The Duc needs a new clutch, a valve adjustment, and maybe some troubleshooting of the cutch hydraulics. Between that, 50k+ miles, and having my eye on the ebike scene since I first saw them at Laguna, it seemed like a good time to go for it.
Most of my time is spent within a five-mile radius that gets pretty darned gridlocked, so an electric bike makes quite a bit more sense than even what has proven to be a very reliable Italian machine. I haven't settled on Adrea's fate, but keeping her as a fun/project bike is a lot easier with a commuter on hand.
Check out that heat sink. Fit and finish seems good. They're designed in Santa Cruz, I'm not sure where they're built, but it's nice to buy local. The other player in the game, Brammo out of Oregon, was apparently bought by Polaris and then EOLed. The major Japanese manufacturers have teased prototypes for years, but remarkably nothing has hit market. Maybe the market says electric is unnecessary when you get 40+ mpg with Corvette performance.
I've always been leery of batteries. They're finicky and they wear out. I'm resting some hope in the fact that Zero has been doing this for the better part of a decade and that they provide a five year warranty.
The Zero feels a lot different from the Duc - but maybe not as much as Ty's Trimph or Rob's CB350. The torque is familiar, but the riding style is way more upright. At 313 lb, she's pretty nimble. I went with the smallest battery since it'll get me to Carlsbad and back, which is about as far into north county as I dare go anyway.
89 miles city, 45 miles at 70 mph
91 mph top speed
$0.81 to recharge, thanks employer
4.7 hours to 95% recharge
Belt drive, we'll see how that goes. The rear tire isn't especially wide - again, it's more of a practical machine.
I kind of miss shifting, but not as much as I thought I would. Not sure what to do with my left hand/foot, maybe some sort of cell phone interface?
I won't say she's the prettiest thing around, even for the streetfighter form factor. Exhibit a:
Hopefully there are some aftermarket parts available. I'd love to do some carbon to tone down that silver. Definitely going to see about fitting on a bar-end mirror and getting rid of the license plate holding monstrosity.
I was sick for a couple days recently. Whilst sucking down dayquil I pulled Rebel Galaxy out of the PS+ library. I had finished Persona 5, but wasn't in a place to take on Metal Gear or Uncharted.
The closest thing to it is Sid Meier's Pirates. You progress a career of ship's captain, upgrading craft and completing quests in a vibrant and lawless world.
The combat is actually quite similar as well. Your primary attack is a broadside, so tactics involve maneuvering your ship to unleash hell. There's no wind, but there's plenty to maneuver around.
The player is confined to a 2d plane, and while other craft are not, the game autoaims on the z-axis (like Doom). This is actually quite slick, handling 3d space would be difficult.
So you have your broadside weapons and then a bunch of turrets that primarily fire via AI. There are ones that specialize in shield/hull penetration or capital ship or fighters. Likewise, you have four quadrants with a shield and hull layer which you have to manage while lining up your shots. You also have a deflector which gives you temporary invincibility - this can help you get out of a jam and adds a skill/timing element to predicting hits.
Enemies have identical mechanics, and you can see their status in their target info.
The combat system is pretty strong. It doesn't progress too much and therefore feels a bit stale after 15 hours of playtime, but getting new mods keeps things interesting. The music rocks in a very Warp Riders way, unfortunately there aren't many tracks.
Each system has a diameter of a few minutes at warp speed, each of these have a gate to the rest of the sector. There isn't much to differentiate the systems, just enemy level and layout.
Stuff costs money. Lots of money. So in addition to completing combat quests, you can haul cargo around the sector and try to capitalize on trade rates. So what happens when you are in a system that is higher level than you but you really want to make a delivery? Blockade run:
So aside from a host of different offensive and defensive upgrade types (that unfortunately just scale I, II, III...), there are quite a few ships available for purchase.
There are a bunch of features that seemed like they had huge sections of //TBD. The merchant and mercenary guilds will take your money and give you access to a few special ships, but their interactions are limited to that.
Similarly, the unarmed transport you're shaking down or the pirate captain will let you hail them, but it's just a brief exchange of words that goes nowhere.
Conversations aside, the denizens of the rebel galaxy aren't always hostile. There are neutral traders, friendly militias, and groups that will be friendly or hostile depending on your affiliations or cargo. That's fairly refreshing. You can also find seige fleets and peace delegations - which hint at some sort of overarching political environment - but I never saw it manifest in way beyond this.
The pyrotechnics are pretty top-notch though.
The story is basically filler added to a cool sandbox world. You look for your aunt, she has an ancient alien artifact, it helps you defeat a hostile alien race. Bleh. It's too bad this game probably had little funding and a small team because they did a pretty good job with it. But if their sandbox was developed a bit it would totally graduate from PS+ free dlc status.
If nothing else, this makes me really want to play Star Citizen.
Planes of Eidolon
The big Warframe update dropped - an open world area and tons of gear to go with it. It's great to get out of the narrow confines of their classic play mode - especially given my affinity for the Kulstar.
Open roam is cool, but it seems much like the classic gameplay - play variety comes from warframes and equipment rather than missions. There is fishing though:
I did get a few hours into Uncharted 4 though. Seems like a pretty standard AAA title - over the shoulder shooting, parkour, vehicles.
The writing does stand out. I'm optimistic about the story line and being able to run through it with a high degree of casualness.
Back on the MTG scene, Corey and I each got a box of Iconic Masters. He held a ghost draft and got some pretty amazing stuff, including Mana Drain and a foil Archangel of Thune. The latter is what I opened first, so I built my draft deck around it.
In my first set I won, lost, and then had to draw on turns with Martin. He had a bunch of big stuff out, I had even more small stuff out, we'd both stalled for card draw. I went on to beat James in two games. He had some mana screw, I had some mana flood, but the renown and lifelink were too much. Lastly, I did some Trepanation Blade damage to Corey - enough so that he was almost milled out - then he sideboarded some counterspells into his deck and took the next two.
Jes and I did a couple travel weekends, first to SF for a wedding. Since Virgin canceled our flight, there wasn't much free time, but we did sneak in some flag football/running, dinner with the Smiths, and Buena Vista coffees.
The following weekend we went on to Las Vegas for friendsgiving. We got in late Thursday so we stayed at the Hard Rock and then had a long lunch at Hoffbrauhaus. We managed to make it back to SD just in time to be an hour late to Chase's wedding.
We hadn't been home from SF an entire day when the water heater started leaking. I bypassed the Costco approach since neither of us could get away from work. Home Depot or some plumber was a backup solution, but I thought we might give Amazon Home Services a try. I figured local places would be bending over backward to be their authorized installer.
It seemed like a good time to go tankless - thermal efficiency, limitless heated water, fewer leaks. Going this route meant an extra couple hundred bucks-ish for the appliance though I didn't really try to compare apples to apples (in terms of flow rate, etc.). The install fee went up from $450 to $950, but I figured we'd bite the bullet and be happy about it in retrospect.
Happy until Wednesday, that is, when the installer canceled on us. The next available date would be Sunday, which is a pretty long time to go without hot water. Add to that the fact that we'd be hosting Mark for a few days while we went to friendsgiving.
Well, Thursday while I was at work, Pops pulled the leaky water heater. That afternoon the new one came in and I came back to strategize. Dad went to get the plumbing supplies, I put up the mounting bracket, and we hung the Bosch appliance. Over Friday and Saturday, Dad ran the water lines, gas line, and vent to the new mounting locations and then fired it up.
After a month or two the Axis powers finally held Ottawa to win the victory city winning condition and defeat the wretched Allies. The writing was on the wall since Moscow fell, but with powerful American and British fleets, Berlin and Tokyo were in danger until the endgame when, interestingly, research proved extremely important.
We got a quick X-Wing match in where I finally got to try Ghost. For being thrown together on the fly, I think the build was pretty good. The quick attack shuttle had attack bonuses for being outside the enemy's firing arc, had a dorsal turret to have a 360-degree firing arc, and had a crewman that could look at an opponent's maneuver dial before moving. Combine this with a free boost or barrel roll before movement and it was all about evading and backstabbing.
The hammer was to be provided by Ghost. It had some torpedoes, which are always good, and a sensor jammer to help with its lack of maneuverability. A recon specialist gave it a bonus focus token which could be used in attack and then to reduce an attacker's dice count. The gunner crewman meant misses could be rerolled. What it didn't have, however, was a skilled pilot and I managed to fly it out of bounds.
We're now on to Pandemic Legacy Season II and still alive after two months, so woo.
Okay I'll put these in their own posts so they're easy to nav around.
Monday we did sealed at Barrel Harbor. Beers, cards, epic space battles on one side and the Panthers wrecking the Dolphins on the other. Also, a table dog:
Sealed: everyone gets six 15-card packs and builds a 40-card deck (17 lands). Like draft but different - larger per player card pool, but it's not a shared pool.
Nothing grabbed me as a card/tribe to build a deck around. I had a lot of dinos, but they were spread among the three colors. I had very few Merfolk or Pirates. It looked like I could put together a black/white vampire deck but didn't even have enough of those to have any choice. The difference from a draft was immediately obvious: I could decide on a tribe and zero in on these cards.
I considered trying to develop a synergy around the explore mechanic with Chupacabra, but that's more heavily in pirates and merfolk. I left the Deadeye Tracker in there for a little exploration and because I didn't have many cheap creatures.
I had some flyers, so I was hoping to maybe get them out and doing damage early.
I love Vanquisher's Banner. +1s on flyers and lifelinkers is great, card draw is great too.
Well, I went 0-2, 0-2, 2-1 where my win benefitted from some unlucky draws by Corey. Everything I put out seemed to be removed, and my opponents were able to put together some great combos. The expensive vampires didn't do much for me, not like their peers in the dino realm.
What to do differently? Read on.
Here are the other cards I've opened that are tribe-agnostic, with tribal ones to follow.
Nine in the green/red. Still short of the ideal 13ish creatures and I didn't pull any of the good low-cost creatures like Raptor Hatchling, Nest Robber, or Otepec Huntmaster (which itself makes dinos cheaper).
In retrospect I should have just repeated what worked for me last time, though maybe I'd still opt for trying the tribe I haven't yet used.
Red-green gave me a decent suite of dinos, with a few possible mechanics:
Dabbling in white - especially for late-game creatures - could work given Sunpetal Grove, Unclaimed Territory, Trove of Temptation, and maybe a few plains. The benefit is a flying/menace 2/2 and an Aegisaur that could make the rest of the board huge if it's target of the next mechanic...
Sun-Crowned Hunters is free damage to opponents that could be triggered with Fiery Cannonade, a pair of Riles, Raging Swordtooth, and Dual Shot. Of course, both this and Aegisaur cost six, so it's slow to develop. Basing your strategy on two expensive cards is less than ideal, but only the Riles are dedicated to this mechanic.
Dinos buffing dinos. Banners buffing dinos. Big dinos smash.
The obvious weaknesses here are a lack of removal, flyers, and some high casting costs.