This Blog has Moved   Leave a comment

If you all didn’t know and why should you have, I moved.

I now post everything over on Tumblr: stomphoof.tumblr.com

Go and be amazed!

Posted January 14, 2013 by Clayton in Uncategorized

Random Encounter at Zombietoberfest 2012: A Review   Leave a comment

So on Saturday night I got to see Random Encounter perform at Zombietoberfest 2012, in Winter Park. I wanted to do a sort of brief overview of the performance and some of the more notable bits, as the night is hazy now after the fact, and to top it off the performance was a bit overshadowed by my meeting the band in person and hanging out with them afterwards. Let me say this: They are awesome people. Even Rook, who seems to be very very shy haha. Can’t be easy being a good looking female nerd / rock star though so I get why. But I digress.

So lets talk about the venue first. It was a parking lot. No, seriously. It was a parking lot outside of a store called Park Avenue CD’s, and had a small raised platform for the drum set.

And it was awesome.

I think having them perform in such a way really had the group connect with the audience. No barricade, no drop, nothing. Careless was able to wander around the area the crowd left open freely, and at one point even weaved through the crowd. It was sweet.

However, the entire performance was plagued by technical issues, as seems to be the norm for these sort of bands (RE, The Megas, No More Kings, ect) or these sort of locations / shows. There was also a non technical issue that bothered me personally as a fan.

The biggest technical ones were as follows:

Rook’s transmitter flying off during a moment of spirited bouncing. The whole band was bouncing and they were using wireless transmitters rather then cables. Rooks went flying off and smashed against the pavement, causing her bass to cut out. They got it fixed and kept going.

Careless’s mic going out of transmission ranged during “72 Hours”. He was weaving through the crowd and got too far away, and his mic went to fuzzing and static. He got it back under pretty quick.

The strange volume changes. During the songs, seemingly at random and with no purpose, the volume levels of the various parts would change. One minute you could barely hear the accordion or the singing, next minute it was drowning everything out for example. No one was touching the controls, I know cause I could clearly see the mixing board. No clue.

And now the non technical snafu that peeved me. The band’s set got cut short, through no fault of their own. The band prior to RE going on went over by about 10 minutes. RE was thus forced to wait for them to finish before starting their set, and on top of that, were forced to end early to make up time for the rest of the acts. I understand the need to get back on schedule, I just don’t like how it was handled (yes, I am bitter that the band I came to see got cut short, I CAN BE THAT WAY KTHNX!)

Now on to the good stuff. First, the entire band were in costumes of a sort.

Careless was one of the Splicers from Bioshock. Really solid costume although the poor guy was sweating hard by the end of the night.

Moose was…a green guy? Seriously he was in a green body suit and apparently could not see anything out of it. He did his drumming via muscle memory.

Kit was a Guitar Samurai (least that is what I am calling it). All he had was a samurai helmet. Apparently he used to have a full on suit of armor but couldn’t find it.

Rook was…Tank Girl I think. Or just an undead punk / military chick. She had a military helmet, short pants, stockings, and some face paint / makeup.

Konami was the one that was the hardest for me to pin down. Turns out he was doing a Fallout Enemy, one of the Raiders. At first I thought he was trying to be a demonic welder (he had a welding mask and coveralls) but Careless told me what his intent was. He didn’t have nearly enough leather or spiky bits haha.

Overall the costumes were great and fit the theme of the whole event, which appeared to be a “Pre Halloween” party.

Song wise, I got to hear a few of the ones I really like: Gerudo Valley, 72 Hours, and Big Blue. Heart of Fire as well, which is an excellent song. They also did Swamp Witch which is a new one, but you could barely hear the vocal parts (Again, those tech issues!) During the performances the band did their usual very energetic show with Careless bobbing, spinning, and bouncing around like a jack rabbit, and Konami and Kit shredding hardcore as always.

And then there was what I am calling “Still More Gangnam Style”. They took their song, “Still More Fighting”, and stuck a bit from Oppan Gangnam Style right in the middle. Careless did the dance and at one point got underneath Konami as Konami, well, crotch thrust. Let me tell you something, that shit was HILARIOUS.

Overall the event was awesome. And I got a shirt!

The Shirt

Yea, its sweet.

Anger   1 comment

I need to get these thoughts out of my head before I go completely mad. I am angry. Far angrier then I should be.

But the insane part? The one I am angry with is myself. Because I am a giant failure. Let me explain.

Firstly, I am a failure financially. 8 years ago, when I was 22, I made about $10 an hour working. That slowly went up as I changed jobs, got small promotions and whatnot. About a year ago I was up to $14.50 an hour. Not a bad wage for a guy who made his living doing over the phone customer service. But then that company decided to move operations to California, and left me jobless.

The only jobs that were hiring at that time that I had the skills to do paid around $8 an hour. Because of the economy and my lack of any real skill beyond typing 100 words a minute and surviving being screamed at for 10 years. So I end up where I am now…making $10 an hour again. That’s right. 8 years of work and I am back where I fucking started. And I have no one to blame but myself. I have had chances, numerous ones, to get an education. Hell my last job (3 years there before they moved) had Tuition Reimbursement and would work around a school schedule. Did I go? NOPE. I was too lazy, or maybe too scared. And now? I couldn’t afford it without going EVEN DEEPER into debt if I tried.

Tried to do online school but found that’s not something I can do, I need someone to teach me in person. Wasted about $400 on that.

But that is just one example really.

The only good thing I have ever done is marry my wonderful wife. But even then I feel like I am a failure, because I feel like I can’t give her the things she wants or deserves. A house? NOPE, my credit is shot to hell and we couldn’t afford or even save for a down payment.

A Kid? NOPE. Cant afford it, among other physical reasons I wont get into here on my part. Unless we adopt, but still, no room cant afford one!

A Pet? NOPE! Again, can’t afford it. Had to give up my guinea pigs because of that and my inability to take care of them properly.

Hell I have to ride the bus every day because we can only afford one car!

Oh, another thing: I am a failure socially. It occurred to me today that I am really not the kind of person who makes friends. Acquaintances yes, friends no. I connect with no one around me beyond my wife and 2 other people that I know. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t party. I don’t LIKE to do those things. Everyone I know though? Yea, they do. I don’t like the same music. I don’t like the same TV. Hell I don’t even watch fucking TV. I think its pointless.

I am surrounded by people at work but not a single one is someone I would really want to spend time with outside of it. I have tried in fact, tried playing DND with a guy and his friends. Lasted one session. Couldn’t stand to be around them, didn’t like how they played. Tried with another guy I know who is as close to a friend as I have around here, but I have nothing I can talk to him about.

I have 2 people beyond my wife who I could call friends. One I have never met in person and is so busy that I hate trying to talk to him, for fear that I am distracting him. The other I have known for years but have drifted apart from. Our interests have changed and again I find there is nothing I can really talk to him about.

My only solace (and this is downright sad when I think about it) are video games. As they have been my entire life. In a game, I am a success. In a game, I am someone who can get things done and actually not fail! And if I fail I can try again, no harm no foul.

Why doesn’t life have reload and save points?!

But again, I am not depressed no. I passed that a few weeks ago. No, now I am ANGRY. And when I try to think of some way to fix it, I cant. AND THAT ENRAGES ME FURTHER! And the only time that I get this way is when I trapped at work. I use the word trapped because frankly that’s how I feel.

I sit here, doing nothing but stew in my own rage, getting more and more furious with myself. My job does not require me to think, thus my mind is allowed to wander…and thus I end up where I am right now.

When I get home, when I am with my wife, and I have something to read or do or play, I calm down. The weekends are nice and calm because I don’t have to think about these things.

But I should. I shouldn’t let it sit inside eating me up. I can tell that the next few weeks, at least I tell I get over this, are going to be such fun >.>

Fucking brain.

And I am not asking for help. No one really can help me.

I just needed to vent.

Posted September 7, 2012 by Clayton in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

The Path of Vengence Part 1   Leave a comment

((This is a new work I am writing. I am going to serialize it here. Hopefully you all enjoy it))

I want to set the record straight here.
I am not a villain
I may do terrible things. Bloody things. Violent things.
But only to those who do the same to others.
To innocents.
Some know me as Vengeance. I am a Waver, and this is my story.

I decided to put my origin, my history to this point, on paper so people could understand me better. And through me, I hope to understand Wavers better as well.

I was one of the first “Wavers”, and as such, I am one of the strongest. There are only three others who rival me in raw power: Ultram, Scarlet Rain, and Doctor Pulsar. They are the more famous of us, the de facto faces of the Waver community whether for good or ill. But I will touch on them more in depth later.

For now, lets begin with how this all started.

My name was Clive Perkins once. I was a no-name network administrator for a small IT company. I had a loving wife and a quiet life and was for the most part content with my existence. I even planned on buying a house and starting a family, once. Those plans however changed because of two specific events.

One was the “Wave”.

For those who don’t remember what the wave was, let me give you a refresher. The Wave was a strange astrological phenomena, a wave of pure energy travelling through space to who knows where. It confounded scientists as the energy signature was impossible to read. Something about constant fluctuations or something along those lines. The only thing that was certain is that it was going to collide with the Earth.

I remember the news two days before the Wave would reach the Earth. Religious groups were claiming it was the End Times, that the Rapture was upon us, and all manner of similar and sundry things. If only they had known what it really meant.

Scientists had estimated that the Wave would take three full days to pass the Earth and during that time we would be engulfed in the energy field. The world held its collective breath during those days.

And the results?

Nothing.

Well nothing visible. Its been about five years now since the Wave and we all know what its effects were as of now. But then? No one had a clue. It seemed like the Wave had no effect. And so life went on as it always did for me.

At least until my wife was murdered right before my eyes. This would be the second event that changed everything for me, and started me down the path of vengeance.

Posted August 25, 2012 by Clayton in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

My Online Education Experiment   Leave a comment

I recently read an article (here – http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Online-Education-Wont/133531/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en) that indicated that online education will never overtake a traditional college education in terms of worth to employers and in fact may harm a person’s chances of getting a job.
He cites a few examples of why a traditional is better (the one that bothers me the most being the implication that you only deserve a good paying job if you spent money getting to that job in the first place) but overall it seems almost like a person grasping at something they do not fully understand.
I myself have been heavily interested in an Online Education.  I tried it, once, about 2 years ago but due to the stress of certain changes in my job, coupled with my ADHD, I found myself unable to focus.  It did not help that the courses were completely uninteresting and I found the job prospects, while plentiful, to be utterly boring to me.  It was Industrial Engineering for those curious, look it up.
Recently however, within the last month in fact, I came upon 2 very important and distinct websites/communities.  Those are Udacity and Khan Academy.  Their focus?  To bring learning and higher education to the masses, at no cost.  This very focus intrigued me.  I would not be barred from a form of learning based on my income?  I could learn at my own pace, on my own time, when I needed to and could?  No penalties?  No restrictions?
And no degree.
That is the one negative.  And it’s a big one…or is it?
In the case of Khan Academy it could be as they offer nothing but learning and knowledge.  Which is fine in and of itself.  But Udacity offers one more thing: Job opportunities.  That’s right, if you do well enough in the classes and have a resume uploaded they are willing to pass that resume on to employers.  Its like a college and a headhunting agency rolled into one.
So I am going to go for it.  I had signed up on Udacity about a month ago for their CS101 class “Building a Search Engine” but have yet to start.  So I am going to.  I am going to do all the entry level stuff I can then move on to the next set.  I am going to aim to complete as many of the courses as I can with the best grade possible.
And we are going to see what happens.

Posted August 15, 2012 by Clayton in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Experience-Taking: The Effects of a Fictional World   Leave a comment

Today I read an article that really got me thinking. Here is the article in question first of all: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/exptaking.htm

Now what this goes over is the concept of “Experience-Taking” (an odd sounding term). For those who want the quick version of this concept, here it is.

Experience-Taking is when you become so engrossed in a fictional character (generally reading) that you begin to subconsciously change your mannerisms, thoughts, and feelings to match that of the character, as well as becoming sympathetic towards the issue that the character may be facing.

In a nutshell, this means you lose yourself in the character so much that it effects your real life persona. While the article focuses solely on the effects of this in regards to reading, I think it goes beyond that.

There is, for an example, a phenomena / religion? called Other Kin. In this, people actually believe themselves to be the reincarnated aspects of fictional characters or to be partially nonhuman in some fashion. I used to live with one who believed herself to have several of these “personalities” in her head including a character from the anime Saiyuki. She went so far as to believe that I myself had a personality from that universe in my head.

And no I am not making that up. Here is the wiki article explaining that in greater detail: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otherkin

I think that would be an extreme example of this Experience-Taking, as they believe so heavily in the characters in question that they can at will become those characters in their minds. I have watched people who believe this break down into tears remembering events that occurred to the character as if it happened to themselves.

Lets examine another possible aspect of this Experience-Taking, in regards to online gaming. Those of us who have played MMORPGs know that some people take the game way too seriously. People who play on the Roleplaying servers of these games can get to the point where it becomes hard to distinguish between the real person and the character, going so far as to get married in character in the game. There have been plenty of stories of people losing themselves in these games and even dying from playing marathon sessions. Do they identify with the character that they themselves created so much that it becomes their reality and the rest does not?

Do they even know that its happening?

Even TV to an extent has this effect. The concept of commercials almost directly pulls from this. By making us connect with the people in the advertisements we begin to want the things they want, to feel that we NEED those things. Its one of the reasons I no longer watch TV. I hate being manipulated like that.

I know that I personally have been shaped by what I have read growing up. I read a lot of epic and heroic fantasy, and I frequently identified with the characters. I wonder if my personality was effected in such a way as to make me who I am.

I am fairly certain I know why this “Experience-Taking” occurs. Its basic human empathy. We want to feel connected to each other, even if we claim we don’t. Even if the character is fictional, if we lose ourselves in them we can learn and grow and change. We may not even notice it happening, and would not be able to pinpoint exactly when the changes happened. But if its for the better I am all for it.

All I know is that this concept should be explored further, and see where it leads us. It has the potential for abuse if used in the wrong ways as well.

Just look at the internet. It happens every single day.

Social Networking: What does it mean to you?   2 comments

Before I begin my “topic of the day” I want to tell a funny story. It ties into this, so bear with me.

So anyone who has read any of my recent posts would have seen the picture of me and the NESkimos from Nerdapalooza. I saved a copy of that image and put it in my “backgrounds” folder on my PC, as I have my PC set to change my desktop every 3 minutes. Its for us ADHD people haha.

On Saturday night, my wife looks over and sees that image, sees Bruce, and instantly goes “I know him!”. I of course look at her like she is nuts. How could she know Bruce? As far as I knew, he lived in St Augustine (although Wily had told me that he and one other band member lived in Orlando and the other 2 were in St Augustine). She prodded me to message him, asking if he had worked at the job she has now, a certain call center. Well, the only way to message him that I knew of was to try to find him on Facebook.

So I found him. It was surprisingly easy despite not knowing his last name (scarily easy in fact…)
From there, I had the quandary of messaging him. To do this I needed a Facebook account. I had deleted my old one months ago, and really had no desire to sign back up. But to appease my wife I did.

I messaged him and then we began looking through his friends list and lo and behold we saw someone we both knew. My old QA Manager (and my wifes current one) by the name of Eric. Holy shit, my wife HAD known Bruce!

Sure enough, he confirmed it later. Shows how small the world is really. And to top it off? He remembered her!

So how does this tie into my topic? Well, after I joined, I suddenly had the urge to start testing out how people would react to a facebook friends request from someone they either did not know, or had met maybe once. The best test subjects?

Why the members of the bands I had met at Nerdapalooza of course! So I started sending friend requests out to people like Dylan, Wily, Bruce, and a few others. And lo and behold each and every one of them accepted my request. This began a series of thoughts in my head to what a friend request really meant, as well as what a Facebook Friend means to some people. Including myself.

For me, I guess a facebook friend is either A) Someone I want to keep track of, or B) an actual person I consider a friend.

However, there is a sort of social pressure to accepting facebook friends as well. Or even friend people at the behest of others. A perfect example is this: There are 2 people who were suggested to me by others to add to my friends list. I sent a request to both, and both accepted. At the same time, however, I HAVE NO EARTHLY CLUE WHO THOSE PEOPLE ARE?! I have never met them (I think) and have only briefly heard their names like twice, maybe.

Why did I friend them?

I honestly have no idea. Was it because people I had friended already suggest them, and I did not wish to insult THOSE people? Perhaps. Or maybe it was a thought that I should possibly get to know THOSE people as they were considered worthy by the others? Who knows.

And why did all those people accept my request? In most cases I had met the people a grand total of once (and in a specific case I have never met the person at all and yet have spoken to them on numerous occasions now). Do they consider me as a friend? Or am I just someone they want to keep tabs on? Perhaps they did not want to seem “douchy” and ignore the request, and just did it out of pity? Again, if it was someone I truly knew I could come to a conclusion (obviously if I know them in person they would have accepted me BECAUSE we are already friends).

For example: Bruce Wily and Dylan. All members of the NESkimos. All three accepted my friend request. I don’t consider them friends YET, as I have met each of them once or twice, have spoken to them a grand total of maybe 45 minutes to each, and barely know anything about them beyond their music. And I would assume they feel the same. But why friend me?

In Bruce’s case I found that he had posted that picture (the one with me, dan and them) to his wall, and one of my old supervisors had actually recognized me. When she asked him if “That was Clay” he couldn’t say yes or no, only that I was cool. He had forgotten my name, which is understandable as he had spoken to me twice that whole weekend, and he was drinking.

Its like there are these new social norms in regards to these networking sites. A coworker found my new facebook account for example, and I accepted his request. I happen to like the guy but even if I had not, I think I would have to accept it for fear of trying to explain WHY I ignored it, causing a huge issue in real life!

Layers within Layers!

It goes even further now. Some jobs require you to give them your Facebook password, some require you to friend them or they refuse to hire you. Its fascinating. And now its considered weird to NOT have a Facebook. My wife doesn’t have one and people are baffled as to why. She simply prefers to stay private with her dealings and does not see a point. I agree with her choice and am fine with it. Its like when I tell people I don’t watch TV anymore and have not for years. It amazes them.

Now, another thing I have questions about is what to DO with a Facebook! Beyond using it to keep track of others, what good is it? To a guy like me, who doesn’t take pictures of himself (I am WAYYYY too ugly for that!) and doesn’t have an interesting life, what good is it? I mean, for a business or a band or a celebrity I can see a use: it helps to keep track of fans and promote your company. Its why I made one in the first place honestly, to keep track of the bands I like (since having your own website that you keep up to date is soooo 2000)

Next, lets talk Twitter. Again I have to question its use. I have one, but its primarily for promoting my work. I have no idea why people follow me as they NEVER SAY A WORD TO ME and just silently follow. Its kinda creepy 0_o

And now, I have just been informed of a new “mobile social networking company” called Solavei which apparently pays you when you get people to join it! DO WE REALLY NEED ANOTHER ONE?! And when I say just heard about it, I mean literally as I was writing this at 12:18pm I got an email from a coworker wanting my personal email so she could send me a link ALL about it.

In the end I am curious as to what these social networking sites mean to YOU. Why do you friend people on Facebook? Why do you accept friend requests from people you may not know or barely know? Why did you even create one to begin with?

And finally a challenge. Since I am 99.9% certain that not a single person on my friends list from said Facebook will read this, I will propose this challenge! If you do read this before August 18th AND COMMENT ON THE POST HERE and on my Facebook post, I will buy you a drink (either a beer or a soda of some sort) the next time I see you. I am pretty sure no one will be reading this from there, so I am not worrying haha.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.