6 Weeks Away and Everything Changes

I go away for 6 weeks and everything here changes. Its a strange feeling. When you live in a place for so long, that everything seems in stasis but its not. Maybe I am just noticing something everyone knows about.

So while I was away, my best friend Dmitri and his girlfriend Sarah got engaged. Now they have been dating for a few years. But the news of their engagement… Wow! Congratulations!

All the other news pales in comparison. When in Italy, I met and hung around with a girl named Laura. To make a long story short, Laura and I are unofficially in a girlfriend-boyfriend long distance relationship. Now I will definitely admit that I don’t have too much confidence in long distance relationships normally but… I guess I am kinda in love with Laura.

Also Carmen Hung, one of my friends from university finished her undergraduate studies. And she started blogging too. Congratulations and welcome to the blogosphere Carmen! You can read up Carmen’s blog here: http://carmenhung.blogspot.com/

Finally in less interesting news, I joined the Steam Community Beta. Unfortunately I don’t have too much time to play nowadays. But I might be online sometime in the evenings. Beside I am saving up my gaming time for when Half-Life 2 Episode 2 comes out.

I think that about covers most of the news from my side now. I will keep you updated as the situation progress.

The Plague (Part 1): Enemy at the Gates

Today I am blogging close to ground zero of a plague in progress. My younger brother become ill yesterday with a fever. While unfortunate, worse is the knowledge is that he rarely gets sick. When he does, the whole family usually falls ill too. A cause of concern for me, since this might turn out a busy one for me. So I fell an extra incentive to finish my work early on this week, before I too succumb.

On the note of rushed, a Saturday of intense gaming did not help achieve any considerable work. Whoa is me but doing the whole Half-Life canonical story from beginning to end proved to0 tempting. I finished up to the Lambda Core chapter in Half-Life, and skipped ahead to the last two chapters that I never beat. Well I finished it, cheated at the Nilinath final fight, but finished. Half-Life 2 proves much smoother and hence more fun. Up to the Nova Prospekt level, one of my absolute favourites.

Now, if only someone could convince Valve to port Half-Life 2 to Linux. Then I would be totally happy. While id and Epic Megagames both port their game to Linux, I never liked id’s games all that much. Unreal Tournament is different, and I enjoy the hyperactive action. But I am waiting for the 2007 instalment. If Bungie ported to Linux, I would buy Halo. But since Bungie is a part of Microsoft now, I can forget about that.

But all this gaming, I need to put on hold. It takes too long, I lack the funds to spend frivolously, and my procrastination may prove my undoing for this semester. A number of assignments are due this or next week, and need my attention. Instead I plan on resurrecting my old hobby, computer graphics. If I manage my day wisely, I will upload some of my “art”.

Now I must depart. Work awaits, and the “plague” looms. I go hither!

Like a Sitcom

Yawn. Nothing is worse than a bad sitcom ending. Everything gets resolved into nice tidy way, and life proceeds as normal for the characters. Friday and today, many of my “issues” resolved themselves. Unlike a sitcom, this is not ending thankfully.

I finally got my schedule in order. Everything from classes to study periods all works out nicely. Not that I like the amount of bus based commuting I do. That hopefully will diminish after I look for carpooling rides. Now, if I can just follow my own schedule and due dates.

On the note of schedules, I finally made peace between my Palm and my desktop. Everything works at least in the Kontact-Palm interacti0ns. It took some time to bring back my emails, but everything now is in its proper place. My desktop neatly setup with few distractions (except the entire Internet and Half-Life 2) works for me now. Now I need to do work on it.

Most of projects are started and well on their way. The power of an enthusiastic group is awe inspiring. Things get done and quickly. Now if I need to do work.

The only things still in need of resolution are actual school work, my old work and minor things like exercising. Oh and I am still waiting for a coffee date.

Serenity in Games

I found this post on Slashdot a few days ago. In essence, Jenova Chen a USC grad created a neat little game called Flow . Jenova wrote the Flash game for his thesis on “flow” or total immersion in games. A great game immerse a player so that the person does not feel like he is playing. From personal experience, if I play a favourite game like say Half-Life 2, I am not playing a game. I feel like I am the protagonist, trying to survive and shoot my way out of alien infested environments. Anyways try out Flow. Mr. Chen decided to build immersive games for non-gamers. I find Flow does exactly that. The ambient music, the glowing translucent graphics and ebbing movements, makes me feel like a bit of zooplankton floating in the sea. Eat, grow, survive and reproduce finally. Just the things an organism would do. More games should be this immersive, addictive, simple, challenging, fun and easy to pick up. Even Sony liked Flow, and asked Mr. Chen’s company to make a 3D version for download on the PS3. Impressive. Then again, I find myself gravitating towards more unique, abstract and non-genre games. Judging by the success of Introversion’s Uplink, Darwinia and Defcon games, I believe other gamers feel the same way.

Life Again.

Nothing much happened today. Cleaned stuff around the house mostly. Watched two more game trailers, Team Fortress 2 and the new Half Life 2 Episode 2 trailer. Should make for some interesting games. But other than that, nothing. Not to say I didn’t have a productive Saturday. This upcoming week should make things speed up considerably. Hopefully.

As a sidenote I have gotten pretty good in Stepmania (DDR) but I really want to get a dancepad. Am not sure I want to by one, since decent ones are expensive. However on the other hand, handicraft was never my strong point. So I am not sure what to do.

Maybe tomorrow will be more interesting.

Stepping Mania

Life has been pretty hectic recently. I guess basically it always was but I was too busy gaming to notice it. Talking about gaming I bought my first new game recently, HL2 Episode 1. Excellent game and loads of fun. Strangely very re-playable and Valve has worked hard on making the game believable with good AI and HDR. Without spoiling the plot too much, the best parts of the game were: a new enemy, HDR (kept on blinding myself with a flashlight against a white wall) and the story.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I am busy working on a new project recently. Basically a minimalistic web framework that you can drop into a website or extend to your heart’s desire. The only real problem recently was getting the Subversion repository working, and finding a new name for the project. It seems that at least two other open source projects have the names simplesite. I choose a new and original one. I am not going to release it yet until I get the SourceForge admins to change everything around properly.

I have been searching for jobs recently for PEY (UofT’s version of an internship). I need the money and the experience is welcome. Besides I want to decide upon my career path before I finish university. Might be a dev, tester, admin or a researcher. Right now I applied to two different places. We will see how it goes. Also I can’t get the courses I want either (might need to ruffle some feathers in that department).

Other than that nothing much else to say. I might say some nasty comments about one crazy nation doing “preemptive” invasions of another country. Looking for terrorists they say. What a pity most of their kills are civilians. Meh that what you get when you have one state-sponsored terrorist group going out to defeat another private one. Idiots.

On a brighter note, might go clubbing sometime soon. Continuations in writing, coding and other mad activities will also follow. Stay tuned for more.