Video games featuring a zombie apocalypse seem like a dime a dozen these days but a recently released Arma 2 mod called DayZ has garnered my attention. The mod is an online multiplayer zombie scenario where players are dropped into the game in a large area where an unknown infection has turned the populace into zombies. I know this sounds pretty derivative and generic but there’s more. DayZ features more realism than most other zombie games. First, there is no concept of “friendly fire off”. In most multiplayer zombie games, like Left 4 Dead, weapons wielded by humans cannot hurt other humans. That’s why in other games, people just let loose even if their buddy is right in front of them. That’s not the case in DayZ. Just like in real life, if you accidentally shoot your buddy, that’s gonna hurt them. In other games, the concepts of food and water don’t come into play. No one needs to eat or drink to stay alive. In DayZ, it’s a constant struggle to scavenge for food and water. Sitting somewhere and staying put won’t work in the long run because you’re forced to go look for sustenance, just like in real life. Even death in DayZ is more realistic. Your character is allowed to keep all their weapons, ammo, supplies, maps, and equipment through different sessions as long as that character doesn’t get killed. If you get killed however, that particular character is gone forever. There’s no respawning with all the gear you collected. It can take days and days to collect better weapons and a sufficient stash of food but all that is gone if you somehow manage to get yourself killed. You can play again but you need to start all over again with nothing essentially.
The harsh realism built into DayZ has resulted in some fascinating observations into how people play the game. Apparently, most players die not because of the zombies but at the hands of other players. For a game where the zombies are supposedly the “main” enemy, the most dangerous threat to a player is in fact another human player. Some players would rather steal than scavenge for food and water and the easiest way to do that is to just surprise another player and shoot them. Because of the need for food and water, I’m guessing some players are making some desperate decisions in order to keep their character alive. The average life expectancy of a character is currently 27 minutes which might seem long for a multiplayer video game but considering how big the game space is and how spread apart everyone is, that’s a very short life span.
This type of behaviour reinforces my belief that if a zombie apocalypse were to actually occur, the greatest threat would not come from the zombies themselves but from other humans, as desperation and despair grab hold. A zombie is easy to read and is brutally honest. They just want to attack you and eat you. You can’t read another person so easily. Do they want my supplies? Should I trust them? What if I turn my back on them? Can I trust them? DayZ allows you to play out these scenarios. In the video above, a player narrates his thoughts as he encounters other players, nervously wondering if he should shoot first or have faith in his fellow man. Someone should write a paper based on the behaviour seen here!
Well, I’m gonna try that going to bed “early” thing again tonight. Wish me luck! I always wind up going to random links on the Internet instead of actually get extra sleep.
I’m getting a lot of random visitors to this blog recently. A lot of people are searching for “volleyball girls”. A few people have gotten here by looking for “pooping clear fluid”. If I were a betting man, I’d wager those two groups of people were having very different experiences at the time.
As I’ve written many times before, I have an e-mail address that I don’t use that was supplied to me by my ISP. I wasn’t the first person to have the e-mail address as evidenced by the large amount of e-mails addressed to people that aren’t me. I get mail from people who think I’m both a woman and a man (obviously different intended recipients). Usually the e-mails are fluff consisting of forwarded jokes, announcements of a home sold, or a movie night out. I just let those go by. Last week though, I got a very different type of mail.
A man had sent a very short but concise message to my account. Apparently, a woman back east had gotten into a very serious car accident and unfortunately, her injuries were grave and she passed away. The message went onto say her husband and her children were not in the car at the time. That was pretty much the whole message. The next message from this man simply contained a link. The link went to the web site for a funeral home. It was the obituary for the woman who had passed away. It contained more detail about this woman, including a picture, her age, the names of her husband and her two sons, and her surviving family members. It was really quite sad and I didn’t even know this woman. She was barely forty years of age and she was the mother of two sons.
I wasn’t really sure what to do with these messages. I clearly wasn’t the intended recipient. I didn’t know where to forward these messages on. I thought of responding to them and telling the sender they had the wrong address but I haven’t so far. I felt like I had stepped into some very personal details about a tragic circumstance and I didn’t want to them to know I had intruded into their lives (willingly or not). I know I should probably let them know they have the wrong address but it feels really awkward at this point. Doing the right thing isn’t easy all the time.
My property tax statement arrived in the mail today. Paying the tax is one of the necessary evils of owning property but I’m ok with it. My property assessment arrived a few months earlier. That statement said my apartment only appreciated about $1K compared to last year. Because of that, I had been guessing that the property tax this year wouldn’t be much higher than last year’s. As it turned out, I was right. In fact, it was about $60 less than the previous amount.
The total amount I have to pay is about $1600. I’m eligible for a home owner’s grant every year and that knocks the number down by about $600. In total, I’ll wind up paying just over $1K. My taxes pay for a lot of things in my municipality, including paying for the schools in my area. I was thinking they should let me teach a class or two at the local high school. I’m not sure how paying school taxes entitles me to teach at local schools but I still think it would be fun. I’ve always enjoyed teaching though I’ve never done it at the high school level. Maybe it’s for the best since I hear high school kids can be mean.
So a few days ago, I noticed an itch near my left eyelid. I used a finger to scratch it and didn’t think anything of it. Later on that day, I realized why I was itchy. Between my left eyelid and the bridge of my nose grew a small bump or a bit of swelling. At first I thought it was a pimple but when I get pimples, they don’t itch like that. I think something bit me. Could it been a mosquito? Possibly but usually I get much itchier when skeeters bite me. If it is indeed a bite, what could have bitten me? It kinda creeps me out that something could have bitten me that close to my eye. Yikes!
It was a long weekend last week and the overriding theme for me the entire three days was sleep. With naps factored in, I think I may have slept on average about ten hours a day for all three days. This was perhaps a sign that I’m not getting enough sleep during the week.
In light of this, I’m going to try to do the adult and mature thing by going to sleep “early” tonight. I know many of you, my loyal readers, are responsible folk who manage to get a respectable seven to eight hours a night but that only happens to me when I’m on vacation or unemployed. My body clock just isn’t wired for me to be an early riser. Anyways, I’m gonna slip between my Super Friends sheets now.
As long as Saturday Night Live remains popular, the show will continue to foster and build comedic talent. Like clockwork, talented people on the show rise from being unknowns to true comedic stars. On the weekend, the talented Kristen Wiig exited the long running show. She wasn’t the first to leave the show after becoming a rising star and she won’t be the last. Some SNL performers get the honour of a last farewell sketch. In recent years, Jimmy Fallon, Tiny Fey, and Will Ferrell were lucky enough to get such honours. Almost always, the farewell sketch is more sweet than bitter and happy rather than sad. The skit that honoured Wiig, however, was amazingly bittersweet and a very touching tribute. After such strong female cast members like Fey and Amy Poehler left, Wiig took the opportunity to really make the show her own.
The emotional end of the show caught many people by surprise, if social media were to believed. Wiig will no doubt continue to nurture her burgeoning movie and writing career. I will miss Penelope and the Target Lady.
As many of you noticed early this year, I was a bit concerned about what I was going to wear to my friend Joel’s wedding in March. The invitation called for black tie and after going through the various options, I settled on a custom made black suit from Indochino. I wound up loving my new black suit as it is the best fitting suit I have ever worn.
I have another wedding to go to in a few short weeks at the beginning of June. The wedding is for my cousin Gloria, who will be married at a golf course in Montreal. I want to wear my black suit again but I’ve read differing opinions on the appropriateness of wearing a black suit to a wedding. I’ve consulted many sources on the Internet. Some say a black suit is fine (without question in a black-tie scenario) and is totally acceptable if you wear it with a colourful shirt and/or tie. Others say a black suit should not be worn to a wedding.
I’m leaning towards bringing my black suit to the wedding. The adage that one should not wear black to a wedding is an old one and I think it’s becoming outdated. As long as I don’t show up in a pure black and white outfit, I should be fine. I have my eye on a nice lavender shirt and tie combo, which should look lovely at the reception.
Here’s something new, why don’t we all take a survey?!?!?! Yay! Exciting! The Department of Computer Science at the University of Virginia is doing a survey on code readability. You can write the same piece of code in a dozen different ways, changing the amount of white space you use, where you put braces and brackets, and so forth. It’s really more about aesthetics than the content of the code itself. It helps if you know some programming but don’t worry about skewing the results if you not a programmer, just answer the questions about your background truthfully so they can toss out your data if necessary.
Here is the survey. As a final note, I did not rate any of the code snippets with a four nor a five. I thought all of them could have been written with more readability in mind.