Good Fortune

Once a week the cafeteria at work has a Mongolian Grill they do, which I enjoy greatly. Recently, however, it's quality has begun dropping in one particular area. They really need to find a better fortune cookie company.

Today's fortune reads as follow:

"Here we go. 'Moo Shuu Cereal' for breakfast with duck sauce."

I'd call this the worst fortune ever, except that I can't even classify it as a fortune. It sounds more like whoever makes these fortunes started having fun with potential bad meal ideas, and whoever they were dictating to didn't realize they'd stopped coming up with fortunes.


Koei Hates Me

Via the IGN review of Dynasty Warriors 6 it is confirmed that, once again, Koei has left the Japanese Voice Actors off the American release of the game.

Let's review the timeline.

Chapter 1: I arrive at college, and see someone playing Dynasty Warriors 3 for the first time. I laugh at the horrible English voice actors, but get blown away by the inclusion of Japanese vocals. Addiction++.
Chapter 2: Dynasty Warriors 4 comes out, no Japanese voice actors. Bitter tears are wept, and the game goes unpurchased.
Chapter 3: In desperation, I buy Samurai Warriors for its Japanese voice actors. Sadly, the game has a "level up" system which punishes you for being strong. Gee, thanks. The game is sold back to Babbage's.
Chapter 4: After months of suspense as to whether Dynasty Warriors 5 will have the Japanese voice actors or not, the ill news arrives. Depressed but in dire need of a new "fix", I eventually cave in and buy the PS2 version. The next day it's announced that the Xbox version will have Japanese voice actors. D'OH.
Chapter 5: The Xbox 360 announces backwards compatibility! Great news, except the only Dynasty Warriors game on the list is #4. This is true even today, after numerous updates.
Chapter 6: Samurai Warriors 2 is released, sans Japanese voice actors. Hope fades.
Chapter 7: Dynasty Warriors: Gundam surprises me with Japanese voice actors. Perhaps the soon to be released Dynasty Warriors 6 will break the growing cycle of pain?
Chapter 8: Today, it sucks to be me.

I effectively give up. The arguments have been made time and time again for why Japanese voice actors are a perfectly simple option to make available. I'm through waiting on Koei to make a game that A) doesn't suck and B) has the Japanese voice actors.

Sadly, the options for "kill legions of enemies in a mindless fashion" are slim to none. Maybe it's because Koei crowds out all the competitors, or maybe it's because the competitors are all like N3.




There's an internet meme out there known as "Fail".


Personally, I like the "Fail Again Crane".


Rant: Election Ramblings

I'm publicly stating a lot of my political opinions here for several reasons. One, this is my personal space and I've always maintained that it is primarily here as an outlet for my thoughts and creativity. Two, I find it is probably best if I let my political thoughts be scrutinized by some of my politically active friends.

The number of remaining candidates in both races have thinned, although each is now sporting its own flavor. For the democrats we have a heated neck in neck battle, and for the republicans we have a sure race with a leader and a pair of runners who refuse to accept defeat. I'll touch on the latter first.

I don't have as much to say about the republicans because I'm not as invested in the outcome. The people I disliked have all dropped out, leaving my second choice in the lead and my first choice in second. While a lot of Huckabee's policies are described as insane, I have faith that the house and senate would regulate such matters. As it stands I'm rooting for him to keep going as it will keep McCain honest. Ultimately, I don't feel McCain's a bad candidate. It's refreshing for him to say outright that it might be necessary to stay in Iraq for decades, when for years his fellows have said otherwise. I don't think it's worthwhile for us to do so, but that's another matter altogether.

I'll probably write for a while about the democrats, for obvious reasons.

There's a lot of media attention flying around the democratic contest, probably because it is so gripping and shows little sign of letting up. While I'm sure McCain's camp is actively considering what strategy to pursue in either case, people are generally excited at seeing either the first woman or black presidential candidate.

The race is at a stalemate, and will be for another month. The last chance for a "knockout blow" comes March 4th, when the 255 pledged delegates held between Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island are decided.

Begin speculation.

My general gut feeling is that Hillary is on the ropes. Perhaps I am being overly influenced by the media, but there are a lot of little cues pointing to bigger problems. The removal of her campaign manager, the five million dollar investment in her campaign, her somewhat petty comments concerning Obama's recent string of victories, and polls showing stronger confidence in Obama's ability to best McCain all point to a campaign that is in trouble.

One of the biggest issues is one of money. It is speculative to say that the Clinton campaign is in a financial crisis, but I think it's very likely. Consider for the moment how easily Clinton is giving up on almost all of the states holding contests in February. That is not the tactic of a strongly funded campaign. In a system where delegates are awarded proportionally, it's foolhardy to avoid establishing a strong presence in any state, even ones where you're likely to lose. At this point, it seems obvious that any resources Hillary now possesses are being saved for the trifecta of contests on March 4th.

To continue the speculation, we can extrapolate something of Hillary's past strategy. It seems possible that she banked on February 5th being the day where she ascended above the competition, much as McCain did. Unlike McCain, her "victory" was indecisive at best and even fictional depending on how you look at matters. The result is a lot of money, probably most of it, spent for a tie.

Add to this equation Obama's significant cash flow and you have a recipe for disaster. According to reports, only 3% of those who have donated to Obama have donated the maximum of $2300, whereas Hillary is in the opposite position. Even if both candidates spent the majority of their holdings on "Super Tuesday", Obama is in an excellent position to fight by attrition.

The worst part of this scenario is that it forces Hillary to do exactly what she did on February 5th. Even with her five million dollar influx, she can't afford to spend money on anything prior to March. She might even ignore Rhode Island, instead focusing entirely on Texas and Ohio. If March 4th plays out anything like February 5th, that effort will be wasted.

The other large issue is momentum. Rudy Giuliani spent an entire month in Florida ahead of his competitors. Despite that investment he was soundly beaten by two competitors and effectively tied one other. If momentum split between three candidates can bowl over someone so heavily invested in a contest, unified momentum could be unstoppable.

While momentum wasn't the only factor in Giuliani's loss, it's notable enough that many are making comparisons to Hillary's current strategy and Giuliani's. With Black History Month effectively called for Obama, a lot of eyes are looking to see if March 4th will signal the end of the "big state" strategy once and for all.

Lastly, there's little question as to who the democrat nominee will be facing in November. McCain is the frontrunner for the republicans by far, and polls show that Obama is given a much better chance against him than Hillary. With "Super Tuesday" having been a razor thin tie, any factor that could swing people away from Hillary is significant. There's always the chance for a miracle in the republican camp, but such a miracle will come far too late for Hillary.

In short, right now Obama has the money, the momentum, and the credentials. Even a loss on March 4th is unlikely to end his bid, unless it is very decisive. Meanwhile, Hillary is teetering on the edge. Her campaign could be over if she ties Obama in March, let alone if Ohio or Texas swing his way.

So is it all over? Is Hillary truly finished? Hah! As I said this is speculation, largely based on gut feelings established by reading articles, watching newcasts, and browsing comments from random people such as "obama08" and "prezhillary". If anything, this is analogous to those crazy conspiracy theories which begin plausibly enough and end with Zionist death rays on the moon.

It's entirely possible for Hillary to turn things around, for Obama to goof up, or for the second coming to render the whole thing moot. If Obama loses Virginia, for example, it would be a notable bump in his momentum, and bring up questions of his ability to crash through the March contests like a tsunami.

Personally, I don't see the status quo being upset in February (irony intended). Hillary's recent remarks concerning Obama's victories are sour at best, and offensive at worst. It's fair enough to downplay the importance of such victories, but it's another thing altogether to call caucuses undemocratic, and write off the importance of the African-American vote.

Those comments are a small part in why I'd never vote for Hillary. I've met a large number of people via my leadership position in my World of Warcraft guild. I've interviewed lots of potential candidates who wanted into our group, and I've turned away quite a few. Hillary shares a number of attributes with these people. There are disturbing parts her speeches that are all too reminiscent of various leeches and sycophants that sought into our guild not for the friendship but for the rewards we could carry them to. Her answers to questions are always self-oriented with lip service paid to key people or concepts. Overall, she hasn't given a clear idea of who she is. To top it off, her remarks she makes when she wins or loses point to arrogance and needless pride. If I were interviewing her for a position, I wouldn't be inclined to let her in.

Were Hillary to win the democrat nomination, she would have an uphill battle convincing me to vote for her. I'd be likely to vote for McCain, but if he loses my confidence I will have no hesitation writing in Obama, Huckabee, or Ron Paul come November.

So there you have it. To some effect that's my prediction for the days to come. It's rambly and will probably bear out to be largely inaccurate, but I needed to get that off my mind a bit.


The Bomb

For a long time there has been a latent despair in my generation. We've grown up in a culture of bad news, where positive stories are brief fluffy blurbs quickly shoved aside for more interesting reports about serial murders and rapists. While at a personal level there is some amount of optimism, at the national level I, at least, have felt powerless and uninvolved.

In past elections I was completely disinterested. The primaries were merely a reminder that later that year there'd be a vote for the next president. When it finally was my chance to vote for the first time, my vote was cast via mail. The macabre detachment from the process did nothing but cement the feeling of futility. The same mistakes made the term before were made again, and hopelessness set in.

So when I found myself riveted to the election news late last year I became confused. The political depression I experienced was lifting, and I didn't know why. I had long since stared into the fact of bureaucracy and looked away, seeing no hope that I might effect a change. Yet here I was, glued to each tidbit and story about the progress of the presidential hopefuls.

Looking back, I realize that it all started when I listened to Barack Obama's speech where he announced his candidacy. I didn't realize it then, but it came to me now why stirred me.

It's not because Obama is a great public speaker, or because his policies are somehow better, or because he might be the first president who isn't a white anglo-saxon protestant male. It wasn't that he's a democrat in a time where republicans are generally out of the good graces of the nation, or that he was able to raise so much money. It was something far simpler.

At the very heart of what Obama says each and every speech is a simple thought and principle, hope. Even though he spoke multiple times of "the audacity of hope" it never clicked with me that this was why I had been energized.

Beyond policy, electability, polls and presence it is this message that has the "young voters" excited about Obama. We've been drowning in the pessimistic thought that there's nothing we can change, and he has done more than throw us a life preserver. It's as though he's personally dived into the waters.

Whether or not Obama is the best candidate for President is beyond the scope of this blog. I don't know who will come out ahead today for the Democrats, or if they can go on to win the full election. All I know is that I'm clinging to hope.



Of course, they had to end with a Pac Man pizza just to make us all hungry.