Short Update

Not much except working and sleeping and riding going on here at the moment. Seem to have fixed the fogging issue in my Sony Action Cam. If I can sort out the mic problem I might get some real blogs posted there.

Portal 2 – Gee catch up!

620_2014-05-07_00001Hey this Portal 2 game is really cool [yes, we already know that you all think!]. Some really good puzzles – not enough to totally frustrate you, but enough to make you sit and think for a few minutes. Most seem to have only one solution so far.

620_2014-05-07_00002

Story so far seems to be that I got back to where the evil robot was, swapped the core with the robot that had been helping me only for it to get all mean (or defensive) and throw me down a tube.

620_2014-05-08_00002

My buddy turns mean

620_2014-05-08_00003

A long, long, long way down

This ended me up at what is obviously a sort of 1960s era first version of the laboratory that I was in.

620_2014-05-08_00006And I’m guessing I’m in the first of 9 stages to get through this one. So a fair bit of puzzle to go.

Well that’s a first.

298A brisk… no actually… cold ride from Sydney to Canberra tonight. The temperature was low (about 5-6C) but what really made it awkward was twofold.

One was self induced. I dug some old riding pants out of the cupboard to trial. I bought these pants about 7 years (and about 20Kg) ago. I didn’t like them then, but I couldn’t remember why. Surprisingly they still fit. But it wasn’t until I tried to get on the bike that I think I figured out why I didn’t like them. They were tight in the inseam or something – it felt tight where it made it sort of odd to sit on the bike. Though 3 hours later I wasn’t too unhappy. They were also pretty slippery on the seat. That was a surprise as I slid over to take a curve and almost slid myself off the bike! As a plus, they’re a lot safer than my kevlar jeans and warmer too.

So problem one was new/old pants.

The second problem was the wind. It wasn’t particularly cold and not really strong, but I just found myself fighting against it from Sydney until Goulburn. It wasn’t hard but it was tiring for two hours.

I think that’s why I missed it when it happened. I stopped for a warm kebab at Goulburn and it wasn’t until I got to Canberra that I think I left my wallet there, or it fell out around there sometime.

I was cold and somewhat fatigued and it was dark so I just didn’t notice. At least I didn’t have anything much in there – a couple of easily replaced credit cards, my licence and my last $45 until payday.

Ok, that last bit is the most annoying, but at least it wasn’t like $200! Thankfully my work ID cards weren’t there either.

And it is the first time I’ve done that pretty much ever as far as I can remember. I’ve lost the odd card or few dollars here and there – so on average that isn’t bad.

But annoying.

 

Sony… fix your camera…

Another sick day at home would probably drive me crazy. So I decided a little explore around some of the roads around Canberra that had been recommended to me by the locals. I though  a couple of hours to get out into the fresh sunny air would help me feel good.

I headed over towards the Cotter Dam area and along Tidbinbilla Rd, Paddy’s River Rd and part of Brindabella Rd, before turning around and going all the way back again.

Screen Shot 2014-05-01 at 11.20.04 am

What a nice road. After the tight technical experience of Corin Dam Rd, this flowed much better. Only a little over an hour on the road, with about 20 min ride to get there from home :)

But I can’t imagine how busy it must be in the weekends with riders, cyclists and drivers all trying to get along. Even today there were about 5 cyclists plugging along.  I don’t plan to ride there much at that time.

BUT THIS hopeless Sony Action Cam. It fogs up most of the time, even with the anti moisture inserts. I recorded the ride, hoping to cut a YouTube post out of it, but most of the footage is misty fog. Time and time again footage has been ruined because of it. I’m sick of this camera and I think I’ll get that Drift I had always planned. I might still use this one for MTB, but not for the bike anymore.

IMG_2195

A Puzzler! Yay.

I needed a break from Borderlands, so I nosed about in my Steam Library. I tried Left 4 Dead 2, but wasn’t what I was looking for.

steamworkshop_webupload_previewfile_202348939_preview

Portal 2 – it was in my library, but I’d never tried it, though I remember hearing a lot about it at the time, it got a lot of great reviews.

Yeah, I think the folks at Valve are pretty funny. Borderlands 2 is theirs, as is Portal. They share similarities in humour.

I’m only a dozen or so rooms into the story, having just woken some other robot up (I seem to be human?) but its a real puzzle game – I feel a bit like when I played Tomb Raider (the original) or even Myst. It’s a real change from Borderlands.

2014-04-30_00008

So you use the Portal Gun

2014-04-30_00003

To make Portals and solve room puzzles.

2014-04-30_00006

And then you wake this AI up…. and I think that’s bad. But I’m about to find out how bad.

 

BL2 – Tiny Tina

I’m at home sick, and they didn’t give me enough sick days to actually head home. So I’m stuffing about on the computer and got into Borderlands again. Full of interesting characters this game.

tiny_tina_borderlands_2_by_bl4upunkt-d5fxzmm

I’ve just met Tiny Tina. She seems like a happy 13 year old, but she’s a little, well no, she’s a lot nuts. She built me these rocket bunnies to take out a train.

49520_2014-04-30_00004

I die quite a bit. But it’s a fun ride.

And now I have to go blow up/hijack a train.

Nothing Pressing

So I’m at home with the Daytona, no kids, and a beautiful sunny Tuesday … What to do? Double demerits finished last night too … I even had my full leathers! You can see where this is going can’t you.

It’s going to the Putty Rd of course.

I dropped the girls at daycare (it’s paid for whether we use it or not, so may as well use it – gives us a chance to catch our breath sometimes – besides it’s only one day this week) and was quickly on the road. 8am found me already north of Wilberforce and heading north.

There was a chill in the air to start with even fog near Windsor but it was clear and headed to a top around 25 so I was happy it would warm up.

Not much seemed to have changed up the road since my last visit. I did slow for a moment of thought where a rider was killed a month ago near Colo. A late pass attempt by a learner ended in tragedy on a short straight and was witnessed by a fellow vlogger.

After that the road climbed away and I passed some traffic and was soon pulling into Grey Gums for a pie. Chatting to the staff she was worn out by the Easter travelers. But she commented that they can always tell when it’s double demerits as the bikes don’t come by. Being the only bike there I couldn’t disagree with her. In fact I hadn’t seen any bikes all the way here.

20140426-114618.jpg

As I ate my pie a couple did ride past.

I turned north to get to Ten Mile Putty. I was thinking of getting fuel at Broke and doing some laps but I did have a whole bunch of garden work I needed to do so I wasn’t sure what I would do.

Anyway I hit the Ten Mile and I think I’ve improved. Been studying the Twist of the Wrist over the past few months and I think it has helped. The book is very well known and the ideas behind it are well grounded. They don’t always apply on the road however even when they aren’t directly applicable they still give you a great understanding of how the whole bike works. And a great understanding of how you can instinctively do the wrong thing unless you practice.

So I’ve been consciously applying his techniques to my riding and if nothing else my confidence has grown. I had a couple of moments but lessons like Don’t Chop the Throttle and Keep a Relaxed Grip on the Handlebars meant they weren’t more than moments.

At the top of the Putty I was accelerating for Broke when I figured that I have the gas to turn around and going all the way to Broke and back to here would add 45mins to an hour.

I found a wide spot and u-turned. The other thing I realized was that the road was still fresh in my mind and I was still in the right mindset.

So south I went. I’m really starting to enjoy the Ten Mile… There’s that confidence growing again. Had a great ride homewards with a few stretches where I just cruised along managing my fatigue which was starting to hit me a little.

Didn’t see any cops the whole way around which was a huge surprise. I did see some once I got back on the freeways going home and saw about five in twenty minutes. Guess they were reminding the commuters to behave after a weekend of keeping the interstates under control.

I made I fuel at Colo Heights just as the fuel light came on. Still 2 bars on the gauge so another 50km or so. If I fuel at Colo on the way up I could do a couple of laps at Ten Mile and still make it back to Colo. Again, saving me the leg to Broke.

Then it was home where a whole bunch of gardening was waiting, yay!

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.