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Archive for September, 2008

Christianshavn

 

A certain plant is enjoyed here. I don't know which.

A certain plant is enjoyed here. I don't know which one.

Christianshavn is an area of Copenhagen located south of the main city across the large canal. My friend had heard of the area and we went to check it out (it was mid-December when we went). It sounded like a really lawless and free area. When we crossed the canal we encountered a surprisingly nice neighborhood with churces, school and bakeries. It felt like the area of Copenhagen where people lived instead of the main drags full of stuff people buy. We wondered past a church being renovated, a common occurrence in Europe, and found a small path leading past a couple walls. On the side of the nearby building was a large painted mural of bright cheerful tree. A lot of people were going in and out of the area.

Being afraid of offending anyone or disturbing social moires we headed in taking pictures along the way. We had stumbled into Christiania, a subset of Christianshavn. This was the radical police free area we had heard about. As we walked in it looked rather bleak, or would have if not for the prolific murals combined with creative graffiti. There was quite a few references to some sort of green leafy plant and Alice in Wonderland.

A sign in english proclaimed that the plants in this particular planter were THC free Hemp and not to be smoked. In the middle of December the planter was empty.

When we finally found the main thoroughfare of the small area it was plasted with signs and warning about not taking pictures. Whoops. The streets or more accurately dirt roads were full of shops selling pot related merchandise, marijuana dispensiaries and barrels full of flaming warmth. Also lots of abandoned (or maybe communal) bicycles.

Despite the murals the place was not full of happy merry vibes. We left quickly and silently.

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The Lovable Storke Tower

The Lovable Storke Tower

Last night I went to the freshman Ice Cream Social held in Storke Plaza. It was not so much of a social and more of a large crowd accompanied by some sort of music. I went for the ice cream, I stayed for the night photography.

My goal was to get some HDR shots of the crowds with motion blur from the moving people. Except when I tried to process the photos the movement created a lot of large artifacts. I am falling back to just tonemapping a single image, as seen above. The distortion along the top of the image is from the lens hood, it was either that or a large lens flare from the light I was under.

What will make great night photos will be the trees around campus, they have good under lighting and unlike crowds they tend not to move.

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Calm before the Quarter

 

A Camera Phone View of Santa Barbara

A Camera Phone View of Santa Barbara

I moved into my dorm yesterday, classes start on Thursday. Until then I need to reorient myself to Santa Barbara and life in an American college. No more pub quizzes for me.

I bought my textbooks and with a shock remembered the price discrepancies between here and Scotland. For this quarter I have three books (two of them used) for two classes totaling $220. I am taking three classes so I am glad that there is no textbook (yet) for my third class. And one of them is a small book too.

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Move In Day

 

 

He is as excited as I am.

He is as excited as I am.

 

 

Moving into my dorm today, probably buying some expensive textbooks as well.

Nothing quite as fun.

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Driving South

 

A Causeway in Galway

A Causeway in Galway

Ahoy me hearties! I be heading south to the distant lands of Santa Barbara on this fortuitous of days. Tomorrow and today will be rough days of travel and moving in all me treasure. 

Expect there to be short posts and while these tasks be done.

Arr.

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Snake Breeding

 

Bitey the Wonder Snake

Bitey the Wonder Snake

My brother has a new snake, who I have dubbed Bitey the Wonder Snake. Names are not my forte, if I had a horse it would be named Blacky, whatever it’s color. I don’t think the name will stick. This is not the first snake my brother owns, nor will it be the last. He has some red tail boas, doom somethings and maybe a few more hidden away.

When I return from this quarter of Santa Barbara there may be more, he is looking into snake breeding. I am not sure how one would go about this, I am sure it must be easier then pandas. At least I hope so. 

Tomorrow I am heading back to Santa Barbara, well heading back really means my parents are driving me and my stuff down. It has been over a year and a half since I last set foot in Southern California I suspect this is when I will finally hit the reverse culture shock I have been waiting for all summer.

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Super Smash Bros. VS Record. Time totals 21 solid days.

Super Smash Bros. VS Record. Time totals 21 solid days.

 

My favorite aspect and multiplayer console games are the multiplayer modes that are made up during play instead of those meant to be a part of the game. The best games to create new modes of play are those that are not as complex such as Goldeneye and Mario Kart 64.

The first new mode that my friends and I came up with, maybe not the only ones to do so, is Goldeneye Jousting. The only in game mode that is needed is one shot kills. The set up work best is Facility with three or more players. The two jousting rink is the corridor between the two chemical tank rooms, each player starts behind the doors on opposite sides of the corridors. They crouch down, put away all guns and the doors open. They charge at each other, slappers slapping, making passes until one lies dead or both have taken the other out. The extra players are needed so that there are witnesses in the game, preferably with guns to enforce the rules.

Another Goldeneye favorite involved mines. Mainly remote and proximity mines. This is a king of the hill type game, except that the hill is actually the center room of Complex and it is turned into more of a fortress. Essentially one player resides in that particular room with no weapon other then proximity mines and tries his best to protect his base. The other three players have a loose alliance to take him out and usurp his position. A usable tactic in these situations, if there are actual teams, is to place remote mines on one player and have him run in to deliver the explosives. If friendly fire is off he should live or at least respawn soon enough to take out his friend who walked over the detonation site to reach to fortress.

A game mode I have not tried for fear of my health takes place in Mario Kart 64. This mode works best at night, in a dark room, with no lights on. The victor is not necessarily the one who wins the most victories but the one to survive the longest. It is a Rainbow Road Marathon. Four players continuously play Rainbow Road either the last person playing after his fellow players have lost eyesight for the week or the person with the most wins after everyone agrees they cannot take any more, wins. It may work with modern versions of Mario Kart, but I feel that simplistic, crude, flashing nature of the N64 Rainbow Road would be harsher on the eyes then the modern ones with softer graphics. Bonus points for knocking someone off the track.

With a lot of games going online I have felt that the camaraderie of console or LAN multiplayer is lost. Sure you can use headsets for voice chat but that does not make up for the dread that can be infused in seeing a friends malicious grin illuminated by the glow of his computer monitor, followed by a swift return to the starting point.

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