Saturday, October 4, 2014

From Generation X, With Love... \m/

So, it's been a while...

Malicious Damage- The very first band I was ever in. Death metal as hell, we lived up to our name!

Yeah... it has.

I cannot even begin to tell you all what a year I have had thus far. If you read the last blog prior to this one, you had an idea at least how my love life was headed, but you had no idea, and nothing could prepare you for the year I have had to date... both good and bad.

But all of that is for another blog... Actually maybe another couple of blogs. There is no way I can put down the events of this year so far, and simply gloss them over. It is coming...

But for now, let me enter into this missive that has hit my mind at this late hour... The small hours, as Metallica would sing (even if it was a cover).

They might not have written it, but they sure as hell lived it.

Dear Generation whatever... And by whatever I mean those born in the 90's, 00's, and onward.

On behalf of my generation, your parents most likely... I am sorry.


Well... Let's face it. You were born into a (excuse my english) FUCKED UP WORLD.

We all knew it. We all sensed it. We all grew up with Star Wars so ingrained in our brains that we knew there was a "disturbance in the force". We still brought you into this world, knowing full well the sins we were about to commit.

But guess what, I for one, regret none of it. Yes, that is right, I have no regrets. I have a 19 year old daughter who is still the center of my universe, whom I get to watch experience life now as an adult and eke out an existence that may or may not make her happy, yet it is all by her own hand. Not every child is like mine, but I can only hope there are enough of you out there who are old souls, who realize that the world is falling to shit, and your only hope is to be OUR Obi Wan Kenobis! Whether we call you "indigo kids", or something else, one thing is sure... There is more to this world than what we see physically, and a lot of you are born empathic, and not able to reconcile what is going on out there. I hope you find hope. Find your way, and do the right thing.

But, for now...

Prophetic,or just full of angst... You be the judge.

Let me take you back to the late 80s. A band by the name of Nuclear Assault... A thrash metal band, once sang the following lyrics:

"Look around the world you knew, say goodbye, it dies with you. Those who live when we are dead, shall curse our names... You've inherited hell."

Back then when that song was released I thought it was awesome. I never once thought it might apply to our kids, especially since back then I NEVER wanted to have kids... But since I became a father 19 years ago, every year it resonates truer.

As a matter of fact, it has almost the same effect on me as Pink Floyd's. "Time"... The only song to date that will bring me to tears when I hear it. (Any ex girlfriends reading this can vouch for that)

But what did Nuclear Assault predict? What did we all know, that we willingly brought you into?

Well, look around!

We have people like ISIS, who have taken what to me was one of the foremost Goddesses of the ancient world, and perverted it to mean something so abhorrent it should better be labeled XASTUR. (Look up your Sumerian mythology for the reference).

Then there is the state this country is in. Do we really need to go there?

Yes, I have lived long enough to see a black president in the white house, but what of the fallout of that? If nothing else this presidency has proven racism is still alive and well in America, and around the world. I will say for the record I am not a fan of our president, but be that as it may, that is my personal gut feeling, and nothing to do with his race, or anything along those lines.

If history has any bearing, the next president (or  the one after) should be one of OUR generation. Can you imagine this country with a generation X president???

We as a generation are going to come to power. It is only natural. Yet what have we as a generation learned in our time on planet Gaea?

We were born in a time where the Viet Nam war was ending, and technology was coming into its own. We helped to build the internet, if not were its foremost users. We now make all the video games you play, after cutting our teeth on pong, pacman, frogger. Hell we were hanging out with Link before Link was even cool!

We have been the most extreme generation to date. Which other generation can claim music such as death metal as its generational hallmark? Which other generation can say they actively tried to kill each other on the dance floor, all for the lulz? We pushed the envelope so far that they had to issue new envelopes.

Is it any wonder why everyone is desensitized to extreme violence, sexual assault, etc? Our generation was responsible for bringing this to the forefront. We were the ones who fought the courts to say that Ozzy was innocent, that death metal did NOT lead to burning of churches, that being "weird" was the new normal. WE made it this way.

Yeah. I remember Brian when he was a lowly worker in Ft Lauderdale. He was weird even then by our standards... Yeah... I knew him.

For what?

I often wonder if we lost our way. I often wonder if in our fervor to find ourselves, and shock the system into recognizing who we were, that we were not in the process sacrificing the values we were all taught, and which we now desperately try to teach our own kids!

Is it any wonder a lot of us are now "born again", and please let me know the last time and the last generation that this has ever truly worked to bring about world peace?

You know the world is fucked up when the biggest satanic death metal vocalist, Glen Benton of Deicide, is a FAR BETTER father, than most of the folks I see on my tv day in, day out.

I still support my generation. We are all pretty much in our forties or early fifties now. Metallica is now considered the kings of metal, and rock. In some cases they appear regularly as "classic rock". Does this strike anyone else from my generation as a little odd?

We're getting old, people. Like it or no, those ideals of never wanting to grow up, and never wanting to give in to the system, are upon us now. Sadly, our children, despite our "best efforts" have inherited these traits. Some for good, some for bad. You have only to view the news to discern which is which.

How many of us have cut our hair. In my case I was never graced with long hair. It's a black thing, I guess. I did have the mohawk and long ass goatee, but even now... I have to keep it in check.



Is it a self fulfilling prophecy, or did we know all along?

And... if we did know all along, why bring kids into it?

I am sorry generations of the now. I am sorry you have not experienced life on the edge as we have. I am sorry you will have no desire to. I am sorry you have to live in a world split by the need to "make things right" and the need to "fuck the whole world".

Most of all, I am sorry that despite how much I love you, I still subscribe to the Dark Angel motto:

"For this I don't apologize, because I leave scars."

Soundtrack to every break up in my life...

Buckle up folks. Generation X is coming into our power really soon. If you think the world is insane now, just you wait. It is my only hope that those of us who held true to the ideals we had as die hard metalheads, will use those powers for good, and at least teach our kids that when you come into your own power, you too can make a difference, even if you have to break some eggshells doing it.

Right now we as Generation X need to seriously grow up. In so doing, we need to NOT JUST pay taxes, take our kids to school, and become active in our local politics... but we need to remember WHY we warned the world so many years ago about all the bullshit going on now. WHY we decided to check out of the system, only to check back in when it became apparent that our weirdness alone was not going to pay the bills.

WE need to come together and create the almighty moshpit from hell that will oust the people who are causing the chaos in this world, whom WE have willingly bowed down to and paid into, for the sake of our children not living through the things we had nightmares about, and wrote all those songs about, that will never see billboard's top 40.

I know some of you are doing great things out there. A lot of you are on my facebook friends list. The rest of us need to have that heart to heart with our kids and remind them why the system is flawed, (and make no bones about it people, the system IS FLAWED. It is designed so none of us can win) and why we felt we were brought into this earth to fix this shit. If we cannot... then one of two things will happen.

Either we need to teach our kids how to think like we do so that THEY can fix it... or we need to get off our duffs and do it our damn selves. Viva la revolution! Hey... we sang about it so long ago... Or were those only words? You tell me...

Or, on the contrary... maybe what the world REALLY needs right now...

is a good old fashioned APOCALYPSE. Ebola, anyone?

I used to say "death comes to those who wait"... It is more true now than ever.

Why not... Gen Xers have been afraid of this for decades now... ever since the threat of Reagan falling asleep on the big red button.

Or perhaps... JUST PERHAPS... having kids was our one gift to the world... our saving grace, for a lost generation?


Next blog- My life in 2014 as we know it, and why I need to write a damn book. Eventually I will get back to writing about gaming.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tales Of Love and Fear... Because... February.

As the old song goes, "love is a battlefield".

Like just about all battlefields, there are inevitably casualties, that occasionally hit close to home. Perhaps it is that person you went through basic training with, and developed such a deep camaraderie for, who, under the shock and fear of war just... loses it, and does irreparable damage to both themselves, and your bond. Perhaps you may find unlikely bonds from other squad-mates who turn out to have your back when you least expect it, but most need it. Either way, war is hell, and in love, fear is the greatest enemy. Fear kills love, and turns people you trust and know into strangers with no remorse. Any history between you becomes a painful learning experience, with the scars to show.

It is just such a lesson I have learned over the last few months... And no, this has nothing to do with gaming.

A few weeks ago, I posted on my facebook profile this picture that reads "Anyone can love you when the sun is shining, in the storms is where you learn who truly cares for you". I posted this because in my recent battle with unemployment, I have taken a casualty... the one woman I thought would be there the most for me. You may remember her from my "Spoiler Alert- Zhaitan Dies!" blog. The one I referred to as Anastasia Merrimox in my games.

However, in losing this girlfriend of over a year, not only have I been shown the basest nature of women such as her, but I have also come to see the bright light that resides in the women friends I have, who have stood beside me in this trying time, and gone far above and beyond the call of duty.

You see, I have a tragic flaw... I am an unabashed goddess worshipper. I by and large treat women like gold. It does not ALWAYS manifest in buying lavish things, or spending a ton of money on them; it might be something as simple as cooking dinner, encouraging her to achieve her dreams, immortalizing her in art, photos, or song, and generally going out of my way to be and do for her, often times at the expense of myself. Why? Because I know life's secret. That secret is easy for anyone to master really...

To be truly successful in life, you have to give. You have to help others with an open heart, and you have to be willing to go outside of your comfort zone to go where the universe needs you most. Each soul you help, brings you closer to source, and is the basis of growth.

To be ego serving accomplishes nothing, except leaves you with an emptiness in your soul that can never truly be filled. To be materialistic enslaves you to the things that do not matter, which you cannot take with you when you die. Selfishness traps you in an endless cycle that, when coupled with fear, paranoia, doubt, and self loathing, can be a self fulfilling prophecy of confusion, eventual insanity, loneliness, and a huge dose of karma for the people you have wronged to accomplish your misplaced goals. Shallowness prevents access to the deep well of spiritual truth, in which is our truest selves. The vicious cycle ensures that one will never progress beyond where they are, and as time goes on, could end up losing what they have in a desperate attempt to hold onto it. I know because at one point in my life, I was living it. Now I have seen it manifest in her life.

Belittling and mistreating your own family, especially the deceased, is a set up for karmic disaster. These are things i saw, which did not sit well with me, and makes me inclined to think perhaps it is better to not be tethered to someone whose lack of faith, let alone respect has them on  a crash course for spiritual ruin.

The universe has a long memory... it never forgets, even if we do.

So while the woman of my life succumbed to fear, and has returned to being the "cowardly lion", the lessons we both had experienced are now lost... seemingly forever. The only lesson apparently learned by her would be that when the going gets rough, cut and run... but in all honesty, she had that lesson down decades before I came into her life. I guess some folks have to learn the hard way. Much like "The Matrix", some people choose the blue pill, and that is ok... It is their choice. Sleep well, fair princess.

It was foretold to me by a good friend, so when the eventuality happened, I was prepared... though still disappointed in her, and disappointed in myself for having pledged my heart to someone who scarcely cares about her own, let alone anyone else. This from someone who vowed I was their best friend up till recently. Whether she truly understands the meaning of the term, or even the meaning of love... is a mystery best left to the universe.

It is when times are darkest that light comes.

While receiving little to no emotional support from my "beloved", a number of close friends have rallied to my aid, reaffirming my statement above on how to be truly successful. Five in particular have gone above and beyond to ensure that not only could I physically survive the doldrums, but emotionally and spiritually remain intact. Make no bones about it, these women kept me alive, in particular through the last four months.

A trio of these goddesses even came to visit me, each at different times, and at their own expense, because they knew the deep depression I had fallen into, and realized that what I needed the most at the time was companionship and unconditional love... not to be a hermit. These women- Kristie, Karen R, and Aimie, reminded me of what true friendship is like, when centered in true love.

They gave of themselves willingly, because they "get it". They were not bound by fear, but instead radiated a love that brightened my soul (and home) in their presence, and left me with hope. While they too benefited from the experience, my gratitude for these amazing ladies is without bounds. Unsurprisingly, two of the three are now good friends with each other.

The others who were unable to visit me, have made their presence known daily with online check-ins, phone calls, messages of encouragement and love, and occasionally tears shed on my behalf. People like Janean, Jen, Sanja, Stacie, Crissy, Kelsay, Karen M, Misty, Dom, my mom Fiesta, even my daughter Lauren, and her mom Jess, have been instrumental in keeping the connection alive and strong. Life is about the connections. As I have stated before to many... ultimately we are all one soul. Whatever I can do to benefit them, I am happy to oblige, because I have placed great value on the benefits I have received, just by having the connection.

Even now, months later, I am still being visited by women who truly care. Over the last few weeks especially I have been blessed immensely with love from those who in the past I too gave willingly, without expectation of return. This right here, is also a lesson in karma. It runs both good or bad, highly dependent on your actions, and the motivations behind those actions.

What I may have lost in losing one "girlfriend" to whom i was loyal (hey, we all make mistakes, right), I have regained manifold in seeing the Goddess reflected in my closest friends. I KNOW I am loved. I am reminded of it daily... and the people who choose not to matter, well... they fall like shed skin into the gutters of obscurity. But you had better believe, when I say I love these incredible women, I MEAN it. If it takes me a hundred lifetimes to prove it, I would. They have been the sunshine to dissipate my storms. And here is the best part... it's not even about sex.

As I began to turn this corner in my life, I prayed for the universe to remove from my life ALL obstacles preventing me from achieving success and balance.

My prayers were answered.

Goodbye Stacy, and thank you for the sobering lessons, the fond memories, and the gifts (especially the pictures).

Love is a battlefield... I lost my closest squad-mate, when she allowed her fears to change her into someone more dangerous to our unit than the enemy. The rest of my squad rallied to save me from certain doom, and helped us to accomplish our objectives. I owe them my lives (yes plural)... and I intend to pay it forward.


In other news. my friend Eden and I will be broadcasting a new internet radio show starting Thursday, March 6, 2014, at 11 PM. It will be called "Unslaved Mind Radio", and can be found at blogtalkradio. Please be sure to tune in and join us as we discuss the realities of what is going on around us, as well as what we can do to help ensure that our light grows brighter in this incredible time of universal and planetary change. Take the red pill, and listen in... We cannot promise you where you will end up, but we'll at least show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Doing What You Love... Can Save Your Sanity!

"They" say that if you are doing something you really love to do, it no longer becomes work.

Think about that statement for a moment, folks. Now think about what it is you TRULY love to do, and whether or not you are making a living at it. I would be willing to bet, chances are, you are not doing it...

Am I right?

I have been looking at this all the wrong way, and I readily admit this. After countless job applications where I have been rejected, and more resume tweaking than I care to recollect, I still sit here, without a "job" in the corporate sense of the word. Of course the ramifications of this have been felt, and have indeed left me with quite a few sleepless nights.

Then it hit me...

Drew, I said, why are you chasing after a job you will not be happy doing, and will barely keep you "Just Over Broke"? Everyone else is doing it, and the competition is fierce, to say the least. I am a man of many talents, all of which have been used at some point in my life, and have made me happy. SO with that said, why not maximize ON those talents, creating multiple income streams FOR MYSELF, and putting me steps closer to achieving those goals I set so long ago. Goals which, I might add, always have appeared to fall just a little bit further out of reach. Perhaps it is not the goal that is unattainable, but the vehicles I have chosen to drive me to them!

This is where I stand now. I am a gamer. I am a writer. I have a radio voice. I love to make music. I still have a desire for art. I find joy in helping people, and in ways to educate and counsel. None of these I have in the past gotten paid for because I simply thought, well none of them will pay the bills...  I need a corporate job to do that, and can do all this other stuff as "hobbies".

Wrong answer.

Bel Geode- Independent Contractor, Tyria.

The harsh reality of this world is that, unless you are in business for yourself, you are a slave to someone else's vision. If you cannot control your own destiny, there are many factions out there who will gladly control it for you. I do not know about you, but I am ready to take the red pill, wake up, and get out of that matrix. The signs have been crystal clear to me over the last few months. Corporate America does not want me... They cannot afford me, and they will never respect me.

Why deny your Gawd given talents, in favor of a skill-set spoonfed to you as "the only way" to pay your bills? I wish I could tell you how many of my friends have degrees, upwards of masters, who are constantly told they are "overqualified", yet they have awesome innate talents they are not using. It is downright criminal to give up on your dreams and talents, because this degree is supposed to get you the money you deserve... Yet it ISN'T.

Yoda said- "You must UNlearn, what you have learned."

I've been reading about the law of attraction. It's pretty profound stuff, but nothing that any of us could not achieve, if we tried. So here is what i have been doing to help my own process along, and in turn save my sanity, and provide a little sleep back into my nights.

What is Scarlet's obsession with those "sexbots"?


Aside from this blog, I began writing in November with a brand new gaming e-zine called Elite Monster. I actually found the editor on Craigslist of all places, and we talked about what the goals were, and it meshes with mine. Since my number one game is Guild Wars 2, I have been writing what I call "Living Story Logs", which essentially recap the latest living story updates, and steps to do in order to complete the story steps. Thankfully for me, ArenaNet has those biweekly updates, which gives me a steady stream of work to do. I will also be chiming in on other games, such as Star Citizen; which I would highly recommend any die hard space simulator fans, or aviation buffs check out. It won't be out till 2015, but they are already doing some amazing things over there.


I did it folks.  I took the plunge and brought my radio voice to, starting the channel "Bel Geode, THE Purple Norn plays...". My viewership keeps rising daily as I take what would normally be a solo endeavor to new heights, with an audience, and of course my part snarky, part witty commentary. Right now the major games I am streaming are Guild Wars 2, and Star Wars- The Old Republic, though I have experimented with other games like Assassin's Creed IV, War Thunder, and even The Secret World. As I get new games, I will have new opportunities to grow my viewer base, and the prospect excites me. There are already "regulars" who check in, each time my SWTOR bounty hunter Ghita, continues her story.

Ghita and Mako prepare to show 'em how it's done.

I have yet to upload any highlights to YouTube, but to be honest, until they do right by the myriad of gamers they are screwing out of income, with their draconian ContentID system, I am doing a personal boycott. Luckily for me, allows me to archive any highlights of my streams.

There are other avenues that are about to be explored within the next month, some involving my voice, that I cannot wait to get to experience. As those become public, I will gladly share them with you here, but for now I will keep them under wraps, out of respect for the others involved.

I am no fool however. I know Rome was not built in a day, nor do I expect this to be an overnight financial miracle for me. One thing I DO expect however, is to be the best I can be at doing what I LOVE to do, and having the universe take care of the rest. When things looked darkest for me, I was able to find a way out, and a way up. I am not about to look any gift horses in the mouth.

Ghita turns a bounty into a new companion.

I encourage anyone to do the same. Find what you LOVE to do. Find a way to make it work for you, and stop chasing after corporations with no heart. Go into business for yourself... whether freelance, like I have been doing, or a bona fide, brick and mortar business. Back in the day, my mother and I had a flower shop in Ft. Lauderdale. For several years we created our own destiny, because at the time mom realized what I am realizing now... NO ONE is going to save you but yourself. You know what... it was FUN!

The program we have all been fed is a lie. We were never meant to slave away at jobs that have not got our best interests, or our families at heart. It's killing not only our dreams, but our souls. There IS another way. Every single one of us has talents we were born with. It is up to us to use them to create the life WE want. The rest will sort itself out. The only thing stopping us, is our own programming and FEAR! I won't lie to you, deprogramming and subduing fear is a daunting task, but guess what? IT CAN BE DONE!

I invite you to come with me on my journey, and see where I go from this turning point. If I can do it, anyone can.

Bel and the Valkyrie squad get ready for more Dragon killing in Skyrim.

That is my lesson to you today.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Pirate's Life For Me...

You know, the one real danger with video games, especially very immersive ones, is LOSING yourself in them!

Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag

I know, I know... It seems contradictory to why anyone would ever want to play games in the first place. We all know that people play the games they play to immerse themselves in this virtual world, often, to forget some of the crap going on in real life... Such as being unemployed, and getting countless rejection letters; or even having bad days at work, or in their personal lives.

I won't lie to you folks, I started honest to goodness GAMING when I was trying to heal the wounds of my divorce; something I did not ask for, but was saddled with nonetheless. Playing Star Wars Galaxies way back then allowed me to put myself in the world I loved, and forget about living in a crappy basement studio apartment, where if I would have died, no one would have found me for weeks. Through that game, I met so many new people who turned out to be real flesh and blood humans with emotions and needs (fancy that), and some of them are among my best friends to this day. That community of people almost literally kept me alive, just by being there for me, and engaging in virtual tasks in a fictitious universe that built real memories and lasting friendships. I cannot thank them enough, and they know who they are.

Over the years, gaming has supplanted art and music as my number one hobby. It may be argued that in some cases, writing as well, though the fact that I am finding time to write this blog should indicate not entirely. It's an addiction, to be sure, but one I am happy to have. In my eyes, it is far better for me than smoking, though I have yet to get rid of that addiction. I do, however, realize that I spend an extraordinary amount of time gaming... as evidenced by my Raptr account, and the number of "Elite" rankings I have amassed. Case in point: Assassin's Creed IV- Black Flag.

Good thing Cubans never look up... They won't find me here.

This game just came out on November 19th (the day after my birthday), and I got it on the 20th. Since then I have played 71 hours! Do you think I love this game? Haha.

Hmm, I wonder if this is from Sting?

I have never played any of the Assassin's Creed series of games before, but something about this one resonates with me. Maybe it is the pirate theme, or perhaps the fact that the story is well written, with a protagonist that feels believable to me. I have certainly gotten a kick seeing Kingston, Jamaica portrayed as the bustling colonial town it probably was back in those days. Oddly enough, the buildings still look similar today, from my understanding... well... in the older areas of town.

Sing that sea shanty again mates, this time with FEELING!

I think another good term for this game would be "Ship Simulator 3000". I have never played a game that actually allowed somewhat realistic LOOKING control over a water vehicle. As you may or may not know,  I am no stranger to simulators, having spent years in Microsoft Flight Simulator, in various versions. I will readily admit, I have never played a ship simulator at all... The closest I have come was building and piloting hovercraft in Second Life. All the same, Assassin's Creed has presented this to me in a way that feels comfortable, and a whole lot of just pure FUN! Watching your ship ride the crests and troughs of the Caribbean, and reacting to the doldrums or gale force winds, is that extra bit of icing on a very polished vehicular cake. The only keys you even need to remember are  W, A, S, and D... then your two mouse buttons, and occasionally E. 

Brace yourselves! Killer wave bearing down!!

Another damned water spout. That's it, we're out of here!

Side quests abound in this game, and the completionist in me is going nuts trying to capture every fort, hunt every animal at least once, or even harpoon Moby Dick's ancestor. I will say that they certainly put a lot of things to do when NOT doing the story, in this game. I would be lying if I said I did not try to complete at least everything in a given area of the map, before going through the next piece of the tale.

Herman Melville would be proud of me.

One minor letdown though, is the fact that you only ever get ONE ship. While there is a fleet of ships you can "own", you won't be pimping about the tropics in a "borrowed" Spanish galleon. You can however command your fleet to visit various parts of the new world, or old, in order to trade and build your wealth. Along the way, you can have turn-based battles with enemy ships, as illustrated below. It's not quite as appealing as watching 32 cannonballs smash through the deck, but it is a mildly amusing little side game.

Monopoly with ships?

If there is a downside to the game, it is going to be in the controls, while playing as Edward Kenway on land. As a PC player, controllers are simply not something I am used to using on my computer. With this game, I do feel like I am penalized for this. The keyboard commands have my fingers doing the tango all over the keyboard, and I have actually had to rebind a few keys to my mouse side buttons, just to ease the pain. It is not game-breaking enough for me to go out and buy a USB game controller... Aside from which, who has money for that kind of upgrade right now. One thing I will say though: After going hours on end in AC4, switching back to Guild Wars 2, I find myself pushing the wrong keys to try and do things.

Oh yes, and a side order of boobies please...

You know I love a good story, and with this game, you get two for the price of one (which I understand is a common theme in all AC games). First, there is the story of YOU, an unnamed employee at Abstergo Industries; basically a new hire who is stumbling upon something far greater than just your average gamer geek type of job (I wish)... 

Oh really?


Oh... Ok...

Then there is the story of Edward Kenway, the pirate you portray while in the "Animus" (think virtual reality times ten). As of this blog post, I am only halfway through the story of Edward, but the plot twists thus far both in and out of the Animus have kept me riveted to my seat. Yes, this is a game I am finding hard to log out of... I want to SEE what happens next!

Not now Kidd, I am busy...

Where's Lara Croft when you need her?

Hmm, I wondered why this island smelled funny...

I have not tried out the player vs player aspect to this yet, because as I have stated before, I am not really that into it. This is funny because as an amusing sidenote, I have also been playing a lot of Planetside 2, and actually enjoy that game... And that is a game with literally NO story to speak of. Once I complete the story mode however, I may pop in a few times to see what all the hoopla is about. If I like it, more power to me, but I imagine I would play the game considerably less than I am now.

I'll drink to that.

One thing I am seriously thinking of doing though, is using FRAPS with it, and actually uploading gameplay videos to YouTube. Having enjoyed watching people like WoodenPotatoes, MattVisual, Sips, Jesse Cox, and others game, I think I could probably do the same thing... Though I don't think I am nearly as hillarious as the above mentioned guys. That is still in the planning stage however.

Awesome view... Now how the hell do I get down from here?

If nothing else, Assassin's Creed IV, like all the other games I play, is helping to keep me sane at a time when I see more and more friends struggle, and lose their own jobs. In case you have not noticed it... it is happening at an alarming rate lately. It is a wonder any of us are even still surviving! I certainly have not given up the search for the perfect job, and I am actively engaging in other projects that have potential (for example, I began writing articles for Elite Monster, about Guild Wars 2). I know good things are coming for me very soon, but I am really glad that I have a way to slip into another world and just forget my worries for a few hours. My problems do not disappear totally, but the key to losing oneself in a game, is to remember to balance one's life WITH gaming.

Look, we can do this the easy or hard way, either way, you are buying these girl scout cookies.

With that said me hearties, it be time for me to harass the Spanish and send 'em down to Davy Jones' locker! Arrrrr!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chaos Ensues...

It has been a rough week, to say the least.

I just got laid off last Friday from the title company I was railroaded into transferring to (a long sordid tale of buyouts and sellouts). To say  I saw this coming would be a gross understatement, but like anything else that has happened to me, I prescribe to the Maya Angelou philosophy-

"I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it."

Today I am taking a break from the applications, and infinite resume tweaks, to play some much needed Guild Wars 2; just in time for the latest living story update, which reflects the chaos going on inside at this moment. I figured now was as good a time as any to both recap what has been going on in the world of Tyria, as well as kill some time doing something creative. This having been said, perhaps you can indulge me.

For those who have not been keeping up, ArenaNet, creators of Guild Wars 2, decided on a two week cadence for their content updates, in the form of an ever evolving story that literally can change the face of Tyria as it goes on. While this began with a more sluggish pace back in winter past, over the last couple of months it has ramped up considerably with new celebrations such as Dragon Bash, and the Queen (of Kryta)'s Jubilee.

Our man Bel was at the Dragon Bash ceremony with a good friend, Ellen Kiel, when the forces of discord disrupted the shindig by killing one of the members of Lion's Arch city council.

An investigation ensued, and eventually the culprit was brought to justice... but also revealed was a new enemy faction that would come into play over the next few updates... The Aetherblades (aka Sky Pirates).

I might also add that their base in the Gendarran Fields is now a permanent jumping puzzle that is sure to tax your platforming prowess... if not drive you mad in the process.

Naturally, the loss of one council member created a void that needed to be filled. As luck should have it, a curious group of merchants / mystics named the Zephyrites docked their massive air colony (cannot really call it a "ship") to the far reaches of the Deldrimor Front area. During the time that the Zephyrites were anchored, we (the players) were treated to a shopping bazaar the likes of which has not been seen in Tyria before or since.

The heads of Lion's arch decided to use this to their advantage by brokering a trade agreement with the Zephyrites. Two candidates for the council- Ellen Kiel, our old friend; and Evon Gnashblade, CEO of the Black Lion Trading Company (aka the in game cash shop) vied for the vacated council seat by trying to seal the trade deal.

The game playing populace on all servers were asked to support whichever candidate they wished by casting as many ballots as possible (democracy runs a little differently in Tyria). Of course during this period, the Aetherblades made brief appearances to remind us that they are still out to cause mischief, but their attacks were sporadic at best.

In the end, Ellen Kiel won out. With her victory will come a new mini dungeon in the famous Fractals Of The Mist, as well as lower teleportation portal prices for a brief period, and a couple of other various perks.

With the issue in Lion's Arch settled, and the Zephyrites pleased with the outcome, we left Lion's Arch to continue business as usual, as the Zephyrites undocked their air colony, and flew off to parts unknown.


Enter Divinity's Reach... last human city on Tyria, ruled by the benevolent Queen Jennah. This year (ingame) marks the tenth year of her reign as queen, and to celebrate, she had commissioned the building of a new sector to the city to replace the huge sinkhole that had been dubbed "The Great Collapse". What she had built was a pavilion to be used for gladiatorial matches, a place to test your mettle against Tyria's best, or at least most infamous foes. It is said to be a monument  to humanity's resolve, and their will to survive.

It is magnificent, to say the least.

Anastasia Merrimox (my thief alt) made it to the opening day ceremony, where Queen Jennah unveiled the new clockwork guardians for the district- the Watchknights. You know when you just have that "feeling" that this can end in no good way? Let's just say I hate it when I am right.

A mysterious sylvari figure known only as Scarlet, disrupted the ceremony with what appeared to be asuran based technology- portalling in her vaunted Aetherblades, her minions apparently.

We were able to dispatch them with relative ease, but Scarlet however always seemed to be one step away, and lived to fight another day. Aside from the Aetherblades attempting to stop emissaries from all over Tyria from attending the celebration, the two weeks of the Queen's Jubilee passed largely without incident after that.

And now we come to this week, and the closing ceremony for the Queen's Jubilee. With security forces of both Countess Anise (of the Shining Blade; the Queen's guard), and Logan Thackeray's Seraph Guards on edge, the expected happened. During the ceremony, Scarlet made her presence known and felt by placing bombs around the district, attacking in an unexpected way- by reprogramming the Watchknight robots into grotesque killing machines capable of reconfiguring and splitting into smaller entities.

She also attempted to abscond with the Queen but was stymied by the surprisingly heroic efforts of one Lord Faren (who should be familiar to human players of noble blood). Faren's fate remains unclear, though the Queen was spared any tragic demise.

Scarlet has declared all out war on Tyria, attacking many zones at random with her portal technology, and it appears she has the following of the steam creatures from Lornar's Pass, the Molten Alliance which months ago assaulted both norn and charr lands, as well as her Aetherblades. It has been discovered by an asura named Vorpp that she is also trained by all three asura schools of magical technology, and utilizes all those skills she has learned to give her army an advantage in both surprise and their ability to reinforce.

In short... it is absolute chaos right now in Tyria! For new players, there is no better time to jump in and level up swiftly, and for us veteran players, rewards abound in spades! What happens next is anyone's guess, but I am sure it is about to get turned to 11.

Perhaps it is a good time for me to be temporarily unemployed... at least now I can catch up on the Guild Wars 2 I have not really had the time to play lately. Though I have to admit... the only thing that would make me feel better, is if I could play this game for a living, and be paid by ArenaNet.

Hey, a man can dream............. right?