Sleep is for Other People

I think I’ve maybe gotten one solid night of sleep in the past two weeks. And last night wasn’t it. I was too hot, too stressed, and apparently too exhausted to remember how to sleep.

11:00PM – I realize I don’t feel tired at all.

11:30PM – I decide I should go to bed anyway, because tomorrow (this) morning is going to be full of bullshit and if I don’t get to sleep soon it’ll suck.

12:30AM – I drift off to sleep.

2:00AM – I wake up covered in sweat and decide to hit the bathroom.

3:00AM – About when I get back to sleep, I guess.

4:00AM (ish) – I wake up again. The clock is the only thing testifying that I slept in the interim. My body and brain don’t agree.

6:00AM – I get another one of those “flash-forward” things which don’t really feel like sleep, smell coffee being brewed, and decide to give up.

So, yeah, today’s going to suck.

Hearthstone: First Impressions

In my first, real, post-hiatus YouTube video I take a look at Blizzard’s Hearthstone.

Hearthstone is a digital, collectible card game wherein you choose one of nine classes, build 30-card deck, and face off against another randomly-chosen–yet, supposedly, equally-skilled–player in online matches which typically last anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. I recorded the video above after about four hours of playing the game and have since lost another 20 hours to it.

Hearthstone is fun, frustrating, and free-ish.

It’s fun because everything from the game’s presentation to its actual mechanics are slick, engaging, and show almost none of the complexity of traditional CCGs like Magic: The Gathering without sacrificing strategy.

It’s frustrating because the match-making system seems just a little broken. Once I got my head around the game and built a half-decent deck, I won a little more than 80 percent of my next fifteen or so matches. Then, for my next six games, I was so thoroughly punked I couldn’t sit down for the rest of the day.

And I say it’s free-ish because even though you can play Hearthstone without opening your wallet, it’s still a CCG and there’s still an element of pay-to-win.

Overall, I like the game enough to give it a recommendation, but not enough to devote the time necessary to learn every class, keep up with the meta, and earn enough cards in-game to build competitive decks without driving my bank balance into the negative.


I’m Sorry, Tip Who, Now?

Apparently I’m supposed to tip baristas. And in case you’re like spell check and don’t know what that word means, a barista is the person who works behind the counter of your friendly, neighborhood coffee shop serving up the java.

Or, in my case, it’s the person who charges me $3.00 (plus tax), hands me an empty cup, and gestures vaguely in the direction of the coffee pumps, because your fancy, frothy drinks confuse and frighten me.

Now, to me, the act of handing me a cup and telling me to serve myself isn’t something which requires a gratuity. In fact, it ought to come with a discount since I’m arguably doing most of the work, so I was sort of shocked at the shock of my friend when I walked away from the counter without dropping a dollar in the “Tips Are Super Karma-Riffic” jar.

Friend (under his breath): “Dude, you didn’t tip him.”

Me: “Huh.”

Friend: “You’re supposed to tip your barista.”

Me: “The who? You mean the cup handler?”

Friend: “Dude, he does way more than dispense cups.”

Me: “‘Dude,’ he took my money and gave me a cup. That makes him a vending machine. Actually, the coffee vending machines I’ve used also fill the fucking cup for me, so technically he did less work than an inanimate object.”

Friend: “Well, I tipped him.”

Me: “That’s because you asked for some kind of ‘half-caff, double-shot, espresso mocha’ horror show. I think the Gettysburg Address was shorter than your order.”

Friend: “So?”

Me: “So if ever I require a barista to do more than the Dixie Cup dispenser in my bathroom, I’ll tip him.”

The conversation went off in another direction at that point, but I got to thinking about it this morning when I saw someone on the Twitters make the same claim as my friend.

Look, I tip pretty much everyone in the service industry. You have to be an absolutely stupendous fuck up as a waiter or waitress for me to give you less than 20 percent when I go out to eat. Same with the delivery drivers who show up with my pizza or Chinese food, the people who pump my gas when I pull up to the full-serve pumps, and my bartenders when they actually pour me a drink.

That last bit got me in trouble with another friend of mine once.

Other Friend: “You didn’t give her a tip?”

Me: “I ordered a bottle of beer.”

Other Friend: “So?”

Me: “‘So?’ Her sole contribution to the beverage was to pop the cap off. I have a bottle opener on my keyring which can do that job. Granted, it doesn’t have an edgy nose stud…”

Bartender: “You realize I can hear you, right?”

I swear, some people.

Wherein I Return to YouTube!

And, I’m back!

That’s right, my YouTube channel is once again alive and kicking. If you’re a gamer or other sort of geek, this should be relevant to your interests. If you’re not, well, sorry. I don’t have any cats I can record videos of, and when I did any videos would be less of the “aww how cute variety” and more of the “Jesus fucking Christ, how much can one goddamned animal puke” sort.

Anyway, since the channel is currently in reboot territory, things like video topics and upload schedules are in flux. I’m actually speaking with a few other people about jumping in to my channel, so I’m waiting for their input before I try carving anything into stone.

I will say I’ll have a new video up on Monday to show off a very cool game which has suck it’s crack-laced claws into me. Until then, have fun!

Playing Games and Trying Not to Sweat to Death

It’s been crazy fucking hot lately. And humid. Hot and humid.

Me: “I’m so hot.”

Alex (Age 9): “There’s that ego of your again.”

I’m trying very hard to be good and drink enough water so’s I don’t turn into a greasy raisin, but I don’t think I’m succeeding.

Anyway, I picked up a bunch of games during Steam’s summer sale…

Crusader Kings II

This game, developed by the same people who do Europa Universalis, is probably one of the most frustrating and sack-punching games I’ve ever played. So, of course I’ve played it for 30-ish hours and hooked myself on it.

Basically, it’s a feudalism simulator. And if you don’t know what that means, then I’ll just say: “It’s like Game of Thrones – The Game.” In fact, there’s a free, total-conversion mod that actually turns it into Game of Thrones – The Game.

Europa Universalis IV

So much better than EUIII. And I fucking love EUIII.

I’ve taken a hiatus from EUIV though, so I can play Crusader Kings II. Why? Because you can convert CKII save files over to EUIV, and if you don’t think that’s gloriously fucking awesome then you and I probably can’t be friends.

The Sims 3

I got this so that my daughter and I could have another game we can play together and talk about. So far that’s working out pretty well.

Kerbal Space Program

Fun, but I kind of regret buying the thing now. I hear tell that there are loads of people playing this thing obsessively, but for me it’s more a cute toy to tinker with from time to time.

Drink More Water

This isn’t a game. It’s just what I should do loads more of since it’s so Christing hot. And it’s what I’m going to go do right now.