Tuesday, February 21, 2006

I WANT PATENTS ON THIS SHIT

Here are some great new products that probably won't be available in a store near you. Ever.

GPS SHOES: Take a regular pair of shoes--maybe the kind with the blinky lights in the heels to make it look more high-tech--and put a sticker on the toe part that says "YOU ARE HERE" written in magic marker and wear them around. Voila! GPS Shoes.

Vomints: Hey bulimics! Tired of that OJ and pizza aftertaste from horking your lunch into the toilet? Get Vomints! Their strong minty flavor will get rid of any smell or aftertaste in your yapper. Only 23,000 calories per mint!

More as they develop. R&D over here is intense. We could blow the lid off of something genius any second. And just think! By reading my shitty page, you'll be the FIRST person on your street--maybe even your BLOCK--to know about it!!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ok, I'm officially a cliche

I hate it when people coin names and phrases for "eras" or "revolutions" based on some product they want to hype. The latest is "The HD Era," as to be ushered in by HDTVs and high-def broadcasting. It's so....consumeristic, and it's annoying to me.

This is why it is with a heavy heart that I admit there really IS something behind this whole HD movement. I didn't realize it until today when we hooked up our new HD cable box with component cables to our big-ass HDTV and watched Olympic women's hockey, then I, Robot on my largest child, Goliath (the tv). I am a convert. I can never go back. HDTV is really a beautiful thing. And while I'm sort of ashamed to admit that, if you haven't seen it, don't talk to me about it. You have no idea what you're missing.

The hockey moment...when I realized I could read every tiny bit of embroidery on the jerseys from two rooms away; when I could see individual beads of sweat on the foreheads of the exhausted centers; when I could count the individual particles of ice shavings when someone stopped suddenly...I knew it was all over for me. The visuals really ARE as good as the hype.

And when I flipped on I, Robot, my brain had to stop and re-learn how to watch TV. I think I lost a few brain cells. They just couldn't process the awesomeness.

Prior to now, we just used an analog coax cable from the box to the TV, and you don't notice much difference. I thought the HD hype was all smoke and mirrors. But you really need to get component cables (the ones that separate video into three diff cables, not just one input). It may not blow your mind, but it will at least take it out to dinner and try to get to second base with it.

Man....why am I writing to you? There's STUFF on TV I need to watch. Like......COMMERCIALS, or whatever else is on. See ja.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

WoW Blog Contest, #4

Saving the best for last....

There were several people standing outside the entrance to the Keep just above Bael Modan in The Barrens. None of us were high enough level to survive it on our own, and most everyone else was a warrior. Along I come with my Tauren Shaman, and they decide that with me as a healer, we might be able to clear it. All is agreed, so in we go.

Things are going well. We're kicking butt, I'm healing and doing some occasional damage, communication is great, and everybody's playing their part. We get to the bottom of the place and are faced with a lvl 30 boss and two lvl 25s at his side. We're all low to mid 20s, so this seems like a gamble no matter what. While we're trying to decide on a battle plan, the boss notices us and charges. There wasn't even time to be disorganized. Three of the four of us got killed, and told the other guy to hide till we got back.

Skip ahead a few minutes, and we're all in there, standing ghostly atop each of our respective corpses, trying to finish the battle plan we were working on when so rudely interrupted last time. We all rezed, and he came right at us again. We all died this time.

Again we trudge back into the Keep, and decide this time to rez in the next room over, heal up and slap on some abilities before proceeding. It all comes together. I also decide to stay in that room and heal from a distance since somehow the boss made a beeline for me last time.

We commence the battle. It's all going well until I use my first heal on someone. The boss takes a sudden and immediate interest in me, runs over, and blam, kills me in about four hits. At this point, most of us have all broken armor and couldn't possibly even fight our way back out, let alone finish the guy we'd gone in to get. So four Hordies took the resurrection sickness penalty (no lost armor since it was all broken anyway) and went on our way.

Sure, we didn't achieve our goal, but it was such a great party that it put meaning into "It's not whether you win or lose; it's how you play the game."

WoW Blog Contest, #3

Here's a really short one... The 8-year-old mentioned in the last post plays with her mom a lot of the time. One time her mom had to step away from the instance for a minute to tend to dinner. She yells down the stairs to her daughter:

"Honey? Can you loot corpses for me?"

"Okay mommy!"

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that mother-daughter exchange....well, I'd have a nickel.

WoW Blog Contest, #2

Contrary the the last post, I did have a couple of good runs with others in WoW. Here is one, another to follow.

I live in a house with five active WoW accounts. The youngest among us is an 8-year-old girl. Nobody in Azeroth believes her when she tells them that, but I can attest to the fact that she is in fact 8, and female.

So she always invites me to party whenever we're both playing. She got it in her head to go to Ragefire Chasm in Orgrimmar. I'm hesitant because she's a lvl 14 priest and I'm a lvl 22 Tauren Shaman who's never set foot inside Ragefire. She didn't seem like the most reassuring of companions, considering how she doesn't really understand her role as a healer (more on that in a minute) and isn't really the best at party management. She says she'll bring along another friend. Um, ok...turns out he's a lvl 17 undead rogue or something, and ends up not affecting the outcome of things very much. Thank god for that coffee-named lvl 24 hunter tank we found just outside the port to Ragefire. She rocked.

In we go! And right off the 8-yr-old priest starts aggroing, charging ahead, getting the attention of every elite within a mile radius. The hunter and I jump in, pulling out a W for the home team. We progress further in, and are getting mobbed by about ten critters. I type "How 'bout a heal, please?" Nothing happens. I turn around to see what she's doing (we all play in the same room here at home) and she's off in the corner looking at a pretty rock, so I yell over, "What are you doing?! Heal us!" So she runs over and uses her best heal spell, which I quickly realize is still Rank 1 as it heals me for about 50 out of my several hundred HP. "Nevermind, just stay back." I fall back and start healing and rezing, where needed. Ahh, I love my shammy.

Things are back on track now, but down in the chat window I see the loot settings change from Group Loot to Free-For-All. I tell the 8-yr-old in charge to change it back. She says "But I want some loot, too." I try to explain that Group Loot means everyone gets a turn, no matter what. So she changes it back. As soon as the next battle begins, I see it change in the chat window back to Free-For-All. Guess in the heat of combat, she thought I wouldn't notice. So I yell over my shoulder to her to change it back to Group Loot and leave it that way. She does so, begrudgingly. Then she runs right into the middle of the fray, this underpowered, under-leveled priest. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!" I blurt. She just stands there, in the eye of the storm, not attacking anything, but somehow not getting attacked either. "I just want to make sure I get some loot," she says. I feel about three gray hairs pop out of my head.

So she goes and bungles her role in the instance entirely, but we make it to the end. Just as I'm about to make a "Victory from the jaws of defeat" comment, I forgot to center the camera back on me before moving, and inadvertently walked straight into the lava, killing myself instantly. Now, despite how dumb her mistakes were, I couldn't really complain, having done something even dumber myself.

I lumber back to the instance (why can't my spirit use Ghost Wolf, anyway? Seems like the perfect time TO use it) and apologize to the group. We make it out, sell our spoils, and head on our separate ways.

So, the moral of the story is, when someone is incurring the wrath from the entire group, don't go and do something even dumber than they did.

WoW Blog Contest, #1

Over at 1up.com, they're having a contest for an iPod Nano for anyone who can post amusing World of Warcraft blog stories. Below is one such story.....

Funny I should hear about this contest right after one of my worst WoW instances of all time.

It all started out fine. I was a lvl 11 Gnome Mage, minding my own business trying to collect rat ears for some quest, when in charges this lvl 10 Dwarf Paladin named after a part of the male genitalia. This already made me think the person was a tool. He had a pack of tunnel rats gnawing at him, so being a nice guy I ran over and Frost Novaed them, giving him a chance to fall back and heal. A minute later, we'd tag-teamed the rats and emerged with our hides (and their ears), and unsurprisingly, this clown invited me into a party.

He then shared about a dozen quests with me and we started off on what I had a feeling was an ill-fated journey around Loch Modan. We need Bear Meat, Boar Intestines, and Spider Ichor. Check. It took a while, and me getting killed a couple times because captain doorknob would run off ahead while I was sipping some conjured water to get my mana back, allowing a spider to come tap me on the shoulder. Still, I had dinged and was having a pretty good time overall. But he wasn't satisfied.

"I need to lvl" he says. "Know of any drugons?" I assumed he meant "dungeons" and said "not around here." His bright plan was to go to the Deadmines in Westfall, a place inhabited by lvl 15 and up baddies, and with us currently weighing in at lvl 12 (me) and lvl 11 (him), it sounded like a patently bad idea. "I'll get someone from my guild to take us thru," he reassures me. Still, it smells like a recipe for misery.

We blow thru probably an hour getting back to Ironforge, then taking the Deeprun Tram to Stormwind (which he fell off of in transit somehow), then walking down to Sentinel Hill, where I pointed out again that, even outside the pending instance, we were surrounded by things higher level than us. He was undeterred. Suddenly a lvl 40 and lvl 23 warrior and a lvl 23 priest show up, inviting us along. Off we go, despite my utterly logical arguments. I have this problem; I give people the benefit of the doubt. I really need to stop doing that.

About 15 minutes later, we're knocking on the door to the Deadmines. We go in, and right off I get attacked by a lvl 15. And I died. The priest rezed me, and about ten steps later, I died again. And so did the priest and the moron who convinced me to go on this idiotic adventure in the first place. Bear in mind that I got about 7xp at the most from anything we'd killed, and was getting about 100xp from stuff around Loch Modan that WASN'T killing me. So I laid there watching my corpse for a few, and when they just moved on without me, I messaged, "Rez please?" and all the reply I got was "warriors can't rez." NO KIDDING, SHERLOCK! I thought they had some contingency plan for when the priest got whacked, but apparently not. I went back to the graveyard and took the armor/summoning penalty just to get away from those tremendous jackasses. Never again, I say.

And people wonder why I play WoW solo 99% of the time.

How To Be A Sneaky Bastard

I work from home, third shift. So, in a house full of sleeping people, it's important to know how to get around without waking anyone, or alerting them to your presence. This is a starter guide, mostly involving hardwood floor-centric noise, that should get you budding spies and infiltrators up and creeping in no time.

1. Do not walk down the middle of a hall or thru the middle of the room. Stick close to the walls. The floorboards there are much less traveled, and won't squeak as much.

2. Do not walk up the middle of a staircase. Similar to #1, the center portion sees much more foot traffic than the edges by the walls.

2a. Keep your foot close to the edge of the step, and walk on your toes or the balls of your feet. More padding on your feet there, so less noise, and the edge of the stair is closer to the underlying vertical support, so it has virtually no "give" and couldn't squeak if it wanted to.

3. On hardwood or tiled floors, stay away from dirty or separated segments. They clearly show tons of wear and more than likely will make an obscene amount of noise if stepped on.

4. Open and close doors with one finger on the door and one finger on the jamb. That way, when it gets close to closing, you'll know by the alignment of your fingers. Thus, you don't end up slamming it.

4a. Turn the knob as you close doors. The latch clicking against or into its socket will undoubtedly make noise.

5. Turn off the microwave at 0:01. Most microwaves beep loud and long, and cutting it short will spare you the risk of alerting anyone to your presence.

6. When putting dishes into the sink, stack them in another room beforehand so it only makes one noise going into the sink or onto the counter. This can be further muffled by putting down a towel first.

7. If you have a stupid dog in your house that barks at everything like we do, before heading upstairs, turn on some lights. For one, dogs get weirded out in the dark sometimes, and are more cautious. For another, if they can SEE you and get visual ID on you as a non-threat, you can curb the noise that the four-legged moron will make.

8. Wear headphones for everything.

9. Wear socks or slippers when moving about. This will muffle the sounds of your movements even more, and keep your footsies clean and warm, too.

10. If you're going to make anything to eat, do it before anyone else gets up and gives you grief over your poor diet and lack of concern for your well being. Fuck those people. You like Cinnamon Toast Crunch and frozen pizzas and won't have it any other way.

11. This is just a bonus to torture the people you're hiding from. Make popcorn while they're sleeping. That smell gets EVERYWHERE, and is instantly recognizable. They will dream about it and wake up hongry for something they would normally turn their noses up at the sight of. Thus, you win.

Those are just a few pointers, surely not an all encompassing list of ways to infiltrate this stronghold of dorks I live in. Print it out and take it with you tho. You never know when it'll come in handy.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Yet Again, I Weep for the Future of Entertainment

Just got done watching King Kong, the big hype-monster of yester-year. I got bored about 30 minutes in, and nothing that happened after that redeemed it in the least. The dialogue was terrible, the CG was overdone, the subplots were stupid, the whole thing felt flimsy and fake, and it bolstered my feeling that the special effects movies of the future are going to keep putting me to sleep, in the trend of the Lord of the Rings movies, Alien vs. Predator, Day After Tomorrow, and the Star Wars prequels. Doesn't anyone know how to do this stuff right anymore?

Actually, someone does. The Harry Potter movies have been pretty good on the whole, though they do run a bit long, and the story gets stretched thin at times. Still, the first three were a lot of fun for me, and no, I haven't read the books yet, so I have no auto-bias or other frame of reference.

We all know George Lucas masturbated his ILM effects all over the place in the Star Wars prequels and remakes like a monkey throwing feces at the zoo. I got over that, thinking, "Oh, isn't George cute the way he's lost his grip on reality and the desire to let someone better write his movies?" But now Peter Jackson does the same thing and people love him for it. His movies are all entirely too long, have often boring dialogue and structure, and are mostly retellings of other people's work anyway. If he has this much trouble (IMO) adapting established material, maybe having him on board for the Halo movie isn't such a hot idea. Maybe if they sign Michael Bay to direct, it'll be ok. Between Alex Garland's solid writing chops, the tug of war between overly drawn-out epic (Jackson) and flashy, punchy-paced action (Bay), the flick might emerge victorious despite the weaknesses of some of its ingredients.

Then again, Jackson did do at least one thing right in his life: The Frighteners. I can't speak to whether or not that is a totally original story or not, but it was a lot of fun to watch, perhaps because I really like Michael J. Fox, or perhaps because it hit all the right notes and didn't drag on for 3+ hours. Maybe keeping movies PG-13 and below has limited Jackson unfairly in his other efforts.

In the end, I haven't lost all hope for Peter Jackson and crew, but I'd like to see them tackle something new for a change and see how it shapes up. If he's going to keep doing adaptations and remakes, try branching out into cross-overs, like Batman vs. Predator or Hulk vs. Kong or Superman vs. Chuck Norris or something. Somedays, I still wonder what could have been with RoboCop vs. Terminator. Then other days I think what an atrocity that might have been.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

My Moment of Zen

I'm sitting here, thinking about some people who genuinely care about me (you know who you are), flipping thru EGM's "200 Greatest Games of Their Time" feature (by the way, they oughta do a Top [insert number] Games That Were Ahead Of Their Time, including titles like Half-Life, Warhawk, Transformers [PS2], Drakan [PS2], and Red Faction), listening to the sweeping Homeworld soundtrack on my lovely Koss headphones, and letting Becky the Cat rub her face all over my bare, freshly showered foot. My mind wandered off for a moment, into the Homeworld universe, a universe not so different from our own. The idea of floating in space wraps me up like a warm blankie. Nothing above, nothing below. Nothing but nothing, weightless, and there I am, just floating by, not a care in the world. And the moment I become aware of that Zen-like moment, I start to dwell on it, to concentrate and focus on it, to heighten it, magnify it, to lose myself completely, so that I forget I'm even here, so that I stop breathing. And I am weightless as I sit here, consumed by all the things that drizzle joy into my mind. And nothing else matters. :)

Ever have a moment like that?

Hrmm....

Not a whole lot to tell ya. Just killing time until I move now. But I still gots love for all y'all, and wanted to wish you a Happy February. Eight days till Valentine's Day, and here I sit, single again.

ANY AVAILABLE LADIES OUT THERE WITH NO PLANS FOR FEB 14TH?