Camping at the beach

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New MMO Musings

Been awhile, eh?

So the other day I was reading how one of the major players in WoW, Game Director Jeff Kaplan, is moving off of WoW and onto an "unannounced MMO." Speculations abound, but I thought I'd throw an idea out I've had for some time about an MMO I'd really, really like to see.

Vampire: The Masquerade.

In 2004 developer Troika put together the excellent CRPG Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines, a followup effort to Activision's 2000 Vampire: The Masquerade - Redemption. While VtMB had many flaws and bugs at release, it was the first game along with Half-Life 2 to use Valve's Source engine, which allows the game to be played from either the first-person or third-person shooter perspective. Reviews were mixed, including "grand RPG but a flawed gem of a game" and "the best buggy game ever". It had tremendous promise, and remains playable still with after-market official and fan-based patches. Roaming Santa Monica, Hollywood, Chinatown and LA as a vampire, exploring the shady underground and vampire politics - I absolutely loved this game and replayed it for hours upon hours. Now, take this - and make it on a Massively Multiplayer scale, worldwide. Would that not rock?

VtM still has a following as a pen-and-paper RPG, with tremendous online resources including detailed rules, fansites, and lore.

I'd like to say you heard it here first - but perhaps my musings have only picked up on that which has been desired by many others... Seems White Wolf, the owner of VtM trademark and subsequent followups World of Darkness and Vampire: The Requiem, is working on an MMO called World of Darkness Online - I need to read further, but this sounds like my dream come true... of course, rough estimate release date is 2011, so I'll have plenty of time to enjoy WoW until then...


Anyone out there?

Hello, is this thing on?

Wow, been awhile since I've posted. Just haven't had the compulsion to do so lately.

That, and I've started playing WoW again. I know, I know, back on the wow-crack. I started out easy, played on some of the free servers. And got fed up with the lag, bugs and lack of features. So now I'm paying again. And, bonus, I get to play with my niece and her cool boyfriend, we started up a new round of characters on another server. Sweet!

And may I say, playing a Death Knight is awesome beyond words...

I'll have to blog more later, try to sum up some of the changes in WoW, and my personal life happenings.


Recommended Movies

Well it's been two months since I've posted. I'm not going to keep up with my blog much, but I'll try.

Two movies we've actually seen in the theater I want to pass along. One is Mamma Mia - it was a lot funnier than I expected it to be, a great date movie. Awesome Abba songs (for all those of you who grew up in the late 70's and early 80's). And hey, it's got Pierce Brosnan in it. You can't be a man without admitting to a man crush on Pierce. :-D

Second is Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated movie. I guess some people are bound to pan anything, for whatever reason, but I took the whole family to see it and we all enjoyed it. The very end was a little, well, staged (everybody strike a pose without saying a word) but it was great fun. And was it just me, or was that alien general's voice done by Sean Connery?

In other news, Donna finished up her CyberKnife treatment a couple of weeks ago. She's still a little sore, but we're moving ahead. School starts next week, and we'll do a new round of CAT/PET scans early next month, so nothing to do but get on with life in the meantime.


Slashdot GamingTech News

Couple of articles from Slashdot yesterday:

Intel Shows Off Quake Wars, Ray Traced
At the Research@Intel Day 2008, Intel showed a ray-traced version of Enemy Territory: Quake Wars. Compared to the original game, a water with reflections and refractions and a physically correct glass shader were added. Also, a camera portal with up to 200 recursions to itself has been demonstrated. To show off this ongoing research in the topic of real-time ray tracing, a four-socket system with quad cores has been used that allowed rendering the enhanced visual effects in 1280x720 at 14-29 fps. Just two years before, early versions of Quake 4: Ray Traced ran only at 256x256 with 17 fps. Even though Intel's upcoming Larrabee will be primarily a rasterizer, the capabilities for also doing ray tracing on it should deliver interesting opportunities.

Hands On With Nvidia's New GTX 280 Card
Maximum PC magazine has early benchmarks on Nvidia's newest GPU architecture — the GTX 200 series. Benchmarks on the smokin' fast processor reveal a graphics card that can finally tame Crysis at 1900x1200. 'The GTX 280 delivered real-world benchmark numbers nearly 50 percent faster than a single GeForce 9800 GTX running on Windows XP, and it was 23 percent faster than that card running on Vista. In fact, it looks as though a single GTX 280 will be comparable to — and in some cases beat — two 9800 GTX cards running in SLI, a fact that explains why Nvidia expects the 9800 GX2 to fade from the scene rather quickly.'


Feelin' Old

I get this way every now and then. 'Course, it seems to happen a bit more frequently nowadays. It was a surrealistic experience yesterday as I attended my niece's high school graduation, and later followed her car to meet up with her family to eat out. I remember when I first met her, she was maybe a few months old. I had just started dating Donna, and her sister-in-law visited college with her newborn. And fer her a McDonald's cheeseburger. (Yeah. I know.)

So 18 years later and she's an adult now. Wow.

Tonight I watched Grease with my family. I have two girls old enough to watch and understand a movie like Grease. I was thinking back to the last time I watched the movie... and I believe it was in college again. What was I thinking about when I watched it last? Could I have imagined having kids of my own, experiencing the sort of things I do with them? Living my life through them, with them, for them?

This summer it's been five years since Donna has been cancer-free. Went to her usual checkup, and they found a lump in her neck - seemed to be squishy enough to not be a cyst or anything serious, more likely sinus-related. But still, they did a biopsy, and Donna has to go in for a CAT scan next week. She called me at work to tell me, and the first thing through my head was "God, no, not again, how could we have the strength to go through that again..."

But we could, and we would. We did it once before, we're just hoping and praying that the doctor was right and it's no big deal.

I'm just feeling... old. And tired.


The SUV Is Dethroned

Posted on Slashdot, Tuesday June 10

Wired's Autopia blog documents what we all knew was coming: rising gas prices have killed off the SUV. Auto industry watchers had predicted that the gas guzzlers in the "light truck" category would lose the ascendancy by 2010; no one expected their reign to end in a month, in the spring of 2008. Toyota, GM, Ford, and now Nissan have announced they will scale back truck and SUV production and ramp up that of smaller passenger cars. Of course there will always be a market for this class of vehicle, but its days on the top of the sales charts are done.
'All of our previous assumptions on the full-size pickup truck segment are off the table,' Bob Carter, Toyota division sales chief said last week during a conference call with reporters. Translation — we have no idea how low they'll go.


Why did the chicken cross the road in 2008?

BARACK OBAMA: The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a change! The chicken wanted change!

JOHN MCCAIN: My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

HILLARY CLINTON: When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure right from Day One that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.

GEORGE W. BUSH: We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

DICK CHENEY: Where's my gun?

COLIN POWELL: Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road.

BILL CLINTON: I did not cross the road with that chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

AL GORE: I invented the chicken.

JOHN KERRY: Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

AL SHARPTON: Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

DR. PHIL: The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on this side of the road before it goes after the problem on the other side of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on his current problems before adding new problems.

OPRAH: Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN: We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

NANCY GRACE: That chicken crossed the road because he's guilty! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

PAT BUCHANAN: To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

MARTHA STEWART: No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

DR SEUSS: Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: To die in the rain, alone.

JERRY FALWELL: Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth? That's why they call it the other side. Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay, too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media whitewashes with seemingly harmless phrases like the other side. That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

GRANDPA: In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

BARBARA WALTERS: Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its lifelong dream of crossing the road.

ARISTOTLE: It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

JOHN LENNON: Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

BILL GATES: I have just released eChicken2008, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your checkbook. Internet Explorer is an integral part of eChicken2008. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra#@&&^(C%..........reboot.

ALBERT EINSTEIN: Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

CHUCK NORRIS: I told the chicken to cross the road. Period.

COLONEL SANDERS: Did I miss one?