An Update

By Numtini May 22nd, 2014, under Uncategorized

Well, it’s been months since I wrote. I’ve been drifting away from games for a while. Not so much out of choice, but just that I wasn’t finding a whole lot that interested me. I spent a few months being serious on Rift, but I got discouraged by the prospect of the rep grind plus my guild was planning to go off to the utterly dismal Elder Scrolls Online.

My nerdly flag got raised again when a few weeks ago, we finally got around to watching Iron Man 3. First, I really enjoyed the movie. It wasn’t as good as the first one, but I’m not sure anything’s going to quite live up to that. I wonder sometimes how much of the enjoyment of rewatching the film is simply waiting for the payoff line.

That got me interested in comics and I started to go through the freebies on Comixology and really fell in love with the “guided view” on a tablet as a way to read them. This brings you through the comic, not based on page by page, but panel by panel, trying to replicate how your eye would naturally move. It feels natural, which is what I want from any sort of e-reader.

Now the last time I read a comic was when I came back from my frosh year at college and picked up my “subscription service” comics and almost passed out at how much had accumulated and how much they cost. The 75 cent comic book was just unaffordable. Honestly, even as a successful middle class adult, I don’t find the $3.99 comic book any more affordable. I do find ten bucks a month affordable though and I couldn’t care less about DC or what they’ve done wrong recently and I don’t have any other nerds to water cooler it up with, so I settled into a subscription to Marvel Unlimited and I’ve been catching up on the last thirty years of mutant activity.

That brings me to gaming, where I’ve become enfatuated with Marvel Heroes, the free to play game. I’ll get into this in a bit, but it’s well worth checking out if you like Diablo-ish games. It’s even more worth checking out if you played in beta or at launch, because I did and it’s improved drastically. Between FFXIV, Diablo III, and Marvel; it really is the year of the relaunch and while FFXIV might be the most improved, I think Marvel is the most fun.

Goodbye to the Higgins Armory

By Numtini December 31st, 2013, under Uncategorized

On friday we did our long planned last trip to The Higgins Armory in Worcester which closes this evening forever after 83 years. What can I say. Even writing this, I can feel tears coming to my eyes at the prospect of this gem disappearing from the world.

When most people were looking through our D&D purple box set and Players Handbook and wondering what the differences were between glaives and guisarmes and halberds or what exactly was compositive armor, they had to go to the library and find a book about medieval arms or a good encyclopedia or dictionary and look it up. I didn’t. I just nagged my mother to bring me to the Higgins where I could not only find out, but look at the real thing. Even handle some pieces. The Higgins is only about a mile from where my grandparents house once stood. I think I’ve been there five or six times that I can remember, but it might have been more.

For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, there was once a pleasant madman named John Woodman Higgins who with his father started The Worcester Pressed Steel Company. He was, shall we say, very much into metal, and he built a museum dedicated to anything made of it. There was a car, an all metal plane, and various other objects. But most importantly there was a huge collection of medieval and renaissance arms and armor capped off by a statue of a medieval hunting dog complete in board hunting armor.

He built an insane building to house this collection that’s a testimony to the Ghostbusters’ quote that “the architect was either a certified genius or an authentic wacko.” Made of steel and glass, once you entered the Grand Hall, it was as if you were in a great cathedral or castle.

He was a genius in creating the museum. A genius in creating the collection. But a wacko in lack of a decent endowment ($17,000 — an amount at the time more suitable to a college fund than a museum) and that the museum building was designed without any concept of the importance of environmental control in preserving ancient artifacts.

I remember being told that the collection was second only to the Royal Armory. That may have been because much of what was originally displayed when I saw the museum as a small child were actually reproductions and that some suits had been creatively assembled from parts that had no business being matched to one another. A museum docent explained that this is why there doesn’t seem to be quite as many full suits as some of us remember from our childhoods. Even after this was sorted out, it was (well for 3 hours and 48 minutes IS) still a huge collection, the second largest in the country and the only dedicated museum of armor.

I think the rising popularity of D&D, Lord of the Rings, and so on probably gave the museum a second life it might not have had. Unfortunately, with the issues with the building and a lack of a large endowment, the museum has lost money for years. When we visited, I saw one guy in a fatigue jacket, complete with a logo from the Imperial Forces from Star Wars, another in a cloak, and another dressed head to foot as the Fourth Doctor. It looked more like the floor of a con than the floor of an art museum and I’m not sure the museum ever really came to grips with the balance between the nerdly crew that were its biggest fans and the notion of it as a historical museum. I can’t help but wonder if a more creative outreach might have made those of us who remember it more aware of the issues and possibly saved the museum, but now it’s just too late.

Thankfully, the collection won’t be liquidated. The museum is merging with the Worcester Art Museum, an institution with a far healthier endowment, but a fraction of the visitors. I guess its up to those of us who remember the Higgins to hold their feet to the fire and make sure that the collection ends up being displayed in the manner in which it should be and not just a sidenote. I have to say that I’m more than a bit fearful that they’ll neglect it rather than making it the defining centerpiece of their collection that it should be.

I put up an album on flickr, which has some of the highlights. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to add a bit more to it as I process the photos in Lightroom.

Goodbye Old Friend.

Diablo 3 & A New PC

By Numtini May 15th, 2012, under Uncategorized

Well Diablo 3 is out and after playing for about ten minutes, the computer shuts down, just as was happening with character creation in Guild Wars 2.

I could troubleshoot. It isn’t the CPU or GPU temps because I monitored those. So it might just be a matter of reinstalling the whole PC from scratch. It could also be the power supply, which isn’t that costly to replace, but geezus, the idea of taking apart a 3 year old PC is painful.

I had already been thinking of getting a new PC. The one I have is the last of the Core2Duos and it’s not out of date, but it’s not exactly up to speed either.

So there’s a new I5/2500, Radeon HD6950 2GB, 8GB system on the way. Or more accurately a whole bunch of parts are on the way. It should be somewhere between a 50-100% boost depending on what game I’m playing.