Monday, October 15, 2007

Good Ol' Rocky Top

Recently I spent a few days in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. While I have driven through this area before this was actually my first extend visit to the Smokey Mountains. The weather was cool at night but crept into the 80's during the day. The first day we drove throughout the park and to Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge and Cherokee. The next day we hiked to Laurel Falls and Abram Falls. With the current drought situation in the Southeast Laural Falls was struggling but Abram falls was flowing nicely. Saturday we headed out on the toughest trek of our visit, navigating the weekend traffic of Pigeon Forge. If you have never been to Pigeon Forge the best way I can describe it would be to say it is the putt-putt/g0kart/dinner theater capital of the entire world. Throw in a few outlet shopping centers and there yah go. Of course I had to go to the great Smokey Mountain Knife Works store in Sevierville. You need a knife? Look no further. They will likely have it. But after checking various internet stores, of course I realized their pricing wasn't the best. Overall, i really enjoyed the trip. I really became interested in the National Park and the various trails and destination it has to offer. After completing the hikes we found the appropriate Trail Tags to commemorate our achievements. Being a former World of Warcraft player and a Halo 3 player, naturally I want to collect them all now. In addition, there is the Appalachian Trail we encountered at many locations. I would like to at least complete this trail through the Great Smokey Mountain National park. I realize this may be a lofty goal but hey I am only 27.

P.S. Pictures should be up soon.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Paintball, It Hurts So Good.

Last Sunday night I was invited by a coworker to take part in a little paintball action. If you have read my blog you may know I have my own equipment and am always ready to trade paint. The battle took place in a friend of my coworker's back yard. After piling up as much crap as we could find to make a most excellent ghetto field, we played late into the night. Fun times. It's been a week and the bruises are starting to go away.

To Azeroth and Back Again: A Gnome's Tale

As some of you may know (well one or two of you), approximately one year ago I started playing World of Warcraft. For the uneducated, WoW is a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game that allows the player to create a custom character, choosing from various races, classes, talents and professions. The player can then journey through an online world, growing in experience and ability while interacting and questing with countless other people from literally all over the planet. I have been playing video games for nearly 25 years. I have owned an Atari, Nintendo, Sega Genesis, PlayStation, Xbox and an Xbox 360 and have played allot of games in my lifetime. To be completely honest, WoW is one of the most elaborate and impressive games I have ever played. The world within the game is gigantic and there is never a shortage of things to do. The most attractive element of the game is the ability to interact and fellowship with real life friends and online companion while you quest and build your characters together.

That being said this game takes time. Allot of time. There is no logging on for 30 minutes to kill time. Once you log on it is easy to spend 2 to 5 hours questing and grinding. When you get hooked on the game, your mind becomes dominated with character builds, gear sets and acquiring enough gold to get that epic mount. Periodically real life interferes with your virtual life and sometimes you can go days without logging on. When you are finally able to return, you realize you are many levels behind your guild mates and the grind is on to attempt to catch up. Personally I have had little success catching up on multiple characters. After nearly a year of playing, the game has started to lose its luster. While it's still a great game, I am feeling a little burned out. The grind kinda feels like a chore and playing just isn't as fun as it once was. Furthermore, I feel I have reached a point in the game where being a casual player is no longer a viable option and I am not prepared to devote the time required to actively participate with my comrades.

So here I sit on a Friday night resolved to give it up. The one aspect of the game I will truly miss is the fellowship with the friends I know, both new and old, that play the game. However, I feel the time gained from not playing WoW will give me the much needed time to work on various areas of my life I should have given attention long ago. So fare well WoW. You will be missed.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Vent Session: Best Week Ever

This past Tuesday I woke up with a sore throat and pretty severe nasal congestion. While the sore throat was gone by Wednesday, the congestion has set in pretty firmly and a nasty cough had developed. Now, ordinarily I would generally let these kinds of things run its course. I had no fever and but everyone advised that I should go to the doctor. By Thursday I had enough of the sinus infection and was feeling pretty bad so off to the nearest Doc-in-the-Box I go. One shot, some antibiotics and a cough suppressant later I actually started feeling better. And then the tides turned once again.

About two hours after taking the initial dose of the Z-Pack antibiotics my stomach felt like it was going to explode. While my sinuses and cough were a little better these were the worst stomach cramps I can remember. To add insult to injury, by the the mucus factory in my head had increased production. With amount of mucus I have blown out over the last few days I am left to ponder where does it come from. Is there really that much storage in my head and where do the material comes from to produce this viscus material. By Saturday I felt worse than when this whole thing started and on this fine Sunday morning I woke up to not only the continuation of the mucus extravaganza but also to a migraine headache. Man this has been the best week ever.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

I want to...Build Something

I have always been somewhat mechanically inclined and have recently felt the urge to build something. Ideally this something would be a on a larger and more impressive scale like a car or maybe a motorcycle. However, at this stage in life neither of these projects would be a remote possibility. Therefore, I have decided to take one more step back in the evolution of transportation and build a bicycle.

One of my many hobbies is mountain biking. Currently I ride a stock 2005 Gary Fisher Tassajara. As far as the bike goes I love it. It is a vast improvement over the Pacific Vortex I used to rock. Admittedly though, there are three issues that could conceivably render my aspiration as not feasible. The first would be I don't ride nearly enough to warrant the need of a new bike. So the first step in this project is to Ride More Often. The second obstacle would of course be the money. If you know bikes then you know that it is far more economical to purchase a complete bike than it is to build a bike piece by piece. None the less, the object is to build a bike so the second step is to Accumulate the Required Funds. The third issue would be the lack of knowledge to build the bike. This I am not so worried about, I have found that if any person of average ability and intellect can learn any given skill than so can I. So the the third piece to the level my Bike Building Skills .

So there you have it. It may take me a while but there is the plan. In the end I will have a sweet bike and the satisfaction of being able to say "Hey, I built that".

Seth, thank you for your kind words of encouragement in you previous comment. You have always been a shining example of virtual productivity

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Return of the Gen-Nin

As the two of you who actually check this blog may notice, I haven't posted anything since September of 2005. At this time I would like to announce a triumphant return to the World Wide Web. My goal is to post at least once a week and gradual increase to possibly two and three times a week.

My blogging goal is just one of a list of a few things I would like to accomplish, some major and significant and some simply for fun. I have never been very goal oriented, but I hope to utilize this site as a tool for accountability. I mean, i know this site is no Cray Lawsuit Games or Bloggin Awesome but, stay tuned anyway.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Too much?

As many of you may know one my many hobbies is paintball, although I haven't really gotten a chance to play much at all. Anyway, a while back Tom and I decided to jump into the sport head first and get our own equipment. We had hoped that many more would follow suit and were pretty pumped when Pony picked up his Tippman Custom 98 and joined us as marker owners. More recently our pal Tim upgraded from the old pump action to a automatic fire spitter that, honestly, makes the rest of us a little nervous. So now there are four of us. While not nearly enough to play any serious games, (WE NEED PLAYERS) it was enough to encourage us to press on and develop our own battlefield. Luckily Tom has access to around 80 acres and before we knew it we had assembled enough 2 X 4's and baseboard materials to make some sweet barriers.

After all this hard work putting together an awesome woods course I realized that hey my paintball gun is BRIGHT BLUE. I figured I needed o change that so the weekend before last I embarked on operation : CAMO. That's right, I looked at every camouflage pattern known to man and decided the good ole American Woodland pattern was best for me. After picking up the appropriate camo paint at my nearest Lowe's I began the long task of sanding, priming and layering paint and patterns.

Step 1: Sand the smooth surface with some 300 grit sandpaper to create a rough surface so the paint can bond to the metal.

Step 2: Tape off the inside of the gun. You don't want paint messing up the mechanics of the marker.

Step 3: Prime. I used two thin coats to cover more even. If you want a smooth finish you may want to sand very easily between coats, but I needed a more flat finish so I just sprayed one over the other.

Step 4: Spray the lightest color. This makes since because darker colors cover better. In my case it was the beige color. Two coats should do.

Step 5: Mask the the areas where you want the light color to be and trim out the desired pattern. Be careful not to cut into the paint as I did. If you do you can just touch t up with a detail brush or a toothpick.

Step 6: Spray on the green. Since green is on of the primary colors in the pattern you want it to cover about 50% of the object. Two coats.

Step 7: Spray the brown. Instead of masking again, I just free handed the brown. Just as with the green, brown should cover about 50% of the object. Two coats.

Step 8: I went ahead and unmasked the beige to decide on the placement of the black blobs. For the black I made a stencil out of paper and just taped it over the marker. Two coats. If I ever do this again I believe I will use a variation of this masking method over the cut tape. It was easier to take off and there is no risk of cutting into the paint.

Step 9: Clear coat. I used an acrylic clear coat. Three coats this time. This coat makes more of a difference than you may think. Not only does it protect your work but it blends and richen the paint for a nice finish.

Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome. I have to admit I was a little worried but it came together nicely. Now we will see how well it holds up. My only concern is how well the paint bonded with the metal. I think some sort of etching method might help the process but you have to go with what you got and this is what I've got.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Pass the Gwaltneys !

Fall is around the corner and the camping season has officially begun. Friday evening Tom and I set out for "The Land", an 80 acre tract near the town of Columbiana, Alabama, to meet up with our friends Pony and Dave for a much needed night of camping. Getting a late start, the much anticipated trip got off to a slow start. While traffic into the afore mentioned metropolis is usually lite, we ran across the aftermath of the meeting of a compact sedan and a train. Needless to say, it was not pretty. After passing the clearing scene and realizing that there was a body under the white tarp near the car, we swiftly proceeded to the nearest Taco Bell for the lamest camping meal ever. We reached the campsite just before dark hauling our gear with a trailer and Tom's 4wheeler and cleared a couple of plots for our tents. Pony was the first accomplice to arrive with his mammoth tent in one hand and a book in the other. After camp was set we settled around the fire with two burritos, four soft tacos, and four hard tacos which were now soft. Soon after Dave arrived and quickly fashioned a tent out of a blue tarp and two bungie cords. We thought this a little funny but hey you don't really want to question the efforts of a man who can list completing Ranger school with the US Army on his resume. After chatting around the fire and waiting for Dave to consume no less than six Gwaltney 100% chicken dogs with 40% less fat, we decided to take a stroll along the trail we have been clearing just experience it at night. Be thankful for LED's and Energizers because it is pretty dark in the woods at midnight. We finally settled to sleep around 1:30 am and I quickly realized how much better I would sleep if I had my own tent. Anyway the next day we awoke around 8:30 am and the fun ended around 10:30 am with Pony and Dave making an early departure. Tom and I hung out for a while before returning home as well. While I can't rank this trip one of my favorites, it was fun while it lasted. We are hoping our next camping adventure takes us a little farther from home with a larger cast of friends and perhaps another pack of Gwaltneys.