Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No Updates

Due to unforeseen circumstances, there will be substantially fewer updates today than yesterday. As in 100%, unless you want to be a pedant and consider this an update in which case there is no change in the number of updates.

That aside, tomorrow will have no updates either, in all likelihood.

If you've been reading along, now's your chance to provide some commentary :D Critique me!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dancing Into Darkness, Part 5

Wednesday, February 29th

I found Rinna at the same landing we ate at on Monday. She was seated in the same position, as well; body sitting on the window ledge, legs facing the stairs, and torso swiveled to the window. Her hair delicately contrasted the white snow beyond, and splayed downwards, fading into wisps on her dark green shirt. I stood there for a moment before coughing to make myself known. "Hey."

Rinna didn't turn. Not even the slightest head tilt.

I stood there, ignored, until I noticed what I had mistaken for a headband in her hair. Oh. Music. I strode up to her and gently tapped her shoulder.

Her eyes opened wide for a moment as she turned, extracting one earpiece from her nestle of hair, placing it behind her ear. She quickly adopted her neutral expression. "Oh, it's you. Why are you here?"

"I figured you could use the company."

She shrugged, and moved the earpiece back in place. I slipped my backpack off, slid it next to hers, and reclined on the wall by the window. I shuddered and crossed my legs as they hit the cold stone floor. I had just begun to pull my lunch from my pack when Rinna spoke up.


I turned to find her facing me, hand outstretched. I cupped my hands together to receive the blueberries she offered. "Thanks."

"It'd be cruel to eat these in front of you without sharing." She shrugged my thanks off.

As I slowly popped the berries into my mouth, my eyes traced the shadow of my arm, around Rinna's shadow, and to the other side of the window. "I can see why you might prefer to eat here." I reclined my head against the wall. "It's peaceful. Away from the commotion of the commons. I'm not sure if I could stand this every day though."

Rinna laughed lightly in response. We sat in silence amiably a little longer. I finished off the blueberries, and pulled out my sandwich.

"I have a silly question."

"Ask. I'll laugh at you after."

"Are you in a cult?" I was remembering Tony's warnings. Silly as they seemed, I was a little worried.

"What?" Rinna was shocked. "Are you trying to recruit me?"

"Just rumors....sorry."

"I wouldn't believe any rumors you hear about me."

"Yeah." I hung my head, shame overcoming me suddenly. I shouldn't have asked that. Of course she's not in a cult. Of course she's not a cutter. I'm letting my fears get the best of me. She's just a normal girl. Well, maybe a little different. But not in a bad way. A hand splayed itself in my hair, and ruffled it. I looked up to see Rinna peering down. She quickly withdrew her hand. Her cheeks were tinged with pink.

"It's alright. I'm not offended." She said. "It's a silly rumor." She half-smiled, then turned back to stare out the window. I wondered what she thought about, day in and day out, staring outside at the field.

Tomorrow, Tony would be bound to chew me out. Oh boy.

But it didn't matter. Not right now.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Dancing Into Darkness, Part 4

Monday, February 27th

A hand clamped down on my arm as I left Mr. Randell's class. I turned to my right, looking up, expecting to see Tony there. I was ready to joke about this being an unnatural move. But there was nobody there. I shifted my gaze down, and my eyes fell upon a swath of black hair, turned away from me. "Come on." Rinna started down the hall, pulling me with her. Turning my head back, I saw Tony just exiting the room. The question formed in his eyes before it reached his mouth - What is going on?

I shook my head at him, hoping he wouldn't intervene. It would only cause a needless scene. I mouthed "I'll explain." to him before allowing myself to be pulled down the hall. Rinna was stronger than her slim arms let on. This definitely wasn't about the project, since otherwise Ellie would have come. We had already worked everything out Saturday, already, and had plans to meet at Ellie's house to work the next weekend. So what was this about?

I kept silent, knowing there would be a more opportune time to ask. It couldn't hurt to follow. I'd be lying if I said my interest wasn't piqued.

It was only when we walked by a group of freshman girls talking about who-knows-what when I realized the potential consequence of following Rinna. I caught a few taking furtive glances as I passed by, and I definitely recognized one of them. This would not do any good for my reputation. I was known as a tennis player who kept to his studies and friends, not some kid to be dragged around the school. I shook my swath of brown hair, annoyed at myself for letting this happen. It was a bit late to turn around now without drawing more unwanted attention to myself, and I didn't want to offend Rinna, either.

A faint set of giggles followed me as Rinna led me up a set of stairs, to the second floor. Where the hell was I being led?

I almost ran into Rinna when she halted at the intermediate landing, between the first and second floors. "So, uh, what's this about?" Rinna let go of my arm, and turned to stare at me.

"What?" She sounded as confused as I felt.

"Why did you drag me from history, through the halls, to here, without saying a word?" My arms flew up from my sides into the air.

"I thought I was making things easy for you..." Rinna trailed off. She grabbed her left arm at the elbow, and shifted her gaze down. "You can leave now."

My arms dropped down. "Oh." Shit shit shit. How did she even get that vibe from me?

"Umm..." No words came to me. It probably would hurt my rep more if I just left now.....Rinna would probably feel bad too. "I'll stay." I put on my best fake smile, shrugged my backpack off, and took a seat on the steps. "That is, as long as you promise not to go silent on me." I joked as I pulled my lunch out. I might as well make the best of this.

Rinna sat down on the windowsill. The landing overlooked the field, a vast expanse of white. It had snowed that morning - not much, but enough to make the world a pure, white slate. She stared out the window for a moment before speaking up. "Silence isn't always bad, you know."

"I guess." I looked up from my sandwich; Rinna still had her head turned from me. It...irritated me. I could not put a finger on quite why, however. Rinna seemed so calm here, and it was clear that her seat was a familiar one. "You don't...." I spoke without thinking.

Rinna's gaze turned to me, searching my face as I grabbed for words. "You don' here every day, do you?"

"Mostly. Yeah. What's wrong?" Rinna fluttered her eyes, not understanding. I'm not sure if shock or concern was more apparent on my face.




Rinna opened her eyes with understanding. "Oh! You feel bad for me, don't you? Don't. I prefer it this way. People are stupid."

"Oh." Why did I say that? I searched for some way to undo the depressing turn this conversation had taken. After a few moments' pause, I spoke again. "Hey, do you think Ellie's a vampire?"

"What?" I was taken aback by the surprise in Rinna's tone. She sounded genuinely shocked.

"You know, avoiding Olive Garden and all. She kept dodging my questions as to why she didn't want to go."

"How does that connect with being a vampire at all?" Rinna's tone was flat. Does she not see that I'm joking? I wouldn't put it past her. She doesn't know me well, either.

"Vampires don't like garlic, right? And Olive Garden has a lot of garlic in its dishes. Why are you being so defensive? Are you a vampire too? Gah! I'm surrounded!" I continued to joke. Rinna finally seemed to get it; she laughed.

I swear that the world stopped that moment. Then, it was gone, the sound fading away like chimes on the wind.

"You should lighten up a little. Laugh a little more."

"I don't have much reason to."

"Do you need a reason?"


"Fine." What was it with this girl? "So there was this one time..."


Tuesday, February 28th

"What happened yesterday man?" Tony had gone into overprotective mode again.

"Uhh, what? Nothing. I'm fine." I held my arms up, palms open. I gave him a skeptical look.

"She didn't do anything to you?"

"What? Rinna? No!"

"She looked pissed."

"That was your imagination run wild."

"Then what did she want you for? You were gone all lunch."

"She just wanted to talk. It was enjoyable."

"Watch out, she's moving in..."


"Watch out for her."

"She's not as weird or dangerous as you think she is."

"What has she done to you?" He gasped in mock horror. I chuckled, glad that, as always, he realized when his efforts were unappreciated, if only a little late.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Dancing Into Darkness, Part 3

A shorter piece today. I promise I'll get around to making Bryan into more than just a name tomorrow!
I still dislike the name of this series.


Saturday, February 25th

I found Rinna already seated at a table for three at Olive Garden. Her stark black hair blended into - surprise - a black shirt which hugged at her slim figure. She was bowed over a writing pad, one arm placed around it protectively, shielding her writing from onlookers. I took the seat opposite her. "Hey."

"Hello." Her pencil kept moving, and her head remained down.

"By the way, Ellie's not coming. She said she'd meet us afterwards at the Barnes and Noble."

"Oh. Why isn't she coming?"

"Something about the food not being to her taste."

That got Rinna to look up. "Hmph. There's nothing wrong with Olive Garden." Her hair half-formed a veil around her face for a moment; she quickly tucked it behind one ear. "Well, I'm staying here for lunch. Leave if you like." She paused for a moment, furrowing her brow as if trying to recall something, before turning her attention back to her writing. That last statement normally might have offended me, didn't. It was said with such a lack of tone, as opposed to indifference, that it caught me off-guard.

"I'll eat here."

I was met with silence.

Did she catch that? Maybe she just doesn't care. She certainly didn't seem to.

Why is she so quiet? I glanced around the room, trying to find something to occupy myself with. Maybe I should just leave. It would be less awkward that way.

"May I take your orders?"

Too late.

Click. Rinna's notebook snapped shut, and it disappeared in a flash. She looked to the waiter. "I'll have the Fettucine Alfredo."

"Would you like extra garlic sauce on that?"

"Just the normal amount is fine."

The waiter scribbled Rinna's order down, and I gave him my order when prompted. As he headed back to the kitchens, Rinna spoke up. "Do you have any thoughts on this project, so far?" I breathed an inward sigh of relief. She wouldn't be writing the entire time.

I also hadn't given the project a second thought since it was assigned. "Let's discuss that later. It wouldn't be fair if Ellie didn't do any work today. I'm sure she'd complain." I remarked a tad sarcastically. "So what were you writing, just then?" I wasn't actually interested.

"Nothing you would care about."

"I wonder what you've got to hide..." I mused aloud jokingly.

"Why are you so persistent?" She snapped back.

"I'm just trying to keep the conversation going."

"Then stop prying and tell me something about yourself. I hardly know you."

"It seems that you hardly know anyone." I blurted. There was a pause. "Sorry. I didn't-"

"It's alright. I don't seek out other people." Rinna fell silent. That was the most I'd ever heard her say in one go.

After a long pause, Rinna spoke again. "I-"

"Your order is ready." Two plates of pasta slid onto the table. "Enjoy."

"What were you going to say?" Rinna shook her head.

I ate in uncomfortable silence.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Dancing Into Darkness, Part 2

Well, Rinna's name will stay the same, but I changed the title a little bit (I'm still not satisfied with it). Also I promise this isn't some rule 63'd Twilight. Or, hopefully it isn't. I haven't read the series, soooo...

Also yes, this is based in Seattle. Because referring to "the mall" would get on my nerves so much.


Friday, February 24th

"Class, the paper I am handing out right now is your project, due two weeks from now. That's March 9th. Write that date down. There's always that one group that gets a zero because they misheard the deadline. Don't be that group." Mr. Randell chuckled with part of the class. "You laugh now, but there will be that group. It is always this project, every year."

"Go ahead and read along with me." Mr. Randell returned to the front of the room. "You'll be working in groups of three to advocate for one government and its actions, as a representative of that government."

"Yes, you will be required to act in character. Except please," He put extra emphasis on these words. "Please, speak English." The class snickered. "If I can't understand what you are saying, you get a zero. Now then, let's look at the specifics of this project, and then I'll assign you groups and governments."

My world exploded with sound. My head jolted up from its comfortable seat in the crook of my arm, and the room came into focus. "Shit!" I shouted. Mr. Randell stood before me, smiling as the rest of the class held back laughter. I glanced around the room. Textbooks were strewn about the floor. It took a moment to piece everything together. I must have dozed off, and the class gave me a wake-up call by dropping their textbooks to the floor. "Err, ignore what I just said." Heat rose to my face. "Sorry about that. It won't happen again."

"I'm glad to hear that, Bryan. You've been paired with Rinna and Eleanor. They can fill you in on what you missed." Mr. Randell turned to the rest of the class. "You have the rest of the period to meet with your partners and get started." He turned his back to the class to clean off the whiteboard.

Phew. Lucky for me, Mr. Randell was a laid-back teacher. Swearing wouldn't get you detention in his class - that policy was stupid, anyway. I had also gotten lucky with my group members. Both Rinna and Ellie (Mr. Randell called everyone by their full names) were intelligent, and Ellie was a spirited actor. It would be an easy project....whatever it was. I rose and headed to the back of the room, where Rinna and Ellie were already seated around a table.

"So what did I miss?"

"You mean while you were snoozing?" Ellie responded, grinning mischievously. She brushed a wisp of blond hair behind her ear while waiting for a reply.

"I was taking a well-deserved break!" I protested with false indignation. I took a seat. "Well? Are you going to tell me or not?"

"Well..." She stretched her reply out, leaning back and crossing one long leg over the other. "Later. We're probably not going to get anything done in ten minutes. But let's meet sometime this weekend to figure things out. How about over lunch?"

"I still have no clue what we're doing."

"You're smart, you'll figure it out. Figure out where we're eating, and let me know, alright? Somewhere around Northgate would be great. Ciao." Ellie launched herself out of her chair, across the room, and into her friends, easily slipping into the conversation.

I sat there in silence for a moment before someone spoke softly from behind me. "Victorian England." I swiveled my head toward the voice.

"I'm sorry, I didn't quite catch that."

"We're covering Victorian England. The main concern will be legitimizing maintaining the English colonies." I had nearly forgotten that Rinna was in my group. Hopefully it my face did not show it.

"Ah, thanks. So, what else did Mr. Randell cover while I was out?" I turned towards her.

"Not very much." Rinna spoke slowly. "He went over the rubric, and assigned groups and governments."

"Err, what rubric?"

Rinna grabbed the paper I held with the project details, and flipped it over. "Check the other side."

"So what's a good place for a group to eat in Northgate?"

"Is Olive Garden alright with you?"

"Sure. Let's meet at noon. I'll pass the word on to Ellie."

The lunch bell rang as I picked myself up to fetch my backpack, and I started out of the room. A hand fell on my shoulder, the pressure familiar. "What's up, Tony?"

"Not much man, not much." Tony was one of my closest friends. He had a tendency to be overprotective, something which had gotten me out of more than a few potential disasters in the past. However, on a day-to-day basis, it could be a hassle to deal with.

"What's on your mind? Did you get paired with a bad group?" The crowd of students on their way to the Commons pushed us along, steering us in the direction of our lunch haunt.

"Be careful with Rinna."

"What?" I glanced over my shoulder, to make sure she wasn't behind us to overhear. "Why?"

"I know it's just rumors, but don't get swept up into any cult or any other weird stuff, alright?"

"Uhhh...this is a group project. It's not exactly the same as prying into her private life. There's a slight difference, you see. Would you like me to explain it to you?" I joked.

"You can never be too careful."

"Ellie will be there too. If Rinna tries anything funny, the two of us can take her, easy. She looks pretty frail. Hey look, there's Rami!" I made my way through the crowd to the familiar Indian face, glad for an excuse to change the conversation topic.

Dancing Into Darkness, Part 1

I'm trying something new in terms of writing, both style and content. I have no clue how it will turn out. Critiques are appreciated! I've only written a short introduction today since today was more about plotting things out. The rest of the posts will definitely lean more on the 1k - 1.5k word side than today's paltry 150.

Let's see, what else is there to say? Well, both the title and Rinna's name are subject to change. I'm terrible at names of all sorts, and wonderful with cliched titles. I'll see if I can fix both...


vampire [văm'pīr'] - Undead which drink the blood of the living for sustenance. Vampires appear just as they did in life, and do not age. However, vampires are easily recognized, for they do not appear in photos, and throw no reflections in mirrors. It is common knowledge that they cast no shadows and shirk the stench of garlic, among other apotropaics.


So there's this girl, Rinna. She's the quiet, reserved type, who could go through a school day without saying anything at all. The type who could disappear off the face of the earth, without anyone noticing for weeks or months. Nobody really knows her, though there are some old rumors that everyone knows. That she's a cutter. That she's a cultist. It doesn't help that she always comes to school in dark colors and long-sleeved shirts. But nobody actually knows the truth. It's a bit of a shame, really. She seems like a sweet girl. She's not unattractive either; there's something entrancing about her green eyes. I think I might have a crush on her. Just a little one. Maybe.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

No Post Today!

This post is paradoxical, pay it no mind.

I spent my day sitting in front a computer hitting F5 to get into a class I want to get into instead of writing blog posts and participating in winter break debauchery. I imagine your day was a tad more interesting than mine. Now go read something else. There is no more post to read.



Stop reading.

What do you not understand about "there is no more post to read"?

Perhaps you thought by post, I meant your mail. No. That's a misconception. I meant this blog post. There is no further blog post to read, so go check your mail.

Or perhaps you thought that I was using a dialectical form of English in which "there is no more post to read" is slang for "there is lots more post to read keep on going and enrich yourself with this stimulating material". Incorrect. I am using proper English.

Go away. I am busy refreshing pages.

Monday, December 19, 2011

In Which Pedantry and Intolerance Abound

....or should that be "In which pedantry and intolerance abound"?

Anyways, over the past few days, I've been looking over old posts and cringing. A lot. I suppose that's a sign of improvement. Among those posts was the "Dead Phrases" post...I cringed at that one too. But I do have a few additions...

"Needless to say..."
No. Stop. I agree with you, you don't need to say it, so skip it.

"5evr" or any variation thereof
Yes, you made a funny, oh yes you did. Aren't you proud of yourself? Oh yes you are. Oh you're so funny. I just laugh so much whenever I see that. You can stop now. This horse died far before you started beating it. Stop flailing at it! The chunks of rotting flesh flying off are staining the base of my ivory tower.

"like dis if u cry everytiem"

-ass appended to adjectives (e.g. "That's a sweet-ass ride you've got there.")
I do not understand the rationale behind this. Please, expand your vocabulary beyond vulgarities, and then we'll talk. XKCD has a little to say on this matter as well.

"No offense, but..."
Nice try, person trying to get away with an insult. Learn to create constructive criticism.

"I don't mean to interrupt, but..."
No, no, go ahead. I usually wear this intense look of concentration on my face when I'm thinking of unimportant things that you can disturb with your inane babble.

"X, but....Y" (Where Y is contradictory to or mutually exclusive with X)
Stop dancing around the message and say it. Mincing your words won't mince the meaning. Mince mince mince mince semantic satiation mince.

That's all the condescension and snobbishness I have for today. I think I've gotten worse at it. Oh dear.

About page updated.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Most Glorious Leader....Dead?

Many news sources have reported the death of Kim Jong Il, the Most Glorious Leader of Best Korea. Truly, the world has lost someone unlike any other. His death will be mourned by the masses, and a space shuttle will be launched into the sun in his honor. (Well, probably not, but one can always hope.) Kim Jong Il leaves a wake behind him that will rock the world. While the honorable course of action would be to mourn, we must also look to the future, to what lays in store for the rest of us.

First, US politics are about to be shocked to the core. With Kim Jong Il dead, the US has lost its main source of crazy imports, meaning politicians everywhere will have to be more rational in order to conserve a rapidly dwindling supply of crazy. With Palin and Cain out of politics, our crazy supplies will last a lot longer, but an era of crazy conservatism is ahead of us. Perhaps the logic sector could use this as a chance to jump the market void and increase informed voter decisions.

Second, we now know that Kim Jong Il, in his dying moments, has managed to create a time machine to report his death from the future. It is clear that such technology now exists since, Kim Jong Il died on Monday, December 19th, 2011. It even says so here! Look at the publishing date....that's Sunday, December 18th, 2011. The only way we can account for this discrepancy is that North Korean officials came back to the past to report Kim Jong Il's death a day early, in order to prevent catastrophe. Clearly, sending this information into the past cleared the 1% divergence barrier, preventing a big brother dystopia in the future! Our Savior saves us even from beyond the shroud of death. The world will have to handle this new technology with care.

Third, the world will reel from losing such a talented person. In losing Kim Jong Il, we have lost a self-proclaimed internet expert, something there is a clear shortage of.  We have lost his impeccable fashion sense, and now lobsters all over the world ready to be air-shipped to him no longer have a stomach to call home! In addition, the world will suffer from amazing love deficits. All the love the world has sent him no longer has anywhere to go, and the love economy will suffer accordingly!

It is with great sadness that I bid you goodbye, oh His Excellency the Highest Incarnation of the Revolutionary Comradely Love, Mastermind of the Revolution, Savior and Great Defender, oh Beloved and Respected Father of the People and of the Nation, Fate of the Nation, World Leader, Great Marshal, Amazing Politician, Guiding Shining Star of the 21st Century and Paektu Mountain, Guiding Sun Ray, Guarantee and Symbol of the Fatherland's Unification, Ever-Victorious, Iron-Willed Commander-in-Chief, Bright Great Sun of Juche Life the Nation Socialism and of the Communist Future, Great Man, Who Is a Man of Deeds, Beloved Ever-triumphant Glorious Great Invincible Respected General who descended from Heaven, Party Center, Beloved Brilliant Dear Great Peerless Respected Supreme Unique Wise Leader of our Party the Country the Army and of our Nation who is a perfect incarnation of the appearance that a leader should have of the Revolutionary Armed Forces and all around Superior Person. Farewell.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Back With A Pseduo-vengeance

Winter break is here, and with it, more amateur writing! I can hear your gasps of delight from here, and I can tell you that you're doing it wrong. Gasps of delight are not supposed to resemble screams of agony. It's a good thing my ear is well-tuned to these subtleties.

Anyways, since I have nothing better to do to revive this blog, I'll make a quick detour into pedantry. Apparently, "anyways" is both the informal and dialectical form of correct "anyway". That is not to say anyway, that any way anyways is used is wrong. is completely unimaginable that that paragraph was leadup in any way for "anyway that any way anyways". I'll stop now, I promise. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

It's a little late now, so I'll end this here. Longer post incoming tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Err, as the title. Turns out I have homework today, tomorrow, Thursday, and Friday and Saturday are looking like no-gos. So Sunday will be the next post. Damn it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Resolution One: College Funding

Inherency: College now more than ever is a requisite for success in the United States. Without a college degree, finding a well-paying job which can sustain the American lifestyle is hard and frustrating, if not downright impossible. The demand for excellency of work is ever-increasing, and employers are of one mind; college makes for better workers. More and more high schoolers are being driven to college in order to secure a job.

Colleges are responding to this demand with tuition hikes. Students see their tuitions rise by up to 30% a year, and means of meeting these increases are not becoming any more widespread. As of 2010, only 20% of students were able to pay their tuition upfront. 80% had to take out student loans in order to make their way through the ever-more necessary college. The number of students who opt to skip college due to the financial strain each year is increasing.

Harms: Students now have little choice but to face crippling debt upon exiting high school if they wish to enter college. They must become frugal spenders throughout college and for the next decade thereafter, restricted by their debts and unable to afford anything but the basic necessities of life, lest they face bankruptcy. Our future is one of less and less spending as post-grads fight to pay off loans.

The economy is still recovering from the shock of the housing bubble burst. This recovery will be slow, and requires more spending in order to ensure it continues to recover. If the USFG becomes any more conservative with its spending, we will doubtless see another collapse.

Our current future is one of economic collapse. In the vital years to come, we will see an entire generation failing to spend anything but the bare minimum as they pour their earnings into repaying student loans. There will be an entire generation's worth of spending lost. This will push the economy over the brink and we will fall back into recession.

Resolved: The USFG should substantially increase federal aid to students in college. We reserve the right to clarify.

Solvency: With substantial increases in federal funding of higher education, students will be able to go through college with far less debt, if any at all. 50% more students will be able to exit college with no debt, while the remaining 70% of all students exiting with debt will see that number reduced by more than 40%. In years following graduation, spending will see increases as students are able to pursue housing or other goods. This will keep the economy's recovery stable. The plan prevents a recession which would lead to economic collapse as the student problem would have no end in sight.

Second, with federal funding, an additional 5% of the population which would otherwise make the choice to not attend college would attend, allowing for further expenditures. This means that in the wake of the plan, the United States would have an even stronger economy. The increase in college graduates in society would also lead to improved innovation within the United States. Innovation is directly linked to a stronger economy and greater world presence.

Assume I've got a Hedge good argument here, linked to Advantage 2.

Thoughts: I think I overdid this one in terms of impacts. I also excluded the snowball of impacts from each advantage just because they'd be kinda boring to type out. This topic was kinda boring in general since all the advantages led to the same impact and the extrapolation was pretty clear. Also, I should note now that a lot of these pre-research setups are going to be vague and unintelligible, or have clearly false numbers; they're ballparked. I just don't know enough hard facts. But then again, that's the point of this...learning.

Also, these definitely are not going to be 7 minute long speeches. No way.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Making Cases

If you don't do debate, the rest of this will probably make less sense than promising to sign all pro-life constitutional amendments if elected president. But that's no excuse to be Herman Cain!

Anyways, as what appears to be a rigorous year in debate approaches, I figure I might as well give myself some practice with improv arguments given a random resolution to make myself better at forming 1AC and off-case arguments - but probably just DA. I might throw in the occasional CP or K or T, but those are all rather short things, except K, which is just complex. Of course, without a prior 1AC, I won't be able to do case for these random resolutions. Oh well.

So, the plan is that I'll give myself say, an hour, (time due to change) to write up a convincing argument for/against the resolution, depending if I feel like Aff/Neg that day. Over the next two to three days I'll go look stuff up on the subject, since I probably won't know guano about it, and come back with a coherent case, with sources cited! This will probably mean 2-4 updates per week, all of which will make sense to you debate folks! The rest of you will see rampant hyperbole and a very pessimistic view of the world, huzzah!

Reading this again, this probably doesn't even make sense to debaters. Tomorrow. Tomorrow it will make sense. Once I get some sleep. Delicious delicious sleep.

Also, I'll likely be pulling resolutions from here, among other sources. Maybe some old CX ones as well, but those are far less varied, and there are far fewer of them, too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sunset, to be continued...

So, if you didn't get it already, Sunset was Minecraft-based fiction. It was also based around a neat little mod I found called Solar Apocalypse. I'm currently at a loss for what to do next, though I have an idea of the end; I may continue this as a sort of diary-based thing as Garret needs someone/thing to talk to or he'll go raving mad.

As the start of school approaches, I'm also not sure how much time I'll have for this blog. Likely, there won't be any posts until Winter quarter, but perhaps I'll find time.

I suppose that's all for now. I'm sure you'll find out pretty quickly when I make a post and get this blog running again by means of constant nagging and/or airhorns.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sunset, Part 7

Garret awoke to a sweltering sun. His back was raw, sunburned. There was the faint smell of smoke in the air, reminiscent of a camp fire. The faintest breeze blew over him, causing him to cringe. His back stung.
He picked himself up, rubbing at his eyes. He smirked at how similar this was to not but two days ago.

Am I condemned to repeat this forever?

The sun was painful, and larger in the sky than ever. It hung in the sky, looking fat enough to collapse onto the ground at any moment. As Garret averted his eyes from the sun, he caught sight of a plume of smoke on the horizon. It covered a vast expanse, and was carried lazily towards the mountains by the slight wind. He walked toward it. I bet I'll catch sight of whatever's making that smoke on the way to the forest. Damn, I'm hungry. He rubbed his stomach absentmindedly, then jerked his hand away; his stomach too, was burnt. It seemed only his scalp had evaded that fate, but his hair was brittle, and stiff.

Garret continued to walk, though the sand was painful on his feet. What else could he do?

Garret had barely caught sight of the forest when he realized where the smoke was coming from. A forest fire raged though the region, tearing through tree and shrub and animal alike. He could only stare at the destruction. A charred pig, skin burning, burst from a fiery conflagration, and ran onto the sand. It ran helplessly in circles before passing out. The smell of roast pork accompanied the smoke, and it was all Garret could do to tear his eyes away. He didn't want to watch the forest burn but he felt the inexorable urge pulling him back, forcing him to watch the blaze.

It was then that something snapped. Garret felt an itching on his skin, like that of a mosquito bite, or the death throes of a sunburn, but it was from neither of those - his sunburns were too new to be anything but raw to the touch. It came from deeper inside him, almost as if his bones were rebelling against his body.

And then he screamed. His skin charred in front of his eyes, and his hair burnt, wisps of it falling off, and blowing to the ground. He screamed, throat parched from the dry atmosphere, and he ran. Something possessed him to take the pig, which weighed heavily in his arms as he ran. He needed shelter. Shade. The forest was gone. The ocean was far away. Where could he-

The cave. That dark, ominous thing. That was probably where the spiders lived. And that man. That strange, primal man. Should he go there? Could he afford not to?

He ran, ran for ages it seemed, and screamed in victory when he found solace in the cave, rolling on the floor, rolling in agony, in joy, and to extinguish the fire that ate at him.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunset, Part 6

When Garret awoke, four pairs of glowing red eyes stared at him from the dark. They were ravenous, and sitting not fifteen feet away from him. His fire had burned out again, leaving him with only moonlight to make out the silhouette of the eyes' bearer.

A spider.

A huge spider.

Its body was monstrous, bulbous in shape, swelled far too large to be harmless. It was as large as a cow. Its sheer black body blended well with the darkness. And it was just watching him.

It sat there, clinging on a branch, looking at Garret as if he were an overly large bug to be sucked dry. He suppressed a shiver at that thought.

Why isn't it doing anything? Does it think I'm dead? I need to get away from here. It doesn't seem hostile, but there's no way I'm sleeping with that around, and no way I can kill it, either.

No doubt in it's amplification in size, the exoskeleton had been hardened by a similar amount. It'd take a fucking chainsaw to rip through its body, if not something stronger. Maybe a large slab of cement.

Maybe I could throw one of these branches to distract it? Garret still had an array of branches in his lap, weighing him down, though the berries in his hands had found their way into his stomach hours ago. They were threatening to make their way back up, however. I can't just sit here, and I'm sure that if I move, it'll-

The sticks clattered to the ground, followed soon after by Garret, tumbling to soften his impact. He was off at a run, when the spider lunged for him. Every footfall, every new sprint forward, was an instinctive reaction, centered around self-preservation. He leapt over a fallen tree without thinking, slid under a low-hanging branch, and continued to run. The monster of a spider was keeping its pace with him - no, it was gaining on him.

Adrenaline drove him to run faster than he had before, faster than even the previous night. He didn't care where he ran to, just as long as it was further away from this spider.

By the time he reached the beach he washed ashore upon, his breath was ragged, his every footfall was heavy from exhaustion, and his adrenaline was gone. He was almost in tears from fright.

Sand flew into the still night as he collapsed, resigned to his fate.

The fangs never came. Somehow, he had lost the spiders. But what now? What could he do?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sunset, Part 5

Garret halted when he got to the river's edge. The moans hadn't gotten any closer for the past few minutes; Garret took that as a good sign. Perhaps the person had decided not to pursue him. The river's water felt cool on his face, and helped to calm him down. He swallowed it quickly, still panting a little from his flight.

Garret got no more sleep that night. Try as he might, laying by the river's bank, he could not slumber. A spear of fear shot through him whenever he heard a moan. Most were faint, off in the distance. Garret couldn't be sure if he was hearing them for real, or if his mind was creating these figments itself. The night was oppressive, and seized in on Garret from all sides.

Garret welcomed the sunrise. He considered sleeping with the sun's arrival, but he knew he couldn't forage by night. He'd have to collect enough wood to last him the night.

The sun was hotter that day. It seemed even larger in the sky than it had previously been. The river water, lukewarm the day before, now almost burned Garret as he drank from it, in between firewood collecting trips. More grass was dying, more leaves decaying. Perhaps autumn was coming. Extremely quickly.

The night too came quickly. It found Garret sitting atop the bough of a tree, squeezed in with several large branches which could easily be broken into sections, and a multitude of berries and roots in his hand. He remained up there as the night passed, throwing a new section of tree into the fire whenever it showed signs of waning.




Zzzzz. Sleep enveloped Garret.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sunset, Part 4

Night had fallen before Garret's fire had finally started. It cost him a chipped fingernail, two raw palms, and hours collecting fallen branches small enough to burn. He took another trip to the river once the fire was in no danger of going out.

The river was not far from his camp - it wound through a clearing in the forest, going on out of sight on either end. The water was warm in his mouth, heated by the sun, but it was fresh, and clean. He cupped one last refreshing handful into his mouth, not minding that some dripped onto his shirt. It would help cool him in the night. He welcomed any source of cold; it was humid here, and the forest trapped the sun's warmth in it, even now.

Somewhere, a wolf howled. He's probably complaining about the heat, too.

Wolves shouldn't be here. This is a jungle. Wolves don't...are there mountains nearby? I'll have to look for those tomorrow. Perhaps they'll be colder.

He laid down in the center of his campground, a small grove where the night sky poked through the foliage. Here he could gather a night's rest without worrying about being crushed in his sleep. But being crushed was at the back of Garret's mind as he struggled for sleep. His bed of leaves did little to cushion the ground, and it seemed as if the air around him was heating by the second. It was a while before sleep overtook him.


Garret's slumber was short-lived; he awoke to a resonating groan. Still in the throes of sleep, he shut his eyelids and willed unconsciousness to come back.


The groaning wouldn't stop.


It was getting....closer?


No, just his mind playing tricks.


Garret jumped up as a hand clutched at his shoulder. He spun in surprise, and saw a figure in the darkness.

"Hello there." He couldn't make out the face of the man with only starlight to guide him. His fire had long since burnt out. "Who are you?"

The figure balled up its hand in a fist, and lashed out. The hand was cold, and clammy on Garret's skin. 

"The fuck are you doing?"

The figure got closer, and swung again. Garret ducked, and began to run.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sunset, Part 3

Garret found himself staring into the mouth of a cave. It began as a hole in the ground, just a slight mound from the other side. It tilted at a shallow incline beneath the earth, which swallowed it up soon after. The darkness was impenetrable even a few feet in - the mere thought of stepping in there didn't sit well with Garret. He moved on, further into the forest.

He hadn't found any food when his stomach began to grumble in annoyance. He had passed some wild boar by already, much to the dismay of his stomach. But it wasn't realistic to think he could kill and cook one without any sort of instruments.

Garret came across some sort of fowl, rooting in the underbrush for something. Again, not a realistic meal at this point, though his mouth watered at the thought of roast bird. But that wasn't why it caught his attention. Likely, the bird was eating something - something Garret could eat.

He ran at the fowl, and it ran off, slender wings unable to pick its fat body off the ground. It left behind a red mess of berries on the ground and an opening in the shrubbery which betrayed a bush of succulent purple-red fruit. He sat on the ground, and began to pick at the stuff, thinking about the strange place all the while.

The forest is decaying at an unnatural rate. He mused over a mouthful of semi-sweet fruit. The trees seem to be just falling apart, and the grass dies while you watch it. It's not as if the plants are growing faster, either. What a strange place. Urgh. He winced as he bit into a rotten berry. It joined the red mess on the ground promptly. Eating more berries wouldn't remove the sickly sweet taste from his mouth - another rotten berry he found only amplified it - so Garret stood to seek water. He'd need it in days to come as well.

Time Reclamation

Today, I begin a campaign to rid myself of the twin time consumers that are reddit and League of Legends. This really doesn't affect any of you readers (except perhaps with the creation of more content to be read) so the rest of this post may be completely boring to you. I won't be offended if you stop reading.

Or, you could use this as a chance to spur your own anti-time wasting campaign!

Premise: I spend too much time on reddit and League of Legends. When I have nothing to do, I find myself automatically clicking that tantalizing reddit bookmark, and spending a few minutes there before realizing there's something better to do at that time. When I want to play a video game, my first thought is League of Legends. Clearly, I'm too far in. I'm putting this out in public, as opposed to writing it for just myself, as I believe that will help me accomplish my goal. It's a psychological thing.

Goal: This is meant as a campaign to free up my time, and also give other video games a chance to be played. In the end, I intend for reddit and League of Legends to have much less weight in my life, with reddit taking up no more than fifteen minutes a day, and with League of Legends being played for one hour each day.

More importantly, I want my mind to go to something other than web browsing or video games when I need something to do. Reddit and League of Legends just happen to be the largest offenders.

Approach: I will try to reach my goals in two ways, to see which is most effective, then apply it to the other. For reddit, I will cut myself off from it completely for a period of one week, and then allow myself to go back, but for fifteen minutes a day, maximum. The same approach will be taken for all boredom-based web browsing. Whenever I find myself browsing out of boredom, I will find something else to do (I've made my own list). As for League of Legends, I will limit myself to two games or forty minutes a day, whichever is met first. If a game takes more than twenty-five minutes, it will count as two games. At the end of a one-week period, I will raise the cap to one hour.

Timespan: One week before a check-in.

We will now return to our scheduled programming.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Sunset, Part 2

The grassy ground was cool and firm beneath Garret's bare feet. He sighed in relief as he reached the grass, then  found a tree to recline beneath. As he moved to the shade, the change in temperature was immediate. No longer was the sun beating down on him. He hadn't felt a summer like this - it had to be summer, right? - for years now, not since he....since he....

Garret scratched his head and furrowed his brow. Since he what? He couldn't recall.

He sat in silence for a while more, trying to remember. His memory was hazy...he remembered a bar....there was  laughter, and a TV dimly playing in the background. That was it. Nothing else. He slammed the ground in frustration.

To his surprise, a clump of grass dislodged itself, wilted beneath his fist. The ground beneath was cooler than the surface, and he laid his hand to rest there.


A branch of the tree behind Garret fell, noisily tearing down leaves as it went along its earthbound route. It landed with a dull thump right beside Garret. Shit. That was close. He peered up, to make sure no other branches were in danger of falling, and caught a glimpse of the sun. The light seared his eyes, and he whirled his head away, blinking away the multicolored lights which obscured his vision.

The sun. It seemed....larger?

Garret chanced another look, furtive, quick, and confirmed his suspicions. The sun was roughly twice the size in the sky that it should have been. Was that why everything was so hot?

Somewhere, in the distance, another branch fell from its perch. Garret rose; it wasn't safe to stay here for long. Not unless safe included possible concussions. A concussion would be bad, with nobody around to treat him.

I'll play it safe. He decided. I need to find some water, and some food. Probably just berries and roots for now. I'll try to find other people once I've got the basics covered.

Around him, in the unshaded area, some of the grass had browned. Garret was sure that it hadn't been brown when he'd sat down. The grass was dry, brittle, and dead.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sunset, Part 1

Garret felt water lapping at his feet when he awoke, and a gritty feeling in his mouth. He tried to open his eyes, but found it too hard, so he laid in darkness for a spell, the gentle waves caressing his feet. The same gritty sensation which filled his mouth was present where his body met the ground. It itched.

When Garret pushed himself into a sitting position, he found himself on a beach. Agh, it was bright. He brushed the sand from his eyelashes as he looked himself over. He had nothing to speak of on his person, save the clothes he had been wearing last night - a light polyester shirt, and some jeans - and they were worse for the wear. His jeans were frayed at numerous points. Those were new, damn it.

Garret was scratched and bruised, but nothing seemed amiss. He had been carefully relived of all his possessions, however. Every last thing - wallet, watch, keys, phone, even shoes - had been gracefully snatched from him.

Suddenly, an overwhelming urge to vomit wracked his body, and a delightful mixture of sand and seawater spilled out of his mouth, accompanied by what appeared to be the remnants of some well-done ribs. As the tide washed it away, Garret glanced at his surroundings.

The beach he had just soiled stretched on for miles to either side of him, with the occasional cactus interrupting the sand, though the horizon betrayed mountainous regions further in the distance. Ahead of him, where sand turned into dirt, lay the beginnings of a forest, and behind him, the sea of sand turned into one of water. The vast expanse of liquid shone brightly beneath the sun, and was warm to the touch. It was only now that Garret realized a faint burning sensation beneath his feet. He ran for the trees.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Prewritten Fiction #4

“What do you mean, your hole?” Owaki was skeptical, and his face showed it.

“There was one of these that was identical to me. My silhouette, it framed it perfectly!”

“The cameras were pretty far off, don’t you think? You could easily have mistaken it for-” He raised an eyebrow.

“No! I know that the hole was based off me!” She gestured violently to herself.

“The researchers say these holes are thousands of years old. You heard them yourself. It’s rather silly to think that one of these is based off you. And to be so exact, well, that’s impossible.”

“Not quite.” A gently lilting voice sounded from behind Owaki. He turned to face a gaunt man, perhaps a few years older than him. His wiry frame bore nothing but skin upon itself. “I saw my own hole on TV. I know what you’re feeling. It’s unbelievable, how many people came here not to see this place for themselves, but because they saw their hole. I was asking around while I searched for mine.”

“Who are you, that makes you such an authority?” Owaki was not so easily trumped, meeting this newcomer with indignation.

“I’m just Nakagaki. But the reason I can back your friend up is this.” He gestured grandly behind him, to the wall. His finger pointed at one of the carvings which, Owaki had to admit, bore striking resemblance to him. But the idea was still foreign to him, that these holes could have been carved for specific people. Nakagaki read this doubt on his face. “I don’t blame you for not believing me. But, just watch this!”

Nakagaki quickly unbuttoned his shirt, revealing the bones of his rib cage beneath, poking out from the skin, and threw the garment off to the side. His jeans came off just as quickly, and suffered similar fate; he spared Yoshida the embarrassment of looking away, sparing his underwear. He strode confidently up to his hole.

He fit perfectly. There was not a gap of air to be seen; there was no break between stone and flesh. Then he started to sink into the hole. Owaki dashed forward, but could not get any grip on the man’s skin to pull him back. “Come back! That’s dangerous! You don’t know where it leads!” Soon, Owaki could not touch the man at all. He was gone into the darkness.

“Did you see that?” Owaki turned to Yoshida, who stood, unmoving. He shouted this time, “Did you see that? Someone just went into that hole! Help! I don’t think he can get out himself.”

“Get the research team! They have a probe!”

“Call a rescue team!”

“Someone get rope!” A sense of panic began to fill the crowd, and dread filled those who had come looking for their own holes.

Just five minutes later, after the research team had put their thirty-meter optic probe into Nakagaki’s hole, he was gone. The team could find no trace of him.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Prewritten Fiction #3

Apologies for the delay. It's been an eventful last few days.
Here's part three.

They found an old trail, replete with fresh prints no older than a few hours. It was a clear descent, with low-hanging branches and ill-placed bushes shoved cruelly out of the way. Even with their heavy loads, the two had no problem getting down. Suddenly, Owaki bumped into Yoshida, who had frozen. They were at the bottom, and Yoshida stared ahead, mouth open.

“Hey, let me see.” Owaki lightly pushed past Yoshida. He nearly fell.

Beyond the hundreds upon hundreds of people gathered at the fault, there lay massive carvings in the wall. They resembled shadows, cast from nonexistent floating figures, plastered all over the fault. Scattered among adult shapes were the bodies of children, and some which were just blots on the wall from this distance.

“Are those…babies?” Yoshida  came to the conclusion simultaneously with Owaki.

“I think so.” Owaki felt a strange sense of revulsion; he was unable to determine why, however. “Let’s move closer.”

As Owaki and Yoshida pushed through the crowd, the occasional flash from a camera or cellphone leaving spots in their eyes, the shapes became clearer. They were cleanly cut into the walls, with no excess cracks or malformations in the shapes. Each figure was a drawing in negative space. Owaki stopped at the edge of the crowd, yet felt a compulsion to keep moving forward, to embrace the wall, to….enter. He clamped his hand on Yoshida’s shoulder, preventing her from advancing further, and rooted himself in place. The gravel of the valley was uncomfortable beneath his feet.

“It’s just like on TV…” Owaki murmured.

“Except so much stronger. I feel…no, I need to…” Yoshida agreed.

“No, stay here.”

The two stood in awed silence for a spell, before Yoshida remarked, “It’s a wonder that these were so cleanly preserved. Underground, for who knows how long.”

“Look at the other face of the fault; there’s not a single marking there.”

“Makes you wonder how anything like this could happen.”

“We could ask them, they look like they might know something.” Owaki pointed to a group of white-clad researchers examining the holes with an array of expensive-looking equipment.

The researchers were feeding optic cable into one of the holes nearer to the ground. Owaki was careful not to disturb any of the equipment as he moved closer for a better view. A small monitor displayed the interior of the hole, lit up by a small light at the end of the cable. The stone surface of the hole was totally smooth, unmarred by loose rocks or dirt, and maintained the same shape until it bled into darkness.

“Sir, that’s the end of the cable.” One researcher reported to the eldest of the group.

“Well, order more, we must find out what lays at the end. The hole seems to curve into Amigara mountain.” He adjusted his thick glasses, looking at the cable in a futile attempt to elongate it.

“Sir, the test results are back!” Another young man ran to the group. “The sample we took says that the hole is thousands of years old!”

“Could it be man-made?” The head researcher voiced his thoughts aloud.

“That seems as impossible as it being a natural formation.”

“I keep telling you! Aliens!” Another researcher piped in.

“Shut it, Suzuki. Those don’t exist.”

“Well then, how were they made?”

“Perhaps they were dug out from the inside…” By now the researchers and some from the crowd were voicing their thoughts as they came. Owaki tensed up at the thought of being trapped in the mountain, forced to dig his way out.

“Well then, where’s the entrance?”

“It’s been a long time, erosion and soil accumulation could easily have sealed it up.”

“Well then, what sort of people could have made these holes? And why? They must have had some sort of purpose.”

“Perhaps as a way to remember the dead? These could be old burial chambers.”

“There would be many more child tombs, then. Infant mortality rates were very high thousands of years back.”

“Yeah, so what do…” The voice trailed off as Owaki hurried to follow Yoshida. She had set off, climbing a mound of fallen rocks, head turning back and forth, scanning the wall. She was searching for something.

“Yoshida, is everything alright?”

“I saw it on TV.”

“What? What do you mean, you saw it? What did you see?”

“My hole.”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Prewritten Fiction #2

The Enigma of Amigara Fault, Part 2

Owaki sighed, resting his hands on his knees. He was more out of shape than he had expected. His heart was racing from the exertion of hiking for just a few hours. He dropped his day pack to the ground, and brought out a map of the area. It was several years old, but he bought it for half the price of a new one. Am I still on Amigara Mountain? He scanned the area for some landmark he could make use of, but found none. I better not be lost…I’m miles away from the nearest village, and those were all hit hard by the quake.


Owaki looked up from his map, and spied a young woman, long black hair splayed over her hiking gear, slowly ascending the slope. A light blouse and blue jeans weighed her down with every step; the jeans were a bad choice to hike in, given the summer heat.

“Hey!” Owaki ran over to the woman, his pack left resting on the ground. “I’m Owaki.” He extended his hand.

“I’m Yoshida.” She paused, unsure about Owaki’s forwardness. He realized this, and felt his face redden a little.

“I’m sorry. I assumed you were looking for the fault, and that I should introduce myself, since that’s where I’m headed too. You don’t see many women hikers around alone, and I just…sorry.”

Yoshida brushed it off. “Grab your stuff, we can talk and keep moving.” She fidgeted a little, wanting to start off again. It wasn’t long before Owaki was back, bent a little at the weight of his pack. Was this tent really necessary to bring? Just the sleeping bag could have sufficed…

“I saw the coverage on TV yesterday.” Yoshida started. “It unsettled me, but I couldn’t stop thinking that I needed to come here, to see this for myself.”

“How strange! I got the same feeling, and I just couldn’t shake it. It’ll be good to have company at the fault.” He smiled as he and Yoshida picked their way through uneven rubble, disturbed by the recent quake.


“Hm? Is something wrong?”

“No, I’m alright. Let’s keep going.” Owaki had stopped, but at Yoshida’s urging, continued to move forward, feet landing at odd angles on the various rocks.

The sun was low in the sky when Owaki heard something. The sound of people – low voices, muttering, chatting. He looked to Yoshida, and a nod from her confirmed that he wasn’t just hearing things. They continued forward, and found themselves at the top of a steep hill. The rocky side of the face was nearly vertical, with a few outcroppings where one could safely stand. At the bottom of the fault – this must be the Amigara fault! – hundreds of people sat and stood around.

“It’d be dangerous to go down this way.”

“Yeah, let’s find another path.” Yoshida agreed. “At least we’ve found the fault. It’s really in the middle of nowhere.”

Friday, August 5, 2011

Prewritten Fiction #1

12:20 PM
Back after a long, unplanned hiatus involving staples, my lung, and a hospital. For the next few posts, I'm going to be writing fiction. Or at least, transcribing fiction.

Basically, the gist of this is that, rather than taking something completely new, I'll find a movie, or a cartoon, and make video text. They'll have to be terribly short scenes though.

First up, The Enigma of Amigara Fault, by Junji Ito. It's a short story in manga form. Off to writing!

1:00 PM
This will probably be broken up into parts over the next few days. This means I get to write more!

1:30 PM - This portion of the writing is complete! Next installment tomorrow.

Owaki could feel the rumbling from his fourth floor apartment. It was a gentle rumble of an earthquake far away, the type Japan was used to experiencing. Okawi continued to watch the news, sure that he was safe, and that nothing fragile needed to be moved.

Sometime later, he woke up. He must have dozed off on the couch. That had been happening more and more often these days. There was really nothing to do in the summer, while classes were out. His friends were all out of the city, touring Tokyo, or enjoying the mountainous countryside. A few of the lucky ones were overseas, in Europe, or the United States. Okawi was left here in the stifling heat, jobless and without classes to go to. It was too hot outside for all but the street vendors and the tourists.

Okawi laid on the couch for another spell, letting the droning voice of the newscaster fade into white noise. “…the earthquake at Amigara Mountain has caused quite the stir. The mountain appears to have-”


The remote fell with a quiet thump onto the carpeted floor, its job complete. Presently, a pair of bare feet joined it, slowly shuffling towards the laminated tiles of the kitchen. Okawi began to prepare himself some ramen. As the stove began to heat the room further, Okawi slipped a few ice cubes into his mouth, and slicked back his short hair with some water from the sink. The heat was oppressive, and the fans did little to liberate the young student. Okawi shuffled back to the couch as he waited for his noodles to cook.


“…and now we go to our reporter on the scene, Aizawa Ohba. What have the teams found at the Amigara fault, Ohba?”

“Well, Yoshida, the earthquake has uncovered two things. First, the natural landscape here is beautiful. The split peaks of the mountain promise an exhilarating hike to the top and an astonishing view from the top.”

“Why is that?”

“The earthquake split the mountain in two, and created a fault leading deep down. Even hikers who have previously gone up the trails of Amigara Mountain should find a new experience in store.”

“Ohba, you mentioned the teams found a second thing?”

“Yes, and that second thing is quite the discovery. In the newly created wall, there are thousands upon thousands of holes.”


“Human-shaped holes. We have been unable to get a read as to how deep these holes are, but they appear to go deep into the mountain.”

“Wow, that’s creepy. Thank you, Ohba. And now we go to Seto Tamura, our cameraman on scene, to provide us a view of these strange holes.” Owaki snorted. This was probably just the prank of some kids with too much time on their hands. Somewhere at the back of his mind, he knew this was not true. Owaki continued watching.

The screen switched to a shot of the mountainside. There they were. They were only small holes from this distance, without any real form or shape. The helicopter carrying the camera began to fly in closer, and at the same time, Owaki began to lean forward. His eyes widened as thousands of shapes materialized on the fault’s face. Human shapes. Short, tall, fat, thin. All types, and thousands of them.

“Wow, isn’t that a sight. Investigative teams are due to come in tomorrow to figure out just when these holes were made, who made them, and for what purpose. This is Yoshida, signing off.”


Owaki laid back down. It would be quite the trip to go out to the fault. Besides, he needed something to do. He felt a sort of….calling from the mountain. His boots hadn’t been out of the closet for years, either. He was sure they would appreciate the fresh air.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Wow! I haven't posted here in almost a week. Oops =/
Scratch that, two days. Forgot about S.978.

Anyways, I may as well plug some stuff.
I've been a bit busy with several things.
Among them, an anime, and a game.

The game is called Sanctum. It's an indie somewhat-multiplayer somewhat-online tower defense first person shooter and how can I string along tags to make the description longer? The game is like tower defense in that there are successive waves of enemies which try to make their way to your "Sanctum" - a glowing blue orb - taking the shortest path possible. You construct towers to both obstruct their paths and hurt them, and if too many enemies reach your Sanctum, it's game over. Of course, the game is played from a first-person view point, and you have a set of guns as well - an assault rifle, a sniper, and a slow gun. There's a minigun rumored to be coming out as well. Guns certainly help pass time during the waves. The game can be single player, or can accommodate up to four total in multiplayer. In multiplayer, you can shoot your allies to send them tumbling, too!

The game runs really smoothly - even on my computer, which essentially has no graphics card - and the gameplay is fast and addicting. It's graphics are well-made, and the game doesn't feel like the tower defense and FPS genres had to be forced to mix together - it manages to make a cohesive mix of the two. You could theoretically forsake all guns or all towers - which I imagine would make for an interesting game - but it's more strategically sound to invest in both. The game also has a "DPS" meter in the top-right which I especially enjoy in multiplayer when butting heads. In addition, the game is only $15! (It's currently $3.75, until tomorrow at 9 AM I believe)

However, the game does have a few downsides. There isn't too much variety in towers, maps, guns, or enemies, it seems. Then again, no tower defense has that many towers or maps or enemies, and when compared, this game seems to have an "average" amount of each. While it would be interesting to have a variety of guns to choose from, the game has all the basics covered - a fast, inaccurate one; a slow, high-powered one; and a purely tactical non-damaging gun.

I'd urge you to get Sanctum.

Anyways, on to the anime. I've always had a certain penchant for stories which involved heavy usage of mind games. Death Note, Liar Game, and A Song of Fire and Ice among them. I enjoy the intrigue which goes on, and the drama which spawns partially from heavy usage of dramatic irony. Then again, it's always great when a character pulls a plan out completely from left field. I guess that's how I got hooked on Code Geass. (Yeah, yeah, I'm a bit late to the party.) In short, it's like Gundam and Death Note combined in one, if you're any fan of manga/anime. If you're not, Code Geass is robots and mind games. A third Michael Bay, a third drama, and a third intrigue. It's great, and it's free online.

Surprisingly, Code Geass also hits on some heavy issues, and really left me reeling at a few points. (I haven't even finished the first season yet!) The concept of "the ends justifying the means" is definitely a theme, as well as "survival of the fittest"/social darwinism, nationalism, imperialism, and free will. It's led me to think that manga/anime can actually address heavy issues like this a lot better than western literature. Anime and mange in general are more dramatic - that is, their characters behave less realistically by overreacting. This allows messages to be conveyed a lot more easily, and put out for the reader's consideration. Action is a lot faster due to the images, so you don't have an idea spread out between paragraphs, or going on in a huge block of incomprehensible text.

Aaaaaand that's my plugging for today.

Friday, July 8, 2011


So, there's been a lot of recent hype about Bill S.978.
I wrote this up in response to a Buzz post, and thought I might as well repost to here, to spread this. Oversensationalism, eat your heart out.

Bill S.978 is meh. Oversensationalized. Not a problem. Why?

- You are only liable to be sued if:

1. You willfully commit copyright infringement. This means that you can claim "I didn't know there was copyright!" and not be held liable. This is also why movies have that screen in the beginning you can't skip past, telling you that copying the movie is copyright infringement.

2. You infringe on copyright for financial gain. This means that if you're not making money, you can't be held liable. I'm not sure if you can protest this by saying, "I didn't mean to make money!" but it seems that you could. And if you try to make money but fail, you can't be held liable either. Though in that eventuality, you probably have bigger problems than S.978. Like bills.

Oh, in addition:

3. You have to have more than 10 stream views in a 180 day period. This is probably the easiest clause to fulfill. 10 views on one video or 1 view on 10 videos both fulfill this. Oh well. The next one is damn hard to fulfill.

4. You have to make $2,500+ off the streams/videos/whatever or cost the company $5,000+ in licencing fees. Again, if you're not a major streamer, you're unlikely to be restricted by this at all.

Note that these four points are ANDs not ORs.

So you have to know you're infringing, infringe for financial gain, post more than 10 vids in a half year, and make more than $2.5k or cost the company more than $5k. Pretty damn hard if you ask me. And in conjunction with point 3, if you're making more than $2.5k off of 10 views, stop complaining. I would buy licensing fees if I was making that much.

And before you ask, "What about the major streamers? You added caveats for them!"

Well, they can buy licences from the companies. I doubt it would cost much, given that if you had to get a licence, you're making $2.5k off of that every half year, or $5k yearly. Some companies, like Mojang, will even allow streaming in their ToS. And what company would seriously go after a game streamer? "Oh no, he's streaming our game! We can't have that! Stop letting him publicize our game and promoting it! We need our game to stay UNDERGROUND!"

Whether you think S.978 should be blocked or not is up to you. Just don't buy into the sensationalism. Read the bill yourself.

And that's my spiel.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Fireworks displays are so short =(

At least they're easy to blog about.

My thoughts during the (only 15 minute) firework display:

10:00 - shitshitshit who's shooting at me?
10:01 - I feel stupid now
10:02 - Oooooh pretty...
10:03 - Hey! Someone's taking a video of this!
10:04 - ...with an iPad.
10:05 - Wow. Fireworks behind me too?
10:06 - Nope. Just echoes. Lots of them.
10:07 - What if, instead of blowing up all these fireworks, we helped out some of the impoverished?
10:08 - Nah. Silly idea. What would starving children do with fireworks?
10:09 - Why is somebody taking pictures of fireworks with a digital camera? The shutter speed isn't fast enough!
10:10 - And why the hell are they using flash?
10:11 - What if I could shoot fireworks from my hands?
10:12 - Oh hey, a police boat is on the water.
10:13 - I really would like to shoot fireworks from my hands.
10:14 - Ow my ears.
10:15 - These past 15 minutes would make a decent blog post.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Other Pokemon Irregularities

Yeah. I promise I'll end this soon. There's just so much to write about!

The Pokemon world is kind of messed up, really. Why?

Everything is a pun. Based off words the scientists naming the Pokemon don't know. As far as I can tell, neither salamanders nor turtles nor birds exist in Pokemon worlds. Only Charmander and Squirtle and Pidgey. How the hell did the scientists come up with those names?

Oh. That's right. The Pokemon only say their names.

"Hm. What should I call this creature?"


"I know! I'll call it a Pikachu!"

Real imaginative of them. But then again, they only have a 5th grade education, so I suppose it makes some sort of demented half-sense. I'm pretty damn glad we don't call dogs "woofwoofs", cats "meows", and alligators "ohshitgetthisoffme".

And what do people and Pokemon eat?

Okay, before I get into that, why aren't people considered Pokemon? Because they can say more than one word? Because they're bipedal? Because they have thumbs? None of those are unique to people.

Fuck. Now I want to be able to catch trainers in Pokeballs.

Anyways. Back to the diet issue. I highly doubt all the inhabitants of the Pokeworld subsist on berries/trees/milk alone. Where do they get their protein? I assume some people must like to eat meat.

Think of all the food possibilities! Tauros steak. Tossed Oddish salad. Deviled Pigeot eggs. Fresh caught Magikarp. Spoink and Eggs.

Does this mean there are huge Tauros ranches where Tauros sit in stalls, eating Rare Candies all day before being sent to the slaughterhouse? Are there rows and rows of Grass Pokemon sprayed with pesticide to keep the Weevil off? Are there fried Caterpie delicacies? Is eating Growlithe a no-no in Western culture?

And with the speed at which Pokemon breed, the only endangered ones would be legendaries.

Also, all mammalian Pokemon are platypodes. All of them lay eggs, instead of giving live birth. Do you have any idea how easy it would make IV training if Pokemon gave live birth?

Also, Pokemon reproduction is just messed up. All Pokemon can breed, so long as it's male-female or genderless Pokemon with anything. How the hell do Magnemite make eggs anyways?

No. Please. Never mind. Do not need to find out.

Saturday, July 2, 2011


In case you don't have G+ yet, or just don't want to read the "Welcome" screen...
I just got in today, and so far, it's pretty spiffy.

Each person has a bunch of different "Circles" which are basically groups of people you can broadcast to. I imagine that on a boring day you could make a Venn Diagram to try to sort people, but that would get complicated quickly, unless you lump everyone into a "People" circle.

So adding people to circles is easy. You hover over their name, and there are a bunch of checkboxes you can tick. It's a very intuitive system!

Interestingly enough, you don't have to have someone in your circle for you to be in their circle. It's sort of like Twitter's following system, where you follow people, and people follow you except you broadcast, and people broadcast to you. When you view a person's page, you can see who is in their circles, and who added them to their circle. It's pretty general though - it doesn't say who is in what circle, but that's probably for the better. (Oh. My. God. I cannot believe that she has a circle without me in it. Wait 'til I tell everyone.) Back to categories. There's even a category to see the posts of people who have you in their circles who you don't have in your circles called "Incoming". Of course, the "Stream" category is all-encompassing, which is nice. Even better...

Yeah. None of that.
However, with the advent of Google's Web Store and Google+, I worry that if the two are (they will be) interlaced, you'll never see the end of Angry Birds high scores. Google+ is already connected to some other Google services, like Picasa and Gmail. People you add to circles without G+ can be sent emails with the message. These emails also invite them to G+! G+ also has chat; perhaps that will be integrated with Gmail chat?

It'll be interesting to see how this and Buzz interact. One or the other will die. Buzz has been a success so far, but it's basically a more minimal version of G+; perhaps it'll just be dropped? Currently peoples' profiles have a "Buzz" tab which lets you see what they've posted to that, but that seems really awkward. Like social networks within social networks within. No. Just no. Stop.

Posting is easy, and attaching photos, videos, and links (or your location, though I don't know why you'd do that) is very easy. In addition, rather than "liking" posts, you can +1 them.

It's a little change, but I really like this feature. Now if only we could give posts -1 as well, and have branching comment paths and then....waitagoddamnsecond.

There's hangouts which are basically video conferences/chats, and sparks which are interests/likes.

One very cool feature (to me at least) is on the profile screen.

You can see what your info screens look like to different people. I personally like limiting what information about me gets out and what doesn't, so this is great. You can also keep track of all your "+1's"; I try not to leave stray marks all around the web, so this is pretty cool as well. You can also download all your posts and comments if that's what you're into.

Unfortunately, somewhat opposite to the whole privacy deal is that no matter who you limit your posts to, anyone who has access to that post can share it with anyone else.

I really don't like this. And while you CAN prevent your posts from being shared, not only does it not apply to comments you make, it has to be applied individually to every post. Ew.
I suppose we'll all just have to be more careful about what we post to the internet. (Pffffftt. Like that's happening.)

In other words, Google is trying to solve the whole privacy issue by....eliminating it altogether?
I think that they should make it easier to be private, not harder, certainly.

You can also edit posts and comments, in addition to preventing your posts from being commented upon. I really like the edit feature. It even adds a (Last edited) tag so people don't go back and change their words!

So, what makes G+ better than Buzz or Facebook or Twitter or any other social network?
It's Google. They'll rule us sooner or later anyways. Give in now, get goodies sooner.

Pros: Intuitive. Doesn't take forever to figure out. (As I'm just reintroducing myself to Facebook, I can attest that Facebook does take a forever to figure out.)
Groups are easier.
No application spam. Though that may change.

Cons: Privacy. I like privacy. Then again, most social networking sites don't have great privacy. (Looking at you Facebook)
Beta. There's not many people on it due to it being Beta, so that kinda defeats the whole social networking bit. Unless you've got a slew of imaginary friends.
No real reason yet to switch. Like any other new application, Google will have to give a reason for users to switch better than "You can do all the same stuff here." Google has to do something to make G+ unique, and it has to be something social network users want but don't have. What might that thing be? No idea. Maybe porn in the sidebars.

Addendum: I just found this out. So, there's an updates widget in the top-right. That's all fine and good, but when you click on it, it loads updated conversations, and lets you post on them. That's amazing.

Also, hovering over the post date of a post tells you the exact time it was posted. (Yes, like Facebook and many other sites.)

So my final message? G+ is a shiny Facebook, but doesn't have a compelling reason to use it yet. It's got a few minor things on Facebook, but xkcd summed it's defining quality up already.
Unfortunately, I don't think that's enough.

I might do another update in days to come as G+ is polished up and as I discover new features.

Friday, July 1, 2011

More Pokemon

Alright. So I'm writing about Pokemon until I think of something better to write about.

Anyways, another thing which has always irked me about Pokemon is the ability of NPCs to stay where they are. All the time.

I'm not talking about this, either.
But that lady paces back and forth the entire fucking day.

Whenever you as a trainer find that, "Golly gee, all my Pokemon fainted!" you yourself faint and find yourself magically carried to a Pokecenter. First off, it's pretty creepy that someone you just met carries you all the way to a Pokemon center, even from out at sea. Second, why aren't you obligated to do this to trainers you defeat? For that matter, why don't they faint? They just keep standing there and mutter about their loss!

For that matter, why do you get money when you win a Pokemon battle? It's not as if you're robbing them, and if you were, it certainly wouldn't be through any way so chivalrous as to challenge them to a battle! And for most people, that money seems to be an entire paycheck.

Speaking of paychecks, where does all this money come from? How do they earn money standing in the middle of a forest? Perhaps by beating other roaming trainers, who gain money from beating other trainers who...

Sorry, doesn't work like that.

As a closing thought, if a little runt of a trainer at 10 can gain a full team of Pokemon and beat the region's toughest trainers - the Elite Four - within a few weeks of heading out of town...the Elite Four must not be very  elite.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pokemon In Unreality

One thing that's always bugged me about Pokemon is the trainer's inability to catch a fainted Pokemon. I mean, is it that hard to hit an object that isn't moving? Why do you even have to throw the Pokeball? Just run up to the creature and touch the damn thing is it that hard oh that's right you're TEN.

I've probably brought this up before, but Pokemon trainers go out into the wild at ten. Why? Why would you ever do such a thing, especially when half the things out there could eat you in one go? And how the hell are there space stations when people can't get further than their first few years of education before going out to traipse in the wild?

Okay, anyways, back to the fainted Pokemon. They might as well be dead, really.

Have you noticed that when a Pokemon in your party faints, no amount of walking around will do it any good? It will stay fainted for fucking forever. There's another word for that. Dead.

But then again, who knows? There might be some nurse-type whose sole job is to go around picking up fainted Pokemon, and bringing them back to the Pokecenters for revival. Not really easy, I'd imagine. Onyx are damn big, and so are most other Pokemon. And it's not like you can put them in a Pokeball for easy storage, because they're fainted and the world is stupid that way.

I'm really surprised that you don't find more of these fainted Pokemon about, either. The first town you're in never has a Pokecenter, so the route by it must be riddled with Rattata and Pidgey...

Just for shits and giggles, I did the math on this. Given that all Pokemon trainers live in the same world, only counting people, and given that the average trainer faints, say, 10 Rattata and 10 Pidgey before they move onto the next area...

Well, first, how many Pokemon trainers are there? You get one save per game, and not counting illegitimate copies of Pokemon, and using this source...

28 million from Pokemon R/G/B/Y
12 million from Pokemon FR/LG

That's 40 million trainers who walked through that first route in Kanto.

Or 400 million fainted Pidgey, and 400 million fainted Rattata.
Both Pidgey and Rattata are one foot high; let's assume the fainted body of each takes up half a cubic foot of space, and that they can be stacked.

400 million cubic feet filled with "fainted" Pidgey and Rattata.
Here's a picture of Route 1. There's about 1512 blocks there (28 x 54ish), and since one person takes up one block, we can assume that each represents about 10 feet by 10 feet of space, because otherwise your house is ridiculously small. So a block is 100 square feet, or 1000 cubic feet.

1.512 million cubic feet of space on Route 1.
That's just a little less than 400 million.

Even if we assume that you have 1000 feet of space above which can be inhabited by Pokemon, it's not enough. You'd need to stack Pokemon far into the atmosphere to find room.

Where do all the Pokemon go?

Afterword: There are so many places I could have put pictures, but for my lack of artistic skill. =( I'll have to acquire some soon.