Okay, time to update people on a few things:

Last week (from 11/28-12/7) was my annual trip down to see my parents. Usually, a few blog posts come out of that, as I play some wargames with my dad, and write up session reports about them.

Well, for what I think is the second time in the years I’ve been doing this, we never got around to it. Which is a pity, since I was hoping to try out the GCACW series with my dad and the copy of Stonewall in the Valley that Mark got me a while ago. But, no.

I did actually play some wargames. My usual round with Patch continued, and we finished off “Blazin’ Chariots” and started “Came Tumbling After” for ASL, and got in a couple games of “Sepeia 494 BC” for CC:A in between. I had also agreed to start a PBeM game of scenario 5, “In Sight of the Volga” from Beyond Valor, and got that off to a good start during the week.

Most of the time, I played computer games. I floated between several things, starting with EU: Rome (which I need to get back to, as that’s my next Paradox review). I’ve had a game going for a while; and keep running out of available manpower way too easily. I’ve started outlining the review, but have a long ways to go.

Installed and fiddled around with Hearts of Iron III (the next review, need to start studying up). The tech-tree oddities of the first game are back, not a great sign, though there’s also interesting things going on there. Having trouble with assigning carrier air groups to carriers so the UI shows it correctly everywhere; another reversion to problems of the first game.

Fiddled around with Crusader Kings II, mostly because my dad showed some interest. Started a game as William before the Christmas 1066 date he officially crowned himself, but after the main campaign after Hastings. Found the game already had given him the title. Over a decade, I’ve gotten older, beaten down a few rebellions, got Maine taken off me by Robert ‘the Old’ of France, swooped down after France had a bunch of troubles and asserted Matilda’s (weak) claim to the throne of France. So, now England is ruled by William, and France by his wife Matilda. Pity it can’t last….

My dad was also talking about space 4X games, and I told him about Sword of the Stars. Pointed him at my review, and started playing it myself to demonstrate it. Played the Humans in one game, and couldn’t get anywhere. Any time I thought I had things under control, another disaster (AI player or random event) would wipe out a colony. I think I’m winning against my main enemy, but ran out of patience. The second game, I took the Morrigi in a more spread-out map. Man, they’re given a large number of free technologies. It’s gone much better. Took over my local area, and proceeded to the core. I’ve gotten into a three-way alliance, taken care of a major swarmer infestation, and am the biggest thing going, slowly trimming back the Hivers in second place. I’m still poking my way at this game, even though I really need to get back to EU:R.

The usual things were done as well: Saw my Aunt Ruth a couple times (seems to be doing okay). I sorted out my dad’s printer problems, and gave him an early Christmas present by upgrading his RAM (only had 1GB, which is barely sufficient in a Win 7 machine). Visited a ‘remaindered’ bookstore, and picked up a couple things: The Fourth Part of the World, and Bitter Victory (my dad also gave me a spare copy of the apropos Stonewall in the Valley). And I visited Mike & Elaina (and Rowan!) the following weekend. Not a lot to say there, they’re doing about as well as can be expected when the central heat goes out just before a really nasty early cold snap. Managed to geek out with Mike a couple times, as well as the usual talking with Elaina, and being shown Rowan’s latest toys.

On the way home on Sunday, I got a bit lost (missed an extra turn, and had breakfast where I was supposed to turn, so in the end, I took all four roads from that intersection), and took a couple dips way too fast. The rental car was fine (couldn’t see any damage), but in the trunk my hard suitcase clobbered my computer.

The case was visibly bent. It bulged to one side at the front. I had the entire trip home to wonder what electronics were wrecked, and whether my hard drives had survived.

I had Monday off as it was. I planned to take the day easy, get a couple things done, but now I had something much more important to do. I started shopping around; I needed a new case, and while I had a spare available, I was thinking about getting one that would come with a better power supply than my current one. While I was debating the possibilities of what to get if the worst had happened, Smudge pointed out that I could just get a Surface Pro. I had been planning to get a Kindle Fire HDX to be an eReader that can handle large-format documents and other tasks, and that would cost no more than that plus the base components of a new system (motherboard, processor, RAM). We stopped by the Microsoft store, and had a very nice long talk about MMOs in general, and the ability of a Surface to run them in particular (he didn’t really know in general, but had some things to share).

I ended up emptying the spare case of all previous components and step-by-step transferring Horo over to it. Amazingly, everything was fine. Horo is in a smaller, sturdier case now, and is just fine.

However, I still ended up letting Smudge talk me into getting a Surface Pro 2 instead of a Kindle Fire HDX. I went back to the Microsoft Store that evening and spent a lot of money. They got a free up-sell by being out of the base model.

Most of a week later, I’m still getting used to Windows 8.1, but I’m getting there. The machine is very snappy, and I’ve been taking  it to work. Haven’t done a lot on it. Part of the goal is to use as an eReader, but it is a bit heavy for that (and I’m still in the middle of several physical books, so I haven’t really done that much yet. The hard keyboard works pretty well, though the thing occasionally seems to read intent to click on a bare breath of touch, and the rest of the time needs pretty deliberate touch. I’ve switched my podcast listening over to it, so I don’t have to time everything out so much, and can continue an episode on the train (and listened to a couple while writing this). I’ve installed EU:R, and it seems to run quite well; the sound from the built-in speakers is surprisingly good.

So, meet my first mobile machine, Azuna: