Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bungie Aerospace: Fuck-Yeah!

I'm not even disappointed that it turned out not to be Bungie's next game.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Because not having Heels would be silly. (EVE Online)

I setup a trial account for EVE Online; the new 'Incarna' version of the game features a character creator that is actually very impressive.  I ended up spending about an hour seeing what it was capable of; it took about that time for me to notice that female characters are required to wear High Heels.

Don't know why I'm surprised.

For what it's worth most of the footwear does seem pretty stylish; I just wish my corporate jackboot had the option to wear actual boots.

Tried making a male character but had trouble finding the 'not a steroid-riddled muscular freak' slider.

I'm nitpicking though; so far it's a pretty impressive game.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I literally just caught myself praying.  It was intense; massive adrenaline spike and suddenly I'm staring at the ceiling mouthing the words, "Please god don't let this get totally fucked up."

It's amazing the kind of superstitious bs you'll resort to when you're terrified your computer will crash and destroy hours of hard work.

Something I Agree On With My Republican Relatives (Cigarettes, of course!)

The FDA's new anit-smoking measures are total bullshit.  Places such as the UK reduced the amount of smoking without resorting to this kind of moralistic propaganda.

I want America to start winding down the Drug War; this is just another escalation.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Last chance to evacuate the earth....(unfinished/part one)

I think the the concept of the objective 'perfect' is psychological nonsense.  It's a shared delusion born from shortcuts in logic that our brains are hardwired to take.  My best evidence for this is that the godhead of most monotheist religions is synonymous with perfection; by necessity then all descriptions of god are so arbitrary that they are completely laughable or so vapid that they are nauseatingly meaningless.

WARNING: Much bullshit pseudoscientific numerological 'philosophy' is about to follow.

Perfection is a completely subjective and arbitrary state.  You can say that the number '3' is the perfect example of 3, but 3 still is not in any objective way Perfect.  Worse is the fact that '11' is a far more perfect way to represent the third numerical integer in a binary numbering system.

You can say that the Universe is perfect, except that reduces the word down to being meaningless again.  Perfect compared to what?  As soon as you introduce an alternative to the universe the term perfection becomes objectively meaningless again since your assuming it means 'the universe as it exists'; which is, again, an arbitrary judgement.

Nonetheless 'perfection' is an undeniably useful construct.

There is an objective reality, or at least that's the basic assumption that all of my thoughts operate upon.  It is value judgements that are all subjective; there is no fundamental basis for any fixed absolute morality to be found anywhere in nature.  A person can say, "X is supremely good" and can give numerous well-argued reasons for why X should be considered good, but X is still merely an opinion.

So-called 'traumatic insemination' may sound like something incredibly evil, but if our species (or some splinter of it) evolved along that path then it would simply be the way things are.

Nonetheless I have to say that would be, and this is the technical term, totally fucking atrocious.

Friday, June 17, 2011

I'm quite possibly not going to vote for Obama.

I understand that a Republican president would be awful; I most certainly am not voting for any republicans.

It has, however, often been noted that democrats simply aren't worried about their liberal and progressive base.  Maybe it's time to start playing some brinksmanship.  In a perfect world I could never, in good conscience, vote for Obama again.  The thought of being held hostage to the Democratic party because "We're not as scary as the Republicans!"(tm) is repulsive.  So, for president at least, I'm going to vote for a third party or even not vote for anyone.  For as long as the Democrats can take our votes for granted they will never give a fuck about actually doing anything we want them to.  At this point I'm willing to risk another four years of a Republican executive if it means there's a chance that the Dems will be brought back in line, even if only for a while.

Maybe.  I'm probably chicken out and vote Obama anyways.

The Republicans are terrifying.


Incidentally I have have found my holy twin.  Obviously I am the evil one.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

OMG OMG OMG OMG Red Harvest (Just discovered music streaming on MySpace)


Ok so I'm probably far behind the times, but I never go on MySpace.

Sick Transit Gloria Mundi
-Served as the inspiration for the name of this blog.  Excellent album, especially the tracks AEP, Sic Transit Gloria Mundi, and Dead Men Don't Rape (GGFX Cover).

A Greater Darkness
- I wrote a review.  Now go listen.  And love ^_^

Jon Benjamin Has a Van and it got a song stuck in my head o.O

I have Border Wars by Sepultura stuck in my because of last night's premiere episode.

Now you know.  That info will cost you $5.  Sorry, no checks.  I only except cash or credit.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The urge to ruin things.

A few days ago I had a falling out with a friend.  It was pretty surreal; a friend from high school who I used to be really close to hasn't bothered putting any effort into staying in contact so I said some sarcastic things while text-chatting in Steam and my friend freaked out and now I doubt we'll ever have any contact again.

If that turns out to be the case I'm really not sure what will have changed in my life.  The friend obviously hadn't seen anything wrong with the way things were, but I'd been feeling abandoned and hurt for over a year.  My friend would promise to call back or to be online to play a game or to give me feedback on something I'd written and then never would.  Then my friend became outraged that I'd feel that I was constantly being told to fuck-off and accused me of being petty about not getting to play Borderlands.

So my (former?) friend is likely upset to a certain degree; I don't really feel anything.  I initiated the conversation and purposely said antagonistic things because I was upset but now I just feel numb about everything.  My life has not changed at all; perhaps my friend went from the illusion that we were still close friends to thinking that I'm a petty attention whore, but for me all that's happened is that I now have one less person who will occasionally be telling me "yeah, we're still friends" while never bothering to once give me a call or a game invite or even really respond to my attempts to communicate for over a year.

The only problem is that I know that I can be very petty.  And I know that there really wasn't any reason to ruin what little friendship remained.  I had just gotten so frustrated with the facade that I impulsively struck out by expressing my anger even though I knew it wouldn't help anything and would only make things worse.  And then it's not even cathartic and doesn't feel good or bad.  I just move on with one less friend (maybe two, actually) and then... nothing really.

That's the only disappointing part.  If I'd had a falling out with this person a year or two ago it would have been devastating.  Now I wish I felt something about it other than the disappointment that I don't really feel anything.  And then that's the part that makes me angry again.  I wanted this falling out to be something dramatic/cataclysmic and instead it was just some stupid chat messages.  I spend all that time being polite and saying "no problem, I understand" when people tell me off or rant for hours about how evil socialism is or tell me how sad they are they can't spend any time with me and it kills me and then I don't even get to feel anything when I destroy those relationships.

Usually I'll eventually get back in touch (they never take the initiative anyways) and apologize (I haven't done anything to wrong them) and make nice (eventually the thought that someone is unhappy with me drives me insane and I desperately want their approval) and then everything goes on like nothing at all happened.

Sometimes I just fucking hate everyone.

Speaking of disturbing fetus-rights issues; gender imbalance in developing world.

Read this.

Illegal imprisonment of a fetus

I was talking with a nurse who works in a prison and quipped that imprisoning pregnant women seems to be a violation of the fetus's constitutional rights if you're assuming a fetus is a person.

Turns out that in 1989 a woman named Lovetta Farrar had the same idea.  She brought two lawsuits in Missouri on the subject; one saying that the imprisonment of the fetus violates its 13th amendment rights, the other suit was asking for improved prenatal care because the fetus was endangered.

I haven't been able to find any other information on the subject or about how her lawsuits played out.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Dark Paganism? Check. 95% of Population 'Disappeared'? In Progress.

The only objective, empirical statement which can be made of the arts is this: music sucked before industrialization.

Which leaves me confused as to what is really being said in this video.

The two conservative scholars assert that environmentalists want the world to move to a dark paganism, which is fine since I  greatly enjoy black metal.  Where they lose me is with their assertion that we also want to go back to a pre-industrial society.  That seems to be simply ludicrous; see my above statement about industrialization.

I'm confused now.  Certainly they can't be dumb enough as to think I'd want to give up everything that has been learned from the geniuses who formed the core of the initial industrial movements.

And besides, what does environmentalism have to do with musical taste anyways?

*cough* if you're completely bewildered, go watch the video *cough*

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Is it weird that I play Tau because they're space communists?

Don't know why, but that question has been on my mind all day.  I'm not even sure why it bothers me.  It just.... does.

I've never been very involved with the table top aspects of Warhammer 40k simply because of the prohibitively high entry cost.  The Dawn of War series of video games has gotten me hooked to the lore though; I'm thinking about setting up a Tau table top army when life settles down a bit and I get my finances in order, which won't be until well within the next school year.

Probably something that relies heavily on human auxiliaries and Tau armored assets such as battlesuits and (especially) gunships.

Now you know.  You can thank me later.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The 'Self-Evident' truth isn't. (plus a random Nietzsche quote)

I get a cheap sexual thrill out of quoting Nietzsche as if his writings are religious texts.  With that in mind....

Aphorism 331 in Nietzsche's Human, All Too Human reads:
Indication of alienation.  The clearest sign that two hold alienated views is that each says ironic things to the other, but neither of the two feels the other's irony.
I think that part of the 'problem' that I ran into in the obscenely drawn-out thread on Socimages about Chell's high heels is that my point of view on the issue was so completely alien to the other expressed views that nobody was communicating their full thoughts, assuming that the other person would already be familiar with their fundamental assumptions.

It was a fun but ultimately pointless argument.

Monday, June 6, 2011

I remain convinced: Portal's Chell is wearing heels.

[04/27/2012 note: I wasn't expecting anyone to ever read this post and was sloppy when I wrote it.  It has since become the most read thing on my blog (awkward) and so I  going to be revising/updating this post in the near future.]

I love the Sociological Images blog.  It's one of the blogs that inspired me to start blogging too; not that I have any (admitted :P ) pretensions to being as excellent a blogger as the Socimages team.

In a post about a news report about the bullying the player is subjected to in the game, I commented that I'm disapointed by Valve's (The original Portal was made by a small team that was absorbed into Valve early into the game's development) decision to have Chell wear what I consider to be high-tech desexualized high heels.

My comment (a reply to another person's):
“That is, she avoided most of the problematic tropes female characters get saddled with.”
And yet they found a way to put her in heels the entire game; certainly in a de-sexualized way (they save her from breaking her legs when she falls from large heights) but I still found it disappointing that she *had* to be wearing lady-shoes just because she’s female.

I had thought that what I was talking about was completely self-evident.  Apparently I'm completely wrong, which is fine.

My reasoning is that her long-fall boots look like high heels, Valve obviously put a lot of thought into different ways to make her footwear similar to high heels, that referencing the real world prosthetics that inspired aspects of the boots design only reinforces my points because those prosthetics serve to mimic the function of running normally i.e. not with a person's heels propped up.

The discussion has been dragged out to a surprising length, though I think it can be condenced down to two posts.

A user named 'Cee' posted

So, you’re suggesting that real, useful designs should be banned because they happen to resemble historically gendered objects?
Yeah, that’s not sexist.
My response

WOW. I’m not saying it should be banned. I’m saying that since they’ve taken the fictional liberties of introducing trans-dimensional intergalactic warfare (Portal is explicitly part of the Half Life universe) and since they did such a good job avoiding or even head-on addressing most of the sexist tropes in video games; I find it disappointing that they went with that design, especially since if you look at the ‘real, useful design’ that was linked to above you’ll notice that it mimics the effect of running in regular shoes.
I’ll concede the point if they have Gordon Freeman running around with his heels propped up like that in the next game.
Not all of the opposing views were as nonsensical as Cee's; it you're interested you should definitely go read the entire discussion.  I do want to address another inane ad hominid (here, it would only be a distraction there) though.

I posted a link to a character study with four different versions of Chell (already linked to above).  In my initial post I stated that they are in a 'fashion-model' pose; very stupid of me.  I'll maintain that's an obviously feminine pose; I have no problem with that and I later clarified that "On second thought: ‘fashion-model’ is an overstatement since posing that way simply allows for more details to be seen."

After which JDP responded

In game, you can only see yourself in passing and at an oblique through portals. It’s not like you spend the whole game staring at your character’s butt like you do in many RPGs or third-person shooters. So you’re nitpicking about aspects of character design you literally never see.
I guess the bad guys make an issue about it. Like GLaDOS’s patently absurd statement about medical degrees in fashion from France.

Simply moronic.  It's not 'nitpicking' to discuss what is easily one of the most instantly noticeable features of a character, especially if its also what has become the one that is the most iconic after her gender (and the fact that she's an impressively non-stereotyped female player-character).  Valve did an entire teaser-trailer about the boots.

More importantly it's the hypocrisy that is the reason I'm disappointed.  GLaDOS does make a "patently absurd statement about medical degrees in fashion from France" and it's equally absurd that Chell couldn't have regular footing in her boots.

I love BloodRayne and Mortal Kombat (the newest MK is sssoooooo fun!) and am willing to roll my eyes at the hyper-heteronormative sexualization of the characters (male and female) because the games gleefully wallow in it and avoid all self-hypocrisy; I described MK as 'bloody sexy fun' in a post on Wired and I stand by that statement.

To summarize: I find it disappointing that, since they did such a good job avoiding or even head-on addressing most of the sexist tropes in video games, they went with this particular design; especially since if you look at the ‘real, useful design’ that was linked to above you’ll notice that it mimics the effect of running in regular shoes.

For the record: Portal and Portal 2 are amazing games that need to be played, and I think the way they portray Chell is brilliant.  I'm just a bit disappointed by the footwear.

Trivial Update: Oh, in general I have no problem with ad hominids, vitriol, and childish name-calling; all things I regularly employ.  The very first response (not reposted here, btw) to my original post, for example, is perfectly reasonable in tone and content.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

What the...

I woke up this morning and my dog was holding a potato three inches away from my face.  o.O

This raises many serious philosophical questions.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pleasant update to the 'Profit From Suffering' post

I sent messages to the stock-photo websites that were selling images of piles of human skulls from the 'Killing Fields' in Cambodia.  The one I sent to read:
You sell images of piles of skulls from the Khmer Rogue's killing fields in Cambodia. Making a profit off of that type of atrocity using images of the victims is very distasteful.
I just received this email back from one of their reps:

Dear Kafes,
I just found a few such images and removed them. Please verify if you still find such images on the site.
Actually we resell images from another image agency and their images are automatically forwarded to our collection.
The part with the profit is similar to how a photographer taking pictures of victims of a murder or of war will get paid by the press agency, and the press agency itself will get some money.
It's a kind of job and who do it get rewarded.
Anyway, please accept our apologies, while still keeping in mind that these images are part of history and having them somehow increase awareness of what has happened.
For example we here in Bulgaria also have the Batak massacre and don't feel like knowing about it is something bad.
Best regards,

I feel very pleasantly surprised that they actually took my message seriously; perhaps I'm getting a little to jumpy to assume the worst about people lately o.O?

I'm going to send a short email back thanking them.  I also want to say that I agree that it's certainly not something bad for people to know about.  My only problem was that the images were simply close-up shots of piles of skulls with almost zero context; selling images of the memorials or of historical photos I don't have a problem with.

Anyways, I have a lot of respect for the way they responded and definitely want to thank them for taking it seriously.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

^_^ I'm Such A Shameless Hypocrite (video games this time)

Dark Souls.  Fuck yeah.  I love both of my Demon's Souls characters; one is zealous Temple Kight who slaughters the impure (ironic since his god is actually the source of all corruption) with his blessed Meat Cleaver (no really!) and Sword of Moonlight while wearing his Dark Silver armor that was, of course, looted off the corpse of a still-honorable knight who was honor bound to defend a fallen saint.  The other is a demented young woman of the royal family wielding a Blue Blood sword (damage increases with your 'luck' attribute, which is hilarious) and who has traded her royal garb for the 'Binded Cross' of a royal executioner (who she brutally murdered btw).

Shut up.  It's cool.

But I am hyped about the prospect of casting aside Demon's Souls for the newer, shinier corporate cash-in Dark Souls.

I just found out that there will be a new BloodRayne game.  I never played the second game and, let's be honest, the movies are unforgivably bad, and I know next to nothing about the upcoming installment in the franchise.  But it's a new BloodRayne game.  Yay!

The first game is one of the best from the last generation no matter what the entire rest of the world says. It is one of the definitive documents of stylized Nazi occultism, and Rayne herself is a surprisingly strong and fascinating character.  I don't (just) mean 'fascinating' in the "hetenormatively sexy redhead in skimpy leather" way.  I swear.

Then there's Starcraft 2: Heart of the Swarm.  I could whine about it being a obvious money grab from a shamelessly cash obsessed corporation.  I could whine about the transformation of Kerrigan from an agressive tomboyish genocidal maniac in the first Starcraft into the agressive feminine-looking genocidal maniac in Starcraft 2.  But seriously, it's Starcraft.  STFU.

^_^ +1

update: rapidly edited multiple times because of typos.