Posted inGames / WTF?

Munchhausen by Internet

When I first read this blog post early this week, I felt like crying. It describes a group of online gamers who encountered what seemed to be a heart-breaking story…

About halfway through the instance, our new friend says that she is sorry but will have to go AFK because the “doctor has come to my room”. … After the run, one of our group members (and our kin leader) continues a private conversation with her and learns that she is 20 years old, her mother died when she was young, her father is not involved in her life, she has no other close friends or family, and is a hospice patient with Stage 4 bone cancer.  Her doctor tells her that she has maybe two months left. …

… Now, let me confess something right now.  Although I am not proud of the fact, I am quite often cynical of new people, particularly those with hard-luck stories.  Surely, someone wouldn’t lie about something as grave as this.

Unfortunately, it turns out that this is exactly what happened in this case…

UPDATE 06/23/09:

Good news and bad news.  The good news is “Gynnie” didn’t die after all.  The bad news is my cynicism about people has again been vindicated.  …  Therefore I have removed all references to her from this blog post.  I have chosen to leave this blog post largely intact because it’s purpose is to chronicle my adventures in LOTRO, and that means both good and bad.

Munchhausen by Internet is a type of disorder where a sufferer fakes an illness while participating in an online community to gain attention and sympathy.

I hope the person who perpetrated this particular fraud gets help, if that’s what they need. (Or gets the snot kicked out of them if they do this just for kicks. Karma’s a bitch.)

However, I think the blog’s author and the other members of his player guild seem to have handled this disturbing situation with a great deal of grace and class. Grats!

Posted inScience


The following video was transmitted from a Japanese satellite named SELENE (SELenological and ENgineering Explorer), as it crash-landed into the lunar surface a couple of weeks ago.

Unfortunately, we don’t quite get to see the money shot as the satellite enters the shadow of the crater that is the planned crash site, but the foreplay is pretty impressive on its own.

(Although I’ve embedded it here, I would highly recommend that you watch the larger HD version directly on YouTube instead.)

SELENE had been studying the moon from close orbit for twenty months before its mission ended in the controlled crash we (almost) see here.

It’s like science-fiction, but its real! Science-reality? Sci-Re? Whatever it is, I like it.

Posted inBooks

A very enjoyable Pandemic…

I just recently re-read a very good novel named Pandemic, written by Joan J. Johnson and William E. Rose. My Aunt Mandy gave it to me as a Christmas present a couple of years ago because she knows one of the authors (and of course because she knew I’d enjoy it).

The book is about an avian flu pandemic that eradicates as much as 75% of the world’s population. I was in between new books and decided that it was appropriate given the H1N1 situation.

Despite such a huge global plot, the story is best when it focuses on the ways life changes for a small group of families in rural New England who survive the initial pandemic and band together to try and make the best of a suddenly difficult and dangerous world. It reminded me of another post-apocalyptic storyline that I enjoyed in the TV series Jericho, in that the end of the world (as we know it) isn’t as interesting as the way that the characters deal with it.

I highly recommend both Pandemic and Jericho if you get the chance…

Posted inGames

Alice and Kev – Virtually homeless in The Sims 3

I’ve never played any of the games from The Sims franchise, but I’ll be closely following the adventures chronicled on the Alice and Kev blog from now on…

Welcome to the tale of Alice and Kev.

This is an experiment in playing a homeless family in The Sims 3. I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any job promotions or easy cash routes.

Kev is a crazy, mean-spirited S.O.B. who’s only goal in life is to get laid, and make life miserable for his daughter. Alice is Kev’s sweet young daughter just trying to survive, and maybe even thrive occasionally, in her hopeless circumstances.

The simple way their story is told is somehow more compelling than most of the over-wrought, over-dramatic, just-as-unreal crap I’ve been watching on TV and movie screens lately. The blog also provides links to real-world charities helping the homeless.

Posted inLocal

Lots to do in Springfield this weekend…

Lots of interesting stuff going on here in Springfield this weekend…

Have fun!

p.s. Still working on the new theme for this site. This weekend maybe?