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The WatchmanThe Watchman Owner

Hey everyone! We have two new Baconeer's to welcome!! Say howdy to bushikta and The Squatch! Welcome both of ya!

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**MAJOR** Changes to the server config. Site should be back to normal with improved back end features. Let me know IMMEDIATELY if things get weird!

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Variand’s Bacon Bits

Last updated:  7/11/2016 2:52pm

Thanks for checking out my blog.  Everything here is my and only my uncensored opinion and does not reflect Nerd Bacon’s views or opinions, or those of any other contributors or sponsors.

This page is not edited and rarely proofread, and therefore is guaranteed to have grammatical and spelling errors.  Deal with it.  Feel free to comment, I’d love friendly arguments and discussions!

Pokemon Lives Matter!

07/11/2016 – 2:52pmPokémon Go is nothing short of an explosive game.  The app is used almost as much as twitter if the infographics on my Facebook newsfeed are to be believed.  Other things in my newsfeed include hacks on how to get the pedometer to increase without effort (tie your phone to your fan blades), locations around a gym or Pokémon hotspots with their parking lots full at 9:30pm, and more screenshots of Rattatas, Pidgies, and Squirtles than can be calculated without a NASA engineer present.  One thing I’ve been seeing as well are the haters showing up complaining about adults playing Pokémon.

First off, I just want to say, I haven’t played it, nor do I have any real intention to do so.  I have just way too much going on right now that I don’t have time to invest into yet another crack-like level of addiction.  But even though I don’t and will likely never play it, I still thinks it’s great and support it, and not even just because it’s Pokémon.  What if I told you could could support Pokémon Go and never play it?

Here’s just a few reasons why I support it.

A)  It’s a nostalgic Nerd-Gasm!  Seriously, playing the original Red and Blue (my Mom was totes BOSS with her generosity that Christmas!) I would often go outside and throw those plastic Easter Eggs at lizards pretending I was trying to capture a tiny lizard (sans fiery tail) and was going to raise it to be a dragon (I was a very imaginative 12 yr old without many friends).  Now 20 years later, there’s an app that allows me to find Pokémon in the real world and capture them in Pokéballs???  *NERD-SPLOOSH!* Like no haters have lived a childhood dream and not been a spastic like an 12yr old about the experience.

B)  Multi-Generational.  Like I mentioned, the game came out when I was 11 years old, but it got the game when I was 12.  Now I sit here getting ready to turn 32 in a few weeks.  Imma grown a$$ adult and well into my breeding years.  Turns out there are a lot of adults playing this game that have children of their own, both parent and child growing up with their versions of Pokémon.  How can this NOT be a great bonding experience for all involved?  A shared, healthy hobby for them?  Seriously, haters, let the families be happy together and enjoy the excitement of find Pokémon together.

C)  It’s healthy!  Seriously, have you not see how far you have to walk to unlock some of these PokéEggs?  10KM for some I’ve seen (that’s 6+ miles for those too lazy to google)!  Not to mention, all the walking around required to find the things.  With obesity being such a huge problem in the USA, especially among children, this is a HUGE motivator to get off your ass and walk, chump!  I have known people that averaged <1000 steps a day start hitting the 10,000-15,000 and more a day since Pokémon Go came out.  They bitch about their sore legs constantly now, but they still haven’t stopped walking for Pokémon.  Screw charity cancer awareness walks, walk for Squirtles!

D)  Face to Face!  The past 4-5 years have been pretty awesome with the social benefits of board and tabletop games becoming more widely accepted over the near anonymous interactions over a wi-fi network.  Pokémon Go is taking that same social benefit and trying to give it to the Video Game Industry.  Go hunting Pokémon together with friends.  Join Pokémon Hunting groups.  Make friends in a Pokémon Go League.  These are good that will only benefit children in their lives, and let’s face it, many adults need to learn that the world is not a 4chan forum.

E)  It’s free to play!  It’s not like you have to pay money.  Even though their could EASILY be social locks on levels, there aren’t.  There are micro transactions, but they aren’t necessary.  I’m willing to bet that most of the people that complain about adults playing Pokémon Go probably played Candy Crush or Clash of Clans or any of these games that require you to make your friends unlock new things for you before you can continue.  So what the shit, haters?  You’ve paid money for these Skinner Box games, but bitch with others play something with real benefits outside of wasting time?

F)  Far reaching ripples.  This game is putting Augmented Reality (AR) games into public view in a HUGE way.  This essentially will introduce those tech developers that may not know the difference between a Snorlax and a Jigglypuff to what AR is and what it’s capable of doing.  It might inspire them to adapt the technology into lots of different applications.  Especially with Microsoft still pushing their AR headset (Hololens) and the now postponed Google Glass projects still trying to find their footholds for applications in everyday life, the success of Pokémon Go will help give more validity to the efforts of AR.

There’s enough hate in this world, be it racism, gender bias, sexualism… hell people even will hate on you if you use an Oxford Comma (it’s happened to me before!).  Why the hell do we have to hate on people for having fun?  If you don’t like the game, don’t play it.  If you don’t like others playing it, don’t hang out with them at their PokéGym, or just filter “Pokémon” from your social feeds.  Don’t hate, bully, or use negative peer-pressure to try to stop people from playing the game.

'The Dust is starting to settle - 04/05/2016 12:54pm

Future of Game Funding

05/12/2016 – 5:24pm – So after having to contact a company I backed on IndieGoGo about the status of my backer perks I got to thinking about this thing called crowd funding.

Personally, I’ve had mixed results, edging more on the negative, but my sample size if pretty small having backed less than a dozen projects. Friends of mine have had nothing but good experiences, and a few have sworn off crowd-funding after only 1 project. Here’s a quick rundown of my stats:

Projects Backed: 12
Projects Completed: 8
Perks received from Completed Projects : 4
Outstanding Perks: 4 (all over 6 months delayed)

Looks bad but here’s some more info. 3 of the delayed perks say they have been shipped, but I just haven’t received them. The other one has been a delay after delay, and broken promises.

And of course you hear about all the horror stories of what people do when they get ghetto rich with your money. Here’s a sampling

Kickstarter 3D printer funds ‘used to build house’

Coolest Cooler Not So Cool as Project Runs Short of Cash
$13 million Kickstarter project for a cooler continues to be a disaster

Rogue Ant Simulator devs blow budget on ‘liquor and strippers’

There are numerous articles about “Cutting-Edge Tech” arriving looking like a happy meal toys, companies going belly up pretty much moments after receiving multiple millions of dollars, and let’s not even start in about Star Citizen having raised 113 MILLION dollars to date and still has not released a full game! It’s like watching Duke Nukem Forever happen before our eyes.

But it’s not fair to concentrate on the negatives. Two of the most outstanding industries making the most of Crowd-funding and that’s tabletop/board games and art. The board game industry is seeing a pretty hefty boom from crowdfunding! (read this) So it’s not all bad, and the success stories do show potential of crowd funding being a viable source of revenue.

So why does it seem like the two most abusive and least trustworthy industries are video games and tech? Well, because everyone loves them. That and they are the hardest to bring to reality. Not to mention that since tech is one of the most lucrative money making markets with a relatively low requirement of education/licensing (Medical and Legal fields may make more, but require a lot more to get into the fields) so the industry is filled with people just chasing the money. So giving said $-hounds a SHIT-TON of money, they tend to get a little wild.

I'm Rich, Biatch

So the simplest plan, but maybe not the best, is to implement some regulations. However, dictating what businesses can do with their money would require a large amount of oversight and a CRAP TON of legal watch dogging – too much for businesses like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo to do on their relatively meager budgets. Not to mention, the funds are donated to the company to put towards a project, so technically, so long as the money is spent on the project – even if it’s buying pencils or paying the rent for the building where it’s developed counts are going towards the project.


Fig’s founders came up with a plan that solves quite a few problems revolving around the crowd-funding model. Acting as more of an open publisher than a crowd-funding website, Fig vets the games through a review board and then puts them up for fund raising, with a twist (more on that in a minute). The vetting process essentially eliminates the approximately 65% dud projects (Kickstarter reports a 35.99% project success rate) and also does a bit of a background check on the company. No longer are you guessing if the project creator is a PR rep from a small, but hungry, indie dev or a goofball 20-something dork living in their parents basement playing with his Barbie collection. In short, you start off with a viable project from a reputable company, or at least one that has had a thorough background check.

Funding with a twist:
The typical, “Perks for pledging money” is present, but they also allow for Investing in which you actually get profit sharing based on sales receipts. Think of it as a short-term, volitile investment model. There is the risk that you will not get your money back, but there is also a chance you could make back 20,000x your investment (unlikely really). This allows you to actually make some money and get your games made, and/or offers your more of a choice in how to back. Want the game to get made, but don’t think it will sell well? – Just back it and get some perks from it. Not really interested in the game, but you know it will sell like crazy? – Invest in the game and see a return on your money. Or do both and get the perks and make some money.

Granted any investment comes with risk, but where Kickstarter and IndieGoGo and the like are more or less a crap shoot, this at least gives you some sort of valid information on which to make your gamble.

I personally like this model, not only because it offers a better gateway for game to get made and still allows the fans a voice (even if it’s yelling with $$$) as to what games they want to see made. If this model works (it’s still fairly nascent and has not seen a game delivery yet) it is possible that this could be the really sharp, swift kick in the ass traditional publishers need to get them in gear. This could literally change the industry, and honestly, I’m hoping it does!

I highly suggest checking out the fig website, and reading up more about it. I’ve signed up for news alerts and emails and plan on following this very closely. If people are interested, I’ll update some news on here.

LINK:    (note no M)

'The Dust is starting to settle - 04/05/2016 12:54pm

The Dust is starting to settle

04/05/2016 – 12:54pm – The last 6 months have been like trying to weather a hurricane.  So much has changed, so I’ll try to give a quick run down.

After yet ANOTHER case of the leak in my apartment coming back after a 2 year ordeal, My (then) Fiance and I decided we’d had enough and began looking for a new place to move.

Just about this same time my old employer in FL made me a competitive offer and we decided to accept in order to get back to our family and friends we’d left 2 years ago.  We’re renting a house that was not fully empty of the previous occupant and is in extreme disrepair, and we’ve not been able to unpack even the basic items; we don’t even have a usable kitchen at the moment.  And even better, the roof of this house has a leak that goes through electrical boxes and we just found our AC unit is covered in a dark mold that we are fearing is black mold.  So we’re already getting ready to move again.  (ಠ_ಠ)

My new job has not been going all that well to be honest.  I’ll not go into detail, but I definitely remember why I left this company in the first place.  But oh well, I’m making a lot more than I did the last time I was here.

It’s not been all bad news though.  I got married just over a month ago!  That itself took up nearly all of my time trying to organize everything and everyone.  It was a little more hectic as we did a costume wedding at the local Renaissance Festival in Tampa, and there were hiccups and issues every step of the way.  The largest was that the officiant/priest went to Medieval Times in Orlando, FL instead of the Ren Fest in Tampa (over an hour away!) and didn’t call me until about 20 minutes before the start of the ceremony.  It was a stressful day, but even though we started an hour late, we greatly enjoyed it and would still recommend doing something similar for people considering it.  Unfortunately, we were not able to take a honeymoon as we are broke from the move and the wedding.

So now, the dust is finally starting to settle and I can begin looking to take up some of my past hobbies and activities.  So now I need to figure out what game to review.

'Quick Tip: Easy proofreading help - 01/08/2016 3:02pm

Quick Tip:  Easy proofreading help

01/08/2016 – 3:02pm – So one big problem with proofreading is that if it’s not been very long since you wrote the piece, you’ll still have on your developmental eyes.  You might catch a couple of typos and some bad punctuation or phrasing, but you’ll likely look over a lot of things because your mind is still focused on the idea of the piece rather than the grammatical correctness.

Well, here’s a quick, dirty, and lazy yet useful way to help you proofread your articles.  Try throwing your words into a Text-to-Speech program.

Did you read it wrong?

Did you read it wrong?

While our eyes can jump over things in text fairly easily (like that wonderful little Morpheus meme), our ears are much more in tune with the way people speak.  While there have been many academic papers of why our hearing is much more sensitive to the nuances of speech, ranging from dialect recognition for roaming nomads to hunting abilities, the fact remains that we can hear grammatical errors a lot easier than reading them.  And it’s 10,000 times more obvious to us when a computer voice butchers a word.

So you can use this to your advantage by throwing the words into the Text-to-speech program and just listen for the hard chops, goofy pronunciations, and/or any general weirdness in the speech.  Sure, this method may give you a few false positives, but it will give you a much higher catch rate with minimal effort.  Plus, you get the added effect of getting to hear your article to check if the flow, tone, and even just general sound is to your liking.  It might read fine, but read aloud it might sound rough and chaotic even if it’s grammatically perfect.  When an article sounds good aloud it usually reads better in-text/on-paper.

So instead of waiting for a fresh set of eyes, tag in those eardrums and get those head-riding freeloaders working for you!

Here’s a good site I like to use to read blog posts to me while I’m working.  The online portion has a 5,000 word limit but has some good (read: not audibly offensive) voices while the desktop app has no limit, but only 1 less than optimal voice.

Hope this helps!

Happy New Year, Baconeers!

'Fallout Shelter on your PC - 08/18/2015 11:56pm

Fallout Shelter on your PC

08/18/201511:56pm – Just a quick hit.  I just uploaded my quick video of how to get Fallout Shelter playing on your Windows PC or Laptop.  I’ll be creating a D.I.Y. on how to do this as well as import/export your saved games between devices.  More info to come.  ENJOY!

'Another Year Gone. - 07/27/2015 11:26pm

Another year gone.

07/27/201511:26pm – So my birthday is either sometime soon, or sometime passed, depending on when you’re reading this or what day I want to lie by saying it is on that day, either way, know that my Age stat incremented.  So I figured it’s about time to take stock of what I’m working on again, and update this block after an almost 2 month hiatus… sheesh.

I got a job offer! and turned it down.  It was a significant pay increase (very significant), but it was contract for only 3 months.  I just couldn’t risk it.  So I’m staying put in NC for a while longer it would seem.

About a month ago I got accepted into the ID@Xbox program, which means I’m able to start pitching ideas and developing for Xbox/Windows Platforms.  I’ve already been going over a few of my old games and game designs and wondering what I’ll work on first.  Since XNA is essentially dead (no longer supported), I’ve decided to make the leap to Unity3D and I’ve gotta say, I’m loving it so far.  Who wants to review my first game?  or even who wants to review my last couple games?  I should have the installers somewhere.  Seriously let me know if you want to, I’d love the feedback, even if it’s been 3 years since my last game (Sausage Fest).

I’ve also been playing a lot of board games recently.  Now that I finally have some breathing room in my budget (or at least I’ve made some for it), I’m slowly rebuilding my library of tabletop games.  If you’re in the area, let me know and we’ll play some.  Really dying to try out Twilight Imperium if anyone has a full weekend available.

I find this funny that I generally dislike playing video games with others, and in general dislike social settings.  However, I love going to my local game shop and meeting and playing games with new people – I just wish I was better at remembering names!  I think it’s more because I’m not being judged on how I look or dress.  I’m not being judged by my job, or my bank account, or even my accomplishments in life.  I’m just a person who wants to play the same game they do.  It’s a liberating experience really, especially when I even feel judged and graded by my own family.

There’s another aspect of it too.  People aren’t dicks!  There’s no anonymity to hide behind and it’s a fairly small community.  It would be very easy to Em-Eff yourself out of every available game in a shop, if not the shop itself.  Oh don’t get my wrong, most of the people I play with will stab you you in the back, cut-your-throat, and in all ways and effects leave you whimpering in the corner…on the board.  But that’s just it, it stays on the board!  I have congratulated people on severely tromping my ass, and been congratulated on doing the same to others.  It’s a game, and if going all Genghis Khan on the other players is a strategy to be implemented, then it’s part of the game.

Case in point:  Playing 7 Wonders, I was essentially out of the game before the end of the first age (of 3).  A player across the table had gobbled up every Brick resource she came across and left me without ANYTHING to use to help me build my items.  I came in 4th of 5 because I adapted my strategy as best I could, but there was no hope in winning.  I still had an amazing time!

So why is it that I can be so thoroughly destroyed and love it, and I start to get physically upset if my K:D ratio gets below 1 in Call of Duty?  (which I haven’t played online since MW2).  It’s because of the culture.  Playing games online with people you don’t know, and honestly, will likely never see in a game again leads people to act out in all manner of negative ways.  From flinging insults, to homophobic gay-bashing, racial remarks, and even ripping on your own team.  Why?  This is why I love the Xbox Party chat so much; talk with your friends regardless of the game, and mute all the virulent verbal diarrhea that pours through the game chat.  It sickens me when I start hearing 12 year olds (or even younger) saying they are going to do unspeakable things to another players family/friends/pets (yeah… pets… gross).  Could this by why we have to deal with such a negative image portrayed by the rest of the world?

Food for thought.

'Setting up a personal Spam Blocker - 05/01/2015 6:36pm

Setting up a personal Spam Blocker

05/01/20156:36pm – The Cubist has enabled a spam filtering server application that should help clear prevent the spam from hitting your email boxes.  You may also notice that some email subject lines will be prepended with {SPAM?}  if you continue to see these, this means the spam app has identified it as Spam but let it through for you to check.  Let The Cubist, NerdBerry, or Myself know if you are still seeing a large number of these.

You should not need to use Email filtering with this new app put in place, however, I’ll leave the post up in case anyone would like to know how to use filtering to organize their email boxes.  And better yet, if you are still seeing spam, you can now block or redirect the spam easier now that it should be labeled with {SPAM?}.  just do a filter for “Subject contains SPAM?”

05/01/20153:29pm – I’ve heard that some of our members are getting a large amount of spam from a spoofer using Gingerbot’s email address.  Here’s a couple of things you should know:

1)  GingerBot is not sending these.
2)  GingerBot’s Email has not been hacked.
3)  GingerBot has nothing to do with these.
4)  Nerd Bacon mail server has not been hacked.

If you’re not aware of what spoofing is, here’s a quick and simple run down of what’s happening.  Spoofing is basically a person using a mail server, which anyone can set up in the own home, and is sending out emails with false header information.  Anyone with a little server admin experience can do with ease.  This is actually how websites send out information from a “” email address.  The Email does not exist, but the header information (the to, from, address, message type, subject, etc.) is formed using a server side script, rather than a mail server.  Long story short, it’s like someone putting a false return address on an envelope and dropping it into a mail drop box.  The Postal Service has to do something with it, so it just tries to send it to the addressee unable to tell if who sent it.  If the addressee is undeliverable, then it just sends it to the return address.  The flip side to this is that the person being spoofed usually receives a METRIC CRAP TON of Mailer Daemons.  It’s a shitty and should be (if it’s not already) illegal spamming practice.

UPDATE:  In the case we’re seeing these emails as being sent to Gingerbot, but being BCCed (using the “Envelop-to” header item to those receiving the emails.  So Basically Gingerbot is likely getting every email everyone else is getting.

While we wait for the admins to get the anti Spam stuff set up, there are some things you can do yourself to help limit your spam.  Below are some step-by-step instructions to setting up Email Filters.

Setup Spam Filter 1

When you log into your email, before you select a email client to use (click “STOP” if you’ve set up an autolaunch), click “Email Filtering”

Setup Spam Filter 2

On the next page, click “Create a New Filter”  or select “Edit” on a filter you’ve already created.

Setup Spam Filter 3STEP 1)  Enter a name for the filter.  Use something explaining the intent of the filter if blocking something specific.
STEP 2) Select the Data to check, e.g. Subject Line, Sender (from), Body (email content), etc.
STEP 3) Select the Comparison type, Equals (Exact match), Contains (Has the exact string located anywhere within the field).  These are the most common one’s you’ll use, but filtering can be a powerful business tool that goes beyond just Spam blocking.
STEP 4) Enter the String to use for the comparison.  In the screenshot above, I’ve used actual subjects and body message from my most recent spam emails received.
STEP 5) Add another line by pressing the + Button.  Select – to remove the current line.  This will add another drop down with “Or” and “And” options.  I suggest using “OR” for everything as if any of the lines comparisons return as a match, it will trigger the filter.  if you use the “AND” ALL the items will need to match to trigger the item.  You can use a mixture, but I’ve not had much luck with it and usually breaks the filter’s triggers.  Just use another Filter if you feel the need to start using “AND”.  Once you’ve added a line, repeat steps 2-4 to fill out the additional rules.
STEP 6) Action.  If the Filter is triggered by the conditions set in steps 2-5, this action will be taken.  I’ve chosen to discard in the above item because I’m using exact lines from the emails, so they are KNOWN spam.  If you’d rather them be delivered to a junk folder, then you can choose, “Deliver to folder” and it will bring up a list of your configured folders in an additional drop down box.  NOTE:  Be nice and do not choose “Fail with message” as this will only get sent to GingerBot since it was her address on the return label.  You’re not going to get to the spammer doing this.  So use Discard or Deliver to Folder (Junk).
STEP 7) Select “Create” at the bottom of the page.  If you’re editing a previously created filter, the button will read, “Save” instead (as it is in the screenshot).

A word of warning:  Be careful with how generic you make these filters.  If you go too broad and have a rule that says, “Body contains ‘video'” you’ll block all the spammers talking about videos… but ALSO everything from anyone that mentioned the word, “video”.  So no more youtube messages, no more comments about your video.  etc.  This is also where spammers tend to get tricky as well.  There is a reason why these messages always use misspellings and symbols instead of regular words.  because the meaning of a word is the same regardless of if “Fuck” is spelled, “F@ck”, “F#ck”, “F^ck” or even just “F uck”.  None of those would be caught by a rule “Subject Contains fuck”.  If you know RegEx you can figure out how to use wildcards to get around this, but this is beyond most common users.

Once I get a good, comprehensive filter, I’ll try to share it with everyone.

Hope this helped!

UPDATE:  Some additional information.

— Apparently, everyone spam email I’ve received so far has come from a .ru server, which is a Russian tagged domain.  I don’t suggest using this as a filter datapoint since if you block domains with an .ru you block then entirety of Russia… and that’s just rude!  Still working on a solid filter.
— There is an error with the mail filtering for option “Any Header”  I’ve opened a Host Gator ticket on a private account outsite  I’ll update when I know more.
— We finally got some Anti Spam stuff installed.  You shouldn’t need to use filters anymore.  Now that we’re checking for SPF, these emails should get caught pretty quickly.

'Twitchy Little things - 04/23/2015 2:43pm

Twitchy little things

04/23/20152:43pm – I’ve been trying to come up with some ideas on what to stream next on my Saturday Twitch broadcast, and I’ve come up with a few ideas:

4/25 – Bloodborne (PS4)
5/2 – Broken Age Part 2 w/ Broken Age Part 1 Speed Run (PC)
5/9 – Riven: Sequel to Myst (PC)

But I’m really unable to come up with games after that.  So I’ll let you guys guys decide!  Here’s a list of games I have and am willing to play on the twitch:

– Dynasty Warriors 8 Empires (Xbox One)
– Destiny w/ all expansions (Xbox One)
– Modded Skyrim (PC)
– Spawn (SNES)
– Drakan 2 (PS2)
– Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1-4 (PS1/2)
– Shadows of the Colossus (PS2)
– Fable II (Xbox 360)
– Overlord & Overlord II (Xbox 360 – Multipart stream)

Additional Shows:
– Party Night! w/ Guests – Baconeers unit to play party games either online or in person
– Nerd Bacon Builds! – Minecraft construction at its finest.  Watch the Nerd Bacon World grow with each addition.
– NerdCraft – Minecraft challenges, Multiple players try to compete challenges in both team and singles challenges.  Quickest to storm a castle, first to kill all the sheep, etc.  different challenges each week.

Also had to the idea to setup a live table top show, but would need many people helping.  If you’re interested and in the Raleigh area let me know.

Leave me a comment with which games are your favorite for me to play, or leave your own suggestion.  Also let me know if you like these other twitch show ideas and/or if you’d like to help or be a part of it.

'What do do with THE REST of your money. - 03/17/2015 1:09am

What to do with the rest of your money.

03/17/20151:09am – So I’ve been toying around this idea in my mind for a long time, and the recent slew of crowd funding has had me focusing on it recently.  I’ve often thought of seeking out crowd funding to create a game studio amongst other things.  But in all likelihood, it’s just a pipe-dream.  I don’t have the necessary skills, connections, experience, or really anything to allow it to happen for real – since all I do have is my hobbyist’s designs for games.  So I thought it might be fun to flesh out the ideas for my hypothetical crowd funding plans for everyone to enjoy.  Or more specifically exercise them from my mind so I can concentrate on other things.  So here we go.

The Summary:

I want to make a crowd funded game studio start up with a focus on giving back to the crowd that funded it.

The explanation:

I enjoy games, both playing, reviewing, and even creating them.  But my passion is designing them.  I’ve at least a dozen workable design documents for possible video games ranging from mobile to “blockbuster,” AAA titles that could rival the juggernauts to passionate cult classic styles.  But unfortunately, life has prevented me from being able to make them, so they sit in my notebooks and files on my backup drive collecting dust and the digital equivalent…

Even though there are many avenues in which a game can be made, however, in all cases they always require two things above all else:  Money and Time/Labor.

In order to put together a small, entry level to semi-experienced team consisting of 8 people will cost around $750,000 not including benefits (according to Gamasutra’s 2014 Average salary breakdown).

– Business manager / Bookkeeper              85,000
– HR / Community manager                          65,000

– Lead Designer / Producer                        110,000
– Senior Gameplay Developer                    110,000
– Senior Tools Developer                            110,000
– Art / Animation                                           90,000
– Senior Sound Engineer                            100,000
– QA Lead    (optional)                                  60,000

TOTAL                                                        730,000

These are rounded up to be a bit heavy in the numbers but that is to give room for bargaining in order to afford benefits packages.  Commercial office space can cost anywhere from 2,000 to 4,000 a month for an approximate 36,000 if in the mid range.  Add 400 in monthly utilities.  Another 300 a month for commercial Internet with hopefully a phone deal involved.  An initial setup of desks, chairs, appliances, additional furniture, and most importantly computers can cost approximately 10,000 with additional cost for any necessary build out.  So let’s put together the following:

Commercial Rent                                              40,000
Utilities                                                                5,000
ISP/Phone                                                            3,600
Build out                                                              12,000

TOTAL                                                          60,000

That brings us up to $790,000.  Now we just need to add in the cost of the perks  So what does 800,000 get us?  The start of a Game Design studio, but more than just that – A Game Design Studio that not only makes it’s own games but makes YOURS!

Let’s explain what I mean by that.  As an attempt to become self sufficient, we will use our core team to develop our own games in house which will be the life blood of the studio.  However, our passion will be helping other into the industry.  We’ll make it a point to accept game design documents, and we’ll review them and provide feedback.  The best designs we’ll help prototype so that they can be taken to Crowd funding sources like IndieGoGo and Kickstarter.  We’ll also give you breakdown on what it will cost to make your game which you can then use in your crowd funding campaign.  And if you’re successfully funded, you can come to us and we’ll make your game, or you can start your own group to make it!  Either way, you’re in the business!


Q:  Will I retain rights to my idea?
A:  Absolutely.  You will retain all rights to your design, though we will hold rights to modify, use, and distribute anything we’ve added to the design, as well as the prototypes.  We however will retain all rights to any tools or features created in the prototyping process.  If you choose not to develop your game with us, you may not use or reverse engineer any of these tools or features.  Licensing of these items may be available on case by case basis.

Q:  Will I get credit for my idea/design/game?
A:  Of Course!  Your name will be in the credits, and featured on the game’s box art.  Think of all the various games like Cid Meyer’s Civilizations or maybe a subtitle “A game by…”  Either way, we’re not trying to steal your ideas!

Q:  Why?
A:  Because I know I’m not the only person who wants to get into the game industry, but does not have the skills for programming and can’t draw much more than stick figure.  But I also know that there are people who have valid ideas, and know what it takes to be a good game.  Since we want help making our games, it’s only fair we give back!

Q:  What exactly am I funding?
A:  You are funding the creation of our first game, and in order to create that game we will need to create the studio as well.  So you’re funding both!


All perk levels receive items from previous level (that don’t repeat)
$5            A hearty thanks!
$15            Your name listed on our Founding Funders page, and access to special digital rewards.
$25            A digital download of our first game.
$50            Your name featured in the credits
$75            Access to concept art gallery
$100        A special Digital (Online video) tour of our offices one their set up.  and we’ll personally thank you Via Twitter
$150        A special backers only T-Shirt
$250        Get to help shape the first game by giving feedback during game development
$500        Get a post of the cover art for our first game signed by everyone at the studio!
$750        Get your game idea looked at sooner.  You can submit one game design document that will get jumped to the head of the line.
$1000        Skype with the Team Leads.  Ask us anything you want, or just pitch your idea!
$2500        Get an in-person tour of our facility once it’s set up, and lunch with team leads.  (Travel costs not included)
$5000        Attend the launch party of our first game.
$10,000    Any of your game ideas submitted jump straight to the front of the line.  Within reason
$25,000    Get a producer credit on our first game.
$50,000    We’ll fly you out to our offices and you can help us review our first batch of submitted Design Documents
$100,000    You’ll get free copies of every game we make.
$500,000    We’ll discuss business opportunities with you
$1,000,000    We’ll name our studio after you!
$5,000,000    We’ll make you CEO!

'What do do with your money. - 03/11/2015 11:51am

What to do with your money.

03/11/201511:51am – I’m a fan of crowd sourcing, even though I still see a couple of flaws in the theory.  I’ve backed a couple of things now, and plan to continue to do so when things catch my eye.  Here are two campaigns I think people should back right now, Both of which are currently fighting over my dollars!



Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk-Me!) was a costar on Spectrum, a sci-fi series which was canceled -Too Soon- yet became a cult classic. Wray’s good friend, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion) starred in the series and has gone on to become a major movie star. While Jack enjoys the life of an A-lister, Wray tours the sci-fi circuit as a guest of conventions, comic book stores, and lots of pop culture events.  The show will feature all the weird and crazy things that happen to Wray along the way to at these events these events.



LARPs: The Series (Season 2)


A fun web series about a small group of LARPers.  Similar in style to The Guild, only D&D instead of WoW, is a show produced by people obviously passionate about Role Playing games and LARP.  Season 1 consisted of 7 Episodes and the Pilots (Episode 00), and they are asking for crowd funding to help them expand and make an even better season 2!  This Campaign is also in CAD (Canada Funny Money) so when looking at prices, remember it’s actually cheaper in USD!  And if you’re willing to shell out the extra money, you can SHOOT YOUR FRIEND IN THE DICK! (See Perk for $2500CAD)

Watch Season 1 Here
View their Website Here (


'Ultimate Retro gaming - 02/23/2015 5:36pm

Ultimate Retro gaming!

02/23/20155:36pm – So in the spirits of Retroary, and because I’ve been having a mighty powerful ache in me to do so, I finally busted out some table top games – the most retro type of gaming you can do!  Unfortunately, I only have my fiance to play with at the moment, and we’ve a severe lack of time in most situations, but we just bought a 1-4 player game with an approximate 10-20 minute play time.  Perfect for us!


I fell in love with the box itself:


Who doesn’t want a dungeon chest sitting on their shelf?  I’d not heard of the game before, but it was only $20, and the game time and 1-4 players caught my eye since my fiance and I have been looking for some quicker games that we could play together.  We have a couple other games that 1-2 players can play, but they take forever; Firefly can seriously take over an hour for 1 player, let alone adding more to the game – and we don’t have a table big enough for the game board to fit nicely.

Dungeon Roll is a dungeon delve simplified and streamlined.  A player gets to form a party of their leader card and 7 party dice.  They are then tasked with going as deep as they can into a dungeon full of ever increasing number of monsters, loots, healing potions, and dragons.  Delve as deep into the dungeon as you can go, collect as much loot as you can, and earn as much XP as possible.


Click to zoom in new window.

Note the LED candle for mood setting.  I recommend this game for those looking for a fairly cheap and replayable game.  And if you’re a table top Gamer like me, I definitely suggest getting some add-ons.  Here’s one I plan to purchase soon:

ThinkGeek’s 8-Bit Treasure Chest:  (link)

During the game, you may be lucky enough to roll the dungeon dice’s treasure face which will allow you to loot the room after kicking the door and kill the monsters.  While the game box itself is pretty awesome, it is just cardboard and stickers and therefore a bit flimsy to be honest.  So grab this little $30-bit of awesomeness (or is it just 8-bit? *bud-dum…ching*) that will make each time you loot feel like an epic achievement!

So if you see this one in your local game shop or even Barnes-&-Noble (which actually usually carries a decent table top lineup – if they’re a bit overpriced), then I say grab it!  Then grab your friends (metaphorically speaking of course), and sit down and play some multiplayer the REAL retro way, on the table top!


'Retroary means to me... - 02/07/2015 8:10pm

Retroary means to me…

02/07/20158:10pm – Without this post turning into another whine about how busy I’ve been, let’s just say that I missed the deadline for the Retroary video.  So I figured I’d break the 3 month blog “silence” and share why I love retro gaming.

Retro games are just that – RETRO!  They are immediately cool just because they are retro.  How can you not love them?  I love the way I can sit down in front of 10 year olds and seem like a GAMING GOD because I know how to find the warps in Super Mario Bros. or that I can even get that ancient grey box to run!  But there is more to it than that.

Nostalgia is one of the strongest reasons why I like playing retro games, but I even hesitate to call it nostalgia.  Nostalgia to me is when you go visit an old neighborhood, your old schools, or other haunts, and are immediately reminded of wistful memories and pining wishes to be back in those fond ghosts of your past.  This is not a strong enough feeling to describe what one feels when playing retro games.  I get nostalgic just holding the cartridges.

When I pop a cartridge into one of my retro consoles, I am not teleported or reminded of the memories, I BECOME them.  I’m back to being that 8 year old kid again, my parents are just in the other room, my sister is on the couch behind me waiting her turn, and I am reliving the joy (sometimes bitter loathing) of the game.  The feel of the controller in my hand, the pixelated characters on screen, the ear piercing sounds shrieking from my Television speakers, these are just things that are so ingrained into my being that they just feel natural.

Beyond that, there is just a style to the retro games.  Characters were flamboyant, colorful, and fun!  Seriously just look at Link when he gets an item!

Seriously, I’ve seen my 3 month old Nephew make that same face when he gets a hold of someones keys!  If you have a character do something like this now, it just looks out of place in this jeans and t-shirt civilization we live in today, reflected in today’s games:


Fucking amazing character design, right there


If you look at the spread covered by Retroary (<1999), you get to see unimaginable amounts of progress and innovation within the industry.  The birth of genres, the advancement of control schemes (Legacy controls anyone?), and sadly the eventually fall to obscurity of genres.

The flip side to this is that we also got to see the heavy corporatism of gaming as well, something has lead us to the doldrums of innovation that has only recently begun to break, and not nearly as much as it needs to.

And most importantly in my view, is that graphics don’t mean jack shit, even realism is sometimes pointless.  It’s a lesson that is constantly still on display today, but rarely learned.  In fact, we’re arguably dead center in the uncanny valley, to the point where trying to be TOO realistic now, will actually hurt your audiences ability to empathize with your characters.  And lets face it, there’s just something endearing about 8-bit heroes… even the term 8-bit looks like a tongue face.  8-b  it.

And lastly, being an analyst and journalist, Retro games help me center my point of view.  That invaluable juxtaposition keeps my well grounded when I start sussing out the nitty-gritty.  Without it, how could I judge how much worth a game has to the industry?  How can I just if a game is actually being innovative or just bringing back something old school?  It’s always good to know from where we came.

'Tis the season for sickening consumerism - 11/25/2014 2:33pm

‘Tis the season for sickening consumerism.

11/25/20142:33pm –  Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-LAAAAH.  Doesn’t have the same ring too it.  While my Mother was in town this pasted weekend, She and my fiance decided to use the time to decorate for Christmas.  Still a bit early for my tastes, but I relented my objections and allowed them to have fun with it.  As part of this “Get in the mood” celebration, we watched three Christmas movies over the three days of my mother’s visit.  Oddly enough each was a different rendition of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol.”  And while I definitely into “a mood,” if not “the mood,” it still served to make me wish to share a Christmas Story with you:

There was once a child who looked forward to the holiday season.  It was a time for festivities, seeing family for other parts of the country, and a time for general merry making.  He and his family would make their Christmas Cheer manifest in the form of decorations.  Garlands on the every door, snowmen and reindeer posted in the yard, a giant fern covered in tinsel and shiny ornaments, and lights lining everything that could be seen.  And then there were the presents, stacked high under the tree that the branches often rested upon boxes.  But to this little boy, the presents were not a collections of material goods to be coveted and jealously compared with your siblings.  No, these colorfully wrapped packages, sealed with silk ribbons and copious amounts of scotch tape, were yet more reaffirmation of the holiday spirit.

But somewhere along the road, it changed.  As the boy grew up, he witnessed the very spirit of the season begin to wither as the amount of decorations grew.  He could hear the hollow echoes of tradition in every red and green advertisement plastered down the roads and on the television.  The joyous cheer of just seeing your neighbor doing fine and well was drowned out by the yells of annoyance and curses of those who bought the last of something you wanted.  The carolers songs have been replaced by a symphony of horns blaring in every mall’s parking lot.  The holiday decorations that used to mean so much to the child were now a seasonal strategy to raise the profits evermore into the black.

Every year, the boy witnessed this mutation, this withering grotesquerie that had become the holiday season, and those things that had once filled with him with good spirit and holiday cheer became the ghastly reminder of the things he slowly, but surely, came to despise.  The Christmas had become a holiday of consumerism and capitalism.  It became a time where it was an obligation to buy something for someone, rather than a simple act of selflessness towards those for which you care.  And he felt sickened by the exchange of money on prepaid plastic cards stuffed inside a overpriced piece of folded paper.

“Was Christmas now the season of money exchanging hands based on how much you want them to think you love them?” he would ask himself year after year.  “Why not just keep your money and tell them you love them?  Have our words become so worthless that we must buy their favor with gift cards?”

So many years later, the boy now a man, he no longer has the will to continue the sickening farce that is Consumer-Mas, so he wears the face of the villainous archetype; that of the Grinch or the Scrooge, the personification of the holiday humbug.  He is ridiculed, taunted, and bullied for his believes that Christmas was meant to be more and for his refusal to add himself to the chaotic maelstrom of consumerism.  But for all the blame, for every accusation that he doesn’t understand the True meaning of Christmas, his heart is evermore hardened and his resolve tempered.

“I will be your villain if you need one so badly,” he says quietly to the world.  “I will guard what Christmas should be behind my shield of misery and hermitage.  I shall exile myself from your poisonous actions and protect the purity of Christmas in my own way.  Call me Scrooge, call me a Grinch.  I shall wear these titles like armor.”

But as with every Christmas Tale, the villain must have a redemption, the man knows this.  It’s this promise for redemption and resurrection of the holiday spirit that keeps his resolve strong.  But he believes it is not him that needs the saving, but instead, the rest of the world.  So he sits and he waits every season, hoping to hear the songs holiday cheer as he remembered them in his youth.  To see the happy faces and feel the holiday spirit… but it will never come.

The boy does not realize that the holiday spirit is still there, albeit a little cloudy, mired by the consumerism of the corporations.  He is not the protector, but instead a true miserable miser believing that he alone can hold onto the true holiday spirit.  He does not understand that the holiday spirit must grow, it must be nurtured and shared.  The more he hordes it to himself, the more it withers till it dies within him till he will have nothing to give back to the world when he does finally believe it’s ready.  Worse, he’ll have been in exile so long, there will be no one left in his life with whom he could share the holiday spirit.

So do not give into the Consumer-mas, but stay true to your traditions.  Spread your warmth and cheer to all those that will listen.  Exult your joy and share it with those most important in your life.  Share your good will to those that have none.  Do not be like the boy and pull more of the cheer from the world.

Destiny = Worst RPG EVER! - 11/10/2014 3:11pm

Destiny = Worst RPG EVER!

11/10/20143:11pm – So while I was doing some research for my review of Destiny on the Xbox One, I found that it is listed as an “Action RPG.”  I about did one of these:

Flip DeskSeriously, WHAT THE FUCK!?!?  At what point is Destiny even remotely an RPG?  It’s a FPS loot-fest.  I would hardly even say it has RPG Elements.  There is no way to play a role of your character.  You’re telling me that because your character levels, you have an inventory fully of loot, and you get to choose one of 5 faces that it’s an RPG???  The hell is wrong with the world?

An RPG allows you to play the role of YOUR character, which includes how that character develops as both a person and a player class.  That means there is choice involved, there is a story involved.  How the hell can anyone say that Destiny has either.  You can customize the same character in different ways, but regardless of the class you choose, you’re the SAME FUCKING GUARDIAN.  There’s no choice, there’s no role.  just some half assed customization of a face that is inevitably going to look like everyone else because all the faces are fucking ugly as shit, and is immediately covered in a fucking uglier helmet.

Calling Destiny an “Action RPG” is like calling Resident Evil an RPG.  Resident Evil is a Action shooter.  Destiny is an Action shooter with a deep character leveling system.  AT NO POINT does destiny have anything to do with a role playing game.  It offers no choice outside what game type/mission to play or what to wear to the ball.  It barely even has a story with fucking WONDERFUL cop-out lines like “I don’t even have time to explain why I don’t have time to explain,” in response to the questions, “Who are you?” and “Why are you following us.”    Sure, but you’ll waste your and my fucking time saying shit like that.  Fuck off, Stranger, your gun sucks, that’s why you gave it to me.  Because you FINALLY got your Vision of Confluence in the raid, huh?

I can tell you EXACTLY who she is and EXACTLY why she is following players… SHE’S A FUCKING NPC TROLL!!

Okay, Rant over… but seriously.  Stand up for yourselves, Gamers.  Don’t let fuckers like Bungie try to get nerd-cred by saying, “We’re an RPG!!”  just because they make you level up your gun and ugly head-bucket.

I am seriously getting tired of “Geek Chic” and “Nerd Cool” shit and how it is ruining everything that I held dearest to my heart.  I’m about to go full Nerd Rage on this shit if I find one more ounce of fucking stupidity and ignorance.  At one point being a nerd or a geek meant you were smarter than everyone else… then why is this fucking “Nerd Culture” so insistent on acting like a bunch of a sponge-bob loving retards???

NOTE:  This rant is about the classification of Destiny as an RPG (which it is not), and NOT about the game as a whole (which is a Sci-Fi themed FPS).  I actually did enjoy the game and gave it a 7.5/10 and do recommend players play the game… just don’t call it an RPG.  See my review once it’s posted. (I’ll link it here once it’s up.)

NaNoWriMo and Videos - 11/06/2014 1:30pm

NaNoWriMo and Videos

11/6/20141:30pm – It’s definitely been a while since I’ve written anything on here besides a simple news post (my 20th article – I’m finally officially Author Rank!  W00T).  I really do feel bad as I’ve wanted to write reviews for a couple of the new games I’ve been playing in the few moments I have spare time, specifically Destiny and Shadow of Mordor, and I’m greatly looking forward to getting my hands on Dragon Age Inquisition, and TWO Assassin’s Creed games.  So, I thought I would fill this lull at my work (which is threatening to become chaotic shortly) with a quick update as to what I’m currently working on and ask for ideas on something else I’d like to try.

I’m taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  For those who don’t know what it is, it’s basically a challenge to write an entire first draft of a novel in 30 days across the month of November.  I’ve completed a novel in about 38 days (and it was excessively long too), so I decided to go ahead and take the challenge.  After starting 4 days late, and only being able to write for about a total of about 3 hours, I’m still only around 5,000 words and still haven’t got out of the first chapter!  I am officially failing this challenge!  So I’m going to try to squeeze out some extra time to catch back up to where I should be on the manuscript.  Don’t expect me to be around too much on here till December.

In other news, I’ve been wanting to try to start making some youtube content again.  I’m not sure what to do though.  I have some prenatal ideas for some Machinema, I wouldn’t mind doing a couple of video reviews, and honestly, I still find the idea of a doing a video podcast interesting.  Even just a regular audio podcast would be fun as well – and I could probably put it on a Tampa Bay based Internet Radio station which I am part owner.  Anyone have any suggestions?  E-mail them to me or just leave me a comment on here.  I probably won’t begin to work on them till after NaNoWriMo is over (or till after I finish the manuscript – Likely sometime around Decemeber.

Blargs to you all!

Minecraft Creations - 9/30/2014 10:06am

Minecraft Creations

09/30/201410:06am – My fiance and I were playing some Minecraft last night, which is 10 times better when you’ve had something to drink, and I finally got some revenge for something she’d done in one of my worlds almost a year and a half ago (More later).  Anyways, after waking up and seeing that in our drunken genius, we posted the screenshots of it on facebook, I figured it might be a nice time to showcase some of the things I’ve made in Minecraft.  Yes, I like to show off a bit.

Nerd Bacon Stuff:

Minecraft NerdBacon

The older Nerd Bacon Logo.  Made this one a while ago and had planned on maybe trying to use it to intro into a video podcast or something.  Nothing ever came of it, but it still stands in my “Creations World” where I keep all my larger projects.

minecraft retro

A random collection of game sprites recreated as best as a colorblind nerd can do.  These are located just next to the Nerd Bacon logo above, at a 90 degree counter-clockwise turn, and were going to be used to as a lead in into the main logo.

Blarg Skycastle

NOTE:  Please keep in mind that Blarg Skycastle was build BEFORE creative mode was introduced to the Xbox 360 version, so the entire pit, castle, tubing, lava, and glowstone… EVERYTHING was done by hand, not able to fly.  Some improvements were made after introduction of creative mode (like cleaning up the bedrock layer), but all creative mode changes were purely cosmetic.  Screenshots taken in Creative mode with the ability to fly, so that I could get good angles.

Minecraft - Blarg Skycastle

This is a giant cobblestone walled castle in the sky hovering over a giant pit.  Name after the giant label on its outer wall, the castle is home to 2 homes, a “Clubhouse,” and a large store room.  It features a long winding rail that will drop you off in the court yard, and a functional “Quick Exit,” a tube with a water stop that allow you to drop from the courtyard to the bottom of the pit with no injury.  The top most block of the skycastle (the water block of the fountain) was at the highest point in the game – which has been raised to a MUCH higher level since.  The pit below the castle is down to bedrock.  which made the quick escape near to the longest drop you could have in the game.

Minecraft - Blarg Skycastle courtyardThis view is just above the “BLARG!!!1” and shows the courtyard.  My modern style house is on the left, my Fiance’s more “dungeon-esque” house is at the top, clubhouse on the left, and the storehouse at the bottom.  Note the fountain in the center.  Its water block was at the original height cap before it was raised to a MUCH more significant height.  I have decided NOT to rebuild it as everything seen was done PRIOR to creative mode and is the culmination of easily 100 hours of work (majority of it spent just digging out the pit.

Minecraft - Blarg Skycastle courtyard fountainThe courtyard fountain at night.  slightly better view of clubhouse on right.

Minecraft - Blarg Skycastle Pit viewA view of the depth of the pit.  It goes all the way down to bedrock (Lowest levels of worlds).  This pit took me, my Fiance, and my best friend Kyle, nearly 2 months of dig out.  It’s approximately 125 x 126 blocks square, and I never checked its depth… but I would assume is over 100.  The glowing spot at the bottom glowing ring around the edge of the pit is the powered rail that takes you from pit bottom to Skycastle courtyard.  The brighter spot at the (pictures) bottom edge of the pit is an “Elevator”.  Essentially a ladder enclosed in glass (to avoid accidents); the end result is a slow descent from ground level to bedrock.  The reverse is true if you back up against the ladder, you’ll rise slowly too.

Minecraft - Blarg Skycastle pit mansionThere are only 3 things to see in the Pit, the lava pool, which starts out of the bottom of the Skycastle’s inverted pyramid, the Landings for the elevator and mine cart rails, the bottom of the water stopped “quick escape,” and a mansion carved into the stone walls.  It is 3 stories tall, features a large dinning room, an equally as large “study,” a large second story balcony, and even it’s own grotto in the back, complete with 2 lava streams to warm and light the area.  Unfortunately, thanks to the shadows of the Skycastle, and the moody lighting of the mansion, it tends to spawn a SHIT-TON of creepers, spiders, and skeletons.  Best to play on peaceful if you’re visiting.  The house has gotten blown up about 20 times now. >.<

Minecraft - Blarg Skycastle pit mansion interiorInside view just inside the main doorway of the Pit Mansion

Moonbase Alpha / Seabase Alpha

My first creations after creative mode and “Flat World” were introduced into the game.

minecraft - Moonbase AlphaA series of domes of different sizes, the entire network of pods only has one entrance and exit.  As this was an experimental creation, there are a few things done here to simulate other aspects, like a short rail system to simulate a remote entry path.  Called “Moonbase Alpha” just because it’s the Alpha demo of a moonbase build.

minecraft - seabase alpha“Seabase Alpha” is essentially Moonbase Alpha underwater.  A few additions had been made, such as a hidden escape route that goes under the simulated sea floor and comes out on the small platform at the top of the image.  Also, a much larger “landing” area has been made.  A long rail system was made that takes the players into the air into a tubed rail system that delivers them to the main entrance.  Note that the entire seabase is submerged in a gian “Fishbowl.”  I constructed this in a way that NO undercurrents are had in the water.  this means I went through and created each water layer by hand in rows of 2, using Ice to hold the water, then melting the ice once the rows were filled with static water.  The fishbowl took longer than the seabase to build, even though the seabase was made more difficult by building AFTER filling in fishbowl.

Random Houses

Minecraft - housesA random assortment of houses.  2 of them are actually rebuilds/improvements to the house and clubhouse from the Blarg Skycastle.  The road is just a stub and stops fairly shortly off camera (just passed a zoo), but the rail goes all the way to the other size of the world, where Moonbase Alpha and Seabase Alpha are located.

Minecraft - mansionA random mansion built.  It features a HUGE 3 story floorplan, a 3rd story porch/balcony, and a large gazebo patio/balcony (also on the third floor).  inside of the house is undecorated.

Large Castle

minecraft castleMy second attempt at a castle, it features a large curtain wall, a gatehouse with portcullis and murder holes (with lava stored read to go), 4 large turret towers on the four corners of the wall, and a moat.  The castle features a large tower with a floating glowstone orb hovering over the top, 4 smaller towers connected by walkways, a throne room/great hall, a dungeon, and several small rooms for various purposes.  The entire courtyard within the walls will not spawn animals because I’ve removed all the grass; a significant feat that required filling the entire courtyard with water to prevent the grass from spreading while I mowed it.  I’ve made improvements since (including windows and more outer decorations), but this is the only “good” screenshot of the outside.

minecraft - castle nightThis is the castle (not completed – towers still not built) at night.  It shows how the main curtain wall is lit at night with large brazers on each turret.

Minecraft - castle throne roomThe throne room for the castle.  Note the windows are in place in this picture.  For size comparison, the back of the throne is a tall as “Steve,” since players can’t sit.


One day while my Fiance was “helping” me in my world (Pre-Creative Mode Blarg Skycastle), a day when she was feeling rather “griefy,” I noticed she’d gone missing from the local area.  I figured she was making a resource run and kept going about my business of mining out the pit.  A short time later, she tells me to come to where she is.  I see on the map that she’s over by our Resource castle (a “castle” out over water that we used to keep safe while we gathered resources for the project).  I took the long rail from the the pit to the resource castle, and found her on the beach nearby.  When I got there I found this:

minecraft dick in bumShe’d taken my supply of sand and duped obsidian and made a giant dick going into a sandy bum.  She of course used Obsidian because it takes forever to mine and requires me to use up my diamond pickaxes to do it quickly, as well as the color (explains the size).  Yeah… It’s still there, and this is actually a recent picture that we’d taken last night in our drunken fun.

So, skip forward a year and a half later, and she’s been working on a very large project that requires a significant trench be dug out (about half a world’s length and about 20 blocks deep).  She decides to go get a shower while I continue working on it.  I take this opportunity to get some payback.  I stop mining and go off to a secluded island in the corner of her world, and make this:

minecraft - GIANT DICKYeah… that just happened.  When she finally came back, I had her come to where I was.  Just for size comparison, that is her kilt-wearing tartan “Steve” about ready to take a neck-breaking facial.  And, yes, that’s all obsidian as well.  Kudos to her, rather than getting upset, she nearly fell over she was laughing so hard.  She also decided to place herself where she did for the screenshot.

Current Project Status - 8/19/2014 3:50pm

Current Project Status

08/19/20143:50pm – Sometimes it’s just good to take stock.  So I figured I’d do it here so you all can see what I do in my spare time.  Here’s a list of large-scale projects that I’ve worked on within the last 4 days, and their current status:

Writing Nook:

  • Task:  Repurpose the “Old School Gaming Nook” into a “Writing Nook”.
  • Purpose:  Gaming is done in another location.  Nook not being used.  Need a new place to dedicate towards writing/editing.
  • Status:  COMPLETE!
  • Next Step:  None.
  • Evidence:  Click images to enlarge.  (left is whole shot, right two are detail per top/bottom halves)

Book – Krotakans 2 (working title) Developemnt

  •  Task:  Develop Premise/Plot/story for a new novel length manuscript
  • Purpose:  To continue the story from previous novel in series in hopes of future publishing
  • Status:  Significant Progress made with character story arcs and several sub plot arcs
  • Next Step:  Solve Plot holes and continuity errors.  Develop Antagonist character/faction further.

EpochTime script

  • Task: Create a batch script that converts Windows timestamp into Unix Epoch timestamp (total number of seconds from Jan 1, 1970 @ 00:00:00)
  • Purpose:  Upper level manager at work posed an open challenge that if anyone could create a batch script that outputted the NTP timestamp from current windows time, let him know.  Stipulation is that NO OTHER SOFTWARE could be used; only dos prompt commands.
  • Status:  Completed (w/ functional limitations and errors) – Working prototype send to manager.  Awaiting response.
  • Next Step:  If maintenance of script desired, fix errors, increase functionality to include support for overseas. Solve day/month/year overflow issue.

XML/Javascript driven Media Cataloger

  • Task:  Create a light weight Javascript/XML driven media cataloger.
  • Purpose:  In order to prevent myself from buying multiple copies of the same book or game, develop a solution to catalog entire media library (Games/Books/DVDs/CDs/Comic books/etc.).  System should be light weight in order to be pulled up quickly on a mobile device on old-gen cell phone networks.  System should be dynamic to support any kind of item (even those NOT of typical “media” types – e.g. dice, computer hardware, clothing, anything).  Due to interest from others, multiuser functionality should be considered.  Special Request for widget support for Nerd Bacon usage.
  • Secondary Purpose:  Exercise requires me to learn Javascript and dynamic XML Parsing/creation.
  • Status:  Prototype script demonstrated ability to search through XML and retrieve parent DOM element for data display.  This is proof-positive of ability to make a search script for final product.
  • Next Step(s):  Create an XML creation/modification script that can allow user maintenance through UI rather than manually editing/uploading XML  Create Mobile friendly webpage to house scripts and UI in a user-friendly layout.

That’s really about it.  Not a whole lot when compared to my normal work flow, but I’ve been trying to cut back on working on too many things at once.  Plus these were just the major projects I was working on.  I still worked on other webpages, read books, played some games, watched movies (saw Lucy, it was good), and all my normal life duties and chores.  So all in all, it’s been a productive week.  🙂

Advertising Pros and Cons - 8/08/2014 4:42pm

Advertising Pros and Cons

08/08/20144:42m – In case you’re new to capitalism, let me just give you a quick summary of our society operates.  $$$$ = Good.   As such, an interesting trend came out of this.  Advertising.  A way for people who want money to give money to people who want money in order to get people with money (who want money) to give them their money so that they can afford to give more money to people who want more money… etc.  It’s a wonderful way of life!

Pretty much everyone reading this knows this already.  We’re subjected to one for of advertising or another in EVERYTHING we do.  TV shows and radio have advertising.  Movie theaters play previews of other movies (and often commercial advertising before that even).  Billboards on roads, product placement in media, even the shirts we wear serves as brand awareness.  The one thing that gets everyone complaining is internet advertising.  Other forms of advertising will sometimes annoy people, but why does internet advertising rub people so raw?

The main reason for this, I think (with no evidence to back up me up), is the way advertising differs between what we accept as the norm and internet advertising.  Advertising on Radio and TV shows (and just about every other form of media) is paid upfront, before the advertisement is delivered, for a estimated amount of reach and viewership.  A hit TV show knows about how much it’s viewship is for each time the show is aired, meaning someone looking to advertise pays for that known viewership.  The more reach, the more viewers, the more demand there is to advertise in that slot, the more money is paid to those creating and distributing that content.

Web works a little differently.  Services like AdSense and AdChoice and their ilk pay per each view (impression) or click-through.  What this means, is that these companies pay AFTER the advertisement has been delivered.  This leads the culture of web content distributors and creators to adopt a style of trying to get as many people to view ads as possible.  Not really a big deal, honestly, because most of the time, the ads are fairly well hidden in plain sight; often placed in sidebars, or other fairly benign places.  But this brings up a problem.  The point of advertising is to get a product in front of people, so that the advertising can serve its purpose.  When we hide ads off to the side we essentially counteract the who purpose of the advertising.

This has had 4 main effects:

  1. With advertising being placed outside of focus, the worth of the advertising is down, and therefore, the price paid by advertisers and agencies are down.  On average advertisers will pay around 1 cent for ever 1,000 views.  Sometimes (extremely rare) up to 25 cents for click through (average is 5 cents or less).  This makes it very hard to get a site to even pay for itself.  NerdBacon is still not self sufficient through advertising yet.
  2. Ads have now had to use eye catches, often FAKE ads to get your attention and click through.  Unfortunately, NerdBacon gets some of these ads displayed, though these are put up by the Adservice and is outside the control of NerdBacon.  Worse yet, some actually have sound attached to them… Nothing is better than trying to read an article when an advertisement on one of 12 opened browsers starts blasting out some obnoxious “Don’t you hate it when your Dogs breath smells!?!?! DON’T PUT UP WITH IT ANY LONGER!!!”  BAD BAD BAD
  3. In order to gain higher advertising dollars, advertisers will use scripts that will block you from viewing all content until the ad has been viewed to at least a significant degree.  Honestly, We should be happy they allow us to skip it – We can’t skip television commercials (when watching live, and you still have to fast-forward when recorded).  But this annoy us because we didn’t get what we wanted RIGHT NOW!  I don’t honestly get where this impatiences comes from, but I think it’s a byproduct of having most of our information load in a second.
  4. The worst of all, some sites have been overloading their pages with obstructing ads in the hopes that sheer quantity will make up the difference from what’s not seen from number of impressions and clicks.  And because it gets agencies like AdSense and others more money for more impressions, they do not actively try to block it.

This last item has lead to exploiters.  The kinds that will literally have 15 pop-over (ads that block content), with sound, that refresh to new ads every 30 seconds, and no real content.  Just today, I went to a site that was supposed to discuss emerging technologies, only to find that the site was basically just a copy/paste job from another site from 3 years ago, but that it had over 25 tracking pixels! (these are individual background colored, or transparent, images that are 1pixel by 1pixel in size that essentially allows a server to track how many times it’s accessed, and track all the information from those who load it as well.  The worse part is, I have no recourse against them.  They got money for me loading their page… it’s not like I can take it back.  And that’s it right there.

These advertisers are suckering us into viewing their pages and they win for it.  Granted it’s not our money we’re giving them, but just knowing that we gave them money and got nothing in return pisses me off, and it should piss off everyone else as well.  Asshole scam artists don’t even need scams anymore.  They just copy/paste other peoples content on their site, and load it down with ads.  It makes me sick.  But this is what’s resulted from the trends in online advertising.  Hooray us!

On the flip side, we can take some solace in the fact that we can actually rewards those we DO appreciate.  Returning to a page often gives more impressions (they usually only count 1 unique per day, so refreshing 1,000 times will not help).  One thing I do, knowing that people actually make more ad revenue from click-throughs, is I’ll click some of the ads.  (I usually only do the ones that actually interest me as it will help them track my interests better).  By doing this, I give the content creators that 3 cents instead of .001 cent.  That’s a HUGE improvement (3,000x bigger!).

But beware, you can also hurt the sites too!  Adblockers actually cut out those ads, and therefore the content creators don’t get an impressions!  You’ve just prevented someone from making money!  I know sometimes they can be a boon to internet surfing (especially if you love the prons), but if you’re surfing a site you know is okay.  Turn off the AdBlocker, or at least load the page once with the blocker turned off.  It’s the same as snubbing a street musician or performer.  If you enjoyed it, tip the fuckers, you stingy little shits!

So yeah, Advertising can suck, but unfortunately, we pretty much made it that way.  If was bought something from a hidden ad every time we went to a site, we wouldn’t have shitty ads everywhere.  But instead, they need to get their ad in front of 200,000 people for a single purchase (and that’s a lowball estimate – again no evidence).  Welcome to capitalism!

NOTE:  As part of making ads more directed towards individuals, they track your cookies to see what products you’ve looked at and will show you similar.  So if you’re looking to buy an engagement ring online, ANY COMPUTER you get on that is even remotely linked to any of the same cookies (facebook, amazon, google, etc) will start showing you ads for diamond rings.  So DO NOT shop for things on a computer that your stuff is linked to.  And make sure you go into Adsense and tell it not to use those websites for ad consideration!

Time Flies (Engagement) - 7/10/2014 1:57pm

Time Flies (Engagement)

07/10/20141:57pm – Time flies when you’re busy.  It’s been almost a month since my last post, and I honestly have little clue where the time has gone.  As my last post said, I’ve been very busy with projects, though one was not listed.  “Proposal Plans”  should have been tacked onto the FL Vacation.  I’m happy to say, that’s 1 more item checked off my list as a success.  She said ‘Yes!’

I proposed under the Finale of the fireworks on July 4th, 2014 in front (under) Beast’s Castle in Disney.  Beauty and the Beast is my Fiancé’s favorite movie.  She had no idea it was going to happen, but in her heart’s dearest desires, she held the wish that it would.  It was great to make her wishes come true in the happiest place on earth while the sky exploded with light, as I placed a ring that she had designed upon her finger.

She didn’t so much say ‘yes’ as much as scream it in my ear – she did have to yell over the fireworks.

She STILL can’t look at me without giggling.

We’re just under 2 months from our 4 year anniversary of our first date, and the time has flown.  However at the same time, I can’t imagine a time when I was without her.  Her presence has cast her hues on my entire past, and she’ll continue to color my future.

Precious Little Time - 6/17/2014 12:10pm

Precious Little Time

06/17/201412:10pm – So it’s been nearly a week since I resigned from Editor-in-Chief, and while I had thought that less responsibilities would allow me to contribute more, it’s not been the case.  It seems that all my other 8,000 projects have gobbled up what little time I had gained back.  I haven’t even turned on any of my consoles since before E3 started, and I’ve only played a total of 2-3 hours of a PC game this weekend.  How do I always run out of time?

Quite easy when you take a tally.  Here’s the *SHORT* list of current projects and tasks I have on my plate: (in no particular order)

  • CIO/Webmaster:
  • CIO/CEO:  <unnamed webpage>
  • Server management:  Personal server
  • Web Development: Prototyping for a FL Business
  • Web Development: WordPress Theme
  • Web Development: WordPress Widgets
  • Web Development: WordPress Blog 1
  • Web Development: WordPress Blog 2
  • Web Development: Nerd Bacon CSS fixes
  • Writing: Queries for Novel Codename: Krotakan1
  • Developing:  “C.P.U.’s” Novel
  • Developing:  “Kissed by a Dragon” Novel
  • Developing:  Codename: “Krotakan 2” Novel
  • Developing:  Codename: “Static Magic” Novel
  • Developing:  Blog Topics for new blog.
  • Developing:  Blog Topics for another New blog
  • Developing:  Ideas for video/blog project
  • Developing:  Game Reviews for Nerd Bacon (in various levels of completion)
  • Skill Development:  Drawing
  • Skill Development:  JQuery
  • Skill Development:  PHP5
  • Skill Development:  Linux & LAMP Server management
  • Skill Development:  WordPress database and Theme knowledge
  • Reading:  Hero with a Thousand Faces by Joseph Campbell
  • Reading:  The Element by Ken Robinson
  • Reading:  Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
  • Reading:  50 Architecture Ideas You Really Need to Know by Philip Wilkinson
  • Research:  ADHD/SCT
  • Planning:  Week Vacation in FL (plane tickets, car rental, hotels, theme park tickets, etc.)
  • Goal:  Lose weight through exercise & Diet (Down 18,5lbs since I moved to Raleigh, NC)

Now keep in mind that this is just a list of thing I’ve worked on in the past week in the few hours I have after my normal day job, is uniquely separate from all the items listed above, sharing no overlap.  Some of the things are also completed in tandem or are at least related (such as learning more about linux and managing the server itself), but each are particular area of interest that I devote time towards.  And the worst part is that I’m sure I missed a few things in there, I left out some books that I couldn’t remember the author or exact title.  I also left out stalled projects that haven’t seen any of my time/focus for at least 2 weeks (Scalemail hauberk for one).  And the entire above list is done with approx 4-5 hours a weeknight and on the weekends on top of the usual life responsibilities and having a relationship with my girlfriend.

Here’s yet another thing to keep in mind:  As Nerd Bacon’s Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Admin, I had another 10+ things on that list.  The Editing process alone could take over an hour (the worst took over 2 hours to edit and compose the editorial report).So now that I got a little more “free” time back, it was instantly used up again.  Maybe one day, I’ll be able to limit it down a bit, and actually play some games again.

Not a Goodbye - 6/12/2014 2:07pm

Not a Goodbye

06/12/20142:07pm – As E3 coverage slows down, I’d like to announce that I’m stepping down as Editor-in-Chief.  This is not to say that I’m leaving the site, but I’ve found that I just simply do not have the time to devote to the position as is required.  Over the past couple months my abilities to keep up with the demand have waned significantly, and it’s unfair to my fellow admins and editors to continue holding the title Editor-in-Chief when I’ve only actually edited only a couple articles a week (if even that), and least of all, it’s unfair to the authors and contributors.  As such, I’ve stepped down.

But I’m not going away.  I still plan on being an active member and contributor to the site.  I’ll still help out wherever I can with whatever I can, but I cannot be a reliable resource on which everyone can depend.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to become more productive in writing reviews and articles.

Thanks to everyone who helped and responded well to my time as Editor-in-Chief.

Exultation of Happiness - 5/23/2014 1:26pm

Exultation of Happiness

05/23/20141:26pm – As I mentioned in my last post, the gloomy days are the side downward-facing side of a coin that presses you into the ground.  Today is happily one of those upward-facing days where, to quote The Lego Movie, EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.  Sure, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but one this kind of days, it does seem as if all energy is heightened and every emotion is magnified.  Where before, everything good or bad was just a muddled blur of apathetic misery, today happiness becomes unrestrained joy, excitement becomes uncontrollable fervor, like becomes love, and dislike becomes loath.  Today is a Great day, is not necessarily “good.”

Today is a day when I can conquer the world and all things will fall before my minimal effort.  Today is the day when I can truly exceed and excel.  Today is the day where I am Prime.

There are still concerns to be had today, however.  Namely – Focus.  If my energies are not focused, then my ADHD (I truly loath that last D as I do not believe it is in any way a ‘disorder’) will fly in many directions and nothing will truly get the attention it needs.  This morning is a perfect example of that where by noon I’ve already worked on 12 different projects from writing, research, testing, coding, debugging, and generally designing and planning other projects – And that was with a lunch break.

These days are made all the more poignant by the days when everything seems so difficult or unrewarding.  I rather hope that these two posts, when taken in their collective context, will stand as proof that everything gets better, and it will always get worse as well.  I hope it helps serve as a demonstration that these good days need to be tempered and focused, while the bad days need to be cleansing in a way.  Balance is the nature of life, and embracing the natural balance rather than fighting against current in the powerful stream of life will get you places faster.

Pursuit of Happiness - 5/20/2014 12:15pm

Pursuit of Happiness

05/20/201412:15pm – There are days when everything just feels like too much effort; when I really begin to question my worth and the worth of my endeavors.  Days when I feel like just giving up on everything rather than push through the hardships.  While I don’t like having these days, I’m grateful for them because they are the kinds of lows that make the highs worth having.

However, I need to make the days when I’m energetic and excited to have more substance than those days when I questions if I should continue my infinite number of projects.  Right now, giving up things like the multiple websites on which I’m currently working and the ones I’m designing, unplugging and selling my Video game consoles, and quitting my job have numerous amounts of benefits and seemingly few consequences, regardless of their gravity.

It seems as if any excitement I have with these things tends to be fleeting and unsubstantial, with short lived or ever unobtainable rewards.  I’m remind of something I’d written a while ago while in the same state of mind in which I currently find myself:

I am a lemming who dreams of soaring with eagles.   My aspirations of flight will only lead me off a cliff at the bottom of which lies my failure and my doom. Knowing the final outcome if I continue along this path, is it worth leaping from the edge with impossible hopes for the fleeting moment of simulated success when at the end I will be left broken, or should I continue to jump around, wildly flailing my arms in an attempt to pretend that I am airborne for the briefest moments of blissfully ignorant happiness? Or should I simply never let my feet leave the ground, and keep my head down as I shuffle along behind the other lemmings while trying never to look at those demonstrating my hearts deepest desire?

It’s a short snippet of a much longer piece and does not have much context.  However, I feel the words are eerily fitting to my current gloomy attitude.

Goal for true happiness in life:  Find a way to make the “Highs” more substantial and the “Lows” more inconsequential.  Easier said than done.

Hacking my own code... - 5/19/2014 4:41pm

Hacking my own code…

05/19/20144:41pm – One thing that comes in handy when writing Database coding is the ability to actually see the database.  Not even so much for the data within the database, but just for the names of the tables, rows, and columns.  I just created a new short code that interfaces with the database for the status widget, and I couldn’t remember how I’d had the tables organized!  So I had to sit there and basically try a hundred different ways to figure out if I’d used User ID’s, Login names, Display names, “Nice Names” (names with – instead of spaces)… Long story short, it was a pain in the ass, but I finally found it.

So now I’ve written a new shortcode that will grab the status entered into the status widget on the right hand side of the screen there.  Check this out:

**MAJOR** Changes to the server config. Site should be back to normal with improved back end features. Let me know IMMEDIATELY if things get weird!

Was that my status???  It better be!  It’ll change every time I update it.  Also note that the text effects are not part of the short code and you can change them to be whatever you like by just applying the text decorations (including types like H3 and pre) to the shortcode itself.

So if anyone would like to use this, let me know.  It requires the input of a user ID and I’m not going to post those out in the clear.  Feel free to email me, and I will send you the shortcode with your User ID.

Reader Momentum - 5/14/2014 4:00pm

Reader Momentum

05/14/20144:00pm – I wanted to share another bit of information that might not have been included in my “Tips for writing better reviews” help doc, and that’s Reader Momentum.  I’ve mentioned this a few times in some of the editorial reports I’ve sent out, but I’d like to explain it in a forum where all can find it, and hopefully learn from it.

Reader Momentum is the speed at which a reader can consume your words.  It’s not a measure of reading speed, but instead the momentum of their reading.  When a reader is reading an article and gains a high reading momentum (reading at top speed), they will often over look a minor grammatical error, or even a bit of odd writing much the same way someone driving down the highway will no slow if they his a minor bump in the road.  However, there are some errors, phrases, colloquialisms, etc. that will bring a reader to a dead halt the same way a Police tire net.  In simpler words, these mistakes, errors, or confusing phrases slow down the reader, and make it a task for them to finish the article.  Bad news.

One such momentum killer is heavy listing of numeric details and stat drops into a paragraph or sentence.  I’ve seen a couple of reviews that just drop number after number after number after number to the point where the reader might as well bust out a pen and paper in order to write the information down in a manner that is easily understood.  Rather than just spewing out stats in some obligatory manner, try putting them in a small list or chart.  A visual makes the details instantly assessable!  This helps them keep their momentum up and allows them to keep speeding through your review.

Another momentum killer is when writers try to get too flowery or artsy with their words.  Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good anecdote or humorous analogy, but trying to get too obscure just for the sake of being obscure will bring the momentum down to Zero.  “I hated this level like Hitlers step-sister’s Boss liked the play about the Swan and the frog staring the Norwegian actor.”   O.o DaFuq?!?!  (FYI – I made this up, no one put that in a review… but I’ve seem some that have been close)  If you want to be shocking, that’s fine and usually a good thing, but if the reader has to take 30 minutes to do researching into your analogy, then they are going to go ADD on your article and they’ll be watching Norwegian Ballets on Youtube without ever coming back to your article.  Just say it simply, “I hated this level more than a German Jew in 1939.”  Same shock value, but majority of people will get it, if they don’t only 1 Google search will be needed before coming right back to your article.  In a perfect world, no timeouts for Google searches should be necessary as they have to leave your review to look stuff up.  This also goes for various colloquialisms.

For those of you not aware, a Colloquialism is terminology or phrasing that is used in familiar conversation that is usually restricted to specific areas or cultures.  These are not bad things, but they are not universal.  Often times they can be so localized or obscure that only those who know it already will get it.  This brings the momentum to a halt as now the reader has to try to understand what this term or phrase meant rather than the message meant by its use.  This can be negated by just making sure they are either self explanatory, or make them self explanatory by adding in a clarification or a clarifying word.  A perfect example is one that I just saw recently (and I hope the auther doesn’t mind me using it as an example since the review itself was great).

“[it] goes from first to fourth in terms of difficulty.”

I understand this is a bit out of context, but the example is still valid as is.  Some of you may get this right off the bat, but I’m going to assume most of you can only guess as to what it means.  It’s meant to refer to the gears of a car’s transmission.  The analogy is good, but it’s too vague to be instantly recognizable without proper context.  Simply putting in the word “gear” gives it that instant recognition.

“[it] goes from first to fourth gear in terms of difficulty.”

Reading it like that lets you know exactly what it meant.  No longer you question, “First and Fourth what?”  And it works into the momentum discussion as well.  Manual transmissions are not nearly as popular in the USA as they once were (even though bikes still have gears), so you could argue that they gear reference would still fall under a possibly vague analogy.  True, but the numbering being out of the common 1-2-3-4 sequence shows the jump that was insinuated without the necessary understanding of what it’s going on, and with the term Gears, it becomes evident exactly what is meaning talked about.  Since it’s not something pertaining to the article’s current flow, it is understood it’s an analogy without the reader necessarily understanding the analogy.  If the reader’s momentum is high enough at this point, the lack of true understanding of the item will be overlooked as the message was still clear.  It was just a bump in the road rather than a sink hole.

Hopefully this wasn’t TOO confusing.  I know that last paragraph kinda circled a bit, but that is just the flow of the dance that is the human language and journalism.  Got questions?  Ask ’em.  I never helping people hone their skill.

Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things - 5/11/2014 4:17pm

Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things.

05/11/20144:17pm – Happy Mothers’ Day to all the mothers out there.

This blog’s title should be instantly recognizable to any fan of George R.R. Martin’s murder-fest known as A Song of Ice and Fire, or Game of Thrones to those more familiar with the HBO version of tits and death.  For me, it’s the mantra I’ve been chanting throughout the weekend as it’s all I’ve really dealt with since, really, Thursday.  Emotionally crippled people for which I have great pity, Bastards for which I have bottomless supplies of loathing, and Broken Things of which I have endless supplies.  The first I’ll not expand upon, but prepare for a full on rant about Bastards and Broken things!

Bastards come in all shapes and sizes, and it appears to be their life’s mission to make my life a living hell, or worse, to make me fall to their levels.  Here’s an example:  While driving to the mall today, the highway was backed up.  While we inched past a merge lane, several cars attempting to enter the highway began to line up.  Doing the courteous thing, gave them multiple car lengths to allow them in; it’s not their fault there was a backup, why should I block them?  Well, despite the massive space allowed for a car to merge in, 12 separate bastards decided they would rather be 3 car lengths ahead of me.  This fuck-tard-tastic (it’s a word…I promise) behavior really makes me want to rip a douche out of a car and just smack him square in the jawline.  How the fuck is being 3 more car lengths ahead going to make you get there any faster?  Instead, you have to sit there and cock slap with another car until one of you gives in to the other.  Jesus Christ, these smegma-swallowing sons-a-bitches really piss me off… These fuckers remind me of John Snow… THEY KNOW NOTHING!

Broken things are a way of life for a Quality Assurance Analyst (It is known).  Every day, my job is to look at software and firmware and report on how it is broken.  It’s also arguable that as an Editor, I also find the broken things in peoples writing.  Well, as of last night, I also now get to deal with my own broken scripts written for Nerd Bacon.

Now, I’ve not been much of a fan of WordPress, but over my time assisting with the backend of the site and creating a couple functionality widgets for the site, I’ve grown to at least have a respectful understanding of the complexity of how WordPress operates even if I still think it’s slow, overextended, and arbitrarily complex.  So when the Bacon Bits portion of the site was started and I was asked by The Cubist to create a widget that would announce the recent updates from the past week.  Sounded simple enough.  I wrote a small script that would grab the published item (avoiding “draft”, “pending”, etc. status) under the Bacon Bits Parent page.  Simple enough query really:

FROM $wpdb->posts
WHERE post_parent = ##### (Redacting post ID)
AND post_status = 'publish'
AND post_modified > (DATE_SUB(NOW(), INTERVAL 7 DAYS)
ORDER BY post_modified DESC

In human readable terms:  Select any/all records where the parent is “#####”, that are published, and were last modified within 7 days of now.  Simple right?  The expected results would be a maximum of 6 records being that there are currently only 6 Bacon Bit Blogs.  Well, you can understand my confusion when I found 12!  An extra 6 records were created and stored in the database from when the pages that we edit were created by an admin before assigned us as the creator.  I had assumed that changing the “Created by” field would have just updated the records, but instead it made a complete duplicate, and left the other.  Ridiculous really.  But whatever, WordPress is just weird like that.  The problem I had assumed would just work itself out and after 7 days since the were created, they would fall off the results since they couldn’t be updated.  No need to heavy handed smack them down and needlessly add in more conditional fluff to make it work right?  For any wondering, this is why the “Bacon Bits Widget” was launched on the 15th when the Bacon Bits were created and published on the 8th.  7 day wait for the errant records to fall off.

Well, here’s were things get truly annoying and make me REALLY think the dev’s writing code for WordPress are a bunch of bastards giving us broken things.  Last night, I get an email at 10:30 (which I didn’t even see till after midnight), where the Bacon Bits results where as follows:


WTF?!?!  I know The Cubist, has been quite active in the blogging, but the script should not be spamming it!  I quickly jumped into my script testing page and throw up some results from the same query, but outputting different results for debugging.  And what I’d seen from the debug results is that the same 6 errant records that should have just dropped off the results were magically marked as updated:  5/10/2014 21:52.01.  All 6 had the same modified time, so it had to be something done automatically.

So, the heavy handed approach I wanted to avoid before is now in place.  The simple and elegant MySQL query now has a massive goiter…

FROM $wpdb->posts
WHERE post_parent = ##### (Redacting post ID)
AND post_status = 'publish'
AND post_modified > (DATE_SUB(NOW(), INTERVAL 7 DAYS)
AND ID != "######"
AND ID != "######"
AND ID != "######"
AND ID != "######"
AND ID != "######"
AND ID != "######"
ORDER BY post_modified DESC

So yeah, not the best weekend I’ve ever had, but I’ve had worse.  I’m more sad that WordPress continues to disappoint me every time I start thinking to myself, “Hey, it’s not so bad.”  Then you update month old records for no fucking reason than to break my fucking scripts.  WordPress remains the Broken Bastard that Cripples my sanity.

Teeth, Games, Writing, and Star Wars - 5/1/2014 9:54am

Teeth, Games, Writing, and Star Wars

05/01/20149:54am – So I’ve been fairly absent the past week or so, and this was in part due to a lovely little infection in one of my molar teeth.  It was causing a lot of pain.  So much so that I even had to leave my regular day job.  Anyways, after a root canal and a weekend of recovery, I’m back on the job.

In my “time off”, I was actually able to play some games again, and I was even able to do some writing.  I beat a playthrough of South Park: Stick of Truth, and even got my girlfriend to play Star Wars: The Old Republic.  On the writing side, I was able to develop the plot and paths for the sequel to my (unpublished) book, as well as come up with a couple of interesting game ideas.  I’m even considering trying to make one if I get some free time.  Who wants to review it?

I did notice something while developing the plot for my sequel, and that’s that when writing something as a continuation of a story already written, I found myself wanting to go back through the original and make changes to the story.  It makes me feel a little more forgiving of George Lucas’ “Special Edition” changes, but not enough to forgive totally.  At least with my book, it’s not published and part of culture.

And speaking of Star Wars, the official cast was finally announced!  Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Leia Oragana), Mark Hamill(Luke Skywalker), Peter Mayhew(Chewbacca), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO), and Kenny Baker (R2-D2) will all be in it!  I pretty much already knew Hamill and Fisher were in, as they practically said as much.  Peter Mayhew was pretty much restricted to a wheel chair the last few times I saw him, but had knee surgery to be able to walk again just last year presumably in order to be able to reprise the role of Chewbacca.  Anthony Daniels I think is owned by LucasFilm Licensing and is obligated to be in anything Star Wars.  Harrison Ford was the only real hold out, but had a hell of a time teasing the Nerds.  I love him for it!

On a sadder Star Wars note, LFL has also announced the issue with the Expanded Universe (all the comics, books, games, etc).  Before the sale to Disney, George Lucas had stated that only the movies and TV shows were permanent canon, and all the other mediums created by other artists/developers could not tread upon or contradict Any of the 7 movies (yes the clone wars movie unfortunately counts) or the Clone wars TV show.  However, when Lawrence Kasdan and J. J. Abrams sat down to write Episode VII there was already a near infinite amount of characters and stories taking place after the Battle of Endor; the Thrawn Trilogy, Jedi Academy Trilogy, and New Jedi Order series just to name a couple of popular book series.  As such, Disney/LFL announced that ALL the EU media is now considered, “Legacy” and is no longer considered valid EU.  Essentially they are wiping the slate to make room for the new movies and more books, comics, and games to coincide with them.  It’s sad, but essentially all our favorite characters are dead, and the mediums in which they lived are now just their epitaphs.  Thawn is more than just a conquered threat now, he never existed.  Han and Leia never got married or had kids.  Meaning Jacen, Jaina, and Anakin were never born.  Luke never met Mara Jade or married her.  Lando is still probably the most womanizing bastard in the galaxy far, far away, but did you really expect that to change?

So when I see people getting a little crazy about if Daisy Ridley is going to be Mara Jade or Jaina Solo, I can’t help but cry a little.  Those characters aren’t part of the new Disney Star Wars.  For all we know, Han is going to marry Luke and they are going to adopt a young twi’lek girl whose mother was fed to a rancor on Tatooine.  Princess Leia will finally realize she likes to munch on walking carpet and have little fur-babies with with Chewbacca.  Lando however will still try to bang anything with boobies.

The good news in all of this is that LFL (now Disney’s Star Wars management company) still owns the rights to everything from the expanded universe, so it IS likely that these ready-made characters with fully developed backgrounds and stories as well as an already loyal fanbase will be used as filler for the movies.  Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy (LFL’s President) would be stupid NOT to use this, as they would risk alienating already blatantly pessimistic, yet cautiously hopeful fans.

Continuing the Star Wars rant, I got into an argument the other day about the nature of Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader (Spoilers still?) fate.  I know it’s commonly and widely believed that Anakin redeemed himself by saving Luke and killing the emperor (more spoilers?!?!  watch the fucking movies), but this just isn’t the case.  Anakin fell to the dark side because he selfishly wanted to save Padme’s life.  It was his selfish attachment to his secret wife that allowed the emperor to warp his mind.  Did Luke not do the EXACT same thing using himself as the bait?  Darth Vader selfishly wanted to preserve the life of his son, not save the life of a human being or stop a Sith Lord and evil tyrant.  He only did it because it was his son!  He himself tortured the ever living shit out of Han in Cloud City, Bespin.  He killed numerous rebels and even slaughtered children.  But as soon as his son gets a little shock from the emperor he immediately gives into his anger and kills the emperor, killing himself in the process.  HOW in the hell did that constitute as him “coming back to the light?”  Yes, you can argue that it was his “love” for his son, but he didn’t know who Luke was until like 4 weeks before he chopped off said son’s hand in a fit of rage.  Then he didn’t hear from Luke for another 2-3 years before Luke gave himself up to the imperials on Endor’s moon (yes, it was Endor’s moon, and not endor itself… pay attention).  Basically, if you believe that Anakin came back to the light out of the love he had for his son, you’re trying to argue that after a 20 minute fight that ended with Vader chopping off said son’s hand in a fit of rage, a pointlessly depressing conversation while on the Endor’s moon, and another extended battle in which Son gets even (if Obi-Wan hadn’t already beaten him to the punch of lopping off nearly all of Vader’s limbs) is the basis for love powerful enough to convert a man who spent the last 20+ years murdering, torturing, and being a downright EVIL mother fucker to the light.  Also, you’re trying to tell me the Skywalker family has the genetic redneck trait that only allows them to express their love through violent domestic outbursts and incestuous love making…. wait….

star-wars-luke-leia-kissOkay… fine… you win.

(P.S. Sorry for the HUGE rambling post.  It just feels good to be writing SOMETHING/ANYTHING again!)

FIRST! - 4/11/2014 2:30pm


04/11/20142:30pm – \/\/007!  EYE R F1|257 P0573R… on my own blog… BLARG!

So it goes without saying I rarely have time, but I’ll be posting my random musings in here, or maybe provide some behind the scenes crap of some of the widgets and scripts I write for the site… maybe even drop in random tidbits of wisdom about writing.  We’ll see.  Time is always short for me.


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  1. DUDE congrats on getting accepted into that program! That sounds like something perfect for you. You always have great ideas about so many things. I hope it works bud. If you make it bigtime, don’t forget about the little guys at Nerd Bacon. Oh, and a free plug wouldn’t hurt 😉

  2. I’ve seen some folks streaming DnD which was pretty cool, I suppose all you’d need are a group of people, mics, and maybe several cams for the players and the board. But it sounds like it’d be fun to set up. (The cameras and everything I mean).

    Ugh so many cool ideas for streams……..Variand, you have a great taste in games, I was just thinking about Myst the other day.

    • I like the Spawn for SNES (b/c obviously, I have retrogaming issues). But Drakan 2 sounds interesting too. I’ve never seen that played before but I remember the title.

  3. Sarus Vakarian
    Sarus Vakarian says:

    Overlord fo sho. Would definitely love to see that!

  4. As I said before, I am down to assist in the Minecraft shows. The Party Games sounds fun too. I would like to play Variand’s TableTop but I am not in the area 🙁

  5. SPAWN and SHADOW OF THE COLOSSUS get my votes.

  6. Geek chic = way uncool.

  7. My kid keeps begging me to play Minecraft but I just haven’t found the time to give it shot. Sometimes I think it looks fun, and sometimes it looks too damn complicated.

  8. All I can say is good luck with the new Star Wars movies because Abrams has completely fucked up my precious Star Trek universe.

  9. FrozenMallet says:

    First of all we aren’t arguing, we’re exchanging ideas.

    Secondly we are coming at this from two different ways. I have only read a few of the EU novels and you really took me to school on a few things. Most of your evidence is based on EU material that had nothing to do with the original story that was meant to be told. None of the Sith culture had even been thought of yet so we cannot use that to figure out Vader’s motivation at the end of Jedi. Just like we can’t use dead plants at Vader’s funeral pyre site years later to dispute that when Anakin materializes next to Obi Wan and Yoda that anything is less than copacetic. Although I am going to ignore that Hayden is standing there…

    With all that being said I think we are both right. You have evidence that supports your thoughts from an EU point of view and I have mine from the films point of view.

    Though I do stand by my point that Anakin’s fall to the dark side had nothing to do with Padme. Palpatine may have tempted him with Padme when Anakin was at his weakest point but even before they were together he had problems with arrogance and a bad habit of murdering people. I’m pretty sure those are dark side traits that Padme had nothing to do with.

    That’s what makes a great story. When people can see the same thing and still see it from different ways and have valid reasons for it. I do want to stress that I didn’t mean to start an argument but I do enjoy a good opinion exchange.

    • Sorry, I should explain that I consider arguments good things… though Debate would be a much more fitting term.

      I just want to point out that in my long winded reply, except for a few examples, my opinion is based purely from the films. Stemming from the end of Episode 1 when Palpatine said, “we shall watch your career with great interest,” and justified in Episode II when Obi-Wan calls attention to the growing friendship between Palpatine and Anakin, it’s reason to believe that Palpatine had been warping and pushing Anakin towards rash anger since he joined the order at 9 years old. So even before his super flip out on the sand people after his mother’s death, the future emperor had already been manipulating the young man to make him more susceptible to the dark side.

      Also when Ep 3 came out, and later the clone wars (which is considered Canon to the story), the Sith have been fully fleshed out. Meaning that as much I, like so many others, do not care for the Prequels or the silly plot hole riddled Clone Wars show, it is still the way it was and cannot be simply ignored – regardless of how hard we try.

      I purposely did not broach the force ghost subject because I would have had to rely EXTREMELY heavily on EU to explain it. But long story short, the secret to remaining after death is not harmony, but love/attachment. It was Qui-gon’s attachment to Anakin as the chosen one that had him break the barrier that so many other Sith lords would do… Exar Kun, Marka Ragnos, and many more from the numerous games. Basically, the EU does give ample reasons for why Anakin showed up as a ghost, but I wanted to avoid it. The Kip Duron explanation had just come to me and got through my EU filter. And besides that, EU isn’t valid anymore, since now it’s all been put into a bucket labeled “Legacy.”

      All that said, in actuality you are right and I am wrong. As the canon goes, and as I said in the post, it’s widely and generally accepted that he redeemed himself. It was also Lucas’ intention for him to do so. In fact, the part from the post where I put that that argument up there was a long winded attempt to make a Luke/Leia Incest joke. But I love to argue (read: debate). In fact, I often TRY to find the other plausible explanations just to be contradictory. I’m halfway tempted to put my theory of how Qui-gon was actually trying to recreate the Sith Empire and become its first Sith Lord. That’s a fun one because it’s the hardest to argue the point as there are soooo many counter examples. That and it kind of makes me look more and more like a Troll and a conspiracy nut… just remember, the government is charge of the water supplies…. or are they!?!?!

  10. FrozenMallet says:

    After reading your Star Wars rant I just thought I’d throw in my nickels worth.

    Anakin Skywalker DID NOT fall to the dark side because of Padme. He fell to the dark side because of his lust for power and desire for revenge. Anakin was well on the path to the dark side while he was still a padawan and slaughtered the Sandpeople. He then goes on his delusional rant about being the most powerful Jedi ever and learning to stop people from dying. Fast forward three years of fighting the clone wars and Anakin is decapitating an unarmed Count Dooku. This is all before there is any danger to Padme. At this point Anakin is already Darth Vader, murdering the other Jedi and swearing allegiance to the Emperor is just a formality. Even agreeing to be the Emperor’s apprentice was only a means to an end because Anakin was misled that the Emperor would be more powerful as a Sith than he could as a Jedi. As Yoda said “Quicker, easier, more seductive the dark side is.”

    Second of all it wasn’t love for his son that brought him back to the light side, it was remorse. After Anakin fell to the dark side it clouded his judgment and the more evil he did the easier it became to do evil. When Luke comes into his life and makes an effort to save his father even though doing so puts his own life in danger. Vader sees this and begins to feel something that he hasn’t known for about two decades, love. Vader sees the mistakes he has made and even though Luke makes a lot of sense when he tells his father that he can change if he tries Vader still feels a need to punish himself. Even when Luke came to him in an effort to pull his father back to the light Vader sadly laments “It’s… too late for me.”

    So when Luke is getting blasted with lightning bolts Vader sees that what happened to him is going to repeat for his son and eventually his daughter. It is only then that he gets the courage to stand up to the Emperor, something that it is implied Vader never could do. Killing the Emperor may seem like a small act but it is through the genuine remorse Vader feels for a lifetime of evil and the self-sacrifice to protect his son that brings him back to the light. So his love for Luke was in fact the catalyst for Vader’s redemption, in a roundabout way anyway.

    At least that’s how I saw it anyway. That got longer than I thought it would. Anyway I mostly just wanted to say that I thought your friend was right…

    • I think I might have to erase this comment and make it another blog post. probably way too long.

      I think you might be reading even more into the Star wars bit than you did my post. Read it again, and you’ll find I never once mentioned an argument with a “Friend”. In fact, I rather dislike the guy.

      Yoda said: “Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.”

      Anakin was quick to aggression, albeit in the form of righteous vengeance, and fell to anger multiple times. These lead Anakin down the dark path, but it was his fear of losing Padme that caused his fall; a masterstroke by Sidious after he made Anakin question his own beliefs and his faith in the Jedi. At that pivotal moment when confronted with the Jedi mandate that he had grown to mistrust, and the fear that the loss of Palpatine would be tantamount to the loss of his one love and fatal attachment, Padme, he fell to the dark side to save what he held dear. A story that most fallen Jedi share: They fall to the dark side because they believe they are doing the right thing (most but not all).

      Vader’s redemption however, as portrayed by the movies is not quite as deep. In Ep V, Vader had immediately wanted to continue the Sith teachings using his son to over throw the Emperor. This was immediately why he suggested trying to turn Luke instead of outright destruction, and even Palpatine seemed to have wanted Luke for his own (as would be evident in Ep VI).

      Throughout the entire fight, Vader is trying to force Luke to give into anger by goading him with his own emotions, while Luke is trying to redeem his father. Luke would eventually give in, as the Emperor and Vader knew he would. He attempted to strike down the Emperor using his aggression out of fear for his friends lives. Much like Palpatine using Padme to get at Anakin, he used Luke’s friends to get at him. It would take both the Emperor’s and Vader’s manipulation to eventually get Luke to start down the path as he was strong in the light side, and stronger in his conviction against the Emperor.

      Here’s where the “redemption” thing gets brought into question – and I realize this is as much of a “read into” it as you did. If Vader was already planning on overthrowing the Emperor and “Ruling the galaxy as father and son,” then it’s safe to say that going into this final confrontation Vader was trying to use the emperor as a target for Luke’s aggression and anger. If Vader could not make him turn, then perhaps the Emperor could. Luke had already shown a strong conviction against joining his father, so the emperor would be needed in order to start him down the path.

      After the battle, when Vader was finally able to goad Luke into anger, aggression, and fear for his sister (Yoda’s forewarned easy allies) and eventually lost his hand after suffering Luke’s withering assault, the Emperor made his move first. The emperor ordered Luke to seal his fate and cement his fall by sacrificing the his father; a symbolic Sith act that all must do to prove they understand that Peace is a lie as it forces them to live the rest of their days with the inner chaos over their actions (Palpatine killed his own parents, Jacen killed Mara Jade, etc.). The emperor obviously played his hand at the wrong time, and arguably it might have also been doomed from the start after Luke realized his fall paralleled his father’s in so many ways with the, again, symbolic nature of the severed hand.

      At this point, Vader heard the Emperor’s order for Luke to kill him. Being a Sith for so many years, the betrayal, however expected, would have fueled Anakin’s anger, though in his now injured and weakened state he knew his chances again the Emperor would lead to his own demise (as it would). He resigns himself to remaining Sidious’ apprentice until he realizes his selfish attachment (which again attachment is against the Jedi code – There is no emotion, there is peace). Full of the same righteous rage and fear of loss that lead to his fall in the first place, Vader allows his anger for the Emperor to flow, giving him the strength to overpower the distracted Sith Lord and throw him to his death.

      So meaning that, in the moment when all claim that Vader redeemed himself, he did it by following the same passions and aggression, fueled by the fear of loss and the pull of attachment, that had lead to his fall in the first place. The old adage goes, “Two wrongs do not make a right.” I am perfectly happy with the movie and how it played out (sans the blu-ray and Spec Ed edits). In fact, I love it more when I think that Vader DID NOT redeem himself, but instead saw the folly of BOTH the Jedi AND the Sith ways and acted to do what was morally and truly right! To find TRUE harmony through focused aggression and righteous rage; a perfect marriage between the duality of Anakin and Vader. Instead, this horrible idealistic belief that just because the second most evil being the galaxy killed the top most evil being, that it somehow makes him suddenly a paragon of Peace, Harmony, and serenity.

      One last case and point to throw in here that most tend to just put up against a “logical error” while I tend to think it was done on purpose. Kip Duran’s short lived “fall” to the dark side (or giant force baby tantrum as I like to call it), he seeks out the ashes of Anakin’s funeral pyre on Endor’s moon. What he finds is an area so fully corrupted that nothing grows, all is dead, and the warped plasteel and a few scattered ashes are all that remain. If Anakin had let go of his anger and TRULY found peace, then why was there so much dark engery left to corrupt the area? Most likely because Vader had found TRUE power in the grey areas between Sith and Jedi, and both the light and dark would have an equally powerful affect on the area had it not been for Vader’s recent 20+ years of darkside corruption.

      My diatribe aside, and much like Luke and Vader’s final battle, I know neither of use will turn to the other. It’s a deeply personal love that we all have for the Star Wars movies, and as all fans do with every fandom, we’ll fill in the unspoken areas with our own thoughts and beliefs. I do respect your ideas, beliefs, and your own understanding of the story, but I also disagree with them as I have my own.

      However, I’m always up for a friendly argument 😉

  11. Nerdberry
    Nerdberry says:

    dude I’m psyched for the new Star Wars movie!!


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