Toxic Personalities in RNG: The Entitled One

Ran Destiny’s Vault of Glass Hard Mode tonight at the conclusion of the Superbowl. I tossed up a thread on DestinyLFG.net stating that I had the Atheon checkpoint, and I was looking for more people to join me in the boss fight.

“Looking for five guardians who want to get this done”

I got a couple of responses through the site – one was a 31 Warlock, and the other stated simply that he had four people with him. Invites were sent out to the relevant parties, and the team came together within minutes of my post.

I was playing my third character, a 29 Titan Defender with Weapons of Light, specced for a quick kill provided that we had a cohesive raid party. I took us to orbit only to find that I couldn’t select Hard mode on account of my never beating the raid on Normal. I relayed this information over to the fireteam, at which point the 31 Warlock stated that he might have the Gatekeeper checkpoint on another one of his characters. He came back into the group with a 32 Hunter and, true to form, we started our instance at the Gatekeeper.

Most of the group, save for the Warlock turned Hunter, lacked any relic-holding experience whatsoever. I assured them that it was easy enough, and we soldiered our way through. We wiped a few times on the Gatekeeper, but we made it before long.

Atheon went down after great difficulty. Although I was the only one in the party below level 30, some of the others were ill-equipped for hard mode. One was running a Sunsinger Warlock without self-resurrection unlocked, and one guy was running a 300 Abyss Defiant because he didn’t have anything better. Fortunately, we had one guy with decent gear (Fatebringer!), and everyone was familiar enough with the mechanics of the boss fight. We must have wiped twenty times. Morale was flagging, but no one took their leave. We had a determined group. At last, we downed Atheon on a run where we lost only one guy.

Now came the loot drop… I got three Ascendant Shards, three Ascendant Energies, and the Aspect of Glass raid ship. One guy got Praedyth’s Timepiece. Two guys got the Vex Mythoclast. One of them shouted excitedly to his mom over the mic to let her know of his good luck. Thank you’s were said all around, and we left to orbit with four members of the fire team remaining.

During the twenty-odd wipes and the aftermath of the loot drop, I’d talked with the 32 Hunter about PvP. He was sore that he didn’t get the Vex Mythoclast (“I’ve cleared this, like, thirty times!” and something about this being his fifth or sixth Timebreaker), but he was up for some PvP shenanigans. We went to the Tower. During the loading screens, the Hunter griped: “How come it’s always the weakest ones who get the good drops,” he asked, referring to the “mama’s boy” and the other filthy casual.

The other two members of our fireteam dipped, leaving me and the Hunter to go to the Crucible alone. He set us to go to the free for all playlist. He used the Universal Remote and the Prudence II. I struggled a bit with my shotgun, but kept at it, wanting to get better. I’ve gone down to shotguns enough times. Unfortunately, my opponents just weren’t having it. My Hunter companion did well, winning two out of the four matches that we played.

He was clearly a seasoned PvP player. After the game’s matchmaking had concluded, he’d always check the other players to see what weapons they were bringing in. He informed me that he’d ranked Iron Banner all the way five times, in spite of his always playing with randoms (aka blueberries [my words, not his]). He’d gotten Destiny a couple of weeks before me, but he had a solid 100 more hours spent in game.

The Hunter cursed every time that he died.

To players who had downed him with the SUROS Regime: “Get a better gun!”
To Murmur: a rant on it being a piece of trash freebie
To The Last Word: “The freaking Last Word!”
To the Vex Mythoclast, a special rant, upon which I chimed in about how good it was

He complained at each post-game reward screen. One time, he made a comment about not knowing what made him keep playing Destiny. It seemed that blowing away opponents with his shotgun was more for therapy than it was out of enjoyment of the game.

He had to leave after our fourth match. Before it, we’d gone back to the Tower. His sergeant had called him in, so he had to leave, but he had time for that last one. I asked him where he was. “Korea.” I asked him what time it was, guessing that they were perhaps twelve hours ahead of US Central Time. I was off by a few hours.

I asked him what line of work he was in. “Intelligence.” I asked for more: this was apparently classified. Later: He didn’t like the people that he worked with. Which ones, I asked, the military personnel or the locals? All of them. Few were competent.

I couldn’t count how many times he bickered about having earned, yet not received, the elusive Vex Mythoclast. He despised all those “less-deserving” players who had gotten theirs. I laughed. I’d gotten mine upon my first HM Atheon kill. I’d joined in with a highly coordinated group, and they’d positively wrecked Atheon.

During our last match, and before parting, I wished him luck getting his elusive drops. I assured him that the random number game would work out – whether it would be a week from now or a year from now, he’d eventually get his reward. He had shared his belief about Destiny’s loot system, prefacing it by saying that I shouldn’t call him a nerd on account of the fact that he played Pok√©mon. He believed that predetermination was at play. Something about the numbers being generated at the time a name is input.

On hearing this, his tone changed. He wanted to know if I’d be interested in running the raid again sometime (“Sure”), and let me know when he intended to get on (“All day Wednesday and Thursday”). “Take it easy,” he said, and I wished him a good day. He made some bitter remark at this. I told him that he could make the most of his day in any event.

He dropped out after saying, “Some people don’t have all their choices made for them,” or something to that effect.


I go onto DestinyLFG knowing that I will be matched with random players. DestinyLFG is open to anyone to use, so I expect to come across all types. Its existence enables players to find one another – it is a light in the dark.

This was an odd character. I was surprised by the extent to which he believed that he deserved to get the Vex Mythoclast. He seemed confused by the objective reality of RNG, choosing to take a subjective view on the entire experience. I can understand the frustration, but I choose to laugh at it.

This Hunter had the Gjallarhorn, but stated that he didn’t care for it. He’d trade it if it meant that he could have the Vex Mythoclast instead. When he bemoans the lack of trading in Destiny, I laugh again.

Anger towards other players is sometimes warranted. Going back to Destiny: a player’s level is no indication of their skill, or the depth of their knowledge of game mechanics. It’s frustrating to have to carry dead weight, but luckily it can be disposed of with a few thumbstick movements and button presses (as long as one is fireteam leader). There’s always the option of jumping ship yourself.

Would I play with him again? On the basis of his being a skilled player, yes. Certainly not because I admire his attitude.

Apple, Don’t Fail Me Now

Beloved Apple (AAPL):

Your adoring fans buy your product because you offer a solution that just works. You make devices that are accessible by everyone, and we have rewarded you tremendously under the capable leadership of the late Steve Jobs (may God rest his soul), and now under the seniority of the noble Tim Cook.

When you announced the release of the newest iteration of the Jesusphone in not one, but two flavors (iPhone 6 / iPhone 6 Plus), we bought overwhelmingly into the larger form factor device. Your phablet would be the phablet to dominate the smartphone landscape, even if those nasty buggers from Camp Android (drat to them!) poked fun at us for buying old technology. September 9, 2014, will always go down in this man’s heart and mind as being one of the happiest days of his mid-20’s. (full video of Apple’s September 9th, 2014 event!)

(and please, if any of you from Camp Android comes across this, show me your best version of Touch ID. does it hold a light to our beautiful stainless steel detection ring, surrounding an awesome laser-cut sapphire crystal? concede that our technology is revolutionary, and that we’re lightyears ahead of you in taste)

When your flesh and blood presenters stunned us at WWDC on June 2nd, 2014 with news of OS X 10.10 Yosemite (10.10 is not equal to 10.1, okay. there’s more precision here), we cheered enthusiastically. Every word from their lips was beautiful. OS X 10.10 Yosemite was elegant, refined. The dual promises of Continuity and Handoff were orgastic. iCloud Drive was similarly amazing. At last, the ecosystem would be complete! This was the killer app that Google and its Android would have no hope of besting, what with the massive fragmentation of hardware in their user base. (full video of WWDC June 2nd, 2014 keynote for those who wish to relive it!)

Similarly, iOS 8 was a revolution in mobile. We hastily said good bye to our dear friends on WhatsApp and WeChat – no more of that antiquated mess!

Your most recent announcement of October 16, 2014 (full video once again! watch and tear up!) brought to us some of the greatest technological advancements that the world has seen. iMac 27″ with Retina 5K display, starting at $2499! The competition was reeling! Photographers, cinematographers, and digital artists everywhere sighed blissfully to the heavens. Life just keeps getting better, and we have you to thank for it.

Apple, I sing your praises most highly! But I am also perturbed. I bought the iPhone 6 Plus (in white and silver, of course) as soon as I could. It took me past launch day, but you must excuse me, for I was overcome by decision paralysis on account of your launch partner, AT&T. That Next program had yards of fine print associated with it. I had to create a Numbers spreadsheet to figure out what I was being sold on.

“You know, if the hardware is the brain and the sinew of our products, the software in them is their soul” – Steve Jobs, WWDC 2011

Now that I have this phone, I can’t help but notice some oddities. I hesitate to call them bugs, because … fuck it, they’re bugs. You’ve got a QA/QC problem, and it’s starting to make me question whether your software engineering managers are keeping an eye out for this sort of thing.

WiFi on iOS 8 has been spottier than a leprous leopard. You quickly rolled out 8.0.1, and just as quickly took it back off the air after it began wreaking mass havoc. Remember when users were stranded without cellular service, and their Touch ID quit working? 8.0.2 followed shortly thereafter. We waited a good month for 8.1, and guess what? The shit still doesn’t work. Surely some of the IT guys at your corporate clients are breathing down your engineers’ necks by now?

Here’s Gizmodo’s article on “Why Your iOS 8 Wi-Fi is Weird and How to Fix It” (disclaimer: it’s no guarantee that it’ll work)

These graphical glitches are also strange. Check them out.

1. Stopwatch in Clock app: Time gets truncated after switching between portrait and landscape views when stopwatch has been running for longer than one hour

iOS 8 Stopwatch Bug - Landscape

iOS 8 Stopwatch Bug - Portrait

2. Control Center: AirDrop settings squashed

iOS 8 Control Center Bug - Airdrop Settings

While we’re at it, there’s also this question of my Mac (aka Shove Me Anywhere, I’m Really Svelte). Here’s what I’m working with:

About This Mac
About This Mac

I upgraded to OS X 10.10 Yosemite the day of its final release. WiFi on it has been spotty. It’s been more stable with Bluetooth off, and I’m fortunate that I don’t rely on Bluetooth for anything vital. But come on… A MacBook Air with wireless issues is just a fancy typewriter, and you still have to buy a separate printer. PCWorld reported on OS X 10.10 wifi issues yesterday. They’re laughing at us, Tim. And I’m sure that your guys are burning the midnight oil trying to figure this one out, but what happened? You know we didn’t change our WiFi adapters. That’d void the warranty.

On a happier note, I’m pleased to report that the upgrade installation to OS X 10.10 Yosemite was the smoothest that I have experienced yet. I switched to Mac in Q3 2007, so I started at what – OS X 10.4? I can’t recall another upgrade installation progressing this smoothly. I guess I lucked out in this respect, because a lot of people had issues where the upgrade froze indefinitely. I’ve been there before, with each of the past major revisions.

The worst one was probably the jump from OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard to OS X 10.7 Lion. That one trashed the MBR on my HDD. Maybe your guys could have been more careful. Maybe I’m partly responsible, because I didn’t make a carbon copy of my drive before attempting an upgrade installation. What can I say? I like to live dangerously.

Oh yeah, this has been bugging the hell out of me, too. It is not a new bug: I don’t recall it being an issue back when this machine shipped, but we weren’t all posting massive images back then. While writing this post, I wanted to take a look at your page on the new iMac. The one with the Retina 5K display. Here’s what I get on my machine as soon as I landed:

Mac Graphical Glitching on Large Image

I scrolled down the page until it looked right:

Mac Graphical Glitching on Large Image

And then I scrolled up a hair, just for kicks:

Mac Graphical Glitching on Large Image

There’s more. The fiasco with iCloud Drive’s rollout resulting in people’s precious photos disappearing into the ether. The fact that Handoff isn’t working consistently (Gizmodo). This is why we have public betas, isn’t it? How’s that working for you?

I like my Mac a lot. I really do. You guys still have the best trackpad in the industry. Your machines are beautiful. Apple products are in the hands of wealthy consumers all around the world, and you should be proud. But I fear that you’re losing grip of a very key part of the user experience. We buy into your hardware and software because they are unified. You guys designed this shit so we’d keep coming back for the blissful Apple experience.

Back when Steve (again, bless him) was at the helm, his personal promise was that “it just works”. Please, make it work again.

Aside: I’m available for user testing. Just send me some toys and a stipend, so that I can keep on writing lovely things about you.

I’d love to talk more, but I’ve got a football game to go watch!

With love,

Alex Zheng

Status Update on Redemption Movement

I am severely limiting any further investment of my time into debunking the Redemption Movement. Anyone interested in learning more about the veracity of the movement’s claims can and should reference Larry Becraft’s site. Write off the Redemption Movement as a tax protester argument with zero legitimacy, and move on.

Anyone who is investing time into achieving redemption through acceptance for value, negotiable instruments, or anything of the sort would do well to visit Larry Becraft’s dead arguments before making any bold moves. The government is exceedingly clear on its position with respect to bogus filings.

I agree with Becraft’s assessment of the freedom movement and its followers:

These folks sit back and enjoy life just knowing that they cannot be touched or bothered by the IRS. But when the IRS acts, they suddenly realize that their personal beliefs or even letters will not stop the IRS; when this happens, they scurry about looking for another “silver bullet.” These people are completely unprepared for law enforcement, either civil or criminal; in short, they are overwhelmed by law enforcement. This lack of preparation for predictable and anticipated contingencies is a major problem for the freedom movement.

Source: http://home.hiwaay.net/%7Ebecraft/INTRO.html

Onwards, to more interesting projects.

House Joint Resolution 192 – HJR 192, Analysis

JOINT RESOLUTION TO SUSPEND THE GOLD STANDARD AND ABROGATE THE GOLD CLAUSE

Note: I can’t tell who decided to call HJR 192 the “joint resolution to suspend the gold standard and abrogate the gold clause.” That line does not appear in the source document.

Full text, checked for consistency against the source document

Sources:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/72416275/HJR-192-Original-1933-06-05
http://picker.uchicago.edu/bailouts/48Stat112.pdf
… and elsewhere. Just search for the first string below this line

73d CONGRESS. SESS. I. CHAPTER 48.
June 5, 1933
H.J.Res. 192
Pub. Res., No. 10

Joint resolution to assure uniform value to the coins and currencies of the United States.

Whereas the holding of or dealing in gold affect the public interest, and are therefore subject to proper regulation and restriction; and
Whereas the existing emergency has disclosed that provisions of obligations which purport to give the obligee a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency of the United States, or in an amount of money of the United States measured thereby, obstruct the power of the Congress to regulate the value of money of the United States, and are inconsistent with the declared policy of the Congress to maintain at all times the equal power of every dollar, coined or issued by the United States, in the markets and in payment of debts. Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That (a) every provision contained in or made with respect to any obligation which purports to give the obligee a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency, or in an amount of money of the United States measured thereby, is declared to be against public policy; and no such provision shall be contained in or made with respect to any obligation hereafter incurred. Every obligation, heretofore or hereafter incurred, whether or not any such provision is contained therein or made with respect thereto, shall be discharged upon payment, dollar for dollar, in any coin or currency which at the time of payment is legal tender for public and private debts. Any such provision contained in any law authorizing obligations to be issued by or under authority of the United States, is hereby repealed, but the repeal of any such provision shall not invalidate any other provision or authority contained in such law.
(b) As used in this resolution, the term “obligation” means an obligation (including every obligation of and to the United States, excepting currency) payable in money of the United States; and the term “coin or currency” means coin or currency of the United States, including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve banks and national banking associations.
SEC. 2. The last sentence of paragraph (1) of subsection (b) of section 43 of the Act entitled “An Act to relieve the existing national economic emergency by increasing agricultural purchasing power, to raise revenue for extraordinary expenses incurred by reason of such emergency, to provide emergency relief with respect to agricultural indebtedness, to provide for the orderly liquidation of joint-stock land banks, and for other purposes”, approved May 12, 1933, is amended to read as follows:
“All coins and currencies of the United States (including Federal Reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal Reserve banks and national banking associations) heretofore or hereafter coined or issued, shall be legal tender for all debts, public and private, public charges, taxes, duties, and dues, except that gold coins, when below the standard weight and limit of tolerance provided by law for the single piece, shall be legal tender only at valuation in proportion to their actual weight.”
Approved, June 5, 1933, 4:40 p.m.

Analysis

Followers of the Redemption Movement frequently look to HJR 192 as proof of both the bankruptcy of the United States and the end of all debt obligations…

Yet no one is able to point out proof of this alleged bankruptcy.

One may look to the Emergency Banking Relief Act (aka Emergency Banking Act – Wikipedia main article) and Executive Order 6102 (Wikipedia main article). Those would certainly be of interest to any goldbug. Goldbugs are likely intimately familiar with the Gold Clause Cases (Wikipedia main article). However, it would take considerable distortion of the truth in order to paint these actions as indicative of the bankruptcy of the United States.

Truth Sets Us Free, a web resource which claims “[dedication] to liberating Americans through education”, has the following arguments to make from HJR 192:

“no one in America has been able to lawfully pay a debt”

They quote with specificity:

“payment of debt” is now against Congressional and “public policy” and henceforth, “Every obligation … Shall be discharged.”

Source: http://www.truthsetsusfree.com/HJR192.htm

The first argument is entirely false. HJR 192 specifically states that debt obligations “shall be discharged upon payment, dollar for dollar, in any coin or currency which at time of payment is legal tender for public and private debts.” Last I checked, Redemptionists were just as interested in US dollars as everyone else (or Canadian dollars, or Australian dollars… the Redemption Movement has gone global). Sure, some are just coming to grips with the reality of debt, but that hardly changes the fact that US dollars are legal tender.

Their second argument also falls flat once the reader goes back to the source material. I quote here from the first paragraph of HJR 192, immediately preceding the preamble:

every provision contained in or made with respect to any obligation which purports to give the obligee a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency, or in an amount of money of the United States measured thereby, is declared to be against public policy; and no such provision shall be contained in or made with respect to any obligation hereafter incurred. Every obligation, heretofore or hereafter incurred, whether or not any such provision is contained therein or made with respect thereto, shall be discharged upon payment, dollar for dollar, in any coin or currency which at the time of payment is legal tender for public and private debts

Payment of debt is not against public policy: rather, it is the requirement that debt be repaid in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency other than that which is legal tender. This is the whole point of HJR 192 in a nutshell. The preamble makes the rationale behind this resolution abundantly clear:

provisions of obligations which purport to give the obligee a right to require payment in gold or a particular kind of coin or currency of the United States, or in an amount of money of the United States measured thereby, obstruct the power of the Congress to regulate the value of money of the United States, and are inconsistent with the declared policy of the Congress to maintain at all times the equal power of every dollar, coined or issued by the United States, in the markets and in payment of debts

Congress wishes to have control over monetary policy. Maintaining the gold standard made this vastly more difficult, as it would have required physical gold to back the creation of every new dollar. Don’t worry, though: all money is fiat money.

HJR 192 does not give individuals license to discharge their debts by drafting bogus negotiable instruments. HJR 192 does not state that the government will wipe away all debt obligations if you ask it nicely. Ultimately, we are held responsible for the consequences that arise from our actions.

Further Reading

http://freedom-school.com/lewis-mohr/hjr-192-and-its-legal-effect.html – emails from Larry Becraft discussing HJR 192 and its status, hosted on a site that collects Redemption materials (and actually believes this stuff)