Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Day of Havoc Mantis

In celebration of this blog's 50th anniversary, today is hereby declared The Day of Havoc Mantis. But before you go making any exclamations, Great Scott, I'll have you know that you may not have overshot. If your destination was December 19th, 2013 CE, then you're exactly when you want to be. If you find yourself in the future, don't worry. I'm on my way there as we speak. And if you're in the past, then you've broken time. I'm sure your parents were very proud when they will hear what you are doing.

But if time travel shenanigans are out of the question, what other explanation can there be for this contradiction of a 50th anniversary for that which has not been around for 50 years? Well, as the greatest detective of all time once said, "Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." And as improbable as it seems, Batman is right. The truth is that I stone cold lied to you. I purposely and maliciously omitted words from the opening sentence with the intent to deceive you. The full, uncensored edition reads as follows: "In celebration of this blog's 50th post, as well as its first anniversary, today is hereby declared The Day of Havoc Mantis." 

Nicely done. By presenting the Blog archive to the court, you've revealed the contradictions in my testimony. The evidence clearly indicates that there are a total of 51 posts on this blog, and that they only go back to January this year. But there is an explanation. While this particular blog only dates back to the beginning of 2013, it had its origins in the seedy underbelly of tumblr, and was imported to its current home after a month. The post number remark is actually true. I said that this post celebrated the 50th post, not that it was the 50th post. So what is this mysterious 50th post? Well, if Doctor Who has taught me anything, it's that every 50th...Anniversary needs a guest star. So, to play the role of David Tennant to my Matt Smith, I've convinced my best friend, Dr. Lou Tennant, to write up the 50th post. In fact, it's right below this one. He's a really funny guy, but he's never written anything like this before, so don't be too surprised if it's only one or two orders of magnitude better than what you're used to around here. You can go there right away, or you can continue reading this, because I've still got some things to say.

I thought that I might as well use this benchmark as an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane, recounting all the funny moments in the history of this blog. So we shouldn't be here too long. Although, all self-deprecation aside, this blog has more words than "The Great Gatsby". When you're dealing with more than 3 words, you just have to accept that we might be here awhile. So find a comfy place to sit, as I compress an entire year's worth of writing into only the parts worth reading.

First Post!

Man, screw this post, and screw the tumblr that spawned it. It was written way back in the dark ages, when I first made a tumblr, under the pseudonym "The Omnificent T-dub". That's why it referenced my name being stupid. Because it was. Also, it's pretty adorable how I deemed that "a little TL;DR", when nowadays that much text amounts to little more than a footnote to me.I just can't help but feel that feel you feel when you know that someone thinks their funny, but you know they aren't. For reference, consider the feel you're currently feeling.

Back with a Vengeance

Don't believe the title of the previous post. This post is the true first post, and I hope you get used to reading the word post, because I post a lot about the posts that I post. I think I might actually literally be crying at how absurd the word "post" is. Is this what crying is? Gross.

Actually, I'm certain that this is what crying is, because that is the only appropriate response to reading this. But if you're afraid that the rest of this trip down memory lane is going to be me bagging on my own writing, don't worry; I'm pretty sure I've written things that I've liked. But not this. The tone shifts abruptly and pointlessly from serious to joking, and while there are some funny moments, (particularly the joke I stole from XKCD) the whole thing just kind of falls flatter than justice. And that joke just goes to show you how much I've improved: While I used to make jokes that no one else would get and I would dislike after a year, I now make jokes that no one else would get, but I am confident I will find hilarious forever.

And an out of context picture seals the deal

Of Loners and Friends

In my opinion, the first paragraph of this post is one of the finest things I've ever written, utilizing tried-and-true standbys, like jokes about the taxonomic class of your mother's dentist, while also boldly blazing new trails with jokes about marriage. And while the level of fanboyish obsession that I exude is genuinely creepy, I wouldn't have it any other way. Is it really so strange to collect restraining orders the way some collect stamps?


If I had to pick one of my posts as my favorite, there's a good chance it'd be this one, despite, or behaps percause, it being pretty edgy, especially for my earlier work. In particular, I make a bold political statement, firmly declaring myself to disapprove of one of the hated groups in America. (People still know what the Westboro Baptist Church is, right? If I tried to make a Final Fantasy joke, would anyone get it?)

Except even more infuriating, amirite?

It also contains one of the two instances of race humor on this blog. Or I guess three, if you count that joke  that I explicitly didn't make. But it's OK. Some of my best friends are runners.

A Gentleman's Challenge

Because I continue to sport to this very day, I am now going to make public the answer key to this post, and reveal the seven words that were issued to me. At least, as many of them as I can remember. I am sure that "photon" was one of them, and my extensive physics training allowed me to make short work of it. While it did not contain any of the Selected Seven, I believe that the phrase “More parched than a thirsty barber” deserves recognition for being one of the least sensical things I've ever typed. The next word was abstract, so you can blame that for my digression to talking about mathematics, and, more regrettably, “Mathology”. If, in the future, this post has been deleted, assume that it was removed to conceal from grad schools any evidence that I'm actually a moron. Though, if that's my intention, I might just be better off purging this entire blog from the internet.

Moving on, I believe “ebbing” was one of them, which allowed me to make a choice laundry detergent joke that I had saved up for quite some time. It is also worth noting that I came up with the phrase “Original Gentleman” independently from Mr. B the Gentleman Rhymer. No plagiarism was intended on my part. I'm pretty sure that “magnet” was one of them. Or maybe it was rainbows. Or perhaps miracles? I'm pretty sure that at least one of the words was brought to you by the Insane Clown Posse. Conflagration was definitely not one of the words.

I'm pretty sure that Hippopotamus was one of them. When I started talking about Pokemon, I think I had intended to say something about the Pokemon Hippowdon, but I decided to make a truly awful joke instead, so as not to arouse suspicion.

Actually, as it turns out, when I saved this post to the Great Archive of Havoc Mantis (Currently hiring! Only Top Men need apply) I included a list of the challenge words. Apparently "rainbow" was one of them, rather than magnets. I don't remember if rainbows were mentioned in ICP's treatise on Miracles, but I sure as hell don't get paid enough to go back and take another listen, so I guess it'll remain a mystery. I kind of forgot that I left this segment unfinished until the day before showtime, and I don't have it in me to write any more, so I'm just going to list the words. Entice, photon, rainbow, trickling, hippopotamus, abstract, ablaze. We cool? We cool.

Listless No More

I guess I'll kick this off by saying that, yes, I do intend to do a similar top X list for this year. When it comes to coming up with ideas of what to write about, annually counting down the best things of the year is easy prey. And I like my prey how I like my women. So, after this post, expect the list festivities (listivites?) to begin. Though I haven't really watched any movies this year, and there isn't much to say about Machine of Death II that wasn't said about Machine of Death I, so expect it to mostly be just games and music from games. But boy do I have some games to talk to you about.

I feel it is also worth noting that perhaps my favorite joke on this entire blog occurs in this series of posts. To be specific, it's the part where, in reference to Katawa Shoujo, I say “Bring a tissue. What you do with it is up to you.” It's one of the lewdest jokes I've made, but is at the same time subdued enough to be classy. Though I'd just like to point out that, when presented with two options, one does not necessarily have to choose one or the other exclusively. Just keep that in mind.

I feel like this image is enough to land me in Hell, or at least a government watch list.

While I'm here, I'd also like to issue a redaction on something that I said in the actual post titled "Listless no More". When I said that "ideas are a precious commodity..., to be treasured like an unwrapped Starburst that you find on the ground". I meant for that to be a wrapped Starburst. Unwrapped Starbursts that you find on the ground are by no means entirely without value, but I think you'll find that they are not quite as precious as ideas.

Diamond Emblem

For a long time I've considered this my least favorite post, because it mostly just consisted of me giving my opinions on a game, and that was never the intended purpose of this blog. I know that you don't care about my opinions, and I don't think you should. All I really want to do is try and spread a laugh or two. So don't feel like I actually expect your opinions to be swayed by my writing, unless the opinions in question are on whether or not you want to be my pal, in which case I hope you sway in the “no” direction. For your own sake.

Anyway, going back and re-reading this post, I found that the problem is that there are no pictures. Allow me to now rectify this problem.

Imagine me making a moist, unpleasant sound with my mouth. Any such sound will do.

Also, with regards to the title, I was referring to the fact that the game was hard. Diamonds are also noted for their hardness. Though, compared to Lunatic difficulty, even in Casual Mode, Hard difficulty is a walk in the cake.

Creep Deprivation

This post contains a great mystery to me. Towards the end, I make the claim "I have too many actual ideas about education to come up with a suitably ridiculous one." and I have no idea why. It doesn't taste like a joke when I read it in my brain, yet I have no memory of having actual ideas about education. I recognize that America's current education system is pretty cocked up, sure, with too many people focusing on grades and getting degrees in things they don't actually care about, but I don't know that I have any ideas about how to solve these problems. Unless... Sledgehammer Olympics. BOOM! I'll take my prize in cash.


In actuality, this post is probably my least favorite. I actually harbor a deep, irrational resentment towards those who identify themselves as "sO rAnDoM", and give stock examples of how weird they are, not realizing how much it makes them sound like every other teenager just desperate for attention. The reason you're not "normal" is because no one is. Stressing how different you are from this mythical "normal person" is little more than stereotyping everyone who doesn't belong to your little circle, and it seriously undermines human diversity. And the fact that my longest post to date smacks of this ignorant philosophy, while not being terribly funny, kind of hurts me. If the 50 posts I've written were states, this one would be Oklahoma.

And while I'd love to keep this entry brief and end on that pithy little jab, I want to mention that I hate this post even more after I noticed a reference to mathematical induction that is stupid. Making jokes about math you don't understand is more stupid than orthogonally projecting a hypersphere onto the z axis.

Screw Clever Titles: I'm Talking About Pokemon Stuff

Despite that devilishly clever title, I'm going to take this opportunity, not to talk about Pokemon stuff, but to expound on a single throwaway line that raised questions that many of  you have been aching to have answered for the past 5 months. In the first sentence of the second paragraph, I mention "half-heartedly writing romance stories"; I am now deeply saddened to report that my labors bore no fruit. Some time around the beginning of summer, I entered into a pact with a few of my friends. Afterlife Battlefront had visions of writing a visual novel, and enlisted us to aid her. I won't go into too much detail, just in case anything does come of the idea, but it was pretty standard Visual Novel stuff. The player took the role of a student who had to choose one of four potential love interests, each of which had a story associated with them. There were four authors in total, including myself and Afterlife Battlefront, and we were each tasked with creating a love interest and a story for them. I tried my damnedest, and even ended up writing somewhere on the order of 20,000 words of story, script, and misc. ideas, but a single flaw prevented me from finishing the task to completion: my utter lack of ability to tell a coherent story. I put the "incoherent" in coherent storytelling. Did you see what I did there? That was wordplay, what I did there.

This also solves the mystery of the cryptic remark in my description about how "I might write fiction, depending on how some things work out." As it turns out, I don't, because they didn't. Although I wouldn't entirely dismiss the possibility that I finish my story and make it available to the public, I wouldn't hold your breath. I don't even know how I'd go about holding someone else's breath.


All in all, it's been a pretty great year, and I hope the next one is even better. And to help kick off the new year, I'll be dumping a collection of puns that I've accumulated over the semester. They double as a hopefully opaque attempt to pad the length of this post so that it usurps the throne of longest post from σ. I would be lying if I said I wasn't ashamed of some of these, but dammit, 30 is a nice number, so I just have to keep them all. 

Q. What do you call a ghost staying at a hotel? 
A. A polter-guest
Q. What does a printer spread on its morning toast? 
A. Paper jam
Q. What do you call an inflammatory crocodile? 
A. An insti-gator
Q. What do you call a giant transforming robot with only two factors?? 
A. An Optimus Prime Number
Q. What do you call an attorney's outfit? 
A. A lawsuit
Q. Why should you never play blackjack against the Prince of Mathematics? 
A. Because the Gauss always wins!
Q. Where did the proton bury the body? 
A. In an electric field
Q. How does an electron say farewell? 
A. They particle goodbye
Q. When an inmate is making a jailbreak, how fast does he go? 
A. Escape velocity
Q. What is it called when a jazz musician moves towards you? 
A. Blues shifting
Q. What do you call a song about electrochemistry? 
A. An ode (anode)
Q. Why was the singer cruel? 
A. Because he was harmonic mean
Q. Why are condoms logical? 
A. Because they're made of Vulcanized rubber
Q. How do you keep your hats safe? 
A. With a caps lock
Q. Why did the mathematician not brush his teeth? 
A. Because he wanted to study the calculus
Q. What do you call a dairy farmer's diary? 
A. A Cream journal
Q. What do you call a naughty orchestra? 
A. A sinphony
Q. What do you call a deaf paladin? 
A. A knight in signing armor
Q. Why did the tree complete the square? 
A. Because he wanted to find his roots
Q. What do you call a fire at a noodle factory? 
A. A tragedy of the ramens
Q. Did you hear about how 1 and  -1 are dating? 
A. I heard it's complex.
Q. Why did the dog write poetry in tetrimeter? 
A. Because it has four feet
Q. Why should you never kiss a chemist? 
A. They think that first base is caustic.
Q. What is it called when a circle wins a battle but at great cost? 
A. A pi-ric victory
Q. What is James Mays' favorite element? 
A. Car-bon
Q. Why did the 10th Doctor rent a flat? 
A. Because he was a David Tenant 
Q. What do you call a whip that isn't very heavy? 
A. A light switch
Q. Ron Weasly walks into a bar. What does he order? 
A. A Ginger Ale
Q. Why did the lawn ornament pass the class? 
A. Because he did all his gnome-work
Q. What does a fashionable scientist wear? 
A. A fab coat

A Challenger Approaches!

Hello, hello! Do make yourselves comfortable. Welcome to the first ever Guest Extravaganza, starring me, a guest. As may have been aware (please tell me you were not), this marks the anniversary of our dear benefactor Havoc Mantis’s first blog post *applause, air horns*. As a joke, I wrote a mockup of a post I would make if I were involved in the blog. Well unfortunately for you all, the joke has become all too real, and now I’m actually doing this.

Jokes kind of stop being funny once charges are filed.

So, as I am sure it is painfully apparent, I have no prior experience doing this. And when I say “this,” I mean writing a blog post, not degrading myself on the internet. With that in mind, I’ll try not to go too crazy with this, as I was told not to go too crazy with this. Since the Steam Winter Sale is likely upon us, or soon to be upon us, by the time this is written, this post will consist of some of the games I bought during the Fall Sale, and my impressions of them. Let’s get this travesty started, I’ve got things to do (Skullgirls).

First up in the Calamity Carnival is Electronic Super Joy, a platformer created by Michael Todd. Do you hate yourself, or are you confident in your skills (hate yourself)? Then Electronic Super Joy is the game for no one. I bet you thought I was going to say, “it’s the game for you” or something, but no. ESJ (getting lazy, typing sucks) could be described as an unholy union of Super Meat Boy and Super Hexagon; I mean, they all have “super” in their names, so it’s a thing, right? If that description appeals to you for some reason, you should probably set up an appointment with your friendly neighborhood neurosurgeon—because you’re going to need a lobotomy.

"Wait, did he mean I'll need a lobotomy before or after playing the game?"

The first thing you’ll notice about the game is that you’re dead, because you had an epileptic episode. But really, the game contains a lot (see: always, and with great vigor) of flashing colors. The game warns of this at the start of the game, but by then, you’ve already purchased it, so too late to cry about seizures by then. The second thing you’ll notice is that the game is absurdly unforgiving, that is, if you’re trying to 100% it. Otherwise, the onslaught of checkpoints will make the game feel slightly less completely awful in every way. The jumping is a little wonky—the character doesn’t cover as much horizontal distance as he maybe should, and this is highlighted when nearly all of the stages involve making exact pixel jumps to the next ledge. I’m not messing around, here. Your timing better be solid, or you’re getting a one-way ticket to hell.

I wasn't kidding

In addition to this, it’s difficult to tell where your character is located on the screen. There are portions where you have to make leaps into items you need, and you’ll swear up and down and all around that you touched the item because your light streak that follows right behind your character went through it but the game’s like, “Nah, man. You weren’t even close,” even though you know that you had to have touched it in order for your light streak to have gone through the item. Or maybe that was just me? I don’t know. But in all seriousness, the jumping doesn’t feel as polished as it should be for a platformer, which is a big problem when attempting to fully complete the game. And don’t get me started on the missiles. You know what? I won’t even get me started on the missiles. There are a lot of them, they suck, that’s it. Bottom line, if you value your sanity, don’t get Electronic Super Joy. Spend your money on something else, like Skullgirls.

Next up, is Gunpoint. Buy this if you haven’t. I mean it. Right now. Stop reading this, go into the Steam store, and purchase Gunpoint, then come back. Did you get it? Good. If not, you’re only hurting yourself.

AND NOW, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS, THE MAIN EVENT. So, sharp readers (those of you who aren’t blind) may have noticed me mention Skullgirls a few times. Some of you may be wondering, “What’s Skullgirls, and why don’t I already own this masterpiece?” Skullgirls is a fighting game that was independently developed by Reverge Labs. The game features stunning hand drawn art with a unique style, and combat that is easy enough for beginners, yet complex enough for experts. Also, come on, it’s Skullgirls.


Now that I find myself writing this, I’m at a loss for what to say. The game is incredible. There are so many little things that make it what it is. Things like performing 18-hit Barely Legal combos on your opponents. I couldn’t make that up if I tried. Eighteen-hit combos actually have the caption “Barely Legal” under them. The game is constantly undergoing change, and DLC characters are in the works. The DLC characters are free if you have the game when they’re released, otherwise, they’re around $5. The roster is probably the most unique thing about the game. The game features a (soon not to be) all-female cast, who all sport their own crazy appearances and movesets. The characters are in pursuit of an artifact called the Skullheart, which has the power to grant wishes. Blah blah blah, usual fighting game story stuff that isn’t that important. Anyway, I highly recommend this game to anyone who is a fan of fighting games, or anyone who has always wanted to jump in, but felt that the options available were too complex to even get started.

Congratulations, you made it to the end! What? You thought I meant you? No, I meant me. I finally made it to the end of this post. Well, I suppose congratulations are in order for you as well. You sat through my drivel which somehow probably managed to be worse than the content you’re used to. And for that, I’m not sorry.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I am The Law, and So Can You!

As you may have guessed from my full title, "Havoc Mantis, Esquire", (Or my re-anagrammed title, "Serviceman Quits a Ho") I am fully qualified to practice law in the state of "I swear, this is totally America, why would you even think it's Japan". I am referring to the Ace Attorney series, which I have mentioned before, and am mentioning again. Right at this very moment, in fact.

A new Ace Attorney game, Dual Destinies, came stateside about a month ago, and I guess I took that as an invitation to talk about it on this here blog. The Ace Attorney series of games follows the legal career of Ace Attorney, Phoenix Wright, (and eventually some other, blunter-haired attorneys) as he acquits his clients through sheer power of belief, and in the process causes the prosecutor's heart to grow three (3) sizes. Or he just straight up kills them. Either way.

Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies actually earned a Mature rating from the ESRB, which is rather surprising for a game about murder. Honestly, I can't really think of any way in which it was significantly more graphic or "mature" than previous entries in the series.

Well, when you put it that way...

Well, in most of the honestly, I only wrote this post so I could make that joke, so see you next week, folks! Oh, if only you were so lucky. Instead, I guess I'll say more things about Dual Destinies. I'm not entirely sure how what the verdict (hah!) on Dual Destinies is. On one hand, I think I enjoyed it the least of all the Ace Attorney games. On the other hand, I think I might kind of be a jaded, bitter asshole (see: my opinion of Pokemon X and Y). One curious thing that I noticed is that there was a lot less gameplay. The court sequences felt more automated than before, with fewer cross-examination sequences, and out of court segments involved a lot less CSI and interrogation, and a lot more listening to people talk. This ended up making the game a lot easier, especially considering the ability to make save-states in the middle of court, which removed any sense of urgency in making decisions.

But then again, the Ace Attorney series has arguably always been more about the stories and characters than the gameplay. And how do those stack up? Pretty nicely, all things considered. Although there were times when the plot was predictable, and seemed a bit too similar to previous entries in the series, there were some genuinely heartwarming moments and shocking twists, including at least one revelation that easily stands up to the Zero Escape series in terms of mind-blowingness. Seriously, the moment I learned the truth about [REDACTED] may have been worth the price of admission by itself.

Just like every previous game in the series, Dual Destinies introduces a new rival prosecutor, Simon Blackquill, a convicted murderer who's more dangerous than a second bowl of Eldoon's Noodles. I think it's pretty cool how every previous prosecutor was talked up by someone saying, “This prosecutor has never lost a case! Do you feel lucky?” and then Blackquill is talked up by saying, “This prosecutor killed a man. DO YOU FEEL LUCKY?” Blackquill is also a Samurai, but due to his incarceration, his ability to summon demons has been revoked. Not that that stops the game from bringing them along anyway, bless its heart. I could say a lot of things about Blackquill, but I'm afraid that giving my opinions will bias the jury. Just kidding! There is no jury. There never was a jurist system, so we should all just forget about it.

All-in-all, I'd say that this game wasn't quite as good as I'd hoped, but it wasn't a disappointment, like I felt Pokemon was. Or this post, for that matter.

When I originally started wrighting this post, I had intended to transition to talking about Papers, Please, and how I was also The Law there. (In case you didn't already know, Papers, Please, is a "Dystopian Document Thriller" about looking at passports and finding new and creative ways to tell people to get the hell out of your country.) But important things have come up. Time sensitive things that deserve another post. Probably one with a spiffy title, like "Punchstarter" (Kickstopper was already taken). But time is of the essence, so I'll have to make dew.

Really? Am I actually to believe that in the universe of the world wide web, there does not exist an image of the Dew patrol from Fairly Odd Parents? Well, I guess we all missed out on an opportunity for me to make a barely coherent joke about "quitting your day job". Sometimes I wonder why we ever even invented the internet.

Anyway, as I previously implied, I am indeed promoting a Kickstarter. Not one of my own, of course. I could never be morally comfortable with accepting money for this. I may be an asshole, but I'm not a monster. What I am promoting is a game called Tadpole Treble, a neat little game with music, action, art, and the most dangerous secret in the universe, i.e. my real name. If you're actually interested in the game, you're probably best off clicking that link and reading the details there. If you're just interested in seeing if I can spin this shameless other-promotion into something funny, then read on. 

Tadpole Treble is a game that defies classification into any genre I know of. I almost described it as an "on-rails shooter without shooting", but that sounds more tedious than trying to come up with clever comparisons, so I won't describe it like that. Basically, you play a tadpole named "Baton", and you go through a constantly moving level trying to dodge obstacles. But the twist is that the level is a staff, and the obstacles are notes, forming the sheet music for the song that plays during the level. When things happen in the music, things happen in the game. So I guess, for example, if the music speeds up, the level speeds up, or if a tritone plays, your eyes turn red and you sprout devil horns. Not Baton, mind you; This will happen to you, the player of the game. Such is the power of the tritone.

Actual Playtester

To the surprise of even myself, it would seem that I retain some iota of dignity somewhere in the corner of my mind, and I cannot bring myself to beg you for donations. But fret not; when I find that last scrap of stubborn pride, it will be immediately executed, without mercy or compassion. Those were the first to go. But seriously, in all actuality, in the time it has taken me to type this, the goal has almost been reached. Hell, if I continue writing this at the same rate that I have been, by the time I'm finished, Kickstarter will be naught but a distant memory from a golden age of internet handouts. There's really no need to spend your money, especially after the wallet-threshing you likely received from the recent Steam sale. Although, if you've ever dreamt of dropping $20 to have your name appear next to mine, this may be your last chance, so act soon!

Because I have something I'd like to get off my chest, I will now talk about Brawl in the Family, a webcomic by the same man as Tadpole Treble. Simply put, Brawl in the Family is the webcomic I would write if I wrote a webcomic. Except without references to handicapped smut from the darkest corner of the internet. Or sexual implications regarding exploded bodies. Or rambling, incoherent sentence fragments. But despite these vast incongruities between my writing style and that of BitF, there are several similarities between the two: A love of Nintendo, a love of references, and most importantly of all, a love of Nintendo references. Brawl in the Family stars the cast of Super Smash Bros. Brawl, with Kirby as the main focus, and is about... well, the cast of Super Smash Bros. Brawl. Just doing whatever it is that they do when not smashing brothers. Making sight gags out of eating things, it would seem.

But that thing I said about it being the webcomic I I'd write if I wrote a webcomic was no idle jest. When I was a younger man, many were the occasions when I was told that I was funny enough to be funny on the internet. That's why I eventually started this blog, because I think it's important to teach people to be careful what they wish for. But before this blog came to be, I had the idle notion that I could write a webcomic, with an almost identical premise, if I recall correctly. Super Smash Bros. Characters super smashing their bros, whilst making jokes about it. And because Kirby is my favorite character, he got top billing. Sure, I have absolutely no talent for art, but looking back at some of the first strips of BitF, it seems that he didn't really either. If I recall correctly, I even had a few drafts written up for some strips, but they are all (hopefully) lost to the mists of time. But I do remember something involving going to McDonalds, ordering a number 2, (you know how their menu is numbered?) and then something about eating poop (you know, like number 1 and number 2 assigned to bodily functions?). I believe the phrase “Elementary School toilet nomenclature” was involved. Because this is the kind of things that Kirby does when he's not skipping through meadows of sunshine and daisies.

Forgive me Father, for I have sinned.

Friday, November 15, 2013

iTunes? More like cryTunes

Pull up a seat, make yourselves comfortable, and I will tell you a tale. A classic tale that will echo throughout the ages, an emotional roller coaster of frustration, rage, anger, irritation, aggravation, grief, longing, and buttmad.

This isn't your average, everyday joke reuse. This is... ADVANCED joke reuse.

I guess you could say that this story began in the year 1711, on a lonesome ship in the middle of a stormy sea, where a group of alchemists attempted to summon a devil to aid their quest for the grand panacea, an elixir granting immortality to any who imbibe it. Surprisingly enough, the ritual worked, and all aboard the vessel were granted everlasting life, only to be cut short by the hand of another immortal. But that's enough of my backstory. It could be said that my troubles began a few years ago, the moment my brother won a free iPad in a raffle, but refused his friend's offer to give him $200 to smash it against the ground then and there. This resulted in the unfortunate affliction of owning an iPad, and a yet more severe case of having to deal with iTunes. But little did I know, all those frustrations were but a prelude to the fugue that was to follow.

A few months ago, I saw an update on Serebii that said that the soundtrack for Pokemon X and Y (That's right. It's another one of those posts) would be sold on iTunes. Gamefreak had finally called me out on my bluff that I would legally pay for and download video game music if only I was given the chance. And I was glad they did. Gamefreak, and video game makers (Developers? Producers? Birthers?) in general make some pretty spectacular music, and they deserve to be recognized for it, monetarily. Sure, it meant that I would now have to actually pay for the music, and opportunities to become poorer usually aren't something that I celebrate, but as long as the money was going to a good cause, it would be worth it, because it would allow me to fit way too many commas in one sentence, wouldn't it?

And then, on November 12th, a month after the game was released, the full soundtrack was released on iTunes, an impressive 212 songs for a meager $10. Deals don't get much better than that, right? I mean, sure a lot of the “songs” are probably just short jingles and sound effects, but even if as much as half of them were proper songs, it's still be chin and earlobes above most other songs you'd buy off iTunes. Hell, just a few days prior, I had considered buying the Bastion Soundtrack for the same amount of money, and it only has 22 songs. As it turns out, I should have purchased the Bastion Soundtrack, and heeded its words more carefully. Indeed, some day, these tears were gonna spill.

After taking a few minutes to download iTunes and get an account set up, I moseyed on over to the soundtrack, and-- wait, what? You know, Gamefreak, when I said “if even as much as half of them were proper songs”, I wasn't just trying to win a pretentious-sounding sentence competition. That was supposed to be an exaggeration. I didn't expect that that would be anywhere close to the truth. Well, whatever. Even just 20 songs makes for a pretty burly album, so I shouldn't complain. I'll just click on the “buy” button, enter some credit card information, fail to understand how the money that I'm spending correlates to real world time spent working, and get on with my life. Eh? It says the connection has been reset, and the purchase couldn't be completed. And if I try it again? Same thing. I guess I'll check out the internet to see what they have to say about this problem. This guy says that his problem went away after he logged out of iTunes then logged back in, so I guess I'll try that. No, that didn't work. This says that switching my DNS settings solved this guys similar problem. For all I know, DNS stands for “Do Not Switch”, but if someone on the internet says it's a good idea, who am I to argue? And... nothing. Same error. Maybe my firewall is blocking all the grass and ice types from getting in? Let's see what happens if I disable that for a bit. Huh. That didn't work either. I'm kind of running out of ideas now. Maybe it'll work if I try switching this narrative from present tense back to past tense? But that didn't work either.

The remainder of this story will be told in first person omniscient.

The error message seemed to indicate that some kind of error was occurring with my network as the album was being downloaded, so I reasoned that it may have been the size of the album that was causing the error. To test this hypothesis, I tried downloading a song. To my surprise, and immediate regret, the download was successful, and I found myself in possession of a song I had already possessed.

Pictured: Immediate Regret

So individual songs were able to slip past the music embargo iTunes had placed on my computer, but what about albums? I didn't know if all albums would produce the same error, or if it was just the Pokemon soundtrack. And, being a scientist, I knew that there was only one way to test my hypothesis: by experiment. So I decided to try to buy a different album, and see if it would work. So, with as little consideration as possible, (consideration is the enemy of scientific endeavors) I decided to buy The Decemberists' newest album, The King is Dead, because, hey, why not? I mean, sure, I spent $10 on an album that I could have just listened to on Spotify for free, but... wait. Actually, that is a pretty good answer to the question “Why not?”.  But the real kicker was when I later found out that I could have bought the Bastion Soundtrack on iTunes for the same price as elsewhere, killing two birds with one stone.

Pictured: Delayed Regret

At this point, I had had it. It was time to bring out the big guns. If no one else on the Apple forums had asked about this problem,  I guess it was up to me to nut up and do the opposite of shut up. So I made my own little discussion about how I could download other songs and albums, but not the Pokemon X and Y soundtrack. And apparently this is a problem others have experienced, as 8 other people indicated that they had the same question. While I was waiting, I figured that I might as well listen to some of the music I just bought. But, of course, my hardships were not over yet. Whenever I tried to play about half of the songs, it would ask me to authorize my computer to play my iTunes music. After entering my credentials, it would tell me that my computer was already authorized, only to ask for authorization again if I tried to make like Sam and play it again.

And in the face of all of this, I kept circling back to one question: Why? Why is iTunes the top music merchant in the world if this is how their software works? It certainly isn't because of quality. As it turns out, when you buy music from iTunes, you don't actually get an MP3 file, and whatever it is that you get, it isn't compatible with anything other than iTunes, and converting it to a more widely usable file is expensive, inconvenient, or illegal. And the whole "authorization" thing I mentioned earlier. You can authorize 5 computers to play your iTunes music, and then your account is basically dead, and you can't play that music on any other computer, as far as I can tell. And for what benefit? Why do we, as a society, allow Apple's monopoly on music to persist? Is it just because we've come to associate digital music with iTunes, and are too lazy to try something else, like Amazon Music or Google Play? And I think it's a real shame, because iTunes has a vast library, with even more music than Spotify.

Pictured: Even more music

 And at this point, I was going to lecture to lecture on the evils of DRM, and how information wants to be free, and how I wish that I could support the people who made some music that I enjoy without the money going to an evil corporation that is an enemy of Liberty and Justice. But I just managed to download the Pokemon soundtrack, and I'm quite enjoying it, even if many of the best songs are above my clearance at the moment. So I guess you win this round, Apple. I'll save my jokes about how you're "rotten to the core" for another day.

And what of the end of our tale? How was it that that most cursed of days drew to a close? I listened to Hyadain and cried myself to sleep. And that, kids, is how you make a silver lining out of a mole hill.

Pictured: ADVANCED joke overuse

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Pokemon X and Y: The Last Hurrah

Well, here we are. For the first, and hopefully last, time, I will be writing a no-holds-barred, full-speed-ahead, other-hyphenated-phrase review of a game. It should come as little surprise that the game in question is Pokemon X. If you've come here for a review of Pokemon Y, then I'm afraid you'll have to go elsewhere. I'm not part of that mess.

I suppose I might as well focus on the good things. Good thing number 1: I don't have to play it anymore. Witty jabs aside, It really wasn't that bad of a game. It was a Pokemon game, and it had all the good things that come with the territory: pockets, monsters, attempted xenocide, mass graves, you know, the usual. The music was pretty-top notch, as is to be expected from Gamefreak. The biking song was particularly memorable. Speaking of bikes, in this game, you can bike and skate around smoothly, uninhibited by the opressive squares that constrained us in the past. It's pretty nice. There's also a really neat sidequest at the end where Detective Looker learns you what it means to be a hardboiled man. He's a pretty cool guy. Easily my second favorite fictional character that looks like David Tennant.

The first being Barty Crouch, naturally.

Moving on from the good things, let us now speak of the actual Pokemon, and the battles between them, and the real substance of the game. There is no doubt in my mind that 6th gen introduced the least change to Pokemon of any Generation. Of primary concern is the number of new Pokemon. Up until 6th gen, each new generation added at least 100 new Pokemon to the mix. The number of new Pokemon introduced in Pokemon X and Y is 69, which is alarming for a number of reasons. First and foremost, hahaha 69 is a funny number. Second and fivemost, that is not enough Pokemon. Granted, even number generations have historically introduced fewer Pokemon than odd numbered generations, but the amount of new Pokemon with each new generation has generally been increasing. So why did Gamefreak reverse this trend? Well, because there are too damn many Pokemon. People have said it before, and I agree with them. We don't need 800 Pokemon. So, in a way, I get where Gamefreak is coming from when they decided to only make a few Pokemon, and then just make the game a smorgasbord of mostly Pokemon from previous generations. I guess my main problem isn't that there are so few new Pokemon, it's that there are so few new Pokemon that I don't actively hate.

I am the 99%.

This is Diggersby. His prehensile ear-arms (earms?) are well suited for digging, allowing him to burrow into the anger glands of your brain and play them like a fiddle. He is just one of many new Pokemon that I could accurately describe as "revolting". Another such pokemon is Slurpuff, who impossibly manages to live up to his disgusting name. When I first heard that there was a cotton candy Pokemon, I thought it was a fun joke on people who wouldn't shut up about how stupid an ice cream cone Pokemon was. But when I heard the name, and saw its form, I immediately knew that it was no joke.

Serious Business

Keeping these fellas company at the bottom of the barrel are Quilladin, which just looks like a fatter Chespin, Dedenne, which is Pikachu except it's a Fairy-type this time, and Klefki, who is a key ring. Now that I'm out of Pokemon to complain about, and I'm realizing that there actually aren't that many Pokemon that I hate, I guess I should talk about the good Pokemon. That instance of the word "Pokemon" might as well have been singular, because Aegislash is THE good Pokemon of 6th gen.

Aegislash is the first Ghost/Steel type Pokemon, a great type that would be even greater if Gamefreak hadn't nerfed the steel type, removing its resistance to dark and ghost, with the explicit intent of keeping Aegislash from being overpowered. As you can clearly see, it is cool as hell. When Aegislash first takes the field in battle, he keeps his sword sheathed, giving him incredible defense stats. Then, as soon as he attacks, he draws his blade, giving him incredible attacking stats. Then, if he uses a defensive move, like King's Shield, (a new, overpowered-seeming move that, as far as I can tell, is like Protect, but it also sharply decreases the Attack of anyone who hits him with a contact move.) he goes back to shield mode. Unfortunately, he's pretty slow either way, but this is mitigated by his potential to play mind games with his opponent. He can also use boosting moves to beef up his attack and/or speed stats while tanking hits in shield mode, then switch to blade mode and put his enemies to the sword when he's in blade mode. In addition to the possible competitive implications, it cannot be stressed enough that this Pokemon is cool as hell. And speaking of Pokemon who are cool as hell...

Exhibit A

Hawlucha is a hawk that is also a luchador. And that's it. The prosecution rests. Case closed. In the trial of Hawlucha for the crime of "Being the most baller Pokemon ever", we find the defendant guilty. Hawlucha also receives the dubious honor of being the only Pokemon to learn the only dual-type attack, Flying Press, which is simultaneously a Flying type move, a Fighting type move, and a not very good move, since you can't hit Rock or Steel types super effectively with it. Or Bugs, I guess.

If you look closely enough at Hawlucha's face, you'll notice that he has regular mouth under his beak. This seems to imply that his beak isn't a real beak, and is just for show, like part of a mask. Notice also that it has a physique similar to a humans, and that its wings don't really look like wings, but more like arms with feathery things coming out of them, like Charizard X. Hawlucha is also very small, only 2'07'' tall. Now, I'm not saying for sure that Hawlucha is actually a 3-fingered little person who dresses up like a Pokemon to beat the crap out of other Pokemon, but it gave me the idea that that could happen, and for that I am extremely thankful.

In terms of actual new things added to the game, there isn't too much to talk about. Shiny Pokemon were made considerably more common. This news put quite a damper on the lavish party that I had thrown in celebration of the shiny Tentacool that I caught on my second day of playing. There's now a Fairy-type, whose arbitrary-seeming type-effectiveness match-ups were the cause of much confusion and frustration. Riding Pokemon is a thing that people apparently wanted, because they didn't realize that it would be clunky and unenjoyable. The fact that they are stupid may also have been a contributing factor. Competitive worries aside, Mega Evolution is pretty useful if you want to use one of a small handful of Pokemon to wreck absolutely everything. Not that you'll necessarily need a mega Pokemon to do that. Just about everything has been made easier in this game. I don't think there was a single time in the story where I was in any kind of danger of losing a battle. The new and improved Exp. Share allows all of the Pokemon in your party to get experience, without any being taken from the active Pokemon. Breeding changes and Friend Safaris have made it much easier to get Pokemon with good IVs. Super Training let's even the most plebeian Casualry EV train their Pokemon. The aforementioned increase in the odds of getting a shiny Pokemon is another example of something made easier. There is, however, one thing that stands in stark defiance of the trend towards everything being easier: Hordes.

A horde is when you fight 5 wild Pokemon at the same time. Remember how annoying Zubats were? Now multiply that by 5. That's what a horde is. Because, make no mistake, there are no "normal" hordes. Every single horde will have something about it to make killing it even more annoying than it has any right being. Like paralysis. You better pray to the RNG gods that you aren't fully paralyzed. That goes double for confusion. You may be able to OHKO pokemon that are half your level, but what if they keep lowering your attack? Or, God forbid, your accuracy? And if they have Sturdy, then I hope you brought some reading material, because it's going to take you at least 10 turns to take down those assholes. And to top it all off, since the Pokemon are half your level, they barely even give any experience. Rideable Pokemon was another failed attempt to introduce something cool and new, which ended up just being clunky and unenjoyable.

Not bothering with any kind of transitions, I will now talk about gym leaders. Specifically: I don't really remember them. I think there was an electric gym leader named Clemont? He was a dorky kid who made gadgets and lived in the Eiffel Tower. His name has nothing to do with electricity, so I have no idea how he passed the Gym Leader test. The terrifying thing is that they're all like that. To the best of my knowledge, none of the gym leaders really had pun names, so I guess I'll have to wait another day for Ace Attorney to get my fix. In general, I found most of the characters to be rather forgettable, other than Looker, and one of the Elite Four members that made a particularly strong impression on me. Rather than a singular rival, you're given a whole posse of children that I really couldn't care less about. Though I did get them to call me "H Bomb" as my nickname, and they had some pretty great music, so I guess that's a plus. I also found the main villain to be rather compelling, though I seem to be the only one who thinks so. He wasn't as sympathetic as N, or as deplorable as Ghetsis, but I think he managed to make the story with Team Flare a bit more interesting than some in the past have been.

I feel that I would be remiss if I were to talk about this game and fail to mention how unbelievably French it is. It is no secret that the Kalos region is based on the Fantasy Kingdom of France, similar to how Unova was based on our very own United States. But while the US's influence on Unova was mostly restricted to the existence of a huge, NYC-esque city replete with towering skyscrapers, every bit of Kalos is inundated with French culture. The capital, Lumiose City, is literally Paris. They have a freaking Eiffel Tower, the place is littered with cafes, there's a fancy art museum, everyone has poodles, and people even ride goats as their primary method of getting around. Routes, plazas, and towns are commonly given French names. They even have Stonehenge, complete with an ominous Underhenge.

All in all, if you were considering buying this game, you've probably bought it already. If you were hesitant enough about buying it to wait a week, then perhaps you're better off not playing it. Pokemon is often panned for its inability to keep things fresh and new, and it's especially noticeable in this generation, where there really isn't much to keep the games fresh. At the end of the day, though, it was still a Pokemon game, and I still had fun, even if it wasn't as much as I had hoped. I refuse to give it any kind of quantitative score or grade, such is the extent of my rugged individuality.

Now that that's out of the way, I thought that I might as well share some of the best nicknames that I gave some of my Pokemon. I nicknamed all of them, but I won't share all of them, because I caught more than 100 Pokemon over the course of this game, and so many of them were not given good nicknames. I will also include a small blurb about why I chose the name, or what it means, or something. So, over the course of Pokemon X, I had:

A Greninja named "Slippy Toad". It is a frog, you see.

A Honedge named "Edgeworth". This one was actually my sister's idea. I've never been more proud.

A Talonflame named "Guillotine". I'm actually rather proud of this one. It's a reference to my assertion, earlier on this blog, that execution by Talonflame is the most humane form of execution. Also, it's French.

A Litleo named "Burnin' Leo". I'm sure this is hilarious to those of you familiar with archaic Kirby Mini-bosses.

A Zigzagoon named "Class". Originally, it was supposed to be named "class C0", an esoteric math joke referring to how his stripes are not differentiable. But C0 was censored for some reason, and this is what I ended up with.

A Weedle named "420 hes bi". Rather than try to explain this myself, I'll just leave this here.

A Kecleon named "TheGreatLeon". Sadly, he never dogfought with my Greninja.

An Oddish named "Evenish". I am a weak man.

A Skiddo NOT named "Gogoatse". Evidently, Gamefreak is wise to my tricks. Instead, its name is "Gogrohst", because I don't even know how to spell made up words.

A Spoink named "CaptainHooke". Because jokes about Hooke's Law and springs never go out of fashion.

A Hariyama named "E. Honda". 'nuff said

A Hawlucha named "El Fuerte". I traded this one to my friend. Unfortunately, I did not name any other Pokemon after Street Fighters.

A Streetcar named "Desire". Hahaha jokes.

A Mime Jr. named "Grady Jr.", and a Mr. Mime named "Grady Sr." This is really funny if you remember the names of all the people in Bastion.

A Miltank named "Teatmeat". One of the less pleasant combinations of words I've ever come up with.

An Electrode named "Elecchode". Easily the dirtiest thing I got past the censor.

A Magneton named "Bohr", because there is a real life physical constant called "Bohr's Magneton". This is because Physics is radical.

A Durant named "DurantDurant". Like those music guys

An Aipom named "Raipom". Jesus, whose idea was this?

A Minccino named "Crimson Chin". Because he's a Chinchilla

A Psyduck named "Diesuck". I'm actually surprised I was able to get away with this.

A Plusle named "Anode". I actually got this from a Wonder Trade, and I give the guy an A for effort, but the Anode is actually the negative one.

A Solosis named "Felix Walken", because I'd love to see you figure out why.

I hope that you enjoyed that as much as I loathed not being able to proceed until I gave the 4th new Pokemon on this route some stupid name that I'd just be ashamed of later. Seriously, there are a lot of damn Pokemon in this game.

Friday, October 11, 2013

X, Y, and Everything in Between

I've been giving a lot of consideration to X and Y recently, as I'm sure many of you have. And, I don't mean to brag, but I am something of an expert on these matters, and I totally do mean to brag. Since I'm such a respected authority of the field, I'm sure that many have been waiting to hear what I have to say. Well, fear not, my flock, for it is now by my immeasurable grace that you shall find yourself unnerved by how much I sound like some kind of creepy cultist. And so, without further ado, I will now start talking about math. Because, you know, variables.

Really? Sorry, doesn't ring any bells

But before that, I'd like to talk about arithmetic. Now, you may be wondering why I just slyly implied that arithmetic isn't math. It's because I don't believe that arithmetic is math. Well, not Real math, anyway. Saying that arithmetic is real math is like saying that singing "Head, Shoulders, Knees,  and Toes" is practicing medicine, or getting in a playground argument is practicing law, or that I ever practice the clarinet: Hilarious. And yet, despite how trivial and elementary arithmetic is, people still manage to mess it up, and the only proper response is to get really angry and tell everyone how wrong they are. Like so:

It's about to get pretty mad in here. Viewer discretion is advised.

 Yes, of course, I'm talking about one of these stupid goddamn PEMDAS things that you always see on Facebook. When I saw this, my first instinct as a math major was find some clever math way to turn this into something it clearly wasn't meant to be. (Well, 3x3 is clearly 0, because any vector crossed with itself is 0, HAHAHAHAHA I know things you don't) My second instinct, as an internet man, was to look at the comments, and feast on the bountiful harvest of rage laid out before me. Naturally, there were plenty of people getting 18, because the American education system has failed them, Big Government, Idiocracy, ect. Some even had the audacity strain the bonds of their shackles of ignorance, and accuse us, the Knights of the Twelve, of incorrectness. And while the foolishness of a fool too foolish to realize his own foolishness is sad indeed, it is no cause for mourning. Neither grief nor rage can bring them to the light, so steeped their souls are in darkness. They reside in a place from which there can be no return. The Lost Zone, I guess.

But it is not these, who have forgotten that which has been taught to them, who have me dismayed. It is those who remember the vile lies they have been taught, striking out against the light of truth, and thinking themselves agents of justice for it. It is The Cult of Six who are a truly pitiable lot. They are the fundamentalists of the Church of PEMDAS, taking its word for how it is stated, rather than for how it is meant.

PEMDAS, for those of you who have probably been very confused for a while now, is a mnemonic for remembering the order in which mathematical operations occur in a mathematical expression. It stands for Parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction. So if you have some mathematical expresion, operations in parentheses are evaluated first, then exponents, then instances of multiplication and division, then instances of addition and subtraction. Some common mnemonics for PEMDAS are “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” (The boring one that everyone knows), “People Expect More Drugs And Sex” (Randall Munroe, of XKCD fame), and “Passing Egregiously Makes Dunking Awesomely Satisfying” (A Havoc Mantis Original).

So if, for example, you have the expression 2*(9+1)-3^2+20/5, you would first do the addition in the parentheses to get 2*10-3^2+20/5. Then, square the 3 to get 2*10-9+20/5. Perform multiplication and division to get 20-9+4. And from there, the answer is clear as day, right? Of course! The answer, as can be clearly seen, is 7. Because in PEMDAS, subtraction comes after addition, so you add to get 20-13, which is 7.

Remember this? This is what you should look like right now.

If you are nodding your head in agreement, or thinking to yourself, "Well, gee-wiz, that Havoc sure is correct. Only a devastatingly witty and powerfully sexy person would be able to type something so correct at 3:30 in the morning." then I am terribly sorry to inform you that you are wrong. Well, not about the part where you lavished me with compliments, but the part where I was right. You see, I was actually pretending to be wrong. The real answer is 15. Also, the cameras that you use to keep constant surveillance on me must never have sprung forward, because it's actually 4:30. It's no big deal, since Daylight Savings Time changes back pretty soon, but I just thought I'd let you know.

I guess the point that I'm trying to get at is that in PEMDAS, addition and subtraction happen at the same time. There are those who have been deceived, and would let you be deceived, given the chance. They say that subtraction happens afterwards, and I have taken it upon myself to tell them that they are wrong, and endeavor to guide them to the path of righteousness. It's over there, guys.

The path of righteousness is your weapon in the zombie apocalypse. How screwed are you?

If it helps, just remember that subtracting a number is the same as adding that number times -1. The multiplication goes before the addition, and then you add the negative number the same way as you add any other number, going left to right. Division can be thought of the same way, as multiplying a number that is taken to the power of -1. Are we all on the same page here? Can I stop bitching about this? Awesome.

Well, remember when I said that I was going to talk about math, but first I'd talk about arithmetic? Well I only said that so I could make those jokes, because I don't think there's any actual math I can talk about without talking over everyone's heads, while simultaneously being funny or enjoyable in any way. Unless you want to play cross-product tic-tac-toe? (You do not want to play cross-product tic-tac-toe)

Having exhausted math, I suppose I'll see if I can undash your hopes and talk about Pokemon, as I kind of promised in the beginning. I don't really want to spoil too many things, for my readers or myself, so I'll avoid talking about too many Pokemon, but there are some issues that need to be addressed.

"Issue" may be a bit of an understatement

Now, for those of you who aren't already in the know, would you care to guess what this thing is? Well, yes, I agree that it is an "abomination", but I was hoping for something a little more specific. An alien? Not quite. The shattered fragment of an orphan's forgotten childhood? Almost. I'll give you its name: Espurr. That's right, this thing is supposed to be a cat. The real problem with this Pokemon is its waste of one of the greatest names in Pokemon, made only better by how much it sounds like something out of Virtue's Last Reward, what with its abundance of cat puns, but no other reason, because of spoilers. I cannot identify a single trait of its appearance that indicates that it is a cat. I'm told that apparently its ears have something to do with it? What about the fact that it clearly seems to have 6 legs? Or its eyes, which are more unbalanced than psychic type in 1st gen? Or its rippling chest hair, reminiscent of a friend I've decided to refer to as "Baja Blast"? Perhaps I should just move on to the next Pokemon.
When I said that I was typing at 4:30 in the morning, this was the reason I couldn't sleep.
This Pokemon is the dusk that draws the sanity of mortal men to its end. It is beautiful in Its terror, and It is terrible in Its beauty. It makes Its home outside the scope of humanity, far removed from that which has been crafted by human hands, and far removed from that which has been imagined by human minds. It is removed from the trappings of human description. It labors not for good or evil, for order or chaos, for hope or despair. Its song is sung in languages that cannot be understood. That must not be understood. To gaze upon It is to feel that a piece of you has gone missing, yet know that it was not taken. This void within you has existed since the beginning. It has only made you Aware. It is a perfect contradiction, embodying that which It is not, giving form to what could never be. It is the weight that must exist to counterbalance the laws of an ordered universe. It is the knower of all that cannot be known. It is that which existed Before, and that which will exist After. It is too fearsome to be feared, too lovely to be loved, and too powerful to be stopped. It hates not, it loves not, it feels not, it does not. It is. 

Gal Bursten it.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I Guess This is a Gaming Blog Now

What's something you can say about your homework, but not your girlfriend?

"Is this due tomorrow?"

Well, that sure was a thing that I said during improv. Some rejected ideas were "I have no idea what the hell this all about" and "This thing exists in three dimensions." It was the idea of my secondary content manager to open up with that. She also wanted me to talk about dragons, so there you go. It's good stuff. On a totally unrelated note, I have ensnared a new content manager. Hopefully she'll give me something to talk about soon, because I'm just about out of material. Also, just in case you're wondering why all of my content managers are female, It's because my content managers are actually just all the females I know. And all the females I know, I met by telling them empty promises of how I'd make them an internet star. Like, you know those really shady people who lure young girls with promises of making it big in Hollywood? That's what I'm like.

Well, as it turns out, you can't just give someone a job without them knowing it, and make them do it. Something about a tall guy in a stovepipe hat. So disregard all those things I just said. Except for the Havoc Mantis Approved Method for Picking Up Chicks®. That's canon. It might also be cannon, but don't tell them that.

60% of the time, it works every time

Usually, when I blog a post, I write it about whatever I've been doing recently. The problem with this is that all I've been doing recently is video games and college stuff, and I don't particularly care to write about either of those. Instead, I guess I am opting to talk about why I will not talk about those things. The games I've been playing recently are Shin Megami Tensei IV and Fire Emblem Awakening. Trying to describe Shin Megami Tensei IV without spoiling anything would be akin to trying to navigate a minefield while wearing clown shoes. Except in this analogy, the mines are spoilers, and the clown shoes are a metaphor for my painful ineptitude at clearly expressing ideas (e.g. this analogy). Wikipedia beautifully demonstrates this with its use of the word "seemingly". Protip: If you say that something is "seemingly" something else, that means that it is actually not something else. For example: "Wikipedia is seemingly a trustworthy source of information where you can learn about things without spoilers, as long as you don't look too close at the plot summary." As far as Fire Emblem goes, I've done that before, and it wasn't pretty. Then again, someone who may or may not have been Albert Einstein said that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." Maybe if I try again, things will be different. And that's why I keep asking people to tell me things to write about.

Actually, screw it. Spoilers be damned. I'm going to say a few things about SMT IV. First of all, it's pretty damn good. If you're a fan of JRPGs, I recommend that you check it out. Playing the first three is not necessary, (or, indeed, even legal in the US, as no official English translation has been released for the first two) but I think that playing the first one before playing IV enhanced my experience in a number of ways. If you've read this far, and you're still wondering what the hell Shin Megami Tensei even is, allow me to back up and explain. Basically, it is an RPG series with a billion spin-off series, (including, most notably, Persona) and the most prevalent thing they all have in common is demons. In Shin Megami Tensei, you fight, summon, converse with, fuse, and ogle demons. In SMT IV, for example, there are over 400 demons, and almost every one is based on some monster, god, hero, or other being from real world mythology. It is, in essence, Mythology porn.

Perhaps in more ways than one

You know Grendel, the monster that Beowulf slays? He's in there. Kicked the shit out of me when I first met him. Remember The Lady of the Lake, the "watery tart" who gave Excalibur to King Arthur, formally abolishing democracy in England? What about the three fates of Greek Mythology, who can be fused together into the Norse Goddess of Mythology, because why the hell not? And if you've ever wanted to memorize the 9 orders of angels of Judeo-Christian Lore, then I think this game could certainly help you with that. What's that, you ask? Christian elements are included as well? Well, I don't want to get into too many spoilers, but I'll just say that I'd really like to know what would happen if you got one of those religious types who decry Harry Potter for promoting witchcraft, and got them to play this game. And, as an aside, playing this game while taking a class in Theology is not advised. Unless you are literally playing in the middle of lecture. That is a USDA choice idea.

 The United States Department of Agriculture is in no way affiliated with this asshole.

Well, now I've exhausted everything to say about that, but I'm not quite confident in how long this post is, so I'll talk about what it's like to be in college. Now, while it is true that I was in college last year, Jesus Christ this year is so much more college than last year. It probably has something to do with the fact that I'm taking real classes this year. Everyone always rolled their eyes at me when I implied that Calc I, Calc II, and Engineering Physics I aren't "real classes", but they're actually pretty easy when you've learned all the stuff before, even if you aren't a prodigy. But things ain't the same this year. It probably doesn't help that both my Calculus III and Principles of Math classes are taught by the same professor, whom I'll call “Dr. Marx” for the sake of anonymity, because he's the final boss of Math. (Everyone here's played Kirby Super Star, right?) He's a great teacher, but when he does math, he does it hardcore, and not many can keep up. Whenever he asks the class a question, it results in more awkward silences than a Doctor Who convention for the socially disadvantaged. Though I doubt Dr. Marx would approve of such a redundant statement. I also have a Physics professor who is not very good at explaining things, and I'm not very good at learning things from books, and everyone in my class has even less of an idea of what's going on than I do. The professor is also a woman, which I am mentioning despite the fact that it is in no way humorous or relevant. Which, looking back, could probably describe a lot of this post.