Report from Afghanistan

My best friend Jim wrote me from Afghanistan yesterday. He's stationed there temporarily from England, where his wife Kate is going nuts alone! I chat with her nearly every day to keep her calm and sane.

The weather isn't terrible... freezing cold at night, nuclear hot during the day, instant sunburn type shit. We are 5000 above sea level here so the cold is colder and the hot is hotter here. It's nasty, the sun actually hurts when it's on your skin for more than about 5 minutes.
Plus we are taking Malaria pills that say "Avoid direct sunlight, causes skin to be extremely sensitive." Why is that the first time the medication has ever been right.

Damn. So basically we have a bunch of vampires out there in the desert, trying to avoid getting their blood sucked by mosquitoes.
The missile attacks are pretty fucking weird man. I literally felt that one rattle my ribcage that's how close it was. A few of my buddies were eating and the thing literally went over their head, they heard the whistle.

They've had sporadic attacks from unknown Taliban emplacements. One missile attack landed 100 yards away.

I asked who's there with him, and how well guarded is the place. From a previous email, I knew they were surrounded by a town that was anti-Taliban. Here's what he said about that:

Every branch except the Coast Guard is here. Every single person that wears a military uniform carries a gun at all times, loaded. A full out assault on this base is a flat out impossibility. We are all armed, even when we sit to eat and go to the shower. It's nuts. Plus there are a load of other countries here and they are all armed to the teeth as well.

And here's a no brainer:
I just got a new camera in the mail today so I have started taking pictures. I'm gonna have some good pictures when I get back, and some sweet videos. Hey, do you want a Flag that's been flown over a war zone? We can fly them and they make these cool certificates and frame it all up and whatnot. Don't worry about buyting it, I'll get one for you if you got somewhere you'd like to hang it.

Hell yeah I want a United States flag that's been flown in a warzone with a certificate.
I launched a jet yesterday that killed 24 Taliban motherfuckers. I got to watch the video and these poor bastards never stood a chance.

Ahh Technology. Jim's a crew chief who takes care of the jet and gives it the go ahead for whether it should fly or not. No decision goes past him. He also recently was promoted to Staff Sargent.

In a war zone, there's a certain limit about how long you can be indisposed. Either in the shower or bathroom, really. Sleeping can be instantly disturbed with a approximately placed missile launch, so really you're only indisposed in the shower or bathroom. Plus I guess out in the desert there's some water rationing going on...
And the three minute shower thing.... you get in, get wet, turn off water, apply soap and shampoo etc, rinse, get out. Not fun, I can't wait to get in a shower for like an hour and a half. anyways, gotta run, I'm at work. I will catch you later bro.

I told him I tried taking a three minute shower. I have yet to succeed. More to come later I'm sure.

Adventure games are where it's at lately

Outside of binge sessions of Company of Heroes (best game ever) I've been looking for something to relax and play. Something with a story, puzzles, where I can put my feet up and my heart rate doesn't go out of control. I'm not sure if I was looking for that or if I started playing some adventure games lately and have just been enjoying the experience to think that it's what I needed before. Either way, they're good times.

A few quick notable ones then I'm watching "The Good Shepherd" while I try to fall asleep. It all started when I looked at my Grim Fandango disk, and decided I didn't want to get into something really long right now. This was a few weeks ago. As some may know, I'm a subscriber to, and they've been reviewing these games over the past year that have looked different but I thought they might be like Ratchet & Clank or whatever that game is called on the PS2. But then I watched a gameplay video and realized that "Sam And Max" is indeed an adventure game. So I bought the first season for $35. Six episodes in all. I played the first 4 over a weekend, and the next one a few days later, and the last one is now available for download. These are short games because they're just episodes. Each about 3-4 hours long if you don't cheat. Sometimes I have to though. The reason I'm not downloading the last episode right now is because I'm playing another game. The Longest Journey.

The Longest Journey is cool. It's a full adventure game as opposed to episodes like Sam and Max. You start out and there's truly nothing that you *have* to do right away. You are in the future, living in Venice as an art student. You have two weeks before you have to get your painting done for the show. It's an interesting story so far. I don't want to spoil it for anyone. I also got the sequel for when I beat it. Should be good times.

Adventure games are very hard though, for me. I sometimes don't examine every nook and cranny, and so sometimes they're harder than they should be, because some puzzle might be obvious if I just checked a drawer and found some item that would make it so. Some of the puzzles just seem downright impossible though. I have to open up a walkthrough to help out on some parts. It's brutal. A lot of the puzzles I figure out though. An example of one that I didn't figure out was in The Longest Journey, you talk to the land lady and she found a ring of yours. You go outside and there's this machine, and on it is a severed wire. Just saying that now, though, you'd be like "Use the ring to connect the two ends of the wire, dumbass!!" But it doesn't even enter my mind. Some people maybe, not me. I guess I'm not creative or imaginative. Who knows. It's a testament to the variety and creativity found in Adventure games though. You never see the same puzzle.

I picked the wrong handheld!!

DOH! I recently began to question my wisdom when looking at the best games for the two common hand held gaming systems on the market. I have the Sony PSP which has games like Tiger Woods and Virtua Tennis. The other one is the Nintendo DS. It of course has two screens, hence the "DS" for "Dual Screen". And one is a touch screen.

I was checking out the list of the best games, obviously sorted by rating descending. Out of the top 10 or so games for each system, I found myself wanting more from the DS and already having all the ones I'd want on the PSP. That blows. I'm not going to get a DS soon because I don't really have the time for either anyway. But I chose the wrong one or I am in the wrong profession and should have been able to buy both and determine for myself which one is better. This way would likely be the best way. Oh well. That would surely be a luxury item and I can't buy luxury items now. Only after I have tons of loot saved for a house.

Speaking of luxury items... I'd love to have a file server running on Linux or Mac (preferably something cheap to set up), with tons of space on it, like a terabyte or two. For one thing, I'd love to be able to import all of my DVDs and store them on there, and of course have all of my music on there. Then buy an AppleTV and have my Mac reference all of these things in iTunes. Then of course be able to watch any movie I own with a click of a button on either my TV or my Mac. That would be ideal. I've researched ways to import DVD into a format that iTunes and AppleTV can understand. It's possible but the legality is questionable. They're my movies though, and as long as I keep the disks I should be fine. Although the MPAA and RIAA want to make it as difficult as possible to do that, so Apple really isn't allowed to provide the means, I have to find a hack.

I have to do it some time

When I entered this venture to quit smoking, I didn't also decide to quit drinking. So today, Friday the 27th of April, I'm doing the final disassociation of smoking with activities where I'd smoke while I was doing them. Tonight, I'll be drinking my face off.

I might not make it all night without heavily craving a cigarette, but all I know is the Phillies are playing and I have tons of beer left over from when I went to the Phillies game 2 weeks ago.

I'm sure I'll end up smoking tonight at some point, but it takes practice. If I have beer left still tomorrow, I'll dedicate another night to practicing this hard to master skill. I'm four beers into it right now. I had two after work at the bar across the street from the office, and two since I've been home. I don't care if I have a few, but getting as many beers into it before I really crave one is my goal. That way I can push my limits, and later be like "Well, I can only have a case before I start craving a cigarette... so when I start getting to that point, make me stop drinking."

Phillies take up all my time

I didn't watch today, but whenever the Phils are on I get nothing done. I managed to break out the PSP and play Tiger Woods '07 with the Phillies on. That game has a lot of times that it takes a few seconds to load so I'm more watching the Phillies and shooting 59s secondly.

I ordered clothes the other day and they'll be arriving sporadically. They shipped from 4 different places. I got one package. I noticed the other day I don't have any clothes. I also noticed that the clothes in my drawer stay in my drawer... pretty much since I moved in here 3 years ago. So I wanted to get them cleared out like Tuesday, but the Phillies have been playing at 7:05, like clockwork. I get home at 6 or so, eat or play a video game, then watch the Phillies until 10pm or so. During which nothing gets done except some cheering and other intense fan activities. Then I try to go to bed, but the neighbors' kids and my brother are in bed so I can't do anything that requires listening to loud music, like cleaning or going through clothes and throwing them in a trashbag (they will be dropped off at a good-will collection point soon). I finally fall asleep at 1 or so.

Jeff took out a home equity loan to get some work done. So far we have new windows in the front and back of the house, and we're getting a new bathroom. This week is the bathroom work, until Monday. So, I haven't been able to use the toilet, shower, shave, or anything. We have nothing but a tub with no faucets or any kind of plumbing in the whole bathroom. The sink is in Jeff's room, the toilet is in the basement. It will be done by Monday. A week in all.

Tonight I was over my parents' house because it was Monday when I last had a full shower. I've cleaned my hair twice, washed my face and hands every day, behind the ears too, and used deodorant. I haven't received any complaints from the coworkers, and Jeff and I are recovering smokers so we really can't smell too well still, at least not ourselves. I can definitely smell and taste way better than when I smoked though. I took a shower at my parents' house and it was marvelous. It sucked too because on Tuesday morning, the first of the days where I'd have to go a full day without showering, I woke up at like 5:30 and was like "Man, a shower's gonna be great today!" I remembered then that I wouldn't be able to shower! It was one of those days where it was hot during the night even, and I was feeling sticky. A shower would have really hit the spot. Oh well.

Another thing about no sink is you can't shave. By this morning I had the full Koy Detmer neck beard going. Tonight I got a haircut and shaved.

Two weeks ago on Saturday my friends and I went to the Phillies game. I was coordinator, so I had to buy all the tickets, be there first, supply some beer and food, and collect money and act like I was da bomb. That last part is easy. I had 16 tickets. Zatko and I got there at like 12:40. I probably would have been perfectly fine hanging out with just us two and maybe some girls all day. We were having a good time. Everyone else showed up, fashionably late, at like 2 o'clock. The game started at 3:55. I had about 6 beers before the game, and only one or two after that. I smoked a few, but it's just because I lack any kind of inhibitions or self restraint after 4+ beers. I haven't smoked since. We went to McFadden's afterwards and there were about a million people there. Later Jared vomited on his car :) We all had a great time I think. I'd go again. Good night.

That's what I need...

Contrary to a few posts ago, I need something. A new iPod.

It just occurred to me today as I was listening to my iPod from about 1:50 until about 2:45, after being fully charged, and having the battery run out on me. I think I'll maybe just get a second one, rather than replace this one. The current one has one of those remotes that come with it that make it really easy to use in the car. I'm not sure if the new ones have anything like that. Because on the new ones, it's just the headphone jack, not that other thing next to the headphone jack like on mine. That's wicked useful.

This f@%@#$ing pisses me off

So, at work, we're working on this site for this company, and it's built on this software called "CommunityServer", which can be found at . The thing that pisses me off isn't necessarily to do with that software package, but in software in general, but it's most relevant with that software right now, because it's what I'm using.

Anyway, so many factors end up determining if something is "visible" or not. For instance, in Community Server, it might be a certain "forum". So, a forum might not be visible if the user isn't logged in, if the user isn't in a certain role, if the forum is the private messages forum. Or, it could be an email address, and it's shown to users logged in who also show their email address, or not shown if no user is logged in, or shown to admin. Et Cetera. There's tons of different variables that might determine if something is shown or not. Which is not my problem. It becomes a problem when you inherit this huge software application, and you have to make something behave just like other stuff that's already on the site.

This can also determine other states of an object, like is it editable? Does it get this certain process applied to it, like if certain versions of it X months old should be deleted, can it be printed, does it have a history, can it be part of an RSS or Atom feed, does it have an image with it? Etc, etc, etc. Tons of other things that could all be generalized, and shouldn't have to be figured out in every single instance.

Alright, maybe their software is poorly designed. I never said it wasn't :) But what I'd love to be able to do is, basically, not have to do anything, as a developer, and have it act like other things like it, whatever it is. I don't want to have to specify that, when selecting it from the database, that the "IsPrivate" bit must be set to 0, and that the "IsDeleted" bit must be set to 0. These aren't necessarily the fields, but examples. Also, I don't want to have to specify that the user has to be in the group that the forum belongs to in order to see it.

When I write software, I make it as easy as I can to write later on down the road. There's two ways to go about software development. #1, get the job done, which is how 99% of software is designed / developed. #2 is then, get it done but make it easier to add / change / remove stuff later on down the road. Software is, in fact, never done. It is a fact, a truth, a tautology. There is always something to add that can make it better. But 99% of the software written out there is so finalized when version 1.0 is out the door. Making changes is, for all intents and purposes, a f@%@#$ing pain in the ass.

Forget that it's never documented. That I can deal with. I can read code like a PhD can read a children's book. Although, it's a lot harder to tell what something *is* versus what something *does*. If you were looking at an engine for a blender, but you know you might find the same type of engine in, say, an electrical drill. You can tell that it probably turns something very fast, but you don't know what it is from the high level. Until you see it in motion. So, the code, along with the running version of the application, I can figure it out. Although, I can still read code like a pro. I am a pro after all :P

Anyway, if there was a way to define behavior in an object, without having to specify and filter and code for every possible variation, my life would be a lot easier. The sad thing is, I can think of hundreds of ways, because my mind has been conditioned, through years of hating to write code, to come up with the simplest, most developer friendly solution possible. I'd create interfaces! Object Oriented Programming is the best. An interface for "this might be private", or "this should be filtered for a role", and "this could only pertain to certain users", and "this could be deleted", etc. You just tag your objects with these interfaces and voila! No code!! Your filter logic would be in your data access layer... "if (obj instanceof IDeletable) then don't get deleted ones." Of course, this application doesn't even make it possible for me to modify this without having to put in hundreds of hours of work into it, and that's simply not an option. Stupid software.

Anyway, time for bed. Got some errands to run before the game tomorrow!

Some neat sites on the web

I am a big fan of I will frequently buy movies or general life needs, like milk, on there. So, I got an email from them saying they've got this new awesome site up called "Askville". I'm like whatever... so I visit it, and there's all these people asking questions and other people answering them. It uses a reward system, kinda like my Vacre Tei site. You get these things called "Quest Coins" whenever you do stuff, like log in, answer a question, ask a question, rate an answer, and other stuff. However, the site that you can use "Quest Coins" on is not up yet. It's called "Questville". Vacre Tei used gold, and you create works of art and sell them...

One site that I saw absolutely no purpose for is It's like, you just say something, and a million people say something too, so whatever you say is immediately drowned out by the other million people saying something. I have no need for that since I find that the most annoyed I get is when I finally have something to say in a conversation, but everyone talks more than me and always get in their 10 "says" before I get in my one. Next thing I know we're 3 topics away in conversation from what I wanted to comment on when there's finally an opening for me to say something. So Twitter is pretty much garbage to me.

I'm still coming up with new technology that I will make a new website with. Unfortunately, that's all I can say at the moment on that.

I'm starting to use Google Notebook. It's neat. Although I think Basecamp or writeboard might more useful, but I'm pretty much committed to Google at this point. The one thing I hate about the web is that everything, before Google, that was useful at all, was all on different sites, with different logins, different URLs, and of course, different user experiences. The last one has come up in work quite a bit, because we're committed to bringing the best user experiences to our clients. But, with different companies, different user experiences are unavoidable, simply because everyone thinks differently. But, after a long while and many successes, there starts to be de facto standards. You have the same thing in first person shooters with movement being WASD and shooting being left click, jump usually being space, etc. You wouldn't want to be the jackass FPS maker that moves that crap around. Although, I was an "arrows" guy at the beginning of my FPS gaming life.

Notebook is neat though because of all the Javascript goodness going on. Also, it's easy to just type up a few notes, save it, and go on with your bad self. There's a plugin for Firefox, so you can have it a click away at the bottom of the browser, open it up, and type in a quick note. Another thing with the plugin is you can highlight some text on any website and click "Add to Google Notebook". I haven't tried this yet, but I'm sure as I use it more I'll find a use for it. The only thing I used it for was to remind myself of stuff that I needed to do or get for the Phillies game tomorrow. I haven't forgotten anything yet :) I'm sure it'll replace my "software ideas" in Google Docs! See, I'm totally "Googlized". No one else has tons of great apps accessible with one sign on.

That's about it. I'm largely difficult to please / impress when it comes to websites / anything / everything. It's not about the technology either, it's about how useful and easy to use it is.

I don't need anything else

Actually, in the time it took to write that title, I thought of a few things that wouldn't kill me to have. Some notes:

1) I got a MacBook Pro: This thing's totally sweet, and I use it all the time at home. It's goddamn beautiful. I use it for music, movies, browsing the web, chatting, working, and damn near everything that you use a computer for. Except playing games and watching stupid content that was made for Windows, like WMVs.

2) I got a new gaming PC. It's got killer specs and I can play Rainbow Six Vegas totally maxed.

3) My car will be paid off in October, and it's still running pretty damn good. I love that thing. The radio's kicking, the acceleration rocks, all the windows work, and the trunk is still as comfortable as ever. When that thing's paid off, it'll be worth about $40 to anyone else, but $1,000,000 to me. No f%@$ing way is anyone getting that thing from me.

4) I could stand to get some clothes. I bought some jeans and some new socks online, and that's pretty convenient, but have you ever ordered clothes online? I was ready to basically eat $40 on these jeans if they didn't fit, because returning them wouldn't be fun. They fit pretty nicely. I have another pair coming, but I definitely need to get rid of the stuff I don't wear and buy a whole new wardrobe. Oh, and I ordered some socks.

5) I need a house. Every month my money goes to helping my brother's money earn money. Or something. I need a house so that I can own something that appreciates, instead of something with actual negative value, like my car. And definitely not rent.

6) I got a Wii. 'Nuff said. Super Paper Mario is da bomb.

7) Movies galore.

8) Music galore. 2200+ songs. I really have no interest in growing my music collection, although I'd definitely consider getting all of G Love's albums. I'm usually pretty satisfied with my music collection, and I never get sick of it.

9) I got 4 fluffy pillows.

10) I quit smoking.

11) Probably could use some lovin'

12) My voice is back baby. I can hit all the notes

13) Today's Friday the 13th

14) Tomorrow's the Phillies game, and I found my cooler, I bought a boombox, I am charging my camera battery, and I'll be picking up lots of beer and a 6 foot hoagie tomorrow. 15 other people, as in humans. Don't forget ice. We'll be way up in section 330. I can't forget the tickets, either. I made a playlist on my iPod called "Baseball game". It starts off with "Lively up yourself" by Bob Marley and ends with "I saw her standing there" by the Beatles. I have another song about a 17 year old girl on there. Can you guess it? I admit it's a bit obscene. (OMG hint!!!)

15) Running out of things to put here. I have a wallet...?

16) Oh yeah, so, I don't *need* anything else besides a house and some clothes. The house will open up tons of needs though.. like a fridge... some rugs.. paint... kitchen stuff... a maid... etc. But for now, I'm just leaving it as a house so as to not feel overwhelmed.

So, there you have it. I'm not going to bed but I'm definitely not typing anymore. I gots me some Super Paper Mario to play.

Two weeks since my last smoke

It's getting a lot easier now. During the first week, I'd pretty much have to pop in a "Commit" for my drive into work to take care of the first two or whatever I'd have before I got to work. Sometimes I'd have a few if I woke up early. Two days ago, I had one towards the end of the day at work, and I didn't have my next one until around noon yesterday! It's easy, but also the nature of the "Commit" lozenge, and your inability to take it and drink or eat for about 35 minutes, I end up taking less of them because I'm pretty much always drinking something. I drink coffee like there's no tomorrow while I'm working. So, if I am to have one in the morning, it has to be during my drive in. My morning at work is all about drinking coffee, so my next chance to have one isn't until my soda or water with lunch is gone. Like 2 or 3pm. If I forget to take my morning one, it's because I didn't need it. Like, as if I'd ever forget to smoke... yeah right. I'll have one for my ride home, and after that, maybe two if I'm playing video games. The urge isn't that bad anymore, although Pat was over, leaving his cigarettes about, and sometimes I'd look over at them and my heart would start pounding, so I just went where they weren't. Until I can have a pack of cigarettes sitting in front of me and not be affected, I know I'm still either addicted or just in love with cigarettes :P I haven't made it this far since about 3 years ago.

Quote of the Day

This quote doesn't make sense:

"Knowledge is power, if you know it about the right person."
- Ethel Mumford

It's weird. Is knowledge something you can "know"? I don't think so. You know something, it's knowledge. But you don't know knowledge. I guess it's data. You know facts, lies, or other things. They make up knowledge. If you learn everything that someone else knows, e.g. their knowledge, you have acquired all of their knowledge, but you still don't know knowledge! I was wondering why that quote sounded weird to me. Oh well.


I mentioned in my last post that Railroads! looks great on my new computer. Here are some screens in a game which I am totally dominating two computers. (In fact, I had bought them out YEARS [in game] ago!!) I'm playing on the "Mogul" difficulty which is where it starts to get hard.

In this one, you can see the train's reflection on the water. Also, notice my freaking cash!! $128 MILLION and I'm worth $194 million.

This one was taken a few minutes later and in game time about a year and a half later. Notice the cement holding the bridge, you can see into the water and see it go down to the bottom of the river.

On this one, the water has moved a bit and I have trains on the screen carrying tons of stuff. Well, one actually has no cargo.

This is where I started the game. You can see the relative location on the map screen. I actually started in Harrisburg. I noticed right away that Lancaster had a steel mill and York had an automobile factory. That's like, JACKPOT!! Cars are the most expensive cargo in most scenarios where they appear. I had two coal trains dumping off coal from two different mines to Lancaster, and a single train just loading up as much steel as it could carry to bring to York... very short distance. The next problem was shipping the cars. The only city at the early stages of the game that demanded cars was Washington DC, which, on the map, is the bottom-left-most city. It cost a pretty penny to get down there. But you can see, I bought the Automobile factory in York (which is why it's blue), and it had made $2.8 million. So it was well worth it.

Great game in terms of beauty and fun. Definitely playing again tonight :D

[Update] I just finished the game and, after my career in the rail business, I decided to run for president. That basically means that you played the best you could play. Of course, that's where the game ends. You can still play but you don't run for president :( That would be awesome.

Going strong after three days

It's actually five days with a slight lapse (one smoke) three days ago...

Part of the trick to quitting smoking is that you need to disassociate stuff that you used to smoke a lot while doing. For me it's most things besides going to church or sleeping. Disassociation takes a lot of doing everything that you smoked during, doing it more often and longer than you did when you smoked, and doing it without smoking. The first of the disassociation process for me was video games.

This weekend Beaner and I played the Wii pretty much all weekend. It was indeed another "Wiikend". Tanks on Wii Play is awesome. We pretty much played three games on Wii Play the whole time, which were Tanks, Shooting Gallery, and the one where you have to find Miis. I'm not sure what it's called. Bean made a Mii, too, which looks a lot like him.

Besides the Wii, I played a lot of STALKER, Rainbow Six Vegas, Company of Heroes, and Sid Meier's Railroads! The latter game was played the most because I bumped up the difficulty from where I'm used to playing, and I bumped up the graphics to 1280x1024 with anti-aliasing on. It looked f@%#@$ing beautiful. It's a slow paced game where smoking would be easiest. You're not always doing something with the keyboard and mouse. You'll set up a route and wait until you're able to make enough money off of it to set up more routes. It's a good financial strategy game. Lots of time to sit back and smoke, which is what made it all the more worthwhile to play it a lot.

Did I mention that my new computer is a goddamn beast?! I think it actually runs cooler than my liquid cooled PC. And I'm telling you, Company of Heroes never looked so good. I have it maxed, but the thing that makes the biggest difference is having the effects maxed. So when my rifle guys are shooting their Browning Automatic Rifles, they kick up dust next to the German soldiers they are shooting at. Or when I drop a howitzer artillery strike on an enemy base, the dirt, concrete, and dudes that it hits all go flying. And I'm so damn good. Zatko and I played a multiplayer game at about 12:30 am Sunday on Seine River Docks. It was him, me and a hard computer vs. an expert, a hard, and a normal computer. Zatko was backed into his corner sucking his thumb, while I was trying to make forward progress the whole time. :) It was a brutal match, but I finally broke through the computer's defenses across from me, and eventually made my way through to the other computers. All without smoking. The only bad thing about online multiplayer is that you can't tell which computer is which. Meaning, I would love to know if I had at least the hard computer across from me. Zatko and I were split with the hard computer between us, and the hard computer wasn't doing anything. So he had a good opponent across from him. I know the CPU player across from me was getting help from someone, so it's not like I couldn't take out a medium. The expert was definitely helping. Anyway, after an hour and twelve minutes, the match was over and we emerged victorious.

Rainbow Six Vegas is a fun game, and it also looks terrific. I had started it on the old computer, but decided that I wanted to go through it from the beginning when I got the new computer up. Well worth it. The combat in it is fun. First person, or even third person, shooters haven't really innovated in terms of combat. I can name a handful... FEAR, Max Payne (1 & 2), Brothers in Arms, and Rainbow Six Vegas.

In FEAR, it was just incredible. I have to install that again. Running up to a dude in slow motion and bashing him across the face with your gun could never be equaled in any game. Or throwing a proximity mine then switching to slo-mo and watching it jump up and explode at eye level with enemy. In Max Payne, again with slow motion, diving and watching all the bullets fly was great. Max Payne 2 introduced a more interactive environment with physics, which became apparent from the start when you shot a dude into a tray full of medical supplies in the hospital and watched it all fly all over the place in slow motion. Brothers in Arms had a less interactive environment than both of those games, and no slow motion, but still it was very innovative. You couldn't kill a guy unless you suppressed and flanked. You could sometimes score a lucky shot, but you had to use the situational awareness (pause and view from above the battlefield) to find the best place to suppress from and the quickest path to flank. Each map was like a puzzle. The third one in that series is sure to be a blast, with a more interactive environment (built on Unreal Engine 3, with destroyable buildings and the like).

I just noticed I'm missing some movies. Sometimes my movies will make their way downstairs. I like to watch them on my MacBook Pro, so the best ones are usually in my bedroom. But sometimes my brothers will take them downstairs where they'll pile up until I collect them. Tonight I collected about 30 of them and brought them back upstairs. That's like half of my collection. But I know that I'm missing some, like Minority Report. I should really keep a better catalog... but once I buy a house, it'll be easier to keep track, since I also have some movies in Jeff's room, like Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'll collect them tomorrow. I'll probably end up buying Delicious Library... if there's a way to export it to some format that can be put onto a website easily. That would be a great use of a webservice... send an image with a barcode and get back the details of whatever it is you scanned. Or just a website with an exportable format where you upload images of the barcode (or ISBN for books) and it adds it to your library. The new applications will not be run on my computer, which is what Google has figured out. There's no need for anything but computational intensive applications, or just stuff that you can't do on the web, to be running on my computer. Figure it out, already, stupid internet. I'm out.

Quitting Smoking

Part 1045:

I decided on Wednesday that I would seek the help of pharmaceutical assistance in my attempt to quit smoking this time. So far, it's working pretty good. I've had just one since Wednesday, but that one has not deterred me in my efforts. I had it Friday night. It was great.

However, not smoking is better. I've been playing video games all day today, during which I would normally resemble a chimney. The one I had yesterday was because Pat left his smokes on the couch when he went out to his car. I have no will power. This is my problem.

No will power but a way to combat it. If I just stay inside and not go anywhere where cigarettes are sold, I can keep off of them for another few days. Although, I did have to go to WaWa today. I ordered Chinese food, hoping they would let me put it on my credit card since I had no cash. This was not the case, and I said "F@#%@". I'd have to go into WaWa, see tons of cigarettes, and not buy any. Mission accomplished! The dude in front of me and the girl behind me bought smokes. I didn't buy any. Jason : 1, Smoking : 1 (since I had one Friday)...

Aside from no willpower, I have no concept of moderation in anything I do. Coffee, pepsi, music, drinking, smoking, etc. In fact, I'll only drink when I can get wasted, and have no problem not drinking any other time. I can't have just one.

But the willpower thing ends once I have no need for or interest in something. So, when I'm no longer addicted, not smoking will not be a problem. Just like I can not go into a bar at 8:30 in the morning. It's easy if you have no desire.

I spent the day playing video games and eating about 4 "Commit" lozenges. I don't keep track, but that's OK. I never kept track of how many cigarettes I smoked either, but this stuff, all I can really get are major cavities! Oh well. I think I'll go brush my teeth.

A lot of people eat a lot more when they're trying to quit smoking. I'm sure if you go cold turkey, you're likely to balloon. Thankfully, I'm not going cold turkey since I know I can't do it that way. Hopefully in a few months, I'll have to ween myself off of Commits and have a huge dentist bill. But I probably won't change my weight. If anything, I'll lose some because I'll be playing the Wii a lot, working out to channel some aggression, and overall just whoopin' some ass.

Wish me luck in my endeavors.

Not holding off on PC anymore

In fact, it's downstairs. I finished the sidework and decided to just order it. Here's what I ended up buying.

1) New keyboard! I'm typing on it right now. It's an Apple Keyboard. No one makes a good plain keyboard anymore. Apple and I share the same philosophy on a lot of things, and a good plain keyboard is one of them. It's gonna take some getting used to though, since this thing is so small compared to my other one which sucked. It had about 80 extra keys, for volume, sleeping the computer, starting certain programs, and a bunch of other crap that I didn't use ever. Not once. Hopefully it's good for games. I'll probably try that out before I go to bed.

2) Don't you hate when you order from one online store, and your order ships from two different places? That's what happened here. I ordered 9 things from and 7 of them shipped from New Jersey. Good thing I didn't pay extra for shipping! The other two packages shipped from California! That's fine, but the New Jersey packages got here today, and the CA ones were still in CA last I checked.

3) What I ordered: 2GB ram, 320 GB HDD (SATA-II), EVGA Geforce 8800 GTS w/640 MB RAM (a beast), Intel E6600 Core 2 Duo running at 2.4 GHz, ASUS motherboard with dual GB ethernet and a whole lot of extra goodies (2 graphics slots! 4 DIMMS!!), Huge case with a fan on the top and side as well as the normal places, power suppy, cpu cooler, and some thermal compound. That's 9.

4) What shipped from CA: Power supply and cpu cooler. This makes it impossible for me to put it together tonight. I could but I also got a game for my Wii called "Elebits", which I played for about 8 minutes and later learned that an hour and a half had passed.

5) Upgradeability. My current computer is not upgradeable, which is what I said in a previous post. This computer... Here are the things I can upgrade:

--- Extra memory. Right now I'll have 2 GB and it has two more DIMMs for another 2GB! Won't be doing that for another year or two.

--- New CPU. The motherboard I got can support up to 1066 MHz FSB, and up to Intel Quad Core! Probably as long as they're Socket 775 or whatever, I'll be able to upgrade quite a bit on the CPU. Won't have to for a long while though.

--- Video card. As well as just flat out upgrading the video card when new ones come out which work on PCI express 16x, I can get a second one! There's not a lot of room in there, and I plan on putting a sound card and a physics card in there. There are enough slots of for them, but the fan on the video card covers a ton of shit. If I have two in there, it's hard to imagine what kind of room, if any, I'll have for other crap.

This keyboard is nice. Only thing is that my wrists are more in a carpel tunnel position than with the other one, but I never type this much on the gaming PC! I'm just typing it on here this time to get a feel for the keyboard. It's quiet. And white. Nothing goes with anything anymore. When I strip the parts out of my old gaming PC and put it in the new one, it'll have a black DVD drive sticking out of a silver case... oh well. I'm not playing a game tonight, it's time for bed.

In other news.. whenever I try to preorder a video game off of, it always gets delayed. I cancelled it and placed the order on and it shipped a few hours later. Of course, it's STALKER, which should be fun. The graphics won't be that great, as I suspected, since they haven't upgraded them in about 2 years, but still, graphics 2 years ago were pretty good. You still got dynamic lighting and physics. I can't wait to play that. Hopefully the power supply and cpu cooler get here soon.

I almost could just throw my power supply in the new PC, and use the fan that came with the CPU for keeping it cool, and if the game comes tomorrow and doesn't run too well on this PC, I will certainly do that. The fan that came with it has to work, but the fan I bought is going to run cooler and quieter, which is why it's $30. Anyways, now it's time for bed. This keyboard rocks.