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V1P2's Blog


Assassin's Creed 3- Initial Impressions

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Aug 09 2017 · 38 views
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.


Man It's Hot

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Nov 06 2016 · 168 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.


From the Southern Hemisphere

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Sep 22 2016 · 189 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!


New Laptop

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff, School/Education Sep 17 2016 · 165 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.


San Fran Comic Con- My First Convention

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff Sep 09 2016 · 234 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.


First Year Over

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in School/Education, General Life Stuff May 30 2016 · 250 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!


Indiana Jones 5

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in Entertainment Mar 15 2016 · 540 views
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.


Winter Break

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in General Life Stuff, School/Education Jan 10 2016 · 319 views
School/Education and 1 more...
Wow it’s been a long time. Over four months since I posted something here. School does that to you.

I don’t really feel the need to narrate the last four months here (and I doubt anyone would want to read it), so here’s a brief summary: Took five classes while working part time at a local museum. The job isn’t great, but it’s in my field and I’m learning (or will learn) things that should become valuable so I’m game for continuing it. And it pays me so there’s that.

I got four A’s and one AB, which as far as I can tell is an A- equivalent. I’ve never even heard of this grading system before (A, AB, B, BC, C…). It’s baffling.

After semester’s end, for the last three weeks, I was on winter break. I started writing this blog post intending that I would be recounting all the fun things I did… but it wasn’t a very fun break.

I managed to submit both my Peace Corps application, and an internship application so I’m hoping that both of those yield results. But while those were arguably my primary goals for break, I also really wanted to spend quality time with both my family and my girlfriend. Due to unfortunate circumstances which I won’t go into, I was not able to accomplish either. On top of that, due to flight issues, I had to leave several days earlier than I wanted to, and with only two hours notice. That was hard, and frustrating. I don’t think anybody wanted me to leave, and my father even gave me option to opt out as I was getting on the plane. I could have, but that would have meant a.) paying extra money for tickets and b.) missing first classes upon the start of the semester. Neither of these sounded like very appealing options, so I sucked it up and just came back to school early.

That’s not say everything was miserable. I got to spend Christmas with my family and some family friends, and I got to see my sisters. It isn’t often the family is together. We did two nights of family game night (or, at least I did with my parents), so at least I got that. We played two games of Pandemic, which I introduced to my Mom on her birthday. I think she likes it, but my Dad doesn’t seem to be a fan. He doesn’t like the cooperative element, and I don’t think strategy is one of his strong suits.

My girlfriend and I had a list of things we wanted to do while I was in-state, the main goal of said list being a Star Wars marathon culminating with The Force Awakens. She’s a bigger Star Wars fan than most people you’ll meet… but I’m not. Regardless, I sat down and watched the six films over the course of my break. She even made sure we watched the theatrical version of the original trilogy, which I had never seen before. Not being a Star Wars fan I don’t see what the big deal is, and the copies we watched were blurry as heck, but, hey, it was an education! We did not end up getting to watch Ep. 7 (though she did see it on premier night- the day before I came home). So I still haven’t seen it, and in all likelihood won’t see it until I come home for spring break when we can finish the marathon. I’m assuming given the box office success that it is it should still be hanging on at that point.

We also built some LEGO sets together, the highlights being WALL-E and Poe’s X-Wing. It was a lot of fun! I’ve never actually had anyone I could build LEGO sets with before. Both sets are pretty great, though I take issue with the way the X-Wing thrusters are connected. But the set being Halloween themed makes up for that. WALL-E would have been nicer with articulated wrists, but he’s still pretty cute regardless.

So, okay, yes, I was able to do some fun things, and it was definitely nice to get a break from school. But I think we were all disappointed that things didn’t go smoother. Such is life.

School starts up again tomorrow. We’ll see how classes go!


And So It (Almost) Begins

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in School/Education, General Life Stuff, Geology Aug 24 2015 · 503 views

A long time ago in a blog entry far far away, I mentioned how I was accepted into graduate school. Well, a couple of months later here I am, sitting in my apartment and waiting for orientation stuff to start tomorrow.

I have to confess that leaving home was kind of difficult. I love my family, and while we tend to appreciate each other from a distance, I still would rather be closer to them. I’m kind of far away. Like, over half way across the country kind of far. And, on top of that, on a campus that’s (almost) in the middle of nowhere. I mean, we have a Walmart, which is fantastic (I can buy LEGO [with money I don’t have]!), but I miss having all the resources like the ones at my undergrad university.

And while I didn’t have what you could call a great job, I also miss my coworkers. I wasn’t friends with all of them, but a select few I had a lot of fun working with. One of them gave me a going away gift in the form of a stuffed Anger from Inside Out (Disgust, he said, was not available). I plan on putting that in plain view, right on top of my cookie jar. Another coworker gave me a Disney store gift card. While there is no Disney store for 374 miles (I checked), I’m sure I can find something to order from the online store. I’m incredibly thankful for these coworkers, and I will definitely visit them when I’m back in the area.

But there is one coworker I will miss more than anyone, and that’s because we started dating back in May. A few people have (not unreasonably) questioned the wisdom of starting a relationship right before I was to head off on this crazy endeavor, but for the most part our friends and family have been super supportive, which is great. Both of us knew going into the relationship that I would be leaving, and we were both okay with that and willing to give it a shot anyway. Right now we’re both optimistic about staying together, but it will obviously require a lot of work and patience from both of us over the next several years. I think she's worth it.

But while I will continue to talk to my significant other using applications like Skype, it will soon be time to focus on school. I have my first unofficial orientation tomorrow. I say 'unofficial' because It’s not really an orientation so much as a get together with other students and staff in my degree program, and I’m going because it’s always good to meet people, especially if they can offer help with things like finding jobs. I will also be going to a local museum to inquire about a job opportunity, so hopefully something good comes from that. Some form of income would be nice. But before that happens, I will spend the remainder of my time exploring and getting to know the area. There are some trails near my apartment that I plan on taking a look at. I think they’re meant primarily for biking (summer) and cross country skiing (winter), but if they aren’t muddy from the rain I think they’ll be fun to walk on.

My apartment is, well, a grad apartment. The wireless (which I’m not even supposed to get up here) is spotty and cuts out every few minutes, and the wired internet (which I’m supposed to be using) won’t work for me because the phone jack has been broken since June. Fortunately someone will be coming up here to fix it tomorrow. Aside from that, I need to have someone come in to snake the bath drain so it, you know, drains, and they also need to fix the windows so they aren’t letting spiders in. It's not luxury, but it's livable and comfy. And despite all these issues, there is one thing I am thankful for: my neighbors are really, really quiet.

Hopefully they stay that way.


Accepted Into Graduate School

Posted by Vorahk1Panrahk2 , in School/Education, General Life Stuff, Geology May 16 2015 · 532 views
School/Education and 2 more...
three and a half months ago I nervously submitted applications for graduate school (and then after that waited for my letters of recommendation to be written). Yesterday, after a month and a half of waiting (and one rejection) I recieved word that I was accepted into my first choice school. Normally I prefer to write more detailed entries, and perhaps later on I will, but for now all I care to say is that I am simultaneously excited and incredibly nervous. I'm stepping very much out of my comfort zone, but at the same time I think it will be a great experience and that good things will result.

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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