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Bio of a BZP Admin


Reading Rainbow All the Way Across the Sky

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Sep 17 2012 · 732 views
Halo, Books
So I finished Ghosts of Onyx last night and First Strike a couple days before that. It makes me sad that Eric Nylund hasn't written any more full-length novels since then, I really loved his take on the Halo universe. He's great at creating characters you actually care about and seems to have a good grasp of military lingo and tactics (not that I know from experience, but what he says seems plausible and doesn't completely conflict with the many former and active servicemen I've interacted with). Nylund is also able to go into the full-on scifi aspect too, when it comes to the Forerunners and what they left behind.

Tonight I'll be starting Contact Harvest. I recall enjoying it and the deeper look into Sergeant Johnson it provides, but honestly I'm looking past that and The Cole Protocol and onto Evolutions and then the newer books I haven't read yet. But there's lots of pages between me and those.

I really hope I can keep up this pace of two books per week, but I'm sure something is going to come up that will keep me from that. Still lots of time until November 6th though.


Operation: RR Update

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Sep 09 2012 · 393 views
Halo, Books
It's been a week since I kicked off Operation: Reading Rainbow. So far I've finished The Fall of Reach and the Flood and started on First Strike.

Some thoughts:
-Man Fall of Reach is so good. It covers so much ground and does it so well.
-Why did Bungie try to shoehorn in all those retcons in Halo: Reach? It's like Star Wars - it wasn't broke, so why fix it?
-The Flood is definitely underrated. There are some slower parts, sure, but it really adds a lot more depth and backstory to Halo: CE.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the books. If I keep going at this rate I might even have time to reread the comics too.


Operation: Reading Rainbow

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Sep 03 2012 · 885 views
Halo, Books
I realized yesterday that Halo 4 comes out in just over two months! How crazy is that? I still need to preorder my copy and make sure I take off from work. On the plus side though, the footage that came out of PAX this weekend helped me decide that I should go to the midnight opening for it.

But what I really thought of when I had this epiphany was that I'm still three books out of date in the Halo series. I haven't read Cryptum, Primordium, or Glasslands.

I've decided to rectify this by reading through all of the Halo novels in the next two months. I'm already over halfway through The Fall of Reach. I had forgotten how much I had enjoyed it.

I'm looking forward to rereading some favorites and experiencing the works of the newest Halo authors.



Posted by Black Six , in BZPower, LEGO Con, Real Life Aug 01 2012 · 1,833 views
BrickFair, BFVA12, BZP, 11 years
Tomorrow is August 2, 2012. That will be the eleventh anniversary of my joining BZPower.

It is also the first day of BrickFair 2012 Virginia, the fifth such event held. (Congrats Todd!)

BrickFair 2012 Viriginia will be the tenth AFOL fan convention that I've attended.

Sunday, August 5 is my twenty-fifth birthday. A quarter-century!

Monday, August 6, will mark my eleventh year as a member of the BZPower Staff.

All this right after BZPower celebrated its eleventh anniversary.

It's crazy to think about all that - I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around it all.

But I know one thing - I couldn't ask for a better group of people to celebrate it with than my friends from BZPower. I just wish more of you all could be there!



Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Jul 03 2012 · 1,196 views
audiophile, headphone, earphone and 1 more...
A week or so ago I brought my car into the dealership for service and was sitting in the waiting area listening to some music when I realized someone was trying to talk to me and I couldn't even hear them. That reminded me how much I enjoy a good pair of noise-isolating earphones, which in turn reminded me how awesome it is to listen to music on quality equipment.

The phones in question were Etymotic hf2s, and I could not recommend them any more highly. Before these I owned a pair of Etymotic ER 6is, which have been sadly discontinued. What makes these so good? They create a seal with your ear that virtually cuts out all background noise, meaning you don't have to crank the volume up nearly as loud and can hear a lot more detail. If you've been using a pair of Apple earbuds or other cheapies and then switch to these, you'll be entering a whole new world of music. If you're looking at any of their other offerings (or those from another manufacturer), make you you look at ones with a balanced armature versus a dynamic driver, they perform much better. I don't recommend them on planes though, as the pressure changes combined with the seal they create can mess with your ears.

For home use (and planes) I use a pair of Sennheiser HD 380 Pros. They're closed back, over-ear cans. Compared to open-back ones, they're better for listening if you have other people around or are recording (like the Powercast) so you don't have any echo. They have a pretty good seal over my ears and help cut out a lot of noise. They're fairly low impedance too which means my iPod has no problem driving them.

Okay, I lied, also at home, I have an Astro A40 Audio System for gaming. They're open-back, over-ear cans. They have some more bass to them, which is good for gaming, and since it's a headset I can use it for in-game chat and such too. Astro makes some quality products and I suggest them if you want surround sound but don't have the space or if you don't want to bother roommates, siblings, or parents while gaming.

Finally, at work, I have a Sennheiser PC166 USB headset (apparently it's been discontinued). They're closed-back, on-ear cans, so they don't block out as much noise as the others, but they also don't bleed sound. Those are good things, because I need to hear phones ringing and people talking to me and don't want to bother co-workers with my music. I originally used the headset to record the BZPowercast, but have since moved on to a more advanced setup (detailed elsewhere in my blog).

So yeah, I think I might have a headphone problem, especially since I've had my eye on a pair of Sennheisers from their 5xx series for a while...


Castle Finale

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life May 09 2012 · 585 views
Castle, TV
So I just saw the Castle Season 4 finale.


Definitely don't want to spoil anything, but it was certainly a roller coaster of an episode. The ending has me excited for Season 5 and sad I have to wait all summer to find out what happens next. That, to me, is the mark of some truly great writing.

I was also glad to see Tahmoh Penikett in there - he's a great actor and deserves a leading roll in something again. Maybe it's time to rewatch BSG...


Pax East 2012

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Apr 14 2012 · 862 views
PAX, Boston
It's already been nearly a week, but I'm finally getting around to making an entry about PAX East.

In short, it was awesome.

I took the train up last Thursday, from Maryland to Boston. It was my first time on Amtrak in a few years (since BrickFest 2006) and it was a pretty good experience. Longer than flying, but less of a hassle than dealing with airports or driving all the way up. It was about seven hours, and thanks to free Wi-Fi I was even able to be somewhat productive.

Once in Boston I checked into the hotel and then waited for John (Watashi Wa) to show up. We enjoyed a little taste of what Boston has to offer before meeting up with my friend AJ. At that point we headed to Cambridge for a screening of Scott Pilgrim at the Brattle Theater hosted by Harmonix, the guys that make Rock Band. I love that movie, and it was awesome seeing it on the big screen again. We then had some dinner at Bertucci's, which was quite good. Then it was time for Rock Band Night back at the theater. People went up on stage to play the game to be voted on by a panel of judges for their skill and showmanship. Our dinner ran long so we didn't get a chance to participate, unfortunately, but it was still fun.

Friday was the official start of the event. There were lots of panels and such to see. I'm going to list off some of the highlights:
  • Rooster Teeth Panel - we got to see some of RvB Season 10 and listen to some hilarious commentary. These guys do not disappoint.
  • BioWare and Mass Effect Panel - there was a BioWare Dragon Age panel at 3PM, the Mass Effect panel was in the same theater at 4:30PM. We walked by at 2:30PM and there was already a line forming for the ME one, so we queued up. The panel was well worth it. They talked about ME3 and the end so many people complained about, and I even got to ask them a question about the testing process!
  • From Lurker to Leader: A Frags to Riches Story - this was by far the smallest panel we went to, but it was still great. A bunch of prominent people from the Halo community talked about what it was like to go from being a fan to working in the gaming industry or for fan sites. I found it very insightful.
Dinner was at Legal Harborside and was quite delicious.

Then came Saturday:
  • Irrational Games: Making a Monster - the guys making Bioshock: Infinite held a panel about the creation process of enemies in the game. I envy the creativity of Ken Levine.
  • Major Nelson Podcast - Major Nelson, e, and lollip0p joined by special guests Stepto and Felicia Day! It's great to look behind the scenes of the people who keep Xbox Live running. Also, Felicia Day is hilarious and even funnier than I thought she could be.
  • Saturday Night Concerts - oh man they were so awesome. Video Game Orchestra, Paul & Storm, Jonathan Coulton, and MC Frontalot. These are always a highlight of the event. Paul & Storm and JoCo especially put on amazing shows, and I look forward to seeing them each year. If you have the chance to see them, don't miss it!
We got some takeout from AK's South Boston which we ate while standing in line for the concerts. Good Italian-style and deli foods if you're looking for something somewhat fast. Every time we've been there it's been busy though, so I suggest calling in or placing your order online.

And last, but not least, Sunday:
  • Inside Gearbox Software - I'm not going to admit to how long we had to wait in line for this panel, but we got free pizza and some codes to give us a chance to make an easter egg for either Borderlands 2 or Aliens: Colonial Marines. Both games look pretty amazing and reminded me that I need to play Borderlands 1 and actually make an effort to see the Aliens movies in their entirety.
AJ had to leave early, but John and I went to the Atlantic Beer Garden for dinner. I had a cheeseburger stuffed with macaroni and cheese. I did not know such things existed, but it was so delicious!

Obviously we spent a lot of time on the show floor too. We saw some gameplay for Assassin's Creed 3, played Rock Band Blitz, waited in line but never saw Aliens: Colonial Marines, played the new Kid Icarus (you're welcome Kohaku), visited the Rooster Teeth guys, and many others I can't remember.

All in all, it was an amazing weekend with some good friends. PAX East is always a ton of fun and I'm already looking forward to next year.


How To Watch Star Wars

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Mar 03 2012 · 833 views
Star Wars
To get things out of the way, if you're one of the frightening large number of people I've encountered who have never seen Star Wars, this entry is not for you. Instead, go find someone who has and tell them to read this, and then they will help you watch Star Wars.

Since Episode I made its way into our lives in 1999, a new issue has been raised in the land of Star Wars fandom - what is the right way to watch the movies? And furthermore, how would you show them to your kids/someone who has never seen them?

I have thus far been a staunch supporter of IV, V, VI, I, II, III. This is the way the movies were released. If you watch the prequels first, it ruins the surprise of just about everything in the original trilogy. You know Darth Vader is Luke's father, you know who that crazy-sounding Muppet is, you know all about Palpatine. So better to watch the originals first, be surprised by that, and then learn more about how things got to where they were through the prequels.

Others out there champion an order of I, II, III, IV, V, VI, since matches the movies' internal chronology. I can see some additional reasons behind that. If you watch the original trilogy first, you know where everything in the prequels is leading up to. You know Anakin will become Darth Vader, that Padme will die, and that Obi Wan will end up in Tatooine and Yoda on Dagobah. I argue, however, that from a cinematic perspective, the storytelling in the originals is much better and the revelations you see there are more startling than those in the prequels, which tend to be pretty heavily foreshadowed. (I mean, who didn't see that Palpatine was Darth Sidious?) Maybe my perspective is skewed though since I had seen the originals and read a lot of the books before the prequels were even announced.

I was contemplating these two points of view recently, and came upon a possible compromise. Perhaps it would be too confusing for someone who has never seen the movies, but if they were able to stick with it I think it could have a lot of potential: I, IV, II, V, III, VI.

Think about it.

You watch The Phantom Menace; you're introduced to this little boy and Obi Wan, silly adventures occur and then there's an amazing lightsaber duel.

You watch A New Hope - hey how did Obi Wan get so old all of the sudden, who is this Darth Vader character? Oh my goodness he kills that little boy from the first movie (obviously not while he's a boy, but still)?

You watch Attack of the Clones. Oh hey there's that Clone War Obi Wan was just talking about. Another crazy lightsaber duel.

You watch The Empire Strikes Back - WAIT! Anakin is Darth Vader? But he was just taking on the insurrectionists!?

You watch Revenge of the Sith; oh, so that's what happened. Man that was a ridiculously quick fall to the dark side (sorry, it was!). Palpatine is Sidious (okay so you probably already figured that one out). Ah, so that's how all those things from IV got set into motion.

Finally, you watch Return of the Jedi. Anakin redeems himself! Good wins! Teddy bears taking out trained military forces!

I think it could work.

Does anyone know someone we could test it on?


Busy Weekend

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life, BZPower Feb 17 2012 · 583 views
Real Life, Toy Fair, BZP
Sometimes real life takes priority over BZPower, unfortunately. This weekend, starting about three hours ago, is going to be a busy one. I'm not sure if/when I'll have time to post more Toy Fair coverage, but I'll bring what I need to work on it with me just in case.

I'm going to see a presentation of the play 'Shakespeare Abridged,' tonight, which I hear is hilarious. Then I'll be helping a friend move into some new digs. Then I have some other possible plans. It should be a fun time, but putting together those stories can take some time, time I may not have.

I hope everyone else has a good weekend too!

Welcome To My Blog

I'm glad to see you made the trip intact.

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Black Six
Join Date:
August 2, 2001
Staff Since:
August 6, 2001
BZPower Administrator
Forums Currently Moderated:
Bionicle RPG, LEGO RPG, News Discussion
Forums Previously Moderated:
Fan-Created Games, Promotions, Marketplace Banter, Storyline & Theories, Buy/Sell/Trade, probably some others
Other Responsibilities:
Making sure news is posted, keeping the forums running smoothly, learning the ways of server-burping.

Video Games!

Most Played Games (as of late):
  • Marvel Avengers Academy
  • Destiny
  • Pokemon Shuffle
  • Whatever I'm streaming on Twitch
Currently Playing:

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