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Week 21 – A Smoky Sunday

On Saturday, a balcony caught fire a couple of blocks away from where I live. The fire quickly spread to adjacent apartments, and pretty soon the inhabitants were forced to evacuate the building. The fire spread to the roof, and when the firetrucks arrived they decided to let the roof burn out completely. As a result, a steady stream of smoke rose up in a dark pillar, and when I woke up on Sunday morning, completely unaware of this passing event, the room was riddled with a fragrance of something like burnt plastic. So I closed the windows and went about business as normal.

During the day the wind shifted, and for a moment the stream of smoke was blowing right at our house. Even with windows closed the stench was a bit overpowering, walking outside didn't initially seem like a good idea, but well within the forest the smoke cleared. I took a walk with my sister to the nearby golf course, and stood for a while on a ridge overlooking the fields of houses surrounding ours. The sea of smoke was clearly visible from there, layering over the whole town like a thick mist, rushing the palisades of our buildings with cloudy intent. A soft drizzle only made the smoke thicker, but toward the end of the day when the wind was stilled, so was the smoke. I opened all windows at full and cleared out the smoke, and the next day it was all gone.

Other than this unexpected adventure? My computer's back! I fetched it on Wednesday. The people over there at computer repair swapped the GPU for a AMD Radeon HD 7790 with 2GB VRAM, put the twisted cooler back in place, moved fan control from the rear fan to the fans in front (which provides better cooling, no doubt, but unfortunately also quite a bit of disturbing sound), added a couple of lids to unused sockets and installed a bunch of updates + MSE anti-virus while they were at it. Great! I hauled it home and immediately moved over GTA SA through an EHD, and played it, for the first time ever with all settings maxed out. Nice! I tried installing GTA 4 on my ordinary computer, and then transferring the files via EHD, but that didn't work at all. At times like this, I'd rather they sold all computer games DRM-free, and allowed you to make them portable with ease. Making it harder for customers to play their games isn't going to decrease piracy. But anyway, I played GTA SA, and the next day my DVD Drive arrived. I managed to install it without short-circuiting anything in the computer (lucky!), and finally, I tried GTA 4! Finally, as in, after having wanted to play it since it was released back in late 2008. That's almost five years ago!

Since then I've also tried out Resident Evil 5, Serious Sam 2, Trackmania 2, Total Overdose and Burnout Paradise. Apart from Burnout Paradise, none of these games worked on my previous computer (Total Overdose probably would have, but I didn't know the graphics were that outdated!). Resident Evil 5 had some hacky controls, but seems promising otherwise. I haven't played far enough to be annoyed by my constant sidekick yet. Serious Sam 2 seems too bright and fuzzy compared to the first games, but I didn't expect it to be amazing. Trackmania 2 was... a bit disappointing. If I played the game for the multiplayer experience, then I might get a different impression, but since I like to play solo (unless I have people close by to play against), it doesn't have many levels to offer. The graphics are great, but the overall game is... not that special. As for Total Overdose, it seems old, the controls are OK, the plot seems like fun but the game... nah. Burnout Paradise? The first time I played it (with much lag, on my previous computer) I thought it seemed awesome. This time around I'm not so sure. I'll have to wade past first impressions before I can say for certain though.

Otherwise? Studies, sites, sorting, stuff. The time before summer is always the busiest time of the year. Last week.


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