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Monday, January 16, 2017

Dismantle the CIA

Last week, it was reported that Donald Trump once rented out a room in Russia where Barack Obama had once slept and hired prostitutes to urinate on the bed.  The Kremlin allegedly had recorded this and was using it as blackmail against Trump.

As it turns out, the story was completely bogus, having been competely fabricated by a 4chan user.  Somehow, it spread through various channels until it finally reached the CIA.  Which the CIA promptly used in their assertion that Trump was in Russia’s pocket.

What does this say about the state of the Intelligence apparatus in the United States?

I can say that our Federal government’s Intelligence services is full of nothing but traitors, scumbags, and utter fools.  For them to go to such extremes in order to discredit Mr. Trump demonstrates just how communist they truly are.

The CIA has their own agenda and that agenda doesn’t align with the safety and security of US citizens or even the safety of their own leaders.  I can only imagine that their entire agenda revolves around extreme Satanism, followed by child sacrifice and occasional cannibalism.

That last part was largely vague speculation, of course.

But if the agendas of the CIA are not aligned with looking out to protect the American people, then they must be thoroughly dismantled.

They did this to Reagan, though not so openly, and they’re doing it to Mr. Trump.

I suspect that Mr. Trump will have the balls to fire a whole bunch of them.  Really, it’s just stupid to do what they did to an incoming President.  That’s like posting a whole blog about how you hate your new boss and sharing it with the entire company.

You just don’t do that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

On Modding Skyrim

I’ve been playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim pretty much since its release.  I’ve been modding Skyrim for almost as long now too.  Over the years, I’ve had good mod experiences and bad mod experiences, as many PC gamers probably have had as well.

Now that Skyrim’s Special Edition was released recently, it opened up the ability to mod the game on console systems, mainly for Xbox One and PS4, though the Nintendo Switch will have Skyrim SE as well, although I don’t know the status of modding for that one.

With that in mind, I’d like to offer some guidelines for Skyrim modding based on my own experiences.  Note that all of these recommendations and observations are based on my own experience.  My hope is to impart that experience to you, not to create a set of hard rules for modding Skyrim.

On Mod Additions, Deletions, or Updates

The first guideline, which is really a rule, is that you must never, ever remove a mod from your mod list in Skyrim for an existing playthrough.  There are small exceptions to this, but 99.9% of the time, your mod list is locked in and the game engine is incapable of dealing with the removal of a mod.

So before you start adding in all kinds of crazy mods, keep this simple fact in mind: removing mods from Skyrim breaks your character saves in the long run.  This is not the only thing which breaks character saves, but it is the big one.

Installing a new mod into an existing playthrough can also be dangerous, but much less so.  Unless the mod author explicitly states that you have to start a new game, which is rare, adding a new mod in the middle of your playthrough is okay.

Updating existing mods is also okay and less dangerous on an existing playthrough.  Some updates, though, are basically like removing and adding a new mod.  Sometimes mod authors do a full overhaul of their mods, changing the scripts, data, etc., and this effectively means it’s a new mod.  But generally, updating a mod is harmless and usually done so to fix bugs.

If you are adding a new mod or updating existing ones, then you should do it when your character is in a safe place, like a player home (Breezewood is my go to location).  This ensures that any changes made are correctly handled on the outside and that you have a good save point in case you screwed up something.

Please note that all of the above guidelines can be ignored when you have a mod package which does not have an ESM or ESP file.  If your mod package does not contain any of those file types, it is perfectly okay to add, update, or remove the mod and it will have little to no impact on your game.  Usually, those mod packages deal with the meshes and textures of the game.

Catagorize Your Mods To Avoid Conflicts

One of the biggest problems for Skyrim modding is that many mods will conflict with other mods.  Mod conflicts usually are the reason for many of your problems in a Skyrim playthrough.  Sometimes it’s as harmless as objects overlapping.  Other times, it can cause game crashes.

The trouble with these kind of errors is that they are hard to diagnose and report to the mod author.  Usually, a player has their own unique mod list and even when that is made apparent, it is difficult to pinpoint.

To avoid these issues, you need to make sure that you have only one mod which covers a certain aspect of the gameplay.  For example, if you want a mod that improves horses, you should only use one of those mods.  Or make sure that one set of features doesn’t overlap with another set of features in another mod.  If there is an overlap, then you are probably going to cause a conflict, which will break your game.

Many mod authors are really good about listing compatibility issues with their mods.  What the good ones tend to do is list other related mods and indicate if they are supported by the one they have created.  In general, if the mod you are checking for compatibility isn’t listed or mentioned, I would assume it’s not compatible.

Note that mods which add items that are in leveled lists usually don’t have problems integrating with each other, especially with the right tools.  So you have multiple weapon mods or spell mods together in the same mod list.

Often times, you’ll find that mod authors will write compatibility patches to work with other mods.  Use these to resolve mod conflicts.  As an example, I like to use the Elemental Destruction mod that adds in spells for Earth, Water, and Wind elements.  I also use Ordinator, which overhauls the perk system.  Since the Elemental Destruction needs to create new perks, it will conflict with Ordinator.  There is, however, a compatibility patch which resolves this problem and I install that patch as well.

I’d say about a third of my plugins (ESP or ESM files) are compatibility patches.  This may not be case for you, but I’d be willing to bet that most heavily modded playthroughs have a similar percentage.

In general though, try and keep one mod per category.  Have one that modifies vampire playthroughs.  One that changes werewolf playthroughs.  One that overhauls the perk system.  One that modifies shouts.  One that modifies follower mechanics to make followers more viable.  One that modifies horse mounts.  One that adds new creatures.  You get the idea.

Always Have a Core Mod Line-Up

While a lot of Skyrim mods are great additions, make sure you have a set of core, must-have mods and try to keep that list short.  For console players, this is irrelevant as you cannot create mod profiles, but for PC users this is fundamental.  Both Mod Organizer and Nexus Mod Manager allow you to create mod profiles, which gives you flexibility in your playthroughs of various characters.

Your core mod list should not include mods which would be useless to other characters you are playing as.  For example, if your character playthrough is never going to become a vampire, then don’t install a vampire overhaul.  You’re just wasting space and adding unnecessary scripts into your game.

I’d recommend that your core mods include the Unofficial Skyrim Special Edition Patch (fixes hundreds of bugs), The Choice is Yours (eliminates quests you won’t do), and Static Mesh Improvement Mod (makes 3D great again).

Mods by authors Arthmoor, EnaiSiaion, and kryptopyr I highly recommend, save Open Cities as that one has too many conflicts.

Perfect is the Enemy of Good

Finally, I recommend that you play the game.  Don’t get bogged down in your mods, don’t fret over new mods which look better than what you’re playing with, and don’t worry about adding in too many features.

One of the problems I have is that I want to make Skyrim into more of an RPG.  Previous Elder Scrolls games had many more features, you see, and this game lacks a lot of that functionality.

I’ve heard a lot of hardcore players complain about this.  I have witnessed firsthand the numerous features that were in Daggerfall.  From banking to court trials to complex character creations, that game had a lot to offer and Skyrim has maybe 30% of its features.  I understand the frustration but, as a professional software developer, I also understand the need to get a mostly working product to market.

Mod authors have added many of the more popular lost features back into the game, but Skyrim will never has as many features as Daggerfall did, no matter how many mods you cram in there.

The point is to just simply get the mods which make a really good game even better and run with it.  Spend no more than a few hours modding Skyrim and then play the game.

Final Notes

As a PC gamer, I use a lot of tools to mod Skyrim.  Mainly I use Mod Organizer, because it allows me to address many different mod conflicts which other tools lack, and because I can create many character profiles without having to uninstall mods.  This allows me to seamlessly switch between playthroughs.

I also use LOOT to sort my mods.  It generally does a good job, although sometimes the load order isn’t what it should be.

I use Wrye Bash to create a bashed patch.  This is critical, in my opinion, as it resolves a lot of potential conflicts.

I also use xEdit (for Skyrim SE, it’s called “SSEEdit”) for cleaning plugin files and creating a merge patch.  The merge patch provides some fixes to conflicts which Wrye Bash misses.  This is for advanced users though and I don’t reconmmend it for beginners.  Besides, if you keep your mod list low, you don’t need to do that anyway.

So that about covers my basic guidelines for Skyrim modding.  With these guidelines in mind, go out and make Skyrim great again.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

A Review of “Penny Dreadful”

So I finished the show Penny Dreadful recently and I’d like to go over it a bit.  This review won’t be as extensive as I have done in the past.

The show was basically a modern gothic tale that combined Frankenstein, Dracula, the Wolfman, witches, Jekyll and Hyde, and many other public domain horror/gothic characters.  The main story focuses on Vanessa Ives, a woman who is cursed by being the incarnation of the mother of Evil.  While she is not conscious of this for a long time, Lucifer (and later Dracula) hunt her in attempts to “awaken” her.

The series begins with her enlisting the help of Ethan Chandler, an expert sharpshooter, to aid her in finding her friend Mina Harker.  Mina’s father, Sir Malcolm Murray, is the leader of the company.  Later they enlist Dr. Victor Frankenstein to help them as his medical expertise prove invaluable in dealing with monsters.

Oh, and Dorian Gray is around but doesn’t appear to really affect the main plot.  Hell, his own story could be considered its own story as his subplot is never really rolled into the main plot, save for some brief scenes in latter part of the first season.  I’m pretty sure he was added into the show in order to fulfill the LGBTQ requirement that Showtime enforces on its original content.

In other words, he’s the token sexual deviant.  Fortunately, the third season makes him more three-dimensional and his final scene in the show pretty much elaborates his motivations.

Dr. Frankenstein is one of the few characters who seems to take part in subplots and the main plot.  His Creature is a major subplot throughout most of the show with him interacting with the Creature and the fallout he’s caused by toying with life and death.

For me, he seems to be the most interesting character in the show.  He tends to adhere to absolute materialism, despite the evidence before him that there are things beyond the visible reality.  He’s a perfect charactization of the irrational atheist, one whose focus is on the material and who constantly denies the supernatural, in spite of it revealing itself to him.

The show itself depicts what I consider a stereotypical version of Victorian England.  You have the rich and the poor represented, but you don’t see the middle class, which was already fully developed by that time in England.  Typically, women are portrayed as “oppressed” but only because they are forced to engage in prostitution if they are poor, or ladies if they are rich.  This is largely bullshit as many women worked decent jobs during this time if their husbands did not work proper jobs or if they were unmarried and not well off.

They also show people dying slow deaths from diseases that many of us don’t think much about.  The trouble I have with this is that while disease was a problem, it was much less of a problem than people believe.

Overall, the show was mediocre.  It featured a lot of various classic horror movie monsters in an interesting light, but squanders this with pointless sodomy, pointless subplots, and a main plot which drags at times.  The main characters are severely damaged people in their own right with some having horrific backgrounds, but they also try to do better, for the most part.  There was a lot of potential which seemed to be wasted and subplots which ultimately went nowhere.

The nerd in me wanted to love this show but I ended up only liking it.  Check it out if you have nothing better to watch, but I’d say there are better things to watch.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Things I Want

I want a world where debt is considered a vice.

I want a place I can truly call home.  A man’s house is his castle.

I want to be able to afford a home without going into debt for decades of my life.

I want more free time to do things I would rather do.

I want to be surrounded by people who respect me and love me (not in the sodomite sense).

I want to live a life that glorifies God.

I want to rise above the stupid decisions those around me make.

I want two years of income saved up so I don’t have to concern myself with employment.

I want a less argumentative wife.

I want to see the tearing down of the Occult Elite in my lifetime.

I want to fight against evil.

I want to shift the culture back toward God and His Son.

I want to prove that one can life a prosperous life and still be pious and upright.

I want to comfort Job.

I want better health.

I want to see the technology Transcendence so I can pull the plug on the wicked who would presume to be gods.

I want to hear God say, “Well done”.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Going to the Doctor

I am usually unimpressed with doctors.  It is probably because of my higher than average IQ coupled with my disdain for having to dumb myself down to other people.

Doctors tend to have IQs which are either high average or above average.  They tend not to be genius level, but they are usually better than average.

As someone who is above average himself, I find that I usually am treated like a dunce by doctors and I get personally offended by it.

I know that they do this because most people they interact with tend to be dumber than them, but do I seriously have to dumb it down for them?  I can understand much more about the human body than the average person, it was just never really interested me enough to make a career out of it.

I guess it’s merely a curse of a high IQ really.  Just one more thing a long list of issues high-IQ people have with modern society.

Or perhaps I’m just arrogant and am just rationalizing why I don’t like going to doctors.