(Il)Logical Progression

Random Musings by the Truly Random

Goal achieved! One down.

That’s one thing I can mark off my list as complete.  Last night was the Lady Antebellum 2012 Own the Night Tour concert in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, and it was awesome.

I can’t think of any other words to describe it.

The seat I had in the first level was great – in front of the stage, no obstructions, and it was an aisle seat, with room to spare. The people in the section were energetic, adding their own fuel to the concert – dancing, laughing, and in general having a great time.  It was a packed house, loud and heartpounding, and I’m sure I used up my voice cheering and singing along.

It was a great night of music to be had by three artists (well, there were six artists, in three ‘groups’) – Thompson Square, Darius Rucker, and Lady Antebellum.

The show started with Thompson Square, who as relative newcomers to the country scene, performed a shorter set of 4 songs that were pretty well received.  In true LA fashion, though, the crowd was muddling on in – the arena seemed like it was only about half full for the duo, yet there was still a good energy through the arena.

Darius Rucker was the second act of the show.  His performance was fantastic – over ten songs, with a couple of Hootie and the Blowfish classics, and Prince’s “Purple Rain” as the closer.  His voice is impressive – powerful and resonant, just as it sounds on the radio.  Being most familiar with his songs, I taxed my voice, singing along in the crowd, our section standing, singing, dancing and yelling to the entire set.  It was an amazing presentation, and by the end of it, I wasn’t sure if it could be topped – Darius performed like he was the main act, and not the second act of three.  I think he must have been up on stage for nearly an hour – and it was about 8:30pm when his set finished – an hour and a half after the concert started.

To my surprise, Lady Antebellum came out and topped Darius’ performance – home-run over the fence style.  16 songs, including a section of classics where the other performers came back out and sang in a large group, and a guest performance by Ryan Tedder of One Republic.  They played all their major songs, had the now-packed Staples Center’s audience totally immersed in the show, dancing and singing along with the group on stage.  From the start of the set with “Own the Night” to the ‘encore’ performance of “Need You Now”, it was a non-stop energy packed festival of light, music, and song.  It was a completely awesome show, from start to finish, and the time flew.

From start to finish, the concert ran nearly four hours, and yet it didn’t feel long at all.  I left happy, with that buzz in my ears that comes from three hours of live music, and barely a squeak of a voice.

And credit has to be given to Shauna and Chelsea from the OC who were the self-appointed rallying point that maintained the energy in our section.  It only added to the experience.

Thompson Square was great.  Darius Rucker was off the scale.  Lady Antebellum owned the night.

What more could a country music fan want?

One down, many, many more to go.

My 2 yen,

Akiosama

March 28, 2012 Posted by | General Musings | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Glass half full? Glass half empty? I dunno…

It’s been a while since I’ve been inspired enough to write something here – I’m surprised that there are still hits coming in.  For those who are still looking around here, thanks.

I’ve been trying to keep busy here – been working on some models for Warmachine, playing lots of Star Wars – The Old Republic, reading (finally finished Eldest), and catching up on television programs that I like (such as Game of Thrones).  Some days, though, it feels like I’m just getting through the day, other days it actually feels like I’m doing something (semi-?) productive.

One thing, though, that I’ve been told, recently, is that I can be a pretty negative person, especially when it comes to myself.  Me?  Negative?  I never used to think so – I always felt that I was a ‘look on the brighter side’ kind of person.  But I do think that my friend is right in a lot of ways – I’m pretty positive… when it comes to other people.  When it comes to myself, I tend to be a doomsayer, I think.

“I’m not crazy, I’m just a little unwell…” – Matchbox Twenty, “Unwell”

Yeah, I think I’m a little crazy.  Well, actually, I know I’m crazy in some ways, but that’s not what I’m talking about here – I mean insane by Einstein’s definition.

“Insanity:  doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

Every day, I feel like I do the same things.  Same motions at work.   Same hobbies.  Same interactions with others.  And I wonder why things don’t change.  I see myself doing the same things in similar situations and while it feels like maybe things will be different this time, eventually things feel like they’re heading back in the same, rather disappointing directions.  Although, I am pushing myself this year to do things differently, there’s a great deal of inertia to overcome – the inertia of my past habits – and it’s been an uphill climb.

And further, that positivism that I can offer up to others?  Very different from the attitudes I carry about myself.  I need to believe I can succeed, in order to succeed.

This all came up over a night of Star Wars talking about PvP, and the capabilities of classes.  I was running Arsenal on my Mercenary at the time, a great PvE build, but I was getting murdered in PvP, because its main weapon – Tracer Missile – is a stationary shot with a 1.4 second cast time.  I’d get hit while shooting, and not really have anything else I could do once set upon, since the bulk of my abilities have cast times – making them useless when trying to run – and those I could use while running just didn’t hit hard enough.  I have a couple of unreliable interrupts, and very little crowd control.  Blah, blah, blah…

This topic is not a new one for me, and my friend had pretty much become tired of hearing me complain about my class, my performance, and how I just wasn’t any good at PvP.  She told me so, in plain, clear language that she’d heard enough, didn’t want to hear anymore about it, and that if I didn’t like it that I needed to own up and do something about it.

It went a bit further downhill after that, and she pointed out to me, rightfully so, that I – a) am not nearly as poor a player as I portray and think I am, b) that my performance in that Arsenal spec was not as bad as I made it out to be as I had been playing it, c) that I could hold my own against the people we regularly play with, and d) that I wasn’t really playing it as well as I could be, because I wasn’t playing it as what it is – a ranged DPS spec – that I was running in and trying to play the front lines and getting killed for it.

And it’s all pretty much true – I definitely wasn’t adapting in PvP and was just complaining about the poor(-ish?) results I felt I was getting doing it the same way almost every time.

Talking to a couple other people, reading up on it a bit, and actually thinking about it, I realized I needed to change my playstyle in order to change the outcome.

It worked that night – I started trying to survive, and snipe, instead of running into the firefight every time, and lo and behold, my performance stats went up.  I earned badges faster.  I was able to get more PvP gear.  My performance went up as my gear got better…  See a trend?

So, with all that in mind, I started looking around online, and I found something that would boost my performance way up in PvP – a new build.  A mobile build.  One I could go toe-to-toe effectively with people at a distance and up close.  Pyrotech build  (3/7/31).

It’s an amazing build.  It ratcheted my damage up by nearly 200% and my survivability like crazy.

And for the first time in a long time, I felt like I was able to keep up in those WarZones.  I wasn’t just going out to die.  I was enjoying the fights and doing well.

Now, I’m still not all the way there – I have to learn a bit more on tactics and awareness, but I’m better than I was before I made the switch.  And the best part is, after the first time I used it, I felt like I could do this.  And that’s the important thing.

And it’s important I remember that, so that I can transfer it to my work and other hobbies.  I’m actually painting again, a little bit here and there, and right now, the Reinholdt, Gobber Speculator I’m working on is looking decent.

Learning to persevere and to have some confidence in myself is going to be important for a lot of the goals I have my eye on this year – job, personal, and hobby-related.  And this all is a first step – I’m a slow learner sometimes, but it’s really far past time to get over the fact that while I’m probably not going to be the very best at anything I do, that it doesn’t mean I’m not good at what I do, and that I need to determine a realistic level of performance to aim for and to be happy when I reach it.

Old dog.  New trick?  I think so.

The glass is always full – 1/2 drink, 1/2 air.

My 2 yen,

Akiosama

“Yeah you may think that I’m a zero
But hey, everyone you wanna be
Probably started off like me…

Just go ahead and hate on me and run your mouth
So everyone can hear
Hit me with the worst you got and knock me down
Baby I don’t care
Keep it up and soon enough you’ll figure out
You wanna be, you wanna be
A loser like me
A loser like me…”

-New Directions, Glee, “Loser Like Me”

March 27, 2012 Posted by | General Musings, Life, Star Wars - The Old Republic | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Guinea Pig Dragged in

My Lord,

There has been excellent progress in the last month regarding our project.  The vessel is coming together exquisitely, and is responding to the tests well.  The shell has proven strong, withstanding the full brunt of a cannon with little more than a scratch.  Traditional magic has proven somewhat trickier to defend against, but marked improvement has been seen in this area as well, with the shell absorbing a significant portion of the incoming magical energies.  There are still issues with the dissipation of the remaining energies, as the shell still buckles under impact from pseudomagefire, though this may not delay progress as much as it might seem at first, given the dearth of pseudomagi we will face.  I believe when the time comes, Sire, that there will be little to worry about with the shell of the vessel.

The soul engine is also progressing smoothly.  It appears to be converting souls at a fairly efficient rate, though we have not yet exercised the engine, as the frame and shell are still being created.  The engine’s power seems sufficient for the theoretical frame, and I believe that we shall be able to manage to keep the vessel stoked with souls once events begin to move.  This engine will be unlike any engine created before it, and will suit my Lord’s purposes perfectly.

The issue still remains with the vessel’s psyche units – we are still seeing madness manifesting in the test vessels using the master-slave units.  Over time, it appears that the slave souls degrade, and within a matter of days, the master-slave unit functions with no better performance than a standard psyche unit.  Further testing will be necessary, especially given the fact that this significant a decay is present in a one-master-one-slave unit, and that my Lord’s vessel will require a psyche unit far more complex.

Testing of the remaining factor should begin soon, your Majesty.  A suitable candidate has been selected, and preparations are being made for his acquisition.  There will be a cost to this acquisition, but I believe that as I have already discussed with my Lord, the sacrifices will be worth it, in the end.  The test vessel has already been readied, and the blending of the test vessel’s appearance with that of my Lord’s regular forces appears flawless.  It appears to be a typical vessel when examined physically, magically, and even pseudomagically.

Despite the successes we have seen so far, I must beg of my Lord a supply of more souls, as those that we have on hand are starting to show signs of natural decay, and will soon be insufficient for proper testing.  As pseudomagical resistance is a prime factor of this vessel, we need to supply both the vessel itself and the pseudomagi performing the tests.  I believe that the upcoming campaign that my Lord has spoken of will be a boon to this project, and that no quarter should be given to the enemy in order to increase the harvest.

I hope this report finds you well, Majesty.

Your humble servant,

S.

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Creative Writing | | 1 Comment