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1  Media / General Games / Re: How much do you care whether something is interactive or not? on: July 30, 2016, 08:29:25 PM
And then there's books.  I like to read books because the interactive part is me imagining the characters' appearances, voices, environments, actions, etc.  To me, that's interactive and makes a book more compelling to me than a TV show or movie.  It engages more of my senses and aspects of my brain.

And that brings me to why I like video games.  I don't like to be a passive watcher- I like to be an active participant.  That's also why I prefer to play sports than watch them.  And with video games, I'm an active participant of what's happening on the screen.
2  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: July 30, 2016, 04:41:51 PM
I did the Spellbound Century bike-a-thon today.  The quick and dirty of this adventure was that it was a tale of getting lost, near dehydration, a pushup contest, and an accidental computer reset.  

The longer version:
My 46 mile ride turned into a 50-52 mile ride because, on the third leg, I missed a turn (it wasn't marked), got lost, but eventually found my way back on course.  As I was going back on course, I saw some other riders on the other side of the road who made the same mistake that I did and I tried to holler to them to turn back, but they didn't hear me.  

So, because of the extra mileage I put on, and the fact that the third leg (out of 4) was mostly out in the sun (almost no shade) I ran out of fluids 3-4 miles from the next rest area.  We're talking a 24 oz. bottle of water and a 24 oz. bottle of Gatorade completely empty 3-4 miles from the rest stop.  That was really rough, but I made it and though that rest stop ran out of food, they had enough water and Gatorade for me to partially fill my bottles enough to get to the end.  I was making such good time (keeping a 16-18mph pace), but the dehydration slowed my pace to about 12-14mph on the latter part of the third and the final legs.

I have no idea what my final mileage was since, during a descent, I was crouched so far over the handlebars that I accidentally reset my cyclocomputer so my final reading was about 26 miles.  

And during the end-ride lunch, I was making my way to the bathroom when I encountered a group of people doing an incline pushup contest off the side of a picnic table.  And I participated.  I managed to eke out 24 incline pushups, so I'm stoked.  I know that seems stupid and everything, but because I spent much of my youth as a weakling, crybaby, gym-class-joke, I overcompensate as an adult to prove (mostly to myself, but also to others) that I'm (physically) strong, that I'm tough, even though I used to be fat and my body still looks disgusting.  
3  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Youtube on: July 29, 2016, 09:44:39 AM
Trae Crowder the "liberal redneck" is perhaps the best new YouTube channel to come out in 2016.  It's funny, informative, and this is what got me watching his vids.

4  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: July 29, 2016, 08:41:46 AM
As an immigrant, Khizr Khan's DNC speech resonated with me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uG0K_9RDeFE  When Khan pulled out his copy of the Constitution and called Donald Trump out on his unconstitutional nonsense, that was a "mic drop" moment.  

EDIT: If Hillary wants to run a strong campaign, she needs people like Khan.  Khan could be the parent of any immigrant family who came to this country for a better life and are proudly loyal to this country for that better life.  His son, a Muslim boy brought up in America, served in the US army and sacrificed himself for his platoon.   Or Hillary needs people like those two teenagers (a boy and a girl) at the DNC who were both hired by the same pizza place on the same day for the same job, but he was offered $8.25/hr and she was only offered $8.00/hr.  Both outraged, the two kids went to their boss to ask why two kids of the same age, hired the same day for the same job, and have the same knowledge of pizza were paid differently.  Their supervisor shut them down and fired them on some bullshit policy thing.  That boy and girl could be any of the 2000 students at the high school I teach at.    

This story has details about his son's military sacrifice: http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2016/07/28/khizr_khan_s_message_to_donald_trump_was_the_most_damning_moment_of_dnc.html

(FWIW, here's the speech with Clinton's introduction, giving context about Khizr and his son.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z7lN7nQjG0 )
5  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: July 28, 2016, 04:17:23 PM
We can't talk political nonsense without talking about Vermin Supreme.  The fact that this guy makes more sense than a belligerent casino owner is just... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrDDkKPUFa4

Yeah, Pool of Thorns is a really cool name, and the band itself is fantastic.  Heck, I was a fan of them before I tried out for them.  Kryovax was formed by one of my best friends and we broke up that band once he went to law school (and that's when Pool of Thorns was auditioning for a bassist and through a series of roundabout events I wound up being their bassist, and a fan favorite, for 2 years.)
6  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: July 28, 2016, 02:33:05 PM
I'm still trying to wrap my head around how a casino owner is considered the more trustworthy presidential candidate.  Casino owners build their business on cheating, stealing, lying, manipulation, exploitation, extortion... I mean, casino owners look at you walking into their casinos with complete disrespect because, to them, you're two-bit chump who basically wants something for nothing.  Hit the million dollar jackpot on a $1 play.  Yeah, you're basically a stupid cow, a "useful idiot" to the casino owners.  The house always wins, plain and simple, and is built to profit on your misfortune.  And they only give out enough prizes to keep you hooked and coming back.  That sounds like an abusive relationship right there.  Lost your mortgage payment pressing your luck in the casino?  Tough noogies, cry me a river.  You came in of your own volition to play.  Casinos, as it's been proven time and time again, do not help communities.  In fact, they bankrupt and destroy communities like an infestation, because casino owners are thugs who certainly won't offer their fat profits for community welfare.  

Sure, everyone knows establishment politicians cheat, steal, lie, manipulate, and exploit.  But a casino owner literally gambling with an entire country's people and resources frightens the crap out of me.

Everyone talks about Hillary being above the law?  Newsflash, the Donald is even worse:  http://www.pajiba.com/politics/a-complete-list-of-all-the-times-donald-trump-has-broken-the-law.php
7  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: July 28, 2016, 12:44:17 PM
I was a straight-edger during my 2-year stint in a punk band ( Kryovax) and I had so much fun.  It was an exciting time for me.  It's funny.  Kryovax is the band that meant the most to me, but Pool of Thorns is the band I tell everyone about.
8  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: July 27, 2016, 08:20:59 PM
...and that's a lesson that isn't taught in school, but should be.  That even when you go away to college, you still need to vote in your permanent address's polling place unless you sign up for an absentee ballot. 

I learned that lesson the hard way. 
9  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: July 27, 2016, 06:25:43 PM
Milestone check-in.  

About 2 years ago, I stopped drinking alcohol.  Best decision I ever made.  
About a year and a half ago, I gave up the touring/gigging musician lifestyle.  Best decision I ever made.  
About 6 months ago, I became a vegetarian.  Best decision I ever made.  
10  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: July 27, 2016, 02:43:29 PM
Ugh, the Bernie-or-Busters are getting ridiculous.  Instead of abandoning ship and jumping off a cliff like lemmings, if they really want to stand by their cause and everything they should use their voting power to take back the senate and make Bernie majority leader.  

Like I edited into my tirade, that urge to just "shake things up" runs strong, even among those who KNOW an impulsive, depraved megalomaniac like Trump is a poor choice for president.  But he would shake things up for sure, and a lot of those Bernie supporters are driven by that primal urge to shake things up.  

EDIT: And as frightened as I am of Trump, I equally don't want to see Pence in power.  Marginalized groups (including women, minorities, LGBTQ, etc.) can kiss several of their civil liberties and even rights goodbye under that regime.  My mom jokes, "I'm old, I'm a minority, I'm a woman... I'm screwed."  
11  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: July 27, 2016, 02:21:18 PM
I was thinking the same thing, Arvis.  Despite using the rulebook as toilet paper, Trump has a frighteningly good shot at becoming president.  

-Trump's followers are perhaps the most fervent, and they will be out to the polls in droves.  Hillary doesn't command that level of charismatic pull.  Most people don't like her, especially not youth voters.  Older women appreciate the historical significance of the first female president in US history, but she does not resonate with young women at all.  Young women see her as a liar and a cheat, and young people have no patience for bullshit.  Maybe if Clinton had picked a firebrand like Elizabeth Warren to be her VP (I'd vote Warren for president), she could have ignited a spark, but she played it safe (which is how she's branding herself) and you can't really play it safe with an erratic and impulsive opponent like Trump and a general populace that's angry, disillusioned, and looking to shake things up because  the way things have been done forever does not seem to be working.  You need to take some risks.  Even people who KNOW a tyrannically wealthy depraved megalomaniac like Trump is a bad choice will vote for him simply because the emotional urge to just "shake things up" is often stronger than logic.

-Even those people who vote for Hillary simply out of self-preservation to keep Trump from seizing absolute power are what pundits call the "depressed vote."  They're not voting for Clinton because they're energized to.  They're voting for her because they have to.  It's not like Obama where he presented himself as such a cool dude that you would rally your friends to come out and vote with you for a cool dude president.  You ain't excitedly bringing your friends out to the polling booth to vote Clinton.  People came out like crazy to vote in the historical Obama election, but Clinton lacks that magnetism and people will probably just stay home while the TrumpThumpers are out at 5AM to vote, or even camping out at polling places overnight.  No matter how busy you are, you make time for things you WANT to do rather than things you HAVE to do, and Clinton is not a "want to."  It's like I've said many times before- rooting for the hero is more empowering than defeating a villain.  Okay, they're mostly the same, but the mindsets are different. 

-Trump has no prayer as far as the black and hispanic votes go, but polling places in those neighborhoods are under-served and it's not uncommon for subversive measures to be in place to hinder their voting voice.  

-While Liberterian Gary Johnson will definitely siphon votes away from Trump and Green Jill Stein will siphon votes away from Clinton, how much of a "spoilsport" factor will these two be in the face of a burgeoning TrumpThumping movement that fervently follows a demagogue like the disillusioned proletariat has rallied around past dictators who convince them that, "If you follow me, I will take care of you" (even if it's a lie, and it usually is.)  

I say it all the time, but I'm lucky I live in a state where I can get mail-in ballots for virtually every election.  This way, I can conveniently receive my voting packet, cast my vote, mail it in, and done.  I get excited for the smaller elections that I wouldn't have known about otherwise.  
12  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: July 26, 2016, 08:10:24 PM
Andrew- when you register to vote, you kinda do.  It's usually Republican, Democrat, Green, Libertarian, (catch-all) independent... but the crux is that if you register, say, as a Democrat you can't vote in the Republican primaries and vice versa.  I don't know if registering independent stonewalls you out of elections that you could vote in if you were registered to one of the two major parties.  I'm currently a registered Democrat in my state and I'm debating changing that to Independent after this election, but I don't know if that will lock me out of stuff.  

It's a nonsensical and convoluted system that would make any foreigner go "WTF?!?!?!"

Aside: A buddy of mine said that this presidential election's gone beyond "lesser of two evils" and is now a question of self-preservation for minority groups that would potentially be affected by Trump's presidency.
13  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: What's the haps? on: July 26, 2016, 07:19:27 PM
Arvis- Yes, arranged marriages were the cultural norm back in my parents' day, but I don't think my mom ever expected to get married off and then immediately shoved off to England after.  A land so foreign, so unfamiliar, it could have been another planet... and the only person she knew was this "stranger" she married.  That has to be psychologically difficult for anyone.  I sure as hell couldn't handle that.  My mom's was a unique case since the average arranged marriage in India typically didn't take you that far away from home. 
14  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: July 26, 2016, 07:15:35 PM
Andrew- the majority of people in the US are apathetic about politics as well and often just blindly vote for whatever party's candidate they've already sworn fealty to.  The going joke is that the candidate could be a chimpanzee and people would still vote for it if it was aligned to their preferred party. 

Hathen- that's a good point.  Instead of having just one spoiler as in aforementioned examples, we have two spoilers now in Johnson and Stein. 

I linked to this ranty article about third-party viability earlier and there are addendums to it: a link to the Green Party's response to it and the writer's rebuttal to that.  http://www.thestranger.com/slog/2016/07/19/24362128/dan-savage-on-jill-stein-just-no
15  The Rest / General Discussions / Re: Today's News on: July 26, 2016, 03:30:27 PM
I know all too well that the reality is picking the lesser of two evils.  I'm also aware that the whole "wasted vote" argument for third-party is strong, as is the "a vote for a third party is the same as a vote for one of the evils."  The 2000 election often comes up because Gore won the popular vote but W. Bush won the Electoral College vote and Nader became "that guy" (a convenient scapegoat who cost the arguably better candidate, Gore, the election.). That being said, Gore's choice for VP, Joe Lieberman, was awful.

And are voting machines at polling booths still all different in different states, or are the finally universal?  Like, in NJ, they're push-button machines, but other states still had punch cards.  Makes no difference to me since I get mail-in ballots for everything, but it could make a difference still in how votes are tallied.
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