The above words were written by me, when I used to have my band- Dionysos, in Florida (circa 1997). They belong to a song entitled "Harvest Home", which is about the Pagan thanksgiving. It happens to fall on the autumn equinox (really close to Canadian Thanksgiving). I feel the words are also appropriate today- November 24, 2011... American Thanksgiving.
I have a LOT to be thankful for this year, and I scarcely know where to begin. I suppose first and foremost, I should be thankful I am still alive... I just turned 41 on November 18th, and after an epic weekend of partying and gigging, I think I need a weekend to recover from my weekend. My birthday has always been a time for grand celebration for me, and it feels like the older I get, the more impressive it gets. This past weekend for me, culminated in my new band- Death Of Adonis playing our first official gig with this lineup, in Pittsburgh, PA. You want to talk about a great birthday gift? That was it right there. It feels good to be back on stage after a 5+ year hiatus!!! I have to thank my awesome band mates for making that a reality.
This year has found me meeting a lot of new friends online. This actually started last year when I was in the Rift beta, and I seem to have gained quite a few folks whom I both respect and enjoy "stalking" online. To name a few; Jasmine, Gary Gannon, MikeB, and Lore at Gamebreaker tv, as well as their host of awesome moderators... My old Rift beta friends- Misty, Ciovala, Laughter, Danny and Di, Elisan, Aki, Marilith, and of course my guild leader Charles... Rubi; who got me into Guild Wars, Elixabeth and Izzie; who got me to WRITE about Guild Wars 2, DistilledWill, and my fellow krewe at talktyria.net... As well as many other random people like Toria, Nixie, Mintchip, Sake, Pokket, et al... Not to mention Playboy Playmate of the Year 1988- India Allen, who is still following little old me on twitter. It does not get much better than that.
Online friends to me are just as valid as friends you see every day physically, and I am grateful to know all of the above, and more. There are so many more people I could mention, but you do not want to read a list of names.
I DO want to call out some massive thank yous to the folks at Force Junkies; with whom I recently signed on to write for. With SWTOR almost ready to be let out of the gate, you can expect some really good things out of that camp in the coming months. I am sworn to secrecy, but trust me when I tell you... IT WILL BE GOOD! So between what is shaping up here with Force Junkies, and of course my ongoing work with TalkTyria; in reference to Guild Wars 2, I am pretty sure 2012 is going to be a great year for gaming, let alone gaming coverage!
Speaking of SWTOR... Unless you have been living under a rock the last two weeks, news should have already hit you that the NDA (non disclosure agreement) has been officially lifted by Bioware! This welcome bit of news means that just about everyone and their brother can NOW talk about SWTOR in all its glory and yes even residual bugs (it is still in beta after all). I have been no exception to this. I was in the 11/11/11 weekend beta, and will be logging in again tomorrow 11/25 for this massive weekend test coming up. To psyche myself out for this weekend, I have been watching streams online provided by Laughter, Jasmine, Sake, and Pokket. The links you will find below will take you to the aforementioned broadcasters, all of whom have general beta access, and are happy to show you the ins and outs of gameplay in that galaxy far, far away. I am extremely thankful to these folks for helping me get my Star Wars fix as I wait to get back into the beta test.
Laughter (Force Junkies)- http://www.twitch.tv/laughterrift
Jasmine aka IRLJasmine- http://www.twitch.tv/irljasmine
Sake (Red Rancor)- http://www.twitch.tv/sakevision
Everyone has their own times for their shows, so be sure to follow them, and you will get updated via email as to when they broadcast. Tell them Belenos Stardust sent you.
You can also look for this guy right here, and his buddy below tomorrow, as these are my main characters that I have been working on.
I can tell you that so far I have been pleasantly surprised by SWTOR. I was originally on the fence about it, being a 8 year veteran of SWG (translation- disgruntled vet)... But as I made my way into the beta test, and created a Trooper character, I have to admit that the story impressed me greatly, and it did not take me long to find myself WANTING to play more, to see more, to DO more! As I stated bugs still exist, and you can tell there are areas where Bioware could add some more polish, or down the road rethinking of how xyz aspect functions, but overall, the game has impressed me enough to preorder the digital download of it.
Two more words for you- HUTT BALL... You HAVE to try it!
Lest you think I have suddenly forgotten all about Guild Wars 2... I have been incredibly impressed with ArenaNet for the more constant stream of information of late. They have been working hard to get the game ready for closed beta (promised to us before 2011 ends), and the info I have seen coming out on their blog, as well as fan made videos, and of course guildwars2guru forums, has me still VERY MUCH interested in my future "life" on Tyria. ArenaNet has made leaps and bounds on such aspects as character creation, and cutscenes, and whether you choose to compare them to Bioware or not, it cannot be denied that Guild Wars 2 is still a strong contender... a tiger waiting to be let out the box! I thank you ArenaNet for reeling me in hook, line, and sinker... and I am even more thankful that as I pay for my SWTOR subscription, I will NEVER have to pay for a Guild Wars 2 subscription. That is a win I can live with.
In closing, I want to save my most special thanks to my family. Many of you do not know that two years ago I had lost my job... It took about two years to the day for me to get a new one; one that I am very happy with. During that time, my mother and my brother decided to move up to Pittsburgh, PA, from Fort Lauderdale, FL to help make ends meet. To say I do not know how I would have survived without them is an UNDERSTATEMENT! I am extremely grateful for their presence here, and every day I am reminded that family does in fact come first. As you carve up your turkey, twitching nervously because you cannot wait to get back into your game of choice, try to remember to look around at the people you are sharing this moment with... and be thankful that they chose to share it with YOU!
Happy Thanksgiving everyone, and see some of you in SWTOR beta tomorrow!