Sunday, August 21, 2011

Mill Avenue Nights: Saturday, August 20th 2011

A night during which a drunken oaf trips on my cane and blames me

The most eventful strange thing to happen to me tonight took the shape of a drunken man tripping over my cane.

I stood listening to Vocab Malone (Christian evangelist) speak to a Muslim man—the man wore traditionally modest costume for his religion in the form of a long white shirt and a cylindrical cap (I am still discerning the name for this religious garb.) As I had been standing for too long, I leaned heavily on my cane; but I try my best to keep it as close to my leg as possible, however, it does stick out some.

I felt my cane jarred as if with a blow and a body fell nearby.

A drunken man had brushed past me so close that he caught his toe on my cane, stumbled, and fell about five feet away. It took me a moment to realize that he’d run into my cane and that’s why he fell. Dumbfounded by the fallen man a ways away from me I started for a moment.

He immediately became hostile, shouting, “Really? Really!? You just tripped me with your cane.”

His friends, however, didn’t agree. I furrowed my brow and started to say something but couldn’t figure out what to say—the man’s friends helped him stand while telling him, “No, you tripped yourself.”

The drunken man then started calling me a “fag” and insulting The Legend of Zelda, “Zelda sucks you fag.” I simply stared at him and held onto my pepper spray as his friends dragged him away. At first I couldn’t figure out why he felt the need to insult Zelda. Then I realized, I was wearing a Legend of Zelda T-shirt. Not that I care if he dislikes Zelda, I suppose he figured it would insult me. Also, I’m continually baffled by the mainstream social consideration that someone should be insulted if you intimate that they’re homosexual.

The hypermasculine macho culture that we belong to seems to believe that homosexuality is a threat to masculinity (or perhaps machoism) but by the most part, being macho doesn’t contain many advantages at all. Point-in-fact, if I were actually a “fag” as in a homosexual, his insults would be meaningless; and as that I am not, nor do I care if another male thinks that I am, the only thing insulting about him was his ignorance.

Fortunately, groups have a behavior conserving effect and his friends didn’t want him tangling with someone he didn’t know.

In order to trip on my cane, he had to brush within inches of my body without paying attention to his surroundings. Also, being drunk, he would have hugely delayed motor coordination and be unable to right himself in the situation that he lost his balance. His inebriation also led him to becoming belligerent.

I expect as a non-drunk person he’s probably a lot more amiable.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Notch vs. Bethesda Softworks: Quake 3 at Dawn!

After the threat of a lawsuit from Bethesda, Notch (the maker of Minecraft) challenged them to a duel. We’re still waiting for the bigger software developer to respond.

Notch Demands Satisfaction, Challenges Bethesda to Trial by Combat” by Kyt Dotson:

“I challenge Bethesda to a game of Quake 3,” proclaims Notch, proudly offering the gauntlet to his esteemed legal foe. “Three of our best warriors against three of your best warriors. We select one level, you select the other, we randomize the order. 20 minute matches, highest total frag count per team across both levels wins.”

While I wouldn’t have chosen Quake 3 myself, it seems like an excellent arena to test the mettle of the champions of both sides. However, the legal veracity of which a duel might be questionable. Notch might want to get his legal team to draft a contract that causes the outcome to become binding.

The stakes are simple, he explains: “If we win, you drop the lawsuit. If you win, we will change the name of Scrolls to something you’re fine with.”

Champion trial-by-combat is an old tradition that has grown out of a multitude of cultures who sometimes used the show of armed prowess as a deciding factor between armies to reduce bloodshed. However, contemporary societies including Sweden and the United States—the respective countries the contestants are headquartered in—have grown into legalistic bureaucracies and generally settle things using regulations and money.

Minecraft Creator Challenges Bethesda to Quake 3 DM Over Patent Case” at GamePolitics.com.

Will Bethesda accept this challenge? Probably not, as the Skyrim development team had nothing to do with the legal action, and it's highly unlikely that its parent company's lawyers even know what Quake 3 Arena is…

Bethesda has a strong chance for some good PR here; but these corporations very rarely play to their fans.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mill Avenue Nights: Friday, August 12th 2011

I couldn’t remain on the Ave more than 20 minutes even at 10pm at night after encountering sweltering heat and high humidity. The oppressive atmosphere, however, didn’t discourage many of the townesfolk from idling on the red bricks and enjoying the night.

I found myself amused to discover a busker outside the Post Office bearing an acoustic guitar who, caught up by a passerby, allowed her to borrow his instrument to play “The Timewarp” from Rocky Horror Picture Show. She did a passable job at singing the song, although, for some reason whenever I hear it I always feel like it needs itself a hellish chorus of awkwardly unmelodic voices from an audience.

Otherwise, we had a somewhat dull night on the Ave. People came and went from bars, walked the streets in their revere, and the lights in W6 dimly lit from the newly opened lofts in the Tombstone Towers.

Let’s do the Time Warp again!

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Mill Avenue Nights: Saturday, August 6th 2011

A few nights now, there have been drummers set up in front of the Post Office and that had displaced the evangelical preachers across the street. However, this evening there were no drummers and thus they set up in front of the post office.

We saw a few of the usual folks standing around, including Marcus,

That’s when Arienne and I were approached by an older gentleman of notable more than average height. He attempted to offer Arienne a Way of the Master fake-money tract depicting President Cleveland. (Of course, after I got home and examined the tract, I discovered it’s in Spanish.) After introductions, we learned that his name was Ken.

Like most of the Way of the Master evangelicals his approach is decidedly deep in the propaganda training than it was much personality. It took me a while to determine that this was his first time on Mill Ave and that he’d come to the Ave with the other evangelicals after meeting Tom.

He spent some time using a lot of different elements of propaganda on me and even held a long conversation with Arienne. He seemed a little bit ignorant of the history of his religion but has spoken about tightening up on his understanding of the lack of historical evidence for mythological characters like Jesus (even going so far to repeat a common canard that suggests that there’s more evidence for Jesus than Abraham Lincoln. A slogan that’s as patently false as absurd.)

After many minutes of absorbing his knowledge of Way of the Master propaganda, and letting Arienne converse with him, I decided to see if I could speak to him as a person. As he was new to Mill Ave, he seemed pretty zealous about selling his viewpoint; but none of it is anything that anyone extracultural would want to buy. As Arienne actually belongs to his religion, I figured that I’d best observe his interaction with her to get a baseline, especially if all I was going to get happened to be mirror-speak.

Eventually, something unexpected happened and Ken started talking to Omni (the Reverend √úbermensch Omnicynic) and that conversation became interesting. Not a person to sit down in front of a challenge, Omni cultivated a discussion of Christian mythology that painted YHVH as an ineffective deity who fled in the face of rivals and needed his followers to do everything for him. I couldn’t quite follow along with everything discussed; but I did hear Omni speak about much of the comparative mythology.

After some lively discussion, Omni tired, claiming that Ken had begun to repeat himself. He quit both the conversation and the Ave at that point.

Eventually, however, after Crystal arrived on the scene Ken actually sat down with us and held a much more personal conversation bereft of the propaganda that advanced a personal dialogue. We ended up in a rather lively conversation about the origin of birthmarks, freckles, and the pigment mutation in recent European ethnic descent that causes us to have much lighter skin tone than African ethnicities. The conversation wound on to discussing aberrant psychology such as schizophrenia and Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Ken revealed to us that a relative worked in a mental hospital and spoke a little bit about the diagnosis of Asperger’s syndrome patients and its apparent prevalence in the population. Elaine Mercer from Black Hat Magick exhibits some of the spectrum of Asperger’s syndrome—as similar and fantasized about in the geek community—but even these examples don’t well reflect the reality of the condition.

I enjoyed the time I got to actually sit and speak with Ken as another person. I don’t know that I can adequately approach his cultural propaganda; he lacked the apparent cynicism and paternalistic simpering of many of the other preachers who speak down to passersby and could actually be an asset to the culture of the Ave.

Chicago Still on Mill Ave

Glad to see that Chicago is still bringing his interesting bottle-tab outfit out to the Avenue. He’s laconic, but smiling black neo-punk who fashioned his wardrobe out of metal bits and bottle-tabs; the effect produces a chainmail armor and coif effect as it’s a hoodie, a shirt, and a pair of pants.

When I hit the bricks, I often find him sitting near the clock.

Don’t Know Where I’ll be in a Month

I’ll miss the Ave the most.

Diablo III: Eschews offline play and adds cash auction house

In an actual that generated a giant swell of vitriol among fans, Diablo III will not have offline play—the entire game and campaign will require an Internet connexion. In related news, a Blizzard executive appears baffled that the fans are very pissed about this.

Also related to this happens to be something that I wrote about which involves the addition of the cash auction house to the game. Something fans have been mixed on.

It’s hard to say exactly how these two elements will change the already extremely popular Diablo franchise or the highly anticipated game; but it’s easy to say that Blizzard, as always, is at the forefront of experimenting with extremely effective business tactics.

No strangers to angering their fans in World of Warcraft; perhaps they just saw it as time to get the goats of their Diablo fans. Many of my friends and peers in the gaming community have already revealed that they may not want to buy D3 due to the online-only move. Still, it’s hard to dismiss the power its popular momentum.

Link, via GameOgre; and link, via SiliconANGLE.