miscellany

Yeah, so … no updates or something for a while. “IRL.” It happens. Lots of things to discuss, not a lot of time. That, too, happens.

I canceled my World of Warcraft account a couple months ago – more on that later. I have a standing copy of Aion, which has been quite fun so far. More on that later as well.

Are we sensing a pattern?

I’ve been reading a couple books of late, both I find fascinating. One is a collection of “Aesop’s Fables” and the other is a copy of Darwin’s Origin of Species (6th edition). Both have been genuinely illuminating. Many of the colorful aphorisms we drown in every day date back far, far earlier than I realized. It’s interesting that many of these sayings I’ve heard attributed to biblical passages when the true origins dated back to the oral storytellers a millennium or so before quill was ever put to papyrus. As for Origin? Wow. Let’s just say I’ve never met anyone who articulated what he was actually saying. Most people, in fact, get it wrong. Exposure to this material would have been handy 15 years ago. Thanks again, public education.

In other news, I’m car shopping. What a nightmare. I think I have it whittled down to a couple solid choices. I’m past considering the wishlist vehicles and focusing in on solid price/performance comparisons. A couple more test-drives and I should be able to pull the trigger. Knowing myself as I do that may take months.

the bounty of summer

Yesterday marked my first share of this summers CSA crop and man-o-man was it most excellent. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. CSA farms use sustainable farming methods (though not necessarily organic) and deliver their produce fresh from the field to the communities within which it was grown. The “supported” part of that comes from the part where people like you or I pay for a share of the crop.

What’s the point, you ask?

All politics are local. Supporting people in your community supports your community and you. Not only that, but it doesn’t cost much more (and in some cases less) than standard mega-mart prices. My bi-weekly CSA share was a few hundred dollars, of which 125 will come back to me in the form of a rebate from my health insurance provider.

If that’s not enough incentive for you, how about the fact that sustainably-grown produce that travels 10 miles to you just plain tastes better than anything in any store you have ever or will ever buy. Pretty bold statement, if you’ll forgive the pun, right? You won’t think so after your first share. Trust me.

Ok, soapbox disengaged. On with the show.

csa09_week1-3


The spring/early-summer in Wisconsin has been superior weather for greens. Spinach and lettuce of all varieties grew like proverbial weeds. My first share this year came through with a huge head of some odd red leaf¬† lettuce I’d never heard of (but tastes great!) and a giant bag of mixed leafy greens. Oh, and the bag of giant spinach which I put to immediate and tasty use.

Garlic scapes. Holy crap on a crap-boat do I love these things. They’re like garlic-flavored asparagus and just as versatile. In fact, I’ve cooked them with garlic and asparagus together for a trifecta of awesome you would not believe. I’d never even HEARD of them until joining a CSA farm. Put another check-mark in “reasons to CSA” column.

My share was rounded out by some fresh scallions, turnips, chives (that flowered already) and an itty-bitty basil plant. All-in-all, a wonderful start.

I picked up a nice ribeye on the way home from work, so while that was resting I used my trusty (and still blazing) cast-iron skillet to wilt about half of the spinach greens. I mixed that with the remaining uncooked leaves and some sliced turnip and scallions and tossed with some fresh-ground pepper. If you’ve ever had a spinach salad at a good steak place with the sweet bacon vinagrette you’ll almost get the taste right, save this salad was more savory than sweet/tangy. I wish I had snapped a pic of the finished product so I could show off a little, but honestly the stuff was just gone.

Anywho, take some time and seek out your local CSA group if there is one. Your efforts will not go unrewarded.

you got me, assholes

Greetings,

After much anticipation Blizzard has opened the StarCraft II Beta opt-in. In the beta test you will get an opportunity to provide your feedback on the overall experience, including units, maps, aesthetics, and more. We would also appreciate reports on any bugs you may encounter during your game-play experience.

We will be selecting account holders of Battle.net and World of Warcraft accounts who opted-in at random to participate in the much anticipated StarCraft II Beta. To opt-in for the beta test go to the opt-in page found here. Please be prepared to enter the current retail World of Warcraft or Battle.net account name and password you use. To be eligible to participate in the beta tests, you must have a valid retail World of Warcraft or Battle.net account active and in good standing as of July 17, 2009.

Needles to say my in was opted post-haste. Ever since WoW I’ve been keeping my eyes off most beta stuffs. Preferring to see completed (or laughably launched) products before I deign to open the purse-strings. I’ve stayed as far away from Old Republic to avoid clouding my judgment. The most I’ve visited so far is to check on beta status and nab a few swanky wallpapers.

Best. Phish. Ever.

They got me. And they NEVER get me. Kudos.

Assholes.

updates…

I’m lazy.

Shocked cat is shocked, right?

The blog (and plugins) are updated to the most recent versions, but it looks like there’s some issues with a couple. I’m sure that is akin to daggers in your little hearts. I’ve got lots of interesting (to me) stuff to rant about, just no time to actually put pen to paper. I’ll try to carve out some time real soon nah, but you know how that goes.

edit: The author of the last.fm widget (see right sidebar) is aware of the issue and it’s apparently a problem with the 2.8 version of the html/http api. He’s apparently got a ticket in with WordPress so it’ll be fixed soonish.

blasts from the past

The hits on my Battle of the Sexes page have always been a little higher than nostalgia should rightly earn, but what can you say about a great thing? One thing leads to another, as things are prone to do and it looks like there might some throwback gaming in our future as a few folks have began gathering

Nothing solid as of yet, but there’s enough people that we could have a fun little setup developing. As time permits I’ll be trying to finish the server VM I had prepped a while back and throw it on one of our lab boxes. The bandwidth here at work is … well, let’s just say “good” and move on.

If’n you’re interested check out the links and see what’s what – you’ll need a working Quake-2 installation and the files from my page (or others) to get started. The docs are actually pretty complete so you should be able to get the basics down without too much trouble.

Before you ask – no, I have not considered putting a team in the field to create TF2-BotS.

Well not strongly considered anyway.

edit: I’ve got a vm built with all the server stuff and have successfully installed/tested the Q2 install. Soon, my prettys, soon.

random

Kids are idiots.

That in and of itself should be a sufficient post, really. So much said in so few words…

But that’s hardly my style now is it?

I was in a local Best Buy browsing what passes for their PC game section and this noxious wave overtakes me. I turn around to find the source it was this lumbering oaf of a child. He was, at best, 18 and easily 6′ high. As is the style of the times, his pants were a hair’s breath above his ankles, which is an entirely different rant.

So there’s this giant smelly cloud of child lumbering down the aisle oblivious to the presence of others. He apparently was pleading with his companion (a tiny, TINY girl I recognized as an employee of the aforementioned BBY) to trade him something for something and something so he could get some shitty game.

Anyway, I’m trying to read the back of some crap game that escapes me and he “bumped” into me not once, not twice, but FOUR times. How the fuck? I realize I’m not Gigantor the gigantic giant, but damnation, boy! Watch the fuck out!

And take a shower.

And pull up your pants!

Q: how bored was I?

bad_sidebar_badA: Thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis bored.

As I write this it’s Friday night and I am still waiting for a server to finish virtualizing so I can proceed with the rest of the project plan and possibly get to sleep before sunrise. Given that I am prone to bouts of lazy and vigor of equal and epic measure I’ve been queuing up random posts for the last 2 hours and just setting a future publish date (or leaving them as drafts)¬† so it looks like I’m all chatty. Twixsy hobbitses, am I rite?

Anyway, someone in my guild mentioned that he read my blog and has tried to comment in the past but didn’t have any luck. So after turned comments back on (no idea how that got fucked up) I also went ahead and linked up to Facebook. People hate logging in to <yet_another_website_001>. Options, we haz dem!* I actually got the idea from Lum’s blog, he did the same thing (although a different method) a few months back with great success.

The guide I followed was a pretty manual process, but once I got a handle on the nuance it was slick as could be.

So yeah. Fuck you WP-FacebookConnect. I’ve programmed professionally (briefly) and have no issues reading docs and hacking on PHP, but holy christ getting that shit to work right was a nightmare. I finally gave up and implemented the OpenID plugin. So there’s that at least. I installed 2 plugins and configured the shit and it was working. No them hax, no bullshit. It just worked.

A pleasant surprise indeed.

In other news, I just popped the newest version of the wp-armory plugin which features a 3D modeler. More shit on the sidebar? Yes. Yes it is. Suck it.

… On second thought, that’s horrible. It’s off now. Look right for proof. —————->

Aren’t you glad you asked?

edit: Let’s just go ahead and add the OpenID plugs to the FUCK YOU list. I leave this only as a signpost, to illustrate how far we have yet to go before all this stuff “just plain works”.

why do I even bother?

Like 5 or 6 (maybe) other people on Earth I’ve been watching Kings on NBC for the last month. I won’t go into a lot of blah blah blah about the show except to say that it’s good. It’s well penned, well acted and wonderfully shot. In the next week or two it’ll be moving from a horrible Sunday slot to a “half-step away from cancellation” Saturday time. I just don’t understand people. Sure, the TV execs are partially to blame here, but god damn people! What does it take to get you interested? Is it just me? I don’t give a rat’s ass about who can/can’t sing/dance/be fat.

I want REAL television, not reality television.

Dollhouse started iffy, but really started to come on strong in the last couple episodes. I’ve grown quite fond of the show at this point, so when it’s cancelled my nerdrage will know no bounds.

The Sarah Conner Chronicles ended on a great note. I was pretty into the last three episodes. I’m hoping that the synergy with Bale’s new movie this summer will keep it afloat for another season.

Supernatural has always been the stronger of the two, but Smallville is just plain nuts these days. The Unit has been weak, it’s apparently on the bubble this season and will not likely be renewed.

Chuck has been fine, not as good as it’s early stuff, but tolerable. The season finale looks good, there’s been some decent build-up with Quantum Leaper and Chevy.We’ll see what we see. It has the air of “re-tooling” about it though, which never bodes well.

Heroes has been horrid, I’m not sure I even want it back at this point. Don’t argue. You know it’s been riding the failcopter.

Numb3rs, Reaper and Flashpoint are all average at best this go-round. Another unfortunate victim of “OMFG RATINGS!” and the inability for network people to understand that their entire paradigm is changing. Are you counting Hulu views? DVRs? OnDemands? There are shows that by their very nature play really well everywhere but a Neilson home.

Eli Stone and Pushing Daises are already done, they’ve each got 2 or 3 episodes left to air, but after that it’s over. Both good shows with interesting characters and good writing and we certainly can’t have that on network TV. What’s really odd is that ABCs upfronts are chock full of MORE quirky shows that will likely be fun and well-written and never find an audience. Do we give them points for trying? Dunno.

I’ve become a bit of a fan of The Mentalist. When I saw the initial promos I panned it as a “dramatic” rip-off of Psych, a truly awesome show, and gave it the big pooity-poo. Mea culpa? I suppose so…

Fringe is horrid… but the cast is great. As long as they keep that going I guess I can ignore the rest. How can you not love John Noble as an insane mad scientist?

Teh Tudors just started up, I think there’s been two or three episodes now. Still a wonderful show, but I miss Natalie Dormer. Upside is Mary’s back at court this season, and she’s absolutely enchanting. I’m a sucker for pretty much any era of English histo-drama.

The best for last? Maybe. Lie to Me is great. Tim Roth is great. Kelli Williams is great. The title sequence is GREAT. What happened to titles anyway? Whatever marketing dickbag out there decided that it was “more cinematic” for shows to not have title sequences needs to just give it the fuck up. You, sir, are an idiot. Shows are that much more memorable with an opening number, just do it already! Short, visually interesting yet simple, no “clips” and a catchy musical track (Brand New Day by Ryan Star) behind it all. Perfection. Also, while I’m at it – fuck you no-embedding youtube gestapo!

how did I miss this?

So I’m sitting here waiting for this server to finish converting into a new handy-dandy VM and figured it’d be a good time to purge out the ol’ DVR. I haven’t moved to uVerse quite yet so I’m stuck with the anemic HD in Charter’s Moxi. Where was I again? Oh yes, Mythbusters was on from this week – it’s the “Alaska Special 2” for reference. The kids were testing some myth about a car being clove in twain by one of those big plows. Blah blah blah, we’re going to Wisconsin. Well then, I should look at the screen for 30 seconds or something. More blah blah and some scenes of snow and crap and all of the suddon I see this small white plow with the words “Burke” scrawled across it… “That looks familiar,” I say to no one in particular.

So yeah, I was apparently in a coma while my beloved Kari was 2 miles down the road testing a snowplow myth. I’m assuming they filmed that this winter, which was incredibly mild by all accounts, yet all three of them were bundled up like they were adrift off the coast of the Antarctica.

Anywho, it is to lols.

drop rate smrop rate

After 2 days of battling the 1st Ulduar boss (the instance server) we finally managed to get IN the damned zone with 20-some. Flame Leviathan was a blast and, like most guilds, dropped it on our first run.

For the last couple hours of the day today the leadership and I had been discussing what to do about the legendary du jour if and when our first fragment dropped. Some things were discussed, not really things I liked, but it was a good discussion to have. My parting shot before I left work was “think about it over the weekend, we’ll vote on Monday”. I guess my assumption was that we’d get, at most, 2 bosses down tonight and that there’s no possible way we’d see this rare item.

“Ooops?”

1st_lian_fragment
So we had a quick meeting and voted on the course of action we thought best for the time being. not really something I was looking for, but such is life in a republic… or reasonable facsimile thereof.

Regardless, a big G-rats to my homeskillet Liandroa on his first fragment. Only 29 more to go!