Saturday, March 30, 2013

Mass Effect

I'm going to talk about a video game and try to explain to all you non-gamers why I really love this game.

First a little history. Early march 2012 I was gamed out on some of the things I had been playing up till then and was looking for something new. I came across advertising for the release of Mass Effect 3. It was an RPG (Role Playing Game). The kind of video game I prefer but I had never played anything in the series or by the maker of the game. With RPG's this normally isn't a problem since the games in a series can be separated by vast lengths of time and space and don't usually have the same characters. so I bought it. And played it and liked it enough to start doing some research so I could do better at the game. Thats when I discovered the Mass Effect fanbase. And learned that there were lots and lots of rabid fans who really loved this series passionately. Online sites abounded with fan fiction. You Tube stuffed with fan made videos. filled with fan art. You get the idea. This fascinated me. I dug deeper. I bought and played Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2. I bought and played all the DLC (downloadable content) that went with each game. Let me explain why.

Mass Effect came out in 2007 and won lots of awards and acclaim. It was unusual. The NPC's (non player characters) had depth. In most games the comments heard as you jog your hero through any location are repetitive and shallow. NPC's are scenery and nothing more. In Mass Effect the conversations differ. And can be important to you as the player. As an example in Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim, every guard in every town and city says in the same actors voice the same lines. "I took an arrow to the knee" was so common it became an internet meme. Not the case in Mass Effect or ME2 or ME3 (I'll use the abbreviations from now on). Also your interactions with NPC's that are to become part of your "squad" are complex and involved. The entire game in ME2 was recruiting and gaining the loyalty of the 10-12 members of your squad. There are only 5-6 missions in the main script of the game. There are 20-30 missions involved in getting your "people" together and ready for the end game mission.

 There are in all three games opportunities for romantic involvement. Again an example from Skyrim. Give Ysolda a mammoth tusk and she becomes available as a wife. Not so easy in the ME universe. You actually must talk to the object of your affections. Again and again. If you chat up more than one they will eventually call you on it and you must to break off those other relationships. All three games were about your relationships with the NPC's. Friends, lovers, allies and enemies. The voice acting is also incredibly good. All of this is reason enough to like a game, but love it the way these people did?
No. Here's the kicker. Your character is Commander Shepard. In all three games. Your hero/heroine doesn't just come from nowhere like most games. You choose the life history of your Shepard and your choices have consequences in the game. Where you were born, how you came to the military, your career.
Your Shepard has a past. And at the end of each game the system saves the results and you can upload your Commander Shepard to the start of the next game. Unprecedented! These fans have been following this game since 2007 because... Their Commander Shepard really is theirs. Different from all others. Bioware, the maker of the game, says that over 1000 decisions get downloaded at the start of ME3 if you have brought forward a Shepard from ME through ME2 to finally arrive at ME3.    

Jump to March 2012. ME3 releases. To great acclaim and massive fan controversy. I won't go into what upset the fans, it's too complicated. But what I realized was that they wouldn't be so angry if they didn't really, really love this game. In a move that hasn't ever happened before Bioware actually released DLC that modified the end of the game to satisfy some of the fan complaints, but lets just say the ending has flaws. Which is a shame because this is the end if the franchise. It's a trilogy and it's over. No more Commander Shepard ever.

Jump to March 2013. The last piece of DLC ever for Mass Effect 3 is released. And this finally made me love this game the way the other fans did. It's called Citadel and takes place in the capitol of the galaxy. The first half is mostly a fight. But wait. You and your crew are on shore leave. The fight starts with you by yourself. No squad to back you up. Then it gets cool. Remember all those relationships? People start to rally round you. Characters you haven't seen since the first game. All your squad mates. anybody from earlier times who isn't dead rallies to your side. And it turns from a grim ambush into a hilarious romp. Not just 3 of you against the bad guys but every wisecracking buddy you ever had against bad guys who are quickly realizing that they are totally outclassed. When the big bad guy asks at the end "why you and not me" your answer is simple "I have comrades. You have minions". But the Citadel DLC is less than half over at this point. You can now meet up with and enjoy time with all of these characters. Heck you can invite them to a big ol' party at your place. I spent the next 3 hours running my Shepard ragged trying to hear all the silly, loving, fun and touching conversations.

This DLC, released a year after the game, is the real goodbye.

Here's a few quiet moments with my Shepard's bestest girlfriend. She's a little weird. Ok. So she's a dangerously violent sociopath who gets turned on during combat. But she's my dangerously violent sociopath and MY Shepard loves her.  

And this little piece was done as a tribute by a fan. It'll give you an idea of how the fans (I'm one) feel about this trilogy.

Listen to the music. For those who don't know I am very susceptible to mood swings created by music. I can control my world by picking my own sound track. Bioware must have aimed this game right at my head.

ME2 launch trailer, just listen.

If you want the long version it's Heart of Courage by Two Steps From Hell.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Silent Knife, Holy Knife

Orinoco felt no qualms about killing the two fools. He was surprised they had lasted this long.

He did feel a little sympathy for the pig however.

Still, orders were orders and an assassin who didn't follow orders to the letter was considered too dangerous
to live.

In a way that made his kills simple self defense.

One would have needed specialized knowledge to realize that he broke his own rules by whistling on the
way home.

Not the whistling. The tune. Few indeed knew the words to "Silent Knife, Holy Knife".

But any of those few might well have ended his career with a quick word to the wrong ears.

(added 2-16-13)

His room was just that. A room. 10 feet by 40 feet with a door at one end and an ornate bed at the other.

Not that Orinoco ever slept in the bed. Misdirection had been ingrained by hard lessons. The bed was just
the first thing anyone saw when they walked in the door. Since he slept behind the door it was also sometimes the last.

Between the door and the bed were boxes, chests, sacks, crates and tables laden with all kinds of interesting
and useless junk. Anyone searching this room would spend far more time than they intended. Time was very
important to someone in Orinoco's career path. Survey time, set up time, action time, escape time. Time to
find excuses. Time to be somewhere far, far away.

Orinoco entered only after checking all of his tell-tales for intrusion, and finding none opened the door. He
immediately stopped whistling.

Somebody sat up in his bed. Somebody magnificent. Somebody impossible. Somebody with a small smile
on her face.

A very cold, very angry, very satisfied smile.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tryout New Vegas

I am working my way up to buying the Fallout: New Vegas video game, hence the title of this entry.

There are lots of new things going on here right now.

To start with, my own personal image of nostaslic nirvana opened on friday. Talkin bout Insert Coin(s)
in the downtown. I remember in the early eighties going to the Chucky Cheese University building in San
Jose CA. Three floors of video game consoles and they would sell you a pitcher of beer and let you play all night. Well... till 10pm.
The only drawbacks were the carny atmosphere and swarms of kids. Leave it to Vegas to come up with
the answer to those two problems. Insert Coin(s) is a 7000 square foot video game BAR. No one under 21 allowed. It has all of the old console style games from Ms Pacman to Defender and Star Wars. You can also reserve a couch and modern machine ((xbox, playstation, etc.) with huge screen tv and play against all your friends. And unlike at your house you get bottle service. As one reviewer put it "Great games, great drinks, no kids, I love it!"
What I love is all that video space and no sports in sight!

Another small sign that Vegas still believes in itself even now. And believes in the value of fun.

As for Hollywood. The less said the better. I've seen two movies this year and they aren't worth the powder to blow them to hell. I won't even mention names.

I am looking to move soon. My neighborhood is sliding downhill. It wasn't that great to start with. With so many people "Leaving Las Vegas" the last few years availability is good. Stay tuned.

4/20 update.   

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Nightmare on Walmart St.

Tonight I had to pick up my prescriptions. Sounds simple right? Go to the pharmacy, pay your money, go home. Oooohhhh no. Not me. I save a buck by getting generic at Wal-Mart. Hey, $4 each for 4 heart meds that I take every day? Saves me $200 a month easy. Besides, I think I have a reasonably good sense of humor and a generous attitude towards the vagaries of the Great American Public. (Ooops, I almost said Great Unwashed Public.)

Toniiight... Toniiight, is not like other niiights! (West-side story, look it up on YouTube) 4 ft tall granny in her blue vest at the door. Check. Crowd at the Micky Dees. Check. Customer Unservice desk crowded with people trying to return used underwear. Check. So far so good.

Then in the main aisle it begins. Five across is a group easing their way along and blocking the whole MAIN drag of this warehouse sized building. Three kids with candy in hand waddle down the middle flanked by the parents one on each end. Each with a shopping cart. Three and one third eons later the group splits like the Blue Angels in flight. Five different directions simultaneously and I finally realized that they weren't a family. The resemblance was caused by the Wal-mart shopper 'look'.

Finally arriving at the 'farm'acy I get to watch the longest line I've ever seen check out with not just drugs but the rest of their shopping list. It's nearing closing for them so they are trying to complete the days work asap. Leaving one poor, pregnant, rookie to find and check out all the prescriptions for the people in line. This worked about as well as you might expect.

I idle away my evening watching the tide of humanity surge back and forth across the linoleum. All those Wal-Martian websites are hilarious until you are trapped in the middle of them. Lucky for me no 500 pound thong wearers showed up tonight. But it does leave me depressed over the general population of my home.
And I just realized that General Population is a term most often used by corrections officers. (If you were here you would have seen me disconnect for a minute to pursue that thought, ugh!)

After, finally, getting my drugs and getting out I was hungry. So I stopped at Cici's. I had already paid before I realized my mistake. You see Cici's is an All You Can Eat Pizza Buffet. IN THE WAL-MART PARKING LOT!!!!!

As you may have guessed I take the fact that I smiled and ate and read my book and made my way around the buffet without a major upset as further evidence of my overall good sense of humor, and general even handed noblesse oblige. (look it up)

That's it for now. I'm still getting back into blog mode.

Friday, January 21, 2011

New blog

Ok. Back by popular demand. (1 person) My new blog. As irreverent and irregular as ever. The first entry is just a copy/paste of my old stuff. Sorry I couldn't get the comments to copy. As for the name and address here is Wikipedias explanations:

  Hypomnema (Greek. υπομνημα, plural υπομνηματα, hypomnemata), also spelled hupomnema, is a Greek word with several translations into English including a reminder, a note, a public record, a commentary, a draft, a copy, and other variations on those terms.

Commonplace books (or commonplaces) were a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.
Such books were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces were used by readers, writers, students, and humanists as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts they had learned. Each commonplace book was unique to its creator's particular interests.

I used both for the simple and mundane reason that each was an available name in different spots. Commonplace for the address and hypomnema for the blog name. And if I find the dastards who took my choices... well they better just watch their... Do you know how long it took to find these words? Sheesh. Ahem. I feel better now.

Note: the hyperlinks didn't transfer so they are just colored text.

Old entries from Myspace blog

 May 21, 2010
I are edicated. I are smart.
The Texas text review board are back in session. They defied the constitution in the first seconds by opening with
a prayer in Jesus name. Then it got worse. The good news was that Jefferson was allowed (reluctantly) back into
American history. See the link.
The Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce released a study that showed that the parents level of education and support
of the student had more influence than the amount of money spent by the state. Well DUH! Repeat, repeat, repeat.
We already know this. One more study won't influence the entrenched interests that want the budget money increased
and know that no politician can oppose the kiddies and survive.
Although. Considering the kind of texts that Texas has so much influence in creating maybe it's a good thing most
kids won't learn it anyway.
A group of retired military officers met in April with a senior senator and the Sect'y of Agricuture. Their point?
 School lunches are making American kids "to fat to fight". I happen to agree with one author who said "if you
have to consider recruiting school children maybe you should reconsider the war".
Aside: A Microsoft study shows that frequent password changes don't make you any safer from hackers. This is due
to most peoples use of easy to remember passwords. This could be a good thing. My posts become plausably deniable.
"Your honor, I would never write such drivel". Besides those Texas people might be hunting me down.
Aside, aside: I am thinking of setting this blog somewhere besides Myspace. They just annoy me, no one comes to
Myspace and Facebook doesn't have one. Private blogs are free, personal web pages are cheap and I think I have
some good ideas for interaction on a web page. So let me know if you would come. Uh, thats if I'm not just
talking to myself anyway.


Down is the new up
You know how designers are always saying that "blah blah is the new black"? Well I'm saying that "down is the new up".
 Since everything seems to be "down" maybe we just need to look more closely.
For example I was reading yet another financial news article (reading between the lines, as usual) about how Vegas
real estate was still in the tank. 22000 houses list for sale, lots of new foreclosures, etc. But... GLVAR, the
LV Realtor Assoc., has had to separate the listings into two parts to analyse reality. Active and inactive listings.
It seems that of the 22000 only 7200 are "active". The others are "pendings". Meaning waiting for approval or
closing or something. Since a huge proportion of those are short sales and short sales take 3 to 9 months to
close they aren't actively for sale. Now, We are closing about 3000 sales a month. 3000 out of the 7200 actively
for sale means less than 3 months inventory. Yes. That is a SELLERS MARKET. Now add the fact that as the pundits
 point out we had about 1000 new foreclosure filings in Feb. True, but we closed escrow on about 1200 foreclosed
homes. It becomes clear that the inventory of homes is dropping. This has apparently been the (unnoticed) trend
for several months now. "Down" inventory means "up" market. Simple right? Tell the news folks. The experts already
know but don't have a soap box.
Also, the domain name Sexdotcom (yeah I spelled out dot. You thought I'd give you the link?) is up for auction.
The previous owners didn't keep up the payments. They paid 14 billion (yes, billion) for it a few years ago. It
is expected to sell for a LOT less this time. Somehow an economy that reduces the value of the most famous (infamous)
and lucrative porn domain name has a definite "up" side.

The Social Security folks have announced that this year they won't take in as much as they give out so they will
begin cashing in all the iou's that congress has been giving them for 30 years. Thats a downer. I'm not worried
about that because it will take decades to cash the trillions they have in t-bills. (yes, trillions) But now
 congress can't borrow from SS anymore. So they will have to pay as they go or run a deficit. And explain why
to the voters. That's an "up".

The Texas State Board (bored) of Education is changing history. Literally. They want major changes to their
 history texts. No biggy you think? It's just Texas. Oh No Mon Frere. (thats french... sort of) Texas buys
its books statewide making them one of the largest markets in the world. The publishers lick their feet every year.
The result is that 80% of the textbooks in the US follow Texas guidelines. So here are some, but not all of the
 changes they want:
Increased "favorable" mentions of Phyllis Schlafly, The Moral Majority, the NRA and Newt Gingrich. (Newt's back
 big time in conservative circles)
Reduced scope for Latino contributions. (in Texas?)
Senator Joseph McCarthy turned out to be right after all.
Title IX and Affirmative Action said to have "adverse unintended consequenses.
Removal of Ross Perot and Ralph Nader. (make them unpersons) But add in Confederate General Stonewall Jackson
 as a role model for effective leadership. (huh? He was a nutjob, look it up)
No longer include THOMAS JEFFERSON among the writers influencing the nations intellectual origins. Instead
list St. Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin. (religion anyone?)
Take out Hip Hop as an important cultural movement and replace it with... wait for it... drum roll please...
Country and Western. (AAARRRggghhh!!!)
OK we can all see the "down" side. Where is the "up"? This is making national news. The text publishing
industry's dirty little, bootlicking, secret is out. And the final vote isn't till May. Possibly if a lot
of other School Boards spoke up and said we will buy from the 20% that don't get Texas approval then the
industry might think a little longer or lick a few less,  um, boots.
For major sarcasm about this see:
Ok. So "down is the new up". Is Brent now turning all sweetness and light? As if! My nickname in college
(both years) was Iconoclast. I see it, I knock it down. (look it up) Since the news is unremittingly
bleak I gotta go look and see if they are stretching things to make it so. Guess what? They are. No duh!
"If it bleeds it leads" is the news motto. If there aren't any bleeders around, find one. If you can't
find one make it up. (recent history here) We haven't, quite, gotten to the point that the news orgs will
go out and make something bleed. I think. I hope. I really, really hope. A lot.
There! Finally! Got it down without deleting it by accident. Well, once it was me. The other time it was
Gary walking across the untended keyboard.
3:08 PM
Comment ·LikeYou liked this  • Unlike. Post a comment...Post.More   .

 Feb 18, 2010
It's Beautiful (blub)
Sorry about the subject, I've wanted to use it for a long time. From Raiders of the Lost Ark just before the
characters face melts.
Anyway. Just finally broke down and saw Avatar. It Is GORGEOUS! Trite story line and some cardboard cutout
characters but... Damn it's GORGEOUS!
Take out the 1st 15 minutes and the battle at the end. Just leave the 2 hours where the character is learning
this world. It's GORGEOUS!
The artwork/scenery reminds me of the website I use it for a lot of my backgrounds and
screensavers. Visit it. Some of the downloads are free.
First movie in a long time I felt I got my $6.75 worth. (afternoon, weekday, senior, etc).
I haven't been following the olympics or Tiger Woods or anything. (should that read the olympics OF Tiger Woods, sheesh)
So I guess it's a good thing something other than work caught my attention. I was in danger of becoming mundane, hah.
Unfortunately I saw it small screen and 2D. Might have to google it and see it again if it's still in 3D somewhere.
Wow. A repeat viewing. Did I say that?

Oh bye the way did I mention thats it's freaking GORGEOUS!
2-19-10 update. Went and saw 3D version. Some better, not a huge difference. But I knew not to bother with the
characters or story and just submerse myself in the visual experience. Wow. It's still Gorgeous!
Kinda a humerous aside this must be the only movie in which Sigorney Weaver has the biggest boobs.

6:10 PM
  Jan 27, 2010
You're Mad I say, Mad!
Las Vegas madness.
Carl Icahn has purchased the Fountainleau Hotel Resort for 150 mil. from the bankruptcy court. They spent 2 billion
on it before going under and it is 70% complete. He made out like a bandit. Again!
Court madness continued.
The South Butt company is being sued by The North Face company. (humorless jerks) The 18 year old owner of South Butt
has never spent a dime on advertising. Why should he when North Face keeps his name right out there and is making him
millions. Quote from the South Butt web site. "If you can't tell a butt from a face buy from the North Face."
US madness.
Some commentators have said that the left is mad (the other kind of mad) at big business. Others say that the right
is mad at big government. FINALLY. A place for a meeting of minds, something in common, hating the fact that big
business and big government seem to be in cahoots. ie. the bailout, AIG, TARP etc.
I forgot.
The mad ones aren't in congress. Ooops.
Foreign court madness.
A court in the Bahamas has found that the US cannot extradite Viktor Kozeny (AKA the Pirate of Prague) for
bribery. It seems the act must be a crime in both nations for extradition. And bribing a foreign official is
NOT a crime in the Bahamas. Some of the 'pirates' US partners are already in prison and no one is sure just
how much he stole. FYI the Bahamas do cooperate with the IRS. Taxes are important to any government it seems.
Whatever. The Bahamas started out as pirate havens acting against the Spanish treasure fleets. Why should they
change now just because the loot is in dollars instead of dubloons.
Foreign madness (general category)
The Tel Aviv University has released a study showing that midlife crisis is a myth. OH GOODY! My deep seated
desire for a Ferrari and a twenty one year old mistress is normal after all. (Why 21 you ask? Why not 18? Hey
I'm just too much of a straight to know how to get her a fake id.)
Back in Vegas madness.
We had a 1 1/2 hour high speed chase through the streets this morning. It finally ended in 2 arrests in the
 parking garage of the Suncoast casino.  Ho hum you say, as do I. What is interesting about another chase? Weeeell.
The stolen vehicle being pusued was a Scion xB. Yeah, you know. The shoebox on wheels. Little Bitty wheels.
Metro PD even used their helicopter. They must have been really bored. The Drivers name you ask? Dillinger.
Of course. This is Vegas after all. We do have SOME standards.

mad, Mad, MAD! Bwhahahahaha.
Sorry, couldn't resist.

Jan 1, 2010

Happy New Year

It's 2010. Massive fireworks on the strip. The best in years. Seven minutes and four miles long. Enough smoke to effect the global temps. Over 315,000 visitors and all the locals. And by all reports a HAPPY crowd. Folks in tuxes and gowns coming out of the new City Center hotels to watch alongside the crowd in the streets. Everybody looking forward.
So in honor of looking forward and not back why don't we switch from one Burns poem to another, From Auld Lang Syne to "For a' That". Here's the last stanza.

Then let us pray that come it may,
  (As come it will for a’ that,)
That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,
  Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.
For a’ that, an’ a’ that,
  It’s coming yet for a’ that,
That Man to Man, the world o’er,
  Shall brothers be for a’ that.

Happy New Year

  • New years eve '09

    The party is starting early in Vegas this year. The news says the crowd on the strip spilled into the street by 7pm. By 7:15 the police gave up and moved the barriers. The freeway exits to the strip are already closed. Everyone just wants to celebrate that '09 is OVER!

    We are all so used to the bizarre and 1st time ever stuff this year that it just seems blase.
    A British travel company is selling out of rooms on a ship to reinact the 100th anniversary of the trip of the Titanic in 2012. With the ice cap melting they may have trouble finding an iceberg. Talk about tempting fate.
    The Swedes burned their xmas goat again this year.
    An Australian suggested Santa ride a bike since he needs to get in shape. Being an Aussie he was just funnin but the US surgeon general agrees.
    Here in Nevada we spent 200 million in stimulus money and create 322 jobs. WOW! 200 million divided by 322. AW JUST GIVE EM THE CASH!
    Heck just give me the cash.

    Things got better for me financially this year and mom died. That seems to describe the experience of 2009 pretty accurately.

    Full moon tonight. Second one this month. A "blue moon". If the whole crowd on Las Vegas Boulevard turned furry at midnight I don't think it would surprise anyone. It's been that kind of year.

    On second thought if any police dept in the world could deal with that it would ours. They've seen everything.

  • Silent Knife

    A bit of a bar challenge here. A friend and I have differing opinions on "fiction". He maintains that fiction stories are so silly and far fetched they must be easy to write. Even going so far as to say he could do it easily. I maintain that writing about something that doesn't exist is more difficult than non-fiction. If it is done well.  The challenge was for him to write 2 paragraphs to start a new story so intriguing that everyone would want to read the whole thing.
    So far nothing from him. I must admit he had had more than a few beers.
    Anyway. Here's a couple of paragraphs from me.

       Orinoco felt no qualms about killing the two fools. He was surprised they had lasted this long. He did feel a little sympathy for the pig however. Still, orders were orders and an assassin who didn't follow orders to the letter was considered to dangerous to live. In a way that made his kills simple self defense.
       One would have needed specialized knowledge to realize that he broke his own rules by whistling on the way home. Not the whistling. The tune. Few indeed new the words to "Silent Knife, Holy Knife". But any of those few might well have ended his career with a quick word to the wrong ears.

    OK there are 2 paragraphs. I have no clue what I would do from here.

    The pig was part of the conversation so you had to be there. It was going to be his main character and a world leader. Since I DO read fiction and "Animal Farm" has already been done I decided to kill it off right away.

  • Sheep, Lemmings and Zombies

    There is a difference you know. Between Sheep, Lemmings and Zombies.

    Sheep follow their leader. This creature is called a bellweather. They will follow into deadly danger. There is a reason why prognosticators use terms like "bellweather state" when talking politics. Do they think the voters don't understand that they are being called sheep? Probably. They may very well be correct. Considering how many people I meet that misuse the big words off of their "word of the day" calenders the American public probably has no clue that bellweather was a farming term before it was a political one.
    Keep in mind the mayor of New Orleans who got reelected after hiding out from hurricane Katrina across the street from his command center. Who let people die rather than make the tough decisions leading up to the storm. Or the mayor of Washington DC who got reelected after a drug conviction. Felons can't vote but they can run. And win. Baaaaa.

    Lemmings follow their instincts. If it feels good do it. "Oh, a seaside cliff? Didn't know, sorry won't do it again". Mostly the rich and famous get the press in this group. Sometimes harmeless like Lady Gaga's hats. Sometimes less so. Like a famous athelete carrying a gun in his pocket. In sweats. Into a club. In a city that has forbidden guns for the better part of a hundred years. Then shooting himself. Final example is the folks that made "Just Do It" famous. They are still standing behind the athelete whose mistresses now number over a dozen. All uglier than his wife. Many, maybe even most, people fall into this group.
    They just don't have the money or fame to get the idiocy noticed. Squeek squeek.

     OK. I admit I only added zombies so I could mention that Natalie Portman has the lead in the proposed movie version of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". Hey, it was a NY Times best seller gimme a break. 

  • Big red button

    I had a whole list of bizarre, funny and stupid stuff saved up... oh well some other time.

    You know the Big Red Button? The one that says "don't get me started"? Unfortunately for the rest of the world I have a "Big Red Keyboard". A whole bunch of buttons labelled Religion, politics, philosophy, cosmology, etc.

    Today some ding dong pushed the religion button.

    Stats show that over 78% of Americans label themselves "Christian".


    Over half of Americans can't identify the 1st book of the bible as Genesis.

    Over half of Americans can't name the 4 books of the gospel.


    OK. That said I tried to figure out why. The answer came from the term being used in
    new and old studies. "Willful Ignorance".

    The concept is in 2 parts. First leaders who actively want ignorant followers. Second a populace that actively wants leaders who TELL them what to believe.

    The horrendous result is modern America. Most of the population can read but WON'T.
    And they are PROUD of this. Nearly 20% believe the sun goes around the earth.
    Americans believe that the right deoderant will get you laid. Or car, or church, or club.

    Why? Because someone TOLD them it was that way.

    The power of the Talking Head is so pervasive that politicians and religious leaders and anyone else seeking power has to become a Talking Head. There is no other route to power in the Modern USA.

    Willful Ignorance.

    Silver Lining: Those of us who do think and read and take stuff with a grain of salt have an advantage over the "Willfully Ignorant" general pop. If we are quiet, and sneaky and they don't notice. The majority isn't always right but they are the majority.
    Since this was the religion button today remember the fires and stones and keep your eyes as well as your mind open.

  • Mom

    My mother passed just after midnight Sunday morning. She had been going downhill for over a year so it wasn't a surprise. The surprise was her and my sisters perfect timing. Kelly told me on Thusday to come and that mom had asked for me to "come home". That was a 1st. She never was the kind of person who wanted to impose. I had only been there for about 8 hours when she left.
    Mom was, in her own way, a very successful person. She raised 2 reasonably decent kids. She had a 35 year career as an elementary school teacher. She managed her finances better than anyone I know. But quietly.
    She leaves a hole in my life but it is very hard to define that hole. She didn't push herself into her kids lives. And I rarely lived near by.
    Sunday was a day of paperwork, moving stuff, (including her cat) and more paperwork.
    The drive back to Las Vegas was long and toward the end desert dark. I spent the time trying to remember. Playing quiet music. (disc only, desert radio sucks). Music has always been the way I effect my moods. About Baker I tuned to a station that has Hearts of Space on Sunday nights. Because of the fuzz I don't know the piece but it was long, lush and magnificent. At one point a boys choir came into the piece. Pure high soprano. The thought hit my brain like a voice. "They are singing her home". Then and there. Driving back to Vegas in the dark, listening. I found I could cry.

  • Constitution Day

    Sept 17 is Constitution Day. One of my friends posted a comment "Thinking about what to do this weekend"? Weeeell. Since we have the freedom to do it, here goes.

    This is Vegas but I will skip the usual stuff.

    17th thru 20th. Neon Reverb. 105 bands 4 days 12 bucks a day. WOW!

    15th thru 20th San Gennaro Feast. Check the myspace page. Smell the Peppers!

    17th thru 20th Greek Food Festival. OPA! The urban dictionary says Opa is "a word Greek people use for no apparant reason at all".

    Tonight: the Freakin Frog has its Beer and Blog night every Thursday for all the bloggers in town. 500 bottled beers and 15 different on tap.  Hmmm.

    17th thru 20th. Killercon. A convention for Horror, Paranormal Romance and Thriller authors. Guests include Leslie Esdaile Banks. AKA L. A. Banks. Panels include "6 million ways to die", "7 deadly sins of short storys", 7 deadly sins of working with editors", etc.
    AND several publishers and producers will be taking presentations from new writers.

    I found all of this in one city on one weekend in a 45 minute search.

    Remember where I started. It's Constitution Day. You know. That piece of paper that created a nation that allows all this disparate stuff to happen. All the Time. Everywhere.



    Real news and "Wiki" news

    Today I followed an interesting article on the mars rover. At the end it had "more on this topic". The next article was so off the wall I checked deeper. It turned out to be a 3 year old reprint from The Onion, A satire site. So I check the original article, it was accurate according to NASA/JPL. Turns out MSN had it from The Post Chronicle. This is a "Wiki" news paper. Anybody can post anything. There is a tiny little disclaimer at the bottom of each page about the articles being the opinion of the writer not The Post Chronicle. Each page looks like a newspaper with old fashioned header and all.

    Fact checking has become an obligation of all of us. Maybe it should be a button right next to spell check. Oh, thats right. Nobody uses that one either.

    Real News:  Our senator John Ensign has been added to the list of the 15 most corrupt people in congress. For what? He had an affair with a staffer and his family paid off his mistress. From what I found no taxpayer money involved. How disappointing. No South American Beauties, no money in the freezer, nothing! I feel almost disappointed. If this is the most corrupt a Nevada politician can be these days we have really not been looking very hard. I remember witnessing very questionable stuff myself and I've only been here 12 years. Maybe it's Darwinian. The worst idiocies happen at the local level and weed out the weaker members of the herd. It's a theory anyway.

  • Nine-nine-nine

    Nine, nine, nine. Sounds like a quote from Hitler. It's the date 9/9/9. If you're Chinese it's a good number. A homophone (sounds like) the slang for long time. So 99 is for immortality. 999 WOW! Of course if you are Japanese it is unlucky. It's a homophone for the word for suffering. Can't please everybody. 999.

    Melanie Oudin made the quarter finals at the US open tennis and got kicked out of her hotel. Her reservation expired. She might want to find out who didn't think she would need the room this long. She got both ends of 999.

    An expedition in New Guinea descended into Bosavi crater, a caldera a kilometer deep to find a literal "lost world". Species evolving for 200,000 years in isolation. Already identified 40 new species. Frogs with fangs. The worlds largest rat. Fish that grunt. No big cats, no monkeys. The main predator is a giant monitor lizard and the kangaroos have evolved to live in trees. No fear of humans. One new species the Silky Cuscus became friendly enough to ride a naturalists shoulder. The documentary starts on BBC tonight. Great for the discoverers, maybe not so much for the newly discovered. 999.

    Armand-Jean du Plessicide de Richelieu born this day in 1585. Happy birthday Cardinal. Great for you, bad for the musketeers. 999.

    It's also the founding date for Santa Fe and St. Augustine. Good for Spain. And the discovery and claiming of San Francisco Bay by (not yet Sir) Francis Drake. On his way around the world to Fame and looted Spanish wealth. Bad for Spain. 999.
    So maybe both the Chinese and Japanese are right.
    Do you like the way I pick and choose my facts? Just as good/bad as the news.


  • Full moon and babies

    Karah Grace Anderson was born today. My sisters foster daughters daughter. Is there a word for my relationship here? Foster grand uncle? In Viking times yeah. Fostri was a term of special significance then. She shares her day with Louis XIV Le Roi Soleil!
    My friend Heidi just had hers a few days ago. A boy. My page is covered with baby stuff and pictures. (that didn't sound right). Baby pictures and stuff? Still not right.
    Full moon babies. Karah has plenty of hair thats for sure. Karah. I wonder if Kelly had any input on the name choice since here bestest friend from forever is named Cara.

    Locally the news is getting better. I'm working. 7 days a week. Others are too. The mayor (Goodman) is considering running for governor. He may have issues but they are fun. The only public figure I know of who would answer the question "what is your fav drink" from a room full of elementary schoolers by saying "Gin". Gotta love Vegas. Just read of a bus full of German tourists with shorts SO short the men had to have brazilian waxes. Glad I didn't actually see this.

    Enough babbling. Need sleep.




    400 years ago today Galileo presented his new telescope to the city fathers of Venice and got a raise.
    About 400 days ago AIG and Wall Street got bailed out by the taxpayer and gave themselves a bonus.
    Some people still don't believe what Galileo figured out with his new instrument.
    Nobody has figured out the new instruments Wall Street used to destroy the world economy.
    I don't think either did it on purpose, it was the "oh gee whiz" factor. Or as someone once
    said belongs on many tombstones "hey guys watch this".
    As to which one was the bigger oops I have no clue. I suspect Galileo's little toy has had much more effect long term but nobody noticed for quite a while. Both said "I'm sorry, I didn't mean it" and then recanted. Both got slapped on the wrist.
    While Big G will be remembered fondly by history I hope the AIG/Wall Street bunch remain nameless. It is after all is said and done what they deserve.  

  • new job, new outlook

    It's amazing how a little change to the familiar can change your outlook. Back selling new homes again and it just feels right.  I can already feel my outlook changing. Some familiar faces some new but the environment and language and everything has me perkier. Well. As perky as I ever get.
    Just for a downer this is the anniversary of William Wallace's execution. Hanged, drawn and quartered, yech! I guess they couldn't make up their minds.
    Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, etc.

  • Woodstock

    40 years ago today was the opening day of Woodstock. 40 years. With an attendance over the 3 days of 378,345,932 and at least one dog. If everybody who claims to have been there is telling the truth.
    It was also 70 years ago today that the Wizard of Oz premiered at Graumans Chinese Theater in LA. It is supposed to be re-released in theaters in HD in September. I will probably go see that. I'd like to see it on the big screen. I don't know what that says about me but I wouldn't go if they restaged Woodstock. Unless they resurected Jimi Hendricks. I'd go just to see his national anthem.
    To add to todays wierdness quotient I discover a singer whose music I had never heard but only read about. Heather Alexander. Now this is Filk singing. (look it up) Most I don't like cause they suck. But I did like what I found. So do many other people. One of her works "The March of Cambreadth" is referrenced in many books and has been used numerous times in video games and trailers. Then I discover she disappeared in 2007. As in testosterone treatments and now another name. She is now a he. Just as good a storyteller as ever by the videos but the voice just ain't the same. Oh well. Still have the videos.

  • Simon's Cat 'Fly Guy'

    I didn't intend this to end up in the blog, but what the heck. One of the funnier cartoons around. And all he does is take what a cat is realy like. One of mine actually likes to watch and especially listen to this. The sounds the cat makes are fascinating to her.

  • Full Moon OOOoooowwwwhhhhooooooo!!!!

    Happy birthday to John Huston and Neil Armstrong.

    A wierd senile week so far for me. Stupid stuff like walking out of the market and forgetting a whole bag of groceries. Missing a meeting at the office. Stuff like that that leaves you wondering about full moons and things.

    The news seems good in the economy. Except we are all in debt up to our eyeballs with no end in sight. They are finally admitting that even the middle class may have to pay more taxes to cover gov't medical. Duh, surprise! You can't nationalize an industry that is 19% of the economy without higher taxes. Guess today is appropriate to think of that since August 5th 1861 was the first day the U.S. Gov't tried this new fangled thing called an income tax.

    Also the anniversay of Marilyn Monroe's death. She probably saw her tax return.

  • Peter Rabbit, etc.

    Today is Beatrix Potters birthday. Think bunnies. I missed Carl Jungs b'day 2 days ago. Could have thrown a great party. Come as your favorite archetype. Also another one of Henry VIII's anniversaries.

    Don't know what the temp is outside. Anything over 110 and it's just a detail you can't work up the energy to worry about. But the cicadas are buzzing like high tension lines just to remind you it could be the south. Ten degrees cooler and 10 times the humidity. I'll take Vegas. To all true Southerners I realize it should be caps. "The South".

    Good news/Bad news news. Home prices rising across the nation/not in Vegas.

    As you can see I can do smileys but not spellcheck. I'm sure there is a meaning behind that but it is to hot to think about it.

  • LUC

    Hangin out on S. California this weekend. Down to see mom. Even though the scenery and architecture looks a lot like Las Vegas it feels different. I slept with the windows open last night. The humidity made it feel cooler. I guess Cal doesn't get the kind of monster humidity that makes the south and east so miserable in summer.

    The news is (of course) the same. It has been wierd this last year or so seeing the markets respond to housing and real estate. June Sales are up big time so Wall Street jumps. They never used to do that. Real Estate people aren't used to being such a big part of the national scene. WE knew it. Just that nobody else did. Till now.

    Cracking up. Just previewed my own status comment. LOL. sleepin with the windows open shows as "Sleepin With...". The Law of Unintended Consequences (LUC) stricks again! I like the acronym LUC. Some mornings I can't possibly spell consequences.

  • Monkeys

    July 21, 1925 the Scopes "Monkey Trial" ended in a conviction. We've come a long way since then but the zealots seem to be making a comeback all over the world. Keep your eyes and mind open. Somebody, somewhere considers you "the enemy". Always remember that when it comes down to it everbody is in some minority.

    Oh, by the way. Happy birthday Robin Williams. Keep makin' fun of it all. We need it.

  • Moon shot

    40 years ago today 2 americans landed on the moon. After a few more we stopped. NASA had become a bureaucracy. Dedicated to its budget not a dream. In the words of the filksong "if it weren't for god damned nasa we'd have cities on the moon". Even the astronauts look back and admit that  the nasa flacks could make sex sound boring.

  • b'day

    Happy birthday Florencia Vicenta de Casillas Martinez Cardona (Vicki Carr)