More life details!

lovesketches

These last few weeks have been overwhelming. First our daughter had a seizure and we spent some long scary days in the hospital with her while tests were being run to find a cause. There were a lot of prayers said and many unspoken fears, in the end though she was ok. The seizure was the cause of a fever that she had from a virus. She seems to be mostly recovered now.
Then this last week was my seven year anniversary with my husband Ryan. We went to Discovery Science Center- a place we went the day he had proposed. It pretty different bringing our little one in tow, but it was fun! Afterward we had a nice dinner at Disneyland and time to ourselves while grandpa watched our daughter for the whole night. It was our first night away from her since she was born and I had…

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I Have Got to Be Out Of My Mind…

I can’t believe I’m considering this. I’ve never been the most mentally stable of individuals, but this is crazy even for me.

I’m considering going back to college to finally get my B.A.

Seriously considering.

I’ve always regretted I couldn’t handle getting by BA the first time around. There were numerous causes, like me being convinced I didn’t need medication for my ADHD and me discovering online gaming for the first time. And now it’s been a long time and I think there are a lot of closed doors because of it.

But in truth, I want it.

The question is now…what do I study?

The first option is Video Game Design. I love video games and always have. I think I could be very passionate about this field, but right now I’m on the outside looking in. I don’t know what it’s really like or how much it will take out of me.

The second option is English (Creative Writing). This would be more to hone my skills as an author more than anything else. I know I don’t need this to become a published author, but I often feel that I miss blatantly obvious grammar and structural mistakes. I think it would help me tighten up my prose with the goal of moving me forward in being published.

Video Game Design is much more marketable and usable. I can leverage that into any number of positions, depending on what I decide to focus on or if I go a broader and more general route with Computer Science.

English would be because it’s my passion and desire to be the best author I can be.

I’m blocked at work. I keep getting intermittent and fairly useless feedback on why I can’t get the promotion I want. And Blizzard rejected my last application for Compatibility Analyst. I need something more and someone in my Bible Study suggested going back to college for my BA.

So I’m considering it. Even though it’s crazy. It would have to be online and I would have to do it while working full time and caring for Caitlyn.

I’m crazy. But that’s never stopped me before.

 

Opposing Views: Constructive Feedback on the Ending of Mass Effect 3

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ATTENTION!!!<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

THE FOLLOWING IS AN IN-DEPTH REVIEW OF THE ENDING OF MASS EFFECT 3.

DO NOT READ THIS POST IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN SEEING IT YOURSELF.

SPOILERS FOR JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING IN THE GAME FOLLOW!

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>ATTENTION!!!<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

Opposing Views: Constructive Feedback on the Ending of Mass Effect 3

Let me begin by saying my family and I are a die-hard fans of the Mass Effect series. I’ve purchased all of the collector’s editions. I was there at the West Hollywood Launch of Mass Effect 3, happy to shake hands with the amazing Casey Hudson, Jennifer Hale, Ali Hillis and the rest of the cast and crew. It was a wonderful moment for me.

We all know there’s been a lot of outcry about Mass Effect 3’s ending. I believe something so hyped can never be everything to everyone. There were always going to be those who were disappointed and those who love it.

When people ask me about my thoughts, I make sure to say I adored the game until the very end. The combat was amazing. The music was inspiring. The writing was top notch. The voice acting was simply awesome. I loved it all, from Cortez and James arguing about the Mako and Hammerhead to the epic Godzilla-like battle between the Reaper and Kalros on Tuchanka.

But when they press me for the ending, I’ve managed to boil it down to a very specific statement. (I have only seen the “Synthesis” ending, so I am basing these thoughts off this ending and a full Paragon playthrough. I have intentionally remained ignorant of the other two endings so not to spoil it for myself.)

“As a science fiction and fantasy author, I like it. As someone who has been emotionally invested for five years, I was devastated.”

 

Author:

“Synthesis” gave us a brand new reality and a new future unlike anything we’ve ever seen. It ended the war between synthetic and organic life with a minimum of pain and suffering. It put some of our most beloved characters into a unique situation that has tremendous storytelling potential. “Synthesis” destroyed the mass relay system and (I presume) the Citadel.

Legion and Sovereign’s words are now ironically prophetic. The various galactic races developed because of the technology available to them. Energy follows the path of least resistance, as does technological development. This is the brave new world we have come to expect and cherish out of our science fiction masterpieces.

 

Devastation:

Part 1: Happily Ever After

I was in shock after watching the ending for two reasons. I want to address the fundamental core emotions first.

I was devastated. What I wanted more than anything in the world was for Shepard to get a happily ever after. I wanted Lisa-Anne Shepard be with Liara T’Soni, “getting married, growing old and having lots of little blue children.” I have comforted myself with the thought that Liara is indeed pregnant with Shepard’s child and that final kiss before the battle was an entire lifetime together (a la  ST:TNG’s “The Inner Light”). But this is my interpretation and mine alone.

That being said, I do understand the sacrifice Shepard needed to make. We were prepared for it in Mordin’s sacrifice and Legion’s sacrifice. Casey Hudson even attested to this with his recent post on the forums, saying that sacrifice was a consistent theme within the Mass Effect storyline.

In the end, I knew Lisa-Anne could not warrant the destruction of all synthetic life. She had worked so hard to make the geth and the quarians work together. She couldn’t destroy the geth after all they had become. And she refused to dominate the Reapers, knowing full well what it might cost her. In the end, there was only one decision she could make.

I was devastated, but on an emotional level. This I recognize as something I want, not something I need.

 

Part 2: Closure

My greatest frustration was the lack of closure for the people I care about. While “Synthesis” gave us the fate of Joker, EDI and Liara (for a brief moment), I know nothing of what happened to the rest of my team. There are simply too many unanswered questions to satisfy me. Did Tali ever make it back to Rannoch? What happened to Palaven? Did James die in the final assault? What of Hackett? Wrex? Ashley/Kaiden? Javik?

I am not expecting full closure on all of these characters. I don’t need to know if Tali and Garrus ever made it work between them. I don’t need to know all the details of if the Krogan were able to join the galactic society as equals. These are loose ends that should be left unanswered or used to create new and interesting stories.

My best analogy to this would be the finale of Harry Potter 7: The Deathly Hallows. If Hallows had ended a few minutes after Harry had defeated Voldemort, it would have made an ending. It may have even been an okay ending. However, it is not nearly as powerful as the “19 Years Later” Epilogue. That was the perfect ending for the series. Mass Effect 3 effectively ended when Harry defeated Voldemort and gave only a brief moment afterwards. There’s not enough time to deal with the fate of those we love. While the Stargazer scene was nice, but it didn’t give us the answers we needed.

BioWare did a masterful job of making us care about these characters. I cried when Mordin sacrificed himself for the Krogan while singing “Scientist Salarian.” His death with the perfect conclusion to his character. Legion’s sacrifice was just as noble. I care for the fate of Liara deeply. It’s a bit sad, but she’s quite real to me emotionally. It’s a testament to Ali Hillis’s voice acting ability and the writers for the Mass Effect series.

I care about these characters. I need to know what happened to them.

 

What does it all mean?

Allow me to summarize. While I appreciate the value of the ending we received in Mass Effect 3, I believe we need more. We need more closure on the characters we’ve come to know and love. I want to see more of this brave new world that Lisa-Anne Shepard sacrificed herself to achieve.

My true desire is to allow Lisa-Anne to have that happily ever after. I’m devastated she wasn’t able to get that life with Liara. I was in tears. I wanted that more than anything.

But in the end, I believe the best solution is to give more closure than what was given. Not as a paid DLC, but as the true “Epilogue” to the Mass Effect 3 series. Allow us to see the fates of Tali, Garrus, Hackett, Traynor, Adams, Gabby, Ken, Javik, Kaiden/Ashley, Conrad Verner, Wrex, James, Cortez, Space Hamster and all the other characters we love.

 

Thank you!

Thank you BioWare for Mass Effect. Thank you for crafting a story where I could determine my journey through the galaxy. Where the decisions I made actually mattered. Where I was the true hero of the galaxy.

Finally, thank you to Dr. Ray Muzyka for his kind words. His response to the public outcry (whether it’s deserved or not) showed for everyone that BioWare is one of the true giants of the video game industry. Not only is he receptive, but he also stands behind Casey Hudson and his team. As he should.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. No matter what decision BioWare makes about the ending of Mass Effect 3, I am still a fan of the series. I still wear my N7 Hoodie with pride. After all, it’s still been a great ride.

Thank you, Bioware. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

 

 

Exhaustion and Mass Effect

Originally this was going to be a post about Mass Effect 3 impressions and thoughts, but my brain has decided to go on strike and refuse to think about anything like that. I don’t want to simply spin off random ideas, but think about it clearly and concisely.

I will briefly mention a few things about it though. There are some technical issues with the game. Odd bugs like being unable to do a heavy attack in the middle of combat, having to swap discs at bizarre times and the rather painful “Face Import” bug, which forced me to spend nearly an hour recreating Lisa-Anne Shepard. I’ve had the occasional freezing issue and I don’t care for the way you have to scour levels for various armor pieces and upgrades.

However.

The writing is breathtaking. I have never seen a game that has moved me to laughter and tears so readily as Mass Effect 3. The voice acting is almost perfect across the board (there’s only one character that annoys me). The banter between squad members as you journey through these levels can be hysterical or heartbreaking. You will grin with triumph as an old team member survives something impossible and comes out a hero. You’ll feel happy little bubbles of happiness as Shepard finally gets some time with the person she loves. And you’ll cry as you watch helplessly…yeah, not going to spoil that for you.

Those are some of my thoughts. I have many more, like great combat, fantastic character development and more, but that’s it for now.

On a completely unrelated note, I wish people who decide to listen to things in quiet breakrooms would wear headphones, instead of listening to stuff so loud I can hear it through my own headphones. Oi.

I do want to say that the Launch was pretty awesome. There was some frustrations, but I am now the proud owner of an authographed lithograph of Liara T’Soni, signed by Ali Hillis, a FemShep one signed by Jennifer Hale, a Kaidan one signed by Raphael Sbarge and a MaleShep one signed by the voice actors of Jack and Ashley Williams. And almost best of all, was both my art books for ME1 and ME2 Collector’s Editions are signed by Casey Hudson, the Project Director of the entire Mass Effect series.

I’m playing through it slowly, savoring it all and searching out all the little details here and there, while desperately avoiding anything remotely spoiler-ish on the internet.

So much for not doing Mass Effect impressions and thoughts, eh?

In truth, it’s a distraction. I’m still frustrated with my job right now. I’m bored. There, I said it. I’m not challenged and it’s not in my character to just put my head down and mope through the day. My time is far to precious to do something I don’t like.

And I don’t know what God wants me to do. That’s my biggest frustration. I’m in limbo. I don’t know if my hopes and dreams will come true. I don’t know what I need to make it happen.

All I can do is to keep moving forward, hoping that something will change, that I will receive some sign or direction.

At least God gave me a game I’m really enjoying. 🙂

Mass Effect 3: The Midnight Launch

Trying something new! I’m currently on my iPhone at the GameStop in West Hollywood. I’m waiting in line for the Mass Effect 3 Midnight Launch. Which is rather amusing since my copy of Mass Effect 3 is on reserve at a store 8 miles from my house instead of 60 miles!

Why on earth would I do this, you ask, gentle reader? Aside from the fact that I’m quite mad?

In fact, I had convinced myself I wasn’t going to do this, after all I wanted to play tonight. It’s not like Jennifer Hale or Ali Hillis was going to be there.

And then I saw the announcement of the surprise guests. Jennifer Hale and Ali Hillis.

And my fate was sealed. Because I can say I was here. Because I can (hopefully) shake the hands of Casey Hudson, Ali, Jennifer and the others who made this game possible.

It’s just a game. But it’s a game I love. It’s one I’ve shared with my wife. And it’s one that I will always have great memories of.

So I’m standing in West Hollywood, at the GameStop, smiling because I’m being utterly insane and I’m loving every minute of it. 🙂

Reflections upon the Path (ME3: T-3)

Life

The last several days have not been kind. Things have been difficult at work. I’ve had to deal with a lot of bullies in our customers. It’s sad. I often get to deal with awesome people, such as Angela, who originally inspired me to start a blog about my writing adventures. But there are some people who simply don’t understand (or want to understand) how things work.

Due to constraints regarding employees blogging, I don’t want to go into too much detail. However, it is greatly contributing to my frustration and burnout. You see, I’m one of those people who constantly want to be challenged intellectually in my work. At present, I’ve been in my position for a while, so I’m trying to secure something a bit more challenging. However, it’s hard to look further to the end of the path when you keep stumbling over the rocks in your way. You eventually just start staring at your feet.

In truth, now I’m looking forward to Mass Effect 3 even more, because I’m going to have a mini-vacation for it. 3 days off. And I need the break from work. I’m trying hard not to burn out. I’m praying a lot, praying for God to change my attitude and my environment. But then I wonder what God’s trying to teach me when he keeps having people like this step into my life.

It’s like a riddle that you keep staring at, knowing the answer is out there, but you’re missing it. I feel like I’m missing something, something important.

I just hope it comes to me soon. The good news is that I only have one more day of work after this: Monday. Then I’m truly free. 😀

New Stuff on Storming Dawn

Yay! I’ve finally had the chance to update my page a bit more. I’ve posted some of my favorite screenshots in World of Warcraft. I’ll be adding a section for personal photography soon, but these are some of the truly iconic screenshots in WoW for me, specifically of my characters and adventures. I’m a bit of a shutterbug, even in WoW, which is a bit silly, but what are you going to do? 🙂

Have fun!

-rks

Mass Effect 3: T-4

Only Saturday, Sunday and Monday remain.

At midnight, I will be waiting. And this trailer just made the waiting a whole lot worse.

Watch this. And if this doesn’t get your blood pumping, you’re dead.

I cannot wait.

In other news!

I wanted to show off Authorna, my “Heart of the Aspect” mount, but I forgot to take a good screenshot before I left home. Have to wait until later, sorry!

But just for fun, I’m going to start tossing up my favorite WoW Screenshots here on the site. Yes, most of this site will be about writing, but it’s also about having fun with life.

Speaking of which.

Have fun!

-rks