Sunday, December 2, 2018

15 Years? Seriously?

So yesterday (December 1) I decided to transfer this domain name over to Google Domains since the ISC domain is already there, my blogs are all on Blogger (a Google company), and I am an admin on three other domains. It was a minor formality, but something hit me. In March 2019, I would have owned the domain for 15 years. That means that the AlienCG name that I use online is already more than 15 years old. That name came about in June 2003 when a few friends and me decided to start a video game forum called The Game Board.

I was looking for a new online alias because in 2004, you didn't reveal your personal details online. I was always obsessed with aliens and UFOs, so I was looking for an alien-related alias. I had already used Alien Underground and Alien Overground, so I wanted something new. My friend, Mitch (aka Golden Boy/Amorphous Blob on The Game Board), said, "Why not Alien Coffeeground," at which I laughed, and soon decided that it was perfect. Due to a slight over-saturation of video game related forums out there, I decided to shutter the account and sold the domain name (big mistake since over the past couple years, I could have sold it for a lot more than $50).

I enjoyed having a website and I had learned a lot about PHP/SQL development, so I looked for and bought in March of 2004 as a personal website and blog that I called Alien's Planet. I still have the original code and some slightly broken iterations can be found on The Wayback Machine at After many frustrations with shared hosting sites, I moved to the free WordPress service and renamed the blog Swamp Gas & Moonlit Reflections after having a renaming contest, and starting fresh (I did save the XML files from the old site). Eventually I moved to Squarespace where I had also started the SGMR Podcast (a personal podcast) and then to Blogger to save money. I shortened the name to SGMR and now host the podcast at

Thursday, November 22, 2018

A Problem So Simple...?

I love math. Anyone who knows me will know that is a fact, plain and simple. There is a problem that intrigues me and it is so simple to state, but seems impossible to prove. It's called The Collatz Conjecture. The premise is simple:
  • Pick any positive integer
  • If it is even, divide by 2
  • If it is odd, multiply by 3 and add 1
  • repeat these steps until the cycle repeats
Put into math notation:
If n is even, n/2
If n is odd, 3n+1

Here's the conjecture: Every number (n) will eventually go to 1 using these rules. So far, every number up to 2^60 has gone to 1. 1 is the only number that repeats itself, going from 1, 3*1+1=4, 4/2=2, 2/2=1, and so on forever. It seems like a simple problem to solve, but it isn't. What seems to make this problem so difficult to prove is that there is no application for it and there is no pattern. It falls under a category of "recreational math". Prime numbers and the hunt for them are also considered recreational, but primes are used in encryption these days (although, a 10^64-digit prime is kind of unwieldy for encrypting your passwords).

Because there is no current application for this problem, there is no cash prize for solving it like there is for the Riemann Hypothesis or the P Versus NP problem. The Collatz Conjecture is a curiosity in math and I love the problem, but I know I'll never see a solution for it in my lifetime. For now, all I know is that any power of 2 goes to 1 and doubling any number that goes to one will simply also go to one. Here's a video about this problem:

Play around with yourself if you are mathematically inclined. and if you're really inclined, try to solve the Millennium Prize Problems. Those should be easy </sarcasm>.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

NaNo Prepping

What? Mygirlfriend wrote a blog post? Holy crap, I better I write one now because I don't want to look like a slacker.

NaNoWriMo is almost upon us once again, and soon I will be starting off strong, writing a few thousand words right out of the gate only to hit a roadblock and figure out where I want to go from there. That's okay though because I have an outline this year and there is no way my story could ever deviate from that…crap, it already did and I haven't started writing yet. Oh well, I'll write another post of absolute gibberish (I'll repost that one day).

In all seriousness, though, I am undertaking the task again. I lost last year due to lack of steam at the end and also the loss of a couple thousand words when I opened Scrivener on another computer before it had properly saved. This year, I'm using OneNote because it is perfectly suited to this task. I am also not going to be a slave to my wordcount (he says…) and I'm just going to get this story out. As I said above, I have an outline (which actually has plenty of flexibility) and I plan on sticking to it. That means that if I get stuck on one part, I can move to another without worrying much about continuity (What do you mean my character was three years older six months ago? Oh, it must have been a time machine accident between chapters. Wait, I'm not writing about a time machine.)

Anyway, if you'd like to participate in NaNoWriMo and write 50,000 words in 30 days and be like the other sadistic fools who take on this venture, visit for information. It's a lot of fun and you can meet new people.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

SGMR Ind. New Product Announcement

SGMR Industries. Inc. has always been committed to selling products for money to people who probably don’t need them in the first place. Since we first introduced our first product, people have been throwing money at us and clamoring for more. Well, we gave them more. We added more adjectives, and more shiny bits and sold it for more money than the previous version. That’s what we do and people love us for it.

Today, we introduce yet another, new, revolutionary, shiny, big, fabulous, and highly improved product. It will do something more impressive than the previous version and we will introduce something else that people didn’t think they needed. However, people will make a reason to need this product and they won’t care how much they have to pay for it, because it’s from us. We are excited to see how much more money we’re going to make off of this product and how many people will buy it before we obsolete it in six months when we tease our next product that will contain one more thing that people don’t need.

We will begin preorders at retail outlets on Friday morning which means that we will control the entire news cycle that day. This is our mission, and when the product is released, we will only distribute at those same retailers so that we can build hype for the next iteration. People like to stand in line for exclusive products that they spend a lot of money on to look more impressive in front of their friends. Our commitment to our customers is to make them feel more important than everybody else.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Trying To Blog Again

I have a lot of things rattling around my head that I need to get out. Primarily because NaNoWriMo is nearly upon us and I need to get writing again. I have an idea for a project this year and it could be really good, but that's not for me to decide. I do have one thing to take care of…the comments.

You, dear reader, do not see all the comments that I get. I have a ton of spam that has nothing to do with the content. They are so general that the bot that posts them posts them everywhere. Here's an example…


This comment was left on an SGMR Industries, Inc. post which are sarcastic, humorous, and not to be taken seriously. There are plenty more like that.

Some of the comments left are spam for Adwords or SEO.

All of the poster names are Anonymous and many are just nonsense that don't fit the context of some of my posts.

I have decided that instead of dealing with these comments, I am disabling comments. If you want to comment, please do so on Facebook or Twitter. I will keep past legitimate comments, but from here on out, comments are closed.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Press Release: Career Day Apology

We at SGMR Industries, Inc. take our commitment to the community, and court-ordered community service, very seriously. We would like to issue an apology to the parents of students at the local elementary school if they were offended by remarks made by our President and CEO, Chadwick Fitzgerald Vanderhaven III. It is not unreasonable to perceive his comments as unsuitable for anyone under the age of 25, but it should be pointed out that nothing he said was a lie. Also, most kids in the second grade don't know what the phrase, "hookers and blow" even means.

It is obvious, when put in the correct context, that his comments made toward Ms. Johnson were meant to be complimentary. However, in his intoxicated state it is not difficult how such comments can be misconstrued. We're sorry that Ms. Johnson was unable to recognize the complimentary nature of the President & CEO's comments.

The President & CEO would like to express his thanks to the students and staff of "<school name>=?" and would like it known that he appreciates being able to use such a simple task toward his 800 hours of community service (related to last year's "neighborhood yard sale" incident). We are still amazed that the court has allowed the President & CEO to be allowed to enter an elementary school.

Monday, August 20, 2018

8. The Quest For Cool

I have to admit, painful as it is, that I have done things that I am not proud of (involving music purchases. Get your minds out of the gutter). The biggest and most egregious that I can think of is giving into peer pressure and attempting to be “cool”. I have learned since that it is not worth it, and that no matter what I do or how hard I try, I will never be “cool”. But, I was in the seventh grade and at a point when I was trying so hard to fit in. Two of the biggest albums in 1986 were Whitesnake’s self-titled seventh album (I hate when bands release a self-titled album after they have a back catalog). The other was Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet. It appeared to me at that time, in order to be cool, one must actually own these albums. So, I asked for them for Christmas (yes, in hindsight, I wasted two perfectly good gift slots on these two albums).

I had already gotten albums from Columbia House records, which was that mail-order company that sold eight, twelve, or seventy albums for a penny. These two albums were not on the “for a penny” list (most of the records on that list were falling in popularity and they had to clear them out to make room for Bon Jovi and Whitesnake). When the Columbia House catalog came in, the prices for these albums were just north of outrageous (usually $12.95 plus shipping and handling) and I was not using my allowance to pay for one album. I could go to Disc Connection and get lots of good albums for cheap. Unfortunately for me, the two albums that I was seeking to make me cool were too new to be in the used section.

Finally, Christmas vacation came, and then Christmas Day, and I got my albums. I was finally, for that short time, “cool”. I listened to them and, frankly, I only remember the hits. There was nothing else on either of these albums that stuck out to me. They were pretty bland. “Here I Go Again” was an okay song at the time, but the half-assed guitar solo ruined the whole song (there’s this choppy progression in the middle of the solo that just takes me out of it…I could go on for hours about that ham-fisted, amateurish thing that was supposed to be a guitar solo, but I won’t…makes Paul Stanley look like a virtuoso…sorry, I’ll stop).

Christmas vacation ended and I was back to school and ready to unleash my new “cool”. “I got Whitesnake and Slippery When Wet,” I said.

“Oh, sorry, Bon Jovi is no longer cool,” I was told. Luckily, I was unable to remember what anybody thought the new cool band was. I decided from that point on, I was the only person allowed to dictate my musical tastes. If I liked a song, I liked it, and if I didn’t, well, it didn’t make it into to my record crate.

The moral of the story is: Bon Jovi sucks and so does Whitesnake. Neither of those albums ever made it to a mixtape or into my CD collection and I also have not listened to them on Google Play because they are not worth my time. Life’s too short for shitty guitar solos.