Archive for October, 2014

Now Reading: Prince Lestat!

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Books on October 31, 2014 by slateman

lestatAfter voraciously tearing through the first three Vampire Chronicles books, I was very disappointed with numbers four and five. The next half-decade would provide me with plenty to digest as the New Vampires novels focused on the historical side of the preternatural world, my favorite! I stopped after Merrick and Blood And Gold and thoroughly enjoyed both. That was over 10 years ago.

When Rice merged the world of vampires and witches I lost some interest (though, again, Merrick was phenomenal!) and I never read the Blackwood Farm titles. However, now, after abandoning this world, another tale of our brat-prince appears and I couldn’t be more enthusiastic. Only 40 pages in and I’m bathing in the glory of Rice’s words. She paints such vivid pictures of landscapes, sights & smells, the human/inhuman condition. It’s evident a decade has passed though. The layout has changed to meet George RR Martin’s style. The need for a glossary (Blood Argot, as she calls it) appeases the newcomers who may have grown up on the nu-vampire trends. The topics of science and technology contrast her histories spanning the millennia. However, Rice is as colorful here as ever and the story so far has gripped me. Plenty of familiar names and ‘oh! I recall that!’ type moments. Truly psyched to have this (and another evidently in the pipeline! Now…to get back to it!!!

New Bone Fire MP3: MMXIV-VI

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on October 28, 2014 by slateman

Why not more? A clean guitar this time. This is a short one…nothing special but worthy of a listen, perhaps!!!

Bone Fire: MMXIV-VI

Einherjer – Av Oss, For Oss = Album Of The Year?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Music on October 26, 2014 by slateman

av-oss-for-ossOh the dilemmas of the modern world. I’m sitting here thinking Judas Priest has put out a phenomenal album, perhaps worthy of the coveted AotY title. But then, let’s not forget Exodus has never actually released a bad album (thus making them the best metal band ever, when I think of it that way.) I loved this band, then they broke up, damnit…but then they got back together and have ‘won’ my AotY in 2004 AND 2010! Wait!!! At The Gates – back from the dead, the first new album since 1995’s masterpiece Slaughter Of The Soul. I remember that album coming out and then them breaking up. The production is insanely good and the album is spectacular. Is it good enough for AotY?!?!

So, Einherjer. I loved this band from compilations and word of mouth in the mid-90s. I bought Odin Owns Ye All and…well…I pretty much hate it. Then, some good stuff and after Blot, they TOO broke up. WTF? But, they TOO came back from the dead and while I liked Norrøn, I didn’t love it. The first single from the new album…OK. The whole album is now available for streaming. Let’s check it out. OMFG! I expected 70s rock + viking death sorta. I don’t know if that’s what I got but I friggin’ LOVE it! It’s catchy, melodic, folk-inspired, groovy…I don’t know what to say. I’d read some iffy reviews of Norrøn and think it got a bad rap. Av Oss, For Oss translates to By Us, For Us. Hell, if this is what they want to put out, I’ll buy their shit for life! The more I listen, the more I think it may usurp the kings…Judas Priest, Exodus, At The Gates. It already passed The Haunted, Insomnium and Vintersorg. Damn, I love this record.

ShengShou Mastermorphix Get! Solve!

Posted in Blog, Cubing on October 26, 2014 by slateman

mastermorphixWow, this 3×3 mod messed with my head. Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Just another 3×3 mod! Dunno, it was one of those that I couldn’t wrap my head around. For future reference, Crazybadcuber’s tutorial will help. Oddly enough, just getting the cross correctly was my biggest challenge with this puzzle. I’m back at it though, hoping to have an easier go the second time around. It’s a fun one…and…my, oh my, the cube collection sure is growing!!!

New Bone Fire MP3: MMXIV-V

Posted in Blog, Downloads, MP3s, Music on October 24, 2014 by slateman

This has been a good year! Here’s another metal snippet from the highly-prolific one-man army: BONE FIRE!

Bone Fire: MMXIV-V

Face-Turning Octahedron Algorithms

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on October 18, 2014 by slateman

rex-octahedronI wasn’t too enamored with summer cube purchases but last night’s 2x4x6 victory was quite a memorable one. I went back to the face-turning octahedron today and tried Super Antonio Vivaldi’s tutorial. I conquered this one in the past but it wasn’t all too fun. Trying this again…I don’t know if it really is. The eight-faced beast challenges my brain…I guess that’s a good thing. Anyways, algorithms that I keep forgetting…

Years later I’m updating this section to be a bit more clear. I’ve gotten a bit better at things by now (February 2022, to be specific) so let’s hope it’s even easier in the future!!!

Step 1: Get 3 corners
This is intuitive. Get all the corners on one color’s face set up properly. Don’t worry about anything else.

Step 2: Solve remaining corners
Place your first face downwards and scope out the top. You’re going to get the next three corners aligned. We’re going to use the standard algorithm here, but where we begin depends on how things turn.

You should have one corner piece in the proper spot here and aligned properly. (I suppose if you don’t, do this algorithm twice).

Holding the pointy corner towards you, you’ll do the traditional D, D, U, U.

If you start R’, L, R, L’

  • Both the front and right corners will swap spots clockwise and they’ll rotate.
  • The left corner will slide right but won’t rotate.
  • Thus, keep the properly-aligned piece in the left corner and do this algorithm.

If you start L, R’, L’, R

  • Both the front and left corners will swap spots counter-clockwise and they’ll rotate.
  • The right corner will slide left but won’t rotate.
  • Thus, keep the properly-aligned piece in the right corner and do this algorithm.

Step 3: Solve edges
Now we’re going to rotate edge triangles. This 3×3 algorithm is slightly modified and is done with the right and top faces. You’ll hold the puzzle with a tip facing you, but angled downwards so the algorithm can be done using the top layer. This will rotate three edges, either clockwise or counter-clockwise and will require deconstruction/reconstruction to get everything in order. I try to refrain from using two moves-algorithm-undo those two moves b/c my brain isn’t so smart.

Clockwise: R, U, R’, U, R, U, R’, U
Counterclockwise: R’, U’, R, U’, R’, U’, R, U’

Step 3: 3-Cycle centers
This moves the UR center to UL center to LL center (left face, left center)
Use the face with the 1 center and slice down. (a M’, I suppose)
Your LL center should now be in the UR center spot
R down, L down, R up
Move the slice back
R down, L up, R up

2x4x6 Cuboid – Kicking My Arse!

Posted in Algorithms, Blog, Cubing on October 17, 2014 by slateman

2x4x6Maybe I should just quit cubing entirely. My recent purchases are all giving me a hard time and I feel less and less capable of doing any of this any more! Today, I’ve gotten closer to solving the 2x4x6 cuboid. Closer. I haven’t done it yet. I say this because I purchased it in July. That’s three months ago. It’s stumped me for more than three months.

My woes may soon come to a close, though. I think I might be able finish this. The problem is I never feel like I have time to dedicate to it. I couldn’t even write this post without having a child of mine climb all over me.

However, I hope for success to be in my future. Using Super Antonio Vivaldi’s parity tutorial, I’m working through the last few stragglers. I’ll forego writing about the first steps for now and get into the last parity algorithms.

First, get the orange & red touching white & yellow edge pieces. Then get the middle-center edge pieces (for me, green & blue touching white & yellow). You may encounter parity here. Then get the outer center edge pieces using the same algorithms.

The inner centers are next. Inner 2×2 blocks are done just like doing the last centers on a higher-order standard cube. Line up the centers, down, right, down, left, up, right, up, left. Hope that still makes sense. Outer centers are last and can use the same parity algorithms, though that’s where I’m stuck as I write this. Here’s what you need to know.

Even Layered Parity (4 edge pieces swap)(Same as 3x4x5)
2U 2R 2F 2U 2u 2F 2R 2U

Brick Parity (3 edge pieces swap)(Right side)
2F U 2R U’ 2L U 2R U’ 2L
2F 2r 2F
2L U 2R U’ 2L U 2R U’
2F 2r

Brick Parity (Left Side)
2F U’ 2L U 2R U’ 2L U 2R
2F 2l 2F
2R U’ 2L U 2R U’ 2L U
2F 2l

This works for inner or outer centers. Here’s how these pieces move.

The left side brick parity would rotate 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 1 and our view of the back layer would be (as you flip & look at it):
3 – – –
– – – 1

The front layer would be
2 – – –
– – – –

Right would be opposite. Dunno if this helps.

Floppy Parity (2 Edges – Front-Left piece + Down-Back-left piece)
2R 2B 2U L 2U R’ 2U R 2U 2F R 2F L’ 2B 2R
(Then do 2l and Red Bull 2x more)

Edit: Solved It!!! Three months of frustration! Now…to put it on the shelf proper or to scramble again? Hmmm. :)

10 Platinums – Broken Down

Posted in Blog, Games, High Scores/Accomplishments, Resident Evil, Uncharted on October 12, 2014 by slateman

I just hit 3,000 trophies this past week. Most of my friends are way below that, and several are way beyond it. Of course, it means nothing, but I’ve enjoyed the journey thus far. 10 of those 3,000 are platinums, representing exactly .33% of all of them! (Roughly 80% or bronze, 15% silver and 5% gold, pretty even) Anyways, I thought I’d break down those 10 platinums as I search for #11 (Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor


  • Borderlands
  • Guacamelee!
  • Lego: Pirates Of The Caribbean
  • Resident Evil 5
  • Resogun
  • Uncharted
  • Uncharted 2
  • Uncharted 3
  • The Walking Dead: Season One
  • Zero Escape: Virtue’s Last Reward

It’s not the most impressive list, particularly since The Walking Dead just required you to finish it for a plat (by comparison, the second season had no platinum.) I’m proud of all three Uncharted games, as beating each on Crushing was a challenge…in particular that first one. Speaking of difficulty levels, Resogun, Guacamelee! and Resident Evil 5 all provided quite a rough time on the hardest level.

I still prefer trophies to achievement points for this very reason. 3,000 trophies but only 10 platinums? It represents the elite and I remember getting each of those. While trophies launched after the PS3, it’s still been six years since they’ve launched and now on three platforms, they’re rolling in faster than ever! (PS+ doesn’t hurt)(Neither does GameFly)

That means I’m averaging 500 trophies a year, more or less, 10/week. Figure, 5,000 sometime in 2018? I hope so!

Middle-Earth: Shadow Of Mordor – GotY?

Posted in Best / Worst, Blog, Games, Tolkien on October 12, 2014 by slateman

Middle-earth™: Shadow of Mordor™_20141011222550With this year’s Album of the Year likely coming out this month (Exodus or At The Gates), it’s fitting that the year’s potential Game of the Year is an autumn release as well! As my first purchase for the PS4, (Well, I sold Killzone) I didn’t know what to expect. At more than 24 hours into this title, I’m sold. This game is the shit.

And, rather than go through all its pros, I’ll just give one example. I’ve just begun a one-on-twenty battle with a Warchief, the game’s premiere enemy. This guy is tough and I’m beating down orcs left-and-right as I struggle with this guy. What happens next? Another Uruk Captain emerges, then a second. My fight is now against three big-time enemies and I’ve been brought to the brink of death. A life-saving effort keeps the fight going and then…? A THIRD Captain arrives. My hands are sweating and I notice, for the first time in what seems like years, my heart is racing. It’s pounding so hard as I try to attack, parry, vault and put death finishers on the lesser orcs. One captain dies, another flees and the third succumbs with his head severed. I watch it float in slow-motion, a haunting mess of blood and glory. The Warchief weakens and I’m on my last legs. Perfection is required. He attacks, I parry, and another floating head is my trophy, alongside an epic rune.

The dust settles and I realize just how intense that was. It was friggin’ hard! How many games have gotten you in a panic in recent years? It was spectacular and I was convinced – this is one of the best games I’ve played in years! Now to 100% that bastard! Might actually go for a platinum on this one…it’s that good.