Thursday, June 30, 2005

Obey your master...

Anyone who has lived with me knows that I have what James Dobson calls "video game addiction."

My usual addiction: EA Sports games. I love to build dynasties and simulate seasons, but not to actually play the games themselves. For me it's the quest to build the best team every year, to attempt to always go undefeated.

NBA Live 2005 has a 25-season dynasty mode. You've got 25 seasons to dominate. You have to navigate the salary cap, make wise trades, keep track of who you're going to draft (but don't scout them, that wastes points), trade older guys for younger guys before they start declining, and Just Win Baby.

Everyone cheats in the playoffs, so I don't count how many championships someone wins. You can just keep reloading until you win. But, it's a lot more tedious and takes forever if you want to do that in the regular season, so no one does. I sim a month at a time, so I can make roster adjustments and train my team on a monthly basis.

So, I've just finished the BEST 25-YEAR DYNASTY EVER!
  • 1483 regular season wins. That's about 60 wins a season, folks. Imagine 25 years like that with your favorite NBA team.
  • 79 wins in 1 season. That's domination.
  • Coach of the Year 16 times. That means I had the league's best record 16 out of 25 times.
  • 20 years of players on the All-Star team. That's hard to do in this game for some reason.
  • Average power ranking over 25 years: 4. Always in contention, baby!
I challenge ANYONE to show me that they've built a better dynasty than this. (This was like my 6th try, so I've played alot of seasons). No one has done this, and no one ever will again. Do you hear me???? NO ONE.


Hi, I'm Justin, and I'm an EA addict.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

With friends like these...

I wanted to elaborate a little on my post from yesterday and talk about Saudi Arabia. First, a little history:

Back in the 70's, after the oil embargo shook the foundations of our economy, we decided to secure oil in the OPEC world by developing a big-time ally. We talked to the House of Saud and its ministers and made a deal. We'd stand by them, protect them, support their government policies, and also provide development for them as we buy their oil. We sent some of our big companies over there to do business, build infrastructure, etc. In return, we were happy to have an oil ally in the Middle East, even if they're not elected and not really liked by their people. That was how we did foreign policy for a lot of countries after WWII.

Some interesting stories about the Saudi deal and other deals like it can be found in the...

Confessions of an Economic Hitman
by John Perkins

Anyone who wants to read this book and discuss it with me, I'd love to dialogue.

Bush mentioned Saudi Arabia last night in his speech; insurgents are coming across the border from there as well. Well, duh, Osama Bin Laden is a Saudi who wants to destroy the House of Saud as much as he wants to destroy America. The Saudi rulers live extravagant lifestyles that are very much contrary to the Wuhabbism that dominates Saudi religious life. While we prop up the Saudi government with our protection, the people will always hate it. The Saudis stave off revolution by giving money to Mullahs to build mosques and spread their anti-American hate speech. This helps them build schools in places like Pakistan where kids are trained to recite the Koran while never learning to study math or science, or other useful tools for today's world. Those kids go on to join Al Qaeda and kill U.S. troops, believing that there is no higher calling.
We don't criticize the Saudis, or make them do anything differently, because of that deal we've struck with them. We just keep buying oil. They don't seal their border with Iraq, and we don't say much (I was surprised that Bush listed it specifically in his speech). The Saudi government couldn't do much if they wanted to because it'd make a lot of people angrier if they did. Their schools and mosques have convinced many there that America is the Great Satan.

Something else about our "ally:" One of Saudi Arabia's biggest fears? That the mission in Iraq will be successful. It can fear that now there is a real democracy on its border which America is readily using to pump oil to itself. Because then we might not need Saudi oil so much, and can scale back our commitments to them. Once that happens, their house of cards could come down quickly. So, don't expect them to close that border anytime soon, and don't expect us to ask them to.

Is it any wonder that Bush looks uncomfortable holding the King's hand?

Take care.

Bogut, Bush, Iraq, and China (and no sympathy for Randolph Morris)

How the world all fits together:

Congratulations to Andrew Bogut, now with all the perform-or-bust pressure on his shoulders. The NBA Draft is like the NCAA Tourny in that "experts" all make predictions, but no one really knows. They predict draft order, but who knows what trades or surprises will come. They predict who will be the next so-and-so, but still no one knows who will be anything. Here's my prediction: Marvin Williams will be a tweener who won't fit at any position. He's probably even more athletic than Vince Carter was. I predict he suffers through injuries in his first few seasons and we never see how good he "could" have been.

I saw 2 things tonight that surprised me, and one that didn't. Bush's speech surprised me not. "Stay the course" is what I heard, with no new strategy, statistics, or spittle to help. It was what he didn't say that bothered me. He didn't say that Iraq is being split in multiple directions, that most of the recent suicide bombings haven't been directed at us, but have been directed at Iraqis who are battling for political positions, some of which are hoping for civil war. A Sunni bomber who bombs a Shiite mosque is making a different statement than a terrorist who attacks a U.S. convoy.
I agree with Sen. Biden that it's disturbing that Bush did nothing to address the problem of the increasing #'s of foreign insurgents, or the porous border.
Our troops will ALWAYS be in Iraq, just as they've always been in Germany, Japan, Korea (since the 40's and 50's), and Saudi Arabia since the 80's. Companies like Halliburton will also ALWAYS be in Iraq to develop infrastructure and make money on lucrative contracts. You can make a safe bet that troops will ALWAYS be in Afganistan too, but at least there NATO allies help alot more (ie: even France sends troops there).
It's just a question of whether Americans get used to that idea or not.

Randolph Morris didn't get drafted, this surprised me. originally had him late 1st round, this morning they had him mid-2nd. Then, he totally slipped out. Guess he'll be playing with Kelenna in some country which might ask him to learn another language. Good luck, and I'm glad. You could've been a contender, Randolph. Could have been the center to lead us back to the Final 4. You could have been on the same level as a Mohammed or a Magloire at UK. Guess we'll never know.
I was also glad to see college seniors like David Lee and Jason Maxiell go 1st round. Maxiell had to play his way into it through the camps. Hayes had better camps but I guess just isn't the physical speciman that Maxiell is.

So, how does China tie into all this? Well, they're buying up Unocal while we're focused on Iraq and the NBA Draft. America doesn't know what to make of China. China's economy is growing, and they simply won't take out their peg to the American dollar, which drives us nuts. They're now our main competitor for resources as they drive more crappy cars and consume more and more oil. We'd love to lecture them on human rights and tell them to keep their hands off free Taiwan, but we can't. As Paul Krugman of the NY Times put it "If it were up to me, I'd block the Chinese bid for Unocal. But it would be a lot easier to take that position if the United States weren't so dependent on China right now, not just to buy our I.O.U.'s, but to help us deal with North Korea now that our military is bogged down in Iraq."
What I.O.U's is he talking about? Our national debt. We're writing checks we can't pay for, thus the deficit. With hundreds of billions going to Iraq, after we've cut taxes deep and wide, China can take up our debt and own us. If one country like China demands that we pay them back in Euros instead of dollars then it's game over. We'll let them take Unocal and send guys like Yao Ming to the NBA and pray they don't ask for more.

Peace out.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Day 1

Well, I've decided to create a blog too, since everyone else seems to have one. If I had a job, I wouldn't have time to make one. If I had a house, I wouldn't have to go to the Whattaburger (aka: "my office") and eat junk food just to get online with my own computer. Funny thing about Texas, seems like most people have Wi-fi, but also put locks on their Wi-Fi, which means no matter how far I drive I can't find a way to download email.

Book of the week: 1776 by David McCullough. A great little look at the year that changed everything.

Books of the week are books that I listen to while I drive around the DFW metroplex and to Waco and back. I may be homeless and jobless, but at least I have a 6-cd changer so I can load up a book and go... don't you want to be me? Much of the wisdom I post on the blog is inspired by the bestsellers or less that I read.