I've been playing a lot of Super Mario World ROM hacks recently, and was, naturally, thinking about making one of my own, mostly so I could write music for it.
So I started researching how people do custom music for SNES ROM hacks, and it turns out that the process is *horrid*. People are basically typing hex code into a text file, using a script to insert it into a ROM, and then opening the ROM in an emulator and listening to the music. Every time they make a change, they have to go through this process.
The developer in me got pissed, and all of a sudden I'm neck-deep in research about how the SNES audio processing unit and digital signal processor work so that I can create a digital audio workstation-like software to let people write authentic SNES music in a sane manner.
Spoilers for the film "Backtrack"
Today I watched "Backtrack," a film in which Adrian Brody does his damnedest as a psychologist who discovers that all of his patients are ghosts.
Once he discovers this, he spends the next hour getting jump-scared and screamed at by them for some reason, and then his dad turns out to be a rapist and murderer and gets run over by a train. Then the ghosts go away, I guess.
How were the ghosts paying him?
NOPE. THAT NEVER HAPPENS. There's just "the rich planet" and "the poor planet" and that's as deep as it goes. Both planets refer to the rich planet as "the upper planet," and its citizens as "uppers." Like...BOTH PLANETS ARE THE UPPER PLANET IF YOU'RE STANDING ON THE OTHER ONE. NOBODY EVER SAYS THIS.
Oh, also, if you try to go to the other planet, the cops there just shoot you. Wanna know why? Me, too. I would also like to know why.
Anyway, it's like 90 minutes of Romeo and Juliet bullshit between Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst and nothing actually interesting comes out of the world they established. Awful. Beautiful film, though.
I also watched "Upside Down," a visually stunning movie in which Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst live on opposite ends of a dual-planet system in which matter on one planet is unaffected by the gravitational pull of the other. Okay, fine. I'll accept this.
So one of the planets is more capitalist than the other, and their version of the Shinra Electric Power Company steals the other planet's resources, powers their planet, and sells power back to the poor planet at a premium. Okay, cool. Lots of potential for exploring a class-based struggle here.
Nicole Kidman fell in love with "the other guy" pretending to be "the main guy," and, so, I guess he got jealous of...himself?...and went into another violent rampage.
Oh also her son's still alive and at the end she remembers a little bit about him. But I guess the real takeaway from the movie is that if you have a horrible condition in which you can't form any new memories and are, thus, functionally unable to be self-sufficient, when you disappear off the face of the Earth for four years, not a single one of your acquaintances will be like, "Hey, I wonder where that person went? I should probably check up on them, given that they have a pretty severe condition. It can wait until tomorrow, though, I guess."
Like five minutes in, the psychiatrist is like, "Oh, no, you didn't have an accident. You were beaten almost to death." So you, as the viewer, naturally, think, "Oh, shit, either that's not her husband, or her husband's lying."
So then nothing happens for like an hour, and Nicole Kidman's friend is like, "Hey, that's not your husband." Wow. Just. What a revelation. I guess he tried to kill Nicole Kidman because he was "the other guy" and he wanted to be "the main guy" but Nicole was happy with their current arrangement.
Instead of getting over it, "the other guy" like...bided his time and got really good at Photoshop, I guess? And then when Nicole Kidman and "the main guy" separated, "the other guy" swept in and assumed his identity.
Today I watched "Before I Go to Sleep," a psychological thriller in which a 40-year-old Nicole Kidman, as a result of suffering a traumatic brain injury 14 years prior, wakes up every morning thinking she's still in her mid-20s. Her memories only last until she goes to sleep.
Every morning when she wakes up, her husband has to explain to her, "Hey, we've been married for a long time. You had an accident and can't remember stuff. You can read a book if you want; I'm gonna go to work." A psychiatrist happens upon her by chance, and has her start video-recording her memories at the end of each day. But she has to keep the whole thing secret from her husband. Because reasons.
By far the worst movie was "Apartment 1303," an English-language remake of a Japanese horror movie of the same name. Here's the plot:
1. Mischa Barton's sister moves into a crummy apartment.
2. The apartment immediately says, "Hi, I'm extremely haunted."
3. The creepy neighbor girl says, "Hey, that apartment isn't lying; it's insanely haunted and you should leave."
4. Mischa Barton's sister doesn't leave.
5. The apartment kills her.
6. Mischa Barton says, "I guess I'll move in, then."
7. The apartment kills everyone else in the movie except Mischa Barton.
8. Mischa Barton goes to jail because the apartment FRAMED HER FOR MURDER(S).
9. The end.
Biden won the US presidential election. As a socialist, I don't like Biden, but I'll acquiesce that he's better than Donald Trump.
But it was really nice to see all the people around me happy about something for the first time in seven months. We celebrated with socially distanced pizza, beer, and cookies outside, and it was nice.
Three and a Half Oaks
Between the blink of an eye, in a heartbeat, in a breath, in things that stopped mattering, the world stopped - or at least we did.
People froze. I froze. Animals froze. Insects froze, I think.
I had a big fight with one of my best friends about two months ago. She'd started treating me like a servant, basically only talking to me if she needed something, and ignoring me the rest of the time.
So I told her that if she's not interested in actually being my friend, she should find someone else to do stuff for her.
In response, she screamed at me through a river of tears for fifteen minutes, then told me she never wanted to talk to me again. Zero since then.
Two days ago, she moved out of the apartment building, and I'll probably never see or hear from her again. It bummed me the fuck out, that that's how things ended: abruptly and explosively.
But I can't really figure out *why* it bums me out so much, since all I lost were the chores. I'd already lost my friend months prior.
I usually teach 3-400 kids a year with up to 50 in the room at a time. No sweat.
This year I have ~140 TOTAL. In person and online. And I've done MORE work than I have ever done in any two years previous teaching combined.
And by more work I don't mean that it's better, or more productive. Just more. ;.;
I dunno why I bother to look at the news anymore, frankly. Most of it's just, "Man, can you believe this Trump guy? Turns out that, after three and a half years, we can finally say with some degree of confidence, that he's maybe, possibly, not all that great of a president."
Thanks, news. Great work. Ya done just knocked 'er right outta the park.
Piano-playing, music-composing, donut-baking, code-writing, leftist nerd in his 30s.
I like classical and jazz music, language-learning, running, weightlifting, and video games.
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