Pew Pew Laser Blog

Code. Glass art. Games. Baking. Cats. From Seattle, Washington and various sundry satellite locations.

Blogs about controversy

Unidentified Flying Objects.

2.27.2011

The headline "Residents see flying saucer over Vancouver, WA" reminded me that I saw a UFO once.

I was about 14, and it was a hot summer night at my dad's small apartment in one of Vancouver's suburbs. I was out on the back deck looking up at the sky, and I saw a bright green triangle dancing across the sky. It swirled around over the same general area, and stayed for the entire half hour that I watched.

I was able to identify that object the next evening, when we drove into the neighboring commercial district in town. I saw that the local car dealership had a big laser light display to help advertise their latest sale.

Favorite Final Fantasys.

2.28.2010

I shall now list the primary Final Fantasy games that I've played, in order of how much I like them. Oh, and do I really have to say "spoiler alert" for a 10 year old video game? Fine. Spoiler alert!

  1. Final Fantasy VI (aka Final Fantasy III on SNES): I played this in it's original incarnation on the SNES. As a kid, my primary home never had a SNES. But we did have one during visitation weekends at our dad's. I would rent the cartridge over and over again, and hope that my save game hadn't been deleted.
  2. Final Fantasy X-2: I enjoyed this immensely. The job-based leveling system was rewarding and strategic, and I also enjoyed all of the flashy girly costume changes. The only problem I had was the foolishness of the plot; the adventure centered on searching for a lost boyfriend, who may have been just a dream. I suppose it's a tad more unique than searching for a Princess.
  3. Final Fantasy IX: This featured yet another implementation of the "job" system, which has always been my favorite kind of character building system. FF IX was also hilarious.
  4. Final Fantasy VIII: While VIII didn't have the most interesting system for leveling up, it's story was excellent. It was tremendously mature and compared to its predecessors, and had one incredibly poignant scene on a spaceship that made me cry just a little.
  5. Final Fantasy XII: This is pretty fun, but I haven't had time to finish it yet. I do like that the main character isn't not the central character to the story; the epic tale simply unfolds around him. I like the unique battle system, where I can just program the characters with actions to take under certain circumstances.
  6. Final Fantasy IV (aka Final Fantasy II on the SNES): To this day, I miss having 5 characters in my party at once. And remember when Kain left the party and took his equipment?!? What a jerk.
  7. Final Fantasy III: I played the recent version DS, and enjoyed the completely flexible characters and their jobs. The old school difficulty on this version kicked my butt without regular level-grinding. As is always the case with games requiring Wifi friends, I was disappointed that I didn't have any wifi friends so that I could earn the special wifi-only job.
  8. Final Fantasy I: This first Final Fantasy was charming and pleasant, but just not terribly deep. Also, these early FFs really could hand you your ass.
  9. Final Fantasy II: I played a pretty authentic port of this on the Final Fantasy Origins disc. One quirk was that instead of leveling up, your characters gained abilities based on what they did during battles. IE, if a character got hurt during the battle, they would earn a higher max HP value. I confess, I loved whomping my characters so that they would get stronger. I can't remember if I finished it; I should really pick it up again.
  10. Final Fantasy V: I played this in the PS1 remake Final Fantasy Collection. I never finished, because one of my characters is stuck doing something wacky (I think it's a bug, rather than a curse). I should look into that.
  11. Final Fantasy X: Rather like FF VII, FFX was epic and engrossing at its time, as it aged, I just don't remember it fondly.
  12. Final Fantasy VII: By the time I played this on the Playstation 2, I had already known that Aeris was going to die, and couldn't wait for her to get on with it. It was revolutionary for its time, but doesn't have any special nostalgia for me.

About Twilight.

12.10.2009

I read Stephenie Meyer's Twilight a couple of months ago. Twilight has a certain reputation, but so many of my friends had enjoyed it that I felt obligated to give it a try. I didn't like it.

Here's the thing. I like books where stuff happens. The first third of Twilight was moony high school melodrama and wistful thinking. Nothing happened. In the second act, the drama was interspersed with vampire exposition. In the third act, "bad" vampires were murdered, to protect the "good" vampire family unit.

There are also several messages in Twilight that I find quite uncomfortable. For instance, after saving the protagonist from a group of would-be rapist / murders, the love interest announces "You would have devastated their crime rate statistics for a decade." Yup, he blamed the would-be victim for the crime. Classy. Though Meyer uses subtle language in the novel, the vampire "hero" is a Spencer Pratt-class tool. The attraction between the protagonist and the love interest is based solely on physical properties - Edward's very handsome, and Bella smells nice. The protagonist's highest aspiration appears to be to get married, so she can go from taking care of her father to taking care of her husband.

For a similar view of the Twilight movie, check out this hilarious alternate script.

More Women Speakers.

4.19.2009

Last year, I attended a few of a series of monthly web design talks. During drinks after only the first or second talk, one of the organizers of the talks said that they needed more women speakers, and did I have something I'd like to speak on? The organizer's theory was to be that if women were speaking, more women would attend the talks.

I declined. I didn't feel that I had any unique topics that the group would be interested in, and I certainly didn't feel I had any great technical chops worth speaking of. I suppose I could have cobbled something together about building web pages for optimization, but I was doubtful that the topic would have been interesting to the group.

The 'more women speakers' idea rankled me. I assure you, I judge the value of a talk by it's content outline, and perhaps the 'cache' of the speaker - certainly not the gender of the speaker.

In fact, 'woman speaker' has a certain air of amazing spectacle to it. Think about the terms 'woman astronaut', 'woman engineer' and even 'male nurse'. The very inclusion of gender in the term makes it a spectacle.

Contemplating the Dark Side.

2.6.2008

I've been thinking about getting a laptop for myself. The new laptop would be my secondary machine - so portability is much more of a concern that storage or horsepower. Even my work in Photoshop just isn't taxing to any modern machine.

I've been comparing Dells, Sonys and even a Toshiba and a Panasonic. But the Macbook Air is just so sexy. Yes, there's a price premium for that fancy design and the Mac name. But I'm not laptop shopping on a shoestring budget - my recent raise at work means I can afford to splurge a bit.

Last night, I dragged the husband to the Apple Store to touch the Macbook Air. Just as expected, it was very light, and pretty sturdy with the aluminum case. The larger Macbooks, a 5 pounds, felt very heavy. Then we went to the Sony Style store at the same mall. Sony's laptops were very light, but very flimsy feeling, and really no cheaper than the Macs. Blech.

I really ought to touch some Dells before I choose. I think I'll have to call a Best Buy and ask if they've got any in stock, since Dell is closing their kiosks.

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