Thanks Friends

By Shamus Posted Tuesday Jan 29, 2013

Filed under: Personal 75 comments


This has been a rough couple of months. I won’t get into it. There’s an interesting story to tell, but I don’t feel right broadcasting the details until its all over. Just to allay your worst fears: Nobody is dying, or has cancer, or anything like that. We’re fine emotionally and physically. We’re just dealing with the consequences of a couple of bad decisions years ago, mixed with a temporary run of bad luck.

But I feel a need to express gratitude for the help we’ve gotten. Several friends have offered help unprovoked, and their generosity has saved me from all kinds of hassle and hardship. Some gave cash. Some gave time. Some donated hardware. Some offered advice.

I don’t want to detail all the help I’ve been given, but I do want to mention this one: I now have a new computer. It’s the nicest computer I’ve ever owned. In the past I’ve always shopped at the mid-range, and I’ve always held off upgrades as long as humanly possible because I hate interrupting my workflow. So having a high-end machine is a huge change for me, and I still find myself giggling when when I realize just how fast this thing is.

The reason I bring this up is that the friends I’m talking about are not people I’ve met in person. Everyone who’s pitched in over the last few months has been someone I met through this site. That was a humbling moment, when I realized that the people who are most invested in my well-being and most eager to help out are people I’ve never even met in the conventional sense.

So, thanks friends. You know who you are.


From The Archives:

75 thoughts on “Thanks Friends

  1. Keldoclock says:

    You’ve given us thousands of hours of entertainment and asked nothing in return. It’s the least we can do.


    1. SKD says:


      I may not have donated directly, but I am proud to say I purchased all of your books once they became available on Amazon. And they were good so I got as much out of the exchange as you did.

      Oh yeah, and your site is also on my AdBlock exception list so I see all the ads, although none have enticed me so far.

      1. Kaeltik says:

        This is the only site that has earned my no-block to date, though perhaps a couple of others should get it too.

      2. Katesickle says:

        I got Witch Watch for Kindle, and I feel like I made out way better on that deal than Shamus did. $5 for that story? I basically robbed him :D

        1. Matt K says:

          I got it in paperback, least I could do.

    2. Tetracyclic says:


      This site and related Shamus Productions has most likely given me more hours of entertainment than my Steam catalogue. ¬_¬

  2. mololabo says:

    I didn’t know it was that rough, dropped a bit into your donation box again.

    Thanks a lot for all your hard work, still following every blog post and I read + bought your books! :)
    I hope your family all in all is well and you can enjoy your new hardware!

    just a fan

    1. I dropped 10bux in the donation jar also. I didn’t know you where having a rough time, Shamus, but your blog is one of my favorites. I’ve learned more about the theory of coding (and the practice) than I ever did during my shitty college courses.

      Now the important thing is that we all want to know what your new machine specs are. This is VITAL. Don’t leave out any glorious detail.

  3. Paul Spooner says:

    As NOT one of those people, let me be the first to say that we all feel fondly for you. Thanks for sharing not only your life but also your dreams and aspirations so openly. We’re all rooting for you!

  4. JPH says:

    Does this mean you can video games faster now?

    1. Vagrant says:

      only if its a red one

      1. Cody says:

        This is why all my video cards are red.

        1. Irridium says:

          Mine have X’s in the front of the name. That means they’re more better.

  5. Irridium says:

    Oh wow, I didn’t know bad things were happening. Hope you and your family pull through whatever hard times have hit you. Wish I could offer more than this post, sincerity is pretty hard to convey through text.

    1. ehlijen says:

      Indeed. I didn’t even notice anything was wrong. Best of luck towards overcoming it all!

    2. Cuthalion says:

      What these guys said! I didn’t really know anything about Troubles, and am in fact trying to remember if I saw you post about the subject at all, but I am glad you’re coming through it and hope things just keep getting better for the writer of my favorite internet and his family.

  6. Zagzag says:

    As one of your not particularly regular benefactors (blame education related poverty) I’m glad to hear that things are good again, not that I was even aware they weren’t.

    You’ve provided us with ludicrous amounts of entertainment over the years. I’m glad that things are ok.

    Now we just need your machine specs!

  7. Rob Lundeen says:

    Sorry to hear you are having a rough time. I can’t afford to give anything to help out right now but I did buy your books so that’s something right! :) I’ve been reading your blog for years and refer to you when talking to my wife as “my friend Shamus from the internet.” :) For example: “My friend Shamus from the internet really liked this game so I’m going to pick it up and give it a try.”

    Good wishes from Canada!

    1. Zagzag says:

      I’ve done that as well, without realising how weird it sounded to other people. Recently I’ve acquired quite a few “online friends” who I’ve never met, but I’ve actually spoken to most of them…

      1. madflavius says:

        I’ve been reading this blog since 2006, and it’s been the only blog I’ve read consistently from then to the present. Thank you, Shamus, for all the stories and books and comics and Let’s Plays and treatises and rants–all of it has been fantastic.

        +1 to “my internet friend Shamus.” My wife is now used to my “so Shamus was doing x and…” or “Shamus thinks this would be good, so I’m inclined to give it a shot,” so I can get away with first-name references reserved for only a select few (instead of “So Bill–yeah, cousin Bill–no, not that one, the other one–anyway, yeah, so Bill…”). It helps that we have no other friends or family that have the name “Shamus” too. ;)

        1. hahaha, i’m constantly talking about shit Shamus is doing to my “real life” friends. “Shamus is doing linux. You should check it out.” “Shamus has another coding post” I’m sure they’re getting tired of it. Along with posts from Scott Jennings, who is also awesome, but doesn’t post enough.

          1. Deadyawn says:

            Yeah, I do that to. I’m pretty sure my friends think I’m crazy but I can’t say I care too much.

    2. swenson says:

      I always use the phrase “Someone was talking about X the other day…” when discussing Internet people. It’s just so much simpler than “This guy who writes a really awesome blog about videogames and programming and stuff happened to say…”

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Same. I always use someone unless they explicitly ask who. Explaining that I read the posts of some random dude on the internet I have truly never met before is enough to cause a few issues.

        1. anaphysik says:

          Of course, this is harder online, because iirc you actually HAVE a friend called “someone” <_<

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            No, anaphysik, that’s “Someone_Else.” XD

  8. Clint Olson says:

    “There's an interesting story to tell, but I don't feel right broadcasting the details until its all over.”

    You’ve got an its/it’s error there…

  9. krellen says:

    Let me join the chorus of others saying it, Shamus: you can’t go mentioning your new computer without bragging a bit about the specs. It’s like nerd law or something.

  10. Wulfgar says:

    put link under each post to some ads. ill gladly click it

  11. Katesickle says:

    I’m sorry that you’ve been having a rough time, but I’m really glad that things are getting better, and that you’ve had friends helping you out. Internet friendships can be absolutely amazing.

    There's an interesting story to tell, but I don't feel right broadcasting the details until its all over.
    Tease. :P

  12. I just had a thought: If Shamus just got a new system with a different video card chipset (AMD/ATI instead of NVIDIA, or visaversa) then we can expect upcoming “jesus christ why doesn’t my OpenGL graphics code work anymore WTF?!” posts. I’m looking forward to that.

  13. Rodyle says:

    I also did not know things were this bad. Since I’ll stop smoking in February, I’ll donate part of that cash to you guys when I get my next paycheck/student grant. You gave me more any entertainment than any game ever could have and I’d hate for you being inconvenienced by spending too much time on stuff you love doing.

  14. Lupus_Amens says:

    And here i am like the little 20 year old shit i am, having nothing good to add to this community, money or eloquence-wise…

    But still i feel bad for you how things were apparently rough, It is nice you have people here who will help you when they can without asking.

  15. Moriarty says:

    I’m sorry to hear you were having a rough time.
    I’ve been reading your blog for years now, I liked your books and I wanted to thank you for the work you put into this site and your other content.

  16. X2-Eliah says:

    Welp, good luck with whatever that thing is that you are having issues with.

    Also, yes, as people have said before, specs are a must. Becuase bragging and that.


    Also, you must do benchmarks. ALL OF THE BENCHMARKS. 3DMark11, Furmark, Cinebench, PCmark, LuxMark, and many many other marks. becuase YOU GET NUMBERS OUT OF THEM. THAT YOU CAN COMPARE. It’s the computer nerd equivalent of a cagefight. With robot dinosaurs. From space.

    1. Deadfast says:

      And don’t forget photos. Especially if it has any glowy bits!

      1. Oh god, does it have glowy bits?!


      2. Dave B. says:

        After all, it is well known that computing power is luminescent.

        Make sure your pictures also show any shiny copper bits. Those are my favorite.

  17. Isy says:

    “Don’t waste your money on starving artists. Give it to me instead.”

    Well crap, I am a starving artist. Guess I’d better give you my money. *donates*

    1. Isy says:

      In all seriousness, I’d only thought your bad luck extended to your constant plague infections. I love this site – I even bought The Walking Dead off entirely your recommendation.

      Even though I have a crippling fear of zombies.

      And couldn’t sleep every night after I played the game.

      Actually, wait, I hate you.

  18. Eric M. says:

    I hope things get better for you, Shamus. I do not regularly comment on the blog, nor did I donate anything, but I greatly enjoy this site and the content you have produced over the years. I recognize that hope without action amounts to little and may not mean much to you, but maybe I can contribute to this great site eventually.

    Unrelated, even if you have a new system, you should still hold on to the title of cutting edge Luddite. It’s a necessary niche.

  19. sab says:

    You rock sir.

  20. Klay F. says:

    Well, giving money always feels a little crass and ostentatious to me, but I don’t really have anything else to give besides my time and you live too far away for that. So, money it is. I hope everything works out for you Shamus.

    1. krellen says:

      I really wish we as a society would get away from the idea that giving money is somehow tasteless. We should not be expected to know everyone’s needs better than they do, and a monetary gift can be as important and meaningful as any other.

      Moreso, perhaps, when finances are running tight for the giftee, for an influx of cash can do more to reverse their fortune than the most “thoughtful” of gifts.

      1. Klay F. says:

        I know all of this, but I still have those feelings. There nothing I can really do about it. Somebody really needs to invent a thing that is whatever you need it to be at the time.

        1. Isy says:

          A sonic screwdriver?

          1. MichaelG says:

            Should have given him this:


            Except that I don’t think he’s a fan…

        2. krellen says:

          My point is that we already have invented that thing, and we call it “money”.

          1. krellen says:

            Admittedly, the conversion mechanism that changes it into whatever you need could use some improvement, but it’s the best we have right now.

      2. ehlijen says:

        Giving money when it’s helpful shouldn’t be tasteless, no.

        But I feel that when it comes to gift giving (christmas, birthdays etc), that’s a chance to get to know your friends a little more. To think about what you know about them, make a guess as to what they’d like and see if you were right.

        Giving money instead feels, to me, like not caring to do that, ie getting to know your friend. So I’d always try to find a gift, rather than money.

        To each their own. And depending on where you stand on that, you’ll also view vouchers differently. If gifts require knowing, then vouchers are better than money as they require at least picking a store the friend might like. If you think money is just more practical, well, vouchers are the worst of course.

        1. krellen says:

          Let me openly state that if anyone wants to give me a gift, money is the way to go. Or just ask me outright what to buy me if you cannot overcome the “giving money is thoughtless” hurdle.

          I don’t need my friends to prove themselves.

          1. Cado says:

            I’ve always felt the same way. In fact I consider it to be more thoughtless when someone gets me something that I didn’t want and will never use because they thought money or a gift certificate would be tasteless and drab. I almost always request money when someone asks and when they can’t be arsed to listen it makes me think they care less about me and more about living up to an arbitrary social construct. That’s never bode well for my friendships.

  21. newdarkcloud says:

    I can’t really offer much in the way of assistance, but I wish you well Shamus. All of us TS commenters do. :)

    1. Indeed. Wishing (and praying) for the best!

  22. Face it Shamus you are a web celebrity, one day a kitty that does a audio blog will knock you off your pedestal.

    And grats on getting an “above average” computer.

    Myself I’m sporting a “ok” motherboard + 8GB DDR3 “ok” ram + a AMD Phenom II 1090T cpu (~3.2Ghz and 6 cores) + AMD Radeon 6950 2GB, and over 1terra disk space total (HD’s are cheap).

    I used “ok” in quotes as I just picked the cheapest/cheaper ones I found, MB and RAM are hardly the bottle neck, it is only when you got bleeding edge stuff that MB and RAM also need to be way up there in cost.

    My goal was a system that would last at least 5 years (it’s been 1-2 years now).
    And looking at the speculations on the PS4 and Xbox “3” and the Wii U specs, the consoles are similar or slightly below the performance of my system.

    As the future of gaming is determined by the consoles it is nice to see that a “ok” (mid range system) matches the consoles. This should mean an easier time for gamers. (the new consoles are catching up to (but not passing) the current day PCs.

    And current day “mid-range” PCs are good enough for pretty much all games and programs out there. Few programs utilizes more than 2-3 cores. The most I’ve seen is 4 core use by a program.

    I did some audio file analysis recently and that was the only time I found using all 6 cores useful.
    (I manually ran 6 instances and reduced 24 hours of analysis to just 4 hours.)

    A machine like this will probably do just fine even for the next 3-4 years.
    It is only when doing stuff like 1920×1080 3D (2x60Hz = 120Hz) with 4x anti-aliasing or 4K screens with anti-aliasing that a system like this will have issues.

    I guess we’ll see what happens when the consumer version Occulus Rift is available as I’m skipping the 3D glasses or traditional 3D vizor thing, if you want immersive 3D then the Occulus Rift is the only way to go for sure (even monovision folks will have a improved experience over normal 2D due to the head tracking and “full” field of view).

    If my hardware can power the Oculus Rift at 1920×1080 at 30fps steady with minimal anti-aliasing turn on I’m a happy camper. (Occulus Rift need vsync on as you really can’t have tearing)
    As far as I know the PS4 and Xbox 3 (and I assume Wii U too should be able to handle the Occulus Rift.

    So the benchmark of the future will probably be the consumer version of the Occulus Rift, if a game runs (and looks) good through them you should have a great time with pretty much all games forward.

    Hardware curve is now flattening, artistic talent is where game development will have to focus their effort when going forward. If coded well (i.e. optimized), today’s hardware can handle it.

    Wii U will be the lower common denominator, i.e. a system need to be at least that powerful, and PS4 and Xbox 3 will be that (and current PCs are).

    Now if just the darn sequelitis could calm down a bit, some originality would be nice. And games supporting (or ready/compatible) with stereoscopic view and head-tracking (i.e. Occulus Rift) appearing please.

    1. McGurker says:


      1. Raygereio says:

        It’s just a random encounter. Don’t worry.

    2. Moridin says:

      A PC with a 6950 is hardly midrange, especially since most games are seriously GPU bottlenecked anyway(of course, that’ll change when the next gen of GPUs comes out). When it comes to consoles, you have to take into account that a lot of games will, even in the next generation, run at less than full-HD, even if they’re upscaled, and they also perform better on consoles, since they can be fully optimized for the hardware, unlike on PCs.

  23. Shamus, any chance you can whitelist (or add a whitelist plugin) to your blog?

    Sure, some folks might consider what I post as spam (pft!) but I’ve posted twice today and I’m not sure why but after hitting the button the site seems stuck at the end of posting the comment, and when I refresh/reload the page my comment post appear but it’s set to awaiting moderation.

    Marking several of the “ol’timers” and regulars that comment here and that have shown they don’t spam or otherwise aren’t asses (beyond moderate toleration) in a whitelist and thereby letting them bypass the very slow whatever that is going on would be awesome to say the least.
    it would also reduce the load on the spam scanning and hopefully speed things up for those who post less (less overall scanning done).

  24. Shamus, any chance you can whitelist (or add a whitelist plugin) to your blog?

    Sure, some folks might consider what I post as spam (pft!) but I’ve posted twice today and I’m not sure why but after hitting the button the site seems stuck at the end of posting the comment, and when I refresh/reload the page my comment post appear but it’s set to awaiting moderation.

    Marking several of the “ol’timers” and regulars that comment here and that have shown they don’t spam or otherwise aren’t asses (beyond moderate toleration) in a whitelist and thereby letting them bypass the very slow whatever that is going on would be awesome to say the least.
    it would also reduce the load on the spam scanning and hopefully speed things up for those who post less (less overall scanning done).

    (PS! Sorry if this is a duplicate, for some reason it (the browser) kept showing “waiting for server…”, and reloading did not show my post and trying to repost your site claimed it was a duplicate, so I’m not sure what is going on here. The delay after posting is really whack and seems to never end (talking over a minute or more here).
    The site speed otherwise is “ok” (could be faster but…)

  25. fish food carl says:

    I’m sorry to hear about things getting rough for you, Shamus. It’s been a while since I donated, I’ll pitch in too. Frankly, access to this superb wealth of comics, articles, reviews, Let’s Plays, Livestreams etc etc over the course of the past 3/4 years is worth a great deal more to me than some games and DVDs, which I gladly paid for.

    And yet, despite the enormous investment of your time and energy into Twenty Sided, you never once asked us to pay up to keep things rolling.

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for you, Shamus. I sincerely hope things start looking up soon, and I wish you and your family the very best.

  26. Guvnorium says:

    Mr. Young, I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and I must say, it is only one of two I keep bookmarked. It makes my bookmark bar, even. I check it every day! You post some of the best stuff on the internet.

    I recently became a Computer Science major after spending two years working on my history degree. If not for your blog, I likely would never have entered the CS program. Though I’ve been interested in computers since as long as I can remember, most of what I’ve picked up is hardware related, or has to do with specific Windows issues, and nothing to do with programming. The way in which you talked about programming in your autoblography, and the cool projects on this site, helped convince me that I was making the right decision. So far (having finished one semester), I’m really enjoying learning how to program, and I’m wishing I had gotten into this much, much sooner.

    Related: I’ll add my voice to the chorus of posters asking for specs!

    Unrelated: My mom liked the Witch Watch, and so did I.

  27. Talby says:

    Shamus rolled a natural 20 on his friendship check. :D

  28. McGurker says:

    Samus I’m very happy things are going better for you now. Just, please write some more about coding. Write about coding forever. Shit, why don’t you get a god damn deal on a text book for C or OpenGL that they’d publish till the end of time? That actually is an awesome idea I’d never considered before, a text book you wrote would have the best explanations and problems and little asides, damn. I’d buy the hell out of that, a big book on C by Samus. But ya, I lost my train of thought, please write more about coding forever, and also I am putting my vote in toward an in-depth post on your new machine. And besides that, have a great year!

  29. ryath says:

    Shamus, I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. You shouldn’t be surprised at the support you’re getting, though. You’re one of the most genuine, humble folks on the internet, and if anyone deserves some smooth sailing, it’s you.

    I’d drop something in the jar myself, but things are tough over here too. The best I can do for now is some kind words; not quite the same as money, but hey.

    I really hope you know the impact you’ve had on all these people. That’s why they’re jumping to repay the favor. You can’t run a blog for this long, or put out so many episodes of Spoiler Warning, or write the stories you’ve written — and not touch people. You’ve done more for me personally than you’d probably believe. I’ll have to tell you that story sometime. Some other time.

    So… thanks, Shamus. Things sound like they’re looking up for you, so I hope they stay that way.

  30. Artur CalDazar says:

    I didn’t know things were so rough for you.

    But I’m glad to hear they are turning up.

  31. RTBones says:

    You can add me to the long list of folks that didn’t realize you were having a rough go of it more than usual. That saddens me, but I am very glad to hear that things seem to be taking a turn for the better. Real life can sometimes be a right pain in the backside, but do know that you will always have friends here, though you may never meet them in person. This community is a result of your hard work and tender loving care, providing us all with countless hours of entertainment. I count myself as lucky at having found your particular corner of t’internet.

    I will further, however, add my voice to the growing concern of a global cataclysmic event over the fact that you speak of a shiny new machine and have not posted specs for us to drool and fawn over yet. Let us pray that the forces of Nature hold their collective nerdrage in check until you do. :)

  32. Neko says:

    Hey thar.

    Good to know things are looking up for you. I know what it’s like, denying myself certain shiny things that I want to buy because I’m not employed there’s no money coming in aaaah aaaah aaaaaaaa and that sort of uncertainty sucks.

    Keep making interesting posts and we’ll keep coming =)

  33. BlckDv says:


    I sent a couple of emails from The Unseen Dove (at) gmail dot com [no spaces] I’m afraid may have gotten SPAM filtered; but reading this post made me think that you just may be too busy with actual important stuff to have read them.

    Hope that all is resolving well, and glad you have been able to rely on such a great support network!

  34. Galad says:

    Hmm, I should probably buy the Witch Watch already, I’ve put off for too long.

    Oh well, payday’s in 10 days, I hope I don’t forget about it this time, the lazy drifting-by-the-current-type that I am..

  35. LunaticFringe says:

    As someone who’s 2012 was his worst year in terms of unemployment, personal relationship problems, and medical conditions (goddamn fungus infecting my lungs) I wish you the best and hope everything works out. I shall donate a sum once I’m back on full-time work next month.

  36. Avilan says:

    Didn’t know things were bad. I have for the last two years only read this blog sporadically, since a lot of posts tend to be “ranting about games” that I personally really like. (Case in point our 200 post (or so) about ME2 between me and other visitors back in the day). Most people frequenting this blog also tend to have the same taste in games as you do, so I just don’t feel like I belong here.

    That said I truly enjoy the other stuff you put up, and I am very curious about your books (I have not bought any of them yet, but I read far less than I want to these days. I just don’t have the time).

    At least I have always had Adblock turned off for this site: Only this one and Giant In The Playground (Order Of The Stick) gets this from me. I HATE ads.

    What I am trying to say is that I hope everything works out for the better. Keep up the good work!!!

  37. Soylent Dave says:

    I had a similar experience a few years ago – people I only knew on the internet (and lots of whom I didn’t know at all, but just read my writing) helped me out when I really needed it.

    I was really glad that I was able to pay their generosity forward at the end of last year.

    The internet is a pretty fucking awesome place sometimes.

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