Why not?

There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... some dream of things that never were, and ask how freaking cool can we make this?


Brawl: First Impressions

I've had a moment to mull over my Sunday Brawlfest to bring you the following brief impressions of the experience.

I'm 50% of the way through the Subspace Emissary. After I beat it once I probably won't play it again, except maybe for some of the bosses. In terms of actual gameplay it isn't particularly interesting. I'm ultimately playing it for the story, which is as cheesy as it is epic, humorous as it is serious. It's interesting, and it conveys everything without words. It's also very random.

As for multiplayer, I'll have to reserve my judgement until I can batter around some friends. I am impressed with the new CPU opponents. Before, a level 3 opponent was barely a challenge if I was on severe pain killers, sleep deprived, and managing an investment portfolio while playing. Now they actually fight, and fight decently. The stages are phenomenal, and the items remain interesting and varied.

I really haven't had much time to give many of the characters a good shake down. I primarily focused on Captain Falcon and Zelda. The former seems to have become more well rounded, with "the Knee" being a more precise maneuver while his previously "meh" specials have been made more effective. Zelda has become the queen of precision, with almost every non-smash move having a sweet spot that will send enemies flying. You also can't just walk out of her multi-hit smashes anymore (a godsend indeed).

Overall, I've had a blast with the game. I picked it up after church and the next thing I knew it was 1AM.

The only hitch was that apparently Nintendo's Wifi service was overloaded with people. I couldn't successfully play with my relatives far and wide. Sadness.



So, where to begin.

Section 1: Caucus

Tuesday was pretty incredible, and pretty tiring. It was extremely difficult to get a parking space for the precinct convention/caucus, but I managed. The cafeteria where the caucuses for two precincts were being held was full to the brim. Apparently my precinct had twice as many people show up as they estimated (and they attempted to account for a potential surge of interest to boot).

The precinct convention itself was pretty stressful.

The next time I attend one, and I think it's likely I will, I'm going to have a resolution with me to include Robert's Rules of Order as a mandatory inclusion in studies of government for middle and high school. The precinct convention took about twice as long as it should have, for the very reason that a good number of people had no idea how to follow said rules.

I was practically infuriated with various people who would monopolize the floor, and upon ceding it to someone else continue to monopolize it anyway by interrupting anyone who disagreed with them in protest. That's disrespectful and unhelpful in facilitating orderly and timely discussion.

My annoyance with grandstanders aside, it was a very interesting process. First we all signed in, denoting our chosen candidate and whether or not we'd be willing to be a delegate to the county convention. Following that we elected the precinct chair, secretary and sergeant at arms.

That process is actually what took far longer than it should have. There were some people with a political axe to grind who were not satisfied with the people who'd already been running the convention to that point, and attempted to supplant them with their own friends. Oddly enough, the voting process maintained the status quo and even ousted the only figure they might have seen as sympathetic to them, electing instead for sergeant at arms the precinct chair's own daughter. The irony was amusing, although I'd much rather have just skipped the extra hour and gotten down to business.

The officials elected, we ascertained that everyone had signed in, voted that the sign in sheets move from temporary status to official, and the count was initiated. While the count was going on we divided into groups for Hillary and Obama, separate caucuses, to determine candidates to be delegates. Following that, we waited for the count to be complete and the county delegate totals for each side decided.

I should note that through this entire process people leaked out of the room and went home. This didn't affect the vote, as they had already signed in, but it did highlight how unprepared many people were for the process.

The delegate counts were triple checked, and in the end Obama netted 14 to Hillary's 11. Relatively shortly thereafter we voted on delegates, of which I am now one. At this point it had been approximately two and a half hours.

After both caucuses determined their delegates, we joined back together and voted that the lists be made official. Then "all that was left" to do was vote on resolutions. This ended up taking over two hours.

It took so long, again, because people really need to follow Robert's Rules of Order. The rules are in place so that outspoken people are not able to dominate such debates, which several attempted to do. We spent half an hour arguing over a resolution because there was a perception we could not amend it, something that wasn't able to be brought to light until finally the blow-hards tired themselves enough that I got the chance to point it out. After people took five minutes to get over their misconceptions and address the real problem at hand things went more smoothly. A clearer example of the failings of confrontational debate I have not seen.

Several resolutions were tabled for being too vague or unnecessarily long. However, we did pass a couple resolutions of worth, which made it all worthwhile in the end. At the same time my nerves were rather frayed by the complete inability of some people to respect and communicate with any level of effectiveness. I was glad to be heading for home.

I got home at midnight, exhausted and passive. I wasn't excited about the victory we'd won for Obama, or for my continued involvement in the process going forward. I was mentally too worn out from the whole ordeal to be anything other than a vegetable, a hungry, sleepless vegetable. I destressed with some easy cooking and mindless slaughter of fictional evil, then finally zonked out.

Section 2: On the results

Despite my fervent hopes the democratic contest did not end after Tuesday. Clinton triumphed in three of four primaries, although it's something of a Pyrrhic victory. While she won the Texas Primary, it's estimated Obama will actually net more Texan delegates due to a projected landslide victory in the caucuses. Obama's clear victory in Vermont also offsets Clinton's Rhode Island win, and the Ohio victory was so close that there's little to be gained there as well.

The projected result is that Clinton will have gained a grand total of 12 delegates on Obama in a contest allotting more than 30 times that number. That is bad.

While the Clinton camp is no doubt relieved that Obama failed to deliver a KO punch on the 4th, and that they managed to plug the holes in what was a rapidly eroding core consituency, they still lost big. I assure you this isn't me being biased, I'm being mathematical.

There is a gap between Hillary and Obama, a gap that becomes mathematically harder to close the further along we get. A whole third of the remaining pledged delegates were decided on the 4th, with less than a tenth of the gap closed. On top of that a majority of the remaining contests, including many delegate rich ones, play into the demographics that have carried Obama. It's not impossible for her to win these contests, but at best she'll win them by razor thin margins when she needs landslide victories. Even counting delegates from the disenfranchised states of Michigan and Florida has been calculated to leave Hillary at best tied and at worst still short of her opponent. The final straw is the apprehension the super delegates have about flying in the face of the popular opinion, as voting against the will of the people might sully the image of the party and hand the election over to the Republicans.

So what does this all mean?

At this point the delegate counts almost cease to matter. I say almost, because the gap itself between the candidates carries clout within it. The wider the gap between them come the national convention, the more firepower Obama has to combat Clinton. The smaller the gap, the more electability and McCain come to the forefront.

If the trends continue as they have, largely unmoved by scandal or political positioning, then Obama will likely be in the better position come August.

Section 3: Conclusion

I'm still neither a democrat nor a republican, but it seems I've taken a side this time around. Alas, poor Huckabee, I knew him well.



I just got back from the Texas Caucus Precinct Convention thing.

Summarization, it was long, but largely worthwhile. I ended up becoming a delegate to the county convention for Obama. 14-11 delegate split in his favor.

We'll see how the other caucuses ended up on the morrow, and I'll write more about the process.


Surf's Up

So, you might ask, what the heck was that?

That was Audiosurf, a game that I recently played, purchased, and became addicted to. The reasons may not be clear from the video, so let me elaborate as to why.

First of all, I have an addiction for rhythm and music-based games such as Elite Beat Agents, Guitar Hero and the like. Simply put, it scratches my music itch when my siblings' wonderful mixes aren't there to do it.

Second of all, the soundtrack for this game is without peer. You will find all of your favorite songs in it, guaranteed. Quite the bold claim if I do say so myself.

So how is that possible? Are they insane? What if your favorite song is "Where'd the Cheese Go?" The answer is simple, their library is your library.

The game automatically generates the track and the "traffic" based on whatever soundtrack you give it. It accepts every standard sound format from mp3 to ogg, and will even attempt to check the internet to see how other people did on the same song (which is tricky given how people tend to label their music differently, and it isn't always successful).

Want to surf to Beethoven's Fifth? Go right ahead. Prefer to romp to Strong Bad? You can! Are you wishing you could ride the disjointed notes of your child's well-intentioned compositions? The power is yours!

I have no idea how well it would figure out such wonders as William Shatner's rendition of Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, but it's done a fantastic job with everything I've thrown at it thus far.

Sadly, while there is a demo you'll need a Windows box in order to play it and the full version. Still, for only $10 it's a steal.

Prognostication: Owari

In 6 days Brawl will be released.

This has been a long time in coming. Anticipation for this game has been ZOMG on a scale of WUT to PWN, and those of us patient enough to avoid importing the monster will soon hold the beast betwixt our palms. I personally plan on being up until past midnight in order to grab my copy.

I'm getting more excited as the day approaches, and it's hard to place my finger on why this stands out in my mind more than Halo 3, the Burning Crusade, or even the Wii did. True to form, I've done a thorough self-analysis.

Halo 3 failed to excite me in this manner for a number of reasons, they made the wrong game. The first trailer for the game belied all subsequent media, which proved its focus was more on the multiplayer than the story. While I was always a fan of taking hot lead and plasma to my buddies, the story was always a big thing for me as well. Without that Halo 3 didn't promise me much of interest beyond a shiny new coat of paint and some miscellaneous power-ups I didn't see as impressive compared with the innovations of the series' predecessors.

The Burning Crusade was unsuccessful more because of me than anything else. 90% of what I paid for would not be granted to me until nearly four months after I bought the game. Knowing that I'd only have access to so little of the game because I had stubbornly refused to level a single character to 60 dampened my enthusiasm despite how wonderfully Blizzard delivered. To date, all but one of my favorite areas is from the expansion. The next expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, will likely command far greater attention for me given the complete reversal of my position.

The Wii was robbed of all the excitement by the fact that I did my waiting before it was released. I stood in line for a preorder weeks beforehand, and so it was a brief matter to walk in, grab my box, and leave. I was excited at the time, but that excitement diminished rapidly as I waited for "the game" that would command my fullest attention. Most of my progress on the Wii has only occurred when either my internet connection has died or when I've had company.

So Brawl now commands my attention, and rightly so. It is "the game" I was hoping for, it will allow me to beat up my brother in absentia, and from the get go I'l be set to unlock it's mysteries with the same joy and excitement I did with its ancestors.

Yeah, I could be talking about how excited I am to be voting tomorrow, but I've been talking politics to death everywhere I go, and the time has come to simply hunker down, vote, and see how things turn out.

After that, we brawl.