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Ashur Blog

Politica Codex II

I watched the Presidential Debates on FOX last night. Before we start, I will be voting for George W. Bush this upcoming election unless John Kerry can really pull through. Anyway, I am not a partisan of the Republican party. I thought George W. Bush did decent, but a really strong performance and argument would have definetly helped him a lot more. He's dropped in the polls, which no one is really sure if they mean anything, but I still predict he will win. Senator John Kerry had a lot of good points and a solid presentation, and I thought he did what was expected of him for the most part. Let's face it though, George W. Bush has never been very good in front of the camera, or at answering questions, or at debating. Despite that, I still think he did a good job, he just was a little too monotonous.

One aspect I think he played out was "It's hard work!" Everyone knows establishing the Iraq as a beacon of democracy in the Middle East is hard work, and stating it maybe once or twice was reinforcing, but as he used it the third, fourth, fifth, etc. times it kind of became a scapegoat; "What? It's hard work, duh!" For this reason, near the end of the debates it got a little boring, though I think both candidates handled themselves well.

Senator John Kerry bothers me, though, because he is a really negative guy. He's also wishy-washy in many sorts, and he doesn't do a great job justifying all of his arbitrary senate decisions. If you give the President of the United States, the Commander in Chief of our forces, authority to go into Iraq and overthrow a tyrannical dictator who has done nothing but oppress his people and ignore United Nations mandates, you have got to expect the President is going to do something. He also stated he "specifically and carefully outlined a plan to go into Iraq" - to be quite honest, senators just don't have that much power in the federal government, and I think he may have been lying a little there.

A lot of what Senator John Kerry says also seems to be dysinformation as well. He complained about George W. Bush not investing in fire departments, police departments, etc. and then George W. Bush fires back with the fact he spent $3.2 billion upgrading the aforementioned facilities. I also thought George W. Bush had a good point when he pointed out that you need a President that will stick true to his plans and words, and not be such a puppet of the Court of Public Opinion. It seems Senator John Kerry just comes out and supports whatever the public is supporting at the time; the Senator changes his opinions a lot, and it is definetly going to hurt him in the upcoming 2004 elections.

The debate was interesting, and I look forward to the upcoming election.

Well, today was bad.

Today sucked. Why? Because it just did. Nothing bad happened to me, but wherever I went, I decided it would be better somewhere else, and then when I went there, it sucked. So, yeah, today sucked. I'm so glad I am back home.

Great Club Songs

...for your personal collection. If you like music you hear at clubs, go and pick up Supersonica 2, which is like the holy grail of club music albums, at least for right now. It has stuff from Web, DJ Gius, and Dance Nation, among others. Alphabetized for your viewing pleasure! Anyway:
  • 2 Brothers on the Fourth Floor - Living in Cyberspace
  • 4 Strings - Take Me Away (Into the Night)
  • Airplay - The Music is Moving
  • Britney Spears - Everytime (Valentin Mix)
  • Christina Milian - Dip it Low (Full Intention Club)
  • Dance Nation - Sunshine
  • DJ Encore - I See Right Through You
  • DJ Gius - Amnesia
  • Jason Nevins & Holly James - I'm In Heaven (Club Mix)
  • Junior Jack - Da Hype
  • The Kobolt Project - Odessa
  • Tiesto - In My Memory
  • QED - Love Bites (Johnny Rocks vs. Valentin Mixshow Edit)
  • QED - So It Is (Kiss the Dream)
  • Usher - Yeah!
  • Web - Mornings
There's a lot more, but I won't make this the List of Lists. You can PM me for more, I got all of these off of iTunes, but a few were missing. However, I must say that Apple has done a good job getting club stuff on there.

The Slightly Coherent Ramblings of Sir Sillyness

Fable rules. If you aren't one of the 400,000+ people who have it, buy it!

Hot Fuss, The Killer's album, rules. Go buy it.

Led Zeppelin is the greatest rock band of all time.

Rain is good. Being in a pool in a thunderstorm is not.

Using the cool MSN feature, I am more inclined to vote for Bush, who I probably will vote for.

Somebody told me you had a boyfriend who looked like the girlfriend that I had in February of last year.

Britney Spears is likely on a narcotic substance.

People only smoke cigars to look sophisticated, which in most cases, they do.

I have a ten dollar bill on my desk.

The word autumnal is cool.

If you're ever playing hangman, you can pretty much win by using the word 'nymph' as it doesn't use a, e, i, o, or u, which are the first guesses, usually.

The absolute value of 0 is 0. The absolute value of -2 is -2, which makes it - -2, which makes it -(-2), which makes it +2, which makes it just 2.

In the days of my youth I was told what it means to be a man.

The synthesizer is cool, and why it went out of style we'll never know, except for The Shadow.

Infomercials are stupid.

I get up, and nothin' gets me down.

Cannons are cool, and so are naval fortresses.

It's really annoying when someone says "Sorry, I ran out for a bit!" on their away message when you know they are playing a video game and just using that as an excuse to look like they are social.

I am, indeed, Sir Sillyness.

Being Sick Stinks.

So, I've got some sickness; I think it's just a basic cold. It sucks though for a few reasons:
  1. I feel crappy. Feeling crappy sucks.
  2. I can't work out.
  3. Being sick sucks by default.
Luckily I have The Killers album and I've been listening to them pretty much constantly when I'm not watching my new spiffy Widescreen Edition of Mean Girls or my newly acquired Collector's Edition Double-Disc Pirates of the Caribbean. I've watched PotC once now, and it ruled. I've watched Mean Girls 3 times including the extra content. That movie rules and you should go buy it.

So anyway, aside from being sick, I've been working on Fable some more, making my evil guy, and boy is he evil. I mean, he has these HUGE horns, and is decked out in Dark Platemail except for his torso (shirt) which is an Assassin's Shirt, so he truly looks badass. He has flaming eyes and flies around him and when he walks he has like a red dust that comes around his legs. He is the "Very Famous Warrior called Deathbringer", and he wields a furious Murren Greathammer with his trusty Arken's Crossbow to back him up, as well as Lightning 3, Physical Shield 3, and Slow Time 3. Aside from that, he rules. I haven't even done the Archaelogist 2 quest yet. He also has a surplus of 100,000 gold. Man, he sure does rule.

Anyway, the fact Big Blue Box is working on Fable 1.5 is really exciting and I hope Lionhead Studios approves it! Oh yeah, being sick sucks.

Lionhead Slacked.

Fable is the Xbox's Zelda; I can think of no better way to describe it. However, Fable also has a few shortcomings. Fable is in no way a bad game, in fact, it is one of the most interesting, atmospheric titles I've ever played. Playing through Fable you knew why the team named it this, because it truly feels like you are five all over again and your mom is reading you a tale of long ago in a fantastical world. It's like your mom telling you it is the greatest story ever, and it sure is great, but not the level of which she described.

The most painful parts of Fable aren't the escort quests. The most painful parts of Fable is seeing what could have been, and I don't mean going back to Peter Molyneux's claims. I mean seeing missed oppurtunities. For example, the Dragon's Lair area is still on the map. Boy, slaying a dragon sure would have been cool. Another prime example is early in the game you go to your hub where you select quests and you see three quests you don't have the renown to accept: a quest that tells you to slay Ice Trolls on Hook Coast, a quest that tells you to supress a revolt, and a quest that tells you to slay a camp of evil Minions. Those quests sound really cool. Yet no one will ever even accept them because they disappear after you accept the first quest. Feels a little rushed, it seems.

Fable must have been rushed, and I have a theory. The title that would become Project Ego and then Fable was announced in 2001. Throughout it's three year development cycle and it's five year overall conception-to-materialization, something must have happened. Here is the way I see it, personally. Peter Molyneux is a renowned developer of strategy games like Populous and Black & White among others, and he decided he wanted to create a role-playing game and certainly had a lot of ambition and great concepts, but lacked an intense drive which is why the game came out without many of the promised features.

The Lionhead team must have sat around all day making concepts and dreaming stuff, but not actually working. Then, around the dawn of 2003 or the twilight of 2003, Microsoft Game Studios came to Peter Molyneux and his team, or Peter just realized it, and said, "Hey, you guys have to actually do something. You promised a lot, but you have to deliver at least something." So all of a sudden the team goes into a frenzy to actually create all what they promised, all with the antagonistic deadline making their every move essential. Soon, Peter begins to cut features. Time begins running out. They rush to create content and realize their huge game that was planned is going to have to be cut down - a lot. Eventually, it is July or August, and the team rushes to get the last few quests in. The Dragon's Lair isn't done. Scrap it. Oh wait, they forgot about the map! Doesn't matter, no time to take it out. It's August. We have to implement these three quests. It's August's twilight. We have to submit it, and soon! Scratch the snow troll, minion, and revolt quests. Let's get a final test in. They still show up in the beginning? Submission time, Lionhead! Doesn't matter, send it off.

That's probably along the lines of what happened. Luckily, if the person I heard it from with valid, Peter Molyneux has up to Fable IV planned so hopefully we'll see a more...complete game next time. I hope he learned a valuable lesson though, I really do. Don't take this as too negative, because the game is excellent. I don't know what Greg Kasavin was talking about when he said there really isn't motivation to play it through twice; there certainly is. The various choices, and some BIG choices, that correspond to good and evil are definetly interesting, although I'm sad to say that they don't really make a difference. It is just a different feeling though. However, I just thought I'd share my theory. Lionhead and the Fable development team slacked, I think, because Peter's vision was ambituous but not impossible.

Now if you will excuse me, I am off to play Fable.

Politica Codex I

I am neither a devout Republican or Democrat. Political parties have never riveted me, at all. My parents voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, and my mother voted for him in 1996, my dad voting for Bob Dole (he is a Republican). I thought Bill Clinton was a fine president who's personal life was blown out of porportion. Honestly, times were good under him. However, he wasn't the victim of unfortunate circumstances. Lucky, some might say (not saying I am included in that some). In 2000, the first election I voted on, I looked over the pros and cons of both candidates, and I didn't think Al Gore had what it took. I voted for George W. Bush, who is now elected and has been the President through September 11, 2001, the War in Afghanistan, the Iraqi War, and the War on Terror. I've never quite seen something like the presidency under George W. Bush. Never has the nation been so partisan in their political views. My Mom is the Anti-Bush. She would vote for a piece of steak rather than re-elect George W. Bush. My father worked at the Republican National Convention this year, driving people to and from the convention. He is voting for George W. Bush. Myself, I don't think I will be voting for anyone.

See, I don't particularly like the policies or leadership of George W. Bush. I think he is a nice guy but is incompetent to run the country. His four years are over, so do we kick him out? If only it were that easy. John Kerry has not shown me what he is going to do with the country. Basically, if Bush does something, Kerry is against it. He hasn't revealed any detailed policies or shown me why I, as a voter, should elect him. In fact, I think the Democrats made a big mistake. John Kerry is the wrong man for the job. He is the wrong face, the wrong speaker; he is the wrong guy. So is Howard Dean. So is John Edwards. None of these guys, in my opinion, could or can compete with George W. Bush.

Kerry himself has gotten into a quagmire of sorts. After the Republican National Convention, Bush's rating in the polls went up. Not that the polls mean anything significant as far as 'the big picture' is concerned (I've never participated in any of these polls), but they do give a message for tens of thousands of Americans who log onto or or what-not to vote. In the Presidential Debate, George W. Bush is expected to get destroyed. Bush isn't a good public speaker, he really doesn't give the best of speeches, if he doesn't know something he usually can't get himself out of it, and he isn't a very good debater. I, for one, was very suprised by his speech.

However, the quagmire is if that Bush does a little bit better than expected, it is going to seem like that much more. Everyone expects Kerry to win, so Kerry has the weight of the world on his shoulder. Bush however, just has to do fairly, and it will seem like he really has his stuff together. Personally, if Kerry gets his act together, I will vote for him. If he doesn't, I will consider voting for George W. Bush again. I am not going to jump on this anti-Bush Kerry bandwagon because personally, a lot of people talk about what they don't know extensively. Politics must not be impulsive, but reserved.

The "Who Reads Ashur's Journal" Roll Call

Despite what you may think (why you would think about this, I don't know), I spend a significant amount of time on this little thing. Not like an hour a day, but probably a good ten-twenty minutes. A lot of times, people read and don't comment; hell, most of the time I read and don't comment. I just want to know who reads this, either from time to time or every entry, just to give me an idea of if it is worth spending the time on. :D
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