The Real Life Strikes Back!

Real Life Strikes!

Well, I don’t honestly have a lot to report this week. I’ve been inundated with real life stuff and have had very little time to write. And that’s been eating at me. A lot. I’ve spent a ton of time working on other parts though, including finishing my Taylin map (at least to some degree) and working with Aeon Timeline (part of the NaNoWriMo winner things) to come up with a good timeline for the Taylin world. It’s 15,000 years old, after all.

Aeon Timeline isn’t the easiest program to be use. I’ll be honest, there’s a substantial learning curve. In truth, I think what I need it for isn’t really what it’s designed for. I remember trying it out for The Orion Project. And for the record, when trying to deal with multiple timelines having to do with temporal changes is something that the program just completely fails at.

However, I doubt Time Travel stories is Aeon Timeline’s primary target.

Skyrim

No, this week, I’ve been doing two things. First, I’ve been enjoying SKYRIM on the PC. Now, I played this on the Xbox 360 a bit and just couldn’t get into it. However, Skyrim on the computer is a different story. Why? MODS! I’m totally in love with the sheer amount of awesome detail Skyrim mods have. I can have a rebuilt airship as a home with every sort of crafting tool? Yes please. I can craft boxes and bags and bandoliers, not only for myself but for my companions? Oh HELL yes. And the companion system? Awesome…especially with more mods.

Way too much fun. Seriously.

A/V

The other big project? Last week I talked a lot about the new sound system I was going to get. Well, ironically, I didn’t end up getting the speakers. You see, UPS lost them…

So when I got my receiver, I didn’t want to go without speakers, so I just hooked up my existing JVC speakers and realized they sounded great. A lot better than they used to. After one night, I realized I didn’t need new speakers at all! I just needed some good re-wiring and a new sub.

Now, I had my eye on a subwoofer on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. It was the Polk Audio PSW10 10-Inch Monitor Series Powered Subwoofer. I was pretty frustrated about the disappearance of the Yamaha speakers and I asked Amazon through their customer support for the pricing for the subwoofer (it was $69 for a unit that goes for about $240 normally. This sub was also the highest rated and best seller in it’s class on Amazon at present). They turned me down with a rather foolish tale about them not being able to honor “Lightning Deals” after the fact (it wasn’t a lightning deal, it was a Cyber Monday special).

That day I find a great deal on a Yamaha subwoofer on Craigslist. Friendly guy, seems honest. Heck, his daughter had a birthday the same week mine did! So I make plans to get together with him in Brea on Monday. I contact Amazon, telling them that I’ve decided to go another route with all of this and I want a refund on the speakers that never came (they offered to overnight me a new set or just refund it).

I wake up in the morning to a new email…offering to give me the Polk Audio sub for the price I wanted.

*Sigh*

So I contact the Craigslist guy, thank him and decide to go with the Amazon subwoofer and get next day shipping.

And then I get a text from UPS saying that my Yamaha speaker set will arrive later the day. I get an email from Amazon telling me to refuse delivery and they’ll handle it. The next time I open my front door…a 5.1 Yamaha Speaker set is sitting on my porch.

*Double sigh*

The good news of all of this chaos? I got the Polk Audio system today and set it up. The music is glorious.

In fact…it’s EPIC.

And of course, I test it out using this amazing piece…

Seriously, listen to it. It’s freaking amazing.

And my expression upon listening to it?

SO AWESOME

Pretty much sums it up. Even better watching “Daring Don’t.” 🙂

I’m happy with it. I’m also just happy it’s done.

Okay folks, I’ll be honest. I’m fading out here. I’m super tired. Been up too late with a combination of converting a bunch of my DVDs to digital format and playing too much Skyrim.

Other Stuff

Laura’s been feeling under the weather. So bad that we had to move Caitlyn’s birthday party one week. Sinus infection. Bleh. Caitlyn’s actual birthday was spent doing a few things. I took her to IHOP and we watched “Princess Twilight Sparkle” on my iPad while enjoying pancakes, eggs and bacon. And then we watched some Pony when we got home and finally went to see Despicable Me 2 at a budget theater. First time at a theater. She loved the popcorn…and sitting in my lap or Laura’s lap. And Tali did really well there. 🙂

The real party is this Sunday. 🙂

Other things…other things…oh yeah. I had to get both the power steering pump and the power steering hose replaced on poor Kasumi, my 1999 Honda Accord. I also have only 1MM left on my brakes, my alignment is horrid and my two front tires are ready to totally go out. So I’ll be replacing my brakes on Friday and doing my tires on Saturday.

I hate car stuff, especially since I just had my radiator redone a few months ago.

One Final Writing Note

I’ll be taking charge and starting a Critique Group with the OC Writers this January. I’m looking forward to it. Should be pretty darn good. 🙂

And that’s all I can think of at the moment. So I’ll leave you with the latest AWESOME outing by Jan Animations, the god-like animator for Button’s Adventures with his own version of…”Don’t Mine At Night.”

This guy is freaking AMAZING.

Good night folks. I’ll be playing a bit more Mass Effect to test out my speaker system. 😉

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

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Home Strech

NaNoWriMo

Well, I’m really close to finishing NaNoWriMo. I didn’t expect I’d be able to do it this year and I’m glad I was wrong. Because this story it turning out pretty cool. In fact, yesterday, I spent a bunch of time brainstorming the construction of Yellow Jubilation, the tak’tak home city. Below is Ak and Pauline telling Gaina a little bit about it.

“Yellow Jubilation isn’t what most people think of when they think of a city,” I said quietly. “It was built out of a unique part of the Thornwood by the tak’tak after their ‘birth.’ The whole area had been hit by a severe moonbreak some years before, creating these enormous trees hundreds of feet high built like steel.”

“Oh come on, Ak,” Pauline laughed. “You can do better than that!”

“I’m tired, Pauline,” I grunted. “It’s been a rough night.”

“Yellow Jubilation is unlike anything you’ve ever seen,” Pauline said in a voice of whispered awe. “The most of the ground floor is nothing but a huge port for the harbor that ships to the Western Isles and the Athlon Sea. The rest of it is an enormous series of farm terraces. But five hundred feet above that is where the city really starts. The trees actually grew together, their branches forming a massive platform that’s at least three miles wide. There are some larger areas and some smaller areas, higher and lower, but you could walk from one end of the city to the other without ever touching the ground. They’ve built entire towers out of these trees where the tak’tak’s live and work and everything else.”

“Sounds like an amazing place,” Gaina said.

“Oh and the Library there! The Rooted Library,” she continued. “It was actually grown from the Pillar, the greatest tree in the very center of the city, directly below the Triumvirate’s Amphitheater. It was built vertically and reaches all the way to the ground floor.”

Anyway, I’ve also had a ton of success with my new mapping system. Below you can see the original versions I posted last week.

I particularly like the way the forests came out...These mountains took way too long...

And here you can see the updated version with the new coastlines.

Coalition Wilds (New Coasts)Harklanian Union (New Coasts)

It actually looks semi-realistic now. I’ve done a rough outline on my process as to how I did this. I thought I’d have that ready to publish, but I want to do it again to make sure all the steps are correct. I found some great guides online at The Cartography Guild for GIMP and Photoshop, but Pixelmator, while similar, is actually an entirely different animal. And honestly using this technique gives me a LOT more control than any of their techniques did. (And I can’t stand GIMP. Drives me crazy).

You’ll also notice that I took some time to redo the city markers (capitals are in dark orange, cities are in yellow and towns are in purple), add in some rivers and lakes and even expand a few forests. I’ve also added the infamous Borderlands between the Wilds and Folas, a dangerous area unclaimed by anyone. (I decided I had made Taylin far too civilized) By the way, the red dashed line is the path of the RCS Rose on her maiden voyage.

By my next post, I should have NaNoWriMo done and won! Hooray! I’ve been pushing myself with a minimum of 2,000 words a day. That’ll be hard today since I’m getting sick with a sore throat, exhaustion and other general ickiness. But I’ll do it. This will be my fourth year running. 🙂

Princess Twilight Sparkle

Well, Season 4 premiered of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic on Saturday morning. You know, I don’t know if I’ve ever watched Saturday morning cartoons before, even as a kid. It was a bit of an adventure since I don’t actually have real cable TV. So I got to watch an HD Livestream of the event that was kindly provided by a myriad of awesome people in the Brony community.

I then found a full YouTube HD copy of it. Now yes, I did download this, however I did also purchase the Season Pass through iTunes. The way I see it, if I want to get a gray copy of it before I buy the legit thing, that’s okay. Because Hasbro still gets my money. 😉

Thoughts on the episode? Well, you should probably skip this part if you haven’t seen it yet. And if you haven’t seen it yet, what’s wrong with you. In fact, let me make it easy on you. Here’s the link!

Now you have only yourself to blame.

I adored it. I find the fact that Twilight is essentially the same character with the worrying tendencies, the same care for her friends, the same love of lore is all still there. She’s just grown up a little, such as the scene where she commands the Royal Guards to continue their search for Luna and Celestia.

John de Lancie was wonderful as Discord. Simply brilliant. As stated in Equestria Daily’s Followup, Discord was doing an excellent job of teaching Twilight a lesson, though it’s only revealed at the very end of things. In fact, this is the most Q-style thing he’s ever done. Q was famous for trying to teach Picard and his crew “lessons” about their own internal struggles and conflicts, about the future and about what they could be. “All Good Things…” is probably the best example of this.

I loved the lore revelations of Celestia’s banishment of Luna (and how much of a badass Nightmare Moon really was), the defeat of Discord (and why Discord was in such a strange pose when he was turned into stone) and the revelation of the source of the Elements of Harmony.

But the best? The best thing was that they had to give up the Elements. Beyond anything else, this shows me the maturity and brilliance of the storytellers. For three seasons, the Elements of Harmony have been the “In Case of Break Glass.” They have been a very effective weapon against Nightmare Moon and Discord. I did enjoy that in A Royal Canterlot wedding, they didn’t make it to the Elements, but had Shining Armor and Cadance save the day instead.

What does it mean? It means that they can’t just depend on the Elements to get them out of stick situations. The Elements could have easily become the go-to weapon. But by removing them (at least for the time being) it forces the Mane 6 to handle problems in new and different ways. It’s truly brilliant.

Equestria Daily did a far better follow up than I could though. Complete with hysterical screenshots, including Discord in a French Maid’s outfit.

Other Things

Other things are going on. Such as my mom recovering from her knee replacement, me being sick, our continuing issues with Caitlyn’s discipline and other matters, but right now, I’m just too tired to go through the rest. However, I will mention that I finally got “Uncharted 2: Among Thieves.” I’m loving it. It’s great storytelling…especially considering Nathan Drake usually approaches things with “Seriously?” He’s got a great attitude. It’s just fantastic.

What was even better was the letter that came with it, from a dear friend. Considering the day I had and the way she gently teased me about the whole My Little Pony thing, it was just perfect. That actually did more for my spirits than the game itself.

Oh yes, I also finished Mass Effect 3: Citadel. Best DLC I’ve ever played. EVER. Seriously, it’s freaking amazing. The game isn’t complete without it. You haven’t finished Mass Effect 3 if you haven’t done that mission. I’ll do a bigger write up on it another time. 🙂

And Tali’s doing just fine. She had her first bath last night. 🙂

That’s it for this week. And I’m only going to have one video this time…and of course, it’s the one above!

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

Expanding the Family

Talissa

So, as most of you know, Laura and I expecting our second little girl, Talissa, on November 5. What you might not know is Laura believes Talissa is impatient. She’s been having very irregular contractions for some time now. To be honest, we don’t know when she’ll come, but she’s definitely coming. And soon.

With Caitlyn, Laura and I focused all our energy and thoughts about preparing for her birth. But with Tali, we’ve had to deal with my panic attacks, family issues, work issues and Caitlyn herself, which hasn’t really allowed us the proper time and thought to realize what’s about to happen.

I’m a bit nervous…more so than when Caitlyn came to us. It’s strange…

But don’t worry, you’ll know when it happens.

Writing

Thankfully, our new bedroom configuration has helped a lot. In fact, I’ve made a few records lately in my writing. Yesterday, I managed to do 1,000 words in 30 minutes. And today, I did 1,000 words in about 45 minutes. To my surprise, Laura said she was okay with me trying to do NaNoWriMo this year. I wasn’t expecting that, but you know me, when I focus on a writing goal, I do it. Deadlines are wonderful things for me. And I think I even have some ideas on what to do.

So yes, I will be doing National Novel Writing Month for 2013. I’m under the name Makkus, so feel free to add me as a friend.

I’m hoping I can finish the draft of “Sun Eagle” by the end of October, which is just a few days away. I’m not sure though. A lot depends on Tali.

Oh, I decided to add something kinda fun. Today, I needed a rough sketch of Ari’Dennlier’s town square for the scene I was writing. In this story, there’s an impromptu festival going on there, celebrating the arrival of a Wandering Arbiter.

Ari'Dennlier Town SquareThis is an extremely rough diagram as to major areas. But it’s an interesting little tidbit from this story. Since you’ve been hearing about it for a while, I decided you might like a glimpse. I’m also working on a revised version of the World Map for the Dreamscape universe. And I’m happy to say that I finally have a name for the planet: Taylin. I wonder if you’ll be able to figure out where it’s from. Heh.

Gaming

Star Wars: The Old Republic

I’ve played a lot of games lately. The nice thing about both Laura and I being on leave is that we actually have evenings together where we can play games when we want to. Laura’s been really enjoying SW:ToR as we’re both playing Counselors, me a Jedi Shadow, her a Jedi Sage. She’s enjoying it though, actually asking to play.

I also finished Chapter 2 of the Jedi Knight story quest line on Jedi Knight Lyssinna. Wow…now that’s a serious ending. I’m not going to spoil it for you, but it’s damn good. The excellent storytelling they’ve done with this means I’ll probably end up playing one character of every class. I remember once reading that SW:ToR was the best KOTOR sequel ever…even if it isn’t much of an MMO.

However, there are plenty of things SW:ToR does right…and plenty it does wrong. Someday soon, I’ll be adding a personal review, even though I know a million people far more qualified may have done the same thing.

I’m hoping someone will eventually care though. 😉

Mass Effect 3 (Warning: Minor Spoilers for the end of ME3 ahead)

Mass Effect and I have…quite a history. I was a diehard fan of the original and I was three times the die hard fan of Mass Effect 2. I was at midnight release for Mass Effect 2 and actually drove all the way to West Hollywood for the official Mass Effect 3 midnight launch. But with all that, the ending of Mass Effect 3 emotionally devastated me. In truth, part of that was because I was playing it during the time of Caitlyn’s seizures, when both Laura and I took time off to care for her after the first of her seizures. Because I couldn’t really handle the emotional impact of those events, I refocused my emotional energy on ME3…which I could control…or so I thought.

I managed to play a bit more after seeing the end with Lisa-Anne Shepard…but eventually…the thought of coming back was just too painful. However, a few days ago, I decided to say screw it and find out what the best possible ending for the extended cut could be. And with that knowledge…even though it’s not considered ‘canon’ by Bioware, I decided to come back. And I have with a vengeance. I’ve recently finished the Leviathan DLC (which was pretty damn good) on Lisa-Anne and Laura and I are playing Omega DLC on her character, Adra Shepard. I’m waiting to do Citadel until I’m done with everything else, since I know that’s the last big bang.

But today, I also decided to get into multiplayer, remembering hearing about all the improvements (and how I actually wanted to improve my “Galaxy at War” score so I could get that perfect ending). I had to redownload some of it, but when I did, phew, that was a great battle. Gold with Hazard Ghost Base. I love sending my Salarian Infiltrator against Geth. It’s so damn fun. And I am a holy terror with the N7 Valiant Sniper Rifle. I love that gun. In fact, after I’m done here, I’ll probably head back in.

Dues Ex: Human Revolution

For this part, I’d like to just post my thoughts I wrote in my journal:

Just finished Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Intense game, especially for someone who likes to play it non-lethal. But it was very good. However, the choices at the end definitely are ones to think about. What is the ultimate purpose of technology? Should we push ourselves forever forward? Should we use it to control the darker elements of society? Or should we realize just how dangerous it can be?

I like games with a message…even if it is only really a question. Considering my line of work, it’s definitely something to think about.

It’s also slightly ironic that I’m updating Odyssey (My 27″ iMac), Normandy (My 15″ MBP) and Excalibur (Laura’s 21.5″ iMac) to OS 10.9 tonight.

Good ending. Though I haven’t gotten into the “Missing Link” DLC either.

World of Warcraft

To my dismay, it appears that my WoW guild Saga on Wyrmrest Accord is closing down. Not actually disbanding, but just going inactive. A lot of players have become burned out I think…and 5.3 didn’t help. 5.4 has some cool stuff, but the Timeless Isle (especially if you have a lot of alts) is really easy to burn out on.

I’m not leaving the guild. Frankly, I haven’t been playing all that much anyway, even with all this extra time. And with Tali coming, I’ll have even less.

In Conclusion

I ended up finding a new therapist recently, since the previous one made some odd comments…and frankly wasn’t all that good. But the previous one also made some negative comments about the whole Brony thing that upset me somewhat. About how it would have limited my career potential, such as different paths my life could have gone in like the Navy or becoming a Pastor (both of which I considered in the past).

I remember driving home from that and while I was listening to Everfree Radio, this song came on. And while I know you are sick of My Little Pony stuff…as usual, I challenge you to watch this. It might make you think.

And that’s it for this week. Most likely, next week will be about a baby named Talissa. 🙂

Good luck and have fun!

-rks

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