Friday, October 12, 2012

Vice Presidential Debate After Thoughts

I have not posted in a while. I may not be even super regular again, but I have to get this off my mind.

Thursday night was the Vice Presidential debates, and they were ugly. At least to my conservative/Republican friends. Biden came off as disrespectful and both Paul Ryan and Joe Biden interrupted each other a lot. Both told lies as well. Whether is Paul Ryan about Iran's current nuclear capabilities or Joe Biden on the events on Libya or omitting that he too voted for the two wars that were paid for by a credit card; it was ugly.

To me it was ugly because it was not a discussion. It was talking points, it was a battle to speak most and correct the other the most. The Moderator was forceful this time, which was good in that all topics were covered but bad in that the candidates were interrupted in the middle of the points they were making. By all conservative accounts (friends or what I have read in the media), it was an ugly hatchet job of a debate.

But then I spoke with some liberal leaning friends, and saw some tweets by liberals, and saw a different picture painted or viewed. They strongly approved Biden's tactic of being forceful and commanding, a stark contrast to when Obama was interrupted a lot and lost the debate the week prior. Because apparently being polite means being stepped on in politics, and looking weak. Where the moderator was firm and put the schedule before talking points of candidates. Strict with the time.

One friend mentioned Obama's politeness and I caught myself thinking how funny it was that no one was saying Obama was just being polite until I wondered if I get caught up in the rhetoric and flow of politics; of just viewing talking points. Of going with the flow.

But I digress, Those who plan on voting for Obama saw the Vice Presidential debate as a great victory, while those favoring Romney saw it as ugly. As no winner because of the constant interruptions, and also due to the perceived disrespect of Biden.

Personally I would prefer a debate where no candidate is allowed to interrupt the other. Where the other can strongly rebut the other when it is their time to speak, with maybe a shorter follow up after. That way it becomes a matter of talking to the American People and not trying to overpower the other. But that may just be me.

Because Conservatives and those who favor Romney loved the first debate because he was masterful, because he too charge, because in the view of Obama supporters, Obama was just being polite. And thus the Liberals loved Biden for being aggressive and not backing down.

And that is precisely what is wrong with this country, with current politics. We have each side shouting things, taking things out of context, lying, aggrandizing statements and making them bigger than we should. But it is not limited to the campaigns themselves. It is considered a miracle these days if a congressional bill gets bi-partisan support. And even worse, we as Americans refuse to listen. We don't listen to the other side, we mock, we deride. When watching debates we make fun of the candidate we don't like for something slightly or not-so slightly untrue or not to our liking. We make fun of others for being in the opposite party.

Yes, we should be able to express our views, our opinions. But it seems like we are unable to do so without criticizing those with opposite views. Even a simple status reminding people that a particular day is the last day to register to vote can get a trollish reply by someone of a differing mindset saying they are going to vote for a candidate they know I do not intend to vote for.

And then we complain at how Congress cannot get anything done when we cannot communicate among ourselves peaceably, without mocking others not of our viewpoint.

Which is why this debate in particular has turned me off to politics like it does to so many others. Because things are only going to get much worse in the weeks to come.

So excuse me while I go hide and cry in a corner, because something a brother of mine said rings true; it doesn't matter who wins the debate, we lose as a people regardless. For we will have learned nothing, for none of the campaigning or debates will make us want to be better people. Just either strive to fight for our preferred candidate or stay quietly out of the limelight.

I don't want to live on this planet anymore.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bouncing Back

I owe this blog my latest adventures in the 12 Days of Christmas run, but first, a small message from our sponsors. Well, me.

Long are the days where motivation lacked,
Long do I tire of rejoicing over a B,
When a C on tests I have received.
Long do I tire of sliding along, of not doing all I can.

Tired of the low motivation.

Three weeks I have from now until school begins again.
Three weeks to either flitter away my time,
or to be productive and regain motivation
To set goals and noble habits
To not just laze about.

I have the desire, for I tire of what I have become
But the question is, do I have the will?
To stick it through? To keep at projects
To keep going even when I tire?

The doubt is there,
The temptation to play is strong.
I can only hope I can fulfill the goals of productivity.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas Challenge

In attempts to regularly blog again, I am posting this years' 12 Days of Christmas Adventures. Last night was Day 1 and I left this note, along with some craft-type decoration birds on the doorstep of some girls in my ward/congregation.

I believe I escaped detection. But, there is an overlooking window and some stairs that creak to get there, so I do have to be careful.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Thoughts on Pottermore

For some who are not aware, J.K. Rowling partnered with Sony to create an interactive experience for Harry Potter fans. Having been on for 48 hours, hear are my thoughts:

  • New material; there are a ton of new images to look at including some of Rowling's personal comments and notes. For example, it is revealed on the site that Professor MacGonagal was once married.
  • Mouse and Button Listeners; i.e. the individual pages of the site. As you go through you see scenes of some of the chapters. Bits of the scenery moves when you move the mouse over it. You can collect Chocolate frogs, books, other stuff for house points and what not. With the up and down buttons you can interact with a different layer of the same page. It's cool.
  • Nice layout, with how everything is displayed.
  • There is some complex formula at work that sorts you into a house, and gets you a wand.
  • At the moment you can only practice casting spells, basically following a pattern with your mouse and clicking on integral parts of the spell.
  • Potions. You can brew various potions and they have to be exact or they go wrong. You add in the wrong ingredient, your cauldron could explode and you lose house points. Or it just fizzles if you are too slow. The wand shooting lightning at the potion to let it brew... that's kind of odd.
  • House Competition; in the Great Hall you can see how many points each house has. Currently Ravenclaw leads Slytherin 54,974 to 54,866.
  • Server space. This is the biggest flaw at the moment. There are currently 477,385 people registered for Pottermore and that is only with limited registration. The IT guys at Sony or whoever maintains the back end failed to anticipate the inordinate amount of traffic the site gets. The site often goes down for minutes or hours at a time because there are so many people trying to get on and have fun. Pottermore is going to need to drastically increase the number of their servers so the site doesn't crash all the time.
  • Commenting. It's limited to 150 characters or so and thus makes it hard to see if someone responds to you. Especially if 1000 others comment at the same time. Additionally, though I don't know for sure, I believe Pottermore employs some sort of selection sort method that checks every word you comment against an existing dictionary. While the upside is that everyone has to use proper English and there will be no l33t speak shenanigans, if you want to use words in another language or even a word like "Nazgul" (which some images of the book 1 chess pieces do resemble), it gets flagged for moderation. With thousands of people all commenting; it is sure to eat up a lot of processes. Great for ensuring no little kid sees swearing I suppose. Which could be their aim.
  • Limited friend capability. Currently with those you friend, you can only send them an item as a gift and, when the dueling feature is up, engage in duels with friends. There is no direct communication. No way to say hi or whatnot. Again, probably protecting minors, but not so great for those who want to talk to those that send friend requests. Unless you know them outside of Pottermore.
  • Feedback. It asks how much you like the site. It doesn't ask for comments or about problems. It just has you select how much you like certain features, like how the site looks. 
  • The House Cup and points. With near half a million users and climbing, house points are going to become exceedingly large. There is nowhere saying when the House Cup will be awarded. It might be a quarterly thing, it might not. Right now it is just an arbitrary competition based on who participates the most on the site by either picking up random goodies or making potions.
  • Potions: This problem is related to the site crashing. The potions made require over an hour of brew time where you let the potion sit. With site crashes and bandwidth issues, it means that a lot of potions go bad and you have to start over. Also, aside from giving potions to friends, you cannot do anything with them.
Conclusion; while the site design and interacting with the site is cool, especially with the inside details of the Harry Potter universe, the servers set it back. Yes, it is still in beta, but the IT side of things should have anticipated the need to have more servers. The limited communication I don't approve of, but Rowling and Sony may be restricting this to protect minors. And from what it seems, the goal is more to roleplay and interact with the site than others, except in magic duels. But... right now it seems like an attempt to take from some online fan rpg elements and make it into a semi interactive site. But it is still under construction. Currently the house point competition could go on forever, the potions are useless except as a way to get points. Reading new stuff is cool. So the main criticism is of the design and IT side of things. And sooner or later ads will be introduced. How else is this going to be paid for?

My piece of advice to J.K. Rowling though? Run from Sony and make a deal with Blizzard. Sony is great for hardware stuff, radios and computers and game consoles and whatnot. Not good at software. They have been hacked multiple times the past year and if security is anything like theirs, it is easy to hack. Blizzard on the other hand has worked with things like Battlenet for over 11 years, plus World of Warcraft. They have 12 million users, and thus know a things or two about server management. Switch to them and let them host your site. Things will go much smoother traffic wise. Plus, they are more creative than Sony in regards to games and challenges. They'd be able to have everything running smoothly and then some.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And So It Continues

A few years back I gained asthma from laughing too hard. That sounded like the end of the story, right? Just use the inhaler whenever it is needed, no big deal right?

Well last week I went to renew my prescription for my Albuterol. So they did some standard breathing test thing, and apparently I am breathing at 56% lung capacity. I know, crazy. Maybe I have been breathing this way since 2008, maybe it is a result of the dry pneumonia that I got in January. I don't know. But I was given some pill, so we'll see if my breathing capacity increases at all.

But this just goes to prove that I am right about the fact that I will die from laughter.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Puzzles and Doing What You Love

Last week at the local Orthodontia, the tooth doc had a young man with him, someone training to be an orthodontist as well I presume. As the doc's hands were in my mouth, he was telling the doc-in-training about his job.

The doc said that while some could see Orthodontia as a tedious work, as something boring since the braces are all the same, he sees it as a puzzle. That every mouth is different, a puzzle. And that is what brings him to work each day, the challenge of solving the puzzle. Cause you have to do different things with those braces for every single person.

Just something that got me thinking about how we should love what we do and find joy in our work.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Start of a Murder Mystery?

Two men on a peak, armed with nothing but camera phones, a backpack and some water. Staring over a valley watching as clouds rolled in with a hint of thunder and lightning in the background.

As the first drops of rain began to fall, the two men hurried down the mountain path, hoping to get to their vehicle before the rains turned from sprinkle to torrent, and that no lightning would strike near them.

The two men managed to get to their vehicle right before the rains began to fall heavily, and drove down the dirt road celebrating their good fortune.

But at a bend of the road, stood a deer. Fortunately the driver's friend saw the deer and they stopped in time to watch the deer sprint back into the forest.

But naught 50 yards down the road stood a woman. A woman soaked by the rains who happened to be staring at the deer as well. A woman of long brown hair and jovial appearance. Cute. And requesting a ride.

The two men acquiesced to her request, and she ran to tell her group that she got a ride. The two men wondered if their short lives were about to come to an end. Would she come back with a weapon; an axe or a gun?

Thankfully naught but the truth left the maiden's lips and soon they were on their way down the mountain, watching as mist rose from the road below.