Honky Hoedown

In a million years I never thought I would see what I saw a few weeks ago, outright theft. Not one stranger robbing another stranger, but neighbors robbing neighbors.

So it seems that one of neighbors got evicted. The landlord came and opened up their apartment, took everything out of it and left it on the sidewalk in front of our buildings. What do the other neighbors do after the cop and the landlord leave? They start taking things. I really don’t know what mindset you have to have to think that doing this would be ok. The cops eventually show up again and the thieves scurry back to their apartments. I of course don’t really know them, but I know who they are, they are my neighbors, next door, three doors down, yeah I know you. The ones who owned all this stuff returned after work that day to find all of their belongings out on the sidewalk. Their dog was locked inside the apartment, their cat was missing. According to the shocked couple, the landlord never told them it would come to this. They had more than one xbox, prescription medicine, and a purse, full of money, credit cards, ids, etc… All gone.

I guess this is just a testament to the area I live in or perhaps the county as a whole today. We used to be a society that looked after each other. A few years ago you could have left your door unlocked. You could have trusted your neighbor to watch over your property. People looked after each other, communities took care of their own. In this modern society we are connected to everything. Most of us have a phone, tv, some have the internet. Instant access to people, news, entertainment, etc..

Even though we are so connected we as a society have never been more far apart. Sure some people do their part for charities, but as a whole, Americans seem to want to keep to themselves. I know I find myself guilty of this from time to time. Are we that blinded that we can’t see what is going on around us? Do you ignore the homeless man on street asking for money? Do you ignore the down on their luck person selling flowers near your daily freeway offramp? I know I have. I don’t really have a solution to this problem. The only thing I can do is try to be a better human being. Forget Americans vs everyone else, forget rich vs poor, just remember we are all human beings and should at least treat each other with the common human decency that we all deserve.

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City Of Heroes

Yes I will admit it, I play an MMORPG, no I don’t play World Of Warcraft. My online massive multiplayer game of choice is City of Heroes

I have been playing City of Heroes off and on pretty much since it came out. I took a year long break in 2007, but have recently picked up the game again. I keep most of my characters on the virtue server. I enjoy playing COH because it is a game you can just jump into and play. You don’t have to worry so much about having the best gear, there is not really gear in the game at all. There are enhancements, but all those do is enhance your powers. You also don’t have to spend hours leveling up. The game moves rather quickly, even more so with the recent faster xp upgrade.

You can play as either a hero or a villain, the two sides do interact in several areas such as Pocket D a sort of nightclub hang out spot , also you can take out the alien invaders in the Rikti War zonae, there is also the newly added Chimmora zone, which seems to place you back in time in the Roman era.

I recently got my main character up to level 50 which is the current maximum level that you can get to either Hero or Villain Side. Doing this unlocks a pair of new power sets. Of course with a game like city of heroes it is hard to keep to one character. You can have up to I think 30 characters per server so many of the game players have what we like to call alt-itis. The process of getting stuck making many lower level alternate characters that we can never really level up our main characters.

I am also in charge of a Super Group, called the Torchwood Institute, yes I named it after the TV show of the same name. It isn’t really that big a group, mostly for my alternate characters and friends. We do have a good base going that can only grow if more people join up.

More About The Game:

It is a free download. I can send you a 10 day free trial key if you give me your email address.
If you want to avoid the download you can pick up the DVD Good VS Evil edition
That comes with 1 month free.

If you are wondering about time frame and if we would have time to play together, I usually play anywhere between 4:30-9:30pm eastern on weekdays and more on weekends. There is also a great bunch of guys from www.arstechnica.com that have a decent super group. Also lots of others playing so you rarely go solo unless you want to.

Cincinnati Zoo

Recently I took a trip to the Cincinnati Zoo in Cincinnati Ohio.

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I went with my wife and a friend. We spent a few hours wondering around the zoo checking out various animals and scoping out the new Giraffe habitat that they were building. This was my first trip to the zoo, and having grown up in Southern California, which has great zoos, I was expecting something a little bigger.

The entrance was nice, the walkways were clean. The animals seemed happy and they were very eager to pose for a few pictures. They did have a cute baby rhino who looked like he loved sticking his face in the mud. Also the elephants seemed extraordinarily happy with their environments. The peacocks were pretty much free to roam around the zoo. We got through the zoo in a few hours. I am sorry to say there was not much more to see than that.

I went in with the intention on getting a year pass so I could return, but left without one, feeling that I wished there was more to see. Overall it is a fun half day or full day trip and worth it if you have kids that want to see the animals.

Here are some photos of my time at the zoo.

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Click to view more photos from this set

Cereality, A Great Choice For Breakfast Any Time Of The Day

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I have always been a fan of breakfast any time of the day. I have recently stumbled across a new breakfast joint that looks very interesting. Now most of us have been to a Cold Stone Creamery or a Marble Slab Creamery where you get ice cream mixed with toppings of your choice. Now we have Cereality, a breakfast bar with a similar concept. From the Cereality Website:

“When you walk up to a Cereality, something immediately feels familiar. That’s because we serve dozens of brand-name cereals (both hot and cold), just waiting to be combined.

And ordering at Cereality is easy. Pick two cereals and a topping. Be creative. We’ll mix it up, and then you add as much milk as you like (including soy and lactose-free).”

Now I have never personally been to this marvelous eatery, but I do plan to spend some time there sampling the goods when my travels bring me closer to one of their locations.

Big News For Doctor Who?

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There is a new man behind the wheel in the Doctor Who Magic Bus. According to the BBC Russell T Davies is to step down as executive producer of Doctor Who. Davies is credited with breathing new life into the show he brought back to television screens in 2005.

Bafta-winning writer Steven Moffat, who has already written some of the most memorable Doctor Who episodes of recent times, including The Girl in the Fireplace and The Empty Child, will succeed Davies as lead writer and executive producer of the fifth series of Doctor Who.

Guitar Hero 3 Vs Rock Band

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Guitar Hero 3 It was a good game in my mind until I played rock band. The song selection is great, the game is a bit easier than GH1 and GH2 were. The wireless guitar is great. The boss battles are a bit lame. Medium seemed a lot harder to take on than easy did. The multiplayer battles are cool, and playing guitar and bass is what most people are use to for co-op play. Online score ranking is a neat feature, but compared to everyone else on the lists I really suck and guitar gaming :).

Rock Band Guitar + Drums + Mic = Fun. It is a great group game as well as a solo game. There are no boss battles here, just playing. It seems to me like all the sound guys from the original group stuck with Harmonix with Rock Band. The songs are more polished, the notes seem to fit the songs. This is a bit easier than GH1 and GH2 at least for me on guitar. I easily moved from easy to medium while touring with my rock band.

Drumming is pretty fun, it is loud, so if you live in an apartment you may want to try tone down the sound a bit. I did this mod, now while it does dampen the sound it also lowers the pickup level of the drums, not to an unusable level, but I did seem to miss a few beats now and again and I know I was hitting the drums. I’ve only made it through the first set as a drummer, but I am able to pick it up pretty well. You really do have to be able to make and follow the beat though or your band mates will get mad at you.

Singing. Personally I have yet to sing, but everyone else that has tried it in my band has loved it. It is a great karaoke game. The higher difficulties don’t seem to do much to the singer, at least by medium. The words are easy to see on a decent sized tv, they may be harder to see on smaller ones.

Guitar/Bass is pretty much the same from other Guitar Hero Games, so I won’t say much other than that I like the new guitar, but it needs to come with a longer strap for us tallies. Song selection is pretty good, you will find yourself playing the same songs over and over in the beginning, but once you get the tour bus you will quickly unlock more songs. The downloadable content is also pretty decent.

Overall if you have a wii you should get GH3, if you have anything else you need to get Rock Band.