Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Corrections, The

Even though I really shouldn't be buying any more books until I've finished some in my queue, I came across the Swedish translation of The Corrections (hardcover even!) for just 4.90 € and just bought it on impulse. It's a bit sad to see such a new novel priced down so early since that's that much less money that goes to the author in the end, but that's another topic.

I first read it in English some time after it had come out and was immediately gripped by the story and the characters. It really shows how fudged up a 21st century family can be (even though it's all fiction).

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Spore

I must say that I look forward to seeing what comes out of Will Wright's Spore. Of course there's the possibility that it'll fail completely; there are probably hundreds of factors that all need to function together for it to actually work and be playable. Considering how it's built up, how the player will be able to affect so much in development of the species they "create", it will probably involve an incredible amount of play-testing to work out all the bugs. And even then there's no guarantee that they've covered every possible scenario. In a more traditional game you'd have the testers go through every level multiple times, trying different things and seeing what breaks the game, but in a game as ambitious as Spore you'll have an almost unlimited number of scenarios and combinations of paths that the player can choose.

But even with the increased complexity, I do believe that this kind of game, the one that actively evolves around the player's actions, is the way forward. Today there's a long development time and a big budget associated with every big-hitting game, and an increasing amount of those are franchises like Halo, Half-Life, Final Fantasy and Grand Theft Auto. With the power and capacity of the next generation development won't be getting any easier either. Spore is taking a different path from the linear, big-budget games, one that I believe other developers could learn from.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Hobbies/time-wasting

It might be due to that I didn't really do anything during puberty that I now want to try out some of the stuff I do now. I didn't play in any band, so now I'm learning piano, I didn't study any foreign language (outside of English) so now I've taken up Japanese. In fact, I can't think of anything substantial that I actually did during my spare time apart from sitting in front of the computer. Maybe reading, but that's not really the kind of thing you do to conquer the world, like starting a band is. In fact, I was reading lots and lots of science-fiction (I was a big fan of Iain Banks for a while; yet I managed to avoid William Gibson, that's odd), which one might even associate with escapism and trying to forget whatever problems I was having then. And now that I'm older and my balls have emerged I want to try some of the things I missed out on.

I really should find a girlfriend studying psychology so I could get all these things sorted out.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Roadkill

Living close to the coast means that we always see lots of seagulls around here (except for in the winter, of course), especially in the spring when the farming starts up and the birds search for food in the newly ploughed fields. And having fields all around the roads brings a certain danger for the birds as they swerve around speeding cars, which I got to experience today as one of them didn't swerve away fast enough but instead swerved into the front of my car and onto the ground. The very second before it happened I thought that something like that was bound to happen with all the birds flying around...

Furthermore, I saw a really cute girl in the supermarket that I failed to flirt with.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Sleeping and not sleeping

For the longest time I had serious troubles getting to sleep. One time I just got so tired of not being able to sleep (no matter how silly it sounds) that I just gave up and started reading a book in the middle of the night. I tried once counting sheep, actually visualising them in my mind, but that didn't really work either. It's like my mind needs to be free to wander in order for me to finally relax and fall asleep, but it can't do so while I'm trying to fall asleep. A pillow that felt like it was filled with gravel didn't help either.

It's gotten better lately, after grabbing a new pillow (hope you won't miss it, sis) and a new method for letting my mind wander, namely counting in Japanese while picturing the kanji for each number. Maybe it's the extra thought-processes it requires to count in a different language that eliminates the "why oh why can't I sleep"-thoughts. In any case, I'm much relieved to actually have a method of falling asleep and being able to wake up before noon. And man, this new pillow really feels like a little piece of heaven...

Friday, May 13, 2005

Something slightly related to Star Wars ep3

So Episode 3 is coming. Looking at the newspaper I see ticket prices for it are at 10 Euros (about 12.6384 USD). And I thought they were high already at 8.

It sort of makes you think, what the heck is making it so expensive just to see a movie? There are DVDs selling for less than that! The costs for showing it is almost zero, they could just add another row of chairs in the back and they'd fit in enough people to make as much charging 8 as if they would charging 10.

But the real cost isn't in the media itself (as everyone and their dog knows). If it would be prices of movies would actually have gone down with the introduction of DVDs (I actually believed they would for a short time). No, the real cost is marketing, commercials, billboards, previews, making-ofs and everything to put it on people's lips and in people's faces. This makes me think a bit about the Matrix sequels. Like many, I was gravely disappointed, even though the action scenes were quite nice. So what we have is a couple of movies costing a tremendous amount of money, and probably a tremendous amount of spending on promotion, and by the time that I got to see the first of the sequels I had seen so many of the action sequences in commercials and the making-of that many of them seemed like old news.

Still, like everyone else (and their dogs), I'll probably go see it too. Though I will do so reluctantly.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Japanese loanwords

In my self-studying I've looked at a couple of Japanese forums (okay, that's a lie, it's more like one, and that's because it's a forum for a band I like). For the longest time I couldn't understand a term they used, "スレ", romanized as "sure". It wasn't until today that I looked at a post from a first-time poster and I saw him using the full word "スレッド" (romanized as "sureddo") that I realized that "sure" was the abbreviated form of "sureddo" which comes from the English word "thread"! It was as if you could see the light-bulb above my head clicking on.
When I first read it I thought of the English word "shred".

Japanese has quite a lot of these loanwords that can be quite confusing sometimes...

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Forgetting part 2

I've come to the conclusion that my recent forgetfulness is probably due to lack of sleep, as I've been having a hard time getting to sleep lately. Whew. My brain is probably not rotting away after all.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Forgetting

I tried writing something just now, but had to stop because I couldn't remember a word. Yes, I know it sounds weird and senile. I just get more ready for the old-folks home with each day. It's been happening more often that it takes longer than usual for me to remember specific words, and I can't help but fear that my brain is getting too packed with information, and to make room for new info it has started randomly deleting old stuff.

Some time ago I took up studying Japanese in my spare time, and recently I've also started practicing on a keyboard we've been having laying around the house for about 10 years or so. So combine this with the Swedish, English and the little Finnish that I know, maybe I've finally overfilled my brain and what doesn't have room just falls out? Maybe I'm just too stupid to learn a new language at my age.

Oh well, nevermind. I'll probably think of it sometime when I least expect it.

Before I forget, if you come here hoping to read about games and stuff, you can head over to DMA's blog-thing. He should be a bit more on-track about them than I am since he actually, you know, makes them.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Books

I really like books. I'm one of those people who impulse-buy paperbacks, and over the years I've filled up a big shelf of books, most paperbacks, other ones I've gotten second-hand (my local library sometimes have sales of old books, four books 1 Euro usually).

From the internet you can find lots of tips, or reminders, of what to read. From bleedingisaac I've been really inspired to read more philosphy (Camus in particular, though I haven't taken it up yet); from xiaxue I've become interested in reading 1984.

Some years ago, while I was in my activist youth, I started reading the book No Logo by Naomi Klein. It was really interesting, but as it was a library book that needed to be returned I bought the paperback. I never continued reading it for some reason, until I stumbled across a mention of it at terry lin's blogger. That got me inspired to read it to the end, which I'm in the process of doing now.

Recently a mini-series based on Dostojevskij's Crime and Punishment was on TV. Naturally I missed it, but reading the description in the TV guide got me interested in the story. Luckily my sister happened to have a hardcover copy of it (I would probably never had made it within my library's time restriction considering the size of the thing), so I've got it borrowed from her. Hopefully I'll be able to finish it during the summer...

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Nicola Calipari

For those of you not subscribing to the BBC newsfeed, he was an Italian agent who died when transporting the kidnapped journalist Giuliana Sgrena to safety. He didn't die from a terrorist attack or something like that, but he was shot by US soldiers. The Italians are all "why'd ya do that!" and the US are like "you were speeding, suit yourself" and the Italians are just like "no we didn't! You suck!" and the US are all "no, you suck!", and on it goes.

Of course it would be interesting to know what actually happened, but we'll probably never find out. Or maybe we'll find out in 10 years when someone writes about it in their memoirs. There's just too much politics and spin on it for any sense to be made of it right now. It would be quite interesting if a video tape would appear.

Well, those are the things that happen in war. Remember that this war is probably the most televised yet, and still we're no closer to finding out the truth about some of the things that occur. All video is edited, cut and fingered with, everything for the purpose of each party spinning the story their way. It's like todays news wouldn't be news anymore, just pre-packaged conclusions spoon-fed to an audience worrying only about how much this will raise oil-prices.