Friday, September 29, 2017

Let's Play: Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 1, Episode 8 - Let's Get Ready to Rumble

It's a battle to the finish line as our heroes are forced into a battle royale to escape back to their own world. Can they really beat the competition, or is there another way?

My playthrough of Minecraft: Story Mode Season 1 is complete. As a confirmed non-fan of Minecraft (but a big fan of Telltale's adventure games) I found it a surprisingly fun experience. Once Season Two is complete, I'm fairly certain I'll play through those episodes too.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Survivor Season 35 - Episode 1 Thoughts

I really enjoy Survivor. I've watched almost every season, save for a few of the early ones, and the intermix of game strategy, personal interaction, and sheer craziness always manages to stay fresh. This season I'm going to try and blog about it a bit.


Season 35's theme is Heroes, Healers, and Hustlers. Heroes are people who are generally looked up to for their service - we've got an ex-Marine, a lifeguard, firefighter, and others. Healers have a nurse practitioner, and a urologist among others. Hustlers have a bellhop, a small business owner, and a variety of other occupations know for their hustle.

Right off the bat, the Hustlers are in a bit of trouble. They don't look like they have the physical skills that the Heroes and Healers bring to the table, but one of their members does manage to grab a Secret Advantage.

From both the Healers and Heroes tribes, we get examples of people coming out of the gate too aggressively. Bob is a Parole Officer on the Healers. Confronting the urologist over a perceived idol is a risky move this early in the game. But then NFL player Alan goes way over the top on the Heroes tribe. Accusing the firefighter of hiding an idol (on apparently no information, did we miss something in editing?) seems like a good way to start drama between a potential power couple, but mostly makes Alan look kind of crazy.

Good thing the Heroes have the most physical presence. They're a sure bet to win immunity. Except... well... Despite literally leaving it all on the field, taking the safe strategy burned them. Oops.

Finally, we get a massive scramble as Alan's crazy accusations provoke a bunch of drama. What should have been a simple four strong alliance picking off a couple of weak links (I'm sure Katrina and Chrissy are perfectly nice, and Katrina was an Olympian, at one point) turns into a ton of drama.

But in the end, none of it, not the super idol, or Alan's drama, manages to stop the logical, obvious conclusion that the weakest link needs to go.

At least the Heroes are smarter than some of the past teams.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Video Game Review: Auto Age: Standoff

Another Marooner's Rock review! This time I got a chance to check out post-apocalyptic wasteland automotive combat game Auto Age: Standoff, out now on Steam for PC.

Combining classic gameplay elements of Twisted Metal with a retro 80's neon cartoon art style, it's a game well worth checking out.

You can catch the full review over at Marooner's Rock.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Let's Play: Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 1 Episode 7

Final week of these. Things get interesting as we close in on the final episode and meet a Redstone AI. What could possibly have gone wrong?

Monday, September 25, 2017

Road to 10k - Week 10 - Fastest Mile 8:23

A very good week this time. Finally powered through the next training week. The twenty-minute high intensity run turned in my fastest mile thus far at 8:23.

At the end of the week, my distance run for 4.5 miles went fairly slow, but I managed to stay under ten minutes per mile. Not bad. On to the next week of training!

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pride Goeth...

Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. - Proverbs 16:18

A few years ago, Kitplanes Magazine published an article looking at the accident rate for homebuilt aircraft.  One of the most interesting data points was that the accident risk is not a straight decreasing slope: accident risk starts high at the first flight, decreases gradually over the first forty hours, then spikes again before decreasing!

You'd think I'd be able to handle one of these by now.
I don't have statistical data to back it up, but I suspect there's a similar trend among motorcyclists. The first year sees a gradually declining accident rate, followed by another spike from overconfidence and cockiness as riders start writing checks that they don't yet have the skill level to cash.

At least, that's what happened to me. They say confession is good for the soul, right? Here we go: it started with a partial drop on the way home from working a new story for Airline Reporter (story coming soon). I was tired, and distracted, and forgot to put the kickstand down before reaching for my wallet. I was saved by the gas pump, and the only damage was a bit of skin scraped off my left thumb.

Lesson learned, I had my first drop, no more, right?

Two weeks to the day later, I rolled into the parking lot at work, executed a tight right turn to drop into a parking space, and just kept leaning farther right. There was nothing to catch me this time. It was one of the slowest, gentlest drops you could possibly manage, but it still saw me ending up with a motorcycle on its side, puking half a quart of oil onto the asphalt.

At least there wasn't any further damage.

A week later, I was at a Harley Demo Fleet event, test riding most of the new 2018 models. I figured I'd give the Sportster 1200 Roadster a try. I know the Sportster, how much different can this one be? I forgot to put it in gear, then dumped the clutch too fast and stalled it trying to roll out of the parking lot. Oops.

Properly chastened, and hopefully with my major incidents out of the way, here's to a plan where my accident rate can start declining again. Ouch.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Backlog Burndown #25 - In the Army Now

Marooner's Rock took a week off due to technical issues, but we're back! And it's Wednesday, so it's Backlog Burndown time! This week I took on Army Gals, a visual novel from Dharker Studios.

I guess the pants have something to do with the Army? Sort of?

Monday, September 18, 2017

Road to 10k - Week 9 - Back on Track!

Back on track! That took a couple more weeks than I would have liked, but I can finally move on to more challenging training!

The four mile run actually felt pretty decent. With an average mile pace of 10:14, it wasn't fast by any stretch of imagination, but I definitely could have pushed harder. That wasn't the point though. The point was to get the distance. Pushing faster will come later.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Let's Play Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 1, Episode 6 - The Great Youtuber Massacre

The most irritating episode of the season. Or the best, if you love cameos by popular Minecraft youtubers. I guess it's really just not my thing.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Let's Play: Minecraft: Story Mode - Season 1, Episode 5 - New Adventures?

Gameplay videos are back! We pick up with Episode Five of Minecraft: Story Mode, with The New Order of the Stone seeking new and exciting treasures! What could possibly go wrong?

Find out over the next two weeks!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Road to 10k Week 8 - Maybe Fewer Beers?

10k Training Week 8 came in with a my renewed determination to get back on track. I kind of got there.

Along the way though, there were free motorcycles to ride, beers with brothers to drink, and still some general slacking.

But most importantly, new Harley motorcycles!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Dryer Repair - Or How To Turn a 15 Minute Job Into a Five Hour, Four Day Task

One of the first tasks in the new home was to hook up the dryer. Simple, right? Just plug the cord in, tighten down the vent hose, and walk away.

Ah, not so fast...

This is not going to work. Ever.
Problem Number One, the dryer has the wrong cord. The last two houses I've lived in had dryer outlets installed after new codes went into effect in 1996, mandating a four-prong grounded plug. The Hydra House was built and set up well before that, so it has the old three-prong outlet. No problem, just go buy the correct cord from your favorite big box home improvement store. Remove the cover on the back of the dryer to reveal the connections for the plug, unscrew the old cord and screw in the new cord.

Finally installed and buttoned up.
Mind you don't drop one of the screws somewhere inside the dryer where you can't ever get it back. Definitely don't do that when the stores have all closed for the night.

Problem Number Two, you've lost one of the screws you need to attach the new cord. No major issue, just go to your favorite hardware store and purchase a replacement of the correct threading and length. Don't drop that one in the same spot you dropped the first one. Whoops.

Problem Number Three, you've dropped the replacement screw inside the dryer as well. No trouble, remove the top and of the dryer and the rear access plate. Hey, this one fell somewhere you can reach it! Great! Finish installing the cord, plug it into the outlet (AFTER SWITCHING THE BREAKER OFF, JUST IN CASE!), turn the breaker back on, and make sure the dryer works properly. Great! Oh, better plug the vent back in. Oh, that doesn't fit at all. Definitely don't do your first test fitting of the vent after 10pm, when all the hardware stores have closed for the night.

DO NOT, and I cannot emphasize this enough, attach fittings that are going to take heat with regular Duct Tape and most especially not packing tape! These are not heat or flame resistant, and dryer lint is seriously flammable.

Problem Number Four, the previous homeowners decided that the proper solution for attaching the dryer vent was a combination of aluminum pipe, duct tape, packing tape, and prayer. No sweat! Remove the layers and layers of tape with the handy box cutter knife that you bought at your favorite home improvement store. Now add a proper 4" connector fitting to the new aluminum vent hose you also purchased, connect the two with heat resistant dryer tape, tighten the fittings down at the connection and at the dryer, and viola! Simple!

There we go, no longer a lint trapping fire hazard.
And that's how you turn a fifteen minute job into a four day task. At least my Smarter, Prettier Half was happy when it was done and she could run laundry again.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Backlog Burndown #24 - Duke Nukem Forever

Backlog Burndown is back!

After taking the summer off, it's time to start clearing out the backlog once again. What did I start with? Duke Nukem Forever.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Four Years...

I can scarcely believe it myself, but my little girl, the one responsible for more missed PAX Primes than anyone else, my only child born during baseball season, the apple of her Daddy's eye, is four years old today.

Little Miss at One.
Little Miss today.

Who knows what the future holds for her, I'm excited to see who she's growing into.