Only five left! Collect them while you can!

I am not sure I liked this week…

Here are Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems comic strips for the week:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #354 – Water Test – May 21st, 2007"

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #355 – Mirror Mirror – May 24th, 2007"

The week:

EQOA: Didn’t play at all. Didn’t miss it much.

Eve Online: We did some missions as a squadron on Monday. And spent most of Thursday waiting for the servers to work right.

Second Life: Dark Delights came out with their Great Dane, so S. Qin got one. She also visited with her master a little. K. Quirk did some minor things of no import, visiting a little with friends. R. Peel talked with the owner of Infinity and bought some things here and there. K. Mower sat on a wall. Jethric Mousehold slept.

City of Heroes/Villians: Played various characters at various times. The Consignment Markets are starting to level out and prices are settling some. They are talking about (and performing a couple of polls) some new power sets for Tanks primary and Scrapper secondary slots. Sure love to have some new tanks to play. But it’s stuff that would not come into the game until post Issue 10… so it might be a while. Over in the villian base Commander Kitty finally figured out how to put a Personal Salvage Vault portal and an Inventions Workbench into the base and did so. Wheee.

Looking at how I am feeling about the game now that I have a top level hero and a top level villian… I’m a little without focus and drive, currently. Likely I will settle down into one of the Epic Archtypes to play… but it might take a while to find out what I want to play. Last night I played Professor Thrill, my Warshade. Seems to play solo better than the Peacebringers do. But I am not sure. We shall see.

This week has not been good. Whyaylooh’s dear cat passed away. I had a pair of near useless classes as a part of work that basicly stole away what might have been two very productive days otherwise, and as a result this week is mostly a wash. I had planned to get to a minor milestone in one of my projects… it just won’t happen as it is.

And this weekend I will be going off on a roadtrip for my Aunt D’s memorial. At the moment I am not looking forward to it. But I will get to see my brothers and sisters… at least the ones that will be able to make it. I hope BrainBelly will make it, but I suspect he won’t. He seems detached from the world more than normal. And since PlayInk couldn’t get through to him to schedule him taking Rose up tot he memorial, she arranged for me to do it. So BrainBelly won’t have the obligation getting him to do it. I don’t know how to feel about that. Oh, well. At least I will get to see PlayInk, MaurerTech and Rose. As well as one of my other Aunts and some of my cousins. I’m not keen on the church part of things though. I am just not in the mood for that sort of space. My mind set is too… unsettled.

On other things, Mhari and I are getting ever closer to the magic date. If I had my choice right now it would be the week before it right now. For that particular Friday when I write this sort of entry I will be on the cusp of 2 weeks of vacation during which I can focus on her and on this new fold in the fabric of our lives together. I’m not much interested in the next four weeks. Not really. At least not from where I am standing at the moment.

Some thoughts on some books I have read recently:
Over the past few months I have been reading three different series of books that have werewolves and vampires as common themes. In each of these series the world is one where the supernatural is either fully known to exist to the world, or recently did. Two of the series are set in the modern day, and one is set in the near future. Two were set in the USA, and the other in Australia. In two the main character was a warewolf. In one she was a sort of werecoyote, known as a ‘walker’. In all of them the main character was female.

The first series is by Keri Arthur, is the Riley Jenson, Guardian series. There are four books out in the US so far: Full Moon Rising, Kissing Sin, Tempting Evil, and Dangerous Games.

These books feature Riley Jenson, a part vampire, part werewolf who works for Melbourne’s Directorate of Other Races. In her world werewolves and vampires are known about by the general public, and the Directorate of Other Races is the branch of the government(?) that handles the misdeeds of the supernatural citizens of Australia. Most of the Directorate are Vampires. Riley’s ‘half vampire’ side is not known about by most. To most she is just a werewolf. In her society, werewolves don’t just change into large wolves on the full moon. They also are driven by lust and desire more than other people. And espeically so during the week before the full moon. It’s almost as if they need sex the way vampires need blood. And this laces the content of these books. These books contain explicit content and are not for anyone other than adults. But the sex is not the defining nature of the books. What makes them a joy to read is the strength of character that Riley presents. She’s strong, smart and capable. She’s driven by her lusts and yet not totally controlled by them. The world presented is in advance of our own, yet totally recognizable as our own.

These four books follow Riley from her introduction to a large conspiracy that directly is interwoven with her life and the plans others have for her and takes that on with many twists, turns, and romps. It’s full of action and adventure. If you like the Anita Blake books by Laurell K. Hamilton or the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, you will likely enjoy the Riley Jenson books. I sure did!
The next set of books are the first two books in Patricia Briggs’ Mercedes Thompson Series: Moon Called and Blood Bound.

These are about Mercedes ‘Mercy’ Thompson, a car mechanic that also happens to be a ‘walker’, which is a shapechanger that can become a coyote. She lives in a world were the Lesser Fae ‘came out’ and revealed themselves to the world. But the vampires and werewolves are still not generally known as real. Mercy grew up with a pack of werewolves and has the alpha of the local pack as her next door neighbor, and a local vampire as one of her steady customers as he gets is VW van repaired. A van that just happens to be painted up like the Mystery Machine from Scooby Doo. Her world is very much our own, current day, set in the pacific northwest, in the washington state Tri-Cities area. Unlike the Riley Jenson books, above, while there is a little sexual tension in these books, it’s not a full on driving force, and there are no real sex scenes, as such in these two books. Instead there are werewolf politics in the first book and a murder mystery involving vampires in the second.

These books are less the romp that the Riley Jenson books were, but no less engrossing. I found I really like Mercy. She’s got her head on straight, and she has those hidden depths that make a character something more than they appear. Patricia Briggs makes this character and her friends live and makes you care about them. I am strongly looking forward to the short story set in the same universe (about one of the other characters in the series) that’s coming in the Anthogy ‘On The Prowl’ in August and the third book in the series, ‘Iron Kissed’ that’s due in early 2008.
The last of the set of books is Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville Series: Kitty and the Midnight Hour, Kitty Goes to Washington and Kitty Takes a Holiday.

These feature Kitty Norville, a werewolf in Denver, CO who is working as a midnight-shift DJ. In her world werewolves and vampires are real. But they are not generally accepted as being real by the world at large. It’s against the code to let the wolf out of the bag, as it were. One night Kitty opens the phone lines to more than just requests and starts a late-night advice show for the those out there in the supernatural world to call in and have questions answered. This is very much our modern world. And these stories have a wonderful under current of personal growth as well as the usual sorts of things you would expect from stories of this sort. There is sex in these books, but it’s not a driving force or focus of things. It’s more just a part of the life and ways of things. It’s not the romp that the Riley Jenson books are, nor the mystery books that the Mercy Thompson ones are. These are something else. These books are a bit more down to earth than the other two series are, but that doesn’t lesson the read. I took a little to get into the first book, but by the end of it I couldn’t wait to dig into the others and find out where Kitty was going to go. In the first book she deals with starting the new radio show and the waves it causes in the local supernatural community that feel she may threaten them all. In the second she goes to Washington DC to talk before a congress subcommittee and in the third she tries to get away from it all and get her life back together. Along the way she makes new friends, deals with pack politics, government conspiracy, prejudice, and things that do more than go ‘bump’ in the night.

In looking back at these three series, I find that it would likely be cool to play in a role-playing game set in Riley Jenson’s world. And I sure wouldn’t mind if there were actually a radio show like Kitty Norville’s here in our world. But of the three worlds presented, it’s the one in the Mercy Thompson stories that I might actually feel at home in. Though I have to admit, being a werewolf in Riley Jenson’s world would have perks that appeal. 😉

With all of these series, I am quite looking forward to where their authors are going to take the characters next. I would say of the three, Patricia Briggs seems to write with the most skill. But they are all good reads, and well worth the time and money. I sure hope I can find more authors that write this sort of thing in a manner I can enjoy like these three.

Yikes! Gotta get headed to work!!!!

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Six to go!! Wheeee!

Okay, the following two Comics from Matthew McAndrews are part of his contest. Check last week’s journal for the Contest! strip for more info.

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #352 – Advantage: Fat – May 14th, 2007

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #353 – Advantage: Ugly – May 17th, 2007

So, this week I did all the usual things. EQOA, Eve Online and City of Heroes.

What stands out the most is that I FINALLY got Commander Kitty, my MasterMind on City of Villians to level 50!!! This means she is at the top of her game and can no longer earn experience. Now I have a level 50 on both the hero side and the villian side. I have reached the top of the game and can now stop playing…. Yeah… riiiiight. I have NOT stopped playing. There is still so much left of the game to play. There’s the second half of the Croatia missions. And all of the new Faultline missions. And then there are ALL of the Taskforces (hero side) and Strikeforces (villian side). There’s the Sewer Trial (hero side) and the Hamidon Trial (both sides now). And there are inventions gallore. There’s also all the PvP zones and so much I haven’t touched in the game yet. And other archtypes besides Tanker (Thrillseeker) and MasterMind (Commander Kitty). There are other servers I could try to get level 50’s on with a goal of trying to get a level 50 on all eleven of them, if I really wanted to. (Commander Kitty is on Protector, and Thrillseeker is on Guardian, so if I was to go after that it would be 9 to go… or would it be 20 to go (to get hero and villian 50’s on them all)?)

I am now six weeks out from getting married. I am nervious. Mhari and I need to go gawk at rings and pick some out. I plan on getting two for myself. One that will stay with her’s in a special box. That’s the fancy one. The other I will wear daily. She can’t wear rings due to arthritis. I’m going to wear mine for as long as I can. I want to show the world my commitment to her. I love her so much.

Well, better get to work. I have early meetings… thanks for reading…

Seven!

Going to keep this as short as I can. Here is Matt’s Comic for this week:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #350 – That’s Entertainment – May 7th, 2007
Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #351 – Contest! – May 10th, 2007

Okay, I’m keeping this short because I spent most of the day home waiting for the Cable Guy to come fix my internet. It went flaky starting Tuesday, and was worse Wed, and unusable on Thursday. And since someone has to be home when they come by and they could only give me a Noon to 4pm window as to when they would be by… I had to take a ‘sick’ day from work to be here for them. They got here around 3. It’s all good now. Sounds like there was something major messed up in the area as the complex was full of comcast trucks for the past 2 days.

EQOA: Did it monday. Was offline Thursday. The whole group is level 50 now.

EQ2: Nope.

WoW: Cancelled. Not going to mention it any more. Unless I resubscribe.

Eve Online: We did our first time teaming up in a ‘Gang’ on Monday and took down a tough mission. The grouping system is not bad. But not anything to claim as better or really much different from any other MMO. Other than us all being starships and all the encounters in six axis of motion rather than just three. Even CoX is mostly 3 axis of motion.

CoX: Commander Kitty is about to be level 49. That’s one of the reasons I want to keep this short. If the durned internet hadn’t been messed up for 2.5 days she would already there. 😉 I should be able to get her to level 50 by the time the weekend is over, or at least before my next blog entry.

Second Life: Blah. Didn’t do anything but wall sit… when there was an internet connection.

I got some reading done. Both books and comics. And I gamed with my game group last weekend. Pair of good games, actually. Had a good time. Still considering taking an extended break from Table-top Role-play…

Anyway, there’s a short entry. 😉

Only Seven weeks to go!!! I’m starting to get a little nervious. Still haven’t bought the rings…

Pieces of Eight

It’s FRIDAY!
Here is Matt’s comic strips for this week:

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #348 – I Scream, You Scream – April 30th, 2007

Matthew McAndrews’ Modem Problems #349 – Everyones A Critic – May 3rd, 2007

Blink-Blink! May??! Already?!! Where’s the year going??!

Okay, lets see. What did I do different this week that I don’t do every week? Not a whole lot. So I will only go into minor detail. (yeah, riiiight) First lets get the standard stuff out of the way.

Everquest Online Adventures (EQOA): Check. Though we skipped it Thursday night due to half our team being too tired for it. Myself included.

Everquest 2: Nope. Didn’t touch it.

World of Warcraft: My account is closed.

Second Life: Didn’t feel like doing anything on it. So I didn’t.

Eve Online: Yup. I now have a paid account here. I bought the game and I am playing it like the overblown interactive screen saver that it can be when you don’t get very deep into it. I do fairly well in the combat against pirates, and I have a BIG cargo ship now that I can mine with for over two hours with my starter mining laser and still not have my hold full. It’s something I can leave going on one machine and train skills and mine ore for my corp and myself while playing CoX. And Whyaylooh, ryokokitty and ayukawataur are playing it. So I am playing it. It’s fun as far as it goes. Nice Eye candy as far as starscapes and the like. I will keep with it on Mon & Thurs nights so long as my friends are playing it. It is more to spend time with my friends than anything else, and it IS different. One of the unique things about this MMO is that you can train skills on one of your characters and the time you are offline doing real life or some other MMO, it still counts to the training hours for the character.

City of Heros/City of Villians: ISSUE 9 is LIVE! It went live on May 1st, and we are all having a blast. nightypanther, zefel, whyaylooh, mhari_lindhaven and I are all playing it. nightypanther, zefel, mhari and I are taking advantage of all the high level characters paying outrageous prices for salvage and starting new heroes and villians and selling about the first 5-10 pieces of common salvage we get on the market for large sums of INF to bankroll the starting characters. That plus the bonus powers from our veteran rewards means that being a new character isn’t quite the drag that it was back when we started our last ones. We will see how long it is before we go back to our high levels. I know Mhari has already returned to her level 50 on Guardian and is farming the Shadow Shard for salvage and recipes and having a blast. I’l go back to Commander Kitty and get her last 2.5 levels in a bit. For the moment I am having fun playing all the new content. This game keeps being interesting to me LONG after all the others have paled.

Heroes (TV show): This show continues to be good. The ‘Five Years In The Future’ episode was really fun. It’s a gimmick that comic books have been using for a long time to pop forward a stretch of time and show the awful future that happened based on the way things were when the POV character(s) left their own time. They handled it well and fit in a number of little touches that may or may not be secrets into the hearts of the way the characters are in the ‘present’. I wonder how many people in the TV viewing audience really think that because we saw certain things about the characters in the show that what was shown would really be the way people will turn out to be in the ‘present’ as the final shows of the season play out. We shall see. I keep being impressed by the writing of this show and how they keep playing with our perceptions of the characters. I remember when Mr Bennet was the villian and the telepath was a heroic character. What twists do the writers still have up their sleaves? And how will they make a 2nd season work? We all thought they were going to carry the ‘Save the Cheerleader, Save the World’ tag line through the whole series. Then we thought they were not when they saved the Cheerleader. Now they have turned it so that only half that tag line was done and we are working to complete it. Will the season end with completing it? If so, what tag will be strong enough to make us come back for a 2nd season and care as much as we did this season without turning into just another lame show that loses it’s luster over the summer? Some shows take a season or two to get rolling. This show took 2 episodes at most. In the history of Television most first season wonders can’t make that last into the following seasons. Those that do are rare. Will this be one of those rare shows? I look forward to finding out. It’s nice having a show that Matters on broadcast television.

Ooo.. I better get to work. I am SOOOO glad it is Friday!