Archive for the ‘rantz’ Category


The Sky is Falling!

1 November, 2007

I’m already sick of the latest conspiracy theory. You may not have heard of it yet, but it’s gaining steam, so it’s probably only a matter of time before you stumble across it.

You may not have heard. There is a conspiracy of military, corporate and political interests to dissolve the borders between Canada, the US and Mexico, and create a single North American Union under their despotic control. This going on in secret (of course), with the willing collaboration of our elected officials (of course) and the intentional silence of the mainstream media (of course!).

For some people, this will sound like a no-brainer (and ironically, it is). Others may require a bit of evidence. And boy, is there evidence! Website after website containing page after page… of… well… not much evidence at all. I know, I’ve waded through much of it, and it’s a pretty sad state of affairs.

Most of it is pure speculation. It typically starts by pointing out that these talks have gone on in secret. You might rightly ask how, if the talks are held in secret, do the conspiracy theorists know what is going on in them? Hey, Mister, if you’re trying to use logic, you already don’t belong in this crowd. The answer is that they fill in the unknown blanks with pure speculation, which they back up by quoting each other. That’s right, conspiracy theorist A backs up his claims by quoting from conspiracy theorist B, with a link to the website of conspiracy theorist C. As you can imagine, it gets very incestuous, very fast. And it inevatibly ends up involving pictures of the twin towers coming down, because hey, all this shit is interconnected.

The hard part was finding anything at all that came from a valid, verifiable source. Eventually, I found the official website for the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America. It refers to an agreement between the three gov’ts in question, to cooperate on such foul skull-duggery as… combatting avian flu. Real evil stuff.

I even managed to see a copy of the minutes of one of the meetings, obtained through the Access to Information Act. Again, it revealed discussions on such evil-doings as border security and emergency management. Merger of the three nations into one? Nope, not mentioned.

But aha, you say. These traitors would never actually admit to their conspiracy or its aims. Well, to that I say, show me the evidence. You can’t just say that because we can’t see behind this door, that proves there must be a three-headed monster behind it. Until you can actually bring the monster into view, all the wild speculation in the universe isn’t going to convince an intelligent observer.

Because, really, let’s get serious. Let’s imagine that Stephen Harper has worked so hard, for so long, to become the Prime Minister of Canada… only so that he can hand over the keys to the country. If that doesn’t strain your credibility, then try imagining that Jack Layton and the Bloc Quebecois know all about it and are dancing right along with the tune of assimilation into the US. Please tell me that’s hard to believe. Next imagine that the entire mainstream press has agreed to keep it all hush-hush so as not to alarm the masses. Good heavens, if you’ll believe all that, then just give me all your money, and I promise I’ll keep the elves from stealing your tin-foil hat. Might I also recommend the Flat Earth Society?

Might I dare to point out that, if you think war is bad (and it is), then perhaps diplomacy is good? Perhaps it’s a good idea for nations to talk to each other, and where it is beneficial to both nations, to cooperate? Trust me, we want our leaders to have communication and dialogue. We want our leaders to pursue and make international agreements. It’s the way forward, not some evil plot to steal your country from underneath you. What if we all lived our lives that way, refusing to speak to one another, trade, make agreements, etc? It would be a very different world indeed, and not a better one.



30 October, 2007

Why are people so worked up and worried about violent videogames, when they should be worried about DOGS WITH GUNS?



Now with extra CRUNCH!

9 September, 2007

If I haven’t been posting on here in a while, it’s because I’ve been crunching very hard at work the past few weeks. We’re very much in the home stretch, with a deadline at the end of the month, so we’ve all been putting in a lot of overtime to get it done.

It’s a “necessary evil” of the game industry, these “crunch modes” to finish off a game. It’s just part of the culture and the business that towards the end of the development cycle, people put in tons of overtime to fix bugs, cram in the last few features, add an extra layer of polish and, oh yeah, satisfy the publisher that you’re working sufficiently hard.

On the one hand, I accept it, because I was well aware that crunch mode is a pretty standard part of a game developer’s life. On the other hand, I’m critical of it, because I think it’s a bad practice that benefits no one. Studies have shown that the extra time really doesn’t help, because fatigue quickly reduces productivity. After an initial week or so, people aren’t getting any more work done in a 60 hour week than they were in a regular 40 hour week. They’re just a lot more miserable!

Certainly I’m feeling it take a toll. I’m seeing the consequences in my sleep patterns. Too much work and too little play means that I’m carrying a lot more stress than I should be, so some nights I can’t sleep more than an hour or two. I’m currently stuck in a weird pattern where I sleep soundly… every other night. The nights in between, I won’t fall asleep until 5am or so. It’s been like that for two weeks now… one night with sleep, then one night without.

But in three more weeks it should all be over. Then I should have close to a week of comp time due to me. I reckon I’ll do some sleeping then.


This Day, Now

26 June, 2007

I’m home from work, after a day of crunching. I had one of those weird days where I didn’t manage to accomplish much, until the last hour, at which point I actually made some big strides. It’s funny how often that happens.

Today was a very hot day. They say it was 90 degrees… dunno what that is in real temperature, but it sounds hot. Plus it was very humid… reminded me a little of spring time in Japan. I still have no air conditioner, and I’m determined to tough it out without one. Just like I wash my dishes by hand rather than using the dishwasher. I hope that makes a difference, but who can tell?

I’m drinking a Corona with a slice of lime. It’s worth it in life to make sure one has these sorts of simple pleasures available. To pay attention to the details and make sure I buy the Corona on the weekend, and don’t forget the lime, because later in the week when the heat wave hits, I know I’ll really appreciate it.

I just read a fascinating article about all the plastic waste floating around in a big mass in the Pacific Ocean. It sucks to think that collectively, we’re making such a mess, and the efforts of the concerned few can’t make up for the effect of the rest who just don’t care. I remember in Japan, there were no garbage cans at the beach. People would just leave their garbage sitting in bags by the surf at the end of the day… because hey, the sea just makes it magically disappear, right? Sure… until your grandkids die of cancer from all the toxins moving up the food chain.

And I can’t even recycle here in Malden. Oh sure, there’s a recycling program, but because I live in an apartment building, I can’t participate in it. The city has the mindset that recycling is a service it provides, not an obligation we all share. There isn’t even a depot that I could take my stuff to. I still accumulate recyclables like an OCD case, because it causes me too much pain and shame to just chuck them in the garbage. What a world.

Now I’m going to sign off and spend some time formulating my turn orders for VGA Planets. I’ve been playing it with a bunch of guys from work. It’s fun and cool in a very retro sort of way, but it will be interesting to see if any of us are still speaking to each other by the end.

That’s my day. Pretty typical, really. How was yours?


If we’re going to have a witch-hunt, can’t we just ban idiots instead?

20 May, 2007

A month after the Virginia Tech shootings, the witch-hunt is getting underway in earnest. The target, of course, is video games. I mean, what else could possibly have contributed to Cho’s actions? Certainly not mental illness or ready access to firearms. Nope. Had to be the games.

Those of us in the gaming community have grown pretty used to this. Whenever some kind of atrocity like this occurs, morons and pundits are quick to pin the blame on games. Their arguments and proof are absurdly, pathetically weak. The individual played games. The individual killed people. Therefore, the games made him kill.

The trouble with this argument is that millions of people play games. It would be extremely difficult to find a male between the age of 10 and 25 who has never played a video game. To then finger something so nearly universal as the cause of something as extremely rare and aberrant as a mass shooting is ridiculous.

However, the Virginia Tech shootings are an interesting twist. Extremists like Jack Thompson were already claiming that games were to blame, even before the blood was dry, or the killer’s identity was known. As gamers, we were braced for the inevitable revelation that the killer played games, and the causal correlations that would then be drawn from that. But then something amazing happened.  The police searched Cho’s room and seized his belongings… and found no games whatsoever. His roommate in residence reported that he had never seen Cho play a game. Here, against all probability, was a shooting performed by a young man who DID NOT PLAY GAMES.

That should have been a godsend. That should have been the end of the blame right there, at least for this incident. But it hasn’t been. Even in the face of a complete lack of evidence that Cho was a gamer, games are still being blamed for his actions, and the calls for censorship are piling up.

The arguments put forward simply make my jaw drop. “Cho shot people multiple times. In games, enemies sometimes won’t die unless you shoot them multiple times. Therefore, games must have inspired his actions.” Or “Cho shot at locked doors. In some games, you can shoot at doors. Therefore, games must have inspired his actions.” On top of such weak arguments are piled lies and misinformation galore (starting with the claim that Cho was a gamer, when the evidence clearly refutes that, and it just gets more bizarre and elaborate from there).

I’ll be frank – it makes me fucking sick. Sick to see people with a vendetta employ these kinds of tactics when they’re either extraordinarily ignorant of the facts, or intentionally being dishonest to further their goals. And sick to see idiots believe them. ‘Nuff said.


Happy Easter, Canadians

5 April, 2007

You’re all heading into a wonderful three or four day long weekend. Pretty damn sweet. My weekend, I’m afraid, will only be of the conventional two-day variety. It seems that people generally don’t get Good Friday off here (how can it be good if you don’t have it off?) and nobody gets Easter Monday off either.

I think you should all appreciate being able to take a long weekend every month or so. That’s not the case down here. There are very few stat holidays, and it’s a shame, really. We’d all be better off if we worked a little less, even if we produced less (and the planet would be far better off, but that’s a rant for another day…) and earned less.

Oh well. Even without a long weekend, this kicks ass on being in school. I’ll have a good weekend anyway. And I’ll sure as hell eat some chocolate!



White. Hot. Rage.

3 March, 2007

My phone is still not hooked up. It is going on a month since I requested service. I had a conversation with a Verizon representative yesterday, where she assured me that my service would be hooked up that day. Having had such assurances before (earlier in the week, they actually sent me an email telling me it was hooked up and ready to go… NOT), I asked, “So what happens when I go home tonight and there’s still no dial tone?”

The Verizon rep said, “Oh, it will be hooked up. The service man is there right now.”

“Ok, let’s suppose there’s still no dial tone when I get home. What then?”

“Then we can send someone out on Saturday and we’ll get it all straightened out for you.”

I told her that I expected someone to come on Saturday, and not leave until I had a dial tone. She once again assured me that wouldn’t be necessary, as my phone would be hooked up by the time I got home tonight.

There’s no cliffhanger here. You’ve already guessed it – I got home and still had no dial tone. I walked down to the payphone at the grocery store this morning and called Verizon again. This time I was told that they were very busy, and they couldn’t promise that someone would be able to come out today. He said the earliest appointment date was Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 7th. That would be one full month after I had initially requested service. Un-fucking-believable. I told him they had till the end of today to get my phone line working, or I would find a different service provider who could.

I’ve already checked out Comcast, and I’ll call them tomorrow morning. And as for the wireless modem Verizon sent me? They can come and pick it up themselves. I’ll be damned if I’ll do the legwork to mail it back to them.