Data is Beautiful: My Simpsons shitposting over it’s second year

I can’t believe that February 2nd has passed and it has now been 2 full years of making Simpsons shitposts. Because I’ve got so many ideas bouncing around in my head, and MS paint is a god send, I found that most of this blog has now been overtaken by them. For that I am truly sorry. Last year I made a graph of what my Reddit net upvotes looked like out of curiosity, and did a bit of a write up on the subject of making them for one year. I’m not going to regurgitate that post but rather continue from there so I recommend reading that first post here if you’re interested on any sort of backstory.

Much over the course of the second year of making Simpsons Shitposts has remained the same though, I still have not found any sort of formula for what works or what does not, which I again consider a good thing. I suppose the key change is I’ve spread to a new platform for posting them. I tried to see how I could post them on Instagram, but I was unable to find a satisfactory method and gave up. I revisited the idea by going with the slideshow method which seems to work. I’ve gained a bit of a following after a fair bit of likes. I’ve even seen some of the biggest Instagram Simpsons Shitposting accounts take some of my originals (probably ones from Reddit that got quite high upvotes though) and repost them of their accounts. Ultimately I don’t really care if they do, but I wish they would give me credit. Oh well.

Looking at the graph below, we have to take into account that since the first graph, the number of subscribers has nearly doubled, from about 34,000 to 59,000 which is a major factor for the higher average for year two (+55% from year 1).

In addition to the graph, here are some fun statistics. Ok they may not be fun but here they are anyways. I wanted to practice in Adobe Illustrator and make some fancy info graphic about them but I got lazy. It’s now already 9 days after February 2nd and I don’t want to delay it anymore so here’s the simple table.

So does this trend mean this entire blog will slowly become nothing but Simpsons Shitposts? Not really, I plan to expand into Futurama shitposts too. Ok maybe not. But this blog will not become just Simpsons shit, in fact quite the opposite. I’ve found that making such frequent shitposts has hindered progress of my other creative projects I’d like to put together. I plan to put the brakes on the shitposts, well not entirely, but I will pump them a bit. I’ll continue to work on them from time to time, but I plan to focus more on other stuff so you may see less of them in the coming year. If you’re a fan of them I’m sorry, if you hate them you probably don’t read this blog. Either way sorry.

On quitting smoking

smokes

With New Year’s resolutions right around the corner, I thought I’d do a little write up about one of the more common (yet often broken) resolutions made every December 31st. The one I’m talking about is quitting smoking. I’ve been a regular smoker since I was about 19 or 20 and I’ve tried a few methods to quit. Some stuck, some did not, and some worked better than expected. This past year I gave it up again and hopefully it will be the last time and would like to share what worked the best for me.

As a little background, I began smoking later in life than most. This was mostly due to reaching drinking age and heading to the bar with friends when I turned 19. It was the mid 2000s and more people smoked back then. So after some drinks and joining friends outside for a smoke at the bar (smoking indoors was banned entirely) I occasionally was given one by a friend. Eventually I craved a smoke even when I wasn’t at the bar and in time it became a regular habit. While there are certainly more negative effects than positive ones, a smoke never failed to temporarily relieve stress and it helped me through some tough times, so I never really considered quitting.

As I grew older, somewhere around the mid 2010s, I decided I wanted to quit. There were a few factors that led to this. One was the stench or it. Two was the negative physical consequences, such as throat irritation and lung capacity. Three was the threat of permanent serious physical consequences such as lung cancer. And fourth was the cost. While the adverse health effects SHOULD be the ultimate reason to quit, the driving factor for me was the money as I’m a fairly frugal person. After I began doing my personal full cycle accounting, I saw just how much it was costing me. My pack a day habit was setting me back $300 per month which is a nice $3,600 per year. So with that figure at the front of my mind I decided to attempt to quit. Since that first attempt to quit, I’ve been on and off smoking for a few years now. At one point I even quit smoking for two full years but still found myself going back to it. So below is a list of what worked and what did not.

What did not work for me:

– Cold turkey. As delicious as this method sounds, it did not work beyond a day or two. All the power to those strong willed folks that go this route, but I found that I became quit irritated and could not last long without a cigarette given the high levels of nicotine in my system. If you smoke a pack a day I do not recommend this route, but given that the price is completely free it may be worth a shot and see how you do.

– The patch and gum. I found that even the strongest patch could help me for only a week or so. I first tried the patch alone, but I ended up caving after a few days. I combined it with the gum, so that the patch kept a constant flow of nicotine and I would rely on the gum for whenever I had a major craving. I would recommend this method if you’re a light smoker but ultimately this did not help me quit for a long period of time, it did help though my reducing my smoking significantly when I was using both.

What did work for me:

– Champix/Chantix medication. I used this to quit for the two years as mentioned above. It’s a three month treatment of two pills a day and you can continue smoking until day 30. There are some side effects though that some people experience such as crazy nightmares and stomach cramps. Over time it makes you detest even the smell of a cigarette. I was lucky and did not have any side effects and was able to stop smoking completely, even though up to day 30 I smoked a pack a day. Day 31 I was at zero and stayed there for a couple of years. Highly recommend for heavy smokers provided the side effects are not severe for you, also many insurance companies (or work benefits) cover this medication so it can be free for some people.

– Vaping. My most recent method to quitting and surprisingly my favourite. The route I went with was starting with 35mg nicotine and going down a step each time I finished the bottle. Went to 24mg, then 12mg, 6mg, 3mg, and eventually nicotine free. By the time I was in my third month of vaping I was nicotine free. A big factor as to why I liked this method the best was because it gave me something the other methods couldn’t; the habit of smoking. Cold turkey, patch, gum, or medication all gave me my nicotine fix, but man did I miss taking a smoke break and going outside while at work. Also as mentioned above, the amount of nicotine you receive can be controlled closely which is a nice benefit. Vaping is also significantly cheaper than buying packs of smokes. I would highly recommend this method for light or heavy smokers.

There are other methods to quitting smoking, but I feel I can only comment on the ones that I’ve actually tried. The most important piece of advice that I can give to all smokers hoping to quit is simply keep trying. Try different methods and find what works for you. If you quit for a little while and then fall back into it, don’t take that as a negative. Focus on the fact that maybe you quit for six months and saved a lot of money during that time frame and then try quitting again when you’re ready.

I hope that this may help some smokers stick to their resolution, or perhaps it helps someone decide that now is the time to quit. Or maybe gave someone an idea on a method they haven’t tried yet. If this article helps one person quit it was worth writing. All the power to you with this resolution in 2020.

Au revoir!

I’ll see you later folks! I’m taking a much due vacation with a friend and we’re hopping across the pond to explore the French countryside. As always, I’ll have my notebook with me to jot down any ideas that may one day find their way on here. I really don’t plan to work on anything while there and actually just enjoy the sights and sounds. The most I’ll do is maybe post a bit on my Twitter but that’s all for a bit.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been on of my favourite holidays. But surprisingly enough I’ve never carved a pumpkin in my life! For some reason as a kid I never had a desire to, so my folks never got one and carved it with me. And if I didn’t care carve one, my parents never got one to decorate for the holiday either as Halloween was never celebrated back in the old country. At least not back then, maybe nowadays it is though.

So I decided to give it a whirl this year, I mean as a man in my 30s it should be super easy. So I grabbed a stencil of an appropriate design; the Pokemon known as Haunter has always been one of the favourites and I figured he’d be a great fit. The stencil doesn’t seem too difficult so I got myself a decent sized pumpkin and a sharp knife from the kitchen.

Well shit I had no idea how thick a pumpkin could get, which meant I had to put considerable amount of muscle into cutting out shapes. This meant that my lines were not straight and all over the place. Ugh. Also the stencil required some fairly small and narrow cuts that might no way could make. Ugh again. So I messed up my Haunter stencil badly and to plan B I went, a traditional Jack O’Lantern face with lots of easy straight lines!

Ultimately I’m happy with it as my first pumpkin carving attempt, perhaps next year I may try something a little more complex and perhaps actually get more precise tools rather than just use the first knife I find. Also why no pictures of it with the lights on? Well, this pumpkin only had one good side, and it was messed up with the terrible Haunter attempt. The side with the face you see unfortunately had bruising on the skin. But I figured when the sun goes down it won’t be noticeable so I still decided to use it. Happy Halloween!

iPhone 7 and a Q400 propeller

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything (though I am working on things) so I thought I’d post this. I was going through my old files on the phone and forgot that I had taken this short video of the propeller of the Q400 I was riding on. With the shutter speed of my phone I thought it produced a mildly interesting visual effect. Sorry for the vertical video, I wasn’t really thinking at the time.

That’s like, your opinion, man

I finally got around to watching the Venom movie last night, and despite all the negativity I heard about it prior to its release I found that I enjoyed it. Perhaps I have a bit of bias towards it though, as growing up Venom was always my favourite superhero comicbook character. If you’ve read any of my other comicbook related posts, you’d notice that I don’t generally read superhero comics, it’s mostly scifi, crime, fantasy, or horror. But I did read a bit back when I was younger and Venom was, and still is, my favourite. And given the entertainment value these days of the Marvel and DC movies, I do find myself catching the odd superhero movie from time to time. Some I enjoy like Spiderman Homecoming or The Dark Knight Returns, and some are clear misses. So when Venom got his own movie of course I had to watch it as I felt the Venom in Spiderman 2 simply didn’t do him justice.

I’m not wanting to write a thorough review or recommendation on the movie, but I’d say it was overall good. I really like that Venom was actually portrayed as a larger than human beast for starters. I felt it also captured his character well too, a bit sarcastic and somewhat comedic. I was originally worried after the trailer that there would be very little scenes with Venom actually in it and that most of it would rely on his voice due to a potentially low CGI budget. But I felt it sufficed with his screen time too, which I was happy to see (though it could have used a bit more Riot). The actions scenes were decent as well so not much in terms of complaints there either. The movie is not without its flaws, story wasn’t amazing though it wasn’t terrible. Some acting was a bit cheesy too but nothing that ruined the whole movie. And maybe it could’ve been rated R instead too. All in all it wasn’t mind blowing or amazing, but it was good enough to enjoy even if you’re not a Venom fan.

But that’s not the point of this post.

After professional critics gave it poor reviews and online discussions were already shitting on the movie, I was going into the movie with low expectations and preloaded disappointment. After enjoying it I found myself asking just how terrible my choice in movies must be. So out of curiosity I checked out the Metacritic page for the movie and found that I’m not alone.

venom

That is quite the difference between the two numbers. Most viewers like it, and the critics said it was garbage. I’m not sure if the critics jumped on the negative bandwagon prior to release, or if they were solely being pretentious because of the type of movie it is. Either way I felt the critics were out of touch on this one.

This can also happen in reverse. When the next SimCity game after SimCity 4 came out in 2013, I was excited for it. After seeing a video demo of the game, both I and the SimCity Reddit community were really looking forward to its release. Reviewers were giving it 90+ on Metacritic too so the hype was very real. Then it hit the shelves and boy did it suck. It also didn’t help that EA presented the game as something else than what was released and their damaged control of the situation was awful. As of today the player reviews are totaling a whopping 2.2 out of 10. Again the critics were way out to lunch, or possibly bribed for a high review who knows.

Almost all art and media are subjective, it’s really up to the viewer to enjoy or detest. Take professional reviews with a grain of salt and be skeptical at times. If you are curious about watching, listening, playing, or making something, only take reviews into account but don’t let them hold back and your exploration of it, then make your own call. If you liked it great and don’t worry about what others think of your tastes. If you don’t like it, you may have learned something from trying it out anyways.

Gaming Disks

One of my very best friends, Radutron as he goes by, e-mailed me around Christmas asking me to list my favourite video games growing up and to write a short blurb about why I chose each one. A couple of weeks later I received a package (we live far away from each other now) and opened it up to find that list in the form of floppy disks. He had custom printed labels on each of them with my chosen games logos and on each disk there is a text file with my blurb of why I chose it. He did not want to frame them and then ship them as the glass could break in transit but planned on sending me a gift card as well to have them framed. While I appreciated his offer for the second portion of the gift, I told him I’d like to try and custom build a frame. Eventually that did not happen as building a frame is extremely finicky work and my woodworking skills are nowhere near there yet. But I did end up buying a frame and spent my time trying to neatly space the disks in an even fashion and put them a chronological order of release date.

This is definitely one of my favourite gifts I’ve received over the years and now hangs on my wall as a minimalist piece of art that recalls memories of endless hours spent gaming.It covers games from my early childhood to, well, even last night I played a game of CS:GO.It’s creative, simple, and has personal meaningful to me.

As a side note, you’ll notice these are all PC games as primarily I’m a PC gamer. There are plenty of console games that hold a place close to my heart such as the original Legend of Zelda, Gunstar Heroes, Mortal Kombat III, Goldeneye 64, Final Fantasy VII, etc. But to stick with the floppy disk theme I had to choose PC games.

If you’re curious as to why I chose those games, here are what the text files on them say:

1) Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
This is a game I can always come back to. A nice mix of tactical teamwork, utility and FPS skill keeps me always entertained. It’s a game I can pick up and play one hour and call it a day or play competitive matches hours on end.

2) Skyrim
While it’s not without its flaws, this is great game all around. Countless hours can be spent roaming Skyrim and discovering (and rediscovering) a well detailed landscape. Also a massive amount of quests can keep you busy if you’re a completionist. While compared to a couple of its predecessors it seems to be dumbed down a bit in terms of combat and simplicity of the quests, I can’t say I’ve played them and can fairly compare them.

3) Left 4 Dead 2
As a big zombie apocalypse fan this one is a must. Great coop gameplay and very a frantic and hectic pace (those hordes are super fun!) kept me entertained for way too long and this one is really the game that got me to like FPS games. One of the first games where I found an adaptive AI (the director) that kept the game quite fresh not matter how many times I replayed a campaign.

4) Diablo
As a kid this game was a big staple of my childhood. Diablo first introduced me to so many great new concepts such as non-turn based RPG combat and excessive violence (not sure if that’s a good thing). Surprisingly for a fairly linear RPG I found myself going back to this one quite often when I was young.

5) Rollercoaster Tycoon
One of the very first games I got when I was still a kid and barely introduced into PC gaming. Also my first introduction into tycoon style business management games. While a bit on the easy side, as a kid I still found the city/park/transportation games to be an instant favourite of mine. This game eventually lead me to many of games of the genre but I still haven’t found many that compare to it and find myself installing this one from time to time after nearly 20 years.

6) Starcraft
Again another from my early years of PC gaming and my first introduction to RTS games. Also one of my firsts when it came to multiplayer, both in terms of coop (against AI) and competitive, plenty of hours spent with friends from school playing this late into the night. This one also brought a little something else to the table for me as it was my first introduction to creating something for a game with the map editor and full scenario editor.

7) Civilization 5
Always trying to take over the entire world. Not just a domination victory, but I wanted every single tile on the largest map possible. While I did like Civ4 (which was my first introduction to the Civilization series) I absolutely loathed unit stacking something which was removed from Civ 5. Although conquering the world was the long term goal, I always found myself restarting games because I loved expanding my empire in the early stages the most.

8) Nox
This game was simply fun. While it followed the same style of game as Diablo (as in it was a non-turn based RPG) it was less violent and more humorous. A big difference as well, which made it truly enjoyable for me, was the fast pace of it.A fast paced RPG you can almost fly through the whole thing with a smile on your face because it was just simply a very fun game.

9) Borderlands 2
When it comes to preorders I’m heavily against them (see the new SimCity). Borderlands 2 was one of only two games I’ve ever preordered and fortunately I was not disappointed. As a big fan of the first one, I wanted basically an expansion to it with a new feel. The game engine felt a bit better, the weapons were crazier, and the skill tree of each class could keep the game fresh for plenty of playthroughs. And let’s not forget the great art style that made me feel like I was living in an action packed comicbook.

10) Fallout 4
I never finished Fallout 1, 2 or Brotherhood of Steel. And I while I loved the hell out of Fallout 3, I only played it on Xbox and never ended up going through New Vegas (I know, I know, that’s a crime). But I absolutely can’t leave this without at least one Fallout game. Based on the Skyrim engine it has a familiar feel to me in a very different setting. I absolutely love the Fallout world regardless of which specific game, a post apocalyptic world after the bombs dropped coupled with a 1950s (yet futuristic) feel is highly unique and captivating for me. Though the game had similar flaws to Skyrim, and even more complaints (see dialogue wheel) I still found myself playing this one from time to time though the first time through was pretty great.