Rob Vincent dot net

left head right head

April 9, 2008

Note to self.

Rob @ 8:44 AM

Next time I fall down my back stairs, I must remember to land somewhere other than on my bad knee.

Also, ouch.

April 8, 2008


Rob @ 8:01 PM

If you have ever played and enjoyed early 1980s video games, and you're into downloading an awesome, tiny piece of Windows freeware, check out ROM CHECK FAIL. In this game, a handful of old arcade and console classics have been mixed and mashed into a glitchy extravaganza.

The game, the environment, and the enemies constantly switch as the game glitches over and over. You might find yourself controlling Super Mario in a Pac-Man maze, or the Space Invaders ship fighting Gauntlet ghosts. This deceptively simple idea translates into an insane gaming experience whether you play for a quick fix or a longer session.

The controls are easy enough. ALT+Enter will toggle full-screen mode. Arrow keys move whichever character you're controlling in whatever directions it is able. The space bar is the action button to shoot, jump, swing a sword, or whatever else depending on your character. Fight off the baddies as well as you're able. If you're unable to fight them, just try to avoid them until the next glitch.

There are lots of glitchy rapidly flashing things, so if that bugs you then leave it alone. Otherwise, grab it right away.

I haven't laughed out loud this much while playing a game in far too long.

April 5, 2008

NYC2600 night, and related rambling

Rob @ 11:50 PM

Last night was 2600. It was a very thin meeting thanks to Notacon, and possibly to a far lesser degree some big sports games that were apparently also going on.

It was a fun meeting anyway. I chalked up another dozen or so additions to the list of people I owe apologies to for the unnecessary Rickrolling. Also caught up with a few of the crew I hadn't seen in far too long.

After the festivities, I stopped back at kat's place in order to pick up a server case she had wanted to sell. (In fact, that case sparked our meeting in the first place. Hooray for unexpected geek friendship!)

The thing is fairly massive - a big black monolithic computer shell, about 2.5' high, by 1.5' deep and 8" wide. (Those of you who are used to a normal-sized desktop PC tower, picture it about twice as tall and bulkier.) The trip downtown to Penn Station from her apartment was an experience. The case is a bit heavy, and fairly awkward to keep a grip on; I should have brought a pair of knobbly furniture-mover gloves or something. It didn't help that I was in my thick black trenchcoat due to a rainy forecast, but it ended up being a warm and humid night.

I arrived at Penn Station, sweaty and a bit tired, at about 2:40AM. (I had been up since 6AM or so that morning.) My final night train back home had just left, and the next one wasn't until 4:54 AM.

This is a familiar situation to anyone who commutes between Long Island and New York City often. Penn Station is equipped with some all-hours restaurants and things, but they completely fail at providing for the needs of their nocturnal commuters. The bastards who run the LIRR side of the station close the waiting room and restrooms at 3AM, leaving the nightly complement of stranded commuters to sit on a gritty tile floor, up against filthy walls and posts, amongst the standard cast of drunks and other social irritants, with the monotony broken up by irritable and mostly ineffectual transit cops.

None of this is usually any sort of big deal for me. I have no trouble killing time in Midtown Manhattan. However, I now had my server case with me. So, I had to stick with two of my other favorite things: people-watching and sleeping. I put down my case up against a post, sat on the floor with my back against the case, and chilled out for a couple of hours.

I was seated right across from the transit cops' podium, facing the storefronts. I usually plant myself there when crashing in Penn for a few reasons;

A) It's the best view of the general area and the display board.
2) It's pretty central to all the tracks, so when mine was announced I'd be able to get there easily.
d) Testing my theory that there's no better way to lose a cop's interest than to make yourself part of their scenery.

That theory still stands, in a big way. There I was, big sweaty me with dark circles under my eyes, in a big black coat, traveling alone, carrying a huge piece of what appeared to be some sort of heavy electronic equipment, speaking to nobody but often curiously looking around the station, and I never even got so much as a second look from any of the cops. I was fully prepared show the cops what I had when asked, but they never did. Many times when I've crashed out in other parts of the station carrying a backpack, cardboard box, or even something so innocent as a bookstore shopping bag from the station's own bookstore, I've been approached and even kicked awake by patrolling transit cops and been ordered to submit my property for search by the ham-like hands of the law. But whenever I set up camp right in their full view, they completely ignore me.

I caught an hour or so of sleep, meditated for a while (grounding and centering in a place like that is a unique experience,) had some hot dogs, did a lot of people-watching, and eventually got on my LIRR train home.

A bit of background: the first early-morning train on any given line of the Long Island Railroad is unofficially known as the "drunk train," especially on weekends. Most of its passengers are headed home after a long night of partying, are completely blotto off their faces, will probably sleep through their stop, and are probably on the wrong train anyway. Often the floor of this train will be graced with mysterious puddles of all manner of liquids spilled from cans, bottles, and people. The mood on the drunk train is either really quiet as the hangovers set in, or really loud as people bring their parties onto the train.

I would normally have slept the hour or so that trip usually takes, but a couple of rows of seats in front of me were populated by US Marines in full uniform, all talking shop.

Those guys could talk. A lot. Loudly. The rest of the passengers were mostly of the hangover-setting-in variety who just wanted to pass out, but those guys were keeping everyone up as they seemed to use all manner of voice-projection techniques straight out of ancient European stage productions in order to speak to the guys sitting next to them. Their voices carried throughout the entire train car. It was like a roomful of Loud Kiddington from Histeria.

You could tell that many of the passengers were in fact really pissed off by their yammering, but who the hell is going to tell half a dozen Marines in camo to shut the hell up? Not the hell me.

Fun facts gleaned from this particular batch of shouty Marines:

  • The film Jarhead is apparently the most accurate portayal of Marine life on film. When the film was released, Marine Corps recruiters swore up and down to their prospective recruits that the film was completely false, and that the USMC was considering suing the filmmakers for defamation. Said recruiters were lying through their teeth. One of said recruits wishes he could go back in time and kick said recruiter's ass, and then kick his younger self's ass for enlisting.
  • There are few things that piss these guys off more than the Marine Corps' own TV recruitment ads, and they immediately change the channel whenever one comes on.
  • Marines pool and share their knowledge of where the local uniform groupies and hookers are.
  • One of their number once had live ammunition planted in his things by superiors, and then punished for it, as an excuse to punish him for something else they disapproved of but weren't allowed to punish him for. Everyone was okay with this.
  • When any of these guys misremembered something or otherwise misspoke, they didn't use the traditional "wait, I mean.." or "no, excuse me, actually it was.." sort of statement to correct themselves. It was always "I'm lying." As in "It was on Tuesday - I'm lying. It was on Wednesday." "We were watching channel four - I'm lying. It was channel five." And so on.
    Something about that really bugs me for some reason.

Anyway, I stumbled home at around 6AM, and found a place of honor for the new tower in my workshop. Thanks again, kat! I love my future Super Computer Thinking Machine!

I then briefly reacquainted myself with a bottle of ginger ale I forgot I had here, and quickly fell into the sleep of the temporarily dead.

April 3, 2008

…just a limburger

Rob @ 10:06 AM


April 2, 2008

Sad but true

Rob @ 11:00 AM

I smiled sadly.

Dr Seuss: Stop Making Movies About My Books (The Onion)

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