Saturday, October 30, 2004

NaNoWriMo - Taking the Plunge

50,000 words. One Month. No Problem.

I have decided to take the plunge and try the National Novel Writing Month challenge. This means I will be writing, a lot. My goal is 1500 words a day, so that if I have to study, play soccer dad or have to have another appendectomy, I will still be able to make the novel goal.

The contest starts Nov 1, and that is when I can start writing. It ends Nov. 30, and that is when I party.

I have little idea what my novel will be about, just a couple of characters and a basic outline, some background work, and a choice of genre.

If you are interested, I will be posting my novel in a blog format, which I will link from this one. Please don't judge my writing prowess off of what you read, though. 50,000 words in one month means no revision (or precious little). The revising will all happen in December, assuming what I have is worth revision. We shall see.

Tune in to see my novel take shape. And if you are a writer, don't be a coward. Sign up.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

For My Castle Club Friends

On the latest Mitsubishi commercial, you can see a shot of a car crossing "The Bridge." The camera for this shot was obviously placed on "The Castle."

The commercial I am talking about is the one with the car driving down the road lined with people in jumpsuits. You probably already know the one. If not, here is a pic of the people in the jumpsuits.

For those of you that have no clue what the Castle Club is, don't ask. Trust me. :P

Something light, for a dark and raining day. Sunny California my ass.

Who Will You Vote For?

I am almost positive that I will vote for George W. Bush next Tuesday. This does not make me very happy, to be honest, but there is no better choice (read: all the other choices are worse).

Here is my thinking.

Bush screwed up on the Iraq war by not having a real plan for the aftermath. That is plain. I wish he would admit it, because I think most rational people would take him on his word if he did. We know he made a mistake, he knows it, so why he continues to pretend that he didn't make a mistake is beyond me.

Bush had bad intelligence about the WMD in Iraq. Saddam, in his biggest shocker ever, apparently decided to destroy his stockpiles and then pretend he didn't (perhaps to use them still as a deterrant.) Everyone believed he had them. USA, Russia, France, Germany, John Kerry, Hans Blix (yes, I watched Hans Blix say that he belived that there were WMD there, but the evidence of his inspections told him something different). I am not sorry, though, that we went in. Saddam was a cancer on the face of the world and would have been a perpetual threat for as long as we have given him the freedom to do his own thing. He belongs in prison, and I am glad he is there. And, given all the same data, I would support the invasion again. Given hindsight, I would not, but we never will have hindsight in any decision, so that is useless.

Bush has the worst record on environmental policy in the history of the word environmentalism. I agreed with his larger plans, but he has allowed regulation and enforcement of many of the nations environmental policies to undermine them to the point that they are essentially facades of what they had been before he was elected. This is a big deal, and was one of the major reasons why I was considering voting for Kerry. I even wrote the Kerry campaign, asking them to tell me more of his enviromental policy committments, but alas, all that got me was on their email newsletter lists (somehow got my email too, so if you think they are not working together closely, well, there is the proof you are wrong LOL!)

So why am I voting for W?

First, look at Kerry. Kerry is anti-war. Anyone who doesn't believe that is ignorant to his history, or believes his constant retelling of his history. He spoke out against Vietnam vets and the war, calling himself and those he served with warcriminals. This is documented. He threw his medals away (well, not his medals, if you believe his current retelling; they were someone else's medals and he was only pretending.) I don't buy The Swiftboat Veterans for Truth BS, but what I have seen of his post-war activities convinces me that he is no more a warrior anymore than John Lennon. And I wouldn't have voted for Lennon either. Vietnam sapped any will for fight out of Kerry, I guess. The last thing we need, in the face of the only real threat to our way of life that has been upon us since the end of the cold war, is someone who is only pretending to be a warrior. Kerry is pretending. Face it. If he is elected he will pull us out of Iraq, soften our stance against terrorism, and allow it to grow again inside states that he will not interfer with. Afghanistan will happen again, maybe in Sudan, Syria, or of course, Iraq.

I have waited with baited breath for Kerry's Iraq policy. So far I have seen maybe 10,000 words on the subject, and let me summarize it for you. Kerry's position on Iraq is "I will do it better than Bush." That is it. When asked about his policies, he always presents a generality, followed by an attack on the president's record, followed by a statement that is roughly "I will do it better." That is it. If someone can show me some committments that he has made, please, do so.

Getting our "allies" to back us up? BS. Kerry would not have had to get allies to back us up, because he never would have considered invading. We would have continued with the same thing we did under Bush 41 and Clinton: if they go too far we would have used cruise missiles and claimed a minor victory. There is little doubt that France and Germany want Kerry elected. That is obvious. There is also little doubt that France was selling weapons to Iraq during the UN embargo, as well as participating in the corruption of the Oil-for-Food program. If you have not heard about this scandal, stop reading the LA Times or watching CNN for all your news.

The worst thing you can do in the face of terrorism is look weak. Reagan did this by negotiating for the release of the embassy hostages (arms for hostages), and the result was years of more kidnappings in Lebanon, marines getting blown up, etc. When we look weak we get attacked, at least until the USA changes the constitution to adhere to Sharia law. Bush was wiser and did not negotiate, and that ended that crisis--one of the rare victories we have had. Clinton was worthless. He would take action, as long as it involved hurling missiles from ships and not getting dirty. Under Clintons watch, 911 was planned and set in motion. 911 is Clinton's baby, pure and simple.

The fundemental difference is that I think Kerry really believes that terrorism against us is based on our policies. It is not. It is based on our position in the world (we are the strongest, more prosperous, and that breeds jealousy,) and our core belief systems that govern our nation. Terrorists think of us the same way that the judge thought of Bridget Biship in colonial Salam (witch trials). They hate who we are. They don't want us to change. They want us to be gone. And their blindness to the absurtidy of this goal is due to their belief that they have god on their side and cannot lose.

They are a real threat. A dirty bomb = economic recession at best, depression at worst. Their attacks are on our economy and the success of the 911 attack is evidenced in the economica state we are in today. Kerry blames our current economy on the president. That is a joke. If you had to blame a president, it would be Clinton that caused the crash. But that is wrong too. Wall Street over optimism caused the internet bubble to burst, and that drove us into recession. 911 exaserbated that horribly, causing it to drag out so long. Why are we not hiring? Why are so many jobs still lost (mine included) while the recovery is happening and we are no longer technically in a recession? Simple. Businesses are afraid of the next terrorist attack and the cost to their bottom line that will cause.

We will be attacked again. In fact, we can look forward to years of attacks. The question is how bad it will be, and where will those attacks happen. Right now, they are happening in Iraq.

Take away the threat of terrorism, and I vote for Kerry. He is a better peacetime president.

But we are not at peace. Not for a while and not unless we win some major battles against the terrorists, both militarily and economically. Kerry won't win the war on terror, because he won't fight. His words of war are a facade to get elected.

Bush will fight. He will make mistakes doing this, and it will be dirty, but the fight will be on them and not a defensive battle here at home. That is the main reason why he has my vote.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Everquest 2 - UPDATE

Everquest II Ships November 8.

We have no idea what server we will be on, because SOE in their infinite wisdom has decided that they will not announce server names until the day of or before release. We will continue to try to change their mind on this, but that is assuming they will even listen. They think that they can control overcrowding on servers if they do this stunt.

Stay tuned. Once we know, we will tell you.

Dainn the Dumbfounded, level 18 Enchanter, Beta-1

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Everquest 2

As many of you know, I am a long-time Everquest player. A month ago I was invited to the Everquest 2 beta, and now I can talk about it without having the non-disclosure agreement police chasing after me.

For the Non-EQ Initiated...

For those who have never played Everquest, the game is a massive online game that is a rough estimation of a role-playing game. Those of us that play it play almost nothing else, because the game takes so long to get good (chr level and player skill). My main character, Daynn, has been at it for three years. Those who have no clue about the game call it too addictive to play, and compare players like myself to crack addicts (evercrack is one common term for the game). It is hard to explain the game to someone who hasn't experienced it, but image a combination of chatroom, role-playing computer game and Elk's lodge. On a typical day I will log in to a "raid" where my guild (like a team) will be attacking a god. Fifty to Sixty people all working together can bring down a god, if everyone knows their job and performs well. The only thing I can really compare it to is a crew on a sailboat. Everyone doing their role to achieve a difficult goal. And we do it sometimes two to three times a night.

Everquest 2

The first thing you notice is that there is no computer around that will run it at full settings. The graphics are intense. Character avatars are totally customizable, much the same way they are in Star Wars Galaxies, though it is hard to make an elf that doesn't look prissy, and all Erudites look alike no matter what you do. I play with the graphic settings as low as possible and still lag out when there are a lot of PCs around (I have a p3 900mghz, 512mb ram, 256 GeForce graphics card, which is technically below the min. reqs..) But I can make it for now till I can upgrade my CPU.

I have Dainn (level 16 enchanter) and Longbottom (level 18 druid) both on Beta 1. My chanter is also a crafter and makes spells for my guild. Crafting is cool in eq2 because it is like a second class. You earn experience in crafting, have levels (my chanter is level 12 scholar), and even can take damage or die if you are not careful doing your work. The items you can produce will be vital to the economy of the game too, so I play on being a supplier of spells to my server when the game goes live.

The combat system is okay. I am still not sure about it, but I am relatively low level still. You have "heroic opportunities" that allow you to do extra damage when you do certain things in a certain order. But so far I don't see anywhere near the complexity of combat tactics you see in EQ1 (e.g., there is no kiting, and buffs cant be cast on you unless you remain in the group with the buffer)).

The real big deal is the end-game content, and so far very few peopel have been able to see it. That is what will keep me in the game, and was the reason I left Star Wars Galaxies. I have faith that it will be there though. Sony caters to the end-game crowd, maybe too much. Honestly, I can't wait to figure out how to do 50-person raids in EQ2.

I still plan on starting my own guild in EQ2 once it goes live. If you want to know more, comment to this post or send me an email.

Daynn (EQ1, Terris Thule)
Dainn (Star Wars Galaxies, Starsider)
Dainn (EQ2-beta, Beta-1)
Longbottom (EQ2-beta, Beta-1)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Marginal Poetry (some older stuff)


Here's a toast to my friend Doubt
The janitor of Whatcouldbe
Who with his icy reason numbs
Throbbing infinity


sing children
to peace
with kind words of war
When desiring freedom
brothers soft
ly exhaled


love is to dream
as dawn
remembering night's moonlit
faithless delicious treason
embraces the sun


skin dancing
his hard tongue glazing
her throat with dewdrops
madly-delicious graceful
caramel faces sweat into satin


These are some of the poems I have written when I was experiencing writers' block. They are "refrigerator poetry" and were done on a poetry website.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Marriage Therepy


You assignment for today is to have a discussion about politics with someone you don't know that well and who has no clue what your personal politics are. The only thing is, you have to take the opposing side to whatever you believe, and believe strongly.

Be serious, because this is serious business. Try to win, but listen carefully to what they tell you.

The point to this exercise will come in a day or so, but it has to do with idiology and marriage. Have fun, and if you want, post how it went.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Another Useless Prediction

(edit: Oct 28, 2004 - Okay maybe not in a landslide. That was a bit over-anxious. He will win though, and it will be convincing, if not a "mandate.")

First, I want to make a public commitment. I will only mention politics once a week. Politics is not that important in my life, really. That said, time to flinch:

I can now predict that George W. Bush will win the election by a landslide. This is non-scientific, and you can laugh (even when I am right) but I am now certain of this. Here are my reasons:

1) Kerry is behind in most polls, even though the media is claiming him the winner in all three debates. Personally I think Kerry won big in the first debate and made good showings in the other two. Bush's scowl in the first debate hurt him to no end, but I think he did well in the second two debates. If Kerry were going to make his move on the debates, it would be evident already. He hasn't passed Bush, although the debates got him back into the game. I don't believe in "momentum." That is no more valid a concept in politics than it is in sports.

2) Kerry got zero bump from his convention, while Bush got a significant bump. This is a big deal. It shows that those people who watched the convetion--which is essentially an infomercial on the candidate--already were in his camp. Kerry should have benifitted from some bump, even a few points. My theory on this is that the neo-activist Bush-haters were already with him and were not shy about saying so. If you are a Bush-hater, you are not undecided. So the "bump" of Kerry's convention happened much earlier in the year instead of at the convention. And after all that, Kerry was still way behind Bush. Bush is still changing minds in his favor, and his bump shows. And Bush was ahead of Kerry even before his own convention, after which he got a further bump.

BTW, here is the blog of my favorite Bush-hater: Fog Blog. Read his stuff. He is interesting even when he is wildly off-base (well, one of us has to be and it can't be me).

3) Bush is the incumbent. This election is essentially a recall election on his presidency. This means that as people think about whether to vote for his presidency or not, he will essentially get most real ties (indecisive people that make their final decision in the ballot box, which is where I usually make my decisions). Kerry has to change minds, and if he fails to do that he fails to get the true undecided. Kerry is failing to do that enough to matter in that voters box. The media is pushing the story of how "close" the election will be, but that is what the media does.

4) The bases have been set for months, and there will be little gain from either party from "getting out the vote" of their base voters that didn't vote in the last election. I could be wrong here, and if I am it will be in the realms of the Christian right (for Bush) and the single woman voter (for Kerry), but I think that any movement from the "flaky" sides of each candidate's base will cancel out the movement from the opponent. So I remove this factor out as a constant.

5) America will not have another close election. The people don't want it, and it will show in their vote. The media can't help but play up the reoccurrence of the Florida election scandal of last election. This has caused both parties to mobilize to eat up the attention the media is giving to this story. Jesse Jackson, of course, will be sitting in Florida threatening lawsuits on election day. Lawyers will be on the starting line in all states where they think they have an issue to fight over (which will probably be all the close states). So while there will be a plethora of lawsuits the day after the election, and voter fraud etc. will be in the news for a few weeks, it won't matter.

For these reasons, I see Bush winning by a landslide.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Figgering It Out

This is the place where the "construction" sign should go. I am new to blogging, but as a writer and aspiring author I can see the value. Make fun of me. Point and laugh. I deserve it all. The world is pulling me into the modern age with all the brute force of a flushing toilet.

I am a wannabe.

These are my thoughts. If you are interested, you can write me. I have a tendency for extremely long and wordy responses. If I can't dazzle you with logic, then burying you with volume is the next best thing. :)

I am a believer in the emote as a valid form of poetic expression. :P

You may notice that all my opinions are up for grabs. I will always be certain when I write something. On the other hand, I will be just as certain when I write something that conflicts with a previous opinion I was so certain about. This is intentional. Nothing about me works, to be brutally honest, and the only way I can figure things out is to try them on for size. I have a tendency to pick a side diametrically opposed to you (whoever "you" is at any given point in time), which is why all my friends think I am an evil bastard. This is not intentional.

Philosophically, I am currently a harsh individualist. This pretty much means I blame you for all the problems you complain about, and if you really piss me off I throw Ayn Rand at you. "The Fountainhead" can make a real nice bump. I have a theory that Ayn Rand made "The Fountainhead" that big for exactly that purpose. I have a disregard for those that take themselves seriously. This includes myself.

Religiously, I am a devout agnostic. This makes all my friends mad at me. My atheist friends think I am indecisive prat (a valid point), and my religious friends think I am going to Hell (a valid point). When I feel particularly spiritual I read Joseph Campbell and maybe some post-modernistic poetry. That usually sedates such feelings. Again, I think that those who take themselves seriously have real issues that should stripped naked and exposed to the light of day. This includes myself.

Politically, I am an independent. Just don't ask me what that really means. This makes my friends mad. My liberal friends see me as an entrenched conservative (this is mostly true). My conservative friends think I am a liberal hippie (this is mostly true). I don't have any independent friends. If you want to be my friend, and you are an independent, maybe we can have a play date. I have no campaign posters. I have a visceral hatred of those who hate, for people who believe political party talking points, and for everyone that thinks they are smart because they believe something that their friends believe. People like that need to be taken out, stripped naked, and exposed for what they are. This includes myself.

To make a short story long, I take things as they come, comment on things as they hit me in the face, and am not married to my own opinions. The search for truth only really fails when you find it.

I have a tendency to be profoundish. I have a tendency to start sentences with the letter I. I am probably a undiagnosed and unmedicated egotist, but I will let you, my implied reader, be the judge of that.