Muddy Waters

Another Sunday means another ride to Canberra. The weather was warm with some scattered clouds. A pleasant, if dull ride ahead.

I was about forty five minutes from home when I noticed all the cars headed the other way had their lights on. At five in the evening, that wasn’t a good sign. About five or so minutes later the road ahead seemed to disappear into a cloud.

I quickly pulled over… rain ahead. As I pulled my rain pants from the top box it started to rain a little. Big drops, but not much. Pants on, I hit the road as it really started to rain. Then about 1km up the road was the petrol station I had planned to pull over at anyway! Ah, well. at least I was dry.

And a fellow VFR rider was just pulling up as well. Not only was it a fellow VFR rider, but a mate from Sydney who has also moved to Canberra. We chatted as we filled our bikes up and geared up for the rain. We decided to ride together, as heading out together was a lot safer into the heavy downpour that the rain had turned into.

The ride, though heavy rain was fairly uneventful for about another half an hour. As we started to clear the heavy rain, the traffic in both lanes ahead started slowing and clearly stopping.

Not wanting to get caught at the end of a line of stopped highway traffic in poor visibility I decided to split up the middle – the main reason so that we wouldn’t get flattened when someone didn’t pay attention and squeezed at the back of the queue. I also hoped to split right past whatever accident was ahead (conditions as they were, it was pretty likely someone had gone off the road or tapped another car).

At the front was something else… water. Lots of muddy rising water.

The highway was flooding. My buddy came up… “We have to keep going, it’s only going to get deeper”

At this point it was over the sole of my boots. And rising quickly. I remembered all those images of cars floating away on flooded highways. “Are you sure?”.

“Yes” He headed forwards.

We split some way up the road until we were past all of the cars and the flooded highway stretched out ahead of us. But we could also see clear road.

“Keep going, otherwise we’re stuck here” he said, just as a semi trailer crept past. “follow him, he’ll clear any debris”

So we did. The bow wave of the truck kept tugging at the front wheel trying to turn the bike. Sometimes we’d ride over the centreline that we couldn’t see, but we could feel the cats eyes. A few hundred metres up the road we were out of the water.

Looking back down the freeway

Looking back down the freeway

Made it.

Made it. And even a rainbow, awwww.

We pulled over to check nothing was caught in the bikes. The water had gotten to mid calf, not quite over the tops of my waterproof boots when I was on tiptoe. Riding, it was lapping at my boots on the pegs and the bow wave as we rode through it was at least twice that. We looked back just as the police arrived and shut the road. They wouldn’t have let us through I’m sure. Good choice. (or lucky??)

Not long after that the rain stopped and eventually the roads dried. More than an hour late I rolled into my garage to get dry and warm.

Safe.

XCom – Tough work

Xcom is harder now. I was used to the fully research, well resourced highly skilled team from the old game. Now, it’s back to square one.

I’ve had some casualties, I could be about to lose a couple of countries which could be pretty terrible. The aliens are similar to the first game, but there are a few twists. There is a new mechanical squid thing, that can go invisible. It’s an ambush predator and like to appear right beside a soldier before strangling them.

The new enemy.

The new enemy.

I picked up a tip on that before I started playing, so whenever they are in the vicinity I need to ensure everyone is covered by someone else. But to be honest, in this game, that’s good practice anyway.

Teamwork, taking it slow and having an attack or response up your sleeve are the catch words here.

I’ve left the the story alone for a bit – a dangerous move in this game, as the aliens steadily get stronger whether you do or not. So if you leave it too long they can overwhelm you.

There’s been a couple of hints at something more happening. I just collected a man out of China (I think) and he hinted at some things. Hopefully we’ll see soon.

I’ve finally started the Arc Thower and will need to build a containment facility. I’ll try to do that once I get through the next monthly review. I may just have enough satellites up to hold on to the panicked countries.

Fingers crossed.

 

No PC, but that’s Ok

The repairs, services, new tyres, rego and insurance across my pair of bikes has sucked my saving dry, so no new PC for me. At least for now.

So I figured something else to keep me occupied. I could have gone back to finish Batman that I bought with the PS3, but I had a different idea.

xcom_enemy_within-1920x1080This is the standalone, new adventure in the XCOM franchise. Not really a sequel, as you start from the very basic tech level again, not DLC as it stands on its own, almost a restarting of the game – only different, with new tech available later etc.

As I’ve actually finished the earlier one, I figure there’s a good chance I can finish this one. And it can occupy me and see how my savings go.

bg-infoThat power suit is one of the new options that I hope to get to some time. Looks like the aliens have them as well. I’m enjoying it again too and that’s the best bit.

On another note, the WoW 90 boost is tempting. Apparently you end up with almost 400iLevel. That’s more than Mabaho has! And I hear if your toon is already level 60 they also max their professions, so I could have a maxed engineer/tailor (or something) . I also understand you get one free one or you can pay to boost others.

I have a couple of ideas lined up as well – Borderlands 2 was fun, but annoying having to switch it off all the time – now I don’t have to. The other option is to Bootcamp the iMac and play Mechwarrior Online. Again, I’d be able to concentrate on that properly and use comms without worry about waking the kids etc. I really don’t want to Bootcamp, I’d rather wait and have a separate computer for that, so I can still have this up and running.

 

 

A Survivor is Born

a-survivor-is-bornI made it. Right to the end. I’ve finished Tomb Raider.

There were a few little puzzles towards the end, which was really nice. Then a harrowing climb up the citadel to the top, before a battle. This went pretty smooth.

The second to last boss, a giant armoured samurai was tough, I think I emptied my entire shotgun, rifle and most of my 9mm into him, before I could get some solid axe strikes to finish him. He was tough and the fight had me leaping about, like the old Tomb Raider. Auto Aim doesn’t work on bosses either. Had me leaping about in my seat too, every time he managed to grab me and toss me across the arena.

Then it was a scuffle with Mathias, the crazy leader of the other castaways before a slightly anti-climatic destruction of the Queen (I wanted Lara to stab her with an arrow – maybe in the knee, lol) and

A survivor is born.

Tomb Raider finished.

Now I’ve done the first one and the last one… suppose I should get onto the ones in between someday. I have them all, stashed away. Mostly PS versions I think. Couple of PC.

Oh, and this means I can get started on the new PC. I’ll just wait for the fallout on my bike expenses and see where I stand after that.

 

Living with a Supersport

 

Parked at the top of Corin Dam. Sexy :)

Parked at the top of Corin Dam. Sexy :)

My trusty VFR is in the shop, it needs a new water pump. Thankfully I discovered the trouble before it overheated or ran dry. But it’s in the shop and waiting for the part from Japan. A positive of them still (basically) making the same bike ten years on, you can still get parts.

As long as you can wait.

So the Daytona is doing everything. Its been very wet here in Canberra and the Daytona has broken her cherry of riding (and being left out) in the rain. I’m having to travel to and from Sydney on it, at least 3 trips there and back before the VFR is ready. Which means the tyres will be trashed and it will be up for it’s first 10,000 service.

And I’ll be up for the repair costs on the VFR at the same time… there goes my savings (though that is what my savings are for)  along with rego and insurance renewal as well.

So living with the Daytona. Well the back country part of my trip to Sydney is awesome fun  :) but the rest is annoying (but not uncomfortable). The commute to work is also trouble… the Daytona is a very tempting bike. And my new commute is a short 14km of open road, no lights, not much traffic and some nice flowing curves…. like I said, trouble.

Rain was ok, the tyres were a lot more capable than I imagined, so that was a relief. Fuel consumption, really it gets about the same as the VFR, its a fraction shorter ranged, due to the smaller tank, but if pushed I could probably make Sydney Canberra in one hit.

But there are some downsides, and really they relate to carry space! The VFR has a 35L (?) lockable, top box. That makes travelling (like stuffing all the home cooking my wonderful wife sends me back to Canberra with) and also grocery shopping annoying.

It also means that my poor Daytona looks like this sometimes.

Check out the rear area. Rode through some road works in the rain. Not so secy.

Check out the rear area. Rode through some road works in the rain. Not so secy.

But actually, I now see how people could live with a supersport (and the larger ones) everyday.

But I have two… so I don’t have to :) So there.

Killing the Red Head

The Red Head mini-boss. Not my picture, this guy did it with the pistol, wow. Read on for my own solution.

The Red Head mini-boss. Not my picture, this guy did it with the pistol, wow. Read on for my own solution.

Tomb Raider is progressing quite well. I adventured off to find some tools to fix a boat. This ended up on the wreck of our first boat, the Endurance.

One of the first bad guys I encountered was this large fellow, who appeared could only take damage at the head (hence his “red head” in TR’s Survival Mode view). With my terrible ability at aiming, I was finding myself very quickly overwhelmed and shortly dead. I was starting to look at it being a very frustrating roadblock.

Oh, how about….

Grenades!

A few well placed grenades and the area effect had him stumbling about with the finishing button flashing, so an axe to the head to put him down. That seems to be the easy way :)

Lost another friend in the ship. Having found most of them in the last few “stages” they’re quickly ending up dead. Or kidnapped again, again. So with the boat fixed, I’m off to rescue the Japanese girl again, and hopefully stop whatever has us all trapped on the island.

Just over 60% through the game according to the save game. The optional dungeons are the  best “dungeon puzzles” so far in the game, but there is the odd “how do I open this” puzzle elsewhere as well. A bit less fighting and more puzzles.

Ohhh… and stealth. The old Tenchu game was a big favourite and there are parts of this one where a bit of stealth and the silent bow work very well. I spent a good few minutes stalking an area around a hunting lodge picking of enemies undetected, before I got a bit lazy and took a shot at one who alerted the few remaining. Still about 6 down without anyone noticing. Fun :)

Keen to see this story to the end.

Grenades!

Nah, haven’t un-un-subbed. Been enjoying Tomb Raider. I’ve made it into the castle, rescued my friends (at least for now I suppose) and managed to get myself out of the pit I ended up in. I’m really enjoying the game, though I still would like a little more “puzzling” out levers and jumps etc.

The bow continues to be a strong weapon, though now I’ve moved up from pistol, shotty and have just picked up a grenade launcher so watch out! I haven’t had to fight one of the giant samurai statues, but I’m sure I’ll have to eventually.

Finally set my controls up and find fighting achievable. I find the thumbsticks kind of awkward for aiming (in other games too) and so struggled in much of the fighting. But a sort of auto-aim setting, brings it back to almost the original Tomb Raider. The original, Lara tracked her enemies automatically. This one doesn’t track them, but it does auto aim at the enemy when you draw, then you have to track them yourself  (or keep drawing).  

So anyway, it means I’ve been able to push on through the game. And keen to finish that now. Then maybe I should work on Borderlands 2.

I want to get into playing MWO, but I need a PC for that. I’m not allowed one of those until I finish TR. That’s the rule.

 

Meh, Unsubbed again

Yeah, that pretty much is it. I came back to WoW with more time, but find myself doing other stuff during the week and not logging in (and hence there isn’t many  blogs).

…. just deleted a bunch of whiney stuff there…..

Just not having fun… going to go do other stuff. Like Tomb Raider.

 

The Wise Godmother speaks…

work ethic quotes

Due to a couple of appointments I ended up at home early this afternoon, in time to listen to the Twisted Nether blogcast live (I think the last time I did that was when Navi was interviewed, but then they changed the time so it’s mid afternoon Mondays here).

Anyway, a blogging I have heard of, but never actually read or listened to, the Godmother of ALT:ernative Chat was being interviewed. Now I know Navi is a friend of hers, but I suddenly feel like I’ve been missing out.

Godmother was talking about her boy and and a bunch of things about needing to do work in WoW, when she said this…

Work is the ethic.

And suddenly all the grinds and all the other work that we all put in making our characters better, learning to play them better makes more sense. I have often heard people discussing how their best memories, or favourite achievements are the ones we have worked for. My favourite in game ones are the same.

Blizzard is teaching kids (again she was talking about her boy) that you need to work hard to get what you want – BUT also that when you get that thing, you will treasure that more than what was given to you.

This lesson is everywhere. It’s in lots of games too, not just WoW. I still remember the accomplishment I felt when I finished XCom, or the original Tomb Raider (I’m working on the new one at the moment, hence the lack of WoW at the moment).

And these lesson last outside as well. Kids can learn these lessons in the games and take them outside. For example, I’m working hard at improving my riding skills. It’s going to be a long process, but I’ll have that forever.

So if you want something, work for it, when you get it – you’ll treasure it more, whatever it was.