Friday, July 31, 2009

Just one of the guys

You know you're "just one of the guys" when your teammates get all hot and bothered playing against "Hot Fantasy Girl" and you lose a couple of rounds because of it. And then when "she" sends an invite to play they start squealing like little school girls at a Jonas Brothers concert. Maybe I need to crank up the flirting again. After all, I'm a girl too, you know.

So, how you doing? *wink wink*

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I don't remember joining the circus . . .

I had a REALLY bad day at work yesterday. All I wanted to do was go home, have a glass of milk and go to bed. I didn't care what might be on TV or whether the sun was still up or not. I was hot, miserable, tired and grumpy. Throw in a few more adjectives and I would have been all the seven dwarfs rolled up into one.

One of the things that made me grumpy was paying my bills. I was already set to leave work when I realized I hadn't written the checks for my bills and they needed to get out in yesterday's mail. So after hanging around work for another 1/2 hour while I wrote check after check after check and watched my bank account dwindle to almost nothing I finally packed up and left the office. I was so tired that instead of turning toward the post office I started towards home. Oops. I made a U-turn and headed in the right direction. Now I wanted to get home and go to bed more than anything . . . and I was getting hotter by the second.

On the way home I realized that the new maps were coming out for Gears of War 2 today. While this thought was not earth shattering in its nature it was enough to brighten my day and I started to look forward to getting home and playing Gears and then going to bed. But I was still hot. I figured it would take a while to download the maps so I planned to log in as soon as I got home, start the download of the maps and then go out swimming to cool off while the map pack was being delivered to my system. Sounded like a good plan to me.

When I got home all that changed.

I changed into my swimsuit, logged onto my Xbox and went to the marketplace to download the maps. I saw that it would cost me 1,200 points to do it and I only had 990 points in my balance. I was hoping it would only be 800 points, but I figured I'd have to buy points anyway. I hit the button to "add microsoft points," selected an appropriate amount and then selected "confirm payment". Unfortunately I realized my credit card had expired in June and I forgot to update the expiration date. Because of this the system wouldn't allow me process my purchase. No points. No maps.

At the same time I started getting invites from my friends to play Gears. I jumped in the party and told them I was trying to download the maps and would be on later. I guess swimming might have to wait awhile. After looking around for five minutes for a place on my Xbox 360 to change my expiration date on my credit card (I opened up every menu options and then some) I realized I would have to change the date by using my computer. Great.

I went into my office and turned on my computer. I waited while it went through the boot-up cycle before it came to the screen for me to pick my log in ID (dain also has an ID on my computer for repair purposes). Then I had to wait while it loaded all of my preferences. Then I had to wait while my system ran it's virus, spyware, etc. checks. Once that was all done I clicked on my internet icon (Firefox) and waiting for my internet browser to open. What I got instead was a pop-up message box saying my Firefox application was being updated. Great. And how long was that going to take?

Now I was hot, tired, miserable, even more grumpy and looking at my dog I could tell that she couldn't figure out why I had my swimming suit on but wasn't going out side into the pool. I decided to say "screw it" and take my dog's advice. I would stay out and swim and cool off in the pool as long as I like and would come back in to change my expiration date, buy points, download maps and play Gears when I bloody well felt like it. So there.

At least that's how I thought it would go.

After about five or ten minutes in the pool, just when that knot in my head and body was starting to unravel Zoe went ballistic at the back gate. I floated over there to see if I could tell what set her off. All I could see was someone going back and forth in front of my house. Great. What now?

I decided to get out of the pool, go inside and see if I could tell what was going on in front of my house. So dripping wet, I trundled to my front window and looked out. There was a kid (jr or sr high school age) riding a skate board back and forth on the sidewalk. Really? It's 115 degrees outside and you're skateboarding? Go home and stay in the AC idiot.

Since I was already inside (when the AC kicked on it did a really nice job of cooling me off, but that was because I will still dripping wet) I decided to check up on my computer. I put my towels on the chair and sat down. Apparently after the update my system froze and I lost all access to my desk top. The only thing for me to do was to turn my system off and restart it. Which meant I had to sit through another boot-up, log in, virus check, etc. Once I got through all of that it took 2 minutes for Firefox to open up a web page. I was just about to give up for good and go back to my original plan of going to bed when I decided I came this far I might as well finish the deed.

I found the right web page, changed my expiration date and selected the map pack from the marketplace to download to my Xbox 360. While it was downloading I went and changed out of my wet swimsuit and waited for the system to finish. When it finally did I checked my friends list and found all of my friends were already playing in full groups. I thought about trying the new maps on private so I could walk around and learn them before I actually had to fight on them, but I had had enough. I put in Eternal Sonata hoping a nice quiet RPG with bright colors would improve my mood.

That's when the invites started coming again.

I seriously considered not joining Evil Ric and G Sneaka in their game but I had jumped through so many hoops just to play these news maps I wanted to see if it was worth it. I felt like a dog at the circus, performing trick after trick, and now I just wanted to hear the applause. What did I think of the new maps like, you ask? Eh.

I think I played 5 matches. Two on Sanctuary, two on War Machine and one on The Highway (I think that's the name). After that I just didn't care to play anymore. Not that they are bad maps (although I don't think I like the new War Machine) but I just wasn't in the mood. Sometimes at the end of the day this old dog just wants to lay down in her kennel and call it a night.

I went back into the pool afterwards and spent a good twenty minutes or so trying to relax. After that I packed it in and crawled under the covers. I was in bed about a quarter after 10pm and asleep abut one minute later. For me, going to bed before 11pm is early. I usually end up in bed by 11:30 and I don't usually fall asleep until around 12am. But last night I needed it. Who knew this circus life could be so tiring. I wonder what feats of daring I'll have to perform tonight when I get online. And you know, you can teach an old dog new tricks . . . it just takes too much out of her when you do.

Monday, July 27, 2009

New Poll - What movie franchise has the best OVERALL movies?

Here's the new poll:

What movie franchise has the best OVERALL movies?

Lord of the Rings
Star Wars
Star Trek

Vote and tell me why in the comments.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

I've got a picket fence

I did it! I finally beat the last boss in the expansion pack to Puzzle Quest and got those last 20 pts I needed to get my gamer score to exactly 11,111. I'm so proud of myself. And relieved. It was hard work making sure I didn't play games that might give me some points that I didn't want and then trying to play games to get the points that I did want. I'm exhausted.

Kralon congratulated me on my "picket fence" and I kind of like that idea. They almost look that way don't they? I think metallicorphen asked how long I would leave my score that way. Long enough to blog about it. It's not something I plan on hanging onto for a long time.

I'm also not like some of the people on gaming forums that I frequent that are flipping out because they've picked up an achievement that does not end in a number divisible by 5. They think all achievements should end in either a 5 or a 0. Oh, please. I remember when I started getting achievements in Cloning Clyde and the numbers were all funky. I thought it was brilliant. Sure, anyone can make achievements in nice 5 pts increments. But that's boring and cookie cutter programing. I thought it took real genius for someone to f*#$ with the system and do those funky amounts. And those amounts were what made it possible for me to get my picket fence.

I remember when I first got my Xbox 360 and my gamerscore was in the hundreds. A lot of my friends had scores in the 1,000s. I wanted to break that barrier. I finally did. Then I had to break the 10,000 point barrier. Done that. Now I don't really care. Until this opportunity came along. Could I do it? How much self-control would I have to exercise. I hate exercising. The hardest part was getting that last 20 points. I knew I had achievements I was close to getting, or could get easily, or so I thought. It turned out that last one was a SOB. But I did it so I'm happy.

Now that I have a spot open on my Gamer Goals I've been thinking about what new goal I could add. I thought about a gamer score of 12,345. That might look cool. And it's not far away, only 1,234 points to get. But that would mean I have to "even out" my gamer score to end in a 5. I think picking up the next achievement in Cloning Clyde would do that but right now I'm hopelessly stuck in that game. Not to mention extremely frustrated with it. It's those stupid sheep clones that I can't seem to control that get me every time. Maybe I'll pick a goal unrelated to my gamerscore. I just don't know yet, but I'll take suggestions. Do ya got any?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Poll Results - Have you created an Avatar that looks like you?

Here are the poll results:

Have you created an Avatar that looks like you?

Yes, but only at first = 2 votes
Yes, as close as I could make it = 3 votes
Yes, it looks exactly like me = o votes
Ne, it's what I WANT to look like = 2 votes
No, it's my own personal eye candy = 1 vote

Okay, who's going for the eye candy? My Avatar now is all eye candy. Yes, that's a rocked out, but sensitive, guy and not a butch girl orphie. But I didn't vote for the eye candy.

I voted for "only at first". Which is mostly true. My very fist Avatar looked a lot like me except for the fact that I had to add the Princess Leia hairdo. What? I'm a Star Wars fan and I couldn't resist. Of course after I had that avatar for a while I wanted to get rid of it and go back to being anonymous. Unfortunately once you've gone Avatar you can't go back. So I changed it. I think that next one was the naughty school girl that everyone seemed to like so much.

Anyway, I get bored with my avatar, but I love looking at all of yours. Sometimes when you change the appearance drastically I have to stop and figure out who you all are. I think both MasvHdWdHarry and G Sneaka both went from dreadlocks to bald. That took some getting use to. And seeing Mad Max with blond hair and wearing a wife beater just doesn't seem right (and he was complaining about MY avatar).

Then there are my friends that keep the same face but just change the outfits. I'm sorry Genghis Khan but the preppy look doesn't suit you. And Pogue Moran . . . well, you won't be able to miss him in a crowd (especially when the crowd runs screaming from his face). And Evil Ric must think he's some kind of gunslinger with the long coat and cowboy hat.

And then there are my friends who haven't changed their avatars and I don't think they ever will. c5ride, Fbody and kaiakapero all seem to have the same avatar from day one and they don't seem to be changing it. I know what kai looks like, being my brother and all, so I wonder if c5 and Fbody really look like their avatars. Like I'm ever going to know.

If all things were equal between Xbox 360s and PS3 would the Avatar be enough to tip the scale in a purchasing decision. Absolutely not. At least for me. They're fun to play around with but I get bored of them quickly which is why I decided to change mine based on my current poll. This way I'm always reminder to put a new poll for you guys. And it's fun (for about 5 minutes) to try and get just the right avatar to match the poll.

But since an avatar isn't the real me I guess you'd like to see a real life picture of what I look like. The photo's a little dated, but what do you think?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

40 points and counting

Speaking of Gamer Goals I'm close to crossing another one off my list.

One of my goals was to get my gamer score to 11,111 exactly. I was stuck at 10,981 for the longest time. That is only 130 points away so I thought I would put in Lost Odyssey and finish the game. You get 125 points for finishing each disk and I am working on the last one. That would mean I would only need 5 more points to reach my goal. Very doable. But after looking through the achievements for Lost Odyssey I decided against that.

There are a couple of achievements that I'm probably close to getting and it would be just my luck to finish the last disk and have several achievements pop up putting me over the magic number. So as mush as I want to play that game and finish it up I'm not going to put it in for awhile.

So that left me trying to find a way to maintain control over my score and get the points I need. That's when I started playing Battlefield: 1943. I've picked up several achievements in that game and now I'm only 40 points away from my goal. Those achievements are very easy to get and I'm sure I can control which ones I get and when I want them. Of course that might me I immediately jump out of a game when I get my 40 points just so I won't accidentally pick up another achievement.

Anyway, I wouldn't be surprised if I finish this goal before the weekend is over (since I'm sure to get some Gears of War matches in as well). I'm sure I'll blog about it when it happens and everyone will have to check out "my sticks". Maybe my next gamer score goal should be 12,345. Do you have a gamer score goal? If so, tell me about it. Please!

The June blues

Yes, I wasn't posting much in June and it was one of my "Gamer Goals" to post three times a week. But I have my reasons . . . okay, they're more like excuses, so just hear me out.

Excuse #1:
Normally the May/June/July time period at work for my territory is very quiet. I can take it easy. Relax. Blog. The busiest time is usually Sept/Oct/Nov. So far this year that hasn't been the case. I don't know what it was but my work load has gone through the roof. In this economy I guess that's good, job security and all. But it doesn't leave much extra time for blogging. I normally like to type a blog post up at work while on a break. If I don't, they might never get done except for on the weekends. By the time I get home during the week the last thing I want to do is fire up the old computer and stare at another monitor screen. On the weekends it's not so bad. If I'm busy at work that means I have less time to post to my blog. Oh well, whatever pays the bills right?

Excuse #2:
From the end of May through the middle of July it's birthday season in my family. Just in my immediate family I've got my dad, 2 brothers and my birthday in that time period. Throw in extended family and you can add a niece, a couple (or three?) of nephews and an aunt. And I'm sure I'm forgetting someone. It seems there's a certain time of year when people in my family "get busy" if you know what I mean. Since I always want to give the perfect birthday gift this time of year can be very stressful for me. And when money is tight, as it is this year, that only adds to the stress. You'll know when I just kind of give up finding that perfect gift when I give out gift cards (sorry dain, maybe next year).

Excuse: #3:
As mentioned above, my birthday is in June. I hate it. Why? Because it's a yearly reminder that I haven't accomplished all the things I said I wanted to do with my life. Am I rich and care-free? More like in debt and stressed out. Have I written a NY Times bestselling blockbuster novel? I can't even write a post on my blog. Married? Nope, single. Kids? Well . . . I do have a dog now. She's like a two or three year old so maybe.

And before all of you with kids say it's not the same things listen up. Zoe finally got into the pool all on her own the other day. Every time I've wanted to have her go swimming I've had to carry her into the pool. She's so unsure of the whole thing that she nows runs away from me when she sees me in my swimming suit (I'm sure that's the only reason). When I say her tentatively putting a foot out trying to find that first step I got all misty eyed and couldn't help but cheer her on. I'm just a big softy.

Having a birthday makes me reflect on all those things I wanted to do in my life. And when I find out that I haven't done any of them I can get very depressed. Rich? I guess I could start playing the lottery, but I don't want to waste money. Write a best selling novel? That would require getting an idea and following it through to the end (and playing less video games and writing instead). Married? I have to find single guy friends instead of you married types. Kids? Well, I do have my dog. And if I'm stress now with a new house and dog do I think adding a kid to that mix is going to make me LESS stressful? I guess that's why I have nieces and nephews. Love 'em, play with 'em, then send them home. Although I still would like to have a kid some day, but at my age those "some days" are getting numbered really fast.

Excuse #4:
Stress and exhaustion have been taking their toll on me. And now it's the heat. I waited all winter long until I could get into my swimming pool without freezing. When it was finally warm enough to get in I couldn't get the chemicals balanced properly and the water looked a little cloudy. Who wants to go swimming in that? And then there's the weeds. Why won't they just go away? I pull. I spray. I pull some more. But they just keep coming back. It's very annoying. I've got weeds growing all over the place, but can I grow any grass? Not at all. I think I just might let the weeds take over. At least they're green.

It's not like there hasn't been things to blog about. I had a front row seat for a spectacular two-for shot by c5ride. He shot a Long shot or maybe a Torque Bow that went through the head of one player and killed the guy standing behind him. Both of them were chasing me and I turned around just in time to see the shot. It was like sitting in the front row of a Gallagher or Shamu show. Too bad I didn't have a towel on me.

And I could have done a post about the new accessory I think all my male friends might be keeping handy when we play. What is it, you might ask? Why, a pillow of course. I say "of course" because my group of friends seem to have become a little "randy" lately and I'm always happy to oblige and . . . um . . . peak their interest if the conversations sways that way, if you know what I mean. If you don't, wait until your voice drops and you get out of elementary school, or at least go look for your dad's old Playboy magazines. I mean what's a little bit of *cough* innocent *cough* flirting among friends? I respect marriage vows so nothings going to happen on my end (pun intended) . . . which is why I'm probably still single. Oh well.

So anyway. Now that work has stabilized, birthday season is over and my pool is filled with sparkling clean water I think I can get back to a more normal three posts a week schedule. And boy do I have a lot to say, so stay tuned.

Monday, July 13, 2009

New Poll - Have you created an Avatar that looked like you?

Here's my next poll:

Have you created an Avatar that looked like you?

Yes, but only when we first got them
Yes, as close as I could get it anyway
Yes, it looked exactly like me
No, it is what I WANT to look like
No, it is my personal eye candy

My avatar might change daily with this one. So check me out and see which answer I might be referring to.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Poll Results- What music do you listen to?

Here is the latest poll results:

What kind of music do you listen to?

I'm a Country boy at heart = 0 votes
It's still Rock 'n' Roll to me = 3 votes
I'm a head banding bobblehead = 2 votes
It's all that Jazz for me = 0 votes
I'm an East (listening) kind of guy = 0 votes
Anything with a beat will do for me = 3 votes

I voted for Rock 'n' Roll. That's the closest to what I listen to today. Over the course of my life I've listened to a lot of things.

I think the first record I bought was the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie. And that was on vinyl. The first cassette tape I bought was Lionel Richie's Dancing on the Ceiling. I listened to that tape that I've almost worn it out. And yest I still have it to this day. When I was younger my interests were Lionel Richie, Rick Springfield, Corey Hart, Howard Jones, Genesis and especially Styx. My sister had all of the Styx albums on vinyl and I would love to go to her side of the room when she was gone and just pull the album covers out just to look at them. If I knew she would be gone for awhile I would put them on her record player and listen to them really low so I could hear if she came back down the stairs. I remember one time I barely go the record off the player and back into the jacket and everything turned off before she walked into the room. I kept waiting for her to touch her record player and realize it was still warm and then my cover would be blown.

When I was in high school and college my sister still influenced by musically tastes. She turned me on to "alternative" rock. Back in the day that meant Depeche Mode, Oingo Boingo, REM, Bare Naked Ladies, the B52s and They Might be Giants, etc. She moved out, got married and had a kid so I was over there to babysit a lot and this time I had permission to use the stereo.

My family is very musical. Both my parents were in community choirs at one time or another (my dad was in a Barbershop choir). We've all song in school or community musicals while growing up. So I've always liked musicals. The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, West Side Story, etc. Even the more obscure ones like Brigadoon or Pippin were ones I liked. My sister turned me onto one other musical that is my favorite to this day. Chess. For those of you who say you've never heard of that musical before, I say you've probably heard one of the songs from it. If you've heard "One Night in Bangkok" you have. That's from the musical. My sister would play the tape in the car when she was taking me to/from college and she would sing out loud while it played. Do you love a song enough to sing it out loud in the car with someone else present? I didn't think so. At about the same time I fell in love with the musical Evita. This was before the movie with Madonna came out. I saw a production at college done in the "theater in the round". I was hooked. Now I love to listen to those soundtracks and sign along while I drive to work.

Over the last couple of years my musical tastes have changed . . . and I feel guilty for it. I now love listening to Linkin Park, Evanessence, Tool and Franz Ferdinand among others. I feel guilty because the music seems like it's meant for the angst ridden late teen/early 20 something who's just realizing the cruel facts of the real world. And since I'm not an angst ridden late teen/early 20 something I feel like an old geezer pervert if I like the same music as them. I'm not a pervert, by the way. Old, yes. Pervert, no.

I've also found that a good beat or drum rhythm will get me hooked in a song more so than a good guitar riff. That's why I fell in love with Tool. There's something intoxicating about a good primal drum beat. Acoustic or electronic. Either way is good. Just listen to Closer by Nine Inch Nails and see. Of course those lyrics might have something to do with it as well.

Of all those music choices listed the only two I have problems with are Country and Jazz. I can only listen to about one or two country songs in a row before I can't take the whinning and the southern twang anymore. And I've never heard an upbeat country song in my life. I'm surprised more country singers don't blow their brains out after singing all those depressing songs.

And I don't get Jazz. I'm talking real Jazz. Jazz doesn't conform to the regular patterns that the rest of music seems to. Verse, chorus, verse chorus, etc. Or verse, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, chorus. Every song you hear on the radio is going to fall into one of those patterns. It's predicable, but I like it. Jazz is sometimes all over the place and because of that I can't really get into it.

So my musical tastes have changed over the years. For better or worse. Whether my tastes have progressed and matured, or regressed and immatured, I don't know. I likes what I likes and there's no explaining what I likes. So tell me who you're favorite band is.