Well, that’s probably it, then.

April 27, 2007

Mood: Excited…new grill in 20 mins….
Music: Starlit Skies (10pm-Midnight on Wednesdays) KSER, 90.7 in Seattle…or listen online!
Game: Battlefield 2142, Titan Quest, Lord of the Rings Online, Puzzle Quest
Book: Finishing School, Dick Couch
Watching: Buffalo wallop the Rangers.
Weather: Cloudy, cool.

So Lord of the Rings Online came out this week. I’ve been beta testing and guide writing for it for about, oh, 6 months. I bought it anyway, which should be an indication of how much I like it, and how much longevity I think it has, in spite of having messed with it for months.

Lately, the band of online misfits haven’t really been gaming together. There’s lots of reasons why, but suffice it to say that but for a few nights occasionally when we get 3 or 4 people together, it’s not like it used to be a few years ago.

Folks are homeowners now. They have other chores/responsibilities. They don’t really feel like playing the same games any more.

There’s nothing out there like Soldier of Fortune 2 or Call of Duty 2 that got everyone to agree it was a fun game, and we all could play together. Battlefield 2142 comes close…but it doesn’t seem to have the intensity of drawing people to play nightly for some reason. Probably the aforementioned shifts in priorities.

It’s also true that I’m not around until much later, being on PST. By the time I’m home and ready to play, it’s 10pm EST or so. Occasionally, I can sneak out at be home an hour or so earlier…but even then, there aren’t a gang of people online playing.

So, I made an effort. I said I wanted to play LoTRO, suggested that we all meet up on a specified day for a specified period of time, and we could all play together, if but once a week. We could not use those characters unless the team was around, and that would prevent the whole “We did that” thing or the level differential thing. LoTRO is largely storyline based, so we could all experience the storyline together, as a group.

Well, having said all that, no one was interested. No one. No time. Don’t think it would work. Don’t want to play that game. In a group of 10 guys, no one said “Yeah, let’s give it a shot.”

The whole idea of not being able to have a gaming night or gaming period any more isn’t really surprising…but since I typically relied upon it on a regular basis in order to have contact with the fellas, maintain friendships and such, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that we don’t hang, chat, or talk much any more.

Where we had a clan, we kind of now have a local bar where sometimes we go in, and if we see someone we know, we say hi, have a laugh for an hour or so, then go our separate ways.

Eh, it’s probably just life. But it still doesn’t make me overly happy.



April 18, 2007

Mood: Tired.
Music: Starlit Skies (10pm-Midnight on Wednesdays) KSER, 90.7 in Seattle…or listen online!
Game: Battlefield 2142, Titan Quest, Lord of the Rings Online, Puzzle Quest
Book: None
Watching: The Rangers kick the shit out of the Thrashers.
Weather: Cloudy, cool.

Yeah, it’s been a while. Been busy. Sue me.

The Rangers swept their first round playoff series against the Thrashers…with Game 3 being won 7-0. Seven. Yeah…that’s what I thought.

I am spending a LOT of time on my PSP playing PuzzleQuest. If you even remotely like puzzle games and RPGs, you need this game. NEED it. It should be on the PC…but it’s still pretty cool lying on my couch playing a handheld again.

My grill comes a week from Friday. Anyone have any suggestions for what I should grill first? Any recipes?

The Saga of Mike Wazowski

April 4, 2007

Mood: Old..
Music: Terrible Lie, NIN (Live)
Game: Battlefield 2142, Titan Quest, Lord of the Rings Online, Puzzle Quest (Yeah, I wish…)
Book: Shooter: The Autobiography of the Top-Ranked Marine Sniper, Jack Coughlin, Casey Kuhlman, and Donald A. Davis
Watching: 300…is the internet great or what?
Weather: Cloudy, cool.

So, I called Saturday morning, and they said that they couldn’t deliver it until Monday. Not exactly what I wanted to hear…but I was getting it earlier than I expected anyway. At least, I told myself that as I paced around the apartment looking for something to do all weekend. I’m pretty sure my brain was intending to set up a new computer and try out some games…everything else I did that weekend was kind of like “Eh.”

On Sunday, Chelsea came home with a present: It’s a stuffed monster from Where the Wild Things Are…and, frankly, it rocks. So that was pretty cool.

I worked from home Monday before last. I tried to focus on work…doing estimates, getting things done…but I kept hitting refresh on the FedEx status page. Eventually, shortly after noon, it showed that it was on a truck, and on its way to me.

I was all but climbing the walls all afternoon. At 4:30pm, I get a knock on the door, and I race there.

The FedEx guy is standing there with the huge box on the handtruck…and it looks as if the box has been dunked in water, then used as a stepladder for an electric crew on a construction site. No shit. The box is so thrashed, it’s being held together with two different kinds of tape.

Now, I’m no computer expert, but I’m thinking that this can’t be good for a brand new, very expensive, highly anticipated computer. The FedEx guy actually said “You don’t want to accept this, do you?” Exactly like that. Like “someone, somewhere totally fucked up your system, dude. If you were pissed off right now, I wouldn’t blame you a bit.”

So, like the guy who had been climbing the walls for the last 3 days, I said “I’ll take it. Mark the box as completely fucked.” Guy says “We don’t have completely fucked, but will “badly damaged” do?” I say yeah, sign for it, and take it inside.

I open the box (which is a pretty funny thing to say, seeing as the box is effectively open ANYWAY.) The handholds are ripped, the corners crushed as if it’s been dropped several times, and the bottom is wet. Physically WET.

So, I unpack the foam around the machine, and the nylon bag around the computer is bright white and dry. No water damage. No holes. Nothing like that. Maybe….?

I untie the bag, and remove the bright green machine. No visible damage. I open the machine…no components sitting on the floor of the machine. Liquid cooling still in place…nothing visibly disconnected.

I connect everything and hit the power switch. It beeps the way it’s supposed to.

The machine shows the Windows first-time screen, I get two screens into the setup…and the machine bluescreens. Fuck. Just what I wanted.

Boot again, it posts, goes two screens in, bluescreen.

This time, the machine sounds like it’s chewing ice cubes. I LOVE that sound.

Hard drive has to be fucked. I call Alienware…the guy says “is the machine plugged in?” I explain to the nice tech that I’ve been scratchbuilding computers as long as he’s been breathing. The HD is screwed. I ask how to get to the recovery console on his bios. He tells me, I run chkdsk on the HD. He says “I’m sure this will fix it! But if it doesn’t, when you’re done running it (it should take 20 mins) call us back!” I grumble something like it’ll be an hour, but OK.

70 minutes later, sure enough, the machine says “HD has an unrecoverable error.” It’s now 6:15pm. I call Alienware again, and the new tech says “have you tried unplugging and plugging in the power and data connectors on the HD?” I explain that grinding noises are NOT going to be solved by fucking with power and data connections. We then go through a tedious negotiation to get him to send me the new HD ASAP while I will send my fucked up HD back.

About 20 mins into said negotiation, I have an idea. I finish up with the boy wonder who apparently has no idea how to deal with a cross-ship, grab my jacket and the fucked-up HD and RUN (not walk…RUN) to Quidnunc which is a block away from my house.

I get there about 10 minutes before the shop closes. I hand the HD to the guy there and say “I’d like one of these…except I want it to work.” He looks up from the drive and says completely deadpan “So you don’t want a Seagate this time.” I laugh and say “I guess not.” He asks if there’s any data he’d need to recover from the HD in his hand. I look at him, pause, then give him the 2 minute synopsis of the story above. He’s shocked with utter sympathy. This man KNOWS my pain. He goes in the back, gets another HD of the same size and speed, sells it to me for an easy $100. He wishes me luck.

I get back home, and Chelsea calls and says “Is it OK?” I tell her I don’t know yet…but I’ll find out.

I slot the new HD, plug everything in, and grab my Alien Respawn disk. The Alien Respawn disk costs $29 bucks. Basically, it’s a Ghost image of your virgin install. In this particular case, it’s worth ten times that. Which is the point. I grab it, throw it in the drive, and re-image the brand new HD. Takes 3 minutes. Remove the DVD, and boot the machine.

It comes up exactly the way it’s supposed to.

I grin to myself. Spend the next 30 minutes messing with the lighting control panel on the system…the one that lets me program what color the lights are on the case in 5 different zones with chase, fade, and strobe functions.

Install Ventrilo and BF2142.

Spend hours giggling maniacally as I triple my average score in 2142 over the course of the night.

So, in short, I have it. The clowns sent me the new HD, but haven’t sent me the proper label to send the bad HD back, so I have a call in to them. But my new machine works, and it’s a beautiful thing. Really.

Oh, and yesterday was my birthday. But you knew that.

I had really yummy sushi at Mashiko…you should go if you’re in the area. Pricy, but SO GOOD.

And now? I have the rest of the week off…which means that I’ll be playing games all week. AND I’ve decided to buy a grill this weekend. Yeah…last week was a bit stressful…but this week? Not so much.