Ponderings I

You are the music while the music lasts. – T.S Eliot

Finding where you fit in the world – that’s the most difficult thing to do isn’t it. How do you know where you’ll fit in, and who cherishes you the most? Even though I haven’t made many friends here yet, I think that California is the place I would to stay for the long term. It is a very exciting, and dynamic place.

But why do I like change so much? Why dynamism? The answer to that is what motivates me to do new things: the notion that you only live once. If you only live once, it is always worth it; to meet new people, discover new things; be unique and different; leave a lasting legacy; do something you haven’t done before. I have always used this to boost my confidence even when I’m feeling shy. Because in the end – you have nothing to lose by trying.

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. – E.E Cummings

Therefore we should always live life to the fullest – and achieve great things, such that the next generation can remember us by the gifts we have given them. Thereby those things that enrich and inspire humanity, can also preserve and advance it. I will leave off this short post with a passage by a human, like every one of us, who decided to give humanity something of lasting value, before shuffling off this mortal coil before the age of 30.

To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love and bear, to hope till Hope creates;
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent;
This like thy glory, Titan, is to be;
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory.

Life after moving

The Bay Bridge
The Bay Bridge

So I’ve been working in my new company, ezRez Software, for a few weeks now, and been in San Francisco for roughly a month. How do I feel about things? Well, they say that the grass is always greener on the other side. I do think that there is truth in here. I came to California expecting my life to have a significant upgrade, learn new things, make new friends, enjoy nice weather, etc. I now have to revise my expectations downwards a bit. While working at the new company is exciting, people are friendly, and I have a place close to work, there is a few things that disappointed me about moving here.

  • Weather is colder than I thought. Living in SF can get cold in the summer. While Toronto is currently experiencing a heat wave of ~100 degrees, SF is a cooler 50s-60s. This takes some getting used to. So much for hot California weather… maybe I was thinking of SoCal. 
  • Immigration here is difficult. The US makes it as hard for people to immigrate here as possible. Canadian credit doesn’t matter here, so I had to begin a new. Everything expensive requires your SSN and a security deposit if you don’t have credit. Also, since I’m on a TN visa, if my employment situation ever changes, I have to leave the country and apply for a new one. I also cannot apply for a green card while on a TN.
  • Cost of Living. SF must be the most expensive city in the US to live in. I thought Toronto was expensive, but California has the same tax rates, and some foods like cheese, are even more expensive. I don’t get it… aren’t a lot of foods produced in California? Why does it cost more here than in Canada? Rent prices in the city range from $1000 to $3000+ for a studio room. Yeah, there goes a significant portion of my paycheck…
  • Loneliness. I never thought about how lonely it would be here. No family and friends here. I always thought I could make new friends, but I miscalculated on how exactly I could do that. It’s always fun to go to new events and meet people, but you can’t exactly ask them to hang out with you after meeting them once. There are only a couple co-workers around my age, and I’m unsure of whether I can just ask them to hang out with me either. And being the shy guy I am, I’ve never considered going to bars or clubs to meet people…
So yeah. The working life… it seems depressing when you think that you’d be working and/or looking for work the rest of your life. Currently, I don’t have any social life due to just moving here, and so my life is just working right now. But I guess that’s what I signed up for when I moved here. Hopefully things will improve as time goes on. 

Duke Nukem Forever Review

Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem Forever

Alright, I usually don’t do video game reviews, but with this one, I felt like I should because this game has been basically torn to shreds by most critics and the general public.
Duke Nukem Forever is a game that has been in development hell for 14 years, it is the sequel to the acclaimed Duke Nukem 3D and upon its release, sites like IGN, Gamespot, 1UP, gave the game scores from 0 to 5.5 out of 10. Which to me is unjustified.

I’ve been playing DOS games since I was a child, and Duke Nukem 1 and 2 were amongst my favorite Apogee games to play. I’ve also played Duke Nukem 3D of course, as well as other FPS’s of the time like Doom, Quake, Rise of the Triad, Shadow Warrior, Blood, Hexen, Heretic, Powerslave, etc. So I’m an old school gamer. And after playing through Duke Nukem Forever, I’d like to address some points that critics made.

  • The game is too short. The game is longer than most FPS’s today, including COD, Halo, Battlefield, Bulletstorm, etc. 
  • The humor is too childish / offensive. It’s Duke Nukem. It’s meant to be offensive and childish. 
  • The load times are too long. This is actually legitimate, but it’s much shorter on the PC version, and it’s not that long as to be unplayable. It’s only because Duke dies so much that makes it annoying.
  • The graphics suck. This isn’t Crysis 2. Still, I didn’t find the graphics to be that bad, besides a bunch of texture pop in, which I can live with.
  • Too linear. Yes, it may not have the exploration of Duke3D, but remember now you don’t have to search for key cards anymore. Also, ALL games are linear to some degree. Anyone played Serious Sam? or Call of Duty?
  • Bad AI. I’m not sure what we are judging AI on here, different kinds of games will have different AI. But I remember this game being pretty challenging so the AI must be doing something right.
  • Duke has a shield and can only carry two weapons. I can see where people are coming from, but Halo had a shield and two weapon limit, and that game got good reviews didn’t it.
  • Platforming / Puzzles / Boss fights / level design / etc too boring and uncreative. Really? In what other game can you drive a miniature RC car, get shrunk and fight shrunken pig cops in an electrified kitchen, microwave a rat, smoke a cigar, eat steroids, play air hockey with someone, play a version of your own game on xbox 360, go inside the cogs of a generator, drive a monster truck over a canyon, and freeze / shrink enemies with a ray gun??
  • There’s no story. It’s Duke Nukem. 
  • Framerate issues. Played the Xbox version and had little to no issues with framerate. They weren’t noticeable to me.
  • Multiplayer sucks. The multiplayer can have some lag issues, but the gameplay itself is old school deathmatch, which I see no reason for complaining about.

So I dunno what’s with other reviewers giving this game a 3/10 or 4/10. Maybe they were expecting too much, they were expecting a game with beautiful graphics, iron sights, “realism”, etc. But as an old school FPS fan, I was satisfied with this game. It’s not perfect, but I think after all the game engine changes, it’s far from unplayable. All the weapons (except the mighty foot) and the enemies from Duke3D are here, which is nice. Overall, I would score this game a 6.5/10 for overall gamers and 7.5/10 for old school gamers like me.