Thursday, May 29, 2008

What's in your freezer? - Glow in the dark ice cubes

When you meet that special someone and decide to make them an important part of your life, you tend not to notice little things that may seem odd. You even hope they can overlook the things that make you a little weird. One of the main things I really liked about my wife was she shared my interest in science. Flipping rocks in a riverbed to see what crawled out was common date fare.
That being said, after almost 20 years of marriage, we still flip river rocks but I am still surprised by things I find in my refrigerator that aren't food related. I've had many different 'projects' chilling on the shelf next to the milk. I'm afraid to toss things out and I think the kids are so used to it, it's normal to them to have glasses of crystals growing or other 'Mom's stuff'.
This week, it's been in the freezer. She's been trying to make clear ice cubes to photograph for About Chemistry. Along the way, while working on another project involving tonic water and mentos fountains she got the idea of making tonic water ice cubes. So what? you may ask...turns out the quinine in tonic water glows under a black light. If tonic water glows, why not frozen tonic water? As you can see from the picture, the ice cubes glow just fine. Click over to the site to find out more about them and another picture.
What do you have in your freezer?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Crom! Candyace keeps me up late at night

Early access for Age of Conan started this weekend. After a short delay from the expected launch time, I managed to log into my preferred server with no problems. There started my problem...gone was the weekend. I spent nearly 15 minutes playing with the character generation screen alone. Candyace became a Stygian Herald of Xotli (see the picture) on the Thog server.
I am very impressed with the way the game looks and the music is incredible. Usually, game music grates on the nerves after an hour or so but I really like this one. The battle system keeps your attention and it quickly gets you away from just poking the 1-3 keys to beat something down by making the combo system so very important. The game starts with a single player introduction to walk you thru the how to's and what for's but it continues into the multiplayer aspect thru a destiny story where you can enter the game at 'night' as a single player and continue your story as it was laid out initially. I started an assassin character to see the difference in fighting styles and gameplay only to find the basic story is the same, but the elements are closer to your job. Candyace's story has her apprenticing herself to the local bad sorceress while my assassin does a lot more sneaking around in the shadows and eavesdropping.
Overall, I must be enjoying myself since I put quite a bit of time into it this weekend and finished all but one quest before leaving the island and levelling to level 20. I've hit minimal snags (one broken quest and a desktop error when I exit the program) but I must say I'm impressed.

On another note, one discussion I've been having with friends is the size of the female character's 'northern assets'. When you went to the character creation screen and chose the advanced settings, you can fiddle with nearly every aspect of your character's appearance. If you chose a slight, muscular build the Bosom slider would be at the low end of the scale. If you look closely at the picture, you would see that the low end bosom grants a chest on par with your head. Yeah, I noticed that right away.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Junior Kitchen Chemist

One of the things I do while surfing is look for chemistry oriented web content that may be used at About Chemistry. It isn't a subject that many people address, but when they do...the results can range from 'Hey that is neat' to 'What the hell?' We try to keep About Chemistry clean since it is used in many schools, so items that fill the 'What the hell?' category are passed between us and ends there. Today I came across this animation of a junior amateur chemist. Hyperactive Ingredients could be considered NSFW, but I would tag it just 'gross'. I really like the sound effects here. Some really good work went into this.

I have to admit that I've mixed a few things around the house just to see what happens. I would also add that I never tried animal or human testing unless you count some unusual food or drink combinations. Mixing Code Red Mountain Dew with Blue Shock Mountain Dew to see if you get purple comes to mind.
And to answer the obvious next question: yes it is purple.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Crom! UPS drops a big thing from a little box.

I received my pre-order registration key for Age of Conan. Depending where you purchase it from, you get different incentive items. I ordered mine from Best Buy so Candyace will be riding a War Rhino at level 40. When I registered, I was informed I also got access to a belt that grants extra item slots for your inventory. Inventory room can be a major problem in early levels of RPG style games so it was nice to see that tossed in. Pre-orders also get a link to download the client software early and have their own launch three days earlier than the general launch date. Perhaps this will eliminate much of the opening day madness when their servers get hammered with level 1 players.
This will be the first time I've attempted to play a MMORPG anywhere near it's launch date so it should prove interesting at the very least.
After all that, the thing that stood out most for me was when UPS delivered the package: Big freaking box! After I placed the order, Best Buy sent me an email. I opened the message to grab my key, but what I got was a message letting me know my 'Bonus pre-order has shipped via UPS'. OK, they're sending me a postcard thru UPS. Instead, picture the usual Amazon sized box for say a game or DVD shipment. When I opened it, there was a box that looked like the full version of the game (7.5" x 5.5" x 1.5"). I popped that box open to find a cardboard insert commonly found in these boxes to keep manual, CD/DVD and miscellaneous advertising all bundled together and unsquashed. After removing this - I couldn't just open the dang thing - I found a piece of card stock with the game logo, a picture much like the one to the side of this post and a Thanks for Pre-ordering at Best Buy - Please go to this link and enter this pre-release key.
I have four children, I am no stranger to waste but this seems kind of excessive. According to the tracking information on the UPS site, this package weighed in at 0.218 lbs. and came all the way from good old Groveport, Ohio. Why drive/fly a quarter pound of cardboard when an email would have sufficed? I guess Best Buy will pass the savings on to me at the store level.

Monday, May 5, 2008

One on One

I came across this short film while surfing this morning. It features the epic struggle between man and child in a staring contest.

Watching this film made me think of my daughter almost immediately since she loves to do the stare thing. She can beat just about everyone in the house...but not Daddy-san. Samantha has greatly improved over the past couple years and isn't as easily defeated as she used to be. Soon, she will surpass the master and a sad day it will be for me. Also, while watching, I would have blinked several times at different cues, but the kitty would have been MY victory. Great little film Mujia Liao!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

It's a comin'!

It's about that time again. The weather's been really nice, baby ducks in the back yard, and the distant sound of straight pipes on motorcycles. This Friday marks the return of Myrtle Beach Bike Week to the area. This is the first year I'll be actually in the middle of it where I live less than a mile from Suck Bang Blow in Murrells Inlet. I'm one of the few folks around here that don't really mind Bike Week. Sure, I don't drive much that weekend - definitely not at night. There are usually some fun things to see while driving down Hwy 17. I'm a fan of some of the bike paint jobs and customizations. I'm also a fan of ladies in leather in warm weather. The problems start to arise when other drivers start staring at bikes and leather and stop watching where they're going. That's when the 20 minute drive between the Inlet Square Mall and Coastal Grand Mall turns into an hour long adventure.
The other thing that goes on this week is great beer deals at nearly every store. Too bad I'm not really a fan of Budweiser and Coors Light, but the price is right if you are.
I hope the weather stays nice, everyone has a great time, and stays safe.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Two Dollars!

I was over at the Meez site a little while ago and noticed the daily trivia topic was '80s Movies'. Finally, something I know too much about. The description even mentioned that if I knew the reference "Two Dollars", I'd be set for this round.

Indeed, I know the reference. Chanting "Two Dollars" at someone means several things to people approximately my age. The movie in question is "Better Off Dead" starring John Cusack from 1985. It was written and directed by Savage Steve Holland. Depending on your age, you know him as the guy who: made other great movies like "One Crazy Summer" and "How I Got Into College", made great cartoons like Eek! the Cat and Terrible Thunderlizards, or more recently "Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide". I've enjoyed each and every one of these. Please keep them coming Mr. Holland!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Iron Man

Caught Iron Man today with the family. We've been looking forward to seeing this movie for a while and it didn't disappoint. It never dragged like some comic based movies and it rarely let up. I think Pepper Potts (Gwwyneth Paltrow) had the best comeback line in the movie with 'I do anything for Mr. Stark, even taking out the trash' to Everheart's comment about picking up Stark's drycleaning. Several other zingers popped up, but that one stuck with me.
This movie is showing on three screens at my local theater. I'm sure after the weekend numbers come out, there'll be no doubt we'll be seeing Iron Man 2 before too long. I know I'll watch it.
Next Friday's movie will most likely be Made of Honor.

Crom! Tis the Riddle of Candyace

Watch for a Candyace in Age of Conan: Hyborion Adventures!
I preordered the game from Best Buy with the freebie War Rhino. I even splurged on the Special Edition to get the ring and drinking cape. Free Drinks! I'm not sure exactly which class I will choose, but it's a toss up between Assassin, Conqueror, and Herald of Xotli. All you can be sure of, she'll be cute and harmless looking.
The game looks a little more involved than other MMORPGs I've played and the M rating may keep the younger hyper types from playing -- leaving more for the older, hyper types I usually associate with. I've already got a bunch of friends waiting to launch with me so it should be a pretty good time.
Game launches on May 20th, maybe I'll see you there.

Hello Candyace

Candyace is usually the name I choose for myself when I play RPG or MMORPG games. I think it's a cute name where you play a female character, usually the smallest or slightest model you can choose and play her where she kicks mass quantities of butt. There's also the added benefit that when I beat you in PvP you just got beaten by a little girl with Candy in the name.
Meez 3D avatar avatars games
This is my Meez avatar where I waste some odd time playing little flash games. Click on the pic for a visit. If you join, remember my name and you'll get us both some coinz!