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Sinister Thoughts [Xanga] [MySpace] Below are the 10 most recent journal entries recorded in the "Nicholas King" journal:

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June 14th, 2009
02:20 pm

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Moving to Twittertown

It has become obvious to me in the 14+ weeks since I last updated my blogs that, since becoming a slightly less irresponsible adult, with a job and everything, I don't have time anymore to compose long, rambly blog posts in Notepad and try to cross-post them to a bunch of different social networking sites and get them each to display properly.

Here is what I've decided to do: I will try to be better about checking e-mails and RSS feeds, I will continue to be on AIM/Yahoo!/MSN/GTalk via Pidgin and my IRC channel via XChat, and I will use my new Twitter account and occasionally Facebook for my micro-blogging urges (both via TweetDeck). I will pretty much just read other people's updates on any other social networking sites that I have an account on.

Hopefully this will be much more manageable, and if you want any of those account names or need me to add you back on anything, send an e-mail to Escher3030 AT gmail DOT COM and I won't ignore it like most of my other e-mail because it will be from a person and not a newsletter!

And that's it,
Nicholas

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February 22nd, 2009
04:59 pm

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State of the Esch

Enough about fanboyish stuff, let's talk about me on my blog for a change because for once I actually have something to talk about!

I went to work for the first time last Tuesday! I believe this job is only temporary, to assess my strengths as an potential employee someplace else, however the hour long bus trip to and from work, the work itself, and the paycheck are all quite real. So, awesome?

Strangely, the hardest part so far has been the bus trips. Getting on the right buses, getting off at the right stops. Time and my recently acquired map of Downtown Seattle should help to correct this, somewhat.

Work on Danbo the Ruby-powered cardboard IRC bot has temporarily stalled again as I try to figure out how to seperate the output (what the connection is receiving from the server) and the input (the raw IRC commands I'm entering in) into different console windows. Unfortunately, Windows machines don't support fork() like Unix-based machines do, so that makes solving this problem tougher. They say you can't keep a cheese bot down, so I'm optimistic that I'll get this thing to work eventually.

And that's it,
Nicholas

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February 14th, 2009
01:40 pm

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State of the Strange

Last week was the 2009 New York Comic Con and the Cosmic Debris crew was there, so it's time for an Emily the Strange news update. This is where I use my Internet Detective skills, and a little old fashioned Google-fu if things get messy, to track down information on the future of the Emily the Strange brand.

According to Rob Reger, the first novel is done and should be out in June. It will be titled Emily the Strange: The Lost Days (a novel) and more information can be found by visiting that page I just subtly linked. As you may or may not remember, this novel will provide the loose basis for the upcoming movie and is about Emily getting amnesia and having to discover who she is. All of this is told through her perspective in the form of a diary and it sounds like it will be an awesome read.

Regarding the movie, it is now going to be a live-action film with some animation snuck in, not the live-action/animation hybrid like Reger says he was hoping for. I personally find that kind of disappointing, but Reger says he also developed a TV show that will be animated, so that softens the blow a lot, assuming it doesn't get caught in "development hell".

Details remain scarce on the videogame, but a video linked from the novel's HarperCollins Children's page seems to imply that Backbone Entertainment was involved at some point, if they aren't still involved. I don't think I have experience with any of their games, so I can't comment on whether this is good or bad.

Miscellaneous Emily news time! The second Emily novel is already written and the illustrations are being worked on as we speak. Expect an "Art of Emily" book from Dark Horse later this year as well as a third series of the comic (by the way, MySpace Dark Horse Presents has an Emily the Strange story up now, entitled "She Moves in the Dark", which you should definitely check out if you haven't already). NetToons has a "create your own Emily cartoon" thing set up, which seems to have improved a lot since the Alpha. A stand-alone 3-D Movie Maker-type program would have been way cooler, but I can understand why that's not possible.

Before I go, I will finally reveal my sources, in case I left anything important out, or you simply want to read the interviews themselves. Thanks to Forces of Geek and The Quarter Bin for conducting such great interviews. Oh, and as for "Rosamondgate", it's ultimately up to Emily's individual fans to reach their own conclusions, but, after doing a little contemplation, I'm obviously still a fan. Leave a comment or bug me on AIM, if you need a more in-depth answer than that.

And that's it,
Nicholas

Current Music: Red Elvises - Boogie On The Beach | Powered by Last.fm
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February 4th, 2009
10:31 pm

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On My Way to Vegas

Imagine that, an update! I had to, because I saw an awesome movie that I enjoyed immensely and felt the need to get the word out. Honestly, I think I'm more like the last person to see this movie, since it came out about a decade ago and I've heard the title mentioned a couple dozen times in my social circles. Come to think of it, being one of the last group of people in the world to see this movie, after all the initial noise has dispersed, is kind of fitting, maybe, given the film's post-apocalyptic theme.

So anyway, I saw Six-String Samurai and it is very much my type of movie. The setting is completely off-the-wall but the narrative is very straight-forward, which I think works out well in this case. The dialogue is fittingly sparse, allowing the individual lines to have more of an impact. The soundtrack has to be mentioned, because composer Brian Tyler's score and the tracks picked out from Siberian surf-rockers The Red Elvises' catalog do an amazing job setting the film's tone.

Here's the opening titles, if you happen to not have seen the film and I somehow piqued your interest: "In 1957, the bomb dropped, and the Russians took over what was America. The last bastion of freedom became a place called Lost Vegas and Elvis was crowned King. After forty rockin' years, The King is dead. Every guitar picking, sword swinging opportunist, including Death himself, hears the call echoing across the wastelands. Vegas needs a new King." So that's the setup, explained better than I ever could.

One final note: Danbo (the Ruby-powered cardboard IRC bot) lives, kinda! More about that when he becomes more than a glorified hand puppet.

And that's it,
Nicholas

Current Music: Red Elvises - Good Golly Miss Molly | Powered by Last.fm
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January 11th, 2009
11:15 am

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Roguelikes and Ruby

To be completely frank, you probably weren't going to hear from me again for a month, but I stumbled across what I consider a perfect analogy for explaining the appeal of roguelikes, such as Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer, to the layperson AND I realized the parallels between my experience trying to reach the lair of the Golden Condor in Shiren and that trying to learn the Ruby programming language.

The appeal of roguelikes--or a major part of the appeal, I'd argue--is that they are basically the Klondike Solitaire (the version that comes with Windows) version of dungeon exploring pen and paper role-playing games (such as Dungeons & Dragons). The metaphor extends deeper than "they are both single player experiences", because they both have an element of luck, but how smartly you play greatly influences the outcome.

Here's where I get a little technical, so the faint-hearted can stop here and I won't mind at all. In roguelikes, dungeon floor plans, enemy and item locations, and most if not all item identities are procedurally generated. What this means is that virtually no two floors of a dungeon are the same, even if you play a great many times, and you don't always know what an item will do before you use it.

As you play and die, and then play again from the beginning, you slowly pick up how the system works and make smarter decisions in the future, like how different types of enemy ruin your day, which types of items are more likely to not do horrible things to you if you attempt to use them, etc. It makes exploration and combat a puzzle, and forces you to keep on your toes. And that wraps up my attempt to quickly explain the appeal of roguelikes.

This method of learning how a system worked seemed vaguely familiar to me, and I just recently realized that it is basically the same as my approach to learning Ruby. First I start at the very beginning (a very good place to start, I'm told), make my way through learning the various concepts until I get completely lost, then take a break for a little bit and start from the beginning again, the next time getting a little farther along before I get hopelessly confused.

Honestly, I don't know if this validates my methodology, but since I'm self-teaching I don't think there's a way to really check other than to see if I eventually learn Ruby and make some progress on my IRC bot. So wish me luck and pray that Riva, the Goddess of Fate, has my back.

And that's it,
Nicholas

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January 2nd, 2009
07:02 pm

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And now, ladies and gentlemen, in the center ring...

Awesome stuff will happen in 2009. Things are gonna change, I can feel it.

Wonders you will witness this calendar year include:

  1. Reigning in my overspending.
  2. Exercising at least once a day.
  3. Not putting off laundry until the last possible second.
  4. Blogging more frequently (I, um - I got opinions, and they must be shared with everyone).
  5. Possessing enough Ruby knowledge to make a good start on Danbo, my cardboard IRC bot.
  6. Reading a chapter a day of the Martin Gardner-annotated Hunting of the Snark until I have read it in its entirety.
  7. Reading a chapter a day of the Edith Grossman-translated Don Quixote until I have read it in its entirety (immediately following Hunting of the Snark).
  8. Reaching the top of Table Mountain in Mystery Dungeon: Shiren the Wanderer (which is an excellent roguelike that I will talk about at great length some other time).

That's a good enough list to start with, I think. I'm hoping that some of these things will "chain", such as exercising leading to feeling better leading to less spending, but we will just have to see.

And that's it,
Nicholas

Current Music: Justice - We Are Your Friends (Reprises) | Powered by Last.fm
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December 24th, 2008
12:20 pm

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Peace on Earth, good will towards men

Raisin Bran Crunch is friggin' amazing. Happy holidays, everyone!

And that's it,
Nicholas

Current Mood: festive
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December 4th, 2008
09:30 am

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Sunny

Because the juxtaposition of the following and my Xanga layout makes me giggle. Teehee.

Sunny, yesterday my life was filled with rain
Sunny, you smiled at me and really eased the pain
The dark days are gone and the bright days are here
My sunny one shines so sincere
Sunny one so true, I love you

And that's it,
Nicholas

Edit: Dammit, LiveJournal, why must you be so difficult >:O!

Current Location: Mercer Island, WA
Current Mood: sunny
Current Music: Bis - Eurodisco | Powered by Last.fm
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November 25th, 2008
01:26 pm

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The end of an era?

I just thought you should know that my Jack Sparrow's compass-that-is-a-CD-player no longer works.

;_;.

And that's it,
Nicholas

Current Mood: sadsad
Current Music: Bis - Eurodisco | Powered by Last.fm
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November 23rd, 2008
10:29 am

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Bass! How low can you go?

Oh, hi guys! I was so focused on this Bomb Squad instrumental radio special, that I forgot to update in forever!

You see, while I enjoy a good hip-hop now and again, I'm just starting to fill in my hip-hop history Bingo scorecard. However, now I can finally fill in the "Public Enemy/Bomb Squad" square.

It all started when I was thinking about Kid Koala--like I do every 5 minutes--and, in particular, his comment about how his "Slew" project (which I can hardly wait for) is going to be "Black Sabbath meets Bomb Squad", and how I hardly knew anything about this extremely influential production team, other than that they were extremely influential and I hadn't heard anything they'd done before. So, like I always do whenever I find an interesting topic that I wish to know more about, I put on my Internet Detective cap and got to work.

Luckily for me, it turns out there are a couple of good resources concerning the Bomb Squad on the internet. First, if you want to hear their stuff firsthand, the Washington D.C. community Jazz station, Pacifica Radio WPFW 89.3 FM "The Messenger", has a Christmas/New Year's special called "Bring the Noise" where "The Other Side" host Bobby Hill plays three hours of Bomb Squad instrumentals. A local listener and huge fan of this program happens to have recorded the Bomb Squad instrumental specials for 2006/2007 and 2007/2008 for your and my listening pleasure.

The second useful resource I found, which I haven't had time to investigate fully, was Hank Shocklee's lecture at the Red Bull Music Academy, which looks like fascinating stuff.

Here's something I could use some help with. I've found a few dance/club songs that I really really like, and I'm looking for more candidates with that elusive "je ne sais quoi" that make them rise above the rest--or appeal to my weird taste, at least. These are some songs that I'm currently digging: bis's "Eurodisco", Buy Now's "Body Crash", Madonna's "Hung Up", and pretty much anything by Uniting Nations.

And that's it,
Nicholas

Current Mood: gigglygiggly
Current Music: Bis - Eurodisco | Powered by Last.fm
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