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).

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!

Why we haven’t posted a new Recipe in a while…

In the 3rd world shit hole I currently live in, I discovered a rare and wonderful treasure called, “Paldo Namja Ramen”  a couple years back. It’s a spicy garlic-flavored Korean-style instant noodle.

The Ramen Rater, Grand Guru of all things Ramen-Related (how’s that for some gratuitous alliteration?) thinks very highly of this one, giving it a 5/5, and I’m inclined to agree.

While they are good out of the bag as is, most people kick them up a notch with other ingredients such as eggs (usually boiled or poached, but sometimes fried), green onion, slices of meat, cheese, soy sauce, fresh veggies or whatever else is handy.

Even so, I’m always curious as to how other people prepare theirs, and on a whim, decided to look around on the YouTube and came across this:

You will never, ever, EVER make Ramen with the flare and gusto this bastard does! …and neither will I :(…

You may as well give up cooking altogether!

How can you, or I or anyone compete with that!? Have you ever seen someone fucking coax an egg out of a chicken in a kind of Gung Fu stroke-gasm?? No, you haven’t! Me neither, now that I think about it… but he did it!

Hell he didn’t even look at his at the pot to make sure the egg he was cracking actually landed in it… clearly, he’s seen the Cool Guys don’t look at Explosions music video. Even so, ANYONE can not look at an explosion — but how many people can crack eggs into a pot without looking whilst pulling off an anguished look on their face??

I know what you guys are thinking – it’s a commercial, they must be using CGI and other movie magic tricks to pull this off. I say you can keep the wool pulled over your eyes if you want to, but I know what I saw…

I don’t know what blue pill he’s taken to pull that off (Viagra maybe?) but dammit I want what he’s having!

Windows Fun

“It’s like that scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where that guy I kinda look like rips that dude’s heart of out of his chest and shows it to him before he dies. That’s some ‘Mortal Kombat’ finishing move shit right there!”

– Satya Nadella on Windows 10…probably

Windows 10 has brought with it some glorious new features as some users have discovered. One fine young gentleman in particular caught my attention:

w10_2

Don’t listen to Venkat, that ain’t legal advice, he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about! So here’s my legal advice (check your mail for my invoice):

 

  1. Bill Gates left Microsoft over a year and a half ago, and was replaced by Satya Nadella, who is clearly doing a fine job!
  2. Your mouse pad isn’t working because you haven’t upgraded its driver to Windows 10. The firmware is corrupt, so you need to take it outside and beat it against the side of your shed repeatedly until it becomes soft and pliable again.
  3. You don’t need speakers or the internet, both are obsolete features that Windows 10 no longer requires – these have been replaced by an infinite repair loop.
  4. You can’t restore your previous Windows because Satya threw a brick through them. He’s angry at you and wants your business to fail. You must appease him with a modest donation of two thousand pan masala wrappers while chanting, “Satya Ma! Satya Ma Shakti De!”
  5. You are indeed trapped by Microsoft and should accept your Karma. If you are lucky, you will be reincarnated into a Linux or Mac user.

Procrastination and Projects

A couple months ago I picked up an AR-15 lower receiver with the intention of building, owning and eventually firing my first AR style rifle! So far, this has consisted of me staring at the lower receiver and parts kit as they collect dust on the shelf…

thejack_arlower
Spike Tactical’s “The Jack” AR-15 Lower

Well no longer! I finally got up the motivation to go out to the garage and gather up the tools I will need to assemble the parts I do have. I plan on this being a longer term project as quality parts are not cheap, and I am on a rather limited budget. I figure it will take me a few months (at the very least) to save up the required cash to purchase the hardware that will be needed to assemble an operating rifle.

Taking time will also give me the added benefit of researching the staggering array of custom options the AR platform offers.

I will need to pick a stock…

  • Plain Jane classic fixed A2?
  • Multi position mall ninja tacticool Magpul ?
  • Something entirely different?

Barrel length and caliber…

  • Do I bother filling out the NFA paper work, set up a trust, and go with that awesome looking 8 inch SBR setup in .300 Blackout?
  • Maybe Bambi slaying .458 SOCOM?
  • Regular old 5.56mm?

The All-Important Personalized Dust Cover!  with something witty on to show that my rifle is not to be confused with any of the other little black rifles out there today!

How many rails will it have? And what should be attached to them? Vertical fore grip? Angled fore grip? Flashlights, optics, laser sights.  Maybe no rails at all so I can keep it high speed and low drag?

The choices in flash hiders and muzzle devices is enough to overwhelm the brain alone!

This says nothing about things like magazine wraps, slings, custom grips and the host of other parts that will need to be contemplated over before it all comes together as fully functioning machine.

So, before I put too much thought behind getting whatever newfangled, hi-tech, super-coated bolt and carrier out on the market (that I can not yet afford), I need to start with what I got.

I will be spending the rest of the evening watching YouTube videos on how to assemble all the tiny springs, detent pins and other bits and pieces that go into a lower receiver.

Almost like Legos for big kids…

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Stay Tuned!