What’s white and black all over with spots of red?

If you said a newspaper you used to beat the annoying guy on the cell phone yelling loudly as if that would help his reception whilst stuck in an elevator with him until he is bloody–then you’re wrong! (Say that run-on sentence three times. Fast.)

It’s actually something I’ve been tinkering with on the side lines, mulling and musing over whether or not I should have one and if, by having one, I’m sort of making me ego seem even larger than the small moon it occupies now…It’s my Portfolio for my digital photography and clay creations, called Everyday Magic. (Run ons ahoy, matey!)

When we originally purchased 2phatgeeks.com, I asked my husband to give me a subdomain name of digitalpoetry.2phatgeeks.com, I had wanted to do something for myself with that but hadn’t any clue what. This was if I remember correctly, just before he purchased my canon camera and well before I started tinkering in clay. A few months ago I finally settled down and started searching for photoblog templates (sorry fellow design Geeks–I’m only good at being a game/Star Wars/Star Trek/Sci-Fi/Fantasy nerd! Not design!) that would suit the simplicity of what I wanted and put the showcase on the pictures, not the words. After stumbling across so many amazing photography blogs, I wanted one of my own!

I didn’t have much luck at first but settled on one for a bit. It just didn’t sit well with me, however. While the design was okay, I was limited in showing only very small pictures of my images and the instructions just weren’t WP-n00b friendly. After a second search I found an absolutely fantastic theme two days ago by Graph Paper Press.  It’s the F8 lite theme offered for free and it is mind-blowingly awesome, because it does exactly what I wanted a theme for my portfolio to do: emphasis entirely on photos and content, yet a clean, simple, elegant design lingering in the back ground.  It truly is a fantastic theme that tricks you into thinking how simple it is.

I’m gushing like the gigantic girl-nerd I am about this theme because it’s kicked up my interest and my enthusiasm over keeping the portfolio blog up to date. When I was first facing the thought of posting a picture daily; having to edit and reconfigure the images to display properly with the old theme? I began to not-look-forward to doing that with every photo. It was becoming too much of a hassle and frankly, (as you can tell with my rash of posting and then weeks of nothing here at 2phatgeeks!) I simply set it aside.

A good theme on a blog really, really, truly effects both the readers and author.

A great, fantastic theme that I love looking at makes me want to stay at a site and meander about a bit longer. Gets my nerdling-creativity going.

So that’s what’s white and black all over with spots of red! And that’s what’s got my creative mojo going! My new portfolio word press, Everyday Magic & its newest kick-ass theme by Graph Paper Press!

You wanna come over to my blog and hang dudes?
http://www.digitalpoetry.2phatgeeks.com/

I got pics!

Money-saving gifts for the crafty sort: be awesome & save cash.

Money sucks right now for a lot of us. Everywhere I look there’s someone lamenting over what they can get for people for Christmas, without relying on something from the dollar store. How can you give a gift that really says, “hey, I fucking love you!,” without breaking your bank and your relationship with the gift giver this year?

Hand made gifts. Yes, I said it–I think home made Christmas gifts are the way to go this year!  Nothing says I love you more (I think), than:  I didn’t just go to some store and buy this–I made it specifically FOR you and it even has googly eyes–you love googly eyes, right?

There’s something to be said about working on a gift by hand for someone you love and respect.  Nobody wants those two pencils and note pad you won last year at work to show up as their gift on Christmas. Nor do they need pages of glued macaroni art–so put that shit aside and let’s smash faces with awesome crafty, money saving gifts!

Hand Made Gifts For Her

Cut out & Keep: Bathbombs

Teach Soap . com – Soap Making Instructions, tutorials and advice
(Remember! Unless it is Glycerin all soaps need sodium hydroxide, also known as “caustic soda”. Lye is needed to make soap. Here’s a great article to read more on this: Soaps With No Lye? )

Snowdrift Farms – How to make Whipped body butter/creams

Not Martha – Bubble Bath

TipNut – Homemade Sugar Scrubs

futuregirl Tutorial: Lace Bracelet

Design Sponge: Teacup candles

Papier Mâché Trinket Box

Hand Made Gifts For Him

Microwebtech – Homemade beef jerky

Epinions – A memory jar

Seanm.ca-Duct tape Wallet
(For a good laugh!)

Mix that drink – Skittles flavored Vodka

Wiki-How- How to Make a Hollow (Secret Compartment) book

About.com – Sew a BBQ apron

Hand Made Gifts For Either Her or Him

Neither Hip nor Funky – Freezer Paper & T-Shirt tutorial
(This is a great tutorial for several reasons: you can customize the shirt with anything and you can rejuvenate a shirt you purchased at a thrift or second hand store. No need to spend $$ at jinx, or t-shirt hell! Make it yourself!)

Cut Out & Keep: Cozy slippers made from towels

Wikihow- Tiny Polymer clay Book

Letterfu – Make your own letters without using envelope

Origami Instructions – Simple Origiami Box

I know I haven’t covered nearly half of what can be hand made this year for Christmas gifts but hope this is a great start to leading you along the path of frugal, heart-felt and awesome.

Speaking of not covering it all, tell me 2phatgeeklings–what have I missed? What have you crafted by hand for Christmas, recent or past, that’s become a solid hit?

I Did It!

Sometimes you just don’t know how much you can do until you set a ridiculous goal for yourself.

This year, I decided to participate in something I’d never heard of before: National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. The trick to this little contest is this, between November 1st and November 30th you write novel (hopefully) of at least 50,000 words. The better half was participating this year and, since I’d just been promoted and just finished up with some arduous immigration stuff, I apparently needed something else to stress over.

I did not expect to finish. I work a lot, and some of that work ends up getting brought home. I have a history of getting great ideas started and having those ideas die out when I begin dealing with the agonizing minutiae that most projects of mine tend to have. I also happen to enjoy time watching TV and movies just vegetating in front of the tube.

No one was more surprised than I was that I finished it.

Not only did I finish, but I finished 5 days early on November 25th! I really did have a good time, despite days where I just couldn’t find anything to write about and spent 1600-1700 words playing out conversations just to fill space. It’s horrendous, I’m sure. Fortunately for me the goal is not to produce a finished product, but a very, very rough draft. It doesn’t have to be good. Hell, judging by the hints, tips and tricks from past year participants, it doesn’t even have to really be a novel. Some people write poetry. In one of the of the many confidence building emails sent out by the staff, they describe portions of the novel where their characters read from the dictionary. The point is to put 50,000 words on paper in a month, period.

Phew!It wasn’t easy. The first 10,000 words aren’t too bad, but when you’re sitting down to write your 1,667 words a day and realize you have no idea where to start or what to say it’s pretty damn frustrating. I found 10,000-25,000 words to be the hardest part. I wanted to move ahead, but was scared I’d finish too soon and fall short of the 50k mark. I started stretching scenes and putting in what I considered filler. I kept hearing the other writers, some of whom had tried multiple times in the past, talk about the fact that it accelerates once you get to around 25k-30k. I was stunned how right they were. The last 25,000 seemed a lot more effortless. I was busy with the action and the ending of my story and before I realized it, 50,000 was only a couple days away.

It’s horrible, of course, and I realize that. Is there a publishable story there? Probably not. If there is, it needs to be heavy edited and probably expanded, I still think the ending just sort of happened. It really doesn’t matter much. I’d never been a writer. I tended to stick to more visual forms of communication. I surprised myself. I got up every day a little earlier and wrote about 600 words before leaving for work, would write more at lunch. If I couldn’t finish off the 1,667 words a day off during lunch, I’d come home and wrap it up. With one exception I hit or exceeded every day. I’m not bragging, I’m just amazed I did it.

Will I do it again? Probably, yes. It’s a lot harder than you think to bring a novel into being and it takes a profound amount of dedication. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t ridiculously relieved when I made the finish line. Everyone should complete it once just to see how it feels. It’s a pretty exhilarating experience to pull off.

It’s not about winning or completing something marketable. It’s about writing. It’s not even about hitting the 50,000 words; the fact you take the time to write each day is far more important, even if it’s only 500 words.  Write. Don’t make excuses, just write until you’re done and stop. Making the 50,000 is just the icing on the cake; it’s so delicious and moist, after all.

Next November, I hope to see you all and the 2010 NaNoWriMo! I will try again!

I didn’t remember his name.

Outside of the Baptist Church I went to every Sunday as a little girl was a great stone obelisk. It sat, massively tall to my stunted height just to the right of the U shaped dirt drive way. Or at least, it would had you been driving toward it up the road from where we lived. It was a dark gray granite that hovered near black with a large, flat rectangular base. In the middle sat the long piercing spire that pointed toward heaven. Within the obelisk’s many faces if my memory serves me right, were the carved names of men who died in war.

I never payed attention to the names. I never read them and I don’t remember them now. We, as children, never understood specifically what it stood for. Most often after Church had been let out we’d roll out of the old creaky side wooden door as the church bells rang and played on it. We’d chase each other and play tag with it or sit on it and mutter childish things. We always played on the old granite monument everyday except for one day.

On that day there were always many old men within the Church. Some of them I did not have the names for, they only came for that one day and some times, there were years where faces where missing. They wore dark navy suits with their hats to the side. Some times their suits were decorated with many things; gold or brass and sometimes silvery discs. Right beside their glittering medals, each and everyone would wear a blood-red poppy pinned to their lapels. I later learned the blue was that of the Legion.

These men, stooped or straight, shaking or steady filled our century and a half years old church from middle pew to front, making the rest of us shuffle in behind them. We gave them the front rows. They came before service carrying flags holstered in their hips and bearing wreathes, their lined faces were solemn in a manner that I do not think I understood then; and I will never understand now. Some of these men were so frail and bent, yet when they carried their flags down the aisle they seemed younger versions of themselves.

When service finally started, they sat stone still and did not cough, they did not fidget out of boredom during the sermon and some of them stared forward and did not see what they were staring at. Most of these men wore masks that were truly stoic. Others half-way through the sermon or nearing the end of it would break down and without a sound, weep quietly into their hands.

Half way through the sermons there was always childrens church. A time when when the paster would send the younger children off, I assume, so that he could preach without confusing them–or preach without little girls yawning out of boredom in their faces. So the preacher half way through the sermon as usual, called for childrens church. I was still too young to be considered old enough to sit through an entire sermon, so my Grandmother sent me off with a quiet word and all of the children lined up in unusually hushed lines to go downstairs in the kitchen. There was something about these men, these quiet men that filled our pews on this day that made us behave.

Down in the Church basement is where we went, in a kitchen where the center was eaten by a giant table that could hold twelve or twenty fidgety brats easily. That day, our teacher spoke softly on men, soldiers, sacrifice and duty. Most of us did not understand. Some of the children listened, some of them decided to play with more interesting things. I must admit that, as a child with an imagination I was taken in with the teacher’s story without fully grasping what it all meant.

At the end of her story she spread craft supplies across the table and asked us to remember the Veterans that day in our way, to be thankful and to try and capture that. There was string and macaroni, crayons, scissors, glue, construction paper, pencils and pencil crayons. Several children grabbed colorful bits and bobs while I chose a single pencil and began drawing.

When I was finished, I had this gods-awful child’s scrawl of what I thought Flanders fields might look like with a soldier’s helmet and gun resting against a cross. It wasn’t very impressive or colorful but I did the best I could with what I had. The teacher was busy with several of the other spawns, so I folded it up and put it away in into the pocket of the light purple frilled dress–like I held a grand secret. When the teacher asked us all to show what we’d done, and I had nothing to show, I shrugged and whispered some sort of excuse. I spent the rest of Children’s Church ignoring her disappointed looks and waiting for the teacher to give us the signal that Church was out and we could run and play again.

It came when we heard the shuffling of many, many feet above us, the first notes of the organ and the quiet murmur of voices finally speaking. We all rushed to the door like long-legged, freshly shorn sheep to spill out into the cold November air, taking in deep breaths and about to start running toward the obelisk to play –

And then we remembered, it was November 11th. We played everyday there, except for today.

The old men once gathered in Legion blue inside now marched in perfect formation down steps aged far greater than they. These old men with eyes misted in memories, memories I do not think I would ever, ever wish for–came in precise time, their shoes speckless and shined, tapped an age old rhythm that seemed to be ingrained on them; they marched without thinking. It was in their blood, in their memories. With swinging arms, straight backs (even those who couldn’t really straighten bent backs stood a little higher anyway) they reached the obelisk and they about-faced with surprising accuracy.

I remember at that moment thinking their flags all looked so very sad with no wind to carry them. That even the flags were still and drooped under the weight of something everyone else felt and I could not quite pinpoint. I remember that the Pastor came out to stand near it and say a few quiet words, several of the men stepped forward to lay wreathes upon the base of granite memory, and several men began to actually sob.

I don’t know why I had crept toward them while they stood in formation and found myself weaving myself through a sea of uniforms and blue–row upon row upon row of proud lined faces. Had my grandmother caught me, she would have pulled me away, but she wasn’t there and I was searching for something. I finally stopped beside a man who stared unseeing at the granite memorial. He seemed very far away and very sad, so I took the drawing out of my pocket and slipped it into his empty hand. I remember that his palms felt like old paper to new paper, that they were very big compared to mine and that I didn’t mind any of it so much. I squeezed his hand and left him the drawing, to which he unfolded and glanced down at me.

It was the most sorrow filled smile I think I will ever remember. He said, “Thank you,” very softly as the Pastor was still talking and then asked me my name. Shyly, I ducked my head, gave him my name and went running off. Like children are wont to do, within hours I had forgotten what I had done and went home with hunger gnawing in my belly. I was looking forward to dinner.

Later that night, my Grandmother got a call from him. He said that he had to call several people to find out whose little girl I was. He called when I wasn’t at my grandmothers, just to let her know that he was touched. He said that the image was something that struck close to home and that my scrawling, messy sprawl of a “Thank you for my freedom,” taking up half the page was the sweetest thing. That it was the reason why he did what he did, and that most children wouldn’t have even understood such things.

He called my Grandmother to thank me every November 11th.

Fate, timing, life—I was never there to catch the call but always there to hear my grandmother tell me the story. He said the same thing every November 11th he called until…he stopped calling. He’d passed away.

I don’t remember his name. I don’t remember exactly what he looked like. I remember the day and the reasons and an unfeeling piece of rock that was some how meant to be good enough to stand as a reminder of the lives lost to protect mine. I don’t remember this man who remembered me. And that upsets me more than I can ever say. That this man could not forget me and that he killed other men for the future of a little girl he never knew—that he did things and saw things and will never forget these things; all for a generation of little girls and boys who will probably forget.

So today, on November 11th, it doesn’t matter if war is right or wrong right now. It doesn’t matter about sides or politics. Right now, all matters to me is that this man had believed in something so much he was willing to put his life, his sanity on the line for people he’d never met…And that he wouldn’t forget me or what I did.

And I can’t even remotely recall who he was.

How is that fair? How is that right?

I suspect there are millions of names I don’t know or remember, millions of names that we have forgotten in between the bills, the grocery lists, the kids and the dog.

And I am so sorry I forgot– we’ve forgotten.

All I can leave for the men who died for me, is a sprawling, messy Thank you.

Check out these legs!

Table legs, I mean.

A few days ago I was contacted by the Modern Furniture for Home company through PayPerPost, and curious, I followed their link with half roused curiosity. These days, PayPerPost’s offers have been dubious or strange at best. In all honesty, I approached the link with the same lackadaisical expectancy.

I was more than pleasantly surprised by not only the web site, but the amazing furniture and home furnishings being offered. Modern Furniture For Home’s collection of contemporary furniture is really a delight to browse through.

CUBE-VS20-DWImmediately I delved into the bathroom fixtures because in my dream world where I have the time and patience to do my hair every morning and look like Betty Page on Tuesdays for no reasons other than I can–I’ve always dreamed of having an amazing bathroom. The first thing that drew my eye was the cube vanity set–mirror with black granite top in dark walnut. Not only is the sink the perfect round shape for a sleepy-cat but, the amount of space this design saves while looking fantastic is amazing.

I know, I know–we should be saving our money… But there’s no harm in pilfering through a website such as Modern Furniture 4 Home’s and drooling all over the key board now, is there? It started with just the bathroom and now I’m into the living room sets, the bedroom and finally landed on the curios.

Now I’m addicted, Modern Furniture 4 Home’s owes me a new, dry keyboard, and some of the home fixtures really are truly stunning. Why not click and take a peek with me?

Oh and–if you do?….Make sure a towel is handy.

DISCLAIMER: THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY PAYPERPOST.COM

More than just a fat kid’s disease.

Diabetes.

When I say that word, what do you picture?

Do you see the fat kid from fourth grade stuffing his face full of cake? Do you see an overweight woman struggling up and down steps or do you see an obese man with stomach hanging over his jeans?

When I hear the word, Diabetes, I see neither.

I see my mother.

My mother is not overweight. She was (contrary to what she will say as she has a habit of looking at her older pictures and pointing out the half-pound of fat some where I can’t see and rolling her eyes saying how ‘fat’ she used to be) a slim woman with long arm and leg bones. She was never too skinny either, my mother was always just right. She enjoyed her food, she enjoyed cooking the dishes her mother often made and was never ‘lazy’. In fact, I cannot remember a point in my life where my mother ever stopped doing something when I was a child–Dad and I used to call her The Lone Re-Arranger due to her perpetual fits of taking all the furniture in the living room and changing it about, by herself!

But Diabetes has changed all of this with a slow hand that I can only call cruel.

Diabetes has changed my mother. It is inevitable that it would, for it is a disease and in the case of Type 1 diabetes and most cases of Type 2, it cannot be cured. It can be controlled and reigned in with diet and exercise  for some, for others, it runs rampant through the body causing havoc with every major organ: from kidneys, to eye sight to the heart. It takes a toll on the body after so many years.

My mother’s body is very tired of fighting this disease.

These past few months she has been in and out of the hospital, fighting. Her arteries have been weakened, her kidneys have shut down and her heart has suffered through a handful of major and minor heart attacks. For my mother, it is a never ending cycle now–they can treat her heart, but it bothers her kidneys, they can treat her kidneys but it bothers her heart–and mixed with all of this is the lurking Diabetes; the beginning of it all and the original cause of almost every major issue she’s had to date.

Despite all of this I am hopeful.

Despite the fact that my mother will now absolutely require kidney dialysis for the rest of her life to help her shutting down kidneys to flush out the toxins ours do everyday without fail–I believe that this is a disease we can find a cure for, a disease we can easily beat.

And while weight can be an issue with diabetes, it isn’t always so! Diabetes isn’t a “fat persons” disease. This isn’t a “fat kids” disease. It’s a Your Mother, Your Father, Your Son, Your Sister, Your Uncle, Your Aunt, Your Cousin, Your Friend, Your Grandmother and Your Grandfather disease.   It’s a disease that is deceptive with its severity: it can start out as something so easily manageable we are often complacent to the damage this disease can do to a human being. It is no less of a disease than any other–it is still robbing us, slowly but surely, of those we love and adore.

This is my mother and Diabetes.

Please help my mother. Please help the thousands dealing with this disease. Please help us keep those we love. Consider donating to the American Diabetes Association, the Canadian Diabetes Association, or help in any way you can. A single dollar from you is one dollar closer to ending this disease–a single step closer for mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

This is for my mother.

The American Association for Diabetes
The Canadian Association for Diabetes
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Cure 4 Diabetes
Diabetes Research & Wellness Foundation

Aion: is it worth your money?

Authors Geek note: While the author has been playing Aion for several weeks, she does not claim to be nor tout she is some sort of Aion expert, either with the Aion Lore or game play. Should she be incorrect, please feel free to comment!

What is Aion?

Aion is a MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role playing game) being distributed in the USA by NCSoft. Originally, a Korean MMORPG, it has been released and played in Korea approximately a year before being tweaked for North American audiences and re-released here.

General Lore?

Loosely retold, the story is that you are an ascended being–a Daeva, who has forgotten his or her memories of the past and so you must journey to recover your powers and your memories. As proof of your ascension from humanity to Daeva-hood, you proudly boast a pair of white or black wings (depending on which side you choose, Asmodae have black wings, Eylos have white) and can fly wherever there are large amounts of aether.

The Eylos and the Asmodae have been at war with one another since the destruction of Aion’s tower, blaming one another on the cataclysm that sundered their planet in two–leaving the Asmodae occupying the colder, sunless half and the Eylos in the warm, bright other. To add further conflict, when the world sundered and created a great Abyss, a race called the Balur began occupying the Abyss attacking Asmodae and Eylos alike.

Graphics?

Graphics are a mix of breath-taking textures and details, bright colors or dreary settings to create the mood–to a biiiiit outdated pixel-ated spots and places and flat texture wraps designed to trick the eye into thinking it’s 3-D. In some areas, such as the capital cities for the two main races? Aion’s detail and attention truly shows. The main cities and player details are really eye catching.

ameriaavatar2Character customization is okay.  You can truly make some unique and different looking avatars to represent yourself in the game. However, it’s not quiet enough to make them stop blurring in my head. There are far too many pretty, oh-so-pretty boys running around with teeny tiny delicate ladies. (Yes, including myself–guilty of making a short female avatar!)

The armor sets are not as unique as I’d like, and while you can dye your armor different colors, it’s not quite the same.

There are vendors in the main cities which sell actual no-benefit-clothing. They are so ridiculously overpriced however, in my opinion, you are better left to worrying about extras such as this when you can afford to rake in the several hundred thousand kina needed to own one piece or two.

What’s the questing like?

Repetitive.

And I do mean that in the grindy-oh-god-just-drop-my-god-damn-shit-already-jesus-been-at-this-for-two-days-way. Those of you familiar with the grind of Lineage might find this game (while not specifically as bad) familiar and like a second home.

And yet, I don’t mean the grindy either.

Aion’s quests are good for those who seek the lore of the land or like a good little laugh. They range from: steeped in history, to: find my pet pig. The rewards for the quests aren’t often the end goal but the amount of things you kill. NCSoft has attempted to make the outright grind-fest which was the original Korean game (which 1 or 2 repeatable quests–so I hear–for every five levels have turned into a butt-ton of quests every level or two) into something a little more appealing to North American Audiences. And in a sense, they succeed here, marginally.

What’s the game play like?

The game play itself against PVE is pleasant if, again, repetitive.  As I am not the sort to get into super depth about armor, crit rate, percentages and what not–I’ll be passing over this with my usual generalities.

I do feel that Aion is a gear-centric game. The better your gear and the better your manastones/Godstones slotted into your gear (mana stones are little, well, stones with + bonus to stats. Such as +8 to Evasion to +14 to Parry. Godstones are Proc stones, such as: 10% chance to stun on hit, etc) the easier time of it you’re going to have with your class.

As you level, you are eligible for skills to purchase from your class trainer. There are the normal, subset skills for your class and then a triggered, special ability connected to the original skill which can also be triggered. This depends either on a percentage, a stat, or in some cases can be triggered each time by just hitting your regular skill. Whether or not you succeed against PVE or a PVP will depend a lot on timing and your gear.

It sounds Grind-ey. Am I really going to have to Grind?

Eventually, yes. There is no real way to avoid having to spend an hour or two, three, or more grinding for mob drops either to sell on the Auction house or gray (useless) drops to sell at a merchant just to afford your skill-up books, or your crafting/gathering skill ups. Or travel. Or paying for Soul Healing to remove XP debt after death. The game is designed to pandimoniumbe an enormous money sink–and this is where at the very least Aion shines perfectly. They did a great job. It seems like every time you turn your head in this game some NPC some where wants you to pay them or buy something for them for several thousand kinah (the monetary system) which you likely do not have.

Don’t be fooled by people who shrug and say it’s eeeeeassssy to get several 100k in an hour or so below level 25. These are people who are either grinding for hours straight, or people who have more time than the general crowd to play the market. The average gamer with responsibilities elsewhere (jobs, time away, etc) generally does not have time to do either very well.  If you want $ in this game you will have to set aside time to grind and sell. Period.

Crafting?

I’d only recommend the crafting if a) you are willing to grind for either the parts and pieces you need, as half the crafting materials you need can be collected, the other half can only be found from mob drops or purchased from players from the AH, b) grind for the money needed to get these pieces off the AH, as eventually you’ll out level the things you need and they will no longer drop, or c) you like never having any money. Seriously. No matter what you do, crafting wise, it will cost you money to make something. Even if you just grind the work orders blessedly placed by your crafting instructor to help you grind levels up without using materials you will desperately need to make your own Staff of Awesomeness.

Work orders, however, still require you to purchase components to finish the work order. While the main “materials” are supplied to you by the crafting trainer a player picks their work order up from, the cost for extras is still steep enough that in the beginning levels you’ll find yourself running out of money just for a few points.

And the PVP?

Can I absolutely avoid PVP?

No. Due to the rifting system and the zones these happen in, you’ll be forced at the very least to run from–or observe PVP from a distant happy safe place. I’ll explain more when I get to rifts.

aionzergrushPVP from my point of view: It’s fantastically frustratingly awesomely awful. All at once.

PVP happens in two ways in Aion:

The Abyss, which is the space created between when the tower of Aion was torn asunder. Occupied by the Balur who will attack Eylos and Asmodae alike, it’s a collection of floating islands in the sky a player must use their wings to fly to in order to travel. When in the Abyss and away from your factions NPC or fortress, you are attack-able to the opposing faction.

Within the Abyss are powerful artifacts and fortress’ controlled by the Balur. Artifacts can be taken with great effort and reward by either Eylos or Asmodae; but since this is the Abyss, either side may also hamper either side in their attempts to take over an artifact or Fortress. For example, say the Asmodae were attempting to take over a fortress for their own. Not only is a fortress difficult to clear and the end boss legendary to take down–Eylos may also pour in while the Asmodae are in the fortress. The Eylos can kill the Asmodae whilst they are trying to take over the fortress and should their numbers and strategy be strong enough, they may be able to take over the fortress themselves.

Designated Zones where rifts occur:

Rifts are tears in the ‘fabric’ of the Abyss, connecting the two sundered sides of the planet. They can be traveled through either from the Eylos side to the Asmodae side or vice versa. Rifts appear every few hours and in random places at random times all over the map of certain zones. They are level restricted and population restricted. For example, Rift A connecting to Asmodae will only allow 20 Eylos of level 20 to pass through before closing.

As I have only played Asmodae, I can only attest to the Rift PVP from that stand point. When you reach level 20 several of your quests will span in two different zones. One of them, Morheim, has the largest amount of quests for the 20-29 level range and a player will no doubt be spending time there. While the PVP is nothing like the Abyss, roving packs of the opposite side randomly appearing while you are trying to collect 20 mushrooms are an average occurrence in Rift appearing zones.

This isn’t necessarily as bad as you think it sounds like.  Most often, those who come through the rift are individuals, groups of three or four or opposing factions just trying to finish quests–as the game some how feels the need to give you quests to do on the opposite faction. (As in: Eylos are sent to Asmodae territory to finish quests and Asmodae must go to Eylos territory to finish a few of theirs) Depending on the server, time of day, level range of the rifts–it’s currently rarer for me to see large, organized groups of Eylos terrorizing the country side. Usually it’s one or two hopefuls just trying to finish a quest being zerg-rushed by happy Asmodae.

The PVP system in Aion is…actually…fun.

You are rewarded each time you kill a mob in the Abyss, or each time you kill a player in the Abyss, or each time you kill a player in PVP regardless of where it is with Abyss points. You may accumulate these points for rank and to use Abyss points to purchase unique, orange gear which cannot be found anywhere else in the game.

I have been playing MMORPG’s for a modest seven years now. There are others out there that have been doing it far longer, but I’d like to point out that in seven years I have never participated in, nor wished to have anything to do with PVP.

In Aion I have actively put myself in the Abyss, joined a guild, followed them on fortress raids and taken great joy in stabbing at the opposing side. I’ll let you be the judge as to whether or not the above is a positive or a negative toward Aion itself.

So in a nutshell: is Aion worth your money?

Yes if:

  • You are bored of everything else and have nothing else to play.
  • Like PVP, or at the very least, don’t mind it or don’t mind having to grind extra in controlled PVP-areas (non Abyss)
  • You like pretty, pretty, pretty characters.
  • You played Lineage II or Guild Wars. Aion is NOT WoW, despite the similarities in some areas.
  • Realm Verses Realm works for you
  • You don’t mind the grind
  • Pretty, pretty characters with wings!

No if:

  • You have ONLY played WoW and no other MMORPG.
  • You don’t want to ever PVP or be near it.
  • You want to quest all the time, all day, every day/want to have a quest to do every time
  • Want uber rewards for quests
  • Dislike gold spammers
  • Dislike having to grind out a level or few, or grind for drops, etc
  • Pretty, pretty characters with wings make you do EW faces at your monitor

I’m thoroughly enjoying Aion at the moment, and I will readily admit half of that is because there’s just nothing else out there that I either haven’t already played (free or paid) or nothing on the horizon for a good long time and I need my MMO fix. The other half–is because I am actually liking the game despite the money sink, the gold spammers, the idiots (which come with any game) and the grind. There’s something about it, possibly because I AM a girl and I DO like pretty things–that keeps me signing in. And that’s all a game really has to do at the end of the day to work, doesn’t it–keep me signing in.

Orange you glad I didn’t say CLAY?

For those of you who follow me over at my live journal blog, this is old news. What I am about to write isn’t surprising; in fact it’s all over my live journal and it’s pretty much all I’ve been able to think and talk about lately.

Yes, Ayoub, I have become one of those douchebags that claim whatever it is they’re doing is the best thing evar omg and cannot stop trying to convince people to at least, try it.

What the hell am I going on about, anyway?

Clay.

That’s right, bitches. I’ll say it again.

Polymer clay.

heartcuppycakes_1I have been eyeballs deep in polymer clay since last Sunday, August 30th and I haven’t looked back since. For the longest time I watched sites like Etsy or Deviant Art and other trendy hip-cute factories envying and wishing I could have a pair of cupcake earrings or even maybe some sushi charms–and couldn’t really afford it. I always thought too, that it took a special kind of talent to work with clay like that, to make such small things.

Boy, was I ever wrong.

On Sunday, I came home with 12 packages of polymer clay, sat down to make a pair of cup-cake earrings and haven’t stopped since.

If you’ve been remotely considering picking up clay to make yourself a pair of earrings, beads, charms, figures what have you–do it. Do it right now. Try it. Buy a color or two and just what you need to make a few sets of things (if you are so inclined) and sit down one afternoon to tool about. You may think I’m far more off my rocker than usual, but I tell yas, internbutts, it’s the best fun I’ve had creating something in a while.

So much so that I’ve made a huge surplus of extra things and have decided to sell a bit on Etsy! Also–can I gush enough about Etsy and wonder why I didn’t take a friends advice in trying it out before hand? I mean, hello?! Slow Mel is Slow! If you’d like to check out my Etsy and see what I’ve got, you can do so via a new side bar widget here at 2phat geeks —>

Or you can visit my Etsy shop directly here: elffu.etsy.com.

If you’ve been hesitating picking up clay, let me urge you to stop hesitating and go get some now.

I SAID DO IT. NOW.

You’ll thank me whenever I see you again next year!

Project Birdoclypse: Complete

We own birds.

This may surprise you. You might think, “Gosh Mel. I would have never known you own any animal, let alone birds.” But its true. Not one, but two! Two birds, ah, ah, ah.

And while we had the cages, the right food, the toys and the time to spoil them what we didn’t have was the $ for an awesome perch where the two of them could totally climb all over and fling more seeds and bird poop all over our house.

So we went to Home Depot and came out with enough supplies to confuse and frighten the Home Depot people and built this: