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Monday, November 17, 2014

Town of Salem

I learned about this neat little browser game recently from a popular Twitch stream. In it, 7 to 15 players are divided randomly into alignments - Town, Mafia, Serial Killers, Arsonists and Neutrals wherein they play a game of deception to keep their identities secret and oust and eliminate (usually by lynching) the other groups. Once only one group is remaining, that group wins the match.

There are a total number of 29 different classes to play as, and each have their own unique abilities that are typically usable during the Night phase.

The phases of a turn are as follows:

Discussion Phase: Players are free to chat in order to help or deceive each other.
Voting Phase: Players are given the option to vote against other players to put them on Trial.
Defense Phase: Players on Trial are given the chance to type their defense in chat.
Judgement Phase
: Players vote Innocent or Guilty. If Guilty is the majority vote, the player on Trial is lynched. If Innocent is the majority vote, the player on Trial returns to the circle of players and the game proceeds.
Night Phase: Players use their class abilities which usually involve trying to save, kill, or find out the identity of another player.
Dead Phase: The game announces the players that were killed during the Night phase, and reveals any clues they left towards discovering the identity of other players.

These phases repeat until the match is over.

Custom aesthetic features like maps, icons, and pets are acquired by purchasing Town Points (coins) with real money, people using your referral link to play the game, win of the day bonus, or by unlocking achievements in the game.

I haven't actually played a match myself yet and have only watched gameplay of it, but it looks like it would be quite fun-- especially with friends. The game is not without minor flaws, in some random modes there can be an unbalance of a good/bad group making it near impossible for other teams to win, although you could say that's just the risk of choosing random. Another thing that can be frustrating to players is if your allies aren't paying attention and forget to vote or discuss things, it can easily lose you the match.

Good luck and have fun!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


Well, here we go again... different year, different scare. We've hid under our beds and kept our hands clean from Swine influenza, Mad cow disease, Avian influenza, and now Ebola. It seems we're always watching out for the boogeyman diseases that are waiting just around the corner. Why is nature trying so hard to kill us? What did we ever do to you, nature?

HAHAHAH--*cough* ahem. Lots of bad things. Terrible lots. But that's another story.

Now there's nothing wrong with being aware and prepared, but I believe we can all agree that mainstream media appears to have an agenda that goes beyond that. What I've seen portrayed in certain programs has been nothing short of a term I'd like to introduce you to if you haven't heard it already-- fear porn. Please note, I disagree with Urban Dictionary's definition of this. I believe this is a term best used to describe certain information some of society consumes due to its addiction to being afraid. How else would you explain consuming this garbage-tier information day in and day out?

I'd just like to say to everyone don't believe everything you see and hear on TV. I've seen very convincing evidence of news footage being faked in regards to Ebola, I won't post it here but you can search for it on Youtube.

I don't think there's a rational reason why mainstream media would want to keep us afraid in this particular case, aside from discouraging us from actually traveling to Africa and catching it, but Ebola does make a great distraction from all of the other more important issues that need addressing in the world. According to my research, Ebola has killed a recorded total number of around 5,000 people with actual figures estimated to be around 15,000. Seasonal influenza (that's right, the common flu) has killed more people during some of the worse years between the 1976-1977 and 2006-2007 flu seasons. At its worst, influenza has killed about 49,000 people in a year.

As of October 29th, the World Health Organization announced that the rate of new infections in Liberia is declining.

This post's purpose isn't to make a joke of something serious, rest in peace to all the people who have died from Ebola, and the internet's collective round of applause to the doctors fighting the disease. However, interestingly to me a joke HAS been made of this disease and certain online communities have been referring to Ebola as Ebola-chan*, pictured above. I don't know exactly what this says about the human psyche, so make your own assumptions.

May Ebola-chan smile upon you and spare you from her eternal embrace.

*-chan is a Japanese honorific for all of you uncultured swine.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Continuing Education - Is It Worth It?

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Nearly all of the best paying jobs in the United States require some sort of a degree/certificate or college education, so it's in a person's best interest to pursue learning after they finish high school. Some people feel this is not an option due to the insanely high costs of tuition in the United States. It's rather difficult to go to college here without accruing absurd amounts of debt. This is different from other places in the world like Denmark, Greece, and Argentina-- just to name a few-- that provide free education. It sounds discouraging for those in the U.S. hoping to educate themselves, but what is there to help the situation? Well, here are a few things.

1) HOPE scholarship. This can help to pay for a lot of the tuition cost. The rules for eligibility probably vary, so look up more information online. What I can say for certain is you'll be required to keep your grades up to have this advantage. Low GPAs have no hope, boys and girls.

2) FAFSA. This stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This is what the U.S. Department of Education uses to determine how much financial aid you can get. More information about this can be gained from your school counselor or online research.

3) Websites that buy/sell new and used college textbooks. Books are expensive, and using a website to help you get better deals goes a long way. After you're finished using them, you can sell them back to regain some of your losses!

One major (pun intended) thing to consider is what you're actually going to school for. For some this will be an easy decision, but others may have to think about it for days, weeks, or even months. This isn't a decision that should be made lightly, you should spend a lot of time thinking it over. Why should so much thought be put into it? There's many cases of people getting their degree from college only to wind up at an entry-level job such as McDonalds. This happens because their choice of major doesn't have many jobs in demand for it, so they are forced to take what they can get in order to pay the bills.

So there's a choice to be made, will you pursue your passion or will you choose a career solely because of how much money it pays? If you have a true passion, I believe that should be followed and used to try to make a living. I'm a bit of a dreamer though. If you don't have much passion toward anything, research the statistically best paying subjects to major in and make sure it's a career you'd be fine with.

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
― Confucius

So while tuition used to be more affordable and it used to be of more worth to actually go to a university, nowadays it's still something you should do. There's nothing wrong with going to a small community college, either. If you REALLY don't want to pursue anything higher than a high school diploma, here's a list of the 15 highest-paying jobs that don't require a college degree.

Rank Job Category Median Annual Pay Projected Job Growth, 2012 to 2022
1 Supervisors/Managers of Police and Detectives $78,270 4.9%
2 Elevator Installers and Repairers $76,650 24.6%
3 Nuclear Power Reactor Operators $74,990 0.5%
4 Detectives and Criminal Investigators $74,300 2.0%
5 Commercial Pilots $73,280 9.4%
6 Power Distributors and Dispatchers $71,690 -0.9%
7 Supervisors/Managers of Non-Retail Sales Workers $70,060 -0.8%
8 Media and Communication Equipment Workers $68,810 -1.5%
9 Power Plant Operators $66,130 -10.8%
10 Business Operations Specialists $65,120 7.4%
11 Transportation Inspectors $63,680 11.2%
12 Electrical Power Line Installers and Repairers $63,250 8.9%
13 Subway and Streetcar Operators $62,730 6.5%
14 Petroleum, Refinery and Pump System Operators and Gaugers $61,850 -5.1%
15 Gas Plant Operators $61,140 -8.8%

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Count Chocula's Makeover

Hah, I should've done this post yesterday! Any Count Chocula lovers?

I'm a big cereal eater, so I eat it from time to time. Couldn't help but notice how Count Chocula's appearance changed. It's pretty common for cereal box art to undergo changes, but there usually aren't any meanings to derive from them. This change in particular stuck out to me. Why? Well, these are fairly obvious differences but I'll point them out anyway.

First, he is clearly wearing blue eyeshadow in the second picture. Why? He's a mysterious Count who lives presumably alone up in his castle! Why would he wear blue eyeshadow? This seems like an out-of-place facial feature to me. Maybe he got bored with his appearance and decided to start wearing makeup? If he's an immortal vampire he might possibly desire to alter his appearance when he gets bored with it. I wonder how old he really is?

Second, his eyelashes are much more pronounced. In the first picture they aren't really emphasized. His eyebrows are also different, and all of these things combined gives him a much more feminine appearance, and certainly less menacing. He's the mascot of a cereal for kids though so menacing wasn't ever the direction the character was going, wouldn't really have been appropriate. Why did they decide to make him look this way? Well, I have a theory.

Some of society have been changing their idea and definition of the concept of gender. Nowadays it's not so much about if you are a male or female, but about what you identify with and what your preferred pronoun is. The pronoun could be nearly anything-- I've heard people get their instructor to call them "my liege", I'm not kidding! Some people find this type of labeling absurd, and some see it as a movement to popularize a basic courtesy. My theory is this makeover is sort-of a statement to say that it's alright for boys to be feminine too.

Are there actual implications from Count Chocula's change in appearance or am I just reading too much into something trivial? Let me know in the comments, I'm curious to know what other people think about this.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Return...?

Original art here, folks. (shh, I know it's boring.)

Everyone still alive out there? Good!

I wonder what the record is for the longest overdue blog post of all time...this might be pretty high on the list. Anyway, today's topic is...hype! The world around us is constantly inventing and innovating new things for us to enjoy (or despise) and it's only natural to be excited for what is just around the corner-- whether it's a medical breakthrough, technological invention, or even just a new video game. Anticipation can be a rather big part of the equation of what makes life worth living. If you don't have hope, then what do you have? Not much.

I saw a Youtube video today of some new hoverboard technology being tested-- to be honest it didn't look extremely impressive and the prototype (I'm assuming?) was really loud. But hey, it was actually floating off the ground and even stayed that way when somebody stepped onto it. Small steps, people. Small steps. Who hasn't dreamed of owning a hoverboard to cruise around on? I know I have. (Thanks a lot, Back to the Future!) Heck, even Segways are a little cool. If you're interested in this technology you better start saving up today, I imagine they are going to be very pricey.. especially at first.

Personally I'm hyped for the Super Smash Brothers 4 release on the Wii U next month. I know it was released for the 3DS already but I just can't see myself playing the game on a handheld, mostly due to the controls. I'm a die-hard Gamecube controller user. Good on the people who have gotten enjoyment out of the portable release though. I've been playing since the N64 version, I remember when I saw Melee being released for Gamecube and was excited that Bowser would be playable...of course he ended up being rather clunky and slow. Because of that, I didn't play him much and gravitated towards Marth and Falco/Fox. Smash Brothers has been the only fighting game I can say I'm decent at, but I'm out of practice at the moment so we'll see how I do online against players next month.

Maybe we'll see some global smash scores posted up in here.

That wraps it up for now, so stay awesome and have a happy Halloween! Who is excited for what nowadays?