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Friday, August 30, 2013

Wanted: World Federation of Online Gaming

Last month, PC Gamer US issue #243: The 100 Greatest PC Games of All Time listed Eve Online in position number 12. That is a very nice feather in the cap of CCP. But as CCP's PR officer, Eldar Ástþórsson, said in an interview with News of Iceland, "Many games on this list are old and not very popular anymore, while EVE is still growing bigger and stronger, not least because of the constant development it goes through." (Emphasis mine.)

This is great news for player and developer alike. It's at times like this I can't help but feel there is a momentum behind CCP and its New Eden vision. We now have Dust, and someday, hopefully soon, we will have Valkyrie. There is a television program in the works. More has happened with the Eve universe in the past year than all the years I've played. And this keeps CCP in the news. People are noticing. Interest is growing, so it seems. But isn't there something bigger going on here?

I do not believe CCPs success is only due to CCPs diligence. Gaming as a whole seems to be coming into it's own. The winning DOTA 2 team earned over a million dollars. The League of Legends final at the Staples Center in Los Angeles sold out in less than an hour. I can watch a tournament almost any given weekend on and see a venue filled with paying gamers. Gaming is becoming the 21st century's contribution to professional sports.

To that end, I find myself wondering if any game company could successfully insert itself into the daily fabric of human existence as well as the National Football League or the Fédération Internationale de Football. Could we one day see game tournaments displayed on bar flat screens? Only if gaming companies stop competing where it doesn't matter. Offloading tournaments to an independent association would make the entire industry more successful in my opinion. If growth continues as it has, that will become paramount to the future success of all games that aspire to Super Bowl sized audiences.

And I'm not talking about this association being Major League Gaming. MLG is more like ESPN than the NFL or FIFA. MLG might be one of the broadcasters, but it is insufficient for promoting the sport as a whole. It is not without it's own bias. It is, after all, out to make money itself. What I'm advocating is an independent body, funded by the gaming industry as a whole and thus non-profit. It would develop and oversee the rules of competition, broadcasting, sponsorship, etc. It would be the clearing house for disputes, the coordinator of conflicting schedules and the final word, within a pre negotiated framework, for tournament (not game) rules.

Currently it seems each company goes it alone to promote their own game; using their own resources. But their agenda is the same as every other company. They want to attract fans - the players of their game. And it almost feels like they operate under the assumption each player is only interested in their game. But that isn't how we gamers operate. We all play multiple games for the most part. Some of us even play DOTA 2 while playing Eve Online... using the Eve Online mumble channel no less! How annoying is that? But that's a pet peeve. Back to the subject at hand. I myself love to watch Starcraft II tournaments while waiting for something to happen in New Eden. But I'd never play in one. I suck at Starcraft II. But that doesn't blunt my interest in it. Wouldn't it be better for the industry as a whole if we were treated as gamers in general, rather than Eve Online players or DOTA 2 players? Embrace the concept of 'and,' and it would be a more accurate reflection of what goes on in real life. Competition does not mean mutually exclusive goals.

When an infrastructure is built embracing gamers and the games they play/watch as a whole, I think it will encourage sponsors to participate more. Currently they have to independently negotiate with each company holding a tournament. Then they might have to negotiate with MLG, or for event advertising as well. Then there are the sponsorship contracts with the star teams. If there was a world association representing all facets of gaming, then sponsors, participants and gaming companies would only have to negotiate once to reap the rewards of consolidation. Isn't that how the NFL works? It certainly works that way for the NCAA.

Having an independent body would also give all interested parties an arbitration mechanism. Furthermore, sooner or later some player will figure out how to "dope" and gain an unfair advantage. I don't know how this would be done, perhaps neural activity enhancers like a New Eden combat booster pill, but when it does happen an association will give the industry a means for enforceable penalties. As with all sports, self-policing is vital to the future health of the industry as a whole. Current mechanisms for doing this are simply too disjointed to be effective in my opinion.

Once a unified sporting framework is established, it would serve as an anchor for all the bloggers and journalists who want to report on such events. Businesses who employ gamers and have customers who are gamers can offer League of Legend championship tickets to their best customers instead of Laker tickets - as the situation may warrant. This will likely become more prevalent as the rearguard of the 20th century retires and millennials take over business.

The only question remaining in my mind is when does Fantasy Final Fantasy take off in the office? I suppose that'll only happen if they produce a team based version of the game: something that leverages the new large scale PvP system in A Realm Reborn. I figure that'd be more likely if an independent association promoting gaming as a whole gave them a tournament framework to develop around. More important than fantasies though, this could be the feedback loop into development channels; allowing companies to stop wasting effort on unwanted content. As part of the association's mandate, it could independently poll gamers to see what they really want. For a quick guide, look at how text voting works for reality shows. That isn't done so much to determine who wins, but to guide the writers (yes, reality T.V. uses writers) on how to shape future episodes. The same mechanism could be invaluable to game companies who seem to miss more often than they hit.

Yes, gaming has come a long way since my nerd friends and I gathered at the bowling alley to best each other in Star Castle. Back then we were looked down upon as weird and possibly mental. But the best of us from then might earn thousands of real dollars today with the skills routinely ridiculed by our teachers and classmates as a waste of time. However, the industry needs to mature a bit more for full realization of its potential. It needs to take that next giant step for gaming. No one owns the game of football - either version. The gaming industry needs to not own online gaming in the same way. I think they're getting there, just a bit slowly. So hurry up would you. I'm not getting any younger.

Watch Out

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Echo in the Echo Chamber

I've been running a little experiment over on reddit. Make no mistakes, I understand the current culture of the Eve Online subreddit. I know it's not very open to my playstyle. But it's also one of those sites to which I've never paid much attention. I prefer a more substantive read than what the links on that newsgroup-wannabe-remake give. But some bloggers are really high on reddit, so I thought I'd go ahead and check out the dope that is the subreddit /r/eve.

Well, it's an interesting place alright. It's chock full of funny pictures and from time to time some really good stories. It's also an extreme echo chamber, and a poor reflection of all that Eve Online is. In case you're wondering what I mean, let me lay it out for you.

An echo chamber is a place where "information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission inside an "enclosed" space, often drowning out outside views." This is per the Wikipedia explanation of an echo chamber as it applies to media. So does reddit do this? Does it prompt what is in essence groupthink and suppress outside views?

Yes, it does and here is why. It is sad but true the mechanism which makes reddit an echo chamber was originally created to combat spam - the scourge of the Internet age. In an attempt to stop spam, reddit enacted the karma point system. Posters get positive karma points for up votes. They get negative karma points for down votes. The worse your karma, the harder it is for you to post anything. In some fantasy vision of how the internet works, this would stop reddit spammers dead in their tracks.

That's hopelessly naive. Instead the system has become the reward for a primal habit loop - one most people are unaware they have. Furthermore, I believe it's been subverted into an echo chamber amplification device. With a game like Eve Online it's easy. Just get all your alliance mates to upvote a post of which you approve and you generate lots of positive karma points for that post. The more alliance mates you have, the more up votes you create. Peer pressure and an instinctual desire for approval does the rest. And as we all know (don't we?) peer pressure is the single strongest enforcer of social habit to ever come into existence.

Currently I am re-reading a book called The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg. The last portion of the book speaks to the power of peer pressure, which is a form of social habit. Without it, the Montgomery bus boycott and the Freedom Summer project would never have happened. In that instance, peer pressure was used to get people involved and to create social change. When it appeared that every member of the black community would boycott, that ensured practically every member of the black community would join the boycott. No one wanted to be pointed at and accused of not participating when they believed everyone else would be participating. In that instance, it served the greater good - Montgomery Alabama buses were desegregated, and Martin Luther King Jr. was catapulted onto the national stage. Unfortunately peer pressure is much more likely to be used to maintain the status quo and support echo chambers.

So how does this apply to /r/eve? Simple, every up or down vote is peer pressure. It says "I approve of what your are saying" or it says "I don't approve of what you are saying." People are social animals. We crave (there's that habit loop again) acceptance. We want up votes, not down votes. So we say those things that get us up voted. Furthermore, we post stuff with which other subscribers, people in our social group, are familiar and comfortable in order to garner their up votes, because they will reject anything else no matter what.

Here is a case to that last point from the same book. Remember the song "Hey ya!" by OutKast? Great song right? It spent like nine weeks at the top of the chart right? Well, not initially. The interesting thing about that song is it broke many of the familiar trends in modern hip-hop of the time. I mean really, where did that Beetles-esk stuff come from anyway? Though every indication the music industry had said it would be a smash hit, when it originally aired most people changed the radio station (yes, they can track that.) People HATED the song. It didn't conform to what they thought a good song should be like. They were not comfortable with it so they rejected it by turning to a different station - the quintessential down vote.

The music industry had to backstep quickly. They pulled the song from the airwaves while they figured out what went wrong. When they understood it was because the song was so different, they started sandwiching it between very familiar songs by well established artists like Beyoncé. They put it between songs that are known as "sticky." These are songs listeners almost never change the dial on. So listeners got a sticky song, then "Hey Ya!" and then another sticky song. They stopped changing the station and soon everyone was singing "Hey Ya!" as their idea of "familiar" and "normal" was actively manipulated.

This cannot happen on reddit (actually it can but more on that in a minute.) Reddit as a company does not have enough control of the postings for this to ever be. They, as a business, cannot sandwich uncomfortable (unpopular) posts between comfortable (popular) ones. Reddit just doesn't work that way.

Those things that are unfamiliar and different will always invoke the "change the station" response. In reddit parlance, they will receive heaps of negative karma. Those things that are familiar and comfortable will get the up votes. Up voted redditors will continue to be allowed to post their familiar and comfortable stuff. The rest will be highly encouraged to go away - as I was it predictably turned out. Had I not done what I did on purpose, I probably would have given up - or gotten banned.

Why might I have gotten banned? I tested the supposition that unpopular posts, and the poster who submits them, would suffer extreme impediments to having a voice. During my experiment, I actively trolled two of the subscribers. The blog post I'd linked was already very unpopular. I made the post even MORE uncomfortable for /r/eve redditors - on purpose. I trolled them hard, to provoke a habit. I got negative karma out the wazoo. Within hours I was being told by reddit, "You've done that too much. Try again in 24 hours." It included posts linking other blogs and images - things reddit supposedly wanted me to post. It even restricted the comments I could make telling Eve redditors what a great story they had. The only thing I could do was vote, so I tried upvoting other submissions, and I'm not even certain those were recorded as my karma remained persistently negative for over two days. I had to go to this web site to learn how to game the reddit system so I could continue my experiment. Fortunately, I wasn't outright banned for gaming the system as some have been. However, I could see that coming, so decided my experiment was over after one more post and after one of the redditors called me on my ploy. Was he actively looking at the other legitimate subreddits I'd posted on to see why my karma had suddenly shot up? Why would he do that? What sort of dog did he have in that hunt? Interesting questions aren't they?

This is a serious problem for the Eve community. Why? Because it's so damn easy to manipulate redditors with this system, and reddit is huge. Reddit itself cannot control posts as the music industry controlled playlists. To do so would no doubt get it in trouble not only with it's subscribers but perhaps the authorities as well. That sort of tampering may be expected from the music industry, but not the Internet where everyone has the right to say anything (within decency limits.)

But just because reddit itself cannot control subreddit culture, that doesn't prevent outside groups from doing it. The Internet is awash in people's stories about having had extremely negative run ins with reddit bans precipitated by other redditors. All a group has to do is be organized enough to up vote what they approve and down vote anything they don't like, and report those who buck their system. They can then use the culture they've molded to perpetuate their own point of view. They can sandwich posts that basically say, "And we are all these things of which you approve," between awesome noob stories of life and PvP in New Eden, and they will find themselves approved of as well. That is so long as they have bent the norm to view their desired culture as familiar and accepted.

They don't even have to intercede every day. They just have to do it consistently until it becomes the norm. Over time, everyone will come to expect posts to conform to that norm. Those will be the familiar posts. The comfortable posts. Anyone coming into reddit unaware of this normative bias will internalize it. They will adopt it as their own. They will not tolerate anything that disturbs that comfort zone. The moment when other redditors start doing the down voting for them, the group pulling the strings can sit back, watch and smile. Mission accomplished.

In that way, a relatively small number of well coordinated individuals with a single purpose can shape the habits of the larger social group. In this instance, it's the 38,000 or so subscribers to /r/eve. It was once said that repeating a lie often enough will eventually make even the liar believe it. There is more wisdom to that statement than most give credit. But it isn't the lie that is the important part of that wisdom. It is the knowledge of how the lie transforms from something that goes against the familiar, to something that is familiar. Even if rationally we still know it's a lie, repeated constantly it will become so ingrained into our daily lives it will become familiar to us. We will expect to hear the lie. We will incorporate it into our routine and eventually accept that it is always going to be there. The lie becomes a familiar and accepted thing - the truth in other words. Another urban myth is born, or subreddit controlled.

Is this reddit's fault? Are their administrators culpable? No, they are just a company trying to make money in a cutthroat business. They have to obtain subscribers to survive and they can do so as they see fit. The fact they seem to actively encourage this is nothing I will lose any sleep over. I don't have to use reddit. Hell, I don't even like reddit. It's so shallow compared to true Usenet as to make me laugh.

What does bother me is all those, "I'm new to Eve Online and have a question" posts by new subscribers to /r/eve. Those noob posters don't know the version of reality they are getting is a carefully constructed, one sided view of everything Eve Online has to offer. There may be a world of different opinions that could help them make important decisions better, but they will not be seen by new redditors. The echo chamber will see to that.

Think about that the next time you peruse /r/eve, or any highly frequented and popular Eve metagame site. Ask yourself, "Is there groupthink going on here? Am I being manipulated? If so, by whom and to what end?" To me, the answer is obvious. But all you have to do is be aware of what is going on; that your Eve cultural habits may be purposeful constructs. Then you are prepared to make rational, informed decisions. Maybe you'll decide you like the constructed norm and your habit loop will remain unchanged. Maybe you'll decide you don't like it and change your Eve routine. Either way, at least you won't be a chump.

Watch Out

    "Echo Chamber (media)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 08 Oct. 2013. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <>.
      "Hey Ya!" Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 26 Aug. 2013. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <!>.
        Duhigg, Charles. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business (3520700000553): Charles Duhigg: Books. Random House, Feb. 2012. Web. 26 Aug. 2013. <>.

        Chump: a foolish or easily deceived person.

        Monday, August 26, 2013

        Paranoid PI Flying

        If there is one thing I do well it's paranoia. If I had to name one thing as the reason I remained a lone wolf high-sec carebear for over four years, it would be paranoia. I just knew everyone was a liar, cheater, ganker or aspired to be one of those things. After all, isn't that what Eve Online is billed as? It's everyone versus everyone, and I wasn't going to let anyone get me. And I was very successful at it for over four years.

        One thing I learned early on was defensive flying. I've never jet can mined. I've never AFK mined. If I can't take the time to warp to zero on a gate, I simply dock up until I have the time. I use fast warp outs on all the major and minor trade hubs as well as any other station I frequent. I have never auto piloted with cargo in the hold - ever. And the only reason for all of this is simple paranoia. It's my hard work; I'll do whatever is necessary to see it to market.

        This philosophy has served me well in Anoikis. Out here, there really is a cloaked strategic cruiser behind every Customs Office. Anyone not blue is out to get you - and sometimes even the blues. There is no such thing as a safe route. Paranoia is your best strategy as a carebear.

        To that end, I've put together an eight minute video on how to fly paranoid while doing your Planetary Interaction pickups and cross leveling. Since POCOs are fixed in space and easily camped, they are a natural ambush location. This video covers the technique I use to minimize risk and the reasons I use it. This technique is easily practiced in high-sec and you should practice: it works well everywhere. Make it a habit. It will save your cargo one day.

        Watch Out

        PS: I really thought about blanking certain things out of this video for operational security reasons. But it took my friend Kao Jai, whom I did not tell where home is, less than 60 seconds to figure it out. He went to the SYJ killboard and then he went to and started entering J numbers. If he could do it, anyone can do it - no offense Kao. It's just that easy to figure out so there is no sense in hiding it.

        Saturday, August 24, 2013

        New Blogger Heads Up

        Hey, I was just perusing reddit (a site I hate but can't stay away from *rolls eyes*) and I discovered this post from a new blogger named Nalestom about something I was just doing yesterday. I had a quick look, and though he only has two (2) posts so far, I am liking what I'm seeing. He's another Anoikis care-badger it seems! I've added him to my EvE Blogs that Inspire list and I think we all should keep an eye on what he's doing. You can never have too many blogs!
        Blogger: Nalestom
        Blog: World Wide Webifier
        By the way, I love your tagline N-A-L. *LOL*

        Watch Out

        Friday, August 23, 2013

        Gas Harvesting in a Wormhole System

        Ship Fits for Anoikis Carebears 
        Gas Harvesting Domi in Action

        Behnid Arcani left this comment on my Wednesday post:
        "@ Mabrick
        I'd love to see more on the carebear nature of WH space. Most of the time people only talk about the PvP of each area of the game, but very few people do that everyday. I want to know what people are actually doing day-to-day in WHs."
        To be sure there are operational considerations that always take precedence in Anoikis. Don't share too much information about what you do and where you do it. It is difficult to find people in a wormhole system, but it is far from impossible.

        Remember when HBHI launched the Chimera we built in our old class 3 and I posted about it? I was very careful not to mention what system we were in or anything else too specific. That didn't matter, I'd already wrote enough. Some very good pilots from Surely You're Joking had no problem finding us. That lead to a predictable outcome and a not so predictable outcome. But I learned the lesson. Operational Security is always the prime consideration in Anoikis.

        With that in mind, I don't see why I can't shed a little light on carebear activities in Anoikis so long as I keep situational details to a minimum. I will start out with gas harvesting. Gas, known officially a Fullerite-C##/###, is available in all Anoikis systems. However, the really profitable stuff (C320 and C540) is in the C5 and C6 systems. I've never looked for gas in a C1 or C2 because the ISK to hour ratio is just not that good. C3/4 harvesting of C28 and C32 was acceptable and furthermore can be done by a single pilot.

        And about that last comment, gas sites are protected. Once you land on site, there is a 10 to 15 minute delay before the Sleeper fleet will arrive. In our old C3 I handled these with my harvesting ship's drones. More on that in a moment. In the SYJ C6, I don't go in alone and I don't go in with anything less than a remote repair strategic cruiser. You can not clear these sites by yourself. Just don't try is my advice.

        When HBHI was in the old C3, I used a Dominix as my gas harvesting ship. The Domi has a lot going for it as a gas harvester but it also has some drawbacks.

        • heavy tank
        • lots of combat drones
        • more than enough grid and CPU for five Gas Harvester IIs
        • slow to align
        • small cargo hold
        • relatively expensive
        To overcome some of these cons you use a passive shield tank so your lows are free for cargo expanders and stabs. The tank is enough to absorb Sleeper fire while your drones deal with them. Sleepers love to shoot drones BTW. You will lose them so don't skimp and always keep a full backup set in the POS. Here is the fit I used for gas harvesting in our old C3.

            [Dominix, Gas]
            5x Gas Cloud Harvester II

            2x Large Shield Extender II
            Damage Control II
            2x Large Core Defense Field Purger I

            EM Ward Field II
            2x Adaptive Invulnerability Field II

            4x Expanded Cargohold II
            2x Warp Core Stabilizer II

            Large Anti-Thermal Screen Reinforcer I

            [Statistics - Mabrick]
            Effective HP: 88,190 (Eve: 75,786)
            Tank Ability: 124.75 DPS
            Damage Profile - <Omni-Damage> (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
            Shield Resists - EM: 75.87%, Ex: 77.36%, Ki: 72.83%, Th: 69.98%
            Armor Resists - EM: 57.50%, Ex: 23.50%, Ki: 44.75%, Th: 44.75%
            Capacitor (Stable at 76.29%)

        Gas harvesting in a C6 is a much more dicey proposition. The Sleeper fleet that will oppose your harvesting will kill you if you try it alone. Even if you take a wingman, you will have a tough time of it if your skills are not maxed. Once you clear out the Sleepers, you're free to go back to lone badger harvesting. But until then, get all your care-badger buddies into one of these and go in together. There is safety in numbers.

            [Tengu, RR]
            Tengu Electronics - Dissolution Sequencer
            Tengu Propulsion - Intercalated Nanofibers
            Tengu Offensive - Accelerated Ejection Bay
            Tengu Defensive - Adaptive Shielding
            Tengu Engineering - Capacitor Regeneration Matrix

            Large S95a Partial Shield Transporter
            5x Heavy Missile Launcher II

            2x Large Shield Extender II
            Explosive Deflection Amplifier II
            2x EM Ward Amplifier II

            Damage Control II
            2x Capacitor Power Relay II
            2x Ballistic Control System II

            Medium Capacitor Control Circuit I
            2x Medium Core Defense Field Extender I

            [Statistics - Mabrick]
            Effective HP: 83,721 (Eve: 70,307)
            Tank Ability: 110.00 DPS
            Damage Profile - <Omni-Damage> (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
            Shield Resists - EM: 76.86%, Ex: 80.48%, Ki: 77.95%, Th: 85.30%
            Armor Resists - EM: 57.50%, Ex: 23.50%, Ki: 68.13%, Th: 88.31%
            Capacitor (Stable at 54.95%)

        This is a tinker type fit. A small fleet of these ships are self-supporting for shield reps and have the tank of the harvesting Domi above. They are also nimble enough to minimize Sleeper damage.

        Speaking of nimble, you don't want to mine C5/6 gas in a Domi. Not only is at a huge signature for Sleepers to lock onto, C320 and C540 gas seems to be one resource PvP pilots happily loot. They'll even come back in a hauler to get it. The Domi kill is just icing on the cake. I've seen it happen. In HBHI's C6 home, I use this ship to harvest gas (and mine ore too!)

             [Venture, Trilophosaurus G]
             2x Gas Cloud Harvester II
             Improved Cloaking Device II

             1MN Microwarpdrive II
             2x Cap Recharger II

             Nanofiber Internal Structure II

             3x Small Low Friction Nozzle Joints I

             [Statistics - Mabrick]
             Effective HP: 840 (Eve: 670)
             Tank Ability: 2.07 DPS
             Damage Profile - <Omni-Damage> (EM: 25.00%, Ex: 25.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 25.00%)
             Shield Resists - EM: 0.00%, Ex: 50.00%, Ki: 40.00%, Th: 20.00%
             Armor Resists - EM: 60.00%, Ex: 10.00%, Ki: 25.00%, Th: 35.00%
             Capacitor (Stable at 62.96%)

        This is a Papier-mâché ship to be certain. The only tank it has is a speed tank and that's not even very speedy. What this ship does do is get in and get out quickly and not cost you an arm and a leg if you lose it - and you will sooner or later lose it. But you can buy 13 of these for every Domi harvester - and that isn't even counting drone cost! You can bring these in by the Iteron V load. Keep a dozen on hand and you will be far better off than having that single Domi. This goes for any class of wormhole. Before I brought in the Domi (because I lost the first one moving into the C3) I used a Drake to clear the sleepers and I harvested in a Catalyst. Replace the Catalyst with a Venture and you've got it made in lower class wormhole space. For clearing Sleepers, the Drake is a quarter the cost of the Domi and you can actually get those into a C1/2 system.

        Well, this post is long enough so I'll bring it to a close. If you have any questions please leave a comment on the blog. I'll answer as best I can.

        Watch Out

        Wednesday, August 21, 2013

        It's what the Whole Damn Game's About

        On my last post, "I'm a Blogger, not a Journalist," Gevlon of Greedy Goblin left me this comment,
        "It's good to keep a voice. But can you keep it while not living it? I mean if all your (Mabrick's) day is spent with killing combat ships and dying to them in WH space, what else can you write about than killing combat ships and dying to them in WH space?"
        Well gee Gevlon, that's like asking, "If you spend all your time market trading, are you really playing Eve Online?" Or even better, "If English isn't your primary language, can you still write a blog in English?" No offense man, but that's what your question is like. It's a silly ass question just like my two.

        I spent four and a half YEARS being a high-sec carebear in a NPC or one person corporation. I logged in practically every damn day, taking care of business and making ISK. I did it the old fashioned way: I worked hard, kept my nose to the grindstone and minded my own business. Outside of that, all I did was write this blog.

        Let me put it this way. How long does it take to earn a Masters Degree in the United States? That's right, four years (on average.) I know several people who got their PhD in that amount of time. That's around 12 credit hours a semester which equates to an actual 180 hours of instruction over a 15 week semester. Over four years that's 1440 hours. Double that for your average PhD. Those with such degrees are considered experts in their field of study. To date, I have spent 2799 hours playing Eve Online; most of that as a high-sec carebear.

        My hours playing is more in line with military training than Universty. How long is a standard U.S. Army enlistment? That's right - four years. That's 24x7 training much of the time. My first year in the Army I spent over 6000 hours in full time training - or what we call "in the field." Most other years that figure was more like 1500 hours. And I served in a peacetime Army! U.S. Army soldiers, after four years, are more than experts in their profession. They define what it is to be an infantryman, or artilleryman, or Special Forces.

        After PhDs graduate or soldiers transition to civilian life, do these experts stop being experts? No. They continue to be experts in all those things they learned. So it is that I am still an expert on being a high-sec carebear. I certainly put more than enough time in to earn that degree!

        Furthermore, just because I moved to Anoikis a year ago doesn't mean I've stopped doing carebear things. Banish the thought! I still do PI, mine and help clear Sleeper sites of rats. I just don't have to worry about agents or standing - that is until I need to go to market. Then I am right back in my trusty Iteron V running through high-sec doing that carebear going to high-sec market thing. I still have to avoid gankers. I still have to create market orders. I still have to buy manufacturing supplies for those things I can't get in Anoikis.

        Just because I also have an opportunity to shoot combat ships doesn't mean I do that all the time. In case you've forgotten, T3 hulls and subsystems are not cheap. I have to earn ISK more than ever now. HBHI also has two player owned stations to fuel. I make that fuel - and our ammo. If anything, my time in Anoikis has made be more able to write about what it takes to be a successful carebear. Now I'm exposed to dangers and situations that never develop in high-sec.

        And lastly, does your involvement with TEST make you less an expert on market trading? Do you still, occasionally, give out advice on that topic? Damn straight you do! And people listen. Why? Because you're an E X P E R T. You spent many, many, many hours doing it. So let's stop doubting other people's qualifications in those things with which they have so much experience. I promise you I won't start pretending to be an expert on PvP or ship fits - at least until I've done it for a few hundred hours.

        But that doesn't mean I won't continue to opinionate about goons and their pets and all those other things I loath. I will still rabble-rouse and muck rake and perhaps even make bald-faced unsubstantiated accusations about them. That's not about being an expert. That's just having fun. It's entertainment man, and that's what this whole damn game's about!

        Watch Out

        Monday, August 19, 2013

        I'm a Blogger, not a Journalist

        I'm a blogger. I'm not a journalist. In the infamous words of Rush Limbaugh, "I'm just an entertainer." And believe it or not, I have an audience. And as a blogger, I must give my audience what they want - or at least as much of it as I can. Even if it's incendiary to others. Even if it's only true from a certain point of view. That would be my audience's point of view by the way you knucklehead.

        And one of the things my audience likes are pieces like my last. The one warning high-sec carebears that this winter may be a long one because bored Goons will start griefing them again. Is that statement a fact? Honestly, I've never confused prognosticating about the future with factual material. I can't help you if you have. Most people understand it isn't a fact. Its supposition based on past experiences. The ones named Hulkageddon, Burn Jita and the ministrations of the Ministry of Love - or whatever the hell they call themselves these days.

        Now, my guess about the future may in fact be rooted in some current facts. I did know for a fact that Fatal Ascension was moving into Fountain because a buddy told me he was moving. He is in Fatal Ascension. But he also said I couldn't publish that particular fact just then. It wasn't public knowledge. So I skirted his wishes pretty damn closely. But it was in essence true.

        Now that their sov shows up here, I can say they were given those systems as a reward for their hard work in the war against TEST. That is what my buddy was told. He was a foot soldier in that war. And he did work hard. I know for a fact how hard he worked, so that isn't supposition either.

        He and his FA comrades no doubt deserve a reward - even if they have to pay monthly rent for it. And he also told me there would be an R and R period: rest and riches. They need time to build the place up and make it profitable - you know, so they can pay their rent to Goons.

        Okay, that last bit I added to what he told me. But it's a reasonable extension of the facts relayed to me. It also agrees with what is commonly known across the blogosphere. Just spend a few minutes reading EN24 or TMC and you'll get what I'm on about. In case you don't see it, it's all that stuff about Goons becoming BOB and renting all their space to "pubbies." Oh yeah, all the really good "journalists" are having a field day with it.

        Now me, I'm not pretending to be a journalist. I'm just a blogger. I'm an entertainer. That allows me to look at all the hard work my buddy did, which no doubt deserves a reward, and throw it in the gutter. Just because they worked hard and probably deserve the reward doesn't dissuade me from casting it all in a bad light and calling them "pets." Nor do I have to experience their playstyle to belittle it.

        You see, that's what my audience wants. They don't want me to be like the null-sec l33t PvPers. They want me to be like them. They've told me so. Here's just one example posted back on Hard Boiled Eggs and Nuts,
        "Bloodlust claims another victim. Blegh. 
        Gonna miss the old carebear Mabrick. Truth be told, your blog was a lot more interesting when you were more of a carebear. PvP-centric blogs are...well...they lack a certain level of "why should I read this? Same as any other bloodthirsty PvPhead tear harvester that seems to revel in inflicting misery. Uninteresting.
        My two cents, but a) it's your blog and b) it's your subscription fee. I just don't have the same excitement seeing you updated your blog as I did before you joined SYJ.
        And you know what, I'd rather keep that one reader than attract an entire fleet of l33t null-sec PvPers. So I'll continue to opinionate according to their point of view on this blog. It's what they want. And I'll still throw in stuff about what I do. What I won't do is pretend I want anything to do with Goonswarm or the Goon petting zoo they're creating out beyond NPC null. And since I'm an entertainer and not a journalist, I'll say whatever the hell I want about it. Get it? If you don't, move on, this isn't the blog for you. I've wasted enough time on you already.

        Thank you Amari for reminding me from where I came. Rest assured, I am not filled with blood lust. Nor will I shoot, let alone pod, defenseless carebears. As I said before, when I PvP I shoot combat ships like a real man. Or, as my friend TurAmarth calls me, like a care-badger. And I'll restrict my podding to Anoikis. It's a wormhole kindness. And I'll still continue to fly the middle finger for high-sec griefers, for Goonswarm, and for all things gank on this blog.

        Watch Out

        Friday, August 16, 2013

        It Will Be a Long Winter

        The war is over. The Cluster Fuck Coalition won. TEST could not hold up under the constant strain of around the clock warfare. Their Saint Paul's Cathedral burned to the ground when the fire watch quit. Some will say it was inevitable. That's not worth the pixels needed to display it, but that's what they'll say nonetheless.

        I don't think it was ever inevitable. With that way of thinking, the real Saint Paul's Cathedral would have burned to the ground and England would have been crushed under Nazi boots. Who outside England (and not a few inside I'll warrant) would have bet on England emerging from that onslaught the victor? I would not have. If you put the privilege of 20/20 hindsight aside, neither would have you.

        But the Fountain war is behind us now and it was not the Battle of Britain. The big blue donut is no more. Many would say that is for the best. But is a CFC donut any better? CFC members are already working at removing TEST sovereignty from Fountain. The newly conquered areas are being used by Goonswarm leadership as a reward to their "pets" who fought well. I know this is already happening. Besides, it only makes sense.

        It'll take 30 days for the sovereignty change to finish, give or take. It will take more time for the war weary to recuperate. Even with ship reimbursement, goons et al will need to refill their personal wallets. They will want to settle in and make their new nests home. I figure that'll take another month perhaps. It really depends on the individual.

        What then? Where does null-sec go from there? No, I don't mean it in a figurative sense. I mean it literally. Where do they go? With the big blue donut replaced with an even bigger blue donut, what happens now?

        What do you think happens. We've seen it before. Where did they go at the height of the first big blue donut? Yep, they went to high-sec - where 60% of New Eden's capsuleers reside and nearly 100% of the tears. What else will bored CFC pilots do when there's no one in null-sec they're allowed to fight - again?

        Add to this the possibility the winter expansion might be industry significant. Remember that high-sec POCO comment made by CCP Soundwave during Fanfest? Don't remember? Here, listen (and read) for yourself. Don't have the time. Fine. He said, "My big dream is to let you take them in empire as well." He also said, "These have so much potential." He called them a "low level kind of sov or ownership thing." How lucrative would high-sec become to an alliance like Goonswarm if it could collect taxes from PI carebears by owning all the Custom Offices? That's like free ISK. Do you think that might get Goonswarm's attention? They attacked TEST and fought a months long war for moons. How much easier to take high-sec POCOs from "smaller industrial tycoons" as CCP Soundwave called them?

        Carebears of New Eden, you had better start preparing now. It will be a long winter. I can hear the howling already. The hyenas are coming.[1]

        Watch Out

        [1] Yes, I purposefully mangled the metaphor. Wolves are seen as noble hunters who cooperate to survive. Hyenas are renowned for stealing other predators' kills. They are seen as ignoble thieves and scavengers. They may be feared, but they are also held in contempt.

        Wednesday, August 14, 2013

        Sunday!!! Sunday!!! Sunday!!!

        "Prepare to get annihilated! Sunday!!! Sunday!!! Sunday!!! Be here or be queer," as the commercial says. Sunday night we went on a cruiser roam. We left Amarr at  approximately 23:40 New Eden mean led by Fibian Virpio. We headed to Ami to see what we could find. What we found was a fat lot of nothing. Fibian started to cast about for someplace that had some action.

        He soon found it through contacts he has in Brave Newbies. Our objective was to join Brave Newbies in a fight they'd arranged with Eve University in Gare. Along the way we might engage targets of opportunity, but we weren't going to get embroiled in any big fights - sorry Funky Bacon. We were now on a mission.

        We piled into high-sec and self-warped to get positioned at Cleyd. From Cleyd, Febian took us into low-sec once more. Eventually we positioned ourselves in Aunsou and waited for local to spike in Gare. When Febian confirmed Brave Newbies were in position, we proceeded to the Gare gate in Aunsou. As we warped, local spiked as Eve University entered Aunsou on their way to Gare as well. As one of my fleet mates said, "That's a lot of neutrals."

        We all landed on the Gare gate at the same time. We jumped on contact and then immediately warped to our staging point in Gare. Eve University did not mess with us nor we them. We were all on a mission that night. The fight soon joined at the POCO above Planet V. Here's how the fight unfolded.

        Towards the end there was obviously some confusion. One of our fleet was killed by a BRAVE pilot. That same pilot targetted me. As my blog profile says, I'm not a judge and don't be surprised what happens in a combat zone. I burned for the BRAVE pilot. You can't gank a willing participant, and when you're warp disrupted you can't get away either.

        That is until the FCs sort it out and you get an order to de-aggres. That was fine by me. I really didn't want to kill a brave noob. And it really was all a misunderstanding. You can hear it from Brave Newbies' point of view in the video they made of the fight. Some in Brave Newbies thought we were going to gank them once Eve University disengaged. Well, no, not unless you target me first, but I can easily believe Brave Newbies get a lot of that treatment.

        All in all, I was pretty satisfied with my performance in this fight. I helped take out four opposition cruisers and did top damage on three and final blow on two. My heavy tackle shield Thorax did quite well and I got out of the fight without a scratch, though I forgot to pull my drones back before following the de-aggres order. Oops. So much for those Valkyries II. I hope someone scooped them to put to good use elsewhere. Thank you Brave Newbies for the invite. Thanks Eve University for the good fight. I will definately be doing this again. It was a hoot!

        Watch Out

        Monday, August 12, 2013

        Battleship Brawl

        This weekend certainly broke my week long drought of PvP action. I can't say it was non-stop PvP, but it was more than I typically did in a year before I joined HBHI and then in turn joined Surely You're Joking. In fact, it was the most PvP I've ever had in a single weekend.

        The first action occurred Friday night. The call went out for a battleship fleet. We staged in Amarr and two dozen formed up there at the appointed time. I myself was not in a battleship. I volunteered to fly a scram and damp Arazu. Yeah, this was going to get rough. None of us planned on getting our ships or our pods out.

        We proceeded to Ostingele where we were to wait for the other half of our fleet - the approximately six dozen Talwars flown by members of Brave Newbies that night. In actuality, this was a rematch from a previous encounter SYJ had with a Thanatos the night before. It seems the pilot contacted us for a rematch. We're always game for a well presented rematch offer, even when it's probably a trap.

        At approximately 03:00 New Eden mean time, we arrived on the Alperaute gate in Ostingele. Here we all are still in one piece. Somewhere in all those big boys is a very small but willing Arazu.
        Our Brave Newbie cohorts had just chased the opposing fleet to the other side of the gate. We didn't have long to wait.

        Unfortunately we were outnumbered two to one at this point and to paraphrase Admiral Akbar's second most famous words, "At that close range we won't last long against those battleships!" For whatever reason, Brave Newbies did not immediately jump through the gate. By the time they arrived, it was all over. In those three minutes, I managed an assist on three battleship kills. That put my ISK ration at more than three to one in my favor. That at least is some small recompense for a lost fight. Here's the (not quite correct) battle report for those interested.

        More recompense comes from the experience. There was a lot going on and I quickly succumbed to overlay overload. Even without only hostiles on the combat overlay and no drones, it was still a confusing list of names and colors. I spent far to much time searching for called targets than actually targeting something. The lesson here is TARGET SOMETHING, anything. Leave one available target for what the FC calls and switch to it later. I left far too many of my modules inactive during the fight when they could have been helping the cause. I admit I was saving the damps for the carrier, but that's no excuse. As it turned out, we also had a Celestis in fleet that damped it down to nothing. It left the field shortly after it arrived: ineffective - and by waiting so was I. Besides, at two to one odds they really didn't need the carrier and I could have helped keep the battleships from blowing our logi off the gate in little pieces.

        The other thing I would change in a future engagement is to not stay in the furball. I was close into the gate with my MWD on to hopefully throw off the battleships' tracking. It was wasted effort. They were so well dispersed after coming through the gate it didn't matter how fast I was going. You can't play the transversal game with 40 hostile battleships surrounding you. What I would do different is burn out as soon as I got to the gate: or alternately cancel fleet warp and go in at optimal range for my warp disruptors. I had a 40 kilometer plus range on them and double that on the damps. I could have warped in at 40 with no MWD, kept my signature radius down and limited the damage the battleships could do to me that way. With more experience, I might even be able to kite just out of neut range as that's what ultimately shut me down. The battleships didn't need to shoot me once my capacitor was dry - but of course they did anyway.

        What else might I have done differently flying an Arazu in this battle?

        So that was my first action of the weekend. It was fun. It was thrilling. It made me want to do it again. So Sunday I did it again. It wasn't another battleship brawl but further details will have to wait until my next post on Wednesday. Until then...

        Watch Out

        PS: I am remiss. Good fight Kill it with Fire. Thanks for the invite to the rematch!

        Friday, August 9, 2013

        Story of the Week

        No, I'm not going to start doing a Ripard Teg on you. I value my sleep. ;-)

        I just wanted to share a really cool story I found on reddit. It's an excellent tale of vengeance and well worth the time it takes to read it. My favorite line is near the end,
        "A few seconds later revenge had been served. Tornado guts littered the field."
        I'd have liked to watch that. Here's the link so you can read it yourself.

        It's stories like this that make me think CCP knows what they're doing. I remember all the gnashing of teeth from carebears and pirates alike when the kill right system was announced. It was going to make high-sec too dangerous! It was going to make a pirate's life impossible! Balderdash. It didn't do any such thing. However, it did provide an opportunity for this "young" capsuleer to create his own content and learn what a sandbox is really for. Well done guppshouse, I salute you.

        And to the Russian capsuleer he toasted by opening fire, well played sir - even if you are a ganker. :-p

        On a sadder note, the Eve Altruist is signing off. You can read his farewell here. He will be missed. Good luck in whatever you do man!

        As for my own carebear to PvPer transition, there's not much to report yet. I've gotten one decent playing session in since getting fed up with hardboiled eggs and nuts. We scouted out the pipe that day which led from home through our static C6 to a handy lowsec C140 and a C1 static. The C1 had a HS static so the scouting ended there as we had people to get home. We only saw one piloted ship in the C1 and none in the C6 static. The Heron that landed on the C1 to C6 K162 must have shit bricks when he jumped the WH into a warp disruption field from TurAmarth's heavy dictor. He immediately polarised himself, where my Proteus and another alliance Loki lay in wait. Unfortunately he warped a second before my scram locked and he got away. He left a stream of crap trailing out his waste disposal port though. *LOL* That was the last active pilot we saw the rest of the night. So yeah, totally uneventful week for me. I'm looking forward to the weekend and perhaps a change in fortunes.

        Watch Out

        Wednesday, August 7, 2013

        That's Amore! - A suggestion for Eve Immersion Enhancement

        ""When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore!"

        Oh, don't worry, I'll not subject you to that golden oldie. But ol' Dean-o had a point. Here's the point as it applies to Eve Online.

        This is an Eve Online moon:
        Eve Online Moon
        That's pretty much what all Eve Online moons look like. I've not found one that doesn't look like this. It's a good reproduction of this moon:
        Earth's Moon
        But this is not the only moon in our solar system. There are a great number, most orbiting the gas giants beyond the asteroid belt. And many of these moons look nothing like our moon.

        Io - That's Amore!
        To be sure, there are many moons in our solar system that look like Earth's moon. But even those that do have huge craters the size of one hemisphere on them, and color variation, and bright streaks. They are all unique in one way or another, and so should the moons of New Eden be. Is it that hard to change the face of New Eden's moons? It would be a huge emersion boost if we flew to a moon to find tiger stripes, or a hazy orange, or a big pizza pie wouldn't it? And it sure would be a lot simpler to implement than making ships fly around stations instead of through them. You've got a solar system full of source material to draw upon! What do you say CCP? Can do?

        Watch Out

        Monday, August 5, 2013

        BB48: Pile of Bricks

        "How important is “fluff” in Eve online? Would eve online be the same if it were purely numbers and mechanics, or are the fictional elements important to the enjoyment of the game? Would a pure text, no reference to sci-fi or fancy names still be an engaging game? Should CCP put more or less emphasis on immersion?"

        The next time you are in town, take a good look at the buildings around you. Some will be made of glass and steel, if you are in a large enough town, but the vast majority will be made of brick or concrete. If you have the time, walk closer. Get very close. You should see something that looks like the image to the left.

        Notice that there is a lot of brick in that wall. However, it is not the bricks which make it a wall. It is the mortar between the bricks that make it a wall. Take away the mortar and all you have is a pile of bricks - a heavy if singularly unimpressive heap of rectangles.

        And what of those glass and steel skyscrapers of modern architecture? They have no mortar yet they are massively impressive. Are they held together with only steel girders and glass? No way. They are skyscrapers only because of the rivets used to hold it all together. If you take away the rivets, you have nothing but a pile of oddly shaped beams and broken glass.

        In fact, without rivets the modern bridge, the modern airplane and the modern super tanker would not be possible. And without mortar, there would not only be an absence of stout buildings, but bridges and wooden sailing vessels as well. After all, the caulk that keeps them seaworth is nothing more than another kind of mortar.

        I could go on and on about all the things we see and use every day which would not be possible without the compounds, devices and ingenuity that hold them together. Without technologies like mortar, our civilization might very well prefer to still live in caves. Civilization as we know it is simply not possible without mortar and it's high tech equivalent the rivet.

        So it is when it comes to lore within Eve Online. Without lore, we would not have a need for races. Without races, we would not have a basis for different ship technologies. There would be no need to decide between armor tank and shield tank, blaster boat or laser sniper in a homogeneous New Eden. It would make little sense. Society would settle on what is best and that would be it - period - boring.

        And there are other elements within the game that depend on lore to make sense. Incursions would be some sort of nonsensical zombie apocalypse without the lore of Sansha Kuvakei. We might as well be in a fantasy game run by Blizzard Entertainment without that lore firmly setting those events into a framework of past events.

        But the mortar which is lore goes much further than that. Just as the invention of mortar made the construction of ziggurats in ancient Ur possible, and everything that followed, so it is the lore in Eve Online has made the great events that have shaped our community possible. And our events are far more compelling than those in the lore. The Gallente/Caldari war was indeed a universe shaping event, but Band of Brother's collapsing because of one spy is legendary. Who would argue that event has not shaped New Eden today more than The Amarr Empire in it's thousands of years for religious fervor and slave trading?

        As another example I hold up Jita. Who made Jita the trade hub for all of New Eden? Why not Dodixie or Rens or Amarr? There was certainly some lore to set it up as a Caldari trade hub, but there was considerable immersion at play (centrality for instance) to make it the trade hub for all. That was not something CCP decided. It was done by the players. And it was a result of immersion whether players realize it or not.

        And that is fascinating. There is a threshold beyond which our actions become the lore. When that boundary is crossed we call it immersion. Yet immersion cannot happen without the structure CCP's lore has given us. If CCP took away the lore, all we would have is a pile of bricks. And sooner rather than later, everyone would tire of looking at a pile of bricks gathering dust. We'd long to see a cathedral and soon leave the pile of bricks, which would continue to just lay there unmourned.

        So yes, CCP needs to continue New Eden lore. It is the mortar that makes the building of immersion possible. That immersion makes us part of the story, not just some spectator. And to be certain, there are technical requirements too because no one likes to "magically" fly through a station (hint, hint.) But we accept it more easily when Goonswarm is Burning Jita and we just want to get to warp as fast as possible. If Goonswarm wasn't there, I'd notice flying through the station a lot more. Do it enough times and it looks just like a pile of bricks.

        Watch Out

        Friday, August 2, 2013

        Hard Boiled Eggs and Nuts

        It seems I shot myself in the foot with that last post, but more on that in a moment. I said I'd discuss the suggestions I got and so I'm going to do that first.

        First off, to those few who congratulated me, thank you very much for the considerate words. Unfortunately you are the exception in New Eden rather than the rule. There were far more people willing to pile on the derision for my little mistake. That's pretty much par for the course in New Eden. Who doesn't want to whore-in on a killmail? I am grateful to you for showing me the better side of New Eden.

        The "funniest" suggestion I got was to let myself be podded while only having an Alpha level clone. That way I could relive the entire 100 million skill point experience five years from now. While the humor in this is apparent to me, the practicality is not. You see, I'd have to actually get podded twice to make this happen. Even if the first time was by self-destruct order, I make it a habit of not being podded twice in one day. So thank you very much for the suggestion Thf, but no.

        The only other suggestion I got, and the only seriously considered one, was from Kethry Avenger. She doesn't have a blog in her profile, but maybe she'll start one and join the Eve blogging community full time. I think I'd like that. Anyway, her suggestion was,
        "Have some kind of Find Mabrick contest. Go hide in a wormhole. Post the name of it and first one to find you (kill you) wins the prize. Optionally while getting blown up by you or something. If you want more people to be in on it use a low class wormhole."
        This was indeed my first inclination of what to do as a celebration. I would of course enlist the aid of Surely You're Joking to defend me, but alas, we are very busy with business again. I am also concerned that those who are unfamiliar with WH space would be at a distinct disadvantage if I held such an event in a WH. Lastly, it would not have enough lead time to let people know where I am. The longest WH connection lasts 24 hours so people would have practically no time to mobilize and find me. These are the concerns my corp mates and I came up with concerning this idea. It's just a little too impractical to implement was the general feeling. Though by all means, if anyone finds me in a WH and blows me up, feel free to claim the loot prize. That's how it works! And as a thank you for the suggestion Kethry, I'm sending you one (1) ISK for every SP I have, at the moment I get around to sending it, as a reward for posting a suggestion. That'll be a little over 100 mISK to you. WOOT!

        And that leads me to the thing I said I'd discuss in a moment. One of the comments, which I did not publish, in paraphrase said "who is Mabrick and why should I care he has 100,000,000 skill points when he can't even proof his own post." My initial reaction to that was "sod off wanker." Two days later my reaction is still "sod off wanker." And as it preoccupied me, about 12 hours ago an epiphany hit me. Why the hell should my celebration of my goal involve giving away my hard earned stuff to a bunch of wankers?

        Okay, to be fair, not everyone in Eve Online is a wanker - though with a predominantly male participation science tells me 19 out of 20 capsuleers wank. And even if there were more women playing Eve Online, that number would only drop by one. So indeed, most capsuleers are likely wankers. But this is one hell of a digression. Back to the epiphany.

        So tl;dr, this was my goal and I should reward myself rather than others. That is what I've decided to do. I'm going to reward myself by putting those 100 million skill points to good use. Remember how I said I could sit in a lot of ships but had no experience in them? That changes starting today. I'm done with being a carebear. It's time to do something new. No more hard boiled eggs and nuts. Give me the candy! From this day forward there is no "Fly Careful." You need to watch out. I aim to misbehave.

        Watch Out

        PS: If this post isn't proofed to your satisfaction... sod off. Start your own damn blog.