Wednesday, November 21, 2007

What's Wang This Week

I don't know how I got so neglectful of this blog. It doesn't seem right, given that this blog is about the most notable thing I've ever done.

The second most notable thing I've ever done is score over 16,000,000 points on Tetris Tournament. I did that about a month ago, and I've barely played since. I felt, at that point, like I'd proved my point. I also upgraded my laptop to OS X 10.5, partially because I hoped it would speed up my computer, but also partially because then I could run Quinn, which I'd heard described as the best Tetris client ever (although they can't say that themselves as the Tetris people brought down the hammer of litigation).

After this success, I relented to peer pressure and agreed to give a talk in the Statistics Student Seminar about Tetris. Here was my abstract:

"All work and no play make Jack a dull boy", as they say, and perish the thought that grad students are dull. A pleasant diversion can take many forms; one of the most common is the almighty video game. Recently a wave of interest around one particular game has swept through the department: that elegant evergreen, Tetris.

However, the frustration of a bad game of Tetris often leads one to play again, and again, and again, until you achieve what you consider to be a "good" game. In my talk I will discuss and demonstrate general strategies and give some tips to make your game more consistent and improve your scoring, hopefully cutting down on the wasted time of a second (and third) game.

Time-permitting, I will discuss some results about a couple of subproblems of Tetris, including the proof that it isn't possible to play a single game of Tetris forever. This will be followed by a demonstration; in this demonstration I will discuss the relatively new "infinite rotation" rule and how it affects gameplay. I will also field questions about strategy and offer the insights of a Tetris player formerly ranked 20th in the world*.

* assuming Facebook rankings are world rankings.

You'd be surprised how much there is to say about Tetris.

Last week Jowen's friend Albert and Albert's friend Alpha passed through town and they stayed with me. We did the customary trips to Sizzler and In-N-Out, and they in return gave me food. They also invited me along to visit the Googleplex on Saturday, which was pretty awesome. Notably, they both beat Jowen in visiting me here. They were great guests and as such I'm happy to call them both my friends too. Awww.

This weekend is the Bacon and/or Chocolate Experiment of '07. I ordered a turducken from a local butcher, but I realized that we had the wrong date (he and I both thought American Thanksgiving was next week), so I called on Saturday to confirm. Turns out he didn't have my name written down at all, although this could have been because he couldn't make out my last name over the phone and was looking under "Leanne" or "Liane". Maybe I should call back and make sure he didn't write my first name down as "Rachel" this time.

I booked my flight to Vancouver for December 17. Book your calendars. This is no thanks to Adam, whose assholery had me planning to fly with him to Sea-Tac to save money until he found out -- after an Air Canada sale had ended, mind you -- that he had to stay right until the end of exam period because he has to help grade an exam. Fortunately, there were still ridiculously good fares available after he let me know, so he's off my shit list for the time being. Adam: what a douche.

I also finished Metroid Prime 3 in the last month. While it was good, I can't help but feel like my time would have been better spent playing Mario 64 before Mario Galaxy came out. Actually my time would have been even better spent eating more brown rice, which is cheaper and also nourishing.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

I'm posting this from inside Google

I'm not just in two tabs in my browser, with one on the blog and one on Google; I'm actually in the Googleplex.

Seriously, the Google.

Monday, November 05, 2007

I'm less curious about "Gitaroo Man"

I wonder if there's a cover band out there that plays nothing but songs from Guitar Hero. They would have started by learning the easy songs and then moved on to the harder ones just like in the game, so that depending on when you saw them over the course of a year (or release cycle, I suppose) you'd be hearing different songs. After they went through the whole list of tunes, they'd have gone back through and started over on a higher difficulty setting. Maybe that means the second time through they got the second guitarist to start playing the lead parts instead of both guitarists just playing the easier rhythm part.

Then they'd have had to do it all over again when Guitar Hero II came out.

When development shifted over to Neversoft, I wonder if the band fractured into two, with one half learning the songs from Guitar Hero III and the other half devoting their efforts to Rock Band.

I wonder if an analogous band exists for Dance Dance Revolution.

Current Music: Crowded House - Time On Earth