Sunday, July 20, 2008

We all make cars turn into robots... can you help me turn robots into a car?

All things must come to an end, and that includes my car.

The old girl is a 1994 Kia Sophia who finally sputtered her last last week. As of right now it is in the shop, where mechanics will surely attempt to raise it briefly in some sort of zombie-like state. This won't last long, however. I need to get a new car, and that means money for a down payment. I was gearing up for this anyhow, but this has hit earlier than expected.

Here's the deal, I'm out to raise some cash to get this taken care of, and I'm looking for your help. I've got several ways to get this cash together, and here they are:

Step 1: You Buy My Robots, I do not Drink Your Milkshake

Here's the situation: I've got lots of Transformers. This is a seriously large collection and I'm looking to trim it anyway. I'm going to be starting off with the 'premium' stuff and will move down to the more mundane offerings as time goes by. My goal? Reduce my collection by 50% and raise enough money to get a new car.

You get robots for your own collections or for your kids, and you also get my solumn promise that I will not, literally or metaphorically, drink your milkshake from a distance with a room-length straw. Quality merchandise and security against milkshake theft. What more can you ask for?

Click here to see the currently-for-sale list.

Step 2: Gaming for Wheels

"But Trent!", you say, "I'm not that into giant robots!" Well, I've got you covered if your geekdom runs a different way. All Octavirate Gaming PDFs sold through RPGNow are 25% off! This includes ExorSystems, Inc and our Stock Art Collections for game publishers. Half of each purchase goes to my car, while the other half goes towards the general wellbeing of Ron Smith. Both of these are important things in the grand scheme of things. Once the car is purchased, this money will return to its original purpose: paying freelancers to do art for future gaming products.

If you prefer your books in a printed format, we've got you covered over at

Step 3: Wear your support.

We've got plenty of T-shirts for sale. I'm working on a special one for promoting this project, but in the meantime, enjoy:

So there you have it, three ways you can help me help you help me get a car while simultaneously putting awesome swag in your hands. If you need to contact me regarding a purchase or with general questions, you can email me at trenttroop (at) octavirate (dot) com. Convert that into the standard email format to send it over.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

We have a winner, ladies and gentlemen!

My best tech support story ever is now this:

A guy calls in with a laptop problem. Now, this is how about 18%* of my calls in a given day start. So I ask the gentleman to tell me what's happening with the machine. To my surprise, he asks me a question:

"Where are you guys from?"

I answer "Oklahoma", as that's as detailed as we're allowed to get.

"Well, then you wouldn't know much about what we've got here in Virginia..."

At this point, my curiosity is piqued. What could they have in Virginia that would cause specific computer problems? Roving bands of New England hackers? The Wild Virginian plastic-eating marmot? Ol' Qwerty, a civil-war era ghost that steals any object that bears his name? Some sort of chaotic magnetic distrubance eminating from Mount Rogers, the tallest point in all Virginia?

"Ok, well, I was at this scenic overlook..." Oh, I see. When he speaks of 'what they've got in Virginia' he means 'hills.'

Around this time the tale goes from surreal to dumfounding and back again. Long story short, this fellow as at a scenic overlook in Virginia. Taken in by the wonder and majesty of the great outdoors he felt compelled to capture it in an image frozen in time. As a man of the modern age he didn't carry anything so mundane as a 'camera' on his person. Alas, his plans would be scuttled and he would be forced to pay the fifteen dollars for a pack of photographic post cards at the Park Services Gift Shop.

But wait! He had his laptop computer with him! His computer had a webcam! Salvation was at hand!

Perching precariously close to the railing (Or perhaps on top of/over it? Sadly, I was not there.) he leaned in to take the shot. Just as his finger came down upon the 'capture' option, some uncouth fellow bumped him from behind. Our hero's grip failed him and his laptop slipped from his fingers and tumbled, end over end, to the chasm's rocky bottom. There the rocks scattered the fragments of his difference engine into a shower of metallic debris and plastic shards.

Mind you, at this point our photographic McGuyver has failed to procure even his purchase reciept. Thankfully, with or without the receipt, he is up the same creek. I inform him, quite solumnly, that some of the warranties cover accidental damage. How cruel fate and the terms and conditions of the warranty, are! For without the remains of the mechanism, this is categorized as loss, not accidental damage. This was, of course, not what our tepid explorer wanted to hear and shortly after the fifth or sixth explanation he resolved to call back.

It isn't often that one encounters something that can be described as truly amazing. Today, however, we have a new winner and I have been witness to something that boarders on the supernatural.

*Percentage is a total guess and is based on no scientific evidence, whatsoever.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Weight Loss Update - Pride Trounces Gluttony and Sloth

I'm a chunky dude.

I've been working on it, though. Since November I've lost between 45 and 60 lbs, but since my scale wasn't able to measure above 300, I have no idea where I started. My only scale was one at the gym at work, which is the old style sliding-weight design that I can never get an accurate bead on.

Well, I have a new digital scale. Huzzah. And because you may or may not be reading this, my ongoing self improvement is now your business.

Last week, I took my first Friday measurement: 318.2 lbs. More than I had thought (the scale at work had finally put me under 300, good gravy, where did I start at?) but still, a definate improvement.

As of Friday, 7/4/08 - 315.2 pounds. Three pounds lost in seven days. Not bad and well worth sacrificing my precious gummies. Oh gummies, how I miss you. Everything else that's bad for ya? Bah! screw it!

This has also come with a vast improvement in my general physical health. I've got more energy, more endurance, and my upper body strength (which I've been working on for reasons of proportion. My legs? Frikkin' tree trunks. My arms? Noodly.) has, if one takes into account what one does on a bench press machine, doubled since November.

It all goes to show you. If you pit your deadly sins against one another, you can come out ahead. Pride proved to be a major motivating force, being out Gluttony and Sloth.