Wot I'm Playing – September 2015

This is a total cop-out post because I’m not actually playing anything, hee hee, ho ho. So you’re about to be regaled with all the games I’m not playing, which has been a quarterly litany this year.

WARNING: Do not click the subheading links unless you want to watch extremely silly and definitely NSFW comedians on YouTube. YHBW.

A Compuder

I’m not playing WoW, even though the Draenor flying patch is in and whatnot. Not for lack of interest — well okay, partly for lack of interest — actually, wait, almost totally for lack of interest. And not just in Warcraft. Nothing is really calling my name these days. I’m also not playing TSW, though I keep both games up to date. I’ll have to log back into TSW soon, if only to take more screenshots. Easily the best game evar for moody and evocative screenshots — and for allowing me to make a character that looks the way I would totally love to look in that grindy-ass Real Life game.

It doesn’t help that MMOs are better with other people. But other people tend to play in the evenings, and in the last 6-36 months I’ve tended to conk out right around the time the sun goes down. (Turns out that’s almost certainly the medications I’m on and not just some weird mutation that’s turning me into a sloth, but that’s a whole other story for another time.)

I got all up in ARK‘s business for what, a week? … and haven’t fired it up since. (Playing alone probably didn’t help that one.) I played Shadowrun: Hong Kong and that was super fun, but when I thought I was about a third of  the way in it turns out I was almost at the end, and I finished it before I truly realised what was happening. Super fun but too damn short! Of course, it includes some sort of development platform so maybe there will be other adventures to play. It was never intended to be another Skyrim or Witcher, after all.

Speaking of the Witcher, been meaning to pick up the 3 that people are raving about but haven’t got round to that either yet. In fact, if you were to check my to-do list you’d notice I haven’t done a single item on it.

I haven’t played my new Sims 4 Legacy family in over a month — but there I’m not so worried, because I always go back to the Sims. After looking down my nose at that game for a number of years (and incarnations 1 and 2), I picked up Sims 3 on a whim in 2009 and have been pretty regularly hooked ever since. I don’t play it all the time, but I do play it several times a year for a month or so. So the Stylishes will be back, sooner or later, and I may even post about them someday.

What I have been doing is preparing for the impending parental visit. My mum will be staying with us for ONE. WHOLE. MONTH., so we have to brace ourselves and assume crash positions. And clean the house. Lots and lots and lots of cleaning the house.

airplane_crash_position

Me? Mobile games? With my reputation?

It’s also possible I’ve been *cough* playing a few mobile games. I never did get the point of those until I got a decent tablet; the only games I have on my phone are sudoku, crosswords and a Bejeweled clone and I hardly ever play those as it is. But on the iPad… hell, if it moves I’ve downloaded it. Well, not quite, but I’ve tried out a few games. And I spend a few moments every day doing whatever non-in-app-purchase moves I can do. Which isn’t many, but when you have about 6 games that’s about an hour’s worth.

I’m currently farting about with Happy Street (which fails to hook me but is super cute and so easy it hurts, and it’s all Syl’s fault), Paradise Bay (ditto with nice Disney-like graphics), Adventure Capitalist (seriously, making money to buy more stuff and make more money faster? I might as well be raiding), Best Fiends (which is super cute and kind of fun, since I like match-3 games), and the standard crosswords, sudoku and mahjongg.

Le tabletop game est sur la table

And of course there’s the attempt at a tabletop group and some games. There’s a G+ community going at the moment with a half-dozen folks, and we’ve met up a couple of times on Roll20. Yesterday we did some character creation with about half the group and will fit the other half in as and when schedules allow.

[Tangent-ish: speaking of which, because the schedules and time zones of the current dirty half-dozen are so hard to reconcile, I’d be happy to sort out two or even more groups – playing or GMing, I’m easy. So if you’re interested in playing something FATE-related, or even finding out what the big deal is about FATE, leave your Pathfinder books at home and holler at me in the comments, or on G+.]

Oddly enough it never occurred to me that scheduling is possibly even harder online than it is in person. I expected it to be the opposite… but we have 2 players from the UK, 4 from the US East Coast, and me in the US South-west, which gives us a 7-hour time-zone spread and makes things a little complicated. Add to that some odd work schedules (some folks have non-Sat/Sun weekeneds, some work rotating shifts, some have pretty hefty workloads, we all have other external commitments, etc. etc. etc.) and I swear it’s been harder getting us to our computers and keyboards than it would be to head down to my local game shop and kidnap a few callow youths.

Problem is, I don’t want callow youths. One of the best things about getting older and being an experienced gamer is that you get to play with other older and/or experienced gamers — gamers who don’t think a dungeon crawl with 10,000 gp as a reward is the best thing you can get out of tabletop games. (Not that I have anything against a good Monty Haul campaign, mind you, but I did outgrow those in the 90s.) Or, to be a bit more tolerant of the chronologically-challenged, I don’t want inflexible callow youths. I want to play with folks who don’t mind stretching their gaming comfort zone, as I am currently trying to do.

In fact, what I’m really doing is trying out systems that formalise how my RL friends and I played for years. We didn’t always play so-called storytelling or story-heavy systems, but we always played them as though they were. Character was paramount (possibly herded by a literature major who has very definite opinions about whether character drives plot or the other way around *cough*). And–

And so on. Since this is still nominally an MMO blog, at least until I change the tagline at the top of the page, I won’t froth about tabletop gaming. But the 2 semi-sessions that have been managed have been fun so far; here’s hoping we’ll manage a few more.

The Obligatory Comment-Inducing Question at the End

And you? What have you been playing or wishing you had time to play? Do you think the moon is made of cheese? Who really shot JR? And was the ending of LOST lame or what?

 

Alert! Mouse post! Move along…

So, now that we have the rodentophobes out of the room, a quick update on the rodenty shenanigans. (Part I for those who missed it.)

We lost one of the 4 on Wednesday, and I had something in my eye for the longest time after that. Then last night I got up for the 3AM feeding (every 2-3 hours, 24/7, because they have stomachs the size of fleas) only to discover that another baby mouse seemed to be ailing. He was lethargic, super dehydrated, and didn’t want to eat anything.

Long story short, with the SO’s help we alternated holding him in a hand (warmer) and feeding him every 10-15 minutes, even if it was just a small drop. By 7AM he was filling out a bit and actually had a little visible milk in his tummy — that’s getting much harder to see now that their fur is coming in, which doesn’t help, though the fur coming in is a good thing obviously. At I write this it’s 1PM and he’s been back on the 2-hourly feeding since 7. He’s still pretty skinny and not quite as energetic as the other two, but he’s still here.

Not having raised orphaned field mice before I have no real basis for comparison, but these guys seem a little slow to develop to me. Which may be at least partly my fault — I focused more on the danger of over-feeding them (bloat, colic) than on the rather more dire danger of under-feeding them (you know… death). As a result they’re skinnier than they should be, or at least were until last night when I started stuffing them like Christmas geese. Now we’re finally seeing the round tummies I associate with replete neonate mammals, and they’re filling out their skin a lot better. A couple of them have really one weirdly bulging not-opened eye, but because it’s not just one of them (and doesn’t seem to cause them any pain), I’m treating that as a bridge we’ll burn when we get to it and calling the bulgiest little dude “Cyclops”.

So — so far so good, apart from losing almost half the contingent we rescued last Saturday. I’m trying not to flagellate myself excessively for that, but it’s difficult when one has a lifelong habit of wanting to take responsibility for the entire universe and probably beyond.

While the rodent contingent is doing well enough, I , predictably, am a wreck, both from lack of sleep (5 hours last night, in 2 – 1 – 2 hour snatches) and from the emotional roller-coaster of trying to keep tiny little creatures I know nothing about alive. Well, predictably for everyone except What Consequences? Girl, i.e. me. But as I’ve said before I wasn’t going to let them die in my back yard or pile them up somewhere so that they could die conveniently out of my sight; that’s not a mindset I understand even if they are at best a nuisance in our environment. As long as they’re not in my house (present guests excepted), I have no problem sharing my mountain with the field mice. I’m pretty sure they were here first.

I’d add pictures but they’re on my phone and my phone is in the kitchen and I’m not getting up and walking that far, no way no how. You’ll have to imagine them. They look more like mice and less like jelly-beans every day.

Positive vibes and sleeping tips gratefully accepted.

 

Announcing… Scotchtober!

I’ll start right off by apologising to those who are reading this who are or have been struggling with an alcohol addiction. I’m not trying to be disrespectful. If alcohol-containing or -related posts are difficult for you to read, skip the ones with the Scotchtober tag — which won’t be until next month anyway. (Not counting this post, obviously.)

Double-dog-dare

Dahakha challenged me — in jest, I’m sure — to post a daily pic of me having a tequila during Tequilatember. While that does appeal, October is my birthday month which sort of justifies me drinking a little more. And I prefer scotch, which goes well with October, so there we have it. Scotchtober.

If I do it, you’ll likely get grainy, hand-shaky shots of whiskey glasses, because I’m not happy with myself in photographs. (Sort of like Darth Vader wasn’t happy with the Light Side.)

It’s just silly enough to appeal to me, and a shot of Scotch every evening is supposed to be good for you, right? I’m utterly not afraid of this going down a dreadfully slippery slope paved with Glenlivet bottles because last New Year’s Eve was, how do I put it, my liver’s cry for mercy. And I listened. Being sick as a dog for 2 days worked wonders on my hearing.

shots

I’ve never been a particularly heavy drinker, or a drinker at all outside social events. My problem is that the older I get, the less I can handle my liquor. And I most certainly did drink too much at NYE. Lesson, apparently, learned. Whenever I try to drink too much now my brain, liver, pancreas and toenails say NO! Probably a useful thing, that, given the damage my dad did to his own liver over a lifetime of functional alcoholism.

Yikes, we’re getting way too serious here again.

Meece update

There’s nothing new under the Corpse here today anyway. My brain is slowly being fried by sleeping in discrete packets of 2-3 hours at a time during the night to feed those voracious little bastards I was foolish enough to take on lovely baby mice we rescued. I’m an 8-hours a night kinda girl, especially these days (anxiety meds tend to have that effect, at least one me). Fortunately the spousal unit is ex-Navy and quite accustomed to getting up at WTF-o’clock and, more importantly, to waking my ungrateful and grumbling ass up when required.

The babbies are growing — it doesn’t seem that way to me, but I think I’ve gone all Jewish mother on them: they’re always too skinny, not clean enough, and they never call or write. Night 3 came and went and they’re all still with us, all getting darker and more furry (well, fuzzy at the moment), all wrigglier than anything that small has any right to be. They have distinct fingers and little claws, tiny little whiskers, and apparently the teeth are coming in too; they can’t bite yet but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before I become victim #1.

And that’s it. Go read someone else now! I wasn’t going to post at all today, dammit!

Blaugust Day 31 – Ultimation

[Which was the only reason I wanted to call yesterday’s post Penultimation. Ah well. Next year.]

I’ve been too busy and/or sleeping (meece feeding every 3 hours overnight, Ysh-face =  >:-|  ) to check Feedly yet this morning — whoops, afternoon, even for me — but I’m sure our Blaugosphere is full of these posts. And I’m equally sure there’s an ambivalent mix of OMFG IT’S DONE IT’S DONE IT’S DONE SOMEBODY GET ME A BUCKET OF TEQUILA AND SOME FIRECRACKERS!!! — or maybe that’s just me? — and “Damn, it’s actually done. We did it! However much we posted, however well we posted, however much we read and commented and liked and hi-fived — it’s done. Huh. I might even miss it. Just a little. While I down my second bucket of tequila.”

441-ambivalent-anger
Thank you author. I have no idea who you are because following links led me to a site in Iran, not much help, but thank you.

It’s been a trip. I’m not going to get all number-y on you because TAGN is so much better at it (remember girls, math is tough!) and did his Blaugust wrap-up post yesterday. Not because he’s a teacher’s pet or anything, just because he’s Borgishly efficient. I’m tempted to keep prefacing my posts with Blaugust all the way through September and October just to give him something to curl his lip at in Feedly.

(Okay, Blaugust is over, I guess I should stop picking on him. Pax.)

A little more seriously though, while I suspect TAGN has 83 times the traffic I do, the sources of our traffic are oddly similar so there’s no reason for me to reprise his analysis. I thought I’d get a significant traffic boost from Blaugust, but I didn’t really. I got quite a boost over January – July 2015, during which I barely posted, but this month’s numbers are comparable to last year’s numbers at this time. Which is nowhere near what they were 3 or 4 years ago, but that’s basically what happens when you stop posting; I’m surprised as many people still did visit throughout the Great Stylish Drought of 2013-2014. (Apologies to California.)

The vast majority of my traffic comes from search engines and always has. The most viewed post this month was the silly, glib and utterly throwaway post about the WoWspansion, by which I mean it was even more glib than usual for me. That would me mildly irritating if I didn’t already know that’s how things go — my most-viewed post ever is another throwaway one with a simple link to a FF XIII post on Gamasutra – that’s it. I guess it shows up on search engines a lot.

I’m getting more traffic from Twitter now than I used to, which isn’t hard because I got practically none, and I’m sure I have the lovely @RowanBlaze and his RTs to thank for that — not to mention everyone else who has RTd me, of course. I’m getting quite a few new followers over there too, bafflingly. I suspect I just don’t get the basic point of Twitter, which seems to be to follow as many people as possible in the hope of having as many people as possible following you so that you can say “Hey! I have Xty-million followers, that’s 1.27 more than you!” Or something. The “Oh yeah, I know you” people I follow back. Some of the “Um, who? But sure, you seem interesting” people I also follow back. The obvious bots (you know, Egghead icon, 78k tweets, 0 followers) I block. As for the rest, I just hope my insignificant, glib and usually irrelevant tweets vanish into the raging torrent of their 6k+ followed feed.

As you can tell, I’ve spent some time on Twitter this last month, probably more than I have in 5 or so years. It’s kinda neat to be able to bat silly little text-snippets back and forth with people almost in real time… but it also makes me deeply uncomfortable. Being on Twitter ‘live’ is like having a thousand tiny lampreys nibbling at your soul. Or maybe that’s just me. I’m really good at multi-tasking except, apparently, when it comes to social media. And I don’t think one is supposed to be on Twitter the same way one watches an episode of House on TV — or maybe people watch TV like they watch Twitter these days, with 0.3% of their attention, while doing 5 other things. I don’t know. It makes me feel old and vaguely Luddite. Luddite-y? Luddite-ish?

I posted every day, which is cool, mostly because I didn’t expect I was going to  — although in hindsight I’m not so surprised. I’ve never had any problem waffling. It’s the interesting, useful, perhaps even thought-provoking content that’s been so conspicuously absent from this blog for the last few years, and that’s what I’m agonising over. But if Blaugust has shown me one thing, it’s to stop bloody agonising and just do it. If I truly am blogging for myself, as the lady keepeth protethting, then surely it doesn’t matter what I write. Just because a post (or three years’ worth of posts) isn’t interesting doesn’t mean I’m not capable of being interesting or thought-provoking anymore. Right!

Right?

… Anyone?

…. Bueller?

 

– – – – –

PS: Meece still alive and doing as well as can be expected. Feeding them is still a major PITA. I think we over-estimated their age – they now appear to be about 4 days old, so they were 2 days old tops when we found them. Brought them to our vet just to get their opinion and everyone there went aiiiiieeeeee hanta aieeeee tularemia leper mice outcast unclean! so we came home again. (Our vet is a lovely practice. I’m being overly facetious.) I’m just waiting for their silly little mouths to get big enough to make feeding less of a hit-and-miss, make-sure-they-don’t-inhale-it-and-DIE kind of tension-fest.

Blaugust Day 29 – Probably Foofery

So… I got nothin’.

Eh, that’s not entirely true. I got lots of stuff but I don’t want to write about it today. I have a post I want to do about how Blaugust was awesome (and exhausting) and how the community is awesome and about how EVERYTHING IS AWESOME. Even Princess YellowFeather thinks so*.

But that post is for next Monday (the 31st) or perhaps even for next Tuesday, as a post-mortem.

I have another post I want to do that’s all about frothing over tabletop RPGs, but that would take too much effort away from other things today — such as actually getting said tabletop RPG going. These things don’t write themselves, you know! (Posts or games.) I’m fairly certain this would only interest a small subset of my readership but, though I love you all, as always I also don’t care. You’ll read what I write and you’ll like it!

Or, you know, not read it. That’s cool too.

gaming geeks

I should do a post about my new Sims4 Legacy family, the Stylishes (pronounced Stye-LEESH with an outrrrrrageous French accent), because quite a few of the folks who have been reading here this last year are Sims4 players and I don’t want to completely ignore them — and because it’s been a fairly fun Legacy so far that hasn’t been plagued by Terminal Triplet syndrome or other mourning-excess or family-forgetting bugs. But I haven’t played the Sims all month and I’d rather write about it while I’m in it, so to speak. Maybe in September.

I want to do a post about how I have totally and utterly failed to live up to my Gaming To-Do List, because REASONS. Number one being that I usually totally ignore lists, so this was no surprise to me.

Hah! I just took a look at it and I haven’t done a single item on that list! To give myself a little bit of credit, I did try: I downloaded Torchlight II and was super keen to play that, but the Steam install keeps throwing out a Disk Write error and I absolutely cannot be arsed to jump through uninstalling and reinstalling Steam, as is their suggested solution. Screw that.

Well anyway, this was just to prove that I have tons of material, dammit! — I just choose not to use it today. And I bet I’m totally the best at writing about how I’m not writing out of all the Blaugustians out there. I said so on the internet so it must be true.

Last but not least, if you ever want to show support for a blog but don’t have time to say much or the words just won’t come, I refer you to @Wolfy’s suggestion, which I will adopt from now on. It’s friendly, cheerful, and super-positive:

I TOTES AGREE WITH YOU HIGH FIVE!

PS: Foofery is a word I thought I’d made up but apparently hadn’t. Not that I trust the Urban Dictionary to define shit (literally) as so many of the entries are entirely made up, but I can’t really throw stones there, now can I. I do come up a lot on Google searches for the word though, which I am quite unjustly proud of. On this blog, if nowhere else, it’s a word for general stuff-and-meaningless-nonsense — you know, like this post.

– – – – – – – – – –

* I sure hope that link works for people. As of yesterday I can no longer watch YouTube videos on my Windoze PCs. Only one in every 10 or 15 videos will load.

It’s not Windoze 10 as I suspected, because I have the issue on my Win 8.1 Laptop. It’s not Firefox, because I have the issue on Chrome and even on (*spit*) Edge. It’s not hardware acceleration, since turning that off has no effect on any browser. It doesn’t appear to be a Flash issue (my FF Flash has been broken for months but Chrome’s is not). It’s not AdBlock because I had the same issue on the iPad in Safari, which doesn’t run that extension — which means it’s not Windoze at all.

Oddly enough, the iPad YouTube app and the Android YouTube app appear quite healthy and unwilling to censor my binge-watching of Mishka and Laika videos. Anyway, I mention this only in case one of you delightful, smart and helpful people had the exact same problem and found a solution not already covered above. And to spread the Gospel of the Talking Husky, because CUTE-DOG.

Blaugust Day 28 – You Don't Say?

Metrics and traffic and referrers, oh my!

I actually don’t care too much about those, though there is something hypnotic about clicking on all the little metrics bars for all the different time periods, at least here in WordPress. But I checked the Comments info out last night and it did make me laugh, so I’m sharing it with you. Actual numbers have been removed a) to hide my shame or b) to not shame others, or c) because they really don’t matter — take your pick.

The screenie below shows the comments each month for the last 12 months, starting in September 2014. The smallish peaks (December and April) coincide with me doing a lot of Sims Legacy challenge posts alongside  WoW-Draenor and my usual fluff. January – March see me putting out exactly four posts each month, which doesn’t really give people much to talk about.

2015 blog comments

And so we circle back to Kanter’s decision to comment on at least one blog post a day during Blaugust. I loved that idea and though I haven’t actually kept notes (even mentally) of whether I’ve commented every day or not, I’m pretty sure I’ve managed at least one comment on one blog every day for the last 26 days — not counting my own, obviously.

I’m probably even happier about that than I am about blogging every day, because the latter is purely a self-involving exercise whereas the former requires me to interface with other people, something I’m occasionally happy to do in spades (with appropriately long sanity breaks in between) but don’t like to have to do all the freaking time every day every week for a whole freaking month and not just a February month noooo a 31-day month and can you tell this is starting to wear me down?

I’ll tell you one thing about blogging every day, commenting every day, and interacting on Twitter every day* – it does get to be a habit, and one I’m not sure I want to give up. It brought me back to my blog and other people’s blogs and has renewed my enthusiasm, if not for MMOs, then at least for talking about them with other people. I’ll just have to find that proper balancing point between ‘often enough’ and ‘so often it makes me want to chew my keyboard’.

– – – – – – – – – –

* Which has been by far the most exhausting part of the whole endeavour, for me. I enjoy it, but God it’s tiring. Expect me to go Twitter-mute for a while without warning.

 

Blaugust Day 23 – Haiku Sunday

Foolishly, no doubt, I have decided to revive a short-lived theme I ran on this blog way back when in 2009; some of the haikus produced by yours truly and a few commenters have been reproduced below. Today’s theme, of course, must be Blaugust – use it if it inspires you, ignore it if it does not. Knock yourselves out or just mock my efforts.

Please don’t haiku-Nazi us about form, subject and imagery. This is purely for fun.

Sunday morning sloth.
My Basenjis look at me -
Why do this blog thing?

It’ll do for something yanked out from behind my eyes in 20 seconds.

I am definitely resisting the post-a-day Blaugust exhortation, and yet I am still doing it, hauling my unwilling ass to the keyboard every morning even though I know I absolutely don’t have to and would probably rather not.

This is typical me (typical me, typical me, I started something…) — I am not a joiner, but then I join things anyway and spend the entire time half-regretting the decision, ambivalent about being around so many people / so much of the time… and actually enjoying myself. Sometimes I wonder if I’m just a whiny old bag; I sincerely hope not, since being an actual whiny old bag (as opposed to playing one on my blog) is not something I aspire to.

Past Haikus

Melmoth – Theme: Socks
Cold feet in winter.
That stupid Tenacious D:
Rocking my socks off.

Sara Pickell – Theme: Tabula Rasa (just before the fold)
Leaves of amber tint
Glow angry red and blacken
In plasma and rain

Mallika – Theme: Sunday
Relaxing Sunday
Love it when we just stay home
Introverts unite

ArbitraryGenius – Theme: Instances
Just did an instance
there were just four of us there
it was meant for six

Melmoth – Theme: Don’t stand in the fire?
Dancing with spring’s joy.
Autumn’s colour follows him.
Underpants on fire.

Enric Darkstone – Theme: Haiku Sunday
Looking at your posts,
This is your first Haiku one.
Dante Inspired…? -_^

Ysharros – Response
This is the second
Haiku day theme we have had;
There will be others.

Enric Darkstone – Response
My apologies,
I must have missed that posting,
Carry on, madam.

Theme: Hardcore vs Casual

Me:
Did you know this axe
Can slice your head clean off, yep –
Feel lucky, carebear?

Makkaio:
I play a healer
Like it was a tank, so what?
I are L337 d00d3rz

Oakstout:
I love nice purples.
Crafting is my greater love.
How can I do both and live?

Capn John:
The deadliest beast
in Stranglethorn Vale is…
a bored 80.