Dude’s Chronicles 6-28-2015: Gjallahorn Edition

Finally got Gjallahorn, now I can stop playing Destiny.

happy-valleyWatching Happy Valley put a choke on my Netflix consumption last week. I probably watched it four or more times trying to digest it. There is still a mix of thoughts I have about it. Free The Nipple was not nearly as intriguing or interesting as it sounded and turned out to be the one case when I wished Netflix’s rating system went below one star. I did watch Mortal Kombat just as a complete change of pace. That movie is still terrible in many ways but it is one of those movies that is so bad it is entertaining.

Gjallahorn finally dropped while doing my third Vault of Glass run this week. The group I was playing with was really laid back but skilled and it ended up being one of the most enjoyable runs in recent memory. We were able to clear every stage on the first or second try, even with only having five players for the Gatekeeper and Atheon stages. My Gjallahorn dropped with Atheon but I wasn’t the only one that got a long awaited reward. From the Templar, we had one player get his first Found Verdict and another got his first Fatebringer. We also had another wayward soul get his first Gjallahorn but he got his from the chest in the Gorgon Maze. When this happened my heart sunk a bit because I thought there was no chance of a second Gjallahorn dropping in the same raid. Thankfully RNG out weighed my pessimism. A special thanks to the guys that went through this Vault of Glass run with me just for making it an enjoyable run and the rewards were a bonus on top of it.

On some level I’d like to think that getting my Gjallahorn from that Vault of Glass run was an apology for my previous run, which was one of the worst VoG experiences ever. What made it bad was that there were people that did not know what they were doing and not admitting it. The ‘not admitting’ part was what I had a problem with. People didn’t know where Oracles were or that containment bubbles kill you if you are jumping and several people refused to pick up the Relic. It is okay to be new to the game or not know a part of it but please be honest and say so. My experience has been that most players are very welcoming and willing to explain things because it helps everybody. Not only will the event go smoother, it also is a good feeling to help someone out and teach them something they didn’t already know. So if you ever find yourself in unfamiliar territory, it’s okay to speak up and ask for help.

It also could have been that Bungie saw my Tweet and decided to give me Gjallahorn but I doubt it. Now that I have Gjallahon I’m not sure what I’m playing Destiny for anymore as I don’t have any goal. I keep thinking…”Gee, I really would like something that fired watermelons”.

 

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

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Happy Valley…and Remembering

happy-valleyAs a life-long Penn State fan, it was hard to watch the A&E IndieFilms documentary Happy Valley. The only thing harder was trying to go through the thoughts and memories that it stirred.

For so many and for so long, doing things the right way and the Penn State way were the same thing. If there were a collegiate program that was the gold standard and ideal of all others it was Joe Paterno’s Nittany Lions. Questions of character were never asked because there was an untarnished record that was the dichotomy of programs like Miami, Oklahoma, and others with tainted pasts. Then came the day in 2011 when part of the great mountain crashed through the crystal castle.

Many remember, and try to forget, the day in different ways. I was out drinking with friends that evening but one of our friend’s had not joined us and after a period of time we took it upon ourselves to pay him a visit. After our normal exchanges and revelry, he handed me his laptop saying only ‘you need to read this’. I could only read the headline and first few sentences before handing it back telling him ‘I can’t read this now’. The shock of the few words I read nearly jarred me back into sobriety. I finished out the night but I knew the morning would come and more of those terrible words would meet me.

Taking what little courage I could have with an early morning hangover, I took to my laptop and found the very article that my friend had tried to show me the night before. If it had been a joke, it was the most unfunny thing ever done but I had to take doubt that national media would be in on my friend’s joke. First my thoughts told me that nothing had been proven. Then my thoughts rang with doubts that so many could be lying. Finally I realize, the dream was over.

The knife in my gut hung out my back and I was paralyzed. There was little if any way to deny that the empire that once thumbed its nose at others had firmly planted its thumb somewhere else. As for any pain I or any other outsider felt it was nothing when viewed against that of Sandusky’s victims. Any comparison would be like comparing a match to the sun and nothing can stop their pain from burning.

Beyond the atrocities that Sandusky committed, what strikes me most in this film is that either some people just don’t understand or perhaps I don’t. People felt that the NCAA sanctions were some affront to them and that they had no right to levy any sanctions. As far as I can tell, no matter what the NCAA did they would be attacked. The cornered rat struck and landed a hard blow. Time has shown that the blow has been lessened but many still feel the NCAA to have over-reached. Others went on about the reputation and identity of Penn State and the community. This mob-enduced, self-centered mentality perplexes me as to how it is relevant given the gravity of the situation as a whole.

Throughout the entire film, the statements and behaviors of the Paterno family are the most confounding to me. Interviews with the widow and sons seem to ring of statements meant to deflect any wrong doing or blame from the Paterno name. I understand that abusers the like of Sandusky are deviously clever at hiding their activities from others and that anyone could miss the evil being perpetrated. However, that is not the point to be made here, rather it is the fact that when presented with an eye-witness report of abuse Paterno, McQueary, Penn State administrators, and perhaps others failed to act. If the family would have been more contrite, there may have been some empathy on my part. How Jay Paterno feels that he can tell his children that their grandfather did the right thing in reference to these events I may never understand. Joe Paterno passed before ever publicly clarifying his involvement so we may never have a true understanding.

My Catholic upbringing taught me to forgive and forget but I’ve never been very good at that. On some level I can forgive Sandusky for being human and sinning but in no way can I forgive all the evil he placed upon others. As for forgetting, the intellectual side of me is reminded that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it. These events and tortures should never be repeated thus they can never be forgotten.

A calm may never come to me regarding these events. I watch the games but I don’t feel the same. The players criss-cross the field but pass like ghost in my eyes. I hear the crowd roaring but it rings like faded echoes in my ears. There will never be that wonder and awe that I felt ever since my first Penn State memories of the 1983 Sugar Bowl. If ever there is someone who can give me word of reason or explanation as what to think, I would love to buy you the beverage of your choice and engage in long conversation.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 6-21-2015: A Dubious Departure

open-roadSome calls are hard to make but I had to make one of them. If you’ve followed my posts here or at What’s Your Tag? for the last year or so, then you know that I’ve been contributing content there, however, I will not be doing so anymore. It was a tough choice to make and many factors were part of the decision but in the end I felt that I could not give the attention necessary. If you have followed What’s Your Tag? in the past, I would ask that you continue to do so. If you have not, then I ask that you check them out and give them a chance. As for me…..

agents-shield-season-2-renewalI finished watching season two of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and I was not disappointed. Joss Whedon continues to deliver a complicated but compelling story throughout this series. As outlandish and far-out as it may get with aliens and conspiracies, the true driver of the series remains the characters. This seems to be the hallmark of Whedon’s work and this show is another fine example. Then I watched Taken 3 and well….let’s just move on. There wasn’t much else that I watched, other than trying to watch Transformers: Age of Extinction again. That movie does not get any better and is still unwatchable to the point I had to turn it off to save my sanity and keep myself from loathing Transformers all together.

E3 was the big tech-oriented thing for the last week, particularly in gaming. VR and AR were big but not of particular interest to me. It was nice to finally see The Last Guardian revealed even though it is something that I don’t have an interest in playing. The biggest surprise for me was Microsoft revealing backward compatibility. I never in a million years thought that would happen and we were doomed to an never-ending barrage of remakes and remasters. With this reveal there is at least a chance that less games will get recooked for the new consoles and more time can be spent on new games, that is a big bonus. Sony doesn’t officially have a backward compatibility plan but I think they could leverage PS Now by detecting your PS3 disc in your PS4 and then letting you have access to the game, just a thought.

wordofcrotaIn the never-ending quest for Gjallahorn, I played massive amounts of Destiny only to be left without what I seek. Although my Nightfall strikes gave me some decent rewards, two exotic Warlock helms, I am still one of the many left wanting for Gjallahorn. Even with running both raids and level 34 Prison of Elders on all three characters, as well as one level 32 Prison of Elders, the closest I got was a second Hawkmoon and No Land Beyond. At the very least I got free exotic shards for my efforts. I won’t complain about the raids since I did manage to get the Fang of Ir Yut and The Word of Crota from separate runs of Crota’s End. I would still like to get Black Hammer and Hunger of Crota but all I can do is hope those items drop next week.

Many will pan Destiny and I still don’t blame them for doing so but even in this game there is a community and connection between people. I won’t reiterate the entire story since you can read it here, but when gamers can come together for a greater cause it should be noted. This was a fantastically beautiful tribute and should be recognized as such.

 

dudewantshisrug-profilePaul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Taken 3

taken3Some sequels just don’t need made, this is one of them.

As good at the original Taken was, both sequels have been terrible disappointments. Taken 3 is the latest downgrade to the series that in the end turns into two wasted hours. The character of Brian Miller may be compelling and interesting but dragging his story out in this manner is doing nothing but depreciating the value of the original film.

Taken for what its worth, the film is well done in many facets but fails to entertain in the end. Minus a few comical uses of technology, the story is palatable and the action scenes are well played. Much in the vane of A Good Day to Die Hard, it felt like the script for this film was forced and contrived to make it work as part of the series. Perhaps if there were original characters in the film it would have been more worthwhile to watch.

Save yourself some time and money by skipping this film. Think of the good times and watch the original Taken instead.

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Paul Novak

Owner, Proprietor, Writer, Gamer, Jester

A self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into games and movies. Physically existing on the western side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet.

Dude’s Chronicles 6-14-2015: Somewhere in Nowhere

desert

Sometimes you find yourself in a place with no direction, inbetween things and places. Looking around for a course of action or direction to follow and it isn’t apparent. Maybe just throw stick in the air and see which way it is pointing when it lands, that might be the way to go.

crota-kneeling-hard

To keep my mind occupied, I played more Destiny and now I’m remembering why I and others stopped playing. Through playing the weekly Nightfall strikes and four raids I received almost nothing of substantial worth. The lot of strange coins I have is for not since there is nothing to spend them on that I need or want. Any drops I have gotten have been equally as useless because I already had the weapons or armor that were dropped. Unless Bungie and Activision announce something fantastic coming to this game, it is going to fade further from grace. I took note that many of the people I played with had a distinctly irritated tone when speaking about the game. There seems to be a growing disgust with the game but if rumors are to be believed this may only get worse. There is rumor that a $40 dollar expansion is to be announced soon and will possibly available in September. Unless this expansion is better valued than the first expansion, I feel that more players will leave this game including myself.

I did play a few other games but I’m still either playing them or formulating my thought s about them.

serenity

For relaxation, I went back and re-watched Firefly. It is amazing how well that show still holds up after all this time. Even the movie, Serenity, is worth watching to this day. After watching that entire series, it came to my attention that the second season of Agents os S.H.I.E.L.D.. It seems like I missed something from inbetween the seasons but I’m still enjoying it.

I’m going lay around, watch Netflix all damn day and nobody will convince me to do otherwise.

 

 

Bio Card Paul

Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!

Dude’s Chronicles 6-7-2015: So Tired

 

Sleepy-puppies-9415133-1600-1200This week finds me tired. Not tired of things that are happening, tired from not sleeping well. I believe a nap is inbound.

etheric-lightThe Iron Banner is the first opportunity I’ve had to get some much coveted Etheric Light. Without playing Trial of Osiris, I have been gifted exactly zero of these. From what I’ve gathered from people, Trials of Osiris is the best way to get Etheric Light and I don’t want to play that game type. I also don’t want to play the harder levels of Prison of Elders. Most of the talk I hear about the harder levels makes it sound like the effort is not worth the returns. I have armor that gets me to the max light level, so I don’t need to play for that anymore. I also don’t care for the guns that are purchased with the weapon cores, so I don’t want to play for those. Therefore, I’ve been grinding in the Iron Banner so that I can purchase Etheric Light but this still sucks. You can only buy two per character and you have to reach level three and five, then each Etheric Light costs five-thousand glimmer. No matter how you play this game, Bungie just likes to kick you in the balls.

To get a break from the Iron Banner, I went back into the raids. I only intended to play Vault of Glass but half of the group wanted to carry on into Crota’s End. I went along for the ride and this was my first time doing Crota’s End on hard mode. The group was very good and made up for my lack of knowledge. If the group hadn’t been as friendly and fun to play with, I would have really been a lot less happy with the play time.  Since the group was strong, we cleared the raid in about thirty minutes. I didn’t get Black Hammer or Gjallarhorn but it was still a good time with some good players.

guilttripThe Prince was a low grade movie is the best I can say for it. The story of the a man being a total badass, getting out of a bad life style, going straight, only to get pulled back into his former life has been done much better than this film did it. The entire time I was watching this movie, I questioned by Nick Cage was not in it.

A movie that was a pleasant surprise was The Guilt Trip. I went into this movie wanting to hate it just because it had Barbara Streisand but I ended up really enjoying it. If you are going to watch one of these two movie, watch this one.

Time to play out some more Iron Banner, damn it.

 

Bio Card Paul

Paul Novak is a self described Polish ninja toiling away as an IT professional but more into gaming and writing. Physically existing in the west side of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania yet existentially flowing with the ether of the Internet. Found here at What’s Your Tag? and on the Twitter @dudewantshisrug. Game on with Team XBRO!