Linux+ Certified!

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Hooray! I passed my CompTIA Linux+ certification today. Sorry I’ve been neglecting you folks over the last little bit, but see, I’ve been studying from an old exam study guide from 2010, stolen from an acquaintance, and it’s basically eaten all my concentration since I hatched this hare-brained scheme of mine.

Last Wednesday, at about the same time as I got it in my head to finally rectify my Bachelor of Arts situation, I also bought exam vouchers for the two tests necessary to become Linux+ certified. I scheduled the tests for the soonest I could get them, then I cracked the books. And today, after melting my brainpan for a week, I am now finally a man of letters and papers and shit. I now, finally, have certifications and degrees and paperwork proving I know what I do. Well, some of it anyway. There isn’t a certification for knowing the location of every extra life in Super Mario Bros 1, sadly, or I’d be going for that next.

To celebrate my achievement, I drew a dancing turtle.

Sketch of dancing turtle - animated gif. Drawn with a Wacom tablet by a freshly-certified computer dork.

He has a top hat and a diamond tipped cane, because he gots just that much swag.

(There’s a story behind this turtle, though it’s short and kinda silly. You might hear it one day.)

I am now a Bachelor!

No, not that kind of bachelor. My dance card is still full. (Sorry, interested party(ies).)

In the Spring of 2001, I completed my last courses and, prior to leaving my university and entering the workforce to work off the debt I’d accumulated, I applied to graduate. I thought I had all my core prerequisites under control, and I assumed that I would be sent a diploma sometime thereafter.

As it turns out, I had actually flubbed one of the prerequisites. In order to complete my Bachelor of Arts (major English, minor Sociology) degree, one of the prereqs was that I had six credit hours in a language other than English. And I did — I had 3 hrs in French, and 3 hrs in German. The syllabus neglected to mention that they had to be in the same language.
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SSA Blogathon – Some video game nonsense to wrap up (9 of 9)

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Okay, so I’m basically out of real content at the moment, so have some ramblings for my last post of the night. I had originally scheduled a four hour shift because I wasn’t sure if I’d end up having to work tonight, but luckily, I don’t. I say luckily because I’m actually pretty close to spent now. I do not envy those fools brave souls who did a full 24 hour stint.

You might remember that I was trying to get a PS3 controller working under Windows and Linux so I could play some video games. Well, I got it working under both, but under neither one of them did ZSNES, a Super Nintendo emulator, operate properly. No matter what I did — and I hacked at it for a week — I couldn’t get it to read the keys properly, as the drivers under both Windows and Linux read the accelerometer as being “triggered” at all times, so every button when I went to configure it got set to that accelerometer. It was maddening as hell because I had gotten it to work fine with an NES emulator and with The Binding of Isaac.

Jodi and I went out to Future Shop to pick up a Logitech USB controller but couldn’t find any (their computers said they had two in stock but the staffers were at a loss as to where). So we went to Staples on a hunch (Jodi’s hunch, not mine), and found the exact model we were looking for, only for five bucks cheaper, in a bargain bin. At the same time we got her a faster SD card for her camera so it could take video properly — her old one was too slow on the write side.

Brought home the controller, unboxed it, and it worked flawlessly under Linux without any configuration. So I picked up a ROM for a game I hadn’t played before, because it was never released in North America — Mystery Dungeon 2: Shiren The Wanderer.

It didn’t take me very long to realize what I was playing. A rogue-like game. A true rogue-like game. On the SNES. Anyone who knows me knows I’ve got a thing for rogue-likes.

So I’m jonesing to go play this now. That’s what I’ll be doing if I can’t find anything else to blog tomorrow. Apparently this game’s since been remade for Wii, probably owing to the success of the remake of Chocobo’s Dungeon, which is itself evidently a Final Fantasy-branded Mystery Dungeon franchise licensee. The Pokemon franchise also licensed this engine, apparently. Evidently in Japan, there’s a whole slew of these games, and they all kinda play similarly. Turn-based moves, randomly-generated dungeons, permadeath. I don’t know why I like the idea so much now, when I have such a strong preference for never losing progress in games. I fondly remember cheating with saved games in ADOM once upon a summer at my father’s.

Before moving onto FtB, I had built the Konami Code into my old blog that would launch a Java-based version of the original Rogue. I kinda miss having that available.

Oh, before I close out, I’m now mentioning Veritas Knight, who asked that I mention him. He’s apparently already blown his SSA donation budget so he can’t ask any special questions. AliasAlpha didn’t donate as far as I know, but asked: “Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?”

Uh, I think so AliasAlpha, but where would we get the DeLorean and the AMC Gremlin, not to mention the rocket engines?

You might want to check out a pair of trolls who airdropped onto post 6 if you’re looking for some entertainment while I hit the hay.

Anyway, go donate! And g’night all!

This is post 9 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 598 with $83,999 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – ‘The many kinds of girl’ (7 of 9)

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I’ve previously spoken about how media portrays women and how the general messaging leads women to believe they aren’t “pretty enough”. Comics are especially guilty of this, with women being generally identical only with anatomical impossibilities intended to facilitate the male gaze.

Some folks are trying to counter that message, though. And thank goodness. DeviantArtiste vonnie-seiyuki-chan has built a lovely image pastiche of what “beautiful women” might look like. Now comic book artists have no excuse in thinking that every woman is built like a porn star with a swivel spine!

Girls be proud of your shapes! Use them to your advantage, you’d be surprised how great you feel when you find the style that goes with your figure.

My favourite is the cute little black girl in the middle. She so adorables.

1. Tall Column (Thin with little variance in hips waist and bust)
2. Round shape (Waist is larger than hips and bust)
3. Bottom heavy 1 (Waist and bust are smaller than hips)
4. Short column.
5. Top Heavy (Large bust with hips and waist roughly the same size)
6. Square shape (Wider than column, little variance in waist, hips and bust)
7. Bottom Heavy 2 (Hips larger than waist, waist larger than bust)
8. Classic hourglass (Usually quite tall, large hips and bust small waist)
9. Cutey Hourglass (Slightly larger than the classic, often average height)
10. Itty hourglass (A very small hourglass, large breasts and hips comparative to size)
11. Apple Shape (Breast and waist larger than hips and legs) Somebody mentioned this shape so I added it, thank you, I didn’t know this shape before :3
12. Well toned (Usually small waist, small breasts, varying hip sizes. Well toned and slightly muscled) 2 people mentioned this, it’s the kind of shape common in swimmers and marathon runners.
13. Tall Round (A taller, larger version of round shape) Loosely based on Mellissa McCarthy.

The last two shapes I had wanted to add to the original picture in the first place but didn’t because 1. I’m lazy. 2. I’m not very good at drawing muscles or larger women. But I gotta practice.

If there’s any particularly different shape I’m missing you’d like me to add tell me and I might.

This is a grand effort. I can think of a few missing shapes, but it’s a start. Also, if you’re naturally “classic hourglass” (e.g. you’re what the media portrays as the only adequate body shape), your beauty rests on a razor’s edge, understand that you could lose your position of privilege at any moment — but your body type is fine too, it just doesn’t qualify you for the privilege you enjoy, and you should take especial care as a person of privilege not to mistreat others with different body types. And most of all, learn to love who you are, however you are. Especially if it changes for whatever reason.

The SSA protects you from religious bigotry. It also tries to protect you from other sorts of bigotry, like appearance. You should support them.

This is post 7 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 593 with $83,134 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – #misandryinvideogames: a response to misogynist trolls (6 of 9)

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In the wake of the blatantly misogynistic attack Feminist Frequency has endured over the Tropes vs Women In Video Games video kickstarter, wherein trolls claimed that video games showed significant levels of misandry as well, Twitter launched a counter-offensive. The #misandryinvideogames hashtag has Twitter users describing all the instances of misandry they could find in video games. Some absolutely hilarious stuff in there, like:

@ghostpower

#MisandryInVideoGames in tetris a lot of the blocks you destroy look like weiners and balls

Hugtopus@ominousoat

#MisandryInVideoGames Waluigi creates an unrealistic standard of beauty for men

V★REX@ABigBagOfKeys

#misandryinvideogames Zelda keeps friend zoning me

Z@brizoni

Why you always gotta save a princess? Why never a prince? #MisandryInVideoGames

birdie sanchez@k4di2

GTA’s protagonist is always a man with criminal tendencies #MisandryInVideoGames

Smoketypething@Smoketypething

#MisandryInVideogames Sometimes women neither Tits nor GTFO, even when I ask nicely.

Z@brizoni

Also: “Mega” Man? Any man who’s stocky is “Mega” now? Stop promoting bulimia in pre-teen boys, Capcom. #MisandryInVideoGames

AND BY HILARIOUS I MEAN HORRIBLE. HOW HORRIBLE IT MUST BE TO BE A MAN AND PLAY VIDEO GAMES AND SEE ALL THIS MISANDRY.

zomg.

This is post 6 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 592 with $83,119 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – Glenn Beck opens fire at a new target in his war on sanity (5 of 9)

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Glenn Beck launches his newest front on the war on sanity: a war against Glee.

Seriously, what gets this guy so hot under the collar about this show? I’m going out on a limb and saying all of the content where homosexuality is treated maturely and with respect. Or where atheism is mentioned without the atheist character being particularly evil.

Or where people are singing in key rather than barking madly at the TV.

Know which high schoolers probably won’t be watching his proffered “conservative Glee”? I’ll bet SSA members won’t because they’re smart and cool and tolerant, none of which adjectives describe Beck!

This is post 5 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 588 with $83,024 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – SSA adopts a harassment policy for conferences! (4 of 9)

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Some excellent news to those among you who’ve been following the ongoing secular harassment policy campaign (though if you haven’t that’s okay too): the Secular Student Alliance has officially adopted a strong and publicly available harassment policy.

Making the Secular Student Alliance Conference Welcoming to Everyone

Everyone at the Secular Student Alliance is committed to making our conference a welcoming place for all people, regardless of race, color, national origin, age, creed, worldview, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We want to make sure that all attendees feel safe throughout the event. We will take any reports of harassment or other inappropriate activity seriously.

We consider harassment to be continued unwanted behavior directed toward another person. We hope it is obvious that you should not disparage your fellow conference goers on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, creed, worldview, disability, veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. We further hope it is obvious that you should not make uninvited sexual comments toward anyone. If someone asks you to leave them alone or to otherwise stop a behavior that is directed toward them, comply with that person’s wishes immediately.

If you are being harassed, please contact an SSA staff member or volunteer. If you notice someone else is being harassed, or just seems uncomfortable, feel free to bring it to the attention of an SSA staff member or volunteer. If you are worried about your physical safety, obviously exit the situation as soon as possible and call 911. Please let SSA staff know what happened once you are safe.

All incidents of violence, physical intimidation, and unwanted intentional physical contact will result in immediate expulsion from the SSA Conference. People who harass others or cause multiple complaints of disrespectful behavior may be required to leave. SSA staff members are happy to help participants contact local law enforcement, and otherwise assist those experiencing harassment to feel safe at our conference.

SSA staff or volunteers can be found at the SSA table during the hours of scheduled events for the conference.

In addition to communicating with SSA staff and volunteers, please look out for each other. Don’t leave people alone with others who are clearly bothering them. Make sure you are setting a good example.

In addition to the general comment feedback forms, we will provide a comment box on the registration table. Please feel free to leave any comments there. Please be aware that we will not be reviewing those comments until after the conference.

Let’s make the SSA Conference fun for everyone!

Well done all involved! That’s another one for the list at More ^than Men!

This is post 4 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 584 with $83,004 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – Jay Smooth Vs. Misogynist Internet Trolls (3 of 9)

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So you remember all that nonsense misogynist flack Feminist Frequency took for daring to talk about female tropes in video games? Jay Smooth tore that shit up.

Ill Doctrine: All These Sexist Gamer Dudes Are Some Shook Ones from ANIMALNewYork.com on Vimeo.

From the transcript:

But it’s still been an intensely ugly spectacle that raises a whole lot of questions about why this happens so often and why so many dudes think it’s okay to persecute and harass and abuse women online. A lot of these dudes, if you challenge them, will tell you that they don’t have any real feelings about this, and they’re just trolling for the fun of it. That they don’t really hate women, they just think that it’s funny to treat women as if they hate them. And that–I mean, first of all, you’re lying to yourself, there’s clearly more to it than that, and second of all, that doesn’t make it any better! Only someone who hates women and sees them as less than human would even think that’s a meaningful distinction. And I don’t know what I could say that would get through to someone who is so invested in detaching from their own humanity, so I–I’m just going to think about that and come back to it.

And for now, I’m just going to say to everyone else, and especially my fellow dudes, that when you see something like that going on, you–and by you, I mean we–have an obligation to speak out against it more often. It’s really not cool for us to just shrug our shoulders and say, “That’s just 4chan being 4chan.” And it’s REALLY not okay for you to jump in to somebody’s discussion of this harassment and derail it with a bunch of comments about, “But sure, harassment is bad, but men are discriminated against, too! Women are always making something out of nothing buh buh buh buh buh!” No, man! Now is not the time for that! If you need to have that debate, there are plenty of other times for that.

Awesome.

Know who else supports people who are being harassed mercilessly? THE SSA. No, seriously. Okay, maybe not *specifically* about girls and video games, but they do. I’ll show you how in the next post!

This is post 3 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 586 with $82,969 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

SSA Blogathon – Why the Secular Student Alliance matters (2 of 9)

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Growing up, I didn’t have anyplace to express my doubts in religion. I’ve mentioned before that while I grew up in a liberal Catholic household, I began to have my doubts shortly after Confirmation — yes, the very point in time where I’m asked if I want to be a Catholic forever-and-ever. It was about then that I realized what I was being asked, and even though I went through the motions so I could get home to play the Megaman game I’d rented (3 I believe?), it nagged at me for the rest of the weekend.

I ended up suppressing my thoughts on the matter. I knew if everyone — including my parents — were wrong about God, there was no way I could tell them so without getting a crapload of disapprobation; and if I was wrong, better to not make the error in judgment of saying something about all this ahead of time. If there had been a Secular Student Alliance in my high school in northern New Brunswick, I might have had an easier time wrestling with my feelings than I did. As it stood, it took until I realized some people in university also had their doubts that I was able to express my opinions just that little bit more freely in meatspace.

The internet happened in the meantime though, and provided me with somewhat of a release valve. I fought with creationists on Usenet under a few anonymous handles through high school, and on some forums, during the pre-blog days. My skills were undoubtedly lacking back then. I often can’t tell if I’ve improved much since, though. At least what I put on the internet now, I’m willing to stand behind. Most of the time.

While the internet is a good release valve, I can’t help but think how much better things might have been for my own sense of a support structure while growing up if a Secular Student Alliance group existed in my school at the time. I realize it’s a backwater part of the Maritimes, but in a school of 2000, surely there must have been a significant proportion of non-theists. They might even have been the same crew I ended up being friendliest with anyway — the outcasts and nerds and social pariahs. Banding together officially with these folks, to talk about one of the central questions of this universe, would have been great. And having support for those times people God-bothered others would have been doubly great.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten the “touching personal story” out of the way, here’s an animated gif of a turtle running on the beach! D’aw!

The SSA provides a valuable service. A service that animated gifs of turtles just can’t provide. A service I don’t want to see evaporate anytime soon. Please, give what you can.

This is post 2 of 9 for the SSA Blogathon. Total donors is at 585 with $82,919 donated! You can still donate to the SSA by supporting other blogathoners, art contributors, personal fundraising pages or through a direct donation to the SSA. SSA Week lasts through June 17th. Spread the word!

Onoes, the religious are being bullied by Gay-Straight Alliances in Canada!!

In Ontario, there’s apparently been a bit of a row over school anti-bullying clubs naming themselves Gay-Straight Alliance, or something similar. The row comes mostly from the Catholic schools — naturally — where the proposed clubs are denied on the basis that they have the word “gay” in them, where these Catholic schools consider homosexuality to be evil, sinful, et cetera. The provincial government is debating amending the education laws surrounding anti-bullying initiatives in such a way to prevent schools from denying these clubs’ existences, so an archbishop threw a shit-fit.

“Why is a piece of provincial legislation being used to micromanage the naming of student clubs?” he said.

On Friday, the Liberal government at Queen’s Park said it would introduce legislation that would require all schools to accept clubs by that name.

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