Benny's Adventures

Loneliness, Fire in Movies, and Knights

It’s Tough to Meet People

While I’ve met some pretty nice people but it’s difficult to create a circumstance where it’s easy to find people to hang out with on any given day. I think it’s taking its toll but fortunately I keep myself occupied by engineering.

Why is fire in movies so dim?

I’ve seen a single candle light up a large room yet a torch in movies seems to be nothing more than a small little circle of light in darkness. I guess it’s possible that it’s done for dramatic effect. But so many mistakes and/or scary moments could have been averted if things just worked the way they should have. Oh well.

Knights! They’re so cool!

There’s just something awesome about the idea of a knight. Obviously it’s not a perfect ideal because in fact chivalry is very unfair and chauvinistic. That being said, if we ignore the flaws it’s a pretty cool life style. I suppose that’s the same with anything though, isn’t it? If you ignore the flaws, things are pretty cool.

26 February 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Estimation, Burnout, and Villanelles

Estimation is Hard


Is the glass half full? Or half empty? Well, it doesn’t matter because when you go to drink it you’ll find there’s too much or too little. I’ve come to find in my experience so far as an engineer that anything that requires some level of estimation, be it estimating time in scheduling or estimating how much resin and hardener is left for an epoxy, is nearly impossible to get right. For the moment it’s just likely that I don’t have the proper experience doing these things with the precision I require so maybe in time I will get better at it. I’ll keep you posted.

Burnout is Actually Rarer Than It Seems

For a long time I complained of being burnt out. I think that there was some truth to it but personally life improved quite a bit when I could rest my fears and figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I suspect that while there are legitimate cases where people are experiencing “physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress” but there are catalysts for this reaction. Fear, uncertainty, and other related gremlins of the mind do their utmost to reduce the point where work becomes overwork and stress becomes too much.

If you are feeling burnt out, try some introspection to figure out why you are doing what your doing on top of easing the work load and stress levels to facilitate healing and avoid reentering the same state of burnout.

Villanelles are Magical

I don’t know what it is about the villanelle specifically that attracts me to it but of all the poetic forms out there the villanelle continues to hold my attention even now, a full 4 years after I first learned of the form and saw some exemplary examples. Here is my favorite villanelle:


Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

23 February 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A New Shift

I’ve been evaluating several choices in my life and have come to some conclusions.

The Format of this Blog

I’m going to make my posts shorter and more frequent. The trade off is that I’m not necessarily going for earth-shattering revelations but rather attempting to capture more of my transient thoughts. My hope is that it means that I will capture more of my thoughts and make this blog a little bit more personal to me.

A New Project

I’ve also come to find I want to do something with my writing. I’ve made it a goal to get published again. Now I say again but keep in mind that being published the first time meant a poem of mine appearing in a very small journal. I suspect all the copies sent out to its various readers were hand-made! That should tell you the scale of that first publication (i.e. It wasn’t an earth-shattering event). I considered creating a website but I don’t think my craft is honed enough to do that proudly so I will work on my skills by attempting to get published.

The Intended Effect

I’m hoping what this does is provide a framework for me to create accountability and give me a way to improve my discipline. Mainly I am hoping to create at least one post a day and that’s tough for me right now. In time though I hope to make it a habit. The side benefit is that I have for myself a journal. I can’t share my most intimate thoughts but I can certainly record some less sensitive experiences and thoughts and have it archived for the future. I can look back on it and have a bit more data to remember things with. I’m also hoping it will help make my writing more exciting if I’m going for shorter and sweeter posts. We’ll see how that goes.

21 February 2012 Posted by | Life | , , | Leave a comment

Are Valve shooting themselves in the foot with Half-Life 3/Episode 3?

First of all, if someone can explain to me how I should grammatically word the title I’d appreciate it. I have full faith that the Internet will do what it does best – point out grammar mistakes.

Now, to begin.

[supposed screenshot of Half Life 3]
Alleged screenshot of Half-Life 3 found on Reddit

Half-Life 2 arrived to gamers in 2004. Episode 2 released in 2007. Since then nary a word has been said about the next entry in the series (well, aside from Episode 3 being announced in 2006 and other inconsequential news… which by the way, I tried to find an announcement altering the game from Ep. 3 to a full Half-Life 3 but could not find it, so if it exists let me know where I can find it). Many gamers want to know not just that the next installment in this beloved series is being released but when it is being released. There have been many supposed leaks of information or hints of a release date but nothing official.

It’s now been 5 years, approximately.

The only other game I can think of having a similar release hype and build up is Duke Nukem Forever… and we all know how that turned out.

I am afraid that Half Life’s next episode might be following a similar path.

What happens if the fans get tired?

New and fun games are being released time and time again without a new Half Life anywhere on the radar. Eventually the bond that Half-Life 2 garnered will deteriorate and there will be fans who are not as receptive.

There will of course still be a ton of fans, don’t get me wrong, but there’s something about the legend that no longer connects me to the Half-Life world. Perhaps I’m just not as fond of the series as others, but I also believe that some of it has to do with anticipation fatigue. I really, really wanted to know what happens next but over time my attention has focused on other things and there are other stories that I am following. I’m personally not as excited about Half Life anymore because Valve missed that sweet spot where I am excited about the next game and it’s been long enough from the original that another game is sensible.

What happens if development can’t keep up with an evolving environment?

If the game isn’t in development then this is not an issue but let’s say for all this time Half-Life: Ep. 3 has been in development. The begin with an engine and some ideas of features they’d like to evolve and features they’d like to revolutionize. However what happens when these features, while they are developing it for 5 years, become standard or even moot and any new features and expectations that gamers have suddenly requires a new change to the engine? It is my understanding that the Source engine has this in mind at its core but even the Source engine has its limits.

Furthermore, technical issues aside what if the group of gamers intensely fond of the series grew up and their lives changed that they are no longer that interested? Or able to continue gaming?

Trying to address this will add more development time which leads to more things to address and it could create a vicious cycle.

On the other hand…

Valve is a great developer and has many successes under its belt. If anybody can pull it off, they can. The only other company I’d have that much confidence in is Blizzard.

And hey, let’s be honest… I love Half-Life. Even if it’s 20 years from now I will remember my fondness for the series and check it out anyway.


It’s tough to say. I can’t be sure if I should be worried or if I should be excited or somewhere in between. But while I am waiting for Half-Life: Ep3 or Half Life 3, I’m going to be reliving the adventures of Gordon Freeman again and again ‘cause damn it the Half-Life games are so much fun!

4 February 2012 Posted by | Gaming | , , , | Leave a comment


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