Thursday, May 29, 2014

Steak Taco Night

Salsa Verde ingredients:
chopped onion
chopped cilantro
2 cups water
minced serrano pepper
minced garlic
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin

Combine all ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover.

Beans and Corn ingredients:
chopped onion
chopped bell peppers
black beans, cooked until soft and rinsed
frozen corn, thawed
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp paprika
2 minced serrano peppers
1 lime, quartered

After tomatillos have simmered 10-15 minutes (until soft), puree the tomatillos with water in batches.

Saute the onions until they start to turn clear, then add peppers and spices and saute until peppers start to soften.

Add remaining ingredients and simmer 20-30 minutes. I like to squeeze the lime wedges over the pan and put the wedges in, cause I really like lime.

Toast corn tortillas in a dry pan.

Slice another lime, and combined with the meat I prepared yesterday (no pictures, sorry) and the rest of the cilantro, I have steak tacos with salsa verde.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Priorities vs Values

  Shortly before I was promoted to Sergeant while in the Army, I was told many things to prepare me, but one thing that was especially reiterated over and over was the Sergeant's Motto: "Mission First, Soldiers Always". It was also strongly stated that the two never contradicted each other. Never would any NCO ever have to decide between accomplishing a mission or valuing their soldiers.

  This took time for me to understand. I don't take well to arguments from authority, so I just had to see for myself. Over the four years I was a Sergeant, I never had to choose, and neither did I ever see, or even hear about any other NCO having to choose. That's just me and my observation, though. How, then, can I really know it's true?

  The difference in the wording. The mission comes first, i.e. it is prioritized. Soldiers are always cared for, i.e. they are valued. There is an important distinction between a priority and a value, and I've found it best to explain through illustration.

  Consider all the things you might do before walking out the front door to go to work in the morning: Eating breakfast, showering, shaving, brushing teeth, checking e-mail, etc. These are priorities. If you are running a bit late, you start to skip some items, because being on time for work is prioritized over checking e-mail or eating breakfast. However, there is one thing we all do before walking out the front door every morning: We put clothes on. We value modesty. Values don't get set aside when priorities are reassessed.

  There are many applications for this distinction, in all walks of life. Valuing employees is a natural reapplication. Valuing principles is another. Many companies have mission statements and core values of their own. Many I've seen are amalgamations of trendy buzz-words and catch-phrases. Not all are, however.

  Blizzard's core values are:
  • Gameplay First
  • Commitment to Quality
  • Play Nice, Play Fair
  • Embrace Your Inner Geek
  • Every Voice Matters
  • Think Globally
  • Lead Responsibly
  • Learn and Grow
  I observe that it's not a numbered list. They are, I strongly suspect, mutually supporting. One is not above any other. Gameplay First " make our games as fun as possible for as many people as we can reach" is supported by Every Voice Matters "Great ideas can come from anywhere."

  I say all this to show that Blizzard already cares about diversity. Perhaps it isn't obvious to those who walk the fun house mirror maze of "Social Justice", but to those who seek out real diversity, i.e difference of opinion or experience, Blizzard has that in great supply. There's certainly ways in which they can improve (Learn and Grow), but my point is that the company is on the right track. Each misstep along the way can be blown way out of proportion by professional umbrage takers, but if the majority of voices are rational, honest expressions, rather than fits of self-righteous indignation, the dialogue can be constructive and everyone gains. The community and the company both can grow bigger and better, and the game can improve. We are already going in the right direction.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Why I don't listen to just anyone.

  Following up to my last post, I think that some people are just not worth listening to. Quite simply, some people are trolls. I'll give two examples:

1. MikePreachWoW

  I've already had my say concerning his video Accessibility and Apathy, but since some people reference his guides, particularly new players, I really tried to take him seriously again. I watched The Legendary Dilemma,  The first 5 minutes are a rambling rehash of the past legendaries. Seriously, it takes him 5 minutes to get to his point, where he simply asserts that legendaries just should be weapons, and that he doesn't think the legendary questline in MoP was epic enough. Too much grind, not enough specialness.

  But maybe that's just a jaded opinion of someone who doesn't want to keep up with changes to the zeitgeist. Instead, let's look at video on a subject I'm more familiar with: What's the Best Tank in MoP?

 It's assumed, in reference to active mitigation, that a good tank really makes a difference. Then the question is posed: Does a bad tank make enough of a difference? He makes the caveat that he's not currently tanking endgame content while also saying how he does his homework, does his research, etc. Keep that in mind as I quote him a few times here:

  "Threat is just no longer a component of tanking."

  Well, that's just not true. First off, he seems to be unaware that "Paladin's snap aggro is garbage." However, it has been removed as an issue a great deal, so I'll still see the point. Threat has been removed as far as it has been from the game because threat sucks. It's just not worth the downsides, and the "fixes" to vengeance in MoP have made it worse in some ways, particularly in dealing with taunt swaps. But Preach doesn't know this, apparently. This is a hotly debated issue between tanks, but it gets dismissed.

  "Bad players aren't that much worse than a good player"

  This is said in reference to someone gemming for stamina and/or avoidance. This is likely presuming that player then at least continues to execute their rotation decently. I would argue that Preach's definition of a "bad player" is exactly the pseudo-elitist bullshit that infects commentary on these subjects, spreading to other jaded souls who also don't bother to crunch the numbers for themselves or test their "hypothesis." A bad player stand in bad, misses GCDs, does not use cooldowns properly, etc. A good player "gemmed wrong" will far outperform a truly bad player. This is as it should be. All this aside, just how can a bad player not be that much worse than a good player, if a good tank really makes a difference? Preach isn't being consistent here.

  Preach then references the math done by Theck, saying he likes to "read the math, then translate into what I think is the answer for you guys." Nearly in the same breath he says "I'll do the research, I'll do the homework, I'll go and read what's going on out there...." Excuse me, but no. Theck does the research and homework, and already translates what he finds, which you can read for yourself in the sections of his articles usually titled "Summary" or "Conclusions."

  This is where he loses me, about 9 minutes in to a 48 minute video. Preach is bringing nothing new to the table, merely reposting information he does not understand or even have the context for and drawing false conclusions that seems to coincide with the average trade chat of "dumbing down the game." He is a troll. People like him are best ignored.

  2. Anita Sarkeesian, a.k.a. FeministFrequency

  Sarkeesian argues that tropes in video games are harmful to women, e.g. Damsel in Distress. By all means, I suggest anyone see the first one, at least. Then I recommend one of at least three things.

  1) If you laugh, laugh with me and let's move on.

  2) If you are in agreement with her points, we'll have to agree to disagree, at best.

  3) If you are unsure what to think, try watching a few response videos, like:
    Feminism vs Facts (RE Damsel in Distress) by Thunderfoot
    Female Game Developer's Response to Tropes vs Women by Doll Divine Dress Up Games
    Female Objectification in Video Games? Anita Sarkeesian vs Gamers by Cheshire Cat Studios
    Sexism and Stereotypes in Video Games? by KiteTales
    Anita and the White Knights by Internet Aristocrat
    Anita Sarkeesian Part 1: The College Graduate and Part 2: Burqa Beach Party by

  Decide for yourself.

  Bottom line, Anita Sarkeesian is not a gamer, is not a feminist, and is not even arguing her points intelligently despite her academic experience. I assume she's trolling. It's also possible she's a con artist. Either way, people like her are best ignored.

  And that's all I have to say about that.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Why I'm ok with listening to people I disagree with sometimes.

I like Big Bear Butt. He loves games, has a cool cub that games with him, has a military background, and rants occasionally. We have things in common.

I recently started on Twitter, however many years late into the "thing." I'm usually late for these "things." So far I've found many, many people on Twitter say things that I don't like. Sometimes I think they're wrong. Sometimes I'm just plain offended. Here's and example where I think someone is wrong:

I read this because it was linked on BBB's twitter, with the reply: "hell, I felt like you were speaking for me too on the whole not really a geek bullshit, brilliantly written"

First off, I can't stand these stupid arguments! Ok, you, Christina Gleason, you are not a fake geek girl. All the people, guys and girls both, who call you such, they're being assholes and ignorant. On this we agree.

Here's where we don't: "No one has the right to call me or anyone else a fake geek girl." Yes! Yes they do. And yes, this is a censorship argument. Gleason is giving yet another variation of "Shut the fuck up!" However, her guilt tripping doesn't work on everyone, because some of us aren't simply being assholes. Some of us have thought it through and decided that fake geek girls do indeed exist. Mostly in marketing.

And they are free to be fake, just as I'm free to call them fake, and Gleason is free to call me an asshole and lump me in with the assholes calling her fake.

Quite frankly, I'm offended when people feel entitled to not be exposed to being called stupid names. I was in nearly complete agreement with this article, right up until "No one has the right..."

Grow the fuck up, Gleason.

That's just the thing, though. I can see this "thing" that someone else likes, and even empathizes with, I see it, disagree with it, and that's just fine. BBB is not ignorant, demonstrably so, neither his he an asshole. Well, not to much of an asshole, and usually is so productively. So I keep following his tweets and reading his blog.

I say this because certain people now boast about how many people they've blocked on whatever "thing", twitter or tumblr or whatever. Even worse, they condemn any other people who do enjoy the work of the "others" that they themselves object to. It's not just polarizing. It's childish.

I've recently been told I'm a rape apologist for reading Penny Arcade. Really? I just like to read the strip, and occasionally the news. I was completely unaware that this blew up into this.

I was driven out of <Taint> by the same sort of "Social Justice Warriors", as I've learned they're called, by themselves with pride and by others with dripping sarcasm. All I said and only when directly asked, was that I'm not interested in Feminism. No, I'm just not a Feminist. No, I don't hate women, I just don't like Feminism. Then the shitstorm was unleashed. I left because the powers that be in that place do not tolerate even the slightest disagreement where it concerns that particular philosophy.

However, I've never been called an asshole for calling people "fake geek girls" or "fake gamer girls" or whatever. It's not because I don't think they exist. It's because I don't really care enough in the first place to vocalize these opinions (usually, irony detected). People just haven't had the opportunity before now to call me an asshole in this regard. It's a issue where I'd usually rather be safe than sorry, actually. If I don't call someone fake and they are, well, no one cares, least of all me. If I do call someone fake and they aren't, then I'm the asshole.

Even so, I'm not going to block anyone, because I'm grown up enough to let people say things I disagree with, maybe even offended by, and I'll still listen. Who knows? Maybe I'm wrong, and I'm the asshole.

All I'm really offended by, when I take a moment to think, is stupidity and dishonesty. Here's what's stupid about the post in question: "What does that even mean, fake geek girl? This term gets thrown around by pimply adolescents and man-boys alike. (Because if you feel the need to put down a woman for not fitting your mental Ramona Flowers fantasy, you are not a grown man.)" That's the opening salvo of the article. Two ad hominems sandwiching a straw man. Personal attacks are stupid and straw men are dishonest characterizations. I stuck through it, though, looking for the redeeming value, and found some. Just because the first lines are fallacies doesn't mean the argument is wrong. That would be a Fallacy Fallacy. The redeeming value I did find was that, yeah, some people are assholes and need to understand that There's no gate and you're not the gatekeeper. (Did you catch the straw man? Eh? Get it?)

All this, just to say, I don't put my hands over my ears and scream "Shut the fuck up!" I just hope more people than it seems like do the same.

I still like Big Bear Butt. He loves games, has a cool cub that games with him, has a military background, and rants occasionally. We have things in common.