Half Life

I finally beat the original Half Life game. After completing Half Life 2, Episode 1 and Episode 2 on hard numerous times, I reached my goal of completing the original and possibly the best excerpt of this award-winning series! The graphics are very old but the game play is terrific.

This game was released when I played on the Nintendo 64 and Sega Saturn Systems. The computer we had at the time was not set up for gaming so I did not play Half Life at all until 2004.  I dived in heavily to the entire series as soon as I built a ‘real’ PC, one that, at least, had a video card.  By then Episode One was released and I played it as well.

Gordon Freeman has, alas, been out of circulation in some other- dimensional stasis as is wont to happen due to the influence/interference of the G-Man,. Valve, I’m calling you out as the G-Man.  You treat Gordon as if he belongs to you or something.  Episodic Content?  Epic bloated time waste.  Is it really this difficult for a world class developer to, develop a game?

Five years, it will have been five years, since the Orange Box,  At this point you had really better wow me!

 

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HTML5

I am one of the people who is pushing HTML5 and css3. This, by default, also makes me a pusher of modern browsers. I never cared much for Internet Explorer even before I began to learn html, css and anything about how a browser functions. Now I really hate it. It is pervasive and notoriously difficult to develop for. If I only want to design my own pages for my own purposes, then it doesn’t matter. If I hope to obtain clients who will pay me for my work, then I need to be able to deliver the same experience across all browsers. Even WordPress is prompting me to get with the program and update my browser right now. I am at the library and have no control over this!

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Gary Moore R.I.P.

This man was one of the greatest guitarists of all time. He had it all! Speed, technique and feeling. The lead guitar break from The Toughest Street in Town on Thin Lizzy’s Black Rose: A Rock Legend is still burned into my brain from 1979.

Album Art From Thin Lizzy, Black Rose: A Rock Legend

A True Rock Legend


Still Got the Blues for You. Say hello to Phil for me.

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Super Bowl or Super Blows

Today being the day of the “big game” with so many websites posting top ten lists and so many fans leaving comments, I thought I would add my two cents worth.

About officials: A lot of talk is going around the internet about these much-maligned men who call the games. I am a die-hard Seattle Seahawks fan and there is many a complaint about the officiating in Super Bowl XL where we lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Heck one of the officiating crew admitted to making bad calls in that game just this year.

First let me say this. I perceived a certain trend throughout the playoffs of the powers that be liking the “story” of Jerome Bettis going home to Detroit and going out in a blaze of glory as a champion. If I saw one more clip with him saying “Just get me home.” I was going to hurl.
Pittsburgh did have a great run to get there especially the win in Indianapolis. They were and are a hard-nosed football team. I would truly hate to believe that the NFL is in any way like the WWE!

A humorous, highly retouched photo of an official during a review in super bowl forty

Nice Photoshop work


Seattle had it’s best season ever. Shaun Alexander, Walter Jones and Steve Hutchinson were so dominant that even though the whole world knew they were going to run Shaun to the left side more often than not, they could still get it done. Seattle had some other good players. Matt Hasselbeck, Darrel Jackson, Bobby Engram, Joe Jurevicius and let me not forget the great fullback, Mack Strong on offense. Lofa Tatupu, Grant Wistrom and Rocky Bernard from the defense stand out in my mind. I hate to leave anyone on that team out. The entire roster contributed. I remember Steve Hutchinson pointing out a picture hanging in the hallway of the team offices snapped at the moment of the blocked field goal against the Giants. There was some serious effort shown there as Steve was pointing out during that interview. Seattle had a pretty good story going also. Steve will be the subject of his own post. We miss you!

The point I would really like to make in this post is that every team suffers from and benefits from questionable calls during the course of a season and playoff run. Every team also catches good and bad breaks. In 2005 The Dallas Cowboys defense shut Seattle’s running game down. Drew Bledsoe threw a very timely interception allowing Seattle a victory. Thanks for the gift homeboy. My younger brother sacked him in high school. The New York Giants played very well in Seattle that season and the Seahawks managed to eke out a victory.

In Super Bowl XL the Pittsburgh Steelers made some great plays. I seem to remember a flea flicker that burned the Seahawks for a touchdown or at least led to one. There were a few others at least. Seattle did not run the ball as well as they had been all year. In the divisional playoff against the Redskins, Shaun was knocked out of the game on the second or third play and it was up to Matt and the receivers to get it done. They did.

The point I am trying to make here is that great teams get it done no matter what. They do not give up until the next day or something. I was very concerned when the Seahawks had to face the defending champion New Orleans Saints in the wildcard round this season even though they were very fortunate that it was a home game. Drew Brees certainly had the fire in his eyes yet Charlie Whitehurst managed to win the game.

The Pittsburgh Steelers and their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger embody these traits. They play hard until the game is over. I admire them for this, as much as I am tempted to despise them. So many times I have seen Big Ben shake off a tackle with the merest sidestep and complete the pass downfield. He is obviously very strong and very determined to win.

Mike Holmgren was a great coach. I think he let the official situation get under his skin a little too much. When they were attempting to interview him on the way to the locker room at half time he was visibly upset over the officiating. He reminded me of an angry walrus. I think his focus should have been on overcoming the obstacle rather than worrying about what had already transpired. The Seattle Seahawks outperformed the Pittsburgh Steelers in every measured statistic except the most important one. The final score.

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Hello world!

Welcome to my WordPress. This is my first post.

I had heard of blogs. Who hasn’t in the last five or six years? Yet I did not see that as something I cared to take part in. Twitter, please! Facebook? Not me. I have now joined all of these activities.

I know how to code and design my own website with or without Dreamweaver. Why would I need these other methods? While studying a css course the instructor mentioned blogs as a “great way to get online.” Huh? You are an Adobe Certified Instructor with cred that pre-dates the expansion of the internet into the www we know and love today. They even said they use one to post their own content. It so happens that he uses WordPress.

I found some good freelance web design job postings and many people were looking for someone who can customize WordPress. I looked it up and was quite impressed with the look of this CMS. Checking out customized sites, some of people who are household names left me even more impressed.

I had begun learning of the wonders of cross-browser implementation. Just because it looked nice on my computer was no guarantee that it would render on other computers, let alone mobile devices in the same manner. I am still using techniques that do not render in all browsers. I can’t help it. I like the look of smoothly rounded corners, drop shadows and gradient effects rendered quickly and beautifully in the browser. (If you are viewing this in Internet Explorer or Opera, you cannot see what I mean.) When I saw my own home page pike747.com on an iPad Touch, it was like… cue the angelic chorus Ooaah! I have reached the promised land!

I completely comprehend that if I were working for anyone other than myself I would have to do more work to achieve the look a client or employer wants in all browsers. I love to use Photoshop, lllustrator, Flash and Fireworks to create beautiful images but I love even more the potential to render a lot of the effects I would have used them for natively, in the browser. It just seems right even to a noob like me.

Thank goodness for serious coders and developers who create great software like WordPress and Blueprint css. I am not saying they are perfect but I really don’t mind having other, more capable people perform such mind-numbing tasks as resets, SEO, anti-spamming measures and such for me. I prefer to design.

I crack myself up so much with that statement. Adobe for the last few years, at least, has continued to promote their products ability to do so many wonderful things “without the user writing a single line of code.” The marketing seems to be you are a designer, not a coder. Let us help you design while we handle the code. I am not a trained designer or a trained coder for that matter but I certainly do not possess this strong aversion to code. I think it is pretty cool how just the right sequence of letters, symbols and numbers produces a given result. Sure it can be a little frustrating debugging sometimes. It is more frustrating to me when the WYSIWYG creates it’s own code and I have to figure out where that went wrong. When I actually type, copy or paste code, it is far easier for me to know why it isn’t doing what I intended or is doing something I did not intend.

This in no way means that I don’t care about design. At some point, almost on my own, I realized that there was something going on here. There are principles and elements of design that are timeless. Art, architecture, science, mathematics, textiles, embedded in creation itself. I researched and found that yes, humans have noted this, given it a name, design. That is when I really began to enjoy myself.

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