Thursday, November 27, 2008

Terrorism in India

I've come to see my parents for Thanksgiving. I often do this. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

My parents have, I think 4 TV's in this little house and they are all locked onto Fox News. I don't normally watch TV and I definitely don't like watching the news. Of course, after seeing how well received Durango's TV blogs are, I've about decided I'm in the wrong line of randomness.

So, anyway, when I woke up this morning, the media was all over this thing that happened in India where these cowardly boys came on shore and took over several hotels to kill innocent people.

This kind of stuff irritates me so much I lose any sense of rational thought that I pretend to have. The only reason I can think of that they do things like this is for media attention and we are proud to provide it. And lots of it! It doesn't accomplish anything else.

I think, they should quit calling these guys Jihadists or Terrorists or whatever the name of the day is. I try to run a rated PG blog, but in my opinion they should start calling them CDAMFWHSTMTFD. It's kind of hard to pronounce. It stands for Cowardly Dumb-Ass Mother F'ers Who Have Spent Too Much Time F'ing Donkeys.

I mean these guys go into these hotels and try to take out all British and Americans? Do they have something against speaking English? I assume they had to speak English to get their point across because you don't meet too many American's that can speak CDAMFWHSTMTFDish.

I'd almost be willing to watch the news if I could find a channel that would never use the term Terrorists. Even if they could just swap it out with "Stupid asses" or "Monkey boys". Let's see how that works. From here:

Mumbai, Nov 27: Even as the Army and NSG commandos gained an upper hand at the Taj, fresh firing broke out between the security forces and monkey boys at Nariman house and two blasts were heard from inside.
One injured monkey boy is still holding out at the Taj, with almost all guests having been rescued.
The remaining monkey boy is reported to be injured and is trading fire with the security forces trying to bring him down.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Naked, Rich and Famous by McDonalds

So, there is the married couple from Arkansas who have become famous seemingly overnight and it seems they may even become rich. It only took a little nudity and stupidity to get there. I have so many opinions of this story I don't know where to start. I'm all atwitter.

If you haven't heard, you can read it here, or you can just look at my witty and opinionated summary here.

Basically, the couple seemed to have a steamy relationship. She was sending him cool naked pictures of herself in various poses to his cell phone at work. This is pretty cool. I don't recommend people sending naked pictures via email or over the air to cell phones because no telling how many people will get to see them en route, but still. If your wife loves you enough to send cool naked pictures of herself to you while you are at work. More power to ya.

In my wicked imagination, I see him ordering a Big Mac at McDonald's and sitting down to eat
when she sends him the best one yet! Then, in all the excitement and mayhem that ensues, he leaves his stuff at the table and races home to see if his wife is still in the exciting pose. They make mad passionate love before he realizes that he left his phone at McDonald's.

He quickly washes his hands and calls the McDonald's where some horned up teen answers the phone and affirms that they have indeed found the man's phone and "will keep it safe" for his impending return to fetch it.

Of course, the teen had already notified his friends who had notified their friends who had finally found someone with a cool website and they had bluetoothed the information to someones phone so as to keep it for future perusal.

The guy posted them to his website for the world to see. According to the story, he also posted the cell phone number from whence the pictures were taken.

It wasn't long before the man had his phone and was receiving text messages and phone calls commenting on the photos. I'm guessing his wife was pretty hot!

For some reason this was embarrassing to them so they had to change jobs and move to a new location and this is where the story takes a strange twist. You see, up until now, I had never heard this story. I never knew their names, "Philip Sherman and Tina Sherman", and I never knew their shame. Up until now this was a local story about a local couple that were treated pretty poorly by one or more horned up teens.

So, this embarrassed couple, after changing phone numbers, jobs and houses, decides to sue McDonald's. Did they not realize that this would make the story national? Now every man and his dog is Googling for these pictures. They've sued for $3,000,000 over something about invasion of privacy, loss of income and general turmoil. Heck, this story is probably worldwide. There are probably guys in Beijing trying to break through the Chinese crackdown on the Internet so they can see the photos.

I wonder if they realize how many people running the computer systems for whichever wireless provider they use have seen these pictures and shared them with their friends and family? You can't send emails. You can't send text messages and not realize that any number of people can see it. It only takes one to put it on the Internet.

My wife is really hot. She's the sexiest woman I've ever met. And I've got some good pictures. I don't store them on my phone and I don't send them via email. But, hey, if McDonald's starts handing out $3,000,000 for stuff like this, I'm going to go get some extra cell phones. I've got some ground to cover. I'll blanket the area with lost cell phones at various stores. Eventually someone will find one and put the pictures on the Internet! It'll be the easiest $3,000,000 ever!!!

Radio Stations and Spreading the Ignorance

Today, I was listening to the radio as I often do on my way to work when they asked that extra special trivia question that you hear once or twice a year. "Who was the first President to be born in the USA?"

The answer of course is Martin Van Buren. He was born December 5, 1782 in Kinderhook New York. Interestingly, the President after him was not born in the USA.

This of course, got the DJ's talking ignorantly about the constitution and about how it says in there that all Presidents must be born in the USA so how was it possible that up until Van Buren, they weren't and the one after Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, also was not. So, they ignorantly conjectured that these guys had been born in Europe somewhere and had come to the USA prior to the creation of the USA.

All the Presidents of the USA were born in the USA or in a territory that would eventually become part of the USA. William Henry Harrison was born February 9, 1773 in Charles City County, Colony of Virginia. George Washington was born February 22, 1732 in Westmoreland County, Colony of Virginia, British America.

Anyway, I don't know why this is interesting to me. I think I would have been a lot better at history if they would have personolized it rather than made it all about dates and number. I like people. I like knowing when they were born and where they lived. I've been reading lots of historical fiction lately. It gives history a personality. I did a blog a while back about birthdays and Presidents.

I also got hit a few times with a civics quiz I was asked to take. I finally broke down and took it. Is civics based on history or math or common sense? Some of the questions were obviously historical. Others seem rather mathematical or logical. The historical ones I surprisingly got mostly right. The mathematical and logical ones I missed. I assume the correct answers were based on history rather than logic. I scored a 77 . I'm not telling anyone else. I'd be the lowest scoring Libertarian. Very embarassing.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What Every Fantasy Addict Wants in the Next MMO

I'm still playing AoC (Age of Conan).  In fact, after this weeks episode of old age and kidney stone debilitation, I've been playing it more than ever.

And because I've been playing it more than ever, I've come up with several ideas on how to make a "next generation" game.  I'd like to share these ideas with you now, in the comfort of your cozy chair, in front of the display of choice.

First of all, kudos to the guys that made and are updating Age of Conan.  The game has a common sense quality that I really like.  In most MMO's you are always just craving to "win".  It's why I normally develop burn out.  You get tired of "grinding" to the end game.  Age of Conan has a good story and it's presented in a very good way.  Just this week I was playing and I realized that two people can mine at the same time.  WoW (World of Warcraft) doesn't allow you to do this.  When you are grouping with a buddy, you have to take turns "hitting it".

But, when I play MMO's, I am all about exploring.  A lot of times you'll come to something you want to explore but can't because you are unable to survive solo.  How come MMO's can't give you a tavern where you can go recruit NPC's (non-player characters) to come with you?  Age of Conan already does this to some extent.  There is an NPC that comes to help with one of the villa quests.  But, I'd like to be able to go and pick and choose 1 or more NPC's to accompany me on my travels.  Granted, you wouldn't get all the experience, but at least you'd get to see everything.

This situation would be doubly nice if you could use characters you've already created.  What if I could borrow my other characters to go with me into a dungeon?  Then they'd all get experience.  I would be in control of the group.

Another thing that has irritated me with all MMO's and I don't know why someone hasn't already fixed it is the idea of a server in its current incarnation.  It would be nice if I could buy a game that would allow me to make a set number of characters.  Each of those characters could have a "mode".  A mode would be something like play style (PvP, culture PvP, PvE, RP PVE, RP PVP, etc.).  PvP is Player vs Player.  PvE is Player vs Environment.  RP is roleplaying.  A player brought up in a PvE environment can't switch over to a PvP environment.  It's not fair to the hardcore PvP'ers.

Each time I log in with my character, I could choose which world I wanted to play on based on population and mode.  Do I want to play on a sparsely populated world (because I just want to do some solo questing) or do I want to play highly populated world because I want to see lots of people.  However, all the "worlds" would have access to all the other worlds for things like auctions, group searches and battlegrounds.

Someone on another world could see that you are looking for a group and invite you to their world for purposes of the group.  It would make the necessity for server merges and population problems go completely away.  Sure there would be people with the same name, but in this day and age, there are so many options for a character that they will still all be unique.  When you are looking for a character named Arturus, you'll see "Arturus the Cimmerian Ranger", "Arturus the Aquilonian Assassin", etc.  Most of the time it doesn't matter anyway.  Quit enforcing the unique name policy.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pain, Suffering and Failure to Blog

My wife is out of town. She left for Germany on Monday. In celebration of living by myself for two weeks I decided to go out with my buddy who has a knack for getting me into trouble. Or maybe a knack for convincing me to get myself into trouble.

Tuesday morning I was sick. I didn't drink that much, but I somehow convinced myself that I over-indulged. By 9:00 AM, I had decided that my Monday night beer had just coincidentally coincided with the onset of a 24 hour virus. By 3 PM I was sure of it.

Tuesday night, I woke up twice during the middle of the night for a bathroom break. I never do this. The second time I woke up, I was alarmed. Perhaps I had poisoned myself on Monday night and it was a slow acting poison that would eventually kill me.

Wednesday at 6 AM, my back hurt so bad I could no longer sleep. There was nothing I could do to ease the pain. I sat in a hot tub. I stretched. I massaged. You name it, I tried it. I even took some Ibuprofen.

At 7 AM, I called the local hospital to see if they could send someone by to pick me up as I needed to go to the hospital, but I was unable to drive. They told me to call 911. "It's not an emergency", I complained. "I just need to go to the hospital, but I can't drive."

"Sorry," she said, "We don't have a pick-up service."

At 7:15 AM, I called 911. The 911 operator was very kind. I asked him if they could keep it discreet because I didn't want all of my neighbors asking me questions.

By 7:20, there was a firetruck and an ambulance in front of my house with sirens blaring and full light show in progress. I must admit it was fast. I don't know why they felt they needed to come with everything they had.

I convinced the ambulance folks that I wasn't dying. I just needed to go to the hospital and I couldn't drive. So, they hooked me up with an IV and asked me which hospital I wanted to go to. I had 2 choices. I chose the Baylor Hospital in Grapevine. It was a very good choice.

By 7:45 I was in the emergency room at the Baylor Hospital. Everyone there was very friendly. They even called me back today (Thursday) to see if I was doing okay.

I'm on Vicodin which is probably why I'm rambling. I have a 4mm kidney stone which doesn't sound like much, but I wouldn't wish it upon anyone. The feeling a 4mm stone makes while it meanders through your urinary tract is not at all pleasant.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Problem with Health Care is Insurance

It seems that the answer to "everyone must have health care" is to make sure everyone is insured. I'd argue that insurance is the problem.

In a country as rich as ours, no one should have to suffer. A person who has a heart attack shouldn't have the stress of paying for it after it's over (depending on the circumstances). A person who does crack until their heart explodes probably shouldn't be getting handouts, but how do you prove that. We're innocent until proven guilty.

If your plan is that everyone should have health care and you implement that plan with Medicare (insurance), then you are already in the wrong playing field.

The first thing you do is eliminate malpractice insurance. This is the insurance all doctors get to cover their asses in case they get sued. If a doctor is sued for malpractice then the fine should be appropriate. After that, it should be tried as a criminal case. If the doctor is proven to be practicing medicine and is incompetent, then they should be made to quit practicing medicine and perhaps serve some hard time. They shouldn't have insurance so that they can keep blundering along. As a patient, I could choose to go to a doctor's office where they had a million dollar pay out policy. "If we mess up your diagnosis we'll give you $500!". "If we cut off the wrong appendage, we'll give you $1,000,000!". Why would you go anywhere else?

If you are diagnosed with an illness that is terminal. And by terminal, I mean, it'll kill you if it's not treated. Then, your treatment should be free. Perhaps, your treatment can come out of your own social security. You've been paying for your "retirement benefits" since you started digging ditches at the age of 16. Now, you've been told, you probably won't live past the age of 70 and you'll have to take shots of insulin every day. Well, let them dip into their social security benefits to cover the necessary drugs to let them live. They won't get to retire anyway.

Our current health insurance system is like paying an extra $600 per month for your car so you can get the oil and brakes changed for free. If you have a cold and you think your doctor can help you recover quicker, is it too much to expect to pay $100 at the office? It probably wouldn't be that much after you do away with malpractice insurance, health insurance and medicare. The doctor's offices have to cover their costs as well.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Franklin, Marijuana, Privacy & Freedom

Benjamin Franklin once said, “They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security”.

But, Gar says, “How much privacy would you give up for more freedom? .

Currently, certain drugs, commonly known as, “fun drugs” are illegal.

Would it be worth it, to you, to be able to smoke pot freely if the government implanted a tracking device in the fatty tissue of your buttocks?

What if the government agreed to get out of the marriage business in exchange for you accepting this tracking device?

What if the government agreed to cut your taxes by 50% in exchange for this tracking device?

What if the government agreed that it could cut its expenditures by 75% in exchange for every American having this device?

I don’t give a rat’s ass about privacy.  The government can watch me spank my monkey all day long for all I care.  Who needs privacy?

However, personal freedom is very important to me.  It irritates me that I only live once and there are certain things that the government tells me I can’t do.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Carnival Cruise: The Excursions

The cruise started at 4 PM on Day 1. Day 2 was what they called an "ocean day" or "fun at sea" day. Day 3 was the first excursion. Is was into Cozumel. Cozumel had the most options as far as "paid excursions". It seems you can pay money, either ahead of time, on the boat, or once on shore to go on planned excursions to safely navigate the tourist trap that is Cozumel.

The excursions start at about $50 and go up from there. They have horse back riding, Segway riding, playing with dolphins, submarines, etc. I didn't purchase any excursions so I can't give you more details. I know some of them were rather extravagant and sounded interesting albeit a bit overpriced. I think it was cheaper if you didn't prepay at the ship and paid the hosts directly. I know the Submarine excursion was $91 per person at the shop and $99 per person on board the ship.

Anyway, enough about excursions. We just decided to go navigate the well oiled tourist trap that was Cozumel. I don't think I ever saw Cozumel. By the time I walked a mile towards the city I had been accosted so many times by cab drivers, people trying to sell me scooters, people trying to rent me cars, people trying to sell me shirts, people trying to sell me hats, and people trying to sell me hotel tours that I had had enough. In hindsight, I probably should have rented a cab into downtown Cozumel. However, other people on board with us said that downtown was more of a tourist trap than the area where we were at. It almost embarrasses you to be from the USA.

We went back to the beach and found a bar serving Mexican food and snacked and drank and watched other people from the boat do line dancing. I'm all about watching people. I love talking to new people. When I am lucky enough to find an inteligent person, it's doubly good. At the bar I found that one of the waiters (I should mention that anyone that can speak two or more languages gets kudos in my book) was into different beers. I got him to recommend me some Mexican beers. He brought me some that were rather tasty. Some I had had before. Dos Equis Amber, Negra Modelo are beers I have had many times. He brought me one called Victoria which was quite good but that I had never had.

You have to be back on the ship or it leaves without you. They give a few calls on the intercom to see if anyone knows where you are, but I think you only get 15 minutes or so. I'm not sure. I bet there is a booming comuter airline business that can shoot you over to Progresso so you can meet your ship the next day. The ship leaves Cozumel at 6 or so and the next morning you are at Progresso.

I liked Progresso a lot better which is proof positive that you should never ask people you work with about ports of fun. Everyone here at work said that Cozumel was a lot better and they wished (for the most part) that they had stayed on board during the Progresso phase.The reason I liked Progresso is because it was less of a tourist trap. It still was, but it wasn't as "Americanized". People were more genuine. They still tried to sell you everything they had, but you could tell they were people and not tourist traps. I had fun talking to some of them. A lady kept trying to braid and bead my wife's hair which my wife adamantly refused, but I turned the tables and asked the lady why she was only asking the women. At the end, I paid her $6 to braid and bead my hair. Only one strand. She said she would do all of my hair for $20 but I wasn't feeling that adventurous.

In Progresso, the bars had an "all you can drink" special for $35. I assume this was all you can drink before the ship leaves. I didn't participate in that although it was tempting. I got one of the waiters at the beach bar in Progresso to share with me some very good tequila. That was before I got the hair beaded.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cruising and Jammin'

I still have another installment or two of my Carnival Cruise experience.

Today, I got my semi-regular newsletter from Boneypony.

It seems they are joining many other musicians on a cruise from 2/28 to 3/7. If there is any way I can get on this ship I will. I don't know all of the musicians, but I know enough of them.

I've got some John Hiatt stuff and he'll be there. I've got lots and lots of Shawn Mullin's stuff and he'll be there. I have all of Bonepony's stuff and they'll be there. I've got some Patty Griffin stuff and she'll be there. It would be like the best concert in the world on a cruise ship.

Of course, somehow I am finding out about it late. They started doing a layaway type thing back before August and final payments are due in December. Prices start at around $800 per person. I wonder if my wife would let me go by myself.

The cruise is put on by something called Cayamo. I haven't read yet whether it's an annual thing or what. Maybe I could start saving up and go on the 2010 cruise. I wonder if they'd have the same artists. If you decide to go and have lots of money to invite a partying friend, send me a note!

Monday, November 10, 2008

New World Order

A friend of mine, from Seattle*, sent me this cartoon today.  I thought it was laugh out loud funny.  I assume most people will find it insulting in one way or another.

I've already shared it, and people, that know me, are offended by it.  It makes me question my sense of humor.  Does stuff like this irritate more people or make more people laugh?  And how many of those people laugh for the wrong reason?  Is there a wrong reason to laugh?

I have no idea why the text turned blue.  I choose to leave it.

* I chose to designate simply because there are others from Seattle.  I know it makes no sense.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Forgiveness and Blame

Today is the 70th anniversary of Kristallnacht.  I don't really know why we strive so hard to remember dates like this except maybe to remind us of past travesties so that maybe, just maybe, nothing like it will happen again.

I'm not a historian and I obviously don't know all the events leading up to November 9th, 1938.  You can read the history on the link above.  We have a habit of blaming "people" for stuff like this.  It creates racism in the worst kind of way.  Because this particular travesty happened in Germany, Germans should be punished.   This way of thinking is bad, bad, bad.  You could argue that this type of thinking is what lead up to the travesty in the first place.  Because they were blaming the Jewish people for something that maybe one Jew did or maybe one Jew was blamed for, or maybe just instigated by someone controlling the media.

After the past 7 years, we have to be particularly careful of this kind of attitude.  There is a growing hatred and suspicion regarding people of middle-eastern descent or Islam religion.  There are persons who claim to be Islamic that have done horrible things, but we can't blame the people.  People, for the most part, are good regardless of their background.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Germans & Obama

I know, I know. I said no more politics. But, a friend of mine from Germany sent me this email today and for some reason I liked what he had to say. So, I'm going to have to just paste his email here (corrected for grammatical errors). His English is better than my German, but I correct a little anyway. Also add some links for references to previous articles. And some self-gratifying comments of course.

Good web site! (that's a quote)

To make it clear, I am one of these 78%, but i didn't hate Bush or the Republicans. I think, bringing back a hope to the American people, is worth more than every other political success like a friendly Iraq (which will not happen within the next 50 years). All power is from the people and not from the government or military or money (money is just an advantage for 1% of the people). The strength is a united folk and having trust in this. That's the message from Obama, I think. That's the reason I would have voted for him. Hope makes people think about new goals and not hide behind expired success-stories. Which is my own, my European, view of USA.

Hope is a necessary step, but Obama needs to remember the Americans that hope for a "change" doesn't reach any goals . The tools to reach his goals will hurt (the remaining 99% of the people with less money) and will take time. I hope for you guys you will give him the time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Buddha Clause

I have some history to share. I used to be very scared to ask questions. For some reason, I had a psychological hang up about proving my ignorance. If I didn't ask questions then no one knew I was ignorant. I figure if I could listen for long enough the answers would eventually come to me.

This worked out fine for a long time. When I was 31 I went to a psychiatrist and she demanded that during my work week I ask stupid questions. Even if I knew the answer, I was supposed to ask the question. I think she was trying to prove to me that people aren't as judgmental as I thought they were. I don't know exactly, but it worked.

However, I turned it into a game. I'd try to get strange answers. Sometimes, you ask some completely stupid sounding, off the wall questions and you get funny answers. I encourage you all to try it sometime.

Today, I was having lunch at my favorite Vietnamese food restaurant in this area and they were preparing for Christmas. They already had their Christmas tree out and lit and everything. Behind the counter there was a green looking Buddha toting a bag on a stick sort of thing slung over his shoulder.

So, I went up to the girl behind the counter and said, "So, what is he supposed to be? Like a Buddha Clause or something?"

She said, "No, that's just Buddha."

I said, "But he's got the gift bag. Is he bringing gifts? Does Buddha do the whole gift thing?"

She said, "Buddha brings everything."

This is my life lesson for all of you today. Even when things seem to be at their worst remember that "Buddha brings everything". It's great!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Barack Obama, Germany and Libertarians

Libertarian Party
I went to a Libertarian election watching party last night. It was entertaining. I think there were 50+ people there. All the tables were full. I saw a friend of mine from a company I used to work at about 8 years ago. He had been roped into coming to the party while I came on my own volition.

My wife and I stayed until about 9:30. There were several Libertarian candidates that had over 5% of the vote. I saw some that had as much as 18%. That doesn't sound like much, and I can in no way profess to know much about politics in Texas, but I think that keeps up on the ballot in 2010.

I should make a side note here that I plan to make this my last political post.

Then, as I was leaving, I saw why the Libertarian party (in its current incarnation) will never be electable. There was one of the candidates standing at the bar, talking very loudly to the bartender about politics. He was charged up and she was egging him on. He was so passionate about it that it reminded me why I laugh at religious zealots as I slam the door. As far as I know she was bored and started talking to this handsome guy at the bar and now she thinks that Libertarians are akin to those religions that go door to door trying to push their idea of heaven down your throat. Or maybe an Amway salesman that won't leave you alone. I tried briefly to set things right, but he wouldn't let me talk. He was so loud and overpowering that it was ridiculous. I didn't even like him and he was spouting stuff that I mostly agreed with. Maybe he drank too much. I don't know, but that kind of crap doesn't work. And, as I gave up and walked away, I realized that this is the way Libertarians are perceived. I started going back through various discussions with my friends and I realize that they all told me the same thing. Libertarians are too extreme. They are anarchists. They are insane. This guy at the bar was propagating this image very well.
He'll be our next president. The first time I heard him speak was his acceptance speech. Did I mention I don't watch TV? He's a good speaker. Bill Clinton was also a good speaker. Ronald Reagan was also a good speaker. I don't remember enjoying hearing the Bushes speak.

After his speech, the phone rang. My grandparents-in-law in Germany were listening too. It's kind of interesting because they don't speak English so they were getting the translated monotone version of the speech, but my grandmother was in tears. I think Germany loves Barack more than we (Americans) do. Someone was telling me that 78% of Germans would have voted for Barack. I know when I was was there back in 2003 every German I met couldn't wait to explain to me how much they hated Bush.

In closing, I hope and pray that Barack will be a good President. If he accomplishes half of the things that he sets out to do, I will call it a success (well, depending on which half). But, people have such high hopes for him and the higher they are, the harder they fall. He seems like a smart man. I've never gotten to personally meet any President. I hate that I have to rely on the media to acquaint me with them. I'd like to be able to meet the President for dinner and drinks and get to know who they really are. I'd rather have drinks with Clinton than Bush though. Although I suspect George would come off more personable than he is portrayed by the media.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Carnival Cruise: In The Gulf

I really couldn't decide how I wanted to progress with my Carnival Cruise experience.  It was a 5 day cruise so  I could have gone day by day.  There were interesting events happening on a daily basis.  But, I decided to categorize it in a more random fashion.  It makes me happy.

I'll tell you about the boat part.  You're on the boat in the Gulf of Mexico for 3 out of 5 days.  The other 2 days you
are at Mexican ports.  So, this part of the story involves being on the boat.

You see lots of people doing various things to keep from getting sick on the boat.  My wife was popping Dramamine to try and stay happy.  I must say that I loved the boat.  It rocked me to sleep at night and gave me the perfect excuse for stumbling down the walkway after having too much to drink.

I did Kamikaze Karaoke.  This is some strange event where these two big burly scrawny nerd looking guys come out into the crowd and harass people who have drunk too much to come up and sing a song (conveniently set up next door to the margarita booth).  Then when you get up there, they ask you what kind of music you like and play something completely popular, but completely opposite of the type of music you like.  They made me sing, "I Will Survive".  My wife told me later that they could not have picked a worse song for me to sing.  She's always very supportive.

You start drinking mixed drinks almost as soon as you get out of bed.  I swear you are eating scrambled eggs and toast and the waitresses are coming around asking if you would like the mixed drink of the day.  Alcohol is about the only consumable product that costs extra.  I swear they water it down because when you get up at 10 AM and have the Mexican Momma, followed by a few Stella Artois and then end up with a wholesome helping of Margarita Madness, you'd think there would be more sickness and drunkenness.  I saw no nudity the entire cruise.  With all the alcohol, I would have expected some amount of drunken flashing.

They also have comedians.  Actually, I believe only one at a time.  They must switch comedians at the ports.  The first comedian did a family show and then the next night an "adult only" show.  He was funny, but his family show was actually funnier than his adult show which didn't seem quite right.  Then, after Progresso, there was another comedian.  We only saw his adult show.  I don't know that he did a "family" show.  I liked his show better than the first one, but I was into the cruise by then.  It was the last night of the cruise.  I was laughing at all kinds of things to make up for missing out on the nude drunkenness that I felt sure we'd witness.

They have bingo.  I think they said that there were nearly 2000 people on board and over 400 children.  I didn't see too many children so their "Camp Carnival" must be real good.  Either that or they secretly spike their drinks with Benadryl.  I didn't participate in Bingo or Camp Carnival.

There were lots of nationalities on board.  The number 77 pops into mind.  I can hear the Italian Captain saying with his Italian accent that, "There are 77 nationalities on board this ship".  I know my favorite two waitresses were Russian.  We went to a piano bar every night and listened to a German play the piano and sing various piano type songs.  I don't remember enjoying him too much.  There was a tall woman from South Africa at the Information Booth.  My wife kept making me go talk to her.  I don't know why.

Our room was in the very back of the boat on the upper deck. If you look at the picture we were always looking out one of those windows on the left.

I spent a lot of time looking at this:

Anyway, the boat was my favorite part.  Next time I'm going to take 14 day cruise across the Atlantic.  My wife has already told me I have to go by myself.

Regions of the USA

I think we should divide up the USA.  We've corrupted this world as a solitary empire for long enough!  We'll divide the USA into 3 distinct regions (pardon the graphic).  We'll create the region that wants the government to take care of them.  We'll call it the Democratic Region.  We'll create the region that wants God to take care of them.  We'll call that the Republican Region.  We'll create the region that can take care of themselves.  We'll call that the American Region.  Bet you thought I'd say the Libertarian Region.  That's what you get for thinking.

Age of Conan Server Merger

Ha!  I'm done with politics.  I read an interesting article about all these bloggers shifting to politics during election season because they get lots of search hits on their blogs.  I refuse to be a part of that.

I'll run for President next time around.  After I get the government contract to implement my online voting system.  I'm going to change the world.  Or at least the USA.

Oh yeah, the server merger.  I'm still playing Age of Conan.  I find that I get a lot of people searching for MMO comparisons.  Why they end up on my blog is a testament to the randomness of Google searches!

Age of Conan has, for some reason, tanked as far as a player base.  I normally don't like a lot of people on the servers I am playing on.  It's distracting because they tend to get in the way.  But, in other situations you needs players to group with.  Sometimes groups make the game more fun.  I went for about 2 weeks without playing at all and when I got back all the groups I had been playing with had dissolved.  Sad but true.

I'm not exactly sure why this happened.  Perhaps because World of Warcraft is coming out with an expansion in a couple of weeks and everyone has decided to shift back to that populated universe.  It would be nice if Blizzard would come out with a mature type game like Age of Conan.  Somehow, Blizzard has a gift for creating games that everyone and their dogs play.  And World of Warcraft is easy enough for Rover to enjoy.

This post is so random I'm sure I've scattered off my handful of readers that have stuck with me through all my gyrations.

Anyway, the idea of a server merger is to merge together two or more lightly populated servers to make one server that is more populated thus earning the acronym MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online).  I wonder if there is a minimum number of players required to earn that title.  I wish I could have a MMB (Massively Multireader Blog).  I don't know though.  That might cause too much stress.  I don't want to disappoint anyone.

Or maybe I do.  Sometimes I think I should post something really off the wall just to see if anyone is reading.  I used to think I was posting something really off the wall only to discover I was being quite tame.

If I don't post for a couple of weeks does that make my reader base decline similar to an MMO?  I was gone from Age of Conan for a couple of weeks and when I got back the player base was down significantly.  Was it my fault?  If they ask nicely, I'll help them with the server merge.  I am quite the systems architect and problem solver extraordinaire.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Wasting Votes

I really had good intentions when I logged in.  I was going to write about wasting votes after my interesting lunch with a friend of mine on Friday.

He's always telling me that I'm wasting my time and wasting my vote.  Maybe he read this.

Anyway, in our lunch debate I was telling him that I was taking off work early to get home and do some early voting and that I would vote Libertarian simply because I can't stand the other two candidates.  While it is nice that Obama promises change, he's still a Democrat.  That's no change at all.  If we want change we have to vote differently.  I think that's pretty logical.  So, everyone says, "We need change" and then they vote for one of the media appointed candidates who are either Democrat or Republican (Republicrats for short or Demolicans).  And then everyone is horribly disappointed when nothing changes.

Oops I almost went off on a tangent.  Anyway, one of the two blogs I read regularly already touched on the wasted vote segment and already borrowed my logic, so you can just read it here.

My lunch time buddy (who was berating me for wasting my vote) is going to vote for Obama.  I asked him if he realized that he lives in Texas.  Texas doesn't do much voting for Democrats.  So, with that logic, anyone in Texas not voting for McCain is wasting his or her vote.  All 34 electoral votes will go the way they've gone the last 28 years.  We do live in the belt buckle.  And why the hell did we vote for Carter?  I wasn't allowed to vote back then.