But not everything was an up. I knew from a while ago that my grandmother was showing signs of early Alzheimer's, but during this vacation was the firs time I've heard my mom talk to her on the phone since then and it was really disheartening. My mom and grandma talk frequently, and never once have I ever heard my mom need to explain who she was on the phone. The way she was talking its like my grandma had little idea who she was talking to. It was a moment that didn't last very long, but I was really shocked and disheartened and sad. It's not something I have talked to my mom about, at all, but I have to wonder how she's handling it. I wouldn't even know how to handle having to explain to my mom who she's talking to.
My dad also got sick while I was home, probably some sort of food poisoning. Whatever it was it unfortunately ruined all of his plans which included attending a party with Chris Pratt. No that's not a joke. He was in town and my dad was invited to the party. I, for one, am just glad that what he got was not contagious because I have had more than my fair share of illnesses this year. All you all reading this, do yourselves a favor and don't get dengue. Just don't. Use your bug spray.
Also California is on fire again and people I know came way too close to losing their house.
Aside from those things.... pretty relaxing vacation which is exactly what I wanted. Watched Incredibles 2. Was alright. First was better. Was introduced to Carcassonne (the game) which is my new obsession. Got the app. Got some expansions. Can't stop playing those online games.
And that's it. I have four and a half months left in this job, then its back to the states. No idea where I'll be (figuratively) when that comes around, but hopefully its in a good place. Without dengue.
(P.S. For those who play a certain mobile game: 9084 8282 0567)
(P.P.S. And hey if you play Carcassonne too.... open to playing that online [though I might not play fast.])
So how did I do? Got everything except three. The nature of where I was made it reeeaallly hard to find used book sales, or finding books on a trip. I didn't read a book recommended by an author I loved because I just didn't get around to it. But, anyway, here's V1P2's 2017 in books:
(Authors not included because I didn't record that information initially and I don't feel like going back and putting it in.)
A book recommended by a librarian- How to Ditch Your Fairy
A book that's been on your TBR list for way too long- Frankenstein
A book of letters- Dear Mr. Henshaw
An audiobook- Dear Mr. Henshaw
A book by a non-white author- Native Son
A book with one of the four seasons in the title- The Tears of Autumn
A book that is a story within a story- Frankenstein
A book with multiple authors- You Might Be a Zombie
An espionage thriller- The Tears of Autumn
A book with a cat on the cover- The Carnivorous Carnival
A book by an author who uses a pseudonym- The Bad Beginning
A bestseller from a genre you don't normally read- The Lightning Thief
A book by or about a person who has a disability- A Mango-Shaped Space
A book involving travel- Murder on the Orient Express
A book with a subtitle- You Might Be a Zombie: Shocking but Utterly True Facts
A book that's published in 2017- New Orleans Vampires
A book involving a mythical creature- Pegasus
A book you've read before that never fails to make you smile- Go the *cough* to Sleep
A book about food- The Monday Night Cooking School
A book with career advice- Thinking in Pictures
A book from a nonhuman perspective- Diaspora
A steampunk novel- Boneshaker
A book with a red spine- The Ersatz Elevator
A book set in the wilderness- The Slippery Slope
A book you loved as a child- The Bad Beginning
A book by an author from a country you've never visited- Diaspora
A book with a title that's a character's name- The Count of Monte Cristo
A novel set during wartime- The Tears of Autumn
A book with an unreliable narrator- The Haunting of Hill House
A book with pictures- Fantastic Mr. Fox
A book where the main character is a different ethnicity than you- Native Son
A book about an interesting woman- Thinking in Pictures
A book set in two time periods- The Covenant
A book with a month or day of the week in the title- The Monday Night Cooking School
A book set in a hotel- The Penultimate Peril
A book written by someone you admire- Thinking in Pictures
A book that's becoming a movie in 2017- Murder on the Orient Express
A book surrounding a holiday other than Christmas- A Hallowe'en Party
The first book in a series you haven't read before- Pillars of the Earth (Kingsbridge Series #1)
A book you bought on a trip-
The following were "bonus" categories, not required but I wanted to read these categories anyway:
A book recommended by an author you love-
A bestseller from 2016- Me Before You
A book with a family member term in the title- Native Son
A book that takes place over a character's lifespan- Frankenstein
A book about an immigrant or refugee- The Covenant
A book from a genre/subgenre that you've never heard of- Perdido Street Station
A book with an eccentric character- The Grim Grotto
A book that's more than 800 pages- Pillars of the Earth
A book you got from a used book sale-
A book that's been mentioned in another book- Native Son
A book about a difficult topic- Thinking in Pictures
A book based on mythology- The Lightning Thief
A lot of these books were read for the first time. Some of them were surprising, like Perdido Street Station which is an incredibly weird science fiction book that has no right to make as much sense as it does. I got to revisit old favorites like "A Series of Unfortunate Events," found some new favorites like How to Ditch Your Fairy, and read some books that I'd like to promptly forget I read like Me Before You. And I finally read Frankenstein, which was a really, really good book.
Next week I get to jump on the 2018 list, which I hopefully do better at completing.
Since then, things have been optimistic. As of now most of the larger fires seem to be at least 50% contained, which does not mean half way out. They just have preventative lines drawn around them using whatever techniques fire fighters use (or at least, that's how I am interpreting this). If the winds pick up strongly again the fires could get over the containment lines, but so far it doesn't look like those will come.
Though many people have been allowed to return to their homes, and some shelters have closed due to lack of necessity, no one is out of the woods yet. I don't know what the plan is to put out the fires, but it might be a while before they are 100% out. That said, the amount of help California is receiving is incredible. Apparently there are over 10,000 fire fighters working, and as of yesterday (I think) there were fire fighters from 17 additional states (Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico, New York, Minnesota, Florida, South Caroline, Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming and Indiana) and Australia helping out. Australia! Together they contributed 266 fire engines, 79 fire crews, and 56 other personnel. I am very grateful for the support that they have shown and for the work that they all are doing. If I weren't on the other side of the world I would sit outside the local fire station and cook pancakes all morning for them. My girlfriend works right next to it and will be dropping off a few batches of homemade brownies.
So while the battle is far from over, things are looking up, and I'm hoping they keep looking that way.
There are over 1,000 firefighters battling these flames, and more are coming to help out from places nearby. Currently the Atlas fire is 3% contained, which is better than 0% I guess. And that's only one of the I don't know how many blazes. I wish the best of luck to these brave people. I know they are doing everything they can. Thoughts and prayers are going out to everyone who has been affected, whether they’ve lost a business, home, or family member.
I will continue to hope for the best.
In addition to just spending basic quality time with my family and girlfriend, I've been eating all the food I've missed (good homemade soup! good breakfasts!), and taken some outings I went to San Francisco comic con with my girlfriend the other day and saw Cary Elwes and Renne O'Conner, and left with a Rapunzel print that I'd like to get on my wall. I enjoyed the convention, though I was really disappointed that so many of the vendors at the event were, lets be blunt here, scalpers. I don't know enough about the Pop Vinyl market to tell you if those prices were reasonable, but I do know that there's no reason whatsoever to be selling LEGO blind bag minifigures for $8.00 a bag. Disgusting.
I'm also catching up on movies! Or trying. Watched Assassin's Creed, Moana, and Wind River, and am hoping to watch Alien: Covenant and Arrival before leaving. And I am going to see the theatrical re-release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind today so that should be fun.
Basically, I'm trying to jam pack my schedule with everything, though I already know I'm not going to succeed. I won't go to all the restaurants I want to go to, I probably won't get to go hiking (we are experiencing a heat wave with temperatures up to 110-111 and no one wants to hike in that), and I won't get to see all the people I want to see. Still, I think I am getting all the possible potential out of this break. I will be coming home again for Christmas, and from a mental standpoint it will help me get through the next few months knowing another vacation is coming up soon and not 11 1/2 months from now.
- Age of Empires 2 (w/all current expansions)
- Age of Empires 3 (w/all current expansions)
- Assassin's Creed 3/4/Rogue (standard versions)
(All for PC)
I've been a fan of the Empires games for years, but I've never played any Assassin's Creed. I've had my eye on the games for years, though. Despite being fantasy/science fiction, the historical environments (and your ability to explore them!) really seemed appealing. I went with 3-Rogue 1.) because I didn't want to buy everything and 2.) I liked the idea of exploring a Colonial Americas environment over the other settings. If I find I like the games, I'll look at purchasing more during next year's sale.
I've gotten a few hours of playtime in, and I'm intrigued. Fortunately for me, the developers designed this game in mind with the idea that there are people like me who might not play the first two and opened it with a basic voiceover explaining what's happened so far. There are two groups, Assassins and Templars, and they spent centuries vying for control over artifacts from a previous earthen civilization that was wiped out and the same event is looking to wipe out humans again. Protagonist went into this cool machine to relive his past, gained experience, is back for round three. There was something about an Apple of Eden and a temple, too, but I'm just rolling with it. I think I get the gist.
After a short intro, we get transported to England (though we quickly set sail for America) where we proceed to play missions that both add a bit of story and help the player get used to the controls and type of things we will be asked to do in this game. Climbing, interactions, following, a little bit of combat, some free running. It was a bit of a slow start, and honestly at this point I still feel like I'm waiting for things to gear up a bit, but there seems to be a huge learning curve here with regards to the controls so the slow start is probably good. I also like that, for the most part, we're given the ability to explore right away since I find that's the best way to learn the controls. But even then its still difficult. I couldn't figure out how to stealthily kill people when I wanted to, but had no problems doing it accidentally while walking around, and then proceeding to get into fights I couldn't figure out how to win. The whole stealth thing is new to me, too, and I feel like there's a lot the game hasn't taught me yet. The manual talks about a notoriety meter, for example, but I can't figure out what that's talking about.
(* For reference, I am on currently on the mission where you have to free the prisoners from the camp while disguised as British soldiers.)
What I'm hoping from this game as I play it is that I get the opportunity to explore more regions outside of Boston, perhaps in other colonies, villages, or North American wilderness. Not that there isn't enough to do in Boston, I just really like exploring and doing sidequests and finding all the bonus things. I'm also hoping that we get some explanation on why the present day segments are even in these games. I realize this is an ignorant opinion given that I'm starting with the fifth official installment and am only a few hours into it and have very little knowledge of the background lore, but I just don't understand why the present is important beyond being a cool science fiction concept. So far this game seems like it could have easily been constrained to the past and been basically the same. Templars vs. Assassins competing for relics or ancient artifacts still sounds great to me.
So far I'm intrigued, though. Looking forward to where the story goes and how the gameplay works out... while being worried about my poor computer's ability to handle the graphics. It's fine right now, but we'll see.
In other unrelated quick recent events, I lost my debit card and ID. Got the debit card replaced so now I can finally get money to pay rent (and buy food, food is important), but the ID will take a lot longer to replace. BUT on the bright side I have my first vacation coming up in a few weeks and I'll finally be able to see all the important people I haven't been able to see for the past almost year. Am excited. Am very excited.
Hi, BZP. Have half decent internet for a few hours. Just browsing and checking in to say hi. Making sure the place hasn't burned down. At some point in the nearish future I'll write a real blog entry but for now there's lots of things to do now that I can use internet on a laptop.
First day was interesting. I'm intimidated by the fact that I'll need to learn two languages, but I think I'll make it work. I don't have a choice if I want to eat.
I'm sure I'll blog again soonish. But until then, see you later, BZP Blogs!
This isn't necessarily an issue, except that starting next week I will be in a different country, for two year's time, and in a location where electricity can be a bit sketchy. And since I'll be doing both work work and school work, a laptop seems like a pretty necessary tool.
I'm a Mac guy, let's just get that out of the way. But I didn't want to bring a brand new Mac since the chances of those getting stolen are pretty high. And I just needed a basic functioning laptop with a decent hard drive. So I got an Asus X540. It's a bit of an overkill with it's 500GB hard drive, but I needed something with more than what a little netbook could offer me, and it was the only one I could find that was in my budget. From what I understand it should be able to decently run the GIS software I may (or may not) need. I'm used to Macs so finding my way around a PC is a bit of a learning curve, but I'm figuring it out so far. Once I get back in two years I'll probably start shopping around for a nicer Mac (if I even have the funds for it), but this one will do in the meantime. And even after the two years it should still function nice as a backup computer. With more research I probably could have found something better, but for what ended up being a fairly last minute thing I'm satisfied.
Welcome to V1P2's Blog!
Getting To Know Me
Because you shouldn't interact with strangers. . .
BZPower Name: Vorahk1Panrahk2
Likes: Reading, Movies, School, Robotics, LEGO Bricks, Food, world history
Dislikes: Arguing, Some Vegetables, Pasta
Hobbies: Boy Scouts of America, Robotics, Geology
Book: The Devil and Miss Prym by Paulo Coelho, among others
Author: Paulo Coelho, among others
Vacation Destinations: Anywhere Outdoors
Song: American Pie, among others
Bionicle Set: Onua Nuva
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