Sunday, October 31, 2010

MGM to declare bankruptcy

Stumbled across this story here. So MGM studios is going to declare bankruptcy this week in a deal with creditors over its multi-billion dollar amount of debt. It's sort of amazing when you think about how long this studio has been around, this quote from the article sums it up nice:

Insolvency amounts to a humiliating comedown for a studio with a back catalogue of 4,000 titles holding 205 Oscars between them

While I'm sure their attorneys are hard at work trying to push through the process quickly, it's already caused a hold up of production on some titles. Now in a perfect world this bankruptcy proceeding would be a wakeup call not just to MGM but to other studios as to how mismanagement, bloated budgets, and lack of creative thinking can lead to this financial situation. A wakeup call that would turn them away from tired sequels and remakes with overpriced stars and more focus on simply making good films.

Sadly however, we all know that we don't live in such a perfect world. 

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The 11th hour, and no costume for Halloween

Well it's essentially Halloween, and here I am without a clue as to what to dress up as for the get together I'm having with friends/family. I'm notoriously wishy-washy about this sort of thing, and I usually end up just having to improvise at the last minute. One year I took a garbage bag, poked some holes for the head/arms, padded it out a bit by sticking newspapers inside, stuck some banana peels to it, and went to a Halloween party as a trash bag. I was hoping to avoid such a scene this year.

Anyways, drop me some suggestions and tell me what you're dressing up as if you're doing that this year.

The hunt begins

With a bow in hand, I hiked my way up to the surface and was greeted by a moon in the sky and stars all above.  Knowing the time was ripe for a monster hunt, I made my way over to a larger landmass in the distance. Quickly I found a Creeper bouncing along. I was giddy as I safely plucked arrows at it from a distance, not needing to fear an explosive end to the evening. I noticed it dropped a grey lump of something, which I quickly picked up. I had one like it it in my pack for some time, and had been wondering where it came from.

It was then that I recalled the words of a friend I know who plays Minecraft, who spoke of getting gunpowder from Creepers. Now I had a lot more drive and initiative to keep hunting. This initiative was almost brought to a screeching halt when one of those damn skeletons starting sniping at me from a distance. A little fancy footwork later, and the archery battle was won by myself. Dawn broke, and on my way back home, I noticed something off in the distance. Heading over I found it was bamboo.

Note the hairless sheep in the background

Pleased with this little discovery, I grabbed what I could and went back home, killing some pigs along the way for meat. After tending to my wounds and playing around a bit with the bamboo, I found I could craft paper with it.  The day went by with arrow crafting and flint mining, and once the next night began I started my next hunt. This time however, the situation did not look so good...

If you look close you can count 7 skeletons

Skirting the coast for awhile, it seemed it was just skeletons everywhere. I eventually did manage to snag another gunpowder off a Creeper, but it was a disappointing night overall. The dawn did bring this satisfaction though...

I love the smell of flaming skeletons in the morning

Some things came up which cut my play sessions short, but I overall feel like I have a better plan now than I did before. Another thing I'm considering is seeing if I can manage an animal farm perhaps down below. Corralling them in there though might be easier said than done, but an animal/tree farm could help keep me more self-sufficient.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Woman picked up her own head after horse riding accident

Just came across this story about a woman who fell off a horse and suffered a severely broken neck. Instead of being in shock or saying "ouch" like most of us, she went and just grabbed her head and got out of there. From the article:

She tried to get out of the animal's way as it galloped around after the fall, but when she tried to pick herself up, the horrified 26-year-old found her head stayed where it was.

Realising she had to move to avoid being stomped on, Ms Maxfield cupped her hands around her own head and lifted it into place to avoid damaging her spinal cord.

"As soon as I came off the horse I knew something was wrong. I went to get up but my head stayed on the floor,"

Crazy enough as that sounds, she's actually recovered and is back riding horses again. Awesome for her I say, but I'm still having to suppress the nausea from the thought of having to lift up my own snapped neck.

Discoveries and downfalls

After my efforts at taming lava proved moderately successful, I chose to expand my flood operations to encompass some other nearby lava pools. After some trial and error, I managed to ensnare a few other lava pools and convert them to that much darker looking material. Satisfied that it would be mine once I either had the correct pickaxe or some dynamite to blow it up, I went back to my little home nook.

That's however, when everything went wrong. After hearing the plunk of arrows hitting near me, I took cover and tried to spot my foe.

I'm really starting to hate these guys

After spotting him, I did my best battle roar and charged at him. Despite taking some hits, I cut through him, feeling victorious. That feeling died about 10 seconds later as another arrow slammed into me. Before I could spot him, more damage rained down on me. With no pig meat on hand, the situation was bleak, and I had a feeling of inevitability in my gut. Mustering my courage, I rushed him, knowing full well what the result would be. Sure enough I dropped to the ground dead, and I glumly chose to respawn.

Deja Vu

Back at my original starting point with nothing but my fists and shattered pride, I set back out on the long journey home. The trip was quiet, and without incident. Thankfully, I recovered my lost gear in the cave where I had died earlier, although my nemesis was nowhere to be found. Putting that aside, I went and decided to mess around with crafting a bit. It was there I discovered I was quite the numbskull. All this time I had been taking the convoluted route with building stairs, when I could've crafted ready made ones all along.

Feeling the need to take out some frustration on some monsters, I went back above and ran over to another nearby island connected by a sand bridge. The moon was high in the sky, and I felt the thrill of battle pulse in my veins. Quickly I found my prey. Hacking down one of those green Creeper things, I looked around for more. Oh did I find more. About 3-4 of them milling around, with a spider there for good measure. Foolishly I waded into battle, and predictably I died quickly.

Deciding I needed a better battle plan, I trekked back and recovered my items and battered armor, and retreated to my home to lick my wounds. It was then, in the depths of my cavern that I finally crafted a proper bow and some arrows. A smile came over my face as I planned to exact revenge the next time I got on.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Playing with lava

Today's Minecraft exploits were more about experimentation than anything else. Some successful, some not so much. As I explained earlier, my OCD can spring up from time to time, and early on I tried to build a nice little stairway up to the surface. The result however, was less than successful...

Anyone thirsty?

After plugging up this little disaster, I went back down south and tried to find a bit more minerals. I managed to snag a few bits of gold to craft a little gold pickaxe. I had mistakenly thought it would help me with mining some dark deposits I found deep in my mine. That theory went out the window and I was left with a golden paperweight. Deciding to explore some of the nooks in my cave complex, I found a small amount of water flowing down from some of the rocks. Doing a little rough mapping in my head, I estimated that the water was relatively close to some of the lava I found earlier.

In what I decided would be brilliance or idiocy, I decided to see what would happen if I could get the water to flow down onto the lava. Thus began a long and winding effort at carving a path for the water to flow. After much doubt and almost getting swept away by the water, I busted a block open and could see it pour down below. Excitedly I rushed down to find the lava pool was no more, and after sealing off the water for the moment, I was left with this.

Now if only I could actually mine it

With that feather in my cap, I decided that I had better not risk fate and push my luck. Tomorrow I'm going to do a little trial and error research in finding out what I can craft. Yes, I know there's wiki's and guides out there, but I'd like to approach this as unspoiled as possible. I'm the type that values the journey more than the destination.

Shazbot! Starsiege Tribes MMO in the works.

Just got a blast from my past today when I stumbled across this. So much time years ago spent flying around with my rocket pack trying (and failing) to precisely take out people over my 56k connection. Now, this dev team isn't the same from back then, and it being an MMO could mean all sorts of failures and disappointments, but it still gave me a nostalgia rush when I found out about it.

Oh and Alpha signups are available here.

Please be good, please be good...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Obsessions on the side: MapCrunch

When I'm not punching trees or hundreds of feet below the surface looking for minerals, lately I've found myself going to a simple yet addictive site, MapCrunch. It's a basic concept, just randomly toss you to a Google Street View around the world. But that explorer spirit in me can't help but be fascinated by the lure of globe trotting. And they even have Antarctica on there, I mean how awesome is that?

A beautiful day in Switzerland

Monday, October 25, 2010

Somewhere, beyond the sea...

As I suggested in my last post, I had decided to strike out to other mountains to mine in, as my long search downward in my previous home hadn't produced much of anything besides copious amounts of ordinary rock. Well today I decided to throw caution to the wind and simply pick a direction and strike out on it. That choice however led me to a rather large expanse of water. But alas, there was an island out there. Not much to look at on first glance, but I thought "what the heck?" and went for it. After a swim, I found my new island home to contain a rather fascinating hole leading into a cave. Taking the literal plunge, I found it to be curiously roomy, so I began my mining exploits.

I can hear them up there, waiting for me

I was quickly greeted by some Iron deposits, which allowed me to craft a few new items. After I carved out a new home space, I continued downward. Now whether it was coincidence or not, I could've sworn I heard an odd few musical notes play when I stumbled upon another opening. This one led to another roomy expanse, but I quickly followed my gut and mined downward, feeling as though I was close to something. What I was close to ended up to be something rather hot.

Sadly, I forgot to bring marshmallows

Excitement and a bit of trepidation hit me, as I knew I was peeling back another layer to the game. After finding my stone pickaxe to be rather ineffective at mining the reddish deposits nearby, I switched to my Iron one and began some collecting. With that done, I cautiously began poking around a bit more, ever careful not to stupidly bust open some lava lake that'll come spilling out onto me.

It was also around then that I had a run in with a literal room full of monsters. This was more by accident than anything else, as I traced the groans and spidery noises to a one block opening in one of the cave walls. Being the clever (cowardly) person that I am, I killed the zombie and spider from my relative safety. Before I could whoop in triumph however, another Zombie came to the opening, which was then followed by another.

This game is going to be the death of me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The creeping OCD

I tried to ignore it, I tried to say it wouldn't happen this time. But sadly, my obsessive tendencies kicked in and I stopped my descent into the mountain to nitpick over steps. I had simply been digging downward in a style that allowed me to hop back up if need be, but that nagging voice in my head convinced me I needed to retrofit all my past steps to be proper walkways down.

The view from the bottom

Now, this on its own doesn't like a major cause of concern. I mean in the long run I'm making it more efficient, right? But invariably I know this is probably only the beginning. Soon I'll be beating myself up over a stray block of dirt on the side wall looking out of place.

In any case, I managed to get my steps in order, and make a secondary path deep inside the mountain up to the surface. After stacking some blocks above the door to make sure I don't lose track of it, I decided to take a trip back to the first home nook I had. Even after only this short time, I was taken aback by how cramped and awkward it felt to move around there. After grabbing some things from the storage bin, I left to go see the sights around my newer mountain home.

Just a few nightlights.

Taking note of the visible surroundings, I determined that I need to check out some of the other mountains tomorrow. The current one I'm in just isn't offering up the diversity of minerals that I need. I'm sure if I go deep enough I'll hit better things, but I'd at least like to get some better metal for some armor and such. Especially since I've seen one of those green monsters hopping around the area just looking to ruin my day.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Got ancient computer parts in the attic? NASA might be interested.

Just read this over at the New York Times. Apparently NASA has been buying old computer parts like 8086 chips and such on eBay because those nearly 30 year old parts are still the type that are used in the shuttle. Crazy to think that todays wristwatches probably pack parts that have more beef than the sort that are used to help launch people into space.

Clocked at a blistering 4.77MHz

In any case, check those basements and attics and put that "junk" up on eBay, because you never know who might be interested.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Getting settled vs Exploration

As I literally and figuratively dug a little deeper in Minecraft, I quickly found myself torn between wanting to stick to a home base and wanting to just wander the land looking for that awesome sweet spot. After spending the night making my descent in my home cave a little more orderly and manageable (torches ftw), I decided on a strategy of little home bases scattered over the land, with markers to make returning back actually possible.

I got my head in the clouds

Daybreak came and I trekked up some of the local mountains, finding more than a few possible bases. There was no glittering "DIAMONDS HERE" sign sadly, so I had to just pick a path and stick with it. Finding one interesting looking cave in the side of the mountain ended up in a near fatal path that had me inches from falling. Thankfully after a blunder or two I made it somehow inside.

My relief lasted roughly two seconds though, as I heard the gurgling moan of something less than friendly deeper inside. Poking around with all the courage of a mouse, I stumbled upon my nightmare.

The face of fear

Mustering my courage, I swung my sword gallantly and bobbed and weaved back and forth in a less than elegant display of footwork. A deafening explosion that left me a cripple however was how this fight ended. Stuffing my face with some several day old pig meat somehow helped my health situation. I nearly had relaxed when I heard the same exact disturbing sounds from earlier.

Well hey, I wasn't planning on sleeping any time in the next few days.

Thankfully, my knowledge of the past fight and a little dumb luck left me the victor of the next battle. With that out of the way I started to explore my spacious cave that was situated on the side of the mountain. I can't say for certain what lies below, but I do know that I'm feeling a lot more confident in myself now.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fists of fury

Today I decided to take my first steps in my survival mode Minecraft journey. While indeed there is a multiplayer option, I'm going to start out with the single player for now, just to taste what's possible. I'm taking the step to handicap myself to an extent, by not digging too deep in the wealth of wiki's and guides out there for the game. I've only skimmed enough to get a basic understanding of crafting. How long before I break down and study every facet of the game in order to exploit things to the maximum remains to be seen.

I went ahead and generated a new world and was greeted by a bevy of hills. Immediately my mind sprung into imagining the wealth of minerals and such buried beneath, so I went on my way. But first, I had business to attend to. Punching business. Like most of you, the first thing I do when I find myself in a strange environment is to start punching trees.

I'm a lumberjack and I'm ok...

With my tree punching netting me a bit of wood, I went about scouting for possible habitats. Because one of the things I do know is that come nightfall, I don't want to be caught off guard when the monsters come out. Getting up on higher ground I noticed some good looking candidates in the distance. For the time being, I chose the little cave not far from me. It was bound to have some stone and be more defensible than trying my luck out in the open.

Home sweet home

My hunch was correct, and after a little more wood punching, I poked my head inside the cave. It wasn't much, but it looked like it had some decent stone deposits inside. So after setting up my workbench I made some ramshackle tools and starting mining. I'll admit my lack of knowledge about what items make what started to show a bit, but I pressed on. I found some flint a little deeper down as I was mining, so I considered making a bit of fire, but I was alright in the dark so far, so I collected some stone and made a furnace to start refining some things.

Soon enough it was night, and I quickly decided to cobble together a wooden wall and door to give me at least the illusion of security. I took the time to mine a bit deeper and use the furnace a bit more. Caution was the name of my game, as recklessly mining into a pit of lava wasn't the sort of thing I was too keen on. By morning I had some materials I hadn't a whole lot of clue what to do with, and some stone tools and a sword. With daylight also came exploration and animal cruelty. I wanted some new threads to go with my new cave home, and the poor blocky creatures that inhabited this world would have to suffer to appease that.

The death blow

And with that, real life called and I cut short my digital expedition for the day. I'm aware I didn't accomplish much, but it's a start.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The obligatory welcome

Hello all, and welcome to my little corner of the blog world. It's not much, but it's a home of sorts. You may ask, a home to what? And to that I'd say it's simply a home to what consumes me at the moment. I'd like to use this blog as a sort of journal for my adventures in Minecraft.

If you haven't heard of Minecraft by now from friends or others on the internet, I'll simply point you to its main website and let you explore from there. Needless to say it's a little game/experience that's gripped more than a few people with its simple yet appealing nature. Having dabbled a bit in the simpler, free version offered there, I decided to take the plunge and purchase the game to get my hands on the newer Alpha version that offers the more challenging "Survival Mode".

But this blog likely won't be only focused on Minecraft, as I'd also like to use it to bring light to other topics or stories of interest from time to time. In any case, I hope you stop by from time to time.