April 6, 2017


  • Forgotten Realms: Angelica, Remembered #gaming

    While poking around online, I discovered that I was late to a very cool party. It seems that Good Old Games managed to hunt down and secure the licensing rights to the classic “Gold Box” games from SSI built around the Dungeons and Dragons world. Now, to many of you, this means nothing. To me, however, this ushered in a surge of memories from my youth.

    I played the “Pool of Radiance” series (as I called it”) on my Commodore 64 from the time the Gold Box Series came out until well into my college years. Holy smokes. Stopping to think about that, I just realized I played that series starting in 1988 (freshman year) up until a couple years after my wife and I got married. We married in 1991, but I played the game at least until 1993 or later.

    I loved the game. It was based on REAL D&D rules, regs, characters, stats… It combined two of my favorite things: computers and D&D. I fired up the game and began creating my characters and building a party. The first character I created was a female fighter. She was awesome from the very start. She had pixelated flowing blonde hair, was a tough character through stats, and became the undisputed leader of the party. I named her Angelica. She led battles, did most of the speaking for the group when put into such situations, and remained throughout the entire series – though others had not.

    I have to admit, the temptation to resurrect Angelica from the depths of memory and plop her down at the beginning of a new tale, a new adventure, excites the nostalgic kid in me like you would not believe. Thanks to Good Old Games, I could do just that. They took the games, reworked them a bit, and created virtual DOS machines in which to run them. Oh, to fire up the games again and create a new band of adventurers in all that 8- or 16-bit glory…

    Alas, it is not meant to be. You see, if I do buy the revamped games, I don’t think I could bring myself to create a new lead female character bearing the name and likeness of the one I had grown so fond of, the one who survived each of the games into which we could move our characters, allowing them to keep growing as new challenges arose from the disks contained inside those gold box games. No, you see, sometimes you play with a certain character in a game series so long that when the time comes for that character to rest (she never died, the series just ran out and time moved on and I eventually got rid of all my Commodore 64 stuff), you let the character rest. Creating another wouldn’t be the same. And, if the replacement didn’t live up to the same level as the original, then the memory of the first is forever tarnished.

    Angelica lives in my heart and memory the way she was: strong, fierce, pixelated beauty.

    Get the games here: https://www.gog.com/game/forgotten_realms_the_archives_collection_two

  • See the word hidden in the Twix commercial? No? That’s because there isn’t one. #englishclass

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  • Spending much of the day at The Capitol in Little Rock today.


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  • Emily’s latest project: food coloring, water, and cotton balls!


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  • Playing in Tar

    When I was very young, perhaps not even in kindergarten or maybe a little older, my brother and I went to visit my cousin for a sleepover. At least, I think it was a sleepover – we may have just been spending the day. In any case, we were very young and the city was resurfacing roads in and around their house. So, the three of us decided to go down to the curb and play in the puddle. The puddle was, of course, tar from the roadwork.

    I remember very little of the incident, other than being covered in the black stuff basically from head to toe. I am sure we had it in our hair, all over our bodies, and who knows where else. What I also remember is taking a bath (or what seemed like a bath) in Turpentine to get it off.

    I’m not sure what prompted that memory just now, but there it is. Of course, in this day and age, child services would have been called long before we even had an ounce of tar on us just for being that close to the road. I am sure, however, the entire adventure had a lesson in it that I’ve carried the rest of my life. I suppose, if anything, I learned not to play in a pool of tar.

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  • Hmmm, not sure what #wordswithfriends is trying to tell me here…

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  • I used an app called #popagraph to take left pic and turn into right pic! Fun!

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  • #Math – It’s All In Our Heads – or maybe not

    To be clear: I have not yet read/listened to the book which sparked the idea for the article that sparked the idea for this post.

    So, basically, this author rewrites “The Matrix” with a focus on mathematics as the basis for the simulation. Though the article raises certain questions, it doesn’t really address the “So What” part of the discussion. That is, if we are actually part of some computer/mathematical simulation, so what? What changes?

    Let’s assume we are part of some simulation. Now we know. Or think we know. Eventually, someone decides they’ve seen enough to believe it and they do what? Suppose we are each a bit of AI running inside this simulation. We are each our own “The Sims” character. Could we break out of character? If so, what does that look like?

    In a weird sort of way, it makes sense to think of our world, our universe, as some kind of simulation on several different levels. Scientifically, through mathematics, it makes sense as described in the article because we accept that certain aspects of life (again, concentrating on math) would be discovered regardless of WHO made the discovery. The article uses Pythagoras as an example: we’d still have the formula/theory even if it were “discovered” (invented is more accurate, as all math is an invention of the human mind… or is it?) by Harmonias.

    Many religions view our universe as a simulation-esque model as well. How so? There is on overseer (or multiple overseers) who know everything about every human on every planet. Granted, most religions center on Earth. Think about games like “The Sims” and compare the user’s role to that of a deity in religion: for the most part, you let your little people do what they want. Every now and then, you intervene for one reason or another: You want to start the game over, so you wipe them all out; Your characters are sick, so you help them “learn” ways to get better; You provide tools to help your characters “learn” how to improve their simulated lives.

    We have other simulations as well: How about the whole “Civilization” series of games? In those, the role of deity is even more pronounced. In those games, the player provides means by which their simulated populations learn how to move from wayward nomads to townsfolk to city-dwellers, all the while building armies to defend/attack other simulated communities.

    What if this whole world is nothing but a simulation? Well, now we get into the whole “Matrix” concept, but instead of there being a pill to swallow that helps one escape from it, there is no escape. It’s all simulation. Perhaps that explains why AI scares so many people: If we are AI and we are creating AI, where does it stop?  How do the rules change?

    What if we are in a simulation, but we happen to know some of the instructions from the manual because those instructions govern the rules by which we operate? For example, The Bible has long warned folks of impending destruction. The book of Revelation talks of the end of things and of a new Heaven and New Earth. If all of this were to be simulated, then a New Heaven and New Earth make perfect sense in terms of a mathematical/computer simulation. How? It’s the reset.

    When playing a game or running a simulation, the player always has the option to restart the game/simulation. The Bible talks of the end times in which people do not die, but are simply “caught up” to Heaven. In a simulation, characters die. But, if the player resets the game, the characters who were still “alive” in the game simply cease to exist. They don’t die in the game. In fact, when the game is restarted, certain set characters would simply be “reborn” to appear in the next version of the game.

    It’s an interesting proposition. Again, though, so what? What are the possibilities, and perhaps consequences, of using the knowledge that we are but a simulation in a program? What does one do with that? There are still the rules of the game – if a being stops paying bills, the simulation rules dictate what happens to said being. If there is no escape, if there is no exit, then to what end is it any good to know one is simply part of a simulation? As they used to say on the cartoon “GI Joe,” ‘Knowing is half the battle.’ So, then, what is the other half in this scenario?

    (Snarky Content Ahead) Until we figure out what to do with that knowledge, here is my request: If all of this is a simulation, and the being(s) in charge of the simulation are aware of my typing this, then how about a cheat code or two given in my general direction? I’m not asking for much, either: How about a full health restore that would make me feel like I’ve started over and maybe a cashflow injection to my simulated bank account. Again, not infinite money, but enough that I could go around using it for good to help offset the bad. That’d be great, thanks. (End of Snarkiness)

    Relative related content:
    Article: http://ift.tt/1VIWWVH
    Book: http://ift.tt/1M8eLaH

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  • Pics from Tyler’s bday!

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  • Twenty years goes by so quickly! Happy birthday to the best son a parent could hope for! Happy Birthday, Tyler! #notateenanymore

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