Tag Archives: U-Boat

July in Review

The Site

Again with the attempted theme change.  If you were on the site at the right time a couple of weeks back, you might have seen this.

TAGN In Dark Green

It looked pretty good in Firefox.  In IE it looked bad however, and the wife uses IE to read the blog, so we couldn’t have that.

Then I noticed another option I had not seen before that let me move the side bar.

TAGN as a lefty!

Looking at that just made my brain hurt.  After nearly 5 years, I seem to have settled on a theme from which I cannot break free.

In other site news, WordPress.com has added a new post-publication summary page, so when you put up a new item, it tells you it went out the tags and categories under which it was filed.  So for Thursday’s post I’ve Been to the Door, it gave the following summary and advice.

The key bit for me was the last part.  Yeah, I bet that is going to add a lot more sanity to tag and category usage.

And they even offer you ideas for starting your next post.

Do you really want to know how I feel about public speaking?

One Year Ago

The late Paul the octopus created the largest page view day ever in the history of the blog, later to be surpassed by Cats playing Patty Cake and Alamo.

I was told I write like Cory Doctorow… or maybe Ian Flemming.

My daughter was Banned from Club Penguin.  Tears were shed, lessons were learned.

EverQuest II Extended, the free to play EverQuest II, was announced.  I wondered whether trying to play it without paying at all would be a challenge in and of itself.  Meanwhile, there was some evidence that EQII accounts had value.  That stunning news no doubt got them going on the authenticator they announced at Fan Faire this year.

I completed 100 levels in The Agency: Covert Ops.  I was unemployed, what can I say?

StarCraft II launched.  I still haven’t bought a copy.  I’ll wait for the battle chest in a couple of years.  It isn’t like I am going to be very good at it this time around.  I was barely adequate at the original.

Hulkageddon III ended, and it even had a video wrap-up.  And then PLEX was made transportable in space.  I wonder if they waited for Hulkageddon to be over for that?

In another Summer hiatus season, the instance group started another run at LOTRO.  This time it was Bung who was out, having the dual issues of moving and having a new baby to care for.  Those of us in Middle-earth hung out with old friends.  That put off deciding who my main character was, by letting me roll another one!

Blizzard gave up on some of their RealID plans thanks to much public kvetching.  Shortly there after, the ESRB came out against Real ID as being bad for consumer security while proving they too were bad for consumer security.

Blizzard revamped Parental Controls again.  As much as I have griped about them, they are better than any comparable controls I have seen, even in games that offer that as a feature.

World of Warcraft Magazine Issue #2 showed up.  Issue #4 would arrive 9 months later.  No word on issue #5 as of now.

And, finally, somebody was trying to make yet another flying car that failed to live up to our expectations.  Have none of these scientists ever seen The Jetsons?

New Linking Sites

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Most Viewed Posts in July

  1. How to Catch Zorua and Zoroark
  2. Alamo teechs u 2 play DURID!
  3. Play On: Guild Name Generator
  4. Beastlord to be the New Class in the Next EQ2 Expansion
  5. And Now I REALLY Want That SWTOR Authenticator
  6. World of Warplanes… What Else Do I Need?
  7. The SWTOR Pre-Order, Authenticators, & Account Security
  8. Not Knowing When to Let Go… A Class Action Suit to Save SWG
  9. The PLEX Story We’ve All Been Waiting For…
  10. How To Find An Agent in EVE Online
  11. The Incarna Summit Results
  12. Considering Star Wars Galaxies Emulation? Better Grab a Disk!

Most Common Search Terms of the Month

  1. world of warcraft
  2. world of warplanes
  3. how to catch zorua
  4. thorin
  5. how to catch zoroark
  6. thorin oakenshield
  7. blood elf porn
  8. swtor authenticator
  9. eq2 beastlord
  10. wow account hacked
  11. soe authenticator
  12. eve aurum

Spam Comment of the Month

You are my aspiration , I possess few web logs and very sporadically run out from to post
[You are the blowing like breeze thing beneath my flight giving appendages]

Search Terms of the Month

fippy darkpaw money making
[Sure, if you are SOE]

turbine points code generator
[Wouldn’t that be nice]

st isk man game
[Who is the patron saint of ISK?]

EVE Online

My subscription is running down.  As I have stated before, Incarna had nothing much to offer me.  The race is on to see if I will hit 70 million skill points before my account lapses.


I have not been playing, though I have been following the progression server forum via the magic of RSS.  At some juncture I am going to summarize the three most common topics I have seen.  They prove a point of their own.

Meanwhile, Velious is nowhere in sight.  I thought I read that there would be a 30 day delay between expansions after Kunark, but now people are talking about a 60 day delay.  That would drag out the progression server time line quite a bit.

EverQuest II

We got the guild to 40, burnt out, walked away.  For a week I tried to build up some guild finances by using the harvesting minions to gather stuff which I then sold on the market, putting the proceeds into the guild escrow.  Cash wise that would keep the guild hall financed.  Then I stopped doing that.  I think we’re done.  Again.

Lord of the Rings Online

It is summer, the regular group is on hiatus, and so a few of us have gathered in Middle-earth again with the intent of seeing something new.  Moria bound we are.  Gaff has actually made it inside.  I am within striking distance.  Potshot is climbing the ladder steadily.

We all opted to pre-order Isengard, and that 25% experience boost pocket item makes a noticable difference.  My scholar, who is also a mid-20s rune-keeper, easily out ran the quest lines in the Lone Lands while searching for scholar materials.

Need for Speed: World

This replaced World of Tanks as my light, jump in and play for a little bit then move on game.  I have managed to get myself up to level 10 in these short play sessions.

I do not know what sort of staying power it will have with me.  I am still driving the same car, I still haven’t bought anything from the cash shop, and I still wonder if they couldn’t come up with something to do in the main world/giant lobby besides the nightly gem hunt.

I still think U-Boat in some form would be viable.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Pre-order pre-ordered.  Or something.  Anyway, now it is just a wait for the holiday 2011 release date.  Are we there yet?

Coming Up

I think Lord of the Rings Online will likely dominate the next month, with us finally getting to Moria.

I also bought several games as part of the Steam summer sale.  I still dislike Steam, but it is hard to resist some games when they get priced under $10.  I should probably actually PLAY some of them.  And then maybe write about playing them.

The Adventures of Opus and Mopar Mac

It is a cold Friday night in February of 1982.

Potshot and I are sitting in my 74 Plymouth Duster on a side street in Cupertino near a point we refer to as “crash landing.”  Our eyes are focused on a Citizen’s Band radio mounted under the vast black metal dashboard of the Duster.

Despite the cold, the passenger side window is rolled down and Potshot is holding out the window something that, from a distance, might be mistaken for a crude ankh.

The ankh is, in fact, a wooden “T” with a copper loop attached to the top.  There is a coax cable attached to the loop that runs down the length of the wooden handle and into the car.  It is attached to the antenna connector on the back of the CB radio.

It is a crude radio direction finder that Potshot made.

Potshot is rotating the loop while we watch the signal meter on the radio in an attempt to locate “Huey.”

However, we cannot get a bearing on the elusive “Huey” (named after the cartoon duck and not the helicopter, and you’d know why if you met him) because “Mr. 350” (commonly called “Weebee”) is on the channel practicing at being annoying by keying up the microphone and rambling on and on, frequently riffing on “We be we be we be we be we be on the CB” (which is why we call him “Weebee” instead of his preferred handle) or the ubiquitous for the time “Goodbuddygoodbuddygoodbuddygoodbuddygoodbuddy” spoken rapidly and continuously until he ran out of breath.

So we weren’t doing very well.  We weren’t even sure “Huey” was still on this channel.  Maybe it was time to leave our observation and tracking point and cruise for targets.

And what are we doing out in the cold trying to track somebody’s radio emissions?

We are playing U-Boat.

U-Boat was the brainchild of our friend Bill.

I never knew if he thought it up himself or heard about it from somebody else, but he introduced the idea one day in high school.

The concept was simple.  A group of people with cars divide up into two teams and stalk each other in a pre-determined geographical area.

When you saw a member of the opposing team, you would flash your high beams at them to “sink” them for a point.

High Beams of Doom!

High Beams of Doom!

Of course, sinking neutrals was supposed to cost you, but you had to get caught.

You also had to have a CB radio in your car to communicate with your team and to eavesdrop on the other side.

Of course, to use a CB, you have to have a handle.

Huey got his because that was his nickname in any case.

Bill was Frogger, for reasons that escape me.

I got Mopar Mac because I drove a Plymouth, and the Chrysler parts division is called Mopar. (Allegedly standing for MOre Parts Are Required, reflecting upon the unreliability of Chrysler products.)

Potshot took Opus from the penguin in Bloom County, a popular comic at the time.  Somehow the penguin association stuck with him and for years afterward people who never played U-Boat or knew his handle would buy him penguin related gifts.

There was also Filbert, Binkley, Spock, Mr. 350, MCU, and Rice Burner among those who set sail in the game.

Some of the U-Boat crew in 1982

Some of the U-Boat crew in 1982

We started out with what seemed like a modest territory to cover and two teams of three cars each.

The Hunting Grounds

The Hunting Grounds

We quickly found out how difficult it can be to find three other cars, all in motion, in even what seemed to be a small area.  Subsequent games were often cut down to the area in the red square.

And still it could be difficult to spot the enemy.

Part of that was the nature of how we hunted.  Long stretches of time would go by where I was sure we were all laying in ambush, waiting for somebody else to drive by.  We would sit on side streets, wedged between other parked cars, in people’s driveways, waiting and watching regular intersections as they represented choke points.  This was gate camping in 1982.

Of course another issue was that we all cheated early and often.

We would run out of bounds and listen to radio traffic or try to get an RDF bearing on somebody. (It turned out that the crude loop antenna was formed in such a way that it focused 90 degrees off from where we assumed it would.  It was a bit more useful once we figured that out!)  Somebody once spent a good part of one game parked in a garage, broadcasting as though they were in motion.  Once in a while we’d just drive over to Jack in the Box for some food and let everybody stew.

We also had to work up codes for locations to coordinate with our team without letting the other side know where we were.  Of course, a good deal of disinformation went out over the air as well.

There were even attempts at camouflage.  I would get out of the car mid-game and unplug one of my headlights or the running lights so that  the headlight pattern that everybody had gotten to know would be a little different.

In the end, scores were rather low, even in our reduced hunting zone.  The roads just aren’t as crowded as you think they are.

For the most part we avoided irritating the neighbors.  Only once did we get entangled with the Sheriff’s department after “Mr. 350” roared past me, and the police cruiser in front of me, on the wrong side of Linda Vista in the 72 Camero with the 350 CID engine from which he took his handle.  Born with the gift of gab, he talked himself out of yet another ticket, nicely leaving the mic open on his radio so we could hear him do it.

Most nights of playing were slow.  Finding targets took patience and long stretches of time would be devoted to searching or laying in wait.  This is part of the reason we sailed with two people per vehicle most nights, the boredom.  That and the fact that not everybody who wanted to play had a car.

So the night would creep by as we hunted.  Every once in a while though, there would be a “YOUR DEAD!” cry over the radio and somebody would be sent back to base for a short duration.

There were, to my recollection, few if any disputes over who fired first.  There was no MILES gear / Laser Tag level of victory determination.  It was more a “Bang! You’re dead!” level of resolution.

We played U-Boat over the course of two years before it fully faded from our routine.  A lot of people came and played once, found it boring, and did not return.  After a while we got to a point where finding enough people became the biggest obstacle to playing and eventually we gave up trying.  There were more entertaining things to do on a Friday night.

But for a time there was a pulse of excitement when we heard somebody suggest that it might be a night for U-Boat.

[Warning: These memories are over 25 years old.  They may have shifted, settled, or mixed with unrelated events during storage.  Some of this may never have happened.  I will affirm however that Mr. 350 had a knack for getting pulled over and talking his way out of tickets and that years later I bought Potshot a 6-pack of imported beer solely because it had a penguin on the label.  I recall that the beer was branded “Zele” and that it wasn’t very good.]