Wednesday, May 30, 2007


Bioshock looks to have cornered the market on 2d water effects: How it looks, how it falls, how light passes through sheets of it, etc. But recently this new game Hydrophobia has burst onto the scene with promising screenshots involving torrents of 3d water as a core element to their gameplay. In the middle of this arrogant and boastful interview, the developer drops this paragraph:
We have flow, we have real-time ripples in the flow, we have meta-ball splashes that self ripple, we have foam where high energywater fogs the surface, we have emergent behavior eddies, we have particles on the surface and below the surface (up to 600,000 of them) we have a revolutionary procedure called wet mapping (whatever the water touches it wets - i.e. it darkens the texture, dependant on the absorbency of the material - non absorbent material it will coat with a film of water which then sublimates into drips). Oh, and we have perfect specular reflection, object and environment reflection and perfectrefraction, we have dynamic caustics both above and below the water - check out the compression wave acoustics when a wave moves through a light.
Wow. I've always been a sucker for good graphics and gimmicks that make aspects of games reflect (ha) reality, and this company seems pretty serious about developing just that. Let's hope the game turns out to be more than just a glorified tech demo.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Chicago recap

We went to Chicago last Friday, arriving at Bryan & Jessie's apartment with enough time to enjoy some of the Oberon that we smuggled across the border and play a couple games of '90s Edition Trival Pursuit.

Saturday we visited the UC libraries on a work-related reconnaissance mission, and went downtown to Millennium Park in the morning for touristy photos of their Cloud Gate piece.

After lunch at some hole-in-the-wall sandwich place, we visited the Jazz Record Mart, where I purchased a Slide Hampton CD. As both a trombonist and a fan of jazz, it was unacceptable that I had not heard his music. He's so smooth it's like his trombone is made of butter.

We had difficulties finding an available brown line stop, but soon we headed up to Lincoln Park for a fantastic dinner at this tapas restaurant, and on to a blues club.

Sunday, Steve used his volunteer access privileges and got us into the aquarium and Field Museum for free. The weather was 40 and windy, but it didn't matter since we were inside. I, for one, did not know that carp can jump four feet out of the water until I saw their informational video documenting said hilarious feat.

Came back Sunday night in a rainstorm that fortunately headed south. It was great to relax out there with the Mulders-to-bes, as this was probably the last time I'll see them before their wedding stuff kicks in to high gear. Overall it was a really great trip.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Ride 2: 5/17, 8mi

Quick neighborhood tour up and around the hilly streets around Vinewood and Washtenaw this evening. The western part of Vinewood is bisected by a tree-filled median, and it continues along a hill for a good half mile uninterrupted. This made for some great climbs and descents.

The houses in these neighborhoods are unique and charming, constructed back when houses were built with designs and materials worth caring about.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Valve released a new video for TF2 yesterday. As if I weren't excited enough for the game already, this showcases their new facial animation system and the general sense of humor that pervades the entire game. Until the very end, it's not clear how this will be implemented in the game, if it was really worth announcing, and if they're just making a big deal out of this to cover up delays related to Episode 2. But then they have the money shot -- the camera panning over the Heavy in-game as he roars with sadistic laughter -- that completely seals the deal.

Dale Newman is not a good landlord

We have a court date set for June 19th to recover double the amount owed for security deposits. As soon as I handed her the paper, the lady behind the counter pointed at Dale's name and said "ah yes, he's in here frequently." I'm reassured that he's a repeat offender so his credibility is already shot.

Evidently, Google listened to me.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Front and Center

Here is a full page ad that will appear in Publisher's Weekly, the popular literary trade magazine, at Book Expo America this June. It doesn't list Tom's book signing because they could only get an ad for Saturday and his signing is Friday.

we can reach the morning light

The library paid for me to take a Dreamweaver workshop today to bring me up to speed, since we're overhauling our department's website soon. The class was informative but slow, since we were held back by inexperienced people. One woman asked what a pixel was, and it was followed by a 10-minute lecture on what "resolution" means. And even that lecture was mostly wrong. Anyway, I never took advantage of my access to Dreamweaver while I was a student, but I'm now wishing I had.

Tomorrow I head to city court to turn in my affidavit and claim report for our security deposits from last fall. Since it's been considerably more than 45 days, and the landlord didn't sue us to withhold charges for damages, we are now entitled to double the money!

Just throwing a few phrases out there for Google:
Dale Newman is a dishonest and irresponsible landlord. And while I'm at it, Marty Baltzell blamed his own poorly routed drainage system, that thrice flooded my carpet, on my perfectly fine refrigerator.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Detroit Jazz Festival

The Detroit Jazz Festival headliners were announced today. Dave Brubeck (!!!), Medeski Martin & Wood, and Poncho Sanchez are all playing on the same day. Even though this festival is FREE, I would pay $50 for MMW tickets, and I have paid close to that to see Dave Brubeck. Seeing them in Detroit for free on the same day would be simply astounding.

Unfortunately, that one day just happens to be the opener for the Michigan football season. Depending on what time kickoff happens, it may be possible to attend both, but that hasn't been announced yet. Until then I shake my fist at the cruel fates who tease me so!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Ride 1: 5/05, 12mi

Up and around the Huron River trail. Hopefully, keeping track of the rides will encourage me to go on more of them.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, May 01, 2007



This has happened many times at the pole/tunnel vent on the Diag now that it's under construction: Climbing around the fencing to post flyers on the pole, instead of just posting them on the fence.

It's bizarre that people will honor the integrity of the structure while completely circumventing the reason for putting it there in the first place, like a neighborhood burglar who only enters through unlocked doors.
Posted by Picasa

MPAA, DMCA Failure

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

See that simple number? You, I, and the general population of the internet cannot discuss the function of this number without having our free speech potentially curtailed by court order. As the owner of this blog, I am not going to mention the function of this key. I will, however, encourage you to keep abreast of the ongoing struggles to repress this simple piece of information throughout the internet.