Diecast #40: Happy New Years Evesmass-ica.

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Jan 1, 2014

Filed under: Diecast 94 comments

Happy new year! Rather than doing a big year-end retrospective, we talked about the here & now like we usually do.

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Note that I produced this episode. Josh usually does it, but he’s visiting his parents and doesn’t have access to his normal equipment. So any complaints about the audio quality should be directed at me. Note also that I make about two episodes a year, so your complaints won’t do any good because I end up re-learning the whole process from scratch every time.

Hosts: Chris, Josh, Shamus.

Show notes:
3:00 Josh is sick, and so he’s taking Fireball Whiskey in search of the cure.

To be clear, I don’t know if gargling with alcohol is medically useful for killing throat-based infections, but it FEELS like it helps. The only reason I doubt it is: If all you needed to do to kill throat cultures was gargle alcohol, wouldn’t they have figured it out ages ago? Wouldn’t this just be standard procedure for sore throats?

As an aside: How could you do a proper double-blind study on this? With most tests, you can easily administer a placebo without detection. But the test subject is going to feel that alcohol in their throat and the control subject won’t, and that sensation is going to skew the results. I don’t know. I think the best solution is for us to make a field trip to the liquor store and begin what I’m calling a “blind drunk trial”.

Given how good it feels, I can’t believe this treatment doesn’t go all the way back to the middle ages.

8:30 Josh got Tie Fighter working on his tablet, using a 360 controller with Dos Box.

This is madness. Awesome madness.

9:00 Josh is playing Project Zomboid

We throw out the term “offsite SVN” without explaining it. For the record, SVN is a system for keeping track of source code. An offsite one is a place where you can upload your code so that even if your computer gets hit by an asteroid, you still have a complete record of your code, your documentation, and the history of the project. VERY useful. I use BitBucket.

Also, I claimed I was a “one man operation”, which is completely untrue. I have Peter Olson going over my revisions and making sure it all works on Linux.

19:00 Chris is playing The Pinball Arcade and Simpsons: Tapped Out.

27:00 We talk about the new Rise of the Triad. Here is footage of the original.

35:00 Shamus is playing Skyrim.

We talk about the oddball leveling, the screwy balance, the broken economy, and the way the modding scene is becoming more visible and useful to the community.


From The Archives:

94 thoughts on “Diecast #40: Happy New Years Evesmass-ica.

  1. Tychoxi says:

    Chris, it’s not from “a 90s sitcom”, it’s from fucking Seinfield!! Which to many is THE 90s sitcom. Sheesh.

    And Shamus, Rise of the Triad, not only had a distinctive lack of Triad(s), but was the game that invented “ludicrous gibs”. It’s a classic!

    I actually think it’d be cool if di you a couple of Spoiler Warning specials on the Shadow Warrior and/or Rise of the Triad remakes, whichever most you guys played the original back in the day.

    Oh, and Happy New Year! yay!

    1. MichaelGC says:

      I was 15-25 during the 90s, and I’ve never seen an episode of Seinfeld!

      Anyway, happy new year, all! (Or, those of you for whom it is new year, of course…)

      1. Warrax says:

        I was 12-22 in the 90’s, and I thought I was the only one who had never seen an episode of Seinfeld. I tried once or twice, but I could never get through one.

        1. Bubble181 says:

          I was 7-17 during the 90s, and…Meh. Seinfeld is far from “THE” sitcom from the 90s. If you polled ’90s youth/young adults, I’m fairly sure Friends would win out by a landslide.
          I’m not saying it’s the *better* sitcom, but definitely the more popular one.

          I’ve seen plenty of Seinfeld episdoes, but it’s…Not realyl all that great. The premise (“A show about nothing”) had been done before, and better, in several countries. The only reason it’s got such a cult following is because it’s supposedly oh so original, but it isn’t, really. Otherwise, the writing’s ok but not great, and the characters…well, some of them are great.

          Seinfeld was the hipster “you have to like this” hype ofthe ’90s.

          1. ET says:

            I think this might be an age gap thing.
            Seinfeld’s target audience was probably more like late 20s to early 50s.
            Friends’ was more appealing to teens-early 20s-year-olds.
            So, given my completely anecdotal evidence (the best kind!), it’s not surprising you guys didn’t enjoy Seinfeld too much.

          2. Eric says:

            I was 2-12 during the ’90s and THE sitcom for me is Frasier. I’m probably an outlier.

            For the record, I like Seinfeld more than Friends.

    2. silver Harloe says:

      I was 20-30 in the 90s, and too busy carousing to watch much TV, so I only caught the occasional random episode of Seinfeld. TV watching greatly increased in my 30s when I stopped going to clubs 2-3 times a week.

  2. Knut says:

    Unfortunately, making someone feel good doesn’t always overlap with actually helping. In fact, many common cough medicines contain etanol. But there is no medication which actually helps agains common cold viruses, only treatment for the symptoms is possible.

    On the other hand, Whiskey is great at making people feel better. And with a taste of spices, it MUST help, right? See also: Patent medicine

    1. Chris says:

      I thought Heroin was an effective cure for the common cold, or is that just urban legend?

      1. Knut says:

        Yes, many cough medicines did contain heroin, or other opiates. They helped relieve the coughing (by sedation I guess?), but again, were not useful against the disease itself. These were even given to children. Opiates were not regulated in the USA before 1914 (the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act).

        These days some cough medicine contain Codeine, in most countries these are only prescribed, and quite strictly regulated.

    2. Aitch says:

      Check out this NY Times article on cinnamon oil.

      “…effective against Staphylococcus, E. coli and several antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria”

      So if it’s something like strep throat, it could really help. Hopefully they flavor it with actual cinnamon, and not the garbage they try to hock as cinnamon in most grocery stores.

      So yeah, get lit.

      1. MrGuy says:

        So….Goldschlager, then?

    3. ACman says:

      And now is time for my favourite ad from the GTA series.


  3. Paul Spooner says:

    I suspect the reason gargling whiskey doesn’t go a long ways back is that it’s distilled. Traditionally, distilling alcohol is industrial and expensive, and non-distilled alcohol isn’t concentrated enough to kill bacteria. Before the industrial revolution, distilled ethanol was probably too expensive to be widely effective… on the other hand, I’m sure people have been inventing excuses to drink for much longer than the eighth century, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    The grocery stores in both California and Washington have booze of all kinds; In fact I don’t recall living in a place where you couldn’t get hard liquor in the aisle over from shaved almonds and powdered sugar.

    Ever since Europe moved to the Amazon their basement have been flooding almost every year. Why don’t they just export the Amazon to the Sahara, where they could use the water? Europe is so selfish.

    I keep thinking about getting Skyrim, but every time I look into it again it becomes too unattractive to purchase. I’m not sure what the appeal is, except that it has good marketing. It’s not a great open world game, it’s not good at storytelling, it’s got bland washed-out looking visuals. I understand it might be the best we’ve got right now, but I still haven’t been able to work up the desire to actually play it.

    Everyone I’ve heard mention mods says that they improve Skyrim a great deal, but that kind of makes it worse for someone just starting out. Now I’m not only purchasing a game, but it’s a broken game that I need to spend time figuring out how to fix. I’d be willing to pay a bit extra if the whole thing just came packaged with “the best mods”.

    But of course, that brings up another problem, which deals with playstyle. What constitutes “the best mods” is going to differ from person to person, and even from day to day as the desire for play and learning varies. I wouldn’t expect Josh or Rutskarn to have the same sets of favorite mods, or even to use the same set now that they did a month ago.

    On top of all that, I enjoy making mods myself… so I suspect that if I ever bought Skyrim, I would end up making my own mod pack to turn the game into what I wanted it to be. Sadly, I don’t have the time for that right now, what with other projects, job, family, etc. I suspect I’ll play it eventually, but I’ve never owned Morowind or Oblivion either, and I’d guess that Skyrim is going to be another of those “classics” that I’ll watch from afar, mostly because playing it would end up being too much work.

    1. Warrax says:

      Skyrim is actually a good open-world game. Just avoid the major quest* chains and you’ll have a lot of fun :)

      *The Dark Brotherhood is okay, the rest are somewhere between boring and offensively bad. A lot of the small side quests are pretty decent too.

    2. Bryan says:

      …But “killing bacteria” is completely useless against, you know, viruses. Like both the common cold and the flu. :-P

      (Though, not streptococcus, if that’s what it is. So maybe.)

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        True, though many of the symptoms of a viral infection (such as a cold) are a result of a secondary bacterial infection. Like I said, it sounds more like an invented excuse than a remedy in the first place, and I doubt it was meant as anything more than that.

    3. A. Hieronymus Bosch says:

      Installing mods to fix Bethesda games is a time honored tradition.

      That being said, I’ve probably spent more time downloading mods, installing them, and tweaking the ini file than I have actually playing the game. It’s incredibly ridiculous how much effort you have to put into it to get something worth playing.

      Although, I am looking forward to the Skywind mod. It will replace everything but the mechanics of Skyrim with everything Morrowind, and then you can run Morrowind mechanics mods to get that functionality back. It will be curious to see how it looks in the newer engine, as opposed to in the Graphics Extender.

      Aside – Fun fact: increasing the field of view ruins all shadows, even if you pour insane amounts of resources into making them high-quality.

      1. Zukhramm says:

        Are those Morrowind mechanics mods some hypothetical potential mods or something that actually exist? I found a lot of mods adding small things I wanted (cold and need for clothing, I don’t even understand how Bethesda could set a game in Skyrim and not have that in the game) but none that actually made it fun. Sounds like that might be it.

    4. Tizzy says:

      1) Distillation is an old process, and surprisingly, alcohol distillation appears to come in much later (13th century, maybe). The original purpose *was* medicinal.

      2) In a given state, the booze situation can vary from county to county. I’ve lived in NY state in a county where beer and wine were sold in grocery stores, but the hard stuff wasn’t. Somewhat related: hard alcohol couldn’t be sold past a certain time of night. The neighboring county did not have such restrictions.

      3) I managed to sink over a hundred hours in vanilla Skyrim, unmodded and no DLC. It deserves all the criticism leveled at it, but it is nevertheless a very interesting world to explore. The quests are terrible, but the environmental storytelling is top-notch. All the environments are vibrant and atmospheric, and exploring the world is its own reward. The gameplay is very smooth, not buggy, and never feels punishing; this little fact does help make the experience more relaxing and enjoyable.

    5. aldowyn says:

      For the record, some states (including where I live, Oklahoma) have stricter regulations on the sale of alcohol. Here, the sale of drinks that have above a certain percentage (3.2 here, I think?) of alcohol is restricted to dedicated liquor stores (and bars, obviously). Essentially only lighter beers and wines can be sold in grocery stores.

      I think I heard somewhere that’s the reason we don’t have Costcos here…

    6. MrGuy says:

      While distilled spirits aren’t nearly as old as wine and beer, they’re still plenty old. Definitely back to the medieval period – I seem to recall reading the Irish were distilling whiskey around 1200 or so. I believe brandy is from a similar era.

      My understanding of the “why not just kill all the bacteria with whiskey is that the throat and esophagus are mucous membranes, and the bacteria are in and/or behind the mucous. Given that mucous doesn’t really mix all that readily with alcohol, a small amount of alcohol passing down the throat wouldn’t really do much to the actual bacteria. Even keeping the alcohol in the area for a few seconds (the gargling idea) won’t be sufficient to actually sterilize through the mucous.

      1. Peter H. Coffin says:

        Freeze distillation might have been that early in Ireland, but there’s not much (or any) documentation of it until the 16th century or so. Pot distillation of water shows up in Greece and China around first century AD and the Egyptians started using it around the second century, and the Greeks kind of lost interest. Distillation of spirits didn’t happen until 12th century Italy (and in China again, around the same time). There’s some documentation that this was both an industrial secret (all the notes are about it are in code) and was an attempt to make what amounted to instant wine. It sort of worked, and the result of seeing what the shelf life of the stuff was was pretty awesome. As a result, the technique flew pretty much everywhere there was enough metal-working skill to put together a pot and a funnel.

        It’s really amazing the amount of stuff that China did technologically, used for a couple hundred years, then dropped again, often for a weird mix of fashion and politics. If there was ever an expansionist/colonial phase for China and a willingness to keep building on things instead of setting them aside as “not really necessary”, we’d all be speaking Mandarin world wide and would have colonies Io by now. Except it would probably be called something else…

    7. Jeff says:

      “but it's a broken game that I need to spend time figuring out how to fix”

      I take it you’ve never played a Bethesda game before, then?

  4. Warrax says:

    All you need to know about Skyrim’s magic system: Conjuration is the most powerful skill in the game. It starts a little slow, but becomes really useful at about the same time destruction starts to slow down.

    You start off early with destruction as primary and conjuration as backup, then swap it out after they’ve both been leveled a bit, and you’ll become crazy-OP fairly quick.

    There is a whole lot wrong with Skyrim’s magic system (I could go on and on), but that’s the best way to play a really effective mage. Pure destruction just doesn’t work, and I think that’s what too many people try to do.

    (Also, destruction+conjuration+heavy armor+1-handed with maybe a side of alteration and whatever else you want is the most game-breaking build you can run. Add blacksmithing and enchanting for god-mode.)

    1. Just Passing Through says:

      Conjuration doesn’t have a perk that lets you stunlock every single enemy in the game, including dragons. All you need is enough magicka regen to offset your spell of choice, which those half cost perks really help with.

    2. aldowyn says:

      Elder scrolls games have ALWAYS been easy to break. I’ve never messed with the magic that much in any of them, though. I have heard that the destruction spells get prohibitively expensive (and slow) to be practical.

    3. Tse says:

      You don’t really NEED any magic other than enchanting, though. You can smith 100000 dmg weapons, after all. No way to increase the damage of spells like that, you can only make 100% mana cost reduction gear.

  5. Zeta Kai says:

    This podcast just made my year! Best year evar!!

  6. Warrax says:

    I picked up “Gone Home” during the holiday sale for something like $6.50. I think all of you played it closer to when it was actually released; has it been long enough yet to have a spoiler-filled discussion on the DieCast?

  7. Corpital says:

    As a relentless and masochistic believer in the superiority of magic in every game possible, I cheesed my way to 100enchantment with small soul gems and crappy iron daggers, then put together a bunch of equipement with a combined -100spellcost to destruction. It was stupid, grind-y and took an awful lot of time. Still, continuously firebombing all of Skyrim without ever spending a single point in more Magicka was worth it, especially with the master spell for lightning.

    On a sad note: I swam to a lot of (liquor) stores here in the Europes and not a single one had Fireball Whiskey. Apparently, I’ll be forced to swim over to the Amazons and order a bottle there, so they can fly it over with their flying magic future drones. Also, get well soon, Josh. That is, if you’re still sick by time of writing.

    1. Asimech says:

      Fireball Whisky is available in Finland (national monopoly: Alko), unlikely they do exporting, however.

  8. Ithilanor says:

    How could you do a double-blind study? Well, you just need to replicate a burning sensation, so acid should work well as a control. :D

  9. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Wait,hold on a second…Happy holidays was invented so that you dont insult someone by wishing them the wrong holiday,and because some ret… some people get offended by that,its happy festivus now?Whats it gonna be when the amount of as… when the amount of id… the amount of dou… when the amount of “easily offended” people rises enough for this to be seen as insulting as well?Happy seasonia?Happy winteria?Happy giftivus?

    1. MrGuy says:

      Look. It’s “happy winter solstice.” It’s always been “happy winter solstice.”

      The winter solstice was a festival well before the Christians decided to make Jesus’ birthday (actual date unknown) correspond to it.

      Take back the solstice!

      1. Ysen says:

        As someone who lives in the southern hemisphere, I find this talk of your so-called “winter” solstice extremely offensive.

        1. MrGuy says:

          Well, stop importing our holidays, then. :)

      2. Zukhramm says:

        It was an astronomical event long before it was a festival!

      3. aldowyn says:

        I think the actual date is theorized to be in.. may, I think? Spring sometime.

        It always seemed a little weird to me that his birth was more celebrated than his resurrection, so I propose we switch easter and christmas :P

    2. silver Harloe says:

      I posit it was wrong to say “Happy Festivus” is a replacement for “Happy Holidays” – Festivus is a specific holiday for the rest of us, and not a generic.

      I seem to recall hearing “chrismahanakwanzika” more than a few times in the past, but even that leaves out Festivus, New Years, Saturnalia, and the winter solstice… so I go with “Happy Whatever You Want” (Or “Happy Whatever the F— You Want” among friends)

  10. Daemian Lucifer says:

    One good thing about being sick is that all the coughing and sneezing makes your mouth and throat really sensitive,so even the small sip of alcohol gets absorbed everywhere in your mouth.Its magical,everyone should try it.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Project zomboid:Burning your house down by forgetting to turn off the oven since early alpha.Seriously everyone who tried the game did that at least once.

    But from what I saw about it now,they removed the wife,and thats a shame,because one of the best fail states in an earlier version was that you could suffocate your wife.Accidentally.While trying to make her more comfortable.

    1. Harry says:

      They’re adding that back in soon! They only took it out because it was part of the big revision they’re doing (which will also add human NPCs to the game).

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Ah,deadpool…I think Ive never played a crappier game that made me genuinely laugh so much.And the laughter was because of the jokes,not because of the crappy gameplay.

    And honestly,I cant say that the gameplay is really crappy,its just…plain and repetitive,and the few interesting segments are just way too short.

    But,if you ever read any of the deadpool and thought “Meh,its nothing special”,you should definitely skip this one.

  13. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I really dont get the overall leveling in elder scrolls games.Just leveling your skills is more than enough.The character level is just unnecessary.

    1. aldowyn says:

      I think I wrote a blog post about that at some point. Maybe just a series of tweets.

      Basically, give perks in a tree every 10 levels in that tree, and a point of health/stamina/magicka when you get a skill increase in that sphere. Done. No more character levels.

    2. Here’s my suspicion:

      The designers of the Elder Scroll series are big fans of the tabletop RPG RuneQuest, which has a skill system where you level up your skills by using them – whether that’s through training or practice. However, these methods don’t quite work as well in a video game, especially for some less frequently used skills (like certain spellcasting schools), so they scattered reference books in the world (alongside the worldbuilding books), to help you level those up, in addition to practicing.

      I think the leveling side of things was partially a legacy from the earlier games, whose “rule system” was less directly taken from RuneQuest, and they just used the leveling system as a way of giving the player frequent growth of their Magika, Stamina, or Health, combined with (once they had the enemies level up with the player), giving them software flags they could use to trigger advancement amongst the enemies in the game world.

      If that makes any sense.

  14. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Why are people so afraid of safe search and parental locking?If you think your children should not have access to some stuff,thats fine,you deserve to have that option,but just as well I deserve an option to have my fill of little lamplight slaughter with as much ease.Thats why parental locking and ratings were invented in the first place.You should prevent your children from accessing some stuff,and the providers only concern should be to put everything into appropriate categories.

    Also,I really wish if we could stop lumping porn and murder under a single adult umbrella.

    1. silver Harloe says:

      Probably because those things provide a false sense of security? They are relatively easy to circumvent and would require hundreds of people thousands of man hours to keep current in the constantly changing web. Just a guess.

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        “They are relatively easy to circumvent”

        For a regular kid?No,they arent.

        “and would require hundreds of people thousands of man hours to keep current in the constantly changing web. ”

        Um,you mean like DRM?

  15. Keeshhound says:

    I suppose you could numb everyone’s throats before administering the trials (and then immediately sending everyone to sleep, so that they wouldn’t notice the effects of intoxication) if you wanted to see if the alcohol itself had a beneficial effect.

  16. drkeiscool says:

    Ooh! Does this mean more six thousand word essays on the main Skyrim quests? The one on the Thieves Guild was a thing of beauty.

    1. aldowyn says:

      Or an entire spoiler warning worth of griping.

      1. Sleeping Dragon says:

        I don’t exactly remember what was it that prevented Skyrimg having its own SW season but there was some issue. To be fair the game is probably at its weakest (or, after considering the TG questline, close to it) if you have to play it unmodded focusing almost exclusively on the main questline.

        1. Tizzy says:

          There is simplynot enoughstory and dialogue to work from. I think SW is at its best when it pushes back against a story. Otalks about it. omething along these lines, anyway.

          I’ve watched a couple of hours’ worth of Skyrim playthrough, and that can be OK. But I don’t see it mesh well with the SW format.

          1. aldowyn says:

            I’m pretty sure one of them hinted somewhere that they were considering Skyrim. I wouldn’t disagree with the points raised here.

            Personally, I’d much prefer remember me.

            1. Bryan says:

              Is this the next-game suggestions thread?

              If so — I could repeat myself and suggest Arx Fatalis again, though its main storyline is pretty long. Or maybe NeonXSZ — although that one has no story at all.

              Or the platformer I just finished, which was pretty short (though it ended in a basically To-Be-Continued screen…), whose name is escaping me, hang on… Dark Matter, that’s what it was.

              Or Hammerwatch, though it took me a while (in real time) to beat it as well.

              1. syal says:

                Or you could join the cool kids (i.e. me) and suggest the original Contra over and over again.

            2. Tizzy says:

              Yes, they did talk about Skyrim being considered. My guess is that it raised exactly the objections I raised, along with the whole: where do you start, where do you end? Even te main quest don’t give you particularly satisfying endings. Plus, there’s only a few dungeons that would be entertaining to see someone else play. Just like math, Skyrim is not a spectator sport.

  17. Exetera says:

    As a representative of the Twenty Sided Underground Pinball Enthusiasts’ Club, I would like to register a complaint about Campster’s ignorance of pinball terminology.

    While I think that Steam Workshop might be a potential cause of lock-in, I really haven’t seen a major game outside the AAA RPG space that’s been big on modding; I doubt that any potential Steam competitor would get its start with Bethesda games.

    1. MrGuy says:

      Why would anyone want to play pinball underground? The lack of fresh air gets to you after awhile, and it’s so dark someone might trip on the power cord…

    2. aldowyn says:

      re: modding: Do RTS modded game modes count? The original Defense of the Ancients was a Warcraft III mod. I think there is (or was) a World of Starcraft mod that was basically trying to make an MMO using the SC2 level editor (I have no idea how that turned out)

      Paradox games tend to have a fairly large modding scene, but those aren’t THAT major (or quite as ubiquitous as Bethesda game mods)

      1. Trix2000 says:

        Dota wasn’t really a mod, it was just a custom map. WC3’s map editor was REALLY sophisticated. You could call it ‘modding’ but everything was built into the engine so the only thing required was the map file.

        Still, I think its similar in the fact that the map editor included with the game was as extensive as it was. It made creating and running new content relatively easily, which sounds pretty similar to a game being mod-friendly to me.

    3. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Pinball Arcade is a pretty good implementation as well. I own a Whirlwind table, and that’s the Season Two free game of the month, and it’s certainly possible to tweak a real table to play like the game one. (There’s some differences between the game table and how most are set up, though. The spinning discs on real tables normally spin MUCH faster and have much less “sticky” than the game version, which means the effect is less “send the ball in a different direction” and more “put some spin on the ball so it curves” in the real game. But that’s tremendously more difficult to model, so I can see it as a design choice.) The nudge control is hugely overpowered as delivered, but that’s something that could be made adjustable later. I’d love to see the “inside the door” controls (which step through a menuing system with access set extra ball thresholds, change countdown timer rates, etc) and the full machine manuals added to the doco section…

  18. aldowyn says:

    by the way guys wiki says some people actually turned festivus into an actual alternative holiday on December 23rd.

    1. MrGuy says:

      “Some people decided to celebrate it” does not a holiday make.

      It’s only a holiday when the greeting card companies decide to make it so.

      1. SKD says:

        Don’t give Hallmark any ideas.

      2. Dave B. says:

        I’d be more inclined to say that it’s only a holiday if your employer gives you the day off. Without being asked.

        1. MrGuy says:

          Tell your girlfriend that about Valentine’s Day and call me when the swelling goes down.

          1. Dave B. says:

            You bring up a good point, though. There’s no really rigorous metric for what makes a holiday, or gives it “legitimacy.” In the United States, there are federal holidays like Independence Day, religious holidays like Easter, holidays like Valentine’s Day (which I will call primarily cultural for simplicity), Greeting Card Company endorsed holidays like Sweetest Day, and “some people decided to observe it” days like Pi Day or Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day. There’s also a huge overlap between them, with some religious days being observed by the federal government (for example.)

            So while I am quite comfortable with my definition, it appears that “some people decided to celebrate it” is the only consistent determining factor for a holiday. Just don’t expect to convince your boss of that. :)

            1. syal says:

              Well, holiday is literally “holy day”, so you could reasonably say that it can only be a holiday if it’s religious in nature. The federal holidays would be… National Days, I suppose?

              The others are just Celebration Days or something.

              1. silver Harloe says:

                You could say that, but you’d also be arguing that languages don’t change over time. Whatever the origin of “holiday,” when you say it to someone now it means something besides merely “holy day.”

                1. Jeff says:

                  If I don’t get a day off, it ain’t a holiday.

                  As such, Valentine’s Day is not a holiday, it’s a marketing gimmick.

  19. Mik says:

    Just an aside: Thanks for adding the MP3 metadata tags!

    1. Dave B. says:

      Yes! Very much so!

  20. Asimech says:

    National monopoly for strong alcoholic drinks in Finland. Only beer, hard cider and what we call “lonkku”/”lonkero”/”long drink”* outside of Alko.

    * Lonkero: Grape soda mixed in with gin, usually without actual taste of juniper in it, if store bought. There’s a story it was invented alongside Brändy** in Helsinki for Olympic games because they needed more ready made drinks for quick serving.

    ** Brändy: brandy mixed with Pommac. After a long time gone it came back with strong spirit (close to, but not quite vodka) mixed in it for taste.

    And Fireball Whisky belongs with the liqueur. It’s been strongly flavoured. You don’t put Malibu Rum in with the actual rums, do you?

    1. Disc says:

      “National monopoly for strong alcoholic drinks in Finland.”

      Not that it ever stopped people making their own.

      1. Mersadeon says:

        I’ve just seen a documentary about how Russia is producing SO much self-made alcohol of poor quality, it has become a very severe problem.

        Well, where I come from, Alcohol is treated a bit differently. Beer from age 16, everything else goes from 18. It’s legal to be sold pretty much everywhere if you have a license – so every kiosk and supermarket have at least a small selection of hard liquor available. I cannot even fathom the thought of a state-monopoly on hard alcohol or selling alcohol only until a certain time. I mean, if your party runs out of booze, where are you going to resupply?

        1. Asimech says:

          You stock up properly i.e. enough to last until 9:00 AM and then go on a supply run.

      2. Asimech says:

        Oh no, not at all. I mean, there are two* different types of “moonshine” that people make themselves. They may even be legal, if the maker doesn’t sell them**.

        * There’s “pontikka” and then there’s “kilju”. Latter is worse than former, at least if badly made, and both tend to be awful (it’s commonly argued this isn’t the case if they’re well made, but it’s really rare for that to happen).

        ** And they’ve done something so the beverage can be technically considered wine or beer. It usually doesn’t result in so much “drinkable” liquid, but closer to “will be drank” fluid.

  21. Hal says:

    Alcohol acts as both a local and general anesthetic; it will dampen the sensitivity of nerve endings where applied and systematically when consumed. That’s why it feels good on the throat if you’re sick. Unfortunately, it’s not a long-lived topical anesthetic effect, so you’re not going to be doing yourself much of a favor.

    As for killing infections, alcohol won’t help you out much. While it doesn’t take long for alcohol to kill bacteria, most bacterial infections don’t leave themselves that vulnerable. The bacteria form what are called biofilms, coating themselves in a layer of slime that protects them from environmental exposure, as well as any attempts at policing by the immune system. Think of it like a “fruit on the bottom” yogurt cup. Alcohol won’t cut through that biofilm to reach the bacteria; in most cases, only physical disruption of the film is sufficient.

    1. ACman says:

      So what you are saying is you need to add some decent topical anesthetic to my whisky? Hmm… Cocaine it is.

  22. Paul Spooner says:

    I’m surprised that no one has made a street-fighter ripoff titled “Thai Fighter”; Too bad Rutskarn wasn’t around to suggest it.

    I jumped on the “buying games that are on sale and I might possibly want to try” wagon and got FEZ for $5 yesterday. Played through it in one day, “beat” the game without too much trouble. I’d be interested to see Shamus’ thoughts on the title.

    1. Hal says:

      I did the same thing, grabbed the latest humble bundle.

      Unfortunately, I just finished Little Inferno and now I don’t feel like playing video games for a while.

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Have you read all of the stuff in it?Because just going through the main events of fez isnt really all it offers.Theres that whole weird language.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Yeah, it’s really fun to see. The world has a lot of lovely environmental stuff like that… I was sad to find out that it’s just a direct latin language cypher, and basically plain English. Having learned actual different languages I was rather hoping for something a bit more esoteric. A different conceptual mapping, an altered vocabulary, untranslatable terms, etc. In the end I just looked up the translations.

        The QR codes kind of messed up my immersion as well. The world of FEZ is so pretty and interesting by itself, with hints at its own unique lore, religion, history, civilization, etc. Plopping clear out-of-universe references like English cyphers and QR codes kind of switched my perception from “neat puzzle game” to “jerk obscurism compilation”. Finding out about the practically-impossible final “puzzle” only cemented that realization.

        I feel like there are two seperate games in FEZ. The platforming and percieved culture which work well, and the “language” and silly-difficult “puzzles” that have only one in-game method of decoding (if that) and mostly serve to add a sense of mystery to the other half.

      2. aldowyn says:

        I’d guess that’s why ‘beat’ was in quotes.

  23. Mersadeon says:

    Wait, that’s where Festivus comes from? I didn’t even know it’s a joke – the only references to it I ever heard were stuff like in Saints Row 4: How the Saints saved Christmas, where it appears next to Hanukka and Christmas. I just thought it really IS some kind of holiday celebrated somewhere. (I am also not from America, so it might be more forgivable to have never heard of it). I’ve also never watched Seinfeld, since I am a bit too young.

  24. ACman says:

    Hey Josh, What’s your modlist?

  25. Regarding the ease of mods: I suggest the Diecasters go look at the Nexus Mod Manager. I used it for Fallout New Vegas and would love to try it for Skyrim (if I had more time), but it’s now come down to the ease of use Shamus & Co want. You install the Mod Manager, tell it where your game is (yes, it even works with games from Steam), and then you just click on whichever mod you want and the NMM does the rest. It even tells you if one mod conflicts with another, overrides another, or just plain doesn’t work. Naturally, older mods still need manual installs, but the majority of the ones I’ve played with use the NMM, and the more popular ones have been retooled to do so as well.

    I honestly don’t see the Steam Workshop as a way to lock the mod community into the Steam API, as I’ve not run into any conflicts with it. They want the traffic to the Steam Store, I’m sure, but since they can’t host a very popular (that is, adult, which does cover more than sex, but still…) selection of mod files, I don’t think they’re going to be able to dominate it anytime soon. I’d say that the Steam Workshop will either someday get an adult section, or they’ll just be one more place for modders to post their stuff. Does Steam police things with other IP content in it? I know the Nexus has loads of MLP and Warhammer stuff for Fallout, which I bet violates Steam’s TOS.

    As for the craziness, that hasn’t lessened. My two favorite oddball mods (just for the concepts and user reaction) were the Corn Dog and A Tree.

    1. Shamus says:

      I tried the NMM last night, and my experience was pretty poor. Signing up involved clicking through screens designed to make it look like you can’t proceed without paying for something.

      Once I got NMM running, I’d click in the web browser and NMM would ignore me. Then after a few more clicks it would wake up. Is it downloaded? Yes? No? Where Do I look? I eventually found the little DL rollout at the bottom, and discovered that it was trying to download from the UK even though I told it I was on the east coast. It spent a long time stalling and timing out. So I set my location to central US and it worked, but downloaded at 2002 speeds while telling me to pay for premium service.

      So then the download stopped. I fired up the game, and the mod wasn’t there. I looked in the list, and it wasn’t there. Then I found another tab that had a branching list that listed all mods sorted by TYPE instead of name. Took me some rummaging around to find the mod, and then I didn’t know what to do. Right-click menu didn’t offer any option to activate or install. What button do I push? Is it in the menu at the top? No. Is it this big green checkmark? No. Ah! It’s this… puzzle piece thing. For whatever reason. So I click that and it adds the mod.

      I suppose now that I’ve solved the puzzle of that convoluted interface it will be much easier next time, but still. That’s pretty far from the “subscribe” button in the Steam workshop. It requires another login, an external application. a pushy salesman website, and it’s at least three steps instead of one.

      I hope the NMM interface gets less convoluted as the beta goes on. Having installed mods manually in the past, I understand what all those steps are for. But someone who didn’t know about the various package files and dependencies would probably be baffled by the whole thing.

      1. KremlinLaptop says:

        Hey Shamus,

        I’m not going to go digging through the old posts but I remember you releasing the source-code (I think) for one of your procedural project things and in the post for that someone came into the comments just demanding, “Why doesn’t this have X and Y, why can’t I do Z and B with this?” and I think you replied with, “Hey guy, this is something I do as a hobby,” etc. I paraphrase poorly from memory, but my point?

        Hey Shamus? You’re sort of being the guy in the comments. The Nexus is something that is done very much as a labor of love. This end of year newspost for 2013 gives a very good overview of just how ridiculously hard it is to run the Nexus: http://www.nexusmods.com/skyrim/news/12245/?

        And that’s sort of the point, while the “Nexus Network” is pretty vast it is still a fan-site run by a small and dedicated group of people who invest incredible amounts of time and effort into it, and your criticism? It’s valid, but it also does come off a bit like, “Hey guy, this stuff you’re giving to me for free? IT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”

        “Pushy salesman website”? Yeah, they cap download rates are 1mbps for non-premium accounts due to the vast amount of traffic their servers get. By and large, as the news post points out AND as the page for signing up for “Premium” says up right front and center: “Premium Membership on the Nexus sites is a way of donating to the upkeep of the sites while also gaining some advantageous perks for your browsing experience both on the sites and within the Nexus Mod Manager.”

        You’re obviously aware that Campster recently started a Patreon campaign to get some more money for his videos on Youtube and in the youtube comments section some obvious troll said this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eALK23MGMTo&google_comment_id=z12tvnxylwitidj1c22xcbvgoku4vzb4b04 (And I hope that links to the comment?) Well just open it up and read Campster’s response to the troll. Actually just in case youtube fucks itself up (You used to be able to link comments when the comments were limited in size and useless! New system? No direct linking to comments that I could figure out) I’m going to quote the relevant bit:

        “Well, that’s the thing. Playing games is my hobby. It’s a passion of mine. I for all the world wouldn’t dream of asking other people to fund my game playing time.

        But game criticism is more than that. I’d argue it’s something that stretches beyond my own enjoyment. I don’t do it solely for self-satisfaction, I do it in an attempt to spur a dialog, to entertain, to provoke thoughts, to change minds. This show isn’t a masturbatory act of self-pleasure, it’s something I’m presenting to other people in the hopes that it will resonate with even just a few. I’d argue that stretches beyond the bounds of a hobby.

        And whoever said hobbies needed to be money pits, anyways? Can’t a part-time gardener sell his surplus stock? Can’t an amateur filmmaker sell his films? What’s to say a YouTuber can’t turn a profit on his videos? More to the point: Why do YouTubers who do vlogs with ads get to make a profit, but YouTubers who do more time consuming videos get told that they’re defiling a hobby by asking for money? No one treats GameGrumps or Total Biscuit this way when they force you to sit through 15 seconds of ads. But ask for wholly voluntary, completely optional donations to make up for ad revenue failing me and I’m crossing a line?”

        Replace youtuber, vlog, gaming, with nexus, mods, and modding, and that is pretty much exactly what I would want to say in defense of the Nexus monetizing off of their services (And you’re still not deprived of any actual CONTENT on the site. Honestly, I wish they would rebrand the “premium” as “donator” or something to make this fact abundantly clear) and I’m using Campster’s words because by god that man is good at putting words together and sounding smart about it.

        Also I don’t know how ‘pushy’ the Premium thing is nowadays. I’ve been a premium member for ages now but as far as I can recall there was one button in the NMM that said, “Go premium! Faster speeds!” or something to that effect and a few scattered around the website. Not exactly obtrusive pop-ups at every turn. In my opinon as pushy as the ‘donate’ button on the sidebar there — which I’ve also clicked because I like supporting media I consume and enjoy.

        Cheers, hope this doesn’t come off as being way too snarky and ill-tempered (admittedly I have a horse in this race and am in no way objective in regards to the Nexus).

        1. Shamus says:

          My response was specifically aimed at the people who kept insisting that NMM was super-easy. I was talking about how Steam was a 1-click install, and other people have been telling me NMM is the same thing. I listed all those hassles not because I was raging against the developers, but because I was trying to show that the system isn’t nearly as simple or convenient as it seems for first-time users.

          NMM might well be the best mod installer in the world for all I know. It can certainly handle more ambitious and complex mods than Steam Workshop. (Steam workshop handles only a fraction of the total available mods.) But it’s massively more demanding to use, requiring both time and technical expertise on the part of the user. That’s it’s nature, and I don’t think there’s any harm or malice in saying so.

          1. KremlinLaptop says:

            Fair enough and like I said; valid criticism, but I don’t think there’s anyway to truly make it a “one click” process unless NMM was as integrated into Skyrim as the Steam API is (And even then the NMM interface is far from perfect).

            I was responding more to these bits: “… downloaded at 2002 speeds while telling me to pay for premium service.”, “… a pushy salesman website, …” and the negativity in that regard.

            I guess it’s a bit pithy and cherry-picked, but it really got my goat because those servers, a five man team, all the work they do? Someone needs to pay for those things. Balking at the idea that they dare ask MONEY for providing all this free stuff just sat wrong with me, especially coming from someone who provides vast swaths of “free” content (i.e it’s free for us, but certainly not for you. Not sure if you break-even or not on server upkeep and such with just the humble donate button. The post I linked on the Nexus gives a pretty firm idea of the sort of traffic they deal with).

            Like I said, the Nexus would be better served calling it “Donator” or “Supporter” rather than “Premium”. (“Premium” on the web does make me think of Fileplanet and the like in ’02 and “waiting in line” for my 50kb download.)

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