Fun Fact: Googling for "recursion" will give you a message asking "Did you mean recursion?"

I had a fairly surreal experience today. I was watched a trailer advertising an upcoming video game. While watching it, an advertisement popped up on the bottom edge of the video (one of those banner ads you click the X to close).

Ladies and gentlemen, advertising has now gotten to the point where they put advertisements in your advertisements so you can see advertisements while watching advertisements.



To put it simply, I like being talked to like I'm an intelligent human being, generally because I regard myself as such. Thus, when Republicans, Democrats, and blue furry creatures from Alpha Centauri go on the news spouting emotion grabbing nonsense I am insulted and tune out.

Thus, I like Republicans like Ken Blackwell who are well-spoken, willing to engage facts, and able to have an actual discussion/debate on the issues. I may not agree with them, but I feel much better about the prospect of such people having a role in government when they aren't obsessed with blatant fiction (or completely unable to disperse one, what the heck Democrats?).



I am good at video games, a fact known by anyone familiar with me. This fact is responsible for two traits of my character I am very knowledgeable about, and one I had little or no idea existed until very recently.

The first two are straightforward, though I won't go into deep explanation. To summarize, my stubborn, never-say-die challenges against players better than me is one trait, and the second is my inability to focus on any one pursuit/choice within a given game. I have known for a while the madness which spawned these characteristics, and they have long since ceased to surprise me.

Recently, however, my joining the StarCraft II Beta confronted me with an aspect of my character I had never seen before.

Despite my general quick acclimation to new games, good reflexes, past experience and stubbornness, I found myself fearful of actually testing my abilities against other people. I could not understand what was wrong with me. Why would I have any reason to be afraid to find out where I stood? If I was better than everyone, no big deal. If I was a terrible player, even better. I had no reason I knew of to be in a catatonic state of terror.

Eventually, after forcing myself through the obstacle, I understood. What I feared was the unknown, a genre I hadn't touched seriously in a decade. The fact that my brother proved head and shoulders better than me in both the original and StarCraft II didn't bother me directly, but it opened the door to doubts. I doubted whether I would be any good, whether I would learn and improve, and most critically whether I would live up to my name and history.

I was unknowingly wrapped up in the mythos of Me, the Undeniably Awesome Gamer. StarCraft II represented a grave threat to my understanding of me as a good gamer. I have failed utterly at other games and genres, but I never was particularly serious about them so they didn't matter (I'm on to you and your tricky oceans, Ace Combat). StarCraft II, however, whispered to me sweet, sickening invitations to prove myself a sham.

Afraid I would turn out to be normal, I shied away, forgetting that everyone starts a new or forgotten genre a complete nub and goes from there. As it turns out, everyone includes me.

Having gotten over myself, we'll see if I can't turn up the learning machine and become a kick butt player. In the mean time, I'll sit in the Bronze loser's league and nub it up.


Artificial Incompetence

The StarCraft II beta is very much designed to be played against people. There is Artificial Intelligence you can choose to play against. However, Blizzard has perfectly simulated how a Ritalin driven child would play while being sedated and restricted to the use of only one finger.

They label this difficulty "Very Easy" and there are currently no others. I can think of very few friends of mine who, without ever having played StarCraft before, wouldn't be able to defeat one of these on their first try while blindfolded and forced to recite the Gettysburg address backwards. That's fine, it's labeled exactly what it is, but if you're an anti-social hermit the beta will not be for you.


Purchasing Power

Thanks to Gamestop's current promotion by which one may obtain a StarCraft II beta key via a preorder, I am now in possession of the StarCraft II beta.



Nerd Cred

My glasses broke at the left hinge just now. As as result, my computational index just increased by five units of nerd, due to my taping the glasses back together.


It Came from the Blog

So recently there was a fairly unimportant topic regarding WoW that came up.

Lots of people talked about it, but you really don't care about any of them.

I read a lot of blog posts on the subject, partly because I found them interesting and partly because I didn't have time to sit down and read a book.

While I was reading these blogs, I began to notice something odd. It was present in most of the blogs and obvious almost from the moment I began reading, though I shrugged it off the first few times.

I noticed this, almost every sentence was separated out by two carriage returns.

Really, it looked exactly like this. Nearly a dozen blog posts where the sin of joining two sentences together was only brooked when one was sufficiently short.

I'm a person who's fairly big on writing and the theory behind doing so; these kinds of minutiae tickle my cerebrum in happy ways.

I can only describe this style of textual organization with one word, disjointed.

Reproducing the effect is difficult for me because I simply do not write in that style, but down to the very core of the text each sentence felt like a separate, lonely thought loosely connected to what came before and awaited after, drifting in a sea of confusion.

Some blog entries had the good grace to figure out halfway through that people were now in it for the long haul and one might be allowed to write complex sentences or even paragraphs -- sweet relief!

Not many did. This caused me great sadness.

Usually the last sentence was very short, as though the author petered out.


I can no longer maintain that facade, as doing so is causing my sanity preservation systems to suffer intolerable stress. Do the people of the internet truly think in minuscule, disconnected chunks? The nature of the byte is such, but surely not humanity. To continue would be to lessen myself as a sentient being, or at least deny my nature until I am forever broken.

Perhaps it is the modern education, or modern media, that has effected this madness.
We live in a culture of sound bites and flashy, brief declarative statements made without useful context or connection. The use of such constructs like paragraphs or even letters fades in the face of ever briefer bursts of communication. In concordance with our shorter attention spans, we are inclined to process data in smaller chunks.

Woe to us, however, if this permeates our psyches to the point where even our very thoughts become microscopic. There is beauty in the connections between ideas, events and memories, in the smooth flow of a whispering, fluid stream of mentality. Blending each instant of consciousness into the next is our assurance -- alas, the dreamless night that robs us of our security -- of our connection to our past and future selves. When thought itself becomes a series of brief flashes of notion, separated by clean breaks without context or binding ties, we lose the breadth and width of creation for a tiny, shallow world where nothing exists outside of the moment.

Perhaps I go too far in my waxing of philosophy, but even that askewed or even abusive misuse of the idiom warms me with ties to memories of my father chiding me for my malapropisms and many other connections which, in being stirred together in one motion, creates something both fearful and joyous. If I go too far, I at least have the confidence that my error only leads to dreams and abstract notions that encompass more and more of creation.

Still, I wonder if I am a time-lost relic, for as often as I am similar to my peers I am again so dissimilar as to wonder if I wasn't left on the doorstep of my generation by fourth dimension-traversing gypsies.