• Words of Wisdom

    Have you seen Patch Adams? It’s wonderful. It shows clearly that the power of laughter can heal a sick child, better even than half a bottle of aspirin. What would happen if a sick little girl visited The Mushroom in a last ditch effort to find some healing comedy? She’d die before she found any, wouldn’t she? Do you want that on your conscience? I think if you look deep into your stylebook, you’ll find that you don’t.”
    Chet/Erik, Murray and Sons  Read more: War Against the Mushroom

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I’m a big fan of High Stakes Poker… well, of the earlier seasons of High Stakes Poker. It was a great entry into the then-expanding balloon of poker TV shows generally dominated by tournament final tables, where the differences in stack sizes are measured in terms of exponents, as are the increases in blinds, so all you see is 10 PRINT "All In"; 20 GOTO 10. HSP was (except for Live at the Bike, web-only) the first televised cash game between actual skilled players applying their formidable experience and analytic skills to the laudable goal of taking money away from each other.

Most people who follow poker on TV point to the early days of the World Poker Tour and its use of the lipstick hole card camera as the pivotal innovation that made poker watchable. If you want to know what it was like before, just go to a cardroom and railbird for a while and see how long you can take it. True, knowledge of the hole cards is necessary to make poker intelligible to a viewing audience, but I don’t think that’s what makes it interesting in a TV show.

What makes it interesting is Gabe Kaplan.

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I’ve been getting some fun comments from someone who is so smart he doesn’t even need to read an article before criticizing. That person is the redoubtable Richard Kulisz, who has been such a good contributor that I’m glad to make a full post just about him. He’s famous too, and you can read more about his exciting career here, here, here, and here (edit: also here), just for a start. Hell, he even has his own appreciation society.

Now to be fair, his comments started off fairly rational-sounding, if not always on target. It was kind of interesting watching the mania grow and grow as the comments got less and less pertinent to the source material. The old me would have helped him along, slowly whipping him up into a frenzy through careful insertions of responses designed to trigger his hindbrain through subliminal manipulation, like "no, u." The new me? It’s not really that I’m any nicer a person. I just don’t care.

Here are some exciting excerpts from his collection of (as of this writing) 29 comments, maybe with more to come assuming he doesn’t notice that I’ve dropped him into the moderation queue and removed all his old diatribes.

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"Honey, I have an important announcement to make," I said, as I am wont to do when I am home with nobody else in earshot but Wen.

"Yes?" she tiredly asked.

"I am giving up on this whole F.A.T.A.L. exercise," I told her.


I really wanted to try and finish, but honestly this could be the first RPG "book" that has ever made me actively angry just by reading it.  And yes I know all about HYBRID.

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Continuing my exercise in self-loathing, I now continue generating my "character."  This starts with reading about a page’s worth of description regarding the inferiority of women in just about every imaginable way. Now, I won’t really debate the history of feminine perceptions and roles historically, but our hero Byron Hall throughout his so-called "book" ignores every perk and protection gained as the single most valuable factor in the population (namely, having a population at all) and goes right to the slavery, submission, rape^100, and fantasy elements of lonely disturbed little boys everywhere that would get them laughed right out of the Eulenspiegel Society, should they ever leave their basements.  But I digress.  On with our completely logical character generation system, which is mathematically superior and historically accurate.  THE DICE NEVER LIE.

Age: -2.6 years ((4d100=112)/5 – 25)

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Warning:  The game discussed in this post is NSFW, and probably NSFAnywhere.  It tops the charts of "Worst RPG Ever," even beating out the reprehensible "Racial Holy War," which is an unfinished and unplayable game about inbred white supremacists gunning down ethnic stereotypes (if there were any actual combat rules).  If you don’t care about tabletop RPGs, this will probably not interest you.  If you are actively anti-RPG, I recommend you simply go watch Mazes and Monsters again.  I cannot possibly review it… well, maybe I will later, but it’s already been done in epic style, with a similarly epic response from the game "designers."

Instead, I’m going to try and create a character for it.

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Geeks ahoy.

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The homemade system (out of free parts) finally blew its top, and I can’t say that I blame it.  Puny single core P4 proc is puny.  As cheap and poor as I am, even I have to throw in the towel when I can no longer get into the BIOS.  Determined to not repeat the mistake that I made in getting second-and-thirdhand parts into a 24/7 active server and hoping that it would not blow up, instead I made an even bigger mistake and bought an off the shelf system.

Even worse, it’s by Compaq.

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I really don’t want to post anythign else about Evony (nee Civony), but not only is it kind of like a train derailment, it’s a slow motion train derailment that goes on for weeks.  Aside from its gold farming roots, bizarrely overpriced revenue model, blatant click fraud, player contests that are just so sad that I really want to make a parody page but think it couldn’t be any funnier than what’s actually there, stolen everything, unbelievable amount of comment spam, AdSense filter bypassing, player-based promotion slash datamining, and just flat out boring gameplay, Evony has perhaps perfectly distilled web-based advertising down to its most perfect form.  Please read Coding Horror’s progression of Evony ads to see this amazing refinement over time.  For those of you who miss the point of its final form, I will attempt to point out its perfection below.

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Finally rebuilt my MythTV box last week, retiring the original proof-of-concept underpowered system that had been, uh, proof-of-concepting for about 1.5 years.  Not that this is interesting to anyone, but I figured I should write some of the details down so that I don’t have to relearn everything all over again when I rebuild again in 2 years.

Also, I’m writing this post while not actually at my MythTV box so these details may all be wrong anyway.

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Well, I’ve had about enough.  I’m killing off the ad block since:

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