Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: August 2008 Page 1 of 2

Death of a (hardcore) Gamer? (Part 1)

My third grade teacher, when reading through some of my “journal” we were told to write in every day, introduced me to what was to be my fate – “jack of all trades, master at none”. In my 8 year old wisdom, I was a little offended that she said I wasn’t a master because dangit, I was going to be the best gymnast/waitress/math teacher/actress/dancer/artist – whatever my obsession of the week was. I was so into it, it was my dream, and I lived it and loved it and would be the best EVAR… until the next week when my “oooh shiney” mentality took me elsewhere. Some people just knew what they wanted to do when they grew up since birth practically (like Zliten), but I wanted to do EVERYTHING. I wanted it all, and I wanted to be the best at it.

While, sure, I’ve never won any olympic gold medals or waitress of the year awards, I have surely done a heck of a variety of things in my life. I have explored many, many facets of my soul. I’ve been athlete-Quix (hi there again, good to see ya), artsy-fartsy-Quix (trying to conjure you up again but my muse is elusive, that bitch!), logical-Quix (hi 2 u job), creative-storyteller-Quix (hi 2 u, secondary part of job), competitive-Quix (she never goes away), beatnik-poet-Quix… and many, many other Quix variants out there.

One of those interests that is really at my core is games. There is so much I love about the aspect of games of all types. First of all – you PLAY a game. Game = fun. Sure, I’ve had unfun times working on and even playing games, but you can’t really ever take the unfun too seriously because – you are PLAYING. And about the unfun part, that’s probably another soapbox for another day. Then, for better or for worse, competitive-Quix comes out to play, which is why Zliten and I only play co-op games. It’s just better because neither of us are good losers and I’m pretty sure there has been an utterance or two of “say my name, BITCH!!” after a rousing game of cards. Or, right as I’m about to win my first drunken chess game, the pieces magically get displaced by Zliten and we can’t continue the game. Or – the ridiculous stompings at Starcraft I was dealt OVER AND OVER. But as they say, the couple that plays together, stays together, so we play TOGETHER now. In games that do not involve me vs him.

This particular phase of gaming obsession started about six months before college graduation when I played the hell out of the Sims until the sun came up, Sega Swirl, and found and got ridiculously addicted to acrophobia and gamesville (which is not what it used to be – they used to offer huge prizes for all their games and $5000 was a huge draw for a broke college student when the other option was homework). After somehow keeping it together to a tune of a 4.0 senior year (I pretty much just took the year off sleep to make time for school, partying, and gaming) and moving out to San Diego, I got really really really really into EverQuest. We worked and played, and that was life. Hanging out with friends meant hanging out in guild chat (mostly with people we knew from work, but we met some other people along the way). We didn’t even have a real, functioning dining room table or anywhere to eat, we just ate at our desks. Our computers were easily the most valuable things in the apartment.

The game we were into changed from month to month but we were always pretty “hardcore”. We never were close to catassing or poopsocking (click on these at risk of being disgusting with humanity), but many a delivery pizza were accepted by one of us as quickly as possible as the other was manning all the characters so we didn’t die. We got sick of EQ after a while and picked up Dark Ages of Camelot. Then as SOE stuff came out we’d play those games (PlanetSide, Star Wars Galaxies, EverQuest II) hardcore for a while and then jump to something else. A typical Saturday was waking at the crack of noon, getting a delivery order of cheese stix with ranch, a chicken ceasar salad, a cheese pizza, and hoagies and fries for each of us, and cracking open a bottle of some adult beverage and playing until we couldn’t see straight or stay awake. No wonder my ass ended up the size of Texas, right?

But even staring at that last paragraph in disgust – I have fond memories of those days. Try it once. Give yourself permission to be a complete and utter waste of space to the rest of the world. Eat ridiculous amounts of fattening food that is brought to your door. Get so into something the lines of reality and virtual reality are blurred and you dream about it when you close your eyes. Don’t leave your chair except to perform biological functions (I do not condone or support poopsocking) and refill your drink. Make sure that drink is good and stiff, too!

Now, I don’t wish to get there again every day like I used to. I like not having to hide behind a sexy elvish avatar because I felt so horrible about the way I was taking care of my body. My friends are not pixelated, I can actually reach out and punch them when they make fun of me when we are hanging out! A big day out does not just include a trip to the grocery store or target. But there is a real commitment to playing games that you don’t realize until you’re trying to get back into playing something after a hiatus. As much as those days hold a dear spot in my (now much less prone to a coronary) heart, I just can’t spend a full day doing it anymore. We tried having a shut in gaming session one weekend, and put in a respectable 9 hours Saturday, and got to 4 hours Sunday and gave in and did something else. And that’s just playing Final Fantasy XII taking turns.

I’m not sure I’ll ever recapture the days where my ass was attached to my computer chair, swigging down knob creek, singing slurred 80’s songs into teamspeak, wolfing down Knockout Pizza (which apparently has gone WAY downhill since we left), and killing the same thing over and over for hours just to watch a little progress bar move to the right. But I’m a little disappointed in myself that things have gotten this far to the other end of the spectrum.

How un-nerdy am I now? Find out in Part 2, coming soon to a blog near you.

Climbing Rocks!

One of my new favorite things to do is rock climbing, though last time it was almost literally a pain in my ass.

Saturday afternoon, the workout options for the day were DDR and pushups or less DDR and rock climbing, and since climbing is much more fun than pushing, off we went. I was almost an idiot (gosh…) and forgot how taxing it was and didn’t rest after my cardio, but after a rest and a shower and change, we were off to Main Event to hit their rock wall.

Last time we had gotten our rocks off for free, but even paying for it – 6 bucks per 30 mins to cover everything (8 for 1 hour, 12 for 2) – is a good deal in my book. Here is video proof that I climbed rocks, even though it’s got the same sideways affliction as the last video, it cuts off just before I ring the bell at the top, and you see kids 1/3rd my age kicking my butt. I am in the way-too-orange tank top.

So from one climbing newbie to another – let me give some tips.

  • If you have the option to pay by time increment, start with the lowest one the first couple times out. 30 mins sounds like wimpy stuff to those of us who can do an hour of cardio without batting an eye, but you’re using unusual muscles unless you live on top of a mountain and regularly have to make the commute that way.
  • Stop when you get tired and can’t really hold on anymore. It’s no fun to keep falling off, and if you’re at that point, you WILL get sore for days.
  • You need the shoes and harness, you can probably get by without the chalk if you’re trying to save money.
  • Don’t let the kids who climb up the wall ten times faster than you discourage you at all. They probably weigh half what you do and just got done climbing a tree before they rolled into the joint.
  • If you’re a parent who’s taking their child to go rock climb, for god sakes, FREAKING GIVE IT A TRY YOURSELF. All the parents were just sitting around watching and we were the only people who could legally buy alcohol in a bar on the wall. The only way to have energy like a kid again is to act like a kid again – aka HAVE FUN when fun is presented to you.
  • Wear lose clothing. It looks like I screwed up by wearing tight jeans but they were super stretchy. I would have been better served in loose shorts but I hadn’t shaved my legs that day and didn’t want to frighten the kids with my wildabeast legs.
  • The first time you climb up, just go up a few feet and repel down so you know what it feels like to do it from 30 feet (or more) up. I went up all the way and climbed most of the way back down because it freaked me out to jump off a wall about 3 stories up. Once I did it though – it was my favorite part of the climb!

There is a lot of info out there if you’re just getting interested in climbing. Some sites really take it seriously and talk about what to eat before climbing and all that, but as you probably know, if you’re going to scale up a wall indoors for 30 mins you probably don’t need to be that into it. Maybe if you’re going to climb this thing

All I have to say is that if you get a chance to go, do it! It’s a workout, it’s fun, any able bodied person can do it, and you feel like a kid again! Don’t worry that you’ll suck at it, you probably won’t be nearly as bad as you think. I know I doubted my ability to get even up the wall once, and there I was, scaling walls non-stop for 30 mins. I might even drag Zliten and company back this weekend if this actually includes climbing as well. So go climb a rock already!

This is how we roll on a Friday night at home…

After bolting from my desk at exactly 5:30, throwing on my workout clothes, getting a 3 mile run and some ab work done, and navigating the light traffic home, I started my weekend, the first full weekend in 6 weeks, I believe. To what I’m sure is the first of many “TMI” moments, I had some wicked cramps earlier, and was prepared to just melt into the couch and take painkillers. However, the exercise actually helped this time instead of hurt me, so we poured some drinks instead.

It had just rained hard that afternoon so it was cloudy and cool, which is actually perfect, because the Texas heat normally has it close to or over 100 degrees at that time. We were able to watch the sunset from our patio, which was gorgeous because of those clouds – pinks and blues and oranges as far as the eye can see. If I was thinking I would have grabbed my camera, but I don’t think I wanted to miss any part of it. It was a lot like this. Then, just the colors had burst into life, they faded away into twilight.

Then, Zliten decided he wanted to smoke chicken breasts – which would mean super late dinner but we decided it was worth it. All of a sudden, it was an event, not just a ordinary night (breaking out the smoker automatically equals special occasion!). Then we had to kill some time, waiting the 2 hours before it was done (30 mins, flip, 30 mins, adjust, 30 mins flip again, then 30 mins wait…). I spent some time twirling around for the camera.

Perhaps I should have not twirled sideways, but, you know how it goes, I do what I want!

Then, finally around 10:45 dinner was served. It was totally worth the wait. The chicken was orgasmic, pure and simple. We ate it with BBQ sauce although it really didn’t need it. We had thrown some small potatoes on the grill with the chicken in foil, and the knife cut through them like butter, they were so tender, and had great flavor. A little pepper, pinch of blue cheese, and some margarine and it was sublime. It was rounded out by a caesar salad with my favorite dressing, romaine, black olives, asiago cheese, and pepper. For those who are counting – about a 450 calorie dinner. Again, I wish I had a picture, but we were so hungry, there just wasn’t time.

After eating we just couldn’t continue the reveling, dinner made our bellies smile so much we had to have some couch time, which led to Stargates, which led to sleepytime just after midnight. Since I’m usually the one that tuckers out early, I had to make it known that I was not the one who decided it was bedtime early!

This, my dear blog-peoples, is why I end up being a homebody a lot – we just have so much fun. Lesson learned though – make better use of the camera during blogworthy nights!

Top 5 Albums of All Time

I’ve talked about this with a few people and thought it was blog-worthy.  My top 5 albums of all time are:

1.  Pink Floyd – Pulse

2.  Red Hot Chili Peppers – Blood Sugar Sex Magic

3.  Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes

4.  Marilyn Manson – Mechanical Animals

5.  Fiona Apple – When the Pawn…

That’s at least what came to mind last night.  What are your top 5 albums of all time?

Why I <3 Blogs

If the band Cracker was in it’s heyday in 2008 instead of the early nineties, the lyrics would probably be something like.. “what the world needs now is another BLOGGER like I need a whole in my head”. Opinions are like assholes – everyone has them, and some reek of… well, you know. Each blog is like our own personal toilet, a portal for all of those… opinions to flow freely and intermingle and synergize and become much more than they could on their own, via the sewage system of the internet, once we hit “publish”. The internet has brought together groups of people that we thought just didn’t exist before, and not in that enlightening way.

Case in point, furries. This guy to the left is probably not a furry, but a little too close for comfort. No link, because I don’t want to be responsible for bringing down your Friday. If you don’t know what I’m talking about and you’re feeling particularly brave, set your google safe search filter off, and prepare the bleach for your eyes (and soul). Now, I’m sure there were furries before the internet, but they dressed up in the comfort of their own home, and had the good sense not to tell anyone about it. Maybe there were underground furry clubs or something where they could do their thing, but the rest of the world went on blissfully ignorant about it.

Enter the internet, connecting everyone in the world with a modem. All it took was a few oddballs to be public about their fetish to realize that they weren’t alone, and now the world is exposed to madness of all sorts. Of course, this is but one example, but I’m sure you can relate. Who hasn’t clicked through a few too many links and ended up seeing something you can never unsee, and a little bit of your innocence died that day? Even without the dramatics, who isn’t sick of “SENG PEOPLE UES ABBOMINASHUNS OF DA INGLISH LANGUAEG WO APALOGY???!!!!!! WTF!!!”.

Even through all this, I have come to love everything about blogs. First of all, I need something to get through my day. Let’s face it – my job is to be ready to deal with anything that comes up at a moment’s notice. However, there is not always something to deal with. Some people read the news during that downtime. I like reading blogs, and if I have a significant chunk of time (or enough small chunks of time), I like writing blog entries.

So, since I like lists, here we go.

Why I like reading blogs:

1. I’m a psychology major, and though I promptly rejected doing anything with my field after graduation, I do still have a huge interest in the human condition and what makes people tick.

2. Along with that, I’m nosy, but polite to a fault about letting people share with me what they wish to divulge. People seem to be braver on blogs than in person. I know I am.

3. It’s allowed me to connect with people that I either have never met in real life or haven’t been close to in person, and that’s kinda fun. There are people that I’ve never met IRL that I’ve known online for 5 years, and we were invited to their wedding. There are a few people I knew previously that were on the opposite side of a shared social circle that I didn’t really get to know until I read their blogs. I used to think that only losers had internet friends, but then I started playing MMOs and chatting on message boards and you’re only a loser if you ONLY have internet friends or take it as serious as this guy. 🙂

4. Those people can talk about anything that their little heart desires, and I can read if I want to, or skip it if it bores me. If they were sitting right in front of me, I would have to feign interest, or be rude. Since I’m not a big fan of being a jerk-face to people that can reach out and slap me, it’s the best of both worlds.

Why I love blogging:

1. I love to write. I have since I was little. I’ve always written stories and poems and kept a journal on and off again. I can’t really think of a time that I didn’t have a notebook within arms reach most of the time.

2. I’m not a terribly private person. I like people to know things about me. Things I don’t feel comfortable sharing, I don’t talk about, but I’m just pretty honest with the world about who I am.

3. I like fame, small chunks of it at least. While at the time I needed to run away and hide for a while, after a few months after leaving SOE and EQOA and no longer being Sapphyra, I terribly missed my fanbois and fangirls and even my haters. I always had this feeling that I wanted to be famous. At the very least, I like putting what I want to say out there and seeing if it bounces or sticks.

4. I figure things out well in text. Sometimes I’ll be pondering a decision, I’ll meander back and forth on it in a blog, and by the time I read the finished version, I’ll have realized I’ve already made it.

5. I think I have an interesting viewpoint and have had some unique experiences in my life. I like telling stories, but I just don’t have the knack for it vocally. I’ll start talking about my experiences working a renaissance faire when I was 10 and then all of a sudden I’ll see something shiny and I’m off track. I just don’t have that comedic timing either, which is a shame, because I really think I could be funny. I could totally rock the stage doing standup. See, I’ve already wandered!

6. I’m sure this doesn’t help with the storytelling, but I have a goldfish brain (really bad memory), and if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget what I’m thinking. I’ve had to reference when things happened by entries in my blog more than a handful of times.

That being said, I’d like to put more thought into my writing, and I feel more accountable for that by blogging on my own site, attached to my own name. I found a lot of my entries to be just rambles about my day, what I ate, what I weighed that day and how happy/sad it made me, how pissed I was that I was working too many hours, what I was doing this weekend, and that’s fine for livejournal, but I want to try and do more here. It may take some practice, so forgive me if I slip into a post of “daily life blah blah” every once in a while, and tell me to bugger off if I make a habit of it. But… that’s why I’m here.

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