A Gamer Geek's Cogitations, Conjectures and other Cortical Experiences

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Disney and Galaxy’s Edge [Cont.]

There is nothing else more to say about Magic Kingdom or Epcot, other than masks it was very similar to my last visit. The one difference between then and now is the absence of Fast Pass. Let’s be honest though, you don’t want me to talk about those other parks. As an avid Star Wars fan, you want me to talk about Galaxy’s Edge.

It’s taken me over a month to write this post and its primarily because I don’t know what to say about Galaxy’s Edge. There is so much about it that I loved I just don’t know where to start.

The Rides

There are two rides, Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run. Rise of the Resistance is unlike any ride I’ve ever been on, when it’s operating. Apparently this ride breaks down a lot so I imagine there are often several disgruntled guests. It’s like they took Star Tours and made it more immersive. It’s probably one of the most popular rides at Hollywood Studios so getting on the ride is a challenge.

Falcon Cockpit (Pilot 2)
Falcon Cockpit – Pilot 2 – Lightspeed Controls

Smuggler’s Run also went beyond my expectations. It’s going to be better for anyone that knows The Clone Wars, otherwise the appearance of Hondo Ohnaka isn’t as exciting. This ride is like Star Tours but more engaging. There are 6 “places” for “riders” and you are IN THE FREAKING COCKPIT of the Millennium Falcon. There are spots for 2 pilots, 2 gunners and 2 engineers. My suggestion, be the pilot on the right; that person gets to make the jump to lightspeed!

It’s Really Immersive!

Disney Imagineers are amazing and they pulled out all the stops when designing Galaxy’s Edge. To put this place into context of the Star Wars universe, it’s a spaceport called Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu. Before the Empire and the invention of hyperspace travel, this spaceport was a popular place for travelers heading to Wild Space. Now it’s desolate and often forgotten. It’s kind of a Radiator Springs of the Galaxy’s Outer Rim Territories.

Door control in Galaxy’s Edge

To give the illusion that you are in a spaceport, Disney has speakers discretely positioned all around. These speakers are constantly playing ambient noises of a bustling spaceport. Everything from the manhole covers to the light fixtures and door switches are all styled to look like you’re on a planet from Star Wars. The cast members are trained to use esoteric vocabulary such as “credits” instead of “dollars”. Cast members that are in costume are also supposed to engage with guests to create a more immersive experience. Unfortunately, due to the covid restrictions, they could only stand and wave from afar.

This place felt so immersive that I could have sat at an outdoor cantina all day. I would feel perfectly happy just sitting there and watching the people, listening to the sound effects and drinking blue milk (which is delicious!). Of all the parks we visited, I took the most pictures at Galaxy’s Edge. I am working on a gallery where I will eventually post all the pictures.

Of course I built a lightsaber (with my daughter). It’s so fun and an amazing experience. It’s also a bit expensive which is why we did not create a droid during this visit.

I could go on but this post grows most verbose. If you haven’t been to a Galaxy’s Edge park yet, I highly recommend it. Especially if you are an avid Star Wars fan.

/MTFBWY

The Force. It calls to you. Just let it in.

 

Disney and Galaxy’s Edge

Disney and Galaxy's Edge

As crazy as it sounds, we went to Disney World last month. I know, COVID!! When we bought the tickets and made all the reservations things were improving. We thought the only thing we would have to worry about were hurricanes. It’s amazing how much can change in three months but cancelling would mean we were out quite a chunk of change. So we bought masks and stocked up on hand sanitizer and we made plans on how we can be safe. I’m sure some folks are curious about our trip to Disney and Galaxy’s Edge so that’s what I’m here to talk about.

But, but COVID!!

Yes, the cases of covid and delta variant are rising and Florida, apparently, is one of the bad states. All but one of us were vaccinated; Bee isn’t eligible yet so we made sure she wore a mask most frequently. We have masks that breath well in the heat and I’ll be honest, it really wasn’t that bad. It only really sucked for pictures but if my 7 year old can do it without complaining, then so can I. Strange that a child complains less than most adults about masks.

Disney does enforce that masks are worn while indoors, in line and on all attractions. We wore our masks the majority of the time in the parks, even outdoors in the open air. In fact the only time we ever took them off is if we weren’t around a lot of people, or eating. Magic Kingdom seems to have the largest crowd. It’s the most difficult park to find sufficient open space to take the mask off, even for just a minute.

We are now beyond two weeks since we visited the last park and nobody is sick. I guess our precautions paid off.

Which Parks Did We Visit?

We planned for 5 days at the parks. However, our budget and scheduling only allowed for us to visit 4 parks. Epcot was our first park and our primary objective there was the World Showcase. We thought it would be fun to try different foods from each of the countries represented. About a third of the way through it occurred to me, I should be drying beer at each world, provided beer was available. A choice I should have made much sooner (and one I think I will do again).

We spent two days at the Magic Kingdom. It’s the bigger park and the one our daughter would enjoy the most. We splurged and did the “Be Our Guest” lunch in Belle’s castle. The food is pretty damn good and the atmosphere is great (despite the covid restrictions).

This was also my first time visiting Animal Kingdom. I’ll admit, I’m not terribly impressed. The Pandora section of the park is about the only thing worth visiting. We went on both rides which were OK. I’m not sure why the line for “Flight of the Avatar” is so long. I feel like this ride would be better as an actual rollercoaster. As it is, it’s essentially Soarin 2.0.

We didn’t go to Universal Studios this time, but we did go to Hollywood Studios; home of Galaxy’s Edge! More on that in Part 2.

WoW: Male Chauvinism is Disgusting

First off I would like to begin by apologizing for my gender. If you’ve been paying attention to the various World of Warcraft media sources I’m sure you are aware of the lawsuit that has been filed against Activision Blizzard. I don’t really want to get into the details because male chauvinism is disgusting and embarrassing. I’ll be honest, I haven’t read all of the allegations because I had to stop reading. It’s so gross and uncouth that I couldn’t bring myself to finish. That kind of sophomoric behavior does NOT belong in the workplace.

I’ll admit that I can have a pretty sophomoric mind at times. I will make rather off-color remarks to my guy friends. Emphasis on guy. I may make some pretty immature statements to guys I’ve known for almost 30 years but I would never make those same comments to a female. I would never say it, think it or type it. NEVER! I don’t think its ever appropriate in ANY context. “Boys will be boys” but we should know when to be gentlemen too. If I see or hear any guy making an inappropriate comment to a female co-worker, friend, gamer, even a stranger, I’ll record you and report you.

Will I Cancel My Sub?

The short answer is No, but I thought about it. I gave it some very serious consideration. Cancelling my sub could stick it to them where it hurts. On the other hand, if we all stopped buying their games and paying their subs, then hundreds of thousands of people would be out of a job. The gaming industry and gaming community has been a male dominated culture for years so it still wouldn’t stop this kind of thing from happening.

Then I saw this tweet from former Blizzard Developer Cher Scarlett:

Cher is spearheading an effort to collect witnesses for this lawsuit. You can read more about her and other devs in this Massively OP article.

I’m one of the good guys. I don’t treat women poorly. If I leave the game; if every guy like me leaves the game, then who is left? All that remains are the toxic, disgusting male pigs and the victims. I would essentially be abandoning the victims. My wife plays this game with me. Thankfully she has not been harassed, however if she had been, I would want someone to report it and stop it. If I leave, then I’m just turning a blind eye to it.

There is the old adage “If You See Something, Say Something”. While I have not witnessed any harassment in the game you can bet I’m going to be a lot more vigilant. I will have my Alt + Print Screen fingers ready. If I see or hear any player say something remotely offensive to a female player, you will be reported. Keyboard anonymity cannot protect you. Your avatar is tied to an account. Your account has a name and that name has a credit card number. Credit Card numbers have addresses.

You. Are. Not. As. Anonymous. As. You. Think!

What Do I Expect From Blizzard?

I’m expecting Blizzard to do something to make this right. They need to take some public action. Now! It’s time to clean house. The current president, J Alan Brack, needs to step down. I think it would be a great statement if he is replaced by a female. However it would need to be a qualified, zero tolerance female; not some token female just for appearances.

Also, any Blizzard employee mentioned as part of this lawsuit needs to be fired. Any former Blizzard employee needs to be prosecuted. Any of these employees that have been immortalized as an NPC (ex: Alex Afrasiabi) in the game, needs to be replaced/removed. This can be done with a hot fix or tomorrows maintenance.

To all the victims out there, I’m sorry this is happening to you and I am praying for you. I have been a developer for 20+ years and I have never seen this kind of behavior at any of the places where I have worked. If I did, I assure you I would have reported it. This makes me sick to my stomach.

Happy Fourth of July!!

I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

I know we all believe different things. We all want what’s right and just for everyone, regardless of which side of the aisle you stand on.

We all love Star Wars, regardless of whether you are an old school OT fan, a PT fan, an ST fan or a fan of it all (like me).

It doesn’t matter whether your For the (filthy) Horde or For the Alliance!

This country gives us the freedom to do so. After a very difficult year last year, let’s try to put our differences aside and just stand together, united to celebrate our nations birthday!

This is the way.

 

2021 Intentions Mid-Year Review

Time to check in on the progress of my 2021 Intentions. Accountability is one of the best ways to motivate yourself to stick to your goals. So let’s review what I am hoping to accomplish this year. Starting with personal health goals, which are my main goals for the year. There are two areas of personal health I discussed in my new years intentions: physical and mental.

Mental Health

The coronavirus is almost behind us. The CDC is relaxing it’s policy on masks and many states (including my own) are beginning to lift all the health restrictions. Stadiums are slowly filling up again and stores are removing their “mask required” signs. These actions, alone, are already helping my mental health. I feel the stress and anxiety fading away. I think, in the weeks to come, it will all be gone (although I’m sure it will be replaced by something else, because anxiety is a bitch).

The “get organized” goal started out well, but kind of fell to the side. My technical projects suddenly took over (more on that later). I was doing well reducing how much I use Facebook and Twitter. I even gave them up for Lent this year. However it seems I’ve fallen back into old habits. Although, I haven’t seen too much whining and complaining. Twitter is easy for me to ignore when the butthurt gets too much. I think the fact that things in the US are starting to get back to normal has probably calmed the tits of most people on Facebook, which has made it more tolerable.

Physical Health

My running goal this year is to improve my daily running distance to 6+ miles; basically a 10k a day. I also want to improve my push distance to 9 miles. I have not reached these goals yet, however, I do have a strategy in mind for my 6+ mile daily run. Another fitness goal this year, although I didn’t say it in my intentions post, is to add a pre-workout to all my running workouts. Therefore three days a week I work on exercises for strengthening my core and the other two days (because I only work out 5 days a week) I work on strength training. This has become habit now, although I do have to skip them from time to time depending on my work schedule.

The past couple of weeks I realized I need to add something to my workout routine. Leg day. I’ve noticed my legs are getting sore and it’s affecting my endurance, which I need in order to improve to 6 miles a day. Therefore I will be adding exercises to my pre-workouts or I need to add a “leg day” workout. I may actually pick one of the days of the weekend to be leg day; most likely Saturday depending on the intensity of the workout. If you have some leg day workouts please send them my way.

Professional and Technical Development Goals

I have begun development of the new website. In the process of redesigning I am also learning a new website framework; I’m using React. There is still quite a bit of work left to do before the different components are fully functional. I have started researching new themes for the blog since I have to replace Suffusion. I haven’t picked anything yet nor have I found any themes I’m even considering. This one might take a while.

Development slowed down for a few weeks when my NAS machine died. Thankfully I didn’t lose anything, however I had to spend a bit of money to get it back up and running. We bought a system from TrueNAS (formally known as FreeNAS) as well as upgraded all the drives to 8 TB Seagate Ironwolf. When we finished the server is now running from an SSD (instead of a thumb drive) and now has 16 TB of mirrored space.

Reading Challenge Progress

The reading challenge is coming along all right. Last month I was 2 books behind but I recently finished a book and I’m already a quarter of the way through another book. Currently I am only 1 book behind; I expect to be on track before the end of this month. I am 13 books into the Dresden Files, I hope to be as close to “caught up” as I can be by the end of the year. The Dresden books are so much to read. In fact I’ve started collecting them all in print and I plan to start reading them again as soon as I’m caught up. I’m not sure if I will get to reading the Inheritance Series again. We will see how the rest of the year goes.

How are your New Years goals coming along?

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

The (Belated) Bad Idea Birthday Challenge Post

I’ve been lazy. Actually I’ve been busy with a few real life things and I’ve been learning a new programming language. When I start something new like that, I get a little obsessed and I lose track of my other hobbies and activities. I’ve also been rebuilding my NAS server. I will write more about that stuff at a later time. My birthday was a month ago and I’ll be honest, I haven’t completed a Bad Idea Birthday Challenge this year and I don’t know if I will do one.

In the past years I’ve calculated a distance based on my age using some kind of conjured equation. First it was my age divided by 10, then it was my age in kilometers, divided by 10. Obviously the pandemic changed everything last year.

What’s In Store for 2021?

I don’t know. We are still trying to come out from under these pandemic restrictions so most races are still virtual, delayed or cancelled (again). I kind of made a fitness goal in my 2021 intentions by completing a 15k and I may still do that but I haven’t decided if I’m going to do it as part of an official run. My daily average is up to 5.3 miles with my farthest 2021 distance at about 7.3 miles. Perhaps it’s best if I make it a flexible challenge this year.

My new daily average goal is 6+ miles (roughly a 10K every day) and to finally break the 9 mile mark on a push day. I will try to sign up and complete some kind of organized race (virtual or in-person – I am fully vaccinated now). If something strikes me as a worthy “birthday challenge” then I can revaluate my goals. In the mean time, I guess my “bad idea birthday challenge” and my 2021 goals are one-in-the-same.

Also, a quick amusing side note. I’ve kind of become a neighborhood celebrity. People are always waving at me from their cars or their front yards so frequently it feels like I’m in a parade. A few people have commented on how much weight I’ve lost or ask far I run every day. I also receive many “thumbs up” and even the occasional applause. It’s actually quite motivating.

/cheers

minions_icon

I could accomplish so much more if I only had minions!

 

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