Desktop Gaming With Android and the MK808

I’m not a hardcore computer gamer. I never was, if we’re honest, but as I get older and busier I find myself with less and less time, energy, and interest to devote to gaming. Part of the problem is that I finish one or maybe two games a year, and another is that it seems like every time I turn around my Windows PC has become too obsolete to run any fairly recent releases. (My work computer runs Linux, and before anyone mentions WINE – it’s a little fanless dual-core Atom. Cheap, quiet, and quite power-efficient, yes… just not very good for cutting-edge Windows gaming.) And even if I want to play an older game, it seems like half the time I’ve got to sit around twiddling my thumbs for an hour or three first while Steam updates or Java updates, or something like that.

So, for the last year or two, most of my gaming has not been done on Windows at all, but on Android. I have an Android tablet, but I mostly use it as an e-reader, because I find it an ergonomic nightmare for gaming, and don’t like worrying about charging the dumb thing. (Also because I prefer to use a stylus with the tablet, and my cat has a compulsive desire to attack any fast-moving stylus he sees, alas.) That being said, though, I quite like a lot of things that the mobile gaming market has brought about: a steady supply of new games that don’t require bleeding-edge hardware, are well-suited to casual gaming of twenty minutes here or an hour there, and which don’t cost an arm and a leg. They also tend to be of modest size (in terms of megabytes), which is a blessing when you live in the ghetto and have snail-slow Internet access. (Bioshock Infinite would take close to a week to download from Steam, on my sloooooow ADSL line. I’m sure BI kicks butt, but I downloaded Kemco’s hilarious (and free) RPG Machine Knight – all 31MB of it – and was playing on Android in less than an hour. And Machine Knight hasn’t given me motion-sickness even once, whereas pretty much every 3D first-person game does, quite quickly, but that’s just me.)

Enter my $70 gaming rig – one of those oft-maligned Chinese “Android TV” sticks.
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Published in: on February 24th, 2014| No Comments »

On Standardized Testing

Big portions of the Internet seem to be going all sturm und drang over this account of the horrific evils of standardized testing. A lot of the drama is from teachers bitching about them, which is… understandable. And there are a lot of rants from parents about various flaws with standardized, one-size-fits-all tests (or at least how they’re used).

And those are probably quite good and important conversations to have, I freely admit. I just kind of think a lot of people are really missing the point.
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Published in: on October 7th, 2013| No Comments »

Daughter of the Coast Guard

I’m not normally one to write book reviews, but I’m also usually not in the strange position of having read a book that nobody on the Internet seems to have ever reviewed before. Even with my eclectic tastes in books, there’s almost always someone out there who’s read pretty much anything I’ve come across.

Not so with Daughter of the Coast Guard, a novel by Betty Baxter that was published by Goldsmith Publishing in 1938. Since it’s a fairly decent book that nobody’s ever heard of, I thought, eh, might as well review it, for posterity, or something.

Warnin’: Here be spoilers.
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Published in: on October 4th, 2013| No Comments »

Mountain Dew Pudding

It’s fun to occasionally browse through random old cookbooks looking for something new to make, and I admit the decision process is often a bit erratic. This sounds good, but I don’t have all the ingredients; I have everything for this, but it doesn’t look particularly good, or the instructions seem questionable, or the recipe looks incomplete, or the name is stupid… you know how it goes.

This week, I made Mountain Dew Pudding, pretty much just because of the name. (What, me, linkbait?)

It is, I dare say, not quite what you’re probably thinking of…
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Published in: on June 19th, 2013| 1 Comment »

“Everybody knows. Nobody cares.”

Over a decade ago, I worked in a large bookstore. It was a mostly fun job, largely because of the people who worked there.

I’ve worked in several bookstores over the years, and one thing I’ve noticed – and one thing that a lot of people often overlook, or try to – is that, for whatever reason or reasons, LGBTQ folks tend to make up a disproportionately large majority of the staff. Possibly not true for Christian bookstores, I admit, and I’m not sure about those few dying second-hand stores, but chain bookstores aren’t exactly institutions of rigid heterosexuality, if you get what I’m saying. And the people who work there are, by and large, anything but judgmental. I mean, I spent something like three years working with a woman who was a beaver. That was just her thing. She insisted she wasn’t a furry – “Furries are people who have an animal form,” she used to say, “I’m an animal with a human form. See the difference?” – and everybody just shrugged and completely failed to care, because she was a nice person and good at her job.

Anyway, now that the stage has been set, as it were, an inspirational little story from my retail adventures in the 1990s.
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Published in: on May 24th, 2013| 1 Comment »