My reasons for it below, but I've come to the decision that I need to put this blog on quasi-hiatus to focus on my MBA applications, which are due mid-January.
What this means is that I won't be holding myself to my usual weekday posting schedule. What this doesn't mean is that I'm going to be ignoring the blog. Also, once I'm done with my applications, I'll resume my usual schedule.
I love blogging here on The Unwind. The whole process of it - from finding topics to writing and refining - is almost addictive. And it sucks that, as I'm starting to hit a stride, I'm going to scale back.
But in the end, it comes down to a matter of priorities. Getting an MBA is one of my life's goals, and I'm going to divert a lot of the time I used to write here to help me accomplish this.
So until this hiatus is over I'll be posting here very infrequently. You can follow me on Twitter, or listen to the Fair Use Law podcast I'll be a part of. I'll be back, I swear.
Nov 30, 2008
My reasons for it below, but I've come to the decision that I need to put this blog on quasi-hiatus to focus on my MBA applications, which are due mid-January.
Nov 28, 2008
I came across this awesome TF2 video over at Jaz McDougall's blog. It is some seriously awesome manipluation of the TF2 environment, set to some seriously awesome music. I'm liberally applying the term "awesome" here, because I think it's deserving of it.
Spectacular mid-air pyro volleys, an uber chain against the train, the random firing squads... there's nothing in here that doesn't impress. My favorite part has to be the cube spy crab walk at the 4:59 mark.
One of the reasons I love the internet as much as I do is it acts like a portal into the deep recesses of our collective human consciousness. The oftentimes bizarre, scary, disturbing places that you couldn't even think of on your own.
One such place is Bacontoday.com, a website dedicated to all things bacon. It's got everything you'd expect from a focussed-interest website: recipies, articles, and a desire to increase bacon awareness. But what surprises me is that it doesn't just have your run-of-mill stuff either - these guys are the masterminds behind the Turbaconducken and even sell bacon pillows. This site oozes high levels of creativity while giving you high blood pressure.
Personally, I can't look at this website for too long before I begin to think they're secretly trying to kill me. In all fairness, this reaction probably has more to do with the fact that I stuffed my Thanksgiving eat-hole only a few scant hours prior to writing this. Not the smartest thing I've ever done...
Nov 27, 2008
Happy Thanksgiving from The Unwind! Hope you're having fun this holiday, and no matter what you're eating today, it's a pretty safe bet it isn't as awesome/horrible as Turbaconducken. That's right, it's turducken - your run-of-the-mill chicken stuffed in a duck all crammed into a turkey - only wrapped in bacon.
And to our non-American friends: Happy, uh, Thursday! We're taking today off to eat way too much and watch American football. I don't get it either, but it's fun.
Nov 26, 2008
Those familiar with The Unwind know that I'm a big fan of video games. In this vein, something that never ceases to fascinate me is the gamer culture surrounding it all.
One particularly insightful article from The Escapist delves into the recent phenomenon that myself and many other gamers have experienced: not finishing games. It's a really good read that touches on many of the reasons why people stop playing games mid-way through.
From my own experience, I know that even a 10 hour investment on a linear, complex story is asking a lot. If I step away from a game for a while - and I invariably do, thanks to everything else in my life getting in the way - I may forget the controls or what it is I have to do next and may deter me from getting back into a game. The games that I can easily and gladly sink 40+ hours into are the ones that I can just pick up and play after stretches of time away.
Also, another thing that I find is that once I understand and really figure out a game, I get bored of it. It's exciting to learn new game mechanics and immerse yourself in a new game universe, but when I "get it", it starts to get repetitive. Good games keep me interested by keeping things fresh.
Nov 25, 2008
Anonymous insiders into the U.S. Federal Treasury have indicated that recent loan guarantees and bank pledges, which represent $7.7 trillion of taxpayers money, are all a part of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's elaborate prank that he plans on revealing on an upcoming episode of Punk'd.
"Truth be told, Paulson was just shooting from the mouth at first and didn't realize that the press was listening [when he first talked of bailouts]," an insider informed The Unwind on condition of anonymity. "But then, the stock market kinda liked the idea and we kept running with it. Honestly, we thought people would have caught on by now. Paulson almost suggested infinity trillion dollars, but that would have been too obvious. ...Right?"
"How he has been able to keep a straight face through all of this is beyond us. But I guess that's why they pay him the big bucks," the informant added.
Reports indicate that Paulson will hold a giant "money giving" party in the Federal Treasury, having invited all his bank friends. In it, he plans to hand the bankers huge sacks with dollar signs on it filled with Monopoly money. All at once, he'll ask the bankers to open their sacks simultaneously, followed by Ashton Kutcher coming out of nowhere and pointing to the camera a lot.
The episode will air during May sweeps on MTV, for those people fortunate enough to still be able to afford cable and electricity.
Nov 24, 2008
Every so often, I have some things I'd like to post here at The Unwind, but can't really justify making a whole post out of any of them.
- An old friend of mine, "Danger" Dan Robinson, and I are starting a podcast call Fair Use Law. We're still working out when we're going to actually start it (with Thanksgiving coming up and all), but it should be a weekly podcast of everything and nothing all at once. It's essentially doing what we always do, only we'll have a microphone in front of us recording it.
More details to follow, but to give you some insight into my future colleague, here's the intro theme to it that he wrote and created. It's delightfully whacked-out, and I wholly approve:
- Steam has been a huge pain in my butt today. After I updated my client, I've had issues logging in all day that are still unresolved. I need to kill me some zombies, Valve.
- From the "why the hell can I not look away" files, I wanted to share MiniKiss, which I originally found out seeing them in a random sports bar some time back with friends. MiniKiss is a coverband of Kiss... played by dwarves.
Yes, it's all the Kiss hits you've come to know and love - like "Rock and Roll all Nite", "Strutter", and "Detroit Rock City" - played by people half the size of the original. We're talking pure, concentrated 80's here.
- Lastly, this week's Cracked.com photoshop content is "creative ways to break bad news". Only really had one idea for it:
Nov 21, 2008
Once again, there's yet another "OMG, TEH ECONOMY IS BURNING TO THE GROUND FIXITFIXITFIXIT!!!11!" type emergency. And once again, I've got to figure out a way to do something about it. I'm talking, of course, of the U.S. Automobile industry. The "Big 3" are testifying in front of congress with their hands out for more taxpayer money to keep them afloat.
Now, if I were to take a more reasonable point of view, I would have to agree with most of points Mitt Romney (!) puts forth in his NY Times editorial: high labor costs and a lack of long-term investments (a symptom of poor management) have made Ford, GM and Chrysler unable to compete with other automakers. Only in a controlled bankruptcy and not a bailout can the radical, necessary restructuring of Detroit's backbone occur.
But I'm not in the business of taking a reasonable point of view.
I introduce to you my proposed solution to this problem: Darwinian Capitalism. What I propose is that we take the "Big 3" - employees and all - and have them have a violent, bloody war. Not with guns or any modern weaponry, but Braveheart style: using only medieval weaponry. Now it's not just supply and demand, but survival of the fittest as well.
They may take our lives, but they'll never take... OUR LINEUP OF CARS, TRUCKS AND SUVs!
This will thin the herds until one company can claim victory. The survivors of the remaining two companies will then be forced as slaves to work in the victor's factories. Suddenly, the labor costs are a thing of the past.
How does this address the poor management issue, you ask? Well, they're part of the war too. I would expect them to be casualties in the battle, because if they knew their elbows from their asses we wouldn't be in this mess in the first place. And if they try to weasel their way out of it, you know the companies' own workers will kill their respective CEOs themselves.
FIVE STAR FRONT AND SIDE CRASH SAFETY RATIIIIIIIIIINGS!!!
And you, the taxpayer, benefits from this as well! You better believe that we'll be televising this event. It'll be as cool as 5 superbowls combined, and all the advertising revenue will be given right back into the federal and state budgets. Crisis(es) averted!
Nov 20, 2008
How are you feeling today? I don't care! Ok, I do care (sorry for lying), but not nearly as much as my friend over at the World Quality of Life blog.
He's right now trying to use
science random people's input to determine the world's general outlook on life. The more people that participate, the better his index. To do my part, I've added it to the bar on the right for easy future access.
In addition to the index he's compiling, he offers commentaries and non-sequiturs of things that are going on in the world and how it impacts his or others' outlook on things. It's pretty ambitious, but a cool idea nonetheless. I hope it works out for him.
So I whipped out photoshop once again to participate in this week's Cracked.com photoshop contests. This time, in what I can only assume is in honor of Quantum of Solace's release, we had to photoshop gadgets that didn't quite make the cut for the movies. My entries are below, and can be clicked to get a higher resolution pictures:
Even MI6 has made an attempt to go green, but this is just ridiculous.
Not even Bond can make segways look cool.
Not fit for field use, but useful nonetheless.
"What's this device do Q?"
"It's a travel breathalyzer, James. We think you have a drinking problem."
...and I couldn't resist photoshopping some Team Fortress 2 humor into this.
How Bond got through without being spy checked is beyond me.
Nov 19, 2008
Nov 18, 2008
Left 4 Dead is out, and it is without a doubt unbelievably cool. The premise of the game is that you are one of a group of 4 survivors and you're trying to survive one of the 4 campaigns that you are on. Each campaign plays out just like a zombie movie would, from the artwork right down to the campy dialogue between characters. Heck, the whole experience is like playing in a zombie movie, complete with movie credit-style statistics at the end of the campaign.
As you go through, you have to fight hordes upon hordes of zombies. On top of those there are several "boss infected", upgraded zombies with additional abilities. These include:
- Hunters - Zombies with the ability to jump long distances and pin down a survivor (and wail on him)
- Smokers - Zombies with really long tongues that can be used to snare and drag away a survivor.
- Boomers - Fat zombies with the ability to vomit goo on survivors. If vomited on, more hordes of regular zombies are attracted. Also, boomers explode when they take even the smallest amount of damage but spray goo everywhere in their explosion, giving them another chance to spray the survivors. I hate these guys.
- Tanks - The zombie equivalent of the incredible hulk. Holy crap are these guys scary.
- Witches - These crying abominations will remain stationary and leave you alone so long as you don't startle it. DON'T STARTLE IT. If you do, you've just forfeited your life. No joke.
Boomers. They always seem to somehow slime me and no one else. Not cool.
This game is insanely fun. There is an AI "Director" that changes up where things are located every time you play. Weapons, ammo and health packs are never in the same places. Zombie hordes are randomly sent on you and boss infected can spring up anywhere in any combination.
That, and you do this cooperatively - ideally with friends. You cannot win on your own in this game and you need to stay together with your team in order to survive.
I haven't even started playing the versus, where you have humans playing as the boss infected, but already I've had 2 moments that I had to take a step back and appreciate the awesomeness.
The first one, we had to lift a platform that we knew would attract a zombie horde. The only place we had to retreat to at this point had a witch (that we had previously snuck around). So we decide to hole up in a nearby gas station to give us some protection. Little did we realize that some of errant bullets were hitting the gas pumps, and the whole gas station exploded on us, killing 3 of the team. Top that with the fact that a boomer and hunter were harassing the lone survivor... I was shouting newer and more interesting profanities than I think I ever had before.
Secondly, we're in a hospital looking to use the elevator to get to the roof (to be rescued). We hit the call button on the elevator. Suddenly, a tank bursts through a wall Kool-aid man style right next to me. He proceeds to beat the crap out of me as I try really hard not to soil myself from the scare I just got. It was awesome.
The late 80's and early 90's were a simpler time for PC gaming. Kids these days are spoiled! You didn't have your quakes, steam valves, warcrafts or whatever it is you youngin's are into these day. Back in my day, you had DOS games and you liked it.
256 colors were considered a luxury. If you were lucky, you had mouse and/or joystick support (but not both!). Those were the good 'ol days. And now, one site has dedicated to recapturing the old
frustration magic that was DOS gaming. Behold, Abandonia:
The site has 948 games available for immediate download and enjoyment, and many more listed for posterity's sake. I'm kinda disappointed that they don't have the best DOS game, Commander Keen 4, but they do make up for it by having Commander Keen 6 - aliens ate my baby sitter. Time to go get my pogo and raygun on.
This oughta distract me while I patiently wait for Left 4 Dead to come out... holy crap, tomorrow!
Nov 17, 2008
Who's playing hockey? BEARS PLAYING HOCKEY! HOW CAN THIS BE?!?!
I have no idea if this is real or not. I honestly don't care. I need to believe that these are bears that have been taught to play hockey. Let me have this one, world.
Nov 14, 2008
Don't you hate it when you put food in a refrigerator, only to have it stolen or consumed by a roomate or co-worker? Someone at my work today certainly does. And they saw fit to leave a note on the fridge in order to guilt whoever did the dastardly deed.
Now, I'm very sympathetic to the person's frustration, but this is freaking hysterical. Full of dramatic self-righteousness, it reads like a tirade from Keith Olberman or Bill O'Reilly. Or at very least a pissed off LiveJournaler. I've reproduced the typed up note below, with the only change to remove my company's name... see for yourself what I mean:
Whomever helped themselves to my Coke - you stole from me. In fact, you stole right off my dinner plate, where the soda sat yesterday afternoon. Thank you for reminding me of the reality of the world, even this smaller [company name] community - that as much as I'd like to trust others, there are people like you that lack integrity and are not worthy of another's trust.
I think the reason it's so funny to me is because it's like this person filled out a bad Mad Lib. In fact, I'm making this a Mad Lib right now. Fill in the following words to complete your own refrigerator note below:
- Another object:
- Progressive verb (ending in -ing):
- Organization name:
- Plural Noun:
Whomever helped themselves to my [object] - you stole from me. In fact, you stole right off my [another object], where the [food] sat yesterday afternoon. Thank you for [progressive verb] me of the [noun] of the world, even this smaller [organization name] community - that as much as I'd like to [verb] others, there are [plural noun] like you that lack [virtue] and are not [adjective] of another's [noun].
Nov 13, 2008
Dayton, OH - Frank Peters, 38, is not the first man to be suspected of, and later admit to, multiple arson charges. He is, however, the first to claim that his work is art and thus should be protected under his first amendment rights.
"I consider myself an artist," said Peters to reporters outside the courtroom. "I use fire as a medium for me to communicate and really express myself. It sends a clear and unambiguous message to all who view it. And that message is: no."
Arson or art?Seeing as the remnants of his art are still smoldering around the city, this unprecedented legal defense has a few people up in arms. Not least of which is District Attorney Susan Guarez.
"I had [Frank] confessing to taking a job from a known mob boss to kill his wife in a house fire," Susan recalls. "And later, he recants saying instead that his 'business associate' had 'commissioned' him to do an 'art piece' in which his wife was to 'participate in'. He used air quotes and everything when he said it, too!"
"I wouldn't even be so upset if this wasn't crazy enough to work," Susan added after a moment of reflection.
No word yet on a verdict, as the jury deliberating for the past 2 days.
Nov 12, 2008
Treasury Secretary Paulson,
I'm writing you this open letter to apply for bank status so that I may be included in your bailout package. It is clear now that my investment into my 401k has been a reckless and regretful affair. In light of recent institutions also being granted this status, I feel it imperative that this application be approved as soon as possible to better stabilize both my own balance sheet, and the economy at large.
First, my qualifications:
- I hold frustratingly short hours only at times of day that are inconvenient to most people.
- I'm not morally opposed to charging people random fees for any kind of service.
- There is usually a bowl of hard candy and/or lollipops near my place of work at all times.
- I'm awesome at Monopoly.
If approved, I am asking for a mere $1,000,000 to help right my ship. Given that you've been distributing the better part of $2 trillion dollars with little or no transparency, this amount should be both large enough for my needs and small enough for no one on your end to really care.
With this money, I intend on buying many of these toxic, mortgage-backed securities for pennies on the dollar. Then, I plan on stuffing many of the deeds and contracts into envelopes and send them as junk mail to US citizens. Upon reaching their destination they will likely be thrown out or burned in the very homes they were used to help purchase, thus completing the circle of life.
And then, with the left-over $900k, I'm going to give myself a well-deserved $900k bonus for being such a huge success at everything.
I hope you'll consider my application for bank status as both something appropriate and necessary for the continuous function of the American economy. I look forward to your swift reply and, God willing, approval.
Nov 11, 2008
Found a fun little game in which you utilize physics to control the thighs and calves of a runner to make him sprint. It's called QWOP, because those are the keys you use to control him.
That's the theory of it. In practice, my runner has what we like to call "Uncontrollable Falling Down Syndrome" (UFDS), and as such I'd like to think that qualifies him for the special olympics. Oh, sure, I've been able to get him to go about 15 or so meters but sooner or later my guy just wants to fall down (against my will). Sometimes he just collapses, sometimes has an uncontrollable urge to do a sommersault and bang his head on the ground. Either way, I want to congratulate him for not crapping his pants.
WAY TO GO, SPRINTER GUY!
Nov 9, 2008
It had been a while since I've played around with Photoshop, so I decided to try my hand at this week's Cracked.com photoshop contest: if famous people got what they deserved. My entries are below.
I would seriously pay good money to see this show.
I'm surprised he hasn't already started doing this.
Dick Clark cannot die.
If he does die, do we turn his body into a giant puppet and keep going?
I honestly had a few more ideas, and may do them later, but the combination of football, work and Fallout 3 had sapped me of any desire to do any others. Also, zombies.
Nov 7, 2008
I realized something today. You have a tremendous opportunity to turn an obscure internet meme mainstream and get the strong attention of many in a prime demographic. I'm of course, talking of the rickroll.
I even have it envisioned. You get Fred Armisen or Bill Hader to address the camera for a PSA and talk briefly about the idiotic rickrolling internet craze and how to protect yourself from it. And then, in their closing remarks you say something to the effect of "And we at Saturday Night Live...... are going for the high score". Then immediately, the opening synth drums kick in and it cuts over to Rick Astley in studio doing "Never Gonna Give You Up" live. Bam, 10+ million people rickrolled.
There's really no downside here. Anyone who's not in on the joke will either write it off as an unfunny (but brief) sketch, or become educated. But more importantly, anyone under the age of 30 will be in on the joke, and will set the internet abuzz with the massive rickroll. Word of mouth on it would be huge.
And let's face it, SNL... you've gotten better in recent years. You're still not what you were in your heyday, but still very much funny, relevant and worth people's time. And that word of mouth might just be what you need to get more young people sticking around and falling in love with you.
I mean, seriously.
Nov 6, 2008
Valve's new highly-anticipated action/horror zombie fest, Left 4 Dead, releases November 18th. Essentially, zombies have run amok and it's up to you and 3 other people (or bots) to survive. Once the demo releases - tomorrow for those of you who preordered - we'll have a much better idea of how this actually plays out.
Nonetheless, I've compiled a list of tips ahead of time that are sure to be helpful to you.
1 - Get in the mood.
This is a zombie co-op survival game. What better way to enhance your playing experience than to listen to Thriller? In fact, go ahead and share the love with your teammates and mic blast the song as loudly as possible. They'll really appreciate it and thank you for being so thoughtful and considerate.
Actual in-game footage
2 - Find alternative means of conflict resolution
Any idiot can point a gun at the enemy, shoot and kill him. This is usually a poor means of conflict resolution as it leaves someone dead, and yet this seems to be the preferred method in Left 4 Dead.
Instead, try talking things over with your aggressors, and see things from their point of view. Don't be scared if they start to gnaw at your flesh - that's just their way of saying hello. I'm sure, with a little understanding and conversation, you'll realize that these aren't hordes of zombies out to get you, but hordes of people who really need a hug.
Somebody needs a hug!
3 - Communication is key. Always let teammates know exactly where you are
Left 4 Dead is a cooperative survival game, and that means you and your teammates need to know exactly where you are at all times. Fire your gun wildly into the air often. Remember, you'll be finding better ways of resolving differences with the living impaired so you'll have less of a need for ammo anyway.
With the sounds of errant gunshots, teammates and anyone else within a several block radius will be constantly alerted to where you are.
"Guys! I'm over here!"
4 - Improve the realism of the game and never use health packs
From reading others' impressions of the game, there are health packs available to heal up as you fight on through. These are the coward's way out, and by not using them you're better simulating what a real zombie apocalypse would be like.
And if you find your teammates using them, you need to take the initiative and hoard them. By taking them, you're removing any temptation and forcibly improving the realism of their experience. In the end, they'll thank you for that.
Not pictured: health packs. Because they're lame.
5 - Zombie check your teammates often
I don't know how many times I've played a game where I've turned a back on what I thought was a teammate only to find he was really on the other team. The fact that the enemies are zombies only up the ante on this. Ordinary zombies are one thing (you'll still want to hug it out), but zombies with guns are crap-your-pants scary and downright dangerous.
Fire rounds occasionally at teammates to be sure they're still on your team. If they start getting angry and cursing you, you can be sure that they're on your side. It may put a temporary strain on things, but you're looking out for the team on this one. It's for the greater good.
See? You can never be too sure.
Nov 4, 2008
I was trying to think of something funny/clever/ridiculous to write today and I honestly can't. The election has become all-consuming in my mind and now, just as the first polls are closing, I can't help but sit and watch. I've seen excitement today in others that is nothing short of unreal. It's infectious.
It's because of this excitement I know, before even the outcome of the election is known, this election has been a huge success. People are talking. The apathy is gone.
Finally, I feel I have a justified sense of optimism for the future of my generation, my nation, and myself. We care. I care.
Now, if only my guy will win this thing...
How we should do things in 2012.
Every 4 years, there is an event that captures us as a country. The American people come together to witness and partake in the enduring qualities that make us proud to be a part of this country. And the near constant media coverage is just icing on the cake.
But since the olympics are already over, the presidential election will have to do.
I don't care if you're busy, sick, dealing with biblical weather or dead... go vote today. Especially if you're dead, because that would be really impressive. Also, illegal.
And if you're still undecided on who to vote for, remember to write in Andrew W.K., the only candidate that will fight for Sweden make-outs.
Nov 2, 2008
I recently came back from my trip that took me from Georgetown to Georgia, visiting several universities to learn more about various MBA programs.
On the school end of the trip I visited 5 schools in total. I discovered that Duke's school of business was not for me, and I won't be applying. All the other schools rocked in their own different way, and I will be applying to them all. The list includes:
- McDonough (Georgetown's School of Business)
- Darden (University of Virginia's School of business)
- Kenan-Flagler (UNC's school of business)
- Terry (University of Georgia's school of business)
The highlight of these non-school musings was definitely spending Halloween in Athens, Georgia. Athens, for all intents and purposes, is a college city. So imagine a few thousand people my age all dressing up in costume and going to the bars. Even just chilling with a beer watching all the people walk by in their costumes was like an awesomely crazy parade.
My favorite part of Halloween, however, had to be just before me and my friend went out to the bars. We get dressed up in costume, him a fairly good replica of The Continental - an obscure Christopher Walken SNL sketch - and myself as the Burger King. We were hungry. And, well, this happened:
Needless to say, the people at McDonalds were pretty amused. The irony made the fries taste extra delicious.
Looking at the calendar, I'm a little late on sharing this prior to Halloween but this is seriously one of the funniest skits I've seen on SNL in a while: Vincent Price's Halloween Special. It's the kind of intelligently crude, laugh-out-loud comedy that's been sorely missing from the show in a while.
Save your sassy asides for your windowless bars.