Friday, September 30, 2011

Points of Interest

With the new Dominion mode of League of Legends live, it's interesting to see the community responding to it.  As far as I can see now, everyone is split on what exactly this new game mode means to the game as a whole.  One percentage of the population seems to consider it a nice alternative, perhaps when you don't quite have enough time (or patience) for the farm heavy Summoner's Rift map.  Another section of the population seems to think it's going to actually replace Summoner's Rift in competitive play because it's more fun to play, watch, and commentate.  One thing is certain though -- it seems like just about everyone likes it in one way or another.

The people at Bioware made a bit of a mistake yesterday.  It seems like someone erroneously sent out a bugged beta invite to a certain large e-mail distribution list.  Oops.  I can just imagine the quantity of raid tears when all those people found out they really didn't receive a valid beta invite.  Suckers.

A lot of interesting announcements have been coming from Blizzard for World of Warcraft.  Just about every other day, if not every day, there's something really interesting coming from those guys.  To me, it seems like they're really stepping up their game in light of the competition that they know is coming.  I love that, because there are no losers in that scenario.  Especially us consumers -- we win with all the cool new stuff.  I've been doing a few things on my warrior to start getting him up to a gear level respectable for the new 5-mans coming in 4.3.  I've also been leveling a shaman -- I hit level 58 and parked him in Outland last night.

Serious Sam 3 got delayed for a whole month, which makes me very sad indeed.  According to the press release, they want to polish the game more before they release it, and stated they're going to add a few more different types of enemies as a result.  I suppose I can forgive them for that.

The Diablo 3 beta is on-going, and they recently made a bunch of little changes to it.  John and I played through it again the other day, noticing all the little changes and enjoying them immensely.  He's enjoying the Monk, and I'm still sold on the Demon Hunter.

Finally, The Binding of Isaac is flippin' bizarre.  I played about fifteen minutes of it, until my first death.  The game is very similar to Super Meat Boy in style (it's made by the same people), only instead of being a platformer, it's more an action/adventure game with RPG elements.  There's a ton of unlockables and lots of variety in items and enemies.  The biggest draw, I would say, is the fact that all the levels are randomly generated each and every time you play.  So, as you would expect, the replayability is exceptional.  I had John play through it a bit.  He was disturbed.

And that's all I got.  

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I can see!

I went waaaay too long without getting an eye exam.  I knew my vision was getting a little iffy, and today I finally went to the eye doctor.  My eyes are healthy, but as I suspected, I needed a stronger prescription.

It was SO NICE getting those new contacts.  The things I can see!  And read!  Whee!

I also got new glasses, as well, since those haven't been updated for an even longer span of time.  And Buyo ate my old ones.

Getting new glasses is fun for me, because it's basically choosing a new face for yourself.  It's less of a big deal for me, I suppose, since I only wear my glasses when I'm in bed reading or watching TV.  But still, it's fun to actually change your appearance like that.  I suppose I'll have to take a picture of them when I get 'em and post it.  Look for that in about 2-3 weeks.  

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

We'll just hide and hope it doesn't get any worse.

I'm having one of those days.  Nothing uncommon about that -- shit happens from time to time.  It started as soon as I woke up this morning, because I remembered what I was dreaming right before my alarm had gone off.  The content of the dream really, really bothered me.  So much so, that I'm not even going to share it here.  Or with anyone.  Ever.

Additionally, I'm still letting some stupid little annoyance from yesterday bother me a little bit, when it shouldn't even be on my mind any more.  I hate that.  I think I'm more annoyed at the fact that I'm still thinking about it than I am annoyed at the actual thing that happened.  And now my head hurts after re-reading that sentence.  Ow.

I also put my underwear on backwards, too.  That's never a good sign.  (Yes, I did realize it and fixed it before I put on my pants.)

So, I'm just going to hide here at my desk until the day is over, and hope that whatever monster is out there trying to get me today won't find me.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Creativity or Plagiarism?

I read something interesting about Stephen King once, probably in the "introduction" section of The Dark Tower novels (most likely the first book), or perhaps in his On Writing book.  He said that after he'd read The Lord of the Rings, he wanted to write his own Americanized version of it.  But, he didn't start writing it immediately then and there, because he knew that if he did, he'd simply write the same story over again.

That always stuck with me, because I can totally relate.  I've found myself in that same exact position quite a number of times, and mostly all the stories that I've written were inspired by something I've read or watched.  Chiitsu's story was loosely based on the anime Hellsing.  What I took from that was simply the idea of a "good" vampire.  The rest of the story is all my own.  Same thing with Kobal.  That was inspired by Naruto, and it's more painfully obvious in that case.

This is one of the main reasons that I will never consider myself to be a good writer -- I've never had a generally unique idea.  (I'm also going to conveniently ignore the fact that my boss re-writes every document he asks me to write, and file that into the "he's a picky bitch" file folder.)  This is also the major reason that, while I do provide a link to my writing over there on the right-hand side of this screen, I don't often talk about it in posts here.  This is because I'm always worried that someone will read my stuff and be compelled to send me a "Hey, you copied _________!" message.  One day, I actually received a message through FictionPress from someone pointing out that the title of one of my stories was the same as the name of a planet in the Battlestar Galactica universe.  I'm still trying to figure out how that's relevant, but it's a good way of pointing out why I never share that creative side of myself with other people.

But, despite all of that, it doesn't change the fact that I'm often inspired to write after I see a new TV show or read a new book that I actually like.  The reason for this is that I wish the story would go differently that it really had, or that the subject material gave me an idea for something similar, or I just wish the story would -end-.  The latter was true for Naruto.  I wrote Kobal in 2005.  This is 2011, and the Naruto story still isn't over.  I just wanted some damned closure, as if that's too much to ask.  So I basically wrote my own.  (I like anime shows that are 26 episodes and that's IT.  Like Cowboy Bebop.)

A similar thing is happening to me right now, this time in the form of getting a similar idea from the subject matter.  I've been watching a lot of Supernatural lately, and the idea of there being an underground band of hunters who track down and kill evil demons and such is a really appealing idea.  There's a lot you can do with it.

What I want to do is take that idea -- that there are hunters on Earth, they keep a low profile, and their communication with one another isn't the best -- and give it a different spin.  The main character is a hunter from another world.  An alien, if you prefer that term.  Think of the Doctor, actually.  Just without the time travel.  He travels the universe hunting things -- the same things that these humans are hunting on Earth.  Only he knows more about them than we (humans) do, and shows us that a lot of our ideas about ghosts and demons are misconceptions.  For example, Hell is actually a planet where demons come from, not a mythological place where bad people go when they die.  The stories and lore we have on Hell, demons, God, ghosts, vampires, etc all exist because people made them up to help explain the unexplained, etc.

And no, this is not my attempt to incur the wrath of the religious fanatics that I so despise.  Though I will happily vent my thoughts of them with you given the opportunity:  Hey Fred Phelps, you're a fucking asshat.

But anyway, that's my idea for the story.  I actually started writing it a few nights ago, and I have....a few paragraphs done.  And some dialogue.  And a little outline.  What I'm finding most enjoyable to creating my own scientific methods that are related to supernatural lore but put a different spin on them.  For example, it's common lore that demons leave behind a residue of sulfur, and most religions state that Hell is all fire and brimstone with sulfur in the air.  And, holy water is used to ward off demons, right?  Well, what I'm going to make up in the story is that the planet Hell is mostly sulfur, and that's what the demons are mostly made out of and breathe.  Holy water hurts them because most water contains chlorine, which neutralizes sulfur.  It's fun making stuff up about stuff that's made up.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


Well, those journal posts were certainly fun to write.  I apologize for being so dramatically cliched there in the writing style, but damn it was fun to write like that for a bit.

In other news, I seem to have a bit of opportunity thrown my way that could prove interesting.  On Thursday, my boss informed me that the project manager for our most profitable account was going to be replaced, and that he would like  me to assume the role.  This wouldn't come with an official promotion, of course, because our company, like so many others, simply just doesn't do that kind of thing.  If I do the job well, I probably still won't get anything for it.

But that's a moot point, because quite frankly, having something like that on my resume is worth it right there.  My boss says that's shit, and ensures me that he'll take care of the monetary compensation.  I appreciate that, of course, but I'm not holding my breath.

In any case, on Friday I told him that I'd do the job, and it seems like October 6th is the date for the official hand-over.  There's still a lot of uncertainty on my part when it comes to the job, but I'm going to have plenty of support from my peers.  It should be a good opportunity for me, and get me some different types of experience that I haven't had before.

It's a shame that the only reason this transition is occurring is because we are close to losing the account.  That's not the greatest situation to be in, but if I end up being able to turn things around, I suppose it will make me look even better.  (Not that I give a crap about that type of thing.)

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Lonesome Road: Day 4

Note:  Steve is playing through The Lonesome Road; the last piece of Fallout: New Vegas DLC.  The following is the on-going journal for his character as he plays through to the end. 

Day 4 - February 7th, 2083

10:36 AM - I'm still alive.  Last night was hell, filled with pain, nightmares, and  broken sleep.  The sun was already starting to rise when I was finally able to sleep, and I only got a few hours worth.  But I feel better.  Refreshed.  And my wounds are tended to and cleaned.  

I'm going to continue.  I've decided that.  Thought about it last night, and it's really the only thing for me to do.  It's my -choice-.  I could end it right here -- I've got plenty of bullets.  I only need one for me.  But that's a cowards way out.  Not for me.  Not ever.  

I could turn back, but there are two things preventing me from doing that.  The first is that I still don't know what Ulysses has planned.  He needed ED-E for something, and that makes me worry.  I'm the only one who can stop him if he does indeed need stopping.  The other reason is personal.  
I want my friend back.  

I stood up and gazed out over what lie before me.  The Divide.  

That made me smile.  Let it all end, indeed.  I intend to do just that.  Only it will end -my- way.  

I walked  for a long time, thinking about everything that's happened and everything that I've learned.  It's clear that Ulysses hates me for what happened.  I could understand that.  But it was an accident.  All of it.  I needed to make him see that, if I could.  

Finally, I reached the place.   His building.  His temple.  I didn't even pause.  I walked right in.  It's not like I cared anymore, anyway.  There were robots inside.  Sentrybots.  I used that new gun I found.   I'd never turned a robot into dust before.  It certainly surprised me when it happened.  The Arc Wielder is certainly useful against mechanical enemies.  

I soon found a computer, and I hacked into it.  Scanned the logs.  Found a control for bot pods.  Bot for robots.  For -eyebots-.  Could it be?  

I quickly scanned the records.  Three pods.  One was occupied.  I smashed the key to open it and rushed into the room.  


He was fine.  We talked a bit -- he was upset about being controlled like that, having that override make him fly to Ulysses.  And he was grateful that I'd come for him.  

I had my companion back.  Now it was time to end this.  We'd confront Ulysses.  Both of us together.  

And there he was.  Waiting for me.  He was surprised I'd retrieved ED-E.  And he finally revealed his plan...

When I carried that package through The Divide...that detonator...I destroyed The Divide.  I destroyed his home.  And now...he intended  to destroy mine.  

The Mojave...

All those many lives.  My friends in Goodsprings.  In Primm.  The NCR.  The Brotherhood.  They would all die.  He aimed every warhead in the room at them all.  

I was having none of that.  

And so we fought.  Courier vs Courier.  And he was my equal.  I honestly didn't think I was going to make it out of that room alive.  But it was filled with warheads.  And I still had the laser detonator I'd found in Hopeville.

I limped away from Ulysses, bleeding, letting him chase me.  And when he got close to one of those warheads...I blew it up.  And him with it. 

It was done...I barely escaped with my life, but it was done.  All that was left was to stop the launch of missiles.  To shut down the control panel and save the Mojave.  

I walked up to the panel...and looked at the controls in horror.  It was encoded.  The override was disabled.  I needed ED-E to...

And then he played a recording.  It was from his past.  It was what -they- wanted to do to him, those experiments...hacking military computers.  Doing so fried their circuits.  Blew them up.  Killed them.  

Computers just like the one in front of me right now.  

So that was my choice...let the countdown continue, or save the Mojave at the cost of ED-E's life.  

I couldn't ask him to do that.  I wouldn't.  

But what could I do?  

I looked down at the control panel, narrowing my eyes.  Well...if the missiles were going to launch, I could at least send them where I wanted them to go.  The Mojave wouldn't be dying today.  The NCR wouldn't be dying today.  My home wouldn't be dying today.  

But the Legion would be.  Caesar would be.  

I changed the coordinates, aiming every last missile at the Caesar's Legion camps.  They would all die.  They...the men that wandered the wasteland and crucified anyone who didn't bow to their cause.  I would send hell to them.  

I'll live with that.  

I hit the button with my fist....

The journal ends here.  The following video was included with this final entry, with a note:

I can't even try to explain what happened that day, after I pressed that button.  So instead, I will show you.  Perhaps seeing it will achieve what I think Ulysses wanted so long ago...maybe, since war never will help men change instead.  It helped me.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Lonesome Road: Day 3

Note:  Steve is playing through The Lonesome Road; the last piece of Fallout: New Vegas DLC.  The following is the on-going journal for his character as he plays through to the end. 

Day 3 - February 6th, 2083

4:33 PM - I'm...not sure if there will be another entry after this one.  I'm bleeding pretty badly, and my supplies are almost gone.  And ED-E...he's gone. -He- took him.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  

First of all, the trek across the divide was every bit as dangerous as Ulysses had said.  The Deathclaws here...they're different.  Stronger.  One knocked me right on my ass with one swipe earlier today.  I damn near didn't get up.  I've killed a lot of them today.  And a lot of marked men.  And even more of those tunnelers.  It's been one disaster after another.  

And then he talked to me again.  Through ED-E.  

I still don't know what he wants.  I don't even know if I care anymore.

Today was hell.  I was nearly blown up, chewed up, ripped up, and shot up.  I reached the silo.  I pulled the lever to open the door...

And it launched a missile.  It blew Hopeville to hell.  -I- blew Hopeville to hell. Made a crater out of it.  Me.  I did it.  Perhaps Ulysses is right.  I bring destruction no matter where I go.  I didn't mean to launch that missile.  I had no idea it would happen that way.  

I had no choice but to keep going.  Eventually, I found a path.  It was marked.  

So...I was close.  The Divide.  Just ahead.  Sure enough...there was the door.  I shivered as I looked at it.  I was glad ED-E was with me.  

When I stepped through that door, everything changed.  -I- changed.   Ulysses came calling again.  Through ED-E.  This time he told me more.  Things I had wanted to hear.  Things I didn't want to hear any more.  Things I now wish I could forget again.  

Back when I still walked The Divide, when I was that Courier, before the bullet from Benny took my memory, I carried a package.  I carried it along the road that I'd made.  The Divide.  I carried the package home.  

It was a detonator.  I had no idea.  And it activated the warheads beneath The Divide.  Set them off.  Made The Divide what it is today.  A barren wasteland of nothingness.  Full of turmoil.  Devoid of life.  Dead.  

Perhaps what I'd done is the reason I took the job to carry the Chip.  Perhaps I wanted Benny to find me.  I don't know.  I don't remember.  I don't care.  

After he was done speaking, he said one more word.  Navarro.  A keyword.  An override code for ED-E.  And then ED-E was gone.  Flown off to Ulysses.  To be used in whatever it is he's planning.  

It's not fair.  I never asked for any of this, and I never meant to hurt anyone. But I guess someone like me can't walk so many roads without affecting the lives of those around him.   Or perhaps I'm just cursed.  

Either way, I'm alone again.  My companion is gone.  Taken from me, just like all the others.  At least...excluding the ones who didn't leave on their own.  And here I lie, bleeding in a ditch inside The Divide.  Too stubborn to die but too brokenhearted to go on.  What am I going to do?

This page of the diary appears to be smeared slightly, as though water drops had been spilled on it.  Or...perhaps it was the Courier's tears.  

To be continued...

The Lonesome Road: Day 2

Note:  Steve is playing through The Lonesome Road; the last piece of Fallout: New Vegas DLC.  The following is the on-going journal for his character as he plays through to the end.

Day 2 - February 5th, 2083

8:32 PM - It feels like I've walked across the Mojave.  Twice.  The Divide is a huge, expansive place and is full of winding, narrow corridors.  And dangerous.  Ulysses was right about that, at least.  ED-E and I hadn't taken more than three steps when I heard a familiar sound that made me duck for cover.


Scrambling, I yanked ED-E down and dove behind a large chunk of concrete pavement that jutted out from the ground.  The explosion from the rocket was deafening, sending bits of shrapnel zinging in all directions.  I yanked my gun from its holster, grinning at the current situation.  I was a guy with a pistol fighting at least two guys with rocket launchers.

They were at a disadvantage.

I sent a spray of cover fire in their direction first, making them duck for cover as ED-E actually managed to flank them.  As they whirled to fire upon him, I dove out of cover, aimed, and took them both out.  Bam.  And bam.  Their friends that showed up a moment later were a bit tougher.  I was surprised at the large man who ran up to me with a large sledgehammer.  I shot him point blank in the face.  And he kept coming.  That bastard might have taken a chunk out of my skull, because I was too stunned that he'd actually survived that shot to move out of the way.  Fortunately, ED-E had my back.  He electrocuted him, stunning him for a moment as I emptied my gun into his head.  Finally, he went down.

I raided their bunker, set into the dilapidated remains of a two story office building.  On the roof, I found what I was looking for.  It was the item Ulysses said would be there.

The detonator.

I had what I needed.  The first part was finished, and I could continue on my way into The Divide.  I wanted answers, and the only person who could give them to me was stringing me along like a cat chasing a mouse.  Not the best situation in the world.  But, I've been through a lot of shit.  A whole lot.  And I wasn't about to let this God forsaken place kill me.

I walked the road with ED-E, and soon we came to the roadblock that I knew would be there.  Ulysses told me that, too.  And there it was.  A large pile of vehicles.  Skeletons of vehicles really, but they were piled up high and they were blocking the road.   And in the center -- the warhead.  There are no words that I could possibly use to explain what happened when I used the detonator, so I will show you.  Fortunately, my Pipboy is still capable of capturing video.

That certainly stirred up a hornets nest.  After the explosion died down, we were swarmed by those marked men.  Probably a half dozen of them.  No surprises this time.  I knew what to expect.  Most of them never even saw me.

From there, it was a straight shot.  Well, mostly.  The road was still winding, and there was debris and wreckage everywhere.  But I come from the Mojave.  It's nothing I'm not used to seeing every single day of my life.  The surrounding buildings were all infested with marked men.  I cleaned them out before I moved on.  It seemed like the only logical thing to do.  No point letting the vermin continue to infest these buildings.

ED-E and I had a rest in one of the buildings, ate some food from our well stocked supplies, checked our ammunition, and had a nap.  Feeling refreshed, we continued, making our way through this foreign wasteland.  For so long I'd known only the Mojave.  I felt like a foreigner here.  I had no idea how ironic that would turn out to be.

Soon, I reached the top of a hill, able to look out over a large chunk of the divide.  It gave me chills.

More marked men found us.  These guys were really starting to piss me off.   This pack gave us quite a fight, too.  I was actually hurt when the shooting was all over.  Still standing, sure.  But hurt.  It's been a long, long time since anything's been able to hurt me.  Hasn't happened since this armor was given to me by the Brotherhood.  I was shaken.

But, a few stimpacks, a salisbury steak, and a few can of beans, and I was good as new.  ED-E was pretty beat up too, but I repaired him like new with the scrap metal and electronics I'd found back in Hopeville.  Found another upgrade for the little guy, too.

After a short rest, we moved on.   Blew up another couple of warheads along the way.  It disturbed me a little to be using up the very things that ended the world during The War.  But, there was no other way to get through and cross The Divide.

Soon, we came to a collapsed underpass.  There was a way through, somehow I knew that.   I didn't know -why- I knew that, though.  Ulysses hadn't mentioned it.  But in any case, ED-E and I entered.   Looking back...I honestly wish I'd looked for another way.  This tunnel was the stuff of nightmares.

Things started out just fine.  We were attacked by a large Deathclaw right near the entrance, but I've dealt with those clawed sonsabitches plenty of times before.  Even fought a Matriarch.  Took the bitch down, too.  After seeing one of those, you never look at the normal sized ones the same way again.

ED-E played me a recording from his creator.  Told me more of his story.  Seems he was experimented on a long time ago, before The War.  The higher ups didn't feel he had any feelings, because he was just a machine.  His creator felt otherwise.  

So do I.

As we delved deeper into the tunnel, I began to notice strange holes in the ground.  I was looking at my Pipboy to take a reading on the current radiation levels around us when I heard something.  That's the only reason I was able to catch it on video.  I flipped the record button when things started coming out of the ground.

That was just the beginning.  Several moments later, we were utterly swarmed by the things.  ED-E never stood a chance -- he was knocked offline in a matter of seconds.  I emptied round after round of bullets into them, and they just kept on coming.  I honestly don't know how we survived.  At one point, after I had shot at least nine of them dead, three of them jumped on top of me and knocked me into a crevasse.  I dropped my gun, landing on my back as the wind was knocked out of me.  I could hear them scratching at the walls of the crevasse, crawling down towards me.  I groped around in the darkness, finding my gun after a few moments of panic.  Then, I fired one shot to light the place up, and three more to place a bullet in each one of their heads.  Clamoring back up to the surface, I quickly dispatched the few that remained (most of them injured from the ensuing firefight that had occurred before I was sent sprawling), and tended to ED-E.

We were all right.  But man, that was a close one.

Then...those words again.

And then, we were out.  My relief was short-lived, though, because it seems my second day in The Divide was destined to end just like the first -- with Ulysses talking to me through ED-E.  That son of a bitch.

This time, there was a tingle of annoyance in his voice.  Anger, even.  Perhaps he truly believed I'd be dead by now.  I don't know.  What I do know is that this entire thing is playing out like some ironic Old World tragedy play.

The Divide?  It used to be a trade route.  A supply line that linked the Mojave with the West.

It's creator?  Me.

Back then, it seems I knew what was going to happen.  With The Divide.  With the Hoover Dam.  Now...the shoe's on the other foot.  I know nothing, only what Ulysses tells me.  And he has all the answers.  I'm getting piecemeal, and I don't mind saying that it's pissing me off.

He says I knew what was coming back then.  And he says that he knows what's coming for me now.

We'll see.

After the bastard had given me back my -companion-, I looked  ahead and saw where I was going.

That's where I'll be headed tomorrow.  Through the rubble.  Further into The Divide.  Across the route that apparently -I- created.

One step closer to Ulysses.  To answers.  And home.

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Lonesome Road: Day 1

This past year, I've probably clocked more hours into Fallout: New Vegas than any other new game.  Steam tells me I've played the game for 86 hours.  I've killed mutants, monsters, and all kinds of nasty creatures.  I've killed humans too, a lot of whom were more nasty than those mutants.  Humans who walked around in steel suits, or crucified people just for fun.  I saved good people.  And, admittedly, lost a few, too.  I gained companions.  Freed natives.  Stopped wars.  Started a few, too.  It was a lovely ride through the main game and four pieces of DLC.

Now, the final slice of DLC has been released:  The Lonesome Road.  I'm sad.  No more new content for Fallout: New Vegas.  Say it isn't so!  But, in celebration of its release (and a closing to this chapter in the Fallout series), I present you with my journey through this last piece of the Mojave Wasteland.  It will be written utterly straight, spoken from a first person point of view and describing things as if they were actually happening.  Think of it as my character's journal.  And this is Day 1.  

Day 1 - February 4th, 2083

1:02 AM - I woke up, coughing.  A dust storm kicked up during the night, and I could taste metallic sand in my mouth.  It was dark, and my Pipboy was beeping.  It picked up a signal.  I brought the green, glowing  screen up to my face and squinted as I look at it.  The signal was coming from the West of Primm.  Not far.  I was at the Prospector's Den, and that's just East of Primm.  There was a message.  

"Courier Six.  Come to the Canyon Wreckage.   Ulysses."

A reunion, then.  I knew I was one of six couriers sent out into the wasteland.  I had the real chip.  The only real chip.  That's all the information I had...except a name.  Ulysses.  The other courier. seems I was going to find out just what was going on.  I'd better get moving.

3:07 AM - I walked in the dark, not much caring what I ran into.  With all the time I've spend out in the Wasteland, there wasn't anything that could surprise me any longer.  Or so I thought.  

After passing through Primm, I walked up a steep, dusty incline.  Sand blew in my face as it whipped across the barren landscape, and in the distance I could see a coyote.  It was hungry, and it wanted me for a snack.  Unfortunately for him, my .44 Magnum stopped him dead in his tracks before he could even take two steps towards me.  It was what lay beyond that mongrel that stopped me dead in my tracks, though.

Lonesome Road?  What the hell was this?  There was also a door marked "The Divide", and my moniker, "Courier Six", spraypainted not far from that.  But most curiously...the words "You can go home, Courier".

I have a home?

I checked my gear, making sure I had enough food, water, and bullets to last me a long while.  And then I opened the door.  Stepping through.  Into The Divide.

1:25 pm - I walked for what seemed like forever, finally passing the canyon and stepping forth onto a sheer precipice.  I shivered at the sight.  This land was foreign to me.  For the first time in a long while, I felt uneasy.  As though perhaps now...there were things out there that I possibly couldn't handle.

After stumbling around for a while, I shirked the rock wall of the cliff and found a door.  I tilted my head at it, as though it had no business existing at all.  But it was there all the same, and it was the only way for me to go.

I found myself in a tunnel.  It was dark, and sharp, bright sparks of electricity cast eerie shadows on the wall.  Those words were there again.  "You can go home, Courier."  I was getting anxious, and starting to feel that perhaps I'd walked right into a trap.  It's not like there weren't people wanting me dead.  The Legion.  The Khans.  Just to name a few.  But there was nothing least nothing that I could see yet.  I found a scant few supplies scattered about in desk drawers, cabinets, and toolboxes.  I was grateful for them, but it didn't make me any more relaxed.  Then, I reached another door.  It was marked Lonesome Road.  And it opened on its own.

I jumped back in surprise, cocking the hammer on my revolver.  Nothing  came out.  Nothing was inside.  Wiping my brow, I stepped into the room.  This one had more supplies than before, and I started to feel the weight of my pack starting to take its toll on me.  As happy as I was to find so many useful items (you learn to appreciate that kind of thing after wandering the Mojave for so long), I couldn't carry much more.  That was a problem.

I found an interesting weapon in this room, and decided to keep it.  Seems like it would be quite useful on robots,  given how much electricity it shoots out.

Then, I noticed the containment chamber.  I was wary of opening it, since I could see the robot that was inside.  Out of all the robots I've met in the Mojave, only about 1% of them were friendly.  My odds weren't good.  I switched to my .357 Magnum and pressed the button.  The small robot activated and floated out towards me.  It didn't even have to say anything -- I lowered my gun immediately.  I could tell it was on my side.

I've been around robots a lot, and I know a lot about them.  This one could only beep and play recordings, but we understood each other just fine.  His name's ED-E.

Turns out ED-E is quite the useful little bot.  Not only can he open up certain things for me, but he can also carry some of my stuff, repair my gear, help me  craft things, and reload my bullets for me.  ED-E and I are going to get along just fine.

The two of us continued on our way through this place...which I began to realize was some kind of nuclear silo.  ED-E would open doors for me that I couldn't hack or pick, and I found a few upgrades to give to the little guy.  He was pretty excited about those.

The silo seemed to house some kind of American rocket.  It made ED-E nervous.  Seems like something real bad happened to him and his creator here a long time ago.  He wouldn't tell me everything about it, though.  Maybe later, I'll earn his trust enough for him to tell me.

We reached another door and another room.  That's when I saw the bodies.

I readied my revolver.  Obviously something had to kill them.  Either other humans, some kind animal or mutant, or some kind of robot.  Turns out it was robots.  Big sentry bots.  Mean ones,  too, armored to their mechanical teeth.  And y'know what?  Turns out ED-E can fight, too.  The two of us made quick work of those robots.  I was even able to hack a panel -- disabling half of them and turning the security turrets onto the other half.  It was almost too easy.  That nagging feeling that I was walking into a trap was still at the back of my mind.

Then, we found the silo's exit.  We got out.  And that's when Ulysses finally decided to speak.  His voice came through ED-E.  My hand tightened around the handle of my revolver.  I was pissed...not because I was being led along blindly by someone I didn't know or trust...but because the bastard was talking through MY robot.  Perhaps I'd been wandering the Mojave alone for too long.  I had companions once...but that was a long time ago.  It's been just me for a long time, and perhaps that was why I got so attached to ED-E so quickly.  Whatever the case, Ulysses' first impression upon me was not a good one.

Things didn't improve much from there.  He told me a lot of things...most of it I didn't understand at all.  He took his name from history.  A general who fought for his land, a land that was under two flags.  He had to reunite the land under one.  I knew what he was talking about.  I know my history.  Ulysses S. Grant.  The general for the Union in the American Civil War.  I read it in a book once.  An old, charred book that existed before the War.

He talked to me like he'd been watching me all this time, and after we were done talking I really believe that he has been doing just that.

Interestingly enough, he told me he was also Courier Six.  Same as me.  He refused to deliver the chip. The job that I ended up taking.  The job that earned me a bullet in the head and a memory like swiss cheese.  I don't regret that.  I'm a better person for it, and I learned so much since then.  And I've -done- so much since then.  I was almost inclined to thank him.  Almost.

He expected me to die because of that chip, and seemed honestly impressed that I hadn't.  Perhaps that was what drove him to watch me all this time.  Who knows?  And now, he wants me to find him.  Why, I don't know.  And he wouldn't say.  He has, however, made it clear that he does not intend to try to kill me.  For some reason, I believe that he's telling the truth.

But, that doesn't mean that this is going to be easy.  I'm in The Divide.  This isn't the Mojave anymore.  I have to cross it to get to him, and I don't know what's out there.  He does, but he's not talking any more.  I'm sure he'd love to watch the land do what he's swore he himself would not.  He warned me.  Said the divide may break me.  He wants to see if I'm stronger.

Then, he was gone, and ED-E's now familiar beeps were back.  I turned and faced The Divide.

I shivered.  It was a frightening sight, even after everything I have seen and done.  But Ulysses is out there, and he has answers.  He has my past.  And, maybe, my home is out there too.  Who knows?

In any case, The Divide can wait until tomorrow.  ED-E and I are going to call it a night, and find a nice place here to sleep just on the edge of The Divide. Tomorrow...we'll see what it has in store for me.

To be continued...

Friday, September 09, 2011

Fucking Hell, Apple!

Today I saw there were updates for a few apps on my iPhone.  So I pressed the update button.  Never do this unless you have about an hour of time to waste.  Here's the process I just went through:

1. Press update.

2. Sign in.
3. "Your account has been locked.  Please reset your password."
4. Answer security question #1.
5. Answer security question #2.
6. Unlock the account.
7. Press update.
8. Sign in.
9. "You must confirm your payment method."
10. Confirm payment method.
11. Press update.
12. Sign in.
13. "Our terms and conditions have changed.  You must accept them."
14. Press accept.
15. Press update.
16. Sign in.
16. "Some apps have age restricted material.  Please confirm you are over 17."
17. Press confirm.
18. Press update.
19. Sign in.
20. Finally!


If someone tells you, "Write documentation on this.", I suppose an intelligent person would ask a ton of questions to get details, so that the end result satisfies the person making the request by providing them exactly what they want.

On the other hand, it could be said that if you want something done exactly so, you should either do it yourself, or make sure that you provide the person doing it with explicit instructions, rather that simply telling them, "Write documentation on this."

I'm trying to decide who to be more annoyed with -- Me for not confirming exactly what Mr. Picky wanted, or Mr. Picky for being a picky bitch.

Thursday, September 08, 2011


This post has been bouncing around in my head for about a week now, but I'm just getting around to writing it.  I suppose part of the problem is that I just haven't really been in the mood to write something that I felt would be decent, rather than just a few paragraph as my last two posts have been.  That changed yesterday, when I was given an assignment by my boss to write a user guide.  I was compelled to do a really good job on it, mainly because I wanted to show him that I actually have some writing skill.  That's something he's mentioned as being a rare commodity here in the office.  Just the kind of thing that inspires me.

In any case, I was feeling incredibly restless on Tuesday.  This happens when I feel I have nothing to do of interest.  It's human nature for a person to want to do things that they feel are great.  As a whole, humans accomplish that through their careers, their hobbies, their friends, or their families.  I'm no different.  This made me think back, and try and decide what I can remember as being the "great thing" I've done in my life.

Naturally, my mind immediately goes back to my years as a horseshoe pitcher.  I guess I could technically classify my entire interesting (albeit relatively short) career as pretty great.  I can remember so many moments that fill me with a sensational feeling of pride.  It was wonderful to be one of the best at something, and I'm grateful that I will always have that to look back on.  And because I know the question may be on the minds of anyone who may read this, no, I do not have any interest in the sport any longer.  It died with my grandfather.

Looking back, if I had to choose one instance, one event, from that time in my life as the tentpole of what all I accomplished, it would have to be at the World Tournament in Kitchener, Canada during the summer of 1997.

I'm trying to figure out why that is.  I can name quite a few other events that are probably more impressive than that.  The perfect game is one.  The very next year's World Tournament is another.  My marathon games with Frank Bohun also comes to mind.  Hell, even my contributions off the court from the age of 15 is more important in my eyes.  But, I think the sheer intensity and circumstances of what happened in Kitchener makes it stand out above all the others to me.  I remember it so vividly.

Regular play had just completed, and I knew there was going to be a playoff. Marcus Mosness and I both had one loss.  Quite honestly (and I'm not just referring to that one day, either), I don't know how I did what I did.  If I try to imagine myself in that kind of situation today, I don't see me having the nerves to handle it.  It's something that I developed at the World Tournament in 1996.  I was quite capable of averaging over 65% then, but I was struggling with 60%.  It was nerves.  Something interesting happened, though.  Since I played so poorly that I didn't make the championships, I was able to pitch in this National competition that they used to have.  Basically, it was a mixed tournament played at the same time as the World Tournament, and you had to win a "national" tournament during the course of the previous year.  I was eligible after winning a tournament in West Virginia.

So I was in this thing, and I was playing against some of the greatest senior men, open women, and junior players in the country.  I was fantastic.  I didn't win, but I gave everyone a great game and gave the audience something amazing to see.  I played Sue Snyder, one of the greatest ladies I've ever seen throw a horseshoe, and our game was so intense and so close that after it was over she just turned to me and gave me a huge hug.  It was the first major time I was noticed by people I didn't personally know.  People came up to me commenting on my discipline on the court.  It was such a strange experience.

The reason I did so well in that tournament is because I didn't think about the pressure.  There wasn't any for me -- I already finished the World Tournament and wasn't worrying about doing well any longer.  I just let all that go, relaxed, and that was the result.  I learned from that, and nerves never got to me again.

But I'm getting off-track now. Back to that day in Kitchener.

I was never fully aware of the audience during regular play at that tournament.  I was always out there not only with all my other opponents (all 15 of them), but also many other players doing their own respective games.  Everything was different in the playoff.  It was announced over the PA system throughout the entire complex when and where it was happening, and who was playing.  No one else was playing -- it was only Marcus and me on the courts.  Every single spectator was looking at us.  It was surreal.  I may never be world famous, but I got a taste of what it must be like that day.

The audience disappeared for me once the game began.  And oh dear God the game of horseshoe pitching was so easy to me that day, and it was the shortest 40 shoes of my life.  I remember that with the scoreboards they had, they turned a dial when you hit the 30 shoe mark.  When the scorekeeper turned that dial to 30 shoes pitched, I looked at the score.  For a moment I honestly couldn't believe what I was doing.

In the end, I threw 36 of the 40 shoes around the stake.  That's a 90% game, if you're not so good at math.  It's an amazing game if you're not sure what that means.

I can't accurately describe how I felt when I stepped off the court, because I actually think I was a little bit shocked at what I'd just done.  I do remember my face being incredibly hot, and I was sort of unsure where I wanted to go.  But my family found me first.  I'd never seen my grandfather walking so proudly or so quickly in all his left, and I think that image is the most vivid for me when I think back to it.  My brother also surprised me by giving me an incredibly large hug.  And so many hand shakes, by so many people, many of whom I didn't even know.  Heads shook in disbelief, and I could hear people talking to one another as I walked through the crowd to collapse onto a bench.  I still remember Cliff Powell turning to Ron Weiss and saying, "Incredible...he just had the eye of the tiger during that game."

(The urge to walk to the stands yelling "Adrian!" probably would have existed had I not been too dazed to even think clearly.)

That is my own story of greatness, the thing I can look back on to say, "I -did- something."  

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

"Rushes" and "Misleading"

Today's gaming news made me think hard about two aspects of the gaming industry that really piss my mittens.

1. Rushing a release.

A vast majority of the time, it seems like we suffer because a game was released before it was ready.  Just today you can see news of Dead Island getting a huge, huge release day patch to fix 37 issues.  No one has even played the game yet, and they're issuing a patch!  I just don't understand why this is even acceptable to anyone.  Anyone who knows me realizes that I'm pretty optimistic when it comes to games.  The vast majority of this community are over-privileged whiners who will complain about the sky being the wrong shade of blue.  But me, I even like bad games a lot of the times.  So if this bugs me, I just can't understand why it keeps happening.  I suppose bureaucracy wins the day here, and the almighty dollar is more important than producing a good product.

2. Misleading Advertising

I'm looking at -YOU-, League of Legends.  I just saw your ad on a gaming website.  That wasn't in-game footage you were showing off.  YOU LIARS!  

Friday, September 02, 2011

Y'know, it's been a while since a song has gotten right into my head and stayed there to the point where I find myself humming it.  What's even more unique is that this song is new enough that I don't know the lyrics yet.  Don't ya just hate that?  You want to sing a song, and you have to make up your own words...

In any case, the song in question is Cough Syrup by Young the Giant.  I currently have it on loop, and it's what's helping me get through this day.  I don't know why, it just is.  


Holy smokes.  The last post I wrote for this blog was on October 18, 2017.  Through the little more than  two years since, this blog has be...