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Integrity.

February 12, 2013
Walter Cronkite

Walter Cronkite

I’m a history buff.

A history slut, more like. When it comes to things that interest me, I can always dive into a book of history and find something interesting, pull some arcane tidbit of knowledge from it’s dusty pages, and tout that nugget of obscure information about in a very pretentious way for the rest of my life. All times, really, interest me. I would like to tell you that it’s due to some noble desire, because “you never know where you’re going, until you know where you’ve been” or “those that forget the past are condemned to repeat it” or the like – but honestly, I very simply like reading about past times, with no ‘reason’ behind it to speak of.

One of the things that I’ve come across in my reading about the Apollo program, Vietnam, the assassination of JFK, and so on, is I became aware of Walter Cronkite. I’ve watched many of his more famous news moments (thank you Youtube) from the death of President Kennedy, John Lennon, Watergate, the Iran Hostage Crisis, covering the moon landings, and being in country in Vietnam. For an entire generation, if there was something newsworthy to report, ‘The most trusted man in America’ was there to report it, in his soothing 124 words per minute speech pattern. The level of faith that the average listener put into his reports were staggering to me. The most interesting story regarding him that comes to mind is about President Johnson.

Cronkite was in Vietnam investigating the aftermath of the 1968 Tet offensive, and on that trip, he had a dinner with General Creighton Abrams, whom he had already known from World War 2. According to witnesses, the general told Cronkite “we cannot win this goddamned war, and we ought to find a dignified way out.”

Cronkite came back to the states and delivered an editorial (in the month of February, no less) in which he all but said that the war was unwinnable. Sources vary at this point, but when the report had finished airing on television, President Johnson walked across the room, turned off the TV, and turned to look back at some members of his cabinet that had been viewing it with him. He sighed, and (reportedly) said “That’s it. If I’ve lost Cronkite, I’ve lost middle America.”

The reason that I talk (preach) about Cronkite is to underline in my eyes the enormity of our problem with the media in this day and age. I, myself, grew up watching Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw, but I still feel that they were trustworthy and wouldn’t put their names to something that they didn’t believe accurate and in keeping with journalistic integrity.

So, dear reader, answer me this.

What in the BLUE FUCK has happened between now and then?

In the past six months, I’ve had to sit through both MSN and FOX ‘news’ broadcasts, and it was in the course of doing so that I really was staggered by the implications of our current media system. Everything changed when the media moguls decided that selling the news wasn’t sexy, it wasn’t gripping. But if you pander to a specific crowd, put an ‘edginess’ into your broadcast, and sideline a few notions of ‘proper’ reporting, goddamn if you don’t have a goldmine on your hands.

The best topic to make into the sexiness they desired?

  • It couldn’t be foreign affairs, of course. Americans don’t give a flying fuck about anything that happens outside our borders unless it directly effects us, to the tune of terrorists flying airplanes into our buildings for example. Beyond that, who gives a shit.
  • It can’t be humanitarian stories, either. They learned that lesson in bold-type when Operations Restore Hope and Gothic Serpent fell on their asses in Somalia. The next morning, mutilated bodies of Americans were being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu on international television, and most Americans immediately asked “Where the fuck is Somalia?” and “Why the fuck were we there in the first place?”
  • It couldn’t be religion.

.. Or could it?

Most would probably agree that the most white-hot buttons to press on someone involve politics and religion. But you can’t make religion out to be a dividing force in our country, as most ‘average’ Americans see this country as a bastion of Judeo-Christian morality and faith. You can’t tell the mob that their religious ideal isn’t what they think it is, no matter who you are. But politics? That’s an entirely different story altogether.

Think about it – growing up, I remember being told time and again before I was 12 that politicians are all liars, cheats, each out for themselves and attempting to screw -anyone- else on a government wide scale just to get to the proverbial pie first.

Well, them and lawyers, but we’re tackling one subject at a time her. Or not, but fuck you, it’s my blog, we’re on politicians.

Try to keep pace.

So, we’ve got our selling point – politics. And we’ve got a country that is split fairly well on both liberal and conservative leanings. So they took that idea that I had been raised to believe was reality – that all politicians are scum – and went national with it, only placing the blame upon specific targets. In the case of FOX, they went after the liberals.

They told you why they(liberals) are hurting you, why they are destroying the wholesome American dream with the politic of a Viking attack, and most important of all, who was to blame for it.

I honestly don’t know where to start here. Too much spite, so little time.

The fact that they’re still trying to convince people that we live in the 1950’s is perplexing. The fact that some of the people believe this to be fucking true fills me with confusion that borders on alarm. 

And don’t get me wrong, FOX isn’t the only group that has the blame here. MSN is just as bad, only coming from a different fucking direction, because they saw what FOX was doing, and said “Hey, I can sell that.”

So now, when you see these jackals on television, pressed and dressed in a suit (or dress) that probably costs more than you make in a month, smiling at you and telling you in their pseudo-newscast the problems of our day, I want you to remember some things.  Both sides are doing two things.

  1. Making you afraid of ‘it.’
  2. Telling you who’s to blame for ‘it.’

Lastly, when the jackass on the television is ranting about the conservatives fucking up the country, or the snide comments about liberals being so out of touch, ask yourself a question.

“What would have been the reaction if Cronkite had said shit like this?”

Heh

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A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

February 12, 2013

It’s that time of year again – that magical, wonder-filled time when February rolls over like a real disgusting chubbly person you apparently slept with the previous night after too many snorts of whiskey, and says …

Do I want the company? Hell to the no. But is it socially acceptable at that point to merely leap out of the nearest window and never return, even if it’s my home I woke up at? No. It’s not even an option. So, I just grit my teeth, make like a blind-man at an orgy, and just feel my way through.

I’ve always hated this time of year.Mostly because I’m at the point by now of “Alright winter, move the fuck along” but also because it’s nearing that focal point of human history, where all of recorded time is vindicated; my birthday.

“But Shane, you delectably dapper dude of dubious knowledge!” you may say. “Whyever would you not care for it?” Honestly, and I know that this is something my parents would contest, I don’t like the attention. It feels oddly disconcerting at best, and at worst, it usually irritates me beyond the help of any soothing cream.

Good news seems to be on the cusp (a word I never get to use enough) of happenstance, however, as my youngest sister is about to have her baby girl, giving me an entirely different outlook on this particular month. I promised her a dollar if she would have her child on my birthday, but I think she’s going to intentionally wait just to spite me.

Ah well, saves me a dollar.

So, at this point, you’re probably wondering why you’re reading this, and before we go on, let’s just settle the notion that you reading this isn’t my fault. I merely put the link up, you weak-willed bastards are the ones that actually had to take it.

But pointless insults aside, this blog exists to help me vent a little frustration, give a viewpoint on certain events that may strike my interest, and generally to attempt to make sense out of the madness that seems to get stuck to me like gum on the bottom of my shoe. I encourage those of you who want to read it, to do with the understanding that anything I may say here isn’t something I want you to take personally if it doesn’t go hand in hand with what your belief on the given subject may be. And if I do say something that you strongly dislike, then comment. But here, I have (what I’d like to think) an open mind. I’d hope you’d pay myself, and any other bored sod that may browse this blog, the respect of keeping a similar mindset.

As the days march on, more entries to delight, disgust, upset, entice, revile and applaud will begin to crop up. Like a goddamn rash.

A good quote for you – “America means acknowledging a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.”

Thank you for reading.

….God, you have to be bored.

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Those poor bastards.

August 14, 2011

 I’ve been playing online games ever since my cousin got me hooked on Quake. I vividly remember the very first time I interacted with another player in Quake, and no, it wasn’t at muzzle velocity.

My cousin Josh put me in a pickup CTF game with a few of his Clan members and some of their friends. Quake itself was still pretty young at that time, if memory serves, it was only out for about five months at that point., and full-on 3d graphics were really making themselves known upon the gamers of the time.

One thing that I’ll never forget was Josh telling me “Dude, you have to look at the flag” as he took over the keyboard and ran my character to see it. I have to say, it was impressive, the lighting effects, the ‘flow’ of it waving, ect. However, the truest sign of things to come happened at that exact moment. Not the flag, but the dude that was standing nearby, guarding the flag room.

“Who is that?” I had asked.

My cousin told me that it wasn’t a bot, it was a person. A -real- person. Right there, standing near the flag with a wicked looking rocket launcher. The thought hit me that at some other area of the country, someone had just watched me walk into the flag room, and was aware of my existence, without even being able to physically see me. So, at that point, instead of sallying forth to collect the enemy flag, or do a mid-field scrim, I sat in the flag room, and started chatting with the dude.

That moment really stuck with me, for all these years. I mean, sure, everyone had chat programs back then, ICQ, AIM, that Microsoft comic chat program, but this level of interaction with a netizen really struck me as rewarding, and I’m not sure why I felt that way, even now. In the years that followed, I made many friends online across many games, in many states and even other countries. In today’s era, that’s common-place. But in the days before those on the net booked-face or other such major social networks, it was uncommon.

Perhaps, given the whimsical nature of this memory, this is the reason I don’t understand the every-day abuse that those poor bastards we know as “CM’s” or “Blue posters” are subjected to. In my time and travels, I’ve met several of these people. Most of them have been very pleasant to converse with, and I dare-say that almost all of them had a soul. Even the online interaction I’ve had with  these representatives has been helpful, if not out-right professional.

Lately I’ve been following the development of Star Wars – The Old Republic, and in particular the tweets and posts of Steven Reid, alias Rockjaw, who is the Senior Community Manager for SW:TOR. One exchange really brought this subject to the forefront of my thoughts. One netizen stood out among the dross of several stupid or ignorant tweets, who goes by the name of “SoulstitchMMO.” After digging around through his posts, tweets, and blog, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s a self-centered egomaniac and a all around cunt. The exchange was over several tweeted conversations, ultimately culminating in the statement from Soulstitch stating “..No surprise, it’s the same half assed work I have expected from your team.”

Now, being on the web as long as I have been, I’m used to seeing statements like this, but what made me smile and almost applaud was Steven Reid’s reply – “You have absolutely no idea of the work my team does on a daily basis.”

Delicious.

When did we start being such utter pricks to these people? The only thing I can come up with is that we feel that THEY are responsible for our woes, or that they could help you, but simply won’t.

Well, they are people, and people have limits. When those limits are reached, the results can be… well..

enlightening.

 

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Land of Confusion.

August 13, 2011

 These days, one can’t help but sit back and feel frustration towards the game that never ends: Washington, District of Columbia. Recent months have been (to me) reaching epic proportions of stupidity. And sure, I’m aware that I’m not involved in the process, I’m not in the cloakrooms of the Capital building, nor am I in any way on the inside of the Obama administration. However, I think we’ve really reached a point in our political lifetime where Americans on -both- sides of the aisle are fed up with the politics both parties are playing. Off the top of my head, the last time I can imagine such a time (although I could be wrong, as I wasn’t alive then) was during the hey-days of the ’60s with Vietnam.

Certainly has the same floral bouquet, doesn’t it?

Embroiled in unpopular wars, atrocities, no real idea of WHY we are in the situation in the first place, and soldiers coming home in body-bags. Now, I’m not trying to say that our modern day conflicts are the same as the horror of the Vietnam war, either in scope or in the human cost; merely that several general facts are true in both cases which I will list for sake of clarity.

  • The origins of these conflicts are both cemented in rather shaky(understatement) ideological ground.
  • We don’t have a clear imperative as far as a ‘win’ or a firm exit strategy.
  •  These conflicts are almost universally unpopular, hugely expensive, and ultimately limited in terms of ‘gain.’

Now, as I stated earlier, Iraq and Afghanistan are thankfully not as viscous as Vietnam was. During Tet ’68, the deadliest week of the conflict, 543 American soldiers died, with 2547 wounded. So far as I’m aware, our most costly weeks in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost us between 40 and 60 lives.

And at the same time, political posturing hasn’t stopped since 9/11. The pretext for the Iraqi War is so flimsy that polls taken last year say that only 37 percent of Americans feel that the war was justified. Everyone now has heard the statements from the early days of the invasion of Iraq, culminating in the popular culture statement “Where are the WMD’s?” as well as the political fallout that brought down the Neo-conservative grip on American politics. Most talking heads will shy away from speaking about the causes of the war anymore, and instead hold the Bush Doctrine as the only motivation needed. Oh, and of course, freedom for the Iraqi people.

So, as a controversial man once said, “It’s a case of the chicken’s coming home to roost.” The idea that this what our course of action led us to, reaping the whirlwind.  That man was Malcolm X, and he was speaking about the recent assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

A disturbing thought, by the way, was pointed out to me recently by my fiancee. There are now soldiers operating in Iraq and Afghanistan right now, who were ten years old when the towers fell. To me, that’s a terrible milestone and one that I struggle with still today, when I think of the young children in my immediate and extended family in 2001.

So, while all this is going on in the Middle-East and Central Asia, our elected officials are engaging in another ideological war in regards to the Federal Budget. This war is frustrating, confusing, and frequently shows an apparent lack of common sense and perspective by both political parties, as well as an obvious lack of communication. This type of atmosphere is quickly becoming the prime export of America.

I know this post was a ramble, that we’ve gone all across the subjects of the day, but I feel it reflects my state of mind where this is all concerned, and I can’t help but think “That this is a Land of Confusion.”

Dillon, one of my dearest friends and a soldier in the United States Armed Forces recently returned home to the states from Afghanistan, alive and well. I love you brother, welcome home.

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Guess who’s back….

August 13, 2011

… Back again. Charnal’s back, tell a friend.

It’s been -quite- awhile, and many things have happened in the time since my last post (obviously.) But what would a post be without spite and hatred towards the game that I’ve inexplicably given a stupid amount of money over the years? I mean, lets be honest, the subscription numbers of WoW have been falling over the past year like a shit from heaven. Rumors abound of a rather strange method that Blizzard uses to calculate their ‘current’ numbers, which allows them to maintain the illusion that all is business as usual.

Enter their latest opus, the Firelands. Now, let me put the cards on the table here – I haven’t raided there.

“But Charnal, you devilishly delightful dastardly duke of despair! How can you pass judgement upon a raid expansion that you refuse to play?”

Simple folks, from what I’ve seen of it due to watching my fiancee run the joint with our guild, I’ve come to one resounding thought which I’ll voice here.

BECAUSE IT’S AN UPDATED AND RESKINNED MOLTEN CORE, MINUS THE CAVE NETWORK.

Seriously, is this the best that Blizzard is willing to offer now? Reskins, restructuring of old instances? What’s next, AQ? Or as a friend of mine insists, “AQ under water.” I’m already betting that Blizzard is going to be putting the ‘Titan’ next-gen MMO up front at Blizzcon, with WoW being an afterthought. And with the way that they’ve been re-arranging their production team, it’s hardly surprising that WoW is in the state that it’s in.

With that in mind, as well as the not-so-recent cancellation of my battle.net account, I’m going to be moving on from WoW to another franchise in the coming months. More commentary will no doubt follow, as I have no doubt that I’ll be able to find the creme-de-la-creme of assbags and fratboy douchebag players who will manage to piss me off in ways that I can’t yet comprehend. So stay tuned!

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What a long, strange instance it’s been..

June 30, 2009

ulduarI know at one point or another I was musing at the direction instances were taking in terms of ‘hard mode’ content and all the fun and joy that come with it. In the recent two month period (which my absence of writing nicely encapsulates) I’ve hurled my fleshy form at this instance with enough force to knock my digital eyes out from the impact. So, the time for first impressions is obviously passed given the length of time since the whole place came out, but now with 3.2 looming in the near future, Ulduar’s hey-day may be in the process of having it’s sunset.

One thing I think that must be discussed regarding this was the rapid-fire nerfing that befell this hell-hole. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s a very pretty instance with many new interesting and innovative bossfights that I enjoyed witnessing and murdering, but damn, man. I don’t even think the T5 instances got cornholed as bad as this place did on the nerf-o-matic.

First thing that comes to mind? Xt-002 trash. Hoooollllllyyyyy hell was that shit buggy. First, both trash packs were linked together. That what patched, but they were still as unforgiving as a concrete dildo attached to a jackhammer, necessitating at one point a return to one of the older and nobler antics in MMO canon, the zerg approach. But, that didn’t last more than a week, and now ? They’re glorified Naxx trash. Get in, get off, get out.

Iron Council didn’t evade the nerf-bat either – the rune of death used to be the thing of raid-healing nightmares. I was certain that the breaks before an IC attempt were given specifically for the raidhealers to go afk and mainline the black-tar heroin they needed to motivate interest (or apathy, maybe?) in this fight. Oh, and that one little guy with the lightning coming out of his ass was also nerfed, but who cares about him.

Crazy-cat lady and her little pussies? Meh. I don’t want to talk about her.

Thorim. Wow. I loved and hated that gauntlet. The almost absolute certainty of any melee venturing down there due to whirling trip + impale would usually harm the rogues, shaman, and warriors that would try going through there beyond the might of any soothing cream! I recall Serianna (on her rogue) from World of Snarkcraft volunteering to go with the gauntlet crew one time, and she died before she even knew what hit her. I giggled.

She loves me.

She loves me.

E HARTZ SERI.

Freya trash was the thing of nightmare. My friends Aionus, Emphatic and I were the first tanks to wander into -that- particular hellhole in our guild, and holy christ. Blizzard has revolutionized the industry by managing to make mob-trash take the form of pure joy. Only not really. The verdict? Lots of them removed from the instance entirely, hitpoint values dropped, abilities nerfed, you name it, they did it.

Mimiron the Mexican killer. That’s right, you heard me. I don’t recall who exactly coined that phrase (I’m pretty sure it was Aionus, or maybe Kerp), but Mimiron -hated- Emphatic, our resident beaner. So much so that his trash, which was rather insane at the time anyway, managed to kill Emphatic so badly it ‘sploded his computer and knocked him out of the game for a week.

Damn, man. Oh, and I’m being asked to also point out that the trash in this wing of Ulduar is also fond of hate-crimes and gaybashing, as it seems to kill Dornilust with gusto.

As for the mechanical man himself? Nerf after nerf after nerf. And don’t get me wrong, this is the one fight I wasn’t going to lose sleep over it being slapped around by the nerfbat. P4, with the thing being mobile while a laser barrage was going on? Ugh.

This leaves us with Yogg and General. Unfortunately for everyone, I haven’t snorted enough Ajax to want to put my mind through -those- fights at this early hour, so we’ll just leave it at that.

All in all? When Ulduar launched, it was a titan of bugs and difficulty, trash that would molest you in ways even I won’t put into words with the slightest provocation, bosses that crushed entire raids ‘neath their mighty tread, and many other ways that made you question why you hated yourself so much to put yourself through this hell.

Now? What once was strong and turgid is limp and floppy, and it’s beginning to leak a disgusting fluid that it’s too ashamed to ask the developers about.

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Ulduar…

April 30, 2009

ulduarHello, my loving readers.

Has our break been good for you? Have you gotten over whatever proverbial assraping that your class may or may not have gotten in 3.1? Have you nailed Ulduar so hard that your significant other thinks you’re having an affair?

Well, I hope that you have had fun in the last few weeks, regardless of your anal situation.

First off, let me get the painful part out of the way – I like Ulduar.

Mostly.

My guild took off into that place the very first night it was live, which incidentally was probably a terrible idea in hindsight, but after weeks of aoe clearing Naxx trash and farming Sartharion, we wanted to get our proverbial dicks wet. So, lets take it from the top, nay?

  1. 1 – Flame Leviathan - Okay, this shit was fun as hell, and fuck anyone out there that says otherwise. Interesting way to start out a raid instance, and lots of confusion at first, but ultimately making for moments of hilarity, especially with people getting shot out of demolishers.  Dropped like a chump, coughed up his loot, and I thanked the Blizzard Gods for putting the “Lootreaver 3.0″ right at the beginning part of the instance.
  • 2 – Ignis – Wow. Woooooow. Bugged to HELL and back. And what is with that crotchpot he’s got going on? But, before I can even talk about the horrid gangbanging he did to us that first night, we have to talk about the trash that you had to kill to get to him.

In reference to the trash in this zone, versus the ones from before? One phrase comes to mind in terms of dealing with it.

honeymoon

Now that we’ve established that fact, we can talk about the sodomy inflicted upon my raid and many, many others that night. Actually, I don’t want to. It’s too fresh in my mind.

  • 3 – Razorscale – Well, this was fun. It was like trying to take Fort Knox with a fucking slingshot. Considering that the adds were spawning all over the motherfucking place that first night, and I was playing a broken frost-tanking spec, I may as well have invited them over to fuck my sister instead of trying to tank them. The fight still was interesting, but when I say that, I mean interesting in a “Oh, wow, so -that- is how fisting works” kind of interesting.
  • 4 –  Xt-002 – Hah. HAHAHAHA. No. We made it to it’s trash, that was fucking LINKED, and got murdered. We did wave at him, though.

All in all though, once the first, you know, week of bug fixes and tweaks were out of the way, in addition to relearning my class from the ground up, I started to enjoy the joint. Not the four bosses mentioned above though, hell no. But once you get inside, the place is fun.

More to come on this subject soonish, I’m still trying to process all of the nerfs, bugs, and other clusterfucks into a proper blog entry.

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