June was not a particularly good month for writing. I started a couple of fiction bits, which I wasn't sure I'd ever finish. I ran one RP session on Sinai for brennabat's Lauryn, but the rest of the month sessions were cancelled for one reason or another. I wrote 8 posts for LJ. Other than some emails and LJ comments, that was about it.
July was somewhat better, but not a lot. I finished up the fiction bits, wrote a total of eleven LJ entries, plus some private stuff. Ran a session for Brenna on Sinai. The X-Men PBEM has slowed down markedly but hasn't officially died yet.
I actually did a fair bit of sketching in June, even though I didn't finish anything to post. Still, I'll give myself an art point for June. No art points for July.
In June, terrycloth and I started a new game, Perfect World. It's a Chinese MMO that we played mainly for the fox tails. It has, I dunno, six different classes, each of which is specific to one gender & race. The "Untamed" is the furry race. Untamed male avatars get to pick from a handful of different animal heads: panda, tiger, wolf, maybe a few others. Untamed female avatars have human heads with animal ears & tails of fox, cat, or dog varieties, or batwings growing off their heads and spaded tails. The fox tails swish and move with the characters nicely, in exactly the way that tails in City of Heroes do not. Also, at level 9 (after 2 or maybe 3 hours of play) you get the ability to turn into an actual fox to fight. And ... that about sums up its advantages over CoH. Like every other MMO except CoH, your class and level determines what gear you can wear and how you look. All of the gear for the Untamed females is done in traditional pin-up fighting style. I know I'm supposed to be insulted and cheapened by the rampant over-sexualization of females in MMOs, but I actually think they look cute in their skanky little miniskirts and tops slit down to the navel. Yes, yes, I'm part of the problem.
Despite being no better or inferior in almost every respect to CoH, we played Perfect World now and again because it was shiny. Like Free Realms, Perfect World is a "freemium" game, though it doesn't have a subscription option. You can buy things to get you xp faster, which doesn't tempt me since I'm kinda past the rat-pushing-button-for-the-pellet stage of MMOs. There's pay options to expand your inventory and bank space, which would be tempting if I liked the game better. There may be items to make my character better at fighting, which would not remotely tempt me: in fact, the main reason I don't like CCGs is that you are paying for both more diversity of play (good) and an arms advantage over your opponents who have paid less (very, very bad). So while I enjoyed Free Realms enough to pay for a month's subscription, I can't see throwing money at Perfect World.
Also, Free Realms has a significantly different game model from all of its competitors (incorporating several genres of sub-games into one game), while Perfect World is just another MUD derivative, so I don't feel any need to encourage the latter. MUD derivatives are never, ever going away.
Terrycloth has been playing somewhat more than I and did throw some money at them, but was hard-pressed to find anything he felt like having that was in the cost range he felt like paying ($10?)
In early July, we had one especially boring session where several high level people led us by the nose through the same dungeon twice, apparently because (a) all characters only get the quest for this dungeon once every ten levels and (b) everyone who helps with the quest and is there at the end gets a half-level worth of XP. Since we were 20th and everyone else in the group was 40th+ (Perfect World has no sidekicking but does let everyone across the level range get some xp), we were forbidden from fighting anything and ordered to keep up with the group. I fell a little behind ten minutes in, got plastered by a stray monster, was told not to use the resurrection scroll the NPC had given me at the start of the quest, and had to wait outside for half an hour for them to finish for Terrycloth and then repeat the whole very boring process for me. I didn't swear off of Perfect World after this, but as Terrycloth has pointed out, I haven't played since either. I do kind of feel like "OK, this is the best the game has to offer and it's really, really lame." I think Terrycloth still plays occasionally with one of his solo characters.
Also still playing City of Heroes, Puzzle Pirates, and Free Realms. My hopes for Demigod were crushed under the inability of Lut and I to play together in the same game. The whole game lags horribly, for all the players, when two machines from the same network are in the same game.
I seem to be a little burned out on computer gaming as a whole. I still enjoy computer games to a degree, but not nearly as much as I used to. In some ways, this is a good thing, as I'm not craving a game in place of whatever else I might need to be doing at the time, like work or weedwhacking or whathaveyou. But it does take some of the fun out of my evenings and weekend, as there isn't anything else I really want to do, either.
So this last week, Terrycloth, Lut and I have taken to playing Dominion-by-phone. My one-line summary of Dominion is "Like Magic the Gathering, but without all the suck". Dominion is a non-collectible card game -- one person buys the set and everyone plays using that person's cards. Each player starts with 3 one-point Victory cards and 7 one-point Coin cards. You use the Coin cards to buy either (a) Action cards, which do various things to help you gain Coin and/or more Action cards and/or Victory cards and/or hinder the other players from the same. In classic German-game fashion, all attack cards are AoE*, so the person playing them can't really single out an opponent to hurt. You reshuffle your deck whenever you need to draw cards and all your cards are in the discard pile The game ends when either (a) all of the most expensive Victory cards have been bought or (b) any three stacks of cards have been bought out. At that point, the player with the most Victory points in their deck wins. So it's a balancing act between buying Action cards (that let you do stuff) buying money (that lets you buy stuff) and buying Victory cards (which determine the winner at the end of the game, but until then just take up space in your deck)
So, like Magic, you get to build your deck. Unlike Magic, you do not have to shell out a fortune for rare cards in order to be competitive at tournaments (and only to totally outclass your friends who did not pay a fortune for cards and now refuse to play with you.) Nor do you have to locate other people who also bought the game (well, unless you want to play it by phone.) Also unlike Magic, building your deck is part of game play. To keep card selection manageable, you only pick from a board of 10 different cards at any given time. The original set has 24 different action cards and 1 atypical victory-point card that gets randomized with the action cards for each game. The expansion, Dominion: Intrigue, adds another 25. It's not meant for play-by-phone, but if everyone on the phone has a set in front of them, it works.
Ironically, there is a website with Dominion as an online game, but it's a German website and none of us have been able to get it to load to the point of actually playing a game.
* AoE = area of effect, meaning in this case that attacks affect all other players.
I am doing better at the original intent of this resolution, ie, "either enjoy what I'm eating or eat healthy things. Preferably both." No progress on the "eat less to lose weight" notion. Er. Probably negative progress on that, actually. But at least I'm enjoying my empty calories. :9
June: 23 sessions. Woot! Actually above target for once.
July: 18 sessions. Which is below target, but I actually feel pretty good about it, since July featured five days where I was out of town and three where I had strep throat. So there were only five days in July where I was healthy and had free time and decided not to exercise anyway.
June: Went out to Lilies War on the last Friday, to see an SCA friend and wander around shopping. The highlight was floating on the lake in a replica Viking longboat at night, while the rowers sang traditional Viking war songs. Fireworks were also impressive, and I bought several jars of violet jelly because it was tasty and how often do you get to buy violet jelly? I wanted to write up this evening in detail but sadly never got around to it.
July: Visited terrycloth & friends in Seattle, and did much gaming and cuddling. <3
No progress on the scary long list. I did, however, buy a ton of poison ivy killer, and sprayed it liberally on just about anything in my yard that grew leaves in clusters of three, up to and including some completely harmless clover patches. The result, however, has left lots of green stuff in my yard and, more importantly, very little poison ivy. Meaning that after I finish doing yardwork, I do not spend the next two weeks suffering from itchy poison ivy rashes. Woohoo! Yay for chemical death! I still go out covered from neck to toe and remove my clothing with fresh gloves immediately into the laundry machine after coming inside. And shower right after that. Of course. But now those precautions are actually sufficient! Which means that, while I still don't like doing yardwork, I no longer particularly dislike it, and my yard is marginally less of an unkempt disaster region than it was last summer.
In June, I put together a "happiness scale", which I showed to a few people, and meant to post publicly after they said "hey, this might be useful for people other than you", and then never did. Oops. Anyway, I used it to start tracking my mood from day to day by assigning a numerical value to how I felt. The scale is surprisingly useful to me, and tracking it gives me a much better sense of how my moods go from day to day and what affects them, so it's cool that way. My goal for the "Be Happy" resolution would falls somewhere around 7 or 7.5 on the scale. After dumping my raw data for the last two months into a spreadsheet, I find that my average for June and July is 7.52. Woohoo! Success!