Gaming for Charity


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It’s that time of year again, I’m proud to be participating in my 6th Extra-Life charity gaming marathon. On November 2nd at 8am, I will be gaming for 25 hours straight in support of the Children’s Hospital & Research Center in Oakland (a Children’s Miracle Network hospital). With the help of friends, family, and loved ones — I have managed to raise thousands of dollars over the years while participating in Extra Life. I truly hope that you’d consider supporting me again this year.

Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is a non-profit international organization that treats sick kids, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Children’s Miracle Network is a very reputable charity program, and has been rated highly by evaluating agencies. Children’s Miracle Network is an international non-profit organization, so any donation you could spare is tax deductible (tax ID: 87-0387205).

If you’re still reading this, great! If you’ve decided to sponsor me, you can make a donation from my charity page by clicking here. Thank you for taking the time to read over this and considering supporting me in this. You can also click on the image above to be taken to my donation page.

Once again, I’ll be broadcasting the entire 25 hours on and I’m looking forward to seeing you in the chat: — You can keep up with how my son and I are doing on the marathon!

Wish me luck!

My Most Treasured Memory of My Mom

Today is Mother's day and I've been sitting down watching cartoons with my son, @the_clone and it made me think of the ways my mother and I spent time together.  I have so many fond memories of my mother, when I was a kid, I don't think there was a single person I admired more than my mother.  In my mind, my mother could do anything.  

I like to describe my mom as the best combination of Bob Villa, Bob Ross, and Martha Stewart. It seemed like she knew how to do everything!  I remember when my mom inherited her mother's house and my parents decided to remodel it.  I can't remember having contractors around, but what I do remember is seeing my mom working on almost every piece of the project: Putting up sheetrock, laying carpet, replumbing and wiring the house, putting in new windows, installing vinyl siding, and even doing roofing work.  She also loved to paint, I remember her watching epidoes of Bob Ross' shows all the time to hone her oil painting skills.  She used to love to paint landscape scenes, rivers with forests near by, ocean scenes with sailing ships and seagulls, and various other things.  

I remember her sitting me down with this old art books that had a tutorial on drawing a covered bridge over a lake with trees in the background.  She was so proud of me when I finally got the hang of drawing perspectives and my covered bridge looked just like the tutorial.  She had quite an eye for design too, when I was in my early teens, she had a thing for stenciling. She wanted to stencil the walls of the house with ivy and various other designs.  

image from upload.wikimedia.orgThere was so much more to my mom than just that though, she showed interest in the things that I liked.  My family got by with a modest income but I always remember when something was really important to me, somehow I got it.  Some time in the late 80s, our family got an NES.  Our very first games were Mario Brothers and Legend of Zelda.  I remember watching my mom play the original Legend of Zelda very frequently.  She knew every bush to burn, rock to push, gravestone to push, and every other hidden item in both the 1st and 2nd quest.  Back in those days, they didn't really publish game guides, but Nintendo published a magazine called "Nintendo Power" which would occasionally have full coloured maps and such for the most popular Nintendo titles.

Our modest living didn't quite allow the room to have a regular subscription to this magazine and so my mom's solution was to get multiple sheets of graph paper and square by square she mapped out the entire world of Legend of Zelda both the 1st and 2nd world.  She marked every hidden spot she knew of and when she was finished it spanned mulitple pieces of graph paper.  She even loaned the map out to close friends and family who didn't have a Nintendo Power subscription.  If there is one thing I wish I could have more than anything, it would be my mom's Legend of Zelda map. I'd frame it and put it up on my livingroom wall.  She put so much attention to detail into that map.  

She never stopped gaming during the entire time I knew her.  She and I would play boardgames, card games, and video games all the time.  When I got into Magic: The Gathering, she humoured me by learning how to play.  I still remember the very first game we played, I had a mono blue permission deck (a deck composed of cards intended to primarily counter spells) and I let her use a Green sapling deck of mine.  Every time I'd play an instant or an interrupt, she'd accuse me of cheating and laugh as I would explain the individual rules to her.

Now that I've told you the absolute happy memories of my mom, I want to share a very private story that is both sad and happy which took place when I was 16 years old.  It's the story of the last time my mother and I gamed together ever. July 19th 1998 (a Sunday), a date I'll remember for the rest of my life. 

image from upload.wikimedia.orgOne of my mom's new favourite games was the original Diablo.  She'd beaten the game repeatedly and I was more interested in playing with the character hacker and being an asshole PKer.  That night, I had convinced my mom to play on Battlenet with me on my character (which had been hacked to be unreasonably stronger than most other characters).  Her job was to control the character and my job was to type/talk to other players on BattleNet and we even used my hacked character.  

We were going through the first dungeon to take down The Butcher with other people online and I turned to her and said, "Hey mom.  Attack that player.  Just do it."  She turned and looked at me aghast. 

She said to me, "That's mean!" and gave me a rather incredulous look, but did it.  The player died and dropped an ear, they cursed at us and I (being a jerk teenager) taunted them (playfully) over chat.  For the next few hours, my mother was on a player killing spree.  She was laughing so hard that tears had welled in her eyes and I couldn't remember ever having as much fun playing video games with my mom before in my life.  

It was nearly impossible to drag either of us away, but I had work in the morning and she had a doctor's appointment.  That Friday, my mom had experienced headaches and chest pains.  Her doctor wasn't concerned enough to have her to go the ER, so she had a doctor's appointment that Monday while I was at work.

I'm incredibly lucky to have had such an amazing time with my mother.  It was the last time I'd play a video game with my mom ever.  Some time around midday Monday July 20th 1998, my mother died at home.  I never got a chance to game with her again.  

I know this story must sound incredibly sad, and writing it brings tears to my eyes, but I couldn't have asked for a better "last moments" with my mom.  The woman who could do anything, was stronger than anyone else's mom I knew, could devour books in mere hours, and was my best friend.  

I feel so lucky that my last memories of my mom were so happy, both of us were intensely happy that night.  We laughed until we cried and I could be as silly as I wanted around her (at 16, not many girls probably liked being incredibly silly).  

I've never shared this story in such depth except for with a few close friends. It's my most treasured memory of my mother ever.  I couldn't have asked for a better last moment with my mom.  That moment was the penultimate expression of exactly why my mother was my best friend in life. 

Thank you all for letting me share this memory with you.  

New iPad unveiled

Apple unveils new iPad, Apple TV box (via AFP)

Apple unveiled a new iPad on Wednesday with a higher resolution display and faster 4G LTE connectivity as it seeks to tighten its grip on the booming tablet computer market. The California-based gadget-maker also released an updated version of the Apple TV box used to stream movies, television shows…

“N’Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!” I found Esperanto in Skyrim!

N'Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!

I found this interesting bit in Skyrim and it gave me a neat project to play with.  I’m sure most of you are already aware that I’m somewhat of an Esperanto-phile and I’m always on the watch for neat usages of Esperanto in popular media.

So I was just chilling at the Bard’s College, looking around what what I could loot and sell when I came across a book with an unusual title: “N’Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis!

I don’t come across many languages that have “kv” starting a word except for esperanto.  The numbers 4 and 5 are “Kvar” and “Kvin” and so I loaded up to see if I could come up with a translation for Kvati or Kvaki.  Sure enough, Kvaki came up with a hit. 


“SCORE!” I thought to myself as I opened up the book to get more of it’s contents.  I was hoping to discover some more Esperanto in there.  

Book 2

It didn’t look entirely esperanto, but there were definitely some esperanto-ish things in there.  If you can’t read the text from the picture here it is:

An obscure text written in the language of the Sload by a necromancer

“N’Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis! ahkstas so novajxletero (oix jhemile) so Ranetauw. Ricevas gxin pagintaj membrauw kaj aliaj individuauw, kiujn iamaniere tusxas so raneta aktivado. En gxi aperas informauw unuavice pri so lokauw so cxiumonataj kunvenauw, sed nature ankoix pri aliaj aktuasoj aktivecauw so societo. Ne malofte enahkstas krome plej diversaspekta materialo eduka oix distra.

So interreta Kvako (retletera kaj verjheauw) ahkstas unufsonke alternativaj kanasouw por distribui so enhavon so papera Kva! Kvak!. Sed alifsonke so enhavauw so diversaj verjheauw antoixvible ne povas kaj ecx ne vus cxiam ahksti centprocente so sama. En malvaste cirkusonta paperfolio ekzemple ebsos publikigi ilustrajxauwn, kiuj pro kopirajtaj kiasouw ne ahkstas uzebsoj en so interreto. Alifsonke so masoltaj kostauw reta distribuo forigas so spacajn limigauwn kaj permahksas pli ampleksan enhavon, por ne paroli pri gxishora aktualeco.

Tiuj cirkonstancauw rahkspeguligxos en so aspekto so Kvakoa, kiu ja cetere servos ankoix kiel gxeneraso retejo so ranetauw.”

There were only a few things that didn’t make sense to me, so I decided to change a few things I didn’t recall ever seeing in Esperanto.  I found multiple words that looked sort of like the Esperanto verb for “to be” but there were letters that were wrong.  The words “ahkstas” and “ahksti” led me to believe these were intended to be “esti” instead and I changed all of the instances of ahk to e. 

The next thing that looked familiar was “ankoix” – I’d never seen the oix used and determined that they might be using X-notionation here instead of doing the cirumflexes.  I decided that this word must be the Esperanto word for “also or as well” – ankaŭ or with X-notation it’d be ankaux.  So I replaced every instance of “oix” with “aux” and made a couple more words make sense.

I found at least three more things that needed replacing before I finally came up with real Esperanto:

N’Gasta! Kvata! Kvakis! estas la novajxletero (aux simile) la Ranetoj. Ricevas gxin pagintaj membroj kaj aliaj individuoj, kiujn iamaniere tusxas la raneta aktivado. En gxi aperas informoj unuavice pri la lokoj la cxiumonataj kunvenoj, sed nature ankaux pri aliaj aktuasoj aktivecoj la societo. Ne malofte enestas krome plej diversaspekta materialo eduka aux distra.

La interreta Kvako (retletera kaj versioj) estas unuflanke alternativaj kanaloj por distribui so enhavon la papera Kva! Kvak!. Sed aliflanke la enhavoj la diversaj versioj antauxvible ne povas kaj ecx ne vus cxiam esti centprocente la sama. En malvaste cirkulanta paperfolio ekzemple eblas publikigi ilustrajxojn, kiuj pro kopirajtaj kialoj ne estas uzeblaj en la interreto. Aliflanke la malaltaj kostoj reta distribuo forigas la spacajn limigojn kaj permesas pli ampleksan enhavon, por ne paroli pri gxishora aktualeco.

Tiuj cirkonstancoj respeguligxos en la aspekto la Kvakoa, kiu ja cetere servos ankaux kiel gxenerala retejo la ranetoj.

Here is a translation

The Croak is the newsletter (or something similar) of the small frogs. It is send to paying members and other individuals who, in some way, are involved in the small frogs activities. In it there firstly is information about the locations of the monthly meetings, but of course also concerning the latest activities of the club. Sometimes it also includes other educating or entertaining material.

The internet-based Croak (e-mail and web versions) are on the one hand another distribution channel for the contents of the paper version. But on the other hand, not surprisingly, the contents of the different versions can’t and even must not always be 100 percent the same. For instance, in little circulating paper versions you can publish illustrations that for copyright reasons can’t be used on the internet. Yet on the other hand the low costs oft the internet version lift the space limits and allow more content, not to mention being always to date.

These circumstances influence the web-based Croak, which will also serve as the general homepage of the small frogs.

Today’s E3 Roundup

It’s no secret that I’m a huge gamer. I’ve been to several gaming expos/cons as both a consumer and press, but E3 has always been the pinnacle of game industry news and sneak peeks at the latest games and new technologies coming to the homes of gamers across the world. Today, I wanted to curate the hot topics from the various press conferences that took place today. Obviously this isn’t inclusive of everything, but more of what caught my eye.

Microsoft Press Conference

At the Microsoft press conference, we got to see updates to the Xbox as well as some previews of games which will support the Kinect. In the clip below, check out the sneak peak that Joystiq gives us of the new UI for Xbox. They’ve done a lot to clean up the UI, but most importantly you will be able to see Bing supported search results, more streaming video and a very smooth interface for the XBLA marketplace.


Minecraft comes to Xbox

Mojang will be working towards finishing a complete, console-friendly version of Minecraft due this fall Holiday season, which should be around the time when the PC and Mac versions of the game finish beta mode.

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Starwars Kinect

The game features everything that you could possibly imagine from a Star Wars Kinect game, yes you can control a lightsaber and swing it around. And yes you can control the force with your hands.
You have the ultimate power of a Jedi in your hands as you ride Speeder bikes and interact with Imperial Walkers in the classic Cloud City. You can control your Jedi by dodging forward, moving side to side and slashing droids to piece with your lightsaber

Games for the Little ones

While not quite making the waves like the more mature games announced and displayed at E3 this year are, you can be sure you’ll be hearing about these new titles if you have young kids in your home. Developed with the 3-12 year old kid in mind, your gaming area is about to resemble a warzone of a different sort.

EA Press Conference & Mass Effect 3

Mass Effect 3, BioWare’s forthcoming action role-playing game will complete the final chapter in the Mass Effect trilogy. The game was originally delayed due to a packed holiday season, which will witness the release of some blockbuster games including the likes of Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception, Batman: Arkham City, Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and more.
Mass Effect 3 will take place after the events of the Mass Effect 2 downloadable content pack Arrival. The game’s protagonist Commander Shepard will embark on an adventure which sees him trying to save the galaxy from the Reapers.

Star Wars: The Old Republic

Awesome new game releases

In addition to all of the above news, there are some really awesome games that I’ve been super excited to hear about, games that I’ll certainly purchase as soon as they are released.

Assassin’s Creed: Revelations

For the E3 demo, we join Ezio as he prepares to leave the city and seek out his Templar nemesis. First he talks to the local Assassin’s guild chief Yusuf and discovers that the harbour has been blockaded with ships and barricaded with a large chain drawn from the old Tower of Gelata.


Rocksmith will include a unique quarter-inch to USB cable, that is the first of its kind, and will allow users to plug any real guitar with a quarter-inch jack directly into their Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, or PC.

Fable: The Journey

At Microsoft’s E3 2011 press conference Peter Molyneux revealed the next game in its action role-playing series. Fable: The Journey will utilize Kinect functionality for things like controlling horses while riding in a carriage, casting spells and swiping swords in melee combat.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Skyrim will offer a wide world open to exploration, richly detailed on both a micro and macro scale. With over 150 dungeons and at least 300 hours of potential gameplay

Bioshock Infinite

There’s something more frightening in the world than a Big Daddy. BioShock Infinite introduces Songbird, a massive flying metal bird who serves as guardian to Elizabeth, the woman you’ve vowed to escort off the flying city of Colombia.

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Set in the near-future, Overstrike follows a team of four elite agents obliterating enemy strongholds using fringe-tech gadgets and lethal teamwork. The members of Overstrike 9 are comprised of an ex-mercenary, Interpol’s most wanted thief, a gifted young scientist and a decorated detective. Collectively, they are the agency’s outcasts.

For More Updates

That’s all I have for now, but definitely keep your eyes peeled on the clip below for more E3 updates this week:

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Gaming on the Mac

Yes, it's possible. If you're a PC gamer, take a moment to read the previous sentence and take a deep breath.  It's okay, I know this is a hard concept to grasp and I know your next question is akin to, "Why don't you just use paralells/bootcamp/vmware/crossover to play Windows games?" Why are the answers, "I don't want to," or "I'd rather play a full port," not viable answers? Trying to run a virtual machine to run a game kind of sucks and it's a huge pain in the ass to reboot your computer into a Windows environment to play games. You also have to have a separate copy of Windows for bootcamp to work.  

My laptop is pretty central to everything I do and it's a big inconvieniance to have to essentially run a foreign machine.  That's what booting into Windows from bootcamp feels like to me. I used to play an MMO in from bootcamp and I found that I rarely actually played it.  The process of logging off your machine, booting into another OS and not being in your native setup is a pain. Sometimes I just want to play a level or two of portal while I'm waiting on my ride to pick me up from work.  Gaming from bootcamp becomes a chore and a ritual that you know isn't a simple process like, "click icon, game go" sort of thing.

Fortunately, gaming on the Mac has gotten a great deal better.  Now there is the Mac App Store and Steam to supply us Mac gamers with yummy gaming. The types of games that you're seeing on both the Mac App Store and the Steam Mac store are pretty good.  There are also other great places to buy Mac games online and download them immediately.  


I have a ton of games on my mac.  Seriously. Since I have discovered Steam and Bioware, I have had tons of games on the mac.  Here are just a few in my library:

Gaming on Mac-1

There are some small no name games in there and silly puzzle games, but there are some actual mainstream games in there. Star Craft II, Left 4 Dead 2 and I also have portal 2 running around some where.

Anyhow, gaming on the Mac is very possible and getting more popular as game dev companies are releasing ports to Mac.  Do you guys have any places you get Mac games?

PS: If you're having problems with a game on your Mac or are looking for mod information, never ever try to ask or look up info on non Mac gaming sites. It will only end in heartache and no answer. Stick with other Mac gamers to help you with your problems. Trust me.

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