jueves, 5 de septiembre de 2013

The Curse of the Crusader Kings

(I really wanted to put screenshots but somehow nothing seemed to work).
With summer vacations about to end, and being one of those “slow day” with nothing to do, I decided to download a game (yes, I’m a terrible person) about which I had heard a lot, Crusader Kings II.
I buy most of my games, and I say most because I hate demos and ever since I’ve had the option to test a game before buying it I’ve done so, so I downloaded it plus the Sword of Islam, Republics and Character Creator DLCs.
And by the one-in-three true God it was a good game.
It was around 2PM on the 2nd of September when I made a character loosely resembling me (but with some other good traits like strong or attractive, which I had to compensate with some other bad ones in a rather “gamey” way) and made him king of Navarre. 
The first thing I did was marry the daughter of the King of (Alto) Aragon, thus ensuring an alliance with the only Christian kingdom not big enough to absorb me. It didn’t go well, for one of my bad traits was lustful, which meant that I couldn’t say no when given the option to have a lover (my initial idea to behave more or less morally in the game would fail completely, as will be seen in the rest of the text). Anyway, lustful also meant that I was more fertile, and as long as kids kept coming the marriage “worked” (very historically accurate).
With the alliance with (Alto) Aragon unharmed by my affair, I decided to make amends with god by invading the infidels of Saraqusta (Zaragoza). I almost got crushed by its stronger Muslim allies, and had to wait until Galicia, León and Castile started wars with them to invade the rest of one-county-only Muslim independent realms. After that I usurped the Duchy of Aragon, making me a respectable King (of Navarre) with two duchies (the aforementioned Aragon, which is part of a kingdom of the same name, and Navarre, which is also a duchy of the same name), which allowed me to betroth one of my daughters to the son of the King of Galicia and my son and heir to the first daughter of the King of Leon (trouble would come from here later), allying myself with two of the other three Christian kingdoms of the peninsula (not counting Alto Aragon).
The remaining kingdom was Castile, and as only the huge XXXXXX emirate was left of the infidels, I decided it was time to press my ducal claims on Biscay (as it belonged to the duchy of Navarre) and declared war on my Christian brothers in the West; I also took advantage of a rebellion by the Count of Asturias-de-Santillana (now known as Cantabria) to take over that county too and then I married my other daughter to the prince of Castile, because fuck you, Castile.
By then the Moors in the South were divided in one of those occasional and inevitable civil wars that afflict feudal realms, and I took the chance to usurp the duchy of Toledo and its three counties and give them to my son, the one married to the heir of the Kingdom of Leon… but then I saw: The former queen of Leon had died at the ripe of age of 40 (assassinated? Natural reasons? Both very likely) and the 44-year-old King had taken a new 16-year-old wife (yep, 16) who had borne him a new daughter and a son. A son. A male heir who’d steal the Kingdom of Leon from my future grandson!
Man, this game makes you a total asshole; I had the baby assassinated (ex post facto rationalization: I had to kill him to avoid a civil war between him and my grandson). I tried to kill the paedophile king, but he was just too-well protected, so I had to kill his new son, and another one, and another one (and two daughters I spared, because I’m not *that* much of a dick) until the old bastard died of natural causes at 55 and the unification of Navarre & Leon was secured.
And then I realized it was 5AM. I won’t get a lot of sleep anyway, so let’s keep playing.
Everything was looking pretty good, except for the fact that my heir was crap. He wasn’t inbred or imbecile, just hadn’t inherited any of my good traits, nor had any of my six children (earlier in the game, when I was more idealistic, I had changed my succession laws to elective full cognatic, meaning I could choose between any of my sons and daughters. As a side note, Basques are the only ones who can have full cognatic succession, the rest are limited to agnatic or agnatic-cognatic), but then luck smiled on me: The Pope called a crusade, and I *promised* to participate in it, which made the Pope like me enough to grant me a divorce from my oooooold wife (almost 40!), who had refused to submit to me after invaded her father’s realm pressing a ducal claim that was technically hers and became an independent queen (bitch…).
Anyway, I got myself a 20 year old Egyptian miaphisite (what could go wrong with marrying a non-white non-catholic person in a medieval Iberian realm?) who was strong, a heritable trait that makes you fertile, which meant I soon had a bunch of heirs who had inherited my genius trait. I also used the Crusade to invade Valencia, because if we can’t distinguish Iran, Iraq, Lybia and Syria, I guess 1oth century peasants couldn’t distinguish Jerusalem and Valencia.
Finally, after I annexed some realms to the east (Duchy of Barcelona) and the West (the remaining Kingdom of Castile, once the daughter I had married there died) and eliminated all opposition to a black woman running the country (Obama and Hillary? Bunch of whiners), I insured that my dynasty would inherit Leon by having my first ordinary son’s first son marry my genius daughter from my second wife, basically forcing my two wives’ descendants to inbreed (that was an awkward Christmas dinner) and then died at 76 (ancient!).
Now that I had a relatively non-sexist and democratic kingdom ruled by an African-Navarrese person of gender spanning two-thirds of the 11th century Iberian peninsula, I was full of ideas: Form the Empire of Hispania, maybe invade Britannia or Scandinavia, marry my heirs to the HRE or Byzantium…
Oh, fuck. It’s 7PM. I’ve been playing for over 30 hours straight. I’ve forgotten to have lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch again and have passed out from lack of sleep several times.
I saved and quit the game, grabbed the first thing I could to eat and went to sleep, only to wake up at 4PM (4th of sept.), 18 hours later. I took care of some chores for the reast of the day and went to bed at a reasonable time, and today I’ve cut and pasted the game into a pendrive and given it to a friend for safekeeping until Christmas or next summer, when I’ll buy the game and hopefully binge on it a little bit more responsibly.
Anyway, if you have more free time and self-control than me, get the game. It’s really good, like, heroin good.

lunes, 22 de julio de 2013


Random notes and photos about my trip to China. Might be interesting.

We arrived at 4:00AM, and hours latter we had breakfast when our digestive systems begged for dinner. Wary to lose a day, we visited the Lama's temple near noon. Implacable sun. Lack of sleep. Buddhist rituals with incense. I think I'm hallucinating because I can't believe this temple wasn't destroyed during the cultural revolution and NAZI BUDDHAS 

Actually, this was in Xi'an next to the great pagoda.
After that, "Transfer in Huixinxijienankou station in the Songjiazhuang direction"; not what one wants to hear when one's boiled brain is barely able to talk.

The next day, The Red Square and The Forbidden City, where we learned that ancient Chinese emperors could have hundreds of concubines. Of course, modern democracies  are superior to hereditary autocratic rule even in this aspect, as Italy's Berlusconi shows.

Ezkurra (aka annoying westerner aka Nixon) in China
Near such tourist-traps, a reminder of why one should never wear something (in cloth or tatoo/skin) in a language/alphabet that is unknown: I saw a Chinese guy wearing a "I'm supreme bitch" t-shirt. Also, the aforementioned topic plus some engrish: Beijing is shortened "BJ", resulting in this:

Quite a desperate way to get a date, if you ask me...
And on the 3rd day there was smog; luckily, we headed for the great wall, but due to Beijing's brobdidnagian proportions that meant I had to deal with grey skies for hours, resulting in a sore throat, irritated eyes & a surprisingly acute pain in the nasal septum.
In the wall my observations allowed me to conduct a little "natural experiment": Where tourist buses parked, there were several thousand Chinese and about a thousand Westerners (the midday sun made the temperature climb past 40ºC); most Chinese stop at the 1st watchtower, and there are none (!) after the 4th. By the last (7th) watchtower, the count of sweat-machines has dwindled to barely a score, evenly divided among Europeans and Americans, most of the latter being African-americans and Asian-americans (but, I repeat, no actual Chinese!). Caucasians are mostly German and, funnily enough, Basques (no Spaniards of our group of 11 made it  past the 5th watchtower). Of course, this "experiment" has very serious methodological flaws and is therefore almost useless, but interesting still.
Ahivalaostia, Patxi, I don't see where this "great" wall name comes from!
The 4th & 5th days we spent in Xi'an, where I felt a sense of déjà vu with the ancient monuments, for I had "built" them when I played "Emperor: Rise of the middle kingdom" in my computer a decade ago.

Terracota warriors: An autocrat unified China 22 centuries ago and all we got is this lousy pottery
The aforementioned Great Pagoda of the NAZI BUDDHISTS
The next two days we spent in Hangzhou, where the weather was unbearably hot and I acquired immunity against an east-asian pathogen, which had the nice effect of making me able to stand the 39ºC at night temperatures by causing me a similarly warm fever.

The last three days we spent in Shanghai!

Reason reified reaching upward and idiot doing whatever
Heavenly human hive and same idiot in more arrogant pose
I love skyscrapers, and these three are between 400 and 625m each. I came
Who cares about housing bubbles if they get you this?
Anyway, I also got the quintessentially esteriotypical Chinese farmer-hat & red book, and made this photo that should have never been made and never ever MSPaint'd
Long live the world embarrasing tourism revolution!

sábado, 29 de junio de 2013

Euskal eguzkizpiak Euskal Herrira

Ez dakizuenontzat, Euskal Herria, penintsula iberikoa den atlantikotasun-ukitudun- mediterraneotzaren-nagusitasuneko kiste erdi-nordiko arraro hori, ez da hau bakarrik onerako (adib. Langabezia, per capita BPG, eskola porrota, zientzia, industria, ea.), baizik eta txarrerako ere (suizidioak, klima, ea.). Badirudi gaitasun gastronomiko mediterraniarrak bakarrik bereganatzeko gai izan garela (eta beharbada gainditu, Michelin gida eta beste batzuen arabera, baina hori eztabaidagarria da), horrela astakeria bratwürstiko-kartoffelikoak ekidinez. Baina gure buruaz beste egitean hain gaizki ez gaudenez, eta egia esan nola konpondu ez zaidanez bururatzen, eguraldian zentratuko naiz: 
Euskal Herria era ia-etengabean dago hodei-geruza batez estalita, zeina, noizean behin uholdeak eragiteaz eta aterkiak leku orora eramarazteaz gain, Orodruin/Amon Amartheko errauts-hodeiek Mordorren gain gainditu ezineko eraginkortasun garaiezinarekin gainerako mundua argitzen duen izarra ezkutatzeaz arduratze den, nire atzerrirako bidaietan frogatu ahal izan dudan bezala. 

[Batezbesteko euskaldunak izpi ultramoreei hain gutxi dago aurkeztua non “immunitatea” galtzen duen eta erredurak erraz jasan, hemen ikus daitekeen bezala]
Gertakari hau kaltegarria da turismoarentzat, osasunarentzat (D bitaminaren metabolismoa) y eta energia ekoizpen (xafla fotoboltaikoak) eta kontsumoarentzat (berokuntza, argia), Schopenhauer eta Kierkegaardekin zure gurasoak hiltzear dauden ospitale-gelan egotea baino deprimenteagoa izateaz gain. 
Beno, hori putakeria bat da. Baina eguraldia ezin da aldatu, esango du berorrek, irakurle maiteak, zaren bezala hain azkar eta argia. Ba EZ. Hodei ereinta deitzen den gauza bat dago, zeinak ídemen kondentsazioa azkartzea ahalbidetzen duen zilar nitratozko (AgNO3) edo karbono dioxidozko (CO2) partikulak dispertsatuz, euria nahierara eraginez. Dispertsio hau hegazkinen edota artilleria bidez egin daiteke, Txinako gobernuak 2008ko Joko Olinpikoetarako egin zuen bezala. 
Nik galdetzen dut: Badago ezer bilbotarragoa sirimiria eragitea baino KANOIKADEZ?
Egoera urte honetan kritikoa izan da: Urteko lehen sei hilabetetako prezipitazioek erregistro historiko GUZTIAK gainditu dituzte, hamarkadetako uholde okerrenak jasan ditugu eta ez ditugu bi egun eguzkitsu segidan eduki duela bi aste arte (literalki); zeri ari da itxaroten lehendakaria?
Hau nire jaioterria (Zarautz): Maitzak 17 arratsaldez, kostaldeko herria.
Bai, bai, bake prozesua, krisian gaude eta dirua ezin da alferik gastatu, baina hain garesti aterako litzaiguke armada espainiarrari, hamaika ordainketa berandututa dituena eta bere materiala ez duena ezertarako erabiltzen, artileria pieza batzuk alokatzea eta zerua kanoikatzea izotz lehorrarekin, edonon eros daitekeena? Eta turismo, energia eta produktibitate onurak? Are gehiago: Jarri ahal diezaiokegu preziorik eguzkiaren distira etengabeari? 

Para quienes no lo sepáis, el País Vasco, ese extraño quiste semi-nórdico en la predominante-mediterraneidad-con-toques-de-atlantismo que es la península ibérica, no es tal sólo para lo bueno (pej. Paro, PIB per cápita, fracaso escolar, ciencia, industria, etc.), sino también para lo malo (suicidios, clima, etc.). Parece ser que sólo hemos sido capaces de asimilar el talento gastronómico mediterráneo (e incluso superarlo, según la guía Michelin y otros, pero eso es discutible) y así evitar barbaridades bratwürstico-kartoffélicas. Pero como en lo de los suicidios tampoco vamos tan mal, y tampoco se me ocurre cómo evitarlo, me voy a centrar en el tiempo (y por tiempo quiero decir eguraldia/weather, no denbora/time, que menuda vergüenza 400 millones de hispanohablantes y no poder distinguir estos dos conceptos): 
El País Vasco está cuasi-permanentemente cubierto por una capa de nubes que, además provocar inundaciones de vez en cuando y obligarnos a llevar paraguas a todas partes, se dedica con imbatible efectividad no superada ni por las nubes de ceniza de Orodruin/ Amon Amarath sobre Mordor a ocultar la presencia del astro que ilumina el resto del mundo, tal y como he podido comprobar en mis viajes a tierras extranjeras.
[El vasco medio está tan poco expuesto a los rayos ultravioleta que pierde “inmunidad” y sufre quemaduras fácilmente, como se aprecia en esta foto]
Este fenómeno resulta pernicioso para el turismo, la salud (metabolismo de la vitamina D) y la producción (placas fotovoltaicas) y consumo (calefacción, luz) de energía, aparte de ser más deprimente que Schopenhauer y Kierkegaard acompañándote en la sala de hospital donde tus padres están agonizando en sus últimos días antes de morir. 
Vale, eso es una putada, pero el eguraldi no se puede cambiar, dirá Vd., querido lector, siendo como es tan inteligente y perspicaz. Pues NO. Hay una cosa llamada siembra de nubes, que permite acelerar la condensación de ídem dispersando partículas de nitrato de plata (AgNO3) o dióxido de carbono (CO2), provocando lluvia a voluntad. Dicha dispersión se puede realizar con aviones o con piezas de artillería, como ya hizo el gobierno de China para los JJOO de 2008. 
Yo pregunto ¿Acaso hay algo más bilbaíno que provocar sirimiri A CAÑONAZOS?
 La situación este año ha sido crítica: Las precipitaciones para los primeros seis meses han superado TODOS los registros históricos, hemos sufrido las peores inundaciones en décadas y no hemos tenido dos días seguidos de sol hasta hace dos semanas (literal) ¿A qué espera el lehendakari?

El pueblo donde nací (Zarautz): 17 de mayo por la tarde, pueblo costero.
Sí, sí, el proceso de paz, estamos en crisis y no se puede malgastar dinero, pero ¿Tan caro nos saldría alquilar artillería al ejército español, que tiene mil pagos atrasados y no usa sus material para nada y cañonear el cielo con hielo seco, que se consigue en cualquier sitio? ¿Y los beneficios de turismo, energía y productividad laboral? Es más ¿Acaso se puede poner precio al eterno resplandor del Sol?

miércoles, 3 de abril de 2013

La (ecto)plasmática aparición mariana

"Atención, terrícolas: En el decimocuarto ciclo planetario habrá crecimiento. Fin del comunicado."

Me aventuro a lanzar una hipótesis quizá un poco cogida por los pelos: Apareciendo sólo en contadas ocasiones, y además en el extranjero o “vía plasma”, Rajoy intenta aparecer subconscientemente como un distante ser intangible sin presencia física alguna ni capacidad de influir en la realidad española, desinhibiéndose así de cualquier responsabilidad sobre el desastre generado y eludiendo la enorme erosión que sufrió el übermediático Zapatero. 
La misteriosa mayoría silenciosa menguante que apoyaba al PP
Echando un vistazo a las encuestas, uno puede suponer que la razón y/o la aversión al absurdo más ridículo (Huir del senado por la puerta de atrás, irse a la eurocopa en pleno rescate, dar ruedas de prensa a través de un televisor estando en el mismo edificio etc.) han hecho fracasar la maniobra, pero la magnitud de la crisis que soporta España en todos los frentes (económico, político, institucional, "regional", etc.) podría incluso hacernos aventurar que la sangría de intención de voto del PP es aún menor de la que se habría producido si Rajoy hubiese estado constantemente compareciendo ante los medios y respondiendo a sus preguntas.
Este chiste de Manel Fontdevilla es de agosto de 2011. Sólo hay que cambiar Camps por Bárcenas.

sábado, 30 de marzo de 2013

Vente a Escandinavia, Pepe

Se me ocurrió ayer: Una canción para el emigrante español, basada en el himno nacional sueco (sí, soy un vate penoso, pero esto es for de lulz).

Du gamla, du fria, ahí yo emigraría
Millones de coronas me embolsaría
La mitad el fisco sueco gravaría
Y así de su estado social yo también disfrutaría (bis)
Du gamla, du fría, ahí yo emigraría
Al socialdemokraterna sin rencor votaría
Con suerte a una sueca el coño le comería
Y al mirar atrás ni una lagrima derramaría (bis)