Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Straight No Chaser, 10 years later

Their original clip, from 10 years ago, has been taken down. They're 10 years older and some of them are having just a shade of trouble hitting the really high notes, but the A Capella group from Indiana University are still doing an excellent job with their rendition of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

I hope it makes you smile as much as it does me.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus, or just plain Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Another one rides the bus

This morning while waiting for the bus, a (what's the PC term?) Residentially Challenged Man wandered up, scratching himself, fidgeting, and doing things your typical RC person is wont to do, like slapping himself and yelling at things only he can see.

I debated (with myself) the merits of calling my local P.D. but really, what had this fellow done other than be Residentially Challenged? That really shouldn't be a crime (and I doubt it is), and while he did look like he could use the attention of someone who'd take better care of him than he was himself, would my local P.D. be able to satisfy that role in his life? And considering the Bus Station is under the jurisdiction of the Sheriff's Department, not the local P.D., my friendly, neighborhood RCM would probably end up just getting a ride into downtown and wind up a few blocks from where I work.

He wasn't hurting anyone, and didn't really appear dangerous, so I figured what with it being Hanukkah/Christmas/Kwanza/Winter Solstice, why not just let my fellow man be.

A Metro Bus came through and the RCM got all excited, but this particular Bus was Not In Service so it just drove on by without stopping, and the RCM calmed down (somewhat) and resumed his fidgeting and pacing. Then a Foothill Transit Bus pulled up at the station and the RCM jumped up and trotted over to the door, but as this Bus terminated at the Bus Station the RCM was once again disappointed. Then my Bus finally arrived and everyone in line got excited, but the RCM was more so than most.

Ignoring the line of passengers he trotted up to the door and got lucky. Normally the Drivers of the Express Buses into downtown close the front door when they go back to check their passengers and make sure everyone has paid the extra fare to ride into town, but this morning's driver didn't do that; he left the front door open.

The RCM pushed his way in front of the first person in line and when the driver was halfway down the bus he made his move and leaped aboard. Taking a couple of quick steps he plopped down into the first available seat, and his new neighbor immediately switched seats. I watched as the Bus Driver got to the back of the bus, checked his last passenger, then turned and made his way back towards the front. Surely he'd notice RCM and realize he hadn't been there earlier but RCM's sheer audacity paid off and the Driver walked past him without blinking, or even wrinkling up his nose.

For gaming the system and getting a free ride into downtown, we salute you, Mr. Smarter-than-you-look Residentially Challenged Man!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Fable II

Does Microsoft really need to sell their X-Box so badly that they'll force gamers to buy it just to play Fable II?

Considering you can't play Halo on the PC (or we'd spank those console players arses, and they know it), it really shouldn't be a surprise, but it's still fucking annoying. And no, I'm not going to buy an X-Box just to play Fable II...I already have an X-Box, it's called a PC, and it kicks the X-Box's arse.

Fucking Microsoft.

/rant off

Thursday, December 11, 2008

They play how much, now?

According to GigaOM, in Q2/2006 Blizzard made $30,000,000 from their 5,000,000 Chinese subscribers who, GigaOM quotes (but from where I'm not sure), pay approx. US4¢/hr to play.

$30m per quarter means $10m/month (on average).
$10m / 4¢ (per hour) = 250,000,000 hours.
250m hours / 5m players = 50 hours.
So on average, each Chinese player plays WoW for...just 50 hours per month?

Oddly enough, that really isn't much.

When I used to play, I could easily play for 2-3 hours every weeknight, plus the same (or more) on weekends. I'd be up early on weekends and get in a good couple of hours before Liz would be up, and then sometimes get in another hour or two after that as well. We'd go out somewhere for the afternoon/evening, get home, and I could easily put in another couple of hours before bed.

2-3 hours per weeknight + 12 hours per weekend (both days) = 22-25 hours per week.
4 weeks + 3/4 'extra' days per month = 100+ hours of WoW per month.

So I played twice as much as the average Chinese player, and I was just a casual-hardcore player.

True hardcore players would put in even more time, possibly as much as 150 hours per month. Raiding on multiple weeknights (4 hours per) would easily jack your monthly hours up that high.

I know what you're saying. What about Chinese Gold Farmers. They're on 24/7 (except Tuesdays). Allowing downtime for Tuesdays, let's say 29 days per month, at 24 hours per day, = approx. 700 hours. So one Chinese Gold Farmer = approx. 14 recreational players.

Unless...all of the Chinese players are Gold Farmers. How ironic would that be.

Assuming the average Chinese player is on for 50 hours, and the average Chinese Gold Farmers is on for 700 hours, given that there is 5,000,000 of them and together they play for a combined 250,000,000 hours, I'm sure there's a quadratic formula that would let you work out the ratio of Players to Farmers. I'm good with Maths, but I can't be stuffed working it out.

Anyone want to take a shot at it?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Graffiti: Art, or Vandalism?

I thought I'd expand on the conversation/comments started by my last Post.

IMO, whether Graffiti is Art or Vandalism depends on the graffiti itself, and on the "canvas" that was used.

When we first moved into our townhouse our communal letterbox (that we shared with 6 neighbors) came with a piece of lumber across the top. About 3' wide, 12" tall, painted white, it proved an irresistible target, so I wasn't too surprised when I came home from work one day to see something unintelligible scribbled across it. But we'd been painting the house that past weekend so I happened to have a couple of cans of white paint in the garage, and as soon as I'd parked my car I was back out the front, paint & brush in hand.

When painted/written under a larger piece of work I could acknowledge that this:
is an artist's signature. But when it's scrawled in black marker across a letterbox it's nothing but senseless vandalism. I obliterated it with a coat of white paint (not this piece specifically).

A couple of days later it was back. Maybe the same Tagger, maybe not, I don't know; I lost the ability to read Scribble when I graduated from Kindergarten.

I painted over it again.

About a week went by before the Taggers struck again, and probably within hours of them scribbling their nonsense on my letterbox I'd once again erased it.

It was almost six months before they Tagged us again.

They were still around. I'd see their work up and down the street, on other letterboxes, For Sale signs, even spray painted on hedges, but for six months they left us alone. And when they finally did hit us I was back out there, painting over it again.

It didn't piss me off, in fact I got a smug sense of satisfaction by imagining the Tagger coming by later to admire his work, and seeing that his biggest Tag was already gone, just hours after he'd put it up.

That's Tagging. It's graffiti, and it's vandalism. It's exactly the same as your dog pissing on and marking every rock, tree & street sign when you take him for a walk.
"This is mine! And this is mine! Oh, this? This is mine, too! And this! It's mine as well!"

No, this letterbox is mine!

Now if the Taggers had shown a little bit of style and creativity, I might have left their work alone. If they'd done something like this:

or even this:

I'd have thought, "That's pretty cool! I like it!" and it could have stayed.

But when a dog takes a piss up against your letterbox it's only natural to grab your hose and clean it off. Or you piss right back, and you keep on doing that, and eventually the dog comes through saying, "This is mine! And this! And this, too! And...oh! This? No. This is yours."

Monday, December 08, 2008


I've got about 100 posts left to Tag and I've noticed Blogger's main Edit Comments page allows you to Tag a bunch of posts all at once...except without exploding an entry, the title doesn't always tell me what it's about, especially when you're looking at a 2 y/old post.

Also I can only apply 1 tag at a time to multiple posts and that seems counterproductive. I'd need to explode every post, look at the first Tag, then go through every post to see if that Tag applies to that post, if so, check it, do that for every Post, then apply that first Tag. Uncheck every post, review every post with respect to the second Tag, apply second Tag, uncheck every post, and so on.

I think it's going to be faster to review every post, apply relevant Tags, then republish it.

I don't know if that means I'm about to spam the Readers of anyone who subscribes to my Blog or not, or if it doesn't count for Edits and re-publishes.

If it does, I apologize in advance for the next 100 or so spammed Posts just for me to get my Tags up-to-date.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What a boring life we must lead :P

Almost a week since I last posted. Nothing to discuss, perhaps? Not even a rant?

Okay, so Thanksgiving was in there somewhere. Interesting bit of Thanksgiving trivia, not sure how accurate it is. Apparently 600 million pounds of Turkey is eaten each year on Thanksgiving Day. I don't know about you, but that seems an awful lot of Turkey.

Now when they say "Thanksgiving Day", do they just mean the Thursday? Coz I get Friday off as well as Thursday (perk of being a government lackey). Also, given there's barely 300 million folks in the U.S., total, that means every man, woman & child has to personally account for 2 pounds of Turkey (on average). Okay, so you eat 1 pound of turkey for lunch, then another pound for dinner. Done, right? How many kids do you know that would eat a full pound of meat in one sitting? That's the patties from four Quarter Pounders. Actually, it's probably the patties from five Quarter Pounders, because I doubt a Quarter Pounder patty weighs a full quarter of a pound after you fry it up. When you put it that way, a pound of meat is a fucking (sorry) shit load (sorry again) of meat.

So somehow every man, woman and child eats 10 Quarter Pounder patties worth of Turkey on Thanksgiving Day? I highly doubt that. Now I realize some people will eat that much, and some will eat even more, but I still find it hard to believe that as a nation we can consume 600 million pounds of Turkey in one day. More likely, it's 600 million pounds of Turkey sold for Thanksgiving Day, but there's no actual proof that all that Turkey gets eaten.

Monday night we decided to get a Christmas Tree, just a little one, about 4' tall, from one of the local lots. The young guy that helped us out tied the tree on top of our Highlander all by himself. I figured it was appropriate to tip him, and as he'd done such a good job I figured he deserved more than the single dollar I had, so I bummed another dollar off Liz, folded them together, then palmed them and handed them over during the Thank You handshake. I don't know whether or not they're supposed to pool their tips, but I figured he'd helped us out and tied the tree on our car by himself, he deserved to keep his $2 tip. The subtle way he slid the bills into his hip pocket without even looking at them first told me he was probably supposed to share his tips with the others, so I'm glad I tipped him on the sly. I'm sure the other guys don't share all their tips either so as long as they're all shorting each other, it's okay, right ;)

The kids had a great time decorating the tree when we got home, and we only had to shove Willow away a couple of times before she got the hint that the tree is not a new toy. We took a few pics but Liz hasn't uploaded them yet, and she's hidden the camera away somewhere, so at this point in time, you'll have to use your imagination ;)

*Edit - apparently the pictures were up...I just couldn't find them :P