Saturday, December 17, 2005

Memories of youth - D&D, FASA, etc.

I am obviously not a prolific blogger. Pretty sad for a guy who has always wanted to be a writer. I've had a copy of how to write and sell your first novel for a few years and haven't gotten around to doing anything yet.
I was literally surfing the web tonight looking up some of the things that used to be huge parts of my life - Dungeons and Dragons, Battletech from FASA days. I was suprised for I think the second time that FASA shut its doors in 2001, selling Battletech to Wizkids LLC! I actually got a tight knot in my stomach thinking about the journeys I'd made to the Great Exchange bookstore in San Antonio, digging around for FASA Battletech manuals. The thrill of having the few dollars needed to get a new technical readout or whatever they were called.
That FASA symbol emblazoned on the books had a real impact on me. If it was FASA produced I knew I'd be pouring over the book, looking at mechs and equipment imagining the hours of fun I planned on spending trying out the new mechs.
I don't think I ever really ended up spending as many hours playing Battletech as I did preparing to play, but that game (The board game for anyone wondering) was amazing.
Unless you played the game I don't think I can explain the thrill. I do remember hearing about the stand up battletech game pods in Dallas that me and some friends wanted to go see, but that never materialized.
My playing buddies in colleger were great. Henry and Mike I believe were the main two. I remember having thrown some pretty bad rolls on the dice and sayin "God Bless America" to which they started singing the next piece "Land that I love."
Oh the memories.
Tied to those memories, and spurred on by some D&D related postings, more memories popped into my head. A picture showed a halfling telling stories to a hovel full of halfing kids. They hair on their feet and legs a giveaway for their race. I was a Basic/Expert/Advanced player. I never got into V2 and while I bought the 3.0 books, only read and never used them.
But that game too is near to my heart. I can't play it today. Heck most of the people I know either never heard of it or, like many adults today, gave it up and don't plan on ever going back. The memories it stirs, though! Friends from Middle to High school and even college, playing together at night and the weekends, though note excesively. Giving it up myself when I got a girlfriend and college was taking too much time.
I don't think I'll ever get those feelings back. Perhaps, but not like in my youth. I do remember discussions with friends that had to do with our (or my) dedication to the game at one time that I told people we'd need to keep playing even up into our 90's to show support.
That of course didn't last.
Now I'm just blogging. Let me go find my vorpal key tapper with a heatsink...

Monday, January 31, 2005

Moving day in a month

So for everyone reading this (I'm assuming it's around -0- people on any given day, excluding myself), my wife, son, daughter and dog are all moving in a month. I'll be six more miles from work for a grand total of 10 miles with my commute increased by, in my estimation, 12 minutes a day.

This also puts us about 10 minutes further from church.

Friday, January 28, 2005

"Spam Cast" (copyright © 2005 John H.)

I've decide to create a new term. I can't find this term used on web sites the way I envision it.

The term is "Spam Cast."

What is a Spam Cast?

It's an allusion to fishing in that we know we get offers for all sorts of stuff in email. Well if a company or spammer is actively seeking legitimate email addresses for use in other spam messages and/or a company or spammer is using what is ostensibly a legitimate method for obtaining patrons for legitimate purposes but then sells or distributes associated email addresses, then they are guilty of Spam Casting.

They've cast their fishing line into the river of the internet hoping to hook an official good email address for purposes of propagating spam.

What do you think?

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Making Your Blog Visible and Popular

After watching a segment on the Screen Savers on G4TechTV, I started wondering what it would really take to have a BLOG so popular that you'd have people actually come visit it quite often. On of the hosts mentioned that he slacks off and doesn't post every day (gee, like me). Of course he's got a professional looking self made site (or so it seems) and I'm using this free Blogging service. The guest mentioned she gets email all the time about people wanting their Blog reviewed in her (and her team's) Blog, but that people only provide things like "Please review my site 'cause it's way cool" or something along those lines.

I'm thinking Google and other places would probably at least have my blogs show up if I add somewhere either randomly or in context those terms that seem to make the internet so popular with perverts and lurkers get at least a hit. Heck, a random misspelling here and there may even attract a visitor or two. For example, if I were to be describing the round platter of plastic that used to be used to play recorded sounds called a phonographic record, misplacing a couple of letters makes that a pornographic record and BAM! I potentially have a hit because of that word.

Then again, the type of person I would be interested in hitting my blog would not be the potential sado masochists interested in words related to sex and other what society used to consider taboo topics. I'd be more interested in people reading my Blog that were interested in the things that I am interested in. So again, key words may come in handy.

I already had this in mind when I wrote the previous logs with television shows, although I realize I am no television critic and don't have the writing style that would really attract people to reading my opinion about those shows. Perhaps if my Blog included key words as almost a product placement concept. Combine that with my interests and I may end up writing a Blog on Anime, particularly Yu-Gi-Oh (believe it or not I am interested in Kazuki Takahashi's work even though I'm in my 30's), Shonen Jump (Where Yu-Gi-Oh the Manga was originally posted), Duel Monsters (I play the card game online), the Sci-Fi Channel and shows like BattleStar Galactica, Earthsea (Le Guinn's books as well, not just the lame movie produced by Sci-Fi), Farscape, Golf and on and on.

I believe each of these may be spotted by Google's web bot's and, again, potentially make even this one post a hit on their list - even if it's #1000 on the list.

I could be wrong. All of this message is based on no research whatsoever and is simply my armchair philosophy on blogging. I hope if you do read this you have a similar thought process.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Desperate Point Pleasant

I finally watched Desperate Housewives. It was a good episode, but not the best. As usual we were teased or treated with some revelations, new things to think about, a couple of twists and, as usual, a good bit of dark and dry humor.

I do not believe the writers had Bree's story line planned out in advance to get to this juncture. There was something about the way they described her decision to ask the pharmacist out that somehow does not match, in my mind, the last two episodes where she just seems to be trying to punish Rex.

I am intrigued by the way they are portraying Susan. She's a writer of children's books, seems to want to be a good role model for her daughter, seems to be fairly squeaky clean on the surface but we know so much about her not everyone in the neighborhood does.

She's burned down a house, sleeps with the neighbor, has her daughter break into a house and otherwise doesn't seem to be that concerned about anything but being caught.

Well, we will see where the story goes.

I watched Point Pleasant as well. I was happy to hear a new show was coming out that had a player associated with Joss Whedon's work, producer Marti Noxon. I really enjoyed most of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. Both those shows had been the only fantasy shows being broadcast since Hercules and Xena ended. I've been in a fantasy show withdrawal pretty much since Angel's last (and pretty good) episode. Now I have something else to look forward to - yet another struggle if good vs evil. I only hope that it does not keep every episode as humor-lacking as episode one. That is, I can see that they want and succeeded at making a dark, brooding drama, but am hoping the despair that it seems the town is in for is offset with at least some breaks of humor.

I have not yet watched the Amazing Race, but should be able to tonight or tomorrow morning.

I do not know if I could ever be convinced that blogging is all the new media seems to think it is. I have yet to see anything other than opinion based on either news that has been seen or read from readily available new sources or from simple personal experience. Will bloggers change the world in reality? I doubt it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Thoughts on Radio Stories and other things

I live in the Austin area and 590KLBJ had a story about the next legislative session looking at increasing the payroll tax to something like 1.5% of an employee's salary or $500, whichever is less. I'm against this if this is, as I heard it, a way to supplement the current educational system. In my area of work, we are already working with too few people resources and a modification of the tax system like this would likely hurt my workgroup's chances at pulling in the necessary people to get the job done.
On 1370 Mike Gallagher was speaking to people who were complaining to him about the Hollywood crowd supporting Tsunami victims through the telethon. Mike was right on saying that we need to appreciate their contribution in a non-partisan way. Those that are complaining that they (the Hollywood types) just want their face on national TV need to lighten up.

On a separate note I'm looking forward to the Amazing Race tonight. I'd like to see that guy who is always yelling at his wife get kicked off, but I doubt it - he may be rude but he and his wife are still a strong team.

Haven't watched last Sunday's Desperate Housewives - the kids haven't been going to sleep early enough for me to commit to the ~50 minutes of showtime. I can't believe I'm so fascinated by the show since it is a Soap Opera - but then I was also addicted to Buffy and Angel, both of which I'd classify as Soap Opera's, so maybe it's no different.

Obligitory first Blog

Everyone has to start somewhere, and here's my start. We'll see you.