Friday, May 29, 2009

Life is Good

When I was driving into work this morning, I followed an SUV with the spare tire on the outside. The tire cover said "Life is Good." I like the Life is Good products. I have a few of the shirts and one of my dogs loves the Frisbee they make. She carries it around the house with her wherever she goes, just in case someone somewhere wants to throw it to her.

Life is good. I'm healthy, happy and I make enough money to keep myself that way.

GM will declare bankruptcy on Monday. When Chrysler declared they locked the doors and didn't let any employees through the doors for a week. GM's bankruptcy won't be a "quicky" so predictions are we will be able to come to work on Monday. There is a contingency plan, everyone is supposed to meet at the Cracker Barrel.

So now the government gets do decide if the plant stays open or gets liquidated. Supposedly the closings will be based on profitability, but we have just barely begun producing this SUV, how does one know if it is profitable? I think it's like being in love. If you don't know, you aren't.

"May you live in interesting times." --Chinese curse.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Craps Refresher Refresher

Almost exactly 4 years ago, I wrote a how to play craps post.

It doesn't seem so long ago, but it's not a bad little instructional on how to play craps, and why to not play craps.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm Not a "Completer"

From an administration perspective, one of the most difficult things about running World of Warcraft is managing the economy.

In WoW the economy is a very delicate balance. The currency of the game is earned very slowly but by millions of players at a time. In order to balance the economy the game has built in money sinks. The most famous of these is the cost of flight. (There was a widely reported indecent of a woman trading sex for the cost of her flying mount.) But there have always been various money sinks in the game to try to keep inflation under control.

But the latest expansion introduced the most brilliant money sink. Historically money sinks have been a reward system. You sink x amount of money, you get y as a reward. Five thousand gold gets you flight training. But what the developers needed was a way to take money out of the game without any rewards given. And they came up with the "Achievement" system.

With achievements, the game tracks the tasks you have to complete, and when you complete the task it gives you "achievement points." And that's it. The achievement points aren't worth anything. You can't spend them on items or rewards of any kind. It's just a tracking system. You basically get a "check mark" saying you have completed that task.

And the players have gone crazy for the achievements. They are spending hours upon days upon weeks completing these tasks for literally zero rewards. They spend all their resources until they aren't even able to participate in actual gameplay because they've exhausted themselves chasing achievements.

It appeals to the obsessive compulsive nature of all people. People are very naturally "box-checkers" and love to complete things. They have to complete their collection of everything. Without it they feel incomplete. They feel a nearly physical need to finish things. It's amazing to watch.

I'm just not a box-checker. I don't feel the need to finish something "just to finish" it. If there is a reward for completing a task I feel a sense of accomplishment, but if I complete something just to have done it I usually feel disappointed.

When doing achievements in WoW I begin to feel used and manipulated. I rarely try to complete them intentionally, and when I do I feel almost ashamed.

I still enjoy the game, and I have actually built a respectable player up. I'm the 32nd ranked resto druid on the realm I play, which is really not bad. I can keep up with the best players in the game, so I really feel like I can contribute to a group when I play. I take a great deal of pleasure in being an instrumental part of a raid, helping the group achieve a particularly difficult goal (as long as that goal includes a reward that improves the group.)

I guess I'm not very OCD, and if you have a problem with OCD I wouldn't recommend World of Warcraft. But if you just really get off on checking boxes, it may be the game for you.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Just when you tell people that living in Tennessee isn't that strange and that it's not really the "deep south" and there aren't THAT many rednecks, the top story in the biggest newspaper in the state has this headline:

Cockfight Raid Results in Arrests of Hundreds

That's right, hundreds. This isn't a dozen rednecks getting together and doing something stupid. This was an organized event where people gathered to sell drugs and abuse animals. Whee.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

More Hope

Hopeful story from the NY Times that the UIGEA may be repealed, unless the christian right has anything to say about it...

The biggest potential change would be in the United States, where, perhaps within days, Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, is expected to introduce legislation aimed at overturning the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act.
As always, useless christian conservatives have to get in the way:
Michele Combs, a spokeswoman for the Christian Coalition, said the group was gearing up for a “massive campaign” of letter-writing and lobbying to try to prevent any loosening of the law.

“We’re not saying people shouldn’t go to Las Vegas,” she said. “But when it’s in your home, it’s too easy. It breaks up families.”
Yeah, stupid people in stupid families. Why do you have to restrict my rights because stupid people will do stupid things? Don't you realize that they are just going to find some other stupid way to fuck up their families? Get a fucking life, stop trying to run mine.