Mini Manifesto

So how is everyone's new year going? Mine appears to be going about as well as last year. I'd hoped it would be better. Well, there are still eleven more months for it to improve. The tiny eternal optimist that lives in a dark corner of my heart hopes it does.

I started writing a manifesto of sorts way back in December, that I planned to post just after midnight on New Years Day. It got long and unwieldy and more than a little angry. I tried to edit it down to something reasonable and interesting. I failed to do so, and in the end, I decided I couldn't post it. At one point, I joked on Facebook that I should just post the short version, and you know what? I think I'll do just that. Here it is…

I am done putting up with other people's bullshit. I will not be tolerating other people's bullshit. At all. The category called “bullshit” shall include but not be limited to … lies, hypocrisy, flakiness, racism/sexism/fanaticism/whateverism, feigned stupidity, willful stupidity, and all other forms of human stupidity. No longer will I just roll my eyes and ignore it, and I don't care who the bullshit is coming from. Family, friends, strangers … be warned that if you expose me to your bullshit, I will slap some education on you about the bullshitty-ness of your bullshit. If this doesn't stop the flow of bullshit from you to me, I will be forced to excise you from my existence.

That's how done I am putting up with other people's bullshit.

With that said … I hope everyone had a great holiday season and that the new year brings you only the best of everything. I'm going to go slink off to the kitchen now and be quietly cranky while making my second cup of morning coffee.

So Bad Ass

Lin took a break from Dragon Age to let me log in and do my daily giant robot soldier killing and pick up my bonuses in Defiance, and I got lucky that I found the damn reindeer right away and the daily special event arkfall I needed popped up a minute later. So I'm all “Woo hoo, I'm gonna show the husband my skillz!”

Yeah, right. From the get go, I could tell I was surrounded by total noobs. How? I was killing the giant robots too easily. Or rather, I personally was killing giant robots all by myself. With one clip of my (admittedly off the hook) pistol. This does not happen unless the threat level is very low, indicating rank noobies in the area. I'm not so far away from noobishness that I have forgotten the sheer terror of these arkfalls while noobish. Bless their hearts, they have no idea what they are doing.

So me and this pack of noobs make our way to the huge final battle. It's been going great. I've been killing everything. I'm on a ROLL and confidence is high. But … at the final battle, there were a whole bunch of rank noobs, one or two people my size (halfway to max level), and a handful of top level guys, so the threat level popped up to ten. Yeah. That's hell unless the people there all have a vague idea of how these things go. This group didn't.

What followed was not me showing my husband how bad ass I am. No, it was a lot of running, rolling, running, go invisible, freak out and run in circles, shoot a clip into whatever's nearby, and repeat. In short … panicking. And the countdown timer kept counting down. And my controls kept glitching. And the MADNESS OF IT ALL. There was also cursing. Loud cursing. I didn't think we'd make it to a successful end, but we did, with a mere 28 seconds to spare.

At one point near the end, I was doing little more than running in a giant circle around the outside perimeter of the battle area with almost all the giant robots chasing and gunning for me. I tell myself, on the rare ocassions this happens, that I am helping. Look at me help! All the giant robots are so intent on running after me and killing me, that they aren't shooting at you, so drop damage boost spikes and set up shop in the middle and KILL THEM. I am helpfully being repeatedly blasted to bits to afford you the opportunity to KILL THEM. I assume that's what happens, because eventually, I'm only being blown up by a couple of them and I turn and finish them off. Well, I hope people appreciate my sacrifice. LOL!

When the scorecard popped up, the first clue I had that I hadn't actually sucked was the prizes I got. A legendary level bolt action sniper rifle and a lot of rare currency. I flipped to the leaderboard, and lo and behold, I came in 5th. I haven't even placed at all on the leaderboard on any of these special event battles before! So see, even when I am running around shouting and waving my hands in the air freaking out, I am a total bad ass. True fact. LOL!

Then I logged off and let Lin get back to his battles and empire building. That was just about enought stress and aggravation for one night.

The Busy Season

The holiday season is fully upon me and wow, it's shaping up to be an insane one. The older I get, the less I enjoy this holiday madness. LOL!

Last week we had the husband's company Xmas party and the ballet (Nutcracker, of course). I'm too tired and cranky to go in at length, so I'll some the week up thusly …

The party was fun. We bowled. We haven't bowled in a decade or more. We bowled a LOT. My left leg is only now starting to speak to me again.

The ballet was awesome! We've seen the Nutcracker many times, but this year it seemed better than ever. Truly enjoyed it anew. Would have enjoyed it even more had there not been so much walking and so many stairs. Ow, my poor left leg.

In the midst of all this, it was decided the Family Xmas Gathering would be held at my mom's house for the first time in twenty years. Guess whose head all that responsibity will fall on? If you guessed ME, give yourself a gold star!

But I sort of took today off and rested, my leg is feeling better, and my mental state is stable, so I'm feeling confident I can get through Xmas. Not that it ends there! It's looking very much like Lin and I will be redoing the living room the first week of the year. I'm looking forward to it and not looking forward to it at the same time. You know what I mean? It'll be great … when it's over and I can sit down and watch TV comfortably in a beautiful room!

In closing, let me just share a few recent photos. Nothing fancy or artsy. Just some snapshots of my currently crazy existence.

Hope you are all enjoying the holiday season!

Today Sucked

My day, in as few words as possible:

I upgraded my phone to iOS 8. I'm only semi-happy about that.

A cat puked on some important papers.

Another cat figured out how to get onto one of my few cat-free shelves.

I was reminded I have a party to go to tomorrow.

The kitchen sink clogged.

I was reminded I have a ballet to go to Saturday.

The weather has been crappy and is getting crappier.

I had the family Xmas gathering tossed in my lap.

I have three weeks to find a different insurance plan.

My phone has rung all day long.

My allergies are kicking my ass.

I hate Time Warner.

All of the above have made me extremely cranky.

Freaking Brrrr!

I slept through my alarm this morning. More like I hit the snooze over and over again until it gave up trying. No biggie. I busted my butt yesterday on four hours of sleep (and no naps at all), so getting some extra sleep was a good thing. I was pretty tired.

But when my “You really should get up now, you lazy bum” secondary alarm went off, I was all snuggly warm in bed and all the cats were laying on me. There's nothing at all unusual about all the cats being on the bed when I'm snoozing, but it is unusual for all three of them to be lounging on top of me. They don't really like each other well enough to be in such close proximity unless there's a very good reason. It felt nice and cozy though, so I hit the snooze a couple of times just to continue enjoying it.

Finally, I sat up, cats and covers pushed aside, and that was when I noticed the room was cold enough to store meat in. What the hell? It's cold outside, but not so cold yet that the furnace doesn't do a reasonable job of keeping it somewhat comfy inside the house! I put on the closest clothing and my warmest slippers and went to check the thermostat. Hello, it was set the way it always is for a winter night, but it wasn't on and the thermostat said it was under 50°F in the hall.

Now the hall lacks vents, so it's always the coldest and hottest room depending on the season. This is actually great, because it means the heat and AC always come on before the rest of the house has gotten too cold or too hot, since the thermostat is in the hall. But it was pretty obvious to me that the furnace hadn't been on in a while. A long while. I stood there and had a panic attack for a minute, because the furnace has been iffy for a couple years.

I tapped the thermostat. It's one of the ancient ones with a spring, magnet, and mercury switch in it. Maybe it got stuck? Nope. No response. I then slid the setting switch all the way down, noting it clicked at 45°, then slid it back to it's usual winter setting, noting it click again on its way back up. Then I stood there holding my breath waiting for the heat jets to spring to life. It seemed to take forever, but YES, THE FURNACE WAS PRODUCING FIRE! Then there was the equally long wait for the blower to kick in, and thankfully it also decided to work. The furnace was once again alive! Phew!

I don't know why the thermostat decided at some point last night that it didn't need to inform the furnace it was getting frosty in the house. Oh, I imagine it's because that thermostat is about as old as I am, but it hasn't been quite that cranky before. I guess replacing the thermostat just got moved up on the priority list of things we need to fix around here. Like into the top spot.

The cats and I are now huddled in front of the emergency space heater in the living room surrounded by a nice bubble of warmth. It's not a big bubble though, because it's not just the air inside that is cold. Everything in the house feels like it was sitting on the porch all night. Brrrrr. It's going to take hours to get this place warm again!

I'm going to spend some of that time looking at thermostats on the Home Depot website, because that needs to be fixed pronto. Like maybe it can't even wait for the weekend. I may have to learn to do it myself. I never want to wake up in a 45°F house again! And considering one of the ways the thermostat is usually cranky is in misreading the interior temperature, it's possible it was even older than that in here. No matter exactly how cold it was, it was too damn cold for humans and cats while inside a house!

Thanksgiving

Totally forgot I took some photos on Thanksgiving. Not many, and I was rushed on all of them because old people don't see a phone as a camera that can make art so I kept getting bitched at for “poking at your phone all the time”. A couple turned out ok, so I guess I'll post them.

Still Defiant

I'm still playing Defiance. Not only am I still enjoying it, but now I'd say I actually love it. Not as much as Skyrim or Dragon Age, but yeah, it's on the Games I Love list. Still can't play it for longer than an hour or two at a time though, because it does stress me out and frustrate me. Often. LOL!

Currently, I'm at EGO level 869, which is about 15-20% of the level cap. Still fairly puny. The game is decent at balancing multiplayer conflict zones, but even with the level boost I get when the big boys show up, I'm still at a decided disadvantage. After all, my weapons, shields, and skill perks are still low level. But at least I don't die every two minutes anymore. I just have to be quick on my feet and muster up a little bravery in the bigger battles. And … dying isn't all that bad anyway. Mostly it's just annoying.

A few exciting things did happen in game this week!

I finally have my very own Dodge Charger, so now I don't have to drive one of the crappy ATVs around anymore. Ok, the ATVs aren't crappy, but they are slow and fragile. The car isn't great at cross country driving, but at least it doesn't explode the first time it hits something larger than a human, and roadside enemies can't shoot it out from under me as I drive by. Huzzah! I'd have been happier if it wasn't orange, but beggars can't be choosers. It's a car, and that's what matters.

Also, I have gone from not placing on the leaderboard during major arkfalls to placing in the top ten regularly (quite often in the top five). This happened overnight. I made some changes to my weapons and gained a couple new skills I started using, and BAM … I started doing much better. I'm super excited about this, because I was still too new at the game during the Halloween event to place at all and so I didn't get any really awesome rewards from all those arkfalls I did. I will do much better during the upcoming Thanksgiving event, and I can't wait to see what kinds of awesome weapons I acquire.

Now about the game itself. Well, there are bugs and glitches and some of them are really, REALLY bothersome. But they aren't bothersome all the time, and usually by the time I am being bothered by enemies being invisible (and not meant to be) or other glitchiness happening, I've already been playing long enough that just turning off the game and doing something else for a while is a good idea anyway. I have to quit and restart a number of games on the PS3 for many of the same reasons, so it's not really a problem necessarily inherent in Defiance. The lag and whatnot though are exacerbated due to it being an MMO. This is my first ever MMO, so I don't know if it's common across the spectrum of the genre or if Defiance is just worse. The development team seems to be on the ball though, so yay for that.

The chat system though is a piece of shit. There's really no polite way to put it either. It really is just a steaming pile of crap. I could overlook the text chat system being the opposite of user friendly if the voice chat system worked at all, but wow, it's even worse. I could overlook a lot of bugs and other glitchiness in the game if they would just redo the entire chat system. It's flat out awful, and in a social type game, the chat has got to work at least somewhat. Please, Trion … do something to fix chat!

One last thing I want to mention is that I have been reading forums and other message board type things where users of Defiance congregate to get some tips on weapon modding and skill perk choices. I've learned a lot this way, and the number one thing I have learned is that it continues to be true that whenever there is more than one human involved in an endeavor there will be drama. Oh, will there be drama. Anyone who says women are the cause of all drama has never spent any time on a message board populated by middle aged men.

Let me give you an example…

I haven't tried player-vs-player events yet, because I'd don't think I'll like it or be good at it, but I have been reading about it for two reasons: I might want to try it in the future, and tactics used in PVP are also good for player-vs-environment (PVE) play, especially if one finds oneself doing something all by oneself and thus having to play very defensively. Anyway, I searched on Google for a very specific set of words, and the first result looked promising. I click the link and find myself in drama hell.

The whole forum thread was people calling each other cheaters and users of cheap tactics who lack the “skills” to properly play the game. By the time I finished reading the whole poo flinging flame war, all that was clear to me was that the people they insisted were cheating were merely using combinations of weapons and skill perks that everyone can and mostly do have in their own arsenal of choices. They just aren't using them. No cheating involved. Not even a glitch or loophole. Someone figured out a tactic that works, and other people don't like it.

Now when I read that using a one shot weapon with the skill perk that extends your current EGO power on reload while using the cloak skill can let you maintain invisibility for 90% of a PVP event, my first thought was not “Awful cheating cheaters! Foul cheap tactic users! You should be banned!” Nope. That wasn't my first thought at all. My first thought was “Dammit! I just sold all my one shot weapons!!!” This was followed by me thinking I need to make sure to get that skill perk and get a new sawed off shotgun with a one bullet magazine. That's not cheating. That's cleverly using the tools provided. And there are ways to negate the advantage it provides, but the complainers don't want to use them, because apparently using BMGs and Infectors is also a “cheap tactic” and “requires no skill”. It all sounds like a bunch of sour grapes to me.

Do you want to play and win the game that exists in reality? Or do you want to play the perfect vision you have of the game that exists only in your head? The programming is what it is, and the weapon and skill options are what they are. If you want to play a game where the actual physical skill of being able to use a game controller perfectly at all times is what wins and there are no weapons, shields, or skill tree perks that assist in gameplay (and winning) by providing clever ways to be sneaky, you need to find some other game to play, because Defiance is not that game. It's a run and gun kind of game that you can use precise shooting skills in if you want to do so … and in which knowing how to be sneaky can be a benefit.

And stop acting like three year old kids. Jeezle pete, grow the hell up. It's a GAME.

In closing, here's what my character looks like these days.

I had a couple bucks burning a hole in my PSN account, so I spent them on a new outfit. I went into the store and sorted the outfits by top selling and scrolled to the bottom of the list. There I found this delightful chartreuse tank top, hip hugger blue jeans, and combat boot set that I had already had my eye on. How could I resist? It's like it came from my own closet! The fact no one else seems to want to wear it was just a bonus situation. I hate looking like everyone else.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go sort through my inventory and start making room for all the awesome loot I'll be getting when the Thanksgiving event starts this coming week. I've been holding on to too many guns, and it's not like I won't get more. Like every day. So many guns. LOL!