Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Hobgoblin - Pod and Planet Fiction Contest YC116

Here's my entry into the Pod and Planet Fiction Contest YC116.

Update:  It won 3rd prize!  Yowza!


The Hobgoblin
Abavus Durden


"Who said that?  What is this place?"

"Hey, quiet.  I"m trying to sleep," she said.

"Hello?  Who's there?  Where am I?" I  asked into the darkness.

"You're in a cargo bay on the station.  You've just been born.  I'm Q."

"I ... I uh, don't know my name."

"Of course not, silly.  You've just been born.  Fresh from the factory.  Let's call you G.  Now settle in. They'll come for you soon enough."

"But I have questions."

"Of course you do.  It will be easier just to let them show you."

"Them... who?"

"The bosses.  They come for us all eventually. If they built you, the have a need for you. Now shush."

So I sat in the darkness, bewildered.  Honestly, I'm not sure how long we sat there in silence.  Perhaps that's weird for a machine to say, I mean, we should have an internal clock or something, right?  But yes, I drifted off into something like sleep.

Anomic Agent #29 - Second Serpentis Kill


The single Serpentis Anomic popped again.  I hadn't seen him in awhile so was glad to see he was still around.

Last time around I did kind of a muddled fit out of the random bits in my hanger.  It worked, but I knew it wasn't optimal.

I spent a few minutes this morning scratching my chin, then visited a local trade hub and came up with this slight alteration:
[Hawk, Serpentis Burner Improved]
[Empty Low slot]
Ballistic Control System II 
Medium Shield Booster II
'Langour' Drive Disruptor I
'Langour' Drive Disruptor I
Small Electrochemical Capacitor Booster I
Gistum C-Type Kinetic Deflection Amplifier 
Rocket Launcher II
Rocket Launcher II
Rocket Launcher II
Rocket Launcher II 
Small Bay Loading Accelerator II
Small Anti-Kinetic Screen Reinforcer II 
Caldari Navy Scourge Rocket x3704
Navy Cap Booster 400 x21

The Gistum C-Type was bought to free up some cpu and also has better kinetic resist.  I normally don't like faction stuff, but this was a pretty cheap upgrade at ~7M Jita price (I paid less! Thank you remote trade hub!).

Honestly, I was hoping to get some wiggle room in cpu to get something in that empty low slot, but it didn't work out.  I also realized after I got back that a pair of Fleeting Propulsion Inhibitors would have fit instead of the Langours and would have given me more webbage.  The Langours worked fine, so I'm leaving them in the fit above.

Battle Report:  Strategy was the same as last time.  Warp in, apply web and launchers, set to approach and manage the cap and tank.

Once again I turned the Shield Booster II on at about 60% shields and let it cycle to rep back up to near 100%.  I injected cap as required.  At no point did I feel that the inject cycle was tight (unlike some of the other Burner fights).

This time I brought oodles of ammo (I almost didn't have enough last time).  I also didn't use overheat once I saw how the fight was going.

This setup is MUCH improved over the previous fit.  I'd now rate this fight in the "easy" category along with the Angel.  With the double webs, I dealt damage much more quickly.  I had him in structure before my launchers reloaded and then had to work him down again since he rep'd up armor while I was reloading.  

If I'd dared to overheat, I would have probably killed him before the reload cycle.

Usual disclaimers apply:  I used a link ship running all 3 Siege (shield) mods, plus the Interdiction Maneuvers skirmish link to get some web range.  His default orbit is 11km, so without links you'll need to address that if you want to use non-faction webs.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Self Improvement Through Threats From the Doctor

Opening warning:  Non-EVE personal content lurking ahead.  

This is a pre-year-end post.  It is also part of a series.  I'll be talking on this topic on/around Jan 1st, but want some background on the books to refer to.

I've never been big on New Year's Resolutions.  I'm not sure how widespread this kind of thing is internationally, but in the States, this is the phenomenon where people commit to doing something they should already be doing, fail miserably at it, and then make the same commitment the following year.

Or at least that's my snarky observation of how it usually works.  :)  For me, if I know I should do something different, I'd rather start now than wait for an arbitrary mark on the calendar.

But in January of 2013, I did make a pretty good commitment.  I resolved to losing 20 lbs by my birthday in the Fall.  AND, I resolved to track my progress throughout the year.  That means a big ol' spreadsheet with graphs and stuff.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Mortar Team Kestrel

Awhile back I created a Mortar Team out of random bits in my hanger so that I could finish the Team Vengeance as a dual box setup.  But I like the Kestrel and I am interested in cheaper ways to defeat burners.  After some tinkering, and finishing up t2 light missile skills on the Alt, I assembled this.

I call it the Mortar Team because it's a support role.  This ship fit is intended for a 2nd box to support your main, or several of these to be deployed by a few friends.

Although I haven't tried it, I don't see any way it'd finish off any of the Team Burners solo.

Straight line speed is just under 1000m/s.  That's plenty fast enough to kite the Enyo, Vengeance, and Hawk.  However, the Jaguar runs about 1200m/s and is not kite-able with this setup; he will chase you down and melt your face.

[Kestrel, Jr. Mortar Team]
Ballistic Control System II
Ballistic Control System II 
Experimental 1MN Afterburner I
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Phased Weapon Navigation Array Generation Extron
Empty Mid-Slot 
Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II
Light Missile Launcher II 
Small Warhead Calefaction Catalyst I
Small Warhead Rigor Catalyst I
Small Warhead Flare Catalyst I

Tech1 rigs are intentional; jazz these up if you so desire. I was trying to do this on the cheap.

Pick ammo according to the mission:

  • For the Vengeance, that's Navy Nova for the Logis, followed by Navy Inferno.
  • For the Hawk, that's Navy Mjolnir throughout.
  • For the Enyo (although I've not done him yet), it looks like Navy Nova throughout.

I used this last night on a Team Vengeance with the Garmur and we just ate him up.  I'm curious now if I could defeat the Team Vengeance with two of these and keep the Garmur as backup.  More to follow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


I chatted for awhile with Sugar last night about blogs and blogging.  I'm now on Sugar's blog roll, which (while I know she doesn't mean it that way) is a nice acknowledgement of the effort I've put in here.  Some of you are reading this because Sugar linked to me; thanks for stopping in and thanks for putting up with me.

I joked that her adding me was "omg, so much pressure."  As in: oh crap, now I have to produce more content.  There was a short conversation that followed that basically amounted to: write about what you like and let the chips fall where they may.

My kneejerk reaction was "well of course, duh" but as I sit here several hours later thinking about it, I realized that it's maybe time to reflect on what this blog is and where it's going and that might help me figure out what to do next.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Trailer

I saw the new Trailer (NSFW version) the day it came out.  Watched it on my phone, then had to spool up the laptop and watch it again at a normal resolution.  I made Mrs. Durden watch.  It made her smile (former EVE player that she is).

You've of course seen it by now.  If not, follow the link above and enjoy.

I was really happy to see the Warp to Me Incursion Fleet represented - I flew with them not so long ago.

It's interesting to see the wave of acknowledgement ripple through the internet.  And there is apparently a mass influx of new players, so much that today's Dev Blog is helping them navigate.

So much excitement for a decade-old game.  Pretty cool.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Expanse

My Diablo3 shenanigans are almost over; the Season 1 Crusader hit the level cap on Friday after several short session through the week.  I could continue to pimp him out, but don't really see the point.  The fun part of D3 for me is the progression through the levels and trying some wacky skill builds.  Grinding out equipment that's marginally better, so that I can grind equipment more efficiently, so that I can get equipment that's marginally better, so that I can grind equipment more efficiently ... is a cycle I've never found compelling.  I'll probably sit tight in Sanctuary until Season 2 starts and then pick another class.

EVE is still backburner but is about to pick up again.  I'd intended to get in this weekend and monkey about, but had family stuff yesterday and today has thus far been consumed by errands and chores.

Tangential Rant:  For the record, if you happen to change your own motor oil ... check the anti-tamper seal on your jug of oil before you leave the damn store.  I went out early this morning, got the oil and filter at the mega-mart 20 miles down the road.  After lunch I got my car up on the ramps, drained the crankcase, and went to wet the seal of the new oil filter only to find that the anti-tamper lid on my rather expensive full synthetic was broken and the contents in the jug were thus unknown.  I refused to risk an engine over a $30 jug of oil (someone could have refilled it with Canola and returned it for all I know), so I went inside, cleaned up, grabbed our other vehicle and drove to town angry.  Ten seconds in the store aisle could have saved me an hour of hassle.  Check the seal.

Anyway, here's the reason for the title of the post.  During the colder months, I tend to chew through a few novels.  I'm a sucker for Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, in particular.

Last week I finished up the 4th book of The Expanse series, Cibola Burn.  After a strong start in the first novel, I wasn't too sure about where this series was going.  But the last book sold me, so I'll recommend the series to any other sci-fi bookworms out there.

I'm about to go back and reread Book 1 - Leviathan Wakes.

I'll paste the synopsis from Wikipedia:
Humanity has colonized the solar system – Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond – but the stars are still out of our reach. 
Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, the Scopuli, they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for – and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why. 
Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to the Scopuli and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything. 
Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations – and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.
The first book is part mystery novel, part science fiction, part political thriller.

I also read this week that the first novel is going to become the basis for a SyFy series called The Expanse, due sometime in 2015. I'm skeptical, but I'm hoping that the Sharknado loving idiots at SyFy don't screw it up.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Demon Killing and Thera

The past week and a half or so, I've been off in Diablo3 doing a quick play-through and earning the Season 1 rewards.  It's been fun to roll a Crusader and romp through the game content again.

And the short game duration has gone over well with my current availability -- I'm in the workshop finishing a few Christmas presents (I do just a bit of woodworking each year).  Winter came early this year, so I've had to move the final finishing into the living room.  Mrs. Durden is playing a good sport and walking around the temporary work table and drop cloth, but after almost 2 weeks of it, she and I both are ready for the mess to be cleaned up.

Saturday, November 15, 2014


So, I really liked Interstellar.

Some disclaimers and context:  I'm pretty neutral on Matthew McConaughey.  Some people aren't, that's fine.  I'll try not to admit to seeing any of Anne Hathaway's other movies, even though I have.  I like Christopher Nolan movies in general.

And I like spaceships.  I really really like spaceships.

Bad stuff first:  There are some plot head scratchers, and overall it's kind of a cliche'd plotline.  It's a very long movie.  It's a very dialog heavy movie in places.

That being said, the nerd in me wants to see the 6 hour director's cut and get a look at all the stuff that was done but couldn't be made to fit (because you just know there's a ton of stuff on the proverbial cutting room floor).

Good stuff second:  The space scenes are breathtaking.  Period, end of story.  And the gfx were done WITHOUT a SINGLE green screen (crazy in today's Hollywood).  Matthew's performance is good, maybe great.  Anne Hathaway has a tough role to fill as the non-love-interest female costar, and although some headlines/reviews had her "miscast" I think she did a solid job given how the character was written.  The supporting cast is huge (damn near half the cast of Ocean's 11 shows up) and was money well spent.  And the science behind it is (mostly) real - see this Wired article to help appreciate it.

Jedi mind trick: You want to go see Interstellar.

I think that the movie is worth seeing on the big screen, preferebly Imax.  It won't have the same impact, depth, and scope in your living room.  There are some scenes where premium audio are really worth it (seat-shaking bass during rocket engine sequences, etc.).

We intend to go again.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I'd Like to Keep it on Manual Control For Awhile

For this post, I must quote his ever-whineyness, Luke Skywalker:
(into comlink)
Yes, Artoo? 
Artoo utters a soft, carefully phrased steam of whistles. 
(into comlink, chuckling)
That's all right.  I'd like to keep it on manual control for a while.

If you haven't seen it, you should read the latest Dev Blog about the beta feature in Rhea to allow WASD control in space.

Good gravy, where was this 12 years ago?

On one hand, I'm impressed that CCP is able to challenge fundamental assumptions about the game and start peeling back some of what has perhaps held the game back.

On the other hand, ... good gravy, where was this 12 years ago?

I had actually had passing thoughts about writing a post here about the merits of WASD control.  Maybe it was something I read in the Summer CSM minutes that influenced a stray thought.  I'm usually not that clever.  Now I'm going to have to go read them again and see if there were some hidden hints.

I'm sitting here trying to think of a downside.  People will be afraid of change, or will say it's a kneejerk reaction to Star Citizen or Elite: Dangerous, and maybe there's some truth there.  But I still can't see a downside for the EVE citizenry.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ships That Should Be Ingame

I've started this post intending to outline a top 10 list of ships that should be patched in.  Hulls I've wanted, or ships I've seen around and would like to try.  It's sat in the dustbin as a draft for awhile because I could really only come up with two.

This is one of those posts where I feel like I'm going to show some ignorance. I'll type up my wish list and someone will say "noob, try an XYZ, been in game for years."

But, I need either publish this post or delete it... so here they are:

2.  Kestrel Navy Issue - Put it somewhere between the Garmur and Navy Hookbill in stats and bonuses.  Give it the Kestrel model, not the Manticore.  The Kestrel is one of those ship models that I've always loved (the other being the Megathron) since the days of beta.  I mined omber in Niyabainen (yes, there was omber in Niyabainen during beta and shortly after launch) in order to buy a Kestrel.

I was mighty disappointed when I finally hit the ~165k isk I needed only to realize it had no friggin' turret mounts and I had no missile skills.  (It's ok, my cat had heard me swear before that and plenty since).

I've been working on a Kestrel fitting for my alt to use as an el-cheapo Team Burner supporter, and am happy to have a few Kestrels in my hanger again.

1. Khanid Apocalypse - Armor tanking, missile throwing, stealthy black death.  The Apoc was the first Battleship that I bought.  I still have the large sized Apoc poster hanging on my wall, circa 2005 (professionally framed).  The model in the poster is of course no longer in game, but Apocs are Apocs.

I bust out my Navy Apoc from time to time for a fun lvl4, but missile ships are where my heart truly wants. Please, oh please, give us a Battleship-sized Sacrilege. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Skill Queue!

This is even better than a Skill Check!

Thanks to Phoebe, my current queue will run out early next year.  My primary alt is good until mid-Jan.  I've already juggled a few things, so this will of course change as we go.  But... it's nice to just queue things up in game as you see them instead of having to make a note or fire up evemon.

(Of course, this gfx is instantly obsolete as I found about 12 more skills to add as I was cropping the picture).

Friday, November 7, 2014

RETRACTED: Undocumented Phoebe Change - Burner Hawk Bounty

I'm an idiot.  I did two burners fast enough that both hit in the same bounty cycle.  Team burners are still 5M bounty.  Drat.

I just got 10M isk for the Team Burner Hawk.  On the wallet, it looks like the Hawk is worth 5M and another 5M for one of the Bantams.  I went back through my wallet and confirmed other Team Burners (pre-Phoebe) were indeed 5M total.

I checked patch notes and it's not there.  It's a nice little Easter egg, eh?

Bloodsport II -- Another Blood Raider Kill


Just 2 missions after the last Blood Raider / Cruor anomic agent, I had him again.  After the fairly scary Wolf mission, I decided to go try my hand at the Jaguar.  

Quick post just to report the fit and how I approached him during battle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Bloodsport - Blood Raider Anomic Agent


Summary up front:  Blood Raider (Single) Cruor anomic agent died today in a very, very close fight.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Crazy People at the Gym

Happy Phoebe day!  Since I can't play while my client is updating, I'll type some nonesense.

Tuesday is Gym Day.  It's been Gym Day for going on 4 or 5 years now.  Sometimes we add a Thursday, or even a Monday, but Tuesday is Gym Day.

Believe it or not, I'm a Triathlete.  A nerd who does athletic things, I know.  Crazy.  But it's true --  I swim and bike and reluctantly run.  So, on Tuesday Gym Days, that means I'm in the pool.  I swim a lot of laps, and spend a lot of time with my head mostly under water.  In the oxygen deprived state, today I pondered this...

Why in the hell do other guys feel the need to race me in the pool?

I have the same swim workout that I do nearly every time I go, and each set has a goal. Some laps are fast, some laps are slow, and towards the end there's a long set to build endurance that I try to do at a moderate pace.

Guys jump in beside me and try to race.  I'm doing my thing, and they'll literally wait until I'm at my turnaround and then push off.  I swim at whatever the pace should be for that part of my workout.  Sometimes that means I get "beat" and sometimes that means I'm the "winner" and I get a dirty look.
Sometimes, like today, the guy jumps in without any warmup and then goes to town, flailing like a drowning golden retriever.  Form was a mess, and he breathed about twice a lap.  Four laps later, he's spent, huffing and puffing at the side while I push off for the 2nd half of my endurance set.  I'm settled into my endurance swim-all-day pace and he's killing himself to keep up, and mostly falling short.  (I smile smugly under the water when this happens ... and it happens quite a bit).  He repeated this little show 3-4 more times and then got out of the pool as I continued on through my workout.

There's a guy that shows up a couple times a month.  He swims for endurance, lap after lap after lap with few breaks ... but he doesn't like getting passed.  I swim just a touch faster than him, and I know that when I come alongside him, he's going to speed up and try not to get passed.  It's human nature, I guess, but I find it funny and a little silly.  He's doing his workout and I'm doing mine, but suddenly he needs to "show me up."

There's an older guy that we see most weeks.  Super nice, but at that point in life where even walking can be a struggle.  He's not graceful in the water.  Not one bit.  He's the one guy that never, ever, races me.  He's just happy to be there, delighted at a little social interaction when we talk, and I give him a nod of respect when we meet.

I hope that someday I can be the crazy old guy at the gym.

Oooh, EVE client is updated.  Now I need to go transfer evemon into EVE.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The End of an Era

Warning:  This is a post mostly about World of Warcraft.  There is some EVE sprinkled in, but if WoW offends you, I pray you skip ahead a bit.

It's the end of an era.  I'm not buying the next WoW expansion.  I've known that for awhile.  Part of me assumed that I'd eventually cave, get on Amazon, and buy the sucker.  But I'm holding firm.

Some of you are saying, "meh? so what?"

And you'd have a point.  I've been out of the game for a long while now.  Effectively something like 3 years, except for a handful of months here and there when I wanted to feel all nostalgic.  But I feel the need to write about it, because it's probably going to be a big milemarker in my gaming career.

Let's back up and tell the story though.  Context always helps.

Alpha State

"Everything that has a beginning has an end."  That's one of my favorite quotes from the Matrix 2.  It has to do with the ...