Bernie says hello. He'd like to know if you have any wet cat food for him.
Welcome to ology.org! This is the personal vanity site of Eric Tilton and Carrie Jones. It mainly exists so that we can laugh heartily at our clever e-mail addresses (like firstname.lastname@example.org). Ho ho ho!
Please wander around, and feel free to enjoy my fine Corinthian web log.
[Posted 9/30/2001 10:59:31 PM by tilt]
At long last -- another picture-heavy post! We took a trip up to Dallas, and I got some nice ones.
The first set are all from the Dallas Farmer's Market, which is epic in scope. The first one is my favorite, and my current background.
Carrie's niece Alanna being energetic and cute:
A neat sidewall to a store:
[Posted 9/24/2001 08:22:49 PM by tilt]
Here's a weird phenomenon: I'm watching the Angel season premiere, and they're showing ads to let us know that they'll be showing the new Lord of the Rings trailer later in the show.
They're showing us a commercial for a commercial.
[Posted 9/17/2001 12:05:02 AM by tilt]
I finally finished playing Oni. Two words: good goggliocious! While Thief did an outstanding job of conveying the sense of tense, still terror of hiding in the shadows, Oni does the same equally outstanding job of kicking your fight or flight response into high gear, leaving you panting as heavily as if you'd actually taken part in the crazy action-fu kickbox fest that makes up 95% of the game.
Let's get this out of the way up front -- I hate games with save points. I hate games that don't let me save anywhere. I'm resigned to them, but that one "feature" is usually enough to tip my interest away from a game unless it's got some other really compelling features. It almost led me away from Oni, and it almost caused me stop playing it about a quarter of the way in. The difficulty level of Oni can vary wildly, and some save points seem almost impossible to get through -- after having to fight a series of especially hard enemies, you might still have to do some kind of tricky jumping sequence before getting to the next stage. Or you may have to repeat a particularly complex series of maneuvers a dozen times because you keep messing something up near the end. Or you might hit the save point with almost no health and no ammo -- whoops! It's very, very frustrating, but in Oni's case, it ultimately contributed something more important thant that frustration: a heart-pounding sense of immersion. Oni doesn't make things easy -- the cheat codes are disabled, for example, until after you've finished the game once. But it does leave you with a sense of accomplishment when you've succeeded. My reaction to the game was always composed of a little more love than hate.
So what did I love? Plenty. I loved the anime backdrop; I loved the combat system (once I finally figured it out); I loved the feeling of being able to take on multiple opponents at once; I loved the story that did a decent job of feinting in one direction and surprising me with another; I even loved the ending. I loved the crazy plethora of weapons that added visual splendor and a bit of long distance strategy, while still clearly taking a back seat to up-close-and-personal melee. I loved kicking ass, and I loved the fact that I had an adrenaline rush for a good hour after I finally completed the game. I loved, in short, the strong emotional reaction the game generated in me.
There some other minor nits: the environments boasted a noticeable lack of high detail texturing, and frequently seemed rather, well, boxy. There were some plot threads that never seemed to get resolved, and at least one apparently major character who shows up in "mission failed" art but never shows up in the game (or else shows up so briefly that I've completely forgotten him). And if we have to have save points, they could have been placed a little bit better -- like, always put one right before a jump sequence.
Still, those nits are minor, overall. This game is one of the few that still stands out vividly in my mind days after I've finished it, and that's quite an accomplishment of involvement. If you're willing to deal with the save game nonsense, I definitely think this title deserves an A.
Having finished Oni and Summoner, I've now gone out and picked up Arcanum. I'm very much enjoying it so far -- I'm probably about 8 hours in. You can tell it came from the same guys who did Fallout. There are some weird nits, mainly in the graphics arena: animations are a bit too jerky and fast, textures seem heavily dithered, and there's some significant memory thrashing that the README implies is related to the tile cache. However, what's more important is the deep and flexible character generation system, and the lush conversational trees. Mmmm, this kind of stuff is CRPGing at its finest. Definitely a game for the enthusiast, but, well, definitely a game for the enthusiast!
[Posted 9/11/2001 05:25:32 PM by tilt]
Holy shit, huh?
It's been a weird, quiet, horrified day. I spent most of it in front of the TV, with Headline News on, watching the talking heads repeat the same information over and over while flipping between shots of the rubble of the World Trade Center and the rubble of the Pentagon.
These visuals are -- as they inevitably are -- almost unreal in appearance. They seem out of a movie or book, although it's always slightly startling to realize how understated reality can be by comparison to Hollywood visual effects. Except, of course, for the emotional impact, which starts quietly but builds inexorably, as it becomes more and more clear that people are dead. And you realize there's a part of you that wants somebody to pay.
The rhetoric going on now is the rhetoric of war. Hell, the politicians (and the foreign press, if not the domestic press) are flat-out calling this "an act of war." War against who? Don't know yet, although CNN hasn't shied away from pointing fingers at Osama bin Laden (dropping broad hints while winking and saying "but we're not suuuure yet...", which has generally been their approach in this fact-thin morning after). If it turns out it wasn't bin Laden, he may still not escape -- the scent of blood is in the air, and the dogs have been given his scent. The political divisiveness of just a few days ago is gone -- this is the kind of time where we stand together, even if it's behind that judicially elected asshole -- 'cuz he's the asshole we've got, you see.
As part of the blame game, we were treated to a news conference from the Taliban via videophone -- apparently the technology of last resort for coverage in low-infrastructure areas. We saw a middle-age man with a bureaucrat's face and glasses (indistinguishable except for that pesky turban) declare that Afghanistan ain't had nothin' to do with it. But more interesting with the way it was presented -- CNN kept the eyes-downcast bureaucrat in a small inset video panel, up against the larger video panel of the smoking remains of downtown Manhattan. So, Afghanistan: small beady man in small grainy video frame (the message loud and clear that this is a country that's inferior to us -- just look at the shitty video quality!); and New York: a majestic, anger-inspiring distaster area. As media framing goes, it was moderately subtle ("well, we HAD to use the grainy video -- that's what we had!" and "well, we HAD to keep showing the live feed of New York -- that's what we had!"), but I've no doubt the news director was tickled fucking pink that he got to do it that way. That being said, I'm no fan of the Taliban, and I didn't particularly mind seeing the media framing done that way.
This whole thing has been waaay too personal. My brother just moved to New York -- he's OK, and NYU is apparently not letting people out of dorms, god bless 'em -- and my other brother is on an aircraft carrier that's unsurprisingly being deployed much earlier than expected. And I used to live in Pittsburgh, where that last plane crashed. Thankfully, no one I know seems to have been directly affected. That'll come later -- if this is a prelude to war, then ain't none of us getting out of this without a scratch.
It certainly seems like a prelude to something. My first thought -- because I read too many spy books -- was to wonder what this was directing our attention away from. After all, it was successful at completely focusing the attention of the US on two and only two things, and it was also successful and hampering or shutting down goverment services across the country. If this was a book, there'd be an evil bastard callously using this as an excuse to rob a bank or steal some old nuke-yu-lar missle parts while the earnest young lieutenant was staring slack-jawed at the TV monitors. But that's just melodramatic, and this day hardly needs any more of that. I think the best explanation is simple: the World Trade Center is the symbol of American capitalism, and the Pentagon is the symbol of American goverment. And what better place to plant your Fuck You if you're not so into the US?
Still, I can't help but think these assholes have bitten off more than they could chew. I mean, what better way to pull us fractious group of assholes together for once, and get us to actually really focus on something other than ourselves? I hear reports that there are bombs dropping already in Kabul, and -- for better or worse -- I doubt it's going to stop there.
There was a talking head on the coverage this morning who unintentionally summed it up, even though he was talking about the Red Cross at the time: "I understand the need for blood."
[Posted 9/3/2001 01:28:28 AM by tilt]
I finished Summoner. Shrug. I just wasn't in to it. Looking forward to Red Faction though :).
[Posted 9/2/2001 02:30:03 AM by tilt]
We celebrated lady miss Skye's birthday tonight -- happy birthday!
I was irresistably drawn to the colors of the cake in the tupperware container: