Lost and Found

Two weeks ago while I was walking through the Davis streets I found a Fitbit on the ground.

$100 for a smart phone peripheral!
$100 for a smart phone peripheral!

It was one of the simple models without any touchscreen, but it did have an unusual piece of metal where a touchscreen would’ve been.

The metal plate had the owner’s name and contact numbers for her family members. Presumably so that if she was found injured and unable to communicate someone would be able to contact her loved ones.

I called her husband’s number and left a message.

Unsatisfied with that I looked up her name on Google and found her Facebook page to message her there as well.

She called me back later that day and came to my house to pick up the Fitbit and say thanks.

I didn’t think much of it until I got letter in the mail that had no address or stamp, just my name.

Inside the letter was a thank you note from the Fitbit owner and a Starbucks gift card!

Outside Thank You Inside Thank You

A happy little surprise for my good deed earlier and a free coffee! And also a reminder that I have yet to pen my Christmas cards. >_<

-GoCorral

Favorite Books

There’s this thing going around Facebook over the past couple weeks that finally reached me. No, not the Ice Bucket Challenge. I’m talking about a list of your top ten books.

Someone posts on their timeline and tags you in it. The copy and pasted section of the status reads:

“In your status, list 10 books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t think too hard. They don’t have to be the ‘right’ books or great books of literature, just ones that affected you in some way. Tag 10(ish) friends including me so I can see your list.”

I got tagged by my sister and here is my list:

Hyperion – Dan Simmons
Game of Thrones – George Martin
Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkein
Shade’s Children – Garth Nix
1984 – George Orwell
Dark Prince – Russell Moon
The Iron Ring – Lloyd Alexander
Nine Princes in Amber – Roger Zelazny
Gates of Fire – Steven Pressfield
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Obviously there are a lot of great books that I can think of that I didn’t include on here. Dune and Harry Potter for example.

I felt the list was supposed to be composed somewhat impulsively, so I stuck with what I first thought of.

So why did I pick these?

Hyperion is possibly one of the best space opera novels ever written. Dan Simmons is an excellent writer in nearly every genre. The story follows seven travelers in a space ship on a pilgrimage to the fictional Hyperion planet where a great monster, the Shrike, awaits them. The Shrike will grant a wish to one of the travelers and kill the other six. The travelers spend their voyage telling stories like in The Canterbury Tales (every story where characters sit around and tell stories now officially based off of Canterbury Tales). The stories focus on the travelers’ past lives and why they are going to get a wish. I put Hyperion on this list because it was the first book that made me realize I love fragmented stories. Like in TV shows where there’s an A plot and a B plot. I love that in books as well. Hyperion has three sequels that I’ve read as well, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, and Rise of Endymion.

Game of Thrones is the latest craze. I got into the series right before book 5 came out and consumed them at a rate of about one book per month. They’re good, they’re sexy, and they’re one of my favorite genres, medieval fantasy. Plus, it has a fragmented story line! Perfect!

Lord of the Rings is also a great book. My dad spent years reading me bits and pieces as bedtime stories. We started with The Hobbit when I was six and didn’t finish until I was eleven. The Lord of the Rings also inspired my favorite hobby, Dungeons and Dragons. So this one’s got too amazing things going for it. AND FRAGMENTED ACTION  ONCE AGAIN!

Shade’s Children was my first dystopia book. It’s fairly awful as far as complex themes go. Some robots from an alternate dimension invade Earth and start hunting humans for sport. The humans hide underground, but their society is kept alive by the robots or something? Sounds like a Matrix ripoff. Still, I loved it. Also, I was eight around the time I read it and there is the barest hint of sex in the book. I’m pretty sure it was my first exposure to sex, so it is significant for that reason as well.

1984 is the quintessential dystopian novel. Also, its by Orwell who is an amazing author. I loved this book and I still love it. I love the genre. Putting Shade’s Children on my list reminded me of 1984 so I put it on as well. Like I said, I didn’t think much about the list.

Dark Prince is probably one of the weirder ones on this list. It is the last book in a trilogy. The first book is called Witch Boy. The author, Russell Moon, has only written one other book. I’m not sure why he stopped writing because his stuff is quite good (or at least I remember it being good). The book tells the story of a teenage boy who suddenly discovers he is a witch and accidentally kills his girlfriend with his newfound magical powers. He then discovers that she was part of some weird witch cult which plans to use him in a plot to take over the world or something. My memory of the book is hazy, but I do remember loving it at the time.

The Iron Ring is a story that imitates Indian fairy tales. My dad read Grimm’s Fairy Tales to me when I was a kid and I loved them.  This was a continuation of that, but in an entirely different way. The stories were vaguely familiar because they used the same themes, plot devices, and stock characters, but they were also very different due to the setting for the story. Rajas instead of kings. Rakshasas instead of the Devil. It was really cool!

Nine Princes in Amber is amazing and everyone should read it. The book is the first in a series of ten books split into two halves of five books. The series details a titanic struggle between order and chaos across all dimensions. The center of order is called Amber. The series is extremely well written. One of my favorite parts is how Zelazny handles sexual or crude stuff in the books. He always alludes, but never mentions stuff explicitly. A character curses instead of “He exclaimed, ‘Shit!'” It’s very well done and I’d recommend it to everyone as long as you don’t require female characters. There aren’t very many of them…

Gates of Fire is a historical novel about the Greek defense of the Hot Gates of Thermopylae from the Persians. The story is stunningly realistic. The Spartans fight until their swords, spears, and shields are broken. All that’s left is their hands and they fight on against the Persians. I’ve always loved reading and learning more about the ancient Greeks and Romans. This novel gave me a means to do that in a more mature way.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy always makes me laugh. I loved the books and they are one of the few novels that I have read more than once. A few of the others on this list are also in that exalted category. The book is absurdist humor in a space opera setting, both of which appeal to me greatly. The Hitchhiker’s Guide was originally a radio show which I own a recording of and listen to occasionally in the car. If you like absurdist humor you should check it out!

Let me know what your ten would be in the comments!

-Mister Ed

Youtube Channel and Twitch

The first steps I've taken to creating a Youtube channel.
The first steps I’ve taken to creating a Youtube channel.

I started up a Youtube channel to connect to my Twitch channel. The Youtube channel is called GoCorralTV.

I’m also in the process of setting up a Facebook page for GoCorral. With that done I’ll have a unified presence for the website across multiple different sites.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of renaming my game and forum accounts to GoCorral. I think I’ll wait on that. If I get a ton more viewers it will make sense just to reduce confusion, but right now it would just cause confusion amongst my friends instead of removing it for other viewers/readers.

Back to that Youtube channel though.

I haven’t made it look pretty and amazing yet, but I did link it to my Twitch channel.

The link allows me to move the highlights that I create on Twitch over to the Youtube channel.

Twitch allows you to create highlights from saved broadcasts.

I’d thought I was saving my broadcasts, but apparently I was mistaken. My first two are now gone from Twitch.

I still have the recordings saved on my computer, but there’s no way to reupload them to Twitch.

Highlights are sections taken from a broadcast and turned into their own video. They’re meant to show off a cool play that you made.

I made one from each of the saved broadcasts I have up so far. One is a cool play and the other is a game where my cat sat on my lap looking cute while I played.

I showed the highlights to my wife this morning and she confirmed my suspicions that the audio quality is bad.

My headset mic broke a few months ago. The earpieces work fine and I still have a mic on my video camera for talking to my friends. The mic isn’t that great for recordings where I’m not directly interacting with people.

I’m going to do two things to fix this.

#1 Get a new headset. I ordered one this morning.

#2 Enunciate my words better. I have acting experience from high school. I should better at this!

So if you wanted to check out that Youtube channel you can go to https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0KcigNbusgIY231nDigo1A to take a look.

Thanks for reading!

-Mister Ed

Danish Minecraft

One of my friends posted this wonderful article on Facebook today.

There’s a game called Minecraft that you might’ve heard of.

In Minecraft you don’t really do anything except mine for cool minerals that you need to build things. Then you build things.

You can build pretty much anything in Minecraft.

Some people have built skyscrapers. A lot of people do pyramids. A few people build programs that can do basic math calculations. I saw one guy build a scale model of the Enterprise from Star Trek.

The article says that the Danish Geodata Agency recently released a map of Denmark for Minecraft.

I had to look up what the Danish Geodata Agency is. It’s apparently the land surveying part of the government in Denmark.

So they surveyed all that land and then turned it into a map for Minecraft.

Upon the maps release, some lovely Americans did what you can see above to the map.

They steered some dynamite carts into various Danish towns in the game and blew them up, planting American flags on the ruins.

The Danish Geodata Agency had this to say, “We consider that as a nature of playing Minecraft – elements are broken down and new are being created…We are very happy to see so many players around the world creating fancy nice things and have fun.”

Basically, they are totally cool with Americans pretending to blow up Denmark.

I think that’s pretty funny. I laughed my horse laugh.

-Mister Ed

An Introduction

Hello and welcome to the GoCorral.

I’m saying that more to myself than anyone else. I’ve been thinking of starting a blog for awhile now. I post a lot of things on Facebook, hoping and praying that my friends will read them and then miraculously share them with their friends. Then the sharing will get around until a Very Important Person reads it and inevitably that VIP will recognize my value and worth as a writer or a scientist or a photographer and want to take me under their wing as sort of a Vice VIP. Unfortunately, the only posts on Facebook that get shared that much are chain letters.

My cousin has one of those Facebook chain letters going right now. The first five people to post “I’m in!” on her status and repost her status will receive a special gift from her this year. The catch is in the reposting. They have to do something for five other people as well. Just like in the movie, Pay It Forward. I hope my cousin’s status doesn’t end with a fatal stabbing like that movie did.

My plan for this blog is to post something once every weekday night about whatever I might be thinking about at the time. I’m a nerd who likes to play video games and read Greek and Roman classics, so those topics should come up pretty often. I’m also recently married, out of college, playing D&D, applying to grad schools, and hoping that VIP will notice me, as always. Some of my posts may be informative. Some of them may be opinions on politics or other conversational topics. Others might be fiction stories I’ve written. I’m also definitely planning on posting some of my D&D sessions here.

So… Let’s see how it goes!

-Mister Ed