Rise, My Minions!


We’re back ladies and gentlemen. Kicking it off: Feathermeet 2011. Going to be in Seattle all weekend doing awesome stuff, like GMing a D&D game at the AFK Tavern, a nerd-friendly restaurant. What will I be GMing you say? Well, none other than this group:

Yeah, that’s right. I drew something (which might need to be viewed in another window… or not at all)! It’s going to be a crazy few days; I’ll see you all on the other side.

Castles and Lava and Zombies, Oh My!


In before every corner of the Internet knows about this. Over the past couple of weeks, several people recommended that I pick up Minecraft. Last weekend I caved and forked over the €9.95 (about 15 USD). I did not sleep for the next 24 hours; I was too busy constructing a castle. Minecraft is one of those games that is beautiful in its simplicity. 8bit graphics may be a bit hard on the eyes, but they are a small price to pay for a game that really redefines the “sandbox” genre. There’s no plot, no goals to speak of beyond those that your set for yourself, you’re just handed a world (thanks to the low demands of 8bit, it really is world-sized) and told “do whatever the fuck you want”.

It’s like being turned loose in the largest, most advanced LEGO collection ever. And if you don’t like LEGOs you are probably either a sociopath or allergic to fun. While the game does present various baddies that threaten your health bar, beyond being alive you can pretty much choose to ignore them. Of course, killing them does net you some of the best resources in the game, or at least access to said resources, but if all you wanted to do was build things you need never bother. I could go on and on, but I think the point would be better illustrated with a video. There are plenty more, but I think that is probably the best.

Also, some screenshots of what I managed in the past week (at least, above ground….)


Minecraft isn’t for everyone, but if you like open ended gameplay, exploration, or even action/adventure, this is a must-have. Also it has multiplayer.

Kick the Tires.


Well, two weeks with Windows 7 and so far no major complaints. In fact, apart from some frustration with folder View settings, the only thing I’ve found that’s had a hiccup is Ventrilo. Apparently it is quite common for Windows 7 users to experience static over Ventrilo, suffer from severely laggy connections, or in my case, emit a constant high-pitched whine whenever they transmit.

It was originally possible to fix the problem by using the i386 version instead of the x64 (which many users would have picked up upgrading from 32 bit XP to 64 bit 7). Now however, it appears that Ventrilo has solved the problem themselves; you can download the latest version of the x64 and it will work just fine. Obviously not an issue if you’re doing a clean install, but if you upgrade from Vista and are wondering what is wrong, there’s your problem.

A Series of Unfortunate Events.


A couple of friends and I took a late-night walk to WinCo. Not out of any particular desire to go to WinCo, but because it was a destination that would make out walk the approximate length we wanted. Upon arriving there, however, we decided we needed to buy something. This was our first mistake. We then decided what we really needed was a dozen doughnuts from the (now closed) bakery. Our second mistake. And then, on the way back, we decided to eat some of these doughnuts. Our third and most grievous mistake.

Not only were they the most foul-tasting pastries any of us could remember eating, but they made all three of us sick. So, moral of the story, never eat baked goods from WinCo. Unless you hate yourself, in which case it’s a pretty cheap way to inflict pain.

This was also the first week I was able to attend all of my classes, having been absent at least one day of each of the previous three weeks due to a series of unrelated events. Trying to fix my sleep schedule at the same time made it quite the ordeal, and while I’m glad to finally be settled in, I am equally glad that it is now Friday and I can be comatose for the next 48 hours.

Are You Prepared?


I’m sure you’re all quite aware of the Swine Flu craze sweeping the globe. Fantastically mislabeled as a “pandemic”, the events are garnering a startling amount of sensationalism. If you’re in to that kind of thing, the evidence for an Apocalypse is building. According to Steven Novella of the SGU (which everyone ever should listen to, by the way), historically there has been an influenza outbreak about every 40 years. The last one was in 1918, so we’re overdue for one. Some of the dead have been young health adults, which typically indicates a virulent strain. The entire article is probably worth reading, it has a great deal of information about influenza and the spread of diseases. Anyway, Swine Flu is a mutation (mutations happen quite often, nothing odd there) of Influenza A, labeled H1N1.

So, human-to-human transfer of a fatal strain of Influenza A, and virulent enough that it has potential to become a pandemic. Okay, so that sounds bad, millions of people die. Sucky. But now? Now they come back and zombies. Apparently H1N1 has mutated into H1Z1 (I really hope the Z stands for zombie) in the most sci-fi twist ever. That’s right: now when the victims die, the virus can restart their heart and bring them back with brain damage and chemical imbalances causing extreme violence. REPENT FOR THE END IS NIGH.

I don’t think Swine Flu is going to be come a pandemic; to be honest, with the level of communication and health care available to us now, I don’t know if there will ever be a virus that is allowed to get enough out of control to cause that level of devastation again. And it is entirely possible that H1Z1 is just some made up or badly distorted piece of sensationalist journalism to capitalize on the scare. But if it’s true? It we have a pandemic of zombie-creating viruses? I am ready. Zombiepocalypse? I got this.

Update: Curses, it was in fact just a hoax. Oh well….