Saturday, October 29, 2005

The Nature of Enlightenment

That most recent post reminds me of something that's worth being told.

Enlightenment is the nominal goal of all kinds of people. Philosophers, mystics, bhudists, etc. One thing you must know about it if you seek to attain it is that it is not a point you ascend to. It's a state of mind you come into, and always eventually fall out of. This is why mystics have "seen the mountaintop" rather then having gone to the top, bought a condo and got a job running a frachise.

The next thing I'm going to say is somethign that I'm incredibly hesitant to say. It sounds arogant, and unreasonable, but I think it's true.

I have seen the mountaintop.

Elightenment is a state of being that words can not describe. You see the world and understand it to be perfect because it is as it is because that's what it is supposed to be. It's very similar to a Zen trance, but also is filled with serentiy whose depth seems nearly infinite. When I first attained it the first truth that occured to me was that it would pass. Everything was too perfect, too beautifull to remain that way. The next thing that occured to me was that change was the only constant in life, and that in time this state would have to pass. And it did. I've attained it a few more times since, but the most influential time is always the first time.

Damnit Max, you can't even discuss enlightenment without making a cheap double entendre

I've found one more thing as well. This existance of constantly striving to reach that high point is the way of life. Nobody lives to get up and go to work and live their mundane existance. People live for those moments of triumph and clarity.

And so it comes to pass that the essential nature of life is that of rise and fall. The wheel will spin forever because the only stable state is the state of change.

Tithing 10%

This is a philosophy that's been in my mind for a long time, I've put it into practice recently, and now that I've been doing it for a while I feel the time has come to discuss it. This policy of acting before discussing is my own quiet revolution against armchair philosophers whose words are righteous but whose actions are hollow.

I'll not attempt to hide my difficulties with organized religeon, but there is one aspect that isn't held by almost any organized religeon that I still agree with. The act of tithing to the church is a key part of many organized religeon, and it's one that I actually like. The poblem I have with it is that if the church mandates the tithe it makes it too much like taxation, which puts the church in a postion of rulership. Theocracy is something that I consider both a flawed form of government, and a corruption of the church, because of this anythign that would make the church an organization of power is right out.

I do like tithing though. So I tithe to the people. I don't keep track of how much, but it's never too signifigant an amount, and I prefer to give to street people rather to a large organized charity. If there as someway I could connect to the charity as another person I would, but sending a check to an adress to help people I'll never see has always rung hollow to me.

Now the big question, Why? Tithing is a good thing for several reasons IMO.

Oh, IMO means In My Opinion BTW

BTW means By the way.

Anway, I tithe for several reasons. First of all it's an act of charity, as someone of privelage whose already maintained security and a saftey net for myself I feel able to be charitable. It makes me feel good. Most importantly though, its an act that frees you of material ties. The act of throwing away coins devalues money to the mind, and gradually forces you into detachment from material goods. This is one of the higher aspects of enlightenment that clashes heavily with real life, but it's important to see from that perspective at least once.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Very Very Very Rough Draft

This is the first complete version of the paper which is due monday. I need to look up a few more dates and I think there are some more facts that I can fit into it. I also need to add the crticisms inot the first few sections, but it's pushing the 4 oage maximum pretty hard right now. It's still using the default title that I give to all academic papers. Crticisms are welcome, but don't be suprised if my response is "yeah, I know about that and am working on it." By the way, anywhere you see the symbol NNN, its a liteary signal flare to me, an indication of somethign where theres a clear gap which is filled in a definate way (I.E. A name or date, not just a place where the writing loses its structure or literary flare)

Max Willson

The One Paper:
To Rule them All!

Modern development theory has its roots in the 1944 through 194 post World War II era. The United States had become a global superpower, its’ industrial power had skyrocketed, and it had seen the rest of the developed world crushed. It was during this period that many of today’s major development organizations were established. In NNN-Date-NNN the U.S. and the U.K. acted together to create the I.B.R.D. which later became the World Bank; its original purpose was to fund and organize the rebuilding of Europe and Japan. Soon after, NNN-Date-NNN, the I.M.F. was formed to foster international trade in a more general sense. In 1944 the U.S., U.K., and U.S.S.R. together drafted the U.N. charter, and the U.N. itself was established in 1945. Its goal was to promote peace and change through international co-operation.
The actions of these organizations showed enormous initial success. In 1958 Germany and Japan had regained the economic losses they had suffered during WWII, and international confidence grew. Riding this success the U.N. declared in 1959 that the next ten years would be a “Decade of Development.” U.S. belief in development was so high that in 1961 J.F.K. said that in 10 years the poorer countries of the world would have joined the rich.
This new wave of development was a form of development known as modernization. Development through modernization was a system of grand large scale theories through which countries would grow by expanding their own industrial powers. Aid was given with the instruction that it be invested in the countries industrial power, and countries were made to reinvest their taxes into their industrial sector. It was a time when development was seen to be directly tied to economic growth. Development through modernization also came with a heavy export of western culture. The poorer states were being driven to become more like the western ones, which were the most successful and influential. To show the strength of this belief take this 1959 quote from development theorist Peter Drucher: “No viable society can be built except on western foundations.”
As time progressed and the 1960s began faith in modernization theory began to wane. A new radically different school of thought known as dependency theory arose. Dependency theory said that poorer countries we’re too reliant on richer ones and that in order to truly develop they needed to break away. They argued that economic development in less developed countries would actually be bad for the inhabitants of the more developed countries because they rely on their dominant position economically. This theory that the rich countries exploited poorer countries is a central theme of dependency theory. It draws from this to conclude that poorer countries develop most when their ties to rich countries were the weakest. It claims that poverty is not the result of misfortune or incorrect action, but is the direct result of history, and stresses the value of social revolution as a development tool.
One noteworthy dependency theorist was Gunder Frank. He was a South American economist who argued that the rich acquired their wealth by exploiting the poor. The poor would produce raw goods at reduced cost, and then be made to purchase manufactured good from wealthy countries at higher prices. Frank argued that this was a form of theft that was being allowed to continue through the policies of the World Bank and I.M.F.
In time views began to change; pendulum swung and starting in the 1980s a new form of development theory known as “The New Right.” The New Right stressed the importance of a free market, and advocated rolling back the role of the state. Key New Right development thinker Deepak Lal criticized the governments of less developed countries. HE claimed that hey were often unable to obtain their policy objectives, and that their actions had negative side effects, sometimes even being directly counterproductive. He was also critical of the excessive cost of government controls, such as subsidies and taxation. Lal was not without his own critics though. Foye pointed out that state intervention is a necessary measure, and that The New Right offered no clear division as to which services, such as roads and education, would be state run or in the hands of private industry. He also showed that the free market theory, or economic liberalism as he labeled it, had failed in the past.
Nonetheless New Right thinking rose to power. It was and still is highly influential in the actions of the I.M.F. and World Bank. An example of this is the Structural Adjustment programs of the 1980s. In response to a debt crises caused by rising oil prices the W.B. and I.M.F. instituted these “S.A.P.s. They were a system to design and support broad based policy reform within a country, structuring it in a way that allowed it to continue making payments on its debt without inhibiting its’ own growth. While the W.B. and I.M.F. continue to believe in the policies they’re often criticized for increasing poverty and widening the economic gap, as well as marginalizing groups such as women and children.
New Right thinking continues to this day, but other forms of development theory have also developed. One new approach is to take a much smaller scale, examining the basic needs and desires of individuals. This form of development theory is known as People Centered development theory. This form of development theory seeks to transfer power from the state to the local communities, a process known as decentralization, and to empower marginalized. It strives to recognize the skills of the local people, and to enroll them in the development process. While this has empowered the people to a degree, the system is far from perfect. Inequality inside of the country runs rampant, and those that were already in power tend to seize power again. Those who were marginalized tend to become marginalized again.
The case study of Joint Forest Management in India is an excellent example of the theory in action and the problems that come with it. In 1982 a new forest policy was drafted with the intent of forming a partnership between the forest department and local communities. The idea was that they would work together, take mutual responsibility, and gradually power would transfer from the state to the local people. In actuality the lack of information on the part of the village communities caused the Forest Department to be clearly dominant in the relationship. The State retained actual ownership of the forest, allowing it to retain power. This pattern of powerful groups resisting decentralization is a key flaw in people centered development.
One more reactionary form of development theory is what is known as Post-Development, or Anti-Development. Post development claims that development damages the societies of the global south. It’s extremely critical of any form of grand claim as well as the World Bank and I.M.F. Post Development also places a high level of scrutiny on how development knowledge is produced and circulated. It celebrates diversity and exalts the local cultures of the less developed countries over those of the west. The views it holds of western culture and society are extremely polarized. The west is shown as a cold unfeeling mechanistic world while the east is shown as the simpler and more authentic world. It exaggerates the link between development and imperialism. This polarized belief causes a rejection of anything modern. Post development theory is commonly unable to see that modernization is not a fully destructive thing; that it has its pros and cons.
The youngest form of development theory is what is called Sustainable Development. While the term has been around since 1980 it was first popularized in 1983 Brundtland report. The Brundtland report was the product of the 1983 UN established world commission of environment and development. It discussed the links between the environment and development, it criticized global financial policy and called for a massive flow of capital to the global south, it was people centered in that is showed problems on the level of an individual person and how those problems could be solved, and finally it first defined the tem of Sustainable Development as: Development which meets the needs of the current generation without impairing the ability of the next generation to meet it’s needs. Sustainable development has also become a rallying cry for environmental groups because it is the first to stress the importance of the environment. In fact, its model of development shows environmental stability, economic growth, and social growth as all being necessary for the development of society. They say that without any one of those the entire process will fail.
Despite all of this the term has remained somewhat vague. This lack of definition prevents focused policies, and allows unusual conditions to be attached to the aid given by the powerful. Powerful groups inside of powerful countries have even used the label of Sustainable development to prevent change and gain more power for themselves.
Development theory is still growing. With changes in society and the world around us new forms of development theory are evolving. While development is a far from perfected process it becomes more refined with each passing day. Lead thinkers all over the world are forming new ideas and principles. In essence development theory is itself still developing.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

The Rules of Anime

The thing about Asuka reminded me of something.

I'm not sure how many of you have yet been introduced to this, but as time goes by I'm copiling the bizzare psuedophysics that govern the anime world into a coherent list. The ones I already had were

1. Any attack is made stronger by performing the attack while Jumping and shouting the name of the attack

2. Every Family everywhere has in it's ancestory an ancient and powerfull/evil sword that can be called upon when necessary

3. The Katana is the ultimate melee weapon

4. The Katan is the ultimate Ranged weapon.

5. Potential is inversely proportional to age. A child always always has the power of an Angry God hidden within him. And either a dark loner character or some form of tragedy always unlocks that power just in time.

6. The protective value of armor/clothing for females is proportional to how much skin it shows

This next one occured to me while playing as Asuka against the computer, but It's true in almost all anime.

7. Every female at the age of 14 instantly develops 38D breasts which never cause any form of back problem and in no way inhibit her ability to perform Kung-fu

If I think of more I'll post them.

King of the Iron Fist Tournament, Progress report

I still play Tekken between classes on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve attained competence with a new character. I may have mentioned that a Korean kid whipped my ass as Asuka, the kung-fu chick, and I’ve taken her up for several reasons.

1. Her combat style is very fluid. I’ve found several 3 hit combos, one 5 hit combo, and a way of substituting the 5th hit of the combo known as “White Heroin Dance” (they made that name up not me, its one of the few listed ones) with a 3 hit combo I discovered which I called static rage (because you have to start it while not moving) and after static rage I can perform a 4 hit combo I discovered which I call “Earthbound Cyclone” (because the first 3 hits are spinning sweep kicks). If I do all of this properly I can actually defeat an enemy without ever giving them a chance to act, but it’s extremely hard to get the timing right that many times in a row.

2. Her combat style is a form of Shaolin Kung-Fu similar to the one practiced by Andrew Lewis, a friend of mine.

3. I know that she has great potential because I’ve been on the receiving end of said potential

I’ve only played as her once against a human opponent, and while I misjudged how well a human would be able to react to the opening maneuvers of the “Perfect Heroin Dance” 20-something hit combo, I found that substituting a few different moves leaves them open long enough to send them into the spinning pain of that chain-hit madness.

The Alliance is all up in your grill

Let me first explain one thing. In the game World of Warcraft, on the Server Whisperwind, on the side “The Alliance” there are roughly 10,000 players. Now let me direct you Here. Scroll to page 48, and find the name Slyz. Out of the 10,000 players I amd the 957th best at PVP combat.

Now that I’ve gotten my little victory dance out of the way I’d like to talk about a different matter. The Alliance always loses PVP. It’s not because we’re weaker either, its’ because we’re a side comprised of immature little punks.

Sir, Incoming Rant.
Divert all power to shields and tell the crew to brace for impact.

We’ve got lots and lots of good players who don’t know to WORK TOGETHER. Me and Zenstorm and Tyramun are Always yelling at them to practice teamwork, and that when the mission type is “Capture and Hold” Someone has to hold the point YOU BASTARDS. Then they run off, as a smattering, and one by one walk into a group of 5 horde members who squish them like the little idiots they are.

But Max, What makes you better?

NEVER QUESTION THE RULE OF MAX. The answer though is that I know what I’m doing. Most rogues, I play as a rogue, when they see an enemy coming to their point will use ambush (this attack does a lot of damage but forces you out of stealth) then try their damnedest to beat back the enemy and fail utterly because of their own foolishness. When I’m in that situation I use Sap (this attack does 0 damage, but incapacitates the enemy for 45 seconds [45 seconds is a long time in PVP] and breaks stealth) I then use blind (incapacitates for 30 seconds, doesn’t require stealth and why the hell does no other rogue remember they have this ability?) and fight whoever’s left using Not damaging tactics, but stun locking tactics (reduced damage, but doesn’t let the enemy attack) While calling for reinforcements. If I’m lucky someone will realize that I’m the only thing holding the team together and help me.

This isn’t even the part that bugs me the most. A lot of the idiots, there’s a lot of idiots but I’m referring to the ones who get squished, blame their PVP problems entirely on gear. Then they do boring repetitive things for weeks and months and get full Epic Plate of the Ass-Kicker, and run off and get squished again because an idiot with epic armor is still an IDIOT. And It’s such a waste. Give ME the Fire God’s vestments and the wicked skull death sword of the giant evil guy, at least I’d put it to good use.


Monday, October 24, 2005

Yom Tovah

Hayom yom tovah, Ki behayom ani lomed all ha mivchan sheli bishviel evreet. Behamivchan ani avadati harbeh ve hem omar ani beseder elmod be rishi shteiyim.

(I passed my hebrew placement test, I can stard in the second quarter class (HEB 412) next quarter.

Go team.

I had an assighnment for my UW community class which required me to get on a bus and walk around downtown and take a few pictures. Now I've done that 3 or 4 times already, but those didn't count because I wasn't with two other randomly selected people from my FIG.

It stands for Freshman Intrest Group

Now that you know that I can tell you the real story here.

I went to sleep at 3 am last night (this isn't an irregularity, I was planning on waking up at noon, so I was within plenty of time) and I woke up in a cold sweat at 3:30ish with the certain thought that something was due soon that I hadn't done, and I had no idea what. I knew it wasn't for my Geo of Comparative lit classes, so I ran through my most recent sheets from UW community and didn't see anything due before friday. My panic had worn itself out by then so I went back to sleep.

During Comp Lit today Anna came up an asked if we we're planning to due the Bus Excursion today, it's due tomorrow.

Shit! Thats what we Forgot about
Hah! I am a prohpet
Max this is NOT the time.

"Yeah, I've got my camera on me, so we should be fine... You would happen to know, um, the name or face of the other person would you?"

She did, Once again the one female in the group is the only thing making sure that the efforts of the males are being put towards a productive end.

Endulge the following tangent

IN heaven God stood before man and woman and said to them:
"Ok, one of you gets a longer lifespan, better control of your emotions, and the ability to multi-task. The other one gets to pee standing up"
Man: "Standing up!, That's Awsome!"

End Tangent

We finished the assighnment, catastrophy has been averted, and the world is safe for another day.

I'll post some of the better pictures later.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Block Accounting.

I've realized something about the way I spend money recently.

I was given 1k for miscelaneous college expenses, and I have no way to spend it. I was also given $20, which I have a million uses for.

I technically started this year with $1,300, but I really started it with:

1x $1000
2x $100
5x $20

I was able to justify spending one of the $20 on something entertainment based almost instantly. I justified spending one of the $100 on food, which reduced it to $20s, Which are in danger of being spent.

Leaving aside an entire detailing of my spending, I have a weird situation.

I don't think I can ever spend the $1000. And I don't mean that I won't ever find an expense that costs $1000, I mean that it's too much of an amount to spend any of. It's not a bad thing in the end, it gives me a good nest egg.

Now that I think about it, there's not much of a point to this post, just a musing of mine. I'll pull up my classic blogging rule. It's My Blog Damnit! I'll post what I want.

I love that rule.

Lead Thinkers

I was doing research for my geography class the other day. Our lectures on sustainable development have been somewhat inconclusive.

When I feel the need for more information on a subject like this (liberal arts) I can almost always go onto the web and find pages and pages of well documentd thoughts by Lead Thinkers. Were the actions of the black hand the true cause of WWI? Were they the true trigger, or just a signifigant point on the inevitable slide into war? Lead thinkers has a long well argued conclusive opinion on it. In Vallis is Phillip K. Dick unofficially refuting the story of his own enlightenment, or just offering self criticsim? Lead Thinkers knows. What's wrong with faulkner, why can't he just tell the damn story and be done with it. Lead Thinkers understands his madness.

So why dosn't Lead Thnkers know anything about sustainable development theory? Where's the carefully analyzed and criticized research?

That research isn't availible because it's being done now. The IMF and World Bank are discussing this theory, Right Now. That's when it dawned on me. Lead Thinkers dosn't know because Lead Thinkers is in odegard arguing about it in angry whispers while the librarian gives them dirty looks. Lead Thinkers is playing ultimate frisbee in red square and tryign to explain that his faulted save does not in any way diminish his argument. I passed Lead Thinkers on the way to class. She was sitting in a tree in the quad reading. I held the door for Lead Thinkers, and then Lead Thikers stole my seat in the lecture hall. A few days ago it was raining and I saw Lead Thinkers flip his bike on the wet bricks in red square; he slid a good 15 feet, it was hilarious.

Preface, Again

The following entries were written signifigantly before being posted, it's the same story as the last time I was sick.

What was that, 9 days ago? Man I am unhealthy. I'll have to work on that.

Artifical hooves

I'm begining to think the reason I'm getting sick may be that I walk around barefoot all the time

But Max, we walked around barefoot all the time before and never got sick then

Yes, but think of all the people who have passed out on the floor, and that one time the guy threw up in the hall. Also remember that your walking into a public mens restroom


This debate was epitomized by a conversation I had with a kid named justin whom I semi-know. A friend of his got Scabies from the floor in his dorm. SCABIES. I haven't heard of anyone getting that sence the gold rush era.

I'm wearing my sandals at all times from now on.


I'm sick again. It appears to be essentially the same thing I had last time. While it's not quite as bad this time around it did cost me most of saturday. I'm going to go see health services as soon as I can.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Survey 2

That was redicuously easy. I'm getting $10 for doing it and it took me roughly 10 minutes. It's an alcohol study, and I refrain from it entirely, this means that where others would have to think hard about the situation, I just have to scroll down the page either clicking never, or entering a 0.

Just another advantage of sobriety.


I'm part of a survey because time is money and this survey is one of the most efficent ways to make that conversion. It's also a way to exploit the fact that I belong to the most heavily valued demographic (Males betweeen the ages of 18 and 35)

One interesting thing of note is that for sexual preferance they have the 4 obvious ones
Gay Male

but they also have "Questioning" as an option.

The ultimate multi-tool

I'm considering in a very strong way buying one of these It's known as a TV Tuner card and it will essentially allow me to play a TV signal on my monitor. While this by no means a definate plan it ranks very high on the list of possible future purchases, and as such I need help from one of you. Actually this is a task essentially only Mom can do.

On my desk in my room should be a small key ring with two small silver keys, they're aren't normal house keys but rather they have a square back and short cylindrical protrusion. These keys unlock the case of my computer, and I need them mailed to me. If they're not on my desk they may be on the floor immidiately next to it, but if they're not there let it go, I can find them later. I can also get new ones or pick the lock with a paperclip.

Jack's Story, Resolution

Wed, October 19 2005 - 11:33 AM
by: Gabe

Tycho and I remain free men. The fact is that Jack actually sent the fax to everyone but the intended recipient at the Seattle PD. There were a lot of names to remember I don’t blame him. I’ve received literally thousands of emails in the past couple days. They are all commending us for standing up to Jack the way we did. Most of them go on to ask what we can do as a community to stop him. I have to admit that is tempting. The more I think about it the more I think it might not be in our best interest. Let me explain.

You can certainly mail the networks he appears on. You can even send letters to their advertisers. You can contact the senators he speaks with and demand they ignore him. If enough of us do that sort of thing and we do it long enough they will eventually get the message and drop him just like the National Institute on Media and the Family did. Would that be a good thing? I’m not sure.

Jack is not special. He is not a unique snow flake as they say. He is just the latest vocal opponent of whatever is "corrupting" our youth at the moment. When my dad was growing up it was rock and roll devil music. Then it was comic books then movies and rap music. Today it’s videogames. If we were to succeed in getting Jack blacklisted from the major news outlets someone else would simply take his place. Imagine him as an actor playing a part in a play. The point is that Jack Thompson is not important. If he were to be fired a new actor would simply take up the role. The same lines would still be delivered in the same way and the same audience would pay to see it. We are actually fortunate that the current actor is so impotent in his role. Imagine what might happen if some charming, efficacious attorney took his place. The more I consider it the more I think we may be lucky to have Jack playing the part of the alarmist. The alternative might be someone who is actually capable.

-Gabe out

Fax This

Mon, October 17 2005 - 6:05 PM
by: Gabe

Jack puts a nice spin on his case in that letter to the police chief. Here’s a picture of the real reason he’s pissed off at usObviously he didn’t mention anything to the police department about his “Modest proposal” in which he asks that a game be developed in which players urinate on peoples brains and murder kids who work at game stores. He never mentions that he offered ten thousand dollars to charity and then said it was just “satire.” He doesn’t tell the police chief that Jerry and I just donated the ten thousand for him. I wonder why he left that part out?

Our man Robert is cashing in some frequent flyer miles and heading down to San Francisco today. He’ll be attending the ESA’s charity dinner this evening and will be presenting them with our check. Hopefully he’ll take some pictures for us. I guess Jay Leno is going to be there!

-Gabe out

Jack's Fax

Mon, October 17 2005 - 6:00 PM
by: Tycho

You might have read somewhere that Jack is contacting our police department and trying to get us arrested, which is quite true. Here is the document he faxed them.

The "campaign of harassment" he is describing is the natural result of a public figure making statements that people disagree with, and letting him know their thoughts on the matter via his publically available contact information.

It is critical to establish that this letter isn't anything to worry about. We've been sent worse by better.


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Jack Thompson

This story has to be told. It's the story of the people at facing psychotic lawer Jack Thompson and beating punditry through patience and virtue. Gabe and Tycho have through thier most recent triumph as well as past triumphs become the Knight-Champions of gamer culture. I think this story is best told entirelly through quotes.

Wed, October 12 2005 - 10:49 AM
by: Gabe

You may have seen Jack’s proposal mentioned on various news sites. He’s offering 10 grand to charity if a game developer makes a game based on his insane proposal.

So I got his email address and I went ahead and sent Jack a note this morning:

10 grand is pretty weak man. Through our charity gamers have given over half a million dollars in toys and cash to children’s hospitals all over the country.

I’ll let you know if he responds.

The fact is when we kick off Child’s Play 2005 on November 1st we’ll be going global. We’ll be delivering videogames and toys to children’s hospitals all over the world now. I don’t think there’s any better response to Jack’s insane ramblings than that. Maybe Jack would like to donate his 10 grand to Child’s Play, that could buy a lot of Game Boys.

-Gabe out


Wed, October 12 2005 - 11:48 AM
by: Gabe

My email sig had my phone number in it. Jack actually just called and screamed at me for a couple minutes. He said if I email him again I will “regret it”. What a violent man.

-Gabe out


Fri, October 14 2005 - 4:30 AM
by: Tycho

Jack Thompson really did call him, but I should tell you how that came to be.

As I've suggested in this space before, Gabriel's "super power" (if you will) is to suss out the exact thing that will drive a person out of their fucking minds. He's only utilized this ability on me twice, and it stings to recall them. They're actually too cruel to relate. It's important to me that you sort of like him, even in the abstract.

He felt certain that the over half a million dollars raised by Child's Play would jab him brutally. He was not wrong.

So certain was he that this knowledge would barb the codger into wild madness that he included his phone number in a hastily composed "sig." He was not surprised in the least when a number he did not recognize appeared on his cell. I was trying to collect the Iron Golem soul, I was busy at the time.

Gabe turned to look at me, not just with his head but his whole body, a single motion that had a mechanical look. He asked if it was really Jack Thompson, and it was at this point I knew he had done something wrong. I don't doubt that his adventures, both online and off, are a source of amusement for a percentage of the readership. Secretly, I delight in them - but he must not be allowed to know. His glee in these endeavors is already a kinetic force.

Conversation one is where Jack Thompson asks Gabe if Gabe has ever donated to charity. Of course, we have - it's usually a couple Gameboys a year for Child's Play, but the "take" from the distributed gamer metamind is over five hundred thousand dollars in two years. This answer did not satisfy him. He suggested that if Gabe mailed him again, he would be sued so fast that his head would "spin," and that he, Jack Thompson, had given more to charity that Gabe could even imagine. Gabe isn't very good at math, so he may have a point. I'm told that humbers larger than ten give him a headache. What's more, his donations were more valuable, because he wasn't some flush-with-cash game company. Which I guess is relevant to us, because... Well, I guess it's not relevant.

Then he hung up.

Usually when a person threatens us with a lawsuit we don't really pay attention. The fact of the matter is that rude people and idiots often try to threaten people by gesturing wildly at the edifice of the legal system. But this man is actually a lawyer, and also demonstrably crazy, and he apparently has time to call random people who mail him on the phone so maybe he's looking for something to do. In any case, we aren't a flush with cash game company, so at the very least my cohort wanted to excise this erroneous statement from the record.

This next mail elicited a second call, which we have detailed in the strip. Gabe's own voice rose triumphantly throughout this phase, I thought perhaps he was just getting into the rhetorical spirit of the thing, but the reality is that Jack screamed at him the entire time. The point he submitted went without answer: if a company made his reprehensible game, he would literally have to sue himself and talk about what a bastard he was on national television. Of course, he's not serious. Machination is too glorified a word for what he's doing. Ruse would make it seem debonair. He's essentially holding money hostage from charity, and if someone did make it, even as a joke, he would say that it didn't conform to his "design." This sort of thing is usually called a shell-game. The song license itself he mentions - Lawyers In Love - would probably run anywhere from ten to fifteen thousand by itself.

This vile "challenge" Jack Thompson has put to the supposedly monolithic "game industry" is like a topographical map of the twisted fantasy realm he inhabits. I could excerpt it, but I don't want to be accused of selective editing. The reality is that what he suggests is grotesque. I mean that it is literally disgusting. Of course, the violent acts he's cobbled together here from other games are robbed of a narrative context in which they make sense. Killing Gamestop and EB employees, though? That's not metaphor. He's not being metaphorical. He is batshit fucking loco insane.

In the games I play, I've spent the last week performing surgeries and saving lives - whenever I wasn't in court defending the wrongly accused. You know what I'm saying? Just steeped in subversive moral messages.

(CW)TB out.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- staff 15:32 14/10/2005

National Institute on Media and the Family distances itself from vociferous lawyer

Florida attorney and anti-videogame campaigner Jack Thompson has come under fire from America's National Institute on Media and the Family for claiming to have the support of the group in his regular open letters.

The decision of the group to distance itself from the attorney and his headline-grabbing tactics comes despite the fact that like Thompson, the institute is a vocal critic of games such as Manhunt and 25 to Life for their violent content.

The institute's founder, Dr David Walsh, wrote an open letter to Thompson, a copy of which was obtained by US website Game Politics. The letter was also sent to the likes of senator Hillary Clinton, Bill Gates and Doug Lowenstein of the ESA - the same Doug Lowenstein whom Thompson has previously compared to Hitler.

It begins with Dr Walsh explaining that he established the institute ten years ago "to engage in research and education about the effects of media on children's health and development." Walsh writes that one of the areas of most concern to the institute is the effects of violent media.

"I know that you share that common concern and I am well aware that you have frequently cited me and our organisation as a source of scientific information," Walsh continues.

"However, over the past few months, I and members of my board have a growing concern that your use of our name, without our permission, has had a negative influence as we try to educate the public on this important issue.

"Your commentary has included extreme hyperbole and your tactics have included personally attacking individuals for whom I have a great deal of respect... Some of the people that you have publicly criticised are not only people of integrity, but are people who have worked to improve the lives of children."

Walsh goes on to note that Thompson has been using his name in correspondence even though they have no formal relationship, creating the impression "That we condone these tactics. We do not.

"The result is that our position and reputation as a research based, non-partisan, solution-focused organisation has been jeopardised.

"Consequently, I ask that you cease using the institute's or my name in any way that would give the impression that we support your efforts." Walsh also requests that Thompson remove the link to the institute's website from his own site.

Walsh's letter comes just days after Thompson issued an open letter to the videogames industry in which he outlined his idea for a game where the CEO of fictional company Take This, Paula Eibel, is murdered along with her husband and children. Should any developer agree to make the game, Thompson will donate $10,000 to the charity of choice of Paul Eibeler, the CEO of Take Two.

Mike Krahulik, the artist behind popular gaming culture comic Penny-Arcade and a founder of the hugely successful Child's Play charity, contacted Thompson after he made this offer to point out that Child's Play has raised over half a million dollars for children's hospitals around the USA since its inception.

Commenting on, Krahulik reports that Thompson proceeded to call him directly - keen, no doubt, to congratulate such a successful fellow organiser of videogaming-related charity efforts.

Or perhaps not. "Jack actually just called and screamed at me for a couple minutes," Krahulik said. "He said if I email him again I will 'regret it'. What a violent man."

Mon, October 17 2005 - 10:47 AM
by: Gabe

Perhaps you read the letter from the National Institute on Media and the Family in which they distance themselves from Jack Thompson. Well Jack has responded to that letter with two letters of his own. He makes some vague legal threats which I have come to discover are sort of his bread and butter. You also get the impression after reading his letters that he believes he was cut loose simply because he is too “hardkore”.

I think we can all agree that young kids should not play violent videogames. I think we can also agree that they should not watch violent movies or read pornographic magazines. That’s a job for parents not Jack Thompson.

You’re all asking me for Jack’s Email and or phone number and I respect that. The problem is that I can’t give that info out. The fact is that Jack had time to call me after I sent him a sarcastic email. I have no doubt in my mind that he would try and pull some legal bullshit if I post his phone number.

Did I ever mention how much I like VG cats?

-Gabe out


Mon, October 17 2005 - 12:04 PM
by: Tycho

It was only a matter of time until a mod team took Jack Thompson's disgusting revenge fantasy and made it flesh - and, just as I suggested, it was deemed insufficient.

Thompson now claims that his repellent suggestion was "satire," and we must conclude that his financial offer was also satire, some new breed of satire apparently that I'm sure is just hilarious to people in need.

You know what, Jack? We're going to be the men you're not. You said that your insulting, illusory ten thousand dollars would go to the charity of Paul Eibeler's choice. We've got a good guess that he'd direct your nonexistant largesse toward The Entertainment Software Association Foundation, a body that has raised over six point seven million dollars over the last eight years. We've just made the donation you never would, and never meant to. Ten thousand dollars' worth. And we made it in your name.



Mon, October 17 2005 - 4:39 PM
by: Gabe

I thought you might like to see the mail I got from Jack this afternoon:

This story is completely false and defamatory. Take it down or else.

And my reply to him:

****This is an automated response****

Thank you for contacting Penny Arcade. I’m sorry but I am simply not able to respond to all my fan mail. I want you to know that I’m glad you enjoy the comic strip and I appreciate you taking the time to mail me.

-Gabe out

Hail the Victorious Heroes

You emerge triumphantly from the fires to the resounding exultation of the local guards. Ljtour has escaped, but was defeated, and his cultists have lost thier manical conviction in the absensce of thier leader. The guards and priests tend to the fires, and there is little lasting damage. The high priest of mercury grants you four of the temples finest chambers for as long as you need them. During the night four letters arrive.

The first is elegantly wrapped with the seal of the Marquis of Nyrech on it.

"The Marquis requests an audiance with you to discuss the current situation, and his plans for the future. He has also instructed me to grant you each an award of 235 gold pieces, they are enclosed. I trust you leader will devide them fairly."
-Alexander Smith, Page to the Marquis of Nyrech

The Second is plain and sealed with the runic mark of The Arcane Order.

"This has only just begun."
-The Fatewatchers Diviners League.

The third is extremelly colorfull, and upon opening it you find that the paper is scented. It is sealed with the holy symbol of Bacchus, God of Wine and carousing.

"The entire town is holding a festival next full moon to celebreate this tremendeous victory, You simply must attend as my guests of honor. I will not take no for an awnser."
-Savannahrae, Priestess of Bacchus

The fourth is grey and beaten in a way that makes it almost supernatually ordinary. It has no seal.

"The Syndicate has placed a bountry on your heads, and the magistrate has placed bounties on Ljtour and the rest of the so called 'Cult of Hezak.' I've instructed my people not to act on either one"

The festival is in 9 in game days, the next storyline point takes place then. You've all gained 840 Experience and 235 gold, if you'd like to do anything in town feel free to post it.

I am the Dungeon Master You are my Pawn.

I've joined another D&D group, we will probably meet every sunday. I have taken the role of Dungeon master which I enjoy because it's gives me a theatre for my dramatic works. The following is the preface to their first adventure. I'll post more of them as time goes by. You'll have to fill in the details that took place during gameplay on your own (I may do it some day but right now I don't have the time or proper motivation.)

The town of Nyrech, a dwarven word which translates to “Place where two trade routes meet at the base of a mountain and people engage in commerce” is centered around the grand temple of mercury, God of merchants and trade. As such it is a town that values religion and has little tolerance for religious unrest.

However, a new prophet has made himself known. The prophet Ljtour has begun spouting firebrand rhetoric, and proclaiming the coming reckoning at the hands of his god, Hezak the Immortal. His fiery tongue and promises of glory have drawn the more and more of the locals into fervent cults who are unshakably devoted to Ljtour, and the local magistrate is becoming concerned.

Ljtour has yet to do anything actually illegal so they can’t throw him out of town, but as tensions grow you as adventurers have been asked to keep and eye on him. For two days you watch him as he uneventfully shouts his praise and rhetoric, but on the third day the situation explodes.

Ljtour and his followers have gathered around a fountain near the temple.

Ljtour: “You will all pay for your heresy! That god which you have all fallen blindly behind is a false idol! He can not save you from the impending WRATH, of Hezak the Immortal! His power can not compare with that of the Immortal!”

A young neophyte priest steps forward from the crowd.

Priest: “You proclaim the glory of your God, but what has he done? My God had healed the sick, raised the dead, what has your…”

At this point the priest is cut off as Ljtours hand blade scythes into his torso. He holds the eviscerate priest up on his claw briefly before throwing his dead body into the fountain.

Ljtour: “Acolytes! Burn this den of heresy! You, Kill the unbelievers!”

Ljtour and all but 6 of his cultists run off, the remaining 6 draw their crude farming tolls turned weapons and approach the remaining neophytes, murder burns in their eyes.

Your Move

Sunday, October 16, 2005

That 80s show

I have a weird position in my generation with regards to 80s culture. I watched nick at night before it was popular and so I've seen most of the key sitcoms of the 80s, and I watched cartoon network before they got enough money to provide their own content so I've seen a lot of the 80s cartoons as well. I've repeatedly gotten weird looks for saying that "We have to get this under wraps before he tells Larry and this whole thing gets back to Mr. Roper." I've called upon the eye of thundera to give me sight beyond sight, I got more weird looks on one occasion when someone said something that ended in the phrase "but where would be find someone that evil" and I immediately looked towards the door and was later made to explain that I expected squiggy to burst in and say "hello" at just that moment, and I was the only person under the age of 30 to jump up in outrage when the show "the war at home" came out because it's a complete rehashing of All in the Family complete with a main character who is just a hornier remake of Archie bunker.

Come to think of it, most of the Fox content can be described as a hornier remake of something.

All that aside, There's a certain set of comedy that's coming to it's zenith. It's heavily esoteric, but I am one of the exonerated brethren that holds the key to its fel delights. The greatest of these come from the show "Robot Chicken" a show which almost everyone will view as being just another weird show on Adult Swim, but I view as the kind of twisted genius that I enjoy above most other kinds of genius.

The crowning glory of their work can be viewed in low resolution form here:

If you don't get it, I make no apologies, I personally broke my chair laughing when I first saw it.

Friday, October 14, 2005


I’m sick. I’ll spare you the more horrific and moist details, but it’s food poisoning of a completely debilitating sort. Food poisoning, in my experience, has the precursors of dehydration of and general fatigue. I had both of those, but didn’t recognize the actual problem for what it was. I thought it was just dehydration, which causes fatigue on its own, and not the harbinger of a much bigger problem. The more amusing details of the story are below.

I am now the only person I know who has thrown up in a public street while sober. I’m also the only one I know who did so during the day, and not just during daytime, but during Rush Hour.

I’m too sick to make it all the way to the restroom without being out of breath. But if I don’t make it to the restroom things are going to get a lot worse.

Viscosity is a measurement of health.

At the convenience store downstairs you’re required to wear shoes. It’s part of the restaurant and sanitation laws require it. Last time I went without shoes I was told that, because I was already checking out, I would be allowed to slide this time, but that next time I’d have to go back to my room and get shoes before I could purchase anything. Well the same cashier was on duty, and I stumbled up the counter without shoes. He noticed this while I was in line and his face flashed with indignation. My guess of his thoughts is something along the line of “That little punk, I specifically told him to wear shoes.” It was around this point that he noted that I was out of breath from walking from the elevator to the store (100 feet tops) and that I had placed Pepto-Bismol, water, and hand sanitizer on the counter. I had also immediately leaned heavily on that counter. He let me go.

I needed to get up to read our new D&D groups message board and explain to them that I am sick. I will get better thanks to my vast array of medicines, but I might be unable to meet Sunday. Heheh, Pepto’s Abysmal Elixir, I have to find some way to work that in to the message board.

Greetings fellow D&Ders. I’m sick, but I’ve progressed from lying completely immobile in my bed to sitting completely immobile in my chair.

Wow, it’s already noon. I’ve been asleep for the last thirteen hours. I think I'll go back to sleep.

Every culture has its own ancient medicines. Now I draw upon the ancient sacred spirits of suburban white people show me the way to cure myself. Sprite, Dayquil, and chicken noodle soup, $11.50.

I’m now essentially recovered. I missed both classes Thursday as well as the one class I have on Friday, but I don’t think I would’ve been able to gain anything from them anyway. I’m still a little queasy, but I’m doing much better then I was yesterday, and should be fine by tomorrow.


I don’t think I’ll ever really get used to the fact that telling one parent something no longer means that they both know. For so much of my life I thought of them as one entity.

Now that I’ve addressed that, it’s time to create some turmoil.

Mom: Dad is coming to visit from Tuesday the 11th until Thursday the 13th. I’m not sure that itinerary is right, but he’s coming to visit, might not have told you, and if he didn’t you’re probably upset about this. I apologize for not telling your sooner. (This post was originally going to be made on Monday night.)

Dad: Mom wants to know if you paid your share of the housing bill. One of you call the other and sort this out.

Future Self Re-Reading this blog: Remember what this was like; don’t fall into the same pattern.

Everyone reading this blog: I know this post may seem harsh, but they’re things that need to be said, and the medium of the blog is the best one for dodging any immediate backlash of my actions.

All you can be

I passed a group of military recruiters today, and my internal alarms sent me directly into Sentry Mode. I heard the following conversation, but kept my eyes pointed keenly down as not to attract their attention, and hence saw nothing.

”How about him, he’s big”
“No. Look at his shirt, “Schrödinger’s Cat,” he’s not a slacker”
“I still think he could be good”
“Look at his eyes, he’s listening to us.”

At this their conversation immediately ceased. I still oppose them and their cause, but I have gained a greater deal of respect for them.


I’ve been sick and unusually busy in the last few days, so the next few blog updates are being done late. The Updates themselves will explain what was going on while I was sick and why I was busy.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Trials

Enter warrior and face your destiny. The road to victory will test your wits and valor, take strength in the glory that lies ahead and steel your constitution for a long an arduous journey.

The First Trial of Geography

Using your lecture notes and reading the first four weeks of class write a four page history of development thinking essay aimed at students unfamiliar with these Issues.
Due Date: October 31st

The Second Trial of Geography

Drawing on web-based and library resources prepare a five minute presentation in response to the speeches of two fictional characters “Bob Business,” who will represent a major corporation involved in the manufacture of genetically modified foods, and “Greg Green” who works for an activist group trying to promote small-scale organic agriculture in India.
Due Date: November 10th

The Third Trial of Geography

Building on your presentation prepare a six page written response to Bob and Greg.
Due Date: December 15th

The Trials of Literature

Class assignments comprise two essays. Midquarter and final essay Exams run five to seven pages, our suggested length. Students will receive topics for these essays at least one week before they are due. They will write their essays at home.

No further information on these is available at this time.

Let Them Eat Pie

There’s a series of events known as All Hall Brawl. This is another standard attempt to engage the freshman class in high spirited non-alcoholic socialization. In accordance with those rules the few days before it began the R.A.s would lay in waiting by the sign up sheet and immediately greet you by first name, a move which then demands a response, and tell you to sign up.

I was feeling restless and shortly thereafter ensnared in this awkward social web, and so I did my civic duty as the biggest person on Lander 3 and signed up for the pie eating contest. I would cast of my dignity and debase myself for the amusement of those around me, and I would do it without any sense of shame.

I prepared two days in advance. I didn’t eat anything and drank carbonated beverages at unreasonable speed. The later of those two is to prevent the former from causing your stomach to shrink. In short I had adopted my sense of warrior focus.

When the various contestants were lining up around the table it was made immediately clear to me that I was the only one who had brought any kind of warrior focus. I was the only one who had a sense of restlessness for the competition to begin, I was the only one who was both in the event and seemed spirited about it, and most dramatically I was the only one who refused a trash bag to cover myself with. It’s a pie eating contest, you’re supposed to be messy, and you wear your atrocious filth as a mark of Triumph.

The pie itself was chocolate mouse with whipped cream on top, and of a generally low quality. That didn’t really matter though. When it began I only spared enough attention to those around me to notice one thing. They would lean over and bit almost hesitantly at the surface of the pie, getting a reasonable sized bite and getting most of it in their mouth. I however lunged with reckless abandon getting an entire mouthful which I would swallow without chewing, and spreading a second mouthful over my face and torso. During the actual frenzy only a few thoughts occurred to me, most of my mind was devoted to blacking out my sense of pain and nausea. In chronological order they are:

I’m really glad this is an almost entirely fluid food. I can swallow it like a pill.

Oh hell, I can’t breath, I’ve got mouse I my nostrils and my mouth is still full.
The time for hygiene has long passed Max, blow em out and go in again

Damn the crust!
Bite around the edges.
That works but not fast enough.
Grab the tin in your mouth and flip it over

When it was over I was the victor. I was nauseous and out of breath and slowly swallowing a mouthful of crust that was approximately thirty times the size of my head, but I was Triumphant. For a brief while thereafter I was a hero I ended up laying down for the next hour and not doing anything related to serious movement until the next night, but I was still a champion.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The King of the Iron First Tournament

On Mondays and Wednesdays I’ve got two classes each an hour in length with an hour between them. The two rooms they’re in are nearly straight north and south of each other, and on the midpoint between them is the HUB. The HUB has a fairly decent arcade, and it’s become a recent hobby of mine to stop in between classes to play for either $2 or until 3:15, whichever comes first. This is how it all started.

One of the main games I play is Tekken 5, King of the Iron Fist Tournament, it’s a 1 on 1 fighting game where mastery of the character, reflexes, and timing all come into play. First person to reach 3 victories wins. You can play against the computer, but it’s much for fun playing against another human. I consider myself quite good, easily good enough to beat the average player, and I’ve found that there are many here who serve not only as apt opponents, but some are far beyond me.

That’s not why this is interesting though. I just had to lie that out so you’d understand the next part.

The time is 2:38; I’m playing as Hworang a Tae Kwon Do Master who has a mastery of kicking based martial arts. I’m challenged by a heavyset Korean student who chooses Akuma, whose style looks most similar to Shaolin form Kung-Fu.

The fight is extremely fast, and also extremely close. During round 3 (Max 2 : Anonymous Kid 1) two of his friends show up, and a crowd slowly begins to form. I won our first set of matches, but I won it 3:2, and the last fight was extremely close. He immediately challenges me to a rematch, another spectator appears. I stick with Hwoarang, who is the only character I know well. He switches to Kuma, who is in actuality a bear and uses a form that’s not based on any real world martial arts. This time the score ends at 2:3, another very close set. It also makes us tied. This time I dispense another 50 cents and retry. I maintain my faith in Hworang. He switches to a character named Brian Fury who uses a form of martial arts which is essentially the American Krab-Maga. Immediately after round 4 (Max 2 : Korean Kid 2) a third heavyset person, my challenger and I being the first two, places a quarter on the lip of the screen.

For those not familiar with arcade etiquette, a quarter on the lip of the screen denotes that you have the next opening.

In the end I miss-time a combo which the manual calls “Hunting Hawk” and in another very close match go down. I step back, say good game, and meld into the spectators.

The new challenger steps in and the match intensifies even further. He’s a clear superior to the person who beat me. This makes him the oppressor, and the Korean kid an underdog. Everyone loves the underdog. While he never did manage to triumph he did come quite close several times, and that’s just as good for the crowd.

This experience has changed this part of my schedule from hobby to ritual. I plan to go there at that general time whenever possible, I’ll stick to my $2 limit and have no intention of ditching class, but the King of the Iron Fist Tournament is no longer a battle between fictional characters, but between me and the collective nerds of the HUB game room.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005



Do you remember before you bought the L.S. we searched all of the non-Ford dealerships for a car that would fit you? You tried to no end to find a normal car that you could fit in, but to no avail, and on three or four distinctly separate experiences I recall walking out of a dealership behind you mimicking a quote from The Simpsons.

“Do you find something funny about the way I drive my Automobile? Everyone needs to drive and automobile, even the extremely tall.”

I thought it was funny. Still do.

Well here’s your chance for revenge.

The sudden intervention of walking and elevation into my life will, in the long run, be good for me. In the short run it leads to me being out of breath and tired a lot. One particular thing I’ve noticed is that everywhere I go is on some kind of slant. The slant is never very strong, and never enough to justify complaining that I’m walking up hill. However it’s more then enough to make walking up it a pain.

It also reminds me of another more recent Simpsons quote that has caused me to giggle inanely when climbing these slopes much to the mixed amusement, bemusement, confusement and refusement of those around me. The line is:

”Nobody escapes from Fat Camp, because the only way out is up a gentle slope”

Culinary Musings

Someone trashed the kitchen.

To understand why that’s important you must first understand that in my short time here the kitchen has become in a very significant way my domain. I cook the most, and the intoxicating aromas of my culinary dabbling have earned me a bit of a reputation as a chef.

“Hey that’s Max. I see him cooking a lot, he’s pretty good.”

Then someone trashed the kitchen

It made me sad. Not in the immediate sense that my kitchen had been trashed, but because it reminded me of Schadenfraud and of the harsh fact that in mankind’s eternal quest for happiness we often cast off our most terrible burden, that of our own consciousness, and in doing so we may also cast off our morality.

Is it really such a noble goal?