2018.03.25

Sea of Thieves screenshot sunset pirates piracy pirating
Park City

Park City Utah snowboarding run view

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).

Park City brocation jacuzzi mountain view

Jon found us a two bedroom basement a couple blocks from the lifts. It had a clean sauna and a grimy hot tub.

Park City ski rental interior kinda dank

The interior was a bit cozy and dank, but it worked.

Park City Utah snowboarding skiing panorama

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.

Rainy days

Aqueduct train dog weimaraner graffiti

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.

Dog weimaraner St Patricks Day bandana clover

Kafka got a plate full of chicken from one of the caterers, I think it made getting rained on worthwhile.

Pizza Port San Clemente

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.
Windows 7/10

Windows versions good and crap meme

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:
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.

Kingwin hard drive power switch console

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.

Case disassembly computer gaming rig

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.

Gaming rig with LED hard drive switches desk Altered Carbon

The switch lights are unnecessarily bright. Luckily my case has a door, otherwise I would have needed to use electrical tape.
Sea of Thieves

Sea of Thieves screenshot view of ship from island

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.

Sea of Thieves screenshot ship pistol cay sunset

The map is a fairly dense collection of islands, colonies, and rocky outcroppings.

Sea of Thieves screenshot climb into cannon awesome

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.

Sea of Thieves screenshot shipwreck

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.

Sea of Thieves screenshot respawn zone ghost ship

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.
Sea of Thieves screenshot crows nest grog skull island dusk

If all else fails you can climb into the crow's nest with some ale and watch a sunset.
Murder room

Murder room concrete pour cinder block magnetic tool storage

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.

Murder room concrete cinder block tool storage shelving black sealer



2018.03.07

Altered Carbon Takeshi Kovacs Hello Unicorn backpack
Murder room

Murder room cinder block tool storage concrete pour

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.

Murder room concrete pour cinder blocks renovation shelving storage

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.

Termite damage in stained pressure treated wood cross section

If anyone ever tells you pressure treated wood is termite-proof...
Monster Hunter World

Monster Hunter World screenshot Zorah ships cave

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...

Monster Hunter World screenshot trophy death begets life does it though whaling

... 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?

Monster Hunter World screenshot smithy armor set Aloy

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.

Monster Hunter World screenshot canon loading simulator gameplay

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.

Monster Hunter World screenshot rath
Real estate photography

Room photography fill flash before after long shutter technique real estate

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.

Room photography fill flash before after long shutter
Site updates

Finished:
There's plenty more to come if time allows.
Altered Carbon

Altered Carbon intro snake angel lady

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.

Altered Carbon bar Takeshi Kovacs Reileen Kawahara

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.

Altered Carbon fight announcer

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.

Altered Carbon interrogation room

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.

Altered Carbon CTAC assault

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.

Altered Carbon bridge scene

The settings are pretty diverse - you don't only see one or two futuristic undercity streets.

Altered Carbon virtual reality photo filter

The seldom-featured vr world is, well, a really crappy photoshop filter.

Altered Carbon virtual reality world cheesy photoshop filter
Academy of Cheese

Wine charcuterie board tasting cheese

Jes and I did the Venissimo Academy of Cheese: cheese, wine, and a pairing - in this case, sausages. It was delicous.

Venissimo Academy of Cheese tasting Liberty Station
Fallout board game

Fallout board game hex tiles

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.
AirBnB

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.

This saga landed me at their updated privacy policy which looked basically like "we do what we want". Nah. I didn't even check for mandatory binding arbitration.

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:
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.