Lego Luke’s Landspeeder 75173

I build another Lego set last weekend.  This was set #75173 Luke’s Landspeeder and it was a great build.  It’s a classic part of the Star Wars movie series even and is a really distinct looking vehicle.  And since it comes with a minifig of Luke, See Threepio, Obi-Wan and a Sand People person it’s just filled with Star Wars goodness!

 

It’s worth it for the characters alone!

 

It’s a quick and easy build, perfect for when you want something that you can start and finish in one sitting.  And it’s pretty simply, I didn’t scratch my head a lot like some builds.  All in all I give it 5 out of 5.  I also recorded a speed build which you can find below.

 

The Fall Of Leaves

 

When I was in 1st grade the teacher took us outside one day to gather leaves that had changed color and fallen from the trees.  We were told to find the “best” leaves, the “nicest” ones.  I had never felt strongly for leaves before but suddenly a competition broke out among us for who could find the “best” one.  It was a nice time.

 

“Mine is the best because it’s biggest!”

 

“Mine is better because it’s a darker red!”

 

“Mine’s bigger than yours so MINE’S the biggest!”

 

“You can’t count the stem!”

 

“Mine has more bumpy things so mine’s the best!”

 

“Mine is a prettier orange than everyone else’s so mine’s the best!”

 

“Mine tastes the best!”

 

“Ewwwww!  Don’t lick them!  ACK!  Don’t EAT THEM!!!”

 

It didn’t really occur to us that there wasn’t a definitive way to determine the quality of fall leaves.  We all thought ours was the best for one reason or another.

 

When we came inside we preserved our “best” ones between pieces of wax paper.  Then we added string and hung them from the ceiling.  For a while, and even after the snow fell outside, our fall leaves hung above our heads in that classroom.  They were pretty nice decoration.  And the debates about whose was best slowly died away as we realized they are all good, and the effect of having a whole bunch of them was nicer than if we only had one “best” one.

 

Today I was walking down the sidewalk thinking about all the fallen leaves.  “Somebody should rake these up and throw them away!” I thought.  “Of course I don’t want to do it, that unpleasant chore of raking leaves.  But SOMEBODY certainly should get rid of these ugly dead things.  They are constant reminders of the encroaching winter!  Be gone stupid dead leaves!”

 

And then I remembered how special those leaves had been when I was young.  How I appreciated their beauty and enjoyed them outside and in.  How I had spent time looking at leaf after leaf deciding which one I liked best.  How as a child I could appreciate how pretty they were.  I remembered how much joy those fallen leaves had brought me.

 

I think that if I could look at fallen leaves the same way that I did as a child I’d probably be a happier person.

Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle

A few years ago somebody must have said, “What would a child friendly shooter by Nintendo be like?” and thus we have Splatoon.  Then somebody, possibly the same weirdo who wanted a Nintendo shooter game, must have said, “What would a child friendly X-Com by Nintendo be like?” and thus we have Mario + Rabbids Kingdom Battle.  And it’s really good.

 

I don’t know much about Rabbids but I know a butt-ton about the Super Mario universe.  Watching the two interact is pretty dang fun.

 

Basically it’s a turn based, top down, grid layout, tactical strategy game.  You have three characters on your team and there’s a bunch of enemies depending on the level.  You move Mario to a position on the map, maybe behind cover for added defense or up on higher terrain to improve damage, then you have him shoot an enemy with his gun (yeah, it’s weird that Mario has a gun, even though it’s a cartoonish silly gun) and lastly you may choose to have him activate a special ability.  Then you do the same with your other two characters (two Rabbids cos playing as Luigi and Princess Peach at first but you unlock more characters as you play).  Then the enemies have their turn.  Round and round you go until everybody on one teams dies.  But because it’s kid friendly nobody really dies.  After you defeat them the enemy Rabbids just come to their senses and stop being evil.  And when they run out of hit points Mario and the rest of Team Good Guys just become dazed and sort of take a nap on the battlefield.  It’s the least violent a tactical war game could possibly be.

 

Mario hiding behind half cover shooting an enemy, exactly like X-Com!

What’s surprising is that it’s much deeper than I expected.  Your characters have a skill tree that they can level up.  There are weapons for each character to unlock with special abilities as well as lots of characters themselves to be found.  The enemies have special moves too like one large Rabbid enemy charges directly at whomever shoots them the moment they get shot (instead of just waiting for their turn).  So you have to strategically surround them with characters who can keep pulling the Rabbid back and forth in such a way that he never reaches anybody.  There’s even boss battles with unique mechanics.  The maps don’t repeat, each is unique and most have the terrain laid out in a way that’s impactfull and interesting.  Luigi is basically a sniper which I didn’t expect to see in this game at all.  Despite the fluff there’s a real good strategy game in there.

 

Luigi is a sniper, that’s awesome but also kinda weird.

 

It has a fun cast of characters.  The Rabbids, characters from a series of games I don’t know much about, are basically insane.  They are funny, but also mischievous, and not terribly bright.  The interactions between the Rabbids and classic Mario characters are pretty cute.  Toad and Toadette are also there, getting lost like they do.  And it features lots of classic Mario characters and enemies like Chain-Chomps and even Donkey Kong.  Although Donkey Kong is a giant Rabbid who likes bananas now.  It’s all very light hearted and funny.

 

Rabbid Kong, just like the classic arcade game from my youth.

 

So basically we haven’t found a game genre yet that can’t be Nintendo-ified.

Lego Rebel U-Wing Fighter 75155

I enjoy building Lego sets.  Is that a weird hobby for a grown-up?  I dunno, maybe.  For me constructing Lego is relaxing and chill and calming.  And when you finish you have a really cool model to display.  Finished sets are decoration, unfinished sets are a fun thing to do on a Friday night.

My latest build was the Star Wars Rebel U-Wing Fighter set # 75155 from the movie Rogue One.  This is a really cool looking model that looks great on my shelf.  I liked this ship in the movie because it felt like the classic ship designs while still being something new and original.  It won’t ever be as famous as the Millennium Falcon but it was home to the Rogue One crew for a little while.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sliding doors on either side of the hull are pretty slick.  Lego these days have so many well engineered moving pieces.

The cockpit opens and shuts and the set comes with this generic pilot guy.

 

The big ol’ engines on the back look very cool!

 

This might be the only way to get Lego Jyn Erso and Cassian Andor.

 

 

All in all it was fun to build and looks great on display.  5 of 5, would assemble again.

The Point

 

I play a lot of Sandbox Games.  Minecraft being the most popular example.  But when non-sandbox gamers hear about Minecraft they usually say something like, “What’s the point of that?”

 

Fun?

 

I get it.  We often play games that you can eventually win.  Or MMO’s that, even if you never beat the game, you can gain levels or beat a hard dungeon or get a cool piece of gear and say, “I accomplished this!!!”  Or we play competitive games like Heroes of the Storm or Overwatch where the point is to win as many times as you can against the best players you can.  Or we play clicker games where … well the goals is to make the numbers get bigger.  And actually aren’t most of our games about making the numbers get bigger?

 

The point of most games is to accomplish a goal.  My favorite game at the moment is Zelda Breath Of The Wild (the best Zelda maybe EVER) and the point of that game is to kill Gannon.  Now that goal is vague, you can play a loooooong time before ever fighting Gannon.  But you can also skip almost all of the game and kill him right away.   There are speed runs of people doing that in less than 1 hour.  I mean they start a new game, wake up naked in the shrine of resurrection, and are killing Gannon one hour later.  That’s amazing!  That’s a challenge and it’s a goal they set for themselves.  But for me what’s great about Zelda BotW is that there’s a huge world to explore and exploring it is FUN.  That’s why I’m in there, that’s what I enjoy, exploring the world.  And once I win the game, hopefully after finding close to 100% of the neat things, I’ll move on to other games.

 

So when someone hears I play Minecraft, or Kerbal Space Program or Farming Simulator and they ask, “What’s the point?”  I know what they mean.  They like to have goals to work towards.  In a sandbox game you aren’t explicitly given a goal by the game.  You make up your own and I love that.  I like getting into Minecraft and thinking about what I want to do and then doing it.  When games tell me what to do, for example when WoW gives me a quest, sometimes I think, “I don’t want to do that.  I have an idea of my own that I like better.”  Kerbal has a mode that gives you “missions” that are basically quests, they tell you what goals to pursue.  I never play that mode.  If I feel like building a colony on Mars (called Duna in Kerbal) then that’s what I’m going to do!  If I wanted somebody telling me I can’t build a Mars colony I’d work for the real NASA.

 

On the other hand I understand why people enjoy being given a quest, goal or point.  People like having direction, they enjoy a narrative or simply knowing what they’re supposed to be doing.  Have you ever watched someone play Minecraft who doesn’t like sandbox games?  The first thing they say is, “What am I supposed to do?”   And if you answer, “Whatever you want!” they just quit the game.  That’s not fun for them.  What they want is a goal to work towards and to achieve.  Solving problems and accomplishing goals and making progression is part of the fun for them.  And sometimes for me too.  As long as the task being given is enjoyable then it’s still fun.  Again, the point isn’t actually to do whatever task the game is giving you it’s just to have fun.  And the goals and quests are supposed to be a way to facilitate fun for people who like that sort of structure.  You could argue the point is to beat the game or finish the quest or whatever but really the point is still to just have fun.

 

Whether a person likes open sandbox games or games with strict goals and progression probably says a lot about their psychology.

 

It goes beyond video games of course.  What’s the point of building Lego’s or collecting Funko Pops or painting WarHammer models or watching TV or reading books or playing golf or any of our other hobbies?  The point of any and all recreation is to enjoy the experience and to be revitalized in your mind and body.  To rest and prepare yourself for your work or whatever challenges you face in life.  If your recreation has any point beyond your personal enjoyment then you’re doing it wrong.

 

Funky Funko Pop

I had displayed them in the boxes until recently.

A lot of geeks enjoy collecting things and I’m no exception.  I’ve collected USB Thumb Drives, WarHammer models, Legos, board games, Magic The Gathering cards, video games, and I’ve even got a few fidget spinners.  But one collection I’m actually proud to show off is my Funko Pops.

 

K2SO is such a great character, and a cool looking robot Funko Pop too!

 

What’s a Funko Pop you ask?  It’s a bobble head, although some don’t have bobbable heads, of characters from across the geek-o-verse.  Characters from movies, comics, video games and more have been Funkofied.

I am groot!

 

Most Funko Pops look a lot alike.  Giant heads (good for bobbling if they bobble) and tiny bodies.  Big eyes.  They’ve been criticized for being too similar but I think the sameness of them all is what I like best about them.  I can get Vault Boy from the video game Fallout and Spider Gwen from comic books and they can both sit on the shelf next to each other and not look out of place.  The Funko Pop style makes characters from radically different genres look alright mixed together as one large collection.

 

Not being a big DC fan (at the moment at least) I didn’t have any DC Funkos until I saw the Wonder Woman movie.  Now I have a Wonder Woman.  Is this the beginning of a DC collection and interest?  We’ll see.

 

Until recently I kept all of them in their boxes because they stack, store, and display so well that way.  There was something special about a wall of exactly same sized boxes stacked on top of each other with my favorite characters inside of them.  But I finally took them all out of their boxes in the hopes that the figures themselves would be more visually appealing without the box obscuring them.  I haven’t decided if I like this better.  The wall of boxes was pretty neat imho.

For the record I have 31 Funko Pops.  Although I accidentally bought Captain Marvel twice soooooooo, 30 unique ones I suppose 🙂  I know my collection is TINY compared to others.  But they are expensive so I’ll continue to grow my collection slowly.  What I have makes me happy.  Here’s my whole collection below.

 

Here’s Three Neat Tricks To Achieving Your Dreams

We all have hopes, dreams, and goals.  But many of us struggle to achieve them.  As somebody who accomplished a goal once let me give you some advice.

 

One trick is visualization.  Sit or lay in a comfortable position and visualize the thing you want to achieve.  Visualize yourself getting it and how happy you’ll be.  Maybe visualize a famous celebrity to whom you feel affection being impressed by your achievement and expressing their admiration.  Visualize being rewarded for you achievement with nachos.  After a while you’ll get so good at visualizing your goals that you won’t even have to think about what to visualize.  You’ll get weird, random visualizations popping up in your head without effort or understanding.  I’ve reached a point where I can visualize stuff for hours.  Sometimes I’ll sit on the sofa and visualize my goals and then suddenly BAM, it’s bedtime.  And after all that visualizing I’m not even tired anymore.  I’m so good at visualizing my goals now that they’re bound to come true soon.

 

Write down your hopes and dreams.  This takes more effort than just closing your eyes and visualizing stuff but it’s worth it.   You’ll have to keep your eyes open, and find a pencil or other writing tool.  And paper.  By the time you’ve gathered all your supplies you’ll probably be ready to take a visualization break.  But don’t!  This is worth it because once you’re written down all your hopes and dreams you won’t have to keep remembering them anymore.  Thus freeing up mental space for more practical things like remembering products you might like to purchase.  Keep the paper that your wrote your hopes and dreams on in a safe place where other people can see it.  Maybe, just maybe somebody will see your list of hopes and dreams and they’ll make them come true for you.  It’s a long shot but if it works just one time it’ll be worth it.

 

Invest in your future.  You won’t achieve your goals for free.  Get a bunch of money and instead of buying some new video game or a flashy new toilet brush spend it on achieving your goals.  Go to the park, or enchanted forest, and find a wishing well.  Toss in all your money and make a wish.  If it doesn’t come true then you didn’t throw in enough money.  Or else you’re using an ordinary well in which case you just wasted it all.  But good for you for trying something!

 

These are just a few tricks to get you started.  Remember, you won’t become an achiever of dreams overnight.  You’ll probably have to work hard for days or weeks.  So you might as well get started right away.  Unless Netflix releases a new season of your favorite TV show or something.

Teamwork!

human pyramid

“Teamwork is important!” a former boss of mine was telling us.  “Remember, there’s no, “I” in Information Technology.”  I was never sure if he was joking or not.

 

Back then I was a lowly Tech 1 at a Credit Union.  Me an three other Tech 1’s were responsible for the most basic of jobs.  Your computer doesn’t turn on?  I’ll come by and make sure it’s plugged in.  Your mouse doesn’t work well?  One of us will run over with a new one.  You don’t know how to “do Excel”?  I’ll show you how to sign up for a training because I don’t know that either.  I replace mice and plug in computers, I don’t excel at Excel!

 

The four of us shared the workload.  And because we were such good teammates we shared it equally.  If I saw an easy ticket come in I’d take it right away.  If I saw a hard one come in I’d leave that for somebody else since I had already taken a lot of easy ones.  If I saw a hard ticket sit in the queue for a long time I’d go home early so nobody else felt guilty about taking it.  That’s what I called, “Being a team player”.

 

We were a team the way Congress is a team.  In theory we all worked together towards the same goal but in reality we all had completely different ideas about what that goal should be.  Bobbie believed we should replace all the Windows computers with Macs.  Another guy wanted to replace all the Windows installs with Linux.  I wanted to leave everything exactly the way it was because their ideas sounded like a lot of work.  Willy wasn’t sure everybody even needed a computer at all.

 

I remember one time a user brought in their personal mac laptop.  The whole company was Windows so Bobbie never got to work on Macs during his normal duties, and he spent the whole day “fixing” that mac.  Phones were ringing off the hook because something or other was down and we were all busy as heck but good old team player Bobbie wouldn’t turn away from that Mac.  His idea of helping us was telling us that, “If we used Macs like this instead of Windows that system wouldn’t have gone down.”  He spent the day extolling the virtues of Macs while we did our own work and his.  It did not make us fall in love with Macs.

 

The best example of our teamwork was when somebody had to transfer a ticket they had started to somebody else.  I remember getting one of Willy’s tickets about a user who couldn’t get email.

 

“Let’s reset your password.” I told the user.

 

“Willy already did that, it didn’t help.”  The user said.

 

Now, Willy hadn’t put in any notes so I had no idea what he had or had not done.  I assumed he hadn’t done anything because that’s the sort of employee he was.  Hearing he had done something left me in an awkward position.

 

“Did he have you try using the web mail?  Yes?  Did that work?  Okay.  Do you know if he double checked your account settings?  You don’t know?  I’ll do that, please hold a minute.  Okay those settings all look good, oh now you remember he did do that?  Great.  Just … great.  Do you know what he was going to do next?”

 

I’m sure teamwork is important in every job with two or more employees.  That’s why my dream job is a small company where I can be the whole I.T. department myself.  I work well with myself, and I wouldn’t have to worry about anybody else taking all the easy tickets before I do.

Who Am I Talking Too?

My dog always has to go outside when I play Heroes Of The Storm with my friends.  At first I thought I just noticed it more when playing online because of the inconvenience of telling everybody, “AFK doggy BIO.” in voice chat and then leaving for a while as I take her outside.  But I’m starting to think that she actually wants to go outside more often when I’m playing online.  Or at least I think she really comes over and stares at me more.

 

Action shot of her staring at me while I’m online gaming, doesn’t it look like she wants something?

 

Ordinarily when she needs to go potty she comes over to where I am in the house and just kind of stares at me for a bit.  So when she stares at me as I game I assume she needs out.  But sometimes while I’m gaming she’ll come over and stare at me thirty minutes after she was just out.  That’s statistically unusual for her.  So what gives?

 

Staring at me doesn’t necessarily mean she needs to do her business.  If I’m eating for example it just means she wants some of my food.  And other times she just wants to be petted and then she’ll wander off and go to sleep.  So what if the staring during Heroes of the Storm is something else, besides begging for food or attention or needing to water the lawn?

 

I’m starting to think it’s because I’m on voice chat.  I wonder if she’s just confused about why I’m talking out loud when nobody else is home.  She must think I’m going completely insane!  Maybe she wonders if I’m talking to her, and she’s staring at me trying to figure out what I want her to do.  She’s like, “I’m right here, why are you telling me to ‘push top lane’, whatever that means?”

 

I’m going to continue to take her outside when she stares at me because if I’m wrong and she does need to ‘start streaming’ I want her to do it outside.  But maybe after the third Doggy Bio Break in one gaming session I’ll wait a bit before going again.  I think we’re both just totally confused by the others behavior.