Wednesday, December 17, 2008

MMO update

WoW has done a few things that annoyed Mr. Wacky so he and I investigated other MMO options. What we found was EVE Online.
Mr. Wacky really likes it. I am able to barely play.
In other words, I can do mining and industry. Combat is quite difficult even in a fleet.
The mission system is inflexible in my opinion and due to that I tend to avoid missions. Almost every Level 1 Agent type has the possibility of giving you combat missions. Turning down or abandoning missions negatively affects standings. Because of this, I tend not to avoid missions completely.
Avoiding missions means one doesn't gain standings or loyalty points so that it is harder to get good gear and your refining efficiency won't be as good.
With all of these problems, I still put up with playing. Mr. Wacky isn't playing WoW at present so if I want to do something with Mr. Wacky I have to play EVE. Unfortunately, it doesn't feel as cooperative or close but it will have to do.
EVE might be a good option for a high partial with better use of their vision than I have.
One reason that WoW works for me is addons. EVE does not allow for them and as such I don't have a lot of hope that the situation will ever change.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hiding my opinions

I have opinions but I hardly ever share them.
Mr. Wacky gets to hear them all because I trust that I won't lose him over a difference of opinion. Plus, he and I have worked out ways to have respectful conversations about politics and other 'heated' topics.
I don't make friends or even acquaintances easily so I'm loathe to possibly lose someone over something like an opinion. After all, everyone has them and most people firmly believe that their opinion is the 'best', the most well researched and well founded one there is.
A problem comes in when I feel that I am misrepresenting myself. Lies of omission. I don't state that I agree with the discussion at hand but I don't state that I disagree either. Experience has taught me that many people interpret silence as tacit agreement rather than as 'if I can't say anything nice, I won't say anything at all.'
I don't intend that to mean I want to be rude to others about their opinions. Rather, I'm afraid that I might offend. I know full well that my opinions aren't usually mainstream and are sometimes quite harsh.
While I think I have good reasons to hold the beliefs and opinions that I do, I don't want to be obnoxious about them. So, I'll listen to another point of view and consider it carefully. If I wasn't willing to do that, I'd still have the same opinions I did at 18. If asked about my reasons, I'll do my best to state them. However, I don't tend to volunteer the information.
I think I come across as someone who doesn't ever think about things. I do, far too much even. I just don't want to lose friends or potential friends over my thoughts. That's one reason almost no one knows about this blog. I thought that by not telling anyone about it I'd feel safe to write in it. I guess my plan needs more work. Especially since I'd like some people in my life other than Mr. Wacky I can talk to about concepts and ideas.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Starting World of Warcraft

One of my few rules for my SO about gaming had been “Anything as long as there isn’t a monthly fee.” Gaming is the main activity that my SO does to relax. While he can play the same game over and over again, he does get bored eventually. At which point, a new game or at least new material is in order. Also, we both mostly socialize online and I didn’t want to do anything that might discourage that for either of us.
While I’m embarrassed to admit this, I was jealous of the ‘square headed girlfriend.’ I didn’t want him to stop gaming per se. I just wanted to spend some time with him. Sitting on his bed knitting as he played immersive games didn’t give me a sense of connection.
My vision hasn’t always been good enough to allow me to play computer games. Eventually I just stopped trying. One of the first things my SO bought me after I recovered from cataract surgery was a PlayStation2. I’ve played The Bard’s Tale with glee. Rampage: Total Destruction annoys me but I still love destroying major cities. And Final Fantasy X has been wonderful but I’m no where near done the game. However, we quickly discovered that he and I couldn’t use the PS2 together. If I was positioned so I could see the screen then he couldn’t and vice versa. In a competition, my SO would always win as he has far superior vision and usually better hand function. Using the PS2 together was more an exercise in frustration than a friendly bonding experience.
Around this time I found a series on TV called Rise of the Video Game. My SO and I watched this series together and had a lot of fun talking about it as we watched. Due to our age difference and my blindness, he’d experienced a lot of things that I hadn’t. One of the last games featured was World of Warcraft and we were amazed at how it looked on the screen. The discussion of the game’s popularity with gamers with disabilities and chronic illnesses was also appealing and gave me hope that even I might be able to play.
Initially I tried to find a free MMORPG that would work on both PC and Mac. I had switched from a PC to a Mac when Tiger came out so that I could get my screen access software included with my operating system. Being a multiple OS household means that what works on one machine doesn’t necessarily work on another. My research lead to Second Life which was quickly discarded as inviable. So the search began for something that would work for both of us, as that was the entire point. WoW seemed to be our only option.
We had a serious talk about gaming and money and decided that it might be worth giving WoW a try if it was to become our primary game. We looked at what we were spending on new and used games, guides, and expansions and realized that it wasn’t an insignificant amount. Taking up WoW would mean no buying $10 games, used games, or downloading expansions/modules for already owned games that weren’t free without talking about it. We got the 15 day demo and emailed the one friend we knew who played WoW. He was thrilled and quickly replied with a wealth of help. Eight months later this friend is still amazingly helpful, we’re still playing WoW, and neither of us has spent money on gaming that wasn’t WoW related. (This was a smart financial decision for us.)
I didn’t find a lot of information online about playing WoW with a visual impairment. I may write some posts about it myself. So, I had to figure it out on my own. Addon free, it was rather hard and I’m surprised I stuck with it. I was lucky in that my first interaction with an experienced player who I didn’t know was amazingly positive. I give that player a lot of credit for my staying with the game. My first toon has long since been deleted but I’ve stuck with things partly due to the kindness of others and my own stubbornness.
Once I got my act in gear and made my troll priest I began to work with my SO. He had already taken the time to figure out how the game worked and get used to the mechanics so that he could focus on helping me. Wow. It was amazing to work cooperatively with him on something without fighting over a monitor. While he did know more than I did, we were both getting to explore together and there were things that I was able to learn and pass onto him. Our different play styles and abilities aren’t a disadvantage with cooperative play.
Initially, I didn’t want to play on my own. But, my SO and I have radically different sleep schedules and we each began to play during lonely awake hours. I’m advancing much more slowly than he is, but we have a rule “Don’t compare yourself to sighted players.” I’ve spent time helping his toons level which is one of the few times I ever feel helpful. Gradually I’ve even learned to ask for help when I get stuck. So WoW has helped me as a person and has improved our relationship as well.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Male Bashing

I try to keep my politics to myself when out in public or online. This is my blog and I’m going to vent as I’m saddened and angered by many attitudes I’ve seen expressed about men recently.
I admit to not actually thinking much about my politics until recently. Sitting around with my friends and bashing the currently ‘safe’ to bash group was a common activity. I really didn’t think about what I was saying. I was bashing a group of people and easily forgot that groups are made up of individuals. These individuals are people, just like me and my friends.
The group I currently see bashed is men. Approximately half of the population is male. This is a group that you don’t choose to join. Amazingly, most people know at least one male personally. It’s not as if the majority of the population has never had an opportunity to know a member of this group as an individual.
People speak about men in the same ways they talk about convicted murders or children. What’s more, if people spoke about women, gays/lesbians, or almost any other group in the same ways that people speak about men there would be some sort of outcry.
I’ve seen this behavior from straight people, queers, men, women, young, old, people who have males in their lives they love and respect, and those who have had negative personal experiences with males.
Beyond general negative comments about men I’ve seen negativity about specific men.
SO bashing is common when people get together. Yes, sometimes it’s about things SOs have done or said recently. I do see the value of venting.
However, I see a real difference between venting about behaviors and casually threatening violence against someone you supposedly love. I doubt that most people would excuse men talking about killing their wives.
Why are men held to a different standard than women? I honestly don’t understand. I feel stupid and naive for ever calling myself a feminist. Why did I ever believe that it was about equal rights? In fact, often I’m ashamed to be female.
People deserve a baseline level of respect. Especially from their Significant Others.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Plurk and Shyness

I’m shy. Part of it is a lack of social confidence and a low tolerance for social frustration. However, I find myself interacting with others on Plurk. Why is that? It is not as if those interactions are not fraught with anxiety for me.
I had hoped that the internet would be my key to socialization. I’ve tried mailing lists, LiveJournal, social/support MUDs, forums, online games, blogging, instant messaging, etc. I can’t claim that all of the above have been utter failures. (I did meet my SO after all.) However, each has seemed flawed and I’ve fallen into lurk mode easily.
High volume gets me quickly. I hate feeling ‘out of the loop.’ I got enough of that irl. Plus, I’m obsessive enough to have trouble deleting things without at least a reason such as that subject line doesn’t interest me. With mailing lists and forums I learned quickly that the subject line rarely remained relevant for long. Mailing lists became easier when my email client gained the ability to thread messages by subject. However, I’ve still left the majority of mailing lists I’ve ever been on.
I have trouble inserting myself into an established group. This a problem in any social situation. I always assume that I must have something of merit to add to a group to earn acceptance. However, I assume that I have nothing of value to add to the group so I don’t try. I don’t want to have my first interaction be asking for help or advice but I rarely feel I have good suggestions to offer. Plus, I haven’t yet proven to a new group that there is any reason that I might have good suggestions.
Social/support MUDs worked for me for quite some time. The ones I used were topical which had a huge advantage for me of giving me a topic that was probably ‘safe.’ As I became older, I wanted to be more multi-faceted. I realized that I needed to be more balanced. As a result I needed to pull away from my only social resource.
LiveJournal eventually took the place of my safe Mud. I even followed most of the same people. I enjoyed the variety of topics that I could get sucked into and the ease of reading my friends page that I could easily filter. I gradually became overwhelmed and backed away from LJ. Part of it was the stupid things Six Apart did but not all of it. I don’t really use my new InsaneJournal account.
The isolation finally got to me and I tried forums. No go there either. On a purely functional level, I could hardly ever get the ‘find new posts’ feature to work on any board type even when I was careful to close the tab when done and avoid using my back button.
The forums on Ravelry are unique and I want to like them. That statement implies I don’t, huh? I honestly can’t put my finger on why. I need to expend more mental effort to learn how to use the system.
Along comes Plurk and I find myself spending hours on the site. Why?
I suspect it is that I convince myself that I can’t screw up too badly in 140 characters. Looking at PostSecret, my guess is that most secrets are less than 140 characters so I’m positive that is a delusion. However, 140 characters is within my brain’s editing limit so most of my plurks have a decent chance at being semi-coherent.
Plurk threads comments and their replies which I find far superior to Twitter. I love the little mini-conversations. Even better I’m able to mute conversations that I’m bored with or I find upsetting. This is a key reason that I’ve kept using the site, it’s so easy to avoid things. However the mute feature does break on occasion.
Also, the Karma system lets me tell myself that even if the other person hates me, I’m still helping their karma by attempting to reply to their plurk. I’ve made a conscious decision to be nonchalant about my own karma. I do get replies to my plurks on occasion but my casual attitude about karma is helping me not be too obsessed about watching for replies. Instead I just get to be pleasantly surprised.
What does concern me is that people might not un-friend me due to the karma system. No, I don’t want to drive people away but I don’t want people to keep me as a friend because they don’t want to hurt my karma. Normally I’d try to convince myself that this is a baseless fear but I’m read threads about just this.
I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with Plurk. I could get overwhelmed and quit at any time. However, Plurk had a steep learning curve for me and I’m shocked that I put up with it.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Henhouse Intro

My first project for The Plurkette Hencircle is the ever so evil introduction.
Joining is an odd endeavor for me. Plurk causes me to be oddly social, hopefully not regrettably so.
I call myself a homemaker because it's simpler to say than than to say 'I'm too sick to work." I really don't have the skills to go with the title.
A tidy and clean home helps me feel content and safe. While I've read a lot about how to create the kind of home I want, I just haven't put it into practice. Part of that is budget but most of it is spoons.
The goals for my inner farmgirl need to be tempered with reason. I'd like to cook more and learn to enjoy it the way I did when I was young. Container gardening has been tempting me for years if I can find a way to improve my diet that doesn't compromise my budget nor my health. Learning to do more than sew on a button and mend a minor tear would be so helpful in getting my wardrobe to work for me better. Doing more cleaning and organizing would make he happier and healthier if I don't overdo it.
Fiber is my hobby, my stress relief, as well as therapy for my hands. It's a small thing I can do for others that helps me feel a little better about myself. I recieve so much from others, I just want to give back a fraction.
That ties into the concept of 'farmgirl' for me. I want to do what I reasonably can to create a warm environment in my home. I want to take care of myself, my home, and my SO to the best of my actual and not imagined abilities. It will never be much. That's okay. But, maybe I can come to enjoy what little I can do. Plus, if I find efficient ways of doing it, I can do more.