Just in case there's anyone else interested 
2006.12.19 16:45 - Philosophy and Religion
December 25th was probably chosen as the date of Christ's birth for reasons that have nothing to do with pagan celebrations around the same time on the calendar.

I already passed that one on to a couple people last week, but it seems to be worthy of broader distribution. (I stole the link from a post by Ramesh Ponnuru over at The Corner, so I doubt I can broaden distribution by very much. However! I'm fairly certain that the set of my readers is far from wholly contained in the set of people who read National Review's website.)

Merry Christmas!
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From the Terrible Idea Brigade 
2006.12.19 16:35 - Books, Movies
Slashdot is maundering about a webmaster being sued for his domain name by MGM.

MGM wants the domain so they can promote War Games 2: The Dead Code, in which a kid hacks into an unspecified defense computer system used for terror simulations and teaches us that a war on terrorism is unwinnable, ultimately ensuring destruction for all sides. In the process, he'll break into a DoD facility, and play tic-tac-toe with an improbably extant AI, all while winnig the requisite hot babe.

Somewhere in the middle of this, I'll probably throw up, but don't let that stop you going to see what will, undoubtedly, be a fine and original movie capable of standing on its own merits, and not at all a boring, trite, and obnoxious bit of propaganda trading on a better movie (which was also propagandic, but at least it was entertaining).

Actually, who knows? Maybe it'll be a good movie. I mean, statistically speaking, there have to be at least a few of those next year.
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Coming up on a deadline at work 
2006.12.14 12:08 - Entertainment, Microcode, Miscellanea, Site/Meta
I have some code that's due on Monday, plus maybe a bit more later that week (details forthcoming?). Busy at work, and the normal workday only gives me a few uninterrupted hours to actually get anything much done. On the upside, I just need to test it before I call it done right now. Woo!

Haven't finished FFXII yet: nights lately have been spent in Guild Wars, where I have finally gotten my primary character through Ascension[0] in the Prophecies campaign. So lonely in Guild Wars. Good thing, then, that Heroes[1] have let me proceed this far without having to take on help from random players more than once. (Yes, I am leery of attempting cooperation with unknown players. Too much time in FPS land, perhaps.)

While doing that, I've been rifling through monsters' pockets for elite skills[2]. The bosses in the missions in the Crystal Desert each have one, though, and there's one elite skill for each class of boss in the area. As it turns out, one of the mission has a boss of each class type, so I guess I'm going to spend some time capturing the four I don't have yet (having already grabbed the ones for my primary and secondary classes before completing all of the Ascension missions).

I'm going to try to spend some time in FFXII this weekend, though. Made it to Archades, got me a Sandalwood Chop, but haven't actually taken the taxi, yet.

In news not related to my being a gigantic dork, I went to a housewarming party last weekend.

Footnotes
0. Ascended characters can change secondary classes. At-will, now, since changes to the game system allow class changes at any town or outpost. I have, in fact, completed the Ascension mission in Nightfall, but it doesn't provide the option for un-Ascended characters from other campaigns. I'll still need to poke around to see what's required to open up the Nightfall and Factions classes to my character.
1. Guild Wars lets you pick up computer-controlled hencmen at every town, mission, and outpost in the game to fill out your party. Henchmen are pretty stupid, even with the AI upgrades that came with the Nightfall release. Henchmonks, in particular, are dumb as bricks. Heroes are sort of like super-henchmen, with better AI, and some control over their weapons, skills, attributes, and general behavior. You can only take along three per real person, though, and they're still inferior to a decent player.
2. Elite skills are 'better' than normal skills. I guess. (The ones I have are pretty swank, but they're not that awesome.) You can have one in your skill bar at any time, but no more than that, except in a couple of special circumstances. Elite skills have to be captured from bosses/named mobs, though, and yield a large chunk of experience in the process.
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The Terrible Tyranny of Gaming 
2006.11.27 15:05 - Entertainment, Microcode, Miscellanea
I bought Final Fantasy XII on launch day (Oct 31), had cracked it open that night, was ten hours in by the end of the week.

I am now ninety hours in, and barely progressing the story (I think I was around 50% through the story at 40 hours, and I might be at 55-60% now: have been to Mt. Bur-Omisace and am on my way through the Salikawood). I actually still enjoy poking around and grinding out levels and licenses, tracking down marks and so forth. My characters are all a stunningly low level 40, but I've got nearly the entire license board filled out (less the espers, some quickenings, and the 55+LP licenses on the armor and weapons section).

I still have a handful of hunts open, so I'll probably finish those I can get to before proceeding further with the story. Maybe I can be done with the game by the end of the year.
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Dang. 
2006.11.16 13:15 - News and Politics
Seems that Milton Friedman has died. That seems a shame, though at 94, I suppose it is not so great a surprise.
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