Jamming and FPS attempts

Thursday August 20, 2009 at 9:54am band, video games Comments (1) »

Well, the band has had an unfortunate setback: our drummer has stepped down (hopefully) temporarily. He's apparently unhappy with how well he's playing. He's now taking some lessons and wants only to work on what his instructor is giving him, thinking that he's picked up some bad habits that are hindering him. I have my own thoughts relating to this (that aren't exactly in line with his), but basically it comes down to what he wants to do - if he wants to take a hiatus to work on some 'fundamentals', that's his call.

In the meantime, we (the rest of us) are still trying to get together and play. Mahto sat in on the drums yesterday, so we had a full band to practice with and we had a pretty good time - though i'm not sure how much progress we made.

In other, completely unrelated news, I've picked up an old addiction(?) again: online first person shooters. Namely, Quake.

As of Tuesday evening the QuakeLive beta supports Mac and Linux platforms. I'd wanted to try this for some time, because the idea behind it seemed awesome, but it was previously a windows-only endeavor. Better late than never.

QuakeLive is a "100% free-to-play" version of Quake 3 Arena that is completely run through a plugin for your browser. I'm pretty amazed at how well this works. The game plays just like it did as a stand-alone (if not better), includes the ability to customize a/v, player and other settings, and, most importantly, makes it incredibly easy to find matches to play in - they're all right there on your home page.

free + quake + multiplayer = fun!

...even if i still suck at this game...



Jam Sessions, Heroic Rodents and One Hundred Yards to the Pin

Sunday August 16, 2009 at 3:01pm band, gaming, golf, trips, concerts Comments (1) »

You know, if i remembered to do this more often, I wouldn't have to cover eight things in one post... ...though I might have fewer nonsense titles, and I would miss that...


It seems i've been pretty busy over the last couple of weeks - though not with anything particularly important, mind you.

The band we're starting seems to be taking off nicely. We had our third practice last tuesday, and I thought it went pretty well. We're having a good time. Mahto actually joined us for that one. It was fun to have him around, but I think the sound got a little muddy with three guitars. I'm not entirely sure if it was just volume/eq or if we need to have a clearer conception of our respective guitar "parts" or possibly a combination of both. Anyway, I think our next practice is tentatively scheduled for wednesday, and I'm looking forward to some more jamming.

We *finally* got to start our Mouse Guard campaign friday evening, which I'm very excited about. It was a fun is slightly shorter session. I still feel a little awkward with the system as, unlike the d&d i've been playing/running for nine years, I don't always remember all the basic mechanics off the top of my head. I'm sure that will smooth out as we go though. I'm looking forward to continuing this game, and I hope we can get to be somewhat regular as I think that would help us as we learn the system.

I got to play golf for the second time this year yesterday. Our church helps sponsor the East TN Children's Home benefit tournament at the Elizabethton Golf Course each year, and so two of us get to go play in it. They asked me if I'd like to play and, after telling them I wasn't sure they wanted someone as lousy as me representing them (heh), I said I'd love to. Tracy Moore and I did pretty well, finishing up at +1. Of course, that was pretty much all him, but I will take credit for a few shots, most of which were chips and putts but they ended up saving us some pars and birdies. It was a good time, though it was pretty hot and I did get a nice sunburn.

A vague look ahead...

Well, my calendar looks kind of empty for the short run as of this moment, but it'll probably end up filling in too fast. Next month we'll be taking some time to go out to AR for Ben's (sheri's brother) wedding, causing us to miss yet another Talk Like A Pirate party. There's also a Decemberists concert the next week that I might be trying to go to, another small GitP gathering (with munchkins!) that I'd like to attend (though it kinda looks unlikely :() in october and then, further out at the beginning of november, we'll be enjoying having Thanksgaming - which will be another mini-gaming-convention much like RuchtCon for some of our gamer friends. I'm hoping run Mouse Guard (because everyone should get to try that game) and/or my homebrew system (because I think it will be fun and I'd like to see how it flows... ...but I haven't heard much interest in it as yet :\) for this. If I do get to run something, I'm glad I have a few months to prepare this time.


We're back

We're back Image

As some have commented, not too many knew we ever left. Probably because it was the sort of trip that was difficult to be real "excited" (and therefore talk much) about.

Last friday Sheri and I headed up to IN. The main reason for the trip was to go to the memorial service for her grandmother, who passed away back in april. As you might expect, it was a nice, if somewhat sad, time.

We spent some time with some of sheri's dad's family - for the first time, really. Stanley and Bonnie were hosting us as well as sheri's parents for the weekend. They were really nice and fun to chat with and we ended up talking with them for quite a while after her parents left on monday.

We also got to meet Ben's fiance. She seems nice, if quite shy. It was kind of a shame we didn't get more of a chance to hang out.

We also stopped in on my parents for about a day, which was great. We played some games and talked and generally had a good time.

While we were there, a rather significant storm system came through tuesday morning that resulted in flooding, power loss and downed trees. the downed trees resulted in a bit of a wet adventure as we tried to make it back to their house from lunch.

And, as I try to do each time I go to IN, I had Noble Roman's pizza and breadsticks. Tasty.

I put a few pictures from the trip up in the Gallery - mostly pictures of scenery and small children.

On some other stuff:

About a week ago we had the 3rd session for Little Fears (session synopsis on the gaming page soon). It went so-so. It was a little slow and certain elements didn't manifest quite the way I'd hoped, but it was alright. Hopefully next session will be a little more satisfying.

Last thursday we (me, robb, josh & bill) had our second band practice. Improvement from the previous session was 100%, not that that first practice wasn't great. That was the most fun I've had playing guitar in 5 years or more. :) Right now we're just doing cover songs, but we've talked briefly about maybe trying to write some stuff. We've also talked about possibly playing some small local shows once we get good and solid. We're planning to get together tomorrow for more fun. On a related note, I should be getting an eq to run my amp through soon.


Movies, Music and Mice

Tuesday July 21, 2009 at 12:52pm friends, movies, guitar, band, gaming Comments (1) »

I've had a few things going on the last couple of weeks, but not much worthy of recording or reporting.

About a week ago we took the Gamers II movie over to Rucht & McKenna's house so they could see it, and Tony joined us as well. It was a good time. I think McKenna was laughing so hard she was crying. (aside: If you're a roleplayer, you should really see the Dead Gentlemen's movies 'The Gamers' and 'The Gamers II: Dorkness Rising'.)

Last saturday we went over to Robb & Edie's to hang out for a while. Robb, Josh and I hung out on the porch playing guitar while Robb was starting one of his brewing projects. At some point we got to talking about going to Josh's house to play with his dad, Bill, who is a drummer, so on sunday we met up at Bill's place and jammed hard for a few hours. That was a lot of fun. I've played with Robb a bit and with Josh once and we'd never played with Bill. For our first time getting together, we sounded great. I really don't think it will take much work for us to sound quite good. *With* a lot of work, I think we could sound pretty awesome. We're trying to make plans to get together again soon.

I've been working on my Mouse Guard campaign quite a bit. We finally got to get together to make characters last night. We didn't have time to really get started on the game itself, but we had fun and I think the players have come up with some really cool ideas. I really like how character creation works in this system. Hopefully we'll get to actually start the game soon, but, unfortunately, it probably won't be for a couple of weeks.

In other news, we *still* need to get out and ride our bikes. It seems like something always comes up whenever we think we might try to go out.


Why is it...

...that i can mash the button on the jeep's clicker for five minutes and it will not unlock for anything, but i can then hand it to Sheri and she'll push the button once and, click, it works...???

Research is currently underway to determine if this is also related to the Pickle Jar Phenomenon.

And now, the news (in no particular order):

Getting new tires on the jeep tomorrow. Yay rah exciting, i know, but it needs done.

We played catch in our backyard today. This seems random, and it is, but Sheri had been saying for a couple years that we should get some ball gloves and baseball and play catch because it would be fun. We had a couple of walmart gift cards, and it seemed an amusing thing to spend them on.

I think the last of Hikaru's current computer problems has been isolated and (somewhat) solved. I love my computers... ...when they work.

Had a great time jamming at the Hippie Hut yesterday. I think we're still one band member short, but it's going pretty well.

Continuing to go over the Mouse Guard rules and trying to get one of the current D&D story arcs wrapped up so i can put it on the back burner for a while in the interest of something new.

Been looking over some camera lenses and reviews of them. I know i want a long telephoto, a super-wide-angle and a wide-aperture prime (probably 50mm), but i keep going back-and-forth regarding exactly which ones i'm after. Oh well, i've got time.

Had a going away party for Ginger last weekend - which she almost missed ;). I think we had a dozen people or so. I took a few pictures - but didn't get too many before my flash batteries died. I hadn't thought about bringing the camera until right before we left and at that point i didn't have time to charge them. Anyway, we had a bit of a cookout and then sat around and talked for a good while. Later we played a game of Apples to Apples, which is always fun. It was a good time. We're going to miss Ginger a lot. :(


Recovery, Jamming, Etc

Sunday August 31, 2008 at 5:46pm injuries, music, band, video games Comments (7) »

Well, i think i can say i'm able to walk again now. I don't need crutches, and I don't need the giant ski boot. It's still a bit sore from time to time (esp when i forget my anti-inflammatory like i did this morning) and i've been keeping it wrapped for good measure, but I think it's on the mend. Got a few more PT sessions to do, but they're helping and it's doing well.

Now more exciting stuff: we got to have a band practice yesterday! For our first time jamming together, i think we sounded pretty awesome, and it was a lot of fun. Man, I've missed that. I love my SG too - it's a great instrument. I don't play it enough because i usually play acoustic when i'm on my own. Hopefully this will become a regular(ish) thing. At this point, we're just gonna see where we can make this go. We're all wanting to write some great stuff to play together and hoping play some local shows when we're up to it. I'm excited about this. I really hope we can make it work.

Apart from that, we haven't done much. Oh, we did buy a Wii Points card at the mall on saturday & i downloaded Mario 3, which we can now play on our Wii. The Virtual Console thing is a pretty awesome idea.

Well - i've gotta run for now.


Battle of the Bands

Friday August 15, 2008 at 12:03pm music, friends, bands, contests Comments (7) »
Battle of the Bands Image

So I went to the Battle of the Bands at Winged Deer Park last night to see Mahto's band, Ralvaden, and some others play. It was quite a fun and entertaining way to spend a thursday evening, I have to say. Hanging out with friends and listening to some live music. Does make me miss playing a band, though (I think i've mentioned that before?). Troy even made it out - hadn't seen him in *forever*.

I was pretty impressed with Ralvaden. I think they've improved quite a bit since I heard them last just a week ago. For their first show *ever*, they were awesome. They had written the two songs they played, which I thought were pretty well-composed for no longer than they've been at it. If they stick with it, they could be very good. In terms of technics, I don't think they were the most talented musicians playing, but they did have a good style and played well I thought. I could tell they've worked hard at it. I loved how Mahto handled the 'interview' that they did with the band after the performance - he really seemed to keep the mc off balance. It was quite amusing.

What kind of surprised me was that the whole event was sponsored by a a 'christian' organization, and there were some plugs for some upcoming 'christian' events, etc. Also, the surprise 'prize' for the winning band was being given the opportunity to open for one of the aforementioned events. A cynical part of me wants attribute the fact that the most overtly 'christian' bands took the top spots to these aspects, but the more benefit-of-the-doubt part of me decides (and hopes) that that was *probably* not the case. I think I would have picked the same 'winner' (based on the judge's proclaimed criteria), though I think I would have flipped places 2 & 3.

I really think that the David Nipper band (who placed 3rd) was really the most musically talented and professional of the lot - though The Verity (who took 1st) was a close second on that score (and a bit better on the stage presence). I suspect it was the fact that their stage presence was a lot more laid-back that cost them a higher slot... ...but, for a group that stylistically reminded me quite a bit of John Mayer, you can't really have the crazy jumping-around that some of the more hardcore/punk bands did. High-energy, high-volume music is easy to dance and jump around with, but mellow stuff takes a different, more subtle and more difficult, kind of expression. The guy was a good song-writer, and *all* of the musicians were very, very good. David, I thought, had good expression and presence, as did the drummer, but the rhythm and base players - for all their talent - just kinda stood there. Still, I would have given them 2nd above the repetitive thrashing (if energetic) of Free The Martyr (though, man, their guitarist could play *wicked* fast).

Pictures are posted in the Gallery. I was mainly there to photograph Ralvaden, but I tried to get a shot or two of everyone. The only one I missed was the Last Minute Band - who happened to play while I was eating dinner. Sadly, I was least impressed with them - probably because they only played cover songs (i'm big on originality)... ...but having only been together for less than a week, they were pretty good. Troy liked them.