Sliding towards insanity

The life (or lack thereof) of a UMD Computer Engineering major graduate
Monday, May 15, 2006
Busy busy month. And as if things weren't budy enough, I pick now to update the blog for the first time in months. If I can get six posts a year at this rate I'll be doing well.

Winter Fantasy was great. I got a couple of friends to come along and we had a blast. Unfortunatly I couldn't get a table together for the Living Force finale, so I ended up playing every Mark of Heroes mod they had at the con. Living Spycraft 2.0 was great, we had an excellent GM and it looks like in the future it'll develop into a solid campaign. The LSpy 2.0 mods seem to have a much different feel to them; they're seem a lot more freeform and XP is handed out for encountering NPCs rather than killing/capturing them. Overall, I like the new mods better than a lot of the old ones. The bit after Winter Fantasy didn't turn out too well, though. It took forever to game to get reported, and after they did all the Mark of Heroes (which uses online tracking) mods were missing information. The RPGA pretty much has me fed up, so after having run EMH-10 Desolate Endevor at TerpCon the weekend before last I'm done.

I've been really interested in Hackmaster lately, though. I don't know what it is about the game, but there's a definite sense of gamer nostalga there, having been based on the old 1st edition AD&D rules. The game also has a very light humor to it that really calls to my style of play. I want to get a game set up sometime, but things are a little too busy right now to get things started. The HMA, which is kind of like Hackmaster's RPGA, seems a lot less overbearing and more suited to my style as well. I've played one Hackmaster game over the internet (doesn't seem like anybody in my area really plays) and it was pretty good. The system seemed much more playable than it initially looked, and I had a lot of fun. When I do finally get a game together I have to work out if it's going to be mostly UMD people, local people, a mix of the two, or what. I definitly don't want to keep going down to College Park to run it, though. We'll see how that works out.

My finacee and I are getting married on June 3rd. A lot of prep for that going on, but things seem to be processing nicely. We've got the place lined up, and the officiant; working on decorations and things now. It should be much smaller than the original plan, which had over 100 guests. We're now working with about a dozen or so. Much more manageable; I think both of us would have killed somebody if we continued on with the previous plan.

We just bought our first car this past week. It's a bright blue Mazda3 S. Originally we'd been talking to a dealer in Frederick, MD and trying to set things up so when we were ready, we could just pick the car up with our specifications. We gave them three weeks notice, and every step of the way they said we were on track. Last Wednesday they said they'd found the car, but they didn't have anything to trade for it unit the end of the month. The next day we picked up the car at a dealership in Fairfax, VA (which was probably the car they were planning on trading for, since it matched what we wanted exactly). Overall, it's a great car. Looks great, smooth ride, nice handling, excellent acceleration. The gas milage sure beats the hell out of the '94 V8 Ford F150 I'd been driving, too.

This weekend was particularly busy as we started moving out of our apartment in DC and up to a new apartment in Germantown, MD. Our lease started on the new place this past Saturday (the 13th), but our old lease expires this coming Saturday (the 20th). Right now we're working on repainting the new place and setting everything up. We've got moving people coming on the 20th, but there's a lot of work to be done in the mean time. Cleaning the old place out is really gunna suck.

Work continues to be characteristicly busy. We've had three people turn in the resignations in the software group within the last week. We've got more projects than people to staff them, and a lot of our current products have field issues poping up. Fun times...

Tuesday, January 31, 2006
Life goes on, five months pass, and I don't post a bloody thing to the blog. I finish out my last semester at UMD, graduate, get my BS in Computer Engineering degree, and I don't post a bloody thing to the blog. I get hired at the same outfit I was working over the summer, I write a steaming load of code, and THEN I finally update the blog.

So... that pretty much wraps up the last five months.

I'm salaried now, which pretty much means I'm making a little more than I was before but I don't get overtime. This is a pretty important point, as last night I was in my cube till 10 PM trying to get a stupid flash chip to erase (I still can't do it, ended up hotwiring the reset pin to the 12V line to fool it). Working late seems to be the rule rather than the exception. It's nice that I'm not really bringing work home with me (like I did when I was still in college), but the problem is that I just never go home. Oh well, there's always the depressingly short weekends...

I'm still gaming, although a lot less often then I'd like. It's a lot more of a time crunch when you really only have two days available a week to do stuff. I was hoping to get some more mods in before Winter Fantasy this year, but that may or may not work out right. I'm planning on playing the Living Force finale (which will pretty much lock me out of the campaign) and the Living Spycraft 2.0 launch (which, if I convert my character, will pretty much lock me out of the Living Spycraft 1.0 campaign), so it should be a lot of fun. I have no idea what I'm going to be doing after Winter Fantasy, though. I don't play Mark of Heroes (although it sounds like this may be the time to start), Legacy of the Green Regent is ending (I never really played that either, but I'm playing the finale for the hell of it at Winter Fantasy), and Living Spycraft 1.0 and Living Force will be out. I guess I just hope that Living Spycraft 2.0 puts a bunch of material out.

I never really played that much, I've always tended to run games. I haven't felt much like running games lately, partially because it just seems like preping for games is another hassle now that I'm working (and free time is extremely low). Still, I can't help that think that this may effectivly end my involvement with the RPGA, at least for a while. I've had a pretty good run with the RPGA, but it just doesn't seem to have the same draw it used to. Hopefully Living Spycraft 2.0 will change that, but if not I'm not really sure what I'll do. It seems like most of the people in my group aren't really into it anyway, but last time I tried to start a group from scratch (my Dragonlance game) it fell apart after two sessions. The games themselves were good, but I couldn't deal with coming up with new material on a weekly basis (and I definitely couldn't now). That's one thing I kinda like about the RPGA, I almost never have to write mods. The RPGA mods have felt more limiting lately than they used to, however. I'd kinda like to run a Spycraft 2.0 one-shot (or three) sometime, but I haven't been doing very well in prepping for it. It's the kind of thing I've done a bit of work on but I keep pushing back. Hopefully I'll feel a little more motivated after playing Spycraft 2.0 at Winter Fantasy.

Sunday, September 04, 2005
Classes have started back up, and it seems like like it's going to be a pretty good semester. I'm taking three Computer Science courses, but only one of them seems like it'll be labor-intensive. Aside from that I've got an Engineering Reliability class that meets once and week, and I'm set to graduate this December if all goes well.

I ran into the officers of the Terrapin Gaming Club at the student union on Friday, and to make a long story short I'm now helping set up TerpCon Fall 2005. We've already got rooms reserved for October 29th, so things seem to be going fairly well. Instead of doing registration through the forums as in previous years we're using, which is a great streamlined system for small-midsize gaming conventions. It's free, although I'm planning on making a donation as it's the perfect system for TerpCon. Right now we're accepting player registrations but not allowing players to sign up for individual games for another two weeks (at least). We had signups open for a day or so before we realized people were just signing up for whatever was available instead of waiting for game they were really interested in to come up. If half the people are going to drop the games they're in right now anyway for other ones I don't see a point in having registrations until a good number of games are up.

I'm planning on running a session of Only the Force, the all-jedi Star Wars D20 one-shot I was trying to get for a long time. I did run it once over the summer and it was a blast, but a lot of people missed out and it seems like it would be perfect for a convention (it IS an RPGA convention mod, after all). I think I'm going to run a Mark of Heroes mod in the morning slot, but the mod availability as been awful lately, so I don't know if it'll fly. If not, maybe I'll run a Living Greyhawk intro module or something. I don't really want to run three games in the same day (I'll burn out for sure), but I may try to run something low-stress for the afternoon slot. Maybe I'll set up a table of Star Wars Miniatures or something, do a recreation scenario from one of the movies or Clone Wars. That's another wait-and-see, as I might actually play a slot at TerpCon -gasp-.

That's about it for the moment. I'm sure there will be more TerpCon updates as we get closer to October 29th.

Sunday, August 21, 2005
It's Sunday and I'm up at 9:30. I think this new job has totally killed my ability to sleep in late. I was up last night playing the Hunter: The Reckoning game for the Xbox. For a $5 bargain bin title, it's not too bad of a game. It's pretty much a 3D beat-em-up style game, but it supports up to four players so it's a pretty good group game. Some day I still want to get a group together to play through the two old D&D arcade games. We started to once with an arcade emulator but never finished the first one.

The cats now have their own web page. Well, two in fact. The first is my .Mac homepage (which will most likely disappear after 60 days when the free trial is up). The other is an online photo album titled A Tail of Two Kitties. .Mac is kinda nice, but unless you're using it to sync between multiple macs (which I'm not) it doesn't seem that useful. Maybe if I get an iBook I'll consider it.

I went down to the Apple Store at Montgomery Mall yesterday. I've been there before (it's where I got the now-returned Mighty Mouse) but this time I picked up an Airport Express (music and printer in the bedroom) and my fiancee picked up a green 4 gig iPod Mini. I gotta admit, the iPod mini is cute, but I still prefer my 20 gig click wheel iPod for the space. She fell in love with the thing (even bought it a pack of iPod Socks), but the first time we tried to turn it on the LCD faded out. No menu, no nothing, I know the thing is still on, I can hook it up to my computer and even update/restore the firmware. It even makes the clicking sound when you touch the wheel, just no screen. I even tried resetting the contrast, no luck. So, that guy's going back and getting returned Monday on my way home from work. Nice little product, it just needs to work right.

My fiancee and I got a date set for the wedding; October 8, 2006. It's going to be pretty small, and our guest list is almost full just with family members. There's a pretty good chance most of my family isn't going to make it, though (we always have a hard time getting most of the family together), so we'll probably do a second invitation list after the results of the first one goes through.

Well, I've got to pack up for the Legacy of the Green Regent game today. I should get to try out the Tact-Tiles for the first time.


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