Moving to a New Blog

When I first created Custos Honor, I did so with the idea of using it for reporting in from my time in college, and then the Marines. Neither of those panned out for me, and since that time I've struggled to find my voice, to figure out just what the Hell it is I have to say.

Well, I think I've got an idea of that now, and with discovery comes change. I've decided that while Custos Honor had its time, the name no longer really fits me, or what I want for my blog voice.

So with that in mind, I've created a new blog, and will be moving there, I'll likely repost my Ayn Rand blog post there, as it fits with the direction I plan on heading in.

With the blog's name changing, so comes a slight change to my name. Ravencroft never really fit, I chose it because it flowed well. Now I'm choosing a new last name to post with, that being Phule (pronounced just like you'd think it would be)

I have chosen this name in order to help me guard against being a fool, or at the very least, against being foolish.

My new blog is Magniflorious Phule, and I hope you all will join me there.

- Andrew Phule


Buying Used Games

I read an article about THC's new game policy and then read a commentary to it here

I'm curious how they feel about buying used books? Or even Libraries for that matter. To me, buying used games is pretty much the same as used books, and a lot of times, the only way I can get a book or a game is used. Especially if it's something that's out of print.The companies already made money from someone buying that game/book, so why is it a problem for someone to trade that game in for another game or book?

What if, instead of books, libraries carried video games?

I'm not necessarily stating that I think it's wrong for a company to do something like what THC did. I've always been a firm believe that it's their company, they can do whatever they want with it, or with it's products. The consumer can then decide if they want to agree with that company by buying it's products or not. However, once the consumer has bought that product, it becomes theirs to do with as they will (aside from breaking copyright law)Game companies like Rockstar found a better solution, I think: Offer additional content (in this case a better horse, or an outfit that refills your deadeye meter faster) to the first time buyer. This is content that only the first time buyer has access to (and perhaps later, others if they offer it as something to buy as DLC) and won't change the nature of the game, but adds further enjoyment to it. Saying online play is only for the first time buyers is actually limiting money making potential (unless they offer a way for people to pay a small fee to get it) via having avatar items or rings or whatever that are only available for online play which they can sell, thus generating revenue in a better way.

Other companies take into account the fact that there will be people who buy used copies of the game, and so to get any extras for the game, everyone has to go and purchase the DLC.Once again, I'm not saying that THC is wrong. I'm just saying there are better ways to deal with the fact that people buying used games doesn't generate revenue for the company.


The Tank Mentality

Okay, so you've thought about it, and you think you might want to join the Tanking Core. Be you Druid, Death Knight, Paladin, Warrior, or even Shaman (I have seen a few, even today), it is important to make sure first that you can handle the job, mentally.
Now, I don't refer to your IQ when I say this, but rather, your personality. Unlike DPS, or even Healing, there is a certain mentality a player should have in order to be a successful tank. First and foremost a tank, even an off tank, must be willing to lead, both in leading the pace of the group, and in keeping moral up when things are going less than stellar. To survive as a tank, you must be thick skinned.

You have to have a willingness to accept good criticism, and shrug off bad criticism. Mostly, you'll be receiving the bad, just shrug it off. I can't tell you how many times some random dps just decides to run off and aggro the rest of the room, then starts screaming at you to hold aggro. Or they'll think that because you've attacked target A, they can go ahead and go full blast on target B, which is right next to A, but hasn't actually received any damage yet. Or, once you're geared high enough, you begin to pull the room, and they start in on the pack you've already run past, meanwhile the healer has begun spamming heals to try and get a head start on what's sure to be a large cluster****, so now you have to use your taunts on the healer, and pray that the heals are enough to keep DPS up while you re-establish aggro, because you just know one of the DPS are going to have a cow if they should happen to die. . . you get the idea. Understand that for the most part, their mentality is: "If something bad happens, it's the tank's fault."

Helpful tip for those situations, by the way, is to communicate from the very beginning, a lot of times this helps prevent the issue from happening in the first place. A simple, "Hey, I'm going to do X, please don't start in with damage and heals until you see me do Y." (For me, this is usually, "I'm going to pull a lot of stuff, please hold off on damage and heals until you see me stop running around and drop another consecrate.") Which leads to the next key trait a good tank needs.
A good Tank must be able to communicate and ask questions, as well as listen. Even when fighting raid bosses that I could tank blindfolded, when joining a new group for an encounter, it's vital that I make sure I understand how the group normally does it. In this situation, I'm a guest, so it's important that I learn their way, remember that as long as it gets the job done, its the right way to do it. Communication during a fight is also key, particularly if its a fight where you and another tank are trading aggro. Even in a group that I've run with repeatedly, it's alway helpful to call out who is about to take aggro, so that the healers know who to focus on, or when they need to increase their heals per second.

More than the DPS, a tank must have a willingness to learn the fight before hand. Read up on fights you don't know, and actually take notes on what specifically is the tanks job. Take notes on that tank spot video, don't just sit there and watch it. You'll retain what you need to know better if you do. Take notes on the role of dps and healers too, as this will give you better raid awareness once you're actually in the encounter.

Just as in driving, you can't focus on just one spot in the road and expect things to go well. You must be able to check the entire screen. You've got to watch the health of your team, watch your health, watch for important debuffs, make sure no one is catching up to you in threat that shouldn't be (if you're the off tank, make sure you aren't about to rip aggro off your main tank, while still staying above dps) watch for patrols and how close you are to other mobs, and watch your target, all at the same time. Never watch one thing to the exclusion of everything else.

You have to understand and accept that for the most part, tanking is a thankless job. When you do your job right, much of the time no one notices. When for whatever reason you mess up, you can expect everyone to notice. That's just the way it is.

A successful tank must have confidence. You have to be willing and able to exude confidence during encounters, a timid tank is a dead tank. Most tanks I've partnered with have been some of the most arrogant SOBs I've met, and I'm one of 'em too. Pull half the room and the boss too? Absolutely! Remember, if you can pull it off, then what you're expressing is confidence, not arrogance. Now, at the same time, you have to be able to balance this with knowing the limits of the rest of your party. If you start doing stuff to the point where the healer can't keep up with you, you're going to die, and your going to bring everyone else with you, which isn't the sign of a good tank.

So, what's great about being the tank? Everything in the encounter revolves around you. From the pace you set, to where you tank the boss or whatever add your on, it's all made possible because of you. It's the knowledge that even if you aren't listed as the raid leader, for all intents and purposes, you are the raid leader. It's having the knowledge that, even if no one else acknowledges your contribution, that successful run was made possible by you. (okay really it's a group effort, but the tanks know what I mean.)


Ayn Rand, God, and Marijuana

Objectivism holds that reality exists independent of consciousness; that individual persons are in direct contact with this reality through sensory perception; that human beings can gain objective knowledge from perception through the process of concept formation and inductive and deductive logic; that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or rational self-interest; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure laissez faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform man's widest metaphysical ideas, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that he can comprehend and to which he can respond emotionally.- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Objectivism_%28Ayn_Rand%29

Adherents of the Christian faith, known as Christians,[4] believe that Jesus is the Messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible (the part of scripture common to Christianity and Judaism). The foundation of Christian theology is expressed in the early Christian ecumenical creeds, which contain claims predominantly accepted by followers of the Christian faith.[5] These professions state that Jesus suffered, died from crucifixion, was buried, and was resurrected from the dead to open heaven to those who believe in him and trust him for the remission of their sins (salvation).[6] They further maintain that Jesus bodily ascended into heaven where he rules and reigns with God the Father. Most denominations teach that Jesus will return to judge all humans, living and dead, and grant eternal life to his followers. He is considered the model of a virtuous life, and both the revealer and physical incarnation of God.[7] Christians call the message of Jesus Christ the Gospel ("good news") and hence refer to the earliest written accounts of his ministry as gospels. -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity

Those who know me, but don't know me well, never really know what to think of me. I embrace Christianity, yet I also embrace a philosophy which would seem contradictory to that religion. And on top of that, I have no problems with a substance which likely groups in both the religion and the philosophy would say isn't a good thing (though only those in the religious category would outright try to forbid me from doing it.) On a side note, I have never had any actual contact with pot entering my system, nor am I likely to until such time as it becomes legal. I'm not against such things, the opportunity has just never come up where I've been able to try it. Something else always seems to come up at the last minute the few times where I've made an attempt.

So how can I believe in a philosophy which extols the the rational mind, yet at the same time, embrace a religion which that philosophy is against because it embraces faith?
“Faith” designates blind acceptance of a certain ideational content, acceptance induced by feeling in the absence of evidence or proof.
-The Ominous ParallelsLeonard Peikoff, The Ominous Parallels, 54.

While the philosophy may take issue with the religion as a whole, Christianity only takes issue with the philosophy in the areas that they don't agree. However, I do not believe that faith and the rational mind are mutually exclusive.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use."
- Galileo Galilei

Rather than go into a rather long and complicated list of why I believe as I do, I will simply state that the largest reason is from my interest in studying the beginnings of the earth, both from reviewing evolution and creation. After looking at the evidence for creation, and the evidence for the Big Bang, I have concluded that God created everything. And since I have concluded this, I therefore believe that everything belongs to God. If everything belongs to God, then he must have some rules, and it'd be a good idea to figure out what those rules are.

Yes, these realizations came later in life, however, I had questions which evolution couldn't answer for. The two largest questions I have revolve around the the Laws of Thermodynamics.

First Law:
Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.

If in the beginning there was basically nothing, then where did the energy come from to cause this big band? Where did the material come from? If it's from the Universe constantly expanding and contracting, what caused this to happen in the first place?

Thus, if entropy is associated with disorder and if the entropy of the universe is headed towards maximal entropy, then many are often puzzled as to the nature of the "ordering" process and operation of evolution in relation to Clausius' most-famous version of the second law, which states that the universe is headed towards maximal “disorder”. In the recent 2003 book SYNC – the Emerging Science of Spontaneous Order by Steven Strogatz, for example, we find “Scientists have often been baffled by the existence of spontaneous order in the universe. The laws of thermodynamics seem to dictate the opposite, that nature should inexorably degenerate toward a state of greater disorder, greater entropy. Yet all around us we see magnificent structures—galaxies, cells, ecosystems, human beings—that have all somehow managed to assemble themselves.”

Or Lamen's Terms, order tends to disorder, which the above quote also shows my question: If order tends to disorder, how is it that everything on this earth, this galaxy, and this Universe have such an ordered existence?

Now this is where true evolutionist and I agree: God can not have created the Universe if it's as old as evolutionists claim. A god which used evolution would be a god which was imperfect and cruel. Further, if you add up the dates within the Bible you come to the conclusion that the earth is only a few thousand years old, not trillions. The God portrayed the Bible is practical (if at times harsh) and if you read the creation story, God created plants before the insects. Now, insects are vital in the reproduction of plants, and so having these plants around for millions of years before insects were around to help them reproduce really doesn't make much sense. Where as if it's just a day, no trouble there.

Ultimately though, everything will boil down to faith. You either believe that in The Beginning God, or in the beginning nothing. I came to the conclusion that in The Beginning God made more sense.

As to Marijuana, to put it simply, I see it as no different from tobacco or alcohol. Jesus turned water into wine at a wedding, and yes, they used wine to make water drinkable back then, people who use this argument overlook the fact that it was done at a wedding, which means the wine would have been celebratory, and therefore a bit more potent than regular drinking wine, indeed, one of the guests lauded the wine as being the best at that wedding. Marijuana does much the same thing as alcohol, and as I have no problem drinking alcohol, I have no problem with people choosing to smoke marijuana.


In the past, I've felt a little guilty for not updating my blog more regularly, occasionally I've had things which I've wished to post about, but kept putting off, and for that, I feel responsible to myself. However, I don't feel guilty anymore about not updating more regularly, simply because this is my blog. I write on my blog because I enjoy writing, and when I write I like to share that with people. However, it's my blog to do with as I wish. If I wanted to everyday just write the word magniflorious and leave it at that, I can do that, no one is going to stop me. Just as anyone who reads my blog has the choice to not read it. I'm not writing for you, I'm writing for me.

With that said, I am coming to the point where I have more to write about, though I think I'll keep updates to weekly rather than daily. There may be weeks where I update more frequently, and there may be months where I update less. You're welcome to read it when its up. Until then, Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Fred Astaire!

Working on a new largish post

This weekend I'll be covering my beliefs regarding the odd mix of Objectivism, Christianity, and Liberal tendencies that I seem to have, and why they don't necessarily contradict one another.

Oh, that's so nice.

A woman from Alabama and a woman from Manhattan were both sitting in the airport. They realized they were both going to be waiting for a while and struck up a conversation. They soon learned they had things in common: both women were married, both women had 3 children.

The woman from Manhattan (WM) says, " When I gave birth to our first child, my husband bought me a new car."

The woman from Alabama (WA) replies, "Oh, that's so nice."

WM: "When I gave birth to our second child, my husband bought us a new apartment overlooking the park."

WA: "Oh, that's so nice."

WM: "When I gave birth to our third child, my husband bought me a new 6 carat diamond ring."

WA: "Oh, that's so nice!"

WM: "Did your husband do anything for you?"

WA: "Oh, yes! My husband sent me to Finishing School."

WM: "Oh? Did it do any good?"

WA: "Oh, yes. It taught me to say 'Oh, that's so nice' instead of 'Fuck You'."


A Simple Creed

I swear by my life and my love of it that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine.


A Haiku for you.

Haiku's are easy,
But sometimes they don't make sense.