Friday, June 30, 2006


Well trying to earn some money and do what is right has turned out to be a lot more complicated than I had expected it to. After finishing up my first posting I was on my own for a while. I met up with a big, smelly, but nice enough, guy named Sampson. We took on a few odd jobs to earn some coin, while we were playing body guard for to oafs we ran into something awful.

A group of adventurers came along after some disagreements were resolved we ended up going with them to a remote tower to better protect our clients. That evening we were attacked by some sort of nasty undead rats and some scary snake like things. I felt right away that I should do whatever I could to prevent undead from attacking the living. Undead cringe in the glory of the sun and I knew it was my duty to fight them and any who would use them for their own purposes.

Even though the group is a bit, well, odd. The one that claims to be the princess certainly has connections and she treats her poor companion more like a pet than a person so I guess she could be a princess. The poor girl is some sort of pure innocent – unaware of how shamefully she is being used. The sailor seems decent enough, just a man out earning some coin I'd guess. The pretend pirate with airs of superiority, I guess you would call him, is selfish and vain. I suspect he would probably steal everything in site if he thought he could get away with it and might try for something that made him look good even if it was risky. The witch is a bit scary – the first night I met her she really let loose on the pirate so I think I'll just stay out of her way a bit. The really creepy one is the rat-man. Ugh – those guys are ugly up close. The mage is awfully quiet – I don't know much about her. At least there is a Paladin in the group – I feel confident that she would not be involved with a group if there was anything bad about them.

Well, we quickly learned that a stone golem had carried some boxes around the city that later turned out to have more undead in them. I'm glad I didn't meet the mummy – I heard it was a terrifying battle. So off we went. Did I ever mention that I don't like the sea? I know it's a bit odd for someone who lives on an island but my family has always been more involved with the land than the sea – someone has to produce all the things that get shipped.

The sea voyage to the island of the mage creator of the golems was pretty awful. We got caught in a storm – I was doing OK until everyone else in the cabin started loosing their lunches. The smell was all it took for me and up came all my insides too. Ouuugh! The stench and the mess was horrible. I don't think I've ever been so glad to make land fall and spend some time cleaning up.

The locals on the island were pretty wonderful. We ate dinner at a local house and enjoyed telling stories with each other. The next morning we started off to see the wizard. The locals cautioned us about the Ass-weres on the island and that there may be other creatures. I really wish they had been a bit more … well descriptive of the other creatures.

Shortly after starting off we ran into some sort of nasty plant. It whipped long tentacles around trying to grab us. Fortunately they didn't move very well and we were able to rip them apart from a distance. A few hours later we had a horrible experience. A horde of huge, ugly, nasty clicking bugs jumped out of a tree at us. They were horrible one of them jumped right on me and started burrowing in. There was blood, my blood, everywhere and I couldn't pull the damn thing off! I'm still shivering and weak from the bite that nasty thing gave me. Fortunately, with some help I was able to get free from it and they do make a satisfying squish when you land your mace just right.

Next we came to a river without any obvious way across. The current was a bit swift but the barbarian and the sailor thought we could make it across with some ropes. Good thing too since it turned out that the river was full of nasty little fish with a taste for flesh. Sampson jumped most of the way across the river with a rope and tied it onto something there. The rat guy ran right across next and the witch did some magic that just let her stroll across the river. I tried crossing on the ropes, as I got part way across the stupid things came undone and I was plunged into the water. I was terrified again – I could hardly swim with my armor still on and the current wasn't helping me any. I thrashed as well as I could towards the far shore but soon felt the sharp bites from the scaly fish. Blood, my blood, was filling the water around me and the nasty creatures were increasing in fury when Sampson helped me onto the bank of the river. I collapsed there almost un-willing to go any further into the wilderness. If there had been a way back to the village without crossing that river again I'd have taken it right then.

The rest of the group was able to cross the river without incident. We walked a bit further and set up camp for the evening. Hopefully we'll have some time to rest and nourish ourselves around the camp fire this evening. I feel like I'm learning a lot. One thing I've learned is that I really don't like the look of blood, my blood that is, it's not so bad to heal someone else that is hurt but I hate seeing my own. Another thing I've learned for sure is that the wilderness is not much fun. Looking out into the gathering gloom tonight I can hear sounds I can't place. I hope they are harmless fuzzy creatures that are supposed to be more scared of me than I am of them but with the horrible beasts I've met today I'm not so sure of that saying any more.

I'd like to learn some more about my traveling companions as well. I know I have been led to them to fight the evil we encountered but I'm not so certain why the others are here.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Lately I’ve been listening to Coast to Coast AM with George Noory. My sister got me started on it – apparently Art Bell usually does the show but he is off in the Philippines setting up a new studio so in the meantime George is doing the broadcasts.

I have to say I’m sickly fascinated by the show. Privately I refer to it as Whack-Job nation since most of what they talk about is just totally out there. For example various types of werewolves, conspiracy theories, paranormal experiences, and the old stand-by UFO stories. Usually I am completely at odds with what ever they are talking about. I’m rather more skeptical.

Even so it’s fun to listen to. I’m mostly fascinated by the people that call in to it. Do people really believe these things? Well of course they do but how is it possible. Is it just that my frame of reference is so different than theirs that I can’t comprehend why they believe such things?

I suppose that is the point, after all, life is subjective. There is no one person with an absolute lock on what is or is not real. We all experience life through our own filters and color every experience with our own expectations and beliefs. Have you ever talked with someone and realized later that they only heard the part of what you were saying that they liked or agreed with or tried to remember something with someone else who was also there and each of you had different recollections? This is the phenomenon that I’m talking about. We all see things our own way. This doesn’t make me right and them wrong. In fact referring to them all as wack-jobs is simply an ego defense trying to make me feel better than them. Perhaps with someone else’s experiences I would hold different opinions too.

Well, the program provides one thing in abundance and that is entertainment. And to me that is the primary point of the program. Others may find it educational or affirming but to me it’s mostly silly and pleasant.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I was reading a friends blog today and it got me thinking about past game memories. I had a lot of fun playing games - especially with my friends. My buddy has quite a few "Game Moments" written up on his site. I felt like writing one of my own so I did and sent it to him. Here it is on this site too.

Guest Game Moment – Falcon 4.0

This is my all time favorite moment playing Falcon 4.0, a game Jay and I played a lot. The game had many flaws but it left some of my strongest game playing memories. The way the world worked and the battle field changed was something to behold. It was also stunningly gorgeous to look at. Nothing, at the time, even came close to how great it looked. I recall the first time I looked out through the reflections of my cockpit at the world spread out below me. I gasped it was so stunning.

I love the simulation aspect of many games and the more “real” I can make it the better I enjoy the game so I always played from inside the cockpit with a view of the instrumentation and the canopy. While the game engine supported switching to outside views I always felt that if I couldn’t check my own six from inside the cockpit I shouldn’t be flying a Falcon.

The hardest thing to learn in this game was the landings. I don’t even recall how may sets of landing gear I ripped off learning how to feather that plane down onto a runway. It was a point of pride to learn how to do it right with me and I spent a long time learning how to approach, line up, glide in and finally flare just right to squeal onto the tarmac without ruining a multi-million dollar (simulated) plane.

My weakest part of the game was air to air combat. Jay was great at that – his understanding of air to air tactics and resource (height, speed, weapons) management was unparalleled. I learned a ton just getting smoked out of the sky by him. Jay was always great to fly with – he has a great blend of aggressiveness and common sense. I tend to be more careful and Jay always pushed me to play just a bit harder. He may have briefly regretted that during this particular mission.

Anyway, Jay and I started up a new campaign one day and signed ourselves up for a mud moving mission. This particular mission had us hitting one of the games favorite first day targets a ship yard. We were loaded down with 500 lb bombs and wing-tip sidewinder missiles for air to air defense. We took off, formed up and headed to our first nav point. I loved listening to the chatter in this game as different flights called their positions and reports in.

Shortly after we passed over the FLOT we were passing to the west of an enemy air base. We were trying to stay out of trouble since we were loaded down with bombs and besides we had a CAP to take care of us right? As we were nearly abreast of the field we got a radar warning lock from a MiG-21. Looking over it was in visual range and had apparently just taken off from the strip. He was low and slow and probably shouldn’t have announced his presence. Jay locked him up and fired. Splash one. We looked around briefly but seeing no more immediate threats turned back towards our target. No sooner had we done so that another MiG-21 jumped us. Some how, this bandit had snuck up behind us. We were heavy and slow to turn or climb – the MiG-21 picked Jay as his first target and quickly maneuvered into gun range. Jay pulled right into a high yo-yo hoping to bring him around in front of me to get a shot. I tried a snap shot as he crossed in front but missed him.

At this point we were in trouble, Jay had a bad guy on his six and I missed the shot and was trying with everything I had to roll my plane onto him. Jay continued to climb and turn right, I was loosing ground on them trying to pull the same maneuver – Jay was always better at energy management than I was. I couldn’t even roll over far enough to get my radar to lock on the bogie since it was in a vertical sweep mode. Guns were out as I was loosing ground on them my only hope was to get a sidewinder off at him. I called out over the “radio” that I was un-caging my seeker head. The seeker heads of the sidewinder missiles were usually slaved to the planes radar to achieve their initial lock on. This makes it easier to pick a bad guy from a friendly. But with the bad guy out of the plain of my radar sweep that wasn’t going to help. Un-caging the seeker allowed it to roam the sky in its own independent pattern looking for a heat source to lock onto.

Jay called back – “Wait, don’t”. I replied “It’s the only way.” I was pretty familiar with the pattern that the seeker head would follow as it looked for a target and I was almost positive that it would acquire the MiG-21 before it found Jay. As I un-caged the seeker I quickly heard the growling tone that indicated it had a target and it was a loud, certain tone. I called out “I’ve got tone!” and then “Fox 2”, as I sent the missile on its way. I remember holding my breath as I watched the missile streak away towards Jay and the MiG. Who would it go after? The MiG broke off of Jay to try and turn away from the incoming missile but it was to late, it turns out that I did have a good lock and he had bled off to much energy trying to get Jay. BOOM! Splash one for me!

I don’t remember what we did next – I think we might have aborted the mission at that point, but we did live through it to drop bombs another day.
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