Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The 2010 Connection

The holiday season craziness is now at an end. Well for my family anyhow. We had an amazing holiday period, especially with our trip back to the UK and seeing my family. No one does Christmas like your mother ;) Tonight is ‘Three Kings’ in Spain, the day that they celebrate Christmas so I am expecting to be kept awake until the early hours by rowdy Spaniards. It’s kind of a nice festival, they have with a huge parade in all the towns/villages/cities where the Three Kings throw presents and sweets to all the children lining the parade route. I might take the kids out to see it and join in, but that depends on the weather because we have been having some pretty hefty electrical storms here recently.

Talking of the electrical storms, I can’t believe living in a supposedly modern western country that nearly every time we have an electrical storm we can pretty much guarantee losing our power to the house. Not normally a problem I guess if you are prepared for it, unless you have kids or play an online MMO! I’ve lost count on how many groups this week since I have been back that I have dropped out of half way through due to power cuts. A right royal pain. The worse thing is that you just know everyone will think you have /quit when you don’t come back. I just hope our power companies performance hasn’t affected my reputation this week [You have a reputation? Is it the one I am thinking of?- Ed].

Since we got back from the UK I haven’t really done too much online really. For a few reasons really. Firstly because every time I seem to get my teeth in to something in game I lose power to the house. OK, so that hasn’t happened every time, but enough times to really get on my nerves. Secondly because Emarald my wife has cut down her playing time by like 95%, so by default that means my play time has been cut down also. It’s strange to think that when Ema was a full time player [she was on it a damn sight more than you!- Ed] that she did not mind me spending time in game. But now she has all but quit the game, there is a strange sadness in her voice when she asks me to watch TV with her or a film and I reply that I am going online. Not that she would ever tell me I can’t, she’s not like that. But Ema is a master at coercion :) So I usually end up watching TV and hanging with her. No bad thing at all seeing as she’s my best mate and we have such a great laugh together, but I still miss coming online as much. I’m hoping that the new expansion will bring Ema back online. Thirdly, I feel like I am just treading water until the expansion comes out. The extra wait from the normal November release date has been tough I think on quite a few people. I have certainly noticed a change in population in my in game circles and the general consensus is that they are waiting for the expansion.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a huge amount to do in game before the expansion is released, but I am not so sure I will get all of my goals achieved. I am still looking at a long way to go with AA, now standing at 165 points on Adurj. I am pretty sure that will not magically turn in to 200 AA any time soon. I am not unduly concerned though. I have played EQ2 since release and for every single expansion I have been ‘behind’ on what I wanted to achieve before release date. In fact only with the TSO release was I already at max level when the date came around. So taking that in to account I’m actually much better prepared than I was for all the other expansions [always looking on the bright side huh? Still failing though eh? – Ed].

I’m still reading McMafia by the way. About ¾ way through now. It’s taking me a while because I seemed to have picked up the last three books in Salvatore’s Drizzt Do’Urden series and got distracted. I do so love Salvatore’s work on Drizzt. Not always the most amazing prose in the world but the characterisation of the people in his stories is amazing and it is what draws me in. I simply must know what has happened to all my favourites! (Bruenor has to be my number one. I’ve had a soft spot for dwarvern warriors ever since my D&D days). So anyhow, that’s why I have fallen behind on Glenny’s McMafia. It’s actually still a great read [just not as good as your little fantasy world huh?- Ed] and is a real eye opener to anyone who hasn’t had much involvement in the world of organised crime. It is worth reading just to open your eyes up to what some of our fellow human beings go through and have to suffer at the hand of others. It’s also a good read just to prove to the reader that not all Hollywood films are too far from the mark. It really is a glamorous and deadly dangerous world and much more a part of your everyday life than you might think. Let me clarify that with a bit of insider info for you. I know this as part of my work and nothing to do with the book, but did you know that organised crime (collectively) is estimated to be the third biggest industry by turnover after agriculture and oil, with an annual turnover in the region of $3.5 trillion? It’s estimated that if you include interest from savings (yes criminals save too) that the number could be upwards of $8.5 trillion. Digest those numbers for a while then tell me your life has no way touched the world of organised crime. Ever downloaded a pirated song or film? I think you know what I’m getting at.

Even the criminals we see as being independent, such as Madoff who we can see as a career criminal but one that perhaps didn’t operate as part of a group but on his own with maybe some help from his family members/friends. But if there was no outside influence on the profits Madoff was making, I really can’t see how the government cannot track his money. They can track your mobile phone calls. But not Madoffs billions. I’m not talking conspiracy here, but you can bet your bottom dollar that his money is sitting somewhere completely safe. And by safe I mean somewhere in Israel. All supposition of course with no proof whatsoever. BUT, remember, our governments can take a photo of you sitting on the bench reading the newspaper and effectively read over your shoulder...from space. But they can’t track Madoffs billions. Organised crime is a big part of our everyday lives, even though most do not realise it. Reading Glennys ‘McMafia’ is worth a read just to set your mind straight on that.

Well, I have waffled on enough in my first blog of 2010. I guess I’ll catch you soon. Happy New Year to you and yours. I hope 2010 brings you all that you desire. As long as it’s legal :P

Be well,

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