Blaugust Day 30 – Of Mice and Women

WARNING: Rodentophobes, move along. Baby mice picture coming up.

Edit: I was going to call this Penultimation because that sounded cool, but it didn’t have much to do with rodents. Oh well. At least I’ve mentioned it.

This is going to be a very, very short post. [I lied. It’s as long as all my other posts. Figures.] Because this:

baby miceYesterday late afternoon our dogs finally managed to get into a mouse nest that one of our local critters had built within the folds of the grill-cover I had (foolishly) left lying in a heap outside on a deck chair. I had no idea it was there but I suspect the dogs have known for a few days. Ironically of course, I saw that grill cover a few days ago and thought Hrm, now that we’ve moved the grill to the front of the house and away from most of the rain and wind, I really should move that cover to the garage. As usual, thinking about it (and then not doing it) probably took longer than simply picking up the damn thing and putting it away would have done.

Oh well. Long story short, baby mice strewn all over the back patio and surrounding gravelled areas. SO and I found the nest after a bit of judicious searching in the area. Mom was not there, obviously. I have no idea if we got them all — we found 5 altogether — and we’re lucky, I suppose, that our dogs are apparently too gormless (or too aware of what a bleeding heart I am) to have done them any damage other than nosing them around on the cold concrete.

So out came the shoe box, in went the tea towel (later replaced with a lovely cotton nest with a donated sheepskin dog toy, which the Husky is none too happy about), in went the meece. It was late, it had already been a bloody long day and we were tired, so we called our Biology PhD (mammalian no less) friend / neighbour just to be sure we were doing the right thing and fed them what we could of the milk we had in the fridge. It’s not ideal, incidentally, if you ever need to rescue young mammals, but it’ll do in a pinch.

We lost one of the meeces overnight, despite me getting up every couple of hours to try to get them to eat a little more, but the four that are left seem relatively hale and active (for creatures that basically sleep all the time). We hit the pet shop this morning and picked up a small cage, some bedding, and some kitten formula and they certainly preferred the latter to the cow’s milk.

Why kitten formula and not puppy formula, you may ask — I know I did. I’d have thought it had way too much protein in it for rodents. And why not mouse formula? Well that’s one’s easy — your average pet shop does not assume you will be hand-raising orphaned mice. The reference we Googled suggested kitten formula (twice diluted) without explaining why, but a quick perusal of the nutrition percentages leads me to believe it’s because puppy formula contains more than twice the fat (~40% vs. 18% in what we bought), which is presumably not so good for meece, while the protein & carb levels are almost identical.

So yes… as the spousal unit pointed out, we spent $60 on what are essentially back-yard pests, but I’m ok with that. I couldn’t leave them there to die, and having made that non-decision the rest is as much of a non-decision. No, we didn’t get a gold-plated rodent cage, but we did get enough to keep the little buggers alive and well for the 3-4+ weeks it may take them to become independent. Then we’ll release them. We live in a very rural area on the edge of a national forest, and they can go out and thrive and/or become owl or coyote food as nature decrees. I’m fine with that, but I wasn’t okay with letting them die on the concrete.

They have changed a lot in the 18 or so hours we’ve had them, but I haven’t taken any other pictures yet. Last night was very fragmented and I’m kinda tired since the SO doesn’t dare manipulate the babbies as they seem so delicate. They were 2-3 days old I think when we found them, so they’d had their colostum (which is good) and should have a reasonable chance of survival.

We’ll see.

[Edit – here’s an updated picture, less than 24 hours after we found them. The ears are unfolding.]

meeces day 2

Blaugust Day 22 – Poll Saturday

So I set up this post as a draft yesterday, fully intending to do a fun, exciting, fun, entertaining and FUN poll.

… But in the intervening time I have utterly forgotten what the poll was supposed to be about, and like the typical me that I am I failed to make a note of the proposed subject. Which is me in a nutsh— oh look, shiny!

Yeah. I don’t mind being me, but sometimes I wonder what it’s like to have a brain that doesn’t act like a cocaine-addled squirrel. It must be a lot calmer in there, being able to take a single thought to a logical conclusion. (I’d do another ooo shiny joke but I think I’ve beaten those at least half to death; let’s let the horse recover a bit.)

But Poll Saturday it is (this really needs a better name), so a poll we shall have. Let’s keep this first one simple and deal with an age-old internet and gamer question. There. That should be enough answers to ensure thoroughly useless results.

Ooo and that’s 10 sentences. I’m done here!

 

Blaugust Day 11 – Mashup and Miscellany

So here we are, HA!s notwithstanding, combing the writing prompts forum thread for inspiration. I would like to shift some of the blame for being hoist by my own petard on the time of day I’ve had to do these posts, because I typically write much more easily in the mornings (which is itself odd as I’m not really a morning person). My mornings have been busy with that stupid Real Life game where you have to keep logging in to grind levels and dailies or you lose your damn mount, your house, and all your other phat lewt.

Anyway, I found enough there to spark a postlet. I am mashing up several prompts because I am a wild spirit and you cannot contain me with your writing prompts even as I use them as crutches! Ahem. Here we go. In no particular order…

5 things you don’t know about me

  1. I speak English, French and German. I also think, dream and sleep-talk in those languages. Apparently it is extremely weird to have your SO mutter in German in the middle of the night. (Presumably this would not be so weird if *my* SOs past and present spoke German.) As an aside, I like to give my D&D dwarves silly German-word names like Achtung and Ausweis Bitte. As another aside, I suspect only Japanese beats German for sounding like you’re yelling at someone when you’re probably romancing them. And finally, swearing sounds SO much more like you mean it when it’s in German. (I realise this is actually NOT a thing you don’t know about me if you’ve read the blog in the last couple of weeks. Sue me. I needed to warm up to the subject.)
  2. I knit and crochet and am not ashamed of either. So there. I have made 275 afghans and scarves and have finally screwed up my courage to tackle actual shaped garments. It’s Zen. It’s also occasionally incredibly annoying (patterns can be teh suq), but it’s mostly calming.
  3. I have an enduring addiction to anything made of paper (well, except papier-maché) — books, notebooks, pads, journals… — and anything used to write thereon. I have made herculean efforts to keep this in check over the past few decades because planet and eco and all that, but it’s — twitch — not easy. There’s something so tactile about paper and the act of writing on it… that and the fact that unless I write it down with a pen, it won’t go in my head or be retained. If I write a phone number down, I’ll remember it right away. If I enter it in my phone or computer, I will forget it instantly. I wonder if I’m too old to change that, but I don’t really care.
  4. I have visited nearly 20 countries and lived in 7. I wasn’t always too keen on it at the time (that UN-brat thing) but the older I get, the more grateful I am to have had the opportunity. Travel truly does broaden the mind.
  5. I am utterly impervious to deadpan. I am also rather gullible and I suspect the two are related. The spousal unit has taken to saying “BAZINGA” after every deadpan joke, just to make sure I actually get it, and it’s helping. As for gullible… I tend to take people at their word and, given how cynical I am about other things, I don’t really mind. I’d rather assume people are telling me the truth than assume they’re lying to me. That’s no way to live.
  6. I can’t count. BAZINGA.

A Stylish Selection of Past Posts

These are kind of random but I’m still happy with most of the posts I did in 2008-2011-ish. Actually I’m still happy with all my posts but the earlier ones actually had things to say rather than being “don’t shoot me for not posting” fluff items, which comprises most of what I’ve done in 2013-2015-ish. (Yes, you sharp-eyed reader, I missed 2012. That was the in-between year.)

Get your RP on III – Begone, Quests! (2009)

Frustrating /= Hardcore. Hardcore /= More Worthy (2011)

Why? – 2008 (As in, Why I play…)

Last But Not Least, Required Reading

And lo, I shall deliver the word from on high. In other words, I shall link to Raph Koster because whether you agree with him or not (and I do with a fervour that borders on the creepy), every gamer interested in the why and how of gaming and MMOs could do worse than read what he has to say. The links below relate primarily to SWG (Star Wars Galaxies) but they and the other articles in the series are relevant to MMO design on a much more general level. I’m sure I’ll get back to that someday because if MMOs have lost their way in the last decade (per my Anook AMA post) it’s by being less like SWG or even CoX and more like WOW. Both these articles are from earlier this year, so hardly obsolete.

Designing a Living Society in SWG, part one

Designing a Living Society in SWG, part two

Peace out. (I don’t usually say that but I had to end the post somehow.)

Blaugust Day 6 – Anook AMA

Because Blaugust isn’t hard enough as it is, our friendly blogging taskmistress (aka Syl) decided a little extra sadism was appropriate so she started the Blaugust AMA thread over on Anook. Seeing that I’d get to ask TAGN a question I went for it, only to discover he’d already more than covered my question in his blog (curse you, Wilhelm!). Jaedia from Dragons & Whimsy then asked me a question and I had no choice but to meekly comply. So here we are.

Q: Do you feel as though MMOs have lost their way over time? Or are you excited for the future and the unique ideas that it brings?

A: Yes, and no. Yes, and no.

Okay, whew, that was easy! See you tomorrow!

Double-curses! I’m not meeting the length requirement! (Thank God there’s no ‘meaningful content’ requirement.) Surely I’ve done a post about this in the past!

/starts searching

/realises that searching archives from 5-6 years ago will take longer than actually posting

/goes back to posting

Do you feel as though MMOs have lost their way over time?

Yes, because they’re not at all like they used to be 10 or 15 years ago… And no, because change isn’t necessarily a bad thing — despite the way most gamers react to it. Games have changed quite a bit over the last decade: to name just one example, we’ve gone from super-simple combat interfaces (smash monster) to having eleventy-million buttons to hit (see EQ2-Exhibit_A) and back to having fewer buttons to hit. Because it turns out that having lots of things to do in combat is fun, but mashing buttons as an interpretation of that ‘things to do’ concept is actually un-fun.

hotbar_madness
Buffs and debuffs and HoTs oh no!

And no, because change is inevitable. For one thing MMO gamers are an incredibly opinionated and whiny lot (you wonderful people excepted of course, at least as far as whining goes) and we demand change all the time. Then we complain about the changes that were made. And when those changes are toned down (by developers who really ought to know better), we complain about the changes to the changes! But if no changes were ever made to games (I’d add an example but I can’t think of one) we’d complain about them being too static and… unchanging.

You know, I think the world needs another post on how MMO gamers are probably the most annoying people in the world. But not today.

As far as ‘losing their way’ goes… No, I don’t think so. The MMO industry is still really quite young, considering — I don’t know the insider stuff but I’d guesstimate we’ve had maybe 4-6 ‘real’ development generations for MMOs, if we can call them that, and that’s not a lot. Games aren’t made in a vacuum: studios and devs see what other studios and devs are doing, play what other studios are doing, like some of it and emulate it, don’t like some of it and try to correct it or make it better, and so on. We tend to forget that we’re still figuring out what makes a great MMO — and given the variety of playstyles, preferences and genre options I’m not sure there is such a thing as The One MMO to Rule Them All. World of Warcrack did a great job at the ‘One Size Fits All’ genre, but now we’re seeing that smaller, so-called ‘niche’ MMOs are not only doable but possibly a better option.SOTA

Do I miss the old-school MMOs? Of course. No game will ever be the same to me as my first MMO was. Asheron’s Call was weird, quirky, and amazeballs… but much of that comes from the fact that it was my first MMO. And because I had hours and hours to play back then. And because I was younger. And because MMOs weren’t as sophisticated (and neither were their players) nor as widespread as they are now and we didn’t have as much choice, so we were less picky. And because I met some of my best RL- and e-friends in that game, many of whom I still hang out with in person or online.

But I don’t think that means they’ve lost their way. If anything, I would contend that gamers have lost their way. And we won’t even touch the whole GamerGate thing which makes many of us hesitant to even use the G word anymore. (For the record, I come down hard on the side of the so-called SJW and if that bothers you so much you can’t get over it, feel free to read some other blog in your spare time.)

…or are you excited for the future and the unique ideas that it brings?

As for question 2, I’ve probably halfway answered that already. I am excited for the future of MMOs, though I hope there will be some re-adoption of old mechanics and ideas — in my case I’m desperate for a game that doesn’t offer much loot and depends almost entirely on a player-driven, player-crafted economy like SWG did in its early days. There are games in development that offer exactly that. Project Gorgon for one (I think – don’t shoot me if I’m wrong), whose current Kickstarter project has 17 days to go. I backed it because Eric & co of Elder Game have some design ideals that are very close to my heart. Camelot Unchained is another that I’m intrigued about. And then of course there’s Shroud of the Avatar, which I also backed last year and still can’t find the time to explore as much as I’d like. And if sci-fi is more your thing, there’s The Repopulation. [Note that those are all sandboxes. That’s my personal preference. I’m sure there are old-school less-sandboxy games in development as well.]

repop

I expect the future of MMOs will certainly include more mega-titles, because some companies can afford to make them (EA, Blizzard, Square Enix), but I think it will include a great many more ‘homebrew’ or ‘indie’ or, you know, normal-sized titles. And I suspect that the ‘niche’ games will be just as successful as their larger brethren, once the smaller studios find out how to plan, develop and publish them in a way that doesn’t bankrupt them or force them to expect unrealistic revenue. Crowd-funding is one option and it’s certainly worked for the tabletop and MMO projects I’ve backed (even if it took Project Gorgon three tries – we’re all learning as we go here).

If we add technology changes into the mix (Oculus, anyone?) we’re looking at an evolving sector with evolving players, evolving technologies and evolving platforms, and it’s a wonder MMOs today are still recognisably the same type of game as they were 15 years ago. I can’t wait to see what they’ll be like in 2030, assuming I’m still around.

Damn straight I intend to be an MMO-playing pensioner!

Blaugust Day 3 – You Don't Know Jack…

TL;DR: I am a unique snowflake and yet very much like everyone else, except for the fact that I have freakishly short arms. T-Rex pic. Byeeeee!

…Or me.

I have always resisted doing “X Things You Don’t Know About Me” posts, for a number of reasons including English reticence, the complicatedness* of my background, sheer unadulterated laziness, and the general impression that most people really don’t want to read that kind of thing about me (which sounds like reticence but is more akin to Calvinist conceit-shaming**).

But here we are on day 3 of Blaugust and I’m already flailing around for things to write about, especially as a number of new readers are stopping by – ohai new readers!! – and it might be meet*** to include a little information about the author which isn’t, you know, easily accessible in something like a blog’s About page. (Which I have. Which I have not updated in 7 years. Which is okay since I, like granite, am utterly unchanging.) So here we go. X things you don’t know about me – where X is how many I can be bothered to do before I run out of steam, space, or sanity.

Thing the First

I’m French and German by parentage and family ties, was born in France and raised in Switzerland (with forays of a year or so to Belgium and Senegal). At home we spoke mostly French and English, or Frenglish, which was really normal to me (and to most of my bilingual diplomat-kid friends at the International School I attended) but is apparently not really normal in general. I have been to a fair number of European countries, mostly because unlike in the US a hop, skip and a jump will take you from one to the other. Hop – Switzerland! Skip – France! – Jump – England! (and so on). I have also been to a few African countries, which were awesome and which actually helps me in my job today (I’m a translator – more on that some other day if anyone cares).

I went to University first in France (hated it) and then in England (loved it), so I can legitimately claim to be a college dropout. I went from Business School to a Mickey Mouse Humanities degree (English and French literature) and haven’t regretted it for one second even though I’m sure I’d have a lot more money if I’d stuck with Business school. The problem is, business-school-type kids were an entitled bunch of little assholes back in nineteen-coughty-cough and I’m sure they’re no better now.

I lived, worked and gamed in England until 2001 when I moved to the States and here I am now. I am a transplant but that’s ok, I’ve been a cultural and national transplant all my life and I wouldn’t know how to live any other way. Nationalism is for fools. But let’s move on or I’ll start ranting.

Thing the Second

I refuse to use 2 words where 12 will do. Brevity is the soul of wit but the death of my blog, so most of my readers are patient sorts who are either just like me or have decided to put themselves through a wordy version of hell. I don’t judge. (Okay, so why is the paragraph about how wordy I am so woefully short?! Maybe I’ll add stuff in parentheses to pad it out a bit. I like parentheses, they work exactly how I think. Am I thinking out loud again? Oops.)

Thing The Third

My arms are apparently freakishly short, although despite my friends’ mockery they are not T-Rex short.

trex_happy

Here’s how you can tell if you have freakishly short arms: sit on the ground with your legs extended in front of you. Now see if you can put your palms flat on the floor to either side of you (next to your hips). If you can’t, you too have freakishly short arms and we can form a club! To date I know only one other person like me, so at least I’m not entirely alone. It’s not really a problem except for yoga class, where it’s a big fucking problem for all the poses that require you to have, you know, arms that reach to the ground properly when you’re sitting or kneeling. Maybe that’s why I prefer Tai Chi.

Son of Thing the Third

I am a very anxious person. I didn’t know this, really, until I got put on some anti-anxiety meds last year and discovered what it’s like to NOT be anxious all the time. (I also discovered what it’s like to be permanently stoned, sleep 12 hours a night and not have any motivation at all – which I could have achieved far more entertainingly by smoking dope – but we’re not on those Zombie Pills™ anymore, thanks for asking. We’re on something a bit easier to actually have a life with.) Having experienced anxiety-notness, I finally realised I’ve been anxious pretty much all my life – I remember being 5 and being anxious, which is a rather sad state of affairs but also shows I must be relatively well-balanced in other areas because I haven’t grown up to be a puddle of goo. So go me!

Return of the Son of Thing the Third

I’m a dyed-in-the-wool introvert. Being around people makes me tired, nervous, and mentally drained, which is why I like blogs so much. And no, being an introvert doesn’t mean I’m anti-social – aren’t we past that particular misbelief already? Being alone is wonderful and I could happily be alone for the rest of eternity – well, alone with a few select friends who (because they’re all introverts too) don’t make me feel like my brain is being pulled out through my nose when I’m around them. All my wordiness and apparent sharing is in fact a sort of armour to protect the introvert within, even when the sharing deals with apparently very personal stuff. It would almost certainly do me good to learn to share stuff that’s a bit more meaningful to me – and I’ll try. Maybe. That’s the best I can say.

Aaaaand, that’s enough for today. You Blaugustinians have another 3,472 blog posts to read so I won’t keep you. Thanks for stopping by!

 – – – – – – – – –

* Of course it’s a word. Word didn’t even underline it! And no, I don’t normally do my posts in Word first (proofing and editing is for wimps… and for people who don’t have to do it for a living) but my internet is up and down like a tart’s knickers today, as my little British chum used to say, and Blaugust is hard enough already without losing any of my painfully squeezed-out words. Great, now my blog sounds like a giant zit. I should probably end this aside before I dig myself in even deeper. Into the zit… Oh God…

** And here I’m being super-clever, because Calvin, Geneva, me, Geneva… you’ll get it if you read on.

*** No, I really do talk like that. Blame it on a love of words, literature, and my college majors. I frequently use words like ‘obstreperous’, ‘disgruntled’ and ‘antidisestablishmentarianism’ — ok, I lied about the last one.

Blaugust Day 2.1 – Twice in One Day?!

Soon I’ll be as prolific as Syp! … Okay, maybe not. And he might be getting a little tired of me comparing myself to him every time I claim to be Postia McPostyPants of Port-Postypont. Well anyway, moving right along…

It came as absolutely no surprise to me that my super-helpful post on getting into RSS feeds turned out to be more of a waffling rant about Google, Facebook and G+ and rather less of a super-helpful post about keeping the v/blogs you follow nicely corralled.

So let’s try this again. This is for Firefox. I’m not responsible for how anything looks or what may happen if you’re using any other browser, especially but not limited to Internet Exploder and the new-fangled Edge.

EDIT — You could do what I say below… or you could just go the OPML route helpfully provided by Endgame Viable. Yay Endgame!

1. Start here. It’s the current list of Blaugust participants. One link is off by a .net (corrected here), one doesn’t want to open at all for me (http://blog.floortank.com/ – why am linking it if it doesn’t work?), and a few have signed up but apparently not begun posting yet — but other than that the list is good to go and just aching to give you RSI. Why RSI? You’re about to find out.

2. Open your lovely shiny new Feedly account page (or just hit the bookmark if you’re one of the already-in crowd) in another tab, or window, or whatever floats your boat for link multi-tasking. Alternately, go to Feedly and sign up.

3. Go back to Belghast’s list. Right-click the first blog on the list* and select “Copy link location” or whatever your language/browser equivalent might be.

4. Go to the Feedly tab. Long way: click “Add content” in the left sidebar. Short way: hit Paste in the search box in the top right of pretty much every page. If it’s not the first link you’re pasting hit the X to clear the search box (and also give it the focus) and then paste. Select the blog when it shows up in the drop-down list (usually it’s the first result if there’s more than one).

5. Once that blog has loaded in the main Feedly area, click the bright green +Feedly button:

Shameless self-promotion!
Shameless self-promotion!

6. I don’t think you have to, but it’s wise to add that blog to a collection, which you can do via the sidebar popup on the left (on Firefox anyway. If you’re using anything else you’re on your own). For very mysterious and cunning reasons only the initiated may know rather obvious reasons, I suggest you create a Blaugust collection. Personally I have a Blaugust 2015 collection but I’m just a stickler for detail.

7. Click Add at the bottom of that collections-thingy sidebar.

8. TA-DA!!! Only 68 to go! Or in MMO-speak, grind links until you complete the Blaugust Feedly-Adding Achievement. Say hello to RSI.

Apparently I have two possible Feedly links, both for the same blog (here), because I’m so damn cool and that’s how I roll. Actually one is the old URL (stylishcorpse.wordpress.com) and the other is the new (as in, last year /rolleyes) URL (stylishcorpse.com). Hrmph. At least I don’t have to do my own hosting, which I could because I have a host and I know how but I simply can’t be bothered because reasons.

Right then. Go forth and read, and don’t make me regret not saving this for tomorrow!

– – – – – – – – – – –

* Dammit! I knew I should have called this blog AaaaStylish Corpse. Grrr!

 

Blaugust Day 2 – Feedly, Seymour!

TL;DR — Use something that will help you organise the blog content you want to read. I rant for 1000+ words about why I have to use Feedly, but that’s what I use. It’s not bad. Use it. Byeeeeeee! [Also, this is how Ysharros posts — see section headings below.]

Not very grabby intro

Man, do I really have to post again?! — Oh wait, that’s the opening for day 8. Moving back a bit…

[Squiggly hand-wave, camera blur… POOF!] It’s July 2013, and my beloved Google Reader shut its doors. I started blogging (and really only became aware of blogging as a thing) in 2008, not counting some LiveJournal foofery I’d done for a number of years before then. I guess LiveJournal is a blog, but it never felt like one to me: it was more like my friends and I each had a semi-public journal — you know, sort of what Facebook is like now only FB has way more pictures of food that nobody gives a shit about. (Mea culpa there, but at least mine are mostly home-made — or maybe that’s worse.) Anyway I started this blog with a whole bunch of other people in Casualties of War (a guild, for Warhammer, with bloggers) who also had or were starting blogs and suddenly keeping track of each other via bookmarks just seemed like way too much work.

Long, rambling middle bit

Enter the wonderful RSS feed and the beautiful, magical* RSS feed-reader; in my case and for many others, that piece of amazeballs web magic was Google Reader. (If you don’t know what an RSS feed is or what Google Reader was or why I care so much, read section 1 of this. It’s perfect.) In one fell swoop I could add feeds and see all the new stuff in one handy-dandy list, every day — or every hour if that was my whim — and not miss a single post of a single favourite blogger.

After a year or two of using the Reader I had something like 130 blogs in my feed, which I’ll tell you right now was way too many. I’d ended up having to make categories like “Blogs I follow but don’t actually want to read” (why??) and “Blogs I follow that hardly ever post” and “Blogs I actually care about reading”, which oddly enough didn’t really help in terms of organisation.

Unexpected tangent!

My G+ is organised rather the same way. I am not someone who likes being acquainted with eleventy-million people, in fact I very much dislike it (I’m an introvert), and when I inevitably end up that way on social media I have to find a way to keep most of them at arm’s length because I have no tolerance for a low signal to noise ratio (I had to look it up to get the direction right, so you might as well have a link). And let’s face it, social media is 99.9999% noise… or maybe that’s just how I feel about it. So on G+ I now have this circle, that circle, and the “Feeds I give a shit about” circle (yes, that’s really what it’s called) which contains only 36 people and is the only one I actually read. And this is with a total all-circle-people size of only about 150, which is quite enough to overwhelm me.

Random filler pic to break up the text (Mysericorde on her bike in TSW)
Random filler pic to break up the text (Mysericorde on her bike in TSW)

In any case I don’t quite get G+, which sadly proves that I’m not the cutting-edge know-about-computer-things person I was back in 1990 when ‘Kermit’ was more than just a Muppet. Like, what exactly do these circles do? Do people know what my circles are (God I hope not)? Is it like sub-sets of friends in FB so if I post to the Super-Seekrit circle, only the people I put in there can see it? And what’s the difference between me having someone in a circle I post to and them having me in circles, since unlike FB is doesn’t have to be mutual? Yes, I could look it all up but I don’t want to. I actually grasp computer and web stuff pretty fast since I’ve been working with them all my life (Commodore Vic20 at age 13, yo), so if after several years G+ still doesn’t make sense to me, I’m kinda sure it’s because it doesn’t work in a way that’s intuitive to me. Which is probably why I still don’t really use it.

Basically I’m pretty sure G+ is the indecent and noxious love-child of Facebook and Google Reader, and that’s just wrong. When I want blog posts I’ll use my reader. When I want to keep up with my friends’ kids, dogs, dinners and dislikes, I’ll use FB. /end_tangent

Facebook rant

A few years ago I used Facebook primarily to keep up with my much-missed friends from England**, because I totally suck at keeping in touch by email and I suck even more at keeping in touch by phone, plus many of those friends were friends but maybe not good enough friends for regular international calls***, and Facebook does do a good job at giving you a window into the (Facebook-oriented) daily lives of the people you care about, and— breeeathe… And anyway, it was good for that.

It’s still good for that. But — and this deserves caps because I feel very strongly about it — FACEBOOK IS NOT A BLOODY FEED-READER YOU ZUCKERBERGIAN MORONS!!

In 2013, they sent Google Reader away to be sensible oblivion, because Facebook and Twitter and Instragram. And, I guess, because RSS feeds and RSS readers weren’t in fact the magical flange every. single. person. in the world was using, but rather something only a few people thought worth bothering with. I still can’t quite digest that fact, but I guess I’m not your standard Facebook or Twitter user.

To get at least marginally back to the point, when Google Reader stopped, I did too pretty much. A few companies were scrambling to develop alternatives to the reader but none of them really did such a simple and elegant job of simply presenting to you the new posts from the sites you wanted to see. Nooo, they had to dress it up and make it look like a magazine, or make the posts into post-card looking things that danced around on your screen, or make it look like a book you had to turn the pages on— breeeeathe… I missed my GReader and, as a result, I simply stopped reading blogs. For two years. AND IT’S ALL GOOGLE’S FAULT!!!

[Squiggly hand-wave, camera blur, end of flashback] Now it’s 2015 and Blaugust and I’ve missed way too many blogs and blog posts these last two years. I miss the blogging community — and to some extent I wonder if not feeling part of that community anymore didn’t influence my sudden lassitude with keeping up with my own blog.

Random filler pic 2 (Also TSW)
Random filler pic 2 (Also TSW)

Finally, the point

If you’re a blogger and/or Blaugust reader who doesn’t use some kind of content-aggregator and would like to have blogs and new blog posts more easily to hand, consider using a reader. I can’t advise on any but Feedly, which is what I’ve decided to go with (after several false starts with it in the last 2 years). I’m still in the process of remembering/finding the sites I want to read and getting them vaguely organised, which means I have totally got a new Blaugust category set up and totally haven’t actually added anything to it yet. Because being organised is so tiring

But at least I have a few dozen blogs on there and when I load up the page, POOF!, there’s a lovely, simple list of all the new posts since I last checked in.

HUZZAH! Now I can go back to wasting 30 minutes 2 hours every day reading everyone’s posts about gaming, because not reading them would impoverish my life. It really would. I know this, because I lost my reader and it really did. (But maybe I can cut back to 30 minutes.)

– – – – – – –

* See what I did there? I don’t add music videos but I cleverly embed lyrical references instead. I’m cool like that (and too old for YouTube embeds in my posts).

** For those new to this blog, I’m French and German hybrid who grew up in Switzerland (among other places) speaking English, French and German, before attending university in England where I then lived for a decade and a half. In 2001 I moved to the US. Which means I’ve actually been in the US longer than I was in England (by a hair), but I’ll never lose my accent, am not likely to ever feel American (though I do feel New Mexican, especially when I drive badly), use Us in words like colour and armour, use -ise instead of -ize (when auto-correct doesn’t catch it), and generally get homesick for Europe even though I love where I live now.

*** Believe it or not, there was a time before Skype when phonecalls around the world actually cost money…

You know it's summer when…

… you think Oh jeez, I’d better log into an MMO or my harvesters/garrison/housing will go up in smoke. It’s the summer doldrums, which means that despite the lovely Steam sale and all, I’d rather be anywhere but sitting at my desk staring at a screen. I have a million games to play and nothing’s really grabbing me.

  • I haven’t even logged into WoW since the 6.2 patch, so I really should check that out.
  • My harvesters are almost certainly burning to the ground in SWG. Almost everyone from the early return-rush seems to be gone, and I’m in a really big guild (with lots of names) that has absolutely no guild chat, which I admit is a little disheartening. I don’t always want to be on TeamSpeak, dammit. (Actually these days I don’t want to be on voice chat at all. I’m having a hermit month.)
  • It’s The Secret World’s third anniversary event and there are goodies. Or it was. For all I know I’ve missed that too…
  • The spousal unit is back in EVE and making beckoning gestures; apparently it’s somewhat improved since our last foray in… (checks old posts) 2010. Eh, maybe. Maybe not.
  • Everyone’s raving about the FFXIV expansion. Eh, maybe.
  • The Repopulation has sat unplayed on my desktop for a couple of weeks. Not that I didn’t like it, but apparently it didn’t grab me. Which may have more to do with the whole summer doldrums thing than with the game itself, which is okay (up that to “pretty good” considering the development stage it’s in).
  • I’ve been a contributor to Shroud of the Avatar since, err… last year sometime? And have logged into it exactly once. I should check that out too, since I did put money into it and I love the folks who are developing it.
  • And then there’s all the non-MMO games I haven’t touched either… Sims 4, various Steam games (including Torchlight 2 and I’ve already forgotten what else), Dragon Age Inquisition (remember that first session I blogged about? Well, that was also the last session)… The list goes on.

But all I feel is meh. Meh MEh MEH MEH MEEEEEEEH. In a couple of months it’ll cool down and I’ll want to play again.

You lookin' at me?
Bored gamer is bored

Toss another game on the play pile

HarbingerZero just posted something about STO that suddenly made me wonder why I let the game pass me by when it launched can’t-be-arsed-to-Google years ago. I know a bunch of other bloggers enjoyed it, and some are still noodling around with it now and then, so — and because I certainly don’t have enough games on my plate already — it’s sort of whispering at me to try it.

I think I’m being lured by the free T-shirt.

It's only a paper world*
It’s only a paper world*

I’ve always liked Star Trek but I don’t think I’m a Trekkie (unlike a few of my friends) (and besides, I thought all serious Trekkies wanted to be called Trekkers. Or am I being way too 1998?). I’m of the ST:TNG and DS9 generation, though I didn’t particularly care for Voyager and whatever the recent revival was (Enterprise?). I could answer a few ST trivia questions but would probably stumble on the more obscure ones, like who was the sexy green alien Kirk got off with in episode 23. No, not the first sexy green alien – that second one from the planet Murgatroyd.

So I’m not sure I’m the right material for this recruitment drive, but I like the package on offer and I also like the idea of leveling with folks who have been through it all before. The oldie/newbie teaming could be fun, provided the oldies don’t mind repeating content, and the newbies can know ahead of time what disastrous choices to avoid.

The drive doesn’t begin until April, which could be a good thing or a bad one. We’re kind of instant-gratification here in Gaming World, on the whole… But it does give me a month to mull things over and wait for my crappy internet to download the game.

– – –

* I’d link to the episode but all the ones I checked either stop short of the free T-shirt moment or mysteriously lose the sound right around the 14 minute mark. So those of you who watched Animaniacs can be smug and know the reference, while the rest of you will have to feel silly and under-pop-cultured.

 

(Also, and à propos nothing at all, the WordPress “Improved Posting Experience” is basically just like the SWG “New Gaming Experience”. It’s a steaming pile of useful-element-free “clean UI” bullshit. I don’t want to pretend I’m using an iPhone, I want to craft a bloody post.)