September 29, 2003

Games!

I spent all day Saturday in Gamer's Heaven. Well, all right, it was really only the 2003 Tokyo Game Show, but it felt like heaven to me!

The good news is gaming is alive and well and, judging from the huge crowds bubbling with enthusiasm, will be for a long time to come. I saw previews and sampled demo programs for dozens of RPG style games, some 2D and some 3D, some humorous, some serious, some heavenly, some quaint, and all more highly addictive than designer drugs! Who needs acid dreams when Neverwinter Nights is a mere mouse click away? Why descend into alcoholism when Lineage II beta testing starts in a few weeks? Why grab a shotgun and shoot up the local post office when Ragnarok is filled with monsters just waiting for you to take out your aggressions on them? And, if you're short on cash, or just plain unwilling to pay for your fun, Runescape is free!

So what are you waiting for?

"Would you like to play a game?"

September 25, 2003

Radical Solutions for Radical Times

Mary Carey for Governor


I know, everyone favors the name power and Hollywood fame of Arnold. In truth, Arnold does have some interesting conventional ideas for solving California's problems. On the other hand, so did Gray Davis, the fool who got us into this mess to begin with. Mary Carey, on the other hand, has some silly, but nonetheless potentially trendsetting ideas for solving the problems of massive debt, staggering unemployment, the growing AIDS epidemic, and funding for hospitals and health care. To my own suprise, a visit to her website and a review of her speeches reveals that behind the headline setting silliness is a serious mind that has done considerable research into the problems and issues facing the next governor of California. True, she has some extreme ideas, such as offering porn videos to anyone who turns in a handgun and transforming the governor's mansion into a pay-per-view webcam site, but she also wants to encourage greater celebrity-backed charities for California hospitals and taxes on plastic surgery.

As an aside, it strikes me that Mary Carey's "taxes on breast implants" idea is absolutely ingenious! Cosmetic surgery is a multi-billion dollar luxury industry that does not pay any kind of sales or consumption taxes. Can you imagine a Hollywood director NOT paying taxes on his new Masseratti? So why doesn't his wife pay taxes on her liposuction belly and silicone breasts? The revenue generated by treating elective surgery as a consumer item has the potential to add millions to California coffers.

Let me close this "radical" note by adding that I've never seen a Mary Carey film or video, nor am I a member of her fan club. Prior to her bid for the governorship I'd never heard of her. However, despite having been a long time fan of Arnold, I'm hoping Mary takes the election by storm and wins by a landslide. Besides, I've always had a soft spot for an underdog.

September 14, 2003

The Falling Man

The Falling Man


Click on it. Read it. And always remember that reality is both horrifying and beautiful.

History is not only what we read in books. History is what we create with every decision we make.

We live in the midst of chaos. This chaos is disordered, confusing, frightening, and sometimes enlightening. In order to live our lives to the fullest we must not run from the chaos that surrounds us, we must instead embrace it. Instead of struggling to control this chaos, we must learn to ride it out, regardless of how we feel about the place it carries us.

Most people in the "civilized" world spend their lives running from the things they fear. This is, of course, a perfectly natural reaction and has insured the survival of the human species in many situations. However, one of the chief differences between humans and other animals is that we have the ability to turn and face the things we fear. We can choose to stand and fight, or even to stand, observe, and learn. Some primates will turn and fight for a moment or two, but only humans have the capacity to face their worst nightmares and learn from them. The lessons learned then become the basis for new decisions, decisions which alter our actions the next time we encounter the same nightmare.

Every decision you make changes the world around you. Are you making it a better place? Better for who?

September 05, 2003

Melting




Tokyo today is hot, sunny, and mildly humid. A brilliant summer day. If more days were like this I would have grown to love summer here a long time ago. Sadly, today is the exception. The majority of days are either grey, overcast, broiler hot and unbearably humid, or cold, miserable, and rainy. In all my many travels, Tokyo has the most unusual summer weather I have ever seen.