Thursday, January 30, 2020

Man, the Sleep took a-hold of me this morning and instead of trying to fight it off, I let it run wild. I didn’t have anything I had to do today besides go to the gym, and I don’t really like doing that any way. I need to go, don’t get me wrong, and I recognize that, but you will never get me to enjoy it.

One of the reasons is because I stayed up way too late last night playing Wasteland 2. I got a gift copy from Good Old Games a month or so back – thanks, by the way – and finally got around to messing with it last night. For background, the original Wasteland was one of big names in early computer gaming and, apart from everything else, was the inspiration of the famous Fallout series. Indeed, Fallout in its original top-down form was often called the “spiritual successor to Wasteland“.

It’s a pretty apt description, though Wasteland a bit more grounded than Fallout and lacks some of the latter’s gonzo charm. To be fair, I really haven’t been able to get into the first two Fallout games, so I should probably give them another shot. Fallout: New Vegas is one of my all-timers, mainly because the protagonist isn’t the Sole Survivor or the Lone Wanderer. S/he’s just someone trying to finish a job. That always appeals to me more than being a Chosen One. Becoming a big player is one thing; having it pre-ordained is quite another.

Anyhow, in 2014 game developer inXile Entertainment Kickstarted funding for a sequel, one of the site’s largest campaigns to date. In a nutshell, the games take place after a nuclear holocaust has done what nuclear holocausts do. Set in the Arizona desert – the idea that geographic isolation would be to the survivors’ benefit after aforementioned holocaust – it centers around the remnants of a group of Army engineers who police the wasteland as the Desert Rangers, protecting the populace from the raiders, punks, bandits, and mutants that invariably populate apocalyptic, post-nuclear scenarios.

A turn-based, top-down RPG a la Pillars of Eternity or the Shadowrun series, the player can create up to four Rangers with different skills and abilities, from gun experts to medicos to safe crackers, and there is a fairly enjoyable set of side quests and things to dig into as the game progresses. inXile does a pretty good job revitalizing old IP’s. Their 2004 effort based on The Bard’s Tale is massive amounts of fun, giving fun game play while poking non-stop fun at RPG tropes and cliches.

Well, that’s enough of that. Let’s look at the News. Another day of Impeachment trundles along and continues to embarrass us all that things got to this point. It seems the Republican Senators who were seriously considering voting to allow witnesses in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump are starting to vacillate away, because we all believed they would. In any event, the Q&A part wraps up tomorrow and, if witnesses aren’t allowed, that might be that.

A couple of funny notes. Kentucky senator and legacy hire Rand Paul pitched a fit today when Chief Justice John Roberts refused to allow his question on the floor. It’s said it was another attempt of his to squeal on just who the Whistle blower is, undoubtedly so some patriotic American can punish them for daring to cross God-Emperor Trump. He then goes out to whine to reporters and spread some bullshit about a person pro-Trump news sources have been trying to hang the “Whistle blower” on. Time will tell if this bites Paul in the ass, but since he’s one of Trump’s main thugs, it probably won’t.

Speaking of bullshit from right-wing news sources, laughably ridiculous wingnut rag The Washington Examiner published a story that claimed Bernie Sanders referred to infamous segregationist kiss-ass politician George Wallace as “sensitive” to people’s needs and, of course, the internet went fucking nuts. The story refers back to a 1972 interview with the Brattleboro Reformer during his run for governor of Vermont as the Liberty Union Party candidate. The story in question also notes Sanders compared Wallace’s politics to Hitler’s, and the very conditions in 1920 Germany that helped Hitler gain power is similar to the strife in 1960’s Alabama that Wallace took advantage of to run for governor four times.

Long story short, people who hate Sanders have another reason to hate him and his fanatics have another thing to ignore. Sanders spokes people note that this is an example of Sanders warning people of demagogues like, say, Donald Trump and should be considered as such. In the grand scheme of things, I don’t think it’ll move the needle much and, in any event, one must remember The Washington Examiner is absolute trash, fit only for patching holes in one’s shoe.

Finally, the ongoing spread of the Novel Coronavirus strain, which has resulted in 213 deaths worldwide, has been declared a health emergency by the World Health Organization. As of writing, scientists are still unable to get a handle on just what the virus is or what can be done about it. This has, of course, led to rampant stupidity from the washed horde. Facebook and Twitter dingbats are claiming disinfectant products from Lysol and Clorox will cure the outbreak, while the Q bunch apparently is suggesting followers to drink bleach. And why not.

Following the general quackery from people who think a quick glance at WebMD makes them medical geniuses is a massive dollop of outright racism towards the Chinese people and Asians in general. Your Twitter edgelord racists are having a grand old time with Hazmat suits and incredibly clever “jokes” about what Chinese people eat, since the virus originated in the Wuhan District which provides China with most of its meat.

It should be noted that while the Coronavirus is as yet unknown and uncontrollable, which itself is fairly unsettling, the common ordinary flu has already killed 8,000 people this year. Indeed, most of the deaths from Coronavirus occur with older folks and people with already damaged immune systems. Basically, so long as you wash your hands and do all that you’d normally do to keep from getting a cold, you’re okay, so calm down. People who know what they’re doing are working on it and shitting yourself in fear does no one any good whatsoever. Oh, and no, there’s no evidence it was engineered for neferious purposes by the Chinese government. They’re being secretive and trying to contain information because that’s what Chinese governments have done for nearly 2,000 years. It’s their thing.

Okay, that’s enough. As a part of what’s apparently turned into The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy week here on the Hill, the excellent YouTube channel Biographics’ latest offering is a lovely exploration of the book’s mad genius Douglas Adams. Informative, entertaining and devastatingly melancholy in some parts, these guys do a great job making biographies real and this is no exception. Check it out. Also, look into Wasteland 2 if it sounds like your cup of meat. It’s well done and entertaining. And that’s that.

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