Of Obsessions

rift 2016-06-25 18-31-50-89

In Search of Trays

I could start this post off with a grumpy rant about changes to a game that I found out about over the weekend.  However that would just end up creating a general down point for the coming week, so instead I am opting to try my best and push it out of my mind.  Instead I am going to focus on the fun that I had this weekend and the positive points.  The weekend also involved quite a bit of chasing wild geese, which in itself was a little interesting.  My wife is of course a teacher, and over the summer she does what I figure most teachers do…  obsess about the upcoming school year.  For the last several years Target has had some multi colored trays that serve well as hand in baskets, but unfortunately the last set became brittle after sitting in the incoming sun for an entire year.  So one of the things we have been watching for is them to start stocking them once again, and while we were in Kansas City we found two of the six colors, but did not end up picking them up because we assumed they too would be plentiful in our area.  That however was not the case and this past week over lunch I went to check a few Targets, ultimately finding none.  Saturday we wound up at our own local store and they happened to have four colors, allowing us to pick up most of a set.

The challenge with the Target dollar spot… is that every teacher ultimately stocks their classroom with the stuff located in it.  That meant that we had a very limited window to be able to get the last two colors of trays.  So Sunday after my wife got back from church we went roaming around the Tulsa metro area hitting quite literally every single Target store looking for a yellow and a purple tray.  Fairly early on we found the yellow tray, but it was not until the very last store we went to that we managed to find purple.  Ironically it was at the last store… the one furthest away from us…  that they happened to have all six colors in one place.  Had we reversed the order it would have likely been the one closest to us that had all six.  As I commented this weekend on twitter, this is the life of a Teacher’s spouse.  I cannot count the number of times we have made such trips hunting for this specific item or that…  be it office supply stores, dollar stores or in this case a Target.  Over the years I’ve spent many an hour sifting through disheveled bins of stuff looking for that one item that matches whatever other item we happened to be looking for.  The sheer dedication that the average teacher has is just phenomenal, and even more so is the rapid sharing of tips that happens when you get two together.  In Kansas City we rolled into the Target dollar spot and found the obvious signs of other teachers… and before we knew it folks were sharing tips on best ways to clean white boards or where you could find this or that item at a better deal.  Long story short… we managed to complete the set of bins which marks this mission off the list…  which I am certain will only be replaced by a dozen other similar adventures before school starts back up in a month and a half.

Of Artifice

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As far as gaming goes I spent the bulk of my weekend running around in Rift, shifting back and forth between several different activities.  Out in Twilight Highlands there was a limited time event called Arclight Ascendancy that allows players to run a couple of quests to get a currency… that can ultimately be saved up to purchase an Arclight Rider or Lifter mount.  At some point I have apparently completed this event… either that or some account entitlement gave me a slew of currency.  Essentially this event allows you to slowly gather the currency needed to purchase what would normally be a store only mount.  In the past I have participated in similar events for the Budgie mounts, and in the grand scheme of things these are not intended to be completed in a single pass but instead over the course of multiple events.  The interesting thing about them however is that one of the daily quests requires you to mentor down to within the 25-30 level range to accomplish it.  As far as that goes Rift’s implementation of that system is probably the best I have seen because you simply right click your name and choose a new level… and then bam you are functioning at that level without having to give up any of your abilities.  The other thing that I am enjoying about doing the quests is that it puts me back in Twilight Highlands and Scarlet Gorge on a daily basis… two zones that I absolutely loved from Telara.

The other big thing that I worked on this weekend was leveling my Artificer skill.  This is of course slowly bankrupting me, but nonetheless I still felt the desire to keep pushing forward.  I spent many an hour this weekend roaming around Gelboro Reef doing quests that I never finished out there… and farming up Thalasite ore and Sarleaf that would ultimately be converted into fuel to feed the fires of industry.  Yesterday evening I managed to push ahead and get to the current level cap of 450.  Now will I actually do anything with that level other than daily crafting quests?  I honestly am not sure… I’ve never had a max level artificer before now.  At this point in the cycle I doubt there is anything I can craft that is not better than the gear I can get from a combination of weekly patron chests and instant adventures/experts.  However having a whole slew of crafters means that I can rapid-fire through the crafting dailies and get patterns quickly.  I need to some time researching what if anything I can craft that is a damage upgrade… or more importantly a hit upgrade.  Now that I have finished with another crafting obsession I really need to get back into the process of digging into the Planetouched Wilds.  That area is huge and full of all manner of weekly quest opportunities, and I have barely scratched the surface.

 

 

Section X

Life With a Teacher

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It feels like I don’t have a whole lot worth talking about this morning.  My evening was rather fragmented, in that I got home fairly early and then spent the next couple of hours trying to pass the time while waiting on my wife to get home.  We had tentatively made plans to go out to dinner, and on a normal evening I would have fixed something and been engaged in a game by the time she got home.  This school year has been rather rough for her, and she is spending silly amounts of time up at school grading and planning.  It gets annoying at times because it is super hard to plan my life around her ever changing schedule, but I manage.  There are certain aspects of being a teachers husband… that no one will ever really understand fully.  We ended up going to a BBQ place near the Walmart Neighborhood Market, because my thought was after dinner we would walk over to the market really quick and pick up a few things.  This seemed like a simple in and out trip, and we could get on our merry way homewards.

Fate stacked against us, and of all of the places to have “back to school clearance” I did not expect a Walmart Neighborhood market.  For those who do not have these in their area, they are essentially a grocery store only Walmart, but have some minimal other items.  As we were rounding the bend past frozen foods I saw that they had a kiosk of back to school stuff.  I didn’t think anything about it, but next thing I knew we were sorting through all of the folders trying to pick out nine of each color from a mixed up bin of them.  I cannot count the number of times I have had an experience similar to this one.  There really wasn’t much space so my wife did most of the sifting through the folders but in the past I have had my hands knee deep in vats of assorted merchandise looking for that one item that matches the rest of the things we had pulled out.  Part of being a teacher is trying to find all of the things you need for your classroom as cheaply as humanly possible, and while I am fairly used to it… it just surprises me sometimes when I am not expecting it.  After all of the bin sorting… we got home a little later than I had expected.

Section X

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When I finally got settled in for the night, I made a blanket cocoon on the couch and booted up Star Wars the Old Republic.  I am now on this kick of trying to get through all of the story line that I have missed before the release of Fallen Empire.  For this I am going to place the blame squarely on the shoulders of Disney.  You cannot go anywhere right now without being deluged in Force Awakens merchandise, and with it comes an upwelling of all of the other movies that I am really damned nostalgic about as well.  I have these designs on making a Marathon of the movies this weekend while working on the SWTOR content.  It has been a really long time since I have watched the prequels, so I am honestly hoping I can bury the hatchet that I hold towards them.  The prequels broke me, and came damned close to breaking my love of Star Wars as a whole.  So when I heard about Force Awakens I was mildly interested, but now I feel like I am full on in the thrall of overwhelming feels towards the franchise I grew up with.  I even went so far as to order the Disney Infinity 3.0 Saga Edition… because it was on sale and two I had enough saved up discover credit to get it essentially for free.

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I have to say playing this game again… and seeing fresh content in it… reminds me of why we were so damned addicted to it for a couple of month period after launch.  The story content is really good, and even though Makeb does not actually feature any “class specific” content I am absolutely enjoying myself.  I did however take a break from Makeb last night to start working on the Section X content.  I guess I played long enough to get that area unlocked for free, and with it should give me access to my very own HK-47 droid.  From what I hear it is a rather lengthy quest and involves collecting bits on several different characters, including a Sith.  Mainly I was told that if I cared about story progression, that I should go ahead and do that now before getting too deep in the new content.  As you can see from my previous pictures I went back to the Jedi Knight robes as seen on the box art.  I have to say I dig the Holowardrobe because it is way cheaper to change your appearance using it than re-modding your gear.  There are a few of us currently going through this Star Wars nostalgia attack, which makes me feel kinda sad each time I interact with the person who held down the fort while we have been gone.  I know that I am just here doing some MMO tourism…  and as soon as I am done with the story content I will be gone once more.  Even though I have not been playing a lot of it… Final Fantasy XIV is still my home base of operations.

Nineteen Years

AggroChat 59 – The Shadowrun Dragonfall Show

Last night we got the folks together to record the fourth AggroChat game club show, this time devoted to Tamrielo’s pick.  Shadowrun: Dragonfall is the second game in the Shadowrun: Returns series from the wildly successful kickstarter process.  While the first game focused mostly on getting the engine correct, this game focuses more on weaving an interesting narrative in the Shadowrun setting.  In tonights show we delve deep into the game and talk about the various choices we made while playing it.  Please be warned this is a full spoiler show, and we will talk about some of the plot twists and the alternate choice paths that you can make in the game.  I highly suggest that if you intend to play this game,  that you revisit this show after doing so as not to spoil any of the content.

 

This title is auspicious for various reasons, primarily because it is the first title that everyone joining in the show either beat or came extremely close to beating it.  Kodra and I started recording tonight and during the course of the show actually defeated it.  Ash however is in the final stretch making him only about thirty minutes away.  The other extremely unique thing about this game is it is quite literally the first game we have played that we all were able to give a big thumbs up to.  Join us next month for Kodra’s title as well called There Came an Echo, which is a voice controlled real time strategy game… that is certain to lead to some strange conversations.  Additionally if you played Shadowrun: Dragonfall along with us, please head over to AggroChat.com and drop the team a line with what you thought about the game.

Nineteen Years

It was roughly nineteen years ago yesterday that my wife and I first got together as a couple.  In truth we use May 30th as a close approximation of our “dating anniversary” because honestly neither of us really know the EXACT date.  For the most part we consider it to be the more important anniversary and try and at least acknowledge it every year.  We are not big into gifts and never really have been.  We tend to label things we were already going to get as “anniversary gifts” after the fact.  Like apparently the wooden rocking chair I got my wife awhile back is her anniversary gift, and according to my wife my new SUV and the used iPad 2 I will be getting Monday is my gift.  It seems like I made out like a bandit until you learn how we spent our anniversary.

Friday was the last day with kids for my wife and thus begins the yearly ritual of packing up her room.  This year however it is a bit more stressful for her because she is having to entirely vacate her cubical.  When they moved into the building they created this “collaboration room” for the teachers, and set it up in quite possibly the least collaborative method known to man…  the office cube farm.  This summer however it seems like they finally got the memo and are going to tear down the cube farm and replace it with a much more open shared workspace.  That said she has to completely move out of both her own personal cube and another cube for a program she manages.  So yesterday I spent my anniversary packing up these cubes in boxes and moving them as she worked on packing away stuff in her classroom.  It is not the most glamorous anniversary in the world but it was me helping her be less stressed so I think in the grand scheme of things it was a win.

End of School Stress

There are times in life when I have to fight my nature.  I tend to be fairly protective of my friends and family, and I especially feel protective of my wife.  She is a strong badass of a woman, who does not need me to fight her battles for her… but there are occasions when that instinct still kicks in.  Part of the reason she is so damned stressed right now revolves around an event that happened Friday night.  She is a rockstar of a teacher, and I mean that in every sense of the word.  She will fight for these kids and bend over backwards to try and make sure they are doing whatever they need to be doing.  This week was one of those cases where she bent over backwards to try and make sure one of her students was doing what they needed to be doing.  The problem being this isn’t always appreciated and sometimes misguided parents can add to her stress level.

It is extremely hard for me to see her in the frustrated state she was in Friday.  Every fiber of my being wants to protect her from the people who were stressing her out.  Thankfully school is over and due to the extremely supportive administration things will work themselves out.  But for the time being she has been wrestling with whether she did the right thing, or enough to help her students.  For this reason and many others I am happy to help her try and at least get one stress out of the way.  I know I would not be half the teacher she is, because quite frankly if I had to deal with half of the things she suffers with a smile…  I would have gone postal a long time ago.  She however has a level of dedication that can only be admired and respected.  So I spent our anniversary packing up boxes, moving file folders, and moving it around the building.  It might not be a glamorous chain of events, but if it lightened her burden then I think it was a successful way to spend our day.