Uncategorized

The Festival of the Lost

My first real disappointment with Destiny 2 is that there will be no Festival of the Lost this year. It’s because they launched the PC version the week where the Festival of the Lost should have started, and they don’t want the festival and the launch to happen at the same time, and I get that, but at the same time, if there was ever a year wherein the lost should be celebrated, it would be this one. We just went through an event where we were reminded repeatedly in story of how the Cabal were hunting down and killing lightless guardians.

Plus, the Festival of the Lost marks for me where my Destiny journey really began. I had been playing on and off since January, but it wasn’t until October of 2015 that I really started playing in earnest. I moved the Playstation into my office, hooking it to a port on an external monitor. This allowed me to play more, a lot more. Before, it was hooked up to the TV in the living room, which meant I could only play when everyone else was in bed, and then I had to play with headphones on to keep the noise down. It wasn’t the best way to play.

But when I moved the Playstation to my office, I could play more. I was working in the evening at that point, so I could get my work done early and play the rest of the night. That’s really where my secret life began, my gaming life, the other place where I spent most of my time. And I started really playing Destiny, day in, day out. My friend Mynbruje took me under his wing, helped me level up, helped me figure out my gear. I was able to start raiding.

When I started really getting into Destiny, Festival of the Lost was starting. I was just starting to wrap my head around a lot of Destiny’s extra-story elements, and now all of a sudden the tower was different, and there were these extra quests involving doing things while wearing masks. It was pretty crazy, but it was a lot of fun. The best part was that you got “candy” for doing things, in-game candy that your character could consume for an in game boost or effect.

And then last year, the Sweeper-bot lost its broom. It was stolen, and the poor Sweeper-bot, who had been dutifully sweeping the tower for two years was suddenly standing in the corner with no purpose. Meanwhile, you were able to find the stolen broom and it would turn into a Sparrow that you could race on around the maps. The Plaguelands map had a circular loop in it, and I would race around like it was a track.

I was looking forward to Festival of the Lost this year, and I’m disappointed it was cancelled. It looks like we’ll still have the Festival of the Dawning in December, and I’m sure that SRL (Sparrow Racing League) will make a comeback. And I’m still having a lot of fun with Destiny 2. I just wish the game would give me some candy this year.

Uncategorized

The First Prestige Raid Controversy

The first Prestige Raid for Destiny 2 came out recently. The Prestige Raid is the same raid as before, only with a higher light level to make it more of a challenge. The first clan to complete it would be recognized within the entire community. The clan that did complete it used a glitch, known as the “Coil Glitch” because it involved an exotic rocket launcher, The Wardiff Coil.

Somehow, by using the Wardiff Coil, by equipping it and unequipping it, you can refill your power weapon ammo. Power ammo is designed to be rare in the game, only dropping at certain times, to limit how often you can use your power weapon. By using the glitch, the clan was able to have more power ammo than normal, which they used to overcome the increased challenge of the higher light level.

The Prestige Raid had already been put off a week because of a different exploit that had been discovered, and Bungie wanted to patch it. While they should have been aware of the Coil Glitch, they chose not to address it. Now some members of the community are calling for the clan to lose their first prestige raid status because they used the glitch. Bungie has declined to do so.

And I think this is on Bungie. Finding and exploiting glitches has been going on in Destiny since the first glitch was found. I’m sure the Coil Glitch will be addressed sooner now, but the fact that Bungie didn’t address it before releasing the prestige raid tells me they didn’t think it was worth patching.

I used a glitch in Destiny 1. There was a strike, The Shield Brothers, where you could avoid damage from the boss fight by standing in a certain corner. You could shoot the bad guys, but for some reason, they couldn’t shoot you. And there was another strike, The Wretched Eye, that I would have certainly used a glitch to complete it if it was possible to do so.

I don’t feel that the clan should lose their first completion status because of the glitch, though the controversy will follow them. It reminds me of the footnotes that will go down in history regarding baseball’s Steroid Era. You can argue that Barry Bonds would have hit that many home runs, and you can make the case that it was never proved that he indulged in the doping, but that asterisk is going to hang by his record, and never let us forget it.

But Destiny has a long history of glitches and exploits, and I’m sure that new ones will surface. It’s all part of the game, no matter what level you’re competing at. You just can’t forget, though, that it was done with a glitch, a hack, a cheat. And that someone, somewhere, did complete it without hacking or cheating. If you can live with the glitch, that’s fine for you, and I don’t think that we get a chance to say otherwise.

Uncategorized

Where Nobody Knows Your (Real) Name

It used to be that the Internet was the people you didn’t really know. It used to be that everyone had a handle, and that handle became the online persona that you hung your hat on. Not that the persona was radically different, but that the persona, the handle, was the online you. There was the online you and the offline you.

Now we’re all online all the time. But I don’t want the people I know in real life to be the people that I’m interacting with online. I want the people that I’m interacting with online to be people whom I can’t interact with in another way. It used to be that I would interact with people all over the world, people who thought and wrote about what they thought, and now it’s just people I went to high school with posting pictures of their kids and their dogs and their kids’ dogs, and that’s nice and all, that saves me from having to seek them out and talk to them and stuff, things I hate doing, things I never did, but that’s not the Internet. We shrunk the Internet, and now it’s just this circle of people we know. We corralled the infinite plane of cyberspace and erected a strip mall.

I think that’s part of what I love about Tumblr. I don’t know these freaks. What gets thrown across my dash is from people I don’t know, but who like similar things to me, and like sharing similar things. And I think I need to seek places like this out, these places where nobody knows my name.

I’ve chewed on this in a lot of different ways. I thought that the problem with Facebook was my friends, with my friends not sharing interesting things, but that’s not it. The problem with Facebook is that it is my friends, or sort of friends. The problem with Facebook is that it’s populated with people who know me, who think they know me, and that has a chilling affect on my voice.

Years ago, I was trying to explain what I liked about Twitter to someone, and I described it as shouting non sequiturs in a darkened room. I enjoyed posting little snippets of my life, and what enabled me to do that was knowing that while it would get seen and probably read by some people, it wouldn’t be seen or read by people that I know. And when my twitter timeline became populated with people I know, it really put a chill on what I wanted to share. I didn’t want this quirky thought to make a friend’s phone buzz as they got an SMS notification. I just wanted to send it out into the ether, a piece of flotsam from my mind, floating endlessly.

And maybe this is part of what’s sparking my excitement about this new blog. No one that I know is going to find it, or read it, not for a while yet. I can write and write and write, and know that if someone’s looking for something like this, eventually Google will lead them to me, but for right now, I can talk about what I want, and not worry about what other people are thinking. It’s going to be nuts, the day that some stranger comments on something that I’ve written.

Uncategorized

Bluetooth Blues

The other night I shut off the Bluetooth on my laptop, and connected my Apple Keyboard to my iPad. I wanted to write, I wanted to write on the iPad, and I was at a desk with a keyboard. I had played with the little mini Bluetooth keyboard I had gotten years ago, and discovered that my current Mini is too thin to be held by it, and the keyboard itself would dance around on the desk without the weight of the iPad to hold it down.

I’m very used to writing on this specific keyboard. I had it synced with my original iPad for the longest time, and used it to write everything. I wrote a novel with it. When I started working from home, and the laptop became more permanently stationed on the desk, hooked to a larger monitor, I hooked the keyboard up to it. But it was interesting that I wanted to write on the iPad, and I wanted to write on this keyboard, even though the laptop, and the large monitor were right there, waiting for me.

I pulled the keyboard off the desk into my lap. I’d forgotten that I could do this. It was nice, very relaxed. In Starting from Scratch: A Different Kind of Writer’s Manual, Rita Mae Brown talked about doing this with a Mac, pulling the keyboard into your lap, closing your eyes, and letting your fingers just play over the keys. Something about breaking the tyranny of the screen. I think she was someone who was used to her words appearing on paper, and felt like the screen was a different enough medium that it would be hard to get used to it. I don’t think I ever read her writing, just her book on writing. I wanted someone to tell me how to do it, how to be a writer, there had to be a process, a pattern, and if I found it, if I practiced it, I’d get there, I’d be there.

I’m very comfortable writing on the iPad itself now. It took me a while. It took getting an iPad that’s small enough for me to comfortably thumb-type with while holding it in portrait, yet large enough for me to be able to touch type on it while it’s in landscape. And then it took committing to it. For the longest time, I felt like I needed an external keyboard if I was really going to write on this thing, and to be honest, I write a lot faster, and I’m a lot more prolific on the external keyboard, but I can write pretty well with the onscreen keyboard.

The iPad is probably my favorite computer in the entire history of my owning computers, and I want to write on it. When I hold it, I want to create with it. In the near future, I am probably going to get an external keyboard for it. There are times where it would be nice to sit at the dining room table and just bang something out, my fingers flying across physical keys. But there are also times where it’s really nice to be able to just pull the iPad out of my pocket and start writing, tapping with two thumbs. Having that sort of flexibility is amazing, particularly when it’s all synced together, and whatever I write, wherever I write it, all ends up in the same place, ready for me to create something from it.

Uncategorized

Journaling

A lot of my writing has been journaling, writing about my life to myself. Mostly it’s just scribblings in notebooks, and now I’ve got boxes and boxes of old notebooks that I can’t bear to toss. Reading through them is pretty incredible. It only takes a few words to be transported back to that moment when I wrote it, years ago, not just remembering what I was talking about, but actually remembering the thoughts going through my mind at the time.

I started using Day One on my iPad a few years ago to keep a journal. I really don’t feel like I know what I’m doing with the journal, so I’ve been doggedly recording things. It actually was really useful over the last couple of years when my days were really complicated. I’d check in with the journal a couple of times a day as things transitioned, just to keep track of where I was and where I’d been.

I’d say that Day One is part of my organizing scheme, part of the group of apps that I rely on that includes Omnifocus and my Calendar. I use it a lot, and refer back to it a lot, but somehow, I’m still not quite sure where it fits into things overall. It’s not a notebook, it’s not a planner, it’s a journal, and I guess I’m still a little fuzzy about how that’s supposed to work.

Bullet Journal

I was pretty excited to learn about the concept of bullet journaling. What I found really cool was the way it broke things down into manageable chunks, starting with the month, and then working day by day. I also really liked the Future Log, where you just have a list of things that are coming up in the next six months or so. I realized that I was missing that sort of long-term view in my current scheme.

But ultimately, a bullet journal just wasn’t for me. The system calls for a separate, paper notebook to keep track of things. I’m pretty much done with paper, and I’m happy to just cart my iPad and my iPhone around without having to worry about having another thing to keep track of. I tried replicating it digitally, first using GoodNotes to create a hand-written digital journal, and then Bear to create a typed, tag-based system. Both of those would have worked, but I found that I was just replicating what I was doing in my trusted system of Omnifocus, Calendar, and Day One.

I did steal some things for the bullet journal concept, though. I now review things month to month as well as week to week. I’ve been focusing more on the week as a unit, where before I was just looking at day to day until I got through the month. Starting out looking at the entire month, and then breaking it down into component weeks has really helped me sort of visualize how everything all fits together. And going back and reviewing the previous month is helping ground my memories on what has happened, and where I am right now.

Still, there’s something attractive to me about the concept of having it all in one place—to-do list, calendar, journal. I use all three of these apps, but I have to wire them together in different ways to make them more efficient. It would be nice to be able to see the whole picture in one of them, instead of having to switch from app to app and get just a slice, and that’s what a bullet journal would offer.

I’m so dependent on my system that I’m really hesitant to take the big leap, which would be to just use whatever bullet journal system I come up with. Instead, I’m looking at Day One, and trying to figure out some way that it can become my overall picture. It’s where everything ultimately ends up, and I think if I make few tweak here or there, I should be able to use it more effectively.

Uncategorized

Making Things

I was always jealous of kids who were doing things, making things when I was growing up. I wanted to be making things, but making things was hard, and I would maybe, if I was lucky, start a project, even if I’d rarely finish it. I was reminiscing with my dad recently about two different car models that I received as birthday presents that took me years to complete (and actually, now that I think of it, one of them I got close, but I don’t think I actually finished it).

I used to feel that this lack of executive function was a moral failing on my part, that if I had stronger or better character, I wouldn’t be so lazy, and I’d actually do something. Doing things is hard, but people with character do hard things. I would get frustrated and stop working on something, and therefore I was lacking in character. And let’s not even get started on the lack of character of not starting something because it’s too hard.

But I had these things that I wanted to do. I was interested in audio and video. I wanted to record things, make videos, make something, a story, a movie, a recording. For a lot it, I had the desire, but don’t know how or where to start. Again, though, I felt like if I really wanted it, I’d find the way. I’d teach myself, I’d find the resources, and I would get something done.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to grips with the fact that my lack of executive function is not really a lack of character on my part, but a tubes and wires thing with my brain. I’ve spent a lot of time and energy building supports and scaffolding to help me get things done. When I stick with it, things work, and things get done. When I don’t, then things start to slide.

And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten things done. I’ve made videos. I’ve recorded music (not mine, but someone else’s), and got into sound design. I wrote a novel. I decided that I wanted to work with computers, and went back to school to get the training I’d need to get a job that I’d like. I still get frustrated with myself when I want to do something and I don’t, but I’ve come to realize that a lot of times, things are hard for me because I don’t plan for them properly. I’ll have something I want to do, and there will be a great grey space between me and the goal, and I’ll have no idea how to cross it. That’s what I’ve been learning and teaching myself, is how to build a path to reach that goal.

It makes me sad to think about all of the time that I wasted feeling bad about myself for not having the inner strength to do what I wanted. I got there, eventually. I was just a kid then, but a kid can beat themselves up as well as a grown-up can. By the time that you’re a grown-up, it’s really just become a habit. And it’s interesting how one thing leads to another. My feeling down on myself gradually led to a lot of depressions. As I started to create a system where I could get things done, the depressions gradually went away.

I live in Omnifocus, and I rely on my calendar. These tools are giving me the executive function I need, almost just to survive, but certainly to get things done. Before I started doing this, I drifted, a lot. Now I can keep up with things, and when things start to slip, I know how to to get back on track.