mindstalk: Tohsaka Rin (Rin)
So, I finally finished the Lets Play of the Fate/stay night visual novel. That sentence probably made no sense to most of my readers, so let me expand:

Visual novel (VN): a Japanese thing I'm not that knowledgeable about. It could be as simple as a novel with graphics, simple animations, and sound (music and dialog). In practice, they usually have you make choices, so it's like a multimedia Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) novel. They're also thought of as a game -- and usually H (for hentai) or ero games, with some sexual content -- albeit ones with far more reading than playing. They also make use of running on a computer: as they're usually about relationships (as it were), you can accumulate relationship points with different characters, which affects branches later on, so it's a bit more complex than a CYOA book.

Fate/stay night: one particular VN by Kinoko Nasu. No one knows what the title means, if anything. The English translation has been described as 800,000 to a million words, twice as long as the Lord of the Rings. It has spawned an anime of the same name, which I'm told is not that good (though popular); a manga, about which I've heard nothing; a prequel light novel series called Fate/zero by Gen Urobuchi (basically canonized fanfic) which spawned an anime of its own; and most recently an anime Fate/Unlimited Blade Works based on the second 'route' of the VN, which I'll explain later. I've seen Fate/UBW (strong start, pacing lags later) and Fate/zero (just plain strong, though dark.)

I imagine that there might be some way to run the VN/game in a Windows environment on my Linux box, with the fan-made English translation files. But, that's a lot of work, and after playing the American-made Black Closet, I'm not sure "playing" this sort of game is really my thing. Happily, some heroic servant of the people made a walkthrough, aka a Lets Play, of the (fan-English) game, including all the bad endings and extras, but excluding the (allegedly bad) sex scenes. I started reading it over a month ago, on October 11th. Last night, I finished.

In addition to being long, the player had snarky comments about Nasu's "words word words", long (not that long) philosophical ramblings at times that didn't make tons of sense. So my ideas for snarky titles were Unlimited Verbiage (as above) or Unlimited Nasu Words, for a closer play on titles.

***

In addition to being longer than LotR, Fate/stay night could also be thought of as a trilogy, but in a different way. It's basically three different stories (also called 'routes') about the same characters and general events. Not three different perspectives on the same sequence of events (which could be interesting, and there is a bit of that in the prologue), but three different main sequences, branching based on early choices by the player. (I guess? I'm actually not sure if it branches solely on that; there seem to be aspects of three different related worlds, with differences that wouldn't depend on your choices. But, not sure, don't care enough to hunt it down.) Two of the routes also have two different good-ish endings each, and across all three routes there are 40 Dead Ends (you die) or Bad Ends (you otherwise fail). It's actually pretty channeled: you have to play the Fate route first, then the UBW route, then the Heaven's Feel route. Another reason I figured I might as well just read it.

So, was it good? It was engaging, at the very least: I didn't take a month to finish because I was slacking off in boredom. It does have flaws and confusing bits; never know what to attribute to the original author vs. the translator, I'd guess some of both. By the end of the UBW anime I was joking that the Holy Grail could punch holes in the plot, not just space.

It has more female roles than LotR, and strong ones. You play as Emiya Shirou (Japanese name order), a teenage boy, but interact heavily -- and not just sexually -- with various girls or women. Tohsaka Rin has been called the deuteragonist, as she plays a major role in all three routes, is the heroine (or love interest) of the second, and even gets to be the narrator in the prologue and one of the endings. (She's also an iconic character of tsundere, twintails, and zettai ryouki fashion... one of my early reactions to the UBW anime was "she's obviously tsundere, but I don't mind, because she's tsundere to *everything* and life in general, not just as a love interest.") And there's various other women, strong in combat, magic, and/or surviving a lot of crap. (And some of them do get a lot of crap to survive.)

It does pass the Bechdel test. I'm not sure it passes it often -- if two women are talking there's a good chance it'll be about Shirou, though "what an idiot" is more likely than "what a hunK" -- but it does.

Shirou's infamously sexist in some ways, like "girls shouldn't fight" despite the girls being able to fight on a completely different level than him, though someone on TV Tropes argues it's deeper than that: that he didn't want Saber fighting because she was *injured*, but (a) couldn't say that well (see: idiot) and (b) thought his life wasn't worth protecting. After barreling through the whole thing, I'm agnostic on the question, aka "I don't want to go back and re-read the first route to have an informed opinion."

The nature of the story allows it to plunder myth and legend at will. Sometimes brutally ("X was never like that!" people say, though I'm "eh, I can see it") but sometimes with research ("Y actually was described as a pretty boy").

It's inspirational: I imagine a lot of fanfic from it (though checking, not as much as I thought; it does rank higher in crossovers than on its own, which makes some sense), and have had some RPG inspirations of my own already. And I can see plundering some of the characters for future PCs. It definitely has memorable characters, of both sexes.

One cool thing for me is that at least three characters are basically Lawful Good (Saber is *officially* LG, she has a stat sheet in-universe!), with very different personalities, and none Lawful Stupid. (Shirou can be dumb but it's more your standard Shounen Stupid). I have an interest these days in how characters can be morally straight-and-narrow yet different people. (Nanoha is also good for that, and to a lesser degree Order of the Stick. Possibly superhero media in general, but that's less my thing.)

Basically, I had fun, and am glad I read it. Should you read it? I don't know if it's *that* good, objectively speaking. Would it be of interest if you hadn't seen related anime, as I had? I can't say.

I know I haven't described what it's *about*; there's a zillion other sources for that, though, so I was going for some underexploited angles, as well as "this was to my taste, if you like my taste you might too."

(Edit: one thing it's about is heroism and the sacrifices made for it. I'm not sure if it says anything deep or useful about it - -I've been more reading than thinking -- but that's definitely A Theme. Maybe even The Theme.)

The new icon is, of course, Rin, apparently giving one of her "now listen up, idiot" lectures.
mindstalk: (Default)
'During the 16th century the queen's move took its modern form as a combination of the move of the rook and the current move of the bishop.[12] Starting from Spain, this new version - called "queen's chess" (scacchi de la donna), or pejoratively "madwoman's chess" (scacchi alla rabiosa) - spread throughout Europe rapidly, partly due to the advent of the printing press and the popularity of new books on chess.[13] The new rules faced a backlash in some quarters, ranging from anxiety over a powerful female warrior figure to frank abuse against women in general.[14]'
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen_%28chess%29#History

2048x4

2014-Mar-22, Saturday 22:48
mindstalk: (frozen)
So there's this hot new game, 2048. First I said I wouldn't be part of the craze. But then I was.

Stage 1: I went on an intuition of combining numbers as opportunistically as possible. This got me to 512 and 5000ish points on my first attempt, 7 or 8k points on the 2nd, but getting past 512 seemed really hard; the board fills up with disjoint numbers.

Stage 2: In a comment thread I saw someone's simple algorithm for an AI:
go up if possible
if not, go left or right, depending on which consumes more numbers after an 'up' followup.
if all else fails, go down. Commentary was that you never want to go down if you can avoid it; logic wasn't given.

Spamming that got me to 13,000 points on the first use, and probably 1024. I know I've seen 1024, and I think the 10th Doctor on a Doctor Who clone (definitely the 9th, but that's like 512.) Further scores tended to be lower, around 7000, though having a dumb algorithm beat me was humbling. Couldn't get past 1024.

Then I thought about it again, inspired by a diagram I'd seen. And this works, so if you want to figure it out on your own, shoo.

Read more... )

With that I quickly got 2048. I don't remember if it was on the first attempt, but soon. Then again, and again, and again. Not quite in a streak, but close enough that it's not a fluke nor a mining of many attempts. Scores ranging from 22516 to 32908. 4096 seems a long way off, though.

Feels a bit like my nethack ascension. Played for years, then Ascended, then Ascended again. Something had clicked.
mindstalk: (kirin)
At a party tonight, people playing a homegrown version of Pictionary, basically Difficult All Play with made up words. A neutral player picks a word and shows it to the drawer of each team, and they race ot make the guesser say the word; no limit on the abstraction of the word. We saw expertise, irrelevant, vulgar, and tact (which was going on when I left.) The winners of the earlier words used "sounds like" techniques, e.g. Vulcan + car = vulgar. This was banned for the 4th round on the grounds of being too powerful. Progress by non-sounds like teams was, uh, amusing.

It occurred to me that "sounds like" is recapitulating the evolution of writing. First, pictures of concrete objects or verbs, then ideograms for the more suitable abstract concepts like 'up'... and then instead of arbitrary graphical symbols for the hard stuff, phonemic techniques to elicit the sounds of the arbitrary spoken word people already know.

This suggests a compromise, based on the vast majority of Chinese characters: people can use a partial 'sounds like' technique, indicating part of the sound but combining it with a other symbols that suggest the meaning domain. E.g. 'vulcan' + pictures suggesting politeness or rudeness or the populace.

NESFA game day

2012-Mar-04, Sunday 01:14
mindstalk: (void engineer)
Got there really late again, but chatted interestingly a bit about Somerville water supply, and Boston. Supposedly the Big Dig found *wooden* water mains still in use, not on any map, maybe dating to the early 1800s. Logs hollowed out, carved with male and female joints, and with iron banding around the join. Supposedly the hard water minerals precipitate out less, different surface chemistry, and as long as the pipe is below the water table and anoxic it doesn't rot fast. The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boston_Molasses_Disaster got mentioned too.

Played 3-player Settlers, one handily; played Zombie Dice, just lost; played my first Seven Wonders and tied for first. 49-48-44. Not that I had much clue of what I was doing. There were a bunch of anime-themed games around too: Anima, "Whack a Cat-Girl", another one based on a particular series. Also a Discworld board game, and Thud.

Met Ginnilee from the Bujold list, too.

links

2011-Sep-24, Saturday 01:16
mindstalk: (Earth)
SAD

Judge gives people a choice of jail or church for a year http://www2.wkrg.com/news/2011/sep/22/serve-time-jailor-church-ar-2450720/ You'll be unsurprised to learn it's Alabama.

Carbon credit land theft http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/22/world/africa/in-scramble-for-land-oxfam-says-ugandans-were-pushed-out.html


HAPPY

Non-violent first person shooters: http://www.popphoto.com/news/2011/09/warco-first-person-shooter-arms-you-camera-rather-gun
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_66/385-My-Hindu-Shooter

I've learned that the 'yucca' root I've eaten in restaurants is cassava, or 'yuca'. I'm horribly disappointed; as a one-time SoCal geologist, I'd seen eating yucca as revenge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassava

Funny used yoga mat ad. http://seattle.livejournal.com/6491700.html

From James, another link about the explosion of space probes and the modern golden age of space exploration. http://babelniche.wordpress.com/2011/08/03/the-robot-population-of-deep-space/

New Goya painting found via X-rays http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-15018174
mindstalk: (Default)
62 points! What I won the first game I played today at NESFA with, and it wasn't even close. Fairgrounds was in play, cost 6, and worth 2 points for every 5 distinct card types in your deck. I had 17 types, so they were 6 cost Provinces. And I had 6 Fairgrounds, plus two actual Provinces from when they had only one Embargo token, rather than 4. I also had 2 Gardens, a 4 cost card worth 1 for every 10 cards in your deck, and I had 40 cards. Curses help in a case like this. So I had 8 victory cards and 44 points that I'd bought at a 1:1 ratio. Plus a duchy and one remaining untrashed Estate.

Second game was more brutal but I came in 2nd, 30 to 28 to 26. When everyone has Smugglers the game gets more even, I guess.

Also played Quarriors, a "deck building" game with dice instead. Was fairly fun. Would have won if someone hadn't won right before me.

I'm told Somerville water has problems. Incoming water is good but pipes in old industrial land is dubious. Lucky I'm in Cmabridge, perhaps.
mindstalk: (Default)
The clubhouse of the New England SF Association is about a mile from me, and thus further from T stops. I did not know of or plan this, but it's convenient. A mile along the steep hill of Lowell street, mind you; I got my aerobics for the night. I went to the Wednesday meeting, got reminded of the Latin American businesses in the middle of Somerville, chatted, looked at the rather large library, saw their reprint collection, saw a bunch of people either older than me or kids, and played a couple games of Dominion, both of which I won.

First: 25 to I don't know (x2) to negative. I got City + 2 Mountebank combos more than once, giving me buying power and everyone else curses and diluted decks. Also got a bunch of Silver, and Expand cards, which upgraded Estates to Duchies and a Duchy to a Province. Everyone else was buying Watchtowers, which helped defend a bit, but didn't accelerate. We were playing Prosperity, but no one had the power to get Platinum or Colony, though I'd probably have Expanded to a Colony had the game gone longer.

Second game was closer, 33 to 30 to 26. I didn't buy any Mountebanks, but did buy Thief, which helped steal some silver and gold. A bunch of Lighthouses, though I still had 5 Curses at the end from the other Mountebanks. First card was a Monument, and I ended up with 8 VP chips from Monuments. Tactician + Vault + Shantytowns proved a good combination, Tribute a nice bonus.

NESFA has Rosemary Kirstein! I've never seen copies of her books before.
mindstalk: (gaming)
G S and I play Catan a lot, but it doesn't seem as good with 3 players. Partly the really open board, partly not many rolls between turns so hard to do stuff, and more chance of building up cards between every second turn and losing half. G' has learned, so we've played some 4 players games, but in a few days it'll be down to G S and G'. So we've been exploring how to improve the game. G's first was to have two deserts, replacing one fo the sheep tiles. This tended not to do much, as the deserts likely end up on the edge. Tonight we're trying having one of the deserts replace the innermost sheep, and this does make for tighter boards, though not so tight as to stop S's longest road.

My idea was to have a dummy placement, rolling to place two settlements of the unused color. G pointed out that they'd often end up in stupid places on the edge, but one can easily have them on the inner ring. (Roll 2 dice for a number, roll one die for vertes on an inner tile, or inner vertex for the 8 2 and 12 that always end up on the edge. For two deserts we take the 12 H out, and now add it to the 2 to make it more valuable.

Other houserules: re-roll 7s the first two turns... 3 turns now, after I pointed out there weren't many rolls with 3 players; we're still doing it even with a dummy roll, my other idea. Namely that the 4 player game is good, so we should try to emulate it as much as possible, so there's a roll after the 3rd player, where we get income. 7 moves the robber to the desert.

A suggestion we haven't used yet is having longest road and largest army being only 3 points together, rather than 4, after a string of games won on those plus 5 settlements and vp card, or 6 points on board, but we haven't decided.

[ETA] G notes that dummy settlements shut out game income, not just make the board tighter, and I don't like piling on house rules (e.g. food stamps) to fix house rules. Dummy rolls seem to work well, though in that case we should go back to having only 2 safe rounds, not 3. There may be a second player disadvantage: 1st gets best spot, especially when 3-commodity junctions seem rare, 3rd gets to coordinate. But hard to tell; second players have been visibly screwed by die rolls as much as anything else.

So current 'rules are second desert, one internal; H out of sequence and added to 2 (unless you end up with a 6 8 junction, in which case reverse); two rounds of re-rolling 7; dummy roll after 3rd player to generate more income between turns and more chances to more the robber]


Boring nerdy game retrospective.
I almost want to rant about our latest games, where rolls have been very odd; I've had good placements ruined by large spikes of 3 or 11, sometimes 9. Haven't won a game in the last 5. I've tried some odd port strategies, or being a stone baron -- 3 11 11 stone, I had 3 11, which we didn't roll. Last game went back to my pip dominated strategy, and did better, but G blew past somehow... lots of grain heavy games, too.

Been having *fast* games though, about an hour... last one was under 50 minutes. Third game tonight... I have great placement, but but we've rolled 5 9s in the first 7 rolls, and I'm not getting anything.... well, wasn't, game's doing better now. Now we've had lots of 5, as my hand of 4 stones indicates.

[ETA: S won, 7 on board, plus last minute longest road and VP card; I had 6, losing longest road, and was going to build at least another point; G 5. I placed first this time, G second; we never rolled 4, which hurt G a lot. I'm 0 for 6 now, though doing better these past two games. Under an hour again, maybe even less. Guess dummy roll means the income of 4 players, but 3/4 of the trade negotiations.]

Arimaa

2010-Jul-17, Saturday 01:25
mindstalk: (gaming)
At guild tonight, I played my first game of Arimaa (wikipedia, site rules) with Josh -- two games, actually. First games for him, too. I'd heard of it before, but neither of us knew any strategy for the first game. After that we skimmed wikibooks a bit, and played again. So we know that for the first game I basically stumbled doing a camel hostage on him, where my elephant trapped his elephant and camel. I'd managed to lose my camel earlier, so it should have been even on material, but my horse managed to lead my rabbit to victory. Helped by a final sacrifice (horse into trap, pulling enemy rabbit out of the way so I could advance), which he'd forgotten was possible -- though I think I had a guaranteed win at that point, if he'd played otherwise I'd have won too. I think. Second game I tried for a hostage situation deliberately, sort of pulled it off at a different trap than first planned, but managed to carelessly lose my camel again, and then other pieces. Not helped by my helping lyceum with her second game of Japanese mahjong, so my attention was very split. But still, was fun, would play again.

As the links will tell you, Arimaa is played with chess pieces, but totally different rules. Designed to be hard for computers to brute force, yet simple rules -- simpler than shogi or fairy chess, perhaps. A tricky bit for me was remembering that the pawns are rabbits, not pawns, and can move sideways. And you get four moves at a time, so a single piece can move pretty far.

Mahjong craziness

2010-Jul-13, Tuesday 23:18
mindstalk: (Default)
I've gradually been sucked into mahjong, since we watched Akagi in anime club a couple terms go. Not the common solitaire with mahjong tiles, but the actual Asian 4-player gambling game. Not that we gamble. Other people were playing in gamers' guild, I was a bit curious, and being friendly sometimes in providing a fourth person. Rules seemed pretty weird and arbitrary, especially compared to classical Chinese, which I started playing a computer version of. Eventually, though, I figured out how Japanese derives from Chinese, largely, and it makes somewhat more sense. And friends have been playing a lot, so I play with them. And then playing Japanese mahjong online vs. AIs for another fast-paced computer game.

So, two bragging points, if you know Japanese mahjong. The big one was on the computer.
Images need cut )

A hand that is a yakuman in two different ways. It's 4 concealed pungs (program says "consecutive"; program also says "ten api" for "ten pai" and clearly has English problems), which is a natural yakuman (13 yaku) and you shouldn't count anything else. But I didn't know that, and so was expecting
concealed half flush (one suit + honors) + all pungs (toitoi) + concealed three pungs + pung of seat and prevailing wind + riichi + tsumo + ippatsu (mahjong within first round after riichi) + pung of dora + pair of ura-dora =
3 + 2 + 2 + 2 + 1 + 1 + 1 + 3 + 2 = 17 yaku, though it hits limit at 13, kozoe-yakuman.
So it was yakuman two different ways.

The smaller coolpoint was tonight, vs. people, where actually I had a pretty crappy game -- I only won once, a shitty riichi hand, 1 yaku at 30, and ended up going bankrupt. But! I drew a starting hand that had 7 distinct terminals, including all 4 winds, and I ended up going for thirteen orphans. Almost made it, by the end I just needed one more tile, 9 pin... all 4 of which were in the discard pools, sadly. But the wall ran out, so I got tenpai.

A few weeks ago I had a 9 yaku hand in the group, dragon pung plus 8 dora. That's just crazy luck though. Dragon kang draws dora making that dragon dora... oops.
mindstalk: (lizsword)
* Zero fare public transit
* The Nation's shifting stance on public transit.

* Rolling Stone on AIG. Long and alarmed. And Salon on new populism. "A 2003 Gallup poll found that 31 percent of Americans believed they would become "rich" someday, including more than 20 percent of people who made under $30,000 a year." "In 2005, the top 1 percent of Americans made almost 22 percent of the nation's reported income, and the top 10 percent made half of it." "In 2007, the average S&P 500 CEO made 344 times what an average worker made. The top 50 investment fund managers made 19,000 times more than the average worker."
* The missing millionaire tax bracket. Plus household debt.
* Sweden's strong support for research, and willingness to let Saab fail. Who's the socialist country?

* Charles Schumer switched to supporting gay marriage.
* ACLU sues DA over "child porn" charges.

* An Afghan TV station was raised for not censoring "uncovered" women.
* Israel using white phosphorous in Gaza.
* Scalia's homophobia
* Morocco's crackdown on feminists, gays, Shiites

* Malnutrition in India
* Racial gap continues

* Darwin, statistics, and experimental design
* Voting rational -- if you're an altruist. My first thought was that this means most voters are altruists or out for their local benefits. Bad news for libertarians.


* Interesting links on myths about medieval Europe and the Renaissance

* Exalted sesseljae: "puppies that swim through organs".
mindstalk: (angry sky)
* Homeless in Suburbia, and Toronto's disappearing middle-class.
* No news link, but I think I've linked before to Detroit evaporating. Used to be our fourth largest city, I think, and we're just abandoning all that infrastructure. Then there's New Orleans. You know, the Dark Ages didn't happen overnight. Perhaps I should re-read Jane Jacobs' Dark Age Ahead.
* Obama's DoJ continues Bush arguments in rendition case.
* LAPD vs. animal cruelty. That sounds like a joke, but isn't.
* Indulgences are back!. Though they're not selling them.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_oldest_companies
* Yudkowsky's Type of Singularity. For completeness, report of mine.
* Yudkowsky "shocking" first contact novella.
* RPG setting: weakly psychic cats.
* RPG setting: "hard fantasy" with Neanderthal orcs.. And my contribution.
* Haiku/Celestial Bureaucracy moderator action.
mindstalk: (Void Engineer)
I got two new LJ friends overnight. This is unusual. Dare I ask who and why?

We played my new copy of Pandemic, the "cooperative Risk", last night at Guild. It went pretty well and matched the linked review. We barely won the first time, lost the second. Turned out we'd been playing a bit wrong, letting players hold more than 7 cards between turns after a Share Knowledge action, but they should discard down to 7 right away, so the reported "game wins" ratio of 4/5 seems roughly plausible. The players win if they find all 4 cures; the game wins if a disease gets out of hand, there are 8 Outbreaks... or the players run out of cards to draw. Budget simulation? Keeps the game length capped, but the game might be easier with some houseruling, like reshuffling the discards once, or getting to play out your hands. Conversely, if that time limit is removed, the player goal might shift to eradicating all four diseases, not just finding cures; don't know how hard that'd be.

My Lunar Exalt requires completion.

There's been minor updates to my surprising ignorance thread; feel free to chip in if you have new stories.

* Peter Watts defends Bush. Well, says they were a very successful administration, in terms of their goals. Not quite the same thing.
* Long anti-Bush rant.
mindstalk: (still life)
Right as I got to Samira to meet lyceum, I got a mystery call. Turned out to be from some Comcast employee (exec?) in Pennsylvania, who'd seen my earlier LJ complaint, and was calling to see if he could help. That's kind of neat. Not as neat as an actually smooth changeover system, but still.

Samira buffet: still tasty. Best parts for me are the chicken -- especially fatty skin bits that have fallen off bigger pieces -- and the cucumberish salad. For the first time, I saw smaller chuncks of chicken in with the fried pieces, yellow mild curry things.

Real sunken continents! Zealandia and Kerguelen.

Administration claims immunity to the 4th Amendment. Can I start talking about traitors yet?

Pharyngula coins an acronym: SIWOTI syndrome.

Article on the farm bill and a (foo) Dakota family that avoided the temptation of subsidized corn.

There may be a bottleneck in building top quality nuclear reactors. Unlike a_steep_hill, I don't see that as a good thing.

Me on how I'd be happier if a lot of "science fiction" was called something else. Or if I thought of space opera as its own genre, not a flawed subgenre of science fiction.

59% of US doctors favor national health insurance.

I could do better, but something I wrote about why I like the Exalted setting.

A one-way mirrored public toilet

Ancient Mideast water delivery and storage and air conditioning tech.
mindstalk: (void engineer)
So, I was thinking about my ridiculous 2:1 win/loss ratio in computer Catan, and I realized something crucial. The AIs don't trade. Oh, they'll trade with me when I ask for it on my turn, and I see messages about their using 4:1 trade or ports. But I never *get* trade requests and I don't think they're secretly trading with each other. That's why the games end in 15 minutes; they're not just faster decision-makers, they're skipping a key part of the game, and not benefitting from trade when it would be most useful to them.

So much for having evidence that I'm an awesome Catan player.
mindstalk: (gaming)
What have I been up to? Sometimes, too much game playing. Not immediately recently, actually, but a bit ago. Ubuntu Linux makes it easy to install and try out lots of free games.

Bunch of semi-coherent ejaculations of experiences not worth polishing )
A Eurogamer's take on Go is a funny review of the game, even if you don't know the rules. This is less hilarious but still amusing, and says "Chess has been described as being a knifefight in a telephone booth", which seems apropos.

Which leads us to, hey, Go. I'd been playing Go on my laptop, losing at 3 stones to gnugo, and getting tired and annoyed. Well,one nice thing about computers/robots is that you can completely abuse them: I gave myself 9 stone handicaps and beat it a lot, for the sheer visceral pleasure of going stompy-stompy. Also to see how much I could win by, with a score difference ranging from under 100 (huge, for Go) to 300 a couple of times (ridiculous.) And once I made it resign early on, which shocked me as I hadn't known it could do that. The game was nowhere near to being conventionally done, but gnugo is apparently able to recognize when it's totally screwed, as it was, with a handful of dead stones, maybe one sort-of live group, and no room left anywhere to plausibly get life.

Well, after bullying the poor emotionless program for a while, I started easing up. 7 stones, 5 stones, 3 stones... and know what? The experience of ruthlessly exploiting advantage apparently paid off, because I found myself soaring past the prior point of frustration and being able to play evenly. In fact, a couple of days ago I switched to playing as white, and so far I've won more often than not. So I've learned something, and I think it is a generic something about denying eyespace, guaranteeing my own, cutting enemy grroups and connecting my own, building and using walls more effectively, rather than just exploiting the computer's quirks, which I'm actually not aware of.
More randomness )

I'd like to play the Buffy game again. Haven't in a while. Hey, I gave a copy to Fanw, and I'm going to Boston!
mindstalk: (CrashMouse)
Huh, I just found that the farmer's market has been open from 8-1pm this year, not 7-noon. Effect of Indiana going onto DST, I assume. The Oct/Nov market is open 9-1 instead of 9-noon. Produce is mostly squash, some boxy tomatoes, and greens I don't eat. My usual grass-fed beef sources weren't there, but a new one was, Padgett Farms. Lots of egg sources but I've got over a dozen in the fridge. Honey, elk. Also a soup tasting on the side, with samples from various restaurants or inns (like the Grant Street Inn; can you go in there to dine?) I didn't see any locals I recognized, though a girl at the tasting looked a lot like mrs_feltner back in her brunette days.

Last night I finally went to Baked. I feel my cookies weren't as good as Insomnia's, but it's not a controlled test -- perhaps butterscotch chips weren't such a great idea. Insomnia doesn't let you specify your own cookie types or get nuts. It does let you buy *one cookie* as opposed to a meal's worth.

Boring board game gloating )

Exalted picture meme

2007-Jul-18, Wednesday 08:05
mindstalk: (robot)
Because it's awesome. If your screen is short enough to make you scroll, do so slowly, savoring the panels until you get to the end.

Teh Awesome )