i believe i'm done playing dragons of atlantis. it was an interesting diversion. but i ran into a few problems. the first: you can only build two types of buildings at an outpost. which got really tedious really fast. the only decision was how many of each to build. you can actually build seven different types of buildings. but five of them are completely useless. the second: the focus became very linear. in the first city, you had many tasks to do and you got to choose what order to do them in. to get the first outpost you had to grind through a set of tasks in order. the amount of work was the same. but the first set was fun. the second set was tedium. the third: i started to run into the pay to play barrier. i got lucky and randomly drew two completion grants. it might be a long time before i randomly draw 13 more in order to get as many as i need. or i can spend money. on a beta flash game full of snerts. so no. not even if you didn't have to refresh the page to work around the bugs and crashes. the fourth: progress came to a halt. it takes a day (or three) to research the next level of science. finding the first dragon eggs and dragon armor was pretty quick. to hook me, i think. i found half of the armor pieces for the third dragon. but it was tedium. i could set up a script. but really. i don't play games because i want *my computer* to have all the fun. sheehs.
dragons of atlantis
i've been playing this little facebook game called dragons of atlantis. it's kinda fun. even if it is a cow clicking game. i like building things. so that's fun. i've started over in new realms several times. cause it was a bit of a puzzle to figure out how to do things efficiently. they give you a series of quests to follow. but if you do, you end up totally resource blocked. which kinda sucks. but you can spend real money to make things go faster. which is okay. however, if you spend a little money you can pretty much plan on spending a lot of money. optionally paying to play is cool. i really don't like how you pretty much *must* spend money to do some things. like upgrade your buildings to level 10. which is a requirement for some of the elite troop types. pay to win sucks. you can queue up troops to train. but you can't queue up buildings to build. nor science to research. which kinda sucks too. i like to play games on my schedule. i don't want to play a game on its schedule. sheehs. anywho, enough ranting. it's nominally pvp. however, there's really no point in attacking an active player. the only thing you can "win" is ire and some resources. the first phase is build the economy of your first city. i've done that. so now i have no incentive to ever attack anyone. weird. the next phases are to train 3500 battle dragons so you can take out a level 5 anthropus camp so you can find the dragon armor so you can train your great dragon in aerial combat so you can take your great dragon on raids so you can find anthropus tokens and dragon eggs. then you can build more outposts and raise more dragons. which is probably when my curiosity with respect to this game will be satisfied.
for thanksgiving, my mother brought home made baked beans. they were yummy. i don't get baked beans very often. cause they're either contaminated with corn syrup. or they've got a ton of added sugar. as if anything with added bacon needs any. sheehs. anywho. they were magic beans. cause she brought a single bowl. but i ate serving after serving from that bowl. and it never seemed to get any more empty. eventually, joe helped out. and that was the end of the beans. course now the bacteria in my gut are busy turning those beans into methane. and it's 2.5 hours from joe's to home. in a car. with the windows up. my mother has a twisted sense of humor.
for thanksgiving i deviled an egg. yes, just one. actually, mary and the beautiful and talented alisa and nick were making deviled eggs. i grabbed one and started playing with my food. i didn't tell anyone what i was doing. i was looking for chocolate chips. and bob kept trying to hand me the white chocolate chips. no no no. that won't work. i need chocolate chocolate chips. i had stuffed the cut egg with filling and was placing the eyeballs when my mother got the giggles. no one ate it all day. it disappeared sometime during the evening. whew. good. am glad it didn't go to waste.
i think if i was going to do it again, i'd cut the bottom off through the middle of the yolk. cause as you can see, i broke the white "shell" trying to remove the solid yolk.
the beautiful and talented alisa made cheesecake for thanksgiving. she also made a pumpkin pie and an apple pie. they were good. but the cheesecake was exceptional. as usual. there was a bit of the raw filling left in the bowl. i scooped up a fingerfull and popped it into my mouth. ohmigod. big mistake. it was like everything wonderful about cheesecake. in liquid drinkable form. i had a sudden desire for a blender full of the stuff. and just chug it. all of it. glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug glug. course it would have bypassed my stomach completely and gone directly under my skin and pooled on my backside. so yeah it's an orgasmic thought experiment. but not something i'd actually do. sigh. probably.
my eldest said this during a dnd game: magic has no higgs bosons!
but but but you say in response to yesterday's post. when hostess goes out of business, it will create opportunity for a new company to fill the gap. and that's very true. the new company will be hostess2. and it'll be run by people who care about their employees. getting richer and more assholey each generation. until we're right back where we were with hostess1. the hostess1 family still owns the best of everything. and the hostess2 family owns the second best of everything. everyone else being squeezed out. into ever smaller reservations. okahnige nahanhci?
okay so as near as i can tell, the situation with hostess, makers of twinkies and ho hos, is something like this: the workers want higher pay and more benefits. the owners are offering lower pay and less benefits. workers say they'll go on strike. owners say they'll shut down the business. okay. more/less classic positions. the interesting bits is the feeling that the owners really will shut down the business. why the fuck not? they're seriously rich. they don't need the money from the business. nor the hassles that come with running it. and they don't care that they look like assholes. workers believe the job they had will be hard to replace. but the job they're being offered will be easy to replace. which is probably true. for now. you know, i predicted this a while ago. this is exactly the kind of thing you expect when wealth becomes concentrated. hostess will go out of business. the former owners will be totally happy with that. the workers will find new jobs. they won't be as good as the old job. but they'll be better than the offered job. and the cycle will repeat. again and again. it won't take very many cycles until the workers are "happy" to take a job that isn't as good as what the hostess assholes were offering.
so i was at a middle school for one of g's wrestling meets. i had to go pee. the boys' bathroom in the gymnasium had only one urinal. it was full of dark dark pee. ew gross. i'll flush when i'm done. big mistake. when i flushed the toilet blasted water down into the piss pool and out the other side. where it was free to go spraying all over the room. and everything in the room. including me. great. fortunately, i'm wearing cargo pants. so they're mostly water resistant. the meet was over and we were on the way home. so it wouldn't be so bad. course it was so bad. it wouldn't have been so bad if i had just sprayed my own piss all over myself. but i had just sprayed a whole lot of other someones' piss all over myself. don't think. so yeah. i was feeling a little pissy. (i can't believe i just wrote that.) just put your pants in the wash when you get home. wee. (i can't believe i just wrote that either.)
the daily kos reported someone claimed they hacked karl rove's computers and installed a firewall that prevented those computers from accessing the servers that collected the official ballot reports from ohio, florida, and virginia. i read it on the internet. so it must be true. heh. or not. either way it makes me smile. the "evidience" is karl rove's behavior on election night. he was absolutely certain ohio would go to romney. and absolutely melted down when fox called the state for obama. see? true. no doubt. just on that. he behaved exactly like doyle lonnegan in the sting who thought the fix was in. also the results matched the polls nearly exactly. unlike previous years where they didn't. which is an event so supremely ordinary, it looks suspicious. on the other hand, it is also claimed this was the work of a group of democracy loving vigilante hackers with a super lame patriotic name. dubious. could i do it? probably not. do i know people who could have pulled off such a thing? absolutely. do i think they would have? not bloody likely. on the gripping hand, suppose we want to believe. if not the anonymous white hats, then who? the nsa certainly could have done the job. someone said, someone cheated in '04. let's make sure no one cheats this year. we'll need a cover story...
marijuana is a schedule 1 drug. that means it has no medical value. at least according to the federal government. but wait. check out this patent
. its claims are basically that cannabinoids (the stuff found in marijuana) are effective at treating a wide range of diseases. is this some crackpot pothead filing this claim? no. the assignee, ie the owner of the patent, is the united states government. i'm pretty sure there are cases making their way through the courts arguing that marijuana is not a schedule 1 drug because it has bona fide medical uses. and therefore not subject to the super strict laws regulating it. seems like one could present this patent to the judge. and marijuana would no longer be a schedule 1 drug. and our prisons will no longer be filled with folks whose crime is not choosing alcohol as their recreational drug of choice. legalized pot! woo hooty! sorta. a doctor would not be able to tell you to take two tokes every morning to treat your glaucoma. no way. that'd be infringing on the us government's patent. so oddly, smoking dope would only be legal for recreational purposes.
i'd like all my republican friends to read this
. it's a fairly well articulated blog post about what's wrong with the republican party. the white male job creator lists its many faults. but ignore those. skip to the very end. your party is mean. re-invent yourselves as the kinder gentler gop. and maybe you'll get my votes again. mine and tens of millions of others who'd be very happy if the party of jesus acted a lot more like jesus.
i have joked in the past about our disconnect with our fellow californians at the polls. usually the things we vote for fail. this year, however, we were 10 for 11. so what happened? either we've changed. or california has changed. i don't think we've changed. we're just as fiscally conservative and individual rights liberal as we've ever been. there were no bond measures on the ballot this year. thank gods. that eliminates a major source of discord. bonds are loans that have to be paid back by future tax hikes. sheehs. i think most californians are paying a bit more attention this year than previous years. in the past it seems like people only read the headlines and skipped the fine print. like the clean water act that made the water less clean, for example. it might be that it's a lot easier to pay attention to the details now. the internet does a pretty good job of digesting complex issues and presenting them in a way that's comprehensible. and it's really kinda not too hard to identify the sources you should be able to trust.
nate silver is gold. he predicted 50 of 50 states. is he that good? heh. yes and no. it's a statistical lucky break that he nailed them all. so how did he do it? math. plain and simple. he's developed a good model for predicting presidential elections. science, it just works. science is your bitch. many of the same techniques he used are also used for the climate change models. and the arguments against are the same. i don't want to believe. well, some folks got smacked pretty hard by reality this election cycle. not sure why. it's kinda like standing in the path of a hurricane fueled by warmer than normal oceans, and saying, what storm?
proposition 30 passed. by a little. that's good and bad. schools get badly needed money. so tell me, why the fuck is this a proposition? why the fuck can't sacramento do its fucking job and fund these things themselves? sheehs. end rant. the funding comes from a 0.25% sales tax. which the bottom won't notice because they don't spend very much on things subject to sales tax. most of their wealth is spent on food and rent. which isn't subject to sales tax. the top won't notice because they don't spend very much on things subject to sales tax either. most of their wealth is spent on investments that make more wealth and also aren't subject to sales tax. that leaves the folks in the middle to pay for schools. as usual. great. but wait! you say. there's also an income tax hike on incomes over $250k. big fucking deal. almost no one will be affected by this. very very very few people will pay this tax. it only affects income like wages. it has no effect on income from investments. oops.
republicans are more likely to say that bureaucracies suck. democrats are more likely to say they're not so bad. is this just one of those life outlook things? perhaps. someone put forth the hypothesis that it's not. republicans reward loyalty. so they're likely to replace the most competent bureaucrat with a more loyal less competent bureaucrat. not incompetent. just less competent. usually it doesn't make a difference. but sometimes it does. like say a hurricane hits areas that expect a whole lot of government help. think katrina. republicans will put the best republican on the job. whereas democrats will put the best person there. so yeah. there might be something tangible to the republican feeling that government bureaucracies inherently suck.
so the questions are, can the government force people to do something against their religion? specifically, can we the people force catholics to offer health care plans that cover birth control? can we the people force atheists to provide bibles and organize prayer meetings for employees? can we the people force jews to prepare pork for their (presumably non-jewish) employees? can we the people force quakers to buy guns for the army that defends their land? i think the answers are yes, yes, no, no, yes. we the people can make no law that favors any particular religion. presumably that means we can't make laws that inhibit some religions but not others. heh. we the people can't promote any set of religions. but we can inhibit all religions equally. health care plans that cover birth control for a $5/mo co-pay is in society's best interest. even if it's not in the best interest of the catholic church goers immortal souls. you're welcome to move italy. forcing atheists to provide bibles is clearly promoting a religion. and thusly, not cool. i'm not aware of any studies that show more bibles lead to fewer christians. or reduced social costs to atheists. contrasted with birth control where the more you spend, the fewer people need. cool huh?. heh. the pork thing is just too weird to even comment on. pacifist quakers have to pay taxes that in part pay for guns for the army that defends their land. is this really an issue? they're welcome to move to somewhere they'd lose everything to the first warlord with a truckload of machetes.
i'm about to ruminate on wealth distribution. some folks call this wealth inequality. some folks rant that it's too high. and others want them to just shut the fuck up. okay. let's see if we can find a way to have this discussion without anyone losing their mind. there's something called the gini coefficient. it's a metric developed and used by statisticians. i'm sure it's a perfectly cromulent thing. 0 is perfect equality. this would be where an arsonist has just as much wealth as tony stark. which would be a horrible world to live in. gini coefficient of 1 is perfect inequality. ie i have everything and all of you have nothing. also a horrible world to live in. well, for you. clearly the right number is somewhere in between. but where? no one knows. what does the gini coefficient mean? there is no answer for that. and that makes the thing pretty much useless. great. we need something that's easy to understand. like say, the timmer factor. for the sake of round numbers, let's pretend the richest 9% own 91% of the wealth. okay so you, me, and 8 of your friends have a little business making chairs. we make 11 chairs. i get to keep 10 of them. you and your friends share the last 1. so here's the definition: the square root of the timmer factor is the ratio of rich to poor where the richest have enough equal shares for the poorest and the poorest have enough equal shares for the richest. why square root? hang on. i'll get to that. in our example, i, the one rich guy, have enough chairs (10) for everyone else. you, the ten poor guys, have enough chairs (1) for me. we buy into wealth inequality at this level because we can convince ourselves that it's a factor of 10. ie the educated super smart ceo really is worth 10x the uneducated floor mopper. except you have to square that ratio in order to get the actual inequality factor. the timmer factor in this case is 100. are your boss's efforts really worth 100 times yours? you've really gotta wonder if maybe not. just maybe. consider. if his labor really is that valuable, then you should just quit and let him do all the work.
you have got to be kidding me
is apparently a real company. a really dumb company. i wish i was creative enough to make this shit up. their business is to put machines in shopping malls that kinda look like atms. you steal a phone. you plug it in to the machine. it searches for the highest price it can get for the phone. and freaking gives you cash! like, what the fuck? seriously. what. the. fuck? think people. think.
game of thrones
so the other day, it hit me what i don't like about game of thrones. the tv version is pornography. it's got more plot than your typical porn flick. but it's still porn. but that's not it. i had two intelligent people assert that the gratuitous nudity was essential to the plot. really? you can tell they're bad guys cause they do it doggy style. the good guys do it missionary position. surely i'm not the only one to notice that. but that's not it either. the target audience is serial killers. grrm introduces a character. you stalk them for a book or two. then you kill 'em. it happens over and over. so yeah. no thanks.
wheel of time
the robert jordan books are pretty unique in my experience. i've picked up books and said, this is crap. and i put them down without finishing them. the wheel of time books are different. i skimmed many chapters. somebody did something uninteresting. characters did something predictable. blah blah blah. okay, on to something new and sufficiently less tedious. the man needed an editor. past tense. he's dead now. his wife found a much better writer, brandon sanderson, to finish the trilogy. ie to write books 12, 13, and 14. heh. did i say trilogy? anywho, book 12 was much better. much of what would have been an entire chapter is now a single sentence. thank the light. so one has to wonder why people read the series? it's not good prose. it's not good plot. it's an interesting imaginary world. one can disappear into it for hours. so if that's your thing, these are the books for you. otherwise, you should use the trick i suggested to the beautiful and talented alisa. skip the first book. read the recap at the beginning of the second book. stop as soon as it gets tedious. repeat for the third through 11th books. ie the robert jordan books. i've only read the first brandon sanderson book. but he's just what the series needed. the wheel of time turns faster now. yay.
remember, a vote for romney is a vote for the zombie apocalypse. i love joss whedon. video
with disturbing frequency, i start reading an article bashing something or another and i run into the phrase, laughable on its face. think about what that means. here's an idea i don't like. you don't have to make any effort to understand the point whatsoever. it's laughable on its face. it's so absurd you can just take my word it's the stupidest thing ever. really. you can judge this book by its cover. hrm. wait a second. i pretty much stop reading an article as soon as this key phrase pops up. cause i'm not interested in adopting your opinion without question. i'm perfectly capable of forming my own opinions. thank you very much. i might agree with your position. think first, then mock. the policy of mocking first and thinking never, is well, laughable on its face.
this year's pumpkin came out pretty well. enjoy.