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Game on!

Well, I'm hauling the entire crew of MN Forhans to WI this weekend for Midwest Gaming Classic. I will be a vendor at the show as I have in the past, but it's been 7 years since I last attended! Time flies, you know...

You can learn more about the gaming goodness here:

http://midwestgamingclassic.com

Some of the organizers of this show even attend JagFest '99 which I organized nearly 10 (!) years ago in Rochester!

I know my older boys will love the show; they have never been to these shows at an age where they can appreciate all the games.

Smile

Tyler got baptized!

Alyssa and I couldn't be prouder of Tyler, who voluntarily chose to be baptized in water at church yesterday. He and 5 other kids plus 6 adults all got baptized during our Sunday morning service. He even had to get in front of the church and briefly share why he was getting baptized. It is incredible to see our "little man" taking these next steps in his life! Amazing that he turns 10 in less than two weeks...

I'd upload a picture, but I don't seem to have authority to do so! I've never been able to upload to any gallery. :(

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie ...

The moon will be at it closest and fullest it has been in 15 years.

 From the link: 

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Because the moon orbits along an egg-shaped ellipse, not a circle, its
distance from us changes. Today, the moon is approaching its nearest
point to Earth, so it should look about 14 percent bigger and 30
percent brighter than this year's other full moons, according to NASA.

--------------------------------------------------------------------

 

It looks like it could be a pretty sight.

Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function?

You may have noticed, like Sara had long before I did, that there are two bright "stars" close together in the night's sky.  You probably figured that one was Venus -- and you'd be correct.  The other, though, is our largest planet: Jupiter.  And tonight, they'll both be joined with a crescent moon. 

If your skies are clear, check out the conjunction:

 

conjunction

 

Australia gets a celestial smiley face.

Video playground

Earlier this year I purchased Pinnacle Studio 11, which actually runs pretty well on my ol' WinXp machine. Well, at least it does since I upgraded the RAM to 2GB, switched out the 2.6Ghz Celeron for a 3.06Ghz P4, and added a 512MB video card.Laughing

I've found I really enjoy video editing, although it's hard to find free time for it! You can see some samples of what I've done so far here:

http://www.youtube.com/user/jointheremnant

I'm hoping to put together a "MN Forhan" DVD from all our 2008 home movies. I probably won't do a lot of the fancy cuts and music, but it's still fun to learn the ropes.

 

P.S. - I tried to embed a YouTube video directly using the "html" button in the blog tool, but it didn't work. Is that something that can be enabled? Also, I don't seem to have a way to upload Gallery pics (again). Either I forgot how, or the link disappeared for me. Wink

Gaming Headsets

I have no exterior game speakers beyond the cruddy ones in one of my monitors.  So, I don't mind spending some extra money if I can get good quality. The headset, which is a  headphone with a microphone, is needed for times when I play games with others -- like when Shannon talks me into a hot game of Company of Heroes.

 

I was very happy with my last headset, the Razer Piranha.  I got it on sale at $69.95, and was quite pleased overall.  The sound seemed good and the fit was comfortable.  My main problems were twofold:  the third cord, a USB-only was merely for lighting the headset, was just an extra wire hanging around for me.  The other was the annoying ease of unintentionally muting the microphone.  I believe Shannon is also having problems with his microphone itself.  Unfortunately for me, while pulling out my computer from its cubbyhole, the cord got caught and microphone no longer works.  Best Buy no longer carried the Piranha locally, so I looked for another set.

 

After reading a few reviews, I decided on the slightly more expensive Plantronics Gamecom 777.

 

 read more »

Portal: Still Alive

I recently tried the demo of Portal on XBLA, and was really impressed by this offbeat game. I went ahead and purchased it (1200 points -- the only downside!), and have had a blast playing it. This is unlike any other FPS I've played, because the focus is all on the puzzle-solving aspect. A few maps have timing/agility aspects as well, but generally it's all about playing smart and staying alive.

The game did feel a bit short, but it was still very satisfying. The challenge maps, which are stand-alone maps not part of the main game, are a nice bonus for replayability because you are trying to achieve certain scores on each challenge map, like fewest footsteps, lowest time, fewest portals, and so on. There are also some cool easter eggs / achievements sprinkled throughout the game.

I think Pat would really appreciate the deadpan humor of this game, but I suspect all the bubbas would enjoy it. Try the demo out for yourself!

Orlando

We just returned from our annual Orlando vacation! 10 days in 85 degree weather. What a great time we had. We went to Universal Studios for 1.5 days (supposed to be 1 day, but they gave us some afternoon passes to come back within 48 hours due to some schedule misprints they had). We visited Clearwater beach near Tampa -- LONG drive and cool weather but the kids enjoyed the ~1 hour we spent in the ocean. Wink We played mini-golf and of course lots of swimming and tennis. Food was great as well -- we did everything from Texas Roadhouse to Maggianno's Little Italy to Cici's Pizza.

I'll try to post some pics if I get time & remember to do it. Smile

JScreenFixDeluxe

If you have an LCD or plasma monitor, then you may have found stuck pixels or been concerned about screen burnin.  Screen savers can help the latter from happening, but isn't always effective since some programs may be run for hours.  And little can be done for stuck pixels.

 

JScreenFixDeluxe offers the solution.  It's a Java program which offers a potential fix for stuck pixels (not all can be fixed this way, but many can). It also acts as a screensaver which keeps track of all the non-moving screen activity and puts up a negative on the screen.  It'll cost you 10GBP, which is probably around $20US (est.).    I've used it for over a year, and am very happy so far.

 

On the down side, it does occasionally have issues with licensing pop up. However, the  programmer is very quick to respond and helpful.   Still, there is no program that Iknow of that is better. If you have  a single stuck pixel, it's well worth $20 to get rid of the annoyance.

 

Try the evaluation demo for free. I believe it's the full version for thirty days.

Kaylee: 5 years of running

In 8 days, my daughter will change from being a 4-year-old punk into a 5-year-old punk.  That kid can be exhausting.  But she does it with style!

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