Category Archives: Real Life

First rule of Write Club: Don’t write.

I’ve been biting my tongue and not publicly complaining about this, but you know? I think I’ve about had it. Because, simply put, Write Club is about as useful as a sack of invisible potatoes.

They both have potential to be useful — Hey! A sack of potatoes!; Hey! A club of writers! — but getting to that useful bit requires several attempts, failed starts, and Rube Goldberg-esque problem solving.

While you could throw some flour on the potatoes, allowing you to see them long enough to cook them however you wish, and use foil or spices or something to “see” the potatoes afterward… You could also just, y’know, buy normal potatoes and have a much easier time with it. Not to mention an easier time eating.

As for Write Club, here’s how a typical meeting goes:

  • I get there early. Most others arrive 5-10 minutes late (including president + officers, usually)
  • We spend the first 10 or so minutes chatting aimlessly, generally about nothing remotely related to writing.
  • Finally we get to our free write, which starts with a prompt. Usually we all put random words on the board and use someone else’s word as a prompt. Attempts to try new things have mostly failed.
  • Next, we spend about 20 minutes writing. Many people come ill-prepared for this and write on their smartphones or mostly-dead laptops.
  • After that, we read what we wrote out loud. 90% of the time, I am the only one who volunteers. Considering I’m the one with metal plates in her face, this makes perfect sense.
  • The remaining 20-30 minutes is a complete crapshoot because nobody ever brings in anything to edit (except me), and they are even less interested in helping others. Instead, they talk about the last episode of Dexter.

We’d normally be meeting tonight, but it’s finals weeks, so all club activity has ceased. Seeing as I’m on co-op right now and have no idea what the course schedule is like, I learned this from my roommate. As of now, nearly 2 hours before we’d normally meet, there has been zero notice from the president or officers that Write Club has ended for the semester.

So if I think about next semester, when I’ll be back in class for my final semester of uni… Sure, I could go to Write Club and encourage people to write more despite their insistence that they “don’t have time” (Dexter is more interesting anyways). Or I could refocus that time and energy on actually writing.

Unless Write Club suddenly starts living up to its name, I don’t think I’ll be attending.

Out with the new, bring back the old!

Click for bigger image

As with any design overhaul, the typical backlash abounds. People don’t like change, even if it’s better for them (::cough::metric system::cough::). But this is one case in which I agree–new sucks!

Grooveshark is like Spotify, but web-based, of questionable legality (I’ll talk about that later… in some other post), and with a hell of a lot more of the music I’m looking for. I use it pretty much constantly, and was looking forward to the new design. Yeah. About that. Read the rest of this entry

Guild Wars 2: Botters and Hackers

Today marks one month since the official release of Guild Wars 2. There are still several bugs — broken dynamic events, renown hearts, and skill points being the primary ones — but each patch fixes more of them. As they should.

On top of the bugs, there are also “hacked” accounts. No, there hasn’t (to my knowledge) been a security breach. People using repeat account information, falling for phishing attempts, or buying gold and/or power-leveling services comprise most, if not all, of these “hacking” cases.

These accounts turn into botters, for either power-leveling or gold-selling purposes. Just like with anti-virus, as soon as ANet tightens their watch on botters and spammers, the violators will find new ways around it. However! This is not as widespread and apocalyptic as some players would have you believe. Certain zones will have numerous bots, but most days, I get by without seeing a single one.

Though I do not doubt, given time, ANet will get a good handle on the situation, to truly eliminate bots requires the work of both sides, the company AND the players. This means no macros, no buying gold, no caving into power-leveling services, and giving due diligence to protecting your account. If the botters make no sales in the game, or presumably few enough, they will leave — GW won’t be profitable for them anymore. Read the rest of this entry

The Male Female Gamer

Like many others, I play games to have fun, relax, and de-stress from the day. Most nights, I can chat with people, kill some bad guys, have a few laughs, and call it a day. Yet every now and then, real life sneaks in and ruins that. Like when someone asks about your gender and refuses to accept that you won’t answer personal questions.

One of the major tenets of the Internet is anonymity. This is especially true in gaming, where your skill at the game should matter more than your personal life. You are whatever age, race, gender, etc. you say you are, and in most cases, nobody can prove otherwise.

Yet anonymity reinforces the use of stereotypes. With sparse details about a person, we feel the need to fill in the blanks and fabricate a persona for them. We create a first impression based on less information than we get from in-person encounters, and what’s easier to fall back on than stereotypes? Stereotypes, no matter how detrimental, are based on truth. That’s why they continue to persist with such strength.

So what happens when one of those tiny pieces of information is “female gamer”? The reaction depends on the context and audience, but they boil down into four main responses: Read the rest of this entry