Jon, Dan, Derrick, and I took a trip to Park City. After considerable research, it appeared Snowbird would have been the preferred resort (acreage, conditions) but has a small and expensive inventory of on-site accommodations. To add to that, many of the ski areas have insane rental tax rates. Who would have thought Park City would be the more reasonably-priced option (for a ski-in/ski-out trip plan).
Jon found us a two bedroom basement a couple blocks from the lifts. It had a clean sauna and a grimy hot tub.
The interior was a bit cozy and dank, but it worked.
The first day was all about incessant rain. We got a few runs in, came back drenched, and then did a short afternoon session.
Day two was quite a bit different. Soft snowfall most of the day, very little wind, excellent conditions. We went all over the mountain and had a blast. Jon-video incoming.
The flights were pretty easy. Kansas and 'Nova kept winning, so my brackets are still good. And we had frozen pizza, pizza rolls, and takeout pizza all for the same meal.
Back home there's been some rain as well. Jes and I hiked though the mud to Strauss for a low key St. Patty's evening. The place was actually hosting an event - a PTA fundraiser - so we made a donation and hung out on the vacant patio.
Kafka got a plate full of chicken from one of the caterers, I think it made getting rained on worthwhile.
Track work shut down the train to OC, so I had a rainy drive taking Browe up to meet friends at Disneyland. It's fun to take the 3000GT out in inclement weather.
The new Lolbaters (gaming crew) choice is Sea of Thieves. Turns out it's for Windows 10 only and I'm on 7 (and am quite happy where things stand). The options were:
Buy a $250 (regular high def) or $400 (4k) xbox one for this game, then spend $60 on it and $60 for a year of online play.
Upgrade to Win10. It's free but you lose your license to Win7, which I prefer.
Dual boot Win7 and Win10.
The third option seemed like a winner. The standard direction to go with this would be to choose OS in grub or whatever. But my Win7 partition is on a 250GB SSD, so putting another OS on there might make things cramped. So I was already in for another hard drive, but Amazon had some decent clearance pricing on that same 250GB drive.
So, what if I had a Win7 SSD and a Win10 SSD. I could just plug power in to whichever SSD I wanted to boot to. Not great if I'm swapping between OSes frequently, but reasonable for a weekly gaming session.
It actually gets simpler, there's a HDD power switch front panel device.
So for $90 (SSD) + $30 (switch) + $90 (Win10), I get to play Sea of Thieves. Well, and if it's a terrible game, I have a second/backup OS install that will run whatever doesn't work on Win7.
I had to get under the hood of the rig to get this done. It had a bunch of leftover components (cough, floppy drive) that were unplugged and unused. Lots more space now.
The switch lights are unnecessarily bright. Luckily my case has a door, otherwise I would have needed to use electrical tape.
Sea of Thieves
We've gotten in about a session and a half of Sea of Thieves. The experience has been fun, but it's far too early to get a good idea of the game's quality.
The long and short of it is you form a crew of 1-4 scallywags and either hunt for treasure (missions, scouring the world) or engage in some pvp ship-on-ship battle.
The map is a fairly dense collection of islands, colonies, and rocky outcroppings.
The combat and teamwork elements really put the gameplay on a different plane. Some team games just give you an anonymous squad who really only affects you based on its collective skill level. MOBAs assign duties based on character class and it's quite rigid. Sea of Thieves is different - it requires a team effort just to get around effectively.
For starters, handling the ship is a task. The helmsman is looking directly into a sail, so you can forget about navigating easily (at full sail) without a spotter on voice comms. The galleon has three sails that can be adjusted to wind direction and desired speed. The map is below decks. And if something goes wrong, someone has to run below and patch the ship.
It's fun though, and rewarding to get it right. At least with a crew of friends.
Of course, if handling the ship isn't trivial you can bet combat is an adventure. Ship combat adds the elements of using the cannons, repairing damage, and sending/repelling boarders. The Lolbater crew was 1-for-2 in our maiden voyage, but the ship we lost to was way, way more skilled than us.
For the first engagement, we headed for their stern while the crew was on a nearby island questing. As they saw us and hurried back, we dropped the anchor alongside them and loosed our first broadside. Our inexperienced crew then fell into disarray with some 'baters boarding and others trying to maintain fire. Luckily the other crew was just as disorganized. They managed to hoist their anchor and make a run for it, but Corey and I did the same and finished them off when one of our boarding party respawned on the ship.
We tried the same maneuver once again. This time, however, we dropped the anchor too early and had no guns tracking their ship. They hit us with a few broadsides but we somehow managed to get the anchor up and escape. They pursued and we knew we were outmatched. We swung around a rock outcropping and dropped anchor hoping to catch them as they came by. But they were wise to it and came around the other side and out of our firing arc. A few good cannon shots had us sinking with a crew in the respawn zone. At least we had no booty to be taken.
If all else fails you can climb into the crow's nest with some ale and watch a sunset.
I got the tool storage backer board with magnetic strips up. I applied the tar sealer stuff to the new pours for both that section and the crate storage area.
Not too much progress on the garage annex. I did a final concrete pour on the tool storage area. The magnetic backer board isn't really a thing, instead it will be plywood with strips of magnets for holding wrenches, screwdrivers, and such.
Another layer of concrete and cinder blocks on the middle-of-the-room section. This will have paint buckets and plastic bins with car parts, low-use tools, and the like.
If anyone ever tells you pressure treated wood is termite-proof...
Monster Hunter World
Working my way through MHW. Once you open high rank content, the amount of stuff to do, craft, collect, etc. increases dramatically. It'd be overwhelming if it felt necessary. Not that all the game activities seem extraneous, they just can be consumed without interrupting the main task of, well, monster hunting...
... which has an eerie similarity to the Japanese whaling business. Am I really doing ecological work by hunting large animals and profiting off of their parts?
At least Aloy hunted hostile machines (seriously, most times creatures in MHW are docile until you attack them). Maybe when I unlock her skin I can set these fifth fleet guys straight.
I'm a little relieved that we drove Zora Magdaros into the ocean because, well, the Zora missions were basically thirty minutes of carrying cannonballs while hunter captain shouts about how high the drama is.
But context and annoying bits aren't a huge deal. The game has interesting bosses that take preparation and dedication to defeat. And cooperative multiplayer.
Real estate photography
Chase is renting his apartment and wanted some shots for the listing. It's probably obvious, but the best combination is long exposure + flash. The left images are 1/250 with bounced flash. Then my tripod arrived and I did 1/8 or so with flash to fill dark spots. Aside from taking advantage of warmer, sofer light, the blown out windows seem to add to the appeal.
A chunk of posts only had html files that had been script-converted from blogspot format to current format. The problem is there was no markup, which I use as the data source for processing image links, tags, posts, etc. There weren't enough of them to justify writing a converter, so I did some copy-pasting while mostly watching Altered Carbon. It was a good system.
I was manually ftping posts to my host. It was a pretty simple step in the workflow. But the (automated) task of regenerating each post (to redirect tags from a search engine to the tag page) meant re-uploading all files. This wasn't going to work for the limited ftp client I had, so I grabbed the Apache Commons Java library, extended it to be friendlier, then extended it again to have convenience functions for uploading kilroy content.
The ftp type now meant I could do automated pulls of server logs that I store and use for hot/top.
There's plenty more to come if time allows.
A little while back I saw a preview for Altered Carbon and got really excited - it looked really Blade Runner-esque and streaming services are doing a pretty good job with content. I cooled a little bit when I learned a little more and it seemed to following the trend of being unnecessarily misleading and twisting. I like a complicated plot, but purposefully misleading viewers is an overused tactic.
As a fan of dystopian scifi, I dig the universe of this show. Premise alert: in the future our consciousnesses live in a piece of hardware (a 'stack') that can be implanted in whatever body you can afford. This allows for gory storytelling without necessary character loss, but everyone is as vulnerable as their stack - unless they are wealthy enought to have regular remote backups.
The theme of severe economic stratification is prevalent and the underclasses are as vicious as brutal as in any scifi future. There's some dabbling in AI and interplanetary travel, though the latter seems to mismatch the level of technology seen on earth.
It's ultimately a story about a reluctant badass whose past and present result in him getting his ass kicked a lot. So not exactly new ground here.
There's a lot of Matrix/Equilibrium-type action. It's well done, even if they fall into the trope of having a spiritual leader/zen master who can dodge bullets and catch knives because they know thineself. The fact that everyone's trying to kill the protagonist for reasons unrelated to the main plot arc means that the story develops fairly slowly.
The settings are pretty diverse - you don't only see one or two futuristic undercity streets.
The seldom-featured vr world is, well, a really crappy photoshop filter.
Academy of Cheese
Jes and I did the Venissimo Academy of Cheese: cheese, wine, and a pairing - in this case, sausages. It was delicous.
Fallout board game
While Bethesda has been porting Skyrim to every platform known to man, Fantasy Flight ported their other flagship title to the tabletop. The gaming crew is just a few turns in, but it's a very faithful adaptation of the game. If Piper makes an appearance I may have to turn it into a legacy game.
And I ragequit AirBnB. I went to book a place for the first night of Superbike and they asked me for a government ID. Okay, I guess, I had one on hand and I guess a credit card isn't identifying enough. Then they wanted a photo too, I guess, corroborate the photo ID. Like what? Well, the only options were to take a photo using a browser (not an option as I don't have a webcam) or to take it using the app (recommended btw!!!). Nah, I don't want your shitty app.
I still wanted the place I had found though, so why not be hypocritical just this once? I tried to use Jes's login (with her consent, more or less), which they wanted to confirm via one of three methods:
Send a text to her old phone number
Call her old phone number
Verify account details
The third one didn't work out and we're not sure why. But yeah, I'm amenable to an alternative service at this point.