Wednesday, March 28, 2018
Monday, March 5, 2018
A bit over a month ago, I went to visit my friend Michelle in Montreal, and she introduced me to a game called Warframe. For the two or three people on the planet who's never heard of it, Warframe is a third person space ninja shoot-and-stab 'em up that's free to play.
So, I had heard of the game before in passing, in that vague 'huh, it's a game I'm not interested in' sort of way, and didn't even give it a second thought, but Michelle was playing it a lot when I was over, so after a week of her nudging me, I thought I'd at least give it a half-hearted try to amuse her.. and found I kinda like the game. A lot. In the 'I will damn well spend money on this game' sort of way for the fashion stuff and everything.
The game has a bit of a learning curve, but during that curve, you start to feel kinda awesome very quickly. The game's backstory makes you a legendary individual, rising from a deep sleep to try to bring balance to the universe. You're kind of a super soldier with the ability to change 'frames', which are effectively character classes, in power armour form, that lets you slaughter hundreds of baddies and look totally awesome while doing so.
The game is mad-customizable, with different frames, which you can colour a whole slew of ways, metric ass-tonnes of weapons, with a primary, secondary, and melee weapon available, and your frames and your weapons are also customizable, with mods, which allow you to tailor your stuff to the style of play you want. You can get animal companions (cats and dogs), and you can get mechanical floating sidekicks called sentinels, all of which have unique traits and can be, again, customizable to your style of play.
Everything levels. You have 25 Ranks to work through, which is done by levelling your frames, weapons, companions, and sentinels. Each can go to Level 30, and that's pretty easy to do. But once you have it levelled, you can 'reset' it, altering one of the 'slots' for mods, and relevel it all over again. You do this, because when you tweak one of the mod slots, you can start putting in stronger and stronger mods (since you have limited capacity for what you can add). Each time you gain a Rank, you start your gear 'ahead' a bit - they're still starting at Level 0, but are treated like they're at your Level as far as modding is concerned.
You can play solo, with your friends, or in pick up groups, of up to four people total. There's Clans to join, which have 'dojo' which can be customized to look awesome, and there's voice chat (though I tend to voice chat with my friends in Discord). Most of the people are pretty cool even in pick-up-groups, and there's ample trade.
There's an optional PvP duelling arena, but I don't touch it - I much prefer going on missions with people and being awesome as a group - even though I'm normally a solo-style person. The game makes it fun to work with others - it rewards teamwork, and if you are close to an ally, any XP they earn also benefits you, so there's the impetus to work together towards a common goal.
The backstory's interesting, and when you complete The Second Dream, everything you thought you knew about the game changes. It adds a lot of interesting stuff, and The War Within which is the quest afterwards, turns everything on its head again. A number of quests are to help you get additional warframes, but those two quests specifically are, I think, essential to the game, and are just amazing.
The standard style of play is sort of a 'dungeon delve' thing - you go on a mission, kill all the bad guys, accomplish the goal, and get out in about 10 to 40 minutes, depending on your skill and the type of mission, but recently they've added sandbox play with the Plains of the Eidolon. That region's free to roam around in as you wish, and they're going to be adding a new sandbox region soon.
So yeah! I didn't think I'd enjoy the game - I don't like third person or first person shooters, but the game play, the community, the company itself (who are awesome folks who listen to their players and interact with them regularly) and the story and background all contribute to this awesome game I can't say enough about. I really recommend it!
Thursday, October 26, 2017
So, Stranger Things 2 is coming to Netflix. I watched the first one, and it hit my 80s vibe so much. There were a few things that I was disconnected from - living in Calgary is completely different than living in the USA. But there was enough that hit home for me.
Back behind the Mobil home I lived in was a bunch of dunes we called the 'dirt tracks'. This was dug out dirt that wound around the region - undeveloped land. I'd go there with my friends, bike around the dunes, play with our action figures, and do jumps off this one space which was perfect for that. Two or three or more of us would line up on one side, and someone would shoot down one side, up the other, and sail over us. It was cool. There was a pond with salamanders there as well, and we'd catch them, and let them go, or try to raise them if we could get an aquarium.
My mom and dad didn't want me in the house that much. I'd go out, spend the entire day wandering around, doing what I wanted to do. Sometimes this was hanging out and playing Dungeons and Dragons (hey! like the kids in that show!) on someone's front porch or in their house. Sometimes it was out to the 'dirt tracks', sometimes it was down at a friend's place, almost an hour's walk away, or a trip to the swimming pool, which was almost two hour's walk away, or sometimes it was to the closest shopping mall, well over two hour's walk away.
I didn't tell my parents where I was going usually - as long as I was home for supper, it was okay. And if I was out after supper? Home by 8-9 pm. Not, you know, that I really paid that much attention to that. I was sometimes late for dinner, and sometimes out a bit too late at night.
Some people talk about the tension in the 80s. I never saw it. Then again, I was naive as all hell. There was this threat of nuclear war - but that worry was distant - in the back of my mind, as something that 'probably isn't going to happen'. I didn't worry about it, I had other things on my mind.
So... here's where things get interesting.
If you know me... and if you've been paying attention, you know about Legion. And, while I was completely unaware of them, they existed back then and went about their existence as best they could without me being aware.
We built entire mental scapes in my head for them, and what I thought was just 'hey, imagination!' was them doing things to enjoy themselves. 'What if this was real?' 'Let's set it up so this is going on', and other stuff. They'd then inhabit what was built, and just entertain themselves. It... was distracting. Or, if I'd be going someplace, they'd swap me out, let me enjoy the stuff built into my head, and take over, enjoying the scenery as I walked from one end of Bowness to the other.
I think to some extent, they also protected me from the worst that was out there. I can't tell you where the tipping point was. I just know sometime - between Grade 3 and Grade 7, there was a change. I went from 'me' to 'we'. Or... maybe it was even before that, but... I don't think so.
My fights with Kyle? Not always me. It was probably Mark who chased Kyle down the street to defend our friend Brent.
The person who stood their ground for half an hour or more against a would-be-bully, laughing at the thought of seeing what this guy could do? Not me. Probably Shawn.
The person who threw themselves at a student in Jr. High, without any thought of who the person was, or personal safety? That was Dark.
The person who *almost* clocked a teacher in the back of the head for insulting us in front of the whole class? Probably Shawn - and THANK THE GODDESS I stopped him before it happened.
But these were also the people who kept me company when I was alone at home. I wasn't allowed company over, so if I wasn't outside, with friends, I was alone. So they kept me company. We'd play with my action figures together, giving them names and personalities. They'd help me work out ideas in my head - thinking about distant places, or 'what ifs'.
I just didn't know it at the time. But then, I didn't have any point of reference - I thought everyone talked to themselves, and heard themselves answer in other voices.
Daryl was there - my younger brother. Immature, impulsive. There was Sonic as well, who ... well, admittedly, was very, very strange. Bard was there, playing constant music in my head (though these days, it sometimes sounds external, too.)
I wonder what it would have been like if I knew who they were. If I realized 'I' was 'we'. I honestly don't know, but I'm kind of sad I didn't get to acknowledge my brothers (and sister) when I was a lot younger.
I remember some of the girls I hung out with and knew at the time. I had no idea how to deal with women except for 'hey, it's a person I know, and I shouldn't treat them differently than anyone else - except no hitting.' Initials go here. RL, MB and CL, J? and SD, RB and PG. And of course, there was the woman who lived across the street from me - I don't remember her name, but... seriously. I was 18, and she was well into her 20s, and what the hell did she see in me?
There's things I remember from my time in Calgary about them, and some of these things... I don't think they remember. RL didn't remember when I'd hurt her feelings, but I feel glad that I was able to call her up and apologize. Seriously, when someone's model-level attractive and you have no idea how to even comprehend they're in the same airspace as you... yeah. I shouldn't have teased, but I didn't have any idea what to even *think*. I still have a soft spot in my heart for Bluehawk. She's shown up a few times in my D&D games.
CL triggered my ASMR one evening. Sitting in a semi-dark room, laying backwards from one another (head-at-ankles), and she just started running her hand along my shin and ankle. I mentioned that was relaxing, so she kept doing it. There was nothing sexual about it - we were just talking about things, and then my brain switched off because OMG that was relaxing. I could have sat there for hours, just talking, half-out of focus because it was so soothing.
Which reminds me - one time on the school bus, some girl behind me started stroking my hair. My brain simply shut off, and I enjoyed the entire bus trip in a trance. To this day, I've got no idea who it was - but whoever it was? Thank you, that was ... bliss.
My friend Neil, at one point, found a letter from MB to BM - her boyfriend. I got to read it briefly, and... you know? I was a bit amused at what was said - but on some level, I got it. She liked him, and that was fine. I didn't mention this to anyone, because as far as I was concerned, it was private. I was naive, sure, but... these were friends, and I saw no reason to tease them over a love-letter. MB did me a favour once, though it was weird. I'd never had a girlfriend, and she was sitting in BM's lap. So, I asked if she could sit in my lap. She did... and it was interesting. I was like 'huh, okay, so this is a thing'. It didn't get my hormones revved, but it explained some things to me, and ... I'm actually grateful.
J? and SD. Two girls I seriously liked. Those two girls were the ones who set my 'type' for the next decade. J had almost-red hair, SD was blond, and ... while I didn't know them that well, they were kind of a 'night and day' for me. SD was petite, and J was a touch tomboyish, and I was drawn to them for those reasons. SD ... barely tolerated me, which is okay, because she wasn't cruel or anything. J... I actually got the guts to ask her out once - and got shot down. But she was nice about it - a simple 'no, sorry', and that was that.
RB. My 'girlfriend'. In that a common friend of us ours set us up as a pair. Considering I knew nothing about how to handle a relationship, I... was okay. We went out on a date once (to see Rooftops. I won two tickets from Much Music). That was fine. We played RPGs together. I kind of wish she didn't smoke. And we never did anything really 'coupley' until my 18th birthday. She put her arms around me, and I had NO IDEA how to react to that. And ... I moved away that month, to Ottawa. She wrote me, once. I lost the envelope with her return address - then the letter from her disappeared.
That's my last regret for Calgary - that I have no idea where she is, how she's doing, and I never got the chance to write her back and say 'thank you'. I hope she's doing okay.
PG. She's on my list of 'solid friends'. I hung out with her and her brothers, we played D&D and other games, and she was a solid friend. I liked her, enjoyed hanging out with her, and while sometimes I was a brat, she was nothing but nice to me. Heck, she let me sit in her room and read her Amethyst comic collection (which was kind of cool, honestly). She was, at the time, the ideal of the 'platonic girlfriend'. She's the person who pretty much trained me that 'you know, you can have friends, who are girls, and ... that's okay'.
The 80s were strange. Complex in a lot of ways that I didn't understand, and incredibly simple in other ways. It was like, my personal space was simple. Life for me was simple. But there was so much going on that I simply couldn't comprehend - I wasn't a part of it, it didn't touch me, and that was okay.
I remember someone having broken the wing of a seagull when I was in high school. I went out, captured it in my sweater, put it in a box, went through class with it, and then took it to a wild animal clinic downtown with another student.
Had no idea who that student was, but she sat with me on the bus, helped me get it to the clinic, and that was that - never saw her again.
I remember my Phys Ed high school class, where a student suplexed me so hard it knocked the wind out of me. That Christmas, my Phys Ed teacher (as Santa) brought me down in front of the entire school during assembly, sat me on his lap, and gave me a 50 pack of MUSCLE action figures as 'bodyguards'.
I laughed. It was great.
Then I went home and wrote a wrestling-based RPG, because that's how my mind worked. And then I sold it to my friend David for $10 before I moved to Ottawa.
Then I wrote it again. Tweaked it a bit.
Things were not as fun or simple once I got to Ottawa. Moving into a new house, not knowing anyone, trying to find a niche in high school where nobody knew me. The stress my parents were going through, and me just not knowing how I 'fit' anywhere.
Rod was probably the greatest thing to happen to me, when I moved into Kanata. Cat was the greatest thing to happen to me once I met her. Rod was an anchor - he grounded me, and was the brother I needed. Even when he moved away, he kept in touch with me, and I needed that. When he moved back to Ottawa, it was great, we picked up as if we'd never parted ways.
Is there a point to this? No, not really. Just... I've not done this in a long, long time. Just writing, and writing, and writing, letting my thoughts flow out.
It feels good. But I should stop.
Monday, August 28, 2017
So, the bad thing. Well, I was trying to have fun with my partner, and everything was set up and while I was nervous I was excited to try out some new things. However.. when I'm active, certain parts of our anatomy 'doesn't exist' for my awareness unless specific attention is paid to them. Even then, it doesn't feel normal for me. Well, that disconnect prevented me from being able to.. umm.. 'perform' in the required fashion. I tried, and.. well, nothing really came from it. It was frustrating, and a bit depressing. So yeah, learned something new: 'Samantha's enough of a woman that she's not able to do this kind of thing'.
Let's see, what else can we talk about?
Well, yeah. Wednesday, made it to Montreal, hung out with my friends, and got along well with my partner's significant other. They were cool, and we had some similar interests, so we got to chat about that. Thursday, I took my partner to see Spider-Man - and screwed up getting the tickets. I got them for the wrong theatre. So that became a more expensive trip than we'd hoped. Got to wander downtown, and went to McGill university, and enjoyed the farmer's market there. Also went to the 'gay district', and enjoyed wandering around and taking pictures too.
Friday was 'the experiment', and.. well, like I said. It didn't work out like I'd hoped.
Saturday, my partner had to go out for dinner with their significant other. It was a bigger affair than they'd expected, and ran late.. and I was lonely as hell. And apparently, the medication we're taking for our moods - St. John's Wort - isn't working as well as we'd hoped, because I crashed hard. And I've noticed we're reacting to some things a lot harder than we expected to. This isn't good. We may need to either up the dosage, or get the hard stuff, and we kind of wanted to avoid getting the hard stuff.
Sunday, we went to a 'munch', where people with a certain interest were able to gather and talk about stuff, knowing they have a common interest, and being able to be normal around one another. After hanging out for awhile, it was time to go home, and I kinda slept and rested on the bus ride home. Once home, Kit took over, and went to the Loon and Arrow with Cat. The serving girl was awesome, and it was a pleasant wrap to the trip.
So, looking forward to another trip to Montreal.
Looking forward to spending time with my partner.
Looking forward to seeing what I am capable of, and what we can do together.
Thursday, August 24, 2017
Samantha: Kit's given me the chance to go on vacation for the first time, so I'm spending five days in Montreal. I've never been in control like this, and I get to try being my own person during the trip. Sadly, this also means having to adult as well.
So far, so good. Though I had a weird dream, where I was talking to an artist friend online, while playing with myself. It wasn't sexual, when I did that, I sounded like a sitar. My girlfriend was there with me, as was her kind of furry persona, though human still. And then my sister in law came into the room, amazed at the sound I could make. We were at our old place.
Yeah, weird dream.
Monday, July 31, 2017
I'm heading to Montreal for a few days to see someone, and I'm looking forward to it. It isn't 'Kit and Cat are going to Montreal', it's me. Kit's giving me some time for myself - a few days - and I can spend it with someone I care about.
But there's complications.
See, a few days ago, we were discussing things we'd be doing while I was visiting, and some of them were.. well.. personal in nature. They hit a lot of my fun buttons - and while I was a bit shocked and shy about it, I was like 'oh, this is going to be interesting!'
And I was thinking 'I get to spend a bunch of days alone with her!'
And.. while it's true.. it isn't completely true.
There's going to be one day where her boyfriend's going to be staying over. And if I came earlier - which had crossed my mind - there'd be a few days where he'd be there, saying over. Which means I'd be in the living room.
Not with her.
I don't think I'm ready for that. I can probably deal with one day like that.. but not multiple days. And on the weekend, she's going off to his parent's place with him. I won't be going. And I'm going to have to deal with that.
I'm the 'on the side' in this relationship. As much as I don't want to be. But I have my limitations and she has her limitations. Different cities, different needs, that kind of thing.
That.. kind of took the air out of this some. I do want to go, and I do want to spend time with her, but I've also tried very hard to ignore that there's another relationship involved. I keep on thinking 'oh, this is that guy, her friend' - not 'this is her boyfriend, who she has a relationship with'.
And.. it makes me think of the stuff we talked about a few days ago, and suddenly, I'm wondering 'do they do that kind of thing?'.. and a part of me is worried that 'yes, they do', and a part of me is going 'you really don't want to know the answer, in case it's 'yes'.' And.. the fact it might be yes, kind of makes me want to cry.