Okay, so it’s Friday…

Another one of those weeks when I really don’t know what to write about. The only real non-routine things in the week were as follows:

1] It has been warm in the later half of the week. Warm enough to be uncomfortable enough to turn on the A/C and run it around the clock so that we can be comfortable enough to sleep at night.

2] Our City of Heroes team that was ‘Knight and the Angels’ and ‘Thrilling Adventures’ decided that we all wanted to start our new characters. In two evenings set of adventures we are all level 11. We had one slight misunderstanding on Wed where some of the players wondered by we were stopping at every group of mobs and attacking them on the way to doors, even when they were gray. Well… the reasons were more than one, and I really was trying to select groups that were going to give us at least a single point of xp. And even the ones 1 level below that gave our late arrival player’s character XP.

But the real reason I am not rushing through things to get to mission doors when we are not on a timed mission is really simple: I’m not in a hurry. I also don’t want to play the game like someone who just plays for XP. I am trying to role-play a little.

One of the reasons I am not in a hurry is because there are people that have stated that they feel that getting to level 50 with characters causes the fun to be gone for those characters. That they no longer feel any reason to play them. So I am in no hurry to get to 50 with the new characters. Everyone on the team (except one player) has a level 50 character. We’ve all been to the end game. We’ve played things the ‘fast and efficient’ way. Some of us have gotten quite good at it and can get a character to level 50 in really short periods of time. (Though none of those currently in the team are like that, I don’t think.)

So, my thought for this new team (and since no one else seems willing to take a ‘lead the team forward’ role, I am doing so) is to try some of the less traveled things… or some of those deemed inefficient or too slow to play in the quest to 50.

Of course, the first thing I led the team through sort of flew in the face of that. And that was taking a team of level 2’s into the Sewer System in Atlas Park and fighting our way through everything on the way to Kings Row… we all came out of the sewers at level 7. Doing this trip is one of the ‘well known’ ways to bootstrap low-level characters past some of the low-level missions that get to be a bit, well… grindy. And we did it in style. The first group of mobs sent all of us to the hospital the first time, most of us the second time, some of us the third time, and a few of us the fourth. But then we started leveling and we plowed the rest of the way through without any more KO’s.

Wednesday we did a couple of doors, then did the Atlas Park Safeguard mission and got our freebie travel power. Then to the Hollows and doing the Wincott missions and working through Flux. When we left off, I had the Frostfire mission que’d up and we’ll do that Monday.

My plans for next is to take the team into the Troll Tunnels for some adventuring. And the missions from the contact after Flux. We don’t have a team of 8 (we are 7 when Ms. Smithe joins us), so we likely won’t do the Caves of Transcendence. But we’ll see.

Beyond the Hollows, I am sort of hoping to go to Skyway and see if we can’t fight across the zone on the freeway… you know, clean up the place a little. Don’t know if the team will take to that. So many are used to avoiding the street hunts and doing doors to death. I may even see if I can pull the team into Boomtown and play havoc there. We’ll see.

3] And lastly this week at work I moved from the 13th floor to the 11th. And from a ‘private’ cubical to a shared one. I am NOT happy about this. I do NOT like shared space. I do NOT like less storage space, and hardly any desk space. I do NOT like being on a floor without a kitchen (though that’s not that big a deal… just inconvenient). I’m settling in, and I will get by and get used to it. My cubical companion and I sit back-to-back, so we both sort of have the illusion of being in our own cube. But… well.. the move is stressful and really, really, really was unnecessary. Oh, well.

So… that’s the week. Mhari and I are doing okay. Nothing major going on. The heat is annoying, and one of our computers is being a little flaky. But… all in all we are doing well and happy.

Thank all that is that this weekend is a three-day one… I’m tired! I want a little more rest and relaxation.

I’ll write again next week… and add to this if I think of something else to write about.

Just another lovely Friday…

Ah! Friday, sweet Friday! It is always such a joy to reach this point in the week after a long week of work. And it HAS been a long week at work. Not that it contained any extra days like it used to back in ‘the day’ when, if you look at my OLD blogs, I had a LONG stint of working on the weekends as well as the workdays. Of course, that long stint is why I refuse to do that any more. That long stint cost me more brain cells and damaged my mental and physical health so much.

This week has just been long because there’s been a lot to do at work. Lots of the sort of work that, while it does make me feel like I accomplished things, still leaves me drained. It involves almost as much report writing as some of my school days did so long ago.

As you can tell, there’s not a whole lot for me to report on. Nightypanther’s Kattrianna hit level 50 on Wednesday’s Knight and the Angels session on City of Heroes. That’s the last of the original 5 members of Knight and the Angels that needed to do so. It’s still the plan to keep going on Wednesday’s with that crew. After all, Whyaylooh’s Avenging Flame and RP’s Epislon Shield still have a ways to go. AF hit level 42 on Wednesday, I believe, and ES hit level 38. If we keep tugging them with us on level 50 missions and taking on AVs (It was Shadowhunter and Dominatrix of the Praetorans this week), it won’t take them long.

Incomplete List of City of Heroes/City of Villains characters I have

  • Commander Kitty – Level 50 Mastermind – Robots/Force Field – Villain – Protector – Primal Darkness
  • Knight of Power – Level 50 Defender – Empathy/Electrical Blast – Hero – Guardian – Dark-Star
  • Thrillseeker – Level 50 Tanker – Invulnerability/Super Strength – Hero – Guardian – Dark-Star
  • Stand In – Level 43 Defender – Empathy/Dark Blast – Hero – Guardian – Dark-Star
  • Professor Thrill – Level 39 Warshade – Umbral Blast/Umbral Aura – Hero -Guardian – Dark-Star
  • Purple Moose – Level 37 Brute – Fiery Melee/Firey Aura – Villain – Protector – Primal Darkness
  • Lost Thrill – Level 25 Scrapper – Martial Arts/Regeneration – Hero – Guardian – Dark-Star
  • Moon Lynx – Level 23 Blaster – Archery/Devices – Hero – Guardian – Dark-Star
  • Corruption Boi – Level 17 Corrupter – Fire Blast/Thermal Radiation – Villain – Protector – Primal Darkness
  • Two-Ton Tom – Level 16 Tanker – Willpower/Stone Melee – Hero – Virtue
  • Glacial Leopard – Level 14 Dominator – Gravity Control/Icy Assault – Villain – Protector – Primal Darkness *
  • Madrock Cat – Level 14 Brute – Stone Melee/Stone Armor – Villain – Protector – Primal Darkness
  • PsiHare – Level 10 Blaster – Psychic Blast/Mental Manipulation – Hero – Triumph
  • Dr Panacea – Level 8 Corrupter – Radiation Blast/Radiation Emission – Villain – Protector – Primal Darkness
  • Paragon Zombie – Level 8 Mastermind – Necromancy/Dark Miasma – Villain – Virtue
  • Sister Kitty – Level 8 Arachnos Soldier – Arachnos Soldier/Training and Gadgets – Villain – Protector – Primal Darkness
  • Wedding Zinger – Level 8 Defender – Sonic Resonance/Sonic Attack – Hero – Virtue
  • Clueless Lass – Level 7 Scrapper – Dark Melee/Dark Armor – Hero – Triumph
  • Jackson Bob – Level 7 Blaster – Assault Rifle/Devices – Hero – Virtue
  • Blazing One – Level 6 Scrapper – Dual Blades/Fiery Aura – Hero – Triumph
  • Charclaw – Level 6 Scrapper – Claws/Fiery Aura – Hero – Liberty
  • Comeback Cat – Level 6 Defender – Dark Miasma/Dark Blast – Hero – Pinnacle
  • Happy Cow – Level 4 Scrapper – Martial Arts/Super Reflexes – Hero – Champion

    The rest of the list I have written out doesn’t have anything but names and Server:

    Commander Kitty (All servers have one of these, not just Protector. But the one on Protector is the only one past level 10.), Diamond Paw (Protector), First Fist (Infinity), Flying Fox (Guardian), Freedom Agent-01 (Freedom), Fremont Slugger (Level 38 on Training Room, level 10 on Guardian), Gadgetrix (Protector), Gendarme Nyte (Freedom), King Leon (Liberty), Kitten Not (Protector), Lucy Diamond (Victory), Magnificent Mace (Guardian), Miz Adventure (Justice), Notakat (Protector), Robin Resonance (Freedom), Running Fox (Virtue, somewhere around level 22 or so), Second Opinion (Pinnacle), Sharp Kitty (Guardian), Sister Two (Infinity), Stand Out (Virtue), Strange Forces (Guardian), Tantrum Kat (Protector), Weird Girl (Liberty) and Yreka Bob (Pinnacle).

    * = Not sure I have Glacial Leopard’s powers listed right. I thought she was Ice/Ice… maybe not.

    As to the other things in our lives, Mhari and I are doing okay. Our health was about average this week. Lots of our ‘back issues’ were dealt with on Sunday by a visit with Dr. James.

    Other things of note is that we are trying to institue one or more ‘TV Nights’ in our schedule again in preparation for the new season of Heroes and the new Knight Rider series, as well as other things. For now we have started out by watching the first 8 episodes of ‘Bleach’. Even though episode 8 sort of ended with a cliffhanger, we decided to save that for next time. We have through about episode 35 or so set aside on my hard drive to watch. Beyond that we will have to Netflix things. Sure wish they were on the Watch Instantly service on Netflix. That would save us a lot of time and not require waiting for the mail. We have a Roku and like it a LOT.

    There’s likely a whole SLEW of things I should write about here. But they are slipping my brain at the moment, so I will sign off here. Thanks for reading!

  • And time moves on

    Not a whole lot to write about this week. Oh, there were plenty of things that happened. Just most of them were work-related and I really don’t believe in writing about work things in my blog. Let’s just say that there was a minor re-org. I am still employed, and it didn’t effect me a lot other than I have a different manager that I work for. That has caused stress. And there is still settling in to do. My old manager still works for the company, just he works for a different part of it. I will miss working for him.

    On the MMO front my main game continues to be City of Heroes. Mhari and I have been playing a couple of our characters that had gotten put on the back burner for a bit. And we’ve gotten them about 5 levels in the past week.

    See… not a lot to write about. It’s just been another week.

    Oh… there is one thing that did happen that’s very cool. Whyaylooh and I have now known each other for over 20 years. As of this past Sunday. He’s still my best friend in the whole world. I am the luckiest man in the world, having two people that I care about so very much and that appear to think a lot of me in return. Mhari is one, and Whyaylooh is the other. Thanks buddy!!!!

    The world is now different

    This last week has been a difficult one. Three weeks ago this coming Saturday, my wife, mhari_lindhaven, and I learned that her mother was in the hospital for a rather serious condition that caused a lot of bleeding. Enough that over the course of 2 weeks she needed close to 12 pints of it, and was starting to show signs of rejecting the transfusions. They discovered where it was coming from and made a difficult choice about a week ago to go ahead and risk surgery. (She being 88 years old.) Well, it was rocky, but she made it through it. And seemed to start to be getting a little better on the 2nd day of recovery. Then, this past Saturday, things went bad. She started to be in more and more pain. And… well, the end was near.

    We received the call about this aspect of things in the early evening of Saturday and promised the family we were on our way. At that time they were giving her 24-48 hours to live. We were worn out from low sleep amounts (especially Mhari) and decided that they only way we could make it up safely was to get at least a little sleep and head out in the wee hours of Sunday morning. I made the non-refundable hotel arrangements for 2-nights. Sleep was not easy to get. And there were more phone calls. Including one telling us that they had sedated her and were not going to be letting her wake again. So on that note I got to sleep for about 3.5 hours. Mhari said she got maybe 1.

    My alarm goes off at 10 mins to 4am, and I hit snooze. It goes off again and I hit snooze and start working to wake when Mhari walks in and says ‘Mom’s gone…’. I woke groggily and tried to comfort her. Her sister at called to give her the news just after the second time my alarm went off.

    So the event that we were dreading for two weeks had actually happened.

    It didn’t take us too long to get everything together. And we were out the door and awake enough for me to drive at 6am. We didn’t stop much on the road up. Just for restroom breaks and take-out fast food. Sunday traffic was light all the way up. And the beautiful scenry tried to cheer us up. Mt Shasta was bare, not a cloud in sight. And barely anything frozen on it other than it’s permafrost. Phone calls interspersed our conversations. Before we got in we learned that the Funeral would be Wed at 11am, as that was the earliest it could be arranged. It would appear Mhari’s mom had long planned for these days, and had everything paid for and taken care off. All her children had to do was confirm and finalize the plans.

    We drove into the hotel parking lot around 5:30pm. Checked into the hotel and got over to the restaurant where the family had gathered to honor their lost mother/grandmother/great-grandmother and friend. There was much talking, some crying, and a little laughter. For Mrs G. had never wanted her children to be sad ones, and each one is intelligent and have a sense of humor. When the gathering broke up, we all agreed to meet again at the Funeral on Wednesday. Mhari’s son kieferskunk (my stepson!) and his wife firesplace (my daughter-in-law!… sorry, still not used to having such creatures) arranged to join us the next day for an outing.

    So, back to the hotel. Mhari’s brothers and sisters, in wanting her to feel included in everything, had tasked her with typing up, proof-reading and preparing the obit they had written on three tattered pieces of notebook paper. It was obvious in looking at these scraps that it had been something more than one of her siblings had worked on, hashing over how best to say things. Mhari decoded their handwriting and got it typed into the computer I had brought and hooked up to the hotel’s wireless connection. We got it finished, but didn’t quite understand the directions in how we were to submit it. In the morning we called the mortuary and got that straightened out and sent in.

    So, it’s Monday. Mhari, Kieferskunk, Firesplace and I gather after breakfast (Kieferskunk and Firesplace had a snafu with their phones that you could read about in their blogs of things, which delayed us a little tiny amount) and we drove up in two cars to Portland and the place I had decided would be a good way to sooth Mhari a little… Powell’s City of Books! I had only heard about it. And it is amazing. Most of a city block of independent bookstore. Multiple stories, 30k sq feet of books! We bought nearly $200 of books there. And had a nice hour of chatting with ‘our kids’ in the Cafe while Firesplace worked remotely and waited for a phone call that never came. When we left, the ‘kids’ went off north, and we headed south back to our hotel.

    Dinner was at another of Mrs. G’s favorite restaurants… the Blue Willow. A wonderful Chinese restaurant with good prices and portion sizes WAY more than expected. We were sadly unable to eat even half of what we ordered, used to, as we were, to smaller portion sizes. Thus filled, we returned to our hotel, puttered away at reading, playing on our Nintendo DS’s and the computers and generally trying to hide some from our grief.

    Tuesday arrived and I went down to the hotel front desk and got our stay extended. When I mentioned that we were staying the extra night for a funeral, the extended us a special Bereavement rate. It did help on the expenses. Now we had no obligations… But I had plans. We went to the Lancaster Mall and I got shorn of the long hair that had been bothering me, shopped for a good black shirt to wear to the Funeral (and also found one for Mhari) as neither of us commonly wears plain blacks. (What black shirts either of us had to that point had convention artwork and sayings on them. Or in my case, it was a polo shirt with a Klingon symbol on the left chest and the words ‘Star Trek Experience – Las Vegas Hilton’ on the sleeve… and really not really right for a funeral.) I also picked up some other shirts for work, and a couple of hats… the prices were good, and there is no sales tax there!

    Soon it rolled into evening and we headed for the only Frys Electronics in Oregon. Yes, I needed to geek out a little, but it was also a darn good half way point to meet up with whyaylooh at. He came down after his work and joined us there. We went to the local Sheri’s for dinner and didn’t leave for hours. We spent the time chatting and catching up and helping Mhari further through the pain of her loss. Thanks Buddy! It was good to see you. Wish it could have been under better circumstances.

    So now Tuesday was over. We went back to the hotel and I got things all pre-packed and ready for us to check out in the morning before heading to the Funeral. I had a little of a hard time getting to sleep. I think Mhari did, too… but to be honest that night seems to have mostly slipped out of my memory.

    Finally we got to Wednesday. It was a day of sadness… we got to the Funeral early, and we had driven past the house that Mhari pointed out to me as the first house she lived in. The service was sweet. Others have blogged about it better than I can. It was reverent, there were tears, there were prayers. There was laughter, there was celebration of life. I remember most the tale from one of the neighbors that spoke. She spoke of having a problem with the five people in the front row (where my wife and her brothers and sisters were sitting). She was jealous of them. Of how much they loved their mother and how much she loved them. It was a humorous story that celebrated Mrs G in a special way almost more touching, at least to me, than all else that was said by anyone that was not family. She helped all of us remember the good, and not the sad.

    Finally, and yet all too soon, the Funeral was over. There was some chatting and sharing. I got to meet one of my wife’s best friends, a cousin of her’s, from her childhood and got to thank her for being that friend to the woman that means so much to me. I met others, but she’s the one that stands out.

    From the Funeral home it was a short drive to the cemetery. There only the close family gathered to place Mrs G’s urn in the ground. They remembered her by putting her most loved treasures… her wedding ring and a bit of robe, as well as pictures of her and her husband, into the urn with her. More loving memories were spoken, and they all said goodbye to the woman that was my third mother (the first two were my own mother, and my grandmother). I wish I had had more time to get to know Mrs. G. I really, really do. I will miss her a lot. I will miss losing in Rummikub to her. I will miss playing dominoes with her at Christmas time. I will miss hearing the stories and memories… goodbye, Mrs G.

    So… after that the family went to a local pizza joint and I had some of the best pizza I’ve had in a long time. The place is called Paddington’s. Somewhere in Salem, OR. After that, the family scattered to the ‘four winds’. And we started the drive back.

    As it wasn’t so early in the morning when we left, and we had had a tiring first half of the day, we stopped about half way home, had steak at a Cattleman’s, and stayed in a hotel for another night. Then finished the drive home yesterday.

    The world is different. Someone we love has passed into whatever comes after this life.

    I… like her family, strongly believe that she is with her husband… likely out fishing someplace, and Mrs G is catching up Mr G on all the wonderful and amazing things his children have gotten up to since he left.

    For more about these days, read Mhari’s, Kieferskunk’s and Fireplace’s blogs.