Irrsinn.net: taking joy in human unreason

Book discussion tag, page 2

It’s Okay to Breathe

Gregory, looking properly industriousI just finished The Money Book for Freelancers, Part-Timers, and the Self-Employed yesterday, although the book was eye opening and (fer skerious) life changing throughout–I’m leaving it under Greg’s pillow, on his keyboard, and in his underpants drawer–one paragraph near the end caught my eye:

Return calls promptly. How many times has someone explained away a long delay in response with that lame excuse “I’ve been swamped”? Expunge this phrase from your lexicon. It’s horse hockey. Newsflash: it’s the twenty-first century, and we’re all swamped. If someone leaves a voice mail message for you, log it in and get back to them within twenty-four hours. E-mail etiquette is slightly different, we know, but even here you should set a high standard for yourself, such as committing to get back to an e-mail correspondent within one to three days. If you need to, set aside one hour a day to return calls and emails. (272-273)

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Bogleheads’ Retirement Planning: Hitting the Highlights

I finished The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning last week, and I have to say, it’s the single best resource on retirement planning that I’ve seen or read so far. Hands down. Other books might add more depth to particular areas or have different approaches, but this book has given me the crucial vocabulary and background to know where I need to research further.

Greg, trying on a way-too-big sports coat.Each chapter is written by different combinations of writers (with repetition) and touches on everything from how much to save, how taxes work, retirement account and plan types, investment strategies, how to withdraw for retirement (including some tax minimization strategies), and what to do when fecal matter hits the rotary impeller (divorce, nasty debt, etc.).

That said, it’s not a personal finance book in the popular sense. It includes some ideas on how much to save, but doesn’t throw out anything like “save 15% of your income” or get into coupon clipping. If you need to save $10 million to have the post-retirement lifestyle you want, then you need to figure out what that means on a paycheck-to-paycheck budgeting level.

…If $10 million is what you need for self-sustainability, you may want to switch to cat food (much tastier than dog food!) now so that you can eat well later.

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What Is This Thing Made of Paper and Glue?

All the reading I need to do can happen in Google Reader, right?

I read a lot of books last year. Like, maybe 50. I didn’t post or write about many of them, because plenty were über-pulpy and just time-killers. All but the couple of technical books were electronic. Being unaware of what I was reading made it pointless. Why’d I pick those books? What’d I learn from them? Meh.

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Spirits in the Wires: Mid-book Thoughts

I’m in the midst of reading Charles de Lint’s Spirits in the Wires, and what’s a really, really cool concept is choking me in the specifics. The book was published in 2003, the year I graduated high school. I don’t see any reference to dates that would place the novel’s setting as significantly before that, so my brain completely skipped the track when I saw the following statement:

I give the machine a quick look-over. It’s a 386–still running Windows 3.1, Geordie tells me–but it has a PCMCIA modem card so that I can get on the Internet and the processor should be plenty fast enough for what I need it to do. All I want to do is send some e-mail.

Even pushing the book back to 2000 doesn’t work here. Sticking with Windows, Windows 95/98 was the standard for non-power users, or–and don’t run screaming–Windows ME. Broadband was already fairly wide-spread. People wouldn’t have considered a 386 running Windows 3.1 “plenty fast enough”.

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The Gunslinger (Re)born

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger BornThe Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born by Robin Furth

It’s been a while since I read the Dark Tower novels, but I was immensely impressed with the style and narrative of the first Dark Tower graphic novel. I don’t read much in the way of graphic novels, but I’m familiar with some of Peter David’s novels–yes, including the Star Trek ones–and figured the story couldn’t be too bad if he was involved in the adaptation of the series.

If the comic deviated mildly from the series in feel or details, I probably didn’t notice. I did definitely appreciate the faster and more consistent pacing over the novels. I wish the novels had been written with similar pacing.

The art hooked me first as I flipped through the book in the library. Lots of dark colors, lots of dramatic posing, and lots of glinty eyes. A bit over the top, but hell, it’s a comic. If it’d been more drab it’d have been too true to the novels. It was all gorgeous and gory and fitting with my imaginings of young Roland. The art also stayed marvelously consistent throughout this book–omnibuses are jarring when different artists were pulled in for individual issues.

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Exploit: Zero Day “Headless Swarm” Landing December 1

So we’ve been working on Exploit: Zero Day for a couple of years now, but I haven’t talked nearly enough about it here. It’s a web-based cyberthriller puzzle game where you play as a hacktivist, uncovering and battling against oppression and exploitation.

*innocent whistle* Totally not the sort of game I’d want to make or play, no…

It’s been in closed alpha for a while, but we’re ready to offer a prelude season of paid story: “Headless Swarm”. For details on the plotline and how it relates to the continued free alpha access, check out the announcement blog post over at FPG.

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Attending a Charlottean Protest

I visited uptown Charlotte tonight, amidst the current protests and unrest after Keith Scott’s death. My friend and I had a few tidbits of info on where people were meeting, but nothing concrete, so we wandered along several streets.

In areas where people weren’t protesting, businesses were closed, and the streets were unusually silent for 20:30 on a Friday night. Troops stood in clumps of three on corners, waving or saying hello when you passed them. The occasional humvee or police SUV drove by.

Things were more lively at the Omni Hotel, where folks had covered the sidewalk in chalk. There were lots of media there: it was clearly an “allowed”, acceptable, media-consumable gathering. I’d maybe characterize it as a space for quieter expression of grief, although it was criticized by another gathering as essentially being for the white people. The writings were names of people killed and sayings that many of us are familiar with: “hands up don’t shoot”, “when will we have justice?”, etc. Religious figures were around, praying with people.

Further down Trade St., past the bus station, a group had gathered in front of some government building. My friend and I stayed there for a while. They were chanting “I am my brother’s’ keeper!” and folks were stepping up to share their perspectives. Four National Guards and a cop stood between the crowd and the building (with the aid of crowd control barriers), utterly stoic when the crowd shouted questions at them.

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Remastering “The Majesty of Colors”

Folks probably know that I make video games as part of Future Proof Games, but maybe not what we’re doing at the moment. Many, many (many) years ago, Gregory made “(I Fell in Love With) The Majesty of Colors”, a very sweet Flash game about balloons and drowning.

As the site stats geek for FPG, I can tell you “Majesty” remains pretty damned popular. (Hell, it just got linked by Buzzfeed a few days ago.) It’s an evocative game that continues to appeal to folks wanting to explore the soft feelings of a big, weird, sessile alien. Problem is, Flash is finally actually dying — no phone/tablet can run it, and some browser configurations require user action before it’ll run Flash.

So we’re bringing “Majesty” to modern devices: Android, iOS, and Windows/OSX/Linux. And holy crap, this game feels great on a phone; moving the tentacle with your finger just feels real in a way that the tiny, mouse-controlled Flash version doesn’t. I’m excited to test it on tablets.

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July 3rd 2016
Tags: On Life and Love, , No Comments

First Hair Highlights

The first time I dyed my locs.

One of the first pictures taken of my newly-dyed locs.

I did it! I’ve had locs twice now, for a total of almost five years, and each time I’ve gone, “I should be bold and dye my hair!”

But it’s very permanent, especially since my natural hair color likely needs to be lightened for color to show much. Plus, lightening hair can be damaging. Last thing I want is to have my locs falling out. I’ve literally spent years growing these things; I’m not ashamed to say I’m a little attached to them, even if I don’t name them or count them.

But finally, with the aid of recommendations from friends and family on a beautician, I got my hair did.

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Ossuary 25% Off on Steam!

Steam Summer Sale 2016 Offer

Ossuary—Future Proof’s first commercial game release—is part of the Steam Summer Sale and will be 25% off until July 4. If you haven’t had a chance to play yet, it’s only $7.50 (USD). If you’re on the fence, the demo, “The Hodge-Podge Transformer,” is also on Steam.

It’s been on Steam for a year and a month now, and it’s been a fascinating experience. After watching a few Let’s Plays of Ossuary and “Hodge-Podge,” we released an update in December to improve the tutorial experience and solve some colorblindness issues.

EZD Logo Color Our current work in progress is Exploit: Zero Day, a cyberthriller where you roleplay a hacktivist by making and solving puzzles. It’s pretty cool, and our alpha players are making really friggin’ awesome puzzles and stories. If you want in, hop on the monthly mailing list and you’ll get a key in the next newsletter.

When a Nasal Polyp Isn’t a Nasal Polyp

I had a pretty gross thing happen to me today.

It started with a long, thin scope being poked into my nose — deep into my nose. They need to see where this mass in my nose was attached before they removed it.
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Questionable Decisions: Hot Yoga

I made a questionable decision this afternoon.

After coffee with a yogi friend, I was inspired to start climbing back on the yoga horse. Most yoga studios in my area only have Saturday morning classes, so I had very few options for something in the afternoon.

Whatever. I was feeling brave. I signed up for an all-levels Vinyasa hot class at a studio I’d never been to. Ninety minutes.

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