Good morning you happy people… this is my first post without the aid of coffee. I am trying to taper back my caffeine intake because the whole heart fluttering/palpitations thing has been back with a vengeance over the last few days. I honestly figure it is mostly stress induced, but I am willing to cut back on a few things to help the process along. It is not exactly an enjoyable feeling, so if I can stop it from happening… I will be happier. As a result without aid of coffee, I may not be entirely cogent at 6 am.
Return of the Queen
So yesterday was my birthday, and I have to say I was overwhelmed by the birthday messages I go from all sources. Logging into twitter of G+ was like hitting a wall of happy birthday… it was pretty awesome. You guys made what would have been a pretty crappy day not one. Essentially my birthday was slotted to be pretty awesome. I had a replacement laptop arriving sometime midday, and my wife would be flying in at noonish and I would get the spend at least half the day chilling out with her.
I got up pretty early yesterday, and when I got upstairs to catch up with the world my wife had messaged me telling me that her flight had been cancelled. Apparently there was “weather” in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and they were re-routing all flights. So instead of her 7 am flight… she was being placed on a 3:30 flight… on standby. At this point she was not slotted to actually get back to Tulsa until 9:30 that evening. So that left her having to do the awkward chilling out at the airport thing, and me to be alone on my birthday.
I would have driven up to get her, since she was in Kansas City, and it is a roughly four hour drive from where we live to the airport… but with the laptop coming, neither of us wanted to leave that out on the porch. We have a little pack of hoodlums in the neighborhood, that have been suspected for the flurry of car break-ins that I wrote about awhile back. Mostly they are bored teenagers with no real parental guidance to give them a moral compass, but they have been known to have sticky fingers.
So it became a waiting game… if the package arrived quickly enough it would be possible to run up and back and get home before the flights would have. However since my laptop arrived at 1 pm, that slotted her still getting home around 9 after you factored in both directions of the drive… and a lot of unnecessary stress in the process. Somehow along the process she managed to get juggled to an earlier flight, and in the grand scheme of things landed last night in Tulsa around 8 pm. It is really awesome to have my wife back, but honestly the impact has not quite hit me yet. We got home in time for her to unpack and pretty much go to sleep, since she had been up since the crack of dawn.
Yesterday I had regaled you with the tale of the guy flaking out on me yet again, and me giving up and just ordering online. As I said above, yesterday around 1 pm I had a doorbell ring and my laptop was there on the threshold. Since it was too late to try and drive to pick up my wife, I decided to unbox it and play with my new toy. First off, for having dual SLI cards the laptop is remarkably quiet and cool. There is heat emanating from the heat sinks on either side but it is no way as hot as previous laptops have been. I am guessing this is the massive air intake on the bottom of the laptop causing the thing to stay cool.
I have not honestly had much time to really game on the laptop, I spent most of yesterday downloading stuff. I got in and played a little Dragon’s Prophet and it looked gorgeous. My previous laptop did not like that game at all, and this one funs it pretty much on high settings fluidly. Additionally I played a little Rift as it was patching and it also looked gorgeous and ran well on ultra settings. The sad thing about the digital age however is it still takes a long while to download multiple 16 gig game installations. For whatever reason League of Legends was taking the longest… which seems insane considering how simple a game it is… and how low tech the graphics are.
The keyboard is going to take some getting used to, but so far I really like it. Keyboards are a huge thing for me… and this is as best as I can describe it a mechanical chicklet keypad. It has the low key height of a chicklet style laptop keyboard, but you have the satisfying mechanical feedback of an old school keyboard. It reminds me a lot of a half height version of my Microsoft sidewinder keyboard that I use on my desktop. The important thing is it feels extremely responsive but like I said it will take some getting used to.
The biggest feature that is going to take awhile for me to adapt to is the fact that this laptop is Windows 8. I have to say, I still have no idea what Microsoft was thinking by defaulting a desktop operating system to the Metro interface. I realize that I likely use my computer differently than most people… I tend to do everything through the run prompt… but even for day to day use… the Metro interface seems worse than useless. The very first thing I did was download Stardock’s Start8 giving me back my start menu and run prompt. After that it feels much like using Windows 7 with a strange skin on it.
I will slowly get used to the forced minimalist interface elements… but I find the whole “we only use solid colors” movement of recent years a bit chafing. Our graphical designer at work seems to have been bitten by the same bug… and white frankly this whole only using bright solid colors thing looks a little “Fisher price” to me at times. All in all I am very happy however, I like the feel and form factor of the laptop, and what I have seen of its graphical powers are excellent as well.
While I was installing software yesterday, I had my PSP going and was playing through Final Fantasy 5. So far my biggest problem with this game is that it does a fairly poor job messaging what you are supposed to do next. There is always a certain element of roam around until you figure it out to every mission. Now that I am well past the point at which I had played previously… I am in virgin territory and often times struggle to follow the logic behind the game. Luckily I have veteran resources to rely upon if I get stuck, but for the most part I have figured out things.
I believe previously I had been just about to enter the moogle village after arriving at the second world. Yesterday I managed to play through Castle Bal, Quelb, Drakenvale, Ghido’s Island, Surgate Castle, Xezat’s Ship, the Barrier Tower thing, Forest of Moore, and am now just about to storm Exdeath’s castle. There were numerous difficult encounters along the way, but I managed through them and did not hit any major roadblocks like Soul Cannon was. Atomos was definitely a pain in the arse with his huge hitpoint pool, but I managed through it.
I feel like I have a super low maintenance party with Black Mage, Red Mage, Ranger and Samurai. My good friend Ash that talked me into this madness has a Blue Mage… so it seems like his entire play through is dictated by trying to get the right abilities off the right mobs. There was some madness last night about needing to have a level divisible by 3 to get some ability off some boss encounter. Right now the biggest thing I need to worry about is keeping my characters in the best gear (which I would have done already) and grinding mobs to get job levels ((which I would have done already). After making the swaps this party feels like my kind of party… simple and effective.
Well it is that time again, I need to wrap this up so I can finish getting ready and head on in to work. Going to pack up the laptop this morning and bring it for our noontime gaming excursions. It should be considerably lighter since it only weights 6 lbs. I hope you all have a great day, and I want to say again how much I appreciated getting all those birthday wishes yesterday. Now time to return to the real world and try and finish out this week.