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  2 Weeks Later... 11:38 AM -- Fri July 27, 2007  

As of yesterday evening, I have a working internet connection again! I've been without for two weeks, and the endless trips into town for the library were getting really old. So much catching up to do... I have been working on the site in the meantime, but not a lot. I had plenty of time to do it, I just had no energy to work when things weren't the way they should be. And a lot of times I'd come to a point where I'd realize I needed to look something up (like javascript stuff), and couldn't do it. Life without the internet is positively barbaric.

On the Hamumu Propaganda train, please turn your hymnals to page 43 of Games For Windows magazine. The Indie Pick Of The Month is Loonyland 2. There's two screenshots, then a bunch of talk about how extremely bizarre I must be. Some choice comments:
  • "The game is straight-up goofy."
  • "wind-up mice that projectile vomit"
  • "somebody somewhere was smoking something when designing this indie title" (not true. Well, I'm sure it is true just based on pure statistics, but it wasn't me)
  • "Oddly out-of-place characters meet you along the way, including a 'legitimate businessman' with an accent thicker than Tony Soprano's." (is it really?)
  • "And at 20 bucks, I'd say I got my money's worth." (well, actually it's $24.95...)
It's a very positive review, assuming you like strange things. There were also a couple sentences praising the music, which seems to be a common theme in reviews. I guess I picked the right stuff! Wish I had written it, but still somehow it makes me proud just that I apparently did a good job of picking music, even if I didn't write it.

But that's not all the propaganda for today! Good thing I flipped through the magazine after buying it, instead of just reading my review. Turn to page 49, for "Random Access: 10 Things We're Into This Month". Thing #7 is entitled "NPC: THE GAME" (can you guess where this is going?). It reads:

Here's a goofy concept for an RPG game: You're the NPC. Well, kind of. In NPC Quest (www.hamumu.com/gamelets.php), you shop, prep your character for whatever battles lie ahead, and then kick back and watch how well you did. You have zero control over your in-game avatar. There's still some strategy to it, sure; it's just a little more passive than your typical RPG.

So that was really cool to find. Now how can I get more coverage...?
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  I have gone mad! 05:39 PM -- Wed July 25, 2007  

Oops. When I changed Supreme CDs to out of stock on our Buy Stuff page, I managed to break the page, causing most orders to fail entirely. And with my handy lack of internet access, I didn't find out for a few days. It's fixed now, of course. That was surely a good deal what with our appearance in Games For Windows' August issue, which just came out! I don't have it with me to quote to you at this time (surely an "LL2 Propaganda" journal entry is in your near future), but there's quite a positive review. Check it out, on page 43. Apparently, they find me a bit bizarre.

Also, I got a root canal done on Monday, and I want to tell you: if you are in the Temecula area, and looking for a dentist, Creating Smiles with Dr. Witek is the place for you! I've always been really impressed with how he managed to make every filling painless (and I get plenty, hence the current root canal - I DO take care of my teeth, mind you. Do YOU floss twice a day?? It's bad genetics, lucky me), but this was over the top. I mean, "root canal" is basically a code word for "unimaginable pain" in common American parlance. But from the moment he poked the novacaine into my gums (prior to which I was indeed in unimaginable pain, hence the need for a root canal), the pain was gone. He scraped stuff out of me and packed it all back together with numerous severe warnings of how I was going to be in serious pain for a few days. I was so worried, all that talk about the heavy pain drugs people use for that stuff. Guess what? NO pain. And I mean actual NONE. It's two days later now, and I even went back there for the cleaning I was originally scheduled to have before my mouth exploded (the cleaning was of course painful as always). There is NO pain! I think that's at least partially just the circumstances of the nerve involved - even the dentist was surprised to hear I was in no pain - but this dentist is the one to choose. A root canal's a multi-part process, so I will be back next Monday for another scraping (I could give details of how it all works, but if you want to know that, look it up - no need to horrify my readers), so I reserve the right to experience pain then. I don't expect to, though. It's just so nice. The whole experience is hardly anything more than getting a filling, not the big nightmare I had expected. Well, the first visit anyway. Two more trips to go, I think.

And I'm really enjoying being able to drink things on both sides of my mouth at will painlessly, like a crazy person.

My internet should be back by tomorrow. I will hopefully see you all on chat and forums much more often then! Well, assuming this does fix it, but I have high hopes. Everything seems hopeful when your teeth are fixed! I am looking forward to the magic of networked communication.
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  The Postal Service Has Gone Mad 02:48 PM -- Wed July 18, 2007  

Okay, just doing that to continue the theme. Turns out that the application I mailed to renew my business license a month and a half ago was never received (or so the county folks say!). So, off to do that again and hope it goes through this time. That certainly explains the huge hold-up in getting that done. Still, there's so much more to do on the site before it's really ready. I need to get cranking.
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  Wildblue's Gone Mad 01:14 PM -- Sat July 14, 2007  

And to add insult to injury, before I could reply to all but a couple of those emails I dug out of gmail (I have now bypassed them, which is a pain, but beats losing emails), my satellite went down. I am typing this from the library. Our home has been netless for 48 hours now! It hurts! I'm on an online chat with them, since when I called them, it said "your wait time is greater than 40 minutes, hold on!"

Reading up on forums, it sounds like Wildblue equipment is really bad. A bunch of installers are complaining about how they have to constantly go in and replace the TRIAs (not sure quite what that is, but I think it's the high tech part that sits in the satellite dish itself) constantly, and they don't get paid enough for the service calls for it. Some of them say they no longer install Wildblue because of it. Sounds like another winner I've hooked up with! Oh, how I'm dying for some DSL. But it's not likely to arrive in our world for many many years. One of the perks of country living.

So for now anyway, and maybe for the next couple of weeks until we get a tech out (last time I called for one, the appointment was 2 weeks later!), I can only be on when I come down to the library. Very bleh. I'm trying to get replies out to all your emails now, so here goes!
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  Google's Gone Mad 06:49 PM -- Wed July 11, 2007  

I had a debacle this week trying to get my ISP to fix my email. I discovered I wasn't receiving many things. Long story of back and forth with fixes and things, and at last I found the problem. It wasn't my ISP at all. I forward all my email to gmail as one step in a chain of spam filters, and for no reason this past week, they have upped their spam 'protection' about five million times. Now almost NOTHING gets through! I'm plowing backwards through the spam box in my gmail account right now, discovering hundreds of things I should've received, but it's taking a long long time, and I could easily make a mistake and miss something. So...

If you emailed me recently and didn't get a reply, please write again!

And hopefully I will get past this. I think I may have to drop gmail from the loop and just accept that I'm going to be downloading a whole lot more email before my vastly more intelligent local spam filter (K9) can catch it. It's very sad because it used to be a really handy thing. It was a very mild filter, just weeding out the thousands of much more egregious things, so that I had maybe 5% as much email to actually spend time downloading before my local filter got to work (after which I basically had ONLY good emails - a very solid system!). Now it's so aggressive, I can't trust it. I'm going to have to either sift through it every day (totally defeating the purpose), or just go ahead and skip it.
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  Sneak Peek: New Website 10:09 PM -- Sun July 8, 2007  

Why not a sneak peek!? This is a sig-image from the new site. It's generated from the info in your Dumb Account. Interesting features: obviously, it's got your name in the lower left, and your custom title in the lower right. I'm wondering about changing what it says at the top. Maybe something like "Hamumu Dumbcard" or something to indicate that this is a card of your Hamumu history. Oh, and maybe I should add extremely tiny icons to the upper right indicating which games you own. Not a bad plan at all.

The two remaining parts are the best. The 100 little squares you can barely see are placeholders for Trophies that you haven't yet earned. There aren't actually 100 possible trophies yet, though someday there will hopefully be even more than that. Regardless, there will only be as many squares shown as there are possible trophies, so you don't get confused. And of course, if you do get trophies, they'll be shown in the proper spot instead of an empty square! Get them all!! You can earn trophies in various Hamumu games, as well as entirely outside of games for other reasons. Some trophies have multiple ranks. An obvious and pointless one will be the trophy representing your forum rank - as you reach certain post thresholds, it advances, just like the not-so-custom titles do now. You earn prize points for every trophy you get, but usually just a few.

The goofy picture of a dumb little guy is my avatar! Well, not really. It's my test image for an avatar. I hope to have a much less horrible looking one eventually. But avatars are going to be fun - you buy different characters, backgrounds and props (like sunglasses, laser guns, etc) with your Yerfbucks, then you can paste them together to build up your own personal character that will show up there. You'll be able to choose any combination of the parts you've bought or unlocked, up to a certain number of items total, and you'll be able to arrange them on the image. I also hope to change the old Dumb People Browsing thing to be a string of avatar images instead (and a "?" with a number for guests), but that may prove to be too much bandwidth and screen space to be wise.

You can of course use this sig image as your sig in our forums, or use it on other forums or wherever you like. It will link to your Dumb Page on the site by default, so people can stare jealously at your vast achievements. The avatar image under your name in forum posts will be replaced by your new custom-crafted avatar as well. There may also be other sig image style options, if the plain blue & white doesn't do it for you. Oh, and I also want to put your avatar in the chatroom as well, but that will make the chat scroll awfully fast, since they're so tall... I'm not sure. One last bit of wonderment to the avatars - there may (maybe!) come games that use your avatar, either as a character (that doesn't animate, of course) or as the icon to represent your profile in the game. I really want to integrate things all around, so each of us becomes a character. You may also be able to engage in battles on the website with avatars, though I'm thinking of a different way of going about that.

So that's a glimpse at part of the new website stuff.
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  Out of sync 03:46 PM -- Fri July 6, 2007  

Not much work got done around here yesterday... because I was in the emergency room! It all started innocently enough:

Night before last, I got heartburn. So I spent the night sleeping in a chair, which I am wont to do when heartburned - keeps me vertical. But sleeping in a chair is not good for your back. When I woke up, I transferred to the bed for a few more hours of sleep, but it wasn't our regular bed, no sir. You see, the night before that, I woke up to find that I was frantically itching the back of my head. I couldn't stand it and got up. There were big swollen places on the back of my head. It turns out, our ant invasion had turned to the bedroom, and they had been crawling on us and biting our heads during the night. Sol got a few little flecks of red on her skin from them. Me, I got a giant golf-ball lump - I tend to react to bug bites. So, because of that, we had been sleeping in our guest room, where the bed is quite soft. So, going from the back-destroying chair to the back-destroying soft bed wasn't so great.

So I woke up and had my day. My neck was a little stiff and didn't want to turn too far to the right, but that's not so odd from such a night. But around noon, it got much worse and my whole shoulder started really hurting badly. I'm familiar with this, been there before, and just did a bunch of laying down. This was real bad though, worse than I can recall. But finally I was tired of laying down and wanted to go have a snack. So I got up, with assistance, and went to the kitchen. Things started getting really fuzzy there. The pain was making me light-headed. I sat down on a stool, and all the sound in the room started to fade away behind a constant buzz. Then it got weird.

You know that logo on movies that are licensed by Marvel Comics (Spiderman and such)? It's this rapid flipping of comic book pages which kind of fades out into the red word "Marvel". That's what happened. Only the comic book pages were all the different things I have been thinking about lately - Titan Tunnels ideas, the website update, WoW, the latest attempt at fencing our dogs, the book I'm reading, and tons more. Just flicking through them in instants, faster and faster. Then those flickering thoughts and images faded out behind a solid constant reality. I was now laying sideways on the floor, and the sound of my wife on the phone with 911 faded in. I was immediately able to move and talk, so she was very relieved. I got my first ambulance ride, dozens of sticky pads all over my body (heart monitoring things), a tasty IV (and a very dry mouth), some incredibly intense pain as it jostled my back, and then a lot of heavy drugs in the ER.

That's what they call a "syncopal episode", which is just a very fancy way to say "fainting". In the end, the diagnosis was that I had just plain fainted from the pain. I would've been fine if I hadn't been upright, as the faint is caused by your blood vessels dilating, thus blood pressure lowering too much to keep your brain oxygenated. Laying down, that wouldn't be an issue. Things I was told later about what had happened were that my lips had turned completely blue and I wasn't breathing (hence the urgent 911 call - I don't think a nice normal passing out with breathing would've warranted such action), and that as I was waking up, I had some kind of little seizure where I was twitching all over. I'm pretty sure that was when my mind was flickering through all those thoughts out of control. The doctor told us about how your brain needs to reset itself after events like this, and that is a really apt way to describe what I saw. I watched my brain's boot-up sequence live.

It was scary, but honestly, it makes me feel more secure about myself in a way. I mean, on the one hand, it's really scary that my brain can just switch off in a matter of seconds. I am definitely going to be very cautious any time I ever get light-headed from now on. I don't like that part. But on the other hand, the idea that my brain can stop functioning, and then will restore itself to plerzfect working order with no eRROR ERROR is quite nice, guv'nor beanpole. I don't think it's damaged any (I only lacked oxygen for a few seconds), and I didn't even lose any noticeable amount of memory. Still, it's so strange to have a discontinuous memory - in one instant, I was on the chair, my next memory is sideways on the floor. And by the way, my wife caught me and put me down there, I didn't fall and get thwacked.

Our brains really are computers. As an added bonus, they can self-repair to an extent. The only thing computers have over them is that you can shut off a computer for as long as you like, and it will work when you turn it on again. It's a shame that brains die when left off. Remember to always just put your brain in sleep mode rather than a full shutdown. Oh, plus there are no good games available for brains.

So this has been an incredibly strange and pretty scary experience that I'll never forget as long as my brain remains functioning. I certainly won't forget the little spying I got into how much Solee really loves me, in the moments before she knew I was awake. That's another nice thing to take away from it. And best of all, it got me some nice muscle relaxants and Vicodin for the back. I'm not taking the Vicodin though - the pain's not so bad now that I am willing to risk nausea, my least favorite sensation. Although I just had such a big lunch I'm experiencing it anyway. Urk.
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