Month: January 2018

You Are My Friend

Mr. Rogers is a national treasure. To a lot of folks he may have just been a weird, quiet, old guy in a sweater who wanted to teach your kids about feelings. To me, that’s pretty much what he was for most of my young life. Though the more we research about child development, the more we seem to learn that Mr. Rogers was right. Helping kids navigate their big feelings is one of the biggest challenges that a parent faces, and Mr. Rogers was right there from the start trying to help. Turns out, as we study children, we learn that most of the crazy tantrums and super pouting fits stem from not understanding how they feel and doing what any impulse driven person would do. They just freak out. Mr. Rogers knew there was more to it than that, and if you could help them patiently and calmly walk through the feeling, you could avoid a lot of frustration for you and them.

The reason I decided to write a post about this glorious, sweater-clad human is because a movied called You Are My Friend just got greenlit, with Tom Hanks set to star! Imagine that! The nicest TV guy in America is played by the nicest Hollywood guy in America. I can’t imagine better casting than Tom Hanks to play him. The movie will follow Mr. Rogers relationship with a journalist who was sent to profile him back in the 70’s. This guy apparently didn’t want to have anything to do with a profile on a kid’s TV guy, but came away with a transformed view on life. I can believe that.

There has never been a story about Mr. Rogers that describes a negative interaction. There are mostly stories that end in tears of appreciation for who he was. His patience was something to be admired. He was never in a hurry and never found himself without spare time for a “neighbor” in need. If you ran into him on the street, there’s almost a 100% chance that he would happily talk to you. He was just that kind of guy. There’s a reason that his quote about the “helpers” shows up every time there is a national tragedy. He is basically a symbol for hope in humanity. Probably moreso than Superman at this point.

I’m super excited for this movie.

You Are My Friend accounced

Mr. Rogers earns PBS funding when Congress threatened to cut it.

Six Pounds

I did it!

I stepped on the scale yesterday and I’m down six pounds in a week. That might not seem like a lot, but given that I really only need to lose about twenty or so, that’s 25% of my goal. I’m excited about it because I wasn’t really tryign that hard. I know this isn’t the story a lot of people face, but I’m grateful for this small improvement regardless. I notice when I’m twenty pounds over, and I think that matters.

Here’s to another week of trying to keep up the momentum!

Eat Right

Over the past week, Stephanie and I have both rededicated ourselves to eating better. Like everyone, it’s a work in progress and we do better some days than others, but we’re doing pretty well so far. It’s mainly an attempt at eating a lot less sugar, and a lot more veggies. After listening to a podcast about longevity, I’m even down for cutting out more meat and doing more vegetarian meals.

One thing we notice every time we get on a healthy food kick is that everything in our lives starts working better when we’re eating right. We start thinking more about how we’re spending our time, we start going to bed like we’re supposed to, we start working on projects we’ve been neglecting, and on and on. It’s like the cornerstone of nearly every good habit we have is eating properly. Last night was the first night in two or three weeks that I didn’t play [Stardew Valley]({{ sit_url }}/stardew-valley).

I’m excited about what we’re doing to try to make some changes in our lives, and I’m happy to publicly talk about it, if for no other reason than to have some internet accountability. I’m at 215 lbs right now. That’s up 15 lbs since the last time we stopped eating right. I think that was shortly before Thanksgiving last year. So I definitely need to make some changes, and I’m feeling good about it. I can get back down to 200 and eventually to my goal of 190. I’m not super overweight, but if I keep this up, I will be.

Here’s to eating healthy!

Grim Fandango – Part 1

I started the Grim Fandango stream last night! I forgot how much I really loved this game. I thought I might get bored of the dialogue, or want to just get the puzzles over with, but I’m really enjoying walking around in the world. I’m so glad I decided to stream this. I think everyone else was having a good time as well.

That Was Close

I’m almost 100% certain that I just ran into Dave Gardner from the Double Fine Adventure documentary at my local coffee shop. He was an animator on Broken Age, and a pretty cool dude, at least as far as I could tell. I was too chicken to say hello and tell him I loved the game. Oh well! Maybe next time.

It’s a small world.

Another New Thing

I’m trying out yet another new blogging platform to see if it meets my needs. The good news about this one is that it’s completely free. Especially if I decide to host it on Github Pages. I really enjoy using Ghost as my blogging platform, but the major downside is that I have to self-host it and that costs money. I don’t really want to spend money so it leaves me with only a few options. I can use my existing wordpress blog on Dreamhost, but it’s a bit slow and wordpress is just too heavy for my needs now. I could use a service like Blogger or Tumblr, but I really don’t want to do that since I won’t have direct access to the database and all that good stuff. Since Ghost is looking to be out of the question, Github might be the next best thing.

The thing about Github Pages is the whole thing is generated from markdown files that I have on my local machine. All I have to do is commit to a certain branch, and BOOM, blog is online. It’s a really neat system, but the barrier of entry is a little high for someone who doesn’t already use Github for their day to day work. I’m used to doing a lot of this stuff thanks to my job, so it’s not too bad for me. Wrangling Jekyll took a little bit of work but there are some nifty plugins out there to get it up and running faster.

We’ll see how this goes and hope for the best. My major concern is being able to export the data from the Jekyll instance into another blogging platform if I ever need to. The good news is that I may be able to do it no matter what since the markdown files for every post are available to me all the time. Worst case scenario, I have to write a script to take all the posts and format them for me to meet the needs of the platform I’m moving to.

Either way, I’m pretty happy with it and we’ll see if I keep it up. I think it’s going well so far!

Double Fine Adventure

I am such a ridiculously HUGE fan of Double Fine Adventure. The documentary created by Double Fine and 2 Player Productions as part of The Biggest Kickstarter of All Time(tm). Okay, it was the biggest one at the time it was done, earning over $3.3 Million to make an adventure game and a documentary.

If you’ve been around me long enough, you know that I am a huge adventure gaming fan. I was a fan of them long before I even knew what to call them. The first PC game I ever owned was called Putt Putt Goes to the Moon from Humongous Entertainment. Little did my eight year old self know, that company and those kid’s games were created by Rob Gilbert. He’s easily one of the godfathers of graphic adventures along with Tim Schafer and others. Double Fine Adventure covers the creation of the game, Broken Age.

I just popped in my blu-ray edition and watched the vast majority of it with the commentary on. I’ve seen this stuff no less than four times, but there are some cool tidbits you get from watching it with the commentary. It should be a bit of a testament to the quality of the documentary that I can watch it that many times and still enjoy it. The game ended up being amazing, but I’m that kind of nerd that almost enjoys watching the creation of something as much as I enjoy the end product. I thing it helps me to understand that everything starts as a ball of mush and can grow into something beautiful.

I struggle with the creative stuff and realizing that my ideas are worth something. Seeing people bring these weird ideas to life is fascinating to me, and it’s inspiring. Getting this in depth of a view at the creation of a game helped me realize that, yes there are brilliant people working on them, but they start out just as lost as anybody would when they start throwing stuff at the wall. There’s little idea as to what is going to finally take shape, but they just plow forward making some stuff.

Here’s a link to the ENTIRE documentary on YouTube. You dont’ get the special features, or the color correction and audio fixes, but you at least get to watch the doc. That’s the way I watched it the first time and I got just as much out of it.

Watch on YouTube

Buy Broken Age – GoG

Finished The Cave

I finished the cave on The Adventures of Stephen last night. I had a great time playing it with everyone. I played six of the available seven characters. The main reasoning behind that is I can’t see playing through it three times with two of the three final characters being those that I already used. I’m definitely gonig to return to it in the future though.

I found out, after the fact of course, that there are a a TON of achievements in this game that there is no chance you would figure out on your own. I really want to get at least a few of them, and the game is fun enough that I could totally go back and play it with these in mind. Like getting The Good Ending for instance. I didn’t even know this was a thing. I thought all the characters were inherently deplorable and there was no way you could get a positive outcome. Turns out, you can! All you have to do is turn in the items that the clerk gives you at the very end. Don’t leave the cave with the stuff you get and you successfully redeem yourself.

This game is a primary example why I want Ron Gilbert to never leave game dev. He always needs to have his voice out there, making games that are fun and unique. It’s not that no one has ever done a platformer, it’s just that the dialogue and style are all his. You can spot one of his games from a mile away. I would gladly buy one of his small indie games over most AAA games any day.

Next week, we’re moving on to Grim Fandango! My favorite adventure game of all time. I can’t wait to play it again.

The Rhythm of Dark Souls

I never played Dark Souls 3. I’m almost ashamed to say that I’ve never played a Dark Souls game at all. The idea of dying over and over continuously just turns me off. Not only that, but I can’t really get into the aesthetic of the game. It’s so dark, moody, and, well, ugly to look at. I realize that it has some beautiful graphics in a lot of ways, but there is something wrong with the way the character moves around the screen, or the way things flow with each other. It just doesn’t work for me.

Now, all that being said, I am fascinated by the game. I watch from a distance, and I can’t help but want to attempt it. This game is nearly a 10/10 on most scales, and I am avoiding it. I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up to at least try it. It makes sense that once I start poking around in it, I would likely start to understand the look and get absorbed into the world. I’m certain that this would happen. There is ONE thing that makes me want to play this game above all else.

THE RHYTHM

My buddy, Chris, introduced me to the following video regarding the secret rhythm of Dark Souls. It’s an attempt at decyphering why one boss in particular in the game is more difficult than most others. The idea is that each boss has a rhythm that seems to go with the music attributed to them. There is a wind up, and a punch with most boss attacks, and these follow certain rules. One boss, The Dancer of the Boreal Valley, doesn’t follow the same rules as other bosses. Her theme is in a completely different timing than the other ones.

Anyway, I say all this really just to say that I need to give the game a try. One of these days I’ll pick it up and go through the pain of constant death like all the other cool kids. In the meantime, don’t take my word for it, just watch this incredibly well done video.