Rather than reporting on the full interval of time since my last entry, which I can't, because my memory doesn't extend reasonably that far, I'll just complain about modern affairs, in no particular order. Ratchet and Clank Future demo was fun enough that I want the game--but I don't have free time. I've wanted Folklore since I first saw the previews and the demos didn't stop that. Assassin's Creed is also highly desired. Yet I have yet to purchase either of the two above which are already out, nor will I purchase AC when it comes out. I don't have the time and I fucking hate it.
My job eats up a fair chunk and will only get worse. 26 hours a week doesn't sound like much but that's before you count in time spent doing things like, say, driving to work. Which is going to take twice as long (a full four hours a day of driving to and from work) now that my job has moved even further away from home and directly into the most highly-trafficed area around. This is a rather vast departure from its original location 'working from home' that lasted a month, max. To compensate for this fact, I'm going to ask for a 10% raise at my evaluation coming up next month on top of the 5% raise I was given after six months--15.5%, to $63.5k. Most of my friends in the industry say this is too aggressive but most of my friends in the industry are wusses about hanging onto their job, although one has the excuse that he's merely waiting for his TSC+SCI to clear.
The other half of my time consumption comes from college. I'm taking two classes this semester, both in AI: Metaheuristics and Machine Learning. The former was easyish, just work-heavy, until now, when the project has been assigned, the proposal being due tomorrow. I have a feeling he will NOT like my proposal. He's also pondering giving us an exam despite stating at the first day that he would not and increased the work-load to make up for the fact (a claim which he has held himself to). Machine Learning is unreasonably hard and also has a project, this one a team project. Since my partner's a PhD student, he knows a lot more about writing up papers so I let him edit what I had into something that seems professional. Actually doing the work on both projects is the easy part. However, Machine Learning isn't just a project due the day after the project from Metaheuristics is due; it also contains two unreasonably difficult 'short' homework assignments which end up being huge long math proofs, the latter of which is due shortly, as well as two exams. The first exam has already passed nearly two weeks ago and I fear (hell, I know) I did miserably on it, although she didn't have the exam grades by last class so I'm still worrying about it. I know I did miserably but the class is graded on a curve, especially since this is her first CS class, so perhaps I at least scored above the median.
Game review times. A friend gave me HL2 and its Episode 1 when he got the Orange Box and like a fool, I jumped at a free game. Unfortunately, I tend to get hooked on plots so I wanted Episode 2. Also unfortunately, I wanted Portal badly. I wouldn't have bought the Orange Box but for the fact I got hooked on the plot (which I wouldn't have paid $30 alone for to continue) but all factors combined urged me to purchase it, which was precisely what Valve schemed. Gave my gift copies of HL2 and HL2:E1 to a friend who I want to play mod games with but his computer blows too hard to play it well, despite being several years old. Portal was awesome. The auto-turrets from Portal are the best turrets ever and need to appear in every subsequent game, regardless of genre or theme.
Haven't really played any other games, due to the aforementioned time constraint issue. Haven't been doing anything else with my life. Once I finish this semester of college, I will have a lot more free time. Hopefully I will pass both my classes with Bs or higher and that'll leave me with a project and one class next semester; the project can't be as hard as doing two of these projects at once as well as homeworks and exams, no matter how much larger they make it, and the other class needs to be non-AI; I'm planning on taking computer graphics and having a cake-walk down Easy Street, even though I would really LIKE to take an algorithms course like Geometric Algorithms. This semester is just wearing me out with two courses that even PhD students are complaining are far too hard. I need a break and next will (hopefully) be my last, so it seems I'll miss out on awesome state-of-the-art non-AI algorithms.
Have over 60 hours of PTO. If I take off over Christmas like most people do, I could manage a full two-week vacation during the period but, being me, I would go nowhere and do nothing. Kinda. I've already scheduled making a few trips to the "local" (2 hours away) ski area. I haven't skied in a very long time and was going to last year but it was so hot the skiing blew. This year's looking fine for it--even if it's dry, they'll just blow some snow.
I've switched from drinking coke all the damn time to drinking A&W rootbeer all the time because apparently rootbeer is less damaging to teeth. And because Barq's tastes like shit and IBC is fucking expensive.
Monster Hunter Freedom 2 had me obsessed for a while until college started and the guy I was playing with mostly-quit because we started hitting the difficult fights and he didn't like being killed in a single hit so easily and while I could probably work my way through the rest of the game alone, I really love using bows and it's really a pain to deal out enough damage sometimes.
Still need to beat DQ8 and Suiko Tactics. Other games, too, but those I've pretty much given up on (including Fatal Frame and FF2:CB, which are both excellent games).
Ah! Should probably add a note about my social life. Still not dating. Still have no friends. Still have no desire to remedy either of the aforementioned. Not in person, anyway. I need people to talk AT, but that works better online, anyway. Having someone to play games with in person might be nice but thankfully most games work reasonably online, now. Still hate gatherings. Even at work lunch meetings, as inoften as they are, I pretty much hang out at the end of the table looking bored after I quickly finish my meal and have nothing to talk about while the others chat. So I persist in hiding in my room all day, or in my office, or wherever I need to hide.
Still drive like an asshole, still don't get tickets or accidents.
Still annoyed that I didn't get a Poogie with my preorder of MHF2.
Also still watching my stocks waver precariously. Currently I've made $500 over what I've invested. Still doing better than I would be in a bank.
Currently avoiding working on the huge project proposal for Metaheursitics which looms, being due tomorrow, after all.
Recent purchases don't amount to much. A new pair of pants and food. Computer purchases include one $75 keyboard (G15) and gaming purchases include only the Orange Box. I intend to buy a new hard drive soon, since mine has been full for a while, and I'm actually thinking of getting a NAS drive enclosure and two 500GB hard disks for about $400 total, just to be awesome. I could make a computer for a bit cheaper than a $200 NAS with no drives but I wouldn't be able to carry the thing around with me as easily (whereas this could come on trips with my laptop). The NAS I'm looking at specifically is this.
I haven't read a novel in years. Most people find this odd, especially people who knew me when I literally had my nose in a novel all the time. This was literally true because a) I'm short-sighted as hell and need to nose into the book to read it and b) I would wander the halls of school with the book up, and read while eating at dinner and such. Such a departure now.
On that note, I'm finding games less fun than I used to. Not because games are getting worse, because they aren't, contrary to morons who scream about oldskool, and not because I'm growing out of them, because that concept is bullshit. I've just played too many and they've lost the magic. It takes an exceptional game (like Portal or FF12) to draw me in and make me want to finish it, and enjoy the whole experience. My relationship with the whole MH series is an abusive love/hate relationship where MH keeps delivering more of the same and swapping to expensive new systems. Granted, they DID remove captures and egg-carries, so they're at least getting rid of the most painful stuff. I just don't have enough time that I COUNT as free anymore and I've played too many games to really enjoy myself usually. I KNOW the vast majority of games could be vastly better, and what I would do to make the games better. That makes them a lot less fun than when most genres were new to me.
On that note, grad school is much more wearing than work for two reasons. One, it is more mentally draining. You do not, generally, need to think at work, and my job's pretty thinking-heavy as they go. You really need to think for grad school. And thinking's tiring. Two, it is further draining because it doesn't end. You are not done with college for the day when class is over, necessarily. You may have homework. You may have homework that has ill-defined limits of what the professor expects. You WILL have homework that has ill-defined limits of what the professor expects. You should also study but I don't bother with studying after class. In any case, you have assignments, small and huge, which are all due at future points, as well as the fact you are fighting against the curve for your grade, and that's all stressful. Work isn't stressful. When you're done for the day, you're done. They may not think so, but fuck em. They may also want you to work after-hours, or over the weekend, or think about how to solve a problem you were working on in your spare time, and may want you to meet deadlines and satisfy certain criteria. But it doesn't matter. If you fail to meet those criteria, they extend the deadline or adjust accordingly. YOU are not the program, the whole team is. You don't have to worry about the repercussions of you screwing up, to a large degree. Even if the project fails, it's someone higher up's fault for mis-scheduling and mis-tasking (including tasking you), and you should manage to get re-hired fairly easily. Granted, I do excellent work but it's just much less stressful and that's nice. Granted, sitting through an 8-hour day can be a pain and my boss has started to notice me reading online comics while my code compiles.
That's enough of an update, I think. If you've managed to read all the way to here without skipping any of the above text, congratulations, you may be only an order of magnitude less bored than I am. Or at least, you are now.