I am a Gadget

This post is inspired by the first 28 pages of “You Are Not A Gadget”, a book by Jaron Lanier.

I’ve been reading this book recently and I went into it expecting it to be a rant on how technology has become so prevalent in modern life, and how people don’t talk to each other anymore. I didn’t expect anything more than this. This book is changing me.

Sure, it’s about what I described but it’s more about the effects of it all. From this book I’ve come to the realization that I’m a machine, I focus only on the details of things happening around me, and output those details. I don’t think. I don’t have deep thought’s or spend hours upon hours putting work into something unless it’s needed for my university work. I need to change this, and I need to actually reflect on the world and come up with my own ideas. (I am aware that I was told this by a book, defeating the purpose but we all have to start somewhere.)

Read this book. Please.

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Intersect 0.5

So a friend posted a link to spritz on his facebook today, it’s a ‘new’ implementation of speed reading. This spurred me to look into other speed reading software available and really reminded me of the intersect from Chuck, with its super-liminal learning format.

So testing out other software, such as the spreeder website i’ve tried ‘reading’ different articles, and while super cool I just don’t feel like i’m actually retaining the knowdlege. spritz seems to improve it a bit, with the way it pauses for certain length strings, splits up long words and fixates on a certain letter. Maybe it just takes some more use of the sort of software before you get used to it.

If I can get this software to work it is really going to improve the amount of stuff I read, but I like to take my time reading. I often read the same sentence over and over, just to comprehend it. I’m not sure if this is normal or not but I certainly have quite a bad attention span. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing spritz develop more and have more use than just the test thing they have on the site, and hopefully we’ll see integration with stuff like kindle in the future.

A Note on Dark Souls

So i’ve built myself a computer in the last few weeks and as a result been able to play some games that in the past I couldn’t run, one of which I was anticipating greatly: Dark Souls. Now a lot of the opinion you read about dark souls tends to conclude one thing, that it’s hard. It is, but it isn’t unfair. Dark Souls is a challenge. Sure, I die a lot, lose my experience and get sent back to the last bonfire but this doesn’t make me upset. When I die in dark souls I feel challenged, I’ve never felt like something is impossible, only that I could have done better. The fact that if you manage to get back to the place you died means you can get the experience you lost back only means I’m pushed harder to want to continue, to want to do better. Dark Souls isn’t exactly hard, it’s just difficult.

The Legend of Capcom: A Third Party

So I’m a massive fan of The Legend of Zelda. If there was one series I’d call myself a fanboy for, it would have to be Zelda, so prepare for some massive Bias.

Capcom are one of the only companies other than Nintendo to work on Zelda games, (Although Tecmo Koei are currently working on Hyrule Warriors alongside Nintendo) and at the time that was a huge step. Zelda is one of Nintendo’s core franchises and to just leave a third party in charge of the games is trusting to say the least. It’s also worth noting, the last proper 2D Zelda game was made by capcom, in the form of the minish cap, and other than the gamecube version of Four Swords(which was hardly traditional), Nintendo haven’t been behind a 2D Zelda since 1993 with Links Awakening although a Link Between Worlds was very much in the format of the traditional 2D games with a bit of a makeover so we could be seeing a return to the brilliance that existed on the handhelds and older consoles.

I’ve gone a bit off topic here. Capcom created the Oracle of Ages, the Oracle of Seasons, Minish Cap and worked on the GBA remake of a link to the past with the four swords bonus game. They were brilliant at it. I was very young at the time of playing these games, or at least the oracle games but i had very fond memories of playing them. Recently I purchased these games on the 3DS virtual console to see how they stacked up today after playing Nintendo’s recent attempt (Which I believe is brilliant) and while they seem a lot shorter, they still really are amazing games. They have charm, brilliant characters, fun mini games and such brilliant dungeon design that they can easily stand on their own as much as A Link to the Past does. It also helps that they have some bad ass villains.

Onox from Oracle of Seasons

As well as this, the games have a secret link feature, so after finishing one game, you can continue the second straight after in the timeline, so characters will give you codes to give to people from the other game which while requiring you to play the first game you played for a second time does unlock some awesome new items and a secret final boss.

Does Minish Cap stand up to time just as well? I have no idea, I’m still playing the second Oracle game, however I’m definitely going to find out once I finish it.

It’s also worth noting that the Subrosian dance is far, far cooler than the Goron dance. No one wants to rely so much on timing you stupid Gorons, deal with it.

Aleister Crowley and the Occult

So today I came across this on reddit, it’s what someone has created as a spell book for an rpg campaign, with the whole idea that magic doesn’t follow set rules, and it’s more about understanding the chaos to cast spells. The idea of props in these sort of campaigns is something I am incredibly interested in and this is an amazing example of that.

This isn’t what the post is about though, in the comment section someone posted a link to a documentary on Aleister Crowley, a man who wrote many books on the occult. It starts with some whispers and creepy noises, something people in the comments complained about but I honestly believe it really adds to the atmosphere.

The documentary talks about his ‘origins’ if you will and how he came to hate the church because of the death of his father. The man eventually started publishing poetry, which contained a lot of sex and generally anti-religious themes. This poetry has been described by some as “practical advice on ceremonial magic”

I love LAYLAH.

I lack LAYLAH.

“Where is the Mystic Grace?” sayest thou?

Who told thee, man, that LAYLAH is not Nuit, nd I hadit?

I destroyed all things; they are reborn in other shapes.

I gave up all for One; this One hath given up its Unity for all?

I wrenched DOG backwards to find GOD; now GOD barks.

Think me not fallen because I love LAYLAH, and lack LAYLAH.

I am the Master of the Universe; then give me a heap of straw in a hut, and LAYLAH naked! Amen.

Eventually the man left university to become a black magician and decided nothing would stop him. Eventually Crowley traveled the world to study various religious practices, and wrote The Book of the Law, which became a core pillar of Thelema.

“The wickedest man in the world” was certainly interesting, possibly crazy and the things he did and wrote certainly represent a lot of what you read and hear about the occult today. The documentary was incredibly interesting and a must watch for someone interested in the occult, and generally anyone else if they have the time.

Aleister Crowley – The Wickedest Man In the World

Welcome to Grey Towel Geek

An experiment in blogging, or for me at least. A place for me to store my inane ramblings  and share it with the world. Or at least that’s the plan. If I become a vigilante or spy I promise I’ll write about that instead.

I’ve blogged a lot in the past before and it’s always been very offbeat. I’ve had a Zombie survivor posting to the internet and spliced with zombie movie reviews, a people watching blog that slowly devolved into some sort of alternate reality bestiary and many generic internet diaries where I wrote about my procrastination.

There’s been one common theme in what I’ve been writing in the past, that it was boring to anyone not living in my brain. Grey Towel Geek is going to be something of an entertainment blog focusing on Movies, Genre TV, Books and Games; The glue that holds geek culture together.