I don't think I've ever really talked about Haley on this journal. I know that I have mentioned her before, but nothing really substantial. Personally, I believe that entire books should be written about her. Unfortunately, I don't have the necessary talent or skill to do her justice. So, I will do what I can. She does deserve the best. (My best friend) Hay, I love you. Thanks for being so good to me for so long.

Currently listening to: Bad News- Hey Mr. Bassman
Currently reading: Tales from the Flat Earth-Tanith Lee
Currently feeling: thankful
Posted by Narzack on July 29, 2006 at 08:52 PM as a stickied, favorite post | 5 Dropkicked

So, this annoying and embarrassing thing has been happening to me lately while I watch movies, particularly action movies. 

Now, there is a certain subset of the action genre that requires you to ignore the sociopolitical implications to enjoy.  Mostly the type where a super elite team of badasses goes into a foreign country and smashes everything to bits trying to save someone or kill someone.  But, either way, they’re going to kill a hell of a lot of people.  They’ll explode anything in their way, have shootouts in the middle of the city, and blow the hell out of buildings and cars, with zero regard for the people living there.  Insane collateral damage is pretty much par for the course in this type of action movie.  Imagine if some dude dressed in black fatigues dives through your window, trades shots with people outside, blows up a wall to escape and just jams, leaving you with PTSD and a broken house. 

You have to ignore all that to enjoy the movie, and that’s okay.  But, I just watched a movie called Hurricane Heist.  It’s about, as you can probably guess, a robbery that takes place during a huge storm.  A group of dudes take over a facility that is used to shred cash that the government is taking out of circulation.  They do it completely non-lethally, because they don’t want to hurt anyone.  It’s just a dude who has worked in the public sector for ages and about to retire.  So, he figures, just take all this junk cash that the federal government is going to destroy anyway, and live off that. 

But then some chick who was transporting the money decides that this is EVIL and starts killing them.  The bad guys who, at this point, have not killed a person and are only interested in the cash that the government is throwing away. Like, it’s just trash.  It’s not even stealing money from people, bank, or any other such entity!  It’s refuse!

And then the action starts, and it’s pretty standard stuff, car chases, explosions, gun fights, a few punches, hub caps hurled like ninja stars. The heisters are slowly picked off in varying manners, including being sucked up into a hurricane and having a truck dropped on them.

But, I kept going back to the idea that these people are killing and dying for not-even property.  That the bad guys deserve to die as punishment for daring to try to have some joy in their twilight years.  That these scraps are something that this chick needs to fight and kill to protect.  So that she can then destroy it.  Why?  I don’t buy that this a crime worthy of capital punishment.  Heck, I’m not even so sure that this is a moral crime.

I dunno, man, maybe there’s some element that I’m missing or maybe this is super elementary stuff for critics and journalists, but it’s kind of been a thing that I’ve been dwelling on.  

It’s naught but trash.

Currently reading: Eon by Greg Bear
Currently watching: Filthy Rich & Catflap
Currently feeling: thoughtful
Posted by Narzack on January 9, 2021 at 11:56 PM | Get some!

So, here we are.  We made it to 2021, having survived the worst year in my living memory.  And we lost a lot along the way, both people and any idealism about this country we had left.  It was a really bad year.  First, it was my stepdad.  Then a few months later, Haley’s dad.  After that her grandfather, and then finally, on Thanksgiving, our very dear friend Matt.  That last one might be the hardest to process.  I mean, each death hurts and burns in its unique way, but with Matt, it was so unexpected and so. . . unjust.  We’re still reeling from it.  He wasn’t sick, he wasn’t in poor health, he wasn’t depressed.  Just one day he was here, and the next, he was gone.

Receiving the news was like a kick to the gut.  Over a month on, and I still can’t wrap my head around it.  It’s so wretched and horrible.  Like, 2020, the horror shit year that it is, doesn’t deserve to take him.  He is better than 2020, heck, he’s better than any of us.  He can’t just be another name in the endless litany of people who died in 2020.  Just so shitty.

Fortunately, though, nothing was really unsaid between all of us.  We’re very open and honest with our feelings in the SWARM, and he knew how much we loved him and we know how much he valued us.  And, in the group, it kind of made it even more important for us to never leave anything unsaid.  And, really, because of the pandemic, the SWARM has actually spent a lot of time together.  Marc lived near him and they spent a lot of time together, and they all played games like Warzone and hung out in discord voice chat, so, really, we’ve gotten even closer than most years.  The only shit of it is that we haven’t been able to meet in person this year.

In addition to losing friends, family, and hope, Haley ended up shattering her ankle and having surgery.  She’s still not completely well, but, she’s begun physical therapy, so hopefully it gets better.  But’s she’s had a really hard time of it, and Max doesn’t respect physical limits- shocking, I know.

Other than the heart-rending misery of the year, a few good things have happened.  We finally got out of Florida, which I have been trying to do for years.  We actually moved back up to the area I grew up, near my family. And I managed to score a travel gig for a few months which was perfect timing for us.  Also, Haley and Max got their first real white Christmas, which is AWESOME.  Max, I don’t think quite understands, but we know he is a lot happier up here.  And believe it or not, our dog Pax kinda likes the snow!  We were sure he would be terrified of it, as he is most things, but he bounded and rolled in it and had a great time.

So, yeah, this year has been trying. 

Currently reading: Ancestor by Scott Sigler
Currently watching: Toast of London Season 2
Currently feeling: optimistic
Posted by Narzack on January 3, 2021 at 10:01 PM | Get some!

There’s this cool little videogame soundfx quiz that I saw linked on Destructoid.  My score is 33.  I’m stuck on #51 right now.  I know that sound, and I know as soon as I figure it out, I’ll feel like a real bloody idiot.


Here’s the quiz: https://vg-sfx-quiz.herokuapp.com/


Here’s the Destructoid article about it:  https://www.destructoid.com/this-video-game-sound-effect-quiz-will-drive-you-nuts-590271.phtml

Currently reading: The Terrible Hours by Peter Maas
Currently watching: The Shield Season 4
Posted by Narzack on May 11, 2020 at 03:52 PM | 5 Dropkicked

So, I’m kind of obsessed with Space Game. I can’t get enough of it.  Sure, some people might refer to it as Elite: Dangerous, but it’s Space Game to us. 


I didn’t get it in Early Access or pre-order or anything.  In fact, I didn’t even buy the game until some time last year.  It actually didn’t take me long to get right into it.  I bounced off Eve Online the first few times I tried it, and it took me many attempts plus watching tutorial events to grasp Crusader Kings 2.  Heck, I never even scratched the surface of X3: Reunion.  But I immediately took to Space Game. 


I played the dickens out of it for a few months, and then Max was born.  It wasn’t until recently that I was able to start playing again, and holy smokes, do I love it.  I bought the Horizons expansion, so I can now do Engineering stuff and planetary landings.  But for the most part, I just tool around the galaxy, running data delivery missions and hunting pirates.


Right now, I’m flying a heavily modified Cobra Mk.III.  I call her the Valdosta II, in honor of the old live action Space Game that Haley wrote.  I bought that one because it seems like a good multi-role craft, adept at combat and exploration, with a moderate cargo bay.  I don’t do a lot of trading or cargo run, so I don’t really need a lot of cargo space.  And I figure if I end up wanting to become a trader, I can just save up and buy a hauler or something.  As it is, as I run missions, if I get interdicted by an NPC, I have the maneuverability and firepower to be able to hold my own.  Plus, with the modifications I’ve made, like better shields, hull, and engines, I don’t have a lot of problems in combat.


The exception, of course, is last night where I ended up tangling with multiple Asps and Cutters with Deadly combat ratings.  Got my butt kicked and lost a lot of bounty vouchers that I was saving.  I believe I lost a lot of cartographic data, as well. 


I probably need to upgrade my pulse laser or switch to beam weapons.  I’ve been having trouble getting through some of the more powerful shields.  On my old Sidewinders, I’d take down enemy shields with lasers, then chew up their hull with autocannons.  I haven’t done that setup on my Cobra, yet.  I think I’d rather have some more powerful autocannons than 2G rating. 


But, I love the bloody game.  I’m not Elite rated in any category, barely past Novice in Combat and Scout in Exploration, but I’ve enjoyed every second of it.  I love flying around the galaxy, chilling in my space ship, visiting planets and stations, and blowing up bad dudes.  And there’s so much more I could do.  I could do smuggling, passenger transport, piracy, trading, mining, or even galactic politics.  But, for now, I’m content being my own dude, carving out a tiny little chunk in a vast galaxy. 


I would kill for VR, though.

Posted by Narzack on July 24, 2018 at 02:20 PM | Get some!

Man, I really like Babylon 5.  I started watching it about a month ago, having missed its initial run on television in the mid-nineties.  It’s strange that I didn’t watch it, because I’ve been a space dork for as long as I can remember.  Really,  I have no idea why I never watched it.  I remember seeing Babylon 5 mods for various space games, like Freelancer, but I never ended up getting into the show.  I have memories of watching a good bit of Deep Space 9 and Seaquest DSV during that time, so why I never sat down with Babylon, I’ll never know.  Maybe I was just too into Star Wars at the time.


Although, I’ve also never seen the Stargate show, despite loving the movie and even having read one of the novels, so maybe I just suck at pursuing the things I’ll end up loving.


But, I don’t think I’ll ever watch Stargate SGanything.



Anyway, Babylon 5.  It’s great.  One of the things that made me decide to stop screwing around and start watching the bloody thing was reading that it was written with a three act structure in mind, with the full narrative being told over five seasons.  That’s what first interested me.  Watching the first episode, confident in the knowledge that even then, the writer knew where it would all end was very comforting.  It’s nice to trust the storytelling of a show.  Plus, J. Michael Straczynski wrote 90% of the episodes, including all of season three.  That goes a long way toward instilling trust that the characters will be true and honest to themselves.  Sometimes, with no clear thruline and writers’ rooms, characters can get muddled and exaggerated, or even contrary to their original presentation.  See Taco in The League and Kevin from The Office as examples.


Yeah, sure, it’s dated in the visual effects and art direction, but I’ve never had a problem watching old movies and television shows.  It’s easy for me, for the most part, to appreciate a piece of work through the time during which it was created.  Shows like Seinfeld, The X-Files, and Home Improvement are very much rooted in the 90s, but I still love them and can watch them anytime.  There’s no way that Blazing Saddles wasn’t made in the 70s and I die laughing every time.  I’ve never really bought into the idea that entertainment doesn’t age well.  Some things may look corny now, but the overall enjoyment can still remain.  The same with books.  Just because a book was written hundreds of years ago, doesn’t mean it isn’t still just as good now as it ever was.


Babylon was really one of the first shows to eschew models and miniatures and really embrace the nascent CG technology.  It looks very clumsy by today’s standards, especially alongside shows like The Expanse, but there’s a charm to it.  The low rez textures remind me personally of the videogames I loved during the era, like Wing Commander and Final Fantasy. There’s a joy and exuberance to it, as if, there’s this wonderful new technology, so let’s use it!


Another aspect that it carries with it is that because it was made during the 90s, there is a real feeling of hope.  The future of Babylon 5 is not the dystopian apocalypse of the 80s or the 2010s.  The future is bright, with fantastic technology supporting massive space stations and spacecraft, and exotic aliens populating the galaxy.  There is war, and tensions exist on the space station, but it is by no means dreary, oppressive, or bleak.  It’s not utopia, but neither is it a nightmare of wretchedness.  It feels all very pre-9/11.   In this universe, the future is something to look forward to. 


I like it.  Plus, Garibaldi totally looks like a low-rent Bruce Willis, and I love it.

Currently listening to: The Astral Stereo Project - Ursa Major
Currently reading: The Long Utopia by Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett
Currently watching: Deadwood Season Three
Currently feeling: pleased
Posted by Narzack on July 11, 2018 at 02:02 PM | Get some!







You know, I find myself surprised that Quake Champions isn’t that bad. I thought it would be a big pile of junk. And while it is in Early Access still, it feels like an actual game, albeit one with a lot of stuff locked behind a paywall. And I won’t be spending a cent on it.


I only have the default champion unlocked, the Quake 1 Ranger. It’s nothing too impressive, and I kinda think his face looks like a lump of playdough, so it’s a good thing I don’t have to stare at it. He has a teleport ability- you throw out an orb(moving slightly slower than a rocket), and you hit the same key again(default f) and you instantly teleport to that location.

I’m sure that in the right hands, it can be a real asset, either getting you out of a tight spot or allowing you to reach an out of the way area. However, in practice, I don’t find it terribly useful. At least, not for me. For one, I constantly forget about it. Because I’m an old fart, I still play the game like it’s Quake 3, meaning I just run and strafe and fire, with no time to play around with cutesy abilities. For another, I think I play with my mouse sensitivity set too low for it, since I try to teleport behind someone, but I get wiped out before I can spin around, since the teleport keeps your orientation. That means, if you try to throw it behind someone, you’ll teleport with your back to them, facing who knows what.


And then I get fragged.


Really, though, the game just feels too fast to be able to use an ability like that. It really does feel like old school Q3 in that respect. Player movement is swift, and the frags happen just as swiftly.


The graphics are fine. I mean, in this day and age, graphics have all reached a certain level of fidelity, and they all just blend together for me. The sound is nice and meaty, and even the f2p nonsense like lootboxes is viscerally enjoyable.


However, at the end of the day, it is a free-to-play game. That means lootboxes, that means content locked behind paywalls, that means a certain imbalance in the rate of unlocks. I don’t even really like the Quake Ranger. I’d much rather play as BJ or Doomguy, but I have to plop down real money, or accrue 250000 game credits to unlock just one. And then there are all kinds of different models and textures for everything from your helmet, to your weapon, to your entire character model. And it still has periodic free champions and lots of unlockable stuff.

But it’s all built around a decent and enjoyable deathmatch experience. It’s a strange one, Quake Champions. Even with just the default loadouts, you can have a lot of fun, engaging in classic Quake gameplay. But it’s all packaged with stupid F2P stuff like lootboxes. In general, I don’t like to support F2P first person shooters, but since Quake Live didn’t really catch on, is now $10, and last I played, didn’t support mods, it feels like one of the only games in town.



Hmm, I wonder of Unreal Tournament is doing. . . .?


Posted by Narzack on July 6, 2018 at 11:19 PM | Get some!

So, I’m in a pretty crabby mood right now, what with the terrible connection up here, the lack of sleep, and the failure of that Twine game.  And it’s too dark to read, and the interruption every two minutes kills any momentum I gain.  I’d like to get out of this little funk, so I decided to list all the things that I like less than Doo’s cooking.


With no further ado, here is a list of foods that aren’t as good as my wife’s meals.


  • Outback filet
  • Spicy chicken from Checkers
  • Spicy chicken from Wendy’s
  • Double cheeseburger from McDonalds
  • Chicken Mcnuggets
  • Chicken nuggets from Chick-Fil-A
  • Original chicken sandwich from BK
  • Five Guys burger
  • Dominoes pizza
  • A Junior’s Deluxe
  • Pizza Joes
  • Market Garden breakfast
  • Market Garden philly
  • Tennessee Truffle biscuits and gravy
  • Cheesy Gordita Crunch
  • ‘Kesh chili dog
  • Sunday chicken from Cracker Barrell
  • That weird chicken thing we loved from Cheesecake Factory
  • Shepherd’s pie from Raglan Road
  • Shepherd’s pie from TooJays
  • Rachel from TooJays
  • Don Pablos chicken fajitas
  • Stuffed chicken marsala from Olive Garden
  • Breadsticks and alfredo from Olive Garden
  • Sheetz MTO
  • Grilled chicken salad from Eat-n-Park
  • Chili dog from Steak-n-Shake
  • Pepperoni slice from pizza truck
  • Hot wings from Wing Zone
  • Chicken tender sub from Publix
  • Spaghetti Bolognese from Smiling Bison
  • Chicken teriyaki from Subway
  • Famous philly from Jersey Mike’s
  • Texas cheese fries from Chilis
  • Chicken and cheese skillet from Fridays
  • Chicken philly from JJ’s Seafood
  • Shredded beef thing from Habaneros
  • Chimichanga from Habaneros
  • Pot roast from Golden Corral
  • Sushi from Fuji
  • Victor’s Lo Mein
  • Victor’s General Tso
  • Number 31 from Miss Saigon
  • Hot sausage from the dog cart
  • Burger and hashbrowns from Waffle House
  • Chicken philly melt from Dennys.
  • Manuel’s on the 28th.


There’s a little list of food that isn’t as good as my wife’s cooking.  So, basically, lucky me.

Currently feeling: hungry
Posted by Narzack on April 6, 2017 at 06:45 PM | 2 Dropkicked

Bit of preface.  I haven’t thought about Mass Effect in a couple years.  Not terribly interested in Andromeda, since Bioware quality has severely declined, and AAAs in general don’t interest me anymore.  And I wait for sales on everything, anyway.  Plus, reviews haven’t been kind. 


Regardless!  I haven’t thought about ME in a while, and out of the blue, my best good friend Matt brings it up.  And commits the cardinal Kyle sin of not only being okay with something I vehemently hate, but also bringing up the fact that I hate it so much.


So, long story short, I am a shit person and I should not care about videogames.  Also, sorry, Matt.


(mild spoilers)

Currently listening to: my own choking sobs
Currently reading: Demon Night by J. Michael Straczynski
Currently watching: Vikings season four
Currently feeling: nauseated
Posted by Narzack on April 6, 2017 at 11:29 AM | 1 Dropkicked
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