Friday, November 30, 2007

What's In A Name?

Oh man what a year.

So Mrs. Lock is closing in on birthing our second child, a boy. I say closing in, he's due in 3 days. I wish I would've posted more about the pregnancy but it's been a pretty standard one. It was a lot of fun to experience it all with our first child, but now it's old hat.

In fact, Mrs. Lock says she likes being pregnant! Since we're done after this one, she has said she is going to miss it.

Three days before the game, and we're still discussing names. I wanted to name our first child, Tumor since it functions like one, but since Mrs. Lock is growing actual tumors in her body, this is no longer appropriate.

For this child, I wanted to named him Oden, after the Viking supreme being. She's considering it but we both have veto rights and I have vetoed plenty of suggestions she's made. Maybe she's making suggestions she doesn't even like to make it appear I'm being difficult about this.

She's made a couple of suggestions I do like but I only like them because it's along the same vein as me wanting to name him Oden. Only she doesn't know that until I mention why I like it, then she no longer likes it. She really liked the name Griffin. I did too, but because it's the surname of a famous TV family on a show called Family Guy: Peter, Lois, Stewie, Meg, Chris and Brian, she has changed her mind.

So now what I'm doing is when she begins to suggest names that the inner-child in me likes and not necessarily the responsible adult would go for, I am keeping the story behind the name to myself and agreeing that yes, it is a nice name. She'll find out as soon as we get his name inked on that birth certificate.

In talking of life, and a reminder that the Universe is balance, I have to mention that last Thursday, on Thanksgiving night, my Grandma Lock passed away. She was 89. Rest in peace as you always did in life. I miss you.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Nonpreferred Customer

I wrote (emailed) my credit card company, outlining for them the security holes they have on their website login. It's ridiculous that a supposed "premier" financial institution has such weak security for their website.

I ended the email with "I'm not comfortable using your website until you rectify these security concerns."

I got a response. I should say I got a link to a response. The email reply told me to log into the message center on the website to read their reply.


Thursday, November 01, 2007

Top 10 Video Games

Talking to a friend about our top five favorite video games. I gotta make this list and expand it by 100%

First, the criteria for being a personal fave:
  • That wow factor (and I don't mean World of Warcraft). It's gotta hook me instantly as soon as I see it. This tends to rule out sequels as I've seen it before, but there are some exceptions.
  • I tune out the world around me as I play it. If my house is on fire around me, I'm not going to notice and death is likely to occur.
  • Addictive as crack. It's got to make me shed my responsibilities in this so-called real world, whatever that is, because I have to play the game. If the game resides at a friend's house, it makes me visit the friend under the guise of caring for that friend, but in actuality, I'm thinking about loading that game; oh why won't he shut up so I can go play my beloved game. I missed you game at my friend's house.
  • D) When it's over, I come back to do it all over again. These tend to be the titles I have played repeatedly and they never get old.

Maniac Mansion (C64)

This was the game at the friends house. 5 1/4" disk too. A computer store in the mall called Babbages sold this title and every time I was in there, I picked it up, looked at the box, thought about buying it, but put it back. Why buy the cow when you get the milk at some guy's house.

I was all over this game like a kid on video games. Good graphics, good mystery plot line. Hot 8-bit chicks. A nerd (Bernard) I couldn't relate to because he was a bigger nerd than I was. I still remember that loose brick in the basement that got you out, the rusty grate that would get you in and tentacle that wanted to be in a rock band.

Doom (PC)

Who didn't love Doom? Before that, there was only one real FPS made by the same group. I spent countless hours on Castle Wolfenstein. I even made my own maps. But Doom was eerie with occult themes and creatures could be above you now, reigning down their terror in pseudo-3d. Plus the BFG was just fun to use on the rare occasions you had ammo for it.

I made maps for this game too. I wonder where they're at?

Diablo 2 (PC)

Did anyone like Act 3? No one I knew liked it, but we muddled through it like the dreaded Act 3 in most Hollywood movies. Precursor to the drug known as World of Warcraft. This was the cigarettes before nicotine. The chocolate before sugar. The Robin before Batman.

This met criteria A of my list to be a favorite because D2 was another animal compared to D1. It really wasn't a sequel. It was this game called Diablo 2, the first and only in a series of games called Diablo 2. That was Diablo, this is Diablo 2. What? No, never mind the number.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2)

Holy crap! Did I just run over that guy? Freedom to make my own moral choices? Are they allowed to do that? God bless Rockstar Games! And a kicking soundtrack to boot. To date, there's never been a better game soundtrack than Vice City. Obviously a child of the 80's would say that. "Next up, Meester Meester."

San Andreas is the better of the GTA titles, but it didn't meet criteria A. A child born too late.

Resident Evil 4 (Xbox)

I didn't think I would get the control system down, but it became comfortable as I progressed. The feeling to survive is a great incentive to learn any unfamiliar system. I talk about this game in more detail in an older post.

This sequel gets included because I didn't play RE's 1-3. It'd probably still win even if I did.

Magic Carpet (PC)

A young Peter Molyneux title, before he made games like Dungeon Keeper, Black & White and Fable. It's exactly what the title implies. You fly around on a magic carpet bombarding the landscape below you. Sound boring? It was very intricate. You had dozens of spells to reign down. You could build castles, burn enemies and dog fight in mid air. Lot of fun. Wish I could still load this DOS game in XP.

I think it'd be great if he updated this title to current graphic standards and rereleased it.

The Last Ninja (C64)

Third dimension viewpoint. Instead of running NSEW, you ran NE, NW, SE, SW.

You're a ninja, you better be sure-footed. Great midi music too. I'd catch myself singing it in falsetto.

World of Warcraft (PC)

I could fill up my blog's hard drive writing about this game. It's probably the video game title that's taken the most of my time. No, not probably - it is.

Last time I checked, I had 60 days playing time. That's 1440 hours.

I don't need to describe this game, odds are, you've played it.

Half-Life (PC)

Another FPS like Doom but major upgrade. The real world weapons were a first in the FPS I had experience with and it was kinda fun to use rocket launchers that actually looked like rocket launchers. Plus TRUE 3d! Good plot, good graphics. Lot of fun. Played it again as soon as I finished it.

Age of Empries II: Age of Kings (PC)

My love of RTS started with a title called Command & Conquer but it didn't meet criteria A for RTS until I got to AoE: AoK. I wasn't hooked on C&C like I was on AoE. Who doesn't love building up forces just to unleash a massacre? Forget the win, you want to dominate.

That's my list. So why no Atari titles? I do remember the Atari days. I had a lot of favorite games on there but those games tended to be repetitious. I remember playing Pac-man on the Atari 5200 until I reached the key stage where a power pellet left the ghosts permanently blue (until you ate one). Just try avoiding them! I spent a lot of time in that game but the nature of the environment, keeps it off my top 10 list.

Other Honorable Mentions:

Street Fighter II
Super Mario Bros. 2
Super Mario Bros. 3
Goldeneye (N64)
Zelda: Ocarina of Time (N64)
Quake 1
Quake 2
Populous 3: The Beginning
Dungeon Siege