Friday, December 19, 2008

Guild Wars Is An Experiment That Worked

Here's a reprint of an article talking about the success of Guild Wars in the face of subscription based MMOs. Its the no subscription that got me playing this game, but it is the design philosophy that has kept me playing. It is not a grind-based game. You don't have to play hours on end to find enjoyment in it. Without the subscription you can also stop playing for a while, get a few things done in the real world, and not feel like you've wasted money while not playing.

Thank you ArenaNet!

From Digg:
“Our design goal when creating ‘Guild Wars’ was this: ‘If I’ve got 30 minutes before dinner, will I have fun playing this game?’” says Strain.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sunspear Max Title

Managed to get my main Guild Wars character to max rank in the Sunspear Title Track. I've been sitting somewhere in rank 9 for quite a while. Luckily with the great Title Rebalance of Nov 13, 2008 it made it much easier to hammer out those last title points.

The trick is they added sunspear point awards for vanquishing areas in Elona. This is something I was needing to do anyway, so getting the points was a nice bonus. It'll be a while before I can vanquish all areas in any of the campaigns, but it's a start. I'm also trying to finish the cartographer title in Elona as it is the only one I am missing.

I'll probably work on the Kurzick title too as the title rebalance has made that easier and more enjoyable to boot.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Me and the Frog

Me and the Frog

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Okay, so maybe I have a couple screen shots to show off. This is from Halloween 2008. I was up at in the wee hours because one of the kids decided to wake us, and I figure it was time to sneak over to the computer for some Halloween party time!

Not only did I get both festival hats (the "Zombie Paint" mask is in the pic), but saw some celebrities (well to me anyway). The frog in the picture belongs to Gaile Gray the former Community Relations Manager for the game. It's always cool when she shows up.

Guild Wars-ian Update and Thoughts

I've been keeping my notes on Guild Wars progress in Google Notebook lately, when I should post it out here. I know no one cares but at least it would be archived and I'd actually be using this blog for something. Usually I wait until I have some good screen shots to post up, but I think I'll forgo that more in the future.

So what's going on in the Guild Wars universe... well I don't have time to say. Ha! Let's see if I get around to it later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Wyrd Sisters (Discworld, #6)

Wyrd Sisters is yet another Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. I've been devouring them like candy. This is the second book in the witches series and the first hooking the intrepid Granny Weatherwax with two other witches. In this case the two being Nanny Ogg and Magrat Garlick.

Equal Rites gave had good character development for Granny, but it's a ton of fun seeing her react to the other witches. Also fleshes out the witch culture and shows that not all witches are like Granny (if any at all). This books theme revolves are Shakespeareean tales, specifically Macbeth, and plays with them to great effect.

Perhaps not my favorite Discworld novel, but very high on the list.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Euless ranked among best places to raise children

The city I work for... Euless, Texas... has been ranked by BusinessWeek magazine as one of the best places to raise kids. Granted we live in the neighboring city to the north, but if we didn't live there we'd live here. Come on everybody, move to Euless which will increase the tax base and get me a raise. That'll make things better for my kids!

From Digg:
BusinessWeek magazine has named Euless, TX as one of the Best Places in America to Raise Your Kids for 2009. Communities on the list were ranked for such things as school performance, affordability, safety, air quality, job growth, racial diversity, local parks, ballfields, zoos, recreation centers, museums and theaters.

read more | digg story

Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama's new website launches today!

Our President Elect has set up a new website: and it looks great. Can't wait to send him some ideas. That and I've already added the newsfeed to my Google Reader.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Senator Obama will be President Obama.

I'm very glad to know that sometimes things go right in the world. I'll sleep better tonight, methinks. My children now live in a world with more hope and possibilities.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (updated edition)

I find Anthony Bourdain to be incredibly entertaining and Kitchen Confidential doesn't disappoint. Even better, this was an audiobook read by Bourdain himself. I've been a fan of his show No Reservations on the Travel Channel ever since Ryan Ozawa and his wife Jen clued me in via their podcast HawaiiUp.

This book is a autobiography of his crazy life working his way up the culinary world. It's filled with his insights into the seedier side of cooking culture. Also it makes for a good education in what it takes to survive the heat of the kitchen.

His language can make a sailor blush at times, but I recommend it to anyone who thinks they can stomach it... and watch his show too!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

There and Back Again


Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Thought I'd throw out a post just to have something on here. Bridget, the kids, and I got back last week from a trip to Illinois to visit my wife's grandparents. That's over 2,000 miles in my Dad's Tahoe, which he so kindly let us borrow. Filling that monster up with gas was expensive, but better than a car rental payment + gas or plane tickets.

We survived and had a great time. Happy to back though, and even happier to get into my swivel chair in my office at work. It's so quiet in my office, very refreshing after a week with my very vocal children. I love them to bits, but after the 50th time of hearing "What'cha doin?" you long for a moments silence.

My parents just left for a trip of their own, so our babysitters are gone. We'll make up for it by crashing at their house and eating all their food. I'll probably even use my old shower at least once while their out. Love that shower, small tomb of a thing that steams up like a sauna. And it has a door, not a shower curtain... oh, it's the little things that make life good.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Eric by Terry Pratchett

Eric (Discworld, #9)

Eric is another Rincewind novel that picks up after the events of Sourcery. It's kind of a twisted version of the Faust tale. The most memorable bit is that Rincewind and his traveling companion Eric go to the beginning of the Discworld's existence and meet the Creator himself. The funny little man seems to have a lot in common with the man who's picture is on the back cover of the book.

Couple special notes about this book. Bought it at Half Price Books on Harwood, and it came on our road trip to Illinois to Bridget's Grandparents. Finished it while I was there. When we returned from our vacation, it was the first book that I've donated to be put directly in the stacks at the Euless Public Library. That's right, I know people... granted she misplaced it and it took a few months before it found it's way to the stacks. It wasn't and won't be the last book I'll get on those stacks.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes

Yes folks I'm sorry to say, but Palin is a very bad person. I guess I should qualify... I don't know or care what a nice person she might be in person, but as far as her ability to govern goes she's as bad as they come. Let me also add that being pretty isn't a good qualifier on who should lead. Being secretive, ignorant of the issues, and given to cronyism and vendettas doesn't strike me as someone I'd want anyone to vote for.

So please, take the time to read this New York Times article before you vote for this person.


U.S. / Politics
Once Elected, Palin Hired Friends and Lashed Foes
Published: September 14, 2008
Gov. Sarah Palin’s visceral style and tendency to attack critics contrast with her public image, her record shows.

read more | digg story

Friday, September 5, 2008



Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Got another gift from the Guild Wars folks last night. If you own all the campaigns, you now can get a special Hero. M.O.X. is a giant dervish robot pal. Haven't played with him much yet, but I stuck him in the Hall of Monuments already.

I love it when they add something new to spice things up. Guess I need to unlock some more Dervish skills. Still plenty to do in Guild Wars!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Obama on Gustav - Swampland - TIME

Ran across this speech by Obama in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. Really good speech. Enjoy!

From digg:
Obama spent today giving curtailed speeches in respect to Hurricane Gustav. But tonight, in front of a Milwaukee audience of 14,000, invoking both the Bible and Thoreau, he was as good as I’ve ever heard him.

read more | digg story

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Felicia Day + Still Alive = Awesome

This is one of the most awesome-est awesome ever. I kid you not. Behold the glory that is Felicia Day and JoCo singing Still Alive (the song sung by GLaDOS during the credits of the game Portal).

Friday, August 29, 2008

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett

Sourcery (Discworld, #5)

Sourcery finally gets us back where we belong, with Rincewind running away from something and the pounding of the Luggage's hundreds of feet following relentlessly after. We finally get a reason for wizard celibacy and a inside look at the destructive natural of the magic wielders as well. It's been a while since Rincewind fell off the edge of the Discworld and caught a glimpse of its foundations (elephants and the turtle).

I was glad to get back to him... too bad that meant his life was being turned upside down once again. He had a nice stint there as the Librarian's banana peeler, so he has that to hold on to. Rincewind grows on you like a very tasty fungus.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Hanging with the Shadow

Hanging with the Shadow

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Actually got a friend of mine to start playing Guild Wars. Seeing as she's a few time zones away, we haven't played together much. But I got to run around Tyria with her the other night, slashing our way through the ruins of Ascalon.

It was a blast. This is her short fancy dressed mesmer and my big dumb warrior dude.

Post Skill Hunter HoM

Post Skill Hunter HoM

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Here's the nebulous statue thing in the back of the Hall of Monuments post getting the Legendary Skill Hunter title. Actually what probably made it more clear is that I've gotten enough titles now to hit the first rank of the Kind of a Big Deal title. Honestly, I never thought I'd get this many titles. Granted I've been playing for over 2 1/2 years now... you'd think I'd accomplish something.

Legendary Skill Hunter

Legendary Skill Hunter

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

I did it! I did it!

Took forever, but I finally managed to capture all the elite skills from a three campaigns of Guild Wars with my necromancer. Now hopefully I can find something else to pour gold into. I'm thinking fancy weapons and armor... though that Guild Hall still needs a little work.

Oh, and just for history purposes... I capped the last skill just about the same time that Michael Phelps won his first gold medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Soul Calibur 4, Praise and Laments

Soul Calibur 4 Cervantes

Originally uploaded by darciastevenson.

I have good and bad things to say about Soul Calibur IV. The good is that it looks amazing, play control is spot on and may actually be better than the previous games by a hair, the custom character creation is cool, and having Yoda as a playable character is just down right neat. The Soul series of games have always been one of my favorites. Nearly bought a Dreamcast on a number of occasions just to satisfy my desire to play the original Soul Calibur... which is still the pinnacle of the series by the way.

So number 4 is by far a worthy addition to the series, but I do have a few minor complaints... which once again brings it all back to the Dreamcast version as being the best one. While the game looks amazing and the addition of Jedi is very fun, having Vader's apprentice be the next to last opponent in arcade mode every time (and thus always having my butt handed to me) has become very tedious. The apprentice is overpowered in the way Cervantes was during the Soul Blade/Edge days, and at least then the old pirate was the end boss. If there were a way to adjust the difficulty of the arcade mode or turn off the apprentice, then I'd probably be happy.

You have to remember that I'm playing for fun here, not to become a frothing ball of frustration to the point of scaring my family. You can blah blah blah all you want about challenge and such, but I should be able to tailor the game's difficulty to my liking. I can always ramp it up later once I've got all the moves down again. I completely skipped over Soul Calibur 3 because I heard the difficulty level was absurd a SC2 was still working fine for me.

This version has online play, which sounds great... but with my silver account on Xbox Live it does me no good. I'll be upgrading to Gold this fall once the update comes out to allow Netflix streaming, so I'll just find out about all that then.

Custom character creation is pretty neat. I'm hoping to have more options once I unlock more outfit pieces, but I've already made two Chrono Trigger characters for it (Magus and Lucca) using what was available. My only complaint is that instead of just going for the appearance, I have to worry about how each piece effects my stats. After finishing up a pretty respectable Lucca lookalike and starting the game, turn out she starts out with only 50% health. No wonder she was dying so fast. I added some extra outfit bits to bring her health up, but it did spoil the look I was going for... bummer.

At any rate the game is still great, even if the menu system seems to have suffered a bit. I also miss the old travel the world to unlock stuff game that was in SC2. That was better than the new tower of souls or whatever the call it. That and the story mode seems like a replacement for the way the arcade mode used to play... all in all it is like they messed to much with what used to work perfect.

In the end I'm really impressed, but also slightly disappointed... which has been the case with every game since the original SC.

Oh and the anatomy on some of the girls (I'm looking at you Ivy) has gone off the deep end of absurdity. Honestly, could we tone it down a tad. My wife watches me play this game, and she's already telling my newborn son he's not going to get to play... which is a shame.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ignore the World


Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Sometimes I wish I could ignore the world the way my son can.

The last week or so has been a tad crazy. I almost had to serve as a juror on a murder trial, found out that my car's air conditioning is broken instead of just needing a coolant refill, and my daughter has decided that climbing out of her crib is fun. So, tonight we have to get a toddler bed from some friends and hope Katie takes to it.

As far as the car goes, it'd be really great if we could find a mini-van or a small SUV. The main problem is we already have a car payment and we're broke as it is. Figure I'll just have to sweat it out and hope that I can make it to the fall when these 100 degree days will go away.

Once upon a time, I could actually save money every month and was practically debt free. Oh how getting married and having kids can change all that. All well, have to make the best of what I've got, which are two great kids and a wonderful wife... along with two annoying cats.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Mort by Terry Pratchett

Mort (Discworld, #4)

Mort is the first Terry Pratchett Discworld novel to revolve around Death as the major character and not just running around scaring Rincewind. It follows the education of his apprentice, Mort. The best part of this novel is the exploration and further description of Death's "life".

Some great character's were introduced or further developed, like Alpert and Death's daughter Ysabell. Mort himself grows quite a bit through the novel, and if your characters don't grow in the telling then your don't really have a story. After reading Mort I went on to read 8 other Discworld novels, so be careful this is a gateway book.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Chrono Trigger DS is coming this Holdiay in North America!

Me am happier than ever... besides the birth of the children, getting married, blah blah blah... the game I love most of all is coming to life again, this time on Nintendo DS. Looks like I'll be getting me a DS for Christmas. Guess I won't be jealous of my brother-in-law anymore, who just got one for his birthday. Once this game comes out I will have one, no question about it.

Chrono Trigger must be mine!

PS: Saw Wall-E tonight... such a great movie. Choked me up more than once.

From Digg:
There is a god! And he lives on as a Square-Enix exec!

read more | digg story

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

And Then There Were 3

I kept my eyes open this evening for the fox. After I heard the neighbors dog barking, I knew it was time. Then what do I see... 2 foxes. So Bridget comes over to take a look.. and spots a third. Now there are 3... at least. Yeah, I'm going to call Animal Control a lot tomorrow. Time for a fox relocation and I'm not going to take the lack of call backs this time.

Schlotzsky's Salad

Went to Schlotzsky's and since they were out of the salad I wanted, they gave me a free one.

Nothing better than free food.

I hadn't even thought about getting a salad from them until today, and I must say they make good salads.

Took a bit getting through the drive through, but it was well worth it.


Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fox in Residence

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3

I was on our enclosed porch the other day feeding the cats, when I saw something moving in the backyard. At first I thought it was a cat, as that's not out of the ordinary. Only took a moment to realize that was a wrong assessment.

A gray fox padded its way right onto the patio. He (or she) sat there for a bit scratching itself and otherwise acting like he owned the place. Didn't see me or the cats due to the solar screen (wonderful invention).

I snapped a couple videos since the normal pictures didn't work through the solar screens (so there is a small drawback to them). We saw the fox wandering down the neighborhood street last night, and he was sitting out there this morning as well.

Bridget called animal control the other day, but they just told her to leave the fox alone since it's a wild animal and it would probably go on its own. I'll be giving them a call tomorrow and letting them know that the critter seems to have made a home. That and taking a stroll down the middle of the street can't be normal behavior.

I'm personally not bother too much, because I'm sure it's eating up the vermin. Which is one less thing I have to worry about. I just don't want the kids down the block at rabies risk... or having a fox get in our garage.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Here Comes Randal

Here Comes Randal

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

I thought I'd actually post something about my newly born son on my blog. I'm afraid all the posts about him have so far only gone onto the family blog and nothing has made its way to my blog. He was born a week ago at 2:29 p.m., weighed 8 pounds 8 ounces, and was 20.5 inches long.

He's been a gem of a baby so far. Sleeps all the time and isn't even bothered by the invariably loud racket his sister makes running through the house. Speaking of his big sister, Katie the 2 year old, is taking things rather well. She's a bit clingy and needy, but not terribly so. We're doing our best to make her feel very important and loved.

Randal has been getting gifts like crazy. Here are two of my favorite so far. A blue monster named Big Toe and a bib stating "Here Comes Randal." The latter being a reference to one of my favorite films, Clerks.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Dark Jedi's Birthday and Impending Birth of the Brother


Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

My little dark jedi of a daughter had her 2nd birthday over the weekend. Katie got to eat a lot of cupcake and ran around in a sugar infused frenzy. We had more than enough relatives to fill her grandparents house, so much so that she played shy for quite a while when we first arrived.

Tomorrow she's in for a bigger shock. If all goes as planned she's becoming a big sister. Bridget is scheduled to be induced tomorrow at 7am... well that's when we're supposed to get there at any rate. We'll see how long it takes for the boy to come out... took Katie all day but 2nd babies come out faster... so THEY say.

Keep an eye on the family blog at for news and pictures. I'll be posting them directly from my fancy pants cellphone. Everyone send the happy vibes so that every thing will go wonderfully!

Oh, and I just found out that my cousin Brad and his wife Bri are pregnant. The family tree just keep getting bigger!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

More Titles

More Titles

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Not long ago my main character in Guild Wars, Satine the Necromancer, had no titles... and I hadn't really even bothered with it. Then I noticed how close I was to getting the Protector of Tyria title, and I decided to give it a go. Now I'm all about the titles... well at least the ones I think are accomplish-able.

I have to say the Cartographer title has been the biggest pain so far. I wouldn't have even bothered if I hadn't come across a texture replacement utility that makes it easier to see what parts of the map haven't been explored yet. I'll move on to mapping the other two continents once I'm done capping elite skills.

I've got all the Elonian elites and am almost done with Prophesies. Next will come the elites from Factions, which I already have quite a few of... but the biggies (Assassin and Ritualist) have barely been touched. It is so much fun capping, because you get a feeling of accomplishment checking another item off the list.

Granted I'm fully aware that all my time spent on this game is like working in a factory that produces products that will never be sold. One day the game servers will be turned off and what will I have to show for the time lost. Still it serves as a nice distraction to throw my excess energy or frustrations at, which keeps me happy productive member of my family. Better I'm playing this game once everyone's asleep that getting into trouble somewhere, right?

Well with the new kid about to come into our world demanding feedings and diaper changes... the game is going on backseat duty. I bet I'll squeeze in some time though... probably when I should be taking a nap. Crazy time, here we come!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

I am really waffling on giving this a 2 or 3 out of 5. I'd give it a 2 just cause I was glad when it was done, and parts of it I little said (out loud even) "now this is just dumb." I'll give it a 3 though just out of charity. I'm amazed that the movie Blade Runner came out of this book, though now I have a greater understanding of why the films script was a tad muddled.

While I understand what the author was going for with the whole future folks' obsession with living animals, it just seemed so silly to me. The whole android psychology aspect was fairly interesting, but Mercerism didn't do anything for me at all. In the end it was hard to care about any of the books characters, and I always see that as the worst mark any story can have against it.

Oh and one final thing that bugged me the entire time. Why would the android producing corporation be hell bent on making replicants that are indistinguishable from normal humans? Would it be so much easier to just make all androids so they have an easily distinguishable feature to show they aren't a normal human? I'm thinking no belly button.

Then instead of making everyone take a stupid question and answer game, the cops just say show me the belly button. Quick, simple, and there ya go. Besides I never really got the point of hunting down the androids in the first place. Not like they're going to live very long anyway, just leave them be. Granted if they killed someone you'd just treat them like any normal crook.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Lily and Katie

Lily and Katie

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

The daughter of one of my best-est friends in the whole wide world came for a quick visit yesterday. Honestly I had completely forgotten when they were going to visit. I knew they where coming, but when was just a vague tickle in the back of my brain.

I'm glad I answered my cellphone, since I don't alway answer numbers I don't recognize. The last time I saw Lily, she wasn't all that much bigger that Katie. She's a darling young lady now, and looks just like her Mom did way back when.

Lily was quite impressed with Katie's smartness, calling her "quite advanced". Katie was rattling off the ABC song most of the time and counted her numbers up to around 7. For an almost 2 year old, I guess that's pretty good.

The next time we see Lily and her Grandma Marion will probably be in October 2009, and I can't wait!

NPR: Vampire Slayer Buffy Saves Iraq Reporter's Soul

Buffy the Vampire Slayer saved the world and the sanity of NPR's Jamie Tarabay while she was in Baghdad. Tarabay explores why she needed the slayer during her time in Iraq.

read more | digg story

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin

The 2nd book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin continues with more misery for house Stark. Kings and their attempts at conquest fill the pages of this novel, with no less that 4 contesting each other. I'm still greatly enjoying the way Martin jumps perspectives between the various characters of the book. Feeling the events from different points of view gives the story a little more life than if it was constrained to only one character.

I'm eager to get started with the next book in the series just to see what happens the the Stark children. That and the dwarf of Lannister is becoming a favorite too. Plenty of books left in the series, so who knows where it'll all end up.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Bruce Lee’s Top 7 Fundamentals for Getting Your Life in Shape

This little piece using quotes from Bruce Lee caught my eye today. Just some general life tips and such. The part I liked best was when the author wrote this:

It just means that you realize – and remember in your everyday life – that the thoughts and emotions are just things flowing through you.

You are not them though.

You are the consciousness observing them.

Cool, no?

From digg:
Besides being an awesome fighter and iconic figure Bruce Lee also had some very useful things to say about life.

read more | digg story

Friday, May 2, 2008

Equal Rites: A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett

A Discworld Novel by Terry Pratchett

I really enjoy the Discworld series. I'm slowly working through the series, with the help of the library next door to my office. This book has more fun with the magic of Discworld, and the gender politics of its magic users.

The ending was a bit of a jumbled mess, but that was probably the point. I can see this as setting up people, places, and events for use in the future books. The humor was as sharp and witty as ever.

Free Comic Day

The infamous Geeky Artist Librarian has a Free Comic Book Day post that has some handy info on this most hallowed of holidays. But lest I forget to add some valuable information myself, take note that the 4th Annual Comic and Pop-culture Expo will be going on down in Dallas. Big important folks like Scott Kurtz and Kris Straub will be in attendance... as well as some other folks.

Will I get to attend and purchase a signed copy of Starslip Crisis: Volume 1... probably not. I imagine it'll be another weekend of crazy, exhausting, kid watching time.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Beating Guild Wars (Prophecies)... Again

The 3rd anniversary of Guild Wars is just around the corner (and my 31st birthday on the same day). To celebrate they made some additions to the ending of the original Guild Wars campaign, giving it a real ending with rewards. Last night I decided to check it out and marched my team of miscreants back up to Hell's Precipice.

The team died once, but that's because I wasn't paying attention. It went rather well after that misstep. Ending as it must with an Undead Prince Rurik (dead again), and the Lich Lord with him.

Killed Him Again

Which took me to the new ending area where you can chat it up with all the NPCs you met along the way. It was a nice touch and really fits with the endings the made for the other campaigns and expansion. Ties a few plot bits up too and the expansion fit a little better into the storyline.

New Prophesies Ending Area

I even got myself a fancy new staff. Funny thing is that after making over half a dozen characters, I realized the only one I really use... and thus the only one I should be getting stuff for is this character, my necromancer. Thing is all the other end game items I've acquired I gave to other characters... so even though she really didn't need a new weapon, she deserves to get this one.

Deldrimor Staff

But lest you think I spent my time re-beating the game just for a shiny new stick, my time at Hell's Precipice was well spent with other pursuits too. I capped an Elite (since I'm back doing that now that I finally purchased the skill trainer for my Guild Hall) from Rurik himself, no less. I also mapped what I could and now am proud to say I've hit 99% on the Tyrian Cartographer title. Getting that last 1% is going to drive me insane.

Almost There...

Just for fun, here's a little picture of the Edge of the World that I ran into while messing around the Northern Shiverpeaks the other day.

The Edge of the World

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wordpress Resources

Posts with links to webdesign resources are a dime a dozen these days, but Felicia Day of The Flog has put together a good list that deserves noting.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Karma Girl by Jennifer Estep

Karma Girl<br/>by Jennifer Estep

I bought this book for my wife after hearing the author on a podcast, Dragon Page: Cover to Cover. After having just finished reading Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman, I was still in the superhero genre mode so I thought I'd give Karma Girl a try. There's a lot of tongue in cheek going on in this book both figuratively and literally. Let's not delude ourselves, this is a romance novel... just with superpowers thrown in.

Now I'm not one for trashy romance novels, but there's more than that to this book. My best summation is that it's a fun ride. The twists and secrets revealed are fairly easy to pick out along the way, but that's half the fun. I thought this book was a blast to read, and as long as you know what type of book you're getting into... anyone should enjoy it.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Video: Species Confused Duck

Species Confused Duck

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3

In the further adventures of the Species Confused Duck... here's a video of the horrible thing. Actually I'm just testing out flickr's new video capabilities. Works pretty well if you ask me.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Scary News

Now, is this a post about my good friend Rebecca about to go under the knife to have some guts removed? Nope. Like the fact that I have a second child being born in around 2 months, I'm in denial. For such things I just close my eyes and hope it all works out well in the end.

This is about something horrible I heard about on the local news tonight. Our idiot disaster of a president will be moving his family to the Dallas area once he's done making a mess of the White House. If he moves near me I'll just have to leave this state of my birth for good.

Stop the world, I want to get off.

Monday, April 7, 2008

April Fools 2008 Stick Figure Transformation

April Fools 2008 Stick Figure Transformation

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

For April Fools this year, Guild Wars turned everyone into stick figures. Last year the flipped the genders on all the characters, which I thought was really clever. Stick figures walking around in a 3D environment was pretty nifty.

I've been working on a few titles, including Tyrian Cartographer and Protector. I'm 96.1% on mapping and getting the rest is turning out to be a real pain. I'm only 3 mission bonus' away from getting Protector... but I'm not in any hurry.

Once I get these Tyrian titles out of the way, I think I'll go back to working on the EoTN grinding titles. My main focus is still getting cash to buy a skill trainer for the guild hall. I'm almost halfway there with 40+ platinum. It's still going to take forever.

After that I'm going back to skill capping... almost have all the Elonian elites capped.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Species Confused Duck


Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

My daughter received a package on our doorstep. Inside was a duck. The duck in question flaps his wings singing the chicken dance song... quacking instead of clucking.

It is amazingly funny to watch my little girl flapping her arms along with the plush critter. Still I have to pause for a little head scratching... I mean it is the CHICKEN dance... and it's a DUCK. Guess there isn't an equivalent duck dance song.

Species confused fowl aside, Easter weekend was a lot of fun albeit exhausting. Eggs were colored, hidden, and gathered. The new baby's room was cleaned, a new (used) changing table and crib were bought, and double stroller was also purchased. All in all a tiring holiday.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Speech On Race: Full Text

Good read. I really like this guy.

From digg:
History in the making. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the likely next President is about to deliver a speech that could be historic as a symbol of an America that is starting to move beyond racial divisions. Here's the full text.

read more | digg story

Monday, March 10, 2008

Super Smash Bros. Brawl

My cousin stopped by my folks house yesterday just after our big weekly Sunday lunch. He mentioned that he'd gone to the midnight launch party for Super Smash Bros. Brawl (for the Nintendo Wii). Later that afternoon I decided to call up the local GameStop on the off chance they had a copy. They did and I was there within 5 minutes with credit card in hand.

A friend came by in the evening and helped me give it a work out. My thumb is rather sore this morning. Great game.

Friday, March 7, 2008

On The Constitutional Reasons Behind Copyright And Patents

So it seems Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were both skeptical about patents and copyrights. Well I guess our lawmakers don't care much about what those guys had to say. I haven't read all the way through this article series, but of the small taste I've had so far it looks quite interesting.

From digg:
Mike Masnick of writes another insightful article on intellectual property. This one looks at the roots of copyrights and patents in the US Constitution. Short and highly readable.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

100+ Essential Resources for Web Developers

This list of resources is actually pretty good. The html to rss converter is pretty neat. I'm not sure if I'll use it directly for work projects, but it is a quick way to set up a RSS template with actual data in it.

From digg:
We’ve put together a list of over 100 resources to help make your life as a developer easier; where to find snippets of code, sites that automate processes, cheat sheets, lessons, useful tools and a couple of silly videos to give your brain a break if you make it through to the end.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Guild Wars franchise hits 5 million unit sold mark

Go Guild Wars!

I've been playing Guild Wars for a couple years now. While some aspects of the game have begun to wane, others are still going strong. The Guild Wars podcast (GuildCast) that I've listened to forever is coming to an end. Some of the repercussions of its ending soured things for me a bit (lost the GuildCast guild), but I'm still having fun... just more and more on my own.

Will I bother getting Guild Wars 2 when it comes out... oh who am I kidding, I'll probably get it. I'm guessing I'll get it right away too, so I don't miss out on some stuff. I'm still bummed about waiting so long to get the first game... granted there was a wedding, honeymoon, and moving into a new house going on at the time, but still.

Thank you Guild Wars and NCSoft for all the fun!

From digg (and joystiq):
NCsoft announced today that its distinctly non pay-for-play MMORPG, Guild Wars, has sold five million units globally in a little under three years. The Guild Wars milestone takes into account the original game plus its three expansions: Factions, Nightfall and Eye of the North.

read more | digg story

The Naked Violin

Tasmin Little, Britain's top concert violinistNPR has a segment in that end of the hour space that always pops up just before I get to work in the morning.  It is filled with a strange blend of random stuff, as far as I can tell.  Today it was about Britain's top concert violinist releasing her latest album free on the interwebbitubes.

The fun part is she's including lots of instructional tidbits along with the tracks.  Her main purpose is to grow an interest in classical music in a demographic not know for classical tastes.  Sounds great to me, especially if I get some free music too.

Here's the story: NPR Music: Tasmin Little Takes the Classics to the Masses and the violinist's website: Tasmin Little's Site.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Han Solo in Carbonite desk

If I ever become a big executive, this is my desk.

From digg:
Tom Spina Designs created this Han Solo in Carbonite desk for a client. I would be incredibly productive with a desk like this. Just sayin'.

read more | digg story

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Use Your Wii as a Media Center

I tried this a while back. Didn't work as well as I'd hoped. Actually I have a number of avenues now for getting media from my computer to my TV, and I'm still trying new ones as time allows.

The silly thing is that I spend so much time trying to set up these grand media players, and when it's all working... I can't find anything I want to watch or listen to. I guess that is the geekiness of it all. Really don't have time to watch much or listen to music anyway.

By far the best set up has been through the xbox360. Streaming works great for music and almost great for video. What works bestest is burning music, video, or even pictures to a disc (CD or DVD) and watching them through the 360. Defeats the purpose of networking everything together, but it's still true. If only Pandora would work through the 360, I'd be very happy. Also if Netflix comes through on the rumors of streaming their online catalog to the 360, I'll be ecstatic.

From digg:
The best thing the Nintendo Wii got going for it is the excellent Opera web browser, but web browsing with the Wii remote is still a bit klunky. Luckily, using that very same browser, you can turn your Wii into a full-fledged media center with the freeware Windows application Orb. Here's how

read more | digg story

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

I just finished listening to the audio version of this book. It was read by the author, but dialog was performed by actors. An amazing performance all around. I'm going to go ahead and give this one a rating of 5. I loved it on a Harry Potter level, but we'll have to see how the rest of the series plays out.

The story takes place in England in 19th century-ish time period, but in a slightly different parallel world to our own. There's talking polar bears after all. That and every human has a spirit extension of themselves called a daemon. Each daemon takes the form of an animal that in some way represents the personality of the person they're attached to. Hurt the critter and it hurts the person, and vice versus. Did I mention the daemons can talk?

Anyway, the story follows the adventures of a girl name Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon. Character development is wonderful, and the action moves along at a quick tempo. This is the first of a trilogy, so even though some of the conflict is resolved by the end of the book it doesn't finish with a conclusive way. Unfortunately, the library doesn't have the audio version of the next book. I'll have to either pester them to purchase it, or clear some books out of the way to make room for the dead tree version.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Clueless Parents Fight to Keep Kids from Learning Spanish

A few parents in the Grapevine-Colleyville school district resent their children being taught a little bit of Spanish (one semester, and only in one class two days a week). Obviously these particular parents don't know much about Texas history or the importance of Spanish speakers to it. In what way is keeping your children from learning a good thing?

I could have posted links to the original story when it first came out. I thought linking to an editorial rebuttal would be a better choice. At least the author is writing from a sane perspective.

The parents in question were eating up the sensational local news coverage like candy. Their kids are who I worry about. How can education be priority one in a home that willfully fights against learning. The parent in question doesn't find fault with teaching other languages... meaning she's specifically discriminating against Spanish. That conjures up a number of choice descriptions about her character, but which I do not wish to type here.

read more | digg story

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Lawrence Lessig on Barack Obama

Lessig gives a 20 minute talk on why he supports Obama for president. Very lucid and informative arguments!

read more | digg story

Monday, February 4, 2008

Ringworld by Larry Niven

Ringworld by Larry Niven

It wasn't bad, but by the end I was ready for it to be over. So this book earns a solid 3. I still don't think I'm quite in the groove with traditional Science Fiction yet. They seem to feel more like a travel book dedicated to pointing out cool technology or some such. Guess I've been spoiled by stories with complex plots, with twists and the like.

Ringworld is the tale of a motley crew of four, two humans and a couple aliens, setting out on an exploration of the Ringworld (a manufactured world in the shape of a ring, go figure). I'll give Niven credit, the descriptions of this future universe, the aliens, cultures, and eventually the Ringworld are all very cool. The Dyson sphere lite concept of the ring is really neat and well thought out. The luck concept was a little much to stomach though, as it acted as a plot hole device. I've seen magic used the same way in some fantasy stories. If you're lacking a real plot motivation or have no real explanation why something should happen a certain way... bam! magic... or in this case luck.

Like I said, not a bad book at all, but I'm ready to move onto something else.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

I liked the first Discworld novel quite a bit, but this second book is much better. Where the first book meandered around without much of a overarching plot, this book keeps moving from the very start to a determined conclusion. The first book served its purpose familiarizing us with the world and some characters, and this book is the first real story.

Oh, and I love the humor.

I can't get over the fact that the most interesting characters are Death and a very determined piece of luggage.

I give this book a 4, and that is because I'm trying really hard to stick to my personal rating system.

Personal Rating System

My personal rating system for books, or rather my explanation of the stars I give books over on LibraryThing, is a 1 to 5 scale. Now LibraryThing lets you give half stars, which for me should be read as I was really tempted to go one direction or the other. That and if I only give something a .5 it means a special kind of disgust.

Let's start with the good!

3 is a book that I enjoyed, but probably will never read again. All in all a meh.

4 is a good read, might read again someday, and generally liked a lot. Most stuff I read should fall into this category, I would imagine.

5 is supposed to be for outstanding books (like the first Harry Potter). That being said I really like giving 5s to books I enjoyed, and I'll probably bump many 4s to a 4.5 just because I can't control myself.

Oh, on the low end of the scale...

2 is a book that I got through but didn't particularly like or took issue with.

1 and lower (if .5 and 0 are considered options) are for books I couldn't stand to finish, were just horribly bad, or I would consider torture to have to read again.

I've given one book so far a .5, but I may have been a tad harsh... I've only scratched the surface of hard sci-fi and frankly I don't think I had got it about that genre when I read that poor book. That being said I didn't like it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Retconning: Just Another Day Like All The Others

To quote the author :

Retconning comes from "retroactive continuity," meaning "taking the continuity of your storyline and retroactively changing part of it so things didn't happen the way they happened"...

This comes up a lot in comics and sometimes in movies, where the past is changed to fit the needs of the current writers. Happens in soap operas too or any long form narrative that changes organically over time. At some point someone just can't help but screw with the past we all came to know. The Star Wars prequels and the Special Editions can fall into this category.

Anyway I thought this article does an amazing job covering this topic. Really good read.

From digg:
In the context of Marvel Comics doing "the stupidest thing ever," referring to the nullification of a certain webhead's marriage, this article goes on to explain the different types of retconning. It explains how they come about and their repercussions.

read more | digg story

Webcomics: Olive Garden, Starslip, and more

This webcomic crossed my path the other day chronicling the author's time working as a host at the Olive Garden. I also started looking at one called Starslip Crisis. Of course there's also PvP and Penny Arcade... oh, the list never ends. Support these folks if you can!

From digg:
For about a year, I worked as a host in an Olive Garden restaurant. During that time, I made the following strips. Each strip is completely true, except for people's names, which have been changed so that they don't get mad at me. This comic is not endorsed in any way by The Olive Garden. In fact, they don't even know it exists.

read more | digg story

Monday, January 21, 2008

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

This book took me forever to get through. At 675ish pages (not counting the appendix), it has to be one of the longest books I've tackled... besides the Harry Potter books. I almost stopped about halfway... this is a library book and I've had it out like 5 months now. Luckily the Euless Library let's me renew my checked out items practically as much as I like (I'm assuming I'd be stopped if someone put the book on reserve).

Guess I should get into the book itself. It was wonderful. Martin uses an interesting style in this book where each chapter is entitled with the name of the character whose point of view the story is told from just for that chapter. At the beginning I was scratching my head a bit, wondering about if I'd already read this or that chapter... but I caught on quick enough. Makes the perspective changes clear as day, but removes the traditional usefulness of chapter titles. He could have at least numbered the chapters, but he didn't.

Martin seems to have a reckless abandon with his characters. I don't think it spoils anything to say that major characters get the axe (or sword) a lot more often than most other stories I've read. The reader is left with the impression that in this harsh world anything can happen and throw your preconceptions out because the author plans on using those against you. I can truly say that the story changed directions towards the end of the book from what I had been expecting, and that made it really great.

I am left in a bit of dismay... this is the first of a series and each book is near the same size in page count. I hope I can get a couple more read by the end of the year.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Finally, a game about the Dewey Decimal System

Librarians rejoice! Now you can practice shelving books even when the library doors have closed for the day.

I used to have a job shelving books at my local library. My experiences there inspired me to eventually get a degree in Library Science. This game is a little rough around the edges, but just the idea warms my geeky heart.

Play it now!

read more | digg story

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Randal's Sono

Randal Sono Profile

Originally uploaded by FlipSide3.

Here's my latest kid in progress. Sort of a proto-kid at the moment. Seems to have the right number of limbs in the right places, so I'm happy. He's due around my daughter's 2nd birthday... won't she be in for a surprise. MwaHAHa!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Star Wars in Soul Calibur IV!


Now I just have to buy this game. What a smart move for the series.

From digg:
First ever look at the Star Wars characters in Soul Calibur IV!

read more | digg story

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Speaking of Lego Star Wars

Lately, Bridget and I have been playing lots of Lego Star Wars on the Xbox 360. There is a hidden red brick on each level which once acquired allows you to purchase extra features (like invincibility) with the in-game money. I've been shooting for the 10X money extra and for the most part ignoring everything else I could buy.

Well with Bridget's help we got the insane amount of Lego money to get the 10X thingie, twenty million credits! What helped is that along the way we unlocked and purchased the 2X and then the 4X money doodad. They actually multiply together, so it now collects at 80X the normal amount of credit drops. I did a quick run of a level that at the start yielded maybe 50K to 100K credits... yea, now I'm pulling 5 million on the same run. MwaHaHa!!!

Now we can unlock everything else in no time. So much fun!!!

If only there were an 80X money thingie in real life...

Lego Star Wars PC in Pictures


Originally uploaded by kisner.

Tom posted some pictures of his Lego Star Wars PC out on flickr.

Lego Star Wars PC

My good buddy Tom bought a very small Intel motherboard and on a whim decided to put it into a special case for his son William. I should say he built the case around the board, because he decided to go with Lego for the case construction material. More specifically, it is a Lego Imperial Landing Craft complete with Stormtroopers. Actually he had to buy 2 landing craft kits and squish them together to make it big enough.

Now he's had some trouble here and there getting all the kinks out... but you can't build a computer without running into a few bugs. I'm jealous of his results, as I haven't had the chance to work on any such projects. No place to work, too much to do around the house, and ever so tired. One day though and I'll make something similarly cool!

From digg:
His son might not be able to speak just yet, let alone use a PC, but that hasn't stopped this intrepid geek from creating a cool computer for him. Built into an Imperial Landing Craft, flanked by Lego Stormtroopers, and driven by a trooper helmet shaped mouse, this PC is ready to take his kid to galaxies far far away!

read more | digg story