Mass Effect, slayed

I bought Mass Effect for USD$10 back in late 2009. Nearly ten years later (roughly a month ago, now), I finally beat it.


  • First things first, it has to be said that there’s a lot of wonkiness in this game. Most of the time the game is “fun” to play, aside from when you get hit with biotics and lose control of Shepard for a few seconds — it’s fair, the whole point of the attack is making someone an easy target, but taking away all control from a player in a FPS is almost painful. The inventory system is complete rubbish. It’s not often clear what choosing a particular dialog choice will do. Most of the planets you visit are entirely optional and feature tedious exploration. And yet…
  • It comes together really well. It’s a case where the whole is much greater than the sum of the parts.
  • The first few times I tried playing it I got bogged down in the Citadel. In retrospect the stuff that opens up once you reach the Citadel is available to you ’til near the end of the game, so you’re not really meant to spend hours wandering around talking to people and opening up side quests. So that’s kinda on me, but also on the game for not communicating it to me.
  • But the missions are good. They’re focused, interesting, and usually fun.
  • The side quests are OK. There’s a limit to how many times I can go through the same bases with different placements of obstacles and different enemies, but I didn’t get completely bored of them.
  • And it’s clearly an ambitious game. It doesn’t all work, but they tried so much.

After a bit of struggling, I got my copy of Mass Effect 2 up and running via Origin. Here’s my griping on Twitter:

The general consensus is that Mass Effect 2 is a vast step up over the first game. I’m looking forward to checking it out. “Yarr” indeed!

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Gavin kindly invited me to go watch Motown when it was in town, and it was good. There’s a story there about Berry Gordy and his life, and breaking black music to white America, and racial strife; but to me it was mostly an excuse to watch performances from all sorts of famous acts (done by imitators / actors, of course). I generally like Motown, so the show mostly worked for me. Huzzah!

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Year in Review: 2017


Personal Deets

Nothing too much to say. I used the phrase “settled down” for my entry about 2016, but in truth I remained unsettled for most of 2017. I don’t talk about my work much because it’s internal, but suffice to say I spent much of the year working on a project that hoovered my time, and my other internal work goals remain unfulfilled. Also, as of November I finally got over leaving Ireland. It took two years, but all those conflicted feelings finally subsided. Now it’s moving back to Dublin that would put me through endless uncertainty and regrets and discomfort. 😀


Trip to Australia
That didn’t happen. It was going to be my big “I’m travelling again!” vacation, but work got busy and I didn’t take the time off.
Victoria, BC
I took some time off at the start of summer and hung in Victoria for a while. I went to the Royal BC Museum, toured the BC Legislature, visited UVic for probably the first time since 1999, and hung out with some friends I don’t get to see too often.
Vancouver Island
I visited my parents again… but this time my siblings came, children in tow. Much “uncle” time was enjoyed. We also went to the Filberg Festival in Comox, which was grand.
I took a week off in October to deal with personal stuff and got sick, boo.
… OK, I still had the week off, so technically it should count, but BAH.
Christmas in Cowtown
Family Christmas in Calgary.


The Critical Hit Show @ The Rio (repeatedly)
“But for the purposes of this show, we are no longer in the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, British Columbia. No, we –” and now the audience joins in “– are in my parents’ basement in North, Delta. (pause) Where I currently reside.”
The Gentlemen Hecklers @ The Rio (occasionally)
Let’s see… I went to Hackers, The Wizard, the original The Planet of the Apes
The Museum of Vancouver
Yes, I finally went. After some ten years in Vancouver. They have a nice section on the original Musqueam village that Vancouver displaced.
The Celebration of Light
As a West Ender, I pretty much have to deliberate choose to not go see the fireworks, and even then it’s so noisy that I might as well wander down to the shore.
VanDusen Botantical Gardens
Again, after having lived in Vancouver for ten years, I finally checked out VanDusen. Great guided tour, lovely gardens.
For the first time, I skipped. I’m still not sure how I feel about that.
D– and H–‘s Wedding
The Broadway Chrous – Honey, I Shrunk the Chorus
Good times, eh!
The East Van Panto – Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
More good times!


I started playing after I moved back, and finally beat it. Such a good game.
The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild
I bought a Switch in March and spent the rest of the month obsessively playing this game. I had to lend out the system just to stop playing it. So good.
I reread William Gibson’s “Blue Ant” trilogy. I’d read the first two shortly after they were released in the 2000s, and they were nifty books, linked mainly by the presence of a particular character and the Blue Ant advertizing agency. The third book, however, pulls on characters introduced in the previous books, and when I read it in 2015 I was a little lost. So I reread the series, and yes, they’re very good.

There was also quite a bit of Terry Pratchett, mostly because I’ve been lending the books out to one of my coworkers.

I started taking Irish lessons via Duolingo. YES, I KNOW, it’s foolish thing to do some two years after leaving Ireland; no, it’s not because I miss Ireland (not entirely, anyway). I started doing it as a lark, and it’s really interesting and so different to English. I’ll see how long I can keep it up.


It was a quiet year. I think I finally rebounded, and I think I’ll make some plans for this coming year.

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Year in Review: 2016 (plus late 2015)

I like those posts I did about my time in Ireland. Let’s do that again, starting first with not last year, but the time period between returning to Vancouver and last year.


Personal Deets

It was a hard time for me, overall. It started well, with me travelling around Europe a while before returning to Vancouver. But it was also stressful. I’d given up my apartment in Dublin and no longer had a home base. My worldly possessions were spread across three different countries (plus wherever I was at the time). Travelling around by Interrail was great, but I used the flexibility as an excuse to not plan far in advance, and travelling that was was exhausting. And it got cold. So I came back to Canada, crashed at a friend’s place (for much much too long), and spent the next year feeling lost.

But it wasn’t all that bad. I eventually found a new apartment, got all my stuff out of storage, and settled down again.


Very quiet compared to my time in Ireland, here.

The return to Canada
I flew back and crashed a Hallowe’en party. 😀
Cançun, Mexico
Family trip shortly after I got back. Warmth!
Christmas on Vancouver Island
More family time!
Family Reunion in Calgary
Even more family time, but with even more family!


The Critical Hit Show @ the Rio (repeatedly)
This was one of the things I missed from Vancouver. I’ve been to pretty much every show since I returned (minus the Christmas performances).
The Gentlemen Hecklers @ the Rio
Uh. Pulling from memory… I watched them heckle Road House, the Notebook, and the last two Twilight movies. Yeah!
Bard on the Beach – Othello
The Broadway Chorus performing The Supermusical: More Powers to You
In retrospect, this was very nearly a panto.
The East Van Panto – Red Riding Hood
This totally was a panto!
… Yep, back to VCON.

And undoubtedly some fun stuff I’ve completely forgotten about.


Found a new apartment
And moved back to the West End.
Rejoined my gaming group
It took a while for me to do this, actually.


It was a quiet year (and a bit) to be sure. I thought moving back to Vancouver was going to be easy, but it wasn’t. Much thanks to Gavin for putting up with me (and putting me up) for so long.

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