Friday, April 30, 2010

Bank Holes and Revalations

Hey Lucas, you know what everyone wants? Another post about Borderlands.

Well, okay, Brain, maybe I will!

So anywho, I reached Level 50, which was the level cap in Borderlands midway through my second playthrough. At first I didn't care. Then I noticed that all the XP I was getting was just evaporating with nowhere to go. So I purchased the three DLC packs, one of which gives an 11-level bump to the cap (the cap now goes to Eleven).

Also, I played my first online co-op. I jumped into the game of a Level 40 early in her second playthrough. It was fun, backing her up, and letting her get the loot (which was not as good as what I had). Then a Level 61 joined in. He was leveled WAY above me with weapons and firepower. Then something strange happened. He walked over to one of the corners of the room, and one at a time, dropped 15 weapons. It was like his backpack exploded. I wandered over and my eyes bugged out: all these weapons were at his level, were worth 3-5 million dollars each, and outclassed all my weapons 2 or 3 times over. I dumped some myself and grabbed what I could, ran to the store and sold them all (I would have used them, but Borderlands has level-prerequisites of weapons of a certain power to stop nebs from getting guns like this and breaking the game's already tenuous balance).

While I was doing this, I noticed little bits of XP were continually being added to my meter. "Aha," says I. "When you're co-op-ing, you XP must be shared." And suddenly I was angry. I had scratched and clawed my way through 2 playthroughs on my own to get good weapons, XP, and enough money to get by, and situations like this make it all worthless, as selling this guy's 4 weapons makes me just as much."

So I started playing some of the missions on the Zombie Island of Dr Ned pack, which are a heap of fun added onto the already satisfying shooting. The zombies travel in mobs and for the most part, just pile forward trying to get to you. The few who spit or throw things add variety ("Oh, what's this, Mr Defiler? You spit mud which blocks my view and spoils my aim? luckily my Incendiary Helix Rocket Launcher means I don't have to aim TOO much." *BOOM*). Partway through the mission I notice that my money-meter has turned to $9999999. Ummmm... okay? I run to a shop, buy a few things, and it stays at $9999999.

"Wow!" says I. "I must have unlocked an unlimited money challenge! No wonder that Level 61 was dumping his stuff. When you down need money, what's the use of a selling?"

I lived with this happy fantasy for a little while, until I bought a few upgrades and saw that my money counter went to $9995763. So it only goes to $9999999 when you pass what the meter can read. So yeah.

Friday, April 23, 2010

1, 2, 3?

Tanja has been rereading Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett as a was of polishing her adjectives (don't ask). I then recalled my favourite bit of wordplay from late in the book, and apologies if I misquote:

[Nanny Ogg is trying to make conversation while everyone else is grumpy]
Nanny: "You know what the name of the river is? It's Le Vieux River. That means The Old (Masculine) River."
She leans in and nudges with her elbow.
"Words have sex in foreign parts."

Blindingly brilliant. I think it's actually a triple entendre. Well, a single, two doubles.... A quintuple entendre?

Also it's humid and sticky and I'm having trouble getting my brain in gear.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

An end before a return.

So it's the last day of my holidays and it's time to review my list.

[-]record a demo show for Mike's radio station's boss:
Did not do. I've organised the ideas a bit more clearly in my head (that I'll make two shows, one as an indie/rock show, you know, for kids, and one as an anything-goes with three songs at a time on a theme). I haven't recorded any talking because I don't have a microphone because yes, I procrastinated on that too. I've now bought one off eBay, but it's not going to get here in time. I also find it ironic that my brain's response to not get anything done on a task is to create more tasks for me not to do.

[-]register my ABN and look into the shirt press idea that I meant to do in freaking January.
Nope. Started the ABN process Wednesday morning, only to find that before I can get one, I should a) register my business via snail mail which takes two weeks and costs $152, and b) be "already conducting business." What? Before I get registered, I'm to be conducting business? Tanja later explains that they mean I should be ready to go and start the day my ABN is registered. It seems they're petrified of people registering, then not filing any returns for 6 months. Problem is, the money I need to lay out for equipment and substrate is substantial. The whole point is that I have an ABN so I can claim it back as expenses. Then there's the equipment I researched. Turns out there are a few different methods of heat-pressed inkjet printing, and my current printer and inks will produce shirts that fade in two washes. So now, instead of a heat press and sheets, I need a heat press ($450-$1150), a special dye sublimation printer ($675-$1000), special inks to go with the printer, special sheets (two kinds, one for cotton, one for dark clothes, both about $1.50 per sheet), plus the actual shirts to print on.

Further study is needed.

[-]practice with Ted and lay down some tracks.
We practiced yesterday. Ted has a very fancy new kit that he's letting me use that has great snap and response. However, I was not as sure of the one track we wanted to record as I thought, and stumbled through a few records. We then tried to improv on something new, which we kind of did. Then we talked about games and stuff for ages. I then showed him the works of Brian Brushwood, which he liked (I think. It's hard to tell with Ted) which was awesome, but not productive.

[-]relax a little. Sometime.
It's so weird. I didn't feel like I was on holiday this whole holiday. As I described it to Tanja, it was like an extended Sunday that lasted two weeks. Now, don't get me wrong. Sundays are nice. I like Sundays. But there's always the knowledge that the next day is a Monday, so you don't completely relax. I'm not sure I completely relaxed all fortnight. We did fun stuff, like seeing How To Train Your Dragon and Tanja's dad's 60th (where, apparently, I was the life of the party, go figure), I've been cooking more, to more or less okay results (only one mishap involving a pot burning). So why aren't I all mellow?

When Tanja finished her holidays, she was very sad, not wanting to return to work. However, her first day, she said she was all energised and got lots done.

Here's hoping.

Monday, April 05, 2010


Alright. This is the first non-long-weekend-day of my two weeks of holidays. The first week Tanja is home with me, the second week its just me.

Things I intend to do in this fortnight:

[-]record a demo show for Mike's radio station's boss to consider (best left for second week, when Tanja's not around).

[-]register my ABN and look into the shirt press idea that I meant to do in freaking January.

[-]practice with Ted and lay down some tracks.

[-]relax a little. Sometime.

Also? I'm writing this on Tanja's laptop and I realise that I hate all laptop keyboards utterly. They don't register when you type.