The Professional Gamer - June 12, 2017

Hi readers! I've had meetings three nights this week, which has prevented me from doing a large number of geeky things. However, I did manage to have a little bit of fun, so let's talk about that.

I found some time to watch Dr. Strange during the week. This is likely my favorite Marvel movie to date. I felt like there was a more realistic portrayal of a hero's journey, with a person who is obviously brilliant and studious, but not an expert at the new thing he is trying to do. Which was a bit refreshing compared to the typical white savior complex. It does continue the Marvel tradition of well shot action scenes and some creative special effects. The reality bending scenes were especially effective. And, by the mid-point of the movie, I managed to forget that Benedict Cumberbatch was playing the lead. That is, the character was showing through more than the actor.

Also, Volume 1 of the Steven Universe soundtrack was just released, and I am immensely enjoying having access to those songs at all times.

That's all for this week. Game on!

The Professional Gamer - August 1, 2016

Hello readers! As I mentioned last week, I've started a new job this week.  So far, I'm enjoying it a lot, though the contrast of working with a small company versus the public sector is pretty stark.  Getting used to working within an environment that includes various types of support staff is a little weird.  At my old company, we had to take care of so many things on our own that having people to help feels strange to me.  On the other hand, I think I'm going to have a lot of fun with the technical work that I'll be doing.  I am especially going to enjoy the opportunities that I will have to travel.

I haven't had a lot of time for playing games this week, but I decided to spend it playing Pokemon Go so that I could combine my video game time with some out-of-doors walking time.  I've nearly hit level 19, which makes me think I'm doing fairly well.  And, I've got pokemon of high enough level to has some ability to perform at gyms.  I'm looking forward to continuing my journey in the upcoming weeks.

I've also watched a few more episodes of Gravity Falls, and am getting near the end.  I am still carefully rationing the episodes so that I can prolong the experience as much as possible.  Also, I have been watching the latest episodes of Steven Universe.  The latest episodes have been tackled some really tough material and been full of emotional and character payoffs.  Even though the viewing has been difficult, it has also been rewarding.

That's all that I have for now, have a great week, and game on!


The Professional Gamer - January 18, 2016

Hello readers!  I've had another great week out here.  In spite of that, I don't feel like I have a lot to discuss with you all that is really new and interesting.  I continued to work on my Traveller sector and finished reading The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.  I also watched the last 14 episodes of Season 6 of Adventure Time that was recently release to Hulu, and the "Log Date 7 15 2" of Steven Universe.  Mostly, I seem to be finishing (in some sense at least) a lot of things this past week.

In terms of starting things, I've picked up a new book.  Not anything that is likely to sound like a lot of fun to you my readers.  The book is Ways to the West by Tim Sullivan, in which the author attempts to take a road trip through the American west without using a car.  Along the way, he discusses our dependency (addiction even) to automobiles and the influence that has had on the cityscapes of the western United States.  But, he's also looking at some changes that have come about in the past decade and how these my influence the future of design.  Due to my exposure to various public works projects, I often take an interest in articles and books that discuss the future of our public infrastructure.  Since most of the books that I have read previously seem to assume the types of urban densities more typical of the coastal and mid-west metropolises, Ways to the West offers a fresh perspective.  Especially with regards to the lower density development that has been the norm in the western states.  I'm a little less than a quarter into the book so far, and I'll have to dedicate some major time to it if I'm going to finish it before it is due back at the library, so wish me luck.

That's all I have for this week.  Have a great week and game on!

The Professional Gamer - January 11, 2016

Hello readers!  This week has mostly been full of adulting. Went to a chiropractor to try and reduce the tightness in my neck (seems to be helping), scheduled a dental exam and cleaning, and did some more yoga and pilates.  All told, I'm feeling pretty good about things.  

Some cool things happening this week.  Of primary interest, we had another Steven-bomb this week.  I haven't watched the Friday episode yet ("Log Date 7 15 2"), but I have enjoyed all of the new episode so far this week.  I loved learning more about Ruby and Sapphire, and seeing some more development of Peridot's character.

I also spent some time this week watching the last few episodes of Community.  I'm sad that the series is over, although the finale was a lot of fun.  Now I have to find another casual show to binge through during the week.  Any suggestions?

In roleplaying news, I've got about a third of my systems information input into a game wiki and have started inviting my players to make some stories about some of the inhabited planets.  I'm hoping that we can make this game a bit more of a collaborative, storytelling game.  This would be in sharp contrast to our typical dungeon delver / combat heavy type games, but would hopefully be a welcome change.

Finally, I'm still playing through Knights of the Old Republic.  I'm a Jedi now, running around with a blue lightsaber in one hand and a vibroblade in the other.  Future goal: duel wielding lightsabers.

That's all I've got for this week.  See you next time, and game on!

The Professional Gamer - September 28, 2015

Hello, fellow geeks and other interested parties.  I've finally got that tough project done and am enjoying my reduced workload.  I may still be using most of my lunch time for running (and hence not getting in my usual reading time) but I'm still having a lot of fun with my other activities.  Read on to see what I've been doing.


Playing: I haven't had a huge amount of free time for video games this week, but I did spend some time playing Guild Wars 2 after I'd had enough with work last weekend.  Sometimes, I feel like GW2 is the methadone to the heroin that is World of Warcraft.  At least I'm avoiding an expensive habit.

Watching: I've nearly finished watching the Good Eats episodes that are available on Netflix.  All that remains is Pumpkin Pie! But, I also found out that the latest Doctor Who Christmas special is now available, so I will be watching that very soon.  And, I watched the latest episode of Steven Universe: "Catch and Release".  I have a lot of feeling about this episode.  I feel like this is our first chance to see Peridot as more than a threat/annoyance; and that's a really good thing.  I'm also glad that Steven's constant kindness to her seems to have paid off in some degree of trust.  Also, sounds like there is some spooky stuff going on with Earth, and some sort of experimental gem  thing may blow the whole planet up.  We can only hope that the Crystal Gems will be able to avert disaster.

That's all I have for this week.  Come back next week, and I should have a bit more for you to read.  If you haven't already, have a listen to our conversation with Laurissa and Crystal about their experience at Nan Desu Kan 2015.  Have a great week, and game on!

The Professional Gamer - August 31, 2015

This has certainly been a good week for geeking.  I managed to watch some fun shows with friends, read a little bit of a good book, and play some video games.  If, like me, you have a limited amount of time to spend on your hobbies, you are likely to look for ways to maximize your enjoyment in the time that you have.  And that's what I'm here to do.  Tell you about my week so that maybe you can find something great to do in your own week.

Reading: During my short camping trip last weekend, I read some more of Pretty Guardian: Sailor Moon.  At this point I am well into the "Dead Moon" arc (Super S for fans of the anime),  So far, I think I'm enjoying this arc the most.  I love how each of the Sailor Guardians gets a story confronting their own dreams and doubts.  Although there is some character development earlier in the series, I feel that know is the first time that I am really getting to know all of the Guaradians as people rather than characters.

Also, some of you may have been following the results of the Hugo Awards.  Wired Magazine seems to have a good piece summing up all of what happened with Sad Puppy et al.  I haven't finished reading the entire column myself yet (because when I read about people behaving in overtly sexist/racist/homophobic ways, my blood boils).

Playing: My game playing for the week is either sparse, or intense depending on your opinions about certain types of gaming.  True, I spent a little more than an hour piloting my Space Van™.  It's a fun way to pass time and earn money in Elite: Dangerous, but since I've ditched the shield generator (that's valuable cargo space friend), I've been terrified of any pirate entanglements.  At this point, I've had enough space station entanglements to last a lifetime, and had to pay about 200 credits repair my hull from various bumps and scrapes.

Beyond that, I may have made the mistake of installing Fallout Shelter on my phone.  I tend to view games like this as time wasters.  I could just as easily spend the same amount of time browsing through Twitter or Tumblr, looking at cat pictures, and rage reading about the latest environmental catastrophe or human rights abuse.  But when it comes down to it, Fallout Shelter is fun.  I enjoy finding the sweet spot in expansion rate so that people aren't starving or without electricity or eaten by molerats.

Watching: Two of my friends passed a very important milestone this week when they watched the Steven Universe episode "Jailbreak".  For me, this episode marks a strong change in the tone of the series.  At the end of "Jailbreak", we are no longer in quite the same magical, but largely harmless world.  The Crystal Gems are no longer battling against savage, but not necessarily malefic gem monsters.  They have a nemesis, with the ability to plan and strategize.  Also, "Jailbreak" has the best song in the series.

In my own viewing, I've finished Series 8 of the new Doctor Who.  Since this is a recent release to the world of streaming, I'm going to put up the SPOILERS warning here.  If you haven't seen the entire series, and want to be more surprised at the reveals in the finale, steer clear.  

Now then, there is no doubt in my mind that the last few episodes of this series have been much better than the earlier episodes.  There seemed to be marked improvement in the quality of the writing with "Mummy on the Orient Express" that continued through to the end of the series (yes even with Moffat's work on the two part finale).  "Flatline" was my favorite and felt the most like Doctor Who to me.  I love when the Doctor is confronted with something new, when we as the audience get to experience the joy and terror of a new discovery alongside the Doctor and his companion.  Now, on to the finale.  Please note that my opinions are based primarily on "new" Who and that I am going to use female pronouns when referring to the Master, for simplicity.  I am not really a fan of The Master as a villain, because she tends to fall into the evil because I hate everyone trope.  The Master never seems to be fundamentally convinced of her "rightness".  The most compelling villains believe that they are behaving in the only correct way given the situation they find themselves in.  However, I do think that the Doctor's ace in this case was much better than his last major confrontation with the Master at the end of Series 3.  I feel that "love is more than an emotion" is a better theme than "wishing the Doctor back".  I wish that the show would have explored more about why there are all sorts of robots searching for the "Promised Land" and I find that idea that the Master was responsible for getting the Doctor and Clara together to be silly.  We are allowed to have things just be coincidence from time to time.  Perhaps Clara just got what ought to have been a wrong number for her technical support and ended up talking with the Doctor.  I could go on, but I'll stop myself here.  On balance, I think that Series 8 was better than 7, but it is likely still at the lower end in my rankings so far.

The Professional Gamer - July 20, 2015

Hello Readers!  I hope you found my weekend post about the new schedule.  If not, you're here anyway, so welcome back.  From here on out, you can read about my weekly adventures on Monday morning, which I feel is more like prime time for the blogging audience.  Enough about that boring business stuff though. I know why you're here!  You want to know what I've done this week.  Read on to find out.

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