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7:43 AM on 04.07.2008

Lazyness in Blogging is next to Godliness...I think

Vacation can sometimes get the better of you and cause one to forget about blogging for awhile. Returning back to being a wage slave, however, does remind you of forgotten things...like my blog.

Well, updates a plenty.

First, my basement framing is nearly complete and the next step is wiring. Electrical is expected to take a about a week or 2 (in theory) and then we begin the magical step of drywalling! Its amazing how fast framing goes when you actually get to it and work. I'll update with some pictures later today once I'm home.

Second, we have TV!!! After much consideration (and discussions w/ the Master of the Checkbook), I picked up the LN-T5265 Samsung 52" 1080p LCD panel.



I've had it out of the box all of twice - once for testing to ensure it worked, and once more to show it off to the wife and my parents (who are also, sorta in the market). OH. My. LORD. This set is amazing! I've never had anything this large in my house, so its a nice change of pace and definite motivation to get the media room complete. Even my wife loved it (which is surprising, since she's not really huge on HD or TV besides soap operas...If you're reading this sweetheart, I love you!!! Really. I do.)

We're also installing a bar in the media room. This was not really a last-minute addition, but we've nailed down the plans and we can get it built.

The last major update is a more personal note. My wife and I have been having some difficulty in getting pregnant, and we've been seeing a specialist. Well, our insurance company dropped the doctor and we're switching to an in-network specialist, which is fine. However, we're having problems with previous treatments getting approved. For those who do believe, all I can do is ask for prayer as my wife and I continue to work through these issues, both financial and physiological, as we both are really wanting to become parents in the next year. We did get some encouraging news from the doctor last week regarding some test results, but we really need prayer while we continue onward with our goal of parenthood.

All for now...pictures of the basement (with my dog, of course) to come soon!!

Bilbo out.   read


9:56 AM on 03.25.2008

Oh the wonders of modern medicine

I've been working too damn long. Now, after my appointment with a hand specialist, I get to have Carpal Tunnel Release on the 25th of April.

OH JOY!! Well...at least I'll be able to use my hand without it constantly going numb...bad thing is...my gaming will have to go by the wayside for about a week or so post-op. I wonder if I can play WOW one-handed...   read


6:56 AM on 03.07.2008

Smash Bros. and the Hype from Hell

First off, I'm not going to turn this into a rant against Smash Bros. Far from it. I think the game is good. But, forgive me, I don't see it as being THAT good. Yet every gaming blog, Joystiq, Kotaku, and, yes, even our beloved Destructoid, seem to faun over the game with a lust not seen since we saw our first Playboy (don't lie...you know you looked!)

Sure, you get to take your favorite Nintendo characters (with a few cameos for good measure) and beat the ever loving crap out of them. Fair enough. We all know Donkey Kong deserves to get his a** beat a few times. For me at least, I don't see the longevity of the whole thing. Unless you've got tons of friends who constantly come over, I just don't see Smash Bros. as having that long of a gaming life. One of my friends comes over and almost masturbates to the wonder that is Smash Bros. Brawl and I'm just not seeing the fascination with the whole thing. On top of that, Joystiq has now created a page DEDICATED to Smash Bros. and its insipid updates. WHY?! Is there such a dearth of fighting games out there that we find one we like and just cream our pants over the whole thing? If so, I think someone needs to remind them that there are other games on the horizon which will destroy Smash Bros. Street Fighter IV comes to mind.

Fighting games have been around forever, from Karate Champ to Street Fighter and all the absolute crap in-between (Primal Rage and Time Killers, I'm looking at you!). Many are great, a few are mediocre, and others are absolute crap. For me, I'm looking for a fighting game that takes more than button mashing. I want finesse, style, and most importantly...skill. Smash Bros. always seemed to devolve into a button mashing match and got old really quick. Games like Guilty Gear, Street Fighter III & IV, and Virtua Fighter 5 all require pretty good skills to really play well. Smash Bros. just doesn't do that.

Please understand, this isn't a rant against the game. Not at all. In fact, I'll likely get it once I beat a few other games collecting dust on my shelves. I won't be at the Midnight Launches or Tournaments, etc. I'll wait and pick up a used copy eventually. Unlike these gaming blogs...I can wait.   read


7:04 AM on 02.28.2008

New Band Worth Getting

Just a small blurb, but after being a huge fan of Stabbing Westward, I figured I'd post this. The lead singer from that band, Chris Hall, started a new band called The Dreaming after SW disbanded in 2002.

Well, after too damn long, they finally released their first full album, Etched in Blood. It hasn't left my CD player or Zune playlist since getting it. Its got a sound thats hard to describe, but I would put it somewhere between Stabbing Westward and a punk band. The lyrics are good, its great workout music, and definitely worth getting.

Supposedly, the CD's available on iTunes, but I've not found it yet. No store I've found carries it, either. If you can snag it, its definitely worth it.

Ok, enough shilling for a band...back to gaming. Speaking of that, I finally picked up Ninja Gaiden Sigma. HOLY FARKING COW that game is hard! I only played a little of the original Gaiden on Xbox and really wish I had played it back then. Now I can't wait for part 2. I've really got a craving to buy a new game, but at this point, I'll have to wait until the end of June to pick up MGS4 and work on the crap I've already got so I can start trading some of this stuff in. Still havn't beaten Twilight Princess, Bioshock, R6 Vegas, Final Fantasy XII, Metroid Prime 3 and then keep leveling in WOW.

  read


7:15 AM on 02.18.2008

So Long HD-DVD...I hardly knew you...

Well, it appears that after a long, hard-fought battle, Toshiba stands at the edge of the HD-DVD abyss and about the pull the format off life support. While I have both formats, I'm quite disappointed that Blu-Ray won.

My biggest reason for liking HD-DVD better was the interactivity. Early on, the HD_DVD had better image quality than Blu-Ray. Then Blu-Ray changed the compression method and the video quality was the same as HD-DVD. Strike one. The menus. HD-DVD and the HDI tech from MS made HD-DVD much more attractive and more "Next Gen" than Blu-Ray. Well, now that Blu-Ray has Profile 1.1, thats a moot point too. Strike 2. Now, retail support has claimed the final blow. Wal-Mart, Netflix, and even Target have curb-stomped HD-DVD in favor of Blu-Ray. Strike 3. TKO!

So long, HD-DVD. We hardly knew you. The good news is, though...now that stores will be liquidating their inventory, I can get the hook-up on titles for dirt cheap. Dead format = cheap movies. Where's my shopping cart....   read


7:17 AM on 02.13.2008

Home Theater Update...we have AIR!

Sorry for the long delay in posts...been insanely busy with school, work, etc.

My electrician has come and moved our electrical panel and given us a larger breaker, so we can handle more electricity in the house...this is a good thing, since we're having a 2nd HVAC installed (there goes my power bill!).

The good news, though, is that the unit is basically installed and he's getting the ductwork installed! He started yesterday, and hopes to be finished by tomorrow.

Why am I telling you this? Primarily, because its the final BIG step before my home theater gets built! With my upcoming bonus, tax refund, and the $1200 checks from Big Brother, my credit card debt will basically be completely eliminated. This will let me purchase my big-ass TV without much problem.

Still deciding on the direction to go with the decor (that's the wife's area of input), but we're going to have a mini-bar complete w/ wine cooler. the perfect man-cave.

Once I can smuggle the camera away from my wife, I'll get more pics up. (yes..more dog photos, too. The retard likes to follow me in the basement).   read


7:42 AM on 02.04.2008

Mass Effect made me its bitch and I like it.

So I got Mass Effect for Christmas, and after getting completely hooked on COD4, I put the game on the back-burner until I finished the single player campaign on COD. Well, I finished that about 2 wks ago and I started Mass Effect. Holy. Mother. Of GOD, is this game difficult!

My biggest complaint is the lack of really good tutorial on the combat system. After starting the game over, I finally got the hang of it, but I hate reading the manual, so I thought it'd be relatively simple to just jump in. Uh, no. Not quite. After getting my ass handed to me by Fist's thugs in the Citadel, I broke down and read the manual. In my 20+ years of gaming, I've never really read a manual except to read backstory. In this case, the game really required it.

Now I'm on the Normandy and starting to tool around doing random missions, etc. All in all, the game is really good and I can't wait til I unlock some new abilities and missions. Now if I could just find time between exams to actually sit down and crank through a few hours...   read


5:18 PM on 01.25.2008

As Promised...Pictures!

After days of procrastinating and grad school, here are the pictures of the basement/home-theater in progress.



This is the back wall of the home theater room.



The other end of the home theater. Best part: No windows. I can have the room completely dark, which will be great when we get the room finished.



Here's my current setup. As you can see, its not horrible, but I have no surround sound and this old Tube TV has analog input only, so no upscaling for me. BOOO!



And here is a random picture of my dog.

I'll post more pics as the progress actually gets made and some more walls go up.   read


7:34 AM on 01.23.2008

Pics Coming...I swear!

The other day I gave you guys (and girls) a hint of my coming home theater and I promised pictures. Well, for some reason or another, my time was eaten up by homework and grocery shopping (we have to eat??)

I'll be taking the pictures tonight and have 'em uploaded to show the progress being made...at a glacial pace.   read


12:23 PM on 01.21.2008

Home Theater Construction Blog-a-thon

Well, it has begun. Full construction of what I hope will become the ultimate home theater for people on a really tight budget.

No, I don't have pics yet. Those will be taken tonight and the uploading shall begin.

My wife and I bought our first house in October 2006. Pretty good sized for a starter home, but the highlight is the full, unfinished basement. 2 car garage, and enough space to create a pretty good sized media room with a laundry room and office attached.

Now, at the time we got the house, I worked at Best Buy (yes, I know people hate 'em, but I'll give my store some major credit...we didn't hire complete idiots...many of the guys I worked with actually knew their stuff!). Well, thanks to my "generous" earnings from there, I was able to invest in a few items that I would put into the theater.

Harmon Kardon AVR 247



The Klipsch Synergy Quintet III Satellite and Center Channel



The Klipsch Sub 10



and the JBL Stadium Towers for the fronts (havn't ordered yet...coming soon!)



Framing is still going on. We've gotten some walls up, but we're having to consult an electrician to help run some the electrical, since my dad and I aren't sure if its worth spending 2 wks getting it done ourselves, when we could have all cables, wires, etc. done within a day.

I'll get some work-in-progress shots put in tonight or tomorrow. But I would like some suggestions:

Sectional or individual seating? Bear in mind, we don't have a TON of space, so we need to maximize our seating.

Sites to visit for room decor and design. I've not done my homework, so I'm not sure what a good site for home theater design is.

Last but not least...should I go with an LED rear projo from Samsung, or should I pray that flat panels drop in price to the point where my poor little budget can handle it? I'm looking at this:

Samsung 56" LED DLP

I'll keep the blog updated as construction continues, but its gonna be slow with me in school until God knows when.   read


12:12 PM on 01.11.2008

Thoughts on Conservatives and Games

I won't hide it. I'm a red-blooded conservative guy. I'm for God, Guns, and more ammunition. One thing, though, that other conservatives havn't learned yet, is that games are more than just toys.

Case in point. Mass Effect. Earlier today, Jim posted a story about a conservative group was accusing Mass Effect of having "Explicit Sexual Content" and being marketed towards little kids. Um...excuse me? I've not seen a single ad that features cute fluffy bunnies bounding around on some alien's ass and saying that a 6 year old should get this game. In fact, no reasonable person would conclude that. So why am I bringing this up?

It boils down to I'm getting really tired of these "watchdog" groups on both sides of the political spectrum trying to demonize our hobby and make games out to be these horrible, society-destroying tools of the Devil, George Bush, or whatever boogieman you want to come up with. I'm all for notifying concerned parents about a game's content, but you need to do it in a responsible, and TRUTHFUL manner. Don't exaggerate. Tell people the honest truth about a game's content. Yes, Mass Effect, for example, does have a sex scene in it. Guess what, though...its rated M for MATURE. Not E for everyone. Even the ads say that its rated M. So this group is misleading for...what...more funding?! Hardly. Any parent with half a brain would investigate and read reviews for a game before buying their kid something like Mass Effect or Call of Duty 4. Its their JOB. Yeah, the Media Research Counsel has their place. They've done some great work in the past...but to completely exaggerate something so far out of the ballpark shows that even with the best of intent, agendas cloud the truth.

I, for one, am writing them to excoriate MRC for publishing this crap. But, on a deeper level, they're just giving people another reason to hate on conservatives. Conservative values are important, but we don't need to be preachy or forceful about it. Lying about something shouldn't even be in the playbook...for EITHER side.

Ok...now back to getting Commander Shepard a nice piece of ass...   read


11:46 AM on 01.08.2008

HD-DVD Dead...Long live HD-DVD?!

Earlier today, Gizmodo and Engadget announced that Paramount was set to move from HD-DVD to Blu-Ray, effectively killing the format.

Well, Paramount has stated thats not the case and they're sticking w/ HD-DVD. For now, at least, it does appear that HD-DVD isn't totally dead...which is good, considering I just got HD-DVD for my Xbox 360 and absolutely love the damn thing! Sorry, PS3, but your Blu-Ray discs just aren't as feature-filled as my HD-DVD's.

Personally, I kinda wish it would just stay a stalemate and let the dual format players permeate the marketplace. But, being the business minded individual I am, it merely creates confusion in the market, etc. I prefer HD-DVD, but if Blu-Ray has to win, I hope they offer some kind of monetary incentive for people to make the switch from HD-DVD...or maybe Toshiba will pull some major coup and somehow win back some major movie studio support...not likely, but let a guy dream!

Edit: Yes, I know this was posted earlier. I didn't see it. oops.   read


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