September 7, 2006

I Will Say I'm Prepared to be Wrong

So the President stands up there and for the first time presents tangible -- though unverifiable -- evidence that his illegal and immoral programs have borne fruit, and that this has allowed the government to foil terrorist plots in the making.

OK. It's nice to be treated like a thinking adult once in a while at least.

And I will say that the even though the President's case is relatively thin (of all the people captured, rendered, imprisoned, and virtually tortured, he only presented one chain of events to support his claims), it was still enough to give me pause for thought.

And here's what I think:

I am willing to concede that an illegal program of rendition, detention in foreign nations with dubious human rights records, and interrogation with techniques that skirt the meaning of the law has yielded results.

It may even be effective.

But that still doesn't make it right.

I understand perfectly that I may simply be wrong about the level of threat that we face in international terrorism. I've been wrong before, and I'll be wrong again. But here's the thing: if my government pursues policies that I believe are moral but that prove less effective and I die in a terrorist attack, I will at least die a free man. If my government pursues effective but immoral policies and I die of old age, I will have died in chains.

Therein lies the difference. My freedom, your freedom, our freedom is important enough to me that I will die for it. But what value is my life if I must sell myself into bondage in order to keep it?

Posted by cerebus at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2006

I'm in a Warcraft State of Mind...

We've been playing World of Warcraft now for about seven months. But I've only logged in myself for about 20 minutes over the last 5 weeks. I've been thinking about why.

I love games. I always have. Almost all kinds of games--consoles, hand-helds, computer, board, card; I'm willing to try anything. I particularly like games that foster cooperation, team-play, or just have interesting and unique mechanics. That's why I bought myself a DS (touchscreen in a handheld game system?) and am anxiously awaiting the launch of the Wii (nunchuck and remote?).

WoW offered a really different take on MMORPGs, and while I was hesitant at first to get started--my family had a really difficult time when we were all heavily involved in EverCrack--I eventually gave in because it offered the bonus of getting an iMac Dual Core when they hit the streets.

And we all played, heavily.

First my youngest son cut back his time. Z. is pretty social, but he seems to prefer face-to-face. He'd schlepp the Xbox over to his friend's house just so they could play over a link cable.

Next it was my wife. M.'s multiple sclerosis really hits her available energy hard. It's best described as "starting the day with your gas tank at 30%"--it's not that you can't do anything, it's that you have to pick and choose what to spend your available energy on wisely. Between her job at the vet clinic and just home life, gaming became such a low priority that she basically stopped altogether.

Then at the end of July I had a week-long business trip. I had just made level 50 a few days before. I parked my character in an inn, fully intending to spend the accumulated rest experience to ramp up to 52 in short order.

Only, I didn't.

At first it was the DS. I was having a lot of fun with Metroid Prime: Hunters and Advance Wars DS, and those were eating my time. Then I was fiddling with my new Newton(s).

I took yesterday off from work so I could have a 4-day weekend, and I sat down to play for the first time since the trip. And as I was looking over my quest list while grinding in Un'Goro Crater, I realized why I wasn't getting into it.

What made WoW unique to me was that the quest system drove a story, but did it in a way that kept you exploring and engaged. hat was most unique was that the vast majority of this content could be enjoyed solo.

Now, I'm a pretty intense gamer in general, but when it comes to MMORPGs I would be considered a casual gamer. I don't dedicate entire weekends to raiding. I don't play PvP. I don't fiddle for hours looking for that perfect combination of equipment. I play, I enjoy, and when it's time for bed I hearthstone home and turn it off--no matter what I was in the middle of doing.

The problem now as I reach the upper bounds of power in the game is that its solo nature is disappearing. In a full list of 20 quests at level 51, I have a grand total of three that can be done solo. The rest are instance or dungeon quests that require at least a small team to accomplish.

I'm in a guild. I have a couple of real-life friends on the server I play on, and I joined a guild with them. They're all very friendly and always willing to help if I ask. But I rarely ask. And I find myself hesitant to ask now. Because that's not why I was playing this game. This is odd because in another setting it's that kind of cooperative play that I would really find intriguing.

So as I sit here right now writing this--one kid over a this friend's house, the other asleep after a late-night raid I let him stay up to participate in, and my wife at work--I have the perfect time to play WoW and I just don't want to any more.

What I really want to do is dust off some of the German boardgames I've been buying and not playing for the last couple of years. There's a boardgaming club in San Antonio. Maybe I'll join them and play World of Warcraft: The Boardgame.

Posted by cerebus at 11:30 AM | Comments (0)

September 1, 2006

First post redux

First post from my eMate 300. I just couldn't resist this when I found it at the Goodwill Computer Thrift store. (I love that place--a veritable cornucopia of obsolete equipment.) $35 including the power supply. Since I already figured out how to get my Newton MP2100 rigged as a blog editor, getting this running was a piece of cake.

Now my wife says I can't buy anything else for awhile.

I'm such a geek.

Posted by cerebus at 11:03 AM | Comments (0)