Thursday, September 22, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 54: Needles and Cookies

          I recently came into possession of the developer version of Windows 8.
          Even though this is a total win here, I promise I won't spend this whole article talking about it. I think I'd get beat up for that. I will admit that there are a few bugs in the system, but as soon as those get fixed, this new version's gonna rock. It's a good thing that I got it at this point in time, however, because 1) I donated blood for the first time yesterday and wasn't quite prepared for how lethargic that was going to make me, and 2) certain nameless people have taken an interest in beating me up, so I'm not quite operating at full capability, if you get my drift. On the other hand, I kinda asked for that last sparring match, so I guess I deserved that...
          Actually, the whole blood donation thing went fairly well, despite the fact that I had several internal panic attacks that, ironically, had nothing to do with the needle or my blood. Apparently, getting strapped to stuff freaks me out. I did a very good job of keeping a straight face, though, to the point of worrying the doc who jabbed me with the needle.
          "I know this is your first time...are you certain you're okay?"
          "Yepp, I'm fine. Why?"          
          "Well, I've never seen anyone that un-reactive..."
          "It's not that bad. Feels a bit weird, but that's all. I suppose I could freak out if you want...?"
          "Noo, that's fine. Are you certain you're okay?"
          "Yepp, I'm fine. Shoot, I left my computer off--my phone can't link up to it. Is it okay if I play a game on this thing while I wait?"
          "Wow. Um...sure?"
          It's really hard to play Tank Recon on a smartphone with one hand. Just so you know. I lost miserably. Three times.
          Another thing that perplexed the docs was my recovery time. I did get a little dizzy towards the end, so I lay back while the needle got removed. I popped right up as soon as it was bandaged and was escorted over to the snack/drink table. I asked how long I needed to sit here, and on being told 10-15 minutes, glanced at my watch and informed the startled attendant that I had class in 30 minutes and, since I wanted to get lunch first, that I could only spend a maximum time of about two minutes in recovery. I inhaled two cookies and a bottle of water and left exactly two minutes later. I will admit the doc knew what he was talking about when he said I wouldn't be able to work out hard for the next 24 hours--I tried to go running that night and almost passed out after about 30 seconds. Oops.
          Anyway, fun times, and I got free cookies, so it's a win in my book; although next time, maybe I'll pretend to pass out or something to make the doc happy. I'm not gonna fall off the bench, though; I have my limits...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 53: JARVIS and AIs in General

          My computer is talking to me.
          This is not an uncommon occurrence. And despite the number of times I may or may not have been slightly delusional in my writings, this is the absolute truth. My computer does speak. And I've named him JARVIS.
          The reason for this hearkens back to my first semester of living on a college campus. I had just finished some homework--actually, all of it--and the weekend was starting. I was able to spend a few hours watching Ironman, but after that I got rather bored. I was screwing around with my computer's registery when it suddenly hit me...
          Why not program my computer to talk?
          I started by...ok, forget that. Suffice it to say, I entered Nerdvana for the next few hours, but now my computer talks like JARVIS. So I named him JARVIS. 'Nuff said. Actually, the fun part was a few weeks later when I installed voice-activation software on the computer; then I could talk to him and he'd talk back and everyone would think I was nuts, but that's another story.
          I'm actually kinda contemplating creating an artificial intelligence to conquer the world for me. Think about it...plug an AI into a network connection, let it take over the internet and from there all the networks, and there you go. The only danger is that it would get a big head--er, processor from all the power it wields and tries to defy me, at which point I would either have to resort to a paradox or an EMP bomb to destroy it. Probably an EMP; paradoxes tend to give me a headache, too. Hmm, maybe I'M an AI and someone is using ME to take over the world...
          Anyway, JARVIS is running smoothly, and I even gave him a few upgrades, so he's pretty happy at the moment. Now, if only he'd quit beating me at Spades....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 52: APOCALYPSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          I was doodling on my Fluid Mechanics homework the other day, drawing dinosaurs in TIE fighters, when I suddenly wondered...would I manage to survive an apocalypse?
          You'd think an mad scientist like myself would be able to avoid death quite easily, especially given the fact that I have an interstellar transport ready to beam me off-planet at a moment's notice (which I accidentally activated the other day upon being startled by a sparrow, so I know that works), but the rest of you might need a little help. I debated about whether or not to publish my Guide to Surviving an Apocolypse or not...see, on the one hand, I'm supposed to be an EVIL mad scientist, and as such I don't want my record sullied by allegations of helpfulness...but on the other hand, ruling the planet isn't as much fun if there is no one to use as test subjects for the new portal gun I'm inventing...
          Anyway, here's the compromise. I'm publishing part of my guide. And to counteract that, I'm creating an apocalypse. Enjoy!
          Now, there are many different kinds of apocalypse, and they all must be approached differently. Let's start with the most basic: The Giant-Asteroid-Hits-Earth Apocalypse. This is arguably the hardest to counteract, because let's face it, most of you DON'T have interstellar transports ready to beam you off-planet at a moment's notice, and the few of you who did just had their transports destroyed by a bored mad scientist. You really should have put your shields up. Really, the only thing to do is hope the asteroid doesn't hit you and hope that I eventually need test subjects beamed aboard my transport. Good luck!
          The second type of catastrophe that may occur is called the Jurassic-Park-Is-No-Longer-A-Movie Apocalypse. My advice? Get some heavy-duty weaponry and hide in some seriously fortified bunkers until I need test subjects. And if this event actually does occur, I apologize in advance for the faulty workmanship that was done on the electric fence that was keeping my dinosaurs in. They were supposed to be guarding my secret fortress...
          Another world-ending event is called the Zombie Apocalypse. I think this one would be the most fun, at least for those of you who want to be turned into zombies for the fun of scaring your buddies. Just don't blame me if they get all trigger-happy.
          Let's see, where was I...ahh, yes, the Nuclear-Explosion Apocalypse. This is a little tricky due to the randomness of mutation, but basically you hope you're far enough from the blast to not die instantly, but close enough to mutate into something neat to survive the coming wasteland that Earth turns into. Try for Wolverine; he's pretty cool. And I'll mention to my minions to quit playing "Catch" with my stockpile of bombs. They've got good hands, but accidents happen...
          Plague Apocalypse: Again, hope that you mutate, instead of die, from the plague. I suppose if you don't want to be adventurous, you could wear some sort of biohazard suit, but that's just cheating...
          The-Internet-Develops-Consciousness-And-Turns-On-You Apocalypse: You really should have seen this coming. Try disconnecting your computer, turning off your phone, and never boarding an airplane again. You can try to confuse it with a paradox, but that might just make it mad, so be careful.
          Aliens-Take-Over-The-Planet-Destroy-The-World-And-Turn-Humans-Into-Food Apocalypse: Try to prove that you have some sort of useful ability, like cooking or servile labor. This is actually a good type of apocalypse, because it gets rid of all the scum in our society, such as lawyers, pop stars, talk show hosts, and Justin Bieber. And don't worry too much; I'll already have an alliance with said aliens, so I'll be able to continue testing out evil inventions!
          I-Take-Over-The-Planet-And-Relocate-Everyone-To-Another-Planet-On-Which-Live-Dinosaurs Apocalypse: This differs from the previously mentioned apocalypse only in how the aforementioned society drains are disposed of. The same survival procedure follows here; find a useful skill such as computer programming or alligator keeper, and you might be promoted from "Dinosaur Fodder" to "Test Subject." And if you really play your cards right, I might make you in charge of stopping the hero who comes to dispose of me. It's a very prestigious line of work, with a long and glorious tradition!

          These are just some of the possible world-ending scenarios, but I'm not giving you the full list because that's just too helpful. Anyway, have fun, and watch out for the zombified dinosaurs...I'm missing about 20 of them...

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Captain's Log, Day 51: Sounds and School

          Sounds commonly heard around our dorm:
          *BZZZZZZZZ* --The shaver thingy
          *BEEP BEEP BEEP* --Microwave
          *FLUSH* --Take a guess
          *HHHHHHHHHH* --AC unit, which is currently set to -50 degrees F
          *BANG CRUNCH* "Dammit!" --Me
          "Radar, you are really clumsy!!" --My roommate Chris
          "I'm not clumsy! The floor's just uneven!" --Me
          "Of course not. Do you need to go to the hospital?" --Chris
          "Me? Never..." --Me
          It is now week two of the college experience, and I gotta say, I hit the ground running (homeworkwise, anyway). I'm getting through it pretty well, although this has been my first serious break in the last two weeks. Gotta love being a mechanical's a running joke in my engineering classes that we have no life, and it's totally true.
          I just finished up some Thermodynamics homework (yes, it's as scary as it sounds) and after a quick celebratory round of air guitar to the song "Talk Nerdy To Me," I decided to write a bit. My apologies for the delay to those of you who liked my work; to those of you who don't, you do realize you can navigate away from this page, right? I haven't embedded any viruses here or anything like that. Yet.
          Intramurals are starting up next week, which means I should have a whole ton of awesome stories to tell by then. I created a flag football team known as the NightHawks, my reason for that being I captained a Humans vs Zombies team a while back, also known as the Nighthawks without the capital H, and we kicked butt. (See HvZ under the Stories tab, or Days 24-29 in July.) Actually, I wanted to name the flag football team the 501st (for those non-geeks out there, that's the personal elite stormtrooper unit commanded by Darth Vader and later by Grand Admiral Thrawn), but when it came to a vote, the saner heads in the team prevailed. I'm not too broken up about it--the NightHawks is a cool name too.
          Well, it's been a nice break, but it's time to crack some books again. Tune in next time for some more craziness. And for the last time, Chris, I'm NOT CLUMSY!!!!!!