The Mole and His Tunnel

This is a “reprint” of sorts of a fable I wrote in late 2005.  It’s just as relevant today, and, I think, an appropriate thing for the new year.

The Mole and His Tunnel

One day, Mole started digging a tunnel. He wasn’t exactly sure if it was a good idea to dig a tunnel, but his dear friend Chipmunk said that she was digging a tunnel, and so, he started digging one too.

Chipmunk later gave up on her tunnel, for she had lots of other things that she needed to do, too. It is just as well, chipmunks are chipmunks.

Mole, however, continued to dig his tunnel.

Sometime later, Squirrel happened upon Mole digging his tunnel. He put his tiny paws on his chubby waist. “Mole,” he said, “I say, why do you continue digging this tunnel? You will be on the other side of the world digging your way back if you don’t stop soon!”

Mole poked his head out of the tunnel and twitched his nose at Squirrel. “I continue digging because I am not finished,” he said, and returned to his work.

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Tabula Rasa

“Tabula Rasa”

Year is gone
Successes and failures
Wins and losses
Scratch them off
Wipe it clean
A blank slate
To draw on again.

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Gaming’s Future.

So, the other day, I found myself in a Best Buy trying to figure out on what to spend the gift card my sister had given me.  I was intending to pick up a couple of comedy albums, but, quite frankly, they’ve gutted that section.

So I thought, Eh, maybe a video game.

It’s not as if I had enough to play already; all those games sitting in my Steam library.

I went over to the game section and looked around.  I quietly lamented at all the generic shooters and saw Zone of the Enders: HD Collection for the 360.  This came highly recommended to me, so I picked up the case.

While still lamenting over the state of gaming, I glanced over toward the displays they had set up.  There was a Wii and a Wii U display, and a couple of kids milling around.

One of them, a little girl, went up to the Wii display and said, with all sincere glee, “Mario!”

The machine was loaded up with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, you see.

I stopped walking and watched her play for a moment.  She looked over toward me, grinning brightly, and then turned back to the game.

I realized then that we probably don’t have too much to worry about regarding the future of gaming.

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To The Moon

It seems it’s all games all the time here, at the moment.

I received a copy of To The Moon for my birthday via Steam.  I spent the evening yesterday playing and finishing it. It’s a short game, but probably one of the most poignant and heartrending games I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

The game is set in the future, where the ability to traverse and modify memories has been developed. As this can cause severe problems to one’s psyche, this is only done to people who are close to passing away.

The game’s story is about making come true one old, bedridden man’s dream to go to the moon, through this process of memory modification.  But, you see, he doesn’t know why he wants to go to the moon. He just does.  And that is the other part of the mission of the game: to find out why.

There isn’t a whole lot of what you could consider gameplay; it is very adventure/exploration oriented with some game-like things at certain points.

But that’s not the point.

It is not the point at all.  The point is to experience the story as it unfolds before you.

There are only a handful of things media-wise that have totally broken me emotionally (the film Nausicaa, and the ending of Limbo are two examples). This one breaks me even just listening to the (absolutely lovely) soundtrack.

You owe it to yourself to play this game. Please.

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Amalur, part deux.

So the past weekend I finished up Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning.

Verdict? Too much game.

My save file ended up clocking in at around 96 hours or so, which is considerable. However, so many of the quests were basically the same sort of quest, except with different dialogue.  Also, the last few hours were one heck of a slog.  I could see this being split into two separate games, at least.  The House of Valor faction quest that comes with the “season pass” or whatever felt like a complete tack-on, just to justify the idea of the pass.

But, overall, it was quite an entertaining game. I chose to play some hybrid of all three main types of character you could be, and had a grand time sneaking around and messing up some bad guy’s day.

The lore got better and more interesting as time went on, as well.  They put an awful amount of work into it (although, this makes sense, since they were working on an MMO which, uh, well, we all know what happened there).  They left a few threads sort of hanging, but that’s fine.

All in all, I can say this is worth a play. Just don’t get exhausted playing it.

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Followup for the previous post.

So in the previous post I noted that the steel cents that came with the collection were in amazing condition.

Turns out, this isn’t exactly normal, as I sort of suspected.  In sum, the steel cent had a problem with corrosion and rusting soon after their issue. Many firms, in turn, stripped off the existing zinc coating from the cents and replated them prior to selling them.  This act removes nearly all of the numismatic value of the coin.

Aside from the brilliant luster of these reprocessed cents, you can find out if your steel cents are reprocessed by examining them under a magnifying glass.  The corrosion is usually poorly removed, indicated by doubling of the date, and the edges of the coin have a clear margin where the two halves of the coating meet.  The coins I obtained have both of these properties.

(More info right here; most of this post is derived from this for your convenience.)

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A little amateur numismatics.

So on a trawl of Amazon’s random recommendations, I stumbled across a little treasure chest of old American coinage.  Since I am a fan of old coinage, I decided to buy it; the price seemed all right.

Turns out these chests are packed up by American Coin Treasures, who have a ridiculous amount of neat coin-related things for sale. It’s one of those sites that I have to stay away from for a while now.

More after ze jump.

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As it turns out, games don’t stop existing.

So, I was sent a copy of Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning recently. It’s been described as Skyrim Light, which, unfortunately, is an absolutely dumb comparison and only slapped on there because they came out around the same time.

I mean, you can’t fill a room full of cabbages. So it’s already not Skyrim Light right there.

This is also probably an unfair “review” since I’m barely two hours into the game, but I’m already noticing some things.

It’s sort of what I’ve wanted: a fun action RPG that does not involve shooting. There is some stiffness in the controls in various odd places, though. I’m not sure what’s so hard about there not being a delay when I hit the button to dodge, either that or I’ve been spoiled by action games with controls like butta’, such as Bayonetta.  Also, for some reason, I’m not interested in most of what the characters have to say, unlike in Mass Effect.  I think part of that is the fact that most of what they have to say could’ve been shunted into a “lore codex”, like Mass Effect.

I suppose I’ll have more significant things to say with more game progress.

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Comic Roundup vol.1

Here’s the start of a little series on comics  I’ve recently read (“recently” meaning within the last two months with this initial go at it).  I typically read trades these days, since, well, I don’t have the room right now to maintain a serious comic book collection.  Although e-comics have been compelling; unfortunately, my current ereader doesn’t have a good library of them yet.

So, here we go, after the jump. (I’ve always wanted to say that.)

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There is no question that Halloween (or Hallowe’en for some of you) is one of my favorite times of the year.  The crisp breezes of autumn, apple cider, candy, dressing up in costumes, ghosts, and ghouls.  What is there not to enjoy?

Well, maybe not everybody enjoys ghosts and ghouls.  I grew up with all that (thanks to a childhood love of Ghostbusters and ghost stories), so it’s different for me.

Do you like them?  Well, how about some spooky folklore? Here’s a few places to go check out:

  • Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”  (Based on the actual legend.)
  • Haunted Low Country.  The “Low Country” includes Savannah, GA and Charleston, SC, two of the oldest cities in the United States.  Needless to say, with that much history behind them, they are also considered to be two of the most haunted cities in the US.  As such, much folklore has grown up around them.
  • Ghosts, Monsters, and Mysteries of the South. A smattering of various tales from the South.

Additionally, part of my television junk food during this time is ghost specials and stuff.  Often these days, you’ll see a bunch of ghost hunters go into these haunted places to check them out and collect evidence of a haunting.

Unfortunately, despite their claims to the contrary, these hunts are far from scientific.  They spend too much time on personal experiences, which, although important, doesn’t really strike at the heart of the thing.  They also rely too much on trying to capture things on video, while making idle observations now and then about “cold spots” and spikes on their electromagnetic field meters.  Their use of “scientific equipment” isn’t really very scientific.

The skeptics make good arguments about some of the voices they record; since I often cannot discern anything from some of the noise. And “creepy feelings” can be connected directly to bad wiring.

However, it all makes for good television; after all, I wouldn’t watch it if it didn’t.

I’ve given it some thought, and I think what really needs to be done in some of these places is setting up a bunch of passive sensors that can collect EM data, temperature data, and so on, rather than just video.  Measure this stuff over time and plot it!  Really be scientific! Maybe something interesting is happening, or maybe it’s just an artifact of the building.  A picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes you just can’t beat solid data.

Or we could just build PKE meters and proton packs and just fix the problem.

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