#600 – Playing Around

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So I was going to write a bit longer today about what’s been going on lately. The morning was quiet, but the afternoon and evening were very busy. I went to run errands with our house guest after my wife’s lunch break, and only came back home for a few minutes before going to pick my wife up from work. We were home for a little while, but went out to eat with another friend we all know. We had a great time, and afterwards all came back to our place for a couple games. We own one of them, but the one our friend brought was one of the most amazing concepts I’ve ever seen in a game. It’s called DropMix, and it uses an electronic base, NFC-enabled cards, and a phone app to create unique musical mixes for points. There’s a competitive mode and a cooperative mode, and the songs involved use various tracks from popular songs to create a sometimes surprising and always creative, ever-changing mix of music. We both decided that we have to own this game, so hopefully after we’ve settled into the new apartment we’ll be able to pick it up.

I’d write more but we have to be up early to get my wife to work and then go straightaway to the airport to drop off our house guest, and I could use the sleep.

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Quickie Report

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Today was pretty low key. I helped a friend move this morning and early afternoon. It’d been a long time since I’d done that, and I definitely needed the exercise.

I was also on the air for the first time in almost a month tonight. It felt good to broadcast again. Once again, we’re not doing our Saturday show because we’re planning on attending an SCA event this weekend, but hopefully next week we can get back on the air.

I’m exhausted tonight, so I think I’m going to make this short and sweet and hopefully have more to report tomorrow.

Happy Birthday My Friend

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This afternoon my wife and I drove down to the west side of San Antonio to attend a dear friend and mentor’s 70th birthday party. The trip down was full of stop-and-go traffic, and I passed the time by reading a chapter of my biology homework on my tablet during the drive.

We got to his daughter’s home and finally got a chance to meet the rest of his family that we didn’t already know – his daughter and her husband and kids, and his youngest son’s girlfriend. They’re all super nice people and it was good to finally get to meet them.

There were also several of our friends there as well, and we enjoyed spending time with them all. I was fairly social until late in our stay.

One of my highlights was finally getting to spend some time with a friend’s service dog. In the time that I’ve known Gitte, she’s always been on duty, and you never engage a service dog while on duty unless given explicit permission by the owner. Tonight, though, her owner arrived, said her hellos, and then took Gitte’s vest off, signifying that she was free to just be a dog for the visit. She’s very sweet and was thrilled to be able to engage all the people at the party, and it was a very happy thing to see her enjoying herself so much.

As for my friend, the crotchety old bastard who reads these blog posts, well, I could say a lot of derogatory things here about him – he’d actually expect that, honestly – but what I’m instead going to say is that in the years that I’ve known him, I would be hard-pressed to find a more honorable, wise individual, who goes out of his way to help others, especially when they themselves are helping others still. He’s got a wicked sense of humor but the heart of a Lion (quite literally – it’s a long story if you don’t already know) and I would be very hard-pressed to find anyone that I’d rather have mentor me through my beloved hobby. Love you, my friend. Happy birthday.

Out in Meatspace

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Meatspace is a term that my wife and I use for interacting with friends in the real world, as opposed to online interactions. When we lived in Illinois, most of our socialization was through the computer with people in all reaches of the globe, but now that we’ve moved to Austin we have a lot of friends that are local and who are genuinely happy to see us.

Today we went to go visit a dear friend of mine and her son. While she and my wife did crafty things together, I was on baby detail, and he and I sat and watched Moana, which is apparently his favorite movie.

I’d seen Moana before and really liked it, but it was still fairly new to me, and so I got sucked into it pretty heavily, to the point that I wasn’t paying attention when I was being talked to from the kitchen. I apologized and said, very accurately, that this is one of the reasons that we don’t have cable and I don’t spend much time at all on our various streaming services – I lose myself in the story and could spend hours just blindly watching whatever popped up on that screen.

I became a little more social once the movie was over, but that’s also about the time that I realized I had a pretty bad headache, and my wife realized that her back was really bothering her, so we sat and chatted for a little bit longer and then headed home to try and kick our various pains.

I had a great time, though, and really hope that we can do it again soon.

Nostalgia

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Tonight my wife and I signed into Secret World Legends together, and we eventually formed a five-man team comprised of the two of us and three listeners from the radio station. We knocked out a couple of missions before my wife had to retire for the evening, and I stayed on to do a few more missions with my friends before I too signed off.

We organized the teamup through the station’s Discord server, which is a fairly recent addition to our communication options. We still maintain an IRC channel – that’s our official chat client – but we also have a Slack channel and now also Discord.

Discord has brought our community together like nothing else has since City of Heroes turned off the servers in November 2012. Tonight’s teamup reminded me very strongly of our days of putting together eight man teams in the station’s global channel and spending hours and hours running mission after mission on double XP weekends. (Our station has live DJs every night, but the mornings and afternoons are almost always covered by streaming music. During double XP weekends, the station would have live DJs on the air around the clock for the entire weekend, and the teaming was plentiful and good.) We used the text channel we have for the game to coordinate getting people together, and then moved to the game’s voice channel to communicate in real time while we adventured together.

Those teamups were one of my happier memories of living in Illinois, and I’m happy to be reminded of them. Like I said, we haven’t been this active of a community since City’s sunset. It’s great to see our listeners active and teaming up again.

A Better Afternoon

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Yesterday was not the best of days. After writing my blog post, in reflecting on what had transpired earlier in the day, my mindset reverted to the one I was in during the argument, and that started a whole new argument. The one in the evening wasn’t as long, though, and things were much better by the time bedtime rolled around.

Today has been much better. We had a couple of our dearest friends stop by for a visit while they were in town, and we enjoyed conversation and lunch with them. It’s always nice to be in the presence of someone that you can just be yourself in front of. There are so many people that I feel like I have to have at least some level of “the mask” on for, but not these two. With these two I can genuinely be myself. (That’s not to say that I’m faking it for everyone else, but almost everyone has people that they have different levels of comfort zones with, and these two are part of my innermost circle.)

We had a good time eating and shooting the breeze about a ton of stuff, and as always got to learn a little bit more about one another. It’s been a good afternoon.

A Celebration of What Once Was

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This afternoon and evening has been spent at the 13th anniversary celebration of City of Heroes in Paragon Chat, the XMPP server that’s set in the City of Heroes universe. My wife and I broadcast for two hours during the eight-hour show, and I was present for all eight hours.

The event was a great reminder of what a fantastic community City of Heroes created. Even over four years after sunset, dozens of people are still coming together to celebrate the game that we loved. People were sharing their favorite moments from the game, people were visiting with old friends and new, people were carrying on roleplay that still told the stories of their characters. There were costume and biography contests, there were trivia contests, there were badge races and other games. It was a full slate of activities for a game universe that went silent so unexpectedly back in 2012 and it was joyous to watch. It was my pleasure and my honor to have been able to participate in the event, however small my role was.

The organizers of the event really outdid themselves and everyone was having fun.

City of Heroes was the first MMORPG that I ever played, and it will always hold a special place in my heart, not so much because of the gameplay, but because of the absolutely phenomenal community that was built up around the game. They were and are like a second family to me, and they filled that role at a time when my first second family was far, far away. I will always be grateful for the time that I spent in City of Heroes and for the many, many real-world friendships that I’ve forged there.