Friday, September 24, 2010

Blood and Espionage

I had intended to hit the hay early tonight, but was unsuccessful at doing so. This is probably due to the fact that I have been just a tad over-caffeinated for most of the day. So being stuck awake, a decided to write a more normal (but hopefully at least somewhat entertaining) blog post.

Speaking of being over-caffeinated, I had an interesting question today while sitting in Psychology of Communication drinking an Americano: if I gave someone a blood transfusion right now and they were relatively sensitive to caffeine, would they get a buzz from it? Well, someone is going to find out, because as soon as I finished that Americano, I went down to the "Blood-Mobile" which was on campus for the day and donated a pint.

It was actually the first time I had ever donated blood, and I kind of just wanted to know what it was like. It turned out to be uneventful. In fact, I was almost a little disappointed that I didn't pass out, or at least get dizzy or something like that. But alas, I felt no different after than I did before. The only adverse affect was that I was unable to use my right arm much until just this last hour, and still can't quite extend it all the way... but that's okay.

I had three tests to take this week. Two are done, one is tomorrow. As far as the time spent in class and doing homework is concerned, this is by far my busiest semester ever. At the same time, it doesn't seem quite as stressful (yet at least!) as my past two. Instead of lot's of papers and Godzilla research projects that hang over my head and make me wonder if you are doing enough or not, most of my work this semester comes and goes at a steady pace that makes managing my time easier.

So I've been spending a lot of time doing homework and studying. In addition, I've been playing Travian again. It's a German massively multiplayer browser based game that could be compared in some ways to Settlers of Catan, but with a more developed military aspect. I have been playing for a number of years on and off. This current account is by far my most successful ever. I started playing on Server com2 not long after it opened this summer with Gauls as my civilization. I had, for the first time in several attempts, the luck of getting into a good alliance, something that is critical in the game. You want team mates who will pressure you to expand, but do so in such a way that they don't become a bigger threat than your enemies are. I now have five villages on the server and have the strongest army in my personal history. So that's cool.
I guess I just decided to blog about it because it's something that is easy to forget after you are done doing it, even if it occupied a noteworthy part of your mental world for weeks or even months before you stopped. When I was at SBI for instance, I was also in the process of building what was until now my most successful empire ever, but when I think back on that time, I hardly remember playing it at all. I guess part of the reason is that unlike most other games that demand that you sit down and play for hours, travian just demands a minute here, a minute there, and so on... I can even maintain my villages from my blackberry or iPod if I want to... although I usually try to avoid doing that.

Something that I've learned from playing into it this far though is that it is in many ways a game of disinformation. You can't possibly attack your enemy everywhere at once, but you can sometimes get them to think they are being attacked everywhere at once. I read a book this summer, A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA, and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West in which Ian Johnson said something to the effect of "The basis of all effective espionage is disinformation." So in the end, could travian, which I always thought of as a strategy game really be a game of espionage?  

So anyhow, if I get destroyed, or the server ends, then I will probably do some kind of memorial post or something, but I just thought I would mention it now to give it some kind of context.

So, good night all... I shall try to actually sleep now.


Kelly said...

I think it's hilarious that you were disappointed you didn't pass out :)

ajfcello said...

I have to agree with Kelly. : ) It is pretty funny. : ) Though I am a bit surprised that you didn't get dizzy at all. I get chronic nose bleeds (typically when the air is really humid and/or hot) and I actually do get dizzy after them. Yep. They're real bad. I normally (during the summer) get one about once a week. Sometimes I'm lucky and can go 2 even 3 weeks without one, but that's rare. So I'm kinda surprised that after loosing a pint, you didn't even get dizzy...but actually, it's probably simply just that I'm weird. : )

Andrew said...

I get nosebleeds too when the weather changes, but not that often... maybe just every couple months or so. It's not weird to feel dizzy, I know a lot of people who faint afterwords (I think my Mom did once) I think part of it has to do if you've eaten enough that day and don't have low blood sugar.

dams said...

so now i totally want to know the answer about's the type of question i would think up. haha

Andrew said...

Maybe we should send it to the Mythbusters.