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3441  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Demigod on: April 08, 2009, 06:34:24 PM
From what I understand, the gameplay was designed basically from the DoTA mod of Warcraft 3.  So supposedly if you liked that this was a sure thing.  The other aspect they touted was a mix of RTS and action-RPG player types, so one type (assassin I think) is more single character (Diablo-ish?) and others are more RTS-ish, summoning stuff, etc. 

I only played one demo phase of the game and while it looked pretty stunning I was not overly impressed with the gameplay.  It looked like the engine had a lot of potential but the map I played was kind of boring and seemed much more RTS than ARPG. 

I have it on preorder so if it's actually out I'll give it a download and see...
3442  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 1 year and 1600 posts later on: April 08, 2009, 06:29:27 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on April 08, 2009, 02:27:43 PM

Quote from: Kagath on April 08, 2009, 07:46:55 AM

Not wanting to dredge up bad memories or feelings but this place should just construct an on site corral and pond for it's offshoots and have everyone shake hands to get along again. Need some new blood in here again.

just find out where Rip keeps the OO server and nuke it from orbit  icon_wink

Honestly it's the only way to be sure.   thumbsup

In more important news, today is MY one year anniversary!!!!  Wooohooo!!!!    Damn I wanted to use that pink lady icon but I can't get it to show up, oh well!  I'll settle for  ninja2
3443  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: April 08, 2009, 06:26:43 PM

Quote from: Jimmy the Fish on April 08, 2009, 06:07:35 AM

What song did Adam sing? Paula's drug induced ramblings caused the show to go overtime by 5 minutes which means my TiVo cut the end off.

The worst part about this is it f-ed up Fringe afterwards as well, so I missed the final 5 minutes!  Damn you Fox!!!

That's funny Pete calls it the Gears of War song, I forgot about that, I still associate it with Donnie Darko.  But yeah, Glambert's all but wrapped this year up barring a serious anti-gay campaign wedged by someone (do it, Gokey!).  You know what would really make this season awesome is if he comes out of the closet during an interview, or better yet in the final round, dresses in drag and sings "I'm Coming Out" to test America's voting.  I would love love love that  icon_razz
3444  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: April 08, 2009, 04:07:45 AM
Tonight coming at you LIVE!!!

Gokey - each week he gets more and more boring for me, I feel bad about picking on him but there it is.  Stand By Me in some other version, yawn.  You are not going to beat the Wailing Fruitcake with stuff like this.  The very last part of the song i thought was decent but the rest was bland.  The judges' heap praise on him, surprise surprise.  Free pass.

Kris - it was bound to happen, all the praise gets to his head and he thinks he can/should Krisify every song out there.  I thought it was kind of a mess and the "pit" thing is more distracting than not.  Might hit the bottom 3 this week.  He's still sexy as all hell though, nice stubble.  Gets my vote.

Lil Copykat - pretty much the same thing yet again.  Lil does Tina this week, she should just do a Vegas show and copy different divas each week.  She does an OK Tina impression, but again, it's just OK.  She continues to show no originality and weaker vocals than 90% of her diva predecessors.  At least she looked good this week, nice outfit that flattened out her huge ass.  Judges concur.  I feel bad for her because at this point I don't think she has any identity of her own to show but the judges keep harping her on it.

Scotty - Starts out OK, wow he plays the guitar.... but then eeek "I look into your eyes" - did he check the lyrics before choosing this song?  Discomfort...rising.  Ack he just cracked a scary note!   Please stop Scotty!!!  The end is decent.  Kara is nice enough to not point out the horrid screech note, but Paula calls him on it nicely.  Amusing enough that I think he'll make it through.

Allison - can she make me love her?  I love this song so we'll see.  Starting out decent, I actually turned the volume UP after Scott's scariness.  Very nice rock ballad rendition, I'll give her a thumbs up and a pass this week.  Agree with the judges - she's clearly this year's Kelly Clarkson.  Also agree with Simon, she's just not that likable.  And by likable I mean pretty.

Mattimberlake - Part Time Lovers?  Really?  OMG wearing a JT hat.  So he's back to JT but a Stevie Wonder version.  I wish Scott would have sang this instead.  Paula gets up and starts dancing, she's gettin horny.  I think the judges are going to like it, but it's just making me uncomfortable.  No don't try scatting, please!  Judges say...  "Incredible on every level!" wtf?!?  I'm out of touch on this one, but looks like he passes this week.

Adam Fagbert - does he really need the final pimp slot?  He goes Donnie Darko on us with a toned down vocal performance similar to his Motown one, but darker.  Can he do the whole thing without screaming?  Do it for me Adam!!!  Very nice falsetto and only one scream.  Kudos!  You are the winner!  Holy crap Simon gives him a standing O.  This season is over unless Gokey can get the drag queen photos plastered on the air.

Bottom 3 - tough this week, but I'll say Lil, Kris and... Anoop.  I really don't know, maybe Anoop finally goes?
3445  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Housing: Buy or Rent? on: April 07, 2009, 09:47:41 PM

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on April 07, 2009, 06:42:40 PM

Quote from: rittchard on April 07, 2009, 06:22:05 PM

My partner asked me a question while we were looking at a pretty nice house, which made me feel kind of sad (I guess is the word), something to the effect like "do we even deserve to own a house this nice?" and I was like "ummm do you mean are we bad people so we don't deserve to live in a nice place, or something more financially?" While he said he worded it poorly, I could tell on some level he did mean the former. Anyway, it just made me feel like why the hell don't we deserve it, we've both worked hard all our lives, school for over 20 years for both of us, we rarely take vacations, we try to be nice to people, what the heck!

I don't understand the context or meaning of this question. I thought he was asking it from a position of philanthropy as in maybe we should give our money to people with even less than us...if not that, what did he mean? Why wouldn't you 'deserve' it?

- -

Or you could move to Raleigh where you get lots for your money! slywink

Funny you mention Raleigh, about 6 years ago the company I was at decided to up and move from CA to the bay area and tried to bring some of the engineers (myself included) with them.  They tried to entice us with the gigantic mansions we could supposedly buy and part of the deal was they would pay selling/buying costs.  I didn't have a place (obviously) so the deal didn't mean as much to me.  Luckily I didn't go, as I heard the company ended up falling apart a few years later lol.

Regarding the first question, I believe his question came from a low-self-esteem point of view, something we've both struggled with in the past.  We both came out of the closet late in life and at a time when things weren't nearly as "gay friendly" which I believe contributed to a lot of depression and anxiety.  I think I've moved past my issues for the most part, but I get the sense there's a part of him deeply buried that never thinks anything he does is good enough, and/or that he simply does not deserve to be happy or have good things happen to him.  Sometimes it comes across as noble and self-sacrificing, other times as disturbing and like some sort of martyr-complex.  That's why the use of the word "deserves" was very telling to me, even though he later tried to pass it off as something else.

But enough psycho-analysis lol, this is a home buying thread!  Ironrod, we do have renter's insurance but I don't think it is anywhere near what the homeowner's insurance estimate is/was going to be.  I'll have to check on this.

Something I found out over lunch.  Apparently FHA loans (3.5% down minimum) can max at over $700k (I forgot the exact number) and still maintain today's 5%ish interest rates.  There may be some other fees associated that I need to learn about but that's kind of nice to know.
3446  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 1 year and 1600 posts later on: April 07, 2009, 06:49:46 PM

Quote from: SensuousLettuce on April 07, 2009, 06:33:08 PM

Quote from: rittchard on April 07, 2009, 06:24:25 PM

Go go OO Refugees!!!  I still check OO on occasion but for whatever reason I feel/felt much more settled in here. 

Makes you wanna buy a house here doesn't it?

Nice one, Lettuceman!!!  icon_cool

Hmmm I just checked again - I don't even average 2 posts per day here, is that possible?  Maybe due to weekends.  I need to step it up if I want to own property here.
3447  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: CHUCK IS BACK! Chuck vs. The First Date Spoilers! on: April 07, 2009, 06:46:17 PM
No comments???  Another awesome episode, I seriously thought for a second it could/should be the season finale.

Spoiler for Hiden:
Come on!!  Scott Bakula AND Chevy Chase!?!?!  Where's the promotion love, NBC?  I think I saw one commercial for it over the week and absolutely no additional promotion (magazines, talkshows, whatever). 

Not too impressed with Chevy Chase as evil Steve Jobs.  Just OK.  Need more of the Mummy too.  Still I like having some interesting recurring baddies.

I loved Scott as Orion, even after he was doing his armband thing I didn't get that he was Orion lol.  A little slow on the uptake last night I guess.  I'm sure most Quantum Leap fans caught the "Oh boy" reference though smile  I love the little throwaways this show does for the fanboys.  Not too surprising he didn't just dump the kids, but definitely will make for some more poignant moments in the show.  Also enjoyed the interplay between Scott and Awesome, first time Awesome seems like an actor rather than just a piece of hot flesh.

Adam Baldwin was hilarious again, love love love him.  The expressions he made while getting shot with tranqs were just priceless.

Chuck looked great in his action uniform.  Go Chuck!  Not much for our pretty blond to do this week, but she does give him a few very sweet "looks" throughout the show.

Next week: Jordana is back!!  Sweet!!!!
3448  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: April 07, 2009, 06:35:56 PM
One of the better episode's last night, IMHO.  I'm not sure how much more I can tolerate of Hiro/Ando antics, but that baby is pretty damn cute, and I thought the episode was one of Greg Grunberg's best acting showcases.  I also like the shapesift gimmick, so that other actors get to play themselves as Sylar playing them lol.
3449  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elven Legacy - Out Tomorrow on: April 07, 2009, 06:28:10 PM

Quote from: Dante Rising on April 07, 2009, 02:47:21 PM

Thanks for the info rittchard! You made my week!

Yay!!! I finally did something good  icon_razz


Have my fingers crossed on the game being good, it's downloading at home now.

BTW, do any of you Steam experts know if I want to put the game on another computer/laptop, do I need to download again from scratch or can you just copy some files over?
3450  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: 1 year and 1600 posts later on: April 07, 2009, 06:24:25 PM
Congrats!!!

....Holy crap!!!  I just checked and I guess my one year is tomorrow!

Go go OO Refugees!!!  I still check OO on occasion but for whatever reason I feel/felt much more settled in here.  Much to the dismay of some of you  retard
3451  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Housing: Buy or Rent? on: April 07, 2009, 06:22:05 PM
Thanks for all the feedback, definitely appreciate all of the different points of view.  I'll throw in some more info just to address some of the comments here and from the Wanderers thread.

Ridah - the numbers I'm throwing out all include worst case scenarios with PMI and property taxes, HOAs and whatnot, all pre-tax benefit.  My broker guy tried to do some post-tax benefit types of calculations for us but they were kind of confusing.  Once those factored in, the "double the rent" number I threw out there was much closer to what we are presently paying in rent.  I don't really trust those post-tax benefit numbers so I have to learn how to figure that out as well.

The places we're looking at right now are somewhere in between starter and "dream" home but maybe closer to the dream side. We're both in our 40s now, and one thing we agreed on is we did not want to move to a place we liked less or was significantly smaller, etc. In terms of the area, we are extremely lucky right now in that both of us commute around 5 miles, which is pretty much unheard of in Southern Cal so shifting to another area is low on the list of compromises. So it's obviously an issue because you could say our standards are higher than our savings.  While we are OK/happy where we are renting now, there are quite a few things that could be better/nicer, but since we don't own the place, obviously we can't change anything.  This is not horrible, but it always leaves me with a "temporary" feeling, like I just can't fully settle down.  At age 40, I'm finally starting to feel like it might be time.

My partner asked me a question while we were looking at a pretty nice house, which made me feel kind of sad (I guess is the word), something to the effect like "do we even deserve to own a house this nice?" and I was like "ummm do you mean are we bad people so we don't deserve to live in a nice place, or something more financially?" While he said he worded it poorly, I could tell on some level he did mean the former. Anyway, it just made me feel like why the hell don't we deserve it, we've both worked hard all our lives, school for over 20 years for both of us, we rarely take vacations, we try to be nice to people, what the heck!

The area itself is the "South Bay" of Southern Calif, which is kind of its own little unique part of LA.  There's a big mix of different types of houses and housing communities.  You have to be careful because too far south or west (to the beach) it becomes insanely expensive.  Just a little too far east and you can enter some more dangerous neighborhoods.  The majority of the housing that we liked and could have afforded, because it's so crowded, are these 2 unit style condo/townhomes.  They look and are sized liked regular houses but they share a wall.  The problem with this is that they don't qualify for an FHA loan, which means you need to have a much higher downpayment - which as I mentioned we just don't have at the moment.  Sadly we are nowhere even near it, from my best guesstimate it would probably take 3 years to get a 20% downpayment together, maybe 2. The concern is by then we'd missed out on the (relatively) lower pricing and/or lower interest rates. We have a relatively unique situation where our present salaries are good but because of long years in grad school and poor spending habits, neither of us have saved much. So we are only now starting to have some extra earnings to invest.

I know most people would probably recommend we just start saving more aggressively, and that's certainly an option we've been talking about.  The question is how long do you wait, and might we "miss the boat" on interest rates, etc while waiting.  And would we even be able to save enough to make that much of a difference.  I've run a lot of number crunching scenarios, and it surprised me how little (relatively) the effects were of a higher downpayment until you got to 20% and could negate the PMI.

One factor I neglected to mention. My partner should qualify for the $8k new buyer tax credit this year, but he got a promotion recently so even if they still have it next year it will get scaled down significantly. So that's an $8k freebie incentive to do it this year!

Anyway, thanks for all the comments, it's helping me process info to just write some thoughts down and read others' experiences.
3452  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elven Legacy - Out Tomorrow on: April 06, 2009, 11:48:39 PM
Here's the old thread on Fantasy Wars:

http://www.gamingtrend.com/forums/index.php?topic=22022.0

I think I may have been confused with Octopus Overlords, as I believed it had a pretty devoted following.
3453  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elven Legacy - Out Tomorrow on: April 06, 2009, 11:46:46 PM

Quote from: frost on April 06, 2009, 11:29:35 PM

is this an RTS game?

TBS - from what I've read it really is the sequel to Fantasy Wars but for some reason is not being advertised as such.
3454  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: April 06, 2009, 11:45:36 PM

Quote from: Blackjack on April 03, 2009, 03:50:57 AM

Honestly, if you want to play current games on a laptop, then I think you're smart to get a good "real" maybe 12" laptop and not a netbook that's stuck at 1024X600 rez, so-so amounts of RAM and such.  So, don't beat yourself up about it.  icon_smile

I have to beat myself up about it because the laptop actually has WORSE graphics capability lol (GMA4500).  The advantage it has is a better (dual core) processor, and better screen/rez plus built-in DVD drive. 

First impressions on the N10J: all in all a lot slicker (even the packaging) and (for lack of a better word) classier feeling over the EEE.  It's clearly larger and a bit heavier (keeping in mind this is the 9" model). 

Boot up on Vista was pretty long and painful, even after removing as much bloatware as I dared it seems to freeze up for a while before fully loading.  I don't know if that's a problem or just Vista being Vista.  Not too concerned at the moment as I intend to replace it with Windows 7 asap.  Speaking of bloatware, just way too much.  Things like Lightscribe labeling - seriously?  On a netbook with no DVD drive?

Anyway, once you are in, Vista behaves well enough, even with Aero and sidebar loaded and running.  I loaded up the latest Dox mobile nVidia drivers and landed a respectable 1500ish 3DMark06 (running native at 1024x600).  Compare this to the 1600ish score I got on my 2nd gen MBA at 1024x768.  I found some easy ways to overclock to 1.8GHz or 2GHz, but I haven't re-tested yet.  Considering the price differential ($2500 vs $700), it's kinda like... whoa!  Now I haven't played with it enough to do a full head to head comparison, but certainly this is something fairly special for a netbook.

Game-wise, I have a rather particular set of games to try and have just started playing around.  I was able to get Runes of Magic and Hellgate London (single player) running, as well as Battleforge.  Still have WAR and D2 on the agenda, though I don't expect any issues.

All in all I'm pretty pleased with the unit.  The keyboard is much nicer than the 9" (as expected) and the gaming capabilities look solid.  If Diablo 3 runs fine, I'll be a very happy camper. 
3455  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo DSi US launch slated for April 5th, $169.99 on: April 06, 2009, 11:19:20 PM
Very limited first impressions:

- The unit is just a tad longer and (I think) a tad heavier than the Lite
- Screen size was not noticeably larger  icon_frown
- Cameras in low light were pretty poor quality
- Separate SD memory card slot is intriguing...
- Slightly inconvenient but I finally got into my password protected wifi network and was able to access the store and internet
- Downloaded an update and then a free web browser (opera based) which felt slow.  1000 free points to download some other stuff.

All in all, not much of a thrill but I think it will be good in the long run.  This was mainly a purchase for the future for me, particularly since I had $90 of Best Buy rewards to burn.
3456  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Housing: Buy or Rent? on: April 06, 2009, 11:11:06 PM
(cross-posted from Wanderers site)

I know there's a lot of different opinions on this, and that everyones' situations are unique, but I thought it would be interesting to hear what people are recommending now in the midst of this current economy.

Within the past couple of months, I've had quite a few friends either purchase or looking to purchase their first home. It seems like the tide is changing, with prices lower/correcting and interest rates low, not to mention the tax credit for first time buyers. Conventional wisdom seems to say buying real estate is always a good investment in the longterm, but clearly some people have also been burned of late. And it still seems rather risky to pick up a huge debt/mortgage. What if you lose your job?

My present situation is, of course, unique and complicated in its own way. The numbers are there but to move to some of the places I like would essentially double my monthly housing payment, which was substantial to begin with.  Now I've been assured that after tax benefits this would be very different, but the fact remains at the outset I (and my partner) would have to come up with, effectively, double the rent, on top of the downpayment and fees and all that business. It's daunting. The area we want to live in has not really dropped in prices, which I guess is good value-wise but bad in terms of trying to get our foot in the door. Of course we could choose a cheaper area or a lesser/smaller place, but at this point in my life, neither of us wants to move down just for the sake of owning something.

Pros to buying a house

- Can finally "own" a place (kind of) and "make it our own"
- Tax benefits(?)
- Longterm investment, build equity for retirement

Cons

- Double the monthly at least, ouch!  No more frivolous electronic purchases!
- Lots of fees and expenses, first year could be verrrry tough
- Stuck in a location, could be bad if someone loses their job

So I'm kind of back and forth. I was pretty gung ho on buying a week ago. Then today I was thinking if we stayed renting and put away even $1000 a month instead, in 20 years we'd have close to $300k (assuming 2% interest). That should theoretically be enough to buy a decent retirement home (assuming that's one of the concerns), and in those 20 years we could spend pretty freely, and wouldn't be tied down to a mortgage.
3457  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Elven Legacy - Now with Impressions on: April 06, 2009, 09:40:37 PM
I'm a little surprised to not see anything about this one, I believe it is releasing tomorrow on Steam and a bunch of other places.  I believe it's the (indirect?) sequel to Fantasy Wars which a lot of people liked (or at least I thought they did).  I'll be trying it out for sure.

http://www.elven-legacy.com/

3458  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: April 06, 2009, 05:02:52 AM

Quote from: metallicorphan on April 03, 2009, 03:53:35 AM

i wanna know about that statue

you saw it in season 1 when Sayid and co,tried to sail round the island....the statue in question was very big,and only had 4 toes(on each foot)...in this season(5)you saw the back of it when they were in the jungle(i think Jin and a young Danielle running from the smoke monster),i actually thought i was going to find out about it,but seems not to be
i have been waiting since season 1 to find out

how many episodes are in this season?,as there was only 14 i think last season(3 episodes for the finale)..was that due to the writers strike or the fact that they were getting complaints about stretching the story out?

I believe they agreed to have 16 episodes each for the final 3 seasons.  Both the premiere and finale counted as 2 separate episodes.

As for the statue, there are quite a few theories on it.  The one that looks the most plausible is that it is of Anubis, perhaps welcoming people to the land of the dead.  There are some things off about it (the size of the ears and holding 2 ankhs instead of one) and the 4-toes takes a bit of a stretch.  Whatever it is, it looks likely to be related to Egyptian mythology, which also likely ties into the temple thing that Ben went into, as well as the smoke monster.  I believe they've promised some answers to these, but likely not til the last season.
3459  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Season 2 on: April 06, 2009, 04:56:15 AM
I hate it that so many sci-fi shows get cancelled almost exactly at the time they start to get really good and find their "voice."  It's really frustrating.  What is even more frustrating is that sci-fi fans just don't seem to put in solid ratings in a consistent block.  How is it that Mexican soap operas can routinely blast great shows like this and Reaper, Firefly, etc. - by two to one?!??! 

Anyway, I hope it can get picked up again, any chance for a save on the sci-fi channel.  I think the execs at Fox are a bunch of fucking idiots.  Why do they even bother with shows like this and Dollhouse only to drown and kill them?  You know it's not that difficult to figure some of these things out.  Hmmm there is a HUGE Terminator sequel coming out this summer.  Gee I wonder if there's anything that might be done to cross-promote this.  Geee ummm errrr derrr nah let's just stick our Terminator show in a death slot months before the movie comes out.  Hmmmm we have the #1 and #2 show on every week.  Gee I wonder if it might make sense to promote a new show by placing it after one of these shows, even just the premiere to get people excited.  Nah, let's just stick it in the historically worst slot of the week.  Ugh. 
3460  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo DSi US launch slated for April 5th, $169.99 on: April 02, 2009, 11:19:44 PM

Quote from: Jeff on April 02, 2009, 10:06:53 PM

Quote from: farley2k on February 20, 2009, 02:33:33 PM

Long commercial type video on Youtube

They do seem to have put a lot of fun stuff into the camera software.  Still kinda pointless sense every phone seems to have a camera these days.




I hope I don't offend anyone when I say ... those features in that video are incredibly lame for a handheld gaming system. record a 10 second audio clip and garble your voice? seriously?


But but but ... you can morph people's faces with 11 "lenses"!!!  And you can morph your OWN face too!!!  And then draw little candy hearts around the morphed face.  How much more fun could it possibly be!?!?!  icon_twisted
3461  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Nintendo DSi US launch slated for April 5th, $169.99 on: April 02, 2009, 09:47:28 PM
Anyone gonna pick one up?  I want to resist but I think I am just kidding myself.
3462  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: April 02, 2009, 09:31:17 PM
I hate myself for spending more money on this insane drive to create/find a "gaming" netbook, but I recently ordered the Asus N10J from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/N10J-A1-10-2-Inch-Laptop-Processor-Premium/dp/B001F83YC2/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1238707490&sr=8-2

If I had known about this sucker's existence (was it covered in this thread?  I don't recall seeing it), I would definitely have not purchased the mid-laptop I did a short while back.  So now I will have an extra netbook and extra laptop to deal with selling or giving away or whatever lol.  I am so lame, my closet is like a museum of electronic gadgets.

Anyway, in case it wasn't covered before, it's mostly standard netbook hardware, but the surprise factor to this guy is that it offers a hardware switchable 9300M graphics processor.  This means "real" gaming capability; I've seen footage of L4D, Warhammer Online and a bunch of other top notch games playable.  Yowza.  Sucks that it's stuck with the same generic screen resolution but oh well. 
3463  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Question about shopping for a first mortgage on: April 02, 2009, 09:22:06 PM

Quote from: Teggy on April 02, 2009, 05:52:03 PM

My wife and I have been vigorously working off a very sizable credit card debt (long story) for the past year and a half. We would really like to get a house, but the existence of this debt had previously led me to believe we should hold off before we go down that road. I'm estimating it will be at least another 2 years before we have knocked out the CC debt, and we have grad school loans on top of that. On the other hand, we currently support a fairly high rent (which went up again this year) and I have a good credit score (wife's is probably not as good, but we haven't checked). It's looking like the deals on houses are going to be very good over the next year or so, and it would be a shame to miss out on the opportunity.

What I am wondering is how might I go about finding out what we might be able to get as a mortgage given our current situation? I know there are simple calculators on the net, but I would need something more realistic. Also, would getting a quote of this type ding your credit score?

I'm actually in a fairly similar position at the moment in terms of thinking about biting the bullet and purchasing a house, but maybe just a tad further along than you debt wise.  My partner and I have been battling CC debt for years but are nearing the late stages (if I can clear mine in a few more months I was planning on writing a little blog article about how I did it).  Our biggest problem because of this is lack of substantial savings, which in turn limits our capability to put a solid down payment down, etc etc.  However depending on what you are looking for, you may be able to get an FHA loan, which only requires about 3.5-5% down.  The downside being that the FHA loans only apply to certain types of houses (single family homes and approved association condos). 

I recently had a first consult with a loan person; the calculators you use on the net are very realistic, and will likely be same/similar to what a professional will tell you.  I was able (after a bit of work) to duplicate the numbers he was giving me to fairly good accuracy.  So just be honest with the numbers you put in, and a calculator can give you a surprisingly good starter idea. 

Mortgage affordability calculator:

http://www.nolo.com/calculator.cfm?CALCULATORID=HF08&TEMPLATE_ID=www.nolo.com_1

Anyway, the next step would be to just talk to a loan person.  The guy I talked to was from Chase, referred to me by my landlord who is also a house broker.  If you have no other contacts you can start here:

http://mortgage.chase.com/pages/shared/gateway.jsp

Tell them your exact situation and they will likely be able to give you some numbers, etc. and if all sounds good they will likely try to convince you to fill out an application for pre-approval.  This will likely boil down to a lot of number crunching, which in turn all boils down to what you can realistically afford on a monthly basis and what you can bring in terms of a downpayment, etc.  There's also things to consider like tax benefits, but you may need to go to someone else to figure out those numbers.  And keep in mind there is the new $8000 tax credit this year for first time buyers who qualify.

Oh yeah, I think there's no chance you will get dinged by doing this kind of study/application.
3464  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Lost returns next week! [Spoilers!] on: April 02, 2009, 09:02:56 PM
Very nice comeback from last week's kind of predictable episode, and nice build up to next week's Ben-centric episode, which looks like it's going to be a really good one.

Spoiler for Hiden:
I've always liked the actress who plays Kate, and this week was a really good one for her.  Aside from just exploring her motivations, it gave her a lot of welcome character moments and revelations that she (the character) may not have been aware of, such as the caring for Aaron as a replacement for heartbreak from Sawyer.  Some of it was a bit forced, but all in all I really liked her performance. 

While I predicted the gist of what would happen correctly (Ben survives and is transforned into "Ben" due to the shooting), I was caught off guard by Richard's taking him to the Temple of Doom to be healed.  Cool stuff.

Similarly with Kate, it was clear her motivation to return to the island was Aaron-related, but I love how they spun it a bit and made it because she loves the kid so much she's back to find his real mother.  Well played.  I had presumed he was taken and returned to the grandmother leaving her despondent or something like that.  This played out stronger emotionally than my guess.

Jack was pretty irritating, though he gets bonus points for his bitchy "you didn't like the old me" comment to Kate and for his shower sequence.   Yum.  On a side note does no one but me care that he shaved off all his chest hair and no one seems to notice?!?!  It was kind of weird when he suddenly appeared smooth last year (on the island still) where it made no sense (unless Juliette shaved him for his surgery).  Bring back the chest hair now!!!

I don't know if I liked or disliked Hurley's question after question, seeing as it was an obvious plot device to ask EXACTLY all the questions the fans have been asking.  A little too in your face, I think, but I was happy that the questions were asked, which seems to imply they will be answered.

Can't wait for next week!!!
3465  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: April 02, 2009, 08:41:24 PM

Quote from: CeeKay on April 02, 2009, 03:51:17 AM

now Sylar has the most dangerous skill set as he can be anyone and doesn't need to lop peoples heads open anymore.

He never got Hiro (or Future Hiro)'s powers did he?  As long as time stoppage is in the mix, I think that trumps all, in theory.  Oh yeah and let's not forget the Haitian who is conveniently MIA.
3466  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: April 02, 2009, 08:35:20 PM
Wow, one of the weirdest results shows of all seasons.

Megan: my sense is she was pretty much ready/dying to go to see her baby, and I wouldn't be surprised if she worked something out with the producers.  Like Survivor, every once in a while you get some contestants that suddenly realize they just don't want to be there for whatever reason.  Jason Castro last season was another good example, but the fans just kept bringing him back.  While she seemed disrespectful toward Simon, I think it was all part of the plan to make sure she could get out of there.  Plus Simon was being a dick anyway, but he gets annoyed quickly when he thinks someone isn't taking it seriously.  And some of her shtick was (or seemed like) direct pandering to the VFTW crowd.  The bird thing was something that was a major fuss over on VFTW and there were a few other things that seemed to indicate she was more aware of what was being said on that website.  She seemed to know in advance she was going, thus the over-happy attitude and the bizarre things like telling Allison (I think) to call her later - implying she'd be gone immediately or something?  Weird all around.

Theory: I had a theory they placed the 3 groups in voting numbers:  1-4-7 then 2-5-8 and 3-6-9, which would make the placements:

1 - Adam
2 - Gokey
3 - Kris
4 - Lil
5 - Scott
6 - Matt
7 - Allison
8 - Anoop
9 - Megan

Show:  Could David Cook have been any more boring?  I kept waiting for the song to pick up but it never did.  Yikes.  Luckily Lady Gaga came and freaked everyone out.  I love that song but man was she whacked out.  I think she scared everyone with that eye zipper.  And then the Idols' impressions of each other, very oddball.  Sure it's fun to poke fun at each other and it appears they are "close" - but let's not forget this is still a competition, and making fun of Gokey's raspy take on every song is a subtle reminder of the fact that he does Gokify every song in a rather predictable manner.

I wish Megan had stayed, at least with her you could be sure to have something to look forward to talking about the next day!
3467  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: April 01, 2009, 11:17:08 PM
Another fun review of the show from Prof Chan:

http://votefortheworst.com/blogs/professor_chan/20090401/final_9_i_tunes_whoring_episode

Pretty much on the same page, except he liked Adam and disliked Kris more. 

I'd have to agree with Pete and say he really did a standout job this week and had a "moment".  The LA Times writer actually predicted he would make it to the Final 2 over Gokey, which I think might be a bit extreme, but who knows.  I didn't think he had the capability to stand out so much, so we'll have to see if this was a blip or if he's really a dark horse type that's getting better each week.
3468  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online patch 1.2.1 preview on: April 01, 2009, 06:07:40 PM

Quote from: morlac on March 31, 2009, 09:36:05 PM

i want a free come back weekend smile

Isn't there a 10-day free friend program thing?
3469  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: April 01, 2009, 05:37:16 AM
Love it when I get to do this while impressions are fresh.  "Hits" night was kind of a disappointment all around, with a couple standouts and some minor messes.

Anoop: There's a reason there are so few Asian male contestants, at some point they always find a way to make people uncomfortable.  Asian "brothas" are good for a novelty performance or two, but eventually it falls apart.  This was Anoop's week - trying to be Usher and just kind of getting through it.  I couldn't wait for it to end.  He's not creative or artistic, not a good dancer, his vocals are good but not stellar, his attitude is a bit arrogant, and let's face it, he has no chance.  The heartfelt ballads kept him a couple weeks but there's only so much of that he can do.  Honestly I wish they'd put him out of his misery and kick him this week, but somehow I doubt it.  I still say Bottom 3.

Megan: OK even my patience with her is wearing thin, this may be it for her.  What an odd and awkward choice of song.  I thought she sang OK but I kept waiting and waiting for some breakout part of the song - but there was none.  I was praying she'd pick Chasing Pavements (as I've already stated and Kara later echoed) but she seems intent on doing her own whacko thing.  Of course we don't know what songs are disallowed so that could be part of it - or she's just self indulgent and messing around.  Highly likely to go this week, unless her core base can rally.  I still called in for her.

Danny: I thought the judges were way too kind.  I found it pitchy and boring, and is it me or is he getting fatter and fatter?  Still the judges love him and the fans as well.  But every week I see him I just can't see him winning it all.  He's just feeling more and more "safe" each week.

Allison: I thought she was better than Danny relatively, but the outfit was hideous and she is too ugly to pull off ugly clothes (unlike Megan).  The singing was decent, but dressed like that, I would have preferred she just go all out and do a fun Kelly Clarkson hit.  Performance should be enough to preserve her spot.

Matt: Yikes.  Agreed with what the judges said, except I actually love You Found Me.  And in spite of what Simon said, it's a fairly popular song.  But his performance was raspy and weird and off key at times, half the time it seemed like he was trying to make it sexy in the middle of all those girls, and it is NOT a sexy song lyrically.  He would have been better served out of the audience and delivering it in a more traditional rock set.  But even with that, he would still come across as switching identities week to week.  I didn't call it, but Apologize would have been a great choice, even though it's kind of been taken over by Archuleta at this point.  Or maybe a JT ballad.  Missed opportunity for him for sure.  Likely Bottom 3.

Eye Billy: His best performance for sure, should easily buy him one more week and keep him out of the bottom 3.  Kind of "safe" and obvious for him, but he needed it to survive; very nice vocal.

Adam:  Back to his screechy insanity.  He's got talent and I appreciate his creativity and his energy/stage presence, but ugh on the annoying screeching.  Based on the audience appreciation, he may be inching himself into the top spot and is likely the one to beat at this point.

Big Mac Round: holy cow I think her ass is growing each week.  Something is going to spawn from that ass, I kid you not.  1 million bucks to see Gokey sing Baby Got Back while she dances for tomorrow's group song.  So tonight, in yet another different diva look, she became Whitney circa Bodyguard era.  Powerful vocals, boring song.  And no honey you are not Whitney.  I kept thinking she should have gone back to a popular Mary J hit, which led me to thinking she should have done Mary's recent version of U2's One; it's a popular song and Mary's version was a pop hit, but not everyone is necessarily familiar with it, so it could have been looked at as a "risk".  I am not making this up - minutes later Simon says the same thing.  I'm not sure where to place her at this juncture, but she's lucky to have some fodder like Megan and Anoop to keep her in it a few more weeks.  If she continues to make poor song choices, and by now she must be freaked out by the judges each week, she may go sooner than later.

Kris: Wow, I almost had an orgasm listening to that.  Oh my I'm in love again.  Blew me away and very surprising, he finally got away from the Mraz-lite image.  I was almost certain he was going to sing "I'm Yours" and go full on Mraz, so I was glad to see him do his own thing.  Kudos, cutie!  At this rate, with others faltering a bit, he may just vault himself into the Final 4.  Just maybe.  Should be an easy safety and more importantly, he further distances himself from Matt.

Bottom 3:  Megan, Anoop and Matt.  Tough call due to voting blocks, but I'll go out on a limb and say Matt goes.
3470  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Heroes Season 3 (spoilers for our less fortunate European friends) on: March 31, 2009, 08:12:25 PM
Can someone summarize this week's ep for me?  I fell asleep midway through and accidentally deleted it, not sure if it's worth the effort to watch it online.  It seemed kind of boring but maybe I was just tired.
3471  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online patch 1.2.1 preview on: March 31, 2009, 08:09:12 PM

Quote from: Razgon on March 31, 2009, 07:18:21 PM

hmm, well - okay, it was written in a bit of a hurry, but here's what I mean - Its no coincidence that MMO's are built the way that they are - and no, Gear certainly isnt the only thing that drives people in these kind of games, but everything is geared towards making YOU coming back, month after month after month, and be it full of holes or not, it works. WoW has what now, 10 million subscribers? And its been going for a LOT of years already, so what makes people stay there? Its the psychology of the game, that keeps people there, be it gear, the socializing, the pvp or whatever drives people.

Warhammer is still going strong, of course not compared to WoW but who does, even AoC is still going on, with a rather big revenue income each month.

Anyways, thats my view of course, take it as that, not as gospel, but I'm still right ;-)

That's fine and WoW has a fine traditional MMORPG model.  But I'd argue that Diablo 2 also has people coming back 10 years later, so there's something to that psychology as well.  Why is it that the basic philosophies of D2 (fast levelling, lots of alts, tons of gear and loot dropping all the time) can't be applied properly to an MMORPG? 

In terms of WAR, I see no harm if you allowed people to level to R40 in 40-50 hours (my first took 200 hours and I believe 120-150 is probably a good estimate for an average player now).  A casual player could play half an hour to an hour a day and always see progress, and know that in a month he would be able to play all the higher tier content if he so chose.  My contention is that the 75% or so players who quit in the R20s would likely have stayed on til at least they made it once to R40.  More active players could have a whole series of alts, and place them in all 4 tiers as they saw fit.  The hardest core players could have R40s of every class, and keep working on their RR levels.  So then the argument is always why not just give everyone insta-40s?  And to that I'd say you still need time to learn and develop and practice as you go along when you get a new skill or weapon, etc.  But an hour or so a level is plenty of time, I don't need 5 hours to figure out the best way to integrate new spells.

Anyway, just a pipedream, but I wish some developer would take a chance on challenging the paradigm of standard levelling curves and loot grinds in an MMORPG.  The fact is people who like that already have WoW, they don't need another one.  So why not have a game that seriously does things differently?  At first it appeared WAR was the game to do it, but somewhere in the middle of their game they seemed to wander back to the WoW-way of gaming.
3472  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer - Official Server List on: March 31, 2009, 05:45:40 PM
Just an FYI, due to population concerns, we've moved the Wanderers Order guild from Ostermark to Phoenix Throne.  As always, everyone in the guild is welcome to rejoin us there, or if you are starting fresh and want a nice small guild to run with, that's where you can find us  icon_razz
3473  Gaming / Multiplayer Madness (MMO or otherwise) / Re: Warhammer Online patch 1.2.1 preview on: March 31, 2009, 05:44:20 PM

Quote from: skystride on March 31, 2009, 04:55:51 PM

Quote from: Razgon on March 31, 2009, 01:08:46 PM

I can guarentee you that there are people with a doctorate in both communication and in psychology attached to major game developement companies today, to ensure that you play their MMO's the most, and KEEP playing them.

Its no coincidence they are structurered the way they are.

They should fire those psychologists because they obviously don't have a clue.  They add grind to the game after 20+ but then 90% of the population quit once they reach this stage.  Good idea!  If only they realized that you can keep people playing a long time by allowing them to play various alts, the game has 22 class.. people could be playing for a really long time.  Instead they resort to the grind methodology which obviously isn't working for Warhammer.

It's funny I posted on the official forums my suggestion of "extreme levelling xp increase" (my proposal long story short was to level to 40 in about 40-50 hours under "normal" play) - and the majority of responses said it was too fast, blah blah blah.  Or that it would just make people reach boring T4 faster.  Unfortunately it felt like no one really got my point, which was to ensure you were always having the same feeling of fun and progression at T4 as you were at T1.  But anyway...
3474  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Ultra-portable discussion thread on: March 31, 2009, 12:23:28 AM
Posted in the other thread as well but I wanted to keep this one current/fresh:

http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/30/dell-finally-adds-720p-lcd-option-to-inspiron-mini-10/

Dell has what I think is the first full 720p screen.  I think a couple of people here were waiting for true 720p resolution.
3475  Non-Gaming / Hardware / Software Hell / Re: Best Netbook? on: March 31, 2009, 12:21:49 AM
Looks like Dell is offering native 1366x768 resolution (for full 720p).  I believe they are the first netbook to have that available?  Plus it seems to be lighter than many of the present offerings:

http://www.engadget.com/2009/03/30/dell-finally-adds-720p-lcd-option-to-inspiron-mini-10/

Tradeoff looks like poor battery life and GMA 500 graphics and I think a worse processor (not sure on this  Z520 or Z530).  Kind of odd to have all around poorer specs but the best screen resolution.
3476  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Elemental: War of Magic on: March 30, 2009, 06:35:59 PM
I don't want to get myself too excited since it seems like such a long time til release.  MoM is/was one of my all time favorite games and this seems like it will be as good or better.  Of course I already pre-ordered hoping to get some beta action.
3477  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Battleforge on: March 30, 2009, 06:33:33 PM
Updated Friend's list (all on Overlord server), please post your name if you are playing!

Ayngel
FalconBF
Vermithrax
Kublai
Makkum
AndDrag (Ayngel's friend)
Cortilian
Rittchard
GrimmReaper
Harkonis
3478  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 27, 2009, 08:55:06 PM
LMAO Crawley!

P.S.  Was I the only one who wanted to see a Stevie/Scotty duet?
3479  Gaming / Console / PC Gaming / Re: Flagship Disintegrating? on: March 27, 2009, 08:49:21 PM
I know it's been said before, but clearly Roper and co. just outstepped their bounds.  They essentially tried to recreate the entirety of what made Blizzard so successful in one fell swoop, forgetting that it took time to build Blizzard up to what it is/was at the time they released.

That said, I still think the majority of people were unable or unwilling to look at Hellgate: London - the game - objectively without getting caught up in Flagship anti-hype or sub models or whatever.  At its core it STILL stands (even as a single player only game) as a strong game, the only full 3D follow-up to the Diablo loot and level, random map, action RPG style of game.  I loaded it up the other day in SP, and it still looks and feels great.  I don't typically like FPS but I loved D2 - somehow the way they blended it felt good to me.  Sure it had some quirks and bugs, but overall a much better game than was given credit for, particularly at the time of release if you include multiplayer mode.
3480  Non-Gaming / Off-Topic / Re: Official 2009 American Idol Thread on: March 27, 2009, 06:15:23 PM
Bye bye Oil Rigger, I'll miss your awesome chunktastic "dancing"!

If the judges have their way, Final 3 = Adam, Danny and Allison (as Zinfan notes).  Allison may need some help though since she's already been in the bottom 3, and let's face it, she just isn't that pretty.  Short Round is falling out of favor quickly so 4th and 5th spots might be up for grabs.

I was surprised (kind of) to see Matt in bottom 2, even after all the judges pimping.  But seriously I just don't think he's that great a singer, nor is he nearly as cute as Kris.  Of course Simon's comments are often (purposely?) used as measures for the audience to do the opposite, and I think that helped Megan out this week, and possibly hurt Matt (his fans didn't sense he was in "danger").  Anoop seems to have a fairly set fanbase now, but I always get the sense he's on the brink of a disastrous performance.  Eye Mac is definitely an anomaly, as the sympathy factor is so hard to measure.  Still, his place in the Bottom 3 shows vulnerability.  This of course leaves Megan, who may actually be building on her core fanbase, not to mention rallying the anti-Simons and the VFTW crowd.  Notice she hasn't been in the bottom 3 the past 2 weeks.  I always have the opposite feel (from Anoop) for her, that she's just on the brink of a totally hot breakout performance.  Being the prettiest girl, and pretty much the all around best looking person remaining, shouldn't hurt either.

While I still think last season's overall quality was much higher than this season's, I think this one is shaping up to be interesting and a bit more unpredictable.  While Adam vs Danny seems like a strong bet, there's plenty of time left for that to change.  Adam has the internet/gay factor that can bring him down, and Danny's boring factor (or peak too early, whatever you want to call it) may also come into play.  That definitely opens the door for ugly Allison (with enough judge and producer pimpage), though she's already shown vulnerability, and maybe even Short Round if she can just break out and deliver a "moment".

So no predictions for next week or word on a theme, all they've revealed is Cookie and Gaga performing on April 1:

http://weblogs.newsday.com/entertainment/music/idol/blog/2009/03/american_idols_adam_lambert_vs.html
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