A Crazy Summer ’14

I openly admit that my blogging generally dies down come summertime. The reason is obvious. I live in Wisconsin and there are precious few months where we can go outside and enjoy being outside. So come summer every year, I go for walks and trips to the cottage and fairs and other outdoorsy like activities. There has been more to this summer though and I wanted to give a general update as to all the things that happened to me this year over the summer now that we are getting towards the end. <sad face>

I did make a trip up to my mom’s cottage with my daughter this year. It was actually the first time in two years that I have gone up there as last year I went up to a friend’s parent’s cottage instead. I think the break was well placed however as my mom’s cottage felt fresh this year when it was starting to feel old. And really, though we did go up to the cottage 2 years ago, that trip was marked with a drought which caused the lake to stink so much that we left the following morning. So in reality we had not been there for 3 years. The trip went overall pretty well. We did a lot and we did nothing all at the same time. The highlight and lowlight was an innertubing trip down a nearby river which was fun except for when I flipped over and had a panic attack.1 I actually plan on heading out to the cottage again in a couple of weeks but I will likely cover that later.

My health has been fairly ok. I’ve had a couple of back flair ups but nothing too major. And my elbow continues its downward spiral. I had thought it was acting up more often, but at a recent doctors visit I found out that last year I stated the same frequency as this year. However, I do feel while the frequency may be the same, the level of pain is going up. I also think there is more constant pain than before as well. It’s definitely to the point where I always feel my elbow which I don’t think was particularly an issue last year this time. It was stiff always, but never painful always. I will say when I flipped into the river, one of the things that was going through my mind was that I can’t swim anymore due to my elbow which is definitely not a thought I would have had a year ago. Otherwise, I don’t think my Hemophilia has been a huge issue, no major surgeries. This is good.

Work has been going extremely well. I am pretty happy with my job right now. I finished up much of my work with ICD-10 due to a delay in the project by a year due to a federal bill that got put through. So after a couple of months of nearly no work, I was eventually moved to an area that I wanted to move to since I started working the call center. It is only temporary through the end of the year. But I am the main BA on the project (and really only BA on the project) which puts me in a position to really make a name for myself. I am also learning a lot about how I need to work. It has been a very good move for me and I have enjoyed the work so far and think I will continue to enjoy it going forward.

I don’t remember if I have mentioned my gardening in previous blog entries, but I generally garden every year. The last couple i have been doing gardening in boxes on my patio. This year has been very frustrating for me. I decided to try to start the year with spinach peas and carrots in my main box in hopes that they would be done by the time the real season started so that I could grow herbs in it as normal. However, the winter meant a later start to the growing season than I intended and the carrots and peas took well into mid-June to get anywhere.I also didn’t get much out of them either. The spinach turned out pretty good however and I got some really good crop out of it. I would like to do it again just for the spinach but it will take more thought on how to do it correctly. This box had a secondary affect on the rest of my garden as I was using the cage that I generally use for my tomato plant for the peas and I didn’t get it moved to the tomato until far too late and the tomato ended up less healthy than it should have been. It still is producing tasty tomatoes, just not as well as I had intended. I also planted lettuce with the tomato, but none of the lettuce has gotten past seedling. It has been at seedling for a couple of months now and I don’t know why it won’t grow further. Lastly I purchased a bigger container so that I could grow potatoes, they grew extremely well actually… until something dug them up and killed the plants. I don’t know how the potatoes turned out, I have been letting them grow as much as they could but at this point the plants look pretty much done and I should dig up what I got. Hopefully they are actually ok but this seems way early for potatoes. Still, it gives me hope that I can do this again in the future. The one plant that has worked extremely well has been a strawberry plant that I decided to do. I was not expecting a crop from it this year and I haven’t gotten much more than a few tiny berries, but this is normal for strawberries. The plant however looks extremely healthy. The real test will be how it goes through the winter… One thing that has surprised me by the strawberries was that I expected runners that I could use in other holes of my strawberry pot and so far that hasn’t happened.

My video gaming has dropped off almost completely until the last couple of weeks. And this leads me into the reason why this has been a crazy summer. I have gotten into a game called Ingress. Ingress is an Alternate Reality Game where you go to real locations in the world which have portals that you can see in your cell phone. You can then take them over, link them together to create fields and then the fields give you points based on the population density of the area and the size of the field. I have gotten really involved in the game, but of late I have been trying to take a step back from it. It is overall a really fun game but can be frustrating when others don’t play and the secondary problem I have is there is really no point in site. There are cycles that you can win, but there doesn’t seem to be any noticeable reward for winning, or even a history of who won. Just a memory and hopefully that works. The lack of point makes it hard to keep going with it full on and I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with it as people fade in and out quite a bit.  The game is also kind of expensive. I mean it is free, but you have to pay for gas and there is a fair amount of driving to go from place to place. It is ironic considering the game was meant to encourage people to walk but the way they approve portals makes it difficult to get portals in walkable only places. I do recommend the game even if it is for a bit just to experience it as it is fun. There are bigger events that go on periodically throughout the world. And I am looking forward to taking part in my first in a couple of weeks up in Minneapolis. This is why I will be going back to my mom’s cottage for a second time this summer as it is fairly close to Minneapolis and will make for a more affordable trip.

Well that’s my summer in a nutshell. I do want to get back into blogging both here and at bucketgeek.com but it probably won’t get back to a great frequency at least for a month.

  1. I have a fear of being on the water so it was a big deal to even be on the tubes. Flipping into the water was the reason of the fear.

The Paper

Who screwed you?
Was it man? Was it woman?
Were they gentle? Were they firm?
Was it fast? Did they take their time?
Did they twist? Did they turn?
Did they drill? Did they hit the stud?
Why did they screw you?
You were frail and thin.
Up against the wall.
You didn’t need so much effort worked.
Now you are no longer needed.
Just scraps.
Your remnants there due to the screw.
They could have just nailed you.

My love

There is a hole in me, a hole you were meant to fill.
I feel empty and alone, cold and unchallenged.
I look at my hand and it seems empty without your fingers intertwined with mine.
My fingertips push nothing without your hair that hides your face.
I can’t watch anything without your eyes to gaze.
I can’t hold still without your arms to hold.
Your scent I miss too though I have no sense of its smell.
For I have no idea who you are my dear.
I just wish you were here.

A Sign of Mine Age

When the DVD format came out, I fell in love. I never liked VHS. They were bulky, they had not great terrible, and even in high school I was aware that they wore out. They had no value to me. When DVD came along, they promised me longer life, better quality and special features. And so I bought Starship Troopers and The Fifth Element, before I even bought a DVD player.I did buy a DVD player shortly thereafter, but it was a sign of things to come as I would buy any and every DVD of movies that I liked and sooner than I knew it, my collection was quite large.

And then came the wars between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Personally, I sided with HD-DVD as the better format, but I waited out the battle, choosing to buy neither until one was a victor. Of course, it didn’t hurt that I didn’t own an HDTV either and wasn’t really all that interested. You know, to this day I don’t feel that the quality is THAT much better than standard def TV, but I do appreciate that the screen is a widescreen format by default now. Continue reading

NBC’s Olympic Coverage Angers Me!

I have to say so far for the 2014 Olympics, I am seriously annoyed by NBC.

First off, they apparently have no idea that people don’t want sports results spoiled. I am good lord! They have a videos section on the olympic website where you supposedly can go to watch replays of sports, but on the videos page itself they give you the results of the sports that you are trying to watch. They need at least a 24-48 hour cool down on their site before they put results in headers, and on the video section they should never give results!!! Continue reading

Rogue Legacy

Rogue Legacy Review

During the winter sale on Steam, I decided to pick up Rogue Legacy which I had my eye on for quite some time. Even though I had my eye on it, i wasn’t entirely sure what I would think of it. The game was largely billed as an homage to Rogue and Castlevania. Well I can deal with Rogue, but it’s easy to do wrong. And I’m not the biggest Castlevania fan in the world. I also haven’t been as big into platformers as my youthful self would have liked. So I was a bit dubious of this game.

After a month of play, I must say that I not only love the game, it has completely sucked me in. I will say that its stay got lengthened by me going to a new hard drive and losing my progress. But it still interests me. Part of the reason is that its progression seems non-ending and the difficulty isn’t really low.

The game is a level based game. You start out at level 1, you go through the castle and collect money, then once you die, you go and buy skills. Each skill raises your level by 1. There are a ton of skills to choose from, and most skills let you level them up which also increase your level. I say skills broadly, but some of the skills also unlock new classes for you to play and advance current classes that you already have.

When you die, you get a choice of your successor, and that is when the class comes in. You get a selection of 3 (which you can reroll later if you take the right skill) randomly generated successors to your previous character. The name of the character, the class, deformities and enhancements are all randomly generated. One generation of character you might have an uber powerful guy, the next time you might have an uber gimp guy and this adds a lot of variety to the game. You never know what you are going to get even from your character.

Once you have your skills bought, you go into the castle. The castle is also randomly generated and you have to pay a toll to death in order to enter. This toll is anywhere from 100% of your coin to 50% of your coin depending on your skills. Once you enter, there are 4 main areas, each with its own boss. You kill all 4 bosses and you unlock the end boss sequence. Each area has its own difficulty from easy to hard, and in fact the hard can be so difficult at times that even when I can fight the first end boss, I still have a hard time in the hardest area. The castle contains various traps, and events and the game itself feels a bit like Duck Tales crossed with Ghouls & Goblins. There are a lot of platforms to jump on to get through the castle and the Scrooge pogo stick thing is in full force (this seems to be increasingly popular these days).

There are also skills that unlock a couple of “vendors” in the game. A blacksmith, a magic shop, and an architect. The architect allows you to go into the same dungeon so that it doesn’t regnerate, however you only get a fraction of the gold from it. I don’t use this function often, but is nice if you run through it with a spelunker (who gets a bonus to gold and can see where treasure is) and then follow through with a tougher fighter to kill the bosses afterwards. The blacksmith allows you to find recipes in the castle which unlock better weapons and armor. The magic shop allows you to put enchantments on the armor. You can put one enchantment on each equipped item and these enchantments have handy bonuses to them like gaining health with each kill or more gold on each kill or double jumping. It is a good compliment to your already growing skills, however they don’t level up with you quite as well as normal skills do.

Overall the gameplay is really fun. I find myself getting drawn into the game to unlock just one more level of a skill or to try to beat a boss that has been dogging me. It accomplishes this trick really well and almost gets to the level of Civilization which might be the biggest culprit to this trick. I definitely would recommend at least trying the game out. You can generally find it on sale at various times of the year. The cheapest I have found it has been around the $5 mark which is definitely worth it for this gem!

Thoughts on Blogspot

Recently, I noticed that blogspot/blogger had updated to give users a little more control over their blogs, because of that I decided to give it another shot after years of absence. There are a few advantages to blogspot in particular over hosting yourself or WordPress’ similar service.

First, unlike WordPress, you can actually post your own advertisements on your blog on blogspot which means it is a lot closer to your own hosted blog. You have a potential to actually make money (not that there is real money to be made on blogs anymore). Not only do they allow you to throw in your own ad links, they build in google adsense into it. This makes sense, after all Blogspot is owned by Google so why not? But this is a far cry from WordPress’ strict no advertising policy. Continue reading

SimCity

SimCity: Nearly a year later

I don’t know why, but I was feeling the mood to give SimCity another shot so I bought the expansion which deals with futuristic stuff and decided to sit down and play SimCity again. As you may or may not remember from my previous post, my main gripes about it were that you couldn’t play offline, its reliance on having multiple cities, small city areas, and unrealistic population numbers.

Continue reading