canadonian and I got back from our trip through America a week and a half ago, and I've only recently gotten my hands on the pictures to post to a blog. Not that it would have matter, 'cause I'm so incredibly lazy.Edit as I'm posting this as "part 1"
: I was also worried that I would find a way to make this blog super long, and as it turns out, I did, since this is now split into multiple parts. T_T
As some of you know, hel
and his mom are in a pretty bad situation, and could use any help you can provide. For example, they need to buy food.
You can send money via paypal to: email@example.com.
If you can't figure out how to send money via paypal, I'll slap you, and then kindly explain how to do it. Hint: Go to paypal.com (login if you have an account, if not, don't worry), and click the "send money" button.
Or, if you live in the US, you can donate via piryx, which is a bit more official as far as donations go: http://giving.piryx.com/streams/Help-Fight-Alabama-Injustice/mpTjCuGs
On a less dire note, Polystyrene Man's girlfriend has put many years into an album, and finally released it (did you notice how I used "note"? I'm so punny). You can see the blog here
, and hear the album at hoonah.bandcamp.com
The album is called "Sneak".
I know a lot of you make music (or if you're Juurian, TONS of music, somehow), but this is something recorded with real instruments, with vocals and lyrics, so it kind of stands out to me. It's folk, which I generally dislike, but I've listened to it all the way through and I like it. I even paid a few bucks so I can put it on my mp3 player. I only have 64GBs on my mp3 player to fit half a TB of music on, so it's a special album. =3
Road Trip (includes pictures)
In the spirit of the North-East US, I shall charge you a toll to continue! You must give hel a few bucks, and play Sneak
in the background as you read this.
Also, I've resized the images, and used the hide tag to hide them. Sorry for the bad quality. The captions for the images are below the image.
Anyway, as most of you know, canadonian
and I took a trip across the north eastern US (here is the original blog
). Here is a map of our trip, so you can glance at it as I tell about our the trip and who we met!Google MapJune 1st (ChIkEn)
The cool thing is that we left on the 1st of the month. So I don't have to do "Day 1", I can just do "June 1st", and you'll know it was day 1.
Our story starts on May 31st (just to screw up the day order). I woke up that Thursday morning, with nothing packed for the trip, and drove to work. I left work, rushed home, packed, and then had my brother drive me out to Canadonian's house (his name is Matt, so I'll just refer to him as that for the rest of the blog). He came out and greeted me with a fart, and announced that this would continue for the entire trip. I told him that we'd play a game, where the person who farts the most between meals, has to buy the next meal.
I don't know if that worked, but the entire trip was fairly fart free.
We knew we had to wake up bright and early to pick up our rental car, so naturally we went out and grabbed a pint with our friend and his European girlfriend, and went to bed around 12. Who knows when we fell asleep. We really had not planned out the trip too well, other than having a GPS, having a few phone numbers, and having an idea of where we're going.
At 6:00 we woke up - I showered, and Matt packed. Then we drove down to the rental car place (he has a 1998 Nissan Something, and I have a 2000 Civic SI, and we sure as hell weren't putting 5,000 kms on them), and picked up the car. It ended up costing more than we were quoted to have me as a driver on the car, so we kept me off, and Matt used his own insurance, and we got a Nissan Sentra for 10 days for $500. If anyone remembers the trip I did back in March (which I didn't blog about afterwards, but I'll reference later on), I rented the same car. It's such a bad car, but if you've ever watched Top Gear, you know that road trips in any car gives you an attachment to it of some sort. When given the option between it and the Corolla, I told him to get the Nissan.
We drove the rental off the lot, and blew right past the parking lot that Matt had parked his car at, so I asked if he was just going to leave his car there for the whole week. We must have been really tired, because we found it really funny.
I'll now direct your attention to the map. We started off at point A (which is covered by point L, since it was also the end point) in Toronto, and headed down towards point C, Cincinnati to meet chiken
- who I'll refer to as Ryan. On the way, we met the crossroads that would have led us to Taizen Chisou
If anyone's wondering, he lives in Wyoming. Also, that wasn't actually taken in the US. As you can see, if you hang a left, you can go to London, so this was actually taken in the UK.
We got across the border, after an American border patrol guy asked us a bunch of questions about why we would be going down to the US, and going to so many places, and, as he got more of the story, how we met people on the internet, and why we were going.
Once we got across the border, we were going to meet Alert Games
outside Detroit, but he was working, and we didn't make it across the border in time to meet him on his lunch break. The other thing we wanted to do, was find a Walmart or something, so that we could buy a US cellphone (burn phone). We drove down past 8 Mile, and didn't see a Walmart. We drove through a few ghettos, and didn't see a Walmart. In fact, we drove through all the way to Ohio without seeing a Walmart, leading me to conclude that Michigan does not have a single Walmart in it.
It does have a lot of devastation though. Like, for a first world country, it's really weird to see just how ghetto it is. We drove past a bunch of abandoned, burned out, and collapsed houses. One of them even had the words "Nothing Left, All Stolen" spray painted on it in massive letters. I'd assume they're talking about copper.
On the way down to the US, we had been texting with Ryan, and he said he'd ask his parents if we can stay at their place overnight, that night. If anyone asked, I had gone to Bowling Green State University, and Matt was my friend. Ryan and I had met at school. This made things interesting, but whatever. We even drove past BGSU on the interstate, so we pulled off to explore "my school", and try find a Walmart. We wasted a lot of time trying to find a way to turn around, and didn't find a Walmart. I'm pretty sure we drove past wherever Ryan lives when he's on campus (we weren't sure which one, so we left "a smelly present" on the doorstep of each apartment…Nah, not really).
In Ohio, we also drove past a Walmart, got off at the first exit on the interstate, and spent AN HOUR trying to get to it, and hunt down a phone. It was so frustrating trying to get around. We finally got a phone though! We wanted one that allowed tethering, but only smart phones allowed that, so we were stuck with a piece of crap. It would have been cheaper (AND BETTER) to just get a roaming package for the US on our Canadian plan. Ah well, it's part of the adventure.
We came across this bouncy castle in a ghetto area in the middle of Ohio, trying to get to the Walmart to buy a phone.
This is the phone!
We got to Ryan's house pretty late in the evening. As we were driving up to his place, it got VERY suburban, and I joked that we should make fun of him if he lives in a nice house. We turned onto his street, and it was like a movie. It was one of those communities where everyone's lawn has to match, with a matching mailbox, etc. It was all so matching; I loved it.
The low quality picture does not do the view of his street justice.
Anyway, we picked him up, and he took us out to Skyline something-or-other, for Chilli dogs. Apparently they put cheese, chocolate, and mustard, on these things too. I don't remember the details (like what they were called) too well, 'cause I was tired, but it was cool. I didn't actually try it. Because I don't like mustard on my food.
We got back in the car, and Ryan bent down in the back seat, and said "oh, is this the $500 that you lost?" (I had an envelope of $500 USD that I had converted, and proceeded to lose). What an idiot, eh? He could have just taken my money, and then nuked the 64D server so that I couldn't ban him for stealing it, thus allowing him to get away with it with no consequences.
After eating at Skyline, Ryan took us to "the best ice cream place ever", after getting us lost a few times. It was called "Graeter's Ice Cream", and he explained that it was, like, European spelling of "greater", and I pointed out that since it has an apostrophe, it's probably named after some guy named "Graeter", but he disagrees. Regardless, it did end up being REALLY good ice cream, and we sat outside eating it, and talking about his job. As you might expect of him, the conversation turned to horribly offensive racist jokes.
His parents had agreed to let us stay there, and he had, in fact, gone out that afternoon to get a patch for their blow up mattress, and spent the afternoon fixing and inflating it, so we drove back to his place. His parents talked with us in the living room for a bit, where I casually answered a few questions about my studies at BGSU, before we went up to Ryan's bedroom. We sat around up there for a bit, talking some more, and he showed us the app he had just finished for iOS (which has recently been accepted for iTunes - check it out: AmpacheX
). We was on IRC, too, so I said something like "I'm ChIkEn and I'm gay", or something immature like that, under his name.
An hour or two after midnight, we went back down to his living room (his parents had long since gone to bed), and went to bed. Ryan was nice enough to sleep in the living room with us, which is always a good thing. It's always awkward when you're sleeping in a stranger's living room, and his parents are walking around the house while you're still sleeping. We watched a few hours of Bait Car (which is just KKK propaganda), before finally falling asleep.June 2nd (Chiken, Snakeman, Acid)
We awoke shortly before noon, and ate a nice breakfast that his parents had laid out (they had gone to watch Ryan's nephew's soccer game, so they weren't home when we woke up), and talked some more. I went and showered, and we sat with his parents again for a little bit, where Matt had to change the subject when started asking more probing questions about BGSU. They laughed about our coins, and Canada and the Queen of England (for those that don't know, Canada is still a Commonwealth country), and so on.
We finally said our good byes, and went outside. Ryan gave me a broken-hand high-five (for those that don't remember, he shattered his wrist trying to fix the 64D server), and then went and put on his rollerblades as we packed up our stuff.
Matt and I are not very imaginative, so we were trying to figure out what to do with, or give, or get, from each member we meet. We gave up trying to think of something by the time we left on June 1st, and decided to just get a picture with each member.
Ryan and I
All three of us. And yes, Ryan is tall, even without the roller blades.
And with that, we were off to meet snakeman
! Or, from here on, Mark, located at point D on your map.
The trip was uneventful. We finally whipped out the laptop (we were too excited/tired the first day). I tried to plug it into the aux of the car to play music, but the car's system didn't like it. I assume it was too much juice or something from the sound card. Matt also stopped off at an outlet store to buy some cheap clothes, while I waited in the car.
The laptop on my lap
Just some signs
Finally, we got to Ohio State University, to meet Mark outside his dorm. After some confusion about where to park, and the damn phone making me type "we're in a Nissan Sentry!" (misspelling of "Sentra", and an exclamation mark at the end of a sentence that was not meant to be exciting), we met up with him. I had a rough idea of what he looked like, but it was very vague…But we drove past a kid with glasses who looked at the car, so I rolled down my window and said "hey mark". He greeted us with the laid-way-the-fuck-back way, and it was obviously him.
He showed us where we could park, and offered to help us pay for our parking…But then conveniently realized he had left all his money back in his dorm room. We put an hour on the parking, and went up to his dorm room, which was full of people (it was tiny, and there were like two others in there, so yeah, it was packed), so we decided to go out to eat.
Matt was quite happy they sold beer.
Once we were done, we looked around a little bit, and went back to his dorm for a couple minutes.
We went into a gas station convenience store (Dairy Farmers something…We don't have the chain in Canada, so I don't remember what it is, but it's that big one), that had pop with names like "Moo Shine", and "Dairy Pepper"
The back of Mark, in his dorm.
The halls of his
Hanging out at his elevators.
Me being a tool in front of the summer jobs postings.
Since our hour was up, we went down to our car, and took our picture.
I'm sad because I was cut off from the photo.
And then it was off to visit Acid in Warren! This is at point E on the trip. Not a whole lot happened during the drive.
This was the view for tens of hours, throughout the entire trip.
Me driving and stuff. Matt brought some extra sunglasses, and I don't wear sunglasses often, and this trip really made me appreciate how much they help.
We came across a double rainbow. It's kind of hard to see in the picture, but the second one is to the left of the more prominent one.
We got to Acid's house (Shaquille Stoutamire, which is a pretty awesome name) and met him, his wife, Abbey, and his kitten, Britches.
After he invited us in, we sat down on his floor, and talked for about 15 minutes with him and Abbey. It wasn't long before he turned to me, and said I was the most interesting person he knows, and that if I wrote a memoire, he would buy it. This surprised me quite a bit, because I consider myself quite boring, but I guess I have the ability to write stuff in an interesting way. I should go into marketing. Matt hasn't seen any stories I've told on 64D, so I'll bet he was kind of confused, though he did acknowledge my writing.
Since Shaq is underage, and it was getting late, we got up went and bought him booze. That was our first shared experience with people trying to figure out where our birthdates are on our Ontario drivers licenses (there was a cop standing behind the counter as well). The stereotypical black people made it extra interesting (we have some stereotypical black people in Toronto, but America's stereotypical black people are waaay more over the top, and they're eeeverywhere. Except where it's all white people, of course. It's not a racist comment, it's a social observation. =P). We bought a 750mL of Captain Morgans, and the standard size of jagger, which I don't actually know, 'cause I don't like it. We planned to drink half of it between the four of us, and leave the rest for Shaq.
We got back to Shaq's place around 9 (I think), setup our snacks and drinks at his kitchen table, and started drinking. Abbey didn't drink much (just tried a few sips), but the three of us set to it. Over the next several hours, we talked and laughed and had a great time. If you guys have ever hard Acid on teamspeak, he talks exactly the same way. And he and his wife are nice as fuck - you'll be hard pressed to find a better guy than Acid.
At the start of the drinking night, Matt asked how Shaq and Abbey started dated, which launched a story that lasted the night. Shaq began to try tell the story, but between Matt interrupting, and Shaq going waaay off topic (at one point, after a couple hours of tangents, he said "what was I saying? Oh yeah, so anyway, I had a PSP, and I modded it. In order to mod it, and, see, the way you mod it is you have to take out the battery - *looks at Abbey* - Don't worry, this actually is important to the story"), we finally got the story. I won't tell the story though, this blog is getting long enough.
He had a great line though. As he started rambling off on an explanatory explanation, he said "oh god, I'm pulling an fsx", and Matt confirmed "yeah, he's infamous for his brackets in the emails he writes"
We also talked about our births. Shaq and Abbey told us the story of Shaq's birth, and how he was able to sit in the nursery, and was deemed "King of the Babies".
Towards the point that it was getting really hard for Matt and I to fight the alcohol (the three of us had finished the Morgan, and halved the Jager), Acid brought up how much he loved Metal Gear Solid, and we sat down and watched him play the first playstation one. Matt passed out almost immediately between us on the couch, but Shaq took a little while to notice. After talking about the game some more, and showing me his favourite artist's comic for MGS, I rolled out my sleeping bag, he went to bed with his wife, and I passed out hard. My last thought was that Acid must be the happiest drunk I've ever seen.June 3rd (Acid)
Poor Shaq had to work early in the morning, so I was awakened by him and his wife leaving (she drove him to work), and fell asleep again. I was awakened once more when his wife came home and went back to bed.
Finally I woke up, and played with Britches a bit, cleaned up a little, played with Britches and a laser, and then sat down and shot some zombies on COD:WAW. Matt woke up, and Abbey came out a little later. Matt tinkered around on his laptop a bit, I kept playing xbox, and Abbey watched me play.
It didn't take long to decide that it would feel much nicer to just spend another night here, and head out to the Commonwealth of Pencil the following morning. Matt was hungry, so he went out and got some groceries for a stirfry, and Abbey and I started up Katamari Forever, taking turns with each level. Matt came back, and commented on how damn expensive produce is in America. And it really is.
As Matt started cooking, Abbey left to pick up Shaq. She sent us a text saying that Shaq had to work late, and that they'd be back as soon as possible. Matt and I ate some of the stir fry, and saved the rest for them, for when they got back an hour later.
They ate, Shaq showered, and then we tried to decide what to do. It was early evening, and we didn't really feel like going out. Wanna guess what we did? Of course you don't want to guess, because you wouldn't guess the obvious. We decided to make a game that we could complete in the night!
Matt came up with a concept (inspired by Katamari) that is a fairly easy engine to make, does not require level design, and is not a central mechanic to any popular game. It was decided that the two artists would make the graphics, and I would do the engine.
However, I haven't used GM in years, and couldn't remember how to do anything, so Shaq ended up making the engine. =P
For the graphics, they decided to hand draw the graphics, and then Matt would take a picture with his camera, and then they would colour it in photoshop. They did this, and it looks really good. Sadly the graphics are on Matt's laptop, so I can't show you what they look like. It's simple stuff though.
We took a break for dinner, and went to Pizza Hut to get a pizza. Interestingly, there was a sticker on the window saying that there were no guns allowed inside the premises. It was a weird concept to me. I mean, it's not absurd to think that Americans walk everywhere with a gun, but I was IN America, walking into a place that has to explicitly state that you can't have a gun. And how do you enforce that? "No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service" is simple, but "No Guns"? "Excuse me sir, you'll have to take that gun outside. Oh, you don't want to take it outside, well I'm sorry sir, but you'll have to. Look, if you're going to point it at me, I guess you can keep it, but I'm not going to give you service. Oh alright, if you're going to cock the gun, I guess I can make you a pizza, what would you like?"
After our pizza break, we got back to coding. We were all drawing a blank on the mathematics of how to scale an object doing a certain thing, so we ended up going to bed with the graphics done, and 90% of the engine complete.
We planned to finish the game on the rest of the trip, but I haven't gotten around to it. I did figure out how to do what we wanted it to do, I just haven't coded it.
June 4th (Acid)
We don't have any pictures of the first night, but here's from the second day:
Acid, hard at work! There's actually three laptops on the tiny table. I put my crappy laptop away almost right away, though. We don't have pictures of Matt or Acid drawing, unfortunately.
Double the intensity! If you look closely, you can see Abbey laying down on the couch.
Real game programmers use GM.
OMG, TRIPLE THE INTENSITY!
I woke up the next morning to Abbey leaving in the morning, because she worked super early that morning. Of course, I fell back asleep.
An hour or two later, Shaq woke us up, to get ready to go. I went and showered, and then we went outside drive him to work, and then move on The Commonwealth of Penisville. Abbey and Shaq both work at the same place, but since they were working different shifts that day, and we didn't want to wake up early, we offered to drive him to work.
We almost forgot to take our picture with him, but as we were getting in the car, we remembered. We asked if he would prefer to have our picture taken in front of a dumpster, or a grassy field. Because this image is the world's only glimpse into Warren, Ohio, you can see from the images below that Warren is a luscious green city, and not a dumpster.
The camera focus is cool in these shots.
I thought their silliness was stupid, and I looked down upon them in disgust.
So I settled for a thumbs up photograph.
Finally, they decided to compromise and join me. Fun fact: if you overlay the two photos, I don't even move between the two shots.
We dropped Acid off at work, and then decided to go in and eat there as well. We split an expensive dish of fruit, a piece of toast, and something else. Abbey was working, so we said "hi" when she went by, and hugged her good bye as we left.
Oh, that was actually the second hug she gave. The night before, when she went to bed before us, she gave us side hugs good bye, not thinking she'd see us in the morning, and with my awkwardness/dislike of hugs, I didn't know what to do, and froze up, and didn't hug her back. I felt bad about that, so it was cool to be able to actually hug her good bye, so she doesn't think I hate her or something. =D
And with that, we set off for The Commonwealth of Pennstacking, to meet a couple of my friends that I had met on a different site. The meeting was already pretty iffy - I hadn't really confirmed I'd meet them or not, just that we wanted to meet up when I come by.
So we drove, and drove, and drove. Through forest, and hills, and cliffs, and all that stuff. We drove through the middle of PA, which isn't as hilly as northern PA, but it was still pretty hilly with lots of corners, and was kind of intense when the rain came down so hard it was blinding. Oh, and to set the scene of our driving, it was always raining, or at least cloudy, the whole trip.
We caught a pretty cool shot of our odometer on our way from point E to point F. In fact, it was such a cool thing to catch, that I'm going to end this blog with that image. I'll continue part 2 in a few days. Then, I'll have to go back and start writing part 3 of my "life update" blogs, before I forget all that stuff.