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UPgrading my rig!

So... The last time I upgraded my processor was back in 2001 so I could play Diablo II.  I did my homework, but learned a few things when I built my current Frankenstein.  IE:  I should have gotten a better motherboard back then, since the bus speed wasn't enough to get the full 2.4 gigs out of the Intel chip I got.  So until I got a new mobo in 2005 or 2006, I was only pushing about 1.8 of what I was capable of.  Ouch.

My current rig?  Here's my good old Frankenstein:

Intel P4 2.4 Gig Processor.
2 Gigs of RAM
Soundblaster Live! Value (1998, pre-5.1)
NVidia GeForce 7600 AGP (512MB)
Wireless Network Card
10 year old Off-White PC Case.  No window, side or top vent.
Two 19 or 21 inch CRT Monitors
NEC 16x DVD-RW Drive
HP Scanner
Altec Lansing PC Speakers & Subwoofer.
80 GB HD
750 GB HD
Condenser Mike and Pre-AMp

He's finally started to show his age.  Really he was about three years ago.  I've not been able to run a game at speed since things like Return to Wolfenstein started coming out and caused me to start dialing stuff back.  Replacing the odd thing to compensate til now.

After a dismal year of being broke, I've been working for nearly 6 months now, and saved up enough money to upgrade in a big way.  I've been buying the components one at a time every paycheck steadily for the last month or so, so as not to bankrupt myself or have something go south and find myself skint broke.  I'm very nearly done.  

Some parts will be migrating over to the new case.  The Power supply I got last year.  The Hard Drives and the DVD Burner.  I may lose the 3.5 legacy drive.  I've not used it in something like 4 years.  The new Frankenstein will have:

Asus M4A78T-E Motherboard (Socket A3)
--Onboard ATI Radeon HD3300 Video Card (512MB)
HIS ATI Radeon HD 4850 (1Gig) PCIe
4 Gigs of DDR3 1600 RAM (Expandable to 16 later)
Soundblaster Audigy 2ZS Platinum Sound Card & Drive Bay Interface
Black Apevia Explorer Mid-Tower Case (Window side, Back, Upper & Side Fans, Blue LEDs, Temp Sensor & Fan Control, USB 2.0's on the front)
750 Gig HD & NEC 16x DVD-RW
HP Scanner, Drawing Tablet, Condenser Mike & Pre-Amp, Altec Lansing Speakers, Wireless Network Card & 2 CRT Monitors

I just got the Ram today.  I was keeping a weather eye on Newegg and picked up the 4 gigs of ram on a dual channel set for $65.00 during a 48 hour RAM sale.  All I have left to get is the ATI.  Technically I could throw it all together now, but I need to burn about a year's worth of TV off the Hard Drive before I wipe it and start fresh in the new machine.

If Window's 7 is all it's shaping up to be.  (IE: Vista without the fail in it.)  I may have to get myself a copy.  But at the moment, I'm burning stuff off as fast as I can.  When the video card arrives, I want to be ready and waiting to yank the drives and start fresh.  

I've got games here I've been waiting to play for real for a long time.  Mass Effect the way you're supposed to see it instead of the Slide Show it was before.  Bioshock.  Both of the Knights of the Old Republic Games.  Maybe I'll even look into Fallout 3 or Prototype.  Or maybe Damnation.  And of course, Second Life.  All that good stuff I've had against the day I had a computer good enough to run it smooth as glass.  Or stuff I read reviews of and thought to myself.  "Someday..."

M'nearly there.  Neeearly there.  Anyway.  Back to burning.

See?  Redundant!  But enthusiastically meant.

-WinterRose, who misses you.  ^_^!!
For those of you that wanna see the stuff I saw and captured, here's the link to a rapidshare of the RAR.  380 pictures in all folks.  Here's all my DragonCon 2008 pics!


Hope ya dig em!

Neil Patrick Harris for The Riddler!

Oh this would be so...    wait for it...   LEGENDARY.
     I have in the past gone on and on about the potential for a Star Wars TV series.  I've posted on the bendis board and over at theforce.net about this once before they announced that both series they were going to be working on for TV were going to be set in the war period before the Galactic Civil War. (GCW = Episodes 4 - 6)  It was gonna happen.  TV was the next logical step.  Lucas wanted to tell smaller stories anyway, right?  They have a wealth of beloved characters in the Expanded Universe (EU = Books, Novels, Videogames, Fanfilms, Cartoons, RPG's, Comics) that they would have all manner of writers, directors and actors willing to write, direct and play them.  No shortage of plots or established backstory.  I'd rather hoped we might get an anthology series composed of short arcs that concentrated on a few different characters for each. 

Why must we be limited to the events surrounding the 'holy' canon of characters here?

One week, we get a Boba Fett bounty hunter story.  The next we get some golden age of the sith stories with Exar Kun.  The next we get the New Jedi Praxeum on Yavin IV post-GCW.  Then we get Kevin Rubio to show up and do Tag and Bink.  Then we get a Vader Story.  Then a Mara Jade.  Then a Luke...  Or an Anakin Solo and his siblings.  Intersperse these stories with tales of characters we didn't even know.  Or ones we saw in the movies for a moment, but they were walk-on's or walk-off's.  Like the Force Aware astromech, R5-D4. (Destiny demands I must blow my motivator so that kid buys the R2 unit over there... NNNGH!)  Or some other bounty hunter.

Or how about stories from the videogames as well as the comics and novels?  You've got all that good stuff to do with The Exile and Darth Revan.  Or Kyle Kataarn and his stories from Dark Forces.  They don't even all have to be live action.  With an anthology series, you could have filmmakers choose to go the animated route for their episode of Star Wars, like they did with The Family Dog for Spielberg's 'Amazing Stories' (The animated episode there was so good, they tried to spin it off as its own series.)   

Nor do they all have to be serious action.  With an idea like this, you can expand outward into comedy, romance, Horror, drama, crime drama.  We've already done straight action/sci-fi and fantasy.  Is Star Wars just a one trick pony?  Or could you do other KINDS of stories as well?  And unlike shows like Trek, which eventually give out under the stresses of what Berman called "Concept Fatigue", you'd have kind of a new concept or story to tell every week.  Without being limited to those same old characters week in and week out.  And of course, when you strike gold with a new character that really resonates with the viewers, you can expand on them later.

I'm not sure someone's tried to do a themed sci-fi anthology series.  Yeah we had the Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Amazing Stories and that kind of ilk.  But for the most part, those were all random sci-fi and horror meant as stand alone stories.  This would be centered around the Star Wars theme and mythology.  I'd really love to see some established universes get opened up, new characters get introduced, and the storylines broadened with anthology series like the sort I'm proposing here.  There's a few other ones that could benefit from this treatment too.  (Looking at you, Star Trek.  Looking squarely at you.)  And this doesn't even get into the oft-despised marketing end.  Imagine an action figure for every episode and you have to wonder why the toy conglomerates aren't champing at the bit for this one.

Think of what might happen with some newer writers and directors getting to do their own story arcs for a show like that?  Bryan Fuller?  Joss Whedon?  Joe Straczynski?  Kevin Smith?  Neil Gaiman?  Steven Speilberg?  Peter David?  Kevin Rubio?  Ronald Moore?  Stephen King?  Kevin Anderson? Zack Snyder? Bryan Singer?  Warren Ellis?  Brian Bendis?  Tim Burton?  I'd be excited to hear that any one of these people were doing their own Star Wars story for an episode of an anthology series.

It could've been glorious.  Someday it still might.  That's the good part.  This can all still happen.  All we need is someone to realize the potential at the right place at the right time.  Me?  I'm still crossing my fingers.  

    You unlock this door with the key to imagination...

So... I'm going through the episodes of the Twilight Zone I've got, cataloguing my videos in one great list so I can FIND things...  and I've come over all melancholy.  These things hit us when we so least expect them.  The shocking absence of those that were so important in our lives.  These moments come when you think things like, "Ya know... I'd like to razz my good friend and companion, <insert her name here> with this in-joke we had."  Like in episode 1x23 of the 1985 Twilight Zone 'The Shadow Man'.  The girl I was with for 16 years on and off... more on than off really, was frightened a little by that one.  But amused that she was frightened.by it.

She and I were watching that show together.  According to a friend we watched it with, we only got as far as 1x44 of a HUGE series that went a whole lot longer than that.  It was a thing we had.  We had other shows we did together as well.  Scrubs was another.  And since one we never got even halfway through, and the other is still in production, they're stories we'll never see the end of.  They're very much unlike the pair of us.  Our story ended about 6 months ago.

One almost could make a case for merely casual relationships.  Ones that are the opposites of the ones I really consider to be the best ones.  The ones I consider to be the best above all others are those where you're not only lovers... but best friends.  Without those best ones, you never know what you miss, or will miss when those best relationships are done.  You don't get those moments, months, sometimes years later where you wish you could share a little bit of humour, fact, or news with your best friend who's gone the way of all things.  Either dead, or parted.  And if you're not still in touch with the person when they're alive, most probably, you parted badly.  As did we.

In the end, I can't decide who was to blame.  If blame could be laid to either of us.  I blame myself for as much as she nowadays.  But in the end, my relentless logic leads me to hold us both blameless.  As with any person in the world, we did the best we could with what we had.  We gave one another much happiness over the years.  Also profound sadness.  We helped and consoled one another through huge amounts of sorrow.  We grew as people.  I like to hope we became better people.  And though my heart hurts that I'll never see the rest of The Twilight Zone with her someday, I would cheerfully strangle anyone that would try to take those 16 years away from my memory.

There are things I'm not mentioning here that I'm happy about.  She just finalized a thing that she'll be getting the papers to sign soon.  Something she's long needed.  I'm not mentioning them because I made promises that I wouldn't.  That her surviving family, or associated parties to the finalized thing may see.  So those promises, I will keep and respect until I die, or until she does.  Suffice to say I'm happy she's no longer under the Sword of Damocles she was under.  That she can finally go on with her life, and hopefully achieve the things she set out to do.  See the world and help those in need.  Be a superhero to the abused and tortured.

I'll see the rest of this show.  I'll see many more.  And like with my dad, I'll feel sorrow for the things we may not ever share as friends when I have those little moments that I want to include her in.  I'm not having second thoughts at our parting.  I still believe that we were done.  We were just prolonging the agonies.  But I miss my friend all the same.  And I do regret.  I'll probably always do that too.

Where have all the good Sci Fi MMO's gone?

I was just about to load up World of Warcraft and play with a mage I had nearly up to 28th level.  Firing through Darkshire south of Stormwind yet again.  Grinding my arcane specced magic missles against all those skeletons and ghouls in that bigass graveyard down there.  If any of you have done alliance, you know the drill.  And before I could hit 'Play' in the loader... I just came over so BORED.  Like the old v-ger probe, I found myself asking 'Is there nothing more?'  (Hey.  I'm a geek.  You knew this coming INTO the thread with a title like that.) 

I've been waiting patiently for a sci-fi RPG for a good long while now.  There were a couple of flashes I've tried.  City of Heroes/Villains was so much of a grind, it wasn't fun to me. 

I never levelled a character beyond 21 or so.  I disliked the forced socialization, and the dynamic of having to find a group to do anything worthwhile.   I've gone back a couple of times.  But in the end, it always got boring again.  The most fun I've had with CoX ever was the character generator.

Star Wars Galaxies tanked for me as soon as the munchkins unlocked how to be Jedi in the game.  And that was before they scrapped the original engine and redid the whole game entirely.  I actually mastered a couple of trades in that one.  I had a Master Gunslinger/Dancer.  Which meant I could flatten light energy pistol bolts against heavy armour so ineffectively, no one would group with me. 

What it pretty much devolved into.

And I was a Dancer/Buffer class rendered useless by all the people grinding it to be a Jedi.  Nor could I give myself a mind buff like the Doctors could give themselves body buffs.  Again, I came back once or twice, but it never stuck.  It was going downhill, and apparently nowadays, they have to give the game away to get people to play it.

I've done Eve Online.  Though not since they did the big graphics upgrade.  Hanging out in space and getting bushwhacked by pirate player corporations at jumpgates, or tuning out to go surfing in the web-browser while my mining bots munched apart an asteroid?  Yeah.  Not all that much fun either.  I was playing it more to win ISK money on Eve Radio contests than to actually PLAY it...  In the end, I couldn't justify the money.  Again, it felt like work.  I don't pay to work.  I pay to PLAY.  So that was essentially that.

Pretty isn't it?  Get used to the sight.  You're gonna be half ganked by pirates before it finishes loading on your screen.

I've gone through the list over at mmorpg.com.  Half the sci fi games are thinly veiled first person shooters with stats.  The other half seem to be Eve Online-ish space combat sims.  Anarchy Online is so painfully offensive to the eyes that it's nigh unplayable.  Shadowrun Online got torpedoed by Microsoft so their doofy ass 360 game didn't get diluted.  And while there are rumours out there of a possible Star Wars mmo by the folks that did Knights of the Old Republic, or a ''Worlds of Starcraft' game from Blizzard...  Well those are just rumours aren't they?

Have any of you found an online Sci Fi game for the PC that's worth playing at all?  I've messed with Entropia Universe a little.  But that seems more like a money gathering exercise on the part of the developer than an actual game.  (Though I'm open to ideas to the contrary.  I do still have it installed.)  I just know I'm getting really really bored with the same old fantasy trappings. 

1.  Fire spell at/Swing Sword at <Critter/Enemy Faction> here. 
2.  Repeat til level ding tells you to get new stuff. 
3.  GOTO 1

I need a blaster in my hand again.  I need a level of civilization or technology higher than dark ages/renaissance era sword swingers & spell slingers.  God-dammit.  I need some sci-fi that's fun and not a second freaking career to be endured rather than enjoyed.  Can any of you recommend something here?
And then...

Well, we got up the other day, after our car door adventure and spent a lot of our memorial day sunday playing We Love Katamari, after I stayed up til 4 or 5 in the morning playing with it.  I beat my largest size by 500 and had a great 1700M run at the last level.  Then we took the bus out to The Asylum as planned.  We met up with asimaiyatand her husband there and were dismayed to find out there was a cover of $10.00 that we had not counted upon.  Her husband graciously covered us and got us in.  For which I am still grateful.

Alas... A cornucopia of suck.

Well, yesterday was interminably long.  Not exactly a BAD thing.  But bad things and good things both did happen.  The friend who I'm staying with here in DC has a girlfriend that's in town this memorial day weekend.  So me, c4bl3fl4m3 and WG's kids all have vacated the house to give them their space.  All good things are cool with me like that.  And I was fine with taking off.