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|Monday, December 9th, 2013|
|GURPS Vorkosigan Saga
Awhile back I said I'd get this and say what's in it, and it finally arrived ^^
Like most GURPS books, it's really solid.
The book came out after Diplomatic Immunity, and Cryoburn was obviously far enough in development to include some details of the world it was from, so it's up-to-date on almost all of the major events in the series. There's not too much new material, but it does have ideas for plothooks, and it covers the setting well.( Stuff on the book withinCollapse )
Annnnd due to shipping mishap I have three
copies :) And Amazon said I could keep 'em.
|Friday, December 6th, 2013|
|Now that's frustrating
I found an old chess match record from when I was a kid. Just for fun, I started going through it on the computer's chess program, move for move... I don't even think it was when I had been playing chess too long, I could definitely do better, but it was an interesting game... then the written moves become unclear enough I *cannot* figure out what moves were supposed to come next!
Darn you, poor documentation of past me ;)
|Wednesday, December 4th, 2013|
|Saturday, November 30th, 2013|
|Friday, November 29th, 2013|
Is... is there a thing as Black Fireday fireworks? Because I think I hear some...
|Wednesday, November 27th, 2013|
|Imax review: Titans of the Ice Age
Earlier today, I saw the imax documentary 'Titans of the Ice Age' at the Smithsonian (after having a bite at the Native American museum cafeteria- which has dishes by region!).
The movie has Wooly Mammoths and a few other prehistoric animals animated 'Walking With Dinosaur' styles, some soaring vistas, and some parts on where the animals were found (the La Brea Tar Pits, and another location that used to be an ancient hot-spring).
If you want to learn how a couple ancient animals died and then were re-found, or see the animals in motion in 3d, this does that.
If you want to learn much about how they lived.... well, Titans of the Ice Age really doesn't. It covers just five species (Wooly Mammoth, another elephant species, dire wolf, sabertooth, and ground sloth), and most of those *very* briefly. The wolves and saberteeth share one scene and have nothing about their habits to speak of.
If you want to find out how we learn about ancient animals, it does cover that, but if you want to learn much of what that info is, you'd best look somewhere else. If you have done even minor research into Mammoths, then you probably know almost everything here.
It also spends maybe 5 minutes of it's 37 minute run time on environmental messages, and how the global climate could be. Plus the obligatory appearance of primitive human hunters and mentioning how they hunted some of these. In a documentary that bills itself about the animals, that chewed up a lot of time.
Throw in there's plenty of other CG documentaries about animals, and there's better sources of info.
So, while quite competently done visually and a reasonable spectacle, I give Titans of the Ice Age a C. Watch if you're at a museum and you want a little spectacle, but for learning much, there are better documentaries.
|Friday, November 22nd, 2013|
|Schism (Skolia novel)
Recently I was asked to recommend a good starting point in the Skolian saga by Catherine Asaro, which got me to thinking of the novels in the series I hadn't read.
So I picked up Schism, and found, it would *also* be a pretty good starting point ^^ Character-wise, as it covers most of the big family. (Other good starting points: Primary Inversions, Last Hawk)
I'd give it a rating but I find many of the Skolian books hard to rate individually- Schism is half of a duology. Primary Inversions works best with Radiant Seas. Etc.. Only some stand alone in my mind like Last Hawk, y'know?
good enough to trap me into re-reading two more books on the series.... so far ^^ I'm starting on a third....
One other thing I'm kinda noticing is how Asaro tends to leave references to other books/stories in universe... even ones that haven't been published yet. So I get a strong feeling she's had the timeline worked out since pretty early on.
|The 'nuclear option' and why it's bad for the Republicans
Ok, so the Republicans have been blocking nominators to the point that the Democrats are planning on changing the rules, from 2/3rds majority required to simple majority.Here's an article about it
It's called the nuclear option because it'll destroy the status quo, it'll be around even if things shift in the future. However, the current status quo is bad enough for the Dems, that it seems worth it.
If things were going through normally, letting in these fairly routine appointments, then the Dems would fill a lot of vacanies, but the Republicans would be able to drag it out and prevent any they truly didn't want.
But as the article says,
"Or, Republicans could relent on Obama’s right to fill vacancies and keep the filibuster in place. Obama would get some more judges, but he would not be able to fill all the outstanding vacancies by next year considering that he has only identified nominees for about half of those seats. But if Republicans provoke the end of the filibuster, then I suspect the White House can quickly find another 50 or so judges without much fuss.
This is the real choice Republicans face: keep the filibuster and let Obama secure a mild upper-hand in the judiciary. Or end the filibuster, and let Obama dominate the judiciary, perhaps for a generation"
Keep abusing the filibuster, or lose it on appointments? That's their choice. I suspect I know which one they'll chose.
And while the Democrats might regret this at some point in the future, they'd certainly regret it if they let the Republicans block these vacancies until things shifted and the Republicans could stack the deck with them.
|Thursday, November 21st, 2013|
|Monday, November 18th, 2013|
|Thinking of next-gen consoles
Snippet from an IM conversation I had:
Q99 [2:16 A.M.]: I don't have either a this or last gen system, and I might finally have room for a system with a kinect or similar soon, so I've been gathering info.
Friend [2:17 A.M.]: xD
Q99 [2:23 A.M.]: Or I could do plan B, hook up a cord between my old Gameboy and my Dreamcast and tell people it's a new model of Wii U...
Friend [2:25 A.M.]: xD
Q99 [2:26 A.M.]: Sure, it won't actually *play* anything but Super Mario Land 1 and Tetris, but next gen consols are for bragging rights anyway ^^
|Things I've forgotten to blog about
1) Last month I saw a (no injuries) car accident. We were at a light that'd just turned red a few seconds before, then the car behind us went around us and sped up... to hit another car that'd also hit a red light.
Stayed a few minutes as a witness, seems there was another person who saw the other car run a red but didn't notice the one we did, so between the two of us we quickly confirmed to the cops that, yes, both cars ran reds (why there was no injuries- both were going pretty slow before they ran).
2) During the Vermont/wedding trip, I faced my cousin J in chess. I mentioned I was a bit rusty (I'd only played a few computerized games in the last few years), but he was more-so, and I managed to win ^^ Also after the wedding various family members took pictures at some cool chairs on the lawn near the wedding site. First me and my immediate family, to whom after a couple poses I recommended 'supervillain pose' (Legs crossed, fingers steppled). My sister disagreed, so we didn't. Then my cousion J and his mom took their spot, and the first pic was really boring, so they then did 'supervillain pose'! (and looked quite machiavellian together ^^) Then my sister and our other cousin N took pictures together, and *they* did the supervillain poses too, even though sis was the original objector! Ah, anyway, it was fun :) (my pose sense is superior ^^)
3) During halloween, a buncha trick-or-treaters came, including not only a Mario, but a Luigi! (both Asian kids, pretty cute, btw) I hadn't seen that before! At first things came slow but they picked up and we ended up giving away pretty much all the candy.
|Sunday, November 17th, 2013|
|Wednesday, November 13th, 2013|
|Sunday, October 27th, 2013|
|Saturday, October 26th, 2013|
|Monday, October 21st, 2013|
|Politics- GOP losing it's mayors
"In the year 2000, Republican mayors governed half of the country’s dozen largest cities by population. Some of the party’s most provocative leaders had come out of city hall, including New York’s Giuliani, Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan and Indianapolis Mayor Stephen Goldsmith, the celebrated policy wonk and George W. Bush adviser.
Today, you have to go all the way down to Indianapolis – the country’s 13th-largest city – to find just one Republican mayor. Even cities that have historically preferred center-right mayors, such as Jacksonville and Phoenix, have turned away from the GOP.
City leaders in both parties chalk up the withering of the urban GOP to an array of forces: dropping crime rates that have made voters indifferent to law-and-order politics; Democrats’ increasing willingness to confront public employee unions and a radioactive national Republican brand that’s utterly lethal among many nonwhite voters.
To the few Republicans still in charge of major American cities, the most frustrating problem of all may be the GOP’s apparent lack of concern for the party’s city hall shutout."
More in the article itself, but you get the idea. It's not shocking that the GOP's national antics have cost it a lot in the local level, while similarly the more balanced approach a mayor needs not drawing much support from the higher levels of the party. And all of this before the latest bit of antics.
It wouldn't surprise me if this trickled up over time, as big city mayors are good candidates for governor races and similar.
|Sunday, October 20th, 2013|
Well, I read the last three Vorkosigan saga books! Diplomatic Immunity (which, yea, I talked about a bit before. I wanna talk about it a bit more ^^), Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, and Cryoburn.
And I loved all three!( My thoughts- with spoilers- withinCollapse )
All in all, I think I'll give Cryoburnand Captain Vorpitral's A-s. I liked Diplomatic Immunity a bit more, but I really do like both books ^^
|Thursday, October 17th, 2013|
|Dream- Salt Blood saga
I had a dream where for some reason, a group had declared that I shouldn't exist in this universe. They had captured me and were taking me to the eraser device (I think- it could've been a teleporter to take me to the device, or another universe, or what have you. Long story short, I didn't know and I wasn't inclined to trust it), when I temporarily broke free and fought with one of their agents. In the struggle, I mind-switched with him. They grabbed him-in-my-body to take him off, while I used the confusion to escape. I wasn't sure whether they'd notice before using it on him but, again, not inclined to stick around and find out.( Fairly epic dream continues behind cutCollapse )
|Wednesday, October 16th, 2013|
|The debt ceiling fight is over- and for longer than you may think
As you probably all know by now, the government's restarting and the debt ceiling has been raised.
What you may not
know is there was also a rules change snuck in to the measure:NYMLink
"The surrender terms negotiated by Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have an interesting provision, which would change the way Congress votes on the next debt-limit increase:
The plan includes a proposal offered by McConnell in the 2011 debt ceiling crisis that allows Congress to disapprove of the debt ceiling increase, which means lawmakers will formally vote on whether to reject a debt ceiling increase until Feb. 7. Obama can veto that legislation if it passes. If Congress fails as expected to gather a two-thirds majority to override the veto, the debt ceiling would be raised."
Or in other words, now in order to hold the country's economy as a whole hostage 50% of the house is no longer enough, you now need 2/3rds or 50% and the President. While it's not quite eliminating things entirely, it does defang the tea party threat on the matter not just now but in the future. They can still threaten shutdown, but that's all next time.
It is just for the February one right now, but fingers crossed on it becoming permanent.