The Exigent Duality
Spla2oon - 15:45 CDT, 3/24/17 (Sniper)
Impressions, from the first hour period of the Splatoon 2 open beta:

  1. It "feels" like a sequel: It's equatable to the Mega Drive leap from Sonic to Sonic 2; it's certainly the same formula, with the same core physics, and the same basic aesthetic-- but with spruced up graphics, tweaked audio direction, brand new stages, new menu sounds and animations, to go along with new "fringe" mechanics.

  2. The lack of a dedicated map is palpable: Keeping one eye on the gamepad at all times was an integral part of the Splatoon experience on the Wii U-- and it's gone. Teleporting, which used to take a single screen tap, now involves several consecutive key presses, along with scrolling a cursor around the (totally obstructive when open) map.

  3. The content on display integrates well: The two maps in the open beta have the qualities that distinguished the best stages from the first game; namely, they are simple, balance visibility with verticality, and lack single chokepoints. The new dual-wielded weapon, along with its dodging and jetpack mechanic, fit the game so well it's hard to imagine that they weren't present in the first title.

In all, Splatoon 2's multiplayer is everything I could have wished for in a sequel; it takes what was good about the first game-- the aesthetic, the hilarious and original universe, the motion controls-- and amps them up.

While the "lack of dedicated map" bit is unfortunate, the new interface is perhaps the best possible solution given this new-found, "lack of a second screen" hardware limitation. And to be honest, this player was having more difficulties with the fact that "jump" was moved to the B button (from X, in the first title), than he was with the new map-- those damnable muscle memories!

The first game's single player was very clearly a bolted-on, extended tutorial. It would be amazing if the second game featured a bonafide, immersive experience for lone wolves. Questions also remain for how well this will play in handheld mode, since it would involve tilting the view screen itself; for the record, this participant was using the "pro controller", with the system docked, during his hour of play (to great effect-- this competitor hasn't lost the touch!).

On a personal note, the constant, heart-pounding intensity while playing games like this-- stemming from the unabating fear of not playing up to potential-- is such an undeniable deterrent to what would otherwise be a gloriously enjoyable experience, that it's a pity the angsty, disquieting butterflies can't be arrested (perhaps with a large psycho net!).
Counter-Critique - 18:12 CDT, 3/23/17 (Sniper)
A friend of mine has started a podcast, called "Objections to Objectivism". You can listen to his work-in-progress here. I think it's fantastic that the internet has been graced with more libertarian-oriented ethics exposition, so I highly encourage you, my dear reader, to at least give this one a try!

I've also provided my thoughts below; it's generally difficult for me to devote a lot of time to such a verbose analysis, and indeed I've even sworn off what inevitably leads to political-related discourse. But, the kids have been otherwise occupied tonight, and I slept well last night-- so I'll make an exception this once.

My thoughts

The first episode provides, to my ears, a solid summary of objectivism, which aligns with what my own understanding was going in. It was concise, and effective. I also really enjoyed my friend's calm style; it was fun hearing a voice that I know fairly well from in-person communication, in a novel setting!

The second episode attempts to provide critique of Ayn Rand's venerable philosophy by exploring the non-aggression principle. It succeeds, in that it got me so intellectually excited that I had to prematurely terminate my treadmill exercising, so that I could run to my PC and begin madly typing this very account! And indeed, perhaps that should be the very purpose of such podcasts: to stimulate discussion, and draw attention to meritorious-- however partially-- ideas!

But-- and engaged readers will surely have anticipated onrushing reservations-- I think this second episode somewhat misses its mark. Here is a hopefully interesting, entertaining counter-critique!

First, the podcaster misses Ayn Rand's biggest, most insoluble logical quandary, one which she was unable to reconcile-- because it is irreconcilable: one can not hold the non-aggression principle, and also support the State, at the same time.

The State, by definition, is funded through compulsory taxation, i.e. theft. Theft is a violation of the non-aggression principle. Further, most of the actions taken by the State's actors, even post-taxation, are initiating force, as I explain here.

I conjecture-- because I've seen the pattern before-- that the podcaster may have ignored this two-ton elephant in the room because he too holds a similar contradiction in his own mind. If he reads this counter-critique, perhaps he can provide clarification.

Second, the podcaster does a lot of what Ayn Rand called "philosophizing in midstream": creating hypothetical scenarios based on one set of premises, then bleaching away the context, and using it as a foundation for a counterargument.

The "some random guy is starving in the woods, is it ok for him to steal just a tiny bit of bread" is the most egregious example; the short answer is, it is not right for him to steal no matter how hungry he is.

But why was he starving? How did he wind up in the forest? Is it a post-apocalyptic setting, and the property claim on the hypothetical house has been relinquished through vaporization of its owner? Or is the to-be thief evil, and is justifiably and rightfully being shunned by the community's members?

I've played the "gotcha!", "silicon-based aliens land from Mars and use brain washing, confetti-shooting ray guns on people", "let's see how many increasingly extreme, context-starved examples we can come up with" game, and it is an infinite, madness-inducing, intellectual mirror-hall, rat's maze to nowhere, that could go on pretty much forever. I can only take it in small doses before I grow weary.

Third, the podcaster uses too many emotional ploys in his counterarguments. For instance, the "what if I could steal just a tiny bit from a billionaire", and give "life saving!" vaccinations to "desperate children!" What kind of a monster could reject such a proposition!

This kind of exposition is barely a whisker away from an outright ad hominem to those who would provide perfectly rational reasons why such a proposal is morally bankrupt, and probably even counter-productive. In other words, it's "back in the real world..."

And besides, committing evil is evil, because the "value" derived from the act is provably subjective in nature. Consequentalism is a logically self-defeating fool's errand approach to ethics, which is why it always needs to be rationalized with emotional language, to compensate for its lack of intellectual rigor.

Fourth, the non-aggression principle has been applied to many situations much more nuanced than those which emerged from the podcaster's florid imagination, by innumerable libertarians over time-- many of whom Ayn Rand herself was in frequent (and, interestingly, sometimes not too friendly) contact with.

As an overall course, it wasn't clear to me how trying to poke holes in the non-aggression principle was a criticism of Objectivism per se, since Ayn Rand merely adopted that principle from others, who I've personally read or heard explain all of the "holes" that the podcaster points out. It makes more sense to take objection with and seek answers from them, not Rand.

As a fun exercise, I've supplied a few of those explanations below.

Fifth, the presence of gray areas does not invalidate a principle; just because it's difficult to tell if someone committed murder in a given instance does not invalidate the principle that murder is wrong.

That's why, in the real world, States have court systems, and anarchist societies have non-binding arbitration and other forms of communal dispute resolution. The real world is complicated!

The podcaster devotes time to dismissing the non-aggression principle based on "where do you draw the line" argumentation. But this same argumentation is true of any ethical or legal-based system. Ask a jurist from any criminal trial why they and their peers deliberated for hours or days regarding their verdict; did the culprit actually perform fraud, when it was a fine line? Did the person actually escalate the tragic conflict? And so on.

Non-Aggression Principle explanations
  • Parenting is fully compatible with the non-aggression principle. Fellow contributor, Dude, once explained this compatibility in a post. I will re-articulate the argument here:

    1. Children have the value of life. If they didn't, they'd stop eating and keel over dead (as an infant), or kill themselves (as an older child)
    2. Children begin life totally unable to independently fulfill their value for life, yet gradually become more and more able to as they age
    3. When you do something immoral, you live with the consequences (people won't want to interact with you, you might be harmed via someone else's self-defense, and so on)
    4. When you do something moral, you get to live with the consequences (for example, obtain property rights over whichever discrete, physical thing you've made or labored upon)
    5. When you inflict life on a child, you live with the mandatory consequence of helping them fulfill their preference for life, only to the moment-to-moment, varying degree that they are unable to do so on their own, or until they are able to rationally express that they no longer value life
    6. Your assistance must follow the principle of proportionality; your forceful actions must never exceed the bare minimum required to help the child fulfill its value towards life-- just like during self-defense, where your forceful reaction must be the bare minimum required to neutralize the threat
    7. The same applies to a drunk man; an empiricist must conclude that the unconscious drunk values life, because he hasn't killed himself yet. You are not initiating force by pulling him out of the middle of the street
    8. You are also not obligated to do so, because that would imply a positive right-- positive rights are logical impossibilities
    9. The same thing applies to the mentally ill; whomever inflicted life upon them is obligated forever, as the child never obtains the ability to reason. Absent a genetic caretaker, someone else could "homestead" the mentally disabled person, and take on that responsibility, if they so choose (and as is frequently the case with voluntary, charitable organizations)

  • Loud music-- merely annoying, or potentially even deadly, air vibrations-- is a form of property violation, just like combustion smoke, the kinetic force of a bomb explosion, or the poisoning of a well. The exact same logic applies to noise as it does to any of these other forms of aggression.

    Specifically, one is morally within their rights to act in self-defense, according to the law of proportionality-- meaning, the use of the minimal amount of force needed to counter the severity of the threat.

    Maybe the victim can sleep with ear-blocking mechanisms on, if the music-- the air vibrations-- are mild? "Pick your battles", as the wise say. More severe vibrations could require dispute resolution; the vast majority of neighbors' self-interest will compel them to merely turn the volume down, for a plethora of social-fabric driven motivations.

    Extreme cases, where the vibrations could shatter ear drums or break windows, call for the same kind of self-defense that would an active gunman situation. Fortunately in the real world, those cases are extraordinarily rare.

  • Intellectual property, the ultimate oxymoron, is a topic which I've utterly debunked here. Besides the arguments presented therein, "theft" means to deprive someone of a physical possession; by definition, you can't "steal" someone's ideas, or words, because they still retain their copies.

    Really, "intellectual property" is born from the provably fallacious, classical liberalism notion of the "labor theory of value", which was adopted by such intellectual heavyweight luminaries as Karl Marx (no sarcasm at all intended here, I assure you).

  • Lying; you can't universalize it, therefore, it cannot be moral to lie-- in fact, lying is a violation of the victim's natural rights.

    Fraud is lying; it is the reneging of a previously, voluntarily-entered upon contract. It is an initiation of force, because it violates others' natural rights.

    When you exchange goods with someone else-- for example, if you sell a product that you've made-- you are entering into a contract with the other party, where they are acting according to the terms set forth in the agreement. One such term is the stated quality, or condition of the product.

    If you have misrepresented that quality or condition, you have violated the contract that you have made, committing fraud (lying) in the process.

  • Preemptive force; it is not the initiation of force to hypothetically hurt someone in the future, in the same way that one can not claim ownership of a house in the hypothetical case that they might buy it in the future.

    The only exception-- and this is an excellent (and unfortunately somewhat rare) intersection of the American judicial system pillars, and natural law-- is that you aren't providing a real and imminent threat to their property. In fact, this notion dates even back to English common law.

    Unfortunately, the favorable intersection ends there: clearly, simply driving a car is not an initiation of force. Swerving a car towards a pack of pedestrians is, in the same way that pointing a loaded gun at them, or actively trying to knife them with a machete, or pointing an armed nuclear missile at them, is.

    Each action needs to be evaluated separately. "Speeding" harms no one; ramming into their vehicle does. Assuming otherwise leads to the kind of confusion that the podcaster was exhibiting; to the kind of "worldly irrationalities" of which Kant warned when trying to universalize a mistaken principle.

  • Consequentalism; On the prior bullet's note, and with regards to ethics, consequentialism is an invalid form of reasoning, because value preferences are subjective.

    The podcaster asks if one should balance force, with "benefit". But he doesn't define "benefit"; what one person views as "beneficial", another will view as "harmful".

    Whenever someone says that the State should steal, or that initiating force is "worth it" (to use the podcaster's language) because it's "beneficial", that someone is injecting-- sometimes unconsciously (as I'm sure is the case with the podcaster), other times malevolently-- their own subjective values, and are assuming the (illegitimate) authority to impose those values on everyone else, at gun point.

    This is why Ayn Rand was rightfully opposed to the notion of the "common good"-- it presupposes what "good" is; it sneaks unspoken, subjective values in through the back door. People often fall for these claims, because they aren't attentive or vigilant enough to notice the parlour trick. Josef Stalin called these kinds of people "useful idiots".

    The podcaster uses the example of preventing a "foolish accident". Note the value-loaded term: "foolish"-- but with no accompanying explanation as to what "foolish" entails, nor an acknowledgement that what appears foolish to one man, is perfectly in line with another man's subjective value preferences.

    Everyone thought that this writer was foolish for attempting to drive a rear-wheel drive sports car through the Minnesota winters. And yet, subjectively, he was willing to trade perceived safety, for driving engagement. Incidentally, the car has wound up being a marvel to drive in snow, proving the "foolish" notions to be outright incorrect!

  • The infamous trolley car! I'm ending with this one, because it's one of my all-time favorites!

    If I had a dollar every time someone brought up the trolley car, and how it was so obviously great to choose to run over a single person people instead of multiple (or to push the fat slob over the bridge-- there are so many variations of this theme that I've lost count), I'd be living on a beach somewhere!

    In reality, the moral act is to leave the switch alone, for the simple, irrefutable reason that it's impossible to cardinally rate the value of human lives; is running over a single person still better, if the multitude contains a miraculously resurrected Adolf Hitler amongst their number? What if the "multiples" group contains mere janitors, whereas the one is a renowned brain surgeon?

    The podcaster says that it's "intuitive" to kill the few over the many. The use of such a squishy term is an admission that there is no logical or moral way to solve the quandary. The only permanent is that killing anyone is wrong-- which means to ignore the switch altogether.
Preserved, for posterity - 11:21 CDT, 3/20/17 (Sniper)
This is absolutely incredible: someone recorded themselves playing Quakeworld back in 1997, then preserved the recording this entire time!

For all I know, I was one of the people he was playing against in this video; from the day QTest hit to even after Quake 2 came out, I spent hundreds of hours playing Quake deathmatch. My 14 year-old self even ran a clan-- called "The Assassins", with the name suffix "[ASN]"-- with over fifty members at its peak! I organized all of the matches, maintained the roster, wrote and maintained the web site, and so on. I wish I had preserved the site... it used a frame for the menu, with animated GIFs that I'd made in some program in OS/2. I had a MIDI file of Yuzo Koshiro's "To Make the End of Battle" playing in the background, which became our defacto clan theme song...

I also continued my tradition-- established with Wolf3d and Doom-- of making first-person shooter levels. In fact, I remember the first ever custom level for Quake, which someone made by reverse-engineering how the engine's BSP code worked. It was just a single room, but I was blown away by it anyway.

My proudest moment was when I was recruited by one of the top clans in the country during an impromptu match, where I went toe-to-toe with one of their leaders. I wish I remembered the name of the clan, because I sure do remember the guy and his playing style... I turned him down though, I was kind of getting "out of the game" at that point, in lieu of Quake 2.
Magical - 18:52 CDT, 3/16/17 (Sniper)
Molyneux never ceases to amaze me with the advice he gives people. Out of all of the great videos he makes, nothing beats his call-in podcasts.

In maybe the dozen or so of these that I've listened to, he's given Earth-shatteringly, life-alteringly good advice, to the point where I think these people will look back sixty years from the time that they called in, and point back with a pocked, gnarled finger: "That was the moment that put my life on track."

In this one, even though my situation is different than the callers-- she's a woman, I'm a man, for starters-- this exposition from Molyneux hit me really poignantly, and articulates, better than I ever could myself, why I chose to get married and raise a family. My transcription:

"...they [people who have children] have purpose, they have a house full of laughter, and noise, and games, and mess... it's lived in; it's alive. There is a future; their children will grow strong, as they grow old. And they will have companions, they will have friendship, and they will have love, and they will have care as they age. And they will have grandchildren. And they will be sitting at the edge of a very full table.

And you, will be binge-watching Netflix, with some frozen shit on your lap... no one to cook for. Your house will be tidy, because there is no one there to mess it up-- there is no life to knock anything over! There are no stains, called 'existence'..."
Nintendo Scratch - 18:39 CDT, 3/14/17 (Sniper)
I brought my Switch into work today, and under the auspices of the office's overhead lighting I noticed several small scratches up and down the bevel that circumscribes the screen.

I tried to capture them with my phone's camera, but not being a photographer I couldn't get the scratches in focus. Fortunately, I found a picture of someone else's unit, with nearly identical marks:

Lo and behold, I got home and inspected the dock: as it turns out, if you view it exactly from the side, it's visibly bent inward at the top-- as in, the opening's distance at its peak is much smaller than at the bottom:

For better visibility, I removed the "joy-cons", and from a profile vantage, I slid the Switch into the dock as slowly and gently as possible-- and sure enough, the plastic rails for the entire first third or so of the system's travel make continuous contact with the screen as the system lowers. There is no way to avoid the contact-- it's physically too tight of a fit.

I think I know the cause too: the front panel has a discrete, inner piece of plastic-- and if you bend the outer portion of the dock outwards with your hands, it flexes along that crease. I think during manufacturing, some of the docks' screws-- which hold these two plastic items together-- were torqued too much. You can reproduce this easily with other materials: even take two pieces of wood, and join them with screws so they are perpendicular: if you over-torque the screws, the vertical piece of wood will start to warp towards the pressure.

Frankly, I don't even care that my unit has scratches, and am going to just keep using the dock anyway; I can just manually flex the plastic outwards with one hand, and use the other hand to maneuver the system.

If I get adventurous, I may try removing the front panel altogether, although Nintendo insisted on using these really bizarre "safety" screws, for which I lack a driver. Which is why I prefer PCs-- they are 100% standardized and modular. In fact, most of them are "tool-free" now, with the proliferation of thumb screws.

But despite my apathy, I can easily see others with bent docks never buying a Nintendo product again because of this issue.
Literal icicle disaster - 18:18 CDT, 3/12/17 (Sniper)
I've basically seen teams go straight from Serie C1, to Serie B, to Serie A in consecutive seasons, and I have never in my life seen such a team concede eleven goals in their first two games in the top flight. In fact, has that ever happened in the modern footballing era?

It's so bad that it's difficult to even put it into words. The largest issue is that Adrian Heath seems utterly clueless; as I pointed out after the last thrashing, the team should have been built and trained to sit back, in two giant banks, and get goals on the break. Instead, the team bought winger after winger after winger, and subsequently is trying to play in an expansive attacking manner...

Imagine if Crotone had tried to play "as equals" this season: their -27 goal difference after 28 match weeks would be more like -70.
Drudgery - 16:07 CDT, 3/12/17 (Sniper)
I'm officially done with "Breath of the Wild".

I tried really hard to find the game's bright spots, and wrote a very fair and balanced review. But the game is just so boring; there simply isn't an ample enough positive feedback loop to make any of the game's activites worthwhile, so it just devolves into a depressing slog.

I've gotten to the point where I'm finding shrines, and actually having the internal conversation of whether it's even worth my time to do it. Much less combat-- I just run past all of the enemies now-- or hunting, where I perpetually have a full inventory of cooked food. The story isn't even remotely engaging, so pursuing the main quest line serves no purpose. What's left?

I think I'm going to either reinstall "Mad Max" and start over in that game, or go back to "Dragon's Dogma: Dark Arisen".
The other way - 08:55 CDT, 3/11/17 (Sniper)
It's interesting to note that the phenomenon I wrote about in my previous post works in reverse too.

"Mad Max", a game which I loved and to which I gave 4.5 / 5 stars, ran a mediocre-to-dismal 73.72% on Gamerankings, from professional reviewers-- while simultaneously accumulating a 91% positive opinion from actual people who bought and played the game.

Once again, the mainstream game media reviews are way off base, while the user ones are very reflective of the actual quality of the game.
Faux critique - 13:31 CDT, 3/10/17 (Sniper)
When it comes to political or economic news, the "fake news" mainstream media is notorious for their lack of objectivity. I'm finding the same to be true of professional video game outlets when it comes to gaming-related subjects. Here are examples from just two games that I've been playing a lot of recently.

Total War: Warhammer (my review - 3.5 stars out of 5)
  • Summary: Really cool game conceptually, but has a number of major balance issues
  • Pro reviewers: It's running an 86%. Not one review I've read pointed out any of the issues within the game
  • User reviews: Only 69% view the game positively. This is amongst actual people who have bought and played the game. Skimming even just a handful of these reviews paints a very fair, balanced picture of the game's strengths, and its sometimes serious issues-- plus some obnoxious DLC policies that plagued the game at launch

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild (my review - 4 stars out of 5)
  • Summary: Solidly designed open world game, but kind of bare bones compared to its contemporaries
  • Pro reviewers: It's running a record-setting 98%. Reviews are universally gushing; everyone should name their first-born kid after this game
  • User reviews: It's running a 7.6 amongst actual people who have bought and played the game. Skimming even just a handful of these reviews paints a very fair, balanced picture of the game's strengths, and its shortcomings. A good example is here.

Having sunk a significant number of hours into these two games, then looking back, the professional reviews are utterly worthless at painting an accurate picture of what the games' experiences are like. Conversely, the reader reviews are extraordinarily reflective of my own experiences with both titles.

There was a time in the near past-- perhaps as recently as ten years ago?-- where I thought professional reviews were very helpful. From here on, I'm not even going to bother looking at these "fake news" critiques, and just skip to the user reviews directly.
Musings - 10:00 CDT, 3/10/17 (Sniper)
My brother-- fellow contributor, Dude-- just sent me this, with regards to minarchism. Bold emphasis is mine:

"The common denominator with minarchists is that they don't understand the basic nature of social organization. They say that before the government, the world is a 'war of all against all', wherein there's no respect for property and contracts are impossible to enforce because everyone's a filthy savage. Naturally, the solution is that all the savages gather together, form a government via contract and expect everyone to respect its property rights by paying taxes (because taxes are the government's property, you know, and tax evasion is theft!)

But I thought the savages didn't respect property or contracts. How could they agree to form a government based on those concepts?

Of course, society is actually the product of people sharing values in common, such as the value of democracy, or of property rights, or of fending off predators, disease and starvation. But I don't think I'm being fair, as the minarchists haven't crossed that [logical] bridge yet. Apparently the government didn't build it for them."

On consequentalism (bold emphasis is mine, once again):

"Consequentialism has always seemed like a snake oil ideology to me; it claims its only value to be 'the greatest good for the most people', but that's plainly impossible - in order to maximize 'goodness' for the most people, you must first have an idea of what 'goodness' is. In other words, consequentialism always has some other value implicitly baked into it (or sneaked in, if you're cynical). So if you're trying to discuss a fundamental ethical issue... and they reject it on consequentialist grounds, you should call them out for assuming some value that hasn't been established yet in your [their] chain of reasoning. At worst, they're begging the question and giving you a terrible headache."
Cases in point - 18:48 CDT, 3/08/17 (Sniper)
A couple of people have asked me for concrete examples of what I meant in this post, when I wrote:

"...when someone is being irrational, or a jerk, I am faced with a cross roads: do I call them out on it, in the hopes that they won't do that behavior any more? Or do I walk on egg shells, and interact with them in just such a way that they won't hurt me with their neuroticism?

When I call people out, it's a disaster... but when I don't call people out, I feel like a punching bag, subject to the whims of all of the jerks around me. And the difference between me and other adults, is that I never developed the cynical, spiteful, calloused layer around me, in the same way that children haven't yet-- so bad things tend to hit me right where it hurts, just like they do with kids."

Here are two concrete examples, from just this week-- both about people who are clueless as to the existence of this blog, thankfully:
  1. There is a smart, insightful gal I've been having lunch with off and on recently. She is hardly a bully-- in fact, she's very kind. But the above principle still applies, in that she's in her mid-twenties, and like most people her age she frequently invokes fallacies like confusing collectives with real entities, and notions of "the common good"-- so frequently in fact, that I'm afraid it's a big part of her world view.

    Regular readers of this blog are probably laughing by this point, as they know that for me, being continuously exposed to this kind of banter would be like an avowed atheist constantly having Bible verses recited to him, through gritted teeth. Or vice-versa-- a devout Christian being continually told that God doesn't exist.

    I could instantly entangle this gal with a single question: "If 51% of the population enslaves the other 49%, is that for the common good?"

    I know it would ensnare her, because I've posed this question several times before to other people, and every time I wound up cornering them by the end of the conversation, and they in turn wound up hating my guts. I don't desire that outcome in this instance, nor do I even have the energy for such arguments anymore.

    It's an insoluble catch-22-- do I bite my tongue, or not? Some people might suggest that I simply stay away from her. But I do enjoy her company, in net! Is it wrong to want friends?

    Some might even suggest that I gently and gradually introduce her to libertarian concepts-- to which I direct such readers to this post. That, and I suspect it would backfire: "Never talk religion or politics with other people", as the age-old wisdom goes. I've already ruined one friendship in my life by broaching politics; it's like a Pandora's Box-- once you open it, there's no going back.

  2. There is a chat client at work called "Skype for Business". I refuse to use it.

    The company once sent a slew of new employees-- including myself-- to a miniature conference called "Getting Things Done", which was taught by an office productivity guru, who had written many books, and was generally very qualified on the subject.

    His advice was to turn off anything that could cause windows to suddenly pop up on your screen-- including Outlook's "You have a new message!" notifications, which are enabled by default. He even provided the audience with printed-out instructions on how to disable them! His complementary advice: "Open Outlook once per half hour to catch up on email-- but certainly not more often, and hopefully less often, than that."

    I followed his advice, and it was revelatory for my productivity.

    So, having some program running in the background which gives anyone in the entire company the ability to open popup windows on my desktop at the press of a button is the most intrusive, antithetical thing I can possibly imagine. Thus, I don't run the client.

    And no one cares-- except, on every team there is that one person who is basically a troll, and who can't help but continuously point out that I don't have it running, even when they are sitting five feet away from me in the office. And sure enough, there is that one guy on my new team. I've explained my reasons rationally, to him and to the other trolls, but to no avail. What's more, in total and sheer hypocrisy, one day this particular troll told me that I was being too "grabby" because, being new, I asked him for help with something.

    So, as was the case with the gal above, I could instantly ensnare this guy with one sentence: "I can run it if you like, but maybe you're just being too grabby?"

    He has it coming. And is it fair that he constantly presses and expresses himself, in sometimes not-so-friendly ways, yet I just have to sit and take it? And yet, if I actually would say that to him, it would permanently end our professional working relationship. I can't afford that-- he's a key member of my team.

    Again, it's an insoluble catch-22.

Other people are like porcupines: I might be interested in having some form of connection with them-- either a friendship, or at least functioning work relationship-- but when I get close to them, I find myself getting continuously prickled. And I have no clue how to set healthy boundaries-- such as, how to express myself in such a way that it won't utterly ruin any chance of future exchange.

To the point, of course, where it's easier to just avoid people altogether! They're way more hassle than they're worth-- especially since, as I wrote here, I genuinely enjoy my time alone, with my mind.
First batch - 11:58 CDT, 3/08/17 (Sniper)
My first two Switch reviews are now live!
Evolving Switch opinions, from day two - 19:09 CDT, 3/04/17 (Sniper)
Fellow Exigent Duality contributor Dude brought his Switch over, and it was then that it truly hit us: between our two systems and two pro controllers, we could do six player across two systems, just sitting at a table and using the built-in kickstands.

I played a few races in Fast Racing RMX on his unit, by simply pulling my Switch out of the dock, and dropping his in-- talk about elegant! The game, meanwhile, has loads of content, and plays even better than its predecessor on the Wii U.

We then moved on to Bomberman, which is turning out to be phenomenal. And I got out of the opening area in Breath of the Wild, and that game is really starting to impress me as well.

In short, I'm becoming enamored with the Switch. Especially with kids-- I can just ad-hoc grab it, walk out of the room, play for five minutes, suspend it to help the kids with something, resume play instantly... then when I get a kids break, I drop it in the dock and grab the pro controller...

It's the perfect system for the busy parent!
Click - 07:58 CDT, 3/04/17 (Sniper)
Against all odds, I walked into a Target yesterday and got a Switch, right off the shelf! One of my brothers is going to buy the other-- the one that arrives on Tuesday-- from me.

I really like the system so far, although it looks silly as it's so wide due to the large bevel around the screen. "Breath of the Wild" is a fairly competent game loop-oriented open world game so far, even if it's not up there with the best I've played-- with "Mad Max" probably marking the high point. There are also some significant framerate issues in 900p when running in TV mode.

Overall, the graphics coming from the system look a lot like what I'm used to on my phone, which has a fairly powerful GPU-- so that's a good thing. Except unlike my phone, this thing has physical buttons!

I still can't shake the feeling that maybe I'd have been better off pouring this money into my PC; it's cool to have a handheld again-- first time for me since the PSP, really-- but I'm not sure the experience offers enough positive to make up for all of the major disadvantages when compared to my GTX 1070 / 4K TV combination. Am I really having more fun with a 900p, 20 fps Zelda title than I would with a 4K / 50-60 fps "Mass Effect: Andromeda"?

But, I'll give Bomberman a shot sometime today, plus review the list of upcoming games once again.
Icicle disaster! - 07:41 CDT, 3/04/17 (Sniper)
A few observations I made during Minnesota United's drubbing against Portland last night:
  • The MLS' seriousness and standard of play has increased significantly in the decade or so that I've completely ignored the league. Last night's match started with a massive, Italian-style choreography, and the play was intense, with loads of pressing. It still doesn't seem to be a particularly tactical league though-- but perhaps that will come.

  • It was really weird seeing Lawrence Olum play. I still have the old options file for whichever version of Pro Evo it was archived on my hard drive somewhere, where I'd made Thunder for that season-- kits and all, including Olum. He played in a holding role for us, and had excellent quality. I was sad to see him leave. I hadn't heard his name since then, and I had no idea he was still playing football.

  • Vadim Demidov is a total disaster. He was partially or mostly at fault for pretty much all five goals, constantly misjudging balls in the air, getting wrong side of his men, and just generally looking totally overwhelmed and off the pace. I've seen this song and game before, so believe me I know the signs: Lazio have acquired many centerhalves-- Diego Novaretti, Mauricio, Milan Bisevac to name but a few-- whose resumes have suggested that they have something to give, but wound up being totally hapless. Demidov's performance last night was eerily "deja vu" for me. Unfortunately, Heath decided to appoint Demidov captain, putting the former into a corner.

  • Christian Ramirez is totally indispensible. The attack look revolutionized with his introduction, and of course, he proved that his goal scoring skills translate to the higher caliber of play. Ramirez looked totally off the pace in pre-season, while Johan Venegas looked superb-- but in an actual competitive match, it was exactly the opposite. It just goes to show that you can't read too much into friendlies.

  • Unfortunately, I can't extend the same praise to fellow-NASL'er Justin Davis, who I just don't think can cut it at this level. He improved in the second half, but I think that's because Portland had backed off and were playing on the counter. In the first half in particular, Davis was playing way too narrow-- as he's always been apt to do-- and was otherwise caught out over and over again, looking totally overwhelmed by the pace of this higher standard of play. The incoming jerome Thiesson should "solve" the right back spot, but I suspect we'll need a new left back as well, sooner rather than later. Davis has been my long-time favorite United player, so this is a painful admission for me to make.

  • As soon as I saw the shape, I knew that there was a distinct possibility of Portland scoring boat loads of goals-- which is exactly what came to pass. I get that a 4-3-3 enables the team to have Saeid, Warner, and Schuller-- our three defensive-most midfielders-- on the pitch at the same time. But our winging players are simply not talented or pacey enough to pick the ball up wide and beat their men, nor does the shape allow us to be compact enough. It left Molino-- our best player by a mile-- isolated. Plus, Venegas is best as a trequartista of sorts, and there is no such role in the 4-3-3. If Heath wants to pick up many points this season, he'd better do what Serie B teams do when they get promoted to Serie A: defend, defend, defend. Be compact, move as a team, get comfortable absorbing pressure, and try to nick a goal or so per game on the counter. Especially with a back line that-- Calvo aside-- is dreadful.
The good and the bad - 09:12 CDT, 3/03/17 (Sniper)
Cool video mantage of the derby victory here-- the fan kissing Olympia is fairly incredible imagery! That will be etched into my mind for a long time, as a classic Lazio moment. For those who want the actual highlights, those are here. I must have watched these about thirty five times. I'm so glad I left work early so I could catch the game live!

On another note, I'm a little disappointed that my Switch won't arrive until Tuesday. I pre-ordered on January 13 at 9:11 CST from, which was just a couple of hours after pre-orders went live across the world. Day one pre-order, nearly two full months before launch, and I don't even get one on launch day... *sigh*

I'd do the "drive around brickseek" thing, but I did that for weeks trying to get a Nintendo Classic back in December, so I'm totally burnt out on that whole game. I guess I'll just have to be patient for a few more days.
Bazinga! - 12:53 CDT, 2/28/17 (Sniper)
I had a really profound thought hit me a few moments ago: maybe I'm not actually the one who is fucked up-- maybe everyone else is?

And no, this isn't psychological projection-- Lord knows I'm so absurdly self-aware that I would realize this projection in a heart-beat if I were doing it. My thinking is based on pure reflection of my past life's experiences. In fact, I think what's been going on with me has been reverse projection, where I've been ascribing other peoples' issues onto myself. And this is why therapy wasn't particular productive, why I still haven't been able to "solve" my anxiety through my own insights, why I can't fix my insomnia-- I've held and been treating the wrong theory!

It makes sense that I would reverse-project too-- I put a lot of pressure on myself to do the right thing, so when something goes wrong, I always point the finger at myself first. So if I'm unhappy, clearly it means that I'm fucked up, and that it has nothing to do with anyone else. I'm like the kid whose parents get divorced, and the kid blames himself! So I spend a year in therapy, and all the therapist can tell me after all of that time is that I'm anxious-- yes, that was his prognosis-- then it can't mean that there actually wasn't even a problem there to solve: no, it must mean that the problem is even deeper within me!

To explain this new theory further, let me start with this: the only place where I've ever fit in was elementary school. I'd always assumed that it was because I had issues, and the place had a warm and caring environment, so I felt happy there. But actually, I think the real reason was because I was dealing with children all day, in the form of my classmates!

Even to this day, I could spend all day around kids and not get tired or anxious. I like children-- bullies aside (I'll get to them in a minute), children are authentic and natural, and aren't trying to be someone else. They aren't constantly judging you. They just are.

But by the time children hit their teenage years, suddenly they are hormonal and irrational, they feel the compulsive need to fit in, so they start to pretend that they are someone they are not... and by the time they are full-on adults, they have so many neurotic issues from these pretensions, that they become jaded and cynical, unfriendly and skeptical, constantly judging and making assessments about others. And in America where I live, nigh-on half of them are on all manner of prescription anti-depressants and other drugs.

Now, take the case of bully children: these are kids where something has gone horribly wrong in their lives, and their emotional trauma has caused them to shift on the spectrum towards adulthood at a premature age. So essentially, very nearly all adults are bullies-- and in the case of child bullies, they are merely premature adults, and hence premature bullies.

So how does this relate to me? Well, since adulthood I have literally never fit in anywhere. Why? Because everywhere I go, the people-- adults-- are either totally irrational, self-absorbed and arrogant, judgemental, temperamental, cold and unwelcoming, or most often, some crazy conconction of all of those traits thrown together! Whereas, I'm still just a child-- in a good way! I'm authentic, and very sensitive-- just like I was when I was two, or six, or ten years old. I remember many times in my adult life where other adults have openly laughed at me, because I was so unguardedly exhuberant about something.

As I've aged, I haven't changed-- the people around me have! This is a profound realization.

So, what types of incidents happen over and over in my adult life, interacting with other, totally neurotic adults? Well, in Myers-Briggs terms, I'm a super strong INTJ, in that I read situations and patterns really well-- I tend to see things how they are. And when someone is being irrational, or a jerk, I am faced with a cross roads: do I call them out on it, in the hopes that they won't do that behavior any more? Or do I walk on egg shells, and interact with them in just such a way that they won't hurt me with their neuroticism?

When I call people out, it's a disaster-- like the gun control class incident that regular readers will recall (my brother is a first-hand witness to how friendly I was in the confrontation), or the time I called out a project manager at work, and she passive-aggressively and behind my back contacted my manager. People don't like to hear the truth-- and they react even violently when confronted with it.

But when I don't call people out, I feel like a punching bag-- subject to the whims of all of the jerks around me. And the difference between me and other adults, is that I never developed the cynical, spiteful, calloused layer around me, in the same way that children haven't yet-- so bad things tend to hit me right where it hurts, just like they do with kids.

It's no wonder that I find social interaction-- with adults, mind you-- so exhausting! And it explains why I have anxiety too-- I can't even drive to the grocery store, shop, and check out without being bludgeoned by other people flicking each other off as they drive, acting irrationally annoyed because some item or another is out of stock, a cashier being a crabby jerk because they forgot to take their Prozac that morning, and so on.

It's a catch-22, in that I don't know if there is a solution, other than to try to raise my kids so that they don't become adult bullies, and to try-- where I can-- to influence other parents to not raise their kids into bullies as well. Maybe that way and some day, there will be a critical mass of rational, authentic people? But then, aren't I dooming my kids to the same kind of hyper-sensitivity that I have, because they too won't have the "fuck everyone else" neurotic defense layer?
Balance not achieved - 11:30 CDT, 2/28/17 (Sniper)
Two months ago I was on a team with too little process, and too much collaboration-- they wanted to have a dozen people sit around in a room and write code together. It was ridiculously inefficient, and resulted in unmaintainable code.

Now I'm on a team with too much process, and too little collaboration-- to the point where people act annoyed if you ask them a question. Meanwhile, the code has broken unit tests all over the place, methods with several dozen lines in them, .Net solutions with fifty (!) projects, and so on.

I can't win!

On the last team, I managed by attending the meetings, but basically checking out during them. On the current team, I'm going to have to manage by being a monkey that blindly follows the process, even if it results in poor code: fire off the commit and forget about it, baby.
Jammin' - 07:36 CDT, 2/28/17 (Sniper)
I'd say the earliest age where a typical kid would "get" the humor in Toejam & Early is probably five or six... yet, Duncan-- having never seen the game before-- was positively cracking up at it last night as we were playing two player. "Papa, Earth is like floating islands in space! What the heck!"

He was nearly crying at Toejam as the latter was about to fall off of a ledge: "Whoa! Whoa! Heh heh heh heh, whoa!" He also thought that Santa's rocket pack was hilarious. He was also highly amused when I showed him how, once in awhile, you can catch the mailbox monsters' eyes peeking out. Even the irony of a present containing something bad, like a rain cloud that electrocutes you with lightening, wasn't lost on him!
Defending - 18:21 CDT, 2/26/17 (Sniper)
I just finished watching the extended highlights of England's League Cup Final; I'd forgotten how absolutely terrible the defending is in England.

Like during Manchester United's second goal, mama mia-- that never would have happened in Italy. The central defenders had positioned themselves in the next county! Or what about during Ibrahimovic's winner? Where'd the centerhalves go, out to lunch? Or what about the bad tackling and ball watching during Gabbiadini's wrongfully disallowed goal? And speaking of Gabbiadini, who I remember as kind of a middling Serie A striker, looking like an English football hotshot!

Which brings me around to Lazio; squad values aside-- we'd be practically minnows if transplanted into the cash richPremier League, as-is-- I can't help but think we'd be challenging for the top spots, especially with the squad we have this season.

Lazio are playing the best football of the entire Lotito era right now, both from an anecdotal experience, but also in terms of points. Tactically, the way that we obtain and then keep possession, oftentimes pinning our opponents in their own 18 yard boxes for entire segments of games, is a sight to behold. And points-wise, this is the best total we've had at this stage in a season for something like sixteen years!

And yet, we were dependent on a dubious penalty to take down Udinese today, such is the insane organizational and defensive qualities of Italian sides. But with the kinds of defending you see in other leagues around the world, I can't help but think our constant pressure would create goals in waves.

My biggest conclusion is that what the present squad needs is some kind of creative force in midfield-- because good fundamentals are not good enough in Italy to consistently score goals; you need something totally unorthodox to unlock defenses.
Parallel development - 13:44 CDT, 2/24/17 (Sniper)
Henrietta turns seven tomorrow, and Duncan turns four at the end of next month. It's been really fun to watch how they are developing similarly, and differently.

Henrietta is up at the crack of dawn every morning, cleaning up the house, taking care of the various animals, or engaging in some kind of productive manner or another. Every school teacher she's ever had has emphasized how responsible and intensely focused she is. Her new endeavor is raising chickens-- her and I are working on a business ledger spreadsheet on her PC, so she can track the expenses and revenue.

Where Henrietta is practical and grounded, Duncan is the imaginative genius. At two he was making adult-quality levels in Super Mario Maker. At three he started reading. On the verge of his fourth birthday, he constructed the entire solar system-- all of the planets, the major moons, and even the asteroid belt-- in Minecraft, with adult-level mouse and keyboard plus dual analog coordination.

I could see the two of them coordinating on major projects in the next couple of years, with Henrietta's budding interest in business and economics-- her and I have read Peter Schiff's "How an Economy Grows and Why It Crashes" multiple times-- and Duncan's pie-in-the-sky creative and raw cognitive capacity.
Death of the affordable sports car - 10:52 CDT, 2/20/17 (Sniper)
It's a sad day when a list like this doesn't have a single car on it that I would even remotely consider buying.

A turbocharged GT86/BRZ/FR-S would catch my interest-- but probably wouldn't clock in at less than $30k. I wouldn't touch any of the other cars on this list with a fifty foot barge pole.

I would love a power upgrade from my nearly fifteen year-old 350z. But there is a massive chasm in the US sports car market from the $35k "barely an improvement for me" 370z, and the $60k "when all is said and done" Corvette, or the similarly-priced "no manual transmission" Alfa Romeo 4C.

In fact, other than the 370z, I don't think there is any other sports car-- grand tourer or otherwise-- in the US market, within the $30-$40k price range! People have asked me why I haven't bought a new car for so long-- my answer is, "buy what, exactly?"
Pivot - 10:20 CDT, 2/20/17 (Sniper)
I am officially "done" with the topic of politics. I've removed all political feeds from my news aggregator, and I'm not going to cover the topic any more on this blog.

First, the ROBCI-- "return on brain cycle investment"-- calculation has been rapidly decreasing for the past few years, to the point where I'm essentially rehashing the same ideas in my mind over and over from different vantage points, and arriving at more or less the identical conclusions no matter how I look at things. I alluded to this fact in a recent post, and I think the core of my "comprehensive summary" is essentially the end-all of political thinking for me, and indeed I think, any rational, objective person. This constant, redundant churn stresses me out, and also distracts my brain from the plethora of constructive, meaningful topics towards which it could be devoted.

Second, politics is such an extraordinarily vitriolic topic, that upon reflection I was a much happier person before I started studying it intently. While interviewing Milo Yiannopoulos recently, Bill Maher said that if he wanted to "cry myself [himself] to sleep every night", all he would have to do is "read my [his] Twitter feed". I don't think my chronic insomnia issues are solely due to following politics-- but that constant drip feed of mental poison into my brain every day can't help.

Third, political action is evil. It's the very equivalent of petitioning the school yard bully to smash the other kids' faces in so you can steal their lunch money. Why bother following the nuances of a topic, where the practical application of its subject matter is deeply unethical? And to add to the analogy, the teacher is the one who is whispering in your ear to petition the bully in the first place, because a fragmented, divided school class is easier for the teacher to control. So not only is political action immoral, but "participation" in it makes one look gullible and stupid too.

I'm going to re-devote this blog back towards my core interests: video games, football, and cars.
Collectivism - 08:30 CDT, 2/18/17 (Sniper)
A reader quote to this article:

"I was not a Trump supporter initially but now after seeing how LOONY the left has become, I cut up my (D) card and jumped on the Trump train.

The Democrat party has become a COMPLETE joke. The last thing I want is to be associated with all of their stupid nonsense. The Democrat party is not the party of the working class anymore, the Democrat party has become the party of the disenfranchised freaks of society. The hold overs are either too stupid to see whats going on or freeloading lazy asses voting for more free stuff."

It's amazing to me how many card-carrying Democrats still fail to see how radicalized their political party has become. It's now the collectivist Cultural Marxist party of crazies like Theodor Adorno and Saul Alinsky. If you reject their racism, then you're a racist. Got that?

Of course, it's telling that the commenter jumped ship to the Republican party, which has been co-opted by Nationalists. And if Cultural Marxism is the 11:00 on the "collectivism" clock face, Nationalism is the 1:00. The guy merely switched from one collectivistic paradigm to another.
Two points to make - 13:24 CDT, 2/17/17 (Sniper)
I listened to this exchange over lunch, and a couple of things came to mind:
  1. In just a few sentences, Molyneux completely swung me over to the Rothbardian notion of property: just like you "own" the negative consequences of your actions, so do you "own" the positive outcomes. All it took for me to "get it" was for someone to explain it in different terms, as opposed to Rothbard's "mixing of labor" language, which has never made any sense to me.

  2. Molyneux actually struggled to answer the really obvious bait question put forth by the caller: "If you steal a painting of mine and give it to your son, is it mine or your son's?" The answer: "It's yours. Until you die, at which point you relinquish ownership of it." Just because someone "steals" someone else's land-- whatever that even means-- does not mean that the descendants of the victim somehow have a moral claim to that land, fifteen generations later. That's the legal basis for why, when a codger with no heirs in the middle of the woods dies, the State actors don't hunt down the descendants of some random person who once owned that property-- rather, they hold an estate auction and sell the property off to the highest bidder, because any previous owners relinquished the claim when they either sold it, or died.
NoNote - 07:46 CDT, 2/17/17 (Sniper)
There is this festering piece of software that people in my company insist on using, called "Microsoft OneNote."

It's sort of like a web browser, but it doesn't read and write HTML-- instead, it "surfs" over its own proprietary binary files, while haphazardly and totally inconsistently implementing equivalents to HTML concepts like forward/back buttons, and hyperlinks. 'Cuz there's nothing like reinventing the wheel, after all.

It's gotten so bad at my company that there is practically a parallel intranet of massive, hundreds of megabytes "OneNote" files-- monstrosities with dozens and dozens of content "tabs" and "blades"-- that sit in SharePoint document libraries, and that all link to each other. Sometimes when you click a link, it will open in the "OneNote" web client-- other times, it will insist on downloading the whole target "OneNote" file to cache on disk, and opening it in the fat client. Other times, it tells you, "This link will only work in Internet Explorer, you fat slob Chrome user!"

Oftentimes, the links will open to the correct content "page"-- but won't update the tab navigation to reflect where you "are", so you have no idea how to ever get back to that "page". Other times, the link will open the target file, but not bring you anywhere in particular.

People on the new team I just joined at work keep telling me, "Oh, that's in the docs", but then don't send me a link straight to the relevant content-- because they can't. So they pull me over to their desk so I can watch them spend fifteen minutes angrily trying to manually navigate to the thing that even they can no longer find.

Not to mention, think of how much rigor and infrastructure went and goes into forming and supporting the HTML standard, the constant security patching of web browsers like Chrome and Firefox, and so on. OneNote bypasses all of that. Just like in the case of how URL shorteners dangerously bypass DNS, these parallel webs of proprietary "OneNote" files do the same thing.

"OneNote" reminds me of one of those crazy Microsoft products from the 90s, like "Microsoft Bob", or "Frontpage"-- ideas that are not just bad fundamentally, but poorly implemented too. And I hope this "OneNote" abomination dies a similar, fiery death.
Huh - 06:09 CDT, 2/17/17 (Sniper)
This Sony patent picture looks like the devices from the "Video Game High School" web series!
Talent - 18:57 CDT, 2/16/17 (Sniper)
I know it's only been a few pre-season games so far, but Kevin Molino is the single most talented footballer that any of the Minnesota club iterations has had in the time I've been following professional football in the State-- so, dating back to the 2006, which was the first year that I had Thunder season tickets.

Christian Ramirez, Johan Venegas, Miguel Ibarra, and Bashkim Kadrii are probably second, third, fourth, and fifth. Note how all of these players are in the present Minnesota United team.
Systems - 17:34 CDT, 2/15/17 (Sniper)
Duncan and I started watching this series today. It does such a wonderful job of explaining and illustrating the cosmic interplay-- whirling, exploding, then contracting again-- that I started to picture similar visualizations of other complex, self-regulating systems, such as free market interactions.

Concepts like this really put me into a calm state, because they let me step outside the bounds of every day stressors by framing those troubles within the proper context.
Irrationality at its finest - 18:20 CDT, 2/14/17 (Sniper)
Let's say that you, dear reader, and I are playing chess. According to the game's rules, I take your rook, and you get upset by it. My response would be, "Sorry sweetheart, but taking pieces is how you play chess! If you expected something different, then maybe you should try playing a different game." My wife offered a similar analogy: "If we're playing Monopoly and I buy out all of your land, deal with it."

Let's change things up, and say that before playing, you and I both agree to a modified rule set, which states "no taking of rooks is allowed." During the game, I take your rook anyway. In that case, you are rationally justified in being upset with me, because I cheated-- I violated the game's rules. And cheating is a form of contract violation, which we already know is immoral because it can't be universalized without leading to insoluble logical contradictions.

Now, apply my hypothetical examples above to this real-world Dungeons & Dragons scenario. Or, for the busy, here is a summary of facts:
  1. Co-workers are playing AD&D. One of them creates a "chaotic evil" character.
  2. The group almost gets wiped out in a fight
  3. In total compliance with AD&D rules, "chaotic evil" character kills the rest of the party and takes the loot
  4. The rest of the co-workers are butt hurt, and start passive-aggressively shunning the guy in the workplace

Someone today was arguing to me that:
  1. The "chaotic evil" guy was a jerk
  2. The "chaotic evil" guy was "transferring hostility from the game to real life and the workplace".
  3. The "chaotic evil" guy was "taking the game too seriously"-- the co-workers were just playing "casually"
  4. The feelings of the co-workers were totally justified simply because the co-workers had them, and that the "chaotic evil" guy should apologize
  5. The co-workers' subsequent passive-aggressive behavior was justified

My counter arguments, in turn, to the someone who was arguing with me:
  1. The "chaotic evil" charactered guy was just playing the game according to the rules. If the co-workers wanted to play with a modified ruleset-- for example, "no attacking each other"-- then they needed to indicate that beforehand, just as in my chess example above. In addition, I find it rather suspicious that they didn't just interrupt him at the point he initiated the first attack-- they could have just said, "Oh, we don't attack each other in our group", to which he probably would have responded, "Oh, ok!" Rather, they were only upset after they'd lost to his rolls.

  2. The "chaotic evil" charactered guy wasn't doing this-- the co-workers were. They were the ones manifesting the game's outcome at work, not him. In fact, I find it rather disturbing that these people can't separate a game from real life; all of the times my dad beat me at chess while I was growing up, I never once took that as some sort of sign that he didn't love me. All of the times I lost to friends at Quake deathmatch wasn't an indication that they hated me. We were playing a game for Pete's sake.

  3. No, the co-workers were taking the game too seriously-- they were the ones who were upset afterwards. In psychological terms, this phenomenon is called "projection". The "chaotic evil" charactered guy was just playing according to the rules and having fun. He harbored no anger towards anyone after the game.

  4. Feelings aren't valid just because they exist. For example, if stealing your car would make me happy, you aren't obligated to honor that feeling. The co-workers were irrationally upset-- the "chaotic evil" charactered guy would only reinforce their goofy behavior by apologizing, and should not do so, rather adopting the attitude: "Their loss, not mine, if they don't want to play with me anymore".

  5. What was most interesting to me about this comment, was that the someone with whom I was arguing was being passive-aggressive during our conversation, constantly posturing as totally neutral by playing the "well, I can see both sides" card-- all while arguing only one side, and getting visibly red in the face with me for disagreeing. My response cut the implication off at the neck: "I can see both sides too-- and one side is wrong."

I also threw in for good measure that the co-workers were actually doing the guy a favor, in that now he knows that they are totally irrational, and that he shouldn't waste his time playing games with them in the future. In fact, it's a shame that he had already wasted one evening, which he can never get back.

My opponent in the argument also kept firing this off at me, with the explanation regarding its validity being that that "lots of people" had posted it. "Lots of people" used to think that the Earth was flat. Interestingly, the article explicitly instructs players to agree to the rules ahead of time-- supporting my view, not my opponent's-- while also straw-manning the "chaotic evil" charactered guy as someone who was blindly following some imaginary mandate, verus just playing the game by the rules-- which is all he was doing.

On a personal note, this is why I tend to not have many friends, and why I so intensely derive satisfaction from enjoying time to myself; in the past, when people have acted irrationally, I've confronted them and then written them off. Indeed, am I so emotionally and intellectually inadequate that I need to constantly surround myself with buffoons, just so I don't need to be alone with my mind?

It's a shame more people don't hold themselves in a high enough esteem to take a similar approach to life. In an entire world of possible friends, why not maintain connections with only the finest?
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