Happy 2019!

Where did 2018 go? It seems like it just sped past while I was napping. Well, most of it at least. Some parts were pretty memorable.

  • 2018 started with me getting the Flu. I don’t remember much of that week, there was much sleeping, possibly some whining.
  • March brought with it our 25th wedding anniversary! My husband, who rarely does anything romantic, pulled off a lovely evening of surprises. There was the special Spotify playlist playing in the truck, dinner at a really cute Japanese restaurant (a first for both of us), and a gorgeous silver heartshaped pendant to top it off.
  • May my Mom gave me a heart attack and ended up having emergency surgery. I learned more about wound packing, and ostomies than I ever expected to know. All good now, no permanent damage done.
  • July, my husband rescued a starving, flea infested, too young to be away from mom, stray kitten. She weighed less than half a pound at the time. She is now a seven pound terror bouncing off the walls at about 5-6 months old. Oh, and we thought she was a he, but surprise!
  • August, I decided I wanted to learn to knit! four months later I have made 3 dishclothes, and I’m working on a cowl. We aren’t going to discuss how much yarn I have accumulated.
  • September, my husband got a LONG awaited and MUCH deserved promotion!! Yay!!
  • November was great, my kids came for Thanksgiving. I hadn’t seen my oldest daughter since her sister’s wedding 2 years prior. They brought my granddaughter too, it was a lovely week. I also participated in the Extra Life campaign, my tailbone is still angry about that 24 hours in a cheap desk chair.
  • Christmas was low key, but still nice. Having two weeks of hubby on leave, just chilling. No alarm clocks, no schedule.
  • Happy New Year! This is his last day of leave. And our sleep schedules are all sorts of screwed up, hence my writing this at nearly 6am without having been to bed yet!

2018 wasn’t a bad year, all in all. 2019 will hopefully be a little slower. I intend to do things better than last year.

  • I want to get back to my DDP Yoga program, I’d like to be in better shape and I was having great results with it before I got off track.
  • I want to complete at least 6 knitting projects. Big or small, doesn’t matter.
  • I’ll be doing Extra Life again!
  • I’ll be attempting to do more with my hair, face and nails because it makes me feel good, and I’ve ben really lazy about it.

That’s as close to resolutions as I’m going to get. Hopefully this time next year I can link back to this post and check them off.

Happy New Year All!

Tumblr (and soon Facebook).. a Sinking Ship

Tumblr has enacted new terms of use covering adult content on it’s service. This is supposed to “protect” children and teens from predators and traffickers. Facebook also quietly changed their terms and theirs is worse. So be forwarned. But tumblr is the topic of rage today.

See that adorable baby up there? That image was flagged and hidden by Tumblr’s automated censorship algorithm. My granddaughter just days old when it was taken.

This has happened with pictures of hand holding, yarn, kittens and cat like creatures, and other innocuous things. And guess what isn’t getting caught? The multiple porn blogs that I had to block from my page on the last week since this took effect.

Genius right? But this is the internet post FOSTA/SESTA. Sure it sounds good to help prevent predation and sex traffickers, but Tumblr shows that isn’t what is happening. The porn flows freely, while classic art, awareness blogs for survivors of rape, incest, molestation etc, and resources for lgbtq+ are being wiped from public view. Any social platform used that has an app in the app store, and/or depends on advertisers for their existence, is at risk. The age of the free internet is being threatened by a storm of mistargeted censorship, and Tumblr is just the first ship taking on water.

New Project: One Row Scarf


This is slightly harder than the washcloths I’ve been making, which were basically just knit stitch. This one involves a knit behind, and some perling.
The yarn I’m using is Knit Picks Felici worsted weight and it is sooooo smooth! Unfortunately it’s also very easy to stick the needle through!!
Here’s hoping I can pull it off.

Knitting And Kittens

I mentioned a few weeks ago that we had rescued a teeny kitten. Well, she isn’t so teeny anymore. She is now nearly 3 pounds! She tears through the house with wanton abandon wreaking havoc with every bounce. Which is great! She’s healthy (Vet checked, tested and approved!) and active and adorable. However, I also decided to find something I could do with my hands…I chose knitting. With a kitten. Brilliant!.


I have so. many. knitters. on my social media and I have always wanted to learn. But my Gram, who was always willing to teach me crafts didn’t knit or crochet (I can do plastic canvas crafts like a  boss though!), and my Mum-Mum who did knit flat-out refused to teach me because I’m left-handed. Yes, you read that right. She always saw that as a “handicap” of some sort, that barred me from learning how to knit apparently.

Well, it isn’t. It isn’t even a blip on the radar, as knitting is ambidextrous by nature. I am doing it “right-handed” because it feels natural to me. Just like I shoot a rifle, throw a ball, drive, shoot a camera, use my mouse at my computer, etc right-handed. The thing about being a leftie is that life makes you learn some things right-handed just by the way they’re made. For example, you can’t use a camera with your left hand, the shutter release is on the right side. I can’t use my mouse with my left hand, because I type with that hand (and it feels friggin’ weird!). Needlepoint, and plastic canvas, full leftie there. You get the idea. So, she could have taught me just like any right hander, but I don’t think it even occurred to her. Anyhow, back to the reasoning.

I found myself in another gaming slump. But My hands always need something to do. That something was my phone, which honestly isn’t that entertaining. I hate most mobile games except Solitaire. And to be honest, I am tired of having my face directed at a screen 24/7. Computer, Phone, TV. But my brain craves a manual hobby, so I decided to jump into knitting. And crochet. And eventually probably needle felting too. I’m far from good at it, I’m not even close to starting a project. But I’ve gotten through casting on, knit stitch, and I’m working on Purl and binding off until I build the muscle memory. It keeps me busy, and the kitten adds an extra challenge!

Gratuitous Kitten Pic!

Such pretty eyes

A post shared by Calamity Jess (@thecalamityjess) on

Procatsination

Blaugust Reborn started on August 1st, and I missed the first two days! But I have an excellent excuse! On Tuesday, I received a text from my husband. They had spent two days trying to catch this poor starving stray kitten, finally caught him, and did I want him. Well how could I say no? I mean look at that face!

20180802_161441Could you say no? I thought not. When he arrived, he was toting some fleas, weighed not even a pound, and we can see or feel every. single. little. bone. in his body. His hind legs had scabs from trying to get into or out of somewhere, one of his front toenails is scabbed up and missing. Honestly, this little guy shouldn’t even be alive after going without food, and being out in the hot southern sun.

But clearly, he’s a badass. We can only guess his age. He can eat on his own, and use the litterbox, play wasn’t on his resume when we found him but he’s starting now with pouncing and chasing his tail. We are estimating he’s between 5 and 6 weeks.

He likes headbutts and snuggles. He loved the dog initially, but now has realized she’s a DOG and he’s a CAT so he hisses and growls at her. It must make him feel tough that he scares the 40 pound dog. Older Cat is still in a snit, but making progress. He’ll now let me pet him when my hands smell like the baby. Prior, he hissed and swatted at me, followed by just looking utterly offended that my hands smelled like betrayal. A little bribery with catnip and treats with kitten smell on my hands has improved that situation. He just won’t come downstairs.

So it’s been a hectic two days of Dawn baths, kitty aggro management, cuddles, and some gaming squeezed in where possible. But I swore I was going to get back to blogging, and do Blaugust, because Blogging is not dead! Regardless of the fact that I haven’t done so since March Smile with tongue out

20180801_100217

Bonus Kitty Pic! His name is Alpha!

And Thanks For All The Fish

Today is normally a day that I’m climbing the walls waiting for Blizzard to finish maintenance, and let me jump into the new pre-expansion patch. But for the first time in twelve years, I’m not. I’ve mentioned before, back in March that WoW has left me feeling “Oh I’m max level, now what?” bored in long intervals. Usually I’d return with the next big content patch. But, now having something to compare, I realize what WoW has been trying to tell me for the last several years. This game isn’t meant for you.

Now, I don’t mean that as a dig at Blizzard, or other players. Rather, it is just what it is for me. I don’t have the hours upon hours required for gearing up, farming, and raiding. I did once, but it required sacrificing quality couch time with the Mister, and I’m not doing that anymore. I haven’t for years. But if you don’t raid, or PvP, there’s a hard limit on what you can do to keep active and happy. Pet collecting and Transmog used to fill that void, but with the pets there was no challenge left. Once you have 500+ there ceases to be a real point unless you enjoy the pet battles, which I never really did. And I had all the transmogs I cared about.

Back to raiding, it began to feel like Blizzard just kept piling on mechanics to each boss. Going beyond challenge and gear check, and into territory that required more precision gameplay and memory than I have. Due to things beyond my control, my memory for mechanics and such is swiss cheese. On top of that, raid night requires a minimum of two to three hours and two nights/week to make progress, so there’s that time factor. Group finder helped that, by letting me run one wing at a time during my daytime playing hours, however it also limited how much gearing up you could do that way. You were restricted from using group finder to do certain levels of raiding and dungeons, and the gear you could get from the content you could do was restricted as well. Mounts, or appearances that only came from levels above the group finder levels began the loudest shouting of “This game isn’t for you” to my ears, and that’s what finally got through.

When I tried FFXIV and realized their group finder allowed me to go into ANY level of dungeon or raid, and allowed access to everything that came from them I was floored. Gear, pets, mounts, nothing was out of my reach anymore. The content itself is challenging and mechanics are still a thing, but they do a far better job of marking them out to avoid them, which saves me countless headaches with my memory the way it is. And the best part, even in 24 man raids, you can complete the entire raid in maybe an hour. Which I can do during my prime playtime, in the afternoons.

Now let’s bring Story into it. Storytelling isn’t WoW’s priority, I know that. And that’s fine. But what always bothered me about the story they did tell, was that I seldom got to see how it ended, because it ended in raids. I got further in Legion than I had in expansions past, and I could again in Battle for Azeroth. But what’s the story? Horde vs Alliance. Again. Repackaged, and with a fresh coat of red and blue paint, and bonus races and a new generation of faction leaders. No thanks.

I hope all my friends still playing have a blast, and that the loot Gods smile upon them. And I’m not going to rule out popping back into Azeroth at some point, because I know me, I’ll likely give it another shot eventually. But for now, it’s so long.

And Thanks for all the fish!

On The Radar

The first half of 2018 looks to be a pretty good year for my gaming hobby.  It’s a welcome relief after the last several months of not seeing anything that really stirred my interest. Although, that drought did get me to try Final Fantasy XIV, which I adore, so it wasn’t all bad. Still, up until that point I was dying for something new! And this year is starting off pretty well in that respect.

First, we have Far Cry 5 releasing March 27. Normally I don’t bother with this franchise, they tend to have the typical dude bro player character, and we all know how I feel about that. But this time, you create your character, and they can be male or female! I was stunned since this is the same company that has yet to have a full Assassin’s Creed game feature a female assassin. Sure Liberation was made, but only for a very specific console. The port to PC was awful and it was nowhere near the scale of the others. I’m hoping if FC5 is a success they’ll take the hint.

Coming In May, we have Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire. I, again, was late to the party with this game. I initially balked at the isometric view and the click to move. But one day I forced myself to play a little longer to see if the story could get me over that. I was happy to learn it did. I loved everything about it, aside from those two things, and Deadfire has my faith that it will measure up.

September is the one I’m really looking forward to. Shadow of the Tomb Raider. I have finished both the rebbot TR games, and I just ADORE Lara. She’s stubborn, determined, snarky, and badass.

With unknown release dates, we have Ooblets, which is some sort of cross between Pokémon and Stardew Valley and looks like an excellent time filler. One from a series I hadn’t considered before, Darksiders III is coming, with Fury as one of the Four Horsemen. Fury is an unpredictable bladed whip wielding mage sent to hunt down the 7 deadly sins. It looks pretty interesting. It’s already on my Steam Wishlist.

And hopefully, these are all enough along with FFXIV to keep me content and busy until the next Dragon Age game shows up! I love me some Bioware RPG games.

What’s in YOUR Wheelhouse?

I mentioned in my previous post that I’ve been struggling to find games in my wheelhouse. This is partly my own fault, as I am really picky about what kind of games I’ll give my money to. When I was only playing World of Warcraft, I had never considered what other games I would like. I had WoW and just didn’t care about finding more. It wasn’t until I had branched out into Dragon Age: Origins and the Mass Effect Series that I started discovering my preferences. Indeed those games formed my preferences. Now I find myself asking a couple of questions before I even consider a major game.

Is it story driven?

A game for me must have a strong story, at least for the big titles. I want to be shocked, I want to feel the need to yell or cheer at my screen. I want to feel emotionally invested in both my character and the world around her.

Can I play a female character?

This actually should have been listed first, because if the answer is no…I stop reading. This particular requirement has gotten me quite a few odd looks and questioning responses. The first question is usually why. Well that’s simple. Unlike books or movies where you are not an active participant but an outsider watching from afar as the story unfolds, a game is inviting us to be PART of the story. It’s an invitation to be the hero, take part in the world, change it as you go. As such, I must relate to the character be it pre-made or custom.

As a woman, I find it near impossible to relate to gruff grizzled scruffy dude #24672. There’s no immersion for me. I don’t feel connected to it, or reflected by some scruffy dude.

I don’t feel I’m missing out on much by putting my money and time behind companies that provide what I enjoy, and not putting it behind people that do not. My husband buys and plays many of them, and I can watch the story just fine while I do other things.

There have been few exceptions to this rule, and those were the Bioshock games. Other than that, every game I play has a female in the lead or the OPTION to do so.

“Female characters don’t sell!” They shout.

Tell that to Commander Shepard, or Lara Croft, or Emily Kaldwin (Dishonored 2). Tell that Skyrim, Fallout, or Dragon Age because each has either a female only, or a female option and from what I’ve seen have been pretty successful.

391220_20180112201431_1

“Your principles won’t change things!” They’ve told me.

Well, I beg to differ. It hasn’t happened overnight, and it is dreadfully slow in coming but change is happening. Look at Farcry 5, due out on March 27. A customizable character, with the option to play as a woman. This is a really big deal, as it is the first time in the game’s history that they’ve done this. And it’s a really good step forward. I for one cannot wait to buy it and play it. Because it might as well say right on the box “Hey, we made this game for you! too!”.

Indie Games catch a break on my first point. But not on my second. I loved Stardew Valley to death, in fact I might play through it yet again the next time I’m between games. For Indie games to suck me in the need to be cute, charming, have a female option, and depth in what they do, be it farming or puzzles or crafting or exploration. Those are my favorites in the Indie world. Platformers are out, I have never liked them they make me /hulksmash.

So there you have it, Story driven games with the ability to play as a woman and charming indie games that keep me clicking but don’t make me jump with any degree of accuracy. That’s what’s in my wheelhouse.