Ask me no questions…

… and I’ll tell you no lies.

But what I really want is for you to ask me questions so that I can lie to you.  I’ve created a profile over at where you can ask questions and I will do my best to come up with an answer.

Below is a form to ask me questions, and when I get some good questions and answers, I’ll come back and post them here.

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2007: Day 3

Day Three always seems to start late, perhaps its because of the long day that day two always is. So, I’m pretty sure I always miss the 10 a.m. panels on day three. This year is no different.

But I did make it down for the 11:30 panel on the Future of the Game Industry in Atlanta. Pretty much as I expect the answer to “how is it?” is “how is what?” Atlanta has White Wolf, which owns CCP now and is making an MMO. There is also GameTap and the stuff the Cartoon Network is working on. Outside that it is little shops doing either gambling sites or no-budget games. Currently the best bet for anyone in the Atlanta area who wants to work in games lies in leaving Atlanta. But, that might change in the next few years. The Georgia Commerce Department recently created a division to look into drawing more entertainment ventures to Georgia. Movies, TV, games and other things are in their sites, and they really want to try to ramp up Atlanta as another entertainment hub for the US. We’ll have to wait and see.

Then I went and saw some comedy short films, a panel on Eureka (I love the show, the fans… not so much), a panel on Apocalyptic themes in media, and then some apocalyptic short films. All the short film stuff is great… okay, not all of it, but most of it, some of the shorts I have to only applaud the effort put into making the film and the determination to get it done because the writing and/or acting was horrid.

But lets take a half step back and revisit the Eureka panel. I think the only thing that prevents me from going to more TV show based panels is the fans. In the case of Eureka one of the earliest topics of discussion was the character of Carter not really being dumb, but just not being book smart and college educated, that he is actually smart but in a more intuitive manner. Yes, score one for the people who watch the show, because every single episode in some way involves Carter solving a problem other “smart” people can’t. So the next topic is… Carter not really being dumb. Fine, I hear you started your comment with “I really don’t think Carter is dumb…” but we’ve covered this. On to the next topic… Carter is apparently not dumb. Whatever, we agree. Moving on… Carter’s daughter isn’t dumb either. Cool, kind of some new ground here… except that now we are talking about Carter not being dumb either. Check, not dumb, got it. Allison is a good leader for Global, oh and someone interjects that Carter is not, in fact, dumb. Oh. My. God. Carter might not be dumb, but I think many of the fans are. Either that or they just don’t listen… ugh.

In any event, after the Apocalypse short films we had dinner and then hooked up for people for partying, drinking, talking and people watching. Another day at Dragon*Con ends… time to hit the sack.

How do you play?

Ryan Shwayder over at the nerfbat has begun a discussion on the definitions of Hardcore and Casual.

I think, especially if you delve into the comments, he is pretty near the target. Essentially, I think its impossible to define a player simply as hardcore or casual for their entire entity. Instead, you have to break it down into many factors.

For instance, game play time. Someone who is casual with their time in games wants something they can pick up and play with in ten minutes, or two hours, or whenever they happen to want to play. Often this is referred to as “time-starved” but I feel adding the usage of “starved” there just gives it a desperate and needy connotation… also, it implies that if the person had more time they’d spend it gaming, but that really isn’t true at all. Someone who is hardcore with their time is going to schedule blocks, often large blocks, of time to play… three hours, five hours, Saturday. The time hardcore player is the kind of player who spends all their free time gaming.

Further down you can get into distinctions like “knowledge commitment” which would be how willing is the player to remember bits of information or lore of the game. I know when it comes to this, I’m very hardcore… not by choice really, it just sort of happens. If EverQuest (the original) were to have a free weekend starting today, I bet I could log in and get around fairly well. Even though I have not played it in a few years, I still know where stuff is (as long as the zone hasn’t been revamped). The wife on the other hand, well, we play World of Warcraft about once a week, and lots of times she just doesn’t remember where anything is. Its not because she has a bad memory, but because its simply not important to her to remember it. Plus, she has me, and I remember everything, so…

You can literally take any aspect of any game, show a hardcore and a casual approach to it, and show how its not really dependent on any other aspect. To use the example above, the wife and I both love to explore and are fairly hardcore about going new places. She just happens to think that almost everywhere is a new place since she doesn’t commit to memory having gone there.

So… what’s the answer? What is the definition of hardcore and casual? I think the answer is, “It depends.” Even Ryan’s attempt to narrow it down to 4 points isn’t going to cover everything. Is it enough to design a game by? Sure, and as long as you accept that no matter how few or how many boxes you draw there will always be players who live outside them, you’ll be just fine.

Hollywood and Your Money

People often wonder why Hollywood keeps churning out crappy movies. The answer is simple… because you people keep paying to see them!

This past weekend approximately three and a half million people (3,500,000) went to see “Big Momma’s House 2” making it the number one film of the weekend with its $28 million box office draw. It also happens to be the second largest January opening in movie history.

Look people, we have to work together on this. You can not just go spending hard earned dollars on junk like this. You need to support quality films, and I don’t just mean Oscar winning crap, because lots of those films are garbage too. Sometimes you have to stop and think, and if there are no good movies playing, don’t go to a movie. Go home and watch a DVD or play a board game or go out drinking with some friends. Anything. Anything, that is, except settling for some movie that isn’t really worth your $8 but you don’t see anything better playing.

Support quality entertainment, not garbage. At least not at the theaters. Wait for DVD… or cable… or broadcast television… If you go to the movies and nothing good is playing, vote with your feet and walk away. If you stop paying Hollywood for making crappy movies, they’ll stop making crappy movies.

Letting Go

Normally if you ask me about current events, I’ll have no idea. I really hate the news because most of the time it bad. Horrible people doing horrible things to each other.

But I’ve been following Terri Schiavo’s case for a while now. If you don’t know, the short of it is that Terri had a heart attack 15 years ago, during which her brain was deprived of oxygen for a number of minutes resulting in massive brain damage. Most of the doctors agree that the damage to her brain is so severe that even though she does respond to some stimuli, that she is in a permanent vegatative state, never to recover beyond that of about an eleven month old. After a period of time, Terri’s husband said that while no living will existed Terri had expressed a desire not to be hooked up to tubes and machines indefinately. So he decided, after what I’m sure was a long period of serious deep thinking and probably a considerable amount of prayer, to have the machines turned off and let her pass away.

Terri’s parents don’t agree. So, for many years now, they have been fighting. Terri’s husband wants to let her go. Terri’s parents refuse to admit she is beyond help. There has been a considerable amount of legal tug-o-war in this. Terri’s feeding tube has been removed and replaced a number of times.

A little over two years ago, my mother was brought home from the hospital. The cancer had spread, and a complication of the cancer and another surgery’s healing left her unable to pass food completely and consistantly. They had gambled to stop the cancer treatment to let the other surgery heal, and the cancer took that opportunity to spread into the lymph nodes. There was nothing more medical science could do. She came home to pass away surrounded by her family. In the end, I hope she was aware of us and our love for her, but unaware of the pain of the cancer and death.

If anyone were to ask me if I had ever seen someone starve to death, the answer would be ‘yes’. If they were to ask if I would have preferred her to live unconscious for 15 years unable to communicate with anyone, trapped in a body she couldn’t control… the answer is ‘no’.

My mother is going to miss my wedding, and every other important day of the rest of my life. But sometimes in life, you have to be willing to let go when its better for the other person.


Sometimes I think to myself, “Why is this happening again?”

The answer I usually come to is that I didn’t learn what I was supposed to learn the last time. But, if that be true, why do all my lessons always have to come with a kick in the teeth?

I wish I had more to say than that, but that’s about all I can feel at the moment. The same mistakes, the same problems, over and over, crushing me.

9 March 2001

The Question
When anyone mentions the specific phrase “The Question” it only means one thing. It is the most important question that any person can ask another person in the life. Not because of the question itself, but of all it implies, and all it brings with.
But before I get to that question, I’m going to speak a bit about the second most important question there is, only second to “The Question” but because it is a question that you can ask yourself, there are times when it is THE most important question.
“What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”
I personally have asked myself that question every single day for a long time. As long as I can remember. Most of the time, I had no answer to it. Sometime, the answer started out fine, but whittled itself down to a “sure I can do this for a while” kind of answer.
So I go to Mardi Gras. Did I not mention that? Oh yes. Took a group of 6 down to New Orleans for the Fat Tuesday celebration. Myself, my two roommates, my girlfriend, and 2 of her roommates from England where she goes to school. Had a pretty damn good time too.
Anyway, we are at Mardi Gras and basically everyday I find myself not caring much for the holiday. Just a bunch of drunken people, mostly college frat boy losers, some of whom get naked, and beads. Lots of beads. If you ever go to Mardi Gras, never, ever, under any circumstances buy beads, there will be plenty (more than plenty) thrown off the parade floats at you. And sometimes, thrown HARD. 🙂
Back to it… so I’m not caring much for the holiday, but I am enjoying the city. I need to go back when its not overwhelmed with retards. The shops, the streets, its a very cool little town.
On Fat Tuesday itself, my girlfriend and I break off from the pack and just go wandering around the city after dark. A nice fog settles in over the town giving it that last touch it needed to complete its look of old European streets. We are away from the crowds and walking near the river. We happen upon and bench and sit down just to take in the sights and sounds of the city around us and to talk and hold hands.
Well, before long she heads off find a bathroom, and I’m left there just staring out at the river and listening to the sounds of the party a few blocks behind me and watching a ferry churn the waters of the river. A few stars had managed to peak through the fog and I was trying to figure out which ones they were. Giving up on the stars I go back to staring at the river. And smiling. And my mind just starts to wander around about the usual stuff: my job, bills, my friends, is my car safe in the parking deck, my family, did I leave the stove on in Atlanta, what are the others up to, and more.
And I ask myself that question…
“What do I want to do with the rest of my life?”
… and for the first time in my life I had an answer. Not some half assed answer. No “pretty sure”s. No “for a while”s. An honest to God “This is what I want to do”.
And it felt good. To finally know. To have figured out something for once instead of guessing. And I kept on smiling.
Before long, my girlfriend returned, and sat down beside me. We talked a little, but it was all heading to one point. I wanted to share with her my answer. I wanted to tell her what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. And I did. The only way that I knew how.
And I asked her “The Question”.
“Will you marry me?”
She said yes.

16 October 1998

Well, this is the end of my plan. I may start it up somewhere else someday, but for now, this is the end.
…all good things.
Trivia Answer: Before Val Kilmer was in Top Gun he was in Top Secret!