The end is nigh

At first, I chose the title of this post because I turn 28 in less than a week. On further reflection, I suppose it also applies to this semester.

Apparently it’s been a few months since I wrote anything here? Let’s see, what’s happened since then…

I got a new phone and phone number last month, after 4 years of using the same Samsung Galaxy S5 and nearly 13 years with the same number. The Samsung Galaxy S7 I have now is quite an upgrade, or at least it seems that way.

I’m still working at a convenience store, and I need to be working a bit harder on finding a different job, whether that’s advancing to being an assistant manager (the idea of which does not excite me) or finding something more white-collar. Filling out job applications is more than slightly soul-draining and frustrating, but I guess that’s what I have to do (and it’s certainly what I’ve been told to do for a while now). The alternative, I guess, is cooking or being a cashier, and I’ve more than had my fill of that in the last 6.5 years.

Earlier this semester my ex-girlfriend texted me a few times, mostly asking for favors, but it’s been nearly a month since she texted me. I e-mailed her last week to inform her my phone number had changed, and after talking to her, it’s only reinforced the feeling of dodging a bullet (or an arsenal). I’m confident that one of, if not the main, reason she’s texted me in the last 6 months has been for emotional validation. It probably took me longer than it should have, but I noticed at some point last fall (about 8 months after we broke up) that she wasn’t interested in talking to me unless she initiated contact. She told me in our recent e-mail correspondence that she’s making plans for the future with the guy she’s been dating since a few weeks after we broke up, so good for her, I guess. I didn’t want the same things she did, but it sounds like she’s getting what she wants, even if it’s been delayed by a year since we broke up over a year ago.
I have had no positive developments on the dating or meeting people front, but I also don’t do anything or go anywhere, and online dating apps are not particularly exciting.

Maybe I’ll rant about it in another post, but to me, the profiles I’ve seen where young women write that they like dogs, beer, tacos, wine, coffee (or any combination of those) is not exactly unique. I’m sure the idea is that they’re marketing themselves (“look, we have common ground!”), but I think at least 50% of people like dogs, tacos, and beer, and depending on the exact interests and demographics, I bet most twenty-something people enjoy dogs, alcohol, sports, and/or live music. Sad to say, you’re going to need something a bit more unique for me to have any interest. “I like the same things as most people” does not pique my interest the way that a good line about Star Wars might, as an example. Sure, some of the bios are occasionally funny, but “looking for a doggy daddy” or “my dog is just using you for your backyard” or “looking for someone to touch my butt and buy me tacos” is basically just variations on that same theme. Maybe it works and I’m just a cynical misanthrope, but I’m increasingly convinced that I’m not going to find my next relationship through online dating and/or dating apps. On the other hand, I’ve had some recent superficial conversation with a fellow graduate student, so who knows, maybe I’m just grumpy.

I unfortunately haven’t been gaming much recently, thanks to this semester’s computer forensics class keeping me busy, but it’s been kind of interesting. My study habits could be better, but I think I’m doing okay, and hopefully will finish strong.

I still haven’t decided what I want to do for my birthday next week. Unfortunately I work that night, since I didn’t get around to requesting the day off, but maybe I can treat myself that day and go out to eat or something.

Auf wiedersehen, fair readers.

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Thoughts

I completed my bachelor’s degree last semester, and this semester I only registered for one graduate class- computer forensics.

The job search is underway- I’ve submitted a couple job applications, and I need to submit a few more. One of my coworkers has been promoted to kitchen manager, which is fine, since I’ve not been interested in being a convenience store manager, but I do need to find something better. Another coworker, who has been wanting to be kitchen manager, is predictably annoyed by this development.

Nothing happening on the relationship or meeting people front- I deleted Tinder off my phone and reinstalled Bumble, but other than a few ‘likes’ nothing has happened. I suspect my pictures might be part of the problem, but I also wonder if the religious beliefs (or lack thereof) and politics are a problem. Maybe I notice it because it’s in contrast with me, but it sure seems like I’ve seen a lot of “Christian” and “Conservative” in contrast to my “Liberal”.

Anyway, the main purpose for this entry is writing about a Stellaris game I’ve been playing. Recently I’ve been playing with the idea of specializing planets to produce particular resources- an energy planet, mining planet, farming planet, industrial planet, research planet, etc. which seems like a good idea, to take advantage of bonuses, but I’m also hesitant to put all of my figurative eggs in one basket and have to deal with resource deficits if an enemy occupies the planets. On the other hand, my recent games have been at the lowest difficulty level, and it’s not hard for me to pull ahead of the AI, so maybe I’m just being overly cautious.

In the game I was playing last night, I was playing as the Holy Cevantian Empire- a militarist xenophobic spiritualist theocratic monarchy of ‘space elves’ that are native to the alpine world of Cevasia.

Near my northern border with a spiritualist “fallen empire”, there’s a desert planet that has a strategic resource- volatile motes, which I currently have a slight deficit of due to having 1 unit per month income and some industry that uses slightly more than 1 unit per month

It’s slightly funny to think about what that colonization project would be like- I can’t imagine getting a few thousand people to colonize a planet that is marginally habitable (a desert planet when you’re native to a cold, mountainous world), in addition to being far away from the other planets in the empire (6-8 hyperlane jumps, depending on your route, so that’s like a minimum of 6 months travel from Cevasia).

The Empire is, after all, a theocratic monarchy, and I imagine there would probably be some element of a “command economy”, as in “Congratulations, the Archprophet has chosen you to colonize a new planet”. Even if it’s not direct conscription, there would also probably have to be some incentives, like subsidies to lower the price of imports or lower taxes or some other, boring, financial/governmental bureaucratic measures.

I don’t have the technology yet for a prison colony (the most recent patch added the ability to designate a planet as a prison colony), but it’s also amusing to imagine this desert planet serving as a sort of prison colony or like the Soviet gulags or something.

Realistically, due to it being the closest to another alien empire (as well as the distance from the capital and home to a strategic resource), my plans for this planet, other than building the strategic resource extraction facilities, are to add fortifications and other buildings to ensure the populace doesn’t stray too far from the Holy Imperial Government.

In other news, we got a bit of snow this morning, but I don’t think the couple inches we received will stick around for very long. It might be a hassle to drive to and from work today, but I imagine before long the snow will melt.

A winter’s day

Originally, I was going to title this post “Hello, world” a la programming, then I thought of “Hello again, world”, which led to “Hello darkness my old friend”, from Simon and Garfunkel, which in turn led to their song “I Am a Rock”: “A winter’s day/in a deep and dark December”. Today being the winter solstice, it seemed particularly fitting (though the sun is shining, and recently the weather around here hasn’t seemed particularly wintry).

So, what’s been happening? I don’t remember offhand when I last wrote here, but I’m sure it’s been a minimum of a few months. In lieu of condensing six (or more) months into a post, I’ll just say that I ended this semester (and my college undergraduate career) on a strong note. Despite unexpected car trouble (after retrieving the book I loaned to my ex-girlfriend), I did well on the final presentation for one class and I apparently did well enough on the final paper for my other class, so I’m satisfied with the results.

I’ve been working less lately, which has been a nice change, though I still need to spend some time over this winter break looking for a new job, or an internship, or something. I think I’ve been burned out on my current job since at least the start of the school year- possibly, if not probably, longer than that. Continue reading

Stubborn

The theme of my gaming this weekend seems to be “Endurance”.

Europa Universalis 4:
I started a game the other night as Portugal, which starts with the territory of modern Portugal (Portugal, the Azores, and some other islands) as well as Ceuta, a single province in modern Morocco that was conquered by Portugal in 1415 and, in our timeline, became Spanish territory in 1668.
After starting this game recently (possibly Saturday morning?), Sunday night and early Monday morning I played as the Kingdom of Portugal from June 1, 1450 to July 1, 1480.
At one point, Burgundy attacked my ally England to seize Calais (in northern France), so I joined the war to aid my English ally.
To make a long story short, somehow about 20,000 Burgundian and Dutch soldiers appeared in Portugal (I don’t know how- possibly they marched through France and Spain), I tried attacking them and lost, and at some point made peace in exchange for a lot of money.

In 1455, Morocco declared war on me wanting Ceuta. Unfortunately my English and Castilian allies dishonored our alliance and did not join the war. I think England was still at war with Burgundy and Castile was at war with France. Anyway, the ensuing war lasted 22 years and resulted in 81,000 Portuguese casualties and about 60,000 Moroccan casualties. Highlights include Portugal winning victories at sea (I only lost 1 heavy ship and captured several transports) but being unable to win in Morocco- I’d occupy a province, or even a couple provinces, but then the numerically superior (and, at one point, technologically superior) Moroccan army would stomp my army, and it was very frustrating. After taking out a bunch of loans and debasing my currency (both of which earned me 62 ‘ducats’ each time, but with varying long-term effects), finally Morocco offered me a “white peace” where neither side gained or lost territory (despite me being at -60 war score). Before that peace offer, every peace offer they sent would have resulted in my ceding Ceuta and Algarve (southern Portugal), and I refused to cede Portuguese territory. I was willing to give up Ceuta if I absolutely had to (if nothing else, it would probably allow me to focus on the exploration and colonization game), but I didn’t want to give up any Portuguese territory just because Morocco had fabricated a claim on southern Portugal.

Portuguese victory was also aided by rebellions breaking out in Morocco- a peasant revolt and a pretender revolt. I supported the pretender rebels, and both rebellions occupied several provinces. Shortly after the Moroccan-Portuguese peace, there were notifications that Morocco had gone bankrupt and the rebels had broken the country. The pretender rebellion won, though the new Moroccan regime still hated my guts (despite my support after they had rebelled).

After the war, with the explorer I started with and continuing technological development, I’ve begun to explore off the coast of Africa and North America.

Mount and Blade: Warband

In my current game of Mount and Blade, I recently entered a mercenary contract with the Kingdom of Swadia, which is currently at war with all but one of the other kingdoms in the game. As a condition of my contract, I’m supposed to serve the Kingdom of Swadia for a month.

There have been a couple occasions where I meet a superior force and, by sacrificing a few men, am able to escape.

My proudest moment of this weekend was fighting a battle against a nominally equal foe- I had 42 soldiers against 37 (I believe they were Rhodoks). If I remember correctly, I lost 5 men and had several wounded while killing 32. Granted, I think I’m currently playing on an easier difficulty, but absurd odds like that are always enjoyable.

I haven’t been defeated and captured yet, though I’ve had a few defeats and, like I said, a few times where I’ve had to sacrifice a few men in order to escape.

Empire: Total War

This is the first time I’ve played Empire: Total War since July, if I remember correctly. In my last game I was playing a campaign as Sweden and had taken Moscow and was working on defeating Russia, Denmark, and Poland-Lithuania.

In the campaign I just started, I’m playing as the Ottoman Empire. I just defeated Georgia, making them a protectorate after defeating their army when they tried to break my siege of their capital, but I’m still at war with Venice (who has sunk most of my fleet), Russia (I’m not sure if I’ve actually faced them in battle yet), and Morocco.

I’ve defeated the Venetians in southern Greece, and I’m currently laying siege to the capital of their holdings in southern Greece. Unfortunately they have a more powerful fleet, and I’m not sure what I can do about that short of spending treasure and several turns building up an equivalent or more powerful fleet. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite got the hang of naval battles in Empire, but it’s particularly annoying when the enemy has a superior fleet and you don’t know what to do about it. Venice had 2 frigates (1 5th rate and 1 6th rate), several smaller ships (brigs and sloops, maybe), and a couple galleys, while I had 1 frigate (my admiral’s 5th-rate flagship), a galley, and 2 light galleys, for a grand total of 50 guns and about 250-300 men against Venice’s couple hundred guns and several hundred men. After losing my galleys in the Black Sea and retreating, I lost my flagship when Venice caught up with my admiral’s flagship and a sloop in the Aegean Sea.

Saturday night’s all right?

I don’t know what to write, but I feel like I should write something.

The semester started the week before last, and the two classes I’m retaking this semester shouldn’t be too challenging. I’ve taken them before, I basically know what’s expected, and I know what my mistakes were last semester- I just have to get them done, and hopefully get good grades. We’ll see how that goes.

I’m working on the job search front, but no progress yet.  Continue reading

Uncertainty

I’m not sure what to write about.

It’s been about 7 months since the end of my first relationship, and a few weeks since my last contact with my ex-girlfriend. I’d say I’m probably over the breakup (though it seems like I’ve been that way for some time, honestly). I anticipate that she might reach out again this coming fall, but of course there’s always the possibility that, as she has said, we might never talk again.

I’m not a fan of the idea of never talking again, but I imagine, based on our interaction since we broke up, she probably knows that I’m not the one closing that particular door, and if she wants to contact me, I’ll probably reply. Last month while my siblings were in town, I did think it was strange that she tried calling me one afternoon. I didn’t see the missed call until a few hours after it happened. If I remember correctly, after looking on my phone I realized that was the first time she’s called me since March. I thought it was possible that it was a mistake (“butt dial”, “pocket dial”, etc.), but it seemed strange considering we hadn’t texted or talked for a couple weeks, and I imagine if she’s been texting or calling anyone since she went home for the summer it’s been her boyfriend and family.

I haven’t been thinking about my ex-girlfriend much lately, but the last few days I had been thinking about her after finally trying the restaurant she mentioned wanting to go to for her birthday if her boyfriend couldn’t come visit (though her boyfriend ultimately did come down, so I didn’t have to take her out for her birthday after all) and thinking about how it’s been about 7 months since we broke up. Today, I deleted a few pictures on my phone and ate the last bite of gelato in my freezer, which was from one day last fall when we bought gelato before settling in to watch Netflix.

She hasn’t been to my apartment since the start of the spring semester, but there doesn’t seem to be many physical reminders left. Sure, there’s the lamp she gave me for Christmas one year (the first year we were together, I think?), and various things I can associate with her (like the days when I would make fried rice for dinner or eggs and cinnamon rolls for breakfast), but not many (if anything) that I can physically handle and associate with a specific memory. Such is life and the passage of time, I suppose.

Less fortunately, I briefly looked at job postings today, and the idea of filling out job applications or tinkering with my resume is demoralizing. “Looking for a job is a job in itself”, and I know I don’t want to work at my current job forever, but I also know that I don’t relish the prospect of filling out job applications, updating my resume, and all the other associated nonsense. I do think getting a new job would help, if only so it might be something I enjoy more than my current job, which I have been doing for far too long.

In other demoralizing news, I’m not sure what to do on the dating front. I haven’t been very active lately, but online dating hasn’t seemed to work for me yet. Maybe it’s my pictures, or maybe I’m just not in a good spot (as family seems to think), which I sort of agree with. Walking in the park one evening earlier this week I saw several couples, which kind of made me wish I had someone to go on walks with and otherwise enjoy my summer, but at the same time I kind of am enjoying the single life and not having to be accountable to anyone. If I had a girlfriend, I’m sure she would have plans of her own (even if it was just planning our next date or trip together), and right now I’m free [within the confines set by my work schedule].

In more fortunate news, I’ve been using Duolingo for nearly a week. I’ve used it before, but never for this long. Studying German, French, Spanish, Welsh, Russian, and Chinese (the most recent I’ve embarked on) makes me feel accomplished, though studying Chinese keeps making me feel slightly stupid when I make a mistake.

I’m not sure what else I could write about, so that may be where I leave off for now. It’s weird thinking about classes starting in about a month- I’m not sure I’m ready for that, but I know I need to finish registering for classes and get all of that straightened out.

Moving on?

I hadn’t realized, until looking at my last few entries, how long it had been since I’ve written a post. The semester ended, I graduated (but I’ll have to retake a couple classes), and thus far I’m enjoying my summer (relatively). I can write more about that later, though.

My main interest in writing here, at the moment, is to mark the six months since my ex-girlfriend and I broke up. I think I’ve written about it here before- she wanted me to propose, and I didn’t want to marry her. While it’s possible I could have been more diplomatic and handled it better than I did, the fact remains that I didn’t want to marry her and we wanted different things.

This seems like as good a place as any to mention recent interaction with her, though there hasn’t been much of that. Continue reading