Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Explosives Class...

So today at work we had a guy come and put on a class about explosives. It was pretty interesting. I learned quite a few things about different types of explosives and explosions that I didn't know before. I also expanded some knowledge that I had previously.

The guy is a Bomb Appraisal Officer for the TSA and he works in Detroit. I can't really go into any kind of details of what we learned in the class, but let's just say that we watched some really cool videos and learned a lot of really cool stuff.

As a guy, one of the things that is always really cool to me is watching things blow up...and this class had that in spades. One of the better videos was one where the camera was inside some kind of structure. It was one of those super slow motion capture video cameras, and you could literally see the shockwave coming at the structure and then destroying the glass in front of the camera.

It was a really fun class. I wish more of our training classes were like this one!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

Bat Tricks...

So I saw this today, and thought it was pretty amazing. What do you think??

Saturday, June 27, 2009

So I Read...

A few websites now and again geared towards "guys."

No, not porn sites, either. They are sites like Askmen and a few others, but they are basically sites that you can go to in order to learn things about "guy" stuff. Things like whether to tuck your shirt in with those pants. Or whether to carry a camera bag as a version of a purse for guys. Or whether plaid shorts should be matched with brightly colored shirts. Or why a certain type of cologne is a better one than another. Things like that.

Well, the other day I was looking on these sites for things about some mild forms of exercise. Things for people that aren't totally overweight, but could stand to lose a few pounds. Or maybe not even people that need to lose some weight, but for people that could use the cardio and basically just get into a bit better shape.

I was surprised when I found out that one of the things that some of the sites was talking about as a good form of exercise was skateboarding. I would have never really thought about skateboarding as a workout, but I guess when you think about it the sport has all the makings of something that could help to get someone in a bit better shape. It's got cardio from pushing, it's got walking when you're going up a large hill, and one thing that you don't really think about...it exercises core muscles because you are constantly having to balance on the board. Basically, they said to think of it as one of those balance balls but on wheels and a bit more manly.

So I started thinking...I like skateboards. I haven't done it in years, because I never really got to learn to do any tricks on them. But with using it as an exercise, you don't have to really do any tricks. So I started looking around, and found something that I really like.

It's called a "longbaord." It's effectively something that was designed in Hawai'i for people that liked to surf but couldn't get out on the ocean everyday. It's a skateboard that's quite a bit longer than a standard skateboard. It's also quite a bit more flexible, so it moves like a surfboard on the sidewalk. There is also a really big contingent of people that use them for downhill rides...at speeds of up to 80 MPH when the hills are large enough and steep enough.

So I started thinking that maybe it would be something that could be fun for me to do, and also get me a bit of exercise. Right by my house there are a few big hills, and walking up them would be good exercise for riding back down them...not to mention just riding in general should help me get outside more and get some exercise.

This is the one that I'm interested in. It doesn't LOOK much longer than a standard skateboard in the picture, but that's because everything about it is larger than a normal skateboard. The board itself is 40" long, as opposed to a standard deck's 30" length, and the wheels are 76mm wide, as opposed to the 52mm of a standard deck. So basically, everything about it is larger than a standard deck, so it LOOKS like a standard deck because it's all proportional. The nice thing about this deck is that it's an "off brand" that's basically made by a guy working in his garage in California. It's not nearly as expensive as many of the decks that would be very similar to it, and it seems to be as good of quality. I also like the looks of it. The bottom is just plain wood, as opposed to so many of them that I have found that have obnoxious pictures on them.

I might order one in the next few days...the only problem is this one isn't on Ebay right now, and I'm not sure why. All his other boards are still there...so we'll see if it's just not on there for now because it sold out or what.

So...It's a Good Thing...

Well, it's a good thing that I sent the e-mail before purchasing my hat. I had been planning on ordering the XL size hat, which is for heads that measure 61cm.

Well, I measured my head and it came out to nearly exactly 61cm. So I e-mailed them and asked whether I should go with the XL or go for the bigger size, just to be on the safe side.

Well, they e-mailed me back right away and let me know a few things. First off, leather hats tend to shrink a bit, instead of stretch. Second, Barmah hats run a bit snug despite the measurements. So basically, they suggested that I go with the XXL instead, which is for heads sized up to 62.5cm.

I guess I learned that I have a gigantic head. I mean, really, a size XXL hat?? But I'm glad I sent the e-mail, otherwise I would have ended up having to send the hat back at my own expense to get it exchanged.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Getting Geared Up for Vegas...

So I know it's still a few months off, but I've been getting ready for the trip to Vegas by purchasing some things that I wished I had while I was there last time, or that I think will be nice to have while I'm there this time.

The first item is what is essentially a "man purse." But I won't call it that, of course. I'll call it my tech bag. See, when we were in Vegas before I just kept my digital camera in one of the cargo pockets on my shorts and my camcorder in the other. This was okay, but definitely not ideal, as they banged into my knees every time I walked. I don't have the most expensive equipment, so I figure that them banging into me isn't the best thing for them. Also, when it's really hot out, for some reason having my wallet and my phone in my pockets makes me really uncomfortable. So basically, this tech bag is going to be for holding my cameras, my phone, and my wallet. I'll also use it to hold the handfuls of cash that I win while playing Casino War. It's a nice bag, and it really doesn't look like a purse at all. It looks like a camera bag of sorts, only a bit taller. It's actually marketed by Swiss Gear as a "vertical boarding bag" for travellers. So it's got all kinds of pockets and hooks and stuff on the inside. I figure that I'll outfit mine with a carabiner of some sort and hook a water bottle to it as well. This is what the bag looks like, from Target at $20.

The second item that I will be ordering soon is something else that will fit in the bag...but doesn't normally go in the bag. I am pretty white these days. What with working in a building with no windows and never going outside, I tend to get sun burned fairly easily. I also am really not a very big fan of sunscreen, either. I just don't like the way it feels. So I figured if I was going to be walking around outside in the sun in Las Vegas while it's 97 degrees outside, I should find a good hat to wear. Not a baseball hat, because I need it to cover my ears. Nothing is worse than sun burned ears.

So I set out on a search to find a hat that would cover my ears but not look TOO ridiculous. Mind you, this is about function not form, so I don't mind looking a bit like Indiana Jones or something.

Well, what I found is a hat by a company called Barmah. They are in Australia and make hats for people that spend time in the outback. Think Crocodile Dundee. The hat is made out of kangaroo leather, is waterproof, and is fitted. It's designed to keep the sun off your ears, neck, and face while keeping you cool and if it starts to rain, it will keep that off of you as well. I have sent an e-mail to a company selling them here in the states to get clarification on which size I should order, but I will be ordering it up pretty soon.

So these are a couple of the things I've gotten to hopefully make the trip this fall when it's really hot more comfortable and enjoyable for me. I'm sure I'll find some other things to get before we leave, too!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hopefully It's Just the Weather...

...because over the last few days, Cathy and I have found a TON of bugs in the house. And they aren't the bugs that we normally find.

We've gotten used to finding the stray wasp or two inside the house over the last few years. For whatever reason they like the house. We kill them as we find them, and destroy their nests as we find them.

But over the last few days we've had a ton of earwigs out on the back deck...which are gross because they started to come in through the sliding glass door. When I checked it out, it was pretty dirty in the tracks for the door so I figured they were trying to eat something in there...so I cleaned that all out. Hopefully that will make them go away.

Worse than that...we found two carpenter ants inside the house tonight. I'll be keeping an eye out for them more actively now, because from what I can tell they can do quite a bit of damage to a structure. I bought some ant killer, which probably won't work because it's not designed to kill carpenter ants, and some spray for when and if I find their nest. If we see a few more of them and can't find where they are coming from, then we're going to have to call a pest specialist and see about getting the house treated for them.

To make all of this worse, I think there's a mouse living in the crawl space. Of course, since we have the cat and the dogs constantly lurking around the house, I'm sure the mouse will stay in the crawl space for the most part...but you never know. So I'll be putting some mouse killer in the crawl space and in a few other spaces around the house in the next few days.

Hopefully the bugs are just the byproduct of the suddenly really hot weather...I really don't want to have to pay an exterminator to come out and kill some ants...but if we must, then we must...

Little Girl Dog Picked Up From Shelter...

So yesterday Cathy and I figured we'd go to the local animal shelter and see if the little girl that I found over the weekend was still there. They had uploaded some pictures of her to their website on Sunday, so we figured we'd go see her.

When we got there we couldn't find her, so we asked. Good news!! She was picked up by her owner on Monday!! So she only had to stay in the shelter for a couple of nights. Not too bad, considering she could've been hurt or worse.

Hopefully I'll see her walking around the neighborhood sometime. I wonder if she'll remember me??

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's Getting Hot Outside...

So today it was about 82 outside. Tomorrow it's supposed to be 87. Wednesday it's supposed to be 92.

So, in typical Michigan fashion, we basically skipped any kind of really nice weather outside and went from cool to hot.

At least maybe it will give me a chance to get the kayak out soon!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Some New Game Stuff...

So I've been continuing to play "Red Faction" online with a few new friends when I'm playing games most of the time. However, I've also got a new game and found something on Xbox LIVE! that is pretty cool.

The new game is "Ghostbusters." In case you don't know, Dan Akroyd and Harold Ramis wrote this game's script as if it were the third movie in the series. That really shows through in the dialogue and settings of the game. It's classic "Ghostbusters" one liners and humor, along with action and a bit of suspense. The game is really cool, especially as a single player experience. I haven't tried the multiplayer options yet, mainly because like I said, if I'm going to play with some other people online I'm going to kill a bunch of people in "Red Faction." But when those friends in that game aren't online, I've been really enjoying my time with "Ghostbusters."
The other thing I found on Xbox LIVE! that seemed really cool is the Beta for "1 vs 100." It's an Xbox version of the TV gameshow that you play as your avatar that you have created for the Xbox. I played a round of it tonight, and it's pretty fun. Seems like it could be something that easily ends up taking away several hours of your time, as I played for 30 minutes and didn't feel like I had played at all. It's pretty entertaining. The cool part is if you get chosen to be "The One" in one of the live games, you can win some pretty cool prizes. Also, for every answer you get correct, you get entered into a drawing for some prizes.

Friday, June 19, 2009


So last night I found ANOTHER dog. This brings the total in the last 6 months or so up to three.

When I was taking Dillon and Cooper out last night I thought I saw something by the bushes in the front yard. When I came in to swap Dillon and Cooper out for Gordon, I turned around and noticed that the something that was by the bushes was now in my garage.

It was getting ready to storm pretty badly, so I'm sure that's why the dog came into the garage. I grabbed a leash and went out to hook it up so that I could keep it out of the storm. When I got out into the garage the dog was hesitant when I got near it. I ended up following the dog down the street a little ways before I realized that it was scared of the retractable leash that I was holding onto. When I set that down, the little thing came right over to me. It was a she, and she had a collar on...but of course no tag. When she came over to me I grabbed her collar and hooked her up to the leash and then took her home.

It was pretty funny when I got back to the garage, Gordon was looking at me and it took him a good 20 seconds to realize that I had a dog with me...then he went absolutely bonkers. I ended up taking the little girl through the front door and putting her in Dillon's crate for the night.

She was good all night. Didn't bark or make a sound at all. I called animal control this morning and they just came and got her about 15 minutes ago. I hope someone comes to pick her up because she was a really sweet little dog. I named her Jess for the time that she was here with us.

From my best guess, I'd say that she was part beagle and part chihuahua. Not 100% sure though. Here are a couple of pictures of her.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gordon vs Presto...

Just a quick video I threw together this afternoon...

Haven't Been Posting as Much...

So I've cut back on posting on the blog a bit. There simply hasn't been much going on lately that really needs to be posted about.

Tomorrow we're going to a wedding. We had wanted to stay the night at the cottage but we can't get any time off on Saturday. It's really getting to be a pain at work on Saturdays. Our shift is so short staffed because they gave so many people Saturday off every week that you pretty much can't get any leave on a Saturday. It's really quite annoying. But we'll be going to the wedding anyways, we may just have to leave a little bit earlier than we had originally planned.

With that said, I think sometime in the next week or two we'll be taking a couple of days off. We haven't had a ton of time off lately, and I think I'm ready for a few days off of work. I figure maybe we'll take two days off, and that will give us a total of five days off in a row, which will be pretty nice. It will be kinda like a mini-vacation!!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Dog Piles...

Just some pics of my pets, all scrunched into places where they probably all shouldn't fit but somehow do.

New Seat for the Champ...

So the ONLY thing on the Champ that wasn't original was the seat. I'm not 100% sure, but I think the seat that was on it when I got it came off of a mid-80s Yamaha Razz scooter.

So I had been on the prowl on Ebay for a replacement seat so that I can get it back to 100% stock. As luck would have it, I found one about three weeks ago that was a good price, but I didn't have the money to spend on it right then, so I waited and hoped that it would be around when I got the extra cash.

Well, luckily it was still there this past week so I snatched it up. Paid for it on Saturday and it came in the mail today. I quickly ran outside and threw it on the scooter, and to me it makes a huge difference. It looks better when it's in place, is more comfortable to sit on, and seems to give me a bit more control when I'm riding. See, the other seat fit so poorly that it almost constantly felt like I was leaning backwards...but this original seat doesn't have that problem.

The seat is a bit torn up on the cover, but I have already found a replacement cover for it available online so I'll be ordering that sometime in the future so that I can get the seat back to 100% perfect. The Champ is so awesome as it is that I don't really want to do too much work on it, but the seat isn't too bad...and I may grab some touch up paint and hit the spots that have little scratches.

Here's what the scooter looked like before, but it's not a great angle to see what the seat looked like, but I think you can tell that it's angled a bit awkwardly.

And here's what it looks like now with the new seat and the basket on the back. Sorry about the poor picture quality, my camera couldn't decide if it wanted to use a flash or not...

Monday, June 15, 2009

I Love Riding the Scooter...

So tonight I just grabbed the Champ and went out cruising around the neighborhood. After a few minutes it dawned one...I love riding the thing. It's simple and easy to ride. No shifting and no clutch means you can just kinda enjoy what you're doing.

It's not nearly as much work as riding a motorcycle, but it's just about as fun at the same type of speeds.

I enjoy riding it so much that I would consider buying a larger maxi-scooter at a later date to use as a primary motorcycle. Something like a Kymco Xciting 500i. That's a 500cc maxi-scooter. It's big and fast enough to easily travel on the highway, yet the fact that it's a scooter means you're more protected from the wind and weather AND it's got an automatic transmission. Not only do I think that a big maxi-scooter would be comfortable and user friendly, I actually think it's not too shabby looking. Yah, it's not as cool as a sportbike, but in it's own quirky way I think it's really cool looking. They make one in an orange color that's just awesome.

They aren't too horribly priced, either, for a brand new one. They run about $6k for a brand new one, and they come with a 24 month warranty which is very good for a two wheeled vehicle.

I guess the ease of riding the scooter around has made me realize how much more fun I have when I'm just enjoying the ride instead of worrying about when to shift or what gear I should be in. As a contrast to the Champ, I took the Ninja out for a spin right after I was done with the Champ ride. Where the Champ just started and went, the Ninja needed constant shifting and clutch work. The Champ cruises around a 25 mph at barely a whisper, the Ninja sounds like it's just NEEDING more. Obviously, a motorcycle isn't really designed to be run at 25 mph constantly, but for that type of riding the scooter was definitely more fun.

Like I've always said, I don't think I could ever get rid of the Ninja...but a maxi-scooter might be the perfect thing to complement it at some point in time!!!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Got the Hotel Reserved...

So the other night we ended up getting the hotel room reserved.

We ended up going for the four nights instead of just the three. With Cathy's AAA discount, it just seemed like a better idea to go for the fourth night. All four nights ended up costing right around a total of $300 which doesn't seem very bad at all.

We're having some issues finding a good option for the flight, however. There are quite a few for right around $300 round trip but that seems like more than it should cost. So we haven't booked a flight yet while we continue to look for a good price on a flight.

We'll be going from September 7th until September 11th. That Monday is Labor Day. The nice thing about doing it that way is that we have Monday, Thursday, and Friday off. So that's three of the five days off. Well, Monday is also the holiday so we can use holiday leave on Tuesday. All this means that we'll be able to take the entire 5 day trip for a total of 10 hours of leave time.

All in all, so far the trip is coming together pretty well. It should be a nice time to go because there probably won't be a ton of people there. The weather should also be pretty warm. Warmer than last time.

I'm looking forward to the trip!! If only it could be September right now!!!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Congrats are in Order...

...to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They simply wanted this series more than the Red Wings did.

I got the impression about midway through Game Four that the Wings felt that the Stanley Cup should just automatically be theirs. They weren't winning races to pucks. They weren't winning little battles. They looked a little bit tired.

Of course, the Pens got the benefit of some VERY poor calls by line judges. The first goal tonight in Game Seven should have been an icing call, but of course it didn't get called. This goes along with the first goal in Game Four that should have been called offsides and the six men on the ice for 21 seconds that didn't get called then immediately led to a Wings penalty and a Pittsburgh goal.

Oh well, in order to win you need to play through those bad calls, and the Wings couldn't do it. Oh well, there's always next year!!!

Update on Las Vegas Trip...

So tonight Cathy was looking online at the hotels that we like in Las Vegas, and she noticed that she can get a discount on rooms through her AAA membership.

How much of a discount?? About $25 off per night. Which brings the price of the room that we like in Planet Hollywood down to the price of the room in the Flamingo, more or less. At that price, maybe we'll have to think a little bit about staying for four nights instead of just the three. Basically, if we stayed for four nights, it would cost as much as we were planning on spending for just three nights.

I'd like to get it all set pretty soon so that we can get the time off from work all squared away.

Viva, Las Vegas...

So Cathy and I are planning on going back to Las Vegas for our "one year" anniversary. I say "one year" because we have basically decided that we'll be going sometime this fall, but we're going to try and go when we can get the best deal. So we might not be going even in the month that we got married, but it's going to be considered our anniversary trip anyways.

So tonight I started looking around to see what kind of rates we can get rooms for pretty much anytime between the start of September and the end of November. We're really interested in staying at the Planet Hollywood Hotel and Casino. We both liked that one when we were there this past year. I have found rates for that one at the $89 mark in the middle of September. I'm thinking that might be a good time to hit the town up. School will have just gotten back in session, so there won't be a ton of families there. Labor Day will have just ended, so a lot of people will have already taken their summer vacation, but it's not nearly late enough in the year for people to be doing winter vacations.

We're planning on staying for probably three nights, so that would put the hotel right around $300 or so I would assume after some fees and such. Not too shabby, I don't think. Of course, this is their basic king size bed room...nothing fancy, no hot tubs, none of that. But I don't really think that's what we're really looking for this time around. We just want to get there and have some fun. I guess also if we go in the middle of September, maybe it will be a bit hotter there and we'll want to do some hanging around the pool...which we didn't really get a chance to do when we went last year.

Some of the other options...

I also noticed that the Mirage is the same price point. Well, about the same, at $90 per night. That's also not bad, and that's one of the other hotels that we liked while we were there. It's a cool looking hotel and seems like it's got lots of stuff inside of it.It's got a really cool looking pool complex, as well. Seems like if we don't go Planet Hollywood, this hotel would be a really good choice as well. A girl we work with, Becky, has stayed at the Mirage and said that she really enjoyed the hotel a lot. So that's good. She's our age, too.

The third option is a hotel that Cathy doesn't seem to really be interested in, but my mother says it's great. It gets good reviews most places I look. My mom says it's got a really cool pool and spa setup. The best part about it is the fact that the rooms there are cheaper than most of the other hotels. For the time I looked at for the other hotels, the rooms here go for $52 per night. So the three nights would cost us only $155 or so. That's pretty inexpensive. The hotel is the Flamingo Hotel and Casino.
I think that no matter which way we decide to go, it's going to be a good trip for a pretty good price. The three hotels here are just a few of the many there, so maybe we'll go with something completely different...but these ones are all good options.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Heroes Beta Back Up!!!

So I was beginning to think that the Battlefield Heroes beta was just over with. The last post on their twitter feed basically said "Thank you for participating in the beta" and I thought that maybe that was their way of saying that the troubles they were having had basically killed the beta and nothing would be back up until the game officially releases.

But this afternoon I logged onto the site...and got logged in!!! The beta was back up and running.

So this was only my second time really playing the game, and I finally started to get the hang of it a little bit more. I went from getting killed a bunch and killing nothing to getting killed a lot and killing a few things. Then I started killing about as much as I was being killed...which in this game seems to be about par for the course, unless you're a sniper and just hide in the hills, which doesn't seem like a lot of fun to me.

I played probably about 10 matches. It's cool because the matches generally end in about 5 minutes or so. I think the longest one I played was probably about 8 minutes.

I like the game quite a bit. For being something that's completely free, it's got a lot of potential. They have the store up now, too, so you can buy in game items for your character that you can use to make him look unique. I didn't buy anything, but I had a pretty crazy outfit where my guy had a kilt and what appeared to be a leather tank top on. It was pretty amusing...

I hope the game does well, because I have a lot of fun with it. The best part is that it doesn't really seem frustrating at all. I know I'm not any good at PC games online, so it doesn't matter to me when I'm dying repeatedly...at least not yet.


So I was watching some videos tonight about Google Wave. It's a new system of e-mail, and so much more. Basically, Google is asking what e-mail would be if it were invented today?? It's going to include mail, instant messages, wikipedia type things, pictures, videos, pretty much everything.

This leads me to only one question...

...when is Google going to officially change it's name to "Skynet" and unleash a horde of killer robots to accomplish the goal of dominating the human race??

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Still Loving "Red Faction..."

So I've been playing "Red Faction" online whenever I get the chance. The game is amazingly fun. It's still probably the most fun I've had playing a game in a LONG time.

What helps is the fact that I'm actually pretty dang good at the game. I get a lot of kills, complete a lot of objectives, and pretty consistently I am one of the top three players in the match.

I really enjoy playing this game with Alex online...our play styles complement each other pretty well. When we're in a match, it's not at all uncommon for us to end up with the first and second most kills...but also end up with the lowest sets of deaths. So basically, we're a pretty ruthless and vicious team.

This is Great...

Steven Colbert...what an awesome guy!!!

And you HAVE to give President Obama some credit on this. Absolutely hilarious!!!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Starting to Try to Get a Bit More Healthy...

So I'm going to start trying to get a little bit more healthy. I've already started trying to eat a little bit better and eating out a lot less.

I'm also going to start trying to get a little bit more active outside. Things like riding the bicycle and walking the dogs are going to be things that I try to do a bit more often.

I'm tired of always feeling tired and sick. I think it's time I finally make some changes in my life and start working on being a bit healthier.

Game Seven...

I really didn't want it to come to this, but as the series progressed it was obvious that the NHL did. The Penguins have to literally commit murder on the ice in order for a penalty to be called against them, yet the Wings get whistled for pretty much touching any of the Penguins. It's been fairly ridiculous...but it's what the NHL wants.

So we go to Game Seven on Friday Night in Detroit. I didn't want it to go this far...but...GO WINGS!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tiger Woods 10...

So tomorrow "Tiger Woods 10" comes out. From what I've read, it seems like it's going to be pretty amazing with the new Wii Motion Plus controller attachment.

They are saying that it's going to be true 1 to 1 mechanics for the swings in the game. However you move your hands, the player in the game will move their hands. This is one game that I think I may actually pick up for the Wii instead of the 360.

The graphics obviously aren't as great as they would be on the 360, but the controller input seems like it's going to be pretty awesome.

I am going to wait on a review for it, which should be up tomorrow, just to make 100% sure that the system works in the game correctly. The system works really well in another new EA game, "Grand Slam Tennis."

Hopefully this will be a game that helps to get some of the dust off of the Wii!!!!

My Shark Video on Youtube...

...has caused quite a few different "recommended videos" to show up when I go to the Youtube homepage.

Today there was a cool one...it's a frilled shark...a prehistoric shark that is very rarely seen and even more rare to have on film. They think this one washed up into shallow waters with a seasonal current change. Unfortunately, it died shortly after they found it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Series is Tied...

So the Stanley Cup Finals are tied at two games. Each team won both games on their home ice. Each team seemed to win each game fairly decisively.

But I'm sitting here watching Game Five, and I can't help but wonder..."Where has this been??" The Red Wings are playing like a team possessed right now...they are literally using that winged wheel to fly around the ice.

This was exactly the type of game I wanted played by the Red Wings...let's hope they can keep it up in the third period...

Battlefield Beta...

So I got into the beta for this game, played it for about 25 minutes one night and really enjoyed it.

Ever since then?? The site has been offline!!!

It says that they are experiencing some difficulties and should have it back up shortly, but it's said that for a few days now. I hope they get it back up and running soon. I really want to install it on my laptop to see if it works on this PC as well as the desktop.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Red Faction Update...

So last night Alex and I got to play some "Guerrilla" online...and it was an absolute blast.

I don't think I've had that much fun playing a game online since the first week or so of "Left 4 Dead," so basically that means that it's the most fun I've had in about 7 months with a game.

The levels are set up well, the weapons are balanced well, the controls are tight, and the game just rocks.

Alex and I played for a good four hours or so and didn't once feel like we were ready to quit. We finally stopped playing when he had to go to sleep so he could get up for work the next morning.
I think the main thing that makes this game so enjoyable to me is the fact that you gain no matter how well your team does. As long as you play well, you still get rewarded with experience. This is a stark contrast to "Halo," where if your team doesn't win you don't get anything to show for it. In "Halo," your team must win in order for you to get an experience point and continue to move up in the rankings. So, if you get 40 kills and only die 3 times, but your team mates all get slaughtered and as a team you end up losing, you still get nothing...even though you played as best as you possibly could. However, in "Guerrilla," you get experience for nearly everything that you do in the game...and don't get penalized by anything. So even if you only get 3 kills and die 15 times, you still get experience for those 3 kills. You get Bonus Experience for doing things like killing opponents in quick succession, getting headshots, and major bonus points for winning games.

But basically, you get experience and move up in ranking almost all the time...even if you don't do so well you get a little experience...and if you do well yourself but your team fails miserably, you can still get plenty of experience. There were a few times last night where Alex and I ended up on pretty bad teams, but the two of us still ended up having the most experience gained in the game because we did well ourselves.

That experience fact alone makes the game amazingly "easy to get along with" if you catch my drift. It doesn't carry the same amount of frustration as "Halo" does, because just as long as you're doing alright, you'll be getting rewarded, regardless of how idiotic your team mates are acting.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Red Faction...

So I got the game yesterday...and in the two hours that I played it I have to say that it's everything I hoped it would be. I liberated the first section of Mars that you have to liberate...but I think that whole section was set up more or less as a tutorial, because as soon as you move into the next section things get quite a bit tougher.

The damage system in the game is amazing. In case you didn't know, "Red Faction" features a damage engine called GeoMod. What it does is makes it so that you can destroy ANY "man made" structure in the game world...no matter how huge it is. Bridges?? Bring them down. Buildings?? Watch them crumble.

This part of the game showed itself as being insanely cool to me in one of the first missions I did last night. I was tasked with destroying one of the enemy refinery smoke stacks. I was told this would make it more difficult for them to process metals. Well, when I got to the smoke stack area, I uncovered what in the game is considered a "High Priority Structure." This is a building that if destroyed will do much more damage to the EDF (that's the enemy) than most other buildings. So I killed all the morons guarding the place and got to work on the smoke stack. I had it destroyed with only a few remote charges, but it was still standing. That doesn't matter though, because the building was destroyed enough to be considered destroyed. So then I went inside the OTHER building and started placing charges. When I came out and detonated them, nothing happened. I mean, there was an explostion but the building still stood relatively intact. So I went back in to look for more supports to blow up, and while I was inside I heard what sounded like things falling on the roof of the building. So I ran back outside just in time to notice that the smoke stack I had destroyed was no longer standing straigh up. Instead, it was leaning well over the other large building that I needed to destroy. I just stood and watched in awe as the smoke stack continued to lean, then finally, fell on top of the large building, destroying the entire thing in a cloud of dust. Amazing.

I haven't played the multiplayer yet...sort of. See, I was in the beta for the multiplayer for this game about 7 months ago. I was waiting for my friend Alex to get online so that we could explore the maps together.

I'm really liking this game so far though...it's awesome.

Battlefield Heroes Beta!!!

So a few weeks ago I signed up to do some open beta testing for a new game from Electronic Arts called "Battlefield Heroes."

"Heroes" is a cartoon shooter that is an online only game. You play it without paying any monthly fees and without buying anything. There are ads at the beginning of the games, on the website, and during breaks between rounds. You can also purchase with real money items for your character to wear in the game. It's the first of EA's new line of "Free 2 Play" games. It's a game that's more about having fun than being competitive...or at least so they say.

Well, yesterday I got my key e-mailed to me. I downloaded the game client last night and played a few matches. I honestly had a blast. I didn't do very well, but when they say the game is more about having fun than being competitive I can see what they meant. It's fun to just run around in a cartoon world trying to shoot other cartoon characters.

After about 3 matches (they only last about 5 minutes each) I had probably killed about 10 people and been killed about 20 times. The item store apparently isn't available yet, so you can't purchase any custom items to have on your character in the game yet, but when it goes live I'll probably get a few things.

It's a really fun game and the best part is I'm pretty sure it will run on just about any computer...seeing as it's running through the internet instead of any downloaded programs. The only downloaded component is a launching client.

Part of the reason I wanted to get in on the beta (other than to play the game) was because I want to try and get a few more betas in so that I can "pad my resume" of beta testing so that maybe I get a chance to do that OnLive Beta....

Missed a Few Days Worth of Blogging...

So after the Wings lost the other night I didn't feel like posting anything, so I skipped posting on Tuesday night. Game Four is tonight.

And then on Wednesday when I got home from work I promptly started playing my new "Red Faction" game. It's pretty fricken cool. I really got into it for the two hour or so that I played, and when I was done I was just ready for bed. So I didn't end up getting a chance to post anything.

I've been feeling quite a bit better the last few days. I think the medicine that the doctor gave me really worked well. I started feeling better right about the time that he said I would, and have been getting better each day. I think by the end of the week I'll be back to 100%. Now I've just got to focus on eating a bit more healthily...I'm tired of always being sick!!!

Monday, June 1, 2009

My First Fully Edited Video...

So I posted the video of the sharks that I got in Las Vegas a few days ago.

Since then I've been messing around with some simple video editing software and some conversion software. Our digital camcorder takes videos in a .mov format. Unfortunately, I couldn't find many editing programs that worked with .mov, so I was left needing to convert the files to something else like .avi or something. So I grabbed a quick and easy program called "Imtoo .mov Converter." I paid the $30 for the licensing fee and went to work.

Got the video converted then threw it into Windows Movie Maker to add the music, the title graphics, the credits, and the fades. I also cut a bit of the video out that was basically empty film.

It's too wide to post on the blog, so head over to my Youtube page and check it out!!!

Final Shark Video

Getting Out the Kayaks...

So it's starting to finally turn into summer, and that means that it's time to start thinking about getting the kayak back out. I would love to be able to get Cathy out on hers early in the summer so that when she enjoys it we can start doing it on a semi-regular basis...even if we just keep going to the same lakes or rivers.

I am looking forward to trying out the life vest that I got for Christmas. And we still need to work on finding Cathy a nice vest.

I've been noticing a few places recently that would probably be okay to go and paddle on...but I think for the first trip that we both take we'll just go back to Grass Lake. It seems to be a nice easy lake to paddle on that is really wide open so it's easy to see and be seen. I'm sure that Cathy would like being out on the lake there, too. She'd get to see some of the awesome houses that are out there.
We definitely need to get out there soon. I really enjoyed the couple of times that I went out last year and would really like to do it again this summer. I doubt that we'll get out a ton of times, but even if we just go once a month that would make the kayaks more than worth the money that I spent on them.
I'll definitely have to see about getting Cathy a vest in the next few weeks...