So, I had jury duty for the first time this summer …

I believe in civic duty and civic responsibility. I hold that participatory forms of governance are the only just way for civilization as a whole moving forward. Therefore, I pay my taxes because I understand that governments require money to operate. I vote (mostly) because I understand that my participation matters even though it doesn’t really. And I woke up and reported to my first jury duty call with relative excitement.

I actually enjoy law-related matters. More than The People’s Court, Law & Order, or John Grisham novels, my mother was a legal secretary when I was young. I spent a lot of time in and out of the courthouse, lawyers’ offices, and in legal libraries. Yeah, it was boring but it also left me at least somewhat interested in the process.

Philosophy didn’t hurt. Other than Math, Philosophy is one of the most popular majors if you plan to attend Law School. That’s not saying a whole lot, but I can understand why someone interested in law might also be interested in Philosophy. I met many fellow majors in my tenure, several of which were intending to go to Law School in the near future. Of those, most were pompous assholes, which seems reflective of most Philosophy majors and most lawyers. “Major in Pompous Assholery” doesn’t sound as good on the commercials though.

One more digression: I hate the unofficial official dress code of courtrooms. I told my mom repeatedly that I was going dressed as casual as possible. For one, it is Alabama in May and it is hot outside. For another, I refuse to believe that my state of dress, barring offensive imagery, in any way affects my ability to assist in fairly rendering a verdict.

Yeah, I get it, it’s all about respecting the institution. It is perfectly fair for the judge to hold me in contempt or try and publicly shame me for my lack of nicer attire because hey, we have to respect the court. But … Fuck that. ‘Of the people, for the people, by the people’ to me means accepting that people of all walks, races, religions, creeds, genders, and even dress are welcome to participate in their own governance. Putting on your ‘Sunday best’ for court seems like a relic of the days when white male landowners ran the show and the concept doesn’t jive at all with my idea of an all-inclusive republic.

So, digressions aside, I arrive at the courthouse on the first day right on time. Apparently right on time is a bit late since everyone is inside already, unbeknownst to me since there are zero people outside the courtroom directing traffic. Sure, I spent time in the same courthouse as a kid, but since then, I have only returned for driver’s licenses. I am a good kid: I don’t know where I am going in a courthouse.

By chance, someone asks me if the jurors are already in the room, and someone else responds they are. I high tail it in and grab a seat, around three names prior to mine being called so I am good.

I then proceed to spend an hour watching different people try their hand at getting excused by the judge. Afterward, I’m told to come back the next day for a trial. There was no vetting process and no questions. My return was solely because the clerk started with H on the call for jurors.

The next day, I returned better dressed. The day before I came in with a very nice polo (makes my eyes dance like a Fae in sparkling moonlight) but shorts and flip-flops. No one said a word but the door to the courtroom expressly forbid any ‘beach-related wear’. Whatever. I wore the same shirt again (FAE IN SPARKLING MOONLIGHT) but with pants and tennis shoes. No one cared then either despite my eyes … nevermind, you get it.

Anyway, I sit and play on my phone. The judge hasn’t come in yet, there’s no lawyers or anything. It’s a room full of people who would rather be elsewhere. One gentleman did catch my eye. The day before, he wore a button-up dress shirt with a University of Alabama logo on it. I remembered because I thought to myself, “That’s at least as trashy as wearing shorts.” This time he had on an Auburn University one. In case you are unaware, these two schools have a very long rivalry with one another that divides the entire state of Alabama into regions of orange or crimson. This man’s wardrobe too seems to be divided into either orange or crimson. Some people I don’t understand.

After a half hour of waiting, the judge wanders in and announces that there will be no trial. Blah Blah Blah fairness Blah Blah Blah don’t want a retrial. I walked out, collected my twenty dollar check for two days of “service”, and left.

It won’t be enough to change me from socialist to libertarian (not that the two ideas are all that incompatible but that’s a different topic), but it is an excellent example of outdated government bureaucracy wasting the people’s time and the government’s money. The fact that I had to physically show up so my name could be counted and so that they could make sure I was fit for service seems ridiculous. The fact that I had to return for a trial that wasn’t ready to be tried seems doubly insane.

Some people just want to watch the world burn. Others, like me, want to watch it burn so we can rebuild it into something that doesn’t ignore modern technology, modern science, and modern understanding. Maybe it’s the nerd in me, but I recognize without any hesitation that sometimes it is best to reformat rather than fiddle around with uninstalling and installing a bunch of stuff.

I am ready to start the process any time.

#CivicDuty #JuryDuty #Governance

Mark & Recall: 10/19/2014

Recently on Murf Versus

#Bragtoberfest: Server firsts are legitimate achievements for a resumé, right? It’s probably not the first time I have mentioned my progression raiding days nor will it be the last. Still, writing them down at all has me vaguely interested in returning for the next Warcraft expansion even more. BUT never again for progression raiding. One day I’ll write my ‘filthy casual manifesto’, but for now know that the days of cutting edge content and three day a week raiding schedules are well behind me.

A cutting edge dungeon group with a regular meet-up on the other hand …

Consumer Review: The HTC One M8 Flip Case by HTC This post was nothing remarkable. There weren’t a ton of reviews out for this particular case, so I thought I’d try to get some traffic by telling people how much I like using it.

I’m throwing in the towel on all Zelda games. I got a marvelous array of responses to this one. Even with #GamerGate looming and the ever present elitist asshole who wants to determine what your hobby should be and how you should go about it, no one tried to shame me back into Zelda’s good graces. Despite the hysteria, I do think gamers by and large are growing up, save for a really, really, really vocal minority.

Tales from the Murfiverse

Contains Moderate Peril had me on a recent episode of the podcast. It was an impressive discussion and one worthy of a skip-listen if you don’t regularly frequent many podcasts. Though, you should definitely check out other episodes of CMP – Roger does an excellent job of not letting his Britishishness ruin the discussion. You can check out the episode I am on here.

After a rousing Twitter conversation about hot sauces, I’ve taken it upon myself to do a hot sauce taste testing for 8bit Kitchen. I am calling it the Power-Up series. I’ll likely do one or two hot sauces per post, so I expect to working on it for a while. If you have any serious recommendations, please let me know in the comments below. Right now I am working on the really basic ones that everyone can find, but I’d love to branch out further to more obscure/weirder choices. Here’s what I have so far:

2014-10-19 00.10.17


I thought Aywren’s post on Open World PvP was absolutely brilliant. She also brings to attention this point:

“Do I have the idea that PvPers are all bloodthirsty ganker-trolls that are out there just to get their kicks by victimizing my easy-going questing in danger zones? Yeah. I guess I really do see it that way.”

I have mentioned my flirtations with open PvP in the past, but even I have to remind myself that not all open PvP fans are purely there to bully and harass. More often than you might think, these are the sorts of players – myself included – who enjoy and prefer games which offer emergent fun. There’s something very appealing about having to fight your way to a raid entrance with a rival raiding guild on the opposing faction, for example, or just avenging a guild mate’s death and sparking a small scale war.

But there’s still a reputation that has to be overcome and it is entirely justified. Far too often have I been ganked by players who I had zero chance to beat and then sat on until I quit or found help. There’s a disgusting element of bullying that runs rampant in many open world PvP games and its a major reason why these games need to be designed with more limitations and behavioral modifiers than previous generations if they expect to reach wider audiences.

While there is certainly a niche for purely open world PvP games, it is a very tiny one. Personally, I am more interested in games like ArchAge that attempt to blend these divergent playstyles to create a world both emergent and not rife with frustration. I’d love to see more games do this rather than dump its playerbase into under-designed servers with various rulesets.

Recalling Myself

I had two comments on two quality posts that I wanted to point out and direct your attention to. First, on this post over at Contains Moderate Peril, I wrote about how to rectify natural human tendencies to be biased versus arguing that an entire company/institution/entity is biased.

To some extent, I think unbiased media can and does exist though its rare and prone to be lost in all the noise … (Click to see the rest of the comment.)

Second, In An Age had an excellent post on the necessity of incentives to foster cooperation in MMORPGs. Never missing a beat when it comes to complaining about matchmade dungeons, I wrote this:

I agree 100%. My biggest problem with matchmaking dungeon groups isn’t that it exists but that the features inclusion did nothing to replace the little incentive there was to meet others, group, and play the cooperative portions of a game … (Click to see the rest of the comment.)

The Play List

Games: I am almost done with Plague Inc. for now. Assuming they don’t add more, I just have to beat the Planet of the Apes one to feel like I was justified in spending my money. It’s an excellent game, but I still think it should be a little cheaper.

Shows: I am really enjoying both Blackish and Flash. I am also keeping up with Sleepy Hollow and Doctor Who. It’s actually a pretty wide array of television shows for me since I typically wait to binge, but it’s nice having something to look forward to each week.

I’m throwing in the towel on all Zelda games.

I’m so sorry everyone, but I can’t do it anymore. Despite having an immense respect for the series and an understanding of its importance as a true classic, I can’t play Zelda games. Without fail I get bored almost immediately (or at least after the first couple of dungeons).

It’s sincerely depressing too. No, I don’t feel pressured by gamers or game culture to love Zelda games – hello, I’m 26 and I make my own choices – but I see the game’s resonance with many and I want to participate. I have tried a lot of entries in the series, but I’ve only played one to completion: last year, I played Link’s Awakening on my 3DS.

I wanted to love Wind Waker HD – I bought a Wii U to finally play it. I loved the aesthetic, but around the presumed half way point of the game, my sails deflated. Before that, I found my way to the first dungeon in Skyward Sword, which I soon forgot existed even though I liked flailing around in my living room. I even tried the venerated Ocarina of Time to no avail.

Ocarina was an interesting one since it came out during some of my more influential years gaming-wise. All of my friends loved it, but I didn’t have a Nintendo 64 (I had opted for a Playstation instead) so I never got suckered into the ‘be more like my friends’ routine.  By the time I finally tried it, there just wasn’t that same buzz even though it had long since passed into the hallowed halls of gaming.

Recently, I finally tried to sink my teeth into the 3DS’s Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds. I have only a vague memory of its predecessor, so this new sequel didn’t have the nostalgia factor it likely had for many. I had high hopes for its biggest departure from the Zelda formula. Unlike other games in the series, all of the various items used to navigate each of the dungeons can be rented out of any intended order. In other words, it’s more open ended than you might think.

It didn’t help that much. There’s just something dull about the Zelda formula that never hook shots me. Like a boomerang, I try to dive in hoping bombs will go off,but I always come right back out of it. ((Okay, I’ll stop.)) I got about five dungeons in before I called it this time, so maybe that’s progress?

I doubt I try again.

What about you? Any games/game series you just can’t get into despite the praise and reverence?

 #Zelda #Nintendo #nostalgia