Tag Archive for foot

Sneakin’ Around: My Country for a Horse

Kaens in leather.

It was the only clean outfit, or something like that.

I need a new look.  I suppose I could always go with the dinner suit or the dress from last week, but I’d rather not.  To the left you’ll see a picture of me in my adventuring attire.  It looks like standard leather stuff, and that’s the problem.  I need to find a way to look less like I’m itching for a fight, while still retaining some stats so that I can survive the occasions when I’m trying to run away from one.

Browsing my way through the auction house, I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that remaining in leather is going to be hard if I want to get a look that I like, and might instead have to go with cloth in a few areas.  Obviously, as I level I will have more options, but for now I can only wear what I can wear, restricted by level, and so I am limited in my choices.  Still, there has to be something better than this.

Another issue I’ve been having is that my desire to leave town was bottoming out.  I mean, in Stormwind I can safely earn a few thousand exp every day and never have to worry.  But I decided to venture out and checked in with the Hero’s Call board to see where I should go for a level appropriate challenge.  I suspect I’ll constantly be back tracking, looking for old low level quests to pad out my growth, but I wanted something exciting and challenging.  The board said to go to Darkshire in Duskwood.  So I flew out to the logging camp and then headed out on foot.

I love exploring, but sometimes, running on foot through places you’ve already explored can be boring, but what option do I have?  Anyway, after a long trek there, I discovered that like much of the world the people of Darkshire just want me to kill stuff.  Everyone, that is, except Abercrombie.  He had a great series where I was sent out to deliver or gather things and everything was going swimmingly until he asked for some ghoul ribs, which you can’t find just laying around.  I was very disappointed to not be able to continue working with him, but on the bright side, I made a couple of levels and got past 20.

The horse.

My feet thank you, Abercrombie.

Level 21 and riding high…

The Station

3979765871_f5e0676fedAs his foot crunched in the gravel between the tracks, Edward stopped and waited.  It had been more than six months since he’d seen another living soul, but he’d run into one of them just a few days before.  He kept his weight steady.  His right palm gripped against the stock of the rifle started to sweat.  He eyed the windows of the building, looking for movement.  Nothing moved.

He quickly took two more crunching steps and stopped again.  Edward was tempted to call out, but voices carried and there was no sense alerting anything that hadn’t already heard his footsteps.  Still nothing moved, so he finished crossing the tracks to the cement walkway.

Everything looked clear and dry.  He carefully leaned the rifle against one of the roof supports and slipped off his shoes.  After tying the laces together, he hung them over his shoulder and picked the rifle back up.  He momentarily juggled it from hand to hand, taking the opportunity to dry his palms on his pants.

The light was beginning to fade and he needed to find a room, preferably without windows and a single door he could lock and barricade, before night fell.  Edward approached the nearest door in sock feet, as silent as he could manage.

It was dark inside.  Electricity had first started failing within days after everything went to hell.  Some places, powered by hydroelectric had managed months of power before their mechanisms began to fail.  The last of Edward’s own working batteries had died out weeks ago, and he hadn’t been able to find any more.  Entering the building took several long minutes as he stepped forward into shadow and then waited for his eyes to adjust.  By the time he was a few feet inside, it wasn’t so dark anymore.

Most of the windows had been boarded up on the inside, which meant that someone had secured it at some point.  But the door had been wide open, so unless that someone had retreated to and was holding up in some deeper room, it wasn’t likely that any living person was inside.

Safety was important, but he didn’t have time to check the whole station.  He made his way down the first hallway and found a supply closet.  It wasn’t big, but he could see a small rectangular shape high up on the far wall he guessed was an air vent, and the wire shelves on the left and right would provide good support for barricading the door.  Opposite his closet was a boarded window, and if he needed he could use the shotgun on his back to blast a way out. He stared into the room for a minute, occasionally looking left and right down the hall in either direction.  Edward shifted his weight to his right foot, then patted his left foot on the floor a couple times.

Nothing moved.

He slipped into the closet, turned and very slowly shut the door.  Carefully he knelt down and placed his rifle on the floor, then unslung his pack from his back.  Reaching in with his left hand he quietly rummaged around for a candle and a lighter.  At this point his flash light was little more than a club, but he’d found a box of fifty disposable lighters long ago and had kept them.

Producing a candle and a lighter, he flicked the lighter to life and lit the candle.  On his left was a shelf of cleaning and janitorial supplies.  Quickly his inventoried it in his head, taking note of there was nothing to eat or drink, but there was a bottle of plain Clorox he could use to clean some water later and number of other chemicals.  There were buckets on the bottom shelf he might make use of tomorrow, and in the corner were three mops he could use to bar the door.  He found a stack of paper cups, possibly for a dispenser next to a drinking fountain somewhere in the station, and took one to use as a candle holder, which he did and set it on the same shelf at chest height.

On the right was a shelf of office supplies.  Some pens, a couple pads of paper, a stapler.  Nothing he could really use.

He looked up and saw the dark rectangle on the wall opposite the door had indeed been an air vent.  There wouldn’t be any heat or air conditioning, but it made him feel better about locking himself in a room if it wasn’t air tight.

Edward grabbed up the mops and wedged them into the wire shelves across the door.  It probably wouldn’t hold long if trouble came, but the noise should wake him up.  With that done, he moved his candle down to a lower shelf, moved his rifle into the corner the mops had occupied, and pulled his sawed off shotgun from his pack and placed it on the shelf with the stapler.

He sat on the floor and leaned against the back wall of the closet, then went searching through his pack for something to eat.  Edward came up with a water bottle still half full and one mostly full that represented the last of his clean water.  He also discovered a granola bar at the bottom, which was a surprise since he thought he’d run out last week.  He unwrapped and ate the bar, as well as a small bag of peanuts, and drank the half full bottle of water.

Less hungry than he had been, Edward blew out the candle and settled on the floor curled in a fetal position.  Using a t-shirt from his pack as a pillow, he closed his eyes and tried not to think too much about tomorrow’s trip in to town for supplies.  For now, he was safe in the station. Still he spent a long hour listening for noises in the night before drifting off into a fitful sleep.

Photo by http://www.flickr.com/photos/gali_367/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

Merry Christmas

To you and yours, from me and mine…

… Merry Christmas!

This year we got a ten foot tree.

This year we got a ten foot tree.

Raiding is stupid

It is. It really is. And if you are offended by that statement, its because you don’t really care about raiding, but you see it as a way to keep the really good loot out of the hands of people not willing to put forth the effort. You aren’t raiding because its a good story.

The main reason I say that raiding is stupid is that the way current MMOs are designed, raid encounters just do not make any sense at all. Seriously. If I were a sixty foot tall winged god surrounded by eighty people, you can bet your ass that I would not waste my time beating on the glowing regenerating turtle in a hard shell while the remainder of them killed me. I’d use my wings to sweep aside my attackers, I’d divide them and step on them. I’d kill the healers first and pick the rest off at my leisure…. because… I. Am. A. GOD.

The idea of mere mortals, even equipped with super uber weapons of doom, ganging up to kill gods is just… stupid. Especially when the gods just stand there and take it like the two dollar whore they are coded to be. I could actually buy it if it was just a group of six or even ten people, with a use of strategy and tactics… but have you ever seen people work together in large groups? Either most of them turn off their brains, follow orders, and many of them lose/die, or they are complete and utter chaos.

Raid content is insulting in the basicness of its design.

Frankly, I don’t play games to be archer number seven in a war someone else is leading. I don’t play to be a part of healing bank two, or even to be the “main tank”. When I play a game, I’m looking for narrative, and I’m looking to be the hero, not to be fire support for the hero. No one in the history of fantasy has ever said “My favorite character in Lord of the Rings is Glormindar, which is the name I gave to the guy who was standing about twenty feet away from Aragorn and was killed when the Nazgul arrived. He was fuckin’ sweet!” If you play games to be a cog in someone else’s wheel, well… I feel sorry for you. I really do.

Buying a Home

First I want to make a distinction: House versus Home. I do not want to buy a house. A house is the place you reside. I want to buy a home. A home is where you live, raise a family, good times, bad times, life, love, laughter. A home is where your heart is, a house is the physical dwelling that contains it.

I want to buy a home.

However, the current housing market disagrees with me. It has become appearant that I could afford to buy a house only if my plan is to turn around and sell it in a year or two. Every real estate agent and article for the Atlanta area talks about how the market is ripe for investment. But I do not want to invest money into a house, I want to invest into a home. I do not want to buy with the intent to sell. I want to buy with the intent to spend twenty years there, more if I can, less if life turns out that way.

Richard Bartle, a guy whose blog I read because he’s a game designer and often has interesting stuff to say or link to, wrote about the current situation in England (where he lives). I found this extremely interesting because it resembles my own experiences here in the States.

You see, I currently rent a 1,600 square foot townhome apartment for $850 a month. As I have been house hunting, I have not been able to find a 1,600 square foot house (or townhome for that matter) to own for less that $1,200 a month in mortgage payments unless I wish to live so far outside Atlanta that I will spend 5 hours a day in traffic and easily $300 a month in gas and parking (I currently ride public transportation, but the buses only go so far). All in all, its at least $400 a month cheaper for me to continue renting, and more realistically it is about $800 a month cheaper. That is just messed up. By renting and living close to the bus line, I literally cut my living expenses in half.

But its not just that I cut my expenses in half… if I was doing that and pocketting the extra money for savings, that would be awesome. But the truth is that I could not afford (and when I say I, I mean “my wife and I”) to be spending that $1,500+ per month. That $800 I save is being spent paying other bills and expenses. Sure, I could buy the house… as long as I did not want cable, electricity, or to ever do anything other than work and sit at home.

So why not buy a smaller house? I tried that, but Atlanta is infested with McMansions. You know, where they take a nice quarter acre lot barely big enough for a bungalow, tear down the bungalow and build a 3,000 square foot house that will sell for $800,000 and leaves them with a yard that takes two minutes to cut with a pair of safety scissors and where they can touch the neighbors’ McMansions without losing grip of their own house. And when I have found a small house for sale, well, I already live in a ghetto, I do not want to move next door to a crack house. Besides, if the house is too small, it just ups the expenses since you wind up having to go out more often to get away from each other. And really, 1,600 square feet for 2 people and 2 pets really is not all that big.

Essentially, what I see here is an economic state that encourages lack of assets. Its cheaper to rent than to own. Its cheaper to commit a year at a time (standard lease) than to commit to a 15 or 30 year term (standard loans). In fact, the only way to get a loan on a decent house that is lower than my rent is to do an “interest only” loan, meaning that for the first 5 years or so, I’m not actually buying my home, I’m just renting it from the bank since I’m establishing no equity.

And while I do not wish people to lose money, here’s to hoping that in 2006, the bottom falls out of the real estate market and by August I’ll be able to afford to buy a home.

Public Facilities.

Okay, enough with all the serious shit and on with some serious shit talk.

Nine times out of ten, I really have no problem with using a public restroom, but then there is always that one time…

First off, I realize that handicapped people need a little more room to manuver in the stall, but do they really need a stall that’s 3 times the size of the rest of the bathroom? You know the kind I’m talking about, where when you sit down it feels like you are on the crapper in the middle of a room and not behind a little locked door, where if the lock fails and someone starts to open it you have no chance in hell of being able to push it shut from where you are sitting, so you either wait for them to notice you sitting there, or you hop up and waddle with your pants at your ankles, one-eyed winky waving in the wind, and slam the door shut on their fingers. Sure, you could just yell, “Hey, someone’s in here!” but they don’t always listen.

Continuing with handicapped toilets, why are they so much taller? I’m 5’10” and normally when I sit down on the john my feet fit snugly on the floor, which is a good thing. I personally find that things work themselves out much more smoothly if I can apply a little pressure to the floor, much like driving (try it some time if you don’t drive stick, use your left foot and apply a little pressure to the floor with your heel, you’ll find that your right foot moves more accurately and quickly over the other pedals making driving and stopping just a bit easier). However, in a handicapped stall my heels hover about a half inch over the ground at maximum stretch. No leverage. Most times, if I walk into a bathroom and see that only the handicapped stall remains, I’ll leave. Sometimes though, the “special” stall is the only stall and one has no options.

Beyond those design flaws, most bathrooms are pretty nice. Paper, seat covers, soap, towls, sink, urinal, stalls (with locks on doors). Of course, men’s rooms typically lack the couches and free coffee that some women’s rooms have, but that’s the price we pay for being allowed to pee standing up I suppose.

What really makes most public facilities bad are the other patrons. Some men can’t aim. Or because they don’t want to wash their hands will try to piss “freestyle”. Sometimes this works, other times it works like any other hose. As a kid, we used to unhook the garden hose from the sprinkler then crank up the power from the faucet. It would fling around and spray everywhere and we’d run through it yelling and screaming. Thank god they finally invented that toy that sprayed water around like that, getting hit by the metal flying end fo the hose hurt! But the point is, freestylers tend to piss all over the place. The urinal, the floor, their shoes (don’t they care???), their pants, the divider between the urinals (if there is one). The only saving grace is that they usually don’t piss on the flush handle. Put a freestyler in a stall, however, and all bets are off. This is why most men flush with their foot. Automatic flushers were invented by men for just this reason.

And I won’t even get in to the guys who appearantly either eat whole cows or don’t shit for 2 weeks, and then follow that with 2 rolls of paper. Its not that they don’t flush, its that flushing, as this juncture, becomes moot.

And whatever happened to the shit house poet? I miss the days of amusing myself with the writing on the walls. The phone numbers, the dirty jokes, the crude pictures. Ahh, the good ole days….

Ah well, enough with my ranting…