Archive for the 'Games' Category

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

“Do these dwarven greaves make my butt look big?”

Seriously, I try to get around to posting, but there’s so much of life that needs living!

And there’s even more goofing off, and I find myself doing that as well, as evidenced by the above shot of my recent renewed dabbling in Oblivion.

But I’ve posted pictures, so that will do nicely for now.

R.I.P. Merv Griffin

Sunday, August 12th, 2007

These days Merv Griffin seems to be known most as a producer, but he started as an actor, and a singer, before becoming a game show host, then a talk show host, then a producer.

I don’t have any memory of watching his talk shows, but, as a game geek from early childhood, I grew up on his (and others’) game shows. My favorite (and the one with the most influence on me) was Word for Word, the little-remembered project that nevertheless gave him the producing cred to be allowed to produce his two megahits, Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune.

Contestants on Word for Word were given a word, and challenged to form other, usually smaller words, out of the letters in the first word. The only word I remember at this point, in one of the first episodes I ever saw, was “cranberry”, and the bonus word was “barn”. I immediately became infatuated with the show, and, more importantly, with playing with the letters in words; the fact that my domain name is an anagram of the letters in my name is living proof of this influence. I even had the board game, which I think is still somewhere in my mom’s garage..

More important than any of his other credits, though, is the general feeling that Merv was a good human being. One person on the Fark message board said:

My grandfather was a writer on the Merv Griffin Show years ago. Long after my grandfather died, my mother got cancer. Merv cut a check to help with her medical expenses. He got us through some rough times.

Bonus points: He had a sense of humor about himself, as evidenced in this scene from Steve Martin’s underrated “The Man With Two Brains”:

Video Things …

Sunday, July 15th, 2007

Yeah, I’ve got things going on right now — but none of those things are as interesting as VIDEO … !

So let’s see some:

I watched the E3 coverage on G4 this week, but, surprisingly, the thing I got the biggest thrill out of was the opening of the Microsoft press conference, when a band introduced only as “five Halo fans from Libertyville, Illinois” rocked out the Halo game theme song. It was really cool, with blue lights and an electric violin reminiscent of Kansas (from their “Point of Know Return” album); bonus points for having the rock violin played by a wild-haired girl.

It turns out that their playing of the song at a high school talent show had been a big hit on YouTube for a couple of years now (first I’ve heard of it, probably because I’m not a Halo fan) and was noticed by Microsoft, and now they’re one of the hottest searches on the Internet.

Anyway, here’s their E3 performance:

Here’s a better sounding “studio” version (although without the wicked cool blue lights:

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that Jake Kellen’s mom had asked my mom if I had quit blogging (answer: no, not really). I realize that a few of you don’t know who Jake Kellen is, so here’s a nice little promo video:

Next up: We keep waiting for signs that the Internet is changing the way political campaigns take place, and here’s an interesting twist. Joe Biden’s campaign has a video on YouTube whose main focus isn’t to preach the candidate’s message (although they do get to that eventually), but rather to serve as a tutorial for making and submitting a question for an upcoming debate for which CNN has solicited input from the public. In fact, a lot of the video is a pretty good lesson on just making a video blog entry.

Check it out:

Here’s something else that I’m embarassed that I’m just now finding out about: An ongoing online short-comedy series called Goodnight, Burbank:

And finally, by way of our bud Newcastle Steve at Look at This … Waterskiing Monkeys!:

Let’s get this out of the way …

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Okay, here’s some quick stuff:

Every once in a while, famous people from my childhood will die in clusters, and this weekend it happened again: Wally Schirra, Tom Poston (Vickie scooped me on this one), Tommy Newsom. Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future … Here’s the Best Videogame Title Ever … I mentioned last night that when we hunkered near the back bathroom during the tornado warning last night, my wife brought her purse with her. What I didn’t mention is that she didn’t immediately bring it back up front, in case the tornados returned, and later our little Destructo-Dog decided to check out the contents. I didn’t get any pictures, unfortunately, but it was pretty funny.

For me.

And finally: I keep mentioning VH1’s hilarious Acceptable.TV, and here’s a particulary funny video from that show, Lord of the Phils:

“Redefine hiiiiiiiiiim!”

Monday, April 30th, 2007

I did it! Eleven daily posts in a row!

Sheesh, I used to post several times a day, for over three solid years. But times change, returns diminish, the sexy veneer of blogging itself is no longer shiny and enticing; the motivation for such labors ebbs considerably.

Anyway: To finish off this post, here’s a pretty picture and some assorted rambling: This picture to the left is from the online game I mentioned on Friday, Bang! Howdy; it’s a pretty good bunch of mini-games, more than just the Tetris retreads of Puzzle Pirates by the same company. The avatars are much cooler and more detailed, as you can see here, but the male avatars seem very lame to me. Or maybe I just like looking at girls better. . . . In other news, I got my 2nd set of surgery followup scans a couple of weeks ago, and last week the doctor said the tumors are still gone and the surgery itself is still healing like it should after a year. I also had to see the doctor because I was having this really weird infection in my nasal membrane that was making the end of my nose red and swollen. I looked like a cross between Karl Malden and Rudolph, but after a weekend of anitbiotics and ointment, I’m back to my old pointy-faced self. . . . Also: Heroes was unbelievably great tonight, better than I could have hoped for. It took place five years in the future, after Sylar had killed and absorbed many of the supers, including Mika, D.L., Candace, Nathan, and, finally, (OH NO!) Claire, and he and Peter, the other megamultipower, began their Inevitable Gigantic Ultimate Final Awesome Battle O’ Doom (IGUFABOD) … we don’t get to see how it ends, but on the plus side, it’s just been postponed to the past — got that? That is, after Future Hiro got shot in the future (his present) by former good-guy Parkman, who is now a high-ranking goon in the Even More Evil Department of Homeland “Security”, Present Hiro teleported back to the past (his present) to try to kill Sylar and stop Peter from Blowin’ Up Real Good. But you just know that it won’t happen before another IGUFABOD between the Two Titans of Smouldering Moodiness (TTSM’s).

Anyway, I think I’ve done my duty for another day. Will I keep posting every day up until my birthday? I doubt it; my music sequencer isn’t gonna string grooves together by itself — I’ve gotten practically ZILCH done since my stupid little blogging jag.

Anyway, keep checking back just in case …

Too Busy for You today …

Friday, April 27th, 2007

I’ll barely be getting in under the wire with my post tonight …

Hey, I’ve been busy!

With what?

For starters, I’ve just signed up with LaLa.com, a CD exchange service, and I’ve gotten addicted to listing what CD’s I have, and what others have that I want.

More on that later …

Also I’ve been wasting a little time checking out Bang! Howdy, an Western-themed multiplayer minigame site from the folks who brought you Puzzle Pirates …

And finally, I’ve been working on a little graphics thing for Yay Kim’s birthday … that’s right, tomorrow (Saturday) is Kim’s birthday (I always remember it because it’s the same day that I first moved to Dallas in 1986), so head over there and wish her a good one …

And check out this space tomorrow, for the little surprise thingie I’m working on for her …

Roll Another Number

Friday, April 20th, 2007

Got no flowers for your gun, no hippie chick!Today is 4-20, which is apparently some sort of street slang among the young folk, so check out G4TV’s celebration of the day, including reports from Amsterdam (where herbal refreshment is tolerated, though not legal), a history of the term 4-20 (invented by Baby Boomers in 76! Woo-hoo!), a review of the “trippiest” games of all times, and a showing of “The Big Lebowski”.

So like I said, check it out.

Also: Kids — Don’t do drugs!

Winter Fashion Report for 1007

Saturday, January 20th, 2007

Nothing says Confidence like a chick with a battle axe!

“Here DanaBeth is modeling a classic leather ensemble for winter by Borba’s of Cheydinhal, accented by sporty fox fur trim on the boots and belt. The timeless buckskin leggings feature pelvic-area ventilation, which helps a girl feel cool and fresh, whether chasing goblins through haunted caverns, or sneaking past Path of Dawn cultists to retrieve the Emperor’s magic amulet!

“Her outfit is accessorized with a striking yet understated Steel Battle Axe, which adds esthetic appeal while coming in handy on those overnight trips to the Plane of Oblivion.

“It’s definitely a look that says, If you value your hands, foul knave, you will keep them to yourself!'”

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I guess what I’m trying to say here is that I’ve finally gotten around to uploading a few screenshots from Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion — a small portion of the shots I’ve made, anyway — and you can view them here.

And seriously, the scenery in this game has to be seen to be believed. Go check out my shots, and be sure to view the large versions of the pictures to get the full detail.

State of the Blogger, 2007

Monday, January 1st, 2007

Okay, now that I’ve got my new Flash-animated Fourth Blogiversary banner installed, I wanted to take the opportunity to take a snapshot of my life right now, since that is what blogging is all about …

… unless of course you’re a member of the mainstream media, and then blogging is all about thousands of us know-nothing upstart amateurs who idolize “real” journalists and are pretending to be just like them …

But to me, blogging is journal-ism in its most literal sense: Documenting this thing we call Real Life in a way that only the individual can, and that is by offering up the minute details of my existence, to be aligned with everyone else’s in order to form The Great Jigsaw Puzzle of Reality.

Which is something that Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather never did for us.

So then, let’s get to it: My Life, January 1, 2007.

In my previous post I noted that when I first started blogging four years ago, we were without the use of a clothes dryer, since the heating element had gone out on my wife’s Maytag, and I was in the process of finding a new one. Now, in 2006, the appliance that has crapped out on us was the microwave oven. She has had that one for over 20 years now, so we’re not even bothering with repairs; she’s gotten her money’s worth out of it, and parts alone for something that old would probably cost more than a new one.

So we went out yesterday and got a new one: A two-cubic-foot LG.

Long story short: We went to several different places, Sears has a much, much crappier selection than we ever would have imagined, and the hardware superstores have an endless selection of over-the-range models but not so many coutnertops, and are even out of stock of the ones they do have on display.

Also: You don’t think about how dependent you are on a microwave until you don’t have one.

Gerald Ford died last week, but not before becoming the oldest former president, at 93. Who would have thought it would have been Ol’ Stumblebum.

And here’s a bit of fun trivia: Ford’s birth name was Leslie King, then later changed when his mom remarried.

I’ll bet you’re resourceful enough to re-form that information into a stumper-question with which to baffle your friends.

One more thing: Tuesday is going to be a national Day of Mourning for Ford, meaning, among other things, no mail service and no federal offices open.

No mail for three days?? For Ford??? He wasn’t even elected, not even as V.P.! Besides, I don’t personally remember this ever having been done for any president, elected or not. Is this something new, or have I just not been paying attention.

And sort of on that subject: A couple of weeks ago I heard about the release of the DVD box set of the complete first season of Saturday Night Live. After just a little consideration — I try to avoid impulse purchases — I decided that I would be crazy NOT to buy this set. I saw all those episodes the first time around after all, LIVE, like the Good Lord meant for them to be seen, and those first four wonderful years are almost never shown in reruns.

Plus, the show itself was so revolutionary, the first season should be mandatory in high school history classes.

And now that the topic of history has come back around, I’ll mention that I watched (or re-watched) the first episode last week the day after Ford died, and it was weird seeing all the jokes from when he was still President. Among the fake news items: They reported that Ford himself had written his re-election slogan: “If He’s So Dumb, How Come He’s President?”

And one more thing about that early SNL: It was an entirely different animal when it was starting out.

The first episode started with a sketch (John Belushi and Michael O’Donohue), but a large percentage of airtime was taken up by host George Carlin performing his comedy routines, on a section of the stage that jutted out into the audience. There was also more music, with two musical guests (Billy Preston and Janis Ian), each of whom performed two songs.

The second episode was even more music heavy: Host Paul Simon opened with “Still Crazy After All These Years”, and had two more songs in just the first half hour. Then guest Randy Newman sang “Sail Away”, then there was a Simon & Garfunkel photo montage to the sounds of “Mrs. Robinson”, then Simon introduced Art Garfunkel and they sang two more songs! And Garfunkel sang another one by himself!

And there was still another musical guest!

It seems insane now that they had all that comedy talent back then, but made them wait in the wings while middle-aged pop artists trotted out their tired old Top 40 hits.

At one point they were allowed to come out in their bee costumes, where the big joke was that Paul Simon was telling them that the bee sketch had been cancelled that week.

Fortunately the producers wised up after that, serving up much less (but much better) music, and more cutting edge comedy.

I’ve only watched those two episodes so far, but I’m looking forward to seeing the show progress. In particular, I’m looking forward to the Jill Clayburgh episode, which I recall watching the first time around after having consumed some very excellent brownies …

If you’re a regular here you know that last year I got into the most extended regular exercise habit of my entire life, doing 30-45-minute power walks almost every day for six months, even when temperatures were in the 100’s. Unfortunately, this routine got derailed in October when I got a sinus infection and the weather turned cold and wet; we did get some warm weather after that, but by then the sun was setting earlier, so I only got in about three or four walks since then.

Last Wednesday, though, I had some business in the area of our city’s recreation center, so I stopped in on a hunch, and got a glimpse of their workout room, which included five fairly new treadmills and stairwalkers. Since the membership fees are only $25 for 6 months, I impulsively decided to sign up.

Which is really something for me, since I pretty much NEVER impulsively do ANYTHING.

Seriously, just ask my wife.

On second thought, don’t.

Anyway, I’ve done pretty good so far, considering the were closed Sunday and today: I got in a half hour of walking on Thursday and Friday, and I would have Saturday too if we hadn’t been dragging all over Creation trying to find a store that didn’t suck in the microwave department.

I’ve never had a workout on a treadmill before, so it took some getting used to; I was a little unbalanced each time when the session was over and I tried to walk on solid ground.

It was cool because the machines tell me my speed, miles walked, exact time elapsed, and approximate calories burned, things I could only estimate with real life walks. Bonus points: I didn’t have to sidestep puddles or dodge cars. On the downside, it was mentally rejuvenating to be able to contemplate the skies, wide open spaces and other scenery during my walks, but having climate control just might even things out.

My membership will be up in late May, just as temperatures are approaching 100 again, so I just might be doing my walking indoors all summer too …

A couple of months ago, I found a PC game at half price on Amazon, but it didn’t run well on my computer. Then, at our Christmas office party and gift exchange, I ended up with two Best Buy gift cards, so two days before Christmas I took the plunge and got a new graphics card, since my old one was a 2002 model and only had 128MB of video RAM. That might sound pretty good, but some of my video editing projects were pushing it to its limits, so I was due for a new one.

I just bring up the card to get back to the game: It’s Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion … and it’s the best freaking game I have ever played. That’s not surprising, since it’s been winning all sorts of Best Game of the Year and Best PC Game of the Year awards for 2006, and now I’m finding out for myself that those awards are no exaggeration.

I’ll go into detail at some other time, but for now I’ll just say that the game has a huge, sprawling 3D world that you can explore, and a main plotline that you can follow when you don’t feel like freestyling, and an excellent storyline, and breathtaking graphics — I’m starting to see why it requred a new graphics card.

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So those are most of the things I’m doing right now, the State of the Life for Me.

And before I end this post, I’d just like to wish everyone A HAPPY, HEALTHY 2007. Thanks for joining me here this past year, even with my diminished posting schedule, and be sure to keep checking in in the new year!

Readers’ Corner

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Since several of my readers have more interesting lives than myself, here’s what some of them have been up to:

Todn8r, who I mentioned last month was given the promise of a Playstation 3 for his birthday, today finally announced the arrival of a bouncing baby console, which he says is “awesome”.

He also says that someday he might actually get off his lazy buttocks and post some screenshots on Flickr.

Those might not have been his exact words …

The Spook — old college bud, country music financier, and our Lubbock correspondent — has also promised pictures, since he has finally gotten around to getting a new camera

That makes TWO sets of pictures that I’m not holding my breath in anticipation of.

No, seriously, to be fair, he has shown me some thumbnails of four of his shots, and they look pretty crisp, but I won’t be satisfied until I’ve got him totally addicted to Flickr …

Vickie sends this cool Christmas link: Simon Sez Santa 2.0. She knows my fondness for funny “subservient” websites, and this is one I hadn’t heard of before.

So you know the drill: Go there and boss Santa around. No imagination? Start with dance, jump, fly, eat, and destroy, and go from there.

We got our first Christmas cards today, and one of them was from our pal Yay! Kim. Kim and I were in each other’s neighborhoods recently (she drove through Dallas the day after our ice storm, and I was south of Austin just before Thanksgiving), but we’ve still never met, even though we’ve been blogging buddies for close to four years now. (She’s the closes thing I’ve had to a penpanl since high school!)

Pamibe is a grandma!

And finally: A reader that I see in person regularly — let’s call her “Sally” — said to me the other day, “I don’t know about you, but I’m about ready for (So-and-So)’s plane to go down!”, with “So-and-So” in this case being someone that we both know, and who has caused both of us (and many others) much grief lately.

And if you knew Sally, you’d know that it takes a lot to push this easy-going lady to the point of wishing ill-will — but apparently that has happened.

And of course So-and-So has no clue.