Archive for June, 2006

Good news from the Supreme Court

June 30, 2006
Let’s hear it for the Supreme Court…. or maybe not.

I sincerely agree with the first decision. It is a massive triumph to see one branch of the federal government stand up to Bush and defend the system of checks and balances!

I also reluctantly agree with the second ruling, too. I wanted to see the redistricting get shot down as an underhanded political ploy, but I can see reason in the recent Court decision. During his confirmation hearing, Roberts said something that I agree with… that the Supreme Court can’t change the law, but only draw attention to a law that should be changed. This philosophy worked well with the eminant domain case they ruled on last year. By pointing out that the eminant domain laws legally allowed for the seizure of private land for economic redevelopment, legislatures frenzied in the coming months to pass laws protecting the now-vulnerable concept of private property. Like any good blogger, the Supreme Court instigated change simply by shining a spotlight on something that needed attention. I think that the redistricting ruling is using this same approach. The current law supports the Texas redistricting, but that doesn’t make it any less morally suspicious. Even if it is legal, the partisan redrawing of districts for short-term party gain is IRRESPONSIBLE at best. And remember, Republicans, that this sword has two edges; the Court just upheld the ability of other parties to use this against you.

Here’s a really cool online museum about the dollar coin circa 1977-2001, which I found to be notably thorough and comprehensive.

Nifty Wikipedia Thing: the Republic of West Florida

Music of the Moment: "Salt Peanuts" by Royal Crown Revue

Books I’m reading:
"Wahoo" by Richard O’Kane
"The Invisible Man" by H.G. Wells

A new direction

June 24, 2006
I’ve become fond of a couple blogs. The ChaliceBlog is authored by a person I know. She usually talks about religion, life, sometimes politics, and other nifty stuff. Rash.log finds the most unusual stuff worth looking at on the internet.

Evelyn enjoyed the Movies Under the Moon series of outdoor cinema last year, having seen Casablanca in the park. This year we both went and saw Madagascar, which was cool but not nearly as charming and timeless as Cars. We plan on seeing Raiders of the Lost Ark on Tuesday, on the big screen the way it was meant to be seen (which Evelyn has never seen it before).

Lately I’ve been wanting to bring more structure to the Ryanarium, mostly by adding some recurring features. I hope that doing so will make my log more interesting, motivate me to update more often, and leave breadcrumbs for me to follow in the future. So here goes…

I had no idea this existed: the Ryugyong Hotel

In the same vein of new features, I’ve decided to delete the music lists What’s In My Head 1&2 from the Ryanarium. They were extraneous and useless features. Instead I will just post whatever comes to me as I write updates….

Music of the Moment: "Tundra" by Squarepusher

also, What I’m Currently Reading: "The Invisible Man" by H.G. Wells

Let it be known that I am an advocate of the dollar coin, third parties, and conservation!

Warriors v0.60, Tarotless Zarcana, and Time Travel

June 9, 2006
Howdy, all!

The biggest news in my life is that my sister-in-law is pregnant again. Her due date is toward the end of October. Congrats, Sharon!

In other news, Warriors Online v0.60 is here! You can download the LackeyCCG plugin from Please pass any comments, suggestions, or error reports my way, and enjoy the game! In the meantime, I’ll be working on v0.90, which will include all the rares, and support booster drafting.

After the bulk of the plugin creation is done, I’ll switch hats back to Icehouse. I’ve been enthused about Zarcana. The reviews that I’ve read really hit home for me: random, fiddly, laid-back, and tactical. This sounds like my kind of game! (The redevelopment of Zarcana, Gnostica, looks to aggressive for my taste.) However I, like many others before us, balk at the Tarot deck involvement. Evelyn will not permit a Tarot deck at home, so I’ve decided to "un-tarotize" Zarcana. Similar to the Gnostica learner’s deck, Tarotories, I will create my own deck expressly for Zarcana, with all applicable rules right on the cards. Instead of the usual Tarot artwork and terminology, I’ve decided to use fine art form the public domain. For example, I plan on replacing The Empress with the Mona Lisa, and The Hanged Man with The Death of Marat. If you have art substitution suggestions, please speak up! This Zarcana deck will be a lot of work, possibly the most graphic-intensive project I’ve ever done, but I’m excited and eager to try out Zarcana. And even if the game leaves me flat, I’ll still leave behind a way to play Zarcana without a Tarot deck, for all those who find themselves in the same Tarot-shy predicament. Everyone wins!

Last night I finished reading Jack Finney’s From Time to Time, the 1995 sequel to 1970’s Time and Again. Although I haven’t read the predecessor, I had high hopes for this time travel novel. Well, those hopes were tough to fulfill; this book was a small disappointment. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK FOR THE PLOT!! This novel is for time travel geeks only (like me)! Finney can paint a humanly realistic mural of a historic setting in a unique first person narrative, and that’s where this book shines. But it lacks a reasonable plot. Many of the character decisions are rash, half-hearted attempts to do something, usually accompanied with some driving force, either a desperate ploy to avoid futility or an obsessive zeal for some trivial detail. The main character seems to tell himself on every page, "I have no idea what I’m supposed to do here, so I’ll just play along until something happens." Like a session of any ‘adventure’ computer game (Myst and Starship Titanic come to mind), the hero stumbles around haphazardly, lost in a puzzle as big as the world, until he succeeds out of serendipity rather than clever resourcefulness. Despite the plot’s shortcomings, I did enjoy the playfulness with which Finney approaches history. He treats it as a thing of wonder, like the awe a child feels upon visiting Disneyland. He truly loves the past, loves thinking about the past, and loves using words to turn a time period in his hands like a whimsical toy. If it is possible to feel nostalgic about an era 70 years before I was born, this book has accomplished that.