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  • Create your own topics, participate in existing discussions, and vote in polls
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Bio of a BZP Admin



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Furlough Fundays

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Jun 16 2013 · 529 views
videogames
For better or worse starting July 8th I'm going to be off every Monday for eleven weeks. As those of you who have spent time with me on days off know, they're usually spent on the phone or replying to emails for various work-related things. For the government furloughs, however, we are expressly forbidden from doing any work-related activities. What am I going to do with my extra day off then? I know, maybe finally play some of the many videogames I have acquired over the years but never finished or in some cases even played.

And you're going to help.

Below is a list of games and series that I need to play to some varying degree, with descriptions. You tell me what I should play.
  • Halo - I never did beat Halo Wars, and there's plenty more achievements to get in the others. I never got all the way through Anniversary either, come to think of it...
  • Mass Effect - I need one more achievement in the first game, then I need to bring my character through the second game again, and I haven't even played the third game yet.
  • Dragon Age - I played the first one all the way through but never got through all the DLC. Only played the demo of the second one.
  • Bioshock - I played the first one, would probably play it again to harvest instead of save. Haven't played the second one or Infinite.
  • Gears of War - I've played the first game multiple times and used to LAN it. Only played Horde Mode on the second. Never played the third or Judgement.
  • Star Wars: The Force Unleashed - I have the Ultimate Sith Edition but never played it. Don't have the sequel though.
  • Batman Arkham Asylum - Own it but haven't played it.
  • Fable - Beat the first one, own the second and the third (it's free on Games on Demand!) but never played them.
  • Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay - Heard this was pretty good, picked it up cheap but never played.
  • Ghostbusters - Same as above.
  • Watchmen: The End is Nigh - Ditto.
  • Dead Rising - Fourpeat.
  • Guitar Hero/Rock Band - There's always more songs to play and more achievements to get.
Have at it!


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For Sale: Nerf Guns

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life May 04 2013 · 932 views
Nerf, For Sale
Somehow over the past few years I've accumulated a bunch of Nerf guns that have been taking up a lot of space. I'm looking to remedy that issue by getting rid of some. Most of the below were bought used, but they all work and I've cleaned them all up to the best of my ability (in some cases that includes taking them apart and running the plastic pieces through the dishwasher). I've removed the air restrictors from several of the spring guns. No ammo is included.

UPDATE: The Titan, Hornet, and orange Hyperfire have been sold. All the rest are still available.

Make an offer, I'm really open to anything. Just note that you'll also be paying for shipping on top of whatever you offer.

Thanks!

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Bulbasaur, I Choose You

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Mar 05 2013 · 688 views
Videogames, Pokemon, Retro
That's what I said almost a month ago when I decided to dig out my Gameboy Advance and copy of Pokemon Blue. I kept reading people talking about the newer games and it made me recall the fond memories I had playing the original back in the day. I've been going through the game again, having a lot of fun the whole way. I even picked up a used GBA SP because how did we ever live without backlit screen? I mean seriously you expect me to play in only the most ideal lighting conditions?

Anyway, I'm currently in Celadon working my way through the basement of the totally-not-a-casino fighting off the evil Team Rocket. Then I'll be taking on Erika assuming I'm leveled up enough. My current team consists of:
-Bulbasaur
-Pikachu
-Geodude
-Gyrados
-Drowzee
-Machop

I really wish I had a fire Pokemon to help out with Erika, but I've yet to come across any. I've been working on training up Drowzee so hopefully he'll be enough to carry the team.

I've also ordered copies of Pokemon Ruby and Sapphire, so I get to try out some more recent (only a decade old) Pokemon games. I can't really justify a DS, so nothing past that for me, unless I get really into it.

Let me know if you have some suggestions for my team. Also - what should I evolve my Eevee into?


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Black Six Goes to Disney

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Feb 02 2013 · 326 views
Vacation, Orlando, Disney
As I mentioned near the end of this entry, once I was done with BrickFair Alabama I didn't head back home. Instead, I hopped on a plane and headed for sunny Orlando, Florida for a real, live vacation.

I can't remember the last time I took a trip of more than one night that wasn't for a LEGO convention or PAX East. Sometime back in high school I just kind of stopped going on normal vacations. So this was the first time I had done something like this in a while, probably closer to a decade than I'd care to admit. Also, I hadn't been to Florida since I was in second grade, which was about eighteen years ago, making this even more of a big deal.

Back when I started planning to go to BFAL, I was talking to a friend of mine who now works at Disney and mentioned the idea of stopping by on the way since I would already be down south. It turned out the plane ticket would only be about $50 more, they could get me 50% off a hotel room, and into all the parks for free! With a deal like that, I couldn't pass it up. So I took a few more days off from work and made my plans to hit up Walt Disney World.

I had a lot of fun, and going with someone who knows the parks really well was like having my own personal tour guide. We knew which rides had long lines that we should get to early or Fast Pass, the best order of doing things, and where everything even was. We crammed a lot into the almost four days I was there. We did most of what Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom had to offer, and spent some time in Downtown Disney as well. Unfortunately we didn't make it to Epcot - next time!

Some of the highlights for me were Star Tours, Disney Quest (so many videogames - if you go and play some Guitar Hero Arcade, see if you can beat any of my high scores), Festival of the Lion King (my favorite Disney movie), Space Mountain, Muppet*Vision 3D, and Toy Story Midway Mania. There were lots of other fun things too though, so many I've probably forgotten some of them.

If you've never made it to Disney, definitely put it on your to-do list - it's a blast no matter how old you are, as long as you're a kid at heart. Big thanks to my friend for organizing things and being my guide while I was there.


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Things to Bring to BrickFair

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life, LEGO Con Jan 09 2013 · 530 views

BrickFair Alabama is eight days away! So much stuff to worry about! To help me not forget anything, I'm going to make a list here. Let me know what's missing.
  • Clothes
  • Toiletries
  • Wallet
  • Passort/drivers license
  • Boarding passes
  • Snacks
  • MOCs
  • Brick badges
  • Prototypes and other pieces to give out
  • BZPower Guestbook
  • BZPower business cards
  • Camera
  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • Other phone
  • iPod
  • Packing tape
  • Umbrella
  • Tablet (maybe)
I'm sure I'm overlooking something...


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Thoughts on The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Dec 14 2012 · 431 views
Hobbit, movie, spoilers
This entry contains spoilers! I discuss both The Hobbit (the book) as well as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (the movie), and even go into The Lord of the Rings (the books and movies). If you don't want any of those spoiled, stop reading now.

We good?

Great!

I loved the framed narrative. I was expecting it since we knew Ian Holm and Elijah Wood were in the cast, but they did it so magnificently. I love how it ties into The Lord of the Rings movies and the beginning of those where Ian Holm does the 'Concerning Hobbits' narration. Perfect, absolutely set the right tone.

I loved the history of Erebor and seeing the Lonely Mountain and Dale in their prime. The way they cut the arrival of Smaug was teaser-ific (in a good way). Except Thorin and Balin were supposed to be away from the Lonely Mountain when Smaug came, and they witness it from afar. Also, Thrain and Thror are supposed to escape from the secret door and be the only survivors. I'm not sure what they gained by changing that.

I loved most of the Unexpected Party, especially the dishes scene. Except it was supposed to start at tea-time, which I'm pretty sure is the afternoon, not the evening. I also missed the colored hoods which are very clearly and explicitly mentioned in the book. Also, I wanted to see them playing their instruments. I'll concede that all of those are pretty minor in the big scheme of things - but I wanted to see them all in the different colors!

I loved the trolls - they captured their personalities perfectly. Except that they completely changed everything else. It was supposed to be raining, they were supposed to be having a hard time lighting a fire and they all see the trolls' fire from afar and send Bilbo to investigate instead of their ponies being stolen. Bilbo gets captured when trying to steal a troll's wallet. The dwarves then go one at a time and get captured instead of all of them fighting until the trolls threaten to kill Bilbo. And it was Gandalf who confused the trolls until they turned to stone. I'll concede that a talking wallet (as described in the book) would have been silly. Also, since the book has been broken up into several movies, they had to start developing Bilbo's character as a quick-thinker earlier by having him delay the trolls.

I loved the council scenes in Rivendell. They're touched on in The Lord of the Rings, and I think they did them well. Except for everything else. I disliked the whole Azog storyline - he was killed by Dain well before the events of the movie. The dwarves and Bilbo were supposed to enter Rivendell peacefully and by choice, and where were the singing elves? I wanted to hear their songs! And then there was the whole mistrust thing - I know there's little love between dwarves and elves, but they added Thranduil to the flashback and then made Thorin despise all elves - totally different from the book. I'm sure it will come into play again in the following movies when the dwarves are captured by the elves in Mirkwood too. And then they leave secretly, without Gandalf or their ponies?

I loved the Great Goblin. They did a good job fleshing out that character a bit (literally) and even included some of the singing stuff I'm about to gripe about. Also, the battle scene was fantastic, if a little over-the-top. It takes a lot of creative license, but it's fun at least. Except the stone giants were a bit much. It would be fine to include them, but the whole 'getting caught on the giants' knees' part didn't do it for me. Neither did the change of the 'front porch' scene, with Bilbo trying to leave and then the floor opening up instead of there being a crack in the wall. And they took out the goblins' fun little evil songs. I'll concede that Gandalf not being there at first worked out in the end in this regard.

I loved the Riddles in the Dark - they nailed this in spirit if not in complete accuracy. But no real complaints on that... Except for how Bilbo got there, and how he found the Ring. They have a flashback scene in The Lord of the Rings that shows this, and it's quite different in the new movie. Bilbo shouldn't see Gollum until he gets to the lake (really he's not supposed to see much of anything except the darkness) or see him kill the goblin (although in the book it's mentioned that Gollum had recently eaten one). Then for the escape he should lose his buttons on the door, not on some crack in the rock. And Bilbo shouldn't see the dwarves and Gandalf escape, they're supposed to have quite the head start, since Bilbo is supposed to have been knocked out for a while. I'll concede that the buttons are a minor detail and at least he lost them.

I couldn't stand the tree scene. It's supposed to take place in a glade with a wide open meeting area. Obviously Azog isn't supposed to be there. They're all supposed to get in the trees before the wargs even arrive. And then there was the silly and contrived 'trees falling into one another while the dwarves jump from tree to tree.' I'm sorry, but I don't see a pack of wolves uprooting trees like it's nothing. And then there's the battle scene with Thorin and Azog where Bilbo saves his life but he still is maybe dead and then they're all falling off the tree over the cliff only to be rescued by the eagles. And where were their aeries and why didn't we hear them talk? Smaug has a voice actor, so obviously they're making some creatures that talk. At least there were still eagles.

Other things I loved: Radagast in his entirety, Dol Guldur and the references to the Witch King of Angmar, the score by Howard Shore, and the sneak peek of Smaug.

I think in general they made it a lot more serious than the book. Which makes sense since it's a children's book and that wouldn't have worked nearly as well as a movie. But the part of me that really loves the book wishes they had kept it a bit more innocent.

All in all, I enjoyed it. If they had not included Azog it would have been a more manageable length and I think I would have liked it more. I will still be seeing the sequels and buying the extended editions and all that though, make no doubt about it.


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Camera Adventures

Posted by Black Six , in BZPower, Real Life Dec 03 2012 · 389 views
camera, reviews, photography
I really wasn't satisfied with my recent set review pictures, they were way too dark despite me having tons of lights on and using my flash (indirectly). So I did some research and pulled out my camera's manual and learned how to adjust the shutter speed. A bit of experimentation later, and brighter pictures appeared.

The only problem is that now I have to make sure to be very still so that I don't shake the camera when I hit the shutter button. I'm doing a 0.5 second exposure so that can have a lot of impact.

So I thought to myself, 'I wonder if I can get a remote to trigger the shutter so I don't have to touch the camera?'

The short answer is no. :(

The long answer is, if I put some open-source, aftermarket firmware on my camera, it can support a remote shutter release, but I have to make the remote myself.

Needless to say, I'll be installing the firmware this week and making a trip to RadioShack on Friday.

I get to play with my soldering iron!


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Which Hobbit?

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Nov 11 2012 · 363 views

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey comes out in theaters next month, based on one of my favorite books of all time. I am super pumped.

So of course I want to reread the book before the movie to have it fresh in my mind. The question is - which version should I read?

I have a copy of the mass market paperback (not that exact version) that I got in sixth grade. I've read it countless times and it's definitely seen better days, but it certainly has some sentimental value.

I've also got a nice hardcover illustrated edition that looks just amazing. I love the Old English runes (which I can read, or could at one point).

No? Well how about The Annotated Hobbit? I got this back in high school when I was writing a research paper on The Hobbit. It has a lot of interesting details about Tolkien's inspirations, the references he makes, and the time period during which it was written that had an impact on the book.

Most recently, I received a copy of The Pocket Hobbit as a gift in July. It's so adorable, and packs in a lot of detail on the jacket design.

So many choices! Help me decide!

Also, I may have a problem...


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Back in a Bit

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Oct 28 2012 · 320 views
hurricane, Sandy
So the military base I work at is closing tomorrow because of the hurricane. If it's that bad, then at the very least I'm expecting to lose power at some point over the next few days. So my presence here may be a little scarce. As it is, here's my plan:

  • Go to bed tonight.
  • Wake up tomorrow, work from home for as long as I have power.
  • Edit the Powercast while I have time.
  • In the event of a power failure, break out the dead tree books for some reading.
  • Hope I don't lose power for too long.
  • Repeat.

Depending on if/for how long I lose power, the next episode of the podcast may be delayed. I've got everything recorded, I just need to edit it all together, master it, and upload it, which is probably about three hours worth of work at least. Between battery backups and my wireless hotspot, I should be able to stay connected for a while even if I do lose power, so I'll do everything I can to get it up on time.

I hope everyone stays safe during the storm and that damage is minimal.


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Reading Rainbow Road

Posted by Black Six , in Real Life Oct 23 2012 · 235 views
Halo, Books
I'm a bit behind on making this entry, I suppose. I finished The Thursday War last Friday night/early Saturday morning, completing my mission to reread all of the Halo novels before Halo 4. Woohoo! It was good, but not as good as Glasslands. It did have some nice twists and revelations, and a lot of stuff that seems like it will tie in to Halo 4. I'd definitely recommend it.

Now I feel like I have nothing to do though, after having spent all this time reading. To start though, I'm going to go through The Art of Halo followed by the Halo graphic novels. I'm not going to blog about all of those though, because I feel it would get too boring. These entries have already seen to have lost everyone's interest.

So what should I read next? I have to reread The Hobbit before December, and am considering re-reading the Lord of the Rings too. But I'd be open to some recommendations too.






Welcome To My Blog

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

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Name:
Andrew
Alias:
Black Six
Join Date:
August 2, 2001
Staff Since:
August 6, 2001
Position:
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):
  • Halo 4
  • Tiny Death Star
  • Plants vs Zombies 2
Currently Playing:
 
 

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It's A Trash Can!

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