I’ve not posted for a week, and probably will be scarce for two more, at least. As I mentioned in a previous post, the pace at work has hit Warp 9.5. When things slow down enough for me to think straight, I’ll be back to posting random observations and botched movie quotes. Whee!~H

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Friday at Last!

Woo hoo! (By the way, I find it funny that spell check underlines hoo, but not woo.) On the way home today, I saw one of those gas pipeline way stations enclosed in a chain-link fence. My first thought was, “ooh, random encounter!” Why? Because I played Fallout3 so much, and several zones in Fallout3 had similar way stations. This thought got me to remembering other stupid game-related observations I’ve made while driving home.

When we were playing WoW, I would see bumps in the landscape and think “ooh, chest!” because at first glance they looked like the treasure chests in WoW.

When we were playing Lord of the Rings Online, I would see bushes out in otherwise grassy fields and think, “ooh, raspberries!” because they looked like the raspberry bushes in game.

And my favorite. When we were playing Hellgate:London, I would see raised manhole covers on the side of the road and think, “ooh, treasure passageway!” because they looked like…well, the openings to treasure passageways.

It’s not that I just think these things look similar, it’s that I actually think for a split second that I’m looking at a real one from whichever game and could harvest/go into it. Too much immersion in my gaming? I wonder.~H

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Hockey Night

I’m watching/listening to a hockey game tonight, so a bit distracted. However, I’ve got pics for you from my ever-exciting workplace! Specifically, pics of something that helps keep me sane.



How awesome is this toy? Smooshing it when I’m thinking (or fuming) has helped lots, so a heartfelt thank you to the lovely Joanne for bringing it to me.

I’ve been smooshing a lot lately because, for some reason, my brain doesn’t want to cooperate very much when it comes to work. I suspect burnout is the cause. Between working freakish schedules since, oh, last July, and injuring my back, I’m just tired. We’re talking soul tired. Now is not the time to ease up, though, so I need to think of ways to rejuvenate the grey matter. If any of my three (3) readers have an idea towards that, please let me know. I don’t even have the energy to make a smart-butt list tonight.

Here is a question that I’ve pondered in the past, though, and am returning to because of recent browsing on the WoW forums. Back when we played, I would see howling on the forums from people who were not able to devote enough time to the game to obtain the best gear/items available for their characters. They said things like “I have kids, a job, can’t play a set schedule,” etc., so “I can’t raid, give me another way to get that gear.” Fair enough, but I always wondered why they thought they were entitled to the best stuff when they wouldn’t be logged on enough to actually use it. Raid gear is for…um…raiding.

Don’t misunderstand me, I was never a raider. Big groups in that game freaked me out, because the possibility of running into a total jerkwad in even a small group of people you didn’t know was incredibly high. However, one or more “raiders” would always swoop into those forum threads with the interesting rebuttal of “I too have a busy schedule with kids and a full-time job and homeowner responsibilities, but I raid every week.” To get back to my question, it is this: how? When these people spoke of their guilds, it was like happy sunshine and rainbows: good players, no jerkwads, no drama. I’m certain some of them were full of crap, but I still have to wonder if any of those happy sunshine rainbow guilds actually exist. If we had found one in October of 2007, we’d probably still be playing.

I’m tempted to return to the forums and solicit time-management advice from those busy-life top-raider people, though. They’re obviously gurus. Srsly.~

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Brain no worky. I think I used up all my writey mojo on proposal stuff today. That’s okay, though; the warm fuzzy acquired from actually making progress is worth it. I don’t want to be lame and leave a super-short post for tonight, but seriously, nothing is coming to mind in the way of topics. Nothing. At all. So, instead of a thoughtful post, I’m just going to ramble about whatever comes into my head. Be afraid.

As I typed the word nothing just now, I said in my head, “Nuffem, eh?” like Harvey Korman’s character Heddy (that’s Hedley!) Lamarr in Blazing Saddles. I love that movie, and much to Brian’s dismay, will watch it whenever it comes on.

Speaking of movies, we Netflixed 1 Million BC! last Friday night. Awful movie, but Raquel Welch was fun to watch and as an added bonus, the movie Caveman makes a lot more sense to me now. That last part should probably worry me.

Thinking of Caveman leads me to the other fun movies from my childhood, which reminds me that I heard the theme song to Welcome Back Kotter the other night while driving home from work. I liked that show back then, but I wonder what I’d think of it now. Other fave raves, like Airwolf and The Equalizer, haven’t stood up so well when revisited, but the 80s seem to have a higher cheese factor than the 70s did (granted, I was 0 to 8 years old during the 70s, so take that observation with a grain of salt). Even The A-Team and MacGuyver seem daffy now, as sacrilegious as it feels to say that.

Remembering those shows leads me to a conversation I had with a coworker yesterday. He has a lot of interests, does a lot of things, and is pretty knowledgeable in all of them. I remarked that I’m a one-trick pony because all I do is write (shooting video game zombies does not, in fact, count). He disagreed, saying I know an awful lot myself just from all the writing I’ve done. True, weird things have sunk in over the years, but mostly what sticks is the bizarre, completely trivial crap that has no real-world use whatsoever. Like the chant, “Want a trash bag, I want a trash bag!” from an A-Team episode, the name of Princess Ardala from the Buck Rogers series in the 70s (come on, she was hawt), and the fact that Edward Woodward’s character in The Equalizer was Robert McCall.

I’m the same way about video games, although it did come in more useful there. When we played MMOs, I always became a walking encyclopedia for the world in which we played. Quests, character names, locations, items…you name it, and 9 times out of 10, I would know who/what/where you needed and how to go about getting it. All this sank in, but for some reason I could never be bothered to min/max at higher levels. Regardless, I do miss the engagement those games gave. If I had more time to devote and wasn’t so freaking shy about grouping with strangers, I’d consider going back. Brian would throttle me shortly thereafter, so we’ll hop off that topic.

The largest vault of weird memory in my head, though, hands down, houses music. Artists I’ve loved (and some I hate), names, birthplaces, birthdays, discographies, random personal facts, band histories, and lyrics all jostle together in that vault. This fact has never surprised me, though. From my earliest memories, so much of my thought has included music. Background, foreground, it’s always been there. Am I the only person who feels like every stage of life has had a soundtrack? The music I’ve loved has always been a huge part of who I am. We’ll get into that in another post, though. The stream-of-consciousness says it’s hungry.~H

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Short and Sweet Post

Well, short, anyway. It’s late and I’m too tired to go extra-verbose like I did last night, as fun as that was. Almost as fun as shooting pixelated zombies! That hobby helps keep me sane, but I’ll not have much time for it in the next few months. Work is going to make up for the slow first quarter by trying very hard to kill me in the second. I refuse to let it. Honestly, I refuse to even get mildly depressed about it. The impending poo storm appears intimidating, but it will be a very good test of my abilities. Namely, my abilities to:

• Shift gears between multiple projects every 30 seconds
• Plan my writing schedule for each week
• Do actual work in my head while trapped in meetings (beatings)
• Not blurt profanity in incredulous shock at the bizarre decisions of others
• Refrain from hip-checking individuals who desperately need it

They’re going to lay it on inhumanly thick soon, but, like Brian says, how I handle it is up to me. We think I’ll do just fine. He really is a big part of my success, though, not to mention my sense of perspective. When I was younger, I never would have thought someone could keep me so happy when events or work kick into hell mode. Turns out…all I needed was an Ork.~H

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Addendum to Monday

As I went to sleep last night, the thought occurred to me that some folks could have taken my third zombie escape tactic the wrong way, because some people are touchy like that. My intention was not to bash all people who have kids. Far from it. People like my friend Renee, who actually loves her kids and takes excellent care of them, do my heart good. I know folks who are bringing up smart, good-hearted, well-adjusted kids, and I love to see that, because they are not zombies. No, the people I was bashing are the ones who, out of stupidity or a misplaced sense of duty, have kids that they don’t want and then spend all of their time hating for changing their lives. These walking baby factories live in a sucking miasma of self-pity that leads to, at worst, abuse and at best, neglect. No child deserves to be stuck in an environment like that. Take care of your own kids, people. Don’t expect others to do it for you, and don’t lie to the system. Karma will remember, and so will those of us who are not infected by the shambling masses.

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It’s Monday again already. How the devil did that happen? We were rocking along, it was the weekend, we had some creepy weather, we did some laundry, we watched the new James Bond film, and then bang! Smacked in the face with a workday. Unlike weekends, weekstarts just never get easier. At least I get to visit with the lovely Joanne during the few breaks I can squeeze in between crises. She helps keep me sane by protecting me from unwelcome social interaction and by encouraging my verbivore habits. Case in point, my bowl o’verbs.

I’m 2 for 2 at insinuating the daily verb into an official email. Today’s verb was strip. Go me!

At any rate, I was at a loss for what to write about tonight until I read Brian’s post for today. I shamelessly love the way he writes; it’s one of the many reasons I fell in love with him. He made some very good points in that post, too, which got me to thinking. Most of the thoughts running through my head while reading consisted of “yeah, dang right,” but I was actually serious about my comment to him. We really could be facing the Zombie Apocalypse already, so, in the spirit of civil duty, here are some tips for facing the zombie horde of today.

Polite Avoidance. Modern zombies increase their population by snagging uninfected humans in painfully boring conversations about how much their lives suck. They are the very soul of negativity and taint everything they touch. The best way to avoid them is to either carry a huge workload, or pretend that you do. “Sorry, I really need to get going on the seven new projects we received this week,” will free you every time because the attackers mistakenly believe that with that much work to do, your life must suck as much as theirs. First rule of thumb: Zombies never eat their own.

Positive Redirection. Pardon my use of anticipatory construction here, but; if there is one thing the typical modern zombie can’t stand, it’s someone else having a good day. Again, pretending is a perfectly valid escape tactic, even if you’re really circling the drain towards the eighth circle of hell. When an attacker shambles at you whining about his duties, his paycheck, or the price of gas, subtly shift the conversation to something positive, like so: “Wow, that’s tough, Ralph. Did you hear that our biggest teammate specifically requested me to work with them on the new project? How cool is that?” Although this method aggravates the offender, it has the added perk of making them resolve to stay away from you. Second rule of thumb: Zombies never, ever want to hear about you.

Child Appreciation, or the No-Kid Card. Many, and I do mean many, modern zombies love to trap the unwary victim by endlessly complaining about their own children. And if that fate weren’t horrible enough, they alternately flog the listener for not having any kids, or for not being as time-management challenged as they themselves are. This attack consists of freakishly illogical phrases like, “Gawd, my kids are such a pain, I never have time to do stuff for me…but I just can’t believe that you don’t have any, Smartperson! Children are a precious gift!” If you find yourself in this hideous situation, you can do one of two things: (1) Tell them that the planet is overpopulated already, and you don’t want the guilt of introducing another smart person who would have to deal with the overwhelming pile of stupid that humanity produces; or (2) Wax poetic about how wonderful children are and why you just can’t imagine how so many people can blame their kids for their own failure to live the life they really want. Both of these options will incense the attacker, but he or she will go away. Never, ever tell them that you can’t have kids, even if it’s true; this tactic causes sympathetic crooning, which will cut off your escape. Third rule of thumb: Zombies always think of the children.

And there you have it. I know it’s hard to remain happy and productive when surrounded by the walking (mentally)-dead, but hang in there. Just follow these three basic tactics, remember the rules of thumb, and never stand between a zombie and its chosen source of caffeine. You’ll be just fine. Just…fi…nnnnnnnngh.~H

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Saturday Addendum

Yesterday’s post bugged me as I went to sleep last night, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. The reason hit me this morning, and is only a manifestation of my compulsiveness: I didn’t list all my games. I left out Might and Magic 6 through 8, Baldur’s Gate 1 and 2, Descent3, Freespace 1 and 2, Doom 1 through 3, Dungeon Runners, and probably some other smaller ones that I no longer have and can’t remember the names of. I’ve also tried my hand at Bioshock as of today, and it’s pretty dang fun. There, that’s better.

In other news, we’re getting ready for another hockey night. We like to watch the Dallas Stars, even when they’re not doing so well (like now), and tonight’s game is against a team of kids that we haven’t beaten yet this year. Hockey is pretty fun to watch even when your team loses, but I’ll still be rooting for our guys to win. The season is coming to a close, though. Hopefully they’ll all be able to get some rest, rehabilitate their injuries, and get a good bead on the next season. I’ll miss them during the downtime.

To change the subject again, I’m making chicken alfredo and rolls for dinner. Time to go check on the dough. Nom nom nom.~H

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Friday Frustration

Yesterday’s post was preempted for dinner and hockey, but I’m back tonight. Today’s post is going to center on games other than hockey, though. Specifically, computer games. I’ve been an avid PC gamer (not particularly talented, but avid nonetheless) since I discovered Heroes of Might and Magic (HoMM) II in graduate school. I graduated from HoMM II to HoMM III, then moved to Diablo I and II, and from there made the inadvisable leap into the soul-sucking abyss that is Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games with the original Dark Age of Camelot (DAoC). After playing DAoC for three years, Brian and I moved on to World of Warcraft (WoW) when it hit open beta in 2004.

After three years of WoW, we kicked the hideous Warcrack addiction in late 2007 when Hellgate: London (HGL) was released. We had some great times with HGL because we could accomplish whatever we wanted to as a duo, and we’re both sad that the people who made the game couldn’t hang onto it long enough to release their second iteration. Bereft of multiplayer HGL, we dabbled in Lord of the Rings online for a few months, and then dropped the MMO scene altogether. The “omg-we-are-free!” feeling wore off shortly thereafter, but we’ve stuck to our guns and only played singleplayer or Wii games since. My most recent love was Fallout3, but I played it so much that I’m thoroughly sick of it now.

So why did I post that long and boring pedigree? Because I’m looking for a new game and I’ll be danged if I can find one. Everything out there just looks “meh.” I know more about what I don’t want than what I do. No real-time strategies, because I stink at those, and no bloody MMOs. All the role-playing games just look like a pain, I hate puzzle games, and I don’t have the reflexes for first-person shooters. This is quite a conundrum. Maybe the universe is telling me to do something more productive than obsess over video games. If so, the universe can just shush it. Everybody needs a hobby.~H

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Werk Werk

Today was a rather weird, slow-motion day at work. Flurries of activity intermingled with intense periods of “omgwhyisitnotfiveoclockyet,” which made some of us rather grumpy. Attempting to cheer myself up, I decided to put some helpful guidance on one of my office doors (I have two). See, some folks like to use my office as a breezeway or shortcut to visit people in the area beyond. This behavior aggravates me because I’m a writer, and as such I like to concentrate on what I’m writing. Concentration is difficult to attain when someone stomps back and forth through my room, so I decided to post this sign.

One of my lovely coworkers added the collection box. (Thanks, Joanne!) Feeling that this sign wasn’t enough, because Jerky McLoudphone could approach from the other direction, I hung a nice dry-erase board on that side of the same door.

Assuming this doesn’t get me in trouble, I’ll be able to write in peace tomorrow. Hope springs eternal.

The same lovely coworker, after noticing my verbivore sign, proceeded to put 600 tiny slips of paper with verbs on them into one of my lunch bowls. In honor of this awesome service, I will draw a verb from the bowl each day and work it into an official email somehow. Should be good exercise for my brain, and the hilarity that could ensue will make us all feel better. Assuming that doesn’t get me in trouble. Like I said, though…hope springs eternal. ~H

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