A few days ago my oldest daughter asked me if there were really evil people in the world.
When an 8 year old comes to you and asks you that, you can't help but to believe that they have finally taken one of the steps that you fear above all others. The step towards being aware that the world isn't a place where, as their parent, you can always keep them safe and protect them every moment of the day.
Today we heard about one of the most terrible acts of gun violence in our countries history. Not all of the details are available, but they really don't need to be. 20 small children and 6 adults (along with the shooter) are dead because someone took a weapon into a school and used it on all of those people.
While this is an absolutely amazing country, it is very clear that we have some problems that we need to deal with and it's sad to realize that, in our current state, we cannot even try to address an unbelievable problem such as this because of the elected officials that we have at the moment. More often than not, our elected leaders act without our interests at heart and make decisions that seem only fit to serve the very wealthy or the very influential. This has to stop.
An incident such as this should make us pause and think about the direction that we need to move our elected leaders towards.
Without a doubt, we need a better gun control policy, and along with that, we need to work to eliminate the culture that glorifies and allows people to purchase and obtain weapons, armaments, and protective devices (such as bulletproof vests) that have little to no purpose in our society.
We need a system to help diagnose people with serious mental issues and prevent them from obtaining the weapons that they would use to do harm on others.
We need a health care system that takes care of every person in our country, so that these sort of mental issues can be diagnosed as soon as possible so that these people can get the help that they need.
Without resolving all of these issues, we will continue to hear of horrifying incidents of violence and that makes America a much worse place to be than it should be.
A few days ago, my daughter did ask me about whether there were evil people in the world.
On that day I told her, "Yes, there are evil people in the world, but there are so many more good people, and the good ones do everything that they can to make sure that the evil ones don't harm everyone else."
Today we need to start to prove that we are the good people and start on a path to make sure that the evil people can do harm no more.
- Work continues to be an adventure for me, as we have lost a few employees and as a result, I have to put in more time there to fill in on things I haven't done in the past. Good to have a job and have plenty to do, but it does limit a lot of time for other things.
- Still working through Assassin's Creed II and feel that I should have it finished up in the next week or so, which is good considering all of the deals coming around for Black Friday. XCom for $25 at Walmart? That's what I call a crazy quick price drop even for Black Friday.
- In the election, I have to say that I'm proud to live in the state that elected the first openly gay senator.
Another thing that I was happy to see was the fact that $400 million dollars from Super PAC's and such didn't really sway the elections that they spent most of that money on. The next thing we need is a constitutional amendment overturning the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision. Other than people that work for advertising agencies and TV stati0ns, don't know many people that would be opposed to that.
- In movies, I had a chance to watch the Amazing Spiderman and really enjoyed it. I liked the story of this version of Spiderman a good deal more than the Tobey Maguire version.
Also, I went and saw Cloud Atlas last Sunday. If you've read the book, do yourself a favor and avoid the film.
Part of the beauty of the book was how the story was told. Telling the first half of each individual story, then going to the next character and hearing their story and seeing how they found out about the character's story before was handled amazingly well. Then, going backward from the final story in the timeline and finding out how each of the previous stories ended, was wonderful.
The way that the movie handled it was awkward and the cuts back and forth from one story to the next was overly chaotic. Also, there was no need to have each actor play 3 or 4 parts. The book let you kn0w that some of the people were connected in one way or another, but you didn't have to believe that they were a version of the same person. Every time I saw Hugo Weaving's female nurse character come on screen, I cringed.
I know that it's a cliche to say that books are always better than movies, but I still can't believe how badly they pulled this one off. I almost walked out... it was that poorly done. Ugh.
- Like Craig said yesterday, let us know if you sign up for iRacing. Could be fun to have a group of us together in that from the start.
- Lastly, I picked up MLB 12 from Gamefly for $9 during a sale last week. 3D effects for the game (when played on my Playstation 3D monitor) are pretty understated. It doesn't seem to add all that much depth to the game, but considering I have not played it without the 3D turned on, it's hard to know how "flat" it looks normally.
One thing that I can say is that I suck at hitting. This time out I tried to make a power hitting 3rd baseman. After 20 some games, I have 1 home run and no walks. It's like they really put me into the game.
Well, hello there...
I could regale you with all sorts of stories about all of the things that have been going on in my life, but it's basically been a combination of playing a few games, spending time with family, and hanging out with friends. All of the following have just made me really busy and the site has suffered as a result of it. My bad.
- In gaming, I finished my first playthrough of Borderlands 2, which I quite enjoyed.
I haven't picked up the season pass for the expansions yet, but I will probably dive into that after I'm done with the next game that is eating up all of my time... Assassin's Creed II.
No idea why I waited this long to dive into the game, although it probably had something to do with the 'Blah' experience that I had with the first game, but I've totally fallen in love with the collect-a-thon that the game is. I'm buying every art map to find every chest in a city. I'm looking for every one of the 100 missing feathers in the game. I'm buying paintings to make my palace look better. I just paid to put a brothel in my town to update it's value (because, frankly who wouldn't put a brothel in a town if they had the option.) It's crazy, but I'm wasting so much time on this other stuff that I'm not really paying much attention to the story of who killed who and dealing with why Ezio and his family are assassin's.
I have no idea if I'll actually try and complete all of the little sub collections that the game has in store for me, but at this point they are comforting little tasks to do at the end of a day and I'm enjoying the search for them.
- Last night there was an NFL game and had no idea who took part in it until this morning. That was very comforting to me for some reason.
- The major interest that I have in sports, at the moment, is to hope that the Cardinals don't win the World Series. (I'm still pissed at the Nats for blowing that game last week. Stupid Nationals.) I like the thought of Verlander facing them at least 2 times with the hope that they get crushed and Prince wins a World Series.
- In movies, I watched Avengers, Prometheus and Cabin in the Woods last week.
Prometheus disappointed me on a few levels. I really didn't like how it tied some of the story elements together... that and the fact that I really just never found it at all scary. The 3D effects were pretty damn good though. I have to give Ridley Scott credit for really making good use of the technology there.
Cabin in the Woods? Damn, that was a fun ride. I really don't care for horror films, but I loved how Whedon took all of the horror film conventions and turned them around. Definitely a fun film.
Avengers? That was a hell of a good film as well. My only complaint was that it was pretty damn long. I thought that there was a good deal of character development that could have been slimmed down and wouldn't have been missed.
- Lastly, politics...
This will come as a shock, but at this point, I'm not even certain who I will be voting for in the presidential election. I'm so turned off by both candidates at this point. (Primarily I'm looking at the Green Party and Justice Party.)
You will never be able to get me to understand why we have a country that is having very large financial difficulties and at the same time, we have two political parties begging those same people for all of their spare money. 1 billion dollars will be spent on the presidential race, and we will still have one of two candidates that are totally beholden to corporate interests, and not those of the people they say that they are running for.
The whole process just makes me ill at this point.
- Man do I hate the Rangers.
Still, it was a bad penalty that cost the Caps the game. You get your stick up like that and a ref will be forced to make that call.
Hopefully the Caps come back and win game 6, so we can see another game 7.
- I am so glad that I picked up that LED football game for my phone. It's an awesome bit of nostalgia. Although I do find that the CPU is quite a bit more intelligent than back in the day, which is nice for upping the challenge level of the game.
- As of this morning I had 4 position players on my fantasy baseball team on the DL. I feel like the Brewers. All I know is that my team pretty much sucks at this point. Thank goodness it is a long season.
- One thing that I am trying to determine right now is what I should do for the release of Diablo 3 next week. I have a pre order at Best Buy already and they are doing a midnight launch, but that wouldmean that I would need to kill 6 hours after work. Or I can just pre order from Blizzard and have the game ready at midnight. Decisions, decisions.
- Lastly, Wisconsin has its primary today to see who will be running against Scott Walker in the recall next month. It has been an incredibly bizarre political year and a half in Wisconsin. Hopefully people get out and vote in big numbers today.
...and here I was thinking that Obama's performance at the White House Press Corp dinner would have been the most interesting thing to happen over the weekend.
I won't be going into a rah-rah-rah, U-S-A chant or anything here. The thing that bothered me the most on the radio station that I was listening to last night was the fact that they launched into a diatribe about how we had to watch out for the muslims right after President Obama's speech. People will take any opportunity to spin hatred and misinformation.
Muslims are no more the enemy of American people than Catholics are. Things like this frustrate me to no end.
I guess now we'll start to hear from the conspiracy theorists now that the body has been buried at sea as well. The people with the body followed the muslim procedure of burying the dead within a day of their death, but I'm sure some people won't be happy with that either.
I guess now we can move on to other things...
... like the Brewers.
- Two ugly losses on Saturday and Sunday for the Crew. They were the kinds of games that make you question why you watch baseball for 3 hours when your team plays that badly.
Of course, every team goes through stretches where no one can get a hit... but it's really tough to waste an outing like Wolf had on Saturday night. 1 run over 7 innings and not getting any run support is tough.
What needs to change, and pretty damn fast, is getting Carlos Gomez out of the lineup. A number 2 hitter with a career OBP of .292 (and is off to a .277 start this year.) Can't wait for Nyjer Morgan to be back in the lineup tomorrow night.
Now, Brewer fans just have to hope that Gallardo can get a good start.
- As far as the NFL draft is concerned, it was good to see how much offensive talent that the Packers added to their team. A team that was very well loaded with offensive players should just keep on getting better.
If only they could sign some free agent players as well... damn lockout.
- We got to see some absolutely great hockey over the weekend. Lots more overtime games and.... the Red Wings are getting beat up by the Sharks. Plenty of former Badgers on San Jose to cheer for... and I just can't stand Detroit.
- As far as gaming goes, I finished up Portal 2 over the weekend and really loved the whole thing. There are very few games where the writing and story really get more and more enjoyable as the game goes on, but this one finished as well as it possibly could have.
Now I just need to move onto the co-op campaign. Maybe Dan and I can try that out.
- The other game that I started to dive into over the weekend was Final Fantasy XIII. Why? I just have a soft spot for certain Japanese RPG titles. I do have to give them credit for making their loading times incredibly quick. Transitions from battles to real-time video are really well done, but the first issue that I've seen (and have heard from other sites) is the fact that there is no real open world. You're pretty much guided down a path to get to where you need to go, and it's kind of annoying considering where we are now with open-world games. Still, the visuals for the game are pretty amazing and the story has kept me interested to the point where I haven't put the game back on the shelf after a few days. That's something, I guess.
- I'm going to be out of the office all day at a conference, so I'll make this brief...
- The NFL has to get back to work. Labor negotiations between millionaires and billionaires are impossible for the layman to digest... so let's just hope that we have an NFL season without any issues. That seems unlikely though, as no one seems to have any idea as to which rules they have to play by (2010, 2011 or something else.) Ugh.
- Bruins win... Lightning win... discuss.....
- Yesterday's Brewers loss has to have been one of the worst that I've seen this year. When your closer has thrown 15 or16 pitches in the 9th and you have an off day the next day... why wouldn't you bring him back out for the 10th? I'm tired of watching the Reds beat the Brewers in situations like this. Milwaukee fought back in that game over and over again and it was awful to see it end when a mediocre pitcher claimed off of the Yankees scrap heap gave up a homer in the 10th.
Also, something has to be wrong with Yovani Gallardo. You can't have an ERA and BA against as high as he does (as compared to his previous seasons) and not have something going on there.
If there was any indication in the past that no one really cares who is on the cover of a video game, this is it. A guy who has 1500 rushing yards in a 3 year career is now the face of a video game title for the year. Did you know that he only had 3 more touchdowns than fumbles last year? (11 to 8.)
I think that it's safe to say that EA's little project to have the fans decide the cover athlete has failed in a big way, and the best part is...that no one will ever care after today.
- Finally, Barack Obama has released his birth certificate. I'm just glad that now we can get back to the important issues... like the royal wedding. :eyeroll:
- I would love to comment on what is going on in Madison right now in relation to all of the budget/union arguments, but it's just going to get me upset.
My favorite comment from the governor last night was this though... He said that he got 8,000 emails in support of his budget bill that is trying to be forced through the state capitol.
Wow... 8,000 people took 2 minutes to email their support... as opposed to the 30,000 people that risked their jobs by taking the day off to protest the bill at the State Capitol. Yeah, those two things are pretty equal. Ugh.
- Well, the news is in... Torn Labrum... crap.
Now to schedule a surgery to get it repaired.
There goes the next 4 to 6 months of my sports activity.
- I find it very hard to be upset about the Packers loss to the Bears last night. Sure there were reasons to be miffed about certain aspects of the teams play, but the simple fact is that they didn't do what they had to to win the game.
When you set a franchise record with 18 penalties in a game, force numerous interceptions (but consistently get called for legitimate penalties every time you do,) and turn the ball over (Seriously James Jones? No one ever taught you to put the ball in your outside hand when running along the sideline?) then you are going to lose those games.
The Bears didn't play a perfect game either, but they limited their mistakes, didn't take stupid penalties, and gave themselves a chance to win late and executed when it mattered.
The thing that astounded me late was Mike McCarthy's idiotic challenge after the Jones fumble. It's become clear over time that he really doesn't have good people speaking to him regarding challenges. It was obvious from the first replay that the ball was in-bounds and that the player was in-bounds when he recovered it. It was a wasted challenge and prevented the Packers from controlling the clock on their defensive possession (where they had two interceptions lost due to two pass interference penalties.)
Oh, well. Life goes on, right?
- In fun gaming news, one of the guys at Bioware is trying to get EA to release Wing Commander for free for use in DOSbox. Sounds like they have gotten rid of the copy protection and just have to get it through EA legal.
Considering they have released the old Command and Conquer games for free, you'd have to hope they would be able to do the same thing for the 20th anniversary of Wing Commander.
I'd try to fight for the same thing for X-Wing and Tie Fighter... but I have both of those loaded and able to run on my Windows 7 64-bit PC at home.
- As far as NBA Elite 11 goes... EA has some real pricing issues to deal with now. They were going to give Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 owners a copy of NBA Jam for their consoles for free, but now they are going to release the product on it's own.
Considering they are releasing it for $49.99 for the Wii, it will be very interesting to see if they price it at $59.99 like they do for most of their other titles. Then, if they release NBA Elite 11 next year (post delay) for full price... it will cause more than a few questions about how they are pricing out their products. Not that we don't have those questions already.
- Glad to hear that the kickoffs in Madden have changed, a bit, after the most recent patch, as Craig mentioned in his last post.
Madden has always been one of those games where I play a lot for a while, then stop, then start up again at other times in the year. I guess my interest in football gaming has it's peaks and valleys as the year goes on. Maybe it's all based on how "my team" plays. After last night... I might take a while off.
- Lastly, President Obama is coming to Madison today and while I had a few friends going to the event and were trying to talk me into it, I can't imagine going to see any politician speak at this point. They all frustrate and annoy me to no end and can't see how they're going to do anything that is anything more than lip service to prospective voters.
It's all just new crap being spewed at us to try and get us to vote to keep people in place who just cave to the corporations who really control them all anyway.
I'm just so damn tired of the way that both parties handle the populace... and how little the people really care. The best we can come up with as a "3rd party" this time around is to try and get people like Christine O'Donnell elected? Good grief. We're all screwed any way you look at it.
- I have to say that I'm stunned by what we see here on the blog in the last few days.
Dan talking politics... and bashing... Democrats?!?
Insanity.... Next thing you know, I'll cheer for the Vikings... ok, that's not going to happen.
- For those of you that missed it, Trevor Hoffman got his 600th career save last night for the Brewers in a 4-2 win over St. Louis.
The team has totally tanked, but I'm glad to see that Hoffman got his chance to get to the 600 save mark. It's an amazing accomplishment.
- My copy of NHL11 is on the way from Gamefly. Bill Harris seems to already think that the game is the cats meow, but there is a part of me that wants to hold of on purchasing the game until next year, as that is when it is rumored to add NCAA hockey to the whole package. I just got a small shiver when I typed that... an NCAA hockey video game. Woo!
- I converted my Road to Glory athlete from NCAA Football 11 to Madden 11 last night and I have to say that the Madden single player career mode has to be one of the most empty experiences in memory.
First off, I was drafted by the Cowboys and they made me the starting running back immediately. I have no idea where I was drafted by the team, but after looking at the depth chart I can see that my running back has a overall rating of 66. Based on rating, I should have been the 3rd back on the team, behind Marion Barber and Felix Jones, but I got almost every carry in the preseason.
The training camp options are limited to letting you run plays in a practice. Nothing is gained by participating and nothing is lost by skipping them.
I'm going to dive into the season tonight to see if I get dropped in the depth chart, but I have to wonder why they would even bother implementing the feature into Madden considering how shallow the experience is.
- The other game that I spent some time with last night was Valkyrie Chronicles on the PS3. I had started the game once before, but didn't really commit any time to it. Last night I dove into the campaign and was really impressed by it.
The artistic style of the game is amazing as the colors for the 'animation' just pop off of the screen. I played through 3 missions last night and wished that I could have stayed up later to get into more of the gameplay.
The other thing that was entertaining to me was that the name of the tank that you obtain early in the game shares the same name with my "home" golf course. Edelweiss. It's silly, but I felt a connection to the game as a result of that. I'm just that kind of geek, I guess.
- Speaking of geek stuff, we run a VMware 3.5 implementation at our office and I'm working on creating a replica of it inside of VMware workstation to test whether we should do an in-place upgrade to 4.1 or if we should reload the machines. I just want to see how well the process goes.
Regardless, we have to rebuild our vCenter server as it is not running on a 64-bit version of Windows. So, we'll have to create another 32-bit vCenter, just so we can blow that server away and recreate it with a 64-bit OS. Fun stuff.
- In another geek item, I have to say that I like Google Instant. Pressing enter was taking so much time when I wanted to search for something. Heh.
- Lastly, I haven't commented on anything political lately, but I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about how much I dislike both parties and the fact that as long as so many of them stay in power for so long, that nothing ever really changes.
My thought would be to institute a constitutional amendment that would prevent anyone having longer than a single term for the House, Senate, or Presidency. I would not be opposed to the creation of a single term limit for the Supreme Court either, with a 10-year term for each sitting member on the bench. (If you want an interesting look into how political the court has become, take a look at this recent article at the New York Times about the selection of their clerks... and how much of the work they do for the justices.)
When you look at the fact that the first thing a person does when they start getting elected is to start running for their next term, it indicates that the best interests of the people they are representing are not being handled by them, they are only looking out for their long term prospects.
Little to nothing is done by either party and all they want to do is try to point out to you that the other party is doing less for you, when the fact of the matter is that almost no one is really trying to push forward legislation to actually help the people that they are governing. It's absolutely maddening.
I won't be surprised in the least to see Republicans make major gains in both the House and Senate... but I also won't be surprised when little to nothing changes (other than rhetoric) as a result of it.