Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Dorks, nerds and geeks

The dictionary defines these three as being almost synonymous. Perhaps in days gone by they were… just like in days gone by you could say “I work in IT” and people would know more or less what you do for a living.

But nowadays these three have differentiated to quite a degree. They’re still related, but quite separated.

Dorks are defined by their social ineptitude. In a school context, these are the kids who are frequently ostracized, and even victimized by the jocks or the in crowd. These are the kids that are embarrassingly overweight, plagued with acne, athletically incompetent or suffer any number of other maladies that make them undesirable. In a work context, these are the people nobody wants to be caught in the break-room with. They’re offensive and make people around them uncomfortable – through no fault of their own, that’s just how it is.

Dorks make a habit of indulging in any number of obscure hobbies, frequently including computer gaming, Role-Playing (such as Dungeons and Dragons), Card gaming (Magic the Gathering)… and more intelligent ones may well get involved in things like hacking… just about anything to keep them out of mainstream society and in the company of either themselves or other dorks. These hobbies are like a life-line to them… they will cling to them and devote themselves to them because it feels as if their very survival depends on it. Perhaps it does in some cases.

Nerds are a different animal. Nerds are generally not as socially inept as dorks. They are able to interact quite comfortably with other people. What sets nerds apart is a certain “squareness”… as a rule, nerds are efficient, neat, orderly, conservative and bound to routine. Because of this conservativeness, nerds are reluctant to get involved in many of the more rowdy activities partaken in by mere mortals, and as a result tend to be excluded from the in crowd.

Something nerds usually have in common with dorks is their lack of athletic prowess, which can often be a problem in school, but later in life diminishes.

Geeks have elements of nerd and dork in them, but they have other qualities that distinguish them from the other two… making them more than just a hybrid.

Geeks often start out as either nerds or dorks, but usually possess an ability that is marketable to their peers - most frequently a keen intelligence – which allows them to transcend that to a certain degree.

Geeks are the ones who will help the jocks with their homework, or pirate the latest games or music from the Internet for them. Things that jocks have no ability or interest in doing for themselves.

So rather than feeling like social outcasts, geeks tend to be more of the opinion that they are reserved for a higher purpose. There’s a certain degree of confidence that comes from that ability.

Although being any one of these three can be very difficult, I’d rather be a nerd or a geek than a dork.

In fact I used to be a dork. All through primary school and much of high-school I was one. But I believe I’ve gone through my pupa stage and have emerged as a beautiful butterfly (read: geek).

I still retain many of my dorkish ways, such as my penchant for obscure hobbies. But as a pure dork I was miserable. Much of my childhood was clouded by depression. Although I still taste that darkness from time to time, for the most part I’ve rid myself of it.

So it is with pride that I declare my geekishness. I wear it like a cape at a costume party. It’s a part of who I am, and I love it!

Almost there

This weekend I'm moving.

I've rented a house with fellow bloggers Hide and dukenuke and we take occupation on the first of the month.

Despite the fact that I'll still be in the wrong city on the first of the month, and some recent political issues with my house-mates, I'm really looking forward to it.

Where I am now was the first place I've lived in since moving out of my parents' house a year ago. I've been sharing a flat with an old buddy.

It just became unreasonably impractical to stay there... it was too far from work, and just about every other aspect of my life.

So now we're moving to Northcliff. Closer to work, most of my friends and the center of everything in Joburg.

Plus I'll be sharing my new home with two of my best friends. And I hope it will be exactly that for the three of us: a home.

Friends who need you, and how not to deal with them

Friends who need you, and how not to deal with

Yeah, I've been there. In fact I've been most of the characters in this story: the narrator, the sad friend, the friend from the UK and even the lover.

I don't know which was hardest.

Found on a dating site profile

Yes, I'm back to trawling dating sites.

This morning I found a profile which really caught my eye, this is what it said:
(apologies, but it's too long to translate. If you don't speak Afrikaans, sorry)

Ons almal kom op 'n stadium in ons lewe wanneer ons 'soekend' is .. Soekend na iets ... Soekend na Iemand.
En net so,is ek ook hier in Cupid se sitkamer. Opsoek na daardie "iemand".
Iemand wat my beste vriend ooit wil wees.
Iemand wat vreugde in sy hart sal he oor my.
Iemand wat my wil leer ken.
Iemand wat alles met my wil deel.
Iemand wat my vertrou.
Iemand wat die reenboee in my oe sal raaksien.
Iemand wat my sal my pamperlang.
Iemand wat my gevoel sal respekteer.
Iemand wat my leer van liefde.
Iemand wat by my wil leer van liefde.
Iemand wat dink omdat mars so naby was, dat hy 'hom" hier by my kom aflaai.
Iemand wat dink as hy nie my nou gryp nie, dat dit dalk eers weer oor 226 jaar sal gebeur.
Iemand wat vir my die mooiste wit rose in sy sterk arms aandra.
Iemand wat die voordeur klokkie onverwags kom lui.
Iemand vir wie ek kan wag om my te bel.
Iemand met wie ek my toekoms mee kan bespreek.
Iemand wat hoop ek kry nie te koud of te warm nie.
Iemand wat my saggies sal soen.
Iemand wat deel van my kan word.
Iemand wat my deursettingsvermoe kan admireer.
Iemand wat kan lag as hy aan my dink.
Iemand wat my kan vergewe.
Iemand wat brand om my stem te hoor.
Iemand wat die Here dank oor my.
Iemand wat my drome met my wil deel.
Iemand wat die wolke van die toekoms saam met my wil raam.
Iemand wat wat my hart wil voel klop.
Iemand wat my laat weet hy is daar vir my.
Iemand wat my geheime kan bewaar.
Iemand wat my toekomsplanne sal help inkleur.
Iemand wat my leiding kan gee en saam met my die storms kan deur sit.
Iemand wat my kompas wil wys waar ‘Noord’ regtig is
Iemand wat besluit het 'hy' wil ook nie meer alleen wees nie.
Iemand wie se maat ek in siel kan wees.
Iemand wie se anker ek kan wees.
Iemand vir wie ek persente kan toedraai in die mooiste blinkste papier..
Iemand vir wie ek hartstogtelik kan sing.
Iemand wie nie sal wegskram as ek hom wil vashou en my wang saggies teen syne druk.
Iemand vir wie ek kan omgee.
Iemand vir wie ek 'n koppie tee kan aandra wanneer hy moeg is.
Iemand wie ek kan vertrou.
Iemand op wie ek trots kan wees.
Iemand aan wie ek die heeldag kan dink.
Iemand wat ek na kan verlang.
Iemand wat by my ‘wil’ wees.
Iemand oor wie ek bekommerd kan wees en hoop dat hy altyd veilig is.
Iemand wie se hand ek kan vashou, en saggies op sy skouer kan leun.
Iemand waarvoor ek gereeld 'n wavrag vol plesier voor sy hart se deur kan gaan aflaai.
Iemand vir wie ek altyd kan vergewe, en wie dankbaar is vir my vergifnis.
Iemand waarvoor ek die Here kan dank en loof en prys.
Iemand in wie ek kan glo ek onvoorwaardelik kan liefkry.
Iemand waarvoor ek kan wens ek die tyd kan stop net vir hom.
Iemand waarvoor ek kan lief wees net soos hy is!
Iemand wat gek sal wees as ek hom komplimenteer.
Iemand wie se geheime ek kan bewaar.
Iemand vir wie ek kan optel, so hoog dat hy ver in die toekoms kan insien.
Iemand wie se beste ek in sy mooi hartjie se binneste kan uithaal.
Iemand wie ek tot in sy wortels in kan liefhe.
Iemand wie ek kan help om al daardie plooie van die verlede uit te stryk.
Iemand wie ek vir niks sal wil verruil nie.
Iemand vir wie ek mooi blomme in sy tuin kan gaan plant.
Iemand wie ek kan bewonder.
Iemand vir wie ek ruimte ook kan gun.
Iemand wie se voete ek kan soen.
Iemand vir wie ek die enigste disa op die hoogste bergkruin kan gaan pluk.
Iemand wat alles sal probeer verstaan en waardeer.
Iemand vir wie dit alles sin maak ...
Iemand wat ‘n vroulief aan sy sy wil he ..
Iemand wat hoop ek vind HOM..

If she didn't live so far away I would have contacted her. But I hope she finds what she's looking for.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Skunk Anansie - Weak

Lost in time I can't count the words
I said when I thought they went unheard
All of those harsh thoughts so unkind
'cos I wanted you

And now I sit here I'm all alone
So here sits a bloody mess, tears fly home
A circle of angels, deep in war
'cos I wanted you

Weak as I am, no tears for you
Weak as I am, no tears for you
Deep as I am, I'm no ones fool
Weak as I am

So what am I now I'm love last home
I'm all of the soft words I once owned
If I opened my heart, there'd be no space for air
'cos I wanted you

Weak as I am, no tears for you
Weak as I am, no tears for you
Deep as I am, I'm no ones fool
Weak as I am

In this tainted soul
In this weak young heart
Am I too much for you

In this tainted soul
In this weak young heart
Am I too much for you

In this tainted soul
In this weak young heart
Am I too much for you

Weak as I am
Weak as I am
Weak as I am
Weak as I am, am, am

Weak as I am
Am I too much for you...

Monday, June 27, 2005

Is the truth all it’s cracked up to be?

The last few months I’ve undergone what I like to think of as an awakening, as I have come to embrace critical thinking.

I have called into question many of my previously held beliefs and found them to be false. It’s scary, but at the same time liberating… as if I’m shedding the shackles of society and embracing truth.

For someone like me, it’s cool to do that. I have the intelligence to cope with the fact that there is no supernatural power at work in the universe. I can deal with the fact that I’m on Earth for no reason other than the fact that I am… I wasn’t put here by any creator (be it God, Xenu, Allah, Marduk, Zeus or any other mythological character) other than my biological parents.

But not everyone is able to handle that truth.

Some people feel that they need to have an external purpose… it’s not enough for them to define a purpose of their own. It’s as if they feel overwhelmed by their own lives, and feel as if there has to be someone else at the helm.

I don’t understand why it’s so difficult… surely if you’re the only one who controls your life it makes it easier? Because then everything is your own decision… if you must do something, then do it… there’s no need to pray to ask for permission or assistance.

As euphoric as my awakening has been, I can’t decide if I have any sort of responsibility to share that awakening with others.

I mean, people who subscribe to religious beliefs based entirely on fiction, like Mormons, Scientiologists and Sitchinites… I can show them hard evidence that their religions are entirely fake and have absolutely no basis in reality whatsoever.

But what if they’re happy?

What if their beliefs, no matter how idiotic, bring them comfort and solace in difficult times? Do I have the right to deprive them of that by showing them the truth?

Is it up to me to unplug them from the Matrix, or is it better to leave them hooked up and oblivious?

Is it better to live a happy life based on lies, or a difficult one based on the truth?

Let me put it like this: if your partner was cheating on you, but in such a way that you would never find out. As a result, your partner was happier, which resulted in a more stable relationship for the two of you. Would you want to carry on like that, or would you prefer to know about the infidelity?

It’s the Prime Directive – to not interfere in the natural development of those less advanced than I. But what criteria would I use to decide whether someone is ready to be unplugged?

It’s not as simple as offering them a choice of two coloured pills… offering someone a choice like that already constitutes interference.

(I know what you’re thinking. “How arrogant is this guy to suggest that his beliefs are more correct than mine?” Well the fact is that I don’t have beliefs anymore. Beliefs are things you have when you lack evidence… my world view is slowly reshaping itself to conform to that which can be proven. Saying something is true isn’t good enough… you’ll have to show me.)

Friday, June 24, 2005

Second Officer Swart

As of yesterday I gave up my position as the Dauntless' Chief Science Officer.

I served as CSO for the better part of a year. Although I wasn't as active as I would've liked to have been, it felt good being in the Sciences Branch for a while.

Having spent the first five years of my Starfleet career in the Command Branch commanding an independent ship, the USS Inkosi, it was a welcome break for me being able to serve aboard a ship where the responsibility of keeping things going didn't rest squarely on my shoulders.

But now that I've been made Second Officer of the Dauntless, my former Deputy Chief Science Officer is champing at the bit to get into a Department Head position. So, although it's not a requirement, I'm happy to stand aside and let her do it.

Pity I only got to wear my blue uniform once... but I think I look better in red anyway.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Good advice

Although it doesn't apply to me at all, I got this in an email this morning and thought it sounded like very good advice.

Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will stay awake just to watch you sleep. Wait for the guy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in your sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, Wait for the one who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares about you and how lucky he is to have you. Wait for the one who turns to his friends and says, "...that's her."

For those of you looking for this, I hope you find it. It sounds nice.

African Sunrise

This morning I braved the cold and damp to see something I see too seldom.

Two hundred meters or so from my hotel is a nice little beach, somewhat removed from the major commercial ones.

My only company was the occasional passing jogger and my over-active thoughts.

It was rather peaceful, but I was glad to get back to the warm hotel room and the three-course breakfast that awaited me.

It's not so bad, I suppose.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Today I don’t like it here

I’ve never been much of a beach fan. I haven’t set foot on one since band camp.

I’ve decided I don’t like the coast much at all.

If for no other reason than the fact that I’m struggling to breath… the air is so dense and humid here it feels like I’m trying to breath custard!

That’s probably why I haven’t been sleeping well either.

I’m looking forward to going home.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A love song to science

One positive influence my father had on me was exposing me to science fiction. That eventually led to my interest in science, and now my awakening into skepticism and critical thinking.

On one of the several skeptic websites I frequent, I uncovered this gem by Phil "The Bad Astronomer" Plaitt, one of my new heroes.

It's a speech he gave at local science fair:

I know a place where the Sun never sets.
It's a mountain, and it's on the Moon. It sticks up so high that even as the Moon spins, it's in perpetual daylight. Radiation from the Sun pours down on there day and night, 24 hours a day — well, the Moon's day is actually about 4 weeks long, so the sunlight pours down there 708 hours a day.

I know a place where the Sun never shines. It's at the bottom of the ocean. A crack in the crust there exudes nasty chemicals and heats the water to the boiling point. This would kill a human instantly, but there are creatures there, bacteria, that thrive. They eat the sulfur from the vent, and excrete sulfuric acid.

I know a place where the temperature is 15 million degrees, and the pressure would crush you to a microscopic dot. That place is the core of the Sun.

I know a place where the magnetic fields would rip you apart, atom by atom: the surface of a neutron star, a magnetar.

I know a place where life began billions of years ago. That place is here, the Earth.

I know these places because I'm a scientist.

Science is a way of finding things out. It's a way of testing what's real. It's what Richard Feynman called "A way of not fooling ourselves."

No astrologer ever predicted the existence of Uranus, Neptune, or Pluto. No modern astrologer had a clue about Sedna, a ball of ice half the size of Pluto that orbits even farther out. No astrologer predicted the more than 150 planets now known to orbit other suns.

But scientists did.

No psychic, despite their claims, has ever helped the police solve a crime. But forensic scientists have, all the time.

It wasn't someone who practices homeopathy who found a cure for smallpox, or polio. Scientists did, medical scientists.

No creationist ever cracked the genetic code. Chemists did. Molecular biologists did.

They used physics. They used math. They used chemistry, biology, astronomy, engineering.

They used science.

These are all the things you discovered doing your projects. All the things that brought you here today.

Computers? Cell phones? Rockets to Saturn, probes to the ocean floor, PSP, gamecubes, gameboys, X-boxes?

All by scientists.

Those places I talked about before — you can get to know them too. You can experience the wonder of seeing them for the first time, the thrill of discovery, the incredible, visceral feeling of doing something no one has ever done before, seen things no one has seen before, know something no one else has ever known.

No crystal balls, no tarot cards, no horoscopes. Just you, your brain, and your ability to think.

Welcome to science. You're gonna like it here.

Monday, June 20, 2005

An exercise in futility

The South African fascination with queues never ceases to amaze me.

What's the point of queing to get onto a plane that isn't leaving without you? Is it to be first to get to a seat that has been reserved for you?

On the plus side, a tip from a friend paid off - the seats in the emergency exit isle frequently have an extra ten to twenty centimeters of leg-room. Just enough for me.

The way this plane is bobbing up and down, you can tell we have a female pilot... woman drivers. Landing should be an adventure. *duck*

Saturday, June 18, 2005

"Scotty, beam me up!"

Well my lecture on Transporters went down very well. I remembered all my jokes, and had a very cooperative and attentive audience.

Not to mention the cutie in the front row (wearing a Star Trek t-shirt, no less) who kept asking really intelligent and well thought out questions… she even asked me a couple I couldn’t answer… I was impressed.

Science Fiction South Africa (the organizers of the convention) were so impressed they immediately asked me back for next year, and invited me to join the organizing committee for next year’s con… even though I’m not an SFSA member!

This has to be the best thing in the world… immersing myself in the Star Trek experience, while at the same time teaching other people about it.

If only I could do this for a living!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

I hate flying

Although it may sound illogical for someone as infatuated with technology as I am to say something like that, it makes perfect sense to me.

I trust the technology and the physics of flying… lift vs. thrust and all of that. Although for someone who spends as much time immersed in the Star Trek universe as I do, I find that brute force approach to flight somewhat distasteful… even barbaric. An anti-gravity matrix guided by reaction-control thrusters is far more elegant. One day we’ll have that for real.

Although this morning was only my second time in an aeroplane, I’m beginning to get used to the bumps and noises associated with this (statistically very safe) mode of transportation.

The worst part is that aeroplanes are too small for me.

I’m a big person. I’m about 1.94 meters tall (plus minus 6’4”) and weigh roughly 110 kilograms (just shy of 250 lbs). I’ve got pretty broad shoulders and a few excess kilos around the middle.

I’m no giant, but I’m just large enough so that no facility designed for use by the average human is big enough for me. Cinemas, busses, trains, roller-coasters, couches, beds, you name it, are all too small for me. I can usually fit, but it’s always a squeeze, and hardly ever really comfortable.

When talking about flying economy class on a tiny little Boeing 737-500 as I did this morning, and will be doing a few times over the next few weeks, it’s not something I look forward to.

When sitting in the middle seat in a row of three, with a large gent on either side of me and my knees going numb from being pressed into the back of the seat in front of me, it’s an exercise in logistics to even get my tray-table down, let alone to consume the little in-flight breakfast they provided me with.

Fortunately Joburg to Port Elizabeth is only a one and a half hour flight… but I’m not looking forward to having to repeat that experience.

Three words flash through my mind constantly: “deep vein thrombosis”.

Aside – Explain this to me: They won’t let me take my multitool on the plane with me… very sensible, I may try to hijack the plane with it. But then why do they give me a metal knife and fork with which to eat my in-flight meal? Even a plastic tea-spoon can easily be made into a shiv!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Dependency: crutch or necessity?

I’ve been thinking a lot about dependency lately, in all forms.

When that word is mentioned, often the first thing that comes to mind is a dependency on chemical substances, and all those negative connotations.

As a generation we seem to be striving for independence: a state of being free of dependencies. I’m beginning to question the wisdom of that.

I make no secret of my opinion regarding dependence on chemical substances. I think it’s generally a bad idea and frankly a sign of weakness of character to allow yourself to fall into a situation where you become addicted to a chemical, especially a harmful one.

I know I sound somewhat hypocritical, given my addiction to caffeine. Although I don’t deny my weakness, I do point out that caffeine is one of the less harmful dependence-forming substances around… in moderate quantities (less than 700mg per day – about three cups of coffee) it’s even been shown to have long-term beneficial effects. If I believed I was harming myself I would discontinue it immediately.

But when it comes to other things like tobacco, alcohol and the vast array of illegal drugs, a dependence is a tremendous liability, and can have many negative effects, not only on your health, but also your lifestyle. These things are government regulated or illegal for a reason… think about it.

The exception here would be prescription medication. I’m an asthmatic, and as such I have been in several situations where my medication was the only thing standing between me and certain death. Although that doesn’t happen often, I am definitely dependant on that medication for my very survival.

Plenty of other folks have medical conditions that require them to receive prescription medication (or other medical equipment like glasses or walking sticks) in order for them to lead normal lives. This dependence is far from bad… on the contrary I think it’s a testament to modern science that we are able to provide people with these things, thus allowing people that would otherwise be cripples to become functioning members of society.

The other major kind of dependence is that on people.

Financial dependence is distasteful and undesirable. Who wants to be in a situation where they have to rely on another person to meet their financial needs? I know, there are some people who are too lazy to work for a living so they’re happy to try and find a rich husband to buy their bon-bons, but for the rest of us, it sucks.

But financial dependence isn’t the only form that can exist between two people. There is also emotional dependence.

Humans are social animals, and as such we thrive as much on the company of others as we do food and water. We’re genetically programmed for it, because our ancestors were able to survive as a result of their huddling together in troupes, being able to outwit and outnumber any predators, rival troupes and later on, their prey.

This programming has caused us to have an instinctual need to have people around us. We’re driven to seek out company.

This results in us feeling a strong attachment to our troupe… our group of close friends, and particularly our mate and offspring. We have developed complex social structures around these relationships that serve to strengthen those bonds in order to weave us together even more tightly.

As much as we like to think we don’t need anybody, we’re only kidding ourselves. We need people. We really do. We’re dependent on other people to provide us with a sense of wellbeing and belonging… things that are essential parts of our lives, whether we like it or not.

So let’s tally up the score:
Dependence on harmful drugs: Bad
Dependence on correctly prescribed medication: Good
Financial dependence on people: Bad
Emotional dependence on people: Good

Independence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… just be careful of the bad ones.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Watch this movie! It was billed as the best science fiction since Being John Malcovich, and I must agree.

I think perhaps the reason I enjoyed it so much is that in the protagonist, Joel (Jim Carrey) I see myself… he is almost exactly the way I perceive myself. I can completely relate to him.

Not only that, but the antagonist/love interest Clementine (Kate Winslet) is so much the type of woman I’m attracted to.

I can totally relate to the tension between them… I have been there before.

Not only that, the story is masterfully woven and incredibly well acted and directed.

This is low-budget movie-making at its absolute best!

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

The three-strike rule

This is a rule I had to employ a couple of years ago when I found myself in a state of running around after the people in my life, and I had to assert myself in order to maintain some dignity and self-respect.

It’s simple: if I’m trying to get hold of someone, I will make three attempts. Depending on the particular circumstances, I will choose the medium most likely to get to the person (usually SMS or voicemail)

If those attempts aren’t acknowledged (by that I mean SMS replied to or call answered), I won’t make another attempt until I hear from the person again.

I’ve found it to be most effective at weeding out the people who don’t really want to be around me, and at preventing me from becoming one of those pathetic people nobody wants to be around because they’re too needy.

I treat my friends in a particular way, and I expect the same treatment from them. If someone calls me, I will answer, or call back as soon as I can. If someone sends me an SMS, I will almost always reply, even if it’s just a one-word response like “OK” or “Cool”, just so they know I’ve received and read the message.

I understand that people aren’t always able to respond immediately, so I’m reasonable about it. If I miss once, I’ll try again a few hours later. If I miss again, I’ll wait till the evening, or the next morning before making another attempt. It’s silly to try three times in the space of five minutes… if they missed the first two, they’re most likely not going to get the third.

It’s unfortunate that I feel the need to have rules like this in my life. I wish it wasn’t necessary.

Monday, June 06, 2005


I'm in such a total funk today.

I've been in it since my devestating defeat in the tournament on Saturday... it's like it sapped all my energy, and nothing has really happened since then to replenish me.

I hope something happens soon, because I'm a real miserable sod in the meantime, and I'm pulling everyone around me down in the process.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The agony of defeat

This was not a good weekend for gaming for me.

It started on Friday afternoon. My team challenged our in-house development team to an informal Quake tournament. We figured that since these guys were used to playing slower games like Soldier of Fortune and Counterstrike, we would have a considerable advantage over them.

In fact we were hopelessly outnumbered (2.5 to 1) and were faced with some team strategies that we hadn’t anticipated from our training against bots.

We were overconfident and inadequately prepared. That taken into consideration, it wasn’t very surprising that we were beaten. Although we did put up a valiant fight.

Yesterday was a different story.

I’ve been playing HeroClix for about a year now. Before yesterday I had never lost a game. I had only played in one tournament, in which I won a flawless victory.

Yesterday was the first day of Warcon 2005, a CMG convention in Bedfordview. I signed up to play in the HeroClix tournament. My opponents were a bunch of guys I hadn’t played before.

Because they didn’t know how good I was, they thought it best to pair me up with one of their weaker players for the first round. He demolished me. He systematically killed every single one of my soldiers without me being about to make a single successful hit.

For the second round they paired me with a 12-year-old. Although I managed get in one or two hits, he also made short work of me… he cleared the table of my army in less than half the allotted time.

It wasn’t just humbling, it was humiliating.

I managed to pull my shit together for a narrow margin victory in the third round, but that was more a case of sheer luck… my army was inherently more resistant to the randomly selected battlefield condition than my opponent’s… something neither of us could have foreseen. In a straight battle I wouldn’t have stood a chance.

It was such a shockingly bad performance, the rest of the guys voted me the winner of the Sportsmanship Prize (aka – the pity prize). And how fitting that the prize was a limited edition figure of Northstar – Marvel’s homosexual Canadian superhero.

It wouldn’t be so bad if I could only figure out why I lost. I’ve been scouring the rule-books for ways to counter the powers that I was faced with, thus far to no avail.

I’ve never been a sore loser, because I see a loss as an opportunity to learn and improve, but this time I just can’t see how I would have won. There was just no way.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

HITMAN - Professional Killings (Contract Killers and Assassins)

HITMAN - Professional Killings (Contract Killers and Assassins)

Although I believe in the principle: "killing people solves problems", It's a real hassle to do it myself.

Sure, I'm a smart guy, I can think of hundreds of ways to kill someone, but no matter how much CSI I watch, I can never be certain I won't get caught.

But with HITMAN, I don't have to worry. All I have to do is fork over the cash and the problem takes care of itself.

All hail the Internet!

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

*sniff* *sniff* Is that shit in my cereal?

Well i've just figured out a perfect place where I would like to stick that sword.

Although I'm not supposed to have access to this information, it has come to my attention that my company has hired a new guy into the division I work in.

Let me refresh your memory: a few weeks ago we recieved a general email informing us that since we didn't have available funds none of us would be getting increases or bonuses this year.

This guy used to work with us before. About a year ago he made such a huge stuff up on one of our projects, our company had to do some serious legal moonwalking to prevent us from being sued by the client. Suffice to say he left the company.

Now I hear he's been re-hired as a SysAdmin for a new warehouse we're building. Now, in our company a SysAdmin is ranked one below Junior Application Consultant, and would theoretically be paid less. I'm a Junior Application Consultant.

Yet I hear this guy is being paid THREE TIMES my salary... which equates to One Crapload of moolah... it's a good 10k per month more than our highest paid Senior Consultant as well as our Project Managers. Even our General Manager doesn't earn that much!

Is it just me, or is there something fundamentally wrong with this?

He's a goober who dropped the ball in a BIG way once before, he's coming in at an entry-level position and he's earning a management salary... something doesn't smell right here.

Suffice to say, those of us who are aware of this are livid. But since we're not supposed to know, there's precious little we can do about it.

I don't blame the dude... he's just looking out for himself. What I want to know is, WTF is this guy doing here? We can't afford him, we don't need his skills (we have the same skills already in our team) and now the rest of us have to suffer because of it! I'd love to know which management motherphucker authorised this little transaction so I can give him a little moqba'ra' demonstration.

Robert The Bruce Claymore

Robert The Bruce Claymore

I'm giving serious thought to buying this.

I'll admit, I was inspired by the Real Life into choosing this particular sword, but buying a sword has been on my To Do list for some time.

The way I see it, it's a man's duty to defend the way of life of his family. Although swords haven't really been used in combat since WWI, I still believe that the sword is a symbol for a man's acceptance of that duty. I suppose in this day and age a gun might serve the same purpose, but I think a sword is far more elegant and attractive.

I like this particular sword because it represents my scottish heritage. As a matter of fact my maternal grandmother's maiden name was MacMillan. The MacMillan crest depicts a claymore in it:

I would like to get a "battle ready" version with a high-carbon steel blade as opposed to an ornamental stainless steel one because I would like it to be potentially functional. Although I hope I'll never have to use it, I would like to be able to, should the need arise.

Once I have it, I'll be visiting Griffon's Tor, the local chapter of the SCA so their knights can show me how to use it properly, just in case.

If I have a son one day, I'll pass it onto him on his wedding day as a symbol of his responsibility to protect his family... my family has no real heirlooms and I think it would be quite nice to be able to give my son a tangible piece of family heritage.