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Ramblings from the Marginalized » 2007 » March

March 2007

Links March 30th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

What a week I have had! Some of you may not know this but I am currently seeking better employment. With that in mind, here be the links!

Games and Internet March 30th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Hobbit Hole

Turbine, Inc. and Midway Games Inc. have announced a massive, free “World Tour of Middle-earth” available to players throughout North America. Over one million players are planned to be invited into The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™, the most complete and authentic massively multiplayer online (MMO) world based upon the famous Books of J.R.R. Tolkien. The World Tour of Middle-earth is scheduled to begin on April 6th and continue until the anticipated launch of the game on April 24th.

source - Lord of the Rings online

I first heard about this game several months ago while cruising the web. After I discovered it I submitted it to Digg. I also informed the webmaster of the site that he was now on Digg and to expect a boat-load of traffic.

Just last night I received an email from Turbine telling me how the Digg submission did indeed send them a boat-load of traffic! They offered to thank me with an early copy of the game but, Steve's computers are far to old to run this software. Well that and the fact that if I did install this software I would probably be found dead within 24 hours because my wife would kill me!

If this sort of gaming appeals to you than I highly suggest you get your butt on over to the The Lord of the Rings Online™: Shadows of Angmar™ site and sign up!

When you do, tell them HMTKSteve sent you!

Investing March 30th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

A few months ago I ran a short series of articles based on investing $20K. I ran the series for about a week and then dropped it. Today I want to do a brief article showing where those stocks are now.

1) INTC - 405 shares - $8444.25 purchased 12/11/6 at $20.84 per share. Current price $19.09. 3 month high - $22.30.

2) DELL - 416 shares - $10978.24 purchased 12/19/6 at $26.39 per share Current price $23.39. 3 month high - $27.26.

3) YHOO - 38 shares - $1042.34 purchased 12/5/6 at $27.43 per share Current price $31.34. 3 month high - $32.11

4) IQWB - 58 shares - $9.28 purchased 12/11/6 at $0.16 per share Current price $0.08

Final value: $18,657.25.

I guess I'm no great stock picker! Or am I?

The one stock I purchased with real money over this time span is AT&T stock which is currently trading at $39.17. When I began this experiment it was trading in the $32 range.

When I purchased my AT&T stock it was several years ago when it was trading in the $19 range. Yes, AT&T stock has done wonders for me!

Games and Wii March 29th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Wii on a cruise shipMIAMI - March 29, 2007 - Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) today announced it is the first cruise line to offer guests a chance to experience Nintendo's red-hot Wiiâ„¢ video game system on board its ships. Since its launch in November 2006, the Wii system from Nintendo has become one of the most popular game systems. With an easy-to-use motion-sensitive controller, Wii draws new players into the world of video games in a very 'real' way.

Wii systems are currently on NCL's newest ship - Norwegian Pearl - and all NCL America ships. Wii will be rolled out on the rest of the NCL fleet by next month. The systems are equipped with Wii Sportsâ„¢, offering five distinct sports experiences: tennis, golf, baseball, boxing and bowling. Other games available on the ships include Wii Playâ„¢, WarioWareâ„¢: Smooth Moves and Excite Truckâ„¢.

Bowling on a cruise ship"With its active, engaging and inviting game experiences appealing to every age from kids to parents to grandparents, the Wii from Nintendo is a natural fit for Freestyle Cruising," said Colin Veitch, NCL's president and CEO. "With the addition of Wii to our on-board activities, we can now offer bowling, boxing, golf, tennis and baseball across the entire fleet. Cheering, yelling and high-fives will be highly encouraged."

On each ship, Wii systems/setups will be located in the atrium and other public rooms allowing guests to gather and play against each other while viewing the game on large video screens. Each ship's Kid's Crew facility will also feature two Wii kiosks providing kids-only fun. The ships will also host tournaments and other activities around the games.

Wii on a Cruise ShipCan you belive this? Not only has the Wii been breaking sales records but now they are going to be a feature attraction on cruise ships! I'm not sure if I should laugh or cry about this news.

I do have to wonder how a massive game of WarioWareâ„¢: Smooth Moves will work out in a cruise ship enviroment. Can you imagine being in a big group with 11 strangers playing the bomb game?

I guess the "underpowered" Wii is still beating the PS3 and the Xbox360. This is not some special gamer-only cruise. This is a cruise line looking at the Wii and saying, "what a great system! We should add this to our entertainment line up!

Games and Wii March 29th, 2007 by HMTKSteve

Sonic vs. Mario

TOKYO (March 28, 2007) - SEGA® Corporation and Nintendo Co. Ltd. today made a historical announcement that two of the biggest icons in the entertainment industry, Mario™ and Sonic™, are joining forces to star in Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games. Developed for the Wii™ video game system and the Nintendo DS™ system, this momentous agreement marks the first time these two renowned stars have appeared together in a game.

Published by SEGA across Europe and North America, and published by Nintendo in the Japanese market, Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games will be available for Holiday 2007 and is licensed through a worldwide partnership with International Sports Multimedia (ISM), the exclusive interactive entertainment software licensee of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

In Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, players will compete in events that take place in environments based on the official venues of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. Using a supporting cast of characters from the amazing worlds of both Mario and Sonic, gamers will be able to compete as or against a range of lovable personalities including Mario, Sonic, Luigi™, Knuckles™, Yoshi®, Tails™ and more. Innovative usage of the Wii and DS control systems to maneuver a favorite character will allow players to race the likes of Mario and Sonic down the 100m track, engage in exhilarating rallies in table tennis and churn water in a swimming heat, all while competing for the much sought after gold medal.

"We are thrilled to partner with Nintendo and ISM on this groundbreaking title," said Hisao Oguchi, President and Chief Operating Officer, SEGA Corporation. "For the first time, two of the world's greatest games' characters come together to compete in the world's greatest sporting event and we couldn't be more excited."

"Mario and Sonic have been respectful rivals since the early days of video games," says Shigeru Miyamoto, Senior Managing Director and General Manager, Entertainment Analysis and Development Division, Nintendo Co., Ltd.. "In fact, for a long time they have been discussing the possibility of one day competing against each other. Now that they have been given the perfect opportunity to meet at the Olympic Games, we may finally learn who is actually faster, Mario or Sonic?"

"The Olympic Games represent the true spirit of competition and passion," said Raymond Goldsmith, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of ISM. "Bringing together intensely competitive and fun characters like Mario and Sonic in an Olympic setting helps showcase the sports of the Olympic Games in a new and compelling way for all generations."

For further information on this title please visit www.sega-press.com for Europe and the SEGA FTP for America at: http://segapr.segaamerica.com.

Steve's notes follow:

If you have been playing Nintendo games for as long as I have than you know what big news this is! Think about it, this is the first time you can pit the characters from the Mario universe against the characters of the Sonic universe.

I do have to say, what character from the Mario universe can beat Sonic at a running event?

I still remember the old Decathlon game for the Atari. Do you remember that one? It ended with the big long run, the run that most players ignored because it took so long and involved moving the joystick left-right-left-right-etc... I hope nothing like that shows up in this game.

General and Star Wars March 28th, 2007 by Force Drainer

Support Team Morgan and the Easter Seals

Hi Folks,

Contest time!

You can win one ticket to this wonderful event, which is a fundraiser to benefit individuals with disabilities, like Morgan Pratt, who receive support services from the Easter Seals.

This event looks like it will be great fun. Dinner, drinks, live music by The Killer Watts, dancing, and your favorite Star Wars/501st Legion characters...what more could you ask for?

HOW TO WIN: Simply email me your name and your preferred way to be contacted. That’s it. Enter as many times as you would like.

When: Saturday, April 21st, 2007

Where: Southington Lodge of Elks, 114 Main St, Southington, CT


Ticket Prices:
Kids 2 & under: free
3-10: $5
11-15: $10

Adult Advance Purchase Tickets: $20
Adult Ticket Price At The Door: $25


If you can’t attend this event, but would still like to donate to this most worthy cause, please click HERE.

The Force Drainer
Paul Starybrat

Final SW Duel


General and Stories March 28th, 2007 by Joe the Lawyer

I'm gonna be writing stream of consciousness, so please forgive me if my verb tenses don't always agree.

So I had this client referred by the Public Defender's Office. His name was Robert Dale Hicks. He was charged with Robbery 1 and P.F.O. 1 (Persistent Felony Offender in the First Degree), an enhancement charge in KY that's kind of similar to a "three-strikes" law. Robert was looking at 20 to life.

Robert was in a wheel chair when I first visited him in jail. I thought, "That might be good. He couldn't have been Robber-like in a wheelchair." So Robert starts telling me his tale of woe and says confidently that they can't identify him because he has a beard now but the description of the defendant they caught didn't have a beard. I said, "Well, do you think they might figure that you grew a beard at some point in the two years you've been awaiting trial?" He considered and then started yelling that I was an idiot.

So while he was yakkin' I was reading through the discovery. I said, "It says here that you left the Sav-A-Step in a lime green '74 Plymouth Duster. Is it possible that the cops id'd someone else's lime green Duster?" He said it was a distinct possibility, given the number of Dusters on the road in 2001.

Robert didn't want to plead. I told him that I thought he would be found guilty. He told me that I sucked and he wanted to have his trial. There was a security video the prosecutor showed at trial that showed a guy limping into the Sav-A-Step on two canes trying to hold a handgun in one hand. Robert's wife was working there that day. Robert took her and the manager in the back where he asked the manager to sack up the money. While he was guarding them, Robert dropped the gun. The manager picked it up and gave it back. He said at trial that he learned that in a loss prevention seminar. Robert left in his Duster and was stopped at a light when he saw a cop with his lights flashing responding to the scene. The cop looked at Robert and Robert tore off through the red light, smashing into a car and leaving part of his Duster behind. The cop chased him into the projects, lost him, but found the Duster because he had retrieved the piece of Duster left behind and he matched it to the one Robert parked in his parking lot. The cop went around to apartments, found Robert's, was allowed into the apartment by Robert's father, and found Robert under the bed.

Robert was in a wheelchair because he tried to escape from jail once by rapelling from the roof with a rope he made from tied together bedsheets. The sheets tore apart and Robert fell four stories and broke his back.

Now, there was no doubt that Robert would be found guilty, so my guard slipped a little and I let a bad question pass my lips when I was crossing his wife. I asked, "How long has Robert been disabled?" I knew as soon as the last word left my mouth that I should have phrased it "Please tell me the date on which Robert became disabled.", but it was too late. She said, "Ever since he broke his back trying to escape from jail."

During Robert's testimony he told us about how he couldn't have done a robbery because he was too disabled. In fact, he said that he was paralyzed from the waist down and had to have a catheter and colostomy bag. The he pulled out his catheter on the stand. I said, "Please put that away Robert."

The jury was sequestered right before lunch. The trial had lasted four days. Many people asked me how long I thought they'd be out. I said that I heard the judge order lunch and so I thought they'd at least eat lunch. I was wrong. They were back in ten minutes. Robert eventually got 25 years.

A couple of other bits: When the cop found Robert under the bed, he found the gun on top of the bed. During his wife's testimony, the prosecutor meant to show that the two were working together and so he asked a lot of questions about the gun. It turned out that they kept that gun on the top shelf of their closet. The prosecutor asked whether she had seen the gun that day before she left for work at the Sav-A-Step. She said, "Oh you know how it is Joe Gutman (prosecutor's name), we had just made love and you know how it is when you're layin' with your man and then you bring down the gun and start playin' with it." Everybody was just staring at her, and you could've heard a pin drop.

Kinda unrelated - it also came up during her testimony that she was married to someone else at the same time she was married to Robert. She thought she had diovorced the previous husband by signing a form at the county clerk's office.

This post was written by guest writer Joe the Lawyer. Yes, Joe is a real lawyer.

Games and Wii March 28th, 2007 by HMTKSteve
Military Madness
Military Madnessâ„¢
Format: Virtual Console
Launch Date: 12/18/06
ESRB: E (Everyone) - Mild Violence
Game Type: Strategy
Control Type: Wii, Classic, GameCube or controllers
Players: 1 - 2
Developer: Hudson
Game Information

Originally released on TurboGrafx, 1990 Wii Points: 600

Military Madness is a futuristic simulation game that throws the player into the middle of a war on the moon's surface. The rules are simple, making it easy for newcomers to enjoy the thrills of this war-strategy game. Players can see easy-to-understand, detailed instructions from the Title screen. Military Madness is also turn-based, allowing players to devise their strategy before they move. To top it off, the units players have for each stage are already decided, allowing them to concentrate on commanding. Use the terrain and surround enemies to claim victory. Fight through all 16 stages and thwart the enemy's ambitions!

I purchased this game over the weekend after buying ExciteBike and realizing that some games are only great in memories. Yes, ExciteBike is not as cool as I remember it having been.

Military Madness Screen ShotMilitary Madness is a fun turn-based strategy game. You control different units on a game area that is divided into hexes. Each unit is allowed to move only so far, terrain permitting.

Each unit also gets one attack per turn. A unit's attack and defense power ratings are modified not only by the terrain both attacker and defender are in but also the proximity of other units. In other words, a weak unit can take out a powerful one if it has plenty of support units with it. Yes, you can surround and destroy enemy units with ease!

I have only been playing the game versus the computer opponent and I'm beginning to think that there is a distinct advantage on going first due to the fact that in every battle I have been able to destroy one or two enemy units before the enemy can react. I can see myself getting very frustrated in a two player game if I see my opponent not only drawing first blood but also digging multiple graves for my units!

All in all I enjoy the game. It has a built in tutorial which makes learning the game very easy.

That is the one problem with Virtual Console games on the Wii; lack of a printed manual. I think Nintendo could earn some big points if it made PDFs off all of the VC game manuals available for download.

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