Meow

While my parents have been in Hong Kong, Jack has been taking care of my cats.  Elli is still afraid of everything, but Rhomba seems to have been warming up to Jack.  Today I watched him try to steal Jack’s milk and taco on Skype… so adorable!

Jack’s roommate was really nice and bought toys, treats and catnip for the cats.  Rhomba has been the only one to play though.  Here is a photo Jack’s roommate took of the result.

Expenses

Expenses

September is the first month completely without Allison. Therefore, I figured it would be informative to share my monthly expenses.

This month had two unusual purchases. First was the $220 at Walmart for my bicycle/helmet/air pump/lock which I now ride to work everyday. This cost, in theory, will eventually balance itself as I save 6 miles of gas and car wear per day. Given the Eclipse’s modest 18MPG city (probably worse now that it’s 9 years old) and an average $3.25/gallon, I’d say that it saves around $7 a week. There was also my plane ticket home for $240 which, although phenomenally cheap, was not a typical expense. Albeit, this was partially counteracted by the fact that I had no food expenses while I was at home.

In total though, I think that is pretty reasonable. Combined with my rent of $687.50, I hit $1508.31 total this month. If you take into account those unusual purchases, I’m sitting very close to my goal of $1200 total per month.

Free Penguins game

These last two or three weeks have been so busy and stressful, this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down and do something non-productive.  I’ve consistently had career fairs or interviews or exams or homework or ONiB preparation or some ARCC event… It’s made me so tired that I’m either working or sleeping (note the lack of eating).  Saturday night I slept for 12 hours, went to dance practice at 12:00pm, then went back to sleep 3:00pm-9:00pm!

The TOC was okay.  I talked to a lot of companies the first day, including talking to four alumni.  I was going to go again for the small window of time I had the second day, but I ended up having a Qualcomm interview during that time.

I wasn’t expecting to have interviews that quickly, so I wasn’t that prepared for the Qualcomm interview Wednesday the 15th… other than asking me about projects on my resume, he asked me to write a tweaked version of the atoi function.  The next Tuesday I had my Microsoft and Citadel interviews.  I actually studied for these, but I never needed anything I studied!  Microsoft was pretty good.  The interviewer used to work with processors, trying to improve branch prediction, so he was really interested in the 18-447 processor.  I was surprised at the coding question, because it didn’t really require any special knowledge, but I guess it was just to see how I think.  Citadel… haha.  Let’s just say I know ABSOLUTELY nothing about finance and they’ve already rejected me :P  The interviewer kept asking if I read things like the Wall Street Journal, etc. and I was just like …no…

I have a GE interview on Friday and an Exxon interview next week.  I’m feeling good after getting five interviews, but honestly… none of them are in locations I want to work and I think I would only want to work at two of the companies.  The closest location would be Qualcomm, but it’d most likely be in San Diego… Jack got to choose to go to Santa Clara, but I interviewed with QGov, the division that works with the government, so I’m not sure I’d have that choice if I got the job x.x

I’m just going to have to wait for Cisco to tell me if they’re giving me full-time.  Why do they give their offers so late??? >.<

Anyway, on to the Penguins game.

My suitemate won free tickets to the Penguins vs. Blue Jackets game on Saturday (this was the game where all tickets were given away for free), so she took me to see them.  We sat really high, but it was right in the middle between the two goals, so the view was good.  I did not expect so many fights!  There were five fights that resulted in penalties, but there were a few fights that were stopped by the referees early enough not to warrant any penalties.  After the very first fight, Letang (#58) took off his helmet and my suitemate was just like, omg so manly… I have to agree :)  I mean, look at him (as a side note, when I found this photo online, the filename was sex_hair.jpg):

Penguins won that game… although it was only a pre-season game, so it wasn’t that important.  Also, there was a couple sitting beside me that had their baby girl with them.  She was adorable – they had her decked out in Penguins clothing, and even a little Penguins hat.  They put noise-cancelling headphones on her so that she wouldn’t be too bothered by all the noise; I even saw her fall asleep at one point.  So cute!

ONiB meetings are starting up soon – I’m going to set the board application deadline to next Friday, and start meetings the Thursday after that.  I’m going to be so busy!

I ramble too much.

Games

I think I mentioned this before in the past, but I still find it funny that the very first person to wish me happy birthday is always some random game forum I signed up to in the past.

This year, arenajunkies.com, a wow arena strategy forum, wins that honor. It was followed shortly by gamebattles.com, the MLG website.

Renoki

Our iphone game is going to be entering Beta phase this weekend. If you have a touch, iphone, or ipad and would like to try out the game, you can email me the UDID for your device. You can get it by hooking up itunes and looking up the information there or downloading the free app “Ad Hoc Helper” which lets you email the UDID directly from your device. If doing it through itunes, please also include your OS version (Ad hoc helper app automatically includes your OS version).

Please send all requests to pandaprogrammers@gmail.com.

Thanks.

Renoki

Off-schedule already…

Went to the TSA/ASA/etc. Labor Day party yesterday.  We were planning on getting on the 11:30pm bus, but there were SO many people that we didn’t end up getting there until 12:30am because not everyone could fit on the bus.  It was PACKED.  There were so many sweaty dudes all over the place.  Oh well, it was fun, and I got a good use out of my new dress!

I think I’ve ruined my sleep schedule.  I woke up in time for a lunch today, but took a nap at 6:00pm.  I meant to only sleep until 7:00pm, but that totally didn’t happen – I just got out of bed at 11:30pm.  I also didn’t get any work done today.  I think I’ll stay up late to get work done, since I seem to be most productive late at night, and sleep in tomorrow, then just do work until around midnight and try to sleep then.  I need to stop staying up until 3:00am just to talk to Jack >.>

I’m still not sure how I feel about being a senior.  I’m looking forward to graduating and living in California, but I’m scared of having to find a job first.  I’m so terrible at technical interviews.  I’m worried I’ll be a failure and not find a job at all.  But Jack said he’d support me anyway, RIGHT??? :P

I miss my cats.

EDIT: I changed the temporary theme since you (Jack) were complaining about it.  I’ll find time to make a real one featuring Piggy, probably after TOC.  Also, I guess I miss you too.

FF13

Last semester I bought FF13. I think I’m only around 30 hours into it. This is a bit strange, given that normally when I buy a game such as this I tend to play it to completion. Unfortunately, I normally fall asleep after playing for an hour.

FF13

You can ignore all those stupid reviews of people talking about how linear FF13 is. I could care less. This is a JRPG. When have JRPG’s ever been non-linear? Just because western companies like BioWare have started making succesful non-linear RPGs where every decision you make has some sort of moral consequence does not imply that I want to have that in all my games. What do I expect from a JRPG? It should be pretty, it should have a fun battle system with depth, and it should have a reasonably interesting story.

Start with the good and move to the bad. FF13 is pretty. The graphics are pretty much some of the best things I have ever seen. Good job Square.

Moving on, FF stories have continuously gotten more and more bizarre as time progresses. Back in they day RPGs had a bad guy who took over the world and you had to stop him. You had a clear end goal and everything done in the game was building up towards that. I’ve progressed 30 hours into the game and I still have no clear indication of what I’m doing and who I’m fighting. All I know is some people want me to do destroy Cocoon but i don’t want to. So now I’m wondering around randomly in hope that through sheer determination and hard work a solution will present itself. It took me hours just to figure out what a Fal’cie was and I’m still not sure what their purpose is in this game. I have no motivation to play because I don’t know what I’m doing.

I still have no idea what this is…
FF13_3

Then you move to the battle system and it all goes down the shitter. On paper, I could see where the designers were going. You have 3 party members and they each are assigned a role, either DPS, tank, healer, buffer or debuffer. Then you can switch the roles of your party to fit the need. Enemy deals an infrequent burst of damage then switch to a tank with healer. Need to DPS down something, switch to 3 DPS. Long fight buff your part first then DPS. For boss fights, this works our relatively well. You are frequently switching between roles depending on the situation.

When fighting trash however, everything breaks. There is no point in buffing yourself because you might as well put 3 DPS and power down the enemy before you take too much damage. If your health lowers, you switch one person to healer and continue on. This gets unbelievably repetitive. It doesn’t matter if trash is unique because I do the exact same set of commands for each one.

To make matters worse, they will periodically place monsters that are clearly too strong for your current level right in the middle of your pathway. The game states that “Some monsters are too strong for you. You should skip them and fight them later when you are stronger.” Why the fuck would you do that? It would be like FF7 when you have to use a Chocobo to get around the Midgar Zolom, except they don’t tell you about it. Not to mention that sometimes, these monsters won’t seem unkillable for a few minutes. Then all of a sudden they will do some super attack and wipe your party. So you just wasted 5 minutes attacking a monster that you should have bypassed in the first place.

Even if you do end up killing him after 15 minutes of tank and spanking it, you get no reward and less experience than if you had just killed 5 little shit monsters. At least if you fought the Midgar Zolom you could get Beta. It’s a terrible design decision to place super strong monsters periodically throughout the hallways with the intention of you skipping them.

Finally, you have no control over the movement of your characters. You can’t have you characters spread apart to avoid area of effect spells and it’s frustrating as hell to watch as the 3 of your characters act retarded and deliberately move in front of the monster spewing a frontal cone of fire.

It is clearly the best strategy to group up here.
FF13_2

I was already pissed as hell in Dragon Age when the other AI controlled characters would walk across a pit of fire to follow me instead of going around, but at least you could control your main character (I actually liked Dragon Age’s battle system except for the AI). My guess is Square’s design team had a team meeting that went like this:

Designer 1: You know what game was great? Wii Tennis!
Designer 2: I agree. There have been tons of Tennis sim games before where you had to control your player’s movement AND swing the racket. But Wii Tennis makes it so much easier by having terrible AI control your movement.
Designer 1: Yes. It turns a game with depth into a game where all you do is look at a pixel and when it flashes you swing the controller.
Designer 2: This gives me a great idea. Let’s make a battle system where you can’t move and just press X to attack over and over again. We have an engine that could support movement, but we’d rather use a system that the SNES used.

If you’re going to make positioning relevant for the battle system, why would you not give us control on where we can walk? The only thing I’ve found to semi-control this is to exploit the fact that ranged attacks make your character stay in place while melee attacks move them closer to the enemy. But most of the time it doesn’t matter cause the boss will move around in circles while we’re stuck standing still.

Other gripes:
The music in this game is terrible. Everything sounds like eurotrance or something you would take LSD and get fucked up to. I guess I can blame this on the lack of Nobuo Uematsu.

The Paradigm system that determines roles doesn’t save them for parties. So whenever you switch your party members in and out, you have to go and reset each and every individual role setting. Talk about a stupid oversight.

Vanille’s English voice actress needs to shoot herself.