February 2003

As the rest of the east coast can attest, we’ve be

As the rest of the east coast can attest, we’ve been snowed in. My car is currently embedded in a four-foot-deep snowdrift. You know, this never happened in Little Rock. Sure, we had religious intolernace, gang warfare, and the odd tornado, but I COULD DRIVE TO WORK EVERY DAY. We ran out of staples (read: Diet Coke) today. Thankfully, the pizza deliveries were working again. (I imagine they’ve made more than I this weekend just from tips…) Alas, my PS2 decided to crap out this weekend as this has been PERFECT “pixel people weather” – veg out in front of the television and level up your pixel people. Oh well.


My cry for help last entry or so re: spam convinced me (a) I need to install Mailwasher (I mean, come on, just LOOK at this crap for cryin’ out loud) and (b) damn, a lot of you people are out there reading my ramblings. Frightening.


I really am confused about the whole war and peace thing, which is new for me. The male in me wants to see Iraq blown up, preferably with shiny toys. The worry-mongerer in me wonders if the blowback will result in millions of Islamic fedayeen sweeping over the West and establishing the Caliphate of the Carolinas or something. And the cynic in me thinks that with folks like Edward Said on the side of the peaceniks, it’s time to drop the bomb already. Leaving aside for the moment the snide reminder that Ari Fleischer is Jewish and thus not really an American citizen, this is the same guy who felt nothing wrong with throwing rocks at an Israeli outpost from Hezbollah’s front lines. Apparently, war is just fine as long as Jews are the ones dying. The French seem to agree, or at least think that lesser nations should know when to shut up. (This apparently doesn’t include France.) Meanwhile, I wish I could vote for Tony Blair more and more. So, I start to think that the good guys are on the side of war, and the bad guys are on the side of peace. Then I remember that John Ashcroft is on the side of war too. I AM CONFUSED. And what do I think we should do about Iraq? I haven’t a clue, although maybe bribing Hussein with French prostitutes to defect isn’t a bad idea.


I’ll be at GDC in San Jose the first week of March. Drinks are on… whomever’s buying! (Probably not me.) Thankfully, this year I actually have a full pass courtesy of my employer and won’t be reduced to camping outside watching the street vendors give away Anarchy Online boxes.


I see someone sent Ubiq the interesting Shadowbane page I found. Heh. In your blind my eye tear, because I in under-water! Shui Shuo: I can feel in your eye the tear, because you in my heart. It’s poetry, I tell you. (Hint: Babelfish holds the key.)

oh my my, you are so sci fi — The Buggles

oh my my, you are so sci fi — The Buggles

Here’s some speculative fiction for you.

Picture America under siege.

One of our former allies is now literally sworn to destroy us and everything we stand for.

They have nukes. Pointed at us. They promise not to use them first, but, well, you know.

They support terrorists. Pretty openly, too. We can’t do much about it because of the whole nuke thing. They give terrorists aid and comfort and lots of heavy weaponry. They even help smuggle them into friendly countries.

And did I mention this wasn’t fiction? No? It’s history. Remember the Cold War? The USSR?

Funny, we managed to make it through THAT terrorist threat without shredding the constitution overly much. In fact, our way of life, and our freedom, is what acted as a beacon to the rest of the world.

I am beginning to think that in this case, Santayana was wrong, and we aren’t condemned to repeat history. Unfortunately.


If this is true, it frightens the living snot out of me. And bear in mind, I’m a conservative. A very mild libertarian do what the hell you want variety, but still. I was apathetic on whether or not we invaded Iraq, I think North Korea is pretty much the dictionary definition of evil regime, and I voted for Bush. I thought the last election was a TIE and should have been done over.

Now I’m thinking John Ashcroft really IS incredibly evil like the liberals have been claiming. I mean, you don’t take away people’s citizenship based on their political affiliation. NO. Bad guard dog. No cookie.

In undoubtably unrelated events, a Bin Laden tape convienently showed up at Al-Jazeera giving the more frothing members of the administration an instant casus belli. Joy.

No spam please.James Gleick has

No spam please.

James Gleick has always written insightfully on issues .netly, and today’s article in the NY Times Sunday magazine is no exception.

We need to be able to say no. No, I’m not looking for a good time. No, I don’t want to ”e-mail millions of PayPal members.” No, I don’t want an anatomy-enlargement kit. No, I don’t want my share of the Nigerian $25 million. I just want my in-box. It belongs to me, and I want it back.

Damn straight. Except with me personally Klez mail has overwhelmed the spammers. I’m almost nostalgic for the people promising to grow my peen. LITERALLY 95% OF MY INCOMING EMAIL IS VIRUS GENERATED. The first 15 minutes of my work day consists of me dutifully going through my email and deleting 95% of it. HELP ME.

Really. Help me. If anyone has ANY suggestions for a program that will automatically filter viral emails (Klez and otherwise) successfully PLEASE TELL ME. I only hope that when you do it hasn’t gotten to the point where I am unable to read my email any more.

From Raph Koster, posting on the Star Wars Galaxies boards:

“The honest fact is that it takes six months of Live to balance an MMORPG, and anyone who tells you otherwise is kidding themselves. Even six months of beta does not do it.”

I’d go further and say MMORPGs are “impossible” to balance by definition. They’re either too complex (DAOC’s approximately 932 classes) or.. well, I’d say too simple, but I can’t think of a single MMORPG that qualifies as “too simple”.

People don’t want a perfectly balanced MMORPG. If they did, we could just give everyone 1 hit point, let them do 2 hit points of damage every attack, and set them loose. People want variety, longevity, fun, and most importantly, they want to win. The Lake Woebegone MMORPG, where everyone is above average…

Jonah Goldberg (editor of the National Review’s website) on the Columbia disaster:

War, Ambrose Bierce once observed, is God’s way of teaching Americans geography. (Who among us knew where Kandahar was two years ago?) The tragedy of the Columbia is God’s way of teaching Americans about the geography beyond our own solar system and of urging us to consider profound questions about our role there. Just as the slogan “New York’s Finest” wouldn’t be so poignant without the horror of Sept. 11, it’s doubtful whether we would have had a chance to rally behind–or question, for that matter–the space program were it not for the sacrifice of the Columbia Seven.

And it is this fact that makes this week’s feeding frenzy so forgivable. This was not a pseudo-event, to use Daniel Boorstin’s phrase. And it was not a true-crime drama gussied-up as news for the benefit of those who claim to be interested in “current events” but who really want soap operas. “The Columbia is Lost” story involved large themes, important policies and billions of dollars mixed in with drama, tragedy and heroism too. If not this, then what kind of story should the media go overboard about?

Basically, the media went all OJ Simpson on the disaster, but it’s OK, because space is important. I’m not so sure. I’m beginning to think that splicing the shuttle tragedy into the usual media firestorm of GaryConditIraqIraqRobertBlakeIraqIraqWHOOPSNorthKoreaIraqMICHAEL! isn’t a good thing. It trivializes things. It trivializes EVERYTHING.

When Challenger blew up I was undergoing basic training at a Navy camp in Orlando. We were marched outside, ordered about face, and ordered to look up (in recruit training you do NOT look up, which is hard to do because the Orlando camp is near a major airport). “You’re looking at the space shuttle Challenger. It was destroyed.” (pace 30 seconds) “About FACE! Forward MARCH!” So I didn’t get to grieve much.

I didn’t get to grieve much this time, either. The media did it for me.