Two students finally got their voice in.
Monday, October 30, 2006
It's a disappointment to Blaze, evidently, that the Community failed to collapse after the hacking, but he had hopes for Shinou.com to surpass PC in some time due to either a lack of funding for the server or lack of general linterest. His aspirations have gone so far as to create a blog — one that now has the Community Staff kicking up a fuss.
Blaze's blog has contributions from many members of Shinou.com, including BGTFamily, who owns the back end site Total Pokémon. In his post 'Guest Blogger', he allows BGT to post what seems to be evidence of Shinou.com steadily overtaking the Pokémon Community and provides numbers courtesy of 'some fellow fans', while the numbers prove, on further examination, to be completely fabricated. BGT rates the Pokémon Community to have 3,344 members against Shinou's 2,060 at the time of writing, but a quick look at the PC boards will tell you that the number of registered users — not active users, since the article doesn't say that — is currently 20,839, the day after publication of the article.
Another piece of information contributed by kind Blaze is a review of Paul's PokéJungle project. Upon hearing that the domain is 'Spinarak', he jumps and yells that Spinarak is a trademark of Nintendo, which it is, and warns against removal of the domain. It may seem like a shrewd warning, but wasn't it Blaze himself who took the domain Shinou.com, another trademark of Nintendo? Any sane person will know that copyright laws don't extend to the use of these domain names for fan sites, which Shinou.com and the Spinarak domain are.
Then there's a quip below that article: 'While we were at this once amazing forum, we were in talks with Kwesi (the humble and quite rad owner of PC) to co-pay for a server for PC/TotalPokemon.com. Approximently about Five Days after Kwesi paid for the Server in full, did we pull out of the agreement due to the arrogant PC Staff who did not like the idea of us having control . . . [and] decided that they rather pay for the Server, then have us have anything to do with it. Apparently they didn't keep their word, because about a few days ago PC once again has ads featured all over the forum.' They broke the word when the agreement was broken, so they had no choice. This post is effectively bull.
Most unfortunately, I'm not the first to report on the sleight of hand and otherwise plain and simple tosh that this blog offers. Remember FandomObserver? While he refuses to reveal his identity (and there have been calls for him to do so), he's become a good contemporary of mine. While he maintains the idea of just reviewing the fandom as a whole, he's gone in and criticised Blaze, something I should have done long ago, closing the first part of his latest review with a title, 'Misguided Webmaster With A Big Ego'. All I can say in addition to that specifically is that Joe's eating his heart out right now.
So what is Blaze? Does he have an ego? Yes. Does he remain true to his contemporaries, especially Erica, whom he said would be the only one out of PC's staff administrators to get any staff holding? No. Does BGT? No, he relied on ridiculously inaccurate statistics (Alexa, which is generated by users using the site's toolbar) after three months of quibbling with the rest of the PC staff.
It's a good thing Nicola's not including Total Pokémon in her collaborative 'Autumn Always'.
Di-di-dong, goes the chime emitted by AIM on a Sidekick. Someone's replied to what is construed to be an urgent message when it merely adds to the current drama consisting of anger over an unfaithful boyfriend. Sometimes it's a girlfriend. But whatever the case, texting is another feature of cell phones in which the purpose is defeated.
My main concern is the charge incurred by sending a line of text. On TMobile it's probably two cents to send a line of text, but compared to a five- or ten-cent minute, I'd say the vocal minute is more productive. I'll assume that the average person sends and receives four or five lines a minute: Usually in five lines you get about a quarter of the conversation done whilst the conversation is nearly over (about 80 percent) when the vocal minute passes. And it's a separate charge, one that many teens have compromised to pay for separately.
But what is the logic here? I happen to know that LiveJournal and Blogger allow you to blog from your mobile, but when people do, as I've observed from the blogs that link here via the Next Blog function, it's usually to send a picture, not necessarily text, but since it has to be posted as HTML it still counts as a line of text — two cents more. Compare it to taking photos on a digital camera and then uploading them onto your computer at night, when time is plenty. I'd take the latter any day. Plus which, for all cell phones (don't mention the Treo, Sidekick, or Blackberry to me; they're called PDAs no matter how you look at them), the lack of a QWERTY keyboard makes posting and recording difficult for the poster and potential reader; it's designed more for short recording and the usual speak on AIM.
Of course, this applies to the United States. In Europe and Asia (except China, where text messages are censored), texting is as useful as the vocal minute due to less reliance on the car. For the Americans, the fact that texting diverts your eyes off the road is another lack of support. We already have states passing laws against the use of cell phones whilst driving; with new studies coming out, they might push for harsher penalties on those texting whilst driving. In Europe, you're sitting on a train or walking much more than you can drive due to the city's unaccommodating layout, so it's a lot safer and more productive. They have an excuse, at the very least.
Note to self: Don't start this habit if stuck with the GoPhone for Christmas. The smilies have been knocked down and the tilde is starting to crumble away.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
You say that a lot in the military.
But should students at the Atlantic County Institute of Technology have been told they had to say it — and do 20 push-ups, if they didn't say it loudly enough — when Army recruiters gave commands during a phys-ed class last week?
Matthew Rodin, an 18-year-old senior, didn't think so. He refused to say “Yes, sergeant.” As a result, he was removed from gym class and sent to the library to sit out the period. Rodin says he also was threatened with a grade of zero for the day. The school principal says Rodin's grade will not be affected if he completes an assignment he was given in the library.
Partisans of both stripes — supporters of the war in Iraq and opponents of the war — no doubt quickly came to their own conclusions about this incident. We're just guessing, but we suspect one group immediately thought: This is outrageous — Army recruiters have no business being in a school. The other side: This is outrageous — the military deserves our support, and Rodin is an unpatriotic, ungrateful jerk.
Allow us to make what we hope are three more reasoned points:
One: Military recruiters have a tough job to do. This nation is at war. The all-volunteer Army needs recruits. And there's nothing wrong with recruiters having access to students and students having access to recruiters. But allowing recruiters to lead a gym class — a captive audience, so to speak — seems a bit unfair to students who may not be interested in the recruiters' message.
Two: While we certainly respect our military and support our troops, no Army sergeant in this country has the right to come into a school and order students — or any civilian — to say “Yes, sergeant” or anything else.
Granted, this incident may well be much ado about not much; other students say Rodin took it more seriously than anyone else and that the only one who had to do any push-ups was one of the recruiters, because students out-shouted him in the “Yes, sergeant” department.
Nevertheless, point three: Rodin is clearly a young man with strong convictions; he had every right to express those convictions; and he should not be punished for having done so.
And if you disagree with any of that: Get down and give us 20.
Of course, Chris McMahon of Absecon had another idea today.
Regarding the Oct. 20 story about the student who was terribly offended when some Army recruiters were invited to the Atlantic County Institute of Technology for a demonstration about physical fitness, even though it was not a recruitment visit:
I cannot for the life of me understand why this man deserves the amount of press space he was given. People like him despise the very military that has guaranteed him all the rights to speak as he does. Without our military to defend us, none of our rights would be worth the paper they're written on. Those who have served and died for our country are the reason the coward and wimps of this country can whine and moan about how terrible things are without fear of reprisal.
There will always be people like this student. He will live here and benefit from all that our military does to defend his rights. But like the majority of liberals, he will despise them and probably never have the courage to serve himself. It is a disgrace that he is given a headline on the Region section as if he is some defender of values, when it's quite obvious what he really is.
I think the other matter is that Rodin distorted the story — he was threatened with a zero, but his alternate assignment made up for it; the Press misinterpreted the interviews to mean that Rodin was being penalised for not participating. I'll have more later.
Monday, October 23, 2006
I came up with an idea in a vein to the new team rating forum to assist members in competitive and progressive battling: Create a PDF document detailing attacks, battle statistics and probablilties, natures, contests, etc. Anyone interested in contributing to this document can send information that they have compiled in a text file (.txt, Notepad), rich text file (.rtf, TextEdit and WordPad), HTML document, PDF document, or Works (.wps), OpenOffice (.sxw), or Word (.doc) file to me or contact me via MSN or Windows Live Messenger.
Here's what I'm looking for in your contributions:
- Thoroughness and accuracy. If your information is found to be false, ambiguous, or thoroughly incorrect, it will be rejected. You should provide as much detail as possible in explanations therein.
- Formality. All submissions must be written legibly with all code (if applicable) correct and friendliness of content, i.e. no swearing or defamation.
- Original work. Do NOT take text or other information from sites and claim them as your own. I will not accept anything determined to be taken directly from another website or publication that is not your own work.
All submissions can be sent immediately and must be received by 12.00am GMT -5 on 5 November 2006.
So if you're a decent writer, know enough about Pokémon to help others, and are willing to contribute to the cause, start right now. I know some stuff, but I'm going to need all the support I can get as I can't write it alone.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Had I decided it was not worth it plunking down $16 and not had been threatened with academic penalty for the decision, I wouldn't have gone. I did have doubts about the worth of the trip, yes, but what happened in the end was a different story.
Today we went up to a canoe rental service on the other side of the Mullica River. When everyone had sorted out their partners, I ended up in the same canoe as my friend Nick and thus went down the path to the creek landing. Once we determined where we needed to stop for luch and then end (I didn't bring any lunch of my own), we loaded the ten canoes out and shoved down the creek, which ran perpendicular to the CR563. As I had gone canoeing before and did not sink, I didn't expect the journey to incorporate hazards that would provoke the incident over and over.
Less than one hundred yards down the creek, the current split and left a small islet covered in moss and divided the creek into shallow and narrow streams for the next thirty yards. One team managed to get stuck perpendicular to the current and asked Nick and me to ram into the side so they could get rowing again. We did, but they remained stuck. When we reached out to their boat to correct them, we overbalanced and fell into the current — the first hazard failure. A minute later, we decided to climb up onto the islet and manually remove the canoes from the current and turn them in the direction of the current so that we could continue.
I had not rowed in years, my last time probably being in Belize going down a river after visiting the Altun Ha ruins and then being scooped aboard a boat that took us to our cruise ship when the storms arrived.* As a result, I found it difficult to alternate sides to paddle on to keep the canoe away from overhanging branches or completely felled and submerged trees. I ended up crunching up against heavy branches at some points but failed to draw blood, and often we had to correct when the bow of the canoe (where I was rowing) crashed into the bank. Although none of these corrections caused us to capsize, we did capsize a second time a mile down from the first incident when the canoe came upon a submerged tree branch and tilted us to the right. The water wasn't freezing and it helped out my toe, but I began to shiver slightly when I climbed back into the canoe once we managed to correct it sufficiently.
Although we didn't capsize after that, my clothes remained soggy and my rowing improved gradually but slowly. We did manage to block the creek after lunch break after we exited a pond and managed to get stuck between the bank and a trapped log while other canoes passed by right over the log. Luckily, the terminus of the route wasn't more than a half mile further, and we managed to make it with the other five able canoes that had passed us at the log. Once we were gathered at the bridge, we stacked up our canoes and walked to the bridge deck to listen for the following canoes, but it took nearly an hour before we were able to hear anything distinct. At 1.15pm, we saw two canoes coming down the creek — the one in front was completely submerged and the occupants were still rowing! Oh, how we shared a laugh at that.
The end result: shower off when I get home and arrive an hour late but not miss the employees feed a stray fox with a milkshake and some chips. As an added bonus, all of my cards in my wallet are soggy, but my ATM card should probably be working now.
* The same cruise in which the teenaged girl was stalking me, not the one in which I was ground against my will. There's a major difference. If you have any questions, just drop me an email and I'll be happy to answer.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Surprise, surprise. I actually didn't have any form of Internet contact until I entered ninth grade, when it was required in order for us to send any assignments to the teacher. And it wasn't until January that I actually registered for a web service — in this case, Super Cheats. And when I stumbled across the Internet, I had already observed, and decided not to subscribe to, the type of speaking that used abbreviations, pipes, and such. Now that it's been almost four years that I've been in the net, I've changed a lot — not much in real life, as I'm always the one who chooses to remain behind as far as that goes, but in the sense of communication over the Internet.
My first submission on Super Cheats was a hint about capturing Regirock, Regice, and Registeel as well as how to get to Rayquaza. (It may no longer be in the system since submissions were regularly pruned before the archiving programme that started in November 2004 or so.) The hint was typed out in a meticulous format, although it eventually was broken up by the editors' habits that preceded the new PRO-submitter system, and it reflected much of what my stance of speaking was: formal, abusive of big words, and haughty to a point. And when I pioneered the question-and-answer sections on the site, I pretty much kept the same sort of tone.
Then, PKMN.NET. In May I came across its Spanish extension looking for photos of Mirage Island. In July I found the main site and registered — this was the first forum I ever joined. My first posts were shallowly demonstrative, many of them being experimentation with BBCode and copying and pasting of Pokémon reports I had written earlier in my life. As a result, I was regarded with looks of 'wtf?' all over the board, but then again, I hadn't been on the scene that long and had much more to learn. And when the admins pulled their joke of September by censoring 'Muuma' (there was a massive team called The Muuma Army, led by Rex) and then responding to calls for the censor being lifted by replacing several common words with 'muuma', I became ever more frustrated. It finally boiled over when my name at the time, Vennblomster, was censored. This rage followed me all the way to the formation of TPL.
Then, it was back to Super Cheats. Their forums opened in September 2004, and the members that joined immediately made a joy of it (the rumour had been circulated a few months back). This was just what I needed to get my forum use on track. Over time I developed an understanding of how it worked, helped mostly by tooling the rules from PKMN.NET to provide examples of how I thought the forums should be run (until I found that the configuration of the forums made full application of those rules impossible, and it was eventually discovered that the rules had just been duplicated and modified, so we were left with a meshed list that survives to this day and was geared mainly toward issues that were at hand at the time of writing. Nevertheless, it helped me so much that I was able to experience the joy of being a moderator of a respected website in March of the following year, although the promotions unfortunately coincided with the PKMN.NET fallouts. But I can't forget the smaller forums where I would communicate with people and help run things. One of hese forums was the Crow's Nest, the first forum at which I became an administrator, regardless of the foundation of the forum (a failed roleplay on PKMN.NET). I was very harsh there, as I later would become at Super Cheats upon promotion.
As far as speaking went, I got a lot better. Normally I didn't think about the topic before I replied (and admittedly, I still don't sometimes), and I kept up the formal speech for a while. When I used MSN, I adhered to graphic smilies that are now abhorred where I am. I can probably say that the graphical smilies were something of a change for me — I found it difficult to convey emotions any other way. By the time I had come out of TPL and returned to PKMN.NET, I had lost much of the formality, but it would still be some time before I reduced my speech, became slightly more terse, started using asterisked cues, and then moved on to text smilies at the endorsement of Lily. Each time I would get a reaction of surprise from whoever witnessed it — as you can see, Lily was astounded and Shiny Zapdos was horrified to see me use 'XD'.
So here I am, a moderator at the Pokémon Community, a DCC regular, and an MSN hog. Who knows what'll come next? I have a LiveJournal, which is good, but will I probably migrate to using the tilde instead of the ellipsis? Only time will tell~
Saturday, October 14, 2006
No, no, I'm not enlisting, folks. I'm already fed up with the situation in Iraq as it is.
Rather, it's the second time in my career that my gym class had a set of Army drillers come in. I expected the day to be just walking to increase our endurance for the big stroll down the bike path to the shopping centre, which I had done last year (and walked the entire way while others had to stop and board the bus for transport; luckily the bus driver kept a canteen at ready hand). Alas, no — it came right out of the blue that three recruiters were in the room we called the gym, although it was small and cramped with the large exercise equipment taken into consideration.
We had the recruiters before; however, we were advised to eat a large lunch beforehand. This time, there was no notice (although I did eat some breakfast). We briefly shook hands with the recruiters and then were sent to the back of the gym room. The recruiters had the girls form two rows in the front and had us boys form two behind them. Once we were filed in, we went to the instruction of posture (attention was arms bent vertically with elbows to the back and shoes to 45-degree angles; normalcy was standing with arms held behind the back) and then to a set of exercises that, the recriters claimed, was performed four times out of the week upon rise.
Many of these exercises involved the upper body (raising the roof, overhead clap, and jumping jacks). Since I do not swim often and do more walking than lifting, in which case that was just packages of water, I tired halfway into the period but was determined to go on in order to allay embarassment. I would rest when there were no recruiters pacing near me, and sometimes when we performed exercises that I was structurally weak at, they would have to correct me manually, an example being bicycling, in which it was nearly impossible for me to hold my legs straight six inches above the ground.
Then, after we had been sprayed with enough sweat to fill a drinking glass, we were led out. It wasn't that cold, but it was enough to dry our faces. Nevertheless, we started sweating even more once we were compelled to do the '30-60': we sprinted for thirty seconds, walked for sixty, sprinted again, and so forth until time was called. Then the last three were 100 feet of bowlegged walk and sinking stride, and then a continuous sprint once around the traffic island.
I don't find it amazing that two of my classmates are enlisting in the armed forces and were used to this sort of stuff. I, unfortunately, wasn't. Luckily, I only have to work this morning, and I should have recovered enough from the ordeal to at least hold a pack of Deer Park above the counter.
Update: Turns out one of my friends likened the drill to Nazi imperialism, accusing it of being a recruitment in disguise. Trust me, if three people in the class have decided on the armed forces before the Army came in last year, it's probably not. Sorry, Matt.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
It's time to kick into gear. While this blog is primarily used to document forum ills and, to an extent, Pokémon and my life, I have been toying with the idea of adding quips like this, in the mode of George Carlin. So here we are with a few things I've been wanting done and over with.
- Sequence ordering for exit numbers. The objective here is to number exits in a streamlined fashion, starting from 1 for the first exit and numbering them in order of occurence. However, as more interchanges are often added, the system collapses and you need to add letter suffixes such as 'A' and 'B'. For example, the stretch of I-4 outside Walt Disney World had five letters tied to the number 24, and once all of the interstates in Florida were switched over to mileage numbering, this anomaly was reduced to three exit numbers, one for US-192, one for FL-417, one for the Walt Disney World thoroughfare. The advantage mileage numbering has is that it's flexible and it's easier to use the system to judge how far you've gone since mile markers are actually not posted on most stretches of highway, especially in New England.
- And on the subject of interstates, the southern half of the new Jersey Turnpike (NJ-700). Having this and I-295 within five miles of each other for the majority of the way and running parallel, especially when the latter provides more access to the area south of Philadelphia without any tolls, is stupid. Whenever you can see a motorway on the side of the one you're travelling on and the pattern persists for 50 miles, it's a sign of error. And while removing this half of the Turnpike resolves the road burden for the south, it'll also provide a definite path for the I-95 in place of the path that the town of Hopewell rejected.
- Foreign alphabet glyphs and accentuations in place of English alphabet characters in forum posts, MySpace profiles, and the like. I have gone over this before — there is no place for bars, parentheses, brackets, and numbers as letters, and the same can be said for Greek, Russian, Armenian, and Hebrew letters. This could be said of a certain PC member earlier in the week.
- Friend lists. I believe the people you choose to talk to and randomly assort on your MSN or AIM list constitute your friend list. You do not need to go off to another site and arrange something that states otherwise, especially if by adding a certain friend you end up incurring far more than that one friend. And going beyond the Internet, friend lists turn into slam books in which you're free to write whatever you want against a certain person. In fact, the staff had more than 10 slam books confiscated in 2001. But yes, with the news of bullying on MySpace, it seems these slam books are unfortunately eternal.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
As you can guess, this is currently being typed on a Macintosh computer — my school has a few of them but they're all in one room.
Of course, it's now an opportunity for me to reminisce about old school days. I was part of an after-school programme in the first and second grades since I had wreaked havoc at the local daycare and really didn't have many places to go once school ended. While it was a time for me to do any homework that had been assigned, it also allowed me to go into a room full of computers, all running on the old, columnal Macintoshes. In fact, the fist computer I ever used was one of those. I remember the maze games and calendar setups I had used as long as the computers were there.
And for eight years, once the old Macs had gone, I was grounded on Windows. In fact, almost everything I used for some time, if there were versions available, were created by Microsoft — MSN Messenger, Streets and Trips, and Office. Then, three years ago, I stumbled across an iBook and started looking it through. I eventually stumbled across SuperCheats using that computer, looking for Pokémon Crystal hints. Two months later, I joined.
Although what I don't like about Macs is that you can't load MSN Web Messenger on them (sorry, Shadow), I liked nearly other aspect of it. One thing was the graphics capability, which had been pounded into my head for some time before. The other was the fact that I was getting to meet an old friend after eight years of lack of communication. To be honest, I probably want a Mac now.
Or maybe it's just me. I know, I know, I've been accustomed to Windows for eight years (and have used Linux a few times), and I like trying out new things. But there's a Mac right here for God's sake....