Charter Member of the Sub-Media

June 30, 2007

I Love Happy Endings!!! « Stuff Important to Me »

Here's one...

..and guess what?
Here's another.

As a true conservative, I like conserving things that are good, and good for people. I care regardless of whether it is fashionable, as long as it is feasible...and it usually is. Taking care of the earth and the places we live is important. Leaving space for nature is important. I support continuing to create, fund, and maintain National Parks and other wildlife preserves.

If you've never been, you need to spend at least one week in a designated Wilderness Area. The true places where you should take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.

My visits were to the Beartooth Wilderness Area in Montana. That wilderness area is home to East Rosebud Lake, Slough Lake, Elk Lake, Rainbow Lake, Tempest Mountain, and Granite Peak. Those are my favorite places on this earth.

That should mean quite a bit, considering I live in and have spent nearly one fifth of my life here in Hawaii, a place many people consider paradise on earth.

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Posted by Nathan at 04:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

June 29, 2007

Language Quirks « Stuff Important to Me »

I was asked to give blood today. I didn't have time. I very nearly added an explanation that I used to give blood religiously, but stopped myself in time.

Because later I was thinking: what would that literally mean? If I say I gave blood religiously, you would probably take my intent that I used to give regularly, as a matter of principle, as if it were as important to me as observing my religious rituals.

But literally, it might mean that I would whip myself with a scourge until I drew blood (as practiced by Shiite Muslims and some Christian sects), or I might pierce my chest with rawhide thongs and be drawn up to the ceiling by it until I came up with my name in the induced delirium (some plains Indian tribes), or I might lay down on an alter and have my head, heart, or other body part removed (Incas, Mayans, Hawaiian tribes...maybe nearly any pre-industrial pagan group).

Which made me think: what if someone said they used to go to church religiously...

How else would you go to church?

All of which leads to the realization that there are many words that gain a different meaning in common use than originally intended, and thus language changes and evolves.

So "I could care less" means the same as "I couldn't care less". And "fortuitous" picks up the feeling of being fortunate, and so on, and people use "literally!" to mean "figuratively, with exaggeration for emphasis" (as parodied in the Saturday Night Live "...literally!" sketches).

Maybe you can throw the two opposite meanings of "cleave" in that mix, too.

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Posted by Nathan at 03:23 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)
Issues of Belief « New Thinking »

Glenn Reynolds takes a cheap shot.

He uses micro-evolution to imply he's seen macro-evolution.

Pretty sloppy thinking for a lawyer; excessively sloppy for someone who is supposed to be teaching prospective lawyers how to build arguments.

But then, it is issues like evolution, intelligent design, abortion, Terry Schiavo, and other issues of belief that bring out the cheap shots from people who should otherwise know better.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 28, 2007

Colstrip: My Home Town is Montana's #1 Sports Town « Stuff Important to Me »

Um, sure.

I expected a discussion of the number of sports championships won over the years, indexed against population. Or perhaps the number of miles traveled by the sports teams and/or supporters. I remember lots of overnight trips with the Pep Band for B-Ball tourneys. Had a very nice time once when I was the Girls Volleyball manager and we got snowed in for 3 days in Sidney. I was the only male in the group...

Anyway, here is Sports Illustrated's reasoning:

This town of just 4.5 square miles has 23 parks - almost one park for every 100 people - its own community center, a baseball/softball complex, tennis and volleyball courts, several soccer fields, a BMX track and a nine-hole golf course.

The CPRD also offers an extensive array of recreation opportunities, from youth and adult leagues to before- and after-school programs. Colstrip also lays claim to the longest-running triathlon west of the Mississippi, and has hosted the local "Spoilathlon" [sic] every year since 1976.

Were very proud of our programming, especially for the youth of Colstrip, said Bill Neumiller, President of the CPRD's Board of Commissioners. In addition to starting our children on a path of lifelong involvement in sports, these programs allow our teens and young adults the opportunity to teach their skills to those younger kids, which helps them grow as well.

When you add everything up, the choice of Colstrip as Montana's SI Sportstown like a no-brainer. And from the looks of things, Colstrip is one energetic community that shows no signs of losing steam anytime soon.

I participated in the 1982 Spoilathon. Or maybe '83. I don't remember. I achieved a second-place finish in my age group through the strategic decision of being in an age group with only two people.

...but I finished.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:32 AM | Comments (299) | TrackBack (0)

June 27, 2007

Thoughts on Turn-based games « Jagged Alliance »

Tangentially related to Jagged Alliance.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:09 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Ethanol is for drinking. « Blogging »


Ethanol fuel for cars sounds nice, but there are significant problems with it as a motor fuel. Biomass waste doesn't give enough energy, only foodstuff biomass, and then you are switching cropland from growing food to growing fuel. It doesn't make sense economically or ecologically.

That's why I like the functional electric car (i.e., what Tesla Motors is developing). No sacrifice in driving pleasure, AND it provides more distance per penny than other propulsion methods. Hydrogen can't replace energy use, it just uses a different medium to deliver energy that still needs fossil or hydro fuels to produce (since the Greens won't allow nuclear), and since it is a medium, rather than a direct transfer, you lose energy in the transactions. An electric car wastes less energy by being a direct electric transfer. Not to mention I could have solar cells on the roof of my garage and house, further reducing the cost/carbon footprint/energy waste/use of the Tesla cars.

Also, the projected Honda Accord diesel is expected to be a fuel-sipper, and ultra-clean to boot. I expect bio-diesel could be in the works for regular diesel cars in another decade, making ultra-efficient, ultra-clean diesels a better choice than ethanol OR hydrogen cell OR hybrid.

Why do US carmakers miss the boat on these sort of issues so often?

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Posted by Nathan at 09:04 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Tesla Roadster, Tesla Motors, Tesla ROCKS! « Car Issues »

Are you familiar with the Tesla Roadster?

Here's info:

Tesla Roadster, Wikipedia Entry.

Tesla Motors, Wikipedia Entry.

Tesla Motors Website.

To tell the truth, at roughly $100k, I'm only mildly interested. They have plans to come out with a performance sedan (I'm thinking like a BMW/Audi) for about $50k in a few years, and a family sedan (I think like a Civic/Corolla) at competitive prices a few years after that.

I'm such a cheapskate, my interest rises exponentially with each cheaper model. If they even come close to expectations, I'll buy the BMW competitor for $50k in 2010 without a seconds' hesitation.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:36 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)
Tech News « Link O' Admiration »

Lie-detecting brain scanners probably don't work.

Apparently, lying is easier for some people than others.

Isn't that always the problem, though?

But critics like Elizabeth Phelps, a cognitive neuroscientist at New York University, say the assumption that lying requires more mental exertion might hold true of the college students used in most studies so far, but not of hardened criminals or sociopaths. It also could be easy to cheat on fMRI tests, since the large regions of the brain that apparently are activated by lies also involve other activities. Mentally reciting poetry might be enough to throw off the tests, says a cognitive scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Accomplished liars are very good at the mental games that help them get away with lying. Things like saying "I did not sleep with that woman" before saying her name, leading people to believe a lie.

Conclusion: It's not likely to stymie the typical Democrat methods.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:57 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack (0)

June 25, 2007

Update, 25 Jun 07 « Jagged Alliance »

The campaign is going fairly well at this point.

I foughts lots of battles on the first 2 days, but lately I've had to spend quite a bit of time building up militia, resting, and healing. I'm on day 5 now, and about ready to position all 8 Mercs (Me, Maddog, MD, Shadow, Ira, Dmitri, Barry, and Igor) for the recklessly early attack on Cambria.

As I said, I don't usually tackle Cambria until I've taken Chitzena and the Chitzena SAM. Doing that usually gets me at least several Level 6 mercs, which are thus high enough to not be surprised to the ambusher in the Cambria Hospital. This time, however, it is only barely possible to have Shadow and/or my personal merc level up that high before we get there, especially if I save it for last. The only reason I want to do that is to get Dr. Vincent earlier. It's going to be a tough challenge, to say the least.

I've had some incredible luck, however. Due to some knock-out+weapons-grab maneuvers, I managed to end up with two G3A3 assault rifles with sniper scopes. Ammo is scarce, but the sniper scopes have come in handy, making the SKSs in Shadow's and Igor's hands quite deadly.

I also already have a Rod&Spring I'm saving for my first FN-FAL, 2 sets of ceramic plates, and 2 cans of Compound 18 I'm saving for the day I get the Spectra Vests.

Did I mention I also stumbled across the Ice Cream Truck on Day 2? That makes moving around much easier. I've only used 2 of the 4 gas cans I had found so far, too. Hopefully I can rescuse Shank before I totally run out. That'll be right after Chitzena, which will be right after Cambria.

And that's where we stand.

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Posted by Nathan at 02:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Ratings « Blogging »

Online Dating

Mingle2 - Online Dating

Via David.

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Posted by Nathan at 01:10 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Yet Another Rhetorical Question « Rhetorical Questions »

Is anyone actually reading this blog anymore?

Besides me, I mean.

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Posted by Nathan at 12:19 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Quote of the Day « Quotes You Can Steal »

"A pat on the back from a co-worker is just reconnaissance for the knife to come."

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June 22, 2007

Rhetorical Questions « Rhetorical Questions »

Will this flurry of posting continue?

Dunno. But while it lasts, it is nice to enjoy blogging again. I hope any readers who still come here also enjoy it, or former readers may notice the update notification in the blogroll and start enjoying coming here again.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Well, But I Can't Quite Stop Anytime I Want...I Tried « Jagged Alliance »

A discussion of gaming "addictions" by James Lileks at his blog.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)
Do Military Service and Advanced Academic Education Mix? Should They? « Militaria »

Generals Petreaus and Peters dispute on the issue.

Point to note: "Advanced Academic Education" means civilian PhDs in non-military topics of study.

I have to admit Gen. (ret.) Peters has a point with this:

Col. Peters, who has a masters in international relations from St. Marys University in San Antonio, Texas, says that rather than pursue theoretical studies at Princeton or Yale, officers would benefit from coursework in the languages and cultures of regions relevant to the U.S. military.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Build a Computer for $72 « Link O' Admiration »

Um, not including a monitor.

And only 512MB processor.

And only if you get a couple of key parts for free from someone.

Still, I'm thinking about trying it out, just to see about playing the free games on LINUX.

Here's the link.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:39 AM | Comments (38) | TrackBack (0)
Marriage Cynicism « Aphorisms »
Marriage is not a word -- it is a sentence.
-- Unknown

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Posted by Nathan at 06:23 AM | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)

June 21, 2007

Turn Yourself Into a Cyborg « Link O' Admiration »

From Free Geekery.

Interesting article. Have fun reading it!

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Posted by Nathan at 10:53 AM | Comments (16) | TrackBack (0)
More Reasons to Not Listen to Democrats « Liberal Democrats Are on the Losing Side of History »

They want the sort of government interference/control of citizens' lives that results in things like this:

The reaction of that nurse to a patient's increased pain medication is the predictable result of concern shifted to the cookbook medicine now required by the payee. God help you if your problem isn't in the cookbook of prescribed--and proscribed-- treatments. Her reaction also indicates the danger a doctor puts himself in when treating a patient. Frankly, I'd prefer my doctor to be thinking about my care, not whether or not giving me adequate care will result in putting his license in danger, and being called on the carpet by some government agency.

Most people seem to think that this increased regulation and oversight by the government protects them somehow, but they are gravely mistaken. If you look at the record of performance of the government in almost any area you choose, this fact become readily apparent. A bureaucrat cares for his rice bowl just the same as everybody else. At least your doctor is there and is directly responsible to you, or rather WAS responsible. Nowadays, he carries his responsibilities, and those of the "disinterested" bureaucrat, who dictates much of what can and can not be done to care for the patient, but who won't lose his job no matter what happens.

That's an excerpt from a rant in the comments of this post.

You'll have to follow the link to get the story. But here's the author's bottom line:

The real problem here seems to be with a legal system that is unable appropriately to deal with risk. The truly interested parties the parents, acting for the child seem to ready and able to sign off with a full appreciation of the risks involved. And yet the legal system puts the risk on those who are essentially agents: they suffer the full weight of any failure, but get only a limited share of the benefit. This includes the firm, of course, which gets little benefit from the child's surviving, but bears a significant risk that the child's death will also kill the firm.

True dat.

I'm not a libertarian, but I certainly like to co-opt some of their precepts into my conservative philosophy.

The problem is, the market really doesn't help in this case, either, because there isn't much of a market when there is only one customer, the family of a dying 4-year-old. Still, relying on market forces prevents government interference from applying additional friction to the system.

One of brainfertilizer's rules of life: any time you try to draw a legal line to separate good, right, legal, acceptable (etc) actions from those bad, wrong, illegal, unacceptable (etc), you will exclude some actions unfairly. It's the nature of the beast. Some actions are good/right/acceptable only under certain circumstances...but law can't deal with special circumstances impartially...but justice cannot operate even halfway well without impartiality...

There's always an exception, and encoding exceptions into law just makes things unnecessarily complicated.

There shouldn't be legal punishments on failing in an effort to save someone's life.

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Posted by Nathan at 07:39 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 20, 2007

Question « Social Issues »

I often see (like in this lead paragraph) a distinction between homosexuals and lesbians.

Why is that? Are lesbians not homosexuals?

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Posted by Nathan at 11:54 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Fascinating Read on Selling Cars « Car Issues »

A new writer goes undercover to give you the goods on car salesmen.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:15 AM | Comments (61) | TrackBack (0)

June 19, 2007

More Jagged Alliance Pages « Jagged Alliance »

A review. Note: this was written in May of this year. That demonstrates the staying power of a game written a decade ago. And demonstrates that I'm not crazy. Well, at least about being a fan of JA2.

A review of a recent mod of JA2.

The mod itself, including a listing of features.

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Posted by Nathan at 11:22 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)
Honda, Leading Carmaker « Car Issues »

Check out these descriptions of the 2007 Honda Accord 4-cyl.:

Aside from the discordant chrome moustache on the grille, the Accord is one of the best examples of understated automotive styling this side of an Aston Martin DB9.

The sedans precisely dampened switches, knobs and levers are more than a pleasant surprise. At this price point, theyre a miracle.

Activating the Accords turn signal stalk is like biting into a Lindt chocolate truffle. The glove box and lower dash storage binnacle doors open with all the graceful, elegant motion of a sunflower blooming in a time lapse movie. The Accords portal treatments combine rich cloth inserts, classy vinyl and integrated storage nooks, creating a segment high watermark. Theres space aplenty for kids and cargo, with the ideal amount of visibility for pampered back seat passengers.

In the final paragraph, the writer points out that at $20k, you can get a 6-cyl Ford Fusion or Hyundai Sonata that are smoother than the Accord's 4-cyl. Well, duh. 6-cyl. engines are always smoother. But note that price point. We'll talk more about it in a moment.

Now how about the 2007 Honda Civic?

Fortunately, the Civics high quality fit and finish create a suitable cavern for A to Bers determined to enjoy their daily dose of gridlock or weekly jaunt to the local supermarket. The Civics cloth doesn't look or feel cheap, even having the foresight to spend quality time on the inviting door panels. True to Hondas heritage, both major and minor controls are faultlessly, sensuously ergonomic. And theres plenty of head, leg, shoulder and trunk space for five Civic-minded adults.
Honda's funky-fresh wedgemobile handles in a manner more befitting a Gran Turismo endurance race. Most everything from the ghosts of Civics past is present and accounted for: linear steering, powerful brakes, confident handling and reasonably well controlled body motions. The Civics 16" wheels encourage fast cornering and deep braking, even if the chassis limitations are strictly R&B (reached and breached).

How about the 2007 Honda Civic Si?

Honda salesman? More like order taker. The new Civic Si sedan is guaranteed to sell itself, no product specialist needed. After all, the stock version is already a hit. Honda can legitimately claim theyre moving them by the boatload even if theyre assembled on Ohio acreage. And Si coupes have always done well even when they havent been well done. So, offering a four door variant with a sprinkle of go-faster and look-sharper for a few more bucks is a no-brainer.

And the 2007 Honda C-RV? Gotcha covered:

Enter the CR-V and experience the joys of ergonomic correctness. All the trucklettes switchgear and controls are intuitive enough for the cognitively challenged, with dials that are more legible than the top line of a DMV eye chart. Washable plastics cover all major surfaces and buttons except the leather wrapped gear selector, steering wheel and cruise compatible seats. The center stack is a vast improvement over the previous effort (file under faint praise), with the rich-sounding MP3-ready radio finally assuming its rightful place below the air vents.


And the bottom line here is that the CR-V is still the best buy bar none.

Here's what is clear from these reviews: Honda puts luxury-level quality into cabin materials and design. Furthermore, the only way to criticize Honda is from the perspective of idealistic perfection, not its competitors. More on that in a moment.

There are a few things missing from these reviews, all of which come from the same source. The most salient points not emphasized can be found in a copy of Consumer Report's most recent Car Buyer's Guide. In that issue, a few things become clear:
1) Hondas are either the #1 or #2 best buy in every single class of car Honda makes.
2) Honda is no longer attempting to fill a marketing niche slightly less expensive than Toyota. The Civic is actually a few thousand dollars more expensive than the Corolla.
3) Honda is pretty much the most fuel efficient car maker on the planet across the entire line.
4) Honda is tied with Toyota and Hyundai for best initial quality and most consistent reliability over the life of the car.
5) ALL Hondas have a problem with road noise. That includes their upscale Acura products. Apparently Honda has decided that noise insulation adds too much weight for their engines to maintain the sweet spot behind adequate power/acceleration and impressive fuel economy.

Yes, Hondas are no longer an inexpensive alternative to other vehicles. But they are worth the cost.

Because there is one other thing not covered in either review: Street Value.

In 2005, when I was looking at vehicles, it was possible to purchase a used 2001 Honda Civic VP (value priced model) with low miles for $13k. The price of the car new? In the high range of $14k. I don't know if the dealership ended up getting that much, but it is impressive to even be able to ask for a depreciation of less than $2k on a 4-yr-old car.

Looking for cars again in early 2007, I saw a 2000 Civic with 90k mileage and water stains on the floor carpeting (very limited flood damage) going for $9k at a dealership. I ended up getting a 2001 Chevy Prizm with 90k miles and some cosmetic paint problems for $3k.

And looking through the want ads, comparing Accords to Camrys and Civics to Corollas, an equivalent amount of mileage and options consistently cost you $2-3k more for a Honda than a Corolla for 3-8 year old cars.

A 2-yr-old Honda was consistently not more than $2k less than the new price (excluding fully loaded cars, where the options apparently depreciate faster than the car itself).

Quite simply, even 2-yr-old Hondas are worth more than equivalent new Chevys, Fords, Chryslers, Kias, etc. At the very least, every prospective car buyer should start with test-driving a Honda in their desired car style to understand what the state of automobile art is.

The bottom line is: if you can handle road noise, a Honda is the best value vehicle for efficiency, reliability, and driving enjoyment.

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Posted by Nathan at 10:11 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack (0)
Allen Blinks First « Kansas City Chiefs »

This is actually something I wrote a few weeks ago for Chiefs Coalition, but never got around to posting here.

I'll be doing more in training camp, and even more once the season starts again. There's just not that much news right now.

After all the smoke and thunder, Allen did not miss an hour of team practice for veterans.

Allen signed his one-year qualifying tender for $2.35 million dollars in time to report for duty at the Chiefs' first OTA (Organized Team Activities). By doing so, Allen caved on an earlier vow to not sign until right before summer training camp. More importantly, Allen signaled that his previous hard-line stance was likely nothing more than posturing for a better contract.

Allen said the right things to cover his tracks. "That's the reason I'm back," said Allen.. "I told coach Edwards, 'Let's not get this mistaken. I'm back for my teammates and for you.' There is no other reason."

Such a statement provides a convenient excuse for Allen to do exactly what Carl Peterson wants him to do: put the team, and winning, ahead of his own desire for a big contract.

By characterizing the issue as a dispute with team management, Allen is apparently trying to preserve his status as a "Blue-collar" fan favorite and not be labeled as a money-seeking malcontent. This allows him to keep the door open for signing a long-term contract with the Chiefs if he performs well next season.

Allen lost a great deal of leverage in his contract negotiations by getting a second DUI, and his agent wanted to try to regain some lost ground. It would have been a horrible tactical decision by Allen to sign a contract after the DUI charge but before the suspension, when the situation is most uncertain. Requesting a trade, refusing to sign the contract, and announcing his intent to refuse to sign the qualifying tender until summer training camp were all tactical delaying moves designed to increase Allen's leverage.

It may have been unlikely another team would offer the Chiefs a 1st and 3rd round pick to acquire the rights to Allen, but you don't know unless you try. It was certainly unlikely Carl Peterson would cave in and give Allen the huge contract he hoped for, but again, it didn't hurt to try. When push came to shove, Allen did what was right for the team, for the fans, for the coach, for himself... he gave in to Carl Peterson's requirements.

If Allen gets at least 8 sacks this season, forces at least 3 fumbles, and keeps his nose extremely clean, he will be offered an incentive-laden contract that will pay him commensurately with his performance. However, very little of it will be guaranteed, so that the costs of another mistake by Allen will not punish the Chiefs. This dispute will be forgotten, and Jared Allen will be a Chief until his career ends, whether that end is from age or social mistakes.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:30 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Our Strategy is Working In Iraq « GWOT »

Even the mainstream news media is finding it difficult to ignore reports of success.

To remind you, this is what I said just last December, when everyone else was saying things looked bleak and even many original war supporters were jumping off the (admittedly pretty empty) bandwagon.

I've always been on the bandwagon that we hadn't come close to losing, but might need to readjust strategy.

I'm one of the last, true warbloggers (even if I don't blog about war much).

In fact, I've been blogging since early October 2002. I expect a cake and a party when Brain Fertilizer turns 5, okay?

Or at least a darn good wikipedia entry.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
News Flash: Toyota Isn't a Sports Car Maker « Car Issues »

This article says that Toyota's sportiest vehicle isn't, really.

I wasn't really surprised.

When was the last time Toyota had a great sports car? When was the last time Toyota had the hottest sports car in a market segment?

Nissan has had sporty cars, all-time classics like the 280z, 300z, and now the 350z. Their upscale line has the G35 that apparently challenges BMW for driving excitement.

Honda has always made great little fuel-efficient cars that are (nearly) infinitely-modifiable/tunable to be great little sprint cars. The CRX was pure fun. The Civic Si provided great road-racing excitement. The Fit is the most fun of all the little econoboxes.

Mazda is a poor man's BMW. Mazdaspeed 3 and 5 are designed to compete with the BMW 3 and 5 series, if I understand correctly. Well, not exactly compete...but give you 80% of the performance for 50% of the price, which is a bargain from the perspective of most paychecks. The Miata revived the roadster's popularity in the US, and remains the best in its class after more than a decade on the market. And, of course, the RX series is a truly unique sports car offering unique thrills.

But Toyota? Fast and/or exciting? Naw.

Toyota = efficient, comfortable transportation. Not flashy, but perfectly tuned to getting you there comfortably and safely for 80% of the population.

It's turned them into the world's largest carmaker, so I guess that ain't too shabby.

I have a '98 Corolla and an '01 Prizm (made by Chevy, but to Toyota specs on a pure Toyota design) and love 'em both. I'm convinced that no matter how wealthy I may one day be, I'm going to stick with a Corolla-sized and Corolla-powered concept. It suits me.

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Posted by Nathan at 08:09 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
Never Sleep (Except in the Car) « Jagged Alliance »

One interesting thing in Jagged Alliance 2:
Your characters tire the longer they are awake. But rest helps them recover. Sleep helps them recover faster.

...but they don't ever actually have to sleep. Continuing to rest for long enough time (during which they can be studying/practicing to improve an attribute) will fully replenish all energy points.

If they do happen to fall asleep because you worked them too long, you can go to the screen and click on their comatose body. They will rise wearily to their feet and sway with exhaustion...but you can then give them a study assignment which will make the most efficient use of their time.

But when traveling, you can't study anything, so you might as well let 'em sleep to get their energy up as rapidly as possible.

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Posted by Nathan at 05:49 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

June 18, 2007

And Another Thing! « Blogging »

I realize I get some hits from blogrolls every time I update. That's how the pinging/blogroll interaction works.

I understand that.

What I can't understand is, why are 90% of those hits from Ace of Spades? Is there some sort of crossover between our sites? Besides being conservatives, of course, we aren't much alike.


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Posted by Nathan at 10:34 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)
Jagged Alliance 2, Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Re-Revisited « Jagged Alliance »

Well, I'm starting over again on Jagged Alliance 2.

To commemorate the event, I've decided to do two things:
1) Start blogging about Jagged Alliance in all its forms, as I play them. Currently that amounts to an extremely heavy focus on JA2, as that is the game I've played over and over (without ever finishing) since 2002. I figure, I'm not blogging much recently, maybe if I blog about something I'm interested in, it might get me to open up the blog interface and start hacking away more often. It might turn this place into KC Chiefs + Jagged Alliance 2 Central, but there are worse things I could get known for.
2) I'm going to start a section called "Jagged Alliance" in my categories to reflect this old obsession (newly re-confessed).

Anyway, JA2 is a blast.

The reason I'm starting over is because I made a mistake by not training militia in Cambria right away. As it turns out, having something like 40-50 militia trained in Cambria is a requirement for being able to recruit Dr. Vince, not just a high village loyalty, as I assumed.

Dr. Vince's best attribute is that he seems to learn marksmanship and level up very quickly. He can be deadly with two silenced Mac-10s, especially if you put laser sights (improve accuracy), barrel extenders (extend range), and spring/bars (improve cycle speed) on them.

Plus, for some reason the .45 AP ammo was really lacking, and I want to make sure I buy as much as possible from Bobby Ray's Guns as early as possible, so that Vince (and maybe Fox...not sure I'm going to use her or not) have plenty of ammo in the end game.

I've also decided not to use Flo this time...she just requires too much time to get up to speed on marksmanship, strength, leadership...and then she's still way low on agility and health. Not worth it. Shank is the same way, but I may keep him for knife throwing...there was one battle this time that MD and Wolf (levels 6 and 5, respectively) killed something like 6 guys instantly with throwing knives. I usually let Shank and Dmitri get killed off to leave room for all the mercs I like and still be able to get Miguel and Carlos after freeing 5 villages...but without Flo, I could keep at least one. I'm also not sure I want to bother with Miguel and Carlos. Carlos is all-around weak. Miguel is good, being level 6 with 85 marksmanship to start with...but by the time I've freed 5 villages, that's a little less than average. But if I try to take 5 villages more quickly, the mercs probably won't be high enough level to take the 5th (Grumm) without doing the "save/reload until you get the result you want" cheat method...which I really want to minimize if I can. You really can't avoid it early when everyone sucks...

I also want to try and take Cambria early to get Vince even earlier, if possible.

And then I'm going to have 3 guys who will be my trouble-shooter team to seek out and take on all the counter-attacks, as well as spearheading all town attacks. The main one will be my personal merc, who will make the San Mona-Estoni run several times to acquire Compound 18 (makes armor better) and other stuff, as well as level up quicker, while earning cash in the Ultimate Fighting contests. The idea is that if I can get 2-3 guys to level 6-7 quickly, they might be able to take Grumm early enough to make recruiting Miguel and Carlos worth it. Everyone else will level up more slowly (having less opportunity to get the necessary kills), but that should even up after, I hope.

Here are some links for those interested in JA2:
Main page.
Jagged Alliance Galaxy
JA2 Wiki

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Posted by Nathan at 09:17 AM | Comments (28) | TrackBack (0)
Pet Peeve « Stuff Important to Me »

As I attempt to improve my communication ability (mostly, trying to be a better speaker), I'm growing more sensitive to others' speaking imperfections.

Most of them are no big deal. I'm surprised, frankly, by the number of people who repeat words as the speak (basically, a verbal pause which is bracketed by the repeated word...not quite stuttering...).

However, the only verbal tic that truly annoys me is when a person says something they feel is important, then trails off with an open-ended: "So..."

What? You said that statement, so what, exactly, is the conclusion you are failing to share with us? Do you lack the confidence necessary to provide the conclusion? Do you think the conclusion is obvious? If so, then why even imply there is a conclusion you are not verbalizing?!?!?


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Posted by Nathan at 08:49 AM | Comments (38) | TrackBack (0)

June 06, 2007

I'm With Fred « Politics As Usual »

I'm doing something I've never done before:
Supporting a political campaign with personal time, my blog, and a political donation.

I did not like any of the Republican candidates this cycle. I don't like Giuliani or Romney, and can't stand McCain. I could, perhaps, support Tom Tancredo, but he's already been labeled a nutcase by the Democratic-controlled mainstream media, so he would be unlikely to win a nomination.

But Fred Thompson is a guy I can get behind.

He's not perfect as a conservative, but he's very good.

He's a member of Hollywood...but an outsider, not brainwashed by the empty-headed, hypocritical liberalism there. He's a former member of the Senate and the Beltway, but an outsider there, too, and doesn't seem brainwashed by the greedy, cynical (and hypocritical) materialism there.

I think what I like best about him, however, is what many people will dismiss and castigate:

He's an actor.

President George W. Bush was correct in his principles. He used terrific strategy to implement the most important platforms of his administration, the Iraq liberation and tax cuts. But he couldn't sell them well enough. He was constantly on the defensive, and thus he hemorrhaged political capital like a fire hydrant. That resulted in having to compromise on too many issues, and surrender or failure on too many others, like social security reform.

Thompson can sell anything. He will put his critics on the defensive, if not on the run. He will be able to acquire political capital and spend it at need.

I think he is highly intelligent, and will be able to meet the demands of conservatives without compromising his integrity on things he doesn't agree with. What I mean is, he will be a servant of the people within the scope of his personal values. I believe he will do what the people need, even when it is not what the people want. He should be able to balance the differing demands of the societal conservatives and fiscal conservatives.

I support him for President in 2008.

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Posted by Nathan at 09:16 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)