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I can see my house from here!

Well, not from here. This is a promotional image from what many think is the coolest non-game application in VR: Google Earth.

When you get up close to things the details are kind of shit, but it’s derived from the other Google Earth, so you can go absolutely anywhere. You can fly like Superman! You can tilt and whirl and zoom. You can see everything from overhead, or fly right into the landscape. You can go faster, you can go slower.

You could also get pretty motion sick, if you’re prone to that. The default mode is supposed to mitigate that – whenever you move the image vignettes. I hate that. It makes it look like I am *not* flying around like Superman. Maybe Superman with glaucoma. Anyway, not cool.

With most applications, I have to disable the anti-motion-sickness devices because they ruin my fun.

I’m very chuffed today. I found two places I have never been able to find on Google Earth or Google Maps: my mother’s farm in Middle Tennessee and the family cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Both deep in the woods, which can make it hard to follow roads. I’ve tried and failed many times on flat maps, so maybe VR does make some applications work better.

You can take screenshots in VR, but I haven’t worked out the process of getting them off VR and onto my computer. Anyway, from a Superman-eye-view, both houses look like Legos dropped in the bushes, so you aren’t missing much.

Next I want Superman’s heat vision so I can fly over those bastards in Davos and burn them to a crisp. Good weekend, everyone!

May 20, 2022 — 4:43 pm
Comments: 1


This from a thunderstorm two nights ago. We only got rain. Photo from Stonehenge Dronescapes (interesting YouTube channel at the link. Seems to be mostly crop circles). Do check out the color version on Twitter.

I post that picture because I’m just too gosh-darned nice to post the picture Uncle B took of the giant rat dead on the kitchen floor. He was a chungus. Did I tell you he ate half of a 10-kilo bag of dry cat food? Yeah.

At least he had the courtesy to die in the open. I’m sitting stewing in a choking miasma of his fallen comrades. Comrats. Somewhere in the walls and cabinets of this house there are truly awful things.

Thank god it’s warm enough to open the windows and doors.

May 17, 2022 — 7:00 pm
Comments: 3

An assault on my dignity…

Pull quote from this article.

Uncle B and I sat down to write our wills today – no particular reason, we’ve been meaning to do it for ages. We had a real lawyer send us the questionnaire and everything.


I’m not having my last will and testament codified in Comic Bloody Sans.

I’m far from a font snob (boy, I’ve known a few) but Comic Sans is the world’s #1 running font joke. It’s not even a good comic book font. It was created to communicate the words of a cartoon dog from Microsoft Bob. Remember Microsoft Bob?

Also, the document formatting was atrocious. I rejiggered the whole thing and set it in Times New Roman like a normal person.

Now I just have to decide what I want done with my earthly remains…

May 11, 2022 — 7:19 pm
Comments: 6

Didja miss me?

I hope you enjoyed our little Wordle interlude. I thought about extending it another week, but I was afraid it might be getting stale.

Yes. This is what I did in my time off: Half Life Alyx. It was the third major Half Life title and the first VR title for Valve.

It was spectacular.

I’m playing it through a second time beginning today, listening to the developer commentary. They spent two years play-testing the opening scene, which is walking from a balcony though an apartment. Nothing happens. But they knew it would be many people’s first experience of VR, so some would spend a lot of time picking stuff up and playing with it (yes I did).

And still they had to convey lots right away about the atmosphere, the city, the backstory, the mission, the scale of the world. Among other things, it was supposed to make me understand when the game takes place (between Half Life 1 and 2). I didn’t pick up on it until the commentary. A hard thing to do, teach things to a weasel.

They made some fantastic choices. Like, to reload your pistol, you have to thumb a button to eject the empty magazine, reach behind your head to grab a full one, jam it in the magazine well and rack the slide. While running away from headcrab zombies. At the beginning of the game, play-testers panic and fumble and die so much they wanted to simplify it, but people loved it. It you feel like you’re doing a real thing. And you get better.

It’s a shame there aren’t more fabulously wealthy AAA game companies that can afford to spend two years on a few minutes of exposition.

p.s. The weather in the real world was lovely. I sat in the sun a lot.

May 9, 2022 — 7:03 pm
Comments: 3

Today’s word is a random word

And I don’t know what it is!

May 6, 2022 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 13


May 5, 2022 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 8

Little stiff this morning

May 4, 2022 — 6:00 pm
Comments: 10

This is the top story on my local news site tonight

It’s nice to live in a place where the local news is this boring. Dull privilege.

Reminder: Sunday is the 1st of May and May is the Month of Birthday. Stand by to see my sly scheme to avoid putting any effort in for a while.

Good weekend, everyone!

April 29, 2022 — 6:17 pm
Comments: 15

Much reduced

The prevailing wind here is from the West and it is often very powerful. Brisk isn’t in it. In the path of this wind across from us were three large and robust willow trees.

They blocked our view of the fields beyond, but they were obviously planted as a windbreak, and very welcome for it. I called them the Three Sisters.

Then a terrible storm came along and blew down the old girl in the middle. Imagine, a tree as old and established as that. Blew it right over. It very much damaged the one on the left, too.

After that, I called them the One-and-a-quarter Sisters.

Now look! Quarter sister didn’t make it through the Winter. I noticed it on the ride home today. She has joined Middle Sister and is no more. Yes, I’m talking about that sad dead stick way over to the left.

I guess it’s just the tree across the street now. Not much breaking of wind there.

Speaking of windbreaks…we’ve let the brush at the end of the garden grow up to help shelter Uncle B’s vegetable beds. Now I can hear little baby lambs and I can’t see them! It’s making me nuts!

Oh, yes. We have LAAAAAAMBS!

April 19, 2022 — 6:38 pm
Comments: 6

Spam is weird

I’m not even sure why I opened this one; seldom a good idea with spam. I guess because I take zinc supplements and I wanted to hear what they had to say. So why haven’t I got real estate commissions? I supplement already!

We had an absolutely gorgeous weekend, weather-wise. I did, in fact, go outside and touch grass (as the kids say). But I also spent a whole lot of time playing VR.

Do you remember, back in the day, when you’d go to the movies for an early show and, after seeing the film, you stepped out of the dark theater into the noonday sun? That’s what it’s like to play a whole lot of VR and then land back in reality with a thump.

Pablo has won the Dead Pool. I was going to disallow it on account of the name didn’t ring a bell, but it came back to me when I found out McCall was the singer of Convoy.

Oh, yeah. That guy. See y’all Friday (at the very least).

April 18, 2022 — 5:42 pm
Comments: 4