Monday, February 26, 2007

A Requiem for SOCOM

Christmas, 2003. I received a copy of SOCOM 2 for the PS2. The commercials sold me, as I thought the game looked pretty cool. I played the single player game a few times, but wasn't thrilled with it. I also received the network adapter that year and had read good things about SOCOM 2 online, but I didn't know anyone else who played.

For the next seven months, the game sat in its case while I played Madden, GTA Vice City & NCAA Football. Then it happened.

I was contacted by a couple of buddies from my Foxwoods days, Aaron & Eric. In conversation, they asked if I played SOCOM. I told them I had the game, but didn't play it. They told me they were in a clan with other old pals from Foxwoods & invited me to join them.

From the very first night I played, I was hooked. It became an obsession. I was playing a virtual game of hide & seek with friends, twice a week, sometimes more. Thursdays & Sundays were SOCOM Nights. Nothing else. Even Red Sox fans gave up on the Sox during the ALCS in 2004 to play SOCOM. (I'm pretty sure some managed to watch a World Series game or two.)

The Geeks with Gunz clan was a machine. We played constantly and always seemed to have at least six, usually eight, players on a given night. New recruits were added. We tried to have a tournament. We bombarded each others emails with roll call for the coming night & recaps of the previous night's skirmishes. We even spent $100 on the useless hard drive that allowed us to play three new maps. Anything to expand the SOCOM universe.

Eventually, some players left us, including Aaron. He moved onto World of Warcraft, where he still lives today. The core of the group held strong under Zman's leadership, keeping up with the sequel, SOCOM 3, which arrived in the fall of 2005. However, the end was near.

In the spring of 2006, Sony promised new maps. They arrived in July. Then, SOCOM 3.1 was announced, titled Combined Assault. As the number of regulars dwindled to around four or five per night, the writing was on the wall. Combined Assault wasn't good enough to justify paying the money for and many GwG members were gaming on next-gen systems. There were a few stragglers, but with Zman finally purchasing an Xbox 360 this past Friday, the final nail was pounded into the SOCOM coffin.

Since Dean (PudClot) is the only idiot former member to buy a PS3, Geeks with Gunz is starting anew, this time on the Xbox 360. There are currently five former members actively involved with Rainbow Six: Vegas, a game that’s just as much fun as SOCOM was in it’s heyday, only better.

The beauty and joy of next-gen and HD gaming can’t take away from the hours of enjoyment that SOCOM delivered the past few years. Friendships were made as were the memories. Here are some words & images to ponder as we say goodbye…

A little bit of everything:

A little Crossroads:

A little Frostfire:

A history of Desert Glory:

A little SOCOM 3:

Final Roll Call:


Sunday, February 18, 2007

NBA All Star Weekend

Trust me, I won't be wasting my time watching any of the NBA All Star Game tonight. I don't need to subject myself to a few hours of no-defense running & gunning. I may flip over to catch a glimpse of the Huskies in the game (Caron Butler, Rip Hamilton & Ray Allen), but that's about it.

All Star Saturday Night used to have relevance with me. It's ironic that the greatest moments of the event were back in the mid-80's when we only saw highlights at halftime of the All Star Game. Once the NBA decided to air the entire event, it seemed to lose steam. I would've loved to have watched Jordan rob Dominique & Bird dominate the 3 Point Shootout.

As bad as the dunk contest is now, I'm still fascinated by it. Last night's highlight (for me) wasn't Gerald Green imitating Dee Brown (it was cool). It was Dwight Howard slapping a sticker of himself way up high on the backboard. In case you missed it:

Speaking of Caron Butler, here's a great article on his story. Go Caron!
"The Man Who Came Out From the Hole"

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fool Me Once, Shame on Me. Fool Me 277 Times...

I've had it. No more. Never again.

Too many times have I been hoodwinked by these morons who get paid to guess the weather. That's right, guess. Not "predict". Not "forecast". More like "take a wild guess at what's going to happen."

Sure, they'll try & tell you that they have fancy shmancy degrees, consult with dozens of computers, study charts and other data, then formulate a "forecast" as to what's going to happen. But lets be honest. They have no freaking clue.

They can nail the easy stuff. Any idiot can look at a satellite picture to see how the jet stream is working and figure out what's headed our way in terms of temperature and some precipitation. Any moron can look at pressure gradients and figure out how windy it's going to be. That stuff my cats can do.

I want someone to be able to say for certain that "XYZ state will receive XXX inches of snow during the following time-frame." We all know that's never going to happen.

I don't want to hear, "Well, warm air aloft worked it's way into the storm much earlier than anticipated, creating the sleet." Blah, blah, blah. You get paid to figure that stuff out in advance, not to tell us after the fact.

I've been a weather nut my whole life. I love all sorts of weather, especially extreme weather. Give me a thunderstorm, a hurricane, a nor'easter, a heat wave, a cold snap, a drought, anything Mother Nature can throw. I love it all. But today starts a change.

From here on out, I vow to never watch a local news "forecast" again. That's right, no more Brad Field, Garett Argianis, Bob Maxon, John Carroll & Bruce DePrest. Yes, that includes Scot Haney, my buddy. (NOTE, Geoff Fox has been on my you-know-what-list since 7th grade, so he's already had a lifetime ban, but that's a story for another day.) Dr. Mel too, although I wish him health & happiness.

I'll carry this to all weather "forecasts" as well, although I suppose I'd make an exception for Stephanie Abrams & Alexandra Steele, but that's about it.

Too many times I get teased & excited about an upcoming weather event that fails to live up to expectations and hype created by these talking suits. It's not going to happen again.

Anything I need to know about the weather I can find out as soon as I step outside or look out a window. "Wow, it's cold today." "Hmm, looks like rain." What more do I need??

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ballad Salad

Yes, I ripped off the name from the program on XM 41 Da Boneyard, but I thought it was appropriate. (Update: sadly, this channel as I loved it died during the merger. Sigh...)

If you know me, you'll know that my favorite genre of music is classic hair metal. What better way to honor Valentine's Day (a made-up holiday that I'm not fond of) by listing my Top 20 Hair Metal Ballads of all-time.

Granted, these aren't the greatest "love" songs, nor do they even have to be about love. They are generally slow & I purposely left off "power ballads", when possible.

I also tried to shy away from the more popular songs, although some may have slipped in. Again, these are simply my favorites, not what critics or other fans think are the best.

Please forgive me if I've omitted any obvious ones. This idea came to me driving home tonight, so I simply whipped through my iPod to find the songs.

**Special treat!! I was going to copy & paste selected lyrics for each song, but due to time constraints, that may have to come later.

In the meantime, I've found a way for you to listen to them! Click here for the playlist over at (NOTE, this playlist includes some honorable mention songs as well.)

Just Take My Heart, To Be With You, Carrie, Don't Know What You've Got 'Til It's Gone, Damn Good, Alone Again, Slippin' Away, Cryin' (Vixen, not Aerosmith. Yuck!) Love of A Lifetime, When the Children Cry, If You Needed Somebody, Angel Song, It Ain't Easy, November Rain, Estranged, Deep Cuts the Knife, Tear Down the Walls, Love Bites, All I Want is Everything, Home Sweet Home, Every Rose Has It's Thorn, Silent Lucidity, I Remember You, Fly To The Angels, Love Song, Heaven, Now You're Gone, Miles Away

"I'll Never Let You Go", Steelheart

"Wind of Change", Scorpions

"Nothing Else Matters", Metallica

"Call to the Heart", Giuffria

"Bed of Roses", Bon Jovi

"Will the Sun Rise?", Dokken

"Givin' Yourself Away", Ratt

"In a Darkened Room", Skid Row

"Broken Hearts", Living Colour

"Heartbreak Station", Cinderella

"More Than Words", Extreme

"The Ballad of Jayne", LA Guns

"What You Give", Tesla

"Walk Away", Dokken

"Is This Love", Whitesnake

"High Enough", Damn Yankees

"I Saw Red", Warrant

"Headed for a Heartbreak", Winger

"Promise Her the Moon", Mr. Big

"Hysteria", Def Leppard

Monday, February 12, 2007

Fingers Crossed

I'm trying to temper my enthusiasm, but it sounds like we could be receiving our first real snowstorm of the year Wednesday. I'm sure it will fizzle out or turn to rain, but I'm still hoping.
As tough as it is to struggle through a difficult season for UConn, the sting is lessened by watching Duke lose too. :)
Not much else to say, I just wanted to throw something up here so my three readers don't think I've forgotten about the blog. I have my follow-up doctor's appointment tomorrow, my first test tomorrow night and that's about it. I was quite happy to see Payton today. One day is too long not to get a hug from her, let alone five.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Success, Hopefully

I survived my fourth knee surgery. This one is a lot different than my last one. I haven't even had to use any crutches. I used one last night for balance, but today I was just hobbling around. I'm able to bend my knee almost 90 degrees, but it's hard to keep working at it with the big bandage on.

When I walk, there is a horrifying clicking. I really hope that goes away because it makes me sick to my stomach.

I'm always amazed at the power of the anesthesia. I go from being wide awake, talking to the nurses, to opening my eyes, all groggy, feeling great. Pretty amazing.

I'm sure I'll be back to work on Monday, so I need to milk these next few days.
Here are some nice pictures of the Munnatawket & one of Fishers Island Sound, both looking north from Fishers. Thanks for sending them on Patty! Keep 'em coming!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

T Minus 4 Hours

Just a few more hours to go before my surgery. I'm looking forward to getting this over & done with. It will be nice to not have to worry about the cartilage tearing all the time. Plus, the few days off will be nice. Nothing like sitting around napping, watching TV & playing some 360 to help you recover. I will miss my Payton though. :(
Speaking of Miss P, this is what she wrote in her journal (yes, she has a journal) Monday night, with no prompting:
In football you can not pul down there fas mask and it is a foul.

Is my little girl going to be a football announcer?? I've heard John Madden say things much more obvious than that!
Speaking of my Xbox 360, there's a new way to keep track of my gaming. There was always my 360's blog (which is linked on the right), but that only gave a daily recap. (It does have some interesting statistics, but is limited.) My 360 LiveEye breaks down my gaming hour by hour, game by game. Pretty scary, but pretty cool too, at least to me.
My first quiz in English Lit? An "A". Sweeet.
Before I leave for surgery, here's a passage from one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, The Jimmy, (Top 20 coming soon!) that always pops in my head when I hear "surgery":

KRAMER: "So, you're heading home?"

JERRY: "No...Got dental appointment."

KRAMER: "Ah! what.. Tim Whatley?

JERRY: "Yeah!"

KRAMER: "Oh yeah.! I got a check up on Thursday."

JERRY: "Oh! How d'you like that?"

KRAMER: "You know.. You really shouldn't brush 24 hours before seeing the dentist."

JERRY: "I think that's eat 24 hours before surgery."

KRAMER: "Oh no, you got to eat before surgery, you need your strength."

(I haven't had anything to eat or drink since 8:30 PM last night.)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Lazy Sunday


Monty, enjoying the sunbeam.
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Friday, February 02, 2007

Tough One

Last night’s loss was a tough one to swallow. We played the team we lost to in our first game of the year, the same game I broke my arm. That game wasn’t close, last night was.

We fell down 17-2 right off the bat. However, we battled back to tie it at 19, then took a 38-31 halftime lead. We eventually lost by 20, falling victim to their man-to-man defense & fatigue.

Personally, I was disappointed because of my limited mobility. The knee tweaked a little in the second half & I couldn’t move enough on offense to get an open look or even help others get free. I scored 15 points in the first half and only attempted one shot in the second, which I missed. Ugh.

I’m hoping that this won’t be an issue after Wednesday’s procedure. I have no idea how long the recovery time is, but I’m hoping to not miss too many games. It would be nice if we could work our way into the playoffs. (The top 4 teams advance.)
In other news, I continue to lead the weigh-in contest, losing another 3.5 pounds this week. I’m now down 17 since the start of the contest and am only 5.5 pounds away from my goal. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to officially weigh-in next Friday, as I’ll be home recovering & playing some Xbox 360.
After the fantastic reception I received regarding my Top 20 Atari 2600 Games, I plan on making a Top 20 list a regular feature here. I’ve already begun researching my next list and it shall be posted soon.