My Son at PAX

Some pictures of my son at PAX Prime 2012.  This was his first convention.  He said "It was the best three days of my life!" My son with Master Chief My son with Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders My son in a loader doing battle with a Xenomorph.  Don't worry, he's OSHA certified to drive that Read more

Fun With Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

Earlier today as Geekend 9 was ending, I snapped these pics of some friends. I made quite a few adjustments in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Check out the before and Read more

Hiking with the Kids

We went to L.L. Stubb Stewart State Park today. They have a ton of trails for hikers and bikers that we discovered. We managed to hike just under 4 miles and then went out for pizza. A just reward! The kids found a cool centipede.  At least I think it's a centipede.   Perhaps it's Read more

Getting Fit, Dropping Pounds

I've been walking 5-10 miles every day for the past couple of weeks along with fasting 3x per week (fasting = < 500 calories for the day).  So far, I have noticed a lot of changes: I've lost 14.5 lbs! I have a reduced appetite overall. I feel better - more energy throughout the day, although I Read more

Diablo III LAN Party

OK, so it's not really a LAN party per se since Diablo is 100% online, but it's as close as we can get these days!  There are 9 of us in total at my house playing from Friday night until Sunday afternoon, with 4-6 hours of rest each day.  There was seating for 12 Read more

My Son at PAX

Some pictures of my son at PAX Prime 2012.  This was his first convention.  He said “It was the best three days of my life!”

My son with Master Chief

My son with Lolth, the Demon Queen of Spiders

My son in a loader doing battle with a Xenomorph.  Don’t worry, he’s OSHA certified to drive that thing.

My son playing Rock Band Blitz.  Song choice: Iron Maiden Mental Health (Bang Your Head)

My son with the Jonathan Coulton who is demonstrating an appropriate level of enthusiasm.

 My son waiting in line to see the Friday night concerts: Sam Hart, the Video Game Orchestra, Supercommuter, and the Protomen

My son showing off the Special Guest pass he received from the sister of Supercommuter’s frontman, MC Wheelie.

My son threatening to make his hot chocolate cold.

My son with Storm and Paul from the band Paul and Storm

My son and his friend with 1183 Geth programs inhabiting the mobile platform known as Legion.

My son with his friend demonstrating how cool mustaches are from Geek Chic.

My son playing Scrolls, the new game by the creator of Minecraft.

My son and his epic Geek Chic mustache again.

My son posing with Robbie during a game of Citadel

My son with the one and only MC Frontalot.

My son playing Lego Batman 2 in the console freeplay room.

My son watching his friend Chase play on the Nintendo DS.

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Fun With Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop

Earlier today as Geekend 9 was ending, I snapped these pics of some friends. I made quite a few adjustments in Lightroom and Photoshop.  Check out the before and after:

 

Posted on by Jim Goings in Photography Leave a comment

Hiking with the Kids

We went to L.L. Stubb Stewart State Park today. They have a ton of trails for hikers and bikers that we discovered. We managed to hike just under 4 miles and then went out for pizza. A just reward!

The kids found a cool centipede.  At least I think it’s a centipede.   Perhaps it’s a millipede.

Posted on by Jim Goings in Family, Outdoors Leave a comment

Getting Fit, Dropping Pounds

I’ve been walking 5-10 miles every day for the past couple of weeks along with fasting 3x per week (fasting = < 500 calories for the day).  So far, I have noticed a lot of changes:

  • I’ve lost 14.5 lbs!
  • I have a reduced appetite overall.
  • I feel better – more energy throughout the day, although I do get tired earlier than usual.
  • Sleeping great!

I can’t rave enough about the Fitbit that I purchased.  I highly recommend getting one for tracking your fitness levels.  It’s been a huge help in my daily motivation.  See my results from last week:

 

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Diablo III LAN Party

OK, so it’s not really a LAN party per se since Diablo is 100% online, but it’s as close as we can get these days!  There are 9 of us in total at my house playing from Friday night until Sunday afternoon, with 4-6 hours of rest each day.  There was seating for 12 people, but only 10 showed up.  We had such a great time!   I honestly thought my nostalgia for the LAN parties of my teenage years might have been more awesome in my mind than in reality, but I was wrong!  We had a blast and we managed all started on level 1 with new characters and beat the game on normal mode.

In total, we had Adam, Braden, Chibby, Chuck, Colin, Eric, Greg, Ron, and myself on site.  While I did a crappy job of taking pictures of the event, I did catch a couple of good ones.

Ron and Braden.  Ron loved playing Diablo on the my 63″ TV. (Friday night)

Colin and Chuck in the back row.   (Friday night)

Chibby and Braden in the game room.  (Saturday)

Eric and Ron at the character selection screen (Saturday night)

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Me and Me Ma

Happy Mothers Day Mom!

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Avengers!

Last weekend, I rented the Movie Parlor at Cinetopia for the Avengers.  The theater was beautiful and perfectly sized for me and 30 of my friends and family.  The “movie parlor” has plush furniture with ottomans, side tables for your food, 18 lcd screens showcasing avengers photos, a star-lit ceiling, and a fireplace!

As if that weren’t enough, we had a private balcony overlooking a lake.  Cinetopia knows how to do it right!

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Brother From Another Mother

Christopher, my closest friend brother for over 20 years came up to visit with his wife Karen, two boys Owen and Ryan, and his baby daughter, Deirdre.  It really was great to see them and even though we only see each other about once a year, we fall right back into place with our usual banter and geeky inside talk.

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SWTOR Space Battles Review

After playing SWTOR up to level 37 on alliance and level 18 on empire, here are my thoughts on space battles in Star Wars the Old Republic.

Space battles are repeatative. There are only a few and yes, they are on rails. However, I don’t mind the rails too much. But the repeatition of the missions themselves make the missions very predicatable. Even the character banter is always the same, queued up in the same parts of the mission.

So when you fly the same path, over and over, you can almost put zero effort into the missions because you memorize them to the finest detail. I know when the ships are coming to come from the right, now the bottom, and now from behind that ship over there. You can literally aim in advance.

  • Escort a ship. The ship you’re escorting flies a crazy path past all kinds of dangers. Makes zero sense, but it is fun.
  • Blow up a space station.  This mission, more than any other makes me want free flight.  The path is just weird.
  • Ice Field. Take out enemy fighters and a “boss” ship with it’s escorts.
  • Asteroid field. Blow up enemy fighters while dodging rocks. The path is one that you wouldn’t take if you had a choice and your side kick in the mission even says “Can’t we go around?” when you fly through a narrow crack between two tumbling asteroids.
  • Take down the super star destroyer while half a dozen star destroyers attempt to stop you. More specifically, take out it guns and shield generators, but nothing you do can actually take it down.
  • Take out enemy bombers. Prevent many dozens of enemy bombers from blowing up a friendly space station. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think the space station is ever in any real danger. You win the mission by how many bombers you destroy… not whether the space station survives. Drives me nuts.

Each of these missions has a higher difficulty version. They are in totally different locations and have different names, but are otherwise exactly the same as their easier bretheren. I mean exactly… same path, same ships, etc. only there’s more and they are harder.

There are quite a few quirks to space combat as well.

  • The gun turrets on large ships are target able THROUGH the ship. If you’re on the port side straffing turrets, you can also target the ones on the starboard side. Kinda weird.  Also, those very same guns can target you… they even fire right through the ship to hit you.
  • Large ships that have no guns left (because you destroyed them all) still manage to make pot shots at you. It’s not clear where the beams are coming from, but they do still hit you despite the fact that it doesn’t actually have any gun turrets left.
  • I also hate, hate, hate that even though I have destroyed the shield generators and every single gun on a star destroyer, they never actually blow up. I can fire 50 missiles into it and it never gives me the satisfaction of exploding. It just flames, smokes, and lists to the side.
  • Friendly ships fire at enemies, but don’t damage them at all as far as I can tell.  Two large destroyer type ships will fire on each other and do nothing.  But you come along in your little ship and pew pew pew every gun and shield generator to oblivion in one pass.
  • On the super star destroyer and the space station, there appears to be one target-able spot left that is indestructible. I’ve fired 20 missles at the star destroyer one and it doesn’t leave a dent. Maybe I can destroy it on higher levels or something.
  • You can explode defense satellites in the space station mission, but that’s the largest thing you can destroy.

Also, all of the missions have bonus missions that open up on higher levels. For example, you might get a bonus mission to destroy all of the defense satellites in the space station mission. Here’s the thing… even if you destroy all of them in lower levels, you won’t get credit for it until the bonus mission opens up at some point. After destroying the sallites the previous 20 times I did the mission, imagine my surprise when I suddenly was asked to do it for extra experience.  I want my back pay, er, experience!

Here’s the ultimate face palm of the space battles in swtor: the empire missions are exactly the same as the alliance missions. They have different names, locations, and ship types, but are otherwise the same. You fly the same path with the same goals.

Despite all my bitching… the space missions are still quite fun. Here’s my top three suggestions to Bioware.  I have many more, but I think these three are most realistic to achieve and would bring the most value to players.

  1. Make the empire and alliance missions completely different.
  2. Make ships solid so you can shoot or be shot through them.
  3. Create a multiplayer aspect. Multiple players could be on rails, but you can both affect the outcome of the same mission. This could work awesome in PvP too.

 

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Silver Falls

Finally slapped together the video footage I took when we went camping at Silver Falls last year for Hannah’s 11th birthday.  I took 8 kids on a hike all by myself!  The other hikers would look at me and my long train of children with a puzzled look of horror.  All of the kids were well behaved and had a great time though! Such a beautiful place!

Posted on by Jim Goings in Family, Home Videos Leave a comment