Saturday, July 24, 2010

Gaming My Time Away

I'm a computer gamer and have been since the early '80s.  It's what I do...or some of what I do.  My good friend Brad just recently posted on Facebook that he's dropping all his FB app games because they're taking too much of his time.  I applaud Brad's action because it's what he needed to do.  It can happen. I know how easy it is to lose focus on what is NEEDED and go mouse around a virtual city or farm for hours.

However, sometimes, that is exactly what a mind needs--an exercise program for mental dexterity and acuity that also takes the focus, temporarily, off all our daily duties, responsibilities and issues.  Some people exercise, some people read, some study the scriptures, others watch TV--I play games. I also exercise and read, but my preference is to sit and play.  Being mildly OCD on most everything I get involved in, I've had to learn the hard way that work and responsibility must come first--games and play second.  It's really no different than fishing or ping pong.

My son, raised as a gamer, recently purchased a t-shirt with a picture of a game console controller and lettering that says, "Contrary to popular belief, this doesn't make me a killer."  That's right on target.  The news media and, lord help them, religious organizations, have come down hard on gaming as a stepping stone to real violence.  This idea was especially hit hard after the Columbine shootings. That was a tragedy, no one argues that.  But news media and police and practically everyone else was up in arms about the games these kids were playing; mainly  DOOM. Why would that matter any more than what television shows they watched?  What movies they'd gone and seen?  What books they'd read?  For that matter, what clothes they chose to wear.  DOOM is one of the most popular PC games EVER (meaning in the past 30 years) and has likely been played by more than a billion (that's a one with NINE zeros behind it) people on this planet.  (PC-MAG)  Even the gaming industry itself is missing the boat on their own demographic, still assuming that the typical gamer is a stay-at-home geek boy with no prospects of ever seeing a live girl naked and they design their (mostly female) characters with those guys in mind.  If they would bother to look...  OOPS -- I digress -- that is a rant for another time. has actually done a pretty good job with this one.  GAMERS MANIFESTO

Just doing a quick add on my Steam account, I have put in more than 400 hours on games just this year.  Does that seem excessive?  That's 10 weeks of actual work.  Now, in my defense, I have worked 50 hours each week, driving at least an hour, making it 11 hours a day, 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. five days a week.  I have completed 16 hours of college in five courses.  I have completed the Fly Fishing book and made significant progress on the Clouds of Heaven book and made a good start on my third book.  I still teach Jujitsu every Monday and some Thursdays.  I've maintained upkeep on my aunt's place of which I am custodian.  I keep the yard mowed.

My fishing license is expired.

My ping pong table is put away.

I play computer games.

I don't sleep much.

Friday, July 09, 2010

How the Internet Makes Life Better

There are definite indicators that having the internet has taken a lot of the boredom out of being on the planet with nothing else to do.

For instance, this short blurb below from News of the Weird:

In May, Britain's Norfolk District Council banned the traditional barroom game of "dwile flonking" just as the inaugural "world championships" were to take place at the Dog Inn pub in Ludham, Great Yarmouth. The game, which some believe has been played since "medieval times," calls on players to fling a beer-soaked rag from the end of a small stick toward the face of an opponent, and in the event the tosser misses the target two straight times, he must quickly down a half-pint of ale. The council called the game a "health and safety" problem. [Daily Telegraph, 5-29-10] 

Imagine, if you will, being so bored and looking for something to do that you become involved in inventing, or even just participating in. "dwile flonking" as a way to relieve the monotony.

I can see the need for drinking games.  Seriously, it's more fun with other people.  Where's the fun in quaffing oneself into a blackout if there aren't other people around to enjoy it? It's just more fun with friends.  

Can you imagine how many of us would be consumed by games such as "dwile flonking" or "Bocce" if we didn't have the internet to relieve to interminable pointlessness of our miserable lives?

Sunday, June 13, 2010

First Book Out

The book I've been working on for three years is finally done!  We'll be selling copies in the next week or so.  I'm co-author and editor!  I think it turned out great!

Working on books 2 and 3 ... while I attend school full time and work full time. Dang, I'm just busy!

Felonious Gardening

I just love News of the Weird:

Veteran Dallas attorney Sandra McFeeley, 67, was arrested in April after refusing to stop pruning the excess vegetation and dead tree limbs at her neighborhood's Wynnewood Parkway Park, which she had been doing regularly for three years, thus violating a municipal trespass ordinance. McFeeley remained upbeat. "I met some neat people (at the police station). I'd never been in a perp walk before. It was cool." Said a supporter, "It's hard enough to keep that neighborhood nice without having the police haul people off for felonious gardening." [Dallas Morning News, 4-20-10] 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Westboro Baptist Assholes

     I believe everyone is entitled to their opinion -- as is the Westboro Baptist Church.  My opinion is the Westboro Baptist Church is a group of giant assholes who'd be doing a much better service helping the widows and orphans of fallen soldiers -- as the bible says.

     Instead these idiots protest at the funerals of men or women who've given their lives so dumbasses like the members of the Westboro Baptist Church can stand around with signs saying such tripe as, "Thank God for Dead Soldiers."

    They make me sick.

     The WBC street protest ministry started in 1991.  They've staged more than 43,000 "peacful" demonstrations, to date, (which I believe shows admirable restraint on the part of citizens subjected to such) opposing the fag lifestyle and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  They blame "America" for bombing and burning their church in 2008.  "America bombed WBC and burned WBC on 8-2-2008. (From the WBC website)"  Yet they also believe in what they call Absolute Predestination:  "POSITION 6. -Whatever comes to pass, comes to pass by virtue of this absolute omnipotent will of God, which is the primary and supreme cause of all things."

    This is the kind of irony I really enjoy.  Listen WBC assholes: According to your own belief system, you were supposed to get what you got.  And my opinion is, again, you deserved no less.

    By this same set of "Positions" taken up by the WBC, you idiots are protesting situations ordained by God to come to pass.  Why would you protest what you say you believe is supposed to happen?  What a bunch of morons!

Monday, May 10, 2010

EdgeFest VI

EdgeFest VI
By John P. Smith
            In the end, metal super giant Godsmack seized the day and brought down the house.
EdgeFest VI, held at the state fair grounds in Little Rock and sponsored by Little Rock radio station 100.3 The Edge, featured a diverse lineup of 13 hard rocking bands.  It was co-headlined by veteran metal artists Rob Zombie and Godsmack.
            Rob Zombie appeared to have won the day at the end of his hour-long multimedia, audio-visual, mechanized assault.  Zombie rocked the blow-out crowd of wall-to-wall metal heads nearly to their knees with hard, head-banging classics such as “Living Dead Girl” and “Dragula.”  His bass-laced metal core establishes a bone-shaking foundation for some awesome in-your-face guitar work by John 5.  Just using this proven music formula would be enough for most metal fans.
Zombie, however, heaps on top of his musical nucleus five huge screens of seemingly incoherent visual distraction along with a parade of mechanical what-the-hells, at least one of which appears to be fashioned after a Martian as described in the early 20th Century “Red Planet” books by Edgar Rice Burroughs.
            Rob Zombie’s show was worth the price of admission by itself.  So when Godsmack, hit their first note, the stage was set for a serious metal let down.   Sully Erna, multi-talented front for the four-man band from Massachusetts, would have none of it.   With nothing more than a background banner emblazoned with their sun symbol and name, Godsmack delivered a set fans will remember for decades.
            After dropping a couple of tracks from their new CD on the crowd to “wake everybody up” the band threw down some classic Godsmack, complete with bone-jarring drums and ear-throbbing bass lines topped by Erna vocals and Tony Rombola guitar licks.  As one sweat-dripping, arm-pumping, multi-pierced, tattooed patron was wont to say, “Just hearing VooDoo live is worth the price of admission.”  No argument here.
            After about an hour of basic rock metal showmanship at its finest, while the band took a short intermission, fans began to trickle out to leave.  Those poor bastards who left early! They missed the coolest part of the act.  When the band took the stage again, it was with Sully Erna on a drum set opposite band drummer Shannon Larkin for a drum duel-duet as spectacular as has ever been performed before a live audience.  Amid this thundering, rumbling, rhythmic overload, one fan noted that, “Sully is just an all-around bad ass.”  Again, no argument here.
            Godsmack ended their stage time with the crowd-pleasing classic “I Stand Alone” that had everyone singing along.   What the crowed ended up with was straight-up rock show versus blinding light show.  Rock show wins every time.
            Prior to the major headlining acts, 11 other bands performed.  Papa Roach and Five Finger Death Punch played respectable sets.  And Seether…played, too–right over a band on the small stage called Shaman’s Harvest.  Rob Zombie played on the big stage over the top of Lacuna Coil on the small stage.  This sucked and whoever was working the timing on this screwed up very badly.
            Band’s missed due to being stuck in traffic:
            Bullet For My Valentine
            Drowning Pool
            Hell Yeah
            All the small stage bands before Shaman’s Harvest.
            (Personal Note:  I took my daughter to this concert for her 16th Birthday.  Her single purpose in going was to see Bullet For My Valentine.  All those other bands were just a bonus.   Bullet played just before we got there because we were in traffic for more than two hours.  I’m still not sure who screwed this up the most.  Basing my timing on previous EdgeFest attendance, I left home in time to get to the fair grounds by 2 p.m., anticipating some minor traffic flow problems.  I, along with concert promoters, state and local police, did not anticipate the huge crowd that converged on the music festival and snarled up traffic as far away as the river bridge (about five miles.)  It also appears that the shows started early or played shorter sets than expected.  I suspect I will not hear the end of this until she gets to see Bullet For My Valentine in concert.  Maybe never…)

(Editor’s Note:  John P. Smith is a freelance writer currently living in Bee Branch, Ark.)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jet -- In Concert

Monday night, March 15, we went to The Village to see the rock band Jet live.  It was a great show.  The Village is a small venue, but Jet came out and did their show like it was Madison Square Garden. 

The opening act was a local Little Rock band called Kingsdown.  They laid the groundwork for a fantastic show with some good, heavy original tunes and were then followed by the touring opener The Crash Kings. 

The Crash Kings were different if nothing else. A three-man band with no lead guitarist ... only a bass guitar, drums and a keyboardist who handled all the other work.  It was, at first, an odd arrangement and I didn't see how it would work.  Turns out they sound like a fusion of The White Stripes and Chicago.  Very interesting, and very good to listen to.

Then came Jet.  They rocked the place, and good.  This band didn't worry that there were only maybe 500-600 people at the show.  Their show was as solid a rock concert as I've seen since Sammy Hagar went back out on his own.  Good music, well presented and sounding almost studio quality.  Just a good show.

And the band did one thing that totally tripped my head.  When they first arrived on stage, they all had 70's and 80's metal band hair.  As that's pretty much what I'm used to seeing at a rock show, I didn't think much of it other than they didn't look like their album cover.  The did the usual stop the show and run off the stage, getting ready for the encore.  And when they came back for the final songs -- the didn't have their hair any more!  They looked like the album cover again!  So they were wearing these hair band wigs to make fun of, or as a salute to, (I'm not sure which) 70's and 80's metal bands. 

It was interesting if nothing else.

Jet and the Crash Kings put on a great show.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

More Examples of the Fall of Our Civilization

Below is a good example of several Fall of Civilization How To's:

How to lower the bar and make it sound like a good thing:
How to discriminate against above average people and make it sound like it's their fault:
How to show the minorities you're looking out for their interests when what you're really doing is removing opportunities for everybody:
How to throw more money at a problem money won't solve:
How to show the lazy underachievers that it's ok to be a burden on society:

In January, the Berkeley (Calif.) School Board began consideration of a near-unanimous recommendation of Berkeley High School's Governance Council to eliminate science labs from its curriculum, reasoning that the classes mostly serve white students, leaving less money for programs for underperforming minorities. Berkeley High's white students do far better academically than the state average; black and Latino students do worse than average. Five science teachers would be dismissed. [East Bay Express, 12-23-09]  

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Chainsaw massacre

Last time I went out to cut fire wood (yes I heat my house with wood) both my chainsaws broke... Since that time, I've had some friends cut me some wood so I've had plenty but now I have to take action.  I have to get them fixed.  I keep two running saws in case one breaks.  Never have both gone south on the same day.  It was a new and exciting happening and all the peasants rejoiced.

I think the old Poulan is already back in working order thanks to Dad, who knows something about chainsaws.  But the Echo...the most expensive saw I ever still just locked up.  I'm afraid it's going to get expensive.  I hate expensive...

Update at a later time...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ready for Daytona!

Last August I wrote an article about how I was tired of NASCAR and was ready for football.  I take it back!  Daytona is in the offing and I'm excited!  Let's go racing!

   -- Mordekai --

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Pre-Game Prediction

This is posted before the game:  Check the times if you don't believe it:

Superbowl Prediction:  Saints 34, Colts 31

New Orleans will have to work hard to take it from the Colts.  But they're also hungry and ready.  Indianapolis will be complacent and confident.  It will cost them.  They will be brutalized in the first half and then play real football the second half -- but it won't be enough to catch the Saints.

There. I said it.

Let's see what happens.

   Mordekai, 3:30 p.m. CST, 7 Feb 2010

Update 20 FEB 2010: I missed on the score.  But the Saint's won!  Go Superbowl Saints!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

A cold start

  I started writing a note about how cold it is:  But you don't care.  You're either in a place where it's way colder so you have no sympathy at all. Or you're in a place where it's warmer and will only say it's our own damn fault for living where it can get that cold.  And if you live here: You already know how cold it is.  So why bother?

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Our Government in Action

We're one full day into 2010 and we're still living with impending economic collapse, near revolt over health care reform and unemployment nearly as high as it's ever been in this country. You'd think our Congress could find something better to do than censure a representative for speaking his mind (Joe Wilson) but not for being drunk at the podium (Max Baucus.)  I think this clearly identifies one of the major malfunctions with our government.  It's more important to appear to be doing something -- regardless of how inane it might be -- than to actually take action.  They're all so afraid of actually committing to something. You and I can't do that.  We have to, you know, pick a lane and get in it. Congress is like a bunch of rubberneckers at the scene of a particularly gruesome auto accident.  They're going to slow to a crawl as they drive by, make noises about how awful it is and how sad and they'll talk about what they are going to do to make it all better. The reality is: They can't do a damn thing to make it all better because they're a large part of the problem.  But they'll look REALLY busy.  They're not actually going to do anything constructive, other than, perhaps, vote themselves another pay raise. (Did you know that they AUTOMATICALLY get an annual raise unless they vote NOT to give themselves one?  Yep.  That's the way the legislation is set up.  Pretty neat, huh?)  And then they'll congratulate each other on passing yet another law to continue to suck the life out of the American Taxpayer.


Friday, January 01, 2010

This year, I'll try to do better.

I like posting on my blog. I also like killing zombies. So you can guess which activity wins when I have a choice. Left4Dead for sure! But this year, I'll try to do better. I've got the zombies down to where they're not a danger to the remainder of society. (You didn't see any over the Holidays? Right. You know who to thank...)

So, to make things interesting, I'll start out with a rant: This is straight from my Facebook profile.

It's 2010? How the hell did that happen? Why don't we have a colony on the moon declaring independence from the earth? Why aren't we colonizing Titan? Why are we still stuck HERE? Clarke, Asimov and Heinlein are rolling over in their virtual graves.


No. I am not content to stay here. There's got to be a better way. Those who refuse to believe that and refuse to look for the solution are part of the problem.

(Note: The last post to this blog said that I was going to quit teaching Jujitsu.  And I did.  For a whole six weeks.  Since that time, I've had about 10 people ask me to reopen the class so ... I'm going to do it.  I'll be committing myself to at least another two years of Mondays to get the newbies through the curriculum.  But, if they're committed, so am I.  I really do love teaching it.  I'm just getting too old for it.  It's a younger man's art, that's for sure.  Maybe I'll be able to quit before I'm 50.)