This Is Not A MMORPG Post

As the title suggests, this is not a post about MMORPGs but rather just some real life waffle. Feel free to skip it and come back tomorrow although Heaven knows why you’d want to do that. I’ve been informed by a reliable source that reading my blog, no matter the subject matter, is akin to be smothered in honey and having it slowly licked off.

What I’m Reading

She's going to poke someone's eye out with that knife

She's going to poke someone's eye out with that knife

I’m currently reading Cell by Mr Stephen King although that’s going to stop today. I’m about 2/3 of the way through and I am not enjoying it at all. It’s downright dull and predictable and I’ve not bonded with any of the characters which is a real shame. Stephen King is one of my favourite authors but his material can be really hit and miss sometimes and Cell is definitely a miss. Time to halt my misery and move on.

Instead of Cell, I’ll be starting a new book called Out by Japanese author Natsuo Kirino. It’s a dark, psychological thriller/horror about four women who work in a factory and, after one of them murders her husband, craziness ensues. What type of craziness I have no idea cause I haven’t read it yet but it all sounds very interesting.

What I’m Watching

Mad Men season 3 is currently airing on BBC Four and it’s absolutely magnificent. Mad Men is without a doubt the most enjoyable thing on TV since The Wire and I look forward to it each week like a puppy does a bone. It is bizarre though finishing an episode and realising I’ve just spent 45mins been engrossed by the exploits of a chauvinist with problems expressing his emotions and a housewife with insecurity issues.

What I’m Wearing

Right now, a grey tracksuit with a hoody that makes me look like a convict from a chain gang. Classy.

What I’m Thinking

Politics mainly. The UK just had it’s annual budget released and it’s not too bad actually although it’s provoked the usual angry response from the Right Wing about how it’s raising taxes and costs for those that can afford to pay them. To be fair, I’ve almost given up all hopes for any of the political parties here and am now filled with a mixed sense of fear and curiosity as I await the whole system to implode in on us.

I’ve also been following the health care reform bill that just passed across the pond. Seems like a good thing to me. What’s not to like about tightening up the system to help protect those that need it most? Democracy at it’s best.

Stay frosty everyone.

-Gordon

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28 Comments

  1. No! You can’t give up on Cell! It’s actually one of my favorites of King’s. I’m even teaching a Modern Horror class in the Spring semester of next year and tentatively put Cell as the sole King novel on the syllabus.

    I admit that the novel starts off slowly, but by the time the characters make their way to the university, most of the dullness crept away and it really took off. I think it’s a pretty good example of a zombie story that doesn’t focus solely on gore and violence to tell it’s story.

    If you’re already that far throuh it, you might as well power through the rest of it over the weekend and be done with it. ;) That way you can write a review for it for me to post over at my blog, tee hee.

    I loved the first season of Mad Men. I haven’t had a chance to see anything else though.

    And you should do more non-MMO blogs. They’re fun!

    • Gordon says:

      I feel pretty bad about ditching it actually so I might try to power though it. Started Out though and so far it’s far more entertaining and griping. I promised myself a few years to stop reading books that I wasn’t enjoying and I try to stick to that although it does mean I’ve got a few unfinished novels sitting on my shelf.

      If I do finish Cell, I’ll definitely do a review for you :)

  2. Chris says:

    I read through Cell and enjoyed it well enough but I agree with you on it being predictable. There’s very little originality in there; then again, I don’t think that was really the point. I read an interview around the time it came out where King explained that it was his take on the zombie apocalypse — paraphrasing, of course. Have you read Pet Sematary yet? I’m about halfway through it right now and it’s fantastic. It is by far my favorite though.

    Beej, what’s pushing you towards Cell as course material? It’s a decent book but surely there are better examples in his library that express his literary creativity moreso than that one. If it’s a matter of length, that’s another situation. From a Buick 8 and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon are weaker efforts in traditional horror, in my opinion.

    Back to the post though, do you get Netflix out your way Gordon? Over this last month I’ve gotten hooked into Lost through it when I never would have otherwise. It’s slow enough to drive me crazy waiting week to week for new episodes but being able to watch them back to back brings it into the level of wonderful.

    • Gordon says:

      I just couldn’t get into Cell for some reason. It didn’t pull me in like most of Stephen King’s work. I adored Under The Dome and Cell just pales in comparison.

      Netflix is rent by post right? Don’t think we have it but we have similar ones like LoveFilm. I tried it out a few years ago but didn’t like it cause I never got sent the films I actually wanted to see…

    • Just the zombie motif. I’m having them read World War Z, Herbert West: Reanimator and watch Night of the Living Dead (the original). One of the main themes we’ll be discussing is just what it is about people/things coming back from the dead that instills such a morbid curiosity. And Cell is King’s zombie novel.

  3. Now all we need is a 4square update from you and we can search Google for the nearest public camera and then we can confirm these notes.

  4. Usiel says:

    It’s good to finally see a common sense gamer, who makes his own thoughts about politics (social aspects, organizing living together, not political maneuvers). The aspect that people can blog endlessly about games, but share not a single thought about what goes on around them usually puzzles me. So it is good to see, that you care, but simply stay on less drama causing ground.

    But we have to work on your clothes though…

    BCC Series are hard to get, but I must admit I like their charm. At the moment “Life on Mars” dramatically increased my cardio-hours. One episode is 45 minutes long, which is exactly one training exercise.

    After Stieg Larssons Millennium trilogy, I started reading a Song of Ice and Fire, and although I never been a big Fantasy Fan, I still can’t believe that I missed it until now.

  5. Tesh says:

    “Democracy at it’s best.”

    That’s part of the problem, actually. We’re not meant to be a democracy, which ultimately devolves into mob rule and even dictatorship as the party in power grabs ever more control. We’re meant to be an intricate system of representative democracy, with checks and balances so that no one person or group gets too powerful. My concerns with the health care bill are rooted in that; it’s far too statist for my taste, spends too much money, and sets a troubling precedent in allowing for too much federal power. Health care itself is a morass of expense and stupidity (it needs reform), and it’s nice to want to help people (“can’t anyone think of the children!!1!”), but when it means giving the State as much power and money as this bill does (have you seen the riders on the bill? Crazy stuff totally unrelated to health care…), the price is too high.

    • Gordon says:

      I must confess I don’t know enough about it all to really get into that amount of depth. I can’t judge the finer points and repercussions, I just like the idea of healthcare for everyone so it seems appealing to an outsider. Makes me appreciate the NHS here in the UK a lot more for one!

      • Tesh says:

        That’s exactly why it passed. It sounded good, after all, who *doesn’t* want to help people? It’s the repercussions that will be the problem.

        • Usiel says:

          Tesh, Tesh, Tesh, stop going over Gordon, you should encourage him on his attempts in daily politic.

          But unfortunately you exposed yourself to me, a former health insurance man, who changed to B2B finance dealing with UK and USA.
          So I watch the development very closely.

          To defend Gordon, UKs health care is in a crisis, you can easily recognise that by comparing the number of hospital series in the US to those in the UK.
          So naturally, Gordon is on the side of any change regarding health care.

          While you my valued artist live in a country with an unhealty strong medical lobby.

          Germany and the US share the same level of medical quality, with the difference, that social healthcare in Germany is in force since 1890. While most health insurance companies in the US would be criminal according to European Law e.g. cancellation of contract in benefit case. Literally: kicking an diseased out of the contract.

          In both cases we must differentiate finance of the system (insurance) from medical costs itself. The later is far out of line in both countries, for similar reasons. While the former, definitely needs reformation in Germany, but the actual situation in the US is simply unbearable.

          But I understand your point, the bill has been compromised to far and will just increase the financial dilemma, without solving it. The usual product of politic compromises.

          Nevertheless, Gordon is right, taking a step closer to social health is the right thing, it just won’t solve your problems either.

          What do you think Gordon? We should resurrect the Iron Lady to the US, shouldn’t we?

          Peace Cake for everyone! … and beer …

          • Tesh says:

            Oh, the system is most definitely broken. It’s the bill I have problems with, not the notion of fixing the system. I’m all for fixing the unholy insurance mess and instigating tort reform.

            It’s just that it’s all too easy to leverage the altruistic desire to make health care better and turn it into a statist monster with all sorts of junk as riders in the bill. Most congresscritters signed the bill without even reading it, and the Speaker of the House said we had to pass it *to find out what’s in it*. That’s a terrible precedent. Not to mention the insane partisanship that made it so contentous.

            Yes, it’s democracy, but that’s not a good thing.

            Fixing a broken health care system? Sure, let’s do that. Do it by giving Big Brother more power and squeezing in more stuff that doesn’t relate to health care? (Like the government takeover of student loans…) Bad idea.

            But, but, “let’s think of the children and the sick people!!!” is such a convenient way to villainize those like me who have real problems with things in the bill that *aren’t* about good health care reform. (And the parts that are meant to help people may not even wind up doing that, thanks to unintended consequences.)

            Sometimes, the cost of progress is much higher than it seems, and if we’re willing to allow all sorts of abuses to get the stuff we want, well…

            “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
            ~Benjamin Franklin

          • Tesh says:

            In other words, we can’t and shouldn’t turn to the Government to fix everything. That just makes us dependent on the largesse of the State, and that’s always a dangerous imbalance of power.

            • Gordon says:

              The problem is that private companies are just as dangerous because they tend to focus on short term gain and ignore the long term side affects. It happened with the banking system when they knowingly gave out mortgages to people who couldn’t afford them in order to make a profit selling on securities. This led to an artifical increase in house prices and then a huge crash when people started defaulting on their payments. It’s a good example of why we need some sort of altruistic government to monitor and control these systems.

              • Usiel says:

                The main problem has always been control, that’s true.

                Appropriate ways of regulation are already in place, the problem is, that they do not work if everyone takes his profit from them.

                The supervisory boards, which actually should prevent the board from ruinous concepts, are filled with politicians, union members and even employees who consider their function as a way of improving their income.
                And even we get corrupted, either by high interest rates or annual benefits.

                Look at Greece, they all profited from their bad political system, but now the citizens pay the dept. Sure, they could have forced their government into a stable economy. But honestly in most cases we have enough to deal with ourselves, who really takes his time working against economical or political grievance?

                Take us for example, having endless discussions about what’s wrong these days, but not doing anything against it.

                But maybe we are doing the right things quietly, buying from the right one, working for the good ones, helping …. who knows.

                • Gordon says:

                  I guess the ultimate problem is that neither system works because human beings are either too greedy or too corruptible :(

          • Gordon says:

            I don’t know enough about all of the details, especially concerning other countries health systems. I am just very glad that medical health care is not something most Brits need to worry about though. If you’re sick, you get treated. I guess I’m an advocate of universal health care without insurance at all. Maybe it’s just a dream but we live in 21st century, why shouldn’t everyone be entitled to good health care without having to worry about money?

            • Tesh says:

              Yeah, I can’t stand insurance, and businesses can be abusive. Thing is, I don’t trust *any* government to be altruistic, and even if the people in power at one time are, once they get structures in place that can be abused, it’s hard to dismantle those structures once someone less altruistic get in power. Power does funny things to people, and Big Brother nanny states that take it on themselves to control as much as they can are flirting with disaster, even if they are doing it “for the right reasons”… as defined by someone, somewhere.

              • Tesh says:

                Though I’ll readily concede that if government were always run by perfectly virtuous, altruistic people, I’d be comfortable letting them run a few things. I don’t think we’ll ever get that, though, and I don’t trust those in power *not* to abuse it at some point.

                That’s the whole point of checks and balances built into our Constitution. When we give up those necessary limitations on the power of the State, we open the doors for Big Brother fascism and even dictatorship. Each piece of power we give up, absolving ourselves of personal responsibility, is one more step into troubled waters. (Notably, the “welfare state” is dangerous also for killing personal responsibility and accountability. It tends to lead to State-sponsored theft, as those who grow to depend on the State forget to stand on their own, and rely on other people’s work via taxes.)

                It’s not even about parties, it’s about the core structure of why we have a Constitutional limited government.

                Absolutely, health care costs are stupid and the structures are broken. Making the State more powerful isn’t the answer.

                • Gordon says:

                  I’d still argue that the State should be in control of health as they’re far more likely to have an interest in seeing it’s population healthy. When insurance companies are put in charge of the health and wellbeing of the population they’re going to do everything possible to exploit the situation for their own profit and gain. After all, if they can refuse cover to people to those that need it the most (and would cost them the most), what do they care about our health so long as the bucks flow in?

                  I know the argument for capitalism is that the will of the people (through who they decided to spend with) will force companies to behave and provide good service in a competitive manner but unfortunately this idealogy doesn’t consider the fact that these companies end up making backroom deals with each other in order to maximise profit.

              • Gordon says:

                I guess I trust governments more than I do businesses… although not by much. Kinda depressing really :(

                • Tesh says:

                  It’s not that I trust businesses, it’s that they are more predictable. They operate for profit, period. A government isn’t nearly as obvious. You can plan around what a business will do… not so much a capricious government with so many moving parts and embedded interests.

                  When the two get in bed, well… ruh-roh, Shaggy. (Take that as you will…) That’s why I don’t like government control over a service industry. It’s the worst of both worlds.

                • Usiel says:

                  Some of the finest mutual companies are in the UK.
                  These are non-profit companies were the shareholder is the customer and you become a member just by buying a policy.
                  Profit flows back to the customer.
                  It’s the classic win-win model, the customer get’s quality at a low price, while the company offers well paid jobs with social benifits to it’s employees.

                  For exact those reasons, they are not common in the US.

                  Unfortunately they are not that common in the US.

  6. Cupp221 says:

    “…Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.”

    - Sir Winston Churchill

    That just about hits the nail on the head methinks.

  7. Mojeaux says:

    If the health reform were actually reform it might be something worth celebrating. They are robbing Peter to pay Paul. Here is the most glaring example of it:

    Early in the debate there was talk coming from the republican side saying that “Obama wanted to off Grandma…”, and of course the democrats said it was all a bunch of “hooey” and scare tactics being spouted by the evil republicans.

    Well, while it may not show up in the actual language of the bill, it sure seems to me that the republicans were right to a point. I mean, when you cut Medicare/Medic-aid, which is what most seniors rely on for medical care, to finance the new “reform”, aren’t you just taking away resources from the seniors and telling them, “Oh well, we don’t have the money to treat you, because we put it into a new program to treat younger patients…”. How is that going to sit with some old codger who has cancer? That’s like a death sentence….

  8. Gordon says:

    I actually like John Lewis a lot because of their policies and employee stockholding/profit sharing schemes. They seem somewhat more… honourable than most other companies :)

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