So what shit is up? Well, I’ve been playing way to much Guitar Hero 3 lately. I joined the party like, a year after it started so I got some ground to cover. I never really intended to get it. I was waiting for the DS version instead but after playing that for a few hours I realized that I needed to get the “big” one too.

A friend recommende dor



Theme park season officially started last Friday but as that was just a normal working day, for me the season started on Saturday. Last year my brother and me promised ourselves that we would be the first ones to enter Walibi World and even though we were not that early we still made it!


Weather predictions were pretty bad so that probably helped us a little bit but it wasn’t even half as bad as they predicted. Between 10 and 12 we even had a few moments of sunshine but after noon clouds were gathering and the sun went to hide. It stayed dry and that was the main thing.

It was a little bit exciting upon arriving because we still didn’t have our season passes. We ordered them a little bit over two weeks ago but when we went on Saturday the passes hadn’t arrived yet. Arriving at the info desk the kind lady informed us that a batch still had to be mailed. When she went to look through that batch she miraculously found our envelope and we were the proud owner of our first passes for this season.

With the bad weather predictions the park itself was extremely quiet and you could get double, triple and even quadruple rides for most of the attractions if you wanted too. Unfortunately Robin Hood was out that day but we still could get our coaster fix on the Goliath.

Mystery Castle

On Monday we went to Phantasialand to get our new fun cards (valid for a year, 40 entrances). Again, due the cold and snowy weather the park was not very busy which is always a welcome relief for a change (Phantiasialand is usually very busy) but unfortunately two of the main rides (Black Mamba and Talocan) were down for most of the day. We did manage to ride Talocan two times though before
it was shut down.

Finally, after two years of angst we finally went on the Mystery Castle ride. A lot of people warned me about the intensity of this ride so I was a little bit anxious but this was totally unjustified. It’s not that more intense than any other shot tower and you really have to try hard if you want to get hurt in this thing.

After Talocan was shut down and Black Mamba for the second time we decided that it would be a good time to leave the park. Driving back I finally got to try out my sixth gear (you have to drive at least 150km/h to get some good use out of it) and found out that my car loves the autobahn.
Continue reading “Theme”


We returned from Sankt Johann im Pongau last Sunday. The trip back was hell but more on that later. First I want to show off some pretty pictures. And yeah, I really dig the panorama setting on my Cyber-shot phone.


This is at the foot of the mountain that I’m going to climb. You can see our hotel in the back behind the half snowy tennis court to the left.


Initially, going up the mountain, the weather was still pretty cloudy but hey, at least it was dry and visibility was very good. Especially when you consider the conditions a day before with a lot of haze, rain and wet snow.


I finally arrived at a lumberjack path leading into the forest and followed that for a few hundred meters before heading back down again. The weather was starting to get better and better and not before long the clouds broke open to reveal a few small blue patches.


Going down the mountain back to the village the weather kept improving and not before long I was walking on sunshine. When I arrived back in the hotel I had a beer or two, encountered Rob H. and together we set out to explore the village for the rest of the afternoon.
Continue reading “Sankt”



Before anyone gets the wrong impression: I love this game. I have to restrict myself because once I start I can’t stop playing it. I even got to grips with the level up system and have managed to learn to play to accommodate it but still hate it. I must confess that I owe a great deal to the fantastic folk who maintain and contribute to the UESPWiki. Without them I would’ve never had the knowledge I needed to play the game to satisfaction. It’s a resource more insightful than the Arcane Library itself and also a wonderful example of what can be done with a wiki.


The leveling system in Oblivion is genius and fucked at the same time. Below are the rules.

  • There are twenty one skills and seven of them are major skills.
  • A character has eight attributes.
  • Each attribute except for luck governs three skills.
  • Every time you use a skill you gain experience for that skill.
  • You gain experience for major skills more quickly.
  • There are also some other experience modifiers but it’s complicated enough already.
  • The game shows your progress towards getting a skill point and we should all thank The Nine that it does.
  • Once the bar fills up you get a skill point and once you have ten major skill points you level up.
  • The game also shows your progress towards a new level up.
  • Once you level up you get to assign a positive modifier to three of your attributes.
  • The modifier for luck is always +1
  • The modifier for all other attributes is determined by the total of skill points gained in all three skills governed by that attribute.
  • The modifier for all other attributes ranges from +2 to +5.
  • You get the +5 modifier if the total number of skill points for an attribute is equal or greater than ten.

And that’s basically it. However, gaining a level in Oblivion is not always a happy event because the whole damn world levels up with you. That’s right: almost every treasure, NPC and enemy will level up with you every time you gain a level. This tends to fuck with your mind. Only if you are prepared and sure to get good attribute modifiers must you level otherwise you risk underleveling and getting fucked in the behind by a mud crab.

Fucked by a Mud Crab

Underleveling happens when you level up too quickly and unfortunately this happens all to easily. When you are picking a character it is natural to select a class (or create a custom one) with the skills that you use most often as your seven major skills. This seems the right thing to do and, looking at the predefined classes, recommended but it will also set you well on the way to underleveling. If you selected all the appropriate classes and play the game focusing on your character you will find that, making good use of your major skills, levels come pretty quickly.

This should be a good thing but unfortunately chances are also likely that you will get small bonus modifiers when you level up. Maybe +3 but usually +2. This is not good because enemies will grow stronger too and if you’re not careful they will grow stronger more quickly than you. At this point your only remedy is to turn down the difficulty slider (more on that later) but if you have to do this every time you level up you will quickly find it at the lowest setting. Unable to turn it down even more when the next level comes it’s highly likely that you’ll be trampled by a deer.

Being Careful

Besides getting fucked by a Mud Crab it is also very easy to fuck yourself in the ass by sheer stupidity. Remember that you need ten skill points for all three skills governed by an attribute? Let’s just say you’ve got two of the three attributes covered and you are working on those last two skill points to cover the +5 bonus for the last one. Acrobatics is one of your major skills and you can see that it near to gain a skill point but you don’t want to yet because you’ve already have the ten points to cover your speed attribute.

Suddenly, you fall of a rock and fuck shit, your acrobatics skill has increased. Blam! “You should rest and reflect on what you learned…” (that means I can level up). God #@$ ^%$&! Not only have I wasted a skill point for my speed attribute. I also accidentally levelled and now have fucked myself because I don’t have enough skill points to cover my third attribute (the game stops counting when you have ten major skill points).

Controlling the Fuckage

For me, controlling the fuckage basically means one thing: keeping meticulous notes where my skill levels are at when I gain a level. This provides an essential reference point during the next session of questing and training because I can now always find out how many skill points I gained since my last level up. Even though the game lets you know when you gained a skill point it is easy to miss these messages during the heat of battle. It is also useful to have an idea about which attributes you want to improve on your next level up so you can make wise decisions about which skills to use (e.g. don’t go picking locks but use an open spell when you are trying to improve your willpower).

When you try to accurately train your character you’ll have to pull off some seriously strange shit with your character. Your mage will be walking around wearing heavy armour, sucking rhino ass because she’s so slow and her spells are so ineffective. Your Orc will look like a daisy because he’s wearing light armour in order to upgrade his speed. Your thief will be the grand champion of the Arena because you wanted to upgrade his or her fighting skills and the Arena is a controlled way to do it which pays off pretty well too. (Note to self: remember that your initial choice of armour is not final; you can grab a different piece of certified Arena armour from the back cabinet next to Owyn).

The Final Stretch

When you are near to a level up it is time to think about your attribute modifiers. I keep another set of notes for this and just write down the skills and their increases grouped by the attributes. All these notes make me look more like an accountant than a gamer but that’s the price to pay for decent leveling in Oblivion. I also keep track of the total number of points per attribute to make it easier to see on what skills to work during play. It’s also wise to start thinking about which skills are easily trained by yourself and for which ones you may need to buy training in order to avoid wasting too much skill points of other skills trying to get it up by yourself.

Most offensive skills are pretty hard to train without training other skills too. Fighting usually means wearing armour so your light or heavy armour skill will go up. Blocking is also pretty common during a fight. You might opt to not wear armour or block but then there is a good chance that you will have to rely on restoration magic and/or potions which means that either your restoration, alchemy (if you make potions) or mercantile (if you buy potions) skill will go up too.

It is not all bad though because most skills are pretty easy to train without risking wasting skill points on other skills. All the magic skills except for destruction are easy because you can just repeatedly cast a cheap spell on yourself. Security and speechcraft are pretty easy too. Mercantile is a little bit harder because you need merchandise or money to work with. Armourer is pretty hard to train too because you can’t always easily damage your armour or weapon in a controlled environment.

No Honour

Because of the skill juggling game that Oblivion wants you to play we have to find a good way to train our skills in a controlled way. Luckily this pretty easy to do thanks to an unexpected combination of conjuration magic and the difficulty slider. I have put aside my scruples about using the difficulty slider because I figured I would have to turn it down eventually. But instead of turning it down each level I now turn it a little bit up each time I level up and keep it there during questing. When I’m near a level up and need to train some specific combat skills I turn it full up or down to suit my training.

It is essential to become an apprentice in conjuration as soon as possible so you can conjure up weak creatures for training. The only problem is just that the creatures are so weak that you are likely to kick their ass in just a few blows. This forces you to conjure up another one and this can lead to rapid skill increases in conjuration. The trick here is to use the difficulty slider to your maximum advantage. If you are training an offensive skill just put the slider high and use a weak weapon. If you are training a defensive skill like heavy or light armour or block then put the slider low.

Training defensive skills is ideal in this way but training offensive is still risky. You may not always want to block or wear armour to avoid wasting skill points but with a high slider position this can be dangerous and might force you to use restoration magic. The Lord birth sign can help with this because it offers a pretty good health regeneration spell that does not influence your restoration magic.

I can heartily recommend the secret chamber behind the necromancer’s sign below Benirus Manor in Anvil as a controlled fighting environment. You can lock it up so your conjured creatures have nowhere to go and once Lorgrens corpse disappears it’s actually quite cosy in there. Continue reading “leveling”


My first PSX (original european series) got baked on a hot summer in the year that the PSX was released in Europe. It was just called the PlayStation then. The baking was totally explainable. It was in a cramped position so the air couldn’t circulate very well. It was stunningly hot and I was Soul Edge for hours on end. As said, totally explainable and on top of that Sony got me a free replacement even though the warranty period was over. Never had any overheating problems with my NES or SNES so this was a completely new but unwelcome experience for me.

Ever since that moment I have been vigilant about overheating. My consoles are always placed in well ventilated spots in accordance with the placement instructions in the manual and I’m careful not to push them too much when the temperature is up. This formula has been succesful until a few days ago when my GPU got damaged so much that even a stone head drunk like me could spot the obvious graphics glitches. Now I already posted about that so I will not divulge any more but please let me demonstrate the lengths to which people go to keep their Wii cooled down.

If this isn’t next gen gaming then I don’t know what is. Look and behold…

Really, look at the movie and then read on… I know it’s tedious but please sit it out it. It gets better towards the end.

The first thing that strikes me about this movie is the Wii setup. It is positioned maybe two feet from the wall and there are wide open spaces on every other way. How on earth is this thing able to overheat? Well trust me folks – it can and it does.

The dude gives us some advice to keep our Wiis positioned on an angle towards the wall. This creates a pocket of extra air space for the system to breathe in and although it sounds strange it actually makes some sense and maybe I’ll apply a slight angle to my Wii positioning when it comes back. Yeah right… I think I’m going crazy here… There should’ve been enough room to breathe for my Wii. You could house an elephant in that spot dammit.

We are also told that we should use the included stand when positioning the Wii on its side. I did this and can tell you that it is no guarantee to prevent overheating. When I realized what was wrong with my Wii I proclaimed that I would put it just flat on its back the next time but now I read that that also can cause problems because that is the side where the motherboard is mounted and where most heat is generated… WTF? What in our good lord’s name is wrong with this damn console? If it was the fucking most powerful console on earth or capable of creating a wormhole to some distant galaxy then it can overheat. No, what we have here is the worlds latests and most underpowered console which is capable over overheating itself to death by doing… Wait for it… Nothing whatsoever!

Yeah you heared me right… It overheats itself by doing nothing. Well, maybe that is slightly offsetting. To be accurate, it is doing the “WiiConnect24” thing. I thought this would auto update my Wii system with latest patches but now I’m not really sure about that anymore. All I know is that it will slowly but surely kill your graphics processor.

From the video we learn that we need a desktop ventilator to keep our Wii cool. Yeah, that is really next gen gaming. Keeping the least powerful console of this time cool with a noisy fan while we are playing games of the 80’s or having the damn system standby on connect mode doing nothing.

Can’t wait to have my Wii back so I can put it in an position angled to the wall, put a desktop fan (or two) next to it to blow away the heat, activate WiiConnect24 again and wait for the sparse updates to arrive so I can see the blue tray light flashing out of nowhere for one or two seconds every two months. Just imagine the anxiety: will it overheat or will it not? How long can I disable one or two fans before the infamous matrix of fucked up pixels appears? Forget the PS3, now your playing with power: Nintendo power and it actually fucks you up in real life. How is that! Continue reading “This”


In the beginning things

It seemed like a good idea to turn on WiiConnect24. I have cable internet and a lot of bandwidth to spare. Automatic system updates sounds nice so why not? Well, it slowly cooks up the Graphical Processing Unit (GPU) in your Wii, that’s why!

Ever since my first PSX overheated I’ve been very careful to make sure that this would never happen again and still I managed to fry my Wii in about three weeks time. I followed Nintendo’s placing instructions very carefully and read the manual maybe five times. It is fully expected that these things will overheat when you don’t use the stand placing them on their side or don’t allow for enough room to breathe but I used the official stand and there was more than enough room on all sides for the heat to dissipate.

What going is wrong?

I first noticed problems when I was watching my brother play Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. During the animation that shows Samus entering her ship there are plenty of smoke effects around the lift platform and these looked pretty fucked up. At this time I still attributed it to a glitch in the game.

A short while later, during a session of Link’s Crossbow Training the graphics artifacts returned in some of the stages. Again, mainly in the areas with particle and smoke effects. At this time it started to become really annoying. It’s like when you just washed your car and then some bird shits on it. No matter how clean it looks, the only thing you can see is that piece of birdshit that’s messing up the picture.

When I later popped in Resident Evil 4 the glitches were all over the place (thanks to all the fog effects) and it became painfully apparent that there was something very wrong. Below is a YouTube movie that also shows Resident Evil 4 on the Wii with the exact same glitches.

You can see bands of light green pixels appearing accross the screen. Especially to the left and right and on the fog effects. Maybe my Wii is not that far gone yet but otherwise it looks exactly the same.

What is happens?

From what I have gathered so far the earliest warning sings are graphics clipping and texture stretching artifacts. This is the first signal that your GPU is overheating and at this point it is not too late to save it by turning power off. Though if you follow Nintendo’s placing instructions the chances are that you will never ever notice this because the cooking happens slowly when you’re not playing.

You see, one of the main culprits is WiiConnect24. When you turn this on your Wii will start to build up heat much like how it would when the Wii is active. Unlike in active mode though, the cooling fan is disabled in WiiConnect24 mode so it will not spin periodically to blow away excess heat. So the early warning sings do not apply, there will be no clipping graphics or stretching textures. There will be just one otherwise beatiful sunday morning when you turn on your Wii to find it suddenly sports a shitload of green pixel bands on the particle effects in your games.

As far as I understand it, the same thing can happen when you are playing virtual console games. Even though the system is active and working the fan will not be activated so heat will builld up and eventually damage the GPU. If this is really so then that really sucks because I’m a huge fan of these games and having to quit just to let the system cool off is lame.

In the end things

Well the Wii is currently back to Nintendo to get it fixed or replaced. Whatever they decide to do. They assured me that the virtual console games would be transferred and I’m assuming my save games and the rest of my system state will be too. I could live with losing my save games but I’m not going to pay again for those virtual console downloads – already spend way too much money on that stuff!

Nintendo service is apparently aiming to get my Wii replaced or fixed in three weeks but with christmas and newyear just around the corner things might take a while longer… Geez, a really nice time for the Wii to break down. Got a short vacation around new year and planned to get some gaming done. Got some new games too but they will have to wait.

Planning on getting one next month the PS3 arrived sooner than expected. At first I seriously set out to get another Wii but that proved very hard on a sunday. Before traveling beyond the city a PS3 proved to be an even better alternative. Got good games (and one lesser one) for it and now I have even more gaming to do.

I really hate not having the Wii around though. Now that my good brother is also heavily into gaming it really becomes very obvious how the Wii is so much better suited for two or more players. It is so much a core part of the system that it almost feels awkward when dealing with the PS3 in similar scenarios. More on that in a next post though for a comparison between the Wii and PS3. Continue reading “wii”


Oh Calibra, my dear Calibra how I will mis you. You were my first car. The only car for me. All other cars paled in comparison to you. Your sleek gray-black natural looks, blinded windows and those ’91 curves with humble 15″ wheels. That huge black sun band which always made it virtually impossible to drive up to the line at stop signs, those black headlight trims that made it almost impossible to see the road at night. Those were the times.

Do you remember when I picked you up? Our first real drive (I’m not counting that 5 minute test drive with Tony) together and your cooling fluid was gone before we even arrived home! Great stuff you pulled there but I must admit that I wasn’t entirely happy with it at that time! I can also clearly remember how you started to remind me of your constant thirst for oil a few weeks later by flashing your little orange oil-level check telltale light. I must apologize though for having them disable that but it was just too annoying having to drive around like that. I was well aware of your oil needs at that point and from then on I’ve checked your level every week. Only once was I almost too late.

One of the most frightening things happened when we drove to Stork in Eindhoven on a dreary morning. It was raining and somewhere on the Eindhoven ring near the Kennedylaan (in a traffic jam) suddenly heavy smoke came from below the bonnet. Driving on with my fingers crossed (figuratively of course) I arrived at Stork and as suspected by then I found your cooling fluid gone. I was fortunate that your thermostat was broken at that time and on the way back I bought some new fluid to refill you. Turned out there was a small leak somewhere in the plumbing around the radiator and easy to fix. Sure looked spectacular though.

I also remember the starting troubles we had in the beginning. I was afraid your starter engine would give in but later found out I didn’t drive you enough! When we started to drive long distances you suddenly started to come to live. Since I started driving you each weekend for at least two hundred, sometimes more than a thousand kilometers your mood gradually became better. The only thing I needed to do was to give you a fresh bottle of oil every eight hundred kilometers or so and everything was well.

In the end though you started to show some signs of age but I only loved you more because of it. There were the standard rusty spots on your rear plating and at the welding seams near the center bottom of the car but you already had those when I bought you and it wasn’t that bad when you consider that I had you parked outside for three years. At one point your standard parcel shelf started to succumb to the weight of two speakers and I can still clearly remember how annoyed I was when it completely gave in on our way back from Germany. Luckily I was able to get a less flimsy one from the car audio shop and that worked out great. Should work out perfectly for my new car too.

About a half year later, also on the way back from Germany the roof lining started to come loose along the hatch. I should have known better than driving 180km/h with all the windows open. This creates an enormous amount of turbulence at the rear of the car which will eventually rip the lining. Of course I neglected to properly fix it too. So what begin as something relatively easy to fix suddenly became a huge problem when almost half of the roof came down on the autobahn a few weeks later. Thank God for duct tape. However we also found out that duct tape on a not so clean surface will not last very long when you park your car in the hot sun. Then I tried to glue it back to the roof again but this failed miserably and I finally gave in. I seriously thought about ripping the lining clean off at some point but in the end decided to stick with the duct tape and fix ritual. It was annoying as hell but I still loved you.

My dear Cali, I will never forget you. Continue reading “My”


Last Saturday, after a week of searching and digesting information on the 4×4 transfer box I finally decided on what is going to be my next Calibra. This one is newer than my other Calibra, has leather interior, perfectly working air conditioning, larger (16 inch) rims and 260BHP of turbo power. Unfortunately it lacks the sunroof and the blinded windows but this is not something that cannot be overcome.

My New Calibra (Side)
My New Calibra (Interior)

I’m still slightly worried about the 4×4 transfer box though. It is a fragile part of the car and the previous owner is running different makes of tires front and back and this is considered a very bad thing ™. So the first thing I have to do Saturday, after I pick the car up, is to replace them with a set of 4 new Z-rated directional (directional profile, it’s a turbo after all) tires. Continue reading “My”