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Megafest 6.0 (part 3)

Started: 2007-06-12 16:57:40

Submitted: 2007-06-12 17:37:01

Visibility: World-readable

The continuing saga of Megafest 6.0 began two changelogs ago. If I get ambitious, I might edit this changelog after posting it to include actual links for the lazy.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Humblik apparently managed to destroy his computer by installing a key generator that in fact contained a rootkit and sexy malware. (I suggested that, in the future, he should install all single-use software in a virtual machine; Microsoft didn't get around to disallowing virtualization in their consumer-grade EULAs until Vista.) Resurrecting his computer apparently involved driving to Best Buy and buying a floppy drive (never mind that this is the twenty-first century and floppies are obsolete); after fighting all day he apparently was able to recover.

In pre-fest communication, Signalman requested that Nemo bring his twelve-gage shotgun for target practice. Nemo obliged and they attempted to recruit other Festors to join them. I was the only one sufficiently interested to try. (Kiesa was surprised that I went, since I've never previously indicated any interest in firearms.) They spent much of the morning running around town getting the equipment they needed, which included a state park pass, ammunition, and a lockable box for the ammunition while inside city limits. When they returned, I volunteered Yoda for the vehicle of choice; we loaded the necessary hardware and headed at a state park on the other side of Lincoln. (When we got there, I discovered that I had visited the park in August or September 2000, when I came to visit Union before beginning my junior year at Walla Walla, although I missed the shooting range in my previous visit.) Nemo assembled a table from several pieces of wood particle board and arrayed several empty soda cans partially filled with water on the top. (I donated some Mountain Dew Code Red cans.) Nemo went first; he had the most experience and had no trouble hitting the stationary cans. He handed me the shotgun and explained the simple controls: the trigger and the lever to open the back of the barrel and eject the spent shell and exchange it with a live one. (Signalman emphasized the necessity of holding the stock tightly into one's shoulder to prevent excessive bruising due to recoil.) It took several shells to figure out how to aim; eventually, I was able to hit the stationary cans. We took turns shooting until all of the cans had been shot into multiple pieces and the range had become overrun by groups with shotguns and moving targets. (Had I known of the plan sufficiently in advance, I could have filmed the cell phone skeet-shooting scene Willy envisioned for Fences.)

We returned to the Republic of Haven via a somewhat more-direct route on I-80. I contemplated my options identified a number of geocaches in the immediate vicinity. I set out on foot with my GPS receiver and iPod (which entertained and informed me with podcasts and stored the descriptive text for the geocaches in case I needed help finding them) and was able to find the three caches within a two kilometer radius with minimal difficulty. Unlike previous experiences in Lincoln in the month of May, it wasn't excessively hot; daytime highs hovered pleasantly around the eighties during the Megafest, with occasional rain storms.

I convinced the group to vote for movies; I nominated Pan's Labyrinth but Yanthor's nomination, the first two episodes of Heroes, won. (Yanthor had the episodes recorded on his cable DVR, and was quite fond of the show.) I thought it was interesting, but I think I'm a bit dubious about serial dramas that don't bother to have single-episode plots. (I'm not sure if this is silly of me for holding a double standard between established sci-fi shows that I enjoyed as serial dramas (the later seasons of Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine), but I didn't get the feeling that the show's authors earned the right to string me along with a season-long set of episodes without introducing me to the plot and the universe in smaller episodes. On the other hand, serial dramas seem to do the best on television these days; am I simply dubious about shows that have the audacity to become popular?)

I convinced Yanthor and Anya to watch "Once More With Feeling", the Buffy musical episode. I hadn't seen it since watching the end of sixth season, so it was a little weird to see things and people that weren't around after that (spoilers vague just in case there's anyone out there reading this page who cares and hasn't yet watched one of the greatest television shows of the past decade), but I did enjoy seeing the episode again.

Bunnies, bunnies, it must be bunnies!

I went to bed early (for a Megafest), only shortly after midnight CDT. No one else seemed to be doing anything interesting, and I was tired from the long weekend.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Throughout the Megafest, I had a series of strange dreams that were set at alternate incarnations of the Megafest itself and generally involved it ending early or otherwise being unfun in some way that seemed to make sense at the time. (The exciting part about dreams is that they are entirely self-consistent at the time, and I often dream and think, "This would make a great movie plot!", but then I wake up and realize how silly it was and try to forget it before I can further embarrass myself.)

After breakfast, we played six-player Settlers of Catan; Humblik managed to win despite him, Yanthor, and I all being in the running for the title. I started packing, sent Kiesa to feed Yoda, and had just enough time for one last game of Kohan: Humblik, Yanthor, and I versus four hard AIs. None of the early battles were especially close, although most were interesting. By the end of the game, I assembled an army with four companies of crossbowmen backed up by two Storm Lords each, for massive forked lightning going out across my unsuspecting enemies. I did manage to take the army into battle against some unworthy opponents, but fighting against an overwhelming army would have been much more fun. (That may be part of the problem with elite armies: they take so many resources and so much technology to build that it's hard to field them in decisive numbers at any point during the game. Unless you're an AI with special advantages.) We won without much difficulty, and thus ended my participation in Megafest 6.0.

Kiesa, Yoda, and I departed the Republic of Haven at 1510 EDT. Kiesa took the first shift driving and I wrote the first changelog documenting the Megafest. We stopped in North Platte to feed Yoda and ourselves (we ended up with something at Taco Bell that wasn't the seven-layer burrito we were expecting but was interesting in its own respect); I took the helm and continued westward. We ran into heavy rain in eastern Colorado and eventually arrived home seven and a half hours later. Our cats were glad to see us, and we were glad to see bed.

Most of what I've told you is an absolute fact.
- Doug Logan, 22 December 1999