Monthly Archives: April 2011

RE: Ubuntu 11.04

I have been a computer tech for a very long time and a side effect of that is very few things surprise me, however, Ubuntu 11.04 has surprised me. First as I said last night, Firefox 4 is outright nimble, second, I have noticed the whole system is significantly faster and more responsive. After deciding to ditch Unity, I went back to Gnome, in version 10.11 it was a bit sluggish, however in 11.04 things seemed to have significantly improved. Mixed with e4rat, Ubuntu’s boot up time is ridiculously fast, from power on to login it is about 30 seconds and its only about another 10 seconds to to get Firefox, Thunderbird and a terminal window open. For the sake of full disclosure, I do have my system set up to automatically run those programs on login.

Ubuntu 11.04 and Firefox 4

I installed Ubuntu 11.04 tonight, there were not many updates, which was a bit of a surprise, so right now I am installing all the extra programs I generally use, but do come as part of the standard install. OpenRPG, or rather Traipse, the fork of OpenRPG we are using right now, seems to be working fine, which is nice, because in the past it was what tended to be broken. Another nice surprise was the smooth speed of Firefox 4. Firefox 4 is preceptably faster than version 3. I can not say for certain, but I would be surprised if Chrome ran any better. So far my biggest annoyance is with the new desktop manager Unity. I might have tried it for a bit longer, but I found I could not move the dock bar from its location on the left hand side of my desktop. Sorry Canonical, you lost on this one, I really need some minimum amount of control for configuring my desktop and even Windows lets me move the taskbar.

Sex in Space

I have read a couple of blog posts lately about the complete lack of secret sex experiments in space by either the U.S.A or Russia. If you google sex in space, you will not find a single credible report of anyone joining the 22,300 mile club. I personally find this very hard to believe. Human beings are after all human beings and one of the driving forces in our existence is sex. Lets be realistic here, most astronauts are reasonably young, healthy, athletic and intelligent. When you put groups of mixed gendered people who are reasonably young, healthy, athletic and intelligent together for long periods of time, some chemistry is going to happen. When I was in the Military, when we would go out into the field or deploy for long periods of time, there was always people hooking up. It is so prevalent that Supply Sergeants were required to keep condoms on hand and give them anyone who requested them, no questions asked.

While I can not prove it, I think there have most certainly been some hanky panky going on at the International Space Station and probably Mir before that. The reason there has been no reports or rumours is, any scandal like that would end the careers of everyone involved and not just the couple who were doing the fucking, but everyone on the mission, so everyone keeps their mouths shut. However, I am looking forward to some tell all books in about 20 years.

RE: Writing exercise

Late last month I wrote I was going to try and write a rather lengthy short story. As of today, I finished the story. My goal was to write 10,000 words over a 5 week period, the final count was actually 11,400 words. The pace was very comfortable and I had no trouble writing 2000 words a week. I am not going to be showing the work to anyone else, primarily because it is a first draft and is not really ready for any one else to read yet. I am going to mark this one a success, I set a goal for myself and I was able to focus enough to see it through to the end. I am going to walk away from this particular project for the moment, in a couple of weeks I will come back to it and do a second draft. I could easily add 4-5000 words further developing characters and adding more and better dialogue, so the end product will probably be more like 15,000 words. In the interim, I will be plotting out my next story, and deciding how I want to divide up the chunks.

Everything I hate about comic book shops

A couple of weekends ago Pezwitch noticed a collectables shop opened up along one of our regular routes. It was not until today that we got a chance to stop in and have a look around. Before I go into how awful this place was, let me state that not all comic shops are like this, although too many are. Rogues Gallery in Round Rock is everything a comic book shop should be. It is well lit, organized, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable, it what any business should be. Even if I didn’t work in Round Rock, I would still make the 60 mile trip to get my comic there for all of the above reasons.

Now back to this other place. I am not going to name the business or its location, with my luck the guy would see this and sue me, however I feel the need to rant about it, because as I said earlier, way too many comic shops are like this. First off, when we pulled up and tried the door, it was locked, this is the middle of the day on Saturday. Second as we walked away the guy running the place opens the door and invites us in. He is wearing a wife beater t-shirt, dirty pants and no shoes, the guy smelled like he had not bathed in a few days. The store was not much better, he likely had a lot of things I would have been interested, for instance, he had a fairly extensive Green Arrow collection I would have like to have thumbed through, however his comics were not anything close to organized and I lucked upon  the Green Arrow stuff purely by accident. Every flat surface in the place was piled with books and trading cards. Again, I would have been interested in looking at his Magic Card collection, but it seemed to broken up and piled in at least 3 different places. On top of that, the whole place smelled of dust, mildew and mold. PezWitch stood by the door the whole time refusing to walk any further than a few steps in. I can tell you with 100% certainty I will not be going back there.

Review: Shadow of the Vampire

I really wanted to like this movie. It had a very novel approach to the vampire story. Shadow of the Vampire is a fictionalized account of the making of the 1922 film Nosferatu. In this movie, the leading actor, Max Schreck actually is a vampire the director hired to pretend he is an actor hired to play the vampire Count Orlok. Sadly, the movie is way too slow moving, this became apparent in the opening credits and continued throughout the movie. The acting is wooden, the cinematography is murky, the script is broken and uneven. The best part of the movie is when we get to see Catherine McCormacks tits when she is writhing on the bed after having taken some unnamed narcotic and unfortunately we have to wait through most of the movie for that. If you have this on your Netflix list, remove it, the movie is really not worth seeing. Instead get the 1979 remake of Nosferatu with Klaus Kinski, it is a well made, intelligent movie well worth seeing.

Happy 4/20 Everyone

To all you Space Cowboys and Midnight Tokers, today is your day, have fun.

RE: RIP Bob Bledsaw May 18, 1942 – April 19, 2008

While Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson were Dungeons and Dragons parents, Bob Bledsaw was D&D’s weird uncle.  Bob Bledsaw founded Judges Guild, the very first company other than TSR to publish RPG material. I have very fond memories of TPK in Dark Tower, running amok in the Caverns of Thracia the various short adventures in the Book of Treasure Maps. May he rest in peace.

Friday Night Oddities

This year has been seriously slow gaming year. Normally we play 40-45 games year, this year we will be lucky to hit 30. However we do seem to be making the most of the the games we are playing and they seem to more entertaining. Last Friday night, the party finally found the Faerie Dragon who is appropriately named Chong. The dragon hits them with his breath weapon, which is a cloud of euphoria, everyone failed their saves. The next thing anyone remembers is reality coming back into focus with everyone sitting in a circle taking hits off a bong and listening to Chong tell stoner stories. The point of the quest was to get a whisker from a Faerie Dragon, which Chong gives up willingly to his new bong buddies. However, Chong feels bad because he played several rather cruel practical jokes on the party in their journey to find him, so he wants to give them something back. He pulls a bag out of his pile and tells the PC’s to each put something in the bag and when he is finished, wonderful things will come out. So they each place a personal item in the bag. Chong digs through his treasure pile, and pulls out a potion, he opens it and the cave is filled with a gag inducing odor, he pours the obnoxious liquid in the bag. He then opens a box with some strange glowing slime which he dumps into the bag, then he takes a hit off the bong and blows the smoke into the bag. Finally he shakes the bag up really hard, says some magical words in ancient archaic elfish. He then opens the bag and looks in, with a perfect deadpan says, “Well that didn’t work out the way I thought it would.”.

Awsome Chart of Superpowers

I love this chart, I want the wall poster.

Picture no longer available

The 70’s: Not a total waste

This summer DC Comics is putting out a a series of one shots which revisits various characters as they existed in the 70’s. Normally, I would not be terribly excited about revisiting the 70’s, there just was not a lot of things about the 70’s worth recapping. However, It looks like Green Lantern is going to be written by Dennis O’Neil and drawn by Mike Grell. This does excite me, because the very first comic book I ever remember buying was Green Lantern/Green Arrow #90 in 1976, which was written by Dennis O’Neil and drawn by Mike Grell. Of course anyone who knows me, knows I am a Mike Grell fanboy, so this will be at the top of my summer comic book list.

Cover of Green Lantern/Green Arrow #90

Cover of the Green lantern Issue of DC Retroactive.

My earliest memories of the Internet

Gizmodo is running an article where the author asks what the readers earliest memories of the Internet are. Lots of the the answers to the question relate to accessing BBS’s back in the late 80’s and early 90’s. To me BBS’s and the Internet are two different things, although these days they necessarily over lap. I did do a bit of BBS surfing while I was in Germany and I certainly had an email account through MCI stretching back to 91 or 92. I also remember making a few attempts to access the Internet using the Army’s dial up system, but really, I didn’t get on the Internet in earnest until PezWitch and I landed here in Texas in 1997.

My first real access was through a company who provided dial up connections, they also provided 5 MB of space so you could put up a personal web site. Some of you may even remember my early attempts at web page design. What I remember most about what I did at the time was getting involved with the online Magic: The Gathering community, trading deck builds and strategy ideas. This was also the time when I was getting my sister into computers and my primary means of communications with those left behind in Montana became email. It was kind of interesting watching her take her initial steps online as well. Then in 2000 or 2001, broadband became available here and things got real.

Review: Your Highness

Anyone who has played a D&D game with or as 15 year olds, has probably experienced a similar lowbrow humor which was prevalent in Your Highness. If you are not a fan of stoner jokes or penis jokes, you should probably stay away from this movie. There are some genuinely funny moments in the movie, unfortunately, there are not enough of them to carry the movie and unfortunately too many of the jokes were simply crude and unfunny. There are some decent action scenes, but again, as with the humor, there are just not enough of them.

I am not a big fan of Natlie Portman, she is not a particularly good actress and her performance here was dull and uninteresting even by her normal standard. I can usually forgive a poor casting choice, bad acting, or a poorly executed script as long as the actors seem to understand they are making a bad movie and seem to be having some fun with it. Portman looks as though she is doing someone she doesn’t like a favor by appearing in this movie. As for the others, Danny McBride and James Franco do passable work, although their comedic timing could have been better. I am a fan of Zooey Deschanel, she is a character actor who does a pretty good deadpan, unfortunately she does not particularly shine in this movie. The best lines of the movie go to Justin Theroux as Leezar the evil wizard villain.

So, if you have a couple hours to burn with nothing better to do, go a head and catch the movie, or better yet, wait 6 months for the DVD, have some friends over, smoke some weed and watch the movie, you will probably get a few laughs out of it.

Its been a busy week

As I said earlier this week, I proved conclusively snowballs do in fact exist in hell, because I got an actual promotion into a job I wanted. I have been really busy learning some new skills and testing the limits of some old ones. While I am exhausted, I have to say over all it was a good week and If next week goes half as well, life will be good. While my posting here was uninspired this week, I did maintain my pace on the story I am writing and I have completed chapter 3 on time and I expect to get started on chapter 4 tomorrow.

RE: RIP Dave Arneson October 1, 1947 – April 7, 2009

It has been 2 years now since the passing of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Dave Arneson.We did not use much of his Blackmoor material in our games and he separated from TSR fairly early, but just the same, his early contributions to our hobby were significant and helped shaped it into what it is today. There will be an empty chair at every game table tonight.

New Job

I have been a bit busy with my new job, so things are going to be a bit quiet. I will try to catch up this weekend.

March site stats

Okay I am bit dumb founded. I had over 13,000 page requests during March. The page requests for this site have been holding pretty steady at 10,000 per month since October. I have no idea why the sudden spike in traffic. At first I thought it was the Hot Elf Chick post, but the site stat reports did not bare this out. So this once again begs the question, “Who the hell are you people and why are you here ?”.

April 1st on the Internet

I hate April 1st on the Internet. None of the pranks are ever that funny and it all just seems to be a waste, so I pretty much stay off line on April Fools. For those of you who are hanging in there, A friend of mine and fellow blogger has posted a short story in response to my Writing Exercise post. When someone links to me in their blog, I try to return the favor. It is a short read and interesting premise for a TV show.