Monday, June 23, 2008

Back in Blighty

Finally back home, back to the joys of UK public transport and delays on the trains from the airport, back to British sandwiches which pale into insignificance next to American ones (pastrami and swiss FTW!), back to poor customer service, back to everything being twice the price... ahh, home! San Diego was fun, if a little hot for my tastes. Got to see Arnie in the flesh (shorter than you'd think), party on the top deck of the USS Midway (bigger than you'd think), drink too much Sam Adams (nicer than I'd thought), and see the Padres beat the Detroit Tigers at the baseball (much more fun than I expected). Man, you guys are really into your sports statistics..!

Well, thanks for the support in the last post. Very much appreciated. I was doing a quick email check before I left the hotel and spotted on the Bioware forums that the AME Golden Dragon winners for NWN2 had been announced. Links to the right, and in the other blogs that have posted already. I'm the very proud recipient of the Best Roleplaying Module. Winning, especially in this category, means a lot. Roleplaying is what I enjoy, and what I wanted to achieve. Plus my two favorite modes were up against me! - Subtlety of Thay and H&C. When I started DA, I did wonder if people would 'get it', and I'm glad so many did. So thanks again, to players, community and the AME. Cue me crying like Gwynneth Paltrow....
If you havent already, check out the AME forums and the NWN Podcast ceremony, completely trouser free!

So, flying 25 hours in the past week gave me time to watch quite a few films/shows I'd been meaning to get round to thanks to in-flight entertainment. complete with Four Word Film review synopsis
  • Cloverfield - not great to watch in turbulence due to camcorder filming (bleurgh!) but OK film. Aliens level Manhattan overnight
  • No Country for Old Men - love Coen brothers movies, and loved this. Lived up to the press. Fun with an Air-Gun
  • There will be Blood - I'm fascinated in history by the period of time, 19th through to very early 20th century American - how the growing frontier was explored and settled. Grew from my love of westerns when i was young. I found this film fascinating if slightly uncomfortable viewing. Daniel Day-Lewis shows what acting is about. Worth checking out. Oil man's slippery downfall
  • Persopolis - I'm a big fan of animation - especially Japanese anime, and comics/graphic novels. I'd heard good things about this film based on an autobiographical graphic novel about a young girl growing up in Iran, moving to the west, then returning. Enjoyed it a lot. Ran from Iran, returned

Also saw Semi-Pro and AvP2 but stopped half way through. Pity as I'm usually up for some Alien vs predator cheesy action, but wasn't taken with it. Watched some TV comedy - mainly Family Guy, old Red Dwarf. Also saw some more of Flight of the Conchords, which is great stuff. Didn't get much of a chance to read some of the Salvatore books I took with me - but did find a copy of a graphic novel version of the early Drizzt stuff, which I picked up.


OK, enough of the self-indulgent blog stuff. OK, one more quick thing - I got 4th edition D&D books - waiting for me when I got home. Really not sure what to make of it yet. I always hated the old school D&Ders who refused to even look at later editions just because it represented change. But I find myself falling into that a little with 4e. Some changes I think make sense, but others leaving me a little cold. For a new system it seems interesting. But I don't think they've achieved the goal of making D&D more simple. More on that some other time.

Basically, there's nothing to report with DA3. Coupla early stage screenies from the opening area. Going to be doing exterior work for the next few weeks I think as I lay some of the ground work.


Jazhara7 said...

Ye gods, British Sandwiches! FLASHBACK OF HORROR! o.O

My sister gave me a trip to London as a birthday present some time ago, while she was still in University. Of course, having a limited budget, she got us the cheapest things possible. I didn't mind staying at the Youth Hostel, especially since it was right beside St. Paul's Cathedral (the only thing I did mind about the Youth Hostel was the bedsheets. British Youth hostels, you might know, have that ingenious method of putting the bedsheets on that enables them to use *one* sheet for the pillow, the mattress *and* the covers together. Well, they never expected me, who will probably insist on separate beds if she should ever get married, simply to prevent her significant other from acquiring interior injuries when I kick them in the gut while tossing about in my sleep. Or at least a very wide bed. Anyway, I always woke up tangled in those bloody bedsheets. And the covers were too narrow too, because I never could curl up under them properly without something sticking out and freeze. So yeah, I didn't sleep all that well those three days there.), and the flight was a necessary annoyance (we flew with Ryan air. Which means the flight didn't go from Frankurt Main Airport, but the *new* Airport Frankfurt *Hahn*. If you ever plan on vistiting Frankfurt am Main, by all that is good and holy *DON'T* take a flight that goes to the Airport Frankfurt-Hahn, even if flights to there *are* cheaper. That thing is only called that because they adopted it to take pressure off the main Frankfurt Main airport. But the thing is 120 km [75 miles] from Frankfurt! We knew that of course, but some people don't. A business partner of my father once made the mistake of booking a flight to there, thinking "Hey, this is cheaper, and I'll hire a car and quickly drive from there to Frankfurt", not knowing that it's nearly 2 hours by car from Frankfurt. Luckily, my father learned of this soon enough for him to be able to change the booking - the business partner preferred paying more over driving 2 hours, which would probably cost even more with the petrol prices even back then. There's no train connection from there either, by the way. It used to be an Air base, it doesn't get an own train connection. There's just shuttle busses, and a Sixt car rental.) (the landing in London Stansted, by the way, was the worst, and hardest landing I've ever experienced. And the other people agreed, I think, because *No-one* clapped, which is a habit of people that makes me half-heartedly roll my eyes every time anyway [except when landing in Egypt, in which case I like to think the people clap because the pilot *found* the airport, as especially in the day it's hard to tell it apart from the surrounding desert, the landing strips are so khaki coloured themselves.]), but we also lived for four days eating nearly nothing (the Youth Hostel was with breakfast. I actually *like* British breakfast. The beans are not my things, but the sausages, the scrambled eggs and the like are soooo much better than what you get on regular breakfast menus the world over. Continental Breakfast or International Breakfast**? Pshaw! Give me a fried sausage and some cooked or scrambled eggs any day!) but those packaged sandwiches from the store around the corner, because everything in London is so goddamn expensive! >_<

A summary of the lifelessons learned on that trip, for those who lost track of what I was talking about up there:

- Don't book a flight to Frankfurt-Hahn Airport if you want to go to Frankfurt am Main, even if it *is* cheapter. The thing is 120 km/75 miles/2 hours car journey from Frankfurt!

- Not learned on this trip, but on the flight back from China, and I just have to share it: The Green Goblin from Spiderman sounds absolutely *wicked* in Chinese. Seriously, he should always speak Chinese. It fits perfectly.


I think it is awesome they showed Persepolis on your flight. That movie ruled, and I loved it. I also have the graphic autobiography. Also, after watching that movie I have decided that one hasn't really heard "Eye of the Tiger" until they've heard it sung with a french accent. XD

I have some of those Drizzt graphic novels. They're alright. I keep on getting conficting opinions from others about Salvadotore's stuff. Basically some people say it's crap, and Drizzt is overdone, and others say it's alright. I think people think too much about all this. Sheesh, if they don't like Drizzt they shouldn't rant about it - they're giving him free screentime that way. And if one likes it, that's okay too. Sorry, I'm drifting off here again.


4th edition is...weird. I like some changes, like the fact that elves don't age so slowly any longer, but rather reach maturity at around the time that humans do and then just...slow down. They just stay in their best years for a longer time. That's much easier to handle, I think, and the way it was handled before was really one of the things that irked me in the past about elves.

I actually like what they overall did with the elves.

I am not sure what to think about what they did with the dragons. Did they make them simple beasts, or did they just take away their automatic magic? I mean, are they still intelligent and speak? I am okay with them not casting spells, but I'd hate them to be just another dumb beast.

Oh and Gnomes. WHAT THE HECK?! They're Evil Monsters now. This one still baffles me every time I think about it.

Tieflings as standard player characters might be a bit crass, but I'm willing to overlook it because...

...Dragonborn are awful. Seriously, they feel like a nod to all those World of Warcraft players, which is not automatically bad, because I know many very nice and intelligent people that play WoW. The ones I am dreading to come to D&D are those that use LEETSPEAK and multiple exclamation marks as if the key was permanently jammed. There's only so many munchkins a game can handle. The Dragonborn just feel to be aimed at those kinds of players. Heck, just take a look at the pictures for them in the Player Handbook! The proudly raised heads, and heroic poses are so glaringly obvious, heck, they make the poses in Socialist Realism look shameful!

Of course, there are some other good things about the 4th edition. There are also other bad things. These are just the things that were more obvious to me. I have to go through the entire books still. I am willing to believe that 4th edition is alright, and after all, one can always adjust the rules a bit for oneself if you're not happy with them.

- :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

** I've recently found out why those "Continental" and "International" Breakfast don't really appeal to many people, me included. It's because they are based on the breakfast preferred by people from *one* area in Europe, namely the Mediterrean. I am not criticising the eating habits of those people, but rather the ludicrous thought of hotels the world over to believe that *everyone* would have the same eating habits. If in Germany alone you have at least 3 different *general* areas of different breakfast, *none* of them really fitting into the "Continental" breakfast pattern, it's really unlikely too many people would call those menus their dream breakfast. And the International Breakfast is just a hodgepodge of overlaps from different breakfast preferrances, but seriously, I never could tell much difference from the Continental breakfast most of the time. The only time I was happy with a Hotel breakfast was in China. They had a breakfast buffet with a large variety of foods that people eat for breakfast in different parts of the world. So you had regular boiled eggs alongside chinese breakfast, raw fish, and fermented soy beans, as well as a lot of other things. That'as also where I discovered I prefer raw fish for breakfast over Continental breakfast, even if that would seem rather odd to most people to eat for breakfast. I'll pass on the fermented soybeans, though. Oh, and while staying in Egypt, we stayed at the community houses of Coptic churches in two different cities, and the breakfast served there was what everyone in Egypt eats for breakfast. It was rather simple, but I *loved* it. Yes, even mashed Fava beans (I think it was Ful Medames. In the case of the ones we got served, they were more "Porridge" than just "crushed"). Actually, I *loved* the mashed Fava beans. Loved the Egyptian cuisine.

I call for a Hotel Breakfast Revolution!!! *waves fist threateningly* )

Gruizzer said...

Congrats on your Dragon win of Best Roleplaying Module for Dark Avenger!!
--Ashercon (wpo)

Wyrin said...

lol @ jazhara ;)
I agree with you completely on the breakfast issue! Except no where outside the UK does black pudding!

I'll comment more about 4e some other time. Eladrin bug me - why have them, when you have elves? And tielfings as core? hmm...

@ Ashercon - thanks!!

jet lag and work don't mix :/

mooncalf165 said...

I have a friend who eats black pudding raw (it's ok, she's from Manchester). Much as I love our great UK breakfasts...that was a bit much for me.
Congrats on the roleplaying win!

Jazhara7 said...

Heh, well we might not make blackpudding in Germany, but we make blood sausage. It can't be *that* much different, can it?

When I was a kid I often ate blood sausage. I haven't for a long time though, partly because my grandmother died and she was the one that served it (Lunch was always prepared by my grandmother when she was still alive. That way my mother didn't have to get stressed to put something together when she came back from work at around twelve). I am not sure if I'd still eat it today, maybe because I know how its made (of course I knew it was blood back when I was a kid, too, but for some reason these days it is slightly off-putting to me). I've made the decision I'll at least try it again, and if I like the taste (yes, I've forgotten what it tastes like, it's been so long), I'm going to eat it *despite* me knowing how it's made.

- :) :) :) :) :) :) :)

Merecraft said...

Welcome back! :)

Hmmmmm black pudding.... *drools*

dgraf said...

welcome back Wyrin! Congrats on the Dragon. Well deserved.

AmstradHero said...

DA3 looks great already, Wyrin... I like those screenshots. Here's to another Golden Dragon for the Dark Avenger series in '09! :-)

Wyrin said...

thanks for all the congrats guys!!

lol, still very early days for DA3! tho a row of awards on my mantlepeice would be nice ;)

Nadya said...

Haven't been to your blog in some time, but hey good to see you're back. Just noticed the music list on the side there...rainbow eh, good taste :)

I'm very fond of anime (jap) as well, but find it hard to deal with the endings in most cases. Thankfully those are usually found most often in serial anime adapted from manga but it shouldn't be that hard to have a self contained story even in a serial anime as they have in some cases. Then again, I hear from the people themselves that it's quite cut throat and they are forever looking for more funding for their stuff be it anime or manga, hence they might leave intentional cliff hangers in the hopes of scoring more.

I know people went beserk when Beserk fact had the directors been present then when we saw the last eps, they probably would've been trussed up and tortured with soap ladles.

Nadya said...

soup ladles even :P