56 % Nerd, 60% Geek, 26% Dork, 100% Cool! 

Sorry for the absence...
A lot has happened in the last two months, and I apologize for not updating till now.  Here's a summation of the what happened in that time...

First I landed a new job as a Technical Support Specialist for Comcast.  What this entails is phone support in a high volume call center for High Speed Internet and VoIP products.  With a bit of general computer troubleshooting tossed in for good measure. 

It's a good start to my career switch into the world of IT, and I look forward to learning alot while there. I hope there's more of this to come.

Secondly I finally had to give up the Purple Pimp'in Paseo.  I was just spending to much money on it to keep it running decently.  With that in mind I spent about a month car shopping.  I was thinking of a Chevy Aveo, a Chrysler PT Cruiser, or a Kia Spectra.  I found a good deal on a Kia Optima and bought it on the spot. 

It's a great car for the price I paid for it!  It had 79k miles on it, but it is a 2004 and fully loaded.  It's a completely different driving and riding experience compared to my little rice burner of the past.  Here is some pictures of it:  My New 2004 Kia Optima
07/24/07 - Two of my favorite bands!
Of all the various bands out there that I listen to; these two have to be my number one and two all time favorites:  KMFDM and Front242.  I'm pretty sure I own every single album ever put out by either of these bands.  One day I hope to catch KMFDM when they come to town.  Maybe some day they'll not be doing a show in the middle of the week...

Drug Against War
Juke Joint Jezebel - My all time favorite!

Quite Unusual
Headhunter - My all time favorite!
06/10/07 - Music of a Different Flavor
Abingdon Boys School - Nervous Breakdown
One new find is this Japanese metal/rock band.  They have at least one album out and have done some intros for Anime.  The more I listen to them; the more I find myself liking them!  The video for this one isn't the greatest, but its the only one I could find of this song.

Blue Man Group - I Feel Love
The Blue Man Group #2
I've been a fan of the Blue Man Group for some time.  I have yet to catch them in concert, but plan on to the next time they come to the Twin Cities.  I dig their music, but their concerts look to be a true show of sound, light, and humor.

Devo - Peek-A-Boo!
Devo - Whip It
Ahhh Devo!  Flower pot hats, funky outfits, and a sound that's a bit off the norm.  I'm not a big fan of most of their music, but these two songs have been in my music library for a long time now.

Yello - The Rhythm Divine
Yello - Goldrush
Yello - Oh Yeah!
Alot of people are not familiar with this band.  At least that's what they think!  Take a listen to the 'Oh Yeah!' song, and I bet you'll recognize them from several different movies.  I own several of their albums on cassette tape, but have yet to purchase them in MP3 format.  They are on my wish list, but at a very low priority.  I just find their sound a interesting blend that appeals to me in a odd way.

06/03/07 - New Music Finds
I really like this band!  They only have two singles out to date, but both are worth a listen to.  Good music to groove to!
Easy Weakness Video
Alone and... Video

Deep Dish
From what I can tell they do techno/industrial remixes of Pop songs.  Alot of their stuff doesn't appeal to me, but this song and video is awesome.
Flashdance Video

Techno-pop like music with good vocals.  I specially like their cover of Petrified.
Friends like These Video

Electronica... I like these guys a lot so far.  I bought their album recently and the one song that really sticks out for me is the following:
Tragedy Video
05/26/07 -  Book Recommendations
Beka Cooper - Terrier
by Tamora Pierce

I've read every novel Tamora has put out to date, but his one stands head and shoulders above the others.  This is a tale of a young lass just entering the career of a town watchmen in the lower class part of a large city set in a world with fantasy elements.  

The Ship Who Searched
by Anne McCaffrey & Mercedes Lackey

A story of a bright young lady who ends up as a brain cybernetically mounted in a ship.  A story told well enough to empathize with the main character and to appeal to both your emotions and any desire for Space SciFi you may have.
5/14/07 LoTR Online - Opinion
Well I took the dive and gave LoTR Online a try this last weekend.

I wish I could say I loved it, but I don't.  Turbine did a great job of bringing Middle Earth to life.  It looks awesome, and the world 'feels' like Middle Earth.  That's where my good opinion ends though.
  1. Same engine as DDO with all the issue it brings.  Like characters not being in touch with the environment like they should be.  Mobs running around like crazy and never standing still.
  2. Another tried and true fantasy setting.  I'm tired of the Elf, Dwarf, Human, short person setup.  Its getting REALLY old.
  3. New server with low population.  4th night playing and a 20 minute queue to get logged in.  Then odd lag, death due to lag, and invisible mobs attacking me.
  4. The whole play style feels like another cookie cutter MMORPG.  LoTR Online brought nothing new to the table.  In fact, they went very WoW like with it.
  5. Kill 5 wolves, run here to this person, kill 15 birds, and then level up.  Level up a few times and move onto the next outpost with the next set of boring quests.  There's maybe one good, well done quest in every 20.
  6. Combat is boring, boring, boring.  The pace of it seems to be off, and it feels like a button mashing chore instead of something fun.  Combat is directly linked to the animations, and if you try a special while a current attack animation is going; it waits till that animation finishes before doing the next. So timing is always off and different for each attack.  Also collision detection for the mobs and their attacks are pretty rough.  Never, never, never make your combat depend directly on animations.  Animations should add to the look of the combat, and that is all it should do.
  7. I know all the lore by heart, and 'playing' it hasn't sparked that - this is cool being in Tolkien's world - feeling like it should have.  Its most likely because of the way the questing and the story is done.  It feels like a job instead of something fun to PLAY.
  8. No UI scaling for wide screen monitors or high res.  The small icons really put a strain on the eyes if you want to try max your res.
  9. Fully supported, instant IM and Voice chat; but no chat channels for text or voice chatting is hard to forgive in this day and age.
Whatever... I think its safe to say I won't be paying a monthly sub for this game.  I feel like I wasted the 50 bucks buying it in the first place...
5/5/07 New Music Find
I love internet radio!  
These days it's about the only way for me to find new music.
I was listening to some Last.FM today and came across this group:
To hear a sample of some of their upbeat RenFest style music go here.
5/1/07 MMO End Game - Where next?

I think the biggest downfall to long term subbing for MMO's is the failure at the end of the game. The raiding, PVP, crafting, and building model for end-game play is only a stop gap in what needs to be done. A move needs to be made away from item-centric and raid based gaming to story driven, on-going content. Item greed should only be a part of what keeps people playing your game. Instead, I think better results would be gained from getting people hooked in a on-going story and waiting and wanting the next installment of it.

Asheron's Call is the only one to get that right to date. The game needs to be built from the base up to be solid and fun; with the tools being in place from beta to provide monthly updates to the story, quests, and content. While a expansion should increase the depth and length of the overall game-play instead.

Think of the main game as a plot arc, and each expansion as a additional plot arc. Where the focus for increasing the depth and length of game-play is gained from bringing the players further into the plots and giving them greater, and more meaningful roles and things to do in that plot arc. The items, raiding, PVP, crafting, and building should only be parts of the base that help perform this function.

Think of a MMO as a long running series on TV. Give the players that need to see what happens next and get them hooked on that. If done right, I think the results could be truly out of this world.

Even though dynamic is used alot to describe MMOs; its a sad fact that they are very, very, very static. The devs are still stuck in the single-player, static game-play mindset. Games are getting shorter and shorter. With a focus on eye candy and a few gimmicks to make profits. In the long run, I think this will end up hurting the industry.

MMO devs are going to have to take another step out of the box, and backwards from the narrowly defined current online play structure to start moving forwards again.

04/29/07 - Site Revamp

CSM's are great tools for managing a website, but for a personal site like this; its a bit of a overkill.

With that in mind, I've revamped to the site to a theme
and creation all my own.

No scripts or fancy widgets... Just good old HTML and CSS.

Feel free to contact me and let me know what you think of the look,
feel, and layout of my site.

Nether Nightbender