Thursday, December 4, 2008

New Site & Financial Advice

First things first, I wanted to note that a lot of my time and effort recently has gone into my new site: - A new community for those of the engineering profession in World of Warcraft.

Secondly, I wanted to share a bit of financial advice one of my company's executives gave us at our quarterly meeting:

If, five years ago, you invested 1000 dollars in Delta Airlines, today you would have about 50 bucks.

If you invested 1000 dollars in AIG, today you'd have nothing whatsoever.

If you invested 1000 dollars in beer, drank it all and recycled the cans, you'd have about 200 bucks in refunds.

So the moral of this story is "Drink heavily... and recycle!"

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How good is it?

IT'S DAMN GOOD! (Click through if you can't see the text in the circle clearly)

Sure, I could have posted this and the previous amusing image together, but hey, I'm lazy.

Construction Brilliance

This one is short and sweet:

You'd think they would know these things in Vermont by now...

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Ride Home

Commuting an hour to work every day has its upsides and downsides. I have plenty of time in the morning to let my brain get warmed up for the day, especially after finishing off a travel mug of tea during the trip. I have the luxury of knowing exactly when I'll need gas, so I can plan to stop at the cheapest gas station on the entire trip (there is currently a 25¢ difference from the best to the worst).

Now, the downsides are pretty obvious. I spend as much as $100 a week in gas, I lose two hours of leisure (or sleep...) time, and my air conditioning is broken, so I arrive home looking like I was running for an hour rather than driving.

All of that aside, there is one aspect to the trip that easily makes it worthwhile: The scenery. Yes, I know I've lived in New Hampshire for my entire life (sans-college), but there are some things you appreciate more when you have two hours a day to look at them. The above Flickr set (click the picture!) consists of just the few sights I managed to capture that did justice to the real thing. Hopefully I'll be able to slowly add to that, but these are a nice start.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Job & New Music

I think I'll finally be getting a job offer today, so it seems only fitting that I update with a new track by this title.

: Moving On (New Track in Progress)
This is my latest track in progress. So far I'm pleased with how it is working out, though I'm a little concerned that part of it is a little too inspired by some trance I've listened to recently, so I'll have to go listen to every bit of music I own to find out why it sounds so familiar. I'm thinking it is straight out of some Tiesto, PVD, Ian Van Dahl, or someone like that.

I still need to do a lot of work on the transitions, but I think it will come out pretty nicely. Let me know what you think!

UPDATE: I tweaked the drums and the arrangement a little bit.

UPDATE: I took the job, and I start Monday. Yay!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Now that I'm living at home while I sort out this whole "real job" situation, I've been trying to cook a little more in the hope that the excellent skills of my parents might rub off on me a little bit. Now, for those of you who haven't met them, cooking is serious business to my parents. They'll often spend hours making dinner, and for every birthday or other gift-giving holiday, they give each other cookware or other culinary tools.

On to the meat! Last night my father brought home some country style pork ribs, which have a lot more meat than spareribs or back ribs, and are more marbled with fat. Much like my father, I'm a big fan of the grill. I seasoned these suckers up with some salt, pepper, chili powder, and Italian seasoning, and then seared them for a minute or two on each side. After about five or six minutes of indirect heat (I just turned off the middle burner) they were ready to go.

In honor of my delightful meal, I decided to start a new Flickr set for pictures of my culinary exploits: Food.

Hopefully I'll have more good stuff on its way soon!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Project Diceman

Some of you may remember "Project Swordman," a javascript based dueling game I created over the summer. Not only am I slowly working on an improved flash version of that game, but I am now also working on a dice adaptation. I realize this puts me in a completely different category of geek, and I realize that tabletop adaptations of online games should probably be left to the likes of Blizzard, but this is just one of those ideas I just had to follow through with.

For those of you (most of you) who didn't get a chance to play Project Swordman when it was operational, this is the basic setup: Two players select the power and location of their sword and shield, and once both are ready, their actions are simultaneously executed. Power is distributed between the two out of a total of ten power points. At the end of its time online I added another option for spending your points: Priority. This allowed a player to emphasize getting priority over the other player in order to deal his own damage before his opponent, and as such was only useful on potential killing blows.

The mechanics of Project Diceman are different in several ways:
  • Power levels are based on random rolls, not planned distribution.
  • There is no sword and shield placement, only power levels.
  • Priority still effects who strikes first, but also creates the potential for special moves when used with a sword or a shield (explained below).
  • In order to create more options to counteract the added simplicity of not having to place sword strikes and shield blocks, a fourth component is added: Magic.

So here's the rundown as if I was starting from scratch:

Each player has four dice representing the four combat components:
  • d4 - Magic
  • d6 - Priority
  • d8 - Sword
  • d10 - Shield
At the beginning of each game each player has 20 life. When a player reaches zero life, he dies. Each game is divided into rounds (each roll is a round), and each round into seven priority phases (stepping through 6–0).

To start the first round, each player selects only two of his four dice and holds them in his hands as if about to roll, without allowing the other player to see which two dice he has selected. Once both players are in this ready position, they both roll simultaneously.

The result of each round is determined in the following fashion:

For each priority phase from six to zero (no priority roll equals zero priority) the following actions occur:
  • If a player's priority level is greater than that of his opponent, his sword value is reduced by that difference (or until it hits zero), and he deals an amount of unblockable damage equal to the difference in priority levels or his original sword value, whichever is lower.
  • If a player's priority level is greater than that of his opponent and his shield value is greater than zero, he deals a preemptive strike with unblockable damage equal to the difference in priority levels or the amount of damage his shield will block, whichever is lower. The opponent's damage is not dealt until his priority phase occurs.
  • A given player's sword value has the opponent's shield value subtracted from it and the remaining (positive only) damage is dealt.
  • If BOTH players' magic values are greater than zero, they have the same priority level, and they have not and will not receive non-magic damage this phase, the player with the higher magic value deals ubblockable damage equal to the difference of their values.
  • If a player's magic value is greater than zero and that player has not and will not receive damage this phase, he deals unblockable damage equal to his magic value.
  • Note: All damage dealt during a given priority phase is effectively dealt simultaneously.
  • Note: If a player reaches lethal damage before his priority phase, he is slain before having a chance to attempt a draw.
Forgive me for the complexity of the wording of these rules. They're really quite simple. Swords are blocked by shields, priority can give unblockable damage using either the sword or the shield, and magic damage is only dealt if that player is not going to get damaged (which makes it only good for dealing with overly defensive opponents or for getting those last few points of damage in without worrying about shields).

I realize this system is far from perfect, but it is the best thing I could come up with that was relatively simple and stuck to the same sort of mind-game (and dumb luck) gameplay of Project Swordman. Project Swordman is still a much better game for trying to get in your opponent's head to defeat him, with the only luck being involved based on your guessing ability. Project Diceman is slightly more random, but still contains advantages for those who think they know how their opponent will play on a given round.

I plan to run the numbers on this setup more thoroughly in order to get a good graph of which combinations of dice will beat which other combinations on average (and with what odds).

If you have any questions or ideas please let me know.

No Ho0ber For Me!

So it appears that I've lost any hope of gaining access to my old blog, For some reason it was linked to a hotmail account I don't remember having (not that it would tell me the actual address), and I surely don't remember what password I signed up with originally. But hey, I've always been fond of being the "Beef Thief." It does say it it on my business card after all.

Time to get down to business. This blog is not a journal into which I will clumsily scrawl useless information and my "deepest inner thoughts," because if I did it would leave my countless readers (optimism is key) both bored and ill. Instead it will be a way for me to share and discuss my creative exploits. Essentially, I'm tired of cluttering my AIM away messages with everything I've produced recently.

For those of you who don't know me well (in which case I'm slightly confused as to how you got here), I'm a musician (I go by SDC), an amateur photographer, and a programmer. I will regularly post new electronica tracks I've started working on as well as links to recent photographs I've taken. Yes, yes... I realize anyone can just take a look at my Flickr photo feed, but I'd prefer to post the shots I'm particularly proud of and discuss briefly how they came into existence. Maybe once Google gets around to buying Yahoo, and therefore Flickr, this whole process will be a little easier.

Now then, onto today's dosage of new stuff:

: Anticipation (New Track in Progress)
It seems that insomnia and stress are a good way to bring out the muse in me. I've found that my brain is very good at coming up with new concepts and melodies at the point just between consciousness and sleep. At any rate, I'm very pleased with the results.
Anticipation is off to a good start so far. I was really pleased with how well I managed to tweak the bass instrument, and I think the beat came out quite well. Please let me know what you think!

Photography: More Signs!
So I have a bit of a sign fetish. I adore taking pictures of interesting signs when I see them. Incidentally, one of my other photography interests is texture, specifically rust. I think you can figure out the connection here.

So that's all for now, but more will come soon!