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The Wreckless Spenders

… but the dude who posted the YouTube video spelled the name WRONG!. It’s “The Wreckless $penders”. Or maybe “The Wreckless Spender$” depending on which gig poster you’ve saved. But, for sure, it’s “WRECKLESS.” They don’t wreck, but they spend recklessly to buy the equipment to sound GREAT!

Wreckle$$? Wreckle dollar dollar? Dollar pender? Pender dollars. I’m on the wrong planet.

I know these people, but this was a few years ago and there have been changes to the lineup. It’s great nonetheless.

Larry, Steve, Staci, Rick, and (I am sorry, I should recall his name, but he has moved on to other things, and so has my memory). [Edit/Update {11/15/14}: Chris. The lineup shuffled again and Chris was back on keyboards. It was a GREAT show, and the food is as good as or better than “The Patio” in Quincy, Ill.]

Come on out to the Edison Inn on November 15, 2014 (if you’re in Washington and know where Edison is). You may even see “The Highlander” playing shuffleboard, if you’re there before he has to catch the bus to the highlands.

I was dangerously close to exposing my innards, but this lifts my spirit and my soul!

I’M ALIVE!

Okay, Goober-Tube, or someone won’t let this video be embedded like the one above, so I edit this post to try this one.

Well, they didn’t like that either. How about this?

Nope.

YouTube, or more liklely, WordPress, exploded in spectacular fashion and blew away hours of work. Celine Dion is here…. I think.

Celine Dion

What a voice.

Not to be confused with ELO, and

From the movie “Xanadu.”

Which comes from a poem by Samuel Coleridge Taylor, entitled “Kubla Khan.”

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree:
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

I never really understood what Gene Kelly said until after some politician-type doofus proclaimed he invented the internet in, like WOW man, for sure 2098, and I could look it up myself.

Snark, snark, snark.

When I got to Fort Bliss in double ought nought 81, “Xanadu” was playing at the base theater and I went to see it…. again…. for the umpteenth time.

I loved the movie, but it was a long-play music video without a plot.

Plot, Plot, Plot! That’s all I ever hear. Like it had ANYTHING to do with books, or movies, or TV shows, or the written, or spoken word since dinosaurs got bored and ate each other.

For extra bonus credits, name the actor who was in “The Sting” and “Xanadu.”

Edit:
And I mean umpty edits. I keep trying but the internet pukes keep getting in the way. Does it work now?

Double edit: Why is this so hard? Type words and it should show up now. Not light years later after retyping 14 times. I think it works now.

My Musical Debut

My friend Staci had her 50th birthday celebration on Saturday, and after “Fanny Alger,” she and her father, a couple nephews, etc., and Larry had entertained us with good music, I got out my Fender Precision bass and bumbled through “Streets of Bakersfield” accompanied by Buck Owens and Dwight Yoakum on my iPhone.  I messed up the easy part and did it right on the hard part

Experienced bass players will say, “What hard part? It’s all half notes.”

Exactly.

Thankfully, there are no photos or recordings of my debut, even though I’m told I looked sharp in my gray corduroy suit coat, black cowboy hat, and white tennis shoes. It was fun to have an audience of six or so in a canvas tent in her back yard. (I didn’t feel like retrieving the cowboy boots from the FJ, so I did an Alabama-style rendition.) As walls have ears, I later was told that someone who shall be nameless, sadly, said I looked like I should be the frontman for a country band. That makes me feel GOOD!

Damn the sixth-grade trombone embarrassment, and full bass ahead. Or something like that. We are never too old to learn how to play an instrument. Being dead doesn’t count as being old. When I am on my death-bed and gasping for breath, bring me a violin, and I’ll start learning how to play Turkey in the Straw.

“NURSE! He’s at it again! OXYGEN! DEFIB! STAT! Nurse! Nurse! Where’s that almond double latte caffeine injection? Hey! What’s that? Johnny Walker Blue? Give me some of that! It thins the blood, ummm,  err, that’s what I hear anyway.”

After I had my fun, some of the other real musicians put together a pickup band and made some more good music. I really enjoyed “Born To Be Wild.”

Oh! Wait! That wasn’t Pat, or the Wreckless Spenders, but they can do it.

I know, all you old veterans at the McDonalds sipping coffee want this… Steppenwolf 2006 You can relate. In a way, I can too.

I will soon join you and talk of my days in Alaska.

I asked Staci’s husband if this was going to be an annual thing, and he said something like, “Right! Annually every 50th birthday.” He was busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

Have I embarrassed myself again? I hope not. What musical video can I leave you with? How about a song The Wreckless Spenders will perform this Saturday night at Max Dales: Greg Kihn and “The Breakup Song.”

The Wreckless Spenders have one of those bookie-face-thing pages. Check them out if you are in the Pacific Northwest.

Addendum ad nauseum. I have updated this a multitude of times because I hit the wrong button and published too soon. I found a much better version of Steppenwolf doing “Born To Be Wild.”

Kickstarting The Chris Eger Band

Well, I’ve backed a second Kickstarter project. I’ve listened to Chris Eger five or six times now, (the latest at Brewfest 2014 in downtown Mount Vernon) and I have been impressed with his skills as a musician. He’s recorded one album, but has been doing a Kickstarter project to fund a second album in Nashville. I’m in. This guy is good.

Here’s a taste.

If you look at his Kickstarter page, which ends about 24 hours from this posting, you will see that one of his greatest musical influences is Eric Heatherly. I think the first time I listened to Chris, he sang a song called “Wrong 5 o’clock,” and I thought it was a Vince Gill song. I now know it was one of Eric’s first songs.

Sadly, I had not heard of Eric and his version of the great Statler Brother’s tune, “Flowers on the Wall,” until a few days ago. Here’s Eric’s music video from long ago.

Eric Heatherly and Flowers on the Wall

I smiled when, after watching Chris at Brewfest playing a jade green Fender Stratocaster, I saw that Eric was playing a jade green Stratocaster in the video above. Could it be the same guitar? Eric has had some rough times since that video was released fourteen years ago, and he’s had to sell a lot of his musical instruments. Maybe it is.

There is a half-hour youtube video of Eric talking about an album he did in 2012 called “The Goats of Kudzu.” In that video I truly appreciate the fact that Eric quotes without fear or apology Psalm 27:1. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid.”

Powerful words for the world in which we live.

Tex Murphy and the Tesla Effect

It’s available on Gog and Steam. I played it and took the only path my conscience would allow. Get Chelsee. I (as Tex Murphy) did. The ending was beautiful, and Mr. Emotional was really crying.

The game has rough spots and some logic problems that will leave you awake nights wondering what you missed, but it was fun. I guess that is just part of trying to create multiple ways to get to different endings. I think I would need a warehouse with a tall wall to build a mammoth flow chart just to ensure it all makes sense. The good people at Big Finish Games are still working out the bugs reported by the faithful members of The Mutant League. There’s a fellow there named Steve who has been as helpful as he could be with technical issues I’ve faced. The problem is that between Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 OS (DON’T get me started), Toshiba, and Intel, it was a battle to get one machine to even run the game. Perseverance, or is it masochism? An ancient machine newly rebuilt with 32-bit XP and two gig of RAM has been the best machine I’ve tried so far. That’s the one where I played the complete game. Crazy. I think it was easier to get a DOS game running in 640 kb RAM. One megabyte of RAM helped, but you had to know the deep dark secrets of “load high” in config.sys and autoexec.bat. You could learn those secrets, ummm, EVERYWHERE you looked. Sigh!

There is always this unconquerable urge to compare. “Which is best?” Well, I have been struggling with that question for a few weeks.
The nominees are (in alphabetical order):
Overseer, The
Pandora Directive, The
Tex Murphy and the Tesla Effect
Under A Killing Moon

And the winner is:
Tex Murphy and the Killing Pandora Effect!

Or is it: Tex Murphy Moons Pandora with Effect.

NO, NO, NO!

Really, despite the crazy difficult puzzles that MANDATED a lot of cheating with hints and internet searching, “The Pandora Directive” wins.
I wish I could say it was “Tesla Effect,” but the numerous logic flaws left me scratching my head and wondering what did I miss. Pandora Directive was a solid story with great acting from some of the best names in the acting business. Whichever path you took to whatever ending, it made sense.

Don’t get me wrong, Tesla Effect is certainly worth playing. Unlike a certain DOS game of long ago about an island, the puzzles were mostly solvable without having extraterrestrial intelligence. A few of the “puzzles” required cheating because, I suspect, of the restrictive programming nature of something called the “Unity Engine.” Wasn’t that something EVIL in the Star Trek series? But, as I mentioned above, if you have a logical brain, you may be scratching your head frequently and asking yourself, for example: “How the hell did she know where I was? I don’t even know where I am!”

Having said all that, I WANT MORE TEX MURPHY!

A Trip Down Memory Lane… For The Nth Time

Hmmm. I think that The Tesla Effect will really actually be available tomorrow, May 7th. Then, the swag deliveries begin. Or else! I want my fedora!

Just kidding. But I am definitely impatient after nearly two years. I read on the private backer’s blog that only 13 people (software types) were producing this project. That is way cool. That does not include the film guys, the gaffers, the goofers, the drivers, painters and carpenters; I suspect that the computer guys were all of those and more before they were allowed to be computer guys. Actors, microphone holders, clapper loaders, and loader clappers, and third assistant to the fourth assistant of the second unit director’s third cousin’s brother-in-law’s sister’s fourth boyfriend who showed up at the studio unannounced one day. Oh, wait! That’s Hollywood now, where the credits are longer than the movie because of union contracts. He said, “Huh?” when the security guard tossed him over the fence, and his agent showed up with a two-mile long contract for a speaking role.

The Tesla Effect, NOW (I think… hope) on GOG and Steam! Huh! What’s a Steam?

I miss Computer City and CompUSA. Ah, the halcyon days of build-your-own computer. Racks and racks of electronic crap and rows of games for DOS machines. I imagine it was like the 9-teens and 20s, when geeks from long ago were building their own radios and wireless transmitters; diodes, resisters, and the smell of melting solder as the gateway to the electronic world took shape. Then, it came time to power up your creation and listen to the radio man from the Titanic call for help. Or perhaps you were listening on a frequency, or harmonic equivalent thereof, when Amelia Earhardt was calling for help. And NO one believed you.

And then, the euphoria of being different evaporated as everyone could buy a factory-made radio from the Sears catalog for the modern-day equivalent of $200, which to us now is a buck-99. I bought “Under A Killing Moon” at the CompUSA in Lynwood way back when, and probably “The Pandora Directive” as well as “The Overseer.” I watched parts of “Jurassic Park” on an early day big screen TV at Computer City in, when was that – pre-cambrain era?, where the star of the show was a Unix computer. A what? Yeah, Microsoft’s Windows was, like, Titanic-era, and the computer to have was a helium-cooled Cray super computer. The Cray could almost do motion picture stuff… if you could afford to wait three or four years for the machine to generate sufficient pixels. Or maybe wait for an Intel Pentium 3 in a commodity computer box. That’s the bass-master memory blender in effect. Anyway, buy a DVD of “The Last Starfighter” and listen to the computer guy talking in the extended comments portion about how long it took a Cray to create the equivalent of movie finger-painting. It was a movie years of ahead of its time. That reminds me of the Tonight Show skit with Johnny Carson spoofing a wine commercial…. “It’s time!” I wish I could find an on-line video of that, but you will probably have to buy a Time-Life video/dvd of the best of the Tonight Show to see it.

I was going somewhere with this post, but those darn squirrels keep distracting me.

SQUIRREL!

Stupid cigarettes. 1982. I think I was freezing my butt off in the “high desert” of California in April (Fort Irwin – Operation Gallant Eagle) when that song came out. Or maybe it was after I landed in the Federal Republic of Germany. I loved this song. Was that really Bertie’s wife? That’s the type of woman I wanted to marry. I never found her.

I think it was while I was attending the University of Montana that I saw “Key Largo.” I was taking a class on movie criticism. It was a great class. One of the few I remember… “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari,” and that “Rosebud” movie, were among the 16mm films I watched. It really sucks when you remember the punch line and nothing else. Oh, duh, right… “Citizen Kane.”

Key Largo… Humphry Bogart, Lauren Bacall… Find it… Watch it.

One more from days gone by. The Seekers. You’re older than I am if you knew they were from Australia. Or, maybe, given the number of people who are searching my blog for things related to Papua New Guinea, you were way ahead of us in the northern hemisphere.

This is the black-and-white version that is available today without annoying commercials and interference.

This is a color version that will torture you with annoying commercials and nonsense. See if you can mute the sound and then click the Skip Ad button in 3 nanoseconds or less.
I’ll Never Find Another You

Judith Durham (lead vocals), Keith Potger (12-string), Bruce Woodley (six-string), and Athol Guy (bass). I’m torn… do I learn Keith’s guitar intro first, or Athol’s bass line. I like the guitar stuff, but there are too many strings on a guitar. I seem to be a bass player, so Athol wins.

I was less than 10 years old when I heard Judith singing this song and I can’t say that I’ve ever forgotten it.

And Roger rambles on…

And then Roger edits this post the next day because he stayed up way too late writing and words escaped that should not have. Sorry.

Countdown Delayed

I was going to make a snarky post, but it got relegated to the private looney bin.

The Tesla Effect launch has been delayed until May 7.  I’m okay with that. Get it right first. Don’t say OOOOOPs later.

Stay tuned.

The Countdown Has Started!

And I’m late to the game. Six days… or is it five?

The good folks at Big Finish Games have made a short demo version of “The Tesla Effect” available here.

If, after playing the demo (and you’d better hurry), you want more, you can pre-order the game from that page for $17.99, save a couple bucks, and get a FREE copy of the greatest Tex Murphy adventure ever, “The Pandora Directive.” If you snooze, you lose. (Note: I can spell lose correctly. Mrs. Richardson taught me that in the sixth grade. Everybody else was sleeping and still thinks it’s spelled “loose.” WRONG!)

I discovered Tex in a game demo for “Under A Killing Moon” on a CD from a long-dead magazine a LONG time ago, and I’m hooked. I had my first computer then. I had an Intel 486-33 processor with an astounding 4 megabytes of RAM. Wahoo! It was a pain to use because I cheap-charlied the hard drive and bought only 255 megabytes. But then again, they didn’t make a hard drive that could hold all the programs I wanted to install. I still have that computer, by the way, and it does work when I have a fit of nostalgia.

I also paid a LOT more than $17.99 for “The Pandora Directive,” not to mention “Under A Killing Moon”, and they were worth it. Now you can get two games for Cheap! If you act now! BUT, read the fine print before you act.

Your mileage may vary. You may not like Tex. I do. You get that, right!

Note: This breathless hyper-partisan Tex Murphy fan reserves the right to downgrade “The Pandora Directive” from the status of “greatest Tex Murphy adventure ever” after he finishes playing the Tesla Effect at least three times. I am hopeful that the Tesla Effect will become “the greatest ever.”

Very big important note: You have to have a computer with a real video card in it. Computers with video on the motherboard DON’T CUT IT. I know; I tried six of them, including a brand new Dell Optiplex 9020 with umpty bigabytes of memory, and a bazillion-core processor, but on-motherboard video. Please note the ridiculous exaggeration. Perhaps the issue is that the beta-test segment did not include the trilobytes of crap that Microsoft requires for each program that runs on their computers. We’ll see.

Anyway, 32-bit Windows XP, 2 gigabytes of RAM and at least a dual-core processor will work. Meaning a computer built some time in the past 5 years, but ya gotta have a REAL video card! I put a Diamond Radeon HD6450 into an ancient Dell Optiplex 330 running 32-bit XP with 2 gb RAM and 400,000 or so XP updates, and it worked. Pay attention, not all PCI-Express cards are alike. They screwed with the “standard.” Newer PCI-Express cards will not fit into older cases because they really take up TWO slots. That was a $90 lesson for me. I bought a PCI-Express 2.0 compliant card and it would NOT fit into the case that was PCI-Express 1.0 compliant. The slot was fine; the card was HUMONGOUS and bashed into other parts inside the case. I’d have to use a saw to cut a chunk out of the motherboard to get that card in the case. Anyway, for those of you who are not in the habit of hanging on to perfectly functional and useful electronic equipment that software manufacturers don’t want you to use anymore because you won’t deplete your bank account buying new software you neither need nor want, you shouldn’t have a problem.

That’s a lot better than games in the mid-90s when you needed a custom-built computer that was less than four weeks old with more RAM than NASA used in the entire Mercury/Gemini/Apollo space programs combined. It would have taken a Cray helium-cooled supercomputer in 1995 to run the Tesla Effect today.

To the people at Big Finish Game… THANK YOU!

Oh, by the way. I saw a Tesla electric car plugged into a charging station by the Jack in the Box restaurant today, and it wasn’t on fire. Those sparky cars scare me.

Someday we’ll all be driving a Speeder like Tex. Perhaps I should say “you’ll.” I’ll be dead by then.

Tex Lives! Soon!

I finally got the beta test version of the Tesla Effect (aka The Fedora Project) running on a computer. I do hope they get that issue solved before the game is released on April 22nd. Fantastic. Based on what I’ve seen in the short test version, it has been worth the wait.

Check out the latest teaser at Big Finish Games

Crazy, Where Did 2013 Go?

Tex Murphy is about to come out of his long coma according to his alter-ego Chris Jones, and those of us who dropped crazy amounts of cash on this Kickstarter project will soon be immersed in exploring the beta version of the Tesla Effect. Well, if it works on ancient computer hardware/software, that is. It had better! All I have is ancient crap.

2014 is the last model year for the Toyota FJ Cruiser, so I had to get mine while it was still 2013. Huh? Right! 2014 vehicles are built in 2013. When I bought my 1998 Pontiac (RIP) Grand Am in early 1998, they were hard to find. Pontiac wasn’t making 1998 cars in 1998, they were… not making anything because the union workers needed a long unpaid vacation, not to mention the fact they were trying to figure out how to build 1999 model cars that were different from the 1998 models, and that was in 1998. I had my choice of white or black. Yuck! I chose white. Like choosing vanilla instead of chocolate; maybe I should have chosen chocolate.

Somewhere around 2006 or 2007, I was on my way from Quincy, Illinois, to Barry, and I saw this marvelous machine near the Sonic restaurant, and I thought, that’s one cool machine. I want one! Well, finances said forget it, and my Grand Am was in great shape so time funs when you’re having flies. Flash forward to the GREAT GLOBAL WARMING DISASTER OF DISASTER FOREVER AND EVER AMEN WHERE ALL HUMANS DROWN AND DUCKS RULE, so I thought I’d better get a four-wheel drive machine before those boiling hot glaciers came screaming down the valley at 900 miles an hour. I sure didn’t want to be boiled alive in a glacier, so I’d better be able to outrun them. Idiots scream about global warming, and I’m freezing my ass off. It ain’t warming if you’re FREEZING!

“It’s snowing.” Run for your lives, it’s global warming!
“It’s 104 degrees.” Run for your lives, it’s global warming!
“It’s normal.” HORROR OF HORRORS! WE’RE DOOMED! IT’S GLOBAL WARMING! We’ll all die in 5 years. No, wait, 10 years. Hold on, maybe it’s 20 years. Was it last year? Oh guru of the Cult of Global Warming, what is the current talking point? I’m confused! When is the GREAT GLOBAL WARMING DISASTER OF DISASTERS going to kill all of us overnight? Oh! Tuesday? You’re sure about that? Really?

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! GLOBAL WARMING WILL KILL ALL OF US ON TUESDAY!!!!!!!!!!!

Which of you reading this now remember in the 1970s when the SAME PEOPLE now screaming about global warming were screaming about the next ice age starting before the year 2000? I do. Bah! It’s all about getting stupid politicians to give them millions of dollars to study the catastrophe du jour. When the bucks run out, it’s time to create a new life-ending disaster to keep the dollars flowing. Otherwise they’d have to get a job at Wal-Mart as a greeter, or work at McDonalds cleaning tables. Remember this everytime you see a poll: Figures don’t lie, but liars can figure. Thank you, Richard Helm for that piece of wisdom.

For example: Cancer is caused by saccharine. We know this conclusively because we ran over a mouse with a dump truck loaded with 10 tons of saccharine and after testing the squished mouse we saw it had CANCER! HORRORS! Give us 10 bajillion dollars to study this conclusively demonstrated, inarguable link between saccharine and cancer. Oh, by the way, we have a 4 week seminar planned for the Bahamas this fall. WINK WINK, WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN US?

We now resume our irregularly scheduled ramblings…

So, after 15 wonderful years of driving the best car I have ever owned, I got my 2014 FJ Cruiser in 2013 while they were still available. I had my choice of Puke Orange, Army Green, Sand, Puke Orange, Army Green, Army Green, or Army Green, not to mention Army Green. Well, Mr. Salesman, I want Cement like this brochure, or even Papa Smurf Blue. Sorry, that was Sooooo last year; how about Army Green?

I chose Army Green.

Why abandon my beloved Grand Am? Well, at 137,000 miles and 15 years, it has entered the nickel and dime stage of car life (or is it hundreds and thousands stage?). And then there is the fact that I have gotten older, and it is getting harder to fold, spindle, and mutilate myself getting into a vehicle where my ass is dragging on the pavement. That goes hand in hand with all the folks who are driving vehicles about 9 feet higher than a Grand Am. I couldn’t see anything in front of me anymore. Even my 91-year-old father liked the FJ over the Grand Am because of its hand-hold so he could hoist himself into the seat. Gotta love that. When I was a kid, I wanted a hot-rod Dodge Challenger/Charger (you choose) and a Jeep CJ5. So I’ve had the Challenger substitute in the Grand Am, and now it’s time for the CJ5 substitute in the FJ Cruiser. The FJ is a much better choice, I must say.

I understand why Toyota dropped thew FJ Cruiser since the last year’s sales records showed a total of 13,000 or so sold. In its short life span, I think there are less than 250,000 on the roads today. I am happy I have mine.

The point of all that is that since I will be paying for this new vehicle for the next lifetime or so, I won’t be able to take the cruise to Gardner Island in the summer of 2015.  But, if you have a loose 10 grand or so looking for a place to park, that is not in Obama’s bank account, check out this site: Betchart Expedition cruise to Gardner Island

No, you won’t find Amelia’s bones; they were found long ago. But what a great journey. I’ll have to win a lottery if I expect to be on it. And the fantasies go on and….

That’s why I call it my ramblings. I never know where I’m going but I enjoy the ride. I hope you do too.’

Maybe I should add some music. Here’s a song by a JJ Cale and improved by Brother Phelps. Anyway The Wind Blows. I am NOT responsible for Google’s annoying advertisements. I don’t like them either. I wish they had a timer that would show the nanoseconds it takes for victims to click the Skip Ad button.

Hard To Keep Up

Blogs are like children, I think, since I don’t have any children, but they have to be constantly fed. This blog is malnourished at best.

I have been keeping up with Project Fedora, the code name for the next Tex Murphy adventure. It has a real name now, “Tesla Effect.” I confess, I did not like the name at first because I couldn’t imagine why they would be making a game about electric cars. Then I looked up the name Tesla. Interesting stuff. Nikola Tesla would probably be suing the car company for stealing his name and ruining his reputation, if he were still alive, that is. The good folks at Big Finish Games recently showed a trailer of the game at the Salt Lake City ComiCon (or is it Comic Con), and I now see the name as stroke of semi-genius. Look up Nikola Tesla, then watch the trailer at http://www.texmurphy.com/

The game will be in a far more serious mood than I prefer, but I am really looking forward to the experience of playing it.

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