Wednesday, December 3

That was just your life

I'm realizing that I'm a very bad advocate for myself.

It is...not a pleasant realization.

Wednesday, November 12

Here's a thought

The next time someone makes a mistake, you might want to ask; did they make a mistake because they fucked up, or did they make a mistake because the instructions provided were unclear?

Thursday, October 23

Ah, crap.

I forgot to call my Dad on his birthday yesterday.

Monday, October 13

An open letter to Sen. Obama

Dear Senator,

You lost my vote when you voted for the FISA bill. You said it was a bad bill. Senator Feinstein, who sits on the committee that oversees the wiretapping program and knows more than you about the consequences of this bill, said it was a bad bill. You voted for it anyway.

Which brings you into a direct clash with my values; when things are wrong, you don't let go of your principles even if you're going to lose. I know; You are in the game to win it. I know; your political opponents would hammered you on it. But they hammered you with Rev. Wright too, and you took a stand and treated us like adults and people stopped short and listened. On this bill, however, you voted for it, and then said it was a good compromise.

It wasn't. That was all I really needed to not vote for you. Your political career has been brief, your rhetoric not always backed up by consistent actions. This crucial moment came, and you let it pass.

People told me I shouldn't care, people told me that too much was at stake, that McCain was just going to further us into disaster. I felt I had principles here and I had to stick by them; retroactive pardoning of actions that violated the Fourth Amendment was not something I could stand for.

You still haven't convinced me to change my mind. You say you stand for change, but you don't articulate a strong vision. Healthcare, alternative energy, infrastructure both electronic and physical; these are big ideas we could be leaders in and are critical to our country's ability to be a good one, but you don't put it into a singular purpose as far as I'm concerned.

The smaller issues; homeland security, economic regulation, education, these things are bog points, and yes, you speak with great conviction on them but they don't convince me anymore. Solving these problems won't save us, because they are connected to larger ideas. Your job is to give this country a vision and then help us carry it out.

Worse, I am terrified that there will be no way to enforce the will of the people when you are elected. The ability to ignore the people in willful defiance of the disasters that he caused, has been one of the greatest tragedies of our current President. How can I be sure you will do what you say you will do?

I couldn't, so I couldn't vote for you.

You are fortunate, sir, that I am a reader. That I want to make sure I am doing the best I can, and in order to do that I try to absorb all the information possible that is available to me.

Esquire magazine published their endorsement issue recently. Perhaps you've seen it. You're no doubt aware of it, especially since they endorse you. They do a better job of describing things than I, both your strengths and weaknesses, why they think you're the man for this job. They evaluate McCain too, quietly but smartly evaluating why they think you should be President of the United States.

None of that convinced me. This did: Justice John Paul Stevens is eighty-nine years old, the editors of Esquire reminded me...

In January of 2009, if and when Barack Obama is inaugurated as the forty-fourth president of the United States, Associate Justice John Paul Stevens will be closing in on his thirty-fourth year on the Court and his eighty-ninth year on earth. And there, really, you have it. The best argument for the election of Barack Obama as president of the United States is written quite clearly in the peaks and squiggles of John Paul Stevens's EKG.

Just as, no matter how impressive John McCain could ever be, Sarah Palin should never, ever be allowed to be President, so must Justice Stevens be replaced by someone who truly believes in the Law of the Land.

So, Senator Obama, I will be voting for you in this election.

I do not like it. You have not earned my trust, you have not met any of my expectations. I am going to have to leave some of my principles behind in order to vote for you. In a very real way, I am doing what you did when you voted to pass the FISA bill, and I do not like that at all.

I am putting my country ahead of myself, however. That is not the greatest consolation for me. My country is made up of all those little choices that men and women like me make, most of us truly trying to make the place both good enough for themselves and a little better for the next group in whatever ways we can, and it lives and dies on our adherence to the qualities of honor that we maintain.

And my country has seen a great deal of dishonor in the past ten years. Dishonor that has come from the top and trickled down effecting everyone, so unlike the economic prosperity of a select few that liars would have us believe will buoy us all, leaving so many of us angry, frightened, and dispirited. I am very, very, very tired of it.

So I am going to put Americans ahead of my principles, the principles I believe that if people like me do not adhere to most days, will lead us to ruin, because the broad enforcement of the rule of law (not just through Justice Stevens, but through the other Federal judges I hope you will appoint) has to come before my strict adhesion to my belief that you do what is right, even if you are going to lose.

I am having to put my faith in you, that you will do what is right. That you will not utterly succumb to power and forget all that we have been through as a nation, but also remember that we are a nation of laws, and it is only through laws that are fair, honest, applying to all, that are in a word, just, that we will be able to address some of the wrongs that we have done. We have to right those wrongs Senator; those wrongs done to the world, those wrongs done to ourselves. It is our responsibility, because we had such a heavy hand in creating that mess.

I don't want to vote on my fears, fears of economic meltdown, fears of government intrusion both private and public into the lives of the American people, fears of tyranny in my own country. So I have to choose to vote on something else.

I am having to vote on faith, and I am asking you to justify that faith, as much as any human can.

Good luck Senator, and may we both find success in our efforts to make this a better world.

Monday, September 29

Shards review

In part for my friend J, who keeps telling me I should write tihs shit down so he has stuff to read.

I've been reading the Shards of Alara spoilerlist, and I'm pretty meh about this set.

Blue gets mega awesome stuff, because they've dipped into the artifact pool again. This time WotC isn't even trying to hide it; they're making blue artifacts. I realize that they have taken great pains to make the game more balanced, but every time they emphasize artifacts (and by relation, blue) they fuck it up, and the game suffers as a result.

And I only barely get why blue gets to lockdown searching of libraries. It seems like if you want to ensure the 'chaos' factor, red ought to have that. Fuck blue.

The silver lining here is that white gets some very strong stuff, being linked to blue-and thus artifacts-in this set. White has been needing a reasonable boost in power for awhile now, and slowly it looks like it's starting to happen.

Unfortunately, the other main white ability, exalt, is lame. It only works on attacking, so you want to load up one creature with all your eggs-and that strategy NEVER works.

Black also gets some nice cards, but that color doesn't need any help.

Red and Green get a focus on big creatures, but that theme has been plaguing those colors for ages, and is never successful. Or, it is when there is no viable countermagic in the format, however that's not the case here. Anytime you have a hard counter for less than four, and spot removal for the same, big creatures just won't matter. So blue and black once again look like the big players.

Worse, the 'abilities' that R/G get--devour--mean that they want to kill their paths to victory.
That. Is. Stupid.
If you're winning, this ability won't help you seal the deal, and if you're losing, this ability won't help you come back!

However, there's good and bad here, as with nearly every set. My problem is that I'm bored. This block is another multi-color set, and it's the 3rd such block in 5 blocks. There's too much of a good thing happening here, and it's becoming stale.

I'm glad the game is developing to help eliminate mana screw and color screw--two very frustrating ways to lose, especially for new players--but if they make multiple colors the best possible option, then it rapidly becomes the only one.

Issue number two: this set is probably the least focused set I've seen in years. At least it feels that way; cards that beg for 'support' cards that I just know are going to be released in the future--but for now we just have to suck it up and try and make these weaker cards work (shit like Resounding Roar. So many different things going on thematically that getting the set to form any cohesion is impossible, (cycling being smattered through the set, color themes bleeding over this way and that, 5+ power creatures mattering for some, but not all) and honestly, I'm just tired of it.

Sometimes, straightforward is good. I don't expect a block of monochrome, but the repetition of a theme like this has been visited too often, and the well is running dry for me.

Still; I loved Shadowmoor, but was disappointed by Eventide, so it's possible that the future of this block is still shiny.

Wednesday, August 27

Black Ice

I know that there is probably no reason at all to be interested in the new AC/DC record. But. Still.

Monday, August 18

Salon article

So I read the article linked, and yeah, I dig on it. Of course, going to the letters section there are a small but extremely viscous group of people-hating creatures who neither understand or empathize with someone who is having trouble. My general feeling towards people who cannot put their objections civilly is summed up thusly: Fuck them.

What is less good is the questions it brings up for me. The insistence that I cannot quit my job, because there are lots and LOTS of stories, especially now, about how bad things are. And, I have to admit; I fear poverty. Not being able to get new things-don't care. Not being able to eat properly, or pay rent; big care.

So that preys on me. What also preys on me, however, is the ache in my side I get from just sitting at this desk. I can't stay here. I have to stay here.

You might see the issue there.

It's weird being smart and so scared. I feel like I ought to have the skills to manage, but they seem to elude me. That's no fun.

Tuesday, August 5

The trick

Last week was a shit week at work. I can't remember being so angry at work; my frustration levels went through the roof.

I need a new job. I am afraid that my skills of mediocrity have left me with few avenues to pursue one. My Dad suggests 'leadership skills', but I honestly have no idea what that means or where I'd go to learn such a thing. I do not recall seeing these kinds of classes taught at GU.

I've always had trouble figuring out what I 'ought to do with my life'. I like to write but I have no idea how I'd ever get paid for such things, and time really does become an issue. Writing is hard work, and even though I like it, it takes time and effort to get something out that's worth reading. Then you have to be lucky enough to have someone pay you for it. I've never been much for promoting myself, so I generally hit a dead end when it comes to going anywhere.

They say there are two problems; you know what you want but you don't know how to get it, or you don't know what you want.

I seem to have a little of both. Maybe I should make a list of what I do want, so things will become clearer.

However, there are a few things that need to be done.
1) I need to not be angry at my supervisor. I need to figure out a way to release this soon, as she'll be in the office next week and will no doubt want a sit down with me. I need to be able to be civil with her.

2) I need a plan of action to get me out of Dodge. I really really have to leave here; I can feel it taking a toll on me physically. That is bad, no matter how you cut it.

3) I need a thought as to what I ought to be doing. If writing won't pay (since I have no idea how to make money at it), and I shouldn't be a teacher, what is there? I honestly don't know, and I'd like to stay in Portland to do it, whatever it is.

Thursday, July 24

Mass Effect

At this rate, I'll be up there with GamersWithJobs or something. Except tardier.

But: Mass Effect: I have completed it.

Mass Effect is a story driven game, and I really mean that; a large chunk of the gameplay is a 'Choose your own adventure' game, where the conversations that the player had tend to influence the outcome of the events around you. The major plot points remain the same, but in between those are mini-quests that you choose to do or not, and those choices allow for certain stories to develop. The completion of those stories gives you more experience and potentially access to other goodies.

After that, the game divvy's up into two main gameplay elements: shooting and driving.

The shooting elements are pretty well managed I think, and one could spend hours, no kidding, mixing and matching the gear used as armor and weapons for this part of the game. This goes a little overboard, and it becomes cumbersome because the inventory screen isn't very easy to move through. I had to scroll down individually to each item to get to the next one. Being able to move through pages would've been easier, as would the grouping of items by name.

Once thrown into combat though, I found the game really easy to work with. The fighting scenes worked well, my squad rarely got stuck, and the environments were challenging enough that moving through them kept me on my toes. I didn't mind that spaceships or bases had the same layout; that's the way things get built, so I didn't care. The planetary environments were cool enough that I was happy.

Moving around the planetary environments, however was another story. Driving was a pain in the ass because the control for the tank turret could also cause you to move in the direction it was pointing. As a result, moving in a straight line was a challenge.

Now, BioWare (the developers) did the right thing by making it pretty much impossible to flip your vehicle and end the game, but they also didn't do themselves any favors by including so many mountains to try and climb over, slowing and sometimes even stopping my progress. The maps were only mildly helpful for navigating terrain; the places I wanted to go could be marked with a flag, but finding them on the map was sometimes a real chore. Terrain was marked by light blue and black, but locations I wanted to find had icons that were small and did not readily stand out against the light blue.

Secondly, there was frequent combat done from the vehicle, and the targeting reticle was frequently obscured by the environment. That was a huge pain in the ass. I couldn't see where I was firing, and that meant I would miss, or waste a cannon shot just to see where my bullets were going.

But there was no getting around this; any mission you wanted to take on any planet involved driving there, and inevitably confronting enemies.

Aside from that, I really enjoyed this game. Big space adventure, the ability to choose how to handle situations and people, and enough detailing that I can geek out without having to become hardcore. Fun stuff!

Monday, July 14

Get over it

I don't think Michael Ian Black is funny. It's weird to see people get riled about that.

Monday, July 7

It dawns on me.

Also. Why the fuck do I have to type in some crappy captcha code on my own blog? There's got to be a setting for that. Will investigate, because that's just fucking stupid.

Teh Crack

I started a 10 day free-trial of World of Warcraft yesterday. Bye-bye sleep. And boobies.

Sunday, July 6

Wednesday, July 2


So, my car broke down yesterday. It's alright; nothing really was wrong with it, but I was stuck there for a little while waiting for someone to come jumpstart it. (The linky goes to the post where I talk briefly about that)

But I was also lucky that there was a payphone half a block away. It is making me consider getting a cellphone, again. Pros and cons?

Monday, June 23

Assassin's Creed

I finished Assassin's Creed for the PS3 last weekend and while I enjoyed quite a bit of it, the flaws in the game are problematic enough that I understand why it got such mixed reviews.

I liked the basics of the game; climbing things and jumping around rooftops, as well as stealth assassinations. But all the other missions seemed to be flawed. Picking someone's pocket feels like an awkward exercise in timing, instead of patience and skill. Combat is mostly a one button mashup affair, with the only skill being pressing a 'defend' button at the appropriate time. So anytime you have to fight someone, it becomes rather dreary with repetition. Since 2/3s of the missions are fighting based, it becomes a chore. Worse, since I am unable to dictate my moves, when I would defend then counter, I would end up punching someone instead of using my sword and I had no idea why. When surrounded by 5+ enemies this becomes an issue. It seemed like the game just decided for me; harder opponents will be ones you can only punch, weaker ones you can slice at.

Well, fuck that; give me a reward/penalty system or something, so I can decide which is best.

The stealth aspects are also implemented unevenly; all of the 'boss' missions require virtually no stealth, so it feels like I spent time learning how to behave stealthily, but there's no payoff for that. Once the boss mission is completed, you have to run for your life--there's no way to stealthily commit the deed, and then sneak away to get a head start. Exploring the city is fun but since the soldiers can follow me anywhere, it rarely feels like there is a payoff for exploring, beyond finding new missions to do and seeing the beautiful panoramics of the city.

One thing that really, really peeves me about games that encourage exploration is that the 'little bonuses' they reward you with are...well, a total pain in the ass without any payoff. Grand Theft Auto started this with the 'find 99 drug packages' thing in GTA3, and AC has a 'find the flags' and 'defeat the Templars' subgame. But there are 60 Templars, and 420 flags to find! On top of that, the map is not very helpful at letting you find those things. It should be, and there are 2 reasons why.

First, I only have so much time. Game developers, help me out! I want to play your games, but if you keep putting in things that must be stumbled upon at random, then I have no choice but to prioritize and say; Fuck that. I appreciate that some people have gone through the trouble to find all the flags and Templars and make a handy set of maps, but why should I have to go to a website to help me do something in the game like find flags? It breaks up the whole experience, and is just a pain in the ass. If I can't be a boss, or can't find my way into something, sure, I want to be able to get help. Who doesn't? But stumbling on random packages is...well, it's not fun, it's work, and that's not why I play games.

Second, if you're going to put in these little things, make it worthwhile! I climbed all the towers and got my viewpoints because it was fun to look around and then leap off. When I completed the game, I saw that I had a 'task done', so I went to look at it. All it told me was; all view points completed. Well, SHIT, I'm glad the act of doing it was fun to begin with, because I get nothing else out of the deal.

Finding a flag, or beating a Templar (when your combat system is weak), isn't inherently fun, and there doesn't seem to be a bonus for doing the thing that is fun, so what's my motivation? (Xbox owners can say; you get accomplishment
points, but what the hell are accomplishment points good for? It's just a trophy badge to let other people know you 'did' something, and at 36 just being able to finish a game is my accomplishment. I have, as a great friend of mine says, a host of responsibilities I'm trying to ignore, don't make me work to ignore them.)

So help me out; if I'm climbing the viewpoints, open up the map so I can find more stuff, which leads me to exploring more and learning more stealth stuff, and so on.

My final complaint is; the finale of the game involved the weakest parts of the game; combat. Sigh. All those hours learning cool stuff wasted.

Assassin's Creed developers; I enjoyed your game. I liked the story. I liked climbing around cities, and I liked figuring out how to be stealthy (even if it was frustrating occasionally) and although the random beggar bugged the hell out of me, I enjoyed the experience overall.

But please step it up for the next game, because I'm only willing to accept this game up to a point, and then I get worn out.

Thursday, June 19


Boy do I hate yardwork.

Tuesday, June 10


I'm depressed today. I'm not sure what admitting that publicly will do, aside from just let people know I'm depressed. Maybe that will be enough.

Monday, June 2

Austin is pretty cool

As a place to visit, that is. It's way too goddamn hot for human beings to seriously want to live there in massive numbers.

And; there's some good beer there too!

But, next time someone insists that Austin > Portland, and says, "Anything you can get up there, you can get down here," just say this:


Thursday, May 29


Off to Austin TX for the weekend. Never been, so it should be interesting at the very least, and quite likely awesome.

Going to end up drinking very shitty beer, though. That's a bit more problematic.

Tuesday, May 20

Just a few things

First; 'unscribe' is not a word. It's 'unsubscribe', damnit.

Second; Note to self: do not let other people's authority tell you what you like or don't like.

Third; walking through Portland right now,they're tearing up the streets for the N/S Max line (the public rail system). As they wrecked 6th Ave SW, I could see the strata of the earth, macadam, cement, wooden rail ties, bricks, dirt.

Wait. Rail ties? Uh huh. Looks like a few decades ago, a railroad went through this part of town. On this street.

The more things change, right?

Tuesday, May 13

Various stuff


That's just neat.

I just got back from Las Vegas, where I visited my Dad and a few ex-Consumators.

I hate Vegas. It's impossible to get a decent meal for reasonable prices, and finding a beer worth keeping down is impossible. It is utterly devoid of the fun which it insists it is selling you, unless you 1) like to gamble or 2) like to spend a fuckton of money. Which is just gambling, but, you know, on something that you might get to keep. Or nourish you. Or basically provide some kind of return beyond; It puts the quarters in the bin, or else it gets the hose again.

When you aren't in the Vegas that everyone thinks of as Vegas, you're in either a) an insidiously ugly, shitty part of town or b) in a community that's gated and surrounded by a Southwestern themed strip mall.

It's a shame, because if you leave Vegas, the countryside is really quite pretty.

Went to see Iron Man, and it's as good as they say. Solid cast, decent story, all around good stuff. Dad's take: "Well, I'm glad I got to see it for free-and hell, I'd see it again for free."
Me:"Isn't that true of anything, really?"
"Hell, no."

I've finished up the Sly Cooper series on the PS2, and you know, it's pretty good. I think it got overlooked in the PS2 world with Ratchet and Clank and Jax and Daxter as competition, but lots of fun. Ending is a little abrupt, but not bad.

Went on a stripper bus via Barfly and had an interesting experience, touring various and sundry clubs in Portland.

Fav; Pirate's Cove. Our hostess Rachel Reckless was lovely too. And my girlfriend became the hero of the bus when she asked a trucker to move his vehicle so our bus could pass (long story, but it is one of those; that's why people don't like the police, things).

I guess that's the deal.

Tuesday, April 29


But totally cool.

Monday, April 21

Warriors of time

I'm listening to the new Black Tide which is resoundingly OKish.

However, I'm just not sure I can keep an album where the lyric "We are the warriors of time" is sung without irony.

Wednesday, April 16

Suzanne Schnetzler dba Rocking S Farm

Posting this story as a favor to a friend.

Note to self

Sometimes it really is best to stay quiet. Avoids drama.

Internet drama plays out weird sometimes, though. In this case, I'm not sure I'd've noticed, if I hadn't been asked to notice.

Tuesday, March 18

Jovi Punch-Full Recovery

Either you understand how awesome that is, or I hate you.

Thursday, March 13


Consumating is closing tomorrow. I deleted my profile as an act of defiance; they do not get to take it away from me. I will take it from them.

Have had beers. Need to sleep. But this is something I'm going to have to mourn and work through.

Thursday, March 6

Saturday, March 1

Cool flickr group

Found via the glories of

Wednesday, February 13


The money quote
Erick Erickson, editor of the popular conservative megablog RedState, conceded that progressives currently enjoy an advantage over conservatives online—though he attributed it to an asymmetry in free time, since conservatives "have families because we don't abort our kids, and we have jobs because we believe in capitalism."

Just. Floored.

Tuesday, February 5

Things get weird

One of Lala's friends died on Sunday. She was 37. From what I understand, it was a combination of things; mental health issues coupled with physical health issues, leading to...well death.

I had met this person a few times-really friendly and I liked her. Death comes to everyone, regardless of the quality of their personhood, but it just seems as though something fundamentally unfair happened here. As though she was sick, but her illness was not taken seriously enough.

I'm not sure. But it's one of those things; once it's done, it cannot be undone, and there's that gnawing sadness that comes with that.

Saturday, February 2

Friday, February 1

Men becoming obsolete

I've been saying it for years; women do not need men anymore. A 60% increase in lesbianism, and men would become extinct. Because men are only needed for 2 things: sperm, and lifting heavy things.

Machines can lift heavy things. Sperm was a trick, but no longer.

Science is only just now proving me right.

Boys, be good to the women in your life. Just sayin'.

Wednesday, January 30

I couldn't even watch the whole thing

Good beer-really good beer-is slowly making it's way into the national consciousness. And I'm glad of that, but when I watch the video I link to I just feel the setback, like some kind of glacial momentum shift.

The dude acts like such a fucking douchebag, and the woman just seems to have this 'But I'm a girl I don't like beer' thing going on, with the subtext of cocksucking underneath it that...well, it's just a shame.

"Be careful, that beer is complex"

Thursday, January 24

Nuking the site from orbit

I have a vasectomy scheduled for tomorrow.

This feels a little weird, because I'm making a choice that's quite final. Final choices always have more weight, and that weight is present in part because even though I never wanted to have kids, I did have the realization that I could have them, and it would be a good life.

That said; the idea of being a father scares me to death. I don't have a bad life, but I also am under no illusions that it's one that could support another human being. I guess what makes this event so weird is that I'm choosing between two fears, and I don't like either of them.

I also don't like the idea of something edged being taken to my testicles. I can't ever imagine a situation where I'm going to think that's good and hope for it.

As with so many things, the whole story is a little complicated. The lass at one point would've loved to be a mom. Now, the circumstances of her life compel her, as a smart, caring, wonderful person, to close that door. And she, she I'd have a family with; so it's bittersweet.

I was telling Rasta about it this last weekend, and what I said was, "This decision does not come without a little regret, but I think it's the best one."

I still do. I just think it's a little sad, too.

Monday, January 21


There's just a link. I liked it.


Had a really good weekend for the most part. My friend Rasta visited, and Fuz and I pretty much spoiled her rotten. It's nice to be able to treat your friends, when you can.

Saw Cloverfield, and thought it was a pretty solid film. Not the best thing ever, and sometimes hard to watch due to shaky cam issues, but well executed and a nice take on the Godzilla genre.

Sunday...I went out to meet up with some friends to watch football. In the middle of it, one couple got into a rather serious discussion, and it pretty much torqued the rest of the evening at the pub. It's weird to see people have out their relationship issues publicly, and gods know I'm guilty of having done that.

Monday, January 14

Sunday, January 13


Remember: your depression isn't solved by discussion, it is solved by action.

It was a long night, in a way, and it had a lot of things to say to me that I wasn't alwasy happy to hear.

But, something must be done.

Friday, January 11

Also: Tights are not pants

Adaptabilty issues

When I make beer-and I am trying to do this at least once a month, if not more-sometimes, it comes out badly.
Fortunately, I can bring it to the Oregon Brew Crew for advice.

And, what I found out was that in the case of one beer, my willingness to swap one ingredient for another meant my beer tasted like death.

Sometimes, experimenting can really be awesome-but as with so many things, it helps to know what you're doing. Still, I'm glad I've fucked up, even though it was initially pretty disheartening, because I feel like I know more.