A while back – something like May of last year – I read about the web-based version of the classic PC game, Wolfenstein 3D. If you aren’t familiar – and if you aren’t, we can’t be friends - Wolfenstein 3D is the iconic Id Software game that became the grandfather of the modern first person shooter. What did I love about it? Personally, it was the bad guys shouting “MEIN LEBEN!” But for many people, it was the combination of the first person perspective and the constant action of a platform shooter. It was unique, and even if it wasn’t really 3D, it was such a jump graphically from the previous shooter games, that it felt like 3D.
Wolfenstein 3D really made me into a PC gamer. At the time (1992), The Super Nintendo and the Sega Genesis were the most commonly owned platform gaming systems. Sega CD was brand new, and the first Playstation was still two years away. CD-ROM games were still uncommon and my PC at the time didn’t have a CD-ROM drive. To be honest, I was lucky to have a CD player for music in 1992, let alone a CD-ROM drive. My PC was … Read the rest of my thoughts… →
“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety.” - Benjamin Franklin, c. 1759
I know I don’t normally start with quotes, but considering the events of the day, it seemed appropriate. I also tend to stay a little behind the times on current events stories because many times, the “mainstream” media will begin saying things as fact that aren’t necessarily confirmed. Truth, and its pursuit, is very important to me. The way I see it, I’d rather be late and credible than early and wrong. But I couldn’t let this event pass without writing something, because its events like these that define us for generations to come.
It was late in the afternoon when a co-worker asked me if I had heard about what happened in Boston. It was a really busy day today (I didn’t have time to pick my own nose, let alone read the news), so I hadn’t. He related to me that someone had set off a bomb at the Boston Marathon, and that a bunch of people had been hurt. So, I stopped what I was doing and immediately went to … Read the rest of my thoughts… →
Last week, I laid my money down to see G.I. Joe: Retaliation. As a child of the 80′s, the Joe’s are near and dear to my heart. And while I didn’t actually own any G.I. Joe action figures (Masters of the Universe was more my thing), I did watch the cartoon, and the cartoon movie. Some of the kids would bring some of their figures and the smaller vehicles to play with at recess. Yeah, not only did we get recess, but we were allowed to bring things from home to play with. Different times to be sure. I don’t think they would allow you to bring the tiny plastic guns into a school anymore, even though they are only about 2 inches long. Anyway, when they would cut the grass, it would pile up at the edge of a small wooded area on the edge of the school property. We would use the dried clippings, twigs and leaves to make forts, and the hedge apples were our weapons of mass destruction.
At some point, and in the not-so-distant past, people lost their ever-loving minds. Collectively, we’ve gone a bit daft, at least as it relates to how we treat women. Being a bit behind in my news reading, I’ve just stumbled across the “Cosplay is Consent” story from PAX East (I read the piece written by Jill Pantozzi on The Mary Sue – I follow them, you should too). The first line of the article struck a chord with me, particularly the beginning: “Convention harassment is just an off-shoot of regular, old harassment but seeing it invade your ‘safe space’ can be tough to stomach.”
It made me think about the recent events in Steubenville, Ohio, where two high school football players were recently convicted of sexually assaulting (read: RAPING) a fellow female student. At first glance, you might wonder how I could compare two wildly different events. After all, the ladies at PAX East were merely dressed as Lara Croft, not drunk and unconscious at a party. The cosplayers weren’t physically assaulted like the young lady in Steubenville either. But … Read the rest of my thoughts… →
Normally I try not to get too political or religious on my blog. I have a lot of friends and family on opposing sides of a lot of issues, and I try my best to respect everyone’s beliefs, regardless of how I feel about them. We are, after all, supposed to be a society where we are free to believe whatever we choose. Supposed to be, at least. Last week, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) heard two cases, back to back, that could define, once and for all, how we view marriage as a society. Those of you that know me outside of cyberspace know where I stand on this issue, but I’m going to take a moment to make a stand here as well. Why? Because I don’t think I speak loudly enough.
Some quick background first. I am from the Midwest. My family history is a bit convoluted, but suffice it to say that my mother and father have both been married multiple times. I went to a Catholic Elementary School and High School and I graduated in the early 90′s. I served in the military under Bill Clinton and since then have made my way … Read the rest of my thoughts… →
I’m not normally one for updating posts, but this issue is important. This morning, a student at Lone Star Community College in Cypress, TX, went on a stabbing spree (I’ve never heard the term, so I get credit for it), wounding at least 14 people, some of them seriously, before being subdued by authorities.
Why is this important? Because what we have is a mass murder attempt that was made without a gun. It deflates the argument that guns or access to guns, semi-automatic or otherwise, is the root cause of gun violence and mass murder. What we have here is evidence that someone like Adam Lanza or James Holmes can still inflict a large number of casualties even without a gun. People intent are harm will commit harm. It shows that despite a leaning in this country to ban guns and rifles, they aren’t the only weapons available. Anything can be a weapon when someone is properly motivated.
I’m inclined to wonder, though… would this attacker have been so bold if he thought that one of the people he was attacking might be armed with a gun? Lone … Read the rest of my thoughts… →
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, not just because of the presents, but because it’s one of the few times a year I could get to see the majority of my expansive family. Like many people these days, I come from an untraditional family. All told, in my lifetime, I’ve had 4 brothers – Joe, Jeff (who wasn’t really a brother, but he’s Joe’s brother, so as a kid, he was mine too), Rob and Rick – and 4 sisters – Karla (a step-sister), Anne (as my half-sister… we share a Dad… she’s my only biologically related sibling), Jill and Julie (Jeff and Joe’s sisters, so same as applied to Jeff applies to them). I am the youngest (Karla is 40, I think, Joe, the next boy up, is 43… I’m 37… The oldest is Rick, he’s 53 or 54 I think), so when my Mom and Dad married, Rick had already had hist first child. So, at the tender age of 4, I was an uncle. In fact, some of my favorite playmates growing up were actually my nieces and nephews.
This is not going to be a popular post. You’ll see why in a moment. I’ve mentioned before a discussion that my closest friend and I had during GenCon this past summer. It revolved mostly around belief and religion, and during it, he mentioned his feeling that when people truly believe a thing, they stop thinking about that thing. The actual processes in the brain change when dealing with that subject. One could say that we are hard wired to accept things on faith – probably because even in science, some things just have to be “given”. It’s an idea that goes along with another favorite maxim of mine, The Wizard’s First Rule – People are stupid.
On Facebook, I follow a number of science-themed pages. Deep down, I like to think of myself as a scientist, even though I don’t have any “formal” training. I suppose I like to live in a world that can be tested and quantified, even if only a small fraction of it. Science is real. Science can be tested and it can be proven. Basically, Science is the opposite of Religion. Religion can’t be tested or proven. It doesn’t have a process or system … Read the rest of my thoughts… →
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day for those of us in the United States. Traditionally, it’s a day set aside for us to observe and voice thanks for those things in our lives that are meaningful to us – typically family, friends and food. It amazes me, though, how little the current incarnation of the holiday has to do with its origins; origins that are still hotly contested.
We seem to have this massive sentimentality for scrappy little ships and their passengers and crew. Almost every child past the first grade can name the ships of Columbus’ First Voyage (the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria) and the ship of the “Pilgrims”, the Mayflower. We create this sense of romanticism around the Puritan settlers (well, calling them Pilgrims first of all) which is largely unfounded, I think. After all, even though the colonists in Plymouth and Salem were part of different colonial groups, they were all still Puritans, and well, we all know what happened in Salem. I mean the “Pilgrims” weren’t the first Europeans to settled in the New World and they weren’t even the first English settlers. Jamestown was the first permanent English colony and it was founded in 1607 – … Read the rest of my thoughts… →
Today was the day that we as Americans flexed our Freedom and elected our leaders. Once every four years, the Executive Office, the entire House of Representative and one third of the Senate can potentially change hands. That’s actually pretty special. There are plenty of places in the world where this doesn’t happen – some of them because of us.
The American political system has become a quagmire of idealism, partisanship and lobbying. And somewhere along the way, we seem to have lost what made us great. And I’m not talking about family values or any of the theocratic crap fed to us by the Christian Right. I’m talking about real ingenuity and problem solving. Let me give you an example:
My grandfather is on in years – he was born in 1928. His parents survived one of the pivotal disasters in local history – The Great Flood of 1913. Ohio has always been particularly prone to flooding. Before the last ice age, the rivers flowed north toward what would be Hudson Bay today. After, they all flowed south toward the Gulf of Mexico. However, in Ohio, the glaciation created higher elevations to … Read the rest of my thoughts… →
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