January 24, 2005

Let me tell you a little story.

I'm driving along the deserted coastline of Highway 17 in my buggy. Up ahead I can see what looks like a deserted, run-down house. Next to the house is a shack and around the house is a half-completed, white, wooden fence. I continue down the road toward the shack when suddenly an explosion in the background tears down a telephone pole and a piece of the mountain, and I hear the distinct sounds of Combine soldiers' chatter over their radios behind the fence. Using the Tau Cannon mounted on my buggy, I rip a part of the white fence down, revealing, as I expected, a couple of Combine soldiers. The Tau Cannon makes short work of them. I exit the buggy and make my way toward the house. From the outside, I can hear more Combine chatter inside the house as I see one of them coming toward the door through the window. I ready my shotgun and take down the one coming through the door with a timed shot. Inside, I see two more of them. A well-placed grenade from the MP7 takes them down. I take a short walk around the exterior of the house to make sure there aren't any more of them; I find none.

The house is almost rectangular and has two entries: One at the front and one at the back. I walk into the house. It has a very simple design; the first floor doesn't have any doors or doorways, except one where the door has been taken down. There is what seems to once have been a living room with an old sofa, a small, primitive kitchen, a general storage room containing a few empty wooden boxes and a wooden cabinet, and a tiny washing room just near the door. There is another floor in the house, a small attic, accessible via a rudimentary stair-case. I carefully make my way up there. There's a few mattresses there, some wooden boxes, a pair of old boots, a steel bed, and miscellaneous furniture. I make my way toward the boxes, which I suspect contain supplies, located in the far end, near a window, when suddenly I once again hear Combine soldiers approaching the house (their equipment makes a lot of noise whenever they're moving). I crouch beneath the window as one of them starts firing through it with his Overwatch pusle rifle, and finally shredding it. The shooting stops and I can hear them moving closer to the house. I quickly whip out my zero-point energy field manipulator (a contraption that allows you to pick up and suspend heavy objects in the air, used mainly for heavy lifting) and start throwing all I can find down the stair-case (the steel bed, mattresses, a wooden cabinet, a chair, even the old boots) to block their way.

I carefully approach the now-broken window to make sure there aren't any soldiers outside. There aren't, so I quietly slip through it and fall to the ground. I sneak around the corner and make my way back into the house. The soldiers' attention is all focused on the stair-case; they obviously didn't notice my escape and still think I'm up there, which makes for a relatively easy fight since I have the element of surprise.

Moments like this, my friends, is why you should play Half-Life 2.

Check this out:

"Usually, stuttering appears slightly before adolescence, and sometimes it disappears after puberty. However, if it continues to a mature age, it usually stays forever."

D'oh! I guess I'm fucked.

"A person who stutters may encounter difficulties with people they don't know, making it more difficult to make new friends, for example. As a practical note for non-stuttering people: most people stuttering would wish that the problem be ignored in normal situations. However, if stuttering causes a problem for the listener, then one should not be afraid to talk about it."

That is so true. Personally, I don't have any troubles making new friends because of my stuttering, as I don't stutter all that much in normal situations. I'm not embarrassed by it; I just think it's a boring topic of conversation. If, however, I become extremely nervous or extremely excited, my stuttering can grow exponentially in severeness to the point where listening to me requires 100% of your attention. Believe me, I know; listening to people who stutter severely can be unbearable, and believe me, it's worse for the stutterer than it is for you. If you ever find yourself in that situation, don't be afraid to point it out and suggest that the person calms down. But please, please try to contain your urge to finish words for the stutterer; it's extremely annoying and can further complicate matters if you guess the wrong word.

Why do I stutter? I don't know. Really, why? The word exists, there's nothing wrong with my vocal cords, and I know perfectly well how to pronounce it.

I don't care much, if at all, about people's disabilities, and this recently manifested itself. There's a guy in my PE class in a wheel-chair who participates in most of the activities we do, like basketball, volleyball, running (or, forgive me for this, rolling), and basically all activities involving the exclusive use of the arms. One day when we were going to play football I, silly as I am, asked him, "Well, aren't you going to play?". A few seconds later, having realized what I just said, I got a silly look on my face (I assume) and said "Oh...". I apologized, so I think he doesn't mind.

Nothing particularly new has happened between Yvonne and I, mainly because I'm a total wimp who can't handle telling his feelings to her. I have tried hinting at her; either she hasn't taken the hints (I think she has), or she's expecting me to make the first move (plausible, realistic, and fair). In any case, I think we have a very neat friendship, so there is really no need to rush anything.

In related news, Yvonne and I have been watching Red Dwarf seasons 1, 2, 3, and 4, and I highly recommend you watch it. It's like Futurama, only British and without Earth. Smeghead!

"Has anyone ever told you that the configuration and juxtaposition of your features is extraordinarily apposite?"

NaI is coming along pretty neatly. I have yet to implement a working database, but I have been working on other stuff. In the process of making NaI I have learned, and will continue to learn, heaps of interesting (and potentially useful) things about how the back-end works. There really is a lot of stuff going on behind the scenes whenever you visit a fairly complex website. Mine isn't very complex, yet there already is quite an amount of stuff going on.

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