Extra Life, The Nationals, and Picture Log for 10/6 to 10/12

Time for the Friday housecleaning entry. I had originally intended these entries to be photo-only, but I think this is also a good place to tackle whatever happens to be on my mind, clear the cobwebs and reset for the weekend. I’m going to try to avoid talking about writing in these entries, but we’ll see if I can stick to that.

First of all, I’ll again be participating in Extra Life this year. For those who don’t know, Extra Life is an annual video game marathon/fundraiser that helps out the Children’s Miracle Network, a lifesaving organization committed to providing quality care for children, no matter what their ability to pay. Having grown up a bit disadvantaged myself, it’s a cause that is near and dear to my heart that aligns with one of my hobbies, so it’s a real no-brainer to participate.

I’m going to be honest; I’m struggling for donations this year. This is my fourth year, and each year I’ve seen dwindling returns, to the point that I am the sole donor at this moment. And this despite keeping my social media commitment and at times exceeding it. I’m not sure what else I can do, but I – and the children – could really use your help. I would be so grateful if you could contribute, even a dollar will help. My page is at https://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=275297.

Okay, enough of that. Moving on. It’s funny, I had this rambling diatribe planned for the next section of this entry, but now that I’m actually sitting down to write it, I’m at a loss for words. Here’s the deal: I’m a baseball fan. Baseball, not just my team, though I do love my team…well, teams. I grew up a Baltimore Orioles fan (though sadly too young to truly enjoy the 1983 Championship team) and still follow them, but my primary team became the Washington Nationals as I watched them stumble through the early years. Hell, I was present at that god-awful first game, and I’m talking FIRST, the April 3rd 2005 pre-season charity game at RFK stadium. They were terrible for those early years, but by God they were our team.

Which brings me to last night. And 2012. And 2014. And 2016. Heartbreak every single time. Last year it kind of became apparent that this team was lacking “something”. I’m not talking intangibles, as I’m not necessarily a big believer in that kind of thing, but for whatever reason, the pitching and hitting just did not click together as a machine. Championship teams, you usually see that happen – they get the hits they need at the time they need them, the pitchers come up strong, the defense works at the right time. Honestly, last night, while the Cubs were a bit of a mess, I saw it with them way more than the Nationals. See some of Javier Baez’s plays, or Heyward’s grab of Matt Weiters’ fly ball. The Nationals had their moments during this series, for sure, but it just never gelled. I’m not going to point fingers because there’s plenty of blame to go around, though for once I’m not sure that Dusty Baker is actually the problem. He made a few questionable moves, but it’s hard to second-guess most of them.

Anyway, I think it’s time to blow up this current iteration of the team. Hold on to Harper and Rendon until the trade deadline next year so they can up their value, then trade them for some young talent. Harper in particular should bring back some nearly-ML ready talent. Give Victor Robles the chance now that we’re free of Jayson Werth. See if you can deal Daniel Murphy now and give Wilmer Difo a shot at second. Try to build the offense around players like Carter Kieboom and Juan Soto. Trade Strasburg. Not sure what you do with Max Scherzer because of his contract, but maybe someone will take him. Fill the gaps with reclamation projects until the kids start arriving, see if some of those pan out.

I will always have a soft place in my heart for this iteration of the team (except maybe Gio Gonzalez), but this series made it clear that its time is past. There’s no sense in clinging to it anymore. Might as well salvage what we can from this nightmare.

All right, enough baseball nerding. On with the pictures.

Visited a great used game store in St. Charles, MO on Saturday. Wish I could afford one of these machines. Or put it anywhere.

Picked up this rare “import” vinyl from our local record store. I used to be a big Nirvana bootleg collector back in the 90s, so I couldn’t resist this, especially for the price.

El Tio Pepe’s in O’Fallon is already proving to be our local favorite Mexican place. Reminds me a lot of this authentic place we had back in Harrisonburg.

Caught this gorgeous sunset in St. Charles right after we got out of Blade Runner 2049. Fantastic movie, by the way.

Monday morning was crazy foggy. This isn’t my picture, but it really captivates my imagination.

October is the season for horror soundtracks on vinyl! This is a limited edition copy of “The Void” soundtrack, from Mondo records. Synth goodness.

Bertram was feeling particularly affectionate toward his mother. He’s gotten very sweet in his old age.

And last, the NLDS of doom. See you next week.

Extra Life Marathon 2015: Live Blog

8:03 AM – Finishing the initial set-up of the stream and getting settled in. I’d like to thank the Motion Picture Association of America for the delay; having some problems with their copyright encoding. First up will be Destiny, a 2014 massively online shooter that saw a major update in September that made it more user-friendly, with more story and proper quest lines. I’d given up on this game earlier this year, but am enjoying it a lot these days. Expect an hour of strikes and grinding. You can watch at http://www.twitch.tv/workingdogv1 and I’m still accepting donations at http://www.extra-life.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=donorDrive.participant&participantID=175107. Thanks!

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9:12 – Sorting some Internet problems and technical software issues. I expect this to solve the ongoing streaming problems…hopefully. Never trust beta software. Soon up is The Witcher 3, an open world Action RPG from 2015. Coffee in hand, ready to go now.

Witcher310:02 – Okay I do believe the issues are hammered out. Leave it to Cox to decide to crap the bed today, of all days. Next up is Life is Strange, a decidedly less actiony game about a girl who can rewind time who’s trying to deal with high school and prevent the apocalypse. More of a story-driven game, this one is a real sleeper hit that I’ve come to love. I’ll be picking up in the middle of Episode 4.

Strange

11:05 – Things are finally going smoothly. Going back to the Witcher 3 since the last time was such a disaster. Diablo 3 was always a fall-back plan anyway.

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12:37 – Just finished up lunch and back to Destiny until 1:30. So far, so good, aside from this morning’s technical hurdles. Some folks have joined in to watch, which is always fun.

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2:39 – Just went back-to-back with Destiny and Rock Band 4, now about to delve back into Life is Strange before the 3:30 afternoon break. Tiring a bit, time for more coffee.

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4:03 – Well that was quite the ending to that stream. Back from the afternoon break and ready to boogey. Time for more Rock Band!

Rock band

5:07 PM – Really feeling the length of the marathon now. I’m up to nine hours now, and it’s starting to feel it. Was doing well on Rock Band right up until the last song and hit a wall. Now it’s time for coffee and more Witcher 3. At least that’ll be slower paced.

6:07 PM – Destiny time again. I think dinner will be around 7, and past that I’m not sure what to play, since my Rock Band session with friends fell through. Maybe finish episode 4 of Life is Strange? We’ll see. Weird having coffee this late in the day.

7:42 PM – Just finished dinner and now it’s unscheduled time. I think I’m going to start by finishing Life is Strange Episode 4 and then maybe dig into Until Dawn? We’ll see how things go.

Life

8:33 PM – Explosive ending for Episode 4 of Life is Strange. Having some fun in the chat as well. Debating whether to go on to four or end at two in the morning…leaning toward the former. Still, feeling all right so far. Now to play Until Dawn.

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10:44 PM – Starting up again shortly with Life is Strange, going to try to finish up Episode 5 and the game. In other news, just saw this about a strange light in the western sky. Apparently a Trident missile launch? Crazy stuff: https://instagram.com/p/9zpu4eEmIA/

1:40 AM – Finishing up the fifth and final episode of Life is Strange right now, and then off to bed. Thanks to everyone who donated this year! Hopefully we’ll be back here next year. Until then, later!