Monday, February 29, 2016

Wedding Recap

Today I got married to Laura. Here's a quick recap of the day.


Tomorrow I'll be taking vows to love and be with someone for the rest of my life. So, today I'm going to talk a bit about commitment.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Bernie Bummer

Today Bernie lost the primary vote in South Carolina to Hillary Clinton by a wide margin: 26% to 73.5%. As a Sanders supporter, this isn't a big deal to me in and of itself. South Carolina Democrats voted on their issues, and Hillary has a pretty strong base there. It was a decisive victory for Hillary, for certain, and I'm certainly not going to bear a grudge against South Carolina.

Unfortunately, neither candidate really seems to have captured the imaginations of the South Carolina electorate. Only 369,526 people voted in the South Carolina Democratic primary today, which is down about 30% from 2008. I wonder if those voters were undecided or simply apathetic.

That said, going into today's election I was pretty disappointed in how it was being reported. I don't take much stock in the idea of media conspiracy, but even before today's victory for Hillary all I've been hearing from pundits is that Bernie's campaign is done. That sort of pronouncement doesn't just seem premature; I believe it actually influences the results.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

The Rose of Versailles

Yesterday I finished watching The Rose of Versailles, an anime that ran from 1979 to 1980. It's a 40-episode tale of French nobility, specifically the fall of the Bourbon dynasty. It begins with the arrival of Marie Antoinette in France and ends with the fall of the Bastille, the peasants' riot that toppled a fortress and signaled the rise of the people as a dominant force in France.

The show isn't about the French Revolution, though. Rather, the reign of Marie Antoinette and the French Revolution form the real-life backdrop for a fictional story of a woman who was raised as man, determined to become a soldier and to not have her value as a person defined by her gender.

Friday, February 26, 2016

Bouncing Back

All the things that were making me listless a couple of days ago came back triple today. For a while there I was caught between a multitude of things I needed to do, paralyzed with indecision and crumbling under the weight of my responsibilities.

It was strange. I realized what was happening as it happened. I thought to myself, "Charlie, you're having a breakdown. This is what a breakdown feels like." I half-heartedly attempted to start things, tried to distract myself from the problem, and sat motionless each in turn, aware as I was doing these things that they were not helping. It was a strange, almost out-of-body experience watching myself struggle like that.

And then, suddenly, everything snapped back into place.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Radiata Stories

Recently I started playing Radiata Stories again, partly because I wanted Laura to see it, and partly because I wanted to relive it myself. It's the game that made me interested in tri-Ace as a developer. It wasn't Star Ocean, it wasn't Valkyrie Profile, it was Radiata Stories that made me start paying attention to this innovative RPG developer.

So, I'd like to talk about what it was about this game that caught my attention so thoroughly.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I'd like to write about how pundits are declaring the Sanders campaign dead prematurely, about the Trump phenomenon, or about my vision for my own presidential campaign. I'd like to write about the shows I've been watching recently, the games I've been playing, or the games I'd like to make. I'd like to write about my feelings on the American educational system, how it's failing our country, and some preliminary ideas on how to improve it. I'd like to talk some more about responsibility, about stoicism, and about honesty. I'd like to talk about how I believe people are basically good, most of them muddling through life doing what they think is right, and how though many of us disagree we mostly want the same thing.

I want to talk about all of these things, but I'm just not feeling it right now, sorry.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


Responsibility is a tough concept to understand. We try to teach it to kids from a young age by giving them responsibilities of their own: a pet to take care of, an allowance, chores, and so on. It's taught as something punitive, with focus on the downsides to responsibility rather than the upsides; a popular example being when a kid asks for a pet and their parent has to sit down and make it clear that a pet takes a lot of work. It feels like a scare tactic, trying to convince a child that the benefits aren't worth the trouble.

I don't think countless parents warning their children of the work involved in keeping a pet is the cause of people's general distaste for responsibilities, but the fact that parents warn children away from responsibility seems indicative of a general revulsion at the concept.

Monday, February 22, 2016

MAGfest Final Notes

With MAGfest over, I need to make some personal notes for the next time we attend:

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Whoops, I Ate Too Much

Today I closed the booth down a little earlier than normal (9:30 instead of 11:30) in order to go have dinner with friends. I haven't really had much time to actually hang out with any of the various people I know at MAGfest since I've been attached to a busy booth the whole time, so it was nice to just sort of take off and enjoy some company.

We went to a restaurant we'd never been to before: Granite City Food and Brewery. Many MAGfest attendees may be familiar with Cadillac Ranch, the restaurant pretty close to the Gaylord. Granite City has much of the same fare, but it's so much better holy cow.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Washington D.C.

I've never actually visited Washington D.C. properly. This is my 6th MAGfest in a row, and not once have I ever popped over to D.C. to be a tourist for a while.

One of these days, though, I should probably explore our nation's capitol for a bit. And not Fallout 3's post-apocalyptic version, either.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MAGfest Atmosphere vs. PAX

I stepped into the vendor's hall this morning at around 10AM and left a little before midnight. It was a long day, but it didn't feel like it to me. I like this environment, and I like this kind of work. It's the kind of work I can simply get lost in.

It's different from PAX, still. Working a booth at PAX, it feels like there's a lot of pressure all the time. Here, not so much. I'm not really certain why, and I wish I could articulate it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Ode to All the Ways Airports Suck

Today I flew from Tucson to D.C. I'm exhausted from travel and lack of sleep, so to make this post easier I'm going to cover old ground and discuss the trials of traveling by flight.

Marvel's Jessica Jones

Are you tired of super hero stories about rich people, idealists, and literal gods? Are you interested in a smaller story that delves deep into the life of a person with superpowers that really isn't interested in being a hero? (Or a villain, for that matter?) Someone who just wants to live their life?

Jessica Jones is basically that. It's not a comedy or even an action show, really. It's more of a noire, a character study, with a touch of horror and drama. It's engaging and fascinating, and I highly recommend it. You can watch the whole thing on Netflix, and I recommend doing so instead of reading the rest of this post. Spoilers ahoy.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Relationship Advice 2016: Maintaining a Relationship

I'm currently on my fourth year of my only (so far) successful relationship, so any advice I give regarding maintaining a relationship should be taken with the knowledge that I'm working from a lack of long-term data.

This advice is also predicated on the understanding that your relationship is with a reasonable, non-abusive partner. If you're in a toxic relationship, your goal should probably be escape, not maintenance.

That said, as far as I can tell, relationship maintenance comes down to three basic concepts: communication, forgiveness, and gestures. I assure you that none of what I'm about to say is ground-breaking.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Relationship Advice 2016: Finding Someone

Given the date, relationship advice seems like an appropriate topic. So, I'll offer what little advice I can on the matter. After all, I've only been in my current relationship for three years or so, and I imagine my advice will evolve over the course of the next ten, twenty, or forty years.

This advice is going to assume that you're either seeking or want to maintain a long-term, stable relationship. If you enjoy the single lifestyle or polyamory, that's cool but I have no advice for you.

I'm going to break this into two distinct parts: finding a relationship and maintaining a relationship. I'll try to keep things gender-neutral so that this advice can apply to anyone.

The Fandom of Bernie Sanders

I like Bernie Sanders. He's bucking the system in ways I'd never expect from a politician, and he's made integrity a core part of this election's conversation. He's liberal, but not a Democrat, which makes him relatable to me personally. And though his plans for the country may be difficult to pass given the current makeup of Congress (heck, even with a Democratic majority), I believe the direction he would take the country is inevitable if this country is to survive the coming era.

So, yes, I'm an out-and-out Sanders supporter. I needed to make that clear, because I'm about to talk about how embarrassing Sanders supporters are.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Battling Misinformation, Part I: This Misleading Graph

Hey, check out this picture a friend of mine shared on Facebook:

This image is misleading, and I'll tell you why.

Quitting Feels Good

This semester I've been attending a night class on Mondays and two classes on Thursdays: one in the morning and one in the evening. As a result, I started working weekends in order to make up for the day I'd spend on campus on the other side of town. Spending the day in a library has had its perks, but after an eleven-hour work day yesterday trying to hit a deadline before I'd have to take today off, I realized that I didn't think I'd be able to keep this up for an entire semester. Plus, the morning class was kind of redundant since the Thursday evening class covered many of the same topics, so dropping it really wouldn't impact my education.

So, I decided to drop that morning class. And, as a result, it made me start thinking about the pleasures of quitting.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

What Kind of Blog is This?

The previous ten blog posts before this one consisted of 2 recipes, 2 media reviews (an album and a TV series), 2 political blogs, and 4 personal blogs (self-reflection, anecdotes, updates, etc).

Sometimes I ruminate on philosophical and economic matters, sometimes I research history, discuss current events, or simply attempt to give advice. I even posted fanfiction every once in a while a couple of years ago. In short, this blog isn't consistent except that sometimes I post something new every day.

I don't want to make this blog "about" something. It works for me as a general outlet, and if I had to stick to a single topic I'm pretty sure I'd run out of things to say pretty quickly. I suppose I could build a readership more effectively if I branded myself better, but I'm not much for branding and I have little interest in building a readership. (Unless said readership will spread the world when I start running for president in a few years, anyway. Gonna need that ground game.)

That said, I'm curious about what sorts of posts my readership enjoys most. I don't plan on changing my eclectic approach, but I am curious about what's connecting with people. So by all means, let me know.

While you guys think about what you enjoy reading, I'll discuss what I enjoy writing.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Tacos for Dummies

First, I should note that my spaghetti recipe actually turned out great when I reheated and re-seasoned the sauce the next day. I've updated that post to reflect this. Mission accomplished.

Anyway, I figured I'd do another recipe post for something I've pretty much got mastered, at least to my taste: tacos. It's a much simpler process.

Specifically, this is for ground beef you would then put into a taco. Shells are store-bought and come with their own directions, and you can dress your tacos however you like. I'm personally very boring: just meat on my tacos. No cheese, no lettuce, no beans or anything.

So, one must imagine that my taco meat must be pretty good to stand on its own, right? I certainly think so. It's a super easy process, though.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The Bright Side of Bush

Today on my Facebook feed I saw a picture that showed George W. Bush and Barack Obama with caption that read, "I'll take Bush on his worst day over Obama on his best day, share if you agree" or something to that effect.

I honestly don't understand what Obama did to deserve so much hatred. I mean, it's thoroughly ingrained in the South that he's ruining America somehow, but you can trace nearly all of those criticisms to baseless fabrications by conservatives trying to smear his reputation. Sometimes blatant racism, too but, honestly, in the South it's a far greater crime to be a liberal than to be black.

In any case, this hatred of an individual and utter refusal to see anything positive in him unsettles me deeply. I shouldn't be surprised by humanity's capacity to dehumanize others, but it never stops bothering me. I never want to believe that another person is truly irredeemable (which is kind of what my faith is all about).

Given that, I'm going to purge this bile by listing some of the positive things George W. Bush accomplished.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Day of Unity

For basically this entire day I've been working in Unity, the game development engine. Now it's 11PM my time, and I haven't spent any time today thinking about a good blog topic. So, I figure I should just talk about Unity and why I dedicated the day to it.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mom's Spaghetti & Meatballs Recipe

As promised, here's the recipe for making spaghetti, as adopted from my mom. My mom's spaghetti has always been my favorite food, period, so learning to make it was high on my priority list ever since I started cooking for myself. Somehow, though, I never really got it right until a few weeks ago.

I'm cooking it again tonight to make sure I got it down, and this time I'm documenting the process. Hopefully, this blog post will serve as a reference for myself in the future in case I forget something. Alternately, this post may document a failed attempt to recreate my previous success. Either way, this ought to be useful:

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Kanye West - College Dropout

I need to preface this review by pointing out that I've never really been into rap or hip-hop. Once upon a time I thought Eminem was kinda funny, and there was this mashup of Tupac's "Starin' Through My Rear View" and Phil Collin's "In the Air Tonight" that I downloaded once off of Napster or Kazaak a long time ago. And I guess you can count some Gorillaz tracks as hip-hop thanks to Del the Funky Homosapien.

Otherwise, the genre has been mostly impenetrable to me, partially because I like to sing along to music, and rap isn't exactly singalong stuff in my experience. The other problem is generally the subject matter: I'm not going to suggest that it's the case for all or even most rap, but much of what I've heard on the radio is about sex, drugs, violence, drinking, partying, and other things that generally don't interest me as musical subject matter. As a result, I've never spent much time listening to the genre.

That said, Tupac's "Starin' Through My Rear View" gave me a glimpse of something else rap music could do, though I never followed up on it: it gave someone from a very different life than my own a chance to explain what their life is like. It's not just beats and words; it's a story, or a perspective. And if you can tell that story or give that perspective in a compelling way, then you've made compelling art. It's poetry.

"College Dropout," I contend, is compelling poetry.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Aaron Sorkin's "The West Wing"

In short, I recommend watching The West Wing if you'd like to start looking at politicians as humans again, rather than the spoiled, disconnected creatures they're portrayed as in the media.

Spoiler-free review: the series focuses on the west wing of the White House, following the trials and tribulations of the administration of fictional President Josiah Bartlett. The show was praised for the relative accuracy of its portrayal of the White House, even if the characters and the show itself were overly idealistic. The first few seasons are must-watch TV, I would say. The later seasons, though enjoyable (especially if you're attached to the characters), lose some of the show's depth.

Anything further enters spoiler territory, though the show isn't really an experience that would be damaged much by spoilers.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Resolutions Status Update

We're about a month into 2016, so let check in on what I've accomplished as far as resolutions go.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Sickness Denial

I like to think I have a pretty good immune system. However, I should note that biology is to me what math is to most everyone else; I have no aptitude for the subject, and my efforts to study it have only led to frustration. So, heads up that if I ever offer medical advice you should take it with a grain of salt.

That said, I don't get sick very often as far as I can tell, the key words there being "as far as I can tell." I'm currently suffering from strep throat, though, and I'm amused by my actions leading up to this realization.

The Electoral College

I'm going to take a break from staring at this live update of the Iowa caucus to talk about how stupid the Electoral College is.

Yes, the Electoral College has nothing to do with caucuses and primaries, but it's going to come into play pretty heavily in about nine months. But, really, this is just something that's been on a mind for a while now, and it's time to vent.