Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Car Crash Hill

Last night I dreamed that there was a hill with a particularly dangerous road upon which many cars have crashed on account of the drivers misjudging how fast they could go. People would actually come to this hill in order to watch the cars crash. Most of these people were attorneys who intended to represent the drivers in court.

You see, the road was so incredibly dangerous that there was actually a local law explicitly stating that the driver could not be held legally accountable for crashing on it. The city would be at fault in all cases.

I also dreamed that there was a giant tortoise at the San Diego Zoo or the Wild Animal Park on top of which babies could ride around. The babies seemed to like it a lot.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Bad Movie Better Butter

A couple nights ago I dreamed that there was a brand of butter called Bad Movie Better Butter, the claim made in their advertising being that the spreading of Bad Movie Better Butter upon bad movies would make the bad movies better. The product's slogan was "We make the bad movies better!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Dead Stag

A stag fell dead, for the ebb of ethereal grief tis quicksilvered blood.

The sea rolled back upon its rearward edge
and pressed against a hidden one as you
eftsoon cut to the quick a quickthorn hedge
to form the stormcloud's silver lining true

Monday, May 2, 2011

Elf Motors Inc.

I made a blog entry about a week ago about a point-and-click adventure game that I made with Adventure Game Studio called The Bunker. Well anyway, I had also made another one called Elf Motors Inc. Like The Bunker, it is not the greatest game ever made. However, I played it through again this evening, and I actually liked it a lot more after all this time than I expected to. It's actually better than I remember. If you want to play it, the link is here. If you do play it, you'll probably need to run the setup program and choose "run in a window." There's also a walkthrough online that I didn't write, so I know somebody played it other than me.

Friday, April 1, 2011

More Mass Effect 2 DLC: The Arrival

So I was worried that I wouldn't have anything to say this Friday to meet my arbitrary "always blog on Friday" rule that I applied to myself a week or two ago.

I needed some dumb thing to blog about.

So when I realized that Bioware has released yet another package of downloadable content for Mass Effect 2, I decided that would be my dumb thing for the evening.

It is called "The Arrival."

I do not really have enough time to play it right now.

I will post more interesting stuff later when I actually have some interesting dreams.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Sand Sub (Remix)

Many years ago, I used Adventure Game Studio to design and develop a point-and-click adventure game called The Bunker. It wasn't especially good, but if you're interested for some reason, it is once again available on Mediafire: Here. I can't guarantee that it will run on your computer, but I'm not sure of any particular reason why it wouldn't.

Anyway, one thing that I really liked about the game was... well... some of the music. But the game only made use of MIDI for that, and so its quality depended upon the soundcard in the player's computer, and thus it wasn't always particularly fantastic.

Well, to make a short story even shorter, I created a remix of one of my favorite numbers from The Bunker, namely the theme that plays when you meet the crew of the Sand Sub. That is, a submarine-like vehicle that travels under the sand. The remix can be heard at my Soundcloud profile, along with a few other tracks that I've written.

There is a guitar solo in it that isn't particularly great. I recorded it in like half an hour and with only a handful of full takes. If this were a more serious endeavor, I'd have spent far more time with it, but meh...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Me Vs. The Mom -and- The Most Perilous Jungle in the World

Okay, so... a number of things:

Last night I dreamed that my whole family and I were participating in a family game show in which we had to compete against another family in a number of physical challenges. The first of the two that I remember involved all of us strapped up to a big apparatus kind of like a giant version of a mobile that you'd put over a baby's crib. We were all swinging around, slowly descending, and we had inflatable plastic hoops attached by velcro to our backs. We had to try to remove these hoops from the backs of the members of the other family. By the time we reached the ground, there were only two of us left: Me and the mom of the other family.

So they devised a tiebreaker for us: They separated us and gave us different tasks. To test my resolve, they were going to pour hot water mixed with fiberglass over me, and I would be required to endure this for a full five minutes. I put my hands over my mouth in shock, and the host of the show asked me if I was vomiting. He'd asked me this same question several times before, so I said, "No, I'm not vomiting! Why are you obsessed with vomit?"

I refused to do this ridiculous task, instead going over to the other wing of the building to see what they were forcing the other family's mom to do. Turns out they were forcing her to wrestle a wild beast. It appeared to be the missing link between killer whales and pit bulls.

The night before that, I dreamed that I was travelling through a jungle. At some point I came across two girls, one probably about four years old, the other probably about seven, who needed an escort through the next particularly dangerous stretch of jungle path.

As a matter of fact, it was the most dangerous part of any jungle in the world. As we progressed along the path, I constantly had to swing my sword around us alternately in virtually every direction in order to make it through alive. There was a neverending flow of red snakes trying to sneak up behind us. I decapitated these as they approached. There were also swarms of bugs that occasionally tried to descend upon us. I swiped my sword so quickly that these were reduced to piles of mush. We slowly but surely pressed forward towards a door through which we could see only a blinding light. Reaching this door, we knew, meant safety.

Unfortunately, I awoke before we got there, so I don't know what was on the other side.

~  ~  ~

The other thing is that I'm toying with the idea of making a blog post every Friday no matter what (unless I'm out of town and can't get to a computer or something). So if I happen to have a dream to report, I'll report it. Otherwise, I'll make some post about music or computers or something that I'm working on. Don't know. We'll see...

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Ordinarily, when I come home to my little apartment on Wednesday nights, everything is quiet. The television is off, no one is using the computer, and my wife is in bed. Last night, however, I came home to the biggest party I'd ever been to.

As it happened, the biggest night in bowling was last night. The Grand Olympian Bowling League Empire Tournament (GOBLET), in which anyone who is anyone participates. It is the single most prestigious bowling event in the galaxy (it turns out that Andromeda is really the place to be for bowling, but we do our best). In any case, the afterparty was held in my apartment. Whether my wife organized it and didn't tell me or I organized it and forgot about it, I'm not really sure. Anyway, never mind about that.

Everyone participates in this tournament. I don't even know how many celebrities I ran into at this party. At one point I was talking to Shaquille O'Neal, who told me about how being as tall as he is makes him a target for projectile vomit and that it ends up drying in his hair, whereupon the smell makes him feel sick himself. I expressed surprise that this would happen often enough to warrant complaining about it, and he insisted that it happens all the time. Most people simply aren't tall enough to notice it.

This party and all the people crammed into my little apartment, including Shaq, strangely made the place look much larger. There was so much food spread out across the bar between my kitchen and living room that it seemed somewhere between two and three times longer than it really is. And you might think that it was professional caterers who worked the magic, but it turns out that according to tradition the food at these GOBLET parties are provided 100% via the old potluck approach. It just goes to show that in general celebrities are far from being the snobs that they are often purported to be. By the way, John Mayer's peanut butter bars were really good.

At one point I was walking along this magnificent spread of food, and by coincidence, Tom Cruise was doing the same just a few steps ahead of me. I think he thought I was stalking him or something, because he kept looking back at me with this anxious look on his face. I just wanted to see what kinds of cookies there were. I liked the dark chocolate ones with double size white chocolate chips.

The Tom Cruise incident kind of reminded me of the time I went to a Tony Levin Band concert at Brick by Brick in San Diego. Before the show, the members of the band were mingling at a table near my own. For some reason, I needed a pen, and so I reached into the inside pocket of my jacket and pulled one out. I guess at that moment I was looking right at Jesse Gress, and the whole band scattered and scurried off in different directions. I guess they thought I was going to demand autographs or something.

So I thought maybe I should look around to see if Tony Levin and company were at the party so that I could apologize for that incident. I understand that he probably wouldn't even remember it, but somewhere deep down I secretly assume that celebrities keep a book of mug shots of people that only want autographs and are therefore to be avoided at all costs.

I just want Tony to take me out of that book. Is that too much to ask?

At any rate, I suppose it really shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that the team who actually won this year's GOBLET Goblet didn't have any celebrities as members. Well, at least not any celebrities who weren't famous for their bowling abilities. I didn't know who any of the winners were, but then again, I can't really think of any famous professional bowlers at all. I didn't mention this to anyone at the party, of course.

That could have been really embarrassing.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Ghost Tag

I was trapped inside some kind of haunted mansion or castle or something. Trapped there with me were a small number of others with whom I had not been acquainted prior to my present predicament.

One of these others was some kind of military soldier. I can't remember his name now, so we'll just call him Smith. In any case, he seemed a very well seasoned soldier, potentially a valuable ally to me, and so I tried to remain on his good side.

There was also a young lady named Miss Laverne, who turned out to be an experienced lawyer. For some reason that I can no longer remember, she was helping me with some important paperwork that I needed to finish. I was very happy for the help, and she wasn't unpleasant company by any means.

As she was a lawyer, I can't help but compare her appearance to that of Ellen Parsons from the TV series Damages. But she wore glasses, maybe kind of like Gemma Taylor from The Rage in Placid Lake.

Miss Laverne looked kind of like this...
...but with these glasses. Ignore the guy on the right. He wasn't in this scene.
There were a number of others, but their details are all shrouded by the ether now.

The layout of the mansion itself was vaguely like that of my grandmother's house, but its actual features were more like the interior of Hogwarts. That is, there were portraits on the wall that moved and talked, just like regular people. The people depicted in these portraits were, in fact, spirits of some import.

For instance, one of them was a blonde-haired young lady in a dress. The label on this portrait read, "Satan."

The others and I systematically approached these portraits one by one and spoke with the spirits contained within them. Each time we did so, an apparition of some kind appeared and chased us around for a little while before vanishing without having done any real harm.

Well, after one such little chase, we noticed that one of our companions had disappeared. Soon thereafter, we received an anonymous letter informing us that he had been kidnapped and that the kidnapper was demanding four million dollars.

After we approached the Satan portrait, a ghost of a tall, old, balding man in a white shirt and jeans chased us around. After a while, I realized that one of those old-timey telephones that you see in cartoons was sitting on the dining room table, and it was ringing.

It's for you.

I ignored the ghost as it chased the others. I answered the phone. It was Miss Laverne.

"Hello?" I said.

"This is Miss Laverne," she said.

I looked around and noticed that both Laverne and Smith were gone.

"Where are you?" I asked.

"I have kidnapped Smith," she said.


"I will return him in exchange for four hundred thousand dollars."


She hung up.

The ghost had disappeared by this time, and so I informed the others that the kidnapper had turned out to be Miss Laverne.

But then I started thinking about this little development.

Why would she kidnap somebody and ask for four million, only to turn around and kidnap another somebody and ask for four hundred thousand?

Also, why would she tell us who she was, especially considering that the first note was anonymous? It seemed the sort of stupid move that might be made by some thick-headed high school gym coach, not a sexy lawyerbrarian. Something strange was afoot, and I was going to get to the bottom of it.

~  ~  ~

Actually, I never got to the bottom of it. Sadly, I woke up from the dream. I like to think that Miss Laverne was actually being framed by the ghosts of the mansion. Actually, now that I think about it, it might have been one of those Scooby-Doo villains masquerading as a ghost who had tried to frame her. But I guess I'll never know unless I dream up a sequel.

As for whether or not Rose Byrne actually played the role of Miss Laverne in this dream, I don't believe she did. I believe it was just someone who looked kind of like her. A Rose Byrne lookalike, sort of in the same sense that Carly Foulkes might be considered an Anne Hathaway lookalike.

I mention this only because on occasion some of the characters in my dreams actually are portrayed by particular movie stars. For instance, once when I was in high school, I had a dream about the lost empire of Atlantis, and as it happened, the top ranking Atlantean general was played by Sam Neill. He had golden armor and wings and could fly.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A Portrait of the Clarinet as a Political Weapon

Last night I dreamed that I was working on a computer program of some kind, and upon achieving some measure of success with it, I was accused of being a hacker. Insisting that I was not seemed futile. My accusers persisted with their lies.

I found a clarinet somewhere and started to play it. I don't play the clarinet, really. I took a woodwind class years ago in which I was required to play one a little, but I don't actually know how to play it properly. Nevertheless, I discovered that I was not entirely terrible. Although I was only messing around with it, a crowd soon gathered around me to listen to my playing.

I stopped to explain to the kids in the crowd what the instrument was and its basic functionality. Knowing, however, that the kids would soon grow bored if I talked for too long, I jumped right into another piece of music.

Miraculously, this time I had a band accompanying me. I also realized suddenly that I was the greatest clarinetist who ever lived. We jumped right into it: at about 160 beats per minute, I played an extended lead part consisting of constant sixteenths with occasional triplets to mix it up. We ramped up the intensity and increased the tempo very gradually, until at last the band dropped out, and I finished off with two full measures of a relentless barrage of notes: sixteenth triplets first, finishing off with a flurry of thirty-secondths.

The band joined in again, and I tossed the clarinet to a nearby roadie. I started to sing. The lyrics are gone now, but they had something to do with finding a place where I could be at peace.

The melody was something like this:

After a single verse, the song was over, and everyone cheered until my accusers had no choice but to leave me alone lest the mob tar and feather them.

~  ~  ~

Ordinarily I reserve the label "Important (Long) Dreams" for those dreams that I flesh out into a sort of short short story. I didn't do that here, because I am busy. In any case, this dream felt important, and thus it should have been so fleshed out. I might have written some notes down for later blogging purposes, but usually what happens when I do that is that the dream never really gets translated into blog form at all. So I opted to write it more simply as I have done above.

I do sometimes dream about writing or playing music or both. What is interesting to me is that the music is usually not bad at all. I'm not sure what exactly this suggests about the human mind and how creativity is related to the subconscious, but it seems to suggest something. I don't know a lot about psychology or neurological anatomy, but as far as I can tell, the subconscious parts of the human brain are not altogether separate or distinct from the parts involved in creating artwork. Or the parts that create artwork are not turned off whilst in a dreamspace.

I also don't know why I played the clarinet in this dream. I play the guitar quite well, so why didn't I play that?

If one of my hundreds of thousands of readers who have extensive experience in the relevant fields would kindly give me some insight, I would be much obliged.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Dream Notes


I have some interesting dreams that I need to get around to translating into blog entry form, but I really kind of need to wait until I have a good chunk of time to do it. Right now I have only a few minutes, so I thought I'll just share some dream notes that date from the night between Dec. 17 and Dec. 18 and the night between Dec. 21 and Dec. 22. I don't really remember the dreams in question very well, but here we go anyway...

Dec. 17/Dec. 18:

Getting a pizza with Dad.
Wanted to talk to him about his dad. He seemed troubled about that.
Got into a giant truck. I was barefoot. Didn't think it would matter, but then I did.
Driving through a ghetto. Kids were getting in our way. Some of them were laughing about it. A lot of them had bicycles.
Then we were walking. The kids in front of me were very slow.
I had to keep telling them to get moving.
In a public restroom:
Working on a sound recording project. Put some files near computer to be ready for next time: files looked like mail/bills.
Kids were posting Peanuts comics on the wall. This was supposed to get them on the front page. Accidentally knocked down a HR/Strong Bad comic. Put it back up. The kids might get in trouble otherwise.
Videogame: S.B. flying a plane, passing through smaller and smaller rings at the center of a hollow sphere, luring a swarm of bees to be captured in a condensed object.
Claire and Luke Dunphy doing... something?

Dec. 21/Dec. 22:

Little house on Little Clavito street in place of alarm.
Left guitar in car overnight, warped it so that it won't tune correctly.
Walking w/ friend Alan.
Sitting in my bedroom playing guitar.
Little rodents running around.
Trying to accomplish something without waking teacher.
Woke teacher, got in trouble.
Singing in class, didn't know the words, we all got D's.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Time Dilation Program

The other day I was sitting in my Life in the Cosmos class, and "we" were having a "discussion" about the fact that light does not travel instantaneously from one point to another, and therefore the stars you see in the night sky actually appear as they existed some number of years ago, depending upon how distant they are.

I say "we" and "discussion," because what actually happened was that the professor mentioned the fact in passing, and then every single person in the class except for me proceeded to ask a question to the effect of "wait, did you say that we're seeing the star as it existed years ago?"

I'm exaggerating a little, but I was nonetheless extremely frustrated.

In any case, thinking about the concept of seeing things as they were rather than as they are got me thinking about whether such a phenomenon might be useful or interesting in video games. Braid plays around with time in a lot of ways that are very suggestive to me of quantum mechanics, and more importantly, in ways that are extremely effective as gameplay mechanics. But this is one particular phenomenon that we didn't see. At least, I'm not aware that we saw it.

In any case, before going to bed last night I sat down and spent a few hours writing a small simple simulation to test the idea. You can download it here. As far as I know, it will only run in Windows.

When you run the program, you will see a number of circles appear on the screen. With the cursor keys, you can move the green one around, and you will immediately notice that the other circles' movements are affected by the green one's position. In particular, the nearer the green circle is to them, the more current the solid circle's position appears to you (i.e. the more closely it overlaps the hollow circle that represents the circle's actual position). Furthermore, when nearer the green circle, the other circles become bluer and move more slowly, whereas when farther away, they become redder and move more quickly. This was kind of an afterthought that I added when I started thinking about gravitational time dilation and color shifting.

By pressing the S key, you can hide the hollow circles. By holding shift, you can double the speed of the green circle. 

And just to be clear, this post is not about a dream. However, after coding this, I went to bed and I did have a dream about coding it.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Quantum Faith

Sometimes we go up to religious mountain retreats. It's what we do. Or, at least, in my case, it's what we used to do. In fact, I'm not sure if I should still be included when I say "we." I haven't been religious for years now.

Anyway, we decided to go again to the mountains, for old times sake. We needed drivers to shepherd groups of people up there, and so I volunteered.

On the way up, I noticed that the roads had become much more precarious than in previous years, but I was fully confident in my own driving abilities, and so I proceeded with accelerated aplomb.

Aplomb, it turned out, was not enough. At one particularly sharp turn around a precipice, my car tore right over the edge of the road and plummeted into the chasm below. Amidst the shrieking of my passengers, however, I kept my cool. I depressed the "reset" button on my dashboard, and instantly

I noticed that the roads had become much more precarious than in previous years, so although I was fully confident in my own driving abilities, I applied the brake gingerly and took the next corner with caution. Amidst the complaints of slowness coming from my passengers in the backseat, I kept my cool. I informed them with authority that I was travelling as quickly as could be considered prudent. After all, an ounce of prevention beats a pound of cure.

Later, upon arriving at the campsite, I observed that we were evidently to be staying in a new building. The only problem, then, was that the building had yet to be constructed. In fact, the previous building was still undergoing demolition. Irked, I volunteered to help move things along and immediately began tearing planks of wood from the old framework with my bare hands.

Once the new building was ready to be constructed, I made that process move much more quickly with another trick: I showed the other workers how to file the materials down to the correct size using only one's own hair. Impressed with my knowledge and the time saved by my wisdom, they gave me the rest of the afternoon off.

My wife and I made for the music superstore that had recently opened nearby. We'd heard that they had absolutely everything. It was only a short drive from the campsite, and so we decided it would be a fair use of our newfound free time to take a look.

The place was a disappointment. Not the music, no. They really did have literally everything. The problem was that they didn't offer us any place to sit down. No chairs!

In retrospect, upon arriving once again at the campsite, I realized that there had been chairs all over the store at little listening stations where one could sit and listen to music before purchasing it. But I had continued to wander the store in search of a place to sit as though I couldn't find one. How puzzling.

Others had arrived at the campsite when we got back. In particular, the guest speaker had arrived and was intent on speaking to me. It seems that someone had tattled about my... ahem... recently acquired heathendom.

No worries. I am quite willing to speak about my present state of religious limbo, and so I welcomed the chance to get another's perspective. After all, the guy looked kind of like Richard Jenkins and sounded exactly like Harry Dean Stanton. So naturally I thought maybe he might have some ideas that were worth something.

So we walked together--really, I slid down the stairs on my socks--he and I and the other religious group leader who was, as always, present. I told him about my past, how I feel, where I am. How I neither believe nor disbelieve any particular idea about the nature of God's existence. How I do not believe that I have a personal relationship with God. How I do not believe that I know anything at all about God. How I wish that I did know something about him. How I wish that I did have a personal relationship with him. How I wish I could believe some idea about God's existence.

He told me that often prayer reduces to asking for things, and this can be a little petty.

I told him that my prayers usually only have to do with knowing God.

He said, "If he told us we know, then we'd know." The other leader seemed unimpressed by this, but I assumed that the guy was just trying to be cryptic. So I started trying to reason what exactly he meant.

He continued, saying, "Your computer programs are your messages to God."

I'd never thought of anything of the sort. What could he have meant?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Craps and Music (and Independent Game Development)

I haven't had a really solid narrative dream to blog about for quite some time now, so that explains why I haven't been around here too much lately. I know all you readers are probably just bursting at the seams trying to restrain yourself from saying something disapproving, but have no fear! I am still alive and sleeping every night, and sooner or later a good dream is bound to come along.

Actually, the truth is that I have a couple sheets of dream notes that I need to blog about, but I lost my steam a little bit with this blog. I don't think it's quite dead at this point. I think I am still going to keep up this blog from time to time. But I don't think it'll be particularly frequent.

Last night, I did have two dreams that I can vaguely remember. Though most of the details are gone, I do remember a couple really basic concepts from them, so let me share...

The first involved learning to play Craps. I don't gamble. I'm good enough at math to know how bad an idea it really is. So I'm a little hazy on how exactly the game of Craps works, but in my dream world, I was learning how to play it. It seemed to be a bit more like Roulette in the dreamspace, except not so entirely up to chance. There was actually some significant element of skill in placing bets, and in fact, it was not really that hard to win. I got myself ahead quite easily and started to develop a crowd of old ladies who were impressed by my ability.

Then, somebody was being mugged in another part of the casino, and I alone sprang into action. When I got back from rescuing the victim, the old ladies had stolen my winnings.

Upon waking, I realized that my subconscious does not understand Craps at all.

The second dream involved a former college peer named Matt Glickstein visiting my apartment for some musical reason. I think he was listening to rare Avenged Sevenfold B-sides on my computer.

You might remember that I've mentioned Matt before on this blog. He was the other Music Composition major in my year at the University of Redlands, and I've always admired his music because he has such a knack for writing effective songs. I usually don't write songs. While at University I think I never wrote songs, and although I probably felt at the time that it was because I didn't like the traditional song-based structure for music, I think now that part of it might have been that I wasn't very good at it. Matt is good at it. You should go listen to his songs, and then buy his album.

I think he was listening to Avenged Sevenfold because yesterday I was reading about Mike Portnoy's departure from Dream Theater and trying to figure out why some of his fans were upset with something that he had said. I couldn't find any reference to what he said or did to make them mad. Anyway, until recently Portnoy was also the touring drummer of Avenged Sevenfold. I don't listen to them really. I used to listen to Dream Theater a lot, but not so much now.

The other reason that I haven't been blogging very much is because I'm trying to complete an album of my own. Once that happens, I will probably link to it from this website, but it'll have its own website, and I expect I will focus more on that one than this one.

I'm also trying to get myself solidly into independent game development. I've been inspired by two guys mostly: Terry Cavanagh and Jonathan Blow. Their games have had a deep effect on me. Particularly, three of Cavanagh's games: VVVVVV, Pathways, and Don't Look Back. And Blow's Braid, which has affected me in a way that no other game ever has.

I'm starting to write down all the ideas I have for small games that I might be able to complete without too much difficulty. Usually my ambition defeats me. Even projects that start small eventually become huge and are subsequently abandoned. This will not do. So I'm trying to force myself to keep my ideas small, and when I attempt to create them, I will do so as quickly as I can. Getting a few projects done, whether or not they are particularly good, is my current goal.

Of course, as I am presently working on a Computer Science degree, it may be slightly difficult to find time to work on that stuff.

I think I might be spreading myself a little too thin.