Yagr_Zero / Member

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Yagr_Zero Blog

Inconvenient Interviews

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My luck with interviews has got be one of the best, let me tell you.

I just got back from a prospective interview only to not actually have the interview, or do anything really. The reason for that was that the person I was supposed to meet with was out of the country. Yep. The guy was out of the country and no one else at the company knew about the meeting. So yeah. Fun times huh?

The only consolation is that we managed to reschedule the meeting rather quickly and it wasn't as weird as having the guy who tried to hire you move on to another job in an entirely different field the moment you go in for an interview. That definitely happened.

Batman Arkham Origins Impressions

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I love the Arkham games. Everything about them made me really feel like I was the Dark Knight, and there weren't many games that had done that before. So when Arkham Origins was announced, I didn't really care about the fact that it was being developed by WB Montreal and not Rocksteady. It was still going to be an Arkham game and I love making Bats take down a whole group of thugs. So after watching the great Gamespot Batman Marathon featuring Man from ManvsGame, I decided it was high time I picked it up. Now, that I've played through the game, I have to say there are a couple of issues with it.

Before I head onto the many issues, I wanted to touch upon the good parts of the game. For one, I really liked the story, and thought the dynamics between Bats and The Joker were perfect. Sure, the story wasn't overall perfect and there are a couple of criticisms that do ring true such as a few high caliber characters not getting a lot of screen time or a real effort to make the game feel a lot less like its predecessors, such as making excuses to have the city filled with thugs and Bats having all the gadgets from City already. I still liked it.

I also liked the combat for the most part. The same free flow feel of making Bats glide across the screen taking out gangs of thugs looks and feels great. There are a few hitches in the system that I felt disrupted the rhythm, such as enemies attacking quicker and a few targeting errors. These weren't great enough to actually cause a major pain, and after a few quick adjustments, it was like there wasn't anything wrong in the first place.

As I said earlier, there are quite a few issues with the game, many of these are minor, but there are a few major issues that really made me question why this game was released in the state it was.

- Movement around Gotham. I may be nitpicking, but I felt that the mechanics of the grapple was off. I found it much harder to target the exact ledge I wanted to grapple on to. Oftentimes I would try to grapple onto a ledge just above me and after moving slightly to the right, the game would think I wanted to grapple onto a ledge 1000 ft behind me. This happened a bit too common for my liking. Alone, this might not have been that big of a deal, however, when mixed in with the terrible programming AI of the many snipers that man the buildings, it makes moving around certain sections of Gotham a real hassle.

- Snipers. As I mentioned above, I had a real issue with the snipers. I'm not saying I didn't know how to deal with them, far from it. I'm talking about their programmed behavior. For whatever reason, once I alerted a sniper, that sniper would forever see me. In other words, they'd be able to track my exact movements through walls, buildings, and across maps. Trust me, I tested this by walking around an entire building watching the darn sniper keep his sights directly centered on me. I also tested to see if I could fast travel back to the same area only to find four sniper targeting lasers upon me the moment the level loaded up. The programming is flat out broken.

- Freezing. A larger issue that should never be in a game, I've had Origins freeze on me five times through one playthrough. I don't know about anyone else, but in my books, freezing is a gaming sin.

- The many other issues. I'm just going to list these: clipping through walls and falling for eternity, objectives not spawning, losing the ability to takedown unsuspecting enemies, losing the ability to interrogate data-handlers, having important enemies clip through walls/floors, and so on.

Finally, let's not forget about multiplayer. For whatever reason, I cannot for the sake of God connect with anyone when trying to search for a game. I know most people probably won't touch the multiplayer. That doesn't mean absolutely no one is trying to play it. There's a slight issue with the servers or at the very least the search function. After waiting for five minutes and not getting a single person into a game (I tried this ten times, yes I counted) that's an issue that needs to be fixed and I'm surprised it hasn't yet.

I guess what I want to say is that while Origins is fun - I do like the story and the combat for the most part - the game feels sloppy.

If I have to give a score, and people do like looking at scores, I'd have to give Origins a 7/10. A good game ruined by poor execution.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Festival 2013

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This past weekend I decided to check out the International Balloon Festival held annually here in Albuquerque. It's one of the largest, if not the largest, such festival of its kind in the world. The day started at about 4 in the morning as I got ready and made my way over to the park-and-ride location, which happened to be one of the largest churches I've seen that doesn't look like a church. For anyone who knows the Albuquerque area, the park-and-ride location was at Hoffmantown Church, which looks a lot like an old mall and has a large parking lot to boot. Anyway, after waiting a few minutes, I got on a yellow school bus and rode the way to the Festival location. The Festival is located in a large park on the eastern end of Albuquerque, actually rather close to where I currently live. It's occupies a large field about the size of a decent sized theme park. An enormous field of grass lay in the center of the park where the various balloon crews use to get their balloons ready for liftoff. Around the perimeter were numerous shops, restaurants, and porta-potties. You know, like a regular festival, I guess. Upon arriving, I quickly got in line to grab a traditional New Mexico breakfast: a breakfast burrito with green chili. People in New Mexico go absolutely bonkers about green chili. It's a mild spice pepper that is used in almost every dish. In fact, you could go as far as saying adding green chili into any dish automatically makes it New Mexican cuisine. Getting back to the burrito at hand, it provided a nice kick to the morning and the 40 degree weather. Of all the days I decided to go, it had to be the coldest. Go figure. >_> Shortly thereafter, I made my way onto the field and watched and waited as the members of the Dawn Patrol got their balloons ready in the darkness of 6:00 AM. The Dawn Patrol are a small collection of balloons that test the weather conditions prior to the Mass Ascension, which, even though it sounds religious and slightly like a term from Logan's Run, it's the signal denoting when all the other balloons can get into the air en masse. Now, all of the balloons are hot-air and use twin gas lighters that send jets of flame up to six feet to heat the air for lift off. In the darkness, it was quite the sight seeing all the balloons light up like lightbulbs as they turned on the burners for flight. Shortly after 6:30, the first balloon of the Dawn Patrol, a Wicked balloon with the phrase "Defy Gravity" (clever eh? :P), got going followed shortly by the rest of the motley crew of around twelve others. The go ahead for Mass Ascension was giving shortly thereafter and following the liftoff of the official Festival balloon carrying the American flag, the International Balloon Festival got going. Three more balloons got off the air and it became clear that most of the rest of the crews were waiting for the sun to appear over the tops of the nearby Sandia Mountains range before they got going. It was around 7:30 when the field began to fill with inflating balloons of all shapes, colors, and sizes that would soon fill the air of Albuquerque. I didn't stay for the entire show, as the Mass Ascension can last for hours and I was dead tired from having to wake up at four in the morning. I left around 9:00, but not before I got to see a Darth Vader balloon take off, along with Angry Birds, a rather feisty looking yellow jacket, hummingbird, and Smokey the Bear. Sadly, there was a rather large Cow that didn't quite manage to get off the ground. Anyway, got home around 10 and went to sleep for about six hours. Hooray for waking up early! Here's a collectionof photos I made during my time there. If you have a chance to go to the Festival, I suggest going. It was a blast.

Why You No Blog Anymore?

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Hey Yagr, why you no blog anymore? I'm not sure. I think it could be a combination of being busy or lazy. Maybe more of the latter than the former. Definitely more of the latter considering that I've been playing a little too much Europa Universalis. >_> -------------------------------------- Now for a short update, I am back in New Mexico for the time being. A cat is currently rubbing against my back and has been doing it for the past ten minutes. I don't know if anyone has had a cat before, but it gets annoying when a cat rubs against you for hours on end. My car is currently in the shop getting repaired. It had a little brush with a concrete pillar a while back. Once it's fixed, then I'll be on the road back to California for a friend's wedding and then back here to look for a job. Hooray for job searching. *grumble* Now I have to help my parents pack up the house. They decided to move to a larger house on the opposite of the city. At least I have something to do.

Just a Short Update

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It's been some time since I've written a blog, and as I sit here in a coffee shop using some free wifi, I thought now seemed like a good time. I have spent almost the entire summer in my grandmother's log cabin by the beach in Carmel, CA. That time is about over as the house was on the market the moment I settled in. As luck would have it, the house was purchased about two weeks later giving me two months until I have to get moving. That two month period ends on Aug, 7th, upon which I'll need to find a new place to stay. So far, I haven't found a suitable location, or at the very least, a cheap location. Most areas in the Greater Bay Area are rather expensive. Coffee has never really stuck to me. I'm saying this as I take a larger sip of the bitter liquid. I rarely, if ever, drink the stuff. Only on the occasion that I find myself waking up in a place that isn't quite my home. Second time it's happened in the past three weeks. Anyway, I'm also searching for a job. Trying to get my foot into the door hasn't been harder and thankfully I have some friends helping me out with my resume by telling me what I should change to make it stand out more. In the mean time, I have been working diligently at writing a few novels and I'm close to completion for one of them, whereupon I'll be searching for a publisher and cross my fingers. I have a number of ideas that are sticking so far. So fun times are ahead in terms of moving, finding a job, and hoping someone would love to publish my novels. What's going on your neck of the woods?

Yagr Helps His Parents

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Email Received from Yagr's Mom To Yagr and Yagr's Sister: Can you think of any clever names for our fundraiser that's based on the Antique's Roadshow? Message Ends Email Sent from Yagr Old Stuff Extravaganza? Old Stuff Montage? Antique Extravaganza? We're Selling Old Shit Here? We'll Pay You This Much Just to Show Up? Bring Antiques We Pay Money? If Moneys Are Important to You Come Here? Antique Bazaar? We're Having Trouble Coming Up With Something Other Than Antiques Roadshow? I just threw stuff out there. Maybe some combination will work. Message Ends A-hehe. :P

Musical Cosplaying

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I've been watching a few of these fantastic pieced videos of cosplayers interacting with music. The cosplayers themselves can't hear the music, so to say, which makes the videos that much better, not to mention the editing. Don't know what I'm talking about? Just check these out: Link One. Link Two. Enjoy.

A Tale of Two Rabbits

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Once upon a time, in the fields of Mississippi were two rabbits. Their names were Sergio and Pierre. They were brothers from Quebec here in Mississippi for the flight of the monarchs. Unbeknownst to them, the monarchs actually migrate south of their position. Turning to his brother, Pierre said: "Merrere mereaf blpppt." Which as we all know is rabbit for: "Da **** are we?" End :P

Adventure Time! Baseball Edition

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Yesterday I decided to head out with my girl on an adventure! We decided to spend the day watching the Giants at AT&T Park. To get there, we debated a little bit on our travel options. We could drive up there, encounter the terrible parking situation that surrounds the ballpark and the traffic that ensues after the game. We could take Bart on up. Or we could take the Caltrain. Seeing as though I haven't taken Caltrain before, I suggested it as our mode of transport, especially since it was close by for the two of us to meet. Mountain View was our meeting location and after meeting her after work, we got onto the 6:35 train northbound. This was my first time not only on Caltrain but also on a train. So that was rather momentous. It took us about 45 minutes to get up there and we entered the ballpark during the bottom of the 1st inning, just in time to hear the sellout crowd roar as back-to-back doubles by Sandoval and Posey tied the game up at 2-2. Now, I did see my girl the day before and asked her who the Giants were playing. She responded with: "Oh. Uh... I think they start with a C." "Cubs?" "No." "Cardinals?" "No. Actually I think it was the name of where they're from." "So the Colorado Rockies?" "Yes! That's definitely them." Flash forward to the game and the Giants tied the Arizona Diamondbacks. "Th-there's a C in the name. I got that part right!" Nodding and grinning, we picked up a few expensive hotdogs and adult beverages and made our way to our seats along the 3rd base line. The game went by rather quickly as both starters pitched relatively well through to the fifth inning. During that time, we became acquainted with our neighbors. The man sitting to my right in particular started up a conversation with me after I had made comments about what was happening on field, trying to better explain the game to my girl. Such as why the batters are getting out on lazy fly balls and explained a little of the strategy. The man was a season ticket holder who had been in the same seat for 13 years now, and he enjoyed trying to trash talk the opposing team with the volume of someone politely shouting to someone across a small room. A few other people around him were making more noise, such as one large man who kept shouting "Heeeey Pitcher pitcher pitcher!" to everyone's delight during the bottom of the fourth, and another man who was inebriated by the top of the fourth and decided it was a great time to grab some more beers. This same man walked right by his seat, looked around lost, and took an open seat more than ten rows down, again to everyone's delight. He later came back a few innings later, red-faced with two bottles of Coors Light in hand. As to the game itself, the starters were each pitching relatively well. Both had given up two-run first innings and had settled down. The only difference being that the Arizona pitcher, Wade Miley, had used about 20 less pitchers than the Giant's Ryan Voglesong. Wade Miley by the way had a number of catcalls aimed toward him under "Miley Cyrus!" The pitcher hit a 400+ homerun in the fifth inning. I don't think it worked, considering the hit was his first of the season and the homerun was the guy's first of his career, and let's not forget he almost hit it into McCovey Cove. The guy's a pitcher. Arizona would add a fourth run in the top of the 6th to go ahead 4-2. Around the 7th inning, Don't Stop Believing by Journey was played during a pitching change. I noted how the entire voice of the stadium was all women, and that the place went quiet as no one could hit the high notes of the song's chorus. Anyway, the Giants tied the game in bottom of the 8th with a two-run blast by Buster Posey, who slammed it to dead center, a little over 400 feet from home plate against the Arizona closer, and in the bottom of the 9th, Brandon Belt, who entered the game late, hit the game winning RBI double giving the Giants a 5-4 victory. Somewhere between that, a now drunk season-ticket holding neighbor asked me about earlier on in the game to which I replied "Yes. I totally remember that," despite having missed the 1st inning. My girl would later tell me that was the most unconvincing statement I've ever told, to which I replied the guy was too drunk to notice. Heading back home, we had to wait a good forty minutes to get on the last southbound Caltrain, and took the time walking around the stadium, doing a good long circuit, before getting in line. As the last train, everyone was predictably drunk and we had some entertainment as a group of girls tried to convince each other to sit next to each other in our compartment. This was followed by another compartment trying to get our compartment to sing Happy Birthday, which failed about four times. Then we got moving. We were supposed to leave around 10:40 and instead left closer to 11:00, most likely trying to make sure everyone got on that needed to get on. It was a slower ride than the one coming up as we had to make every stop. So I spent the time reading The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson on my phone while my girl napped. We got to our cars just after 12:30 and I got home just before 1:00 and quickly called it a night. So in short, Adventure Time was a blast. Can't wait to do it again and no you can't come with me unless you have something to offer. :P

You Can't Write This Better

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So this past week I managed to get a call from a company who wished for me to take a tour of their plant to get a good grasp as to what they do and what I would potentially be doing. In other words, it was an interview without it actually being an interview. I went over to the plant this past Thursday and not knowing exactly what I'd be doing, spent the first thirty minutes with the manager conversing about the job and asking questions about a few particulars such as pay, contract length, and benefits. From there, I was left to shadow a current employee, who happened to have graduated from the same university as me. Not fully knowing what I was to do, I spent the next two and a half hours following this guy through his process, which didn't take nearly as long as that, all the while getting rather hungry as I didn't fully expect to be inside that place for a full three hours. Upon leaving, I had another discussion with the manager who said that I'd be hearing from HR about payment in a couple of days. Feeling pretty good about the whole ordeal, except for my growling stomach, I headed back home. Before I get into the aftermath I do want to point out that I was approached about this job, a simple repair technician, a week before during the annual Bay Area Biomedical Device Conference that my engineering society helps host. We typically get around 200 students and industry professionals to show up each year. Near the end of the conference, I was approached by a few people who mentioned they were looking for people to fill their positions, one of them being an upper manager for this company in particular. We had a nice chat and he gave me his business card. I emailed the guy a few days later, making sure that I was cognitive enough after a night of heavy drinking and I was soon introduced to the repair facility manager who helped set up the tour date. Fast forward to two days ago and I receive an email from the manager stating that they are no longer looking to employ me. Confused and slightly angry I shot back an email wondering why the quick 180 after being offered the job in the first place, with nothing more than a very simple one sentence email. Of course this came after my dad told me I should ask for details and that I should also get into contact with the upper manager that I met during the conference. I did. Well I tried. For you see, the upper manager no longer works at the company. I know what a few of you are thinking, that I probably wasn't offered a job in the first place, but typically when you're told you're going to be contacted shortly for payment, that's practically a job offer in and of itself. A "We'll contact you if we think you're a good fit" is not an offer and it also what wasn't said to me. In between the date of the tour and the fateful first email, I spent time planning out what my finances would look like including a search into what apartment I could rent. So, I kind of wanted a more specific answer as to why I was offered the job in the first place and discarded so quickly. The email reply that I got was just as simplistic as before. One sentence and stated the exact same reason as before, albeit with more periods and less wordage. Well that was that I guess. Nothing more I can do. If you're wondering the upper manager sent an email just last week asking other students to send their resumes to him. His email address no longer works, having fallen into the mailer daemon nest, and he currently works for a company, get this, that helps women in obtaining a better education. I'm not joking. After working for three biomedical companies, he's now working for a company that helps women in obtaining a better education. Not that I'm judging the guy for his choice of work, but I am wondering why he failed to mention that he was leaving so soon while asking for people to send them their resumes, even without naming his replacement. So yes. I don't think you could plan anything better for what eventually occurred. Back to the drawing board it is.