Blog Main Archive - Dec 2008

Posts Below
12/12/2008 - If You Can't Do Something Hard, Try Something Even Harder (Self-Help - Tip)
12/14/2008 - Mars/Venus, Red/Green, Men/Women (Astrology)
12/19/2008 - 31 Old VGMix 2 Songs (Music - Astrosorted Music List Update)
12/22/2008 - The End of Sun in Sagittarius and Beginning of Sun in Capricorn (Pictures - Second Life)
12/25/2008 - Free Samples from PhilosophersNotes.com (Self-Help)

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If You Can't Do Something Hard, Try Something Even Harder
Friday, December 12th, 2008
03:41:03 GMT

Self-Help
Tip

Programming is really difficult and tedious for me. It's often hard for me to do, and often hard to even force myself to start struggling to do. But one good thing about programming (aside from it enabling me to create unique and utterly customized tools I never could have obtained in any other way) is the fact that it makes a majority of everything else I might ever want to do seem tremendously easy in comparison.

For instance, years ago, I was interested in learning Japanese. Of course, I gave up on that - mostly because of losing interest, but also because of having too many obstacles such as little money for books, no computer with good Japanese dictionary software, no convenient transportation to the library, little internet access except at night and in the early morning when it wasn't clogging my family's phone line, etc. (I know it's pathetic that I let such things stop me, but my excuse is, I was a teenager who was not very resourceful and crippled with shyness).

And on top of that, Japanese itself was hard to learn. All those blasted thousands of characters, and multiple pronunciations for each. Arrghhh!!

Recently, though, something drew my attention back to the idea of learning Japanese, and I ended up looking through some of my old books. Whereupon, to my surprise, I discovered that just sitting there reading a book and passively absorbing even something as ridiculously overcomplicated as Japanese seemed blissfully, wonderfully easy compared to all the frustration and torment of having to constantly wrack my brain to figure out the next logical step in the process of writing and debugging a program. It was truly a nice change of pace - just reading stuff and not having to really think about it, just soaking it up like a sponge.

So, in summary - if you're having trouble doing something hard, force yourself to do something tremendously harder for weeks or months on end. (I recommend programming). You might end up running back to the original difficult task with open arms.


(Not that I'm now studying Japanese again - not yet, at least. But, I really might go back to learning that, sometime. I already am dabbling in French again. Something language-related might actually be a much better career for me than programming. Learning languages seems to come more naturally to me, it's less of a struggle. I have never yet become fluent in any language besides English, but, I was good at French in high school, at least.

If I do start studying Japanese again, I plan on attempting to learn Chinese at the same time, because both use many of the same characters with the same meanings, and it appears Chinese might be less hard to read than I thought, because apparently, each character has only one pronunciation, unlike Japanese. Also, Mandarin Chinese is one of the most commonly-spoken languages in the world, so, it's bound to be useful. I always wonder what cool stuff in other languages I'm missing out on.)

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Mars/Venus, Red/Green, Men/Women
Sunday, December 14th, 2008
22:21:16 GMT

Astrology

Here's a blog post about an amusing news story I ran across yesterday: Men Are Red, Women Are Green; According to Brown Scientist | ZME Science

That blog post made the entertainingly almost astrological-sounding statement that 'We've heard the phrase "men are from Mars, women are from Venus"' [...] 'a hundred times. But quickly, associate a colour with the two planets; over 90% of those asked to do this will associate red with Mars, and Green with Venus. So there could be truth behind that old saying.'

Of course, that news story isn't actually about astrology, even though the above blog post made a virtually astrological statement in passing. The overall gist of this news is, apparently Caucasian men have more red pigmentation and Caucasian women have more green pigmentation.

Here's an official news release from the Brown University site: Men Are Red, Women Are Green, Brown Researcher Finds

I also found this FAQ page by the researcher Michael J. Tarr: Men are red, women are green: FAQ

This discovery actually is a bit interesting from an astrological point of view, because in astrology, men are indeed associated with Mars, the Red Planet, and women are associated with Venus, the not very green-looking creamy tan planet, which in astrology is nonetheless sometimes associated with the color green anyway, for reasons unknown to me. It's sort of a neat coincidence.


I wonder if it's really true that, as the ZME Science blog post stated, over 90% of people asked to associate a color with Venus would pick green. I can kind of believe a figure like that for Mars (which even many non-astrologers know is called the Red Planet), but, unless I'm missing something obvious, Venus isn't quite as easy to associate with the color green.

Then again, maybe it's pretty commonly known that the extreme heat of Venus (the hottest planet in the solar system) is largely the result of the strongest greenhouse effect in the solar system. Or, maybe a lot of people are aware that in a lot of old sci-fi stories, Venus was described as being a tropical planet full of jungles and swamps. Or maybe the name Venus reminds lots of people of the Venus fly trap, a carnivorous plant. Or maybe lots of people know that the Spanish word "verde" means green, as does the French word "vert", or they know the obscure English word "verdure", which means greenery.

Oooh, here's something I never knew about: SPACE.com - Venus: No Lightning, But a Strange Green Glow Wow, so Venus actually is more green than I ever knew... :-D

That's a neat coincidence, that Venus literally has a green glow on its night side, and is sometimes associated with the color green in astrology. :-)


I have no idea who came up with the idea in astrology that Venus is associated with the color green, since, unfortunately, The Rulership Book by Rex E. Bills just lists associations and not the sources of those associations.

The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica article on astrology claims that Venus was associated with the metal copper under Ptolemy's system (and the color yellow, no idea why). However, it's interesting to note that the metal copper can eventually turn green as a result of weathering, and can also leave a green stain on some people's skin. Maybe those facts somehow led to Venus eventually becoming associated by some astrologers with the color green.


Though it's 11 days early, I guess this post is sort of timely for Christmas, whose traditional colors are red and green. Too bad I can't think of any obvious way to relate Christmas to Mars and Venus in astrology. :-)

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31 Old VGMix 2 Songs
Friday, December 19th, 2008
05:20:34 GMT

Music
Astrosorted Music List Update

Here's the first Astrosorted Music List update I've made since April 2008. Below, you will find non-astrosorted links to 31 absolutely wonderful and legally free songs by brilliant amateur video game music remixers.

If you've been visiting my websites since 2004 or something, it's possible these 31 songs might be familiar to you, since, years ago, they were on my old astrosorted music list, which used to link to 354 songs from the website VGMix.com.

I wish I could link to all 354 songs again all in one shot, simply so all future updates of this list will consist of nothing but truly new stuff - but, I'm not sure where to find them all. And, judging by this post from this VGMix forum thread, it doesn't look like the old songs are going to be made available again from VGMix until a new VGMix site is coded.

So, if there are any music lovers out there who are very good with Python and/or PHP and would like to help them out, that would be awesome. More details are available at the abovementioned forum thread.

    OcRemix

  1. Artura - Dublin Delight
    Length: 2:18    File Size: 3.32 MB   Vocals
    makke
  2. Castlevania 3 - Pools of Rust
    Length: 4:01    File Size: 5.64 MB   Grating
    goat

    Warning: The staticky sound effects from 1:56 to 1:59 are a bit annoying.

  3. Mega Man 2 - Duck and Cover
    Length: 4:02    File Size: 4.85 MB  
    Star Salzman
  4. Oddworld: Abe's Oddysee - The Monsaic
    Length: 5:30    File Size: 5.30 MB  
    The Orichalcon
  5. Secret of Mana - Drifting Towards The Stars
    Length: 4:29    File Size: 5.40 MB  
    GrayLightning
  6. Sorcerian - Cursed Piano
    Length: 5:21    File Size: 5.14 MB  
    XenoCross
  7. The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening - The Sad Fish
    Length: 3:58    File Size: 4.85 MB  
    Nixdorux
  8. Shining Force CD - Five-Sided Square
    Length: 3:46    File Size: 4.83 MB  
    Quinn Fox
  9. Chrono Trigger - The Incredible Singing Robot
    Length: 3:46    File Size: 4.52 MB   Vocals
    Star Salzman
  10. Phantasy Star 2 - Boss Uniform
    Length: 3:29    File Size: 4.19 MB  
    Quinn Fox

    Comment: There was a version of this on Vgmix 2 titled "Slick Uniforms", but this one is in a different key, and is slightly different in other ways too.

  11. Mega Man 2 - The Fifth Season
    Length: 4:18    File Size: 5.17 MB  
    GaMeBoX
  12. Last Ninja - 8-Bit Kamikaze
    Length: 5:36    File Size: 5.39 MB  
    Gecko Yamori
  13. Super Mario RPG - Seeking Heat
    Length: 4:15    File Size: 4.09 MB  
    Sine
  14. Zelda 3 - A Link To The Piano
    Length: 5:07    File Size: 6.15 MB  
    Zoola
  15. Donkey Kong Country 2 - From Within
    Length: 3:33    File Size: 4.27 MB  
    Darangen
  16. F-Zero - Blue Vacation
    Length: 2:41    File Size: 3.24 MB  
    LousySpy
  17. Sonic the Hedgehog 3 - Pure Black, or Marbles and Cream
    Length: 4:10    File Size: 6.00 MB  
    Red Tailed Fox, The Prophet of Mephisto
  18. Street Fighter 2 - The Ken Song
    Length: 4:12    File Size: 6.07 MB   Vocals
    jdproject

    Comment: This was also on Vgmix 2, but it sounds like various enhancements were made - for instance, it's louder, with a better-sounding guitar, and it's 3 seconds longer.

  19. Strider - Vibe Victory
    Length: 3:51    File Size: 4.63 MB  
    Quinn Fox

    Comment: Was also on Vgmix 2. Sounds about the same, but the OcRemix version is 1 second shorter.

  20. Donkey Kong Country - Blue Vision
    Length: 4:18    File Size: 5.16 MB  
    bLiNd

    Comment: Was also on Vgmix 2, but I like this version more - it's quieter, less sharp and shrill, more relaxing. It also has a larger file size than the Vgmix, which was 3.93 MB.

  21. Pac-Man - Glass Cage
    Length: 4:55    File Size: 5.90 MB  
    Israfel

    Comment: Was also on Vgmix 2. Sounds about the same, but the OcRemix is about 1 MB smaller and 1 second longer than the Vgmix.

  22. VGMix X

  23. Sonic Adventure 2 - Emerald Shore
    Length: 8:16    File Size: 9.93 MB  
    Greg2k
  24. System Shock - Hurry RUN
    Length: 4:05    File Size: 3.94 MB   Vocals Disturbing
    Infamous

    Warning: The parts with screaming and crying are creepy.

  25. Arkanoid - Arkanoid
    Length: 3:55    File Size: 3.77 MB   Vocals
    Infamous
  26. The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Super Mario 64 - Mario flys in and hits link round the head with a deku stick
    Length: 3:33    File Size: 3.42 MB   Vocals
    Infamous
  27. F-Zero GX - Dr Stuard Jeff n Toad Air Team Challenger
    Length: 4:45    File Size: 6.85 MB   Grating
    cyborgjeff
  28. System Shock - Glory to the many
    Length: 4:33    File Size: 4.39 MB   Vocals Disturbing
    Infamous

    Warning: Starts getting particularly creepy after 3:39.

  29. Final Fantasy Tactics - The Pub Down the Street
    Length: 1:43    File Size: 2.08 MB   Vocals
    Level 99
  30. Fury of the Furries - Swimming Furries
    Length: 3:55    File Size: 5.67 MB  
    cyborgjeff
  31. Journey to Silius - Silius Passacaglia
    Length: 4:0    File Size: 5.78 MB   Grating
    pingosimon
  32. Elsewhere

  33. Xenogears - Pillar of Salt
    Length: 5:31    File Size: 5.30 MB   Vocals
    Star Salzman

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The End of Sun in Sagittarius and Beginning of Sun in Capricorn
Monday, December 22nd, 2008
00:10:08 GMT

Pictures
Second Life


1024 x 768 - 61 KB
3/11/2008 5:13:02 AM

Capricorn and Sagittarius.

1024 x 768 - 67 KB
3/11/2008 5:17:52 AM

Capricorn, Apollia,
Sagittarius, Aquarius.

On Dec. 21, 2008 at 7:04 AM EST, sun in Sagittarius, the sign of the centaur archer, ended, and sun in Capricorn, the sign of the sea-goat, began.

So, here are a couple more screenshots I took last March in Second Life of various zodiac sculptures at a lovely exhibit of prim sculpture art by Madcow Cosmos.

By the way, here's a Capricorn compatibility tip. If you want to get along with a Capricorn, don't stand on their head. They hate that, as you can see from the picture at right.

You can visit the shop of the artist, Madcow Cosmos, at the Lie sim.

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Free Samples from PhilosophersNotes.com
Thursday, December 25th, 2008
08:40:31 GMT

Self-Help

PhilosophersNotes.com is a website which provides very abbreviated summaries of popular self-help books in PDF and MP3 formats.

Currently, PhilosophersNotes.com is offering 25 free MP3s and PDFs. You can sign up to get those at this page.

This appears to be a holiday gift, so I assume it's only a temporary offer. So, if you want them, sign up while you can. (Edit, 1/9/2009, 4:30 AM: Actually, they're still available now too). Once you sign up, you'll be able to download the MP3s and PDFs until the end of 2009.

(Edit, 4/26/2009: The original offer has been expired for a while now, but, happily, you can still hear the first few minutes of each MP3 and see the first page of each PDF.)

By the way, the MP3s aren't just a verbatim reading of the PDFs. There are often little variations thrown in.

I recommend getting both the PDFs and the MP3s - the PDFs are great for a quick overview or review, and the MP3s are great if you're working on some kind of mindless task like cleaning or driving but want to learn something at the same time.

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