Category Archives: Gaming

Mundane Update

I realized I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I should write something… apologies in advance because this is probably not going to be that great of a post since I don’t really haven’t anything all that interesting to talk about.

Nothing all that exciting has happened lately. I took a break from my canning hobby for a bit. This weekend was the first trip to the farmers market in a long time. It was pretty much just inspired by a recipe for “Dilly Beans” that I had found online. It is pretty much wax and green beans in a liquid mixture of vinegar, wine, and a little sugar and salt, and then some dill seeds, dill, and mustard seeds were added to each jar. I made it last night using some new Weck jars I picked up Sunday. This was my first experience with Weck, and I still have not decided if I like them or not. I think the standard mason jars are easier to deal with, but maybe it just takes some practice. The jars were also kind of large and made fitting them in the pot more difficult, and my jar lifters didn’t fit them well either. My current thought is just that I will stick with the mason jars, but I will definitely use the Weck ones I already have because the damned things are too expensive not to.

My new weekend obsession is the cafe in Grand Asia. They have dim sum on the weekends, and I am in love with their shrimp dumplings and the pork rice wrapped in bamboo leaves. They also have bubble tea, which is pretty awesome. And a some tofu “puddings” of which we have tried two. The spicy and salty one wasn’t all that great, but the (slightly) sweet one with tapioca pearls was wonderful. This obsession is fading since we have been three or four times now, but I still love it.

And we have of course been playing Guild Wars 2 constantly. Love that game! Although now TV shows are coming back so I don’t know which will win out yet… TV or GW2. It is going to be hard. It is tempting to try out an adapter to use my iMac as a TV!

I know everyone is wondering if we have the new iPhones yet, and no we don’t. We aren’t eligible for upgrade at the discounted price until next summer, and I don’t think they are waiving it this time. I am considering going down to an AT&T store to see if they will waive it though. We did briefly stop by the Apple store to play with the new one yesterday. They are so light they almost feel cheaply made. After leaving the store our phones felt about 10 times heavier. If we do get the iPhone 5, I want a white one for the first time ever; I liked the look of it a lot with the new backplate.

Guild Wars 2 – Accessories!

I am really enjoying Guild Wars. The graphics are awesome, and I get to accessorize my character!

My new hat:

Fudgums’ New Hat (street clothes)

Since the game has no monthly fee, they make their money by selling virtual currency that you can spend on nifty accessories and other in-game content. I don’t really foresee myself spending money on this stuff, but the hat was free so I snagged it.

Bye bye SWTOR, hello Guild Wars 2

I haven’t played Star Wars: The Old Republic in weeks. I may go back to playing it some once it goes free-to-play this fall, but I was getting pretty bored with it. And Sean, who had been playing a couple months longer than me, was over the game as well. Multiplayer games like that just aren’t as fun if we aren’t playing together, even if playing together doesn’t mean actually grouping with each other.

Earlier this week Sean started talking about Guild Wars 2. I never played Guild Wars and didn’t know much about it, so I didn’t know if I would be interested. I told him to go ahead and get it if he wanted it, and after I checked it out I would get a copy if it looked fun.

After creating a character on his account, I enjoyed it enough that I downloaded a copy for myself. Of course the download took forever, so I didn’t actually start playing until tonight. Right now I am only level 6, but I think I will stick with this one a little while. And the best part is that you don’t have a monthly fee!

There are only four races in the game, but they are so customizable that there is still plenty of variety. In all the character set up has 10 main steps. Once you pick the race and gender, you can choose from 8 professions (classes) and then further customize those by answering a series of about 5 “background” questions that have three options each. Furthermore, the character design has so many options that it is very easy to make unique toons. Time consuming, but easy. There are so many design options that it is almost overwhelming.

Since SWTOR was the last MMO I played, I can’t help but compare the experience. I joined SWTOR a couple months after it was released, and it was still incredibly buggy. It seemed you hit some sort of bug at every turn. In fact, it was still a little buggy the last time I played and it has been out since late December.

Guild Wars, on the other hand, has only been out a few days. I have encountered very few bugs. Only two things stand out from the hours I have played tonight. The first one was so irritating that I might not have even continued playing if I hadn’t spent $60 on it. I had spent a long time tweaking my character, deciding what I wanted and what I wanted it to look like. Then it just disappeared. Poof. Gone. I was near the end of the creation steps, when it suddenly went to the last screen in the process… but it was blank. All that was there was the background. So then I had to start over… the second time I didn’t feel like putting as much effort into the character.

The second bug was somewhat amusing. There are these zones you teleport to that are basically giant cubes. I fell off the side of one of these and got caught in a crevice, where I was “defeated” from the impact. Before I could use the handy button to teleport out of there I had a pop up inviting me to teleport to an instance with my group… which resurrected me and stuck me right back on the side of the cube. At least you can teleport for a few copper pieces.

So far I really like the game, but it is a bit different from other MMORPGs so it is taking a little getting use to. The graphics are great though, and there is an enjoyable sense of humor with the NPC dialogue. They have also done away with a few of the more annoying aspects of MMO’s, such as not having to hunt for a mailbox to get mail and not having to go “turn in” quests.


Starting to get the old content up

I am working on getting the old content up on the new site. I found a way to import via RSS, but stupid iWeb doesn’t seem to allow more than 50 posts in an RSS feed so I might end up having to do the rest manually. But, thanks to being slackers, 50 posts takes us back to October of 2008. I just need to go through all of those and get the formatting right, edit the categories/author/etc, and see what I want to do about the images in the posts.

Then comes the fun of figuring out the rest of the posts… and then the photo galleries and other pages. Just bear with me, I will get there eventually.

Update: I started correcting the formatting of the posts and managed to make it through March of 2010. The import lost most of the spacing between paragraphs and such, so I have to go through and fix all that. I haven’t even begun worrying about the missing images yet. Although working on the site is really good for my crafting skills in SWTOR… As I sat here inserting P and BR tags I sent my alt’s companion out to craft stuff. So now I have a level 11 (of 50) Sith with a 370 (of 400) Cybertech skill. At this rate I can hit 400 tomorrow and start leveling up my other skills. Sean just walked in, looked over my shoulder, and said, “so nerdy.” Oh well, I think it is time to queue up some work for the SWTOR companions and call it a night!

Update #2: Got the rest of the old posts that are already up formatted, and I have started on getting the older posts up now. The basic plan is to get all the text in, and then worry about photos once I get all of the blog posts up. So if you are wanting to dig through our old posts, you might want to wait a little while.  Oh, and I maxed out my Cybertech skill and have started working on my Treasure Hunting :)

Work & SWTOR

It is hard to believe February is already nearly gone. It seems like Christmas was just a couple weeks ago! Things have been crazy at work for a while now, so I have been working a lot and the weeks just seem to melt together.

I am working on a project that has required me to learn new things, like running batch jobs on the mainframe. At first I was somewhat intimidated by it, but glad for the challenge and the addition to my resume. The first couple months I was working on this project I only had to dabble with it, but about mid-January I was switched to assignments that meant I really had to learn it.

After a few weeks of feeling like an idiot, I really started to catch on. Now I am at the point where I can actually help other people do things, which is cool. I have also gone beyond simply learning to run things and now know a little about editing the JCLs (scripting language used to run batch jobs on IBM mainframe) and reading the programs themselves (written in COBOL) to see what the program is doing. Reading the programs has also helped me improve my SQL skills, as the programs have some pretty crazy queries.

Everyone on the team having to learn about working with the mainframe and about testing the batch jobs really slowed us down, so our testing fell way behind. Plus testing batch jobs simply takes more time than our usual testing. It quickly became apparent that our deadline was unrealistic. And this company does not like moving dates… so the stress of that combined with feeling like an idiot when first working with mainframe made for a very unpleasant time at work. Just trying to get things done meant I have been working every weekend lately.

Thankfully they have a plan in place to help us now, so I shouldn’t have to work 50 hours a week anymore! Only 44-46. Although I will probably still be working more than that. But at least I can work from home now, which makes it easier. The company doesn’t really want us to work from home, but given the amount of work yet to be done they have acquiesced. Now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel I am starting to enjoy work again. The mainframe stuff is actually fun in a geeky way.

So if I have fallen off the earth for the past couple months, or constantly made excuses of “I have to work” … I really have been busy! I most likely wasn’t avoiding you.

Other than working A LOT the only new thing really going on over here is that I started playing Star Wars: The Old Republic. Which means I have a PC again. No, I haven’t given up on Macs… I just slid it over and have two systems crowding my desk. If I could have played SWTOR on my Mac, I would! But the new PC means I can work from home too… the work VPN simply refused to play nicely with my Mac.

I am really enjoying the game, although I have only been playing a couple weeks. I guess you could call it my Valentine’s present from Sean. If you are playing on The Cosair (server) look me up. I have a level 21 Imperial Agent named Jaida.

Rocking Out Once Again

We finally got Rock Band 2! The game we had before was for the xbox, which belonged to our ex-roommate, so we have been deprived ever since we moved in August. Saturday night Sean could no longer wait, so I gave in and let him pick up the game.

We played for a few hours Saturday night and had a lot of fun. The new wireless controllers are pretty nice, although we still need to pick up a second guitar. The new guitar seems to respond a lot better, and they made an attempt to quiet the drums. The drums now have soft rubber tops, which help with the noise a little bit, and the foot pedal now has a shiny metal plate. They also changed the base of the drums a little so that there are a couple extra rubber pads to keep it from sliding on hard floors. We also noticed a few color coded jacks on the back of the drums, which makes me wonder if maybe some add-ons are in the works. Another new feature of the game is an automatic calibration option, which was useful because the timing was way off. The only change I did not like is that the new drumsticks are not glazed, and I don’t like the feel of the bare wood. But no matter, I’ve still got the old drum sticks.

There are tons of great songs for download in the music store, but we stopped ourselves at about 24 or so. I was very excited to see a few Smashing Pumpkins songs that I had always thought would make great Rock Band tracks… it was especially exciting to see Siva available! We still haven’t had time to play many of the tracks, but hopefully that will change soon.

Looks like we will have to have a Rock Band party pretty soon… although with Thanksgiving coming up it may have to wait until December. Plus we are still lacking a second guitar. Although, it looks like the Guitar Hero World Tour guitars work with Rock Band… so that makes it entirely too tempting to use the logic that we should just go ahead and buy that game instead of having an extra guitar sitting around.

Macross Ace Frontier

Robyn surprised me last week – for my birthday? See my birthday is in December very close to Christmas. My parents always tried not to merge the two together and did a pretty good job at it. Robyn still thinks it’s a bum wrap to only get presents once a year and I’m not going to disagree with her. So we decided that I would have a birthday in June from now on. Since June had already passed I figured she would wait until next year to start.

A few months ago we decided that our house needed some art on the walls. So Robyn and I took a signed “Do You Remember Love” poster, and an original Kawamori sketch to Michael’s to be framed. Those two items are the prizes of my anime collection. It turned out to be a bit pricey so I said it could be my birthday present. We are really happy with how they look, and are even thinking of hitting the convention circuit again to score more signed artwork.

So anyways… a while back during my Macross Frontier kick we found a PSP game called Macross Ace Frontier. I mentioned I finally had an excuse to get a PSP. Not expecting to get a PSP anytime soon I kinda blew it off because while I would buy a system to play Grand Turismo I probably wouldn’t to play another version of Digital Mission VFX. Well, Wednesday Robyn surprised me with a copy of the game, and a silver PSP to play it on!

I had given up on ever playing the game so I was very surprised to get a copy. Turns out it’s really fun and plays just like any of the older Digital Mission VFX series with a little camera issue. The music is enjoyable – of course I’m already a fan so take that with caution. I’ve seen pics online that show many playable characters and Vakyries from all the series. If you have a PSP, and like Macross, just go ahead and get this as you won’t be disappointed, playing somewhat representative missions taken from the different series. If anything the music and screen loading art is worth it!

Better than the game is how nice it was to get a thoughtful surprise from my wife ;)