Game Review: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution

Last week I took some time to play a few games, notably The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.  Once my niece and nephews arrived, though, I didn’t have time for much else (although we built some cool planes and helicopters with a big bin of LEGOs).  They love Uncle Portly’s “devices”—my Nintendo Switch Lite (the “big device”), Nintendo 3DS XL (the “medium-sized device”), and Nintendo DS Lite (the “small device”).  My older nephew will spend hours building levels in Mario Maker 2 if left to his own devices.  My niece usually ends up with the “medium-sized device,” leaving my littlest nephew to play whatever I happen to have that will run on the DS Lite.

In digging around for games a two-year old could grasp, I found my old copy of 2008’s Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution.  It’s an interesting, almost “abridged” version of the full Civilization experience—what would now be a cellphone app.  The game contains the major elements of a Civilization game from the Civilization IV era, and the game bears the stamp of many of that iteration’s innovations (as well as one of the major contributions from Civilization III, culture borders).

Naturally, my nephew wasn’t going to be playing that, but I popped it in one evening after the kids went to bed and found the game highly entertaining.

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Monday Morning Movie Review: Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)

I’m coming off a dizzyingly long Thanksgiving, and while I enjoyed quite a bit of unstructured time, I surprisingly did not have much time for writing.  Posts from the past week indicate the amount of phoning in I’ve done lately, and this week’s Monday Morning Movie Review will likely be no different.

The idea for this review came from my good buddy photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire.  On Halloween he wrote a large double review of the 1922 silent film Nosferatu and the Werner Herzog remake, Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979).

After reading his review, I found that Shudder had the Herzog remake—which photog correctly identifies as a tribute to the 1922 F. W. Murnau film—and watched it.  I will say that photog’s review really does an excellent job of detailing the highlights, so I’d encourage you to read it.  As he goes through much of the plot, I’ll leave that alone, and instead will give some of my thoughts on the film.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: 2021 Election Analysis

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Elections all over the country on 2 November 2021 (and run-offs on 16 November 2021) came back with some surprising results—and results that, with due caution, should give conservatives hope.  Popping all those black pills was premature, but all of our problems aren’t magically solved just yet.

Winning elections is one thing.  Governing in such a way that honors the reasons voters gave you office is another.  But the results from the 2021 elections are very encouraging.

Today’s post will be slightly delayed, but should be posted to SubscribeStar by this afternoon.

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Flashback Friday^2: Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break

It’s Black Friday today, so everyone is rushing out to get whatever picked over sales items they can.  In the spirit of Black Friday, I’d be remiss if I didn’t hawk my bookThe One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard, and my music.  Inspector Gerard is the perfect White Elephant gag gift, and at $10 for the paperback, it fits perfectly into the price point for most such novelty gift exchanges.  I’ve also got some weird merch for sale.

I first wrote “Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break“ back in 2019, at a point when I was feeling immense amounts of burnout at work.  I stand by my original assessment—that companies shouldn’t gobble up Thanksgiving Day to offer increasingly early doorbuster sales so their workers can enjoy some time with their families—though now I would probably add some more caveats.

I realized that I never really explained the name “Brack Friday Bunduru.”  I lifted it from an episode of South Park in which the kids heat up the console wars between the XBox and Playstation:

Ever since, I can’t help but say, “Brack Friday Bunduru” in an exaggerated Japanese accent ever Black Friday.

With that, here is 2020’s “Flashback Friday: Brack Friday Bunduru: Workers Need a Break”:

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Retro Tuesday: Thanksgiving Week!

It’s Thanksgiving Week, which means I am really going to be phoning in some posts this week.  I love writing, but even I need a break from the constant output that my insatiable readers demand.

In the original post from this thread, I spelled out my argument in favor of an entire week off for Thanksgiving, in exchange for some lesser holidays.  With districts caving to reality and giving students the Wednesday before Thanksgiving off, families have just moved the start of their break back to Tuesday, with mass absenteeism the norm the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.  Indeed, many families take the entire week off.

Well, my school—and many public schools in my area—took my sage advice:  we are off for the entire week.  It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!

However, I also predicted that, with an entire week off, the siren song of leaving for an extended vacation even earlier would be hard to resist.  I was right:  last week, we had a few students leaving town as early as Wednesday—a full eight days before the bird faces the executioner.  Whoa!  The trend only intensified Thursday and Friday.

Of course, it strains credulity to argue for any more time off.  At this point, I think it makes far more sense to increase Christmas Break than to lengthen Thanksgiving any further.

One downside to this newer, longer break:  with losing some other days earlier in the semester, everyone is completely burned out.  We teachers are not a hardy breed:  we’ve grown soft with cushy vacations.  In all seriousness, though, we get pretty worn down, as anyone would corralling and attempting to mold young minds all day.

Well, enough of that.  Now I’m enjoying the sweet life.

With that, here is 23 November 2020’s “Memorable Monday: Thanksgiving Week!“:

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Rittenhouse Remains Free!

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It’s a Thanksgiving Miracle!—Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who expertly defended himself against a mob of Antifa rioters in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was found not guilty on all of the spurious charges brought against him.  After days of agonizing deliberations, the jury—facing threats of doxing from radical activists and even MSNBC—held steady and delivered the only verdicts that made sense.

Readers of this blog will surely know the pertinent details already, but the prosecution’s case against Rittenhouse was not based on any factual evidence, but instead on a hyper-politicized Left seeking to strip a young man of his rights to self-defense.

The hypocrisy of the Left was on full display:  a group that views borders as “imaginary lines” on a map suddenly cared about Rittenhouse traveling twenty minutes “across State lines” to Kenosha, as if crossing that magical, imaginary line suddenly turned him into a bloodthirsty vigilante.

Pointing out the hypocrisy of the Left is useless, but here I think it is warranted:  it nearly cost a young man his life.  For defending himself—and Rittenhouse would have died that night had he not fought back—he was subjected to a politicized circus of a prosecution.

An important battle was won Friday afternoon.

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Election Day 2021

Today is Election Day in Lamar, South Carolina, and in several other towns in the region.  We have a competitive mayoral race, and I am up for reelection for the Council seat I currently hold.  Another Councilmember is running for reelection for her seat, but neither of us have any officially filed competition.

There’s also an election in Society Hill with seven candidates running—three for mayor and four for council seats.  I’m particularly interested in that race because of a homesteading-related issue at the center of it, with one candidate running largely to fight an ordinance limiting the number of animals he is allowed to keep on his property inside city limits.  Hartsville, home to the world headquarters of Sonoco, has five candidates running for mayor.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Trick-or-Treat When You Want

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One of the more interesting aspects of serving as a Town Councilman is discovering the kinds of matters residents really care about.  While they tend to worry about big issue things—fixing the water system, for example, and keeping their water and sewage bills low—most of their day-to-day concerns are smaller:  getting lawn waste picked up in a timely fashion; being able to pay their water bill conveniently; requesting information about upcoming events.

That’s to be expected:  people have busy lives, and one reason we have representative government is because most folks want someone else to take care of the delivery of basic services.  Just as we expect the electric company to keep the lights on and our ISP to keep the YouTube videos piping in over high-speed connections, residents want their water to flow when they turn on the spigot.  I don’t lie awake at night wondering how to generate electricity because a lot of other capable people are involved in doing just that, and I’m happy to pay them to do it.

But one thing that I have noticed is that there are some matters that people really can figure out for themselves, but they still want some official guidance or direction.  I’ve noticed this most with questions about the time-honored Halloween tradition of trick-or-treating.

The issue is straightforward:  Halloween falls on a Sunday this year, which throws everything into chaos.  Here in the South, our relationship with Halloween is sometimes tenuous at best, although most everyone I know loves it and celebrates it in some way, including trick-or-treating.  But Sundays are for church, not for dressing up as witches and devils and ghosts.  Also, more practically, there is work and school the next day, and no one wants to be out too late.

The big question, then, is, “when do we trick-or-treat?”—or, as I have been asked by residents, “when does the town observe trick-or-treating?”

The Town of Lamar has answered that question:  Saturday, 30 October 2021, from 4-7 PM.  But I am still getting questions about trick-or-treating—more than about any other piece of town business.

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Another Election

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One month from today, my little adopted hometown of Lamar has another election.  There is a competitive mayoral race, between a current Councilwoman and another resident.  That should be an interesting race to watch.  If the Councilwoman loses, she’ll maintain her seat on Council, as she is in the middle of her term and not facing re-election this election cycle.  If she wins, it would trigger a special election—I think—to fill the vacancy.  Either scenario is interesting, but either way she would remain on Council.

There are also two Council seats up, both with incumbents running—another Councilwoman and myself.

For the Council races, residents will be able to vote twice—once for each seat.  Since there are no other filed candidates, it should be a fairly straightforward election.

That said, I lost my first run to a surprise write-in candidate (indeed, to the other Councilwoman running), so I don’t take anything for granted.

So, what is my approach this time?

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