The Worst Happened, but Then the Best Did Too

So, some of my forum and skype friends may be wondering where the hell I’ve been for nearly a week or so. The answer is simple.

My laptop–my one connection to the internet–died.

Okay, it technically isn’t dead. What happened is the port where you plug the power supply in got flaky, and sometimes wouldn’t see the plug even when it was in. So I had a short period where I had to keep jiggling, looking for “sweet spots” and in many cases, holding it there by hand until the battery charged.

Then, finally, there were no sweet spots, and no way to charge the battery, and the device was simply unusable. So, no way to get online.

Not being a man to rest on his laurels, I immediately looked for a replacement, using a friend’s computer to price-check local stores. Since the now-deceased laptop had been a Toshiba, I wanted the replacement to be a Toshiba as well, because of something I predicted (correctly, it turned out).

I found one, a budget model but still ever so slightly better than my old laptop. The only headache was the exact one I anticipated:

Windows 8.1 FRACKING SUCKS

And I didn’t go in wanting to hate it. Truth is that after being reluctant to try XP, Vista, and 7, only to in each case realize they weren’t so bad, I kinda had high hopes for 8.1. Unfortunately the only good thing I can say about it is that it booted up fast. Right out the gate I was asking myself “where is everything?” and “how do I do basic thing X I always do?”

The final straw was when I found out something nobody ever mentions:

By default, you have to use Windows 8 to get into the BIOS.

Let me repeat that:

By default, you have to use the OPERATING SYSTEM to get into the BIOS.

Anyone who works with computers and even those who don’t should immediately realize how fracktarded and wrong that is. The OS should have nothing to do with the bios! But nope… on Windows 8.1, you need to go to that android-looking screen and click on the gear. From there I kept following a line of options that were like, “update and recover” and “recover” and similar-sounding options, usually at the bottom of the menu, and eventually I found one that allowed access into… not quite the bios, but a stripped-down version with lesser options. But from there, there’s an option to restart the PC and go into the really-real BIOS, and you just disable Secure Boot and change UEFI to CSM and… and now Windows 8 won’t boot, but since I had made up my mind already, that didn’t bother me.

Made up my mind about what? Well, by now you can guess: I was downgrading to Windows 7.

Long story short, it succeeded. The only headache was drivers, and I’m in the process of solving that right now. Once I do I’m gonna create an image of this install so I never have to go through all this again.

Anyway, here’s to more internet fun!

The Problem With Shopping (also, what I got for Christmas)

So, first, here’s what I got for Chrimmus. My birthday is also really close, so I’m including those as well:

* an Android tablet, seven inch. Still not sure what to do with it.

* An electric blanket for those cold nights. It’s actually been pretty awesome so far. Even Yoyo likes it!

Past that I’ve mostly just gotten christmas money from friends and relatives, which I’ve so far used to get a movie, From Beyond (DVD/BluRay combo pack version) and a Doctor Who serial, The Dalek Invasion of Earth.

One slight bummer is that I used to love shopping in the real world, but over time its kinda… eroded, to the point where I always am looking for specific things that the stores basically never have. When they do have them, it seems like the price is always too high.

There is an exception though: Sometimes you see a used DVD or video game that the store doesn’t realize the (assumed) value of, and then you can get it for a not-insane price.

I wish I could say that this was one example, but unfortunately at the moment I can’t. The reason I’m mentioning that show is as an example of how ridiculous the online “everything is rare!” mentality is–that show wasn’t considered particularly good even back in its day and was only remembered because of a slightly more popular animated spinoff which itself was disliked because it was competing with The Real Ghostbusters. At the same time I’m a fan of said animated spinoff so I’m looking forward to owning this set (which for various reasons I couldn’t grab back when it was new). So basically, if anyone sees that box set for a not-retarded price (I’m willing to go up to fifty bucks, but no higher) lemme know.

Another thing I’ve been seeing as an obstacle is that lately, I tend to have specific tastes. Like, “there’s one very particular thing I’m looking for.” Like recently I’ve been into H.P. Lovecraft. Not “horror fiction,” not “any good horror author,” but Lovecraft specifically. And then I really just want the Arkham House volumes and they have specifically to have the Raymond Bayless cover art… yeah. This has extended to looking for movies based on his works… which itself has narrowed down to “basically just the ones by Stuart Gordon” (From Beyond, Re-Animator, etc). Right now, the only way to get me to even look at other horror authors is if their writings are related to the Cthulhu Mythos. Similarly, when I was into racing games awhile back, they had to be certain styles–Mario Kart-type racers wouldn’t do it but I didn’t care for heavy management aspects either. Before that there was a period where I was into… umm… something. Yeah I can’t remember something that specific (funny how that seems to form a contrast here).

But yeah, this makes me a hard person to shop for, which is why my friends and family either just give me money, or else some general necessity thing like the electric blanket. Which kind of makes the android a weird decision since I never expressed interest or need for one, but apparently they thought the webcam functions would be useful for making videos… or at least recording kitties. Which is a good point, though the camera (and this may just be a software issue) seems to take some excessively dark, rather pixellated images.

I haven’t used it yet.

But just to give you all a slice of d’aawww, here’s a video I did make, with my logitech webcam, featuring my cute widdle Flufflepuff:

… Incidentally I found out afterward that there’s a fan-made pony named Flufflepuff. Forget her, my kitty is far more adorable!

See ya in January!

Snow sucks. Also, FPS gaming.

So, it’s snowing. That sucks.

I don’t get why everyone is always “Awww yeah its snowing, WOO HOO!” To me, snow means a chance of power-outs, being unable to go anywhere due to road conditions, and lots of white stuff. Also no going outside cuz its freezing. The only remotely cool part is that on nights with a good moon, the snow lights up the world around you. Seriously, once I went out at like 1 AM, and it was so well-lit that it was like early morning.

Well, if the power doesn’t go out, I have things to keep me busy.

Lately I’ve been into First-Person Shooters again. It started a few weeks back when I went to George’s for the weekend, and we visited Goodwill… and they had a copy of Blake Stone: Aliens of Gold.

For those who don’t know Blake Stone, this guy’s video sums it up quite well. I used to own a copy, wound up losing it in a trade and at the time I didn’t miss it, but when I had a chance to get a second copy for just a dollar, I jumped at the chance.

Here’s some other FPSes I’ve picked up recently:

Blood – This one I discovered thanks to the reviewer I linked to previously (here’s his review of Blood. I downloaded a demo and then later bought the full game on eBay. Based on the Build engine, so it plays like Duke Nukem 3D, but with many differences.

Rise of the Triad – Most any PC gamer will likely have heard of this one, especially since there’s a remake now. Got it for cheap.

War in Heaven – A… Religious-themed FPS. You can play as either an Angel or a Demon with different levels for each. Got it cheap, and thank goodness I did–its not very good (not that I expected it to be).

I also ordered the Id Anthology (collection of all of Id Software’s pre-Quake games), which I expect to come in the mail soon.

But the FPS I’ve been enjoying the most is… Wolfenstein 3D. Yeah, the precursor to Doom. Despite its age, it’s got one thing usually missing from games these days: tension. It’s a game where just a few well-placed shots can end you, kinda like an earlier, less-realistic Rainbow Six. It makes you feel the need to clear rooms quickly and jump every time you hear a door open and you know YOU didn’t open it. Such fear gives it an addictive quality that I quite like. In fact the reason I ordered the Id Anthology was so I could get Spear of Destiny, its sequel.

I hope the snow doesn’t slow the mail down…

… Oh, yeah, I’m working on more MLP Episode reviews. Have one that’s almost done, just its hard to inspire myself to work on it with how cold its been lately. Please, Spring, come soon.