Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Time For a Lesson in Government...

Amendment X
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Lets look at that a moment. Let it sink in. Unless a power is specifically given (in the Constitution) to the United States (and by that, they mean the Federal Government) or is specifically denied to the States (individual states, like VA, NY, OH, etc)... Then by default that power belongs to those individual States or (and, really) the people within those states.

If you went to public school, this might be hard but I just KNOW you can grasp that.

Now, think about that again if you need to. We're going to apply it to this next Amendment. You may want to sit down for this one...

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Woah! What's this stuff all about you may be wondering... Keeping in mind this is the very FIRST Amendment, one would think this was a rather important part.

"Hey, there's the separation of church and state right there!" Wrong, sit back down. Keeping in mind that Amendment X (that's 10 for you non-Romans)... It says CONGRESS shall make NO LAW (digest that part, we'll wait) respecting the establishment of religion.

"But, if Congress (the Federal Government) can not make any law respecting religion, then... According to Amendment X that means the States can?" Yes, I know... It's hard to overcome 60+ yrs of liberal doublespeak, but you're doing well...

And this one is really going to floor you. You see, that right there... That one amendment is the ONLY place in the entire constitution the subject is addressed. For decades, people have been buying the lie that there is a separation of Church and State. There can not be one. There can not be a partnership of it either. Quite frankly, The Federal Government can not even so much as rule one way or the other. They are expressly forbidden. And considering they are denied this power, yet the individual states are not... If the state capitol building of say Wyoming wants to display the 10 Commandments, or the Govenor wanted to declare Shintoism as the official state religion.... Guess what? They CAN. What's more, Congress can not even weigh in on that issue. Nor can the Supreme Court, as the constitutionality of it is self-evident. The power rests entirely with the state, and the people of that state. Get your head around that, because there's more...

"or abridging the freedom of speech"

I think left and right-minded people both agree that censorship is a very bad thing. And it's a fact (I refer to the sedition acts of years ago) that left to it's own devices, the Federal Government would engage in it wholesale. But let's look at this a little closer.

You have the right to express your opinion. You have the right to say you disagree with the policies/beliefs/actions of someone in power. We've seen a multitude of those in the entertainment business express themselves in a manner that is (to be polite) counter to such as the current administration. These people still walk the streets free this very day. No governmental retribution has occurred. However, being entertainers.. Their livelihood is dependent on people paying for the things they produce, be it concerts, movies, books, etc.

When people like the Dixie Chicks spoke out, I applaud their convictions. I strongly disagree, but I'll defend their right to say it. However, that in mind... I also will defend my rights, as well as the rights of anyone else to express their displeasure. And for entertainers, that typically results in a decrease of revenues. Not buying their music, is how I express myself. Radio stations not playing their songs... This is not censorship either. These stations are privately owned, not governmentally owned. And thus, they also have the right to express themselves.

People are under this false assumption you can just say what you want without worry of consequence. That's is not freedom of speech. You are free to express your opinions, but there is no promise that you will not have to suffer (or even profit) from that expression. In a free market society, it is the will of the people that rules. And invariably, votes are in the form of dollar bills.

Now... How do you feel now that you are less ignorant?

'Meh' Looks Better and Better....

Well, that itch to try WoW has began to take hold. So, knowing I would not be buying it tonight I decided I would read up on it as much as I could. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. And, I have to admit the game has many features in it that I find rather nice. Some taken from other games, some are rather novel ideas.

After reading just about every bit of info Blizzard has, I've come to some conclusions:

1) Instancing, while not new... Is a very nice plus.
2) The resting aspect looks like a power leveller's wet dream.
3) Hearthstones.... Rapid transit back to safe locations is always a good thing.
4) An in-game mail system (Seen in FFXI) is a definite grabber...

However, these things were offset by:

1) A death process similar to the one UO had (i.e. becoming a ghost), only... Weaker
2) A death penalty that allows -negative- XP....
3) Having to go find your corpse...
4) Item decay
5) Level-based game (any game that is not skill-based is inferior IMHO)
6) Patch Method. Peer-to-Peer for patching. Stupid. Blindingly stupid.
7) Segregated game play. Race/Faction... Something that I dislike in AO even.

Of all that listed above, #4 of the first group compels me the most to play, while #6 in the 2nd group makes me look at this game like it was something on the bottom of my shoe.

All in all, I'm still undecided. But I'm slowly sliding in the generally disinclined direction. I'll hold final judgment just yet.

But the second they come out and say "Oh, we're changing X (X being any major game mechanic/game facet) because a) people complained on the forums, or b) we really had intended the game should go this way..." It's hot potato time.

But I Like 'Meh'...

In response to my buddy Ethic's last remarks on the culinary parallels of AO and WoW....


In all seriousness, I expect I'll be playing it eventually. I have even said as much. However, I seriously have been burned so many times that I am now in a holding pattern. I'm sure WoW is a great game. But then, the best game I had ever played went from hit to shit within 3 months of release. Thanks Cryptic, for driving home this deep-seated feeling of gaming pessimism.

I still have trouble remembering why I left AO, but I'm sure I'll remember it in the not so distant future. Online games have lost the magic for me as it were. But we'll see how things go. I can't picture myself going into WoW before Christmas. But again, we'll see.

And to our troops behind enemy lines:

"The steak is cold. Repeat, the steak is cold."
"The cheese is stale. Repeat, the cheese is stale."

Monday, November 29, 2004

Making Progress, Step by Agonizing Step...

Well, my MA is not 75, and my Keeper is 70. It seems like my MA has been in the low 70's forever, but I made a point to push it over the weekend. My keeper has been fat, dumb, and unhappy in his 60's for over a month due to neglect. Tonight I corrected that.

Right now, it's kind of 'meh' as far as the game goes. As I well remember, the middle levels were the doldrums. I think that's why I always am rolling a new toon. To keep interested as the early levels are fun.

I've suffered the same malaise in just about every other MMO I have played.

Ah well... At least every time I go to log in, I can. Been many games that I can't say as much for.

Friday, November 26, 2004

From the Smacktard Files...

Apparently, in the upcoming Update #3, Cryptic (I still say the name refers to their thought processes) has decided that they would remove all mention of the 5th Column enemy group. For those that are not familiar; the 5th Column is a massive organization of Nazis that have been active since WW2. The vaunted hero/demi-god of the CoH world was killed fighting them in WW2. This one group of bad guys has such a central role in the history/mythos of the entire game that one boggles to picture how the game would be without them.

"Impending Europe release of the game announced, 5th Column unavailable for comment."

Yes, that's right. Cryptic has removed any and all references to the 5th Column come Update #3. Statesman claims that they had planned this all along. Many on the forums called BullShit. And, I have to say, considering how deeply the designers had gone into the history and backstory surrounding the 5th... Just to throw it away... All at about the time it's due to release in Europe....


Man I am SO glad I cancelled my subscription for this PoS. The mental retardation of the developers is astounding.

Have you ever wanted to kill a coworker?

I had to work today. And 99% of my day was spent on a conference call. The people on the call, I normally bear no ill will towards. But after 8 hours of listening to the go on and on about this/that/the other in their collective (lack of) lives... I am ready for blood.

Absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder, and familiarity does indeed breed contempt.

I need a vacation.

Am bored Online....

Well, my Martial Artist has just about hit the 'middle levels' in AO. And right now, I'm having trouble gettig myself to level. Right now, I am at the point where the only fast-fast levelling I am accustomed to happens in a Team. And as an MA, I don't want to team. That's the whole reason I made an MA. So I would'nt have to.

Don't get me wrong, I can still solo rather easily. It's just that the critters I can take alone at this level do not give out the 'phats' like they used to. It's just a matter of forcing myself to stick with it and bust through this flat spot... But damn it's not fun.

Same thing has begun to happen to my Keeper too. He's about 6 levels behind my MA. Add to the fact that both are neutrals, and I can't even distract myself from the grind with token farming.

Ah well... Things are bound to pick up.

WoW Opens, Massive Response...

The reponse to the intial release has be to say the least massive. Unfortuntely, for many the only thing seen was this view. Opening day on any MMORPG is brutal.

(Link goes to www.leagueofpirates.com. I can't lay any claim to it's content.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The Great Atlanta Beat-down....

My GAWD!!! For those of you that live in the Atlanta Metro, and had to work today... If you managed to not kill someone (including yourself) this evening you should get a head-of-the-line pass to heaven. Doing that more than demonstrates your 'love of fellow man'.

Today, Wednesday, day before Thanksgiving... Is the 2nd worst traffic day of the year in the metro area. And if you live here, or have driven through it during rush hour then you know that is one hell of a statement. Traffic here is nigh intolerable. During rush hour it's brutal. And since this is a hub of 3 major interstates, and well as a number of secondary highways, the amount of pass-through traffic is huge as well. Add to that all the people trying to get from point A to point B in time for tomorrow's holiday, it's bad enough to make the Pope curse. But today, it was exceptionally bad.

You see, God decided that people just were not unhappy enough. And he decided to give us what I refer to as the Noah treatment. You know Noah... The guy with the ark, 40 days/nights of rain. People around here have trouble not wrecking on a clear sunny day. If you throw a little rain or darkness into the mix, people really have trouble. Make that intense storms, high winds, and the "moon becomes as sackcloth"... And people loose their ever-loving minds.

Average speed on I-75 at 3:00am - 70mph
Average speed on I-75 at 5:00pm - 15mph
Average speed on I-75 today at 5:00pm - requires a new scale. Perhaps microns per minute.

If you live in the metro, and commute to a job inside the perimeter each day, please move. If you ever thought about moving to Atlanta, please don't. If you have to travel somewhere that routes you through Atlanta, either find another route or stay the hell home.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Amazing how fast it changes...

The new organization team has only been rolling for 4 days now. And already, someone has screwed it up. Apparently, some people can not read, and thus want what they want without regards to others.

Screw it. I don't know if I am going to log in any more or not.

Classic case of some selfish individual having the ability to ruin the fun of multiple other people. It's not right, and I refuse to enable it.

Maybe I just need to keep my ass out of online games period.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

New Job a-comin'....

Looks like I might be changing jobs in the near future. I've got some applications out, looking to change jobs.

Funny thing; the new job will be the same as my old job. "Meet the new boss...Same as the old boss..."

Of all the oddball jobs I have had, this company takes the cake.

If you ever have a chance to work for the phone company.... don't.

AO is having it's moments...

Well, as you know I went back to playing Anarchy Online. This time around, I did something completely unlike myself, and joined a guild. And I have to say it's been rather fun. The clan is currently undergoing to rebulding, but the people in it are solid, good people.

Of late, we've started an organization team, made entirely of brand new toons. The agreement is that those toons are not to level any alone. This way, the team stays the same level and we can all team without the issues of level differences. The team was constructed with pretty much the optimal line-up, and it's shown much promise. Plus, the play times are scheduled, with fairly easy to meet hours. I really hold much optimism in this endeavour.

Who know's, AO may be home for sometime to come.

Pardon the absence...

It's been a while since my last post. Sorry, not.

Life dealt me some lemons lately, and damned if I don't hate lemonade... I was getting out of my chair last week, and did not realize my foot was asleep. Needless to say, there is a reason the human animal does not walk on the tops of his feet. I took a step, heard a sound similar to stepping on popcorn or bubble wrap, and the next thing I know I'm staring at the ceiling.

I dont think I broke anything, but my swollen appendage is the color of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich now. Ironic, the foot does not hurt, but everything from the waist down does because I have been walking like John Merrick. (look it up).

I am not an animal..... sober anyways.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I never would have believed it...

John Kerry showed character yesterday. Instead of dragging the country through another destructive bout of litigation over an election, he put the welfare of the country first. For that, I thank him. And, for that reason I might have to rethink my opinion of the man.

Well, the (public) election is over. By a huge number, Americans showed where they stood. And even though I know the left will not learn from this, I am hoping some will finally realize that our nation has had enough of socialism. As an ideology, it has failed in every country it has been tried. Perhaps the DNC will finally realize that linking itself with the radical left was a bad idea. Perhaps they will divorce themselves from the cancer that has driven them so far from the mainstream. But I somehow doubt it.

I fear the only way that will happen is once the party has completely imploded and holds no more sway than the Greens. I certainly hope that does not happen, as a "one-party" system is very, very bad. Maybe the Libertarian party will step up to the plate. But that won't happen until the drop their morbid fixation on legalizing drugs. While I understand the viewpoint, and to a large degree agree with the logic... The average American only sees a bunch of potheads, and every street corner becoming a pushers' playland.

It's sad too, because they have some really good ideas.

As to the republican party I give a warning: Just as straying too far to the left has crippled the DNC, straying too far right will damage the RNC. And you guys -seriously- need to return to the old fiscal conservatism of your forefathers. As it stands now, there is little difference between the two parties when it comes to federal spending. Only in what you spend the money on.

And finally, to those now in power... Let's hurry up and finish the job. I know it can be done if you all pull together. The sooner we get the boys -n- girls home the better. Not a moment too soon mind you, but not a moment longer than we need to either.

And get that damned Fair Tax passed.... Now.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Some people should not vote...

Yeah I know... I'm going to catch heat for that statement. But it's true. If you are uninformed of the facts, or vote only from an emotional response... It is your civic duty to stay home on election day. You're not qualified. Plain and simple. And you're vote dilutes the decisions of the qualified citizens.

Yeah, if that previous paragraph pissed you off it's a safe bet you need to not vote. How can someone make a choice that will seriously effect the welfare of this country without having a basic grasp of what is at stake, and what their vote might represent? I mean, would you go to a doctor and allow him to prescribe you a medicine without at least first asking your symptoms, or giving you a cursory exam?

Would you take the advice of a construction contractor or a plumber that has never been to your home to survey the condition of where the work is to be done?

People have this ingrained belief that it's their 'duty' to vote. That hell, it's their right as an American! I got news for ya Chuck.... It aint so. Nowhere are you granted the 'right' to vote. Matter of fact, the only mention the constitution makes on the subject is you cant prevent someone from voting on the basis of sex or race. However, stupidity can still be a disqualifier.

And as to that 'duty' part... Your 'duty' is to be informed of the facts. Just to be clear here, 'facts' are not whatever Dan (what cherry tree) Rather and Michael (don't wanna see) Moore feed you. With any source, it must be checked, and rechecked. And even then doubted unless you know it to be true or consistent with what you already know.

Get informed. Being informed is not just watching tv. It's a willful effort to grasp the truth.

And ask yourself... What is the adgenda of the presenter of this information? Does it sound 'right' in your mind.

Had at least 50% of the US population taken that advice... Tomorrow's election would be a landslide. Sadly, we're rapidly becoming a nation of slack-jaw mouth-breathers.

Armageddon comes.... On a short bus.

Some thoughts on events in recent history...

Here it is, the eve of the election. I face tomorrow with a sense of dread. Somehow, this is not right. An election day should at least instill a sense of hope... A sense that a new day is coming. However, knowing my history... And knowing the personality of the players... I know tomorrow will not be decisive. No, tomorrow merely marks a new rash of law suites and allegations.

How did we drift so far from sanity in this country? How is it that we as Americans put up with this crap? Do you think your grandparents would have? Hell no they wouldn't have...

Something happened to this country around the 1950's. Something so vile and insidious that even to this day most won't, or can't look at the facts. That something was the internal dry rot of socialism. It's like boiling a frog. Put it in a pan of cold water and gradually increase the heat. Do that and the frog will never try to save itself. And that is exactly what has been happening since.

Everyday, the "left" pushes the morals of the great land one step further off center. Oh, it's not drastic on a "per push" basis. But moral relativism is a slippery slope. For instance, let's take a look at homosexuals. And please, keep in mind this is only one of many examples I can site.

In 1950, if you were a homosexual you kept a very low profile on that fact. Quite simply, society would not accept it. In the 1960's, with the "free love" generation, things like "if it feels good, do it" were common phrases. Pre-marital sex became rather accepted by the 1970's. By the 1980's, things sort of plated as the emergence of AIDS got everyone's attention, but if you look at the "pop culture" of music and film, suddenly the subject of open homosexually was "mainstream entertainment".

It wasn't until the later 1990's that you began to see an upsurge of "hey, it's genetic...Not a choice" mentality. I'm sorry, but as humans we always have the choice to indulge our carnal side or not. So the "it's not a choice" does not wash. To believe that is to put yourself no higher than an animal. Man was given a brain for a reason.

However, convince the populace that it's not a choice and how can one hold it against another? We as a society emphathize with the "victim" and if you can twist any concept to make it appear a deviant is a victim.... Well you're half-way there.

And looking at it from a purely scientific point... And in regards to biology, it's aberrant. Nature made sex for the purpose of procreation. We see this even in creatures that do not possess the nervous system to derive pleasure from the act. It' s the passing of genes that is the main reason for sex. The fact the higher order of creatures derives pleasure is, in my mind a bonus. Yet it does not change this fact.

And now in the 21st century, we see multiple shows where it's 'hip' to be gay. And even in some, it's hinted that to be straight is somehow inferior.

Do you see how this happens? How we start from one social norm, and over time through gradual change suddenly the norm is aberrant?

In some ways, I have to admit I admire the more strict Muslim cultures. I do not agree with their religious beliefs, nor do I condone the cruelty shown in such cultures. However, I do admire they fact that they -do- recognize how it can all be brought down incrementally, and fight to prevent it.