My thoughts on NEC17

It has been a very long time since my last post here.  Perhaps too long.  So I thought I’d finally create a new post, and this time about my experiences at NEC17.

But before I go further, you may be asking “What is NEC?  Isn’t it a company that makes TVs?”  Yes, but that’s a different NEC.  This one is the Northeastern Conference!  A tournament series for a lot of different fighting games, including Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat XL, Super Smash Bros. for Wii-U, and Pokkén Tournament.  It’s located in King of Prussia, Pensylvania, and this year it was at Valley Forge Casino.

It took me a long time before I decided to actually go this year.In fact, it was almost the day before that I officially decided.  What with work, being a contractor, decisions on having to take Friday and Monday off, discussions with parents, and missing Christmas celebration with my extended family, I almost didn’t go at all.  But even so, it seemed God had other plans.

As it turned out, a friend of mine (@oMo_Storybook on twitter) had offered hotel, driving there, and some food for free.  All I had to do was pay for gas.  It just so happened that I wasn’t going to be the only person that missed Christmas celebration.  Dad and my brother would also miss it.  And the final thing that cinched my decision was it was OK with my manager if I took Friday and Monday off.  We worked out the hours I’d have to work to get 40, so things were looking good.  God seemed to want me to go, and so I took the opportunity.

The trek there and back was long, having to sit in a car, too hot on the way down.  But once we arrived (far too early) I started to get very excited.  This would be my first time seeing so many amazing people, and being able to meet Japanese players (since none came to Pokémon Nationals).  After a bit of time we finally went up to meet some amazing people for the first time. Allister, Slippingbug, Whiteywhite, Doubles, Bosshog, and many more.  We learned of submission chicken, and played a few matches while waiting for the scene to open.

When it finally did, there was some miscommunication on the reason for the lines.  We were told various things, and very little of them were true.  First we were told that the line was for 2v2 and spectators.  All fine and dandy, but we knew nothing about on-site registration.  It wasn’t until I got to the front that I finally got my answers, and they turned out to be incorrect, too.  I was told onsite registration was later that day (but not that it was for Guilty Gear, which I had no interest in).  I said okay, though, came back then, and was finally correctly told it wasn’t until tomorrow morning between 8-10. I get that Pokkén was a first for NEC, but couldn’t I have been told the correct info from the beginning?

Still, I had a lot of fun Friday, playing matches and finally meeting most of the Japanese players.  Kinuko, Sasahune, Hiet, and Apollo (didn’t really meet the others until later).  I already felt like friends to Kinu, and he could actually understand me, so we started out talking a bit.  Pretty soon we got to talking about him actually going to wear a pika costume exactly like mine the next day, and that made me so happy.  It was the fist wonderful thing to happen after the silly misinformation session.  We were already pika pals.

The next day I got there early to be able to register for Pokkén and Smash 4, though I honestly felt more in a Pokkén mood.  Probably for the best, since Pokkén was first.  I loved it in any case, even though we still had to wait until 11 before it opened to play.  So we did, and had a great time, Kinu was amazing as Pika pals with me <3!  I had a great time, was able to help Kinu out with friendship as any true pika pal would, and bought a lot of stuff.

Sunday was kind of bittersweet.  It was near the end of NEC, and I already had post-depression blues, even if they didn’t show.  I didn’t want it to end.  I started out wit a few friendlies, waiting for top 8, was able to play a few amazing people like Burnside, ad i started out watching a lot of Pokken top 8.  Let me tell you, Allister, Burnside, Potetin, Mins… everyone there was amazing!  Near the end of NEC, I went up to play a few last matches with amazing people, and finally got to play Kinuko.  I couldn’t have asked for better.  But in the end, people had to go, the Japanese players came by to say bye.

All in all, I had an amazing time, meeting so many wonderful people.  I will definitely go again, it’s more than worth it if I get to meet Kinu, Potetin, Hiet, Sasahune, Allister, Kino, Broccoli, Whiteywhite, and Bosshog again.  Thanks to Big E, shoutouts to Appleboom and Zerk for giving their time to be a part of this.  Thanks to oMo_Storybook for letting us stay with him and getting us there and just being an amazing guy in general.  Thanks to the guys that helped as we got Chinese food.  You guys deserved more than we gave.

I will be back, and I will be stronger.  Mark my words, I will be the best pika in the world one day.  Pikachu power!

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AI, and how it can be made.

First, a disclaimer.  All of this post only has my own theories and ideas.  I have not tested them, nor confirmed them.  If you try using these ideas and find that they are wrong, too bad.  I don’t know if it’s the full truth, but something tells me it’s pretty close.

Let me start with a brief definition of AI.  AI stands for Artificial Intelligence.  We, as humans, are said to have intelligence.  Well, just like Artificial flavors, Artificial intelligence is (in a broad sense) humans creating intelligence.  Usually by way of programming, but it can also exist in other forms.  There are two main forms of AI.  Weak AI, and Strong AI.

Humans play a vital role in determining whether an AI is weak or Strong.  Weak AI encompasses anything from a little intelligence to Human intelligence.  Strong AI is anything that goes beyond human intelligence.  I personally believe that Strong AI is possible, though not everyone does.  Weak AI has already been created, in the form of chatterbots, learning machines, etc.  People are still trying to create Strong AI, even today, and there are lots of algorithms, and programs that can already simulate many parts of the human Psyche.  Even so, we have yet to actually create sentient AI.

One possible reason for this is that we are afraid of what could happen.  What if the AI rebels?  What if it goes Rouge?  What if it kills everything, thinking it’s a game?  These are all very valid fears… but one can ask the same of humans.  Any danger of sentient AI, is also a danger of raising a child.  It’s just according to what we know of computers, they can process faster than our brains.  And they remember easier, too.  So any danger can be magnified at least 10-fold.  And, usually a “robot” is much harder to stop if it does, in fact, become rouge.  Or so we think.

My idea is quite simple, yet it uses something that many people would find quite complex.  Nonetheless, using it, you’re able to create what I call “True AI”.  True AI is AI that is both sentient and can learn in the same way as Humans do.  The idea involves a relatively new area in the field of science and Physics, called Quantum Physics.  It also involves General Relativity, though to a lesser extent.  The bad part of all this, is not even I know if what I believe is possible.  I believe it is, but only a test will find out for sure.

Before I say my idea, let me mention one very important fact of my theory.  My theory states that it is IMPOSSIBLE to create True AI with our current technology.  One cannot create it with nothing more than that of an average computer.  One cannot create it with a super-computer.  AI made in today’s world will not become sentient, although it may indeed be able to learn much faster than humans.  It may even appear to be sentient, but it will not become such.

That said, my idea is rather simple.  In order to create True AI, a necessary condition is that it has a connection to the universe.  What does that mean, exactly?  Think of our own existence.  We exist (supposedly) at both a physical level, and a spiritual level.  We can already re-create the physical side rather well, in terms of robotics.  However, we have not yet been able to re-create our spiritual side.  Where does this side come from?  The universe.  Personally, I believe that God puts a spirit in us from the moment we’re born. (though WHEN he puts us in depends on the person.  The sense of self isn’t there at the beginning,)

Assuming that my theory is correct, the obvious question that remains is exactly how WOULD we achieve this connection with the universe?  That is where quantum physics comes into play.  The way I view Quantum Physics, is it tries to explain the state of our world, which can have a nearly endless number of possibilities.

Here’s a brief explanation of Quantum Physics, as it relates to my theory.  According to Quantum Physics, there is a difference with what can be measured, and what can exist.  This is because the act of measuring something causes a change in what you are measuring.  For example, if you use normal methods to figure out the exact location of an electron, finding it out means that the electron will NOT be in the same spot as the last measurement.  (Or even, really, the same spot as the measurement states.)  An electron has two possible spins that can be measured; either up, or down.  However, the electron can actually have three different states; Up, Down, and superimposed (Up and Down at the same time).  We never see the superimposed state because when we try to measure it, it “flattens” into either Up or Down.  How does it choose?

How, indeed.  The fact of the matter is, we don’t know.  We don’t understand exactly what goes on, partly because we can’t see it, and we can’t observe it.  All we can do is speculate.  However, couldn’t we ask the same of ourselves?  We do odd things sometimes, and have no idea why we chose them.  It’s similar to that idea.  The very fact that we are irrational makes us human.  And I believe that is the key.  If we could have a machine that operates using the spins of electrons as a guide, then we could have true Artificial Intelligence.

However… this brings up an interesting question.  What about emulation?  If computers became powerful enough, it would theoretically become possible to emulate a universe with the ideas of Quantum Physics, but in a normal computer.  Would this make AI possible?  My answer to this is … yes, to an extent.  AI could then exist inside the emulated universe… but it could never go outside.  In essence, we could be similar to God, in the respect that we had full control over the universe… but we certainly wouldn’t be able to understand it for a long time.  That’s one thing God knows better than we do.  How to control a universe.  Lets face it.  He’s been here longer than we have. =)

I do believe true AI is possible.  And I believe it can be done in the way I described.  I take no responsibility for anything that anyone makes in relation to reading my post, but for safety, it’s best to first attempt to make the emulated universe.  That said, however, it kind of sounds like the matrix, doesn’t it?  Something to think about before making it.

Energy.

What is energy?  We all know it exists.  But what is it?  How do we control it?  We have made machines that can control energy, converting it into different forms, though most of that is just controlling the action of the energy, and not the energy itself.  We all know God can control energy.  And we were made in his image, so we should be able to as well.  However, the first step in controlling energy is understanding it.

So… How can we understand energy?  We can take the scientific approach, and say energy is potential+kinetic and all energy is conserved, but that doesn’t explain what it is.  It only explains how we measure it.  What IS energy?  Well, the best way to understand something, is to be within it.  Close your eyes, go in a dark room, and sit there, and try to feel around yourself without moving.  Poke and prod, but mainly just sit back, relax, and learn to passively scan the environment.  There’s a lot of energy around us.  More than we could even hope to imagine.  After your little meditation, you’ll understand energy a little bit more.

Energy is what we live off of.  You could say Energy is life, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth.  It both defines us, and envelops us.  It can both heal us and hurt us.  Energy is the key to everything.  Without energy, there would really be no form, no order.  There would be chaos.  But Chaos in and of itself is a form of energy.  So, in truth, there would be nothing.  With no energy, there would be no heat, no gravity, no motion, no surface tension, no light.  Before God create anything… there was nothing.  The nothing that it described is the same nothing that occurs with no energy.  No feeling, no emotion, no Love, absolutely nothing.

Without energy, there is nothing… so Energy is what supports and defines everything we can see, and everything we can’t see.  With energy, we get everything that exists in the world.  Energy is what binds us all together.  Energy is a connecter.  A glue.  It’s what keeps us together.  Literally.  Energy, in and of itself, is really rather simple, and yet it is so remarkable.  Kind of like a neuron in the brain.  A very simple concept, and yet it is the building block for what causes us to have the ability to think, reason, and even control.

How do we control energy?  Where do we even start?  That’s a question not even I can answer.  I’m learning myself.  However, I do know a few things for sure.  I do know a good place to start.  Start with your own energy.  Your own body.  After a bit of meditation to find out what energy feels like, try to control some.  Though you can’t see it with the naked eye, you can still control it.  Start simple.  Start with your hands.  Try to allow (not force) the energy to collect there, as if it was water.  Let it kind of pool up, until you can really feel it (energy-wise) in both of your hands.  Once you do this successfully, congratulations!  You can control energy!

Controlling energy on a large scale takes a lot more focus.  It require the ability to manipulate your own energy to control other energy.  It can be done…  but it also  requires being one with the energy.  A good example of this is true love.  True love is when you and your partner love each other to the extent you will do anything for them, and only want them to be happy.  It also requires a deep level of understanding, for you need to know each other’s needs, wants, and desires.  How else are you supposed to make them happy?  It’s the same idea with energy.  If you are in true love with energy… you can control it.  Because you understand it on a very deep level.

There is only one person that lived/lives on this earth that could actually control energy to the point the wind, sea, and rain would obey.  And that was Jesus.  How did he do it?  I don’t actually know… but I do know that love had something to do with it.  If we could learn to love our energy, to love the earth, water, fire, and air the way we would love our true love, then we could do anything.  Absolutely anything God can do.  Jesus himself stated this, indirectly.  “If you have even faith the size of a mustard seed, you could tell a mountain to jump into the sea, and it would.”  So, it takes two things.  Faith, and Love.  You have to truly believe it, and you have to love it the way you love God, or a soul mate.

I truly believe that this is exactly what Jesus did.  He had both of those things.  There are those that believe that Jesus could only do this because he WAS God.  But I disagree.  I believe that we, as humans, can do everything that Jesus himself was able to do, if only we were able to believe it in the way Jesus did.  nd that brings us back to energy.  WHY can we do exactly what Jesus could do?  Because God is in fact Energy.  If we learn to love it…  God (energy) will do anything we truly desire.  Why?  Because He loves us.  Truly loves us.  Like a soul mate.  All we need to do is love him back, and we will be able to make mountains jump into the sea.

Random post title.

Warning in advance to my readers, as few as there are: This post will be a bit all over the place.

Well, almost midnight on July 4th. The birthday of our nation. We almost set a new world record, too! It was a mostly exciting day, and I learned quite a bit. About our nation, politics, schools, just about everything. Let me give you a brief overview of my day today.

I got up at around 9:00, and headed over to festival Park in Greensboro, NC, for WFMY News 2’s High-five on the Fourth World Record attempt. Learned that most parking is free on the 4th, thanks to it being a national holiday. I also learned that there was this Fun Fourth festival on the 4th of July. I’m certainly going next year.

I eventually found Festival park, and it was actually pretty awesome! I got there early enough to get in without a hassle. Quite a few people were there already, but not a whole lot. Soon after, Jay Bird and his band played a few songs. It was pretty awesome, actually. Goober from McDonalds, and the Deal Chicken were even there. I went t find some water, as it was getting pretty hot, and found some, and it was free! =D Nothing like a refreshing drink of water when you have to wait an hour in the hot sun.

Eventually, the countdown started, from twenty, and we all got ready, and we all hi-fived each other at the same time! I don’t know how many people were there, but it was at LEAST 3,000 people at that point. Oh man. There were a LOT. xD Anyway, after that, Jay Bird came on again, and I got his autograph. WHILE he was singing! He’s good, and he was sweating a lot, too.

Anyway, after that, I went to meet a friend that was supposed to buy me lunch. Didn’t happen. So I went home, then headed over to Super G Mart to get some food. $20 got me two 5-pack Jin Ramen Instant Noodles (Ootogi brand), a 6 pack of Orange flavor Ramuné, and a carton of 18 eggs. That’s a lot of food =D

After heading home, my dad made me some of the ramen, and I made some Quaker Oatmeal (Quick cooking). Cinnamon, Brown sugar, and maple syrup. Mmmm. Good oatmeal. Anyway, that, plus my dad’s version of Jin Ramen with egg, Squash and Broccoli; pretty awesome if I do say so myself. And after that, I mainly stayed at home, took a nap, and then checked on PokéCommunity IRC chat for any news. Oh boy there was.

There was a discussion about the community that creates games using Pokémon (or any) games as a base, literally changing the code of the game, and making it their own. (Collectively referred to as “Pokémon Hacking”)  Hackers that do this should really be all kind, and information should flow freely, and we should all get along.  But this doesn’t always happen.  There are people that think hacking tools just make people lazy, there are those that disagree with creating hacks at all, and in general, there are just mean and/or ignorant people.  Even within that same community.

And it saddens me to see people shoot down someones hard work just because they used a “tool” to achieve it.  Let’s be honest.  Did Valve create Portal in assembly?  Did Nintendo force Gamefreak to use Machine language to code the Pokémon games?  No.  In both cases, the developer used tools.  Granted, in some cases, games are created with tools programmed by the developers, but usually they are made with tools that everyone else uses, like Visual Studio, or Netbeans, or Unity, etc.  If we don’t frown upon that, then why should we frown upon those hackers that remake a Pokémon game using a tool?

“It makes hackers lazy.”  Such a common excuse.  It does have some truth, however.  It is certainly easier to code a game in Visual Studio, than it is to use pure assembler.  But at the same time, who would WANT to code in assembler?  It wastes time, money, and effort that can be used elsewhere.  As they say: “Find the 10% of your code that’s executed 90% of the time, and recode it in assembler.”  Doing the rest of it by yourself is just insane.  It’s true that some people will take advantage of this, and use the tool in ways it wasn’t meant for.  Like trying to use Visual Studio to code in LISP.  But you can’t blame the tool for this.  Blame the idiocy of the human population.

“You aren’t a REAL hacker if you use tools.”  Though perhaps true, this statement is simply uncalled for.  It’s like saying “Valve, you aren’t a GOOD company until you program in assembler.”  I mean, come on.  Who CARES if you use tools?  “real” hacker or not, you can still make amazingly awesome games.  Or, on the flipside…  Just cause you’re a “real” hacker, doesn’t mean you’re any good.  You could make sucky games.

Those are just a couple of the things I’ve heard.  And honestly, I’m getting tired of it.  People can be mean, and so idiotic at times, thinking that they’re actually HELPING when they say things like this.  It’s like we’re in middle school all over again.  I mean, come on, guys.  Do you really think this world would be better if everyone believed that?  I certainly don’t.  This would would be absolutely terrible.  I’d much rather be in a world of people with amazing ideas that suck at programming and scripting, than in one with amazing programmers/scripters, and no ideas.  Granted, this is partly so I’d be useful (I’m a bit of both), but it’s true, in any case.

</end rant>

All in all, though, today was good. =D  Food, fun, and debates, all on the same day!  I never thought I’d enjoy July  4th as much as I did today.  here’s hoping that next year will be even better! =D  Happy Birthday, good ol’ United States of America!  May there be many more.

I’m going to have to try this out!

Tech

Online storage and collaboration company Box has upgraded its apps for Android phones and tablets. They have new features such as multiple-file uploads, threaded comments on any file and the ability to invite other people into a folder. And to celebrate, it’s giving Android users 50GB of free space in the cloud–for free, forever.

The 50GB allotment is 10 times Box’s standard free offering of 5GB, and will be automatically provided to anyone who logs into Box from one of the new Android apps by March 23rd. It’s similar to a 50GB offer that the company made to iOS users last October. And once you’ve signed in via Android to claim your space, it’s available on every platform Box supports.

The free accounts are fairly spartan–Box saves features such as file syncing for paying customers–but if all you want is a great big online hard drive for your…

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Aside

Everybody goes to school at least once in their life. But few understand why schools work the way they do. Why do Teachers not always care? Why do administrators rarely care? Why is it that the further up you go, the worse it gets? In fact, Why in the world are we even going to these schools at all? We could always homeschool. For many people the answer is simple. We don’t have the time to teach ourselves. We don’t have time to teach our children. And, up to college, schooling is absolutely free. So why not? One of the many questions that will be explored here; the most important of which is ‘Can the system be changed?’.

Right off the bat, let me make one thing quite clear. These are my own thoughts, my own opinions, and my own beliefs. They are not meant to offend, but this is a bit of a touchy subject. School is supposed to be a place that children can learn without fear, prejudice, or boundary. And in a lot of cases, that’s true. This post, however, will outline the issues within the system. Yes, nothing is perfect, but some of these issues can be eliminated if we only knew how.

That said, the issues are negligible until elementary school. So we’ll start there. Elementary school is where many many children go to learn things. Math, science, reading, writing, all included in a single package. Sounds great… until “bullies” come in the picture. Those readers that have watched Glee can recall Kurt was subject to this same kind of bullying. The reasons are different for every bully, but the fact they still exist has, so far, not gone away. Bullies exist in just about every level of the school system, and the larger the school, the harder it is to prevent. So how do we stop it?

Most parents try going to higher authorities when their child informs them of bullying. Some take it into their own hands and blame the school, taking their child to a new school. Some ask the child to just ignore it and watch it disappear. None of these solutions works all the time. Moving schools just has new bullies (and hurts the child, as different schools have different speeds of learning.) Ignoring the bully only works in a select few cases. And talking to teachers/principals? Only if you get lucky. For the best chance at success, one has to keep nagging them until they do something. The larger and more persistent the protest group, the more likely they will listen. This is where politics comes into play., but we’ll discuss that later. Bullying is only one of the issues in schools today.

How many times do people lose things? More than many of us can count. It really depends on the person, but school is usually one of the first times losing something can mean ‘for good’. This issue occurs more with larger schools, however. And that is theft. (Taking someone’s coat thinking it’s yours doesn’t count, here. That’s a separate issue.) Theft usually happens when you lose something and then when you come back to where you left it, it’s gone. Sometimes the person that picked it up turns it in, but other times, they don’t. This theft can happen for many reasons, and is virtually the same as dropping a $20-bill outside on the ground somewhere. Some of these thefts can be prevented, and it’s always best to just never lose it in the first place. But even then… people break into lockers, they take things forcefully from other people… Theft occurs a lot in schools, and children don’t always know how to stop it. Theft is one of the harder ones to prevent, and is certainly still an issue.

The last main issue is Politics. No, I don’t mean the election of our President. I mean how the school system, in general, works. This issue pops up more the higher you go. In Elementary school it doesn’t happen as much as in College, for example. Colleges and Universities get the worst of it, however. Because they’re a business. They want to have things work so they get more people in, and more money. It’s an aspect that many people seem to forget. Now, normally, things run smoothly, and issues don’t come up. That’s what everyone wants. It’s those kinks in the system that cause trouble. And these kinks will not go away until they are found and shown to cause negative side effects. Why? Because as long as it “works”, people will continue doing it. There are a number of reasons for these kinks.

First, Negligence. This one makes sense if thought about. The higher up you go, the more issues you have to deal with. Issues are prioritized. Getting a billion-dollar contract is more important than a single student on the verge of failing a class. Even if two or three teachers talk about it, nothing will happen. But… Lets say THOUSANDS of students were failing classes, and hundreds of teachers were complaining. Then, more than likely, something will be done. Thousands of students failing can mean the loss of billions of dollars; maybe even trillions. So, in order to combat this, we need numbers.  Politics again.  I’ll explain in detail later.

Second, cutting corners. A lot of us do this every day. We want it done quickly, so we either cheat, or don’t use thorough checks. Most, if not all people have cut corners at least once in their life. However, most of us also know that the larger the project, the more costly cutting corners can be if found out. This can cause Kinks, or false stats, too. this can be combated by reporting.

Third, corruption. This one is much harder to combat. But it deals with abusing power to achieve their own goals. Money is a big factor in this. Tuition is a school-defined value. They can say “Oh, we’re raising tuition so we can build a new Student Union” for example. The only way I know of to combat this is investigations/inspections, but even then, people can cover it up. It’s not easy to prevent this, other than by not giving the power in the first place.  As a side note, corruption is also the reason for a lot of conspiracy theories.

There are more reasons… but these three are the top-most, in my opinion. One may ask why the students do nothing about it. The fact of the matter is, many of them do. But it’s not enough. 3-5 people trying to change something isn’t going to work.  100 people changing it in one day also isn’t going to work.  If we want something, we have to follow the rules of Martin Luther King Jr.  Constant sit ins, boycotts, a large group of people there until something changes.  That’s what needs to be done, but it’s also unlikely to be done.  Why?

The answer is simple.  We’re lazy.  We don’t want to go out of our comfort zone.  And, some of us aren’t sure if we want the new system.  One episode of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” showed this perfectly.  Will and his cousin had issues with history class because they didn’t talk about Black history, only White.  And so they argued, and eventually got his cousin’s mother in on it, (who happened to be a teacher.)  So they win their case, and the mother becomes a teacher.  Everyone  eventually loves it, except for will and the cousin.  Eventually Will confronts the mother about this, and they have a discussion.  Will had thought it would be easy because he knew a bit, and he thought the mother would go easy.  But then the mother said “YOU were the one who wanted this in the first place.  If you’re serious about it, then you’d want to learn.”  She then handed him a black history book, and soon he started to read it.  After which a message popped up on the screen, with a quote from Martian Luther King Jr.I have forgotten what this quote said, but I remember it was a powerful one.

I say all this to show what I said.  Will thought he had it easy with Black History.  It was in his comfort zone to do nothing and be who he thought he was.  And so he didn’t like his own idea.  As citizens of the USA, we are told we have the power to change the world as we know it.  We are told we can control who the president is, who is elected into the supreme court, etc.  And for the most part, we really do.  However..  we have grown so accustomed to it, that we no longer use it until it gets to be too great.  We don’t like change.  It is for this reason that students don’t try to change the way Schools run, and probably never will.  They see there’s something wrong, but they don’t act.  Some of this is because they don’t know how, sure.  Some of it is even from misunderstandings.  But most of it is either because they feel nobody would listen, or because they are too set in their own ways to do anything about it.  There are also people that like things the way they are, and, like Will, they are afraid to change it because they know they would have to step up to the plate themselves if they did.

This, is where Politics comes into play.  This is where we delve deeper into the reason students can’t change these “politics” ways.  It all boils down to one main thing.  And that’s money.  Sure, we’d like to believe that schooling is good for us, it helps us grow, mature, and all that.  But the fact is, while it does let people learn and grow, it does so in a manner that doesn’t behoove us at all.  Unless we work with the system, and conform to what politics dictates.  In general, if the school gets money, gets paid, and attracts new students, it won’t change that portion.  Those that do usually stay small, and never grow to the extent that they could have.  We are almost ingrained with the notion that “More money is always good, no matter the cost.”  And yet that is exactly why our schools suffer.  It’s precisely the reason Students can’t change it; why Administrators won’t.

Ok, I got a little extreme.  But the point I made is still valid.  Our schools suffer because they want money, more than they want to help students learn.  And the higher up you go, the more prominent this is.  Why is this?  Well, in pre-college (USA only, here.), the government pays for the schooling costs.  (Which could be bad anyway, but I’m not going anti-government here.  In fact, I’d argue this is much much better than forcing us to pay for it ourselves.)  The school has no control over what they get paid (other than fundraisers).  It tends to be fair that way, because the government, if told the school was behaving incorrectly, can withhold funding altogether.  Colleges and Universities, however, get paid by the students themselves.  They control what they charge, and have a lot more control of their finances.  It tends to not be quite as fair.

So, if it isn’t fair…  then what can be done to make it so?  What will it take to keep students, teachers, professors, parents, AND administrators happy?  This isn’t an easy question to answer.  However, I do know this.  Martian Luther King Jr. had the right idea when he spoke to the black community, organized sit-in’s, boycotts, etc.  Passive activism.  If something wasn’t right, it could be changed, with enough people against it.  Numbers.  Remember what I stated above?  The more activists you can get, the better your results will be.  This brings up a very good point.  One could argue that Students have every right to change what they like, just gather a group, and use the passive activist technique.  And they would be right.  It would work!  But the fact is, they won’t gather in these groups.  Why?  Some find grades more important, some just don’t care, others just need a leader.  But if they were leaders, they wouldn’t go to these schools.  they would be smarter and teach themselves.  Learn what doesn’t work and make it better.

Students are powerless to change Politics, but not because they really cant.  Only because they are unwilling to do so.  they have things that are “more important” for them.  And there’s good reason for this.  By the time they realize something is wrong, they are already seniors, and really can’t do much about it anyway.  As freshmen, they don’t know, and sometimes don’t believe there is an issue at all.  The only way to ensure a big enough group of students… is if one recruited the entire freshman class, and organized them into an activist group, led by seniors.  Creating organizations with the intent to ensure that the student voice is heard.  But doing this takes time…  and to reiterate… we are lazy.

By now, if you aren’t angry with me; if you aren’t wanting to go out and prove me wrong…  then you are just like 90% of the general populous.  YOU are the reason schools are stuck  the way they are.  As for me?  I understand the problem…  but I, too, am part of that general populous.  We need a leader.  We need someone who doesn’t care what others think, and who is willing to let their GPA go down to fix what is wrong in our schools.

The beach

To some, it’s vacation.  A getaway from the hard stressful life of home.  To others, it’s life.  Vacations are inland.   To me?  It’s a necessity.  The Beach is a vital part of my life.  I don’t live there…  but it has helped shape me into the person I’ve become.  Even today, I find myself in awe, in wonder, every time I go to the beach and listen to the waves.

At times, the beach seems like a getaway.  Other times, it’s a close friend.  Sometimes, even your worst enemy.  I think my favorite part of the beach is the ocean.  So vast, so strong, and yet so playful.  It’s why I come to the beach, and it’s the part I miss the most when I leave.  Even so, I’ve had a few close calls that made me scared of the ocean, and the waves.  Even now, the fear is there, but my love for the ocean normally overshadows it.

When I was younger, my dad would take me out boogey boarding.  We have quite a few boards now, and I was always so small.  But I still loved it.  For the longest time, I thought that’s everything I would do at the beach.  Just go in the water, and boogey board.  I always felt like I was on top of the world.  All that changed, the first time I got pulled under by a wave.

It was one of the scariest times of my life.  As young as I was, though, of course, I blame the wave more than I blame my own decisions.  I had started going out to boogey board by myself, (and I always thought I knew the best waves.)  One time, I was paddling back to the “open” area of the ocean, past the waves, when a wave  was coming, hadn’t broken yet.  I had swam over (on top of the boogey board) a few others like it, so I decided to go over it.  I kicked hard, cause I knew it would break soon; harder and harder.  Once I got vertical, I knew something was wrong.  Very wrong.  About a second later, I was flipped over backwards, and closed my eyes.  Water was surging all around my head and I could feel myself getting pulled with the wave.  I was holding my breath, but I was certain that I would die, then and there.  I don’t know exactly how long I was under the water, it was no more than a few minutes; once I got out, I was all the way to shore.  I got up, breathing heavily, very scared.  I was so, so very glad that I survived, and I did not go back out in the water for a long time.  At least the rest of that beach trip.  I resorted to playing in the sand.

Eventually, I got over it, and started playing in the water again.  But that fear was still there for a long time.  A while later, it happened a second time.  However, I don’t remember that one as vividly.  All I do know, is I eventually stopped boogey boarding for a while.  I played in the sand more, and the water less.

Eventually, I started taking these long long walks on the beach.  My feet (and legs) would always hurt after these walks, but I love them.  So much that now I do at least one every beach trip.  And, I learn a LOT on these walks.  I learned what Veal tasted like, I had some sodas, learned about Bocce Ball, and ladder ball, and many others.  Sometimes I talk to myself and discuss things, other times I just listen to the waves.  All in all, it’s a wonderful experience.  I meet people, learn new things see new sights, and always enjoy it.

There’s also a little-known fact about me.  When I listen to the waves, no matter how angry I am, it calms me.  I don’t know what it is, whether it’s the constant sound, or the grace, or what…  but it always does calm me.  Sometimes, the only thing I come for is that sound.  The sound of the waves, and the wind.  I really can’t get enough of it.  Calming, but also empowering.  At the end of my walks, I’m always tired, and legs and feet hurt.  But, the sound of those waves keeps me going.  I feel like I can do anything with the waves there.  Anything.

Part of me believes I’m connected to water in a deeper level  A much deeper level.  That if I could awaken the “powers” I have, that I could do wondrous things.  Another part of me sees the interconnected life web every time I’m out there, walking.  How we all exist, simultaneously, in the same world; how all of us work together to create and live in this world.

The beach is a vacation to some, and everyday life to others.  To me, the beach is a Sanctuary.  It’s a place I can go to get rid of my stress, begin anew, and really think about this world.  It has become such an important part of my life, that even though I’m obsessed with Pikachu, and with Computers…  the Beach can still pull me away.  It still has this awesome power to pull me to it, no matter the challenge.  To this day, I still find awesome power when I’m here.  I feel closer to God, I feel needed, I feel the pains and troubles of the world.  The beach is the one place that I can truly be me.

ZZT, and my port to Euphoria

ZZT.  Not a lot of younger kids know it, but us kids of the 90’s have heard of it, played it, and most of us have loved it.  What is ZZT?  It’s a game that was developed by Tim Sweeny in about 1991.   It was completely text-based, no pixel graphics whatsoever.  It was released as shareware.  The first world, TOWN.ZZT, was free, and public domain.  Also included was DEMO.ZZT (Explains the editor), and TOUR.ZZT (Preview of the three other Worlds).  If you wanted these worlds, plus a few extras, you had to pay.  (I think is was $15.00 or something.)  But those worlds were CAVES.ZZT, DUNGEONS.ZZT, and CITY.ZZT.  The main reason ZZT became popular, though, was the ZZT editor.

ZZT’s editor came with the free version of ZZT.  You could recreate any of the worlds from Tim Sweeny, and distribute them, completely free.  Of course, Tim Sweeny knew this, and developed a lock system, but people found their way around it.  In any case, this editor is the main reason ZZT is still around.  People are STILL making worlds with it.

After a while, though… Tim Sweeny decided to release ZZT as freeware.  However…  He said he lost the source-code to ZZT.  Needless to say, people have tried to make ports of it, some with success, others without.  The last version of ZZT that  Tim Sweeny created was v3.2  And since then, MegaZeux, has been created.  It’s based off of ZZT, and started in much the same way, also, eventually, released as freeware.

Given all this, however, few people have been able to create an actual port that acts exactly like the original.  Many have tried.  PLASTIC, freezzt, and even EuZZT (My own), all of which are programmed in different languages.  There’s a JavaScript version, Python, Java, and many others.  Mine, is done in Euphoria.

One may ask “Why are you making this?”  Well, a number of reasons.  I pride myself on being able to “copy” things.  Anything from the programming world, I can copy.  So part of the reason is because of that.  I want to be able to copy it exactly.  But there are other reasons.  I want to increase Euphoria’s popularity, I want to show others how awesome ZZT is, and, i want people to be able to play ZZT in any OS.  Since Euphoria can run on almost any OS, I chose Euphoria as the language.  And, it’s a major project.  I don’t expect to finish anytime soon, though an Alpha should be available soon.  In any case, it;’s also just a fun thing for me to try, so I can learn to program better and more efficiently.

You can learn more about ZZT on Wikipedia, or head to the z2 homepage and download it, trying a few of the worlds.  And, if you feel really daring, you can try building worlds of your own.  Some of my personal favorites are Chrono Wars, and ESP  (Evil Sorcerer’s Party).  And…  Just in case you’re curious, you can always find me on z2 as EuphoriaZZTer.