Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Quick Glance Back

About 12 years ago, I was working at a software company doing technical support on the front lines. The company's name was Datastorm and their flagship product was Procomm Plus. If you are able to look on your company's file server there is a decent chance a copy of that software resides there.

Datastorm was bought by Quarterdeck (eventually purchased by Symantec) and was going downhill quickly, so I chose to become a rat fleeing a sinking ship. It was my first official real job and I worked alongside some of the best, most genuine people I've ever met--people who cared about their employer and their coworkers. And the company, while it could, spoiled its employees. We were a big family, and we knew it.

Just recently, one of those coworkers organized a reunion. While there were a bunch of people absent, I found it refreshing to reminisce about "the good ol' days" and see where they ended up. True, I've been working alongside ex-Datastormers in almost every other job I've had, but there were a lot of us and it was nice to see those I even barely remembered.

Along with that, I started backtracking through my career. On one hand, 12 years seems like a really long time--I've had three jobs since then. On the other hand, it sometimes seems like it was just last week. So here is a brief comparison of random things then, and random things now.

Video Games: Diablo, Daggerfall, Warcraft 2, Starcraft


Halo, Minecraft, Left 4 Dead, Starcraft 2, Portal 2



No pets

Approximately 2 1/2 billion pets


Married (to same wonderful woman I was dating) with kids

I drove a 1995 Ford Contour (my first car) which lasted 14 years. I scrappped it two years ago. My gaming rig back then was a Pentium 300 MHz. It's now a six-core, 3.2 GHz monster. Back then I also played on a Super Nintendo. Now it's an Xbox 360. There were no professional video game leagues, and 3D accelerator cards (yes, separate cards) had 12 megs of RAM if you were rich.

Gas was somewhere near $1 a gallon. There was no Google, and Yahoo! was the dominant search engine. Broadband Internet was still a few years away and wouldn't hit mainstream until a couple of years after that. Certainly routers and wireless networks in the home was simply outlandish! :) It was mostly all about 56K modems...aaaawwww yeah! America Online was still a driving force and Linux was becoming present, but was mostly unheard of. Most people were not tied to their cell phones because, well, they weren't prevalent yet.

I still keep in touch with all of the friends I had at the time, and have made many new, wonderful friends since then. I'm interested to see what the next 13 years bring me. I often miss that first job and wish I'd had the opportunity to work there sooner.

Okay, so that's the "back in my day..." speech. We'll move on to things more recent...

Syfy Saturday presents "Age of Dragons

Quick summary: It's "Moby Dick"...only with Danny Glover and a couple of dragons. Unfortunately, there is not a lot I can say about this movie. Syfy seems to have a love affair with "Moby Dick" and keeps remaking it (this is the second reimagining in as many months).

So, instead of a whale, it's a "great white dragon". And, instead of no females, there is one chick. Their "ship" is some strange vehicle that travels through snow and, yes, has anchors for some reason. I asked the question facetiously "I wonder if their crappy ship has an anchor?" And, not a minute later, they dropped anchors. Ha!

So, really, all I can say is that it was a very cool reimagining but, in the end, it was quite boring and the acting was overly dramatic.

Here are your Drive-in Totals:
Wyverns killed: Countless
Exposition: Also countless
Bored viewers: 2
People chomping

1 1/2 stars

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My Random Melted

Not that this is a surprise to anyone in the US but, damn, it's hot. I've pretty much been holing up in the house, trying to avoid looking outside, the sheer act of which seems to make me warmer. Because of this, I have gotten quite a bit of gaming in. The bad news is that we haven't gotten much of anything else accomplished.

I've managed to be able to run outside but, most of the time, each run has been rather ugly. Then, yesterday, it poured down rain with lightning and thunder, the works. The sky, however, was not what you'd expect. It was cloudy, sure. But it was more of a light overcast than anything--and it was even sunny in some areas! Even weirder, it only rained in a small area, so we were lucky I suppose.

I've taken the plunge and signed up for this year's Extra Life gaming marathon for charity:

I'll pander for donations to the cause later (donations go to help Children's Hospital). I had a lot of fun last year, trying to get through all of the Halo games. I got through all of them except Halo 3 where I only got through the first section, Sierra 117. I'm not entirely sure it's possible to finish all of the Halo games in 24 hours. I mean, there are five of them if you don't count Halo Wars (which I really don't). I'm thinking of doing that this year as well, and might get courageous enough to hook up a webcam to document my progress. Not only does this event give me a great excuse to game for 24 hours straight, but it also benefits a good cause.

Now the funny part of this is the next day I am most likely going to run in a Halloween fun run. It's only a 10K but might prove a bit more challenging. Needless to say, it will be a very interesting weekend. But I've done crazier run outside this summer in 98 degree heat (115 degrees with heat index).

Syfy Pictures Presents: "P2"

I don't recognize the names of anyone in this movie. However, it's cool that someone named "Bathsheba" was in it. I bet she has to spell her name for a lot of people...multiple times.

Frankly, that is where my fascination with this movie ends. It is about an office executive who gets locked in a parking garage on Christmas Eve and is tormented by a rather overzealous secret admirer. The movie itself seemed pretty good, actually, but this particular type of movie doesn't really interest me. I get a bit disturbed at the "torture the individual and make them watch as other people are tortured" movies. We watched about an hour of it (if that) and then turned the channel over to a much better movie--Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Much better, indeed.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

C'mon, man

Dear NFL,

You're seriously pissing me off, here. I look forward to watching you each Fall, investing much emotion behind your stupid games and, each year, you do not disappoint.

Except this year, of course. Seriously? The players and the owners can't reach an agreement? Now I have no real love for the owners but it truly seems that the players are being a bit greedy, here. Do you seriously think you don't make enough money? You want to see all of the owners' financial records? Do you know how much I'd be laughed at if I asked the same of my employer?

I agree that health benefits are very important, so I'm with you there. But, honestly, there should be a rookie salary cap. Why should a brand new, rookie player make so much more than a seasoned veteran who has contributed more to the team? Quit whining and play your stupid get paid for it. I don't get to play a game for a living, so shut yer piehole.

Guess what? If you guys can't reach an agreement, nobody gets paid!! Players, coaches, owners...nobody. And let's not forget the people who don't actually make big bucks off the sport--all the behind-the-scenes people, and those individuals who get paid to do things like clean the bleachers or the parking lot.

If you don't play this season, I truly hope NCAA football takes over Sunday. Then you guys can not get paid and I can still have my football.



I don't have a movie to review this week because Syfy showed an Indiana Jones marathon...culminating with the perfect shitstorm that was "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls". No, I'm not going to review that movie because, frankly, it irritates me too much. It was a movie I so wanted to be good and...well, it wasn't. I think that was the same summer I saw that awful Star Wars cartoon movie...nay, it was not one of Hollywood's more brilliant summers. I truly have seen movies on Syfy that were maybe as good as those two movies. For shame, George Lucas, for shame. You owe