Life Update, September 2018

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these status updates! My home and work life have been kind of turned upside down since the end of Spring and I haven’t devoted much time to writing, so let’s catch up!

Updates

  • Rob and I jetted off to San Jose for a weekend in May, rented a car, drove to Lake Tahoe and stayed for a couple nights, and skipped over to Reno for a fun weekend. Highlights: seeing the sights with Chris and Paul; making the pilgrimage to Kinda Funny in SF; crossing a dangerous train trestle (twice!); finding and eating at Starbird Chicken; swimming in the South Yuba River (after discovering it on Flickr years ago); our amazing lodging in Tahoe; legendary dinner at Cafe Fiore; playing in the snow in the pass to Reno; 2am bowling; Load of the Rings; nonstop resort arcade DDR; the weather throughout.
  • I moved my blog to WordPress! I have to pay a little bit for it, but I’m free from the cesspool of confusion Verizon has turned Tumblr into.
  • We played through PixelJunk Monsters 2, a game I’ve dreamed about for years, was announced and came out within the span of two months. Its transition from 2D to 3D is not without drawbacks but the game is still a co-op dream. They just patched it to improve the camera and fix tons of small features and we can’t wait to dive back in to finish up the hardest difficulty.
  • I cancelled my preorder for Detroit: Become Human after reviews came out and picked up Dark Souls: Remastered on a whim instead. I’ve always been hesitant to play this type of game (I really detest the ‘git good’ mentality), but now it’s clear I’ve been missing out. It was such a breath of fresh air for a game to just let you play, make your own mistakes, and learn and grow.
  • Erik moved out and got his own super cool little rental close to downtown. We gave him our sectional and instead rearranged the living room to feature a sofa table and chairs behind a small couch. We also gave him the old open-box Rooms to Go table we’d been lugging around for many moves and replaced it with a new Ashley table much more suitable for board gaming.
  • After years of putting it off, I replaced my Mac Mini’s platter drive with a modern SSD. The process was harrowing and required many special parts, but the little machine just absolutely screams now.
  • My parents’ PC died suddenly and they needed some help. I wiped and sold them my older PC and put the money they gave me toward building a new modest rig. I’ll admit though, after the SSD upgrade to the Mac, I don’t feel the need to use this new PC much.
  • For whatever reason I went through a rhythm game phase. Hunted down plastic controllers for Guitar and DJ Hero and played through DJ Hero 1 and 2, Rock Band 2 and 3, Guitar Hero Metallica, Rock Band: Beatles, and Rock Band: Green Day (the best). You’d be surprised how expensive and difficult it is to find any of this stuff anymore, but it was so worth reliving that excitement.
  • I built a couple simple tools to help my Dev Team do Agile things in a Hack Day at work: Plokker and Protocalc. Plokker has been used in our planning meetings a few times!
  • While Rob was off on his regular-ish trip to visit his mom and attend GenCon, Erik and I installed an antenna in the attic and ran coax to the living room and the master bedroom (just in time for football season). I’m glossing over how much work it was, but it’s already seen a ton of use.
  • We built a MLPCCG-themed table top!
  • I conned Rob into driving out to Titusville with me at 1am on a whim on August 13th. Disguised as a “let’s do something random” trip to get late-night McDonalds and listen to new music, I surprised him with a great viewing spot (and time) for the Perseids meteor shower. There’s more to this story–I might figure out a way to tell it one day!
  • Ever since I visited in the summer of 2015, Todd has been bugging me to come back to New Hampshire. Rob and I did so for an extended weekend in August. Highlights: our honest-to-God worst plane ride ever; walking on the “enter at your own risk” Maine coast; Codex; Todd’s amazing attic projector room; the Riverside Cafe and Bagel Alley in downtown Nashua; boating on Lake Winnipesaukee; hiking on a remote island; dinner at Canoe; biking in Mine Falls Park on elusive VeoRide bikes.
  • After about a year of playing the role of “Scrum Product Owner” at work for a small team, I’ve transitioned to acting as “Scrum Master” for two small teams at work. It’s been pretty rough and I don’t really like it, but it was the least-bad option I had. More to come!
  • We broke down and bought a HomePod on sale at Costco (which sounds amazing) and then slowly filled the house with Hue bulbs. We’re now up to 13 color and 4 white bulbs and threw in an Ecobee thermostat for good measure.
  • I finally finished packaging my interview with my grandpa into an oral history presentation on YouTube. He seemed to really enjoy it and was thankful that his other grandchildren can learn about him in the future. I’m really thankful I was able to get that out while he’s still in good health.
  • Vic, Erik, Rob and I all went to see the McElroy brothers at MBMBAM Live, which was excellent and blew away my expectations. A couple of my old high school friends just happened to be at the event and I got a chance to chat with them after!
  • I used to love anime as a teen and have always promised myself I’d get back into it one day (as soon as I’m less busy, which will never happen). I finally got over that hump and signed up for VRV (which houses Crunchyroll and Funimation). I’ve made it through the first season of My Hero Academia and am thoroughly enjoying it!
  • I played through and platinumed Donut County, Overcooked 2, Peggle 2, and the Mega Man X Collection. I would recommend Donut County to basically everyone and Overcooked 2 to any regular gaming group. Currently tiptoeing through Hollow Knight, Spider-Man, and Guacamelee 2.
  • Rob convinced Erik and I to drive down to the Van Fleet Trail and biked a 10-mike section there and back. It was pretty boring and completely linear (it’s a paved-over rail line) but it was super nice to get out to nowhere and just ride.
  • As I promised myself I’d do as soon as I finished the oral History project, I built a new resume website. Job searching is in my future.
  • I bought some good gear for the upcoming Blue Ridge hiking trip, including a pair of Moab 2 waterproof shoes and some hiking poles.
  • Fitness update: I’m currently on a 170-day streak for meeting my move goal for the day and am hovering around 167 lbs, down from 180 in March. My back pain hasn’t improved much, but I think I’ve learned ways to mitigate it and not worry too much about it.
  • After almost two years of grinding and enjoyment, I finally platinumed Enter the Gungeon. It is easily one of my most cherished platinums based on the number of seemingly-impossible feats I had to pull to obtain it. Highly recommended if you enjoy rouge-likes and a game that will keep you hooked for hundreds of hours.
  • The Jaguars rocked the Patriots for sweet revenge.

Coming Up Soon!

  • My annual self-indulgence in Apple upgrades show up on Friday, in the form of a new iPhone XS and a Series 4 Apple Watch (thanks Paul!), just in time for the annual Blue Ridge hiking and photos. I’m excited for both and extremely thankful that I’m in a place in life that affords both opportunities to me.
  • I’m looking forward to games release season! Forza Horizon 4, Mega Man 11 and Super Mario Party are coming up soon (would love to race with folks!), and Pokemon Let’s Go and Smash round out the year. I’m hoping to catch up on the backlog too–something from the pool of Myst 4 and 5, Final Fantasy 12 and 9, Metroid Prime 2 and 3, Obduction, The Journeyman Project 2, and Sly Cooper 4.
  • Having identified social media (especially Twitter) as a net-negative force in my life, I’ve pulled back on my usage and funneled that attention into direct messaging with friends and relaxing/unplugging. My accounts are all still there but they’re unplugged from my phone and other high-use devices.
  • I’m excited to get out into the water (once things cool down a little) and get some practice in on Erik’s new kayaks and paddleboard. Hoping to hit up lots of old favorite springs and waterways.
  • I’m starting to run out of projects on my board. Aside from rethinking some financial planning and a backlog of books and games, I think it’s about time for some quiet reflection on what matters to me and what I want to put my effort toward next. Maybe I’ll finally buy some DJ hardware.
  • Once I get this status-report-style blog post out of the way, I want to take a night out and write out a more emotions-driven, personal update. It’s been way too long and none of what’s going on under the surface really comes out in these updates.

That’s it from me for now! Thanks for reading and as always, ping me if you’d like to give feedback or request topics.

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