Thursday, 21 April 2011

Counting down. #17 | Portal readthrough/review Pt. 1!

Hey everyone!

getting closer to the end of the countdown, and some of you already know what's gonna happen, some won't. I'll make sure to update my blog when the time is there :)
Right now just enjoying my few days off, enjoying the hot easter days here. Today hit 77°F and tomorrow and saturday look just as promising.

Currently tracking the weather over the US, looks like the Dallas-Fort Worth area might see some Tornadic action. In my mind I have selected a target, and I hope to see some action near it :)

Also time for a little review of Portal 2!

-----------ATTENTION: SPOILERS BELOW--------------------

Right, here we go. First of all, I would like to say job well done to the team at Valve. They delivered yet another epic Portal instalment, and Portal 2 left me screaming for more. Luckily I have yet to test the coop mode, which is supposed to help me to another 6 hours of Portal fun, because the campaign lasted me about 6 hours. Which makes the claim that it was twice as long (the story mode, that is) as Portal 1 true. Because Portal 1 lasted me about 3 hours first time I played that.
So, in chapter one you wake up from 'relaxation' vault, to be instructed to do some exercises. No, don't worry, it won't take long. It's basically a snap of the neck, and a glare at a small painting on the wall. all accompanied with buzzers. The instructor voice gladly supplies you with 5 seconds of eartearingly loud classical music, followed by a even louder buzzer. After you are instructed to go back to sleep, you wake up again, with the room severely neglected and someone banging at the door.

After you open the door, you meet the first Character that will more or less stick with you throughout the game: Wheatley!  Wheatley has a charming British accent, and after he tells you you likely have brain damage, you'll agree that he sounds a tad brain damaged himself.
After he gets the room moving, you get to see something new for Portal: Highly detailed damage animations. The room basically falls apart around you, and for the rest of the game, you are going to see epic and vivid animations, some very small, and some gigantic. My laptop did not agree with this new higher requirement, so I sadly had to turn down the settings a bit, but hey, can't blame Valve for that, I just need a better laptop.

Your room in suspension. Not too shabby really!

There goes the neighbourhood..

That is all for now. Will add another part soon!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Next up: Monday

Hello everyone!

Time for another update, and let me start by saying all businesses around the world are bastards. My laptop  battery has reached the end of his life, and now Dell wants me to pay either 155 euros, or 155 dollars. As some of you might know, currently the euro has greater strength over the dollar, to a €1 : $1.44 ratio. This means that they basically just copied the price right over, but make about 50 euros extra on every sell they make. (without shipping costs). Another company who seems to be good at this scam is Valve, with their online store Steam. Initially they offered games in dollars only, but ever since it became clear to them that converting prices on 1:1 ratios was better, we now pay prices in euros that are way higher than they should be.
Recently steam has cleaned up its act, and reduced the European prices to their american equivalent, but there is no such thing as a refund for the amount of money that way paid too much.

Another thought here: Last night a highly dangerous and active tornado filled system churned away at the east coast, and killed at least 47 people so far. This number will most likely rise in the next few days.
It seems that the south and east got their taste of the first big Breakout this year (and possible of the last few years) and even though the US has great warning systems for tornadic weather events, apparently people were still caught off guard, and outside. The amount of 'false' alarms (tornado on the ground, but not near people) might have contributed to this, but people should always listen to the warnings, and watch the news if they hear the sirens. We're not invincible, and when you think you're safe, it's going to come at you the hardest...
And no doubt it will happen again in a few years, when people get lulled into a false sense of security after things calm down. Sad.

Right, I promised you some photos of the AutoRai, here are my favorites:

Cya next time!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Belofte maakt schuld.

Belofte maakt schuld. Dat slaat vandaag vooral op hetgeen wat ik een aantal blogs eerder al zei, namelijk dat ik in twee talen zou bloggen. En aangezien Engels na een tijdje gaat vervelen, doen we het vandaag maar eventjes op z'n Nederlandschhh.

Vandaag gelukkig gevlogen, gisteren nog lichtelijk geïrriteerd dat Operations alle Instructors naar huis stuurde, en ik toen geen kant meer op kon. Vandaag was dat gelukkig allemaal weer op orde, en kon er alsnog gevlogen worden. Het circuit uit gegaan, stukje de omgeving gaan verkennen. Onder ander Paleis het Loo en de IJssel zijn leuke landmarks om te bekijken. Toch zit ik onderhand wel op Fase 3 te wachten, zodat ik eindelijk eens fatsoenlijke stukken ga navigeren door Nederland. Hoe mooi ik het oosten ook vind, na bijna 35 vlieguren hier in de regio wil ik wel eens wat anders zien, een keertje Texel of Seppe lijkt mij wel leuk. Of natuurlijk Groningen/Maastricht aangezien dit een van de Nederlandse zogenaamde gecontroleerde velden zijn! Goeie oefening voor de R/T (Radiotelefonie). Over R/T gesproken, die mag ik wel eens bijspijkeren, ik moet misschien maandag wel naar Niederrhein in Duitsland, en daar wordt ook verwacht dat ik weet waar hij het over heeft haha.

Dit was het dan eventjes voor nu, ben druk Meteo in de states aan het volgen, over niet al te lange tijd tenslotte een vakantie daar waar Meteo de nadruk gaat hebben in de activiteiten op het programma.
Maar daarover later meer.
Dit weekend: AutoRai met m'n pa, moet leuk worden. Hoop hier een zooitje foto's te posten zondag of zaterdag avond!

Liftoff, we have a liftoff!

Hey everyone!

Gonna do a short update today, don't have too much time to write my thoughts today. I got to fly for another hour and some 20 minutes, which was rather nice. Stable weather, 5kt winds at max.  Just too bad we're not seeing the sun due to the overcast way up high.
Currently following the weather events in the US, looks like an active evening with a LOT of damaging hail and quite a few tornadoes is up ahead.
Check out the for detailed information and a graphical outline of the affected areas. People of NE TX and OK, keep those eyes and ears open.

Excited about my vacation coming up really soon, only a few more weeks!

That's it. (I told you it'd be short!)
I'm going to visit the Autorai in Amsterdam this weekend, so expect a nice photo update late this weekend!


Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Wednesday, 13th of April. Part 2

As promised, part 2 of this day.

Didn't get to fly in the end, school sent home too many instructors and forgot I still needed a signed consent to fly solo in the afternoon... Oh well, can't have it all I suppose.
Had a bit of late-afternoon surprise fitness, when a paratrooper (you know, the old style half-sphere parachute militia) suddenly was picked up by the wind, and was being forced towards the hangars. Luckily he missed the buildings and landed in the grass beyond that, just meters short of the road that runs behind it.
Also, what the f-- is going on with our traffic these days.. almost had 2 accidents today, both involving the other party ignoring or running a red light straight in front of me. People need to calm down, or leave home earlier. If you want to risk your own safety, go take a lesson in swamp scuba diving, but don't bother us with your half-arsed driving actions only to run late for work ANYWAYS. ACK.

Just glad to hear I will get another chance to fly tomorrow, and that the weather is showing promising signs of long-term stable weather. I really need that right now!

Short update, but that's life eh? =P

Wednesday, 13th of April. Part 1

Good morning everybody!

Time to start some serious blogging. The current plan is a twice-daily update on this blog, covering some random items that are on my mind, or things I would like to share with you.

So right now I'm at school, waiting for my flying slot to open up.. the good part is that the weather will stay clear (apart from the tough breeze) the bad part is that they make me come to school at 10.00am to have me flying by 05.40pm.. AND I have to help put the aircraft back into the hangar around 08.00pm I estimate.
I guess I shouldn't complain since not everybody can go to school to go flying and dick about in the skies until they've had enough for one day.. I'm probably just Jaded.
But anyways, I'm supposed to fly a 1:20 hour slot today, do some basic training and just gather some solo flying confidence. Maybe I'll go and see the gardens of the Palace 'Het Loo' today. It IS very sunny, and those gardens are a beauty, been there multiple times (very good photography material too!).

So, for now I can only discusss my flight planning, but I hope that tonight I can blog about the flight itself, hopefully without incident =D

Apparantly the Political party PVV is asking for re-closure of our borders (which were opened to other Euro countries after the Shengen deal thingy.). The upside to this apparantly is the decreased inflow of foreign (non-european) luck-seekers and unemployed. The downside obviously is the decreased freedom and ease of transition into another country next to the Netherlands (Belgium, Germany) which I do find rather convenient. My view is that we should cut back on who we give social security, and focus more on the people that really NEED it, and less on the pouters and people that just WANT it. ffs.

Also, a Cessna 152 is still rather heavy if you have to pull and push it across semi-wet grass. FML.

That's it for now, I might add a little extra in a while, and otherwise cya peeps tonight!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

And one final test for today

This is a short post to confirm that Windows Live Writer works with this account. Easier to manage my posts from my desktop.

I will also add my first decent blog, since I feel like doing one right now.
Earlier this week, an individual decided to play his favorite game in real life, and took the lives of 7 people (including himself). The debates going on right now are concerning our gun control laws (who apparently aren’t as strict as they like to make us think it is) and the effects of violent games on mentally less stable people.
The first point I can understand. Guns do not belong in the every household of the Netherlands, and I have no wish for the laws to be less strict either. Apparently background checks were not sufficient, and that’s quite serious, considering firearms are a rarity in this country. You’d expect the police to at least do a decent background check before they let you buy, and take home firearms.

Now, on to the games part. Certain political parties now want a ban on violent games, and I do not agree. We don’t need censorship on our videogames, and secondly, a ban on the import would simply be overruled by downloading. Either illegally or legally. The fact still is that shops should check for age limitations as depicted on the back of the game case, but I have also bought games at the age of 14 that were rated 18+ and rated M+ for (extreme) violence. Shops should get the same checks like alcohol checks, if you fail to check kids for their age vs. the desired game to buy, you get fined. Of course this can also be avoided by kids, by just downloading (And these days 12 year olds roam the popular torrenting websites and maybe even the binaries groups) but at least you have a feasible start to controlling which games are played by certain aged kids.

Another issue with the violent games is that certain people will completely sink away in games (especially at a younger age like I used to do) and spend hours in isolation behind a computer screen. However bad this probably was for my youth (difficulty with personal social contact) I still don’t feel the urge to grab a semi-automatic weapon, and shoot random people in a shopping mall. The difference is really individual, and the biggest problem in this, is that people can’t seem to let go of certain things they do in-game. They get too personal with a game, identify themselves with the character they are playing. And of course even I sometimes fantasize about how cool it would be if life WAS a game, and you could sometimes solve things like you did in a game, but still this doesn’t convince me that deadly violence on strangers is a way to resolve my personal problems.
So should we deny games to people who are psychotic or mentally unstable? Possibly, yes. But since we have no permanent all-seeing record of someone’s sanity (thank god) we can’t possible enforce something like this. Even if we did, I wouldn’t want a store knowing what my mental state is, some privacy is still dear to me.

The last fact to this tragedy is that the police just bluntly failed to check up on this person’s mental state. A simple check would’ve let them known that this person had psychological problems before, and they would’ve never given him a firearms license, and he would’ve never been able to grab hold of a personal sidearm. The rest is simple really, the person who did it was addicted to Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. For you who have roamed YouTube for some helicopter/guns/warfare videos you will have undoubtingly seen MF2 gamers state their 2 cents, only to be burned down by other commenters. Somehow their total dedication to this game makes them think they are skilled marksmen.
This person also had a license for personal sidearm, and regularly shot a few rounds at a  shooting range. The switch between gaming and real life for him probably wasn’t there anymore. And now we have 7 people dead.

Great. Good job guys, and while these things happen, we still wait for more cuts to come in the police section. Hooray.

That’s all for now folks!