ninjarat: (Default)
I've gotten a couple of characters to Neverwinter city now and while I won't say that NWN2 is a bad game (it isn't) I also won't say that it is a great game (it isn't). It's just... unfinished. It has lots of wonderful little details like the NPC banter, wandering villagers, and so forth. At the same time it feels incomplete. Part of that is in the campaign. For example, almost every building in NWN could be entered and explored; in NWN2 most buildings are just obstacles on the landscape. Everyone in Highcliff speaks of the inn/tavern but you can't enter it.

Part of that is the game engine itself. Some of it is little things like not being able to stack weapon/shield combos or dual weapon combos on single quickbar slots like in NWN. Some of it is annoying like not being able to drag or copy abilities from the context menus to quickbar slots like in NWN, and the inconsistent targeting mechanics. There are improvements like the context-sensitive menus but even so the NWN2 UI feels dumbed down compared to NWN. Some of it is downright broken, notably the game's insistence on turning off defensive casting or switching to useless bard songs as soon as you switch to other characters to give them specific instructions.

BioWare was able to make some substantial improvements to NWN during its life, both in patches and in expansions. I'm really hoping that Obsidian manages to do the same for NWN2.
ninjarat: (Default)
So, the Drow Arcane Archer thing just wasn't working out for me. Neither fighter nor ranger nor rogue bases were cutting it. That three level experience penalty *hurts*. So I've gone back to what I know: high damage output warriors. I started a generic fighter with the intent to pick up weapon master and some levels of Champion of Torm.

Except...

The Champion of Torm prestige class no longer exists per se. It is now "Divine Champion". The specifics of the class are nearly identical to the Champion of Torm. The major change is that one who becomes a Divine Champion is a Divine Champion for the god or goddess that was chosen at character creation. I think; there are some classes with worship restrictions and you are forced to choose a new god if you change to one of those classes.

Anyway, my fighter will soon pick up some levels of weapon master and then Divine Champion of Sharess. That's right. Assuming that I'm not forced to change deities my character will be a Holy Avenger of the Faerun Goddess of Hedonism, Sensual Pleasure, and Festhalls.
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I picked up the new Star Wars Episode IV, V and VI DVDs yesterday. I haven't watched them yet but I have skimmed through Episode IV and compared it to the 1992 widescreen LaserDisc version.

Yes, it is hard matted (letterboxed). The new DVDs were made from the same masters that were used to make the 1993 THX LaserDiscs (not the discs themselves as some have purported). Yes, it is a bit grainy, and yes there is visible dust and scratches from the film stock. Even so, Star Wars looks good. Very good. Better than some movies in my collection that were given anamorphic transfers (Predator and The Terminator, for example).

The intro crawl in Star Wars does *not* have the "Episode IV" header. Han shoots first. I hope those aren't spoilers. :)

The only technical complaint I have is that Greedo's dialogue subtitles are redone as DVD subtitles in a very large font. The font is so large that some of his titles are wrapped over two lines and the second line gets cut out when I have my TV set to "zoom" mode.
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So, there's this /. headline "EU Craft Successfully Hits The Moon". When I first saw it I wondered just how hard it would be to *miss* the Moon. It is rather large, after all, and has a gravity well deep enough for useful sling effect.

Then I wondered how it could unsuccessfully hit the Moon,

And then I realized that I need sleep.

Tired

Sep. 1st, 2006 09:46 pm
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That's a joke, son. :)

So, yeah, I got new tires for my car today. Four of them. After spotting the bulge on the one I checked the other three and yeah, they were starting to show rotting problems. So four new Continental Touring Contact tires.

Aside from the cost, around $500 after coupons and discounts for the tires (yes, my car needs expensive tires) plus about $200 for the balancing and mounting and other labor, I'm actually quite pleased with them. The original tires were Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires. For the record: Eagle RS-A tires suck. No, really. They're loud, they ride rough, and they wear out quickly. Like 25K miles quickly in some cases. The fact that I got 37K over five years out of mine is rather remarkable given how short their life can be.

The new Contis cost less than replacement Eagles by about $30 each. They offer better traction than the Eagles. The ride is *much* smoother and quieter (no loud hissing sound like the Eagles). And they have a warranteed life of 60K miles, which is pretty good for a performance touring tire.

Now I just need to get the big dent in the wheel panel fixed. Just waiting on the insurance companies for that.
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Lest it be said that the day was a total disaster, it wasn't. My phone interview with an HR person at Harvard Medical School went very well, even though I was late enough in the queue that my chances for the sysadmin position they are looking to fill is pretty small. On the other hand, I think he was impressed with my backround which is a good lead into any similar positions that may be opening up soon. I hope.

I also got a nice, XS (extra small) Timbuk2 messenger bag at REI this afternoon. List at $50, which is half what Timbuk2 charges on-line, 25% off sale, and about $15 in store dividends since I'm an REI co-op member. So I got a $100 pack for about $25. I can't complain about that.

Car Woes

Aug. 31st, 2006 08:07 pm
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My car was bumped into this morning while it was parked out on the street. The damage is fairly minor and nobody was hurt, but the car still needs body work and possibly a complete paint job if they can't match the color. Yay. :P

Anyway, I'm figuring what else could go wrong. Like my car getting totaled in an accident this evening.

Nope. Didn't happen.

What did happen? I discovered a roughly half-dollar-sized bulge in the sidewall of one of the tires. Oh, yeah, that's nice and safe. They're the original tires and Goodyear doesn't warrant OEM equipment. The car, as noted, is over five years old and is no longer under Dodge's warranty -- assuming that it covered things like that which it didn't.

So now I get to fork over $500 that I really can't afford right now -- did I mention that I'm still unemployed? suck -- for new tires. Yeah. Oh, what fun. Joy. Etc. :P

Edit: cause of the accident: driver relying on a sensor/alarm kit in his car that's supposed to go "beep" when the car gets too close to something like another car or a wall. Guess what didn't go "beep"?
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I'm enough of a fanboy to have picked up the "Robotech Remastered" DVDs as they were released but not enough of one to have watched them immediately. In fact I only just now started watching them. It's kinda weird with the cleaned-up audio and redone effects/foley. It's kind of like when Anthrax covers a song and sounds almost exactly like the original. Even though the cover sounds a little better it still has that not quite right feeling to it.

Edit: and Shin Kurokawa from AnimEigo is credited with the video restoration. Go, Shin!
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This is primarily for Ard:

http://wb56.trb.com/community/news/wlvi-creaturefeature-story,0,5197472.htmlstory

Noon to 4PM.

From what I gather it is a one-shot deal for just that Saturday though it could make a permanent comeback if ratings and response is high enough. What constitutes "high enough"? WLVI isn't saying.

ECW

Jun. 8th, 2006 12:39 am
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I think the most amusing thing about WWE relaunching the the ECW brand is that it will be shown on the SciFi Channel.

Pro Wrestling and the SciFi Channel? Not the first pairing I'd have though of.
ninjarat: (Default)
Whatever you do, don't use a "+" style address for correspondence with Dell. As far as Dell's clueless non-English speaking lack-of-service reps are concerned an address with a "+" in it is "invalid" so once you're on their mailing lists you can't get off. That's right. It's valid enough to subscribe but not valid enough to unsubscribe.
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I've been thinking about this for a while, now. I did it today. Now I need a new icon.
http://rei.nerv.gweep.net/~ratinox/GFX/Me2.JPG
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Snakes on a TARDIS

Introducing Sam Jackson as the Doctor.
ninjarat: (Default)
I really have to wonder how the die-hard Evangelion fans are taking "Angelic Days".
Read more... )
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After a thorough reading it looks like those terms are just overbroad and apply to journal owners making such things available specifically to block adds on the new class of accounts. It does not apply to readers (who may also be journal owners) using browser extentions or scripts to block or hide advertisements.

I can live with that.

DLS Woes

Apr. 17th, 2006 11:59 pm
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I've been having DSL flapping problems for going on two months now. I've run a new Cat 3 line from the network interface box outside the house to a new wall jack, replaced the patch from jack to DSL modem, and replaced the DSL modem. Still no workie.

Now, here's the wacky thing: the flapping starts around 8:15pm to 8:30pm and stops between 11:45pm and midnight. Outside that window I get good net. During that window the PPPoE link between here and Verizon goes down and up every few seconds. When I do get a link the link speed sometimes dips as low as 32kbps. Sometimes I get my full 1792kbps. Sometimes I get download speeds somewhere in between. Even weirder: when I do get a link my upload speed is always my usual 448kbps. That doesn't change. And then the link goes down again.

It's like someone is hijacking my loop.

Anyway, a tech is supposed to be here tomorrow... well, this afternoon to check the wiring.
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I just looked at the stack of games I have yet to play, the stack that's been slowly growing and really not shrinking since WoW and CoH/CoV have been taking up so much -- all of? -- of my gaming time. In no particular order:

Digital Devil Saga I & II
Growlanser Generations (Growlanser II & III) (I did finish II, but I think I'd like to go back and replay it before diving into III)
Wild Arms: Alter code: F (which I'm going to start shortly)
Generations of Chaos
Armored Core: Formula Front
La Pucelle
Front Mission 4
Arc the Lad: Twilight of the Spirits
Legaia 2
Disgaea (which I never finished)
Phantom Brave
Magna Carta
Wild Arms 4
Grandia III
Tales of Legendia
Smackdown vs. Raw 2006 (PSP) (which I've been playing here and there in season mode)

and...

Lego Star Wars (which I picked up the other day for $20 when I saw it had gone red box Greatest Hits)

Firefly

Feb. 22nd, 2006 12:24 am
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Okay. I've watched the first half of Firefly -- the TV show, not the movie, and in chronological order rather than the shuffled-around broadcast order. I've liked it so far but I'm a sucker for a good western. That's what Firefly is, a good western. Not a great one, not an original one, but a good one. I've find it reminiscent of Blake's 7 in premise if not execution, an interesting contrast with Farscape which resembles Blake's 7 in execution if not premise :).
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Yesterday was my last day at InterSystems. Today was my first day of real vaction-like existence in well over a year -- and I discovered that I need to remember or relearn how to relax. It's been so long since I've done that.

I also still need to figure out what to do about health insurance. There's always COBRA but that's tres expensive.
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