Friday, May 15, 2009

A Smattering of Thoughts

I couldn't decide on any ONE thing to babble about, so I'm just going to throw out all sorts of things that have been cruising through my head. Some things have moved rapidly, while others slog through my thoughts at an agonizingly slow rate and just irritate me.

One such thought is the young woman that was standing near my apartment a few days ago. She was with a couple of people that knocked on my neighbor's door. When that happens, it occasionally sounds like they're knocking on my door, so I answer to find people waiting for my neighbor to open up. And because she has to be in on everything I do, Nike tends to answer my door with me.

Now this young woman...I have no idea what her age might be, but let us say that she had a natural pair of...assets...that were difficult not to look at. The task of trying to look at her eyes and not her chest was made more difficult by the fact that she was wearing a tank top, and that she'd apparently been babysitting a small, artistic child recently; her arms and exposed chest area looked like they'd been drawn on by a two-year-old. My manners were truly tested, as things went from bad to worse. She saw Nike and immediately bent down to pet my cat, all the while giving me a greater vantage point of her mammoth mammaries. While I don't consider a woman's chest size to be a requirement for dating, it's hard to look elsewhere when a set like that is so boldly displayed.

Quick, Rob! Defuse the increasingly evil thoughts in your head with some kind of harmless joke!

And so I went into a little shtick about how Nike and I are married, and that it all occurred via my cat's devious plans to claim permanent ownership of me.

While this particular human female was physically attractive, any concept of me "making a move" was obliterated when I saw the look on her face. Her expression prompted me to ask if she thought I was serious...and she answered that she did, in fact, think that I believed I was married to my cat.

I immediately flashed back to the late 1990. I was driving my girlfriend of the time back to her house. I noticed she was unusually silent, and the following dialogue occurred:

Me: You okay? You seem rather pensive.
Girlfriend: No, I'm just thinking.

Yes, that's the opening to our conversation, word for word, although the rest of what was said is completely lost because the level of dumb overshadowed all else.

Speaking of dumb, my last post was about seeing Dr. R, whom I deemed an excellent doctor when it came to communicating with a patient. This concept was corrected yesterday, when I received a call from his office saying that they'd made an appointment with a pain management doctor. Mind you, I'd already made an appointment with that doc for 17 June, which is a Wednesday. This is very important, because Wednesday is the only day of the week this particular doctor is in Phoenix. All other days of the week, the pain specialist is in offices that are too many miles away for my medical insurance to cover a cab ride. It would also be a two/three-hour bus ride should I try to make it on my own. So I was rather surprised when I received a call saying I had an appointment on 21 May, which is a Thursday.

Poor "Addie," the young woman who makes such appointments. She had no idea Dr. R hadn't told me he'd be trying to get me to the pain doc sooner, and she had to listen to my full explanation as to why I couldn't make the 21 May appointment. She tried to insist that Dr. R wanted me to make it to the appointment they'd said up, and I countered, "Unless you or Dr. R are going to personally drive me there and wait to drive me home, there's no way I'll make it."

It bothered me that Dr. R would try to make that appointment without talking to me about it. If he had, I would have explained that I could only see the pain specialist on Wednesdays. As it is, I told him I had an appointment next month, and honestly have no idea why my PCPs' office is trying to make maneuvers without an explanation or consultation. It's irksome.

Meanwhile, in "the Hive," (as per the Wednesday and Saturday schedule), I joined another Hamidon Raid. I've mentioned Hami before; he's a giant single-cell organism, and it takes at least 36 players to defeat him. (That was the lowest number of people in any raid I've been in.) Usually, 50 people show up to take on 300-foot diameter creature. Coordinating 50 players is no easy feat, and I'd shown an interest in trying it if anyone could take the time to share the details of leadership.

Well, one person didn't so much as share the details as point to where said details could be found. Thus, I did lots of reading, and, since I have no life to speak of, spent an hour creating 20 macros for City of Heroes to lead a Hami raid.

As people were gathering for the raid, I talked to a few of the regular raid leaders, displaying my macros for them to review. They said that I not only had the basics down, but managed to add my own unique style to the programmed announcements. For example, there is a point when everyone needs to run for their lives. If you don't run, you're dead. Most leaders shout, "RUN FASTER!" Because teams can only have a maximum of eight at any one time, one person per team is usually chosen to run off early, find a safe place, and when the call is made, they teleport the entire team to safety. I didn't go the "RUN FASTER" route. My macro had me shouting, "RUN FOR YOUR LIVES! FLEE! DIAL 911! STOP, DROP, AND ROLL! DUCK AND COVER! AIEEEEE!"

Earned me a few chuckles, it did.

Of course, things don't go as planned when it comes to me taking the initiative. There are four phases to the raid, and after I'd gotten all 50 heroes prepared for the second attack, and called out for us to surge forth to assault the giant beast...50% of EVERYONE IN THE RAID disconnected, just as we were all reaching our targets. There were many, many "deaths."

No worries. People reappeared, we reorganized the teams, and went through the preparation process again. Our targets were...targeted. I sent the tanks forward to get Hami's undivided attention. I called on the melee players, "scrappers," to move in. Finally, I announced everyone else should attack...AND 50% DISCONNECTED AGAIN!

Really...Why can't even a video game be easy for me? =*(

Anyway, we waited five minutes when everyone came back, just to be sure the game wouldn't kick people a third time. Not only did we manage to successfully complete the raid, but a lot of private messages rolled in afterward congratulating me leading a successful raid despite the circumstances.

Also related to City of Heroes is the latest update, which includes something called "Mission Architect," or simply "MA." It would seem that for the first time in MMO history, a game is allowing players to write game content! Well, to a creative writer like myself, this is a chance to have a massive joygasm! The MA system allows three arcs per account, with five missions per arc. So, of course, the first three arcs I published to the game forms one massive story that chewed up a great deal of the allotted file size. Arc one had four missions. Arc two had three missions. The final arc had only one mission...but it was HUGE!

The problem was that when MA was released, players immediately started seeking ways to exploit the system. They were finding ways to farm the missions, thereby getting new characters from level 1 to the maximum of level 50 in less than a day! They didn't want an epic tale; they wanted a generic contact to say less than "im in ur base killin ur gaize!" Then, with as few objectives inside the mission, they would run the same, boring, high-reward-yielding tasks.

While the developers rushed to fix all the exploits they'd accidentally unleashed on the game, I unpublished my three-arc epic and replaced it with a single-mission arc that poked fun at all of the silly mission farmers. Y'see, moderators on the game were starting to take down anything that blatantly said "this is a farm!" The players creating the farms thought they were clever when they started posting arcs that had become "pharms." When I saw that word and how it was spelled, my mind immediately thought of this! With that stuck in my head, I published my "Banana Pharm," and players have to fight mutant bananas on a map that includes a prison. This was particularly evil of me, because if players die on the map and try to revive themselves by going to the hospital, they wind up in a prison cell instead. But I also kept it silly without dragging it out. The mission map is small, and there are three goals. You have to defeat all of the mutant bananas, rescue a hostage, and defeat a boss, "The Top Banana!" (Upon defeating the boss, he says, "Tell my parents...I was...a good source...of potassium.")

More amusing than the actual mission I wrote is the reception it's received. MA allows people to comment on published stories, as well as rate them one to five stars. Because I've been receiving ratings between three and five stars, the MA display shows Banana Pharm holding a consistent four-star average rating. And those who choose to comment usually tell me they got a good laugh from the whole thing.

I currently working on a new arc, with the main bad guys all being half-dragons. (Go-go gadget D&D!)

Speaking of D&D, GitP and all my friends there have been on my mind more and more recently. I have been considering returning to their fold, but am reluctant because of my perpetual complaining. On this blog, it's their choice to come and read about all of my woes. To start posting again on GitP...I feel like I would be subjecting them to my endless whining. What's more, they view me as the person to come to when they need help, and I'm having an increasingly difficult time helping myself. I found myself shouldering a lot of responsibility on GitP, and I simply don't think I'm up to being the helpful soul they came to see me as.


I'll continue to consider it. Meanwhile, I believe that covers the smattering of topics roaming around my brain-case. Be well, my faithful minions...ummm...friends. =)


Gamer Hippie o' death said...

Bor, you never were, aren't and never will be a burden upon me, us.

We look out for eachother as best as we can through the internet, don't we?

I, and most likely we, would love to have you posting again.

Anonymous said...


Also, a mission creator you say?

I may now have to start playing CoX again. When I'm done with EVERYTHING ELSE. (Approx 2012)

Serpentine said...

Hey Bor. Just letting you know that you are missed, ruly truly honestly. Though now I feel bad that part of why I asked after you was because of a particular person in the Depression thread :P Anyway, yeah, missed, and good to hear that you seem to be doing relatively alright.

Hell Puppi said...

Hey I occasionally freak out and think my world is ending and the Gitp'ers have put up with me for this long.
We don't 'put up' with you Bor, we like you and miss you when you're gone.