Category Archives: memes

Seeking The Origin of Cake Myths

Yesterday I decided to pull a game out of the unplayed pile… the virtual unplayed pile, since Steam is the prime holder of unplayed games for me thanks to their Summer sale.  Why did I buy all those games?

Anyway, I picked one that has not only been talked to death, but has had a sequel that has also been just about talked out.  So now at least I am not as far behind the curve as before.

Oh, I see where this line came from now

You see, I hadn’t actually played Portal up until yesterday.  Valve was giving it away for free on Steam a while back, so I grabbed it.  But it has just sat on my hard drive ever since.

In an odd twist, the reason I started the game was because my daughter brought it up while we were driving around yesterday.  Somebody in her class has been playing it recently and talking about it, so she started asking me about it.  So I broke it out and we played through some of it together.

One of the amusing asides is that, despite not playing Portal before, I was already familiar with the GLaDOS AI personality as she also appears in some of the DLC levels for Defense Grid: The Awakening. (Still my favorite tower defense game.)

The game itself is good simple fun.  My daughter found GLaDOS a bit creepy, especially when it was announced that once testing was over, we would be “minced.”

We played through until it was time for her to get ready for bed.  And then I stopped when I reached a level that required more manual dexterity than I was able to muster at the end of the day.  But we got fairly far into the game.  I think we will be able to finish it up, especially since when you die, you just go back to your last save point.

Though we had better finish it up tonight.  Tomorrow I will be playing something else.

And since I am now part of the “club,” I feel fully justified throwing in my two cents worth of repetition.

Take that, internet!

I am only about five years behind.

EVE Online – The Places I’ve Been

Kirith Kodachi’s EVE meme, The Places I’ve Been, has been spreading around to the extent that it even got a mention on Massively.  So I felt the compulsion building and decided to find our where I have traveled over the last 2.5 years.

Of course, I can never just take one of these meme straight.  I always have to change it a little bit.  So I am going to answer three questions.

Where have I been?

All the places I have been

All the places I have been

As an avowed carebear, I have stayed mostly in high security sections of empire space.  Still, that leaves a lot of places to roam.  The more red-shifted the dots, the more times I have been there.

Where am I welcome?

To all the agents I've run missions for...

To all the agents I've run missions for...

I have run a lot of missions which has given me an 8+ standing with the Caldari State and the Amarr Empire.  So the map above shows, in green, all the systems with agents which are available to me.  They love me in Caldari space.

Where is my stuff?

Where did I leave my glasses?

Where did I leave my glasses?

Buy orders, sell orders, missions, deliveries; all of that means stuff strewn all over the place.  Or in my case, strewn all over space.  Each red dot on this map represents a system with a station where I have left something that belongs to me.

This, by the way, is the argument against region-wide buy orders.  Going out to pick all that stuff up takes a long time, and it is tough to get motivated enough to go pick up 17 flameburst missiles that are 17 jumps away.  CCP should offer a once-a-year consolidate your crap option for people like me.  I’d pay some big ISK for that.

Honest Scrappy-Doo or Something

Because we all love Scrappy-Doo, right?

Okay, me neither, but I needed some title for this Honest Scrap meme.scrappydoo

The only thing worse that being tagged for a blogging meme is not being tagged for a blogging meme.  I feel hurt if I don’t get tagged and put upon if I do.  That probably says something insightful about me.  Can I count that as one of the 10 things I am supposed to list?

And what is this award about?

This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.

And, thanks to laziness on my part, I have been tagged by respective authors of Pumping Irony, and A Ding World, Symptom of a Greater Cure, and Malfi’s World.

Thank you very much guys!  I do appreciate the thought!

The Rules for this meme are apparently:

  1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.
  2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the names and links of the seven random victims and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
  3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

Okay, I think I have the first part covered.  I’m not much on bragging, but I have done the acknowledgements.

honest-scrap1The second part though… seven blogs?

Okay, meme starters everywhere, let’s set some guidelines.  Nobody should have to tag more than three people, ever, just like no real rock and roll song should go over two minutes and fifty seconds.  This isn’t a multi-level marketing scam scheme.  I’ll shoot for seven this time, but don’t let me catch you asking for that many again!  And no, I’m not going to go leave comments on those blogs either.

And the third part?  Ten honest things about myself?  Like the tagging part, this should be quality not quantity, so five things max next time.  Or better yet, think of something new.  I think I have done the random/honest/unlikely facts routine enough times.  And pass it on?  Isn’t that the whole point of part two?

There is nothing about including the “Honest Scrap” picture, so I guess it is optional.


Okay, so, seven blogs.  I am going to go with CCP’s Apocrypha theme and pick some people who appear to be hiding of late to see if we cannot get them to show themselves or, in absence of that, nip this meme in the bud.  So I choo-choo-choose:

  1. Kevin of The Server is Down
  2. Jaye of Journey’s with Jaye
  3. Krones of Plaguelands
  4. Aggro Me of Aggro Me (oh, wait, he’s over here.)
  5. Genda of The Grouchy Gamer
  6. Anakh of Big Ogre, Small World
  7. Craig of Voyages in Eternity

And 10 honest things about myself?

  1. I have never been seen in an Italian restaurant sipping cappuccino with an oriental women
  2. I do not recall, when I was younger, and my heart was an open book, ever saying, “Live and let live”
  3. I sometimes throw my arms up and occasionally shout, but rarely at the same time
  4. I have never noticed anybody avoiding me like a cyclone ranger
  5. I have no idea if Superman or Green Lantern have anything on me, nor am I at all concerned
  6. I have, on many occasions, been working in the lab late at night
  7. I have got somebody, no matter what part I’m playing
  8. I have never called the doctor and woke him up regarding a belly ache
  9. I remember distinctly what the door mouse said
  10. I have never run into my Uncle Max at the Golden Fingerbowl

All of which was inspired by scrolling through my iPod.

There is an implied “mini-game” in my 10 things of course, can you name the 10 songs?

Okay, can you do it without using Google?

That Sixth Screen Shot Meme Thing

Scott / Talyn over at Pumping Irony tagged me with that “Sixth Screen Shot” meme thing that has been going around of late.

Like a game of telephone operator, as the meme moves along the rules seem to morph.  Not that I am sure the rules were that solid in the first place… the sixth screen shot in the sixth sub folder of the sixth son of the sixth son or some such.

Anyway, there appeared to be some wiggle room in choosing pictures.

As I counted it, EverQuest ended up being the sixth folder of screen shots on my hard drive, and after I sorted the folder a few different ways, I ended up with a sixth picture I liked.

Crushbone Keep

Crushbone Keep

Having fulfilled the bargain, I now get to tag some other people.  I choose Karen at Journeys with Jaye and Gaff at Trot Line because neither has posted anything in months as well as Potshot and Darren just because it will annoy them.

The Power of Four

Brent, who was tagged by Cuppy who was tagged by Grimwell who was tagged by Rhyssa who lives in the house that Jack built… or some such… has tagged me with yet another blog infecting meme.  Still, as I always say, the only thing worse than being tagged is not being tagged.

Of course, I cannot contain myself to just listing four things.  I have to go on about them all for a bit.

Four jobs I have had in my life (not including current job):

  1. Accounting and Payroll Clerk – My parents are both accountants.  Somehow I escaped.
  2. Attendant in an Art Gallery – With Potshot.  I got to witness self-possessed pretension AND do my homework.
  3. Night Manager at a grocery store – I actually worked with a guy named Jack Vader, who was a cousin to Chad and Darth I think.
  4. Service Tech at a Mac only computer store – I only broke one Mac while I was there.

Four Movies I have watched over and over: (Tough call, as I love movies)

  1. Catch-22 – Best cinematography ever.  Seriously, this is one movie I want to see on HD or BluRay on a giant plasma screen.  Plus the director’s commentary, which is just a conversation between Mike Nichols (the director) and Steven Soderbergh, is a great insight into making such a brilliantly filmed movie.  Mike Nichols had never done an action film before, so didn’t think about special effects.  When he needed to blow up the HQ build at the air base, he had his people actually blow the building up with the actors in the foreground.  Plus Alan Arkin was perfect as Yossarian.
  2. Full Metal Jacket – The movie that made R. Lee Emory a legend.  Really three movies in one.  If you have the DVD, change the language settings to French with French subtitles.  Even if you only understand a little French, it is hilarious.  They made the cadences rhyme in French, and the jelly donut scene… priceless.
  3. Live and Let Die – Best. Bond. Ever.  Screw you if you think differently on this one, because you won’t change my mind.  I’m all for Sean or Pierce over every other Roger Moore film, but Live and Let Die… well… I sure hope you make friends easy!
  4. School of Rock – Jack Black unleashed.  In High Fidelity he was great, and here he hits his music fanatic peak.  Silly movie.  Great music.  I dearly want to take the Rock History class Jack Black gives to his students.  Plus I am in love with both Joan Cusak and Sarah Silverman.

Four places I have lived: (I have never lived further than 22 miles from the place of my birth.  Beyond five locations I would have to start listing specific addresses.)

  1. San Jose, CA
  2. Mountain View, CA
  3. Cupertino, CA
  4. Campbell, CA

Four Shows I love to watch:

  1. Law & Order – The original, not the spin-offs.
  2. The Simpsons – Homer was 12 years older than me when the show started, now I’m four years older than him.  How did that happen?
  3. Uh… we only have one TV and three viewers.  I go to my computer or read for entertainment.

Four Places I have been on vacation:

  1. Maui – Many times.  My mother lives there.  My 5 year old daughter has been to Maui more times (6) than most people.
  2. Las Vegas – A cheap, one hour flight away.  Good for a three day get-away with the wife… and then we had a baby….
  3. Southern California – We have a child.  That is where the best amusement parks (Disneyland, LEGOLand, Sea World) on the west coast are.
  4. Lake Tahoe – Wife loves it.  Daughter loves it.  I was dragged there every summer as a child to spend seeming endless hours bored looking at trees or sitting on a beach where the water was close to freezing.  I don’t love it.

Four of my favorite foods:

  1. Pizza – Simply nature’s most perfect food.  And like sex, even bad pizza is pretty good.
  2. Pigs in a Blanket – Little Smokies wrapped up in Pilsbury crescent roll dough and baked to perfection!
  3. Saurbraten – with spatzel and red cabbage… and a Spaten Oktoberfest, bitte!
  4. Chow Fun – With beef and bok choy.

Four favorite drinks:

  1. Vanilla Coke – That extra bit of flavor makes all the difference
  2. Regular Coke – Because Coca-Cola only puts out Vanilla Coke every so often
  3. Beer – Anchor Steam, Spaten Oktoberfest, Newcastle Brown Ale, or Shiner Bock preferred.
  4. Water – I spent a lot of time on a farm with a well, so no tap water please.

Four places I would rather be right now:

  1. Playing a game on the computer
  2. Playing the Wii with my daughter
  3. Watching the latest Battlestar Galactica DVD from NetFlix with my wife.
  4. Having a pint at Brittania Arms

Four People I Command to do This:

  1. Gaff – To annoy him, and to give him something to post when he isn’t three boxing
  2. Kilanna – To hear what she’s having for dinner when I’m getting up in the morning (not Vegemite I hope!)
  3. Bildo – To punish him for that duck joke
  4. Elf – Because he can be so reasonable

Meme: Rejected

There is another meme running around, a “Blogging Tips” meme, and I have been tagged by MMOre Insight for this one. While I appreciate the thought (the only thing worse than being talked about and such), I am going to decline to participate.


Well, it is not because of any meme hate.  I generally participate when I get tagged and do my own tagging as well.  Memes can be fun and interesting, as you get to compare how different people respond to the same question. 

This meme, however, is not interesting to me at all.  It is a link Ponzi Scheme.  The “winners,” if there is such a thing as “winning” on the web, will be those at the top of the list, with the creator of this meme reaping the most links.

Then there is the creator.  Well, I won’t link the site, but I went to check on it before I rejected this meme.

While the site says it is about “helping bloggers,” it is riddled with ads, with the offer “Get Reviewed By This Blog For $60” at the top.  I am sure there would be no question of integrity with a “for pay” review.

While I have no problem with anybody’s attempt to make money with their own site, you can count me out when it comes to the crass usage of a meme to further your own revenue.  This is nothing more than meme spam created by somebody looking to make a buck off the work of other bloggers.

My blogging tip: Write the blog you want to read. 

The blog I want to read doesn’t indulge in links for links sake.

TAGN Central

Per Cuppy’s request, this is where I spend most of my time online.

The table is unusually clear in this picture

Here you see my Dell 20″ LCD monitor, the requisite Logitech G15 keyboard, my new Plantronics 510 headset (a topic for another post), some Logitech speakers, my Kensignton Expert Mouse (also another topic), and some other minor items all arrayed on a sturdy folding table that I bought at Service Merchandise well over 20 years ago.  I agree with Brent that nothing beats a good, solid, flat surface.  I just got it in white rather than faux wood grain. It replaced the table on my gaming rig at the time, seen here:

I am sure I’ll never use this picture again…

Oooh, Wizardy!  Dual floppies!  And check out that CH Products joystick!

Next to the table I have something that is probably not in your home office, a seven foot tall 19″ rack.

Check out my rack!

I have to reconfigure it to my office at our new house.  I just squeezed it in to my office a couple weeks back, so you can see I still have stuff plugged into the power strip on my table.  I should be able to get another shelf set at the bottom to hold the big, purple, Alienware CPU sitting on the floor beside the rack and then the subwoofer can move under the table.

Here is my co-pilot who keeps my lap warm and provides plenty of kitty hair to get into the keyboard and fans.

Felix reclines

His name is Felix and he enjoys standing in front of my monitor during boss fights.  You can see a little discoloration on the chair behind him where his brother, Oscar, threw up on my chair the other day.  Bleh.

Things you do not see in these pictures:

  • 14 banker’s boxes still full of stuff from moving
  • 3 six foot tall book cases on the wall opposite the computer
  • One of our litter boxes
  • A Shredder
  • My LEGOs
  • A closet trying to contain 25+ years worth of crap


I couldn’t compete with Brent’s stack of MMO boxes, since some of mine are still packed away, so on the desk, above my track ball, you can see the original EverQuest manual that was printed up when the primary partner was 989 Studios.  You need a 3D card with 4MB of RAM to run the game!

The red pen under my monitor is, in fact, a special “Welcome to Strongbadia” pen, a special bonus that went with something I ordered from Homestar Runner.  It features The Cheat in his tire who moves back and forth as you tilt the pen.

By request, here is the desktop picture shown on my screen.

EVE Online Jump Gate

Click on it to see it full size.

Tagged: Five Reasons Why I Blog

I was tagged by Gaff, damn him! Five reasons why I blog? 

  1. I was writing already:  I have a history of polluting guild forums with my own opinions, tales, and misadventures.  One of the reasons I jumped to blogging was that these forums seem to spontaneously combust with alarming regularity taking my wit and wisdom with them.  Here at least I can back up the database myself.
  2. The persistence of memory or the lack thereof:  Part of the reason I was posting to guild forums was as sort of a written memory.  The older I get, the more I forget it seems.  This way, when I am really old, and somebody comes by to give me a “told you so” on what sort of memories I would have left over from all of this gaming, I can smugly tell them about how we took down Archaedas in Uldaman by the skin of our teeth on the fourth try and how the whole server cheered and we received a parade in our honor through Stormwind. (I plan to exaggerate the hell out of everything in my old age.)
  3. The appearance of mattering:  By howling in the wires of the internet my so-called opinions occasionally attract the attention of somebody who matters more to the MMO gaming community than I do. (Which turns out to be an astoundingly long list of individuals.  I am well below even Timmy at SOE, which is a slap in the face to third rate bloggers everywhere!)  This person’s stature in the community reflects momentarily on me when they acknowledge my existence.  It is like momentary immortality! Go me!
  4. I get to educate:  How many gamers now know who Peter Roget, Gertrude Stein, and Grigori Alexandrovich Potemkin-Tavricheski are thanks to my insistence on using obscure references and then linking them to Wikipedia?  By my count, three.  Anyway, my outside references give me a chuckle.
  5. Feeling of superiority: I do not have to go surf through many random blogs before I start feeling like the paragon of consistent literacy.  Really, try it some time.  I think much of the web is out there to make you feel better about yourself.  It is like your mind is giving you some subtle proof that your solipsistic thoughts might have validity. (Add solipism to that education list!  Thanks Ryan North!)
  6. My own boss:  I don’t have to follow rules. (See, now I have 6 reasons! What are you going to do about it?) I can blather about what I like, take humorous things seriously, serious things humorously, and generally carry on as I please. 
  7. Despite myself:  Even after all of the above, I still have some regular readers who comment, say nice things, and generally make the effort more than worthwhile.  Can’t you see that this just prolongs the life of this blog?  Comments and attention are like crack to a blogger.

So there you have it, all seven of my five reasons why I blog. 

Since I know, deep in my soul, that the only thing WORSE than being tagged for one of these lame blog memes is not to be tagged when many of your peers do get tagged, I am going to spread the love and tag some people.  You can complain about it in public, but thank me in private.

So I am tagging:

Melmoth’s Inferno:  Because I love a good literary reference.  I’ll let you know as soon as he has one.

Kilanna at Dwarven Runes:  Because even the thought of Kilanna not commenting on my blog leaves me curled up on the floor with the DTs and because she has a shiny new blog on which I got to leave the first comment. (I see codependency in our future.)

MMO Critic: Because real life has let him return to MMO blogging

Zubon at Kill Ten Rats: Why should Ethic have all the fun?

Kinless at Kinless’ Chronicles: Because he links me despite the fact I haven’t talked about WoW much lately and he appears to be the kind that actually responds to these things.  I mean, Gitr got him to do one of these just a couple weeks back. Now he can pass this back to Gitr.

Five Things You Do Not Know About Me

Stargrace/Silverstep tapped me for the whole “five things” blog meme.  I bet I could come up with a lot of things most of you do not know about me, but I will try to pick five that are either interesting, on the gaming topic, or… neither.

1) Gaming Background: Despite my adherence to the high fantasy MMO genre of late, I did not get my start in gaming playing D&D or any similar rpg.  Instead, I played war games, primarily of the Avalon Hill variety (AH’s Tobruk, is my all time favorite) along with some miniatures gaming.  I was a kid though, so I could not afford all those little lead tanks, so a friend and I made due with squares cut out from a supply of surplus manila folders.  War games and Star Fleet Battles were the staples of my youth until my sophomore year of high school.  Then the rpg stuff began.

2) Soviet Studies: In college, in the mid-80’s, I decided to go down the Soviet Studies path as a major, giving up on my partially completed business degree in the name of patriotism (and a bit of boredom).  I started in 1986 with a couple of classes on Soviet History and Economics.  The history was fine, but the economics part rapidly became a series of courses in current events, since the economic situation under Gorbachev was in a constant state of flux.  I moved back to business when it became pretty clear that anything I learned in one semester became history or trivia by the next.  I still read a lot of Soviet history, but unless they come out with a Trivial Pursuit: GOSPLAN Edition, what I learned about the Soviet economy is not very handy. (Now you know why I have the unabridged Gulag Archipelago as an audio book, it was my way of reading it again.)

3) You Have Used My Product:  While I started in shrink-wrapped consumer software, I now work on enterprise level software, specifically IVR software.  You know, those annoying automated systems that keep you from speaking to a live agent?  That is what I do, though I have specialized in the speech recognition variety for quite a while, the ones that do not understand what you say AND keep you from speaking to a live agent.  Chances are you have used the product I work on and do not even know it.  Two major cell phone carriers, two of the three major game consol makers, two major airlines, numerous banks, credit unions, utility companies, libraries (ever received an automated call about an overdue book?), a major computer company, and the retail giant you are probably thinking of even as I write “retail giant” all use the software I have spent the last nine years working on. (And “retail giant” is actually a choice of a few, so you probably thought of the right one even if you changed your mind.)  If you have called them, or any one of a couple thousand other companies on the phone and have gotten an automated system, that was probably, in some very small way, my fault! Hah!

4) Should Have Been A Writer:  Maybe I should have been.  In college I had two very supportive English professors both of whom told me that if I worked on my mechanics (spelling never interested me, much to their dismay, so cheers for the modern spell checker, though it rarely helps with my habit of changing tense mid-sentence… or digressing in these asides) I might be a writer some day.  One of them was one of those terrors who strikes fear into freshmen, so hearing that at age 19 was a big deal.  I took that advice and sat on it, thinking I would get to it at some later point in life.  Then I suddenly found myself past age 40 and realized I never write anything but email and technical documents.  A writer writes every day, so among my motivations for this blog was the desire to start writing again.  I might never be a real writer, whatever that is, but I certainly will never be if all I ever write is product release notes that nobody every reads.

5) Silicon Valley Native: I work about a mile from where I was born, I am married to a woman with whom I went to high school, and I give very annoying direction because they always include references to landmarks that have not been around for the last 15-20 years.  In many places this would be common, but in Silicon Valley it seems like everybody here is from somewhere else.  It can be strange working down the street from your grandparents old house, knowing what used to be at half the retail locations around you, remembering how everything looked 20 to 30 years ago, and working with a bunch of people who have only been in the valley for 5-10 years and do not remember that the place was mostly orchards when I was born.  Such is life!

Now I get to tap a person or two, though I have to figure out who has not been taken yet.  Let’s see, how about the Chinese News Farmer, Alaph the Tired EVE Pilot, and, in a shot way beyond my reach (though well within driving distance) I am going to pick Jeff Green of Gaming For Windows just because he did that article about loading up EverQuest again.