Quiet Weekend on the Ranch

It’s a rather quiet weekend in store for me. I have the entire house to myself, because this weekend, the Olsons are driving down and back to retrieve her son Daimon for the summer.
An upshot of this was that, rather than getting the customary ride to the Park-and-Ride for the Express Bus, I needed to drive myself to it (and back) on Friday.
…In Scott’s Truck (Dodge 4×4) . Now, mind you, my driving experience is still thin, and until yesterday, I never had driven a truck before (aside from a little practice run last weekend at Scott’s suggestion). It was a rather unnerving experience handling such a big vehicle. A further complication was that they closed half of the parking lot to repave it. It wasn’t bad finding a spot in the morning, but when I got off the bus yesterday evening, I was aghast to find myself rather boxed in. It took a fair amount of work and a lot of care not to hit anything to escape my automotive prison.
One additional factor, though, making things quiet here is that it seems the Tivo/Satellite Dish is on the fritz. Even a call to their cell phone this morning did not clear up the problems. So, I have no TV, no one to talk to, and only the dogs for company, and only a clumsy, unfamiliar truck if I did dare go somewhere.
Oh well, time to do turns, or play some more Rise of Nations. I’m doing rather well, I’m slowly trying all of the Civs to see which I like best.
The Spanish definitely have a nice advantage with their exploration capability, but nothing really else going for them. The Egyptian can build Wonders like no one’s buisness. The Roman legions are pretty potent, and even in later tech Ages, they get bonuses for forts, and extra troops too. The Koreans get extra builders when you build new cities–instant workforce!

The advantage of a bus commute-Time to Read!(Book Reviews III)

One of the wonderful advantages to a (express) bus commute down into Minneapolis for my Temp job is the fact that my reading rate has gone back to decent levels.
By this, I mean that with the bus ride down and back, I average a steady 80-110 pages per day, depending on the read itself and traffic and what not This is in line with my average of about 70-80 pages per hour of reading. Speed reading? Not really, I could probably push my rate up, but some books are too good to ruin by reading too quickly.
Anyway, in the two weeks of my job, I’ve finished three entire books, and started off the job by polishing off half of the book I had been working on. And thus, of course, I want to tell you all about them…

Continue reading The advantage of a bus commute-Time to Read!(Book Reviews III)

So I did install RON after all

So I did install Rise of Nations last night after all (after pushing out a few posts for SB).
After playing one of the tutorials (there are more of them than in the demo), I started but did not finish a “quick battle”. I’m playing the Spanish, on a map with the Egyptians, Chinese and Aztecs.
One thing about the different Civs that I didn’t mention before is that they do all get special abilities as well as special units. My Spanish, for example, start off seeing the whole map’s resources and terrain (although not where the opponents are, or special “goody ruins”). The Aztecs get extra resources when they kill enemy soldiers. The Egyptians can build more farms than the rest of the nations and can build two wonders per city, rather than one. The Chinese can build citizens, caravans and such instantly. (Everyone else takes time). It seems the designer took a lot of time to try and balance these very different special traits (and consider that there are 12 more Civilizations, with their own, too).
So, in this game so far, I have not had anyone declare war on me yet (not even the murderous Aztecs). There are a few brushfires between the three computer Civs, though. Then again, I am playing on easy level to get used to the full game.

The perishability of electronic communication

History’s paperless trail
Interesting article on MSNBC this morning on how email, powerpoint and the like are removing the “paper trail” from military (and other!) decisions. All of those little documents which historians today use to decipher the past are gradually being replaced with electronic, more perishable versions.
I recall that in the Star Trek Universe that records were “Fragmentary” around the “Third World War”. I never understood, at the time, how that could be when we have records dating back so far in history, but now it makes a kind of sense. There is little history to be written if there are no witnesses, and few documents to be had.

Just a quick ping from work

I’ve been reticent in blogging the last few days, so I decided to post a quick hi during my lunch hour.
Go read Shadowthriller today. Thanks for the mention, Arref. I still get creeped out thinking about that nightmare!
Oh, and Rise of Nations came in the mail yesterday, although I haven’t had time to install it. I owe people turns for SB…