Archive for the ‘Awesome’ Category

Useless but amusing: SA Emoticons in Colloquy.

I recently made the switch to Thinking Different, and while there are a lot of things to like here, Adium doesn’t support IRC, and Colloquy didn’t have any emots worth using.

That didn’t leave me many options, but I had the Something Awful emoticon pack for Adium, and the Adium emoticon pack for Colloquy, too much free time, and a minimal amount of skill with perl. I’ll cut to the chase and just toss a link in here if you’re in a hurry.

There’s a file, grep.pl, in that archive, that should be useful if you want to see how it works, but this post is mostly to lay out any issues, and put the link out there for download (It should be on the Colloquy extras site soon, unless they reject it because some of the icons aren’t work safe, and the official SA emoticons site, unless the maintainer there doesn’t feel like posting it). I was going to do a post about the inner workings and process, but it’s fairly boring, basically poking around the Adium Colloquy emoticon file layout and XML structure, and very light XML parsing. All told I spent around 2 hours on the whole thing, including testing.

By way of caveat, this still has some weirdness.

More »

On New York

There’s a great article in New York Magazine about what it means to live in New York, and why it’s not always the best option for everyone. I recommend reading the whole thing, especially if you live here, have lived here, or want to live here, but I particularly loved this bit:

Living in New York may be more expensive than ever, but let’s face it, it’s always been hard. That, oddly, is part of its appeal. You test yourself against the stresses of the city. If it’s not the expense, it’s the overcrowding. If not the overcrowding, then the crime. If not the crime, then the tension, or the roaches, or the smells, or the guy screaming obscenities at you for no reason on the stifling subway platform while you wait for a train that’s jam-packed and twenty minutes late.

But the problem is, you can’t simply leave New York—you have to quit New York. You have to admit to yourself and the world that you’re packing it in, calling it a day, turning out the lights.

And that, really, sums up what New York is to me. Every time I think about the 45-minute train ride to work, the amazing apartments in beautiful neighborhoods that I’ll never be able to afford, the loud neighbors setting off fireworks, the dirt and the crowds and the derelicts, I wonder why I moved up here.

I moved to New York for kind of same reason I started working at OmniTI - I don’t want to things that are easy, I want things that are awesome. It’s a cliche at this point, but I think it’s still kind of true that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. The unspoken flipside of that is that this place can eat you alive. I mean, I think I’m a pretty smart guy, and it took me a solid week of fucking it up just to reliably get to work and back on the subway here.

There’s a grit to New York. I have to admit I love that the entire city is apparently trying to kill me all the time, because every day that it doesn’t means that I win. You give up a lot to be here - personal space, money, quiet, a degree of safety, and to top if off, for me, as a transplant, most of my friends are 200 miles away now. But in return for putting up with it, you get to live in New York and, maybe I put too much emphasis on this, you get to call yourself a New Yorker.

For all the crap the place throws at you, I love it here, I really do.

Unrelated: Becki and I went to see Avenue Q yesterday, and it owned.

Grand Theft Auto Four

I’ve been a little out of it this week, since pretty much all I’ve been doing is going to work and playing GTA4, with short naps in between. That by itself should tell you that GTA4 is pretty good, but to add some weight to that, but I did not own an Xbox 360 until last week. I bought a $350 console just for this game, and to top it off, I actually had to walk from DUMBO to Atlantic Center - a bit over a mile - before I found a store that was open, and had both the game and the console in stock (RadioShack, by the way, had 360s but no GTA for it, and no PS3s but the GTA for it).

I have no problem whatsoever with this, either. GTA4 is just that good.

As in previous installments, the game takes place in fake New York, only this time around, it’s actually recognizable as New York. No, the translation isn’t perfect - Bensonhurst, Gravesend, and Bay Ridge are reduced to a narrow slum above Coney Island, Times Square is about a block from Central Park, and, rather delightfully, Staten Island is missing entirely - but neighborhoods feel like their real-life counterparts, and the attention to detail is staggering.

The cop cars look like NYPD cars. The farecard machines in the subway look like the real ones, down to the graphics on the screen. Sometimes I find my way around by thinking of how I’d get there in real life, and I wonder how much of this people who don’t live in New York really grasp. It’s insane.

Beyond the setting, there’s a lot to like here. They took out that RPG bullshit that was in San Andreas, where you had to eat food and go to the gym and grind stats before you could run around with a shotgun blasting holes in things. The driving has been made a bit more realistic, which is to say that you can still drift all over the road and flip cars over, but pulling the handbrake and jerking the wheel is no longer the best way to turn, and, to my great amusement, crashing head-first into a wall will throw your guy out through the windshield. I’ve died more doing that than in gunfights.

This is getting long, so the rest is going after the jump. No major spoilers this time.

More »

Iron Man

Iron Man, or, as I really think it deserves to be written, IRON MAN, is pretty much exactly what you want from a summer superhero movie. It’s better than Transformers, and leagues better than any of the Spidermen - which isn’t saying much, since I thought those were all crap. Maybe not as good as Batman, but then I think it’s a wholly different type of movie - Batman is a violent lunatic hell-bent on revenge, so the movie is very serious business all the time. Tony Stark is a womanizing alcoholic who can fly and shoot lasers, so he’s pretty much the most awesome man you can imagine.

It’s entertaining, and doesn’t suffer from that lull in the middle of a lot of action movies, between the set up and the climax, where people keep talking and having feelings and shit - it keeps moving the whole time. I wish the fights had gone on longer and had more punching dudes through buses and whatnot. The jokes work, the writing is solid, the characters are not unlikable, and casting Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark is pretty much the best casting decision anyone could ever make.

The only real complaint I have is that apparently Ghostface Killah (of the Wu-Tang Clan) had a brief cameo, which was cut for some stupid reason like “plot” or “pacing”. The reason this matters, beyond the simple fact that it is Ghostface from Wu-Tang, is that he’s been using “Tony Starks [sic] and “Iron Man” as his rap aliases for years. He needed to be in this movie, and I’m glad it was good enough for me to justify buying it on DVD when it comes out, solely for the possibility that his scene may be restored.

Spoilers and pedagogery after the jump.

More »

Goodness Gracious.

Update: Well, that was a short-lived bandwagon: 66-47 Hoyas. There’s aways next year?

Quick note here, because I really shouldn’t be posting at all unless it’s to post pics of my new apartment before my Mom attacks me with a shoe. I haven’t even taken said pics yet, so this is all I got.

For the first time in their 22-year NCAA Division I history, UMBC has made it into the NCAA tournament. Maryland, real Maryland, College Park, did not.

Let me be clear here. I do not care about basketball. I am aware of it’s existence as a sport, and I’m pretty sure I know the number of players on the team. I can’t name you a good player, or a good team. Though I guess I’m aware that the Knicks are a joke this year, I don’t know why or what their record is. I’ve seen a total of maybe half a game of basketball, cumulatively, in my entire life, and the majority of that was either because it was on in High-Def so I held off changing channels for a second or two, or because it was on at a bar and I was bored so I just started staring into space in the general direction of the game.

I also do not care about UMBC. Since I graduated, I’ve been back a couple of times to visit people who (at the time) lived on campus, and I used to use the gym there with Rob, but I haven’t been there for about two years now. Far as I’m concerned, my involvement with UMBC ended the day my diploma showed up in the mail.

But I am jumping on this bandwagon so hard, starting right now.

The game’s Friday at 3. Awesome.