Old News: December 18th to December 30th, 2001 (10 entries)

9:27pm, 30 Dec. 2001:
Did you know that Hanwool and I helped Justin upgrade his system last Thursday? It was a 950 MHz T-bird, 128 mB RAM, 16 mB POS AGP video card... we installed another 128 mB RAM (total: 256) and a new 64 mB video card. He needed a better setup to run Aliens v. Predator 2. I changed my .sig to reflect my current system stats. It reads:

Henry J. Oliver III, UberGeek
1.7 GHz P4, 512 mB SDRAM, 80 gB HD, DVD-R drive
1.4 GHz Athlon @ 1596 MHz, 512 mB PC2100 DDR RAM, 80 gB + 8 gB HDs, 64 mB Radeon w/ DDR

And of course, there's always my 900 MHz Athlon, 128 mB RAM, 32 mB Viper V770, 60 gB HD, with a DVD drive and an 8x CD-R and the 600 MHz Celeron laptop w/ 64 mB RAM, 16 mB vid card, and 4.3 gB HD. The Vaio only has a 32 mB video card (nVidia GeForce2 MX). I downloaded the 23.11 detonator drivers for it and it runs great -- RTCW runs at max. settings with a minimum 40 FPS.

2:26pm, 30 Dec. 2001:
Justin and Matt came over last night. We played Tile Chess, then Girl Genius: The Works, and then GURPS (the Nexus campaign). I actually won at Tile Chess (it was a long game), but it didn't look like I was going to towards the end. Justin was eliminated about a dozen turns before the end and it was down to Matt and me -- he had a king and two bishops and I had a king, two bishops, and three pawns. At one point, I was in check and it looked like he was going to be able to capture my king, but then I attached a bishop to his king's corner so that he was trapped. Then I just moved the other bishop and pawns into position while he was forced to skip his moves over and over. It was kewl. BTW, the first picture below (click to enlarge) is of the starting game board; Justin was black (surprise, surprise), Matt was green, and I was gold (w/ a red bishop cuz we temporarily lost one of gold's). Right off the bat, Justin killed my queen with his first move... but a few turns later, I killed his with my rook. The picture on the right is of the game board towards the end. Anyway, then we played The Works and Matt won (need errata for this one too). In the GURPS game, Matt and Justin played Zerratul and Johnny Payback, respectively. They were in the Shinpi Nokori setting to begin with, but they were using an experimental cybernetic personal teleporter (sort of a jump drive that runs on bioelectricity) when the controlling station was struck by a bolt from a lightning cannon wielded by the Space Rangers. They found themselves transported to Earth, 1985. Apparently, all of North America was under control of the Mexican dictatorship -- a totalitarian government that bared a striking resemblance to Italy's while under the control of Mussolini. Well, they killed 12 soldiers with Thompsons and a sergant with a Mauser '96 (they were from TL9 and had Gauss and Plasma weapons). Then they joined up the resistance for a couple days while Matt tried to heal his crippled leg. They found out they 'jump' every two and a half days. At the end of this session, they woke up in a crowded prison in a TL5 Korea ruled by a loose confederation of clans. Matt got 3.5 CPs, but Justin didn't get any because he used the "Everybody gets ONE" rule to save himself from death (about 20 rounds from a Thompson hit him square in location 5).

1:02pm, 28 Dec. 2001:
Made a post to TweakXP.com about proxies... if you have a LAN and only 1 internet connection, you might consider one. Anyway, here's the thread. I really like the forums over there. Also, we've been making a lot of progress (IMHO) on the Spirit Committee -- an off-list discussion among myself, Gef, Gil, and Landen. Gef made some really keen observations about the major inconsistencies. Also, tonight Hanwool and Justin came over (Matt was invited, but he was gaming with his other group) and we played Tile Chess (an SJ Games game). It was really fun, tho Hanwool won (I made a huge blunder towards the end and trapped my queen which he took with his bishop). It's hard to keep from suggesting or commenting on game strategies while playing (which is one of the rules).

3:41pm, 26 Dec. 2001:
Ah, Boxing Day (the day after X-Mas)... also my sister's birthday. I got her the soundtrack to Moulin Rouge (an awesome movie, BTW) and the soundtrack to Phantom of the Opera, the broadway play. Kinda weird stuff, but hey, it's what she wanted. I got Planet of the Apes on DVD yesterday. Watched the bonus stuff on the 2nd DVD last night. My grandparents (mother's side) go back to Oregon tonight at 5:00pm. Matt actually gave me a present, too (arrrrghhh, damn you, Matt) -- Tile Chess. It looks really fun; you can play with up to 6 ppl. Oh, and it's a Steve Jackson Game! Speaking of SJ Games, Geoffery Fagan on GURPSnet has been expressing some disappointment with G: Spirits. I have to agree -- they left a lot out. Say, want to see some mind bending stuff? Try this.

7:16am, 23 Dec. 2001:
Justin and I were discussing the possibility of a new GURPS campaign last night -- some sort of fantasy world, TL3, with dwarves, elves and magic, but also some Steampunk influence. Today he called me and we talked about it more (he's making a mage character) and one setting we've considered is an approximate version of Garweeze Wurld from Hackmaster (and the KODT comics). Hopefully, Dan (at IF:CS) will have the Hackmaster's GM Guide or some kind of materials for the Hackmaster default world when I go in there to collect my reserved items this Saturday (or earlier, depending on when he opens this week). But also, I'd like to have a powerful wizard somewhere that created a Gate to our Steampunk campaign about 100 years ago (with a time passage ratio of about 10:1 so 1 year in Steampunk is 10 in the fantasy world). Thus, things like Dwarves with Gatling Pistols and Gnomish telegraph posts can crop up... But Troy Guffrey (Pax214 on AIM) was telling me about his Steampunk/Fantasy campaign and it sounded really kewl. I've been doing some posting over at TweakXP.com and the ppl there are very helpful. Today's awesome MP3: Kopperia no Hitsugi by Ali project (go get it on Morpheus right now). BTW, Hanwool, Justin, and I played Munchkin last night... I beat them both. It was sweet. At one point, I had Ancient and Humungous played on a level 18 Bullrog, but I played Magic Lamp and collected 8 treasures! Oh, and if you play Munchkin, be sure to get a copy of the errata.

10:06am, 21 Dec. 2001:
Wow, Windows XP is turning out to be a lot better than I thought it was. I got a ton of updates and installed all my must-have utils (ACDSee, CuteFTP, Dreamweaver, GetRight, Morpheus, Trillian, Winamp, PaintShop Pro), but I didn't need to install Winzip cuz XP supports ZIPs innately like Millenium Edition (which I have on my Compaq laptop -- it sucks). The Vaio also came with Corel WordPerfect 9 pre-installed, so that was good... it's my absolute favorite suite for word processing and spreadsheets. I saw that standard XP only comes with like 2 themes, so I went and downloaded Style XP 4.2 beta which I used to load a really kewl Mac OS X theme (Macs suck, but they do look real purty) from Themes XP. Oh, and I found this nice XP site with a lot of links and stuff (the 'MP3 recording capability' for WMP 8 is extremely useful). Here's a pic of my current theme (mind you, being a 256 color GIF, this doesn't do justice to the real thing):

3:07am, 21 Dec. 2001:
Guess what I got today. It's really amazing... a SONY Vaio system!! It has an 80 gB HD, a Pentium 4 1.7 GHz processor, 512 mB RAM, built-in 10/100baseTX Ethernet, IEEE 1394 ports (4 and 6 pin), a PC Card slot (like the ones you put in laptops; I think it only supports types I & II tho), Memory Stick slot, MiniDisc drive, DVD-RW drive (yes--you read correctly: DVD-R), and a decent 32 mB GeForce2 MX video card. Also, the case looks spectacular; it has like a mirror finish on the bezel and there's all these buttons and lights on the front and a back-lit LCD embedded in there that shows stuff like the EQ for music and junk. It is really something. Oh yeah, it has a TV Tuner/FM receiver in there too. The audio stuff is great... the back of the machine has 8 ports for audio alone, 4 RCA ports and 4 of those professional-types where the bare wire gets clamped in. The machine came with two good speakers too (they're about 2 inches shorter than the tower itself). It has Windows XP installed on it, which I've never used before, but I'm getting to like it. It made setting up the LAN stuff really simple. Of course, I've taken pictures. Here's one I took about 10 minutes ago; just click the thumbnail below to see the full image (53 kB).

12:07am, 20 Dec. 2001:
Ah, just saw Lord of the Rings. It was awesome (but also very long; about 3 hours). There were Nazgul, Balrogs, and Orcs. And lots of Hobbits. It was kewl. We got there at 6:00pm for the 7:10pm showing and the line was already like 15 yards long and 3 ppl wide. Anyway, we got really good seats right in the center of the theatre and on the row with lots of leg room. I saved my ticket stub too...

2:14pm, 19 Dec. 2001:
Justin, Hanwool (I talked to him last night--he's in town until the 6th of Jan.), and I are going to go see Lord of the Rings at 4:30pm today (we're going 30 minutes early to get good seats). I called Matt and asked if he wanted to go; it took his mom (or maybe it was his sister) like 10 minutes to wake him up (at 1:30pm, no less) and then he says he'll be shopping at 4:30pm. Sheesh. How anyone can possibly get away with sleeping until 5:00pm, I don't know. Anyway, yesterday I went to Circuit City and got a new DVD--Jurassic Park III. It was actually pretty good, IMHO. I also got a new NIC that I installed in the 1400 [...been malfunctioning, see here]; the LinkSys LNE100TX v4. It cleared up my networking problems I was having across the LAN here at home, but IE 6, Netscape 6.2, and AOL 6.0 all still crash when I try to run them. Then Norton popped up on one of the crashes and told me a Windows .DLL was infected with a (no name) virus. (Speaking of which, I can't run Norton because my trial period is up and I can't connect to the internet to buy it for obvious reasons.) Ugh. At least everything else (sort of) works. I'm working on those GURPS Alternate Hit Location Tables for Melee Combat; I have the basics and the 'high zone' parts worked out. BTW, I found this really interesting article at a Christian Gamer's E-Zine of all places; it's an essay on combat probabilities with GURPS examples, all based on Col. Dupuy's HERO database (real-world military statistics). The most interesting bit, IMO, is this sentence: "The HERO database indicates that 21% of all hits are scored on the head, 21% in the torso and 58% on the arms or legs." OMG, 21% on the head? Wow. Anyway, the article is called 'Hitting Them Where It Hurts' by Charles Franklin. Oh, I finally got around to uploading my photos of Phillip's LAN party to the 1400 from the Sony. Here are some; click them to see the whole pic... each is about 40 kB. And yes, Phillip is wearing a 'Mac Geek' T-shirt.

12:28am, 18 Dec. 2001:
I've been doing some stuff on Phasma Mundus. Looking forward to our next session in Rome; it's the perfect opportunity to add characters (or hopefully, players) to the party. Oh yeah--big news this week: Lord of the Rings comes out Wednesday! Gandalf, Frodo... it will be awesome. My estimate for opening weekend numbers: 90 million. They say it's going to be the next Star Wars. Jason Stejskal called me this evening... not a wholly appreciated act, I must say. Allowing for the possibility that other people will read this website, I'll hold my tongue and simply say that he's a selfish, neglectful person of few morals. Okay, anyway, in other news today, PvP has a super-funny strip today (well, it's the one for Dec. 17)... more LoTR references. On Sunday, the district attorney of Boston (Richard) was killed (well, shot at with a submachine gun, anyway... but he looked dead--you never know with these cliffhanger type things though) on The Practice. In case I haven't mentioned it before, I want to state for the record that I've beaten both Matt and Justin at Munchkin the last 8 times we've played; I've also beaten both of them at Proteus every time we've played. I usually win in Frag and The Works too.