Happy Hour – August 20

When my time is evenly divided between reading, writing, gaming, and cooking / dining, I am happy and productive. You would not think that should be difficult, considering my occupation and how much I enjoy all of those activities. Still, it seems like every couple months I find myself in need of a mental tune-up, usually after struggling for a couple weeks.

I’m in the middle of that process right now, after a near-meltdown on Friday. I lost sight of the simple things that comprise my job and give me such pleasure. I always do, the moment I start to worry. Worry, self-doubt, and guilt are all old friends of mine, and like the dwarves at the start of The Hobbit, when the first knocks on the door, the rest are soon to follow.

But at least this time I headed things off. I cancelled a project, requested a deadline extension, and took the night off with some Bad Company 2 and Farscape. Today I finds me playing an awful lot of Combat Mission: Battle For Normandy as I wrap up a review for PC Gamer. I’m very happy to report that I’m enjoying the game a lot more now, after a very rocky start, than I ever thought I would.

Tonight we’ll be making some ratatouille and hopefully watching Fort Apache. Tomorrow I have a date with my D&D group, although I wonder if this is the right group for me. The group is very large, and our first session seem very combat-focused. I expect we’ll have fun tomorrow, as it is a terrific group of people, but I still hope for more of a narrative payoff in this session.

Next week, Deus Ex: Human Revolution comes out. I wish I could say I’ll be playing it on day one, but I think I’m going to start putting games off until after I make some upgrades to my PC. It’s still a fine gaming machine, and the aging PS3 and 360 ensure that it’s still capable of running modern games, but it’s not able to keep up with all the high-end options that games have today. I suspect after my upgrades, I’m going to have some catching-up to do in the fall and winter.

    • Dan
    • August 22nd, 2011 12:14am

    What are your pc upgrades going to be? I really want to get Skyrim for pc when it comes out in Nov, but I don’t think it’s going to run on my laptop with a geforce 9700gts.

    Also, I just started a DnD campaign last night with Lanser and Bowman. It should be really fun. Come out to Minneapolis and hang out some time!

      • Flitcraft
      • August 22nd, 2011 10:55am

      Well, I contacted Falcon Northwest about what hardware would go the longest way towards improving my performance. No surprise that going from Vista to 7, and going from 4 GB RAM to 8 GB are at the top of the list. But I’m also going to swap out my Radeon 4850 for something faster. Probably a GeForce GTX 560 or 570. That should keep me going for awhile. Certainly it’ll be more Skyrim-ready than an aging laptop (we gotta get you a proper desktop, boy).

      That sounds like a great DnD group. Are you all up there together? That would be fantastic.

        • Dan
        • August 25th, 2011 3:42pm

        Do you have any idea why your comment section repeatedly goes down and refuses to let me post?

        • Dan
        • August 25th, 2011 3:52pm

        Yay, it worked this time! I tried to reply about three days ago, but the site just came up with some sort of error.

        I was wondering if you get to treat pc upgrades as a tax write off? It seems like a legitimate business expense to me, given your line of work. A gtx 570 should definitely keep you going at least until the next generation of consoles hit the shelves.

        I bought a 27 in monitor last year (works great for putting up images from the database of printed works which forms the backbone of 97% of my research), so I am kind of itching to get a gaming desktop hooked up to it. But that is definitely not in the grad student budget.

        The DnD group is really fun, and Mariel and Amanda Lanser are both joining. We have a ton of Phi Taus in the Twin Cities. I think it is the single largest concentration of guys from our chapter anywhere. Just to list the ones I see or talk to on a somewhat frequent basis: York, Hilgeman, Korbyn, Lanser, Bowman, Brad Bohannan, Max Halverson, and a few older guys who you probably don’t know- Jeff Turiff, Brendan Jones, and Eric Traband. There are probably some that I am missing, this was off the top of my head. So if you ever get a chance to come out, there would be people to hang with. Come to think of it, if you ever want to fly in to MSP and hitch a ride out to Appleton (it’s about 5 hours) for alumni weekend, I could easily give you a ride. It’s probably quite a bit cheaper to fly here than to Appleton.

    • GaryKearney
    • August 25th, 2011 1:22am

    Hope you enjoyed Fort Apache. Ford’s cavalry trilogy is some of his best work with John Wayne(after The Searchers and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence).

      • Flitcraft
      • August 25th, 2011 6:16am

      I enjoyed it very much. I had forgotten just how much a movie about community it is. That shouldn’t surprise me, Ford’s work often is about portraits of community and their rules, but I remembered Fort Apache being a much more straightforward “cavalry and Indians” movie. I had forgotten how much it is about the women who hold the community together. I also didn’t remember the degree to which Cochise’s Apache desire peace and a fair bargain, and how the Indian Bureau and Fonda’s refusal to treat with a tribal leader as an equal back them into war.

      I can’t think of too many Westerns from that period that so explicitly address American perfidy toward the tribes. The most heroic gesture of the film, a classic Ford-film moment, comes from Cochise in that last shot after the battle: throwing the regiment’s flag at York’s feet, and then leaving him standing alone in the dust as they vanish across the desert.

      I will have to watch the other two films soon.

    • GaryKearney
    • August 25th, 2011 10:33am

    Henry Fonda’s character was loosely based on Custer and the battle of the Litle Bighorn.

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