Carpe Terram

It is only fitting that with my leave/vacation drawing to a close, balance should feel just around the corner (yet still unobtainable). Toing and froing at the whim of kids and family has allowed for some (yet still not enough) rest, even though reading has afforded most quality time to fill the gaps.

But I’ve also been tinkering again with Twitter OAuth (seeing as the official Python library still doesn’t support it and has numerous bugs related to deleting and retweets I decided to pick up another one and run with it, implementing the stuff I needed), doing random backups (gotta revisit the state of the art in portable Blu-Ray recorders some day), and generally making more time for myself by unsubscribing from a bunch of mobile-related RSS feeds I don’t think I’ll be needing anymore.

Oh, and I’ve also been goofing off playing games when the kids are asleep.

I think that started when I came across a flash-frozen copy of Quake III Arena sitting on an old external drive I’d mothballed when I phased out most of my Firewire gear.

All of fifteen minutes later I was running the latest build of ioquake3 on my dual-head mini and cursing the lack of a scroll wheel on the Magic Mouse whilst reacquainting myself with the wonders of 3D ballet avec des rocket launchers et railguns. It’s always been the spatial orientation exercise I ever had, and playing Capture The Flag always brings echoes of Ender’s Game.

An hour of trouncing bots later, I was checking out the (very passable) frame rates my Dell Mini 9 could achieve under Ubuntu just for the heck of it (and guess what, it is roughly twice as fast as the machines I used to play on).

That was the gateway drug for gravitating towards “old school” gaming and trying (yet again) to get MAME to work so that I could try playing R-Type (incidentally, did you know there’s a whole Wiki to it?).

After a few false starts (crashing it on Linux until I got the arcana right, getting it going on the Mac without a hitch but finding it inconvenient to play at a desk, etc.), I ended up spending 800 Wii points to get the Virtual Console version.

That is great fun to play (and bloody convenient, thanks to the Bluetooth controller), but apparently ported over by idiots, since the view is a claustrophobic squeezed down window over the standard playing area, with the result that it’s all too easy to crash by moving up and down to peek at what is outside the screen or get zapped by something lurking just above or below it.

Later on, while looking for a slower-paced game I could put down and resume later (and much to my amazement) I got hooked into Civilization Revolution on the iPad via a rather roundabout way – I had tried the PS3 demo a few months back, gotten the iPhone edition for free as a one-day promo, and when I eventually stumbled across the iPad one I just took the bait.

The 126MB download took longer than I expected, but that was nothing compared to the solid four-hour hole it made on my Saturday afternoon while I vied for world domination across land, sea and air, tapping and dragging units in a frenzied daze as I expanded an unfeasibly aggressive Roman Republic across the board.

And now if you’ll excuse me, I have an armored Mongol horde getting restless – they do love their blitzkrieg, but they can’t load the tanks on the battleship by themselves…

One week to go until I go back to the office – better enjoy it, I guess.