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  On certain sundays in november 10:18 PM -- Tue March 23, 2004  

...When the weather bothers me, empty drawers of other summers, where my shadows used to be

Anyway, things have been crazy around here lately. In fact, here's crazy for you: there are SIX (seven?) add-ons waiting for me to post them! I'm sorry I haven't, they all arrived at once, and I'm still swamped with 11 other things! I'll move them up in priority, maybe get one or two out a day (although doing them all at once is about as easy). I've been working on getting our house refinanced for one thing. Check this out: going from 7.125% to 3.25%! We're gonna be RICH! Dave Chappelle has a more clever way to say that which I can't use on my website. Like most things he has to say.

In addition to that, and some serious cranking on the Loonyland patch, which is just shy of being ready for testing, I've been working on a system to help with the next Ludum Dare 48-Hour Game Development Contest. I love those things! Unfortunately, I got myself in over my head as usual and volunteered to do some really extensive web programming for it. But it'll be fun as always, just taking time away from my work.

Speaking of the Loonyland patch, come on people, there are TEN new merit badges!! Not to mention a new gameplay mode, and two playables with very new gameplay! There may be a third, as I still haven't defined the very last merit badge, not sure what to do with it. This thing is practically Loonyland Supreme. And yes, it will absolutely be free, as long as you already own Loonyland, that is. True patch. Now that's Dumb.
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  Loony Fun 06:39 PM -- Thu March 11, 2004  

I've been going loony having fun creating the Remix Adventure for Loonyland! It's a whole new layout for the adventure mode. Well, not whole new - it's the old layout, with details changed, like the powerups have all been moved to new hiding places, there are a couple new semi-quests, some small new areas to explore, most of the puzzles have changed in one way or another, and tons of new enemies viciously attack you every 2 seconds. It's much harder than the regular game. In fact, two of the hardest puzzles, I'm actually MOVING to the Remix mode, so that the "original" mode will have easier variations of them, and the hard version will be a special challenge for people who get to the Remix (not much point to that for you old hands at Loonyland, but it's good for new players). There's so much that's cool about this, and I'm really having fun. Level design is not my favorite thing, but since I only have to do relatively minor things, I'm enjoying it. And most importantly, this is the kind of game I like working on. I had forgotten how fun and easy it is to work on these types of things.

So that's getting done fast, and it's going to have so much new stuff it'll be like a half-sequel, it's very cool. And I think it'll add several hours more entertainment to those who have finished Loonyland (as long as they don't just turn on every badge and rip through it - moderation, people!) Because the remix mode has great potential to be full of holes though, I'll be getting people to test it out before it goes too public, and while they check it out, I'll crank out a patch for Stockboy! I'm on a roll here.

I swear, it's just been so nice out all week... and I'm having fun... it's like the birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and all that garbage. It's a wonderful time to be alive and making monsters!
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  Famous Faces 06:59 PM -- Mon March 8, 2004  

Last night, I saw this stupid show on E, about how wonderful the 90's were (why they would waste time on a decade other than the 80's, I can't even guess). You know these shows - they're on VH1 too. They enumerate things, and then they have brief clips of interviews with trillions of semi-famous people commenting on it, like "Wham? Yeah, I totally remember them, I'd like rock out in my car yelling 'Wake me up before you go-go!!'". Well, one of the semi-famous people they showed on this show was Kristin Veitch. And I looked at her, and at her name, and I thought, that's odd. Where do I know her from? Then it hit me! From HIGH SCHOOL! She's yet another of the semi-famous (or outrageously famous) Poway High graduates. It's so weird to see something like that. It just trips me out. Not just that they went to my school - Stephanie Seymour went to my school (and Weird Al went to my college!)... it's the fact that they were in my classes, and I knew them, and spoke to them, and know they're nobody special (no offense to them - we're all special creations, blah blah, infinite universe of wonder and light, blah blah). The weirdness doesn't apply as much to the Kristin case, because she's not some kind of super icon now, she's just somebody who happens to have a job that involves showbiz, which automatically affords her a certain level of celebrity (she writes a column for E!Online). The real issue, and the one that consistently and thoroughly blows me mind every time I try to think about it is...

Blink 182. Tom Delonge also was in my graduating class, and he was just nobody special. A stoner (note that I have no evidence or even inkling that he engaged in any illicit drug activity, this is simply a stylistic reference... we all know what stoners are like!) who just clowned around. He was in fact voted some sort of variation on class clown in the yearbook which I am too lazy to look up. And the funniest thing that gets me the most is that I can distinctly remember joking at some point about his little punk band. And that is indeed how we thought of it. He sure showed us (note: I don't actually know who "us" is, just that I was one of the people joking about this on one particular night). I even own an album... they're good!

Anyway, it's so weird to see the people you know of as high school kids going off and doing things in the world. It's just plain wacky, I tell you. Hmm, maybe I shouldn't have skipped the reunion! On that note, I dove into my yearbook and googled people madly last night... here's the closest things to interesting I found: Court Dimon and Michelle Hoerner got married, Greg Woodhill is an actor in a couple TV movies and at least one play, Christa Savery acts on stage in New York, Kevin Holt is not a Marine that stabbed someone to death as I first thought (since that stabbing occured while we were still in high school, I feel safe vouching for him on this - I don't know if he stabbed anybody, but I know for sure he wasn't a Marine!), Sara Hilbig met her husband in a library (kinda creepy that I found that out on the internet, huh?), Lorri Sulpizio became a basketball coach (of course!), and most of the rest of my classmates simply have much too ordinary of a name and should really spice it up so they're easier to google.

All of that means pretty much nothing to anyone reading this, but if you do happen to be a Powegian, there's your update! If you're not a Powegian, try that experiment with your own high school gang, it was fun and weird for me.
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  Sneak Peek: Sol Hunt 12:56 PM -- Tue February 24, 2004  

Here's the work-in-progress of the Equip Screen. The two gears on the left side rotate through pieces of equipment that go on your fighter and your cargo ship (top=fighter), and you can click on the ones already on to remove them if you need to make room for the new items. It's about as simple as that! Lightning runs around between the glowing bars, sparks fly off of that and also drift through the glowing bars, and the pistons on the left move, all pointless, but all to add visual interest. The arrows on the gears are glowing as part of the test process, they actually are only supposed to glow when the cursor is on them, they are the buttons to cycle through the equipment choices.
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  Unproductive 12:51 PM -- Tue February 24, 2004  

Today I am unproductive. Actually I feel really tired, and there's no good reason - I slept a long time last night (9 hours by my calculation!) and had an hour nap yesterday too. But here I am, all tired. But tired or untired, I'm unproductive. I seem to be mired in a difficult portion of my game development. I can't really specify what's so difficult about it, I'm actually just trying to implement the screen where you equip your ship with different items, but there's just some indefinable tweakiness going on. No bugs or anything, I just can't get what I want. For one thing, I can't seem to come up with what the second most expensive trade good should be! Seems like a trivial decision (and one I don't need to complete this equip screen!), but it's sticking on me... I wonder if this is the dreaded unstoppable Sol Hunt block. I sure hope not. This game should be simple and really fun. I think I'll make a sneak peek of the current state of the equip screen, it's pretty cool looking! It won't inspire me any, but it'll kill some time.
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  Dumb Ideas Ahoy! 02:57 PM -- Sun February 15, 2004  

Well, now I done did it! I have made this month's website update. It's in our Company section, and it's called the Dumb Idea Repository. It's a huge list of game ideas I've come up with, and you are free to rate them in several categories or comment on them, or both. It's a strange feature for a website, but this is a strange website! Sorry, it does not allow you to submit your own ideas - I'm not prepared to deal with that flood! I'm not going to add that to it, I'll get that out of the way now, since that's your first question. It's more of a window into the strange Hamumu thoughts that float around in the hamusphere.

I look forward to seeing what kind of comments and ratings you have! Please, go crazy rating them all, and tell me what you think. I'll be adding ideas regularly to it, since it currently only includes a small fraction of my collection, and there's always new ones coming out. I tried to get the most unique and innovative ones up there, because a lot of my ideas would take even more than my usual wordiness to explain, because their fun and uniqueness is in little details that separate them from the usual stuff you see everywhere. Like Loonyland for example - how could you describe that briefly except to say "it's an action-adventure game where you solve quests and fight monsters". Doesn't sound too intriguing!
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  Food Groups 02:52 PM -- Sat February 7, 2004  

A lot of people think that fruit and chocolate taste good together. Let me now scientifically explain why those are dumb people.

There are 5 Sweet Groups. All types of sweets fall into one of these five groups, or combine more than one of them. The groups are Chocolate, Cream, Fruit, Spice, and Pastry. Examples of these groups are:

  • Chocolate
    • ...Chocolate!
    • Peanut Butter (also has a hint of the cream side, and also can be savory, which has nothing to do with sweet groups at all)
    • Gross root beer-flavored candy
    • That gross black licorice
    • Butterscotch, toffee, and similar
    • White, dark, semi-sweet, and all other chocolates
  • Cream
    • Whipped cream
    • Marshmallows
    • Butter
    • Ice cream
  • Fruit
    • All fruits
    • Any fake fruit flavored candy (Gummi Bears, Sour Raspberry, Runts, Spree, Starburst, etc)
    • Basic tangy sweetness, like Nerds, Pixie Stix, Fun Dip, etc.
  • Spice
    • Any hot candy (Red Hots, Atomic Fireballs, etc)
    • Mint flavor of any sort
  • Pastry
    • Cinnamon rolls
    • Sweetbreads
    • Donuts
    • Pie

Each sweet group encompasses an area of flavor - Chocolate is rich and dark, Cream is light and airy, Fruit is sharp and tangy, Spice is spicy, and Pastry is... bready? You know, kinda bland, but not in a bad way. Wow, flavors are hard to describe! Many foods combine these various groups, like a chocolate donut is both pastry and chocolate, an apple pie has both fruit and pastry, an Andes mint is both mint and chocolate, with a little cream to boot (the mint part of it is fairly creamy). A cream cheese raspberry danish has Fruit, Cream, and Pastry! Cream and Pastry are in fact the only two groups that can be with fruit, ever.

There, now you know what the Sweet Groups are. Be sure to try it at home - examine the sweets you eat and try to determine to which groups they belong. It's good for your education. Now, let's see how the Sweet Groups can work together! The following chart, known worldwide as the "House Of Sweets", due to its shape (actually called the "Gingerbread House" in Eastern European countries), indicates just how Sweet Groups may be combined to create something that tastes good, instead of grotesque and horrible:

House Of Sweets

Sweets should only be combined where arrows connect them, so for instance, Spice should never be used with Pastry. And while Chocolate works well with Spice, Pastry, and Cream, you can't use it to 'link' Spice to Pastry - do not create a Chocolate Mint Baklava. Mikey would not like it. And note how the Fruit group and the Chocolate group are GROSS together!!! Scientifically speaking.
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  MTV-2OON! 02:32 PM -- Tue February 3, 2004  

I had a serious problem sleeping last night. It was really awful - if I laid awake with my eyes open, I was okay, except for a Live song pounding through my head at hyper volume, and a sensation that my heart was racing even though it didn't actually seem to be upon actual inspection (not that I pulled it out to check, but I've discovered there's a way to detect the rate at which your heart is beating through external means - I call it "taking a pulse", and I plan to patent it soon, because apparently patenting the blatantly obvious is the thing to do these days). But when I closed my eyes, I'd immediately fall sort of asleep, only awake. My mind would race around doing something weird, I didn't really understand what, but it was vaguely related to the videogame I was playing yesterday (Rygar for the PS2), but not really connected, and I didn't play the game that long that it should've invaded my brain... it wasn't like one of those awful Tetris fever-dreams, just my mind going nuts. I was seriously going over everything I had eaten, wondering if I had had a whole bunch of caffeine or somehow some kind of speed had been laced in my food. Seriously!

Anyway, around 3AM, I gave up and decided 'occupying' my brain was the way to go (occupying goes in quotes because...) by watching TV. I did. I saw a lot of cool stuff on the news, and some music videos. There's nothing else on at 3am. But on MTV2, I saw an ad that was disturbing. They were advertising their upcoming MTV-2OON Weekend, as in Toon weekend. They were going to be showing anime all weekend. On MTV2. If you're not familiar with it, MTV2 is the channel MTV created to pretend that they still show videos, since they discovered recently that there simply wasn't any time to show them between reality shows. Actually, I take that back. They DO show them between reality shows. Literally! During the credits of every one of their shows, they show a little clip of a video. And that's about it for MTV's video playing. So they brought MTV2 out for the people who actually wanted to see some sort of fusion of music and television on Music Television. It took about 3 months for them to start showing shows on MTV2. But they still mostly showed videos for a while.

Ladies and gentlemen, that age has past. Just as you can know you are at the end of the universe when you see a Starbuck's across the street from a Starbuck's, MTV2OON is the end of music television. When the all-music-video channel dedicates an entire weekend to showing NO MUSIC VIDEOS, it is the end of music television. This was an end we all knew was coming, the signs have been there for years. Seen VH1 in the past 2 years? It's a fashion network, except when it's being overrun with Top 100 lists, or sometimes they mix it up with Top 101 lists, ot Top 87 lists. And just in case you haven't seen it, I want to be clear - these top lists are NOT lists of top music videos. They are Top Car Crashes, Top Sexy Moments In Entertainment, Top Pizza Toppings, Top Funny Moments In Icelandic News Broadcasting, and other such gems. Sometimes, they'll do something like "I Love The 80's", and pretend it has some bearing on music by mentioning 80's music, but you'll note that even when they discuss music videos in it, they just show clips of them, not the actual videos themselves!

So I have two thoughts on all this. The first I had while my mind was racing around in circles seeing this ad last night, and it's quite simple. It appears that music video television is simply not a profitable venture. And that makes sense if you think about it - do people really sit down and just watch videos nonstop? There's nothing investing them in it, it's a very easy thing to drop out of and do something else. Unlike a TV show, nothing is there to make them sit through the commercials for what's coming up next - because whatever it is, it's totally unrelated to what just aired (except possibly in the same genre, which if we're talking MTV in the past 5 years, would be HIP HOP augh), and on top of that, they don't even know what it's going to be, so there's absolutely no reason for them to care. Their favorite video ever might be coming up, but nobody tells them that, so why stick around? Anyway, I think the path that MTV1, 2, and VH1 all have taken proves that somebody corporate has discovered the money lies not in playing music videos. It just doesn't work. And if you think about it, it must really not work, because they're replacing music videos, which they don't pay a dime to create (don't know - do they pay royalties when showing them? Or maybe have to pay some fee to acquire the rights to show them? Probably the latter, which makes it scarier still, because they already paid for all these videos, and they're not showing them!), with reality TV shows which cost them millions to produce and air.

The other thought I had was a little scarier: all these stations have taken to playing brief clips of videos instead of whole videos, in one way or another. Could it be that our attention spans have gotten so bad that a music video is too long and coherent for us to

Ooh, shiny penny!
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  Sneak Peek: Sol Hunt 02:04 PM -- Tue February 3, 2004  

Yay! I'm working on Sol Hunt! I've done almost nothing but develop and tweak the player weapons this whole month. There are now 7 or 8 of them, and each of them has 10 levels of power. You gain experience blowing up aliens which improves the weapons. This shot shows 3 of my favorites.

In the center are the Homies, which are pretty self-explanatory. They home in. Leveling them up makes them home more accurately and fire more rapidly, and of course do more damage.

In the lower-left is the Shocker, which also pretty much tells you what it does. As you level it up, it chains between more enemies. It's a handy weapon because it fires in a straight line, then if it hits a target, it locks on to that target and stays locked until it blows up or you release the trigger, no matter where you move.

The right weapon is the Autocannon, pretty obligatory, but I think I may have hit a videogame record with this weapon: it fires 240 shots per second at its highest level. The shots you see flying off at funny angles are because the more you level it up, the greater the odds that each individual bullet will ricochet off the guy it hits and potentially hit more guys. That adds a pretty negligible amount of damage, but it's a fun effect.

And what's that other ship next to the player? That's your cargo ship. The C-clamp at the front of it opens up to grab your ship when it's time to dock and leave the level. The six pods on it are placeholders for wherever you don't have a cargo bay, turret, or other handy item. You can customize what you want to put in those 6 spots however you like. Your fighter jet is indestructible, so it's your job to protect the cargo ship from harm. Actually, it too is indestructible, but getting hit causes you to lose some of the cargo you're carrying, and since the goal of the game is to make money, that's bad. I haven't decided yet if it also will take real damage that costs money to repair, or can destroy your cargo pods themselves. I don't think such drastic measures will be needed.
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  Recipes 01:10 PM -- Thu January 22, 2004  

You know what I want to rant about? Recipes. In cookbooks, there's (often) a time indicated, or a few different ones, like "this takes 10 minutes to prepare, and 20 minutes to cook, so 30 minutes total". Those times are a load of crap!!!! I am not a master chef (if I was, why would I need these cookbooks anyway?), but I know what I'm doing in there. It took me a solid half hour of work to do something that said it took 5 minutes to prepare. You know why? Because their 5 minutes assumed that I already had everything in the recipe chopped and lined up on my counter... if it was already chopped, I'm done preparing it! CHOPPING IS PREPARING! Who keeps their bell peppers chopped? They'd last a day and a half if you did.

Cookbook authors have prep chefs. They are out of touch.
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