Friday, September 28, 2012

Friday's ElectricLunch Hour - Criminal Edition

Haven't heard it in ages so I felt like it, and found this pretty nifty video someone made for it :)


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Crunch time

One thing is absolutely certain, my vacation is over. In the three days since my return to business-as-usual I've gotten up earlier than ever because I had to help out my ex with our boys who crashed at my place on Monday night after their karate session, taken my drumkit apart in preparation of an eventual band project (I has one), gotten on top of my work (one good thing of taking three weeks vacation, people have no choice to cover for you and when you come back it's not so bad; I've had worse returns after only one week), and practiced drums with the drumline. And this is far from over because we are now just over three weeks before The Big Show.

We've now gone from one rehearsal every two weeks to every week, with two weekend events planned on top of it. The last and obvious one is the general rehearsal for the show with all the participants basically to setup the stage positions and a quick run-through, but the most important one will be happening this weekend is what we lovingly call the Death Camp. Two days of nothing but cleaning and refining the six tunes the drumline will be playing on, including a totally kick-ass drum feature. It was supposed to be written simple to be learned quickly, but Michel Pilon, who's been a drumline head instructor at the highest level of the sport, and knowing he was dealing with a bunch of DCI vets (me excluded), couldn't help but throw a few curve balls. He also helped Wishmaster's drummer to build his drum solo so it fits seamlessly in what will become a true drumgasm!

With all the drumming, studying and rehearsing I have to do, all games are going on the back burner. Of course, when one has been a gamer for as long as I have, "One does not simply stop gaming" as the meme goes. I will still log onto EVE for skill flipping and maybe some quick romps through space. I will probably shoot stuff and/or explore places in various other games I play because you can only look at little black dots while listening to a click track for a certain amount of time. The Wishmaster OES 2012 event will be happening on October 20th, and I will be taking a few days off work right after so I can cool down and game like I haven't gamed in a long time.

Let's make this show awesome :)


Friday, September 21, 2012

Friday's Electric Lunch Hour - Spacey Edition

Last Tuesday I got to see Mr Vai in action, and let me tell you, I'm still slightly radioactive from his powerful electric guitar antics! He even joked about this himself as he told a young girl who got on stage for the audience participation bit of his show by telling her "you might want to step away from my amps if you want to have children someday XD". All in all it was an awesome performance, with a lot of humor in it - It shows that Steve went to the Frank Zappa School of Hard Knocks!

Apart from that I'm slowly coming to terms with the sad fact that my vacation is almost over, and Monday will be the return to harsh reality. I am also less than one month away from the big Wishmaster event and this week we even got the thumbs up from Nightwish! You see they were also in town this week and the Wishmaster band members and a few members of the drumline were attending, and some of 'em were crazy/hardcore enough to wait just outside the tour bus to meet Tuomas Holopainen and Marco Hietala. Yes Montreal is great like that :)

So for the next few weeks I have to concentrate on a lot of drumming as we'll get into the clean-up part of our rehearsals and next weekend is our Death Camp, a drum corps style camp of musical immersion. Should be epic. And of course I'm already thinking about the break I'll take right after the show: I will be taking at least the Monday and Tuesday off (maybe even the entire week, because I can) and will do an EVE Orgy. We will decide what we'll do with Chez Stan and where. I cannot wait :)

Fly loud!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Black Mesa

This is totally safe... no worries, I got this!

In 1998 a small game called Half-Life by a small company called Valve took the gaming world by its balls and made it cry "uncle". A nerdy goatee'd scientist called Gordon Freeman became a legend overnight as he clawed his way through the massive Black Mesa Research Facility after an incident called a "resonance cascade" linked our world to a world called Xen and started spawning hordes of bad critters. As if that wasn't enough, when the "help" arrived bullets started flying everywhere and everything was a gigantic mess. And a G-man by the name of Tarquin Smith - who we now know to be a Jovian agent - took control of Gordon's life just when he thought the ordeal was over.

Fast forward to 2004. Tarquin woke up Gordon and sent him to some eastern bloc hell-town now overrun by some extra-terrestrial faction called the Combine for another bullet storm and awesome adventure. To say that the Half-Life games are good is an understatement on the cosmic scale. They brought gaming to what it is today, that is to say as big, if not bigger than the movie industry.

Fast forward to 5 days ago. A small team called Black Mesa Modification Project released the result of a massive task. Black Mesa is basically the original Half-Life game but as opposed to Valve's own Half-Life Source, it uses all of the Source engine's bells and whistles to give the classic game a very modern look. And the result is as brilliant as the original. The beginning will still make you shit bricks and you WILL pray to whatever you believe is holy to find your crowbar and your first Glock.

Do yourselves a favor and download Black Mesa. You will not be disappointed!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Aftermath of a crazy sad week

Cyno candle in NOL-M9

The dust has now pretty much settled after the roller-coaster that was last week. It started off with a feeling of victory over the return of the Vagabond's frills and the next day it seemed like the world came crashing down. If you've been living under a massive rock, just read this. What followed was the biggest avalanche of sympathy I've seen since John Lennon or Princess Diana. It's been really touching to read everyone sharing condolences, to watch the solemn Goonswarm ceremony, and for my part to participate in EVE Radio's successful attempt at an unarmed "peace mission" roam to NOL-M9 in Delve, once the pinnacle of the Goonswarm vs Band of Brothers conflict, to pay our respects by anchoring cans to the memory of Vile Rat and to light a couple of cynosural candles. We did lose a ship on the return trip but the mission had already been accomplished.

After the massive media circus the question does pose itself: so, what now? Well, Mittens put it correctly: one foot in front of the other, EVE is slowly starting to move forward again. In my case it means I am starting to think about the in-game stuff I'll be doing once the big drumline project is over, just over a month from now. My corpmate/CEO/IRL buddy and I are looking at a few options that will get us some much needed The PvP action. At the same time neither of us want to be too involved in Null-sec politics and/or cap and supercap warfare. We are also looking into opening up recruitment for our corp but we both need to be more active before we start a recruiting campaign, and we also want a few more directors to make themselves interested (unless you know us in real life and come to the Montreal EVE Meets, don't even think about it) but the love for EVE is definitely starting to come back it seems.

The Vile Rat supernova may have slowed down our plans ever so slightly (they were already slow to begin with) but the plans are still forming and it looks like not much can stop 'em. Will you be with us? Will you be destroyed by us? Will we make you cry? All those questions will find an answer somewhere around Halloween. In the meantime I just have to make ready for... something!

Fly with a plan, hopefully a nefarious one >:)


Friday, September 14, 2012

Vile Rat Cyno Vigil Tribute

No other community, gaming or otherwise, can make a vigil of this kind. Even though I've had my ups and downs I am proud to call myself a member of this community, and I'm always saddened when a member of this community is lost. Lost, but never forgotten. I never got to know Vile Rat in-game or out but I know all he did for Goonswarm, the Clusterfuck Coalition, and for EVE Online as a whole. And he gave his life doing the exact same thing in the real world.

On behalf of the Montreal EVE pilots crew, of which he was a part of for a short time, I send my deepest condolences to Sean's family and friends, to his co-workers, and to everyone at Goonswarm Federation and the CFC.

May the cyno guide you home to the stars.


Friday's Electric Lunch Hour - No Words Necessary Edition

In memoriam to a fallen player - Sean Smith aka Vile Rat (from 2nd Anomaly From The Left)


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Our cries have been heard!

A lot of Vagabond pilots have been yelling at CCP for the removal of the heavy cruiser's frills that made the Vaga look not only menacing, but completely different than just a Stabber with a new paint job. Blogger Rixx Javix of Eveoganda was most vocal about this, and I supported the cause even though I was unsubbed at the time. Well, it seems that now CCP has someone in charge of listening to what we say and not just watching what we do. A new dev blog by CCP Ytterbium has just dropped this bomb:

Now with MOAR FRILLZ !!!
And it even has new wingy bits to show once again that the Minmatar like things that are Fucking Vertical™! All in all I really like the new Stabber model as well, especially since I use (lose?) 'em a lot.

Thank you CCP for this much needed rectification on one of your worst design mistakes. All hail the return of the Vagabond, the ship designed just for me :)

Fly fast!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Saturday morning "yes I'm late" video - Nuclear Edition

I've always had a fascination with big-ass explosions. I blame it on growing up in the middle of the Cold War. Here is a fine compilation set to Fear Factory's "Resurrection". Awesome as a wake-up tune :)



Thursday, September 6, 2012

AAR: The trip that almost was

Hello all. Didn't think I would be posting the report from my trip this soon but yeah, I had no choice but to turn back after one day and one unbelievably wet night. I was in very high spirits when I left my house; my bike even this heavily loaded was well balanced and very easy to ride, and my padded short meant I could ride almost forever. Here's the timeline of events that lead me to say "fuck this, I am defeated":

On Tuesday morning around 8AM I did the final packing and check-up of the bike, informed my landlord that I'd be away for a while and if he could pick up my mail, and finally headed out. I had printed out a path from Google Maps because I was riding to unfamiliar places, but I will readily admit that the more I looked at the path Google gave me, the more I was questioning it. And I turned out to be right; at one point in Laval the map was telling me to ride 2 km west on Samson blv., then cross a street and ride 1 km east, overpassing a highway twice. That's when I said screw this it's map only from now on.

For a first day of riding the weather was simply perfect. No heat, not too much sun, very light winds, and as I approached the west end of Laval very little traffic. After I left Laval I saw a bit more traffic, but not for long because the long bike path called the Green Route was starting, crossing the towns of Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac and Pointe-Calumet. Crossing the towns the path was relatively flat, but as I entered Oka National Park things got "interesting". In the woods the path was a lot more bumpy with the forest doing its best to destroy the pavement, but I was noticing that the path was taking me towards my first real hill challenge.

The road is called Chemin des Collines, which translates to "road of the hills". Believe me, it's aptly named. One hill in particular I had to walk my bike up. At least the reward of those hills was fun downhill rides, and a short time after crossing the park I was in the little town of Oka and stopped for a well deserved break. And a good thing too because just west of Oka is a hill called "The Pinehead", which is the doorway to the native reservation of Kahnesatake. This place is infamous for the 1990 roadblock that lasted the entire summer. Crossing the reservation was interesting; I mean, how many cigarette shacks does a piece of land really need?! Anyway, I kept going until I saw camping grounds somewhere past St-Placide. At this point I was about 90 km into the ride so I told myself that this was a good place to stop for the night. But Mother nature decided otherwise.

About an hour after I had setup my tent at around 5PM the rain started. And it didn't stop until 3AM. All this time in between naps I was pushing away puddles that were threatening to crush me, and at the same time I was listening in on the drama happening around the elections were a looney gunman and shot two people, killing one, in an attempt to get at newly-elected prime minister Pauline Maurois. But back in my tiny universe, the tent was getting so wet that I had to make sure nothing of importance touched the sides. I pretty much didn't sleep all night, except maybe a few hours just before dawn after the rain had stopped. At the break of dawn I immediately did a check of everything. Thank fully nothing got too wet, except the tent which was now soaked through (still is, haven't had the time to find a place to hang it to dry) and there was now no way I could use it again because it would remain wet. But that wasn't the worst part.

I thought I had gotten a good deal on my panniers and I found out just how wrong I was. I can just say I was lucky to get as far as I got because the hooks on one of the panniers had completely been ripped out, probably because of the weight pulling at the bag on the various bumps along the way. I had no choice but to rearrange my inventory to make sure nothing heavy was in the bag and attached it with velcro straps and prayers. So after the crazy night, the rain, the wet tent, and now a broken bag, I took the tough decision and admitted defeat. The ride back home was pretty much uneventful; I had to check the velcro strap on the broken bag quite often but nothing happened, and at around 3PM yesterday afternoon I was back home.

I'm still happy about the 180 km ride and my first overnight, even though it was in the worst conditions one could possibly imagine. Yes I had heard about the possibility of rain but until Tuesday afternoon the weather was really nice. I heard about the bad stuff about to hit Montreal just as I was setting up the tent, and this bad stuff was going to hit me before it hit Montreal.

I also learned a few important things if I'm to do another big trip:

- Do not skimp on your equipment. Ask more questions when you buy it. Check how far you have to go. What kind of terrain you'll be riding. Above all make sure your equipment is tough as nails!

- Along the same lines, do not skimp on the quality of your camping mattress. I paid a huge 27$ for mine. OK, trying to sleep on the worst night ever was hard, but I was telling myself I should have gotten a fancier model. Go see "wallet tanking" further down.

- Be a good Minmatar... CARRY DUCT TAPE !!! I'm still kicking myself for not having thought of this.

- Waterproof your tent. I don't care how good your tent is, do this. Mine is apparently very good, won awards and stuff, but remember this: Mother Nature ALWAYS win. I'm not gonna bash the Topeak Bikamper because its design is very good, and it's super easy to set up. but heavy rains kill it.

- Wallet tanking. I knew I was going to rough it for the first couple days because i was coming out of a weekend with my boys which in english means I was almost broke. But when so much shit happens on Day One and you're low on cash a trip can back-fire. Mine did.

- Buy the best gloves and/or grips you can. I have skimped on those this summer and it was a mistake. I'm getting new gloves today because mine are dead. They may be OK to go to work or for a short ride, but after 100 km I just want to burn 'em. It didn't keep me from riding but for long rides comfort is everything. Remember, you do this for fun, no to suffer!

And that's pretty much it. Not the trip I thought it was going to be but a lot of experience came out of it. Now, I still have 2 and a half weeks to go on my vacation. I do intend to keep a promise to a friend, to go meet up with him at his cabin in Val-David. I just hope Mother nature doesn't become a royal bitch on the day I decide to head out. At least I know I won't have to rough it in a tent !!!

Ride hard and far


Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Welcome to the 39th Blog Banter - the community discussion that stretches across the many communities of EVE Online through the use of arcane bloggery. The conversation is open to all and readers are encouraged to visit all of the entries that will be listed below as the discussion progresses. Be sure to leave your thoughts there when you do.

For enquiring minds who would like to know more about the Blog Banters, check out this short explanation or read this overview of the subjects covered in the last year.

After a some heavy topics in the last few editions, this time we'll be taking a more relaxed trip through the thoughts of the blogosphere. The origins of this month's concept come from a suggestion from EON Magazine editor Richie "Zapatero" Shoemaker.

"Some say a man's home is his castle. For others it is wherever they lay their hat. The concept is just as nebulous in the New Eden sandbox. 

In EVE Online, what does the concept of "home" mean to you?"

Alright let's have a go at this while 1- I'm still in home in Montreal at my 'puter, and 2- this banter is still alive!

Let's see. Over the 4+ years I've been in New Eden I have called a few places home for various amounts of time, from the safest space in the middle of Empire - well, as safe as New Eden can get... it's never totally safe you know - to deep wormhole space. Hey even if it was just for a single op, the logistics required meant I spent over a week in there! Let's go over a short list of the places I've called (still call in some cases) home and I'll finish by what to me is the best dark jewel of the star cluster.

Eram (Metropolis): Minutes after graduating from Republic Military School, I was sent to this system by one Letrange as he had his own home in that neck of the woods at the time. Yes this is where I started the nasty climb up the dreaded Learning Cliff; I was so green that I couldn't even see the overhang! But Letrange and I both knew that I wouldn't be staying there long because after an interview and just slighly more knowledge (very slightly) I was off to...

Berta (Derelik): I've mentioned before that at a mere 3-weeks old I joined the Clown Punchers Syndicate but the springboard to Curse was here. At first I couldn't be with the BOZOs full time because frankly I was so green I couldn't be of much use for 'em. But my thirst for the PvP was so great that I stuck around and flew many a Rifter and Stabber to its untimely demise, but slowly but surely I was getting better, faster and able to understand just what the fuck was going on. I kept asking tons of questions to the dismay of some of the more experienced players but at least I made it up by participating and even performing adequately, until I made the move from Clown College to BOZO proper. By this time I was living in...

Jorund (Curse): This was my first Null-sec home; hey, don't bash Curse because it's NPC space... as a true BOZO at heart I couldn't care less about any Sov bullshit, or moon-goo mining or any other crap you can think of that would make Sov space better. To me it's not. Period. We lived in Curse for one reason only: to kill stuff. And with the traffic we had it was like shooting fish in a barrel. but I'll go deeper on the subject of Curse later. Let's fast forward a bit to a time when planet Seyllin I blew up, and wormholes started to appear left right and center. Needing a break from all-out BOZO killing frenzies and knowing my buddy Letrange would need some combat pilots to train some former high-sec industrialists to the rigors of Null-sec space, I packed my stuff and headed towards the center of the cluster to...

Azer (Everyshore): Its central location made it the perfect place to start exploring this new frontier called W-space. I still have a lot of stuff going on in this area because the location is great! Close to the market hub of Dodixie, right next to a few low-sec pipes to keep us blood-thirsty PvPers happy (ok, we had to keep it "anti-pirate" at the time... me remembers getting flak for killing a TCF cyno XD), and decent proximity to Null-sec space through Syndicate, where incidently the BOZOs had just moved, in the system of...

Poitot (Syndicate): After a few months things got kinda slow for me at AMC and I got restless to the point of going back to BOZO, which had gotten a lot more serious during my absence. But as I got there I was told not to bring too much stuff because a move was being planned. We were heading back to...

Curse! Ah yes, that crazy place was calling again, and this time it was in the system of Hemin. Still a lot of traffic, still a lot of kills. And of course someone who flies as crazy as I do also happens to fail a lot. Where I take failing in stride and just move on, sometimes the brass higher up doesn't take kindly to say, ninja-ratting with a red in system (fully knowing what can/will happen and not giving a shit) or missing what should've been an easy tackle on say a Ferox. At some point the seriousness wasn't fun anymore and knowing that I probably would fail again (and not care) I kicked myself out of BOZO before it was done to me. I just had to go solo a bit and that's when Dock 94, my own tiny corp, was born. And where did I decide to park D94's HQ?

Rens (Heimatar): Believe it or not, at this point the Brutor Tribe Bureau was literally giving away office space! Rens, kinda like Azer, is not badly placed on the star map; no wonder a market hub formed there. During this time I was able to get more ISK from missioning as I now had the skills to do Level 4's, plus once in a while I was giving help to my buddies over at AMC to say, kill a tower or something. But after a while I did miss gang action and a buddy of mine got in touch with some other buddies about to start a little party henceforth known as The Provi War. We set up shop in...

Kheram (Domain): Preparing for the war was more fun than the actual war because, let's face it, the alliance my buddy and I parked our corps in was full of fail. But the whole time leading up to the invasion of CVA space, that was a blast! Low-sec fuckery, killing RP'ers I was already shoot-on-sight with because of my BOZO past, making fun of said RP'ers who I must admit taking themselves waaaay too seriously, etc. But after the invasion the alliance got spread too thin and, yeah... EJECT! The funny thing is I went back to AMC which is essentially an industrial alliance and immidiately found more The PvP! And we found a nice little place to call home Letrange had named...

Chaos Central (Jxxxxxx, W-space): Tons of fun and ISKies were had in here. I can also say were lost in here! I remember a certain multiboxing troll who tought he would make us cry with Hall & Oates lyrics but got disappointed when we just shrugged off our losses. Ahhh, good times! but it came to an end when Letrange took a break from EVE. CC as we came to call it was just one of many AMC colonies in W-space. The one still operating today (not even giving away its callsign :p) is a veritable stronghold. On hit of the scan button will cause anyone to run away screaming like a little girl. One system I can talk a bit more about was called BBW; at around 200au across, yeah she was fat! This is the system where many attempts where made to either kill an AMC tower or to plant a rogue tower, which we utterly destroyed sometimes in hilarious fashion. And there was another one... oh fuck it was deep. A Class 5 pulsar which caused my weird-fit sniper Tempest to have about 275k EHP, with a full gank setup?! Yeah. We kicked out some sleepy russians to get it and it was one hell of a job.

But THE place I would go back to tomorrow if I had the chance. The place that to me had it all, and then some, and when you thought she couldn't give you more she just went ahead and did...

5E-VR8 (Paradise constellation, Curse): By far, THE BEST PLACE I have ever called home in the entire New Eden cluster. I have lived four times in the constellation, once for a short time before the Provi War started in J7A-UR (entry through Catch with AAA as blues had its perks), and once in D87E-A with Ushra'Khan, who at some point did have some links with BOZO. But the two times the Clown Punchers lived there, at the station we came to call BOZOMart, man those were the days! I could fill page upon page of all the funny stuff that happened in here. This is also where I learned the ropes of FC'ing. This is where I killed a Domination rat worth about 120 million ISK just in time to go help my BOZO brothers kill a ratting Nidhoggur (!) three jumps away in JWJ-P1. This is where Tackle-Falcon maestro Loofaro once called for help because he had just caught a Nighthawk next door in K-B2D3 only to belay the order because the Nighthawk was fit with nothing but fail! Ah yes, Paradise. This constellation could not be more aptly named!

Link to the main banter page for all the other banter stories (yes, I'm a lazy schmuck, I'm tired, and tomorrow I'm going on a 550km bike ride!) 

Edit: man Blogger fails at the copy/paste thing...

Edit #2: fuck it, I give up. Sorry if the top part is all wonky.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Align Ottawa !!!


This is it. The moment I was waiting for has finally arrived. Tomorrow morning after dropping off my boys at my ex's place I get on my bike and head WSW towards the Canadian capital. Nothing to think about but me, my bike and the road/path. I will clear my head like I have never done before. Well, the weather forecast for the coming days is on the iffy side but at this point I simply don't care. Just get me out of fucking Montreal already! Needless to say my blogging activities will come to a complete stop until I get back, and you can expect a decently sized pictorial post as I will be photo-documenting the trip as much as I can (read as much as my phone's charge will allow).

Of course who says "I'm going away for a while" also has to say "Oh shit I gotta set a long skill to train!", and I've got the prefect skill in mind: Cloaking V. One of the ships I'm planning on buying is the ChaosStorm-approved Ganky-Cloaky-Proby-Unbubblable Loki. I already have 3 out of 5 subsystems, and a good collection of mods so when the time comes I'll fit this monstrosity. I'll practice doing some cloaky flying with my "cheaper" Rapier first, but then again more when I actually have time to fly, which means after October 20th.

There you have it, my last post before I go on the bike tour. You have no idea how excited I am right now!

Fly hardcore