Jul 2005
Almost forgot
I almost forgot that I promised reviews of a couple game demos. Really quickly, House of the Dead 3 looked great right up until it crashed half way through the load screen. I didn't even give it a second chance. I also tried a demo of The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay. The first 3 guys who entered the room and tried to shoot me made my computer lag like a night at the Ironforge Auction House. So I didn't spend much time playing it.

I think some of the demos that are coming out are beginning to be a bit much for my poor old Gateway. I guess I can't complain too much. I mean the thing is almost 5 years old and it wasn't the top of the line when I bought it. I think that overall it has held up pretty well. The first game that made it start to feel old was DOOM 3. My system will play the game but it doesn't meet all the minimum requirements on the box.

A new computer would be an interesting proposition for me though. I'm fond of AMD and I like the direction that their processor line is headed, but HP, Alienware and building from scratch are pretty much my options for an AMD processor. I'm not find of HP, mainly because of the association with Compaq, and Alienware machines are so expensive. The building option appeals to me, but it's a lot more work and at the end your only warrantee is the ones that each component carries. Oh well, World of WarCraft runs well enough for now. So until they come out with some sort of fancy pants expansion for WoW that has some serious new system requirements, I'm going to be limited in my FPS gaming selections.
My fingers are blue
Man is it cold at work. Now don't get me wrong, I like cold. But this is milk cooler cold. Last week they installed an AC unit in the server room and it was about time. The building is 10 years old, but the room was originally designated to be the server room. It should have had some sort of separate cooling control from the word go. It was actually an elaborate process because they hooked it up to the water lines and had to run the condensation purge out through the roof. So in addition to the guy installing the thing, they had an electrician and a roofing guy there during the week for the installation. Then there was another guy that had to come out this week and turn it on, which he did yesterday. Today the temperature gauge said it was 63 degrees in there, while my Garfield thermometer said it was 52 degrees. In either case, it was nice and cool in there. I think I'm going to have to stop wearing shorts and sandals to work (although school starts soon so I would have anyway).

It's been quite the dramatic change from camping this past weekend. Yes that's right, camping. I actually went camping outside of the safety of my air conditioned house. First, I'd like to state that I had a great time. It was fun to see some of Heather's friends that I haven't seen Mike and Amy's wedding and to meet a few new ones. That said, let discuss the concept of camping in July. I am of the theory that it either requires an air conditioned RV or needs to only occur in Alaska. I can't begin to describe how hot it was this weekend and how little air flows through a tent in a river valley. I have no idea how I managed to fall asleep Saturday night, but oddly enough I slept fairly well after I did. There are some photos of us sweating our butts off in the pictures section.

As we were camping in New Ulm, MN it only seemed natural to tour the Schell's brewery. Some of you may remember that the Schell brewery took over production of Grain Belt when the brewery in the cities closed. I will say this was my first exposure to Schell's beer. Now I don't want to ruin the tour for you, so I'll just say that it isn't as good as either the Leinenkugel's or the Sierra Nevada tours. However, I would have to say that the FireBrick and the Hefeweizen are very good beers. Just a word of caution, they aren't twist offs. Bring your own bottle opener. Or just get one of these http://www.thinkgeek.com/caffeine/accessories/756e/

Speaking of geeky things. Last night was the release of the new limited edition CTS (Cardboard Tube Samurai) cel from Penny Arcade. They only made 750 of them and only 500 were available at ThinkGeek. According to the ThinkGeek page, they sold out in less than 2 hours. In an update on the Penny Arcade site, Gabe said that the ThinkGeek people told him they were actually sold out in less than 30 minutes and that at one point they were receiving 30 orders per minute for the cel. I wonder what number mine is. Happy I should have it on Friday and will let you know if it looks as good in person as it does on the site. To be honest, I'd buy just about anything from these guys. Gabe is an amazing artist. Here's the link for the cel and just because everyone should check it out here is the Penny Arcade site

Well while we're on the topic of all things geek, I may as well mention that it has finally happened. Hedana has finally reached level 60. Yes I'm going to briefly talk about WoW. Actually that's about all the news I have for WoW. I now need to work on gathering gold for epic items and elite mounts and all that fun stuff. And I suppose Hedana's younger siblings could use some attention now. I posted a couple of screenshots in the pictures section, including one of Hedana hitting 60.

Let's see what could I be forgetting? Oh yeah, Rocky. Well as they say, out of sight, out of mind. Rocky got dropped off at the vet this morning to be neutered and declawed. They said he should be out of surgery by about noon so when 2pm hit and I still hadn't heard from the vet's office, I was compelled to call and make sure I hadn't given them a wrong number or something. I was told they had a lot of surgeries today and that Rocky had just gone under the knife and everything was going well so far. But I'm happy to report that everything went well and Rocky is going to be fine. Well at least as well as he was before. I'm hoping that this little snip, will take some of the fight out of him. I guess if nothing else he's been disarmed. But it means that tonight I've had the fun task of cleaning the bathroom since he can't use regular litter for a week. Let me just say that you would be amazed at the places in the bathroom he managed to get litter to. I think I need another can of Clorox Wipes.

Well that's it for now. I'll take some shots of my ThinkGeek purchases and post later this week. And yes there will be some post-op Rocky photos. Oh and speaking of pictures, watch for a revamp of the pictures section coming in the future. I finally got around to exporting and doing a general sort of my iPhoto Library. Hopefully I can figure out a better way to arrange all the albums this will create and still make them a manageable size for those of you on dial-up connections.

Until then go amuse yourself at Penny Arcade...
I know, I know...
Yes it has been quite some time since the last update. I've been a bit distracted since then. Hey, I heard that. I am not always distracted, just most of the time. And you are probably wondering what could have been keeping me from updating Rocky's fan club on his latest exploits. I know you are probably all thinking that I've been playing World of WarCraft or that I've moved on to a new game (no chance of that, I still haven't played a game demo I installed 2 months ago). But you'd all be wrong. I've actually been distracted by a social life. But you can read more about that after I satisfy the multitude of Rocky fans.

Well the time has finally come for Rocky to go to the vet for his neuter and declaw. And not a moment too soon I might add. For those unfamiliar with Rocky's demonic ways, he typically greets my attempts at petting him with a flash of fangs and claws. I've lost a great deal of blood and skin since Rocky joined the family. Yes, I've attempted to trim his claws in the past. However, as his name suggests, he's a bit of a fighter. I'd basically have to duct tape him to the floor to get him to hold still. And yes, the thought of it has been tempting. Hey, I said I THOUGHT about it, not that I did it. But after this week that will all be behind us. I have to see when exactly this can take place though. Rocky will be about 11-12 weeks at the end of this week. So I'm hoping that maybe he could go in Friday and stay until Monday, as I wouldn't be able to pick him up on Saturday. But maybe he'll have to wait and go in Monday. I'll have to see how long they are planning/willing to keep him.

I know I make it sound like he's possessed by the devil. Well and really that probably the case. But he does have his moments. For example, we were both on the couch last night. I was watching TV and Rocky was lying there dozing. Well I knew if he slept then he wouldn't when it was bedtime, so I reached over and started petting him. Much to my surprise there were no claws or teeth to be seen. Instead the soft sound of purring came lofting from his direction. I continue to pet him and he continued to purr. It was almost tranquil. Then he realized what he was doing and bit me. Not hard enough to draw blood mind you. He's never bit me hard enough to draw blood. But of course where the teeth go, the claws are quick to follow. Sure enough, within another second, Rocky had attached himself to my hand and forearm with his claws. Such are Rocky's "moments" of calm. A brief period of calm and serenity while being petted, followed by an all out fight which he eventually gives up on but I walk away from bloodied. I suppose I could walk away before the tearing of my flesh, but I cannot allow Rocky to win a fight. I'm confident that one day he'll either accept my dominance or I'll die of blood loss. Either way, there will finally be peace. Actually, I'm just hoping that the neuter mellows him out a little. A sentiment the rest of the cats share.

That's about it for the Rocky portion of the update. He's still bathroom bound until after the declaw, but yesterday he used the regular litter box instead of his in the bathroom. I hadn't seen him to that yet, so I'm quite relieved that he hasn't been finding a corner to go in when he didn't have access to his litter box in the bathroom.

There are a couple of new pictures of him, but he hasn't changed much since the last posting. I've decided that part of my lack of posts has been due to a feeling that I need to have new Rocky pictures with each post. I've since gotten over this and you should do the same. Future posts may or may not coincide to new Rocky pictures. Future posts will also start containing pictures beyond the world of Rocky. I know the fan club may protest, but Rocky isn't the only thing happening in my life and this blog was intended to be about my life, not just his.

Speaking of my life, it's been going pretty darn good. I know I mentioned the addition of a social life earlier and I will get to that in a minute, but first an update on my WoW activities. What? I said I added a social life, I didn't say I'd stopped gaming. Although, I have been gaming much less the past month. Hedana is still struggling her way to level 60. She's almost to level 59. If things go well she should hit 59 tonight. All her
younger siblings have been resting while she makes this push for level 60. Recently, Ed and I have been debating the role of a level 60 player. Ed's main character has been level 60 for quite some time and he has been happily engaging in 40 person raids in Molten Core. This appeals to him. I'm less enthused about it. To me, the planning and time that goes into a 40 person raid seems more like work than playing. Especially if you don't end up getting any of the item drops from the raid. Let's face it, if you are in a 40 person raid and there are only 4 epic drops, even if only half the people can use the item and roll you still are likely to be leaving empty handed. The idea is that you need to do the raid many times to get the item you want. This is a lot of work for the casual gamer. I know none of you would call me a casual gamer, but I am on the casual end of the hardcore gamer spectrum. WoW does offer a few 5 person raids for the more casual gamers and perhaps that's where Hedana will eventually end up. Right now I'm just going to concentrate on getting her to level 60 and maxing out her blacksmithing, cooking and fishing skills. Oh and the game demo I mentioned earlier, the one I installed 2 months ago and haven't tried. It's a demo of House of the Dead 3, I think. I'll have to try it out tonight and let you know what I think. It'll be weird to play without the gun in my hand, I'm so used to the arcade version. And I think I have 2 more demo discs that haven't found their way to the CD drive yet, so I'll have to see what is on those.

So is that enough suspense? Are you all dying to hear about my social life? Or did you all tune out when I started talking about video games? Some of you already know this but since the last post I've met a wonderful, young woman named Heather. Well that's not exactly true since I met her a little over a year ago. She's a friend of a friend's wife. But I guess since I consider the friend's wife a friend, Heather is really the friend of a friend. I'm not going to go into too much detail though as she is a little bit shy. So I'll just say that we've been seeing each other for almost a month and things seem to be going well. And I'm sure it will be a relief to her to read that the pictures of us didn't turn out well, so she has avoided fame for the week. I think it had something to do with the lighting. Oh well perhaps next week there will be photos from this weekend's camping trip. New Ulm here I come...