Saturday, December 19, 2009

Story Originality

I saw Avatar for the first time last night. I went in expecting to enjoy it, and I did. I am a big James Cameron fan, so I pretty much knew I would like it, but I didn't know how much I would like it. I REALLY liked it.

So, after seeing the movie, I came home and looked up what critics were saying. For the most part, professional film critics like it. Film students and internet film buffs seem to despise it, wishing it to fail just because.

The biggest complaint I have read? The story is unoriginal. Newsflash for the uneducated, young, and ignorant people: NOTHING UNDER THE SUN IS NEW. Yes, Avatar has a plot that is similar to Dances With Wolves and at least a dozen other movies. There are no new plots out there, people. Read some books and you will find that everybody reuses the same plots. Why? Because there are only so many stories to tell.

Do yourself a favor and read a half dozen Shakespeare plays. Now you know the plots to 90% of movies ever made. The Taming Of The Shrew? Othello? Romeo and Juliet? Even movies that are not direct copies of the plot use large chunks of it. Why? Because Shakespeare himself didn't invent these issues and plots. They are stories from when men started to tell stories, passed on down the time line.

Common plot themes that tons of movies use:

Industrialized, "civilized" men attempt to bring "civilization" to the "backwards" indigenous people. They may be the good guys, but usually are portrayed as the aggressors who are exploiting the natives and destroying the environment. (Avatar, Dances With Wolves, Fern Gully)

Man and woman marry/fall in love/have a child/become friends... Man or woman is from a race/species/sex/family that others in society do not approve of. Strife follows. (Othello, Enemy Mine, Romeo and Juliet)

And the list goes on.

A plot cannot be original. The way you tell the story can, and I think Cameron did an excellent job with Avatar.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Natalie Blanchard - Depressed or not?


Apparently this woman lost her insurance money for claiming to be depressed and then posting pictures on Facebook of vacations and parties.

Here's my take: Depressed or not, if you are capable of attending parties, going to the beach, and watching male strippers, then your lazy ass is capable of going to work and holding down a job. Period. Plenty of people suffer all sorts of ailments and still have to work. Suck it up and deal with it.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Deck the Halls

I went with my wife and her family to the Deck The Halls wine tour on Seneca lake this weekend. We got to visit a bunch of wineries and taste their wares. A fun time was had by all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Fantastic Day + Walther PPS

This has been one of the best days in recent memory. I got laid off today, which sounds horrible, but is actually awesome. 2 months of sitting on my ass, and then I am starting school again. I think I am working towards eventually opening my own firearms shop.

Then, right after I get the good news, the sheriff's office calls and tells me my coupon is in. I go pick up my new baby, and come home to find the two magazines I ordered for it in the mail! And as a bonus, the Dunkin' coffee and donuts tasted fabulous today!

Walther PPS .40 S&W with 6 round magazine.

Walther PPS with 7 round magazine.

I used to (until Friday) work with computers. But IT just isn't the way is used to be. Everyone is downsizing to increase their bottom line (read: screwing the employees so that the bosses/shareholders can buy another Mercedes), so IT folks need to wear 15 hats to keep their ever dwindling salaries. Now, if you can't program, create web pages, fix hardware, and learn every damn OS, program, DB, and network protocol on the planet, you can't find work. And employers want you to get certifications that cost big bucks, that they won't pay for.

So, I am done with that s**t. I am going back to school for business. If I can't work out my own business plan, at least I will have knowledge to get me a job outside of the IT sector. Plus, I love taking classes, it's just a few hours a day to be a "full time" student, and I can laze around for 18 months. More time to shoot.

Now, excuse me, I am going to request a reloading press for Christmas this year.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

SWG server closings.

I realized I write some of my best stuff in forums.

SOE announced that they would be closing down several Star Wars Galaxies servers in October. One of them is the server I played on, Lowca. Blues News has a nice discussion going on. I had to chime in. (The first part is another poster)

    like tens of people suddenly crying out... then silenced on the 15th of the next month.
It was fun. Then we asked for content, and they changed systems instead. Then we asked for content, and they gave everyone Jedi. Then we asked for content, and they tried to make it a 3rd person shooter. Then most people gave up and moved on, and SOE has been trying to figure out WTF went wrong.

It's like the prequels. We asked for more awesome Star Wars, and Lucas gave us Gungans instead. Then we asked for more awesome Star Wars, and Lucas killed off all the coolest character in the prequels, had Darth Vader build Threepio, and had Natalie Portman fall for a whiney bitch. Then we asked for more awesome Star Wars, and laughed at the end of Revenge when Vader tries his best Charlie Sheen imitation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Nigerian government demands apology from Sony


Sony should respond thusly:

Dear Nigeria,

We sorry for portray your country as home for lawlessness and infamous scams. We be happy to pay for advertising portray untruthiness of said portrayal in the amount of $2 Million US dollars. We send check for $4 million, you cash and send back $2 million.

Having a good day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Yar, man cave!

Man cave! No women allowed, yar!

No, I don't like orange at all. Why do you ask?

Sibling love!

A while ago, my long lost biological sister found me. Luckily for me, she is witty, funny, and seems very nice. (And someday we may even meet!)

Fortunately for me, I have a younger brother that I grew up with. He's AWESOME.

Jeremy would respond like that because he is a gun toting asshole just like his dad

Feeling the love, bro! Feeling the love!

Of course I could be petty and point out all the times I tried to help him out, only to have him stab me in the back. I could point out how he would sponge off of his friends and even fuck over his own mother to get what he wants, but I won't do that.

I'll just sit here and laugh and know that life stuck him exactly where he should be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

New WoW races

As reported @ , the new expansion should feature the Worgen as the new Alliance race, and Goblins as the new Horde race.

Hey, I'm all for that. I'd love a Worgen character. Actually, I'd probably start a new Worgen and transform one of my older characters into one as well. (Go, go paid character customization!)

Do I believe the rumor? Sure. They have only had Halloween masks for playable races so far, and these are now in as Halloween masks. They also have confirmed with their sources. And let's face it, when Draenei and Blood Elves were leaked before the BC announcement everyone called shenanigans. Those ended up being the real expansion races. I guess we'll all find out for sure ina couple of weeks when they announce it at Blizzcon. (Come on, Ozzy is playing. Bark at the Moon? Worgen? You know it's true.)

I'd go there!

fail owned pwned pictures
see more Fail Blog

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Pimping the GSG-5

Ordered a claw style mount, which I installed my Walther PS22 sight on. Also installed 2 of 4 H&K push pins that replace the cheap screws that hold on the furniture.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Seattle Bank Teller Loses Job After Thwarting Heist


A disclaimer before I bitch about this story: I think this guy is an idiot. From the story:

Nicholson, who could not be reached for comment Monday, told The Seattle Times it wasn't the first time he had pursued a thief, citing past experiences with shoplifters at retail jobs in New York and California.

"It's something I almost look forward to," Nicholson said. "It's a thrill and I'm an adrenaline-junkie person. It's the pursuit."

Basically it sounds like he wants to be Batman or he's in the wrong profession entirely. He could have gotten people killed for his "thrill" and deserves to be fired.

HOWEVER, the police quote in the story really pisses me off.

Seattle Police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb:

"It really doesn't matter if you're a bank teller or a citizen walking down the street. Generally speaking, it's best to be a good witness," Whitcomb told "And quite honestly, this is also true for people who are off-duty police officers too."

In the event of a crime in progress, Whitcomb urged citizens to get a description of the suspect, especially of his or her clothing.

"It's best to help the people who are on duty, to help them catch the person," he said. "There's just so many bad people out there and there's so many variables."

Just days before the bank incident, Whitcomb said a clerk at a local convenience store in Seattle was killed when he tried to stop an armed robbery in progress.

"Would that have happened if the clerk just let the guy take the cash? I don't know," Whitcomb said.

Because Law Enforcement doesn't ever want to stop something bad from happening, they just care about catching the criminal afterward. It's safer for everyone EXCEPT THE VICTIM. So, if I am walking down the street and see a guy beating an old lady for her purse, I am supposed to make a mental note of what he looks like and let him do whatever he wants to the old lady. Then, after she dies from her injuries, I can point the police to the guy who did it so he can be punished. I'm sure the old lady is very grateful. No, wait, she's dead.

Serve and protect my ass.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mr. Hawk was not happy.

He was sitting in a tree between 81 South and the PA Turnpike entrance. Screeching. Loudly. Repeatedly. I decided to snap his picture because, frankly, I was bored as hell and had been sitting in traffic for 3 hours. Sorry, I don't have a great zoom function, but he's in the middle tree. Squint. He's there. I swear.

P.S. Click on the pictures for a bigger view.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Gun Control

Found this today while I was reading some firearm forums. This is where we are headed already.

You're sound asleep when you hear a thump outside your bedroom door.. Half-awake, and nearly paralyzed with fear, you hear muffled whispers. At least two people have broken into your house and are moving your way. With your heart pumping, you reach down beside your bed and pick up your shotgun. You rack a shell into the chamber, then inch toward the door and open it. In the darkness, you make out two shadows.

One holds something that looks like a crowbar. When the intruder brandishes it as if to strike, you raise the shotgun and fire The blast knocks both thugs to the floor. One writhes and screams while the second man crawls to the front door and lurches outside. As you pick up the telephone to call police, you know you're in trouble.

In your country, most guns were outlawed years before, and the few that are privately owned are so stringently regulated as to make them useless. Yours was never registered. Police arrive and inform you that the second burglar has died. They arrest you for First Degree Murder and Illegal Possession of a Firearm. When you talk to your attorney, he tells you not to worry: authorities will probably plea the case down to manslaughter.

What kind of sentence will I get?" you ask.

"Only ten-to-twelve years," he replies, as if that's nothing. "Behave yourself, and you'll be out in seven.."

The next day, the shooting is the lead story in the local newspaper.. Somehow, you're portrayed as an eccentric vigilante while the two men you shot are represented as choirboys. Their friends and relatives can't find an unkind word to say about them. Buried deep down in the article, authorities acknowledge that both "victims" have been arrested numerous times. But the next day's headline says it all: "Lovable Rogue Son Didn't Deserve to Die." The thieves have been transformed from career criminals into Robin Hood-type pranksters. As the days wear on, the story takes wings. The national media picks it up, then the international media. The surviving burglar has become a folk hero.

Your attorney says the thief is preparing to sue you, and he'll probably win. The media publishes reports that your home has been burglarized several times in the past and that you've been critical of local police for their lack of effort in apprehending the suspects. After the last break-in, you told your neighbor that you would be prepared next time. The District Attorney uses this to allege that you were lying in wait for the burglars.

A few months later, you go to trial. The charges haven't been reduced, as your lawyer had so confidently predicted. When you take the stand, your anger at the injustice of it all works against you. Prosecutors paint a picture of you as a mean, vengeful man. It doesn't take long for the jury to convict you of all charges.

The judge sentences you to life in prison.

This case really happened.

On August 22, 1999, Tony Martin of Emneth, Norfolk, England, killed one burglar and wounded a second. In April, 2000, he was convicted and is now serving a life term.

How did it become a crime to defend one's own life in the once great British Empire?

It started with the Pistols Act of 1903. This seemingly reasonable law forbade selling pistols to minors or felons and established that handgun sales were to be made only to those who had a license The Firearms Act of 1920 expanded licensing to include not only handguns but all firearms except shotguns.

Later laws passed in 1953 and 1967 outlawed the carrying of any weapon by private citizens and mandated the registration of all shotguns.

Momentum for total handgun confiscation began in earnest after the Hungerford mass shooting in 1987. Michael Ryan, a mentally disturbed Man with a Kalashnikov rifle, walked down the streets shooting everyone he saw. When the smoke cleared, 17 people were dead.

The British public, already desensitized by eighty years of "gun control", demanded even tougher restrictions. (The seizure of all privately owned handguns was the objective even though Ryan used a rifle.)

Nine years later, at Dunblane , Scotland , Thomas Hamilton used a semi-automatic weapon to murder 16 children and a teacher at a public school.

For many years, the media had portrayed all gun owners as mentally unstable or worse, criminals. Now the press had a real kook with which to beat up law-abiding gun owners. Day after day, week after week, the media gave up all pretense of objectivity and demanded a total ban on all handguns. The Dunblane Inquiry, a few months later, Sealed the fate of the few sidearm still owned by private citizens.

During the years in which the British government incrementally took away most gun rights, the notion that a citizen had the right to armed self-defense came to be seen as vigilantism. Authorities refused to grant gun licenses to people who were threatened, claiming that self-defense was no longer considered a reason to own a gun. Citizens who shot burglars or robbers or rapists were charged while the real criminals were released.

Indeed, after the Martin shooting, a police spokesman was quoted as saying, "We cannot have people take the law into their own hands.."

All of Martin's neighbors had been robbed numerous times, and several elderly people were severely injured in beatings by young thugs who had no fear of the consequences.. Martin himself, a collector of antiques, had seen most of his collection trashed or stolen by burglars.

When the Dunblane Inquiry ended, citizens who owned handguns were given three months to turn them over to local authorities. Being good British subjects, most people obeyed the law. The few who didn't were visited by police and threatened with ten-year prison sentences if they didn't comply. Police later bragged that they'd taken nearly 200,000 handguns from private citizens.

How did the authorities know who had handguns? The guns had been registered and licensed. Kinda like cars.

Sound familiar?


"..It does not require a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority keen to set brush fires in people's minds.."

––Samuel Adams

If you think this is important, please forward to everyone you know.. You better wake up cause your new president is going to do this very same thing over here if he can get it done. And there are stupid people in congress and on the street that will go right along with him.

The reason you don't bring your luggage to a safari

Roof Luggage in Safari Park - View more free videos

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

More range fun!

My new GSG-5 .22 rifle, and my Taurus 617. Love them both, but .357 Magnum rounds in that revolver STING! Time to order some ribber grips from Taurus to soften that slap.

You know someone is an idiot when...

...they give you a "fact" but then when you ask them to prove their fact with a link or some sort of evidence, they link Google and tell you to find it.

People should be required to pass a course in debating before they are allowed to post on internet forums. You don't state something and then try to pass off the burden of proving your statement to the person you are debating. That just means you don't know, you didn't research it, so your statement is bullshit until YOU can prove otherwise.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009

XD-40 - finally!

I've been waiting to buy this gun for over a year. I tried it out in Maryland last year, and I have been trying to get my NYS pistol permit ever since. Well, it finally came in on Friday and on Saturday I rushed out to Timber Creek sporting goods and purchased my favorite pistol. (Only because they were closed Friday night. Friday I purchased a revolver that I have to wait to pick up.)

I went to my shooting range right after I picked up my gun, and fired off 150 rounds. I wished I'd had more, I could have shot all night. New range, and I love it compared to my old one. I'm still working on dusting off my pistol skills, but pretty much every round hit the target. I'm psyched!

Monday, June 22, 2009


What's the difference between a prisoner, a prostitute, and an American citizen?

A prisoner gets bent over and fucked.

A prostitute gets bent over, fucked, and gets paid for it.

An American citizen gets bent over, fucked, pays for it, and then pays for other people that got fucked that couldn't afford it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

New kitty!

We adopted her from the Humane Society today. We named her Chiana. (Notice a trend with the pet names?) She's a Maine Coon/Tiger mix, and she's about 6 months to 1 year old.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Priest in compromising photos admits two-year affair


How dare he?!? He should be molesting little boys, not sharing the love of a woman!

Seriously, one of my many problems with the Catholic church is their idiotic tendency to cling to things that make no sense whatsoever.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Busty women, unite, or fatties, shut up!

Fox News brings us this story, on busty UK women appalled at having to pay more for their bras.

Busty Women Protest Extra Charge for Large Bras in U.K.
Thursday, May 07, 2009

Print LONDON — Busty women have banded
together to battle Britain's largest clothing retailer over a surcharge for
extra-large brassieres.

Frustrated with failed attempts to convince
Marks & Spencer to drop a 2 pound ($3) extra charge for sizes DD and larger,
the women plan to take their fight to the company's annual meeting.

"They aren't listening to customers, maybe they'll listen to
shareholders," said Beckie Williams, a founder of Busts 4 Justice who has
purchased a share of M&S stock so she can attend the meeting. "People think
it would be great to have big boobs, but it's an emotional issue, it can make
you feel isolated, and shopping at Marks & Spencer can make you feel like a
freak when they charge you extra."

The group, which has grown to several
thousand members via Facebook, seems to have tapped into a reserve of

"Women have kept this to themselves," Williams said. "The
outpouring has to do with women venting their frustration."

The issue is
important for M&S, which has long sold mid-priced underwear to a large
segment of the British population. The venerable institution is positioned
between high-class lingerie shops like Rigby & Peller (which has the queen's
imprimatur) and bargain-priced chains like Primark.

The company says the extra engineering and material needed for a
large size bra justify the markup, but the women say the policy is unfair,
especially since clothing stores do not charge more for extra large pants,
socks, or men's briefs.

The issue has simmered for nearly 10
months, but erupted several days ago when M&S officials publicly rebuffed
calls to change policy, prompting several female columnists to complain.

Prominent TV personality Ulrika Jonsson wrote Thursday in the Daily Mail
that the M&S policy is misguided.

"There aren't enough negative
adjectives to describe how much I hated having big boobs," said Jonsson, who
recently had breast reduction surgery. "So the suggestion that I'd have to pay
over the odds for a bigger bra is not only appalling; it's deeply insulting."

Britain's cleavage-friendly tabloid press jumped into the fray Thursday,
with The Sun taking an editorial stance against the extra charge. The newspaper
quoted some of its Page Three girls — who usually appear topless in the popular
feature — denouncing the surcharge as discriminatory.

The newspaper
illustrated its article with photos of prominent, bikini-clad show business
personalities who would have to pay the surcharge if shopping at M&S.

M&S spokeswoman Jessica Harris said in a
statement that it would be impossible to cut prices on large-size bras without
reducing quality.

"At DD and above, the weight of a woman's breast
requires additional support, fabric and structure in a bra and from our years of
experience we know it's critical not to cut corners on this," she said.

The conflict has given other retailers a chance to cut into
M&S' traditionally strong hold on the British underwear market. A number of
specialty online retailers are offering larger size bras — winning praise from
Busts 4 Justice — and the retail chain ASDA is emphasizing its "one price for
all" strategy.

"Why should bigger busted women be
penalized?" said Leah Watson, spokeswoman for George, the in-house ASDA brand.
"Obviously the majority of women can't choose their shape.
People who are
shopping on a budget shouldn't have to pay more to look good or to feel good."

She said the company loses money by selling oversize
bras for as little as 4 pounds ($6), but does not want larger women to be
charged extra.

Notice the sections I highlighted in red. Women are complaining it is "unfair", however it costs more to make the bigger bras, and retailers that are selling them at the same price as smaller bras admit they are losing money. Basic economics, people. Shit like undercharging is why companies go under. (Or need to be bailed out)

Notice the green highlighted section. Recent studies have shown that women do have bigger busts, on average, than they used to. The reason? Women tend to be fatter, on average, than they used to be. Don't like the extra charges for all that breast fat? Get off your fat ass and exercise! I know, some women have bigger breasts just because of genetics. But a large (pun intended) majority of women with huge breasts have huge breasts because they are overweight. Don't tell me that is something that you can't change and shouldn't be charged for.
(And yes, I do agree with charging ridiculously overweight people for two seats on a plane or a bus. You would too if you ever got jammed in next to one on a 12 hour flight.)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Fired for private My Space discussion

According to this story on CNN, two restaurant employees were fired after managers "got a hold of" the password to a private discussion group and didn't like what they saw. The employees are now suing, although lawyers say they don't know how the law applies here.

Well, civil crime or not, this clearly falls under the cyber crimes laws.

"Unauthorized access" entails approaching, trespassing within,
communicating with, storing data in, retrieving data from, or otherwise
intercepting and changing computer resources without consent. These laws relate
to either or both, or any other actions that interfere with computers, systems,
programs or networks.

Regardless of the fact that they possessed the password, the managers were not authorized users of the group, and thus have committed a crime.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Aw yeah, Stargate style!

Gander Mountain, Dave Henderson, and the Binghamton Shootings

Out local paper, the inept and - quite frankly - shitty Press and Sun-Bulletin posted an article today about the Gander Mountain employee - Dave Henderson - who was fired for running his mouth to the press about the Binghamton shootings.

In a nutshell, Henderson called the paper and told them that he recognized the suspect as a former customer. Gander Mountain proceeded to suspend and then fire him for talking to the press. Corporate policy at any place I have ever worked or been aware of is that only designated PR folks at the corporation are allowed to speak to the media. Every employee handbook I have ever read states that quite clearly, and implies dire consequences for those breaking this policy. Henderson was surprised by the move, which clearly implies he was ignorant.

Now, the reason I am agitated has nothing to do with the article, but rather with the completely ignorant mass of humanity that lives in Binghamton that decided to crawl out of the woodwork to add their commentary.

User Image
MsCommonSense83 wrote:
The First Amendment doesn't give him the right to shoot off his mouth duing a police investigation. His interview could have hurt the families.

Actually, yes it does, you ignorant bitch.

User Image
repairman wrote:

Well anyone knows that if you want a good gun you can get one from one of the other retailers who "care" about their employees and their reputations enough to check out the loose canons wanting to buy a gun. Whereas it seems here it is all about corporate image and this guy had the gall to tell the truth. Well if they had such a good corporate policy maybe they should have set in place some red flags about customers that posed potential problems.

Gander uses the NICS check, just like every single other fucking FFL dealer in the state. The guy had no flags raised on his paperwork, so Gander legally sold him firearms. I have no idea how you think they can "tell" he is a "loose cannon". Perhaps you're just such a fucking genius that you know by looking at people, but the rest of us are not as mentally well-endowed as you.

User Image
Bingoland wrote:

Nevertheless, I'm grateful for the information he gave about how easy it was for Jiverly to buy and trade guns when everyone knew he was a loose nut. This sounds like a place that would sell guns to Charles Manson so his information was valuable, even though he had to "take a bullet" himself.

If Manson had bought before his criminal acts, then yes, they would have legally sold him firearms. Just like you, or me, or anybody else that has not been proven guilty of a crime. So many of you dumb fucks are crying about the 1st Amendment while ignoring our right to be innocent until proven guilty.

User Image
musepd wrote:
So Gander Mountain is sensitive in issues like this. Too bad--then they shouldn't be in the business in the first place. Mr. Henderson was honest and straightforward. Now that's a terrible combination to have in an employee, isn't it?! Well, good luck Gander, you are going to need it. And Mr. Henderson, if I were an employer I would hire you on the spot!!

And because you are such an ignorant fuckbag, your business wouldn't last very long. IN this day and age of sue first, ask questions later, companies are damn well going to be paranoid about their image. Any company that lets its employees do whatever they wish isn't going to be a company very long.

User Image
my3boysmylife wrote:
Ii ususaly don't comment on these things but when I read this article I thought "HOW could somebody be fired because they spoke about this to ssomebody?" I am sick and tired of people getting fired for nonsense. This is America. It is still the place of free speech. I don't care what anybody said, he should not be fired for that. I don't know these people but I am tired of it all. This world is losing thier minds. And gander Mountain has lost more customers.

You're right. This is America. Perhaps you haven't lived here very long. Let me spell it out for you: The almighty dollar rules. Fuck you, fuck your rights. It's been proven over and over that politicians mouth reverence for the constitution while fucking your rights up the ass. Open your eyes. Until that shit changes, your freedoms mean just about nothing in the face of money.

So many people bitching about how this isn't right, and yet when it comes time for elections, 50% of Americans sit on their ass and trust others to do what is best for them. Ignorant dumbasses.

I write letters, I get involved, I try to get the word out about what is going on so that we don't all lose our rights to an increasingly facist government. Sometimes, however, just seeing how fucking stupid most of my fellow Americans seem to be makes me think you all deserve to be trampled on.

My two favorites

Friday, April 24, 2009

STAR-15 Rifle completed!

I finally got the last of the parts I needed to go out and have fun shooting my STAR-15 rifle at the range; 13.5" Troy free-floated handguards and Magpul Back-Up Sights. (MBUS)

I tested the gas system last night, so I knew it was all set and that I could install the handguards without fear of having to take them back off to mess with the gas block or tube again.

I'm really excited about the Magpul MBUS sights. I've been waiting a long time for them to come out, and I was among the first retail customers to get a set.

Hopefully I will get pictures or video from the range this weekend. Enjoy the warm weather, everybody.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Man Cave - part duex

Almost finished painting the Man Cave. The redish-orange isn't as bright as it looks in photos. The flash really makes it look crazy.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Good bye hot tub, hello man-cave!

As friends and long-time followers of this blog remember, when we bought our house there was a hot tub sunken in to the back room off of the dining room. It's been an eye sore for just over two years now, and we finally got someone to take it out for us. (Thank you, Anthony Rovente!)

Before - Hot tub slightly elevated due to jacks.

After - Dancing with joy because the idiotic sunken hot tub is gone!

Obviously, I hate the color orange. And having my picture taken when I am not making a strange face. (On purpose, that is...)

I am painting two walls a nice, natural reddish-orange clay color, and the other two walls are going to be dark sage. We're going to be using the same slate tiles for the floor that we used in our bathroom, which happens to be right next door. Then I have to put in a heating vent, replace the light fixture with something less dirty and disgusting, replace the light switch , electric socket, and cover plates, have an electrician add another socket and move the existing one to another circuit, and drill holes to run ethernet - and I have the perfect man cave!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Binghamton Press Conference

10:31 am – call to 911 from woman who had been shot. Woaman pretended to be dead, then called 911 when he left immediate area.

Police on scene in 2 minutes.

Lone gunman entered building and shot several people in the first area of the building.

Shooting was over quickly.

SWAT took a long time to enter building due to conflicting information being received.

Police believe shooter to be dead. (Man found with satchel of ammunition around his neck.)

2 handguns recovered. No rifle as originally reported.

37 hostages removed safely. 4 wounded. 14 confirmed dead in building.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Add another journalist to the anti-prohibition list

Jack Cafferty, from CNN, also sees the light.

The best part is the ignorance of some of the commenters following the article.

I'd like to think that this is the start of a popular movement to reduce crime, boost the economy, and rid ourselves of one of our never ending "wars". Of course, the government will never let it happen. Wars are not meant to be won. They are meant to be continuous. It helps them maintain control. George would be so proud of us!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Jeffery A. Miron - My hero of the week

Mr. Miron espouses the legalization of drugs to stem the violence caused by prohibition.

I, and many, many others, have been towing this line for years. For some reason, the US government refuses to admit the "war on drugs" is a shitty idea. Yeah, thousands of deaths and billions of dollars a year is a way better idea guys. Not to mention prison overcrowding. And poverty.

Mr. Miron - I salute you!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Newspaper companies going out of business

Is anyone really surprised by the fact that newspaper companies are folding left and right? The very media that rallies around cries of global warming contributes to waste that's bad for the enviroment any way you look at it.

In a world of get with the times or get lost, newspapers chose to ignore the last few years of warning signs. People don't want to wait for the news to be delivered when they can read about it as it's happening. They don't want to pay for pages and pages of journalism (a lot of it shitty journalism, by the way) when they only want the sports scores, or the world headlines. Hell, most people don't want to pay at all, considering you can get all of the news you want online without paying a dime.

Mourning the downfall of newspapers is like mourning the downfall of town criers. It's a clunky, outdated inteface that had to make way for the new way of passing data. Deal with it and move on.

Friday, March 20, 2009

PETA junior

Future crazy PETA morons of America.

For the record, killing the dogs is not a form of entertainment. It's not even a goal. Also, you don't snap their necks. You may shoot the enemy dogs that get sent by opposing players to prevent them from killing you.

Don't you morons have better causes to fight for?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chuck Norris - my hero of the week

You know, I've never been a fan of Chuck Norris. I don't like his movies, I don't like his TV show, and the endless jokes in World of Warcraft just annoyed the crap out of me. But after reading this story, Chuck Norris is now my personal hero for the week.

Chuck Norris for president … of Texas
Posted: 05:06 AM ET

From CNN's Lauren Kornreich

If the State of Texas ever left the Union, Chuck Norris is interested in being president of the newly independent country.
(CNN) – Actor Chuck Norris has his eyes on the presidency, but not the White House. Norris wrote that he would be interested in becoming the president of Texas, if the state were ever to secede from the Union.

“I may run for president of Texas,” Norris wrote Monday in a column posted at WorldNetDaily. “That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state.”

The actor claimed “thousands of cell groups will be united around the country in solidarity over the concerns for our nation” and said that if states decide to secede from the union, that Texas would lead the way.

“Anyone who has been around Texas for any length of time knows exactly what we'd do if the going got rough in America,” Norris wrote.

“Let there be no doubt about that.” Norris was a strong supporter of Mike Huckabee’s presidential bid, and he helped to draw attention to the former Arkansas governor’s campaign.

Chuck has the balls to state publically what many people are privately thinking: This is not the country that is described in the Constitution. Something is dead wrong here, and something radical needs to happen to fix it.

People tend to forget that this country is the United States of America. They, and the government, forget that the country is supposed to be run for the benefit of the States and their respective populations. They get so caught up in "rah rah, go USA!" that they lose sight of what USA stands for. God forbid you speak out for your rights, then you are labled a terrorist or a traitor. Don't forget people, great patriots like Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and Benjamin Franklin were labled traitors for their actions in forming this country. Think about it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Newest toy - Ruger 10/22 Carbine

Ruger's 10/22 Carbine, chambered for .22 caliber Long Rifle.

I've been looking at purchasing a .22 rifle for a while, for a number of reasons.

They're cheap - this one was under $200, and you can find others for just under $100.

They're cheap to shoot - my favorite gun, the FN PS90, fires rounds that cost about $20 per box of 50. This gun fires rounds that cost $20 per box of 500. I can stay at the range all day shooting this gun without breaking the bank.

They're fun to modify - I like tinkering around with guns. It's the same thing I enjoy about computers. Some guns, like my PS90, are too freaking expensive to tear apart and mess with. This gun is the perfect candidate to tinker with. I already have plans to replace the stock, swap out the bolt release with an automatic one, and replace the factory iron sights.

My wife and I took this to the range today and put several hundred rounds downrange. It's just a fun gun to shoot. Maybe that's why most gun owners have one.

Funniest commercial ever!

Bud-Light Swear Jar Commercial.

I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes, then I watched it again.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Potter actor killed by evil, malicious knives!


One of the Harry Potter actors was killed by a young man weilding a knife. Of course, the British government blames the incident on the knives, instead of on the kid who was using the knives. The rhetoric sounds vaguely familiar. Oh, yes, that's it. Replace "knife" with "gun" and you have the anti-gun movement in the USA.

People, inanimate objects don't kill you. Psycho's kill you. You can take away guns, knives, forks, and pens from the populace, but then the criminals will still have them. And Joe the psycho from down the street? He'll kill you with a rock if he has to, he's not picky.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

STAR-15 update

I spent an inordinate amount of time working on my AR-15 rifle today.

I had to use a Dremel to cut off a lot of material from the Front Sight Base so that I could pound out the pins holding it on. Hours of Dremeling and pounding later, and I finally got it off.

I also cut off the aluminum Delta Ring so that I can bolt on my tactical forearm. (Whenever it's back in stock and I get to order it...)

Now I have the low-profile gas block on, and I just need the bolt carrier group, charging handle, and forearms to complete the assembly.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Commentary: Americans are not cowards on race


Right on, lady! Right on!

Cool Warcraft paper figures


Fantastic paper models of World of Warcraft characters and creatures.

My only complaint about the post is that he keeps calling things "full life size" when they are quite obviously not.

Joo keep using dat phrase. I do not tink it means what joo tink it means.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Commentary: NY Post cartoon is racist and careless


Point blank, this guy and everyone else who feels the spectre of racism in something as innocent as this cartoon is a fucking idiot. You know why you see racism everywhere you look? Because that's what you want to find there. You enjoy playing the repressed minority card.

By his own admission:

What could be seen as silly humor if President George W. Bush were in the White
House has to be seen through the lens of America's racist past, as noted by the
leaders of the New York Association of Black Journalists, who also are demanding
an apology from the Post.

Why? Why does it now have to been seen through any lens? Why must you now twist it?

Listen, Klan members twist the Bible to say that God hates non-whites, even though clearly Jesus was not a white guy. (Hello, born in the Middle East? See many white guys born there, do you?) This is the same shit. You are twisting something to mean what you want it to mean.

To the editors who approved the cartoon, as well as the cartoonist, the piece was clearly all fun and laughs. But anyone with half a brain, especially someone knowing the history of African-Americans being called monkeys and gorillas, would have said, "We need to rethink this."

To anyone with half a brain, it was all fun and laughs. When was it popular nation wide to call black people monkeys? Before I can remember, that's for sure. WWII? Korea? Get the fuck over it already.

Listen, shit like this is why racism continues. Face it, you are a racist. You hate white people, so you look for hidden jabs everywhere, because you know whitey is out to get you. You closet racists on both end of the spectrum need to knock this shit off so the rest of us don't have to deal with it anymore. People are people, regardless of their race. And stupid assholes are stupid assholes, regardless of skin color.

And you, sir, are a stupid asshole.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Lord of the Rings Online

Got tired of World of Warcraft. Started playing LOTRO again. Still love the high end graphics.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Canada geese brought Flight 1549 down, NTSB says


I knew it! Those damn dirty Canadians, they should pay! Too bad Bush wasn't still president, this would be the perfect excuse to bomb our no-good neighbors from the north. How do you like them apples, eh?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Things that I learned from FEAR 2.

1. - No PC gamer has a 5 button mouse, and even if they did they wouldn't want to use buttons 4 and 5 for anything in game anyway.

2. - Improved graphics now means it looks good on an XBOX 360. If you're unlucky enough to be a PC gamer, it means "Sorry, we had to make this run on an XBOX, so you get less collateral damage effects, smaller explosions, and lower rez textures."

3. - Shotguns blow people up at close range. We're talking all that's left is a cloud of blood. No wonder PETA objects to hunting, all those deer are being disintegrated!

4. - Old women have a much better chance of surviving in a combat zone than trained soldiers.

5. - Coffee tables will completely stop any number of high caliber bullets.

6. - Body armor will stop several rounds from a firearm, but will cause you to die if punched just once.

7. - In the event that somebody's illegal experiment goes wrong, don't worry! They will leave all sorts of evidence of their illegal experiments lying around so that you can figure out what they did.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Many Americans vexed by spelling


Many Americans vexed by spelling

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Most Americans are in a similar state to that of Matthew Evans, 13, of
Albuquerque, N.M., who was favored to win the bee in his fifth and final
appearance at the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee in the District. Except
that while he misspelled "secernent," Americans misspell words such as "friend"
and "definitely."

The nation is not letter perfect. Americans may be embarassed, even.
Make that "embarrassed" - it's among the common words that vex the
spell-challenged in an age of spell check.
According to a study released
Monday by the London-based Spelling Society, 62 percent of the nation can't
spell the dreaded e-word correctly, along with liaison, botched by 61 percent,
and millennium, misspelled by 52 percent.

And while women ultimately prevail as better spellers, members of both
sexes struggle with the configurations of such words as accommodation, separate,
definitely and accidentally.
Men were particularly mystified by friend; 78
percent misspelled the word on occasion, the survey found. For the ladies, more
than half could not get liaison right.

Almost two-thirds of us say that spelling among adults is on the
decline; a quarter acknowledged that they were simply bad spellers. About a
third said they got nervous filling out official forms or formal documents
without a computer-based spell checker or at least a dictionary.

One academic consultant for the project blames the nature of the
English language.
"We have different spellings for the same sound,
especially for vowels - silent letters, missing letters and a system which
reflects how English was spoken in the 13th to 15th centuries, not how it is
spoken today," said Edward Baranowski, a linguist with California State
University at Sacramento.

"So many sound changes have occurred in the language, which are not
reflected in modern spelling, that we are left with a 'fossilized' system.
Perhaps if English had had an effective language academy, such as those in
France or Spain, this would have been mitigated over time," he added.

The Spelling Society - founded in 1908 in Britain to raise awareness of
problems caused by irregularities in English spelling - is calling for a regular
spelling system for the U.S. and Britain.
"Let's allow people greater
freedom to spell logically," said John Wells, a linguist with the University
College London. "It's time to remove the fetish that says that correct spelling
is a principal mark of being educated. Let's spell logically just as you do in
Spanish, Italian or Swedish."

Is a little dumbing down in order, then?

The survey found that 40 percent of the respondents would support
updating words that "typically" caused problems while 16 percent opposed the
idea. A blase 31 percent said it didn't matter.

Spelling, however, appears to be a family affair: 71 percent said it
was a parent's responsibility to help children with lousy spelling, 54 percent
said the task rested with teachers and 10 percent said that government should
take up the matter.

The survey of 1,000 adults was conducted for the project by Ipsos MORI, a
British-based organization, from Jan. 15 to 20.

Meanwhile, commonly misspelled words have drawn the ire of dictionary
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, for example, words
such as address, beautiful, immediate and skillful are worries for would-be
perfectionists. In the Collins Dictionary, supersede is the worst word of all,
followed by conscience, indict and foreign. The "Dumbtionary," - an online
source of the most misspelled words - has amassed more than 10,000 of the

I've seen "lose" spelled "loose" more often than I can count, by morons online and by "professional" writers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

An example of what is wrong with our country


For those of you too lazy to click a link and read the story, let me boil it down for you: The article discusses how women cannot say no in the workplace and expect to advance their careers. I'd go the extra step, without the Oprah prejudice towards women, and say nobody can say no and still expect to go anywhere.

I should know, it has happened to me many times. My last job was over when - after spending a month away from home already - my company "asked" me to go back to Rockville, Maryland for another 1-6 months for "training". I told them that I couldn't because I had commitments in town and I hadn't seen my wife for a month. I was told they weren't really asking and that I either had to go or submit my resignation. Being the stubborn person that I am, and believing in sticking up for yourself like I do, I resigned.

The issue is that so many companies jumped on the "work/life balance" HR bullshit buzzword bandwagon, but most of them do not have a clue what that means. To most companies, "work/life balance" means "you work for us, work is your life, don't let your personal shit disrupt the balance." They're so busy chasing the bottom line, they've forgotten that employees are actually people who should be working to live, not living to work. And the worst part is, most of the sheep in the workplace have forgotten it too, and contribute to the disaster.

I'm not that old. I don't remember when a "lunch hour" was actually a paid hour that you got for lunch. I don't remember a workplace that took care of it's employees so that they would take care of it. I do remember eating lunch on my 1/2 hour "lunch hour". I remember when working hard got you ahead, and it was OK to say no to overtime or working the weekend. In my last few jobs, people stare at me like I have 3 heads if I actually stop working to eat for a half hour, and breaks are something that you get written up for taking. And God forbid you actually would like to work less than 13-14 hours a day! The nerve of some employees! What's this hard work thing? Please, everyone knows that you just have to kiss ass and steal credit to get ahead.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How to fix the automotive industry

The automotive industry is characterized by two primary problems:

1 - Waste. Every year, too many cars are churned out of factories and they languish on car lots worldwide, waiting for a buyer. Quite often, the only way they get sold is when the price drops below cost so that dealers can clear space for new inventory.

2 - It's run by old men who don't see any problem with waste and don't see why they should change the way things have always been, despite the fact that they need taxpayer money to keep them in business.

Number two is the easiest thing to fix. Out with the old blood, in with the new.

Number one is a little harder, and will involve massive change, but in the end it would result in a profitable business model and happier customers. The boiled down concept is simple: Make cars to order.

Instead of having factories churn out thousands upon thousands of cars at a time, they would produce enough demo models for each car lot to have one. Customers would come in, pick the base model they like, and test drive it. If they like that model, they go inside with the salesperson who walks them through all of the custom options available. The customer chooses the color, options, and accessories, pays for the car, and the salesman submits the order. The factory receives the order and makes the car that the customer desired. Then it gets delivered. At the end of the year, the demo car gets sold (or donated to a charity).

That's it. No unsold cars floating around. No going to a car lot looking for an orange car and having to settle for a color you didn't want because it's what they had and they made you a deal you couldn't turn down.

I'm sure it's not a perfect solution. People could lose jobs, car prices could go up. But, it's a realistic solution. Sucking up taxpayer dollars because you have an unprofitable business model is not a realistic solution, it's a sick fantasy of old men.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Five reasons MMOs are broken article by Tom Chick

Let me just start by saying that I think articles like this by people like Tom Chick only contributed to the downfall of printed gaming magazines like Games For Windows. With that out of the way, I present my opinion.

Five reasons MMOs are broken

It takes no small amount of audacity to look at the most commercially successful genre of video gaming and call it "broken". But that's exactly what I'm doing. Assuming the first priority of game design is to create a good game, massively multiplayer online role-playing games like World of Warcraft have failed spectacularly, opting for commercial success instead of creative integrity, entertainment value, or compelling game design. If I were a shareholder, I'd be elated. Instead, as a guy who plays video games, I'm continually disappointed.

Yes, World of Warcraft failed every single day of the last four years by entertaining millions of people. You may think it takes audacity to make your broad statement, but I think it simply takes a lack of intelligence.

5) The problem: subscription fees

The business model behind MMOs drives the content, much like magazines (big glossy pictures!), episodic TV (tune in next week!), and blogs (5 reasons that [insert controversial statement]!). The main reason you won't get a better game design in an MMO is that it's created for the primary purpose of getting you to play regularly and therefore pay regularly. Every element of an MMO needs to prevent you from canceling the regular charge to your credit card. MMOs that attempt that other business model - the dreaded micropayments beloved by Koreans and Electronic Arts - are even worse for how transparent they are.

A subscription fee imposes creative limitations. It also carries a lot of psychological baggage. Signing up for a recurring fee keeps players from sampling - and certainly committing to - more than one or two MMOs. Paying a one-time cost for a videogame is much more friendly to those of us who want to sample lots of games, and therefore much more friendly to the industry at large. It's much easier to pick up a few games at a time, or even to make an impulse purchase, when you can just leave a game lying around until you're ready to try it. But subscription fees shut out alternatives. There's even an element of guilt that comes with a subscription fee. Like having cable, you might feel compelled to play because you're paying and not because you're actually enjoying it.

What needs to be done to fix it: The subscription fee is brilliant, insidious, and tremendously effective. It is single-handedly responsible for the immense success of MMOs. I have no idea how to overcome that sort of fiscal momentum. I have no answers here.

There is no reason to fix it. The subscription fee pays for the overhead required to run the game, continuing patch and content development, and other costs associated with keeping the game running. There are so many examples of games that have been pushed to market and abandoned, glaring bugs left unfixed because the budget is gone and the developers have been moved to something else. You cannot do that with an MMO, or it dies and you make nothing.

If people have issues paying subscription fees or feeling obligated because they do, well, that's on them.

4) The problem: aggro

There is no analog for this in real videogames. It's a clunky contrivance, presumably created to keep life interesting for the poor schmucks who get stuck playing the cleric. But this awkward concept is the source of many of the gameplay tropes that keep MMOs from being interesting. Consider how the classes for an MMO are designed around the concept of a tank holding aggro while a DPS class attacks the target, a mezzer holds back adds, and a healer heals the tank, all while the players manage some invisible under-the-hood aggro values that determine which player gets attacked. None of this was in Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, or Ladyhawke with Matthew Broderick? Why is this the starting point for every single MMO battle?

This artifice plays a large part in building game worlds. How often have you sidled through some enemy camp hoping to skirt the aggro radius for a monster? If you weren't so conditioned to navigating aggro, you'd feel pretty stupid walking around, hidden in plain sight, while orcs shuffle through their idle animations twenty feet to your right and left. Remember when you were unsullied enough that it occurred to you how retarded this was? Those were the days.
What needs to be done to fix it: Search me. Someone hurry and invent a new gameplay model that doesn't rely on aggro.

Are you daft? Go ahead and pull your head out of your ass, I'll wait.

Aggro - short for aggravation - is a made up system for dealing with a very real phenomenon.

How do you replicate the way a real life bear reacts to a group of people tromping around in the woods near its young? What would a real bear do? It would probably attack whoever was closest to its young first, right? Then who would it go after? The next closest person, as a matter of convenience. Unless someone was running away, then it might attack that person next to prevent them from escaping, or it might attack someone who was shouting at it to draw it away from his injured buddy.

In MMOs, aggro represents the same variables. Aggro radius represents an artificial way of replicating how far away an animal or monster would notice someone walking near it and attack out of fear or malice, or in other words, perception.

Every sample listed does, in fact, have examples of aggro. Gimli, Aragorn, and Borimir taunting the troll in Moria so that it attacked them and not the hobbits. Fighters in D&D keeping the monsters from attacking the rest of the party (which, by the way, is where MMOs got the concept of their classes and aggro from). Matthew Broderick getting attacked by everything because his douchy-ness made him a target. (OK, I twisted that one slightly.)

In fact, how do other game genres determine which player gets attacked over another? Aggro. The guy shooting draws more fire than his partner sneaking above in the rafters. The guy with the heavy machine gun draws the other teams fire first. Aggro!

3) The problem: button lock

Skills, levels, gear, talents, and blah blah blah are required to add depth to MMOs, but they're based on such razor-thin margins of where you're allowed to go and what monsters you should be fighting at any given time that the gameplay comes down to wanking around with numbers for hit points, damage, refresh rate, mana, and so on. Apartheid by math. As a result, the typical battle in an MMO is a matter of staring at an icon that indicates when your skill will refresh. Stare, wait, press. Stare, wait, press. Stare, wait, press. Okay, now loot. Next! All that wondrous combat animation gone to waste, unwatched. All that potential immersion and world building, reduced to a row of tiny buttons.

I like detail. It keeps me interested. I just don't want it shoved in my face during what should be the most exciting part of a game.

What needs to be done to fix it: Can someone replace all the math with action? Is there some way to do this? Is it even possible? Or should I just stick to Diablo?

Button lock is actually a problem. Rather than enjoy the graphics and animations, I have to pay attention to cooldowns on buttons, health bars, and other distracting GUI elements.

The only solution that I can come up with cannot yet be satisfactorily implemented in a game with so many people depending on timely information being transmitted to and from a server. Therefore, it's plausible that 0thers in the industry have also contemplated this problem and solution and come up with the same roadblock: Based on current technology, it's just not feasible at this time.

The solution? Get rid of the majority of the GUI. When I am ready to attack, I raise my sword slightly. When I swing, I move something other than a mouse to do so interactively. When my character is ready to swing again, I can tell by the fact that he has moved his weapon back to the ready position. Different movement causes different attacks. When I am injured, I can see that I am injured. When my arm falls off, I know that I need to be healed by the priest. When I fall over clutching my stomach and vomit, I know I've been poisoned. Everyone is working towards this level of interactivity, but we're just not there yet.

2) The problem: static worlds

So you kill a boss and then three minutes later he's respawned and walking around waiting for the next guy to kill him. Heck, he might just attack you again if you don't hurry out of there and turn the quest in. At which point the quest giver thanks you and delivers some text implying that something has changed, only to turn around and talk to the next guy as if nothing had ever happened. Unlike single-player games, MMOs are baldly frozen in a static state. Princesses are never rescued, villains are never slain, evil is never vanquished. The thousands of players on any given server are all heroes, each unable to effect any sort of meaningful change in the world, forever unable to save it because that would just screw up everything for the next guy to do the quest.

What needs to be done to fix it: Beats me. You can't very well have evil get vanquished by the first hero to come along. Is this just an innate problem by virtue of the word "massively" in the genre?

Again, you're bitching about something that we're just not able to do with our level of technology. This is akin to me complaining that I wanted to take a lightspeed cruise to Alpha Centauri on my honeymoon, but had to settle for Hawaii instead. The technology simply isn't available.

And it's not like developers aren't already taking baby steps towards this end. Guild Wars puts people in different times during their games history, depending on how far along the quest lines the players have progressed. World of Warcraft recently started doing the same thing. Hero's Journey - if it ever gets published - planned on not only allowing you to complete quests and move your story along, but to fail them as well, and still be able to continue with that failure.

1) The problem: you can't play with the people you want to play with

This is the single biggest failing of MMOs. For all the talk of community and social gaming and massively multiplayer, the average MMO makes very specific demands in terms of whom you can play with. Grouping depends heavily on what level you are and where you are in a quest chain and sometimes even your skill level. It's difficult to build an MMO community around people you know if - as is most likely the case - they have different playing habits.
And yet there is no better reason to play an MMO. As with almost any game, an MMO is better in a group, and it's even better if you know the group, and it's best of all if they're your real world friends. But here is the irony: there is no genre of videogaming more hostile to gathering with the people you know than MMOs. For shame.

What needs to be done to fix it: Something. Anything. For pete's sake, if I can't play with my friends, I'm just going to go mess around with horde mode in Gears of War 2.

This is not actually even a problem with the genre. This is a ridiculous point. I can't name one multiplayer game that I always got to play with my friends when I wanted. Counter Strike? I'd often end up on the opposite team, or not able to get into a server my friends were on because it was full. Diablo? Sorry, only so many slots available. You can't even tell me all of my friends would fit on one Gears of War server.

MMOs are actually far ahead on that count. If you log into WoW and you never get to group with your friends, it's because your friends don't actually want to play with you. Otherwise, nothing stops them from having a character your level to play with, or bringing their higher levels characters in to help you out.

Should you wish to write top five lists, perhaps you should start with the top 5 reasons Tom Chick don't know dick about MMOs.