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2761  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: "Best" Buy Managers violate price match, get bonuses on: March 27, 2009, 09:48:54 PM
The only time I ever asked about it, I was told that internet pricing was exempt from their policy. Price comparison is pretty difficult if you exclude the internet. So I walked out, and bought whatever it was online.
2762  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Not paid enough... on: March 27, 2009, 07:01:25 PM
I fired quite a few employees over the years. It gets easier as the body count rises. Eventually I came to enjoy firing the incompetents. Layoffs were always hard, though.
2763  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 27, 2009, 05:46:12 PM
I think you just need to dial up the AI.

In the situation you described, I'd choose a victory condition and concentrate on achieving it.
2764  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 26, 2009, 03:51:03 PM

Quote from: Godzilla Blitz on March 25, 2009, 01:11:45 PM

I haven't played Gal Civ 2 yet, but I played Gal Civ quite a bit. I never felt the game was ponderous though. If anything, I thought the AI (at its upper levels) was so good at expanding in the early game that each game started out as a wild, full-speed expansion sprint from the first turn. It seemed like in every game there was a race to colonize some critical planet. Great fun and filled with tension.

Maybe Gal Civ 2 changed this?

No, the colony rush is still there, and it's even more interesting because marginally habitable worlds require technologies to settle. When you're exploring and you come across a nice juicy level-15 Barren world, it's a huge incentive to research barren world colonization. Some races can settle some marginal worlds naturally, so having one of those in your backyard is a vulnerability.

I don't think they had that in original GalCiv, did they?
2765  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Get them away from me! I need help! The noms, they're EVIL! on: March 26, 2009, 03:28:35 AM
Wrap 'em in bacon and deep fry 'em, and I'm in.
2766  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 26, 2009, 03:26:03 AM

Quote from: Malificent on March 26, 2009, 02:34:27 AM

Spoiler for Hiden:
We didn't see Sayid check for a pulse or anything, so Ben could still be alive.

That was my second reaction. My first was "Holy crap! How does this not change everything?"

Spoiler for Hiden:
I wonder if this series will end as one big time-loop paradox?
2767  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Submarine and Amphib collide in the SOH on: March 24, 2009, 08:04:18 PM
Somebody's getting some points on his license for that one.
2768  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: House passes 90% tax on Bonuses for TARP recips. on: March 24, 2009, 05:54:40 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on March 24, 2009, 04:31:14 PM

When I play Civilization I commit 100% of my resources to researching whatever - it gets it done far sooner and in the end I end up winning through advancements.  We'd be a lot better off with that approach than studying the humping hamsters.

When you research in Civ, you know the benefits that each new tech will give you and exactly how long it will take to get there. Reality encourages us to diversify. Curing cancer is small consolation if a rogue planetoid wipes out life on earth, and we could have saved hamsterkind.
2769  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Tax Time! on: March 24, 2009, 05:48:36 PM
After a dramatic showdown, the wife grudgingly completed her share of the tax prep on Sunday, and we just delivered the whole package to our CPA with a check for his fee. We should get the bottom line within a few days.

The lazy BIL finally sent me his mother's 1099-G and her medical expenses a couple of weeks ago. I e-filed her return a few days later and her refund arrived last week. She got $19 from the feds and the maximum $1200 homestead refund from the state of Michigan. In a couple of months Michigan will take that money back for this year's property taxes.

The end of tax season is finally in sight -- and before April 15 this year. I must have already said that we can't afford to pay out this year, so wish me luck.
2770  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 6 MONTHS since my last cigarette! on: March 24, 2009, 05:37:05 PM
Tonight I'm going to meet my one-and-only smoker friend at the bar after he's been away for 3 months. Assuming that he still smokes, I will bum my first cigarette since the last time I saw him. I will enjoy it thoroughly.
2771  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 24, 2009, 01:03:15 AM

Quote from: Blackadar on March 23, 2009, 04:59:44 PM

Since you don't control your ships in combat, I didn't find much strategy in that area of the game.  I'm sure there is some, but I'm too much of a noob to know what it is at this point. 

Ship design is the main strategic challenge -- playing rock-paper-scissors with both weapons and defenses, and trading those off against speed. Combat itself is just about having the right ships in the right place. I don't like tactical combat myself so its absence from this game is a positive.
2772  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Annual spring break trip with family. Now with even MORE fabulousness. on: March 23, 2009, 07:00:59 PM
Thanks for that writeup. We sometimes mull taking a long weekend in Bermuda or the Bahamas, and they've always been interchangeable in my mind. I would tilt toward Bermuda now.
2773  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New game - post the first image in your My Pictures folder! on: March 23, 2009, 04:52:22 PM
It's a 1972 Opel GT, my first car.
2774  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New game - post the first image in your My Pictures folder! on: March 23, 2009, 04:01:03 PM

Quote from: Moliere on March 23, 2009, 02:29:55 PM

I don't use the My Pictures folder.  ninja

Neither do I. I did find and delete some garbage files/folders in there, though, so thanks for bringing it to my attention.
2775  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Star Trek TV series? on: March 22, 2009, 08:28:12 PM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on March 22, 2009, 06:35:29 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 22, 2009, 03:51:49 PM

Think of the pilot, Encounter at Farside.


Farside would have been an episode done by Gary Larson.


That's what I get for dredging things up from memory.

It was a delightfully cheesy moralistic debut in keeping with the spirit of TOS. I am glad TNG didn't linger in that vein.
2776  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 22, 2009, 05:52:34 PM

Quote from: ibdoomed on March 22, 2009, 04:06:53 PM

Now that's very interesting. I'm not a real Bowie fan, I could take it or leave it, but my wife IS and while I would have to double check with her, I don't think she caught the reference either. But both of us being science geeks might have lost the pop culture weight on the term.

As soon as I decided that I liked this show, I dug out my Bowie CD and fired up the lava lamp, put on the blacklight, and dropped some acid, then listened to this song a few times. Why did they name the show after it? That verse is my best guess. We'll find out in less than two weeks.
2777  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 22, 2009, 04:12:02 PM
I have whatever the latest and greatest version is, so I don't really remember what the basic game lacks. It's a pretty standard 4x game. I think the AI is its strongest suit.

Setup is highly configurable. On a huge map I often snag 10-15 planets during the initial colony rush, so if you're really only getting 3-4 you might need to make habitable planets more common, or change your early game strategy. For example, I use colony ships for scouting, and use my starting cash to rush a colony ship every time I find a habitable planet. The transition to profitability can be quite difficult, too. My strategy involves getting trade routes going ASAP. The humans and my custom civ (the Rastafarians) are both trade-dependent, so finding stable friendly neighbors is key.

I play 95% of the game at maximum zoom, so it's a pretty pure icon-based strategy game. I also like to randomize many of the starting conditions such as leader personalities and intelligence to enhance the exploration phase.

In short, GalCiv2 didn't break any new ground, but it does a very solid job of implementing all of the expected 4x game conventions. Put those together with good AI and interesting random events, and you've got my attention.

Plus, it runs well on my 6-year-old computer.  icon_smile
2778  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need show, have money on: March 22, 2009, 03:55:27 PM
We are halfway through the last season of Babylon 5. The series starts very weak, builds to a crescendo in the 3rd and 4th seasons, then peters out again at the end. Very entertaining, though, with some great characters and plots.

We're going to start on BSG next.
2779  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Star Trek TV series? on: March 22, 2009, 03:51:49 PM

Quote from: raydude on March 22, 2009, 03:00:53 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 22, 2009, 04:56:14 AM

Quote from: Turtle on March 22, 2009, 12:45:41 AM

This isn't the time for dark and dreary science fiction like BSG, which just ended.

Good observation. TOS was an uplifting show in dire times.

Not just uplifting, but TOS was a vehicle that allowed Gene Rodenberry to talk about social issues in the context of a sci-fi show. Something which I think TNG and later Treks mostly ignored. Race issues (a black and an Asian in important non-throwaway roles?), fear of beings or people we don't understand (the rock monster, Kirk vs. the Gorn), etc, those were the heart and soul of Trek. That was what Gene Rodenberry wanted Star Trek to be about.

Somehow that got forgotten in the midst of technobabble, whiz-kid solutions, hologram hijinks, and the like. New Trek should try to be more of a lens on our current societal issues. Kids more vulnerable to other forms of technology (internet, social networking sites, etc), environmental issues, the low-intensity conflicts, media telling us what to be outraged about (i.e. Nadia Suleman vs. really important global events), the difficulty in disconnecting ourselves from our gadgets. That's what I'd like to see in the new Trek.

TNG started down the social-responsibility track early on, with a few episodes that were as goofy as anything from TOS. Think of the pilot, Encounter at Farside. They drifted away from that, though...maybe for the best. It was more of a nostalgia/tribute approach than something appropriate to its time. Now that we live in unstable times the original Roddenberry approach might work again. TOS was very topical. You can only do that so much, though, before you start compromising good sf storytelling for your political agenda. Remember that TOS employed scripts from some of the best sf writers of its day. Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Norman Spinrad, Theodore Sturgeon...real heavy hitters. Roddenberry knew better than to try to write the whole show himself.
2780  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 22, 2009, 05:06:59 AM
Not a Bowie fan, are you? The music of the day is integral to this show. It's right that it should take its name from a song title, and if you don't get the reference you probably wouldn't like the show. But I see your point -- it doesn't become obvious and appropriate until after you have been drawn in.

My theory of the Big Reveal comes from these lyrics:

Quote from: David Bowie
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man!
Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?

2781  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Star Trek TV series? on: March 22, 2009, 04:56:14 AM

Quote from: Turtle on March 22, 2009, 12:45:41 AM

This isn't the time for dark and dreary science fiction like BSG, which just ended.

Good observation. TOS was an uplifting show in dire times.
2782  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: What is it that bugs people about RIP threads? on: March 21, 2009, 03:55:38 PM

Quote from: Lee on March 21, 2009, 06:49:07 AM

I stopped posting in those threads as not to be an ass. But I never understood why someone was worthy of a RIP thread just because they were rich and famous before they died. It's not like you knew them or that it was more tragic than anyone else dying.

I can almost understand some artists that moved you in your life, but it seems every one even remotely famous gets a thread anymore. But I really don't care and don't read them.

I open RIP threads if I don't know who the person was, just out of curiosity. I only post if it was someone I admired.
2783  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 21, 2009, 03:40:27 AM

Quote from: Moliere on March 20, 2009, 11:21:39 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 20, 2009, 10:19:24 PM

And speaking of Locke...his absence was conspicuous last night.
Great observation!

I forgot to mention how much I loved the exchange between Sawyer and Jack at the end. First more awkwardness about Juliette being with Sawyer and then Sawyer putting Jack in his place first as a Workman  icon_twisted and then talking about the importance of thinking. You could see Jack was plain confused with the concept. As Sawyer mentioned, Jack couldn't sit still and think. He was so agitated looking for something to do.

It's a nice character transformation. Sawyer was introduced as the bad-boy action antihero, and here we glimpse the opposite. He starts out paired with Kate, the bad-girl action antihero, and now he's with Juliette, the calm organized intelligent one with the hooters. Meanwhile, Jack is...uh...Lost.

Right now I'm mostly interested in how they're going to reunite the parties that are separated in time. Why do I think young Ben will be instrumental somehow?
2784  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: House passes 90% tax on Bonuses for TARP recips. on: March 21, 2009, 01:47:51 AM

Quote from: Moliere on March 20, 2009, 10:30:25 PM

Quote from: corruptrelic on March 20, 2009, 10:07:44 PM

Still I agree with KD, this is OUR money being paid out to these people.
Do you feel this way about other government subsidies and handouts? It would be nice if people had this kind of outrage towards farm subsidies, for example.

The difference is that these are the same suits whose success caused the crash that killed our jobs. We were already struggling before that happened, while they were prospering. Right or wrong, legal or illegal, moral or immoral...I don't care. I would rather they faced a firing squad than received rewards paid for with the taxes being withheld from our unemployment checks. It pleases me to think that some fraction of this revenge tax will go into our unemployment checks and our COBRA subsidy. What goes around, comes around.
2785  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 20, 2009, 10:34:02 PM
Well this week's episode was a shocker. I wonder if that development was already in the can, or if they sped up their storyline knowing that the end is near.

Next week we get one more regular episode, and then the series finale which, the announcer promised me, will have the Big Reveal.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Nowadays two cops would never approach the driver together in a traffic stop, for exactly the reason we saw. One always remains in the car. I wonder if that was standard practice back in 1973.
2786  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 20, 2009, 10:19:24 PM
And speaking of Locke...his absence was conspicuous last night.
2787  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: House passes 90% tax on Bonuses for TARP recips. on: March 20, 2009, 02:21:24 AM

Quote from: VynlSol on March 19, 2009, 11:10:03 PM

isn't the government supposed to carry out the wishes of the populace?

Which people?
2788  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lying to your kids. on: March 20, 2009, 02:02:44 AM

Quote from: The Grue on March 20, 2009, 01:48:00 AM

Quote from: Blackadar on March 20, 2009, 01:09:24 AM

I agree with that, but I think you should change your mind about Santa Clause.  The whole Santa thing is fun.  It sparks kid's imaginations and anticipations.  They get a huge kick out of it.  When they finally find out the truth, you can use it to have a meaningful conversation with your kid about the spirit of the Holidays. 

As a parent, I can say that Santa isn't about lying.  It's about wonder and sheer joy. 

You're not gonna convince this guy.  He's all jaded because he never got exposed to the Santa thing. slywink

I can still remember the older kid who burst my Santa bubble. Ronnie Van Sickle he was called, and the neighborhood bully. I ran home crying, expecting comfort and reassurance. Instead I was doubly crushed when my parents admitted their betrayal. From that moment on, I stopped believing in the tooth fairy, the easter bunny, Jesus, God, and anything else that smelled like an elaborate adult inside joke.
2789  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lying to your kids. on: March 19, 2009, 10:02:21 PM

Quote from: Moliere on March 19, 2009, 09:42:08 PM

Quote from: Arkon on March 19, 2009, 08:51:38 PM

And honestly, if I have to threaten/bribe my children with toys then I have done something wrong as a parent.
You're not showing the proper Christmas spirit. Making up stories about voyeuristic mythical beings who know all your thoughts and actions so that you will be punished or rewarded appropriately is what the holidays are all about.

Kids appreciate a good honest beating so much more. It shows that you care.

The tricky thing about withholding the Santa myth is the splash damage on their little friends. I think we all remember who gave us the bad news about Santa. Do you want your kids to be the neighborhood spoilers?
2790  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: can't believe i am actually doing this on: March 18, 2009, 10:15:03 PM

Quote from: Farscry on March 18, 2009, 03:46:09 PM

The voice of dissent is valuable in America. I don't agree with Bush's policies, but I think that after Obama's administration settles in, if Bush disagrees with the administration he should voice his opinion like any other US citizen should do. Much like how Carter spoke out against the Bush administration after it had the chance to get things right and fracked us up instead.

I have serious concerns about directions the Obama administration is taking as well. I'm trying to be patient and let them have time to get settled in before I start too strongly into criticism, just like I did with the Bush administration.

I agree. In a time of crisis like this, though, I respect Bush for holding his tongue.
2791  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lying to your kids. on: March 18, 2009, 10:10:05 PM
You even have to be careful how you state the truth. Little kids are totally literal. My dad's right hand didn't work, and he'd occasionally need to remind people that "I've only got one hand." You could see my nephew's little brain trying to square that with the two hands that he could plainly see.
2792  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: What's wrong with a little animal lovin'? on: March 18, 2009, 12:12:16 AM
We all knew gay marriage would lead to animal husbandry.
2793  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Dick Cheney Is Scaring Me on: March 17, 2009, 07:13:46 PM
The Obama comeback

Cheney said Sunday on CNN that Obama's national security decisions are threatening the nation's safety and that the president is using the economic crisis to expand government's role in healthcare, energy, education, and other areas.

"Well, I guess Rush Limbaugh was busy, so they trotted out the next most popular member of the Republican cabal," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs quipped.

"I would say that the president has made quite clear that keeping the American people safe and secure is the most serious job that he has each and every day," Gibbs said. "I think not taking economic advice from Dick Cheney would be maybe the best possible outcome of yesterday's interview."

Zing!  icon_lol
2794  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Annual spring break trip with family. Now with even MORE fabulousness. on: March 17, 2009, 12:28:20 AM
That looks like a pretty nice vacation spot. More overdeveloped/child-infested than I would choose if I were paying my own way, but you sure wouldn't hear me complaining on somebody else's dime!

We could really use a rich relative right now. Our annual week in the Berkshires is in considerable doubt this year, even though we've already paid the deposit on the cabin. An unexpected car repair is almost surely going to require us to ask for a refund...unless we're unexpectedly owed a big tax return, or my wife unexpectedly gets a job. Either one could still happen before June.
2795  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: SyFy Channel on: March 16, 2009, 11:18:55 PM
Do you suppose somebody got a fat bonus for dreaming up "SyFy"?  nod
2796  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Dick Cheney Is Scaring Me on: March 16, 2009, 09:16:58 PM
This Obama fellow is going to get us all killed!

WASHINGTON - Former vice president Dick Cheney said yesterday that Americans are less safe now that President Obama has overturned George W. Bush's terrorism-fighting policies and that nearly all the Republican administration's goals in Iraq have been achieved.

"There is no prospect" that Iraq will return to producing weapons of mass destruction or supporting terrorists, Cheney asserted, "as long as it's a democratically governed country, as long as they have got the security forces they do now and a relationship with the United States."

Wait. What?

Asked on CNN's "State of the Union" if he thought Obama has made Americans less safe with those actions, Cheney replied, "I do."

"Those programs were absolutely essential to the success we enjoyed of being able to collect the intelligence that let us defeat all further attempts to launch attacks against the United States since 9/11," Cheney said.

Hold me.
2797  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Question about internet advertising on: March 16, 2009, 04:59:14 AM
This is a timely question.

Google's AdSense ads are placed according to website content (keywords). But starting in May they will use the browser's history instead. I know this because I got an email from Google two days ago telling me that I either have to opt out of their new model or rewrite my privacy policy to disclose what they're up to. (I only use AdSense on my blog, and since Google owns Blogger I'm going to assume that their privacy policy has me covered).

So right now the answer is that they're keyword-generated. Starting in May, browser history will be the default, although some sites might opt to stick with the old keyword model if they think that works better, or if they're concerned about their visitors' privacy.
2798  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Someone's gotta burn on: March 16, 2009, 01:57:17 AM
We have two small Roth IRA annuities earning 3% interest from AIG, and they don't mature until January 2011. I don't want to hear any more of this nonsense about nationalization or bankruptcy. There are potentially hundreds of dollars at stake here! If it takes $150 billion of taxpayer money to make sure that we're made whole, then that's just how it has to be.
2799  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: Someone's gotta burn on: March 15, 2009, 06:58:10 PM
Yeah, they have to retain that top talent. Meaning the only people who understand precisely how the pooch was screwed in the first place.
2800  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: NBC goes Sci-Fi over the summer with Merlin, Meteor & The Storm on: March 15, 2009, 02:52:57 PM
Somebody bump this thread a few days before these shows air so that I can instruct my DVR. The first two sound craptastic, but I do like Stacy Keach and Christopher Lloyd.
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