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13 June 2025 @ 02:21 am
This is my journal. Some posts are public, some are friends only. I'm usually quite happy to add new friends, as long as you're not one of those random people with a week old journal who's trying to accumulate a couple hundred friends for no good reason.

I do have a couple levels of filters to deal with a few topics, mainly to block out stuff that i think might be exceptionally boring or possible offensive to some people. If you're curious just ask and i'll tell you about them.

Also, i have a profile on G+ that i post to a lot. It's mostly just cross-posted stuff from here, but if you want to see it, here it is.
29 January 2016 @ 01:41 pm
So the reason why i haven't tried Starships on a harder difficulty yet is because i decided to try and pick up as many achievements as possible first. And one of the achievements is starting a Starships game using a Beyond Earth save. Since i got Beyond Earth as part of the same bundle and was going to play it at some point anyways i decided to try giving that a shot.

As usual with a new Civ game i started it out on the easiest mode, just to get an idea of what to watch out for on higher difficulties.

And i've got to say that what i've learned so far is "don't start on a tiny peninsula", because as it is i'm unintentionally playing a One City Challenge game =P

My starting spot seemed fine until i moved west and the spur of land i was on narrowed down to a three tile isthmus.

The middle tile of those three is occupied by one of those NPC settlements, which is fine. Except two tiles past the settlement is an alien nest. Which means there are a ton of aliens swarming on the other side of the settlement, and if i try to move past the settlement the aliens decide i'm getting too close to the nest and start attacking.

More stuffCollapse )

All in all i really hope this an unusual circumstance, because otherwise i am _not_ looking forward to playing the game again on Normal difficulty. Having to deal with a conflict hot point in constrained space using a one unit per tile system is really emphasizing all the things i _don't_ like about the Civ5 engine.

So aside from alien difficulties i've got to say that the tech tree is hella complicated. Not sure if that's a good or bad thing in the long run after i've had a chance to get used to it, but it's certainly a little perplexing right now.

The UI also doesn't really seem optimal. I accidentally sent my initial Explorer on a couple fool's errands before realizing that there's no way to to actually select a terrain hex. I eventually noticed the description appearing in the upper right hand corner when i moused over it, but because of the tiny font size it doesn't really stand out and can be a little difficult to read at times. And now that i try to recall it, i think it may have not had any going of border around it. Definitely larger text in a bordered box in the lower left corner would work a lot better! And a link to the civilopedia would be great! It would be very useful for looking up details about different resource types.

It also took me a long time to figure out how to establish a trade route once i had a caravan. I also can't seem to find any graphs to compare how i'm doing again the other civs in various categories.

All in all i'm sure there will be a lot of "just one more turn" going on, but i definitely don't think it's going to go down as one of my favorite civ type games ever.
29 January 2016 @ 01:38 pm
I decided to go pick up the Firaxis Humble Bundle, despite already owning most of the games.

The two i didn't have were "Starships" and "Beyond Earth", and despite being aware of their flaws i decided it was worth $15 to get both of them.

I think it also got me a couple XCOM packs i didn't have before, and possibly some map packs for Civ5.

(I also think the "Ace Patrol" bundle is new to me, as in i don't know if i've ever heard of it before, i don't think i already owned it, and i'm really not sure if i should care one way or the other.)

I've probably put a dozen or so hours into Starships, and the game seems pretty much like i expected.

Starships is a _very_ simple 4x space game, with tactical turn-based combat.

It's a bit like Master of Orion with a dash of Sins of a Solar Empire, and then all super simplified.

Description and pseudo-reviewCollapse )

To be fair, any Civ type game played at normal difficulty can easily devolve into curb-stomp once you know the right tricks to min-max and the AI blindspots to exploit, but because Starships is such a simple and short game it seems like you get to the curb-stomping part really quickly. (Which i suppose could be viewed as either a plus or a minus.)

It's possible i may revise my opinions when when/if i move up to the harder difficulties, but at the moment it doesn't seem like there's a huge amount of replay value. All in all if i want a "simple" 4x game i think i'll just keep playing the original Master of Orion, where the UI and options are fairly simple but the permutations and strategy are a bit more complex.
20 November 2015 @ 02:15 pm
More videos! (Because finding non-video stuff takes work!)

There's a new "Princess" Rap Battle out! This time Hermione vs Katniss.

But watch out if you haven't read all the books/seen all the movies yet, there are some pretty serious spoilers in there!


(Though this Hermione doesn't look that much like film Hermione to me.)

And the Doubleclicks have put out a new song about the standard kilogram. (And kirinn gets props for actually taking the time to color one of the images and send it in!)


And on a less musical note, they finally did an Honest Trailer for Star Wars.


Kinda surprised they hadn't done that already, but this is certainly a good time for it.

But just remember, Leia shot first! ;)
19 November 2015 @ 08:34 am
Okay, you're not going to hear me say things like this often, but i actually like the new G+ update!

To be clear, it's still Flat/Material Design, and i don't like Flat design or Material design. However G+ has always been Flat, so it's not like they made it worse in that regard.

What i _do_ like is that information is available and everything stays put! The main menu instead of being a thing that appears when you mouse over it and disappears when you move the mouse again is now just always on the left hand side! And the top bar doesn't change at all when you scroll up and down! So nothing in the UI is moving unless i tell it to move! I love that!

I'm not too happy with the new floaty button in the lower right for making new posts. I really don't like floaty buttons. But since i have G+ reduced to a single column i can just pretend that there's an invisible right sidebar that the new post button is attached to.

One downside is that i can't figure out how to switch between which circle i'm viewing at the moment. Because of the continuing problem with G+ showing you a rather random selection of posts in a somewhat random order i often have to switch to a more restricted circle if i want to be sure i see everything from the people i actually care about, so i need to figure out how to do that again.

...and while trying to figure that out i just realized that if you actually select one of the options from the main menu on the left the whole UI slides around and morphs to the format for whatever option you selected *shudder*

Well, as long as i don't have to do that often it's not _too_ bad?

Cross-posted from: https://plus.google.com/u/0/106322139077890223533/posts/bYDc42udRoC
13 November 2015 @ 04:10 pm
I ended up watching one of those auto-generated YouTube mixes, based off of a geeky parody song i happen to like. I got through a lot of songs, some i knew, some i didn't, some were awesome, some not so much.

One parody intrigued me enough that i ended up following some links and reading some background to figure out how it came to be.

Like most other people i suspect, i've heard bits and pieces of "Somebody That I Used to Know" a number of times, but i'd never seen any of the videos before.

So in 2011 Gyote released the original video, which i thought was okay but nothing spectacular.


There were a number of covers of it, but one of the more famous ones was by "Walk off the Earth", who had a gimmick where all five members of the band were playing a single guitar at the same time. It's an amusing trick, but i'm still kinda meh about the song.


So then "Key of Awesome" made a parody of the video of the cover band, which i find hilarous.


But anyways, as long as i'm at it, here are some of the other parodies that i thought were decent (though not quite as good as the ones i've gushed about in the past =)

Star Wars Let it Flow parody:

Star Wars All About That Base parody:

Leia the Disney Princess (which is half cute and half terrifying)

And i'm pretty sure i've posted these ones before, but they came up on the list, and they're awesome :)

SJ Tucker - Playing D&D:

Paul & Storm: Write Like the Wind

Library Bards - All About That Space
Current Mood: sillysilly
13 November 2015 @ 03:40 pm
Hey guess what! I'm still alive!

Work has been really busy the last couple months, but it's starting to let up a little, so i thought i'd celebrate Friday the 13th (yay!) by actually writing something!

Weird Al had a concert at the Greek a little over a month ago. We actually discovered this while there earlier for a concert by Lindsey Stirling and decided we wanted to go right away, but delayed for awhile on getting tickets.

Then we asked thumbie and shamiksan if they were interested in going too, and waited to get an answer back from them.

Between one delay and another by the time we got around to buying the tickets, about a week ahead of time i think, all the really good seats in the front section were sold out. But so were all the front seats in the cheap section.

If we wanted (relatively) cheap seats we either had to be all the way in the back, or up on one of the balconies. However there were still seats in the middle section, which unfortunately were priced the same as most of the seats in the front section.

It seemed kind of annoying to have to pay front section pricing for middle section seats.I'm guessing a lot of other people felt the same way though, either that or someone else canceled out. Because when we actually tried selecting that section it offered seats on the (house) left center aisle just three rows back.

After some consideration we decided it was _almost_ like being at the rear of the front section, and aisle seats are nice, so we decided to go for it.

So the day of the concert we carpooled up with thumbie and shamiksan. We got there early and got some food and drinks and chatter with each other and with some other random fans who were also there early getting food and drinks.

Since Avalyn likes to have the aisle seat i'd pulled "person who bought the tickets" prerogative and given that seat to her. And when it was actually time to go out to our seats we discovered they were even better than we thought. It turned out that for some reason the first two rows in the section don't extend all the way to the aisle. Instead there's a short stairway coming down from the start of the third row. Which meant that there wasn't actually anyone sitting in front of Avalyn and i. Which along with the walkway between the sections meant that we had a _very_ clear view.

So we were already quite happy with the seats and were having a great time. What we didn't realize until it got to that part of the concert is that during "Wanna B Ur Lover", the song consisting entirely of cheesy pick-up lines, Weird Al actually walks out into the audience and serenades random women with different verses. And he happened to pick the stage right aisle to walk up, i.e. the one we were on.

As he was coming up the aisle i was wondering how long the song was and if he was going to continue up into the second section or turn around at that point. But the song was long enough, and he came up into the second section, and stopped at our row and sang a verse or so to Avalyn :)

So once i was sitting next to someone who was being sung to by Weird Al (along with about 20 other women.) Lame claim to fame right there!

Unfortunately i don't have any pictures. It didn't _seem_ like he was dissuaded by all the people taking pictures of him, but i didn't want to risk scaring him off by being primed and ready to shove my phone in his face. I did get a couple pictures while he was at the top of the first section, and a couple more after he passed our row.

I did find a YouTube video from someone else who was there and filming, but unfortunately(?) they were in the front section, and just about the point Weird Al crossed up to the middle section their view was blocked.


But in any case i'm very glad for the serendipity that ended up having us get those seats :)
14 August 2015 @ 01:58 pm
We went to see Rush at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater on thursday two weeks ago.

(Until recently it was the "Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre". Perhaps Verizon decided sponsoring a venue where cell network isn't that great to begin with and gets overloaded during events was a bad idea?)

The concert itself was great, getting to and from the concert, not so much.

Traffic, Lots and Lots of TrafficCollapse )

Despite the fact that they were theoretically supposed to go on at 8 we only missed half of the first song before we got to our seats at 8:23 (according to twitter.) I'm not sure if they intentionally delayed things because of the mess out on the streets and in the parking lot or if it was just a convenient coincidence, but in any case i was grateful.

The Concert Itself:

They had a gimmick this tour. They started playing stuff from their latest album (which is admittedly pretty normal at a lot of concerts, though more so when it's a new album whereas Clockwork Angels is three years at this point,) and then proceeded to work backwards in time going through 15 of their 19 albums (not counting "Feedback", their cover album.)

Concert DetailsCollapse ).

After the first song of the encore i started thinking; Avalyn wasn't feeling too well, we were all the way in the back of the parking lot, and the encore was clearly going to be all my least favorite songs. (Given the changes Rush has gone through over the years i'm reasonably sure everyone has their own favorite periods, and the early stuff is not mine.)

So i decided we should bail early and try to get out of Dodge before the parking went to hell ...which was a nice theory.

The Traffic OutCollapse )

So aside from the traffic issues it was a great concert. (Too bad we didn't think to take a little time off work and get an early start.) I'm a little sad that we didn't get to hear Dreamline, though i have heard it in concert before. And i'm a little sad that there was nothing from Presto or Hold Your Fire, probably my two favorite albums, or Test For Echo, the first album that came out after i became an active fan.

We had some thoughts about going to the Saturday concert in LA at the Forum as well, assuming we could find last minute tickets, but we were both feeling pretty tired from a very busy week and just ended up staying home instead.

I've pondered whether i'll regret that, or regret not having gotten tickets for that concert instead in the first place, if this turns out to be their last tour. (They have said it was their last "major" tour, which leaves some wiggle room.) I've been to five other Rush concerts before this. Four of them were at the Amphitheatre. One of them was at a stadium in Anaheim (for some reason they didn't play the Irvine Amphitheatre in that tour.) The stadium concert was a pale shadow of the Amphitheatre concerts.

The show at the Forum might be their last concert, and it apparently had some celebrity appearances. But i go to concerts to see and hear Rush's music. In the end i'm okay with saying that i went to their last amphitheatre concert ever (in the same place i saw them at the first time, for a nostalgia bonus) rather than their last concert period.

But i do kind of regret that they didn't play "Losing It" at the Amphitheatre. It seems like they played it at about half the shows, LA won and Irvine lost. Given the subject matter of the song and the reasons for why this is probably their last big tour it must have made a very bittersweet performance =/

And finally, here are a couple links, for anyone who's curious, or for reference by myself later.

A review of the last show:

Some commentary about why it may be their last tour, period:

And a bunch of set lists, including the ones for this tour:
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Current Music: Rush - Losing It
15 July 2015 @ 12:57 pm
Sorry i'm a little late with the update. Work has been hell for the last week, and i came down with a bad case of con crud on top of it. But here you go, finally!

The ListCollapse )

Those are all the links i was able to find as of a couple days ago. The rest either haven't been posted, or have only been posted on YouTube by "reposters" who i don't really feel like supporting. If i find more links (or anyone else tells me about them) i'll update the list.

The asterisks by the numbers indicate the winners in each category. The Judges' Choice was A6, and the Audience Choice, Creator's Choice and Best of Show were all F2.

And if you want to know what i thought...

My impressionsCollapse )

I've probably forgotten some stuff, but that's the highlights as i remember them!
Current Mood: busybusy
17 June 2015 @ 03:32 pm
Everyone knows that spam is email that you didn't ask for and don't want.

I just found out that the term "bacn", obviously derived from bacon, is the term for email that would normally be classified as spam, but that you subscribed to because it's (theoretically) of interest to you. You know, all those electronic newsletters and mailing lists and such that are specific to your interests and that sounded like a good idea at the time.

And despite the fact that this term has been in use since 2007 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Email_spam#Related_vocabulary), according to google no one else has made the immediate jump to "fakn".

"Fakn", obviously derived from fakon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vegetarian_bacon) is the term for stuff that would normally be classified as bacn, except that you didn't subscribe to it. Someone else who clearly doesn't know their own email address signed you up for it. (Arguably it could also cover email lists that someone else maliciously signed you up for.) It is email that clearly some people _might_ want to receive, just not you.

Since no one else that i can find has claimed credit for inventing such an obvious and punny term, i'm going to steak a claim to it myself :)
Current Mood: sillysilly
06 June 2015 @ 03:07 pm
"Why is there an empty tub of butter on the counter?"

"As a warning to the next ten generations that some favors come with too high a price."


"Also, as a reminder that we're out of butter."

In other news, i successfully made toasted cheesy bagels without burning down the apartment! I didn't even manage to set off the smoke detectors!
Current Mood: sillysilly
05 June 2015 @ 06:21 pm
It's friday, i just bought tickets for the Anime Expo Masquerade and AMV Contest events (and got decent seats too,) i have gumbolaya, red beans and rice, and hushpuppies from Ragjn Cajun to eat, and i get to play Final Fantasy 14 all evening. Life is pretty good :)

Well, except for the bit where the reason i can play FF14 all evening is because Avalan is out of town tonight and most of saturday, but aside from that it's all good.
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
28 May 2015 @ 12:24 am
We were at BayCon over Memorial Day weekend, which is why i didn't post anything then. (*cough* and i'm not going to try and justify the two weeks before that.) And i'm going to be busy for the rest of this week and probably won't post anything then either.

However i wanted to make sure to share my new favorite geeky music experience. seanan_mcguire was great of course, but her new CD isn't out until later this year, so i only heard songs from her that i'd already heard before.

However during the talent competition there were a lot of lip synch routines, one of which was to an awesome parody song by the "Library Bards", called "All About That Space":


And because i feel bad about linking to someone else's YouTube video of their song, here's their actual site:


However it's worth pointing out that they have a lot more songs on their YouTube channel than they do for sale on their website, including another one i really like, "Princess is Captive":

Current Mood: dorkydorky
Current Music: All About That Space!
08 May 2015 @ 03:56 pm
For your (late) Friday enjoyment (maybe), the usual collection of eclectic videos.

"An Object at Rest"
A cute little animated short about a sentient rock

"The Fermi Paradox — Where Are All The Aliens?"
Just in case anyone isn't clear on what the Fermi Paradox is, here's a cute animated explanation of it.

Another cute little animation, this time about physical but (usually) invisible embodiments of fear.
05 May 2015 @ 12:39 pm

This may be the best news i've heard all month! Possibly even all year so far.

I've complained repeatedly that although i really appreciate GOG's stance towards DRM in the long run, in the short run i'm too easily seduced by the convenience of the Steam launcher in general and the compulsion of achievements and tracking time in games in particular.

That's sometimes led to me buying games on both Steam and GOG, but more often it's led to me buying games on Steam and just not bothering on GOG. Knowing that tendency on my part i've often said that GOG would get a lot more of my business if they just implemented an optional launcher that provided the same benefits as the Steam launcher. I would then always clarify that such a launcher should be optional and we should still have the ability to download games and install them without it, but that i'd jump on the launcher bandwagon as soon as it was available.

I guess i wasn't the only one saying that, and assuming it's everything they're promising it's now time for me to start putting my money where my mouth is :)
Current Mood: excitedexcited
01 May 2015 @ 01:02 pm
I've been busy at work the last two weeks, but here's a post about at least some of Star Wars Celebration!

We were a little late getting out of the apartment on our way to Star Wars Celebration and thus ran into a moderate amount of traffic. We got down there a little after 6, and by the time we'd checked in and dropped our stuff off in the room it was getting close to 7.

The opening panel the next day featured JJ Abrams. The panel started at 10 in the morning but the line opened up at 6pm that evening. Avalyn had been planning to camp the line if it looked like a significant number of people had shown up. When we checked it out just before 7 there were probably somewhere between 500 and 1500 people in line, so we decided to get in line.

We ended up about half through the second of the (very large) lines. Avalyn had brought a blanket along and we both had bags to prop ourselves against, although if we'd realized the line was going to be in a room with a bare concrete floor we might have brought some more blankets and pillows.

Adventures In LineCollapse )

Finally at 8:45 they started moving us out. They moved the first large line out, then about 9:10 or 9:15 they moved our line out... into another room where we got to stand in line again for awhile. But we finally got to our seats about 9:30. 14 hours in line was _not_ enough to get us into the front area. It did get us in the first tier of raised seats (the "balcony" ones that is, not the ones that were on a slant on the main floor) and we ended up in the middle section and managed to grab some seats right along the front edge. So not super close but still pretty nice.

Surprisingly, despite all the chaos with the lines, they started things pretty much right on the dot at 10:00.

Opening Ceremony/PanelCollapse )

That was the last big event of the panel and they kicked us out pretty soon after that. We decided we'd rather go back to the hotel room and shower and nap for awhile instead of go straight back into the convention center, and as we walked back that decision was verified by the huge line of people waiting to get in. (We weren't sure at the time but we were told later that everyone who made it to the initial panel was prevented from going straight into the convention center and had to go outside to wait in line.) The line stretched past the Hilton, around the corner, and was still going when we diverged to go to our hotel. A quick guestimate puts the line at least 1500-2000' long. I have no idea why they thought it was necessary to make everyone wait in line, but they eventually gave up on the idea and just opened all the doors.

On the plus side we noticed huge set of food trucks along the way, including two of my favorites, Barcelona on the Go and Spudrunners.

But in any case we got back to the hotel room and showered and napped, and woke up in time to make it to one of the final panels of the day, about the use of mythology and tropes in the the Star Wars universe. Among many other things they made attempts to justify the existence of both JarJar and Midiclorians that were intellectually interesting but that i don't really buy on a practical level.

After the panel we met up with some of Avalyn's friends and went to dinner at a place a couple blocks down the street called "Fire & Ice", which was basically a mongolian grill style arrangement but with a wider selection of stuff to grill, plus a salad bar. (I guess that was the "Ice" part.)

Afterward we went back to the hotel room and slept even more.
Current Mood: busybusy
22 April 2015 @ 01:10 pm
Short Short Version: We went to Star Wars Celebration. We returned alive.

Short Version: I spent 14 hours in line to be one of the first people in the world to not watch the new Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer. (And then not watched it 4-5 times more during the con.)

A less short post will be coming... shortly :)

In post-con news, i came down with con crud. My throat started feeling a little itchy sunday morning. It was still itchy but otherwise okay monday morning. However by monday afternoon i was starting to cough and decided to take the afternoon off. Then it was even worse this morning and i decided to stay home sick.

In about the last 12 hours i have consumed 91 oz of orange juice. I would be drinking more now except that we're out, and i don't really feel like going to the store =P
Current Mood: sicksick
15 April 2015 @ 03:16 pm
In happier news, Star Wars Celebration starts today!

So i probably won't be posting over the next couple days (so no more Hugo ranting for awhile, you're welcome ;) but will probably be twittering more.
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
15 April 2015 @ 03:08 pm
So a couple days ago, while perusing the Hugo Nominees before posting my Hugo post, i noticed that Michael F Flynn one of my (several dozen) favorite authors was on the list for best Novelette! And then i remembered that except for Best Novel all of the "story" categories were supposed to be dominated by the Disgruntled Canines, so with a sinking heart i checked and discovered that indeed he was on both of the Canine slates =/

I've liked Michael Flynn's books for a long time (started with "In the Country of the Blind", which was both one of the first and one of the best secret history/conspiracy books i ever read, even if the ending seems a little rushed to me.) I haven't read "The Journeyman: In the Stone House" yet, but all else being equal i expect it to be good. In any other year i would be happy to vote for him, either as my first choice or one of my top two or three.

But this year i don't know what to do. If he wins, if any author from the Disgruntled Canine slate wins, they'll crow about it and argue that proves their point, which i think is absolutely and fundamentally wrong, and it will encourage them to do the exact same thing next year, a fate i'd like to avoid at _almost_ any cost.

It certainly complicates issues that he's been nominated multiple times starting long before the Canines got involved, starting back in the 80s. So it's _possible_ that he would have gotten nominated even without the involvement of the Canines (not that they'll admit that if he wins.) And even if he does win it won't prove that the Canines managed to promote someone who wouldn't otherwise have been considered (not that they'll admit that either.)

So if i don't vote for him and he loses i'll feel bad for him. If i vote for him and he wins the Canines will take credit and i will be enraged. And they'll take it as a license to continue doing what they're doing, which will enrage me further. (Not that the necessarily need the encouragement, but the encouragement certainly wouldn't help.)

And to top it off He Who Shall Not Be Named is now threatening to make sure no one ever wins a Hugo ever again in any category that is No Awarded this year. I really don't want to go along with those kind of tactics even if i would have voted for one of the nominees anyways.

This was a bad enough dilemma when the entire category was filled with people from the Canine slate, but on monday it was announced that upon review two of the Hugo nominees were not eligible because of when they did (or did not) publish their work. In one case it displaced a Canine slater with another Canine slater, but in the case of Novelette a Canine slater was replaced with a "normal" person.

So now there's an even stronger temptation to vote for the non-slate person and No Award the rest of the category.

This year no matter how i vote i'm going to feel horrible about it. Thanks Canines! (I'm sure that makes them happy, because i strongly suspect that at least half of them are more interested in making other people unhappy than actually improving the quality of the Hugo nominees.)

(Flynn has said he doesn't remember being notified by Torgersen about his inclusion on the slates, which makes him an innocent bystander who's just getting caught in the crossfire but doesn't really alter the fundamental conundrum.)
Tags: ,
Current Mood: sadsad
14 April 2015 @ 01:03 pm
Short-story version: Cat had a lump on her tummy, lump got removed, cat was grumpy and woozy afterward.

Not quite as short storify version:

(I'm a little worried about how we're going to handle going to Star Wars Celebration tomorrow. Probably should have done this last week, but at that point the other kitty was sick =/)
Current Mood: stressedstressed