Sunday, December 28, 2003

Past Future

I wanted to find some futurists predictions for 2003 and wonder why those things have not happened, however that research turned out to be more difficult that I initially expected. Everyone seems to have predictions for technology, but those are rather boring. It's not like they are predicting transplanting human brains into robot bodies next year. Now that would be cool, to write about. Alas, nothing quite like that. So I'll write on what I would have expected of the human race by now.

Space: What happened? We were supposed to be flying back and forth to the moon and looking at the other planets in our solar system. I don't believe Arthur C. Clark was wrong in predicting us going to Jupiter in his book, "2001: A space odyssey". We had the technology. We had the know how. We simply didn't do it.

It's all politics of course. If a congressman or senator cannot see fancily benefit in a project, within the time-frame of their stay in office, why should they support it? 'How would it affect my state.' Narrow minded fools.

It will take us awhile to show profit from setting up camp on the moon and later other planets, but it's well worth it. Our planet will not last us long the way we are going. Our world population is going and our available land is shrinking. The Japanese are planning mega-skyscrapers that are small cities in themselves, to help with their population problems, but they are already short on land. What about those countries who have lots of uninhabited forestland? Will countries like Brazil continue to destroy the planet until it's completely full of people and devoid of any other life? As pessimistic as it may sound I believe we will. There are some who would work to prevent this, but as a race we are selfish and short-sighted.

Education: Perhaps I'm being ignorant here, but what is going on with school funding being cut? Why are we cutting one of the major things that keeps America a world power. Do we start outsourcing our brains now? We already send a majority of our tech support calls and computer programming jobs to India or we bring them over here. I know the US is a capitalist country and hell I'm even going for a Marketing degree. I'm not blind, but do we reduce our education in this country until we have a bunch of unskilled idiots running around? We've gotten rid of a vast majority of our manual labor jobs, to 3rd world countries or immigrants who will work harder for less money have the jobs that are still in the US. So what will all these poorly educated people do? Will they try to get Venture capital to start another Internet company with no business plan? Oh wait, that's already happened.

Perhaps TV will become nothing but reality TV for the rich to watch the poor and uneducated struggle. Oh wait, that's already happened too: "Cops" and "Jerry Springer". But it's not all the rich and educated' fault. The poor and uneducated have to want it too. They have to work hard to better themselves or they will never make it out. No one hands out free tickets in life. It's better to work your ass off than have it get stuck in the couch.

I digress...

The European Union: What a mess. I studied it quite a bit about 5-6 years ago when it was newly formed. (It's history) In those days it was reasonable that nationalistic tendencies would hinder some aspects, but that eventually the benefits of a unified Europe would become clear. Well it's nearly 2004, 12 years since the creation of the EU and still nothing has changed. Still countries want to be their own. And after the Iraq mess this spring, France and Germany have been looked down on by the other members, especially the UK. They may have some economic unity, but they are still the same countries they have been for over 200 years. Still distrusting of their neighbors, their brothers and sisters. It's really very sad. Hell England won't even adopt the Euro, which has been out for 2 years now and was established long before that even. A unified currency for all EU members to make trade between the members easy and to create a competitor to the US dollar. Not that I want the US to fall behind, but if all the EU members would truly work together they could very likely give the US a run for world dominance and importance. I fear that they are just so stuck in their old ways that it may be another 100 years, if the EU survives that long at all.

If the EU works and takes off, I believe other countries will do the same. The US, Canada and Mexico could easily move the NAFTA agreement into something more, but I suspect that'll never happen. Americans are too nationalist, though for all intensive purposes Canada and Mexico are already part of the US.

Many other country groups may find it difficult as well as history will always get in the way. Culture is important, but there is no reason why the countries cannot work together as one. Here in the US, there are definitely 'groups'. The Yankees and the Southerners may have old bad blood and even will growl at one another, but for the most part its just that, all bark with no bite. There is no reason other countries could not do the same culturally. Most countries have only minor differences to begin with.

I'm no fool. I know this is something that'd take decades, perhaps centuries, but it is something that'll have to happen for the human race to survive. The planet has to unify. As all the movies suggest, perhaps it'll have to be an alien attack or comet or something like that, to bring the world together. We are ALL one race people. Color and culture are minor in the grand scheme of things. When humanity opens its eyes and looks beyond itself and it's little yard in the galaxy and universe, perhaps we'll start to see some improvements. An advanced race looking down on us would shake its head in disappointment. We are barely more than animals. We have potential, but we aren't living up to it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Happy Holidays!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday, regardless if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or any other winter holiday that I'm not familar with.

Hope you like the tempory theme I've applied. I should have done this a couple weeks ago. Oops!

Sir! Yes Sir!

When playing Unreal 2 XMP (Extended Multi-Player), there are some things necessary to win.

  • Play as a TEAM! Sure this sounds like it would be common sense. It's a squad-based team game. You have Techs, Medical/Rangers, and big heavy Grunts. Each have their own unique skills, strengths and weaknesses. If everyone is a Tech you're loosing valuable skills on the field.

  • Communicate! This is crucial! If you don't talk to your team mates, make plans and let everyone know what's going on, you WILL loose. There are teams out there that communicate on and offline about how to win a map. They know how to get around and how to take advantage of weaknesses in NOOB defense.

  • Defense! Not everyone can go after the generators, the vehicles and the artifacts. Sure those things are fun, but someone has to hold down the fort. Remember, the goal to win is to collect all the artifacts. If you have no defense, you'll loose quickly.

  • Know your team mates! I'm not saying be best buddies with them, but know what they are good at. Ask and learn. If they are good at defense, don't send them in after the artifacts. If they can't drive very well, don't put them behind the wheel of the Raptor.

Here are some strategies I've seen, as I and my team got crushed:

  • Take advantage of teleportation points. There are a couple maps with bunkers that have transporters in them. They give shelter and a quick and easy way to make it across a map safely. Use these advantages if you can. If you notice your opposing team using these methods, defend against them. Install mines, auto-turrets or energy shields to stop them.

  • Stick with your buddy. Buddy up with a partner in all aspects. If you are defending, one can watch your back as you're setting defensive items. If your on offence, one can watch the other's back while hacking generators or deploy points. Also on the offense, going for the artifacts, two members is better than one. If there are defenses, two players will fair better than one. If the defenses are weak BOTH players can grab an artifact! So even if one dies on the way back, there is still a good chance you're team will score one. All the vehicles can take two people, and one even can hold three. Take advantage of this. One person driving alone is a waste of energy and that driver is a sitting duck. If there is someone manning the turret, at least they can shoot back for you.

  • If 1st person driving isn't your thing, try hitting F11, when in the vehicle. This will put you in third person perspective, making driving, especially they Raptor, a bit easier. One word of caution however, the flame thrower on the tank (The Juggernaut) will NOT respond to mouse control in this view. When you exit the vehicle the perspective will switch back to 1st person. My experience has been that this setting is remembered by your installation, so you don't have to hit F11 every time you get into a vehicle.

These are just the things I've seen or discovered myself in playing the last week or two. I've not been playing a lot, but I have been playing close attention to how the other teams play. It's the cool cucumbers that win a lot. Don't panic. Plan your attacks. And work TOGETHER! I can't stress that enough. If you're a n00b (newbie) and wanting to play, hop in and ASK how you can help. (Use the Y key for team speak, rather than T. T will tell everyone you're new and ready for a butt whoopin') If the team isn't willing to help you learn or isn't communicating with you, consider another server.

If anyone who reads this has some helpful advice to add, please leave a comment below and I'll post a copy of it. Hope this helps! See you in there.

My Server (when running): MAJIK

My Player ID: SkinAy

Thursday, December 18, 2003


There are days when you're better off just shutting your mouth and leaving it shut. Today was such a day for me. What a shiity day.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Happy Dance!

I did it!! Straight As for the semester! Whoo hoo! My 1 credit hour course I got an A- in, but my two full credit (3 hours) classes I got 4.0s in. Yea baby!

I was scared about going back to school. Boy has that changed! I'm loving this.

Now excuse me as I go do the "Snoopy Dance" in my living room.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Finals are Finally Over

Time to relax for about a month. The fall semester is officially done for me. I took my Statistics final this afternoon at 5. I'm still not certain how I did. I either did really well, using the right equations and interperating the information properly, or I totally bombed by misreading the questions. I think even if I failed the final I'd still pass the class, but I'd prefer to walk out of the class with an A.

My understanding is that grades are supposed to be posted Wednesday, but I can't be sure. As far as i know it's purely hirsay from other students.

I think I did get an A in my Business Law class. That was a lot of work, but it was still a very good class. It was 4 intense weeks of going to class from 6pm to 10pm every Friday night and 9am to 5pm every Saturday. There were 3 exams and an inclass presentation. As I got an 87% on the first Exam, 91% on the second exam, and a 92% on the presentation, I'm feeling confident that I've scored equally well on the final. The professor also grades on the curve, usually bumping everyone from 1 to 3 point up. So I feel very good about getting a A. Again, time will tell.

All in all I'm feeling very good about the semester. Yes I took a night class this summer, but this was the first full semester back in school in a few years. It was also my most sucessful.

I've been very impressed with the teaching staff at Belmont University. They are quite compedent. I had a doctor teach me this summer. I had an attorney teaching me this fall, this spring I'll have a nother doctor teaching me. It makes me feel good about the school that they really work hard to get the best people in there to teach. Even my stats teacher, dispite not being a doctor, was very good. He obviously cared about teaching and helping us understand. He was also fair without being 'easy'. Funny, as an adult I appreciate these things much more than I did when I was at the University of Nebraska, way back when. There we were taught by grad students and teachers assistants more than the tenured professors, and those guys were as borning as hell.

Ok I'm babbling. So I have until January 12th to kick back, relax and enjoy the holidays, as well as some time with my sweety. That'll be nice. Hopefully it'll be a nice stress free time. Then its back to school. I'll be taking Marketing Fundamentals and Microeconomics. Fun fun!

Monday, December 08, 2003

Semesters End

You can tell it's near the end of the semester. The other students, who are traditional students, rather than an adult program student, such as myself, are getting loopy and not being able to focus as well. We had our last official statistics class tonight. We reviewed for the Final which is a week from tonight.

At first it looked like no one was going to show up. There were the few that haven't missed any classes, or perhaps one or two for legitimate reasons, such as myself (Kidney Stone). I suspect that is the group that will do well in the class.

I and another guy who's a bit older, 26, kinda chatted quietly while the late teen/early 20s girls jabbered like a flock of noisy birds. Don't get me wrong, they are nice enough, but I don't care about Survivor, Paris Hilton, personalized sneakers and the like.

Tonight was slightly different though. Many were talking about their grades and what they'd have to make on their various finals to pass. I can laugh about it now, but I probably did it too, my first time around. Now I don't care. I'm keeping sufficient mental note as to my general grade and that's good enough.

I believe with Statistics I'll get a B for sure, but if I do well on the final I could get an A. While a younger student would look at that and say, "Well gee, I'm doing fine, I'm gonna slack off. " Not me. I did that before. If a little bit of studying can get me an A vs. a B in the class I'm going to do it!

My Business Law class is a totally different situation from my Statistics class. I'm doing well in there also, but the students are all adults, so we don't have the same, "It's almost winter break!" mentality. I think there is one traditional student in the class, but you wouldn't be able to tell by looking. They may be 'traditional' in the technical sense, but is really an adult who is just going to college for the first time. I bet that's quite an experience!

I had to give a 2 hour presentation Saturday afternoon for the class as well. It ended up more like 2 hours and 20 minutes, but that was primarily because the prof. got a little long winded with his explanations for the various items I spoke on. That was kind of frustrating. But I understand why he did it. He wanted to make sure everyone fully understood.

I think I got my group and A out of it, but we'll see. There was another group up after us and the third is presenting on Friday. I think he would be willing to give more than one A, but I suspect he'll give the best group an A and then curve the rest down. I think we were better than group 2, but group 3 could be pretty good. They have some smart people in the group.

One of my group members thought it was pretty funny and brave of me to more or less tell the instructor to shut up on one of his longer running explanation. As soon as I saw an opening I took it. I don't think he was mad, but I needed to keep things rolling. I didn't want to spend all day on it.

We also had an exam Saturday morning. I'm not sure that was very fair considering I spent 8 to 9 hours preparing for the presentation and then have an exam to prepare for as well? Luckily it wasn't too hard and my memory kicked in where needed. So if I did well on that, that'll be sweet. I scored an 87% on the first exam, so if I score similar on this one, that'll be good.

He has stated that he'll grade on a curve at the end, so I'm thinking, even if I have a high B, I could still end up with an A in the course. That'd be sweet.

Boy this is a far cry from those Cs, Ds and Fs I got my first time through college. Granted it's only the first few classes, but I'm also much wiser in the ways of the world so these things make more real-world sense now than they did way back when. I also understand the importance of hard work and diligence that I didn't back then. Plus my social life doesn't include as much drinking! LOL ;)

Wednesday, December 03, 2003


This is not just a 'toy' test. It's a legitimate personality test. Quite interesting.

Enneagramfree enneagram test