Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

This year's pumpkins. Happy Halloween!!!

R.I.P. Mr. Goulet. :(

In case you hadn't heard, Robert Goulet died Tuesday morning. Bummer. He was da man.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I'm #1

So, Todd and I went to see "King of Kong: A Fistfull of Quarters" about a month or so ago. Much of the movie centered around him tyring to get his Donkey Kong score validated by the official video game scoring group, namely, Twin Galaxies.

As we were leaving the theater, someone had mentioned that Billy Mitchell had broken then record again. Out of curiosity, I looked up Twin Galaxies' web site to see if they had an online score board. Which they do and, yes, Billy Mitchell reclaimed the top spot from Steve Wiebe by putting in a score of 1,050,200.

While I was perusing the score, something caught my eye. They allow scores for M.A.M.E. If you don't know what it is, do your homework. Now granted, scores recorded against M.A.M.E don't count towards those records set against actual arcade games, but still, for games that are mostly long long gone and are hardly seen in the wild anymore, it's kinda nice that you can use MAME to set a score.

And so, I threw my hat into the ring. I mostly like playing the really really early titles. Lots of stuff from the first two years of video games, stuff from 1979 and 1980. One of my favorite games is Depthcharge. It's a fairly simple game where you heave explosive barrels at submarines below you. Now, the MAME score for this is really high. I thought I was pretty darn good at the game, until I went to Twin Galaxies. Right now, I'm sitting at #12 with a score of 3780. I've only pulled that score off once. My high up until a few weeks ago was in the 3500 range. I can consistently get into the 3000s, which I thought was pretty good. However, the top score at the moment is 4800. I have no idea how that guy pulled it off 'cause there is alot of delay for the barrels to get to the bottom. I'm starting to guess that despite the fact that I have spent many many hours, I have not noticed that there is a pattern somewhere.

"But Darrin", you say, "I thought you said you were #1". Yes, that is what I said. I am. Just not for this game. That game would be Datsun 280Zzzap!. And my score, at the moment, is 4.10. So, according to the official video game score keeping body, I have the world record score for playing Datsun 280Zzzap! using MAME.

But the victory is some skewed. You see, there is another contingent of players who log their scores at MARP (MAME Action Replay Page). This is where players can post their best MAME scores. A couple of people have logged scores at 4.64 which pretty much obliterates my record. Why they haven't posted them to Twin Galaxies probably has to do with a whole Jets vs. Sharks West Side Story kinda thing. Basically, there are some members of MARP who think TG sucks, and some members of TG that thinks MARP sucks. I don't know why this is really. They are both groups of players to strive to be the best. Some players happily exist at both places and are just as confused as I am why there is such friction there. I dunno.

But no matter, it is what it is. At the moment, if the Guinness Book of World Records wanted to put out a book about the top MAME car driving scores, I would be No. 1, Numero Uno, Top Cheese at Datsun 280 Zzzap! And that's kinda cool.

I really need to try to improve that score, but some people are just much better at video games and it's just a matter of time before one of the top 10 players at MARP finally get fed up and submit their score to TG and I am dethroned.

But like Billy Mitchell, I always have something up my sleeve. I'll keep you posted.

For now, HERE are my scores at Twin Galaxies.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Excuse me while I Ad Lib this...

So... back in the diz-ay while I was a freshman at OSU, I had a roomee by the name of Todd. He was cool. His computer was cool. It was a DOS machine of course. Probably DOS 5. He even had a sound card. An Ad Lib sound card, one of the first commercially available (and useful) sound cards available. He used to create crazy ass music with the music software that came with it, namely, Visual Composer and Instrument Maker. Visual Composer let you, well, visually compose music with a little graphical keyboard. Instrument Maker let you craft 'instruments' by tweaking FM Synthesis values (at least I think it was FM synthesis). He had albums (or cassettes) of this stuff. Rodomontodd is the title of one I can remember. And I thought the stuff was fantastic since it didn't always conform to what one would normally call music. Sometimes there wasn't a specific melody. Sometimes, it seemingly lacked structure all together. Until you looked at it in Visual Composer. Then it made all the sense in the world. It was like painting music. But Todd spent only a couple of quarters at OSU and then he went away. Taking with him his Ad Lib rigged computer and his cool ass software and music.

Around 1997, after finding another tape of music he had given me, I looked him up again on that new fangled and growing by the day thing called the Internet. We got back together and began making music together. Not in a gay way but in a musician way. Unless you talk to the cashiers at Kroger's, then they might swear by the previous.

Annnnnyyyyywwwaaaaayyyssss, from the minute we got back together, we had talked about getting that Ad Lib software back up and running. Unfortunately, we have difficulty in doing so. Windows had come along and DOS was going by the way side. Neither of us had DOS disks anymore. We tried for years in vain to get it to work. 10 years to be exact. But to no avail.

Then, the other day, a mutual friend to Todd and I posted some old music for a group that consisted of Todd. Of course, it was some of the Ad Lib music stuff. So again, my interest was piqued and I began trying to figure out a way to get this running again. I figured I might try loading up Windows 95 on an old PC I have at home and seeing if maybe I could resurrect the Ad Lib music software. I still had all the binaries with me since I made copies of the disks during the one moment in 1997 when Todd had located them. I believe he's not sure where they are at the moment. No matter. I have the files.

Recently, I also started getting back into old game emulation. Things like emulators for the Atari 2600, Intellivision, the Sega Master System, etc. As I was surfing today, I ran across a sweet little program called DosBox. It's been around for a few years and I even remember telling a friend about it a few months back when he was getting into playing the hundreds of old DOS games he still had lying around. I had totally forgotten about it until I stumbled over it again today.

So this evening, I came home and DL'd DOS Box and found the Ad Lib software on my drive and gave it a run. And wouldn't you know it. It f^@#ing worked!!!

I present to you, the first song written by me (and quite possibly anyone else in the world) on the Ad Lib Visual Composer, which features the scrapings of a custom instrument called 'screech' created in Instrument Maker. The song is called "Yeah Baby!" for 'yeah baby' I got the Ad Lib stuff working!!! Wheeee!!! Enjoy!

Get this widget | Track details | eSnips Social DNA

Here's what it looks like in Visual Composer.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Almost done...

Today, I anticipate, will be the last day in a few weeks when I'll hve to get up early to come into work before 7am. Thank goodness.


While gettig ready this morning, I had an idea for some lyrics for the love ballad in V: The Musical.

Some people may call it beastiality
But, me, I call it reality
I love my little lizard... yes, I do

My blood runs hot; Her blood runs cold
But her hand is the one that I want to hold.

(I may have to alter this since I can't remember if the lizard in love was a
man or a woman. I think it was a man, so that means I'll have to alter them slightly.)


Went and picked out another pumpkin last night with the wife and the kiddo after work yesterday. We had little N in shoes. I put her down so she could walk around, but she just stood there like she was glued to the ground. I'd call to her and you'd see her trying to move her legs, but they weren't going anywhere. It was funny. She's not used to shoes yet. Poor thing. I guess we'll just have to put her in shoes more often.


As always, The Music Counter has been updated.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Another long week for work. Been getting in no later than 7am. Today I was in at 6:15am. Ugh.

I've updated The Music Counter. Nearly 100 hours longer than the last update. The last MP3 CD I went through was torture. It was only had stuff from two bands on it and the songs repeated quite a bit. It was torture to get through. Glad that one is over.

Had a good birthday. Lsat weekend we went to my sister's new house in Portsmouth, OH. Very nice place. Got some cool stuff for my birthday from everyone. I got a giant wooden Brutus Buckeye from the parents. It's sweet. I'll probably only put it out on game day and then bring it back in cause I don't want it to get swiped. The wife got me Season Two of 'Home Movies' which is sweet cause I've been wanting them for years. She also got me an awesome 6-CD Box Set called Metal: A Headbanger's Companion as well as Fiona Apple's 2004 release "Extraordinary Machine".

On my birthday we went to BD's Mongolian Barbeque for dinner. It was tasty. I had sirloin and crab with a mongolian ginger sauce. A deviation from my norm and I have to say it was a welcome one.

This weekend I'm helping Tom put up a door. This involves a power saw, beer and chili. In that order. Beer before power saw is not a good idea. I like my fingers.

Um.. that's all I got to say. I need to get to work. I've somehow lost an hour (it's 7:15am) already and I have much to do.


Friday, October 05, 2007

25c per play

Toddeus and I went to the Drexel Gateway down on campus to catch the movie "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters". Overall, I enjoyed the movie. It would have been nice if the projectionist knew what the hell they were doing as it wasn't matted correctly, it was slightly blurry on the edges and instead of being a rectangle shape on the screen, it was more of a trapezoid. Asked the wife about that (who used to manage a theater earlier in life) and she said that it was likely that they using a flat lense with a cinemascope mvoie or vice versa. Don't hold her to those exact words since it's early in the morning and I may have screwed up the words n stuff. Something with lenses.

Anyhoo, despite that, I enjoyed the movie. I think I read an article somewhere where Bill Mitchell was upset 'cause the directors put him in a bad light in the movie by taking things out of context, etc etc etc. While watching the movie I kept this in mind, and yeah, there were parts where they made him appear overly arrogant and evil and snobbish. But, there is one scene in particular where, it seemed everything was in perspective and Billy Boy came up looking like a complete ass. I won't ruin the movie for those who haven't watched, but if you do see the movie, you'll know which one I'm talking about.

Um... it's too early for me really to be writing this, but anyways, I enjoyed the movie and it made em want to go right home and play video games. But it was late and I didn't and come tomorrow, I'm sure I'll still be trying to find a way to sell off my vintage video game consoles for some extra bread. Maybe I'll just use that bread to buy me my own full size arcade cabinet. Though, likely not. I really don't need anything else cluttering up my house taking up space.



Thursday, October 04, 2007

'ello govnah!

just a misc post full of random crap
M and I put out a bunch of stuff out for bulk. We hadn't even finished putting everything out before someone came by and took the grill. When I got up this morning, someone had taken the speakers (which were pretty much toast speaker wise, the woofers had disintegrated into powder), a big treasure chest thingy and had cut the cords from the two vacuum cleaners (I suppose for the copper in the wires). Thinking back, I should have put the broken mirror and broken glass shower door out there as well. And that weird artists stand which doesn't stand cause it's missing some legs or something. Oh well, I'm sure we'll need a bulk pickup again in the future.
I finally got a chance to work on the front porch. My initial thoughts were that basically quite a bit of dirt had washed out from under it. After digging down so I could put more dirt under there, I determined that it probably was ALWAYS hollow under there.

The process of buying top soil to put under there gave me quite a workout on Sunday. I went to Lowe's twice that day. On the first trip, I went to the garden center and loaded twelve 40 lb bags onto a cart. I soon realized that this was gonna be a bitch to move, so I found an employee and they said 'just go up front and tell them you want 12 bags of top soil, then you can drive your car through the loading dock'. 'Cool', I said. So I paid for my top soil and drove the car around. They had a woman in the loading dock. She held her own. I helped out and loaded about 6 of the bags. Then I got home and unloaded them from the car. Then later, after I finished digging, I had to move them to where I needed to dump them. Let's count up how many times I moved bags. 12 + 6 + 12 = 30 times x 40 lbs = 1200 lbs. Whew. For the second load, I bought 15 bags. I obv didn't bother trying to load them on a cart as they have top soil in back stock. So I help load about 5 bags there. Then I had to unload them from my car and then I ended up using 9 of those bags. So for the second trip I had 5 + 15 + 9 = 29 x 40 lbs = 1160 lbs + 1200 lbs = 2360 lbs of lifting. I lifted a ton of dirt. Literally.
Work has been nutty so I've been going into work no later than 7:15am and as early as 6:30. Ugh. This will probably continue for a while since I can't seem to catch up. The test suite I'm working on was originally for 2 people, but then it became just me. After doing some calculations, I informed my boss that I would not finish. So me managed to get me some help from one of the other testers, that'll help out some. Hopefully I can catch up a little bit and _just_ finish before the test cycle is done.
Tonight Toddeus and I are going to see The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters which should be bad ass. It's about this guy's quest to break the Donkey Kong record and dethrone one of the uber-videogame player's record which has stood since in the 80s sometime. Or something like that. C'mon! It's a game about Donkey Kong. Why not?
I could write more, but I'm already 15 minutes behind in starting testing today, so... later!