It is the normal temperature of the human body, in Celsius.

It is the number of plays (counting Henry IV as three parts) that William Shakespeare is thought to have written. Unless, of course, you don’t believe he wrote any.

It is the TV channel for which there is no channel because the frequencies are reserved for radio astronomy. Except on cable, because cable isn’t broadcast television.  Oddly enough, thirty-seven is also the number of as-of-yet unidentified radio signals that have been received from outer space.

It is the number of slots on a European roulette wheel, though that number does not appear as it uses 0 through 36. Americans hate things that are odd, and the hard work required to divide a wheel into 37 slices and so add 00 opposite the 0 slot, thus bringing the total to 38.

It is a prime number, the first irregular prime, and the number of dicks that Dante’s girlfriend has sucked.

37 B.C. was also known as the Year of the Consulship of Agrippa and Gallus, while 37 A.D. was the Year of the Consulship of Proculus and Pontius.

Vincent van Gogh died at the age of thirty-seven. As did Michael Hutchence. On the other hand, at the age of 37, Benedict Arnold was signing his Oath of Allegiance at Valley Forge, Bob Hope performed his first USO show, Arthur Miller has his play The Crucible open on Broadway, Alan Shepard was the first American in space, Rupert Murdoch bought News of the World, and Pete Rose had his 3,000th major league baseball hit. I’m sure that lots of other people died or did significant things at 37, but these were what I could quickly find.

Today, I’m 37. What am I going to do?


The last time I wrote in the Getting Fit category was back in October when I ran a 5k.  So here it is, almost 6 months later… what have I been up to?

Throughout the winter I (mostly) kept up with a simple workout.  100 push ups, 100 sit ups, 100 squats, 100 dips, 100 reverse sit ups.  Not all of them every just, just one per day, a 5 day program.  And occasionally I’d run for 30 minutes to an hour on the elliptical machine.  This has worked well for me.  I’ve built up a decent bit of strength in all those areas, but it was time to do something else.

Shaun T and the Insanity BunchEnter Insanity.

Now, before people go all off on commenting about how I should be careful and not hurt myself, allow me to state emphatically, I am not an idiot.  I am fully aware that I have only one body (until science advances far enough) and I have to take care of it (which, coincidently, is why I am exercising), and this is actually why I chose Insanity over other workouts (I actually watch the videos with a critical eye prior to ever attempting the exercises myself).  And throughout, while Shaun T is screaming things like “Work!”, “Faster!”, “Push it!” and all the other things instructors say to make you move, he’s also constantly saying “Know your limits.”, “You don’t have to keep up with me.”, “Take a break whenever you need to.” and this makes all the difference.  In other workouts that I’ve tried, they always made me feel like a failure when I couldn’t do their programs to their level, but here, I always feel like I’m doing my best, and my goal is to make my best better over time, and not to meet some arbitrary goal set by a guy who already has a perfect body.

Right now, my best is pretty pitiful.  Each day when I do it, I am winded and exhausted by the end of the warm up, and it is a struggle to get through the rest of the day’s program.  I attempt each exercise, do what I can, and then take a break.  However, after just the first week, I feel better.

I also know I’ve picked the right workout because doing it is hard work, but after I stop, shower and relax a little, I don’t feel like I’ve been dragged through the street behind a car.  A workout should work you out, not devastate you.

Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind later.  I’m only one week into the program, but right now I feel great.

If I have any quibble about the Insanity program, it’s the same one I have for almost every workout program: perfect people.  They have a group of a dozen people doing the exercises, but none of the guys have guts or love handles and none of the women have hips or chests.  But that is minor and common, so it really isn’t worth being bothered by it.

One week down, seven to go.


InfectedI’m going to start the review of Scott Sigler’s Infected by simply saying that I enjoyed it.  I probably wouldn’t recommend it to anyone with a weak stomach as parts of the book are fairly graphic in detailing damage to the human body, but it is a good read.  The book follows two main threads.  The first thread is about a typical team of government folks tracking down the source of a possible virus that might be a terrorist weapon.  The second thread follows one of the people who is infected with what the government is trying to track down.

You might want to stop reading here as I’m about to go all spoilery.  Yep, spoilers from this point.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Perry Dawsey is the name of the infected man.  A former football player and survivor of a childhood of abuse at his father’s hands have made him a tough son of a bitch, which is how he manages to make it through so many of the things that happen to him… or rather, that he does to himself.  The virus is this book is actually an alien life form.  Microscopic seeds land on a person, and given the right mix of temperature and moisture and other conditions, they can dig in and start their work.  Dawsey gets covered in these spores, it is never said how, and eight of them manage to begin their work.  These spores are like machines, they read DNA and adapt and begin building the structures they need do their work.  Dawsey’s spores are on his forehead (though that one dies off early), his right shin, his left thigh, his chest (near the collar bone), his back (high, right over the spine), his ass cheek, his forearm and his testicle.  As the story progresses, and as the spores develop into rashes, then bizarre orange scaly skin, then to blue triangles beneath the surface that start talking to him as they awaken, Dawsey takes them out, one by one.  Tearing one out, then another, stabbing, burning and more.  All of which Sigler describes in fantastic detail.  Did I mention there was one on his balls?  Reading it was uncomfortable to say the least.  Unsettling.  And yet, the story drew me in as Dawsey persevered, almost thrived on survival.

The other half of the book, about the team trying to find and fight this new threat, is well written, but fairly standard for this type of book.  That isn’t to say it’s bad, it’s just… unsurprising.  The only real breath of fresh air here is that the tale lacks a fresh young recruit who shows up the older members.  And this is a good thing.  The story doesn’t need it.

In the end, I’m satisfied with the book and looking forward to reading the sequel in the future.

Removing Grouping – Part IV

Communications and status updates were easy problems, relatively.  Especially compared with the mine field of the reward structure.  The next element I want to look at is content gating.

Many games implement areas where only one group can enter.  Or two groups, or five groups, etc.  When the designers put a cap on the number of people that can enter, it allows them to more reasonably design content.  If group size is 5 and you limit the dungeon to a single group, you can make content and then test it with varying groups of 5 characters much more easily than trying to design content to scale in challenge as the number of people increases.  Something that is challenging for a group of 5 might be trivial to a group of 10.  Of course, a formal group structure isn’t required for this, as the number of players within an instance can be maintained by the instance itself.  You could even place a UI element called “People in Instance” that would provide you a list of the players in the instance for easy selection and pinning to your UI.

After a long look, it actually seems that the main benefit of groups to content gating is actually in getting people who intend to play together into the same instance do they can play together.  Getting around this winds up being overly complicated with solutions like having one player enter the instance and then inviting each other player to join him.  That first player being designated the instance “leader”, a job he will pass off to someone else if he quits playing.  Then you have issues of players wipes, when everyone gets killed.  How does the game keep track of who belongs to this instance?  Is it because you have a dead body in there to recover?  If you get frustrated and log off for the night, is the group now permanently down a player because you left your body in the instance so the game holds your place?  Again, it looks like if you wished to remove the group mechanic from the game, like with reward sharing, you wind up needing to examine the entire game from the ground up and make changes all over in places where the group mechanic was either planned on or taken for granted.

Fitness Gaming

One of the hardest things for me about getting fit is just keeping at it.  Over the last year I forced myself into the habit of exercising every day, my push-ups and sit-ups plan has worked fairly well, but I know I need to incorporate more exercises in order to work the whole body and not leave things out.  Back when I bought a Wii, I was excited about Wii Sports and the coming Wii Fit.  Wii Fit turned out to be a disappointment because you couldn’t build a real workout, you had to do everything one exercise at a time and the constant stopping and starting was annoying.  That single feature is why I’ve pre-ordered and am eagerly awaiting Wii Fit Plus.

But as much as I like it, I do have to admit the Balance Board is kinda retarded.  I suppose that is why I saw Your Shape with its camera and was immediately intrigued.

I am tempted, but really want to see some honest reviews of the product before I buy in.  An exercise game without a board or hand held controllers would be awesome if it works.

2006: Day 3 – An Age in a Day

I could write about the panels I wasted my morning on. Well, wasted isn’t really the right word… the swordfighting display was cool, as were the various writing panels, but the free form discussion of game modding was kinda lame. I mean, how many different ways can someone ask, “But what if it doesn’t work?” and the guests respond with a new form of “Then you fix it.” I showed some friends the undead siege art. But I’m not going to spend much time on that, because frankly, I want to live in the Age of Conan.

Funcom is here and they have a booth for their upcoming game, but today they did a full blown demo using the current beta client and servers (they actually used their live data thanks to the Hilton providing the internet access). All my worries for this game have been pushed aside, and if Vanguard still wants my business they better show me something cooler than this.

The first thing we are shown is the character creation. Have you played City of Heroes? Their costumes are cool, but the body and face creator in AoC is freakin’ amazing. You can give yourself scars or a broken nose, you can be all sorts of skinny or fat, its just awesome.

Then we see combat. Auto-attack doesn’t exist. For range attack with a bow, you draw the bow, then it smoothly transitions into an aiming system, pick your target and fire. We only saw bow, but I’d guess it works the same with everything ranged, perhaps spells. We didn’t see spells. But we saw close melee combat. Your character has six sides… front, left front, right front, left rear, right rear, rear. If you swing through a side and someone is in it, you can hit them. So yes, you can do a wide arc swing and hit multiple targets. Hitting someone is a series of key presses which determine the kind of swing and the location of the strike… almost like one of those console fighting games, but without the mad slamming of keys to make super-ultra-mega-death-combos. There are combos though, as you learn more fighting moves you can use them. But the absolute best part of combat is that you actually interact with each other. When you swing at them, you swing at them, not just in the same swinging motion you always make. You slash at legs and torsos and heads. And finishing moves can actually involve grabbing the opponent, running them through and then letting the body slip to the ground. It makes for much more visceral experience. And there is mounted combat. You can ride past someone and slash at them as you go. You can trample people. And the horse leans when it runs, just like real horses.
Then there are the towns. Player towns. Run by guilds. And you have to defend them from NPCs who rise up to fight you. Towns are strickly PvE, but for PvP they have tower keeps, and you can siege them, with real siege gear, that you have built. You actually can build, arm, aim and fire a trebuchet with a rolling flaming shot that slams through the approaching forces or the enemy keep walls. Since guild towns are PvE, they are instanced, which means the landscape doesn’t get cluttered. Tower keeps being PvP are limited in number, contested.

Basically everything about the game looks great. So far, it is the game I will buy a new computer for.

I saw a preview of Neverwinter Nights 2 also. It was pretty good. It beats Conan only in that it has DM tools so you can make your own modules and there is no monthly fee. Conan wins at everything else.

There was, of course, much hanging out, costume watching, and drinking.

Stomach Flu and You

The only good thing about stomach flu is that it usually lasts only 1 or 2 days, 3 tops. The bad things about stomach flu? One, its contageous, so Jodi had it first, then I got it. Two, you vomit a lot. A lot. Nothing really stays down long, and the longer it stays the more uncomfortable it becomes. Every time you vomit there is actually a euphoric feeling that finally the pressure is gone, or that could be oxygen deprivation since you can’t breath and puke at the same time. Three, dehydration. With all the vomitting, your body runs out of fluids fast, and the only way to get it back is drink a lot, which only serves to give your stomach more ammo to launch into the toilets, sinks and trash cans in your home. And you can’t not drink, because dehydration is bad, not drinking could land you in the hospital.

So there you have, in a nutshell, how I have spent the last twenty-four hours. I think I may be out of the woods as I haven’t thrown up in twelve hours, but I still feel crappy.

Monks: A New Alternate Advancement Ability

AA Ability: Embrace Death
PoP Ability, cost 9 AA, requires level 63 and Rapid Feign 3.
Duration: 1 minute
Reuse: 20 minutes

Feign death is a skill that all monks possess that allows them to fake a
death like state. Unnatural stillness, slowing of the pulse, shallow
breathing. The highly trained monk learns to embrace the death-like state
in such a way that is beyond doubt. He is able to bring his pulse to a
halt, stop his breath, lay still, ignore pain, and even reduce his body
temperature. This state is so believable because for 1 minute the monk IS

This would be a 100% complete mem wipe. Since we don’t have mana, it must
have a reuse time that makes it a choice to use it over a regular feign.
The duration is because there needs to be a limit on it due to what I’m
about to suggest….

This would be exactly like being a corpse. It is a 100% mem wipe,
everything believes you have died, and for up to 1 minute (you can
deactivate it, but still have to wait the full reuse time to do it again)
nothing will break the feign. No spells.. nothing. At the end of 1 minute,
you stand up automatically (the shock of your body getting no oxygen and
no blood pumping for a full minute is quite a jarring experience).

But that’s just my idea… *shrug*

An Aching in my Sole.

That’s not a misspelling. I meant “sole” not “soul”. Spiritually, emotionally, and all that other crap, I’m fine. Life is good.


I have an aching in my sole. After 5 years of working jobs that were primarily focused in sitting on my ass behind a desk talking to people on the phone, I now have a job harkening back to my years spent toiling under the slave masters at Kroger (not really, I actually liked Kroger… at the time… when I was 10 YEARS YOUNGER!!!!!!), I work for Toys “R” Us as a stock / pick-up clerk. I am on my feet for 8 hours a day, give or take. I do get 2 15 minute breaks and a 30 minute lunch. And true to form I find any excuse to sit on my ass (for example, today I rode over 25 bikes out to display on the floor.. yes, they are 16 and 20 inch bikes for little kids, and YES, I did say I rode them out). But Holy-Mary-mother-of-Jesus-H.-Fucking-Christ-on-a-stick do my feet hurt!

My blisters have blisters. The marrow in the middle of my bones hurts. I have pain from my toes to mid-shin, and then it just stops. All the other pain has faded, either because in 2 days of working my body has gotten used to the upper body lifting already, or perhaps my feet just hurt so much that my brain won’t allow me to feel the rest of it for fear it will kill me. And yes, I did just say 2 days. 2 DAYS!!

(insert massive amount of swearing here)

And somehow… but some miracle or sheer force of will, I still manage to smile at each and every single customer.

Of course, I get home and collapse crying like some pansy little sissy manling wussy. But that’s a private shame.