But things never go according to plan. As I speak my family is undergoing bankrupcy; we're seventy five thousand dollars in credit card debt and paying the mortgage. So far two people we've spoken with at the bank have either attempted to intentionally mislead us or simply weren't aware of the numbers themselves, as a solution we were offered, while it would of saved us several hundred dollars in the first three months, would of actually increased our monthly payments afterwards. If it weren't for the fact that my father is rather paranoid, we'd of probably fallen hook line and sinker for that trick. But we didn't, so we're continuing onward, and maybe the judge will have mercy on us when we go to court to try to get out debt resolved.
Basically my family is far from the best of economic situations, and across this great nation of America, quite a few other families are undergoing similar situations. We're continually told the economy is going get better, and one day it will, but the end doesn't look close. This puts a crimp in my life plans. Will America still be the place for me when I graduate with my masters of mechanical engineering? Or will I flee to Iceland, try to get away from whatever political crisis it is in the 2020s? I've always wanted to go to Iceland, always talked about setting up a home there, but in reality I've always understood it's a dream and nothing more. It'd be expensive, and I'd have to leave everything behind, including my family.
Unlike most teenagers my age, I don't really feel any great urge for independence. Perhaps I will in the future, but as it is now, I'm content where I am. There's annoying aspects of my life, certainly, but I'm too attached to my family to go far. Maybe some day later I'll go to Los Alamos and work with the guys down there, or maybe even go to MIT and work on the wonders they do every day. But at least then I'd still be in the same country as my family; I could jump in the car for a vacation and go visit them. Transatlantic flights from Iceland to Kansas are definitely not the cheapest.
And of course, there's my immediate economic situation and my fears of not being able to go anywhere in life. My family will have no money when I go to college; and while the tuition rates at WSU aren't that bad, a job or internship on the side isn't going be able to cut it. My performance as a student here and now is crucial to my future of getting scholarships, and while I doubt I'll be completely ignored, as it stands my grades simply aren't good enough to compete with the uppercrust. Perhaps I give too much credit to myself, but this honestly isn't a fault with my intelligence. My work ethic is near legendary for being terrible, and I really do not apply myself enough. It's my hope that I'll be able to do well on the ACT and be able to apply for scholarships from that, because while grades are important, it's in my experience that they pay much more attention to the ACT than your overall grades. And besides, I'm a mostly A, occasional B student, and while my father might give me the riot speech for those Bs I don't think it'll kill me.
So maybe my concerns about getting scholarships are unwarranted. So now we move onto what I'm going do with my life. It's always been "become an engineer, go do cool stuff." Which, really, planning much more in-depth is an exercise in futility. I've always wanted to get into some measure of politics; not the government, of course. But I've always felt it's the responsibility of every citizen to make his or her voice heard. The concept of every vote counting is a correct one, simply on the basis of crowd mentality. If a million people decide their votes don't matter... well, that's a million votes gone, isn't it?
And of course, there's more than just voting. There's societal reforms, there's picketing, rallies, assemblies. Making a change simply by stating your opinion is something I think not enough people do out of the logic that "I don't really matter in the grand scheme of things." But the individual does matter in the grand scheme of things, because an individual's thoughts and ideals can be more world-changing than any one groups. The idea of individual expression and the ability to speak your mind is an important one in a free society. To let it be dominated by one view point is ultimately stagnant. The ability to change people's opinions is such a crucial one, and we who live in America and indeed, the rest of the free world, often take for granted the ability to do that. And yet many of us don't choose to use this innate human right.
Some of us have our excuses. What will people think? What will people say? What will people do? How will I be seen in the eyes of society?
And I can relate to that. I live in a family who I disagree with on many accounts. My father is about as conservative as they come. I know that, at some point in the future, I will have to confront my family over my beliefs and, indeed, my own personal being. I don't look forward to that day; some parts of me just want to continue the secrecy forever. The thought of being expelled from my family is something that shakes me to the core, and for all the love I know my parents have for me, it is a literal conflict of world-views. History shows us that such things can and have torn loving families apart and caused so much suffering and pain.
But it is the world we live in. Secrecy and private thought changes nothing. Even as I type this I speak hypocritically, because I haven't come to that all important decision. Yet I can see that hypocrisy. The importance of an individual, standing up and telling society his or her opinions, is something that we all must be willing to do. To be cowed into fear is to have that fundamental right taken away from you by your own choice. On the grand scheme of things, one boy telling his family the truth is not relevant. But this is the grand scheme of things! There is no one boy; there is a thousand, a hundred thousand, a million boys and girls, and that changes things. A million choosing to stand up for their right to speak what they think. Saying one individual cannot change things on the larger picture is a fallacy, because it is the larger picture, composed of the billions of individual pictures. To say that you can't change something big is to ignore the fact that you are part of that something.
Your choices are relevant to both your world and the greater world. Because a million people, a billion people, all making their own choices, is more important than anything else. What their choices are is irrelevant; what they do is irrelevant. Be it for good or evil, at least that individual made a choice. If we choose to fight the evil, then we have chosen to fight it. If we choose to fight the good, then we have chosen to fight it. Who is right is up to personal belief; and that personal belief is more sacred than anything else.
I suppose, you could sum this up as the concept that saying one individual is irrelevant in the grand scheme of things is akin to saying one Representative in the House of Representatives is irrelevant. Certainly, there are 434 other representatives. What harm could one do? But if all 435 Representative decided one day, their vote didn't matter and just stared at home... well, that would be rather bad, wouldn't it? The individual effects things on an individual scale. A million individuals effect a million individual scales. A million pictures stitched together to make one big picture.
Well. I went from talking about my economic crisis to politics and the importance of choosing things for yourself. I suppose I'll quit while I'm ahead.
I thank anyone who stuck with me through this series of rambles. Likely, it is ridden with typos and I made a fool of myself somewhere in it. I tried my best to avoid any major political issues but alas, this is BZPower. I can only hope for a peaceful discussion of the importance of free will.
Ahem. So, SimCity. We finally got a major installment to the series after waiting ten years after SimCity 4. Loved SimCity 4, I need to get my disks back from my cousin sometime so I can play it again. Alas, I remember reading about SimCity in an issue of Game Informer and instantly going "well this sucks." Why? Because EA touted their always online feature. You're always online. Always. Can't play offline from my understanding, though I may be wrong. From all that I've read I've been given the impression that the game is effectively a small-scale MMO.
Now, don't get me wrong. MMOs are cool. But I know what EA's thinking was; it wasn't "hey, people can be social and link their cities together and it'd be so cool!" No, it was "Those darn dirty pirates can't use our game now!"
So why did I say it was going suck? Because of history. This is less of an MMO type implementation and more like an always-online DRM. Allow us to take a brief glance at the history of this. Ubisoft, and their numerous games that experimented with it, Assassin's Creed being infamous for its various DRMs. Blizzard with Diablo 3, who's servers were utterly crushed. They also suffered similar outages with Starcraft 2, but significantly less rage followed that due to a slightly different implementation. If one wishes to do a google search, you can find plenty larger lists of games that tried this and failed terribly. Why, EA itself is no stranger to this; it's Origin service has been known to... have issues from time to time.
And they still decided to do this with SimCity.
And guess what.
They're having problems.
Many people are having connection issues and their game experience is being basically crushed. EA assured us that they were prepared for this, just as Ubisoft and Blizzard assured us they were as well. Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice shame on you, fool me thrice and that's just being absurd. So now there's a major backlash going on and EA is trying to do damage control, attempting to take as much load off their servers as possible.
How many times is it going take before the gaming community wakes up and says, "gee, I've heard this before, and it ended terribly. Why should I put up with this?"
I understand the concerns at hand; piracy is becoming a serious problem. But always-online DRM, or always-online "features" that just happen to be mandatory, is not the solution. Fact of the matter is that any sysadmin will tell you, you can never be prepared for all stages of traffic, especially with something as big as SimCity. Hundreds of thousands of people bought it and started playing it on the opening day; that's a lot of traffic, a lot of computational power, and ultimately it crashed the unprepared servers.
So until the day comes that the major gaming companies can get their act together, the gaming community needs to do something about it.
Editors Note: Ubisoft prefers the "log in" method of DRM; not technically always online, rather, you simply log into their servers when you boot the game and then after that, your game will run splendid. Their servers still crashed.
Why I still bother with League, I have no idea.
Second thought. It is the year 2013. Actually, it's the year 2013 and one month. Cool stuff bro. If my memory serves me correct, though quite honestly I can barely remember what I had for lunch so who knows how valid it is, Bionicle ended in the summer of 2011. Because of Greg Farshtey's private life the updates to the story have been stretched thin at the best of times. Bionicle is dead, and we've had two years of little snacks of information.
And then there was that whole Forum Upgrade fiasco which took the site down for almost half a year and really threw a wrench into the works.
But here we are, today. BZP isn't nearly as active as it was in the olden days (it probably peaked before I even joined, honestly), but it's still a pretty big place. We have stories and Lego and RPGs and contests and all sorts of fun stuff. The community is smaller and many have left but we're still here.
And I mean, with the new tracker system, the site really is really on the road for getting much better. With new forum features coming in, rule updates (though the tracker about the advertising policy has mysteriously vanished...), all that jazz, it's looking good for the site as a whole. People continue to join and while I have to say I miss some of the old crowd, life continues on.
We still have our arguments and our disagreements and our nasty tempers, but the site is and will continue to live. Many people said that BZPower was dead the moment Bionicle ended. Yet, I think they ignored what in my opinion BZPower has really done. My interest in Bionicle waned back in 2010-ish; I bought a grand total of one set in 2011. I haven't bought any Legos since Christmas of 2011. Yet here I am, on a redubbed Lego fansite? Why?
Because I have friends here, and for all the ups and downs of the community, it is a good one. Annoying at times, aye, capable of ripping out people's throats, aye, but it's a love-hate relationship. I've never been able to get the same sort of community on other sites, so I stick around here because of the people. Not because of the occasional story addition or Legos or what those in charge deem is right and what isn't.
It's because the people are pretty cool.
- There are between 200-400 million stars in our galaxy.
- There are between 400 billion to a trillion observable galaxies, and we discover new ones every day.
- This means there are 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the observable universe, according to the higher estimates.
- This is merely the observable universe, which due to the expansion of space and the speed of light, is only a tiny fraction of the greater expanse. Even ignoring the fact that space is infinite (matter and energy are not, however), what we see only accounts for a tiny part of a much greater whole.
- This ultimately rounds out to the fact that the universe is a pretty big place.
Though, when the aliens invade, this might lose some of its impact.
For the podcast itself, the format will be evolving as I experiment with different things and think of/are given ideas, but I think for the most part it'll follow this basic outline.
- An intro with a summary of the episode and time stamps to skip to interesting parts.
- A summary of Ambage related news, from contests to write offs to announcements.
- A summary of Ambage written stories, basically just brief plot rundowns to get people interested in said stories.
- If possible to secure, an interview with an Ambager or possibly writers in the other literary circles of BZP.
- Other random segments that will likely appear randomly until a natural flow is established. This ranges from having writing advice segments to guest star reviews to guest star debates to recommended readings and so forth. Suggestions for these segments are encouraged, as they'll likely be what keeps this new and interesting when activity isn't doing so great.
- It'll then conclude with yours truly giving a review of a story that I felt I should do. Could be a good story, bad story, meh story, and it won't be quite as restricted to what happened that week, though those will get preferential treatment because it is ultimately a weekly podcast.
So I hope to release my first trial episode sometime this coming week, to give an idea of what's to come. All I can hope for is that it might encourage people to join the Ambage and get in on the little tight knit group we have going on. And, of course, hopefully make someone happy that their story was mentioned anywhere.
The following blog contains excessive rambling on the world and extremely poor paragraphing. If you are easily offended or turned off by these two things, leaving now would be a good idea.
This blog is written by Alex Humva, penname of some random teenager named Alex Censored. He writes stories, writes rants, writes screenplays, plays games, makes games, has a terrible work ethic, and is generally sarcastic. He believes in a Judao-Christian god, but most other people who do too give him a glare because of his weird beliefs, possibly because he's somehow bi at the same time. He's an utter equalist who feels that any discrimination amongst humans for things they were born with is wrong. He doesn't care about xenos though, let them all burn.
He's also an aspiring engineer who hopes to get a scholarship at his local big engineering college and one day help humanity. More likely he'll be a pencil pusher in a basement somewhere, but he's a bloody minded optimist.
Because of his peculiar personality and beliefs, he gets into fights often, though they usually end when he wakes up the next morning and doesn't feel motivated anymore.
Current status of the OTC RPG community
Format: RPG Name - Discussion topic - Current status - Am I part of it?
To Save The World!
Invalid - Active - No
Mass Effect: Division
Invalid - Active - No
X-Men: Darkest Days
Discussion - Active - No
Discussion - Active - No
LAST UPDATE: May 6th, 2013.
Three cheers for the man of the hourNecro - Dec 02 2013 04:36 PM
Bought Borderlands 2Necro - Dec 02 2013 12:25 AM
Steam Autumn Sale T-Minus 17 hoursNecro - Nov 29 2013 03:52 PM
Steam Autumn Sale T-Minus 17 hoursKothra - Nov 26 2013 08:53 PM
My wallet is twitching (also game recommendations)Basilisk - Nov 25 2013 01:52 AM
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