Blaugust Day 9 – The Gaming To Do List

A week or so ago, when A Green Mushroom (Void on Anook) posted literally eighteen-thousand writing prompts on the relevant Anook forum post, I read through them.

eighteen thousand writing prompts

“Ha!” I thought to myself, “I have a mind like an explosion in a gummy-bear factory, I never run out of things to write about, I’ll never need those. Ha!” (I like to Ha! I do it in real life too. Occasionally accompanied by a rapier flourish.* Ha!)

I also thought “Damn, that Green Mushroom chap has way too many ideas and way too much energy and is making the rest of us look very bad!” Then I thought, “Oh well, let’s— oooh look, shiny!!”

And now — as you might expect from the blatant telegraphing I just did — I am in fact casting about for things to write. Last weekend was easy (well, relatively-speaking) but I think that was coasting on the wave of OMG I’m really doing this enthusiasm. This weekend I’m more “Geez, again? Can’t I just play something? [whine] It’s national book lovers’ day, not national write said books day!” [Distant sound of Waaahmbulance siren.] “It’s SUNDAY!!”

This final argument has failed to sway my Rational Decision Maker and as of about 5 minutes ago** it has soundly beaten Instant Gratification Monkey*** (buy your own here and get your own damn name!) (yes of course I’m going to end up buying one, probably right after I finish this post, or somewhere in the middle if I can’t manage to get to the point) (and yes of course it’s perfectly fine to keep chaining parentheses like this; trust me, I’m a lit. major).

IGMonkey-1_1024x1024Where was I? Ah yes, here. I’m actually not taking one of AGM/Void’s prompts today but I have learned my lesson and now know that when I do — as I inevitably will — I shall do so with the requisite gratitude and humility. Today, however, I am going to fill out Izlain’s Gamer To-Do List.

As may be relatively evident from my amazing barely passable atrocious Conscientiousness score over at Quantic Foundry (a whopping 6%, which means basically ALL my friends in any grouping of 10 or so are more conscientious than me), I’m not much of one for being constrained by stuff I don’t want to do. Homer holds the upper hand in my subconscious probably 94% of the time. It’s a wonder I manage to finish showering and come out clean.

And the number of useless but hopefully entertaining tangents so far will amply demonstrate how little I actually want to be doing this list thing. I do not like lists. I do not like having to order my brain in coherent, sequential segments. Organising is hard. I’m creative, dammit! Which means I get to be messy, unfocused, messy, easily distracted, messy, occasionally brilliant, and messy. It does not mean lists.

Alison HendrixWhich is pure bullshit, of course. Lists are helpful. I don’t think I’ll ever be Alison Hendrix even if I spent the rest of my life in rehab for the terminally-disorganised procrastinator, but even I can aspire to a modicum of sense and structure in my life. Sometimes I’m so scattered it seems hard to keep a single thought at the front of my mind; I’m not sure if age is making that worse, or if meds are making that worse, or if it’s just one of those things that get bigger and more awful and more noticeable the more you look for them, but it’s a fact that I have real trouble focusing on things I don’t want to be doing. Probably, you know, because I don’t want to be doing them.

I’m not convinced that carefully structuring my entertainment time is going to work for me, not just for the reasons given above but simply because, ironically, I am as spontaneous in games as I am unspontaneous in life (there might have been a time when I was spontaneous but that was before anxiety and comfort zones — now my spontaneity is carefully-planned). There are few things I love more in games than seeing something on the horizon and taking off to see what it is, getting distracted halfway there by an abandoned [insert structure] and exploring that, only to get distracted halfway through that to read up on all the mythological and lore references… etc. etc. etc. (Much as I dislike questing in MMOs with the significant other, he probably hates questing with me for this very reason.)

So here is the damn list already. Chop-chop!

Ysharros’s Gaming To-Do List

1. Make a gaming to-do list. Okay, I’m kidding.

  1. Real number one. Play a Sims 4 legacy family to at least Generation 4.
    This is because my previous Legacy family made it to Gen 3, but I abandoned it amid much grumbling regarding twins/triplets, families who forgot all about each other between dinner and breakfast, and other sundry bugs that have since been fixed. I am currently playing the Stylish family (bien sûr) and have taken a million screenshots, but I haven’t written anything about it partly for fear of jinxing it and partly because starting it coincided with Blaugust and I didn’t reckon the new visitors would be much into the Sims 4. I might be wrong! If you’re a Sims 4 or Legacy challenge fan, previous legacy posts start here
  2. Check out Banished
    The first of a number of Steam games I bought and have never even fired up.
  3. Check out Torchlight II
    See #2 above
  4. Give Elite: Dangerous another shot
    As in, try to make it out of the space station (easy peasy!) and back to the landing pad (not so easy) and maybe even, you know, to somewhere else. No game in the last 25+ years has ever made me feel as incompetent and uncoordinated as E:D did. If that doesn’t work, shoot it in the virtual head.
  5. Get past the intro sequence in Dragon Age: Inquisition
    As you might by now have gathered, this year I have been mostly having problems playing the games I have bought. Games I know I’d like! What is wrong with me?!
  6. Check out Witcher 3
    By which I most likely mean Buy it and forget to play it. See above.
  7. Finish the Garrison Shipyard line/quests/whatever they are on at least one of my WoW characters.
    I’ve got 4 to choose from, 5 if I could be arsed to level the mage, so it’s not like I’m lacking for candidates. I just can’t muster any enthusiasm for WoW at the moment. Come to think of it, I can’t muster much enthusiasm for gaming in general, but that’s another topic for another time (probably this week since I’m definitely not the only Blaugustinian suffering from Summer ennui).
  8. The not gone and not forgotten list — Landmark, SWGEmu, EQ2, STO…
    I’ve played all of those apart from STO. I love SWG and EQ2… but I don’t want to play those either at the moment. At the very least I can schedule time to update them, which with my internet connection requires some actual scheduling.

That’s enough for now. I feel tired already just looking at it!

Last but not least:

We’re almost a third of the way there. Only 22 days to go. Take heart, fellow Blaugdignagians!

* Okay, not since my LARP days 20 years ago, but I have gone Ha! with a rapier. Everyone should do it at least once. Chandelier-swinging is on my bucket list.

** After watching an old Chopped, making an elaborate brunch, cleaning the kitchen, and futzing about on iPad games for a couple of hours…

*** Does he have a name? I think I’ll call mine Homer. You can think it’s a Simpsons reference but I swear it’s epic and Greek.

Blaugust Day 8 – The Morning After the Night Before

So for the first time in a week of Blaugust I’m sitting in front of my screen with no clue what I’m going to write.

This doesn’t actually happen to me that often. My writer’s block — if it’s even worthy of the name — isn’t the blank-page-terror variety, it’s more the lack of self-confidence variety that convinces me even I don’t care to read what I might write – and if I don’t like it, why would anyone else? Come to think of it that’s probably the self-sabotaging variety, and I’m quite certain I’m not the only one to suffer from it. One of the things one learns from depression and anxiety is that one may be a unique snowflake, but lots and lots of people also suffer, most of them quietly, internally, and often ashamedly. The components of our uniqueness are shared by billions.

Okay so I didn’t intend to hit that whole depression / anxiety / mental health note, especially on a Saturday, especially on a blog that purports to be mostly about gaming, but I have an e-friend I’m extremely fond of struggling their way out of denial as we speak and it’s on my mind. That friend posted some incredibly personal and brutally honest, super raw stuff a few days ago, and did it again yesterday. And a literal horde* of friends, e-friends and acquaintances — myself included — came pouring out of the virtual woodwork with words of encouragement, shared experience and support. When brain chemistry decides to screw with you on a daily basis and make you believe (as in my case) that the only way to achieve peace and get some rest from one’s demons is to simply not be there anymore, one of the hardest things to remember and believe is that we are not alone.

It’s only due to the loveliness and kindness of some of my oldest friends that we are still friends, 25 years down the line. When I was at my worst in terms of depression I dug a big hole, crawled inside it and pulled a rock over myself; that’s what I do. If *I* am sick of listening to myself about what hurts, why I’m sad for no reason, why I can’t even make it out of bed some days and why I burst into tears for no good reason, how could anyone else possibly want to?

Depressed people tend to treat themselves about as kindly as Genghis Khan treated towns that wouldn’t surrender. Depressed people treat themselves with a cruelty they would never display to their own worst enemy. Depressed people tend to forget that just as they would never not be there for a friend, their friends want to be there for them. If only we knew how to let them.

So if these words strike a chord and you also own a large villa in De Nile, reach out. Here, to friends and family, on Facebook (seriously – inane as the medium is, it’s actually pretty good for that kind of thing if you’re careful about your sharing circle), on your blog, on your rooftop, to a professional — wherever. Just do it. I didn’t, and I spent probably 5 years longer than I needed to in a state I wouldn’t wish on anyone. And as far as depression goes I suspect mine was one of the milder cases. Point is, it doesn’t matter if it’s mild or not — when it hurts, it hurts. The belly of the wolf is a nasty place to be. Don’t live in it alone.

Well. That wasn’t at all what I intended to write — or hell, for all I know maybe it was. I didn’t have an intention when I sat down and sometimes that’s not such a bad thing. But let’s lighten the mood a bit. It is, after all, Caturday.

And now for something completely different

In other news, Exploding Kittens was hilarious.

exploding-kittens-5
A selection of safe-for-work deck cards

We ate like pigs, drank just enough to make everyone merry, and had a lot of fun. I even ended up wearing a real Cone of Shame (my Husky came home from the vet with one a few weeks ago and never actually needed it, so there it was) which I sincerely hope will not end up on Facebook, though I’m quite sure it will. Wearing the cone of shame is now a house rule method for obtaining a new Defuse card (but only if you played the Defuse through Spay/Neuter card). A game takes all of 10-15 minutes to play, 20 if you have a player who insists on examining the strategy of every card he might play (the fucking strategy is DO NOT EXPLODE!, dude!) and another player who insists on reading aloud and roleplaying every card that’s played (me). We played 2 games with the NSFW deck and another with the SFW deck and both decks were excellent. The SFW deck might make your kids a little weird but all the best people are weird and it is in fact perfectly clean, if super-skewed, humour.

goatbuttt
A not-so-safe-for-work (or kids*) card

That’s all for now, folks. See you tomorrow.

* Yes, I know what I did there. I’m a lit major, remember?

Blaugust Day 7 – Freaky Friday

I know the #FF tag on Twitter stands for something other than Freaky, but I can’t remember it right now and it’s all I see when I see the tag. So Freaky Friday it is.

This is going to be as short a post as can possibly be managed while still counting for Blaugust because I am creeping out from my well-defended introvert castle today and hosting a beer, brats & Exploding Kittens party this evening. LET THE ASPLOSIONS BEGIN!

In case you missed the most popular Kickstarter campaign of all time (or whatever the record was that they broke), EK is a card game in the vein of Cards Against Humanity. I think. I haven’t ever actually played CAH and I haven’t yet opened my EK box because unopened boxes (like unopened presents) are just more… more EVERYTHING than opened boxes. I’m definitely one for antici……………………………………………  ……………………….. ………………………………. pation. (Thank you Tim Curry.)

So anyway, back to the point. I #FF’d Belghast among others, and I’m  not the first to mention this, but I wanted to do a proper, official-like shout-out to the crazy bastard who started this. Bel, you’re a crazy bastard. Thanks for starting this!

In the space of a week I have recovered my blogging spark, even though I’m still more drawn to silly, self-deprecating, omg-they’re-looking-at-meee there-are-people-on-this-site-argh posts than I used to be (there was a time when I did serious posts. No, really.). I am extremely hopeful that this will continue, albeit not at Blaugust’s frenzied pace. I’m an every few days kinda girl for the most part — and since I’m basically not playing anything at the moment (5 minutes here and there doesn’t count), I may not have a whole lot of front-line-reporting posts to offer.

Also in the space of a week I have discovered literally SCORES of new blogs, new people and what I’m sure will be new friends. That’s awesome — so thanks for that too, Bel! I’m way behind on my reading but I’m always way behind on my reading and that’s just how it is. I think that as a group we’re all interacting more, sharing more, commenting more and posting more than we normally would — even you prolific, social-media proficient types — and that’s rather super.

OK, have I met my quota? I have ribs to grill, sausages to brine and then grill, salad, salsa, dip and other nommy things to prep, and a light nervous breakdown to have because PEOPLE and PARTY.

With any luck I won’t remember any of it tomorrow. If I do, there may be an Exploding Kittens front-line report for your reading pleasure — assuming it’s safe for even this sailor-mouthed blog.

Blaugust Day 4 – Portrait of a Gamer

Deadalus Project & Quantic Foundry

Years and years and years ago, at the birth of the new millennium, a smart studenty type decided that researching gamers might be an interesting thing to do and began doing just that, surveying thousands of gamers. I don’t remember how I became one of them but I did, and I filled out a bunch of surveys over the years. You can still check some of that data and his conclusions out on the Daedalus Project.

The Daedalus Project has been over for some time, but Nick Yee now has a new, just as interesting venture going: the Quantic Foundry (no, I have no idea what it means, but it certainly sounds cool, smart, and even a bit gamerish). Long story short, there are still surveys to be done and if you check the place out you might want to start with the Gamer Motivation Profile. Hell, even Ars Technica got in on the survey action.

I’ve done mine and while the results were no surprise to me, they might be interesting partly for my usual readers (who probably won’t be much surprised either) but mostly for the screaming hordes of Blaugustinians dropping by. I read a number of blogs written by people with utterly different gaming styles from mine, but I certainly tend to empathise more (and comment more) with gamers who prefer some of the same types of things I do.

Gamer Motivation Profile

So here’s my profile page. And here’s the chart from the profile page for those who can’t be arsed to click:

Gamer Motivation chartAnd a quick caveat quote from the profile info:

Percentiles are how you rank relative to other people. In this report, your percentiles are how you compared with other gamers who have participated in this profile tool. A percentile of 80% means you scored higher than 80% of gamers. Conversely, a percentile of 10% means 90% of gamers had a higher score than you. This means that a 50% is perfectly average.

Most people will have high scores on a few motivations, low scores on another few motivations, and the majority of their remaining scores will fall near the average (in the 35%-65% range). Thus, it’s your non-average scores that most define your profile as a gamer.

Keep in mind that this isn’t a competition or an exam. High scores are not “better”. Gamers with extreme motivations (on both the low and high end) represent a smaller proportion of gamers and may have a harder time being satisfied by available games (which try to capture more average gamers within their genres).

It’s really difficult for most people to see percentiles and not compare themselves to others, for good or ill. In some ways it’s not a bad thing — I always knew I was different and a little weird when it came to the ‘norm’ of gamers (by which I mean MMO gamers for the most part; we may also play Candy Crush Saga, but most Candy Crushers have never even heard of an MMO and for my money they’re not ‘true’ gamers — but that’s another discussion for another time).

Action, Mastery, Achievement

I score exceedingly low in areas where most gamers I know tend to score much higher — and I’ve known for a long time that I’m absolutely not motivated by action, mastery or achievement. My action score is actually broken down into Destruction (35%) and Excitement (0%), which is totally me. I don’t like adrenaline — it makes me feel physically ill — so while I can watch people play fast-paced, action-oriented games (by which I mean Tomb Raider & co; I don’t think I could bear to even watch anyone play Silent Hill or whatever the current scare-the-pants-off-you game is), playing one is extremely un-fun for me. I do, however, like blowing things up now and then. Who doesn’t? Similarly, while I do enjoy some strategy (23%, and why I’ve been playing Civilization throughout its many incarnations — but I prefer the building side to the war & conquest side), I only give a 1% shit about challenge. As for achievement… I get a measly 7% for completion (my anemic achievement score in WoW proves this) and a total 0% for power.

All of which actually represents me rather well as an individual and not just as a gamer. I don’t care much about achieving things just because they’re there — Sir Edmund Hillary and I clearly wouldn’t have much to talk about at a dinner party. I believe power is a pointless and ultimately destructive pursuit (even in games, where there are no real consequences, the pursuit of power leaves me yawning). And while I like to blow up pixels or build bonfires almost as much as the next guy or gal, I actively avoid situations where adrenaline is a factor. I do really badly with adrenaline and I have an extremely low threshold for excessive sound and visual input — you know, like you find in most dungeons. My dislikes certainly inform my gaming a great deal. So how about my likes?

Social, Immersion, Creativity

Without going into massive amounts of detail (you can check out the write-up on my profile linked above, and better yet — go do your own!), they’re very true to who I am as well. Socially-speaking I am into community and cooperation (86% — shared effort, building things like guilds, cities, houses, communities in general) but not much into competition (8% — the why may be worth exploring someday, but I suspect the number is skewed by the fact that most competition involves excitement and adrenaline and I shy away from both). My Immersion-component scores are the most balanced out of the 6 — 64% for Fantasy (becoming and playing someone else) and 65% for Story (good storylines, complex characters, etc.), which is no surprise to me given my tabletop role-playing background. In fact, I’m quite sure that if I had an actual tabletop gaming group to do stuff with, as I used to, I would do a lot more of that and a lot less MMO gaming, and my blog would contain a great deal more content about pen’n’paper than it currently does. Which reminds me, I really need to look into those computer-based gaming program thingies… (Feel free to comment if you use one and like it!)

And lastly, the Creativity component. I scored 71% on discovery (exploring the game – both ‘physically’ and in terms of systems, options and mechanics) and 91% on design (making your mark on the game, be it through character customisation or through buildings, ships, etc.). This not only doesn’t surprise me, it actually helped to validate how I feel about myself. I’m a mostly-frustrated creator, a wannabe writer who failed at overcoming writer’s block almost 20 years ago and turned to ‘easier’ alternatives in order to scratch that creative itch. Like this blog; like 4000-word character sheets; like designing an endless series of game settings for games that never get played… and so on. I’m sad that I allowed myself to give up on my dreams of being a writer, but glad that I found other outlets.

Role-Playing Tangent

The one thing that might surprise new readers after the above is that while I definitely identify myself as a role-player, I am not a role-player in MMOs. I’ve covered this elsewhere (here and here), some years ago now, but the not RPing in MMOs part of me hasn’t changed. It boils down to the fact that too much is imagined for me in MMOs, and there are too few tools to do some of the behind-the-scenes hand-waving that needs to happen for meaningful (in my opinion) role-playing to be able to happen. Also, you can’t reach through the monitor and knuckle-sandwich the RP-nazi who insists on defining for you how your character reacts to what they’re doing, which is a major downside as far as I’m concerned.

Personality Profile

After (or before if you’re a contrarian) the Gamer Motivation Profile, you can take the Personality Profile survey (here’s mine), which also produced very accurate results in my case.

Personality Profile chartThe one totally skewed result was “Extraversion”, and I sent the Foundry folks some feedback about it — but it’s interesting nonetheless. Basically I filled out the survey assuming it wanted to know about how I am in games, when I guess what it wanted to know what how I am in general (i.e. also out of games). In games I am in fact super-social, helpful, chatty, and occasionally even manic (except when I’m a hermit and then I play a character nobody knows so I can just bimble about silently with my own self). In real life I am also social, helpful, chatty, and occasionally even manic — but only with a small number of very close friends or in much, much, much smaller doses (like an evening or two every few months).

I probably should take that survey again knowing that it’s asking me about RL-me, not gamer-me, and see what comes out.

Conclusion? Cute Baby Animal!

If you’ve stuck with me this far, congratulations, you win a cute baby animal picture! (And as I write this, I pause for half an hour while I coo over cute baby animals I’ve Googled and get tied into knots trying to figure out which one is the cutest that I haven’t already posted.) Do check out the Quantic Foundry — it’ll give you food for thought, and if you’re a Blaugustinian it might even give you food for posts.

baby animal awww

 

 

 

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…

Blaugust Day 1 – Brain Tentacles

Blaugust2015

Every aspiring writer has heard the advice – if you want to be a writer, then write. That’s it. Sit down every morning/day/middle of the night at your desk/bathtub/local coffee shop and pour words onto paper/pixels/digital audio/the camera. Doesn’t matter if you’re an author, playwright, poet, blogger, vlogger or whatever the hell else is fashionable right now (Instagrammer?) — the act of doing is the act of becoming, not the other way around. If you write, you’re a writer — it’s that simple. Yoda said so.

But if you want to stay a writer, or a blogger, or a ballerina… you have to practice your craft and practice it regularly, and I’m using the word in its fullest meaning. A concert pianist can’t plink around once every week or so and still call herself a concert pianist; similarly, I’ve felt for some time that a blogger who doesn’t blog more than once in a blue moon (which was last night, see how à propos I am?) can’t in all honesty call herself a blogger. When people ask me, I tend to say “I have a blog”, not “I am a blogger” — and Beghast’s Blaugustinian madness is an attempt to recapture the craft by practicing it regularly, whether I want to or not, whether I have other shit to do or not, for a full 31 days. When several score other bloggers, vloggers, writers and gamers are also taking part, it becomes a sort of sublime collective madness which might be just what I need.

And trust me, I really do have other shit to do. I am possessed of a particularly active and energetic Instant Gratification Monkey:

instant gratification monkeyAmong others and in no particular order: I have a lot of work to do. I have a lot of games to play (that I never get around to because Fancy-Pants the Monkey never likes the one I’m thinking about right now and always wants to play the one I haven’t downloaded — which is ironic for an Instant Gratification Monkey, if you think about it– moving on). I’m trying to get in shape a bit more, which means waking up an hour earlier to throw my unwilling ass onto the elliptical machine I bought a year ago and have hardly used. I have work to do, in the sense of earning a living to pay the bills, which does kinda matter. I have about 3 metric tons of gorgeous yarn, 8000 patterns, and only 2 hands with which to knit or crochet all the lovely stuff I want to make. (Yes, I knit. I also hand out knuckle sammiches to people who laugh at knitters.) My mother is coming over for a month+ visit which entails not only dealing with said parent but also preparing the house for said parent — see Panic Monster at the Wait but Why link above.

panic monsterWe adopted a couple of rescued Basenji girls a few months ago and dealing with them is still quite a bit of work, mostly because they firmly believe that People Are Scary and that the lovely Outside is for gamboling and frolicking and not for doing your business in. Which means said business must clearly be done indoors (fortunately mostly on the hard tile which probably resembles what they were used to in the puppy mill where they grew up for 2 years). I have food to cook. Marmelade to make (yum). Pictures to take. A nose to pick. Clouds to watch. Time to waste. Shit to do, I tell you!

Excuses. If I want to be a blogger again I need to blog. I also need to get back to myself, the old blogger self who wasn’t afraid of 3000-word posts and didn’t care if people got bored halfway through and left. I never wrote for them, I wrote for me — I had opinions (mostly but not always about gaming), I expressed them, I was super happy when people stopped by and discussed them… but I didn’t really care whether they did or not. For me, blogging has always been a way to get things out of my head so that I can fill my head with more stuff, because I have that kind of a brain that’s always reaching out tentacles and at some point, you know, even your brain has to take a dump. (Just because a metaphor isn’t pretty doesn’t mean it’s not a valid metaphor.)

That’s still me, and Blaugust will prove it. I may be full of shit, but I’m a BLOGGING full of shit blogger. See you tomorrow — and if you’re lucky, it might even be about gaming.

EDIT – A handy-dandy link to the Anook Blaugust page/nook/whatever the hell they’re called. I’m not sure I get Anook, and I’m worried I’m getting to old to get this newfangled stuff kids do to community-ise, but it’s everybody in one place and has a list of daily posts, links to blogs, forums, blah-de-blah and so on. Last but not least, Belghast is a) incredibly well-organized, b) an evil overlord who loves our suffering and c) clearly completely insane for organising this and keeping on top of it.

 

 

 

 

Real Blogging

Blaugust is coming. A few other bloggers have mentioned it to me, either to cruelly mock my utter inability to post anything meaningful and/or regular, or to invite me to take part in a fun and slightly challenging event, or both.

I don’t know why I have signed up to do this.

I’m lying. I totally do — and it’s mostly because this poor blog has been terribly neglected and I’m stuck in the nobody-gives-a-shit-what-I-have-to-say-least-of-all-me rut, which never bothered me before. I started blogging to entertain myself and continued blogging to entertain myself and was just happily grateful that other people also found it entertaining enough to keep coming by. But at some point and when I wasn’t watching, I starting feeling as though I had to say things of import, big things, useful things, insightful things like the real bloggers out there do (by which I mean TBFKAL*, TAGN** and other acronym or acronym-less interesting people).

And I really don’t need to worry about that kind of thing. I just need to write posts that entertain me, like I used to do, and not care so much about having anything useful to say. I spent so much time advising other bloggers not to care about what their readership thinks and wants that I didn’t notice when I apparently started caring what my readership thinks and wants. I love you guys, especially those of you who have stuck with me through the posting drought and content starvation, but I actually don’t (and shouldn’t) care a jot what you want. This blog is for me and only incidentally for you — sure, it’s public, but that’s more so I can hold myself accountable to myself and not so much because I’m an attention ho (though I suspect there’s a little of that going on too; we all have an ego after all).

So maybe Blaugust will help with that. There was a time when, like Belghast, I could sit down at the keyboard and just write away — and I want that back. And since this blog was born in August, aeons ago in Internet time, August is as good as any to try and give it a Frankensteinian jolt.

Young FrankensteinIf you’re an interesting and real blogger and want to take part, the guidelines are in the above-linked Blaugust post.

Last but not least, this post was initially titled “Bits and bobs”, but while writing the ‘bits’ part I totally forgot what the ‘bobs’ part was going to be about, so I guess Blaugust is all you get.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

— Oh wait, I just remembered what the ‘bobs’ part was going to be, but Blaugust is coming and I’m going to save it for one of those posts. Provided I don’t forget again, of course.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

* The Blogger Formerly Known As Lum

** Who comes up FIRST in the acronym list of the free dictionary when you Google “TAGN”, ahead of such oft-used acronyms as Triaminoguanidine Nitrate — how cool is that? Unless you meant to look for TANG-the-drink and just didn’t type it correctly, in which case it’s probably a bit confusing.

Famous TAGN

 

This and that

A few observations so you don’t all forget about me or think I’ve forgotten about you.

1. Spanky new laptop is lovely. But playing WoW with a touchpad, or with the trackball I naively bought when I thought I’d never play games on my laptop (what was I thinking?!) — those are not so lovely. Looks like I’ll need a mouse. All those things I do without thinking in games, which primarily involve me moving the camera around fit to make anyone but me hurl… I can’t do those. Someone call a waahmbulance.

2. The Draenorclysm expansion launchmadness must be wearing off, because I spent THREE WHOLE DAYS without logging in. Then again, I also had a possibly broken foot (my own fault), a new laptop, a new fridge (ohhhh it is shiny and it is being delivered in 3 days), and about 3 million appointments to deal with, so perhaps it’s just that my priorities are straighter than I gave myself credit for.

3. I am feeling guilty because I never finished the first Sims 4 Legacy Family and have not felt terribly motivated to get into the second one. Expressing said guilt publicly is intended to flog me into playing, but is actually more likely just to make me contrary. One of the main reasons I don’t want to play the new legacy? Generation 1 instantly proceeded to have twins. The multiple birth rate in this game is just way too freaking high. If I picked the FERTILE trait, would my poor Sim become Octomom? WTF, EA?

Gen 2 twins again

4. Despite the xpac honeymoon madness being over, I’m still really enjoying my garrisons. I’ve got 4 level 100 characters (all the easy classes: hunter, druid, warlock and paladin) and I’m considering leveling a few more. Because despite raids and all that gearing crap, the leveling game is still (and ever will be, I suspect) what World of Warcrack does best. Combine that with my high tolerance for repeated content and you’ve got 10+ years of fun so far.

5. This xpac doesn’t have quite as sharp an end-content wall as the previous ones did, which means I’ll probably play it for longer than the 3 months Cataclysm and Pandaclysm lasted for me. In the early expansions it was “OK, you’ve hit max level, now go out and get on the raiding treadmill, bitch.” Which I don’t do. Then it became “OK, you’ve hit max level, now go out and get on the rep / daily / raiding treadmill, bitch.” Which I don’t do. It’s still sort of that, but I don’t feel any real need to build rep with my alts and I can get fairly high-level (645 from the highest garrison missions I’ve seen so far) gear just from running garrison missions.

Yes, it’s probably easy-mode, but if Blizzard are smart then the stuff I can get from missions is lovely, but not nearly as good as what I can get from dungeons and raids — so it keeps non-dungeon me happy with shiny new stuff while hopefully keeping the hardass raiders happy with shiny new stuff asshole casuals like me can’t get. Or something like that.

6. Several of my friends and e-friends and blogging acquaintances keep talking about Elite: Dangerous. STOP IT AT ONCE. Or I shall have to buy the game, and I’m already drowning in games I don’t have time to play. (Or else tell me why I really should get it anyway.)

7. I missed EVERY. SINGLE. STEAM. SALE. on my wish-list by 2-24 hours. I suck. I hope you guys did better with that.