First and foremost, the reason that I've been neglecting the site - and everything else, for that matter - for these last few months is that I've been working on a mod for a little game called Final Fantasy VI. Perhaps you've heard of it. It's pretty much my Morrowind mod all over again, except with more evil clowns. If you're interested, you should totally email me.
With that out of the way, let's move on to the actual subject of this post. This story will either amuse you or make you think that I'm the world's biggest asshole (possibly both), and I feel it's important to preface it with two statements. First, I don't think that those "Save the Children" charities really ever manage to accomplish much of anything. Altruistic as their motives may be, and setting aside the fact that you'd be hard-pressed to find a charity that doesn't spend most of its income on overhead, attempting to un-third-world a third-world country is an exersize in futility if I've ever seen one. Second, and more importantly, I truly believe that the most any one man can do to change the world is to encourage others to change - even if those others are morally-bankrupt douchebags who never will.
Several days ago, I was woken up in the middle of the day (for I work overnights, you see) by a group of moderately attractive young women knocking on my door and asking for donations to a charity group whose most notable function is thrusting images of starving Ethiopian children into the entertainment wasteland that is 3 A.M. television (again, overnights) whilst a crusty old asshole besets you with a disapproving scowl and does his best to make you feel guilty for having food. Being highly vulnerable in my sleep-deprived, zombie-like state, I agreed to a small monthly donation in exchange for not having to describe why it is that I'm a greedy, selfish prick. While I felt taken advantage of, I couldn't really feel angry about at least *attempting* to do some good with my money. So, I let it go.
Two days later, on my way home from work, an officer of the law stepped out into road directly in front of my truck and pointed at the curb, which is the universally-accepted gesture for "I will be taking your money now". It's no big secret that traffic laws make me rage like a sonofabitch, and I've already said my piece on school zones in particular in an earlier post, so I'll refrain from repeating myself here. Life isn't fair, and I'm well aware of that fact. However, I'm also well aware that it means that I am in no way obligated to *play* fair.
It wasn't until the next day that I realized I'd been given a rare opporunity with these seemingly-unrelated events. I contacted the chairty from the previous day and cancelled my contribution, citing my reasons as an "unexpected expense" courtesy of the City of Houston that left me unable to afford any donations. This left me in more or less the same financial situation I'd been in before, but had the added effect of forcing the City of Houston steal from charity.
The challenge I now pose to whatever rich, white asshole "represents" my views within Houston's political structure is to consider the decision which I have now placed in your hands. Do you take the extra X dollars in the city budget that you have only because I forgot to take my usual route back home and spend it on a shiny new radar gun? Or do you use it to feed starving children in Africa? Hell, they don't even have to be African children - I'm sure that there's plenty of starving children right here in Houston just as I'm sure that they won't be seeing a single cent of the money that was taken from me unless enough of the right people read this post and use it to shame the government into doing something useful for a change. The biggest irony here, of course, is that the stated purpose of school zones are to keep children safe - I suppose that doesn't mean anything about letting 'em starve.
Now, is this an incredibly dickish means to a somewhat-desirable end? Yes, it is. Is petty revenge a large contributing factor in why I've decided to do this? Yes, it is. But doing the right thing for the wrong reasons is still doing the right thing, you see. The only remaining point of contention is whether or not you think that I am doing the right thing. And if you don't, then you're basically saying that radar guns are a more productive use of money than feeding starving kids is. And that makes you a douchebag.
And I don't like douchebags.
For the fortunate few who have never heard of a website called TVTropes, stay the hell away from it. It will strip away your soul and suck up what little of a life anybody who visits my site probably has left. For the rest of you, I'm quite honored to announce that a reader has taken the time to set up a page there for A Customer Draws Near!. Seeing it makes me happy in the areas of my body that are generally only affected by Swedish redheads. I regret not posting this sooner, as I got the news of it several weeks ago, but I've been quite busy sitting on my ass and basically neglecting this site that I swore I was going to start updating more regularly. To mark the occasion, I've put back up a few episodes of ACDN and will make another possibly empty promise to keep on it in the future.
To venture on to another topic, I have come to the realization that today is what you humans refer to as a "holiday" in which work is forgone in favor of celebration of one of the seven deadly sins which plague mankind. This "Labor Day", which seems to exist solely because people just don't feel like going to work, honors the sin of sloth. To profess that I'm not just as guilty of it - if not more - than the general populace would be a filthy lie. But on the other hand, I don't feel the need to set aside an entire day to commemorate something that's already very much a part of my everyday life. Well, perhaps that's not entirely true, either.
From this point forward, I hereby declare that September 05 be officially recognized as "Swedish Redhead Day".
As I spend my day in the ass-end middle of nowhere (AKA "Baytown, Texas"), I reflect on an event that occured during my exodus out to this festering wasteland. Some imbecile on a motorcycle who had been riding my blind spot decided that he really, really wanted to merge into the same lane that I was at that very moment attempting to merge into. So, of course, when he pulls away at the last moment to avoid painting the road with his entrails, he looks at me as if I'm some sort of a total asshole. I am, but that's not really the point.
I seem to be amongst an unfortunate minority in this country that believes that when a large object and a small object both occupy the same roadspace, it is the responsibility of the smaller object to ensure that it isn't squished by the larger one. The reasons for this should be logical enough, if not painfully obvious. A simple sense of self-preservation should be enough to point out that the smaller object is the one that stands to lose more from the altercation, and it thus should have a much greater interest in avoiding one. An unlucky pedestrian will, at best, walk away with some pretty nasty bruises. All I'm out, on the other hand, is the cost of having hobo guts cleaned out of the front grill of my truck - which, to be fair, can be a bit pricey depending on where you go.
The basic fact of life that I descirbe above is something I've understood for roughly as long as I've been alive. It's for this reason that the very idea of "school zones" irks me so. Why must my vehicle slow to the pace of Oprah attempting to do a situp whenever I'm within a mile radius of any educational facility just because exceeding it presents the illusion that I "don't care" about children? I don't, but that's not really the point. The point is that, by the time I was old enough to be sent to school, I understood that it's generally a bad idea to play in traffic. Crossing guards were equally confounding to me, as well, since I didn't (and to this day still don't) see how my safe crossing of a street should in any way require my accompaniment by a sassy, fat, black lady who's dressed like a road flare and weilding a stop sign with a more overblown sense of self-authority than Sylvester Stallone in Judge Dredd.
Anyway, I'm still working on putting stuff back up on the site. Everything is back up and working in at least some form or fucntion, so from here on out it's just content. As always, if you or someone you know is a Swedish redhead (or, hell, just a single white female) living in or near the Houston area, my email address is at the bottom of this page.
I've recently started up again what has become sort of an annual tradition of mine, which is to torrent out my collection of video game music covers. It's a massive collection of covers - mostly of the rock/metal variety - that I've gathered from all across the four corners of the intrawebz, mostly from sites like OCRemix and Dwelling of Duels. If you haven't checked it out, you definitely should.
Along with this tradition, however, usually comes the unpleasant reminder that most forums I typically visit - including one that shall remain nameless - are usually kept in check by mouth-breathers who are taught by a ToS more rigid than my cock at a Swedish redhead convention and that hasn't been since sometime during the Eisenhauer administration that a .torrent file always contains illegal material unless explicitly stated otherwise. It's sort of like my attitude towards dating younger women, except in reverse. What this means is that rather than going into detail about the truly awesome contents of my collection (which you should totally check out), I must instead devote at least three quarters of my post to spamming the words "legal" and "uncopyrighted" until my post hits the 200-character limit. After that, I'm usually feeling too churlish to follow up with anything beyond "fuck you, here's the link".
The thing that really bugs me, though, is how digital piracy somehow manages to remain a relevant issue in this day and age. We now possess the technology to distribute information infinitely more efficiently than could have even been dreamed of just a hundred, hell, even fifty years ago. And the only people who don't see this as a huge step towards furthering the evolution of mankind are the people who look at it and say to themselves, "well, fuck, I have absolutely no idea how to make any money off of this." And frankly, I can't even begin to bring myself to have any sympathy for them.
Perhaps my viewpoint is a result of how I approach this mystical, magical thing we call the internet. The contents of this site, for example, represent literally years of work that I've invested in a number of different projects from which I haven't seen a dime of profit. And I'm perfectly okay with that. And the fact that every recording industry exec ever (and the occasional artist) don't feel the same way, well, isn't really my problem.
This isn't to say that I fall in with the tree-hugging crowd of hippies and commies (same thing, really) who want to abandon currency, live off the land, and think that everything people do should be done for the sole sake of benefitting the community as a whole. These are the same people who have computers made out of hemp and think that bathing makes the Earth goddess cry. To the contrary, my motives are actually quite selfish. Literally everything I contribute to the inter of nets is something that I do because I want to do it - I merely have no qualms about sharing with everyone else.
For the record, I actually have a quite impressive collection of actual compact discs that will no doubt be rendered useless in the next decade when physical media is finally rendered obsolete. I make it a point to go out and buy albums that I actually like. And if I really like you, meaning that if your name starts with "Iron" or ends with "Maiden", I'll drop two hundred bucks for a front-row ticket to see you perform without even batting an eyelash. The catch is, for me to actually want to do this, you have to not suck. And music today sort of has this thing where it does. Badly.
Thus, the problem doesn't now lie with the consumer - nor has it ever - but rather with the industry that expects people to pay actual cash money for a record made by somebody who thinks that Autotune is a musical instrument. I hate to have to be the one to say this, but getting into my wallet isn't nearly as easy as getting into my pants. You're going to have to wine me, dine me, and show me a good time before I'll let you put your grubby hands all over my coinpurse. In other words, if you want me to pay for something, you've got to give me something worth paying for.
Anyway, I'll be seeding the vg music cover torrent for the next week or so, so be sure to grab it while you still can. It's really great stuff and it doesn't you cost a dime. And remember: only wimps and commies don't seed.
It's been four years since I've paid any kind of attention whatsoever to this site, so I figure it's about time to start putting everything back up on it. As you can see from a quick look around, I'm currently in the process of doing just that. One nice bonus to having everything down for so long is that I can try and pass everything I put back up off as new again, provided you didn't just read those last few sentences that clearly state the advancing age of the majority of this site's content. Either way, expect the look and feel of the site to keep changing over the next few weeks as I get everything set back up.
Since the vast majority of the visitors to this site are probably just here to see my Morrowind mod list, it's still in the same place that it's always been. I've tried making finding your way around it a bit easier, since it's officially gotten about a dozen times the size that it used to be. The main mod page from the navigation bar lets you jump straight to a particular mod, and clicking on the "mod type" box next to the links will take you back to it.
Regarding the mods themselves, I just got done posting a major update to my very own BTB's Game Improvements mod, which I'd recommend checking out if you are currently using said mod. Next on my agenda is to complete a quick update to my personal edit of Morrowind Advanced and to update the list to include the new fixes from the recent update of Hrnchamd's Morrowind Code Patch, which I'd recommend checking out in any case. I'm still trying to find a good way to keep people informed of any updates to the "big three" of my personally-edited mods that I can't seem to stop messing with: Morrowind Advanced, Service Requirements, & Xiran's Better Music System. So, more on that once I figure something out.
Finally, donations to the site in the form of Swedish redheads are, as always, very much appreciated.