Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Automotive Components Factory for Sale!

We workers at the Heber Springs, Ark., plant of Superior Industries International, Inc., Automotive Components Division, found out about two weeks ago that the company has put us up for sale. (Anybody out there with a spare $45 million...take note!) The factory has more than a $100 million in assets installed, but Superior is determined to dump it because it's losing money.

However, a French company that make the same components is taking a hard look at us. It looks like they're going to buy. (I've never worked for any non-American company, so this'll be new.) If all goes well, they'll lop off the management head and leave me (a technician) in place and programming my computers. If they do as they've done in France, we can expect jobs to start falling off ... through attrition ... as they automate the factory (the way Superior should have done in the first place.)

I'll keep posting as news arrives. Hopefully, I won't be posting during a stint of unemployment.


Monday, January 30, 2006

That Blog Won't Post!

I struggled to post my first Blog yesterday. So I finally got it posted today. See "ROM Leaves the Net After 15 Years."

Turns out my proxy server kept timing out my connection, so here I set at the server ... posting another.

I'm irritated at news media in general a the moment: A reporter and a camera man get injured and it's on every channel, and headlining every newspaper. But when Corporal Johnny Johnson gets killed serving his country -- not his TV Network -- he's a statistic buried on the bottom of page 4 or noted as "another roadside bombing in Iraq kills two service men and eight Iraqi police."

The men and women of the military are doing what WE have asked them to do and deserve as much, if not more, respect and attention than a couple of paid thrill seekers.


ROM Leaves the Net After 15 Years

After 15 years of providing free, fun-filled entertainment to the huddled-over-the-keyboard masses, the original ROM is slated for shutdown March 31 at midnight (server time).

I first flirted with ROM in 1994, working my thieving way up to a mediocre level 14 before losing my internet connection to those snivling bastards at a certain University in Arkansas who guarded their bandwidth like it was ... well ... 1994.

I reconnected with ROM in 1998 (when I had my own, real, legal internet connection) and have been in and out of the MUD scene ever since. Oh, sure, I moved to other, bigger (read: more complicated), MUDS, but ... it just wasn't the same. I like a MUD where the imms regulate and run the game, ensuring a balanced playing field, but generally just stay out of it. I'm not happy in a 'gonzo' universe in which the implementors make themselves part of the story line, flinging restores and special items to all and sundry.It's too much like cheating a $40 game you just bought: what's the point? If you're not going to play the game the way it's designed -- why bother.

But, I digress...

ROM is a special MUD. Many a MUD on the net today uses the original ROM code as a basis for their universe. More than that, when it came time for my son to try his hand a mudding, I took him to ROM. There, the imms kept the bad language out of the gossip and, generally, ensured a good clean game for a 12-year-old. Nowadays, when we get tired of Half-Life, Battle for Middle Earth, Quake 3 or Motocross Madness -- we go MUDDING! In fact, the boy has just passed me in level and is determined to max out before the MUD closes. I'm not so sure...I spent about five years as "Mordekai the Eternal 43" before actually moving forward late last year. (This was because I didn't actually do anything in the game during those times I infrequently logged in.)

Early on, however, I got half a dozen of my friends addicted during my early days. We worked nights and mudded in the mornings. I still remember my boss coming in looking dead, eyes sunken, quaffing coffee to stay awake through a 10-hour shift after spending ALL DAY trying to make level 32 ... not sleeping, not resting, just mudding the day away. He was such an addict, he'd go home after a terrible night like that, sleep an hour or two and get right back at it. I'm a little more moderate...most of the time. (Nothing to extreme...including moderation...)

There were times when I actually, really fell out of my chair laughing at some of the antics of the players in the game ... whether I was personally acquainted or not. In retrospect, it is probably the game from which I've got the most entertainment. And I've been gaming since the early '80s (I know, showing my age.)

For ROM, it's been a good run. A good time was had by (almost) all ... and if you didn't have a good time, it's your own fault for taking things too seriously or ... trying to cheat. Fifteen years of fun and frolic in the MUD is plenty for anybody. And the price? No charge .... Thanks, Zump, for makiing it possible.

--- Mordekai the Eternal 43 ---