The ULTIMATE portal defense system ! (?)

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I go out and try to kill a portal.    Turns out, it is remote enough that the service is available before it, and after it, but not directly AT the portal.   At least on Verizon.

I’m annoyed.   I want to kill this thing.    But nothing is cooperating about this portal.    It is on the side of the road with no good pedestrian access; as I walked to it cars come swooping up from the south and are far too close to me.    They can’t see me either, so I jump to the side of the road as much as possible.   But the side of the road is a little 45 degree angled hillock, and you can’t walk on it.   At least not in tennis shoes.

It’s a cross on the side of the road.    Well – it was at some point.    Right now there is nothing at all there.    A flat area on the side of the highway provides a place to stand, and I pace back and forth for 15 minutes praying to the Holy Gods of Signal, that I get enough reception to fire the ADA.    A brief 1X flashes, but Ingress still does not respond.

The wind is blowing really hard.    REALLY hard.   I get knocked around by the wind and dirt and grit smash into my face.   This place is very dangerous, actually.    There is a chance I could get blown off balance by a gust of wind and quite literally fall off the mountain.   Time to get back to the car.

There’s a ranger station by the side of the road, so I ask one of the rangers stocking his vehicle up.    “Which cell phone service works good out here ?”    He doesn’t know.

So I decide that I have service on both sides of the portal, but not actually at it.   Can I start firing the ADA, and drive past, and kill the thing successfully ?   Maybe.   It might work.

I drive past, hit the confirm button, pretty nervous about hitting other vehicles along this fairly busy road.    I have my phone outside of the car and am driving with one hand through the open window – you get better signal that way.

When I reach the other side of the portal, my phone shows an android character and says “Deleting all data”.

AUGGGGHHHH !   What has just happened ?

My best guess is that Ingress and the bad signal did not play nice with the Android OS, causing a reboot.   You can make an emergency boot somehow, by hitting the buttons on the side of the phone, and one option is to factory reset the phone.    I must have hit the button without seeing it.

So the portal still stands.     I am pissed off enough to be considering the purchase of boosters and BGANs.   Considering that boosters are $100 items that’s not too bad, but I think BGANs are $2,000+ items with data costs through the roof.    Yikes.

Now I need to get my phone working again.   Ingress works, at least, after reinstallation.    Lots of other things still need tweaking.

And the joke is, I wonder what mod that agent put on his portal to cause MY PHONE TO FACTORY RESET ! ?

Key Rules Are Changing

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As per Niantic post (in typically cryptic fashion), we now have permanent increased key hack output.

During the anniversary event, as anyone actively playing Ingress knows, all AP was increased 2x until 11:59 on December 1st.   I could care less for me.   But the event also included extra keys being hacked.

Up until now, hacking a portal would yield a key, provided you did not already have a key in your possession – about 75% of the time.    And you could glyph hack, using the MORE glyph, to receive a chance at a key even if you were holding one, subject to the 75% rule still.   But you never got more than one key, unless using the Fracker tool.

No more.    For the past several days I have gotten between 1 -3 keys from use of a MORE glyph.    As a micro fielder, I love it.   I may finally reach the point where I stop hoarding keys permanently, if I can potentially get 12 keys in 15 minutes from 4 hacks.

Currently I keep my key inventory at : 500 keys loaded in key capsules.  95 keys in an MUFG, duplicating madly.   One key in inventory for everything over 500.    And for Downtown Burbank, all keys sit in inventory and get destroyed if I have too many.    The idea of having, say, 50 keys in inventory and not carrying all those DTB keys sounds pretty good, more room for …… something.   Not sure what, actually.

Perhaps more souvenir keys.   I currently hold these keys as souvenirs :

  • The Disney Water Tower in Burbank.   I never thought I’d get to touch it, but I did, thanks to Ingress.
  • A piece of the Berlin Wall, from the Reagan Library.
  • The SR-71 at Exposition Park, near USC.
  • The Golden Princess portal.   This one is hilarious.   The submitter gave one that can only be reached, as a pedestrian, if you’re on a cruise ship.    I suppose you could take a little skiff out in the water if no ship was there.   “Spoofers and Passengers only”.
  • The Granville Gateway to Granville Island, Vancouver.
  • Omnia Ab Uno, New Orleans Cemetery.   This is the tomb purchased by Nicholas Cage for him and his family’s future burial.   It’s Latin for “From one, many” which annoys me being the opposite of “E Pluribus Unum”.
  • The Steak House in Euro Disneyland.    Someone dropped this at the Burbank Mall.

 

The New Game

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After having hit Level 16, my Ingress gameplay is a bit different now.   It’s a bit of a new game.

I have all the AP I’ll ever need.    It’s more about badges now – and boy, are there a lot of badges if you’d like to make them all Onyx.    My recent trip to New Orleans netted around 900 unique taps, with the Bay Area just pushing me over 4,000.   I still am not quite halfway to platinum for either unique badge, and I’m stuck in Gold medal land on most stuff.

Illuminator, Onyx that is, I’d like to get.    After the op I am at the halfway point, 2 million MU scored.    I should probably plan a BAF but they never seem to go very well.    So I peck away at this one, mostly in the SCV area.

Burbank, the MU is just so low.   I overfielded the entire Downtown Burbank area one time as a strategic move and calculated we are fighting over 600 MU.   Big points eh ?    Then again, anyone wanting onyx fielding and linking should get in and mix it up down there.   Plenty of +1 MU fields available.

I am also trying to help our lower level agents grow.    I tried to get my buddies playing, but it looks like they’ll only play when I’m around.   Yall in the SCV area (or Burbank) can always ask for stuff.   The problem with giving away gear is, I am generally always 100% full with gear.   So is everyone you try to give gear to.   Not to mention trying to get me anywhere to give the gear away.    But with that said, it’s always a good idea to try.

So badges and agents are now the draw.   And the daily grind.    I hit about 7 portals on a daily basis, maybe 100 weekly, and you never know where you’re going to end up any particular day.   Doing Beergress and meetups are fun, and I’m doing more of that.   There are a few of you I owe beers to once I finally run into ya.

And I spend time on the Intel map looking at interesting things.   It’s really weird that I’m playing a game that teaches me about places in the USA.    Did you know about the New Idria ghost town ?    3 portals there.    I look at places where we’re going camping for interesting portals.   And any downtown area is a place to wander, and gather uniques.

And wait until the portal approval system comes online.   Level 16 has at least that as a perk.

Farewell, Guardian #3

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Every Ingresser has the story of losing their guardian.    I’ve had three, now.   They’re all pretty similar, but this is my blog, so you get my story.

Guardian #1 was a hard target, the Burbank Central Library.   It’s hard to capture.   Nevertheless, 20 days was all I could get out of it before the Energizer Bunny of Burbank knocked it down.   Gold Badge though.

Guardian #2 was never meant to be such – I only figured out which one of two it was after eliminating other possibilities.   But the RES in Santa Clarita royally pissed off the Bad Man for whatever reason, I’ve forgotten, and he went on a rampage taking every portal in town, finally taking down David March Park which had sat undisturbed for over 90 days.   Platinum Badge.

Then came #3, the perfect Guardian.  Summer of 2015.   July, if I remember correctly.   I visited Guerneville CA, a nice little old town way up north of San Francisco.    The draw was the Russian River, which you can lazily float down or just sit on a beach and relax near.

On our way home we stopped at a winery with horrid 3G reception and I captured the Russian River Mosaic, along with a bunch of other portals at wineries along the highway.    Sometime during September, some other Res player came by and used it to field.    I never saw it touched after that, until Saturday night, when an ENL player took it out.

I believe this was not a Griefing Incident (Although, if I’m wrong, I’d love to know).    Saturday night and an Ingresser stuck at a winery will probably result in a portal being taken, no matter how lousy the signal is.   It comes through eventually, or the portal would never have been submitted.    And I saw three distinct attacks the enemy player made, consistent with a portal with lousy signal.

I’m sort of relieved.    478 days is a long time to charge a portal; would have been nice to get 500, but oh well.    This was my second Onyx badge too.

I truly believe this is just a typical capture (this guy had over 10k unique taps), but I can’t believe the timing.   10:34 PM – I post the article about 7 Ingress Strategies.   I have some discussion about Guardians and Griefing with friends and players.    The people I hear from don’t really agree with me – Guardian Hunting is fine, many tell me.   That’s OK, it’s not like I’m an authority, all I get to do is express my opinion.   What’s weird is literally right at that time I lose my Guardian.

Coincidences are strange things, aren’t they ?     Sometimes what appears to be a coincidence is not – someone is up to something.    And sometimes, it is.   And in a paranoid game like Ingress, I will always have a nagging voice in the back of my head wondering, did somebody do this maliciously ?

The logical part of my brain insists no.   The “consipiritard” in me says it has to be connected.   I just need not to listen to that idiot… this time anyway.   He’s wrong.

Now, I wonder if any of my backup guardians will come through and push me towards 500.   I’m not holding my breath.

Guardian #3, Rest In Peace.

Guardian #3, Rest In Peace.

Postscript :

Want another coincidence ?   My MUFG just duplicated this key again.    Like I need it now.

Doc’s 7 Strategies For Ingress Success

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I have played Ingress to completion – I’ve reached the level cap.   I pretty much know everything about this game.   I have thoughts about how the game should be played, so I decided to write out my list of commandments.   Seven Strategies for Ingress Success.

  1. Maximize your teams play, and minimize the other teams.
  2. This is actually just a game.   Real life comes first.
  3. Guardian Hunting is griefing.   Don’t grief.
  4. Give away your gear.   It’s a team game.
  5. Your experienced players are most important.   Still, help your newer players grow.
  6. Stay safe !   Don’t do dangerous or illegal things.
  7. Anomalies, Meetups, Rolling 8’s, Megafields are fun.   Do them.

Maximize your team’s play

It’s a tricky thing.    Does your play discourage an enemy agent ?   Then by all means, play as much as possible !    Do you encourage a lot of play by your fellow agents somehow ?   Keep doing it !

The idea isn’t too hard – the side with the most manpower wins.   Manpower is the amount of agents X their effort, added together.    It’s not hard to see on the micro level.   Go to some really small town on the intel map with only a couple of agents on one side, and you’ll see it all their color.    On a small enough scale you can do it alone, but on any scale that really matters it’s all about the team.

This even extends to NOT playing.   I have deliberately not played during times when I felt I was encouraging the enemy to come out and play; provided they did more than I did.   It’s all about winning the MU capture game in the end.

It’s a Game

Please don’t be like the agents who have marital problems because of the game.    Like, divorce and separation etc.    Most of us have spouses who are annoyed we play the game, that’s one thing.   But all good things can be overdone, and the muggles just don’t get it, so don’t be that guy/gal.

Don’t Grief

The hardcore MMO gamers came up with the term “griefing”, and it means playing the game in such a way as to make the other guy miserable, instead of the more conventional goals such as gaining levels etc.   This is distinct from PvP, since by its nature PvP means someone wins and someone loses.    So take that guy’s portal, by all means, but don’t decide that your opponent needs his guardian discovered and go out and hunt it.    Playing mean is not being a good gamer.

I am amazed at the steps people go to in this game to grief people.   Whole websites exist (I am told, I don’t know them) dedicated to figuring out which player has a guardian.   Creative types can figure out additional ones.   Really guys – play nice.   It’s not that difficult.

Give Away Gear

As a newbie I always felt bad about someone giving me gear.   DO NOT !    They are trying to contribute to the war effort by giving you gear, and you’re not beholden or anything to them.   By the same token, if someone needs something (or maybe even just asks), give it to them.    My best information is that we are usually in the same boat – most agents have too much gear.   So let it be used, and don’t worry about it.   You can hack more later.

Vets Vs Newbies

The veteran players, hardcore players, will always be the ones contributing the most to your side.    Either BAF’s, burning down farms, or the day to day grind, it’s the veterans who contribute the most, other than rare cases.    Newbies will never be more valuable, even though in theory 10 newbies should outplay one veteran.

And yet…. everyone started out a newbie.   Encourage your new players via comms, Hangouts, or whatever instant messaging platform.   Some of those newbies will disappear forever, but some will go on to be level 16 agents and may even outplay you.   So grow them, if you can.

There is a Burbank agent who is an absolute master at this craft.    I have seen him mentor so many bluebies up to being “over level 8” that I have lost count.    Be like this, and you’ll tip the balance in favor of your side just as effectively as that guy with no job who drives around 18 hours a day making fields.

Be Safe !

I have read about briefings at nuclear power plants, warning about trespassers coming for Ingress portals.    I have read about guys falling off of piers because they were hacking a portal.    And the most mundane being Ingressing and driving (I do it, too.   In traffic.   Usually).

We are playing a game only, please be safe.   Trespassing is illegal and prohibited, obviously.   But there are endless ways to be dangerous playing this game.    Remember to use your common sense.    And if you’ve fallen off the deep end, consider : How useful are you to the war effort if you are injured, arrested, or dead ?  Not useful at all.   So don’t break the law, and don’t get hurt.

Meetups are fun

Peruse this blog to find out how much fun a big field is.    Meetups are similar.   Anomalies are a crazy fun thing to do as well (so I am told.   Have to do one someday).    Get out there and meet your fellow agents, safely, and make new friends.

My best Ingress memories involve the big fields, and you can’t do those without other players.   Whether making my own, or helping others create theirs, Big Ass Fields are just a ton of fun and worth all the hassles.    Sitting down with a few beers with fellow agents and debriefing is fun too.   Don’t miss out on this part of the game.

 

I have also learned the best way to get the correct information on the internet, is to post the incorrect information.   Is the above wrong ?   Leave your comments !

The New Portal Submission System

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Word broke today about the new way to submit Ingress portals.   It’s about bloody time !    For about a year nothing has been happening with submissions, and precious little activity on deletions.

Here’s how it works:

  • In the initial closed beta rollout, the new hub will work in San Francisco and Tokyo.
  • The tool will initially only be invite-only, only open to Ingress players who’ve reached L16 — the highest level in the game. Getting there requires a helluva lot of time and dedication, but also suggests you know what a portal should be like.
  • Players will ultimately be able to give feedback on potential portals in two places: the area they play most, and one other location of their choice of which they have local knowledge — be it their childhood hometown or a place they visit often.
  • Players give feedback on multiple factors — the photo, the portal’s name, whether or not it’s a duplicate, etc. It’s not a straight-up yes/no vote.
  • They’ll be starting with Niantic’s existing backlog first
  • Behind the scenes, the hub weighs each player’s feedback based on how good they seem to be at ranking portals
  • Once a portal gets enough positive feedback and an algorithm gives it the green light, the portal goes live in-game. If it’s working correctly, there’s no human intervention required on Niantic’s side.

Apparently you get an email from Niantic to start the process; those agents who have recently been in San Francisco are getting them, even though they’re from So Cal.   Then you select your “Hometown”.   Once you pick it, it can never be changed.   You also get to pick one other “area of interest” which can be changed ONCE PER YEAR.   Finally, it will also give you portals in your current area.

Just from reading about it, it’s tough to be sure it will work, or be fair.    Hangouts chatter is positive.

now this is more fun than the game

these aholes tricked me into doing their jobs

I can’t wait.   The game has gotten too divorced from reality in some spots.

Giant Marilyn Monroe statue in Palm Springs was moved in 2014, yet when I visited in Summer of 2016 the portal was still there.   The location looked exactly like Google Maps, a dirt lot.

One very close portal to my workplace, the Working Man Mural, is both a duplicate of another portal, and located one block out of the way.   I have tried the complain tool many times and yet this guy just stays there.

And there are tons of other examples, everywhere.   Keeping it reality based helps immerse you in the gameworld.    Dangerous and inappropriate portals should get removed, like the one at a preschool that Santa Clarita used to have.   I think the owner finally must have complained after Pokemon Go came out.

And with the development activity across California, new things that should be portals continue to come online.

I think they did a pretty darn good job with the portals in the game.    Some are pretty bad; but the vast majority are good choices, varied, and interesting.   Hopefully the community can continue to keep that good quality, but you never know.

The obvious concern is that agents will game the system.    Make sure portals that are convenient for one side get approved, with inconvenient ones denied.    It’s a real danger, because this is certainly a game about warfare, and any war game continues even at the meta level.    Trolling and joking too – check out one portal in the submission queue :

oh man

who does this stuff

  Title
Invisible Plaque
Description
Something interesting is hidden here   

I’m hopeful though.   But now I want to know, when will the community ban system for “That guy is a disgusting cheater!” come out ?

 

A Day In The Life of a Block Clearer

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7 AM

Time to wake up, says my body.    I don’t have to, but I get up anyway.   Check the Ingress intel screen, which shows no new blockers.   It also shows that the dangerous enemy agents have been up until after 1 am.    Perfect.   With any luck, they’ll sleep through the whole thing.  I smile a predatory smile and get ready.

I step outside for a moment.   It’s so quiet.   Cool temperature, no noise, as I look out over the city.    A huge Ingress battle will be happening soon.   Will it be in Santa Clarita ?   Or somewhere else ?    Who knows for sure.   I get prepared for battle.

Equipment ?   Battery, 2nd battery, laptop, Ingressing hat, all loaded into the car.   Full gas tank ?  Check.   Coke and water to drink ?  Check.   My team is all ready.   I give them some last minute encouragement before leaving the house at 9:30 AM.

10 AM

I have three portals to take care of.   I have never captured one, so I head out to this one first.    God help me if I have no reception – but at least I could find out early.   But it was no big deal to capture, and I burn it down along with its blocking links.

I was encouraged to set up a field north of the big one.    Sure – why not.   I hiked to the top of the mountain last month, was rewarded with keys, and even had one duplicate in an MUFG, then I haven’t used them.    The plan is written down on a legal pad.

It's low tech, but it works. Well.

It’s low tech, but it works. Well.

11 AM

I build my field.   I figured out how to make it two layers; could have done more, but would have taken too much time.   I watch for enemy agent activity, and don’t see too much.   It’s a normal day in the grind for the ENL.   Exactly what I wanted.

12 PM

I have two sides of the first layer built, and all the blocks cleared.    Too much is happening with the main field, and my questions about blocks go unanswered.   I needn’t have worried.   I head out and build the first layer.   I expected maybe 5,000 MU or so, but got a pleasant surprise.

Sixteen thousand ? I'll take it !

Sixteen thousand ? I’ll take it !

This meant that the second layer, which I planned for but didn’t know if I wanted to throw, suddenly got interesting.    I was thoroughly shocked by how much I got for this one too !

But..... that's a LOT more than the last one for a small additional amount of area.

But….. that’s a LOT more than the last one for a small additional amount of area.

I enjoy my 40k MU score, especially since this puts me over the halfway hump.   Halfway to Onyx Illuminator.   And part of the process of building this has me jarvis my second assigned portal.   Two down, three to go.

12:30 PM

I park and sit on my final portal.    I need to jarvis one of my own – so at least I don’t have to ask anyone for permission.     I wait for any word of problems, since I’m not doing anything at this point.

There’s a yogurt shop across the street – I’ve never been there.   I buy a sugary frappe type drink.    I feel for the Mexican family in there whose youngest decided to be a nasty brat, and gets carried out by an embarassed mother and father.    “I WANT THE (Unintelligible) !  I WAAAAAAANT THE (Unintelligible) !”.  My kids have done that, it’s not pleasant.    I use the bathroom, then carry my drink back to the car and glyph madly.

1 PM

Most of the blocking portals are down now, the team does their jobs perfectly.    And after all the blocks fall, I Jarvis my portal, holding an awesome and long linked little field which is blocking the BAF.    I simply report “Santa Clarita is clear” and we wait.   After a final slurp of the yogurt drink I head out.

1:30 PM

The operation is at a vulnerable spot.   The ENL have caught on, but don’t appear to have any local agents alerted.   We keep building, capping more portals and linking things up to prevent any blockers from happening in our area.   Thankfully, none occur.   And around 2 PM our link goes through.

2016-11-12-21-54-15

One side down, two to go, for main operations.   But for us as block clearers, we’re done.   And that’s a nice field I’ve built up there too.

2:30 PM

It’s time for Beergress, or the Afterparty, any way you want to talk about it.   We all talk about the game and how much fun we had, strategize and enjoy watching the field finally go up after a bunch of drama.   The ENL were persistent; one agent played the role of blocker pretty effectively for awhile, but we had enough people that could travel and kill things that they outnumbered her, all blockers were down, and 8 million MU were scored.

Now that is pretty.

Now that is pretty.

5 PM

I’m back home with the family.    I didn’t use most of my gear, but you have to be prepared.   I come in and the girls are on the couch.

“OK hon, how did your Ingress go ?”

“It went well.    First I ………..”

“Great.   Your daughter needs help with her history homework”.

Back to being a Dad again.

Postscript :

My field lasted for 24 hours, so 4 checkpoints.    Despite hoping real hard, it did NOT last long enough to break my record for “Largest Field MU x Days” which at 30,717 is respectable.    Now that it’s down I can post this entry🙂 .

Gang War in Downtown Newhall

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Greenhall has been under assault lately, with the Resistance coming in and blowing it up pretty fast as the Enlightened build it up.   Some people are even using it to level up.

There it is !

There it is !

But it survives as a green farm.   So we got the local Resistance players to all meet on Friday night for some team building and takeover of the downtown area.   And as expected, the ENL team showed up.

The gameboard began pretty much 100% green.    All I wanted to do was wreck it, immediately.   They held me back – dinner was first.   Drinks were consumed and food eaten.    We talked strategy, we talked tactics, we talked personalities and about all kinds of nonsense.   And then we got up and started fighting.

“That’s them, over there” says our most experienced group gamer.   Me, I forget the enemy’s players, cars, and all that stuff – even if I can correctly pick them out, out of the fog of paranoia in the game.    Not my teammates though – they knew EVERYONE.    And it was the crew I was expecting, the Bad Man along with other familiar agent names.    Once I got close, I knew three of them by sight.

The etiquette was pretty obvious actually.    We all stayed in a group – unless and until someone need to peel off for some reason.   We didn’t really mix with the ENL, they stayed in their group and we stayed in ours.    ( I did shake hands finally with one agent I’ve been chasing around for the last year.)   Nobody blocked anybody in or did anything out-of-bounds.   I even boldly walked through their group when the need arose – “Pardon Me !”.

A rolling crew is something I’m almost never a part of.    It’s a very different game that way – you’re part of a team, and what you do helps or hurts the rest of the players.   So it’s a chaotic group decision with each portal.   Blow it up ?   Glyph it first ?   Who caps the portal ?   And importantly, put down the right resonators so it can be hacked or glyphed after capture.

The ideal is a rolling 8, and would go something like this.

  1. Blow off the ENL’s stuff.
  2. Any agent needing a unique captures the portal with a L8.
  3. Remaining agents drop an L8.
  4. Desired mods are placed on the portal.
  5. Links to three minimum other nearby portals are established.

As we made our way down the street and knocked everything down – and rebuilt and linked up the portals – the ENL recaptured and knocked down the portals we had.   The gang war was in full swing.    We concentrated on killing anything long standing and with good defenses, and looped our way through the area.   The ENL did their own thing, which included knocking our stuff down and trying to (game wise) irritate us.

After an hour and half of that though …….. we won !   They all left for greener pastures, while we fielded the street and glyphed for gear.   We didn’t build it up since the combat took so long (so that’s the ENL’s victory) but we did deny it to them for the evening.   I was satisfied.

Changed hands a couple of times Saturday morning, though.    Fine by me !

Changed hands a couple of times Saturday morning, though. Fine by me !

It’s time to make this more of a habit.    Gotta save humanity, after all.    And I have a great group of teammates actually.   It was fun.

Gangstalker !

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He drove up behind me as I was pulling out onto the road again.     He stuck his head and arm out the window and pointed straight at me,  a 30ish white man in a 20-year old pickup truck.

“You’re a Gangstalker!”

“No I’m not !”

“Yes, you are.”

“I don’t even know what that means.”

“When you get home, look it up”

I had to move since I was blocking traffic, so I did.    But this unsettled me.   What is this guy trying to tell me ?    It sounds a bit scary, with that word GANG in there, and me doing the sketchy pull-over-by-the-side-of-the road maneuver.

Turns out that Gang Stalking is an organized attempt at harassing an individual to the point of mental breakdown.    Sounds like something a paranoid-schizophrenic mind comes up with.   The GOVERNMENT is out to get me, and have me committed !   This guy thinks I’m the one, who’s harassing HIM.    So I needn’t worry.   That dude is probably nuts.   And I’ve never seen him before.   If I see him again it’s time to bug out.

Still, it’s a reminder that the streets aren’t safe.   As a certified computer nerd I have tried to stay indoors most of my life, where it’s safe.    And the spot where I pull over is pretty weird.

Across the road from a movie studio dirt parking lot is the Roadside Cross Memorial, supposedly the site of a bus crash.    This portal figures into a lot of my Ingressing.   It’s an important spot frequently fought over.    So I have seen A LOT of this area over the course of the last year.    I see people here a lot.

CHP officers that have pulled people over.    Guys looking at their cars that have mechanical problems.   Studio people not parking in the lot, for whatever reason.  Dudes doing the same thing as me, pulling over and whipping out their phones.   Hikers/bikers/campers pulled over for recreational reasons.    And other people I don’t know the reason they’ve pulled over.

They’re the ones that worry me, as I play the paranoid game of Ingress.   Are they agents ?   The least of my worries.   Are they drug dealers ?    Property fences ?   I doubt it, but I also realize I’d probably never know if they were.    The LAST thing I want to do is interrupt a drug deal again.    Once was enough, and was dangerous enough.

It makes me wonder about all the agents who play from 11 pm to the wee hours.   Stay safe out there guys.

Race to Level 16

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10/14

I realized that I was darned close to Level 16.   A couple million AP doesn’t seem like a lot when you’ve already banked 38 million.    And I checked, and found the Bad Man pretty far behind.

38.4 million to go

38.4 million to go

I felt good about it, and decided to get to Level 16 as soon as possible.   Definitely, before the Bad Man.    Then, I didn’t think about it for several days.

10/18

I forgot to take screenshots, but discovered to my horror that The Bad Man was ahead !   Now was the time to do some serious grinding, because Being Competitive.

I am fortunate to work in Downtown Burbank California.   This place is an absolute AP factory, with the amount of traffic from both ENL and RES very high.    With turnover I used to cry smurf tears; right now, I shouted with joy – time to do some earning.

This meant the questionable decision to focus as much as possible on Ingress, and ignoring my job.    Dangerous, no ?    And yet, I have the seniority and I’m dealing with a very limited timeframe.   The critical stuff, I was waiting until it was my turn, I couldn’t start yet.   So I judged I could get away with it.

I walked the streets of Burbank and wrecked, fielded, and glyphed like a madman.    ENL players came through and destroyed my hard work.   But I just rebuilt !    And I was stoked.

By the day’s end, I was ahead.   He did not play during the daylight hours.   So, I reasoned, I could probably win this race with this strategy.   I have four days of the week to complete the process, that should be enough.

10/19

Looking good.

Looking good.

Ah, he's ahead again.

Ah, he’s ahead again.

Wednesday was a good day again, with plenty of back and forth and building of fields.    I attended a meeting, then dashed out to field some more.    Then approved documents and discussed business.    Then blew up the local guy’s fields.   By the end of the day, I was again ahead, and went to bed feeling good.

10/20

I am pleased.

I am pleased.

Especially since I was ahead of him.

Especially since I was even with him.

Today I knew would be tougher – there were too many things to do at work that I couldn’t put off.   But I persevered.    I seemed to have discouraged the ENL temporarily, because there was little enemy activity.    Downtown Burbank was completely fielded.

I basked in glow of my accomplishments at the end of the "work" day.

I basked in glow of my accomplishments at the end of the “work” day.

And was thoroughly annoyed at Hack The Destroyer killing it all in 15 minutes or so.

And was thoroughly annoyed at Hack The Destroyer killing it all in 15 minutes or so.

I did manage to refield some of this and conduct other activity, finding myself in a comfortable lead by the end of the day.   This was all going to come down to Friday, a traditionally light day.    I could rebuild, watch it get knocked down, and refield again for the win.

A good lead.   But The Bad Man plays while I sleep.

A good lead. But The Bad Man plays while I sleep.

10/21

The morning did not look good.

Holy Crap !

Holy Crap !

No doubt about it, it would come down to Daytime on Friday.    He would turn this into 40 million over the weekend for sure.    And I was not “working” on Saturday, plus family obligations on Friday.    (Family > Game.   Just saying.)

But thankfully, I drove into Downtown Burbank and found a green city which I promptly wrecked.   I got in early, prowled the streets and played furiously fast.   By 10 am I had the entire area fielded once again.   I even fielded from a key portal, then jarvised it, then refielded for an extra 25k AP.

But there were disquieting signs during the day.   My local ENL agent wasn’t there – took the day off ?    I took his portals and fielded from them, then could field no more.   Now, it was time to wait for the greenies to wreck downtown.

They didn’t oblige.   I had one guy race through and blow a half dozen portals, which I refielded, then the day was over.   Burbank was staying blue, and I was besides myself.    I was COUNTING on refielding one last time.   But maybe the race to 16 wasn’t over.

Downtown Newhall was freshly fielded and, amazingly, not shielded in places.    I took some extra time (Instead of getting my son early to his destination, I played a game.   Bad Dad.) and wrecked fields in Newhall.    It was gloriously large amounts of AP.

That many fields and I really don't care about your AXA my green friend.

That many fields and I really don’t care about your AXA my green friend. 

But……… it wasn’t to be.    I ended the night with 39,750,000 AP.    Instead of conceding defeat, I went to bed and hoped that The Other Guy wasn’t playing tonight.

10/22

Yeah, right.    Unfortunately it ended the way I figured it would.

Yeah, right. Unfortunately it ended the way I figured it would.

I knew he would, after the ribbing I got the day before.   After virtual congratulations – he deserved them – I reflected on my wounded pride.    We got home after a great morning with my boy.   I wrote a blog post.   My daughter is going to Homecoming tonight.   I guess I’m lucky to have a great family, even if I can’t make Level 16 as fast as I wanted to.

It’ll happen, I’m sure this week.    I think I’m done racing.   And Monday, I’ve got some work to do.     But today……. I have some errands to run….