Christmas this year has been really great so far. I say "so far" because Chrsitmastide STARTS on with Christmas Day on December 25th, and lasts through Epiphany on January 6th - Thus, the 12 Days of Christmas.
I come from a somewhat large family, with many uncles, aunts, and cousins. When I was a kid, we started breaking up our Christmas celebrations into two events: On Christmas Eve, everyone would gather at my grandparents' house for a big family dinner, and some exchanging of gifts. This was quite the event, due to all the people involved. Lots of food, lots of merriment, and lots of laughter.
The next morning, Christmas Day, has always been for the nuclear family. My brother and I would wake up mom and dad, and rush to the stockings to see what Santa brought us. It was great fun.
Over the years, after having shared Christmas with the families of various friends and significant others, I've come to see how different families "do" Christmas. I think the one thing that has fascinated me the most has been The Opening of Gifts. Opening gifts takes a very long time in my family. Not because there is an overabundance of gifts or people, but because of how we've always done it - One person, and only one person, opens a gift, takes it out of the box, passes it around so everyone can get a look at it, plays with it for a while or tries it on or pantomimes it's actual use or whatever. Then it gets put to the side, and then it's the next persons turn to open a gift. You can imagine my shock when, after experiencing gift opening in this way for all my life, suddenly finding myself in situations where people all just grab gifts and begin tearing into them all at the same time, like a gift wrap tearing version of a 21 gun salute.
These days, the extended family is just about all long-distance. My mom, dad, brother, and boyfriend John (notice how the Oxford comma prevents that list from being awkward) all gather at my Grandmother's house on Christmas Eve. It's just us these days, so there's not big family feast. We've modified our tradition to be a simple buffet of finger foods and crudité. Then John and I hit the road, on Christmas Day, and go down to visit with John's family for a few days.
John's mom only had dial-up for the longest time down here, but finally came into the high-speed world this last year! Which is why I'm able to sit here and write this post from my laptop while sitting at the dining room table! Oh, and play SWTOR until my laptop locks up from overheating.. hehe ;P
Last year, my buddy Steven and I started doing a live "Morning Show" every Tuesday and Thursday mornings. We had a lot of fun doing it, and enjoyed being able to interact with viewers live during the show through various chat/IM/social-media methods.
Today is not the actual anniversary of our first show. Our first show aired December 8th, so I'm a little late wishing a true happy anniversary... but today is a kind of a Spiritual Anniversary of the show. When we aired our very first show, that happened to be the day our building hosted a Christmas Breakfast; we were kind of rude, and sat there on our show eating our food while we were live, heh. Today is the day of this year's building-hosted Christmas Breakfast, which has caused me to think back to when Steven and I fired up the cameras for the first time.
Those were some good times. Here's that first show, where we talked about cross-contamination pet peeves, movie plans, and Christmas presents:
This is one of my dogs. His name is PiPi. We were torturing him by making him wear beads and trying to get him to do tricks while wearing them. He would have nothing to do with any of it, thank you very much. He just sat there on the stairs with this look on his face of, "...really?" So I just grabbed a shot of him as best I could, and called it a day.
He's really a sweet dog. Not like that *other* dog of ours... He Who Shall Not Have Treats... *that* guy don't get treats you know. I kid. He totally does 😛 heh
Yeah, so.. there's no point to this post, other than to say, I love my dogs 😀 hehe
This was posted on the It's OK to be Takei Facebook page today. I was unable to find the original, and no link was given, so I am unable to vouch as to its authenticity, but it's not that hard to picture this happening - even today.
"On September 23, 1995, my
husband was severely injured in an accident by a drunk driver. I was notified and rush to the emergency room immediately. I arrived at the hospital and asked where he was. I was told where he was, but was told I couldn’t see him at that time. Being the stubborn, defiant person that I was, I snuck into the back to find him myself. I heard him screaming in pain and telling the staff that he wanted me to be there. I followed the screams to the room he was being treated and was blocked by hospital security. I was told that there was no way I would be allowed to enter the room because I wasn’t a family member. I tried to explain that he was my husband. They LAUGHED at me!!!
You see, I was his HUSBAND also. It was explained (rather rudely) to me that men can’t marry men and that I had absolutely no standing to be anywhere near him. I produced papers stating that I was also his power of attorney and had the right to make medical decisions for him. The paperwork was drawn up at his lawyer’s office in Seattle, Washington and we lived at the time in North Carolina. I was also told that the paperwork was invalid because it wasn’t recognized in NC. The hospital would allow boyfriends and girlfriend to see each other, but not boyfriends and boyfriends. When I told them that he had NO family in NC, I was told, “It’s not our fault he lives so far from family.” This argument went round and round for about 30 minutes.
I want people to know about my husband. He was small in stature, only five feet tall and weighing at 104 lbs. He loved classic TV shows (I Love Lucy, Bewitched, and I Dream of Jeanie.) He was Felix to my Oscar. He worked a full time job, but still found time to make sure dinner was cooking when I got home from work. He was an adventurer who loved to try new things. He was, and still is, the love of my life. I could fill up 100 pages of things people should know about him.
Back to the point…my husband died, alone, crying, only wanting the person he loved to hold his hand. I died a little inside also, because I was denied to give him the only thing he wanted at the last moments of his life. What makes matters worse is that in the five years we were together, we’d only had one major argument. September 23rd was our second. The last thing I said to him in anger before he left the house was, “F*** YOU!” I can NEVER take back those words. That is the last thing he heard from my lips before he died. If I had been able to see him, just for a moment, the last thing he would have heard from me is, “I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!”
The laws of this nation MUST change to allow same sex couples (legally married or not) the same, equal rights at opposite sex couples. Please contact your local law makers and ask them to change the laws giving equal rights to all! If even one person reads this and has an emotional breakthrough concerning their ideals of gay couples, this letter will not be in vain!
Thank you for reading this:
A Concerned Gay Husband"
|Archetype||Freeform - Gadgeteering
I created this character during the Beta, and recreated him when the game went live. Engineer is my homage to The Engineer in TF2 - a fact made even more evident by this character's biography:
Kenneth has always been a team player, and there was a time when he was content to stick to a supporting role. That all changed when the Invasion struck, and his bat-wielding best friend died in his arms.
Picking up what he could, Kenneth pulled the light down on his hardhat, and exchange his trusty wrench for his newly constructed Sonic Blaster, and decided to take matters into his own hands.
Everyone still calls him 'Engineer,' just like in his old team days. And that's just fine by him.
I have a lot of fun with this character. I use two of the pets from Gadgeteering, the Munitions Bots and the Support Drones. I threw a few powers from the Power Armor set, only where it made sense, to add a little flavor. I can stay alive for a long time with this set up, so long as I'm not taking too much heavy focus fire, heh.
==[ UPDATE ]====
Massive changes to the game a while back caused all my old characters to have all their stats and powers reset. I basically had to rebuild Engineer from the ground up 🙁 Here are screenshots of his stats, specs, and powers as of right now (9/26/2012):
I have always loved playing video games. I can't remember a time when I wasn't playing some kind of video game or another. Since PCs are my "thing" I thought it might be fun for you to get a glimpse at what PC games helped shape the gamer I eventually grew up to be. This list is about graphically-based games - there's a whole world of text-based games and MUDs that I was involved in. Those experiences are for a different post.
Without a doubt, the number 1 multiplayer game of my youth would have to be none other than TradeWars 2002 [BIC]. I can't even begin to count the number of hours I spent playing this game. Shoot, I even ran my own TW2002 server for a while, I loved it so much! This game is a classic example of the old adage, A Minute To Learn, A Lifetime To Master. The basics were simple: By low, sell high; avoid the strong, destroy the weak; Do good and play fair, or go the way of the pirate and pillage away.
You could form corporations, construct your own StarPorts (which would become valid trading posts for other players as well), claim and colonize planets, create your own planets with Genesis Devices, amass small armies and sprinkle them throughout the universe to collect tolls from passing traders, upgrade your planet to the point where you could even MOVE YOUR PLANET ACROSS SECTORS!! Holy Crap I'm getting all excited just thinking about it!!
This game, though primitive in it's "MMO"ness and PvP, taught me a great deal about how players interact with each other inside the gaming environment. It is also a game that has stood the test of time... in a way. I'm not sure if someone with no previous TW2002 experience would be able to find excitement and joy in playing it, but I can honestly say there is solid gaming satisfaction (not just a quickly passing nostalgic satisfaction) in returning to this game today.
Legend of the Red Dragon
Legend of the Red dragon [BIC] (LoRD) was probably my first (graphical) fantasy multiplayer game. I use "multiplayer" loosely, as it was more a multi-user single-player game. True, you could fight other players, but you could only fight players in an AI mode - you weren't actually fighting against the other player, merely their character which would be controlled by the AI inside your fight. As you can guess, the PvP kind of sucked - but you didn't play LoRD for the direct-fight PvP. No, no... you played LoRD for the epeen PvP of Dragon Kills.
When you killed the dragon, you started over again at level 1 and were expected to work your way back up to kill the dragon again, and again, and again. There were different names for the various levels depending on how many times you killed the dragon before, and different potential classes and races (depending on the BBS you played on) would also become available depending on the number of DKs you had racked up. Sometimes it translated into actual power, but most of the time it was simply bragging rites.
Player interactions were also interesting in that players could flirt with one another, get married, have sex, and even get pregnant (or contract VD)! If I remember correctly, this was pretty unique amongst the available Door Games [BIC] at the time - other than those written exclusively for the Adult section.
This game saw many spinoffs, including a recent web-based version called Legend of the Green Dragon, which is functionally identical in just about every way (that I can tell).
Solar (and Barren) Realms EliteSolar Realms Elite [BIC] (SRE, 1990) and its sucsessor, Barren Realms Elite [BIC] (BRE, 1992) were functionally identical. They were, for all intense and purposes, the same game - just themed differently, which is why I'm lumping them together here.
I played both of these games, but found myself more drawn into BRE. A fact I've always found currious since I tend to be a huge fan of the sci-fi genre (see TW2002 above). In both of these games you control an empire, and attempt to expand that empire by acquiring specific types areas - areas of expansion were single-purposes areas, so if you needed to increase revenue you would try to acquire areas of tourism, for example.
You had to manage your empire in classic ways, by keeping the people happy, while making sure they were well fed, entertained, and secure. You would have to manage diplomacy with both computer, as well as player controlled neighboring empires. You could even raise an army and go to war with other players, which could quickly grow very costly, both in money and in lives.
One of the ways this game was unique, in my experiences, was its ability to connect with other BBSes! Your area could have a huge game of BRE going, with cross-BBS alliances and wars. It was mad fun.
[EDIT: Thanks to Josh, of the BBS Wiki, Break Into Chat, for the release-date corrections]
RogueWhile not a BBS Door Game, Rogue is one of those games that sticks out in my mind as a classic example of fun gameplay. One of the fantastic things this game gave you was random dungeons - every time you played it, it was something new, and you never knew if your next step was going to be your last.
This was a very, very hard game. Each level you descended got progressively more difficult, and you ended up praying you didn't see a letter nearby (monsters were represented by letters - 'Z' was for Zombie, as an example).
What made this game so much fun was the thrill of discovery mixed with the danger of knowing you could die at any moment. Finding treasure was an exhilarating experience in Rogue ... in fact, I don't think I've ever had as deep of a satisfaction in finding loot in any modern game, as I did in Rogue.
Over all, it was a very simple ASCII game, that managed to hit all the right buttons, at all the right times. Total win for me.
We've had a string of robberies here in the condo building I live in. We don't have a bike room in our building just yet, so many people keep their bikes locked up in the garage. A number of these bikes have been stolen this week. The condo association is now asking that residents move bikes, they may be keeping in the garage, back to their units.
To add insult to injury, the thieves were let into the building by people who live here. I mean, really.. where's the sense of personal responsibility for the general safety and well being of the building and its residents? If this was a single-family home you wouldn't just let strangers wander into your house, would you? Why should it be any different here? If you're an expected visitor, then you should take no issue with using the call box to announce your arrival.
So... here are the pictures, sent around by the condo association, of the thieves. If you see any of them out on the street, knock them to the ground, sit on their chest, slap their face with a wet trout, and call the cops.
There was a story on the news about this! I'm not sure it's really 6 o'clock news worthy, but.. what ever 😛 heh
View more videos at: http://www.nbcwashington.com.
In case anyone happens to be at all interested, I've started a page called "Flash Games," where I'll be collecting games I like. A link to the page is up in the menu bar for your convenience. If you want to write it down (for some God forsaken reason) here it is: http://keaven.com/flashgames/
I really, really, *really* wish this game had a different control scheme.
Magicka, a game from Aarowhead Game Studios, is a fantasy game, chock full of pop culture and industry jokes, where you wield magic to save the day, guided by your honorable instructor Vlad, who is most definitely not a vampire.
Two things make this game super fun for me. First, the game environment is just awesome. With so many games trying very hard to not break immersion, it's refreshing to play a game that throws that all out the window and just litters itself with pop culture references. Don't get me wrong, immersion is an important staple to good game design for some very solid reasons. Every now and then, though, it's nice to just have some silly fun. If all games were like that, this wouldn't be anywhere near as impactful.
Second, I get a big kick out of mixing my own magic. In Magicka, you have access to a set of basic eight elements, (fire, water, frost, earth, lightning, arcane, healing, and shield .. there are other combo elements you can learn, like steam and ice, but you have to figure those out and they don't add to your hotkey list). You then queue up these elements in various combinations to create your spells. These can then be cast in one of 4 ways: on yourself, as a projectile/beam/cone, as a PBAoE, or on your melee weapon.
The afternoon of Sunday, February 6, 2011, John and I took our dogs (Kirby and Pipi) over to my parents house. My brother's dog, Jewel, a beautiful brindle Boxer, has stayed at my parents house for the past few years and quickly became part of the family, thanks to her sweet disposition, and cuddly affection towards everyone who walked through the door.
Jewel loved playing with Kirby and Pipi. She would spend time at our place when my parents would go on vacation - usually just a weekend here or there, but occasionally we would get to watch her for whole weeks at a time. She was always the best behaved dog in the house, and would constantly be trying to get the two boys to play tag!
I'm very, very happy we got to go over to the house yesterday for them to play together again. It turns out, it would be the last time.
My mom called me this evening to inform me Jewel suffered a major stroke yesterday, shortly after we had left. She had suffered from ongoing heath problems, and this last year had been particularly hard on her. For the sake of the pain she had been in, this is a blessing - she can finally be at peace. We, however, are now suffering the pain losing her has caused.
She was one of the sweetest dogs I have ever known. Though she has always been my brother's dog, and he loved her more than anything, Jewel padded her way into my heart, with those big brown eyes full of affection, and the way she would cuddle up to you as though she was trying her damnedest to give you a hug.
Rest in peace, sweet Jewel. You will be sorely missed. I think God you are no longer in pain, and thank you for the years of love you gave me and my family. You will never be forgotten.