Seventh Grade

I was told all throughout sixth grade that I was already in the hardest grade there was. I was expecting a major drop in homework amount and class difficulty. All of those assumptions were completely wrong.

Seventh grade was much harder than sixth in almost every single way. By October I was doing five hours of homework every night. A few months after that, I had forgotten what free time was. I had to spend almost all my time dedicated to school. In sixth grade, I received quite a bit of homework, but nothing I couldn’t manage. In seventh, I needed to work constantly to keep up with it.

My advice for next years seventh graders is to prioritize schoolwork before everything. Getting your homework done and turned in is more important than your life.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted Review

I wanted this game for a while, but I was unwilling to pay twenty dollars for it. After two months of waiting for it to go on sale, I finally gave in. And guess what happens right after I buy the game? It goes on sale!

The concept of this game is a strange one. It takes place on an archipelago, with several settlements built on it. However, all of them have been abandoned. I haven’t figured out why there are no people, probably because most of the story is found in scattered books and letters. Oh, and the island is filled with robots dressed up as Victorian gentleman who are hunting you down.

An opening cutscene narrated by your butler Mr. Walters reveals that you were involved in some sort of experiment, which went terribly wrong. Somehow, the experiment had sent you to the aforementioned archipelago. Several pieces of a strange “device” have been scattered around the islands, and must return them to a circle of stones on the central island to get home. However, the tireless robots are constantly patrolling the islands in search of you.

To escape the islands, you will have to retrieve fragments of the device and return them to the center isle. The more fragments you have returned, the harder it gets. You will also encounter several varieties of robots. There is the hunter; your regular shotgun-toting, garden-variety robot. There is the poacher; a stout robot who sets traps. There is also the terrifying landowner, who towers high above the ground and carries a deadly shockwave producing cane.

While collecting fragments and hiding from robots, you will also have to manage your vitality, which slowly decreases over time. If you do not keep it up, you will die. You can increase it by consuming food and water. You will find supplies by looting buildings. You are given a rather small inventory, so deciding what to take and what to leave is very important.

Sir, You Are Being Hunted recently entered beta stage, so you could expect there are a problems. For example, you can’t enter building, instead you have to click on a door and see the available items. I have found the visibility meter to be a bit glitchy at some times. But the biggest problem is that the robots have almost no peripheral vision, and will only see you if standing right in front of them, or if you make a lot of noise.

Final Thought:
This game is still in early development, but I already like it a lot. I am excited to see future additions to the gameplay. My final rating for this game is a 8/10.


The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps the better claim Because it was grassy and wanted wear, Though as for that the passing there Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay In leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I, I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.

I like this poem because it has a moral that encourages people to follow a different path from everyone else, stand out, and be an independent thinker. It also tells readers to be careful with your life choices, as you my regret it later.


Week 4/5: Media and Memory

When I was little, I just couldn’t do without my favorite game, Zoo Tycoon. I would wake up early on weekends to play it. I would rush to finish my homework everyday in hopes of getting time to build another exhibit or two.

I first played the game at a friend’s house. I came home excited and immediately began to beg my parents for the game. After months of waiting, I finally found the disc waiting for me under the Christmas tree.

I remember starting a zoo in a small town. I cared for a family of polar bears as my zoo grew in popularity. I went on the internet to find cheats to unlock secret animals like unicorns and mermaids. And of course, there were the times I spent laughing maniacally as I barricaded the exit and unleashed a swarm of velociraptors upon the zoo’s unsuspecting visitors.

Zoo Tycoon was the first video game I really enjoyed, and every now and then I like to pop the disk in my computer for a trip down memory lane.

Week 4: 5 Apps and Programs

MThere are millions of downloadable apps and programs, and many of them are quite useful, but the same cannot be said for all of them.
Here a five of my favorite, in no particular order.

1. Wolfram Alpha is an app available for iOS , and works like an encyclopedia on your phone or tablet. It has a calculator, dictionary, and a has information on very many topics. It is a very versatile app.

2. DocAS is a very useful document editor. It can be used to add text, highlight words, crop, and add photos, and lot more. When you are finished, you can export it in several different ways

3. When I learn about a game on the Internet, I don’t have to read reviews online to see if it’s any good. I don’t have to search through game shops if I decide I want it. Instead, I simply search for it on Steam and download the demo. Steam is a game distribution platform which offers thousands of titles. It makes buying games very easy. It also has a friend system for multiplayer.

4. Wolfram Alpha may have a calculator, but there are a few equations that it can’t solve. This problem is fixed in MyScript Calculator. It is very easy to use as well. All you have to is write down the equation and the app interprets it and gives you the answer.

5. IStudiez Pro is quite confusing at first, but when you get used to it, it is very useful. It allows you set up planner and have it alert you about due assignments. It also collects information from your iOS calendar. It has a schedule system that keeps track of all your classes.

Week 2: My Favorite Place in Austin

It was a red building with a tin roof. There was a living tree growing inside one of the rooms. The interior was decorated with antiques, like old neon signs, old wagons, a lobster trap, and boat motors. My favorite decoration was a model biplane made out of tin cans. The tables were decorated with old advertisements. The walls were lined with booths and tables were scattered in the center. Slow turning fans hung from the ceiling. Near the entrance was a model of the building, built by a third-grader for a social studies project. It was really a comfortable room to eat my favorite dinner.

They served the best catfish in central Texas. I had gone there many times, and I always ordered the medium catfish dinner. I received a plate with four perfectly fried fillets. Next to it was a pile of salted french fries and fried okra. I washed it all down with a glass of cold lemonade. My idea of the perfect dinner.

That place was Springhill Restaurant. It no longer exists. It was bulldozed last year, along with the model I had built. The tree that once grew through the roof is now firewood.. In its place is Bee Cave’s 13th bank. Is that supposed the be progress?

I’m still looking for an acceptable replacement.

The Phantom’s Lair – Down Into Darkness

The winding staircase went spiraling down into the foreboding darkness. The stairs ended at a short tunnel, which lead to a massive cavern. In the center of the was an expansive lake. Thousands of candles lined the walls, their light flickering off the water. A rowboat was hitched to a wooden post in the ground at the edge of the underground lake. Over half a mile of water, on a hill, sits a once shining throne. Years underground have dulled the glint. A few steps away from the throne is a massive organ. Hundreds of silver pipes extruded from the base,  so huge they could swallow a man whole.

A mysterious figure emerges from the darkness behind the organ. This cave is his. The cave is a prison he built for himself. He never has left the darkness of this abyss.

Inline image 3

Photo Credit: Morguefile

Story Thing 7

This is Story Thing 7… At least I think it is…

I fought off unconsciousness and found myself sprawled out on the floor. As I lied there, frantic thoughts flashed through my mind. A faint beeping sound started to come from the control panel. I reached and grabbed the edge of the panel on pulled myself up. The beeping was coming from a small flashing bulb. It was labeled “Low Atmosphere Warning”. I put aside my thoughts and focused on what I had to do. I pulled a lever on the supply door and it opened. Every pod was stocked with several months of water, dried food, and oxygen. There were also three spacesuits. I put it on, attached a oxygen tank, and hooked up tracking system so I could always know the pod’s location. I step into the airlock, and the outer door opened.

The pod had crashed into the foot of a cliff face. I made a quick scan of surrounds and saw the wreckage of the Legacy at the bottom of a hill. I hurried downhill to inspect the ship.

Edge of Space “Review”

The Steam Fall Sale is a long awaited holiday for PC gamers. Thousands of titles are 25, 75, or 95 percent off. I was browsing through available games a couple months ago over the break, hoping to find a game I wanted on Steam. There I found Edge of Space, a 2-D sandbox adventure game. It was inspired by Terraria, another 2-D sandbox adventure game that I really enjoyed. When I saw Edge of Space, my first thought was: What could be better than Terraria in SPACE!?! Actually, a lot of things could.

When you first open the game, you will think : How could a game with music like this be bad? That’s one of the few good things about it. It then makes you create your character, create a world, suffer through a seven minute loading screen, and then dumps you in some floating hallway to begin the tutorial. You learn the controls and are thrown out into a cold and uncaring planet. Unlike the title screen, the music here is more reminiscent of African tribal drums. You have no idea what to do at first, and unlike Terraria, it doesn’t have NPCs to give you advice. You’re on your own.

I jumped off the floating rock I spawned on and landed on the ground. The developers couldn’t be bothered to make the enemies spawn off screen. Instead they have appear out of nowhere, right in front of you every time you take a couple of steps. As you expect, I was immediately swarmed by twenty jellyfish-esque things . They didn’t hurt you, but instead drained your energy. Your energy allows you to use your jetpack which helps you get around easier. Without it, you can jump an amazing two blocks. Your only method of defense is a inadequate laser gun that you received in the tutorial. It only has ten shots, which half the time will miss. Without any ammo, your going to have to mine for minerals to craft more. This is impossible to do while your being swarmed. I decided to stop playing for the day right there.

I turned it on again the next day. The same events repeated and I was once again being swarmed. I eventually found out that you could use your mining laser as a weapon, so I was able to get rid of some of the enemies – until I found they instantly respawn right in front of you and go back to chasing you. I was so frustrated with this game, I just jumped off a cliff. When you die, a message pops up saying that you died. It gives you two options : Bound 10 rods distance or Master 10 rods. Neither of these made any sense at all to me, so I just clicked on the first. It sent me back to the starting point.

I think that there’s some story in all of this, but the game only hints at it with an obscure opening cutscene with a ship, a couple of shadowy figures, and a planet.

Now I’ll talk about the good things. One thing I like that is different than other games like this is the crafting system. In order to create an item, you don’t need a certain thing. Instead you need one thing from a group of items, like metals, or rocks. Some materials are more effective in certain recipes than others, but the game doesn’t tell you that. You have to experiment until you discover it for yourself.

Unfortunately, there’s not much more I can say about the good aspects. There’s a lot of little things in this game that bug me. One example is in the inventory screen. When you want to move an item into the hotbar, you can just drag it over there. You have to click on a little tab in the hotbar, scroll through all the items you have, and then click on the one you want to move. It so tedious! Even worse there are no hotkeys to select your items! You have to scroll through them using Q and E.

Final Thought:
This game is still in beta stage, and it should be for a long time. It has very few redeeming qualities. I would not recommend you buy this game until it gets an update that makes it more playable. My rating for this game is a 3/10.

More News from Saudi Arabia

As promised I am now writing another post from Saudi Arabia. Really late.

On the day after I wrote the last post, it had to go to this place downtown called Khobar. It’s basically an area with a lot a shops. It also has some of the most insane drivers ever to live. There are no traffic lights and not even stop signs. People don’t care if you’re walking in front of their car. They’ll run right into you if you’re not fast enough.

I was looking at this sword I found in one shop. It was only about one foot long, but the shopkeeper still wanted 500 dollars for it. Guess it was an old one. I’ll have to look when I get to Oman.