Thursday, September 29, 2011

Third times the charm - maybe

If something unusual happens once - it's an oddity.  If that same event happens twice in a short enough period of time - it's strange.  When that event happens a third time, it begins to worry me. 

For those of you who don't know me, I work in IT - tech support for an engineering department at a major university.  In just over the past week, I've now seen 3 hard drives all drop their boot sectors or primary partition.  Having one hard drive do this isn't all that rare or unusual, but 3 in a week is very odd.  To make matters more interesting, they were all from different OS versions - Windows XP, Windows 7 32-bit and Windows 7 64-bit.  The drives ranged in age from 8 years to 2 years and size from 40GB to 500GB.  The one common thread - they are all from Seagate/Maxtor - though that partnership is relatively recent.

I'm just wondering if somebody has figured out how to modify StuxNet.  If this is the case, we are about to see a really major problem. 

My other thought is tied to some EM problem, either in our atmosphere or from solar emissions - but why these drives and not other "easier" things like jumpdrives, laptops or cell phones?

Actually, it's probably nothing and just a coincidence that I should chalk up to having a decade of IT experience and seeing to many conspiracy theory movies.

Think I'll go make a foil hat just in case.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scotch - a drink unlike any other

A little more than a decade ago a friend of mine spent the summer in the UK.  I looked after his place, mowing his yard, collecting his mail and making sure that everything went as it was supposed to.  In thanks, he got me a bottle of scotch: 17 year-old Glengoyne single malt.  I have been in love with scotch ever since.

Today I opened a bottle of McClelland's Highland single malt.  It is quite good, perhaps the best I've had since that first bottle, of course it might also be that I just needed a good drink to take the edge off of having turned in a case study, research paper, 2 mid-terms and various homeworks in the last 7 days.

Regardless, I thought it worthy of giving a review:
Nose - fresh and full with a slight fruit aroma
Body - rich and enduring
Palate - a bit salty, but my tongue appreciated the experience
Finish - smooth and lasting

Over ice and breathing, it is something I will enjoy on the back porch for several evenings to come.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Why we play what we play

The summer didn't go the way I thought or hoped it would.  Now the fall isn't going the way I thought it would.

This has lead me to question why I participate in gaming.  Is it really fun?  Is it what I want to do?  Is this how I want to spend my free time?  Do I really enjoy rpgs or do I just like hanging out with my peers?  Would I prefer a tactical combat rps (Pathfinder) or a cinematic story (Vampire) or a rules-light hackfest (OSR), maybe a miniatures combat game (BattleTech) or a ccg (Magic) or a non-ccg (Dominion)?  Would I gleen more satisfaction from watching football on any given Sunday?

I cannot answer these questions with any confidence.  About the only thing I can say with any certainty is that I know that the kinds of games I run is the kinds of games I'd like to be playing in.  Which makes the question my wife (a licensed massage therapist) posed this weekend more interesting: "how can I feel my own massage to figure out if I'm doing a good job?"  She can't ever experience her own massage and I can't ever experience my own campaign.  All we can really do is ask for feedback from those we respect/trust to give us honest evaluations.  We can "sample" little bits of our work - working a forearm/leg, recording a game session; we can never experience the full thing.

So back to the original question - what to do?

Maybe I'll just go hide behind grad school till I figure things out.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Anxiety for upcoming games

There are a couple of games coming out really soon that I am more anxious for than in past years.  I'm not really sure why I'm excited, I just know that I am.

I can't stop thinking about Leviathans from Catalyst Game Labs.  I think my excitement here is that I'll be in on the early stages of a miniatures game, something I haven't done before.  I've even started a basic fiction blog related to this game:  USS Flag

I'm excited about Star Wars: The Old Republic simply because I know so many people that plan to play it.  Being an MMO, having lots of real-life friends playing the same game makes for a much more enjoyable experience.

And to be a bit more mundane and mainstream, NFL Fantasy Football starts this week.