I Conquered Far Cry 2

This isn’t an achievement to be proud of.

Far Cry 2 is a first-person action shooter created by Ubisoft in 2008. It is set in Africa and features militias, rust, malaria, and long driving sequences. Most people say this game isn’t that good, I’ll put my input on that later. But as far as the facts go there has been two major installments of Far Cry since this game and both of them received better ratings for their well-polished mechanics.

The supporters claim that the game is like Dark Souls and requires a large amount of skill. Their reasoning is that the game’s mechanics don’t reward the player, I agree. There really isn’t a single mechanic in the game that rewards the player, it’s more like you play as Sisyphus and your upgrades just make the boulder a pound lighter, it just technically helps. That said I don’t agree with the supporters, these mechanics aren’t tough, they are tedious.

The game feels needy, it is fully aware there is no actual content. I’ll describe each mechanic 2 ways, from the supporter and detractor side, and then explain my playthrough.

There is malaria:
Supporter – It adds immersion, the player can’t actually forget that they are sick, even in the middle of a firefight.
Detractor – It adds annoyance, the mechanic is just hitting a button every 30 minutes to take a pill.

There is no fast travel:
Supporter – It adds immersion, the player has to truck their way through the Saharan Africa and fight everything on the way.
Detractor – *PERSONAL INTERJECTION WARNING* The cars drive slowly and are made of paper. The map is massive and is filled with the same hostile enemies that keep respawning.

Weapons rust:
Supporter – It adds immersion, you have to keep making sure your weapon is alright.
Detractor – Make sure that after every mission you just grab a new gun, not hard just adds more drive time. More drive time is less fun time, more annoyance.

There is stealth:
Supporter – It adds immersion. You get to choose the time of day to attack. You get to scout out the camp. You get sneak around and stealth kill.
Detractor – Nope. The moment any of the enemies detect you, it is over. If they hear rustling in the bush they all start shooting. Enemies can see you through any sort of foliage, readily equipped with laser vision.

I don’t remember how long it took me to beat the game, but it was definitely too long. 75% of my playthrough was me in transit. Not experiencing action filled camp raids. Not driving fast or feeling cool about my turning capabilities. Only driving in semi-straight lines. Sometimes my car would break down too and I would walk.

Beyond this the gameplay that every considered as super hard was not even a challenge once you understand how dumb and weak the enemies are. Sure I won’t deny that if you walked into camps with a machine gun or assault rifle and tried to mow down the enemies then the game would probably be pretty challenging. This wasn’t the experience I had with the game.

I walked into every camp with a pistol, a sniper rifle, and a shotgun. The first guns that are available. I was unstoppable, the guns were all one hit kills at their respective ranges (The pistol covering all the ranges under the sniper rifle). I never experienced the good stealth mechanics of the game, just walk in, head shot everything, and walk out. It didn’t matter the time of day, it didn’t matter whether it was raining (supposedly those are both game changers).

The game was just a driving simulator where my pit stops were just ever so slightly more interesting than the driving gameplay. There was no hardcore element, there was no interesting gameplay, just driving.

I Missed Pork and Bean Day

Pork and Bean day is July 13th.

On that day I cut up onion, I cut up bell pepper, and I cut up a whole package of hot dogs. Then, after all the prep, I opened my pantry…BUT ALAS no beans.

Pork and Bean day came by and I missed being a part of it (don’t worry I still made a created a nice meal with what I had prepped).

I love beans. My roommates and I eat way too many beans. If you are going to college don’t believe rice is the only thing in the world you can eat. It is an amazing staple but adding beans to rice will make your whole world seem a little brighter.

Pinto, Navy, Black, Refried, Lima, Bush’s. It doesn’t matter they are all good.

The best part about beans is that they are filling and they don’t take a ton of prep. If you are using dry beans you are either going to have to soak them or boil them and then add whatever sauce you want before proceeding to slow cook. If you are using canned beans like Bush’s beans they usually have their own sauce, so you can immediately start slow cooking them.

I love Bush’s Baked Beans (I wish they were a sponsor), and I usually prefer to add onion and bell pepper to them. That said though I add onion and bell pepper to almost anything I cook so, I’m not sure my advice is holistically valid.

I’m not missing bean day next year and I hope you don’t either.

Monster of the Week

My favorite TV show format is definitely Monster of the Week. This is essentially a trope where every episode has a different problem to solve that gets wrapped up nicely and then put away to (usually) never be seen again.

This is different from shows like Breaking Bad where every episode is just one step closer towards completing a seasonal arc and just about every interaction is meaningful.

I didn’t realize that I enjoyed the heck out of this format until I looked back at all the shows I’ve really enjoyed. Now don’t get me wrong, all these shows also contain a large story arc that span the many monster of the week arcs, but that doesn’t mean that they are excluded from the category.

To start, I love X-Files.

If you haven’t heard of X-Files, it is a show about FBI agents Mulder and Scully who go from town to town to investigate paranormal activity. The great thing about this show is the relationship between the two main characters. Mulder is defined by his firm and unwavering faith in the paranormal, while Scully is more stoic in her beliefs and fails to believe unless an adequate scientific reason can be produced.

The next show I would suggest that follows this format is Fringe.

Fringe is roughly a generic copy of X-Files, but is still very good. It follows FBI agent Olivia Dunham and Walter Bishop who work in the FBI’s Fringe division. They also go from town to town to investigate strange occurrences that don’t exactly seem natural. It is very good and the shows overarching plot is actually very good.

Twilight Zone is the epitome of the Monster of the Week format.

Twilight Zone is a TV show where every episode has a different premise, which is usually either dark, or insightful, or both. The episodes usually contain a nice twist as well, such as book-loving who survives the nuclear apocalypse accidentally breaks his reading glasses. If you haven’t ever seen this show I definitely recommend looking up the episodes that are well referenced in pop culture and watching them.

Finally, the show that convinced me to write this post was Supernatural.

This show follows two brothers who roam across the country purging the supernatural entities that they find. What is great about this show is that every episode showcases a different creature of actual folklore or they have an episode about urban legends. It is just really cool to see their versions of vampires and werewolves, and also how they take care of Bloody Mary.

Fermat: The World’s Greatest Troll

This handsome man is the great Pierre De Fermat. Born in the 17th century, he was a lawyer by day and a mathematician by night. What’s interesting about Fermat though is that he is increasingly more notable in the math world than he is in the law world.

He didn’t publish much, if anything, but he was included in some of the day’s math circles. So he was rubbing elbows with the best of the best and yet he was just a hobbyist mathematician. In fact, if he published some of his work, we might have actually ended up calling the 2d plane we know as the Cartesian plane (after Rene Descartes) the Fermatian plane.

Still though, none of this matters in comparison to what he was immortalized for.

First, picture this. You are sitting in your living room reading your book for English class and you have a discussion tomorrow so you are writing anything you find interesting into the margins of the book. You know, when you realize that this passage infers that Hamlet is completely ego-driven, or that this passage proves that Atticus Finch is the epitome of morality, or that this sentence proves that the monster from Frankenstein is all in Victor’s head. Specifics don’t matter since this is just an example but I hope it’s pretty easy to imagine, everyone in their lifetime has probably written something into the margins of a book.

Now Fermat is like everybody else. He was reading his copy of Arithmetica and he came across something he thought was interesting:

X2 + Y2 = Z2

And well, he decided to make note of a great thought he had in the margin. He wrote something along the lines of:

It is impossible to separate a cube into two cubes, or a fourth power into two fourth powers, or in general, any power higher than the second, into two like powers. I have discovered a truly marvelous proof of this, which this margin is too narrow to contain.

I’ll break down what he is saying and give you some background.

X2 + Y2 = Z2

What you see above is many things, but you probably know it as the Pythagorean Theorem. What’s more interesting about this is that there is an infinite amount of integers (non-decimal) numbers that can satisfy this. If you have taken Geometry you know these to be Pythagorean Triples. Stuff like:
3,4,5
9,16,25
5,12,13
Essentially, you can keep having these all the way into infinity. That means you can keep going and get larger sets like:
77893200, 128189952, 150000048

What Fermat is saying though is that it doesn’t hold true for any power greater than 2. There is no sets that can satisfy:
X3 + Y3 = Z3
X4 + Y4 = Z4
X5 + Y5 = Z5
X6 + Y6 = Z6
X1000 + Y1000 = Z1000

There is no combination of 3 non-decimal numbers AT ALL that can be put into those equations above and have them be true.

What’s so great about that? Well the second part of his margin note is his claim to have a proof that shows it, it just can’t fit into the margin. Oh and by the way it’s “truly marvelous” too.

It also couldn’t be found at all.

That’s right, Fermat wrote in the margin of his math textbook that he has one of the best proofs ever and doesn’t have the proof to back it up.

The thing is though, Fermat is completely right, and everyone knew it. The whole math community knew it. But the tough thing about math is that no work or conjecture has any value without a proof. Everything you learn in class has already been brought through lines and lines of formalized logic that satisfies the math community’s strict no-failing case standards.

So this became known as Fermat’s Last Theorem (even though this technically wasn’t his last theorem, it’s just that it was found way after he died) and it became unsolved for a whopping 400 years. Sure some people solved certain cases but nobody created a general proof that would hold true for every case.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that it was fully proved.

The implications of this are simple. Fermat, the man who wrote one of the greatest problems in the margin of his textbook, also claiming to have solved it, is the world’s greatest troll.