Kevin C. Wong

July 2021

Diary - Jul 24 to Jul 30 2021

Sat Jul 24 2021

Sleep 0500 to 1130. (6-1/2 hours)

  • DriveThruRPG Christmas in July Sale. But it started the second half of the month when I've allocated my luxury purchases for the month. The sale does extend through Aug 02 so I'll buy a product or three next month if I remember.

Sun Jul 25 2021

Sleep ???

  • Worked a bunch today.

Mon Jul 26 2021

Sleep 0600 to 1200. (6 hours)

  • HOA Meeting. We voted to get a video camera security system for the front door. If we get rid of our patrol service then it's less money after a year and a half. Mind you the video camera and patrol service have very little security overlap.

Tue Jul 27 2021

Sleep 0300 to 0900. 1-1/2 hour nap. (7-1/2 hours)

  • I can tell this is not going to be a week where I get much work done.

Wed Jul 28 2021

Sleep 0300 to 1030. (7-1/2 hours)

  • Judge Dredd Comic Bundle - bought at the $1 level since I'm not that into Dredd comics. But this also gets me to 10 SMCU debit card purchases.

Thu Jul 29 2021

Sleep 0700 to 1200 (5 hours)

  • Watching some Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson compilation videos on YouTube and man he was great on that show.

Fri Jul 30 2021

Sleep 0130 to 1200 (11-1/2 hours)

  • Lite DDO night since Woo couldn't make it. Christopher and I ran through some quests we skipped as a whole group. We need to xp to keep up with Woo and Sophia because subscription customers get a substantial xp bonus.

GURPS 2021 PDF Challenge Add-Ons

BackerKit for GURPS 2021 PDF Challenge came out. I got the $99 level which includes $125 of credit to buy PDFs. This is what I bought:

SJG 30-6005 GURPS Classic: Space 1E ($8)
SJG 30-6007 GURPS Classic: Horseclans ($8)
SJG 30-6012 GURPS Classic: Supporting Cast ($8)
SJG 30-6020 GURPS Classic: Time Travel ($8)
SJG 30-6039 GURPS Classic: Terradyne ($8)
SJG 30-6129 GURPS Classic: Best Of Pyramid 1 ($8)
SJG 30-6416 GURPS Classic: Villains ($8)
SJG 30-6509 GURPS Classic: Space Atlas 4 ($8)
SJG 30-6546 GURPS Classic: Vehicles Lite ($3)
SJG 30-7304 Floor Plan 4 - Mall of the Dead ($10)

SJG 37-0348 GURPS Action 5: Dictionary of Danger ($10)
SJG 37-0349 GURPS Steampunk 3: Soldiers and Scientists ($11)
SJG 37-0352 GURPS Monster Hunters Power-Ups 1 ($6)
SJG 37-0361 GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Career Guide ($5)
SJG 37-1634 GURPS High-Tech: Electricity and Electronics ($10)
SJG 37-1711 GURPS Disasters: Hurricane ($6)

And I still have $185 in Warehouse 23 store credit which maybe someday I'll end up using.

DTRPG Christmas in July Sale

DriveThruRPG is having a summer sale, "up to 25% off", and actually a good amount of stuff is 25% off. I'm planning to buy a few more Basic D&D items:

AC7 - Master Player Screen ($3.75)
BSOLO Ghost of Lion Castle ($3.75)
X7 The War Rafts of Kron ($3.75)
X8: Drums on Fire Mountain ($3.75)
X9 The Savage Coast ($3.75)
X10 Red Arrow, Black Shield ($3.75)

Addendum: Ended up also buying

X11 Saga of the Shadow Lord
X12 Skarda's Mirror

Diary - Jul 17 to Jul 23 2021

Sat Jul 17 2021

Sleep 0530 to 0830. (3 hours)

  • Apple recently released a MagSafe Battery Pack for your MagSafe compatible iPhone. It's annoying that they don't specify how much charge it holds or how much longer you can run your iPhone with it. Then again I guess they don't tell you how much mAh your iPhone battery holds.

Sun Jul 18 2021

Sleep 0300 to 1000, 1400 to 1600. (9 hours)

Mon Jul 19 2021

Sleep 0100 to 0800, 1200 to 1300. (8 hours)

  • I was wrong, at least regarding wake from sleep Big Sur still has problems recognizing and waking up older monitor... Yup, on startup it recognizes the two external monitors.
  • Also tracking for my Glorious Model O is crazy fast. Since I don't have windows I have to use Mouse control panel but that also affects tracking for my Magic Mouse 2.

Tue Jul 20 2021

Sleep 1400 to 1500, 0730 to 1130. (5 hours)

  • Getting a $5k bonus plus a couple hundred stock options.

Wed Jul 21 2021

Sleep 0100 to 0800. 1 hour nap at dentist. (8 hours)

  • Went to dentist to get a crown on my molar. Almost there for three hours though half of the time was napping while the crown was being made.
  • Accidentally let my MBP battery run down until it went to sleep. On wake the monitors woke up fine but there were these weird graphic artifacts that popped up for a split second, usually when switching monitors or desktops. Had to restart my Mac to fix this.

Thu Jul 22 2021

Sleep 0100 to 0800, 1130 to 1230. (8 hours)

Fri Jul 23 2021

Sleep 0300 to 1100. (8 hours)

  • I've been converting my DVDs to mp4 and adding them to Apple TV app. In the app it shows tv shows as 16x9 images and I've been doing web searches to find suitable images. Ben Dodson wrote this web tool to fetch the artwork Apple uses in their store so that's pretty cool and saves me time.

Humble Hearts of Iron IV Bundle

Hearts of Iron IV Bundle is one of the simpler ones. For $18 you get the base game plus seven DLCs.

Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet Edition ($40) includes Poland United DLC

Axis Armor Pack ($6) - 53 armor models, not sure if there are in-game effects other than units look cooler
Radio Pack ($7) - ambient music specific to Allies, Axis and Soviets

Battle for the Bosporus ($20) - more details for Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey
Death or Dishonor ($10) - more details for Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia
Man the Guns Expansion ($20) - more details for naval ships
Together for Victory ($15) - expansion that gives more details for Commonwealth nations
Waking the Tiger ($20) - more details for China

It's hard to tell what kind of game this is from the Steam page. Even the first couple of reviews don't really go into basic gameplay. Finally I had to Google a question to find out this is a real-time game with an area-control map. It looks way too complicated for me so I think I'll pass.

Humble Sakura Series Bundle

Sakura Series Bundle features various Winged Cloud sexy visual novels and light RPGs. I already have most of the games even though half are Windows only.

$1 Level

Sakura Agent ($10, Windows, owned)
Sakura Gamer ($10, 32-bit macOS, owned)
Sakura Sadist ($10, 32-bit macOS, owned)
Sakura Shrine Girls ($10, 32-bit macOS, owned)
Sakura Space ($10, Windows, owned)

$10 Level

Sakura Fox Adventure ($10, 32-bit macOS, owned)
Sakura Gamer 2 ($10, 32-bit macOS, owned)
Sakura MMO 3 ($10, 32-bit macOS, owned)
Sakura Nova ($15, Windows, owned)
Sakura Swim Club ($10, 32-bit macOS, owned)

$12 Level

Sakura Dungeon ($20, 32-bit macOS, owned)
Sakura Knight 2 ($10, Windows)
Sakura Knight 3 ($10, Windows)
Sakura Succubus ($10, 32-bit macOS)
Sakura Succubus 2 ($10, 32-bit macOS)
Sakura Succubus 3 ($10, 32-bit macOS)

The last five I don't own so that's $12 for $50 in games ($25 on a good sale).

Diary - Jul 10 to Jul 16 2021

Sat Jul 10 2021

Sleep 0230 to 0830, 1130 to 1430. (9 hours)

  • Bought Humble Comics Bundle: Van Helsing & Friends by Zenescope Entertainment
  • Humble Bundle bulk download option merely starts individual downloads of each file which can choke my Internet connection. And invariable the script misses about 10% of the downloads, possibly because the browser is busy and rejects a download request.
  • Trader Joe's grocery shopping.

Sun Jul 11 2021

Sleep 0545 to 1315. (7-1/2 hours)

  • Sometimes I accidentally burn some food and it makes me sad.

Mon Jul 12 2021

Sleep 1030 to 1330. 2 hour nap, 1.5 hour nap. (6-1/2 hours)

  • Laid awake for an hour. Then got up and... actually worked until morning scrum meeting.

Tue Jul 13 2021

Sleep 1130 to 1430. (3 hours)

  • macOS Big Sur fixed two of my USB issues: (1) when plugging in/out power it dropped the other USB devices which is not great for connected hard drives, (2) when waking up from sleep it didn't wake one specific monitor so had to unplug both monitors and plug them back in a specific order.

Wed Jul 14 2021

Sleep 0300 to 1000. 1430 to 1630. (9 hours)

  • Bundle of Holding - Zoebeck for D&D 5E. This is a clockpunk campaign setting, two sourcebooks, two books with 15 (short) adventures, one book with campaign for levels 1-13. Although I like that there are lots of adventures I'm leery to buy since I don't have the 5E rules (well, there is the SRD which has all the rules but none of the names).

Thu Jul 15 2021

Sleep 0215 to 09:00. (6-3/4 hours)

Fri Jul 16 2021

Sleep 0330 to 13:00. (11-1/2 hours)

  • Bundle of Holdings - Fragged and Fragged Aeternum bundles. Very sourcebook heavy with an introductory adventure and a book of three adventures among the two bundles. I'll skip this.

FIDE World Cup 2021

FIDE World Cup 2021 started last week and runs through the beginning of next month. Some Twitch chess streamers participated though early exits abound. Looking at streamers and USA players:

Gulrukhbegim Tokhirjonova (USA) beat Carolina Lujan (ARG) 1.5-0.5 then lost to Aleksandra Goryachkina (RUS) 0-2.

Jennifer Yu (USA) beat Klaudia Kulon (POL) 3-1 then lost to Dinara Saduakassova (KAZ) 0-2.

Carissa Yip (USA) beat Sharmin Shirin Sultana (BGD) 2-0 and is tied with Nataliya Buksa (UKR) 1-1.

Elizabeth Paehtz (GER) got a bye first round and is tied with Nurgyul Salimova (BGR) 1-1.

Tatev Abrahamyan (USA) beat Viktoria Radeva (BGR) 2-0 then lost to Anna Muzychuk (UKR) 0-2.

Pia Cramling (SWE) (Anna's mom) got a first round bye and is tied with Monika Socko (POL) 1-1.

Alexandra Kosteniuk (RUS) got a first round bye then defeated Deysi Cori T. (PER) 2-0.

Jesse Nikki February (ZAF) lost to Valentina Gunina (RUS) 0.5-1.5.

Qiyu "Nemo" Zhou (CAN) lost to Vaishali R (IND) 0-2.

Dina Belenkaya (RUS) lost to Teodora Injac (SRB) 0-2.

Although Anna Muzychuk streamed for a while on Twitch she hasn't in a few months so that leaves Alexandra Kosteniuk as the strongest chess streamer left (and she's former Women's World Champion). I regularly watch Jesse February and Nemo and sometimes watch Dina Belenkaya and her sister so it's sad they all lost in the first round. I happened to be awake at 0500 Monday and Tuesday and watched Anna Cramling commentate on Nemo's games (and the other female chess streamers).

I haven't looked at the Open bracket but maybe next week.

Bundle of Holding- Lone Wolf

Cubicle 7 is losing their Lone Wolf license so there is now a resurrected Lone Wolf Bundle and a DriveThruRPG 50% sale (though DTRPG has the same books as the Lone Wolf Bundle).

List of CB7 Lone Wolf products:

CB7-2200 2017 The World of Magnamund
CB7-2201 2017 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 1
CB7-2202 2017 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 2
CB7-2203 2017 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 3
CB7-2204 2017 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 4
CB7-2205 2017 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 5
CB7-2206 2017 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 6
CB7-2207 2017 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 7
CB7-2208 2017 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 8
CB7-2209 2018 Maps of Magnamund Collection: Set 9

√ CB7-2210 2015 Lone Wolf Adventure Game ($10.50)
√ CB7-2212 2017 The Realm of Sommerlund ($10)
√ CB7-2213 2016 Heroes of Magnamund ($10)
√ CB7-2214 2017 Magnamund Menagerie ($10)
√ CB7-2215 2017 Terror of the Darklords (5-adventure campaign) ($10)
√ CB7-2216 2017 Narrator's Screen ($4.50)
√ CB7-2224 2016 Adventures of the Kai (3 adventures) ($7.50)
√ CB7-2225 2017 Bestiary of the Beyond ($10)

CB7-2218 ???? Deluxe Dice Set
CB7-???? 2017 Rookhaven ($15 PDF at CB7 store)

DTRPG is $72.50 or $27 for the bundle so a great price.

From what I read this is an introductory RPG. The basic rules are pretty much like the Lone Wolf adventure book rules. The advanced rules bring it up to something closer to Basic D&D complexity. My other concern is only 8 adventures. On the other hand I don't have to worry about more books coming out and it the amount of material looks good.

Diary - Jul 03 to Jul 09 2021

Sat Jul 03 2021

Sleep 0430 to 1230. (8 hours)

  • Safeway for a few groceries.

Sun Jul 04 2021

Sleep 0530 to 1330. (8 hours)

  • Relaxing 4th of July holiday.

Mon Jul 05 2021

Sleep 0330 to 0830. 1300 to 1500. (7 hours)

  • Finally upgraded to macOS 11 Big Sur since the next version will be released soon.
  • I'm going to try using VMWare Fusion for VPN to work, plus a web browser and VNC. If performance is good enough I hope this solves the problem of having to go through VPN for everything when I'm also working. If performance is not great then I wasted money on an Intel MBP with 64 GB RAM and 8 GB video RAM.
  • The Hit List: can't click to switch tabs in Big Sur. A bit inconvenient for my work flow.

Tue Jul 06 2021

Sleep 0500 to 1130. (6-1/2 hours)

  • Ok, the VMWare experiment lasted a day. macOS is way too heavy to run in VM with any performance. I might try again by stripping down the OS or using an older OS.

Wed Jul 07 2021

Sleep 0030 to 0330. 1000 to 1300. 1900 to 2000. (7 hours)

  • In Apple Notes tables you can reorder rows and columns by dragging, similar to Numbers. Cool.

Thu Jul 08 2021

Sleep 0445 to 1115. (6-1/2 hours)

  • I thought it was Wednesday. Darn holiday throwing my week off. I'd rather a holiday on Friday than Monday.

Fri Jul 09 2021

Sleep 0130 to 1030. (9 hours)

End of The Hit List

After upgrading to macOS Big Sur my longtime To Do / List Tracker app, The Hit List, finally shows its age.

  • You can't click on a tab to switch to that tab
  • Renaming a list crashes the app
  • Creating a list crashes the app (probably because it goes to edit name mode)

Since Karelia Software has become a zombie I don't expect the app to ever be updated again.

I really didn't use any features other than outliner stuff and setting item state to Active, Done, Cancelled. But it was very good at that because it was easy to move items around and collapse folders.

I didn't use the priority system (marking an item with a priority of none, 1 to 9), start and end date tracking, due dates, I think there is a way to track time spent on a task. So the useful scheduling/prioritizing features of any To Do List app.

So mostly used as an outliner where you can check-off done items. Which means I don't have to get a new app like Omni Focus ($100 per year) but can use Pages with an outliner document.

Addendum: After setting up a Page document I decided this would be better in Notes. This way I don't have another app open on my Mac.

Beyond the Mountains of Madness

A review of Beyond the Mountains of Madness (2021) reprint (re-laid out to current Chaosium book sttandards) for Call of Cthulhu 5E. What caught my attention was the blurb "The review is largely glowing, but warns of the onerous prep for running this adventure." and indeed the review spends a couple of paragraphs detailing the prep required: there's Lovecraft's novel-length story to read, the book is about 300 pages of adventure divided into 19 chapters and there's 140 pages of reference material. And if you bough the companion book (published as a Chaosium monograph) that's another about 150 pages of material.

Still, I did run this campaign as part of GURPS CoC and finished it up as part of GORF. 20 sessions with five or six coming from other supplements because a lot of the BtMoM chapters are quite short. The only prep I did was reading all the material once then re-reading the chapters as they came up for the gaming session. Mind you I do not run very detailed inventory and NPC relationship webs.

So it is a few weeks to read everything but can be done while running another campaign.

Diary - Jun 26 to Jul 02 2021

Sat Jun 26 2021

Sleep 0530 to 1430. (9 hours)

  • Slept through the last Marbles league race of season two. I decided to stay on HashtagMarblers team for season 3.

Sun Jun 27 2021

Sleep 0315 to 1215. (9 hours)

  • Chill weekend. Catching up on sleep. I feel relaxed.
  • Was thinking of getting Popeyes but too relaxed to go out.

Mon Jun 28 2021

Sleep 0630 to 1130. (5 hours)

  • Hard time getting to sleep last night.
  • Window cleaning. Yes it looks nice but compared to the non-cleaned windows it's not that much better. There just wasn't much grime on my windows and this is the first time they've been cleaned ever.
  • HOA Meeting. Kept it to one hour. Wow.

Tue Jun 29 2021

Sleep 0100 to 0700. 45 min nap. (6-3/4 hours)

  • This looks cool but I except it'll be expensive. Chaosium is going to KS a remastered reprint of Call of Cthulhu 1E boxed set plus five early supplements.

Wed Jun 30 2021

Sleep 0130 to 0830. 1 hour nap. (8 hours)

Thu Jul 01 2021

Sleep 0115 to 0730. 1115 to 1330. (8-1/2 hours)

  • Considering I've been 50 for a couple of months AARP sure sends me a lot of mail asking me to join.

Fri Jul 02 2021

Sleep 0130 to 0730. 1 hour nap. (7 hours)

  • Call of Cthulhu Classic KS is live. Oh, it's a reprint of 2nd Edition, not 1st. $100 (plus shipping) for a 2" boxed set with five supplements. But really more like reprints with extra material so you kind of have to buy it even if you own the originals.

That One Time I Could Have Died

Childhood is about doing things that can get you killed, realizing years later how stupid that was. There was a conversation about chatters who got hit cars while riding a bicycle. Which reminded me of the one time I got hit by a car while riding a bicycle. I guess I've only written about it that one time and it was brief.

I'm assuming the guy slowed down enough that when he hit me (it was all my fault by the way) it sent me head over heels at about the speed I was going (as fast as I could on a downhill bit of the freeway), onto asphalt, without a helmet on. I'm fairly sure no external head injuries (maybe a bit of a concussion since the world turned various shades of yellow for a few minutes; I couldn't make out any other colors).

Looking back again I really had a good chance of dying right there, or having a life-changing brain injury.