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Delique’s Adventures In Wonderland Episode 1

Streaming attempt #2, I’m building a new TSW character and streaming my way through the game…

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Computer Games Gaming Personal Piracy Inc RPG Shebang WRPL

Week Ten – Once Is Chance, Twice is Coincidence, Third Time Is A Pattern

Work

First weeks at work are generally a bit chaotic, new accounts, new processes, new people. This combined with a few other complexities (We had a Virgin Engineer around to fix the fact that every so often my ping times hit 20 seconds or so, a side effect of a fix of an issue a few months ago, when some gas engineers took a back-hoe to the fibreoptics) made the week slightly less relaxing than ideal.

Going to a new place is often a point of comparison, and it’s possibly worth writing up some of the practices and theories of operation of doing AWS stuff at enterprise-grade that I didn’t have the mental energy to get permission to write about before I left. All theory, anyway, since I can’t refer it back…

Play

This week we won a RL battle of getting all the people lined up to play the third session (And first with everybody there) of Doug’s Trail of Cthulhu game, the Charybdis Protocol. I’ve got an IC writeup of the second session (my first. Scheduling is hard), and I’m working through the writeup of the second (Slightly harder. I’m attempting to walk the line between “useful session notes” and “one-sided account” in a session where I kind of lit a jerry-can of explosives on fire and threw it at the rest of the character party) (In my defense, shit got weird). Those will appear on my IC Diary site – The Hero Diaries – assuming the rest of the PCs don’t mind, and I’ve got their character names right.

Video-Game-wise, I’ve mostly been playing Warcraft, as I’ve been attempting to get my Monk to the end of the levelling campaign. Right now I’ve hit one of my least favourite bit of WoW end-game mechanics, the “Do tiny repetitive missions that reward junk and reputation to get through the reputation gateway” bit. Happily, I’ve managed to get my gear up to the level where I can do pick-up Heroics, so I’m balancing that with knocking out low-level achievements (Explore these zones, Poke this NPC, Poke that interactive object) while watching Twitch channels.

Twitch is my current background noise. Annoyingly I can’t get my old username back – I had a Justin.TV account before they were Twitch – but I did just realise that I could do the same thing as I did for this, so my new Twitch channel is Twitch.TV/Aquarionics. My first experiments in streaming had some mic-quality problems, but it is something I intend to experiment more with.

This may be combined with the fact that SWTOR is picking up speed in my local community again, so might end up doing more of that, and the idea of live-streaming a character path appeals. We’ll see.

Rest

I’ve had no beer explode this week, which can only be a plus. Brain-gremlins are down, sociality is up. I never really realise how badly stressful environments screw up my headspace until I’m out of them.

The lack of Odyssey meetings and discussions is kicking in to my calendar, and I’m kind of itching to run something game-like. This, coupled with Torment coming out and a block of Cipher-system/Numenera setting content that I backed with Kickstarter years ago turning up all at once is making that look like a short-run Numenera campaign. Tempting.

However, existing projects exist. I tidied up a bit of The Book, and it’s looking a lot better than I thought when I gave up on it. I almost don’t feel the urge to ditch it all (again) and rebuild. What I probably need to do is go over the first few chapters, redraw the arcs, and get a second opinion on whether the style actually tells the story. And then: Pirates.

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Week Nine – Rebuilding Istic, Drinking Whisky, Playing Torment

So this week I’ve been mostly avoiding doing anything at all.

I took a week off between jobs, because I needed to reset my head a bit, I needed some holiday, and I had a small pile of admin to do before the new contract started. Mostly stuff like moving my PAYE status back to my own company, sorting out indemnity insurance. I also discovered the font I was using for the company stuff is either no longer commercially usable, or I got it from someone sublicensing it without permission, so a minor rebranding effort took place.

business in the left, party in the right

The most time-consuming bit of all of this was moving my home-office around a bit to provide some separation between at-work and screwing around, which I’ve done by adding a new desk for my work laptop to go on (Actually the dining table, but that was my desk before we moved here, all things in circles). In theory, this will help me maintain concentration while I’m supposed to be working, and also not drift towards work during evenings and weekends.

A defective bottle of Caol Ila, and a less defective baby brother.

Mostly this week I’ve been fairly non-social and introspective – recharge mode tends to do that to me – but earlier in the week ccooke and ruthi came up to play games, speak of things and for us to help consume a magnum of champagne they won. All these were pleasant things, along with some samples from Drinks by the Dram, a company I should take a look at after invoices start rolling in a bit. I also picked up a small custom bottle from the Whiskey shop for a date night last week, aged by them from spirit from the Caol Ila distillery – Caol Ila being my current preferred scotch. It’s certainly young, but also very clearly peaty and full of flavours. Together with my adventures in kinetic beer this week, it’s been a fortnight of interesting alcohol.

Game-wise I’ve mostly been working my way through the last levelling content of WoW’s Legion expansion with my panda, but last week the long awaited “Spiritual Sequel” to Planescape: Torment (one of my favourite RPG games), “Torment: Tides of Numenara” finally dropped.

Erritis is very enthusiastic about ADVENTURE. This is clearly fine, and not something to be worried about.

I love the Numenara setting, and its mix of sufficiently advanced science, fantasy elements and depth make it a really good replacement for the original’s Planescape location. The thing I like best about it, though, is that it shares with the original a policy that the combat mechanic is at least equal to – and in a lot of cases subservient to – the ability to complete objectives by stealth, conversation or trickery. It’s not a game without its flaws, there’s a section I’ve recently defeated which annoyed me a lot; the companions – while deep and with interesting backstories – don’t push the envelope in the same way that – for example – Morte, Nordom or Fall-from-Grace did; and the party management while being a lot simpler than other games in its class removes some options that would have been useful. But I’m enjoying swimming in the universe and lore they’re building. Might do a more full review later on.

 

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internet media

The thing about ad-blocker popups

I’ve been, in the past, a firm distruster of ad blocking software. I still am, to a large extent. I don’t trust any company whose finance model is based on inserting exceptions for advertisers they like. But I installed Ghostery, whose model is to use the stats of what gets blocked to offer consultancy to companies to make their adverts less horrific. I like this idea, so I support it. My Ghostery install is fairly open, blocking only sites that offer page-takeover, popups, autoplaying videos, and other stuff that annoys me a lot. So I get a bit annoyed when I’m scrolling through a Wired article and get something like this:

Fine. I don’t disagree with the sentiment, but I don’t read Wired often enough to care about being a member, so yeah, ad supported isn’t unreasonable. Do you know what’s unreasonable, Wired? This is what happens when I whitelist your site:

That’s *forty* scripts you’re loading in for tracking, advertising, affiliate marketing, analytics, comments and display fonts. Up from twelve that I had whitelisted already, and – and here’s the best bit – if I leave the tab open to (say) write a blog article about this bullshit, it goes up to FIFTY NINE.

I‘m not militant about never being tracked, nor being advertised to. I’ve worked for web marketing companies, and I’ve attempted the shit soup that is making bank from content on the internet, I know there aren’t any good options. But this isn’t about any of that anymore, it’s making your site _worse_ by installing dozens of these things and slowing everything down. It’s unchecked – the number of these things that duplicate functionality is just crazy – and to put your sanctimonious little message over the top of the remaining bits of actual content when your users try to filter it is actively user-hostile.

Last and maybe worst, each one of these externally installed scripts is – potentially – an unvetted bit of code you’ve added to your page. Javascript isn’t the security nightmare it once was, but every new script is a new vector, and you can’t tell me that every single one of those – checking the tab again – eighty four snippets of code has been reviewed against all the others for security flaws or side effects which might make the user experience worse or unsafe.

It just needs to stop.

(Final count: 86. Tab has been open 20 minutes)

 

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food

Bath of Beer 2: FOOM.

It’s just over a year since the last experiment with making Porter resulted in an “over lively” beer that fountained over the top a bit.

Over the last couple of months, I decided to retry this experiment. I bought a kit for “Pernickety Porter” and something else from Brew Craft Beer, with the intention of playing with this one and then some kind of photo-essay review of the other one. When it came to the bottling of the beer, I happened to have made some simple syrup (for cocktails and coffee) that morning, so instead of the weak sugar solution, I used that.

This, it turns out, wasn’t my greatest idea ever. The first glass I tried this evening, I opened the bottle over the sink, because occasionally I learn from my mistakes. It bubbled over a bit… well, a lot… and I ended up with a half-litre glass like this out of a 330ml bottle:

Funny. Ha ha. So I waited for the bubbles to go down, got most of the bottle of beer into the glass, and thought “What would be funny is if I took a video of opening the bottle, with the bottle in the glass, so it fills up the glass, and I can make a joke about the world’s first self-pouring beer!”

Nah. Not so much.

Second bottle, followed by second bottle in full “oh fuck” x8 slow motion:

Now, of course, I had one bottle that fizzed a bit, and another that did the volcano thing. What this required was SCIENCE. So, science. Note, under “sometimes I learn from my mistakes” above, the new addition to my method: Experiment is now done in a baking tray with a teatowel underneath it.

This weekend, I’m going to attempt the Grubby Teapot Brown Ale from the same place.

This time, I think I’ll follow the recipe more carefully.

Now, however, I need to clean the kitchen floor a bit.