Why No New AggroChat

This past goes down as one of the more bizarre weekends in a long while.  Those of you who listen to AggroChat are waking up realizing there was no new podcast episode and this is due to some extenuating circumstances.  Saturday for the most part was a pretty chill day, and I had settled into my office to prepare to record.  I was just literally about to start trying to cobble together some semblance of show notes… when I had a knock on the door.  My wife was on the phone with my mother in law and she had been in a wreck out on the turnpike.  Granted this is 9 pm and there was a massive storm bearing down on us, so while my wife offered to go pick her up alone…  I didn’t really want her going out there completely alone especially considering that we knew it would mean a two hour plus long round trip to take her mom home eventually.  I gave my apologies to the AggroChat crew and threw some actual outside style clothing on…  and rushed out the door.  It turned out she was on the Turnpike slowing down to get off at the next exit, when someone hit her from behind.  It came out while sitting on the side of the highway that the guy had been reading a text with cruise control locked in about 80 mph, and when he realized he was coming up fast on her…  he swerved attempting to dodge and only caused his car to spin out and flip…  and then catch on fire.  Thankfully both car loads of people were okay, but this also set in motion a whole string of events.

We dropped mom-in-law off at home and I stopped to get some form of caffeine for the trip back.  It was about when I got back on the turnpike that the skies opened up and began what would ultimately be this massive storm.  Thankfully it remained a pretty chill drizzle until we made it back to town.  Around about midnight thirty we ended up in bed and were both conked out pretty fast.  Our niece lives on property adjacent to where mom-in-law lives… and she agreed to spend the night just to make sure nothing was wrong.  The ambulance had checked her out at the scene of the accident but we were still concerned because when you take an 80 year old person and put them through a pretty severe car wreck…  there is going to be at least some soreness.  Because of this… when we did make it to bed my wife turned her phone up fairly loudly as it sat on the nightstand charging.  Thirty minutes after falling to sleep we were woken up by a weather app on her phone going off and informing us that we were under a thunderstorm warning.  It was around about then that the skies opened with this hurricane style deluge of rain.  We fought through it and attempted to go back to sleep…  when about another thirty minutes afterwards we were awoken again by the same app informing us that we were under a Tornado watch.  Thankfully the area of rotation was not near us and unlikely to come our way…  but it still shifted us into a night of trying to sleep while listening to the television just in case that changed.

Yesterday was a bit of a blur as we sort of slept walked through the day.  After church our niece dropped mom-in-law off at our house, and my wife and her made a trip to go see the car.  Functionally the entire back half of the car is gone…  the trunk is now functionally pushed into the back seat and thankfully no one was back there.  Now Saturday night while on the side of the road my wife attempted to cram everything she could find in one of those giant blue IKEA bags that I keep in the back of my SUV as a just in case…  but then we always forget it is there and wind up buying a new one when we do make it to an IKEA.  However in this case it was super handy, but there were a handful of things that they missed under dark of night that were visible during the light of day.  There is little doubt that the car is going to be totaled, and and at the scene of the wreck the guy confessed to texting while driving so there is going to be zero doubt on whether or not his insurance should cover this.  I feel like this is a not so subtle time to state that this should serve as a reminder why you shouldn’t be futzing with your phone while driving.  Especially not while going 80 on a pretty congested turnpike with limited visibility because a massive storm front was bearing down and blotting out the stars.  The most frustrating part about all of it… is that mom-in-law had no intention of being on the turnpike and was simply there because she missed her turn due to some construction and was trying to find a way to route back to where she needed to be.  All of this is why there is no new AggroChat episode, and why I am still groggy as shit from lack of sleep.  My hope is that tonight I will be far enough removed from the events to be able to get a normal nights sleep, because last night it felt like I didn’t get great sleep either because I was almost too tired to sleep.  The Tornado that blazed through town was rated as an EF2, and I was so groggy yesterday that it did not dawn on me until this morning that I have a few friends in neighborhoods that were in the storm’s path.  So here is hoping they made it through okay.

Daily Creative Thing

No Blaugust

It’s been ages since I have done a heading in my blog, but I didn’t really have an image I wanted to put with this.  Considering it is getting dangerously close to August and I have had a few people ask me…  I will not be hosting some large Blaugust event this year.  For three and a half years I did my blog every day thing, and it was interesting.  In that process I learned a lot about myself and a lot about my readers.  However I am no longer the bastion of regular blogging that I once was, and similarly I don’t really feel like I can carry the banner of “blog every day” quite so highly.  Now the truth is Blaugust was never really “my” thing…  firstly because there was another group that had independently been using that hashtag for ages apparently.  Secondly the “festival” for lack of a better terms was more about the community than it ever was about me.  So if you find yourself really wanting to do Blaugust, then go for it.  This has been the year that the institutions have failed in the blogosphere.  We had no Newbie Blogger Initiative and would not have had Developer Appreciate Week were it not for Rav picking up the torch and carrying it onwards.  I hate that I am adding Blaugust to the pile but I am just not feeling it right now, and in truth wasn’t last year because I did a fairly halfassed job of trying to make it happen without requiring a lot of support.

If someone is interested in picking up the mantle and making it theirs… I welcome you with open arms.  That said what is happening this year that is not exactly Blaugust but similarly themed is “Daily Creative Thing”.  My good friend Grace felt like she was not taking the time to do creative stuff anymore, and had let some of her hobbies fall by the wayside.  As such in the spirit of Blaugust she decided to start trying to force herself to do at least one creative thing every single day.  What classifies as a “Creative Thing” is pretty open to interpretation, but as a side effect of this process she spawned a secondary blog where you can see a bit of her daily process.  Some days it has been a drawing, others working on some crocheting, and one day some origami.  The purpose being just to keep doing something interesting and fun and creative every single day… and then posting the product.  I myself am contemplating doing this throughout the month of August, because there are a lot of creative things that I just stopped doing for some reason along the way.  Namely I just don’t sketch like I used to, and I am not entirely sure why I stopped.  I used to be one of those kids that was rabidly sketching in every single class…  and then at some point I just stopped.  Its like going to art school some how tarnished the fun… because instead of going and drawing goofy things… everything was deadly serious and representative.  I would love to unblock myself and let the creativity flow once more, so maybe this is the time to do it.

 

Discarded Hulk

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I know I have started out many a Monday post with something along the lines of it being a weird weekend, so I am going to refrain from doing so today.  The odd factor comes from the fact that we were pretty busy… but also mostly busy around the house.  I’ve talked about my wife who is a teacher several times in the past, but one of the side notes that you need to know is that teachers here in Oklahoma have very little support for all of the things that are required to make a classroom work.  My wife for example gets a $25 credit…  per school year to buy anything she needs for her classroom from what is in effect the school district storehouse.  Most teachers don’t even get that…  so we spend a lot of time doing things in an effort to augment her classroom experience.  Anecdote aside… how this factors into our weekend is that for years we have had what is effectively a office work group printer that I happened to adopt when a workplace was sending it out to salvage.  They were more than happy to have me truck it away…  instead of having to pay some electronic recycling people to come and do the same thing.  I was trying to figure out about when we got the Laserjet 5si…  and to the best of my knowledge I would guess around 2005-2006 ish.  The piece of this that you need to understand is that it was effectively a 23 inch by 23 inch by 23 inch cube that weighed about 150 lbs.  It effectively sat in the corner of my office taking up tons of space…  and any time there was a paper jam I had to try and balance the unit while turning it around because it was way too big to actually get to the back side without doing so.  The other thing you need to know is… that there are several times a year where my wife will print up to a ream of paper worth of materials for her classroom in a single evening.  So it is simply not cost effective to try and do that with a consumer grade laser printer.

This week the computer she had in her office finally gave up the ghost, which is not terribly surprising given that it was an ancient Gateway FX P6831 laptop circa 2008.  So like always this lead us to craigslist to see what all was available in our area on the cheap.  While we didn’t really find anything, given that our craigslist seems to be entirely made up of laptops and custom built rigs that someone overpaid for… and still thinks is extremely valuable.  However in her travels she happened upon a reasonable looking printer that in theory could replace the mammoth beast and give us some more desk space.  It turns out a company was surplussing all of their HP Laserjet P3005 printers and we were able to pick up a relatively low print volume printer for $40.  This however left us with the daunting task of moving the beast downstairs…  something that I am shocked I was able to do by myself years ago…  I know at the time it involved using an office chair as a makeshift handtruck and then slowly lifting it a single stair at a time.  Thankfully I am much older and wiser… and simply opted to remove the two addon printer trays, duplexer and toner cartridge which turned it into something that was way more manageable for us to get downstairs.  This left me room to set up the new printer, and also coincidentally gave me room enough for the Canon Pixma MG3620 color printer that I picked up off Amazon for $30 a week or so back.  Which means for the first time in probably a decade we have a reasonable color printing option.  However the directions that came with the printer…  were for a completely different model and it only took me a couple of hours of trying to set things up in vain for me to realize this fact and to grab the correct directions from the Canon website.  Unlike past wireless printers… you cannot apparently set it up over USB and then set its wireless credentials…  you instead need to do some bullshit mobile phone set up process.  However once I got the correct directions it went pretty smoothly.

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This was just one vignette of the random stuff we did this weekend, and most of it isn’t really worthy of writing about.  However now we have the mammoth printer sitting in our living room because the person who had said they wanted it…  backed out when they realized just how damned big it was.  Thinking about sitting it out on the porch one day and posting a “free” craigslist post to see if anyone will come get it.  I would love to give it to a school or a church or a non-profit agency because it still prints insanely well… and the toner has gotten to the point where you can get it for like $20 in the secondary market and it will print something along the lines of 60,000 copies off that single toner.  Until then however the cats think they have a new toy and one of them has taken to periodically laying on it.  As far as gaming goes…  I largely played Diablo 3 and with significant help from friends am nearing the point where I get my pet in the seasons journey.  Right now I am on a more annoying objective step which involves running bounties until I get five jewelry patterns, which will then unlock the last few pieces of the Rathma necromancer set.  After a few seasons of playing Demon Hunters…. everything feels slow…  but the Necro in particular feels extremely slow when pushing Rifts and Greater Rifts.  Getting the two piece weapon set has greatly improved this but it still feels slower than I am used to even when being drug behind a much much higher leveled friend.  All in all though the Necromancer is still insanely fun, but as we talked about this weekend… I am curious how many previously devoted Witch Doctor players have made the swap to Necromancer permanently.

Week with Axon

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I have now now been using my new phone for a week and thought I would talk a bit about some of my impressions this morning.  Firstly I feel like I need to explain my decision process a bit and how I ended up with a non-AAA manufacturer phone.  For some time I have balked at the price of cell phones.  Yes I am old enough to remember a time when you just walked into the cellular carrier and they gave you whatever phone you wanted along with your one year contract.  After a point that became a two year contract, and eventually a discounted rate on the phone…  and now they just charge you a monthly fee as part of a rent to own style scheme to dilute the cost of your insanely expensive hardware.  I’ve not swapped phones nearly as often as the manufacturers would really like me to…  my first “smartphone” being a Samsung Blackjack 2 which upgraded into an iPhone 3gs which caused me to venture into android land… where I have had a Samsung s2 and a Samsung s5.  My natural upgrade path would then probably be the Samsung Galaxy s8 but those are around $800… and I didn’t want to spend that amount of money on a phone.

As a result I started looking at a handful of other phones, the less popular brands looking for what is essentially the best bang for the buck.  I looked at the product offering from OnePlus, Moto, HTC, Huawei and ultimately ZTE.  The finally decision point came down a duel between the ZTE Axon 7 and the Huawei Honor 8…  and after reading a whole slew of reviews I finally pulled the trigger and ordered my Axon 7 for around $350 from Amazon carrier unlocked.  For sake of reference in the marketing image above… I have the dark grey model on the far right.  I was honestly expecting to get what felt like a second rate phone, but what I got instead was something that seems almost indistinguishable from the traditional quality of the flagship phones I have owned.  The phone arrived in this weird white leather texture box that was extremely thick that slid apart to reveal a whole bunch of pack in items.  Firstly there was the phone, that came out of the box with a screen protector installed.  Secondly it came with a rubbery phone case for you to use if that is your thing… until you likely went out and got your own case later.  It would probably provide a bit of shock proofing, but more importantly some grip which I will get into later.  There was the ubiquitous charging brick with a fairly long usb type c cable, but what I was not expecting was a little adapter that let you use a micro usb cable and convert it to type c.  Finally there was a pack in SIM removal tool on a rubber keychain, allowing you to in theory take it with you…  though any straight pin or paperclip will do the trick to eject the SIM card tray.

Relevant Specs

  • Operating System: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow (upgraded easily to 7.1.1)
  • Display: 5.5-inch, 2560×1440 AMOLED Gorilla Glass 4
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Quad-core 2.15GHz
  • GPU: Adreno 430 GPU
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Onboard Storage: 64GB
  • Expandable: microSD up to 2TB
  • Rear Camera: 20MP f/1.8, PDAF, OIS, 4K/30 video
  • Front Camera: 8MP f/2.2, 1080p/30 video
  • Battery: 3250 mAh
  • Charging: Quick Charge 3.0, USB Type-C
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 802.11ac dual-band, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, NFC, GPS, GLONASS
  • Networks: Both GSM and CDMA supported
  • Dimensions: 151.7 x 75 x 7.9mm
  • Weight: 175 g

The phone was released a year ago so in theory to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S7, but for sake of reference the specs are pretty comparable to the S8.  It shipped with a ZTE android distribution called MiFavor which I have opted to simply go with because it seems to have really solid patching support via a software updater.  It shipped with Android 6.0.1 but through the course of a handful of patches I was able to take it to Android 7.1.1 and it performs really solidly.  One of the weird things going on with this phone is that like many international focused devices it comes with dual SIM card slots.  What makes it interesting is that the second SIM card slot also serves as you micro SD card, which means the device only has the one card tray and everything fits neatly in it.  So far the battery life is excellent and for reference I wound up playing Final Fantasy Record Keeper from bed last night for about two hours and only used 15% of the battery.  The graphics are and screen are beautiful and everything seems to run so much better than it did on my Galaxy S5…  but granted that was a really aging phone at this point.

The only gotchas I have run into thus far is a combination of two things.  Firstly this is a really heavy phone…  like if I got into trouble I legitimately feel like I could chuck the phone at someones head and potentially knock them out… or maybe give them a concussion.  The second part… is that the full Aluminum body is slick…  like insanely slick which is magnified by the fact that it is heavy.  In theory that flimsy rubber case that they give you in the box is probably to help counteract this.  However there have been multiple times I have had the phone damned near slip out of my hand while pulling it in and out of my pocket or just while holding it and using it.  I purchased an aftermarket case that I liked to try and negate this so it isn’t a deal breaker but just something you need to be aware of.  The size of the phone is fine for my giant sized hands… but for most people this is probably going to feel like more a “phablet” and less like a phone.  So far I am loving it and I have zero buyers remorse.  The only problem that I can see with this product is that the pricing seems to be extremely volatile.  I purchased mine for around $350… and yesterday when I went to link it to a friend it was selling for closer to $450.  If you can find one for the right price though I think its an amazing flagship replacement, and very worthy of going up against the more well known phones.  As I continue to use it I will probably do follow ups to this quick review as the device ages.

Netflix Castlevania

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It would be a bit of an understatement to say I was excited about the new Netflix anime series based loosely on the events of Castlevania III.  I have a deep relationship with this game series and while I have not played a lot of them, it was nonetheless extremely important during my formative video game playing years.  The original was the very first game that I saved up money to purchase for the Nintendo Entertainment System.  Back then at roughly age 11, it took a long time to scrounge up the money to buy a $50 video game…  but that was really only half of the obstacle.  To get the game itself required going someplace that had video games… or at least in the case of Castlevania a trip to Toys R Us…  the closest of which was an hour and some change away from home.  To say I devoured the game is a bit of an understatement as well… there are sequences in the original game that are burned into my brain just as indelibly as the Vampire Killer theme is.  I have said this plenty of times… but I count Castlevania Symphony of the Night as my favorite game of all time and consider it pretty damned closed to perfect.  When Koji Igarashi started the kickstarter for Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night…  I threw money at my screen and backed it as soon as I could.  Since then I have played through the demo version that backers got a few times…  so to say I am the target audience is also probably a bit of an understatement.

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The show released officially over the weekend on the 7th but I just finally was able to sit down for a period of time and watch through it last night.  Prior to doing so I had been seeing a bit of confusing press floating around with folks generally being unsatisfied with the new netflix offering.  Firstly this is probably the most bingeable Netflix “series” I have ever seen…  with only 4 episodes weighing in around 100 minutes of total watching.  This honestly felt more like a pilot and less like a complete series, but I won’t get hung up on those details.  What the season is more than anything is setting the stage for the second season.  Since this series is roughly based on the third Nintendo Entertainment System Castlevania game… we go into it knowing some of the major plot points and it seems like the show more or less is following them.  During the four episodes we are introduced to a cast of characters that will play out over the series…  but I found it curious that at least one major character was completely absent.  I am hoping this was just a situation of not having met him yet through the course of the very short few episodes that we got, and will join the team as a later reveal.  The show sets up the central conflict between the early science hating church and Dracula…  and to a lesser extent the general forces of the enlightenment.  For the Christian viewers…  I could see some of the dialog being a little hard to swallow.  For me personally… it did an excellent job of setting up the central conflict that made Castlevania III so different than some of the others in the series.

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One of the complaints that I have seen online about the show is that Dracula is not set up to be a sympathetic character…  and frankly I disagree.  I found myself sympathizing with Dracula quite a bit honestly, and were I in his position I probably would have wanted to burn everything to the ground as well.  As far as matching the tone of the games…  you are supposed to hate Dracula because ultimately that is the core conflict.  Castlevania more or less is about the central conflict between the Belmont family and Dracula.  More or less every 100 years Castlevania materializes in our plane of existence, and the Belmont clan trains to be able to stop him each time.  This series has a Belmont and a Dracula…  so I feel like it met all of the necessary requirements for being able to call itself a Castlevania anything.  I honestly thought all of the character introductions worked extremely well, especially Alucard…  who isn’t 100% on our side and we get that impression.  The real problem with the series as I see it is that I want more of it.  Four episodes was just not enough because it essentially serves as the pregame cinematic setting everything up…  and we haven’t really gotten to any of the meat of the game yet…  or in this case the series.  I mean they had to functionally tell an origin story given that they cannot really guarantee that anyone who is watching the show has ever actually consumed any of the source material.  I feel like they did a great job of setting the stage…  but I am not really looking forward to the likely two year wait until the next batch of episodes.  This time I am hoping they give us way more than four in a single sitting.  This won’t be the show for everyone…  but I am not looking to nitpick something that I never thought I would actually see in my lifetime.  I am more than happy just to sit back and enjoy it.

Needed Break

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This is a weird post and I am not exactly sure how to write it.  I find myself contemplating a break from blogging, or at least greatly ratcheting down the amount that I spend writing.  It feels like for awhile now I have been too little butter spread across way too much toast.  There are so many times I sit down in front of the keyboard in the morning and I have no clue what I am going to talk about, and somewhere along the way a post comes out.  The problem is…  it isn’t usually a very good one.  When I first started blogging I was full of ideas that I felt like I had to get out of my head to keep from bursting.  However the rate at which those ideas regenerated was way slower than the time in which it took to drain the well dry.  Partially it is that I don’t think what I am doing is all that interesting anymore.  I am no longer playing any one game serious enough to be a reasonable source of information about it, and I am not playing enough games to really be any sort of interesting review source.  I’ve fallen into this pattern of largely playing whatever I happen to be playing on a much more casual level than I used to, and as a result you see long strings of posts about my activity in Destiny, Diablo 3, Final Fantasy XIV and occasionally World of Warcraft.  None of which is filled with that much useful information,  nor do I really feel like I have enough personality to carry it off anymore.

I am not really sure what this means, but it all feels like I am forcing the daily blog to be a thing right now.  In truth my blog was never really known for the quality of content, but more the quantity and I guess on some level that is a little bit depressing.  Talking a lot without saying anything meaningful is not exactly my favorite thing.  I know that I don’t want to do anything like nuke the blog from orbit…   I am more the sort to simply let something rot on a server forever rather than delete it.  The problem that I am having is that I wish I could blog with regularity…  but also only do it when I have something worth talking about.  I am not entirely certain if I am capable of doing something…  but doing it intermittently.  My life tends to be a series of routines, and once one is abandoned it tends to be gone forever.  I am hoping that I can figure out how to blog when I actually want to be blogging rather than out of some sense of obligation or devotion depending on which day it is.  It is my hope that by backing off from forcing myself to do this every morning…  that I might be able to get some of my creativity back.  I have this weird problem with when something feels like a job… it ruins the fun for me.  There was a period of time when I used to love development…  and now it is largely something I do to get a paycheck.  Similarly I used to love sitting down in the morning and baring my soul for you all…  but over time that too has started to feel like a job.

Here is hoping I can figure out a way to keep doing this blog…  but recapture some of the fun.  Regardless from this post forward we are entering a new phase of my blogging.  If I have something to say I will say it.  If I don’t however I will just peacefully drink my coffee in the morning and do something else.

Goodbye Bella

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Having the “Fourth” holiday happen in the middle of a week always throws me off.  For example I got up yesterday and never once considered sitting down to blog…  until about 10:30 my wife asked me something about it and if I was going to call it “the weekend”.  In truth I have felt a little out of it for the last week or so, mostly because a whole bunch of things have happened.  Firstly we had the whole “dog adopted us” thing, which caused us to completely screw up our sleep patterns.  For months now our Eldest ferret has not been doing very good, so there has been a daily routine of cleaning up after her.  Monday evening when I got home from work, I went to check on her and found that she had passed peacefully during the day.  We sort of knew it would be soon because we had been feeding her this nutrient soup, and Sunday night she refused to eat any…  and also refused to drink much in the way of water.  In some ways finding she passed peacefully curled in a little ball in one of the warm beds is a relief…  because its like she drifted off to sleep and just never woke up.  Whatever relief I am feeling however is outmatched by the general sadness of knowing she is gone… so it is a truly mixed bag of emotions.  At the same time we have been trying to double our attention on her cage mate who had been watching after her as the signs of aging got worse.  The challenge with ferrets is that they are extremely wiggly creatures… and as a result I have tons of blurry photos of them scampering and playing…  but not a whole lot that are nice and relatively still.  The above image is of a much much younger Bella and I managed to snap a few shots where we can actually see her face.  She was my girl, and would follow me around while I was doing whatever…  until I would finally go pick her up from the play pen.  Feeling more than a little broken at the moment.

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You aren’t going to get much in the way of a traditional post out of me today.  I just don’t feel like talking about gaming and such.  So I will just leave you with another photo, this one shows Shiloh as well and is one of the few “scamper” shots that actually has Bella in focus.  In my four decades of life I have had to say goodbye to a lot of animal friends…  and it never really gets any easier.  In fact finding these photos this morning meant scrolling through a bunch of shots of Little Shit and Chloe as well…  and that sorta tore open its own old wounds.  I guess that is the challenge of the digital age…  you have a mountain of available photos available at a moments notice…  even if those photos are sometimes hard to look through.  Bella came to us with her name… and she was a rescue from someone who could no longer take care of her.  The original owner said it was short for Bellatrix as in Bellatrix Lestrange from the Harry Potter novels…  but I sort of think it was the worst possible name for her.  Firstly she was a blondish/white ferret…  which might have fit Narcissa but not Bellatrix.  Secondly she was one of the most loving and cheerful ferrets… and not at all similar to her cruel namesake.  We kept it because she seemed to respond to it, though I imagine she was responding more to our voices than a specific name.  She was our little escape artist, and I am sure at some point during my blog I have written about the fact that she figured out how to leap out of a marshall farms play pen…  leading us to zip tie plastic cardboard signs to the top to keep her from gaining traction and flopping over to the other side.  She had not been much of an escape risk for awhile though, and mostly just wanted to snuggle at all possible times.  She loved being carried around… and often helped me go fetch this or that around the house.  I am trying really hard to pour extra attention on Shiloh because I am sure she misses Bella…  but also because it helps me as well.  Bye baby girl.

 

Surprise Doggo

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Yesterday did not go exactly as intended.  Each morning during the summer two events happen… firstly I wander upstairs and start blogging or at least attempt to blog.  Secondly my wife goes out on a morning walk in our neighborhood.  It was on the second part of this equation that things started going off the rails.  Something you have to understand is that my wife and I are not dog people in general.  I mean I won’t refuse petting any dog, and the neighbors dogs are my buds…  but when it comes to actually cohabiting with one that has never been a thing for us.  The problem I have is that to a dog… you are the center of their universe which is a lot of fucking responsibility.  To a cat…  you barely inhabit their universe so you just sorta exist together in the same space, which is much more friendly to my personality.  My wife walks what is in truth a couple of miles around the neighborhood and early on this pair of dogs started following her.  This little boy has a female litter mate and at some point they both ran off to chase a rabbit and only the male dog returned to my wife’s side.  However he proceeded to follow her for another mile and a half…  and during one portion of the journey decided that running off into traffic was a good idea.  He wandered around with her until she finally made it home, where at which point she went through our back gate into the backyard and this little guy hung out at her side all day long.

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We have a handful of websites that are for the bedroom community we live in, and she has blanketed them all with “dog found” posts.  The thing is… this is someones baby and he very obviously has a human…  and probably a female one at that.  He is super skittish around me…  but that could be the beard, or the fact that he has tiny stubby legs and I am 6’4″.  Last night we wandered the neighborhood asking anyone that happened to be out and about if they recognized the pupper and none said they had ever seen him.  We also loaded him up into my vehicle and took him to the vet so they could see if he had a micro chip…  and he rode like a champ happily pushing his face between my wife and I and looking out.  The thing is… he just does not seem like an outdoor dog he is in really immaculate shape.  His coat is soft and clean, and his mouth looks to be in excellent shape…  essentially someone has looked after him and loved on him and we just want to make sure we can find his home.  We are just not the sort of people that could ever call animal control or a shelter… so for the moment we seem to have a guest which is causing all sorts of problems.  Firstly he does not like being outside alone… because at about 11 pm last night when we went to bed he started barking and whining on the patio outside the bedroom.  We thought it might be a light thing but turning on some lights out there didn’t seem to help it at all.  My wife opted to take one for the team and rigged a make shift bed outside and slept for a good chunk of the night with him laying on the patio beside her.  Today it started raining… and he is now chilling in our garage because he was not really a fan of the thunder or the rain.  This is just not an outside animal…  and I hope that our wide net ends up finding his family.  The positive however is that if we do not find his home, we had a friend contact us last night that recently lost their dog…  and would be more than happy to adopt him.  I had to make a mad dash to the store last night and attempt to gather some rudimentary dog things…  food, collar, leash, ball, bone and a cheapo food dish.  Here is hoping that within a few days he has been reunited…  but in the meantime my wife seems to have a doggo.

Slow Day

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This morning I am struggling a bit to find something worth writing about.  Last night instead of throwing myself against Trial 3 in FFXIV, I opted to play some more Necromancer in Diablo 3.  Necromancer the class is extremely good, and probably what I will be playing during the next season which should be starting sometime in mid July.  The biggest problem I am running into with Diablo is that I am going to start needing to do the seasonal reboot of characters thing, given that my slots are starting to run out.  As of last night around 11 pm I got Necromancer to 70, but literally dinged…  watched the cutscenes and went to bed.  That leaves the only classes in D3 that I have never taken to 70 being the Wizard and Witch Doctor…. something I probably need to remedy at some point.  I think my little break from Final Fantasy XIV did some good, because right now I am ready to get in…. and bash my face against the trial until I get through it.  More than anything I want to get to the other side of that trial because it is currently locking me from doing a bunch of end game content.  I’ve hear that my friend Morenhai has already defeated one of the extreme primal fights, which only serves to make me feel way further behind.  I will say thought that hanging out and milling around in Diablo 3 was just about the maximum amount of social interaction that I was capable of supporting the last few days.  I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch, and I probably need to hang out again with people to push through it.

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I really do not have a whole lot to talk about this morning other than the fact that I am going to make more attempts on Trial 3 tonight, and here is hoping I don’t end up needing another break from Stormblood as a result.

 

E3 2017: Bethesda, PC Gaming, Devolver

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Bethesdaland

I am lagging behind a bit in my posts since I am still limiting myself to one of these a day… and whatever I happen to be able to write during my normal morning writing period.  Bethesda is traditionally the gaming showcase that I look forward to the most during E3.  In the past they have announced a lot of really awesome stuff like Fallout 4… and then turned around and announced that they were going to release said game within six months.  Bethesda traditionally is the master of the hype cycle, and while there might be rumors swirling around a game… it won’t actually be confirmed until it is nearly ready to launch and there is a clearly defined pathway to release.  This year however it feels like a lot of the amazing announcements were lacking.  There were several items that were mentioned at other shows…  for example they talked about Elder Scrolls Online Morrowind… that was just literally released on the 6th so it doesn’t feel like that really counts.  Similarly Quake Champions was one of their big reveals for last year, and it has been in some state of beta for awhile now so it also feels very “been there done that”.  Some of their big announcements this year…  were also things we already knew about  Doom VFR and Fallout 4 VR.  The problem with both is…  I don’t have a VR setup nor am I really planning on getting one in the near future so that doesn’t terribly interest me.  If I was getting something in the VR space it would probably be the PS4 VR option given that it is a hell of a lot more plug and play and seems to have a wealthy of interesting titles developed for it.  Similarly Skyrim Switch was announced… more or less during the Switch reveal, but we finally got some real details and confirmation I guess.  Here is a run down of the things that I did think were worth mentioning from the show.

The Evil Within 2

If you have ever wanted to be afraid of milk…  watch this trailer.  I own copies of Evil Within but I have never actually gotten around to playing it.  It is on that long list of things that I want to play but never seem to find time to actually do.  In theory I should have been using this time when my wife is travelling to play a whole slow of immersive single player games.  Whatever the case this game looks really awesome, even though I had hell actually following what was happening.  It seems like this is a continuation of the events from the first game.  If you are into that sort of thing it seems like this might be right down your alley.

Dishonored Death of the Outsider

At first we thought this was a DLC sort of like the previous two that were released for Dishonored, however this is apparently an entire stand alone game.  Once again it follows the Daud side of the story, and apparently brings back Billie Lurk.  I am thinking maybe we will see the same sort of options that you have with Dishonored 2 where you can focus on playing either of the characters, but I might be wrong.  Not a whole lot of information is actually out yet about the game, but what we were treated to was a really awesome teaser trailer.  It seems like we are going to go Outsider hunting, since they blame that entity for all the chaos that has happened.  I know I will be playing it, because I loved Dishonored…  but I have also found that I don’t get into the non-Corvo games nearly as much as the mainline series.  It is kinda cool though that we are functionally taking two paths at all times to this story…  the Story of Corvo and the Story of Daud.

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

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This title release has been a hotbed of conversation among the AggroChat crew… namely in that I am amped as can be and Kodra and Tam are disappointed.  Me getting into the reasons here is going to be super spoilery about the first game… and since I still think everyone should play the first game…  I am largely going to refrain.  Suffice to say I am pumped in every possible way about the release of this game and it pretty much gave me everything I could ever hope for going going into it.  The thing about New Order that I enjoyed the most was seeing this jacked up re-imagining of the world.  I am a sucker for alternative history novels, and this game fed right into it…  especially given the what would have happened if we lost World War II thing has been played so many times in fiction.  On the other side… I have been playing Wolfenstein since 1992 and have played through every iteration of the game including all of the parts of the actual chronology leading up to this game.  For those who are curious… and want to start at the beginning…  best as I can piece it together you have Return to Castle Wolfenstein > Wolfenstein (2009) > The Old Blood > New Order > New Colossus.  The only one I really have hell placing in that order is Old Blood… and it could fit directly before New Order or could even be before RtCW.  Anyways the whole point is I am deeply invested in this franchise and have been for years.  New Order was a strict departure from the largely mindless kill all the Nazis gameplay, but definitely in a good way.  It introduced a compelling story to wrap around the core of the game…  but in the end I was still largely there for that core gameplay of leave no one standing.  Generally speaking all I am looking for out of a sequel is a chance to dust off the characters I have bonded with… and take them out on another adventure.  If New Colossus provides me with this… it is going to be everything I could have hoped for.

Creation Club

I am supremely uncertain of how I feel about this announcement.  Bethesda has been working on a way to sell mods for awhile now, and even though they claim this is not paid mod support…  it is definitely paid something.  Time will tell what this actually looks like in the final version, and what the economy is like.  However immediately it is reminding me of the paid creator system in the SOE games.  That actually produced some really awesome stuff that allowed talented 3D artists to sell new and interesting weapons.  The prime difference there is… that was a previously closed game that was opened up through their creator system.  Bethesda games however traditionally are open to mods and if you have the will you can find pretty much anything already for the games.  You want to run around Fallout in Warhammer 40,000 Space Marine armor?  Sure there is a mod for that.  Things like that however cannot officially exist in either the in game mod support or the creation club, because no one has consulted with the license holder to pay for offering that.  It seems like Bethesda is damned determined to make this system happen regardless, so I suppose we have to take a wait and see approach on it.  I do think it would be nice of the mod creators themselves have a way to actually get paid for their work.  In World of Warcraft there are lots of addons that I have chipped in a few dollars to support the author in creating it, because their work greatly improved my game play.  Similarly I have no problem chipping in some money to support a Fallout or Skyrim mod…  but I would prefer that the money go to the creator and Bethesda not get to take a cut.

PC Gaming Show

The PC Gaming show since its inception has been this really awkward show that never really felt like it could hang with the big kids.  That is not to say that Sean ‘Day[9]’ Plott does not try super hard to steer the train and keep it from completely falling off the tracks.  This year however… felt almost like a proper show.  There were a lot of changes that happened this year that maybe lead to that.  Firstly it happened during the middle of the day instead of being something happening relatively late in the evening.  Secondly they swapped the primary sponsor from AMD to Intel.. and potentially Intel cares way more about a polished presentation.  Thirdly the number of support as far as medium to big reveals went up significantly.  Now for me personally… there was not a lot about the show that I cared deeply, however there were definitely some reveals that I could see going over well.  Firstly the release of a remaster of Age of Empires seemed to get a bunch of notice, but for me personally I never played the games in that series that much.  Similarly there was the reveal of a new Xcom 2 expansion… but that also is not really my style of game.  A whole bunch of people seemed to be really happy with the reveal of Mount & Blade 2: Bannerlord…  but again not exactly my type of game.  I have never wanted to be a single soldier in the middle of an otherwise RTS style battle.  The trailer that did stand out to me that I was the most interested in… was Ooblets which seemed to be this weird amalgam of Pokemon and Harvest Moon and adorable as hell.  The Last Night seems awesome…  but I won’t be buying it because I don’t want to support anything that creator does after the bullshit he has caused in the past.  Ylands also looked kinda cool.. but I feel like I have an overabundance of good sandbox games.  It is going to have to do a hell of a lot to stand out from the pack for me.  Battletech… I was a backer and am purposefully trying not to play it until it officially releases.

Devolver Digital

This show… was like the parody anti-show of E3.   They didn’t actually announce anything… or in truth show anything.  It was sort of the Tim and Eric of E3 Shows and while I personally found it funny there are a lot of people who did not seem to be in on the joke.  Among the AggroChat crew it was less in on the joke but instead that they simply didn’t appreciate the style of humor.  Buckets of fake blood are not their thing.  For me I found it entertaining and watched the entire thing…. but they were trying super hard to be edgy.  I wouldn’t suggest actually tracking down the video and watching it since it really ads no value other than an attempt at shock.