Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Well, good evening. Don't that sun look good going down?

 I really don't understand why Sunday's Gibberish got more hits than Monday's News. I thought the News piece was good and the Gibberish was just okay. Granted, no one's telling me that either are good or bad and I'm just going off clicks, but still. I wonder what it is that's pulling in the eyes. At least with the WordPress site, it tells me where some come from and that's always interesting.

 Ah well. Today's the second day of the Project and, if nothing else, I appreciate not having to scour the news websites looking for something to spark my imagination. I can just ramble on and talk about video games, which is what I'm going to do. I think the practice of sticking mostly to News benefited the piece, but we'll see how it all works out when I do tomorrow's News.

 I guess before I get too deep into things, I should link up yesterday's gobbledygook. This was the latest update on COVID-19, since that's dominating the news and public's attention. Beyond everything else, we've moved into the "we must be willing to sacrifice for capitalism" stage of things, as a swath of talking heads, bloggers and people with podcasts said, hypothetically, it was okay if people got unnecessarily sick, perhaps even died because they went to work. The "strongest economy in history" is apparently so fragile that it can't just chill for a couple weeks until we figure out what's going on and what to do about it.

 Skeptical then about the urgency of this claim, I did a little Googling and found out some interesting things concerning just how much wealth the very wealthy have. I know it won't matter to the Renfields of the world, but I truly do not really begrudge someone with millions or billions of dollars they'll never, ever spend. I don't have anything but contempt for them, but hey, don't hate the player, they say. It is what it is.

 That all being said, their wealth - a little over 160 trillion dollars all told, and this is actual on-hand wealth - comes from other people doing most of the work. "But they take the risks," I hear you bleat. Yeah, and every time someone drives to work, they take the risk of being t-boned by a drunk driver where the very rich have bailouts and bankruptcy protections. Furthermore, most of these uber-wealthy make more in a day than most of the rest of us see in a lifetime. Some do it in an hour. Kylie Jenner makes the American median salary in two-and-a-half hours. That's a staggering stroke to wrap one's head around.

 Anyway, read the Tumblr post and decide for yourself. I don't know if they get a blast fax or subliminal messages from Fox News, but the wingnut Twitter population is down to the ground with the idea of restaurant workers, retail workers and others they feel don't deserve a living wage for a 40-hour work week need to get back to it before some hedge fund loses less than 2% of its worth. I, for one, am not surprised and neither should anyone else. Americans - this may be worldwide, but us especially - have a certain reverence for the wealthy. We like the idea that just because a guy's got a shit-ton of money it not only makes him a super-genius in every other field beyond what he made bank in, but also makes him just a more worthy person. Some even think it means they deserve to be president when the only thing that really made them rich was being born to the right parents.

 But I digress. I also got a wild hair and wrote a bit about the excellent and much under-appreciated '80s rock & roll group The Bus Boys. Inspired by the deep delve into the baffling wealth gap in our society, I was inspired to post some music that celebrated the working man. Mainly the Bus Boys and Merle Haggard, but I think that's good enough for anybody.

 Okay, video games. I played more of Dungeon Siege as well as its two sequels. Honestly, I may like the second game better than the first. This story's a bit more interesting and there's a graphical upgrade. However it's apparently tougher, as I keep getting wiped out every time the challenge steps up and I have to keep throwing my party at the challenge like battering my head against a wall until it breaks. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, I don't know.

 The third game, however, left me sort of cold. It looks nice and there seems to be a story worth telling, but I just didn't care. I usually get a taste of a game by either playing through the tutorial or getting past the game's first little bit, like after the Grey Wardens initially get wiped out in Dragon Age: Origins because that obviously evil looking guy did 'em dirty. If it gets me, I come back. This one, however, I was considering just dropping it before I got to that stopping place and deleted it off my hard drive once I did.

 Another issue I had with it is a player is given four pre-made characters to go through the story. They all have their own backgrounds and there's no customization or even ambivalence to what they're trying to accomplish. I like a little grey area. In the first game, you're a farmer. In the second, you're a possible repentant mercenary. However, both are open ended enough that a player can add a little nuance to the character. The one in Two Worlds II is defined by his search for his sister and the guy in Divinity II is a raw recruit dealing with everything going to shit even before he's fully inducted.

 I need to get back to Two Worlds II to finish it off, just like I need to do with Pathfinder: Kingmaker and Pillars of Eternity 2. However, I'll probably put a little more work into Divinity II or maybe give the first games of the Risen and Gothic series another shot. I still have a passel of XCOM-influenced turn-based strategy games to mess around with, too. I don't know how in the hell people with actual lives find the time to play as much as they seem to do.

 What else is there. Snopes posted some job openings this morning. I applied to a couple but I doubt anything will come of it. I spent too much time out of the game and haven't done enough work since getting back into it for anyone seriously looking for labor to give a look. Or so in my mind, anyway, but I'm known for having laughably low self-esteem. I posted links to this and The News, since that's all I've got that's less than 15 years old. I think there are plenty of gems among the dross, but I do worry my flippant tone and potty mouth might turn some off. I can behave if I'm getting paid, is all I'm going to say about it.

 Otherwise, I'm listening to Waylon Jennings' 1974 album The Ramblin' Man. I've got two tracks to go and once they're done, I'm done. For what it's worth, I don't think we've seen anything close to the end of the whole COVID-19 business and, what's more, it's going to develop into a much bigger hassle whether we "go back to work" or not. Doesn't really affect me either way, but it's interesting to watch how all this plays out from an outsider's perspective. Like I said above, it sort of stuns me that we are that beholden to the idea that unless we work ourselves to death for someone else's benefit and not enough to live on, the entire superstructure will eat itself within a week. If that's the case, maybe we should let it. Maybe make something new and better from the ashes.

 Of course, that's an unhelpful thought, mainly because so many people whose backs are already against the wall would suffer the most for it while the very rich might have to give up one of their yachts. So, I don't have any answers or any good suggestions, even. Just questions, that's what I'm here for.

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