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nanowrimo 2010


Diary of a Blind Madman

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Lengthy maunderings and some freewriting
nanowrimo 2010
         Well, I'm tired as usual. I haven't updated because their really hasn't been much to report on. It's not that I've been doing nothing, just that there's little of interest. So now, de rigeur, I will proceed to bore you with the uninteresting things I've been doing. Recently Played Songs:
         Jirel, my wonderful doggie (her web page) went to the vet to day. That's always an experience filled (from my viewpoint) with trials and irritations. From Jirel's viewpoint, it is an opportunity to smell the scent of everydog that has ever visited the vet. In terms of scent it must be rather like one of those psychedelic acid trips where you see aromas and taste colors. Or the canine equivalent of it, I suppose. The purpose of the visit was to learn why she is limping. An expensive x-ray later, the DVM wants to send the pictures off to a radiologist to be certain of his tentative diagnosis. Good news and bad news, the limp is caused by a lump on her "wrist" bone that is probably the result of trauma. She banged her foot and there is a lump. The bad news is that her bones don't look right for a dog her age. They show some indication of the sort of lines present while a dog is growing. Jirel is fully grown and such should not be present. For now we wait to see if the lump on her wrist is a benign issue due to a canine ouchie or if she has some malignant growth. Either way she needs to be watched for a while. The doctor also told me she needs to lose weight. What is it with doctors? Do they think everyone needs to lose weight? My doctor says the same thing to me. I was shocked to learn that she now weighs 80 pounds. She was overweight at 50. Once her leg has healed, she and I both need to lose 30 pounds. sigh!
         My transportation issues are looking up. As many of you may know, I bought a '96 ford explorer back in about '98. I gave it to my Sister in '02. She had it rebuilt in '04. It has lasted this long and served us faithfully, but two collisions and a good deal of neglect has brought it to the end of its usefulness. The monthly maintenance is running about as much as a car payment. Time to retire.

So I bought a new car. Yes, I suppose my Sister should actually buy a car as I cannot drive and am a passenger in her car about once a month, but that's the way it goes. Sis and I shopped and found that vehicles that would allow either of us to climb in comfortably were few and far between. We wound up looking at SUV's and Mini-van's. This did not improve the mileage situation, something we were felt very important. On a lark, we looked at new cars. We found a genuine surprise in the Toyota prius. To the surprise of both of us, the prius is not a small car. I was able to get in and out with minimal hassle. Most automobiles are either head-knockers or knee-breakers for me. Now, I do have to back in and spin around to sit down, but that has been SOP for me my whole life for anything but the Chevy Astro I once owned and the current Ford Explorer. I remember driving an old Buick Electra deuce-and-a-quarter that allowed me to simply step in, but it was roughly the size of grain barge. I recall also worrying about the mileage on that vehicle when gasoline was (an outtrageous) 80¢ a gallon.

But enough nostalgia. The prius looks like a done deal. I've spoken to the bank and we have a loan for the requisite $19k. We have (well, will have) the down payment of about $3k by the time the vehicle arrives. We had to order. There are no priuses (priusi?) in Jefferson City. It would appear that others have caught on to the fact that its a cool car.

I won't bore you relating all the cool technology built into the car, nor give you the "green" justifications. I recommend you read up on the vehicle if you are interested in such things. The continuous variable transmission and several other features strike me as quite innovative. I think my sister is going to like the car and I am happy that she will have a reliable vehicle. Toyotas have a reputation for having to be killed with a stick. I hope the prius holds true to form.
         I've been playing City of Villains a lot lately. Contrary to my usual, I've been playing a hero fairly often. On the evil side, I've joined for the first time a Supergroup not started by me. It is well equipped and is turning out to be convenient. It didn't really turn out as well as I had hoped. The recruiter said they had daytime players. <sigh>I have yet to sign on as other than the only member between the hours of 6am and 6pm.</sigh> Still, I suppose I'd best give it some time.

City of Heroes/Villains is one of the few online games I've been able to play. It seems "realistic" in its environment. It tends to high contrasts so it makes it much easier to see. Also, my screen reader will actually read the chat window. Not true for Star Wars Galaxies, Vanguard, or any of the Everquests. I have found most of the "fantasy" games to be very "foofy" in their design, in that everything seems to be filled with shiny happy elves dashing about in a variety of pointless acivities while reviling one another. Doesn't anybody anywhere role play? At all?

I have found I can't usually play with other people anyway. I guess I have a weird perspective on games, but I want to play the game not manipulate the rules or the programmer's foibles. Most everyone I know looks up all the cheat codes, plans how their characters will develop, research gear and pick the quests that lead to it. I just want to run about killing things discovering cool stuff while I play.

Another problem for me, with teaming anyway, is my vision. Being mostly blind means that I spend a lot of time running into things, getting lost, taking the longest possible routes, and generally being a nuisance to teams I belong to. It doesn't help either that I often walk into the middle of a mob of mobs…

Needless to say, I get killed a lot. I actually succeeded in reaching level 27 with the help of my extraordinarily patient son (no longer a player), but that is the highest I have ever reached. I find I can solo successfully up to about level 20. After that I might as well create a new character and try out a different power set just to keep things interesting.

I've recently changed servers. I played on Justice from the beginning of my gaming. I've recently gone to Guardian. For one thing I've run out of character spaces on Justice, but mostly I've left because I can hardly ever sign on without some foulmouthed egomaniacal jerk monopolizing the chat with his vitriolic imprecations aimed indiscriminately at everyone on the server. What do such people get out of the game? An opportunity to vent? I guess it's cheaper than a child psychiatrist.
         I've been following my friend Ed's Blog through RSS. A new experience for me. I'd prefer to simply have it reflected in my friends page here on LJ like so many other RSS feeds that I follow, but I can't figure out how to accomplish it and asking for help from LJ is just a joke. I was a programmer 20 years. I know about the whitelist, I understand about unique names, I am perfectly capable of using LJ's technique to allow me to see the feed in my friends page and have done so in the past. If it was an *easy* problem I wouldn't be asking for help. All I get is the same old "is your computer plugged in?" tech support script questions and no actual help. LJ used to be a lot better about such things before Six-Apart bought 'em. I almost wish I hadn't bought a permanent account. It's getting to the point where I think I should move off the LJ archipelago.
         This is my longest entry in a while. I'm not going to cut it. Just cope. Get a grip, and pray for lots of posts from others so it will fall off your friend's page.
The Rooftop

From the penthouse windows you can see the city from a perspective few share. It's not the "they look like ants!" cliché. Far from it. From atop these pillars of steel, glass, and concrete you can see how far from ants man truly is.

Looking at the largest structures ever erected on the face of the earth I get a sense of the Pride of Man, the Hubris of Humanity, the sheer Audacity of Humankind. Here we have gathered together in greater numbers than anywhere else on the planet. Here we have erected monuments, dwellings, pillars of the heavens. We forget, in our orgy of self-criticism, that we are great. Indeed, we are harming the environment, our financial behavior is reprehensible when half the world starves, our flaws are great and greatly manifest. But still, we are great.

That famous September day, the people of a great city, of a great nation, a great people,were dealt a powerful blow. I think we forget, are forgetting, that that blow, no matter how powerful, was a dismal failure. Think about it. The financial center, perhaps the financial center of the planet, was tumbled into a heap. It was staggering. But, honestly, we barely staggered. Thousands died. Hundreds of thousands rose to help. Four days after the stock market closed, it re-opened. The clean-up began immediately. There were no riots. The rest of the nation stood its ground, stood ready, and acted. Firemen, emergency and rescue workers from everywhere volunteered to help. And they did help. It wasn't lip service. They got on planes, into cars, trucks, and trains, and they helped. Business in the country went on as usual. The midwest didn't panic, nor the west, the east, or any region. People went to work, raised their families, and dealt with their lives. They continue to do so.

What other nation could have taken such a blow, shrugged it off and kept moving? That's a rhetorical question, but I'll answer it. The British. The Canadians. The Germans. The French. The Brazilians. I could go on naming nations across the face of the earth. The sheer size and power of the United States made its response shocking, but I am firmly convinced that the people of the world, not just the United States, would have responded similarly.

Humanity is great. We tend to forget it.

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but mostly I've left because I can hardly ever sign on without some foulmouthed egomaniacal jerk monopolizing the chat with his vitriolic imprecations aimed indiscriminately at everyone on the server.

I've found the easiest way to avoid stuff like this is to just remove Broadcast from my chat window. I get plenty of conversation, help and teaming opportunities from my assorted global channels, most especially the LiveJournal channel. I totally do not miss Broadcast at all, especially not in the low level zones like GC, AP or KR.

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