Monthly Archives: March 2009

So what’s going on with me, anyway?

There’s a reason my last two blog posts were about EVE. Actually, there are several reasons. I use blogging primarily as a way to report the news of my life. As such, I don’t generally go into things that haven’t changed, and there’s been depressingly little change lately on real fronts. What little has occurred has mainly been of a fairly transient or trivial nature. I spend a lot of time on EVE, and some big stuff’s been happening lately at a time I actually felt like writing, and so I’ve been blogging about EVE.

But it’s been a long time since I really reported anything about my experience in FirstLife, so I thought it was time to do a more-or-less comprehensive rundown of the trivial, the transient, and the Things That Haven’t Changed.

Things That Haven’t Changed:

-Since it’s a big subject on a lot of people’s blogs, I’ll start with my love-life. The reason I haven’t written about it lately is that there’s nothing interesting going on in my love-life. I generally consider that a good thing, as once you’re emotionally comitted to someone, “interesting” is usually synonymous with “painful.” If I’m not writing about it, it’s a good thing, in other words. And things have been fairly good lately. The love of my life isn’t willing to admit to me that she’s my girlfriend, but (and this is actually kinda new, I just hadn’t thought to mention it) she isn’t claiming to be someone else’s anymore either. This has eased my depression considerably.

Slight break here: That’s actually huge news. It’s not transient or trivial, I just hadn’t thought to mention it. I’m no longer depressed. I’ve been off the antidepressants since I ran out of them a month or so ago, and I actually feel pretty good.

-I’m still unemployed. Nobody’s hiring, and even if they were, I certainly as hell wouldn’t be the guy to find them. I’m a terrible job-hunter. Yes, it’s a problem. Yes, I’m trying to fix it. No, I don’t really have any idea how.

The Transient:

-I usually don’t report when I’m ill. The main reason for this is that I rarely feel like writing when I’m ill, and even if I did, I’d have trouble finding the energy. By the time I do, naturally I’m no longer ill, so I’ll report it in the past tense. I am recovering from a hell of a…virus, I think it was. It initially presented with headache, loss of energy and severe joint pain and moved on into all manner of unpleasant things. I’m pretty much better now. It took about two weeks to run its course. I rescheduled a doctor’s appointment because I didn’t think the acute condition would aid any in diagnosing or treating my chronic conditions, and therefore didn’t feel like going when the only likely outcome was “You have a virus,” which wouldn’t have helped in the slightest.

-My Dad stopped buying food for a while, leaving me in a bit of a fix with an empty kitchen and empty pockets. Fortunately, my big brother and my ex-girlfriend stepped up and I don’t seem to have lost any weight.

-I had a recurring pain in my lower back. This appears to have been resolved. I suspect it may have been a side-effect of the hydrochlorot somehow, as the pains ceased about the time I lost it and went back on my old stock of lisinopril, which I’m pretty sure by now wasn’t causing my coughing fits.

The Trivial:

-My car reached 160,000 miles. The “Check Engine” light came on at the same time.

-I have achieved a number of new high scores playing Tetris on my phone. My current best is a score of 68173 with 277 lines completed and ending at level 13. I’m apparently 36% efficient and have a power of 59, whatever that means.

-I played through both KotOR games and started playing through them again before losing interest. I even took a brief look at the current state of the modding scene for those games. (It’s mostly dead, hardly surprising considering their age, but there are still some good mods and resources available. Sadly, the TSL Restoration Project has yet to produce results. One wonders if it ever will.)

-I have now completed (won) a game of Master of Orion II playing on “Impossible” difficulty as stock Bulrathi.

-It occurred to me that “Masters of Orion,” which everyone seems to think is the name of Master of Orion II may not actually be a registered trademark. Possible name for a clone-game.

-I have begun musing on an idea for a non-fanfic universe/story/Great American Novel (you know, the kind that Never Gets Finished?) It involves a space-opera universe where the answer to “How does FTL work” is actually “It’s Magic.” My working title is “Star Fire and Diamond Dust.” Yes, there are elves and energy swords.

-I’m now playing through WH40K: Dawn of War: Dark Crusade (main, that title’s a keyboard-full) as both the Orcs and the Necrons. I’m closing in on victory in both. I believe that leaves Space Marines and Tau.

-I’ve prepared and eaten several meals in the intervening period. None of them were memorable.

-I’ve posted a number of new AT2 warship designs on btechunits. You should really look at them. And comment.

-I’ve sung a number of new songs at karaoke. This last Friday, I sang an Elvis song (Beach Boy Blues) that I’d never actually heard before and did a passable job to considerable applause. I must be good at this or something. Too bad there’s no money in it.

-I completed the tokenizer portion of a parser I’m building. I should really finish the darn thing. For a programmer, I don’t seem to program much, and that’s a problem.

-There is now a gaming store with a largish playing area in Richland. This is cool, as it means that I might be able to join the Catalyst Games demo team. Once I actually finish the application.

-I should really file a FAFSA for this year. Even if WSU won’t give me financial aid, there may be another institution that will.

-I filed an application with Office Depot. No word back. Didn’t [i]really[/i] want to work there anyway.

-My resume was noticed by an insurance firm out of Walla Walla. They wanted me to sell insurance. This suggests to me that they have a reading comprehension issue. Fix computers for an insurer? Sure. Answer phones? No problemo. I am not a salesman. I will not sell on a comission and especially I will not sell insurance.

Things that HAVE Changed:

Since I thought of a few, there are some things that are both different and significant:

-As noted above, I am no longer depressed because things have improved measurably with Alison.

-I’m going to be going back to school. It’s on my parent’s dime, and it’s only one class, but it’s something. It almost feels like progress. Unfortunately, it’s a Calculus class I’ve taken twice before with unvaried and unfortunate results. Quarter II Calculus shouldn’t really be that big of a challenge, but I find myself anticipating and dreading it in equal measure.

A Period of Cheating

Much excitement in EVE, as the russian player coalition Red Alliance, after weeks of trying to provoke a blue-on-blue incident from Ethereal Dawn and Intrepid Crossing, ambushed IRC and started a full-on throw-down, which they were steadily losing, after ED and IRC began a massive counterassault with the blessing and covert support of mutual ally GoonSwarm.

The above statement will surprise you if you’ve been tracking the event on CAOD, the official out-of-game forum for capsuleer alliance announcements and smacktalk. To listen to the Goonies on CAOD talk, IRC started their invasion after shooting blue-on-blue indiscriminately for months and were reset (for non-EVEers, the alliance was unilaterally dissolved) for attempting to sabotage the Goon war effort against BoB/KenZoku/Whatever they are this week.

But the first is a lot closer to the real truth. It galls me to let the lie pass, but the thing with winning a debate on CAOD is that you’re still a moron. It’s also remarkably annoying to win a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent who has too much pride or too little sense (or both) to know he’s been beat.

Recent developments are disturbing, and make this look a fair bit like a Goon double-cross: They encouraged us to fight Red Alliance, then gave us no overt support, ultimately (they claim) bringing us to heel with an ultimatum after stealing tens of billions of IRC assets through a highly-placed mole, who may or may not have been acting with official sanction.

We have ceased operations in the contested region, but it should be noted for the record that this is not an offensive defeat. We were willing enough to clean Red Alliance’s clock and take insmother from them when sufficiently provoked, but we didn’t go looking for this fight. This is a defensive victory: The skill and determination of ED and IRC pilots has (along with a Goon-coerced lack of support from their closest allies) forced Red Alliance to go through a mutual ally to broker a cease-fire. That is all that really happened here, no matter how much big-headed Goon smack-talk you read, and no matter who threatened or cheated who and whose feelings were hurt.

In a way, I like this resolution, since it proves that we’re a power, while still allowing ignorant onlookers to assume that we’re care-bear Goon pets who can’t stand on our own. The killboards tell the real story, Red managed to throw back our offensive but had no offensive victories of their own, and lost badly in the kill exchange.

Still, I had been looking forward to killing Angels again. *sigh*



EVE Apocrypha

Well, ladies and gents, this is it, the biggest EVE expansion ever. Took me an hour to download it and nearly as long to patch it. The patch was bigger than my existing install.

And I am….pretty much completely underwhemed.

EVE Classic is gone, but that doesn’t bother me much. Even though only one of my systems was running Premium on the basis of the suspicion that it would cause my older machines to choke, Kithshasa is handling the new Premium content fine. There are a bunch of little tweaks, new gear, and whatever.

But the big deal is supposed to be what they’re calling “strategic cruisers.” The first “tech 3″(only not really) ships, that and wormhole space.

Wormhole space is a stupid waste of time. The less said about it the better.

“Strategic” Cruisers aren’t much better. The difficulty of building one paired with the disincentives for losing one (inevitable skillpoint loss being the big one) are counterbalanced by not nearly enough. Sure, it’s a really schnazzy configurable Cruiser. But it’s a Cruiser, which ultimately means that my Mega Pulse Lasers will still render it into scrap and expanding vapor in seconds, and given the effort involved in building one, you can bet on them costing more than a Battleship, to say nothing of how hard they’ll be to come by at first.

To add insult to injury, they really aren’t very configurable. There’s one per race, and while they have a lot of options, all of those options fit within the race’s traditional roles: Amarr armor-tank and use lasers. Caldari do EW and use missiles. Matari Do Whatever It Is Matari Do (I’ve heard it involves afterburners and autocannons) and Gallente use blasters and drones, and maybe do some neat tricks with propulsion jamming.

Ships were actually more configurable shortly after release, before CCP added platform/role bonuses and made them a requisite for accomplishing anything.

In other words, as novel and neat as they are, they’re really just more of the same. If you’ve got a Loki, you’re going to end up building something that looks a lot like some kind of Tech 2 Minmatar Cruiser. And even within that subset, there are some features you’re just not going to have. Add in that they’re just plain ugly and…

So, in review:

Classic gone: meh.

New Player Experience: some steps in the right direction, maybe. Shrug.

New Animations: <3 Awesome job, CCP.

New Ships: meh.

Wormhole Space: blah.

Combine “blah” for the sake of “meh” with the fairly poorly executed rollout (patch wasn’t available in advance, autopatcher didn’t work for some people, promised torrent for fallback installer was nonexistent,) and I think you have a moderate fail with Apocrypha. Which is really kinda too bad.

Now I get to go back to waiting for Ambulation, I suppose.