I did a blog thing

Over at that new/old blog of mine. Over there.

I mention it here in case anyone should be interested but will reiterate that it’s largely about me, my personal life, struggles with anxiety and my newly rediscovered walk as a Christian. If any of that isn’t your cup of tea, then okay. I feel I should point out that I have no intention of getting preachy about my beliefs. It’s just that they’ve become a big part of my life again and in a place where I’m talking about my life, well, it’ll come up. That’s all. Read or don’t.

If I ever have any gaming thoughts in the future, they’ll go here!

I just remembered I have a blog

No really. Like I seriously remembered that this space exists, which is an odd feeling, because that clearly means that I somehow managed to entirely forget it for some span of time that is more than a few weeks but probably less than a few months.

I was thinking about writing, but not in a “maybe I’ll eventually finish the work I started last November with NaNoWriMo (which I finally won, amazingly enough mostly to me) way.” More in a “I am thinking all these thoughts about these various topics and the common threads woven throughout are interesting to me, and hey wait, that sounds suspiciously like a theme” kind of way.

Sometimes I feel like my life is moving so quickly that I can’t just pin it down long enough to capture what happens when. I have fleeting moments on my cell phone camera, Facebook and – rarely – Twitter, but they are fleeting indeed. I haven’t been capturing anything in a meaningful way as of late, but I truly do have the sensation that Big Things are happening. I realize that they are going to be of import mainly to me and perhaps a bit to my family, so it seems a bit narcissistic to want to record them. Even more so to think, “Maybe I could blog about that,” which is the thought that prompted the reminder that I do, in fact, have a blog.

But here I am, thinking out loud, wondering if I should go for it.

And if I should go for it, under which set of conditions?

This space, once so much about WoW and my online community, is something I haven’t been willing to let go of. This space defined me in ways that I never anticipated it might when I first started. It brought me people I wouldn’t trade for anything and occasionally people I might have gleefully punched in the face given even half a chance to do so.

But time passes, as is its usual wont, and I have changed again, perhaps more dramatically. I’m actively working to get plugged back into a community I once thought I would despise forever, having abandoned it in hurt and anger half my lifetime ago. I’m learning so much about love and grace and all the ways1 in which I have been small and stubborn and wrong.

I hope I’ve grown up a bit more, though I really don’t suspect anyone will ever accuse me of being terribly mature. In fact, having recently spent a week hanging out with my best friend, whom I have known since I was nine, I am convinced that none of us are really growing up so much as we are merely growing older. We only need to get back together to prove that we will always find the same stupid things to be funny and are probably not to be trusted to make good decisions about how much food and/or booze ought to be consumed at any one sitting.

Anyhow, whatever this space once was, it will never be that again. I could redefine it, but in a way that doesn’t make sense even to me, that doesn’t seem right either. I can’t think of a single person who ever cared about that Alas, however little or much, who might care a whit about this Alas, this woman who is in the midst of a personal revival, who is falling in love all over again with Jesus.

But it’s also not at all about what other people might think or how other people might feel, whether it’s good or bad.

So I struggle to understand what it is in me that defaults to putting my thoughts out for anyone to come by and see. Is it vanity? I don’t think so. If it were, I think I would work a lot harder at crafting coherent narratives. Is it the chance for dialogue? Perhaps. Even for introverts, community is a bone deep need.

At the end of this post, I don’t know what I will do as I move forward. I do know that putting words to paper, as always, helps me to clarify things for myself. Perhaps the answer is to write privately for myself. Perhaps it will be to start again, elsewhere, hoping that my ramblings about prodigals and elder sons will make sense to someone. Or perhaps I will remake this space and it will become about different people, from myself to anyone who might accidentally stumble across it.

When I made my first post here, I had no idea where it might take me. I still don’t. But as before, I am freshly excited to write once more.

  1. Possibly not ALL the ways. I will forever be a work in progress.

It’s not you, it’s me. Or is it?

I’ve been pondering a recurring theme in my gaming life as of late. I’m sure there are plenty of other people out there who have a chance at identifying with it and whether I come up with answers or ideas or not, I do enjoy a good brain dump. So here we go.

Community and the lack thereof

Yeah. That big old ‘c’ word. Community. What is it? Where is it? How does one find it?

Ever since I quit the GM business, I’ve felt a pretty decided lack of community in any of the games I’ve played. Oh, sure, I’ve always had a close friend or two kicking around no matter what virtual world I’ve been in, and I’ve managed to drag At along more or less willingly on my adventures, and yet. And yet.

If I am being honest, there’s been a lack of connection since I stepped away from Eff the Ineffable. For a while, when I first started playing SWTOR, the Snark Side people that came over from Eff disguised the magnitude of the loss, but we all drifted. There’s no other way to describe the slow by ones and twos process that broke up that core group of friends and gamers. We fragmented and despite several attempts, have not managed to regain cohesiveness.

I joined other guilds, of course. A few Alliance guilds on Moonrunner and then, after the server/faction transfer, a Horde guild. I had a guild in Wildstar, too. Not one of those dopey ones where it’s just me and my two friends, but an actual “we applied to this and even got involved in leadership” guild.

And now I’m back in SWTOR and my old Imperial side guild hadn’t kicked my main in the interim, so I’m still plugged in there. There are people around everywhere I go. People I try to talk to and connect with, but for some reason, I feel like it just never works out.

As I always do, I go back to the common denominator. Is it me? Am I making enough of an effort to make connections or not? I could certainly be putting more time into gaming, but it seems that my hours never line up with everyone else’s. Sometimes that’s unavoidable, but there are likely things in my personal schedule that I could shift around in order to hit peak times more frequently. At the same time, I feel as though I did make that effort in my last Horde guild and it never made a difference. I could go on raids and be part of the team and still feel completely and utterly invisible.

Does the problem exist elsewhere?

Of course, I don’t and haven’t felt that this issue is limited only to the guilds in the games I’ve been playing. The blogging community seems to me to be a shadow of its former self these days. My own feed reader yields a depressingly small handful of posts on any given day and very often the bulk of them are content from authors, web comics and various other non-gaming bloggers I enjoy following. Even those few gaming bloggers that I follow and are still active tend to be, like me, sporadic at best about posting new content.

How and when did this happen? I recall seeing massive pillars of my own personal blogging community fall, but how is it that everyone else gave up the ghost as well? And why did it happen not with a bang but a whimper?

Maybe, like me, people have just had their lives get too busy. Maybe we’re all getting too old and too wrapped up in our careers to have the time we used to for the dual outlets of gaming and writing about gaming. Maybe other forms of disseminating information and options have grown more popular than Ye Olde Blogs. Maybe no one cares to write because no one seems to be reading and it’s just a little Catch-22 cycle that is responsible.

Maybe it’s not any of those things.

Maybe it’s a little bit of all of them.

I just can’t help but wonder how other people’s community experiences are treating them in-game. Is there any such thing? Or has the trend in games like WoW towards making all content accessible to everyone via tools like LFR done something to eradicate the growth of community because it also took away the need for it?

I don’t know, and I doubt I’ll even get to hear what is going on with other people because, haha, I’m posting about a lack of community knowing full well that a community is something I most definitely do not have these days.

Wherein I talk about pee

I am suffering some trauma right now, guys. I thought I would share because – what the hell? – everyone seems to have always gotten a kick out of my suffering in the past.

It’s all about my guest room. This room is in the basement of our new house and it’s pretty nice. Cushy carpet, freshly painted walls and ceiling (because I just had to cover up the nasty mustard beige that was down there before), new furniture, everything.

And yeah, the furniture is from Ikea and so whatever, it’s not like I spent a ton of money on this guest room. But I put some thought and time and money into it, even before I put any into my own room, because ever since May, we’ve had a pretty steady stream of guests lined up. In fact, our most recent guest left earlier this month and I washed the bedding and was down remaking the bed yet again and I distinctly recall thinking to myself how glad I was that we didn’t have any more guests lined up any time soon because I am getting sick of doing that laundry.

Friends, I was mistaken. Both about how soon I would have to do that laundry again and about how tedious a chore it was all the times prior.

You see, someone peed in my guest bed.

And didn’t tell me.

And I just had to deal with it more than a day after the fact.

And it reeks.

What happened was that At had some friends and coworkers over for a night of food, drinks and Exploding Kittens last Friday. It was a really great night, too! We had so much fun and people really seemed to appreciate both our hospitality and our cooking. Really, it was an unqualified success.

We even had an overnight guest, although not by design. One of our guests had a bit too much to drink and fell asleep in the guest room, where they stayed all night. No big deal. I would much rather have a surprise house guest than I would send someone out to drive drunk.

The following morning, we gave them some breakfast and some coffee and some assurances that they didn’t need to be embarrassed at all about staying over. But they seemed extra squirrely and left pretty soon after getting up.

Of course, what they knew and we didn’t, was that they had wet the bed. In retrospect, it all makes so much more sense.

And now I am torn, because I get why they didn’t say anything but also, I am kind of pissed (ha!) that they didn’t. It wasn’t going to get any better with the keeping, after all. And the more time it had to sit there, the more time it had to soak all the way through the foam mattress and every layer of bedding on the bed because, yeah, they passed out on top of the comforter.

I can just imagine how it would have looked, too, to have someone else come over and be shown to the guest room and to have them try to settle in for the night only to find that everything smells of stale urine and the sheets are all dry and crusty in a patch.

So I guess the moral of the story is, if you’re going to pee in someone else’s bed, I don’t care how embarrassing it is to fess up to it, you should really fess up. They’re going to find out one way or another, so really, all you’re doing by not saying anything is delaying the inevitable and adding a reason for them to be disgruntled when they do find out.

The more you know.

Starting Over. Again.

Well, this is sort of fun and interesting. I went to poke at a possible blog post the other day and discovered that I no longer had access to my own damn site. So I did what I always do and blamed At. He knows the drill as well as I do, so he got me back up and running with a minimum of fuss but also with a minimum of content.

No seriously. Go look around. There is nothing here. Except this post and uh, yeah, nothing else.


Actually, have a picture of Thor and Loki for no reason.
Actually, have a picture of Thor and Loki for no reason.


At being At, he was ready to go to heroic lengths to get me my content back, but no, no, I said. Most of it still over there, I said, and that’s okay. I kind of like the blankness of this old canvas, like everything has been scraped away and I have a chance to start over new.

It works, especially since I am starting over new in the gaming world yet again. Even though I thought for a time that going Horde would lend WoW a much-needed freshness (and to a certain extent, it did, but the grindiness I needed to do just to be considered able to raid in my guild was a killer), it just ended up being something I don’t have the time for. Or rather, I have the time, but I didn’t enjoy the content or the people enough to want to. And that’s not a slam on the people. They just ain’t no glory days of Eff the Ineffable.

So I’m back in SWTOR, which is fun. It’s been a while since I’ve played and we’re experiencing the Imperial side, where before I only had a handful of low level alts and one 55 Sith Sorcerer. The very best part, in my opinion, is the super accelerated class quest line XP. One of my biggest issues with SWTOR back when it first came out was its lack of parallel leveling paths. The general planet quests got old really fast. Now that we can zip through just on class story content, I stand a chance of actually playing every class, and probably even more than once just to try out both Advanced Classes and to see the story from both the male and female points of view (not to mention go light on one and dark on the other, yay alignment choices!).

After diving enthusiastically in last Friday and leveling a Bounty Hunter up to 25 in nothing flat, I realized that I should have paid better attention to the planning stages if I am going to see it all from each gender. Because, uh, that was actually my third female bounty hunter on the server. Oopsies.

Spreadsheets happened. You know they did. And then I made At get his info on board, because I don’t know how to level a pair of toons with him in any game without first putting in obsessive amounts of planning regarding professions and roles.

I take all the fun out gaming for people like him, I think. Poor guy. Send him some good thoughts or raise a dram for him, why don’t you?

Anyhow, enough random “hay gais, here’s some nonsense about me” stuff. I hope to be back soon with a post that has an actual topic.