The Halls Head West – Part One

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Had a good visit with my parents last week. Hadn’t seen them in two years! Was nice to visit them in Southern California, enjoy the weather, and tour some of the local sites.

Our plane flight, out of Gregg County, was a bit bumpy. Our pilot had to dodge thunderstorms while flying into Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW).

View outside the plane as we took off from Longview, Texas.

Nothing like a little turbulence as we flew around thunderstorms.

We eventually landed at DFW and made our way to our second flight. The flight boarded but we had to sit in the plane as a second wave of thunderstorms made its way into the area. Tab and I caught up on much needed sleep (we were so excited that we hadn’t slept the night before).

Fun Fact: When lightening hits near the airport, a clock starts a countdown to an all clear (so much time has to go by). Apparently airport workers cannot work out on the tarmac when lightening has struck nearby. Safety first!

Landed in San Diego without incident. Loved flying on what appeared to be a new Airbus! Tab and I watched Netflix’s The Highwaymen, with Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson, on the flight. Super good movie about two former Texas Rangers hunting down Bonnie and Clyde. We had about 30 minutes till the end of the movie when our plane landed. Can’t wait to finish this film.

My parents picked us up in San Diego. The weather was cool, cloudy, and drizzling. Such a relief from the 80 degree humid weather we’ve been having in East Texas.

We made our way over to Old Town San Diego, ate lunch, and toured around.

I can’t imagine traveling in a wagon like this. Talk about back issues!

While there, we walked into Seeley Stables (which was pretty amazing and free). Came across some old gaming machines… something that one rarely sees in a museum. I was impressed.

THE JUDGE!

THE OWL!

Rolling history.

After a bit of walking around, we braved the traffic and headed to my parents house.

The next day, we woke up and headed to Anaheim. Spent the day at Disneyland. Wyatt loved it (his first trip) and we all walked quite a bit.

I do not have a ton of pictures from Disneyland. We spent the day being in the moment and absorbing the magic of Walt’s original park.

Highlight of our day was Wyatt getting to meet Darth Vader. Wyatt tried to pledge allegiance to him… and Lord Vader seemed pleased. He told Wyatt that when he was of age that Wyatt would make a great recruit for the Imperial Army. I’m taking this as a parenting win!

Click here for Part Two

The MMO Tourist: Alganon

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I do not know about you, but I am the type of person that enjoys going places without knowing too much about them. As long as the key components are worked out (transportation, lodging, money, etc.), I am good to go. Fortunately, video games, MMO’s specifically, offer a universe of travel opportunities minus the cost of consulting a travel agent or the hassle of updating a passport.

Now, I have explored many virtual worlds over the years (check out Confessions of an MMO Tourist). Each world/ game has its own unique personality (artwork/ design) and sense of quirks (game play, community, etc.). Today, I am about to set forth into the world of Alganon. A recent Massively.com article tipped me off on this free-to-play title. So, after creating an account (no credit card information necessary) and downloading the game client (3GB), I set forth on my newest virtual adventure.

The flight into Alganon began with a bit of turbulence (ie: loading the game was choppy and rough). Being a seasoned traveler, however, I knew that some turbulence was par for the course, so I tightened my seatbelt and held on. After some time, I finally arrived at a character creation screen. So I created a character, selected a family (crafter, explorer, socializer, etc.), and proceeded to start the game. Now I should note at this point that the turbulence (game performance) had not stopped. I was beginning to get sick! Never before have I seen a released MMO behave in such a rough way.

The game performance only grew worse as the in-game intro video kicked in. Thinking that the game issues were coming from my end, I quickly decided to change some video settings to see if it would help. Below you’ll find a screen capture of the result of my simple act:

After such a bumpy flight, I decided that it was time to get off the plane…I mean game. As a seasoned traveler, I know that there are far more polished experiences out there to be had. Why should I even try and suffer through the mess that is Alganon? The world of free-to-play and pay-to-play MMO’s is vast. Until next time, may your life be free of beta-like games.