The Exigent Duality
Actions - 14:50 CDT, 2/23/24 (Sniper)
Very rarely do I read a games-related article and think it insightful and well-written-- yet here is an example. The author nails it: dedicated game boxes need to offer something unique to their nature for the console market to grow-- just being an OEM PC won't cut it. His optimism is appreciated, in that he recognizes the current lull in innovation as just being part of a cycle, and he cautiously suspects that the dedicated game box makers will find ways to bring the world new ideas in the future.

On a less optimistic note, there is this thread in which it's recognized that "Super Mario Bros." and "Super Mario 64" are only separated by eleven years. Others point out even more incredible examples: "Super Metroid" and "Metroid Prime" were only released eight years apart, while "Wind Waker" was only four years removed from "Ocarina of Time"! On a related theme, here is the NFL itself advertising eight NFL games in a single year!

My, how the industry has fallen. The fact it's even referred to as an "industry" in the first place is emblematic of the problem. The more giant megacorporations dominate world affairs, the less creativity the goy are going to get for their entertainment.

Changing subjects a bit, here is a fascinating video. Before I arrive at the main point: the developer is apparently black-- or mulatto?-- and at age twenty-seven, speaks in the same sort of vernacular as my thirteen year-old. Just observations from a man who observes.

In any event, remember when Microsoft had "BLM" garbage all over their tech documentation when Fentany Floyd overdosed? Remember their "I'm a woman wearing a red dress and black shoes and go by 'she' and 'her'", with the now-obligatory rapid-gesticulating sign language person nearby for the probably non-existent deaf people watching? You know how Microsoft's website is filled with ESG nonsense, all of their ads have disproportionate amounts of black people in them? Indeed, Microsoft is perhaps the world's greatest virtue-signaling corporation of all time, or at least close.

When rubber meets the road though, they treat their employees like slave labor, cutting them loose the day before the company is required to provide them benefits. Whatever happened to "healthcare is a right" anyway?

Finally, there is this video which clearly illustrates how our atheist liberal Jew technocrat overlords are trying to erase European white people-- i.e., most likely the descendants of the twelve tribes of Israel-- from history. This might seem like laughs now, but wait until they start using these "AI" systems for hiring practices, or for sentencing within the court system.
Bravo Mister - 16:51 CDT, 2/15/24 (Sniper)
I was justifiably critical of Maurizio Sarri in this post-- but maybe, just maybe, he will be able to, or already has, won back the dressing room? It's more tempting to write when things go poorly, because it's a way to vent frustration-- but this time, I'm going to write because things went well.

Yesterday, Lazio looked like a phenomenally well-coached team. For all of Sarri's reputation as being the ultimate "drill master" and an expert in match-day preparations, one of my issues with him is that his players seldom look like that's the case: every game, we play the same ineffective tactics, which are stale and predictable, and never do we look like we have a "custom gameplan" for the opponent-at-hand.

But against Bayern Munich yesterday, the team looked every bit a side that validates Sarri's reputation, whether earned or not. I know Bayern are not at their best right now, and I couldn't get over that their coach had his face in his hands in the sixtieth minute, in the first leg of a two-legged tie, with the score at 0-0-- but even with that said, it was obvious that Sarri had his team drilled: every single man knew his job, was one hundred percent committed to performing it, and for the first time this entire season the squad played to its full potential.

Outside of our best-in-the-Lotito-era crop of defenders, the rest of the squad-- especially with Zaccagni injured-- very much has a patchwork feel to it, exacerbated by having two of our four top-value players in Alberto plus Kamada being played out of position due to the formation. But it's still a squad with over two hundred million Euro worth of players: I would expect that minimally we should look organized, well-drilled, be playing with a clear plan.

Bologna have a significantly worse team than us, but look at what Thiago Motta is doing with them at the moment! That's the caliber of performance I expect from a Maurizio Sarri team, and I'm cautiously optimistic that this Bayern Munich result is where the wheels went back on the Lazio car. I'd like nothing more than for Sarri to be "Lazio's Gasperini", where he sticks around and gives us a fighting chance each season. Crossing fingers...

I'd also like to remark that I don't think Ciro is "done", as I'd previously thought: I think his lack of productivity isn't as much down to his age as it's been down to the team moving the ball way too slowly. Harry Kane has scored something like twenty eight goals in thirty one appearances for Bayern-- but yesterday, one would scarcely have know he was on the pitch.

When a center forward is starved of service, he looks pedestrian. Over the past handful of appearances, Ciro has looked more or less like his prior self: running the channels, getting really good shots on goal, and opportunistically poaching. Barring some insane offer like thirty million Euro for a thirty four year-old player, if I were Lotito I would be very much trying to talk Ciro into signing a new multi-year deal, so he can end his career with us.


Non-Lazio Related Musings

I saw a comment on an article today, reflecting on the state of contemporary music and written by someone who grew up during the 60s and 70s, "As a youth I never imagined I would have to listen to the same old music for my entire life." Boy can I relate to that, when it comes to video games!

Here is a superb reflection on Tucker's interview with Putin, a topic I wrote about here. Putin told the West, "If you want, instead of living in a world which no longer exists, you can join the rest of in cooperation and mutual trade." The author of the article takes a similar approach: "It doesn't matter if you think Putin's analysis of history is correct-- the point is he thinks it's correct, and if you want to negotiate with him, you need to acknowledge that this is where he stands on the issue."

Switching gears, remember when I wrote here that Sony appeared to be following the same path as Microsoft, who went an entire year and didn't release a single first-party game? Sure enough, Sony says that it is not going to release any major games before March 2025. They've also said in recent days that the PlayStation 5 is already on the winding down period of its life. It's mind boggling what a terrible console it has been: I think it has surpassed the Nintendo 64 as the worst video game system I've ever owned.

It also sounds like Sony is inevitably going to move toward the "game releases on Windows, on day one" approach just like Microsoft did a handful of years ago. As much that would be convenient for me, as I have a cutting-edge gaming PC, I miss the Sony of a few years ago: what happened to "we believe in generations", and wanting to continue serving conventional gamers with custom hardware and single player games? Alas, they are a corporation, and corporations always need to "grow"-- there is no such thing as "enough."
Null Motion Vector - 18:28 CDT, 2/13/24 (Sniper)
I really enjoyed this interview with Vladimir Putin-- I found myself nodding along through essentially the entire thing, it's difficult to disagree with much of anything he said: he seems like the level-headed, rational, intellectual kind of thinker I enjoy. Not too many people can recite hundreds of years' worth of history off the top of their head, then use those patterns to inform strategic decisions today-- but he's certainly one of them.

And I think that's part of why the Globohomos are so upset by the interview. Of course, he's pulling back the curtain on their shenanigans-- but just as big of an issue is that the contrast he paints with them is not very flattering. The only two pieces of history Western "leaders" know are American slavery and Hitler. So it was to no one's surprise that after the interview went live, during which Putin confirmed that blithering moron Boris Johnson was indeed the one who killed the peace deal, the latter called Putin-- who else-- Hitler! Haha.

Some other assorted notes I took while listening to the interview:

  • Around the ten minute mark, an aide hands Tucker copies of hundreds-of-years-old documents corroborating Putin's historical claims, after which the latter says, "You can translate them into English later"-- as if Tucker is going to sit down at his writing table, fresh candle and quill-in-hand, and translate some Cyrillic for fun. Putin is anachronistic-- like a figure from centuries ago, long before world leaders became buffoonish caricatures.

  • Putin doesn't mention my likely ancestor-- Severyn Nalyvaiko-- by name, but he does discuss the context of the broader conflict with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. I found this part of the discussion interesting.

  • Right around the 1:02:40 mark, Tucker asked why Putin hasn't called Biden. "What would we talk about? It's very simple, stop sending Ukraine weapons." To build on that, I'm not even sure who he would call: Biden wanders around naked at night not knowing where he is. He doesn't even change his own diaper. The US Federal apparatus is some kind of headless monster-- it's not clear who is even making the decisions.

  • Around the 1:17:00 mark, Putin makes a wonderful analogy involving the brain: if its two hemispheres were split apart, it would be a serious disease-- it's the same thing with the Earth's hemispheres. This, by the by, came in response to Tucker being caught-- not for the first time in the interview-- coming at things from a "bi-polar", "us versus them" kind of "US centric" way of thinking. Putin gently called him out with this metaphor.

  • At somewhere near the 1:20:00 mark, Putin discusses the US government weaponizing its own currency and printing a gazillion dollars, and how they cut off their own noses: it totally backfired, as anyone with half a brain knew it would.

  • He spends a lot of time talking about how you can either live in denial, or get with the program: what about when Indonesia is one of the world's biggest economies, they have 270 million people-- is the US going to use violence and antagonism against them too, like they do with China? Or will they engage in mutually-lucrative trade, like Russia is doing?

  • He echoes my opinion that AI should be subjected to the same kind of rules, the same way nuclear weapons are viewed, needs international agreements.

  • Finally, the big daddy quote of the entire interview: he thinks the West wants to divide up Russia into quasi-states, which can then be subdued individually for a future conflict with China. This was very depressing for me to hear, because I knew it was true as soon as he said it: I had to pause the video to reflect and digest the concept. Can you imagine the human suffering such a path would cause? And the Western leaders are dumb enough to try it.

In summary, Putin's intellectualism was almost jarring given what I hear from the Globohomo braintrust every day.


Random Tidbits

I thought the video in this post was eye-opening. In skimming the comments, it sounds like what-wound-up-being the final king was a Western plant who was so intentionally awful, that it opened the door for the theocrats to take over. Incidentally, the song is really cool: it's a very complex composition with lots of different parts, key changes, has some fun with tempo, and so forth. I've always thought Iranian women are very pretty, and the men are extremely masculine looking-- just to look at their football team.

There seems to be this window, where pluralistic-style societies produce beautiful freedom and culture. But then, because they are tolerant and pluralistic, they rapidly get consumed and exploited, then turned into autocratic hellscapes.

On a totally unrelated note, check out the video interview with Daichi Kamada embedded in this article-- his answer when asked about Mauricio Sarri is hilarious! "Oh, uh... my opinion? *buying time, long pause, puffs out cheeks...* It's, uh, difficult to find something to say..." It makes me wonder how many Lazio players would give a similar response-- at least half, I wager.

Finally, I wonder if the game "Helldivers 2" is a Western psy-op-- an Operation Mockingbird-esque creation? The advertising asks the player if they are willing to "die for democracy". Then observe the term here: "Managed Democracy"? "Managed"... sort of like the "Democratic People's Republic of Korea"?


To Nowhere

This is such a strange time to be alive. Throughout my life up until a few years ago, it felt like there was movement-- that there was a motion vector: a velocity, and a direction.

In 2024? I have no idea where anything is going. In fact, it feels like it's going nowhere-- or perhaps better described, everywhere at once. Like an asteroid which got blasted into five zillion little parts, one zipping that way, another one zooming the other way, some colliding... entropy.

It's like there is no future: only chaos, and then oblivion.

I don't know where I'm going, personally: I'm totally miserable, just whiling away the days pointlessly until Jesus comes to claim me, I get vaporized by a nuke, or both; everything I do feels trite and silly-- because it's not part of any larger picture or motivation.

I don't know where my family is going-- we moved into the boonies just to keep our kids safe, not because it was some exciting "next step" in our lives-- it feels more regressive than anything, having to share a house with my in-laws; I don't know where Minnesota is going, except off a cliff; I don't know where the United States is going, except also off a cliff; I don't know where the world is going.

Everywhere I look, I see cascading systemic failures. Institutions are falling apart at the seams after having been strip-mined for decades, the whole world sold down the river so the borderline-trillionaires could make more billions. Everything is depressing, made out of plastic, cheap and artificial.

I see an absolutely dead culture, bereft of any semblance of creativity or authenticity, dominated by giant corporations, where "Hey, excited for that new video game? It's a re-make of a game from forty years ago!" is the high mark of entertainment. "Vacuous" doesn't even begin to describe it. I miss those days when cool new movies were coming out, when my favorite TV show would air every Wednesday evening or whenever.

Yes, I'm depressed-- but it's not "chemical" or random: there's nothing objectively to look forward to on this Earth! I'm thankful the suffering isn't overt-- people aren't starving to death, generally. And of course I'm looking forward to joining our Heavenly Father some day-- but in the meanwhile, the world today is tortuously surreal, almost impossible to feel a part of, it's so inauthentic and hollow.

It's like the whole planet is caught in a snow globe-- a giant stasis field, or stuck in amber. Without a direction, there is no hope-- that's an axiom. Hope for what, if there is no direction? And that is a huge struggle for me today.

I daren't leave my career, with all of the uncertainty in the world; I can't move, because I made an agreement with my in-laws; there's nothing to do, so I just pray, talk to Jesus, pointlessly fire up an emulator once in awhile to play a game from my childhood simply to waste time and to not be left alone with my thoughts, read scripture a little.

Right now, I'm waiting for something to happen-- some kind of motive force, which will propel life in some new direction. And I think it's coming soon-- although no one is probably going to like the outcome.
Phantasy Star Hint Guide - 09:03 CDT, 2/09/24 (Sniper)
The Retro Gamer on Gab recommended me to this fellow, Popixel, who made his own hand-crafted hint guide for "Phantasy Star", and who sells professionally-grade printed versions of it. Check this out!

















I've owned dozens of hint guides in my life, and this is the nicest one I've ever had, by a mile: it's filled with wonderful, hand-drawn illustrations; the paper quality is glossy and shiny, making the colors pop; it has not just a full walkthrough with maps, but a section detailing the history of the series, a full bestiary, and even an index; the attention to detail is incredible, such as the "flip-book"-style sprite animations on the page corners.

"Phantasy Star II" is in my top ten games of all time-- yet somehow I'd gone over forty years of living without ever having played the original! I bought the "Sega Ages" version of the title for Switch, and this guide has been the perfect companion to getting me through the game's more esoteric moments.

As I do with everything I play, I'll post a full review of the game to the 'Wharf once I'm done with it. In the meanwhile, anyone who wants their own copy of this guide can reach out to "The Retro Gamer" for contact information.
End of Sarrismo - 08:39 CDT, 2/07/24 (Sniper)
Too often in my life, I am in a car careening eighty-five miles-per-hour toward a guardrail: "Guys, we're about to go off the cliff." "Nope, we're fine!", they reply. "Uh, no, I really don't think we are, we only have thirty feet left to stop, and I don't mathematically think we can do it." "Well, let's just wait and see", they respond. Finally, the car makes impact with the metal of the guard rail, and I hear screams all around me as everyone else finally comes to grips with the inevitable.

I point this out from a position of love, not ego: I can't take any "credit" for it, it's just the way God made me. And it's frustrating when something I care about is very obviously headed for ruin, but I need to wait for the ostriches to "catch up" with their emotions, so they can eventually join me in acknowledging the obvious-- hopefully, before it's too late.

Before I jump into the actual subject, let me expand this preface with one more point. When a football team plays a match, there are four categories of performance:

  1. The team plays superbly, perhaps even "out of this world", or "champagne football" if you will.
  2. The team plays well enough to win, and probably does: good performance.
  3. The team plays poorly; probably loses the match, but could eek out a win if the opponent is also poor.
  4. The team is very poor indeed; maybe there are injuries, or fatigue, team looks "out of it."

Then there is a very, very rare fifth class... it is so uncommon in fact, that in decades of watching the sport, I have almost never been led to this diagnosis. In thousands of matches, I have only seen it a handful of times. In this mode, the team has given up the will to play football. It's not that they are despondent even-- it goes beyond. They are emotionally and psychologically shattered.

Normally when a team does not play well-- think categories three and four above-- it's disappointing to watch, and maybe even frustrating. This is the normal state of a team having a bad game: everyone wants their team to win, and when that doesn't occur, it's natural to wish things otherwise. But in this rarified fifth state, it's a different spectacle: rather than disappointment or frustration, it is profound sadness which sets in. A kind of sadness which transcends the match result even-- a sadness that even fans of the opposing team, or otherwise neutral stadium announcers, feels.

You see, in this state, the players' wills are broken. They aren't even trying to play football anymore: they have thrown down their arms, and are running for the hills, every man for himself. Nothing can be felt in the human heart but empathy, almost like watching the victim of a car accident in the immediate aftermath of the impact. It transcends sport: no non-sociopathic human being wants to see another human being be utterly, emotionally devestated.

The first time I ever saw this sorry state was when Davide Ballardini was in charge of Lazio in 2009. The team were like a boxer with his hands tied behind his back: literally on the ropes, getting punched in the face over and over, massive welts forming, blood gushing from the nose. Then the bell, then the next round: on the ropes again, unable to punch, smashed in the face over and over.

It became a drinking game for me, counting the number of times we got the ball out of our own half. We would go matches-on-end, and create zero chances on goal. Ballardini became so terrified of losing, that he started playing defensemen in midfield, such as Radu, just so he could pack as many defenders onto the pitch as possible.

We were headed for relegation. It took a long, long time, but eventually Claudio Lotito replaced the coach-- with Edy Reja. I remember one of Reja's first press conferences like it was yesterday, after he had time to survey the squad: "This team is totally broken psychologically; my job is to restore their confidence". And he did: even by the end of his first match in charge, slowly it became evident to the players: "Wait, my hands are untied, I can defend myself now?"

It was a beautiful thing to see: I think a film could have been made out of it.

In all of the many, many seasons which have passed since then, I have seen some very poor Lazio performances. But this season, to my total and absolute horror, I have seen-- for only the second patch in decades of supporting the club-- the fifth stage once again: in multiple games this season, I have seen a broken team. The downward trajectory came to an absolute, rock-bottom state against Atalanta on Sunday.

The players looked resigned from the second the match started. At one point, Atalanta had created twelve shots versus one for Lazio-- a shot I couldn't even remember. To re-iterate: it wasn't simply a "bad performance" from Lazio, or an "off day"-- it was so ugly that it became obvious the match announcers were lacking for words to describe it. While they praised Atalanta's solid performance, they sounded melancholy and sad when reflecting on the overall proceedings-- in the same way one might feel sad seeing me in a boxing ring trying to fight Mike Tyson.

And it wasn't just Sunday: this season, Lazio have the second lowest shots in the entire division. Their expected goals is seventeenth. They are playing several halves in a row without creating even a single shot on target. Even in the ten games they've won this year, the performances were almost all in the third tier: no rhythm, discombobulated ball movement. It's difficult to recall the last time the squad played well.

Let's also not forget that the team looked very, very poor in large chunks of last season too. But Sergej Milinkovic-Savic-- who by-the-by had said openly he did not like Sarri's 4-3-3-- got a huge burst of motivation at the end of the season, in his final matches with us, to drag the team to a deceptively strong finish in the table. Let's also not forget that had Ivan Provedel not scored a last-touch header, we would have crashed out of the Champions League group too.

So what has been the substance of the coach's response to all of this?

  • He always describes the team in the third person. After a match, he will say "It looked like the team didn't play well"-- as if he's an outside, ESPN reporter and not the coach! I have never, in any sport in my entire life, heard a coach use third-person and passive voice when describing his own players.

  • When asked about the poor performances, he replies sarcastically: "Well, it's not mathematical!", or "If I knew I'd have fixed it already!", or "If there was a guaranteed way to win, everyone would be doing it!"

  • The coach has been totally and utterly unwilling to change systems. To everyone with eyes, a 4-2-3-1 would allow the team's two most creative players-- Luis Alberto and Daichi Kamada-- to play in their natural positions, while freeing up Rovella-- who would be paired with Guendouzi-- to do more forward-playmaking. Even when point-blank pleaded to by his players-- "Can we please try a 4-2-3-1?", the coach flatly replied: "No."

Just like with Davide Ballardini in 2009, Maurizio Sarri has totally and absolutely destroyed the psyches of his players. There is no restitution which can repair that damage: only sacking the squad or the coach will work. Since the squad can't be sacked, it's the coach who must go.

From the day he got here, the players did not fit his tactical system and did not enjoy playing that way. But riding the crest of the superb man-manager Simone Inzaghi, their spirits were high: "We'll try our best!" But over time, having to put in two hundred percent "stretch" effort every game took its emotional toll. The final straw came when Sarri requested players which were literally impossible to acquire-- was Lotito supposed to bound and gag Zielinski, and throw him into the trunk of a car?-- and now has spent a season pouting in the dugout about it.

With no Milinkovic-Savic to wallpaper over the deficiencies, the Lazio environment cascaded into total system failure.

But instead of replacing the coach, the language out of the Lazio camp is "Well, let's see if the team responds against Cagliari." This is probably the tenth time they have said that this year: "Things are terrible, but let's see how the team does in match XYZ." Meanwhile, we're thirty feet from the guardrail, and there is no foot yet over the brake pedal. Thankfully there is no threat of relegation this time-- but this is the "last chance saloon" at achieving our season's goals.

A couple of years ago, I was as excited as anyone that we landed Maurizio Sarri. In the "Venn diagram" of coaches who could win us a Scudetto, and who we could afford, there are very few names. But Sarri is perhaps the most eccentric coach in world football: he doesn't last more than a season or two, in most places he goes. Now I understand why.

He has a 240 million EUR squad to work with. It's not the players, numerous of which are internationally recognized. Lots of teams throughout Europe would love any of our quartet of superb central defenders; they would love Alberto or Zaccagni, or Guendouzi, or a big physical fullback like Pellegrini-- I could go on and on. Daichi Kamada is tied for the team's most expensive player at twenty million EUR, and Sarri doesn't even attempt to find a way to leverage his skills.

A change is needed, and there appears to be only one way out.
Microsoft and Palworld - 15:13 CDT, 1/26/24 (Sniper)
Someone today asked me what I thought of all of the layoffs at Microsoft, which you can read below. I didn't do any editing, so it's conversational in tone-- yet it gets my point across. The conversation shifted then to "Palworld", and I've included my response regarding that topic as well. Enjoy!


The State of Xbox

First off and on a more general note, the entire neo-liberal / technocratic neo-serfdom model is essentially in collapse mode: the top-down push for electric cars is imploding; the co-opted "news" outlets like "Sports Illustrated", "Buzzfeed", the "LA Times", and so forth are shuttering much / most / all of their operations; the establishment games "journalists" are being laid off by the thousands.

Woke Disney is in total collapse; huge corporations like Embracer are laying off huge parts of their people; "We need more people with green hair in wheelchairs engineering planes" Boeing has the doors and landing gear flying off of their aircraft; the military can't recruit white dudes to save their lives now for totally obvious reasons-- the trust is gone, so their army is at the lowest total count in over 80 years.

I could go on and on and on, but you get the picture.

Microsoft fits right into this: they make-- quite frankly-- super woke, politically-charged games pushing "The Message", which can't even run properly or which have major performance problems; and that's when they can make games at all-- they went the entire year of 2022 and didn't release a single game, hahaha. Then in 2023 they had Redfall, Starfield-- now running seriously into negative territory on Steam reviews-- then "Redfall with cars" in the new Forza Motorsport, which is so bad I can scarcely believe it even exists.

Their stuff is boring, bland, painfully ideological, creatively bankrupt, as dull and milquetoast as you can get. They can't even produce functional software. Am I surprised that they laid off 1900 people? Not even remotely.

Then you get to Phil Spencer who is, bluntly, a total dufus. He seems like a friendly guy, sort of, but is not an assertive leader with a clear strategy. What's more, he's a total "old boys club" kind of guy, who promotes his friends and gets rid of his enemies, regardless of results. One of the original Xbox members from 1999/2000, I can't recall her name, just left Microsoft, and she said as much: it's this tiny group of friends running the show, all semblance of meritocracy is gone.

She was super successful, yet got the axe because she stood up to people she wouldn't name (Phil, obviously).

In this latest cut, Mike Ybarra was one of the casualties. My understanding is that he's one of the few competent people who was still there-- but he wasn't playing ball, so he's gone. Meanwhile, the guy who was the "VP of Forza and Fable" (??? Why do they have VPs of certain games??) was promoted to a head role. In the last five years he released zero Fable games (hahaha), and was in charge for six years of the new Forza Motorsport debacle (not even a strong enough term).

On top of all of that, clearly the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing over there. Phil Spencer comes out and says, "No matter how many good games we release no one will buy an Xbox over a PlayStation". Yet, one half of the Xbox division is all-in on new hardware, even though no one buys it, no one wants it, market share in some European countries such as France is literally 96/4 percent for Sony (haha). Then the other part of the division is like, "Screw hardware, we're all in on cloud, Play Anywhere! Any screen, even Switch and PlayStation 5, why not?!"

Again, Phil Spencer is the boss over there: it's up to him to set the strategic direction. Instead, he's all-in on nepotism and his house is in total chaos, unable to deliver basic functioning un-political software, and is wasting billions engineering hardware no one wants. It's like the inmates running the asylum over there! Satya Nadella doesn't care because Azure revenue has taken his company to a three trillion dollar market cap-- he can throw monopoly money over to Xbox right now, sure, who cares.

So that's where we are right now with Microsoft, in my humble opinion. I could write a diatribe about Sony and their ill-fated and imploding "live service games" push, but that can be for another day. For now, I'm all-in on "AA" PC and Steam Deck games, you know?


Palworld

Ok, so here is my take: Palworld is the absolute antithesis of everything the "establishment" game industry currently stands for.

It was a handful of dudes in a small office randomly tossing together assets they bought from the "Unreal Engine Store" until they'd made a fun game.

They didn't have an HR ladies with $250k salaries telling them not to have characters with boobs, or not to "offend" this that or the other group, they didn't have play tested "focus groups" telling them to make another walking simulator with Hollywood music, they didn't have "diversity and equity initiatives", and on and on and on.

They just made a fun game, and put it on Steam. The game is heart-felt, feels very authentic, down-to-Earth, like it was a game made just for the heck of it, because it was a game they wanted to make, not the marketers, not the HR ladies. It's kind of janky and weird, and that gives it loads of personality.

And people have responded to that! Meanwhile, the "establishment" AAA "developers" with the mental illness haircuts are like "But gaming development is hard!! They must have cheated somehow!!" The "journalists" are like, "We didn't gatekeep or bless this game!"

Then, the CEO turns out to be totally based, "You know people are criticizing the game", and he replies with "Yeah I know, we don't care".

So I think the message here is, just make games from the heart. Obviously Palworld is also cashing in on Game Freak still using their engine from the original DS days and thus being unable to deliver a competent modern-day Pokemon game-- I'm not saying you can just make a heart-felt game and get rich on Steam. There were like 140,000 games published over there in 2023 alone, and 99% of them didn't make any money at all.

But what I am saying is, the industry is currently controlled and dominated by one group, which has one world view and one "right" way of doing things-- and I think Palworld has exposed a massive chink in their armor, to the point where they feel very threatened by it, and are doing everything in their power to get the game "canceled".
Gaming's Final Form - 06:43 CDT, 1/24/24 (Sniper)
I just canceled my PlayStation 5 pre-order for "Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth"-- I'm going to buy it on Steam instead.

As horrible as Microsoft is, and as buggy as their software has always been, right now Windows 11 with Ryzen CPUs and Nvidia GPUs, plus the latter's drivers, have really settled into a stable equilibrium: every time I boot my PC and play a game, with that cool Lazio "Series" controller I custom-ordered a year or two ago, everything "just works": the game runs, whatever game that may be, no crashes, perfect HDR, and hitting between eighty and one hundred and twenty frames per second, on my LG C3 OLED TV with G-Sync.

Almost unbelievably, even the dreaded "Xbox Game Bar" has been one hundred percent working. The subsequent workflow of copying the captured screenshots and videos to my M2 MacBook Air for publishing or editing in the fabulous "iMovie" has been working seamlessly.

The final element which brings the ecosystem full circle is the OLED Steam Deck: it's a better version of the Nintendo Switch, for the PC environment; it has surprisingly impressive performance-- dialed down graphics settings aren't very noticeable on the device's display, and the ability to lock the screen to a given refresh rate is almost as good as VRR; and on top of that, it's an HDR-capable "Wii U Gamepad" for the PC, thanks to Steam's "Remote Play".

Of course, online play is gratis, and the whole ecosystem is so wide open that one can edit files anywhere on disk down to the binary level with hex editors if they so choose. Want to make games? No expensive dev kit or licensing required. Want to run emulators? Wide open. Want to connect to a CRT TV with a custom overscan-circumventing resolution? Works flawlessly.
Hot Cakes - 09:42 CDT, 1/22/24 (Sniper)
There is a very good footballer named Anwar El Ghazi who had his contract flat-out terminated by Mainz because he said that Israel should stop carpet bombing children. Lazio might be able to pick this "canceled" guy up on a free transfer as a result.

Remember: Mainz is a German club-- that country is up there with luminaries such as England and New Zealand in the "most dystopian" category. I guess you can't have an opinion and a job at the same time in Germany. In any event, one club's loss is another club's treasure.

In other Lazio-related news, there were reports that Sergej drove all the way to the airport in Saudi Arabia, hugged his former teammates, and talked to both Lotito and Sarri: "Get me out of here, I want to come back!" Now today I'm reading that the reports were sensationalized.


Cool Car

Lots of interesting stuff from this article. It brings to mind how far backwards cars have gone in terms of gas mileage: the model discussed in the article got fifty miles per gallon on the highway. Not only that, but it was a manual transmission, didn't have any annoying computerized nonsense, cost only three grand-- twelve grand in today's Monopoly money-- and it looked awesome too!

Even the commercial embedded in the article is hilarious: why can't they make advertising like that anymore? I guess the blue-haired mob on The Twatter would say the guy suffers from the Toxico Masculinitos or some such nonsense. Blackrock would pull the advertising agency's funding, Wells Fargo would debank them, and Creepy Joe would call them "white supremacists" at his next press conference, as written right there on the notecard handed to him by his staffer.

It's also worth noting that the article mentions the average cost of a new home in the USSA: over four hundred grand. "Average" anything can be misleading because it's including one hundred square foot million dollar WEF crates in New York City or California-nia-- but even in my rural area practically in the middle of nowhere, the houses are pretty much all over three hundred grand.


Upcoming Games

My son and I each re-subscribed to Game Pass on PC for one month to "rent" Palworld so we could try it out. I made a quick video showing off how your Pokemon Pals automatically help out around your base. Minecraft aside I'm not generally a big fan of these janky "survival" games-- it's not really "my genre", frankly-- but I'm having a lot of fun with this one. The "technology"-oriented progression system is well paced.

I'm not sure what kinds of legs this game will have though: right now it's basically one hundred percent banking on the aforementioned progression system-- it's not like a voxel title such as Minecraft, where you have digital Legos and can build anything: the construction and exploration aspects of Palworld don't seem particularly interesting.

All of that said, this game is the equivalent of Minecraft in alpha, way back in 2009, when that title had like four block types. I can't even imagine what Palworld will be like in a year, two years, three years, and so forth. I did some quick napkin math: at twenty seven dollars per pop, five million sales, thirty percent cut to Gabe, forty percent to the extortion racket called the "government", that still leaves them with a cool fifty seven million bucks to pour into the game's further development.

Setting aside Palworld, I have "Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth" coming in the mail for PlayStation 5 on Friday. I'm also still trying to wrap up "Eiyuden Chronicle: Rising" on Steam Deck. And I bought a really awesome custom hint guide for the original "Phantasy Star" along with the apparently amazing Switch port of that title -- I am going to play through that game for the first time ever.

Shifting away from Western triple-A games and towards double-A titles-- particularly those made in Japan-- has given me renewed interest in the hobby.
Aerial Mission to Burma - 20:39 CDT, 1/20/24 (Sniper)
My son and I recently finished a historical biography of the famous Christian missionary Adoniram Judson. The book really brought the country of Burma to life-- so much so that we thought it would be fun to hop into Flight Simulator 2020 and take the exact route which Adoniram and his wife, Ann, had taken to get to Rangoon and, later, Ava.

The flight plan thus followed their path: we started in Calcutta, went South via the river and over the sea-- then headed East all the way to Chittagong. We then followed the Western coast line of Burma-- which is called "Myanmar" today-- South, and rounded the very Southern-most tip. We entered the Rangoon river, went North to Rangoon itself-- which is called "Yangon" these days-- then continued all the way North, following the Irrawaddy river straight to the ruins of Ava, just South of modern-day Mandalay.

In other words, this is the exact route Adoniram and Ann sailed on that fateful first voyage. With that said, let's start the pictures with Calcutta: here we are, right after take-off. As we traveled out of India, we flew well beneath some cool-looking airliners. As always, click on any of the pictures for larger versions.









After traveling East all the way across the sea, we arrived in Chittagong. Here is what the place looks like today. We landed and re-fueled our plane.









We took off and proceeded South, mountains on our left, the sea on our right. We flew over a lot of little farms and the like. The Southern-most tip of Myanmar is filled with tons of rivers. Eventually we came to the mouth of the Rangoon river-- it's amazing that this is exactly what Adoniram and Ann would have seen, except down at sea level of course.

We followed the river North a short way and reached Rangoon-proper. It's a huge city today-- in large part I'm sure because of the Christian values they helped to bring there!













I was really hoping against all odds that they would have modeled the Shwedagon Pagoda, which is mentioned numerous times in the book. Alas, the game tried its best with the satellite imagery, hah. Nevertheless, we landed and re-fueled the plane again. We saw some cool parked planes as well.











We took off and went North. We flew over what looked like infinite jungle in all directions! What's very strange though is that at about the mid-point between Rangoon and Ava, the terrain changes from dense jungle to dry, rocky-looking land. We forged ahead, following the Irawaddy river just as Adoniram and Ann once did.







And then, the big moment... we had reached Ava! Of course, none of the ruins were modeled in-game-- but you can see from the satellite imagery where the remains of the walls are, and where there are surviving buildings! You can also get a really good perspective of the exact scale of Ava. It must have been super impressive by the standards of those days-- but it's tiny compared to modern cities, stretching really only several city blocks. The last screenshot is the view from above Mandalay, looking back at the ancient ruins.













In Mandalay, a city which was apparently only built in 2002--? I saw a strange looking set of red-roofed buildings, as well as a large, exactly square-shaped area. Bizarre, and worth further research. The city looks very centrally-planned, sort of like what was the case in the old Soviet Union. In any event, we landed and thus ended our long adventure.









A couple of final thoughts: the distances between all of these places was vast: now I understand why it took them weeks and even months to get from place-to-place, with all sorts of death and other misadventures occurring along the way. Even flying in a modern twin-engine plane straight from point-to-point, the longest of these legs too hours to fly.

On a technical note, this was the first time I'd run Flight Simulator 2020 on my Ryzen 7700x / RTX 4070 Ti PC, and it was astonishing: I enabled DLSS 3 Frame Generation support, and via G-Sync on my LG C3 OLED the game was running anywhere from 85 to 115 fps! To say it was butter-smooth is an understatement.
Crazy World - 10:14 CDT, 1/13/24 (Sniper)
Eric Peters has been on an absolute tear lately, to the point where-- even setting cars aside-- he's the most interesting person I read online these days.

Here he reviews the latest Subaru Outback, and explains that if you so much as glance into your side mirrors, the car starts beeping at you to "keep your eyes on the road"! When I was taught how to drive in the 90s, I was told "always scan your mirrors", and to "never glue your eyes straight ahead permanently and lose track of everything happening spatially around you." So much for that, I guess. This car would quite literally be undriveable for me-- I would need to return it to the dealership.

The most notable thing is that he's the only car reviewer who points this stuff out! My GR86 is almost totally nag-free, but the GR Corolla has a few irritating things about it-- I read and listened to probably thirty reviews of the car, and not one of them brought up the annoyances. It just goes to show how car pundits, just like video game pundits, and especially just like political pundits, are all in for the Beast System.

Meanwhile, here he is correctly equating New York City's "Eric Adams's" idea to coerce illegal aliens into people's homes with the character "Dr. Zhivago". A really sad thing came to me yesterday on this very topic: I brought this story up to a close friend of mine, and said "How would you like Mohammed Akbar from Syria bunking in your thirteen year-old daughter's room?" Then later in the day not two hours later, I found out from another friend that in December a Muslim man from Egypt got into the house of his-- get this, thirteen year-old niece-- and sexually assaulted her, brandishing a knife.

I hate being right-- I wish I were wrong about everything. Needless to say, her and her entire family will be in my prayers. Please pray for them all also.

Finally, here is Eric Peters describing modern cars as "mobile panopticons", because the new models will have "AI" integrated in them, and will be listening to absolutely everything you say. I'm not even sure I trust the wife's GR Corolla: I was talking to her in the car the other day while driving, and the car kept thinking I was addressing it-- so I knew it was listening. I had said something disparaging about the FBI, and said to her "Countdown until agents show up at our house after having eavesdropped through my own vehicle." These new "AI"-based cars are going to take things to the next level!


Woke Usurpation

Out of all the things I never thought the Woketards would take over, it would be institutions like "SETI". Yet here we are! Better be careful to not say anything "offensive" around trans bacteria or anything. This wokeness, Cultural Marxist, Frankfurt School thing is a disease-- it is a mind virus, and the people who get infected by it become sick and nutty: it's like this thick pair of tinted glasses gets glued to their retinas, and they view every single moment of everything through the lens of "The Current Thing".

Every single time they open their mouths, every single sentence has something to do with: "oppressed" something-or-another; women; "climate change"; praise of extreme sexual sinning and deviancy; or idolatry of "brown people". It's impossible to even have a conversation with them-- they are so boring and so predictable and so narrow-focused, that it feels like talking to some kind of primitive "AI" system. That's where the NPC meme comes from.

I am so sick of "The Message" that when I see something which is pushing it on me, I essentially chuck that thing right into the trash. Recently I was handed a "Synodal Letter" from my Diocesan Bishop, and even right in the Catholic Church there are people getting infected by the woke mind virus-- it's very disturbing. His whole letter is "bing, bing, bing", one stupid woke talking point after another. Here is an example:



It's hard to know where to even begin with this. These people aren't even worshipping Christ at this point: they are worshipping Karl Marx, or Herbert Marcuse, or Klaus Schwab. Remember: Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple-- Jesus was in favor of borders! He was in favor of rules! He wasn't some kind of "anything goes" anarchist hippy.

God gave us the Ten Commandments through Moses: "Thou shalt not steal", "Thou shalt not kill", and so forth. What are those about? Borders! Borders enforcing individual autonomy. Borders protecting property. There are lines which are there, and which shouldn't be crossed.

They hold hands through the fence and cry. Are they saying that nations of peoples shouldn't have the right to self-determination-- that they should be enslaved? And if not, then why are they crying? It'd be like me standing out in the yard holding hands with someone, saying "Oh my, I wish there weren't clouds, I feel such solidarity dreaming about a world without clouds!" Well, how would it rain without clouds? We'd all die!

God gave us free will, i.e. freedom of association. He gave us this gift so we would have to choose to associate with Him. But He also gave us the gift knowing it would allow us to freely associate-- or not!-- with other people. While we should love our neighbor, we should also condemn their sins. I don't think it is God's will or Jesus's teachings that we shouldn't have boundaries to protect ourselves-- it's right in the Ten Commandments, as I mention above.

It feels weird having to point this out to a bishop. Has he forgotten scripture?

But it's not just about borders. Take anthropogenic climate change: it's B.S. first of all, and second, the Catholic Church seems to be proposing a global government to deal with the "threat". Have they not read the Book of Revelation? Or how about this one: I heard a Catholic recently say, "I was at a Hispanic festival and felt a thrill go up my leg because I was surrounded by all brown people with brown hair."

Which religion do these things sound like: Christianity, or Cultural Marxism? You tell me, because I have my opinions about it.

And that leads me to my final observation: this woke mind virus disease is dangerous! The people infected by it can't think clearly, or use their brains! And like a blind man holding a lit torch tripping and fumbling around inside a wooden obstacle course, they are going to destroy nations, destroy religions, and ultimately destroy the world.


VAR

I've written many times about so-called "VAR" over the past several years, such as here and here. In the pre-VAR days, referees hardly ever made mistakes-- and when they did, the crowd would get mad, but the action would resume in seconds and everyone would move on. But with VAR, the whole game stops; the crowd has what feels like an eternity to just stew, seeing the replay over and over; then the referee goes over, watches the screen, still gets the decision wrong; then he's got sixty thousand people shouting at him, and the whole thing turns into a three ring circus.

Check this out-- and this is just in one league! Major match-defining decisions are routinely being messed up, with the game stoppages in place! Further, the referees are clearly being told, "If you see an obvious penalty or offside or violent foul, just let it go and VAR will clean it up", which makes the officials look like buffoons. And the reason? Then VAR proponents can say, "Ahhh, good thing we have this system! Look, it caught that penalty which was missed!"

In the same way that all of the nanny assists in cars are making people worse drivers-- "I don't need to pay attention because the car will just ding at me"-- VAR is making referees worse: they aren't as focused because they have this perceived "safety net" beneath them. But because they are less focused, they go over to the screen and still monkey things up. If I were in charge, I'd axe VAR instantly, and just go back to the way refereeing used to be.

New doesn't mean better. I recently had my priest friend say, "Oftentimes things are in place for a good reason; traditions are like the 'democracy of the dead'." Most of the time these days, new actively means worse.


Balance

As I wrote here, I was close to finally achieving some modicum of peace. Five freaking days being back in my career? All of that peace has evaporated, and all of the worst aspects of my character have resurfaced. My career brings out the absolute worst in me, and my next struggle is to figure out how to reconcile it with who God wants me to be as a person.

The best case scenario would be for me to get laid off: I would get nine months of full severance pay, and I could spend hours praying for the calling on what to do with the next phase of my life. Maybe I would become a school computer teacher? Perhaps I would move to some other city or state and become a full-time Sacristan? Maybe I would become a Christian missionary, and move to another country? Or, maybe I would keep working from home and get a job at a place like Gab, where I could do God's work within software engineering?

I do pray every night, but I feel so constantly harried and stressed and busy, that it's tough to keep my heart open and receptive to what God is potentially saying to me. In any event, I will continue to post about this journey I am on, in the event that it helps others out there.
The Future? - 15:59 CDT, 1/08/24 (Sniper)
Back before the official Nintendo "NX" unveiling, I put all of the rumors together and explained to a friend: "It might be a handheld which connects to the TV... maybe via a dock? Then when it's in the dock, the controllers... will be wireless... will... come off the system somehow? I'm not sure." My friend was vehement: "Nope, they won't do that, nope, absolutely not." Hah, it's fun to reflect.

Doing that same operation now, all of these years later, the Switch successor might:

  • Be based on the Ampere-generation "Orin" Tegra chipset. It will have Tensor Cores and will support hardware ray-tracing. It will support what people are teasingly calling "DLSS 3.2": frame generation, but not ray generation.

  • Be backwards compatible with the current Switch; a high-up at Nintendo said the whole key to transitioning consumers to the new hardware will be "the account system". I don't know any way to interpret that other than people will be able to continue to use the massive expenditures they made in the existing Switch software ecosystem.

  • Have a Game Card slot which will be wider than the original Switch's, but be able to accept cards of both widths-- the old and the new.

  • Use at least one new gimmick. It would be surprising if its primary parlor trick wasn't AR. Maybe it will be like the AR cards from the 3DS, but greatly fleshed out and expanded upon?

  • Have a form factor a bit different than the current Switch. The present hardware is a handheld which can optionally be put into a dock to get TV-out. Language around the new hardware suggests, verbatim, that "the screen comes off of the console for portable play." I suspect everyone will be in for a huge surprise once the physical appearance of the new system is unveiled.


The Beast System

Read this article and tell me that the development of "AI" shouldn't be internationally banned, the same way in which chemical weapons are. For every possible "benefit" of "AI" I can imagine, I can see ten horrific disasters it will almost certainly cause. It is absolutely part of The Beast System which is being put in place.


Demographics of the Left

It's fun hearing a non-American take a shot at describing the demographics of American Leftists. He's sort of close, but not quite right. There is only one group which supports modern-day Leftism: white women and their cucked white husbands. What's more, it's a vertical slice both in terms of age and income.

Robbinsdale, the crime-infested city I moved from had a lot of low-income, ugly SJWs with nose rings and purple hair move in. Every single one of them was white, and every single one of them immediately put fifty million signs in their yards: "In this household we believe...", "No justice, no peace!", and so forth.

In suburbia, the supporting white women are older professionals, many of them executives at corporations. They sip wine and take ski vacations to Aspen. They have Keith Ellison signs in their yards and "worry" about "climate change" as they drive their massive SUVs everywhere.

Finally, there are the elderly boomers. They were the moronic young-- at the time-- white women who bought into hippy movement.

I once saw a voting demographic map, where if you remove white women votes the entire country turns red.

This is partially off-topic, but I thought it was an insightful comment:

"The only thing more boring than the left's clinical psychopathy is watching right wingers try to understand it as a system.

Cluster B personality disorders. The 'left' doesn't have politics, they have individual personality disorders that make them want to take or break your stuff because you have it and they don't and that manifests collectively as 'politics.'

Truth is almost all of them don't understand the symbols they march under to take or break your stuff, but they don't care."


This analysis has truth in it. Women are much more prone to neuroticism and mental disorders than men. As Leftist men have lower testosterone on average, they veer towards the same kinds of mental issues from which women suffer.


Top-Down Pushing Not Working

There are some really encouraging signs that the "EeeVee" push to ultimately get rid of personal transportation altogether is going to fail. I read that less than half of Ford dealerships are even bothering to carry phones-on-wheels this year; numerous companies have cut back or eliminated external combustion engine "car" manufacturing; China has huge parking lots of abandoned "EeeVees" just sitting there, rusting out; now I'm reading that in the UK, where the pushing has been the strongest, sales have gone backwards year-on-year. Excellent!

One other interesting thing is that Chrysler is selling a "classic" version of their pickup trucks, without all of the garbage. I wonder if this will become "a thing"? It would be cool if companies did this to sports cars: sell then "bare bones" for as cheap as possible.


Eye of the Beholder

Look at how beautiful England was as recently as the 1960s. As is obvious now in retrospect, forces were in place all the way back then and beyond to utterly destroy that way of life-- and everything we see today is a manifestation of that plan, now almost complete. To think there were malcontents back then who looked around at the lovely society and thought, "I hate this and want to tear it down."
What Can’t Go On Forever Won't - 09:47 CDT, 1/06/24 (Sniper)
Someone recently asked me, "What do yall think is next [for video games]? more woke? woke indies? ruined remasters? industry collapse?"

I used to think that I had very different views from most people. But over time I started to notice that the general public would usually follow my lead, just a handful of years after I'd taken the posture. During the Scamdemic, I realized immediately how silly the face diapering thing was. Now, almost everyone agrees with me-- it just took them a few years to come around to it, after the fear of the Kung Flu lessened a bit. Another example is external combustion-engined cars: I was against them when everyone was saying "they are the future", in lock-step-- now I'm seeing editorials on places like Zero Hedge, which don't normally cover cars, echoing what I was saying a few years ago.

I have given up on Western-made games. They are ideological, they are preachy, they are smarmy, they are unoriginal, they lack any kind of personality, and they don't even hold up technically. When "Rift Apart" made seventy million dollars but was unprofitable, that indicated to me that they are also financially unsustainable. Even a year ago, I was buying and forcing myself to play these games, mostly out of habit. But from here-on-out, they won't see another red cent from me.

It's going to take a few years, but eventually I suspect almost everyone will see it my way: they will grow out of the angsty wokeness phase and start to laugh at it; they will stop buying the games; and the triple-A part of the industry will phase out. These developers will shift focus to what we might call "double-A" budgets-- smaller, more limited-in-scope titles-- and will ditch the ideological stuff. Maybe this will reach critical momentum in, let's say, 2026.

The Japanese are already there: the list is huge, and observe how almost every game mentioned is a lower-budget title. It's not all roses there either, as most of their output is stuff like this: very cookie-cutter and somewhat generic. All the same, it's not actively offensive in any way, and the anime aesthetic and melody-focused music is always pleasing.
Salvation - 17:03 CDT, 1/05/24 (Sniper)
Regular readers will know that for the past twelve-or-so years I've been struggling with this crippling anxiety-related issue known as "derealization". For new readers, it's like living in a fog or a haze; like you're watching a movie instead of living a real life; like there is a pane of glass between you and others, to the point where you can't emotionally connect with anything-- you're just going through the motions.

I've been in therapy twice, and it was not particularly helpful either time. However, for the first time in that entire period, I've achieved a sort of breakthrough.

The breakthrough really started perhaps fifteen years ago, even before I was derealized, as God was in this long, patient process of bringing me back to Him. He kept dropping me things-- little articles, or blog posts, or books my dad would send me-- that operated on my intellectual side. Then, He brought me and my family to the rural area, and the drive to the house involves passing this beautiful, very old Catholic Church-- my wife got sick me saying, "If I ever go back, it's going to be at that church". And indeed it came to pass.

When I came back to Jesus, my wife went with me, to the point where not only is she super close to The Father now, but she is going through the RCIA process to become Catholic! My kids were also baptized, and had first communion. But back to RCIA, I go to class with my wife every Thursday, both to support her and to continue my own faith journey via education. Through the RCIA class, I have come into contact with numerous people, all of whom have played some kind of role in bringing me closer to God.

One of the people there has provided me with half of what may be the final key I need to bust out of my derealization bubble. I've mentioned her on this site a few times already, in passing: she is a ninety-two year-old Sister who has been a nun for seventy years. She is very clearly at peace: if I want to be at peace, it makes sense to ask someone else who has already achieved it!

I kept praying for the courage, and an opportunity, to confide in her one-on-one about my anxiety issues. Sure enough, at class a few weeks ago, she approached me after class to give me a beautiful Pastoral Letter from our bishop: "I thought you might enjoy this!"

I took a huge "gulp!" and, fighting back tears the whole time, explained to her what's going on with me. After listening she said, to my total astonishment, "Yes, some decades ago I was seeing a psychiatrist for the same thing! One day the psychiatrist asked me to describe God. I started listing off adjectives. After several, I became stunned as I realized: I was describing me! Then I re-read through some of my journal entries. In one I said, 'God and I are partners-- but I am the senior partner.' The solution was for me to drop my ego, to stop trying to control everything, and to just let go of all of that."

Over the ensuing several nights, I prayerfully took her words to Jesus, and on one of those nights He hit me like a ton of bricks: it's my ego! I'm an arrogant asshole! I'm constantly trying to show off to others how smart I am! I tell myself I'm trying to help people with my knowledge-- but if I'm really honest with myself, I'm showing off: it's not real empathy I'm experiencing. It's like that concept of "Illumination of Conscience": God revealed to me how I truly am.

That was the first part of the puzzle. God bless this Sister, and thank Jesus for bringing her and I together! It's an incredible blessing.

But that was just the first half of the key. The second half came just a few days ago from this fellow, KJ Ozborne. I listened to his New Year's show, and all of these wonderful callers he had. It was the most at peace I'd been in many years. I felt very humbled by the Testimonies of these people, and I realized as I listened that KJ and his amazing guests are the kind of people I want to mold myself after.

I still haven't popped out of the bubble, but now I have the two pieces of the needle, and have put them together. I've dropped my pretensions, and my trying to prove to everyone how smart I am. I've stopped feeding my ego, which is a genetic curse I got from my father and his father, who are and were-- respectively-- very prone to arrogance. For the first time, I can really feel Jesus's presence with me, hanging out with me, sitting beside me even as I type this.

Maybe by sharing this story I can help others feel more confident that if they truly turn to Christ-- to truth, to love, to light-- that no matter how bad or hopeless they may feel, that salvation is there for them too.
Game Development Pipeline - 18:17 CDT, 1/01/24 (Sniper)
I've almost poured a full-time job's worth of effort this past week into getting an end-to-end workflow going for modern game development. It involves:

  • Writing Haxe code against the HaxeFlixel Framework in Visual Studio Code on an M2 MacBook Air.

  • Drawing pixel art in the Mac version of the incredible "Aseprite", then using those tile sets and sprites within the Mac version of the "Ogmo Editor 3" level editor.

  • Composing and outputting music within and from GarageBand, also on the Mac, by using the "Magical 8bit Plug 2" plugin.

  • Performing native macOS, GNU/Linux, and Windows builds via a series of CI/CD shell scripts, which automate the build work and the shuffling of the files around my network.

  • Seamlessly testing the builds on the MacBook, Windows, and Steam Deck, hooked up to my CRT television.

After looking over all of the old game platforms, I've settled on the Sega Master System. I think 8-bit graphics are the most evocative, and the Master System is the best 8-bit platform of the bunch in my opinion. Once I decided on the system to imitate, I set about making a proof-of-concept game-- here it is running on my TV via the Steam Deck:



You can view all of my code and assets here. The song I composed for it is within that repo, if you want to give it a listen.

The game is a "Hi-Bit" take on the Master System: the music uses waveforms which are more similar to the NES than the PSG in Sega's system; I am using the exact tile sizes which real Master System games use, 16x16 with 16x32 "double height" sprites, with the authentic Master System palette-- but of course, I have "unlimited" memory and CPU performance, leading to a sort of "Sonic Mania" situation.

I'm absolutely thrilled to have this entire pipeline and framework in place. Now I can set about making actual games, versus this tutorial-based proof-of-concept. The parlor trick of every game I make is that each one is going to have a "CRT TV mode"-- everything will be designed to look beautiful on a 4:3 CRT with scanlines, with overscan compensated for in terms of HUD layouts and the like.

On modern 16:9 displays, I am going to have some cool border art, perhaps with optional information which is not critical to playing the game, and I will apply some kind of CRT filter to the output to give it as authentic of a look as possible.

Interestingly, the native GNU/Linux build does not run on the Steam Deck, due to that operating system having too old of a version of GLIBC. However, the Windows build works perfect with Proton! Once I finish an actual game and sell it on Steam, I will make sure it's advertised as being Steam Deck verified.
Kids in the Matrix - 09:30 CDT, 12/27/23 (Sniper)
I really enjoyed this video from John Linneman, painstakingly retracing the history of the "Road Rash" series. I do feel compelled to make an addendum of sorts to his 3DO section however, with some clarifications and corrections.

The 3DO was only expensive in 1993; in 1994 the price dropped to $400, and by the time the PSX and Saturn came out, it was $250-- more than a hundred dollars less than those two machines after you factored in a game plus a memory card for the former. The 3DO did not fail because it was expensive.

I don't know how the roads are drawn in "Road Rash" on 3DO, but the scenery is not "polygonal" with "texture maps applied"-- the 3DO does not have any kind of 3D geometry hardware at all! Every single thing in a 3DO game is a "sprite"-- a quad. Dave Needle's custom graphics co-processors-- the "CEL Engine"-- allow you to provide Z coordinates for "sprite" corners, and the hardware knows how to draw the "sprite" in a perspective-correct manner. You can "glue" these angled "sprites" together, positioning them so they are touching, to make "3D" environments.

For each frame in the game's loop, the quads, or "sprites", are fed into the provided API in the form of a linked list, with flags for each one to activate various built-in hardware effects, such as brightness, color tint, alpha transparency, or rotation.

Linneman discusses the ports to other platforms, but those aren't apples-to-apples with the 3DO original: the PSX and PC renderers were re-created from the ground up to use actual polygons, which undoubtedly required a lot of asset re-work to convert the quads into viable textures which artistically looked faithful to the 3DO's quad renderer. You can see this when John turns on geometry rendering in his PSX emulator: triangles! As for the Saturn port, like the 3DO Sega's hardware was also quad-based-- so I'm assuming they could lift the assets straight over, and just re-write the "CEL Engine" calls to do whatever the Saturn needed to draw the frame.

As for the music, I wouldn't say that the 3DO's custom DSP is "sequenced music" per se, although it does fundamentally operate with samples I suppose. He is correct about why licensed music isn't used during gameplay: the 3DO has a pretty big bottleneck with the disc I/O, so the music would start skipping during races had they opted that route. It doesn't skip during the menu transitions, but that's because they buffer an absurd amount of song time, since they have memory to burn when the race engine is being used.

The 3DO DSP soundtrack is by Don Veca, the same guy who did the "Road Rash 3" music on the Mega Drive. Personally, I like his "Road Rash" music better than Rob Hubbard's, all due respect.

As for why the PSX port uses a lower color-depth and dithering: the 3DO's hardware supports totally arbitrary color depths for its assets; you can load a 5-bit quad, for example, and the hardware can draw it. This allowed 3DO developers at the time to maximize VRAM usage. The PSX, by contrast, can only use powers-of-two for texture and sprite color depths. In the case of my hypothetical 5-bit color usage, a PSX port would need to jump all the way up to 8-bit color-- impossible, due to a lack of VRAM-- or drop down to 4-bit color, and introduce dithering. Most 3DO-to-PSX ports look worse on the PSX for this reason, "Road Rash" included.


Everything Within the Ideology

The opening premise in this video is positively hilarious-- it's Vee at his best. Joking aside, here is an article where the Left's ideology takes a dark turn. Combine it with some of the things mentioned in this thread, and it paints a bleak picture of the realities of young kids today.

People often say to me, "But Sniper, every generation thinks kids are going to turn out poorly!", or, "But events very often seem bad to people at the time!" All of that is undoubtedly true-- but I counter with the observation that what we're experiencing today is unprecedented: never in human history have we had a small cabal of borderline-trillionaires with the technology and will to institute global serfdom-- and never before have we had hundreds of millions of small children essentially living in the matrix, while being "educated" by groomers.


Legitimacy

I think the answer to Vee's question here boils down to, "Is Hamas the 'legitimate' elected state apparatus for Palestine?" If the majority of the people there really do support Hamas, then like it or not they are Israel's negotiating partner. Conversely, if the people there vote for Hamas under extreme duress, ala North Korea or the old Soviet Union, then the case could be made, as the speaker states, that the path towards a "two-state" solution is unclear.

The reason this answer's Vee's question is because, if the people there are simply voting for Hamas under pressure, but don't authentically support Hamas, the European politicians could them claim-- perhaps with some truth, although we do know what their true motives are, and it's not to increase the quality of life in Europe-- that Palestinian refugees are A-OK for Europe, because they don't actually support Hamas.

Vee goes on to blame "the current thing" phenomenon on pragmatism-- "'the current thing' brings in more ad revenue...". I think that's part if the story-- but the larger concern for these people is ideological; they ride the wave of and propagate "the current thing" to "strike when the iron is hot", and so either spread or react on behalf of-- depending on how self-aware they are-- their worldview in those moments.

Of course, none of this justifies Israel dropping massive bombs and thus flattening an entire city's worth of children.


Insomniac Leak

I don't get all of the hand-wringing in the opening discourse of this Digital Foundry video.

I skimmed through much of the leaked material, and it's unclear to me why companies aren't this transparent as a matter of course. Why does our current culture so value corporate secrecy? For instance, Sony could have just dropped this slide deck onto their website for everyone to see, voluntarily. Ditto for the "Wolverine" demo and presentation videos; isn't there value, "Agile Manifesto"-style, in getting things in front of the end customer early ("fail early"), versus big banging it all at once later and then getting the negative feedback? The popularity of Steam's "Early Access" program attests that value.

Tellingly and some way into the conversation, Richard Leadbetter puts forth this principle: that there is a "statute of limitations", so-to-speak, and after that time passes, then it's ok to discuss the leaks because by then the leak is simply a "fact of life". But isn't the leak a "fact of life" the instant it occurs? What Leadbetter is admitting is that the hand-wringing is all about the feels-- because the facts won't have changed: we already knew-- materially-- immediately that the leak was the outcome of a ransomware attack.

To summarize, I think Digital Foundry and their ilk are wildly overstating the "harm" done by leaks such as this-- indeed, the only "harm" put forth in the entire discourse is that Linneman thinks people are too stupid to know that a game with no textures isn't finished; and that the pearl-clutching reactions are emotions-based virtue signaling, because it was stated that after some magical, arbitrary amount of time it's "ok" to discuss the leaked material.

One thought which crossed my mind: on some level, games "journalists" like the Digital Foundry people may feel threatened by leaks such as this, which could cause them to overestimate "the damage" in their minds-- after all, the normal route via which private corporate information gets unveiled to the public is either through direct advertising by the corporation itself, or just as commonly it is handed to outlets such as Digital Foundry, for carefully-curated and selective drip-feeding. But in the case of a leak, the media loses its gatekeeper status and thus its reason for existing.

All of that said, I'm not condoning the cracking into people's servers, as those servers are private property. I can understand that, if the home addresses of people were part of this leak (I haven't seen that, but maybe it was in there), then that becomes very uncomfortable or theoretically dangerous; and I do understand that Sony's share price is impacted by this uncontrolled release of information. But everything I have seen from the data exposed has been the kind of information I wish companies would simply make public anyway.
Battle Lines - 12:00 CDT, 12/21/23 (Sniper)
What in heaven's name is this monstrosity? It's like WEF, for football! They want to create supranational financial rules for clubs, overriding league sovereignty; they want to do the same with stadium design; they want to shove women's football down our throats from the top-down, versus letting the market decide; and they say clubs must "embrace the values" of the EU-- "or what?", the question is begged? Which "values"? Why does a football club need to have "values" other than playing football?

Just like with the UN, the EU, and the WEF, so much of the text on this page is "doublethink".

This group is proposing adding fourteen matches to club schedules-- then has the audacity to say that no new matches should be added, respecting "player health"; they say they want to increase competitiveness of domestic leagues, while simultaneously distracting clubs from their domestic leagues; they claim that football is "the people's game", yet they want this competition to be added revenue for only the very top-most clubs participating in it.

They want to make matches "more accessible"... people can already buy tickets to watch their team! They want to create "exciting" pan-European matches-- we already have that, ever heard of the Champions League? And on and on it goes. Evidently, this company is based in Madrid and is bankrolled by Real Madrid-- specifically two guys with Spanish ties: John Hahn and Anas Laghrari.

As usual, pure greed couched in nauseating pluralistic language.

I'd be more ok if they'd just be honest: "Yup, it's a cash grab, but in exchange the matches could be entertaining." It's the incessant lying that's truly tiresome. Remember: we already have domestic leagues; the Champions League; the Europa League; the Conference League, which is brand new; domestic cups; and in some cases national cups too. Clubs are already playing every three days. At what point are players being abused to make the people at the top rich? Are squads going to need to carry forty rostered players now?


Gay Acts

There is no such thing as a "gay" person. There are people who succumb to the devil's temptations, and commit sinful sexual acts. "Gay" is a verb, not an adjective. Because someone commits a deeply sinful act such as homosexuality, does not mean they can not offer their hearts wholly to Christ, reform, and achieve salvation. We are all sinners axiomatically, very much myself included.

There is the expression, "Love the sinner, hate the sin." This is in relation to what I wrote here. Just because someone has performed sinful sexual acts, does not mean they should be exiled from the Church. There are people who have sinned, who have confessed that sin, and who are authentically contrite of heart. As an elderly Sister said to me recently, they have "pitched their tent" in the Church, and who are we to throw them and their tent out?

But then there are those who identify with their vice: they quite literally define themselves according to their sin. In fact, they are proud of their sin! "I am gay!", or "I am queer!", and so forth. "Gay pride!" These people should absolutely not be allowed into the Church, they should not receive "same sex couple blessings"-- in the same way someone who brags about how proud they are that they are a serial axe murderer, or proud about how they actively worship Satan, would not be welcome in the Church.

People should define themselves by their virtues, not their vices. Not only do these people frequently identify by their vices, and boast about their sins, but they actively want to change Christ's Church to support their vices, contrary to all of scripture, which is God's literal Word.

This is the defining line for me regarding not just homosexual behavior and the Church, but between sin of all kind. People who are contrite of heart and have turned to Jesus are not just welcome-- they are the "parts" of the Church's body. By contrast, people who are proud of their sins and wish to turn the Church towards evil, should have no place within the body.

In no way is this me "casting stones", or not recognizing the "plank in my own eye". Like all humans, I am very much tempted to sin, by Satan. But Pope Francis, my Bishop, and the Church's official positions these days are constantly emphasizing the "synodal" nature of the Church, and how everyone should be able to express their opinions. In that spirit and since they've asked, this is my opinion.


Insomniac Leak

Much has already been said regarding the Insomniac leaks such as this material, but it's worth emphasizing just how out-of-control game budgets are. "Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart" made a whopping seventy-one million USD, but was unprofitable-- that is patently absurd. Just to add some high resolution textures and get ray-traced window reflections to an existing game-- the original "Spider-Man" PlayStation 4 title-- cost forty million USD!

This is a dead industry. It's only a matter of time before the "triple-A", "Hollywood cinematic blockbuster" concept is abandoned. And good riddance! Right around the year 2000, the industry prioritized mimicking Hollywood, and the whole hobby has been artistically off the rails since then. Unfortunately, what comes next is "GaaS", which is even worse than the walking simulators.


The Vatican and AI

Back to the topic of the Church, this is a superb letter, written at least in part by, and certainly endorsed by, Pope Francis. It accurately lists all of the risks of "AI", in such a way I have not yet seen done. The letter has only reinforced my views that "AI" should be internationally banned: it should be understood to be in the same category as, let's say, chemical weapons. A clear boundary should be set: "Computers are allowed to do A, B, and C, but not X, Y, or Z." There should be jail time for anyone who violates.
Nefariousness Afoot - 10:03 CDT, 12/15/23 (Sniper)
I wonder if Taiwan is hastening its own invasion? Among the export-restricted items: "semiconductors". I don't think Xi necessarily wants to move in, but clearly he is going to perceive this act as Taiwan being in the hands of the Western Globohomos. From a "independent-from-mainland-China" standpoint, it would make more sense for the Taiwanese to cooperate with mainland China regarding trade secrets behind semiconductor development.

Or maybe that's the point? The Globohomos have a reputation of pushing buttons to provoke reactions, ala the "NATO and Russia", "not one inch Eastward" chain of events. It is clearly stated in the article that "Taiwan's new regulations align with the United States' policy on limiting the export of semiconductor chips and relevant technologies into China." Interesting coincidence, that. Or how about this, bold and underlined emphasis is mine:

"In 2021, more than 1 million Taiwanese businesspeople traveled to China and worked there. Such an example of extensive Taiwan-China trade ties has raised concerns from the United States that Taiwan's semiconductors and other technologies may be at risk of being stolen by the Chinese regime."


Trade creates peace and mutual prosperity. The United States does not want Taiwan to have trade with China. What United States motives should we be inferring, if not actively antagonistic ones? The United States "commerce secretary", someone named "Gina Raimondo", says that her country's "national security will be prioritized over economic and political alliances with China." But what if the road to "national security" means having "economic and political alliances with China"?

China's economy can not grow without these semiconductors: it is veritably an existential issue for them, I would guess. If I realize it, obviously so do the Globohomos. The article quotes a Chinese current affairs commentator, Tang Jingyuan, who says that China is trying to become "semiconductor independent". Wouldn't that be the best thing for the United States, if the Globohomos really cared about "protecting" Taiwan from Chinese invasion?


Next GTA Woke?

Here is an interesting technical breakdown of the "Grand Theft Auto VI" preview video. From a technical standpoint, this is one of the most advanced video games ever made. Stylistically, it's tough to say whether or not it's woke. On the affirmative side lie the facts that one of the protagonists is an assertive womyn-type, and that blacks are seriously over-represented. The flip-side is worth a more detailed exploration.

Back when I reviewed "Miles Morales", I wrote the following:

"This new Spider-Man game is one of the most racist video games this reviewer has ever played: from start-to-end it's saving brown-skinned 'Mary Sue' interracial immigrant lesbians from dirt-stupid white male thieves, while combating-- big surprise-- a billion dollar evil corporation run by a white male, while slinging past 'BLM' murals."

That game, and to some degree the original PlayStation 4 "Spider-Man" Insomniac title, feature a totally unrealistic, alternative "la la land" universe version of New York City, and what it's actually like to live there these days-- it's a fantasy recreation, where the Globohomo narratives are actually reality. And that is primarily what betrays the Cultural Marxist dogma among Insomniac's employee base.

This new "Grand Theft Auto" game is the total opposite in this regard: it holds up a mirror to what contemporary America has become, right down to the tatted obese land whale black women "twerking" on the tops of automobiles. Rather than gaslight its players with a delusional pollyannaish "vision" of the world, as Insomniac and other woke developers have done, Rockstar has decided to show things as they are-- a decidedly anti-woke approach.

The verdict won't come in until the game can actually be played in a couple of years. But based on this video, it's interesting to speculate. Incidentally, it might also be worth pulling out the "men stormed the beach at Normandy for this" memes. I swear there was a mustachioed world leader from that period who warned us about who the good and bad guys actually were and are... his name eludes me.


Amazon and Book Banning

I learned an interesting thing from this Mark Dice video.

A few years ago, someone listed "ebook" copies of "1984" on Amazon, without the rights to distribute the book. Amazon rightfully delisted it. That's all fine and dandy. The scary part is that the book disappeared from everyone's Kindles, for anyone who'd bought it!

Amazon refunded them-- there was nothing nefarious about the episode, in and of itself. But what it exposed is that Amazon has that capability. Sort of like how Elon flipped a switch once, and Teslas magically had more "range"-- which illustrated to the world that he could also set the "range" to zero if he wanted!

In a similar way, we now know that Amazon has the backdoor capability to delete anything they want off of Kindle devices.


IBM and DIE

IBM's CEO was recently caught red-handed, thanks to a brave whistleblowing employee who'd covertly recorded the aforementioned leader, laying out details that whomever does not racially discriminate against whites and Asians in hiring plus promotion practices would have their bonuses reduced, get demoted, or get fired altogether. Here he is trying to backpedal. The audacity of "leaders" today and their willingness to lie and gaslight is astonishing.

Naturally, my first action upon seeing the initial video was to play the "who owns IBM" game. Predictably: "Vanguard" numero uno, Jewish Larry Fink "Blackrock" numero dos.
Ambition and Virtue - 11:16 CDT, 12/12/23 (Sniper)
This is an excellent interview with Claudio Lotito. Run it through a "Google Translate" browser plugin to read it in English.

The men I've always admired most have been the ones who combine virtue with ambition; being assertive, and also intellectually curious; knowing what they and others want, and figuring out how to deliver it. Lotito is a great example, and in fact I underestimated his willingness to get his hands dirty with philosophical concepts. Take this answer, for instance:

"I don't have any revenge to assert. This period we are experiencing of strong aggression, violence and total lack of the value of the human being arises from a very simple fact: from the absolute lack of awareness of the value of oneself.

The Oracle of Delphi said 'know thyself'. If people had this introspective ability to know themselves, they would also know how far they can push themselves. The moment one is aware of himself he fears no comparisons. If you are prepared, you have studied and you are yourself, you are a free person. The problem is when you are not yourself and you are overstructured, you are no longer a free person. And it's easy to attack you.

I am a Catholic Christian preacher, so these precepts help me to behave respectfully towards others. In fact I avoid jokes. 'Don't do to others what you wouldn't want them to do to you', this is the theme. Today, however, we live 'mors tua, vita mea'. However, these things don't work, because then what the human being is is lost. The difference between man and beast is rationality."


I also got a valuable thing out of this interview-- the song they play after Lazio home matches conclude, where there are some sixty-thousand people singing along to the chorus: 1972's "I giardini di marzo", from Lucio Battisti.


Falling Apart, Or Simple Road Block?

There are two things which can stop the Globohomos: either the reactionaries truly grow a pair, or the Globohomo agenda collapses under its own weight. I'm not holding my breath on the first one-- so how about the second? Their biggest push thus far in the realm of legislation has involved EeeVees-- so studying how successful that initiative becomes may give us some insight into how well their future actions may go.

EeeVees are imploding. They are piling up on dealer lots like nothing else. Because EeeVee batteries degrade even when the vehicle is sitting parked, logistical nightmares involving extension cords and the constant shuffling of vehicles appear for dealerships. I just read that Ford is cutting their external combustion F-150 production in half; and Congress has built zero chargers from seventy five billion dollars.

Incidentally, I also found the term "range anxiety" to be funny-- as if it's not a legitimate concern, and merely a sort of delusion. Let's say I invent a new kind of furnace, which is twice as expensive and only heats your home three days per week, when it's twenty below outside. And the State apparatus is trying to foist these new furnaces on everyone-- yet people still don't want them. "People just don't want to buy my furnace because they have 'heat anxiety', that's all. I just need some better advertising and propaganda!"

Either the entire Globohomo war front will collapse and be forced into retreat, or they will perceive these setbacks as mere road blocks, and continue unabated. It's unclear to me to what degree reality-assertion will shut them down.


Lust for Power Knows No Ends

The history books are not going to be kind to the Democrats. Here they were caught cramming thousands of illegal aliens-- humans!-- into a warehouse, in horrible living conditions. Meanwhile, child sex traficking-- i.e. adolescent slave trading-- is off the charts. All of this is just so they can change the electorate to remain in power indefinitely, by replacing white people with third-worlders.

A quote from the article:

"I honestly couldn't believe it when I first heard it. 2700 illegals being housed in a warehouse in south Chicago (2241 S. Halsted St). People have no idea how bad this is going to get! The truth about the Democrat's illegal invasion: drugs, prostitution, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery."


Thankfully, some influential people such as Elon Musk are starting to figure things out. He's still a transhumanist, but he clearly has a strong sense of moral principles, even if those principles remain under intense development. I never thought I would see him in a live chat with Alex Jones, Mark Dice, Laura Loomer and others-- yet here we are.


Silly Game Design Statement

I thought this was a dumb thing to say. Clearly, Eiji Aonuma knows a lot about game design-- yet here he seems oblivious about the trade-offs between approaches, wondering why someone would want to be "more limited" in the gameplay actions they can take.

The answer is obvious: in a constrained design the player can be psychologically, subconsciously steered in just the way the designer has intended. This makes the player feel very satisfied as he enjoys progressing. A perfect example is that old "Mega Man! Mega Man!" Mega Man X analysis video, which shows how the game's level design serves as a tutorial, without the player even realizing it.

With an open world design, this water tightness is almost totally lost: huge chunks of the gameplay loop are spent with the player merely running around, which is boring. Plus, in this situation the designer is never quite sure what the player is "looking at", so it's difficult to signpost. The advantage is "fewer limits", as Aonuma correctly observes-- but there is a cost in the equation as well, which he ignores for some reason.


Signal and Tor

I don't use Tor, but having been using Signal for many years. Turns out, both are CIA creations, and in fact the State apparatus devotes a great deal of resources on compromised Tor exit nodes, so they can de-anonymize the traffic. I still think Signal can be trusted simply due to the way it works-- but Tor users might want to think twice.


Good and Bad

Life is all about competing concerns. Behold, young people are questioning the "Holocaust" narrative. This is a good thing, since I'm almost certain it did not happen in nearly the way it was told-- something I've written in more detail about in the past.

The bad thing is the reason for their belief: they did not arrive at the conclusion via careful consideration and a mindful plus objective study of the facts-- rather, they arrived at it because they are brainwashed with Cultural Marxist "Victimhood Olympics".

The irony is that Jews created this phony baloney model-- via the Frankfurt School-- as a way to denigrate and ultimately eliminate white Europeans, who are the only ones in the Western hemisphere smart and strong enough to theoretically push back against the constant Bolshevist Jew meddling. It's like what's been said: "We Jews can only thrive in a liberal 'anything goes' environment."

For those who prefer things in bulleted form:

  1. Jews spent decades preaching Cultural Marxism in American universities: whites and Christians are "oppressive", worked to tear them down to ensure "anything goes" militant pluralistic environment, which is only system in which Jews don't get booted out of countries.

  2. As a natural outcome of the program, an entire generation of Americans began to propagate brown people and Muslims.

  3. Support of brown people and Muslims caused this generation to in turn hate Israel and Jews as "oppressors" as well.

  4. The Jews panic, as seen at the 10:10 mark of this video; they loathe the monster of their own creation.

You can see myriad examples of anti-white hatred at the 17:00 mark of that video. It's also worth watching the clip at the 25:35 portion, where a Rabbi admits that the Jews get kicked out of everyplace due to predatory lending and other schemes. As a partial aside, Vincent James is excellent on this subject, and I highly recommend his content.


Lack of Consequences

Another recent Vincent James video discusses Vivek Ramaswamy's political destruction of "Dick Cheney in heels" Nimarata Randhawa. Normally politicians are good at putting on facades-- I have never seen emotions so transparently play across one of their faces, as progressed on hers during her humiliation. Vivek is twice as eloquent as her, and has a thirty-plus IQ point advantage-- she's no match.

There was a lot of pearl clutching regarding Vivek's treatment of her-- "Oh my, someone said mean things to her on a stage!"-- but the truth is she should be tried for war crimes and possibly hung from a lamp post. She has supported and advocated for, from positions of extreme power and influence at the highest levels of the American State apparatus, wars which have killed and displaced countless millions of people. What are the consequences? She got filthy rich and is running for US President.

During the Scamdemic, a doctor at a friend's workplace blanket told every employee via several published videos and intranet articles that, regardless of health status, age, risk factors, family history, other medications, and so forth, they should get the clot shots. I just saw data where from New Zealand, where 25% of people from one of the batches literally died. Millions have died around the world from these shots. Where are the consequences for this doctor? He still has his medical license. How many employees possibly died due to his ideologically-driven advice?

Of course, now medical schools are saying that field expertise is secondary to ideological concerns. In the coming years and decades, be prepared to absolutely not trust your doctor's advice.

But back to the main point: this is why Trump was satisfying in 2016, and this is why Vivek is satisfying in 2023. Since there are no real consequences for the bad actors, at the very least we get to see them undergo verbal hide kickings. It's not much, but I'll take what I can get.
Food for Eating and Thought - 11:34 CDT, 12/05/23 (Sniper)
In Europe, they are purging cars which are incompatible with their ideological goals-- regrettably, coming soon to a United States near you, no doubt; or, at least, the attempt will be made, and hopefully thwarted. Meanwhile in the US of A, they are purging people from the military who are incompatible with their ideological goals.

I find their language funny: they object to people discussing "unlawful" means of overthrowing the government. You mean, versus lawful means of overthrowing the government? It reminds me of when the State set up "free speech zones". Kind of defeats the spirit, eh?

In other news, Microsoft is apparently rolling out an update to Winbloze 11 which adds a bunch of integrated "AI" features. Can you imagine the telemetry data they are going to collect once this strain becomes the dominant one, once it has infected the PCs of a billion or more people? Meanwhile, Winbloze 12 is going to be exclusively "AI" and subscription-based. I'm getting closer and closer to just giving my gaming PC to the wife.

Another thing which could use a strong reactionary movement is this. It reminds me of that ~1994 Philippe Kahn quote from "The Computer Chronicles", where Kahn mused "Maybe we can design software so that every time the user clicks on a user interface element such as a button, they get billed." The push is a combination of greed, and the "need" for control.

On a different subject, check out the 48:22 mark in this video, and watch the trio of teacher interviews. Seems like I've been offering the "excuse the cringe, focus on the substance" disclaimer, but it is required here.

Sadly, I was at an event very recently where high school kids in my local area cycled through at a podium, reading a few short sentences each. Out of eight kids, seven of them could only read at a snail's pace, constantly needing to pause right in the middle of words, trying to sound them out. One gal couldn't pronounce the word "separated"-- she took several tries, and eventually just moved on. This, by the by, is in a white rural area, not the inner city. So the problems aren't just isolated to certain zones or demographics.

It isn't the kids' fault, and I feel sad for them-- they are borderline functionally illiterate. It's all according to the designs of the psychopathic power mongers at the very top. The people in power today-- the heads of State, corporations, NGOs, etc.-- are not present to improve humanity, offer valuable products and services, or enrich the culture: they are there to transfer as much wealth from the plebes to themselves as possible.

Finally, people are apparently surprised by the low price of the shopping trip here. But I'm not: I vividly remember going grocery shopping with my parents every week throughout the entire 80s and most of the 90s-- my mother would have a heaping cart of stuff, and the total would be around 65 USD. We ate a lot of meat back then as well, so it wasn't just cheap boxed junk food. Today, I think an equivalent grocery trip would be close to 200 USD.
Birth and Death of Art - 17:01 CDT, 12/01/23 (Sniper)
This is one of the funnest videos I've ever watched. The guy's presentation is a little cringey-- after all one needs to cater to the Gen Z'ers these days-- but the content is incredible. I can recognize that there is some crazy stuff going on, but to hear a master break it down systematically and explain it in music theory terms is extremely rewarding.

You know what would really blow his mind? Explaining to him that Koshiro not only had to compose the music, but that he had to program the music in assembler, to magically bend the waveforms, to produce the sounds he wanted. And on top of that, he was programming and getting-to-work-together two different chips: the FM synth YM2612, and the PSG. Koshiro isn't just a master composer: he's a superb computer programmer as well.

Regular readers will know I've been desperately trying to explain to everyone that video game music is dead: anyone who reads my reviews knows that I continually bring up how game tunes from the 80s and 90s were composed by geniuses who learned classical piano at ages four and five, whereas today the "songs" are "composed" by jokers with zero talent, who make television commercial music-- there's just no comparison.

My point being, it wasn't just "Streets of Rage 2" which had a soundtrack of this caliber: there are dozens of games from that era I could recommend to him, which have remarkable compositional complexity.

If he likes the dance stuff, how about tracks like this from "One Must Fall: 2097"? Or anything from "Shinobi III"? The "Star Control 2" music does a huge amount of thematically interesting things. Returning to Koshiro, what would this guy make from the opening progression in this track? Or how about what I consider to be the single best video game song of all time, compliments of Tim Follin?


Favorite Metal Albums

While we're on the subject of music, I figured I'd update my favorite metal albums of all time list. I love this stuff for the same reason the aforelinked musician went nuts listening to Yuzo Koshiro: metal has incredible compositional sophistication. But not only that, it produces such an intensely bombastic sound:

  1. Rising Force - Yngwie Malmsteen (1984)
  2. Resurrection - Galneryus (2010)
  3. Invictus - Virgin Steele (1998)
  4. Angel of Salvation - Galneryus (2012)
  5. Rust in Peace - Megadeth (1990)
  6. Dust to Dust - Heavenly (2004)
  7. V: The New Mythology Suite - Symphony X (2000)
  8. Epica - Kamelot (2003)
  9. Images and Words - Dream Theater (1991)
  10. Trilogy - Yngwie Malmsteen (1988)
  11. Hall of the Mountain King - Savatage (1987)
  12. Land of the Free - Gamma Ray (1995)
  13. Crystal Logic - Manilla Road (1983)
  14. Destiny - Stratovarius (1998)
  15. Ecliptica - Sonata Arctica (1999)
  16. Sign of the Winner - Heavenly (2001)
  17. Dawn of Victory - Rhapsody (2000)
  18. Defying the Rules - Hibria (2004)
  19. The Black Halo - Kamelot (2005)
  20. Chapters from a Vale Forlorn - Falconer (2002)


Toriyama

Speaking of art which resonates with me, how about this piece from Akira Toriyama?



I wonder if there is a name for the style: it juxtaposes disproportionate "chibi" characters with realism-- in this image, I get the chills contrasting the driver with the rich detail put into the car itself. Imagine lifting this car and characters, plus a whole slew of corresponding world art, making ultra high-resolution "billboard" sprites out of them, then placing that into a rally driving game with realistic physics?

This is what I mean about modern-day game designers having nothing to offer: I can think of a million ideas like this, which have never been done before-- and I'm not even a generally creative person. Sometimes I think I should start my own game development company. I'd go solo, but I'm a terrible artist so minimally I'd need help with the graphics.


Crime and Race

Here is Vincent James with an excellent breakdown of the relationship between crime and race. This doesn't mean that people should ill-treat individuals poorly simply because of their race-- but the data does suggest which races, if any, should be considered for immigration, and which shouldn't.

On that very note, here is Geert Wilders with a superb explanation as to why people voted for him. He brings up the importance of shared religion, shared language, shared values, and so forth. You can always tell which leaders prioritize their own voters-- Wilders, Nigel Farage, Vladimir Putin, Viktor Orban, and so on-- by how often they invoke this telling argument. They understand that they are the employees, while the citizens are the bosses.


Clot Shot Fallout

I recently saw a clip from a female doctor who, no longer able to contain her conscience, spoke out against the damage the clot shots were causing, based on the explosion of things she and her colleagues were seeing in their practices over the past couple of years, weighed against their prior decades of experience. I can't find that clip at the moment, but this article discusses some of the same material.


Winbloze 12

The combination of the Steam Deck being such an emulation box hit for me thus far with the fact that, for the first time in forty years of playing video games, I don't have any titles I'm looking forward to, means that I'm on the verge of just handing over my gaming PC to the wife and calling it a day.

Now I'm reading that Winbloze 12 is going to be "AI"-based, which means it will have a woke chaperon built right into the OS, probably monitoring all of your documents, deleting stuff off of "OneDrive" if the "AI" system doesn't like it. I've also heard that Winbloze 12 will be subscription-based. Now seems like a good time to bow out of PC gaming, and probably all other contemporary gaming as well.

"Is it weird that I'm worried that I'm failing at being bi if I wind up liking a guy? Like coming out, in my mother's words, was so 'bleeping dramatic' and then I'm just gonna be in a hetero-normative relationship and then I feel guilty about participating in 'bi-erasure'? I'm a mess."

-Actual quote from a modern video game ("Spider-Man 2", on the PlayStation 5)


Death of Xbox, Continued

This is an interesting thread, lots of charts and analysis from the various posters. Some of the comments which jump out at me the most:

  • "The scary thing is they haven't been able to create a new, big IP to match Halo, Gears, or Forza. Starfield was the big chance, but failed spectacularly."

  • "how do you even hope to exist in the console market if your last successful exclusive ip was created in 2006? i mean, that's just genuinely nuts. it almost seems like the odds'd be that they'd've just accidentally come up with one over all that time..."

  • "I don't know how they're going to sustain memberships for another 6 months on the backs of Starfield and Halo Infinite. Honestly, I don't know how GamePass hasn't already imploded except that a lot of people probably have months/years stacked up."

Curiosities - 11:27 CDT, 11/27/23 (Sniper)
I'm not particularly smart or insightful, so why is it I've been correct about everything for the past few years?

  • Fentynl Floyd.
  • The Scamdemic: including-but-not-limited-to masks, lockdowns, "social distancing".
  • The clot shots.
  • Beijing Biden's senility.
  • "January 6th!!!"
  • "Hate speech" and the nature of censorship.
  • The rainbow people "slippery slope".

There are probably other things too, which I'm forgetting right now. On the flip-side, I've vastly-amended my previously-held position on Anarcho Capitalism, and I was totally incorrect in thinking that God did not exist.

But those are both longer-term menu items where my thinking has gradually evolved over time, in light of my receiving new evidence; in the short run, I've been spot on. Perhaps Clot Adams is on to something: in the current period of history, naturally skeptical people such as myself are going to be correct most of the time because unimaginably bad things really are happening everywhere.

Or, it could be that God has blessed me with a tiny modicum of wisdom, so that I can help others onto the right path.


Possible Paths

It seems like America could go one of three ways from here:

  1. Globalist Technocracy: Gavin Nuisance will be selected as the next El Presidente, the UN will implement "the mark of the beast" system of global digital id, and anyone who criticizes the establishment will be "investigated" and jailed for "hate speech" or "misinformation". People will be corralled into ghettos and be treated like livestock, given medical injections against their will, with no realistic ability to travel or leave. This path is a disaster.

  2. Compromise: Get a compromise candidate like RFK Jr. into office, somehow manage to reconcile differences in a relatively peaceful way. Most current arrangements, especially economically, can not go on-- but maybe new arrangements can be installed smoothly in some heretofore-mysterious way. This is the best-case scenario in a naive sort of way, but doesn't actually solve any of the underlying issues, since all of the perpetrators remain in power, with no consequences for their actions.

  3. Strong Man: A Franco-like hard man takes control, cleans house, and sets the country on a new path, pulling out the roots of the problems versus temporarily cutting off the dandelion stem only for it to grow back again in a few days. This approach is high risk, high reward; could solve everything, or the immediate chaos could stretch to infinity.

All three option are bad, but there is no "good" way out of the current situation. Since the third option is the most interesting, I gave some thought as to how it could be accomplished:

  • Create an inner guard of the most loyal men in the military. Lay the groundwork and plan logistics behind the scenes.
  • Come to power by cheating in an election by any means necessary.
  • Strike quickly, execute the plan rapidly; purge all military leaders who are disloyal. Jail or exile them.
  • Systematically raid the offices of all opposition "media" outlets and NGOs. Shut them all down. Jail or exile the leadership.
  • Have the military raid the offices of both the FBI and the CIA. Perform an extensive house cleaning, jailing or exiling all traitors.
  • Put new heads in charge of those departments; use them to execute the remainder of the plan, in close cooperation with the military.
  • Commission a list of all members of the government who are either Jews, or traitors who have expressed primary loyalty to Israel, and expel them immediately.
  • Get a list of all government members who are suspected primary loyalists to any other country apparatus, especially the Communist Chinese Party; jail or exile them.
  • Form new Constitutional Amendments to prevent lawless pluralism from re-shaping. In the chaos, communicate plan to the public to resume Republic's operations in five years, new mission clearly detailed.
  • Begin a military-run voluntary exchange program for all Leftists, Libtards, homosexuals, or other deviants who want out of the country, with any other nation which will have them.
  • Pardon Derek Chauvin plus the other cops involved with Fentanyl Floyd. Also pardon all of the "January 6!!!" patriots.
  • Form a committee directly reporting to the leader to figure out who was behind the "January 6!!!" staging, prison or exile for all of them.
  • Exile everyone in leadership positions who pushed for the clot shots, including Anthony Fauci, Rochelle Walensky, and anyone else of their ilk.
  • Jail the executives of the companies which lied about the clot shots. Give a back-room ultimatum to Donald Trump regarding his role; if he plays ball he stays, if he won't he's exiled.
  • Immediately disband the Federal Reserve and make usury illegal, punishable by prison or exile.
  • Cease all "aid" to foreign countries, starting with Israel. Use that money to pay for medical situations of those injured by the clot shots.
  • Work with creditors to restructure all debt, with concrete payment plans ala Claudio Lotito with Lazio. Eliminate all government departments which do not serve the new mission of the State.
  • Use money saved from department elimination to begin rebuild of energy grid plus key roads, dams, and other infrastructure.
  • Use the military to mass-deport all illegal aliens.
  • Immediately make it illegal to teach or espouse Frankfurt School teachings; jail or exile for violators.
  • Withdraw the military from all foreign bases. Post these units along the perimeter of the land mass, especially both borders.
  • Create the ultimate defense system, including anti-missile domes and the aircraft carrier fleet offshore surrounding the country.
  • Audit the country's gold; repatriate whatever can be recovered.
  • Form a commission to get rid of all laws which are contrary to Christ's teachings. Jail or exile those promoting homosexuality, pedophilia, drag queens, or other disgusting deviances.
  • Make all "abortion" illegal unless the mother is going to die.
  • Install national firewall to block all pornography, focusing first on content with children. Institute severe penalties for child trafficking, plus the production and distribution of underage pornography.
  • Eliminate the Department of Education. Used the money saved to fund home schooling or small-scale, grassroots "charter" or one-room schools.
  • Immediately remove CAFE mandates, all "green" energy subsidies, all anti-consumer and anti-choice regulations regarding automobile manufacture.
  • Ban the development and use of "AI" systems within the country. Jail or exile all violators.
  • Create list of food ingredients with negative health conclusions and immediately ban the manufacture of all such food. Confiscate all farmland owned by Bill Gates and foreign assets. Encourage local farming by patriots.
  • Exile Bill Gates. Confiscate all of his assets.
  • Immediately remove all protections for and State sanctioning for the concept of "corporations"; take any corporation above a certain market cap and bust them into pieces.
  • Ban all trade with pro-Globohomo nations. Create trade agreements with Nationalist, anti-Globohomo countries such as Hungary, China, or El Salvador. Make contracts contingent on continued anti-Globohomo allegiance.
  • Put protectionist limits on import of manufactured goods. Get Americans manufacturing again.

Normally it's better to do things incrementally and via consensus. But in this case, a "big bang, shock and awe" approach is probably required, so as to not let the culprits "get away".


"Streets of Rage 2" Insight

This is a fun video. It could have used some more old photos and primary source interview clips, but I did learn a couple of things from it. First, the game was inspired by Street Fighter 2, which makes no sense to me, but who am I to argue with the people who actually made the game. Second, the approach of sitting over the shoulder of a dude hammering out 68k assembler to rapidly prototype ideas is interesting. Rapid prototyping is nothing novel, but doing it in those days, with the primitive development tools and low-level language, really confirms just how good those programmers were.


Sycophant?

I could not believe my ears listening to this.

The Sony guy with the Jensen-esque jacket provides a fair synopsis of the PlayStation 5 so far, giving it a "C". Then you get to the chucklehead on the right, who makes a number of astonishing statements: that the new "Forza Motorsport" is "superb", that Microsoft overall has made a "better three year start than he'd originally thought", that they have all of these "amazing services" like the now dead-end "backwards compatibility", and so forth.

I suppose this is why the Series consoles are effectively dead, and getting outsold nine or ten-to-one in myriad countries, thirty-to-forty percent behind the sales rate of the Xbox One, while the PlayStation 5 is handily outpacing the PlayStation 4 in sales so far. It seems like the market has spoken, and the reality is the complete opposite of what this IGN video is trying to present. Around which planet are these guys orbiting?

The "C" score for the PlayStation 5 is perfect-- but the Xbox brand gets a "D-"", and that's if I'm feeling generous. They can't even produce functioning software any more, and they are promoting all of the people who have failed!
Stubborn - 17:00 CDT, 11/26/23 (Sniper)
I've never been sure what to make of Maurizio Sarri, in the sense that he speaks so passively. For instance, in the moments after giving an awful Salernitana their first win in fourteen league matches dating back to last season, Sarri proclaimed that "the team have lost personality, initiative."

He sounds like a bystander-- isn't he the coach?

There are two possibilities: as in Tolstoy's discounting of Napolean's supposed military genius, perhaps coaches don't have as much influence as is routinely assumed, and Sarri is one of the only coaches in the world honest enough to dispense with the bull crap when speaking to the press; or, he's the kind of coach who shirks responsibility.

Either way, a change of module would help. He'd rather "go back to the bank" than not be able to impose his ideas on the game-- but a change in shape would produce more fluid football, because we could get all of our best players on the field at the same time, while also putting them into their most natural habitats. For instance:

4-2-3-1

Immobile (Castellanos)

Zaccagni (Pedro) - Alberto (Kamada) - Anderson (Isaksen)

Guendouzi (Vecino) - Rovella (Cataldi)

Pellegrini (Hysaj) - Romagnoli (Gila) - Casale (Patric) - Marusic (Lazzari)

Provedel (Sepe)


I assert that neither Alberto nor Kamada can drive the team consistently towards victory, playing the mezzala in a 4-3-3-- they are both trequartistas by trade. This shape would immediately boost goal scoring by having them perform their "bread and butter" roles, dumping some of their defensive responsibilities on the pair behind them.

Rovella is the next Andrea Pirlo, of that I have little doubt. But like Pirlo, he is a light weight and is effective when he has a fighter alongside him, as Pirlo had in Gattuso both at Milan and with the Italian team for many years. Both Guendouzi and Vecino are feisty, combative players with good physique, who can free Rovella to orchestrate the passing.
Steam Deck and Promotions - 14:58 CDT, 11/24/23 (Sniper)
I have encountered the master sophist, someone who would make even the very "best" politician blush with humiliation: take a look at this interview with Ted Bundy, broken down by a psychologist element-by-element. Heck, even without the psychologist's commentary, I can read Bundy like an open book thanks to the practice I had as a youth, which I briefly discussed in this post.

I can see where people who didn't have exposure to rhetoric-in-extemis as I did growing up, would be fooled by Ted Bundy. "He's so charming, he could never do what is claimed he did!" But to me, he's immediately transparent. My father didn't murder women, but he was a "prolific" violent criminal, so it might make sense that there are similarities between the ways in which both of them communicate.


Other Tire Drops

It's exceedingly obvious that the ruling class does not want the plebes to have mobility, a change which is necessary so that the citizens can be farmed into ghettos-- "fifteen minute cities"-- for constant monitoring. The elimination of that mobility will arrive via three phases:

  1. Subsidize-- "artificially goose"-- the production and sale of external combustion engine cars to "prime the pump".

  2. Make it onerous and then illegal to buy at first, then later to drive, internal combustion engine cars.

  3. A few years later, make it onerous and then illegal to buy, then drive, external combustion engine cars.

In New Jersey and elsewhere, the plan has moved into the final part of phase two. Their plan will almost certainly never fully get to phase three because phase two will cause people to actually storm the capitol, where there will be a real insurrection involving stringing traitors up by lamp posts.

People today are passive, and there have been no consequences for the ruling class so far-- which is why the ruling class hasn't stopped. But eliminating the ability for anyone to realistically travel will create so much distress, not to mention logistical impossibilities, that it will be a line even today's normies will not abide.


Failure Promoted

One thing I've noticed in the video game industry is that failure is being promoted upwards. For example, Phil Spencer very recently gave a large promotion to the guy who was the "Vice President of Forza and Fable".

Setting aside for a minute the innovation-killing attitude behind having existing game series names in job titles, this fellow oversaw six years' worth of development of one of the worse games this writer has played in recent years in the form of the new "Forza Motorsport", while his other franchise saw no game releases at all in over ten years!

Meanwhile, the guy who has been overseeing Microsoft's "laughing stock of the entire industry" game studios development, which has been off the rails and essentially not producing anything of merit, or anything at all, for years upon years-- the tongue-in-cheek-named "Matt Booty"-- has also been promoted.

Observe how this year, Xbox sales have fallen off such a sharp cliff that it looks like the twin "Series" consoles are both dead for all purposes, only three years into their life spans. In some countries such as France, Xbox-to-PlayStation market share is 7% versus 93%. Any sober analysis would conclude that a top-to-bottom house cleaning is in order. Instead, everyone involved in the debacle got promoted!

The just-laid-off, original Xbox team member from 2001 gal-- her name is eluding me at the moment-- said recently that the culture there became focused on "who knows whom" versus "how successful you are". External evidence supports her statements.

In a partially non-Microsoft example, here is more of the same. The obviously man-hating woman who blessed the world with the cringey, eye-roll-inducing, universally-reviled "stories" from the last two "Gears of War" games has gotten a new, super high-profile gig at the company which makes the "God of War" titles. Expect the next game to not even have Kratos in it; it'll be focused on Freya and Kratos's low-T, whiny son.


Death of Digital Foundry

Now is a good time to segue into a topic I've been meaning to cover: the collapse in trustworthiness of one of my all-time favorite JewTube channels.

A couple of winters ago, John Linneman had a quasi-meltdown: "There is too much negativity in the world." His boss Richard Leadbetter and Alex Battaglia, John's Lefty weirdo co-worker with a penchant for posting nude photographs of himself online, both agreed. For awhile this shared sentiment took the form of Linneman side-stepping contemporary game culture by producing more videos about older games. But over time, the shift took a new form: positivity, to the point of creating misleading content.

"It's a shame that failed game developers-- who worked so hard, gosh golly!-- have their creations criticized by paying customers. So rather than contribute to that criticism, we're going to almost totally gloss over failures and be 'positive' instead."

Within one minute of starting "Starfield", I noticed that the game's graphics were totally busted. It was soon revealed that the engine only produces 8-bit output-- meaning, output which precludes HDR from even being possible. To any rational person, the graphics were so washed out and atrocious looking, that it would-- and indeed was!-- the centerpiece of lucid analysis: "This needs to be fixed, it's a deal breaker." Any honest pundit would explain that Bethesda lied: the game does not have HDR support, and is leaning instead on "Auto HDR" to fake-map the color gamut.

But how did Digital Foundry handle the subject? Linneman and Battaglia each devoted about one sentence to it, then simply suggested that the users "turn down the brightness on their TVs".

A similar thing happened with the new "Forza Motorsport". The game is an abomination on every level: artistically, mechanically, technologically. Yet if you listened to the Digital Foundry coverage, you'd walk away thinking it was a good game with just a few minor flaws. To prove it's not just a pro-Microsoft bias, Richard Leadbetter recently did a video about the OLED Steam Deck, and it was like listening to an infomercial.

It's to the point now where I don't trust anything I hear on that channel. And seeing as how that's the case, why listen at all?

The reason I bring this up is because I think a similar phenomenon is driving the whole video game industry right now. "I know it's been rough, but Matt Booty is a friend of mine, and he's a really nice guy who needs to pay his bills." Result: Promotion time! "Crunch time is not fun, so let's allow everyone to give absurdly inflated estimates so they can just chill on the job and not feel any stress." Result: Games take six years to make. "I know the team is struggling with the basics of the technology, but we need more women with purple hair and black people here because we have a 'responsibility' to not just make profit." Result: Completely broken software.

This ties into the lack of accountability I discussed regarding the ruling class: they can get away with murder because no one is standing up to them. Similarly, ideology has taken over the video game industry yet people still buy the games, so there are no consequences for failure; as long as the money keeps rolling in, all is well. Eventually both situations will come to a drastic head, and things will change. But it sure is taking a long time.


Nvidia Success

Things are different on the hardware-side. Where-- Apple aside-- computer software is plumbing new depths of failure, computer hardware has never been more impressively-engineered. Take a look at Nvidia's explosive revenue growth in the data center, which dwarfs their income from consumer video cards! And all of it is deserved: they have been making one cool innovation after another, integrating hardware support for "AI" into even their consumer-level gaming graphics cards.

I saw a post recently on a forum, where a bloke said "I feel like we have all of this amazing technology, but we've become too stupid to know what to do with it. It's like we're living in the movie 'Idiocracy'." That about sums up my impressions as well: the PlayStation 5, these new video cards, modern-day CPUs, and so on are fantastically powerful and capable of mind-bending software novelty which would put "Super Mario 64" to shame-- but we're just not getting that somehow.

Part of it is that hardware can't be patched later, so it has to "just work" right from the get-go. But that doesn't explain why modern-day hardware features innovation, while the software side is anywhere from being stuck-in-neutral, to being actively regressive.


OLED Steam Deck

My OLED Steam Deck showed up on Wednesday, and I spent Wednesday night and all-day Thursday figuring out how the whole thing works, and getting it configured the way I desire.

The system runs Valve's "SteamOS", which is Arch Linux with some bolt-ons and custom behavior. The root filesystem is read-only by default: when you install a Steam Deck "update", it is this root filesystem which is being patched. Valve recommends not touching it, since any changes can and probably will be overwritten by their aforementioned updates.

The bulk of the total storage is mounted as a read-write filesystem. Software is installed via Flatpak packages, which go into a special spot in the directory tree. Then within the home directory-- the default user is "deck", so we're talking "/home/deck"-- there is a nested directory tree containing the "safe for Steam Deck users to modify" elements of these packages. For example, the user-space RetroArch files go here: "~deck/.var/app/org.libretro.RetroArch/config/retroarch".

The user experience is divided into two modes: "Gaming", and "Desktop". The first mode is the default. Picture the Switch's UI, or the PlayStation 5's-- it's a similar, basic, very polished experience. I daresay significant amounts of people who buy a Steam Deck will never venture outside of it. There is a "Steam" button to the left of the screen, and pressing it opens a menu. One of the menu options is "Power", and it is within that sub-menu that one sees an option to go to "Desktop" mode.

Almost surrealistically, this dumps you into a full KDE user interface, identical to what you'd get on a full-fledged PC running GNU/Linux. Just like how casual users will never leave the "Gaming" mode, a power user could choose to never leave the "Desktop" mode. A virtual keyboard can be accessed by holding the "Steam" button followed by a press on the "X" button. The keyboard works just like how it did with the old Steam Controllers, where the two touchpads move cursors over their respective sides of the keys.

The screen is touch-enabled, while the right track pad operates like a mouse cursor. Of course, a USB hub can be plugged into the unit's single USB Type-C port, and-- since it's just Arch Linux-- any mice, keyboards, or other devices supported by the Linux kernel can be utilized with the unit.

I popped for the optional, official dock-- which is simply a USB hub, but with the plastic molded at a perfect-fit cradle for the unit. A USB Type-C cable sticks out the back of the dock, and is reached around to the top of the unit, to be plugged in. The back of the dock has a few USB Type-A ports, a Type-C port, plus HDMI and DisplayPort outputs.

The over-arching (har har) process I followed to get my Steam Deck set up went like this:

  1. After initial setup, I jumped straight into "Desktop" mode and set up the panels, launchers, wallpaper, etc.

  2. I installed RetroArch via its official "Flatpak" package. I accomplished this through a "Software Center"-style application which ships with the deck's SteamOS installation.

  3. Via "Konsole", I used SFTP to log into my server. From there, I copied all of my ROMS plus ISOs, along with various RetroArch configuration files and its entire "thumbnails" directory, to the Deck.

  4. I got RetroArch working with the Steam Deck's integrated controller. This was tricky to get correct, as I had to use the Steam client-- the same one full-on PC users know and love-- to remove some of the "assign this Steam Deck button to this keyboard key" mappings. Eventually I nailed it, and discovered that 3DO emulation performance was flawless, and looked dazzling on the display. This new Deck's screen has even better colors than my LG C3.

  5. From there, I plugged the Deck into the dock, and ran my "DisplayPort-to-S-Video" contraption to the television. No picture! I switched to the dock's HDMI port instead, and it worked. Is my dock's DisplayPort port broken? More investigation is warranted. I set the resolution to 640x480, 60 Hz.

  6. As I anticipated, the CRT output was radically overscanned. The "Gaming" mode has a "scale" slider built right into the UI-- but for "Desktop" mode, I could find no equivalent within the KDE settings. So, I wrote a little "xrandr" shell script, which gets executed by my ".bashrc" file upon login. You can see the contents of the script in the first picture below.

  7. Using KDE's "Display" icon in the notification area, I set up the TV to be "extended right" of the Deck's display. For normal usage, one would probably want to pick the option to only use the external display (the TV), so as to not create burn-in on the Deck's OLED screen.

  8. I plugged my cheap Logitech wireless keyboard / touchpad combo into the Dock, and it worked immediately. I also plugged my "8BitDo SN30 Pro" and "8BitDo M30 Gamepad" into the dock, one at a time. Very oddly, neither controller worked in RetroArch! Both produced errors such as, "'8BitDo SN30 Pro' controller not detected; using fallback", or something along those lines.

  9. This kicked off hours of tinkering and investigation. The eventual solution wound up being two-fold: every time I dock the Deck, I will need to do a fresh reboot with the controllers plugged in for them to work. Second, I had to manually copy-and-rename an appropriate "autoconfig" RetroArch controller file, to match exactly the name given in the "fallback" error message. Once this was accomplished, I could remap buttons within RetroArch, and successfully save / overwrite those controller profile files.

  10. Finally: within the "Desktop mode" Steam client, I added RetroArch as a non-Steam application. I flipped back to the "Gaming" mode, and sure enough I was able to leverage the super polished mode while playing 3DO games! For instance, I had a download of "Diablo IV" going, while playing "Gex". While navigating the menus and watching the download, I could still hear the "Gex" music seamlessly in the background. Absolutely surreal!

The first picture is the Deck, docked, running on the CRT with the displays extended. I don't know the first thing about photography, so excuse the weird coloring on the TV. I think it's a shutter speed camera problem. Also and as with all of these pictures, click for a beautiful full-resolution version:



This second picture shows the OLED Switch and the OLED Steam Deck, side-by-side, with both displays at full brightness, displaying the same content. For some reason the camera made it look like the Switch's display has better colors-- but in person, the Deck has a significant advantage in this area:



Here is the Steam Deck showing off its desktop mode. Click through to the high resolution image to read the contents of my CRT overscan-correction script:



Finally, this picture shows 3DO emulation via RetroArch running in the "Gaming" mode, and how it seamlessly works within the user-friendly interface:



The next thing for me to evaluate is what the experience is like playing contemporary games. I understand that the Steam Deck is sort of like a half-Xbox Series S: same Zen 2-based APU, but with 10 "compute units" instead of 20. In terms of math processing:

  • Xbox Series S: ~4 teraflops.
  • PlayStation 4: ~1.8 teraflops.
  • Steam Deck: ~1.6 teraflops.
  • Switch Docked: ~400 gigaflops.
  • Xbox 360: ~250 gigaflops.
  • Switch Undocked: ~160 gigaflops.

Obviously this isn't taking into account memory bandwidth, architecture bottlenecks of the various platforms, and so forth-- but it's a nice rough ballpark to help with expectation setting. I don't think one would be far off by thinking of the Switch as a portable Xbox 360, and the Steam Deck as a portable PlayStation 4. Mostly, I'm curious to see if modern games on the Deck look like a smeary mess as they do on the Switch.
The Wealth Pump - 07:06 CDT, 11/16/23 (Sniper)
I have a tough time taking articles like this one seriously: a "wealth pump from the poor to the rich" that we need to "turn off"-- but without mentioning Jews, Freemasonry, or any of the rest.

If one does mention these elements, one is immediately attacked as either "anti-Semitic" or a "conspiracy theorist". That's why I tend to worry we're going to head through a truly dystopian period before the ship gets righted: most people are so engrained with the phony baloney post-WWII narratives that it's going to take violent men with rifles personally confiscating their property, or something equally drastic, before they "wake up". And even then, they may point fingers at the wrong culprits and still not figure it out.

The only way to "turn off" the "wealth pump" is to go after the people who put it in place, and-- to stick with their metaphor-- squeeze the handle every day. But to go after them, you first need to identify who they are.


Foreign Powers

On that note, I have two links to share. The first shows how not only did Gavin Nuisance clean up San Francisco overnight, after years and years of saying it wasn't possible, but he and the Biden regime made the place look like downtown Beijing. Just watch the second-to-last video embedded in this article, with the motorcade: it's so surreal, I had to pinch myself.

The second relevant anecdote is at the 20:47 mark of this video. The Jewish speaker is exactly correct, but is cleverly leaving out the why. Nationalism means you put your country's interests first. Liberalism means you have a brain disease where you bend over and let yourself be destroyed by holding "pluralism" as a first principle.

The guy says that Jews are "safest" in countries with "liberal values". Meaning, where they can run amok and sow anti-Christianity, hedonism, pornography, homosexuality, globalism, and invasions by veritably unlimited amounts of illegal aliens. In fact, notice how he's speaking next to a placard which reads "This World". The opposite of liberalism is Nationalism. In Nationalistic countries where the nation's interests are put first, Jews get tossed out-- as they have in dozens of countries throughout history-- because they deliberately try to undermine the nation's values.

The speaker is exhibiting a form of dishonesty: he is saying something nominally true, but leaving out important context and framing. More broadly, both his words plus the Gavin Nuisance instance demonstrate how America is completely under the control of non-Americans: the Israelis and the Chinese, foremost among them.


Revealing

I saw the other day that there was a Bishop who was forcefully removed by Pope Francis, because he was speaking out about concerns regarding the direction of the Church. I looked up what his key objections are, and they boil down primarily to opening the door to "rainbow people", and to allowing the laity too much say.

Sound familiar? There is that old expression, "You know who controls you by who you're not allowed to criticize". This Bishop stumbled on a close corollary about criticizing the ideas of the people who control him. Apparently you can be a priest, sister, or bishop who proposes that gay pedophile drag queens should be permitted the priesthood in total contradiction to scripture, and you're fine. But suggest that the Church follow the Bible? Unacceptable.

I'll let the Bishop speak for himself:

"The only answer I have to that [why he was removed] is because the forces in the Church right now don't want the truth of the Gospel. There are people in the Church, rather than glorifying in the truth of Christ, they want to delete significant portions of Sacred Scripture and say, 'Oh, we got that wrong,' or 'We're just going to ignore it.' [The Truth], it's perennial, it's everlasting, it's glorious. And if you want it to change, then I'm the problem."



New Reviewer

On a lighter note, a fellow I speak with frequently on Gab proposed that I cross-post his reviews on the 'Wharf! Back when I started that site, my idea was to accumulate a roster of reviewers-- and in fact, I wrote the site to support multiple reviewers right from the first day. Unfortunately, I could never convince any of my friends to write anything!

You can read more about him here, at the bottom of the page. Currently, he's working on a project to-- ideally-- review every single Game Boy Advance title, provided life doesn't get in the way of course. So far he's covered three games, which you can take a look at here: "Mario and Luigi: Superstar Saga", "The Polar Express", and "Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf".
The Church Running Aground - 14:32 CDT, 11/10/23 (Sniper)
Whenever I'm troubled, I tend to dream about airplanes crashing.

Sometimes I'm in a desert, and there is a huge airliner trying desperately to climb, like an insect in futility, scrambling up the slippery camber of an animal's water dish, only for the plane to ultimately lose its hard-fought battle against gravity, crashing into the Earth in a huge fireball, right in front of me, hundreds of passengers dead in an instant. Other times it's a mid-sized twin engine plane, propellers roaring, doing aerobatics, the pilot pushing the envelope, swooping ever and ever closer to the ground, and death-- only to one time push things too far, smashing the plane into smithereens onto the unyielding turf.

Last night I had five separate dreams of airplanes crashing, one after the other. I would wake up, startled. Drift back to sleep, there goes another plane, even closer to me this time. When dawn broke, I snapped awake for good, groggy and distraught, like Rolf in the opening to Phantasy Star II.



Every Thursday evening, I attend my wife's "RCIA" class. For those not in the know, "RCIA" stands for the "Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults". It's how adults become Catholic. Our local version of this class takes place in the huge Catholic church, in the nearest major town to our home. It's a modernistic looking facility, with a lobby of enormous walls of glass windows looking in on the Church proper-- with its sanctuary and altar bizarrely situated in the center of the room, like the pupil of a gigantic eyeball, surrounded by pews of various elevations, tabernacle nowhere in sight.

Attached to this facility is a Catholic school. Unlike the humble two-hallwayed, musty smelling building of my own Catholic elementary upbringing, this school is modern and high budget-- brick walls, concrete steps with rubberized coatings, those industrial wooden-style doors with little thatch-pattern windows in them. It looks more like a public school than what I associate with Catholic tradition. We meet for class in the school's library-- an anachronistic room with a multi-thousand dollar Macintosh computer on the desk, an abstract art set of metal rails and-- interestingly-- airplanes hanging overhead, right alongside a shelf of ancient bound Bibles and Christian children's books.

Rectangle tables pushed together, we sit. Among the usual suspects: a soft-spoken priest in his eighties, with a 1940's-style swept cut of silver hair; a sister with a delightfully goofy sense of humor, who has been a nun for seventy years; a thin, handsome, young bearded Parochial Vicar in his early thirties-- a personal friend of mine; and a mixture of candidates, some of them old and there to learn more than anything else, along with others-- barely adults, even-- just getting started in life and on their spiritual journeys. Then there are those such as myself who aren't candidates at all, but present to support loved ones who are working their way through the process.

The sister always talks about progress... progress. "The world never stands still, and we as the Church need to move along with it." She brings up women, always women, and how they should be given more authority in the Church. "I love being around all of you great women in this room! Well... and the men too, I guess" she adds, giggling. "Jesus was a... was a Socialist, really!" she remarked in one session, a few weeks ago. It's that kind of "socialism", where the invoker simply means what the word doesn't mean: egalitarianism and being friendly to one another. This versus men with rifles, lining up the "haves" in front of ditches, rifles at the ready, shooting the bodies into mass grave ditches.



Last night's class was unusual. The sister was there, but the two ordinary priests were not present. In their stead was a short, thin, bald man-- a retired priest from a nearby diocese, as he so introduced himself. His job for the night was to cover the week's printed and bound material: teaching the candidates about the hierarchy of the Church. The material explained that there is the Pope, the theological descendent of Jesus Himself, then the Bishops who had their authority delegated throughout the ages by the original Apostles. Of course there are Cardinals, who vote for new Popes, along with Deacons, religious orders, laity, and so on.

This strange new priest, after a big sigh and a settling into his chair, spoke at length. "You see, the Catholic Church has this 'hierarchy', but it's... it's very loose. There are other Catholic Churches, like in South America, that have none at all! But we are Roman Catholic. So they have this hierarchy... people are tribal and territorial, so they just want to protect what is 'theirs'. And they are hung up on 'we do things this way only because it has always been done this way.'" He went on and on, pouring cold water on the Church as he dryly intoned.

On and on he went. Eventually, even the progressive sister felt compelled to reel him back in. Gently, drawing his attention once again to the actual printed material: "Well, Father, you know, when people think of the Church's hierarchy, they are thinking of the Pope, and Bishops, and things like that. Right?"

"Yes, yes, I suppose that is true", he reflected. Then, cue immediately discarded as his mind wandered again, "Did you know", he continued in his meandering, soft-spoken rambling way, "there there is a synod going on right now? Why, they are discussing all sorts of important matters! Like letting priests get married, giving women major roles in authority, and even allowing in gays and lesbians... uhhh, whatever that series of letters is."

The sister couldn't resist. Material totally abandoned even by her now, she excitedly added: "And they are even asking women to be at the table! At the synod, instead of sitting facing authority, they are all at tables facing each other, eight or nine apiece, and everyone gets a say! Can you imagine it!"



Homosexuality, pedophilia, pornography, extreme representations of violence, hedonism, nihilism, "anything goes if it feels right". It's in the movies; it's in the video games; it's in the water cooler conversations at work; it's on the news; it's in the Protestant churches and their "rainbow creeds"; it's supported by every trillion and billion dollar corporation from Apple to Microsoft to Goldman Sachs; the rainbow flags are on the capitol buildings; they are in the military recruitment ads; they are supported by every newspaper, radio station, and institution.

In a world like that, why would someone enter candidacy into the "RCIA" program? Why would someone want to become Catholic? What is fundamentally different about the Catholic Church versus Protestant churches, or the rest of the present-day world, that would serve as a lure to these fish?

Face feeling flush, heat rising within me, I spoke up for the benefit of the candidates in the room. "I don't mean to sound like a contrarian...", I paused briefly to collect myself, shy as I am, "...but the Church needs to be careful. Everything within it should be based on scripture. While I appreciate that they would would want laypeople such as myself at the table, my opinion shouldn't count as much as a Priest's or a Bishop's."

As I spoke, I thought of the wisdom of the Founding Fathers: abstraction layers... people don't vote for laws, they vote for representatives who vote for laws... people don't vote for President, electors do... The sister rushed in to reassure me. "You wouldn't need to worry-- that's why there are eight other people at the table with you!"



It was around this point where one of the candidates-- a timid young lady, red in the cheeks-- bashfully raised her hand. "Why does the Church say that priests can't be married?", she asked with genuine innocence. The bald Father, smilingly: "You know, three quarters of priests would ask the same question. People just don't like change, and..."

Again, I felt compelled to provide balance to the discourse-- the hairs raising on the back of my neck, that all-too-familiar urge when I know, despite not wanting to draw attention to myself, that I need to say something:

"But there is wisdom to the idea. When I was in my twenties before I had kids, I could devote myself wholly to my profession. In my thirties after I had them, one of them would need a drive to the doctor, or there would be some school activity, or they would be home sick... I've seen the same pattern work both ways throughout my whole career." For good measure, I added: "For a priest, it should be himself, God, and his flock. A family is simply too distracting."

The priest's reply? "Well, you'd be surprised at even then how much creeps in. Besides, I once knew an ordained priest who had ten kids!"



There is a special kind of diseased thinking, where pluralism is seen as not just a most noble goal, but as the First Principle, held aloft, the end all, in and of itself. Anything goes... priests can be married? Sure. They can be women? Certainly. Maybe they can even be homosexual? Perhaps even convicted rapists? How about drag queen priests-- we wouldn't want to leave them out, naturally?

Yes, there is this verse in the Gospels, or that verse over there. But what does it matter-- it's malleable. The Church needs to move on with the times-- with what people want today. After all, Jesus was a fun-loving hippy, right? Love thy neighbor, isn't that what he said?

Amongst the infected, no thought is given to human nature; to power structures; to trojan horses; to economics; to psychology; to game theory. No careful review of history is performed; no consideration given to possible unintended outcomes. Not a brain cell devoted to, "something different is not necessarily something better."

That maybe God's Word is eternal-- and will as we might, as badly as the ever-changing whims of the laity sitting around their synodal tables of all women, eights and nines facing each other, with lots of lesbians and transgenders and queers there for good measure, want to alter the Church's teachings-- that maybe throughout the stormy seas engulfing the world, the rapture, the crests and the foam, the thunder and the clouds, the torrents of rain, maybe, just maybe, the Church should offer something different: a rock, solid atop the Word of God Himself, for those who seek the truth, to cling to so as to not get washed away into the infinite expanses?

That maybe the Church should leave the "Sodom and Gomorrah" stuff to the rest of the world-- which is doing it quite prolifically, mind you-- and offer an alternative?

This compulsion to constantly deconstruct from within-- to tear down the existing, to build something brand new, baby with the bathwater and all. To claim to "value inclusion", by taking away the space from the people who are already there, and who call it home. By making the "something" identical to all of the other "somethings", with no regard as to what makes that "something" noteworthy in the first place.



It's full-speed ahead. Where "ahead" might be back into the darkness from which we came-- like a train track in the shape of a Möbius strip. Around and around we go. With blinders on. Performing endless aerobatics, like an airplane grazing ever and ever closer to ground level, cutting the daisies before inevitably pushing them up...
Nearly Arrived - 16:01 CDT, 11/09/23 (Sniper)
I'm inching ever closer to my quasi-sabbatical, which begins on November 23 and ends on January 2. I hoarded all of my vacation days this year, and am burning them all at once. I think over all of this time off, I will catch up on my gaming backlog including finishing "Tears of the Kingdom", "God of War Ragnarok", plus "Rise of the Dragon" on Sega CD; I will carry on with my theological studies; and I will start on some kind of game project, probably using HaxeFlixel.


Models Abound

No, not these kinds of models: intellectual models!

This is a video where the creator puts forth the following: that when creating film, one can entropy, or de-entropy. The act of de-entropy is characterized as distilling down an idea to its core-most element, and having a razor focus on it. He uses the Star Wars "light saber" as one of the best possible examples: it intimates close-quarters person combat, it's elegant, it's color-coded-- remember, Darth Vader's is red-- and serves as a movie prop-equivalent metaphor for the whole film's premise.

Adding entropy, by contrast, involves splintering your idea by adding obnoxious ironic self-aware bits where they are inappropriate, having meta references to absolutely nowhere, or blindly serving up nostalgia in a hollow way. He uses the example from the second Star Trek reboot film, where Benedict Cumberbatch's character says his name is "Khan"-- even though none of the characters in that version of the timeline even know who Khan is. It's a shameless nostalgia grab which serves no purpose for the film itself: it's entropy.

I couldn't even make it all the way through that particular film before I shut it off. This video creator's model explains why the film felt so silly and impossible for me to take seriously. He describes that film today is made by corporate passion, versus creative passion: today's films are't intended to be good art-- rather, they are designed to fill a niche in a publisher's product portfolio, to sell merchandise, to tick a box for a streaming service, and so forth.

Sound familiar? Every single thing he discusses applies to contemporary video games as well. Maybe I'll write a future post, building on that premise-- although it's largely self-explanatory for my regular readers who also play modern video games. It's also interesting that he follows up on the "is it me, or the content?" question in the same ways that I have, many times.


Three Ways to Reply

A second model I'd like to discuss comes from a book I've just started reading: "Theology and Sanity", by Frank Sheed. The premise is that if I say to you, "What is over there?" while looking at a desk, you have three ways of replying:

  1. You can see what is there: "Yup, it's a desk."
  2. You can not see what is there: "I don't see anything."
  3. You see what's not there: "No, that's a chair!"

People living along with you in The Real World will reply with the first option. People who are blind to the truth or perhaps who have their heads in the sand will reply with the second option, which he calls "darkness"-- the inability to see what's there. The third option is reserved for those are live in their own unreality, in delusion-- a situation he calls "double darkness".

I just turned forty two years old. Over those decades I've seen a pattern-- like making a gradient in PhotoShop or The Gimp: in my younger years people spoke predominantly in the first manner; then things shifted to denial, as people increasingly were being unable or unwilling to confront the truth; nowadays, it's a fifty-fifty shot that I'll get the third kind of reply, where people are so far off into the weeds that it's like they are living in a another, parallel dimension.

But that's an ephemeral "Fourth Turning" artifact. Let's return to Frank Sheed's model: he explains that "nothing" does not have form; God created us from nothing; thus, the only thing retaining our form is God's will; if God were to cease willing it, we would disappear back into nothingness instantly.

People who do not recognize God-- my example might be a materialist scientist-- are thus not living in reality: they can recognize accidents of reality, like atoms or light photons, but they are ultimately not able to see the whole. He equates it to an expert in eyeballs, who has never seen a face: without the context of the face, the beauty and ultimate form of the eyeball is not available. Meanwhile, people who actively reject God fall into the forth category: they profer strange delusions in place of reality.


GR Corolla Driving Impressions

I haven't discussed the new car much yet.

Size-wise, it's comparable to the WRX-- perhaps ever-so-slightly larger. But it gives off similar proportions as the Subaru, when standing next to it. The seating position is similar as well: upright, sitting "high up" as compared to my old 350z or my current GR86. There is a huge amount of headroom-- a weird amount, almost.

Like my 86, to start the engine you depress the clutch and brake pedals both, then hit the GR-branded "Start" button. Immediately, three things become obvious: the engine exhaust note almost sounds like a diesel truck, as it's very deep and oddly coarse; the clutch pedal has a lot of travel and is very communicative as to where it catches; and the car feels very "busy", with lots of flashing animations on the digital gauge cluster, and across the touch screen's user interface.

The GR86 has a touch screen and digital gauge cluster too, but it has none of the Danger Features-- er, I mean, "Safety Features"-- which characterize the GR Corolla. The 86 leaves you alone; the GR Corolla has mazes of nested "Settings" menus where you can tell the car not to ding at you if a bicycle is coming, or not to steal the steering from you if you shift in the lane, among several other dangerous and distracting modes and behaviors-- all of which have bizarre, impossible-to-recollect acronyms.

Thankfully, those features seem to stay off, with the exception of the "slam on the brakes" Danger Feature, which not only re-enables itself on every car start, but which puts a large orange light on the cluster when disengaged-- it's like having a "Check Engine" light on all of the time. Further, the cruise control needs to be manually flipped to the normal cruise mode on every car start, as opposed to the default meat sack "automatically be just as maddeningly inconsistent as the idiot in front of me" mode.

Pre-flight checklist complete, the driving can commence: and it's superb! Just as in the 86, the GR Corolla's electric steering rack manages to feel almost hydraulic. The car does not have much power down low, but still feels significantly more torquey than the 2014 WRX at, let's say, 2500 rpm. It has two drive modes, "Normal" and "Sport"-- I couldn't tell what the heck the difference was. There is also a "Custom" and "Eco", neither of which I care to bother with.

The brakes feel great. Progressive, and strong.

Like the old-- God rest its soul-- WRX STI, the GR Corolla has different diff modes. The "Track" 50/50 mode feels just like the also-50/50 2014 WRX-- the car rotates at high speed in the same kind of neutral, pleasant manner. The 60/40 mode is intended for normal cruising, and does not feel neutral at high speed. Meanwhile, the 30/70 mode is disappointing: the rear-wheel drive "emulation" just feels awkward and unnatural in a car with a 58/42 front/rear weight bias.

Where the 86 gets sideways at the mere suggestion, the GR Corolla is planted. Even with the stock summer tires, on a wet road, in the cold, I was unable to get even a hint of movement out of it.

I have no clue how quick this car is, being only 120-odd miles into a ~600 mile engine break-in period. On paper it can do quarter mile in the low-13s, which is quicker than anything I've personally owned before.

Overall, the car is great. Where the GR86-- at least initially, the car has grown on me significantly-- feels like it has economy car parts grafted together into an entry-level vehicle, the GR Corolla feels more premium. It has heated mirrors, heated wipers, heated steering wheel, a leather interior, a wireless phone charger, wireless Apple CarPlay support, a heavy-duty and notchy feeling shifter, and myriad other characteristics. It feels more "custom" and less "budget", like the 86.

My only criticism is that it is too computerized for my taste. It's not as obnoxious as my mother-in-law's ~2020 Subaru Forester, a car I feel I am guiding, like a horse, versus being in control of-- but it's still a bit too far in that direction, to the point where I feel its obtrusively-placed touch screen (the 86's is recessed down below the dashboard-- out of the way) and hyperactive gauge cluster are distracting.

All the same, I think with more driving time behind the wheel, I'll become more acclimatized and able to enjoy the car's mechanical advantages, which seem plentiful.
Noticing - 11:00 CDT, 11/08/23 (Sniper)
Absolute doofus Phil Spencer, the head of one of the "big three" video game houses, who seemingly doesn't know anything about anything and has driven his entire division into the ground to the point where they can't even create functional software any more, "mentors" games "journalists"-- the group which is supposed to be keeping guys like Spencer honest-- in a "self-deprecating" way, as if the guy is some kind of guru or sage regarding journalism of all things, and is humbling them by his austere presence.

Then on top of it, the "Tweet" bringing this to light is from a guy named, I kid you not, "Harold Goldberg". I wound my way over to his Twatter profile, and lo and behold he's pushing black supremacy in his banner image, where some of the blacks are also wearing gay mafia propaganda shirts with rainbows on them.

Some might say, "every time." But not me, of course! I realize that it's wrong to notice things.

Speaking of "journalism", I saw a clip recently of Glenn Beck begging for citizenship to Israel, in the most pathetic, cringe-worthy display I think I've ever seen. It was so saccharine, so sappy, so misplaced, so idiotic, I could barely make it through the sequence. So when I read Eric Peters complaining about Beck peddling products, I'd say that's the least of that dishonest hack's problems.
JDM Real-Life Photo Mode - 19:18 CDT, 11/04/23 (Sniper)
I was surprised yesterday by a call from my sales manager buddy: "I've got good news about that GR Corolla..." By the end of the day, I found myself driving through the inky dark-- homeward bound in a brand new car.

Today has been a full day of ordering and preparing: new all-season tires to replace the stock summer ones; duplicate micro fiber clothes, tire pressure gauges, ice brushes, a K&N air filter-- alas, I'd never owned three vehicles until now! And, washing the two older cars in preparation for what you see below.

I came up with the idea of doing a "Gran Turismo 7 'scapes' photo mode", but in real life! Why not, after all, since I actually own three cars in the real world, which in fact are fairly well correlated with each other-- being all famous contemporary Japanese performance cars with small engines and outsized personalities?

Without further ado, some specs and then some images! Please do click on the pictures to get lovely high resolution versions.

2014 Subaru Impreza WRX Base2023 Toyota GR86 Base2023 Toyota GR Corolla Circuit Edition
Engine2.5L Boxer-Four2.4L 4-Cyl Boxer-Four1.6L Inline-Three
AspirationTurbochargedNaturalTurbocharged
LayoutFAWDFRFAWD
Transmission5-Speed Manual6-Speed Manual6-Speed Manual
Bhp265 (mfg)256 (est)300 (mfg)
Torque (lb/ft)244 (mfg)220 (est)273 (mfg)
Curb Weight (lbs)324128383269
Standing 0-60 (sec)5.35.44.9
Standing 1.4 Mile (sec)13.914.013.3
300-ft Skidpad (g)0.870.980.94














All Dead Ends - 18:43 CDT, 10/30/23 (Sniper)
I saw a thread on a gaming forum recently where people were asked to name "The Three", and the first thoughts which came to mind. Here is my take:

  • Sony: Woke Hollywood walking simulators.

  • Microsoft: Woke and broken software.

  • Nintendo: Lousy hardware, shamelessly milking cash cows.

On that note, take a look at this list of the stuff Sony is currently working on. See anything interesting? I sure don't. It reminds me of when Microsoft went off the rails with their software development several years ago-- eerily reminiscent, in fact.

On the Nintendo side, they were on a tear during the early Wii U years, but I'm struggling to think of a game they've released over the past three or four years which has particularly impressed me. More and more rumors seem to hint that, as I've suspected all along but have hoped I'll be wrong, the "Switch 2" is going to be anything but. They never do the same thing twice, and it looks like that pattern will continue.

With Atari, Sega, and 3DO all dead, I've been a nomad since the Dreamcast's death-- but whether it was the Xbox or the PSP or the 360 or the Wii U, I've tended to find someplace within the medium to make do. Now it's not so clear-- there doesn't seem to be any viable path forward.

Meanwhile PC can be microcosm'd by "Cities: Skylines II": sitting in the menu with nothing happening, the game pegs my son's GPU at one hundred percent utilization: modern game programmers no longer have any clue how to write properly-functioning software. I've also heard that Microsoft is going to make Winbloze 12 subscription-based-- so that will formally be the end of the PC as a platform.

Maybe Apple will step in and salvage things. Or the End Times.
Speedy Gonzales - 10:21 CDT, 10/28/23 (Sniper)
This past week has been very busy: had to drive to Murderapolis to spend a couple of days in the office, which threw off my entire routine.

I couldn't get over how fast everyone drives there! I spent my entire life there up until a couple of years ago, and people-- myself included-- have always driven aggressively in that area. But just in the past twenty four months it seems as though things have amped up to eleven: I took the wife's WRX, which is no slouch in terms of acceleration-- but every single driver around me would floor it at every single light! I was the slowest moving vehicle in the entire pack.

Apparently it's not just the driving. My mother is working with a lawyer for a particular matter, and the lawyer lives in St. Paul. The other day he asked her, "Boy, isn't it scary when you get carjacked? It's really scary!" He was shocked to hear that my mother in fact had never been carjacked. "Wow! Well, me and everyone I know has had it happen at least once!" I am also seeing lots of stories such as this, where black kids in the schools are starting these huge brawls, beating up the other students. And I thought going to school was obnoxious when I was a teenager.

Home schooling, vindicated.


How the EeeVee Dies?

The bottom is falling out of the entire EeeVee "market"-- if one can call it a "market", when car companies like Ford are losing tens of thousands of dollars per sale, and when the government is handing over thousands of dollars of tax money to people who are coerced into buying an EeeVee. Evidently, despite having every single multi-billion dollar corporation, every single media outlet, and every single politician pushing The Message, people still aren't buying EeeVees.

From the article: "A great product is not enough in the EV business anymore... we have to be totally competitive on cost." Good luck with that: $80k loss per vehicle sold, incoming? More: "We know prices will come down, and as that happens, we will have a bigger ramp-up of EVs." Prices for EeeVees have been going up, not down, as the rare Earth minerals are already proving to be a crippling constraint! The only price drops which have occurred have been down to car companies-- er, I'm sorry, "mobility" companies-- swallowing unfathomable losses per vehicle sold.

From Honda's CEO: "After studying this for a year, we decided that this would be difficult as a business, so at the moment we are ending development of an affordable EV." Probably because it's not possible to build an "affordable" one: it would be tiny and slow, which hardly anyone wants. EeeVees are like "tulip mania": all of these people have gotten caught up in this irrational state of mind, and hardly anyone wants to point out the obvious, that the emperor is naked.


Microsoft Re-Org

If I were to make a list of the issues facing Microsoft's "game studios" development, it would look something like this:

  1. Super woke: They can't make a game which just has characters in them-- they all need to be crazy haired black lesbians, square-jawed androgynous creatures from the black lagoon, and so forth. Yuck.

  2. Broken software: I recently saw someone write, "They released Redfall, then broken-graphics Starfield, then Redfall with cars", and that about sums it up. They can't even produce functional software anymore.

  3. Lack of creativity: Their games play everything way too safe. The gameplay systems are formulaic; the menus are bland; the music sucks. There is nothing "imagination capturing" about their game releases.

Microsoft just re-orged their gaming division. Surely, they dumped the Cultural Marxism, hired based purely on meritocracy, and put in charge a super technical engineering-type, right? Nope! "Look at all of these strong empowered womyn, and we even installed a black one as president!"

People have been pointing out lately that game companies are outsourcing much of their "creative" process to firms such as this. That explains a lot, as documented in this hilarious video, and elsewhere. Remember: these people don't care about video games-- they are activists: "Everything Within the Ideology, Nothing Against the Ideology, Nothing Outside the Ideology."