Friday, August 31, 2007

Gaming update

So I think I've decided that I really like city simulators. They're slow-paced, you get to create something that looks really cool, and they don't tend to be system hogs.

Civ IV just didn't really capture my attention, so two days later I picked up Caesar IV. It's good, although it certainly has its flaws, especially compared to 1701. The colors are very brown and blah, as opposed to 1701's vibrant and cartoon-like qualities. Also, the cities in Caesar IV have been very space-limited so far, so you feel fairly constrained to building in a very set fashion.

Next on the list to check out: City Life. The screenshots make it look really cool. I downloaded the demo and will check it out tonight.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Some things I've learned from my superiors

It's been an interesting week. The acronym "HML" will forever be etched into my memory, and not in a good way. I've learned something from this whole process. If you ever have to communicate something complex to a large group of people, do so in as few words as possible. In implementing this HML process at work, I composed an e-mail telling something like 300 people what time the briefings for the sessions were. I sent it to those people's manager for him to forward on. I had worked very carefully to make sure the e-mail was concise and worded simply so that people would get the simple message of when the briefings were going to take place. This manager then added MANY MANY words to the front of the e-mail. So, of course, when the plebs got the e-mail, they didn't read the whole thing, so they missed my part about when the briefings were. So now I'm trying to implement a process that no one knows anything about.

And finally, here's a pet peeve: people who complain about gas prices while driving a GIGANTIC SUV! If you want to complain about gas prices while doing everything you can to cut down on gas consumption, fine. If you want to drive a soccer-mom Excursion, that's your right. But you don't get to DO BOTH!

Guess I'm a little ginchy today.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Picked up Civilization IV today. A little ashamed that I've never played that series, but Casey assures me that I'll love it. Find out tonight.

Friday, August 24, 2007

About the title of the blog

"Tales of the Electric Monk" is a rather obscure reference to a character in a Douglas Adams book, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. The Electric Monk "is a device that believes things to save the owner the trouble" (ref. Wikipedia).

That all being said, the name really doesn't carry any significance beyond the fact that it sounds cool and it's a weird semi-sci-fi reference. It's a name I often use for activities where a cool name is required, such as laser-tag or fantasy football.

So, the bottom line is that this blog is called Tales of the Electric Monk simply because I think that sounds neat.

A blog of my own!

This blog is created with the sole intent of giving me a place to write some thoughts down and, maybe someday, have someone read them. I don't currently intend to advertise this anywhere, but who knows? I just thought it might be interesting to have a place to write some stuff down from time to time, do a little journaling, and a website seemed as good a place to do it as any other.

I live near Houston, Texas. I work in the manned spaceflight industry, which is amazing, but also just feels like a job from time to time. I love reading, computer games, and more than any other thing on this Earth, my family: my beautiful wife Ann (not her real name), my hilarious 3-year old son the Monkey, and my gorgeous 3-month old daughter Vanilla Bean. And no, those aren't the kids' real names either.

I'm a devout Christian, although I'm wary of the presumptions that often come by being labeled as such. My core beliefs are few but firm: I believe in the greatness of God and in the saving power of His Son Jesus Christ. I believe that man is by nature a sinner, and that only a sinless sacrifice could breach the gap between God and man. Jesus was that sacrifice. I believe in the sanctity of life. I believe that the best way to teach people about Jesus is to act like Him. Everything else is pretty much up for debate.

I like to consider myself a fairly open-minded person about most things. That often makes me feel wishy-washy in that I'm easily swayed in my opinions, but I'd much rather come across as wishy-washy than a belligerent know-it-all.

I love science and what it teaches us about the universe. Unlike many Christians in today's society, I'm not threatened by science as I believe it is continually revealing to us a Creator way more clever than we give Him credit for.

On the lighter side of things, I also love the Star Wars movies, sci-fi, electronic gadgets, and all other kinds of geeky things.

So this blog will be about whatever strikes my fancy. If you find the subjects interesting, please feel free to stay, post some comments, visit for a while.