Saturday, February 26, 2011

I officially hate Google now

Google Inc. has been hated for many for various reasons now for several years, but I never really thought of it that way. I loved Google Earth, it was fun, Google News Archive was awesome, too, and despite how I didn't like their redesign, or how back in October Google Maps redesigned the look of the railroads (removing older ones and creates hundreds of new errors, many of which still exist). But I noticed that they forced gmap catcher (which, admittedly, I've never been able to get to work) to no longer allow you to download map tiles from Google Maps, citing something from their terms of service.

Of course, why do that? No one is going to make some illicit profit off of it, and no one is going to mass download the entire contiguous United States (OK, I take that back...there's always someone). And besides, they probably ripped the maps off from somebody anyway somehow, plus I feel (and this is may sound demanding, I know) entitled to a map of my town, at least, given the various corrections I submitted.

But I'll have my revenge, perhaps.

Sure, this may sound a little strange with Google's Blogspot hosting Carbonizer, but how many times has The Simpsons mocked FOX? See, it's okay, right?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Interstate gap in New Joisey

In the distant planet called New Jersey, there exists a road that's badged as an Interstate but is just a very wide one-way road, complete with stoplights and driveways.

View Larger Map

Wikipedia has a picture of this traffic nightmare here

Oddly, the Interstate dissipates anyway just east of this map (past the Holland Tunnel, which leads to New York), and just west is where the freeway starts/ends.

Even odder, just north of it is what one could call the abandoned railroad of the sky.

View Larger Map

It was obviously an elevated railroad spur at one time, but has since been completely disconnected, likely demolished when the A&P and Best Buy were built nearby.

View Larger Map

But hey, this is Jersey City, NJ. Stranger things have happened.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Food Post

First off, H-E-B no longer seems to be carrying "You'd Think It's Butter" (which replaced the old H-E-B Margarine, and no, it doesn't taste like the name brand it's parodying), possibly on the order of a new non-transfat rule made by a certain unnamed Presidential administration. It had the right blend of vegetable oil (70%), which I can't find elsewhere, except for Kroger's "Butter It's Not" (I hope they still carry it)

On the other hand, I made an awesome brownie recipe from Bon Appétit, it was my first recipe from them, and all I had to do was buy two packages of walnuts, not expensive meats, spices I've never heard of, or anything from an Asian market, because the only Asian grocery store in town (not counting the small, Vietnamese-focused one which I've never been to) is small and dirty.

Also, there was a commercial for "Frosted Mini-Wheats Touch of Fruit in the Middle", which isn't quite Fruit-Wheats (and yes, I did reply to one comment regarding it, and yes, I realize my username is misspelled).

All in all, pretty good.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cool city plans

I've been sketching out city plans of what would be a cool city to do in SimCity...or anything.

I was really interested in Jerusalem at first: I wanted to create the Old City as more of it existed in Biblical times (no Dome of the Rock, for instance) while it is surrounded by a sprawling modern city, with downtowns, suburbs, and American retail.

I tried mixing and matching layouts of various cities, including Niagara Falls (both United States and Canada sides--makes for contrast), Austin, Cincinnati, Baton Rouge, Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Houston...but I found that any city built along a giant lake or river can't make any ring roads. Plus, Beltway 8 is one of the largest ring roads in the world (sorta), which may skew any plans for a ring road.

And the size of the city mannered too. Do I want something pretty big, like Baton Rouge, or major on a scale of Cincinnati (big enough to support, say, light rail), or do I want something like the Bay Area of California, complete with commuter lines?

Of course, either way, there's not a lot of room to do it in SimCity 4. Besides the innumerable BATs that would have to be constructed to portray a close-to-accurate relationship, it's just not practical. The largest tile is 16x16 KM, you'd need six of them just to equal Manhattan alone. And assuming you made the streets line up in a way that SC4 can handle it, the whole city might take up an entire region. But that's not counting all the suburbs and the thousands of people who commute there every single day. Ouch.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pokémania: Early Game Memories

The memories I had in question involved my cousin getting Pokémon Blue in Christmas 1999 or 2000...I don't remember, crossing over into my old memories of first playing with my brother (for us, it was the Yellow version).

- The "weird tree" in Viridian City was a source of mystery. Upon checking it, we found a Potion. So was the Potion the weird tree? Who knows? One thing became clear though later: it was an invisible item.

- Was the Viridian Forest supposed be inside a giant building? That was one theory we had at first.

- My cousin (who was a year younger than me) ended up wasting all his Pokéballs in a Pokémon battle. Whoops.

- My brother transferred over one of his more powerful Pokémon to my cousin, only to find that it didn't listen to have to earn badges to have higher-level Pokémon listen to you.

- Where was the Viridian gym leader?

- "Smell you later" was a line I remember.

- The Pokémon Center sound effect was pretty cool.

- Pikachu can't face Brock's Rock Pokémon.

- You can see the Space Shuttle Columbia in the upper level of the Pewter Museum, which exploded in 2003.

Thanks for letting me share some of my memories.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pokémania: Continuation of an old concept

One of my "aborted plans" of Two Way Roads, or at least, didn't pan out the way I wanted, was Pokémania, a series of Pokémon-themed posts that paid homage to Pokémon, the early days at least, and was named after my imagined website that would be the ultimate site. Of course, it was mostly inspired off the sites that are pretty much so altered from their original domain names even that they're not remotely the same today: Poké is now just forums, the main site now gone. In the distant past (gosh, almost 10 years ago now), "" was the forum part of the section. Pojo's Pokémon was my main one after Pokémasters downscaled in late 2001. Surprisingly, the original URL is still active, and the current site resembles much of the original site. There was also Pokéschool, which is still around but very much changed.

I started playing a Pokémon Yellow ROM (my Game Boy Advance SP doesn't play regular GB games anymore) and the nostalgia came rushing back to me.

After thinking about it a bit more, what I did was create a new blog, entitled So Long, Pikachu, about fans who grew up. I don't quite know what to do with it, though. It has potential, but I still feel I could post nostalgia here. What was some specific nostalgia?

I'll tell you next time.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Gawker's Last Stand

I do check into Lifehacker and Kotaku from time to time, even though they are full of useless crap a lot of the time: I don't need tips that could potentially damage electronics when a far safer alternative is just a few bucks up, I don't need tips on utilizing IKEA furniture, and I really don't care about a lot of the "vaguely video game related" stuff that passes through Kotaku. It's just worthless. But the new Gawker layout, even in the blog view, is just a pathetic and slow mess.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Phobes and Philes

One of the things that really bothers me is how people misuse the Latin terms of "phobia" (fear of) and "philia" (love of). Two particular words that have taken on definition of their own is "homophobia" and "pedophilia".

What it actually is: Irrational fear of same things (as in, "homo" being the Latin word for things such as homogeneous, etc.)
What people use it as: Discrimination of homosexuals (as in, on the same terms of "racist")
Compare: Claustrophobia is fear of being in cramped spaces. Applied the same logic of homophobia, claustrophobia would be discrimination against Santa Claus.

What it actually is: Love of children, in a good way, such as loving and caring for your own children
What people use it as: Child molesters who have ill intent and should be punished.
Compare: Oenophile, a lover of wine. An aficionado, to put it that way.

I wish we, as a society, could use both words correctly.

Edited later in the day to provide examples.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Google Translate Got Better

About a year ago, I tested out Google Translate.

It's gotten a lot better.

Here is the original text of a 2009 Two Way Roads post:
It turns out the fireworks stand we always went to is gone, which was heresy. Because there was a burn ban on 7/4, I wanted to compensate. Plus it was a new decade. Having New Years without fireworks is like Christmas without a tree, a birthday without cake, babies without diaper-changing, and presidential elections without Ralph Nader. The party went well. The low points came when my baby cousin kept calling for me but she really didn't care when I came. The second low point...I wanted to use the computer in my room, so I went in to get my chair back (it was "borrowed" for Rock Band). When I came back, four people were in my room. Thankfully, they were my cousins, not destroying my things, and being quick-and-decent. A similar case otherwise would probably involve fancy swordplay.

Translated into English into Spanish and back again, 2010:
It turns out that the fireworks are always going to be gone, that was heresy. Because there was a ban on burning 7 / 4, wanted to offset. Furthermore it was a new decade. View New Year without fireworks is like Christmas without a tree, a birthday without cake, babies, without changing diapers, and the presidential election, not Ralph Nader. The party went well. The lowest point came when my baby cousin was calling for me, but she really did not mind when I arrived. The second lowest point ... I wanted to use the computer in my room, so I went to get my chair (which was "borrowed" for Rock Band). When I returned, four people were in my room. Fortunately, they were my cousins, not destroy my things, and be quick and decent. A similar case would otherwise probably invented by the sword.

Translated into English into Spanish and back again, 2011:
It turns out that the fireworks are always went to is gone, that was heresy. Because there was a burn ban 7.4, wanted to compensate. Besides it was a new decade. Having the New Year without fireworks is like Christmas without a tree, a birthday without cake, without changing babies diapers, and the presidential election without Ralph Nader. The party went well. The lowest point came when my baby cousin was calling to me, but she really did not care when I arrived. The second lowest point ... I wanted to use the computer in my room, so I went to get my chair back (it was "borrowed" for Rock Band). When I returned, four people were in my room. Luckily, they were my cousins, not to destroy my things, and be quick and decent. A similar case is otherwise likely to involve swordplay class.

Looking back, my original wording was pretty awkward. Point is, Google Translate has gotten better (and so have my posts)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Icy Doom

Subfreezing temperatures. Rolling blackouts across the state. Filling up the woodbox after breakfast.

All I'm saying is there had better be snow on Friday.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

A Front

The front blew in last night. Driving from my house to the community college, here's what I noticed.

- ALL temporary stop signs at Holleman Drive and Saddle were knocked over
- The railroad crossings were being repaired, but I got through
- A barrel knocked onto the shoulder of the road (George Bush and Wellborn)
- Two large plastic trash cans on the shoulder (Wellborn, near Church Street)
- A downed tree on campus (partially destroyed)
- A malfunctioning stoplight ahead (thankfully I don't use it, it was flashing red)

And, sadly, the Shipley Do-Nuts on Cavitt and Villa Maria had every panel of the "cube" completely destroyed, leaving two shining bulbs inside.