And the flowers are still standing…

April 29, 2005

Mood: FRIDAY!
Music: Still Loving You, Scorpions
Game: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Guild Wars
Book: America, Daily Show with John Stewart
Muffin: Raspberry-Peach
Punchline: Yarr!

Been pretty productive at work today so far. Working on processes and some status spreadsheets. I like working with spreadsheets, really.

I know that sounds odd…but I actually really like manipulating data and presenting it in clear formats. Excel is a pretty cool program…has more functionality than you probably really need for just about anything. But it is flexible, if nothing else.

Going to go see Hitchhikers’ tonight…it’s getting better reviews than I originally read, including reviewers with whom I generally agree.

Guild Wars was a lot of fun last night. I think, in general, any RPG worth anything is fun for the first 10 levels or so. If it’s not fun then, it ain’t getting better. The excitement of seeing new abilities or spells or whatever for the first time is always good. Learning how to combine your abilities into tactics becomes fun. Learning the inter-relationship between the classes to create generic strategies is largely the most fun of any game. And of course, the new loot. Goes without saying.

Is World of Warcraft in trouble? Mmm…no, probably not. Right now, World of Warcraft is fun…but requires more thinking/overhead than Guild Wars seems to. And of course, there’s the politics and such in being a senior guild member in an ongoing gaming environment that adds stress that isn’t strictly necessary. I’m certainly not going to quit playing WoW any time soon…as far as I can tell. There’s still a lot I want to do in game…but right now, a little mindless gaming like Call of Duty and Guild Wars is gonna go a long way, I can tell.

Now, off to order some food for the weekend. I’m down to emergency rations in the mess…time to get some resupply from Fresh Direct.

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Since everybody’s doin’ it…

April 28, 2005

Googlism

From me (via Maria, via Landry, via Dan…)

glenn is still larger
glenn is cool
glenn is a whodunnit mystery game set in a haunted english
glenn is a hunkmobile
glenn is something to rave about
glenn is a pirates fan
glenn is not dead
glenn is missing a photo
glenn is commencement speaker
glenn is a pimp
glenn is engaged to be married
glenn is training salud
glenn is on gramophone’s cover
glenn is fitted in his space suit during preflight
glenn is fitted with space suit gloves during
glenn is politicsnj loser
glenn is again politicsnj loser
glenn is selected texas girls golf coach
glenn is still larger than life
glenn is abwa woman of the year
glenn is a joke
glenn is abwa woman of the year 2002 april 26
glenn is the first american to orbit the earth in the frienship 7 capsule
glenn is something to rave about the ability of researchers to become completely immersed in an exploration of their data or to
glenn is going into space
glenn is not from eu???
glenn is part of the seven
glenn is a life
glenn is very happy and wanted to share this special moment with all of you
glenn is personally overseeing most of the content here
glenn is developing new energy storage technologies such as advanced nickel
glenn is working to make aircraft engines quieter
glenn is an antidote to cynicism about public service
glenn is an adventurer
glenn is jesus’ brother
glenn is presently a student in the colt
glenn is on the left side of the road
glenn is a real estate agent that is known in the community of fergus for their dedicated client service
glenn is one of only 75 management thinkers recognized in the recent book
glenn is fitted in his space suit during preflight training astronaut john h
glenn is fitted with space suit gloves during preflight view of astronaut john h
glenn is fading
glenn is something to rave about april 12
glenn is making final preparations to be blasted back
glenn is very outgoing and enjoys a variety of activities
glenn is no ordinary rocking
glenn is no longer a part of the game plan
glenn is a darling
glenn is off today to be with george bush
glenn is on vacation for a new show
glenn is scheduled to launch aboard space shuttle discovery with six other astronauts for a nine
glenn is on the horizon
glenn is in for a good year
glenn is still alive right now and lives with his wife
glenn is mike sherman’s best and boldest move yet
glenn is a graduate of cal poly at san luis obispo and has over 20 years of sales and management experience
glenn is an example of heroism and service
glenn is also a blues harp player
glenn is facing domestic abuse charges
glenn is not the onlyone doing experiments
glenn is counting on coast guard c
glenn is currently a consulting instructor with the enterprise and storage curriculum of ibm learning services
glenn is a popular speaker at large systems conferences throughout the world
glenn is the state resource for sheep
glenn is the 117th most popular male first name in the united states; frequency is 0
glenn is designated the nasa lead center in aeropropulsion and the center of excellence in turbomachinery
glenn is a diplomate and board certified specialist of the american board of psychiatry and neurology
glenn is committed to make the new city work
glenn is of
glenn is experimenting with plants grown in the near
glenn is going to climb atop a thousand pounds of volatile fuel for one more trip to
glenn is the co
glenn is a recognized expert in the areas of training
glenn is responsible for developing and implementing raytheon australia’s strategy for growth and leadership in australia
glenn is an elected director of the canadian owners and pilots association
glenn is also a publicist and heads his own firm
glenn is also active in many civic and community organizations
glenn is asked about his the status of his landing bag switch for the first time by capcom gordon cooper
glenn is focused on filling her book as well
glenn is a punk of a loser of a cancer
glenn is happy with the activities of the new personnel committee
glenn is announced
glenn is in de zomer van 1997 ontstaan
glenn is backed by his own guitar playing
glenn is a hero
glenn is particularly skilled in areas of analysis and design
glenn is the driving force
glenn is a young knight in the service of lord viper of viper manor/termina
glenn is an extraordinary individual
glenn is leading by example
glenn is taking on the project of launching a gerbil into the unknown
glenn is selected texas girls golf coach of the year by mark wilson reporter
glenn is indeed the heir apparent to stevie wonder’s powerful tonalities
glenn is getting better and better with each attempt
glenn is the symbol of the great american hero; he is a striver in spirit
glenn is
glenn is the stabilizing veteran presence your young receiving corps needs
glenn is the gpsa’s spokesperson for marine and coastal affairs
glenn is professor and chairman of administration
glenn is currently involved with bmg recording artist gino vannelli on gino’s latest project
glenn is now establishing a new

Pure comedy.


150.

April 28, 2005

Mood: Not bad.
Music: None. I left my iPod at home. Kill me now….
Game: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Guild Wars
Book: America, Daily Show with John Stewart
Muffin: No muffin, went with an orange instead this morning.
Punchline: Nothing. Someone send me jokes.

This is my 150th blog entry. Pretty impressive. I’ve been blogging for just over a year, so it means I’m averaging an entry every other day or so. Pretty neat, really.

Anyway, aside from forgetting my iPod, it’s been an OK morning, if a bit quiet. The 2 train was delayed for about 30 minutes while I was on it. Kinda annoying, but I had a seat, and I got to finish Fever Pitch while I waited, so that was OK.

ijsmp won their first ladder match last night in resounding fashion. The other guys weren’t bad, exactly…but we were nothing short of ninjas. One of theirs turned a corner, two of ours were there. They tried to capture our radio, a grenade was waiting for them. They fired a shot, a hail of bullets responded. I think we just did a good job of keeping communication up, and maintaining mutual support. They got separated a lot, ended up attacking in fits and starts, and ended up getting killed one at a time, usually.

I played Guild Wars last night…it’s gorgeous. Nothing short of gorgeous. I strongly recommend it…it’s a nice blend of Diablo and MMORPG, with a little depth, some strategy, and gorgeous graphics. Open to the public today. Go pick it up.

I was gonna go all RPG geek on you all again…but for some reason, once I started writing, it got all skewed and wandery. I’m going to rethink my rant, and put it down on blog when I’ve got it all sorted in my head.


Just haven’t been very motivated.

April 27, 2005

Mood: Lethargic.
Music: Perfect Day, Lou Reed.
Game: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Jade Empires
Book: Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby
Muffin: Blackberry-Peach.
Punchline: “It’s in binary.”

I just haven’t felt very motivated to write. Sometimes I felt like I was, then I’d start, and realize that I didn’t have much to say. It happens sometimes.

I took Monday off as a mental health day. I just couldn’t motivate myself to go to work. It helped a lot.

I played some Jade Empires this weekend. It’s typical Bioware junk, which I could have guessed. Minmaxing abilities, choosing “styles” that in reality only have to do with how fast you press buttons, rather than any major game effect, heavyhanded quest hints, and so on. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very pretty, and thematically darker than I would have thought. It’s entertaining in medium bursts, and was relaxing to sit on the couch and game for a change.

It’s raining today, which only deepened my mood…I haven’t been sleeping well, and I couldn’t tell you why. I woke up with my head at the foot end of my bed, and my blankets and pillows strewn about me, tangling me up. Seeing as I went to bed alone, and woke up alone, I can only guess that I didn’t sleep well.

I got my new flat panel monitor last night…it’s fabulous. It was on sale for less than half price, and I jumped on it. World of Warcraft at 1600×1200 is nothing short of breathtaking…and the monitor is sharp enough to cut myself on. Amazing piece of technology.

Guild Wars finally shipped, and I have a copy…except that the servers aren’t available until today/tomorrow…so I’m installed and ready to go…and can’t play. Fabulous. Still looking forward to it.

Hitchhikers Guide is out on Friday…I am…apprehensive. Originally, I thought I was excited to see it…but the reviews have been nothing less than underwhelming. Tragedy to maul such fabulous work…but I suppose we’ll just see.

CoD Match with the fellas tonight. First match after a long time out period. I think we’re pretty excited about it overall…we know we’re good…but it’s always nice to see it in action.

I really was going to blog today about my theory of class balance in RPGs in general. I had it worked out in my head…and instead I ended up with generic housekeeping details. I suppose that’s how my life goes sometimes…every intention of doing something, but then something happens, and I’m off on a tangent again.


Short-sighted.

April 21, 2005

Mood: Just tired.
Music: How You Remind Me, Nickleback.
Game: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Wipeout Pure, Lumines
Book: High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
Muffin: Raspberry-Peach.
Punchline: Nothing.

If you don’t live in New York, you’re probably unaware of the huge battle going on in regards to the plans to put a new stadium on the West Side for the Jets.

The stadium would be going over the West Side Yards…effectively a several acre plot of land owned by the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) that hasn’t really been used for anything for the last 40 years, and probably more. In short, it was an enormous asset lying there gathering dust, dirt, homeless, and discarded train cars, etc.

Now, here’s where things get interesting. The NY Jets, along with the Mayor of NY (Mike Bloomberg…yes…that Bloomberg) put together a plan to get a stadium over the West Side Yards. I say “over” because the plan is to put what they call a “deck” over the entire property to place the stadium on. The land itself will be used for other things, such as transportation, parking, mechanical stuff, and so on.

Because no one was using the land, and haven’t been for umpteen years, the Jets came up with a land figure of about $100 million bucks, just for the rights to put the platform up and build on top of it.

Things were going great, the MTA was happy, the city was happy, the Jets were happy. The city placed the new stadium as a key component of the NYC2012 Olympic Bid. The Jets started planning, and sent out plans.

Then someone, some moron of a city councilman, Gifford Miller, decided to say “Hey…wait…the MTA wants to raise fares! Why are you selling this land for only $100 million bucks? It should be worth far more than that!” Whereupon comedy really hit the fan. The Dolans, owner of Cablevision, and curiously enough, Madison Square Garden, offered about $300 million dollars cash for the land.

Naturally, they did this a few short weeks before the IOC was coming to New York to visit to determine the suitability of the city as a venue for the Olympic Games.

The Dolans proceed to pick up on the straphanger’s plight. How could you raise fares when you didn’t even put this property up for open bid? We want to revitalize the city, and we think the best way to do that is to put housing on that land instead! The city doesn’t need a stadium. All this coming from the owners of Madison Square Garden, the city’s only sports venue in Manhattan…which happens to be less than 10 blocks away from the proposed venue of the new Stadium.

The Dolans had no plans. They just figured it was worth $300 million to completely lock up the last possible location for a sports venue in the city to ensure that they had the only place for sporting in Manhattan for at least a very very long time. They claimed to be fighting for the subway riders, and the people who needed housing…but it was all thinly veiled bullshit to protect their interests.

But all the nonsense had its effect. The MTA was pretty much forced to stop the sale of the land to the Jets, and reopened bidding on the Yards. Bloomberg was furious. One does not lightly make NYC’s mayor and self-made billionaire furious. Gifford Miller, the speaker, is talking about how it was a great victory for the subway riders…more money for the MTA in this deal will enable the MTA to prevent fare hikes.

Cablevision scrambles to put together a real plan for the West Side Yards…residential, shopping, parks…but it’s all thin…because no developers are willing to side with the Dolans. Why? Because pissing off Mike Bloomberg in his major focus of getting the Olympic Games in NYC in 2012 is a bad, bad idea. The Olympic Games will result in billions upon billions of dollars of construction…and if you go with the Dolans on this, Mayor Mike will make damned sure you don’t see a penny of it. No developers that crazy, you see.

Couple that with the fact that the land has already been zoned for a stadium (Looks like the governor wants that stadium built…) and all of a sudden, the Cablevision bid requires rezoning, other factors and whatever. Bloomberg laughs.

On the other hand, the Jets up their bid by a factor of four, put together a package that includes 6 name NY land developers, put the whole bid in silver cases, and have them hand delivered by past and current Jets players. Their bid requires minor rezoning to accomodate all the new developers, but it’s largely the same idea with more plans for the remaining land use.

When the dust cleared, the MTA board decided that the Jets had the best bid, even though it was 10 million less than Cablevision…because it was a solid plan.

During all this, the construction unions come out in force for the Stadium. The NFL gives the city the Superbowl…if the stadium is built. The IOC agrees that the Stadium is a big part of the bid. Local politicians are complaining about the stadium. How it’ll mean traffic nightmares, crowding, crime, fare hikes…blah blah blah.

The man on the street thinks that the stadium is a bad idea because they think the city will be overcrowded, that fares will increase, and because they think they’ll be paying for the stadium.

How short-sighted is all this?

The MTA deficit is over $300 million dollars a YEAR. Great. So you bought a year with the added money…that the Jets now agree to pick up. Then your fares go up anyway. And the MTA no longer has the influx of cash. The deficit isn’t going away whether they sell that land or not, or for how much.

The addition of a stadium, a trillion dollar construction project, will keep thousands of construction workers busy for years. The added renovations to the surrounding area will increase the subway infrastructure in the area, and connect a huge space to the Convention Center, only making it more attractive as a venue for large events.

The Superbowl, a given, will provide NYC with a shot of energy and more jobs. The Olympics, not a foregone conclusion, can only be helped by the addition of a brand new stadium.

The Dolans are now suing the MTA for choosing, in their eyes, a worse bid. The Dolans just want to lock sports out of Manhattan for the foreseeable future. The proof of that is that they own the Knicks and Rangers. What more proof do you need than that?

The Straphangers Coalition is siding with the Dolans, because they get to sue with the Dolans’ money…which is not insubstantial.

In the meantime, anyone with half a brain is staying out of it. Getting between Bloomberg and James Dolan is a great way to get pounded into paste.

The city council, which has no say in this matter, has been jumping up and down, trying to stomp all over each other, in hopes of being the Democratic Mayoral Candidate. (Side Note: In spite of being the last bastion of Urban Democracy in the US, NY’s last two mayors have been Conservative/Republicans. Just not in a social sense. It makes perfect sense. Think about it.) They have no chance of being Mayor, of course…mainly because they’re morons who think that preventing a fare hike by selling MTA assets this year is a long-term plan, whereas a stadium, which will generate millions in taxes, revenues, tourism, and jobs, is a bad idea.

When it comes to financial understanding, am I going to listen to some city councilman, who’s been in politics his whole life, or am I going to listen to a multi-billionaire who built his own business and turned it into a hugely profitable industry? Right.

And for people who think that the Olympic Games in NYC is a bad idea because of the crowding, and so on? Guess what? The Olympic Games are two weeks long. The construction is 7 years of jobs and construction before, and huge improvements in infrastructure and condition of facilities, police, fire, emergency, and so on that last forever. Look at what happened to Atlanta after the Games. They renovated huge areas of Atlanta, and now the city is growing in a huge way. New rapidrail system, infrastructural improvements, new parks, sporting arenas…and Atlanta is now up and coming.

New York is the right choice. If the morons would just get out of the way of its rejuvenation.


Best ESPN Writing This Year

April 20, 2005

ESPN’s MLB Power Rankings had this in it:

“7. New York Yankees (5-9). Yes, it’s true, the pitching has sputtered, the offense has been inconsistent and the Womack has reverted to Version 2003. But it’s also true that the players stood on the dugout steps and applauded the Red Sox, that Alex Rodriguez pulled a kid out of the path of an oncoming car and that Gary Sheffield took the high road when someone took a swipe at him. This club isn’t settling for hits, runs and wins. The Yankees are stockpiling karma.”

This, my friends, is high-class comedy.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog entry.


And I thought yesterday was a pain…

April 20, 2005

Mood: Really grumpy.
Music: The Battle of Who Should Care Less, Ben Folds Five.
Game: World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Wipeout Pure, Lumines
Book: High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
Muffin: Blueberry-Mango.
Punchline: Nothing.

OK…so I got in, walked over to the server room to change the backup tapes, and as I got closer, I started hearing an alarm beep. This is NEVER a good sound. Opened the door, did a quick check of servers, UPSs…coming from the Webserver.

Yup. Webserver lost a drive in the RAID array. Of course, given our architecture, we lost our webserver…but also lost our DNS Server, which resides on the same box. Lovely. No mail, no internet access. I’m jury-rigged right now as I write this, and as my machine attempts to rebuild the failed drive. If it works, it buys me time to replace the drives on my own schedule. If it fails, we have a more complicated problem.

Not the way I like to start my day. Pretty much guarantees that instead of all the things I had planned for the day, I’ll be working on this crap instead. Did I mention that I loved my job? No? There’s a reason for it. I don’t.

And my cousin Chris broke up with his girlfriend last night. Kinda sucks for him. I know he’s really serious about her…although they seemed to have been together and broken up several times at this point. I’m no expert on the whole relationship thing, as proven by my track record…but I know what he’s going through, so I definitely feel for him. Normally, this wouldn’t impact my life all that much…save for the fact that Chris is the guy who maintains my servers. I can only imagine his mindstate.

On the way to work, I was thinking about the nomination of the new Pope. Last night, I was pretty unhappy about it, and made a comment about it on Ventrilo while I was playing CoD with the fellas. One of ’em said “Why do you care? You’re not catholic.”

I responded “Because he’s anti-gay, anti-women’s rights, anti-birth control, anti-women in the church…and he now speaks for a quarter of the world’s population, including a nice big chunk of the US.” The more I thought about it, the more I realized that he doesn’t speak for those people…but he does define their morality “by the book” I guess…and many catholics in NY are kind of disappointed by the selection of this guy. They were hoping for a more liberal pope, one who would bring the church into the new century with more tolerance and less conservative views.

I wonder if the selection of this Pope is an indication of the world morality. I wonder if, in a world in crisis, a very real feeling of needing to get back to conservative views is needed for comfort. That people feel like they’re losing control of the world, and want to start tying things down.

The election in the US showed that the views espoused by the new Pope are certainly more prevalent than one might be led to believe. Truthfully, living in New York gives you the inability to understand intolerance in others. I honestly just don’t GET racism. Someone’s a different color so they’re inherently bad? Homosexuals love people of the same sex, so God doesn’t approve of them? I am utterly baffled by that viewpoint.

Often, I can put myself in an opposing view’s shoes…but not here. I just don’t understand it at all. Upbringing, environment…who knows. But I don’t get it at all….

Which is why I don’t understand why this new Pope was selected, with the Cardinals all knowing full well that this guy was a hardline conservative. There was no way that this guy was going to allow discussion on women priests, birth control, homosexuality…why choose him? Because the church believes that those are the values that need to come back to the world? Hard message…especially since you’ve got priests and senior church officials getting popped for abusing young boys…don’t see any mention of that by the Pope.

Curiously, the fact that the guy served with the German Army in the late 40s doesn’t really bother me that much. You’d think, with my vehement anti-Nazi beliefs, that that would make me furious. Frankly, I think the guy was 14 or so, had no choice, and was forced to work, or he’d have been killed. I DO differentiate between people forced to fight for Germany in WWII and Nazis.

Anyway, the guy is plenty old…and perhaps he won’t be around long enough to make any sort of serious decrees or statements. I would imagine that we’ll feel some of his impact here…but I’m not at all sure that the guy isn’t a result of world beliefs, a reflection, rather than someone to bring about change in that direction. A reinforcing force towards conservatism…sorta like our President.

The pendulum always swings back. Right now, it just feels like it’s still headed in the wrong direction.