Get to Know Me – The 7 Questions

So Magimos tagged me in a questionnaire thing and I figured it was a pretty good way to go ahead and get started on “Get to Know You” week. I don’t know who hasn’t been tagged yet, and I don’t feel like putting the effort into finding out and/or writing my own questions. Still, here are my answers to the standing questions.

1. You have to choose an awesome superpower but it has a huge drawback! What’s the best superpower that you can think of with the worst drawback? (e.g. Flying! But you get explosive diarrhea while using it!)

Immortality, but I have to sleep 12 hours/day. I tend to think of myself as a fairly slow-moving process, so the idea of having forever to sort things out seems appealing. I thought about increasing the sleeping requirement, but even at 12 hours a day it would be absurdly frustrating to the point of making me question if it’s really worth it.

2. What’s your favorite drink/cocktail?

I am immensely and absurdly fond of milkshakes, especially of the cookies and cream variety. In actual consumption, it certainly ends up being Diet Mountain Dew. I drink… more than I should, really.

As for cocktails, I don’t really drink anymore, but when I did I was fairly fond of the mojito and/or anything super sweet and capable of masking the alcohol. Bahama Mama and Mudslide comes to mind.

3. If money didn’t matter, where would you choose to live?

Wherever it was convenient, to be honest. If money is no object I would probably spring for whatever seemed practical according to my current whims and activities. This would ultimately be a semi-urban house within walking distance of grocery stores, work, school, and whatnot. I do occasionally miss the ability to get food and stuff without having to drive 15 minutes or more to get there and the ability to see movies or heaven forbid actual theatre, without having to factor in the cost of gas, transport, and/or parking.

4. Would you rather see everything in different shades of the same color or rather be color-blind?

I think I’d rather be color-blind than stuck with a single color. Medical colorblindness is likely to give me at least some variation. Barring that, greyscale would be preferable to always dealing with the same color.

5. What’s the last book you’ve read/show or movie you’ve watched and what’s the best thing you liked about that one?

The last book I finished was Snuff by Terry Pratchett. It was a pretty decent work that provides some interesting thoughts regarding leadership, corruption, and racism. Especially since the previous book, Unseen Academicals, had some similar subplots.

6. If you could only play one game for the rest of your life, what would that game be?

I find this question essentially unanswerable. There is no game ever made that could possibly remain entertaining for “the rest of my life.” I would probably just quit gaming and find something else to do instead.

7. Since you’re on this post, you’ve surely read through my rom-com-novel about the rabbit and the other person. Which one of those two would you rather be?

I’m going to go with the “other person.” I have a bit of a soft spot for the underdog and/or antagonist, if the other person can even be characterized as the antagonist. I’ve spent a fair amount of time at work being the “bad guy.” Even if I wasn’t, really, they believed I was. I learned to embrace that narrative and at times have even quite enjoyed it. I cannot control their perceptions, so I must simply accept them and do my thing regardless, and I’m okay with that, even if I’m the villain.

Hopefully, this formatting works out. I spent more time than I care to admit trying to sort it into something at least vaguely readable. Maybe you learned something about me, I hope.

Y’all take care. I think I need to go take a nap or something.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.


Economics – Why the Dismal Science?

Buckle up everybody, we’re going on a field trip.

I first came across this alternative name of “The Dismal Science” from the economics subreddit. I didn’t really get it, maybe because my knowledge of economics is limited, so I just ignored it. I have since seen it said that it’s all to do with how resources are scarce and that population will continue to grow, making them more scarce, I guess? I got curious and went in search of a proper answer and what I found is slightly heartening and horrifying at the same time.

Now, to the earlier explanation, it’s not entirely far off the mark. Thomas Carlyle did refer to the economic work of Thomas Malthus as being “dismal.” Understandable since Malthus kinda said that growth of population will eventually outpace agriculture, making starvation and famine inevitable. Dismal indeed.

The truth of the matter, according to this journal article (Persky) anyway, was that Carlyle was saying that “[this was the science] which finds the secret of this Universe in ‘supply and demand,’ and reduces the duty of human governors to that of letting men alone.” He didn’t like this and held that people needed strong leadership and guidance to be effective.

He seemed to be especially attached to the idea that some people, including the “idle
Black man in the West Indies,” were designed to be subservient by a divine authority. An idea I, and fortunately most modern societies, find abhorrent. I took the liberty of doing a little more reading about him and his opinions, partially trying to find the original source for the other quote, and find his view only slightly more nuanced. There are a handful of instances where he claimed that the skin color was not the central issue, but I guess the money shot for this post is as follows:

“The solution is perhaps still distant. But some approximation to it … must
be made:—this of declaring that Negro and White are unrelated,
loose from one another, on a footing of perfect equality, and subject
to no law but that of supply-and-demand according to the Dismal
Science; this, which contradicts the palpable facts, is clearly no solution.”

Mr. Thompson of The Atlantic seems to feel that one should be proud to be a student of a science whose nickname came about through an accidental opposition to slavery supporters. I’m not so convinced that economics should be taking some credit but I had a question, I feel like I did a decent investigation, and came away with an answer. I call that a win.

Y’all take care. I hope you learned something.

References if anyone cares:

Persky, Joseph. “A Dismal Romantic”

Kinser, Brent E. “Fearful Symmetry: Hypocrisy and Bigotry in Thomas Carlyle’s ‘Occasional Discourse[s] on the Negro Question.’”

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Activision Blizzard – 2019 Q2 Earnings

Okay, I didn’t get a chance to listen to the whole call. In fact, I missed most of it. You can find the recorded call, the slideshow, and a financial spreadsheet here. Feel free to double-check any and everything because I’m working primarily off the slideshow. There wasn’t a whole lot I thought was particularly interesting. That said, I’m not really a very active player of their products.

This is the obligatory “I don’t own any shares in this company” statement. Too rich for my blood, as they say.

I was honestly more interested in what they didn’t say, or how they phrased it, than what they actually said. In the grand scheme of things, this is a slam dunk of a financial report. They had pretty conservative guidance for Q2 and they exceeded that by a good bit. Investors seem to love it when a company “does better than it thought it would.”

Having said that, net revenue, operating income, and earnings per share are all down compared to last year. Just not as down as they expected it to be.

All of their monthly active users are reported as increasing or steady year over year, except WoW. They have a much more cagey “increased since mid-May” thing to say about that, though I don’t think it’s fair to compare the pre-expansion period last year to the mid-expansion position they’re in now. I’m fairly confident that’s why they didn’t issue a similar statement.

In the same fashion, King and CoD time spent are reported as “total time spent” which is growing for each title. Blizzard has a more predictable increase in “time spent per player.” As an MMO player, that seems fairly normal. One way to make that number go up is to lower the number of active players, which is probably a bit low in the pre-patch Q2. I suspect the Q3 will show a more positive WoW report.

I did find it interesting that they also reported viewtime for Overwatch League and CoD World League. Naturally, those numbers are up and increasing year over year. I imagine the current climate towards video games and violence, as well as ESPN dropping Apex Legends, may slow that down just a bit.


Looking at the data in the financial spreadsheet though, it’s important to note that the company as a whole has been, and continues to, operate at a profit. Even broken out into Activision, Blizzard, and King, every segment is currently pulling a profit. They aren’t “losing money.” At least not yet.

There does seem to be a downward trend for Activision and Blizzard over the last few years while King has held pretty steady. I’ve been under the impression that the games industry as a whole is kinda down right now, so that’s to be expected.


I find it particularly interesting that the platform that has taken the hardest hit is PC, though both it and console seem pretty volatile and both appear to be down compared to Q2 in other years.

Either way, time will tell I guess. Y’all take care, and remember not to put all your eggs in one basket.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Economics – What is Opportunity Cost?

So I mentioned this a fair bit yesterday, where I was talking about piracy, and thought it might be wise to address what it is. It’s not particularly complicated, really, it’s what you give up when you choose to do something.

Writing blog posts takes primarily time. Time that could have been used to do other things instead, like washing dishes or playing your favorite game. The opportunity cost of blogging are those things you chose not to do. It’s nearly impossible to do anything without giving something else up, especially since time is the limited resource. One could make a case that this is why dishes infamously don’t get done. The opportunity cost is too high.

My problem is that I see it in everything, right now. By talking about it I have become temporarily hyper-aware of it. We tend to acknowledge it more casually though, on a daily basis. Every time we say “I should probably be doing that” or “I need to be doing the other thing” we’re saying that there’s another activity we are giving up because quite frankly we’d rather be doing the current one instead. I would generally caution people not to beat themselves up over these choices. We are ourselves, in the moment. While I certainly have a list of things I regret, it’s really the unforeseeable outcomes that are regrettable. The same self, put in the same situation, with the same information, would probably make the same choice. Probably. The important lesson being that when the situation arises again, you will be able to make a more knowledgable choice.

In the context of piracy and DRM, the whole point of DRM is to increase the opportunity cost of piracy. The more difficult and time consuming it is, the more likely people are to choose to do something else instead. Denuvo almost had a lid on it for a minute there, but humans are strange and stubborn creatures, not wont to abandon hope easily.

That’s ultimately one of the major flaws of economics, in my opinion. The idea that the individual actors act rationally is great for a theoretical framework, but I don’t really see humans as particularly rational. Statistically predictable in large groups, sure, but not necessarily rational.

Okay, I’ll go on now. Hopefully, that provided some clarity on yesterday’s post, even if it wasn’t strictly needed or asked for.

Y’all take care. Instead of agonizing over today’s decisions, resolve to make better ones tomorrow.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Adobe Digital Edition – Digital Piracy and Opportunity Costs

This is one of those fun little debates I get to see all the time on reddit. As a personal choice, I generally avoid piracy these days. Certainly hasn’t always been that way, but I’ve had to come to terms with what I feel is and isn’t acceptable. Every once in a while I come across something that reminds me why it’s such a staple activity of the internet, though.

I’ve been really slowly working on a bit of a research project, helped along greatly by the fact that as a student I have access to the Galileo system. This is a digital library operated by the University system here in Georgia and contains a rather wide variety of books, publications, journals, and studies. I have also learned that the local college library is well integrated with it and allows me to check out electronic copies of books. Previously I was reading articles and studies online on the galileo site itself, but this is inconvenient for larger works.

I am, as they say, “happy as a pig in shit” going through this material and gladly leap at the chance to check out an ebook and read it on my phone. It allows for more efficient use of my “I pretty much have to stand here and wait” time.

The process of downloading and setting up the Adobe Digital Edition DRM app itself was fairly straightforward. I already had an account and everything. It absolutely refuses to verify and download the book in question though. I’m not the only one with this issue, it seems, as it’s been asked about many times over many years on what I now refer to as their “lack of support” forums. I spent all morning arguing with it, discovering among other things that this is a mobile issue. Works as expected on desktop.

That’s really what led me to the thought to begin with. This should have been super easy to do on my phone. Instead, it’s sitting at a 2.1/5 rating on the play store because people like myself either couldn’t get it to work or did so by using the back entrance. The purpose of DRM should be to increase the “opportunity cost” of piracy while keeping legitimate use as unimpacted as possible. They have done the opposite here.

At this point, my time would have been better served pirating the book for a fraction of the time this has required. Instead of reading and working on the thing I intended to work on, I’m on the internet complaining about your problematic app. Good job guys, you should be embarrassed.

Fortunately for me, there appear to be quite a few workarounds to my specific issue. I’ll sort those out when I get home, I guess.

Y’all take care, and keep an eye on that DRM over there. It’s watching you.

Blaugust – Topics and Brainstorming

I’ve been trying to come up with a “topic brainstorming week” type of topic since the middle of last week, and while I have, it certainly feels counterintuitive. I’ve mentioned previously my written topic list, but it’s important to remember that I don’t generally sit around trying to come up with those ideas, I just write them down when they occur to me.

That’s really the underlying problem I’m having, I don’t do a lot of sitting around trying to “think of” post topics. If I have a lack of ideas in the moment, I simply go look at the list. If I’m really at a loss, I generally just go about my business in the expectation that something will eventually strike me. Failing that I can simply write about feeling uninspired and why I think that is.

Anything I would consider brainstorming that might occur would be after I’ve chosen a topic, as I’m putting my thoughts in order before I write it. This is usually a matter of not being in a position to write at that exact moment, so I think it through instead.

In fact, many posts get stuck at the “thinking about it” stage. It took me quite some time to discuss some of the FFXIV lore because I had a hard time nailing down a good approach to the specific topic I wanted to address. This post itself is a direct result of me trying to outline a weekly topic-related post of some sort. Not that I think of myself as particularly qualified to provide advice, but opinions and perspective are the name of the game.

This leaves me with the conclusion that I do use brainstorming in the process of writing about a specific topic, though not so much about the topics themselves. I also feel the intent may have been to provide a starting point for others to use in their own writing, and I’m not sure I’ve done that either.

Ultimately, I think that blogging is itself a sort of brainstorming activity for me. Many of the things I write about I choose because I’m actively thinking about that topic and I feel like I have something to say about it. At the same time, I’m also exploring and refining those thoughts. It’s one thing to hold an idea in your head, but the process of trying to commit it to “words on paper” requires me to refine it into a communicable idea.

Think that’s it for today folks. Y’all take care.

BlaugustBOnlylogoIn case you haven’t heard, we’re in the middle of an event called Blaugust. The goal is to simply promote and stimulate the blogging community by encouraging people of all skill levels and backgrounds to post. The official post can be found here and it’s never too late to start.

Warframe v. Destiny 2 – A Comparative Opinion

So Belghast, Magimos, and I had a few brief words in the discord channel regarding the nature of these two games. In the process, I really felt like I was unwilling to articulate my particular points at length in discord. I could, however, write a blog post about it.

Now, it’s worth mentioning that while I’ve played both games, I’ve invested a much greater amount of time into Warframe. Probably ten hours to every one I’ve spent with Destiny 2, though its rather late appearance on PC is a contributing factor to that.

My sort of working statement was this, “Both are pretty solid games that seem similar on the surface, but have somewhat different core loops. Destiny 2 has a bit more personality to it and Warframe is more mechanically complex.”

Now, it’s important to realize that when I say Destiny 2 has more personality, I’m really speaking about the NPC characters that inhabit the world. I have always found the major D2 NPCs to be more interesting and engaging. I don’t think anything in Warframe has quite had the same impact on me as the D2: Forsaken trailer did. Mainly a sort of “Oh hell no.” Having said that, Cayde was a particularly strong personality in his own right.

As far as mechanics go, I think I’m specifically speaking to the nuts and bolts of gear stats. While I wouldn’t exactly go as far as saying D2 is simple, Warframe’s gear system is absurdly complicated. Collecting the right mods can often be an ardous and time consuming process in its own right, because there are roughly 1000 of the blasted things these days. Most of the “good ones” are rare drops from rare spawns, and then time and effort must be spent to power them up. In many cases, you not only apply an element but a combination of elements that make a new one. On top of that, you will probably have to level and then reset your weapon several times to alter its slots so that those mods can all be applied at the same time. Assuming that you started with a “good enough” weapon to begin with. Of course, weapon chasing in D2 is also a thing, but it never felt as absurdly time-consuming as making a “proper” end-game weapon for Warframe. Maybe I just didn’t get as deep into D2.

Before I move on, the biggest distinction I’ve had between the two is that when I see something new for Warframe, it’s always about a new activity, new area, or new mechanic that looks interesting. For D2 it always felt like the story was a more critical part of the content that serves the needs of the story instead of the other way around.

Now, I can also see where Belghast is coming from regarding the perspective Warframe uses. I personally got used to it, I guess, though I wasn’t fond of it for a long time. Assuming it doesn’t bug out and stick you into some near-first person perspective that’s even more absurd than the normal one. Combine that with the very fast and active sort of movement Warframes’ space ninjas have and I can see where that would cause issues.

I also feel like these points maybe aren’t the most robust. While I don’t feel as attached to the characters of Warframe, the story itself can be fairly engaging. Especially the lore-related sections focused on the Operator, the Lotus, and/or Ordis. Those bits tend to be fairly far and few between, though I’m probably a bit behind now since I haven’t played in nearly a year.

I’ll give it a rest for today, I guess. Now I want to go play both of them.

Y’all take care, and remember, these opinions are not facts. Both games are great games and we don’t all have to like the same ones.