Starting Anew In Middle-Earth

I ended up installing and patching LOTRO today. My brother-in-law and I rolled characters on the Meneldor server. I had decided I wanted to be primarily a damage dealer, so I created a Dwarf Champion, Thallinos (my typical MMO name was taken, thus the extra “L” in the name). He has been playing the game (F2P) for about a month, and has a slightly better knowledge of the game, so I was basically just following him around, but I’m beginning to grasp the major concepts of the game. I really hadn’t gotten too in depth when I played in the past, and still had the free month of play from buying a copy, so I have the advantage of having everything available to me, for now at least. After the free month, if I dumb down to the F2P version of the game, apparently there are certain things that I will lose, but no worries there, I’m not sure this will be a long tour of the game. Thus far it feels much like every other MMO I have played, although I am only a level 9. There are some aspects of the game that I haven’t been able to check out just yet, such as the monster pvp, and the skirmishes. I’ll give this a month at the very least, and if it manages to hold me that long I will go from there. It was a fun change of pace from playing games on the Playstation, but there is still that part of me that is wary to get involved in another MMO as seriously as I have been in the past.


I had an epiphany of sorts when it comes to myself, and what I’ve been going through as of late. It’s a feeling I’ve had before I’m sure, and I’ll probably come to this point again in my life. As of now, I’m attempting to avoid contact with exs and the like, because moving on is something that has to be done alone, and retaining those contacts makes it that much harder to get over it. So despite the fact that nothing has really change and there isn’t a reason for me to be angry at said parties, I am going to try and focus on me. That means getting a job and getting back on my feet and not succumbing to the urge to see familiar faces that will drag me back down into the abyss. I have some great friends and my family has been very supportive, so I have to focus on the important stuff and the more meaningless things will fall into place. With that said, on to some bullets:

  • This holiday weekend Uncharted 2 is having a double cash weekend, along with a Lab (experimental game type), and to keep with the festive spirit, Doughnut Drake and Lesaravic skins (fat boys). I have made the most of it while I have had downtime from other activities and am now almost level 52 in the multiplayer. Just a couple more levels and I can finally get negative boosters, so I can earn more cash on a regular basis, although it would be nice to have that boost for the double cash weekend itself.
  • Me and my brother-in-law started playing Sacred 2 as I mentioned previously. We started out with a Shadow Warrior (me) and High Elf (him) duo in the co-op, and it was working fairly well, but we have since learned much more about the mechanics of the game. We decided to try out some of the other classes, and rolled a Temple Guardian (me) and an Inquistor (him). We managed to play these characters beyond the level of the first duo, rounding out around level 11. We both decided these characters weren’t for us, so we ended up rolling a brand new duo consisting of the first classes. It sounds retarded, but having learned more of the game, we ended up bank rolling and twinking out this new duo, and are now sitting at level 12 with no signs of going back. The game is immensely fun in the co-op mode, and I find that playing it single player probably would be lacking at this point. Again, it reminds me of MMOs.
  • Speaking of MMOs, the bro-in-law has been playing the free to play version of LOTRO, and had a lot of positive things to say about it. I briefly played the game back before it even had an expansion, and I own a copy of it which I have yet to activate for the free month of play, so I have been toying with the idea of giving it a whirl. I’m able to play MMOs more readily when I don’t have a significant other, and lord knows I have a lot more time on my hands. We discussed many of the facets of the game and decided on a workable duo, but I’m not sure when I will delve into that. I’m not sure if I’ll still get my free month either, but if it’s free to play I guess that really doesn’t matter.
  • I got tattooed for the first time since July, and although I still need to get that particular tattoo worked on, I decided to go with a new one. I got “nerd” on the inside of one wrist, and “life” on the other. Yes, it’s pretty gangster, you don’t have to tell me.
  • I watched The Expendables last night at my sister’s house. It was standard action faire, and despite the ridiculous cast it was ho-hum. I enjoyed the action scenes but it was lacking boobies.
  • I was told by my buddy Keith that he got me a Christmas gift, and I have a feeling it might be my own copy of Black Ops. I know that he went Black Friday shopping, so he must have gotten a deal. I’m ready for a new game to add to my library, and Black Ops multiplayer is up there with Uncharted 2. I was bummed to not be able to go Black Friday shopping this year, although I have never gone before this year there were deals on things I really wanted. Alas.

I think that’s about all I have for updates this time around. The holidays have been great thus far and life is beginning to look up again. Maybe next time I post I will have more good news.

    LCD Withdrawals

    No, I didn’t mean LSD.

    I have already expressed my disdain for regular tube TVs, but it’s getting to the point where I flat refuse to play games on them. It’s only sheer desperation and boredom that will lead me to play my PS3 on anything less than some form of HDTV. Because I still have friends that have larger Projection TVs and a couple with LCDs, I can still take my PS3 on a road trip to get my fix. I have already mentioned games that I have been playing here and there, but one game I haven’t really touched on is the newest game in my library, Sacred 2: Fallen Angel.

    The reason being, is that on the 19″ tube TV, I couldn’t really even read any of the text. And in an RPG such as it is, all of the menus contain vital information necessary to learn/play the game. Of course I figured out the basics of the game, but there was so much I was missing that I only figured out as recently as last night. I was bored, sitting at home, and my sister invited me over to have some dinner. I knew that they have a (slightly small) 32″ Samsung LCD, so I suggested I bring my PS3. I only have two games that are two player, but it was something and if nothing else they could just watch me play something ;). So after I arrived (and after a trip back to the house because I forgot the damn power cord) and we ate dinner, I hooked up the PS3. On a side note, I can now officially say that out of the 3 brands of LCD TVs I have seen in action, Sony and Samsung have the best picture quality. Vizio has gotten some high ratings, but I don’t really care for the one my Mom has.

    I played some Uncharted 2 first, mainly because I hadn’t played in quite some time but also because my sister’s husband wanted to see it in action. Then we went on to try out the co-op on Sacred 2. I must say, being able to read the menus is a huge benefit, I actually figured out how to acquire new combat arts, how to upgrade them, how to socket items, etc. Really, the game now makes sense whereas before I was just mindlessly completing the quests. The game also plays out a little different on a co-op level, although there were some hoops we had to jump through.

    Initially I just created a user account on the system itself for Billy. When I started up the game I created a character and then had him jump in the game. Over time we ended up picking up gear that the other could use, runes too, and for some reason the trade function would not work no matter what we tried. We ended up having to look it up online, and turns out it’s some sort of bug they still haven’t managed to patch. Billy had to go to the PSN website, and sign up for his own PSN ID, sign into it and start up my game solo, create a character and then logout and I had to do the same. Then when he joined my game, lo and behold we could trade. Hopefully someone else will read this and figure it out easier.

    The game itself is rather pretty on a good TV, but it is a little choppy here and there. Overall it plays more like Diablo, but is designed more like an MMO; the quest structure, the character customization, the skill trees all feel like many of the MMOs I’ve played. I ended up rolling a Shadow Warrior (Tank with summon-able pets), and he played a High Elf (fire/ice/lightning wizard). The combo has worked well so far, we haven’t had a single death. It’s been fun thus far, and the farthest I had delved into the game, owning it over a month. I even managed to snag 3 trophies thus far.

    I spent the night last night and awoke to the smells of breakfast, followed by Billy’s little brother showing up with his 360 and a copy of Black Ops. After having seen the game in action and playing it myself briefly, I can honestly say that it’s more of what I expect from a shooter, and I think I’m leaning towards purchasing it over Medal of Honor, despite the latter being rather good. Now I just gotta get some funds together for that.

    I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that my Green Bay Packers are heading into the second half of the season with a strong record of 7-3, after having handed the Vikings a stiff defeat, 31-3. That’s our fourth win in a row, the last three being shutouts. We’ve only allowed 10 points in the last three games, which is ridiculously awesome. Our super bowl hopes are back, and if nothing else we’re definitely going to the playoffs. Our remaining schedule is up and down in difficulty. We face Atlanta on Thanksgiving, and that’s likely to be a tough one. Then we have two weeks that are fairly easy, facing San Francisco and Detroit. Then our final 3 game stretch is going to be tough as well, fighting the Giants, Patriots, and the Bears. The Bears have managed to keep pace with us this season, we’re both tied with a 7-3 record, although the Bears managed to beat us (or we beat ourselves with penalties rather) the first time we faced them this season, so the final game of the season could very well decide the division title. Either way I’m happy to say that despite all of the injuries we have sustained, we’re still on a roll. With any luck we will end up going farther this year than last (Wildcard round elimination).

    Feels Like I’m Talking to Myself

    I’m officially a year older. Hello 28. Two more years til I’m 30, and with the direction my life has taken, I feel like I’m behind the curve. Thankfully life tends to change directions rather quickly, so maybe I’ll be back on track by that time. 30 isn’t necessarily old but it’s some sort of milestone in life… many years ago it was considered old, now it’s not quite mid-life. Some days I feel old, others I don’t. Reflecting on the past will definitely help you feel your age, and I have had far too much time for reflection of late. In keeping with the trend I have started, on to the bullets!

    • I have made some progress on the girl front, at least within myself. You can’t move on properly if your past is still tugging at your heart-strings. There were girls that I had somewhat of an interest in, but as soon as anything began to progress I just felt like it wasn’t what I really wanted. Separating the physical from the emotional is something I am adept at, but it is wholly unsatisfying. I won’t be passing up on physical opportunities but I’m not going to rush into anything emotional whatsoever. There’s the off-chance I’ll meet someone eventually, but as of right now I’m content with being alone.
    • There has been no progress on the job front. No under the table work, no legit work. No unemployment either, as the EDD decided they needed proof of my income that was under the table.
    • I played the shit out of the new Medal of Honor. Keith rented it, and I played through the single player campaign. The multiplayer was a ton of fun as well. It makes me want to try out Call of Duty Black Ops, only for the comparison, because which ever is better is the next game I’m buying whenever it is that I have money again. I also hung out with Ted yesterday and watched him try out God of War III and despite having dismissed the game as “button mashing” previously it was actually somewhat intriguing. Being a slightly older game I imagine it would be easy to pick up on the cheap.
    • I went on a download spree after finally catching up with the Joneses and figuring out torrents. It made finding albums I couldn’t find previously on Limewire or Frostwire a lot easier. As a result even after thinning out my collection I still ended up with a net increase of about 100 songs. I downloaded both of the Dethklok albums, the new Madball, the new Daath, an album from Bleed the Sky, and some Eminem that was missing from my collection. I’ve a renewed interest in Pandora, having honed my Chimaira station to the point where I don’t really have to skip or give “thumbs down” to songs very often anymore.
    • I really, really wish I had some money to do black friday shopping with. I want an LCD (preferably an LED or 3D) TV. Playing my PS3 on anything less than that is just god awful and I’m sick of it. I feel like I can’t even enjoy the system I spent $300 on. I have also seen some great deals on new and older PS3 games and blu-rays, so it would be nice to stock up.
    • I made out like a bandit for my birthday, not in worldly possessions but in bills paid. It sounds retarded but a lot of stress was relieved this month. I’m no longer at risk for having my car repoed thanks to my Aunt. The night before my bday I was taken out to Red Robin for dinner and had some drinks afterward. The night of my bday I spent watching football and drinking as well, and got a happy ending 😉
    • I should also mention I got a lotto ticket for my bday that I can check on later today. Crossing my fingers there, it would be nice to not have to worry about money anymore, or get enough that I could pay off my debts and get back on my feet.

    I think that’s about it for now. More as it develops.

    Guess I’m Going Through Changes

    There are some life changing events that may to come to pass in coming weeks. Before I go into that, some minor updates all around:

    • It appeared that me and Hollee were on the brink of getting back together. We were hanging out quite a bit and things were better than they had been. That has since come to a close, I was mislead, and things are exactly as they were when we initially split. I’m not willing to be dragged through the mud any longer, so we haven’t talked in days.
    • I have been talking with a past flame, and though the interest is there on both parts, there are many variables that may make it impossible to accommodate. She’s a good candidate because she has a college education, good job, and no children. Unfortunately my life is in such turmoil that she has reservations. More on that as it develops.
    • I have not worked for 2 1/2 weeks now. Bills are due and I’m stressing out on how I’m going to pay them. Somehow I still have my car, but I don’t know how much longer that will last. Basically I’m just scraping by, and thankfully I at least have a roof over my head and food in my stomach. I have concluded that the job I was working is over for me.
    • I since applied for unemployment again. Hoping that the money I earned was enough to qualify me. According to the denial letter I received previously, I should meet the requirements to now qualify for UI benefits.
    • I had a good job opportunity come up, via a friend of a friend, but haven’t gotten definite word on it. I submitted a resume but was told the budget has to be looked at, so I could be waiting for a while. Otherwise, I have just been applying for jobs online.
    • I saw one of my longest term friends last night for the first time in over a year. Drews has had marriage troubles and ended up back here in California and we finally got together to catch up. It was nice to see him and find out everything that happened within the last year.
    • Packers are doing good again, sitting at 5-3 which is pretty much 2nd place among the league. We face Dallas next week and that should be a walk in the park, at least with the season they’re having.
    • I spent some time with my sister the other day and watched Zach and Miri make a Porno, which I was unaware was a Kevin Smith film. It was great in all senses of the word. Also rented Predators on pay per view the other day, and it was really good. Maybe a little cheesy at times, but just as good as the 1st AVP… AVP2 was garbage however.
    • I haven’t been gaming as much as I would like, mainly because playing my PS3 on anything that isn’t high def is crappy. I have played on my laptop here and there, but nothing notable. Maybe when life balances itself out again I will have more time for games.

    So on to the major stuff. I ended up meeting someone online. Turns out we went to the same school, and have lived in the same town for a long period of time. She’s a bit younger, but nonetheless we know a lot of the same people and have even ended up at some of the same functions, but we never actually talked. She actually randomly added me as a friend and I then inquired as to how we knew each other and it went from there. At the time, she was out-of-state visiting friends, so we only talked online and on the phone. It seemed that we might have hit it off and we might get pretty serious. These thoughts continued until she actually arrived back in California and we actually met. We didn’t hit it off quite the way either of us expected, but we have continued to talk and have become close friends. Strange for me, I’m not usually friends with girls unless they’re a significant other or a friend’s lady. Anyhow, she’s become someone I talk to daily, and we’ve hung out a few times. Through our talks, she mentioned how awesome the place she was visiting was, how cool the people were, how the job market was better, etc. She then mentioned that she wants to go back, and is planning to sometime before or around the new year. I jokingly said something to her about going with, and the conversation went from there, and the option is available to me.

    On a similar note, I also spoke with my Dad about moving back out to L.A. The benefit of doing so would be a different job market, and a no-strings-attached roof over my head… where I am currently there are some issues that have come up.

    So I’m at a crossroads in my life. I have many people here in California that I don’t want to leave behind, but a shitty economy and a lot of shit that has failed. I have an opportunity to move to a different part of California to try to start over, but it’s not really a fresh start, and I would be closer to people I care about. Positives and Negatives abound. Or I can move out-of-state, and have a completely fresh start, but only know one person. It’s a complicated thing, and I have about a month to decide what I really want to do. Part of me wants to stay in the safety of familiarity. Part of me wants to check out another part of the country and see what it has to offer me. It’s not like I couldn’t come back if it didn’t work out. Sometimes I feel like I have no reason to stay here, sometimes I do. It’s going to be one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but has the potential to make me into a whole new person.