April 2nd, huh. You missed out on the really fun shenanigans that often happen during April fools by only a day. That means that, depending on how you felt and how dad felt, April fools jokes were still going to be played whether you wanted them or not. I don’t remember all the April’s Fools the two of you played with me and with each other. The only one that really stuck out in my mind was when, in my early teens, my mother pulled me aside with stillness in her features. She bade me sit down and said, “I have something important to tell you,” with low words. I couldn’t read her face. I couldn’t figure out if I had gotten into trouble of it I’d done something–all I knew is that burbling, wordless fear started crawling around in my brain trying to find anything that I’d done wrong recently.
“Uh. Okay,” I said.
She was in her favorite rocking chair. She leaned in close and put her hand over mine. And then the stoic mask she’s worn earlier slipped with her one-corner-of-mouth smile as she said: “You’re going to have a little brother or sister!”
And of course I start flapping my arms around lik they were made of two week old celery that’s not dried out enough to be bad, but certainly rubbery. “REALLY?” I asked, in that sub-sonic woman’s voice reserved for newborns, puppies, kittens, and those moments that happen in your favorite move. It’s at this point that I notice my mother’s smile turning to smirk. It happened slow; along the left hand side of her mouth it would begin to curl a little downward, showing laugh-line creases. Then her eyes, once steady, became glittering with the laughter she withheld .
She came clean to me and reminded me of the date: April 1st. I was disappointed, but not mad. It was, for me and for her, a trifling little April fools between us that meant no hard.
April is coming.
April fools and then
My mother’s birthday.
I have dreamed of her so much at night that no matter how weird and awful or utterly mundane it is–she’s there. Sometimes a big focal part. Somethings I see her passing by me like I’ve been dawdling and I should hurry. Sometimes it’s just a flash of her favorite purse, hair and blue jeans before it’s gone.
These dreams are the worst. I don’t want to wake up. I want to lay in bed for days on end so that I can see her again. So that she’s there. But when I wake up, I realize it was just a dream and it’s not really her and will never be as good as her and I feel like I am starting to mourn her all over again.
What I want is an april fools. I want it to be a horrible, giant April Fool’s joke.
I want her to call me tomorrow and say, “April Fools!”
And I want yell at her about how awful that April Fools was and did she honestly know how broken our entire family is and didn’t she know I had so much more to say to here and show her. I have a house. I have a beautiful backyard. A husband you’ve never met. I have cats. Four cats. And I now you love cats. And birds. And Ma, we take such good care of each other. He really loves me. He’s the one, he’ll always be the one, so you don’t have to worry about who I am dating. Just don’t this April fools again!
Darlene Mae Noseworthy
April 2nd, 1956 – December 11th, 2011
Good bye, Mum.
You are my little planet, my earth. Hard packed from the way my feet pace back and forth in your heart–worrying about the things you’d never think of. Because really, they aren’t things that were meant to be worried about. Do you think I will die first? What will happen if you do? You know, I cannot live without you. I would have to go right after. You watch as I say these things and wring my hands as old women in markets haggling over the price of life. Your earth is soft and cool; never too hot or baked from Floridian sunrises. I like to bury my toes deep into you, because I know that through you…I will grow.
You are not a rock. I hope you will never be a rock. Rocks are too hard, too tough. They feel stress fractures and before you know it they’ve split and grown harsh edges to cut with.
You are the grass covered hill waiting in the shadow of a sunny day to cool me. So I can lay down in long plants, watch the clouds of your mind take the shapes and forms of love for me. And I feel nothing but peace. If it rains, I’ll just roll down the hill a little bit, until the worst of it hits the side.
I would have marked you a Knight. But there are problems with Knights, too. So bound up in rigid codes or behaviors. So wrapped up in their armor that sometimes they forget there’s more to see of the world outside the slit of a visor.
You are my little planet. My cool grass. My soft hill. My reason. My husband.
I love you.
In my life, there’s been a lot of games that I’ve beta tested for that had a lot of great focus in the first few levels and then…nothing later. There have been even more games that started well and turned into a festival of sad poop because of expectations. (Not naming any names.)
But one MMORPG that I have been beta testing the stuffing out of and eye-humping it since I’ve started has been Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn. I managed to get myself into Beta 2 and have been gleefully screaming down the fan-girl slide since. Oh–yes; there are issues they need to fix. There is balancing that will need to be done and this game is certainly not a very easy MMORPG. Hell, just figuring out how to do anything in your Square Enix account is a challenge and a half and I don’t even want to talk about the company’s idea of sharing information on the beta forums and in emails.
They screwed up with the last game and they know it. And they set out to fix it. And boy-oh-boy, have they did. Not only have they fixed it, they’ve given us a completely different game. It’s good. It’s very good. I recommend trying it when it goes open beta.
There’s a little sand-golden house down a quiet road. Across from it, the wilds of Florida spike palm-shaped toward the sky, cardinals and their mates wheel over light gray shingled roof and perhaps three, four times a day a car will bumble along the road. Mostly mini-vans that remind the onlooker of chubby honey bees.
The front yard is small but not-too small. There are tall trees with the essence of willow in the way they grow and bow, but decorated with bright red flowers. The lawn is just grass. The drive way is just a drive way. There is a large window in the front beside a screened in door that has flowering honey suckle nested well grown beneath it. Here, real fat-honey bees trundle along; flower to flower searching. The Florida sun is forgiving rarely, harsh often. Stucco, stuffing, wood and air conditioning keep it livable inside.
In the living room there is a cat sprawled out on the back of a brown micro-fiber couch recently cleaned, in the den near a slumbering computer is a black cat resting comfortably. In the dark of the living room with her bare feet on cold tile is a girl inside a woman who walks this new house with the eyes of a child. This is her castle. This is her castle which her knight-turned-King made her, all for her. (And the cats too. But still….mostly here.)
The King sleeps while she travels through her home-castle, a whisper of skin on tile, checking and re-checking every room as if afraid tomorrow it will all disappear and become but a dream. She touched the back of a couch, the ears of her cat, trails her fingertips along a counter top and stops to watch the glow from the microwave light on her glass-top stove surface. The fridge hums and she swears it’s a happy tune. She cannot sleep, but it is the good kind of cannot-sleep. The kind where the excitement for tomorrow and the next day and the next keep your eyes awake.
Then, she sees it.
First, it is a portrait of a woman that looks just like here. She is thinner in face, thinner in hair, but her smile is the same and her eyes are blue.
Then, she sees another thing.
A sweater several sizes too big for even the girl, that used to belong to the woman smiling in the picture.
The girl feels her eyebrows bunch together in swift emotion. Her eyes wrinkle and a pain ticks behind them that begins a wavering in her sight. The air in her lungs pushes forcefully out as the tears well and she fights them. She touches the sweater. It’s white and it is soft and warm and it was once hers. But it will never be like touching her ever again.
“Mom,” she says quietly in her house. The King snores, a cat meows, a fridge hums. “Mom–can you see? Can you see what’s happened and where I am? Do you know how loved I am? Did you know that everything was going to be all right and okay?” She needs a moment as she looks up to her ceiling fan. It’s turned off for the night. “Mom…I wish you’d made it. I wish you were here. I wish you could see how I truly ended up. How proud you would have been of me and of Shawn. And I wish you could have seen my friends. The love in my life right now.
She picks up the sweater and folds it neatly. Reverently. A garment of memories from a little child’s legend long past. She lays it against the side-corner of the couch in a way that seems as if the owner of the sweater just set it down on her way through. That perhaps she forgot it and would come back for it.
“Mom,” the little girl says. “I miss you.”
Once upon a time there were two phat geeks. They met and fell in love in a magical way over a series of ensorcelled tubes before meeting face to face. Their life was filled with cats, birds and the Land of Internet. They lived humbly for a long time with their parents and dreamed simple dreams. When they were able to, they rented a small space away from their parents in a hot and treacherous jungle named BugLandia, occasionally called Florida. The space was fine at first, but then they found three little green and blue feathered souls that needed rescuing and then the space wasn’t so much space as it was living in a giant bird cage with bird cages within it.
They dreamed of a place of their own with just a little more space. Not much. Just a bit. They never ever in their wildest dreams thought they could afford anything really nice, like some of the other castles and fortresses in BugLandia, so when they began looking the looked at rustic little cottages that needed much roof-thatching and rebuilding.
They had an awfully hard time of it. Every choice was either too much expense to fix or missing important things like…toilets…entire kitchens. Walls.
It was a long journey on Sundays Untold for what seemed like forever–three–months and they kept saying, “Maybe,” to the magical lady who showed them these places but ultimately it turned into no.
And then one day the planets aligned an a unicorn came down from the misty heavens leaving a trail of sparkles and those little marshmallows from that cereal with the leprechaun that has a lot of issues with his charms. The sun parted and harps played and they found The One.
They found a place to call home. Something far beyond their wildest dreams and perfect for them.
With the enchantment of their own pudgy feet they moved from their tiny place to the castle.
And they called this land, “The Phat Cave.” There were no sudden or inevitable betrayals.
They lived weirdly and phatly ever after.
On April 25th 2013 we finalized an offer on a home and moved out of our apartment. I am so happy and tired and tirappy I could explode into glitter bombs.
Quick and Dirty, ladies and gents–a why and why for, about Age of Wushu: a free to play world PVP kung-fu MMORPG.
(Immature giggling goes here)
Does this dress make my flowers look big?
Why you should play Age of Wushu
- If you are a fan of ancient china, chinese mythologies, the ancient kung-fu movies or wuxia dramas then you are going to enjoy looking at Age of Wushu.
- Despite being run on a graphics engine a bit out of date enough to rely on bloom, it’s still gorgeous and many places feel as if they sprung out of painted scenes.
- One of the better kung-fu/Martial arts F2P out there
- World PVP (after a certain level) adding an edge to danger to everything
- Crafting is a viable source of income and helpful to progress
- Team Practice your Kung-Fu with fellow Kung-fu practicioneers to ‘speed’ the experience of your deadly arts
- Belong to a school (Wudang, Emei, Shaolin, Beggars, Royal Guards and so on) and enjoy benefits from belonging to a group
- Spy on enemy/different schools and earn rewards and experience.
- Be evil: Kidnap people and sell them, all while maniacally laughing and stroking your whiskers.
- Pay for being evil: repent your sins (if you are part of a good aligned school) at the temple or go to jail to pay for your crimes of PKing and kidnapping!
- Pick up the arts: learn calligraphy, learn painting, learn chess, poetry or music
- Protect and escort supplies between important families or individuals of import
- Save the girl or guy
- Win friends
- Farm, mine, fish, chop wood, skin animals, cook food, make poisons, heal through herbs, weave clothe, make legendary weapons
- Find a guild: go to war, make an alliance, group up and roll out
- There is never nothing to do.
I could, like, sit here all day, man
Why you shouldn’t play Age of Wushu
- It’s a free to play game and so some of the unique issues that always seem to crop up in f2p’s do.
- Gold spam everywhere. In all the channels so far except school channels (as far as I have observed). You can put them on ignore (add them to blacklist) but that gets full in a day. That solution isn’t viable.
- Punks everywhere: f2p seems to bring out the best and the worst more so than anything else. You will get punked at sometime, anytime, especially by yourself. There will always be those guys that smell new player from a mile away and swoop in on their epics and kill you in one click thinking they all that and a bag of tea.
- With that in mind: if you get upset easily by being pk’ed by kids or people having a bad day, right off the bat “open pvp world,” should turn you away.
- The cash shop isn’t pay to win–it’s pay to level faster basically. Mounts, bags, extra warehouse, all of this isn’t permanent. Mounts and bags last a set amount of days (100, for example.) Bags currently are purchased from players or picked up from drops only, mounts are cash shop or random quest rewards (as far as I can tell), and the only current way to get extra warehouse space (bank space) is to pay Snail Games real cash money dollar bills for in game gold to become a VIP member to expand it. Plus, as a VIP member, you “cultivate,” your Kung-fu off line and faster than those who play free. (Cultivate = experience = level it up, pretty much.) Right now, there aren’t any pills, buffs, exp medicines or the like in the shop either. So like I said, it’s not so much pay-to-win as it is pay-to-get-to-win-faster. (I could be wrong! Feel free to let me know in comments!)
- Solo play is going to be difficult. Without a guild to help you with instances or fighting off random player killing, the casual gamer or gamer who likes to explore all the areas and things might find it a challenge.
- Grind fest. No matter how fun everything is–or how fun I find it–I know it’s going to be a grind to get it anywhere better. I know it, and the game doesn’t even bother to hide how many hours of repetition I’m gonna put into it to get it there. I guess it’s almost a positive the game doesn’t hide it?
- Lost in translation: I believe that some of the better aspects of the game may have been lost in the translation from Chinese to English. Quest descriptions are abrupt and in some cases appear to have nothing to do with the quest they are giving you. Your quest tracker and the ability to click-auto-path is going to be awesome for some.
Within the school of Emei
So should I try it or not?
It’s a free game that despite it’s very real and very obvious flaws to an American market; is trying its best to carry its weight. And it’s doing okay. I think that Age of Wushu is one of those free-to-play games that fits a niche market and not a broad one to appeal to everyone. And that’s okay, I think that there needs be more games happier to cater to a wildly loyal few than try and appeal to a broad mass and fail. Whether Age of Wushu will collapse under it’s gold spam and free to play is something we will have to see. As it stands, I think it’s a remarkable game for free to play and Martial Arts and one that it cannot hurt to be tried.
Do you remember how many times you had to tell me to shut up? To be quiet? To shhhh? Do you remember the nights which you’d put me to bed as soon as the sunset and you’d tell me in your mommy-is-serious-voice, “No singing, no
talking, no getting out of bed, all right?” And you would tuck me in, kiss my brow and leave the door half shut. (Because I was afraid of the dark.) But your words never made it through my head as I lay down in the half-dark and began dreaming of things from other worlds and other places, or playing out scenes in my head of things I’d wished I’d said or had happened. I’d talk and tell a story with my hands barely seen before my face in the glow of the half open door and see magic, see ghosts, see lands–I would see stories.
I always had words. I had too many words. When I grew up to me a teen I learned the wrong words, too. I learned the hurting, the angering and the cutting words that broke a parent’s heart and scarred a fellow child for life with their cruelty and heartlessness. I learned bigger words and newer words to hand-write into a drawer full of plastic binders packed with stories that (thankfully) would never see the light. And, I had a lot of yelling words. Between us, there was a lot of crying words.
It wasn’t until I grew older that our words softened and we began to speak–if not the same words–words that pretty much meant the same. We spoke gently, with smiles on our lips and apologies in our eyes. We learned to use these words to know one another. Years later, there were no more cutting or yelling or hurting words. They were just noises meant for mother and daughter.
And then you died.
I lost my words then. I didn’t know where to find them anymore. I lost more than my words, actually, and did not think they were important in the face of losing you. At least, I didn’t think they were important until I tried to tell the wo
rld about you, about us, about the things we said and where we were and what had happened. I realized that I had lost the words when I lost you. They quietly took up their skirts and made a funeral line to the back of my head and sat. They would not move.
You were my words. You were the reason why I wrote them. Yes, I wanted the world to read them–but I wanted the world to read them and understand that my words were for you. For my mother. And I wanted you to be here to read them and love them and be proud of me. I wanted you to open a book and cry happily when you first read the words, “For my mother, for all the stories she told me and all the words we’ve shared.”
But you were gone. And so were the words.
For a very long time, at least.Now I hear them. They are buzzing quietly at the back of my head. They want me to hear them but I do nothing about them. I don’t write the things they say and I don’t capture the imagines I daydream about. What’s the point? I think. You cannot hear them.
At night, I always dream of you. You are always chiding me for something: I didn’t do something–fold the laundry, wake up in time for the bus, clean the floor right–every dream you are chiding me for not doing something and I wonder if these are your words. Your last words to me–to listen. To listen, and to write.