2017.11.25

2018 Zero S crafted in California
Zero S

The Duc needs a new clutch, a valve adjustment, and maybe some troubleshooting of the cutch hydraulics. Between that, 50k+ miles, and having my eye on the ebike scene since I first saw them at Laguna, it seemed like a good time to go for it.

2018 Zero S Ducati 900 Supersport nude

Most of my time is spent within a five-mile radius that gets pretty darned gridlocked, so an electric bike makes quite a bit more sense than even what has proven to be a very reliable Italian machine. I haven't settled on Adrea's fate, but keeping her as a fun/project bike is a lot easier with a commuter on hand.

2018 Zero S Philz Coffee San Diego

Check out that heat sink. Fit and finish seems good. They're designed in Santa Cruz, I'm not sure where they're built, but it's nice to buy local. The other player in the game, Brammo out of Oregon, was apparently bought by Polaris and then EOLed. The major Japanese manufacturers have teased prototypes for years, but remarkably nothing has hit market. Maybe the market says electric is unnecessary when you get 40+ mpg with Corvette performance.

I've always been leery of batteries. They're finicky and they wear out. I'm resting some hope in the fact that Zero has been doing this for the better part of a decade and that they provide a five year warranty.

2018 Zero S electric motor rear shock

The Zero feels a lot different from the Duc - but maybe not as much as Ty's Trimph or Rob's CB350. The torque is familiar, but the riding style is way more upright. At 313 lb, she's pretty nimble. I went with the smallest battery since it'll get me to Carlsbad and back, which is about as far into north county as I dare go anyway.
2018 Zero S rear sprocket belt drive

Belt drive, we'll see how that goes. The rear tire isn't especially wide - again, it's more of a practical machine.

2018 Zero S brake master cylinder

I kind of miss shifting, but not as much as I thought I would. Not sure what to do with my left hand/foot, maybe some sort of cell phone interface?

2018 Zero S La Jolla Cove overlook

I won't say she's the prettiest thing around, even for the streetfighter form factor. Exhibit a:

Ducati Streetfighter product image

Hopefully there are some aftermarket parts available. I'd love to do some carbon to tone down that silver. Definitely going to see about fitting on a bar-end mirror and getting rid of the license plate holding monstrosity.
Rebel Galaxy

Rebel Galaxy screenshot video game endless space nebula

I was sick for a couple days recently. Whilst sucking down dayquil I pulled Rebel Galaxy out of the PS+ library. I had finished Persona 5, but wasn't in a place to take on Metal Gear or Uncharted.

Sid Meiers Pirates ship piracy video games

The closest thing to it is Sid Meier's Pirates. You progress a career of ship's captain, upgrading craft and completing quests in a vibrant and lawless world.

Rebel Galaxy video game dodging asteroids

The combat is actually quite similar as well. Your primary attack is a broadside, so tactics involve maneuvering your ship to unleash hell. There's no wind, but there's plenty to maneuver around.

Rebel Galaxy video game screenshot starship battle

The player is confined to a 2d plane, and while other craft are not, the game autoaims on the z-axis (like Doom). This is actually quite slick, handling 3d space would be difficult.

Rebel Galaxy video game HUD overview

So you have your broadside weapons and then a bunch of turrets that primarily fire via AI. There are ones that specialize in shield/hull penetration or capital ship or fighters. Likewise, you have four quadrants with a shield and hull layer which you have to manage while lining up your shots. You also have a deflector which gives you temporary invincibility - this can help you get out of a jam and adds a skill/timing element to predicting hits.

Enemies have identical mechanics, and you can see their status in their target info.


The combat system is pretty strong. It doesn't progress too much and therefore feels a bit stale after 15 hours of playtime, but getting new mods keeps things interesting. The music rocks in a very Warp Riders way, unfortunately there aren't many tracks.


Each system has a diameter of a few minutes at warp speed, each of these have a gate to the rest of the sector. There isn't much to differentiate the systems, just enemy level and layout.

Rebel Galaxy screenshot economy commodoities market YOLOs FDs

Stuff costs money. Lots of money. So in addition to completing combat quests, you can haul cargo around the sector and try to capitalize on trade rates. So what happens when you are in a system that is higher level than you but you really want to make a delivery? Blockade run:


Rebel Galaxy screenshot shipyard Blackgate upgrade

So aside from a host of different offensive and defensive upgrade types (that unfortunately just scale I, II, III...), there are quite a few ships available for purchase.

Rebel Galaxy screenshot guilds

There are a bunch of features that seemed like they had huge sections of //TBD. The merchant and mercenary guilds will take your money and give you access to a few special ships, but their interactions are limited to that.

Rebel Galaxy No more talk just blood boring conversation anyway

Similarly, the unarmed transport you're shaking down or the pirate captain will let you hail them, but it's just a brief exchange of words that goes nowhere.

Rebel Galaxy screenshot Militia Torpedo Bomber

Conversations aside, the denizens of the rebel galaxy aren't always hostile. There are neutral traders, friendly militias, and groups that will be friendly or hostile depending on your affiliations or cargo. That's fairly refreshing. You can also find seige fleets and peace delegations - which hint at some sort of overarching political environment - but I never saw it manifest in way beyond this.


The pyrotechnics are pretty top-notch though.

Rebel Galaxy video game screenshot capital ship

The story is basically filler added to a cool sandbox world. You look for your aunt, she has an ancient alien artifact, it helps you defeat a hostile alien race. Bleh. It's too bad this game probably had little funding and a small team because they did a pretty good job with it. But if their sandbox was developed a bit it would totally graduate from PS+ free dlc status.

If nothing else, this makes me really want to play Star Citizen.
Planes of Eidolon

Warframe Plains of Eidolon load screen

The big Warframe update dropped - an open world area and tons of gear to go with it. It's great to get out of the narrow confines of their classic play mode - especially given my affinity for the Kulstar.


Open roam is cool, but it seems much like the classic gameplay - play variety comes from warframes and equipment rather than missions. There is fishing though:

Warframe screenshot fishing Mortus Lungfish
Uncharted

Uncharted 4 screenshot lighthouse jungle escape

I did get a few hours into Uncharted 4 though. Seems like a pretty standard AAA title - over the shoulder shooting, parkour, vehicles.


Uncharted 4 screenshot cinema

The writing does stand out. I'm optimistic about the story line and being able to run through it with a high degree of casualness.

Iconic Masters draft

Mana Drain Archangel of Thune

Source.

Back on the MTG scene, Corey and I each got a box of Iconic Masters. He held a ghost draft and got some pretty amazing stuff, including Mana Drain and a foil Archangel of Thune. The latter is what I opened first, so I built my draft deck around it.
Kiln Fiend Abzan Battle Priest Topan Freeblade Disenchant
Seeker of the Way Pentarch Ward Splatter Thug Thran Dynamo
Guided Strike Firemane Angel Archangel of Thune Trepanation Blade
Hammerhand Radiant Fountain Emerge Unscathed Blinding Mage
Student of Ojutai Austere Command Manakin Stalwart Aven
Monastery Swiftspear Doomed Traveler Guard Duty Mark of Mutiny
Topan Freeblade Nimbus Maze

Source.

Mana cost histogram
8
5 5
3
2
1
0
0 1 2 3 4 5 6

Cards
Abzan Battle Priest
Archangel of Thune
Austere Command
Blinding Mage
Disenchant
Doomed Traveler
Emerge Unscathed
Firemane Angel
Guard Duty
Guided Strike
Hammerhand
Kiln Fiend
Manakin
Mark of Mutiny
Monastery Swiftspear
Nimbus Maze
Pentarch Ward
Radiant Fountain
Seeker of the Way
Splatter Thug
Stalwart Aven
Student of Ojutai
Thran Dynamo
Topan Freeblade
Topan Freeblade
Trepanation Blade


The sideboard looked something like this:
Trumpet Blast Trumpet Blast Hammerhand Hammerhand
Furnace Whelp Ionas Judgment Guard Duty Pentarch Ward
Pentarch Ward Infantry Veteran Disenchant Burrenton ForgeTender
Topan Freeblade Emerge Unscathed Survival Cache

Source.

In my first set I won, lost, and then had to draw on turns with Martin. He had a bunch of big stuff out, I had even more small stuff out, we'd both stalled for card draw. I went on to beat James in two games. He had some mana screw, I had some mana flood, but the renown and lifelink were too much. Lastly, I did some Trepanation Blade damage to Corey - enough so that he was almost milled out - then he sideboarded some counterspells into his deck and took the next two.
Iconic Masters box

Sheoldred Whispering One Keiga the Tide Star Mindcrank Urabrask the Hidden

Source.

My box wasn't amazing, but there's some cools stuff in there.
There isn't much tribalism in this set, but the mechanics are pretty cool.
The whole box looks like:
Shimmering Grotto Boros Garrison Azorius Chancery See all...

Source.

Code support

Magic the Gathering card tracker application Java scraper

Without much effort I've leveraged my github to make some card-tracking code. And it's all air-tight, secure code since I'm now proud owner of a copy of...

PoC OR GTFO Reverand Laphroaig the good book cyber hacking