SOS Brigade

I have no interest in ordinary humans. If there are any aliens, time travelers, or espers here, come join me.

It’s a simple enough premise: Crazy girl does crazy things. She starts a club, looking for things straight out of anime. And she gets them: Shortly, the club membership contains, predictably, an alien, a time traveler, and an esper. Only, poor Haruhi doesn’t necessarially realize it. Also, she herself is stranger than them all.

Perhaps what I like most about this series is it’s most controversial aspect: It’s very much anachronistic. It’s designed to be watched out of order. If you’re watching it in chronological order, it’s just not as good. Perhaps fun to do once you’ve seen it in it’s proper order, but not the way anyone should see it.

It bugs me, therefore, that it’s being released in chronological order. Certainly, it makes more sense that way. The best art doesn’t make sense. I’m a fan of absurdism, and this show provides it in droves: But the effect is lessened if you follow Kyons journey and know the secrets before the bizarre episodes (Funnilly enough, even though I refer to it as Kyon’s journey, Kyon’s numbering at the end of the episodes is the anachronistic, and Haruhi’s is the chronological).

If you get a chance, pick up the Limited Edition versions: The combination of the original-order episodes and the SOS-brigade armband you get in Vol 2 make it well worth it. And either way, try and watch it as it was intended by it’s creators. It’s better that way.

Rank and Phyle

It’s fairly obvious that you can pick your friends. Who you choose to be around is a definite choice: Though one that’s not been around for long. A mere hundred years ago, you couldn’t reasonably be expected to ever travel 100 miles away from where you were born. Your friends were limited to those within a few miles of where you lived. Now, it’s possible to go across the globe in a day, for prices that anyone can afford if they try. Further, it’s possible to know people across the globe, and communicate with them instantly, anytime, anywhere.

Who your friends are says a lot about your person. Your friends are generally the people like you. My friends, for example, are stereotypically Geeks. Uber-geeks, the social class of the geek heirarchy.

I belong to a Phyle. It’s not called that (Though, I think anyone among them would recognize that we are such). It’s more than simply a a group of friends: It’s less than a full nation, city, or even town. We are a diverse group, but we have the common ground of Gaming, of Computers, Of anime, electronics, physics, math, photography, and just about anything else geeky.

We could be considered a proto-phyle: It wasn’t specifically such that drew us together. We don’t have any particular laws or group logic (Except that the PS3 sucks, and some of us debate even that). However, given a topic, we generally come with a preconceived concensus. We think the same.

I joined this phyle a mere 5 months ago, though I had a foot in the door before then. I joined online: I came into the phyle’s domain, an IRC channel, and was rather quickly accepted. I considered many of the members friends before I met them in person. There’s a couple who I consider close friends whom I’ve met in person but once, briefly. Simply mentioning the phyle, and your association, gets you credit in my and other phyleist’s books. A couple days of conversation in a chatroom gains you more. A large amount of credit comes from simply having joined, and the process and selection are not hard.

More and more, geographical boundaries mean less and less. Your friends, and your phyle, can exist without ever needing to meet. At the same time, locale still matters, and still will for the forseeable future. Moving out to Seattle, to the center of the Phyle, certainly didn’t hurt. Late night dennys runs, parties, and random outings are still major social events, even as well connected as we are via the internet.

Things have changed. The Phyle is not any social structure that has existed before: The members are eclectic, and bound by ideals rather than geography. However, we still try and carve out geographical continuity, and the old methods of interaction are still just as valid.

It doesn’t make cents

So, there’s this new Bank of America “Keep the Change” thing they keep advertising on the radio and TV. If there were ever a case of bad math, this would be it. They promise to relieve you of lost change by rounding your credit card transactions up to the nearest dollar. First off: unless you ask for cash back, you don’t get change from a credit card transaction. The merchants can specify cents, and DO. Then, they tell you of all the money you can “save” by doing this, as if that money would otherwise be lost. That’s misleading: Your total money stays the same. You are “Saving” in the sense that your money is in your savings account, rather than more readily spendable, but you’re not “Saving” in the sense that you’re spending less money. It’s stupid, and misleading, and had they advertised it as what it is (A spending control mechanism), rather than what it isn’t (A way to get extra money), it would have been much less offensive to those with a simple sense of math.

On PHP design

I’m many things, but the part I want to talk about tonight is my coder. I’ve been coding for more than half my life: When I was 8, I started writing some basic LOGO programs in an extracurricular activity called Wiz Kids. (One of my best friends to this day, Donkey Kong, I met through the program, though we weren’t in the same session). My dad showed me some Perl back before web 1.0. I have a degree and a half in Computer Science, though I’m not certain what good either of those do me.

But I can code, and I do enjoy it. I just suck at it. Case in point: I just dug out a set of PHP scripts I wrote for a friend who has a webcomic. They’re not horrible, but I see so many things I could have done better. I’m fairly certain it’s actually secure code (which means something, in php), but the design is all wrong: It’s written as an application that you drop a layout into, rather than as a set of scripts you drop into a layout.

I’m gonna fix that, eventually. But, for the moment, here‘s the code. It’s used in only two sites, one of which is Brian Carroll’s Instant Classic Genrezvous Point. It’s an interesting exercise, but needs to be reworked. Still, not bad for a couple days of PHP coding without any real direction.

A Project

Orange Ya Glad? is something I thought up a while ago, but am only starting to code now. It’s blatantly based on Apples to Apples, except on the web. It’s obviously not as good as the real thing, but I’m hoping that with the ability to create custom decks out of tags it’ll be worth playing, once I write the code 🙂