Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 28, 2011 Southfield City Council Meeting

City Council Meeting Held in Southfield, Michigan on November 28, 2011

Topics Include
  • A Mayoral Veto of Council's Decision to Build a Nature Interpretative Center
  • A Woman Whose house has been ordered to be demolished
  • Allegations of Time Card Fraud Against a Police Officer
  • Problems regarding electrical blackouts
An agenda and related documents can be found here.
An audio file of this meeting can be found here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

To My Critics

Dear Citizen,

The ideal of a democratic government is too often thwarted by bureaucratic secrecy
and unresponsive officials. Citizens frequently find it difficult to discover what decisions
are being made and what facts lie behind those decisions.

The Michigan Freedom of Information Act, Public Act No. 442 of 1976, establishes
procedures to ensure every citizen’s right of access to government documents. The
Act establishes the right to inspect and receive copies of records of state and local
government bodies.

The Open Meetings Act, Public Act No. 267 of 1976, protects your right to know
what’s going on in government by opening to full public view the processes by which
elected and nonelected officials make decisions on your behalf.

This guide to the Freedom of Information Act and the Open Meetings Act is designed
to make it easier for citizens to keep track of what their government is doing."

I have been noticed, and it concerns me because I am a man of duel natures. On the one hand I like to be left alone to do as I will, and on the other I believe that there is good work to be done. Twice now in city council meetings mention has been made about my YouTube audio recordings. It was never my desire nor my purpose to draw attention in such a manner, however I believe that these videos do serve a public good.

I have avoided addressing why I post them but I think now I need to. The reasons I do this fall in to two categories, personal and journalistic.

For now I shall put off the "people's right to know" speech and recall the last year of my life. I graduated from college and like many in this recession I had and still do have difficulty finding work. I asked myself what can I do that can serve a societal function. I graduated a journalism major. Because of the draconian penalties for misquoting at Michigan State I developed the habit of recording anything that I intended on using for journalism class assignment. Even though I did not necessarily desire all the pressures of the newsroom and still don't I felt that going to a public meeting and providing an honest, complete, and easily accessible record of the dialogue our leaders were having was something productive that I could do. All in all it was better than eating frosted flakes and watching television. For a better picture of my mental state at the time read my heroic BSOD April journal post, "Look not into the Maw of the Void Lest Ye be Devoured AKA Today Was One of My Demon Days"

For those who don't want to read my angsting let's just say I crashed and rebooted on the truth explained in full in Joss Whedon's Angel episode "Epiphany".

ANGEL: It doesn't.

KATE: Doesn't what?

ANGEL: Mean anything. In the greater scheme or the big picture, nothing we do matters. There's no grand plan, no big win.

KATE: You seem kind of chipper about that.

ANGEL: Well, I guess I kinda worked it out. If there is no great glorious end to all this, if nothing we do matters, then all that matters is what we do. 'cause that's all there is. What we do, now, today. - I fought for so long. For redemption, for a reward, finally just to beat the other guy, but... I never got it.

KATE: And now you do?

ANGEL: Not all of it. All I wanna do is help. I wanna help because I don't think people should suffer, as they do. Because, if there is no bigger meaning, then the smallest act of kindness is the greatest thing in the world.

I really do not want to give the "people have a right to know" speech so I will say the following. I spent two and a half years as a journalism major and am still not far removed from the idealism of college. It makes sense that some of that government watchdog and transparency talk sunk in.

To get into my mind frame just substitute television with internet.

Apart from that I will address some of the criticisms levied against me, though I know that that is probably a rotten idea.

Though it is something I do not like to discuss I am still without a job. The reason why the audio is so atrocious is because all I could afford was a $30 tape recorder and believe it or not it is better than my old tape recorder which sounds better than my old analogue tape recorder. Even if I had more money there are other things I would want before new audio equipment, like a new hard drive, a camera, or an apartment. The way I view it better equipment is something I am going to have to earn through maintained effort and maybe a little karma.

Now for the one that I feel has some credence. At the beginning of individuals addressing council they are required to give their name and addresses. I sympathize with those who feel it is unfair of me to put that information on the internet and am considering cutting the audio to take that information out. That said there are reasons not to as well. The first is that cutting the audio in that way would be incredibly labor intensive and difficult. I would have to review the audio for each case most of which are seconds or less long. Even if I do the software I use Windows Live Movie Maker is not so precise I am confident I could do it without cutting a good chunk of what people are saying out as well.

Furthermore many of the meetings are already televised. I would contend that if you are uncomfortable giving that information to an internet audience you should also be uncomfortable giving it away to a television audience. While it pains my ego to admit, not that many people watch the meetings on the internet. My guess is that I average about 40 views, about the same size as the city council study room when filled. Even then most though admittedly not all addresses can be found using the white pages anyway.

To those who think that it is odd that I am doing this I say that both the cities of Royal Oak and Detroit do the exact same thing on their official websites. I'm just a guy who lives in a town that doesn't and said hey here is something I can do.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Angry Black Man: The New Covenant

When I say that a white power structure permeates this country, I am not talking about overt racism. While I believe that overt racism still exists in this country I believe that we as society perceive it negatively and actively shun those we see as being actively racist.

No. What I am describing are all of the factors that contribute white privilege as well as subconscious stereotyping that people may not even be aware they committing. And while I'm at it let me be clear, these things don't just affect African-Americans. They affect Latinos, Asian-Americans, homosexuals, women, Native-Americans, Middle-Eastern Americans, Indian Americans, and just about everyone under the sun.

As long as you have at least two people in a room there will be a perception of Other. And that perception of Other will lead to tribalism. This is human nature. Tribalism in and of itself isn't bad. Let's face it there and always will be different groups of people and individuals will always choose to identify themselves as part of those groups. Skin color and geographic location are just flat out some of the most obvious differences we have. My skin is mocha and if you go back far enough my people hailed from Africa. Therefore I identify myself as being African-American, and cats with the pale skin just aren't in that club. Just the way it goes.

Despite that, we as a society have to keep that tribalism in check or else you get prejudice, persecution, and eventually slavery. While race may be a social construct, that social construct will always exist as long as different groups exist. Or to put it simply unless we have absolute equality in this country, which would be incredibly difficult at best and impossible at worse, race will continue to matter.

As such we as society must examine how race affects our daily lives so we can mitigate the systemic problems that 250 years of privilege of a majority at the expense of minorities have caused, and ensure that the concept of Other doesn't recreate segregation, class stratification, inequality of opportunity and inequality of the justice system. We must remain vigilante; the civil rights movement did not mark an end to the concept of race in America, only the admittance that the concept of race should not inhibit one's life, liberty, or property. All it did was create a new covenant with minorities, a covenant that we have to work to ensure is not broken.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Angry Black Man: Our Leaders

One of the problems that I have with Obama worship is that the man is president of the United States. His job is not to look out for Black Americans but all Americans. As such he's not going to be the man to talk about racial issues. Even though he sometimes does, I don't expect him to be the guy to talk about declining matching funds for state and municipal social and educational programs that aid places that are more chocolate or even caramel than vanilla if you get my meaning.

Beyond that, let's face it the figures of the '90's, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and Farrakhan have lost their credibility as leaders of the people.

But here is a list of some of the people I look to when I think about racial issues.

Cornel West

Nobody right now discusses race on an intellectual level the way this man does. That's not to say I always agree with the man, but he has well thought out arguments that are more than him vying for media attention.

Aaron McGruder

Sure he speaks through comedy, but honestly half the time I agree with the stuff he says and I think it's practical. I doesn't hurt that he's only about 15 years older than me and isn't burdened by 40 years of tradition and emotional baggage from civil rights movement. He's the type of guy who can say on national television that while I respect Dr. King I don't think that he could politically or socially function in modern society were he still alive.

To put it another way I trust him to talk about how race currently affects our society not how it did in the 1960's.

Which leads me to.

Angela Davis

Yes she's still doing her thing. And yes every few months I will pop in a CD of one of her speeches. Again I don't agree with everything she says but I trust her. She talks about race and doesn't exploit it as a way to get, power and or money.

Dave Chapelle

I know people are going why are you putting another funnyman here. Because as with McGruder the point of most of Chapelle's comedy was to talk about race. When you listen to his out of character interviews you can really tell how much thought he put into it.

Album Review: Mary J. Blige: My Life II... The Journey Continues(Act I)

Mary J. Blige
My Life II...The Journey Continues

You know how earlier in the year I said I was disappointed in the Jill Scott's Light of the Sun. That is because I was expecting something like this.

There is great production with awesome percussion. On top that Blige's voice on this album is great. The lyrics are none to shabby either. Honestly, this is some of the best R&B I've heard in years. I was get a bit tired of pretty boys who can dance making albums for teenage girls.

Next July in the season of the family picnic you're probably going to be hearing cuts from this album everywhere. And you'll love it.

There are a lot of tracks that evoke sort of a laid back feeling, like "Midnight Drive" but there are also a lot of deeper more emotional tracks like "No Condition" and "Empty Prayers" And no lie, but "Feel Inside" is probably the best hip-hop track I've heard all year.

As the album goes on it becomes more and more mellow, moving into the acoustic guitar ballad, "Need Someone."

Like I said this is probably the best R&B album of the year.

Angry Black Man: The Flaws of Black Conservatism

Yeah. I'm starting to do this a lot so I'm just going to make a series. Here are some links the proto-Angry Black Man stuff.

Primer on the N_Word
Should I Post I'm Tired of Trying to Prove My Blackness

I'm tired of Trying to Prove My Blackness
Black Rock Playlist
On the Black History Month Thing
Getting Meta: Minorities
Terry Goodkind and Affirmative Action

Argument for Affirmative Action
I Fucking Hate the Noble Savage

Beyond that, before I get started let me say that like Hooper X in Chasing Amy my anger over racial issues comes in three varieties.

  1. Expected faux anger: Look most black people are expected to have some indignation towards the white power structure that permeated and still permeates this country, but some of it honestly is me being mad because I'm supposed to be as a black guy. It's not genuine anger for me.
  2. Comedic parody of the first: Yeah. It's fun to mess with people sometimes.
  3. The real deal: Genuine anger at racism, interracial class stratification, stereotyping, racial inequality, and America's inability to have a serious national discussion about all the previous.

And here is the deal good readers. I expect you to be able to tell when I'm expressing each one in my writing. Good luck.

Now then, the television in my kitchen doesn't have cable and it, being Thanksgiving Eve my mom was in there, she was watching CoolTV trying to remember the name of a Bob Marley Music video she had seen earlier.

My guess is that it was probably "Redemption Song".

You're welcome Mom.

After that they start showing rappers. This along with the fact that afterwards she changed the channel to Bill Cosby's Mark Twain award led to a discussion about how rap has changed African-American culture for the worst.

Now I'll admit that yeah rap has glorified the image of the gangster a bit.

But other than that, I think that it's wrong to blame hip-hop culture on the Black Community's ills. Hoodies are not what's keeping Deshawn out of College. And honestly I think a lot of talk like that masks some of the real reasons behind black inequality. Furthermore it makes gross over-generalizations about the culture that are akin to the same type of stereotyping that caused the aforementioned inequality.

Much of this is due to ever increasing socioeconomic, cultural and political divides between classes amongst the black community.

Poverty in the Black community existed long before Grandmaster Flash and Whodini came on the scene.

In his Pound Cake speech Cosby said it wasn't about money. Yeah. Yeah. It is. A lot of the schools in the innercity are broke. A lot of the families are broke. The cities themselves are broke. Deshawn can't read if Deshawn can't get his hands on a book.

Detroit Library Officials again Consider Closings:

Don't get me wrong. I understand that if Black youth are going to succeed in this world personal responsibility is a must. That said we can't ignore that there is still a lot in this world that lies outside their control. And hip-hop culture in and of itself has very little to do with that.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

MMORPG Flaws and Solutions

I'm sort of past my I hate World of Warcraft phase. Don't get me wrong. I still don't like it I just don't hate it. I see why people like it. Despite that I don't like what it's done to MMORPGs. Before WOW there was a period where there were a lot off MMORPGS trying to solve the problems everyone said plagued them. WOW solved some of them, but since everyone's been trying to play the lets be Blizzard game some of those flaws still exist. All of this is made worse by the fact that some of these problems were solved by other games. That died to WOW. Again I don't blame World of Warcraft for that.

I used to play a lot of MMORPGS, but lately I've been sticking to Everquest 2 and every few months poking my head back into WoW and they still have these issues. And honestly changing these would require massive overhauls to the nature of these games. Here is my list of these flaws and how I would fix them in another game.

Note: Like I said I've slacked of in how much I play other MMORPGS so I can't talk about how they handle them in WarHammer, AION, Rift, or Age of Conan. Blame the economy.

Class and Leveling
The Problem
Back in the day nobody liked how class worked. At the beginning of the game you would choose a class from 15 and that's it. That was your game role. We've come a long way, but I still think designers misunderstood the problem. I didn't not like like the class system because for 7 of the 12 classes I didn't understand what they did. I didn't like it because what is literally your first decision of the game, affects your play style, abilities, quests, weapons, and items.

You have to remember the internet was just coming out in the early days, so it's not like most players had a way of making an informed choice about it. It was mostly I want to punch dudes in face so I'm going monk. Even now with the newer games it takes a while for a player community who will catalog that sort of stuff to pop up.

I don't like how modern MMORPGs handle it either. The specialization and customization features in them solve some problems but at the end of the day what you can specialize in is still bound by what you originally chose.

Furthermore it made me feel sort of trapped. I'm the type of guy who would like to play a fighter who could maybe lob off a few low level spells when he needs to. I always felt that in a lot of ways modern MMORPGS made that problem worse. They constrained options when they should have opened them up.

Players don't want to be told by the game, hey that character you wanted to make. Yeah he can't be an elf.

How to Solve It
I have a couple of fixes for this. First off, make race cosmetic. With the exception of some games where you have flyers, most of the fantasy races in these games are already humanoid. A lot of the class locking is set in place just to balance out racial bonuses.

Second of all we really need to change the leveling system. Regular RPGs have done this quite a bit. Here are some suggestions.

Most modern single player RPGs I've played have it so that the skills and feats are still in categories but the players actions allow them to level up in each those categories. The first game I remember doing this was Dungeon Siege. You had 4 types of skills and they all leveled up based on how much you used them. So if your mage was out of mana and had to get tough he could still be a weak fighter and your fighter could use low level spells. And if you ever decided you want to take this character in a different direction you could.

As for feats and spells, simple, just use an ability tree that operated via a point system; that way players would still have to choose but again if they changed their minds they could. Even better give them the ability to at anytime change how their points are spent throughout that tech tree so at anytime If I decided that this rogue thing wasn't working out I could become a mage.

Not only that, but class as we know it would be more informal, players wouldn't be a rogue because the game said, hey you're a rogue, but because they to describe themselves to other players as a rogue. Role-playing ain't it fun.

Diversity of Quests
Back in my original Everquest days what drew me in was the idea that I was in a new world. It's the game designers job to build that world, and one of the primary ways it's revealed to players is through quests. And damn it now days we have some of the saddest excuses for quests I've ever seen. Throw magic missiles at me for saying this but this is why I prefer EQ2 to WoW. Though I still think they both have this problem Everquest is a little better, but in both my guess is 3/5 of quests wind up being kill x number of y monster.


No. I know we can do better. I'll admit most of my reference points come from old games, but my reference points come from old games. Do you know how many different types of side quests Legend of Zelda Windwaker had and that game came out in 2002.

I said Eq2 was a little better but that makes it all the more infuriating, because I know the engine can do it. I know it can handle NPC conversation trees, completing a quest based on going to a location, and delivering quest items to NPCs.

Write better quests goddamn it! The reason why this one is infuriating is because it's just laze. It's like the designers went, ah nobody does quests ... except maybe for xp. At the end of the day it's a role-playing game. If the player decides to go meta, hey, that's their choice, but the designers still owe it to them not to. Otherwise the game just turns into mindlessly pressing buttons for an arbitrary and meaningless reward.

Lack of Player World Interaction
You know that thing I said about being in a world. MMORPGs don't feel like it. Why? Because the monsters I slay respawn and the quest I just did gets offered to the next guy to my right and sometimes even to me 5 minutes after I've completed it. Nothing the player does has any sort of permanence. It's hard to feel like I'm part of the band of heroes who just saved the village, when the zombie king I beheaded respawns in an hour.

Allow for player owned buildings, towns, armies and governments. Guilds are sort of this but guilds are informal. I mean a system where the game will let players build on a patch of wilderness and control certain things about it. This already done in a game called Shadowbane a while back it's dead now and I'll admit I didn't play it much because it was back in the days before I had broadband so it was laggy, but it was a great idea.

Also another game, Linage II allows for player castle sieges and taxation. It's going to be free to play soon so yeah. There goes my Friday nights.

Anyway give players that type of control would allow them make their own quests. Trust me somebody is going to want to do it, because some people prefer dming to playing.

I have a more complicated system for doing this but I'll get into it later.

Focus on Combat
When I got into MMORPGS it was a package deal. I wasn't just trying to kill monsters, but pretend I was part of another world. That has to be more than just slaying monsters. Again this is part of that whole restriction of player options I was talking about earlier, but it should be possible for players to go through the entire game without killing anything and still have fun.

Not only that, but when everybody is an adventurer it cheapens what it means to be an adventurer. Think about it like this. Imagine Fistful of Dollars.

Now imagine what if instead of frightened townsfolk San Miguel was filled with a bunch of cowboy drifters who didn't care about local politics because they would be out of town in two days anyway.

That's the cities in MMORPGs right now. All they are are places for players to gather a few supplies and and maybe sell a bit of loot before heading to the next dungeon.

It always felt to me that nobody had a real stake in what happened there, because there isn't really a reason to stick around. Who the crap cares if a dragon lit the walls of Stormwind on fire? I'm only there for about 1 hour out of 20 hours of gameplay.

A title system; give players the ability govern a town and offer bonus's to other players based on, "service to the realm" Merchant, artisan, and farmer/peasant ability sets that allow for a more robust player economy. I always hated how wow said you get two crafting/gathering abilities and that's it. It made it so if I wanted to start my own blacksmith business and just have fun doing that for a while I had to jump through a bunch of hoops. Again I sort of like EQs crafting mini-game.

Again Lineage II already did the artisan class and castle system.

Anyway that is my gripe about MMORPGs. Now I'm going to go play MineCraft and Magic the Gathering.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Album Review: Nickelback: Here and Now

Here and Now

Two Steps forward and one step back. Like I said in a previous post Dark Horse was a solid album. To back up that point I listened to it again so I still have it somewhat in my head. I won't say this is shit, because it's not but Darkhorse a superior album. Whenever people rag on Nickelback I always assumed they only listened to a couple of singles. In particular, "You Remind Me" and "Someday". Alright I'll admit they're similar, but the band's changed over the years, not radically or anything, but they're last couple of albums have included more fist pumpers, But overall this album feels like a step backward into The Long Road days. Don't get me wrong Darkhorse had a bunch a ballads but it felt more balanced than Here and Now.

Beyond that. It's an alright album. It's not revolutionary, but Nickelback has never been a revolutionary band. If you get that and go into the album with the right mind set it's enjoyable. However if you hate Nickelback this album is not going to change your mind.

At the end of the day I'm going to say what I always say with controversial bands. Listen to the album with an open mind and then make it up.

Best of 2011 Canidates Playlist

I'm working on my best of 2011 list. There are still some albums coming out and I'm still making up my mind, but here is a video playlist of the candidates.

Monday, November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011 Southfield City Council Meeting/Inauguration

City Council Meeting/Inauguration held in Southfield, Michigan on November 21, 2011

Topics Include

  • Swearing in of Elected City Council Members
  • Election of City Council Officers

An audio file of this meeting can be found here.

Album Review: Yelawolf: Radioactive


This is a good and fun album. Most of the tracks are designed for the club like "Let's Roll" but there are a lot of slower more introspective, tracks, "The Last Song" too. It all comes together into an album that's anybody would be glad to have on their shelf. There are a lot of collabs on this album, but they never seem out of place. It always remains Yelawolf's album, not everyone's but his. The lyrics are top notch and while the production is good it sometimes sounds like it's been done before. Overall this is probably going wind in the top 5 of my best of the year list.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dark Clouds Playlist

Album Review: Gym Class Heroes: Papercut Chronicles II

Gym Class Heroes
The Papercut Chronicles II

I like it, but it's not a hard album. A lot of its lyrics are introspective, but it's never a sad or angry album. It's a clubber, probably one the DJs are going to be spinning on ladies nights for years to come. A lot of the tracks are about love come and love lost, but like Annie Hall it's always optimistic about the whole affair.

Are there some rough patches in the album. Sure but it always seems to keep saying that things will get better. That and the music behind the lyrics is so incredibly "dancey" that you can't take it entirely seriously.

Like I said it's not a heavy or serious album. It's happy. Really, really, really happy. Even when it's trying not to be it's almost sickeningly perky. But...a little pop especially when it's good pop now and again isn't a bad thing.

Now excuse me, I have to listen to N.W.A, Motorhead and the Dead Kennedys to restore my melancholic ph levels. You're an angry hell-raiser Miles. You are a son of Cain!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

November 14, 2011 Southfield City Council Meeting

City Council meeting held in Southfield Michigan on November 14, 2011

Topics Include
  • Replacing Mobile Data Computers in Police Vehicles
  • Whether or Not to Move Forward With the Construction of a Nature Interpretative Center at Carpenter Lake
  • The Election of Officers for the New City Council
  • The Need to Renovate or Remodel Several Parks and Recreation Buildings and Facilities.

An agenda and related documents can be found here.
An audio file of the meeting can be found here.

Note: Due to technical difficulties a very brief (two minutes) portion of audio is missing early into the meeting.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Nickelback Situation

Okay now I'll write about something that's been bothering me for a while. The Nickelback problem. Nickelback has been tapped to do the Lions Thanksgiving halftime show and people are sort of freaking out about it. In all honesty I don't watch sports so I don't care. But As a guy whose interested in music I do have to listen to a lot of Nickleback hate.

Half of it, hell most of it, I don't think they deserve. It goes beyond hey I don't like this band to rabid burn the damned (no literally damned) heretic territory.

A lot of it turns into just plain old duchebaggery. Like that time some jackass threw rocks at them on stage and people in the tube verse applauded that shit.

There are reasons not to like them, but at some point it changed from a mediocre band who got way too much radio airtime to the band people love to loathe. Heck often time people bash them because they became the band popular to bash. I swear it's worse than Limp Bizkit.

I... I... I... somewhat don't entirely dislike... alright I like them. I thought "Rockstar" was funny.

I thought "How You Remind Me" was a decent ballad, and that Dark Horse overall was a pretty solid album.

All that said I still hate what they represent. I'll get to that in a bit, but I recognize that it's not their fault. They're doing exactly what they should; trying to put out the best music they can and see where the dice fall. This is their job and they're going to do it. I wouldn't have it any other way.

However, Nickelback is the niggling reminder of how far radio has fallen. See in the late 90's at least where I'm from you had the classic rock station and the contemporary rock station.

They were run by the same company, but they each had their own feel, and they were awesome. No more commercial free rock block for you though. Now they're just mirrors of each other. It's getting rarer and rarer to hear new cuts on them and when they do play a song from the last 5 years it's almost always, Disturbed, The White Stripes or you guessed it Nickelback.

And to make it worse it's not even really the station's, well at least the programming director's fault either. A confluence of events has gotten us to this point.

The rise of the internet, rise of the active rock format, the possibility of the performing rights act, the consolidation of media outlets, all got us to this point.

These are things Nickelback had nothing to do with. I can't and shouldn't blame them for that.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Southfield School Board Meeting November 8, 2011

School Board Meeting Held in Southfield, Michigan on November 8, 2011

Topics Include:

  • Issues regarding the lack of a permanent teacher in a special education class
  • The Superintendent's visit to Saudi Arabia
  • The District's strategic plan
  • An update regarding issues brought up in the last meeting regarding online learning.
  • A flood that took place at Birney Middle School
  • Relay For Life a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society that was held at Southfield High School
  • Opposition to State Senate Bill 34 which would eliminate Michigan's Personal Property Tax as well Opposition to Charter Schools
  • Student and Parent Connect, Websites that allow students and parents to see grades and attendance
An agenda and related documents can be found here.
An audio file of this meeting can be found here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Album Review: Megadeth: Th1rt3en

4/5 Stars

The worse I can say about this album is that it's not Endgame. That said it is still really really good.

The best way I can describe this album is by saying its a Megadeth album. It doesn't reinvent the wheel. If you're a fan of the band, you'll probably dig the album. That said it's that same reason that it's not a classic album. Endgame at least for me in a lot of ways sounded ... new and old. This album sounds like some lost 90's cuts, some great lost 90's cuts but still some lost 90's cuts. Again that's not bad if you're a fan of the band. The 90's were arguably when it was in its prime. That said these tracks are all killer and no filler. There wasn't a point in the album where it dragged. Eh I don't know. All in all my detractions come from my feeling that it's not as good as Endgame. It's not bad, but it's not as good as Endgame! There isn't a "44 minutes" in this album, and "44 minutes" was pure awesomeness concentrated into 5.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Bus Situation

The Scene at Northland Mall on Friday morning. Trust me it's not normally like that.

Yeah Friday I took the bus to Youmacon the same day the bus drivers walked out. It wasn't so bad for me because the SMART buses took me where I wanted to go. Okay for those that don't know, in Detroit there are two bus systems SMART and DDOT. The DDOT busses are run by the city of Detroit and the SMART buses are run by... okay it's complicated. They go through three counties, and I would have to do more research than I want to figure it out when they aren't even the point of this post.

Anyway for the past month or so the DDOT busses have been having problems. Mostly meaning, for people on the ground incredibly long delays. To be fair, or unfair depending on how you look at it, most of the problems aren't new. I don't even check the DDOT bus schedule anymore because it serves no point and hasn't for a while. You go and hope the bus comes in the next hour. But the delays have gotten longer.

Although most of the people I talk to agree the SMART Buses are more reliable, they also have problems. They're trying to cut service. Again I can mostly get to where I need, but you guys needed some context.

Late Thursday night a bus driver was attacked in the Rosa Parks Transit center. On Early Friday morning the DDOT drivers decided not drive. According to the papers the drivers felt that they're jobs are too dangerous, and based on my experiences I have to agree. A while back uninformed officers would ride the buses, but prior to the attack that wasn't the case anymore. The paper stated that the money to do it was there at some point but nobody knows what happened to it.

Regardless the drivers' decision not to drive left a lot of people in the lurch Friday. A lot of folks couldn't get to work or school, or were just stranded all together. Link

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