Will we be ruined by that which we love, or that which we hate?

An interesting web comic/graphic I found on the tubes. I can see that that there’s a lot of truth in this. In today’s society, we do indeed have in infinite appetite for distractions which lead us away from what is really important in our lives and I’m somewhat guilty myself. Can these distractions ruin a person? You betcha.

Amusing Ourselves To Death

AT-AT Wallpapers part one

Here’s a collection of AT-AT, or Imperial Walker, wallpapers and HR images for your enjoyment. Hover over each image to find a size right for you. The AT-AT walker was a behemoth of a war machine, standing at a height of 22.5 meters. The quadrupedal walker closely resembled ancient beasts of war, or even a giant legendary beast from the dark side of the Force. Designed for the dual purpose of crushing and demoralizing enemy forces, and also serving as a transport for Imperial troops and light vehicles, the AT-AT was unsurpassed as the most awesome vehicle in the Imperial Army inventory. Its intimidating and powerful presence often earned it the distinction of being the first vehicle into a combat zone.

I liken it to the Soviet Mil Mi-24 helicopter: big, boofy, intimidating, well armed and armoured. It’s a kick-ass gunship, and has room to carry 8 troops for an air assault. If you see either of these things heading towards you, you know you’re going to have a bad day.

Anyhow, back to the AT-ATs. General Veers, prepare your men.

Villa beside the lake?

This is a cool optical illusion. Apparently the photo you are seeing came from a set of pictures provided by the owner of a house to some people who were looking to rent it for the weekend. They saw this picture and thought it was a lake, so were all excited and looking forward to boating and jet skiing and stuff. When they asked the owner about it, the lady emailed them back and said: “unfortunately that is not a lake, it is a wall“.

Here it is with some embellishments to help you decide what you’re looking at:

Has the world gone mad?

Not only have reigning World Cup Champions Italy been bundled out in the Group Matches along with powerhouses France (neither of who won a game), but USA came out on top in their group! That’s unpossible.

And to top it all off we now have a new female Prime Minister. OK, I get it… I didn’t vote for her and all that but our system of Government is one where we vote for our local member who votes for the PM on our behalf. But still, it’d be good to at least have a say. The Facebook hate groups have already started up including How’s Julia Gillard going to run the country from the kitchen?, plus I hate it when I wake up and Julia Gillard is Prime Minister and the more humourous Julia Gillard’s first move as Prime Minister: Equal Rights For Rangas.

If she’s just do something with Conroy, the Minister for Broadband who can’t work an iPhone, I might feel a little more secure.

Ever since I was a young boy I’ve played the silver ball

I was never exactly a Pinball Wizard, but I was pretty good in my day. During high school I was more into coinop video games than pinballs, and if I remember correctly my reasoning was that they were more consistent and predictable in their behaviour. You pull left, your spaceship flies left. The boss on level 5 always dives down after exactly 15 seconds so get the hell out from under there, etc.

It wasn’t until I got to Uni that I came to better appreciate pinball games, and if I remember correctly it was because they were less consistent and predictable in their behavior compared to video games. Each particular table had it’s own nuances and secrets, and no two games were the same. They even seemed to change week to week either by design or through wear and tear for added challenge. For example, the left flipper might be a little weaker than the right. After pointing this out to the owner you might find it fixed the next week but at the same time you’d find the table tilted up half a degree or leaning slightly to the right. The technician may have adjusted the out-lane pins a little wider and the in-lane pins a little narrower. The challenge and fun in pinball was not only in getting a high score but in finding the secrets and challenges of the gameplay and overcoming the traps put in there by unscrupulous operators.

One particular day of my pinball career sticks in my mind. I had a day off Uni and thought I’d invest some time at LazaMaze, a Video game and Pinball Parlour on Victoria Street in Midland. They had a well worn and slightly neglected “The Addams Family” game. The flippers were pretty weak, the jets in the mid-left area didn’t register and a few of the lights and sounds didn’t work. It wasn’t my first choice TAF machine, but it was still fun. When I got there some guy was on it and he was pretty frustrated. He’d been flailing away trying to hit a very conservative Replay Score of 20 Million but couldn’t manage more than 5 Million. He lost another ball, cursed and started kicking the legs which ended his current game with a tilt.

I asked, humbly, if I could have the next game and wagered that I could score get a replay. He took the bet, deciding that it was impossible since he;d already spent five bucks on it and hadn’t managed one yet. He was a slave to Pride which, along with deep pockets, had kept him chained there getting more and more frustrated to the point that I could see arteries popping out of his temples.

I didn’t really mean to make him look foolish, but I think I might have. Not only did I get the replay score on my first ball but it took me a total of about 12 seconds. Here’s how:

  1. Pull that plunger back and hit the Skill Shot for 2M
  2. Hit the Train Wreck, not so much to get points because you need two hits for your first bonus, but to get your eye in and test the upper right flipper strength
  3. Let the ball dribble to your left flipper. If it’s on the right flipper, perform a Flip Trap or a Falling Hold Pass to get it onto the left flipper
  4. Send the ball up that nice wide ramp up the back called the Bear Kick. If you hit this enough times you can do things like light extra balls, collect Jackpots in Multiball. If you have a strong right flipper, you can sit there all day and hit 99 Bear Kicks which lights 5M per shot, but for now we only want to go up once. This is the first shot in the 4-way Combo and should have taken about 8 seconds so far.
  5. Having gone up the Bear Kick, the ball will be delivered to your right flipper. Send it straight through the Graveyard into the Advance X Loop. This is quite a hard shot to pull off since the entrance to the Graveyard is very narrow, and the distance between the jets in the Graveyard means you need to be very precise. This is the second shot in the 4-Way Combo and should have taken about 10 seconds so far.
  6. As the ball comes around the top of the table through the Advance X Loop, send it up the Million Plus ramp with your upper right flipper.  This does two things: gives you 1M points (the next shots up this ramp will be 2M, 3M etc) and scores you the 3-way Combo for 5M points. This is also a hard shot, since the ball will be travelling through the loop very quickly. this is the third shot of the 4-way combo. It’s also a 3-way combo itself, and scores you 5M points.
  7. Send the ball into the Swamp for the final shot of the 4-way Combo and earn another 10M points.

I let the ball come out and trapped it on the left flipper and showed the other guy the score. 15M points from the 3-way and 4-way combos, plus bonus X advanced plus 1M from the ramp + at least 5M for the 5X graveyard value (small thought it was) plus the initial 2M point skill shot brought me over the 20M point line and earned me a free Replay game.  All in under 12 seconds. I let the ball dribble off the flipper, told the guy “Good luck” and walked out feeling too cool for school.

RIP Bryan Hoover

Some interesting hits on my site from Google searches today. Apparently there was a US soldier in Afghanistan with a similar name to mine who was killed by a suicide bomber. Bryan Hoover. Kinda spooky.

At one point I was friends with about 18 people with the same name as me on Facebook. We had quite a good time commenting on each others statuses but it got old pretty quick and I dropped them all. One guy was pretty creepy and was the catalyst which forced me to refine my usage of privacy settings.

That’s a funny name

So Suzanne and I were watching the Netherlands v Japan World Cup game, and the commentators made mention of a shot on goal by Japanese midfielder Keisuke Honda. He had previously scored a goal in their first game against Cameroon. Suzanne giggled, thinking this was a funny name to have.

Suzanne Hehe, what a funny name.

Brian Why do you say that?

Suzanne Honda! His name is Honda!

Brian That’s a perfectly reasonable name for someone from Japan, I’d think.

Suzanne Yeah, but what about Honda Motorcycles. It’s a brand name!

Brian Are you forgetting your own surname?

Suzanne What do you mean?

Brian Hoover is also a brand name, in case you didn’t know. And your last name is Hoover

Suzanne Hmm, yeah, but not by choice.

Brian

Suzanne

Brian Hoover’s a good name. Why don’t you revert to your maiden name?  Ever heard of someone famous with your maiden name?

Suzanne Well, no…

Brian No, neither has anyone. You have to marry into a good family name like mine, raise yourself out of obscurity.

Suzanne Hey, there’s a player called Matsui, like the restaurant!

Brian Good grief.

The scale of the Universe

Waiting up for another football game and found this awesome flash animation. Zoom from the edge of the universe to the quantum foam of spacetime and learn the scale of things along the way! Learn the size of the Pillars of Creation and marvel at the minuscule scale of a neutrino!

iPad users (and google analytics tells me there are at least a couple of you) need not apply.