Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Long-Suffering Editor

I was the editor of our newspaper in high school, and I even had a cool newspaper-themed shirt to go with the job, which I'm wearing here, at the gathering that marked the end of our time in the Newspaper Club (and, incidentally, high school). I'm not sure why I'm covering my face, except perhaps to mourn the years I spent on the job, now forever left behind.

I wish I still had that shirt (and could still fit into it). 

Friday, October 21, 2016

All I Need is A Work of Art That Resembles a Tall Ship and a Star to Steer it By

...but alas, on the day this shot was taken on a summer day in 1986, it was cloudy. This is a photo of Expo 86, the World's Fair in Vancouver, British Columbia. There's no World's Fair this year; next year visit Astana, Kazakhstan, for Expo 2017. Oddly enough, Edmonton had considered a bid for that World's Fair. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Factory 1972

This photo was shot by Aunt Jean, Uncle John, or one of my parents. Something about it fascinates me. The image was shot from a vehicle, and captures some kind of industrial facility, perhaps a refinery or processing plant of some sort. It is very...of its time. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Enemy

While playing Fallout 4 the other day and dispatching of several foes with almost disheartening ease, I wondered about games of the future.

Many, if not most, computer games give the player character a number of advantages over the digital foes they must face. Players are inherently smarter than non-player characters (since we're humans with brains and AI isn't here yet), often stronger, faster, nimbler, and better equipped. The bad guys come in greater numbers, and some are more powerful than others. But generally speaking, if you play a computer role playing game long enough, eventually you will run out of foes to conquer.

What if, I wondered, you started a game of Fallout 6 or Elder Scrolls IX or Mass Effect 8 and these games had one or two enemies with the same advantages as a human player?

To use Fallout as an example, what if an enemy started at level one, just as you do, and began his or her own parallel adventure in the game, collecting perks, increasing his or her SPECIAL attributes, collecting loot and building hideouts just as you do? What if that mirror-foe had a personal quest in direct conflict with yours? Or what if, like you, it could choose to be good or evil within the context of the game? What if multiple paths for your enemy were possible? You might might him early in the game, or you might not meet her until the very end. You might discover each other while evenly matched - or not. You might fight to the death on first meeting or declare a truce. Maybe you could even be friends, and take on the wasteland together.

While I suspect gaming AIs aren't up to this task right now, I'll bet this idea or something like it will be implemented sometime in the next decade or so. The possibilities for richer gameplay are tremendous. 

Monday, October 17, 2016


The dying sun
Fat, swollen, red as a gunshot
Sinks into the ocean at dawn
While robot cowboys chase that lost light
On steeds of hot steel
No men remain