So Much Fun It HURTS!

One aspect of video gaming that has never bothered me is repetition. After all, back in the early 80’s, that’s pretty much all we HAD. “Game Over” meant you ran out of ships or had to leave the arcade for some non-game related reason. I don’t mind doing the same thing over and over again as long as its fun, and if all I get at the end is a high score, I’m fine by that.

I think it’s also why I have never played any online RPGs for any extended period of time. I know that if I were to get hooked on a MMORPG I would probably never come out.

With arcades dead and gone, I feed my desire for arcade-style gaming goodness with Nintendo DS and Xbox Live Arcade games. Fortunately, they are relatively cheap and quite satisfying. Every now and then, though, I will come across a game that I just cannot stop playing until I am in some degree of pain. This is particularly true of the Nintendo DS; one hallmark of a good DS game (in my opinion) is that I can keep playing it and playing it until the stylus leaves a painful indentation in my thumb. Mental note: I need to take a picture of that the next time it happens.

The most extreme example of this was a game called Meteos. I’m a sucker for a good puzzle game, and Meteos was just the thing to burn away the hours while working the late shift at a call center a few years ago. If nobody was calling, I would be happily tapping away at my trusty red DS trying to beat my high scores. With a combination of a really good battery life, no supervisors present, and available plugs for my charger, I could easily spend most of my shift playing Meteos, followed by a sore thumb on my right hand.

This went on for a few weeks until I noticed some recurring pain in my left arm. It got to be quite a nuisance, so I went to see my doctor about it. He examined my arm, bent it this way and that, asked does this hurt, does that hurt, yadda yadda yadda. It turns out I had “tennis elbow” in my left arm. The same left arm I was using to hold up the DS (the ol’ fat DS, BTW) while playing Meteos all those hours. Heaven help me, I did not have the nerve to tell the doctor. A bottle of pain meds and a lot less Meteos later, and I was back to abnormal.

Elite Beat Agents also left its mark on me (literally!) and now I am in the grasp of Rock Band (playing the drums on Hard is a pretty decent workout) and 1942: Joint Strike whose button mashing madness has my right thumb in a world of hurt right now, but damn, its fun. My high score is already over a million, time to shoot for two!

-shakes hands around, blows on right thumb to cool it down-

Maybe later.

Rock Band – Opening Act

(continued from June 30)

So I had decided that I wanted Rock Band, but I also decided I didn’t want to fork out $170 for the whole kit and kaboodle. After all, I have a Guitar Hero 3 guitar that will work with the game, and I was 90% sure my Karaoke Revolution microphone would work. That just leaves (naturally) the most expensive part, being the drums…which are $80 on their own, and the game is $60, which at $140 is pretty darn close to the full price anyway! As popular as the game is, I figured a sale probably wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I figured I’d have to save some change for a while.

As fate would have it, I had just received $15 in Best Buy Reward Zone certificates from a recent TV purchase, which knocks the price of the game down to $45! On a hunch, I browsed the some online stores for the drum kit, and lo and behold, Amazon had it on sale for $50 with FREE shipping, woo-hoo! Needless to say, paying $95 was MUCH better than $130

After nearly going insane waiting for the UPS guy a few days later, I had my drum kit, the mic worked perfectly, and simulated rock stardom was within my grasp!

All I needed now was a band.

The (Work) Year In Review

Today marks my first year anniversary of my current job, and frankly, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. Between whiny customers, sometimes-clueless coworkers, having to work a different schedule every month, the mention of possible lay-offs, and having to work Christmas Eve, its been a heck of a ride.

Yes, I’m still bitter over the Christmas Eve thing…NO, I don’t plan on letting it go anytime soon.

In any event, I got a raise (4%) which was nice, and my manager also dangled the carrot of getting out of support in front of me. They’d rather have experience stay within the company instead of just walking out the door. We’ve had a few code monkeys escape from the cage lately (mostly to Rackspace, I hear) and so they’re probably playing “prevent” defense right now.

This company is particularly sensitive to turnover because they make a niche product. The technologies they work with are so inherently different that finding someone with expertise in all of them would be nigh impossible, in my opinion.

Anyways, the odds of my leaving have dropped somewhat. If I can get out of support, I will definitely hang around for awhile longer, if nothing else, to get some more experience and maybe land a certification, which would make me much more marketable should I decide to leave.

Or should I say when I decide to leave? 😉

I’m Walkin’

Its been an interesting week, and its barely Tuesday!

I dropped my car off at the dealership this morning to get some work done; new brake pads for the front wheels, an oil change, and this year’s inspection sticker. The dealer’s shuttle then dropped me off at work. The original plan was to hitch a ride in the afternoon to pick it up, and be on my merry way knowing the Reliant would stop when I wanted it to.

Needless to say, The Plan got thrown out the window at about 4:45…

I get a call at about that time from the guy from the service department. I figured it was good news, my car was ready to go…BUT as it turns out, while changing the oil, they found a transmission fluid leak. Well, nuts. The good news was that since the car is still under warranty, the fix will not cost me anything. The bad news? No car until tomorrow. Crap.

I leave the dealer with my apartment keys instead of my car (note to self, give them the spare key next time) and I decided that I would walk to work tomorrow morning. I probably could call in a favor and get a lift, but I’ve actually thought about doing this before, especially since its not too too far away. According to Google Maps, its about .83 miles, so I’ll be getting up bright and early tomorrow. If all goes well, I’ll get there before it gets too warm out, and I’ll hit up a coworker for a lift to pick up the Reliant hopefully during lunch or after work.

Should be fun!

XP-dited

I installed Vista on the ol’ Edputer about two months ago, and once I got over the initial reaction of “This is IT?” I grew accustomed to Microsoft’s latest. It had some good things (power saving seems to actually work now, organization of user folders actually makes some sense) some annoying things (WTF was wrong with the old way of navigating folders?) and some bad things (no keyboard shortcuts make Randomizer MAD) but overall, it was alright.

I had no hardware compatibility problems; my scanner, printer, and other hardware worked just fine. With the exception of one piece of software, everything worked well there, too. I was pleasantly surprised to find WinAmp 2.91 was still functional. I didn’t try any games, but that’s what consoles are for, anyway 🙂

The deal-breaker was performance: even after upping my RAM to 2GB and optimizing the daylights out of it (i.e. turning off most of the extra bells and whistles) Vista was just too much for my so-called “Vista Capable” PC. One format and install later, and its back to good ol’ XP.

When I buy my next PC, I will probably go with whatever flavor of Vista it comes with, but as far as Ol’ Faithful is concerned I’ll stick with XP. Of course, there’s also Mac, but I’ll need to save my quarters for one of those.

The Lump That Roared

I wake up Saturday morning to find a bruise on the inside of my foot about 3-4 inches long. Strangely enough, it doesn’t hurt, but as I am diabetic, I freak out and decide to see the doctor ASAP. I am fortunate enough to get an appointment on Monday afternoon and ask for a half day off. On my way to the doctor, I’m stopped and waiting for traffic to ease up so I can jump onto the freeway, and then: THUNK!

I got love-tapped from behind by some idiot, I cross my fingers and hope there isn’t any damage to the Reliant as I turn on my flashers and to try to position my car so that others can get by. I get out to confront the other driver (or rather the guy the gal driving was with). Luckily, the car looks just fine, I can’t find any indication of damage, and I felt none the worse for wear, so I got the other driver’s name, phone number and license plate, just in case, and went on my merry way…I figured I had bigger fish to fry at the Doctor’s and I didn’t want to be late.

I arrive at the Doctor’s office not terribly late, albeit a little shaky from the hit I took in the car earlier. The doctor eventually comes in and I explain the situation to him. He has a look at my foot, pokes around a bit, and notices some slight bruising on the lower part of my shin that I hadn’t noticed before.

He then ask me if I had banged my foot on anything recently…I said not my foot, but I did knock the hell out of my shin two Sundays ago on a friend’s car (much to his delight, farking sadist) and it bruised up pretty good. Heck, for the rest of the day it looked as if I had a second knee growing out of my leg.

It turns out that when something like that happens, it can take awhile for the blood inside the bruise to travel down the leg, and when it does, it can pool in certain areas, like the inside of your foot. (ta-da!) He then said it would go away with time, there is nothing to see here, and that will be $25 for the co-pay. I bought up the hum-dinger I had on the way there, but he said I should be alright.

I think my friend owes me twenty-five bucks.