Sorry, I’m AFK Right Now

Apparently, I’m one of those people that gets severe eye strain when using computers with glossy screens for extended periods of time. This leads to symptoms very similar to motion sickness, including dizziness, headaches, and nausea. My laptop has a glossy screen. I never experienced this before most likely because I never used it for more than maybe 20 minutes at a time. Over the weekend, I tried catching up on coursera videos and other random things and I made myself so sick that I had to lie down. So I’ve been avoiding my laptop at home as much as possible.

My friend is letting me borrow a DVI-HDMI cable so that I connect my laptop to one of my screens at home. That should solve most of my problems, but since I’m so behind on my online classes, I won’t have much time to post here this week. Hopefully, I can catch up and get back into the swing of things by the weekend.

Mostly due to financial constraints, I decided to order myself a new computer instead of building one myself. (I haven’t actually bought a pre-made desktop computer in over a decade.) I realize that if I were to build my own, it would be cheaper overall, but I don’t have the cash to buy all the parts. I could but them on credit cards, but their interest rates are higher than the 0% financing at Dell, assuming I pay it off within a year, which I factored into our budget.

In any case, I have a number of posts in the works, but until I’m caught up on my online classes, there won’t be much here. Here’s hoping I get back to it quickly! πŸ™‚

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Getting Excited About the Next Gen System Launches

Whenever I get really angry, I get the most bizarre urge to clean. For example, I’ve been known to completely rearrange the bedroom at 3 in the morning, much to the chagrin of my trying-to-get-some-sleep husband. So after I learned that my computer was totally dead, I decided to clean and reorganize the section of our bedroom that has all our recently bought comics, charging cables, and late night snack food. As I was boarding our comics so that I could put them in their boxes, I noticed that we were missing a Wonder Woman. Maybe #22? I forget. I told my husband to log it in his list/spreadsheet so that we can get it in the near future.

He commented, “I can’t wait till we move to the mainland and can visit the comic books stores up there. When I lived in Washington state, I used to love taking my 10 year old nephew to comic book stores and we’d see if we could find any cool, hard to find stuff. Taking Nico when he was little to the card stores for Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh cards was just like that. I really miss that.” (Nico is our nickname for my son.)

I replied, “Yeah, I feel like the act of collecting is way more fun than the having. There’s that thrill when you find something you were really searching for, you know?”

Of course, I like HAVING stuff, too. (I’m a terrible, horrible person for liking my materialistic possessions, I know…) But that excitement and anticipation of getting something cool is indescribable to me. The XBOX One and Playstation4 are releasing in a matter of weeks now, so the hype and excitement is building. Microsoft and Sony are doing everything they can to get us excited about it. In case you missed them, here are the latest trailers:

XBOX One

Playstation 4

In addition to all the hype, though, is a veritable laundry list of everything that can and can’t be done on the day these systems release. Whether it’s real name IDs, requiring a launch update, or voice chat support, media outlets just can’t resist shoving all this information down our throats. To be fair, when you’re shelling out this kind of cash for a brand new system, you want to know what it can and can’t do. It’s just that I feel like a side effect of this information overload is that they’re taking the thrill, mystery, and excitement out of it.

I mentioned in a previous post that there isn’t really anything at launch for either system that I want or even plan on buying. Yet I’m buying the systems anyway because that thrill of collecting compels me. November is going to be an exciting month for us. The PS4 comes out on the 15th, the XBOX One comes out on the 22nd, and then my husband and I leave for our vacation on the 26th. I’m doing my best to ignore the majority of the media information overload so that I can stay focused on the anticipation and excitement. I’m definitely getting excited. I can hardly wait. πŸ™‚

Computer Update

So, my computer is out for the count. There was a message on a black screen when I got home saying that BOOTMGR was corrupt and that it couldn’t start. After working with my super duper techie friend and troubleshooting everything we could think of, our best theory is that my drive controllers on my motherboard are bad. At least now I know that all my problems with FFXIV:ARR had a cause, Not that this really makes me feel much better about it… =P

Thankfully, I have a laptop, so I’m not completely computer-less right now, but I certainly can’t game on it. At least I can do my MOOC stuff on it and if I want to play FFXIV:ARR, I can just play on the PS3…

So here’s what my desk looks like right now:

IMG_20131023_231259So sad. 😦

 

Date Night and Next-Gen Launch Titles (Or Lack Thereof)

Once a week, my husband and I like to go out and have “date night.” Although I’m not sure about the weekly frequency, I’m pretty sure the idea of “date night” is pretty standard for married couples. Honestly, I don’t know. We aren’t friends with a lot of married couples because we don’t know a lot of married people in our age group (~40+) who play video games. We have a lot of young friends who play games, but very few of them are married.

Anyway, this past Saturday, we had our date night. First, we tried out a restaurant that we hadn’t tried before. Every year, food critics and residents vote for their favorite restaurants on Oahu and the winners are announced at the ‘Ilima Awards. They also print a big magazine that gets inserted into the Sunday newspaper, so I pulled that out and started looking through it. I decided that it would be pretty great to try every restaurant in there that we hadn’t already been to. So, I highlighted every restaurant we hadn’t been to and we chose La Tour Cafe. We both chose something from the specials menu. I had a porchetta sandwich with ‘nalo greens (Hawaii’s version of mesclun greens) while my husband had a chicken and lime pizza. It was inexpensive and delicious. The location was rather high energy, which tends to stress me out a little, but the staff was really friendly.

Our next stop for the evening was Gamestop. Now before you give me a hard time about supporting them by giving them my business, I want to explain a few things. First of all, I REALLY HATE Gamestop. A LOT. I worked as an assistant store manager at one of their locations for three years and never in my life have I ever had a job that made me feel as worthless as Gamestop made me feel. Β In addition, my husband worked as the manager of one of this region’s highest grossing stores for eleven years, but once they went public and the focus changed from customer service to reservations and magazine subscriptions, his determination to remain customer-focused made him a target and he was pushed out of the company after a total of 16 years of service. So if anyone completely understands what a den of villainy that company is, it’s us.

So why do we still shop there? There are a few reasons. First, there are no small or local retailers that sell video games here. Our other choices are places like Target, Walmart, Kmart, and BestBuy. And if you’re into video games, you’re best bet is to shop at a specialty retailer that focuses on them. You never know which games those other retailers will carry and it’s rare that they’ll have the collector’s editions and stuff like that. Second, I want my game on the day it comes out and I like going to midnight launch events. Part of what it means to be a gamer for me is to participate in these kinds of things. If I order my games online, I have to wait for them to get shipped to my house and shipping to Hawaii SUCKS. Plus I don’t get to have that experience of waiting in line late at night with a bunch of other people who are as passionate about video games as I am. And finally (and maybe most importantly), I love talking to other people about games. Mixed in with the robots who only know how to push reservations for upcoming games and stupid magazine subscriptions are some gamers who REALLY LOVE THE GAMES. I love going into the store and talking to the guys about what I’m playing, what they’re playing, and what they’re excited about. There is nothing better than talking to other gamers about games. The excitement in their voices, their body language, the energy in the room… It’s like a drug. Gaming is not some sterile, anti-social activity for me. I’m friends with some of them on Facebook, XBOX Live, and PSN. They know how I feel about Gamestop as a corporation, but they also know that I LOVE games.

So this visit, I was putting down more money toward my XBOX One. (I’ve been putting down money every paycheck toward the One and the PS4 so that I’ll have them paid off by launch day.) We chatted about FFXIV:ARR and I remembered that there’s some limited special edition of Tales of Symphonia Chronicles coming out for the PS3 on February 25th. So I reserved that, as well. I had also come with the intention of reserving one launch title each for the XBOX One and the PS4. However…

IMG_20131022_201328

IMG_20131022_201345I don’t think there’s a single game on EITHER of those lists that excites me. Watch Dogs was supposed to be a launch title, but that got pushed back until March of next year. I don’t play first person shooter games because they make me seasick. I HATE HATE HATE sports. And games like Assassin’s Creed and Injustice are just not my thing. Their controls are far too unforgiving. There are no RPG’s, or hack and slashers. It’s sad, but the most interesting things on this list for me are Just Dance 2014 and Zumba Fitness: World Party. How sad is that? I actually don’t know if I like Zumba or not. I’ve never tried it. I just like the idea of exercise that’s similar to dancing. I don’t get nearly as much exercise as I should.

Just to clarify, there are games on those lists with release dates that correspond to the launch of the systems, but since they don’t have the “SD” or “street date” next to them, their dates aren’t confirmed. So there’s one more possibility: LEGO Marvel Super Heroes. But what system would I get it for? Maybe PS4 since I’ll most likely buy the paid content of the Killer Instinct game that’s releasing for the XBOX One. (I think that’s a launch title, anyway…)

Things weren’t that much better years ago when I bought the PS3. At launch I bought Marvel: Avengers Alliance and my husband bought Resistance: Fall of Man. On the 360, we didn’t buy ANYTHING. We just bought the system and then waited for the games. Kind of makes you wonder why I do this, doesn’t it? I used to feel like a loser or something because I always buy systems on launch day, but there’s something fun and exciting about it for me. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s a thrill. I just love it.

Finally, our last stop for the evening on date night was Gecko Books. This is where we buy our comics. We hadn’t been in a month, so our pull stack had gotten rather large. We spent just over $50! As always, the comic haul will come in a separate post. After that, we went home and played games until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. To me, that was a perfect date night. Good food, talking about video games, and comics. Does it get any better than that? I don’t think so.

Halloween Themed Manicure

I’m still trying to figure out why my computer doesn’t like Final Fantasy and I’ve been so busy at work that I only have enough time during lunch to actually eat my lunch and then I have to get back to work, so I’ve been horribly remiss in posting here. I apologize for that. Hopefully I’ll be back to posting once a weekday soon. My next computer troubleshooting plan is to install Windows 8.1. We’ll see how that works.

In the meantime, here is my latest manicure. It’s Halloween themed, but I didn’t really want orange. I kinda hate orange…

IMG_20131018_220747

This nail is my favorite. It’s a black cat with a black moon.

IMG_20131018_220807

Here’s a nifty spiderweb.

IMG_20131018_220841

The left hand with the cat and the web.

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An adorable vampire ghost.

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Sparkly stars.

IMG_20131018_220933The right hand with the ghost and the stars.

 

FFXIV:ARR Ahriman Mount

I got a Halloween themed manicure this weekend and I did take pictures, but I haven’t uploaded them to my computer yet, so I’ll post them tomorrow. In the meantime, I thought this was weird. This very cool mount is a veteran reward for playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. It’s a reward you get for playing for 180 days. I paid for 6 months up front, so I got the veteran rewards even though the time hasn’t passed by. Anyway, look at how I’m sitting on that thing? Seriously, how do I not fall off? I should have taken a picture of my husband on his. He’s sitting cross-legged. So weird.

ffxiv_10202013_211549In other FFXIV:ARR related news, I’m about at my wits’ end. While playing this game, I get runtime errors having to do with virtual C++ calls. I get stuck on the geometry. I take forever to zone. NPC’s sometimes take MINUTES to show up on my screen. Β I have done a clean reinstall of the game more than once. I’ve even done a TOTALLY CLEAN reinstall of Windows TWICE! I’ve done burn in tests on my processor, RAM, and video card. I’ve updated C++ libraries. I’ve updated .NET framework. I’ve done chkdsk on both hard drives to make sure there are no bad sectors and that the drives aren’t going bad. I have changed settings. I have scoured every forum post from other players with problems even remotely similar to mine and tried everything.

AND NOTHING HELPS! Honestly, if I didn’t love Final Fantasy as much as I do and if this game wasn’t totally awesome, I would have given up on it already. But I just want to play! 😦 I am so frustrated. I wish I could just buy a brand new computer or something… /sigh

I tried running The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim and that ran perfectly fine. No lag, no long loading times, no problems. I feel like the problem is with my hardware, but when other games run perfectly fine, I have to wonder…

 

FFXIV:ARR Bomb & Cactuar Earrings

This year at the Tokyo Game Show, Square Enix held a Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn event where players had to beat a special version of the Titan primal. If they succeeded, they would pull the name of a server out of a hat and everyone on that server would get a pair of cactuar earrings. People quickly defeating Titan enough times so that every server got the cactuar earrings. So then they had another event where they had to defeat Titan. This time if they succeeded, they would pull a server name out of a hat and every player on that server would get bomb earrings. It should come as no surprise that again Titan was defeated enough times so that all servers received the earrings.

As I was running around doing the Halloween event stuff, I grabbed my earrings from the Itinerant Moogle. Here are pics:

ffxiv_10172013_231341 ffxiv_10172013_231403