Red Rocker

I’m taking an involuntary break from school for a while, so in order to keep busy, I’m throwing myself into my music. For the last 30 years, I’ve been a bass player. In 1996, I sold all of my gear to focus on art, and went a great many years not playing. About ten years ago, I picked up an old Fender Precision from a pawn shop for $75 and began noodling with it again. When an opportunity to play in the church worship band cropped up, I got more serious, and bought myself a Steinberger five string, which has been my main instrument for a long time now. Among the things I sold in ’96 was a Rickenbacker 4001. I’ve always regretted parting with that and for years have been trying to find my way back to one.

A few months ago, I decided to take up guitar. I picked up a candy apple red Fender Stratocaster, and have been teaching myself chords from YouTube videos. It’s actually been going pretty good. I’m not doing any solos yet, but I can play rhythm for a pretty sizable number of songs. I’m still a bit awkward with it, but I expect in the next few months I’ll be good enough to embarrass myself in front of people. I’ve been pretty dedicated with my practice routine.

I had a horrible week with news that I wouldn’t be able to continue with school, and have been feeling pretty down. In a hugely generous effort, my son Kyle bought me a brand new ruby red Rickenbacker 4003 to cheer me up. Words cannot express how much I appreciate this kindness. I certainly don’t deserve it. I’m not such an awesome player that should have one of these based on skill. But it brings a great deal of joy to my daily existence. I grew up with this sound, and my heroes have always been artists and musicians, so to have an instrument like this is just a privilege and an honor, and I am grateful for the gesture Kyle has made. It doesn’t make me a better player, but it certainly makes me want to be one. If he wanted to cheer me up, this was way above and beyond the call!

I took it onstage at church this morning, so it was broken in before a crowd a few hours after I received it. My wife and I are working on our own music projects as a duo and I have great plans for the red instruments in the years to come.

Thanks Kyle!

STO- Not Bad at All

A few days into Star Trek Online now, and I’m really enjoying it so far.  At first, it was a bit daunting finding my way around, and wondering what to do next, as the areas are so big, but the missions have sent me out into content I can readily handle, and I’m learning how to progress through the levels and ranks.

Chris Rickenbacker is now a lieutenant, and almost 4th level.  He’s captain of an old Constitution class starship, just like the Enterprise from the original series.  The phasers even sound the same, which are different from the next generation era phaser sounds.

Deep Space Nine was really the last show set in this universe.  They created so much in TNG and DS9, and then tossed Voyager into a little bubble on the other side of the galaxy, and Enterprise was back in time, so we haven’t seen much of how the alpha quadrant has progressed – until now.  We may not have any movies or series on the horizon to carry on the legacy, but this game does an excellent job of telling stories, and giving us tidbits on the fates of characters and locations we knew from the episodes.

The writing is what makes it good.  Instead of quests, we have “episodes”, which can be multi-part.  It can start in space, lead to some away-team action on a planet, and then back into space for some ship-to-ship combat.  The feel so far is very faithful to the Star Trek franchise.

Game mechanics are a little strange at times.  I don’t like how every game now divides characters up into either tank, healer, or DPS classes.  I don’t like that we have to play for a while to unlock Klingon races and ships – that should be available from jump.  Characters have person armor equipment they wear.  There’s a currency that’s used for customizing ships and skills.  So much of the content can purchased for real money, it makes me think they’ll most likely switch to a play-for-free model, just like Cryptic did with Champions Online.

I’ve been at it for less than a week, but I feel I’ve at least gotten my eight bucks worth so far.  I have a long way to go, but I don’t know if I’d subscribe yet or not. It needs to have a pretty good higher level content system.

STO- Getting the Hang of Things

I spent a little more time with Star Trek Online this evening, and I think I’m getting a feel for it.  I explored the spacedock above Earth, and saw tons of other players and ships in the proximity.

STO- Meet Chris Rickenbacker

Servers were up this morning!

I researched the controls a little more, and know what I’m doing for movement and interaction now. I have the basics of combat down, both for the ships and ground missions.

My first character is a guy named Chris Rickenbacker. He’s an ensign on the USS Fender, and when all of his superior officers are grabbed by the Borg, he becomes acting captain of the ship.

Further observations – we have an inventory, which was missing in City of Heroes. There seems to be some equipment to put on, but I have to research it more. I hear there is crafting and an economy, so I’m looking forward to finding quite a bit to do.

I’ve heard about locations I want to visit, like Deep Space 9, Risa, and the Klingon homeworld.

More to come!