17 January 2006

Empathy for Big Tobacco -or- Making Big Space Bucks

This is an EVE Online story, so those of you uninterested in my latest MMORPGing please turn back now.

The EVE game is fascinating in that it makes seemingly mundane tasks, fun.  Not fun as in "Disney world" fun -- more like "getting off of work" fun.  My big thing these days is teamstering.  I put out these big-ass orders of trade goods such as frozen food, panes of glass, wine, depleted uranium, hydrogen batteries and tobacco.  Then, after all sorts of people get rewarded for killing pirates and rescuing helpless space miners with a couple of packs of cigarettes, they collectively say "Crap! What am I gonna do with 100 packs of virtual smokes?  Well," they continue, "I guess I could try to sell them.  Let me look at the market."  They then pull up a market window and see that they can sell their 100 packs of cigs for 60 bucks each (smoking is expensive in the future) but they have to go across the galaxy to sell them at the good rate -- in the game that translates to 6000 bucks for about 30 minutes of effort.  Any player worth their salt can make ten times that amount other ways -- so frequently people just toss the smokes, or hold onto them for a better deal later.

This is where I come in.  I am that better deal later.  I put out a galaxy-wide order for smokes, not at the high price of 60 bucks a pack, but a more reasonable 10 bucks a pack.  This way when the guy with 100 packs of red apples looks at the market, they have a choice: hold onto those cancer sticks hoping that they might find their way over to the $60 deal.  -Or-  Right now, they can sell them to me for $10 each.  They get a quick $1000 for their effort.

Now its a real pain for me to make money on this deal.  After all, now I have to go to place the cigs were sold (remember I put out a galaxy-wide order, people can sell them to me from anywhere) pick up the cigs, and then haul over where I can get $60 for a pack.  I have probably doubled the effort required to do the trade.  BUT if I get a lot of people doing the "sell me 100 packs" all over the galaxy, then I can sweep from solar system to solar system picking up 100 packs here, 100 packs there, et cetera.  And then I can haul over to Secondhandsmokus and sell them at my bitchin' x6 markup at 60 bucks a pack.

This little trick has netted me tons of cash.  I guess its really not a trick and it's hardly little.  But its all about quantity, baby!

On the downside of being a teamster, I am a huge target to other players.  I do these trades in big industrial ships that are slow slow slow.  If some less-than-savory soul spies me and scans my cargo hold they may get dollar signs in their eyes salivating over taking all my smokes for themselves.

Fortunately I am a member of a corporation with some (though not a ton of) firepower.  Me and my virtual co-workers (which are actually, real-life co-workers, ironically) team up hauling stuff everywhere with a couple trigger-happy cowboys packing shotguns for the ride.  It really gives quite a wild west flavor as three of us move around in these lumbering tugs while two or more decked out space cruisers ride astride keepin' us all warm and safe.

Like I said, more like “getting’ off of work” fun.

12 January 2006

Wedding Gifts for Being in a Wedding

I was the best man at PlasticKelly's and CelticGypy's wedding (links provided later -- they are found on my hotlinks to the right for those so inclined as Doomsday Kelly and Days and Nights of Nat).  Anyway, it is traditional that a the people getting married give gifts to those in the wedding.

An Aside:  I don't know why, and I'm not sure I approve of the practice.  We live in a capitalistic society and right now, and after Christmas, capitalism kinda pisses me off -- but that's for a later discussion.  (I know that made no sense, but gift giving seems like a practice encouraged by capitalism.  You can link the two statements together now.)  This post is not supposed to be about my complaints about gifts, however, since I am actually very happy with my gifts.  End Aside.

Anyway, PlasticKelly and CelticGypsy (PKnCG from now on) got me a big ole knife as my best man gift.  At first I carried this big ole pocket knife with we everywhere.  Its something like a 3.5 inch blade.  It sounds small, but it ain't -- most pocket knifes are 1.5 inches or smaller, so this one is over twice as large.  But in this modern society of "don't let the terrorists win" I was in constant danger of having it taken from me where ever I went.

What's worse is the new blade is super fun to snap open.  With a flick of the wrist I can draw and open the knife.  I found myself frequently joking with people acting like I was gonna gut them while pulling the blade out super fast.  I found myself at my desk at work flicking it open and closed over and over again while I worked.  All of it combined to make my co-workers a bit nervous around me.  So now I only take it with me every couple of days.  I constantly have to remind myself that it isn't a toy.

But again, the knife isn't why I'm writing this.  The reason is that I got a gift from the groom that I love.  (The gift, not the groom...  Not that I don't love Kelly.  I do, but in a manly way.  No, that's not the way to put it...  Okay, I love Kelly, but I don't want to have sex with him.  You know, normal man-love, not man-on-man love.  You get the picture.)

I had to wear a kilt to his wedding and I couldn't find a decent looking belt for under $100 at the Renaissance faire.  So PK loaned me his.

He's never gonna get that belt back.

Its the best belt I've ever had.  It fits me perfectly and it looks nice with my ratty clothes.  So PK, say sayonara to your belt -- its mine now.  (Chances are he forgot he loaned it to me and thinks he lost it at the faire.)

Writer's Block

Yeah, yeah, I know I keep saying I'm going to write more in this thing and then I don't.  I have tried, though.  I just have some serious writer's block going.  Today is the first time I was able to put a single sentence down.  I have tried a bunch of times in the last couple of weeks, though.

The problem is that this blog has to be something that I want to read.  So if I can't entertain myself with the prose, then I don't want to write it.  Hence the lack of posts here.  I wonder if is due to the lack of creative outlets in my life for the last month?  I haven't played in my DnD game for three or four weeks now.  And my wife and I finished our adoption book about 3 weeks ago (though we are still trying to get it printed correctly.  Bleh!)  I would figure that having no creative outlets would spurn me to use this blog as my creative outlet -- but it doesn't seem to work that way.  Its kinda like they feed each other.  I don't know.

I finally have some topics that interest me however, so posts on the following are forthcoming:
  • My gift(s) for being the best man at PlasticKelly's/CelticGypsy's wedding
  • Trading tobacco for bookoo bucks in space
  • DnD update -- a visit to the library!
  • A rant on the current state of bad words in modern America
I will at least write up the first three.  I have tried to write the last piece twice now, and it gets way too profane for me to post it in a public forum.  Still, I may take another shot at it.