The year, it be flyin’ away!

Another week of our lives has slipped past. Mhari’s doing fairly well and keeping herself real busy with Further Confusion pre-registration things. I’ve been doing okay, with an apparent lack of proper sleep is effecting me in strange ways or some such. I was really out of it yesterday, and I started today in the same manner, though I seem okay at the time of this writing. I really hope all this is is lack of sleep. Not some ‘bug’ trying to get a hold of me.

Work was stressful this week, and it is possible that my way I have been feeling is a side effect of that. Tuesday the company I work for had layoffs. 2 people from my tiny part of the company were let go, as were 4 others that I work with. One of those loses also means ‘more’ work for me, as they have no current intentions to replace those they let go. And yes, the current economy is to blame for the layoffs. But I was also rather scared for my own job during the day as this came out of the blue. This makes 3 layoffs in 3 years, 2 of which have happened in the last 2 quarters of this year… I survived and am still employed. But it did put the fear of unemployment into me again.

Tabula Rasa: I played a lot of this game over the 4-day weekend, getting one character up to nearly level 16. I have found that, like with other MMOs, if I get about 4 levels above the level at which I get given a mission, I can solo it easily, or nearly so. Especially if I get the latest gear for my character.

The big thing I discovered in the game was the crafting system. The equipment that you get as ‘drops’ or as mission rewards in the game have various ‘enhancements’ that give them various abilities. They can buff your stats while they are equipped, do extra damage, debuff the resistances of the people you hit, increase your regeneration of power/armor/stamina/health and lots of other things. There are armour specific ones, weapon specific ones, tool specific ones, and so on. These enhancements, for a price, can be extracted from one thing and integrated into another one. Plus the enhancements themselves can be ‘upgraded’ and your armor can be painted, etc. So I have been taking the enhancements I like out of weapons/tools/armour that I am NOT going to use and put them into the ones I do… then sell the leftovers. There’s a tiny amount more to it than what I have described (mostly in how you pay for it and salvaging) but not a lot. It does make a little easier to adventure if you have well enhanced gear.

City of Heroes: Issue 13 went live on Tuesday… and it was a rocky day for the game with things not very stable and the patch-server so overcrowded that connecting to the game was very difficult. I didn’t get to play the game all that day due to the issues. And Mhari had crashes when she was on right after the issue went live, and then couldn’t get back on after logging off.

On the night before, Monday, we also had issues with lag and rubber banding during our normal play session such that after two missions we called it a night out of frustration. Wednesday was way, way better, with only a couple of maddeningly frustrating bursts of lag. Other than that we had a full session. We even had Mr. Adventure (Played by Eric Z) and Avenging Flame (played by Whyaylooh) join us such that we were a full 8-man team during the majority of the night. It was very pleasant.

I didn’t play anything at all last night because I was so out-of-it… still didn’t get to bed until nearly the same time as if I had gamed. Mostly due to FC paperwork things in prep for sending out Dealer Confirmations this weekend.

Tonight we will be playing villains on Protector. We’re going to start playing what I have called the ‘Wolf Pack’. All the characters will use those words as some form of inspiration to how they were created. In their name, their costume, their looks… whatever. And many of the team will be forming Leveling Pacts with other members of the team. The intent of this team is to do with the villain side what we have done with the hero side with three teams. That is we want to work as a team to go through the levels of the game. And we PLAN to be doing the Strikeforce content which none of us have had the ability to do before. We did this on hero side with the Thrilling Adventures team and it worked well until we sort of lost interest when we got near level 40. (Mostly because Issue 12 came out and we were interested in starting new characters and trying some different things, hence the current Mon/Wed night hero team currently referred to as ‘Delta Team’.)

Lord of the Rings Online: This one only gets mention here because I picked up the Mines of Moria expansion and I have installed it. It claims to have at least one new class of character, called a Warden, that is designed to be playable solo through the game’s content. So, some time, when I am not playing other things, I’ll drop back by LOTRO and play some there again. It’s an attractive and worthy MMO. It just really doesn’t have anything highly outstanding about it to make it that much different from WoW/EQ2/Conan/Etc other than the setting. And that’s not a setting that greatly appeals to me, so the game doesn’t lock onto my imagination. If I didn’t have a lifetime account there, and thus play it for ‘free’, I likely wouldn’t bother with it. But it’s my fall back if I get bored with other things. I likely won’t spend much time there until after TR goes dark. If then.

Perfect World International: I didn’t play at all. But I do run the patcher to get up to date on the client for the game. Just I haven’t wanted to really play any… and likely won’t until TR goes dark. Slightly better chance that I will return here than to LOTRO. Slightly better. I get to play a furry here, and that’s a plus in my book.

Books of the week

More Terrible Than Chains: Leanna’s Story by Bernard Doove.

Here’s the official blurb for this book:
"This is the story of Leanna, a fennec fox morph bred as a sex slave. Rescued from a foundering slaver starship, shi is taken into the care of an unusual extended family where shi starts to dare dream of a normal life. However, how can shi gain such when shi has to cope with a gene-engineered body that has extremes so cruel, its bonds are more terrible than chains? STRONG ADULT THEMES."

First of all, let me say that I am a strong fan of Bernard’s work, both writing and art. I’ve published his work in my fanzines when I was doing them, and have always felt they deserved to see print as books in their own right. Bernard is a skillful writer and he continues to improve in this craft with every story he writes.

His book, Life’s Dream: The Journal of Pandora and Karl won the 2007 Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Novel. I mentioned this book in my February 1st, 2008 blog…

More Terrible Thank Chains: Leanna’s Story, like all of his works in print so far, are set in the Chakat Universe (about which you can learn more, as well read ALL the stories, by going to his website, which I have linked under his name above). This one follows Leanna, a hermaphrodite sex slave freshly ‘free’ of hir master and how the characters from Bernard’s Forest Tales stories rescue hir and a bunch of others. It is a story of self-discovery, family, love and freeing oneself from the chains of your life and moving on to become more than you were.

As the book is made up of writing that happened over the course of three plus years, it suffers a tiny bit at the beginning, but swiftly outgrows it as Bernard fleshes out the character and how shi interacts with others. There were a number of very inspirational scenes and self-discoveries in the story and by the end I just loved the character and thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing. I was only disappointed that I had read through it so fast.

As with most of Bernard’s stories, there is a fair amount of sex, but it works well and does not overpower the story in any way. But rut, heat, and overcoming sexual conditioning is a strong part of the story.

I look forward to any and all future books by Bernard and I have already gotten a jump on some of this by reading his current work on his website.

You can get the book from Amazon, which is the link I have under the title above, or you can get it from here or, as is the first link in a google search for the title, from Target’s link to Amazon here. It’s nice to see three links to it in the google search I did.

As a final note: I’ve read a lot of Bernard’s work on his site, but there is always a special joy to be able to hold that work in book form and read it from the printed page. Even printing pages out from my computer and reading from them isn’t quite as satisfying as having them in true book form. I am so very glad that Bernard has found a way to print his work through Keep up the good work, Bernard!

Well, my work day has begun, and I want to get through it and out the other side to the weekend. I hope everyone has a fine weekend and a great week!