” And Lewis was not a stupid man.

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