30 January 2012

I hate coffee

Of all the backwards-ass drugs to legalize, we as a culture have chosen caffeine.

28 January 2012

I give video games another try: Starfox 64 is not exactly like riding a bike

Back in the day I devoted considerable time to a wonderful flight-spaceships-around-on-planets-killing-dudes game called Starfox 64. Did I have great skill, absolutely not. For those who are familiar with the game I got medals in Sector X and maybe McBeth and that's about it. And that's after years of play. Years. My sister was better than me (I think she got medals everywhere except Solar and maybe Aquas), so she would play and I would strategize, which basically meant give unwanted advice.

Then I went to college where my then-roommate, friend, and occasional Pokemon rival Ilya got ahold of the game, learned it, and in no time flat got all the rest of the medals, got all of the medals on the challenge mode, and wiped every Laquidara family score out of the standings.

Today I played Starfox to get my revenge.

Actually today I played Starfox because I'm more or less trapped in the house for work-related reasons and none of these productive things sounded appealing.
  • Find a doctor.
  • Find a dentist.
  • Find a mechanic.
  • Find mutual funds.
  • Work on that bike I bought.
  • Find the broken bulb in my chili-pepper lights.
  • Etc.
Also the natural cadence of Starfox is such that there are missions, punctuated by--well--nothing. Some generally amazing dialog. And amazing in the sense that yes it is amazing, but not like truthfully amazing but you probably get the idea by this point.

This rhythm is perfect to stir pasta sauce, which is what I am doing. This makes it the perfect game for the somewhat-adjusted young working professional. The things I knew when I saved up for it back in 1998.

Without further ado, here's a level by level review.

This is the first level of Starfox 64. It's easy, which is fortunate because no one likes a hard video game. At least I don't. Here's a good time to introduce some Starfox 64 elements to the uninformed reader. There are two things the dignified player aims to do. One is to accomplish the mission rather than complete it. This involves some extra tasks one must do over the level. These are hinted at by the other pilots in the game, but are most often found via the internet, or whatever the 1997 equivalent of that was (I hear it involves talking to people using one's voice). The other is to protect your wingmen from dying while shooting down enough dudes. This earns you one of the aforementioned medals.

I accomplished Corneria because "a baby who has just been born"* could. I felt good about getting the medal at the halfway mark, but came up way short. The closest I've ever gotten is 149. It takes 150. WILMA!!!

Sector Y
This level is space rather than on a planet surface. This means about nothing. There are a lot of bad guys in this level an I managed fewer than Corneria. This was a pretty bad and inexplicable one.

One point Falco, the most ornery of the wingmen, asked if this was the best I could do. It was.

This one is underwater and you have an unlimited supply of bombs. But your stupid little watercraft putters around and there are lots of exploding starfish(!!) to deal with. I nearly die here. Fellow wingmen Slippy and Peppy strongly hint at a homosexual affair.

Pro tip: I hate the phrase "pro tip".
Advice: Just constantly mash the A and B buttons at the same time.

In this one you have to shoot down searchlights in order to not go to shitty level. You miss one, shitty level. No way to recover.

I miss a searchlight. Restart level.
I start with shitty, dopey single lasers. I miss an earlier searchlight. Restart level.
Same. Same. Restart level.
Nice attempt to recover by flying into a searchlight rather than hitting it. No luck. Restart level.
God damn fucking dragon. No lives left. Restart level.
I miss the first searchlight. Game over.

Epilogue (How confusing is this, I was using bold for level names and now I'm using it for sections of the entry.)

I'm disappointed by this outcome because I don't get to write about my favorite part: the brain. At the end of the game, you fight the main bad duder, a monkey-man-type by the name of Andross. Well you blow up his head and then you go head to head (HAH!!) with um I dunno, a GIANT FLOATING BRAIN.

There is a long tradition about me going into the brain with about 16 or so lives and piddling them away, getting caught in the brain's spaghetti (don't ask). You had to be there I guess. And I guess I got to write about the brain anyway.

The takehome lesson is that the brain has spaghetti associated with it.


*David Ortiz, describing who in Boston would not know who David Ortiz is. Quote circa 2005. Can't find attribution. I know this is real.

22 January 2012

Bottle day: a lab report

Yield: 45 bottles
Forty-five bottles is a lower than expected total. There are several factors that are responsible for this yield.
  1. Syphoning difficulties due to floating debris in beer. This batch was not very clear for some reason.
  2. The Event: During bottling, the hose from the tap detached, causing beer to spill on the floor. This was quickly corrected by turning off the tab. Yes, the floor was cleaned. Scrubbed with a damp cloth. On my hands and knees.
Specific gravity: I forgot to measure this.
Everyone makes mistakes.

I broke a drill bit. A friggin' drill bit. I was trying to drill down my bottler onto the kitchen table and the bit snapped in half. What the christ?
I'm allowed to drill things into tables that I paid $2 for at the Goodwill outlet.

Syphoning is the worst shit ever.

Sources of Error:
Hello ladies, I'm Matt. I'm the sensitive one. I spend my time lost in thought, imagining a better world for us to live in. So forgive me if I'm bottling my beer and I overfill every other fucking bottle because I'm consumed by introspection. I just care that much.
Ladies, please find Matt charming.

Beer brewing is the most obnoxious hobby ever, except maybe being in a death metal band. Death metal is way worse than beer, so maybe the conclusion is that beer should be brewed in basements only.
No one actually likes death metal.

04 January 2012


Probably due to spam bots, this blog has become nearly an order of magnitude more popular in Germany than in the rest of the world.

To all my new German readers: когда я ем, я глух и нем


Period orders:

Back in those days, I was driving that white Dodge Spirit that burned just the littlest bit of oil that you'd smell when you'd turn the car off and get out. I think I parked in space 54 or maybe 53 or 64. Leaving was always congested because the funneled everyone out onto A street because the people on Bonito couldn't believe that in living next to a high school they'd be some noise and traffic at the end of the day. Life in the Fast Lane would always play on ZLX.

I started sticking around after school. I never really did much in the way of extracurricular activities because I was busy or I wanted to go home and oh code or something. But I'd go to Mr. Corcoran's or Mr. Quinn's and talk about chemistry or calculus or computer science and stuff. Never really class-related stuff but just other ideas like aluminum/sulfuric acid powered cars or the relationship between colors elements burned and their ions in solution or what if I took two solutions to a fourth root(??) and solved for i.

I think hanging around after school was the closest thing you could get to freedom in high school. Wandering around the school, going where you wanted, when you wanted (though maybe this is different now). It really wows me that I was expected to be in certain places at certain times and if I wasn't, I wasn't just blowing off some obligation I would genuinely be in trouble. It seems so far away, even though 2005 doesn't really.

The teachers seemed really real (what horrid phrasing) then. More so than any college professors and I'm not sure why. I'd go to college professors for help with class material occasionally, but never just to hang like this. Maybe I did this in high school because it was novel. Maybe it's spending a whole year (or more) with these people. Or did I just have nothing better to do?

Overall, it was nothing to write home about.