30 June 2008

Stalking the Shadow of Chernobyl

I recently got the ability to play S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl without crashing every 10 minutes. This game is VASTLY underrated, IMO.
The only thing I did to it was install the aliVe (sic) AI mod and go to it... and I have to say, this game can bring a smile to my face.
Tonight, at the end of my session, I was a bit cheesed off at the lack of variety in the dialogue paths for the game. I could either be a freedom-loving guy or a hidebound, evil duty-loving prick. I chose both. I betrayed my erstwhile Duty comrades to the leader of freedom (quicksaving beforehand) and then, as he was radioing in the strike on the farmhouse where they'd taken up residence, I unlimbered my OC-14 Groza and put 20 rounds through his skull. His guards were so stunned that they forgot to shoot me.
Imagine the scene-- a dark, dank room smelling of stress, cigarettes and moldy concrete, in the midst of a slovenly, muddy camp of freedom fighters. A tall man in a once-green isolation suit has walked into the camp, not moments before, claiming urgent information for the man who inhabits this room. As he speaks, there is nothing to betray his murderous intent. As the words leave his lips, the rife swings up and hammers, deafeningly loud in the enclosed space. The guards are frozen, shotguns half at the ready, jaws hanging open as the strangely silent man reloads with cold precision, emptying the next magazine into the just-moving guards. Three bodies lie still on the floor, and the man turns, smiling evilly inside his suit. The slaughter is only just beginning.
After putting an end to the Freedom movement, I decided to see how much of the camp I could slay, Brandon Lee-style, before I was taken down. So I went downstairs (four more freedom guards met a messy end at my rifle muzzle) and broke into the armory, where I found first-class armor, ammo and a rotary grenade launcher. Being the sporting fellow that I am, I eschewed protection in favor of more firepower, and helped myself to all the ammo and grenades I could carry. After several frags tossed into the corridoor to dissuade entry, I made a grand exit, rifle spraying wildly into the darkness. At this point (two more door guards had fallen to my frags) I unlimbered the rotary grenade launcher and proceeded to paint the town an interesting new shade of red and green that I call "chunky christmas salsa with extra pancreas bits." After blowing through 13 frag grenades, 230 rounds of 5.45mm ammunition, 60 shotgun shells, five energy drinks, and 24 rounds of contact-fuzed inciendary grenades, I decided to call it a day and headed back to the bar, my path lit by the burning camp behind me.
Strangely enough, nobody saw fit to remark on the cacaphony coming from the Army Warehouses the next day. You'd think that a 20-minute-long string of explosions, screaming, yelling and maniacial laughter would engender at least some reaction.... but no.
(And yes, my esrtwhile friends at Duty were NOT pleased with my clever strategy and ended up shooting me in the face. Oh well, can't please everyone.)

27 June 2008

Random Crap, morning edition

ICANN haz new domains? (comma ell-oh-ell)
http://news.wired.com/dynamic/stories/T/TEC_NEW_INTERNET_NAMES?SITE=WIRE&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2008-06-26-19-01-44

Steampunk noodlings (comma WANT)
http://vladislausdantes.deviantart.com/gallery/

"Put my hand out the window. Sun seared flesh off my bones. Fuck you, Rosemont. I stay indoors and cheat your death rays." --Warren Ellis' Twitter Feed from Chicago.

Facts gleaned from this morning's readings--

  • If you're over 30, forget swinging. Facebook blocks the "random play" and "Whatever I can get" options from profiles aged 30 or older at signup time.
  • Unexpected quantum happy can result from cuddling cats early in the morning.
  • Also, taking a picture of your breakfast causes an existential debate over the validity of your so-called life philosophy, and causes you to change the kind of caffeinated beverage you buy that morning. More after these messages?
  • Dongles are in short supply at work. WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF BITS OH GOD HELP US PLEASE
  • I think I need more caffeine, it's going to be a LONG day.

21 June 2008

Experiments in Healthy Eating, Part 1

So I woke up this morning and found that there was no readily accessible protein in the house. So I made coffee (didn't drink it, stomach is a little delicate right now unfortunately) and played TF2 ^_^.
At about 1130 I realized that I should probably eat, and so began my quest to try and make something for food. I wanted pancakes, so I cam up with the following recipe--

You need--
lemons
sugar
bisquick
protein powder
almond milk
an egg

You do--
measure out about 2 cups of almond milk into a large mixing bowl. It's less dense than regular milk so you need more.
dump 2 scoops of protein powder in there too and mix.
dump in 2 cups bisquick and mix again.
dump in egg, mix again.

heat pan to where water dances on the bottom, measure out ladles of batter and make pancakes.

as they are cooling off, make your topping-- squeeze lemon into a cup, scrape out the pulp too. add sugar and maybe some rose's lime juice/ lemon juice/ whatever citrus you've got handy. pour over pancakes, consume with gusto.

The pancakes were a little heavy and bland, but that's what I get for trying to turn them healthy ^_^. All in all, a surprising success.

15 June 2008

Miniatures Review-- Corvus Belli Haqqislam Starter Pack

Just picked up these little beauties at my FLGS, and wow, are they something. The pack gives you 6 dudes in desert gear, resembling a cross between Lawrence of Arabia extras and the House Van Saar Gangers from Games Workshop's Necromunda.
Molding-wise, these guys are excellent. There's NO flash whatsoever on the actual figure bodies, just bits hanging off of the sides that are easy to remove. The detail is excellent, too, better than Games Workshop white-metal figures of a similar size, although the facial features are not great. The figures' poses also suffer from a bit of anime-like pidgeon-toed-ness... Seems like the sculputor took the concept art a bit TOO literally.
Connectivity-wise, the figures are only fair. Three of them are solid-molded, while the other three require gluing on of arms and suchlike. The pieces sort of fit together, but they're fiddly and require coercion. I'm still not sure how well they'll stand up to extensive play and transport.
For basing them I tried something new-- using E6000 epoxy/adhesive goop to fill the gaps in the base. I left them in the sun and the stuff appeared to cure nigh-instantly. It cures to a rubbery finish, and it's self-leveling too, meaning it invades cracks and such... Five out of five so far.
Value-wise, though, these figures die a horrible screaming death. Corvus Belli is based in Spain, land of the euro, and that means I paid 45$ for this box, which is WAY too much. However, these dudes are about all you need to have a starter force for Infinity. Including the additional 45$ layout for the rulebook, that means you can play the game for 90 bucks, which is not too bad for a miniature tabletop wargame. Far better than 40K, at least.
The game itself is recoommended-- good ruleset, cool background, and nice attention to realism and detail.
Overall? Hell, I'd buy these guys again in a second, who am I kidding. Besides, this faction gets spidertanks. Look for one of those getting reviewed in the future.