Why I had to leave Smite, again…

So a few months back I left Smite because I found I was yelling at the screen more often than not. Not at my fellow players, no. While I found some of their actions upsetting I know I’m not the world’s best player and am quite forgiving of other people just learning. No, I was yelling at Hi-Rez because of their utter disregard for their community.

So I took a break hoping that several months away will let Hi-Rez pull their collective heads out of each other’s asses and fix the game to the point where it doesn’t cause massive frustration. 6 months later the reveal of Ratatoskr got me intrigued again so I reinstalled Smite.

3 days later it is uninstalled. Hi-Rez still has their heads up each other’s asses.

On average I put in 1-2 hours playing Smite. That’s 2-5 rounds depending on round length. Almost every round someone from either team DCs and never returns. It is a perpetual 4v5. At the start of the round we should not have to wait until the 10m mark to surrender. 2m without the 5th player, let us leave without penalty or allow surrender at that point. Something! That 8m difference means I could get more decent rounds in.

Worst still is when it is my team because we have the “No surrender” crowd forcing other players to stick in a lost game for another 10-20m because, reasons. That’s fine. I get that some people don’t have a functional F6 and lack the funds to buy a replacement keyboard. But why the **holy fuck** does Hi-Rez believe that 2-0-2 vote isn’t a surrender? Or a 2-1-1? I can get the argument for a 2-2. But when it is clear that the people who do care to vote don’t want to continue and the others can’t be buggered to slap a key that maybe they should kill the round? Esp. on a losing 4v5!

But no, Hi-Rez clearly can’t be bothered to help improve this situation. In the past 3 days I’ve been dropped twice (not my connection), servers crashed once (yay!), the game client itself crashed twice, almost every round was a 4v5 on one side or another, and the broken vote system kept me in far too many games that should have ended.

The last straw was the match I just finished. We started 3v5. Yes, 2 drops on our team right out of the gate. 2m pass, they’re not back. Somehow we held on until they both returned by the 6m mark. But now we’re severely behind the enemy team. We try to make a good show of it but by 20m we’re down to 1 tower and 2 phoenixes. The enemy team has 4 towers still. The game is OVER. Called a vote. 2-0-1. Oh, look, it failed! We have to continue with the farce! At that point our mid took the sensible route and dropped. So now we’re 4v5. I figured, fuck it, I’m done, and dance party in spawn. Few minutes later someone else calls another surrender just as the enemy team gets to the titan, all phoenixes down. 2-0-1, nope, we have to watch them kill our titan.

Smite’s the only MOBA I can stomach. I can’t stand the pseudo-isometric, RTS-esque style of MOBA and the FPS style (MNC, SMNC) are dead. Smite’s it. And Hi-Rez can’t be fucked to do fix their shit. The only thing I’m glad for is that I got it out of my system before I dropped more coin on their sorry asses buying the slew of skins that were available since the last time I played.

TL;DR – Fuck Hi-Rez for going for the cash grab instead of healthy longevity. But then, after how they put Global Agenda and Tribes: Ascend in the shitter I guess I can only blame myself for thinking they’d actually do anything different with Smite.


Why 3 Ferrets For Our Business?

In a recent discussion on /r/ferrets the topic of business size came up.  Apparently there was a poll where the ideal size of a business was determined to be 3-5 ferrets.  One of the regular posters inquired why.  Firexcracker, our resident guru of all things ferrety explained, “Ferrets grieve the loss of loved ones and sometimes they grieve hard.”  What follows was my reply in support of that statement.

That’s happening right now to me. Xander only knew Xena for about a year and a half. He was the new adopted brudder and he’s more daddy’s boy than anything else. So he’s taking it well because he’s still got his dad.

Xara, however, was with Xena since they were kits. I dunno if they were litter mates (Marshall’s ferrets, after all) but they were adopted from the same pet store together, surrendered to the shelter together, kept together at the shelter, and finally adopted out to my wife and me. They were together for close to 5 years.

That first night it killed me when I saw Xara looking through all of Xena’s common sleeping spots in the cage looking for her sister. After not finding Xena she just curled up in their favorite hammy. I had to stop what I was doing and hold her. Let her know her dad still cares for her.

Normally when I pick her up she will tolerate about 30 seconds of scritchins before wiggling to be let down. That night she just laid in my arms, letting me scritch and pet her for more than 10 minutes. A minute or two in she just started shaking. She kept shaking, on and off, for the whole time I held her. She finally squirmed a bit so I put her back in the hammy and let her sleep.

Every morning and night since I make a point to pick her up and hold her. Every time she just sits in my arms. She doesn’t shake like the first night, but she’s certainly not in any hurry to be let down.

But I’m not there all the time. I have human things to do like work and chores and resting and such. That’s where Xander comes in. The past few times I checked in on them Xander has been snuggling with Xara. Normally it was the girls in the bottom of the two-level hammy and Xander up top. Now he’s often the bottom of the two fert pile. I think, and hope, that Xander being there is helping Xara during the times I or my wife aren’t around to give her extra helpings of love.

D.I.P. Xena – 2009-2014-03-08

Xena and Xara snugging in their favorite hammy

Xena (top) and Xara (bottom) snugging in their favorite hammy

We adopted Xena, along with her sister Xara, a little over two and a half years ago.  They came as a pair from the local ferret shelter.  Before that they had been adopted from the same pet store by a military man who could not keep them.  He had been deployed to the Middle East and had no one here in Las Vegas to care for them.  The pet store adoption papers put them at about 2 years old.  They were bonded and inseparable.  Not that we would ever think to do anything of the sort.

I called Xena my little warrior princess because of her name.  She really didn’t live up to it.  Aside from chomping my thumb twice while adjusting to her new home she rarely fought with her sister nor with her new baby brother when we adopted him a year later.  She left putting the new boy in place to Xara.  No, Xena was more princess than Xara was.  After eating she would always find the nearest blankie and rub her face over it a few times.  My wife and I figured she was just getting the crumbs off face like any proper lady should.

Xena was the caretaker of the toy stash.  Any time we moved the toys she was the one that ran around to make sure each was put back in its place.  She even chased around a water bottle or two at 3am, much to the annoyance of my sleeping wife.

Lately though she started to slow down.  We chalked it up to her getting up in years.  Then a trip to the vet a little under a year ago let us know she had insulinoma.  Common in ferrets, especially for her age.  As time passed she slowed down a bit more, slept a bit longer, snugged her sister more often, and put up with the boy invading their cuddle puddle as much as she ever did.

But last week Xena got really, really slow.  She had runny poops.  Another trip to the vet confirmed what we suspected.  Her insulinoma had advanced and we needed to up her dose.  She was down from 1.6lbs to 1.1lbs.  The vet said the prednisone would help with her GI problems which should increase her appetite.

It didn’t.

I didn’t notice.

Two days ago as I was rounding up the kidlets to put them to bed before I myself went to sleep I found 3 very dark, very runny poops behind the igloo, Xena’s favorite out-of-the-cage sleeping spot.  She was pooping blood, lots of it.  I bundled her up, left for the vet’s and forgot my keys in the house.  In the end my wife drove us down.

Xena was down to 0.8lbs, 1/2 her normal weight.  Our normal vet, DrK, didn’t think she had a good chance.  I thought now that we knew she hadn’t been eating if we syringe fed her, made sure she got some food and liquids, she might bounce back.  If we could get her blood glucose levels up we can tackle the other problems.  So I decided to take her home.  We had instructions to feed her every few hours as long as she accepted the food.  But if she didn’t perk up by morning to bring her back in as she probably would not make it much longer.

That night my wife fed her every few hours as I slept.  By the time we got home I had been up almost 26 hours.  After several hours of sleep we traded off.  I held Xena and fed her with a syringe every few hours.  But I could see the decline.  She was moving less.  She was starting to fight the feeding more.  By morning it was clear, she wasn’t going to pull through.

So the morning of March 8th I let my wife know I think it was time to let her go.  I say it that way because I’m the one who had to try one more night, who couldn’t give up the day before.  I made sure Xara got to snug her sister, and Xander got to see Xena, before we left.  We arrived at the vet’s office, held her tight for a little while longer, then held her as she passed.

Dook in peace, my warrior princess.  Be free of pain.  I’ll take care of your sister as best I can.  I’ll do better.

“Separation of church and state” doesn’t appear in the Constitution!

Recently this tired argument got trotted out in /r/libertarian, by someone who is supposedly a libertarian and a proclaimed Constitutionalist.  At one point he stated that it didn’t matter what we thought, all that matter was what was in the Constitution.  So here’s my reply, can we lay this tripe to rest now, please?

Yes, it is the Constitution that matters. And the Constitution is clear in regards to those matters. And while the phrase “separation of church and state” does not exist in the Constitution, the intent is there. The phrase is merely a shorthand for the intent that is in the document.

Want to know what other phrases aren’t in the Constitution yet we don’t have bullshit semantic arguments over the intent being in the Constitution?

State’s Rights.

Inalienable rights.

Separation of powers.

Checks and balances.

Each of those phrases have come to describe the intent laid down in the Constitution but appear nowhere in the Constitution. Yet you’d be a damn fool to argue that the Constitution doesn’t have any of those things simply because the phrase doesn’t appear within it.

So, yes, there is a separation of church and state. It is right there in the First Amendment. The problem is most people remember the whole “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” part but utterly forget what comes before between.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”.

That is church/state separation. Just as state’s rights refers to the 10th, inalienable rights refers to pretty much most of the Bill of Rights. Separation of powers and checks and balances refers to Articles I, II and III and how they interact respectively.

The Sky is Falling, The Sky is Falling!!!

“The sky is falling,” should be familiar to every person older than elementary school aged.  The tale of Chicken Little, crying about calamity when there is none so often than when it finally comes to pass, nobody listens.

It has been over a day now since the sky has fallen, yet again.  I refer to the shutdown of the US Government.  A calamity of epic proportions that should have been avoided at all costs.  Except it wasn’t.  And you know what?  Just like many of Chicken Little’s yelps the reason it wasn’t avoided, and should be of no concern, is that this isn’t a calamity.

First off, the US Government is not shut down.  In fact, 70-80% of it is still operating just fine.  What has been chosen to be shut down, or have employees furloughed, are what have been deemed as “non-essential”.

Think about that paragraph for a second.  When was the last time you heard of a business that was shut down yet continued to operate with 70-80% of its staff and most of its duties?  Around these parts, and I dare say around your parts too, that would be called “Open for Business!”  So the US Government has not been shut down.

Also, if government is there to provide essential services that would otherwise not be provided otherwise, why is it that 20-30% is deemed non-essential at this time?  If it is non-essential now, it is non-essential at any other time, too.

On top of that, notice that there are choices that were made here.  If anyone thinks the choices made aren’t designed to sell a certain narrative, well, then those people need to pay a tad more attention.  For example, The Atlantic tweeted the following, “The Saddest Paragraph You’ll Read About the Government Shutdown Today.  With NIH furloughs, children with cancer are being turned away from clinical trials.”  But here is a simple question to ask, why not the NSA instead of the NIH?  Wasn’t it just a few weeks ago we were still all supposedly enraged at the notion that the US Government, the very same government that is open for business during this catastrophic shutdown, was spying on us?  Wouldn’t it make more sense that a government for, of, and by the people, in such trying times, would attempt to lessen the impact to its citizens by cutting first the programs which are almost universally reviled?  Instead the executive has decided to cut what is popular and in the public eye.  Just as they did when Sequestration came about.

Speaking of Sequestration, remember how that was a huge looming cliff that we dare not go over?  Remember we did go over it?  I mean, you do remember, right?  What with all of the catastrophic warnings we were given on how essential government functions would suffer.  Except I can’t think of one way that my day-to-day life has been impacted by such a miniscule cut to the Federal budget.  Little wonder as under Bush II and Obama the Federal Government had grown over 100% since 2001.  What’s a slight decrease in spending increases compared to that?

So, instead of panicking as Chicken Little claims that calamity will befall us once again, why not instead look, actually look at what is happening.  Look to see how little things are going to be affected.  And maybe, just maybe, come to the realization that the largest Federal Government the US has ever seen could stand for some actual reductions that we lay-people would call cuts.  I mean, if it can operate at 70-80% by culling “non-essential” personnel on short notice, certainly we can trim it by that much… or more.

Ferrets and Heat – Have More Than Just Ideas!

I live in Vegas. As you might know the SW of the US has been having one hell of a heat wave. Here in Vegas we’re pushing well over 110F. In fact just two days ago we hit 117F. The AC at our house died in the evening two days ago. Let me say right now our ferrets are fine, this isn’t one of those posts.

Being ferret owners my wife and I thought we were covered. We have a portable AC in our ferret’s room. We had bottles of frozen water ready to plop in their cage. We had a commitment from my mom that we could bring the ferrets to her house if all else failed. Well, it all failed.

1. The portable AC we had was not capable of keeping up with the heating for the room it was in. Our ferrets reside in our bedroom suite on the 2nd floor. The portable AC does great to help keep the room the 2-3 degrees cooler than what we set the rest of our house to. But when the main AC failed the best it could do was keep the area around the cage at 77F-78F and only at night. So we were able to keep our ferrets in our house that night.

2. The next day we broke out the bottles of ice. The standard advice is that the ferrets will snuggle with the bottles when it gets hot. As with all standard advice, the caveat is that individual ferrets might not act in the same way. Well, our three kept far away from the ice bottles. This was bad as the thermometer on their cage had edged up to 82F by noon yesterday.

3. While I love my mom to death and she loves her grandferts our idea of bringing the ferrets to her house was just that, an idea. When it became clear that the portable AC was not going to keep up and their lives were in danger we realized my mom’s place doesn’t have a ferret proofed room, doesn’t have a cage, and we had no portable cage. We couldn’t keep them cooped up in a tiny travel cage and without a complete ferret proofing we weren’t comfortable letting them roam in one of her spare rooms; especially with her 3 cats who have never seen ferrets before.

In the end we called our cat & dog vet (1/2 hour closer than our ferret vet) and boarded them at the vets office. Even then we were lucky since later that day they were completely full with other animals in similar situations. If that hadn’t worked out we would’ve tried the other vet’s office or sucked it up and figured out a way to make them comfortable at my mom’s.

As it was, however, we got them out of the house just in time. When I got them out of their cage it was 83F. By the time I got back home from boarding them at the vets the sun had moved to a direct face on that room and it was 91F. That was with the portable AC still trying its best to cool that room. Once we shut it off to save power the room spiked up to 96F.

We’ve been ferret owners for 8 years now. All 8 here in Vegas. We’re very aware of the issues with heat and ferrets. Even so, our planning wasn’t enough. We eventually got one room to a point where we were able to sleep. But that was at 2am and that point was below 90F, nowhere near healthy for ferrets.

We now know that if this situation comes up again we need to moved them and the portable AC into the smallest room. We know that the water bottle trick doesn’t work with our ferts. Most of all, we know we need more than just an idea of where we could take them. We needed a better away-from-home kit for our ferrets so we can take them someplace safe and feel reasonably secure in knowing that they are indeed safe.

As for our AC it was fixed today. The 24h emergency repair got bumped to 48h as many AC units have been failing. It wasn’t fixed in time to get the house cool enough for the ferrets to return. They’re still boarded with our vet, I’ll be picking them up in the morning. They’ll be getting lots of snugs, an extra helping of ‘tone, and free reign of their room for as long as they are awake.