Random Post

Feb 15, 2012


I've just seemed to come up with some good quotes lately, and this is the place to post them!

"Creative men eat well." - Austin Ballard

"I'd rather believe in a God and be wrong than believe in nothing and be right or wrong." - Austin Ballard

"The name 'Austin' is just uncommon enough that my mind is always absolutely certain anyone who says it is talking to me." - Austin

"Life is good, as long as there's food." - Austin Ballard

"If a tree falls in the forest and lands on a deaf man, does it make a sound?" - Austin

Feb 12, 2012

Project Progress: Warlock

So this week I did something I always love to do: I got back into an old project! Heroes of Azeroth: Warlock, to be specific. You can look it up on the Project List page.
More than just being an exciting project again, it's given me hope that not all of my old projects will be abandoned. Especially ones that have a lot of promise, such as Corridor (see bottom of post), Raoul's Voyage, and especially Final Quest.

Perhaps what inspired me to continue with this project was a walk down memory lane a week or two ago. For the past two years, I struggled with a bug on WarCraft III where it wouldn't show my older maps as available to play on the game. Last week it was finally revealed to me on a support site that the reason it was malfunctioning was because my maps were "buried too deep" in folders on my hard drive. This made total sense, because when I got back from Brazil I organized the maps according to category, date created, etc... apparently they were simply too organized; the path of the directory was too long for the game to detect.

A shot of the Demon Summoning Circle. The two warlocks shown are dressed in red in the real version.
Once this problem was fixed, all of my old games from as early as 2003 became available to play! I had fun reminiscing through the amateur-made maps of my younger brother Redge and I, as we (as a 14-year-old and an 11-year-old) struggled to master the World Editor and its functions.

Among the most notable maps were Jail of the Teletubbies, Bob's Day in the Forest, Lawnmower and Agutro the Ogre. I also developed quite a talent in making cinematics as well, the best of which was He's Flying! and The Odyssey. When I was finished with those, I began to look at the maps I've made not so long ago. Warlock was one of these, and to this moment I can't remember why I ever stopped working on it. There were a couple of random bugs, but after fixing these I found myself enjoying adding brand new elements I had planned to add earlier. Now progress on Warlock is in full-swing, and hopefully I'll be able to finish it in a few weeks.

For those of you who have no idea what WarCraft is, let me just say that there is something special about making your own level on the game from scratch. The entire story was laid out by the professionals, but they left all the tools they used just for users like my brother and me to craft our own adventures. I have always loved map editors, from the very early and primitive Tides of Darkness editor to the Heroes of Might and Magic trilogy and even Age of Empires. Working on creating something is the closest one can get to feeling like the creator of one's own world, and I have high hopes for all my projects in this way.

Speaking of, I was able to play a game of Corridor this past week, and my excitement for it has been rekindled ever so slightly as well. Certain rules have been ironed out, and progress on the game has been furthered if not by materials, then by the ideas behind the game. As always, I will keep my Latest sidepanel up-to-date, as well as my Project List. Wish me luck!

Feb 7, 2012

You've Got to be Kidney-ing Me!

CAUTION: The following post contains a picture that may revolt viewers with weaker gag reflexes. Oops. There it is looming under this caption. Never mind.

Last week I was involuntarily thrust into an absolutely unexpected situation that I do not wish upon anyone, including myself again: I got a kidney stone.

I am 22 years old, 23 in April. I thought this sort of occurence only happened to gentlemen in their late 30's and older! I was completely unprepared for the pain and inconvenience involved with passing a small crystal through my body's internal plumbing. As I mentioned in the previous post, I had been having back pain lately, and perhaps this is the reason why.

Two Sundays back, after seeing the chiropractor twice the previous week and still feeling the occasional ache in the lower back, I received an attack of agony the magnitude of which I had never before experienced. Pain coarsed through my lower back, spasming the muscles there (or so I thought) and causing me so much pain my fingers tingled and I felt nausea well up inside me. Taking 800mg of Ibuprofen did nothing to dull the searing pain, and neither did massaging the muscles with Amish Herbal Ointment, cool gel, or a heated rice pad.

No wonder. The pain was internal.

The emergency health center recognized my symptoms, and after having a CT Scan done, the source of the pain was clear: I had a kidney stone.

The following week was spent trying to pass the stone, staying home from school, drinking at least a swimming pool and a half's worth of water a day, and wearing out the carpet from the computer to the bathroom. It finally passed on Friday, February 3, at 8:57 a.m.

Don't get me wrong, the pain on Sunday was excruciating. I give it a 10 on the scale of pain I myself have ever experienced (No offense, those who have had your femur cracked). But the worst part of all was the anticipation of something I understood little of. The doctors assured me that I would feel pain as the stone passed. I spent much of my time pre-living the pain, wondering if I wouldn't be able to handle it, if it would happen amid cries of pain in a public restroom, how long the pain would last before it was over, and most of all, when it would happen.

I was inexpressibly relieved when the nightmare ended Friday morning, and the pain was all of a second and a half. I was on Hydrocodone pain medication as well, which was not present during the despairing hours on Sunday. The biggest relief came from being able to walk into the bathroom no longer worried about the unknown. If there's anything I am grateful for in this experience, it's the thought of being able to sympathize with my wife, who is due to give birth to our first child in July. I can now imagine the pain she'll experience, but also the worry of the unknown. I now know the frustration of thinking "Was that a sharp pain? Did the stone fall into my bladder? Will the intense pain come the next time I need to pee?" as she will no doubt trudge through the blurry definitions of what a "contraction" is, and when the time she has both looked forward to and dreaded will come.

Passing a kidney stone may have been unexpected, untimely, and overall painful; but now I have gained the ability to sympathize with my wife when she brings a child into the world. And while my pain may be nothing compared to what she experiences, at least she can look at that thing that comes out of her body with wonder and declare "You sweet piece of heaven... your innocent little form erases all the pain you put me through." Next time I get a chance to go back to the Urologist, my little piece of whatever it is is going straight to the lab to be analyzed. And may I never see another one again.