free site statistics Fires of the Frozen Lower Blogosphere: August 2005 <bgsound src="" loop="infinite" />

The Lower Blogosphere Burns with the Intensity of a Thousand Suns.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Yes, at long last, my non-award winning game is online! Play it by clicking here. Also, it only works in Internet Explorer. I know, I hate it too. But when I started the thing, Firefox was years away and IE was... tolerable.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sweet Cuttlefish of Calcutta!

That's right, for the first time ever, this blog now has an open thread! Many people had to put in overtime, millions of taxpayer dollars were expended, and over 20,000 chickens were put to death out of fear that they carried the rampant bird flu. But none of that matters now; bloggers (and anyone else with Internet access) can now talk openly on this blog about anything. Speaking of which, I'm going to soon post my JavaScript-based Cuttlefish game. It took some time to make, but I should have it online in the next few days. Don't wait up.

New York City Body Massage

Finally, my vacation is over! These last four days in New York City have been truly amazing. Well, technically they were time consuming and uneventful; but that’s hardly my fault. I went everywhere: Chinatown, little Italy, and the south street seaport. I also went to where the World Trade Center used to be. There’s still an American flag there, waving proudly.

One of the highlights of my trip was the street fair at the south street seaport. They sold everything there: clothes, food, CDs, food, posters, food, toy cars, and did I mention food? There were also – and I’m not messing with you – two massage booths. You haven’t really been to New York City unless some guy walks up to you in the middle of the street and offers you a massage. I also saw another incredible sight later at the gas pump, where it was over $3 a gallon. Good thing I never pay for gas.

But while things in New York City are at times, expensive and/or weird, it’s still one of the best places on Earth (Definitely one of the best cities in the country). The food, the architecture, the fluorinated water, the beautiful pink midnight sky. You can’t go wrong with NYC. But for your own sanity, it’s best not to drive through Manhattan during rush hour.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I Can't Legally Buy Highlighters

Does anyone out there play Diablo? I've thought about buying it for some time, and so today I decided to finally buy the Diablo Battle Chest. I went into Wal-mart, picked up a copy, and went to pay for it. Then the trouble started. Diablo is rated “M” because it contains “Animated Blood and Gore”. When I pulled out my wallet, I was immediately asked for an ID to prove that I was over 18. This was, shall we say, problematic, because I never bothered getting a driver's license. And no, apparently they don't accept college IDs. Because without a driver's license, I could just be a fifteen year old. A six foot tall fifteen year old with my picture on a college ID. The only two IDs they accept are driver's licenses and non-driver ID things that are issued by the DMV. I ended getting Diablo anyway, though. Take that, Wal-mart!

But games that are rated “M” aren't the only thing you can't buy when they think you're under 18. And no, I'm not talking about alcoholic beverages. The cashier told me about how teenagers would buy white out, highlighters, and other office products, and smell them until they got high. As a result, the sale of white out and highlighters are restricted. Because in the eyes of the law, playing a computer game is the same thing as sniffing glue. And on top of all that, the sales tax was 8%.

So what I really want to know is who comes up with this stuff? Is this a state law or a federal law? Who do I go to to complain? Why am I paying taxes on things I can't buy? And since when does Wal-mart carry good computer games?

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Two Days Ruined by Insidious Insect

Ever play with a grasshopper? Maybe one day, back in third grade, you picked up a small cricket of some kind, just to see how it would react to being put into a plastic-bottle terrarium. Or maybe you just wanted to see how far you could throw it. Either way, there's something you should know: it's back, and this time it's personal.

It was an ordinary Thursday. I minded my own business and didn't bother anyone. But then night came, and the chirping started. I'm used to hearing bugs outside, making their noises all night, but this one was right on my windowsill. It was a cricket or grasshopper, but whatever it was it was annoying. Imagine the person you hate most in the entire world. Now, imagine them scraping their nails across a huge chalkboard. Now imagine a police siren in the background. You might be thinking to yourself, “why not open the window and crush it with your angry fist?” Well, it turns out that this particular bug chose to make it's new home on the window with my air conditioner in it. The thing is sealed in with caulk and glue and I had to put a layer of clay over the edges just to keep the bugs out. So there was no way to open the window without taking out my air conditioner during the middle of the hottest summer in history. I was left with no choice but to wait it out. After smacking the window and air conditioner a few times, it got the message and shut up long enough for me to get to sleep. But Friday I wasn't so lucky.

It started chirping when the sun went down, just like on Thursday. I thought that it would have flown away, maybe to eat, but this wasn't a normal insect... it was pure evil. After banging on my window for about a half hour, it became apparent that I couldn't get it to stop. Once again, I tried waiting it out. I watched T.V. I turned up the volume. I turned the lights on and off. By 4 a.m. I realized that this grasshopper had challenged me to a battle of wills. And I was losing.

Taking what was left of my dignity, and also my pillow, I went to sleep in a different room. But as I walked out, I turned to the window and shouted (well, not shouted, since it was 4 a.m.) “I'll get you yet, you fiend!” I knew that in it's own, evil way, the cricket was laughing. That laughter ended four hours later, when my air conditioner was coated with pesticide. I haven't heard any chirping since.

Evil Cricket, I cast you down into the Fires of the Frozen Lower Blogosphere!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Which Browser Do YOU Use?

Browser Call...

Well? Which browser do you use?

Internet Explorer

Search The Internet

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Microsoft Hates Me on a Personal Level

I set up the blog. I chose a title. I edited the template. Then, last but not least, I wanted the title to look really cool. I have this really great font, “Knights Templar”, that just made the title look perfect. But then my brain has one of those really annoying “What If?” things, and I realize that while I am free to enjoy the beauty of Knights Templar, other people might not have that font. Knowing a bit about web design, I come to two simple conclusions: either find a way to embed the font, or make the title an image. Microsoft makes embedding fonts easy; they have a program that creates these stupid little *.eot files out of a font and then you can use CSS to declare new fonts based on those files. “That's perfect!” I thought to myself. Now others could see my blog just as I intended it to be seen! But there's a catch to this code- it was invented by Microsoft, and is therefore incompatible with every other browser. Being a staunch Firefox user, I am appalled by the very thought of using such an outrageously inferior browser as Internet Explorer. So while it would be extremely easy to embed my font, I decided on the latter option. I would make an image.

It was the perfect image, crafted in Photoshop. It was the right size, the right color, and beautifully rendered. But then I ran into the same problem I always have when I want to make transparent images with text: when you save them as GIFs, they always look jagged and that's just plain stupid. JPEGs (as any idiot can tell you) would give me the color quality I need, but they lack transparency. They're not even translucent. “Fools!” I say. “That will never work!” So I finally settle on a PNG image. PNGs have the great coloring of JPEGs, and also transparency. So, I convert the perfect image into... a PNG. It looks great, loads fast, and the quality is virtually identical to the original that I made in Photoshop. That's when Microsoft came up behind me and smacked me in the back of the head.

Every time that I make some new piece of code, I test it in every browser I have to make sure everyone can see it. The PNG looked great in Firefox, but then I loaded it in Internet Explorer. The whole thing had a weird whitish background! I screamed and slammed my angry fist as fast as I could at the object nearest to me, which painfully turned out to be my desk. I spent the next few minutes trying to figure out if I needed a different conversion program, or if my suspicions were correct and Microsoft planned this years in advance just to anger me. It turns out that Internet Explorer can't, and never has been able to, render transparent PNGs the right way. Microsoft doesn't know how to make it recognize alpha transparency or some stupid thing like that. A little more searching and I found some JavaScript code that would fix this problem. Twenty puny lines of free code did what a huge company like Microsoft couldn't. Of course, the code won't work if JavaScript is turned off. But then again, anyone smart enough to disable JavaScript in Internet Explorer would already be using Firefox (or Camino, or Mozilla, or Netscape, etc.).

But no matter how horrible Internet Explorer is, it has one redeeming quality: It's not Opera. No, I take that back. Opera renders PNGs the right way. Internet Explorer is below even Opera. You hear that, Bill Gates?! You're worse than Opera!

Paid for by Opera, the greatest web browser to ever exist in the history of humanity.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Post of Doom

From the fires of the lower blogosphere, I commandeth thee: Comment thine misbegotten jabberings! Comment like never before; lest this be the day the fires of the lower blogosphere consume you!