Friday, April 22, 2011

The "X" Series. The greatest games you've never played

The "X" series has been around since 1999 and far too many gamers have probably never heard of it.  Egosoft has been making games for quite some time, and while they are by no way "mainstream" they are still great games in their own right.

The X series is an epic single player space opera game. Sure there's a story line, but the majority of the game is basically the player making their way in a large glaxay any way they want. Everything a big sci-fi gamer wants in a game is here. Fighter combat, big ships, galactic trade, epic political powers, and even powerful alien species. This game has it all, except for one thing: Multiplayer. I hope Egosoft shows at E3 so I can ask them all sorts of questions about this great game!

Monday, April 18, 2011

How do you found a new country?

So I'm kicking around ideas for a story I'm working on (Yes I'm writing again) and I had this thought: "How does a country form?"

I can think of a few ways: Conquest, International Fiat, Revolution.  Basically someone takes over something and calls it theirs.  The UN or other body "declairs" an area a country or a treaty says an area is a country.  Or the area is taken over from within.

Are these the only ways?

For instance if a group of people went out into international waters and created an island could they declare themselves an independent country?  Will a private group be able to go into orbit of fly to the moon and declare themselves independent of the Earth's nations? 

Honestly I'm not sure but I have a feeling if said country could defend themselves or had some sort of international leverage say a desired technology or commodity they could do it.  Especially if they're "just" a station or a small island.  Any ideas?  Suggestions on where I should look?

Your Australian Word of the day: Paddlepop!

What's a "Paddlepop?"  Or more specifically a "Paddlepop Stick?"  My wife dropped this word on me today and I knew right away what it was.  Here's how she put it:

"yeah i think we'll have to buy one of those container thingies that you put a paddlepop stick in and it freezes and voila !! iceblock!!"
Which brings up the alternate word: "Iceblock." Answers after the break.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What my Daughter Sings

2 years of Bella 0-1-2

So Bella has fully jumped into "I have favorite things" time.  Specifically I'm talking about her favorite Disney movies.  I think all kids who are brought up with Disney movies eventually has a favorte that they'll watch over and over and over and over and over ad nausium. 

For her it is Tangled.  Followed by all three of the Tinkerbell Movies. Personally I don't think this is a bad thing, I mean come on it makes her happy right?


But is it okay for her to watch those same movies over and over again every day?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Joy of Discovery

File this one under "Fatherhood" or "Games" then again why not just under my normal nerdyness? Regardless of where you file this post, the this is a simple post of discovery.  In this case, the discovery of a new webcomic.

Briar Hollow is a "coming of age" story, or as I prefer to call it, "a school story."  Currently at about 56 pages, Briar Hollow is just a fun read of a nerdy girl returning to college after a semester off.  She seems to be trying to get past the "nerd" look and move on with her life, but as all of us who are nerds know, it is hard to leave the life.  In a sense it is denying a part of who you are, and while this story has been told thousands of times it still resonates because so many of us go through a point in our lives of "rediscovery" or trying to change who we are.

I look forward to seeing how this comic grows as it ages and I will probably do a more "complete" review in the future but for now give it a shot and let me know what you think.  Personally I like the art on top of the story as it was the art that made me look at it thanks to PvP's Scott Kurtz's tweet about Briar Hollow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Free to Play or Pay to Win?

So as a Gaming/Politics/Father blog I figured I'd get started on one of the big topics in online gaming, the Free to Play model.  As a father my gaming time is limited, as is my gaming budget, especially when compared to pre-fatherhood. (Let alone single life!) So the idea of playing a game for free is always appealing, then again when I hear that this revenue model is known by its detractors as the "Pay to Win" model it makes me cautious and curious all at once.  I have recently been playing two different games that use the F2P model: Battlefield Play4Free and World of Tanks.

First up, Battlefield Play4Free:

The idea is quite simple, lets play Battlefield 2 or Bad Company for free!  But is it really free?  Let's dig deeper:

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Bella at Scandia stairs

My lovely daughter being herself. :)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Casey is back.

He's got a story to tell.  I haven't had a chance to watch it yet so I'll just post the video and a link to The Blaze's story on it. From the snippes describing it, the kid sounds like he went through hell, and a body slam is the least the bullies deserved!

AUDIBLE?! Lina's voice changed!

For those of you who know me, I'm a long time anime fan.  I've been a fan since back in the VHS days when the "Sub vs Dub" wars raged on.  Back then they were a major discussion point because you had to buy a separate tape for the Subbed or Dubbed version of a show, and even worse the subbed tended to cost more. ($25 vs. $20 if I recall correctly.)  During the height of the war I came up with a simple rule:  "Whatever you heard the show in first, was the way you should always watch the show."  Which is how I ended up watching Neon Genesis dubbed all the way through, yet Orange Road was Subbed all the way.

One of the shows I used to watch that fell into the Dubbed category was Slayers.

Slayers was a simple, comedy/fantasy show featuring Lina Inverse as the crazy overpowered sorceress and her sidekick Gourry Gabriev the idiot swordsman with a magical weapon of immense power.  I ended up taking a lot of ideas from the Slayers universe and incorporating them into my role playing. (The Merge came from it directly) Slayers, Slayers: Next, and Slayers: Try plus all sorts of OAV's were bought and watched.  Even after the switch to DVD's (which mooted the Sub vs Dub debate as both were on the disc) I still watched the dubbed.  Yes, even with the changing of voice actresses for Amelia I hung through and enjoyed it.  

Then in ended....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Dashboard Camera captures Tsunami Impact

What's REALLY scary about this video is someone is driving this car when it happens! Luckily he seems to have gotten away. A helpful YouTube commenter summed up video with these notes:

Notes in 500 char:
Takes place Chiba Prefecture, Asahi City
0:40 Tsunami much bigger threat than the earthquake.
0:50 Showing damage to houses & roads, etc.
1:24 Showing how far water came up on house.
2:17 Driver describing feelings. Started to panic. Waves around 2m high
2:26 Afraid if leave car get sucked away by waves, waited.
2:37 Driver waited waves recede then ran away from car. Escaped to high elevation.
2:43 Driver mentally fatigued. Was terrorizing. Hasn't calmed down yet. Very scary.

A Victim no More, "Casey the Punisher"

So I'm a bit late in actually commenting on the "Cassey the Punisher" video because some of the story was still developing.  That and I tend to go "radio silent" on my weekends. 

That said start off here to check out the video:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spilled Beans: Coming to America

Spilled Beans: Coming to America: "Sounds just like that Eddie Murphy movie right? ha! if only i had his money though .... So in 2006 I met my husband through daz3d/artzone ..."

Why America?

Roger Kimbal over at Pajamas media asks a fairly simple question today, "Where are the Americans?" While his article is a pretty scathing indictment of the Obama administration it brings up a different one to me, "Why America?" 

My lovely wife isn't from the good old USA, she's an Aussie.  Even more than that, she also spent her teen years in South America in the country of Uruguay. So needless to say she's not an "America First" kind of person.  In fact every time she hears a character or politician praising America or calling it "the greatest nation on Earth" it really irks her.  I understand completely and she does bring up a good point as well, "What makes America so great?" 

So "why America" and "what makes America so great" are two big questions I want to touch on today.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

No Nukes? Really?

Japan's Crisis Sparks review of European nuclear projects.

Really? Now don't get me wrong nuclear events are big deals but do we always stop production of new products when really old versions fail?  I mean this is like stopping productions on new Cadillacs because a 1967 (the year Fukushima was built) Cadillac killed it's passengers after hitting a train, going 100 miles an hour, in the rain.  

What is it about Nuclear power, or nuclear anything that makes people go guano crazy every time it is brought up?  It has been 44 years since Fukushima was built, it was hit not only by an earthquake several times (I believe 7 times) more powerful than it was designed to withstand, and on top of that was hit by a tsunami shortly afterwards.  So after all that how many workers at the plant died?  How many nuclear blasts have their been?  How many new Hiroshima's have there been?  

Well hearing the reactions of some you'd have thought both plants had blown sky high and the entire island of Japan was glowing green right now with Godzilla rising from the surf to terrorize the survivors.  

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A little perspective

So I just got back from the local job fair out in Hesperia, CA.  Let me start off by saying it was a total joke.  Now I don't have much experience with job fairs so for those of you who have please forgive me if I seem hard on them.  See this "job fair" was nothing more than a bunch of tables for a few companies, several schools, and one government agency set-up to hand out flyers directing everyone to their websites.  Seriously?  I've BEEN to most of the job websites out there, I have a college job placement system sending me job openings daily, so what the heck was the job fair for?  Those who don't have computers?  (Hence defeating the idea of going to their websites.)

Add to that the sheer lack of actual openings even from those who attended, the poor showing of businesses advertising, and running into former coworkers who have been out of work for the last two years really brings home how hard the job market is right now.  9% unemployment sounds bad, 20% underemployment with those who have "stopped looking for work" sounds worse, seeing it in person just puts it all into perspective.

Another striking perspective I just heard?  Japan vs. the National Debt.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meteorological Musings: Nuclear Power in Perspective

Meteorological Musings: Nuclear Power in Perspective: "There is no question that the events in Japan are ongoing and serious. That said, I believe a lot of people are being misled by much of the ..."

I'm not worried about Japan's reactor either.

This post is in reaction to this one that was tweeted by Tested's Will Smith. (

The original post is here:

While it's not the best written (Build instead of Built kept popping up to bother me) I think it does a fair job of explaining some of the factors of the current situation in Japan. Does the author know all of the details? Hell no! But the general premises and physics of a nuclear power plant are sound.

To me the funniest part of the blog were the comments. While I didn't read it until after comments had been shut down, I find it hilarious how afraid people are of nuclear power. For instance:

"Nuclear energy is not 100% safe and the risks it takes if something goes terrible wrong are not worth it in my opinion…"
Seriously? Nuclear has a terrible reputation due to the 60's and Chernobyl. It's like sharks, thanks to Jaws everyone is terrified they'll be eaten by sharks, yet more people are killed by cars than sharks yearly, yet we don't fear cars like we do sharks. (It'd be funny getting to work if we did!)