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David's Whiteout
20 most recent entries

Date:2009-08-12 00:53
Subject:The solution to the health care issue

I know what the solution is to the healthcare problem. It would all solve itself if everyone would stop trying to get rich off of healthcare.

I am not talking about not making a profit. I am not talking about not being able to make a living. I am talking about those working or investing in the healthcare business hoping to hit the jackpot.

Yes, the pure capitalist types will point out that this will slow innovations. Apparently, in a pure capitalist world the only way innovation happens quickly is if someone can get scads of money off of those who can barely afford the innovation they create.

This is somewhat true. Innovation will likely slow down. However, it will still happen. While it happens less people will get die or just get sick from things we already have solutions for, but they can't afford the solutions because of those trying to make sure they maximize their jackpot.

Of course, human nature being what it is, this will never work voluntarily. For it to work there would need to be rules, which will be fought for those who want the right to "hit the jackpot." The biggest weakness of capitalism is human nature. Oddly enough, the biggest weakness of socialism is also human nature (or any other political system).

Fix human nature, and then you will be able to have the ideal political system (whatever that might be in that fantasy world).

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Date:2008-09-23 00:45
Subject:Political Quiz

You are a

Social Liberal
(63% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(20% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also : The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

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Date:2008-04-26 21:31

After you die...
Guardian Angel

After death, you will exist as a guardian angel in order to protect your still-living loved ones. You might even inspire a classic Christmas movie.

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

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Date:2008-03-27 02:07
Subject:"Almost Eberron" 3rd party products?
Mood: tired

A thought occurred to me this evening. With every Eberron race, except for Kalashtar, appearing in the 4E Player's Handbook or Monster Manual, it seems very likely that a 3rd party publisher will be able to publish an "Eberron compatible" adventure.

True, there are a lot of possible obstacles. The primary one being that the new license may not open up that content. Still, the possibilities are there.

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Date:2008-02-18 03:36
Subject:Early Star Wars plans
Mood: tired

I happen to be going through my things looking for old Star Wars references to spark my imagination for my new Star Wars campaign. I found my copy of this magazine (in much better condition than this image I borrowed) and read through the article. It's interesting how much changed in George's mind over time.

One idea he mentions for a sequel ios the story of the Jedi Knights and how they came to possess the Force. It would star "Ben Kenobi, Luke Skywalker's father and (hisss) Darth Vader as young knights." Lucas tells them that the story will tell how Vader kills Luke's father and then Ben and Vader battle, but this battle Ben almost kills Vader when Vader falls into a volcanic pit.

He also mentions that another sequel would be about the race of wookies and how they came to be involved with human beings. He describes them as like the Indians of long ago.

I also find it interesting that the Wookipedia describes the idea of the stormtroopers being clones as something that didn't appear until the sequels. I distinctly remember a combination poster/magazine from back in the 80s (each "issue" was a poster with articles on the back with each "fold" being a page) that mentioned that the stormtroopers were actually clones of Boba Fett. I guess these poster magazines must be very rare collectibles (probably not too surprising since posters tend to be, and that was there primary selling point).

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Date:2008-01-06 18:07

Of course, these are imperfect. I really hate the completely black & white options on the immigration question, for example.

88% Barack Obama
85% John Edwards
85% Hillary Clinton
84% Chris Dodd
81% Joe Biden
72% Bill Richardson
63% Mike Gravel
62% Dennis Kucinich
46% Rudy Giuliani
40% Tom Tancredo
35% Mitt Romney
33% John McCain
23% Fred Thompson
20% Mike Huckabee
19% Ron Paul

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

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Date:2007-12-30 15:34
Subject:The ACBL & D&D
Mood: contemplative

I used to be a regular bridge player. Unfortunately, my regular bridge partner started working a schedule that kept him out of the state for all but a handful of days a year (tip: don't become a chemical engineer if you hate travel). I could work on getting another regular partner, but it just didn't seem worth it with the friction in the community.

The one that struck me the most was the American Contract Bridge League's focus on Senior events. Almost every single bridge tournament in the U.S. has a tournament restricted to players 55 and older.

The idea is to "protect" these players from the young players. It's no secret that as you get older your thought processes often slow down, and your memory is less reliable (and memory is a key factor in contract bridge). Also, many seniors don't want to deal with what is considered poor behavior among younger players (in my experience bad behavior knows no age limit in bridge tournaments, but that's neither here nor there).

What's wrong with this? As of 4 years ago, 75% of the ACBL members qualified for these tournaments. I would expect that today we are talking about 80% of the members. Effectively, they have regular tournament events that exclude a minority of 20% of their membership. Why would I want to belong to an organization that has events that allows a majority of players to play but excludes me, and not even based on skill?

Of course, that 20% is the future of the ACBL. A future that is dwindling. Given that the seniors are such a large majority in the tournaments, they regularly defeat motions to increase the age. Motions have been tried to increase the age by one per year until they reach 60 (which would still allow a majority of ACBL members to play in those events). They have always been soundly defeated. Of course, since "seniors" are a large majority of ACBL's members, they are invested in allowing this protected playing field.

What does this have to do with D&D and roleplaying? Tabletop roleplaying is in a similar position now, but not nearly so drastic. The players are dwindling for many reasons, MMORPGs being a notable draw away. While the roleplaying might not virtually disappear like bridge is likely to do in the next 10-15 years, it certainly can't afford to go into bridge's death spiral.

WotC is clearly the leader as the owner of the dominate RPG license. They need to do something other than just catering to the needs of the current players, who are decreasing and do something to draw another demographic to the game. It seems they are trying but are meeting resistance. They need to ignore that resistance (which doesn't mean creating a game they can't use) and try to expand the game so that most of the older players are still served, but more new players feel welcome.

The ACBL missed their chance. Bridge is considered an "old person's game" and young players avoid it just because of that perception (I know, I've tried fighting this perspective to get players for small local games). The ACBL, instead of fighting this perception, is catering to it. D&D and roleplaying can't afford to go down this path.

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Date:2007-12-30 15:01
Subject:Obesity and Poverty

Recently I saw a list of U.S. cities with the highest percentage of obese people. Most of the cities had high poverty levels as one of the contributing factors. Didn't extreme poverty use to show the opposite? How things have changed.

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Date:2007-11-05 22:17
Mood: thoughtful

Life is a series I probably would never have bothered to watch, especially this season when there were a lot of shows I wanted to watch and see how they progressed. Comcast On Demand had the first episode up as a preview so I watched it and was intrigued enough to add it to the "let's see how it develops" list.

This is probably the series that grew on me the most this season. It reminds me a lot of Denny O'Neil's The Question. Just replace the Taoist references to Zen references.

Each episode stands on its own. However, there is a slowly evolving story where the main character delves into the mystery of who framed him and had him sent to prison. Unlike other series, the side plot is steadily moving along at it's slow pace with small revelations every episode. The downside is that the series could easily disappear before the revelations bear fruit (especially with the writer's strike).

The main character does have the stereotype of finding wisdom in his prison experience. At the same time, it's clear that the experience did effect him in a negative way and he hasn't recovered. Prison affected him in an unpleasant way, and part of his coping was obviously exploring spirituality.

I hope NBC can stick with the series for a while to give it a chance to find the audience that would like the show.

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Date:2007-09-30 23:19
Subject:Met's collapse

I've seen a lot of speculation on the Met's collapse. While I may be consider biased as a Phillies fan, I saw the seeds of it when the Phillies swept them the first time this year.

When they interviewed the Mets players in the extended post-game show, the Mets would almost invariably blame the loss on anyone else. It was never that the Mets played poorly or that the Phillies outplayed them. No, they could never admit that. It was the umpires, the weather, or just pure dumb luck they lost. Only Billy Wagner ever seemed to say anything else.

It wasn't until they were swept by the Phils the second time that they started crediting the Phillies. Even then they still were pretty poor losers. LaDuca criticized the Phillies celebrating the sweep, for example.

Contrast that with the Phillies loses. While occasionally there were comments about the umpires, the weather, or the luck of the day, the Phils always accepted their role in the loss. If an umpire's bad call took away a game winning run they'd complain, but mention that those things happened and they need to play well enough to overcome them and didn't that day. They'd get them tomorrow.

The Phillies' fans have a poor reputation that is overstated, but still somewhat deserved (ask Burt Hooten). One of the Phillies today stated that the fans were a powerful force to motivate a team when they were behind them. The unstated half of that statement was when the fan weren't, it could be very tough to overcome. Some players thrived (Mike Schmidt), some didn't (Scott Rolen).

However, listening to the Mets' fans in the last few weeks and I see a sense of entitlement that even exceeds the Phillies' fans. They were very quick to place the blame. I've heard complaints about Willie Randolph, Reyes, Glavine and Wagner. Reyes is the most surprising. Clearly he is a young player who needs to mature. The Mets fans expect perfect play and attitude immediately.

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Date:2007-09-27 16:51
Subject:It should be a law

I wonder if the political friction in this country would significantly drop if we could just pass a law, and enforce it. It any political speech would disallow demonizing someone by calling them a "liberal" or "conservative" or whatever label they have.

Maybe people would discuss the issues instead of trying to create a stereotype of political behavior. It's particularly bad when political parties try to adhere to that created stereotype ("all Republicans must feel this way, or they aren't real Republicans").

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Date:2007-08-22 01:31
Subject:1 in 4 Americans haven't read a book in the past year

According to CNN one in four Americans haven't read a book in the last year. I don't find this unbelievable but I do find it sad. I don't expect everyone to read the 30-40 I read a year, but one shouldn't be such a hardship.

At my last job I worked at a warehouse with a wide range of people. In discussions about books with some of them I've found it isn't always contempt of books. Often it's lack of time. Some of them have a book or two by their bed that they want to read "when I have time." The time never comes.

I'll keep reading my books, and try to pass them on to those who I think would find them interesting. Now, though, maybe I'll push them a little harder to "find the time."

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Date:2007-07-14 05:27

Erik Mona has been posting the books he has been reading on his blog. There is a 50 book challenge that he is participating as part of some Livejournal community.

I'm pretty sure I've already hit my 50 books for the year, so I'm passing on the challenge. I'm in the middle of a couple of interesting books now, so discussing is good.

Right now I'm in the middle of both Perdido Street Station and Tros of Samothrace. You might wonder about my reading two books at once. Tros of Samothrace is quite long and I felt I needed a break. It hasn't bored me, I've been interested since about page 5. Still, I felt a need for the change of pace and fit in a few quick reads (mostly new Eberron novels).

More details on my opinions of the books later.

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Date:2007-07-12 16:54
Subject:Kobold Quarterly is out!

Just got the first issue in my email. It looks even better than I expected the first issue. If Wolfgang can swing more advertising I could see this approaching the quality of Dragon/Dungeon, at least in the PDF format.

I decided to try to print it out, even though my printer was low on black ink. I thought it was good, but it didn't last through the last 8 or so pages. Ah well, I should be able to get a new cartridge tomorrow.

Might be the last one for a while. They pushed my release date up 2 weeks and I'm out next Tuesday. There just is no work to be had in the building. In fact, I'm one of the few who has been able to keep busy. I wouldn't care, even though I don't have anything lined up yet, except that means my health insurance runs out 2 weeks earlier. Given I only have 4 weeks severance (during which health insurance continues), that's not long.

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Date:2007-06-17 04:19
Subject:Looking for work

I am about a month and a half away from my job being cut (as they are closing the entire distribution network). Now that we are given Fridays off it's time to focus even more on the job search.

Not a good time with Chrysler, Avon, etc. all closing in a short period of time. Fortunately, we are the first on the list.

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Date:2007-04-25 18:12
Subject:Accent Take Two

What American accent do you have?
Created by Xavier on Memegen.net

Mid-Atlantic. This is what everyone calls a Philadelphia accent although it's also the accent of south Jersey, Baltimore, and Wilmington. Well, everyone that lives near there, that is. Outsiders can tell you talk differently from them even though they can't tell what your accent is.

Take this quiz now - it's easy!
We're going to start with "cot" and "caught." When you say those words do they sound the same or different?

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Date:2007-03-14 00:54
Subject:Software Piracy and theft

It's getting almost impossible to get into a discussion about software piracy anymore without getting into a semantics discussion that detracts from any direction of such a discussion. Inevitably someone posts about have such actions are theft or stealing. Someone then replies that it's not theft (or stealing) because you aren't depriving someone of their property.

Who cares? No one involved in the discussion really believes that anyone is depriving someone of their property. All it does is get into a semantics discussion that isn't going to make anyone see your point of view better, or change their mind. It just makes you out to be a fussy person who argues the most inane (if accurate) points.

I wish there be a ban on semantics discussions on this subject, unless it's taking place on a legal forum where technicalities matter.

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Date:2007-02-24 19:32
Subject:Lack of gaming

I'm pretty down right now. For the second attempted session in a row I had no players show up. No one confirmed (and only one person replied they couldn't make it). Still, it would have been nice to hear that no one would be here so I could make other plans. I guess this campaign is dead. No gaming for me for a while (besides a game I'm playtesting for a company right now).

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Date:2007-01-07 23:02
Subject:Ideal published game setting
Mood: contemplative

A recent messageboard posting about TSR diluting their sales with too many settings got me to musing. I think the ideal D&D setting right now must have two things. First, it needs something that sets it apart (or some things). Second, it needs to be reasonably compatible with the standard campaign settings.

Take Eberron as an example. Right now Eberron is my setting of choice for various reasons (might be my next theme for a entry). One advantage of the setting is that I can pick up most D&D products and fit much of them in my campaign if I wish. I might need to change details and upon occasion things won't fit well at all (Hyperconscious has far too many things that make assumptions about a dreamworld that Eberron contradicts). However, very little isn't easily adaptable.

An older setting like Dark Sun, on the other hand, limits what you can use with it. Sure, I might be able to fit a lot from it into Eberron, but the opposite isn't true. For someone without a lot of time to design certain elements, that's a big disadvantage. Plug 'n play is an important consideration.

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Date:2006-12-30 02:30
Subject:New Years Resolution
Mood: Resolved

I've decided this year to make another New Year's Resolution, which is rare for me. The last time was when I resolved to avoid profanity for a year (which was very successful, even for such a minor change). This year I'm going to attempt to semi-regularly use my livejournal page on a semi-regular basis.

I've consider it, but was holding back since the only "friends" I have don't really know me. Thinking about it, that might be an advantage.

I'm not sure what I'll be posting about. I'll probably initially follow the principle of posting just to get something posted.

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