Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's always good to know both sides of the story.

Game theory is a very interesting concept. John Nash (for the idiots among you) - the guy who Russel Crowe portrayed in A Beautiful Mind was a proponent of Game Theory. I've written a few posts regarding my thoughts on the Prisoner's Dilemma, which I found to be a very interesting game. However, I do think that it is impossible to rationalise human behaviour and motivations that presuppose the incentives that are being offered. Wow, I had a point that I was trying to make, and it's totally just gone over my head now.

As mentioned, the other has now made me an avid Starcraft 2 fan. It's a really tough game for me, given that my knowledge of tactical matters only extends to games in the Total War series. That relates particularly to micromanagement within a battle. However, when you try to mix macromanagement within an instantaneous setting with micromanagement, I tend to get flummoxed. I just want to concentrate on the battle!! It's thinking like that which makes me awesome at Total War, but pretty mediocre at Starcraft 2. What I am not a fan of is build orders. People tend to memorise a standard or optimal set of buildings for EVERY match. I see this as boring and pointless, and does't allow creative or thoughtful tactics to flourish. This extends to Chess, where a lot of people (including all Grandmasters) have typically memorised most opening combinations, and set their play accordingly. This drags the tactical component out of everything, and just replaces it with a 'who can remember the most' mentality. I think Blizzard should set up some games where you start off with a random set of buildings and you have to get going from there.

It's incredibly addictive. The other and I played a 2v2 match the other night against two AI players. It was ridiculously intense, where it looked like we were going to get steamrolled early. However the other came up with some great on the fly tactics of taking the sneak attacks, while I sat back and played defence, just pumping out units. I covered the entire Southern end of the map and we just mopped up everything else on there and it was beautiful!

I've been getting back into Arrested Development lately. Goddamn, what an awesome show. I had forgotten how great it was!! Honestly, the best comedy ever created. If you ever belonged to a family, you have to watch it.

Anyway, that's it for today folks. Joaquin out.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

All The Chances That I've Blown

I don't know why I have to keep beating my drum about this, as I'm sure I've blogged about this numerous times. In college (covering the ages of 17-18) here where me and the other live, you're required to sit something called the AST. It's basically a series of multiple choice questions, an essay (and one other component that I seem to have forgotten) that take up 2 and a bit days. You don't really get a chance to study for these, though you get to sit a mock exam a few months before. I didn't really know what to expect, the wikipedia page for the test states that it's an aptitute test, and not really a knowledge test. However, you are given a point ranking, so I'm not sure how that works - it has to be ranked based on knowledge. All questions are weighted the same, with no breakdown of aptitude, so english-preference students don't know if a high score relates to English or Maths and so on. Anyway, the test covers a whole range of things, from science, to maths, to english reasoning. There's several abstract questions in there, and it's sat in exam conditions (which is basically 600 students cramped into the College gym in excruciating silence. Anyway you tend to sit these exams in September and you don't find out your score till December (when you've actually graduated).

So after we've all received our certificates, we start comparing scores. People seemed to have scored about 160-190 (don't ask me how that works). I take a look at mine - 240 (or thereabouts). What the hell? How did I score so high? There were as many maths questions as there were English comprehension questions and general reasoning questions. As you might have guessed, maths is not my forte. This was against people who had aced through all their Super Advanced Maths and Physics classes, and had topped the school in terms of grades and their university admission index (uni entrance score). After some further checking, it became clear that only one person in the entire school beat me - the dux, who scored 260 (or thereabouts). What did this mean? I don't know. I just felt vindicated, cause I just wanted to grab that piece of paper and just smash it in everyone's faces. Beating everyone (almost), and by such a mammoth margin. It was a great moment - oh to see everyone's faces when they saw my score.

I wish there was a point to that story, but I guess it's a good allegory for my life.

Friendship - what the hell does that mean? I don't know. I am quite sure that the longest and most enduring friendship I've had is with the other (having first met in 1998 or so), which is fantastic. However, there was a massive gap of a few years somewhere in the middle, when the other was living and studying overseas, and I had no word from him. So when you average it all out, my longest friendships have been that long. I read an article a few weeks ago that you tend to change your close circle of friends every 7 years or so, with only 1-2 people generally surviving the cull. I don't know what's with that, but I guess people change. I remember my oldest friend from High School, who I was quite close to, and knew him all the way up to when I was infatuated with Les Femme Anomaly. Then he just stopped contacting me. True, I guess it's my fault for not really following through with my end of the friendship, but I remember reaching out to him on a few occasions and hearing nothing back. It's those ones that get to you, so painful that you can't even address it. I think my friendship with him and Les Femme Anomaly ended at the same time, and since it was uni and I was incredibly busy, I didn't really have the time to process it. But hey, it's just change, and it goes, like it goes - thank you Justin King. To the hidden recesses of my memories you have to go now (the old friends, not Justin King).

I am currently working on my taxes at the moment. When I did them last year, they were actually quite fun, but with work and post-grad uni on at the same time, it has become quite the arduous task. However, I must give credit to the Australian Tax Office for instigating it's electronic lodgement system, so you can do your return online.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but on request of the other I finished Freakonomics (albeit a borrowed copy). I was so impressed at the ideas and the level of thinking involved that I bought my own copy today, and also bought the sequel, Superfreakonomics, which I am just ambling to read!

That's it for now folks. Have a nice day! Joaquin out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's September Already?!

Wow, I have definitely been neglecting my blogging on here. However, I can blame the other for that - I have procured myself Starcraft 2 and Modern Warfare 2, and have just been multiplayering like there's no tomorrow. I really suck at SC2, but I am learning a lot more thanks to the other. I'm also working my way up the ladders in both games and looking forward to becoming adept, because they're both wonderful storylines, with some good depth.

Yes, I know I always say it, but I will update the Joaquin Rate List (JRL), as soon as I get a chance - since there's so many updates, I'll need to set aside some time to go through all the new names in detail. For those of you who don't know, the JRL is here.

The pin code for my voicemail at work here, and at my last job was 434926. I don't know why I chose that, since it's quite random, but for some reason, my fingers find it very easy to type out on a phone keypad. I also find it pretty easy to remember, and considering I have trouble with my memory, I find those set of numbers to be a godsend - too bad we can't choose numbers for other important things though!

I can't believe I was going to let a whole month slip by without blogging again. I remember the massive whole it has left in our archive when it's happened before. I at least try to put something in, just to mark time, even if there is nothing else going on. But it really is just work and post-grad study at the moment.

Anyway, it's late, and I need to be in bed so I'm well rested for work tomorrow. Two lots of 4 day weeks consecutively, I can get used to that!

Joaquin out. Have a nice day folks!