The Right Glue
November 2007

Blogger's block

By Dean

The problem with not having a blog with no post schedule is how tough it is to bring myself to post at all sometimes. This past month I've had absolutely no inspiration about anything in particular. I suppose this gives me a good appreciation for what it must be like for people with real blogs (read: those with readership).

It was my birthday this week. I am now 23 years old. Still there, still pink. In my most recent year of life a lot has happened and at the same time not much has happened. The whole time I've just been working at McCain Foods as a programmer. During the same time span I was a finalist in a large programming contest, I wrote and deployed a new blog and backend, I revisited my alma mater, the University of Waterloo, to haunt the students there old and new (a process I hope to repeat annually for as long as I know people there), I was promoted from "associate" to "programmer" at work, I bought a new PC and upgraded later, I joined a jazz band, and I was giving a freaking Xbox as a gift (thanks again, Jos). It's been more than a year now since I've moved away from Waterloo. Seems like it's been longer, somehow.

Since I'm in a good mood (when am I ever in another mood? I'll kill you!), I've decided to link to a bunch of things. The first is a show called "Look around you", whose first episode is about mathematics. Aren't mathematics great? I use them to fly to work all the time. There are seven more episodes from the series (all on the same page I linked), and each one is as hilarious and scientific as the first. If you like maths, then I definitely suggest liking the rest.

I had forgotten about it, but someone at Imprint made an entry for me in the people section of its wiki. I should get around to writing Tex's entry properly. Ehh. That's probably too much work. Stupid work. Force times distance my ass.

Speaking of math, you should read up on the Ackermann function. Seriously. I'm not joking. It's really important if you're me. You are me, right? Oh. I think I got you and I confused again. I keep forgetting that I'm me and that means you're not me. I'm sorREAL PROJECTIVE PLANE!!

Latest comment:

Have your lie and eat it too

By Dean

This is harder than I thought it would be. Y'know, the whole blogging thing. The problem is I have two groups of people who actually read it, and each of them has a different idea about what I should be writing.

One group (my coworkers) want me to be more entertaining like I was with Oh Two. The other group (my friends from university) never liked Oh Two and prefer it when I write about more computer-sciency stuff.

And then there's me personally. I'd rather write about about computer-sciency stuff but in an entertaining way. The problem is I never really thought of myself as entertaining. So instead I'll start having two kinds of posts: old-style posts like this one and new-style posts like the ones that aren't this one. That way I can have my cake and eat it, too.

So today I'm going to write about video games.

Halo 3, in typical Bungie design, has a fantastic story but utterly fails in telling it. Like all the previous Halo games, Halo 3 doesn't really fit into its own genre. With car races and confusing level design, Halo 3 often feels more like a Myst game crossed with a racing game than an FPS. It also, apparently, has different revelations of backstory (which itself is out of the way and hard to find) depending on the level of difficulty you've chosen to play. I would like someone to please attempt to justify such a travesty to me. Would you watch a movie whose backstory is only revealed by paying incredibly close attention to individual frames? Well, you might watch it, but would you enjoy as much as a movie that established its own backstory in a natural, fluid way rather than making you go through it again and again meticulously? Probably not. Way to suck the majesty out of the amazing story you created, Bungie.

Those (terrible) issues aside, Halo 3 was very fun. While I was playing through the story I found myself rather enthralled. It was a good end to a good series of games.

Another game I picked up recently was Psychonauts, on the advice of Zero Punctuation's Yahtzee as well as a whole lot of other people. I bought the game and immediately realized I had made a mistake. The game is a Legend of Zelda-style third-person adventure game. This is a genre that I can't stand; however, not one to give up on a game for which I have paid, I pressed on. Psychonauts is unforgiving to those of us who don't get off on jumping puzzles and enemies requiring sometimes dozens of meticulous steps to defeat. Some parts of the game are absolutely frustrating to the point of not wanting to play anymore. This happened to me at least a half dozen times. After being defeated again and again by an enemy I would just stop and take a break for a day or two. That's usually enough time to get over how unbelievably sadistic the creators of the game are (and how masochistic one has to be to keep coming back for more).

However, Psychonauts is a very, very entertaining game. When I'm not in the middle of a nigh-impossible jumping puzzle or fighting an invicible foe, I can go about my business setting squirrels on fire and pretending to be a spy who is pretending to trim hedges. The dialogue in the game is hilarious and after beating the game I can safely say this dialogue made the game worth playing, even with all of the gameplay issues.

So pick these titles up 'cause they're fun. Seriously.

This is some kind of footnote. This webpage is awesome and can be viewed in any browser. Even ones that suck ass like Safari and Firefox. Isn't that awesome? This site is best viewed with browsers that aren't maximized on large-resolution displays (> 1024 pixels in width). But then again, if you are running a large resolution and browsing maximized, then you're a terrible person so you don't really deserve to see this site at its finest. Jerk. I mean, seriously. I spend all this time making a nice site and your silly browsing habits ruin its look. That's really cold, man. If you're using IE6, then in order to see the cool avatar effects you need to enable JavaScript. This site conforms 100% with the laws (both known and unknown) governing physical reality. No rights reserved by Dean Whelton (who is awesome) of any of the content, images, design, backend or electrons used in this site. Steal at your convenience. None of it is worth stealing anyway, so there. I have even made an RSS feed for more efficient theft of my intellectual property. Now, don't say I'm not generous. I guess if you want to know more about me, you can visit the about page. I actually made a real about page! It's more like a FAQ, though. You can contact me, too, if you feel like it. Are you really wasting time reading this? Go outside or something.