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2721  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: So family guy on 3/29 had the full star trek TNG cast on it... on: April 05, 2009, 03:26:04 AM

Quote from: Harkonis on April 04, 2009, 07:03:17 PM

I always laugh at the chicken fight.  I find the fact that it went on well past the point of being funny quite funny.

That must have been the same theory behind Conway Twitty. It was funny for about 10 seconds, then rapidly grew painful. Which I suppose might be funny in a meta laughing-at-the-audience way. 
2722  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Beer] Spring ales finally making their appearance on store shelves... on: April 05, 2009, 03:17:44 AM
Today was the big tasting. Bigger than I expected, in fact: at least 21 brewers represented at 11 tables, and they were pouring very generous samples. I tasted maybe half of the beers offered, avoiding styles and brewers that I know I don't like. And ate more of the free food than was good for me: deep-fried macaroni-and-cheese is wicked good.

Here's a data dump from my notes. I was using a 5-star scale, but I wasn't consistent about it.

Sierra Nevada: I've mentioned their ESB as one of my favorites already. I liked their porter and stout, too, but neither was extraordinary.

Newport Storm:
Spring Ale is "Very nice. Undistinguished, but nice."
Amber Ale is "yum."

Wachusett Brewing Co:
IPA **
Summer Ale "bleah"
Green Monsta: "Just hops"

Sebago Brewing Co: Now this was a surprise. I'd never tried anything from them before.
Frye's Leap IPA: ****
Lake Trout Stout ***
Full Throttle Double IPA **

Ipswich Brewing Co:
Oatmeal stout: **
Dark Ale **
Pale Ale *
IPA *
Summer Ale "meh"

Peak Organic: I'd never tried anything from them, figuring "organic" was just a marketing gimmick.
Amber Ale **** "Heavy espresso, smooth winter beer"
Nut Brown Ale *** "great fall beer, nutty."
IPA and pale ale were both meh.

Harpoon:
Their UFO wheat beer is always one of my summer favorites. This year they polluted it with coriander and orange peel and rebranded it UFO White. Horrible stuff, but I hate belgian ales. Fortunately, regular UFO will still be available too.
Leviathan Quad was awful (another belgian).
Leviathan Baltic Porter *** "chocolaty, smooth".
Leviathan Imperial IPA ** "double IPA 9.5% ABV, huge. wow".

Victory: The beautiful girl pouring the beer warped my judgment.
Hop Devil IPA: ** "Yet another hops sledgehammer"
Hop Wallop *** "higher ABV, good balance"
Sunrise Weiss *** "Bright, citrus, very good for summer"
Wild Devil: *** Nice clean refreshing, same as hop devil but different yeast"

Atlantic Importing Co: These were all expensive single-bottle beers. I didn't try any of them. Mostly belgians.

Shmaltz Brewing Co:
Human Block Head: "Too winey"
Coney Sword Swallower: ** Steel hop lager
Lenny's RIPA: *** Double IPA, malty.
Rejewvenator: Too big and thick for me.

Otter Creek: I never like anything from this brewery, and their spring ale was one of the worst beers ever -- boring and flat, as I said a couple of posts ago. Well, I must not be the only one. They hired a new brewer four months ago and they were showing his Imperial Stout. 10.6% ABV, very creamy, nice winter beer. The guy from the brewery agreed with me that their spring ale was terrible...in fact, it was their old brewer's last beer.

Long Trail: Their coffee stout was the only one I didn't know. Didn't like it.

Innis & Gunn: Another of those expensive big-bottle beers that I ordinarily shun; this one had very pleasing oak, vanilla, and whiskey flavors. Great with a cigar.

Allagash White is another belgian ale. Didn't like it, so I didn't try the Double or Triple.

Blue Moon Rising Moon: This has been mentioned as a competitor to Sam Adams White Ale for spring. I didn't like it as well -- "a little too sweet" I wrote. But I'm comparing a bottle beer with a draft, which isn't really fair.

Leinenkugel: I skipped this table. I've never had a Leinie I liked. Novelty beers.

Cisco: Didn't like anything from them. My only note is behind Whale's Tail: "boring".

Troeg's Brewery: (At this point my notes become unreliable)
Dreamweaver Wheat: ** "yer basic wheat beer"
Rugged Trail Nutbrown: ** "yup, I'm officially drunk"
Troegenator Double Bock: **** "OMFG I like a bock. Or maybe I'm just drunk"
Flying Mouflan: "9.5% ABV, hoppy, thick"

Anheuser Busch: Skipped this table, I already know I don't like Shock Top, Hoegaarden, or Stella Artois. Didn't know they merged with Miller.

Skipped a couple of tables of imports like Presidente, Red Stripe, Peroni, etc.

I did buy a bottle of Mekhong Premium Spirits from Thailand. It's a rice whiskey flavored with Thai spices. Think of it as an Asian version of Southern Comfort. I bought it because my wife wanted the free T shirt, and she had been kind enough to hang around for two hours to serve as my designated driver while I tasted beer.

CONCLUSION: There weren't many spring ales on display, and nothing I tasted today dethroned my Sierra Nevada ESB or Magic Hat Hi.P.A. for spring seasonal. In fact, I was not impressed with most of the summer brews either. At least I found a lot of things to avoid.
2723  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: April 04, 2009, 05:10:15 PM

Quote from: Autistic Angel on April 04, 2009, 03:23:07 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on April 03, 2009, 04:10:19 PM

Here's a complete WAG: In the series finale, the Losties will somehow cause the plane crash that started the series. The entire story will be a closed circle with the end leading to the beginning.

I believe it's been established that Desmond caused the plane crash that started the series when he decided to stop pressing the button, but chickened out when the time flipped over to a string of symbols.  Locke retrieved a daisy-chain printout from the "Pearl" station that logged the results of Desmond's activity, and the crash of the Oceanic flight corresponded exactly to Desmond's dereliction of duty.

-Autistic Angel

I had forgotten about that. Oh well, it was a good theory except for being completely wrong.
2724  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: April 04, 2009, 03:58:36 AM
Thanks for the tip. I don't buy DVDs, so I dearly hope that Netflix will buy it for me.
2725  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Frosted Mug + Beer = Heaven on: April 04, 2009, 03:52:42 AM
I used to have some stainless steel tankards with glass bottoms. Those babies would take a chill in the freezer like no glass can do. And PeteRock was right: It killed the flavor. I eventually sold them off.

A bar that's now defunct used to serve beers in frozen mugs, but their freezer's gasket leaked enough to let in water vapor, so the glasses came encrusted in ice, both inside and out. It killed the flavor of the beer. And once, when I hoisted a frozen beer for a first quaff, the bottom of the glass separated with a loud SNAP from the body, dumping the entire contents into my lap.

The ales that I favor benefit from opening up in a pint glass, and suffer from being overchilled. If I'm drinking a citrusy summer beer on a scorching day, though, frosted mugs make me happy despite the danger.
2726  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: April 03, 2009, 04:10:19 PM
Here's a complete WAG: In the series finale, the Losties will somehow cause the plane crash that started the series. The entire story will be a closed circle with the end leading to the beginning.

That's how I'd write it, anyway.
2727  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: April 03, 2009, 02:46:47 AM

Quote from: Creepy_Smell on April 03, 2009, 01:54:24 AM


I still liked the series in general. I never really watch cop/csi shows but liked this one.

I need to go watch the original UK one at some point.

QFT. I had warmed up to the characters and especially the setting. I wish the BBC show was available on DVD. Loved Rose's line "Oh man, look at those cavemen go" and Sam's "Why does it keep coming back to David Bowie?" The ending wasn't what I expected...and that's a good thing. While it did effectively tie everything together and fit the facts as we knew them, the Wizard of Oz aspect was kind of cheap.
2728  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: home heating help - forced hot water on: April 02, 2009, 03:27:28 PM

Quote from: Teggy on April 02, 2009, 02:43:31 AM

Quote from: Ironrod on April 02, 2009, 01:11:39 AM

We have old-school radiators, not baseboards, but it's the same old technology. You are looking for a petcock that bleeds off air. It should be a little nozzle with a handle on it, like a miniature spigot. Open the valve, let the air hiss out, close the valve when it starts spewing water. 

Where would this be located, exactly?

I don't know where you'd find it on baseboard pipes. Mine are on top of the radiator at the opposite end from the water pipe. Each radiator has its own bleeder valve.

(edit) See if this link helps: http://www.home-wizard.com/maintenance/baseboardheating.asp

The first question addresses bleeding off air.
2729  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Current State of Wine Tasting... on: April 02, 2009, 01:19:49 AM

Quote from: Scuzz on April 01, 2009, 08:33:39 PM

Why would a winery charge more at the winery? Wouldn't that discourage the knowledgable wine drinker?


Tourists are their primary market, and they get a premium for the winery ambiance. Tastings are free every Saturday at our local packie. They open some very good wines and sell them at bargain prices...but you're standing in a liquor store. Despite the plebian setting, these tastings are well attended by serious winos.
2730  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: home heating help - forced hot water on: April 02, 2009, 01:11:39 AM
We have old-school radiators, not baseboards, but it's the same old technology. You are looking for a petcock that bleeds off air. It should be a little nozzle with a handle on it, like a miniature spigot. Open the valve, let the air hiss out, close the valve when it starts spewing water. 
2731  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Neighbors can be distinctly un-fabulous... on: March 31, 2009, 09:52:03 PM

Quote from: kathode on March 31, 2009, 07:14:51 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 31, 2009, 04:58:09 PM

Quote from: ScubaV on March 31, 2009, 04:05:52 PM

Where's the TL,DR?  Wall of text crits you for 90000000, you die.

 nod

I'm curious what problem a simple box fan solves. But I'm not THAT curious.

They're essentially white noise machines, and can do wonders for drowning out ambient noise.  I have an air filter/fan thing next to my bed and run it at nights.  Can't do a lot for loud bass sounds (not much can) or particularly annoying parties but it's great for ambient stuff like light traffic noise and people walking down the halls and talking. 

Oh, so the wall of text says "I have loud neighbors." Got it.

This thread reminds me that I need to replace my box fan. Last summer it fell out of the window one time too many, and now the blades are unbalanced. We live off a busy street so I need the white noise, too, but now it sets up an awful clattering. In fact, it got so bad that I actually had to use the air conditioner a couple of times. Probably could have bought a new fan for what the electricity cost. And now I just remembered that I threw away that old air conditioner, too. Damn. No way I can afford to replace it this year.

(Home Depot wishlist updated).
2732  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Neighbors can be distinctly un-fabulous... on: March 31, 2009, 04:58:09 PM

Quote from: ScubaV on March 31, 2009, 04:05:52 PM

Where's the TL,DR?  Wall of text crits you for 90000000, you die.

 nod

I'm curious what problem a simple box fan solves. But I'm not THAT curious.
2733  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Beer] Spring ales finally making their appearance on store shelves... on: March 31, 2009, 04:09:43 AM

Quote from: Tebunker on March 30, 2009, 05:54:53 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 30, 2009, 05:40:49 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on March 30, 2009, 03:26:25 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 29, 2009, 11:19:48 PM

we've had Sam Adams White Ale available for a few weeks here but the one I'm looking forward to is Rising Moon, which I haven't seen on the shelves yet this season.

At my grocery they had Rising Moon right next to the Sam Adams White Ale.  Because I'm not a huge fan of Blue Moon (not sure if it's partly psychological because it's made by Coors, but it just isn't as smooth or flavorful as other white ales), I've never really tried their other seasonal offerings.  Perhaps I'll give Rising Moon a try as you seem to enjoy it.

I don't drink Blue Moon because of the Coors taint. Silly, I know, but I don't consider it much of a sacrifice. I've never tried Rising Moon, though. 

I don't like regular Blue Moon, but I do enjoy their seasonals. Rising Moon, Pale Moon, and Harvest Moon are all excellent beers.

I think Harvest Moon is pumpkin-contaminated. If they aren't afflicted with fruit or other additives, I would like to try the others though...without actually buying them, I mean.

Nothing could be worse than the Otter Creek Spring Ale I bought last week. Flavorless, flat, devoid of any character at all. It tasted like what I imagine Budweiser must taste like. How they can call that thin yellow beer an ale is beyond me. Yet another failure from Otter Creek...why do I keep trying their new brews? I've never liked anything in their lineup.
2734  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: F**king technology on: March 31, 2009, 04:01:29 AM
All baby pictures look alike. Just replace them with somebody else's.
2735  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: So family guy on 3/29 had the full star trek TNG cast on it... on: March 31, 2009, 03:59:00 AM
We just watched one of the dumbest, most disjointed Family Guys I've ever seen. It was from a couple of weeks ago and featured a long interlude with Conway Twitty. We discussed dropping it from the DVR schedule if the other two episodes in the can are as lame as this one was.
2736  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Beer] Spring ales finally making their appearance on store shelves... on: March 30, 2009, 05:40:49 PM

Quote from: PeteRock on March 30, 2009, 03:26:25 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on March 29, 2009, 11:19:48 PM

we've had Sam Adams White Ale available for a few weeks here but the one I'm looking forward to is Rising Moon, which I haven't seen on the shelves yet this season.

At my grocery they had Rising Moon right next to the Sam Adams White Ale.  Because I'm not a huge fan of Blue Moon (not sure if it's partly psychological because it's made by Coors, but it just isn't as smooth or flavorful as other white ales), I've never really tried their other seasonal offerings.  Perhaps I'll give Rising Moon a try as you seem to enjoy it.

I don't drink Blue Moon because of the Coors taint. Silly, I know, but I don't consider it much of a sacrifice. I've never tried Rising Moon, though. 
2737  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [Beer] Spring ales finally making their appearance on store shelves... on: March 29, 2009, 10:24:04 PM
I like Sams White Ale on tap, and it has the advantage of being ubiquitous here. I know Pete's issues with draft beers and extend, once again, my sympathies.  icon_wink

In bottles, I prefer other choices. Quite a few weeks ago I settled on Sierra Nevada's ESB for cold nights and Magic Hat's Hi.P.A. for warmer weather, and nothing that I've tried since then has dethroned those two. The packie is having a spring beer tasting next Saturday. We shall see if anything else can rival the two that I've settled on. I'll post results in my Spring Ales thread at OO. If anything is especially outstanding I'll mention it here, too.

In tragic news, I bought the last 12-pack of SN Celebration Ale today. Au revoir, winter beers! They've still got a pallet of Sam's Winter Ale on sale...but again, that's primarily a draft beer in these parts, not something I'd ever choose bottled.
2738  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: [movie] Monsters Vs. Aliens (3D) on: March 29, 2009, 02:04:53 AM

Quote from: whiteboyskim on March 29, 2009, 01:43:32 AM

God this movie sucked. Squandered all potential for awesome. Absolutely unfunny and worse, it just sort of lays there for the most part. Watch the ads for all the funny bits and no, the President is no where near as awesome as he could have been. Bleh. thumbsdown thumbsdown

The only review I've read so far said the same thing -- the 3D effects are about all it has going for it if you're over 12 years old. I don't even plan to Netflix this one. 
2739  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 28, 2009, 06:36:10 PM
One of the AI diplomatic messages tells you "You're just embarrassing both of us with this tactic. Surrounding our planets with Transports in preparation to attack? What do you think this is? A video game? If you were trying this tactic against a fellow being of your own kind would they just sit there and let it go unnoticed? Please. Fortunately for you, my military generals have been set to be too dumb to actually do anything about it. But I'm not. I see what you're doing. And if my generals had their intelligence at "Intelligent" or better, they'd squash you."  icon_lol
2740  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: "Best" Buy Managers violate price match, get bonuses on: March 28, 2009, 02:49:04 AM

Quote from: Blackadar on March 27, 2009, 11:26:58 PM

Note that Best Buy often has manufacturers change model numbers so that you *can't* price match.  Model XY785106C becomes XY78105C - it's the exact same thing, but now it's exempt from price matching. 

This is standard practice in the mattress industry. They all offer price-beating, and they never have to collect, because even though the manufacturers really only make a few dozen models, they have hundreds of SKUs. It's interesting that electronics have reached the same level of sleaze.
2741  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: "Best" Buy Managers violate price match, get bonuses on: March 27, 2009, 09:48:54 PM
The only time I ever asked about it, I was told that internet pricing was exempt from their policy. Price comparison is pretty difficult if you exclude the internet. So I walked out, and bought whatever it was online.
2742  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Not paid enough... on: March 27, 2009, 07:01:25 PM
I fired quite a few employees over the years. It gets easier as the body count rises. Eventually I came to enjoy firing the incompetents. Layoffs were always hard, though.
2743  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 27, 2009, 05:46:12 PM
I think you just need to dial up the AI.

In the situation you described, I'd choose a victory condition and concentrate on achieving it.
2744  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 26, 2009, 03:51:03 PM

Quote from: Godzilla Blitz on March 25, 2009, 01:11:45 PM

I haven't played Gal Civ 2 yet, but I played Gal Civ quite a bit. I never felt the game was ponderous though. If anything, I thought the AI (at its upper levels) was so good at expanding in the early game that each game started out as a wild, full-speed expansion sprint from the first turn. It seemed like in every game there was a race to colonize some critical planet. Great fun and filled with tension.

Maybe Gal Civ 2 changed this?

No, the colony rush is still there, and it's even more interesting because marginally habitable worlds require technologies to settle. When you're exploring and you come across a nice juicy level-15 Barren world, it's a huge incentive to research barren world colonization. Some races can settle some marginal worlds naturally, so having one of those in your backyard is a vulnerability.

I don't think they had that in original GalCiv, did they?
2745  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Get them away from me! I need help! The noms, they're EVIL! on: March 26, 2009, 03:28:35 AM
Wrap 'em in bacon and deep fry 'em, and I'm in.
2746  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: March 26, 2009, 03:26:03 AM

Quote from: Malificent on March 26, 2009, 02:34:27 AM

Spoiler for Hiden:
We didn't see Sayid check for a pulse or anything, so Ben could still be alive.

That was my second reaction. My first was "Holy crap! How does this not change everything?"

Spoiler for Hiden:
I wonder if this series will end as one big time-loop paradox?
2747  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Submarine and Amphib collide in the SOH on: March 24, 2009, 08:04:18 PM
Somebody's getting some points on his license for that one.
2748  Non-Gaming / Political / Religious Nonsense / Re: House passes 90% tax on Bonuses for TARP recips. on: March 24, 2009, 05:54:40 PM

Quote from: Knightshade Dragon on March 24, 2009, 04:31:14 PM

When I play Civilization I commit 100% of my resources to researching whatever - it gets it done far sooner and in the end I end up winning through advancements.  We'd be a lot better off with that approach than studying the humping hamsters.

When you research in Civ, you know the benefits that each new tech will give you and exactly how long it will take to get there. Reality encourages us to diversify. Curing cancer is small consolation if a rogue planetoid wipes out life on earth, and we could have saved hamsterkind.
2749  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: It's Tax Time! on: March 24, 2009, 05:48:36 PM
After a dramatic showdown, the wife grudgingly completed her share of the tax prep on Sunday, and we just delivered the whole package to our CPA with a check for his fee. We should get the bottom line within a few days.

The lazy BIL finally sent me his mother's 1099-G and her medical expenses a couple of weeks ago. I e-filed her return a few days later and her refund arrived last week. She got $19 from the feds and the maximum $1200 homestead refund from the state of Michigan. In a couple of months Michigan will take that money back for this year's property taxes.

The end of tax season is finally in sight -- and before April 15 this year. I must have already said that we can't afford to pay out this year, so wish me luck.
2750  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 6 MONTHS since my last cigarette! on: March 24, 2009, 05:37:05 PM
Tonight I'm going to meet my one-and-only smoker friend at the bar after he's been away for 3 months. Assuming that he still smokes, I will bum my first cigarette since the last time I saw him. I will enjoy it thoroughly.
2751  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 24, 2009, 01:03:15 AM

Quote from: Blackadar on March 23, 2009, 04:59:44 PM

Since you don't control your ships in combat, I didn't find much strategy in that area of the game.  I'm sure there is some, but I'm too much of a noob to know what it is at this point. 

Ship design is the main strategic challenge -- playing rock-paper-scissors with both weapons and defenses, and trading those off against speed. Combat itself is just about having the right ships in the right place. I don't like tactical combat myself so its absence from this game is a positive.
2752  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Annual spring break trip with family. Now with even MORE fabulousness. on: March 23, 2009, 07:00:59 PM
Thanks for that writeup. We sometimes mull taking a long weekend in Bermuda or the Bahamas, and they've always been interchangeable in my mind. I would tilt toward Bermuda now.
2753  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New game - post the first image in your My Pictures folder! on: March 23, 2009, 04:52:22 PM
It's a 1972 Opel GT, my first car.
2754  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New game - post the first image in your My Pictures folder! on: March 23, 2009, 04:01:03 PM

Quote from: Moliere on March 23, 2009, 02:29:55 PM

I don't use the My Pictures folder.  ninja

Neither do I. I did find and delete some garbage files/folders in there, though, so thanks for bringing it to my attention.
2755  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Star Trek TV series? on: March 22, 2009, 08:28:12 PM

Quote from: Isgrimnur on March 22, 2009, 06:35:29 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 22, 2009, 03:51:49 PM

Think of the pilot, Encounter at Farside.

Farpoint

Farside would have been an episode done by Gary Larson.

 icon_lol

That's what I get for dredging things up from memory.

It was a delightfully cheesy moralistic debut in keeping with the spirit of TOS. I am glad TNG didn't linger in that vein.
2756  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 22, 2009, 05:52:34 PM

Quote from: ibdoomed on March 22, 2009, 04:06:53 PM

Now that's very interesting. I'm not a real Bowie fan, I could take it or leave it, but my wife IS and while I would have to double check with her, I don't think she caught the reference either. But both of us being science geeks might have lost the pop culture weight on the term.

As soon as I decided that I liked this show, I dug out my Bowie CD and fired up the lava lamp, put on the blacklight, and dropped some acid, then listened to this song a few times. Why did they name the show after it? That verse is my best guess. We'll find out in less than two weeks.
2757  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Galactic Civ 2 Fans - Convince Me on: March 22, 2009, 04:12:02 PM
I have whatever the latest and greatest version is, so I don't really remember what the basic game lacks. It's a pretty standard 4x game. I think the AI is its strongest suit.

Setup is highly configurable. On a huge map I often snag 10-15 planets during the initial colony rush, so if you're really only getting 3-4 you might need to make habitable planets more common, or change your early game strategy. For example, I use colony ships for scouting, and use my starting cash to rush a colony ship every time I find a habitable planet. The transition to profitability can be quite difficult, too. My strategy involves getting trade routes going ASAP. The humans and my custom civ (the Rastafarians) are both trade-dependent, so finding stable friendly neighbors is key.

I play 95% of the game at maximum zoom, so it's a pretty pure icon-based strategy game. I also like to randomize many of the starting conditions such as leader personalities and intelligence to enhance the exploration phase.

In short, GalCiv2 didn't break any new ground, but it does a very solid job of implementing all of the expected 4x game conventions. Put those together with good AI and interesting random events, and you've got my attention.

Plus, it runs well on my 6-year-old computer.  icon_smile
2758  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Need show, have money on: March 22, 2009, 03:55:27 PM
We are halfway through the last season of Babylon 5. The series starts very weak, builds to a crescendo in the 3rd and 4th seasons, then peters out again at the end. Very entertaining, though, with some great characters and plots.

We're going to start on BSG next.
2759  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: New Star Trek TV series? on: March 22, 2009, 03:51:49 PM

Quote from: raydude on March 22, 2009, 03:00:53 PM

Quote from: Ironrod on March 22, 2009, 04:56:14 AM

Quote from: Turtle on March 22, 2009, 12:45:41 AM


This isn't the time for dark and dreary science fiction like BSG, which just ended.

Good observation. TOS was an uplifting show in dire times.

Not just uplifting, but TOS was a vehicle that allowed Gene Rodenberry to talk about social issues in the context of a sci-fi show. Something which I think TNG and later Treks mostly ignored. Race issues (a black and an Asian in important non-throwaway roles?), fear of beings or people we don't understand (the rock monster, Kirk vs. the Gorn), etc, those were the heart and soul of Trek. That was what Gene Rodenberry wanted Star Trek to be about.

Somehow that got forgotten in the midst of technobabble, whiz-kid solutions, hologram hijinks, and the like. New Trek should try to be more of a lens on our current societal issues. Kids more vulnerable to other forms of technology (internet, social networking sites, etc), environmental issues, the low-intensity conflicts, media telling us what to be outraged about (i.e. Nadia Suleman vs. really important global events), the difficulty in disconnecting ourselves from our gadgets. That's what I'd like to see in the new Trek.

TNG started down the social-responsibility track early on, with a few episodes that were as goofy as anything from TOS. Think of the pilot, Encounter at Farside. They drifted away from that, though...maybe for the best. It was more of a nostalgia/tribute approach than something appropriate to its time. Now that we live in unstable times the original Roddenberry approach might work again. TOS was very topical. You can only do that so much, though, before you start compromising good sf storytelling for your political agenda. Remember that TOS employed scripts from some of the best sf writers of its day. Jerome Bixby, Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Richard Matheson, Norman Spinrad, Theodore Sturgeon...real heavy hitters. Roddenberry knew better than to try to write the whole show himself.
2760  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: There is no life on Mars on: March 22, 2009, 05:06:59 AM
Not a Bowie fan, are you? The music of the day is integral to this show. It's right that it should take its name from a song title, and if you don't get the reference you probably wouldn't like the show. But I see your point -- it doesn't become obvious and appropriate until after you have been drawn in.

My theory of the Big Reveal comes from these lyrics:

Quote from: David Bowie
Take a look at the lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man!
Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
Is there life on Mars?




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