Monday, January 8, 2007

Weekend Wrap Five

Again, missed a few of these thanks to the holidays. And illness, of course. I'd make this a “year in review” as I promised but, then, I started to write one of those and had absolutely no clue what to talk about (I know, I'm as stunned as you.) and I think the moment has passed. As well, all the backlog stuff I had to post up over the holidays never really materialized. Because, well, I looked at it and realized that although compared to what I usually do it was pretty fleshed out but getting it into a state where it would be ready to post was just beyond me – sometimes I really hate my past iterations, you know? I tend to work in bits and pieces and only pull things together when I need to – a large reason why I started this blog was to get myself in the habit of finishing things. Not so sure I'm doing so good at that or if this is just going to be another abandoned project, but I'm feeling like I'm not living up to my potential. Again.

Speaking of abandoned projects I still haven't gotten much done on the writing front. Creatively, anyway. It's like this. I think I'll just make a few posts, hit a few forums, answer an e-mail or two, that sort of thing, and before I know it I'll have sunk 5~15k words into things I hadn't meant to spend that much effort on (Like today, I wrote about 11k on things before even getting to what I actually wanted to do. I think I really need to stop counting these things.). I'll take a break because, yes, that sort of thing tires even me. And then it takes me a while to get back into the groove and get myself mentally geared up to write. So I'll try and do something small, you know, make a quick post, visit a forum, check my e-mail, that sort of thing – just to get the creative juices and words flowing again. And, bam, the cycle repeats itself. Sooner or later I get exhausted and need to sleep. And although I've worked a lot I end the day with absolutely nothing of value done. So, sad to say, I think the NaNo spirit's left me for the moment and my inner editor is back in full force. Because I'm forgetting that artistic value is a relative thing and not an intrinsic one. It doesn't matter what I do – value, quality, is something that other people decide – and what matters is that I just keep putting the effort in. I know that and I've learned it time and time again but I'm having trouble really knowing it at the moment. Lots of outline work and background stuff – if only in my head – but I go to write and I churn out drivel and it annoys me. And the longer it takes me the more things are going to get scrambled and the ideas in my head are going to wither and die only to be replaced by new mind children calling for my attention. I need to make something in order to feel validated. And lately I'm too caught up in trying to make things good, I think, and worrying about falling short. Having to review probably isn't helping but I want to force myself to look back and evaluate every so often in the hopes that the dawning horror of just how pathetic I am will force me to run further away from where I'm at and, hopefully, towards a better place – a little process I like to call evolution - so what can I do?

So, in case you can't tell I'm getting a little sick of this week's theme of all Guild Wars all the time. It's just I play that game and it consumes me. And when I get interested in things I have so much to talk and share about them. The scary thing is that what I've put up so far has just been the warm-ups. The stuff I really want to do is still on the production line waiting for me to finish it up. I think I'm going to have to put a cap on just how much I write and care about the game just as I've put on how much I actually play. But everywhere I turn it's working its way into my thoughts. The damn thing's an obsession, after all, and the only way I've been able to beat it in the past has been to go cold turkey. It's, obviously, never worked for very long and I was hoping that with all I've learned and how much I've grown that, this time, things could be different. That's, of course, exactly what an addict would tell themselves, though. But I guess I feel I'm never going to be past the game until I can play it without it becoming one of the major defining features of my life.

Wow, I went dark fast, huh? It's late, I'm tired, and I haven't been sleeping well lately so I'm frustrated. And I think I'm coming down with something again as well. There's nothing to worry about, really, I get up and I get down all the time – and my personal tragedies are nothing compared to some others. I'm just having trouble doing everything I want to do at the moment. Which since I want to do a lot and do it all well is pretty much a given. I'll figure out a new way of staying out of sanity soon enough but, at the moment, I'm afraid I'm looking at the reality of things too closely. That always makes me gloomy. It's just I've been trying to schedule things and complete things while still keeping flexible enough to follow where the spirit moves me. And, as usual, it's not really working. I've been trying to set goals and then reward myself. You know, go for a walk or do my daily exercises and then sit down and do the day's crossword. Spend an hour trying to write those posts that tickle the back of my brain and I get to spend an hour playing a game. I think if I had a bit more discipline it could work but I'm far too flexible and let my standards slip too much. Or maybe I'm just pressing too hard and I need to relax. I don't know. Whatever it is, at the moment, I don't think I'm getting better and that bothers me. And I'm just worried that I'm going to get discouraged and lazy and go back to sleep again – I'm awake now, really awake, for the first time in longer than I'll care to admit. And I desperately want to stay that way. But, again, I'm not trying to panic anyone, because it's the quiet kind of desperation that anyone who's got a good life but isn't quite happy with it feels (I think. I mean, I don't know how other people feel or how they lead their lives. But, really, for all that's goes wrong for me there's at least as much going right. Honestly. Even though I forget it at times, I'm blessed.). I just write these sort of things in a free-flowing, stream of consciousness kind of thing. So whatever's on my mind get put out there for anyone to see. Because the other thing I'm working on with this blog is being less afraid of putting myself forward and speaking my mind when I have something to say. I spend way too much time listening and deferring to others and I need to actually do something or I really will go crazy. And I need to find a way of making those traits work for me rather than against me. But, slow and steady because changing too much too fast just means I'm going to backslide. A step here, a step there, and I'll get where I'm going even though I don't know where it is at the moment – that's the idea, anyway, and the real long-term project around here. And, believe me, I'm no where near ready to declare that unfinished and banish it to the ghostfile.

That, or it could be just that Ohio State stands a very good chance of winning the national title tomorrow and despite my attempts to be courteous about it, deep down in my tribal hindbrain it bothers me. Of course, rooting against them means rooting for Florida so I think I'm going to stick with OSU tomorrow. Just, you know, quietly so I don't get tarred and feathered by the rest of Wolverine Nation.

Tomorrow, I think, shall be a day of cleaning and cleansing. But tonight is a night for introspection. But, anyhow, on with the review. Although there was a definite focus to things this week, I still think I pumped out some interesting stuff.

  • The big project this week has been my log of my PvE progress through the latest Guild Wars expansion, Nightfall. I should probably make a category for them but I'm worried about feature creep at the moment so I'm trying not to add too many new tags that are going to look at me wistfully waiting for me to make more posts with them. Oh, they'll never say anything because they're too polite but I know how much I hurt them when I don't give them some TLC - it might not look like it but there's romance deep in my soul but these things have to be done right. Anyhow, you can head back to the start and watch the journey from the start with my tour through the game's earliest parts on a trial key here. Or you can start from the where my main account did with my rolling up of a Dervish/Paragon on one hectic Christmas morn here. It continues up through six installments so far with the posts labeled Guild Wars Nightfall: Progress Updates which you'll find in the archives. Come to think of it, the fact that with everything going on I still carved out the time to load up the game and play was probably a warning sign. I'm obsessed. Again.
  • But if you really want to know just why I'm putting myself through the meatgrinder for the soul that is Guild Wars again then just go read this - The Empty Throne: Guild Wars and a Guru Named Rex. Hopefully, it will serve as an answer to those people wondering where I've gone. And perhaps shed a bit of light on my background for those who have no idea just who I am. This king is back but uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.
  • My essay about a currently popular build What the Heck is Eurospike? drew some comments so, as always, that's a sign that there's some quality there. To me, anyway. You won't learn anything about how to actually make or build such a team there, I think, but you should know by now that the topic and I are only passing acquaintances. As with this sort of thing, I'll talk about whatever happens to appeal to me so there are, I hope, some interesting things in there.
  • And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention my current stalking horse again – universal unlocks for PvE characters.
  • Oddly enough, I did in fact manage to write some things that weren't related to Guild Wars. Except, of course, it was about a video game very similar to Guild Wars. But before I start beating myself up again, that's right, the long-awaited first installment of the Design Test arrived. Like some other things, I haven't forgotten it, it just proved to be more ambitious than I first expected. It details a quest in my fictional video game Clans of the Highborn along with, of course, some other things. And while I'm not sure the quest is any good (Especially not after seeing real professional stuff up close and personal with Nightfall and some PnP gaming of my own.) I'm rather pleased with it.

Mostly, though, this blog has turned into a record of my continuing love/hate affair with Guild Wars. Which, of course, is completely not what I wanted it to be. But, hey, I called this place the Cult of Evolution for a reason – I can adapt.

Outlook: I've vented so I'm feeling much better. Time for some snowballing.

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