Tobold's Blog
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Short break

I'm leaving for a one-week trip tomorrow morning, visiting friends. I'll not be taking a laptop or anything, so between social obligations and the problem of finding a computer with internet connection there is a good chance that you won't hear from me until next Thursday. August in Europe is not a very productive month, everything comes to a standstill because so many people are on holidays. And there appears to be some slump in gaming news internationally as well.

But things are looking better for the autumn. I'm in *three* MMORPG betas, and at least one of them has me very excited, I'm just not allowed to write about it. For single-player games there also appear to be good times ahead, lots of good stuff announced for release before christmas.

Meanwhile, there are other things in life than just games. I just finished the last Harry Potter book unto it's predictable end. From a literature point of view I find the idea of publishing a series of 7 books, one per year, with each one getting more and more mature as the hero ages from 11 to 17, quite interesting. From a practical point of view it's unwieldy, the seventh book had lots of characters and events from previous books reappearing, most of which I had completely forgotten during those 7 years. One could now read the 7 books in a row, but then the transition from a children's book to a teenager's book becomes more apparent, and the change of style towards increasing darkness more jarring.

I also got completely hooked on watching The Wire from HBO on DVD. Just started the third season, currently the last one out on DVD. The Wire is brilliant, but unfortunately a bit too challenging for the mass market. For example there is a phenomenal scene in one of the early episodes of the first season where McNulty and Bunk reconstruct a complex crime scene using only non-verbal communication and many variations of the word "fuck". Hilarious, but maybe a bit too strong for middle America. The second season has a scene where a not-so-bright white drug dealer is trying have success in the business by dressing and talking exactly like the black drug dealers. Another highlight is the organizer of the drug dealing operation taking economics classes at the university, and receiving advice on how to sell a "weak product in an aggressive marketplace" from his professor. Crime feels a lot more real in The Wire than in the much bigger HBO hit show The Sopranos. The Sopranos I never even bought the second season, feeling that the joke of the mafia boss visiting a shrink was already running thin after one season. But a lot more people got that joke, and the stereotypes on which that show runs, while the far more complex and often more realistic characters of the Wire pass over many people's heads.

So, see y'all (sorry, couldn't resist that one) back in a week.
HBO as a pattern of releasing quality television series that are a bit too "challenging" for mas audiences, whereupon HBO quickly cancels the series. Look at Rome and Deadwood, which were both solid shows, and cancelled because the production costs outweighed the viewership.

IMO, Deadwood was one of the best westerns, bar none, to ever hit the screen (big or small).
Euros sure do get a shit load of vacation time. It will be interesting to see if that can be sustained in the new global economy.

Enjoy your time off - again )
I was born, raised, and currently live in middle America and I use many variations of the word "fuck" every day.
I was using "middle America" as a cultural term, not a geographical one. No offense meant. But there is a part of the population that finds swear words or half a second of Janet Jackson's tit on TV unacceptable.
=##=, I could be wrong, but you seem to be assuming the new Global Economy will be based on how the U.S. operates and I'm not sure why.

In Australia you get 4 weeks of vacation every year from Year Zero, and after working for 10 years for most companies you're usually entitled to Long Service Leave; up to 6-months paid vacation. I used to work 30 hours per week for a store in Australia and I was still entitled to 4 weeks paid vacation every year.

I'm now in my 5th year working for a U.S. Government agency and they just increased my annual vacation from 2 weeks to 3. After 15 years of loyal service I'll be allowed to take 4 weeks of vacation per year. Wow!

If anything, the U.S. is waaaaay behind the rest of the developed nations with how it treats its workforce, and I'm looking forward to us catching up.
Agreed with Capn John. See this graph on how several European countries are beating the US in productivity per hour. The US only leads in productivity per worker because their people work much longer hours.
Couldn't agree more about The Wire. I also enjoy the sense of humor; it's often unexpected in such a dark series, but it really works even if it's just once or twice an episode.
I've long been wondering what it will take for us American bastards to realize that less hours in = more work out.

I'm serious. Instead, we see so many dumb fuckers killing themselves at a deadend job... for what, exactly?

Quoting worker productivity numbers for the welfare states of Europe as a standalone statistic of superiority is disingenuous even for a Midlander like you, Tobold

Let's add in unemployment rates, GDP growth per worker hour and standard of living increases over the last 50 years. How's that productivity look now?

In other words, no country has created Utopia and Euros should stop throwing stones from inside their glass houses.
If anyone suggests to me a mandated 'worker leave' schedule I'll blow a gasket. My current job affords me a very comfortable living and I get a considerable number of weeks of vacation, adaquate sick and family leave...

I hate how we Americans are always looking to 'standardize' everything in some type of unified 'global economy'

If someone doesn't like their time off or benefits, hit up, and move to a company that will pay and provide you what you desire. If training is a problem, take night classes.

There are so many good adult education programs available now, hell, my wife managed to get a second degree while raising our daughter and working, because she wasn't happy with where she was. It took longer and required sacrifice, but its possible.
"But there is a part of the population that finds swear words or half a second of Janet Jackson's tit on TV unacceptable."

Those are the same hard headed people who have gotten us stuck with Bush for the past 7 years...
Thanks for ruining the general ending of Potter 7. Fuckwit.
The rest of Europe maybe on siesta time but I'm flat out busting a gut here in the UK!
The Wire is my personal favourite TV series of all time. I have watched the "Fuck, fuck, fuckity fuck fuck" scene about 50 times and it still makes me laugh. You just dont see thrilling dramas like this series very often so its a joy to behold. Roll on season 5, which I hear, will be the last.
Let me know if they need another blooger in those betas...getting a bit bored with WoW currently.
If you like The Wire, you'll love The Shield. It's awesome.
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