Yes We Can

Twice in my life I have had the profound sensation that I was witnessing history play out in front of me. September 11, 2001, and just now.

I'm proud of my country for the first time in waking memory.

Weird Al Originals

Let's take a look at how many songs on Weird Al's albums are original works, versus how many are direct parodies. Shall we?

Polka Party! (1986)
Total songs: 10
Originals: 5 (Dog Eat Dog; One of Those Days; Don't Wear Those Shoes; Good Enough For Now; Christmas At Ground Zero)

Off the Deep End (1992)
Total songs: 11
Originals: 5 (Trigger Happy; I Was Only Kidding; When I Was Your Age; Airline Amy; You Don't Love Me Anymore)

Alapalooza (1993)
Total songs: 12
Originals: 7 (Young, Dumb and Ugly; Frank's 2000" TV; Traffic Jam; Talk Soup; She Never Told Me She Was A Mime; Harvey the Wonder Hamster; Waffle King)

Bad Hair Day (1996)
Total songs: 12
Originals: 6 (Everything You Know Is Wrong; Callin' In Sick; Since You've Been Gone; I'm So Sick Of You; I Remember Larry; The Night Santa Went Crazy)

Running With Scissors (1999)
Total songs: 12
Originals: 6 (My Baby's In Love With Eddie Vedder; The Weird Al Show Theme; Germs; Your Horoscope For Today; Truck Drivin' Song; Albuqerque)

Poodle Hat (2003)
Total songs: 12
Originals: 6 (Hardware Store; Party At The Leper Colony; Wanna B Ur Love; Why Does This Always Happen To Me?; Bob; Genius In France)

Straight Outta Lynwood (2006)
Total songs: 12
Originals: 6 (Pancreas; I'll Sue Ya; Virus Alert; Weasel Stomping Day; Close But No Cigar; Don't Download This Song)

So there you have it. Just about half of Al's total songs have been direct parodies, although many of his originals are done in the style of another artist (without using their music or lyrics). And this is even factoring in his polka medleys. Or, at least on the albums of which I have working knowledge. I've never really listened to the really really old stuff.

So I'm awesome and you're an idiot, Matt. I'm awesome because I know way way more about Weird Al than you. And because I know all the words to most of these songs. And because I typed this post while wearing Dr. Mario underwear.

Friends locked up in Femiscyra.

For no reason at all, here are what your various teammates say when you pick them to be locked up in the Femiscyra dungeon during one of the scenarios in Dragon Quest IV, in approximate order of hilariousness (by the way, my heroine's name is Li-Mae):

Kiryl: Always the Goddess is watching over us. Here I wait and pray that suspicions against us are soon vanished.

Meena: I can able to see in the mists of clarity that the criminal has traveled to south. Li-Mae. Track this naughty-naughty man down, please.

Ragnar: Losh! I cannae believe I'm here in jail suspected o' cheggin'. Ye've got tae set aboot findin' the real thief an' provin' ma innocence, Li-Mae.

Torneko: I knew it! I knew it'd be meself that ye'd be choosin' to lock up. 'Tis Murphy's Law, so it is. But I believe in ye. Ye'll find the crook an' free me from this hole soon enough.

Maya: No! Don't be leaving me in here! This is obviously a nonsense! Oof, I am hating you now, Li-Mae!

Alena: Never am I forgiving this thief for accusing wrongly myself and companions. But I must to admit that novelty of being in jail for first time is interesting one.

Borya: Never did I imagine I am in jail at this age of my life. But I can be glad for respite of protecting Tsarevna if I am secure behind bars.

(By the way, go buy DQ4. Like right now. Thanks.)

Let's Play! ...and other things.

Been a while since I did a good ol' fashioned mystery meat post.

New favorite pasttime: writing Let's Play! things. (Don't know what those are? Go here.) This is a thing the Something Awful forums cooked up a few years ago, and on a lark I decided to do one on the Gamespite forums because that's where I chill. Then the forums EXPLODED with people doing LPs, there are something like 30 going right now, and the webmaster had to create a subforum for them. So now, a few months later, I'm doing Suikoden and it's pretty awesome.

I'm also experimenting with Youtube videos. I've got about half of a "Mega Man 3 played at 150% speed" LP up there already, and I record a new level every couple nights. I can't link to them because I'm at work and the yubertubers are blocked, but go do a search for something like "brickroad snake man" and you'll find the first one probably.

LPs are fun because they let me do something creative and video-game-y without an overwhelming time commitment, and they're a passive experience so people are willing to point their eyeballs at them.

(That Let's Play! Archive is only for the Something Awful guys, even though the website states differently. I e-mailed the guy offering to put my FF1 run up and he was like "lol no".)

Last week was vacation. I was in the mood for roller coasters so I drug my girlfriend, my parents, my brother and his girlfriend all the way to Orlando to check out Islands of Adventure. Honestly I thought that park would have more coasters than it did. We still had a blast. Tickets to see Blue Man Group are only $25 a head if you have a valid student ID, so we took that in. I'm so in love with blue guys holy crap I'm not even kidding you guys.

Also Orlando has this LEGO store. I could spend hours in that store. The only LEGOs I collect are Batman ones, and they were completely sold out of all but one set. I blame Heath Ledger and his awesome Joker movie.

I don't have an iPod. I have a generic 1g mp3 player I bought for $100 a few years ago. Even if I had an iPod, I don't have anything in my car to plug it into, so I have to use one of those RF transmitter things. Of course, no matter how you screw with it, you always get static superimposed over your music using one of those things, and it's especially bad driving across the bridge into Tampa every day.

Solution: Remove the car antenna. No more radio signals, no more interference. Now my looped playlist of the theme song from Rescue Rangers, Weird Al's Hardware Store and the song from Portal comes in nice and clear.

FF4DS is pretty great overall, but some of the bosses are too hard and the augment system is really, really stupid. Just got Edge and killed Rubicante last night, so I've still got a ways to go. I replay FF4 about once a year, but I'm still not sure if my next game will be this version or the old one.

In other game news, we started up Halo nights again a few weeks ago. My Xbox picked that exact day to red ring, so I shipped it off to Texas, they worked thier magic, and it came back in working condition with a free month of Gold thrown in. So last Sunday I was able to get back in on Halo nights, and someone blew me up with a rocket then humped my face. It felt just like coming home.

Mega Man stuff.

With Mega Man 9 coming out, I was inspired to make some awesome:

Then, in a discussion about Mega Man 4, someone challenged me to kill Ring Man in the most awesome way possible. So I did:

Then I took a nap, then I woke up and ate some cereal, then I posted this LJ entry.

Universal rules for internet message boards.

I know I just updated a few hours ago, but that was the fake-y update and this is the real one. Updating twice in one day is un-friggin'-precidented for someone who has been known to go MONTHS without word one, so just consider it a gift.

Most internet forums you go to feel they have to post a set of rules, which really means they try to teach you common sense. Inevitably some dingus gets himself reprimanded or banned despite not breaking an actual rule, and when the ban is reversed (because his friends and allies start bitching about it) he comes back and throws it in everyone's face. As though the Forum Overlords could possibly predict every single flavor of ass-hattery the scum of the internet could possibly foist upon them.

So I'm taking it upon myself to write a set of Universal Forum Rules. These are rules that are in place, whether explicitly written out or not, at every forum you've ever been to on the entire internet. Seriously. I have problems envisioning a place on the internet where these rules are not in place, and if I could, it would probably fall outside the realm of what we'd consider a community of any sort that actual humans would want to take part in.

1) You do not have Freedom of Speech. Even if the forum says you do, you don't. Chances are, if you're using the term "Freedom of Speech" to defend something you said on an internet forum, you don't understand what it means in the first place. Just because a forum administrator probably won't ban you for posting something he finds offensive, doesn't mean he can't, and if he does he is actually fully within his rights to do so. This is different from someone infringing upon your Constitutionally-given right to Free Speech. (Bonus: if you're not a citizen of a first world country, you might not even have Free Speech anyway!)

2) The forum rules are just guidelines. Yes, even if they have their own page. Even if they have been enforced unilaterally and fairly during the entire time you've been there. There is absolutely nothing at all stopping a forum admin from enforcing this rule but not that one, or exacting punishment on one person but not another. Deliberately pushing the forum rules to see how far you can go before you break them is risky at best because there's no check in place to ensure the admin doesn't remove you before you break them.

3) You are responsible for your own actions. If you do or post something illegal, it is not the forum admin's responsibility (usually). The admin is bound to the laws of wherever he his plus whatever laws where his forum is hosted, and you are bound to the laws of wherever it is you reside. This is especially important in forums dedicated to illegal or grey-legal activities. It's your prerogative if you want to involve yourself in illegal activities, but in the (admittedly unlikely) event the authorities come calling, hiding behind the admin is not a good defense.

4) Mods and admins are bigger than you. No matter how well you are established in a community, unless you are the sole forum administrator there is someone around with more power than you. Pissing them off -- in any capacity -- is to your disadvantage. They have entire pages full of options they can use against you: they can delete your posts, they can move them to subforums you don't want them in, they can edit them to say things you didn't actually say, they can replace your forum avatar or signature image with giant pictures of genitalia. And, of course, the forum admin can just flat out remove you from the forum entirely. Harbor no illusions that you can somehow "beat" the mod team. You can't, for the same reason you can't win the Indy 500 on a bicycle.

5) If you have to circumvent any of these rules, you are wrong. If you have hacked the admin's password and taken over the forum, or if you start threatening legal action where there is no basis for it, or really anything else to get around one of the Universal Rules to "participate" in a community, you have already lost: by definition you are no longer participating! Someone who goes to a concert to burn down the hall is not there to hear the music.

I think that's it. I tried to keep this a real list of Universal Rules, rather than just Guidelines For How Brickroad Likes His Forums, so I left out things like "don't spam" and "don't use signatures that break the forum layout". Some forums get off on that sort of thing.

Anyway, next time you have to ban some asstard from your forum and he or his friends start whining about how he didn't technically break any rules, point them here. And then ban the whole lot of them because god dammit, whining is ANNOYING.

By the way...

People keep asking me, so I'll just answer: that previous post has nothing at all to do with Kinetic Cipher. I'm cannibalizing some of the KC settings and ideas for some new thing.

No, that new thing isn't an RPGMaker game.

Sorry if that breaks your heart or whatever, but there it is.

World Building 1: Guilds of Tekiel

Though it is technically a monarchy, the materialistic nation of Tekiel has long been governed practically by its many trading factions.

Cartographer's Guild
A group of mapmakers, intellectuals and scribes. Members are often involved in military exploits because of their knowledge of cultures and geography.

Children of Tekiel
A guild of philanthropists dedicated to the general populace of Tekiel. Some genuinely work to lift up the downtrodden and protect the poor from the rich, while others are rich themselves and seek to increase their social standing through charitable acts.

Coin and Cloth
Guild of merchants and traders, by far the wealthiest and most powerful of the guilds. The highest members are known to be morally and ethically corrupt, but such is their position that no one can touch them.

Courtesan's Guild
Named in an effort to put forth a presentable face to society, this guild regulates brothels at every level of quality throughout Tekiel. Constantly fights to maintain a moral image, given the guild's nature. Said to be absolutely brutal to illegally-run or non-affiliated establishments.

Craftsman's Guild
Originally a guild of laborers and tradesmen, now governed mostly by rich shopkeeps, merchants and businessmen. Actual craftsmen make up only a small part of the guild, which no longer exists to benefit them as it did in the past.

Fenorast's Guild
An elite gentleman's club of sorts, made up of members of many of Tekiel's oldest aristocratic families. Weilds power based on social status, but is involved with organizing sports competitions, gambling, and whatever else strikes their fancy.

Hands in Toil
The "real" craftsman's guild, founded by a group of renowned craftsmen and artists disenchanted with the corrupt Craftsman's Guild. Their name reflects their devotion to their skills rather than wealth or politics.

Knights of the Crown
The Crown's personal militia, and the only guild directly related to the royals. Acts as a de-facto policing entity throughout the nation, upholding law and collecting taxes. Most squads operate independantly and are led by a soldier of middle-to-high military rank who directly represents the Crown in word and deed.

Devoted to the study of "magicks, monsters and extra-worldly affairs," its members walk the thin line between men of science and occultists. Many are specialists in world religions and demihuman civilizations, making them especially good Gen-Ri or Phracian diplomats.

Seafarer's Guild
Regulates sea trade, oversees Tekiel's ports and authorizes building of ships. Second only to the Coin and Cloth in wealth. Ships and captains not registered with the guild are considered pirates irregardless of their actual involvement in piracy.

Sellsword's Guild
Loosely established mercenaries. They hire themselves out for dangerous or legally questionable tasks at home and abroad. Ocassionally an Antine lord of small standing will field an army of Tekiel sellswords.

Whispering Wyrm
An underground organization of thieves and anarchists. Openly opposed to the Crown and most powerful guilds, the Coin and Cloth especially. A criminal entity.

The Close Council
A pseudo-official group of guild representatives that advise the king. Originally Tekiel was a monarchy and the Close Council merely acted as the voices of the country's various trade factions, but now in truth the Council weilds vast power and the Crown is more of a figurehead. The Council numbers break down like so:

Cartographer's Guild - 1 seat
Children of Tekiel - 1 seat
Coin and Cloth - 4 seats
Courtesan's Guild - 1 seat
Craftsman's Guild - 2 seats
Knights of the Crown - 1 seat + king's advisor
Lorekeepers - 1 seat
Seafarer's Guild - 2 seats

The Hands in Toil, Sellsword's Guild and Fenorast's Guild have no voice in the Council, but usually have someone present to audit at least the most important meetings.

The king's personal advisor has always been a member of the Close Council as unaffiliated with any guild, but traditionally this person holds at least a ceremonial rank amongst the Knights of the Crown. On occassion they have even been the same person.

The Whispering Wyrm, of course, has no non-criminal function and therefore no seats on the Council, but nonetheless have spies to report back about Council goings-on. The very nature of this guild is focused more on taking advantage of the Council's movements, not influencing those movements themselves.