Holiday moves are for idiots!

*** Warning Warning This post briefly speaks of gaming... mostly it's off topic. Read at your own risk. You have been warned!!!*** I don't have a whole lot of choices in my current life style. To some of you this may seem a genuinely odd way to live your life. To my military spouse partners in crime, this is our normal. I try and not bemoan my lack of control. Really, I mean it. I have quietly found a place of deeply rooted acceptance that involves gallons of ice cream, chocolate, vats of wine and may include me being dragged kicking and screaming into this quasi reality.

Three letters have haunted my dreams. PCS! For those of you lucky enough to remain uninitiated, they mean Permanent Change of Station. In other words, you are moving.

I have, perhaps slowly, begun to get a wee tad better at change. Probably. Ok, Zeff says I still suck at it, but I think I have improved by leaps and bounds.

Here's the short of the process. The Navy says you are going to move. They then give you the tiniest list of possibilities which is sorta kin to a presidential election form. Bad, worse and OMFG! They give you several months to get used to the idea of your soon to be arrival in the seven rings of hell while they bury you in paperwork. You are then instructed to hurry up and wait.

After recovering from the carpel tunnel they've foisted upon you, you begin gathering your medical records, dental records, vision records, pet records, fill out your change of address form, turn off all your current utilities, set up new utilities... you know the usual. None of this was unexpected. It's part of moving. While it's full of unexpected delays, hours spent on hold listening to really bad elevator music and trying to figure what option will get you an English speaking human person, it's not horrible.

You clean out your closets, refrigerator, and give away a lot of things that seemed important at the time, but now are a burden and will only add to your weight total.

Yes, weight total. You are given an allotment of weight you are not to exceed. I spent hours wondering how much of my library of books, gaming paraphernalia and so forth was going to cost me in overage!

The movers arrive, you pack up and move on. In my case tearfully. I left behind good friends, awesome food and a level of comfort in a southern state I hadn't felt since leaving Texas. Bleh!

But enough whining.

Now, to add insult injury, you don't get to pick when you move. We happen to be afflicted with the awesomeness of our moves occurring in December.

I would like to state for the record before I move forward that I am still married to Zeff. This maybe because he is a saint. Or I am...ha ha ha...nah!

The top three stressors in a relationship maybe job changes, moving, and the holidays. I was handed a trifecta of joy wrapped in brown tape.

Liquor Drive-Thru
Liquor Drive-Thru

We arrived to snow in our new state. I kinda ignored the snow as I gawked at the Drive thru liquor stores on the side of the "emergency snow route" highway. Nothing says welcome home like drive thru alcohol?

For the first time in my life, I didn't have any say what so ever in my home. I mean zero. Zilch. Nada.

I was ASSIGNED my little slice of the good life by an officious clerk with the personality of malt o meal. I was told it was 4 bedrooms 2 bath. After receiving our keys we opened the door to 3 coffin like bedrooms and 2 bath like spaces. Don't look at me like that. I can't turn sideways in my own bathroom!

I valiantly shoved down my rising panic as Zeff pleadingly asked if I like our new home. There was no way my queen sized bedroom furniture was gonna fit in the teeny tiny "master like" bedroom. My sectional was never going to fit in the front door.

Most importantly, there was no room for 2 PCs, desks, our shelves upon shelves of DnD books, Dwarven Forge sets, mini's, dice, empty computer boxes for every game we have bought in the last decade or so, and the dog.

I resisted the urge to down a fifth of vodka and get a plane ticket to anywhere. I told him it was simply wonderful. I loved it. Hey, it wasn't a complete lie. The place has hardwood laminate "like" floors downstairs. It has a kitchen. I have a backyard and deck to shovel snow off of.

I am trying to ignore the hideous brown plastic molding crap attached to every base board, the paper thinness of the walls, that I have to be a contortionist to brush my teeth, and that my neighbor has a two year old who screams most nights.

It's marital bliss :D

Look, we survived moving at between Thanksgiving, our anniversary and Christmas. I have a roof over my head and my husband hasn't killed me. I think we are doing pretty swell.

I am including below a small gallery of photos of the new place from before the movers arrived. This is mainly for my girlfriends who have complained bitterly about my inability to get these photos posted so they could save me from my decorating phone calls, but enjoy it as you will.

Moving 2010

, posted with

vodpod

I am writing this post from my desk which is squeezed so closely to Zeff's I could use his monitor as mine. Our bed fits in the room by the barest of margins. They had to shove my couch through the back door. I wasn't over my weight allotment and only most of my furniture needed to be wood glued, nailed, screwed and held up with hardback books.

I am a survivor :D

Yes Zeff, I like our new home.

Game On!!!

P.S. Just to prove I can handle all manner of change, I took the plunge and started playing World of Warcraft. I have lost my mind. If found, please return to sender.

OT: You are more than just a military wife

***WARNING  The following article does not discuss video gaming in any way! You have been warned!*** I have learned a lot about labels in the last few years. Mostly, how much being labeled can define you if you let it.

For instance, as a military wife, The United States Navy labeled me as a "dependent."

Let's look at that word for a minute.

As defined by Webster's dictionary.

–nouna person who depends on or needs someone or something for aid, support, favor, etc.

Ummm... ewww!  I have no idea whose bright idea it was to come up with "dependent", but I would like to meet him in a dark alley someday. Honestly, as if life weren't full enough of obstacles, the USN thinks of me as dependent.  Fabulous.

I railed against the label for the first year of my marriage.  I had worked the last 7 years to find my independence, further my career, stand on my own two feet, and spit in the eye of any male who looked my way with "I am your hero and can save you" in his expression.   I'd met and married a good man, one who supported my dreams with love, but didn't try and run my life.  I was ecstatic.  Score one for 30 something single women everywhere.

We had been married less than twenty four hours when I began to understand I wasn't in full control of the situation at hand.

My newly minted husband drove us onto a local military base.  I felt intimidated by the guards wearing weapons at the gate, by the institutional buildings, and masses of uniformed men and women walking around.  I didn't belong here, I thought, as he grabbed my hand and walked me into the ID office.  After a long wait, a woman looked over my marriage certificate, passport, social security card, and all manner of documents before telling me to smile and look at the camera so she could get a picture for my dependent card.

I think I stopped breathing for a moment.  In  a fog, I could hear the lady asking me several times if I wanted my picture retaken.  I didn't.

My wonderful new husband had neglected to tell me my new title.  I don't think he saw it as any big deal.  Well either that, or he knew it was a big deal and figured  I wouldn't kill him in public!

I carried around an ID for two years where I wore an expression of shock and anger.

I dove head first into everything Navy.  I took classes on being a new military spouse, volunteered for the FRG, and read every book available on navigating the military maze.

Know what I discovered?

You are only as dependent as you think you are.  All my hard work didn't mean I was any more in control of my life than if I had let myself relax into it.  The Navy still told me when I could see my husband, where I would live and for how long, and how little closet space I would have thanks to the bazillion assorted uniforms.

On the occasion of his re-enlistment, an officer gifted me with a certificate listing among my many attributes, my unselfish and unwavering support of my husband.

I think in that moment standing on the deck of a battleship everything crystallized.   I counted as long as I was with him.  It's like the military lives in a time warp.  A 1950's time warp.

Surely I am more than just his wife?  I've had my own social security number for years, but when asked for it by a doctor's office the other day, I gave his.

I had acquaintances who couldn't figure out how much money they had because their hubby paid all the bills.  One girl moved while her hubby was away and was found outside her place of business balling her eyes out because she couldn't remember her address.  Another doesn't drive at all and has to call friends when her hubby is away.   Another quit college and moved to our base so she could stay home and just be a wife for a while.

Another favorite of mine is the email/phone call game I've watched be played out on facebook, at dinners, meetings, on a picnic or at the beach.

Imagine a group of spouses from the same command in a room.   One says "I've had an email every other day."  Next one counters with "Oh I had one everyday." Only to be one upped by the next one who announces "I had a phone call yesterday and emails every day." This game can go on and on until someone just gives in and walks away defeated wondering why her spouse can't find the time to email 5 times a day and call every night.  

It's sorta sad to watch how we fee the need to prove our spouses love us more than someone else's .  Or, let there be no mistake, one will say "Oh, well your husband doesn't actually have all that much to do I suppose.  Mine is busy working hard and can't spend that much time on his rearend writing me."  (Picture my face when I heard this conversation go on behind me at another command's party!)

I don't get it.  When I said it was a time warp, I wasn't kidding.  Out of my command, I can only think of a handful of spouses who are happy and fulfilled in their own right.  I am not saying you need to be working full time out of the home to be fulfilled.  You don't.  I just don't know many spouses who feel like they are fulfilling their own dreams and they seem to spend a lot of time being bitter about it.

I've had moments when a coffee creamer commercial brings me to tears and my hands freeze when I do a load of laundry and his socks fall out of the basket.   We all have those moments, but for me they are just moments.  I don't live in the dark spaces in between missions.  I live my own life.  Sometimes he's here, sometimes he's not, but in between I live.

And in living I have found and cherish relationship's with women who inspire me to be more than I am.  In my circle we each have a set of skills the others can rely on when needed.  I've watched a mom of 6 volunteer her time at the USO, for her FRG and raise her kids with joy everyday.  Her best friend, a mom of two, is one of the most organized women I know and never fails to make me laugh at myself.  A fellow gamer and military wife I know never lets  the every changing schedule of missions get her down and takes me out on girly dates.  Another wife I know has a career she's never let the military get in the way of.

Everyone of these women makes me strive to live with more tolerance of those around me who haven't quite gotten to a place where they can find their own way.

I am more than just a military wife.  I can let the label represent me, anger me, own me.  Or I can just say it's a part of who I am, but not the whole.

I am thinking of leaving the following answering message on my cell phone.

"I am sorry I am unable to answer the phone right now. 1. If you are calling to whine, plead or moan about your life, please hang up and talk to a mirror.  If you aren't getting emails, don't panic.  If you are calling to tell me how many emails/phone calls you are getting, please refer to number 1.   If you really feel the need,  please leave a message and I'll probably text you back.  Have a blessed day."

Too much? Probably, but if you are wondering if I am screening my calls? I am :D

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As an aside, last time my husband went to sea, our puppy tried to get in his bag.

Cracked me up.

Maybe I can sneak into his sea bag next time? *ponders*

Odds and Ends...

The website upgrades are finished.  I hired someone to help me this time, and saved myself a lot of headaches.  It's very very pink, no?  I love it, and am hopeful it is easier to read, navigate and enjoy! We are only a couple of weeks from Gencon.  My schedule is full, I have a new backpack to bring, and all my tickets are bought.  I am soooo excited I can hardly stand it.  If you have never been and are looking for information about the con, give a listen to DDO Cocktail Hour Episode 21. It's almost here :D

Rowanheal's Comprehensive Quest list has been updated again.  It's current through update 5.

The hubby has been busy working on his Ale Association favor during the LOTRO Summer Festival.  He got a new title and I had to get a pic of it.

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ScreenShot00019

Hysterical, no?

I've been hitting and miss on gaming.  I bought The Witcher when steam had it on sale and am about half way through it I think.  Since I didn't have enough games to finish, I also picked up Red Dead Redemption, a western styled rpg shooter.  Both of these games I can pick up and play and not realize hours have gone by.

Player's Handbook, my static group in DDO, made Guild Level 5.  It's slow going when we only play a couple of hours one day a week, but I am hopeful the small guild bonus will move from testing to live soon.

Basically, I am have been running around in life as I have in my gaming realms, like a chicken with my head cut off.  There is so much to get done, and so much to see.  I would love to slow time a little, so I could sit back and enjoy some of it and not feel like it is just rushing by.

Lastly, Zeff re-enlisted in the United States Navy last week.

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*sigh*  I will admit, he looked rather handsome swearing to uphold all manner of things, most of which amounted to me realizing we were committing to spending even more time apart.

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DSC00701

Since he's a Sailor, he decided nothing would be more fitting than a celebration meal at Hooters!!!  *giggles*

I am hoping to get some real MMORPG time in this week.  Things have been so nutty, I need a little down time.  Wish me luck :)

GAME ON!!!

Spring Fever Weekend Trip (off topic)

Warning!!! The following post is massively off-topic. It's my website. I am allowed the occasional fun post. Spring fever hit me in the last few weeks. If I look outside, I see a world clouded by a yellow fog. Welcome to high pollen counts. With the intrusion of the nasty stuff, I found myself cleaning out closets, black bagging things I haven't used in the last year, and scrubbing my place like a nesting pregnant woman. No, no babies here.

For his part, Zeff has quietly stayed out of my way. I am fairly sure he has decided that he benefits as long as I stay out of his side of the closet. He has this pants fetish. I am longing to cull some of the most unattractive ones from his wardrobe. I'll wait until he leaves again I think! :)

All of this Spring Fever has me longing to be outside in the sun. I came up with a plan. There are a bunch of touristy sights near me that I haven't seen yet. Being me, I planned a bunch of one day trips and then blindsided Zeff. I figure its a perfect couple date. Cut off from out computers, DVR, and Xbox, we will actually find ourselves conversing, laughing and postively communicating.

Plus, I am out in the sun and I can shop.

I don't want to leave that out. The shopping. There are many facets of my personality that are decidedly unusual for a female. I don't normally enjoy shopping, however, give me a tourist trap store and I go insane.

Our first trip was to Colonial Williamsburg. I might have planned this one first because I heard there was an outlet mall nearby. I mean its all about the history, learning and being together, but the outlet mall has a Coach, Fossil and other fine establishments. I need a new pink spring purse. *shrugs* Don't look at me like that.

After subjecting him to my squeals of delight at the mall for an hour, where he confiscated my bank and visa card, we wound our way through town to the Colonial Williamsburg Visitor's center. I suffered from sticker shock at the $46.00 per person 1 day pass at the ticket counter. We were able to use our military discount to save ten percent, but still. Good lord!

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The entire area is a walking tour. Winding your way through through the lush green trees, you'll encounter a working farm they are rebuilding piece by piece using only the tools and materials available in the eighteenth century. A carpenter in period dress explained and then demonstrated how he was making planks of siding for the main house.

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Next we visited the Governor's Palace. It's beautiful inside and out.

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DSC00613

Inside the house, there was a ladies sitting room. The walls were covered in embossed leather which had been brushed with bronze and gold leafing. When the sunlight hit this stuff the entire room glowed.

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The palace gardens were just as stunning. Tulips everywhere and the trellis's and arbors teaming with beauty. The also had a hedge maze. Zeff and I might have made a couple of jokes about finding Wandering elves!

We wandered around the streets taking in all the period buildings, being greeting by actors in period dress demonstrating everything from blacksmithing to book binding. We ate lunch at one of the tavern's and we had a blast listening to our waitress tell stories about how the stew was no longer made with possum and squirrel, but chicken and vegetables. She felt the soup had lost some of it's gamey flavor, but it was alright she guessed LOL!

At one point we heard drums and whistles and lined up on the street to see the Colonials march by.

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DSC00623

We toured the capitol building and were told the stories of how George Washington, Thomas Payne, Thomas Jefferson and others had walked the halls and danced in the ballroom.

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By late afternoon, the actor's had set up to do a reenactment of the events leading leading up to Virginia's decision to join the other 12 colony's in the American Revolution. They were wired with microphones and there were hidden speakers along the streets, so as we followed the action we could always hear the story.

We had a blast. I just can't put it any other way. We came home exhausted, but happy. We'd learned some history, seen some beautiful things, but mostly we'd each savored spending an entire day being together.

My spring fever has not been quenched. I am hoping to drag him down to the beach later, and I have a few more day trips in the works.

For now, I am off to play some LOTRO and relax.

What are your plans for Spring?

GAME ON!!!

Lotro gets Oath of the Rangers

It's been a long week. The hubby had a pesky cold. I thought he should keep it to himself, but as usual he decided to share. Thursday morning I felt the first itch in my nose. By Friday morning, I was begging for Nyquil and my warm bed. I love him most of the time, but he needs to wear a hazmat suit when he comes in the house diseased!!! Why is it we can cure most diseases, but the common cold remains so virulent? Bleh!!!

I finally dragged myself off the couch long enough today to actually game. My mailboxes in LOTRO needed emptying, I had a toon to level, and I wanted to craft some things to make some money on the auction house.

I looked up after a little while in game and realized 2 hours had passed. I had spent the entire 120 minutes crafting in the craft hall! I could blame it on the Nyquil, but probably its just the fact that I refuse to pass up any kind of mat I can pick up. Hence my need to upgrade my bank space whenever possible.

I made 34 on my rune-keeper, managed to kill the Troll-Keeper in the longest cave I have ever entered, and I now have a ton of auctions up for sale. If you are in LOTRO and have money to burn, please go shopping. I have picked out a deluxe house on a quiet street in the shire and mama needs bank :)

As an aside, I ran into a den of trolls tonight while adventuring in the North Downs. While I expect trolls to be revolting, I can say the team at Turbine has done an outstanding job making me want to hurl whenever I run across one of these stingy, kicking, club wielding jerks. They really need to put more clothes on. The belly flab and sweaty, hairy nipple action makes me green around the gills!

Tomorrow we will finally get Oath of the Rangers, Volume III, book 1.

The LOTRO Game Servers will be brought down on Monday, March 1,2010 from 6:00AM – 10:00AM Eastern (-5 GMT) to launch the latest free content update, Volume III: Allies of The King, Book 1: Oath of the Rangers. (Click here) for the release notes. Thanks for your patience, and we'll see you back in the game soon!

I can't wait to find some time tomorrow night to check out the new Duo option on skirmishes. I still can't believe they didn't have this option to begin with, but I am super excited to have a chance to really use the skirmishes on the pair of toon's the hubby and I are leveling together.

In other news, I was checking out the schedule of events for Pax East. A couple of the guys from DDOcast are going to attend, and I figured I could ask them to check things out  if there was anything super interesting to me. I found a session I am wishing I could be a fly on the wall for.

Girls and Games: The Growing Role of Women in the Game Industry Manticore Theatre Friday, 8:00pm According to the ESA, more than 43% of video gamers are female, making women the single largest untapped market segment in the gaming industry. Look at the milestones crossed and the hurdles to come as developers and publishers reach out to this previously overlooked demographic. Are current strategies effective? What does this mean for the game industry as a whole? Panelists Include: Brittany Vincent [Editor-in-Chief, Spawn Kill], Julie Furman [Founder, SFX360], Jeff Kalles [Penny Arcade], Alexis Hebert [Community Relations Manager, Terminal Reality]

Imagine my head spinning around like the exorcist. It's one of my pet peeves in gaming. Yes, there are two genders. Yes, one is probably from Mars and maybe the other is from Venus. I don't however understand how we can be an overlooked nor an under tapped demographic when we appear to the Entertainment Software Association to be half of the gaming population buying and beating the games put out by the gaming industry.

What are they going to talk about, putting more half-dressed men in games, how to advertise with more feminine colors and paint everything pink? Not that I want to besmirch the color pink, I mean its my personal fav, but I don't want to watch an ad for Dragon Age with pink everywhere for goodness sakes. We already have Hello Kitty Online... how much further past the line of ridiculous do we need to go?

There are a ton of women game developers at the major houses, girl blogger, and girl podcasters. We field teams for competition and generally kick rear.

I am dying of curiosity to hear what people say in this session because if it's more dribble about how to reach out to a population who is already playing by offering crap fluff games I'm gonna puke.

Ok, I am getting off my soapbox, so I can slip into another Nyquil haze.

Before I forget, DDOcast episode 157 is out.  They covered the weeks news, have a few interviews and segments.  Check it out.

Also, take a gander at the video below. Someone over in the LOTRO community put together their take on the The Guild's "Do you want to date my avatar!" It's simply hysterical.

GAME ON!!!

A few changes and one ugly ship

I was going to do a write up of Bioshock 2 tonight. I finally finished the game yesterday. Things change. I asked a friend of mine to work on a new logo for my site. He also figured out a way to make it a more pleasing pink color. I know some of you logged on and wondered why the code was a ll of a sudden completely wonky :)

I am decidedly untechy. While I love my gadgets, my understanding of their inner workings are superficial at best. It's why I have brilliant friends :D

There are still a few more changes coming, I hope, if my friends don't abandon me after I turned into a puddle of mush with today's changes. I am thrilled to have the site FINALLY showing off it's pink hotness. Looking forward to getting a few more of the kinks worked out in the coming weeks.

In other news, I caught an article on Massively yesterday about Star Trek Online.  It featured the new Destiny class ship.  The stats on it are fairly impressive.

Overview

With the resources needed to chart distant star systems, deep space science vessels such as the Destiny class will lead Starfleet into a new era of exploration.

Boasting all of the advanced technology with an advanced warp core and expanded engineering facilities, the Destiny is ideal for either long solo missions or fleet support.

Capabilities

Weaponry:

Fore weapon slots: 3 Aft weapon slots: 3

Bridge Officer Stations:

Tactical: Lieutenant (1) Engineering: Ensign (1), Lieutenant (1) Science: Lieutenant Commander (1), Commander (1) Total Available Powers: 12

Modification Slots:

Tactical: 2 Engineering: 3 Science: 4

Device Slots: 3

Crew Size: 500

Impulse Speed: 15

Turning Rate: 6

Quote taken from Zam.com

At first glance I am super excited about it. I then watched the video which I am inserting below. Watch and then let me know what the thing looks like. I'll give you a hint...I think of how to unwrinkle clothes when I look at this ship :)

I am off to finish a little crafting in LOTRO before I fall into bed. I won another lottery in LOTRO and discovered mail in my box when I logged in today. Now I feel like I need to make some money, and crafting seems to be the only way I make any these days.

More on my final thoughts of Bioshock 2 tomorrow.

GAME ON!!!

Stick a fork in me...

And we are LIVE baby!!! I have been mulling over moving my blog for a coon's age.  I've hemmed and hawed, wondered at the trouble, cost, and time commitments, but the bug bit me a week ago.  I couldn't shake it.

Blogger has been a wonderful home.  I will miss it.  I just needed a place with a little more customization.  A few more options, the right to own my own content, actual real media integration and the chance to play around with something new.

I've gotten used to most of the Wordpress Dashboard thanks to Myddo and Mylotro.  I felt it was something I could get used to and maybe even come to enjoy.

Listen, it's 5 AM... and I have been coding, importing, changing labels to category's, moving permalinks, redirecting traffic and otherwise losing my mind over the weekend.

There is still a bunch of stuff I would like to see done on the site, but for now go take a look and see what you think.

It's cleaner, has a double tabbed interface, the front page has mini posts, recent videos and a featured article spot.

I think it's kinda nifty :)

*falls over from exhaustion*

GAME ON!!!

When a good thing goes really bad...

If you haven't seen Avatar, please stop reading. If you have seen it and loved it, stop reading. If you fit neither category, read at your own risk. Everyone made up their mind? Have you donned a flame retardant suit? Put on your tin foil hat?

Good, if all tray tables are in their upright positions and your seat belt is fastened, let's get this party started.

I love movies. I don't generally like to go to a theater and since the advent of video tapes, DVD's and Blu-ray's, I have been enjoying the bliss of watching, commenting and crunching as loudly on my own popcorn as I please in the comfort of my own home.

It takes a special "something" to get me out the door and into a movie seat. You all know what I mean. It's $20.00 for tickets, $20.00 plus on food and drink, gas getting there, an hour carefully planning and layering clothes in case the theater is either hot or cold, and a plethora of sprays and wipes to get a movie seat degermified.

Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE I spoke to insisted I must, simply am required, to see Avatar in 3D IMAX goodness.

I acquiesced after the 20th person hounded me.

With my interest peaked, I convinced my partner in crime to buy tickets online for the 3D IMAX Avatar experience.

I had forgotten my 3D glasses in the car and had to use the theaters. Antibacterial wipes made them "ok" to use. I took a shower when I got home. Yes, I know the theater cleans them. I simply have a different level of cleanliness than the average under paid pimpled adolescent boy whose job is mind numbingly boring and sanitizing the glasses reminds him that he hasn't showered in a couple of days.

With a great deal of expectation I sat in a crowded theater on Monday afternoon for 3 hours of blue people.

Let me begin with the diatribe my poor partner has to listen to all the time. Whose godforsaken idea was it to make 3 hour movies? I will put up with the odd aberration. The Lord of the Rings trilogy for instance. I was fine with 3 hours. Every movie I go see now requires me to practice bladder exercises for a week before I can go to the theater, or else I can't get a drink for fear I might need to go potty during some director's idea of epic storytelling and miss an important clue to the nonsense scrolling before my eyeballs.

Let's move on, shall we?

James Cameron, the director and apparent creator of this monstrosity, has never been good at beginnings. He makes fabulous endings, but Terminator, The Abyss, Terminator 2, True Lies, Titanic (another 3 hours of torture) all had lackluster beginnings. He hasn't gotten any better and I spent the first 20 minutes trying to find the story threads so I could start enjoying the movie. Narration for minutes on end with cut scenes equals painful. I think this is when I started considering a nap.

Before you move on with your day, let me say this movie has FANTASTIC graphics. Phenomenal use of all the kinds of eye goggling goodness. The candy flashing before my eyes almost made up for the fact it was horrible.

Can I just ask this? Is there a writer in Hollywood doing anything original at all anymore?

About minute 30 or so I came to a realization. I had seen this movie before. I just couldn't place it.

About an hour in when I cuddling in my coat wondering why I wasn't at home on my couch, I remembered.

Avatar is a Cowboy and Indian story. Humans versus the Blue People (Na'vi even sounds Native American.)

Seen a John Ford picture? Yup, its a John Wayne movie people.

It's about an hour and a half in when I convinced myself I could sit there and make it to the end just to see if there would be some miraculous twist I wasn't expecting.

There wasn't one.

So to recap. Some studio paid James Cameron $300 million dollars to make a suped up Cowboy movie set in space. The writing was so bad about the time our main character was told he could't shoot the space mastodons with bullets due to their tough hides being impenetrable, I made a mental note to see how long it would take for them to be an integral part of the last battle scene.

And yes, it was a cowboy and indian movie, ergo, there had to be an epic battle.

We killed a main character, check twice. We had the bad humans versus the na'vi indigenous people, check. Environmental concerns hitting me over the head for 3 hours, check. Corporation bad, check. Lone cowboy saves the world and marries the beautiful Indian princess, check.

The epic battle scene at the end almost, almost made up for 2 hours and 45 minutes of torture. It was expected, and went according to plan. Like I said, James Cameron sucks at beginnings, but he makes up for it in his skill at endings. Action packed.

I honestly thought I couldn't be the only one suffering from a sense of deja vu, so I listened as humanity threaded itself out of the theater.

They loved it. Some couldn't wait to see it again.

I must be really jaded. I won't say I hated it. The graphics were fantastic.

I simply want surprises. I want originality. I don't want a moral story so blatantly obvious I am disgusted at the writers lack of skill within the first hour. I want to immerse myself in a movie and have my reality fog over in my brain.

Avatar never let me suspend my disbelief.

Instead I was making a grocery list and wondering if I could get my character to 30 in Lotro when I got home.

I am going to have to stop going to the movies. At least on a Blu-Ray I can fast forward through the boring stuff.

Oh, and my partner loved it. Of course, I ranted until we got to the restaurant for dinner. I vented almost as much as I did when I left Batman:Dark Knight disgusted at the 3 hours of bad editing resulting from Heath Legers tragic death being taken advantage of by a director hungry to make as much coin as he could by utilizing every spare scrap of B roll he'd taken of Heath Ledger during filming thus inducing a choppy almost unfathomable story so muddy I had to goggle it to figure it out.

At least the popcorn wasn't stale.

Game on!!!

DDO in Print, and a whole lot about PINK!!!

Just a short snippet here. I am super busy with life at the moment, but wanted to at least make an attempt to blog.

For those of you who listen to DDOcast, I have been either doing a segment, participating in a live show, or being a guest voice in a commercial over the last month. Have fun picking out whose voice is whose on there :)

Thats the back cover of PC Gamer's December 2009 issue. Don't faint, but DDO has ACTUAL print advertising :) Who knew?

In other news, I tried to attend the air show here a couple of weekends ago, but the absolutely cruddy weather kept me from seeing anything fly.

I did however have time to ask the hubby to shoot pics of the pink things :)

Ok seriously, I don't know why we need a pink construction truck, but I thought it deserved a nod. The pink Delta airplane. If I were rich and famous, I would totally have to have one of these.

I know I am late in saying this, but October is Breast Cancer awareness month in case you were living under a boulder and completely missed it :)

I used to almost ignore Breath Cancer Awareness. While I knew it was important to my health and to my gender, I was younger, much less evolved, and generally thought there was no need to think about cancer.

Reality crashed around me when my mother was diagnosed several years ago. I became intimately aware of risk factors, ports, drug therapies, Chemo, Radiation and how to tie a scarf properly.

She is a survivor and I type that with a great deal of emotion. Nothing has ever rocked our family like cancer has.

Never take your world for granted.

So do yourself a favor, do a breast examine routinely, get a baseline mammogram, and remind your girlfriends to touch, check and keep track of changes in their breasts.

I love the color pink for many reasons, October reminds me its more than a fashion choice. It's about stamping out Breast Cancer, treating out bodies with respect, and being an advocate for our own health.

Click on this link to find out the new recommended way to do a Breast Self Exam.

I am off to do some work. Tonight is Static group night in DDO, and I am looking forward to finding new ways to kill some monsters.

Game On!!!

A Humble Thank You

It's been a long season. While summer might be ending, I personally feel like it's been one heck of a long time coming.

For those who weren't aware, my husband serves in the United States Navy. I don't blog about overly personal stuff that often, but tonight I need to express some stuff.

This was a deployment year. I wasn't looking forward to it. As a new wife, I knew going in he would leave a few months after we were married. There is nothing romantic about it, so erase all those World War II pictures from your head.

When he finally left, I felt so very alone. I had finally found someone I could connect with, uprooted my life to be with him, and he had the audacity to leave?

Needless to say, I learned to adapt very quickly. Everyday that dragged by meant I was one day closer to having him home, every night was one less I would spend alone, every morning a chance to prove to myself I was stronger than I thought I was.

I survived with the help of friends all of whom I need to give a huge thank you.

What in the world does this have to do with gaming, you might ask?

Well friendship comes in all shapes and sizes.

To my static group in DDO, who put up with my tears, wine soaked gaming sessions, surgery woes, questions about what to send in a box, and all other kinds of complaints, whines and queries, I say a thank you for sticking with it. For making me laugh. For being a constant in my life week after week for several years now. I couldn't do it without you.

To my DDOcast crew. Thank you for the checking up on me emails, offers to join your server for game time, making arrangements to record a show when I had the time and energy, and never once telling me I was letting you down when I wasn't up to getting a show in. Thank you.

To my guild in DDO, Chaosknights on Argonessen. You gave me a place to spend a few hours and forget the quiet of my life. You welcomed me into groups, chatted with me, PMed me on the forums to remind me to come out of hiding and visit Stormreach. You made me feel like a member of the family. Thank you.

So many out there may not understand the bonds that form in an online game. I came to find them reassuring over these terrible few months. I owe so many of you a thank you for being there in the still moments when there hadn't been a phone call or an e-mail, when I cried over seeing a commercial for his favorite coffee creamer, or I just needed a quick reality check.

To all my other friends, and you know who you are, thank you for the late night phone calls, watching TV with me, taking me to dinner, movies, shopping and ferrying me to Dr appointments and so on.

Tonight as I take stock in blessings of my life, I am deeply humbled by each of you.

I am posting up a couple of pics. To be honest, I was so darn happy to see his ship I barely remembered I had a camera!

The ship pulling in with the Battle flag waving!

Almost the first sighting I had of him. He's in the white hat :)

I don't think there is much else I can say except, he's home.

And now I get to game with him whenever I want to! He loaded DDO his first day home and jumped in. So very glad I married a gamer.

GAME ON!!!

PnP shennanigans

We are a week out from DDO:U being released. I am not overly excited per se, but the dagger the new style will bring with it to my favorite online MMO has been removed from my back. Turbine announced a new server Cannith. I am not sure if it is just to give the new players some place to congregate together, or if it is truly needed due to the foreseen bevy of Free to play players that will bombard the servers on The 9th of September.

So far, the press articles directly linked to the launch have been few and far between lately. I suspect most, if not all, of the advertising has already come and gone, and with the launch having been put back by a month, we won't see much more than a dribble.

Of course, this could also be due to the recent filing Turbine made in court. They are suing Atari.

I first read about it on my twitter while sitting in a traffic jam. I am lucky I leave enough space between cars, because I pumped my fist in a victory sign. Not sure what the people around me thought, but I felt overjoyed to see Turbine making some inroads to giving Atari the what for.

I've read through as much of the documentation as possible. It's long, mostly in legalize, and terribly convoluted, but the end result is, Turbine wants $30 million.

I am hoping they get it.

Jerry has done an excellent post on the news over at DDOcast. If you are interested in reading the full documentation, follow to here.

In other news, I have been playing some Pen and Paper DnD. We've been playing a 3.5 game a few times a month. I am currently trying to keep a level 2 sorcerer alive. I almost killed her yesterday. Thankfully, a druid decided to give me a heal while I bled out on the forest floor.

I love my MMO's. I love my console's. But I really really love sitting down to a table with a group of geeks and rolling dice!

I am including a picture here of our board. I had brought the guys, all of whom are sailors, back some sailor ducks from Gencon. They decided one needed to be a Mini on the board and roleplayed it as a dire duck!

Lastly, The Guild guys and gals have made a music video. It's hysterical. Enjoy!

GAME ON!!!

Gencon

I have been in recovery mood all week from Gencon exhaustion. I loved the conference and overall had a huge blast hanging out with all of the DDO players and making new friends.

I discovered I might actually like to play a game of the new 4.0 DnD. I know its blasphemy, but after sitting down for an hour to play a demo, I found it really fun.

Jerry already has covered a lot of Gencon on his blog and he has a bunch of great pics. I am just going to put up a couple of my own here.

This is a pic of out True Dungeon group. We mananged to survive the dungeon and it was full of giggles and riddles and overall fabulous adventuring.

One of the artists had painted this bike. The picture totally doesn't do it justice, but it was Amazing looking!

On of the DDO players had these super fantastic t-shirts. I got a pic of this one. Had me laughing everytime I saw him in a new one.

Things I bought this year... New pink dice, T-shirts (I can never have enough gaming t-shirts), D20 necklace and earrings, Grid map for DnD mini play, LFG hardback comic( and I got it signed), Bundle of Trouble Volume 1 (Jolly signed it for the hubby), a new card game Gloom (I played this several times at the con and its fun)... I think thats all I bought. All I know is my backpack weighed a ton when I got on my return plane home. :D

Jerry recorded the DDOcast crew on video while we did a live show from Gencon. You can watch the video below and put faces with voices.

It was a fabulous con. I love to game. Board games, card games, video games, you name it I love to play em. I know some of the DDO players were disappointed Turbine didn't have a booth, but to be honest, while I kinda missed them, there was too much to do to dwell on their absence.

I met great players, made new friends and can't wait for next years Gencon!

Game on!!!

Face your fears

Its less than 48 hours before I leave for Gencon. It's official, my obsessively persistent panic has set in.

I don't like to fly, I don't like to travel and I find the entire experience leaves me in a cold sweat.

This year, like last, I am flying alone. My girlfriends have already girded their loins for my panicked phone calls and IM's which range from "I am reading the TSA website. If I pour my leave-in conditioner in a 3 oz bottle and put it in the quart sized bag, that is ok right?" or my "Ok, so I can have a bic lighter, and a book of matches, but I can't have my nail clippers, but I can have my nail scissors if they are less than 4inches of blade? Can I bring my leatherman or is that a no?"

I thank the gods for people who will put up with my crazed mind as I pack, repack, empty out one purse so I can make sure I got my lip gloss into the quart sized bag and not in my makeup bag. LOL

I know myself well enough to know I will be fine once I land, but until then, my breath will quicken, I'll worry I forgot something and probably have a nightmare about being strip searched in the airport.

All the rules change every year it seems and rereading them every time make me feel like I have some control over an uncontrollable situation.

I don't know about anyone else, but I feel like I walk in an airport and every civil right my husband fights for disappears in the fog of rules, searches and chaos.

I'm excited about my trip, but am smart enough to realize its going to be a long couple of days of keeping my own insecurities at bay.

I am sorry, there is nothing natural about strapping myself into an aluminum tin can and reaching for the clouds!

In gaming news, I have figured out how to play DDO one handed fairly well. Nothing spectacular, but its good exercise for the brain :) My apologies to anyone who has run with me lately and wondered if I was a moron. I'm not honest, just a wee tad gimped atm.

In other news, I have discovered I am actually quite good at taking care of things, I have a super heightened awareness for BS, and Navy life is never boring. You can't please everyone all the time, and shouldn't try. Everyone has bad days, people are as flawed as a jewel in the sun, and most women are a minefield of emotions. Acceptance is key and thinking someone should change who they are isn't fair...to you, them or the universe.

Best advice a really good friend gave me was, when someone is looking for validation,lend them a mirror :) I turned it on myself this week and was quite pleased to find that for all the soul searching, wailing, gnashing of teeth and bathing in ashes, I like who I am.

I thought I was having a crappy summer. Maybe I'm not. Maybe I am just learning how to do things a different way.

GAME ON!!!

Hot hot hot!!!

It's a busy week here. Gen con fever has hit full force and I am getting everything together :) I have a friend who is going for his first time. I am loving seeing all of his questions as he worries about what to bring with him, what not to bring and wondering what he'll see :)

If anyone reading has never been I can only readvise as Tolero did in her 2007 DDOcast segment

Water Backpack Comfy Shoes Your Badge!!!

I personally have my dice on me... and my friend says to remember your camera :)

I love going up there and hanging out with my friends. I am super excited this year, since we have a True Dungeon set up with the DDOcast crew!!! I am fairly sure I will be the first to die, but I figure its all fun. Still not sure what I am going to play, but since no one has spoken up about the cleric role, I might just have to take it!!!

I finally got some time in DDO last week. I was surprised to see not much had changed. With all the hub bub about Mod 9, or DDO EU and so forth, I had expected to see a few friends not in game anymore. We gamers seem to talk a lot of trash, but when it all comes down to it, we love the game and we stick around no matter what!

I asked around to see what people felt about the big delay until September. Most were not surprised and are just doing their thing. A Lot of the folks have not been over on the test server because they want to save this content as a surprise for when they play on live.

Overall I found the community in good spirits, hanging on until Turbine can get the kinks worked out for their relaunch.

We got word there will be DDO store cards given out at the Wizards of the Coast booth.

Dungeons & Dragons® has a lot to offer at Gen Con Indy 2009

Stop by the Wizards of the Coast Booth #1721 and demo the Character Builder on D&D® Insider™. Sign up for an account at the show and receive a D&D® Backpack and D&D Insider debut content. Does someone in your party need an introduction to D&D 4th Edition? Demos of 4E will be going on in the booth during the exhibit hall hours. In addition, Wizards of the Coast will be selling the 4th Edition Player’s Handbook for $5 with the purchase of any other D&D rulebook. Get your friends hooked on 4E!

Other D&D in booth promotions include: advanced sales of Adventurer’s Vault 2 and Dragon 2009 Annual. Sales of these two titles are limited to one per person. Only 100 copies will be sold each day, so make sure you get yours while supplies last.

Upper Deck presents the ultimate location for World of Warcraft, Dinosaur King, and Marvel at booth #1005!

Wizards of the Coast will also be celebrating the launch of Dungeons & Dragons Online®: Eberron Unlimited™ by giving away $5 DDO Store gift cards! DDO Unlimited is the premium free to play MMO where players can battle their way through the spectacular online world of Eberron and experience the exhilarating real-time combat and challenging game play powered by the legendary Dungeons & Dragons® ruleset. The $5 gift cards can be used to buy additional adventures or in-game items in the new in-game store. Authentic D&D® features include customizable characters; handcrafted dungeons filled with devious traps, classic monsters, a dungeon master, and an on-screen 20-sided die. DDO Unlimited introduces an innovative new pricing model that allows players to download and play for free, purchasing adventure packs, items, and account services a la carte from the new DDO Store, or to subscribe to get unlimited access to all of the game’s content. Play DDO Unlimited for free by visiting http://www.ddo.com. $5 DDO store gift cards are free with the purchase of any D&D product at the Wizards of the Coast booth.

The D&D Insider Compendium will be free from Thursday August 13, 2009 until Sunday August 16, 2009! That’s right, Wizards of the Coast is making the popular rules Compendium available for free to everyone world wide during Gen Con.

D&D will have plenty of authors and artists on site as well: William O’Connor, Dan Scott, Keith Baker, Wayne Reynolds, Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, Ed Greenwood, and James Wyatt.

Keith Baker & Wayne Reynolds will be doing a special Eberron™ signing on Saturday from 6:00 – 7:00 pm in the Sagamore Ballroom. The first 50 people in line will receive a free copy of the new 4E Eberron Player’s Guide. Come get it signed by the cover artist and the creator of this fantastic world!

2009 marks the 25th Anniversary of Dragonlance™. Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman will be signing the latest release Dragons of the Hourglass Mage: The Lost Chronicles Vol. III on Thursday in Author’s Alley. Also, be sure to stop by the 25th Anniversary Party at the Hyatt Regency on Saturday night from 7:00 – 9:00 pm and help celebrate this classic D&D setting.

For a complete schedule for these and other signings, stop by the Wizards of the Coast booth or the Sagamore Ballroom.

I don't think I need anything from the Wotc booth, but I was excited to see their support for DDO.

Anyways, I need to print off my Gencon stuff and do a few things around here. It's projected to be nearing the 100 degree mark here today, and I am so glad I can stay inside and accomplish everything I need to.

GAME ON!

Wavy mornings and some DDO

I have been trying to take the puppy to the beach for days. Dogs aren't allowed on the beach from 10-6 :( So this means I have to wake up early. Now I realize some of you are like "that's not early!", but in my world 10 am is up with the rooster. I managed to shake off my sloth and get her out there today. We were on the beach by 8:30am. I might have been cranky for a few minutes while I let the Dr Pepper rev my system, but puppy was wide awake.

I think overall she liked the beach more on this visit. She loved the sand, and ran, dug and rolled in it. Waves she was not so thrilled with. I would walk through the surf and she would be as close as she could be to me while staying dry. If a wave looked like it was going to get near her, she would blot across the sand.

I think if she could have figured out how to pounce on a wave all would have been well :D

The water was cool running over my feet, but the warm sand seemed the perfect place to stick my toes.

Just a great way to greet the day.

I had some errands to do this morning, but I was excited about coming home and playing some DDO.

Of course it's the day when they decide to have a mega implosion and no one was able to log in for hours :D

I thought I knew this game pretty well. I have been working on a revamp of the Quest list I keep up on the forums. This required a total reworking to add in all the quests I was missing, looking up raid info and then on to the real fun.

Before it is published, I or someone else I trust will have stepped into every quest in this game to check on the Base xp (on nomral) and other info.

As I run my finger down the list of 200 odd quests, I find there are some I am fairly unfamiliar with. I maybe have run them once or twice. What is it about these quests that make them ignored?

The Pit (lvl 7) I understand. It gets under people skin. The favor for it, and the optional Muckdoom make it palatable for some, but most of us will run it once and then never again.

Three Barrel Cove got that mega upgrade. I don't think I ever see LFM's for it. I mean probably NEVER. Why? Legend of Two Toed Tobias is actually a fun little quest, but yeah ok, the XP is a little low on it I guess.

So as I am making this adventure I am finding there is really a lot of content we just ignore?

*ponders*

Still doesn't make me want to quit howling for mod 9 :D

I am off to do more work.

GAME ON!!!

Wicked

I haven't been to the theater in years. I don't do crowds well, the seats are always uncomfy and well, just about anything I thought of seeing, I could catch on DVD at some point.

I have fabulous friends though, and one of them convinced me it was time to actually GO to the theater.

Wicked was just too good to pass up.

It's the story of the Wicked Witch from The Wizard of OZ. If you are thinking in your head, "Oh poo who cares?" You are doing yourself a disservice.

I was awed by the whole experience. The sets were fabulous. You can't take pictures while the play is being performed, but I got these couple of snapshots of the stage before the curtain went up.

The dragon had wings that moved, fiery red eyes and blew smoke> I wanted to smite him!

A map of The Land of OZ with the Emerald City in the middle. A shot of the whole stage.

I had a awesome time. Really. I didn't mind the seats because I was so interested in where the story was going I didn't care. The lead had a set of lungs on her that took my breath away.

So if you have a chance to check out the show, please please do. I am including a link to the website here. WICKED

In other news, still no Mod 9 for DDO. I am hearing scuttlebutt about licensing issues... since I am only aware of Wizard of the Coast and Codemasters and Atari, and Codemasters is more the European distributer, Atari has more pressing issues considering their bankruptcy ( and who is now hasbro if I understand all that corporate wrangling correctly who is the owner of Wotc), I am leaning towards WOTC being silly. Nice of them. After experiencing their unwavering lack of support for the Franchise last year at Gencon, I am not surprised. I need someone over at Turbine to roll a 20 and vorpal the WOTC issues please.

I breeze by DDO a couple of times a week, but I have been kidnapped by my XBOX 360.

Fable 2 won't let me go. I can't help it, I buy property, play with my doggie, fight baddies and generally have a blast.

I may or may not being doing a podcast today. I am feeling ranty over the Mod 9 tardiness. I am tired of he said, she said and want the bloody thing released. I am trying to think of a positive tact I can have on my segment.

Wish me luck.

GAME ON!!!

Changes

If you are logging on this morning, you are not seeing things. I have been contemplating redoing my blog for a while now, and I changed it overnight.

I am hoping the site loads faster now. I don't know much about coding, but I tried to clean up what I had.

If there is a feature I used to have that I am now missing, let me know.

And please let me know if things are not working correctly.

I am still trying to get the e-mail button back for you guys. I can't figure out where the post footer is in the template, and think maybe I am so bleary eyed that I am missing the obvious.

I also have to figure out how to put feedburners info back on the site. They changed over to goggle and everything is messed up. I did burn another feed, but this SHOULD NOT affect anyone who was subscribed before. At least I hope not. It's not supposed to, but at this point I haven't the foggiest.

Do you like it? I think I like it. I think even if I don't like it, it was too much work to change it and I am not going back now. Still, I would love to hear if anyone actually has an opinion one way or another.

Even with a ton of coffee, I can do no more damage tonight.

*stumbles off to bed*

Cinderella and the Ball

I am a girl. I know newflash, right? Being a complicated being can be fabulous.

A fancy ball, however, reminds me of the all the reason's I despise girldom.

I seemed to have blocked out the pain of proms and dances from high school and college. Leave it to the Navy to have formal events and remind me of it all over again.

Some girls and I decided we would make a ladies night out of the Warrior's Surface ball held here. We bought our tickets and then the hunt for a dress commenced. I won't bore you with all the details, but geez.

With the great dress hunt of 2009 over I quickly descended into the purse, wrap, shoe, jewelry shopping. I had totally forgotten the nightmare.

Why are purses so expensive and well... so dang small. I couldn't fit a cell phone, compact and lipstick in the thing.

I finally got all the details finished and was ready for ball day.

Which involved a 2 and a half hour session for hair, a full set of nails and then getting all the stuff on, purse repacked 50 times and make up (IE Warpaint).

Don't get me wrong. I looked great. I felt great, but lords above what a pain in the rearend.

And see that hair, mine mine mine. All the pulling, twisting, bobby pins and hairspray was worth it.

I had a blast. Hung out with friends, drank some wine, complained about high heels, managed to not step on anyones dress and rip it and didn't lose track of the minuscule purse.

I will say though that it is not an experience I am pining to repeat in the near future.

I have a bunch of pictures up on myspace for anyone who wants to look.

I am trying to rest today. Been awhile since I partied and didn't fall back in bed until 3 am.

I am in hopes of getting to play Fable 2 on the Xbox 360. I got a few hours in yesterday before the ball, but I haven't touched it since.

I may not get to it for a few days though. I have static group in DDO tonight, appointments tomorrow, a class on Tuesday (more training for my Navy brain) and then I have a special girls date on Wednesday which I won't tell anyone about until it is over.

Oh... I won a free massage at a Navy Spouse Appreciation Event. I am not sure if that is good or creepy.

GAME ON!!!