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Midnight Crew Discussion

For the Midnight Crew legion in Star Wars: Force Collection. ^_^

So, we’ve had three members leave the legion. Whether they were the same person or three different people doesn’t matter at this point. The reasons why they left appear to be due to the fact that they want to be in a hardcore legion, whereas Midnight Crew was created as a casual legion. They wanted to send fighters all the time (hardcore, baby!), apparently even if that meant spending real money to do so, rather than follow strategy. Blah, blah, blah.

Since they announced their decision to depart, Malvegil contacted me with an idea that I think is a good one, especially considering our small size and casual playing membership. This would be forming a new legion from scratch and abandoning Midnight Crew.

On the upside, starting over from scratch would probably make things a bit easier for us, especially in terms of starship upgrades. Further, we could pick a starship based on strategy, not on some mindless philosophy that thinks if one isn’t sending fully charged fighters every round, you aren’t playing properly. By strategy, this would be opting for starships heavier in shields, which we didn’t do in the last starship voting. (The ones before that I think were chosen because of what looked cool to whomever was in charge at the time.)

The downside is that we’d be starting fresh in a new legion. So, if we decide to create a new legion, we’d have to make sure we spent all of our legion points with Midnight Crew (buying silver tickets, vehicle blueprints, etc.) in order to “cash out” before moving to the new legion.

The reason I wanted to put this up on my personal blog is that I felt it would be easier to have a discussion. So if you reply, make sure to note who you are in the game. ^_^

With that, what do you think? Should we move to a new legion or no?

(Update: All comments go through moderation, so if your comment doesn’t show up after a bit, it probably means I haven’t gotten around to passing it through.)

Star Wars Force Collection-01

Remembering 9/11/2001

Remembering 9/11/2001

Remembering 9/11/2011In my life, there have been a number of tragic, momentous occasions such as the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster or the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, which are burned in my mind.  However, the events of 9/11 trump all of this simply because this was the modern day equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbor, only instead of a foreign nation using military assets to attack the United States, Muslim terrorists used our own commercial planes as weapons attack us and attempt to bring us down as a nation.  As such, I thought I’d reflect on how that day was for me now that ten years have passed.

For me, the day was a normal work day when I awoke that Tuesday morning. I had a great job that paid me a ton of money on top of the perks.  Heck, I was even planning a trip back to Japan to see my old stomping grounds the following year.  Life was pretty good.

As was my normal routine, I woke up at 06:300MT as I normally did back then and turned on the TV to the news so that I’d have a rundown of what was happening in the world as I got dressed.  I got into the shower and took my time.  When I got out and had dried off, I could hear the announcer stating that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center.  I paused to look at the TV and the smoke rising before heading into my spacious, walk-in closet.  I wondered what possibly could have happened to have caused a plane to crash into a skyscraper like that.

While I was in the closet, I heard the announcer say that they had just witnessed another plane crash into the other tower.  I ran out of the closet to look at the TV, seeing the new plume of smoke rising.  My first thought was, “This was no accident” and I found myself annoyed at the news guy who was reminding folks that there was not any evidence as yet that there was terrorism involved.  OK, technically, that may have been true but in my mind, there was no doubt that this was terrorism and the work of Muslims who want to advance their ideal world where Islam is the only religion and the world is one big Caliphate.

It was a struggle to finish getting ready for work and I had to drag myself away from the TV and get out the door so I could drive the ~30-minutes(give or take, depending on traffic) to the light rail station for a 10-minute ride to downtown Denver.  I immediately turned on the local news radio station and they were reporting that another plane had crashed into the Pentagon.

I was horrified as I drove in, listening to the non-stop coverage of three planes that had crashed, not only killing the folks in the planes, but killing unknown numbers of folks in the buildings they crashed into.  That horror grew as the news broke that the first Trade Tower had collapsed.  Whereas previous attempts to bring down the World Trade Center towers had resulted in criminal trials, I knew that this attempt would mean war, plain and simple.

The train ride to downtown Denver seemed longer than normal to me, mainly because everyone was talking about the plane crashed and the destruction of one of the Twin Towers. Rumors were everywhere with one rumor saying that all major cities with skyscrapers would be targeted.  That didn’t bode well for me since I was heading for a 42-story building, where I worked on the 41st floor.

Finally arriving at my destination, I decided that it might be a good idea to go ahead and pick up breakfast on the way in since my colleagues and I would likely be glued to the Internet looking for news.  When I made it up to the 41st floor, no one was working and everyone was talking about what was going on.  It was then that I learned that the second tower had gone down.  Rumors were that the Air Force had shot down another plane but that there were more heading to different destinations.  No one knew if Denver was on the target list.

Naturally, getting anything from the Internet proved to be mostly hopeless as all of the major news websites had crashed.  Our local news radio station’s website was also down if I recall correctly, and I think they were doing audio streaming in 2001.  I remember CNN’s website was changed to something pretty low-key to better handle the traffic but provided only very basic information and was slower than molasses to access.  I remember saying a prayer for those who’d lost loved ones as a new rumor mill hit our tower — a jumbo jet was in route to downtown Denver but no one was sure which building was the target.

We all started putting our stuff together when our second line manager sent out an e-mail telling everyone to stay put and to get to work.  If there was a problem, we would be told of it and then at that point, we could leave.  This e-mail provokes a lot of anger, myself included, as our department and the departments that supported us (developers, DBA’s, system admins, etc.) all had the ability to work from home.  As such, we all decided that we were going home and the 2nd line could fire us if he didn’t like it.  After all, our lives were worth more than this job, no matter how well paying it was.

Waiting for the train to take me back to the Park-and-Ride put me into a further foul mood and I regretted not going ahead and driving in all the way and spending the $15 to park (my train pass was a benefit from my company).  It was a relief when I finally got to my car and could turn on the news, but I was eager to get home and actually watch what was transpiring.  One thing the radio did was clear up some of the rumors we’d been hearing and made me think that maybe the worst was over.

When I got back to my apartment, I immediately flicked on the TV to see the live broadcast before sitting down at my desk to connect my PC to my job’s network and sign onto everything like normal.  I checked my e-mail and couldn’t help but laugh as we had a new e-mail from our second line which informed us that we could work from home.

The rest of the day is kind of a blur to me.  While I was logged into the network to be able to do work, I only did those absolutely essential items required of me and spent the rest of the time glued to the TV.  As a former military member, I thought about those whom I was sure would be sent into combat and hoped that we would unleash the “wrath of God” upon those who’d dared do such a thing to us, thus hopefully getting things over quickly with the least amount of casualties for us.

Now that ten years have passed, it saddens me to remember that for a few days following the attacks back then, it didn’t matter if you were liberal or conservative, we were going to make these Islamic bastards pay for what they’d done.  It sickens me to know that it didn’t take long for the politics of things to rear their ugly head to where now, we have elected officials who’d rather play politically correct games for fear of the media or for fear of being branded an Islamophobe.

It frustrates me to know that as a nation, we’ve had problems with Middle Eastern militant Muslims since shortly after our country was founded. The Islamic Barbary Pirates forced the United States to pay MASSIVE amounts of tribute, resulting in our nation creating a new navy in 1794 to protect ourselves. The demands for tribute continued, so in 1801, President Jefferson refused to pay any more tribute and the First Barbary War started, lasting until 1805. We won but the War of 1812 against Great Britain saw the return of Muslim pirates attacking and plundering U.S. ships.  In 1815, the Islamic Regency of Algiers declared war on the U.S. for not paying required tribute.  The U.S. responded by sending a large naval force to the area and after a brief conflict, we forced Algiers to back down.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, for a time, Islamic nations didn’t seem much of a threat to us.  The British took control over what is now known as Israel and Jordan, both being part of the Mandate of Palestine.  As I understand it, the British then used the Jordan river as a border to create the Mandate of Transjordan,  which was designated for Arabs and Muslims while the now MUCH smaller Mandate of Palestine section would be for Jewish immigrants. Transjordan became an independent country (Jordan) in 1946 and Israel was made a country in 1948, leading to numerous wars and conflicts between Islamic nations and the Jewish state.  However, from the standpoint of the U.S., these were simply middle eastern conflicts and nothing much to do with us directly.

In the 1970’s, all that began to change with the Islamic revival, where the Arab Oil Embargo was the first flexing of Islamic power.  That escalated with the Iranian Revolution where the Shah of Iran was deposed and for a very short time, a government that was non-theocratical was created. That ended with the take over of the U.S. Embassy in Iran in 1979 and the resignation of said interim Iranian government. From then on, Islamic revolutionaries all over looked for ways to attack the U.S., whether it be by hijacking planes, planting bombs on warships, planting bombs in buildings, or doing “whatever” to fight us.  Throughout all this, our country never really took the threat seriously (in my opinion) and sadly, despite the events of 9/11, it seems that we still don’t really take the threats that seriously, other than to put ourselves out lest we be seen as Islamophobic.  *_*  We fight two wars but in both, we still held back out of political fear rather than getting the job done and getting the heck out of Dodge.  I fear that the result of this will be bad juju when we finally do pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan.

*sigh*

So, this 9/11, I will remember those who have died in the long-running war between militant Islam, who would see the entire world converted to Islam or die, and the United States.  I hope that one day, our nation will take the threat seriously, beyond extra screening of old folks and the like at airports, and that an ultimate victory, such as we had against Japan and Germany in World War II, would result in peaceful relations between Islamic states and the United States.  Such is the dream.  Somehow, given how weak and self-involved our political ruling elite in Washington are, we’ll be in conflict with militant Islam for the rest of our lives.  Too bad the leadership of 1801 and 1815 doesn’t exist today.

Tales of Tribal Wars

Allow me to bore you guys with a tale from another world and another time (like 2007 even). ^_^

There’s this online game called Tribal Wars where the object of the game is to build up a village, gain troops, join or form a tribe, and battle and take over other villages (whether those villages are owned by someone or abandoned). It is a bit of harmless fun but it can get a bit time consuming, especially when you gain control over a large number of villages. Since the game never stops, you can go to bed with 20 villages and wake up with 15 after people attack you and take over your former villages. That’s the nature of the game.

A group of us had been on Tribal Wars when the game first started and then quit for various reasons by the time the game had grown to three game servers. Then a year or so later, a group of us noticed one of our comrades (“D”) still playing. The rest of us thought, “You know, maybe it would be fun to play again. We’ll just start our own tribe in one of the new worlds with archers and play for fun.” And so, eight of us formed a tribe for some fun.

So there we are, with a few strangers who decided to join us, minding our own business when a large tribe decides to start wiping us out. Well, that sucks, but that’s part of the game. After all, its easier to take out people in little tribes when you’ve got a big tribe to back you up. No big deal.

I was prepared to lose my two villages under an onslaught of a dozen different attacks, some with nobles (those are required to conquer a village). They decided to just send everything at me. With all these attacks coming, I decided I wasn’t going to go down without a fight. After all, why not have some fun as I’m wiped out? I had a ton of swords and spears defending my main village, and a smaller, but still nice number of troops in my 2nd village. I decided to dump everything into my main village.

Well, attack one came and the attacker lost a ton of light cavalry. Attack two came and the attacker lost an even greater number of light cavalry, about 3000 axemen, rams and catapults. The next attack had a noble in it, but they lost it too (BWAH!HA!HA!). I’d taken some heavy losses to be sure and even with all the support I’d put in the main village, eventually the math of defeat would hit me at which point I’d just quit (though I’d have the option to start over in a new village in an undeveloped area of the map).

I had sent some in-game e-mails to some of the attackers for the heck of it. One guy told me he’d organized this attack. OK, no big deal. Another one sent me an e-mail about how I was dead. What?! How is this game going to kill me? Loser.

After The attackers lost a another noble in their 3rd attack, the “Organizer” e-mailed me and told me something along the lines of, “Stop resisting us! We are going to take your village whether you like it or not. However, if you stop resisting us, we will allow you to keep your other village. Comply or we will wipe you off of this world.”

Oh no! What ever will I do? In the course of playing a GAME, how dare I make them pay for the village they are about to noble? Whah!

I absolutely hate it when people seem to think I have some of my life-force tied into this game. It is a bloody game for crying out loud. Yet these guys (and one girl) are acting like this is some life-or-death struggle with consequences to me personally.

So I e-mailed Organizer back and told him to get a life as this was only a game and frankly, I didn’t care how many troops he and his tribe mates lost.

“You’ve just forfeited your 2nd village! Prepare to die.”

Yeah, whatever loser. If you think that’s going to make me lose sleep, you’ve got another thing coming.

Savage Piper, who’d been looking for an excuse to lessen his TW time, decided to launch some attacks at the one chick who’d lost the most troops thus far attacking me. I too launched my offensive troops (which I made sure weren’t in my village during any of the attacks, thus were still at full strength) at her because we realized she was the weak link. She’d lost nearly everything attacking me.

Our counter-attacks brought a flurry of e-mails. Some said “we are going to kill you” and “we aren’t going to noble your 2nd village, we will make it an example to all who defy us” in addition to other stuff.

Sheeze. I guess when the Tribal Wars servers go down, you must have a stroke. Losers.

The girl, whom we counter-attacked, wrote us crying, “Why are attacking me? That’s so unfair. I lost all of my arm-mees so why are you attacking me? Stop attacking me!”

What?! You send attacks at me and then cry when we counter-attack you? What a loser. We sent her more attacks.

One of the actual nice members of the tribe, who had a village just below me, sent me an e-mail saying, “Sorry about this dude. You know how it is.” Yeah, I do know and I told him that I hoped he’d be the one to get the village, just because he wasn’t being a TW-loser.

Well, he did take it, but the funny thing is, his tribe punished him for doing it since they decided to give it to Crybaby because she’d lost so much. So he ended up being wiped off the map.

When Savage Piper and I saw this, we continued our harassment until they wiped me out of my 2nd village. Savage Piper continued to harass them, but they told him he wasn’t worth their time and they did nothing about him.

Really? Heh!heh!heh! Doom on you, suckers.

Savage Piper took a month to build up an offensive army to destroy one village. Sometimes, bastards and losers need to be reminded that a game is a game, not real life. In the grand scheme of things, our attack won’t matter much, but it will take our chosen victim’s village several days to recover. The fact that they have to waste time doing that instead of doing other stuff they’d rather do made us giggle.

During that time, they took over more villages and began to bloviate on how god-like they are. That made our plotting even more fun. Clearly, who would dare attack them as they are members of a humongous tribe? “Bow down!” they’d say. “We are gods. We rule our continent. No one may defy us. Death to all who are not us!”

Eventually, Savage Piper reminded them that this is just a game with an attack that included multiple fake attacks to prevent them from knowing which village was going to go down. The attack, which took time to reach its target, immediately drew all kinds of hate mail. There were threats about killing Savage Piper in painful ways, calling him various slurs that would get folks charged with hate crimes in the real world, and other threatening things that had us laughing.

After the attack hit and Savage Piper and I laughed about the massive pain he’d just inflected upon one of those losers. That brought another flurry of rage-filled rantings that had Savage Piper and I shaking our heads. Yep, its a game and some folks take it way to seriously.

Savage Piper and I went on to play on other servers until we got bored and quite forever. In that time, I don’t think we ever encountered people who took the game even half as serious as the losers we battled with in this story. Frankly, I just can’t understand how someone can take a game so seriously when games are supposed to be fun.

Computers and Cigarettes

My friend Tacos Rule sent me this image.

I saw this and laughed. I had a flashback to my first roommate in Japan. He chain-smoked at times, ash falling all over his Commodore 128 as he’s play a version of Ultima IV, which he’d hacked (a simple slingshot could kill a dragon). Most of his caloric intake was from generic sodas and sadly, his bathing habits were pretty infrequent. Needless to say, it was a bad combination all the way around and I was one happy so-and-so when I changed rooms and moved in with my best friend.

Ironically enough, someone told me that my former roommate met a pretty Japanese girl, got his act together (stopped smoking, started showering regularly), and got married. I hope that is true.

PS: Taco’s Rule tells me that the image on the monitor is photo shopped.

UPDATE: Because not everyone goes to the individual pages or checks out the comments, Zimon66 posted the thread where Tacos Rule’s doctored image came from. This is one of the most shocking things I’ve ever seen. I can’t wait to see the reaction of Tacos Rule, Savage Piper, and Red Baron when they see this. *_*

http://www.houston-imports.com/forums/showthread.php?t=486938

Thanks a ton, Zimon66!

Another Insect Visitor

I got home Sunday morning and found a praying mantis on the window screen. The critter wasn’t very large, but I just had to get a picture. I’m sure it appreciated my spoiling its breakfast plans (just look at the way it is looking at me ^_^; ).

Sorry about that, Little One. There are plenty of other insects and spiders all over that you can eat. ^_^

Sleep!

Man, I get a few days off to get some things done and to my amazement, I have had the darnedest time trying to convert from a night shift mode to a day mode. Every stinking night, I wake up at 02:30 and then I’m awake for a few hours before crashing again. Thursday, I got up at 09:00 and thought, “No naps today. I’ll keep myself awake and that way on Thursday night, I won’t have a problem.” It was difficult, but I managed to do it and yet at 02:30 on the dot, I’m wide awake again. *sigh* So much for the cooler temperatures and the rain helping me sleep.

Oh well. I feel some heavy caffeine coming my way today. ^_^;

Password Nightmares

Earl Commander (11:43 PM) – 3004-335 Passwords must not match words in the dictionary.
Earl Commander (11:44 PM) – 3004-602 The required password characteristics are:
a maximum of 2 repeated characters.
a minimum of 2 characters not found in old password.
a minimum of 5 alphabetic characters.
a minimum of 3 non-alphabetic characters.
a minimum of 8 characters in length.

Don’t Waste Food!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1032605/As-supermarket-prices-spiral-Brown-tells-families-Stop-wasting-food.html
http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/green-living/britain-declares-war-on-food-waste-861250.html
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article4282571.ece