Found this article clipping in the bottom of a drawer, can only thank my mother's meticulous nature for preserving it. I believe it was the paper sydsvenskan that interviewed everyone in a certain age bracket (16ish?). Distinctly remember two facts about this encounter; the interviewer smiled and my teacher in “samhällskunskap” (“knowledge about society”, in reality it’s a fancy term for indoctrinating youth with far left values) looked stricken.
I’ll translate it below but it made me reflect. I thought my views on politics had changed, that I’ve become more conservative, but in reality I think I’m exactly the same it’s just the left that has moved so far off its core values.
Can’t really think of a single topic where my views have changed, and I was an almost dogmatic socialdemocrat. Yet my views no longer align with the socialdemocratic party. They’ve changed, I haven’t. Despite this my views on politicians are identical 22 years later, which amuses me more than it should.
“It’s good that sweden gets involved abroad. The more situations that are solved peacefully the better, and it’s not a problem that we keep sending our politicians – we’ve certainly got a lot of them to go around..”
Arduino is a toolkit bundling compilers, linkers, an IDE and other assorted tools as a complete package. Arduino is also a series of development boards featuring micro-controller units (MCUs) from atmel, microchip and arm. Finally, and most importantly, arduino is a library that enables you to address features of each supported MCU in a consistent way and allows you to expect a consistent result across architectures.
Arduino is not a language, you will use c, c++ and assembler if you utilize the arduino library. Arduino is not scripting, c, c++ and assembler are all compiled languages. There is no difference between linking your executable to arduino as opposed to any other library with c-hooks. The arduino library is developed by not just the foundation but thousands of individuals across the globe, that’s a lot of eyes to audit code. Keep that in mind.
There’s a perception that arduino is somehow for beginners, yet that perception is largely held by beginners trying desperately to appear to be more experienced than they are. You see, there’s a gigantic logical fallacy in the argument that just because you’re only using the AVR supplied functionality your code will somehow be better or more advanced. Namely that you believe yourself to be a more experienced programmer than everyone who’s ever worked on arduino. The arrogance runs deep with that one. Particularly amusing considering any such functionality is one #include away.
This is the same sort of reasoning you hear from purists who refuse to use anything but assembler, despite the lag period involved with having to learn each new platform, architecture and their assorted laundry lists of quirks. It assumes your understanding right out the gate will be deeper than that of the decades of experience the c-implementors for that board possess.
Are you more experienced with every board that arduino implements than its thousands of contributors? Possibly. I doubt it though. Don’t think I’m being harsh on dropping down to inline assembly every now and then, it's a must. But on average its c-implementation is better optimized than what both you and me can accomplish. Humility will broaden your horizons to encompass the expertise of others while arrogance will chain you to a box constructed of your own ignorance. Never settle though, if your implementation is better than arduino then submit a patch and we're all richer because of it.
Alright, let's start this blog off softly with a recipe for almond cookies. This one is particularly worth a look if you're on a ketogenic diet since vitamin e is one of those elusive targets that can be tricky to meet day to day. It requires you to either eat bizarre amounts of olives, chug olive oil or blow a large chunk of your carbs on sunflower seeds. This recipe allows you to meet your daily intake with a single cookie, and they're absurdly tasty to boot.
(1 cookies from a batch of 10)
7g protein, 2.6g net carbs, 25g fat, 265kcal
50% of daily intake of vitamin e, a slew of minerals
300g almond flour
95g of erythritol (sötströ for swedes)
1g of salt
2tsp of liquid vanilla extract
120g of butter
1 large'ish egg.
For closing in on two years now I've been in a sort of self imposed digital exile. I had things going on in my life that aren't worth delving into, nor do I particularly want to. I've also announced my return to blogging so many times, and then never followed through, that I'll leave it unsaid this time around.
Decided to stipulate a number of rules for myself this time around, no post will be longer than five paragraphs unless absolutely necessary. No post will be retransmission of information that I haven't taken an active part in modifying. No social media of any kind, with the exception of photo blogging (is it even called that anymore?).
That said, for the 200ish that are still hitting my rss-feed, I'll be mostly posting about philosophies, consumption, electronics and code. Just about all other areas have lost my interest.
A large part of why I opted to exile myself in the first place is that I tried so very hard to keep up interests that I just didn't have anymore. This time I've purged my blog instead. It is what it is and will be what it never was except partly.
This is the by far most authentic, respectful and almost zealously faithful rendering of the alien franchise in a video game ever. No comparison. For the first time I felt like I was actually being hunted by the ultimate predator. Hearing it scurry about in vents above me invoked a sense of unparalleled dread. Comparing it to just the constant blips as another alien popped out to be instantly gibbed in other games.. this the game we've all been waiting for.
The atmosphere and implementation of the alien technology was perfect. And I do mean perfect. Everything switch and knob turned the right way, every metallic groan was spot on, the tactile feel of holding the left trigger then pulling down on the left knob when Amanda's left hand was being used. It all meshed in a way I've never seen before. The motion tracker invoking a sense of constant dread, the flamethrower just pissing the alien off but forcing it to retreat, the sounds and music. Oh the audioscape. Perfection. Getting to explore the original navigator ship, albeit through a memory of another character. Actually doing the twist and turn mechanic when setting the self-destruct sequence. Never before but hopefully many more times (hear me creative assembly?).
Yet I find myself oddly conflicted. The stealth mechanic was vital in this game, and it was almost perfectly implemented. I hid under tables, I peeked around corners, I dove headfirst into ventilation ducts and crawlspaces. Anything to avoid coming face to face with H.R. Giger's worst (and best) design. I just spent too much time hiding in single spots. Way too much. In fact, halfway through I had to reduce the difficulty from hard to medium just to avoid losing my mind from tedium. That's not a great spot to be in. I want to stress that it wasn't due to me resenting the difficulty, nor did I think it was out of proportion. It was just boring.
When the crowning achievement of nature (?) hunts you and your emotions can be summed up as annoyance at having to replay decent sized chunks along with boredom.. something has gone terribly wrong. I understand the save system, it added tension and forced you to take risky moves. Do I double back a bit to get a save in or do I press on, the darn creature is right above me.. screw it! I'm pushing on! Just around that cor.. ah yes, dead again. Time to replay. Eventually you got to a point of absolute bravado after every save spot. You would dash forward not giving a shite if the alien was around, you just needed to figure out where to go so you wouldn't have to replay so bloody much when it inevitably killed you.
Yet, how could they have done it differently? The alien had to instantly kill you or it wouldn't have been true to the concept, it would just have been yet another bug hunt(tm). If they added autosaves at any higher frequency then the tension would likely have been lessened too. But true horror isn't about fearing that you'll have to replay a segment, it's a mental construct that can only be built with atmosphere and uncertainty.
Not sure where I'm going with this but after having finished the game I'm feeling a mix of absolute awe and a rather bitter resentment that this is the very best alien game ever made. And I have no smartass "they should have done x, y and z"-fix to throw out either. No matter. If you've ever watched an alien movie (or, well, all of them dozens of times like me) or have even a vague interest in sci-fi and/or survival horror then you owe it to yourself to play this game. Outstanding.
UPDATE: Sadness. Pitch black sadness. "On 24 April 2017, rumours of Creative Assembly producing a sequel were published by PSU.com. However, Eurogamer later pointed out that the rumour is likely false, as much of the original design team behind Alien: Isolation were no longer with Creative Assembly."
I'll really try to keep the rose tinted glasses in a drawer for this one but this is just irking me. Silent hill, and especially silent hill 2, were staples of survival horror. They represented terrifying trips into the subconscious of flawed but engaging protagonists. The first a father searching for his daughter. The second a husband searching for his wife. They were not the ideal men but their purposes were noble in their desperation. The series sort of went off the deep end at that point.
The third didn't captivate me to the same extent as its two predecessors but it was true to its origin. The fourth.. an inventory juggling mess of annoyance that had, possibly, the most intriguing premise yet the (by far) clutchiest implementation. Then the west took over and we got game after game of scattershot attempts to capture the essence of the series. While none never really did we did get some close calls.
Downpour. Where do I start. I applaud the decision to include a murderer as the protagonist. If that is, in fact, what we play. I've still got a chapter or two left before I finish the game. A father avenging the death of his son. Fantastic. Piquant even. Forcing him to realize that he is just like the man that murdered his son. A murderer. It's a notion that seems completely lost on people today. An overused concept is "punch a nazi", i.e. the ends justify the means.
Murdering a murderer is still murder. If the tables turn the result is always the same. Punch a nazi, punch a communist, punch an innocent. Someone punches. Someone gets punched. Action and reaction. Endlessly. Which is really what silent hill is all about. It cares little about the social constructs you use to justify your actions. Your morality is not superior to that of another. If you punch, or murder, you're the assailant. It knows what we deny even to ourselves.
We're taken on a lovely little stroll through silent hill with some novel concepts. I particularly appreciated the sidequests that reminded me of silent hill 2. It was quite annoying when all the items you needed to solve them were in the same house or just down the street though. Maybe I should have put the puzzles on hard instead of normal but either way, felt lazy. Or the developers just had very little confidence in their target audience. Truth be told they're probably right considering gamers of today. Not having something right in front of you results in an immediate google query since backtracking would be inconceivable. And no, that's not me taking the piss out of the feebleness of modern gamers, even I (a stalwart survival horror nut) ended up googling. Just the times I suppose.
Technically I wasn't impressed. Oddly the older games hold up fairly well, expectations being lower considering they're 1-2 console generations even older. But holy smokes does downpour look terrible on the ps3. Not sure if it was a horrendous port or if it was really designed this way but good grief. Most scenes even lacked a sense of depth considering the absence of shadows. The constant stuttering when it was loading resources even resulted in me getting killed a couple of times. If you want to play downpour today then don't do it on the ps3.
All that aside I want to dig into the main annoyance I had. What the hell does this even have to do with silent hill besides it apparently taking place there? The other side, a medium to represent the inner nature of the protagonists, have been morphed into some kind of chase sequences where a red light follows us. It's completely on rails leaving no notion of exploring. It used to be a vehicle to allow the developers to show us a second side of silent hill, areas that were inaccessible in the real world opened up there. Allowing a glimpse at two sides of the coin, so to say. Red light hallway running simulator. Awesome.
Next, what the hell am I doing here? I'm a murderer, yes, my bus got run off the road, yes, I ended up in silent hill, yes. Is my purpose to leave? That's the direct opposite of the point. In all the other games we wanted to get to silent hill, not get away from it. The protagonists wanted to explore it to find what they searched for, we wanted to explore it to find what they searched for. We never wanted to get away from it. Why do we always want to leave in the western developed games? Danger bad, run from danger? That's a thrilling look into our pysche. Sigh. Embrace the subconsciousness of silent hill, embrace your own subconsciousness. Stop trying to make us externalize the city and force us to run from it. Make us a part of it as it is a part of us.
Do I mention the water slides of doom here? Maybe the segments where the almost utter boredom of the chase sequences actually get surpassed by squeezing through narrow slits filled with spikes that instantly kill you if you get the timing wrong? Ooh, or the puzzle where you have to click buttons of the right color.. as deciphered by a child's poem that is laying RIGHT NEXT TO THE FUCKING MACHINE. Subtle, real subtle. Nope, won't mention any of them. NEXT PARAGRAPH.
Throughout the tedium of going from place to place and diluting the mythos (every bloody game seems to want to put more historical notes tied to the franchise, so it was a mining town with native american heritage now, great) I encountered but a few interesting segments. The mailman who seems doomed to forever deliver mail to the unfortunate souls stuck in the metaphor. A bit hamfisted but sure, I'll take it. A chase sequence that almost made me reconsider the red light, namely me being called the boogeyman by a little girl then running after her holding a fireaxe while shouting "stop little girl, I won't hurt you".
For just a second there I thought, wow, I'm the red light. I'm the bad guy. I'm the murderer. But nope, then the red light appeared behind me again and I wept... silently on my hill of disappointment. Maybe they went for the hunter becoming the hunted. Whatever. The sensation was lost forever. If they had just had the nerve to let the player remain the bad guy chasing little girls (a metaphor for other men, as a murderer would look upon any docile joe blow as a child when they were murdering them) this game might have clicked. But no.
Art by nightmare43yume
Right after that we get into another awesome chunk of western silent hill'ishness. Two staircases you run up and down chasing paintings that either have a girl in them, whereupon you're supposed to enter the door, or don't have a girl in them, whereupon you should ignore them. Holy shite. That's the very crudest look upon gamers I've encountered in years. Might as well have reduced it to big lights that are either green or red for enter or don't enter. And that facking quadriplegic stapled to the wall doing Elvis like hip thrusts and jizzing red ooze all over us as we chase the right painting with our slack jaws dragging on the ground behind us.
Now then, let's take a slightly more nuanced view of this. It does appear I'm taking a dump on western developers over japanese ones. This is not my general view, in fact for almost all modern games I despise eastern design. It feels like they're stuck in the 90s, trying to recapture some glory age where they were the pinnacle of game design. In reality their plots, mechanics and design is regressive, clunky and in many cases outright silly. What they do have over western developers is a sense of innate purpose. Where we end up having our protagonists flee they revel in it. Their stories tend to be a bit on the sublime side, ours a massive slap over the face to make sure the feeble player doesn't miss the brilliance of the designer's vision. This is a crippling blow to a series like silent hill where the player's analysis is as important, if not more so, than the designers'.
The end of downpour does tie a lot of things together. You take on the role of the bogeyman chasing down the daughter of a man you murdered, allowing her to kill you results in a deliciously ironic spin where she becomes the prisoner and you the guard. Before then you fight some type of perverted husk of a man in a wheelchair by pulling the respirator tubes from him. Upon first entering that scene I was intrigued. Is it meant to be a representation of the disease in my soul? Maybe it's the sickness of the system. Fascinating. Nope, very next scene the aforementioned chick tells us flat out that we beat her father until he ended up in a wheelchair. Great. They allowed my imagination to flourish for one whole scene, then they snatched away all thought and outright told me what I should think.
This approach to silent hill is symptomatic of what happened when western developers took over the franchise. We're not allowed to think for ourselves. We can barely explore. Anything out of the beaten path is immediately frowned upon and corrected. Heaven forbid we allow the player some semblance of autonomy, either of movement or thought. But hey, they added bird cages in obscure places so that makes it all better, right?
While whey was a given no-no for the last few years it was something I greatly depended upon back in my teens. Imagine my surprise when I began imbibing it again and was struck with a plethora of issues that I can't remember ever having before.
In some bizarre way whey will spike my insulin to the point of giving me persistent and brutal brainfog. It got to a point where I could with, unnerving precision, tell exactly when an hour had passed since I took a swig due to the onset of lethargy and disorientation. It does make sense in a way, whey is mostly protein and protein can spike your insulin response. In fact, that's what you want it to do when building lean muscle mass.
Since whey was out I figured I'd try casein, like the fool that I was. My reasoning was that it was absorbed much slower so maybe it'll be fine. And it sort of was, I got at most a mild brainfog and generally felt quite good. Then the reason why I stopped dairy reared its ugly head. Adult acne. Bloody hell. Find it particularly annoying that both whey and casein are out but due to different reasons.
So how am I going to solve the enigma of protein supplementation? I won't. It dawned on me that I'm consuming between 140 and 210 grams of protein every day from food so I really don't need any supplementation. Even 140 is probably more than necessary right now but it's not that I strive to max out the amount of protein I consume, it just works out that way.
On the off days when I don't feel like eating 3000 to 4000 calories I'll stick with a protein shake based on pea and rice protein. It's a rather excellent combination since the amino acids that the pea protein lacks the rice protein is rich in, and vice versa. You do get less leucine compared to whey but it's not by much. It can also easily be remedied with a bcaa cap.
After making my last post about the roller-coaster of weight gains/drops I was asked by several friends, who never realized just how dramatic the changes were, how I did it and if I've had a skin reduction operation. I have not, in fact I don't even have a problem with loose skin. It was a shrug and move on incident for me, then I was sent a link to a bloody boss on youtube and I realized just how lucky(?) I had been. Although I think it's more related to the fact that I dieted healthily and didn't just massively reduce my caloric intake in one go.
This guy has changed his life. He's gone from, as the name of his channel implies, obese to a beast. Yet his progress is marred by the excessive amounts of loose skin. The only real encounter I've had with this concept is a couple of friends who had their stomachs stapled and were literally forced to drastically reduce their caloric intake. Of course, if they had instead eaten more densely caloric foods it would have taken longer but given their skin a chance to adapt. To be clear, I don't believe the gent in the video had his stomach stapled, I'm just lumping two factors into one.
Back to me again, I'm now in the strange position of deciding what body weight I want to maintain. The obvious answer is, as much weight as possible while ensuring the majority is muscle mass. Yes, that is the long term one but for short term I have to pick a weight that I believe I can bulk up to and then maintain for the next year. I'm currently at just below 75kg and I think I'm going for 85kg. Being 186cm this should also put me firmly in the medium of normal camp so I won't look so bony.
It'll enable me to put on some more fat, ensuring I don't hit the extreme lows when it comes to fatigue and it's a generous margin to grow muscle in. Assuming I can keep the ratio at 3-7 (fat-muscle) it's close to perfect. Along with this I had to figure out what percentage body fat I want, I believe I'll try to keep it at 15-20% for the aforementioned reasons. I never want to experience having less than 10% body fat again and all the problems that came along for the ride (life when I was at 65kg was -rough-). Yet I certainly don't need more than 20%.
How times change. For the first 25ish years of my life technology, and possibly more specifically the advancement of technology, dominated my interest. If there was a new tech being launched then I wanted to be on top of it. Performance was paradigm, functions the creed by which I adhered. I just got handed my fiance's two year old phone when I bought her a new one. And it's fine.
This would have been inconceivable in days past, in fact it's a 180 turn on how things were before smartphones. Becka would inherit whatever perfectly functional device I discarded not because I needed whatever the new hot thing was, but because I just wanted it. My disinterest in tech is hereby culminating and my reaction is one serene harmony. Maybe, just maybe, I'll start using tech and not letting it use me.
(Upon re-reading this post I was struck by how dramatic it turned out, but I really can't rephrase it any differently without downplaying my actual reaction)