A link in a memory chain

Roughly three years ago I trekked back to Canada in order to get my immigration and paperwork for marrying Shawn, settled. When I was there my mother brought out a little leather bound jewelry box that had seen the years.

When she opened it, two delicate bands were within–one a wedding band with chains, and one an engagement ring with matching chains. She told me that they were the original rings my father proposed to her with and that she wanted me to have them.

They were too small for my fingers then. So my father brought them to a friend who was a jeweler to have them made larger and the bands made wider (because I told my parents of my fear of breaking them.) The jeweler accidentally fused the two rings together–but the mistake worked out well in the end; as I thought having the two of them melded together would mean less chances of me losing them and them being stronger.

Earlier last year, while my mother was alive–I knocked my hand against my own desk. Hard. Part of the piece of gold chain supporting my mother’s diamond broke off, forever lost, while the other cracked. I was devastated but my father and mother told me not to worry and send the ring back.  They’d fix it, they said, and send it back to me. So with great faith in the postal system–and great trepidation–I did just that. Luckily it arrived safe and sound in Canada.

Today it arrived back to me.

Having the ring in my hands is…It reflects well, I think, of myself. Of my mother. My father, my family. Something that is a little broken and repaired–something that is cherished anyway and loved, despite the uneven parts or whether it is dull or shines.

I look at it and I see her instead. I wonder if she knew back then, that was the last time I would see her in person and so I wonder if she’ll understand how clearly the memory of her handing it over to me will remain.

She had her chair in front of a bright window. One of those over-stuffed, comfortable lazy boys with a blue, pink and white flannel blanket at hand to cover her legs should she ever need to nap. She’d curled her hair in the morning and put on mascara (though why she insisted on putting mascara on with me visiting, despite the years I’ve seen her without I’ll never know.) She had one leg tucked under the other and a foot–whose toes were covered in her favorite plain, white socks–was pushing the chair to rock every once in a while. She stopped rocking to lean to the side and pick something up and then to lean forward and hand me a little brown leather box trimmed with thin lines of gold.

In the box was this ring glimmering faintly against a bed of crushed red velvet. There was dust on the box and dust inside. Thick and grey, the sort that settled on objects that have been kept or untouched for a very long time.

My mother watched me with a small smile as I opened it, but her eyes were sharp and blue as august afternoons as they slit with pleasure. I often wonder if she saw the same reaction on my face–the delight and wonder at such a pretty thing–that she may have saw when my father first gave it to her.

It’s mine now.
It’s beautiful.

But I can’t help but think she was more so and I would trade a thousand heirloom rings just to see her one more time and say I love you.

2phatgeeks: Tera Online not (yet) worth it.

 

D:

The boobies...so many...so many boobies...

Tera online is a fantasy-ish MMORPG in beta, with no NDA restrictions currently even though it’s still in closed beta. This weekend I had the chance to try Tera Online.

The best I can do to sum up my experiences (and forgive me, those of you who have me added to your Facebook or Google+, as this will be a repeat performance) is: overtly sexualized child characters, jiggly tits, and Aion with a different UI and slight difference in combat.

I played roughly an hour, hour and a half. I played my first character, an Elin–whom I originally thought cute (one of the child-sized immortal characters)–and got her to level 4. That’s right. Level 4. It was a massive struggle to even play that long and level her that much. The game to me seems like such a blatant rip off of Aion (with some reminders of Rift graphically) and I found it  intensely boring immediately within the starter area.  I spent more of that hour time in the character creator than playing, and I enjoyed that more.

And I couldn’t fail to notice by the way, that the character creator is pretty much Aion’s character creator with a different background. Stunning jolly good first impression, if I do say so myself.

There’s no sympathy for clickers in Tera Online, either.  If you are a mouse clicker you’re out of luck. The game gives you WASD for movement, but your skills/spells cannot be used without pressing a key. You can map two skills to your left and right mouse buttons, but that’s generally only good for base skills. Everything else is key press.

And before I get the comment, “But key pressing is more efficient and fast!1!11one!” I know it is. But the plain fact of the matter is, there are people out there that mouse click. It’s what they are comfortable with. As such, they are going to hate Tera Online, a lot.

Another key ingredient into this sour tasting recipe of my early squick into my closing the game after and hour? Intensely uncomfortable playing the Elin race. It was my first choice out of–well, I admit it–cuteness factor. The cuter

Pink tree

A pink tree. Well...that's okay I suppose.

the character is in game the more I want to play it. Enlin are a childish looking, child-sized, well…child character (Hey. Did I say child yet?) with some uber sexualized poses and movements that ended up jarring me out of wanting to play them.

Story wise I found it lacking right after character creation as well. Players are given a bit movie that I’m not sure how it factors into anything once the game starts. Then a short movie of you flying into the starting island with, again, no backstory given as to anything other than “:D YEAH! GO DOWN THERE AND FIGHT 😀 😀 :D”  The quest NPC’s are the old fashioned “click & kill.” Click on the quest. Skip reading any of it, accept. Glance at your quest log on screen to go see what you have to kill and how many. Do it. Turn in quest. Rinse, repeat. I did see one cut scene that panned out to an enemy I had to kill with a 30 second voice over–but I gotta tell ya babies….SWTOR and Mass Effect and Skyrim and many other games have spoiled me when it comes to lore and backstory. To sum it up in an overtired, over used internet meme: Son I am disappoint with Tera Online’s idea of story and quest writing.

HOW

This really was the most modest female garb a--HOW DOES IT STAY ON??

The nail in the coffin for me were the gravity defying, jiggly, nipples-pointed-at-their-chins  female models all in horrible comic super hero postures. The most modest suit, frankly, was an outfit for the female archer that was slit from the top of her knee and open all the way past her side-boob to her neck. With no discerning explanation as to why every time she bound across my screen like a sparkly princess with a bow, everything didn’t just flop out all wibbly jibbly. I can only think these breast-defying suits are being held up with MAAAAAAAAAAGIC 😀 Picture me doing jazz hands sarcastically to accompany this.

In short?

2phatgeeks gives Tera Online a big fat no thanks. Perhaps things will change for the game in a couple of months of patches, member feed back and such. But right now as it is: I think it’s a pretty disappointing game given MMORPG’s this day and age.

If this game doesn’t go free to play in a year I will be pleasantly surprised. It’s definitely not a game tailored to a broad audience and it’s reallllly not for me. I’ve played a lot of free to play games over the years that have had more story and more thought given into their style than this. If you want a game that looks like Tera Online? Aion did it years ago and better. I actually recommend people trying out Aion instead of this.

This post an opinion based on personal preference of the poster. It does not represent everybody in the entire universe and 2phatgeeks doesn’t imply to be everybody in the universe.

Here’s to words, and you still reading them.

I have become stretched thin.

It did not happen quickly. This was a slow thing. Life and growing old are things which–like children giggling behind oak trees in full summer–play hide n’ seek with your heart. In one moment, you see the slip of a shadow behind the trunk of the tree but you believe you have all the time in the world to go hide.

In the next moment you take off to your perfect hiding spot but you’ve been caught.

Out of the corners of my eyes I have seen the flickering shapes of my age, but I didn’t dare look.

In the span of six months my life has changed so much.

I have lost my mother to diabetes.
I have been diagnosed with the beginning stages of it.
I have been diagnosed with the family’s high-blood pressure and bad cholesterol.
I have gone to places in my head that were so dark that I did not recognize the thoughts that were inside of me. The things which I found inside them were so strange it felt like someone else was thinking them.

And around me, 2012 for my friends and family started with sour notes all around. One moment I was a princess of media-making, and the next I was grown up and helpless. Unable to figure out what words to say, what words to write, and what messages I could possibly give everyone to let them know I’m all right. We’ll be all right.

For a time, I was wordless.  Completely.

That may have been as scary as when I despaired the most.

I want to tell you that I am okay. And that the words may not be perfect or come back the same way…But I’m still here.  I am a little pulled and pushed; like a soft eraser. I may have some blackened edges from scrubbing away at all the charcoal–but I am here. And I will do my best to get back to what I do best…Being ridiculous and reviewing games and trying to laugh.

But for now, I’m thin.
I have become stretched thin.

It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I realized that as thin as I pulled apart I would find someone there with a word or a phrase or a hug–their piece of thread offered to sew a hole closed. It’s not so bad falling apart, it was the self-imposed silence, the wordless spaces on my part that made it worse.

So. Here’s to words and writing and all of the friends I have made here in this space. To my husband. And to finding the means to make all of you read and smile here again.  I look forward to it.