Winter Winds

The title for this post comes from the Mumford and Sons song, though considering my recent YouTube music consumption, a song from Hudson Taylor would also be appropriate, and arguably more so considering my ex-girlfriend introduced me to Hudson Taylor a few months ago.

I’m not sure how to begin. As I wrote in my last post, I’ve thought about writing about my relationship that ended just over a month ago, but after explaining the title I chose for this post I realized that I wasn’t sure what to say. It’s tempting to relate the title to the weather, which has been quite variable lately (bitterly cold, snowed and near 0°F early last week, warmed up to near 60°F this weekend, rained yesterday, around 35°F and windy today and some snow this evening), but I’ll try to resist the urge to digress too much. Continue reading

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In the Summertime

Well, I’ve done it. I decided to go ahead and finally install Ubuntu on my computer, so I’m currently running on one hard drive as of a couple days ago. Not quite how I wanted to set it up, but I think the 1 terabyte drive I did have (and still want) my personal files on (as opposed to my operating system’s files) is messed up enough I’ll probably have to just format it. Every time I try checking the disk, it comes up with a bunch of errors, and nothing seems to change, so my assumption is that the file system is, to use one colloquialism, “borked”.

Since I’ve been “suffering” withdrawal from some of my games (namely Stellaris and Crusader Kings 2), I’ve decided to go ahead and install them. At some point, my goal is to have this computer set up the way I want it so I can then transfer my files over (or create new ones, whatever), instead of running with the bare minimum. I should probably aim to get everything fixed before the fall semester starts next month, because school and my girlfriend will definitely cut into my free time even if I, by some miracle, manage to work fewer hours during the semester.

Speaking of work, tomorrow will mark my fifth anniversary with my current employer. I don’t know if that’s what I planned when I applied/started, but I have certainly been able to get plenty of hours, so I guess that’s good. At some point I should look for jobs in my desired field, but I’ve been hearing that for a while. At least now that I have a computer with an operating system again I can actually look for jobs and fill out applications/write cover letters/work on a resume, rather than being limited to my smart phone.

My work schedule for the next couple weeks, as I learned last night, is the same as the current schedule. which was unexpected. I had been planning a trip to the grocery store, but there’s no reason to buy a bunch of perishable food if I’m going to be out of town.

I need to clean my apartment, but at the same time I don’t like doing anything before work.

Well, it seems I may have been premature – apparently my hard drive went read-only for some probably stupid reason while I was trying to install Stellaris. Hopefully it’s not a major problem- I hated messing with a hard drive randomly going read-only earlier this year. These two stupid hard drives are not only “new”, I’ve only had them like three months, so I don’t know why I’m having any problems. Bad luck, I guess. Well, I’ll write more here later.

Midway

It’s weird thinking about how 2016 is half over.

I think my summer break might also be close to half over – recently, thinking about the onset of July has made me realize that I have just under 2 months until the fall semester starts in August. While I’m all in favor of cooler weather (though that won’t probably happen until closer to October), I’ve kind of enjoyed the break (even if I haven’t done much other than work).

I haven’t written here for some time, I know, and April suddenly seems like a very long time ago. My semester ended okay, I suppose, and since it ended I’ve spent a lot of time not doing much of significance. Work, the Internet, and playing games have been how I’ve spent most of my days, and while I’ve thought about writing about some of my games that has yet to happen.

The Florida game in the Super States mod for Europa Universalis 4 that I’ve mentioned before has been played (as of last week) to November 11, 1494 (fifty years since the game started), so I’ve been wanting to write an overview of North America at that time.

There’s also my Crusader Kings 2 game in the After the End mod as the ruler of Springfield, Missouri and, last but certainly not least, my Stellaris game as the Commonwealth of Man.

While writing extensively about Stellaris may have to wait for another time, suffice it to say that Stellaris is a science fiction strategy game, and the Commonwealth of Man is a xenophobic military dictatorship descended from 250 thousand human colonists who left Earth near the end of the 21st century aboard a ship using experimental wormhole technology. When the game starts on January 1, 2200 the Commonwealth (one of a few pre-defined empires) has a few differences from the United Nations of Earth who remained on Earth, including their use of laser weapons on ships (in contrast to the United Nations’ nuclear missiles) and the use of wormholes to travel between star systems, rather than the warp drive used by the UN.

Sometime I may also have to write about my first game of Stellaris as the United Nations of Earth – to some extent, some of the things that happened were probably due to release version weirdness. For example, the initial President of the United Nations in my game (which began two days after the game was released) had an African name and wants to legalize slavery, despite that not being possible with the ethos being used. That’s… weird, to say the least.

I could probably write more, but now that I’ve renewed my domain registration, I’ll have to try writing here more often, or at least doing something so the money seems well-spent instead of basically spending it for no reason.

Anniversary

I’ve had this blog for a year now, and I’ve written 10 posts (well, 11 counting this one). After renewing the domain name registration yesterday, I decided that if I’m going to bother shelling out 26 dollars for a year of registration I might as well make it worth my while, so I’ve resolved to post here more often. I’m not certain what I’ll write about, but perhaps I can deposit some of my creative writing here. What else are blogs for, right?

I don’t think I personally know any of the 16 people who currently follow this blog in real life, but much the same could be said about my 66 Tumblr followers – of those, I know 3 or 4 in real life, and the other 63 are people who apparently decided I was worth following. At least I know most of my Facebook friends in real life, though I’ve considered trimming my friends list a bit because there are a few people I’ve never been particularly close to. Anyone I graduated high school with (might) get a pass,  but of those 30-odd Facebook friends (since a few people have deactivated their Facebook account) that still leaves another 180-something people with active accounts. For example, from the people I met during my freshman year of college (almost 5 years ago), there are several people I’d consider friends who I’m not at all interested in deleting, and there’s also at least one guy I never remember talking to, but we lived on the same floor of the dorm, so I assume I added him at some point during the heady days at the beginning of the year when “add everyone who lives on your floor and everyone you meet on Facebook” doesn’t seem weird. Oh, freshmen.

It also seems really weird to think about how today’s the halfway point of the year. I wonder what the last half of 2014 holds? I wonder what I’ll be doing to celebrate New Year’s? Questions, questions, questions.

Character generator idea

Recently I was suffering from an attack of ennui. I was bored and having trouble thinking of anything to do that sounded interesting. This came in spite of my impending move and need to clean my room, finish the books I checked out from the local library a couple weeks ago, and then the various projects I’m currently sporadically working on or at least thinking about working on.

Then I re-discovered another saved game of Crusader Kings, and I think that my most recent attack of ennui might have passed. Heck, if nothing else, I have a blog I can write on now, right? 🙂

I think I’ve thought about something like this in the recent past, but while at work earlier today I was thinking about writing a program to generate characters for role-playing games or stories. Now that I think about it, I should probably write a post about Crusader Kings II. Anyway, in brief, Crusader Kings II is a combination of a grand strategy game and a role-playing game in which you play as a dynasty in medieval Europe. Technically, it’s medieval Europe and the Near East – modern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa. For example, instead of playing as the Kingdom of France, you might play as the Capet dynasty and try to keep your family on the French throne while also trying to put your relatives on other thrones in Europe through marriage, assassination, warfare, and various other stratagems.

In Crusader Kings II, each character has a variety of traits that affect how the AI acts and, in the case of the player, gives you certain events to respond to. For example, if a character is Lustful, they are less likely to remain loyal to their spouse and more likely to, say, have an affair and father or give birth to illegitimate children. Conversely, if a character is Chaste, they are loyal to their spouse, though this has a cost of a slightly lower chance of children.

Before this turns into a Crusader Kings II post, I was thinking about using at least some of the traits from Crusader Kings II in this character generator. I’ve already sort of written a very basic piece of software to generate a basic physical description (hair and eye color, height, weight, and age), which I think could be, at some point, fairly easily combined with software to generate a list of traits that might make interesting characters.

I was thinking each character would probably have three to five traits, which seems like a number small enough to not be overwhelming but large enough to have some dramatic potential. A character that’s Tall, Kind, and Slothful would, of course, be different from a character who is a Cruel, Diligent, Drunkard. I was thinking earlier about somehow having a (pseudo-)random way to generate what list to choose the traits from. A character with only negative traits (e.g., Cruel, Lustful, Drunkard) or conversely only negative traits (Pious, Chaste, Temperate) would, or could, be boring, while a character with a mix of positive and negative traits seems like it would be more interesting.

I was thinking earlier that this idea for a character generation program seems like an indication that either I’ve been playing too much Crusader Kings (which I’ll readily admit is possible) or not enough Dungeons and Dragons. Technically, I’ve only played D&D a few times, and the last time I played any kind of tabletop roleplaying game (in this case, Pathfinder) was last November. I’m hoping to join or find a gaming group once I move, though.