Grabbing the Third Rail with Both Hands

So, I’ve been listening to a lot of the coverage of Sarah Palin and her daughter and it’s gotten me thinking about abortion. This is one of the political issues that my wife and I don’t see eye to eye on. That’s largely because she’s very decidedly pro-choice and I’m largely indecided.

While I could get into it in more detail here, that’s not the point of this post.  The point is that I think I’ve finally figured out what it is that bothers me about the abortion debate.  Pro-lifers are clearly anti-abortion.  I am not clearly anti-abortion, so I don’t really feel like that qualifies me as pro-life.  At the same time, I don’t feel like I’m pro-choice, either, but I could never figure out why I felt that way.  Last night, it struck me why.

I don’t think pro-choice is the proper term any longer.   (more…)

Published in: on September 6, 2008 at 7:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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McCain Picks Gov. Sarah Palin

Am I allowed to say I called it?

Published in: on August 30, 2008 at 10:18 am  Leave a Comment  

Joe Biden? Really?

Seriously?  Obama picked Joe Biden as his veep?  I’ve been pondering this decision since I heard about it, and I’m honestly surprised.  I figured the candidate for change, the candidate who’s all about not following politics as usual would have chosen someone a little less… usual.  I mean, I saw a picture of the two together and all I could think was, “Look, another old white guy running for office.  What a shock.”

It seems to me that the best thing McCain could do is pick a VP that’s either female or a minority.  Better yet, both.  I know Condie has said that she doesn’t want to run for office, but I would think that you’d be able to defuse a lot of the racial and gender tensions with a choice like her.

I figure I should take a quick moment to note my… strategy(?) with this blog.  I don’t really care about this election.  It’s been going on so long, I can’t quite remember when I started getting sick of it.  I don’t like either candidate, and I won’t be voting for either candidate.  I’ll vote, but it’ll definitely be for a third party candidate.

I pick on Obama because all I ever hear is praise and adoration.  The McCain supporters I know tend to have the feeling that, “Eh, he’s not what I want, but he’s close enough.”  The Obama supporters, on the other hand, tend to be downright fanatical.  I hear off the wall comments and conversations bordering on worship, and I feel like I have to step in and remind people, even if I’m just talking to myself, that he’s just another politician.  If ever anyone in power, say the leader of one of the houses of Congress, says that McCain is a “gift from god,” I’ll do my best to take him down a notch or three, as well.

Playing For Keeps

So, I haven’t quite figured out if anyone actually reads this blog or not.  The stat tracking on my domain (where I keep the latest posts aggregated) claims that I’m getting thousands of hits a month, hundreds a day.  WordPress has my hits pegged at more like one… every couple of days….  And I’m still not even sure if that’s a real hit, or a spambot driven away by Akismet.

Well, on the off chance that it’s a real person, and said real person happens to be a book reader, I’d like to recommend you pick up Mur Lafferty’s book Playing for Keeps.  She’s a longtime podcaster with a lot of talent who’s finally gotten a big break and had her superhero novel published by a small press.  If you’re reading this on Monday, August 25, Mur’s looking to rush the Amazon charts.  It’s a great book, and I’m thrilled I’m going to have a chance to own a copy, rather than just have a backed up version of the podiobook.

Good luck, Mur!

Published in: on August 25, 2008 at 9:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Avoiding a Fight

While strolling through the Far Point Media forums, I ran across a user whose signature said “Obama. Because I want a smart president this time.”  My brain immediately responded, but I haven’t allowed that response to leave the confines of my skull.  I don’t want to make a political comment in a thread about bookshelf organization.  I think adding my own signature with the retort would be a tad juvenile, and that’d leech into my posts elsewhere on the forums.

I almost PM’d the person, but, to what end?  I’m pretty sure that, no matter how polite my introduction, the smarmy response would likely be remembered as my true first impression.  I don’t know this person, and I’m not going to change his mind, so why bother?

Well, I have a condition.  Once a really good line (even a mostly passable line) or an argument (randomly generated or caused by an earlier conversation) spawns inside my head, I won’t sleep till I let it loose in some fashion.  My wife’s asleep.  The one friend I have who might be interested seems to be avoiding my calls.  Thus, I inflict this blog post on the intertubes, and the one random hit I get every couple of days.  (I make no guesses about whether it’s a spambot or a real person.  A hit’s a hit, right?)

Anyway, back to the point, so that I can go to bed.  “Obama.  Because I want a smart president this time?”  How about “Obama.  Because the 57 states need 10 years of hope.”

Edit:  Just thought of a potentially better line.  “Obama.  If I can’t have substance, at least give me style.”

Published in: on August 18, 2008 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Fundamental Failure

So, I got into a political debate with a friend of mine a few days ago.  He and I are of the same mind that politics are not a taboo subject.  They used to be discussed and debated openly and regularly, and they should be again.  

Anyway, as we were talking, the topic of McCain vs. Obama came up.  A couple years ago, I pretty much determined that my friend and I basically have the same opinion of the political parties.  I believe the Democrats are evil and the Republicans are incompetent.  My friend agrees, but switches the parties around.  So, it really wasn’t a surprise when he said he was considering voting for Obama.  I expressed my dislike for Obama, and he wanted to know why. (more…)

Published in: on July 23, 2008 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Dice Obsession

I want three-sided dice.

I’m not talking about a d6 with just 1s, 2s and 3s marked on it.  I’m talking about a real three-sided die.  I saw a page a while ago discussing how a cylinder, properly designed, is a three-sided die, but come on.  I don’t think so.  I can’t imagine such a thing would be fair, and even if it was, it’s not as cool looking.

What’s really disappointing is that this seems like something that would be right up the alley of any hobby dice manufacturer.  The concept is not difficult, as best as I can tell, and I’d certainly be first in line to buy a bunch of them.

It’s become a bit of an obsession.  I wonder what it would take to make some myself….

Published in: on July 3, 2008 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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A Message to the Movie Industry

“Don’t Pirate Movies”



Published in: on June 20, 2008 at 7:26 pm  Comments (1)  

Slightly Disturbed

So, just as an example of how my brain works (if you can describe it as working), I had a random thought pop into my head yesterday.  I’d listened the night before to a story told by an author who had some issues with depression.  I don’t recall the author or the real names of her books, but they were depression related.  This was what rose through the murky depths of my brain many hours later:

She authored many bestsellers, including Depression and You, Me and My Happy Pills and her latest hit, I Can Finish This Book or Kill Myself, a great read until the last five blank pages.

I’m glad no one reads this.  I’d likely get in trouble for that.

Published in: on June 5, 2008 at 4:29 pm  Leave a Comment  

Lessons Learned While Playing Assassin’s Creed

So, I noticed that all of my posts have been politically centered.  That’s not really what I intended for this space.  I think I know why they tend to be focused on politics, (I don’t really discuss politics with any of my friends, so I use this space to vent,) but I want to branch out.

I recently bought an Xbox 360.  I used to be a Nintendo fanboy, but that ended back in the days of the SNES.  Now, I’ve progressed to the point where I own every system I can, and have far too many games to play than hours in the day to play them.  Come to think of it, I kind of miss fanboyism.

Anyway, I’m trying to catch up on the backlog of games for the Xbox that I’ve missed since the 360’s launch.  I bought GTA right away because I’ve always owned GTA right away.  Then I rented Assassin’s Creed and Halo 3.  I haven’t played Halo 3, yet, as I’ve been having a lot of fun climbing walls and killing crusaders.  However, the game brought to mind a number of random thoughts, both good and bad, that seemed good to write down, but wouldn’t really qualify as a full review.  I don’t know if I really want to bother with full reviews here, anyway.

But so, that’s spawned this idea of “Lessons Learned.”  Basically, this is where I’ll jot down the ideas and thoughts I had in no particular order, and let the chips fall where they may.  I should note that this is not a review and is not really an indication of what I thought of the game in general.  Maybe I’ll include a brief conclusion in these that gives my overall impression, I dunno.  This is going to have to be kind of organic, I think.

So, anyway, enough blathering, here’s my lessons learned while playing Assassin’s Creed.

  • I don’t care much for the main character’s attitude.  I’d much rather have played a true novice, than an asshole who got demoted.
  • Climbing is incredibly fun.  It consists of pressing up, for the most part, but that doesn’t matter.  The simple control scheme allows me to focus on how high I’ve climbed, and how fluid the animation is.  Very well done.
  • I wish that I didn’t feel like “Main Protagonist” all the time.  There are beggar women and mental patients in the street.  They see me and the beggars run in front of me begging and the deranged push me around.  In theory, I shouldn’t kill them, and I don’t, but they’re annoying.  The thing is, they only bother me.  I don’t see the beggars block anyone else’s paths, and I don’t see the (I’m guessing) schizophrenics push anyone else around.  I’m supposed to be anonymous while moving through the streets, but I very much don’t feel that way.
  • The outside the Animus scenes: please don’t ever do that again!  It seems to me that this was Ubisoft’s idea of keeping the player engaged during a cut scene, while also giving the option of skipping said cut scene.  I’m usually just annoyed, though.  There’s nothing to do, no gameplay to be had, and the story is largely throwaway.  It’s an irritating break thrown arbitrarily into the game and I have yet to feel like it adds anything significant.  Maybe when the game’s over I’ll have a different opinion, but, over halfway through, I’m just annoyed.
  • Speaking of cut scenes: all cut scenes should be skippable.  Lemme emphasize that a bit.  All Cut Scenes Should Be Skippable.  I’m sure that developers everywhere think that they’re story is incredibly compelling and needs to be seen, but gaming is about making your own story.  I just cut a swath of destruction across Acre, as I rode down the guards at the city entrance and picked every fight I could on my way to each of the city’s viewpoints.  That’s what I’ll remember later on, not the verbal sparring between the asshole main character I don’t identify with and the asshole assassin’s guild bureaucrat I don’t care about.
  • Audio should be centered on where the character is, by default.  I don’t know if this is an option that can be changed, as it’s only happened during the annoying modern day scenes, but the dialogue fades out if I move the camera around the room.  So, in order to hear what anyone is saying I have to have the camera pointed right at the person, regardless of where my character is standing.  This is boring, and in a scene I already find pointless, this is especially excruciating.  Audio (dialogue, at the very least) from the character’s point of view should be the default mode, regardless of whether it’s an option or not.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed this game.  I’m sure I’ll have more later, but the next Lessons Learned… will likely be about Age of Conan.  I have definitely learned some things from that game.
Published in: on June 3, 2008 at 11:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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