Saturday, June 23, 2007

Mini-Blogs, Set Six

Dreaming in Disguise
I had an interesting dream a couple nights ago (well, I also had one last night, but I don't remember it). It must be in anticipation for the new Transformers movie coming out, because it had to do with...Transformers.

However, things were a little off. For one thing, the transformers didn't come from another planet. They came through these interdimensional portals. Second, there wasn't actually much transforming going on. They just stood there and talked with each other. The only way that I knew they were Transformers at all was the fact that one was named "Optimus Prime" and the other "Megatron". But going even further, they didn't look like...well, how they should look.

Optimus Prime looked like a giant, fat gorilla (probably a throwback to his Beast Wars variant), and Megatron is...John Hammond...the owner of Jurassic Park. I'm...I'm really not sure where that came from. But he seemed a lot more pleasant than the gorilla, and I wanted him to win (well, if they were actually fighting). Does that make me evil?

What if Ghandi had Played Board Games?
Indian people are crazy. Insane. Maybe its just the Indian people here for the summer. One interesting thing: we have a bunch of royalty living with us. Seriously. A bunch of the Indian kids are the children of, like, nobility and whatnot. They're all super duper rich. Consider this conversation I had with one:
Him: "Hey Andrew, can I ask you a question?"
Me: "That's why I'm here."
Him: "How much would it cost to rent a bus?"
Me: "A...I'm sorry?"
Him: "A bus."
Me: "Like...a full-sized bus?"
Him: "Yeah."
Me: "Well, to be honest, I don't know, but I would say at least $300."
Him: "Oh, that's all?"
Me: "Uh, yeah."
Him: "Okay. Also, we're trying to book a lodge in Tahoe. Who do we talk to for that?"
Me: "Um...when do you need it by?"
Him: "We want to go to Tahoe this Friday."
(It was currently Thursday morning.)
Me: "Tomorrow? I...I don't know if that's even doable. And if it is, it's going to be a lot more expensive. A lot."
Him: "That's fine."
Me: "Uhuhuhuhuh...."

This, by the way, was the same guy who told me on the second day of Summer Sessions that he lost his phone...his phone that cost $800.

Now, this was a bit of a thing during the beginning of the summer, because some of them thought that the RA's were servants. We snapped them out of that quickly, and it's been fine since.

Anyhoo, we were playing this game called Taboo. It's a word guessing game where you have to get people to say a word without using any of an additional five words. (I'm actually pretty good. For example, I had "Chelsea Clinton" and couldn't say "President", "Daughter", or anything like that. So, I said "The offspring of the previous administrator of the United States.") Most of the people that were playing, though, were Indian.

I must say, they're quite...passionate. There was a three-minute shouting argument about the teams, prompting me to say, "Can we just choose numbers?" Then, every minute (literally every minute), there was another argument, whether one person was cheating, or another person said something wrong, or another person was using gestures, or some other mess. It prompted me to exchange glances with one of my residents who came, a la The Office. The game lasted probably about 2.5 times longer than it needed to.

Now, I'm a fairly competitive player, but I don't think I've actually ever shouted at people about stuff like that. If that's the way they like to play, God bless 'em, but I'm going to be a bit more wary when I play with a group of Indians (especially if one is from north India, and the other from the south. Apparently that riles them up even more).

Honesty is the Best Policy
I've been playing this computer game for a little bit called Medieval II: Total War. It's a very intersting game which mixes real-time strategy battle scenes with turn-based campaign menus (which acts similar to a virtual Risk board). You start as some faction in 1080 AD Europe, and then play until...I think 1540 (I'm currently playing as the Spanish). In addition to fighting others, you make alliances (and do other diplomatic stuff), manage cities, take orders from the Pope, try to get one of your priests to be the new Pope, try to have royal family members get married and have babies, etc. While that may not sound like the most exciting concept, it's terribly addicting.

I've noticed something, however. So far in my campaign, I'm one of the most trustworthy nations there is. If I make an alliance, I stay true to that alliance. I am loyal and honest.

However, not everyone is the same way. Not once, not twice, but thrice I've been betrayed by my allies and attacked. My response to this? Swift, brutal, and merciless.

France was my ally. France betrayed me. France was wiped from existence.
Scotland was my ally. Scotland betrayed me. Scotland was wiped from existence.
England was my ally. England betrayed me. England was wiped from existence.

See a pattern here. Every time I've been betrayed, I've responded by obliterating the betrayers. Well, sometimes I've had to call temporary ceasefires, mainly because the Pope is a jerk and won't let me attack my fellow Christians. Of course, the opponent attacked me during these times, getting themselves excommunicated and opening the door to decimation.

...Where was I going with this? Oh, yes. With all this, I've realized one thing: I treat honesty, loyalty, and trust in very high regard. I am always true to my word and will not break my promises. Furthermore, I have no mercy for those who don't feel the same way. After all, the deepest circle of hell is that of the betrayer. While one could argue that this is only relevant in terms of this game, I like to think that shades of it play into real life.

Are They Dying of Thirst or of Poverty?
I found out the most amazing thing today: they don't have free refills anywhere outside the United States, apparently. Not in Europe, not in Asia, not anywhere. Not even in fast food restaurants. This is literally what the conversation went like.
Singaporean Girl: "It's so interesting to not have to pay for drinks a second time."
Me: "What, don't you have free refills in Singapore?"
Singaporean Girl: "No."
Me: "Good...God!"
German Guy: "We don't have them in Germany either."
Finnish Guy: "Or in Finland."
Me: "............"
German Guy: "Yeah, the United States is the only country that has free refills."
Me: "............"
Singaporean Girl: "Andrew?"
Me: "I just.....I just don't believe it. I can't believe it. I won't believe it. Free refills are a God-given right. That's practically the reason why America declared its independence."
Singaporean Girl: "Well, in every other country, you have to pay to refill."
Me: "I take back every nice thing I said about all other countries. That is just sick!"

I still have a hard time believing it. I boggles the mind. I really think there should be some worldwide treaty that says that free refills should be allowed required at all restaurants.

An Administrative Note
I'd like to end with a small note about the immediate future of this blog. Since beginning it, I've worked to maintain a certain...requirement for me posting things. This usually meant that I would not post small items until I collected enough of them to make a mini-blog like this one.

However, I've been surprisingly occupied this summer, and I'm finding it more and more difficult to write what are essentially mini-essays. What's more, many of my "No news today" topics (like those about my history, etc) have been used. Not all, but a good number. Hence, the blog is suffering from a lack of updates.

So, here's the deal. I'm going to, for the immediate future, lower my requirements for posting things. In essence, I'm doing what I refused to do when people told me to do it. I will be posting shorter posts, little thoughts that come to mind, etc. This will likely mean a smaller number of long posts, but a more regularly updated, always-fresh blog. Who knows, I may even post more than once a day. But don't worry; even though I'm making my posting habits more mainstream, it will still have my own unique look at things.

We'll see how this goes, but I think it'll be good. ^_^


Andrew Schnorr said...

Either my blog's influence has reached Portugal, or I have just been spammed.

...And now I can't delete it, or else this comment will make no sense.

...What a conundrum.

Anonymous said...

I LOL at your predicament.

Now, where can I get myself a copy of Medieval II: Total War? Under 30 bucks if you please. Haven't seen it in stores...
I do however, play civilization. I'm playing Civ III right now, and I must say, I empathize with your position. Usually, I'll play on easy mode, meaning within a few centuries, I'm big man on campus, but I've still had some punk allies who thought they could mess with me. Well, I'm known for not only wiping them out, but their neighbors as well, just to set an example (and gain obscenely large tracts of land). Betray my civilization, and people will be digging the ashes of yours from the ground in a few years.
Oh, and about refills, Mexico, of all places, has free ones. I know, I used to live there. If Mexico, has free refills, I don't see how any other self respecting nation can't have them. I also believe that Canad(i)a has them too, though I have no evidence other than they're next to us and take after their older brother america.

Anonymous said...

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Wow, your Indian comrade must be pretty rich. Oh well, I've heard of worst excesses.

Your little Total War scenario seems quite like our Risk battles.

I think Bush may have found a new reason to invade other countries - we must bring free refills to the world!

-Comrade Chavez