Category Archives: Misc

Unimportant stuff that I wrote blog entries about anyway.

Kalinbooks redesign

So you may notice a new design to the site. I finally got rid of the old theme that I was using–it was a theme I thought was pretty good looking but I had modified it heavily and the original was developed before featured images and menus, so I finally decided to upgrade to WordPress’ own 2014 theme. It’s not perfect but I think it’s an improvement, for one, because it modifies itself for mobile use. I kinda like the way they did it, just moving things around based on window width.

So I’ve been debating over so many different aspects of link placement, what links should go where. I’ve got so many, I don’t know how anyone deals with a single-sidebar website. Should I list fiction above true stories? What all should I put in the About Kalinbooks page? Will people be confused by the fact that I have an anarchism page and an anarchism blog category? How do I portray the fact that I’m covering anarchism, atheism, web development, science fiction every once in a while BDSM and sex with a couple recipes thrown in for fun, without confusing the reader? How are people just looking for one subject supposed to find anything? Or is that not the best idea? Maybe I should put the overall site as a lower priority and focus on promoting individual articles and posts… in which case I would need to paying attention to promotion… blechh.

I read recently that to be a successful blogger you should spend %80 of your time promoting your blog and only %20 writing if you want to really make it. That seems so sad to me. We should have designed the internet and our social networks to bubble up the best content naturally. With all the bloggers focusing %80 of their time on promotion, they only have a fifth of the capacity to create quality blogs. So instead, I’ve just been focusing on the site all these years, telling myself that one day I’d start promoting it, when I have the time. I know no one’s really reading this site right now, but I’m sure that would change with some real work on promotion… because right now I do nearly none.

Weekend Dreams

So Friday morning I woke up at five feeling horrible, got up and puked my guts out. Then I felt almost completely better so I went back to sleep for two hours.

I had a dream that I was at work, having my normal morning standup meeting, except today we were in a dirty van, parked behind some bushes in a park. I had met a couple hippies. A girl hippie and a boy hippie. I invited them back to the van to join in our meeting and told them I’d explain how the internet worked. The hippies had a black plastic pet-waste bag that was half-filled with dog poop and half with some of the dankest weed I’d ever seen. They poured the bag out on the floor in the back of the van and started picking through it. My co-workers started showing up and helped us pick the poop out of the weed, while my boss sat over his laptop looking annoyed. The girl hippie kept shouting “Why? Why would someone mix their weed with their dog poop? That makes no sense!”

When we had all arrived and needed to start the meeting, we were all so fascinated by the super-chronic that our boss had to clap his hands to get our attention. “Seriously, guys?” he said. “Do we not pay you enough you can’t go buy your own bag of weed that doesn’t have poop in it?”

So then I got up and went to work, still feeling reasonable. Behind the office I noticed a McDonald’s billboard advertising their new 40 piece chicken mcNugget deal and just for a moment imagined myself sitting down and eating one. The horror! In the morning standup I told everyone about my dream, though I left out the part about the weed-poop, more for brevity than censorship. Then an hour later I started feeling like shit again, so I went home and went to bed.

I dreamed that my friends kept coming over with care-packages to make me feel better. Friend after friend showed up and I was excited to see every one of them, but their care-packages always consisted of 40 piece chicken mcNuggets, so by the end of the dream I had a mountain of chicken nuggets and everyone kept saying “Just eat them, they’ll make you feel better!” But I wasn’t so sure.

Then I was a personal trainer for a sumo wrestler and my main strategy was “eat more”. I said it over and over again, but my client just didn’t seem to get it. He didn’t like chicken mcNuggets.

I was sick all weekend so the next night I came up with an invention in my dream that I called Porn Glasses, which would be these glasses with a camera and little cpu like the Google Glasses, but they would automatically run facial recognition on any person you looked at, then search the web and porn databases for naked pictures of that person, then overlay those images over the person in your vision.

My 6th-8th grade Hairstyle

Here’s another true story that actually happened to me.

In sixth grade I entered a period where I cared about my hair. I styled it every morning into the silly style that I’m sure you’ve seen from the sixties, with the part on the left and the right side combed up to form a wall at the front of the head. My hair was hard, and for some reason, after the gel dried, my hair felt wonderful to the touch, and I’d sit around and just feel my hair. As a result, people thought I was obsessed with it, and insisted that I was constantly checking it to make sure it wasn’t messed up, when in truth it wasn’t so much about what it looked like, I just liked to feel it.

My hair quickly became a big topic around school, and every day people would ask me about it, make fun of me and try to mess it up. A few people, however, supposedly liked it. When I entered seventh grade, I started thinking twice about styling it every day, so I made a deal with myself and the rest of the school. I decided that if a single day went by where no one at school mentioned or purposefully messed up my hair, I would simply quit the hairstyle. (I got the idea from an episode of Head of the Class.) To my dismay, my hair was such a topic, that at least one person would mention it each and every day. I paid close attention, and every day someone would say something to me, usually within the first half hour of school. I went the entire seventh grade putting gel in my hair every day, and every single day had comments about it.

So in eighth grade, I figured I’d made myself a deal and I couldn’t go back on it, so I kept styling my hair and people kept discussing it daily. I started telling people about my deal, and the reaction was always the same: “How do you expect me to go an entire day without talking about your hair?”

But one day, it finally did happen. An entire day without a single mention of my hair, and I felt a massive sense of relief. So after that I just let my hair fro out and stopped touching it. I continued paying attention, though, and every day for the rest of the year people asked me about it, and the same people who’d make fun of me and tell me I was making a fool out of myself for styling my hair, were now asking me to go back to the old hairstyle.

It always amazed me that people who’d been on the planet for thirteen years, being the future of America and the world, while there’s nuclear weapons and threats of war, and all sorts of issues that effect the rest of the human race, we would have nothing better to talk about than Kalin’s hair.

 

Classic Rock

Another true story. This one rather dumb and pointless, but it shows how even totally common knowledge can go unknown if a person just by chance is never introduced to it.

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I was drinking with some friends around 2002 at a pub on a crowded friday night when a peculiar song came on the jukebox. At first I simply noticed that it was an oddly mellow and distant tune. As the minutes passed, however, the song slowly built and became more complex, and for a moment I wondered who this was. It continued building and blended into something faster and more energetic, and somehow just continued building cleanly and smoothly from its humble beginnings as a half-hearted ballad to a pounding barrage of intricate and professional guitar and drum workings.

I had to get to the jukebox. I turned to my buddy Peter. “Let me out!” I shouted over the music and crowd. “I gotta find out who plays this song!”

“This song?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I said. “This song kicks ass.”

“This is Free Bird, Dude!”

“Free Bird?” I shouted back. “Who are they? Do they have anything else I’d recognize?”

“No, Free Bird is the song.” He looked at me with a scowl, as though I were a fool for not knowing this.

“I’m not up on new music these days,” I said. “I’ve pretty much only been listening to classic rock stations for the past few years. So do you know who did this? Are they new?”

“This is Lynard Skynard!”

“Lynard Skynard? The Sweet Home Alabama guys?”

“Yeah, of course.”

“They’re making new music?”

“This is a classic Dude! What the hell are you talking about?”

“If this is a classic, how come they don’t play it on the classic rock stations?”

“It’s one of the most overplayed songs in history!”

I shook my head. He was just messin with me. “Come on–Seriously, man. Our society could never agree that much with my taste in music.”

About Cops on Ice Story

I just posted another true story called Cops on Ice, though maybe that’s not the best title since it was only one cop. It’s pretty silly and pointless. I’m not trying to make any political statements with it or anything like that. In fact, I wanted to say that this story has not been a notable factor in my decision to be an anarchist, and has nothing to do with why I don’t support police. It’s just a funny little story that happens to involve a cop being a human. That’s all.

Kalin’s Farmville Game Ideas

Last week, after countless automated requests from Facebook friends, I finally found myself playing (and subsequently addicted to)  Farmville. My first thought, naturally, was “I coulda built this game myself!” and since then my imagination has been running wild with ideas for Farmville ripoff games I could build in Flash. I’ve always wanted to build web games, though my one hangup has been the fact that I can’t make things look good. I can write code and make it functional, but actually making a successful game on my own would be nearly impossible because I don’t have any visual artistic skill. However, these days if I came up with a good idea and a good implementation, I could afford to invest some of my own money and hire an artist.

Unfortunately, I have two other programming projects as well as fifteen or twenty different writing pieces I’m currently working on and on top of that, laziness still pervades my soul, so I probably won’t get around to these ideas.

But I thought my Facebook game ideas were pretty cool so I figured I’d outline them here and see if others think they’d be as cool as I do.

My first idea has the same basic form as Farmville except you are building an underground lair in a side scrolling view instead of a farm in overhead view. At first the terrain of your area would be auto-generated to form a basic platformer game level. You would then buy industries, mines and businesses instead of crops and animals and place them anywhere in your lair. You would also have a spaceship/airplane that you would fly through your level and use to collect the income from your businesses and money-making items in the level.

Then, instead of farm decorations, you would buy turrets, enemies and other obstacles for your level, then you would invite your friends to bring their ship from their own lair and play your level. You could then get a bonus if your level is able to destroy your friend’s ship, or they would get a bonus if they were able to complete your level.

Everything would be upgradable, of course. I could take ideas from numerous other side scrolling plane shooting games and let people buy special weapons and defenses for their ship, perhaps letting them switch out ship components between levels. Boss characters could exist at the end of the levels as well, as again, could be upgraded or perhaps improved through an experience-point system.

The key to the success of this game would be similar to Farmville: it would rely heavily on the Facebook social aspect, giving players bonuses for dragging their friends into the game and relentlessly harass people with free special items. The other key, of course, would be the variety of quality graphics, allowing people to fully customize their level. I would need a good cartoonist or two to pump out countless good-looking graphics. For me, that’s the biggest stumbling block.

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My other idea was fairly similar: you start with your ‘farm’. This one is overhead view and the grid is laid out just like in Farmville. This time, however, you start with automatically generated terrain like mountains and rivers which sit on your grid in the same way Farmville objects sit on their grid in Farmville. Then you buy mining operations, industry and businesses and place them in your land, these items behaving similarly to the money making items in Farmville. You would then need to tend to them in the same way you do your Farmville farm.

But then the important part of this game is buying soldiers, tanks, planes, artillery, transports, ships, etc. You can place them anywhere on your ‘farm’, ready to attack or defend. Then you invite your friends to do combat with your military. If they agree, a battle instance is created and a copy of your land and assets is created, but with your friend’s land tacked on right next to it. The armies then do battle, which may take a few hours to a few weeks to complete.

While in a battle instance, your pieces would have a set movement distance per unit of time. For example, a tank might gain the ability to move 40 pixels every six hours. Once you move it all 40 pixels you’ll have to wait until it’s ready to move again. Once you get within range of your enemy’s army, you could begin firing. Different pieces would have different firing power and different ranges. They could also be set to automatically attack if an enemy moves within range. The number and frequency of shots would of course be limited based on the piece.

This kind of battle would be good for people who want to play against each other but are not online at the same time or can only play for short sessions throughout the day. However, there could be an option where, when you are done moving everything you want to move, you can hit a ‘done – skip ahead’ button, then if your opponent agrees and hits the same button on their turn, both parties will have their movement numbers replenished, easily turning this into a turn-based game.

More than two players could be involved in a single battle. In fact, I believe dozens or more players could be involved in a single battle, each adding their own battlefield onto all the others, without causing any notable performance issues. At the same time, a single player could be involved in numerous different battle instances, since the destruction from the battles would not be permanent.

On top of this main idea, I could add all sorts of other gameplay elements. I was thinking of a skill system similar to EVE Online where your skills continue training when you’re offline. There could be a system of alliances, so the battles are not ‘every man for himself’. Then there could even be cities, perhaps represented as an icon on the map, but then you could drive into them, opening up another area where you could buy decorations, buildings, money-making industries etc. However, your enemies could, of course, come in and attack that city. And as well as your city, you could upgrade your landscape, buying bigger, more interesting mountains and forests and moving rivers, though I’m not sure how that would work from a story perspective–perhaps God rewards you for killing your enemies or something.

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But for now these are just a couple ideas floating around in my head. Maybe I’ll start on one of them if I find myself unemployed again, but until then I still need to get the last of the kinks worked out of my WordPress PDF creation plugin so I can post it to the community.

I also need to keep working on a program I’m building in the Appcelerator/Titanium platform, called “Batch Rename” which gives an interface which creates a script that’s kinda similar to SQL that can parse through a directory and rename, move, delete or copy any files it finds based on regular expression (regex) code. This is probably a lot more useful than any Farmville knockoff, as I actually came across a situation yesterday where I would have used it.

About my new story, The Pee Martini

Today I posted yet another true story The Pee Martini, under my ‘Silly and Pointless’ category, about a time that I accidentally drank a whole bunch of pee. This was back in 1999, and I was a little crazier than I am now in terms of the drugs and alcohol I would do. In this story I seem to be portrayed as a bit of an angry alcoholic, swearing at my friends and calling them bastards because I couldn’t find my vodka, but I’m really not like that normally… or if I am, it’s mostly in good fun and only with friends. Coincidentally a buddy the other day was saying something like “It’s taboo for guys to show affection for each other, so we gotta tell our friends they’re douche-bags instead.” It’s all in good fun, one of my stories that really doesn’t have much of a point beyond being a funny story.

My Spirit Animals One Minute Sketch

My two spirit animals, a crow and coyote
My spirit animals sketch

Just thought I’d post this real quick because I thought it kind of neat.

I was out at the bar a few nights ago and someone randomly asked me what my favorite animal was. I said “Either a crow or a coyote.” I was thinking of my two experiences with those animals, one as a kid where I was surrounded by a pack of coyotes while eating Fruity Pebbles Cereal and another where a flock of crows attacked me trying to get me to drop my take-out box of delicious barbecue. She brought out her sketch pad and started drawing faster than I think I’ve ever seen anyone draw and a minute later, gave me this:

(ugh, looks like the automatic PDF generator doesn’t handle images very well, not that you need to see this entry in PDF. I’d sure like to build my own PDF generator if only I had the time.)

New True Story: Twinkies and Ho Hos

I just posted a new, very short true story under my ‘silly and pointless’ category, called Twinkies and Ho Hos. I personally think it’s a pretty funny little story about some of my little quirks. I suppose it’s not entirely pointless because it draws attention to the health crisis in modern society.

I’ve been on a real obesity kick lately. In fact, I’m riding my exercise bike as I type this. I’m not sure how I got on this kick exactly. Perhaps it’s because of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution on Hulu or the fact that I got plantar fasciitis recently in my foot and when reading up on it, found that fat people get it a lot more because of all the weight we’re putting on our feet. As an overweight man who walks long distances on a regular basis, my feet can take a beating. Or perhaps its because I want to be more attractive to the ladies. One way or the other, I’m determined to get into shape. Hopefully writing about it will help because everyone will know if I fail.

So on a related topic, I am dumbfounded that our government can justify outlawing marijuana and other drugs, spreading hatred and destroying lives over things that have never killed anyone, but won’t do a thing about the obesity epidemic and continues to allow McDonald’s and Taco Bell to market themselves as though they are actually selling food as opposed to garbage. I know someone, for example, who thinks I’m insane for not supporting law enforcement and has repeatedly made an example out of nudity and says that if we didn’t have laws, half the people would be running around naked, as though that would be some kind of miserable society and something we don’t have the capacity to get used to. But she is obese, and doesn’t seem to consider how she (and admittedly myself as well) appears to others, especially  children (and hungry people in other parts of the world). Kids see us and think that if it’s okay for us to neglect and disrespect our bodies, it’s fine for them too. It’s not okay to get piss drunk in front of children, so why should it be okay to be unhealthy in other ways in front of them?

We often make rules in schools that kids must wear uniforms because we don’t approve of their choice of clothing, but for some reason there’s no rules against teachers being morbidly obese.

Many people are disgusted by obesity in the same way my acquaintance is disgusted by nudity (perhaps the obesity issue is part of the reason so many people are opposed to nudity). But people who want their partners to be thin and healthy are portrayed as being “shallow”, and “only concerned with appearance”, and this idea is becoming more prominent, and overweight people seem to be increasingly convinced that they should be treated the same as everyone else, and in some cases get special treatment, and that they deserve to be seen as just as attractive as healthy people. We’ve reached a point where overweight people outnumber the healthy ones and are having a real affect on politics. This is only going to make things worse.

I think what might be what got to me was the high-school student on Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution whose doctor told her that she only had seven years to live because of her unhealthy eating habits. This wasn’t someone he seeked out to make an example out of. This was someone who just showed up and wanted to help Jamie in exchange for getting some help herself. And I have met people who were bigger than her.

I know this is an angry, possibly offensive rant, but I’m as angry with myself as anyone else. I’ve been overweight most of my life and even during the times when I was skinny, it was  because I wasn’t eating much rather than because I’d actually gained a healthy lifestyle, so this entry is sort of myself demanding that I make a real, long-term change in my life.

Okay, I’ve been on the exercise bike for two straight hours now (the first hour I spent playing Mario Kart Wii) and I’ve soaked through two bath towels, so I think I can afford to give myself a break and start working from my big computer.

Kalin’s Layer Dip Recipe

Okay, I know everyone can do a layer dip, but I think mine is the best. I also know that posting recipes has almost nothing to do with the goals of my site… but… whatever.

can of refried beans,

12 oz sour cream,

shredded green leaf lettuce,

chopped cilantro,

taco seasoning;

optional: lime juice, juice from a jar of jalapenos, chopped parsley, green onions, tomatos, onions, olives, diced ovacodo

Make your bean dip first by mixing a couple tablespoons or more of taco seasoning into your beans along with enough jalapeno juice, lime juice or water to soften it to the point where you can use a chip to dip without breaking the chip. Optionally mix in some finely chopped jalapeno or onion. It’s better if you let this refrigerate for 24 hours before use.

Spread your bean dip across a serving platter. Add some water to your sour cream and mix until it is thin enough to properly dip a chip, but not so thin that it runs like liquid. It should spread easily across the bean dip. Optionally scatter the diced ovacado into the sour cream. Mix the cilantro, lettuce and optional parsley and veggies together and spread liberally along the top. There should be as much lettuce, cilantro and veggies as bean dip and sour cream, making this kind of a salad on a tortilla chip.

Join Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution and sign the petition for healthier school lunches.