Unproductive and Unapologetic

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Today was not a productive day.

Sure, I got all my checklist items done – fairly early, in fact – and then I started in on Secret World Legends. I spent most of the afternoon playing, in fact. And for once I don’t feel the need to apologize for not getting all the things done.

I did what I need to do with every day, and I had the time left over to do what I wanted to do. And today, that was playing a computer game until my eyes crossed.

It’s been hectic, for reasons that aren’t mine to discuss, but all will be well.

And maybe I’ll have more to do tomorrow.

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Road Trip!

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We got a call last night from my mother-in-law, asking what we were doing tonight. We thought this odd since she lives in Illinois. Nope, she explained, she was in San Antonio for a board meeting and wanted to know if we’d be willing to drive down to have dinner with her. We thought about it for about half a minute and said we’d see her tonight.

So today I did a few things to prep us for the trip down, which normally takes about an hour and a half one way. I drove my wife back to work after lunch so I could take the car to get gas and buy drinks for the trip. (We are usually water and coffee and milk only here at home, with the occasional soft drink and the rare cider, but for road trips it’s soft drinks all the way.) I picked her up after work and, after wrestling with her phone freezing up while trying to both run Google Maps for our GPS on the way down and Pandora for music, we switched to my phone for the trip.

Traffic started backing up about a mile from her office and it stayed backed up until we got on the other side of town. It took us over an hour to make that part of the trip, and we still had another hour and fifteen minutes to go. We were running so late, in fact, that we got calls from Mom wondering where we were.

We got to her hotel and decided to just stay there for dinner, so we went to the bar and ate, then settled in for a nice long visit before piling in the car to come back home.

There was construction on the way home, so it took us longer than expected to make that drive as well. All totaled, we were in the car for nearly four hours instead of the expected three round trip.

I usually have some sort of anxiety about trips like this, and for the longest time had anxiety whenever visiting with my wife’s family. This trip, however, I was only a little anxious in the worst of traffic on the way down, something that is understandable – no one likes bad traffic. Once traffic cleared up and we were traveling at posted speeds, the anxiety cleared right up.

I’m enjoying this new lack of anxiety in my life. I’m not really sure what to do with it, to be honest. I’m just glad it’s happening. I suppose I will become more accustomed to it as time goes on, but for now, not being anxious in situations that would normally trigger my anxiety is a novel concept and a welcome feeling.

Round and Round Follow-Up

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Yesterday I told the story of one man’s quest to get a game while keeping its predecessor, through trials and tribulations and a heck of a convoluted story. You’ll want to hit the link above to catch up for today.

I wrote that about mid-morning, and at 11:00 sharp I was logging into their live chat portal. I expected a wait, but I was only waiting for about fifteen minutes when a game master signed on and very clearly answered all of my questions in an efficient manner. A lot of what I had questions on were easily fixable – that is, if you knew how. Getting in touch with tech support helped me understand how to transition from one game to the next and it wasn’t long after the chat that my legacy game client was preserved and I was downloading the new game – at a snail’s pace.

The download took the better part of six hours to complete. We have a pretty fast internet connection and I was anticipating it taking about two hours or so, but for quite a good portion of the download I was being throttled down as low as 1.67 kilobits per second. Keeping that in mind, it’s no wonder that it took as long as it did, and I’m honestly surprised it didn’t take longer.

Long story short, I got everything that they promised me and almost everything I wanted beyond that. (In The Secret World, I had paid for three reserved names. Those names, one for each faction in the game, had been mine since day one, and will remain mine even if I delete a character with one of those names. Moving over to Secret World Legends, however, I could only reserve one name and had to take my chances with the other two. I got one of my names fine enough, but the other was already taken by the time I could log in and create the character. No worry, though, because I found a name that was just as good that was free.) I’ve rolled all three of my characters and gotten them started in the game world, I’ve claimed all my gear that transferred over from The Secret World, and I’m enjoying the changes that were made to the game. Most are game mechanics, although there’s one area of the game that was completely redesigned, and I really like what they did with it. I’m looking forward to getting deep into the game in the future.

There’s only one problem, though. My graphics have a tendency to just vanish in certain camera angles. Items, terrain, even NPCs – poof. So I’ve had the game a day and already reported a bug. Hopefully there will be a fix to it. It makes the gameplay a little difficult in spots.

So that’s been a large part of my day today. How was yours?

Round and Round We Go

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This is a tale – a cautionary tale to some, a humorous tale to others.

Back in 2012, I bought a lifetime subscription to a game called The Secret World. It’s a unique story dealing with secret societies vying for behind-the-scenes world domination and dealing with a mysterious outbreak of every bump-in-the-night monster story come to life. It’s a gritty, real-world horror tale, and when it was introduced it had a one-of-a-kind combat system where you could learn any skill and use any weapon in the game. Levels and classes didn’t exist; instead, you had an ability wheel with over 500 active and passive abilities to choose from, at any point in the game you wish. (As an example: I once was in a single-player mission that was eating me for lunch, so I stopped – in the middle of the mission – for a little bit and learned new skills with a new weapon, then used materials to construct and enhance one of the new weapons before moving forward to easily complete the mission.) The game eventually went from a subscription model to a pay-to-play, where you bought the game client and then had free access to the content therein.

Fast forward to 2017, and the decision has been made to retool TSW into a new game called Secret World Legends. This new game would be free-to-play, using a microtransaction model to generate income. The story would be the same. The combat system would be revamped; more traditional levels and classes and weapon specialties would take the place of the ability wheel. Everyone was to receive a fresh start with the new game; characters would not be able to cross over, but one name from your TSW account could be reserved for use on the SWL servers. Certain cosmetic items would be able to be transferred over from TSW to SWL. Subscribers to TSW would be able to continue as “patrons” in SWL; lifetime subscribers to TSW would have permanent status as a patron. TSW and SWL would be completely separate games; TSW would no longer be updated, but would still be playable through its legacy servers.

And here is where the tale really gets started.

On Friday, I decided that I needed to verify that the items that I wanted to transfer over from TSW to SWL were accessible in the right manner in TSW, so I logged into the TSW launcher, expecting a fairly sizable patch as it had been some time since I last updated the client. Instead, I was met with the option to do a minimal install of SWL (involving the first five hours of the game) or a full install of the entire game. I backed out of that, but not before the launcher had been updated to automatically defer to SWL instead of TSW. So I hit the internet trying to find an answer.

It seems that this was expected behavior, but behavior that wasn’t communicated to the player base, so many players had blindly begun the switch-over before stopping the update in progress once they realized what they’d done. (I was lucky and never started the new install, so the only thing that was affected was the launcher.) Those players were understandably upset because their TSW game client was no longer usable. Players were directed to go to their TSW account page on the internet and download the legacy launcher and use that to create a fresh install of the game. Eventually, someone posted a shorter workaround that only took about 25 minutes to copy files into a new folder rather than the several hours for a fresh, new install, so I did that to fix my launcher problem and access the TSW legacy servers to ensure everything I wanted to transfer over was transferable.

The next step was to go onto the SWL account page using my TSW credentials to link the two accounts. I decided to first go onto my TSW account page to check on the status of my reserved name. When I clicked the link for name reservations, I was given the dialogue of someone new to the page who had not registered a name, no reserved name was shown on my account, nor was there the opportunity to reserve a name, presumably because the servers were at that point live for early access. Noting this for later investigation, I continued on to the SWL account page. I did so and noticed that under “Status” it showed me to be a “Non Patron.” This is incorrect, as I mentioned above; I should be a permanent Patron thanks to my lifetime membership to TSW. I had heard that completing the transfer process will unlock two additional character slots on SWL, so I wanted to be sure I was doing it right, as the transfer process would only work one time. So I opted to head back to the internet to find a solution.

Upon doing so, I discovered that threads on the TSW forums were being closed, all with a note to another thread explaining that the TSW forums were for TSW only, along with links to the subReddit that had been established for SWL. After a little more research, I discovered that there are no official SWL forums, nor is there any intention of creating any. Frustrated by the continuous areas in which it appeared the game studio dropped the ball, I decided to pursue their live chat to get some answers.

I signed into the live chat feature and was met with “we are experiencing higher than usual volume, please be patient and we will respond to inquiries in the order in which they were received.” No problem, I expected this, so I settled down to wait.

Five minutes went by, then ten, then fifteen. Thirty minutes went by. An hour went by. Finally, after almost an hour and a half, the window changed.

To the notice that live chat was closed for the night and what the hours for live chat were.

I was quite frustrated by this point, and settled in for a fruitless evening.

If the game studio wanted this to be a seamless transition, they have handled it in possibly the worst possible way to do so. There is outrage on both the forums and in the subReddit. People are threatening to quit both games if something isn’t done about these issues. I’m not that bad off, but my desire to play SWL is somewhat tempered by the difficulties at launch. If my reserved name is claimed by someone else, I’ll be even more upset.

So that leads us up to this morning, where I’m about to sign onto the live chat service as soon as they open, to hopefully get an answer before too long. Wish me luck. I’m afraid I’m going to need it. I’ll update my progress tomorrow.

Easy Day

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Today had a little bit of everything. Went to the store (twice in as many days!), cooked dinner, watched an episode of a TV show we bought a while back, took a nap, played some computer games, played with the cats, and all the stuff that goes into a typical day for me. Not much to report.

Days like today I kind of feel bad because there’s not some astounding progress to tell you about, or some struggle that I’m dealing with. But it’s how a lot of days are. They’re just days, with a little bit of everything thrown in.

That’s one of the shortfalls of being on disability. There’s no job to report about, there’s not really much of a schedule, so the day isn’t nearly as hectic as it would be otherwise. And being on disability, there’s usually not much money to spare, so there’s not many opportunities for us to go do something worth talking about.

But it was still a good day, and I suppose that’s worth mentioning.

Come to think about it, I do have something to report. In addition to this blog, I keep a mood journal that measures days as awful, fugly, meh, good, and rad. I had to go back and look to see when the last time I had a fugly day was – April 29th. (In the year-plus that I’ve been using Daylio, I’ve never recorded an awful day.) Also since April 29th, I’ve only recorded eight days that were meh. The rest have been good, with one day that I recorded as rad. That’s a fairly long streak of middle of the road days or better, and I’m happy for that.

Seems Like a Simple Thing

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Today we had planned to go to the store together, and then to do our radio show in the evening, and do a lot of goofing off around that. But instead my wife got called into work for seven and a half hours, which put everything else on hold. So I decided to take up the slack on my own.

I dropped her off at work, then came home for a few minutes, long enough to make a menu for next week and a corresponding grocery list, and then I headed to the store.

Now, for most people, that’s absolutely no big deal. But I haven’t been to the store but once by myself in years, and that one time was to only pick up one thing. This is the first time that I’d prepared to do a week’s worth of grocery shopping on my own in a long time – I think we were living in Illinois the last time I did that, and we’ve been back in Texas for going on five years now.

Furthermore, it’s the first time that I’ve gone to a grocery store on my own on a weekend afternoon in a very, very long time. Even when I was doing the best I was able to in Illinois, I avoided the store on Saturdays and Sunday unless it was absolutely necessary, and even then I went either with my wife or late at night, long after the crowds had died down.

So while it may not seem like much to you, to me it was a very big deal.

I made it through the store with only minor anxiety for part of my trip. When I first got there, I started mirroring another customer’s path through the aisles. She was talking at someone on her phone – I hesitate to use the term “talking with” since she was speaking almost nonstop the whole time I heard her – and she was speaking very, very loudly. This unnerved me, and it started getting my anxiety up, but I managed to fight it well enough, and eventually she jumped ahead of me in her progress and I couldn’t hear her anymore. (It took putting four aisles between me and her, though.)

That was about the time I decided to check Quicken, just to be on the safe side, and I’m glad I did, because there was considerably less money in the account than I had anticipated, so I went through the process of picking the stuff that we absolutely had to have for the next couple of days and putting everything else back. On a bad day, that would have embarrassed me and triggered my anxiety. Today, it did nothing. (We’re going to make it through to the next paycheck, we just needed to drop back and plan something cheaper for a few nights.)

I came home, put the groceries away, and then the shopping bags. (Austin has a city ordinance prohibiting the use of disposable plastic grocery bags. We carry reusable bags with us everywhere.) And I sat down and took it easy for a while.

That wasn’t the end of my day, however. There were several household chores that were in need of doing, so after a decent enough rest, I started in on those. Even without the trip to the store, it’s been a productive day.

I went to get my wife from work and was able to surprise her with many things around the house, and we had a nice dinner before settling in at our desks for an evening of leisure on the computer. She went to go lie down, however, and while she did I wrapped up the last of my checklist for the day (with the exception of bedtime stuff).

I’m tired, but it’s a good tired.