January 11th, 2017 | Posted in Life | Tagged with Home | Comments
When you haven’t blogged in months, it’s hard to get started again. My primary reason for my disappearance was due to buying a house and moving. While the idea of living in a new place is fun and exciting, the actual process is not. We live in a hot market, and the urgency of seeing places as soon as they’re listed and holding out hope that your offer will be accepted is more than slightly stressful. Now that it’s all said and done, there are a few lessons I’ve learned for the next move. I’m hoping that next move won’t be for a few years, however.
Don’t Save Your Cleaning for the Last Day
We were living in an apartment before we bought a house, and we had been there for almost a decade. While we had done a decent job of keeping the place clean, there was still quite a bit to do in the end. Unwisely, I saved most of it for the last day of our lease. By the end of the day, my back was severely complaining.
Hire Help Wherever Possible
There are some parts of moving that are difficult to do on your own. For example, we had some old furniture that we had no interest in taking with us. Due to the logistics of the apartment and our car, it wasn’t feasible to take them to be donated to a thrift store on our own. Instead, we ended up hiring a junk removal company to take care of the items. It was the best money we spent during the whole process. If you have the money, hiring other help, like cleaning or actual movers, is definitely a good way to go.
Get Rid of Stuff Before the Move
While you might end up getting rid of some stuff as you pack, you may find yourself not having the time to do more than just shove things into boxes. My regret is that I didn’t start working earlier to declutter and thus have far less things to pack. As we unpack, we’re getting rid of things, but it would have been easier to have done it weeks ago.
It’s fantastic to be on this side of the move, at last. Hopefully now I can catch up on my various online projects!
August 26th, 2016 | Posted in Games | Tagged with Overwatch | Comments
I’ve been playing Blizzard games for as long as I can remember, starting back with the original Warcraft, Starcraft and Diablo. I’ve sunk more hours than I care to admit into World of Warcraft (I do not play anymore). I’ve dabbled in Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm. Needless to say, I’m generally a fan of Blizzard’s games. When details about Overwatch first came out, I loved the art style and the character variety, but I wasn’t too sure about the genre. The last time I had played any sort of FPS was back in the Hexen days. A game, that I just realized, came out in 1995. Wow, I feel old.
Playing Heroes of the Storm introduced me to a level of toxicity that seemed even worse than the kind of chat one typically experiences while doing PVP battles in WoW. While I have developed a thick skin from being an active internet user for decades, I don’t really enjoy getting insults while I’m playing games. Heroes of the Storm is a fine game, but I didn’t really feel it was such an awesome game that it was worth dealing with the trolls to play. So, I was a little wary that the Overwatch community was going to be similar.
Due to various boring reasons that don’t need explanation, I didn’t buy Overwatch until a couple of weeks ago. I’m happy to say that the level of toxicity in the game is far less than I expected. Yes, there have been some mean comments, but it’s been pretty mild. The game does have a voice chat system, but I elected to turn it off when I first started playing. I understand that voice chat can be helpful for coordinating with your team, but the chance of having to listen to some kid mouth off is enough to make it not worth it.
For the record, I have no idea what it’s like in competitive play. I’m honestly not sure that I will try it. I wouldn’t be surprised if the atmosphere in competitive play is a “little” more tense though.
I’m also happy that my lack of any recent FPS experience hasn’t been a major hamper. Am I winning every match? Hardly, but the game offers plenty of characters to better suit your experience or lack of experience. If you’re not too sure about your aiming accuracy, for example, you can play Mercy, the game’s best healer. Playing a tank like D.VA or Reinhardt is also a good choice if you’re a little unsure about your shooting skill.
Overwatch is a fantastic game that is certainly worth checking out if you’ve been on the fence about it. I’m planning to post more things about it the future, including tips for new players.
August 25th, 2016 | Posted in Blogging | Tagged with Writing | Comments
When I first opened this blog, I wanted to create a place where I could write about anything. I work as a writer, but I’m usually spending my days writing about subjects that aren’t all that interesting to me. One of the topics I’ve written many articles about is optimizing your blog. I think I had internalized a few too many messages from all those articles and it hampered my ability to write here. For example, I often strove to hit arbitrary text goals. Yes, writing a blog post that is 900 words will probably get you noticed by a search engine, but I’m tired of caring about that. Lately, I’ve felt myself feeling inspired by tumblrs and blogs that exist just as a creative extension of the writer.
So, going forward, my hope is to post more posts that will probably be shorter, more casual, more creative, and so on. I gave the blog a slight redesign to help eliminate some of the design quirks that were distracting me every time I visited the blog. It’s quite sparse and minimalist, but I think it fits my new goals.
A few weeks ago, EA released a new patch for The Sims 4 that ended the gender restrictions on hair, clothing and makeup when creating a Sim. The Sims series has a long history of being progressive and that is one of its most enduring qualities. I still remember when I realized while playing The Sims 2 that the game allowed for same-sex relationships. This patch was just another step in the game truly letting people create Sims that they can identify with.
I’m beyond pleased that this patch was released, but I am unhappy with the quality of work that went into recreating the clothing for the other gender. In many cases, it seems like only the smallest amount of work was put into the project, as the images below will illustrate.
Here’s a simple picture of a female Sim wearing “feminine” clothing. Everything looks smooth and fine here.
This is a picture of the same Sim wearing clothing tagged as “masculine”. Pay special attention to the chest and crotch area. The chest suddenly has jagged lines, the silhouette of the body has changed completely and the crotch is a bulky mess.
This outfit, however, is the real winner. I don’t even know where to begin to describe its many problems.
I cannot stress enough that I am exceptionally happy that EA finally lifted the restrictions so that people can create whatever Sim they want. It’s a wonderful addition that will add so much for many players. I just think that the players deserved better workmanship on the quality of the CAS parts. I’m hopeful that they might fix these issues in the future, but since many of the bugs in The Sims 4 are still around, months after complaints first surfaced, I’m not too optimistic.
As someone who absolutely loves mysteries, the first season of Broadchurch was satisfying. The characters were intriguing, and the town’s idyllic setting was perfect for a murder mystery. It was riveting television. Sadly, I felt that the second season just didn’t hold up very well. In fact, I didn’t finish watching the show. This was mainly for two big reasons:
This is the biggest reason why the second season failed for me. I’m not unhappy that they decided to make the trial become the main plot, but I am very disappointed with how it was handled. There are a number of specific examples:
- We are told that Jocelyn Knight is an amazing lawyer, even though she hasn’t actually worked on a case in several years. It takes several conversations for her to even agree to take on the case. Unfortunately, she ends up being a disappointment that the show doesn’t even recognize. What I mean by that is that she does a terrible job during the case, but we’re still supposed to think she’s amazing. In one particular exchange, she lets the defense completely walk all over Ellie without even raising a fuss in the slightest.
- The show completely mishandled Joe’s confession. From my understanding, in the real world, a discussion of the confession would have happened between the lawyers and the judge without the jury present. It just makes sense. Why taint your jury pool by admitting that there is a confession, but there are some potential mitigating circumstances around it? It would be very difficult for a jury to ignore the confession’s existence.
- The dismissal of the confession is also sketchy when it was easy to prove that it happened before Ellie showed up. It’s amazing that the prosecutor would let it go without much of a fight. A confession is a pretty big deal; why wouldn’t you fight harder for it?
I don’t deny that perhaps I am being too picky about the technical aspects of the trial. Some liberty is required to make a courtroom drama more exciting, I get that. But I think there were ways to have a good courtroom drama without excessive flaws. I also realize that British courts are different from American courts, but I read posts from people with actual experience and they said that some of the technical aspects of the show were flat-out wrong.
The Sandbrook Case
It was difficult to feel interested in the Sandbrook case. It was obviously a very important case for Hardy, and the plot at least tried to weave it into the town of Broadchurch. But it was difficult to connect with the case at all. Perhaps if we had learned more about the families and the victims I would have felt more invested in the story. Although I didn’t finish watching the episode that fully explained what happen, I did read the summary and felt underwhelmed by its conclusion. It just wasn’t that interesting to me.
Broadchurch does have a third season on the horizon. While I may have been thoroughly disappointed by season two, I still intend to at least check out the third season whenever it arrives.