Oct. 11th, 2009

packbat: Headshot looking serious and superimposed on the Gettysburg Address. (gettysburg)

From [profile] baldanders, here and there:

Alan Grayson (D-FL) is my hero. Seriously, he tells it like it is, without fear of the insurance companies, and certainly not without fear of the Republican lie machine:

"We as a party have spent the last six months, the greatest minds in our party, dwelling on the question, the unbelievably consuming question of how to get Olympia Snowe to vote on health care reform. I want to remind us all that Olympia Snowe was not elected President last year. Olympia Snowe has no veto power in the Senate. Olympia Snowe represents a state with one half of one percent of America's population.

"What America wants is health care reform. America doesn't care if it gets 51 votes in the Senate or 60 votes in the Senate or 83 votes in the Senate, in fact America doesn't even care about that, it doesn't care about that at all. What America cares about is this; there are over 1 million Americans who go broke every single year trying to pay their health care bills. America cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that there are 44,780 Americans who die every single year on account of not having health care, that's 122 every day. America sure cares a lot about that. America cares about the fact that if you have a pre-existing condition, even if you have health insurance, it's not covered. America cares about that a lot. America cares about the fact that you can get all the health care you need as long as you don't need any. America cares about that a lot. But America does not care about procedures, processes, personalities, America doesn't care about that at all." [. . .]

"Last week I held up this report here and I pointed out that in America there are 44,789 Americans that die every year according to this Harvard report published in this peer reviewed journal because they have no health insurance. That's an extra 44,789 Americans who die whose lives could be saved, and their response was to ask me for an apology." [. . .]

"Well, I'm telling you this; I will not apologize. I will not apologize. I will not apologize for a simple reason; America doesn't care about your feelings. [. . .] America does care about health care in America. And if you're against it, then get out of the way. You can lead, you can follow or you can get out of the way. [. . .] America understands that there is one party in this country that is favor of health care reform and one party that is against it, and they know why.

"They understand that if Barack Obama were somehow able to cure hunger in the world the Republicans would blame him for overpopulation. They understand that if Barack Obama could somehow bring about world peace they would blame him for destroying the defense industry. In fact, they understand that if Barack Obama has a BLT sandwich tomorrow for lunch, they will try to ban bacon.

"But that's not what America wants; America wants solutions to its problems, and that begins with health care."

packbat: Coming into the finish line after a mile race - the announcer can be seen behind me. (running)
To whom it may concern:

I am writing to you as a great fan of Test Drive Unlimited for two reasons: first, to thank you for making such a great game, and second, to suggest a few things I noticed that could make it even better.

Before I say anything else, I want to say that TDU is probably my favorite videogame of all time. The driving physics feel realistic without being unmanageable, the fleet of available cars is extensive and well-crafted, the traffic AI is beautifully implemented, and the variety of missions and challenges is enough to satisfy anyone. Most importantly, the major selling point of the game - the freedom to simply drive anywhere on the network of roads covering the island of Oahu - simply works; in contrast to previous games (such as GTA: Vice City), only the rarest of hiccups interrupt one's drive.

I would say that there are only three things to which I must direct your attention. I am sure you are well aware of the corresponding issues, but I will mention them nonetheless.

First, I notice that the game seems to have been designed with the outside-the-car cameras in mind. I don't really object to this - I know many people like to play that way - but I've noticed that when I am using the inside-the-car camera I (a) can't see traffic lights when I stop at the intersection and (b) can't turn the camera quickly to look in directions away from where I'm going. These aren't game-breaking issues, but it would be cool if the team could spend a little more time on them.

Second, the classification system for the cars is somewhat unsatisfactory. For example, in Class G, the Mercedes Gullwing is much slower than the Pontiac Firebird, which is much slower than the Lamborghini Miura, which is much slower than the Shelby Daytona. In the other classes, too, several assignments are dubious (e.g. the TVR T440R as C instead of A). Adding a numerical rating system like in Forza 2 would be able to capture these details more clearly (although even in Forza 2 the Porsche 914 was underrated). It would also support the addition of a more complicated tuning system, like in the Forza and Gran Turismo series.

Third, there's no way to tell whether another human car is a fair challenge for you before you challenge them except by knowing all the models. Again, the numerical system could help with this: for example, an identical opponent could be displayed with a white halo (like the health indications in Left 4 Dead), and the halo could fade towards pink and red for faster opponents and toward gray and black for slower. (I chose these colors arbitrarily - if you have better ideas, please ignore them.)

Thank you for your time and trouble,
Robin Zimmermann

P.S. I just finished all the missions to get "Ace" rank in TDU!
packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)

When you take a class or attend a big meeting, where do you prefer to sit? Up close or way back where you can make a speedy get-away? Can you force yourself to focus even when you're not interested?

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I usually want to sit near the front and far from the exits - near the exit if I have to leave early, but I rarely do. As for paying attention, I have trouble when I'm sleep-deprived, but boring material is rarely an obstacle: you can always treat it as an anthropological expedition when all else fails.
packbat: Wearing my custom-made hat and a smirk. (hat)
From across the blagocube:

Comment here and tell me something you did recently that you're proud of and I'll comment and tell you that you're awesome and I'm proud of you. And if you see anyone comment and you know them (or understand why they'd be proud of that thing), then you comment to them and tell them why they should be pleased with themselves.

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packbat: One-quarter view of the back of my head. (Default)
packbat

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