Spinning in Circles

While I'm still trying to figure out where to take my next vacation, my cabin fever needs a snack to tide it over. Grand Forks, North Dakota (the closest major city to me) recently completed a bike loop that circumnavigates much of the city. So I loaded up the bike into the car and dragged my support team along for the ride. Everdog and Mrs. Everwake putting up with my hobbies. It's about 20 miles long (~32km) and seems to be about my limit of what I can do in one stretch of riding. 20 miles isn't a terrible stretch for a newer rider, but my problem is that I'm a bit slow. It seems most newer riders move along at about 15 miles/hour (~24 km/hour). I usually clock in about 8 miles/hour (~13 km/hour). If I want to do a long distance bike journey , I need to speed up a bit.  So I set out on yesterday's journey with a goal of completing the loop at around 10 miles/hour (16 km/hour). Here's how it went: Of course I did.  Weirdly enough, when I check my stats for the

Stuck in the Middle With You

Yes I'm stuck in the middle with you, and I'm wondering what it is I should do. It's so hard to keep this smile from my face. Losing control yeah I'm all over the place. - Stuck in the Middle With You Stealers Wheel (and not the Beatles, as I just learned) There's a downside to living in the middle of the continental US. There is largely nothing to do here.  That's not really true. But one often needs to drive a fair ways to do something. But that's okay, because I'm in the mood to go adventuring. And with the world slowly rising from its slumber, my options for actually doing things again has increased tenfold. And I am paralyzed with indecision. I have created a vacation backlog.  How do I always do this? It's not enough that I have a video game, book, and TV backlog. I need to overthink and ruin the act of leaving the house. Actually, I think this one is a bit more understandable. Trips require planning, pa

Return of Blaugust: Revengence

For the first time in the history of this blog, a prediction that I made actually came to fruition.  Three and a half months ago, in my last blog post , I wondered how my new vaccinated status would affect my gaming. Would my newfound ability to leave the house again drive me away from digital worlds into the real one? The answer was very much yes. I put probably 20 more hours into Persona 5. My D&D group finished up it's campaign in a couple of sessions. My Among Us group fell apart as we all returned to normal life. But Blaugust actually shows up at an opportune time. I'm actually sitting at my PC again due to a combination of extreme summer heat and Canadian wildfires turning our air into poison. Out of the frying pan and into the fire if you will.  But the 'digital break' has been good for me and I'm ready to reengage with the Blaugust community. I'm excited to be back again and judging from the explosion of my RSS feeds so are all of you.  A minor progr

On the Eve of Freedom

There is a meta-achievement in World of Warcraft for completing all of the season-recurring holiday events in the game. I finally finished it in 2019, after about 8 years of being stuck on it. I had all the requirements done but one, the associated sub-achievements for Brewfest, the Oktoberfest proxy in the game. It's when I realized that when the leaves turn brown and the air gets crisp, I'm rarely in the mood to stay indoors and play video games. The spring is a similar time for me; the weather is just too good. This year has been different. Most of last year too. The obvious reason. Not only am I playing more video games this spring, I'm currently playing 5 of them:   Persona 5 Royale My "main" game at this time. It's a JRPG with some strong dungeon crawling. Sorta. You spend most of your time working part time jobs , reading library books, and chatting with your friends to increase your stats. I just leveled up my Knowledge stat from Oblivious to Learned.

Outriders - Ooof

  I'm not a big fan of looter shooters. I like looting well enough. I've done quite a bit of shooting in my gaming career. But I find when games combine the two it often ends up being less than the sum of its parts. But Outriders was actually doing okay in my book. It is, like all of these games, a very slow start. But a couple of hours in and my "Trickster" was humming right along and playing somewhat fluidly. It also helps that the class is really just a combination of "Spin-to-Win" Barbarian from Diablo 3 and Subtlety Rogue from World of Warcraft. Two things that I like! It also helped that I was playing with friends I haven't seen in over a year. I like them as well!   In fact the game is really just Diablo 3 with guns and a third-person perspective. The boss abilities are literally the same. The Torment system is the same. I mean if your going to steal, by all means steal from the best but maybe change a few things here and there, just to throw the

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla - The Singleplayer MMORPG

  130 hours or so later and I've finished Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. It's a good, but not quite great game that contains too much padding and some inexplicable bugs. It contains a fair amount of character customization; of both the cosmetic and gameplay type. It has a bunch of gear choices that don't matter overly much. The open-world map is split into different zones with their own quest line. Each zone is gated by a gear score of dubious effectiveness. It's a gorgeous game with beautiful zones, a nice soundtrack, and a serviceable enough story line. There's some minor crafting. Technically, there are raids, albeit the pillaging kind and not the wasting your Wednesday because people can't stop standing in the fire kind. I think I just played a single player MMORPG. Which is how I play MMOs nowadays anyhow. Questing around without forced grouping for the inevitable dungeon quest feels great. Not worrying about competing for spawns, bad behavior in general c

Assassin's Creed: Valhalla - Pretty Pictures

For the past two weeks I've been playing Assassin's Creed: Valhalla. This was mostly spurred on by purchasing a Xbox Series X and then deciding what I was going to play on it. So I looked at the titles it had on launch day and sorted alphabetically. And frankly it worked out. Admittedly, Valhalla isn't a revelation of a game. It's a bog standard late 2010s/early 2020s open world RPG. But I think it's quite competent at it and it's kept me entertain as I wait for the Minnesota winter to break. I've nearly completed a 100% playthrough. Once I finish that up I'll write up more of my thoughts on the game. But I wanted to do something I often don't and make a screenshot post. I haven't been able to travel during the pandemic and I've needed virtual worlds to fill in that void for me. Valhalla's 873 AD England and Norway have scratched that itch for me; the game is beautiful.   The game is multiplatform and has been out for a couple of months