slipgun's den

everyday epiphanies treated to overanalysis. plus techno-social-cultural babble from a 3rd world point of view.

Friday, October 10, 2003
a teotian anniversary
Listening to: Tool - Aenima

It's a beautiful morning in the aftermath of 2 chilly windy days. You know, the state when all the plants and weeds - however useless they may be - are washed of the dust of the preceding storm and the overawing color in the scenery is green. I expected winter to start now that the October heat had ended with this triple rainy day climax but the Met department seems to think otherwise. And this time nature agreed with them.

I finished Star Lancer. This whole space sim was new for me and it had really nice graphics, a lot of dialogue to build up the story. Although the last missions grew exponentially in difficulty. Right now is a difficult position. I am in between jobs... sorry games. And I can't decide what to play next. I have been practicing chess on Chessmaster 8000. It's a humungo game. It's got tutorials, a database of all the best games, and everything you need to professionally practice this game.
It reminds me that I downloaded this game from HsWales. Along with a bevy of others including DMBMX, Ski Resort Tycoon and 4x4 Evo. It also reminded me that I have been involved in this community now for a whole year. So I am allowing myself the liberty to write about TEOTI which if you would have noticed, I don't do generally.

TEOTI's discovery was like fate - the right mix of right wants. I had been Dling with Kaaza and now had about 100 albums of nu-metal crap. Kazaa may have made file sharing famous but I have always seen it like a shortcut. The trade-off between labor and results. You may get songs instantaneously through Kazaa but when trying to find complete albums of semi-obscure bands, it will - with a heightened probability - find bad recordings and bootlegs. So I had started trying out Soul Seek which was then still mostly handled by the underground hip-hop and dance community and there was not one - mark my words - britney spears track online. At the same time, I was going through these totally rad mods for games like Serious Sam and NFS4. It set me on the path of finding a good DL manager and as most power users have turned to, I decided on flashget. And then I discovered people were just sharing off music on small web servers hosted on their PCs. So armed with such powerful knowledge, I went off to the most obvious place - astalavista.com. On their hot list, they had this link for T.E.O.T.I - file sharing community. So I surfed to here when it had just gone on to T2 and there were some interesting links. I signed up and forgot.

A week later, I checked my Spam account and came back. Suddenly discovering this treasure trove of music links and everything else I was hooked. It was a perfect arrangement. Keep DLing albums while reading all the miscellaneous shiznit here. For the month of September, I was a lurker. In October, I started posting stuff, now lost in all the revisions of teoti. My real breakthrough was when BrainPlunge found this real big punk dex. Now I knew about rock and dance but I had absolutely no background in punk. I was giving him all my points for the next week and stuck around and made friends. The obsession grew with my F5 button and somewhere down the line, qman made me a god.

A strange thing here. I was introduced to the concept of forums and online community through TEOTI. And I have gone on to other forums and being active there but one thing keeps bothering me. The sense of goodwill around here is never replicated. Its ok when people fight and argue. That is necessary but the good:crap ratio is never higher than TEOTI. The useless posts (this sucks/rocks, best/worst/top 5 threads) just keep coming again and again like pesticide-resistant pests.

Maybe the reason behind its longevity and success(?) is the non-specificity. e.g. - there are forums for the Indian rock community which I frequent and if I try to post something which is not related to music, it get locked or something. I believe the freedom to discuss anything and everything under the sun gives TEOTI its community feel and not a focus group. Sometimes that feeling is endangered like during Gulf War II (which I am still saying was a bad paranoid move). It just re-enforced the power base of teoti lying around in US. I have tried to change that and made many more converts but it still amuses me that Japan and Latin America have no citizens here.

Like everyone else, I came here for the files and stayed around because of the people. There are so many people around here who have helped me that its absolutely useless taking names for respect. Most of them are not even around. anonymouse was one of the guys who taught me search techniques, showed me the tools of a power surfer and other things and now he is not here. Its been one year reading IB's musings, watching Stud1y's truck, getting angry with babs, attending virtually sheptron & babs' party at my time, and a whale load of other people I have had discussions with.

I have seen this group mature, take decisions (like the separation of pr0n), and kick out offenders. I have seen all those discussions about how teoti was becoming crappier and I never participated. Some of it was old school guarding their territory, sometimes it was genuine. but I can say this definitely that technically and socially, this is the best version although XIX has stopped keeping a comprehensives changes FAQ. And I have felt how many oldies don't feel the love anymore and have went away.

Point being that it is not that somehow TEOTI doesn't have the same feel. Its how people move forward. Its like school where you learn, go on with life and sometimes come back to relive those memories. So here, you learn, get addicted to the feel of the community and obsessively pound the F5 button. And then, you move on and balance TEOTI with other things in life. I grew out of the obsessive period somewhere in February. And now, it would be hard to disconnect TEOTI from my life.

After waxing eloquent for so long, there is still one thing left. I have never seen a pic of DMFG. anyone?

Friday, October 03, 2003
gamelog
Listening to: Incubus - S.C.I.E.N.C.E

They had Lauryn Hill on Mtv Unplugged. Nice lady and I like a lot of her work along with the fugees. But this time she was sitting alone with a guitar and was chatting with the crowd mostly. Now I don't know how Mtv allowed her to do her shit. It was laidback and engaging at the same time.

(originally written on 28 Sep)
Gunman Chronicles has ended. A nice game but a bit short on the length side or is it just me? Even Max Payne seemed quite short to me. Maybe the fault lies in me and not in the world. Hmmm. I may have believed the idea in another time another place. But not in this age. I am completing games in 5-6 days and it seems that I have improved. I would recommend this game to FPS hardcore gamers who may have tried every mod of half-life under the sun. The most amazing part of this game is the graphics. There are so many textures used and levels designed so well, it should be a sleeper hit. Or maybe it should have been already.
I have already started another game and this time I am taking it easy: "Bugs Bunny and Taz - TimeBusters". Yeah go on laugh at me but this game has got game play. Its got puzzles and side games by the dozens and makes you explore each level thoroughly. Give it some more points on the familiarity with the characters. It's got the whole WB family. I have already completed 2 worlds out of 4 and I definitely recommend this for a change against more intense games. This is even cooler than MDK2.
My brother got War Craft 3 and well Blizzard seems to be going on very predictable paths. They have put RPG elements from Diablo like heroes apart from the faceless many in such RTS and given them growth options. Maybe I will try it now although I stay away from strategy games on a rule.

(updated today)
4 days after this unfinished entry and I have completed Bugs and Taz too. This was a short game indeed. Maybe it was intended for kids. Whatever, it is completed with and I am on to another game. This is the first time I am trying my hands at space fighting Sims. Its called Star Lancer and maybe some old-timers remember it. In the beginning, I was appalled by the minimal graphics involved with just a 360 background and all the ships battling it out. Granted it had a nice storyline, lots of conversation and actual development. But there aren't really a lot of things to do apart from escorting and shooting. Somehow, it has grown on me and I have already completed 8 missions.

And well the novel I was reading was Salman Rushdie's Midnight Children. You may know him as the guy who had a fatwa issued on his head for his novel 'Satanic Verses'. Well, this novel was banned in India. The reason is in the plot. He has basically written parallel storylines of a how kid grows up born on India's Independence Day and how the nation and child undergo a lot of similar periods. It was banned due to the derogatory attitude towards Indian politicians. Some specific ones.
I am not at all impressed on the literary side. Ya he has great stories to tell and intelligent one-off comments. But his writing style is awful. A 1st person narrative and that too from a 32-year-old guy writing like one of those infinite teen Goth blogs springing up. I think this guy listens to too much Nine Inch Nails. I also downloaded another e-book by Cory Doctorow, the guy who handles [url]boingboing.net[/url]. If you haven't checked out the site, do it now. Probably one of the best blogs tracking technology and culture along with [url]www.kuro5hin.org[/url]. Its called "Down and out in the Magic Kingdom", a novella of 67 pages. I had read his earlier '0wnZ04ed' at [url]salon.com[/url] and that was mighty impressive. Even this was good but I am scared by his monomania for Disneyland. This guy has issues. Its pretty simplistic building a future around one culture that you have known lifelong.

Now you know what separates good and great books. look at LOTR. that guy created a whole culture.   

Thursday, October 02, 2003
i still read print
Listening to: Counting Crows - Big yellow taxi

This was just another song for me. but then I heard the lyrics. Back in May, we were trying to find the origination of this song because I knew it was a cover. and let me warn you, don't hear it. its by some obscure country artist and her version doesn't stand infront of the polished pop sensibility of Counting Crows.

In my town, there is not one respectable library. You got that right. Not 1. It seems somehow this state is intent on going down the drain. But that is not happening. Instead the rains hit us so hard that the drains taking water out from the city into the river took water from the river, as its level was way above danger mark and overnight flooded parts of the city. But coming back to the worrying lack of books, I am going to be in a short supply of books and I can't sleep without them. There was a British library (run by the British council, nothing imperial in its designs) but it shutdown some years ago.
At these times, I become reminiscent of Delhi. There was this shack in front of boojum's house. Well not exactly there. There is a street running with residences on both sides. A small park (where I bathed in a fountain at midnight but that is another drunk story altogether) surrounded by a market is hidden on one side. On the other side, behind the houses lining the street is another line of houses interrupted by a ubiquitous and prominent part of Indian life, a temple. The government conducted a general survey in 2001 and the population estimate is expected by Jan 2004. Meanwhile, other statistics are out and here is an important equation to understand our way of life.

no. of temples > no. of schools + no. of hospitals


Now you may understand how pervasive religion is in this country where votes could swing for it instead of healthcare and education. Make no mistake. This country is a welfare state as well as giving a right to education.
But this was not what we started out with. On the walk between the street and the park, there was the previously erroneously placed shack. It had second hand books of all authors affirming my faith in Indians as the most read people in the world. One of the persons at the workplace months ago had recommended it. But then I had no time for reading. In the blind hedonist streak of independence, they seem pullbacks. It also causes more flashbacks. Of still earlier times of my life when I used to frequent a shop in front of my house in my village. It had all the comics from all the major Indian publishers churning out bad copies of American comics. At that time, it was my only thing to do for fun. Until I got a Hindi version of Monopoly called 'Vyapar' (literal translation: business).
It seems like I have been raised on bad copies of originals.


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