Friday, December 28, 2007

Gosh it has been awhile

I can't believe you are still coming back and checking this blog. I mean it isn't like I've written anything interesting in the last 6 months.

Quicky post:

1) Love my job.
2) Jules and Tadpole are doing great.
3) Taylor too.

I really need to try and think of something to write about that is more interesting than that.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Its That Time of Year ...

Yes, it sure is. We have put up two Christmas trees and even discovered the Magic Tree of Columbia. What exactly is the Magic Tree? It appears to be a tree that they have covered in Christmas lights. We managed to find it while taking a back road to the house the other day. I was driving and Julie grabbed the wheel and yanked it to the right yelling "TURN!". Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating but you get the idea. I must say that it is very impressive. You can see it from quite a distance.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yes, I'm Old

I'm old, get over it.

First, I love Diana Krall. I'm not sure what it is about her voice but I really dig it.

Next, I mentioned several months ago Paul Potts the guy who won Britain's Got Talent. His CD has been out for a bit but take a listen on YouTube. This dude has a crazy voice. I'm not sure when I became an old fart but I'd rather listen to this than the shite that is on the radio most of the time.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

It's Alive!

Burt is no longer dead. Turns out he was just in a serious coma. His memory is a little fuzzy but I think we can get that all worked out.

I figured since yesterday was Halloween this would make for a good post but that is about all I have to say on it. I'm sure glad to have Burt back though. The Beast was no fun. Burt knows me and I know Burt.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Happy Anniversary!

Today is our tenth anniversary.

Julie bought me a nice wireless keyboard and mouse that I'm already loving. I can't imagine being married to a more wonderful person.

I bought her a nice little diamond necklace. Somehow I think I got the better end of that deal.

Here is to the many years to follow!

Love you baby.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

All Moved

We are now moved to Columbia. The move went better and faster than I thought it might with only one or two small hiccups. For instance, did you know that it is possible to buy a different plugin for your dryer? It is.

We are all doing well, although I've decided to get sickly with some stomach virus/bug that I wouldn't wish on anyone.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Quick Update

We'll be moving next weekend.
Cheese is good.
I like beer.

Monday, October 8, 2007

My Random Post of the Day

Yes, my posts have all been quickies lately but soon that will change I hope.
Julie and I looked at a house for rent here in Columbia and barring our application approval, will move in on the weekend of the 20th.

Now, on to the randomness:

  • The Chiefs sucked again this weekend. I wanted to cry.
  • My fantasy teams all lost this week. I wanted to cry.
  • Burt should be back from the dead sometime this week. I wonder if he will come back like Gage.
  • The new Zelda game for Nintendo DS is the best game I've played in quite some time for just pure fun.
  • Disgaea 2 is an amazingly complex game that I really really love.
More later I'm sure.
Edit:Julie corrected the date we are moving to Columbia.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Fridays Are GUD

Seriously. Who doesn't love Fridays?
Just a quick update post on life in Columbia

  1. I love frisbee golf with my coworkers.
  2. Other than Joe I've never really made friends with coworkers. Working with someone every minute of every day sounds scary but I love it.
  3. Julie's work is going to let her work from home at least until baby numero deuce arrives. This means that the family is going to be back together again very soon
  4. I have yet to wake up and not look forward to work. Are you supposed to enjoy work? WTH!

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Things that Bother Me

  • This logo from Sherwin Williams. I mean ... huh!?!?

  • Our legal system.

  • The fact that the Chiefs suck more this year than they have in the past.

  • Trying to resurrect Burt.

  • Having to Drive "The Beast" while trying to resurrect Burt.

Friday, September 21, 2007

A Friend Is Gone

Burt has died.

Burt has been with me when I was commuting to college, both in Moberly and Kirksville.

Burt made many trips to KC with me, including once a week since I got my new job.

One Christmas, we managed to go from Macon to St Louis back to Macon and then another trip to Illinois and back again all in 4 days.

I'm going to miss Burt, even if the old fart wasn't in the best shape.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Wheel Turns

Robert Jordan has passed on.

For those of you who don't know who Jordan is, he was arguably the best fantasy writer in the last 20 or 30 years. I love his books. I'm man enough to admit that this makes me sad. I'm also selfish enough to wonder if the last book in his series will ever be finished.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Month Has Passed

I'm sure almost noone is regularly visiting my wonderful informative blog since I haven't updated in a month.

Just a quick status update:

  • We are expecting our second off spring in April.

  • The family is still in KC, for now at least

  • My job is still awesome. Today they are feeding us Asian food for lunch.

  • I've taken up playing frisbee golf. This makes me realize how out of shape I am.

  • I have some sort of poison all over my body as I type this. I found a good doctor who gave me some great steriods. ME SMASH!

I'm off to eat.
Hope everyone is well!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tennis Balls Aren't McGuyver

Awhile back I posted a video about opening a locked car with a tennis ball. It looked neat but I wasn't convinced.

My wonderful wife called last night to tell me that Mythbusters had busted this as a myth. I'm inclinded to believe them over some random video I found on lifehacker.

In other words: "Don't believe everything you see on the internet."

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Revenge of the Buffalo

Yahoo linked this video on their front page which features a fight between some lions, buffalo and even a crocodile.

I found it a bit interesting and thought I'd share.

Friday, August 3, 2007

W T H ?

After seeing this article, I can't help but think WTH are these idiots thinking. I'm not one to tell people what they should or should not do but common sense would tell you that 17 children is way too many. This is my shout out to thank these wonderful people for overpopulating the world.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Not really, I just wanted to sound dramatic.
The library's internet is sucking proverbial ASS.

I can't play WoW and even getting to the point to post this took 10 minutes.

I've been surfing on my Blackberry while I wait. Is that geeky?

I know none of my wonderful readers have a blackberry but here is a list of cool sites I've found so far.

  • Midpssh: Allows me to remote securely into my server at home. Has already come in handy after a power flicker.

  • Themes from I'm currently using the TriColor theme which I can't seem to find a link to at the moment.

  • Various posts on

I think that is about it for now. Hope everyone out there is well.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Oh so good

I splurged today and bought a blackberry. After rebates it was only 115, which seems pretty good to me. Yep, a blackberry. Being able to access the net from anywhere is awesome.

This thing has a video and music player built in. If I can find a cheap miniSD card sometime, I'll be set forever.

Yes I'm a geek.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

More Magic Please

I've been thinking about Harry Potter quite a bit the last two days since I finished the seventh book. Don't worry, there won't be any spoilers in this post but there are a few things I wanted to throw my thoughts on out there for you to read.

I'm fairly convinced this won't be the last Harry Potter world book we will see. Rowling is a brilliant marketer (or has one on retainer) and I doubt she will be content to stop writing about this world of magic. Stories that I can see her writing about are:

Other generations (Harry's parents, etc) at Hogwarts.
Dumbledore's experiences at and after Hogwarts.

Are there any Harry Potter fans out there that wouldn't love to see Riddle turn bad? How about Dumbledore finding the 10 uses for dragon blood?

So many stories yet to be told. Here is hoping Rowling gives me what I'm hoping for in a few years.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

My Precious

Oh how I miss having internet access at home precious.
No blogging, no obsessively checking email, no fantasy football news precious.

I miss my precious.

The last few days I've been social, hanging out with my younger sister, precious. She even fed me last night which makes me happy, doesn't it precious.

Hopefully soon, precious, we will be blogging more regularly.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Real Job

I've mentioned many time lately that I have started a new job. After almost two weeks I'm thinking I may have lucked into a very good situation. The days are flying and I've learned (or remembered) many things so far.

This isn't just a job either. I don't just show up and get paid. I'm working on a team to make our products better. Even after a few weeks I'm starting to feel like part of the team.

Today we had our Q1 meetings over breakfast and then went to my supervisors' house for the afternoon. Free food and beer is a good way to get on my side.

My supervisor announced that as a reward for the group getting a project done, on August 6th the company is renting a bus and taking us all to a Cardinals game. They have rented a party suite since there are like 41 people going. The game is a late game so we are leaving at noon on Monday and don't have to work but part of Tuesday. Before the game we can go up in the arch and visit the museum too.

Needless to say I'm excited. I haven't gotten to go to a Cards game in the new stadium yet.

See you at the ballpark!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Honk for Peace

On my way home from work today four people were standing on the corners holding 'honk for peace signs'. Their other signs said something about 'pulling out now'. Two of them I swear warped from the 70s. My first thought was 'fing hippies'. My second thought was, 'Damn, I'm an old fart'. My third thought was R rated.

What good does honking for peace do anyway? That moment of satisfaction doesn't change the way you live day to day. All those people honking at you doesn't bring our troops home.

I didn't honk. For some reason the idea of pissing in the wind came to mind.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monday Update

It is Monday and I haven't updated in a week.
here is a quick wrap up of why:

1) No at home internet. I'm on the public library system as I type this.
2) Julie's Mom was in the hospital most of last week.
3) We spent the weekend in Macon.
4) I hate you guys.
5) Number 4 isn't true.

My sleeping arrangements are better. Turns out my cousin doesn't get up at 4 AM every Monday. Also, having a library card so I can grab a good book or borrow a movie is going to help quite a bit.

I'm going to try and start jotting down my blog post ideas on break at work so look for better (more frequent) updates soon.

Monday, July 2, 2007

New Job and No Sleep

Just a quick update on the personal front.
I started my new job today which went really well. I'm totally digging working in groups doing programming. Who woulda thunk it?

Next up, I'm crashing at my cousins house and after one night, I'm ready to be in my own bed. Lack of sleep and I don't get along. Here is hoping that either my cousin and his girlfriend grow up a bit OR our house sells tomorrow and we all move into a new house on Friday!


Friday, June 29, 2007

Me and My Solar System

Reading that Jupiter is changing its stripes got me to thinking about how much I love astronomy but how little I know about it. I remember there is some sort of mnemonic (yes I had to look that up) that helps you remember them but I don't remember any of them.

Let me see how many I can name:

Earth - Is that cheating?
Mars - Martians ate my homework.
Jupiter - Did you hear that its stripes are changing?
Venus - She was hot in mythology.
Pluto - Not a planet anymore.
Uranus - Haha I said your anus!

That is all. I'm missing another big one. Now let me go cheat on wikipedia.

(A few minutes later.)

I did better than I thought while missing some that I shouldn't have. The list is:
1. (☿) Mercury
2. (♀) Venus *
3. (⊕) Earth *
4. (♂) Mars *
5. (♃) Jupiter *
6. (♄) Saturn
7. (♅) Uranus *
8. (♆) Neptune

Somehow I managed to think that Saturn was Jupiter when trying to list them. Yeah go me! I'm not sure how I missed Mercury. Being the closest to the Sun, you would think that one would stand out. Neptune I completely forgot the name of but it was the other big one I knew I was forgetting. Looks like I need to study this page on planet mnemonics.

After reading that article on Yahoo, I've spent some more time reading on wikipedia about the planets. For some reason I always think of Mars as being closer to the Sun than Earth, even though I know it isn't. One of those knee jerk reactions I guess.

Also, did you know that there is another Dwarf Planet, that is bigger than Pluto? How about the fact that there were 16 other objects that have been at one time regarded as planets? Five of those were moons of Saturn.

Here is a fact that really boggles my mind: Jupiter has at least 63 moons, one of which, Ganymede, has a diameter greater than Mercury. Titan, one of Saturns moons, is also bigger than Mercury. Jupiter is 10 times the size of the Earth and almost 318 times as massive.

Jupiter is two and a half times as massive as all the other planets combined. Crazy. I can't even comprehend how massive that must be.

I could go on but by now you have either stopped reading or you are reading the wikipedia article like I am.

Have any of you read any good books on our solar system? How about good websites?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Two, Two Blogs in One!

As if I needed anything else to distract me, I've started a blog just for WoW related posts. This way if you don't want to read about WoW, you don't have to. And for those that just want to read about WoW, you can just read the new blog which is wittily (is that even a word?) named Feign This.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

T-Shirts For Everyone!

If you buy them of course.

Let me explain:

Julie and I have been plugging away on WoW about an hour per night lately and enjoying ourselves tremendously. A few nights ago she had her first blue item drop and lucky for me, it was mail so she couldn't use it.

The last two nights we dusted off Dave and Cat. We haven't played them in forever but it has been fun having our mounts. The play style is a complete change since I'm used to tanking and Jules has been laying out tons of damage with her rogue. We were able to do some quest in Strangle Thorn Vale without any problems, other than it being crowded like always.

Which brings me in a roundabout way to my topic. Julie has admitted to me that she is more of a geek now and is blaming it on living with me. She even joked that I have her on a schedule to be a complete geek by 2017. While talking about this we got to looking at T-Shirts that were geek related.

Which led to looking at World of Warcraft T-Shirts. So far these are my two favorites for her Rogues Do It From Behind or the I'm Not Addicted.

While looking for these T-Shirts I found out that you can create a Cafe Press shop for free. Creating a shop lets you upload images and make your own shirts. The free version has some limitations but if you have any interest here are my two attempts so far.

Geek via Marriage
Will WoW for Food

That's right folks. I've totally sold out. If any of you have any interest in either of those don't buy them through the store, I can get them at cost which is a dollar cheaper than the price shown.

Have any of you used Cafe Press? Let me know in the comments.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

MacGyver Was Never This Evil

I just got done watching a video where you can open your locked car with a tennis ball. Now to me this means that I have to try it and see if it works. If it is really this easy to open your lock with a tennis ball, why even bother locking your doors?

Surely this won't work on all cars ... will it?

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Case of the Mondays

Yes, yes indeed.

For those of you who don't read the comments here is some of the oh so great feed back I got on Friday's post. Comments are in italics; my responses are in bold.

  • Joseph Cerra said...
    Your blog should be about how cool my blog is.
    Joe's blog really is great. If you aren't reading it, you should.

  • Star said...
    I think you should write about how cool your Mom is.
    My Mom is cool. Even if we did grow up on burnt popcorn and brownies.

  • Jason said...
    I'd like to know everything. If you could tailor your discussion to that end...that would be greeeeaaat.

Which brings me back to having a case of the Mondays. If you haven't seen Office Space you are required to before the next class or I'm failing your slacking behind.

Peter Gibbons is my hero. Sorry Ferris.

Friday, June 22, 2007

What is This Place?

Now that I've been doing this blog thing for over a month, I've been wondering what I should do with it.

Lately the blog posts haven't been as long or as entertaining but that is completely my fault. I'm hoping to improve them but need your help.

Answer me this: What direction should this blog go?

Looking at the traffic histories the personal stories and gaming/techy posts get the most comments. I'm going to try and cut down on the number of "Nothing happened today but here is a post" type posts.

The original idea behind The Four Way Stop was to symbolize that this was the place to go to chatter. I wanted to try to get you talking about subjects that interest me. What I've found though is that trying to find stuff that interests me and The Readers (that is you), isn't very easy.

So, leave a comment. Tell me what you think I should try. Note that I may be trying different ideas out for a few weeks or so at a time.

Final note, when I move I won't have internet at first in the house I'm crashing. I'm hoping to get something setup but have no time line. I'm going to post on breaks from work but we'll see what their policy is on that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Final Fantasy Meets Street Fighter

No, I'm not kidding.

Not being very good at fighting games ... ever ... it comes as somewhat of a surprise to see that Sony is offeringFinal Fantasy: Dissidia for the PSP. The games release is a ways off but to me this would be yet another reason I want (but would rarely play) a PSP.

If you are a fan of either FF or fighting games check out that link from

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hunting Cars

Looking a used car that is in my price range has turned out to be like pulling the ears off a Gundark. We test drove only one car yesterday and it wasn't what I would call an improvement over my car. It did have working AC but that was about it.

I'm hoping to visit Carmax later this week but my hopes of finding a decently priced car are quickly disappearing.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Friday Round Up

Being home with a sick kid gave me plenty of time to surf and watch The Wiggles. Here are some links and news that you need to check out.

  1. Blogger has release a new draft version of Blogger that is the testing ground for new features. Currently they have added a button to allow you to upload video. Very nice. Look for video of the Big Bike my grandpa built that I mentioned awhile back.

  2. I'm not a reality TV show fan but Paul Potts, a contestant on Britain's Got Talent, blew the judges away with his voice. This is what finding undiscovered talent is all about. There is a second video of Paul winning the semi finals. I can't imagine being able to sing like that.

  3. The Kansas City Royals have beat up on my Cardinals for most of the week. Here is hoping we can return the favor when we play them in St. Louis.

  4. Computer usage is all about speeding things up, right? Use this cheat sheet list to find the keyboard shortcuts and other time saving information for whatever program you may need. (From: Lifehacker)

  5. Speaking of shortcuts, did you know that the middle mouse click in Firefox will cause a link to open in a new tab? Or that the same middle click will close an open tab? I'm a middle clicker now!

  6. Ars Technica has another computer building guide that provides a nice look at building a complete system with monitor and peripherals. Their Budget PC comes in at $800, take away the monitor, speakers, mouse and keyboard and you are looking at only $586 with Windows XP home.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

At Home with Dad, Free Stuff Pt 2

Taylor has been sick the last couple of days and has had to spend time with me at home. We have spent time watching DVDs and surfing. Fun!

Lucky for me he just fell asleep on the couch so I had some time to check my email.
Looking at the links Joe left in his comment I ran across A Free iPod Offer. This is one of those sign up with their sponsors and then cancel types things. Plus you have to get 5 friends to do the same.

I don't have 5 friends. 3 or 4 maybe.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Free is Free

I mentioned back on the first of June that if I linked to Jim Boykin I would get a free clock. Turns out ... that next day I got an email asking for my address and on that Friday the clock arrived. Thanks much!

I really dig free stuff. Seeing as how I'm sure some of you are very web savvy, how can I get more free stuff?

I can think of all kinds of neat stuff I might be able to get free. A hdtv, a new pc, a new cellphone (thanks for making me want one Scott), an iPod (who cares if they are evil as long as it is free) and a new car.

Which brings me around to another point. I'll be shopping for a new (to me) car this week and next. Problem is I'm cheap. I don't want to spend money on a newer car. I don't want to invest a bunch of money on my current car either. Looking for a car just makes me want to hurt something. Who knows what I'll end up with.

I haven't mentioned it here yet, but I'll be changing jobs starting July 2nd. I'm looking forward to doing something that I went to school for. We will also be moving closer to family which was the primary reason I started looking. Don't be surprised if the blog misses a day here and there at the start of the month.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PCs Rule, Macs Drool

I'm kidding really. I just needed a title to get you to read this.

As many of you are probably aware, I'm a PC guy. I don't hate Macs. I can see the attraction and their benefits. However, I've worked on Windows platforms for long enough that I don't want to spend the time finding all the Mac alternatives to the program I use regularly. Do they exist? Probably. Do I want to spend more money on a Mac so I can't work on the hardware and have to learn the software? No.

My good friend Jason hates PCs because he happened to buy a Gateway PC that had Windows ME installed on it. Windows ME is the worst operating system ever. MS-DOS is more stable and functional. I also think that most of the time people that have a PC and hate it are blaming Windows for the hardware issues too. If you don't like a PC, buy a Mac. I won't be able to do your tech support! Maybe Scott will help you out. It's a Win-Win situation!

Okay enough Mac vs PC talk.

The real point of this post though is to mention how I've been looking for a good cheap video card. Toms Hardware features a video card guide that they update each month. So far I've found their site to be the best guide that is easy to read and understand. Toms Hardware also provides a nice table of video cards that I really like since it separates them into tiers based on performance and value. Their suggestion: if your card isn't at least 3 tiers higher, don't upgrade from your old one.

I've been using to do some pricing and have found that they offer some really good deals on all sorts of PC hardware. Earlier this year I realized that my PC is aging so I was able to find all the parts (minus monitor) for a new PC right at $600 dollars with shipping. A comparable PC from Dell or Gateway would run at least $900 without shipping. Don't get me wrong, there are some benefits to buying from a manufacturer but next time I'm going to use reviews from Tom's Hardware and other sites to buy all my PC components. Not only will I save some money but I can get exactly what I want while doing it.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Why All the i's?

Okay folks. It is 2007. Can we stop with all the products beginning with a lower case i?

iPod - evil.
igoogle - nice but not necessary.
iProspect - Never heard of it. Saw a link to it from Searchengineland.
iPhone - Overhyped, too expensive for me. Like all Mac products.
iProducts - Are you serious?

Any product that feels they need to throw a fancy 'i' in front of their product isn't going to get my business unless I have no alternative. I'd take a free iPod or iPhone though.

As a marketing ploy, all these companies really need to think about being original instead of just creating an 'i' product. It can't be that hard. With all these type of products or sites around, it screams "I fit in! I'm hip! I'm cool!". Usually the people that are doing that kind of promotion are the Farmer Ted's of the world.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

What Makes a Good MMO?

Since EverQuest, I've been playing one MMO or another. Currently Julie and I are playing World of Warcraft but I've played EverQuest, Dark Age of Camelot, Anarchy Online, Star Wars Galaxies and City of Heroes.

Out of all of these I'm going to eliminate the games that I haven't gone back and played. That takes us down to WoW, EQ, AO and CoH. I'm going to eliminate AO because the only reason I've gone back to play it is that it offers a monthly fee free version. I recommend AO though, it has some unique features and there are several solo friendly classes if you are like me and just want to play alone. Being free doesn't hurt either.

We are now down to EQ, CoH, and WoW. Let's walk through them in that order.


I haven't played EQ since I bought the platinum version last year for 20 bucks. The only reason I went back and played that was because I'm very nostalgic about EQ. It was the first MMO I played and at the time had some amazing game play. I can remember playing it on dial up and literally taking 5 minutes to zone from one zone to the next. I survived the character wipe, which morphed into the item wipe.

It was also the first game where I made friends, most of who I still talk with on the Denied message board. I'm still Kodith to most of those people. I even have a customized Chiefs jersey with Kodith as the player name. My email even contained Kodith. In many ways I was Kodith while playing EQ.

EQ was a great game for many years but didn't fare well after competition starting showing up. The game still isn't very casual friendly. They added a 'real' economy too late and generally screwed with their player base too many times. Something that personally ticks me off still is that we played on Test server which didn't allow for transfers to or from. The devs and/or other Sony employees have seen fit to transfer both ways for those players that are part of the in crowd. That still makes me angry, I'm not sure why though. I would love to go back to the "good ol' days" of EQ.

/gu Anyone up for CoM? I want a GJB!
Ahem. Moving on ...

City of Heroes

City of Heroes is currently the only super hero based MMO that I'm aware of on the market. CoH has the best character customization of any MMO I've played. I've spent hours just in creating and tweaking the looks on my characters. I had registered for the CoH beta when I first heard about the game and got into the beta a few months before release. The beta had some nasty lag bugs but otherwise I was hooked. Blasting baddies with ice blasts? Check. Smashing faces with super strength? Check. Force fields? Flight? Super speed? Check, check, check.

CoH also offers Issues, which are free mini expansions. They are currently on Issue 9 which was just released last month. Joe and I played CoH for a few weeks before and a few weeks after Issue 9. Issue 9 added some loot-lite options and a Invention system, a crafting system that is optional but very beneficial. CoH is one of the most casual and solo friendly games I've played. I like the fact that I could get and complete a mission in under 30 minutes. While some of the archetypes may do better at soloing, it is possible to solo all of them.

I should probably mention that City of Villains is the evil or bad guy version of CoH. Instead of rescuing citizens you will be robbing banks and smashing up cars. CoV is what tempted me to play again a few months ago and was completely worth it. The villain archetypes were new to me and very refreshing. Previously you could buy just CoH or CoV but now it is possible to buy the Good vs Evil edition for around 30 dollars. I'd highly recommend CoH for anyone that is looking for a new MMO to try out.

World of Warcraft

World of Warcraft is the MMO right now. With 8 million subscribers worldwide, it is the king of the hill without anyone trying to climb it. There are some upcoming games that may be trying to take a chunk out of their subscribers base but I don't see anyone usurping their role anytime soon.

WoW offers a good assortment of races and classes although after CoH the character customization features are very lackluster. This doesn't take much away from the game though since almost all armor pieces and weapons change the way your character looks. WoW is extremely easy to pick up and play.

I started in the late beta and after watching the cinematic intro (which you can find on the World of Warcraft movies page) I was enraptured. I think I even made Julie watch it. After creating my character and logging in, I was amazed at how the world looked. While it has an almost cartoon like style, the details and feel are perfect. After watching me play for a few months Julie showed interest and I went out and got her a copy too. Playing together makes it even more enjoyable.

Here is a quick list of things WoW has going for it.

Easy to learn and play.
Casual and hardcore friendly.
Economy is very good on most servers. The auction house is very well done.
Free content updates.

I'm sure I'm missing some things that I take for granted. To me, WoW is the best executed MMO I've played. Even in the late beta there were few bugs to speak of that would keep you from playing.

Now that I've written a book, let us get back to the original question: What makes a good MMO? has a poll up currently asking a similar question. I answered Questing and here are the results.

I'm somewhat surprised by these survey results. I wouldn't have guessed that Role Playing/Community would be the highest. Maybe readers are biased towards this aspect of MMO gaming.

For me, there are several factors that can make or break a game.

It needs to have a nice clean interface.
The controls need to be easy to learn and use.
Game play needs to casual friendly but offer a challenge.
Tradeskills must be viable and easy to use.
Content needs to be varied enough so that I don't feel like I'm doing the same quest over and over.

Out of the three MMOs I've talked about here I would say that WoW scores very high except on the last point. The quests almost always consist of go get this item from (place/NPC/creature) or gather these (5/10/15/whatever) number of (NPC drop/placed item) or the classic kill (X) number of (Y).

CoH scores high on all the points but the last two. The tradeskills are limited to only inventions but they are viable. The content for CoH is better now with the newer mission types but still can feel like you have done the same mission at least a few times before.

For those of you who have played MMOs, what makes a good MMO for you? Do you disagree with any of my points or have anything you would like to add?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Top Ten Reasons Top Ten Lists Are Popular

  1. They are often witty. Wittier than you.

  2. Who doesn't like thinking something they have thought about is the norm?

  3. Easier to write than paragraphs.

  4. Easier to read than paragraphs.

  5. Allow the author to state their beliefs as truths. Doesn't matter if they even mean to or not.

  6. They are the new Members Only Jacket.

  7. Offer information that might otherwise be missed. People are lazy.

  8. Blogs and social networking sites love them. That makes them A-O-K.

  9. Everything you read on the Internet is true. Right?

  10. David Letterman be damned, I'm the king of lists!

Yes, I know I've already done a Top 10. If you don't like this one ... tough.

As I started to write this I figured I wasn't the only person to think of this idea. Turns out I was correct. This was done over on Modern Life last year. Go read that link, it was pretty good.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Why is it called Work?

After reading about Joe's wish to stop the spam, I got to wondering about all the other stuff that goes on in an office that seems to be the norm. For instance, there have been days were I know that I haven't gotten any real 'work' done. Sure, I've done SEO/SEM research, maybe even learned a thing or two, but the amount of effort that takes is minimal.

What if there was some fancy gadget that actually paid you based on how much work you did instead? That type of thing would totally change the office setting. I can't even really imagine what that would be like.

It is strange to me that I get paid to, sometimes mind you, surf the Internet for 8 hours a day. Today I actually have had a ton of different projects to work on but this is what made me realize how I sometimes spend my days at work.

Why is it that we work for 40 hours a week? How much work do you do in any given day? How about in a week?

Monday, June 4, 2007

What is that C for?

While reading one of the many SEO blogs I read everyday, I saw that there was a quick nerd test. I'm very happy to know that I'm not nearly as nerdy as some of these other folks.

I am nerdier than 67% of all people. Are you a nerd? Click here to find out!

What is your nerd score? I can think of at least a couple people that read my blog that I'm sure are nerdier than I am.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Time for Rest

Today has felt like the first full day of summer. We worked on clearing out a ton of stuff around the house that has needed done since we moved in. We also have painted the hallway and one bathroom, which has also needed done since we moved in. I keep thinking the weekends will be for rest but that doesn't happen any more.

Maybe it isn't as hot as summer but the amount of work and the feel in the air is of summer. Hot days, cool water and lots of BBQ.

What are your favorite memories of summer?

Friday, June 1, 2007


Jim Boykin is running a contest so I thought I'd take him up on his offer and see about getting my free clock!

Jim runs a great blog with a ton of SEO information, most of which I'm still reading my way through.

I can't resist free stuff!

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Everything I Need to Know I Learned in College

Okay, probably not but it makes for a good headline.

Someone dugg a blog post by Leah Culver titled "A Computer Science Degree Doesn't Hurt (Much)". The site seems to be having issues right now but basically she talks about many of the things that I can remember thinking in college. Some of the classes I took were about as enjoyable as watching someone drive a car in a circle. Yes NASCAR fans, I'm talking to you.

I found it interesting that not only did someone else have almost the exact same thoughts as I did but even a specific experience was the same. The author mentioned how knowledge of Scheme had helped but she had thought that it was worthless. I took an AI class that involved using LISP, which Scheme is a derivative of. I remember thinking that I would never use that language again. Turns out I was wrong. The program that I help support here at work uses Scheme for all the customization.

This has gotten me to thinking about how college doesn't only help you learn the specifics of whatever field you are studying but also the broad ideas around that field. College for me was never about partying or making a ton of friends but rather about getting that degree so I could get a job. Plus, I love to learn. I'm sure many of you probably feel the same way. For me, the learning was the fun part and the degree was really just to show to the employers.

I remember hearing someone say that college wasn't just to teach you subject matter but to teach you how to learn. I can really get behind that kind of thinking.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Lack of Updates

Just wanted to let everyone know why I haven't updated the last couple days.

I got sick yesterday and have been running a fever of around 101 the whole time.

Hope everyone else is well.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

This Weeks Neat Stuff (aka Week in Review)

Here are some links to some neat stuff I saw or read this week.

Fix a Dent - MacGyver style - from LifeHacker

Johnny Five Alive! - Lego

Mac Ad Spoof - there are three o f these but I love this one.

Potential new technology to help fight spam

Friday, May 25, 2007

RSS Feeds and Joo!

Couple quick notes.

I've setup a new feedburner feed instead of the default RSS feed that blogger provides. If you can, please use that one instead of the old one so I get all the fancy stats.

Also, Scott had mentioned how he reads most blogger blogs through RSS so he misses out on the comments. There is a comments feed for my site if you care to subscribe to it.

I may also be moving some items around on the blog so don't get too attached to anything.

Oh yeah, I've added a Recommended Reading section that contain my shared RSS feed items. Check it out and leave a comment.

My Grandpa, the Hero

No, I'm not joking. My grandpa is a hero. Last night I received this email from him:

I heard a soft voice say, "Dwight come here."
I had heard that voice before and knew something was not right.
I was by her side -- real fast -- saw the snake and knew it was time to play HERO.
I followed the thing downstairs and shot it with my pellet gun.

INSTANT HERO Feels good ( the hero thing )

Oh --the picture of Colleen with the snake was taken after it was dead.
Things are back to normal now-- I will wear the HERO HAT for a few days and then back to normal until the next time she needs me to play HERO.
Y'all have a nice day

Now you may be thinking, 'Big deal, he killed a snake.' Not me. I don't do snakes. Sure I might be okay if I was at the zoo and got to touch one being held by a trainer but i'm a firm believer that snakes should either be a) in the wild b) dead. I'm sure I should be more pragmatic about it and while I realize that snakes aren't evil, they still scare the *expletive deleted* out of me.

My grandpa is going to turn 80 in August. This means that not only did he manage to be a hero but at 80 he is doing things that would give me pause. I'd probably be on the phone to the pest control or grabbing my neighbor (who is a cop) to borrow his gun (not that he would let me). I sure as heck wouldn't try to kill it myself with a pellet gun.

I've seen my grandpa do some pretty amazing things. He took two old bikes and a lawnmower handle, welded them together so that my brother and I had a super tall bike. I need to find a picture to really show you what that looked like. We even took it through the parade around town that year.

I can remember as little kid thinking that grandpa could fix anything. Seems like he was always building or fixing something. He even managed to survive almost falling through our porch roof back in Callao. He cut down a tree in that yard too.

Grandpa Patterson is always good for a laugh or joke. He can even do magic. He cut our hair, used a saw to cut out wooden figures and always has some neat little toy or gadget to show off.

He also taught my how to 'be an Indian'. I miss sitting on the floor, doing my best to not move or laugh because if I did that imaginary snake would bite me. Funny thing, I can still use that to make it through pain.

Edit My mom left a comment that I had somehow forgotten:

Your grandpa has also performed CPR on his neighbor more than once and probably saved his life both times.

I don't believe the grandparents are reading my blog but I know some family members have. I feel like I've probably taken having such an awesome set of grandparents for granted. This is my shout out to them.

We love and miss you.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

First Loser

I've been using Google Analytics to keep track of the amount and type of traffic my blog has been getting. Joe and I have set each other up with account on our analytics accounts so that we can see each others traffic info.

I'm the first loser. Joe is getting more traffic, more comments and more page views per visitor. Not that it is a competition but when I was looking over the yesterday's stats this morning, I couldn't help but feel like I was losing. What would make me feel like that I'm wondering? I don't really consider myself an overly competitive person. Sure, if we had made a wager or had decided to see who could get more traffic I would understand but nothing of that sort was done.

Either I'm more competitive about silly little things like this or ... I'm not sure what the or would be.

My challenge to you is this: leave a comment on this post about when you have found yourself feeling competitive about something that surprised you.

Also as a reminder, I need your comments and feedback! Let me know what you like about the blog. Is the design okay? Do you like the color scheme? Do you use any of the widgets on the sidebar to the right? Let me know.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

See How Nice I Was!?!?

Joe's post about small talk which has gotten quite a few comments. I've read some of the comments and because this morning I'm in an antisocial mood here is my Top Ten list of things to remember for work.

1) Don't act like you know me. A name is not a person.
2) I (probably) don't remember your name. No insult really, I don't remember the name of most people that I talk to once a month.
3) If you need my help on something, just tell me what it is. I don't need a background story about how something funny happened that made you realize you had messed it up.
4) See that look I just gave you? That isn't my, 'Oh let us chat it up, old friend' look.
5) When I go to get more coffee, it isn't a chance for you to waste more of my (and your) time. Fill your cup, we'll exchange nods and then get on with our day.
6) We have an email if you need something. Don't come over into my cube and bother me. Unless you have spontaneously combusted, then it might be okay.
7) Regarding that look in number 4, I probably didn't mean to melt your face with it. Sorry about that.
8) My job is technical and detailed. It requires actual thought and time. Trying to rush me will get your task pushed to the back of the line. Whoops.
9) I like to help people. I don't like to help people that stand over my shoulder when I'm working. I also don't like to help people that never learned to say thanks.
10) If I don't spend 20 minutes of my day chatting with you, it probably means that I hate you. Okay, not really but if that will make you leave me alone I'm all for it.

There is my attempt at humor for the day.

I'm not comfortable in social situations. It isn't other peoples' fault but I do tend to take it out on them. I often find myself walking around scowling just because I've found that I'm less likely to get 'chatted up' if I do that. I've tried to stop doing it but so far catch myself after the fact.

Like many people, I don't have these same problems when I'm on The Information Super Highway. I've made several friends over the web that I chat with on message boards or in games. While I would consider them friends, I'm not sure if we had met in person that it would have been the same.

I like to think that I'm a friendly person. Which is odd considering how I feel about social interaction. That initial 'chatting up' period is the part I really hate. What if after that first time I'm friendly and then everyday you come over and try to talk to me? Chances are you'll want to talk about stuff that makes me want to pull my hair out. Or you will be completely boring. I'm not willing to take that risk.

One final note to explain the title of this post. A few months ago we were going through the drive-thru and after we paid we could hear the trainer say those exact words to a trainee. It came out like this, "See how NICE I WAS?!!!?". I wish we had a recording of it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Supplemental is Bad

Apparently the reason I no longer rank for my name in Google is because this blog got moved to the supplemental index of Google.

As of this post Google only has two pages indexed for I'm still not really sure why or that it matters to anyone but me. I'm not even really sure why it matters to me.

I'm a sad panda. :(

Save the World

Last night was the season finale for Heroes. I'm not going to post any spoilers but wanted to say that while not 'OMG AWESOME', the season finale was very good and left me wanting more. They actually did wrap up several dangling story threads while leaving enough for next season.

For a comic book geek like myself this show combines some of the greatest parts of comics into a great night time drama. I usually hate dramas but by adding in the comic book element, I'm a fan. Call me a hypocrite, I don't mind.

NBC has all the full episodes of Heroes available on their site.

Monday, May 21, 2007


Joe just stopped by my desk to say that his blog - Fetal Minds is no longer showing up in a google search.

Being the curious person that I am I decided to check mine. I shouldn't be surprised but I no longer rank number 6 for Jeremiah Mitchell. I'm also not number one for Jeremiah J. Mitchell either. I'm not sure if this is just a Google update that is messing with the SERPs or if it is permanent.

Oh well, I enjoyed it while it lasted. Maybe eventually I'll be back up there.

Link It and They Will Come

As I've mentioned before, I'm doing some SEO/SEM research for my company. Specifically for their national mortgage lending site.

In my reading I've came across Search Engine Land. They provide some very nice articles and have a ton of links to other SEO/SEM related sites. On Friday I spent some time reading through the blogs linked to see what kind of SEO blogs there are out there. While some were outdated or more geared toward the marketing side, Stuntdubl has a very nice article about Search Engine Optimization Warfare. While that may sound a bit dramatic something that I'm coming to quickly realize is just how competitive the SEO market is. Especially given this comment from the blog:

Organic search results ARE NOT "free traffic". It is paid for in a much different way, with calculated risks and rewards. You WILL NEVER rank for the single term "mortgages". In fact, I give you very poor odds for every ranking for "Ohio mortgages" unless you are quite proficient at understanding competitive analysis and the playbook for SEO, and executing on the important elements of top rankings.

Yeah that is encouraging for someone like us who is trying to rank higher for certain mortgage terms. I'm sure we won't be trying to rank for just the word "mortgages" but even the fact that they used that as an example gives you an indication of how competitive the mortgage industry SEO market is.

Something else that I've read over and over again is how important having good in bound links are. Currently is only showing 12 links according to google. Although it ranks a few more from Yahoo and MSN, google gives in bound links more weight so this concerns me a bit. Getting the quality links is something that I'm not sure how to do for out site either.

Which brings up something I've thought about some. What industries are closely related to mortgages? I have a few ideas but unlike other products, we don't really provide a lasting relationship for our customers. We are more of a one trick pony in that we help people get their mortgage but after it closes we may not speak with that customer for a year or so. Not that we are the only mortgage company with this problem though.

Something else that we are going to be working on is providing content on our site that customers will want to use before, during and after the mortgage process. We (and many other companies I'm sure) are wanting to offer services that are related to the mortgage business so that even before someone fills out and application, they use our site.

Here is where you can help. If you have any ideas about services that a mortgage company might provide that you would want to use let me know. Leave a comment or shoot me an email. If you read an interesting article, link to it here or send me an email. I really am looking for all kinds of input.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Weekend Update

We went up to Macon for Taylor's birthday. He got more stuff than we know what to do with. We had a great time.

Yes, this was a boring post. I'll update it later if I think of something. I'm ready for this coming weekend, having a couple extra days off is going to be very nice.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Autobots and Decepticons

Penny Arcade just mentioned the new Transformers Trailer.

Holy. Crap.

I'm completely geeking out here. I'm no Transformers guru but this movie looks awesome. Seeing a few of the more recognizable characters on the big screen is something I was originally very skeptical about but this looks not only well done but better than I thought they could manage.

Check out the trailer. DO IT.


Just a quick note to let my wonderful readers know that I've added a favicon for the blog using the four way stop from Google Maps. Yes that was another plug for Google.

I'm sure some of you have already noticed that the banner at the top and the small image on the right are from Google Maps also. When I originally started the blog I wanted a theme or something to make it more interesting than just my name. Once I realized that the Four Way Stop sounded pretty good, I got to thinking of how could I make that work. A quick Google maps search later, I found not only the location of the four way stop in Callao but was able to find our house in Callao which is where the banner comes from.

I used Paint.NET to make the favicon and resize the small image on the right. I've used GIMP for awhile but I'm really liking Paint.NET better. It loads faster and while not as feature heavy as GIMP it does everything I could need.

I'm really impressed that the banner includes the railroad tracks which anyone who has stayed in that house is intimately familiar with.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mr. G

I've realized that I'm prejudiced. Very in fact.
It isn't as bad as it originally sounds, but I don't use any search engine but Google.

Joe (or Joseph for those of you who haven't known him since college), has already made a post about google but I felt the need to mention a few other tools I've stumbled across while doing my SEO research for work.

First up, Joe showed me Google Notebook. I can't explain how great this tool can be. I've been using it for only a day or so but love the fact that when something occurs to me I can just note it and that note will be on any PC that I sign into Google on. For instance, while writing this post it occurred to me when I linked to WikiPedia that I could make a whole blog entry on it sometime. Then, I made a typo on a word and Firefox let me know by underlining the word in red. I'm not sure if IE offers something like that or not but a note about doing a Firefox vs IE is now in my notebook.

Next, I must mention Google Reader. I'm sure some of you aren't familiar with RSS feeds but it is something that is easy to setup and of great use. I figure it actually saves me time doing research for work. They have a nice tour that explains some of the great features of Reader but I'll sum it up as best as I can. Do you have a website that you check every day? Chances are that the site has some sort of feed if it is professionally done. The feed allows you to only check Google Reader instead of each site. This may not sound like that great of a benefit until you add in all the sites that you might check over a day or even a week. I currently have 20 feeds that I'm subscribed to in Google Reader. Some of those are blogs, some are gaming sites and others are sites like Digg that let me see up to date news on different subjects from one location.

One last thing that I just found via the Lifehacker feed is Google's new Beta Shortcuts. By adding "&esrch=BetaShortcuts" to the end of any google search results, you can use the keyboard shortcuts to navigate. I'm a keyboard kind of person so to me this is huge. I'll be playing with this throughout the day I'm sure. I also found a few other experimental Google search versions.

I'm sorry Mr. Y and Mr. M, but Mr. G is my guy. Maybe it is because my name googles well thanks to this blog.

P.S.: You can subscribe to this blog via Google reader or email.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It is Never Easy

Got home last night. Ate supper. Julie signs up for WoW. I create a new character, she is still trying to create hers. Her PC is acting all crazy. Jittery video on any input, either mouse or keyboard.

Now being a tech head I figure it might be her video driver since WoW has updated their game version since we last played. I install the latest video drivers. Reboot. Same thing. (I should mention while I'm messing around on her PC Julie is leveling up happily on mine.) Next, I remove all unneeded files on the HD where WoW is installed and defrag the drive. No improvement at all.

I've got it narrowed down now. It is the thing I was hoping it wasn't. (Cue dramatic music.)


Yep, after 4 plus years the video card in Julie's PC has decided to die. Actually it was mine originally but it wasn't supported under Oblivion, so I swapped it into Julie's PC since we had just bought her a new video card for WoW.

I open up her PC and the video card is hot. It smells hot and is too hot for me to mess with for 5 minutes or so. Not good. We then proceed to spend over an hour looking for either cheap canned air or a cheap video card. We end up with cheap canned air and after cleaning the video card and PC up a bit she was able to play for a bit before the card overheated.

Hold the phone! I just realized that we have the old video card in a box somewhere. I was all prepared to rant how a new video card was going to cost me $90, while a new PC (built) would cost me $600 after shipping.

The moral of the story though is that nothing is ever easy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Light is Off

Wouldn't you know it after only five posts on the blog I'm having a day where I'm not sure what I want to talk about. Julie suggested I mention, as I did yesterday, that she and I are hoping to play some WoW tonight. That is, if Taylor behaves himself long enough for us to actually be able to sit down together and play.

I should mention that tomorrow Taylor is two. He has definitely been having days where he is acting two.

I just realized I haven't mentioned Scout in the blog. Scout, buddy! Get off the couch! Good boy.

We adopted Scout last October. The lady told us she thought he would get to about 50 lbs or so. Last we weight him he was 72. Yeah, good guess lady.

Monday, May 14, 2007

It's All Fun and Games

Gaming is something that I've always enjoyed. I'm not what I would consider a hard core gamer at all since I tend to have game ADD.

Lets see currently I'm in the middle of FFXII, Disgaea 2 and I've been playing City of Heroes. City of Heroes just recently added a crafting/loot-ish system that I'm loving. Being able to improve you character through crafting AND the auction house they setup is a great improvement.

Julie and I are probably going to re-up our WoW subscription sometime soon too. Playing with someone in the same room is awesome. Last time we played, we made a couple of Tauren's; Jules played a Hunter and I made a Shaman. I've played a few Hunters so I was able to help her out. The Shaman was okay but I think this time we are going to pick our Human characters back up if Blackhand isn't crazy queues still. Having a tank and healer allows us to do pretty much any quest we need to do.

That brings me around to something I've thought about lately which is the social aspect of most games. With the release of the next generation consoles, the ability to get online and play with others that have the same game is pretty much a requirement for a really successful game. Even the new hand held systems allow for some online play.

This was an area that was exclusive to the PC market for years and was used to attract the 'hard core' gamers. Now some of the games, especially for the Wii, are attracting all sorts of players based on the ability to play against and with others over the internet.

I wonder how many people buy a game just because someone they know told them that it would allow them to play online together? How many of these gamers don't even play the single player version of the game?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day to all you mom's out there. Thanks for everything thing you do and everything you will do.

Love you Jules. I know, two sorta sappy posts in a row. Sue me.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Nine for a Lifetime

Taylor turns two on the 16th. I can't tell you where these last two years have went, other than in hundreds of diapers and tons of food.

I'm not going to get too mushy or anything but I do want to say that having a child is a treat. It is at times frustrating and then the next moment it is better than you can possibly imagine.

Love you Taylor.

Friday, May 11, 2007

First and Ten

I love the NFL. Football is a ... I guess it is a passion. I spent most of the NFL Draft weekend watching the actual draft. Julie was kind enough to not complain more than once on Sunday.

What is it about football and the NFL that gets me so excited? Here are a few of the things that immediatly come to mind:

  • Football is a true team sport.

  • The hits.

  • The big plays.

  • Being a fan.

I realize that a few of those may seem like they could apply to any sport, and they could. However, out of the big three sports (NFL, NBA, MLB) the NFL is the only sport that is truly a team sport on every down. Without every player doing their job correctly it is almost impossible to win.

I am already counting down the time until my fantasy football drafts and preseason. From there it will only be a few weeks until the real football starts. You will find me on the couch, jumping in the air, and yelling (or cheering) at the TV.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

There is only One

Early this year the company I work for changed most of the leadership and my group has now been put in charge of increasing our web traffic and coming up with marketing ideas. As Joe says here neither of us is a marketing person.

Sure we might be creative but taking on this challenge is something that, while exciting, can be very intimidating.

With that said, if you are reading this you are probably wondering why I've started a blog. Basically, I want to get a better feel for what it takes to maintain a blog. I'm going to steal Joe's idea and try to update every weekday and once on the weekend.

As for the name of the blog, I grew up in a tiny little town (the sign listed 332 as the population) called Callao in Missouri. Growing up, the town only had one four way stop. It was the place to meet my friends and also the place where we were most likely to try and get into trouble. I'm sure as the blog continues I'll be making you put up with more Callao, aka good ole days, stories.