Tuesday Tidbits: 2017 Gaming Edition

All right, it’s that time of year again! With the anniversary of the release date of The Elder Scrolls Online looming (4 April), I figured that a gaming post was long overdue. I’m only really playing this game at the moment, so these are the only gaming updates that I do. Sorry, nothing about Final Fantasy, Call of Duty, Fallout 4 or Overwatch, here!

ESO Live did their first broadcast of 2017 on Friday, 27 January, and today they had a special broadcast for an announcement that has been at work behind the scenes – it was hinted at during PAX West 2016, but I had no idea what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised with the announcement!

First off, ESO will finally introduce in-game player housing, adding another layer to an already multi-layered, in-depth, and immersive game. I did some noodling on the Public Test Server (PTS) and like what I see so far! It will be very nice to have a private, secure area for guild-meetings, duels, crafting, or role-playing story arcs. The various homes available are nicely varied, with some located inside city walls, and others are out in the wilds, offering beautiful scenery to inspire you whilst decorating.

Friday’s broadcast showed off some of the buildings and decorations some people did; I have to say that I was impressed with the creativity and dedication on display! There were some great designs and layouts – click here if you’d like to take a look at the broadcast. I’ve met and spoken with four of the six people that you see; they were pretty cool and easy to talk to when we saw them at the gaming convention.
Last but not least, today’s announcement was about the very first expansion being added to ESO – not just a DLC, but a full expansion pack which introduces a much-loved land to the online multi-verse!

*insert annoying fangirl scream*

Here’s a little background: Skyrim, the game that I started playing The Elder Scrolls with, is officially titled The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. I have played TES III: Morrowind and TES IV: Oblivion as well, and enjoy Morrowind almost as much as I do Skyrim. Well, in June of this year, Morrowind will be joining the world of ESO, adding an entirely new land to explore – but, a land that will be quite familiar to those of us who have played this series for a while!

A brand-new character class is being added with this expansion, along with new armour and weapons styles, mounts, pets, and emotes. Also, for the first time, the ability to own a pet that will actually fight at your side, not just run around in circles! The vanity pets are a lot of fun, but they don’t do anything that assists your character. Conjured familiars are only around if you conjure them, and are limited to three types – and, only sorcerers have the conjuring ability.

Anyway, the release date of the expansion is 6 June, mere months after the addition of player housing – that happens this coming Monday, the day after Super Bowl Sunday. I have to say that I’m happy for the extra things to explore and enjoy over the next few years! Gaming is one of my hobbies, and it keeps me occupied and entertained. Travelling anywhere outside of the U.S. might have to be put on the back burner for a while – hell, even travelling INSIDE the U.S. could be treacherous! I figure that I’ll explore the new lands that my game has to offer, and “travel” from the comfort of my home.

Musical Monday – 30 January 2017!

It’s Monday…time for a bit of music! I’m amused over people’s reactions and responses recently – and that was AFTER Mercury went direct! Just goes to show how miscommunication and misunderstanding happen regularly, especially on the interwebs. For me, speaking with people is always best done in person, so that facial expressions and body language can be seen, or vocal tone can be heard and discerned. Much is lost on many levels, without face-to-face communication. No, this isn’t a complaint or a “gripe” – it is simply a personal observation. I think that there are some out there who might agree with this observation, at the very least.

ESO Fan Fiction: Search For the Sky-Crystals – Part I

Here’s a bit of my fan-fiction, originally posted in 2015. Chronologically, it takes place after the events I’m writing about in my NaNoWriMo short-story.
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Eyrie Of An Aries

Tur’a wakes in the Warrior’s Rest Tavern, yawning and stretching in her bedroll. She has returned to Cyrodiil at the behest of her sister, who left a cryptic message before leaving to roam the desert sands with Dar. The message simply reads: “Remember the Chalamo.” Tur’a is still unfamiliar with the war-torn land, having only recently completing basic training there. She has used the siege machinery at the practice field, but that is a far cry from using them in the heat of battle. Rubbing her eyes, she sits up near the fire-pit. She is clad in a simple tunic and breeches; modesty and practicality dictate sleeping in light clothing, at the very least. She rummages through her bag for a quick meal – she has been cooking more and more for herself, finding hearty soups and stews more to her liking than the sugary-sweet fare her sister used to…

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Saturday Screen-Shots: 28 January 2017

Venus & Serena Williams

Here are a few of my in-game screen-shots from the past week. I also wanted to say congratulations to Serena Williams – winner of the Australian Open! Well done and kudos to her sister, Venus, as well…they are both admirable and inspiring!

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Looking through the “Bag of Holding”

Striking a pose

Nicely-designed tabards

Mounted up – the horses size to your character

Dancing a jig

A little Tai Chi

Shake that money-maker!

A drink at lakeside

Cheers!

Relaxing at the bath-house

New Moon Friday; Lunar New Year 2017

There is a new moon today, which means that the Lunar New Year has commenced! The first day of the Lunar New Year is celebrated on the first New Moon between 21 January and 20 February, at least on the Gregorian calendar. Since the new year starts on a different date each year, those interested in Chinese astrology, when born in January or February, need to check a bit closer when it comes to the year they were born for accuracy.

This holiday is celebrated in some Asian countries: China, Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, and Vietnam, to name a few. Since it is already Saturday in those parts of the world, I don’t think that I’m too early in wishing everyone a happy Lunar New Year. Ring in the Year of the Fire Rooster (or Cock, if you’re anal about words)!

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The Super Bowl is a week from Saturday; the contenders are the Atlanta Falcons vs. the New England Patriots, and I know who I’m supporting and rooting for! I know, I know: the Patriots are apparently favoured to win by three points, but the Falcons have shown that they have a damned good defensive and offensive line, so they could give the Patriots the beat-down that they so richly deserve! The best thing about the Super Bowl is, it means that Spring Training is just around the corner, as is the Vernal Equinox. The days are slowly getting longer and Winter’s grasp will begin to loosen up. It might not seem like that right now, especially in some parts of the country, but it will…slowly, but surely!

Well, it’s Friday – I think that merits a few memes of the dank, mindless variety, accompanied by some music! If you’re still stuck at work, you should at least have a decent afternoon as you head into the weekend, no? I’m going to get back to some performance tests of my computer – I hope to be able to do some proper editing of some YouTube junk, for the first time in nearly a year. Later, ‘gators!

Thursday Thoughts: The Marches

On Friday, 20 January, Orange Hitler the Drumpf was sworn in as the 45th president of these divided United States. On Saturday, 21 January, people all over this country – and in places all over the world – walked out of their doors and into the streets. They wanted to make their voices heard and their displeasure known.

If you believe the “alternative facts” reported by the talking plastic bobble-heads over at FauxNews, or the racist, misogynist crap spewed on Breitbart and other nazi sites, the marches were only done in “liberal cities on the coasts.” I found that laughable, especially when Samantha Bee quite handily disproved that lie on her show last night. I also found it laughable because of what I learned yesterday while I was out running errands, and getting my annual eye checkup done.

I used to live in Seattle. I lived there for a little over a decade, then moved to Portland, OR and lived there for five years. I eventually moved to Vancouver, WA, and lived there for three years before moving to my current residence on the southwest coast of Washington state, which isn’t far from the Oregon border. I live approximately 35 minutes away from the coastal town of Astoria, Oregon.

I mention this because I didn’t attend any marches on Saturday. If I still resided in Portland, Seattle, or Vancouver, you can bet that I would have. I would have made a massive sign, then consigned anyone that I knew who could knit or crochet to make me a “rasta-style” pussy-hat. I would then have gotten my happy ass to the nearest group and joined all of the other “nasty women” and the men who love us, and walked along in support and unity. Since I’m out here on the coast, away from the “liberal cities,” I figured that there was nothing close that I could get to. The weather, as well as the crappy traffic in those places, made it pretty much impossible to go. I contented myself with calling my state representatives and letting them know how I feel about upcoming votes that they will be casting over the next few months.

Anyway, imagine my surprise when I saw the front cover of a local newspaper, the Chinook Observer. It showed a picture of people in Astoria, Oregon, marching on Saturday, sporting pussy-hats and carrying signs. Let me tell you: Astoria is not a city (population approx. 9,000). It is certainly not liberal (85% Republican), and it is far from diverse (main ethnic group: whites of Scandinavian descent). But on Saturday, there were at least 1,300 people marching in the cold and wet weather, showing support for all of the women who were marching in Washington, D.C. That made my heart and soul glow…even out here, in mostly-white, conservative communities, there are still people who aren’t happy with whom the electoral college selected to lead this country.

If I had known that a march was planned, I would have been there. Even though I’d stick out like a sore thumb, I would have been there and gladly linked arms with whomever wanted to. I’m sorry that I missed it…but, I’m glad that it happened. It gives me a bit of hope, and I feel just a tiny bit less alone out here. There are others who, at the very least, feel exactly the same way that I do. We’re exercising our rights to free speech until the dictator-at-large silences us the same way he ordered the silence of people working for our national park service, and those at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). We must speak out. We must protect the rights that WE ALL have, not curb and cut them, and give them to a select few.

You know the saying, “If you see something – say something!” Guess what? That’s exactly what’s happening. We see something – so, we’re saying something. We won’t shut up. In this brave new world, where lies are now being spouted and Tweeted on a daily basis, and “alternative facts” are hurled like simian fecal matter, speaking the truth and sticking to reality is more paramount than ever before. Nothing good has ever come from a “leader” acting in this fashion. We can’t go back to those times.

Notable Black Women: Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman: 26 January 1892 – 30 April 1926

Today, 26 January, marks the birthdate of Bessie Coleman; it is her 125th “birth anniversary.” She was the first woman of African-American and Native American descent to hold a pilot license and an international pilot license. From the American Experience PBS site:

Bessie Coleman, the first African American female pilot, grew up in a cruel world of poverty and discrimination. The year after her birth in Atlanta, Texas, an African American man was tortured and then burned to death in nearby Paris for allegedly raping a five-year-old girl. The incident was not unusual; lynchings were endemic throughout the South. African Americans were essentially barred from voting by literacy tests. They couldn’t ride in railway cars with white people, or use a wide range of public facilities set aside for whites. When young Bessie first went to school at the age of six, it was to a one-room wooden shack, a four-mile walk from her home. Often there wasn’t paper to write on or pencils to write with.

When Coleman turned 23 she headed to Chicago to live with two of her older brothers, hoping to make something of herself. But the Windy City offered little more to an African American woman than did Texas. When Coleman decided she wanted to learn to fly, the double stigma of her race and gender meant that she would have to travel to France to realize her dreams.

It was soldiers returning from World War I with wild tales of flying exploits who first interested Coleman in aviation. She was also spurred on by her brother, who taunted her with claims that French women were superior to African American women because they could fly. In fact, very few American women of any race had pilot’s licenses in 1918. Those who did were predominantly white and wealthy. Every flying school that Coleman approached refused to admit her because she was both black and a woman. On the advice of Robert Abbott, the owner of the “Chicago Defender” and one of the first African American millionaires, Coleman decided to learn to fly in France.

She was apparently the tenth of thirteen children born to sharecroppers George Coleman, who was of the Choctaw tribe and African-American, and his wife Susan, who was African-American. She began attending school at the age of six in Waxahachie, Texas. She completed all eight grades at that school, but her routine of school, chores, and church was interrupted annually by the cotton harvest. Still, she was an avid reader and an outstanding math student, which probably led her to go after her dream of flying, no matter where it took her. Being an Aquarius didn’t hurt, either!

Sadly, her life and career were cut short in a tragic accident that occurred during a practice flight in Jacksonville, Florida:

Coleman took her tragic last flight on April 30, 1926, in Jacksonville, Florida. Together with a young Texan mechanic called William Wills, Coleman was preparing for an air show that was to have taken place the following day. At 3,500 feet with Wills at the controls, an unsecured wrench somehow got caught in the control gears and the plane unexpectedly plummeted toward earth. Coleman, who wasn’t wearing a seat-belt, fell to her death.

About 10,000 mourners paid their last respects to the first African American woman aviator, filing past her coffin in Chicago South’s Side. Her funeral was attended by several prominent African Americans and it was presided over by Ida B. Wells, an outspoken advocate of equal rights. But despite the massive turnout and the tributes paid to Coleman during the service, several black reporters believed that the scope of Coleman’s accomplishments had never truly been recognized during her lifetime. An editorial in the “Dallas Express” stated, “There is reason to believe that the general public did not completely sense the size of her contribution to the achievements of the race as such.”

She is truly an inspiration to many, and her name deserves to be spoken with the same reverence and esteem that Amelia Earhart’s is – but, when it comes to giving women historical credit, that honour is always reserved for white women. Racism and segregation have only served to keep non-white women out of institutions of learning, and the revisionist white-washing of history has all but erased us from schoolbooks and other texts of education. We made our mark on this country and continue to do so. This is another woman who should be looked up to and emulated. She overcame far more than most women today can even imagine. I salute her today.

Midweek Memes…25 January 2017!

Still doing some tests on my computer, so decided to take a break and post a few selected midweek memes. Hope that you like them – enjoy!

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Tuesday Tidbits: 24 January 2017

I wanted to get this post up before I get busy! I’m going to be tied up for the next few hours with my computer. This is the one that I had built in August of last year, but it was crashing and malfunctioning horribly, so it had to go back to the computer guy and the shop it was built at. I kept telling him, “Hey, there’s an issue that shouldn’t be happening and is causing my game to crash at intermittent times. It’s also causing the Plays.TV, Twitch, and YouTube programs to malfunction and cause the computer to crash and freeze.” He kept telling me that I was wrong; I was just imagining things, he knows it all and there’s nothing wrong at all. We took the computer back and said to give us a refund; he didn’t want to lose money, so finally decided that he had no choice but to at least look at it and see what the problem was. After a few months (October – December), he finally acknowledged that I was right; the hard drive had some issues that were causing problems with the motherboard and the GPU, and he located them and was going to fix them. By that point, I was pretty much done with his nonsense. See, when communication breaks down, it gets hard to get things back on track, if not downright impossible. At any rate, I said that I wasn’t interested in dealing with him any longer, since he refused to listen to my concerns and even acknowledge what I was saying. I suppose he doesn’t care that he lost a customer, especially since he supposedly has some huge new clients that require all of his time. A small-timer like myself, who just wanted a nice all-in-one rig for writing, gaming, and doing videos, isn’t important enough to keep. Corporate money’s where it’s at, bay-bah!

Digressing: he installed the components that I originally asked for (FINALLY!), and my hubby went and picked it up. Before bringing it home, he took it to a local computer tech that he’s been vetting since November, and had him run some performance tests to make sure that everything was installed and functioning properly. If anything had failed, he would have made suggestions on what to replace for a fix. The performance tests went better than expected, so I got my rig back this past Saturday.

Since I have some time to myself and some peace and quiet, I’m going to hook it up in a little bit and run it through some paces! I had the AMD Radeon™ GPU taken out, and have a better NVIDIA® GeForce® than the one that I originally asked for: I was going to settle for the GTX 950 GPU, but got the GTX 1050 instead. I’ll have to see with my own eyes how it compares to, or differs from, the AMD Radeon™ – it’s been awhile since I had an NVIDIA® GPU! The new motherboard is a Gigabyte™ Ultra Durable™, which supports 6th Gen Intel® Core™ processors. I’ll find out which Intel® processor is in it when I fire it up, since I don’t have the invoice handy at the moment.

Anyway, time to get busy! I always like working on little projects like this on my own. No distractions, so I can take my time and go over the steps in my mind. Also, I won’t have the handy little AMD®™ game-capture / record thingy any longer. Hopefully NVIDIA® / GeForce® has something similar; otherwise, I’ll just have to do my Twitch broadcasts and Plays.TV recording the regular way: through the control dashboards of those respective sites. Something new to learn, all over again! I shall return…

Monday Musings: Review of an Interview

Ah, interviews! Pretty much anyone of job-seeking age has gone through an interview of some sort, whether it’s a job interview, a pre-application review for a school or college, interviewing for a club membership, or interviewing with a military recruiter after taking the ASVAB. Those are mainly formal and/or professional interviews, which always have a certain format and tone, and certain expectations are of higher demand from the interviewer and the interviewee. The resume is what the interviewer uses to glean information about the applicant, while also having a formulaic list of pre-written questions. The interviewee has the added expectation of researching the company or organization he or she is applying to, and is questioned on the applicant’s knowledge of same. This is usually to determine if the applicant is truly interested in being an employee or member.

Another type of interview is the casual, informal one generally seen on TV programs or the internet, or heard on radio stations. These include news interviews, “round-table” discussions, or late-night talk-show interviews. The format and tone of these are a bit different from the formal or professional ones, as the tone is set by the interviewer. The interviewer can do as little or as much research on the interviewee as they feel like doing, which can lend to a lop-sided, selective, and biased atmosphere. The interviewee has little to no control over the ebb and flow of the interview, as the questioner either responds with good follow-up questions, or takes cues on his or her whim.

This seemed to be the case with a recent blogger-to-blogger interview that was done between the Well-Red Mage and myself, published on his blog on 16 January. Some background: last November, on his blog, he said that he wanted to do informal interviews on other bloggers with the same interests as he has: namely, video games of all types, and animated TV shows and movies, including Japanese anime. I indicated that participating sounded like fun since I had read a few of the interviews that he’d conducted, but I was participating in the NaNoWriMo challenge so wouldn’t be available until December. The December holidays would also add to any delay on his end, since he’s a married father of two with another on the way. I indicated via email that doing the interview after the 1st of the year would be just fine. I thought that would offer plenty of time for him to check out my blog and read a few of the posts that I’d done about gaming, my computer issues and music. I felt that any discussions about anime TV shows or movies would be brought up during the interview, since I have written on that subject in the past, and have commented on other anime-related blogs. Needless to say, I was mildly disappointed! I guess that I set my expectations too high, especially after reading the other well done interviews of other bloggers. They got the grade-A treatment; I seemed to only warrant a C-minus effort, at best.

For example, the length of time it took to even get the interview started. We exchanged a couple of emails to figure out the best medium for the interview, and finally decided on Skype IM. No need for a camera, which was ideal for me. Skype can also be used on a cell-phone, so I wouldn’t need to be tied to my computer. I thought that IM would be quick and easy, but it was tedious because of the interviewer choosing to ask only one question per day. The interview took from 6 – 14 January. Eight fucking days to do something that could have taken an hour at the most. Time difference wasn’t an issue, as a person who lives in Alaska or Hawai’i is an hour or so behind me, not two or three hours ahead, as are most of my fellow online gamers.

On top of that, on the second day, I was doing some gaming and had Skype running in the background. The little indicator showed that Mr. Mage was ‘online / available.’ He asked one question, then nothing more during a four-hour period. I was doing some AvA in my MMO, but could easily have taken a break to complete the Q & A session. I sent two messages after my initial answer, in the first hour, in an attempt to give a cue that I was prepared. Not one reply came back the entire time I was on, and no other question was asked until I logged back on the next morning. Talk about disrespectful! Still, that was my first clue that the interview wasn’t going to be pleasant, and adjusted accordingly.

Next, the questions were just not at all what I expected, and some were essentially repeated, using different words. The tone of the questions was one of disinterest, as they were tossed out in a cavalier way – and, in a couple of instances, he answered the very question he asked by adding a statement after a question. Definitely not the attitude of a person who is interested in similar hobbies, nor one who took the time to read my blog and see what other subjects are mentioned there. Compared to the good interviews that he did here and here, the one that I participated in was less than satisfactory, from my perspective.

It seems to me, that, for whatever reason, this individual really didn’t want to interview me, but made a half-hearted effort to do so only because he said he would and wanted to get the obligation over with. Since the questions asked were apathetic, I pretty much ended up giving apathetic answers. I would rather have had no interview than the seemingly disinterested one that I was subjected to. Sure, I could have just said, “you know, I think that you aren’t really feeling this interview, so you’re off the hook.” But, I think that adults should be able to be honest and say something like, “You know, I said that I would do this, but I don’t think that I can. I’m just not into your blog; you don’t talk about gaming or movies as much as I do, so we have nothing in common. No hard feelings, okay?” That would have been honest and perfectly acceptable. As it is, I just think that the whole thing was pretty lame. At any rate, I copied the entire conversation to a Word document, only editing the names to reflect our respective blogs. That will help me answer any questions that anyone who read the interview, and this review of same, might ask. Who knows? One of my followers or readers might have an interesting perspective of their own to share! That would be pretty cool.

*** UPDATED 24 January 2017 ***

Well, the interviewer was displeased with my review and deleted the interview from his site – the link goes to “page not found!” The unedited version, which is time-and-date-stamped, is now in the comment section of this post, as well as in the ‘Open Thread & Comment Policy’ page of my blog. This way, you can see what I was talking about when it comes to the length of time between questions, and why I felt that my time was being wasted.

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