Jan 15th 2011 4:44PM @BubblePriest - Thanks for mentioning the apartment issue... that does a lot to help me understand why so many people don't have a choice. It also kind of explains why I don't see that lack of choice where I live.
I've always lived in an area where houses are fairly affordable and property taxes aren't too bad. The general mindset is that apartments are where you live when you're a young adult just starting out, or when older people decide to sell their house and move to a smaller place now that the kids are grown and gone and the whole house and yard is just too much to deal with anymore. In the middle, people buy a house and live there for 20 or 30 years. We have realitively few apartment complexes because most people either live in a house or are intending to move into one in the next couple of years.
I'm aware that that's not the norm in many places, and I don't necessarily think houses are better than apartments, or vice versa. I figure "best option" depends on where you live, both in terms of geography and community.
But I do have to wonder how it affects issues like this. From the time I spent living in an apartment, and talking to friends who lived in different apartment complexes, I know that here we have to get our telephone, cable, internet, etc pretty much the same way you do if you live in a house. So people living in the same building can still have different providers. I don't know if that would work for other areas if people decided to start doing it that way. Obviously, I'm very unfamiliar with how apartment living works in other parts of my own country.
But I think that's a good indication of why communication needs to happen when it comes to things the government would oversee... at least, when looking at the United States. It's a big country, and people living in different states/ different regions can live VERY differently. What's a "solution" in one region can be "breaking something that wasn't broken" in another. Expand that internationally, and I no more expect the UK to have to live with what works for people in one region of the US anymore than I expect people in a given region in the US to have to live with what works in the UK.
Jan 14th 2011 6:33PM The USPS doesn't have a right to DELAY delivery of your mail, no... but some pieces of mail do get delivered faster than they usually would. You can pay extra for that, and some agencies send out mail that will be marked "Time Sensitive, please deliver by (whatever date)." And I mean very legitimate pieces of mail... not the "ZOMG! Open NOW! YOU MUST!" on junk mail. So they don't necessarily treat all mail equally.
Or you can go to UPS or Fed Ex. Personally, I only get mail through the USPS. If I have to mail something, UPS gets it there much faster at only a slightly higher price, and the people who work at our local UPS Store are amazingly friendly and helpful while the people at our local post office tend to have all the social grace of a bored teenager working at McDonald's.
Jan 14th 2011 6:22PM I'm always amazed when I hear it said that many people don't have much in the way of choice for service providers. I believe it... it's just not something I've experienced, and I don't usually expect my small community in a corner of Texas to offer better choices than bigger, more populated areas. I can count at least five different providers I have to choose from just off the top of my head. Three of them are businesses that only provide to my region of the state, so they're big enough to do what they do well, but small enough that pissing off a significant amount of their customer base could put them out of business. And I've never been locked into a contract for longer than one year.
In many areas of business, I grew up seeing smaller companies form from a noisy, pissed off customer base that was tired of being jerked around and demanded more options. As long as the smaller company stays small in customer base, they tend to want to keep those customers happy, and happy customers means turning a good profit. It's when huge companies with nation-wide service who can afford to screw over hundreds of thousands of customers and not see any significant loss of profit run things that I hear people complain that they're helpless in the face of this corproate monstrosity.
Any company big enough to afford to screw over that many people is big enough to employ lawyers who do nothing but help them jump through legal loopholes if their business is regulated by the government. That makes government regulation a placebo, not a cure. Find enough like-minded people who want to start doing things a better way, pool funds, bring in people who know how to make it happen, and create a better option. Make it big enough to do a good job, but keep it small enough that doing a good job continues to be what the company's survival depends on. In the past, the hardest part was finding enough people who could do that. These days, the hardest part is finding enough people who are willing. Because, yeah, that's a seriously hard road to go down. But it depends on just how badly people want better options. Enough to sacrifice a lot to create them, or just enough that they want someone else to create them? And I'm not coming down on people who can't/won't make that kind of sacrifice. Not everyone is wired for that. It's just something you have to be honest with yourself about before chasing after any windmills.
Dec 15th 2010 8:12PM This is also VERY helpful if you have trouble catching those tiny bunnies and squirrels at Mount Hyjal. Of course, I don't see why the place is on fire when those dryads could just start tossing snowballs around.
Dec 3rd 2010 5:29PM Remember which is which with astrology and astronomy this way...
Astrology looks at how the celestial bodies line up at different times and influence things like the personality of a person born at that time. Some people use astrOLOGY as an alternative to psychOLOGY when talking about someone's behavior. They say, "Oh, she's a Virgo," instead of, "She's an anal-retentive perfectionist because of the environment she was raised in."
Astronomy doesn't really have some cute little way to remember what it is, like comparing it to another word. That's because science isn't always cute. In fact, it rarely is.
Oct 15th 2010 6:33PM @ Schadenfreude, who said, "It's so easy for straight, cisgendered people to say "well just don't do that" when they never have to censor their own behavior to protect themselves from harassment. "
I have known cisgendered people of various sexual orientations, including straight, who fall on both sides of that... either of the "keep it to yourself" mindset or the "be proud of who you are, fight the bullies" mindset. I've also known some transgender people who are firmly of the "keep it quiet unless you must reveal it, choose to associate only with those who are open and like-minded" mindset. Only one of them ever told me they took that position out of fear of ridicule and oppression. The other two both took the stance of "the only reason to bring it up is if you're looking for attention". I've known transgender people who are so firm on being only recognized as the gender they identify as that they are cruel in the criticism of those who are open about being transgender, rather than having been born that gender. They, in fact, become bullies themselves over it. Assigning that view to "straight, cisgendered people" is closed-minded and unfair. And being part of the "socially approved" gender identity and sexual orientation group does not automatically mean never having to be concerned with being ridiculed for other things that may be different or unpopular about how a straight cisgendered person lives. Inaccurate blanket judgements like that are divisive and play right into the hands of the people who take delight in hurting those who are not like themselves.
Oct 15th 2010 6:20PM I think this is an important subject anytime, but especially right now with all the focus in the news on bullying. Of course, there are different levels of bullying. I really do think people should work on "growing a thicker skin" when it comes to kids (or, as often happens online, immature adults) having nothing more hurtful to say than, "Oh yeah? Well you SUCK! Go get a pacifier so you can SUCK on it!" However, I don't think that whole "just walk away and don't show them it gets to you thing" is really the best course of action when it comes to behavior that borders on, or crosses the line into, emotional abuse and persecution of someone just for being different. Life is beautiful because of differences! If you've ever been in the mood to travel to a new place, try a new type of food, read something outside of your regular genre of books, you have celebrated the ways that "different" is good.
I do not believe bullies should just be ignored, but I also don't believe they can really be stopped anymore than any society has ever successfully rid itself of criminals or the common cold. It often seems like empty words when someone says, "Life is tough, learn to deal with it," but I think there's some truth to it. Facing hardship helps us grow as people and makes us capable of handling even bigger obstacles later. So I think more people who are not the target of bullying should try facing that hardship with the ones who are the targets. Do not stand idly by and do nothing. Speak up and lend your support. If someone is being bullied for being gay, transgender, disabled, or even something as frivolous as they choose to play a female character when they're male, stand by them. Lend them support, and go with the "strength in numbers" tactic. Be willing to say, "I'm not sure how xxfluffygnomexx's personal life is impacting our ability to do this raid, other than you deciding to make a big deal out of it. Since the rest of us are okay, are you okay or do we need to replace you?"
Standing by and letting someone else take the bullying doesn't really make things better. It means you played a passive role in someone else being hurt, and it lets the bully know they can get away with it. Make it clear that this behavior is unacceptable. I'm not saying patrol the streets in the real world and the cities in the game looking for someone to stand up for. But when the situation is there and you recognize that, "I could say something... or I could stand here in the corner," point, do what's right even if it's not what's easy.
Besides, xxfluffygnomexx could turn out to be an awesome person worth knowing. I hate to think how many amazing people I would have cheated myself out of meeting if I thought their gender identity or sexual orientation was any more of a threat to my life than the color of their hair.
Oct 13th 2010 7:32PM To clarify... I knew about the new stable slots, the loss of "Call Stabled Pet", etc. What I mean I didn't know was coming was the talent wiping bit.
Oct 13th 2010 7:30PM I'm scared to go tame things on my hunter now. Really, that's my only big complaint. There's a lot of stuff for me to get used to... but I know I'll get used to it. There's stuff that I'm hoping is just a bug, like not being able to just click off of NPCs to untarget them last night. I could complain about all those things, but it's not worth it. The new way the stables work is BS, though. I cannot (and I have been trying) imagine why someone would think it's a good idea to have our pets' talents wiped when we put them in the stable! And I suppose I could have just missed the news on that, but it would be the only hunter change I missed the news on. I didn't know until it showed up in the patch notes yesterday.
As it has been, if you bought all four stable slots, you could have a max of five pets. At level 80, with Call Stabled Pet, this meant having five pets to choose from without going to a stable in a city. Now, we have no Call Stabled Pet. Along the way, we learn additional "Call Pet" skills so we can switch out among our multiple "active" pets. Except that 5th Call Pet won't be available until level 82. So we now, at level 80, must leave one of our five pets in the stable and run around with four "active pets" to switch out as we wish.
Okay, okay... that's something I'm willing to work with until level 82 is available for me. It's an annoyance, but one that seems like it's not a big deal in the bigger picture and just part of the adjustment.
But why does putting a pet in the stable wipe it's talents? Especially when they've just given us a HUGE stable and made the pets give buffs to groups! It feels like they're pushing us to go tame more pets, but then punishing us for doing it. And this isn't just a hunter issue. What happens when your whole group is sitting around waiting because you need the hunter to bring her corehound for the buff, but the corehound isn't currently one of her "active pets"? It's not as simple as switch to BM, run by the stable and swap out something else with the corehound. The hunter will have to sit there and re-talent the corehound because she DARED to put it in... THE STABLE!
Maybe I'm just ticked off because it's the most annoying (to me) of all the hunter changes. But, really, I just don't see what this is supposed to add to the class or the gameplay experience except a fear of taming more pets because of the annoyance of having to re-talent them over and over.
Oct 9th 2010 5:10PM If this :
"I read this blog pretty infrequently. Had I not forgotten to uncheck "Email me when someone replies to this comment," there's a good chance your comment wouldn't have even been acknowledged."
is true, then how is he familiar enough with what goes on around here for this:
"Before I even clicked "Add Comment," I understood that there was a high probability of getting downvoted if my comment was anything other than participating in a ridiculous meme or kissing (cutaia)'s ass."
to also be true? I wouldn't agree that things actually work that way (I'm not really hanging around enough to feel like part of the "in crowd" on memes, and I've never been anywhere near (cutaia)'s ass - much less done anything to it), but I'd still think someone would have to pay a little more attention than the commenter claims to in order to come up with that.
I'll take an honest, idiotic, "All I ever see is loads of suck around here!" over a faux "too cool to care" attitude when it's clear you care.