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Hamumu Journal
Data Input01:16 AM -- Wed January 5, 2011

Here's the data I am feeding into my brain this week (I'm no bibliographer, so I will just italicize the titles of every form of media):

Reading:
  • Button, Button - Uncanny Stories by Richard Matheson. These are some very odd stories. Really.

  • Just finished that today and started Anathem by Neal Stephenson. His Cryptonomicon is one of the best books in the universe, and is enormously massive, just like this book. I don't think I'll be done with this book very soon.
Watching:
  • There are a whole bunch of different TV series we flip through lazily whenever we have time (on Netflix streaming, and occasionally on disc). I guess of recent differentness, we fairly recently started Parks and Recreation which is very funny, and got a whole lot better in season 2.

  • We also tried the first couple episodes of Terminator, which seems... questionable and depressing.

  • On a similarly maudlin note, we occasionally advance through Stargate Universe (having seen every episode of all previous Stargates). It's not amazing, but I remain interested to see what will happen.
Playing:
  • WoW always.

  • Lego Indiana Jones has been about 80% done for a very long time and I want to finish it, but I got a new TV as an amazing Christmas surprise, so now I don't really want to play PS3 games until the HDMI cables I ordered finally show up. I always crank through and collect everything in Lego games, so I have the first 2 movies 100% collected, and I'm about halfway through the 3rd movie.

  • NyxQuest I got in the big Steam sale that is destroying my industry. It's got cool inventive puzzle stuff, but it feels kind of boring/awkward to actually play. Boring because of the style, which is very bland, and awkward because it's very zoomed in - you have the ability to cover incredible distances with your wings, but you can't see very far at all. But it's not bad... just not sure yet.

  • Super Meat Boy, the game that I finally got to run after many days of fiddling and updates and help forum ideas. Well, I think so... I recently tried to play again and it just sat there on the loading screen for 5 minutes before I gave up. When it did work, load times were horrific. As many have said, the fact that you respawn instantly and the levels are short makes up for the difficulty a lot and keeps it fun. Or it does until you sit there for a minute loading! The loads are awful! The most frustrating part was a bonus level where you had 3 lives (a series of bonus levels, each with 3 lives), and if you ran out, it loaded the menu screen (30 seconds or so), then you clicked it again to retry (1 minute or so). Absolutely maddening. Also, I've beaten the first boss, and that was not fun at all, nor was it short. Replaying that boss level 150 times was really unpleasant, and to cap it all off, the very reason I kept replaying it - the fact that when you win you get to see all your failed runs repeat simultaneously - doesn't actually happen on a boss level. I kept thinking "Well, it'll sure look cool when I finally make it!" And nope, it didn't. That load time combined with the technical problems just makes it a little too aggravating to really want to play, even though I do want to do the actual hopping around that the game contains. Not that it matters, I don't think it runs anymore anyway. I play NyxQuest simply because I know it works (and loads super fast!), even though I'd rather be engaged in the gameplay of Super Meat Boy. Really lame.

  • Rock Band 3 is so far a massive disappointment. I'm excited about the new instruments (except I don't own them), and I like the tons of new songs. But they totally destroyed all the great quality of Rock Band 2. The new character builder is not even a spit in the eye of the previous one, the menus are absolutely incomprehensible, the 'tour' mode isn't even a mode, it's ... nothing, really. You just play songs and then it says "You earned spiked bracelets!" It's so frustrating that they had a great system and decided new was better than good. I would absolutely rather play Rock Band 2 at this point, except for the new songs and the fact that it converted all my downloaded songs, so I'd have to redownload them. I have a MIDI keyboard (and a MIDI->USB adapter!) that I was excited to use on it, and that too was a letdown - turns out you need to buy a special $40 adapter to use your own keyboard, not just a regular MIDI->USB. Still, beats an $80 official Rock Band keytar! Not that I'll be getting either anytime soon. Ah, but I rant. I am trying to give it a try and learn the weirdness of it. It is fun to have a reason to rock again, and at its core, it is Rock Band - you hit the drums when the notes come down, and you enjoy the music. And the concept of the pro modes is amazing, I would love to be getting a little real with it. I hope someday I can try.
Listening:
  • I couldn't really give specifics, I just listen to all my CDs on random play (well, ripped onto the computer - who listens to physical media!?). I don't do internet radio or anything, so I never learn about new music. It's rather sad.

  • But what I listen to much more is podcasts! I don't have any recent new ones, but of the ones I always am listening to, the ones I am willing to recommend publicly include The Skeptic's Guide To The Universe, Stuff You Should Know, Film Sack, The Naked Scientists, Skeptoid, This American Life, and Hypothetical Help. That's a nice collection of funny and informative. I love listening to podcasts. I usually fail to pay attention, but every so often I accidentally do, and I learn things on accident! They're great when driving, since then I do pay attention, because who wants to pay attention to a boring old road anyway? They're kinda nice when running too, but I tend to run more effectively with music. I also can't code with podcasts on. Left brain/right brain, you know. They're great when drawing, useless when coding.
And there you have it, the data being fed into my CPU this week. Don't worry, I won't tell you weekly. Most of it will be the same next week, anyway.
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