So Trumpcare is dead. Congratulations, 24 million Americans, you get to keep your health insurance.
And because Trump is Trump, he's going to pass the buck until it lands on someone he can fire. Your President, folks.
DiMono It's Back Baby!
1 week agoDiMono It's Back Baby!
To the few people who get the reference in the title, hooray! To the rest of you who don't... why don't you? Go learn things.
Anyway, I just figured out how to speak while inhaling. It doesn't sound like my normal voice, but it is a voice that I can modulate normally. So now, if I can figure out how to match its tonal qualities when speaking normally, I'll be able to use it to enhance a creepy character when voice acting. I'll also have to figure out how to do that voice without it wearing on my throat, because speaking on the inhale is more than a little rough on it. Why do I keep finding cool-sounding voices that suck to do?
And why am I looking up how to sing screamo? Seriously, what the fuck? ...apparently it's based on forcing a speaking voice from a whisper and being very quiet about it, and letting the mic and sound system do most of the work. You're welcome?
Edit: In other news, Nightwish.
1 week agoDiMono It's Back Baby!
I feel like writing a journal today, but I don't have anything specific to write about. So here are a bunch of non-specific things.
"Can you do it/better/more/etc?" is the stupidest debate argument ever conceived. I don't need to be able to draw like Picasso to know that a single black line on a white canvas should not be called art, and that anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid. The whole point of art is that it's impressive because other people couldn't do it. I could train a monkey to draw a line on a canvas.
Orphan Black is a pretty good show. It's about a girl who watches someone who looks exactly like her kill herself, and then she assumes this girl's identity. Then she learns that she is one of many clones, and that someone is killing them off. I'm two episodes in, and I'm hooked.
I've been playing chess on my phone using the Play Magnus app, where you can challenge the current world champion of chess, Magnus Carlsen, at various years old. As of right now, I can reliably win against him at 8, but he crushes me at 9. I have only obtained a single draw.
Can we all just take a moment to agree that the Barenaked Ladies album Gordon is perfect?
After spending a lot of time working with two monitors, switching to one is very inefficient.
Cars are money pits. There I said it.
In 2 weeks, on Friday March 31, the show Grimm will air its series finale. I anticipate greatness, followed by sadness. And then in a few months possibly followed by looking for a box set.
If you haven't seen Logan, you should see it. It's great. Alex Jones has accused it of being anti-Trump propaganda. He's an idiot.
I have not seen Rogue One. I should see it. I hear it's great. Apparently Alex Jones liked it. That doesn't change anything: he's still an idiot.
Breakfast today was toast with cheese on it, and cereal. Lunch today is going to be grilled cheese sandwiches, and cereal. I'm a renaissance man.
That's what I've got today. What have you got?
3 weeks agoDiMono It's Back Baby!
Heroes Of The Heart happened last weekend (see my previous journal). It raised a bunch of money for @john's Dad, and was basically awesome. Thanks to everyone who stopped in, even if you didn't donate. Much fun was had by all. Except Gary.
Saw Logan last night with @Nat. It's a hard R due to language and some of the good old ultraviolence. It's also the best movie I've seen in a long time. Even if you don't like the X-Men, it is absolutely worth your time to go see it. Don't be surprised if it ends up nominated for Oscars.
I've been very much enjoying The Eleven Little Roosters. Assuming I didn't mess up on this week's episode, I've gotten every one correct. That's a nice feeling. I was convinced that Elyse was going to be the mole, because having Barbara going up against Elyse in a fight where they're both constantly apologizing would have been comedy gold (and they did set it up early on), but that's clearly not the case any more. Annersby was my second guess, because despite being outwardly bad at his job, he just happened to give Gavin the exact items he needed to win at Tetris, and he designed a phone that would trick Big Cock into killing himself. We'll see if I'm right, I guess.
And now the big topic of the day. Vocal discontent with the RT website seems to rise and fall in waves. Right now I see it on an upswing, so I figure I should point something out: I'm still here. As a Site Admin, I'm privy to some conversations that most people on here don't get to see. While I can't tell you what those conversations contain (obviously), I can tell you that if I thought the site was being abandoned from a development standpoint, that RT was washing their hands of it and just focusing entirely on making videos of ...varying... quality, then I wouldn't be sticking around. I try not to go down on sinking ships, so the fact that I'm still here means I have faith that there are things coming that will address the website directly.
While I cannot talk about the development of this site, since I'm not working on it, I can talk about development in general. When you're working on a very complex website, there are a lot of moving parts. Updating one thing over here can have unexpected side effects somewhere else. That makes forming deadlines uncertain, because you cannot predict which systems will react adversely to an update - it could be that it goes perfectly, or it could be that it exposes everyone's private information because the function you just updated was being used in a specific way by something you thought was unrelated. Or it could just take way longer than you thought to write the code.
This is why when you develop a complex website, you have at least two environments: the live environment, where the public (that's us) gets to use the site and interact with it; and the test environment, which is ideally 100% identical to the live environment, except that only the development team have access to it. The test environment is where the new code gets put through its paces, to find out if anything is broken. The more complex the website, the longer this process takes.
This website, whatever you think of it, is very complex. That means that the possibilities for something going very wrong with an update are numerous. In order to make sure that the next update doesn't ruin the site, they undoubtedly need to spend a lot of time testing and possibly fixing things. That is just how web development (and software development in general) works.
Now, the biggest complaint I see from people, next to the missing features, is that the dev team don't communicate what they're up to. I may be able to shed some light on why. Suppose you're working on the site, and you have coded up a new feature for it. It's about to enter the acceptance testing phase. Since you don't yet know whether it's going to break anything, by definition you don't know whether it will be ready to launch later today, or three months from now. What do you tell the userbase?
If you tell them it's going to be ready some time within the next three months, then that raises questions. Why don't you know how long it will take? Is this the only thing you're working on for the next three months? Is this the only thing you've been working on since the last update? By giving a huge window like this, or even just by saying "soon", what you're really doing is instilling doubt into the userbase because they know just enough about what's going on to not know anything.
Conversely, if you tell them it's going to be ready in a week, and then it turns out that it takes months to get the kinks out - or it gets scrapped entirely - then you just lost the users' trust by not delivering on your promises. Or you could just say that you're working on it, but with no sense of timeframe for it, as soon as 2 weeks go by you're back in the first scenario again. You can see how it's very difficult for the dev team to communicate their intentions. Short of "we're still here and working on stuff," what could they possibly say that wouldn't backfire on them?
Now, is this me white knighting for the RT dev team? Absolutely not. In my discussions with them, I have been ...let's say "vocally opposed to how things are"... more than once. But as a programmer, I understand where they're coming from, and I'm able to share that understanding with you fine folks. Suffice it to say, after everything I've seen and said, I'm still here, and I don't do that for something I think is hopeless.
1 month agoDiMono It's Back Baby!
Edit: The show is live.
@john is a good friend of mine. I don't see him as often as I used to, because money stuff, but really, that's just a detail.
Well, right now my friend John and his family are going through a tough time. He's been a fixture in this community for many years, and if you've ever gone to RTX then you've probably seen him around, taking pictures. He has given a lot to Rooster Teeth and our community. I think it's a good time to give back, and to help him. The details are all in @Cheshire_Cat's journal here, and there's a nifty image below for it too. I'll be there watching, and I'll be donating. Won't you come too?
1 month agoDiMono It's Back Baby!
I watched Jason Bourne last week, and decided to follow it up by watching all the movies that came before it, in order. I'd seen the first three before (and I knew I wasn't crazy when I remembered seeing that phone call scene in both movies!), but The Bourne Legacy was new to me. It takes place basically concurrently with the second half of The Bourne Supremacy, and it expands the world to give more insight into the Treadstone project and the shady CIA business that surrounds it. It was a good idea. But it also suffered from a serious narrative flaw. Since I'm a writer, it seems appropriate to use this movie as an example to explain the flaw, so that anyone else who wants to write a story and reads this journal will perhaps not make that mistake themselves.
*** Serious spoilers for The Bourne Legacy follow. But the movie came out 5 years ago, so you brought this on yourself ***
The plot of The Bourne Legacy is basically that under extra scrutiny, the Treadstone Project (which produced Jason Bourne and other agents) is terminated with extreme prejudice. The government kills all the agents and the scientists who had been performing the fitness tests on them, so that there won't be any loose ends. Additionally, the agents have been taking two pills to give them mental and physical enhancements. Hawkeye is the only agent to survive the purge, and Rachel Weisz is the only scientist to survive. He rescues her from an assassination attempt, and she reveals that he doesn't actually need the pills, as he can be dosed in such a way as to make the effects permanent. While being pursued by the CIA, they travel to Manila to get the necessary implements to dose him. The CIA locate them and send a super spy after them, and after he recovers from the side effects of the dosing, the spy chases them through Manila. He kills the spy but gets shot himself, and he and she are helped by some random people who end up putting them on a boat.
And that's the movie. Does it feel like something's ...missing? Like... the ending?
The Bourne Legacy is a masterclass in failing to live up to the promises you give your audience. Throughout the movie, we have Hawkeye as the hero, and Ed Norton as the CIA top dog villain. Hawkeye is trying to survive, and Not Tyler Durden is trying to hunt him down and kill him. The expectation in the audience's mind is that at some point during the movie, these two will meet. That doesn't happen. Instead we're meant to believe that the central struggle in the movie is Hawkeye vs pills, but at no point is anything done to convince us that this is more important than the CIA trying to kill both him and Evie O'Connor. What we have implied to us instead is that getting off the pills is the ultimate goal, and then we never find out what happens next. We don't get closure on Norton vs Renner - we don't even find out what happens when Norton hears that the hitman died. After the set piece chase scene, the movie just ...ends.
When you have a movie that contains a mastermind pulling the strings to try to kill the hero, having the hero just say "Guess I'm on a boat now" is not a satisfying way to end the movie. You need to give the audience closure on that conflict. TBL doesn't do that, and as such it feels unfinished. Hawkeye even leaves an ominous note on the mirror next to his old pillbox, that says "No More." That seriously implies a threat, that he's going to be acting on his own now, and who better to make his first target than the people who tried to have him killed? Chekhov's Gun is the principle that every element in a fictional story should be both necessary and irreplaceable. The common and familiar way to explain this is "If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, in the following one it should be fired." Bourne Legacy fails to live up to this numerous times.
One of my favourite examples of this from TBL is the LARX program. In the first half of the movie, it's mentioned in an offhand comment as a theoretical program to replace Treadstone. Then, half an hour from the end, Norton calls up someone from the program to be the man sent to kill Hawkeye and Weisz in Manila. No preamble, no buildup, just "this is the new bad guy." We literally never see this person until this moment. I'm pretty sure he didn't even get a single line of dialogue. Someone else says to Norton at this point something like "The LARX program went from something I'd never heard of, to something theoretical, to an active program, in a matter of hours?" Which is exactly what the audience is thinking. If you're going to have someone be involved in the final chase scene, they need to be in the movie before then. They can't be part of a program that has had no relevance until now, and be absent from the movie until the very end. There must be some kind of foreshadowing.
Then there's foreshadowing they insert and then do nothing with. Towards the end, Hawkeye sees a picture of Jason Bourne on a TV. I think this happens in an airport. He spends several seconds looking pointedly at the picture - the camera even zooms in on it to make sure we know this is what he's looking at. The obvious implication here is that at some point, Hawkeye is going to end up looking for Bourne to help him take down Not Durden. And since he has increased mental acuity, he might even be able to do it. Nope - in this movie, Matt Damon plays Sir Not Appearing In This Film.
There are pacing issues with the film as well, but I'm not going to go into those right now. I think it's hurt by being part of the Bourne franchise, but the plot problems are not excused by that. We are promised things that are not delivered, and we are given things without any reason for them to be there. Those are bad habits for writers to get into.
Compare that to the end of The Bourne Ultimatum. There is a sudden hitman enemy for the set piece chase near the end, but he's brought into the story somewhat gradually. He starts out as the person Bourne has to stop, and only later does he start going after Bourne himself - when he's already established as a character. Then, after the set piece chase through Tangiers, there's another half hour of movie left for Bourne to wrap up the Treadstone storyline. The bad guys get their comeuppance, the heroes live to live another day, and the audience leaves satisfied. Ultimatum did the story well. Legacy did not.
If something is going to be relevant at the end of the story, then it needs to be a non-trivial part of the story up to that point. If something is not going to be relevant at the end of the story, then it either needs to be wrapped up before then, or not be included at all, as letting it just hang there will lead to loose ends that the audience doesn't like. Your story should be as tight as possible. If the audience leaves feeling unfulfilled, then you have failed to fully tell a compelling story, and that's on you.
1 month agoDiMono It's Back Baby!
Welcome to Onder Magazine, a bi-monthly (every two months) magazine about writing and speculative fiction. The most recent edition is themed "Maps", and happens to contain a short story by yours truly called The Meat Merchant. It starts on page 12, and is ...not for the faint of heart. It's set in a setting called Hellmaw, which is just like our world except for all the daemons and portals to another dimension. This is the same setting that my novel due for 2020 publication will be set in, and there's a non-zero possibility that one of the characters from this will be in that.
Onder also represents a collaboration in the realm of speculative fiction. There are 14 settings currently being written in, with plans to add 16 more over the next few years. If you are at all interested in fantasy or science fiction (and something tells me you are), then this is something you will definitely want to be aware of. Even if you don't buy a copy of the magazine, there will probably be something there for you.
Oh, I forgot to mention: this may not be the last time my words appear in an edition of Onder Magazine. So if you are interested in reading things I've written, or of speculative fiction in general, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to subscribe to the magazine.
1 month agoDiMono It's Back Baby!
(Note: this isn't what's coming. That's something else. This isn't it.)
Recently, I've gotten back into chess. I downloaded the Play Magnus app to my phone, where you can play against chess world champion Magnus Carlsen at various ages (I'm up to 9!), and I've been doing a lot of tactics puzzles on lichess.org. Today I found one that seemed to me a doozy. I came back to it repeatedly over the course of the day, trying to figure out the solution. I must have spent a combined 2 or 3 hours on this puzzle. Then, I finally figured it out. I calculated every possible response, and I had it. 2 or 3 hours of my time, paying off.
And then my first move was wrong and I failed the puzzle, because I'd completely overlooked a possible response. Didn't even realize that move was a thing. And my puzzle rating dropped back to 1900. I'd actually thought I had it once before, but I realized that time that I was overlooking a move and that my candidate move wouldn't work, so I kept going. This one I missed.
If you want to check out the puzzle for yourself and see if you can succeed where I failed, it's right here. Trying to figure it out was a lot of fun. For bonus points, figure out what move I played.
Read my novel Unseen
Another journal novel is in the works. Soon...
Sound Cloud | Twitch | Rooster Tooths | How To Not Suck
Will I be your friend? My friends list is actually for friends. Meet me at an event, and we'll go from there.
Texas Longhorn Fans
the who's been luke mckayed group
Late Nite JengaJam
Toronto Area RvB-ers
DiMono is great and that is why he touched my life
Gems and Minerals and Fossils, Oh My!
Pictures of some of the specimens I've purchased, mostly at gem shows.
Memorial Day Weekend, 2012
Hah hah, I work out!
Things I Made Myself
I'm so bad at this
I own a lot of books. These are pictures of some of them. Or of books I bought for other people. You know, whatever.
RT Website Screenshots
Sometimes I upload screenshots of this website. These are those pictures.
RT Philly 2009
The inaugural RT Philly
RT Philly 2010
RT Philly 2011
RT Philly 2012
Picture of Me (non-workout)
Mostly for pics from the first few years
Britte and Ryan (brittewater and abandoned) Wedding Pictures
Met on the site, got married, invited the site.
The inaugural event. About 530 people, but still rather intimate somehow.
Pictures from Webcomics
Religion is Funny
Screenshots (or parts of them) from various random websites
Politics is "funny"
Funnies from the Internet
Things I Did With Nat
Two Halloweens, a 5 year anniversary dinner, and some random miscellany
Miscellaneous RT-related Pictures
For things that are RT-related, but that don't quite merit their own gallery
Things People Made For Me
Sometimes, users make pictures for me. These are those pictures.
Pictures from my scuba diving trip to Belize in December, 2014
Sometimes I wield a Banhammer
Drawn by Luke McKay, commissioned by ...Radius55 I think? Someone like that. He might be a figment of my imagination.
| Asked by: OboeCrazy 7 months ago
Day 5. Was saving it for binge watching, so now that it's done, my time is nigh!
| Asked by: FETCHmyMEDZ 10 months ago
Don't know. I'm a volunteer, not an employee. Ask @Adam
| Asked by: Nixorbo 10 months ago
It is now...
It's actually to do with something else - #paginated-results being in the url is coincidental