In Defense of Love

or as some people call it “Gay Marriage.”

Just a quick follow up to a conversation I’ve been having.  I don’t think this is going to make the first version of the book (although it might, because I like the phrasing). The setup is this post over here (yes, I’ve been engaging in various theological debates lately, why do you ask?).

This is a bit of my linguistic ju-jitsu, at its (IMHO) best.

The set up….

Can someone here quote me on what Jesus said, explicitly, about gay marriage?

And telecom laws, and wireless networks, and nuclear weapons, and stem cells, and evolution?

Thanks, and please make sure those words are in his, please keep the interpretations to yourself.

Yea, Joel, we probably aren’t going to agree on this one. 🙂

The Response…

You are most likely, right, Roy. I don’t believe that He actually addressed the issue directly; however, I do believe that His mission was not to address each and every issue, but to free us from sin.

I like this, because we had already agreed on a rather poignant point regarding the life of Jesus, which I ran into following up my false prophets post earlier (wordpress shares tags and its easy to find people interesting in talking about the same stuff you are).

I had read the bio over at that site for the proprietor and I felt him to be an honest believer, and a capable opponent.  It’s no fun beating up on people who don’t study this stuff, and can make good references and understand others.  He also seems to be a good man, which is important for this kind of stuff.  I found his handling of some “trolls” to be exemplary (check the about and bio pages for a good lesson on how to deal with such blog annoyances.  I usually don’t have that much patience (and I’m a patient man), and go for the virtual throat immediately.)

The Setup….it’s always good to be clear on terms….

Do you consider being gay a sin?

[serious question]

And maybe a bit on why?

Simple, to the point.  Give them enough room to draw the playing field…

I do (as I do corporate greed, among other things). It is against God’s order, His image for Christ and the Church. It is roundly condemned in the Old Testament (and the New – albeit I understand that some will differ with me concerning interpretive issues.) One of the commands in Eden was to multiply. It is impossible for two members of the same sex to multiply naturally.

To be sure, unless you have read the rest of my blog, I do not consider the Christian moral system that I hold to be a political system in any way and would not attempt to push my morality on others – as I also hold to the holiness tradition of the Wesleyans, some Pentecostals, etc…

And then bring in the nuclear weapons (well, recall that I already set us up the bomb, now one can set it off, like in Megaton)

Corporate greed is very well covered in the concept of the “the love of money” thing.

I would counter that “God’s Order” is now understood to be quite a bit more complex than Jesus could ever have understand [sp]. This was my point in bringing up other topics upon which no sermon was ever given. We have a knowledge of the workings of the Universe that far surpasses those of two-thousand years ago. Jesus gave no sermons on quantum mechanics, nor plate tectonics, not did he ever reference such modern and accurate conceptions of how the Universe functions.

I would also counter that the order to “replenish the Earth” has been accomplished and there are now humans everywhere from pole to pole and meridian to meridian. I would further counter that because of our zeal to “replenish” we now have enough humans living such a lifestyle as to put our own planet in peril (at least as a worthwhile ecosystem for our species).

In that context, how can it be a sin to live by one’s nature? In that context, would it not make sense in God’s infinite wisdom to have a class of human that would not add additional pressure to a “replenished” Earth?

There are many other factors that would make it impossible for a couple to multiply, including that disease of “life out of control” called cancer (which can destroy both ovary and teste).

Should they, too, be denied the right of marriage?

I appreciate your understanding of the difference between faith and politics, and am glad to hear it. However, it seems there is quite a bit of interpretation of “God’s Order” being done here that is not backed up by direct statements.

And Deb, if one’s body is a temple, obesity and gluttony are probably the worst and most common sins of the modern world. Yet I don’t see anyone keeping people who have no respect for their own bodies in that regard being considered “sinful.” Nor do I see people using this “sin” to deny them the rights of all other citizens(I realize you aren’t of that slant, polycarp).

And no, Deb, I don’t consider being gay to being in any way similar with being a killer or a thief. I would also ask how many gay people have told you, personally, they chose to be gay [ed. other than in the sense of finally accepting it]  In my experience, that percentage is exactly 0.

I’ve seen love in many forms and that includes the love of a man for a man and woman for a woman.

Do you not see that love, or do you consider it to be false?

I also think we both agree on how using the Old Testament in a discussion of Christ’s teachings is a bit of a non-starter. 🙂

Always end with a smilie.

Maybe a winkie.  Particularly if what you just said might go down sideways.

Question marks are used to trigger the automatic “query” response.  The data is provided and the argument begins to process before one *really* knows what one is reading.

Joel, I eagerly await your response.  As you are thinking, so am I.  Anticipating your next move, and readying my fusion weapons.  😉

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A Good Sign Your Strategy Isn’t Working

Prospective investors should take note of the Timothy Plan funds’ records: Its Large/Mid-Cap Growth is down 39 percent so far this year (that’s ahead of 85 percent of large-company growth funds), and it has lost an average of 5 percent annually over the past five years. That return lags behind roughly 30 percent of its peers. Timothy’s Conservative Growth fund, which is about 40 percent bonds, is down 33 percent this year, and has lost an annualized 2 percent over the past five years.

via Faith-Based Fund Shuns Video-Game Stocks – Yahoo! News.

Probably should write a bit more about this one, but I found it rather funny.  Fallout 3 and Bioshock both scored very high on the “evil meter” (and in reviewers opinions regarding their quality as games), although GTA IV took the top spot (in the evil meter, not the review one).

The problem here is illustrated on the cover of the fear-mongering pdf, and that problem is bad parenting.  Kids shouldn’t be reading “American Psycho” and neither should they be playing games where they can virtually kill and get laid with reckless abandon (although Fable 2 does include an STD counter that one can get to move quickly by having un-protected sex with prostitutes).

This is a parenting issue.  And I’m somewhat worried that a few folks with too much time on their hands and money in their pockets want to make it a censorship one.

Woot! 10K Views and Did You Know 2008 (and 2007)

So my first, and worst, Fallout 3 video just passed 10,000 views on ye olde YouTube.  I know that’s not much for some of the popular videos, but it’s a decent enough milestone for a month or so.

In personal book news, we’re past 30 pages and chapter 3 is a slight bit of research away from completion.

In order to keep you distracted and prime you a bit for my book, take a look at the world in 2008 (and 2007).  This is the world I am talking to, and the one I’m writing about.  This is the world I was made for.

(oh…and sexy new WordPress, good work guys and gals).  I think they got the news that I had switched applications...and upped the ante.

Did You Know 2008

Did You Know 2007

BTW, next year you guys need to expand beyond China, India and the U.S.   One of the fun little tidbits I like to mention is that there are more Muslims in India than Americans on the planet.  Hmm, I guess that is still focused on India.  As a quick news note here (and I know I’m not supposed to be blogging so this will be brief), while what I just said is true, it was some nuts fighting over Paradise (Kashmir) that pulled the latest bullshit.  They were most likely from Pakistan, but probably had extended family in India.  Recall, India and Pakistan became two seperate countries about the same time the United States became one (World War II through the Civil Rights Era).  They’ve still got a lot of stuff to work out.  As long as we can avoid a war that kills hundreds of millions, we can sadly call it a win.

Fallout 3: Battle of 1812 (*Finale Spoilers*)

Previous Fallout 3 videos….

UPDATE: I recut this video with what I think is a more appropriate soundtrack. A classic for a classic. This is the finale for a game that is most likely going to be “RPG of the Year” if not “Game of the Year.”

Previous Videos:

Fallout 3 : Flaming Sword and Mini-Nukes

Fallout 3 : Predatoring

HD version…

HQ version…

Chinese government makes “Chinese Democracy” somewhat relevant.

Here’s the story so funny it can only come from China.

Axl Rose isn’t exactly the renegade rocker he was in the late 1980s, but he’s still rock ‘n roll enough stir up a controversy.

An article in a Chinese newspaper today blasted the singer’s new album “Chinese Democracy”as a “venomous attack”on the nation and suggested the long-awaited Guns ‘N Roses release “turns its spear point on China.”

The story was printed in a publication put out by China’s ruling Communist Party, and quoted unnamed sources from Internet message boards that suggested the lyrics were inflammatory and critical of China.

Excerpts from these online chats slammed the album as a plot by Western adversaries to “grasp and control the world using democracy as a pawn,”the Associated Press reported. The new album dropped Sunday after fans held on through 17 years of myriad false starts and production delays after Guns ‘N Roses began recording in 1994.

[full story]

For those that don’t know, Guns ‘N Roses “Chinese Democracy” is the Duke Nukem Forever of the music world.

For those curious about GnR’s “new” sound…

Also as a quick note; when a whole government is reduced to quoting “unnamed sources from Internet message boards” you know they are stretching.  And you know without a doubt this is propaganda.

The funny part about this for me is that I recently ran across a far more inflammatory (ha!) bit of anti-Chinese propaganda in American pop culture.

This one comes in the form of “Liberty Prime” a giant, nuke-throwing, Chinese-hating robot.

Here you can see him in action, and set to some lovely classical music.  Listen for the robot’s voice.  He’s rather agressive in his feelings toward China and Communism (understandable, as a nuclear war with China causes all the “Fallout” in 2077).

Fallout 3 and Fable 2 End-scene Mash-up (*Spoilers*)

I put together this video the other day to compare and contrast the ending sequences of Fallout 3 and Fable 2.

Both these games are pretty amazing in their own respects, I did a longer compare and contrast post here.

They also employ the same end-game-sequence creator theory, in that the final cut scenese (as shown below) are built and narrated based on the character’s actions in a game.  In the case of Fallout 3, the eulogy aspect of it is literal, while you get to live and keep playing in Fable 2.

Enjoy!

Fallout 3: Inside the Heads of Raiders (bonus: Fable 2 and Fallout 3 Comparison)

Fallout 3 Comic

Fallout 3 Comic

 More available here.

FALLOUT FROM… FALLOUT

comic updated November 14, 2008

And today we venture back — back, through time, to continue the classic (old, actually) tale called forth from the hoary mists: The Otters in “True Crime Stories!”

So — not to brag, but guess who got featured on the front page of the Bethesda Blog yesterday? HMM? HMMM?

Which is pretty darned awesome — other people make games, Bethesda makes WHOLE WORLDS. And then sells them at a very reasonable price. In fact — and given how hyped up I was on the whole thing, this is a hard thing to admit — “Fallout 3” has turned out to be FAR more engaging than “Fable 2.” Not that “Fable 2” isn’t good! Just, “Fallout 3” is so much more… MORE.

Anyway, that’s notable enough for my day. Back to work!

Great comic and great game.  I think I have to agree about the Fable 2 thing, as well.  Fable 2 is a good game.  Maybe even a great one…but once I put in Fallout 3, I didn’t touch Fable 2 for a couple weeks.

This actually turned out to be kinda nice, because when I loaded Fable 2 back up, I got my back-pay of about 200,000 gold to continue building my real estate empire (side-note…Fable 2 has a LOT of fun things to do, building a real estate empire is but one of many…but the “style” of game is more…comic…and also much more raw [e.g. compare sex-scenes in Fallout 3 with Fable 2…both of which lose badly to The Witcher, but that’s a pretty high bar.] 

Ultimately, Fallout 3 gets the nod because it’s done with so much…how do you say it…”I don’t know what“….maybe it was just the story, and the GREAT humor (which Fable 2 has as well, tons…the “books” in the game are hilarious), and the realistic bits that drew me in so far (and of course VATS…but you get pretty close to VATS in Fable 2, including slow-mo decapitating head shots).

Regardless, it’s hard to go wrong with either game, but if you only have the budget for one…Fallout 3 is the way to go, IMHO.

UPDATE: Oh, and I got the comic off this blog.  Great stuff there for Fallout 3 fans.  Looks like that girl went through *everything* in the game and wrote about it.  Personally I try and avoid spoilers for the most part, unless I’m totally stuck and getting annoyed, YMMV.

UPDATE2: I realized just what that je ne sais quoi I mentioned previously actually was.  Sometimes when I’m playing Fable 2 I have to fight the camera, and it’s annoying as hell.  Take for example the Gargoyle Quest in Fable 2 where you have to find and destroy 50 stone gargoyles hidden around the world.  You always know when one is near, because they talk a crap-ton of shit to you in a very distinctive voice (yes, you get heckled constantly…it’s funny…and it takes a while before you learn to separate it from the regular chatter of Fable-folk).  To find them you have to look up and move around.  The problem is that when you move, the camera tries to move to it’s “natural” 3rd person perspective.  You tend to find yourself fighting the game in a functional sense.

Gaming is all about “beating the game” but you don’t want to feel like the game is making itself annoying.   It’s a fine thing to point out, because Fable 2 really is a very good game.  In Fallout 3, with its camera options and a UI that gives absolute and quick control to the player, the interface never gets in the way.  This is Fable 2’s little problem.  I have a video I’ll put up that illustrates it exactly (try buying and using 15 XP potions quickly), but it’s those bits that make the big difference.

Fallout 3 being a sequel built on the same engine as Oblivion obviously gave Bethesda a huge advantage here., but be that as it may, camera control and, frankly, frame-rate (yea…Fable 2 gets sluggish every now and again), are probably the two biggest differentiating factors in getting at the vast amounts of gameplay both titles have to offer.

Fake World Sales Skyrocket As Real World Goes to Shit

October/November 2008 was an absolute WATERSHED in gaming.
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. sales of videogame hardware and software rose 18 percent in October from a year earlier, after falling 7 percent in September, as Nintendo Co Ltd’s Wii console sold over 800,000 units, market researcher NPD reported on Thursday.

Video machine makers said the results boded well for the holiday season.

“We feel cautiously optimistic (going into the holidays), we don’t see anything in this (NPD) data that leads us to believe there’s a pullback,” said Microsoft spokesman David Dennis.

Dennis said the release of the Microsoft-produced “Fable II” and Bethesda Networks’ “Fallout 3,” which ranked as the first and third best-selling games in October, helped increase the Xbox 360’s consumer attach rate. Xbox sales will get an even greater boost in December by “Gears of War 2” sales, as the game has already sold over 2 million copies since its release on November 7, Dennis added.

[full story]

This is happening for a couple reasons, one of which is good, one to watch out for.

First up…the bad part. Gaming is an industry now. A big one. An important one, that moves a lot of money. The timing of releases with sales cycles is very important. A movie might have a shelf life of a year or two before it hits big, games don’t work like that. Yes, there are gems and indies that make good, even great, games…but the economic of the situation are pushing toward the high end.

This means fall releases. These are the Christmas games. So all the AAA titles are going to generally come out around my birthday (Halloween)…probably from here on out for the next 10 years or so. And largely because of the linked story, strangely enough. It turns a lot of heads when you show big growth during a downturn. A lot of heads.

Now, that’s the downside. The upside….

Think for a second about your history as a gamer. My own started on the 2600 about the age of 5. It’s been somewhat consistent since then, ranging from consoles to PCs to handhelds and back to to fully realized Console/PC/Mobile situation where I can pretty much have a solid platform to play on anywhere, for anywhen.

There is a whole generation like me. Some of you even posted in this thread. Many of us followed different paths in life, usually with a PC around somewhere. Some of us ended up in that place….making those games we dreamed about.

This is the generation of game designers and artists and industry that is *just now hitting its stride*. This is my generation of game-makers, and we’re farking awesome at it.

Mainly because if we suck at it, we’re not afraid to register our frustrations on the internet within seconds.

And since we just elected a President who collects comic books and plans to do a weekly YouTube address to the world….we’re in charge now. The geeks done took control.

Yea, the real world might suck some time, but we’ve learned we have the power of gods to create worlds of our own. The power of gods to decide that our world is a good one.

And after having wandered around a few of the ones my compatriots have created, may I say, and say solemnly…good show, sirs.

Good shows, indeed.

Fallout 3 : Final Battle (SPOILERS)

Note: If you are playing Fallout 3 and don’t want to see the amazingly awesome epic finale as done by a fully realized, alien-pistol-toting, V.A.T.S.-abusing, tesla-armor wearing Wanderer…don’t watch this video.

If instead, you want to see it, or don’t plan on playing the game and wonder what all the fuss is about….watch the first video I put up….a really basic one…and then watch this. 

This game was a blast.  Fun from stem to stern.  Well done, guys. 

NOTE: Press play, then pause and give it a minute to load, this one is set to run at 720p.  That’s more than most standard DSL/cable connections can handle for pseudo-streaming.  If you are on Fios or other fiber, it’ll probably be fine.  The age of always-crappy YouTube video was short and is over.

If that’s too slow, here’s the “regular” HQ version.

Previous Videos:

Fallout 3 : Flaming Sword and Mini-Nukes

Fallout 3 : Predatoring

UPDATE: I recut the video with what I think is a more appropriate soundtrack.

HD version…

HQ version…

Fallout 3 Review Part 2 (Flaming Swords and Mini-Nukes)

I started doing a bit of my Fallout 3 review back here.  In that post there’s a short video with some of the combat.

I’ve added another one, focusing a bit more on one of the custom weapons you can craft in the game, the shishkebob.

As you can see, it is crafted from a scavenged lawnmower blade, a motorcycle gas tank, a pilot light from a gas stove, and a gas throttle to manage the flame.

The perfect hunting weapon, it slices and barbecues simultaneously, saving precious time in the always perilous wasteland.

I also included some footage of the mini-nuke launching “Fat Boy”, since it’s fun to use for cooking breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well (mmmm, cannibalistic).

I’d also suggest you go to Youtube to watch the video, as you can upgrade there and watch it in high quality…a good idea when one of the points of using the video is to display the damn-near photo-realistic post-apocalyptic wasteland of Fallout 3.