atomic_fungus (atomic_fungus) wrote,
atomic_fungus
atomic_fungus

#6084: All I could come up with was a lame pun, so never mind

Diseases can evade the immune system by hiding in testicles. Isn't that a hoot?

Have to wonder if the same is true for ovaries.

* * *

THIS.
Somewhere over the last few days a wise person wrote that "if only the rich and powerful could grasp the notion that the rest of the citizenry does not envy them," does not wish to live in their mansions, to drive their cars, or to send their children to the prestigious private schools to which they send their children. If our wealthy elites could get over their superiority complex and accept that most of us do not envy them, they might be better citizens, more respectful of the rest of us, better leaders. Illustrious schools may give those children of the rich and powerful a leg up but they do not guarantee happiness, kindness to others, or generosity of spirit. Their inherited wealth does not guarantee they will be good spouses or parents. It is more likely that the children of the very rich often lack the character of their ancestors who actually worked very hard to make the money on which they live so well today.
Exactly. Exactly.

Every day I drive through a neighborhood full of mansions. I'm talking big houses, often with multiple garages in back with circular driveways in front. The first floor of these houses would fit two of the bunker in them, easily, and they're 3 stories high. And I look at them and think, "What's the point?"

What is the point to owning a house like that? Personal example: my brother's sister-in-law married a guy who is a lobbyist here in IL. Shortly after they were married, they moved into a house like one of those, a place with forty rooms. A mansion. (Not in the area I drive through. Further north.)

Oh, I know what the answer is, and it's stupid. He needs to have the big house for political reasons, as evidence that he's big and powerful and successful, because his clients pay him to convince legislators to vote their way. It's ostentation, pure and simple--a status symbol. This man, a member of the elite, owns that house because he needs to show other members of the elite that he's one of them. So he can throw huge parties, like the Christmas party I was once invited to at that address (and demurred, because I like Christmas to be fun, and hobnobbing with 120 people I don't know is not my idea of fun).

And that's it.

There's no other purpose to it. Certainly it's not necessary to house his family (him, his wife, two kids) and the costs of owning such a property must be outrageous. What does it cost to air condition a 40-room house?

It's nothing but vanity and veneer. It's not worth anything, not anything that matters; sure, you live comfortably, but when it's time for you to be put in the ground, what does it get you?

I don't know. Something happened to me along the way; when I was a kid I dreamed about having a big house and fancy cars and the other things we're all supposed to want, you know, but as I got older I stopped caring about that. Oh, I never expected to be wealthy, but adolescent fantasies are what they are, and ultimately they're harmless...but as I grew up I guess I came to understand that all those things, they're just ephemeral nonsense. Someday we must meet our maker, and He doesn't care how your portfolio performed last quarter, if you know what I mean. He cares about other things...and those, ultimately, are the things which really matter.

And so I look at these big houses--one of them even has crenellations and windows designed to look like those of a castle--and I shake my head sadly. Not because I'll never own a house like that, but because ultimately they're really only monuments to ego.

* * *

...and the regular houses in the neighborhood, almost without fail they're all for sale. All of them. Probably because the mansions in the neighborhood have raised property values so much that the ordinary people can no longer afford to live there because of the stinkinous-high property taxes.

* * *

Talk about bringing a gnat to a gun fight.

Tower of intellect Jay Z said, of Trump--I believe of Trump's alleged "shithole" comment, "It is disappointing and it's hurtful. It really is hurtful, more than so...everyone feels anger but after the anger, it's real hurtful."

Um. Righto, chum. Perfect. Let's put that on the Democrat bumper stickers for 2020, shall we? "TRUMP: HE'S REAL HURTFUL".

Tell you what, dude: you stick to the craptastic, synopated doggeral you spew and let the adults deal with the larger issues, okay?

* * *

The answer, of course, is that the Democrats simply don't have enough money to make their policies work. If they could only raise all taxes to 90% then they might have enough money to fund everything to a functional level. But because people are such beknighted idiots, selfish Jesus-loving rednecks, this is what you get.

* * *

I had an idea like this recently. My idea requires a different kind of technical wizardry, though.

See: the C-1541 Disk Drive is an intelligent peripheral. Unlike most floppy drives of the day, instead of having a seperate contol board that plugged into the computer's motherboard, the 1541 was entirely self-contained, and the only connected needed between it and the computer was a serial connection.

Interestingly enough, that's how we do things now, too. A modern SATA hard drive has an integrated controller which is essentially a computer, and the CPU of your system communicates with that sub-computer via serial cable. And external USB drives are the same thing. Commodore was ahead of the curve on that one.

Anyway, the 1541 is a self-contained unit, with a processor, ROM, and memory, and it has a serial bus to communicate with the outside world. It occurred to me that anyone who had reasonably good 6502 assembly programming chops could write an OS for the thing that would turn it into a computer.

Granted, you would have to build an interface to convert the Commodore Serial Bus to RS-232, and then connect that to a terminal, and you'd have to burn your own EPROM to contain that OS--still, the 1541 has everything you need, albeit not much, not even by 1980s standards (2K of RAM, for example) but it could be done.

Useful? No, not really. But a cute project, if that's your thing. It's not mine; I stink at assembly coding.

* * *

Watched a runthrough of Ultima V which took 36 minutes. Most of the time spent was on getting the three shards (Cowardice, Hatred, and Falsehood) which you need to defeat the three Shadowlords. Otherwise the guy basically took a bunch of first-level characters into the final dungeon, walked away or tricked his way out of fighting monsters, and bam-bam-bam won the game.

It helps to know where all the useful free stuff is, and to know the solution of the game. Most of the time you spend playing the game is amassing what you need to win it, and that takes gold, which you get by killing monsters.

I never knew that you could leave combat without penalty. The game strongly implies that you need to defeat monsters--that you are penalized for not doing so--but in fact nothing happens to you if you leave a combat. Interesting.

U5 was one of five of those games that I beat. I beat U2 and U3 with help from friends; I beat U5 and U6 with the help of cluebooks; and I beat U9. The others?

U1--that happened at a time when I had a lot on my plate, so it fell by the wayside. U4 was too much of a slog and I lost interest long before completing it, because you had to become a paragon; this game, "Quest of the Avatar", was all about these eight virtues, and I simply could not figure out how to get a couple of them high enough to win the game. And once you raised all of your eight virtures to their pinnacle you still had a multi-hour slog through the final dungeon, and if you made a single mistake--start over. When U5 came out, it was a good, compact game by comparison, and I really enjoyed it.

U6--I forgot all about U6, but I recall winning it, and it was also pretty good.

U7 was a buggy nightmare. First off, it would only barely run on my CGA NEC MultiSync; on the C-64 it wasn't all that good, but while the DOS version would run on an XT, it required a 286, and a 386 with VGA was ideal.

But when I was finally able to play it, I found it entertaining enough, and was enjoying it, until one day I fired it up and went to play and found that half my inventory was missing.

There was a problem with the game, Origin tech support said, that caused that to happen sometimes. Their remedy was to send me a floppy with a "supercharacter" on it, who had everything needed to win the game, with all flags set so you could just go to the endgame and do it--but I had been interested in the story, and lost interest in playing when I realized I couldn't just pick up where I'd left off.

U7 was split into two parts, and the second part--Serpent Isle--didn't end up being any better. As I recall I ran into something I couldn't get past, and gave up in frustration because again--at the time--I had a lot on my plate.

U8 I got later on, after its release. I think I was living in Iowa before I got Pagan; I can't remember--but what I do remember is, again, running into something that I simply couldn't get past. In this case it was a quest where the Avatar had to do something, then jump off a cliff. I got sick and tired of dying over and over and over again, and gave up.

U9, the last one--it had its faults but at least it didn't screw up my savegame or cause other problems, and I won it.

One of the things I liked about the Ultima series was the music. I'm a bit annoyed that I can't get the music for U9; I bought the big "collector's edition" when it came out but the included soundtrack disk didn't include all the music, and naturally the song from the game that I liked best is not on it. And since it was programmed before MP3 was really a thing, the music isn't stored in any kind of usable format. Someone wrote a DOS utility to extract the music from the game, but the output of that program is full of noise.

...so it was neat to see U5 won in about half an hour.

* * *

Today is Sunday. I've got a couple of chores, but I'm not going to do them right this instant.
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