Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of March I

OK, I thought I was never going to use this blog again.

No, not because TTTO removed me (and rightfully so!), but just because I really felt that I would not be able to have a feasible discussion on the merits of FFXI without possible criminal repercussions.

The reason I'm doing this first post is to kind of get out in some degree of public (through the Twitter and the like) some of my feelings on the earthquake, the damage, and the effect on Japan and on the future of FFXI...

... if there is one.

I know people don't like hearing that. For God's sake, I've already seen people flame me for it.

Simply put, you aren't getting my agreement on this one.

I know what some say to try to downplay this situation.

This is a situation which cannot be downplayed. Period. End of story.

And anyone (and there have been many) who have said "Pearl Harbor! USA! I'm an American patriot!!" are fucking scum and deserve to have the crap kicked out of them.

And yes, that was actually done by some jackass who vandalized the Wikipedia page reporting on the quake.

There are several towns near Sendai that are GONE. Finito. Kaput. Gone.

Don't believe me? Watch the video. There's a chilling Australian comparison on their Australian Broadcasting Network site of "before and after" pictures, with entire towns (or major parts thereof) just -- plain -- wiped -- off -- the -- fucking -- map.

To all of you insensitive American-gamer (and not all American gamers have come out and said this -- but the predominance of the "GET THE SERVERS BACK UP!! BLARGH!!" jackalopes have been US-based) types who think only of yourselves (and, as I expected, this was far more than just in-game content, as I said repeatedly here), a fucking reality check:

1) The quake was so powerful, the entire main island of Japan is now eight feet closer to the United States.

2) The quake was so powerful, the Earth's axis has been moved by four inches, speeding the rotation of the Earth by a measurable amount (nothing you'll notice, but a measurable amount nonetheless).

3) There is a significant portion of the coastline near the epicenter which the Pacific Ocean has now taken. The coastline by Sendai has been changed.

And please note: In none of this have I said about the real issue which could be terminal for literally hundreds of thousands over there...

We've got a nuclear power plant, the Fukushima if I'm spelling that correctly (and the #1 plant within there), which is almost certainly going to completely melt down at least a couple of the damaged reactors.

Japan greatly relies, because of its lack of natural resources, on nuclear power. Over and above the radiation danger to the Japanese (especially near Tokyo, if the winds head that direction, as they had in the last couple of days before a front came through and started sending the air over Sendai to the Pacific), the fact is that the infrastructure is first-degree FUCKED.

Who knows if they will ever be able to regain enough integrity in that or other plants downed by the quake to get sufficient power to the Japanese before a humanitarian nightmare hits the table (even worse so than now!). The Japanese are a proud people, yes...

And that is to say nothing of what happens if -- and I truly, watching the news and catching up on everything, believe it's a matter of WHEN -- Fukushima #1 goes ka-blooey.

And yet we've got a bunch of little fucking children (no surprise on XI) wondering why the game has to go down and demanding Square-Enix restore the servers.

I wish to say publicly:

I stand in full support of Square-Enix' decision to terminate play, as a statement of the social responsibility it has to the people of Japan to conserve energy in this terrible crisis. Anyone who disagrees with that is an idiot.

Point One: As of about 10 AM their time Wednesday, the fifth day after the 9.0 quake (and they are still getting 6.0+ aftershocks all around where the mega-thrust occurred), 2 million are without power, a half a million are in shelters, and the temperatures are about zero degrees Celsius -- freezing.

THIS GAME IS NOT GETTING BACK UP IN A WEEK FROM THE TERMINATION. It would be irresponsible (and that's saying a lot more in Japan than it would in the U$A -- an example of that in my second post) for Square-Enix to do so.

Point Two: If what is happening at Fukushima #1 is as bad (or, given the veil of some silence over this, much worse) than what is feared, that plant is going thermonuke, and a large portion of that area is about to become uninhabitable.

And then you get the radiation, and is Japan going to be able to ever physically recover from this?

Point Three: There are rolling blackouts (which is probably what forced Square-Enix' hand -- it was stunning to me (though I must admit a small short-sightedness) in that I didn't realize what kind of miracle it was that we got 48 hours of the game before Square-Enix declared stoppage) in most, if not all, of Japan!

Initial word (and this is probably without nearly the information on the devastation we have now) was trickling out that the probable timeframe of the blackouts might be the end of NEXT month!

How would you like a reopening to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the game??

This is why I actually put "The End" as one of my tags to this. I used to put that out for times that I was being warned (or being GMed) for my own conduct -- but this is different.

If it starts getting past the first of May or so, how much longer could Square-Enix go and feasibly restart XI (or especially XIV, which is still effectively in gamma test) at all?

My honest opinion: That quake might've finished Square-Enix' MMO division. We won't know until we get a decent idea of how much they can rebuild in a short period of time.

But see above -- this is a resource-poor nation which has relied on nuclear power to sustain a population of 130,000,000 or so on islands which total about the size of my home state of California!

So any fucking jackass who's more concerned about his six level-90 jobs or his initial work on a Gungnir or what AF3 +1 he still needs just needs to JUST SHUT UP.


Rant over -- on this.

So, what can be done?

I know I'm not the richest person in the world -- I scrimp and struggle to eat, keep a roof over my head, and occasionally be able to provide people with peace and quiet and me some R&R by going places from time to time.

But the humanitarian efforts need money. So

Yahoo! has a page of "where to donate" efforts going up.

Being an anime and gaming fan (especially of streaming marathons), a number of events have already been put into motion:
  1. Stephanie Sheh is putting together a We Heart Japan event to raise funds on Thursday, March 17, at Meltdown Comics on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. Screenings, an art auction, and a number of autograph signings are scheduled.
  2. The One Piece podcast, through Global Giving, is doing a 24-hour anime industry podcast to help raise $25,000 for relief efforts, as "Anime Fans Give Back to Japan". For Facebookers, there is a donation-matching program for up to $5,000 in donations -- see the podcast site for details and some of the guests scheduled. The marathon is scheduled for 6 PM EDT this Saturday night (the 19th) through the same time on Sunday (the 20th).
  3. A smaller scale anime/manga blogger event can be found here -- Anime and Manga Bloggers for Japan. Every dollar helps. Doctors Without Borders and Shelterbox get that money.
  4. As a measure of how much we have to set our differences aside, the official Anime Expo podcast, AX Live, is doing an extended podcast Thursday night (possibly from the above event?) to raise funds.
  5. Anime conventions, probably throughout this anime season, are going to be doing fundraisers. Check your local anime convention.
  6. The Australian IGN crew is doing a 24-hour gaming stream for fundraising, focussing on 24 Japanese video games which have touched us. Their stream will start at 3 PM PDT on Thrusday for 24 hours. The Australian Red Cross relief efforts are the beneficiaries here.
Yes, I got all that from Anime News Network -- they don't like it, they can kiss my entire rotund behind.

Anyhoo, I have another post I want to do on a different subject -- a word of warning to any FFXI people on several different ISPs. You may want to very quickly relocate.

Beware the Ides of March indeed. Part II to come.

ON EDIT: They just evacuated the workers from Fukushima #1. The radiation has become too much for them to even do minimal efforts. Pray for Japan. It's about to get ugly, at least by current view.

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