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V1P2's Blog



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Progress on Fighting CA Fires

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Oct 16 2017 · 34 views
General Life Stuff
It was really hard to be optimistic on Wednesday when I made that blog entry. The fire was huge, the area had doubled overnight, strong winds were expected to pick up again. And after posting that entry, the area where my girlfriend lives was advised to evacuate. But hey decided to stay until until it was mandatory, which fortunately never came, and as of now even the recommended evac has been lifted.

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.


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California Fires

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Oct 11 2017 · 39 views
General Life Stuff
There are a lot of fires in northern California right now, but the one I’m paying attention to is being labelled the Atlas Fire (for whatever reason, I don’t know). Firefighters have been battling them all week, but the dry conditions and winds (which are expecting to pick up again) have been making it difficult. The winds are making it especially dangerous. I continue to hope for the best, but it’s a really big fire. Every hour it’s getting closer and closer to my girlfriend’s family’s home, and at this point they are just waiting for the evacuation order, getting all their things together for when that becomes necessary. My parent’s home is farther away, but not that far. My dad seems to be playing it cool when I talk to him, but I know he’s concerned. He doesn’t brush things off like this. My vacation has long since ended and I am back on the other side of the hemisphere, perfectly safe from this, but frustrated that I can’t be there to help my girlfriend or her family. Or my family if that’s what it comes down to. Having to watch from the sidelines really sucks.

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.


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I Do Need Vacaciones

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Sep 05 2017 · 91 views
General Life Stuff
Living away from your loved ones and having limited communications with them can take a huge toll on you. So can going months with hardly a good night's sleep, ridiculous heat, and speaking a language you aren't comfortable with. So after almost a year abroad I am taking my first vacation back home, about a week and a half. And man oh man has it been a wonderful experience so far.

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.


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Assassin's Creed 3- Initial Impressions

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Aug 09 2017 · 61 views
Entertainment
In between work, travel (for work), reading mountains of books and watching whatever movie I happen to be able to get my eyes on (the last was Hannah Montana- don't judge), I decided that I wanted a selection of video games for entertainment, because I'm not always in the mood for reading or watching movies, especially when I can't sleep at night and I end up staying up till 1 am or later. My computer does come with a solitaire collection and Candy Crush for free, but there are only so many cards you can flip and candies you can crush before you want something more stimulating. So I took advantage of the recent Steam sale and loaded up with:

- 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. :shrugs:

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. :fear:

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.


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Man It's Hot

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Nov 06 2016 · 205 views
General Life Stuff
And it's only gonna get hotter.

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.

Carry on.


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From the Southern Hemisphere

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Sep 22 2016 · 216 views
General Life Stuff
I wrote up a nice entry yesterday before I left, but was unable to post it due to errors. As such, we're skipping the "I'm leaving" and going straight to a quick "I'm here." I'm blogging this now because I'm not sure if that will be possible tomorrow? The Internet situation is up in the air. I'd say expect less activity from me, but I'm pretty inactive to begin with so no one will notice or care.

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. :P

I'm sure I'll blog again soonish. But until then, see you later, BZP Blogs!


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New Laptop

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff, School/Education Sep 17 2016 · 183 views
General Life Stuff and 1 more...
I've had a MacBook Pro since I graduated High School just over seven years ago. It has served me very, very well, and for the most part it is still a functional laptop. However, recently it's been having issues where it will not work unless it's plugged in, and sometimes even then it will just turn off. No, replacing the battery did not help. And it's waaaay out of warranty and too old for Apple to even bother trying to fix it.

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.


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San Fran Comic Con- My First Convention

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Sep 09 2016 · 276 views
General Life Stuff
My girlfriend is a huge nerd, and she's enjoyed going to conventions for years. I have never been to a convention before. So when the San Francisco Comic Con was set to take place at the beginning of September, it presented her an opportunity to be around a bunch of fellow nerds, and an opportunity for me to see what a convention is actually like. As a bonus, Ian McDiarmid was set to make an appearance at a Q and A session, so we made seeing him our primary goal for the day.

Naturally, my first question was "should I cosplay?" Because pretty much all I know about conventions is that people like to dress up. I have an Indiana Jones costume, and for a few days leading up to the convention had a lot of back and forth debates with myself over whether I wanted to wear it or not. Eventually I decided not to. We were going to take a train to get there, and I didn't feel like sitting on a train dressed in a costume. Nor did I want to carry it in my backpack with me. My girlfriend chose not to for similar reasons. So, on the morning of the convention, with me in a Jurassic Park shirt and her in a Mara Jade shirt, we set off for adventure.

My first reaction (aside from the 'why does San Francisco always smell so bad’ reaction) was that this convention was... confusing. It took place in the Marriott hotel, and as soon as we walked in the door we were confused as to where we actually had to go to get our passes. There were no directional arrows, and no maps provided. Instead they wanted you to download a smartphone app, which is annoying in itself. But the hotel also did not provide free Wifi which made downloading an app even more frustrating. Not all of us have extensive data plans.

But we found the booth to get our passes (which at $40 per person were expensive compared to other conventions, I was told). By this time it was about 10:40, and we were rushing because we didn't want to be late for Ian McDiarmid. Of course there was no clear signage so we had to find someone to ask. Fortunately for us, we either got there early enough or no one else was super interested because we were one of the first people in line. We got seats at the very front of the room, with the only spots in front of us being those designated for those who needed the sign language interpreter. Except there wasn't a sign language interpreter there so... that was weird.

It ended up being a really good Q and A session. McDiarmid is an eloquent, entertaining speaker and he had great stories from both his work with Star Wars and outside of it. I’m not really a Star Wars fan, but I still really enjoyed it. I would have gone to get an autograph and a picture, but it was $80 for an autograph alone! I'm sure some people were willing to pay that, but I had no interest in doing so.

Afterward my girlfriend wanted to go to the Jenna Coleman panel, but unfortunately the line was super long and neither of us really wanted to wait in it. So instead we got some ridiculously overpriced pizza and then went to explore the exhibit hall. I was really looking forward to walking out with a piece of art, but there was nothing I saw that I wanted to spend money on. So my only souvenir is the convention lanyard, but that’s still cool.

After exploring the hall we were both getting kind of tired. The spaces were crowded, and neither of us really do well with crowds. But there were two more things we wanted to look at: the game floor, and a prop/costume exhibit. Really we just wanted to see what the game store was offering, which ended up being nothing unless you were a die collector. The costume museum was also, to be blunt, really lame. It had some Captain America, Batman, and Iron Man props/costumes, but there were only about seven of them total. Not being a fan of those characters, it had nothing to offer me.

At this point we were both getting toward the end of our energy levels. There were no other interesting panels, and nothing else really to see. So after getting lunch at a nearby restaurant, we left.

She told me that this was fairly small by convention standards, and that if I want a real convention experience I should make my way to Wonder Con. Maybe one day I will. I won’t say that SF Comic Con was a bad experience, per se, but with the large crowds, the bland panels, and the not really exciting exhibits, I can’t say it was a great one either. I’d try going to a different convention in the future, but with the hope that it will be a better experience. Ian McDiarmid was the highlight, but I also sort of feel like I paid $40 just to hear him speak for 50 minutes. Regardless, with my departure from the country coming up in (at the time of the convention) just over two weeks, any time doing things with people I love is quality time. So it was still a good day.


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First Year Over

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in School/Education, General Life Stuff May 30 2016 · 268 views
School/Education and 1 more...
So my first year of graduate school is over. It was actually over a month ago, but I'm lazy and just got around to writing this now. I don't really have a whole lot of thoughts on it that I feel like puting down this minute, but I'm glad it's over and can put school out of my mind for another few years. I'll be spending this summer getting ready for my stint out of country.

I had a nice week long break after finals where I went home to celebrate my birthday. Sure I spent the week trying to get medical documents together (due on my birthday of course) so I wouldn't get kicked out of my program, but I got to see my family and my girlfriend and I got to build a Naboo Starfighter, so it was still fun!

As a birthday gift, my Mom gave my girlfriend and I tickets to see Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella. It was SO. GOOD. Definitely my favorite interpretation of the Cinderella story so far. Seeing the costumes in action was worth the trip all by itself. Some serious creativity and engineering went into those.

After seeing such a great musical I can't really complain about not being able to do a whole lot, though it would have been nice to spend my birthday celebrating instead of nagging the hospital to get my documents to me. One of them was late because they forgot to run a certain test on my blood when I visited back in March. Their fault. Not mine.

For now I'm back at school until the end of June because that's when my apartment contract ends and I can't get out of it early. In the meantime, to offset the rent costs, I'm working almost full time at a local museum. It's not what I would call a good job, and I'm not getting paid much, but it's an income. And it is nice to not have to worry about school and homework.

Once the end of June hits, I go home and hang out for a few months until I go out of country. I plan on having a lot of fun this summer!


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Indiana Jones 5

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Mar 15 2016 · 622 views
Entertainment
From the Walt Disney Company's website news page:

Indiana Jones will return to the big screen on July 19, 2019, for a fifth epic adventure in the blockbuster series. Steven Spielberg, who directed all four previous films, will helm the as-yet-untitled project with star Harrison Ford reprising his iconic role. Franchise veterans Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will produce.

“Indiana Jones is one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history, and we can’t wait to bring him back to the screen in 2019,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “It’s rare to have such a perfect combination of director, producers, actor and role, and we couldn’t be more excited to embark on this adventure with Harrison and Steven.”


I know I'm not supposed to get excited about a film until proudction stills are released (because they can always get cancelled), but TOO LATE I ALREADY HAVE ALL THE EXCITEMENT.






Hello! And...

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

Favorite -
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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