Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Lord of the Rings Online is now free to play

Meet Mneme of Rohan:

Have you ever wanted the chance to explore Middle Earth and mingle with hobbits, elves and dwarves? The Lord of the Rings Online MMORPG has recently implemented a free to play option - you don't need to buy the game or pay a monthly fee to enjoy this online game. All you need to do to get started is download the game and sign up for a free account.

The free option is great and I've really had fun playing it so far. You can make two characters per server and I have Mneme, my Human Lorekeeper and Aureanna, my Elven Hunter. The gameplay is very natural and easy to pick up.

Something that is always pretty important to me in games like this is the crafting system. LOTRO has done a great job - each character can have three Professions, all of which rely at least somewhat on the items other professions make. Rather than choosing which three individual professions you want, you choose a Vocation that comes with a standard set. Mneme, for example, is an Historian - she has the Farmer, Scholar and Weaponsmith professions. In fact, as I'm typing this she is busily processing crops grown earlier this morning on another computer.

So if it's free, how does the company make enough money to keep things running? There are paid options that open up different aspects of the game or give boosts. These can either be purchased by subscription OR by paying only for the aspects you want. One of the great features is that you can earn credit to buy these extras just by playing, so if you really want something but can't afford to spend real money you can eventually earn it by completing in-game objectives. I haven't spent any money yet and I've really been enjoying myself.

Winners x 2

Good morning everyone! After an unexpectedly hectic weekend I'm back and ready to get prizes on their way to the winners of our first two giveaways: the 10 post "Somethings" giveaway and my TGIF giveaway.

Thank you to everyone who participated! I'm planning more for the future (including something that will start later today) so stay tuned.

Both winners were chosen randomly from all eligble entries.

The winner of the "Somethings" giveaway is . . . Breanne!

The winner of the "TGIF" giveaway is . . . Chisum's Crew!

 E-mails have been sent out to both winners. Please respond within 72 hours to claim your prizes!

Friday, September 10, 2010

TGIF Mini Givaway Thing - $10 Amazon eGift Card

“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.”

~ Sergei Rachmaninoff

I'm having a really good Friday - great voice lesson, three items from various things came in the mail (including something completely unexpected!) and a whole weekend in front of me.

To spread the cheer I'm doing a mini giveaway for a $10 Amazon eGift Card.

All you have to do is comment on any non-giveaway post to be entered. If you don't have your email in your profile, please post it here after you've posted somewhere else. You should feel free to comment on more than one post; however, you will still only get one entry per person.

This giveaway will end at 11:59 p.m. CDT on Saturday, 9/11/10. A winner will be randomly chosen from a list of all entrants and contacted via email.

While you're at it, you might want to check out my other giveaway that ends on Sunday for a $10 Wal-Mart gift card, Godiva Hot Cocoa and more!

MMORPG.com is Giving Away 10 copies of Star Trek Online!

"A dream that became a reality and spread throughout the stars"

~ James T. Kirk

I accidentally bumped into this giveaway and thought it was too good to keep to myself! MMORPG.com is giving away 10 free copies of Star Trek Online.

In Star Trek Online you are part of an ever-expanding universe where you are an officer with command of your own ship. There are both space missions and missions that take place on planet surfaces. There is an in-game trading system and economy; you can even raise and breed tribbles!

I downloaded the free demo about a month ago and tried it out. The gameplay is a bit different from some other MMORPGs I've tried; it would probably take me a while to get 100% comfortable with the controls when I'm fighting on the ground as my Trill captain Mnemosyne. That being said, I was able to complete all the demo missions without much difficulty.

The biggest draw for me was the time I spent flying my ship (The Operetta). This was much easier to control than my personal character and the freedom of motion in all three dimensions was wonderful. It's also gorgeous - I kept finding myself commenting out loud how pretty everything was! I could honestly enjoy just flying around enjoying the in-game view (and did for a while). I'm keeping my fingers crossed to win the full version!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Scientists have invented an actual Tractor Beam Thing

"We're caught in a tractor beam!"

~ Han Solo, Star Wars

Scientists have developed a "tractor beam" that uses lasers to heat up the air around an object. This temperature difference is the key to directing the object's movement. Since it needs air to work it won't be viable in space, but they're already coming up with ideas for using the technology. Check out in this article for more info.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Twitterdämerung - A Twitter Opera Thing

"Wagner's music is better than it sounds"

~ Mark Twain

I remember reading about Twitterdämerung (a play on Götterdämmerung, the last installment of Wagner's Ring Cycle) about a year ago when it was first released. The Royal Opera House asked people to tweet lines for a new opera and forged the music out of the 140-characters-or-less ideas of 900 people. Apparently, the opera oddity wasn't all that bad. I'd be interested in seeing a video of the whole thing, but alas, all ROH has uploaded is this short clip.

Nerd Art Thing

These fun images are by Lee Bretschneider of AdventuringCompany.com. You can get prints of these and more at his online store.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Buy Four Items and One is Free - Amazon.com Thing

"All generalizations are false, including this one."

~ Mark Twain

Amazon.com has a feature where certain items qualify for a "Buy Four and only pay for Three" promotion. Basically, if you buy four items that qualify Amazon will give you the lowest-priced for free!

This means that, say, if I get these bake racks for $9.99:

Wilton 2105-459 Excelle Elite 3-Tier Cooling Rack

and this cute panda bento box for $15.99:

Kotobuki 280-129 2-Tiered Bento Box, Panda Face

this photo album for $15.58:

Pioneer Travel Postbound Album with Photo Window 12-Inch by 12-Inch, World Map

and this neat pewter bubble wand to save for someone's Christmas gift for $14.60:

Clay Company Pewter Bubble Wand, Peace & Love Design

My order review looks like this (using Super Saver shipping option):

Items: $56.16
Shipping & Handling: $9.71
4-for-3 Promotion: -$9.99
Super Saver Discount: -$9.71

Total Before Tax: $46.17
Estimated Tax: $0.00

Order Total: $46.17

You got free shipping!

Pretty neat, huh? If you play your cards right and try to get items that all cost the same, that's an automatic 25% off. You can find out more about this here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Willy Wonka Operetta Thing - Aria from Flotow's Marta

"Martha! Martha! Du entschwandest, Und mein Glück nahmst du mit dir; Gib mir wieder, was du fandest, Oder teile es mit mir."

~ Lyonel, Martha

Translation: "Martha! Martha! You have vanished, and you take my joy with you; Show me what you have found, or split it with me."

Another Willy Wonka music post! This time I noticed him singing part of a famous aria while getting blasted with foam on the Wonkamobile. The song is "Ach! so fromm, ach! so traut" (which some would know better as the Italian "M’apparì tutt’amor") from Friedrich von Flotow's operetta Marta. Above I've posted a link to a recording of the piece in German; if you like it, you might also want to check out someone singing the Italian version. I personally like Jussi Björling:

Gorgeous Song Thing - John Ireland's "Sea Fever"

"And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by . . ."

~ John Masefield

I'm watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory tonight (the original one with Gene Wilder) and just saw something that made me rush to YouTube during a commercial and listen to this song.

When the boat arrives to take the visitors deeper into the factory, Mr. Wonka says, "and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to sail her by." It's a (slightly incorrect) quote of John Masefield's poem "Sea Fever", the poem composer John Ireland used for his song of the same name. I love Ireland's interpretation of the poetry, and goodness do I love a good baritone singing it! The video I've posted is a great rendition by Sir Thomas Allen.

Weekend Webcomic Thing - Count Your Sheep

"Now go to bed!"

~ Adis!

I've decided to post a webcomic I enjoy each weekend to help spread the word on some of my favorites. I hope you find one you like!

Count Your Sheep is a wonderful webcomic by Adrian Ramos about a single mom (Laurie), her daughter (Katie) and the imaginary friend they both share, Ship the sheep. It's adorable, heartwarming, cute, clever and funny without being violent or crude. The art is clean and all done in shades of blue. There are LOTS of archived strips to go through, so pace yourself! :)

Vader Facebook Thing

Friday, September 3, 2010

Star Trek Thing

"Let me be direct: its a Trek, not a war.
Gonna boldly go where no one's gone before!"

~ Twinprov

This is a Star Trek rap done by a local comedic duo known as Twinprov.  I actually found this online well before I realized they were from Oklahoma.  Buck and Clint Vrazel are twins with a flair for performing and nerdy goodness. Check out their other videos on YouTube for geek humor on topics like Twilight, Harry Potter and Transformers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Opinion Thing

"Money, money, money..."


I officially LOVE this site! I've tried survey sites before, but none of them has paid as consistently for me as Opinion Outpost. I  was just awarded another $2 for a survey about shopping that only took me 10 minutes to complete and felt the need to spread the news.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Metropolitan Opera Thing

"When in doubt, sing loud”"

~ Robert Merrill

If you've never been to an HD broadcast from the Met, you are missing out! Although nothing can compete with seeing live opera in a hall, most of us are too poor and too far away from a major house to indulge often, if at all.  Fortunately for the last few years the Metropolitan Opera has been showing operas, often live, in movie theaters across the country and around the world.

If you've never had the chance to see an opera, this is a great way to do so on a budget. Subtitles are used if the music is in a foreign language so there's no need to brush up on your German or Italian. Out of the 2010-2011 season, I would probably recommend Donizetti's Don Pasquale as the best option for first-timers.

Once the season kicks off, you'll be able to find theaters showing the broadcasts on the Met's HD site at http://www.metopera.org/Hdlive . You can also look up your local theaters to see if they are showing any or all of the series.

If I get enough interest, I may try and run a tickets giveaway....anyone?