Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Just one more quest before I return to the real world

Our current gaming addiction is none other than World of Warcraft. Arguably the best MMORPG yet. L and I have been playing almost every night and our gnomes are developing at a rapid pace. If your into this kind of game you should give it try.

I have played through Halflife 2, and all I can say is Amazing, simply Amazing.

Current Music: Fleetwood Mac "Thrown Down"

Monday, November 15, 2004

Clay


I did my first clay covered pens today. Nothing fancy, but I like them.


Friday, November 5, 2004

Shall we play a game?


I have been playing
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
just about every night this last week. It's amazing how much
you can do in this game. Best in the GTA series yet.

It's official, World Of Warcraft
release date is November 23rd. I need to get all the new code and site redesign
that I started done before that date or it might never get done.

HalfLife 2
is available on the 16th of November. Another game that should be totally amazing.


Current Music: Dream Theater "Scene Four - Beyond This Life"

Monday, October 4, 2004

Big Ba-Loo


I try not to talk to much about where I work or what I do. Pretty much everyone
reading this should know that I'm a Software Developer. What most of you probably do not
know, unless you work with me, is that I now work for IBM. The company that I used to work for
was acquired. Its been pretty much normal sailing so far, but I'm sure things will be changing in
interesting ways in the near future. Now I will continue with more of the not talking about my
work.

We went to the opening of the local
Renaissance Festival
this weekend. Its always a blast to see the shows and all the people dressed up and attempting to behave in a manner thats in sync with our fantasty view of the era. You get wizards, faries, pirates, jesters, and all manner of costumed folk. I also tend to spend money on overpriced trinkets that I don't really need. This year I got a comical dragon incense smoker and a leather book cover with a dragon pressed into the cover. If you don't know it by now, I have a thing for Wizards and Dragons. I like to say I collect them, but L likes to say I'm a nut.


Current Music: Southern Culture on the Skids "Devil's Stompin' Ground"

Monday, September 27, 2004

roasted turkey leg!!

Guess what opens this weekend!!!

The Renaissance Festival!!!

Joy.

Turkey legs, jousting, and shopping... oh my!

Monday, September 13, 2004

For Gnomeregan!!!

L and I both got to spend a little over one week playing in the World of Warcraft stress test Beta.  I was thoroughly addicted to it by the end of the first day. It has that, hard to explain, quality I felt when I first played Everquest.  Its easy to get attached to this strange land and to get deeply involved in the stories unfolding before you.

Everytime we found some new town or hidden place we were both awe struck by how much detail and care has
been taken in constructing this world. I can't wait for World of Warcraft to be release so I can experience even more.

Current Music: Year of the Cat "Al Stewart"

Monday, August 16, 2004

It was a pleasant stay, but now I'm back from temporary sanity


I finished Doom 3 this weekend. I'm glad I took my
time with it. It was a really fun game. Now I'm looking forward to playing
Halflife 2.

I'm working with the Doom 3 editor now, for me this is almost more fun than playing the game. I think I'm going to
make my own multiplayer map.

I spent some time working with Polyclay this weekend. I worked on a couple of covered eggs, some beads, and a sculpted
relief from some images of Mayan rulers in their elaborate head dresses. I want to do more of this kind of work.
I have always been fascinated with Mayan and Aztec art.

I need to do some more sanding, and then I'll put a few pictures up.

Update: Here is a picture of the Mayan inspired piece I did.



Current Music: Todd Rundgren "Temporary Sanity"

Monday, August 9, 2004

Cool new site.


A friend of mine just launched a new website that everyone should check out. Sonic Breakdown lets you identify the music you like and provides information on new releases, concerts, and news. The site lets you weed out all of the crap and only provides information for the artists you care about.


Current Music: Ratt "Round and Round"

Friday, August 6, 2004

Did you hear something?


We have been spending our nights playing Doom 3. This is the scariest game I have ever played. I'm talking about having nightmares here. I was walking down the hall last night and had to stop for a second, cause there might be a monster around the corner. Id Software has really done a great job with this one. The graphics are amazingly realistic and the game does a great job of pulling you into its little fantasy world. I highly recommend it to anyone into these kinds of games. Oh, and don't let your little kids play this game, they will be scarred for life.


Current Music: The Violent Femmes "Gone Daddy Gone"

Sunday, August 1, 2004

New Clay


I updated the clay pages with some new pics.


Current Music: Powerman 5000 "Nobody's Real"

Saturday, July 31, 2004

Sunday, July 25, 2004

The Lurking Sock Puppet


Saw a link for a cool Fantasy art site this week - Ursula Vernon's Metal and Magic. If your worried about Nudity this site may not be for you.

For some reason I am completly taken with one of the drawings there called "The Lurking Sock Puppet". It's just wonderfully funny. If it was available for purchase I wouldn't hesitate to buy it.

I haven't been doing much Poly Clay work lately, so I decided to create this great image in 3D. My first attempt turned out pretty well. But, I want to make a few more attempts at it. I really want to capture the look of horror on the Sea Monster.



Tuesday, July 13, 2004

I paid my money and I'm gonna see all the movie


Ink-Twitch subsiding... For Now!

The new Spider Man 2 movie
is even better than the first movie.

The new Spider Man 2 Video Game
is really cool. I just rented it, and its damn fun.

Wil Wheaton's new book Just a Geek was a quick, but fun read. Its great for anyone who is a fan of his website or of Star Trek.


Current Music: Ben Folds "I paid my money"

Monday, June 14, 2004

Its all about marketing


It wasn't that long ago that I was under the mistaken impression that Bose speakers were "good". In
fact I still have a few of their overpriced speakers. They can be hard to get rid of. It's difficult to
explain to people why Bose speakers aren't good at all. Bose spends alot of money on marketing and building a strong
brand name and as we all know, marketing works. This
article can hopefully help to clear some things up.

For me, it came down to really listening to other speakers. If you spend the time to audition a good system
you will find that you can get quality equipment for the same or even less money than Bose. I learned a good
lesson here, always research first and be very wary of what salesmen say.


Current Music: Thomas Dolby "Windpower"

Friday, June 11, 2004

...and I ain't got no worries, cause I ain't in no hurry at all


I have been spending some time working with my stereo and home theater setup. I'm a big nut when it comes to
getting things just right with the stereo. I don't think I go too crazy with stereo equipment, but I guess others might
feel differently.

Some websites that I have been frequenting lately:



I'm looking forward to seeing The Chronicles of Riddick this weekend. Some of the reviews for it have really trashed it, but I'm still going to check it out.


Current Music: Doobie Brothers "Black Water"

Monday, May 31, 2004

Big Arse Monitor


Got a new monitor for my main machine and I really love it. I was already a big fan of LCD monitor's, in addition to
being brighter and crisper, they are also much easier on your eyes than CRT's. This new monitor is a Dell Ultrasharp
2001FP 20.1inch Flat Panel LCD. Its great for gaming and for development. Now if I only had one for work.


Current Music: Morrissey "Irish Blood, English Heart"

'Babylon 5' actor dies


"Richard Biggs played Dr. Stephen Franklin on sci-fi series... cause of death has not been determined but that "paramedics who showed up suggested it was either an aneurysm or a massive stroke."

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Never Fear! I'll save you.


L and I have been playing alot of City of Heroes lately. In this game you play the part of a Comic Book Super Hero. You pick the costume and the Super Powers. As you gain more experience you get more powers. It's really a fun game.


Current Music: Soul Coughing "White Girl"

Friday, May 14, 2004

Lunatic Fringe


L and I went with some friends to see Todd Rundgren and the Liars last night at the Neighborhood Theater. This was simply an amazing show. They were using a computer controled LED lighting system that was specificaly designed for this tour and it provided a truly unique look to the performance. I found some discussion of the stage setup here.

The set list included a bunch of material from the new Liar album, with some Utopia and Todd classics. My only complaint about the show was the volume. This is a loud rocking show and the venue was completely unable to contain it. I never really got used to how loud the show was and my ears are still ringing the morning after. I'm going to take some sort of ear protection for the next show I see.

If you get a chance to see this show do it. You won't regret it.


Current Music: Todd Rundgren "Sometimes I Don't Know What To Feel"

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

The Truth is...


Now that I have used Eclipse for a few weeks I'm starting
to really like it. There are so many things about eclipse
that make me a more efficient developer. The Syntax completion is much better than my old IDE. The way Eclipse compiles
your code as you type makes it easier to find and fix the basic mistakes we all make. Then there are the great
refactoring options Ugh - There are really just too many things to list.

We are going with some friends to see Todd Rundgren in concert
tommorrow night. We saw him last year at the same
place. This time he has a new album and is
touring with a band. It should be a great show.


Current Music: Todd Rundgren "Truth"

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti...


We ate dinner at a little hole in the wall deli and grill for dinner tonight... The food in this place is fabulous! They serve mediterranean and american food... greek gyros and lebanese food.

The first time we ate there, I got a chicken sandwich... the BEST I've ever had... anywhere! This time we both tried the lebanese "Shawarma" sandwiches... yum yum yum!!!!

They have a fava bean dish I'm going to have to try some time.

The only problem is, this place never seems busy... so haul you and any one you know over to Ghali's Deli and Grill... it's cheap and oh so good!!

Friday, April 30, 2004

IDE Change


Currently trying to force myself into using the Eclipse IDE instead of my old favorite SlickEdit.

SlickEdit has been a favorite of mine for a few years now for a couple of reasons. First it has a VI based editor mode available. Second, and more importantly, it doesn't try to force itself into your development process. It's happy with just being an editor if you want it to be. I hate it when an IDE is built so that it has to be totally integrated into your development process. Sure I want debugging, sure I want package management, etc. But I also want to be able to build my project in a command shell, on a box with no IDE installed.

Eclipse tries to be more than just an IDE and although it is very configurable it can still be difficult to keep it simple. The problem is that many of the features in Eclipse are really powerful. I'm going to give it a serious try for a while and hopefully I'll get used to it. It helps that its free too.


Current Music: Morrissey "Everyday is Like Sunday"

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Reading and Thinking


I was just reading over at Wil Wheaton Dot Net that his new book will be in stores soon. I just recently read his first mini-book called Dancing Barefoot. I really enjoyed it and I expect Just a Geek to be as good or better.


Our lunchtime discussions lately have revolved around the concept of balancing our free time with our jobs. I personally value my free time very highly. Our whole lives should not be just about our jobs. The company we work for is pretty good about not over-working us too much, but they do expect more than 40 hours a week as the norm. One of the ideas that we have discussed during lunch has been doing four 10 hour days instead of five 8's. I really like this idea, you have more time in the office for those four days, but you get an extra whole day off.

Now let me say that there is no way this idea would ever be implemented at my office. Its so crazy no one would ever even think to bring it up as a real suggestion.

My company is very conservative when it comes to these kind of things. The concept of Tele-commuting has been brought up repeatably over the last few years and each time its totally shot down. We have VPN access and we have the ability to work from home but that is reserved for when you're sick, for when you have to work late or on the weekend. Oh well, its still fun to dream about these things.


Outsourcing...(Que ominous drum roll)
Another topic that comes up everyday is IT outsourcing. My company has embraced this idea completely. However, their current policy is that we are only doing it to grow our development group faster. Indeed we are still hiring locally as well.

Now, I can understand that outsourcing can make very good business sense these days. But, just because it is good for the company does not mean that it's the right thing to do. I don't think the company realizes how unsettled this whole process has made us. We are not afraid that our jobs are going to disappear suddenly, at least not yet, but being treated like a commodity that can be bid on tends to make one question your loyalty. Now I know a lot of people that will fire back with, but you are a commodity, to be traded and bid on like a box of nails or a roll of sheet steel. Bull-Shit! We are people that have an emotional investment in this company. If the company wants us to feel like we are a part of this family, then they need to show us the respect we deserve.

Instead of spending all this time getting a group of cheaper developers up and running, the company could have just hired a couple new local developers and kept the rest of us content.



Current Music: Jane's Addiction "Classic Girl"

Thursday, April 15, 2004

Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble from my hand


Last night we got the First Season of Kung Fu on DVD. When I was a kid I was absolutely enthralled with this show. I think everyone wanted to be a Shaolin monk. I can't wait to get home and start watching it.


Current Music: Stone Temple Pilots "Sour Girl"

Monday, April 12, 2004

Big weekend of doing nothing


Spent this weekend doing pretty much nothing. After a long break from it, I finally got to the last few levels in Super Mario Sunshine.

I played Everquest most of the weekend.
My character added some cool stuff to his ever growing hoard of items this weekend.


Current Music: David Bowie "Win"

Tuesday, April 6, 2004

Stuff


Got a great Polymer Clay book Creating Fantasy Polymer Clay Characters by Dinko Tilov . If you are interested in fantasy characters you should check it out.

The Matrix Revolutions comes out today. Gonna pick my copy up on the way home from work.

Hope to see Hellboy tonight or tommorrow. Looks like its going to be a fun movie.


Current Music: Spock's Beard "Revelation"

Monday, March 29, 2004

Friday on my mind


There has been a great deal of talk going on about Blizzard's World of Warcraft. I am one of the many who did not make it into the Beta. All of the buzz has really got me wanting to play this game, but I guess I'm just going to have to wait for it.

I thought I would list some of the music I have been listening to lately:



Current Music: Indigo Girls "Free In You"

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Stuff

I was just reading about JSR-241: The Groovy Programming Language a new programming language for the Java Platform. Sounds interesting, but I question whether it is really needed.

Robocode sounds fun. I have seen similiar things in the past, but this one is based on Java and sponsered by IBM.

For the obsessive-clean freaks in the audience I give you this interesting information about your filthy desks.

Current Music: Loreena McKennitt "Marco Polo"

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Monday, March 1, 2004

Cobwebs in my attic


Time to clear a few random thoughts out of my brain. Because if you don't share what your thinking people will never understand just how crazy you are.

Aztec and Mayan art is so cool. I'm constantly distracted by several wall hangings at a local Mexican restaurant we like. I have been thinking about working on a few Aztec inspired clay figurines and carved wall hangings. Anyone has any good source images?

I have had a really hard time staying focused lately. I get distracted so easily. I'm trying to get into a regular exercise pattern again with the hope that this will help me concentrate better. I'm so out of shape, it's just sad. I think that all the stuff I've been doing with clay lately has helped some. It's good to have a creative outlet, but it's just as important to exercise your body as it is your mind.

At my friends Birthday party the other night there was a discussion about financial planning, wills, and retirement. We are all about the same age, so there is only one conclusion I can make. We are all getting freaking old!

Which do you do, remodel or move? We have been in our house for five years now, and there are things that we would do very different with a new house. No carpet. Two car garage. More storage. A fire place. etc. Moving can be such a hassle that I'm considering replacing the carpet, adding an extension to the driveway, and possibly adding a sunroom. Is it worth it?



Current Music: Jethro Tull "Thick As A Brick"

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

When single shines the triple sun, what was sundered and undone shall be whole, the two made one, by Gelfling hand or else by none.


Movies:

  • The Dark Crystal
    - I watched this last night on the computer while I worked on a new polymer clay project.
    What a wonderfull movie. I have seen it at least a dozen times but I still enjoy it.

  • Popeye
    - Alot of people think this was a major flop. I have always thought this movie was great - It does a great job of capturing the old Popeye cartoons in a fun live action movie.



Books:

  • Java I/O
    - An in depth discussion of Java I/O and all the little ticks that you didn't know about.

  • Tesla : Man Out of Time
    - Interesting book about Tesla, his life, and his inventions.

  • Dancing Barefoot
    - I have not bought this yet but it will be a part of my next purchase.



Websites:

  • FARK.com
    - Crazy stories and strange people. Be forwarned.

  • Rathergood.com
    - Viking Kittens and Spastic Monkeys rule.

  • java.blogs
    - Ever wonder what the smarter developers are thinking about?

  • Wil Wheaton dot Net
    - Former Geek Icon now writer and Internet personality.






Current Music: Missing Persons "Words"

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Give me the Brain - I have to update my blog.


Our friends invited us over this past weekend to play a few interesting card and board games. These aren't like any games you have played befor. The company that makes these is called Cheapass Games. The games we played were Give me the Brain and Kill Dr. Lucky. You should give them a try. I think you'll either like them or you will run from the room screaming.


I have always been a big fan of Arthur C. Clark, his ideas, and his writings. He recently did an interview with the Onion AV Club. I really think he is an amazing man. I can't imagine having accomplished even a fraction of what he has.

In the interview he mentions that there may be a movie for his novel Fountains of Paradise. I can't wait.


I saw several references on java.blogs to this article on IBM Developer Works. Its a very interesting read about garbage collection and performance.


Current Music: Coldplay "Warning Sign"

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Older and Bolder


As I get older Birthdays make me think more about the past, mistakes I have made, and where I thought I would be at this point in my life. I have never been good at planning for the future and thinking about what I want to do with my time. I guess thats part of the reason we celebrate birthdays in the first place. Sometimes you just need to stop and think about where you are and where you are going.

In general I'm fairly happy with my current job. There are things I would like to change about it, but I always find it hard to complain about getting paid well to write software. I have been lucky over the years with meeting many very cool people through work. My current job is no exception to that pattern. I don't have much in common with most of my co-workers, but there have been a few that I can truly call friends. The problem is that the people I have the most in common with keep leaving. The reasons differ, but often it comes down to feeling like they don't fit in. Now, I'm known for getting along with just about everyone, but I have to ask myself if I fit in here? I'm not sure that I do and I can't decide how to handle it. It probably doesn't even matter. As one of my friends said "No one really likes their job."


Current Music: Alice in Chains "Nutshell"

Tuesday, February 3, 2004

02.03.04 Happy Sequential Number Day!

Sounds like Halflife2 won't be out till this summer. Arrrgggg - I want to play this game so bad.

Current Music: SneakerPimps "M'aidez"

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Working from home


Updated the clay page with more pictures. I am very happy with this latest Dinko inspired dino. It is just so much fun making this stuff.



I have gotten so much work done the last few days. I always worry about working from home, because of all the possible distractions. These last two days have been great.


Current Music: REM "Belong"

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Updated the clay page


Just updated the clay page with more pictures. I still haven't tried any sanding. I need to get some wet-dry sandpaper
and see what kind of damage I can do.


Saturday, January 3, 2004

Clay under my fingernails.

Just updated the clay page with some new pictures. I've been messing with Polymer clay so much lately that my hands are hurting. I made a clay wizard that I think turned out pretty well. I still have alot to learn about polyclay, but I'm really starting to enjoy it. The cool thing about polyclay is that after you bake it, its just like plastic. You can keep the things you make forever.

Current Music: Coldplay "Clocks"