Texas Today… things are weird.

A few weeks ago I stocked up on some basics. A bigger bag of rice, a large bag of dry beans, a few boxes of pasta. Nothing dramatic, but enough that I felt we we would be okay if a hurricane blew through, or an earthquake, or maybe even a few weeks of quarantine. The only thing missing from the shelves that day were ramen noodles, and a toilet paper was getting low (so I grabbed one of those just in case too.)

Today I went in for a couple of potatoes and soda. Normal weekly stuff. I was a little shocked by just how many shelves were bare.

Now, some of this is a good thing. Everyone should have at least a weeks worth of food in their pantry (non-perishables) just in case. I’ve made it a point to do so ever since living in North Dakota twenty years ago. We had a blizzard that knocked out the power for the entire state and no water. My baby was on formula at the time and we had no water to make her formula. No food that didn’t need to be cooked, and no way to heat the apartment since everything was electric. I learned very quickly that it’s just good practice to have a few gallons of water, and some non-perishables on hand in case something happened.

But this is something that’s supposed to be done over time, not everyone rushing on the stores at once, so I’m not surprised that the stores are being stripped. It’s as if everyone was told there’s going to be a really bad hurricane next week so be prepared, and they did. The trouble is they all did it at once, and a few opportunistic people exacerbated the issue buy buying ALL of a few key things…so it’s looking a little barren at the moment.

This will pass. In a week or two supply chains will catch up, and people will already have their two week pantry, so we can all get back to a….normal…existence. As normal as you can get with social distancing, at least.

I’ve been venturing out a little here and there to pick up something at the drive through, or just grab something at the store, but seeing the shelves bare like that was a bit surreal. I’m one of those people with compromised immune systems. I have asthma, and a few bad allergies, and have had complication in the last few years that landed me in the hospital on a neutralizer because I couldn’t breath. I’m susceptible to pneumonia and bronchitis already, so this thing… ya, I’m a little worried if I get it. Gregg, my SO, is worried about me, too. He has steadfastly refused to leave the house for the last week because he absolutely does not want to risk me getting sick.

So we stay home. It isn’t much different from normal, we all work from home, but it feels different somehow. I admit part of me had a morbid curiosity to see if the news about stores was right, but also I sometimes just like to go have a meal at a restaurant, or window shop, and I really can’t right now.

I’m not the only one. There are millions of people across the world right now just waiting to see what happens. I saw a picture of a woman telling her granddad about her engagement through a window because she didn’t want to make him sick. I’m sure most of us saw the balcony concerts going on in Italy. People all over the world, in every country, are hunkering down until doctors can find a solution, or the virus burns itself out.

This could be a moment for us all to come together over a common foe, like in the movie where aliens attack and we all band together to fight for humanity. Sometimes I wish life was as neat and orderly as a movie with a definitive beginning, middle and happy ending.

On the plus side, they were stocking the shelves with toilet paper as I was leaving the store today. I’m certain the shelves will be restocked in a week or two as well with most items. This isn’t the end of the world, just a really big bump in the road. We’ll make it through, it’s just going to be rough for a little while.

Till then, hang in there.

Triple A Fails

A thousand games. Yep, I’m a gamer. And this is just my steam library. I have more on twitch, switch, and individual PC games. I had even more until I moved but I gave hundreds of console games, and several consoles, to my kids because I couldn’t afford to move them all.

I am showing you this to say I have spent thousands of dollars on these games, even more if you consider I’ve been purchasing games for more than twenty years and how many I have sold, thrown away, deleted, etc over the years. But now…I’m not that interested in spending money on developers that don’t care about their user base.

Last year was a shit show. Triple A game after Triple A game being put out with game breaking bugs (Anthem, Fallout 76, Left Alive), game devs giving in to angry internet trolls that don’t even play games, game devs firing massive amounts of their people after record profits (EA and Activition,) and just the unbelievable exploitation of loot crates, microtransactions and pay-to-win garbage. $2 for a dot? COME ON!

I’ve had it with Triple A titles. They are supposed to be BETTER because they have the people and the backing to provide better games.

The games I loved last year? Moonlighter. Donut County. Celeste. Gris. Raft. Subnautica (and Subnautica even has a squeal out this year.)

And many older games like Stardew Valley are still adding new content to their games. For FREE.

So many games, and they all have one thing in common: indie studios made them!

And when the players complain about bugs what do they triple A studios do? They get Steam and Epic games to hide reviews. They ban players who highlight the problem with the game. They ban their top player. They ignore feedback, double down on microtransactions because they aren’t making enough, and in general make it worse. Even No Man’s Sky, a game overhyped, released too soon, with many of the features missing, has slowly kept adding those features, fixing their game for free and making it better every year. Instead Fallout, Anthem and other Triple A titles are doubling down.

Oh, and then they transfer IP’s we love to mobile and say “Do you guys not have phones?” They are so out of touch with their community. They aren’t selling to this market anymore, they are trying to break into the Chinese market which is heavily mobile based with microtransactions, and leaving us behind.

I’m not buying Triple A titles anymore until they are out, and vetted by the first players. I will support great games in the indie market and encourage those companies to grow. I will be making videos about them because I love them, and adding them to my recommendeds because I will not support an industry that does not love the games they make. If all you are in this for is money (which Activition and EA clearly are) then you don’t love what you are producing. If you don’t love it then why would I love it?

I’m done. I don’t trust games journalists anymore because I know they are just writing what the big companies tell them to write, and then lowering scores of indie titles so the big companies sell more. That’s why game companies black list so many smaller game reviewers, and even Kotaku, because they don’t want honest reviews. I’m tired of it. I want indie titles to win! Because they are amazing! They are creative, innovative, and actually WORK.

So go buy GOOD games and leave the trash where it belongs.

We’re Moving

Bjorn got an amazing opportunity that we couldn’t pass up, so we’re moving.

Okay, not so bad…Except that we’ve been in this apartment for ten years. You accumulate a lot of stuff in ten years. But still, doable.

Oh, and we’re moving to Texas. From Seattle. 2300 miles! DRIVING!!!!

So, as you can imagine, the first thing I’m doing is throwing away as much stuff as I can because where is no possibility that we can take everything we have. Ten years of stuff is a lot, especially when one of the people works with leather and has a huge stock of leather here.

I have a few months to go through everything and sort it into keep, throw, donate, sell. This weekend I went through my books and marked three bins of them to take to half price books. I also started the big task of going through my craft room and tossing or giving away a very large part of them. It isn’t quite as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve been needing to purge my craft area for a very long time, and I’m actually happy to start getting rid of a lot of it. I mostly work in markers on paper when I do artwork so having all of this…STUFF… gets a little distracting after a while.

Still, this is going to take some time. I’m glad I have some notice so I don’t have to get rid of everything right away, but I also wonder if that’s a good idea. Kind of light ripping off a band-aid, the longer you take the more it hurts. If I had to get rid of it right this minute I would probably just go through and pick out the few things that meant the most to me and donate the rest. We’re doing it a little backwards, but I’m okay with that. I have a little more time to figure out what I really really want, and how much we can take.

On that note, I’ll be putting up some more listings on Etsy. If I can sell a few things I don’t have to move them, but also I really don’t want to send things I made by hand off to the thrift store. You’ll find paintings, hand made beads, and leather keychains. All sorts of interesting things. I’ll also be sticking the shop in vacation mode in a couple months because we’ll be moving…so grab them while you can. I’m also going to put a few of my craft supplies up there just because I hope someone will want to use them.

But stay tuned….I might have some more announcements and information in the next months.

What have I been doing? ALL THE THINGS!

It’s been a long month. What have I been doing? Let’s see….

So far this month I’ve written 12,000 words, more than I’ve written in one month in a while (other than NaNoWriMo of course.) Most of that writing, and the writing for the end of April, was on my new book, Steel Soul. I only have to finish the final battle scene for this book and it will be done. The second book in this series (Steel Heart? Forge? IDK yet) already has a big chunk of writing done too.

Yes, I know I was trying to finish the next book in my Half Blood Sorceress book, and I actually have it about 2/3rds done. I ran into a large problem with the plot (mainly that five chapters weren’t working as written) so I have to go back through and fix it. This was proving difficult, and I had a great idea for a litRPG (Steel Soul) so I went with it and almost wrote a finished book in a month.

I also worked on THIS design for my spoonflower patterns. That took longer than I thought it would. I had the idea and sketched it out the other day, but when I started working on it I kept adding little details to make it better and better. I can’t wait to get my piece so I can proof it and put it up for sale.

I wrote a few more reviews for my gaming blog. I don’t do these often, I usually do a bunch of them at once then schedule them for a few months at a time. But I really do enjoy games, so of course I want to share that with others. They will start coming out twice a week again.

I’m also working on a podcast idea. I want to finalize it and get it up and running. If I do it right it will be something I record once a week, post to my blog and a few other places, and sometimes interview people at cons or other places. More on that later.

The last thing I’ve been doing this month: Leather! With only a few minutes here and there I’ve been making bracelets, and coin pouches. I’ve learned a lot about leather, and I’m really enjoying it. It’s a great creative outlet when my allergies are really bad and I can’t think, but I really want to do something. I am streaming over on twitch, usually twice a week, with leather, or some sort of creative thing. If you like that sort of thing, or you’d like to come in and say hi, please follow me.

The only other thing I’ve been doing is going to doctors, getting blood tests, and getting prescribed more meds. They upgraded me to severe asthma and allergies. Yay. They put me on some medication to try and control it, but it takes a while to kick in. In the mean time I will keep avoiding people who smoke or wear any sort of perfumed anything. Not easy to do at a call center, but I don’t have a lot of choice. I still have to work the day job, so I just have to do what I can to make do.

Anyway, sorry for the long absence, and the really long update all at once. I look forward to putting out Steel Soul, I hope soon. I think it’s one of the funnest things I’ve written in a while, but I love litRPG.

Where is my heart?

They say follow your passion and you’ll never work another day in your life. Bjorn and I talk about this, it isn’t that you don’t work. In fact you probably work harder if you’re following your own passions. It’s that you’re working for yourself, and for your dreams, so it doesn’t feel as distasteful.

Oh, there are days when it down right sucks to work on your passion. I’ve been sick for weeks and could barely string two words together, I know sometimes it’s very hard to follow what you love. But other times it’s the most amazing thing in the world, and you just get to be thrilled that you earn a living doing something you’d happily do anyway.

And some days it’s easy to say “this is the thing I love.” Other days you might get distracted, or like me you have several things you love and sometimes you have to choose which one is more important. Do I write, or draw? Do I sew, or bead? Maybe all of them?

Honestly, having a lot of passions is not a bad problem to have. I can almost always find something I love to work on that day. The bad part of it is finishing things. When you’ve got so many things going on it’s hard to pick a task to complete, and if you don’t complete things you can’t put them out in the world for other people to enjoy.

I don’t know the answer, I’m just thinking about it a lot. I think I will be the rest of the year because hopefuly next year I’m going to have a chance to do stuff full time, or at least have a part time job instead of a full time job. It all depends on a bunch of things, and I have a whole year to figure it out.

Word Count: still writing tonight

Duolingo: 2 modules.

Steps: ACHIEVED! Feeling better.

Art: none

On Sleep

Yesterday I went to work, like normal, and about half way through the day I just started feeling run down. My eyes burned, my throat hurt, and I was exhausted. Sure, I didn’t have a full nights sleep, but I rarely do and it shouldn’t have come on so quickly.

I had to work half my shift, so I forced myself to get through the last hour or two before coming home. As soon as I laid down I fell asleep, another thing that never happens, and I slept for about five hours before waking up. If I hadn’t been so hungry I probably would have gone back to sleep, I was still exhausted. I tried…I really tried to stay awake for a little while. Gregg and I watched a little tv together and I started falling asleep leaned up against him after only a couple hours. So back to bed I went.

This morning I woke up at 8am and I felt a little better. My eyes didn’t burn, and my throat wasn’t as sore. I didn’t feel exhausted, just the normal amount of tired for waking up to go to work. And I did. I went to work. I lasted about half the day before I started getting really tired and had to go home again. Got home, climbed into bed, and fell right to sleep for another five hours.

I did manage to stay awake this time for a few hours, but it’s midnight and I’m starting to fall asleep at the keyboard again….so I’m going back to bed. Thankfully it’s my weekend so I can get over whatever this is that’s keeping me down. I’d really like to get back to normal.

But I did manage to write a little before I passed out again. Now… Off to bed.

For today:

Word Count: 180

Duolingo: 2 module

Steps: Not achieved

Art: none

Glasses and goals

I had new glasses, which was good. My old ones were a few years old and everything was getting blurry. So I brought the new glasses home and almost everything was good. There were letters on the lenses, and the left lens had the letters right in my vision.

It worried me a little bit that the tech coudln’t see the letters. They should have had a good pair of glasses too, right? And yet, they couldn’t. My boyfriend could, so I wasn’t crazy (at least not for that). Then I kept getting headaches and I realized there was a big blurry spot in my left eye every tim I wore them. My head was trying to compensate for it, and I had head aches.

So I took the glasses back and I’m wearing the old ones now…but there’s a problem. My eyes were trying to compensate for a blury spot, now the whole scene is a little blurry. When I’m tired I’m finding it hard to focus. I really hope the new glasses get here soon.

So for now I have my glasses off, which means the computer is REALLY blurry, and I have to get kind of close to it to see anything. It’s a good thing I don’t have to see what I’m typing. However it is making writing difficult, so I think I’m going to go to bed early and call it for the night

For today:

Word Count:  125

Duolingo: 3 modules done.

Steps: Not achieved

Art: A little girl and her art, and a happy pi day.