The Ultimate Secret to Happiness

Life is a series of lines in the sand; each represents a milestone, when achieved, will finally bring you happiness and contentment. I’ll be happy when…

  • I’ll be happy when I earn my degree
  • I’ll be happy when I land my first real job
  • I’ll be happy when I start making real money
  • I’ll be happy when I own my home
  • I’ll be happy when I buy my first new car
  • I’ll be happy when I lose 20 lbs
  • I’ll be happy when…

On and on it goes, ad infinitum. Each of these is a lie we tell ourselves for the hope of what tomorrow could bring. We all need something to look forward to, otherwise, what’s the point?

The truth is, happiness and contentment are mercurial. It can’t be captured in a bottle and preserved forever in your wine cellar – and even if you could, would you really want to?

Try to remember the great times you had…

  • I was happy when girls started to notice me
  • I was happy when I stayed up all night with my friends
  • I was happy when I quit a job I hated
  • I was happy when I impaled myself on the tree of knowledge
  • I was happy when I was a broke musician
  • I was happy when I was 12,012.83 km from my place of birth
  • I was happy when…

But don’t forget to take pleasure in the moment…

  • I enjoy paying myself $75/week to lose weight by bringing my lunch
  • I enjoy going for a 3-mile walk every night
  • I enjoy my first cup of coffee every day
  • I enjoy conversations with my friend Jim after work
  • I enjoy laughing to politically incorrect humor
  •  I enjoy talking to strangers
  • I enjoy making arbitrary lists…

When a Stranger Texts, Featuring Judge Judy!

So there I was, sitting at home, minding my own business, trying to get some work done when I get this mysterious text message from an unrecognized number.

Hilarity ensues.

Observe, all:

 

I don’t know anyone by the name of, “Alisha,” let alone one with a cute ass…Or was I the one who has the cute ass? I think I need to buy Alisha a punctuation.

Instead I decided to just go with it…

I decided to play it cool here. A suspicion was beginning to well up inside me that Alisha expected me attend her friend’s party, so I decided to give her a lukewarm response.

As predicted, Alisha counters by announcing her intent to get inebriated, then inquires about my well-being:

I maintain a relaxed demeanor and wait for the veiled invitation that’s sure to come.

My assumption was that Alisha was into older guys and Jerry Springer. I considered breaking out Matlock, but decided instead to combine Matlock with Jerry Springer to form a two-person Voltron (i.e. the Brad Neely technique), resulting in the Judge Judy counterplay:

This is where Alisha demonstrates surprising resilience, undoubtedly bolstered by the Drunken Booty-Call Bulwark™ (DBCB) defense. My improvised Easter Island emoji didn’t stand a chance – oh the carnage!

I realized that Alisha was no slouch, perhaps even – dare I say it, a pro! The way she masterfully rolled with the blow, Fédération internationale des fessiers appelants perhaps? Maybe even a Grand Master??

It was then that I decided to risk it all on the dreaded Boer Goat Gambit!

It is like that scene from Once Upon a Time in the West: I’m a Charlie Bronson, and Alisha is the Frank, and the Boer Goat is my Colt Single Action Army delivering the .45 caliber coup de grâce.

But Frank, errr Alisha wasn’t going to leave us without one last death rattle:

I decided to reply to her rhetorical question with a matter-of-fact answer, then continue expressing my admiration for Judge Judy. I had prepared a 6-page story detailing the adventures I got into on my quest to seek out the new KFC Zinger sandwich I was going use to get Ms. Kitts back into the barn.

Sadly, the lesson endeth here 🙁 …

I haven’t heard from Alisha since. I wonder what she’s doing now? I wonder how her baby sister’s prom went? So many unanswered questions. As I write this, I’m left with a deep sense of gestalt.

The way I figure it, right about now she’d be waking up, fixin’ to recover from her hangover with a Zinger from KFC and sweetened ice tea…

Alisha, wherever you are, whoever you are, know that you will always have a special place on my internets!

In Memoriam

~ Alisha ~

You Too Can Get to Pork Adobe!

FIRSTIES!

So yesterday, I went to show my brother-in-law my YouberTuber video of me scoring on Porker: The Quest for Tastiness. I had put up some videos a few days ago, and noticed a new one someone else made…

That’s right, somebody we don’t know actually played this game and posted a video of it! That could be the most amazing thing that happened to me all day yesterday, up to and including the handy I got from that Thai restaurant hostess!

They almost made it to Chairman Mao’s Red-Braised Pork Belly Level, but fell a few acorns short. This is a struggle of Sisyphean proportions… They may never get another chance as there are as of yet, more nights to grind…grinder…night grinders…I feel that that should be a sandwich of some kind…

Why You Should Own a Primate

I just ate a pile of cornbread stuffing and two pork chops. I really just want to lay back for a nap while a helper monkey massages my balls.

I’d name him ‘Okinawan Karate Champ Erh Ku’, and make him his own little welding sleeves so he could operate the portable 880,000 BTU afterburner I use for cooking stir fry (a hint of singed monkey hair is the secret to authentic Cantonese flavor).

We Need to Establish the Cetacean Nation

We need to establish the ‘Cetacean Nation’. I nominate myself to be the United Nations representative to the cetacean nation. Then we will force the white man to give back what he has taken from us.

It is both a philosophical and cultural imperative to perform the seaweed dance prior to making contact with the dolphin spirits. Otherwise, our bodies will be unprepared to receive their awesome powers.

I, for one, have been performing a daily ritual of deep, transcendental meditation, followed by exactly three jimmy flips, two half-berpies and a Krispy Kreme enema to sharpen my senses.

Shoulder Thing That Goes Up – Part I

“I actually don’t know what a barrel shroud [is], I believe it’s a shoulder thing that goes up.”

– Carolyn McCarthy, House of Representatives for New York’s 4th Congressional District, 1997-2015

Barrel Shroud? Check! Folding Stock? Check! Detachable Magazine? Check! Pistol Grip? Check! OMG it's an assault weapon! Ban it!
Because everyone knows that you can define something as an ‘Assault Weapon‘ based on its cosmetic features!

The Robot’s Journey

So there’s this infographic goin’ around the interwebs about “The Hero’s Journey”. There seemed to be some strange parallels between it and my weekend, which went down like this:

therobotsjourney

True story!

DOOMed

Note: This Article was written on January 15, 2016, then shelved. Now that the “new” DOOM has been released, I figured I’d cash in on the extra traffic.

Hah! Just kidding…as if I got cash for writing these…or traffic…

In the spring of 1994, I downloaded a Shareware copy of DOOM from a local BBS (Bulletin Board System…you know, that dial-up thing what people used before the interwebs).

At the time, my rig was a stock Packard Bell SX33 (33MHz) running MS-DOS 6.22/Windows 3.11, and no sound card. That last part made for an interesting experience as there was no background music, no sound effects (apart from the beeps of the PC speaker), just silence in the dark.

In a way, it was a lot more challenging to play that way as the DOOM engine used sound both to alert enemies of your presence, and to be able to hear their grunts, hisses and growls in the distance. While I couldn’t hear the later, the enemies could still hear me, so progression through the levels was a slow crawl, sneaking around and trying to pick off enemies one or two at a time.

Between pacing and exploring for secrets, I got a lot of mileage out of the game.

Later that year, we would buy an early Sound Blaster Pro ISA sound card which came bundled with a cheap, clunky and inconvenient single-speed caddy CD-ROM drive. A good thing too as I’d later buy a boxed copy* of DOOM II from Best Buy, which came on CD-ROM instead of 3.5″ floppies.

*For the youngin’s not in the know, DOOM (the first one) was only available by mail order. i.e. You couldn’t buy it in stores. So after beating the two Barons of Hell, the only taste of the next two episodes any of us got was this nifty teaser screen. Behold, a Great Orange Cyber Demon! I said, BEHOLD, DAMN YOU!

 

doom_teaser
Later still, I’d go on to upgrade it from 4MB to 8MB of RAM, and would cannibalize friend’s broken-down Packard Bell DX66’s Cirrus Logic on-board video card memory module for an additional 512KB of VRAM, giving me a total of 1MB!

I’d also upgrade the stock 40MB drive to 560MB (Ooooh, aaah!) and slap in a math co-processor that would upgrade the CPU to a whopping 100MHz clock speed!

Those were the days…it would be another 10 years before we’d see the next Chapter in DOOM’s history, and another 10 years after that, we’re now seeing DOOM’s 4th installment.

Looking back at the E3 footage, DOOM 4 (that’s what I’m calling it because that’s what it is…) struck me as a first-person Mortal Kombat X, complete with finishing moves. They’ve brought back the HUD idea (originally conceived for the first DOOM), and modernized it to help with the suspension of disbelief for power-ups and the like.

They also seemed to have kept the generic, bland, featureless alien/mutant-esque look of demons (at least for the Imps and ‘Pinkys’)…

Joejim’s Redaction: They actually do have ‘pinky’ demons again, though sans smooth ass-crack, which is more disappointing than you’d think it would be. What I was actually looking at when I saw the demos was the ‘Hell Knights’, but since they ain’t got horns, or goat feet, they’re kinda bland lookin’ too.

pinky_ass
Whatever happened to the Satanic look of the Pinky’s, Barons of Hell/Hell Knights and so forth? There were bits and pieces of them in DOOM 3, but I never played it long enough to get that far, and it just wasn’t all that interested. It lacked character, personality…

Hark, hark! Another Redaction…kinda: They did break out a proper Baron of hell…kinda…well this one’s at least got the goat feet and the horns, but not the Adrian Carmackian (no relation) goat-skull lookin’ face – more of a squashed baby-face…does that make sense to anyone but me?

In any case, I’ve since bought DOOM 4 and have beaten the single-player campaign. The “arenas” aren’t anything new – just re-branded Left4Dead zombie rooms where the music speeds up and hordes come pouring out – only with demons… I guess that’s a throw back to Ye Olde Sandy Petersen Monster Closets. We have come full circle!

Come to think of it, DOOM 3 (and now 4) have more to do with the original Quake (not Quake II, mind you) than DOOM/DOOM II…

Think about it.

What was Quake if not a tech demo for John Carmack’s new (in 1996) true-3D engine? For Carmack, it was all about the tech and little else – sound familiar, no? Only the faintest hint a of story, and even that was mostly ripped from DOOM (YetAnotherSpaceMarine Fighting zombies/demons with teleporters to Hellish alternate dimensions).

This may have been why games built by IdTech licensees were often superior to those made by Id themselves. A sound enough business model, that was until Unreal came along…

Of course, [John] Carmack is the same guy who said, “Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It’s expected to be there, but it’s not that important.”

For those that don’t speak Robutese, the phrase above roughly translates to,
“Fuck you, Tom.**”

You see, ‘J-Car P0’ didn’t just consort with the Robot kind, he was one! There were plenty of great porn stories out there, but they did not compute in his robot “hard” ware…

doom_bible

** SIDE NOTE: The DOOM Bible was a design document written by Tom Hall for DOOM, in response John Carmack’s demands for a seamless (read: no levels) environment. Ironically, Carmack later reversed this decision, and almost none of the original ideas put forth by Hall made it into the released version of DOOM. Further, Carmack would go on to de-emphasize Hall’s role, eventually forcing him out of the company altogether…

Having read that document cover-to-cover, it seems to me the two were on opposite extremes; on the one hand, the charm of DOOM were the ‘good bits’ Tom squeezed in (e.g. color-coded doors, teleporters, secret rooms etc.), which are what made the solo game fun/re-playable. On the other hand, the game is better for having left out some of the more extraneous features Hall suggested (e.g. multiple player characters, lives, some of the guns etc.).

What didn’t work for DOOM made Rise of the Triad interesting and fun, but that’s another story…

In any case, Hall didn’t stand a chance. Carmack was the developer of the engine – without  him, there was no DOOM. By comparison, Tom didn’t bring much to the team…

While the Tom Hall (and John Romero)  were respectable programmers and game developers in their own rights, neither had Carmack’s discipline or ingenuity – at best, all they could offer were ways to help Carmack exploit his technology.

I often wonder where Id would be today had they managed to hold things together. What would I have done as a 20-something overnight millionaire? Would I have acted nobly? Would you?

Well I’ll never know, and unless you were a millionaire in your 20’s in the early 90s, neither will you so back to my story :)…

###

new_doom_spider_mm

Will today’s generation ever get to experience games like DOOM the way I remember them? Probably not…

I recall the download took about 11 hours to complete over my blazing fast 2400 BPS modem. Might have been quicker, but this was dial-up on a shared line, so every time somebody picked up the phone, transmission interrupted. Thank Bog for Z-Modem protocol (i.e. it continued where it left off instead of starting over).

Getting the game to download was only the beginning! Then there was  hours troubleshooting combinations of dip switches, jumper blocks and configuration strings to reach the magical invocation that would allow you connect two modems and play a Deathmatch!

Somehow I just can’t imagine kids today putting up with that to play a game…
I suppose generations before mine had the same thing to say about what things were like in their day (e.g. playing chess by mail)…

In any case, it only goes to show that now is all we have. For better or worse, time marches on, and things will be never the way they were when we first experienced them, emulators and DOSBox be damned.

25 Things I Learned from Watching Master of the Flying Guillotine

  1. NEU! is the perfect soundtrack for a flying guillotine…or any krautrock really…
  2. Flying guillotines have awesome eyebrows…
  3. Blind flying guillotines need both krautrock and big bushy eyebrows to guide them down treacherous mountains.
  4. Doors are for amateurs, REAL masters just jump through the damn roof!
  5. Jumping is a skill.
  6. Holding your breath makes you light enough to walk on the rim of a flimsy basket.
  7. If you’re REALLY good at holding your breath, you can walk across the wall and ceiling. This is the natural progression of the “jumping” skill, and may come in handy if you ever have to fight a blind person, or that Dhalsim guy from Street Fighter 2…
  8. Flying guillotines have to wear a NAZI bib so everyone knows they’re evil.
  9. Flying guillotines are vegetarians, which is also evil.
  10. Thai kickboxers must snort and belch after every sentence – it’s a character trait.
  11. In order to activate his ass-kicking power, Thai kickboxer must do a crazy little dance…serenaded by an invisible pungi.
  12. Thai kickboxer has to prove his prowess by beating up a bunch of extras while his evil friends just kinda show up and get to fight.
  13. That Yogi Tro Le Soung was clearly a rip off of Dhalsim from Street Fighter II.
  14. Also, yoga is a form of Kung Fu.
  15. Plus having really long arms lets you choke the bejesus out of people…who knew Yoga was so brutal!?
  16. Ironically named, “Yakuma Wins-Without-a-Knife” does in-fact use a knife to win.
  17. Ironically named evil Ronin are pretty in pink.
  18. The penalty for a dine-and-dash in China is death by flying guillotine.
  19. The most practical way to kill the real one-armed boxer is to kill all the one-armed men you come across – it’s not like China is a big place or has a large population or anything…how many one-armed guys can there be? Well, according to the movie, there were three.
  20. If your enemy is too skilled to beat in a fair fight, just lock him in a burning hut and roast him alive. That’ll teach those damned foreigners to enter our open, regionally-unrestricted contests!
  21. You don’t have to keep a life-debt to a foreigner if you don’t want to.
  22. Kung Fu tournaments are a good place to see all the south-east asian ethnic stereotypes err “different styles of Kung Fu”.
  23. Kung Fu tournaments sorta make up the rules as they go along…
  24. …and have no discernible brackets.
  25. Kung Fu masters who can walk on the ceiling use surprisingly little actual hand-to-hand combat, relying instead on elaborate traps. Go underhanded handi-capable hero! Yay!