Blaugust Winner

Blaugust Winner
Blaugust Winner 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Sims 4 Update - Life as a Man Ho

Since ArcheAge happened, I've not played as much Sims 4.  With all the queue times you'd think I would have time but I just have not found it.

Picking up where I left off, Roger Tate has not been as busy in the ways of love.  He has become more career focused.  There are perks with that as well!

Roger has 48 children now.  With the career goals, it has been tough to manage his extracurricular activities.  Now that he has become a successful author and a start up genius, Roger can refocus his efforts and wrap up his lifetime achievement of becoming a serial romantic.  Only 4 more "Gold Level" dates to go.


As a matter of fact, the ONLY way to get the huge TV is to become a Start Up Entrepreneur.  I don't feel that is appropriate but I don't make the rules.  

 Staying Fit

With all the woohoo going on, it is important to stay in shape.  NO Sim likes to see my flabby body and man handles, so I hit the treadmill a few times a week to keep my, erm, stamina built up.

Showing Up for Action

As a lover of the ladies, I get many callers.  Some of them even show up at the door ready for action.  This is a true testament of Roger's prowess.

Trust Me

You are the only girl for me!  Trust me!

Too Little Time

Unfortunately, Roger cannot sex all the women when they need it.  Leaving some women around town sad.  Understandably so.  

ONE of Roger's Families

Sometimes Roger has dinner parties with his extended families.  Fun times are had by all.  

Look Familiar?

I found these guys at the park one night.  Do they look familiar?

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Some Poetry, My Poetry

As a teenager I used to enjoy writing poetry.  I dabbled with some stories but never stuck to it.  A few years ago I jotted down a few things again.  It was a good feeling to put those emotions on a page.  Going back through some things I found a couple.  Time to share!


If I could erase myself
From the written page,
If I could live my life,
But never age,
If I could find my freedom,
From inside this cage….

What once was love
Is now lost forever.
What once was always,
Has become never.
What once was healthy,
Is now my fever….

To have the whole world,
And still have nothing.
To finally live my dream,
Only to die in my wailing.
To hold her in my hands,
And to lose everything….

My Little Girl

Curly brown hair
Cascading down in ringlets
Just below her perfect little ears.

Sweet chocolate eyes
Looking up to me with love
Innocence shining though.

Ten little fingers
Ten cute little toes
Held high in the air for me to tickle.

She smiles at me
Knowing she is my all
Everything I ever wanted.

Even though she is gone
My love for her endures
Always she will be my little girl.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Sims 4 Recap So Far - Is Man Ho a Profession?

I'd like to do one of these a week to chart progress for this Sim and others I might begin to play.

Meet Roger Tate!  

Roger is an alluring romantic, self-assured, but noncommittal.  Roger's goals so far have included becoming a best selling author.  His screenplay for "Twilight Bound" was a huge success!

Roger's goal in life is to father as many children as he can.  No matter the consequences.  He's not concerned with who might get jealous.

Holla at a playa if you see him in the street!

Making his move

Notice the bucket in the above picture?  These are VIP buckets and give off a romantic aura from completing romantic tasks.  There are 4 in Roger's bedroom and NO lady can resist his charms in that sacred space.

Where the magic happens!

The Re-Production Line

So far Roger has fathered 41 children with 12 different women.  There is no family tree view for Sims 4 to show.   

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Sims4 Here I Come!

Already on my gaming plate is ArcheAge, Planetside2 is a main staple, and I'm really getting back into Star Wars:The Old Republic.  With the new Sims release I was dying to play it as well.

My gaming problem?  I LIKE TOO MANY AT ONCE.

Maybe I should change that question to a statement: GAMING IS MY PROBLEM.

The day Sims4 launched I debated on buying it but wanted to hold off knowing I had other things I was enjoying.  My 12 year old niece, Lexi, stayed with us over last weekend and Labor Day.  She loves playing my Sims and really got into DC Universe Online.  Subconsciously I think I got Sims4 for her for when she returns another weekend.  Yeah!  That's it!

After she left Monday I got to thinking about Sims and something that Mogsy had told me via Twitter about one of her sims having 100 offspring. Here is the blog entry she linked to me about it.  To me this sounds like a worthy challenge.  So I made a sim in Sims3 to work on this.  I'm up to about 12 kids now.

I stayed up almost 20 hours straight playing Sims3!  Doh!

Here is the proof...

Honestly I cannot think of when I stayed up that long playing anything else.  I'm sure I have before, just cannot recall it.  

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blaugust is Ending - What I've Learned

I have REALLY enjoyed participating in Blaugust.  During the month I have found some of my blogging voice I'd hoped to find when I started a blog.

Along the way I have made some new acquaintances I hope can blossom into friendships.

My goal was for people who read my entries to get to know me and some of the major events in my life that shaped me into the person I am today.  I feel like I have achieved that.

While many participating generally blog about gaming, my personal entries were well received.

I was telling Belghast on Twitter there are are so many active blogging communities out there.  Diabetics are very active bloggers for example.  Maybe next year we can find another community and do a "Blaugust Crossover Event".  That probably sounds corny, but I think it would be a great thing.

Thank you to everyone who took a moment to read at least one of my entries.  Thank you to Belghast for throwing the party.

NOW.... if you will excuse me, I have to go tweak my Steam wishlist!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Did Your Wife Leave You for Someone She Met In An Online Game? If So Call 1-800-96-JERRY

Blaugust is winding down and I've been saving my best story for last.  In keeping with the personal gaming experiences theme I started the month off with, I thought I'd share the most personal one I have maybe.

For those that I do interact with on Twitter or in a game, you may have heard me say something to the effect of "It's all fun and games until your wife leaves you for some rogue in Nebraska."

When I first started playing online games in my early 20's, I thought it would be a cool place to meet members of the opposite sex.  Gemstone was full of people who would go off to the local inn in game, lock the door, and roleplay their encounters.  You can get extremely descriptive in a text based MUD!

One story from Gemstone in particular has stuck with me all these years.  There was a mature woman living with a comfortable lifestyle in Boston who was married with two kids who had graduated college already.  She fell in love with this teenager from New Orleans.  After a time, she left her husband, and paid to relocate this guy to Boston.  He had never seen snow before and was awestruck by it.  She helped the guy to get a real estate license and they struggled to make it all work.  It was a struggle too.  I'm not sure how that story ended, but I'm certain many of you know of similar cases.

Fast forward to my own experience.  My first wife, we'll call her 1.0, had never been a gamer.  Never seen an online game.  Most of us feel it would be cool if our spouses/SO's played games with us.  When we met, I was playing EVE a lot and I knew this would not be a game for her.  A new game was about to come out and I was in the beta.  World of Warcraft it was going to be called.  I'd played the stand alone PC game and loved it.  Blizzard makes the best cut scenes!

Once I showed her WoW, she fell in love with it.  We were sharing the computer, so when I was not playing, I was showing her how to play.  She had decided an undead mage was her favorite, and she just chose the first randomly generated name that popped up.  "Olis" it was.  Thus wife 1.0's gaming identity was born.

We get a second computer so we could play together at launch.  Took time off the first few days to play a lot together.  She'd found a guild for us to join prelaunch and I was OK with that.

Fast forward to 2006ish, I'm bad with dates.  A lot had happened in our lives since WoW launched.  We'd lost a child, got married, I'd found a new job at Dell that would turn into a nice 8 year gig.

We were just not the same people after losing the baby.  Understandably so.  She began to spend ALL day in WoW, and was not going to work due to medical leave.  She had became an officer in our guild and took on a leadership role.  Pretty soon she was talking with guild members over the phone that lived across the US.  Chatting about strategy and guild drama.

One day I came home from work and she informed me she was leaving.  Moving to North Carolina to live with a friend of hers that lived near the beach.  Being near the ocean she felt would help her find herself again.  All I wanted was for her to be happy and whole again.  If being by the ocean was what she needed, by all means, go do it.  I knew she was leaving me and I would never see her again.

We did argue about it, I fought for her to stay.  After all, she was the only tie I had with the child I lost.  Losing her was losing that tie.

Then she did something strange.  1.0 packed up her car with all it would hold, including our dog, and drove away.  That was strange because she left about ALL her clothes, personal effects, furniture...just left it with me.

A few days later I began getting mail about the checking account change of address for her.  It was in Nebraska.  NEBRASKA.  Who in their right mind would move there under their own free will?  Besides, she TOLD me she was going to stay with a friend near the ocean.  My very limited Tennessee public school education had taught me there was NO ocean in NEBRASKA!  This upset me greatly to say the least.

After some lengthy phone discussion with her I was able to drag the story out of her.  All of her time online in WoW she had bonded with a guy playing a rogue in our guild.  I knew him a little from the game but not well certainly.  She had essentially packed up her car with all it could hold and moved to Nebraska to be with him.  Her plan included me packing up the rest of her stuff and shipping it to her.  LOLOLOL  After informing her if she wanted those things she needed to come back and get them herself, she resigned to leaving them with me to do as I saw fit.

Over the long distance we worked out the divorce.  It was a fairly painless process.  I'd later discovered she fed the same "moving to the ocean" line to our marriage counselor.  That really let me know how invested she was in working things out.

I could go on but that's a great overview of the situation.  My current wife, 2.0, is not a gamer.  Will never be a gamer, but I did try to turn her on to it despite my past experiences.

If you are curious, 1.0 and I still speak from time to time on Facebook.  It sucks far more energy out of me to hate someone that it does to forgive.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Just What Are Echoes From the Abyss?

For the 29th of Blaugust I wanted to mention the "why" behind the name of my blog.  Rowan did a similar blog entry yesterday and asked others to speak about the name behind their blog.  I've written many posts this month about gaming, however, I did not start out the idea of a blog with that in mind.  I didn't know one gaming blogger until I played Rift.  That is where I first met Rowan, his wife, Scary, and a few others were in my guild.  They may not even remember me in that game.  Usually I would send them my collectible items via in game mail I could not use.

For me, the intention of doing a blog was more of a therapeutic tool in many ways.  Life is what we make of it, and sometimes life just has a way of happening to you.  Things out of your control either lift you up, or beat you up.  

Since I was a teenager I've always sort of felt like I was in some dark place.  Depression really.  The "abyss" speaks of that place.  A part of me will always reside in it.  

The "echoes" are the feelings, events, and ideas that emanate from that "abyss" out onto the blog.  

Not all of the echoes are depressing, there is plenty of light coming out of that abyss from time to time.  Right now, today, the light is winning.  Tomorrow, next week, could be a different result.  It is a constant battle.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

College Football is Back!

On the 28th day of Blaugust college football has returned!  I am super excited!

Since I no longer have cable TV, I thought this season might be hard to keep up with.  Thanks to the interwebs, I found a nice site that bootlegs all the games.  Not just college football...  If you want to watch Japanese baseball, they got it.  If you want to watch badminton in Qatar, they got that too.  If it is a sporting event taking place somewhere in the world, chances are they got it.  So I'm all set!

I did not graduate college, so I do not have an alma mater I root for.  My team is Alabama.  I'm not a bandwagon fan though.  As a kid, their games were always on TV.  They were just the team I grew up watching.  In the early 90's I was living in Tuscaloosa the year after they won the championship.  While living down there, I was able to meet a few members of the team where I worked.  Also was able to meet Gene Stallings, the coach at the time as well.

Since I do live in Tennessee, I also root for the Vols (unless they are playing Bama).  That probably sounds strange, but I have a hierarchy for the teams I root for.

Enjoy some football this weekend!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blaugust Slog

Today, the 27th of Blaugust, is the first day this month my entry feels like a chore.  From reading many of the other participants, I've done well to last this long!

Having said that, I do think the intentions for Blaugust have worked on me.  I am absolutely writing more.  Thinking about writing more.  Usually genuinely enjoying what I'm writing.

I find myself wanting to blog about my health in general as it is on my mind a lot.  Diabetes has been causing some complications with other systems in my body, mainly my liver.  Part of me worries I'd come across as "woe is me", but part of me feels like "it's my blog, I can write what I want".  I fall in between those somewhere.

At this time I'm also doing some job interviews and I don't want to write a lot of craziness on here an employer might frown upon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tattoos of Your Favorite Game: Would You Ever Get One?

Today is the 26th of Blaugust!  Certainly we are in the dog days of the month.

I was considering today that my wedding band has gotten too small, or rather I've gotten to fat, and was curious about getting a tattoo of a wedding band instead.  This train of thought spilled over into my blog and I considered if I'd ever get a tattoo of something from one of my favorite games.

It's a tough question for me at least.  I have one tattoo that is deeply personal so I would not be against getting others.  Doing a quick Google search on the topic reveals a LOT of material.  I'll let your fingers do the walking in your search bar.  But as for me, here are a few I might consider for myself.

Since I identify with villains, perhaps this

Maybe the Chelsith Stone from EQ2

Loved Rift: Defiant Symbol

Planetside Vanu Sovreignty

Starcraft Protoss Logo

Monday, August 25, 2014

Can't Blog, Busy Gaming

Had my second with Verizon, well I'm calling it a second, interview of sorts today.  Basically I went into their call center and took an assessment of sorts.  It is one of those opinion survey things that give them deep insight into your psychological makeup.  Along with multitasking skills, customer scenarios, and even typing skills.  It was very thorough and I passed.  Wednesday I go back for my final for real interview.

Getting back on the bandwagon of Star Wars: The Old Republic has been a lot of fun.  Even grouping some in the starting areas to complete some of the heroic missions has been good.  I'm weird when it comes to grouping.  I WANT to group with people I know, but I'm NEVER playing a game with people I know.  And 9/10 times I have the opportunity to group, I still go solo because I want to do my own thing at my own pace.  All of this I find perplexing.  With Elder Scrolls Online I stopped playing because I felt it was too solo and I wanted more group play.

What IS my problem?!  Let me know when you figure that out.  I need some advice.

I did resubscribe to SWTOR this week.  All the restrictions were strangling me.  It was apparent when I completed some low level quest that offered a chest reward, and the message told me I was not allowed to get that loot because I was not a sub.  Besides, I missed all my titles and legacy stuff.  We'll see how long I stay subbed.  

Blaugust the 25th!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Just When I Thought I Was Out.. They (SWTOR) Pull Me Back In

Today I subscribed to SWTOR again.  I WANT to blame Blaugust because it has me all nostalgic for games I have tossed away.  If I'm facing facts however, it really boils down to my desire to play a villain.

Earlier this month I talked about the lack of evil characters in MMO's.  To be a format that pretty much in every case has a good vs. evil scenario, it usually boils down to a few factions fighting each other and the same evil trying to destroy them both.  Neither faction is evil.  They are just vanilla.  Maybe one race on each side might LOOK sketchy, but that is NOT evil.

In Star Wars: The Old Republic I can straight up be evil.  I can seduce some of my companions to the Dark Side.  I can play a Jedi and make him go Dark.  There are all sorts of twisted scenarios I can do.

For now I created a brand new character to play so I can learn the game again after three years away.  A Sith warrior was my choice and I'm head over heels in love with him.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Adventures in Babysitting

For a couple of 40-somethings with no children, my wife and I probably aren't the best choices when it comes to being your babysitter.  I absolutely love children, but my supervisory skills are probably lacking.

tonight we agreed to babysit for the couple across the street.  They just hit their 30's.  Their kids are precious.  A 5 year old girl and a 2 year old boy.

The evening consisted of us coaxing the girl into eating her dinner while she thought of every lie to just get desert.  The boy he pretty much cleaned his plate without a peep.  She wanted the stuff he was eating because she didn't have any cheese.  And she LOVED cheese she said.  So we gave her some cheese.  Then she wanted grapes but nothing else on her plate.  I said no grapes until she ate her dinner.  Miraculously her stomach began to hurt and she was no longer hungry.  Grapes would make her stomach feel better though.  So we gave her grapes.  LOL

See?  We suck.

All manipulations aside, when it came to movie watching time, she was very sweet and snuggled up next to me while we watched Jungle Book, then some Curious George.

The boy was like a bowling ball.  Rolling onto things; couch, car seat, floor, and then right off again.  I was a bit worried he might bang his head, so I kept a close eye on him.  All in all he was well behaved and even let me tickle him until he couldn't breathe.

At one point a night light turned on as darkness fell and he saw his shadow on the wall.  It fascinated him.  His mom said he'd probably never really seen his shadow before.  He followed it back and forth across the wall, trying to figure out why it moved when he did.  Sort of like a cat with a laser pointer.

Things settled down until about 5 minutes before the parents were to arrive home, then everything went buckwild.  Running, chasing, jumping up and down.  A hootenanny broke out!

Luckily for us, it was time to leave... Blaugust the 23rd.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ice Bucket Challenge.. I'm SO Over You

As someone suffering from a chronic illness, diabetes, I totally think anything that raises awareness or money for a disease is awesome.  A buddy of mine texted me this week saying he had been challenged for the Ice Bucket and said he was thinking of nominating me.  I'm guessing he was just feeling me out to see how I'd take it.  He said he HAD to do it, that he had no choice.  He's known me throughout all my health issues so we always joke about them.  I let him know that with my delicate heart condition he didn't want to be responsible for my death from the shock the icy water would cause on my system.

But let's face it.  The Ice Bucket thing has to die down, take a backseat, fade away, whatever.  It's 15 minutes are up.  I no longer watch the videos.  Well I should say I only watch the "Ice Bucket Fail" videos.  Some of those are really good.  Much better than the successful ones.

Of course, celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon.  Later than everyone else, when they realized all the cool kids were doing it.  There was one celebrity challenge that really I think summed up where the Ice Bucket stands at this moment in time.

Liam and Noel Gallagher.  Brothers.  They can't fart without it being news in the UK.  You may know them from their band's Oasis, Beady Eye, or High Flying Birds.  These cats absolutely LOATHE one another.  Liam challenged Noel.  Here is a link to a British music tabloid with all the deets.  Enjoy!

Happy Blaugust the 22nd!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Long Day

Today was very busy and my little rubber band is about to wind down.  After only about 2 hours of sleep last night, I got up at 6am to make certain I was prepared for my phone interview at 8am.

Interview went as I expected.  I'm overqualified for the job.  To get hired at this place is like getting clearance for Fort Knox.  They won't even consider you if you've had a speeding ticket in the last three years.  Monday I'll go to their office for a second interview of sorts, then if I pass that, on to the hiring manager.

Once the interview was wrapped, I had to call the Chevy dealership and finally set up my car for their ignition recall.

I did manage to get in some hockey on the XBOX (I love sports games where I can play the team GM and build a dynasty), plant some barley in ArcheAge, and kill some fools in Planetside.

Usually I am up until about 3am, but tonight I'm going to bed early.

For some better blog entries than mine today, check out all those participating in Blaugust.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Job Interview Tomorrow - And Why I'll Still Be A Dragon

The 20th of Blaugust!

Tomorrow morning at 8am my time, I have a job interview with Verizon for a spot in their call center here in Murfreesboro, TN.  Remember when you needed to go to a physical place of business to pick up an application?  It was always best to hand that application to someone who would be doing the hiring.

Well times sure have changed.  My last job with Dell I answered an ad online through the local newspaper online classifieds.  It took a few weeks for them to call.  By the time they did, I had totally forgotten what the position was I even applied for.  I went down to speak with them in person for a formal interview (this was 9 years ago).

The job was for something called the XPS sales queue.  The XPS brand was being launched as a higher end system and I was to be one of those chosen to help sell them.  My new hire class was the first Dell had done directly and not through a temp agency in quite some time.

Best part of my interview was when they asked me... "If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?"

My response: "Well, it isn't really an animal per se, but I
would be a dragon."

I then elaborated... "A dragon is really this magical thing.  It can be anything it wants to be.  If it wants to fly, it can do that.  If it wants to take human form, it can do that too.  They are extremely intelligent as well."

For whatever reason, this got me the job.

Tomorrow, however, this will be a phone interview.  Even though the building is about 10 minutes from my home, we'll conduct the interview over the phone.  Probably even with someone who doesn't live or work at this call center.

Time have changed when it comes to interviewing for a job, but for certain when I'm asked what sort of animal I'd be again, that answer is simple.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

My Diabolical Plan - Turning My 12 Year Old Niece Into a Gamer

My only sister has two daughters.  The previously mentioned Lily, who turned 4 on Sunday.  And my favorite niece, solely because I'm her favorite uncle, Lexi.  Lexi will be 13 this November.

My wife and I do not have any children.  That ship has sailed for us.  We have sorta made it a goal to do more things with Lexi as a result.  Usually we take her fun places like the zoo, or aquarium out of town.  Now that she has gotten a little older, she has become interested in some of the games I'm playing.  She does have an XBOX of her own, and I'm currently borrowing NHL12 from her right now for funsies.

The last weekend she came to visit I discovered that she liked anime and manga.  These are things I know absolutely NOTHING about.  We took a trip to Barnes & Noble for her to pick out some manga books.  I was able to find on Hulu the TV version of her favorite series, Soul Eater.  Much of the weekend was spent watching this with her and I will admit I got into a bit.

Lexi loves to play my Sims 3 games on PC.  She created her own sim and started out in town.  She was dying to go to college though, and I cautioned her that college was hard on a sim.  What with loud music, keggers, showers breaking, spoiled food everywhere, no time for sleep...  Lexi dove in head first, however.  Later she admitted I was right.

For her next visit two weeks from now, I downloaded the Sims 4 creator for us to play around with.  I told her I'm even waiting on her to visit so we can use it together for the first time.  She mentioned how much fun it was for her to watch me play Planetside while listening to classical music.  I thought perhaps a trip to the virtual reality training ground on Auraxis might be fun also.  This way she can learn how to shoot stuff without it shooting back.

And we still have another 30 or so episodes of Soul Eater to get through if all that fails.... Blaugust the 19th!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Evil is Real and it Exists in Star Wars: The Old Republic

Darth Thanatos was weak.  Weaker than I.  And so he is dead....

I was one of those people who pre-ordered SWTOR and played the hell out of it for a few months.  It is honestly the only game besides WoW that I raced to max level.  Once I got there, the game felt empty.  Like the heart of the game itself was just gone.

The class story for my Sith Sorcerer was amazing!  I absolutely loved it.  My guild at the time were some strong players, but it seemed like our luck was awful when it came to raiding.  Always encountering bugs and we could seldom finish as a result.

My patience for the game was at an end when a patch was announced that included only fluff and it fixed zero of the problems I'd encountered at level 50.  SWTOR also holds another distinction with WoW as probably the only two games I've rage quit.  (My rage at WoW was on a whole other level but that will probably be saved for my last post for Blaugust.)

My recent blog about games with the option to play a REAL villain got my hunger to play SWTOR again.  Besides the story itself, I totally enjoyed force shocking some insolent fool babbling in front of me.

The whole cash shop system was put in after I'd quit, and I recall from reading stuff at the time how tick tack it was.  Looking it over today, I totally agree.

Here are some of the most evil dudes ever to conquer Correlia!

Tyluroth K`Tarl and Khem Val

Just how diabolical did I have to be to turn a Jedi to the Dark Side...

Ashara Zavros & Her NEW Master... ME

I am terrible and want to subscribe to every game I've written about during Blaugust!  Stop me!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Today My Niece Lily Turned 4

Today on the 17th of Blaugust my niece Lily turned 4.  My wife and I attended the party at my mom's and Lily was in fine form.  Lily has taken a keen interest in all things Ninja Turtles.  donatello is her favorite, so much so, at daycare recently she informed them her name was Donatello and refused to answer to the name Lily whatsoever.

Here she is at daycare dressed in some Turtles garb.

Being 4 she loves to tell the truth.  Today I learned that I was stinky, and funny looking.  At least I got a hug after forking over the first 3 seasons of TNMT cartoons on DVD.  Those brownie points will soon be forgotten I'm sure.

So you know what I was dealing with today, her is a selfie she took on her Leapfrog tablet.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Why So Few Evil Options in MMO's?

I was thinking this week why there were so few options to play a really evil type of character in the majority of MMO's.  Sure you can roleplay someone who is evil.  Maybe a fallen paladin or power hungry mage.  But there are not a lot of options out there (from my experience) to do really dastardly things.

Gemstone being the first real online game I'd played had options to choose a diety to follow.  There were Liabo (light), neutral, and Lornon (dark).  Knowing who a player worshiped gave you an idea of how to deal with that character.  Gemstone Diety List

Everquest has a great pantheon of deityies.  The lore and descriptions of those gods really helped me to immerse myself into the game.  Primarily playing Dark Elves, I fell in love with Innoruuk, and the story of how the Teir'Dal were created.  EQ clearly defines which races are good, evil, or neutral.  This I like.  EQ Race Breakdown

Star Wars the Old Republic absolutely has great evil options with the Dark Side of the force.  This was a game I relished the role of being a Sith Sorcerer.  Knowing my decisions to kill thousands of rebels with my choices excited me!  

I always joke that I play a good guy in real life, but evil characters online.  Something about being the mysterious wild card, chaotic sort of fellow excites me.  

What games have you played that had good villain or evil choices that you enjoyed?

Blaugust  the 16th!

Friday, August 15, 2014

How I've Cut the Cable TV Cord

Blaugust the 15th!

Kellye and I started looking into getting rid of our Comcast TV subscription about a year ago.  The main sticking point for us was some shows on HBO and a handful of others like Madmen, college football, and Nashville Predators hockey.  TV is a luxury, but it had become such a big part of my life the thought of getting rid of it honestly made me anxious.

I looked into how we could watch the shows we liked now that were on regular network TV.  Since we'd be losing the DVR, we'd need a way to stream on demand.  So we went with Hulu Plus for many of those.  We have been a Netflix customer for years.  Amazon Prime is good for some movies as the majority of the prices were in line with Comcast on demand.  Now on many things they appear to be higher.

While looking into buying an over the air (OTA) antenna for local live channels, which are in HD, I found a company called Mohu with a kickstarter for a cool new product, Mohu Channels.  In a nutshell, Channels is a single pane of glass for your OTA channels, andriod apps, and web on your TV.  I've had it for a few weeks now and I am really enjoying it.  A TRUE web browser on my TV!  With it being a brand new product, there are some hiccups.  The majority of those are ironed out.  Being able to use 5.1 sound to pass through my AV receiver is the main one left to implement that will impact me the most.

This still left us without some sports and HBO shows.

Through some creative Google searching, I found a handful of sites that stream sports live.  The majority of those were sketchy to say the least.  Adware and crap all over them.  One I stuck with though and used it to watch Stanley Cup playoffs, and some World Cup.

Probably the best find of all was a site that streams many of our HBO shows, TNT shows, and a lot of movies that playing right now in theatres.  This site has tons of buttons that will pull up anything BUT what you want to look at, but for the savvy computer user it is easy to see what is bull and what is real.  I watch this site several times a week.  It allowed us to watch this season of Game of Thrones and True Blood.  All in HD.

Here is a list of sites I've mentioned above as well as another I've found helpful to view programming from outside of the United States.

For sports:

For movies and pay TV shows:

I am still using Comcast for internet, but dying to ditch them.  There just are not comparable providers in my area.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

What a Day - Then Pukkelpop Online!

Blaugust the 14th!

Woke up today needing to run some errands.  Got cleaned up, dressed up, went out to the car and it would not start.  Looks like the battery because nothing will come on, lights, radio, etc.

Last night we discovered what appeared to be ticks on our dogs.  A LOT of ticks.  We've lived here four years with dogs and I can count on one hand the ticks we have found on them.  So imagine my surprise.  

Our dogs are beagles, and the two older ones are pretty calm, but the youngest, Dottie, she is a total spaz.  Since it was late last night when we discovered the ticks, it had to wait until today.  Once Kellye and I dug into the task of tick removal, it wasn't ticks at all.  I've never seen anything like it.  Dottie has some sort of little scabs as if she got into the briars.  

So we doused Rocco, Gracie, and Dottie with flea and tick repellent.  

Also this afternoon I noticed on Twitter that Pukkelop 2014 music festival was going on in Belgium today.  I went to their website looking for a live stream and found it!  European festivals are FANTASTIC when it comes to streaming their festivals.  One problem I run into living in the United States is region coding for these streams do not allow viewing outside of the broadcast country.  There is a cool little browser extension for Chrome I installed called HOLA which helps bypass this regional coding thing.  As a result, I was able to watch my favorite band, Editors, headline the first day of the festival!  

If you love music, you have to love the internet.  

HOLA also allowed me to watch much of the World Cup after cancelling my cable TV subscription.  I'll do an entry in detail about cutting the cord with cable before the month is up.  

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Shoutout to My Wife

My wife deserves some praise this Blaugust!  She is not a gamer, so the rigors of my lifestyle were lost on her from the start.  There was a time we attempted to play Everquest 2 together, but she just couldn't master the movement and combat.

She's been very supportive of me, of my dreams, of my gaming, of my battle with diabetes.  She gets it all.  Over the past year I've been working on getting into a new career and it has taken me longer than I anticipated.  All this time she's worked longer hours, gotten TWO promotions at her company, and kept us afloat.  I cannot begin to tell you all how grateful and appreciative I am of her.  I'm also proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone and taking on a different role.

All this month, she's tried keeping up with my blog but she's a few behind.  this one will probably be her favorite.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Few of My Favorite PWD (Person With Diabetes) Blogs

Blaugust day 12!  Is this month over yet?!

Many of you know I'm a diabetic.  Those that are also diabetic know exactly how much hard work that is to maintain your glucose levels.

Since this month is Blaugust and about ALL types of blogging, I wanted to share some links of some of my favorite PWD bloggers.  Just like gamer blogs, there are oodles of diabetic blogs.

Over the past two years I've discovered the online diabetic community and they are really my support group in so many ways.  The diabetes healthcare community is seeing what a huge impact social media can have on treatment.  The Diabetes Social Media Advocacy (DSMA) #dsma is a great tool for the Diabetes Online Community (DOC).

Here are links to a few of my favorite diabetes blogs.  I hope you find them as helpful as I have.

Texting My Pancreas - Kim is the founder of the You Can Do This Project,  and very accessible for discussion on Twitter as well @txtngmypancreas

diabetogenic - Renza lives down under and has a great blog about her own personal every day experiences with diabetes.  She's on Twitter @RenzaS

Rich the Diabetic - Rich has an interesting life story.  His journey on keeping his glucose in check and staying active and fit is a real inspiration.  On Twitter @richthediabetic

Diabetesaliciousness - Loved the name of Kelly's blog the first time I saw it.  She's "all about spreading diabetes validation through humor, ownership, & advocacy." Find her on Twitter @diabetesalish

Monday, August 11, 2014

Depression... A Lot of Us Have Been There

Day 11 of Blaugust.

It is sad news when anyone dies.  Regardless of what your beliefs are, even if you feel they are going to a better place, there is still a period of sadness.  Robin Williams apparently committed suicide today.  Obviously I'm not privy to his personal demons.  Each of us have things that make us blue, and certainly what makes me sad may not affect someone else at all.

There have certainly been some low points in my life.  I believe that losing a child was it for me.  There just are no words to describe that experience.  At that time in my life, I had no other friends who had gone through this.  I had no sounding board, no confidant to discuss it with comfortably.  My wife 1.0  (version 2.0 has many upgrades) at the time was a wreck over it.  I was a wreck.  It was just one big wreck.

My relationship with my father has always been strained.  A lot of it I have to accept the responsibility for.  At the time this happened, we were on semi-good terms.  When I called to tell him that my baby, his grandchild, had been stillborn his response to me was "Oh well."

Let that sink in a moment.

At a time when I needed someone most, from the person I most sought acceptance from, this was the response I got.  To be honest, I really think he simply didn't know what to say and that is all he could muster.

This is deeply personal.  It is a huge part of who I am.  It is an experience that shaped me into the person I am today.  My perspective on life changed a great deal.  There is not a day that goes by I do not think of Carly.  Not one.  It will be 10 years this December.

One of the big reasons I wanted to blog at all was to get out ideas and feelings.  I would encourage everyone to just talk to someone if things go to a dark place.  If that someone gives you an "Oh well" go to someone else.  Or come to me.  

Just know that you aren't alone.  Promise.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Stepping Out Tonight

Blaugust day 10!  This one's a quickie.

Heading out into the big city of Nashville to see some live music tonight.  One of my favorite artists, Jolie Holland, is playing in town.  This will be my third time seeing her.  I don't usually go see the same artists a LOT of times, but this is in a small club so will be a nice intimate show.  Her new album is getting a lot of praise.

Wine Dark Sea review

The first time I heard her music was on a Suicide Girls video.  Her voice is just something so unique and different to me.  Hope we can get a table at this place.  I don't want to stand up all night.  I'm too old for that!

Last (and only) time we went to this venue the lead singer passed out onstage.  We were sitting next to the table with all their friends and family so we saw them take some drugs before the show.  Band played one song twice at one point.  Tonight will be much different.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

My Ten Most Favorite or Influential Albums

Music is a real passion of mine.  I do not play any instruments myself.  I do have a bass but have never learned to play it.  Just looks cool sitting in the corner here.  Music keeps me young really.  Going to live shows, the occasional festival.

Here is my belief about music:

One could argue modern medicine, or other technological advances sure.  In my mind, it's music though.  Hands down.  When a band or artist creates something and it connects with you; really touches your soul, then you know exactly what I'm talking about.

I put together a Spotify playlist.  The link to it is here Top Ten Albums.

This list is in no particular order.  Be sure though that each one has touched me in some way or another.  This is music that makes me FEEL.  It evokes emotion good or bad in some cases.

Here is the rundown:

Matthew Sweet - Girlfriend
I'm not sure where it was I first heard the title track from this album, "Girlfriend".  When I saw the cover shot of Tuesday Weld I had to buy it.  For me the album runs across a range of emotions.  The opening notes of "Divine Intervention" gives the feel that something is beginning.  Something is about to happen.  It is the start.  The smoldering "Holy War" is also a highlight for me.

Boston - Boston (self titled)

Absolute classic.  Pretty much everyone knows this album.  A shame that legal issues had to derail this band.  I was lucky enough to catch them live before lead singer Brad Delp committed suicide in 2007.

Editors - The Back Room

This is a band none of you have heard of I'll wager.  Right now they are my favorite band on the planet.  The only band I have chased them around the country to see their shows.  San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Philly.  Tom Smith's voice just resonates with me.  They have better albums, but this one is raw.  Not as finely tuned.  Rough edges can be nice.  In 2012 the lead guitarist left the band and the last  album was a whole different affair.  The Back Room was their debut.

Cold Cave - Cherish the Light Years

Cold Cave is really one guy.  Wes Eisold.  I met him in Atlanta following a show and he was one of the warmest, friendliest artists I've met.  He makes art.  I really love all the angst and suffering on this album covered up in the glossy sheen of poppy sounds.  I danced at that show until my clothes were completely wet with sweat.  Main tracks for me on this are "The Great Pan is Dead", "Underworld USA" and "Villians of the Moon".  Eisold use to front hardcore bands such as American Nightmare, Some Girls, and Give up the Ghost when he was younger.

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin I (self titled debut)

Zeppelin made so much GREAT music, but this first album is probably my favorite.  In my opinion, this album is one that really helped build the bridge between blues and heavy rock.  Everything on here is fantastic.

Jolie Holland - The Living and the Dead

Jolie is another artist I was lucky enough to meet.  She is a storyteller and has a love for American classic folk music, as well as Sunny and the Sunsets...  Jolie is a unique voice.  Songs on here I adore are "Mexico City" and "Sweet Palmyra".  She was also in the band The Be Good Tanyas.

Joy Division - Unknown Pleasures

I discovered New Order before Joy Division.  Ian Curtis is absolutely on my list of people I want to meet either living or dead.  The lyrics on a lot of his music is just his soul painfully laid bare.  "New Dawn Fades" and "Shadowplay" are probably my favorites on here.  Ian hung himself on the eve of leaving to tour the US in 1980.  He was just 23.

New Order - Movement

This is the first NO album, really it is the third Joy Division album, but this didn't come together until after Ian Curtis' death.  The vast majority of the lyrics are Ian's.  Bernard and Hooky even try to sing like Ian on the record.  "Ceremony" is such a haunting song.  It is my favorite of the early NO tracks.

Iron Maiden - Powerslave

This band really kicked off my heavy metal phase, and this album was just amazing to me.  I saw them on this tour and I was hooked.  Metal used to be a big part of my musical life.  Still to this day I enjoy it from time to time.  Favorites on here are "Aces High" and "Rime of the Ancient Mariner".

Motley Crue - Shout at the Devil

Don't laugh!  When this came out in 1983, it was my world.  I heard this album and it took me to another place.  They were the very first band I ever saw live even, opening for Ozzy.  I had NO idea what to make of these guys.  This glam metal look was so far removed from anything I'd seen growing up in Tennessee.  Vince Neil can't even sing and I love this stuff.  Noteworthy tracks for me are "Shout at the Devil", "Too Young to Fall in Love", and "Ten Seconds to Love".  Just listening to this you can smell booze and sex.  It's just a dirty dirty album.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Enjoying My Time in ArcheAge - With Helpful Links

Today is the 8th of Blaugust

I wanted to talk a little about ArcheAge.  I've played a few of the Asian games and ultimately didn't like them, but this one may be different.  It just may be the most complex MMO I've ever played.

I will say right out of the gate that the community is awful.  There are a few good people you can find in chat, but they are few and far between.  Part of this is because there is so little information out there about some of the more intricate details of gameplay, people are hoarding this knowledge for an advantage come launch.  The majority of those playing alpha now have been in alpha for months.

For starters this game is beautiful.  Easy on the eyes.  Who is more beautiful?  The moon or Caladria?

One thing that I've always done in games is try to be a jack of all trades.  Crafting skills are fun for me.  I enjoy gathering.  This game is different.  Labor is specialized really.  What I mean by that is there are SO many options guilds are going to assign jobs.  You should pick one you like, but be willing to be flexible if something else is needed.  
The guild I'm in on Omega server, Cranky Old People are a fun bunch who have been playing in alpha build for months.  They've been very helpful to me.  They gave me my first taste of naval combat.

The dungeons have some cool looking boss guys and neat cut scene entrances for them.

Housing is pretty interesting too.  I wanted to build a house in alpha to experience it.  Finding land was a bit tough.  My plot is in a contested zone but it's pretty easy to dodge PvP out there.

And the shot from my front steps.

Nothing in this game is really easy.  The PvE quests are, but PvE isn't what this game is really about.  It's still necessary in my opinion at lower levels to get gear from questing, however, you can level your character by doing any of the trade skills.  EVERY labor thing you do will give you experience, with exception of planting stuff to harvest.  I've outleveled my quest lines by making items and gathering goods.  So that is problematic a bit to me.  Your mounts and pets gain levels also through kills if they are summoned and active.  They do not get any exp from your quests or trade skills.

Here is my Titanic moment...

As promised, some helpful links! My guild is linked above but for sake of having them all together;

I CANNOT live without this interactive map. It shows a LOT of info, most notably airship and carriage routes.

This is the best guide to plants, trees, husbandry, and underwater farming I've found.

ArcheAge skill calculator and class combinations. 

The ArcheAge reddit if you enjoy being called a douchbag by people on the internet.

10 things you should know if you plan to play alpha or beta - VERY helpful 

And if you want to dabble in the more nefarious side of things... like being a pirate...

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Roleplay & Raiding - Never Go Full Gnome

New Blaugust entry!

Back when I was playing Everquest, leading a guild on Quellious, putting together raids and whatnot, we had the sweetest little guild.  The Adventurer's League of Norrath (TALON).  I didn't come up with the name, my old buddy Brian (Briak) did, and along with his friend Ken (Korak), we founded the guild pretty much right after Quellious went live.  Starting out on Rallos Zek at launch, we were fed up with getting ganked and having our gear looted, so with a new server came a new start.

We had decided we wanted to be a mature family type of setup, roleplay was encouraged, and to get into the guild a new invite had to speak at a guild meeting and tell the story of their character.  It didn't have to be anything long and drawn out.  Just as much or as little as you wanted to put into your character's story, you could do it.

As our guild grew, we were able to take on more content as a guild only.  Without pickups.  You have all been there.  Small guild with some growing pains, looking to enjoy more of the game.  At the time I was mostly playing Tyluroth K`Tarl, my Dark Elven warrior.  Blademaster to Naythos (spell it how you like) Thex, King of the Teir'Dal, Secret Head of the Dark Brotherhood, /cough /gag /splutter.. you get the idea.  Ty was able to tank in some raids.  Our guild was interested in working through Kael Drakkel, so I'd planned a raid for us.

You know how it is to get 20 people in one place at the right time to plan anything in an online game.  It's like herding cats.  From a roleplay perspective, I didn't do any during raids while instructions were done and pulls going on.  I did not want to leave room for miscommunication.  Everyone had their assignments and things were going well until......

Coryn the Gnome (her last name escapes me) decided to go "Full Gnome" on us.  Coryn was a member of my guild, one of our early members.  Along with her boyfriend and their friend they were part of our core group.

It was shortly after we'd got into a rhythm with pulls, Coryn decided to wander off in search of treasure.  Surely the giants of Kael Drakkel just had it lying around gathering dust.  As soon as one fight was complete, while we were regaining mana, I noticed she wandered off.  She soon came back with 2 or 3 giants and was like "Oh my!  Lookie what found me!"

We all had a good chuckle after we tightened up our bootstraps and began to rest up for the next pull.  All of a sudden, here she is again with more mobs!  Well this time I knew something was up.  I sent her a tell to discuss and kindly asked that she stopped doing that.  She replied in character that she was "Looking for treasure!"  I'd still hoped she got the message, however.

Next pull, she goes off and pulls MORE at the same time.  I'd had enough, and sent a tell to her boyfriend who was in the raid with us.  He was all "That's Coryn doing her thing."  At this point, I had no choice but to call the raid over.  After some heated discussions afterwards in which it was put back on me that TALON  was an RP guild and she shouldn't be punished for roleplaying, I removed her from the guild.

This was the beginning of the end of our little group as we knew it.  Because Coryn decided to go "Full Gnome" and stay "Full Gnome" it ruined the enjoyment of several others.  And things were never the same for me in Everquest after this.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Origins of a Gamer: You Trained Your Character in What?!

I am really enjoying all of the Blaugust entries and it has kickstarted my desire to keep up with my blog!  Thanks Belghast!

I've always been one to attempt to blaze my own trail in many things.  Early on in my gaming life I roleplayed quite a bit.  As I've gotten older that has fallen by the wayside.  Part of roleplay for me was also in how I trained my character, what skills I used, and certainly the class and race.

When I was playing Gemstone as a bard, the majority of the bard song spell tree didn't even work.  There were something like 25 songs on the list and only a handful were even useful.  Training up the list, however, did grant bonuses to the ones that worked well.  The more songs you knew the better chance of success for example.  Literally NO ONE trained up the bard tree past the first few.

One of the beautiful things about Gemstone is that you could train any class into any skill.  If you want to be an empath that trains in lockpicking, you can do it.  The cost was way higher than if you are a rogue training in it, however.  My favorite weapons have always been polearms, and bards can use them, but it is very expensive.  I said to hell with it!  I was going to train the way I wanted to, no matter the problems I might encounter down the line.

People on the message boards told me I would gimp my character if I went all songs using a polearm.  I just made it a point to buck the wisdom of my elder bards and play how I wanted to play.  In the end I was more successful than even I had imagined.

I carried this philosophy if taking the road less traveled in many games.  The NON-COOKIE CUTTER approach.  With Everquest I mainly played a Dark Elven warrior, which was one of the worst races to choose, and I tanked in raids.  My secondary character was an Erudite priest who worshiped Quellious.

I like the challenge that sometimes comes with being unique.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Origins of a Gamer: Where Did You Get THAT Name?

Blaugust 5th entry!

When you start out playing games, you gotta have a few things.  Most notably, a name for your character!  The very first time I EVER had to come up with a name for anything was in college around 1988.  Some buddies started up a D&D campaign in the dorm.  I'd never played D&D.  Never seen anyone play it.  Never knew anyone that had ever played it.  Growing up in a conservative southern Christian bible belt area, I thought this was something satanic maybe!

Having said all that, I was intrigued.  My buds gave me some tips on what sort of character I should be.  After seeing that Saturday morning cartoon in the early 80's I thought it would be cool, but I didn't want to play any of those sissies.  I needed a character with some edge.  I listened to a lot of heavy metal then, and had heard a band name somewhere called Tredegar.  Didn't know crap about them, just sounded edgy and foreign to me.  At the time I was also taking a Spanish class and I thought maybe something else was needed to make this name sound like a BAD guy.  Coming the Spanish word "mal" with "degar" I came up with my first gaming name.  MALDEGAR.  He was all two handed sword swinging nearly 7 feet of badass.

I came up with that one all on my own.  Didn't have to steal it from any movies or books.  It may have been my very first nerdgasm.

When I began playing Gemstone I used this name early on, but once I'd decided on playing a bard, that name just didn't feel "bardy" so I had to some up with something else.  It was around this time I'd started reading some Terry Brooks.  "Sword of Shannara"  was fresh on my mind.  Also the NCAA basketball tournament was going on.  Stanford had a guard with the name of Brevin Knight.  My name is Kevin.  Never heard of anyone named Brevin but thought that was cool, and it stuck in my head.  So at character creation I named my bard Brevin O'Sarandanar.  SarandaNON is a valley in the world of Shannara.  I didn't want to straight rip the name so I tweaked it a little.  Brevin felt "bardy" to me! 

The usual name I use when gaming is Tyluroth.  It is a name I came up with on my own as well.  In Gemstone there my favorite deity was Fash'lo'nae, the god of forbidden knowledge.  The Grandfather he was called.  Being all hardcore player that I became, it was not long before that second account was created.  On this account I created a Dark Elven priest.  I couldn't just name myself after a god!  So I essentially broke down the syllables into TY'lu'roth and created the last name of K`Tarl.

I've been using this name for over 20 years.

Ty, as my friends call me/him, has seen many incarnations.  Dark Elven priest in Gemstone.  Dark Elven warrior in Everquest.  Elven Archon in Rift.  Imperial Templar in Elder Scrolls Online.  It's been a long list.

Brevin by far is my favorite.  Mainly because he was my first true gaming love.  The first thing I really felt I created with my heart and soul in a gaming world.

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Really Hate Diabetes

My fourth Blaugust is not about gaming.  I'll get back to that tomorrow.  While I know I can blog about anything, my goal was to do as much gaming material as I could.

Today, however, I'm just pissed off about my health. I had an appointment with my gastroenterologist about my liver.  I've been a diagnosed diabetic for about ten years now.  Many of us know their diagnose date, but I do not.  Diabetes has caused my liver to become cirrhotic and that has given me a whole new set of issues to deal with.  With my recent gall bladder removal, due to my cirrhotic liver, I had to be cut open instead of having the laparoscopic procedure.  My recovery time has been far longer as a result.

My GI doc told me "If you can maintain decent glucose levels and with your age, you would be an ideal candidate for liver transplant."  LOL!  I mean... That's all I wanted to hear was "liver transplant".  He followed that up by saying i was not anywhere near being in that shape.  So my point is "Why bring it up?"  It was certainly two words I didn't want to hear or discuss today.

Tomorrow back to your regularly scheduled topic.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Origins of a Gamer: The High Cost of Gaming

This is my third Blaugust entry! 

Sticking with my theme talking about my own personal history of gaming and how I became a gamer, hence my "Origins of a Gamer" titles, I am going to tell a story I've told NO ONE but my wife.  And I only told her YESTERDAY.  Partly because I knew none of my friends would understand it.  They still won't I'm sure.

The high cost of gaming will make mean something different for many of you.  Cost of a new console.  Cost of upgrading your PC or components.  Cost of a "Founders Pack".  Cost buying the game itself.  Or the cost of a monthly subscription fee.

In my last entry I talked about finding the MUD Gemstone on AOL and it being my first real MMO experience.  Back in 1992 where I lived there was no real viable internet option but AOL, and living so far out in the boondocks there was no toll free line to connect online.  Not only was I paying for the AOL subscription, but AOL was kind enough to roll your long distance fees into your monthly bill.  This meant paying more for long distance than you'd normally pay your phone company. Just one of the pitfalls of trying to be cool by being online, right?

Living with my parents at the time, my room had no phone jack in it.  However, my sister Britney had a jack in her room just down the hallway.  When I would come home after work everyone would be asleep and I'd bought like a 25ft phone cord that I would run from my computer down the hallway to her room.  Before going to sleep myself I had to remember to go unplug it and put everything back to where I found it.  Some real high level cloak and dagger stuff here!  

As you can imagine finding a new game, the thrill of those first days playing, the desire to soak up as much content as you could, well that is exactly what I did.  As time went on and the more of Elanthia I explored, the better I understood how to play.  The longer I played, the higher the cost.  

BIG REVEAL --- Mind you, had these fees shown up on my parents phone bill, I would have most assuredly been kicked out of the house.  The wonderful people at AOL must have foreseen this when they decided to roll the long distance fees into their monthly charge for membership.  The largest monthly bill I paid for playing Gemstone that I can safely remember was ALMOST $900

THIS is the "High Cost of Gaming" that I am speaking of.  It is so funny to hear people bellyache about how much a game costs, or a game should be free to play.  Well some of us have shelled out more in a month to play a single game that some people will pay in years.  

And thus the exploits of "Brevin O'Sarandanar, the Bard Who Could Not Whistle" were born.  

Tomorrows #Blaugust entry - Origins of a Gamer - Where did you get THAT name?  

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Origins of a Gamer: My first MMO

Long before any of us heard the term MMO we'd been playing games.  Be that board games, console games, pickup basketball, etc. we were already gamers.  Most of you reading this blog entry will no doubt have played some of the very first MMORPG's to come down the pike.  I'm talking about Ultima Online and Everquest most notably.  But before those there was a thing called a MUD.  Again, some of you will have played those games, and this isn't about their history, but MY history as a gamer.

My first real taste of online gaming came around 1992.  I was 22 and living at home with my parents after throwing away a college scholarship (that's a topic for a whole other show as Jerry Springer might say), but I had a great job and literally zero bills.  There was a lot of disposable income in my pocket.

I had a little PC at home I used for LAN parties sometimes.   You know, those good ole days where about 8 to 10 of your closest friends would pack up EVERYTHING and  take it to someone's house, then UNPACK it all, set it up, order a lot of pizza, and play games until dawn?  Yup, that.

Well AOL (American Online as many of my Dell customers would call it) was my ONLY option for internet back then.   I did live in the deep sticks.  One night after a long day at work I was logging into AOL to get into some good ole chat room discussions, and I saw an ad on the main screen about this online game new to AOL.  It was called Gemstone.

Being a veteran of LAN parties I thought how cool it would be to play with people over the internet!  From the moment I loaded up the game and started playing, I was hooked.  I had played some text based games before on my old Texas Instruments TI-99 PC I had as a kid, but the "room" descriptions in Gemstone were what really caught me.  My screen may have been black and white, but the words painted such a vivid picture of where I was.  What I was seeing.  It left a strong impression.

Gemstone is still going.  You can take a look at it and play it here.  I will talk more about it tomorrow.

This is my second entry for Blaugust.

Tomorrow's entry - Origins of a Gamer: The High Cost of Gaming

Friday, August 1, 2014

Origins of a Gamer: How I Got Started

All this month I will be participating in Blaugust, which is a blogging initiative to do a blog entry every day for the entire month.  The vast majority of those doing Blaugust are gaming bloggers, and I seldom blog (but want to do more of it).  These guys and gals have accepted me into their community on Twitter and I'm grateful for the new friendships.  This will be my attempt early on at least to talk about my own gaming origins.

In trying to think of the where and how I became a gamer, originally I thought about Everquest.  In that game I was a guild leader on Quellious, a raid tank, a roleplayer.  it was really my first taste of bigtime gaming.  But as I thought about all the people and memories that made my time there such a great experience, I began to remember the things that got me started.

Sure I played a lot of board games as a kid.  For a long time I was an only child, and living out in the country... I mean the DEEP sticks, there were zero kids around me my age.  None.  On the weekends I would stay at my grandparents, while they also lived in the country at least their road was paved.  There were kids my age to play with.  Mostly we played sports together, against one another.  Football, basketball, softball.  Winter didn't even stop us from playing football outside.  My competitive spirit was born!

My grandmother was big into playing cards.  Canasta was the game of choice along with some Rook.  On Friday or Saturday evenings she would get together with her friends and play these games and I would watch them closely to learn.

As I look back on things, these games were like the first pen and paper D&D in my mind.  each player had their own style of play.  They interacted socially while playing.  Often times trying to provoke or coerce others into playing a certain way.

THIS was my first multiplayer gaming experience!

At around the age of 14 I was able to work my way into playing with them.  This doesn't sound very exciting for a teenage boy.  To be playing Canasta on a Saturday night with a bunch of bluehaired old women.  Maybe I was just wired differently because I absolutely loved it.  I was so excited when they let me sit in finally.

Tomorrow - Origins of a Gamer: My first MMO