09 July 2008

Awaiting the Resurrection of the MRPG

Frankly, I've been following MMOs only because I am desperate to get away from the genre as soon as possible.

Let me explain.

I love group play, I love questing, and I love RPG mechanics, so MMOs are simply the best option available to me at the moment (and for the last 10-12 years). However, I despise the spastic, chaotic mess of thousands of players running about and casually beating or blasting things into oblivion. I only want to cohabit the world with my friends. A world which is story-heavy and thick with atmosphere. A Bethesda or BioWare campaign geared towards multiple users.

The Neverwinter Nights series doesn't count: the campaigns were awful; it was all about the toolset.

I want this in the RPG, RTS, and FPS genres: cooperative campaigns. Why there hasn't been anything like it since Baldur's Gate II, I'll never understand.

25 June 2008

Proof of Competence

Is it at all possible to achieve employment based not on the possession of academic degrees, but rather on the possession of the knowledge and skill those degrees represent? It should be, of course, but it does not seem to be. The reason is obviously that employers are (quite sensibly) unwilling to risk 'trial employees' and would rather see proof that someone else has previously established the competence of the potential employee. However, should there not be a method of obtaining a degree by demonstrating competence, rather than sitting through (and paying for) years of being told what one already knows? I would gladly spend every waking moment of one month on a gruelling test of all required knowledge and skill confirming my competence, rather than a few hours a day for several years sitting on a wooden chair learning nothing to confirm exactly the same data.

In fact, companies should design and issue these tests themselves. In this way, employers get exactly what they need and intellectuals need not waste their time with methods of education less effective than their own epistemophilia.

I breach this subject now because Delanie and I are seeking our own residence in order to spare ourselves the irritating and hindering idiosyncracies of our present company, and if we rely on her income alone while I spend all of my time writing and researching, our efforts are bound to be inordinately delayed and/or bear less than helpful results.

My writings will sell when complete, I am confident of that, but it has become excessively apparent that the interim will continue to be intolerable and harmful without our privacy.

18 April 2008

Quantum Conworlds

My approach to fiction is one inspired by (I am not arrogant enough to say 'based upon') the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics. Many people misinterpret the M.W.I. to mean that every imaginable universe must exist, while what it truly suggests is that every possible universe must exist -- and it is especially important to remember that this only applies at the quantum level. Of course, larger scales are ultimately determined by the smaller scales, but due to the degree of quantum difference necessary to produce mundane macro-world difference, most universes would differ from each other from our perspective almost not at all.

However, there are circumstances in which the quantum can have a very immediate effect on the macro world, and it is these differences that would immediately stand out to us. For instance, our thoughts depend on mechanisms at or very close to the quantum level, to such an extent that actions such as lifting your arm, which is a very macro action indeed, are very rapidly expanded from almost ridiculously smaller neurological events at the quantum level. That is, a single neuron firing rather few ions and electrons produces quite a large effect very quickly, and the level of observational indeterminacy here suggests that for every thought a brain produces, there is a universe in which the thought is different. Just as there is a universe in which one of the photons currently entering your left eye takes a slightly different course, so, too, is there a universe in which you have already stopped reading this.

How this relates to my fiction is that I try my best to not write anything impossible. I try to derive it all from imagining quantum differences, which includes thought (thus choice) as well as natural law.

Natural law, of course, is where this all becomes very difficult. We cannot, for instance, with much confidence, suggest that a universe must exist in which the Milky Way has already collided with Andromeda, as there may not have ever been a point in time at which the event determining the speed of this process was indeterminate -- or it may be dependant upon one or many event(s) which, if different in any way, would have destroyed the possibility of the two galaxies existing at all. On a smaller scale, it is difficult to suggest that there is a universe in which the Titanic struck the iceberg yet failed to sink (because, say, metals are harder in this other universe), only that there is a universe in which someone made a choice which made it possible for the ship to change its course early enough to avoid the iceberg, or that a very early quantum-level difference in the universe (perhaps necessarily in the Big Bang) allowed the climate to be warm enough that the iceberg was not there.

Needless to say, thought/choice is the easiest to justify, so most of the fiction is derived from that, as it is immediate in comparison to something that has to be traced back billions of years, which I also have a little bit of.

I recognise that most readers will/do/can not distinguish between what quantum mechanics allows to be possible and what it does not -- neither do I, in comparison to even a first-year student in the subject -- but this method keeps me interested and motivated.

18 June 2007

God in Statistics

Growing up, and well into my teenage years, I always assumed atheists were the majority in America. My schools always seemed, to me, to have more atheists than anything. Most of the adults I met seemed indifferent, probably agnostic by definition. Most seemed to scoff or shrug at religion. Yet whenever the students were polled, Christianity and Catholicism came out on top. I wondered if I just wasn't seeing them, or if atheists were lying when polled.

When I questioned people, it seemed to be a matter of pressure. When confronted with religious subject matter, people would endure it with visible displeasure or disinterest. Yet when it came down to reading 'Do you believe in God?' dramatically before them in black and white, they marked affirmatively, 'just to be on the safe side'.

My mother was always one of these people. In conversation with a familiar person, she would say that she did not believe in her Protestant upbringing; yet in facing an unfamiliar person or a known Christian, it was always 'Of course I believe in God!' in fear of being seen as a 'bad person'.


I have found this to be true of many people up to now, and today, on the Internet, it holds true. Does it not seem to you that most of the people you encounter online are agnostic/atheistic, whether they describe themselves as such or not? Either disbelieving, doubtful, or indifferent. One seems to have to search specifically for religious websites and forums to find a place where they are the majority.

03 June 2007

We Have Weather, Again?

Massachusetts has been amazingly devoid of storms for the past several years. I remember absolutely immense storms of awesomely dark clouds and lightning so rapid it seemed to nearly produce a steady daylight. I remember a tornado that picked up the tipis of a local campground and dropped them in a parking lot near the city hall. But the weather over the past several years has been comparatively disappointing.

But in the last two weeks we have had three impressive storms and one (though very unnecessary, I think) tornado warning. I spent a great deal of time out in the torrential rain today. I have missed wet Summers.

02 June 2007

Four More Years! Four More Years!

Yeah, like Hell.

Our search for a home on hold, Delanie and I seem to have loosely agreed on staying here indefinitely. I am at once excited and dubious. It is good to be settled together in any manner, and I am often proud of Massachusetts, but I am not for one moment looking forward to another strangling Winter.

It can be beautiful, romantic, and inspiring, but the toll on food coupled with the ridiculously irrelevant employment opportunities is simply not worth the climatic variety or the pride of living in the most liberal state.

The company in Carlsbad which I flew to Las Vegas in 2005 for an interview with, and which I have been so persistently seeking employment at, has recently cut most of their number, letting them go with a basic 'You're all fired,' in a parking lot, leaving only dozens out of hundreds.

I suppose that I can now thank the immensely late taxi service -- which caused me to miss the interview -- for allowing me to avoid such a crushing blow.

Nonetheless, I still have to make it to Minnesota as promised to Erick, or back to California as sworn to myself. Yet the present consists of a stifling state of affairs. Being the only two non-smoking, non-drinking, well-nourished, healthy humans in a county of shambling, overweight, zombified, straw-haired, fish-eyed alcoholics and heroin addicts is taxing on a couple's sense of external comaraderie, I think.

The condominium unit in Westfield sold for $140,000. With my share, I have, thus far, bought seaweed. It beats living on royalties from 2002-2004. I would like an arrangement like that again, but the industry seems to have gone bonkers (obviously, because it's not doing what I want).

In any case, we are planning a camping excursion to the nearby Prospect Mountain for the week surrounding my birthday. Delanie means to enjoy rummaging through the mining scraps for shiny booty, while I mean to enjoy being at least eighty feet away from ridiculous people at any given time, and together we mean to enjoy the latter with duality.

I have only ever camped in months of Spring and Autumn, never in the heat August. I look forward to it.

30 May 2007

It Tickles Me, Too

Candace says (10:56 PM):
Hey, I found that GetOffMySpace post about you. Very interesting read.
Kyle says (10:56 PM):
I imagine.
Candace says (10:56 PM):
I admit I chuckled.
Kyle says (10:56 PM):
I didn't even bother trying to get into the community.
Candace says (10:57 PM):
Half of the comments were about how angry they were that you are apparently,
um... well-endowed.
Candace says (10:58 PM):
One comment even said that it was the biggest one they've seen.
Candace says (10:58 PM):
Which is... interesting?
Candace says (10:58 PM):
But anyway, that pissed them off.
Kyle says (10:58 PM):
Odd. I know that I am above the 'statistical' average, but that is not saying much.
The supposed average is pretty unbelievably small. I doubt the statistics. Then
again, I suppose I am of the standard male mentality that the size of the penis is
not sufficient until his partner is killed by it.
Candace says (10:58 PM):
Kyle says (10:59 PM):
But yes, that is funny, and I thank you for sharing. It made my id's night.
Candace says (10:59 PM):
But I laughed, since a lot of them were so enraged.
Kyle says (11:00 PM):
Stop that. I almost want to intentionally submit something intentionally enraging.
Candace says (11:01 PM):
I'm an enabler, haha.
Candace says (11:01 PM):
I do love when little groups like this get, for lack of better terms, butt-hurt like this.
Candace says (11:02 PM):
It tickles me.