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A commentary and journal site for the author. Topics will include Christian issues, gaming, comics, cartoons, news, and anything else I feel like talking about at the moment. Send comments to stranger894@yahoo.com


Saturday, June 08, 2002

Good Night World!

Hmm, things haven't gone quite as bad tonight at work as they usually do on Friday. 'Course I didn't get much blogging done; my current project of finishing Red Alert 2 again took precedence. I've finished the Allied Missions, and I'm up to my (sarcasm on) favorite (sarcasm off) Soviet mission -- #11, Red Revolution. Also known as "Defend yourself while Baldy Brain throws everything, INCLUDING the kitchen sink at you while, from a defensive screen you aren't going to defeat in this lifetime."

I'm debating whether or not I want to go through Yuri's Revenge again. Granted that I'm a latecomer to the Red Alert franchise, but I just wasn't that impressed with the expansion. In particular, exactly whose bright idea was it to market a product called "Yuri's Revenge" when you can't play Yuri in the single player campaign? The fact that the campaign assumes the "Allied" victory in RA2, I guess because they didn't want Yuri coming back from the "dead" (although it's really freaking obvious, at least to me, that Yuri is actually one of those brains in a jar we see in RA2), is somewhat ironic given that apparently Westwood felt the Soviets were just too powerful.

One of these days I'll have to try playing an RTS in multiplayer more extensively. Problem is most of my gaming buddies aren't as into strategy as I am, and what little multiplayer RTS experience I've had to date has soured me on playing against strangers. I guess that's why I had irrational hopes for Civ 3 and Sovereign; In TBS games you don't have nearly the penalty for bad reflexes you do in RTS.

Friday, June 07, 2002

Speaking of closure...

From FOXNews.com

Michael Skakel was convicted in the beating death of Martha Moxley this morning. The crime happened 27 years ago, when both were 15. Naturally, since the blood of American Royalty runs through his veins (God, I wish that term was the oxymoron it should be), this is hardly the end of the story.

The family seems to have a good attitude about it. The family of the victim, that is. The Skakel's are another matter. Check this quote from Tom Skakel, Michael's brother.

Truth is more important than closure... For [our family], this trial has felt like a witch hunt.

Um, Tom? Truth and closure should be the same thing. Your comparison to a witch hunt is quite amusing given certain simple facts.

1> Murder, unlike witchcraft, is a crime.
2> Murder, unlike witchcraft, can be proven with physical evidence.
3> Hunting for criminals is not only justified, but just happens to be one of the main reasons We The People tolerate as much government as we do.
4> Murderers are *supposed* to be hunted.

Good Morning World!

Well, time to start another day. That's one thing about being a night owl, your day doesn't begin until most people are fighting their way home. I've always like the late shift myself, but the time differential can be amusing.

I've also realized I failed to put an email address up so anybody that happened across this could tell me. Ah, the pains of learning as you go :-P

From FoxNews.com == Another bone found 25 yds from where Chandra Levy's skull found

Let me get this out of the way immediately: the Levy's have been in my prayers since I first started hearing about Chandra's disappearance. It hits a little too close to home for me. By God's grace, they found all of my aunt's remains very shortly after her murder, and were able to arrest the prime suspect shortly thereafter. He sits on death row now.

The first words out of my mouth when I heard that "a skeleton" (as initially reported) had been found were "God, I hope they can quickly identify who this is." Thankfully they could, so the Levy's were allowed a small amount of closure. At this point it would take a miracle for a conviction to come out of this, but that's been known to happen.

So what do I have to say beyond this? I hope and pray they find enough to determine the guilty party, so the Levy's can have even more closure. I know from my own experience that true closure over something like this isn't going to happen on this side of Heaven -- even in the case of the man convicted for my aunt's murder, I have no illusion that his death is going to be the end of it for her children -- but every bit helps.

Thursday, June 06, 2002

Time To Pick On EverQrack!

Read This First

I'm holding off discussing EverQrack in too much detail until I figure out how to subdivide posts into seperate sections. This recent change is a bit of an eyebrow-raiser, and warrants immediate comment. Ergo, away we go!

I have to admit that the A#1 reason I came back to EQ after a year's absence was that I sensed a sort of sea change in Verant's attitude. Maybe I have the departure Brad McQuaid and John Smedly to thank for that, although that brings up the question of whether their departure made Verant desperate or they were holding the product back, and I don't really want to touch that one yet. The arrival if-not-neccesarily success of Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC) certainly figures into Verant's attitude as well -- entirely too many of the adopted changes resemble DAoC for that to be a coincidence.

This change, coming on the heels of so many great and WAY overdue changes (I find the new "newbie" quests in a game where the average player level is certainly in the high 30's or 40's especially ironic), could either bode well or VERY ill. Ghanimaa (the submitter of the first response) certainly touched on a lot of the ill possibilities -- but missed, possibly for politeness reasons but more likely because Verant wouldn't have replied to her had she mentioned it, the most terrifying. Verant has a history of not testing this sort of thing well -- I'm half expecting to find 20th level mobs casting Ice Comet, frankly.

But one shall wait and see.

The Blog That Couldn't Wait Another Day

With regards to my comment about wishing the writer of Green Lantern would get off his "gays are normal" soapbox, I realize I had better follow that up quickly. Yes, I'm a Christian. Yes, that means I believe homosexuality to be a sin.

Having said that, Momma and Poppa Emerged raised Junior well enough that I'm a firm member of "Love the sinner, hate the sin" camp. So I believe that gays are people too -- people that are no more and no less on their way to Hell (and therefore in need of grace & repentance) than any other sinner. If anything, my childhood experience as a boy who played with dolls instead of baseballs and preferred cooking to kickball means I empathize with the stigma a little better than most. After all, most of my peers were convinced I was homosexual (or at least teased me about mercilessly, which are seperate concepts) until 8th grade or so.

And yes, I mean literal dress-up dolls, not just Star Wars figures (although I played with those too).

The size of the soapbox and the preachiness of his attitude are what rubs me the wrong way. If I was that obvious and overbearing, people would accuse me of engaging in propoganda. Heck, I'D accuse me of falling into propoganda :-)

EDIT: Hey, only 6 edits this time! I must be getting the hang of it -- or I'm not done and just don't realize it yet.

You Say ID, I Hear PC
or, Taking Intelligent Design for a Spin

Apparently mocking the "Intelligent Design" crowd is the latest fad amongst bloggers. It might surprise you to learn that I, a firm Christian and Creationist-To-The-Core believer, also find them mockable.

For those of you just joining us: "Intelligent Design" is a term applied to the belief that the world shows clear signs of being designed by an intelligence. The TV show "Touched By A Hallmark"... wait, I mean "Touched By An Angel" mentioned this using the traditional story about finding a watch in the woods. Obviously the watch didn't grow out of the ground, so it must have been made. This ignores other obviously-not-plant objects in the forest, which is one reason I don't use that story.

Notice I didn't say ID was a *belief* -- because it isn't. Creationism is a belief. Intelligent Design is an attempt to describe creationism without setting off a secularist's alarm bells. Put a little less politely, "Intelligent Design" is to creationism what "Developmentally Challenged" is to "Learning Disabled" -- and as learning disabled was originally to retarded, and as retarded was to slow. Another example would be to say it's the same relationship between "Prodigy" and "Freak": changing the name doesn't change the fact that your star attraction is a female with facial hair.

I find it diappointing that the people espousing this term are ashamed of the Gospel, because that's ALL this Intelligent Design nonsense amounts to. Are these people REALLY dumb enough to think the scientific establishment can't spot this one a mile away? Do they really think changing the name somehow makes it more legitimate?

Which isn't to say the pro-Evolutionary crowd is all that bright, mind. You really can't appreciate how laughable the Theory of Evolution (specifically, the concept of speciation via natural selection) is unless you've taken a college zoology course -- which I have. Even calling it a theory is a stretch, but that's a blog for another day. Simple truth always has been that most people who espouse evolution do so because espousing creationism means they'd have to change their lifestyle.

I dare say, however, that it doesn't take much to be able to see through something as transparent as a name change. Even Superman has to don a pair of glasses and change suits, you know.

UPDATE: Nice to see some things never change; this post is currently on its 9th edit :-)


From Sci Fi Wire -- The News Service of the Sci Fi Channel

The Wonder Twins? Somebody is actually optioning the movie rights to the... the...

Mommy? Make the hurting stop...

And now... for something halfway serious!

Sovereign Watch: Boards are still locked up tighter than a politician's conscience. No new pictures, let alone new information. One hopes that someday, something vaguly resembling what this game was originally advertised as will be published.

FREd Watch: FREd, for the uninitiated, is another name for the HERO System Fifth Edition handbook that supposedly became available last month. I've had 2 copies on order from my comic store (via Diamond) well before that. Neither copy has arrived yet.

Comics On Probation, Part One: Green Arrow (DC) had better not kill off Connor. Every indication thus far goes the opposite way. Even if he lives, though, my continued purchase of this one is in jeopardy after the "opportunistic" Black Canary treatment last issue.

Comics On Probation, Part Two: JLA (DC) has officially been placed on a 4 issue notice. That is, if this book doesn't come back to my standards within four issues (that is, issue 70), I remove it from my "file" (the books the comic store automatically keeps for me) and decide how far back I'm keeping old issues. Right now I doubt I'd keep anything after issue 60. 65 (AKA the "Dark Nut" issue) was a watershed moment for me -- the current creative team will have to make up a debt of trust after this pathetic treatment of Plastic Man (who was FINALLY starting to return to an appropriate level of competence).

Comics On Probation, Part Three: Avengers (Marvel) still manages to hold its place as my lone Marvel title "on file" -- albeit by an ever-thinning thread. A new creative team is coming, so I'll give them a fair chance to keep me before the arguably inevitable happens.

Comic OFF Probation: Green Lantern (DC) went where I thought the writer was going -- and moments like this are why I've wanted a blog for a while. See, I've been saying since the beginning of this Ion nonsense that all the writer was doing was a little Deux Ex Machina to "make everything right with his world". So we have the Guardians and Oa again (I don't want to think too much about half of them being female now, though), Jade has her original powers, and Kyle has met his father. Now if the writer would just get off his "gays are normal too" soapbox... but that's a rant for another day.

Favorite Issue for May: Ruse #7 (Crossgen) takes the award easily. Heck, it took the award almost on the strength of the cover alone, and I'm rarely the type to notice the artwork. One of the things I've loved about this title is the way the artwork is actually part of the story; the one-armed begger having his watch chain on the wrong side, the pink eyes of the villagers leading us to wonder if they're albinos, the lack of outdoor lamps during the walk through town, the meals being cooked but not served in the inn... Far too many comics use artwork to draw away from the story -- or, a worse offense to my tastes, use the story merely as a method of connecting the artwork. Ruse gets it right because it gets it balanced. Granted Ruse has the same tendency Sojourn does of arranging "convenient" scenes involving its female protagonist, but this is never as overblown as other (*cough* Green Arrow *cough*) books on the shelf.

Listening List: I STILL haven't gotten a chance to listen to all the CD's I bought at the Gaither Homecoming I went to in Dayton last month. Mom and I both had a great time, although it was something of a learning experience. Next time the tickets get ordered WELL in advance... I bought nearly 2 months in advance and was still so far back (and therefore far up) that I wondered if I should have brought an air tank. Insert crack related to my naivette about concerts here. Insert crack about learning from one's mistakes here.

That was harder than expected

...But then, what in life is as easy as one thinks it will be? Looks like I'll probably have to switch main templates though, because I don't really have enough room for links.

FOXNews.com Story on Winona Ryder's Trial

Okay, here goes a preliminary attempt to comment on a news article. One wonders how badly I'll mess up ;)

This story has always struck me as funny. On the one hand, it's a pretty typical "star who lacks basic morality" anecdote. How pathetic is it that a woman who makes as much as one presumes she has made on films is shoplifting?

But on the always-cynical other tentacle, I smell P.T. Barnum's fingerprints all over this. This has all the earmarks of a publicity stunt, not unlike the incident involving Madame Clofullia's "authenticity" as a bearded lady. That incident had a man named William Charr storming into Barnum's American Museum claiming he could prove Madame Clofullia was an imposter. It was utter nonsense, of course, and coincidentally increased the number of people coming to see her and her young child Albert (who was also quite hairy).

UPDATE: Say, not bad! The link didn't work out the way I wanted on the first try, but that proved easy enough to correct. For my next trick I figure out how to put links on the sidebar!

I'm getting better!

Okay, I finally got it to post without telling the whole world my secret identity. I for one find the Shroud of Mystery somewhat helpful -- I get too much junk mail (of both the e- and s- varieties) as it is.

My First Post

Hello and welcome! I've been toying with the idea of starting a blog for a while now, and finally (6/6/2) got around to giving it a whirl. Everything you see should be considered VERY "still in process" for now. While I'm not new to computers and I read the web quite a bit, actually using the web will literally be a learning by doing process for me. In fact, what you're reading right now is my third attempt to get posts to look the way I want :)

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