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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Another Game?

Yes, it's true. I've already racked in about 15 hours or more into Oblivion. I went ahead and paid the $17 for all of the official plug-ins and have been enjoying them. My character was bit by a vampire, but instead of ridding myself of the disease, I've been playing it out. It's great, though if I don't feed enough I can't walk in the sun without getting major damage. Plus I'm incredibly weak against fire. Aside from Vampirism, I am a thief in the thieve's guild. Now that is a lot of fun. Picking locks, sneaking around, pickpocketing shop keys from the owners so I can raid their warez late at night. It's good. Not much else to say. I have yet to actually do any of the quests that pertain to the main story. The "side" quests are great fun and offer a really nice amount of depth. The HDR works great, the weather is enchanting, and it's a very nice game. Although, the Radiant AI system is a little.. off.

Anyway, this offers a great distraction while Alicia is out of town and I'm reaching more and more skills in EVE that require 1 day or more to train. Set the skill, check the time, play Oblivion. Hehe.. good fun.
Oh, Steven, it's cool about not seeing you this Christmas. That's the same reason we didn't go to Clarksville. We didn't want to get anyone over there sick. :( It sucked, but oh well, it happens I suppose. I'm still coughing a bit, but much better. I really enjoyed your blog post about capital punishment, as I do 99% of your posts. :) I wish Blogger had a comment reply option...
Currently Listening To: Paul Gilbert - Lay Off The Morphine - Gilbert Hotel - 2003

Currently Playing: EVE: Online - Mining in new mining barge, will pay for new Battlecruiser!

Currently Reading: Band of Brothers, Stephen E. Ambrose

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


I was doing a (horrible) mission in EVE where I had to go out to Deadspace and kill a pirate. Well, the pirate was protected by 3 guards in battleships... armed with heavy missiles. Needless to say I worked on this mission this morning for 20 minutes, and then after work for 30 minutes. Very difficult, but gave a lot of ISK and loyalty points (yay for level 2 missions). As I was looting and salvaging the wrecks, I noticed something unusual in my overview. It simply said "sign" . I looked at it to get a closer view and took the above screenshot. I looked at the description and all it said was "why?"
Why indeed...
Currently Listening To: Nine Inch Nails - I Do Not Want This - The Downward Spiral [Deluxe Edition (Remastered)] - 1994

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Fat Man

Mining and hauling are two important parts of EVE. It's completely possible to go through EVE and never mine a single asteroid. But the ISK from selling ore and the value of these materials for production make it something that nearly everyone in EVE does from time to time. This ship, an Amarrian Industrial class, has enough space to transport a packaged destroyer (and possibly a cruiser with some expanded cargo hold modules). I trained up the skills and bought it for two reasons. The first is so I could transport the majority of my assets to another region, something closer to 0.5 sec space. The second reason was to put a mining turret in its single turret hardpoint for AFK mining. This is certainly not the most profitable way to mine, not even with a Miner II. Since I'd rather chat, surf, or read while mining, I venture to safe 0.9 space and mine asteroid after asteroid until all 5,000+ m3 of my cargohold is taken up. This keeps me in good terms with Alicia too.. hehehe.

Well, I had a good Christmas even though we didn't go to Clarksville. We were all still feeling a bit exhausted, and those of us that were coughing didn't want Mamaw and Papaw to get sick. Next weekend we'll be going to Clarksville, and I can't wait. I miss the family.. so much. I don't like the fact that we've always lived so far from our relatives. But I suppose it could be worse. Yesterday was an exercise in not doing a darn thing! I stayed in pajamas and didn't even taken a shower. Oh yeah!

Alicia called last night, thus completing the greatness of the day. I was so excited to talk to her that I left my Catalyst destroyer class in a 0.5 asteroid belt... hehe, it didn't take long for me to realize what I had done and run back to the computer. As expected, some NPC rats had spawned and nothing was left of my ship besides a few items in the cargo hold and some metal scraps that later sold for 104 ISK. I laughed about it and resumed my conversation with Alicia uninterrupted. What's really exciting is that today is eleven months for us! So close to a year, I can't believe it. More than likely, I'll be in Iraq for our two year mark, but that's okay. A year goes by so fast, it'll be fine. Even better, that'll probably pay for a small house.

Life is good.
Currently Listening To: Third Day - Your Love Oh Lord - Offerings: A Worship Album - 2001

Sunday, December 24, 2006

More From EVE

This is my Navitas Gallente Frigate. Small, with two turret points, and a small cargo hold. I use this when I "jetcanned" mining loads to be picked up my my Bestower. It's a common task in EVE and this is a common ship for it. Nothing special about this frigate, and this is a shot of it 8 jumps away from my usual mining/ratting/mission constellation. I used it to pick up my brand spanking new Amarrian Arbitrator Cruiser, shown below. It can hold several drones, has a pretty good cargo hold, and (best of all) a launcher hardpoint for missiles! The drawback is that it has only two turret hardpoints, so no salvager turret on this ship. No problem, I can come back around with my Destroyer and salvage. I looked up "Oblivion" in Japanese and, since EVE uses Unicode, I named my ship the Japanese characters for oblivion. Yep, this is my EVE post of the day. Hope you're not getting tired of it, I know I'm not.

Currently Watching: Nine Inch Nails - Closure DVD converted to DivX

EVE: Analysis of a Battle: Basic

Depending on the direction people take in EVE in regards to their skill points, combat can be quite regular. The most common combat situations for fresh pilots like myself would be through missions or "ratting" . Ratting is the killing of NPCs (Non-player Characters) that guard asteroid belts in lower security space (below 0.7). In the above shot, which you can click to enlarge, you see a minor battle between my ship at two rats. Due to the weapons being used, you really can't see shots being fired. However, you can plainly see my Energy Vampire draining the target ship's energy and adding it to my capacitors. Also present is the second rat apparently boosting something on the other ship. My assumption is a remote shield boost, or possibly armor repair.

Basic fight like this usually play out in a certain order, whether I'm hunting them from belt to belt or being ambushed while mining in a belt.

1. Target NPCs are noticed, I determine their strengths, ensure I have a clear route of escape and no player threats in general vicinity.

2. I choose the NPC closest to me and set my ship to Approach. As soon as I do that, I target the ships as soon as I am in targeting range (approx. 31km on my current ship).

3. I watch carefully for their speeds and distances, launch a combat drone if needed, and fire any long range weapons as soon as they are in range (both of my 125mm railguns can usually start glancing shots off their shields at about 11km).

4. Once targets are within 11km (assuming they don't keep me at range and fire from 12km, which I hate), I activate my midrange weapons, the 75mm railguns. I take any maneuver's necessary to stay at optimal range according to signal ratio, tracking, and falloff. If target is within 5500m, I activate the vamp module to keep energy up.

5. If shields begin to drop below 30%, I activate the medium shield booster placed in my ships med. power slot. This drains energy fast, but can save me from costly repairs, not to mention the pain of losing a ship. My second medium slot module is a capacitor booster. I can load this module with capacitor refills and boost some energy back into the main capacitor. Ship saving for sure. If all else fails, I bail out, warping to a starbase to dock.

6. When I hear the satisfying "boom(s)" , I loot the wrecks, salvage what I can, and go about my business.

All of this in a matter of a couple minutes (sometimes less), though I've had battles against 10 or so rats that lasted several, looong minutes and cost me a good bit of armor. This is only a small fraction of the strategy in EVE. If you happen to read this and play EVE, feel free to give your own story/strategy. Just don't bash my play style, I'm still learning. Next, the story of a thief getting what he deserves! Goodnight and merry Christmas!!!

I love you and miss you Alicia!
Currently Listening To: Opeth - Drige For November - Blackwater Park - 2001

Saturday, December 23, 2006

An EVE Sunrise

Warning: I'm still on medicine and it's still difficult to think and type, probably more grammar errors than usual in this post.
No, of course the sun doesn't rise in space. But I took this shot this morning in EVE (hey, this is substituting nicely while I'm too sick to go out in the cold air with my camera). I'm not going to go into detail about this since I've blogged so much about EVE recently. However, EVE posts are going to become quite common. It's just that cool. Eh.. I'm dizzy again. I'm sick of being sick. >.<
Currently Listening To: Paul Gilbert - Dreamed Victoria - Alligator Farm - 2000

Late Night Drugged Geek Goodness

An example, however poor it may be, of a possible series of images featuring my ships in EVE. I consider this one poor due to the large "Silvery Omber" asteroid behind my ship. And Balle isn't exactly the coolest looking system I've seen. Either way, this is my Destroyer class ship of the Gallente Federation. I named it Détruisez since that is the French word for "Destroy" . Why French? (Prepare for supreme geekdom) EVE lore states that the Gallenteans are descendants the French, so the choice in naming was obvious. Yes, there are pages upon pages of EVE lore.. and even more in the EVE magazine "E-ON" . Speaking of E-ON, what a great rag! Few magazines have impressed me. Shutterbug, PC Gamer, and E-ON are currently at the top of my list for writing and presentation. Not like I'm a great judge of that.. especially as this dose of cough syrup begins to set in.. and it's 3:30 AM... ?!?! Whoa, how did it get so late. I'm going to sleep.
Currently Listening To: Prince - Automatic - 1999 - 1983

Friday, December 22, 2006

My Opinion: SiN Episodes: Emergence

SiN Episodes: Emergence
This is a game I got off of Steam to help pass my time while I'm recovering. I had already read that it was fairly average and that it had scored just that in PC Gamer. But at $15, it was a good download. It was a choice between this and Prey. However, Prey is $50 for a non-boxed download. I think I can grab the boxed DVD for $40 by now... Either way, I'll get around to Prey eventually.

Upon first loading the game, I could tell that the developers were at least putting a great deal of effort towards the presentation. There was a theme song complete with words and a decent sound, swift menu setup, and an easy to understand difficulty metering system. Once I start a new game, I'm greeted by... enormous breasts? No, not bare breasts, just plain daggum enormous breasts. Unnaturally large breasts. Unlike most males, I care not for large breasts.. especially when they are made of polygons and well mapped, high resolution textures.

The opening dialog leaves the main character, Blade, being injected with an unknown substance by the busty villain. Blah, blah, blah, sidekick comes in, blows crap up, and the story is fairly thin. I didn't really expect it to be on the same level as FEAR or Half-Life in terms of story quality. It's challenging, fast paced, and frustrating. Not always a mad sort of frustrating. Usually I'd fall to the ground dead and just wonder "was my health really that low?"

The dynamic challenge metering is pretty vicious. One minute you're dropping bodies like it's body dropping day, and the next you're getting dropped by a mob of three minigun soldiers. Reload last save and it might be just one minigun soldier. Reload again (if you die to just one too) and it just may be a couple of standard soldiers. There is no variety to speak of. There are soldiers with no armor, soldiers with a little armor, and soldiers with a lot of armor and a minigun. One grenade type and three weapons (pistol, shotgun, and assault rifle). Though limited, it proves to be fun at times. The physics are tweaked to be a bit closer to an animated action movie, with shotgun blasts throwing enemies into walls and objects. Cool stuff.

All in all, it's far too short. I had this beat in 3 hours. That's all. Would've been less than that had the challenge metering not flipped out on me. If this episode had been about 4 hours longer and a lot more variety in weaponry and enemies, it would've been great fun. By the standards of my opinion, I give this a sub-average rating of 60%.

Good: Fast paced action, good sense of things going boom.

Bad: Grab the nearest piece of paper and analyze its depth. Yes, the plot equals the depth of paper.

Ugly: Crude in the way that the villain enjoys wearing shirts far too small for here planet sized globes.
Currently Listening To: Evanescence - I Must Be Dreaming - Not For Your Ears - 2003

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Acute Bronchitis

Taken at Wal-Mart about a year ago or so. Though it is funny, I can't help but find it a little creepy.

Went to the doctor today.. got an excuse for work that says I can't work until the 26th. Ugh.. I'm going to take up that offer as much as I hate to. I'm miserable. I honestly didn't expect acute bronchitis, but I guess I should have expected something was amiss when I coughed out blood. Bleh.. Anyway, I'm feeling a little better, but I think that's because I am currently swimming through the air around me. Or at least it feels that way thanks to the cough medicine (strong stuff).

What will I occupy my time with? Photos are out of the question, even though I am finally feeling more creative, I don't think the cool, moist air is good for my illness. Photoshop? Yeah, I've got some ideas and a fresh spark of interest in fark.com

And wtf.. I can never get the links right in Blogger. Always wants to continue the link unless I paragraph down. Anyway, I also plan on doing a little PvP on Nathan's 60 Rogue (he requested the help, I agreed), read more of the Band of Brothers book, play more EVE, and hopefully finish Company of Heroes. So how is Company of Heroes now that my interest has waned ever so slightly? Great. I never get tired of watching choke points get utterly decimated (especially by some well placed mortar attacks). I don't think I'll be joining in on anymore multiplayer games though.. for some reason, even the lowest of ranks online are vicious RTS pros. This would be a great challenge.. if I were any challenge myself. However, I'm am certainly of no challenge to these 1337 d00dz, regardless of playing the single-player campaign on medium instead of easy.

Whoa...... and now begins the spinning. Goodnight everyone, I think 1:00 pm is my new bedtime.
Currently Listening To: Muse - Thoughts of a Dying Atheist - Absolution - 2003

My Illness: An Update

I am currently coughing up dark green stuff as well as trace amounts of blood. At first I suspected that the blood was from my nose, but my nose hasn't been dry and no blood is coming out when I blow my nose. That's when I can actually blow my nose. I'm stuck with a very dry mouth and absolutely no way to breath through my nose. Going to the doc today, I'm hating the fact that I'm missing another day of work, but my goodness.. I can't imagine working like this. Besides, I don't think the customers want to hear constant coughing, especially with this junk coming out.
Currently Listening To: Sick Puppies - Deliverance - Headphone Injuries EP - 2006
(This is one of the best new bands I've heard in a while)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Down With The Sickness

Oh Steven, the fun we had. Now here is an old pic... lol.
Today, I am off work. This is only the second time I have ever called in to work. I've worked with a fever, sick to my stomach, aching all over. So to say that I am sick today is to say that I am half-dead. A fever of 102, full body aches, occasional coughing with a dash of yellow substance coming out, headache, rough voice, and general nausea (without vomit action). To much info? Yeah, I thought so.

I'm waiting for the coffee to get done and taking breaks from sitting down as that hurts like mad. Well.. everything hurts like mad. Gah.. I don't know, I'm just getting confused now. But it's okay, I haven't blogged in a while. I really wish that I could have one of those interesting blogs that people favorite and read, but I simply don't have that sort of life. Not yet anyway. ;) Hopefully I can access blogger while I'm in Iraq and make some good posts. But that's doubtful too since our maintenance unit won't really see much of anything. Sigh.. maybe I'll get some cool shots (the picture type, though I will get some shots before going overseas, but not the drink type.. you know.. crap! The medical shots!)

This is really difficult. The only medicine I've taken was two Advils. Ehhhh.. goodnight.
Currently Listening To: Frédéric Chopin - Chopin: Prelude No. 15 in D-flat, Op. 28 No. 15, 'Raindrop' - The Masterpiece Collection: Frédéric Chopin

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Upside Down Angles

Camera: Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT)
Lens: Canon 18-55mm
Filter(s): None
Flash: None
Shutter Speed: 1/30th of a second
F/number (aperture): f/3.5
ISO: 200
Focal Length: 18mm
Post: Processed JPEG in CS2, unsharp mask.


EVE Online, the amazing MMO that laughs at such a restrictive genre naming like "RPG" . This is the MMOLife that allows you to live the future version of yourself in space.

The Good: Never, ever, ever max out your skills. It's impossible. You may have been playing since Tranquility first started, but with all of the skills and the time it takes to train them (on or offline!), not to mention the ones CCP adds, it's impossible to hit any sort of "level cap" . Enormous universe, average of about 30,000 players on at the same time during peaks (I usually see 28k + on a weekday afternoon), player controlled market and corporations, and I can focus on conversations with Alicia while playing. Har! The pleasure of knowing that CCP is using every bit of that $15/month for improvements and maintenance. Well, not every bit, but a large portion!

The Bad: Uh... I don't know. I honestly can't think of one thing that bothers me.

The Ugly: The 6.8 million ISK in my game wallet isn't real, nor is the galaxy. Sigh.. but wow, they sure do an excellent job of making it all seem real.
Currently Listening To: Nobou Uematsu - Materia - Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children - 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Why is there nothing recent here?
1. I am lazy.
2. I'm still in a rut of sorts.
3. Christmas with Alicia's family went so well, I don't even know how to start talking about it.
4. Not that much new stuff is going on.
Currently Listening To: Cat Power - Love & Communication - The Greatest - 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

EVE: Revelations & the WoW Patch

Taken using 350D + Yashinon 50mm.
Currently all of the WoW servers are down, as well as the one (huge) EVE Online cluster. Normal, scheduled maintenance. This is where WoW shakes all of that lag experienced after the weekend hustle, and where EVE introduces another one of its many patches. Usually, I look forward to seeing what my new honor rank when the WoW servers come online. But today's patch, for some insane reason, completely ditches the ranked honor system. Instead, honor is earned like currency, to be spent on honor items (like weapons, armor, potions). I don't like this as it takes away from the competitive aspect of the old honor system. The climb to the top was difficult, but rewarding. Now I'll never experience what it's like to obtain the Warlord set and be the only one on the server with it (until someone else inevitably achieves Warlord). But as I type this, I realize the fault of that statement. Botters. There are programs out there that are so sophisticated, that they actually can play a battleground for you and go undetected by WoW's sniffer. Not that they will rack in honor kills or capture any flags, but the ability to do BGs 24/7 make it possible to constantly drag in even small amounts of honor. Supposedly, the new system will fix that.

As for EVE, CCP has done an amazing job at keeping this game live and active. It is currently impossible to ever learn all of the skills available. The longest skill time on my current tree takes 14 days, 10 hours, 32 minutes to learn (it learns while offline). Farmers? Pfftt.. player-controlled megacorps are beating them out of stuff daily. Not to mention that groups of space pirates (again, player-controlled) are quickly able to shift the farm activity by precise strikes. Of course, as I loaded up my old character last night, Mallikan, I realized just how daunting the learning curve is. The first tutorial takes about an hour or more. I happen to remember enough to get around and work with my ship. It'll take me a little time to get back to my combat frigate though. I can't wait!
Currently Listening To: Dream Theater - Honor Thy Father - Train of Thought - 2003

Monday, December 04, 2006


Jessica, Alicia's sister, caught in a dramatic moment by my 350D using the Yashinon 50mm.

I'm in a dirty, boring, dull slump. The yucky sort of slump. I don't feel healthy and I'm getting stressed a whole lot more than what's normal. Partly it's because I have yet to receive my bonus from the Army, and partly because I am, simply put, an antisocial person. There are times that I enjoy talking to people and being around people. But a lot of times where I simply don't even want to talk to anyone. Alicia usually says I'm "grumpy" when I'm like this, and I suppose I come across that way. Trying to be social in a time like this is difficult and not exactly rewarding. It usually ends up with me not acting at all like myself (or how people that have known me for a long time expect me to act, and that's ok).

I've thought that thinking for a while I trying to find what was causing me to feel this way would help fix the situation. After all, if you know what the problem is, it's simply determination and the want for change that leads to a resolve, right? Not so in this case. I know that it will pass with time, but I also know that it will come back with time. Is this some sort of necessary feeling my mind produces in order for me to do certain things? To change different aspects of my life? Or is this an automatic, recurring boredom that strikes and I choose to change what I'm doing. Yes, these thoughts are still very mixed up, and I don't expect to make much sense at all or pay any attention to grammar.

I am emotionally drained to the point that I have no creativity. I can appreciate art but not make it. I look at my camera no sparks fly. I see a possible photo opportunity and don't take it because I know there is no way I could take it and it be good. Given up? Certainly not! I love photography. This is my reboot I think. This is how I'm able to keep going. This is how I refresh myself instead of breaking down. I drain every last bit of emotion and energy into the air around me and at some point wake up restored. Strange? Of course, do you know me any other way? I thought not.

As for what is currently going on in my life, it's not much, but still great. For one, Alicia and I are still going strong. This is great considering that previous relationships that have gone this far were hardly going this well, if even going well. She's wonderful and I'm so proud of her. Vinsten (my WoW char) is level 53 now with 3 pieces of my Tier 0 Dreadmist set, though I'm getting quite angry with the disgusting number of farmers and botters present. C'mon Blizzard, we pay far too much for this crap. We should also get the expansion for free. I got a raise at work, which is great! Furthering my move to a management position. The Army blows. The government wants you to risk your life for $5/hour, and lie to you about a large bonus. Going to take serious legal action if one more month goes by. My car is almost at 198,000 miles and still running like new.. Obviously Toyota spent all the money saved on their cheap glass by making an outstanding 4-cylinder engine. Go figure. I'm downloading the EVE Online installer since that game rules so much more than WoW ever will.
Currently Listening To: Whitesnake - Hungry For Love - Here I go Again: The Whitesnake Collection - 2002

(Thanks Steven!)