Monday, July 21, 2014

The worst part is the waiting

This week is shaping up for a crazy mix of emotions for me.
On the one hand... fantastic news on the family front and we are a) relieved that nature hasn't thrown an insurmountable roadblock in front of us and b) anxiously waiting for the outcome of said nature's processing of our efforts. But even if it doesn't work out this time we are on the right track and there is a track to follow.
On the other hand... crunch time at work. It's that lovely time of year where everyone has the same deadline and I'm pulled a dozen directions simultaneously. So I can't spend too much time editing this post or I'll be pulled away again.
On the gripping hand... Another thread has been nailed to the ground. I now own a grill. And a grill cover. And a propane tank has been purchased. And this weekend we grilled on our deck. And it was delicious. And nothing feels weirder than that possessive feeling you get when you start planning out a major project like refinishing your deck. Long-term we want to alter it into half deck, half patio, but for now we just need to refinish the wood we have. I've ordered a sander and paper. We've scouted the stains and cleaners. The In-Laws have a powerwasher they've agreed to loan me once we're ready to proceed. It's kind of weird. I hope I like it. There are a lot of little projects I have churning in my head, but snapping out of a decade plus of apartment thinking is tricky.
The CD has finished. Taking a pause to keep the plates spinning.
I took a break from Drox Operative this weekend. I felt the need for something a little more hands-on and was actually debating finding my Sniper Elite installation again, but then I ran across Just Cause 2. Just Cause 2 is a fantastically fun game. You play as Scorpio, a physics defying acrobatic assassin demolitions expert one man army bullet sponge ragdoll science experiment, and are dropped on the island nation of Panau to destabilize the despotic leader before he can do... I honestly forget what he was going to do, but it is bad, I'm sure. The savegame I loaded was dated 2011, so it has been a few years since I played this for any real amount of time, but after a few stumbles and a lot of cursing I'm back in the groove. The cursing is because the game has some buttons mapped to unconventional keys. For instance... in 99.9% of driving games the hand-brake is mapped to the space-bar. So you're running from a literal herd of enforcers, or in a hard-contested race, or flying down a mountain pass way too fast and approaching a hairpin turn in front of a giant cliff.... the gamer instinct is to whip the steering into the turn and lock up the wheels with the handbrake to the power into the following straight. In this game, the space-bar activates your parachute. Think James-Bond Ejector seat. So now you are floating thirty feet above the ground while your vehicle barrels on and you slowly drift to the ground. It's fantastic if you meant to do it. Remember that cliff scenario? It makes for some fantastic escapes. But if you were actually trying to keep the vehicle, plane, helicopter, etc and accidentally hammer the space-bar it can elicit some acidic language. The helicopters and planes have a similar issue.... 99.9% of the flying games use the keys to the left and right of WASD for rudder control. In this game E exits the vehicle. Regardless of how high off the ground you are (physics defying, remember?). To alleviate the pain this causes the game does give you a hilariously fun button. If you press it Scorpio will jump out of the vehicle and balance on top. So now you're standing on top of a garbage truck being chased by police jeeps and motorcycles barreling towards a cliff... epic.
Panau is huge and the terrain is varied. From tropical beaches, to vast deserts, to jungle valleys, to swampy plains, snow-capped mountains... and lots of things to do. Find an airstrip and snag a little prop puddle jumper. Buzz some military bases and play chicken with their anti-aircraft defenses. Find a military airport and snag once of their fighter jets and do bombing runs on oilrigs out on the ocean. Grab an ATV and see how far you can make it through some of the jungle terrain. Find an elevated position and go base jumping with your instantly-replenishing parachute back-pack. And I haven't even mentioned your Spider-man grappling hook! Snag an armored APC, attach a Tuk-Tuk to the back with your unbreakable cable and go driving through a military checkpoint at high speed. It's fun.
As with most games I turn off the in-game music after a while and supply my own soundtrack. The Starbound music worked very well with the gorgeous scenery and an interesting counterpoint to the sometimes Michael Bayesque explosions and action sequences. Scorpio, powered up, can stand his ground against an armored attack chopper for much longer than you would think. (and then snag it with his grapple. Swing to the nose of the chopper. Take out the passenger gunner with his smg. Swing over to the pilot and fight him for control. Throwing the pilot out of the chopper and then fly it to the party blimp circling the islands.)

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