Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Another Sleep Killer Game

Just as I was starting to get over my obsession with Civ 5 and settle down to a life rooted more firmly in reality, I go and discover this...


What is Minecraft, you say? Well I'll tell you first what it isn't.

It isn't a billion gigabyte game who's graphics are so intense as to make your eyes bleed and your computer bursts into flames.

It isn't priced in a range requiring you to take out a second mortgage.

It isn't chock-full of music played by a symphony orchestra nor does it have voiceovers done by A-list celebrities.

The 8-bit graphics are downright prehistoric.

The full version (still in Beta) is around $20 and the classic version is free.

It has rudimentary sound effects and an occasional instrumental score that sounds like it was played on a low-end Casio keyboard in some guy's basement.
But it's just the kind of game I go ape shit for!
The full version has some challenges and gameplay via simplistic resource gathering and uncomplicated manufacturing as well as fighting off some creatures.
But for me, the classic is just fine in that it has but one single goal...build!
Think Tinkertoy, Lincoln Logs and Legos combined as one in a virtual world...of vast scale...and with endless parts!
The classic version I'm playing with doesn't have the immense world size like the full version does but it's still pretty darn huge.
Consider this...the building I created in the pic below is about 25 blocks tall from what appears to be sea level. The top is nearly touching the clouds as they float by. I guesstimate based on how big they are in relation to my character's height that they are about 5 feet cubed or so. That makes this building about 125 feet tall.

And that's just above ground!
I hollowed out the interior ground, kept digging, and it's about as deep below sea level as it is high above it!
I was actually getting dizzy and woozy when working on the skylight-festooned roof!
Of course this building may be big but it's still nothing compared to what could be done. It was my first attempt and since the game website servers were not letting me register it, I couldn't save so I didn't want to get too creative. I still spent 5 hours building it though. 5 hours I could have spent sleeping.
Well, no doubt, when their servers become available again, I'll likely buy the full version, then, watch out bed...you may be wondering where I am.
Check out this awesome creation some guy built in the game:

I wonder how many hours THAT took to build?!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

SIMS CREATION: TV Memories Series "Fantasy Island"

Due to the lack of alternative outfits, I was forced to give Tattoo a little cummerbund but otherwise, not a too bad depiction of the famous white suited duo, eh?

"Smiles everyone, smiles!"

SIMS CREATION: TV Memories Series "Laverne & Shirley"

This time I tried to light the set like a real set with all sorts of spotlights and such but they restricted the angle of the shot. That's one of the reasons the shot is so tight in.

Also, I'm finding that eliminating the Sims' autonomy in order to force them to sit still for the shot doesn't prevent their facial expressions from displaying their dissatisfaction at being controlled like mindless puppets. Maybe this reflects reality more accurately than one might think. Fussy and spoiled TV stars probably do get quite cranky after long shoots on the set.

Lastly, um, it would have been nice if Laverne and Shirley sat more lady like in their poodle skirts.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Escape From The Borg Collective

I'm smiling tonight.

The smile of freedom.

Freedom from the oppression of slave labor as a subhuman call center worker.

You see, tonight I got hired for the human services job I mentioned in the previous post.

I don't have to continue my search for a suitable position in customer service anymore. It doesn't exist anyway.

No more endless queues of nasty people calling to berate me. No more incompetent and bitter supervisors treating me as their whipping boy. No more jumping through impossible hoops and climbing outrageous ladders just to get the crummy job in the first place!

It's just coincidence that I'm currently watching "Star Trek: First Contact" (yes, for like the 20th time) on Syfy. As you may know, this film is all about the Borg.

How apropos! As the Enterprise crew defeat the time travelling Borg invaders of Earth, I celebrate my own victory over the hive mind that had assimilated me almost 13 years ago and as late as this morning, held me in its evil and corrupt grip.

Hooray! I can live again. I can breathe again. I can care again.

Though I should have sought to break free long ago, at least today I can say...resistance is definitely NOT futile!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Point Of No Return

Alright...here's the scoop...

I'm at the point of no return.

Unemployment was unexpectedly cut off at the beginning of last month. I had estimated I had another 6 weeks of payments but the state decided to end my progression through the federally enacted extension tiers and put my account up for an annual renewal. This meant a review of eligibility.

Though I was found to be eligible for a renewed account amounting to about as much time as I would have had through the extension process, there was an imposed mandatory one week "hold" of funds and a background check period before my checks would be issued.

But because of my stint at my last job, I knew that my renewal approval would ultimately fail. So, even though I haven't yet received any formal notice of the termination of my benefits, I'm not getting any money and I probably won't any time soon.

The gravy train is over.

I've been living on less than $700 that I had in my checking (since I hadn't saved up in anticipation for such a hasty suspension of income) and racking up my credit cards. And those don't have such a stupendous available credit line so I'm now teetering towards the limits for each.

I paid December's rent, but this month, my landlord received only a note in his mailbox, explaining that I was starting my new job and would be a "few weeks" late.

But I don't have a job and have only tenuous options towards getting employment by even late next week. Accordingly, I will now most definitely be late for February's rent as well.

When you add in the debt of a month's rent I've been carrying for more than a year now, it would mean a catch-up payout of $1950 by early February...just to get current. This potential time frame is only possible if I start working by January 17th.

I have three "strong" prospects right now:

1. I interviewed Wednesday for a call center position paying over $12/hr. and it seemed to go positively. But, there were no less than 200 other applicants and I was told there are 15 positions available. I was told there would be a second level of interviews needed and if selected a start date of either January 17th or 31st. No callbacks yet on scheduling that second interview.

2. On Thursday, I attended a job fair at the same company Ric works for here in Lake Mary. They're hiring for customer service. The start date would be January 31st. I'm scheduled for a second interview Monday.

3.  Also Thursday, I met with a clinical director for a Fern Park non-profit mental health residential facility. That's right, I'm hoping to get back into human service work. She seemed impressed but there are only 2 positions available and I don't know if my experience is up to snuff. I mean, I have more than ten years experience in the field but it was with a predominantly MR population and, after all, it was more than 13 years ago. She said she'd call, either way, with her decision on Monday or Tuesday.

Basically, if none of these work out, I'm looking at some sobering consequences. This is the point of no return.

A favorable outcome for any of the above means I might be able to stay here in my apartment, but with some stunningly austere spending freezes that would carry through to perhaps the summer.

An unfavorable outcome though, would definitely mean bailing out of here, leaving my landlord with nothing and with bleak prospects for a new home. It could very well mean homelessness.

So, even hoping for the best...as I learned during the height of Koyaanisqatsi...every thing crumbles so astonishingly fast when you have no income, I very much doubt I'll remain here in my little house on the lake for much longer.

Here we freakin' go again.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Battlestar Galactica Premake Trailer

We all remember the "original" Battlestar Galactica from the late '70s. Then the Sci-Fi Channel (as it was known then) did a re-imagined remake in the early 2000s.

But what about the REAL original, done back in the early 1950s!

Here's the trailer for that forgotten gem:

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Why Do YouTube?

My friend Shane Jensen, a frequent vlogger on YouTube asked for submissions to his query: Why Do YouTube?...that is, why do you post video on YouTube?

Here's my video response: