Slice of Chaotic Life

The daily life of a celibate middle-aged man.

Archive for August, 2013

Ingress journal: To Vigeland!

Posted by Itlandm on August 31, 2013

Yesterday after I came home, I was making the usual XM harvest circuit in Mandal, but when I was about to recharge the two portals in Vigeland, they had turned blue. I checked the Ingress map and found that they were now owned by a famous Resistance agent on the west coast. (I won’t mention his name as he may be searching for it.) I decided to take them back today, before he could make any trouble with them. After all, this is pretty far from his hometown, so I doubted he could get anything done the same day.

I was wrong. The next morning, Vigeland was the corner of a large field in southern Norway. It was one of several large fields set up by the same user. I wonder how he could do that without a private helicopter. Anyway, there was no helping it. I took the AM bus to Vigeland.

Vigeland is about a quarter by bus west of here, at least in theory. I think it took a few minutes more, but not enough to be a problem. The road is fairly good (it is E39, an interstate, after all) and passes through a charming mixture of farmland and some wilderness. Vigeland itself surprised me by being an actual town, even if much smaller than Mandal. I had expected a bunch of farms, a clump of residential houses, a gas station and a combined grocery store and post office, perhaps a nursing home. But there were numerous shops and a dense residential area, looking from the inside quite like a proper town.

Conveniently, four monuments are placed fairly closely together not far from the bus station. There are also a couple more near the church, I submitted one and hope to be back later to submit another monument and the church itself. Unfortunately I had a narrow window of time to take down and take over the four blue portals before the return bus, unless I wanted to stay for two more hours, which would have made it hard for me to also visit Kristiansand and harvest level 6 resonators the same day.

There was no attempt to defend the portals. The game balance right now is badly skewed in favor of attackers, and I am sorry to say that it just got worse this week with the inability for a single player to add more than one shield (later adjusted to two, which helps). I can see how this makes for a more dynamic game, and this time it worked I my favor: It did not take me long to pull down four portals created by a level 8 player (I am still 6, and probably will be for some months more, especially since we must prioritize the new agent.)

I have to say I really enjoyed the look and feel of this small town. I would not mind moving there next, even if it means my bus ride increases from 45 to 60 minutes. Half the year I can use the bus ride to read, when there is not direct sunshine. (Reading in sunshine triggers my migraine, it is pretty much the only thing to do so. This also makes it harder for me to Ingress on sunny days.) When I can’t read, I can still think, long may it last.

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Ingress journal: New agent!

Posted by Itlandm on August 29, 2013

Recently I noticed that several of my portals had gotten new level 1 resonators by the same user. I contacted him on the faction channel and asked if he was a local or a visitor. Turns out he was indeed local and lives in Kristiansand, so finally it seems I will get someone else to maintain the almost 40 portals in downtown and central eastern Kristiansand.

The timing was almost ideal as well: I’d like a couple days later, but I decided to start operation Kristiansand by Night the next day. What we will attempt is to let all fields in downtown Kristiansand decay over the course of a week, then next week set them back up. Making fields is far and away the fastest way to level up in this game, and as long as there is only him, he should be able to pick up several levels from it, enough to make him a useful agent within two weeks! And the best part is that the Resistance can at most speed up the process, they cannot slow it down, unless they arrive here in a moving van.

I have further plans after that, but this is all that is public for now. I am quite relieved to finally have someone to help with Kristiansand. Actually, it would be ideal if he could maintain Kristiansand alone, freeing me up to expand westward and northward. I expect him to be level 4 by the end of this operation, and the next operation just might get him to level 5, at which point we could make level 5 portals without the need for visitors. The portals are currently for the most part level 4, which are nearly useless for me.


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Ingress journal: The hero is tired

Posted by Itlandm on August 23, 2013

It’s the end of the week and I’ve not prioritized getting to bed early the last half week, so I have regenerated less than I could have done. Also my digestion has not been ideal for walking around for hours. I claimed a new portal yesterday, but several others have lost some resonators. Well, it is not a big deal. I get more AP for replacing the resonators than I would have gotten for recharging them.

Today I picked up a plea in the COMM channel from someone who wanted help to make Mandal blue (the color of the resistance). I still have seen no sign of any startup Resistant agents here, but of course they might be content to hack all the portals. But I don’t see the XM disappearing either, until I scoop it up to recharge resonators. So I have no idea why anyone would ask for that about Mandal in particular. There are many other towns in this country, why not pick one of those if you don’t live here?

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Health: My flame is burning lower

Posted by Itlandm on August 22, 2013

I was staying up longer tonight, my guts being more active than they should be at this time of the night. Eventually I was feeling unpleasantly cold, so went to bed. As I laid down, I could feel my heartbeat. It was slow. Very slow. Curious and slightly worried, I grabbed the smartphone by my bedside and ran the heart rate checker. It showed 46 beats per minute. The shock of seeing the number so low made my heart speed up to over 50. Light knows what it was before I noticed. But it was really slow.

A low resting pulse is usually a sign of very good health, but in my case it is entirely out of proportion.  To have a resting pulse like this – and it was even slower when I first noticed – I would have to be a national-level athlete. But I have never even run the 60-meter, because of my exercise asthma. It is like my heart lives its own life (and not in a romantic sense). It beats slower and slower for each passing year, if not month. If it continues this way, there will be a point where it stops entirely.

Of course, there have been those other times when it sped up, sometimes to above what should be its maximum. As we said about the horse back on my childhood’s farm: It had only two gears, too slow and too fast. I thought that was funny, but not so much when it is my heart which my life depends on.

That said, it’s been a good time. I just don’t want it to stop for no good reason.

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Ingress journal: Refilling resonators

Posted by Itlandm on August 19, 2013

I have given up on recharging all the resonators in downtown Kristiansand. There just isn’t enough time to walk around and absorb all the XM needed.  And with all the time I already use, I have given priority to hacking the remaining level 6 portals so I could continue to upgrade after they get taken down.

For the other portals downtown, I recharge resonators level 5 and above and let level 4 (and any remaining level 3) decay. It takes 7 days for a full resonator to discharge completely. That’s 7 days I don’t need to recharge it and can concentrate on the higher-level resonators and hacking the level 6 portals. Once the resonators are completely gone, I get AP for placing new ones of the same type, and a completion bonus for the last.  I have hundreds and hundreds of level 4 resonators, and in the unlikely case that I will need more, I can just hack a level 4 portal, which is almost all of them.

There is bound to be a downside to this, of course. And it is that half decayed resonators are easily destroyed by an invading opponent. Well, I can live with that. I have hundreds and hundreds of bursters too.  My body is wearing out faster than I run out of gear.  I can no longer remember the last day I went to bed without my feet or legs hurting. Well, that’s fun and games these days!

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Ingress journal: A very Ingress day

Posted by Itlandm on August 17, 2013

I fell asleep before midnight last night and woke up before 7, so I got up and went out to hack the local portals, especially the big blue one. The sky was clear but the air was rather crisp for summer – I recently heard some random passerby say that there was “autumn air”, and it is not too far from the truth. Despite the month and a half of relentless sun, the summer has never been super hot. In fact, this is probably why I got sunburned this year: I was taken by surprise by the intensity of the sun since it did not feel that hot.

Yeah, my nose is pretty red now as I approach bedtime, but at least the sun wasn’t as intense as it was around midsummer. On the other hand, I spent a lot of time Ingressing.

I hacked the portals here in Mandal repeatedly in the morning. Later in the morning I went to Kristiansand. I came across a sculpture that had not been submitted for portal evaluation, and spent so much time doing this that I had to run for the bus to Grimstad. I caught the bus, just barely (the driver was late too), but arrived gasping for breath. This is something I really hate, because it is the one thing that may trigger my asthma attacks. I did have an inhaler with me, but luckily I did not need it. Imagine my shock when I realized that my heart was not even trying to beat fast. I noticed this for some reason. When I sat down in the bus, I tested it with my Android app, and my pulse was below 70 beats per minute. Why is it beating slowly when I have been running, but beating fast other times when I have not? It is as if my heart lives in a different world from me. And not in a romantic sense.

Despite this, I survived unharmed and got all the portals in central Grimstad online and upgraded to level 4 or above. This cost me quite a few of my precious level 6 resonators, but one of the portals had some high-level resonators left over from last time, and I put a multi-hack and heat sink on it and got back some level 6 resonators and other goodies.

I returned to Kristiansand, found and submitted another portal, and stopped by work. Ingress really hungrifies: I had not brought any food or even snacks, and traipsing around Grimstad all that time made me ravenously hungry. Luckily a few spoonfuls of yogurt and a glass of Pepsi convinced my writhing stomach that starvation is not actually an important health risk in Norway today. I checked the bus timetable and found that I was just barely too late for the bus home, so I spent almost an hour in the city waiting for the next bus.

The bus was full. Rather than stand for three quarters back to Mandal, I left the bus and went back to hacking the two remaining level 6 portals in Kristiansand. Two hours later, I was back at the bus station to take the next bus. Unfortunately, I had forgotten that the times change in the late afternoon, and the bus had left a quarter ago. The next would go in one hour and three quarters, then.

In that time I submitted a third portal, filled up a few portals that lacked one or more resonators, wandered around and soaked up XM to recharge resonators. My feet hurt, but they usually do at the end of the day, since for some reason I tend to spend a couple hours or four Ingressing most days, it seems. But it isn’t often I’m as active as today. And it isn’t often I submit three portals on one day. I honestly have no idea how I will keep them recharged if they get accepted. Hopefully at some point we will manage to recruit another Enlightened in this area. Actually there is probably room for two or three of them by now. But for now, there is just me, for as long as even I last. It is not even midnight, and I wish I could go to sleep. But I ate too much to go to bed yet (acid reflux) and the Muslims upstairs are noisy as they often are with their crazy music. So don’t expect a repeat of this tomorrow.

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Ingress journal: Hacking while it’s time

Posted by Itlandm on August 15, 2013

Knowing that there’s a level 8 player visiting Mandal, I spent an hour before and after work hacking the two remaining level 6 portals in Kristiansand before they get attacked. The problem is, as I’ve mentioned before, that at level 6 I can no longer create portals high enough for me to refill my inventory. I can only make level 4 portals alone. Together with my level 5 ally to the east, I can create level 5 portals. By now I have plenty of level 5 gear, enough for a long long time. But I used up my level 6 gear quickly, much faster than I could replenish it. Level 5 portals occasionally drop a level 6 resonator, but very rarely. For some reason they drop much more level 6 bursters than resonators, at least for me.

So I have added burnout insulation and hacked the level 6 portals like crazy, and they have been very generous with level 6 resonators. (I’ve also got a few level 7 and even one level 8, which I did not know was possible at this level.) So now I have enough for a while. I may still hack some more if the Resistance does not read this and destroy the portals quickly, but it is no longer urgent. I have for a while.

Once the level 6 portals in Kristiansand are gone, I will probably make a trip occasionally to a town with higher level portals. It does not much matter whether they are blue or green. Green give more gear, but blue give more Action Points, so either is fine. Oslo in particular is jam packed with portals, and the Enlightenment seems to be in minority there, so they would probably not mind if I came over and fired off the several hundred bursters that have accumulated in my inventory. ^_^

I hate traveling though, really hate it, so if the Resistance don’t destroy my last level 6 portals, I am probably not going to bother going on a day trip to blow up their farms either.

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Ingress journal: The home front

Posted by Itlandm on August 14, 2013

While I was hacking the church portal, I received notice that someone was attacking some of my portals down in central Mandal. That’s the town I live in at the time, and what bothered me was that the attack did not actually take down the portals, just scratched them. This made me think at first that it might be a newbie, in which case he (or less likely she) was probably living in Mandal. That would be a bit of a drag, since a new player would eventually be able to tear down my portals, but not be able to build something high enough level for me to use.

Conversely, starting in a city “owned” by the opposite faction is actually great. You get 100 Action Points for hacking an opponent portal, no matter whether you are successful or not. Even in Mandal, that would amount to 2400 AP every 4 hours, if you biked around and hacked them all. (4 hours is the burnout time. Actually I had burnout insulation on one portal, which a new player might not notice, so they would probably only get 2000 AP, but it is still decent.) In Kristiansand you could bike around hacking until your legs give out. So the first couple levels could be gained simply from hacking, without getting detected, while building your inventory.

It wasn’t a newbie, quite the opposite. I noticed when he (?) attacked again: The attack actually hit three portals simultaneously. Even though they are fairly close, that kind of blast radius is only available at the couple highest levels, 8 and perhaps 7. I doubt I could have done it at level 6. So it wasn’t a newbie, lucky for me.

But it is probably only a matter of time before the south tip of Norway hatches its first little “smurf”. (The Blue faction is called smurfs and the Green faction is called frogs, mostly by the opposing team. Classic old war rhetorics, dehumanizing the enemy!) The name Resistance (“Motstand” in Norwegian) has a heroic sound to Norwegian ears, due to the decades of praise for the few and scattered resistance fighters in Norway during World War II, also known as the Home Front. They actually made very little difference to the outcome of the war, even locally, but they did gather some useful information for the Allies and they did remind the German occupation army that Norwegians did not welcome them. This was news to many of the German soldiers, who had been told that they were sent to protect Norway from a British invasion. Scandinavia was after all the Urheim – the original home – of the Aryan race and the Germanic people in particular, and purer Übermenschen than the Germans themselves. The Resistance kind of demoralized the soldiers a bit, but their role was rather less than we liked to pretend during the first decades after the war. Compared several other occupied countries, for instance, Norway did almost nothing to protect its Jewish population, which was quickly eradicated.

Be that as it may, it stands to reason that the Resistance faction in Ingress is likely to have a heavier presence here in Norway than many other places. The Enlightened take a slightly different approach, drawing inspiration from the Viking age, where the Scandinavian peoples were fearlessly exploring the unknown. Now that portals are popping up all over the place and the mysterious XM particles are spreading into our dimension, we are exploring the greatest mystery of our age. At least as seen from inside the game … In real life, there are a lot of things still left to explore!

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Ingress journal: Portal overload

Posted by Itlandm on August 12, 2013

Today after work I spent two hours ingressing in Kristiansand. In part I tried to secure some more level 6 resonators from the few remaining sources. I also recovered a portal that had been blue after the Short Bus Attack, and had lapsed to gray. I had hoped to take it just before it lapsed, to get more Action Points from destroying the blue resonators, but yesterday was long enough as was, what with the sunshine and the feet and all. I also linked up a number of portals that had not been linked for a while, and in new configurations since there are now more portals. I had to hack some of the portals repeatedly to get keys for the links. For the time being at least, portals rarely if ever yield keys if you already have the same keys in your inventory, but the chance is fairly high if you don’t. Still, I had to hack one of them three times to get a key.

Much of the time (as well as my whole lunch break) was however spent refilling portals that had lost one or more resonators, mostly due to natural decay (15% of full value per day).  This was not entirely involuntary: Placing resonators is one of the things that give decent action points (125 points, 250 completion bonus for the last), but less than creating links (313 points) and fields (1250 points). You cannot create fields within field, and links can not cross other links, so there is an upper limit there. But you can let one or two resonators decay each day without any negative effects except that you can not link to the portal for the duration (and of course it gets easier to take by the Resistance).

In my case however it was only partly deliberate. There is also the fact that I am kind of playing catch-up with recharging my portals. A month and a half ago, I was slightly disappointed that I didn’t have more portals to recharge, as it was pretty much my only source of AP (before the Resistance attacks began). The XM energy that leaked from my work portal was enough for me to recharge all the portals in Kristiansand – I would go outdoors once an hour or so, it only took a couple minutes, to soak up all the XM and use it for recharging. Now, there is no way I can recharge them all that way. I need to either use my lunch break and go to the park (which is swimming with XM) or spend time before or after work going through areas with lots of portals and recharge. Even then, I tend to leave a resonator or two or three, the lowest on each portal, and not recharge them unless I have more XM than I need to keep everything green.

So I came home and got mail: Two new portals confirmed. One is here in Mandal, and I am happy to say that it just happens to lie between two existing portals on my short (15 min) circuit. Straight between them actually, so I don’t need to take an extra step. This pleases me. The other is in Kristiansand, and also lies between two portals, but closest to one that is so out of the way that I probably visit it less than once a week. I recharge it from a distance though. Keep the city green!

So, two hours of walking around after work and one hour in the evening. I am starting to wonder whether this can be healthy. ^_^

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Ingress journal: We have feet

Posted by Itlandm on August 11, 2013

I stayed at home yesterday, partly to recover from the migraine (my head was greatly improved in the morning, but my digestion was messed up for a while longer). Also, after a walk here in Mandal, the underside of my right foot hurt so much, I would not walk on it for two more hours.

Today my foot was better, and I put on jogging shoes for a change before going to Kristiansand. I found one of the two remaining Level 6 portals, put a strong burnout insulation on it, and hacked it over and over. I really could use those level 6 resonators. I have the distinct impression that I get less level 6 from a level 5 portal than I used to get level 5 from a level 4 portal. I am not absolute sure, though.

Took back two blue portals as well, refilled missing resonators. There are many more resonators about to expire. If I feel OK tomorrow, I’ll try to cover most of it then. I have deliberately recharged the highest resonators first: Replacing a missing level 3 resonators gives a decent amount of Action Points for a modest amount of energy. It is recommended when you have the town to yourself. If you don’t, taking back portals and repairing destroyed ones is the usual way, as I did today.

My feet hurt when I came home, but only moderately. There is no visible damage. I should probably get some sleep, still the best way for my body to regenerate itself, long may it last. At least I have feet! That’s not all who have.

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