Fight Against Grenade Spam - A Lesson in (Dis)Respect


Everybody who reads my blog, or knows me personally, knows that I love games. And there's one video game that I've been really excited for - the new Call of Duty game, Modern Warfare 2. It's the sequel to one of my favorite games, and pretty much everything I've heard about the game so far has only served to heighten my excitement for it.

There was (or still is, I guess) some controversy surrounding decisions they made about the PC game, but I've kind of glassed over all that. I understand why it's bothering PC gamers, and I don't think they're wrong to be upset. But the fact is, the changes don't affect me, since I play on the Xbox, so I haven't bothered to get worked up about it. Especially with all the last-minute marketing moves they've been making.

That is, until I saw this one today (UPDATE: They removed the original video, but many copies still exist on Youtube. I've linked to a different one for reference):

I do hate grenade spam. Getting killed by a random grenade is very frustrating (there's no way to defend against it, after all). And for the majority of the video, I was enjoying it. Then, at the end, I realized the not-so-subtle acronym.

Fight Against Grenade Spam = FAGS. Awesome. Keep in mind this was put out by the developers (or publishers, but that doesn't really change the point) - a professional company. Not some random kid on Youtube - an actual, profit-seeking, can't hide behind the anonymity of the internet, company. And they folded gay-bashing into their marketing.

I'm really shocked by this. It was a totally unnecessary, unwarranted use of an offensive term. The fact that they "hid" it (again, not subtly) in an acronym doesn't make it any better. I'm really interested to see how this all plays out. There's a bit of a discussion going on over at Kotaku on this - some people (like me) are critical of this move. Others think we're overreacting. Either way, I imagine Infinity Ward (the developers) will have to make some kind of public comment soon.

I see this public comment going one of 3 ways (there are other ways they could do it, but they're less likely than these three, in my opinion):

1) Apologize in a standard PR manner
2) Apologize sincerely
3) Claim it was unintentional (followed, most likely, by a PR apology)

I expect to see the first. I would love to see the second. But if they decide to play the arrogance card, and go the third route, I won't be buying the game when it comes out in November. I can move past a public accepting of a dumb mistake, but I won't support a public display of bigotry.

Here's hoping they do the right thing. I'll update if something new comes up.

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Video Game Addiction


One of the editors on Kotaku (a video game blog) recently wrote an article detailing his former addiction with a video game called EverQuest. I found it very interesting to read, because video game addiction is a legitimate concern, but not something I've ever witnessed first-hand.

People have suggested (jokingly, I hope) that I'm addicted to video games, but I don't feel that. And after reading the article, I know that I'm not. I do play a bit, and definitely more than anybody I know personally, but not to the point where it becomes a problem. Especially since it fills in the time when I don't have other leisure activities going on - going out with friends, watching TV, reading, etc. are all activities that take the place of gaming - not things I do in addition to it.

Still, to read about the impact the addiction had on his life was very powerful. Definitely an eye-opener, and a big thanks to him for opening up not only to the Kotaku community, but to essentially anybody on the internet.

I Kept Playing - The Costs of My Gaming Addiction
(Michael Fahey - Kotaku)

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The Ocean


The weather lately has been fantastic. Ever since the rains, the sky has been exceptionally clear - very few clouds OR smog. This, as you might imagine, has made my drive to work (along the Pacific Coast Highway) a very beautiful one. As I was driving yesterday, I just couldn't get over how awesome the views of the water, sky, and waves crashing along the shore were.

So today, I went to work earlier (so I could leave earlier), and brought my camera along. I scouted out a good spot to pull over on the way up, so when I left, I knew exactly where to go. I pulled into a small turnout looking over the beach. I stayed there for about half an hour, as the sun was setting, and took a bunch of pictures.

It was really beautiful, and just so peaceful. I didn't use the time to really get deep in thought about life or anything (like I thought I might) - I just enjoyed the experience. I'm so glad I did this, and I'd highly recommend doing something like this every once in a while. I've been in a really good mood all night.

This, combined with a few other conversations & such I've had lately, have just put me in a very positive, life-loving frame of mind, and I'm enjoying every moment of it.

I uploaded a good number of the pictures I took to Flickr - check them out here.

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Text Messages #8


I haven't done one of these in a LONG time. But I have been saving up texts, so there are lots to read over in this one. I put a jump link at the bottom, so it wouldn't overtake my entire blog - make sure you click "Read More" to see them all. Enjoy!

From Caity, regarding work:

Work is so boring I've resorted to speaking in a british accent.

From Lauren, and her irrational hatred of foliage:
Ugh. I was doing my crossword and pine trees is one of the answers. My night is ruined. I hate pine trees.

From Aubrey, mocking me:
oh man, the sock hop is lively, we need your tribal white man dance up in hurr.

From Ariel, regarding Facebook:
Your face is on the Highlights of my facebook. YOUR WHOLE FACE. Which makes it one of the Highlights of my weekend.

From Ariel, when UCLA had some visitors:
Whoops, I must have been mistaken. I thought I was going to class on a [college] campus, but clearly this is a playground for ten thousand first graders.

From Aaron, regarding lunch:
i dont know what's going on with this day... im behind a stoned guy at subway [drooling] over the counter as he orders and going "yeeeaah" with [each] ingredient added"

From Caity, regarding Star Wars:
There's a COOKBOOK. Wookie Cookies and other galactic recipes. Holy wow.

From My Mother, when I was contemplating getting a Mac:
What r u smoking?

From Aubrey, while waiting in line for breakfast:
there better be a diamond buried in my scrambled eggs.

From Aubrey, regarding the integrity of UCLA Housing's infrastructure:
yay! someone tried to press the up elevator button on my floor and a flame/smoke came out! hooray!

From Courtney, regarding music in Africa:
I'm driving thru the African bush and foreplay/long time is on. Cue my awesome solo here. Where the Heck are my drums?!?!
Ok so after that last text... the next song that came on was Wanted Dead or Alive. No joke!! And I couldn't text you because I was out of service!! I died inside.

From Caity, mixing Disney with Harry Potter:
Jafar is definitely a Slytherin.
Actually i decided he's a poser. Slytherins always win. Jafar definitely failed.

From Alex N., regarding WeHo:
I'm drunk. I don't know. THere's a man on stilts dressed as a tree and I'm scared

From Alex N., regarding a kid with a pukka shell necklace:
Tell him 1998 Hollister called and it wants its jewelry back.

From Caity, regarding Comic-Con:
Oh my gosh I'll totally bring my robes! With my lightsaber AND wand I'll be unstoppable.
It's like epic darkness no matter what! No jedi OR gryffindor stands a chance. Heh.

From Caity, regarding cars:
Okay fine. So what if corvettes are sexy... I can't believe I just admitted that.
Oh i'm just driving along and as i look to my right i think "Dang, that car is pretty hot, oh CRAP it's a corvette! Eff." and that's that. Hahaha

From Aubrey, regarding food:
sometimes, in the dining hall, i can see a serving dish with something yellow and mushy in it. on a good day, its mac and cheese. on a bad day, its corn. today was corn.

From Caity, on the way to the HP:HBP premiere (with a picture):
Yes i did draw a dark mark on my left forearm :)

From Caity, at the HP:HBP premiere:

From Ariel, regarding magic:
David Copperfield just made me disappear!

From My Sister, regarding Twilight:
i like both but not jacob with long hair... if theres any with short hair i like that.. otherwise i really like edward too :) its kinda equal :)

From Ariel, regarding stupid radio checks:
[Building] duty, your radio sounds FRIGGIN FANTASTIC!
[Building] duty, meow.

From Lauren, bashing U$C:
Best statement ever: someone just told me he chose USC over UCLA like the rest of his family cause he didn't want to take the sats. He says they don't care @ USC.

From Zach, randomly texting me one night:
does jigglypuff need a moonstone to evolve into wigglytuff?

From Alex L., when the power went out in the apartment over summer:
Omg yes! Find something solid iron, salt the doors and windows, and listen for scratching sounds. Be careful.

From Aubrey, regarding fiscal responsibility:
during these rough economic times, its nice to see a dinner ordered for the chancellor's residence with salmon, caviar, brie-stuffed artichoke, and grand marnier chocolate mousse.

From Christina Lee, regarding our Vegas adventure last year:
Ha ha yeah that was quite a drive... As in the longest drive ever. As in Yayyy lets do it again this year!

From Ariel:
Way to bring back the awkward donkey. Always a classic.

From Aaron, regarding football:
awful. no blocking. none! i play racquet sports and i know better than this!!

From Caity, regarding clothing:
I'm wearing my Darth Vader socks today and i feel so powerful.

From Alex N., regarding building demographics:
De neve RAs are complaining about having 40 first years. Die.

From My Youngest Brother:
Ahoy mateys! today be talk like a pirate day.. so drink up me hearties n let the rum be flowin. have a good day at sea. A pirates life for me! arrr!

From Matt D., regarding the Day of Service:
I've got 21 people raking a large area with a single rake and single broom. What are you doing??

From Ariel, regarding their Day of Service instructions:
"You're going to go to the basement. You're going to look for a guy named Jimmy."

From Ariel, regarding academic excellence:
Day 2 and I've already fallen asleep in a class. Go me.

From Ariel, regarding awareness of surroundings:
I just walked into my screen. FAIL.

From Aubrey, regarding school:
ahaha omg, one of the kids in my moms 2nd grade class threw a computer and printer and broke them, and ten punched the principal in the face. good times.

From Aubrey, regarding the lack of corn in De Neve:
MUAHAHAHAHA when i become chancellor, there will never be corn again!!!

From Aaron, regarding motorcycles:
i can ride a motorcycle! (in a parking lot at 5 miles per hour in first gear)
i passed the riding test! im getting my license in 2 weeks =)

From Ariel, regarding entertainment:
Lol for some reason putting a gameboy and wine together seems weird.

From Aaron, regarding Chargers QB Philip Rivers against the Denver Broncos:
got sacked bro

The following are texts I received on my 21st birthday:

From My Sister:
HAPPY 21st BIRTHDAY!!! YAY!! I LOVE YOU!!! <3 <3 <3

From Natalie R.:
Happy 21st Jeremy!!! I hope its an awesome year for you and how could it not be? Youre 21!!!

From Courtney (RIGHT at midnight, my time - impressive!):
U better be drunk & ready 2 make bad decisions. Happy bday jer. Wish i was there to see u become a man. I'll buy u a drink soon. Love u! Dispatch copy!

From Alex N. (at 2am):
If you can read and understand this message now, then YOU'RE NOT DOING IT RIGHT. If it is Saturday morning and you hate your life, then CONGRATS!!!!!

From My Dad:
so, have you recovered yet?

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I really liked Postsecret when I first found out about it, and I still make an effort to visit it every week. But I'd be lying if I didn't say that lately, Frank Warren (the guy who runs it) is pissing me off.

I think a part of my problem stems from the fact that he's using a blogging platform, but he's not really maintaining a blog. For starters, there are no comments allowed. Not on individual secrets, nor on the entire set of Sunday Secrets. While I understand it to an extent (especially disallowing comments on individual secrets), it still goes against the basic ideas of a blog. And quite frankly, it restricts conversations about the secrets, which I think have the potential to be really powerful. But maybe they'd just get overrun with internet douchebags, so this isn't a main concern of mine.

A bigger concern is the lack of an archive. If you only have one page, and can't go back to view previous entries, you are not blogging in any sense of the word. He's simply maintaining a website on a blogging site, which is silly. But beyond that, I don't understand why we can't view past secrets. Part of the point of Postsecret is that when I view the secrets, I see some that speak to me. But they don't all speak to me that week, and that's fine.

But why can't I, a month or two later, browse through old ones, and find some that maybe speak to me now? Blogger allows you to maintain these old posts, so there's no upkeep needed on his end. Frank Warren is making a conscious effort to deny us access to older secrets. It's his prerogative if he wants to do that, and I know that he doesn't "owe" us anything in particular, but I still think it's a dumb design decision to make. Just open them up to us!

Admittedly, these are minor gripes, especially since he offers this all for free, at his own time expense. Except that's where my third gripe comes in:

During the holidays, and again this week, I've seen him mention donations & book sales as the driving force behind what keeps Postsecret free. This week's message states:
"The only way I've been able to dedicate myself to this project for five years is through book sales. If you have bought the new book, thanks for keeping PostSecret alive, and the website free of paid advertisements."
This, so far as I can tell, is complete crap. Look at the URL for Postsecret - it's Very similar URL structure to my blog, right? That's because he hosts ON Blogger. Which is FREE.

That's right... the hosting for Postsecret costs nothing. Not even ads (you'll notice that my free blog has no ads either). But what about the photo hosting, you might be asking? Well, I'm not sure where he does it, but you could EASILY put the secrets on Flickr, using a free account. So thinly veiled threats that we might start getting ads on Postsecret if we don't get him more money are really offensive to me.

Yes, I know he travels to conferences and whatnot, but I'm pretty sure he gets paid for that. And he makes money off the books, so he's definitely turning a profit on the Postsecret project.

This is America - if he wants to milk Postsecret for all the money he can, then more power to him. But don't lie to us about it. If this is your only source of income, then fine - I think that's silly, but milk away. Just be straight with us. Be honest with the people who have opened their hearts and lives to you. They deserve better.

[End Rant]

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Rubber Bands


Reading this story reminded me of my childhood. Growing up on a street with lots of kids, we had our fair share of war games (as well as soccer, baseball, hockey, football, basketball, etc). And I know my friends throughout the years had plenty of stories from when they "fought" the kids on their streets too (Zach even had a fort in his backyard). Hell, I've even been a part of nerf wars in the apartment. Who says you have to grow up?

In particular though, this reminded me of when my brother Justin got his rubber-band "shotgun". The ability to load two bands, and fire them at once, or in two shots, gave him a distinct advantage over Tim and I, who had nothing but our hands. My dad had taught us how to wrap the band around our hand in a gun shape, but Tim mainly resorted to just using his index fingers and slingshotting it.

(Side note - my dad had pretty damn good aim with the wrap-around trick. He hit a fly in midair from across the table once. Cut the thing in two pieces. We all thought it was the coolest thing. Hell, I still do.)

But while Tim was fine with no weapon, I wasn't. And that double-barreled shotgun caused some problems. So one weekend, my dad and I (but mostly my dad) crafted a pistol out of a block of wood. It had the same basic idea as Justin's - notch the rubber band in the front, pull it back and into a clothespin, and just push it to fire. And despite the shorter barrel length, it fired pretty damn well. Very accurate, at any rate, and the stakes were evened.

It was nice to be reminded of those times, and I'm glad I stumbled on that other story. But I also can't help but wonder how different things would've been if somebody had one of these:

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Chocolate Milk


It's come to my attention that there is a problem in this world. A problem that sorely needs to be corrected. And that problem is chocolate milk.

I love chocolate milk. Used to drink it almost every day after school. I'd come home, make myself a glass, and read the comics in the paper. But recently, I've been hearing other people's takes on chocolate milk, and it hurts my soul.

Aubrey wrote a post about Hershey's Special Dark Syrup, and mentioned how after making chocolate milk with it, she just couldn't stand to use the regular kind. And Alex told me once about making her chocolate milk with syrup.

Ladies and gentlemen, this needs to stop. You don't use chocolate syrup to make chocolate milk. It's just wrong... a passable substitute for when you run out of the real stuff - Nesquik powder.

I've tried both, and the Nesquik is just leaps and bounds better. You have much better control over the thickness of the drink, and just how chocolaty you want it to be.

Chocolate syrup is best saved for things like fruit, ice cream, milkshakes, or as Aubrey suggested, bodies. But when it comes to whipping up a cold glass of chocolate milk, it's Nesquik all the way. With 2% milk, by the way - skim milk doesn't bond to the chocolate as well, and you get a weird flavor.

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