Rants Archive

  • A while back I discussed the rule of four, introducing the idea that there is a long list of things that, if you have four or more of them, indicate […]

    Rule of Four Part 2

    A while back I discussed the rule of four, introducing the idea that there is a long list of things that, if you have four or more of them, indicate […]

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  • Smoking is a filthy habit. It is smelly, unhealthy, expensive, and highly addictive. I have known this ever since I was a little kid, because roughly since birth I have […]

    Non-Smoker Opt-Out

    Smoking is a filthy habit. It is smelly, unhealthy, expensive, and highly addictive. I have known this ever since I was a little kid, because roughly since birth I have […]

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  • I don’t pretend to be an expert in TV. My own instincts regarding which TV shows will succeed and which will fail are almost legendarily inaccurate. (I’d predicted that Mighty […]

    Good Shows Never Die…

    I don’t pretend to be an expert in TV. My own instincts regarding which TV shows will succeed and which will fail are almost legendarily inaccurate. (I’d predicted that Mighty […]

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  • The Internet has changed the world in a lot of ways. There was a time when, if you wanted to sell something, and you didn’t have a store, your options […]

    Marketing

    The Internet has changed the world in a lot of ways. There was a time when, if you wanted to sell something, and you didn’t have a store, your options […]

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  • Well, a new year is upon us. Gone is the glorious year MMX, replaced instead by the yet to be proven year MMXI. I guess even the calendar has gotten […]

    New Year’s Resolutions

    Well, a new year is upon us. Gone is the glorious year MMX, replaced instead by the yet to be proven year MMXI. I guess even the calendar has gotten […]

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  • If you are anywhere in the east coast, chances are good that you are aware of a minor snow condition we’re having. Evidently all of those people dreaming of a […]

    OMFG SNOW!!!1!1!!

    If you are anywhere in the east coast, chances are good that you are aware of a minor snow condition we’re having. Evidently all of those people dreaming of a […]

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  • I know I rant a lot about… Well, basically everything. It is enormously therapeutic, but I don’t want you folks out there to think that I think EVERYTHING sucks. There […]

    Cell Phones, Eclipses, and other Awesome Things

    I know I rant a lot about… Well, basically everything. It is enormously therapeutic, but I don’t want you folks out there to think that I think EVERYTHING sucks. There […]

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  • Several of the people I know have a certain trait in common. When someone proposes a suitably intriguing question, no matter how rhetorical or frivolous, we will investigate it vigorously. […]

    The Big Questions

    Several of the people I know have a certain trait in common. When someone proposes a suitably intriguing question, no matter how rhetorical or frivolous, we will investigate it vigorously. […]

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  • The other day I overheard a health food devotee reprimanding someone for enjoying a beverage. That alone was sufficient to irritate the hell out of me, but our conscientious volunteer food mentor managed to strike an additional chord in my legion of pet peeves by whipping out one of the most arbitrary health food buzz phrases in the book: All Natural. Now, if you want to help me to eat better, I appreciate that, but I am a practical guy, so I'm going to require something a bit more concrete than meaningless blurbs on food labels to convince me to ditch the aspartame.

    All Natural

    The other day I overheard a health food devotee reprimanding someone for enjoying a beverage. That alone was sufficient to irritate the hell out of me, but our conscientious volunteer food mentor managed to strike an additional chord in my legion of pet peeves by whipping out one of the most arbitrary health food buzz phrases in the book: All Natural. Now, if you want to help me to eat better, I appreciate that, but I am a practical guy, so I'm going to require something a bit more concrete than meaningless blurbs on food labels to convince me to ditch the aspartame.

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  • People like to be flowery in their language. I myself am known to pursue a policy of sesquipedalian loquaciousness on occasion. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is important […]

    To A Fault

    People like to be flowery in their language. I myself am known to pursue a policy of sesquipedalian loquaciousness on occasion. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is important […]

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  • The other day, I saw a commercial that bragged that their product was "over-engineered". They used the term like it was a selling point. Now, as I've said far too many times before, I'm an engineer... Well, I WOULD be an engineer, if after I had gotten my degrees I had actually sought out an engineering job. As it is, I'm an IT specialist and phoney baloney journalist with two very expensive pieces of paper hanging on my wall. But it DOES give my opinion a little more weight when I suggest that "over-engineered" is not something you should be necessarily be looking for in a product if you are a consumer.

    Over-engineered

    The other day, I saw a commercial that bragged that their product was "over-engineered". They used the term like it was a selling point. Now, as I've said far too many times before, I'm an engineer... Well, I WOULD be an engineer, if after I had gotten my degrees I had actually sought out an engineering job. As it is, I'm an IT specialist and phoney baloney journalist with two very expensive pieces of paper hanging on my wall. But it DOES give my opinion a little more weight when I suggest that "over-engineered" is not something you should be necessarily be looking for in a product if you are a consumer.

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  • Politics. Right next to religion, political views are among the most painful things to discuss. They aren't so much topics as pre-made arguments, like hot pockets full of anger and grief. As we enter adulthood we are expected to pick a side, so that when the time comes we'll know what issues we're supposed to support and which ones we're supposed to shake our fists at. I hate everything about politics, from the way it splits us up as a nation to the fact I can never decide if "politics" is plural or singular. And thus, like all things I hate, I'm going to talk about it/them.

    Politics

    Politics. Right next to religion, political views are among the most painful things to discuss. They aren't so much topics as pre-made arguments, like hot pockets full of anger and grief. As we enter adulthood we are expected to pick a side, so that when the time comes we'll know what issues we're supposed to support and which ones we're supposed to shake our fists at. I hate everything about politics, from the way it splits us up as a nation to the fact I can never decide if "politics" is plural or singular. And thus, like all things I hate, I'm going to talk about it/them.

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  • The Internet has done a lot of good for the world by making information easily available. This means that questions seldom need to wait long to be answered, curiosities are put to rest quickly, hobbies are nurtured in ways they never could before the 'net. There is, however, the dark side of information availability. Blissful ignorance is all too easily dispelled. I now know what “Two Girls One Cup" and “GoatSe" are, for instance, despite vigorous attempts to un-know. One of the more irritating side effects, though, is the sharp increase in self-diagnosis.

    Self-Diagnosis

    The Internet has done a lot of good for the world by making information easily available. This means that questions seldom need to wait long to be answered, curiosities are put to rest quickly, hobbies are nurtured in ways they never could before the 'net. There is, however, the dark side of information availability. Blissful ignorance is all too easily dispelled. I now know what “Two Girls One Cup" and “GoatSe" are, for instance, despite vigorous attempts to un-know. One of the more irritating side effects, though, is the sharp increase in self-diagnosis.

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  • San Francisco recently decided that they had no other choice but to outlaw the happy meal. Now, the Happy Meal has a special place in my heart (Right next to the cholesterol deposits.), so this news sent me in a few different directions. Rather than simply pick one and and hone it into something worthwhile - you know, the way a professional would do - I decided to take two half ideas and mush them together. So now, for your enjoyment, the twin Happy Meal rants of Decoychunk.

    San Francisco Happy Meal Double Feature

    San Francisco recently decided that they had no other choice but to outlaw the happy meal. Now, the Happy Meal has a special place in my heart (Right next to the cholesterol deposits.), so this news sent me in a few different directions. Rather than simply pick one and and hone it into something worthwhile - you know, the way a professional would do - I decided to take two half ideas and mush them together. So now, for your enjoyment, the twin Happy Meal rants of Decoychunk.

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  • There are some people out there who are ruled by reason. They make their decisions based on logic, carefully weighing the facts and coming to conclusions that have sound, realistic foundations in reality. Others opt for a more... subjective interpretation of reality. These folks like to believe that things like emotion and fairness have an effect on physical phenomena. It is not above them to, in some cases, assume that reality will adjust itself to fit their whims or expectations, rather than vice versa. In extremes, neither point of view is terribly workable. And when they clash? There can be only one outcome.

    The Shovel of Logic

    There are some people out there who are ruled by reason. They make their decisions based on logic, carefully weighing the facts and coming to conclusions that have sound, realistic foundations in reality. Others opt for a more... subjective interpretation of reality. These folks like to believe that things like emotion and fairness have an effect on physical phenomena. It is not above them to, in some cases, assume that reality will adjust itself to fit their whims or expectations, rather than vice versa. In extremes, neither point of view is terribly workable. And when they clash? There can be only one outcome.

    Continue Reading...

  • The world isn't perfect. In fact, some parts of it are SO not perfect that even talking about the imperfections will get you dirty looks and cold shoulders. This presents a problem if you are the sort of person who wants to actually do something about the various injustices and inequalities out there, or at least make them more visible to those who can. In the past, there was a tool available to deal with these sticky situations. It was called satire. You could mock, parody, and exaggerate the issue at hand until the absurdity was glaringly clear. Evidently, you can't do that anymore.

    The Death of Satire

    The world isn't perfect. In fact, some parts of it are SO not perfect that even talking about the imperfections will get you dirty looks and cold shoulders. This presents a problem if you are the sort of person who wants to actually do something about the various injustices and inequalities out there, or at least make them more visible to those who can. In the past, there was a tool available to deal with these sticky situations. It was called satire. You could mock, parody, and exaggerate the issue at hand until the absurdity was glaringly clear. Evidently, you can't do that anymore.

    Continue Reading...

  • There is little doubt that consoles are the main driving force behind the world of video games write now. PCs break new ground and innovate, and they continue to set the bar for excellence, but outside of MMOs if you really want to make a ton of money, your best bet is the console. It is also no secret that Apple computers are only just beginning to re-appear in the gaming world. With Steam for Mac there is hope for the Apple fans in the future to start getting a more respectable gaming catalog, but the very fact that they ever lagged is baffling to me. Apple SHOULD have become the undisputed leaders of gaming by now. Why? Well, lets follow the logic.

    iPod360: Apple and Gaming

    There is little doubt that consoles are the main driving force behind the world of video games write now. PCs break new ground and innovate, and they continue to set the bar for excellence, but outside of MMOs if you really want to make a ton of money, your best bet is the console. It is also no secret that Apple computers are only just beginning to re-appear in the gaming world. With Steam for Mac there is hope for the Apple fans in the future to start getting a more respectable gaming catalog, but the very fact that they ever lagged is baffling to me. Apple SHOULD have become the undisputed leaders of gaming by now. Why? Well, lets follow the logic.

    Continue Reading...

  • In order to stay alive, there are very few requirements. Food, water, and shelter are the big three. If you are speaking on a species level, sex goes on the list, too. Most animals are content taking whatever they can get, but the human race has gotten pretty darn good at survival, so we added one more thing to the list of necessities. Variety. The varieties of shelter, drink, and kink are all valid article fodder, but today I'm focusing on food, and the evidence that we are looking WAY too hard for the next thing to eat.

    The Top 5 Foods That Should Not Be

    In order to stay alive, there are very few requirements. Food, water, and shelter are the big three. If you are speaking on a species level, sex goes on the list, too. Most animals are content taking whatever they can get, but the human race has gotten pretty darn good at survival, so we added one more thing to the list of necessities. Variety. The varieties of shelter, drink, and kink are all valid article fodder, but today I'm focusing on food, and the evidence that we are looking WAY too hard for the next thing to eat.

    Continue Reading...

  • A few months have passed, and I've once again formulated a short list of questions that are more or less impossible to ask in civilized society. So I call upon you, the anonymous masses of the Internet, to weigh in. We'll consider these questions asked and answered anonymously.

    Questions I Can’t Ask

    A few months have passed, and I've once again formulated a short list of questions that are more or less impossible to ask in civilized society. So I call upon you, the anonymous masses of the Internet, to weigh in. We'll consider these questions asked and answered anonymously.

    Continue Reading...

  • As a dozen comedians have pointed out, when we are young, none of us know how the world works. Everything is strange and confusing, but that's okay, because we don't have to know that sort of thing. That's what grownups are for. They run things. Surely they wouldn't end up in charge unless they had some idea of how things were done. Then, years later, there comes the most terrifying moment in your life. Maybe you are on your way to work, maybe on the way out of the store. Whatever the case, a younger person calls you sir or ma'am, and you realize that you were wrong. There ARE no grownups. There are just kids who got older, and that means that no one has a clue.

    Rites of Passage

    As a dozen comedians have pointed out, when we are young, none of us know how the world works. Everything is strange and confusing, but that's okay, because we don't have to know that sort of thing. That's what grownups are for. They run things. Surely they wouldn't end up in charge unless they had some idea of how things were done. Then, years later, there comes the most terrifying moment in your life. Maybe you are on your way to work, maybe on the way out of the store. Whatever the case, a younger person calls you sir or ma'am, and you realize that you were wrong. There ARE no grownups. There are just kids who got older, and that means that no one has a clue.

    Continue Reading...

  • People think that politicians can turn a nation around overnight. Not that the people are to blame. They think that because the politicians all say that. By now, though, I think we should all realize that turning the nation around overnight just isn't possible. A nation is a very large, very powerful thing, made up of many very angry, very loud people. That isn't a situation that screams "politically nimble." That's okay, though. You know why? Because America didn't become a superpower by being nimble. It got there by being glacial. America, my friends, is a juggernaut.

    USA: Juggernaut

    People think that politicians can turn a nation around overnight. Not that the people are to blame. They think that because the politicians all say that. By now, though, I think we should all realize that turning the nation around overnight just isn't possible. A nation is a very large, very powerful thing, made up of many very angry, very loud people. That isn't a situation that screams "politically nimble." That's okay, though. You know why? Because America didn't become a superpower by being nimble. It got there by being glacial. America, my friends, is a juggernaut.

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  • Believe it or not, not everyone on the planet is as interested in the world of video games as I am. This can be a problem, since I spend an awful lot of time talking about games. Inevitably I bring up one of gaming's greats and I get nothing but blank stares from the less informed of my associates. It has thus been useful to come up with a few more generally known analogs from other industries to give people an idea of the role a given developer or company plays. At first this was just for the benefit of my less game savvy friends, but it quickly became an interesting thought exercise. Let's see what I've come up with, and see if you agree.

    Hollywood Analogs: Tim Shafer is Woody Allen

    Believe it or not, not everyone on the planet is as interested in the world of video games as I am. This can be a problem, since I spend an awful lot of time talking about games. Inevitably I bring up one of gaming's greats and I get nothing but blank stares from the less informed of my associates. It has thus been useful to come up with a few more generally known analogs from other industries to give people an idea of the role a given developer or company plays. At first this was just for the benefit of my less game savvy friends, but it quickly became an interesting thought exercise. Let's see what I've come up with, and see if you agree.

    Continue Reading...

  • Recently I was talking about an upcoming enhancement to an excellent web game called Super Meat Boy. One half of the design team is a fellow called Edmund McMillen. He's a game designer, legendary in the Indie community, who has helped create some of the most creative and memorable games of the last few years, so I mention him a lot. The problem is, I didn't call him Edmund McMillen. I called him Edward Cullen. Repeatedly. It would be bad enough that I'd gotten his entire name wrong, but Edward Cullen is the sparkly vampire from Twilight. That's not just a slip of the tongue. That's a symptom.

    The Twilight Infection

    Recently I was talking about an upcoming enhancement to an excellent web game called Super Meat Boy. One half of the design team is a fellow called Edmund McMillen. He's a game designer, legendary in the Indie community, who has helped create some of the most creative and memorable games of the last few years, so I mention him a lot. The problem is, I didn't call him Edmund McMillen. I called him Edward Cullen. Repeatedly. It would be bad enough that I'd gotten his entire name wrong, but Edward Cullen is the sparkly vampire from Twilight. That's not just a slip of the tongue. That's a symptom.

    Continue Reading...