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Real Name SMA   
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Nickname Scottish Martial Arts
Email Concealed by request
ICQ None given.
Homepage http://
Signed On Jun 16, 2002, 23:16
Total Comments 2951 (Senior)
User ID 13410
User comment history
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News Comments > Into the Black
10. Re: Into the Black Jul 13, 2013, 10:22 Scottish Martial Arts
Turns out I was remembering correctly. I just had the date wrong: mid-November 2003 not mid-October.

I thought writing this all down might help. My Dad and I were driving home this evening from Congresswoman Eshoo's office (I delivered my service academy nomination application) and witnessed a severe car accident that left two people dead and another in the hospital. We were about to pull off the freeway when we saw a car swerve out of control and flip over three times. We immediately parked the car and ran forward. The car was upside down and the driver was hanging unconscious in her seat belt and because of the way the car had landed was trapped. Both of the passenger side passengers were out of the car and relatively unhurt and there was a woman conscious but with a head injury in the backseat. My Dad's Army Special Forces Medic training kicked in (one reason why the Army is a good thing vFunct), gave me his cell phone to call 911 and immediately got the conscious woman out, sitting at the side of the road and had her apply pressure to her head. My Dad then went to work on getting the unconscious woman out of the car. It was at this point that I noticed there was a fifth passenger, a woman who turned out to be 16, who had been thrown from the vehicle and now lay on her side about ten meters from the overturned vehicle. I called my Dad who, unable to open an airway because of the driver's position and unable to get the driver out of the vehicle, had decided to leave the driver for the firefighters and paramedics. He came to the young woman on her side, opened an airway, and proceeded to check her for injury. I had repeated the injuries he listed off into the phone and then concluded the call. He suggested that I look after the two unhurt male passengers. One of them had his wits about him and I got him sitting at the side of the road but the other one was losing it. It was about this time the firefighters arrived. The man who was falling apart became dead set on finding his wallet and cell, I was unable to deter him so I decided it would be best to help him find it and then get him sitting down. As we walked past the vehicle the firefighters were working on getting the driver out. After finding the mans wallet and cellphone I walked him back to where his friend was and I noticed that the firefighters had the driver out and were working on her. I went over to see if I could help with the young woman but paramedics had arrived and were taking over for my Dad. The next time I looked at the driver I noticed that she had died and been covered. The paramedics worked on the young woman for about five minutes longer and had just gotten her onto one of the wooden boards when she died. A State Trooper came by to talk to me and my Dad about what we had seen and what we had done to help. We then left.

Sorry if this was kind of rambling but I'm still rather shaken. I had seen dead bodies before but I hadn't watched a person die while doing my best to help them. I just wanted to type this out to calm down.

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News Comments > Into the Black
9. Re: Into the Black Jul 13, 2013, 10:10 Scottish Martial Arts
Ladron3dfx wrote on Jul 13, 2013, 06:46:
On the radio I heard, one of the two deceased female victims of the plane crash was actually covered in foam retardant on the tarmac, thus not visible and accidentally run over by one of the emergency rescue vehicles.

I can see that happening. The only mass casualty situation I've experienced featured one of the victims being thrown out the back window of an SUV (she wasn't wearing a seatbelt) as it bounced and rolled across the freeway. Given that it was dark, and given how far she was thrown from where the SUV landed, a good 50m beyond it, I think it was probably 5 or minutes or so before anyone realized there was another victim -- my perception of time was of course dilated at that point from all the shock and adrenaline so maybe it wasn't that long, maybe it was longer. Even if we had found her right away though, she was completely fucked: her ribcage was so badly damaged that it could no longer support the function of her lungs and she was asphyxiating, a condition known as a flailed chest, something which is almost always fatal. I kinda remember writing something about that experience on this board too, it would've been mid October 2003, when I was a senior in high school. I suppose I'll have to look through my post history.

edit: Nope, I guess I didn't write about that car accident immediately after it happened. I could have sworn I did though; I suppose it was on another forum or something. I'm kinda bummed about that as it was a pretty formative experience for me, and was a major factor in my recent decision to go back to school for a pre-med postbacc this time next yet, and then go on to medical school to become a trauma surgeon.

It is rather interesting to have used a forum for so long that you can go back and see what you were like and what you were thinking as a teenager though.

This comment was edited on Jul 13, 2013, 10:19.
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News Comments > Microsoft Reorganizes
18. Re: Microsoft Reorganizes Jul 11, 2013, 12:22 Scottish Martial Arts
InBlack wrote on Jul 11, 2013, 09:58:
So....apart from the XBone, what else falls under Devices?? Is Microsoft going to be making mice again?

I for one want them to start making flight sticks again, there is a serious lack of competition with regards to Thrustmaster and Saitek...

The Thrustmaster Warthog HOTAS is pretty much the perfect stick for fixed wing aviation. That thing is simply unbeatable in its build quality, precision, functionality, and physical attractiveness. It's less ideal for rotary-wing aviation to the short throw of the stick, and the fact that a dual throttle is nothing like a collective, but for the truly hardcore chopper heads there are speciality manufacturers out there who produce incredible cyclic, collective, anti-torque pedal, seat combinations. Expect to drop about a $1200 on them though.

Still having more competition in the market is never a bad thing.
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News Comments > Rambo Trailer
10. Re: Rambo Trailer Jul 10, 2013, 21:52 Scottish Martial Arts
TangledThorns wrote on Jul 10, 2013, 20:32:
This looks like a joke. On another note, I'd luv to see another Rambo film!

Same here. The last one was pretty awesome: there was something almost lyrical about the extremely graphic violence, and while still a dumb action movie, it actually had some thematic richness that I totally wasn't expecting, i.e. power vs morality, and the notion that the rightness of a cause does not guarantee its success, yet a right cause can somehow be diminished when forced to turn to violence. Likewise, while Stallone's face is showing his age, he remains a remarkably beefy and intimidating looking dude for his age, and thus can still carry an action movie.

Moar Rambo plz
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News Comments > Bethesda on Franchises: Dishonored Yes; RAGE TBD
14. Re: Bethesda on Franchises: Dishonored Yes; RAGE TBD Jul 5, 2013, 14:47 Scottish Martial Arts
Frijoles wrote on Jul 5, 2013, 13:41:
I also enjoyed Rage. Way too short though. And I could do without the driving fluff. Just give me some maps to crawl through with lots of atmosphere.

I felt like it was only short if you made a beeline to the main quest missions. Do the sidequests, explore a bit, play a minigame, do the races, etc. and it's actually pretty lengthy for a shooter -- my initial play through time was 20 hours, much longer than any other modern shooter.
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News Comments > Bethesda on Franchises: Dishonored Yes; RAGE TBD
12. Re: Bethesda on Franchises: Dishonored Yes; RAGE TBD Jul 5, 2013, 13:20 Scottish Martial Arts
I quite enjoyed RAGE. Now, admittedly, I only played it a year after release when its technical problems had largely been ironed out, and given all the negative buzz I went into it with extremely minimal expectations. But with that caveat out of the way, I thought RAGE was a great shooter, very underrated, and really only suffered from low enemy variety -- although this is true of all modern shooters -- and the fact that they forgot to include a story in what was, visually at least, a pretty compelling world -- although I can't figure out how anyone eats in the wasteland because while there were plenty of autoshops and light industry surviving, there was no fucking agriculture to be found anywhere.  
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News Comments > On Sale
9. Re: On Sale Jul 3, 2013, 00:15 Scottish Martial Arts
I don't get it... wasn't BGEE pulled from all sales sites due to legal issues with Atari? What gives? They worked this shit out already?

It was removed from the Beamdog site but not Steam, as Atari arranged the distribution deal with Steam.
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News Comments > World of Warplanes Open Beta
9. Re: World of Warplanes Open Beta Jul 2, 2013, 15:45 Scottish Martial Arts
Despoiler wrote on Jul 2, 2013, 12:07:
This. War Thunder is an actual sim. The flight models, planes, etc are all modelled after the real thing using real historical data. World of WarPlanes is terrible mess of an arcade fantasy.

They must have entirely rewritten the whole game since last summer then, because what was on offer a year ago was pretty fucking awful from a simmers perspective. If you've put some hours into IL-2 online -- and IL-2 is generally regarded as pretty sim-lite (press I to start the engine, messages flash on screen when you're engine is starting to overheat, etc.) -- then WarThunder was pretty much unplayable. The flight models did not seem to encompass the limitations of aircraft of that era: you could enter an 800km/h powered dive with the FW-190, and quickly pull out of it without bleeding much energy at all or doing any damage to airframe or pilot, despite the fact that the control surfaces freeze up at that speed, and the G-loading that would be required to execute such a quick pull out would render the pilot unconscious and snap the wings of the airframe right off. It didn't help that the community was completely retarded and didn't have even a basic grasp of fighter tactics, the use of energy in air combat, or teamwork. A buddy and I would drag and bag in our 190s and were completely untouchable because no one could seem to figure out that altitude IS an advantage, and would instead take off and head straight to enemy territory without building up the "energy bank". Disappointing game that got boring very quickly. I'll stick with IL-2 for WWII air combat, and DCS for combat flight simulation in general.
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News Comments > Into the Black
5. Re: Into the Black Jun 18, 2013, 09:28 Scottish Martial Arts
The first one is quite good, if sentimental. But 3 and 4 are definitely nostalgia pieces, being fun, completely overwrought, borderline ridiculous examples of 80s cheese. Despite the knock on it in the video, I will say that Rambo: First Blood Part II is a superb action movie, with tight pacing, a clear, but cartoonish, dramatic arc, and some very well photographed fight scenes -- I miss action movies where you can actually see what's happening -- even if it, like Rocky IV, was pure Cold War-era jingoism.  
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News Comments > Out of the Blue
37. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 15:20 Scottish Martial Arts
InBlack wrote on Jun 7, 2013, 08:57:
Verno wrote on Jun 7, 2013, 08:50:
Err he's got a few good points though, particularly about authors needing 5000 pages to tell a story and stories without much meaning.

There is plenty of single volume fantasy and SF out there, he should stick with that then. As for the story not having any meaning, thats a matter of opinion. One that cant be even remotely (even subjectively) made without having read a single line of the prose in question.

Well then what themes does Martin explore? How has Game of Thrones changed how you see your world and the people in it?

Look I'm entirely prepared to believe that the books are better than the series, but my, admittedly very limited, exposure to the series did little to persuade me that Game of Thrones is about anything more than a group of nobles scheming and fighting for power. That can make for great entertainment to be sure, and what I saw of GoT generally was that, but I did abandon the series when I began looking into how many volumes Martin had written, and how the pace both of the story itself and his actual writing production is slowing to a crawl, figuring that this would just end up as Wheel of Time low-magic Machiavelli edition. Nevertheless, all the hype about how "literary" GoT supposedly is, left me sorely wanting. Now granted, perhaps I should read the novels themselves before making a final judgement, but everything about the series suggested that this was typical, world-building focused modern fantasy, as opposed to theme-driven literary fiction.

Consider that the first work of the Western literary canon, Homer's Iliad, is essentially fantasy, and yet the plot is fairly simple (Achilles is dishonored and refuses to fight; the Greeks start losing; Achilles's best friend convinces Achilles to let him rescue the Greeks; Achilles's best friend is killed by the Trojan hero Hector; Achilles goes into a rage, slay's Hector, and desecrates his body; Priam, King of Troy and Hector's father, with the gods' aid, goes to Achilles tent in the middle of night and begs for his sons body; Achilles, after a brief moment of moral clarity about the nature of the universe and human life, agrees to give the body back) and the story is over at the end of the poem. Some might argue that The Odyssey is a sequel of sorts, but that is really a separate and self-contained story, much like if David McCullough, author of 1776, wrote a biography of Alexander Hamilton -- Hamilton appears a couple times in 1776, but that doesn't mean the hypothetical Hamilton biography is a sequel. That aside, even though the Iliad is a long poem, by modern fantasy standards it's rather slim at a mere ~400 pages in modern printings. Yet despite that simple plotting and clear end to the story, the Iliad has many profound, and arguably even sublime things to say about the nature of gods and men, friendship, revenge, empathy, the difficulty of happiness, true nobility, the complicated nature of war, and the nature of human life in general. While I don't expect your average fantasy writer to measure up to Homer -- it is no knock against a writer to say that Homer was better at his craft -- I do kind of expect an author who has pretensions of being "literary" to have an idea he or she wants to explore through a story. Maybe I just need to read the books, but I have been reluctant to do so since the series left a bad taste in my mouth.

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News Comments > Out of the Blue
30. Re: Out of the Blue Jun 7, 2013, 02:06 Scottish Martial Arts
I've been ignoring Game of Thrones for exactly that reason: shit's never going to get finished.

I haven't read the books, but seeing roughly half of the first season was enough to convince me that GoT was standard modern epic fantasy retardation, given a veneer of "seriousness" by being low-magic and full of Machiavellian politics. Modern fantasy writers are so focused on world building and overly complicated plotting, that they forget to include any meaning. I mean what is Game of Thrones about? That people like power and will scheme for it? Again, I haven't read the books or watched the whole series, but my brief exposure to the series suggested that there was very little in the way of meaningful thematic exploration.

But who cares right? Everyone knows that aside from Tolkien, modern fantasy fiction is pretty sub-literate: no one is reading this shit because they want to see the world or an idea with new perspective; they're reading it because they want some fun entertainment. But that leads to my second gripe: Martin, like all modern fantasy writers, can't just tell a good tale in a single volume. It has to be a series with multimedia franchise potential -- which is what he has achieved. That means the story can't ever end; he needs to keep cranking out more volumes, with more characters, with more subplots, until eventually the whole ungainly mess spins beyond his control and is unfinishable. A quick glance at the imdb credits pages suggests that in the two seasons I passed on, the character count was increased roughly by a factor of five, which is right on track for an unmanageable fantasy mess that is driven by pagecount, and now episode count, rather than telling a meaningful, engaging story well.
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News Comments > Baldur's Gate: Reloaded Mod for NWN2
5. Re: Baldur's Gate: Reloaded Mod for NWN2 Jun 6, 2013, 00:56 Scottish Martial Arts
Baldur's Gate had great 2D art that remains largely unmatched today.

The latter Infinity Engine games did, but Baldur's Gate 1 largely did not. Baldur's Gate 1 occasionally had a striking area but for the most part, the incredibly good 2d bitmap backgrounds, and detailed, well-animated sprites, had to wait until Planescape and Icewind Dale. Baldur's Gate 2 had some pretty superb artwork, though, so perhaps that's what you're thinking of?

Compare this with this and this.
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News Comments > Op Ed
19. Re: Op Ed Jun 1, 2013, 13:37 Scottish Martial Arts
netnerd85 wrote on Jun 1, 2013, 12:56:
Scottish Martial Arts wrote on Jun 1, 2013, 11:11:
Honestly, while I cannot afford not to work, finding myself unemployed would almost be a boon. I'd still be working 10-12 hour days, only now it would be on the projects that interest me the most and could be VERY remunerative a year or two down the line, rather than the projects my job demands that I work on in exchange for a paycheck.
Speaking from experience, it's VERY easy to sit back and say that

Yeah, I would imagine so. I'd probably spend less time coding, and a lot more time flying DCS and playing old adventure games and RPGs. Still, given that my current job (social services, California foster care system) is completely unrelated to software, it's nice to fantasize about how much more quickly I could develop as a programmer if I could spend all day doing it instead of just my evenings and weekends.
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News Comments > Op Ed
14. Re: Op Ed Jun 1, 2013, 11:11 Scottish Martial Arts
One other thought: this guy was in his thirties, and when he became unemployed all he could think of to do with his time was play Battlefield all day? Seriously? If he's an audio producer by trade, why wasn't he sharpening his skills in that area, learning new software and tech, and putting together some demo reels, or whatever it is that audio producers do to get jobs? If he needed a break from audio, why wasn't he learning a new skill? If you have access to the internet and even a modicum of intelligence, then you have everything you need to learn virtually any skill; really, the only skills that you can't learn on your own these days are those which require equipment that demand a large capital investment, i.e. you're not going to learn nuclear reactor engineering from your sister's basement, but you could very easily learn software engineering. Today's economic world is certainly much much harder than it once was for average and below average people, but for anyone that can self start and has a bit of talent, there are very few barriers still standing.

Honestly, while I cannot afford not to work, finding myself unemployed would almost be a boon. I'd still be working 10-12 hour days, only now it would be on the projects that interest me the most and could be VERY remunerative a year or two down the line, rather than the projects my job demands that I work on in exchange for a paycheck. I certainly wouldn't be playing Battlefield all day while living at the expense of a family member.
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News Comments > Op Ed
13. Re: Op Ed Jun 1, 2013, 10:53 Scottish Martial Arts
This article was long on how highly the author thinks of himself and short on why this particular job actually sucked. The management wasn't great and when he asked for a raise (it's a contract job, how long could he have possibly been there to justify a raise?) he didn't get one? So? Isn't that like every other job everyone else has had when moving to do a new industry? Look I'm all for better working conditions and more equitable pay -- as an aside, at least here in the States, many have ceased to see the market economy as a means with which to benefit society, and instead see it as an end in itself, a misguided and destructive perspective in my opinion -- but I'm struggling to see what was so awful about this job that the guy couldn't even be bothered to show up to work by the end of it. And sure $11/hr isn't going to make anyone rich, but in the Austin Area you can totally live off that -- I stayed there for a few months with some friends several years back and my share of the rent was $350, about 1/4 of your monthly takehome pay at a fulltime $11/hr job, on a huge 3-bedroom apartment in a relatively nice complex in north Austin. At any rate, this guy has entirely unrealistic expectations particularly given that the resume he does describe isn't particularly impressive (temp QA gig out of high school, minor success as song writer, failed businessman, no college degree). As other's have pointed out, now any HR manager who puts his name in google will get a whiny, entitled essay that says up front "I stop showing up to jobs that I find unpleasant for vague and unspecified reasons." Good luck, dude: better get used to playing BF3 8 hours a day in your sisters basement.  
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News Comments > Morning Mobilization
11. Re: Morning Mobilization May 31, 2013, 00:01 Scottish Martial Arts
Anyone else find it thoroughly depressing that we now look back on KOTOR as a "deep" game? While a d20-based game, I distinctly remember my initial impression being one of surprise at how stripped-down and basic the character system was in comparison to NWN and the Infinity Engine games.  
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News Comments > Dungeons and Dragons Online: Shadowfell Conspiracy Preorders
7. Re: Dungeons and Dragons Online: Shadowfell Conspiracy Preorders May 23, 2013, 19:18 Scottish Martial Arts
Julio wrote on May 23, 2013, 17:02:
DDO was much better than Neverwinter is. Neverwinter is a cookie cutter, minimal character customization game. That being said, we're really lacking quality D&D RPGs these days.

No kidding. 4th Ed came out 5 years ago next month, and there still hasn't been a single video game, either on PC or console, that has made use of the ruleset. This is particularly egregious because for all 4e's drawbacks as a tabletop game, as compared to 3.5, it is nevertheless a ruleset which seems almost tailor-made for a CRPG.
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News Comments > Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Free Weekend
18. Re: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Free Weekend May 17, 2013, 11:54 Scottish Martial Arts
Beamer wrote on May 17, 2013, 11:07:
Hard Reset just feels like Sin to me, only with robots that all look the same.

and it's much more "on rails" than any of the cods I've played.

Honestly, I haven't played Hard Reset, so I wasn't commenting on its quality, so much as the argument that the design mores of modern FPSes are preferable to those of 15-20 years ago. Again, I'd a lot rather play Jedi Knight: Dark Forces II, Half-Life, or Shogo, then anything that's come out since 2006 or so.
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News Comments > Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Free Weekend
16. Re: Counter-Strike: Global Offensive Free Weekend May 17, 2013, 10:11 Scottish Martial Arts
Beamer wrote on May 17, 2013, 08:52:
I bought Hard Reset after the accolades it received here, and finally installed it earlier this week, but man, you can't go back in some genres, vanilla FPS being chief among them.

I donno, I'd take a Doom-clone over a COD-clone any day of the week, let alone a late-90s, early-00's fps over what we have today. I used to adore shooters, but for me at least, COD totally ruined the genre. Honestly, the last shooter I truly loved was probably HL2, and the last multiplayer FPS was Quake Wars: Enemy Territory.

edit: I really liked L4D1 and 2, also. Since then though? Maybe it's just a result of getting heavily into flight sims, but there really hasn't been a shooter that's made an impact on me in over 3 years.
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News Comments > Op Ed
9. Re: Op Ed May 16, 2013, 10:20 Scottish Martial Arts
I could only stomach the first paragraph or two of the article. I will say however, that while I can sympathize with Sagal's position -- 20-something trans people who are trying to establish themselves in careers almost always find that no one will give them a chance and hire them, and thus their immediate future is one of destitution -- the fact of the matter is that she lied to people for money. There's no way to justify that. Sometimes we're dealt really shitty hands in life -- and certainly being a trans women who doesn't have money for the medical interventions which will make your life easier qualifies -- but we kinda have to just learn to deal with it, and get through a bad hand as best we can. Lying to people for money in order to alleviate your own suffering may be understandable, but it doesn't make it any less wrong or immature.

Likewise, Sagal seems to have unrealistic expectations about sexual reassignment surgery if she considers it "life saving". For most, but not all, trans people, it's living and being accepted in your desired gender role which is quite literally life saving, and so possibly the surgery -- breast implants, facial feminization, etc. -- which facilitates that could be so called; in almost all cases, however, trans women will report that the genital surgery is kind of neutral because by that point if people are going to perceive you as female, they already do, and what's underneath your clothes has basically no effect on that perception. Trans women who have had SRS are usually glad to be able to use a public swimming pool again, and not to have to worry if things became untucked, etc. but that's a convenience thing as opposed to fundamental emotional well-being.

Whatever: troubled person does something stupid on the internet, inspiring exaggerated spiteful animosity on the one hand, and utterly retarded white knighting on the other. News at 11.
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