We’re #1

Quick little update before I head off to work…

Last night the TCC won a hard fought battle against a very tough opponent, VOD. TCC is now the number one CTF clan in the country… again. We held the spot for some time but slipped down to 3rd and then back to 2nd a month ago. Now we’re back on top and feelin’ good. We’ve also got a few upcoming matches, a Conquest match for 3rd place on that ladder on Thursday and then a BattleField Vietnam Double-Header on Monday night.

I just want to quickly thank VOD on being such a class act and bringing such a good game last night. They’re very talented and I’m sure it won’t be long before there’s a rematch. Anyway, you can check out the results in our forum post, right here.

Matt out… and late for work…

While I have a minute

A little summer update for all you cats and kittens out there. I’m currently awaiting a call from my Boss to let me know if he needs me to come in today. We’re setup at the convention center downtown this weekend as part of the “Bridal Extravaganza”. Notable the largest bridal show on the planet, or so they claim. So, that’s what we’ve been focused on at work for the past week or so. That and getting Texans stuff ready to go to print. I’m not allowed to tell you what the new poster looks like but I can say that it’s pretty kick-ass. The “magazine” will be equally impressive if not more so in my opinion. It’s really the frosting on the cake. So that’s whats been keeping us busy at work.

Elsewhere in the Marvel universe…

I got in on my first BattleField Vietnam battle of any significance. We won, by a lot. Actually we stomped their asses. Forum post here. We had a scrimmage against the [RN] clan last week. Actually, if I get out of the convention at a decent time, we have another schedule tonight and, what I’m more excited for, an actual league match this week. We’re trying to move up the ladder into 3rd. On the Desert Combat side of things we’re locked in an overtime, sudden-death rematch with another clan ( -VOD- ) for the number 1 spot. They played tough for the required 6 rounds (each round being 40 minutes) without a flag capture and so we go to sudden death. Should be fun. If you’re bored, there’s a forum thread here.

I have to admit that I’m enjoying BF:V more and more. The system is very different and your total score isn’t based on kills alone. For example, look at that BF:V forum link above. I had 17 points, 6 kills and 2 deaths. I have playing defense most of the game. I had 17 posts because I held a control point and captured the next closest one as well. The game also rewards for good team work, which in the end, is really why you play a game like that anyway.

Let’s see, what else. Oh, I picked up Far-Cry. Interesting game. Can’t play it at home because of my graphics card (more about this in a minute) so I’ve been trying it out at work. Very sweet engine and a very “pretty” game.

The main problem I have is the lack of graphics card power. Which is expected since that card is what, 3 years old? Time for a replacement I’d say. Since the bonus check I was waiting for came in, as well as another check, I have enough to buy a reasonably priced card. I’m not going to be buying an X800 Ultra or a 6800 Ultra but I can foresee something like a 9800 Pro in my future.

Here’s my dilemma. I hate ATI. I’ve never liked the company, their drivers or their lack of support for their products. I do admit however, that the Radeon series was a very good products and perhaps they’re turning the company around. So, a 9800 isn’t a “bad” card by any stretch. The other side of this coin is that the comparable Nvidia cards sucked. A lot. They’re plagued with problems, driver issues, heat issues and general lack of speed. The 5900 line really stunk. Also, in an ironic twist, ATI has partnered with Valve for Half-Life 2’s release and Nvidia has joined forces with Doom 3. So, the cards I want (the Nvidia 6800) runs better on the game I don’t have as much anticipation for. ATI and Valve have both said that the benchmark with ATI cards on HL2 are incredible. So, do I get a card from a company that I dislike in order to play a game I love OR get a card I like and live with mediocre performance on my favorite games?

That’s like giving me the choice between a Honda Civic that I can drive to NH or a Porche that I can only drive to work.

Let’s brake down some of this, I need to work it out in my head and this is as good a place as any…

Both the X800 and 6800 series cards are incredibly expensive (read: $500+). I won’t be getting them. That said, I’m left with last summers cards for a bargain at around $200. I should also state that in order to make up for lack of “new spiffy-ness” I’d like to try and find a card with 256mb of memory.

Your average ATI Radeon 9800 Pro runs for about $190 on NewEgg. Something like this Sapphire card for example. THIS card here is a 256mb version for $260.

Compare those to something like this Gainward GeForce FX5900 XT for $190. There isn’t a comparable 256mb card though. The next step up is to a 5950 Ultra, and those are $300.

So, what should I do? Doom 3 comes out in 2 weeks and HL2 will go gold inside of a month. I need to upgrade both the mobo/chip combo and my graphics card. I figure I’ll get more use out of the graphics card immediately so it should be the first buy. If I upgraded my chip I would still have the graphics bottleneck for my games. Sure Photoshop would open faster, but who wants to do work anyways. 🙂

Oh, and lastly, before I go, we saw the Borne Supremacy this weekend. Pretty good flick. Not a 100% Tomato or anything, but a solid 80. A good popcorn flick with classic spy movie elements. Car chases and kung-fu, that sort of thing.

Matt out.

Blacklistin’ your ass!

The past two days have seen a huge jump in the attempts to comment spam my page. Yesterday someone was even successful. That is, until MT-BlackList kicked in. I ran the De-Spam feature and it nabbed all of the offending comments. After that I updated by blacklist itself. It appears that the 500 or so entries I started with wasn’t enough. I manually added about 1000 more “positive match” domains/email addresses/IPs from the Spam Clearinghouse list and then added about 200 more of my own. So, if anyone wants a super-duper 1700+ entry blacklist for anything, just ask.

Oops, it’s nearly 9am. Gotta get to work. Later.

Yeah… there’s two of them

Chris pointed out a link on his blog to a guy whos mission in life is to visit every Starbucks on the planet. That my friends, is perhaps the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. One mans pursuit over the worlds worst coffee is truly mind-numbing. Admittedly I’m a coffee snob. I drink two brands of coffee exclusively, Lavazza and DunkinDonuts. I have my reasons for both. Lavazza is award winning, fantasticly strong without being a dark bitter roast and is without a doubt the finest coffee in the world. It’s Italian, and if any culture knowns more about good coffee I’d be surprised. Don’t even think about mentioning the French. Those people wouldn’t know coffee if it bit them in the ass… stupid Frogs. The Turks might be a close second, but they’re mostly into Espresso anyway. Dunks is another story. I grew up with DunkinDonuts, its my “comfort” coffee. If I ever want to feel “at home” I get a cup, close my eyes, and imagine I’m outside in Harvard Square on a cool winter night with a cup in my hand. Somehow, after that, everything is all right with the world. I’ve been drinking that stuff since I was 8 and I still have a soft spot for it.

Starbucks, on the other hand, is the work of Satan. Coffee is not ment to a) taste like dirt, gasoline or gasoline soaked dirt, b) have so many ways to be prepared that it requires a menu and c) contain so much milk, cream, chocolate, caramel or “flavor shot” that it completely hides the coffee taste. Coffee is a simple drink. It reguires a cup, that’s it. If you want to be adventurous you can add a sugar packet or two or perhaps one of those mini-creamer things. That’s it.

Now, I enjoy a Mocca-Latte’ as much as the next guy. But that’s not coffee. That’s a fancy espresso drink. I get those every once in a while when I need both caffine AND sugar… at the same time. Together. Even then I won’t ask for whipped cream, non-fat skim milk, chocolate syrup on top or a fancy crossant to go with it. Nope, just the chocolate, espresso and milk please.

What is completely untollerable are the people who order “a tall mocca latte with caramel, low fat skim milk, low fat whipped cream and chocolate shavings on top”. What the hell. Just go order yourself a fucking chocolate milk shake and be done with it. Of course, they have to order it while they’re on their cell phones too, which puts them on my “first to die” list should I ever come into some sort of political power.

I think I need to relax…. where’s my coffee. Oh wait, it’s gone! Replaced by some Starbucks serving Low-Fat Caramel Macchiattos to people driving Escalades with no hands because one hand is wrapped around the latest Nokia monstrocity and the other is around their ill-gotten coffee-ish beverage. Fuck.

I’m the last of my kind I fear. I realize I’m alone in my views and that’s ok. I’ve learned to deal with it.

Which, in a round about way, gets me to the title of this entry…

You might have heard the Houston is unique to the coffee world, being as it’s the only city on the planet to have two Starbucks NEXT TO EACH OTHER. And now, linked from wonder-moron’s website, I can show them to you.

This is the Starbucks on River Oaks Drive. Pay attention the the black awning on the right side of the picture. Why? Because it’s the same awning in this picture of the Starbucks across the street. Why have two Starbucks next to each other you ask? Well, because there’s a one way street intersecting right there and if you’re traveling in one direction you can only get to one of them. Of course, the people traveling on the cross-street need one too! So there you go. Bad city road designs leads to two bad coffee stores. Good job Houston.

Let this be a lesson to you all.

That’s it, I’m done.

/end rant

Matt out.