Budgie Week Fiasco

Another Friday, Moar Fodder

Well another week has passed and it is once again time for Friday Forum Fodder.  I have admittedly not been following the discussion around the interwebs as closely as I usually do during the week.  I have a massive backlog of unread blog posts in my reader as spending the first half of the week sick and the second half desperately trying to play catch-up has left me with less lollygagging time.  I did stumble across a couple of things that I found interesting so the topics are primed and ready to go.

WoW Up to 7.8 Million Subscribers

http://www.mmo-champion.com/content/3741-WoW-Up-to-7-8-Million-Subscribers

Apparently yesterday Blizzard had their Q4 2013 earnings call, and announced that they were currently sitting at 7.8 Million subscribers, which surprisingly is a 200k subscriber bump over the 7.6 announced in the Q3 2013 earnings call.  Of course we all know that Blizzcon happened between those two calls, and that we had the announcement of the Warlords of Draenor expansion.  However 200,000 players seems like an awful lot to simply account for the “Blizzcon Bump”.  On Argent Dawn I have said before that we have been experiencing a bit of a renaissance with a large number of players coming back that I have not seen since Wrath, and some of them not even since Burning Crusade.  This feels like something more substantial than just interest in the new and shiny bauble called Warlords.

With the release of Rift, something happened in the populace, a fracturing of sorts.  That was the very first time I saw people leave WoW in a semi-permanent fashion.  Always before when a new product released, players would drift away from the game only to return a month or two later.  Something was different with the release of Cataclysm that broke the inertia of players to stay in one place.  I myself was gone for a little over two years, and during most of that time I never saw myself seriously returning.  For whatever reason I think a lot of us are resigned to the fact that the “wow-killer” simply will never exist.  All of this effort spent trying to find a better experience than World of Warcraft just wound up leading us right back to the original.

I personally have come to realize that what WoW provides just does not exist in the same quantity or quality elsewhere.  Sure various games do various components of the total WoW experience better, but no one game hits as many high points as Blizzard does.  I have reached a point where I am mostly okay with the games flaws… and while I wish that it did certain things better, I can accept the fact that what it does is for the benefit of the many not the few.  There are niche games out there that will scratch the various itches I have that WoW simply cannot.  So while I am back in WoW I am also still very much playing Rift, TSW, Everquest Next Landmark and will be adding Elder Scrolls Online to that lineup.  I have reached a point where I am okay with playing multiple games at the same time.

The beauty of World of Warcraft is that it is the game of consensus.  It is that game that everyone plays when they can’t get anyone to agree on any other game.  People play WoW because people play WoW.  More than anything the large community that comes part and parcel with playing the game was the thing I had been missing since leaving it.  When you play wow, you are instantly a member of something larger than yourself, and that is just an experience that is lacking with any of the other games.  Don’t get me wrong, the other game communities are great, especially the fledgling Everquest Next community bolstered by SOE’s new sense of transparency.  However it is still lacking in sheer size and volume of players.  The Blizzard gaming community is big enough to support everyone, and that is a really rare and special thing.

Budgie Week Fiasco

http://forums.riftgame.com/general-discussions/general-discussion/412505-budgie-week-guide.html

Firstly I want to say, this is less about the specific thread but more about the Budgie Week event.  I latched onto the guide threat by Seatin mostly because it was the only really active thread out there that coalesced all of the viewpoints in one place, whether or not he actually intended that to happen.  Seatin does a great job of supporting the community with his guides and videos, so nothing I say should be held as a reflection on that.  Additionally I love the folks at Trion, especially the team that is presently working on Trove.  That is such a great game and the open process is so refreshing, including the use of Reddit as their primary forums.  Additionally when Rift went free to play, I considered it to be one of the more just and equitable models.  However some of the things they have been doing with the cash shop are feeling more than a little shifty.

Awhile back some of my friends were frustrated over the Squirrel mount that was released, in that they missed the ridiculously short window it was available for purchase outright in the game.  This was really the beginning of a new trend, offering a cool mount for a very short time, and then putting a similar mount in a cash shop lootbox as the primary means of obtaining it.  This was the case for the Squirrel mount, the Mech mount, and now looks to be the same basic thing going on with the Budgie mount.  The shifty part this time is that they introduced a world event to make it seem as though you can actually acquire the mount that way. Problem is… with this being only a 7 day event it is simply impossible to gain enough of the “bird seed” currency doing these quests alone.

According to Seatin’s guide, if you got in on the first day of the event there is a maximum of 210 bird seed that you can obtain.  The mount costs 850 bird seed on the vendor, meaning there is simply no way to obtain it without somehow augmenting your seed count.  It turns out right now they are offering a limited time cash box that has a chance of dropping a different colored budgie mount, and you are guaranteed between 6 and 10 birdseed per box.  The average seems to be 8 per trove, so in theory you need roughly 80 of these cash shop boxes to be able to purchase the bird.  Granted you have a chance from each to get the OTHER budgie mount, but we aren’t even taking this into account.  Essentially even doing your quests religiously every day, you would have to spend roughly $300 on the cash shop to be certain you get this mount while it is available.

Now Daglar has posted on the forums that this is a promo event, and they intend to run it several times a year, and by participating in all of them you should be able to get the mount.  Even saying that… it still feels extremely bad seeing this unfold.  This is the same kind of crap that I see over in SWTOR with making most of the truly unique looking mounts only available through the random chance of a cash shop box.  The difference there is that you can actually post the items once you have gotten them on the auction house… whereas the cash shop loot in Rift is either soul bound or bound to your account.  This whole event just leaves me feeling a little dirty for having supported their shirt to free to play so actively.  I still think Rift is a great game, and I still think more or less it is a good value… they are just doing a few unsavory things that make me a little sad inside.

Bel Goes to Nasa

This mornings factoid digs pretty deep into the annals of time.  Once upon a time I wanted to grow up to be a Scientist.  I am not really sure what happened along the way to change that life ambition.  If I had to guess it was probably the fact that AP Chemistry ate my lunch, but I managed to get out of it with a B, which seemed pretty damned good at the time.  All that aside, I did really and truly want to be a Scientist, so I took the yearly ritual of the science fair extremely seriously.  Through boy scouts I had gotten into model rocketry, so when it came time to pick a project I thought it would be interesting to do something related to that.  With copious help from my father, we constructed a wind tunnel that ran on a shop vac, and proceeded to test the effects of airflow based on various model rocket fin shapes.

I think the key to winning a science fair is to have something cool to look at in your booth.  I am sure there were many students that had more scientifically sound studies than I did, but I had cool photos of the pattern each of the fins had made.  We tied string to each of the fins so that we could watch the pattern the thread made based on the airflow.  The contrails that were created gave a clear picture of how each shape varied and was something nice and concrete that the judges to latch onto.  I won the local level science fair and managed to move up to regional’s, but this was not something really new to me, because my pantograph had done the same my six grade year.  In all honesty repeating a victory at the local level would have been more than enough for me.

When I got to regional’s however I was shocked at just how excited the judges seemed to be about my exhibit.  So when it came down to time to present the awards, I don’t really remember what place I got in the main competition, because it was quickly overshadowed by the “special” award that I won.  I got a trip for me, my family and my science teacher to NASA’s Johnson Space center.  I have to say it was one of the cooler things I have experienced.  A lot of the trip is a haze at this point, but I remember walking through a prototype of what would eventually become the international space station.  I also remember getting to play around in the shuttle flight simulator, and meeting actual astronauts.  All of which were pretty heady things for my little wannabe scientist seventh grader mind.  But of course, High School happened… and I discovered computers and programming… and I jettisoned the thoughts of being a scientist out the airlock and moved on.

Rocky Horror Rejection

Of Large Templates

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-05 22-30-24-99 After piddling a bit in Rift and running Onyxia on the three character that can easily solo her, I settled into Everquest Next Landmark and attempted to recreate my forest temple.  I had managed to successfully template the entire structure and suck back up all of the material night before last, so my hope was that it would in fact be as simple as plunking down the template and moving on.  The problem is, large templates are extremely hard to work with.  After spending an hour placing and undoing the template trying to get it just right, I finally said screw it and started from scratch again.  The above shot shows a rare moment when my claim is flooded in sunlight.

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-05 21-01-38-14 The biggest problem I have noticed with templates is that they seem to align to the smallest block size instead of whatever block size you happen to have set as your tool.  When you are trying to move a template that takes up your entire claim… it becomes extremely hard to determine when exactly it is in the right spot.  I managed to get it pretty damned close at times, but never quite perfect.  In the above image I had run out of stone while working on the flooring, but I have since fixed that and finished the first floor for now.  Eventually I will build a staircase up to the second floor, but until I have enough stone to make a second floor that point is moot.  The temple as it is right now has taken roughly 200,000 stone.

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-06 06-26-05-80

The last thing I was working on last night before logging was building out the front porch area.  There is a ramp leading up now that I smoothed out and a stone railing of sorts.  My plan is to keep all of my crafting machines out here so that anyone who happens to be moving past my claim can use them.  That has been one of the really cool things about Landmark is that all of these player towns have sprung up.  It reminds me quite a bit of Horizons, in that a little crafting community is starting to spring up here and there.  It would be really cool if they added some large scale public works type projects that they players can work on.  I remember guarding crafters as they carried loads of ore and stone to the various bridge projects in Horizons.  While there were so many flaws in that game, it really was innovative in its social crafting systems.

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-02 20-28-19-62 Right now my chief mission is to gather enough gold and burled wood to be able to craft the Golden Axe.  I have heard you can gather wood much faster using it, and I am really hoping that it will also allow me to fell the largest of trees.  I know it is possible to take them down, because I watched someone doing it the other night.  Essentially to truly complete the first floor I will need lots and lots of trees.  I want to put wood braces to support the second floor and have them jut out slightly from the sides of the building.  I have always liked that look but to be able to do them I need a ton of wood.  Additionally while searching for the gold ore needed… I hope to gather enough stone to begin construction on the second floor.  Finally there are a few machines that I am missing from my porch, so I want to gather up the bits to make the one that can finish marble especially.

Rocky Horror Rejection

For anyone who has ever been to a live performance of the rocky horror picture show, you know that it is a really raucous occasion.  Would you believe that I managed to get kicked out of a showing?  While I was in High School the local performing arts theater thought they would be edgy and host a showing of the movie.  For starters it was a far more sedate version of the Rocky Horror Picture show.  There was no live group dressed as the characters and performing all of the scenes, and no virgin sacrifices.  Everyone however did show up with a bag of items needed to do the various tributes to the scenes.  Even in its lesser form it was still pretty fun, albeit greatly sanitized.

Things went south when we got to “Over at the Frankenstein Place”.  This is the point where everyone in the audience raises their lighters into the air swaying back and forth slowly to simulate the “there’s a light” portion.  Not being a smoker, I didn’t have a bic lighter on me… so I decided to improvise.  Gathering up a bunch of news paper we had to protect ourselves from the water guns… I decided to craft a torch.  I bound the newspaper together tightly and lit that bad boy.  This was a classic bad move, because I did not expect it to flame up quite so brightly… and quickly.  It was only a few seconds before we realize this was not going to be a good idea in any fashion so we stomped it out.

Moments later a security guard showed up and in his remarkable intellect muttered “all right who did that?”.  We gave him our best confused look, and then one of my group pointed down to the rows below us and told him that it was someone down there.  The thing you need to know is that we are in a huge concert hall style performing arts theater.  We sat roughly midway up the main seating, and everyone else in the theater were bunched together down by the stage.  There were a good 25 rows of empty space between us and the next person.  The security guard proceeded to go row by row, searching the entire space for the hidden arsonist.  All of this time we were absolutely rolling, but trying to keep it down just enough to not tip our hand.  Fifteen minutes later the winded guard came back to our row and proclaimed “Very Funny… You are all out of here.”

So the bulk of us all got punted from the show unceremoniously.  Looking back now, I could have theoretically started a theater fire, but at the time it sounded like a great idea.  No one really seemed to mind getting forced out of the proceedings, since it really was a watered down version of the “real thing”.  We wound up driving around for awhile and finally ended up milling around in a park for a while before taking our dates home for the evening.  We probably had far more fun loitering than we would have had attending the rest of the show, so I guess in the grand scheme of things everything worked out okay.  I just find it funny now because I can state that I got kicked out of the Rocky Horror Picture show.

Belghast: Wedding Photographer

Belghast: Wedding Photographer

Most kids growing up end up working food service of one form or another, but I somehow lucked out and missed that experience during my formative years.  Honestly I had a pretty good string of jobs throughout High School but probably the most bizarre would be that of Wedding Photographer… or more so the Photographers Assistant.  My father was a machinist by day and professional portrait photographer by night and weekend.  Essentially I grew up in the darkroom and was extremely comfortable around photographic equipment before most kids had learned to ride a bicycle.  As I got older and needed an allowance, I often got drafted into helping out with the “family business”.

This was not as glamorous as it might sound.  Essentially it usually meant sticking me up in a balcony somewhere during the service with a zoom lens and getting the nifty overhead shots that my father could not get from the ground.  By my teen years I could name all the basic parts of a wedding, and could spot little variations coming before they actually happened.  This whole experience has caused me to loathe weddings.  Being the wedding photographer is a really uncomfortable experience, for a few hours you become part of the family and have to figure out how to wrangle your way through getting the shots taken.  Thanks to tradition no one wants to take the photos before the wedding… and then after the ceremony it becomes a sheer struggle of wills to keep everyone in their clothing and willing to line up in the various shot arrangements that the bride and groom will want.  Everyone wants to mingle with family because they go away…  and while the photos don’t seem that important on the day of the event…  they will certainly catch the fact that you didn’t get a photo of them with uncle bob afterwards.

This summer I had to reprise my role of Wedding photographer as I got asked by the same neighbor who cleaned up my blood mess to photograph her wedding.  I mean seriously… how could I say no?  So I gave it the good ole college try and I think overall the photos turned out pretty well.  Within a few minutes of the ceremony ending I remembered all the reasons why I hated doing this in the first place however.  We couldn’t keep the groomsmen from changing out of their clothing into shorts.  This was an outdoor wedding in the middle of a August Oklahoma heatwave.  I feel like I got the workout of my life trying to wrangle a bunch of people who did not want to stand still for photos.  All in all however it was pretty successful and over time I managed to get everyone together.  It did not help to improve my hatred of weddings however.

Giving Up, For Now

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-04 05-53-33-00 For the time being I am going to give up on building anything in Landmark.  This is the fourth time in recent days that the servers have gone down and I have logged back into my claim being fully reset.  I could clear it fast enough again with the select tool, but it feels absolutely futile since I know I will likely be logging back in again to nothing.  Dave Georgeson posted this tweet last night which I seems positive… but we have had some optimism in the past as well.

I ended up clearing a little bit this morning so if things are still clear by the time I get home this evening I will consider that a positive sign and maybe just maybe start building again.  Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but it seems as though if you use ctl+v instead of delete when you have a large area selected… it appears that you harvest the materials contained within that area.  I made the mistake of clearing the last time with the delete key, meaning I likely lost all of my props permanently.  Honestly right now I wish I could figure out how to make torches, that is really the only prop I need to be able to craft a whole bunch of.

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-04 05-48-19-47 Another huge plus is that I managed to figure out the lightstone.  Essentially unlike Everquest, it must be equipped in a slot.  Since the slots are not marked at all, you just have to keep dragging them into each slot one by one until it finally fits there.  You can see in the above picture the light radius that it gives off, which is more than enough to be able to see what you are doing.  Really that is all I was wanting since my claim is mostly cast in shadow all the time.  I like that aspect of it, and once I actually get my temple ruins built it should look really cool.  Before I can really do that however I need to figure out how to make torches.  I realize at this point I only have two crafting machines and based on what I saw yesterday there are like half a dozen or so that someone had out on their claim for people to use.

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-04 05-59-09-46 Since I can’t really craft I have been working on upgrading my tools.  This morning I managed to craft the Heavy Silversteel Pick shown above.  I am not sure if it is always a legendary item, or if I just lucked out in the randomizer.  Previously I had been using the starter pick to clear any tier 1 material away from what I was actually wanting to harvest since the Pick/Axe combo was so much faster than any of the upgraded picks I had gotten.  However this one seems to finally be roughly the same speed.  Now that I can harvest another tier higher of material I am hoping I can craft the next set of crafting machines, and maybe even the next tool which I think is terrain paint, but I am not really sure.  At this point mostly I am looking forward to the voxel database stabilizing enough for me to start building again.

Belghast and the Severe Asthma

Bel is a Sick Little Monkey

Right now I am feeling like a failure, for several reasons.  For starters Steampowered Sunday never happened yesterday, because I kept waiting on the Everquest Landmark servers to stabilize enough to get in and record some gameplay.  I thought it was going to be a cool idea to do SPS over a brand new alpha game that lots of folks were interested in.  More so than that… I completely forgot that I had a raid last night, so I owe a lot of apologies to my raid group.  I was feeling pretty shitty Friday night during the raid, and over the course of the weekend I just got to feeling worse.  Yesterday was a bit of a haze and since the snow came down and my wife’s school was cancelled… I guess the day was lacking the normal sense of pressure that a Sunday has.

By the time I got drug down to our neighbors super bowl party, I had lost touch on what day it actually was.  Sweet mother of god the food there… so much of it and so tasty.  She had made these little bacon wrapped smoked sausages caramelized with brown sugar.  I could have seriously made a meal on that alone.  Like always she cooked for an army, and there were only 7 or 8 of us there.  We left around halftime because we walked down and didn’t want to slip and fall on the way home through our poorly lit sidewalks.  The food coma that set in just left me in a bit of a stupor.  As a result I literally could not remember that I was supposed to tank a raid that night.

I am really hoping they had enough to pull the raid together but since the other regular tank was also slotted to be gone… I am seriously doubting they were.  So I am posting it here, and I will post it elsewhere and say it in person…  I am sorry I flaked on you guys.  This is out of character for me, but it quite literally slipped my mind.  I didn’t even realize I had done it until I got up this morning.  Today I plan on trying to sleep as much as I can, because sleep heals.  As a result I got up at 5:30 and emailed my boss saying that I would not be in and then slept until 10:30.  I will be taking dayquil and breathing treatments to try and break the gunk up so that I can breathe again.  I really need to be viable for work tomorrow.  We are supposed to be getting a lot more snow and ice tomorrow, so we will see what exactly that means.

Belghast and the Severe Asthma

Since I am sick right now, I kinda wanted a factoid that blended with that.  I have touched on this a few times but it is worthy of factoidization.  I have extremely severe asthma, it has gotten slightly better over the years but there are times where my body still completely breaks down on me.  I have a number of triggers ranging from weather changes, to strong perfumes and smells, and the worst of all is smoke both second hand and smoke from fires.  This has been a thing that I have struggled with my entire life.  My very first asthma attack happened before the age of one, when my mother heard me wheezing in my basinet at the end of the bed.  My father had been an extremely severe asthmatic growing up and spent many a night under an oxygen tent… which was the 1950s treatment for such things.  I don’t think I was officially diagnosed however until after age one, because the pediatrician kept saying “babies don’t have asthma”.

To make things even worse I have what they call a “primary immune system deficiency”  which basically means I have a lazy immune system.  So I tend to catch everything that is going around and it takes significantly longer for my immune system to wake up and realize there is something bad inside of me that it should be fighting.  So this complicates the first thing significantly, as I almost always have some sort of a cold.  If they drag on long enough there is a moment where it wakens the beast and my lungs start shutting down on me.  This weekend is one of those times where a “nameless crud” has finally lingered long enough to trigger my asthma.  Most of the time I can take a bunch of breathing treatments and be just fine.  Every now and then it triggers a downward spiral that requires much more severe intervention.

Probably the worst of these was the 2005 Thanksgiving Holiday, over which I spent five days hospitalized.  I know I mentioned this event in the little letter I wrote a few weeks back to some smokers in my building, but this is the worst case scenario that I am always worried about in the back of my head.  Of course this was created by an unlikely chain of events.  One of our friends had a house fire, and I went down to the house long enough to be handed prescriptions to take to Walgreens to fill.  That was enough to trigger a negative reaction that lead to me going to the Emergency Room.  They hooked me up to a BIPAP machine that would help me breathe, or at least force air into my lungs, and since my lungs were so swollen shut… it caused me to respirate insanely fast.  So fast that they were scared I might have a heart attach that night, since my pulse was racing.

Eventually they were able to get things under control but it was five days before my blood oxygen levels came up enough for me to be able to go home.  By day two I was absolutely stir-crazy in the hospital.  All I really wanted was someone to bring me a laptop.  This whole event has made me super aware and conscious of irritants in my area, and before this happening I probably never would have had to courage to tell the smokers what they were doing to me.  With my large amount of weight loss, it has improved my asthma quite a bit.  However there are still moments where something triggers that chain reaction and I go down for the count.  I think this current situation is an accumulation of weeks of breathing colder than normal air mixed with some bug that is going around.  But there you have it… a relevant factoid for a day when I am pretty sick.

Liberation Pingo

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-02 19-53-24-37 This post has already gone on pretty long at this point, but I didn’t feel like I could truly make another post without at least mentioning EQN Landmark.  Friday evening late the Alpha keys went out to all of the founders, but I personally did not get it launched until Saturday morning after I made my blog post.  At that point it was extremely hard to find a plot of land that was claimable.  So I wound up in the middle of nowhere on the Liberation server and the tier 3 Pingo island.  I feel like this may be a positive thing in the long run as there seem to be more than enough tier 3 resources to be had there.  However this has involved a lot of my bouncing to other areas to pick things up.  Right now I am building cautiously as during one of the server resets this weekend we lost all progress and I lost my crafting machines in the process.

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-02 22-13-44-02 The important thing to note… that if your tolerance for bugs is low.  Save your money and wait until this enters beta.  The game is very much an alpha product, but what is here is extremely fun.  Essentially at this point it is much like the early days of minecraft.  You wander around a very pretty world looking for resources that you can then take back to your claim and craft with.  The area my claim is in rests deep in a forested valley and as a result very little natural light reaches it… so all of the pictures on my claim tend to be cast in shadow.  Hopefully I can craft enough torches to fix that problem over time.  The key progress I have made is I have been able to upgrade to the Iron Pick allowing me to harvest some higher end stuff, and I have been able to craft the selection tool as well as replacement crafting machines.

EverQuestNextLandmark64 2014-02-02 13-38-34-12 Right now the only frustration really is the long queues.  At one point yesterday I waited for two hours in a queue, only to have the game crash out at 50% as it was loading.  However as the evening went on this improved drastically.  I just want to thank the EQN Landmark team because they really went above and beyond with this launch.  I am pretty sure Dave Georgeson for example was up almost 48 hours straight working on the problem along with the rest of the team.  So I have to say kudos for the work well done.  I am already enamored with the game, enough that I have upgraded from Explorer to Trailblazer.  There are a lot of systems simply missing right now, like it seems you can send a friend request… but the other party cannot respond nor is there a friend list.  As a result we are using server channels so I have created a house stalwart one.  Typing “/join stalwart” should get you in, and everyone that is friendly is more than welcome.

Belghast the Eagle Scout

Waiting on Server Maintenance

Last night a pretty crazy thing happened.  It was announced that Everquest Next Landmark would no longer be under NDA, meaning we can say whatever we want about it.  With this happening on Saturday night, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to devote a Steampowered Sunday to this brand new game.  Problem is up until now I have been a good little NDA abiding monkey and did not take even a single screenshot.  So that leaves me without a lot of fodder to talk about for SPS.  Another problem is, shortly after going off NDA they took the servers down to apply a fix for some issue that were going on.

The valiant Landmark team has quite literally spent all night working on the problem, and while it sounds like they are getting close they have yet to get things where we can log in.  Which means for the time being my episode of Steam Powered Sunday is delayed.  However the show must go on, and since it is uncertain if they will get things back up in time for me to write a Sunday post I am going to move forward with making my Factoid February post.  It is not my intention to keep making two posts a day but it seems like that is going to be the case here at least.

Belghast the Eagle Scout

I grew up in a small town of roughly 2500, and with that upbringing came so many little tropes of small town life.  The one that did because I wanted to, not because someone expected me to do… was Scouting.  In essence it gave my dad and I an excuse to sneak off and do outdoorsy things.  Granted these days by the very technology laced lifestyle I live, you could never tell that I was ever a good little boy scout.  I even went so far as to be a camp councilor at the local scout camp for a season.  The pinnacle of all of it was me getting my Eagle Scout during my sophomore year of high school.

Even more interesting than that, my Eagle award was a bit of a major occasion.  I was the very first Eagle scout from my small-town troop in thirty years.  They made a huge deal of it and it was attended by several politicians looking for a photo opportunity.  As cool as getting that was, it was tinged with regret.  Our troop had eight scouts all on the verge of getting their Eagle, and I was the only one who actually went through with it.  Getting your Eagle is essentially a lesson in dealing with frustrations.  You have to create an Eagle project proposal, and submit it for approval.  It then gets kicked back for this technicality or that one, causing you to revise it over and over until finally several tries down the road they finally give you the green light.

More than anything it is that this perseverance that is what I think the project is trying to teach you.  In the working world I cannot count the number of times one of my projects has suffered random rejections that are completely out of my control.  The determination that in part I gained through the frustrations of trying to get Eagle have helped me to just keep pushing forward.  So while it saddens me that I am the only one of my friends that actually completed the process, I am proud of myself for doing it nonetheless.  So that’s today’s factoid…  I am an Eagle Scout, and while I don’t always agree with the political stance that the Boy Scouts of America take on various issues.  I am still proud of the lessons I learned along the way.

A Maxipad Once Saved My Life

I screwed up…

Well I almost screwed up that is.  Tonight we went out and ate dinner with a friend and caught a show.  While waiting on the show to start I checked my phone and noticed something.  That’s right… today is in fact February First.  The significance?  Well remember I had said I wanted to start a new thing this month that I am calling Factoid February.  Once again credit for the name goes to The Chindividual who so graciously suggested it.   So now I sit down and try and fix my mistake by making a second post today to introduce the feature.

The basic idea behind it is to let my readers know a little bit more about me one factoid at a time.  I decided to do this during the month of February… well to be honest because it is a short month, so I have to come up with fewer things to talk about.  I have been trying to share more personal details in my blog, so think of this as another step along that path.  Hopefully someone finds this interesting in the process.

A Maxipad Once Saved My Life

I love this little factoid because it has a great title.  Last year I had a scary incident, I think it predates my blog a day thing, so I am not sure if it ever made its way onto my blog.  If it did, it warrants telling again.  Normally speaking I get up at 5:30 in the morning and I am not even vaguely close to awake until sometime around 6:30 as I am sitting upstairs drinking my coffee.  If you are keeping track, that means I start the beginning of most blog posts in a near catatonic stupor.  It is easy to say when I am in this state I am less than observant.  So as I stepped out of the shower and toweled off, imagine my surprise when I turned back around and the bathroom looked like a crime scene with blood splatter literally everywhere.

My first thought was holy shit… something has happened to one of the pets.  This thought didn’t last terribly long as I felt a warm trickle down my leg and as I peered downwards there was a red geyser shooting out of my leg.  It was around this point when I screamed for my wife to help.  Actually if you listen to her tell it, apparently at first I said rather calmly that I was bleeding.  This didn’t warrant much concern from her, since at least once a day I end up injuring myself somehow.  I am constantly banging myself on something, or nicking my finger or something… I am fairly accident prone.  But apparently I escalated the concern and managed to draw her out of the bed to investigate.

Redecorating Our Bathroom

yellowmaxi By this time I was getting pretty woozy and I ended up sitting down.  It seemed as thought I had somehow cut myself and a vein near the surface of my leg was doing projectile style bleeding akin to the black knight skit in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  We tried to stop things up with toilet paper, towels, and basically anything my wife could get her hands on.  At this point I was losing the ability to apply pressure as I had lost quite a bit of blood.  Always being the logical one… she quickly thought about what could soak up a lot of blood… and she reached into our cabinet and pulled out a maxipad slapping it down on my leg and holding it tight.  I kept it in place as she called 911, and while we had to change it a few times before the ambulance got there it did the trick.

At some point during this time she managed to get underwear on me and a shirt.  I remember absolutely nothing of this, but I do remember tiny bits and pieces of being on an ER table and getting my leg stitched up.  Apparently in the madness my wife didn’t gather any pants, so I vaguely remember walking out to the car after getting treated mumbling “I have no pants” wearing nothing but my boxers.  So like the factoid says, the Maxipad saved my life.  I doubt I would have truly bled out… but the bathroom certainly looked that way.  So massive props go to my wife for her quick thinking… and even more go to our neighbor who cleaned up the mess in our bathroom while we were in the hospital. 

The funny thing is… we are still to this day finding places where I managed to bleed.  Somehow I bled on the well at the back of the under sink cabinet where my wife pulled the pads from.  I also somehow managed to bleed on the ceiling.  Anyways hopefully I didn’t make my readers queasy, going through this was really damned scary… but looking back on it I find the whole thing extremely humorous.  For weeks I refused to take a shower without laying out a few maxipads on the counter just in case.  I still get a little freaky about spots on my legs, fearing that I might spring a leak again.  So that’s one day for the very first day.  I will have to summon a brand new one tomorrow.