“On Assignment”

This week, I am in the Bahamas. My friend Nathan Akers is randomly an extra in the next two Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and has a hotel room in Freeport for a while. I decided there needed to be availing of (a) Nathan’s company, (b) Nathan’s hotel room, and (c) Nathan’s hotel’s free wireless, and so here I am. No idea what will happen, but so far the company is fun and the drinks are provided by someone else! Cheers.

The view from the hot tub (…of another hotel)

Farewell, Azeroth!

After over a year of building characters and wandering around the World of Warcraft, I’ve decided to cancel my subscription. The trouble with these massively-multiplayer world-immersive games is layed out in the following set of claims:

  • A monthly subscription is expensive.
  • The game is designed in such a way that, after an initial phase, the entertainment it provides is exponentially related to the amount of time you put into it.
  • In order to get the maximum value out of the game, in terms of both money and entertainment, one is forced to play a lot.
  • Playing massively-multiplayer games a lot can be intrinsically unhealthy if in a person’s lifestyle it precludes other more important activites. It is also potentially addictive, and can be unhealthy in that way as well.

Now, I haven’t been playing in an unhealthy way–in fact, I haven’t been playing at all. My decision to quit is more a financial one, and also as a result of the dilemma above, which shows that to get the desired amount of entertainment, one must choose effectively to be unhealthy in some way.

That being said, my visits to Azeroth (the fantasy world in Warcraft) were indeed fun and provided many hours of enjoyment, particularly when I was able to play alongside my brother and sister. Such cooperative play was made all the more meaningful in virtue of the fact that I live across the country from them and had no real other way to hang out. I will retain many fond memories of our quests, guild drama, and laughing at the plethora of idiots that occupy any online community (but particularly gaming communities). So here’s to Telarian, Telariz, and Tsarmina!

Telarian and Telariz surveying the snow plains below Ironforge

An Omen-ous New Year

I have a tradition (since 2000, I think) where, sometime in the first week of the new year, I drive to see the sunrise at Cocoa beach. I like to spend a few hours watching the beautiful scene, giving myself time and space to pray, meditate, wander around, and generally get centered for the upcoming year.

This year, T-Bone accompanied me to Cocoa, where we were greeted by an absolutely amazing sunrise, replete with a flock of gulls that would zoom and flutter about, putting on an amazing show:

But then, a few minutes later, we saw this:

Look at the middle-left of the image: that’s right! A shark was cruising through the water, not 30 feet off the beach (notice the pigeon for scale). Actually, there were two sharks, though I only got a shot of one. The fins were only above water as the waves would break over them, so it was hard to get a good view. Was this shark a sign of some kind? Was God warning us about something?

Later on, not realizing that if two sharks were a sign of anything, they would surely import “DON’T GO IN THE WATER!”, T-Bone and I took a swim in the ocean. What could be more relishing than being able to go in the water on January 2nd? It was a bit cold, but quite bearable and refreshing. And, as we have now proven, shark infested. Unless, of course, one of you is a marine biologist and believes the picture is actually of a dolphin.

UK Trip 12-2005

I went to the UK last week with my family, as we wanted to go and see my sister when she got off from her semester at Capernwray hall, and accompany her home for Christmas. We had a wonderful time wandering around the lake district of England, randomly went to a Delirious concert in Liverpool (my mom is friends with the keyboardist), and then hung out a few days in Wales, hiking up mountains and seeing castles and such.

Apart from being pretty sick the first couple days, it was great to be with family, to be relaxing and eating well, and to be tramping about the windswept hills in 0-degree (celsius) weather.

It reminded me how much I love the UK, and being overseas in general. That, plus the generously long (and cocktail-filled) plane flights, made for some good observations and reflections about things I saw or realized last week. I’m hoping to write a few entries on those topics soon. Until then, here are some pictures, so you can at least see what things looked like in general over there.

Pictures from the trip at my .Mac picture site