• I had a really enjoyable experience my first time through Endless Sky. I made a lot of discoveries and had a lot of fun. As I reached the endgame, though, I was a little dissatisfied with my Bactrian and its fleet of Beetle escorts. Sure, we were practically invincible (except a couple of times when we were ambushed by four or more Marauder fleets). Sure, we had enough cargo space and bunks to fulfill practically any mission, any time. Sure, we had dominated all the Pirate planets, and a few others who dared to attack us during the war. But the salaries I was paying just seemed... wasteful, somehow.

    I calculated that it would take thousands of jumps for the salaries to eat through my credit, assuming I never made money ever again. But I was still dissatisfied. I wanted a powerful fleet with minimal expense. The Universe should work for me, dang it!

    Enter John Connor.

    Warning: This post contains spoilers!

    Continue reading "Endless Sky: Conquest on the Cheap (or, Better Living Through Automatons) -- An Incomplete Guide"

  • Yeah, okay, I've been inactive for nearly a year. I've been busy, okay? Working. Yes, working. Yes, every single minute, geeze, what's with the third degree?!? The work is challenging, and it's a long commute, OKAY?


    I bought an Amazon Fire TV the day it came out. I'm not usually an early adopter, but after experiencing the Amazon culture first-hand, I have a lot more confidence in their attention to the customer.

    I'm loving this thing. I had to switch to my Roku streaming stick for a little while, and I just wanted that to be over so I could get back to the Fire TV experience.

    Read on for my review of my Amazon Fire TV.

    Continue reading "Amazon Fire TV"

  • First Fresh!

    I just moved in to the house at Maple Valley. It's a 2-hour commute, including all the walking, but I've started carpooling with a guy who drives a Leaf (squee!). Unfortunately, having no car means having no cargo capacity: if I want to get anything home, I have to carry it.

    Including my laundry. I tried to order a washer and dryer from Home Depot, but Wells Fargo screwed me up with a per-day credit charge limit. (ARRGH! It's my money, gorramit!)

    Worse yet, on weekends, there are fewer buses. So I walked a total of about 5 miles today, carrying a week's worth of laundry in a sports bag. Dang, that thing is heavy. My new blisters say so.

    Luckily, Amazon Fresh delivers to my new house. So I have a pleasant surprise waiting when I got home: two weeks worth of groceries! It didn't seem any more expensive than going to the store myself, and I knew I got the best deal in the store because Amazon lets you order by unit price.

    What I didn't realize is that Amazon keeps the stuff cold on your doorstep by using dry ice. Which I promptly loaded into my shower. It makes a very pleasant bubbling sound. And cool videos!

    Continue reading "Seattle Side Benefits"

  • For the Kindergarteners.

    What is wrong with me? Can I not even visit Florida without building something?

    This one is meant for a Kindergarten drama class. It's the little brother of the air cannon I built for Hairspray. Got another free tire inflation valve from the guys at Tire Kingdom, and $15 of parts from the sprinkler place down the street (wouldn't want the fittings exploding like last time), with another $15 in valve and pipe from Lowe's: the sprinkler place didn't sell pipe in less than 20-foot lengths, and they didn't have a valve that a Kindergartener could turn.

    This time, Tatiana helped me build it. She is... liberal with the blue goo. :) Wondering about the stubby little side? We tried to start with the short connector for the cannon, but we didn't twist it correctly, so the cannon wouldn't have been levered upwards. So we made it the endcap instead, shortening the whole thing a bit.

    Hey, life is all about compromise. This was a huge success, especially considering that it's going to be used by kids: they don't need such a big compression chamber. And we figured out how to use the detachable valve end to create an infinitely-adjustable cannon angle for the next time.

    Of course!

  • More than $40 worth

    So, everyone is aware that I work for Amazon now, right? I'm coding in the Kindle division.

    So what do I the first free weekend I get in Seattle? That's right, I go hit all four used bookstores in the Pike Place area and spend all my free money on books.

    Still, it's a nice haul. Plus, I'll finally get to see what this "Earthsea" stuff is all about.