Especially the thing about the typewriters is true… I’m such a hoarder.
Yesterday, Leonard Nimoy aka Mr Spock passed away. We’ll remember.
It’s getting hot so here is an idea for something refreshing. I was weirded out by the idea of putting curry in my drink at first, but it tastes good, so dare try it.
Makes one glass (0,5l):
lemon or lime juice (of one)
1 tablespoon of sugar (or sirup or honey)
a pinch of salt
a pinch of curry powder (masala or whatever you have)
If you use sugar and not sirup, mix curry, salt and sugar with a little hot water before you fill up with the rest of the ingredients and serve with ice. Enjoy!
So of course we all know Mythbusters, we’ve all seen Jamie and Adam blow up all kinda of things and put them mainly in the “yeah, they’re cool” category.
Today I learned that Adam is a man with a passion. Well, most likely more than one. For over 13 years or so he is working on a replica of the ZF-1 from “The Fifth Element”.
See him talk about it right here:
We just finished “Mass Effect 3”, the third and last part of a game that – think we can say without hesitating – is certainly one of a kind.The emotional upheaval during this scifi saga is pretty hard to match.
When we first started playing “Mass Effect” in 2008, it was still a little rough around the edges. But we were hooked instantly.
Lene: I just love creating my own character’s looks. I spent an evening an making my first Shepard. Actually, I always do that when I have the chance. My Skyrim-char took several hours as well. My first Shepard was female and sort of Eurasian-looking. She was a tough cookie and I liked her instantly.
Thias: Oh yeah, she LOOOOVES character creation. I mean: it is fun and I take my time, too. But Lene… we often start games in two different rooms at the same time, but under no circumstances am I allowed to start playing before her character is done. Sometimes feels like I could have finished a whole other game waiting for her. 😛
Anyway: My shepard was a male soldier, handsome, role-model, blablabla.
Lene: I played a Sentinel with my FemShep. It is just me, or does being a Sentinel not really have any edges in 3? As a Sentinel, you are a biotic tec. In 1, that used to make it easier to hack things likes wall safes or computers and such. But this element completely vasnished in 3, you just pick up stuff as you go and you don’t have to do anything except look for it. If you usually don’t bother with this kind of explorations you probably won’t miss it, but I kinda like decoding things. So playing this class doesn’t give you any real edge. I was thinking about changing to pure biotic… Well, this is a minor inconsistency anyway.
Thias: I totally forgot about the hacking stuff and I’m usually really into that kinda stuff. Didn’t miss it in ME3, though. Played the “IMMMAA FIRIN’ MA LAZZOOORR”-type-a-guy, if you know what I mean.
ME3 in relation to…
Lene: Replaying ME1: I hated driving that buggie, the mako, they call it. I call it a pain in the ass. Still hate it! Mission level designs are tuby at best. Now, playing ME1 again after ME3 you can just see how much gameplay has improved over the series. Adding jumping makes it feel more shooter-y.
Thias: I actually missed the mako. Did so in ME2 already. And why they dumbed down the planet scanning game even more…. come on guys, if you make it so simple, why not leave it out. Or bring back the mako for a few missions. Speaking of which: the missions are still very linear in ME3 with only a little bit more room to the right/left before you run into something that prevents you from hitting the invisble wall. But hey, this is no open world shooter, no hard feelings. I will play through the whole saga again in a year or so, being less of a saint and write about it then…
Lene: The affection you can develop to your NPC friends in “Mass Effect” is incredible. If you haven’t played it: Half of the time of the game is talking to people. You can have relationships, you can flirt, intimidate, bribe, consult, betray… And it all looks so nice. Why does this differ from any other RPG then? This is not news.
Bioware spent a great deal inventing new ways to animate the characters. For example in ME2 the facial emotions are AI created in relation to the recorded voice performance. The characters you encounter really come to life, have an intricate background story, their own thoughts and goals and pursue them, too.
Thias: What I found really amazing is how it often felt as if Lene and I were playing two completely different games. Characters and missions changed so much based on our interactions and decisions that we often found us talking about the things that happened in our last gaming sessions, having a lot of “What? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?”-moments.
A history of violence
Lene: Alien races have a complex history and genealogy as a rule. Of course, every race has its issues. E.g. one race created another race, then tried to annihilate it (because they were getting “too clever”); another race enslaved another race and than neutered it (because they were getting “too strong”); and pretty much every other race thinks humans are stupid (because they are “too young”) and have to be convinced otherwise before they do anything for you… You get my drift. It’s all about superiority in the galaxy, basically. There is a ton to learn and the history is very sophisticated and intricate; it’s hard to find a ‘blank spot’. Some of the non-council races are just adorable, like the Elcor. Here is one example.
Thias: LOVE the Elcor. And besides being adorable: this is a very grave, intelligent and alien species with a long history..
Lene: Personally, I demand a diploma in “‘Mass Effect’-related cultural Xenology and History” that you get as an achievement once you finish all the games. It would be *.pdf instant print and it would go right to my wall.
Thias: And I even read ALL of the background information. Seriously, I know popular sci-fi universes which give less background on their inhabitants. A+ for creating a whole new, rich setting from scratch!
Tragic Deaths and Loving
Lene: Sadly, in ME2, many of my Shepard’s crew died. I lost Thane, Tali, Wrex and Morden. I could never get over it and neither could she. She romanced Liara in ME1, I didn’t have savegame for ME2. So Liara was amnesic and couldn’t remember her at all. That was sad! Then Shepard went after Jack, but apparently she is not into women. Me not wiki-ing everything, nothing happened there. In ME3, she finally realized she had fallen in love with Garrus, but got distracted by her sexy secretary Traynor, so that didn’t happen either. All in all, I am not very satisfied with how that went down.
Thias: I don’t remember who I romanced in ME1 (might have been Liara, too), but I totally went for Jack in ME2 (and ME3 for that matter). Lene was quite envious as I recall. Har!
Returning to the Citadel
Lene: As I mentioned earlier: Now I will play “Mass Effect 1” again, and this time, it will be different. My FemShep was a hard-ass, but she was basically friendly. Like, 90% Paragon (the goodie points you get) and 10% Renegade (the baddie points) when someone really pissed her off or threatened the ones she loved. And the one time she punched this Quarian captain in the nuts was a total accident, I swear it!
For my replays, I am playing an ugly old man. This is him:
There’s a new Shepard in town now. He will be a bit like Admiral Adama. Feared by his enemies, loved by his crew. Maybe not loved by all of them equally, but still one hell of a guy. Definitely more Renegade actions for him. He’s a Vanguard, I just can’t do it without biotic power – maybe I liked the sound design of warping, too.
This time, I am going to keep Ashley instead of Kaidan (at one point in ME1, you have to decide either/or), because frankly, Kaidan is annoying. “Oh noo, I’m an outdated biotic with an implant that gives me headaches and I am so emo all the time … Sheppy-Weppy, my brainz hurtz, please tell me it’s going to be okay everything is terrible and my head hurts noo…” Boo-fucking-hoo, get over it. Is what the new Shepard would say. Yes. Not the old one. He’s just going to be nice to all the young pretty women and antagonize everyone else except maybe Wrex, they might become buddies.
Thias: And as I already mentioned: I will take some time, but will definetly come back to the saga again. But definitely not before “Bioshock Infinite”.
Lene: And, yes you have just read a highly subjective post about personal “Mass Effect” experiences that contains a lot of spoilers and opions. But telling you that I am replaying it as someone else might give you an idea about the many shades and course of events this detailed universe has to offer. I’m simply curious what butterfly effect it might have if I sneezed in a Quarian’s general direction. Thank you, makers, for a unique gaming experience.
Thias: Indeed, hurp durp.
Artificial Intelligence telling bed-time stories to your kids? I got a chilly “The Diamond Age”-oh-my-God-primers-could-become-reality-pretty-soon-feeling from this bit of news.
TIAM is a proposal for a computer program which generates fairy-tale plots. While fully automatic story generation remains an unsolved problem for computer science, this project explores the links between imagination and computation. Tales and myths; the core narratives of human culture, have been transmitted for generations through various technologies and media. What new forms might they take through digital formats and Artificial Intelligence?
Based on the work of Vladimir Propp, who reduced the structure of russian folk-tales to 31 basic functions, TIAM aims to question the limitations and implications of attempts at programming language and narrative.
I have actually worked with Propp’s formalist schemes before; it is quite interesting when your focus is on story themes. A few of these functions are basic story elements like victory, departure of parents, rescue, wedding and such. They are alloted letters and a ‘formula’ for the story can be produced. You can see this formlua in the upper left corner of the application in the video above.
(An0ther interesting tool for examining and comparing story structures and motives is the Aarne–Thompson classification system, which uses motifs rather than actions or functions to group the tales.)
Because the program is unable to deliver a finished story, rather only a crude synopsis and illustrations, users have to improvise, filling the gaps with their imagination and making up for the technology’s shortcomings.
Bummer. But breaking ground – I think it is possible to make this work, given a little more time. Keep an eye out for it..
[via booingboing.net via Glitch Fiction via Creative Applications]
First of all, let me say sorry for the prolonged posting pause (ha, triple alliteration in your face!). I graduated and took a long vacation, involving festivals and forests. I will make up for this with an extra-long post about my current project.
I want to shamelessly self-promote a little festival we are organizing at Burg Waldeck in Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany, as well as maybe later write a how-to-organize-an-indie-festival guide – so you can avoid the mistakes we are likely to make and profit from this intense experience.
There is this beautiful place on earth called Burg Waldeck where I, btw, grew up part-time. It is and old ruin surrounded by the most beautiful valley with a brook running through it. Think “Lord of the Rings”.
This place, over the decades, has attracted several exceptional groups of people. Scouts, hippies, Liedermacher, singer/songwriters, alternatives, dropouts, nature lovers, freaks… Some of them stayed and built things, such as several huts in the forest or a house. It is hard to describe, but books have been written about it.
Here is a documentation from the ’60s about the early festivals there, an offspring of which my father (hi, dad!) has been organizing for some years now (Das Internationale Liederfest).
More info about this can be found at the webpage (which I translated to English for your comfort).
The idea to organize a festival originated from a very natural problem. Most of the folks who are still active here are ’68ers and the average age is around 60 and up. We are the children of this generation and we do not intend to let this place die. Although our musical background evolved to metal and rock and many other genres our parents have never even heard of, we want to contribute something to this magical place. So our goal is to get as many young people as possible down there – and make them come back, too. And what occasion would be more suitable to have a get-together than music?
We have been friends with Freakquenzy Records for a long time now, who also organize a small festival, called Freakquenzy Roundup, in Niedersachsen. So we asked them if they would move it just a little to our side; hence the name “Waldeck-Freakquenz”. Our is hope is that nothing will explode and everyone will enjoy this festival in an extraordinary environment!
You can dig the mostly indie but great bands here. Make sure to check out our website, is has lots of info on how to get there or get in touch with us.
Post Punk / Thrash –
Dusty Jack’s Garbage Truck Company
Stoner Rock –
Indie Rock –
Voices of Metropolis
Fallout Rock –
Update: One more dubstep band has joined us:
If you have any questions, ask away! Tell your friends and bring them, too. All mutants welcome. Part II will follow shortly… Stay tuned!
Here we go.
The letter A.
Accept – Best of…
Title of the first track I’ll hear from this band: “Balls to the wall”.
Yeah, what a start. I’d call this classic heavy metal i guess. Like ACDC (up next?)… One of the bands I know from t-shirts – must be popular aI guess 🙂
I like the sound. It’s….friendly….(!) Nice backings, too. I could see myself listen to this on longer car trips – sun shining outside – brain idling.
I think I actually worked with the guy who engineered this record. Cheers, Dirk. Nice Job.
..”Burning like a fire”? Seriously? Catchy though… I just read that their original singer was Udo Dirkschneider who went on to start U.D.O. – boy, first stop on this journey and already learned so much.
I moved on to a regular record by now – “Metal Heart” – I just listened to “Teach us to survive”, suprisingly interesting track.
…..and another record “Restless and wild”…..okay – I think I get them 😉
Enough for now before it gets annoying. Still: I’d love to hear “Burning..” on a road trip… passenger seat, sunshine, beer… brilliant.
YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE? Accept at wikipedia.