Halo 2 is so rad

Halo 2 is so rad. Well, gameplay-wise, anyway. I think overall, if looked at alone, the original Halo is better. It’s put together better. The story and the way everything is designed is just really well done. Halo 2 has a whole bunch of improvements in gameplay and level design, but the story on the whole just isn’t as good.

One thing that I really like, though, and this is what inspired me to write about this, is that you get to find out more about the Covenant Elites.

In the first Halo, the Elites are pretty smart. They dodge your shots, they know if you’re able to see them or get a shot at them. They curse in an alien language when attacked and laugh at you when they kill you. I always figured that the stuff they were saying was really smart, that they went to really good schools, and that they were good kids with families that had summer homes. They enjoy the finer things in life. Kinda like the German officer Wilm Hosenfeld in “The Pianist”. Maybe the Elites have pictures of their families in their quarters back on their ship and really sophisticated hobbies.

Finding more about the Elites is a treat in Halo 2. You even get to be one. When the story begins, it follows the Master Chief (the hero) as he is being commended for destroying the Halo in the first game. At the same time, in distant Covenant territory, the Elite officer in charge of stopping the humans is sentenced to death by a council of higher-up Elites and their Prophets for a military failure so bad that they consider it heresy (they believe the Halo destroyed by the humans is sacred). The Prophets later that simply killing that Elite would be a waste and devise better plans for him. They decide to make that punished Elite an “Arbiter” which has some kind of special role in their society. He gets a special suit. You are sent off to kill a Prophet which is considered a heretic because he found out the true purpose of the Rings (what they call the Halos discovered by the Master Chief in the first game) – they’re weapons designed by the Forerunners (an ancient alien race killed by the Halos) to wipe out all sentient life for light-years all around them as a last-ditch measure against a widespread infestation of a parasitic race called “The Flood”. Another class of creatures in The Covenant called “Brutes” stage a coup and take the place of the Elites as assistants and counselors to the Prophets.

As their name suggests, these creatures are filthy and big. They’re pretty smart, but the Elites believe they are superior. The Brutes believe the same thing (but you know, vice-versa), and they see themselves as part of a new way … that they finally got the Elites out of power. I see a sort of Democrat/Republican relationship there. The Brutes being the Republicans, naturally. The similarities don’t go too deep, so I’ll stop there.

The Elites in Halo 2, to my delight, speak English. I’m so pleased that I was right about the Elites. They hold a high place in society, they’re tough opponents (new AI makes them even tougher), and they speak with dignity. My favorite part of the game is in the chapter called “Fight Club”. You’re playing as “The Arbiter”. After taking out a whole bunch of Brutes, several Elites are dropped from the sky in special cannisters to join you in battle. Elites only wield Covenant weapons like Plasma Rifles, Needlers, and the elegant Energy Blades. So with a couple of Elites by your side, you run through a corridor and go through a room filled with a collection of weapons. Mostly human weapons like shotguns, a rocket launcher, etc. and the “Brute Shot” gun. One Elite, in his gruff voice angrily says, “What vulgar taste; even as trophies these weapons are worthless!”

I love that.


Los Angeles, California – The United States of America
BACK … yes! After 14 months of pure adventure … much longer than I had originally intended … I’m here. Actually, been back for exactly three weeks now. Nothing much has happened. Well, yes … but no. Seen lots of people … and then sometimes I feel like I haven’t seen anyone. Miss the desert folks … the Tribe … but hopefully I can find some of them this weekend. You see, since I don’t have a car to more around with, I’ve been pretty immobile. Sort of isolated here in distant Sierra Madre … an expedition’s distance from anything of note.

People don’t really walk too much in LA. I don’t really need to go over this … it’s a car city. But there are actually options for us two-footers … and I’ve been forced to use them. Lucky for me, the new Gold Line of the Metro ends a few miles away. A nice bus or bike ride downhill, and I’m there. In 40 relaxing, sight-filled minutes, I’m at Union Station (the police station in Blade Runner) and in 40 more subterranean ones I reappear in Hollywood thanks to the Red Line. Then there’s buses everywhere. It’s a gigantic city … and although it’s very inconvenient to not have a car … life is possible.

Did the high school reunion. It was fantastic. It was great. My only wish is that more of my closer friends had shown up. Unfortunately, too many of them are the “too cool for school” type. More on the whole thing some other time.

So anyways, folks. I’m connected again. Back to hours in front of my old friend: my lovely monitor. I’m loving it. It’s catch-up time. Expect more image galleries and more general reminiscing.

It’s a hopeful time. It’s good to be back.

The following screed was originally posted to my old website, satanicpanic.com on 11/15/2000. I was very frustrated with the state of Linux at the time.

That’s right, Linux fucking sucks. It’s a piece of shit that’s just slightly better than Windows 3.1 in its day … hell, it’s even worse in many respects when you think about it. Don’t like that comment? Fine, I challenge you to a physical fistfight. Just email me and I’ll tell you how to get here in Southern California, USA. Oh, and don’t bother sending me an email that disagrees with what’s written below, save your time and come fight me.

Wondering why I’m so pissed off? Maybe you’re thinking “Oh, but Linux is this best operating system available” or “How can you say that? Micro$uck is terrible and Linux is free!” Give me a break, asshole. As an operating system to run common applications on … Windows 2000 wins. “But wait, StarOffice runs on Linux!” Ever try it? It’s a horrible piece of shit. MS Office sends it to hell. “Yeah, well you can run WINE, the WIndoze emulator on Linux.” Ok, how long did it take you to “install” WINE? Even with Debian’s “dselect” utility (my favorite – which makes most package installs totally easy but only runs on Debian Linux), I had stupid, terrible problems with the install. It says it requires all these other packages and then they all conflict with each other. So if you installed it and it worked on your first try, you don’t qualify to disagree. Try to modify WINE’s .conf files. See you next year. And make Samba work, too, nerd.

Remember how pathetic modifying .INI files by hand back in the day was? No one considered it a noble or respectable activity, right? How is hacking at a .conf file today any different?

“Apache Server is the most reliable, stable server out there. Oh yeah, and ever try running DNS or mail servers on NT or Win2k? Now what’s up?” Ok, sure, Apache and bind and sendmail are all pretty badass … but try upgrading these guys … or running into any problems whatsoever. You’ll begin crying like a little baby in front of all your co-workers and look like a total wuss while the boss fires you. Now you may think that I’m some sort of MS zealot. HELL no, you’re definitely wrong there. But at least IIS comes standard with all the necessary SSL stuff. Lets put SSL on a working Apache install, OK? Surprise! You’re in for a world of hurt. First, you’ll see that there are two competing forks of free SSL software. ApacheSSL and mod_ssl … and the latter talks shit about the prior one in the docs! WTF?! Next, you’ll have to download all of the damn pieces of required crap, read all of their docs, and compile them properly. Wait a second, looks like you’ll have to recompile Apache, too! Remember all of the little modules and special configs you used a few months ago when you compiled it last (if you even did it at all)? I’ll bet that you don’t. And if you did, you may not even have made good notes! Well, maybe since you’re recompiling all of Apache, you should get the newest-est version. Fine, remember to find all the newest-est versions of all those damn mod_whatevers, too. Forgot what their docs said? No problem, read them again and stick a broken pencil up your cock while you’re at it. So, a month goes by and you look a year older … try configure and make and all that shit, “what does it mean that it can’t find ‘ar’??? What is it anyway?” It’s some kind of little program used with “make”, I guess. Type in “find / -name ar -print | more” or “locate ar | more” (if you have locate installed) to find it. Then put it in your .cshrc or equivalent. What is that? I’m not telling you, go lay down over $100 for the appropriate damn O’Reilly books and get “Linux Administration for Dummies” while you’re at the store (your boss needs this now, you can’t wait for Amazon). Maybe there’s a thousand other problems left in your syntax and install methods. GOOD LUCK MOTHERFUCKER.

Wouldn’t you rather have server software that rocked AND was totally configurable with checkboxes and pulldown menus? Yeah … but when? I’m tired of all this crap. It’s all needlessly complex. Like why in the hell are KDE and Gnome duplicating each other’s efforts while claiming to be doing what’s best for users and (I hope) admins?

Oh, here’s one: “You’re a whining pussy … just take it like a man.” NO, this is bullshit. I’d be enthusiastic about learning shit like this if I knew the information was going to be useful at all in two years. The only people who need to know this hooey are people who make device drivers … not someone who can’t get a refresh rate higher than 60Hz at 1024×768! I should just learn how to operate a backhoe or something and come back to computing in about two or three years. Then everything will work properly. All the righteous *NIX zealots will talk about how they used to configure everything by hand, and NO ONE WILL GIVE A SHIT.

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