Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Nov 23, 2008

It's an Honor Just to Be Nominated

Woohoo! My short review of Fallout 3 landed in the first heat of The Escapist's review contest!

Quick, go read my review and vote for me!

Nov 19, 2008

To GM: You Are Embarrassing Yourself By This Behavior

I'm sure a lot of people are aware of the proposed bailout bill for the "Big Three" automakers. I'm sure most of the people I know aren't very happy about it. Then, what should I receive in my email but this:

Dear Jennifer Snow,

You made the right choice when you put your confidence in General Motors, and we appreciate your past support. I want to assure you that we are making our best vehicles ever, and we have exciting plans for the future. But we need your help now. Simply put, we need you to join us to let Congress know that a bridge loan to help U.S. automakers also helps strengthen the U.S. economy and preserve millions of American jobs.

Despite what you may be hearing, we are not asking Congress for a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.

The U.S. economy is at a crossroads due to the worldwide credit crisis, and all Americans are feeling the effects of the worst economic downturn in 75 years. Despite our successful efforts to restructure, reduce costs and enhance liquidity, U.S. auto sales rely on access to credit, which is all but frozen through traditional channels.

The consequences of the domestic auto industry collapsing would far exceed the $25 billion loan needed to bridge the current crisis. According to a recent study by the Center for Automotive Research:

• One in 10 American jobs depends on U.S. automakers
• Nearly 3 million jobs are at immediate risk
• U.S. personal income could be reduced by $150 billion
• The tax revenue lost over 3 years would be more than $156 billion

Discussions are now underway in Washington, D.C., concerning loans to support U.S. carmakers. I am asking for your support in this vital effort by contacting your state representatives.

Please take a few minutes to go to, where we have made it easy for you to contact your U.S. senators and representatives. Just click on the "I'm a Concerned American" link under the "Mobilize Now" section, and enter your name and ZIP code to send a personalized e-mail stating your support for the U.S. automotive industry.

Let me assure you that General Motors has made dramatic improvements over the last 10 years. In fact, we are leading the industry with award-winning vehicles like the Chevrolet Malibu, Cadillac CTS, Buick Enclave, Pontiac G8, GMC Acadia, Chevy Tahoe Hybrid, Saturn AURA and more. We offer 18 models with an EPA estimated 30 MPG highway or better — more than Toyota or Honda. GM has 6 hybrids in market and 3 more by mid-2009. GM has closed the quality gap with the imports, and today we are putting our best quality vehicles on the road.

Please share this information with friends and family using the link on the site.

Thank you for helping keep our economy viable.


Troy Clarke

Unbelievable. It's so awful it's almost self-parody.

Let me lay it out to you, GM. I would love for the Big Three automakers to stay in business. However, if they had any kind of reasonable business prospects they would be able to get a loan from a PRIVATE organization. The simple fact that they've had to go to the government for this "loan" means that they aren't offering anything in *exchange* for the money, just their naked need. Well, I'm sorry, but the millions of people in this country that $50 billion is going to be looted from have needs, too, and since WE made that money I don't see where you think you get off asking us to throw it into the black hole of your incompetence!!

You ASKED for this mess when you didn't stand up for your RIGHT to only pay your workers what they were worth to you. You ASKED for this when you repeatedly pushed for tariffs on foreign manufacturers. You are addicts sucking at the government teat and it is HIGH time for the government to CUT YOU OFF.

Yes, it's sad that it has reached the stage where a LOT of people will probably be hurt when the "Big Three" fail. Pain and failure are the eventual result of bad decisions. That doesn't make it right to spread the pain over thousands or hundreds of thousands of additional people--INNOCENT people--while enabling the addict to maintain his addiction.

No, I'm not begging ANYONE to help you out--and the very request is disgusting.

Nov 17, 2008

Strange Conversations To Have In Public

Adam: "The price of tin went up, so the miniatures are more expensive. A lot of the companies are switching to plastic, which is nice. You know what would really get me? If we had another big war, like World War II again, the government could come in and seize my minis to make bullets."


Me: "So, we're talking about World War III here, and your biggest concern is that the government might take your miniatures?"

Adam: "That's a lot of freakin' money!"

Me: "I just, when you weigh probability of nuke landing on house against government taking your minis, it just seems like a weird concern to me."

Adam: "Well, in a normal war--"

Me: "Oh, come on, by the time the government has gotten around to seizing miniatures, SOMEONE will have broken out the nukes."

Friends can be so entertaining sometimes.

Nov 14, 2008

Quantum of Solace

I have to say that I still like Daniel Craig as the new James Bond more than I expected to, but there's something fundamentally *off* about Quantum of Solace. It's difficult to put your finger on precisely what's wrong with the movie, but it falls seriously flat.

The first thing that is obviously not right is the plot. It starts out well enough, with Bond on a mission to root out the secret organization that was moving behind the scenes in Casino Royale. There is actually quite a bit of highly entertaining cleverness as James runs into unexpected situations, yet takes advantage of them with skill and iron nerves. He manages to track down a man who has all the hallmarks of being the organization's go-to guy, a minor cog in the machine that might lead to greater cogs and exposure of the entire complex.

And there it just kind of . . . stops. Instead of leading into a fantastic global conspiracy or anything that might resemble a real Bond villain, you get left with a sordid little two-bit scam. A scam. To corner the water market. In Bolivia.

Let me reiterate: Global high-powered conspiracy turns into scam to corner the water market in Bolivia. Not even a particularly *clever* scam, either, if you know *anything* about basic economics. The villain's big threat? "We now control 60% of the water resources in the country."

Okay, let's follow this logic for just a second here. What the heck are they going to do with that water? Keep in mind that they've just spent a tremendous amount of money building secret underground dams in order to collect this water. If they just *cut off the supply*, they've sunk a bunch of money into this scheme for nothing . . . except that the price of water will skyrocket and all their *competitors* (you know, the people who control the remaining 40%) will make a killing. Or, let's say they raise their prices through the roof--then their competitors will just charge slightly less and STILL make a killing, because all those competitors aren't bearing the cost of building all the expensive secret dams.

I mean, it's literally mind-boggling how bad of an idea this scam is. I think it's probably about 80% of what's wrong with the movie, really, but coupled with the stoic, low-key acting, the fact that numerous characters are marched onscreen only to be resolutely whacked several scenes later, and that no one really seems interested in the GLOBAL CONSPIRACY going on in the background, and you have a real recipe for a train wreck.

Yes, there are chase scenes and explosions, but granted that most of the action scenes use the fast-cuts-violently-shaking-camera cinematography that for some reason has become popular, they just aren't as cool as you might think. The occasional moment where the camera HOLDS STILL so that you can actually watch what's going on is really awesome. The rest of the movie, not so much.

Heck, even the TRAILERS were boring. An Adam Sandler/Walt Disney comedy. Eh. A new movie about a plot to assassinate Hitler--starring Tom cruise. PASS. A disaster movie starring Keanu Reaves. PAAAASSS. A conspiracy movie starring that guy from Shoot 'Em Up involving an Evil Bank--can you say "ripped from the headlines" topical crapola? PASS!!


Nov 6, 2008

Fallout 3 Screenshot

I'm going to review this game in full later, but for now I'm just posting this screenshot I made. (I also have an ulterior motive for this, but I ain't tellin'.)