Winter and Yeti

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Winter Arrives at Casa Belghast

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So something I am realizing yet again is how badly I need a schedule to function.  During the work week, I am on super tight time constraints.  I get up at 5:30, make coffee, pack my wife’s lunch, and then am usually upstairs sitting at my keyboard by just a little after 6.  Then I bang out a blog post, feed the animals… play with the ferrets because they are begging to be picked up… and then am out the door at around 7 am.  On the weekends however….  and on this holiday break…  I am completely all over the place with my blogging.  When I know there is no real time constraints…  I feel free to screw around in the morning.  I’ve been reading twitter and blogs for the last two hours…  and finally it is getting to the point where it is kinda embarrassing that it is 11:30 and I have yet to produce a blog post.  While I complain about stress, I am also apparently one of those people who thinks most clearly when the shit is hitting the fan…  or at least I am bumping up against a deadline.  It is like my creativity flows more freely when I know there is something riding on the line.  I know that at pretty much I can start writing and come up with a post…  and because of that… it means when there is no deadline I keep putting it off.  I am the king of procrastination…  and among the list of things that need to do today is book my hotel room for Pax South…  which is only a few weeks away.

As you can see in the above image, Winter has finally arrived in Casa del Belghast.  For most of the Christmas break so far it has been windy as hell, but still pretty warm.  On Saturday, it started raining, but between the showers… it was still nice and warm outside.  The thermostat started to turn down yesterday, and overnight the constant rain turned to ice, and eventually as of this morning snow.  The Monday morning commute was apparently hell, based on conversations with the folks holding down the fort.  This is one of those moments when I am damned happy that I still have essentially another week to go before I have to worry about it, and by then I am hoping that we have returned to the balmy conditions we have been in recently.  I am perfectly fine with not having a “real winter” here in Oklahoma, because our normal Ice Storms suck.  If we got fluffy and happy snow like the rest of the world seems to, I would be perfectly fine with winter.  Instead we get ice… and lots of it… that usually starts out as sleet and then eventually becomes glaze ice that freezes to anything it hits…  high means power lines.  Why the hell we have above ground powerlines still boggles me… because the ice can snap the aerials like very brittle twigs.  Thankfully from what it seems, this is going to be our major day of ice and snow… and then it will warm back up shortly after.

Mission Yeti: Accomplished

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I told Lodur last night, that he would have to hold down the fort without me… because I am officially out of the Team 360 No Mount business.  I’ve talked over the last few days of my Christmas gift that required a little work.  A really good friend of mine read my commentary about the struggle to get the holiday Yeti mount, and when she managed to get two of them…  pinged me that she had a gift for me.  The gotcha of course was that it was on a server that I have zero characters, so I rolled a level 1 druid and have been leveling like crazy over the last few days.  It took me roughly two days of marathoning Star Wars movies to go from 1 to 40 and last night I wrapped it up getting the final two thirds of a level in Feralas.  I stopped what I was doing as soon as I dinged and made my way to Orgrimmar to learn Journeyman Riding, and of course learn the mount.  From there I fiddled around and got to an interesting vantage point to take a few screenshots.  I am super happy to have the mount, but also really enjoyed the “Catte Durid” leveling process.  The only problem is… that this character is now stranded on a server that I am not sure if I will play much on.

I talked a bit about the general toxic environment I encountered while leveling the character, which does not give me warm fuzzies about staying there.  That said this is the only server that my friend really has characters on.  The frustrating part is that to move a character it is $25 each, which seems like a lot of money when you are looking at an army of alts.  Considering that at this point moving a character is a scripted process, and requires zero manual intervention…  the game as a whole would be a happier place if they just adopted the Rift system of server transfers.  In that game you can move one character per week for free, pending that character is in good standing and above the level of 15.  That means over time you can move servers with your characters, and sure you have to wait a week per… but it lets you get out of bad situations without being taxed into oblivion for doing it.  There are many times that players end up getting stuck on a server that they literally do not know anyone playing the game anymore.  So it seems like insult to the injury of losing their friends…. to ask them to cough up another $25 per character to move off of the bad environment.  Sure you can always group with Battle.net but there is something you miss by not having access to the friendly green spam of guild chat… and all the while I was leveling this druid… I felt the pangs of not having access to my friends.  At some point I will likely delete the druid I have on The Scryers and move this character to that server, but in the meantime it will serve as a sort of hiding out alt…  which is largely why I have not mentioned the server name yet.

 

 

The Anchors Fall

Snowbound

Tulsa once again is buried under a thick coat of ice, with a dusting of snow on top.  Luckily we were prepared for it, and I did the traditional grocery store run Friday afternoon before the madness really started.  Saturday we got out early in the morning and ran the few errands we had to run, and made it in well before the crap started that evening.  It was predicted that the ice would begin around 6pm but it started considerably later.  Thankfully it was just sleet, and not freezing rain or we would have been in trouble.  When we got up yesterday morning it really did not look like we had much accumulation, and as a result my wife was convinced that they would be having school today.

However over the course of the morning, it started in hard and heavy with the ice and didn’t let up until late last night.  While we only got roughly 3 inches of accumulation, almost all of that was ice in one form or another.  One of the more interesting things is we had what they call “Thunder Sleet” and “Thunder Snow”.  Essentially it sounded like a rain storm with lightning and thunder, but as the precipitation fell it turns into sleet on the way down.  After a day of this I texted my boss about 9pm saying that I was not even going to try getting out this morning.  At that point I was apparently the third person to say the same thing, and he was not sure if he was going to try and make it or not.

I am really questioning if my wife will be having school tomorrow either.  At some point today I need to go out and try and clear the vehicles, as I am sure tomorrow morning I will be driving into work.  Honestly when a day like today happens work pretty much shuts completely down, and it is their own damned fault.  Once upon a time we would work remotely during a snowstorm, and things would continue moving forward.  However the current management made a point of stating that there was no official working from home policy, and as a result we all take vacation days and ignore email.  I think they were far better off the other way around, because at this point… it damned well better be a crisis for me to deal with it when I have spent a vacation day.

The Anchors Fall

eso 2014-03-02 18-47-32-30 I spent I would say the majority of the weekend in Tamriel.  Not that I really felt the rush to play, since I have been part of the private testing group for roughly a year now, but I did want to get to hang out with my friends as they played.  By the end of the weekend I think we had 35 members or so in House Stalwart, and for the most part everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.  There were a few people who simply could not get used to the “action mmo” perma-mouselook interface but overall I think we are going to have a large and bustling guild for launch.  Really that is the most I could hope for.  I entered the weekend with grand ideas of getting to the 15-18 range of Spindleclutch… the first dungeon in Daggerfall.  However i didn’t even get close, ending the weekend around 9.5.

I am really bad at leveling in Elder Scrolls.  There is always this cool thing over here to look at and explore, or this camp of baddies to clean out…  or this bit of ore to mine.  The Elder Scrolls Online is distraction city, and I am a willful participant.  In World of Warcraft, I have learned to “quest grind” and push my way through content extremely quickly.  However in the much more immersive world of ESO I tend to stop and smell the roses quite a bit.  One of the interesting things about the game is that I actually somewhat pride myself on making my own gear.  So the tail end of the night since I was roughly half a level from 10… I was in a mad rush to gather iron ore.  Up to this point I have tried to have a full set of the next level of gear ready to go for when I ding.

I realize I don’t NEED to do this, as you can pretty much get by fine in several levels old gear.  However I like the concept of making my own stuff.  Firstly it levels blacksmithing, but more importantly I always know where my next upgrade is coming from.  Granted it usually means I am well over level since wandering around mining ore, tends to mean you are also killing a ton of bad guys and soaking up extra experience.  Right now I am just ready for this to launch.  It feels like I have been waiting for this to happen for so long, and now we have a month left before go time.  I am ready for my characters to finally be permanent and my choices to matter for longer than a weekend.  Since I didn’t explain it… the above image is of a Dolmen moments before a Dark Anchor is about to fall.  If you see this scene… go somewhere else… because if the anchor falls on you… you end up taking massive damage.

Not on Easy Mode

Risk of Rain 2014-03-02 13-38-59-06 After my little Steampowered Sunday write up, my friend Ashgar informed me that even though it says “very easy” in the upper right corner… that is apparently a lie.  He said he could tell from the things on screen that I was not in “easy” mode, and that I should try that setting.  So sure enough I fired up the game a bit later in the day and noticed that I was not in fact on easy mode.  In fact when I DID set it to easy, I managed to get through the first level just fine.  Well “just fine” being relative, because the game is still maddening at times.  However after a few deaths I managed to progress to stage two “Sky Meadow”.

There I proceeded to die rather spectacularly over and over.  So while the game is a BIT less abusive on “easy”, it is still maddening.  I am probably going to fire this up every now and then, just because at this point I really want to see more of it.  I don’t know why I do… but I do.  This is like a puzzle that I want to crack, and I don’t understand WHY I want to open it…  but I really do.  Ash says this is one of his more played steam games, and I can see why.  There is just something about it that gets under your skin and makes you want to play more.  It is so brutally unapologetic in the way it kills you, that you want to keep getting back up just to try and piss the game off.