Nov 20, 2008

Stealing is still Stealing, no matter how polite you are about it.

Tru fax:

  • Using a photograph from an artist that expressly states you may not use his or her work without permission is illegal.
  • Using a photograph from an artist that expressly states you may not use his or her work without permission, but leaving the copy right and/or credit clearly on the image is still illegal.

  • Whether you credit them (And I appreciate it, I really do) or not, if their TOS (Terms of Use) say that you cannot use their images, you can't.

    I had this argument recently with someone on AOL who is using a deviant artists photo(s) on his/her profile. And while I appreciate the fact that they left credit intact, it still does not change how the artist has clearly stated use of her work without permission is prohibited and not legal. I guess he/she thought that because she/he left the © on the images he/she was doing good. Unfortunately, this isn't the case.

    I also got politely reprimanded for bringing it up publicly--in all honesty, I do not think image theft and copy right infringement is a subject that should be handled behind closed doors.

    It NEEDS to be addressed--even *I* need to remind myself that just because that photo is the perfect for my character doesn't mean I have any rights to use it. There is nothing wrong with my imagination. I am a role player. I can describe my character well enough that if I do not have a picture, I can rely on my own brain to portray the important bits that make up the image of my own character, right? I mean--if I cannot give those I role play with the slightest glimmer of what my character looks like...Have I not failed in some of the basics in text role play?

    If it says, "No use without permission," it doesn't mean, "Aw, I guess. Go ahead and use it if you keep my name on it." It means do not use it. Unless you show me you are either a) the artist b) the purchaser and now rightful owners of said photos or c) the owner of physical, written proof you have the artists permission no excuse is acceptable for copy right theft. You are NOT doing the artist any favors--you are stealing.

    Nov 15, 2008

    SWGemu, and why I think it's worth it.

    You mention Star Wars: Galaxies on a PC gaming forum and you can be pretty sure of certain reactions. One camp will roll their eyes and post, "not again. Let it rest." One camp will come along with the, "yeah, it's a shame what they did to the game after CU and NGE, but I still play it because...well...It's SW:G." and then you'll get the majority of responses. Heart break, bitterness, nostalgia and a misty-eyed rememberance of a game system that should-have-been.

    Pre CU and NGE, Star Wars: Galaxies was a game that wasn't like any other (and in some cases, still outshines some of the brand new games.) in the fact it was damn hard work getting to where you wanted to be.

    You had skill trees you had to work through as a melee or social profession. Hours and hours of harvesting and work, and yet, you weren't truly holed up in one set in stone profession. You could mix and match and do as you like, ending up with a pretty much customized class suited for your playing needs. And I don't even have the time to go on about how the housing, clothing, imagination of the players made it a game truly unique to those of us who enjoy role playing or getting into the game while there.

    But the one thing that SW:G is missing at this moment more than anything is the community. I wrote a post several months back about why I think SW:G is slowly declining after the loss of it's core community, so I won't rehash it any further than mentioning it here. But what's this got to do with anything? What's this got to do with SWGemu?


    SWGemu has the stirrings, the quiet whisperings and the beginnings of the same community I once thought long dead from SW:G. In it's testing, adolesence phase, SWGemu is very awkward. There are game-smashing, lose-your-character-if-you-go-to-Coronet-bugs. There are tiny little annoying things that don't work right and then giant huge-oops, we're missing missions, can't craft yet--and it doesn't seem to matter. The core community of players backing everyone 100% is there. I wasn't signed in five minutes to take my first peek when someone came along to introduce themselves and show me around.

    This...This could me a magnificent thing, and I am encouraging you now...If you've kept your SW:G C.D's, If you still have it insalled but no longer subscribe and are disenchanted, if you hold pre CU and pre NGE fondly and want to return to a land before time...I am urging you to check out and take a look at SWGemu.

    I have and am placing alot of hope into this project, like many already there. I hope that you'll come to love it, warts and all, too.

    Nov 7, 2008


    I keep trying to return to poetry.

    I keep trying to write something.

    I keep trying to draw something and the more I want it the further away it goes. The most I just spin my wheels around and around and around.

    Nov 5, 2008

    The Night is Lonely.

    What is it about really late night that makes it such a lonesome time for people?

    I always think that the quiet, the hum of the computer, the whisper of the air conditioner or the distant saw of snoring would be something far more comforting instead of hollowing.

    Nov 4, 2008

    10 Random Things About Me I still haven't told you yet....I think!

    In the spirit of sharing and realizing that my life is as mundane as everyone elses, I come to spice it up by sharing 10 random facts about myself that I don't think I have shared yet, as if you REAAAALLLY wanted to know!

    (shut up I just like lists.)

    1.) Thanks to one marathon session of season 1 & 2 of the Tudors last month, I have been on a semi-obsessed love affair with the 1550's and there abouts--despite the dirty, filthy, stinking, backwards ways it was. It's the wigs--the pearls, the diamonds and the gowns. Or maybe the men in tight hose...Anyway, last night I shot sleep in the head to watch Elizabeth, and Elizabeth: the golden age. I had fun. Tudors Season 3 cannot get here fast enough.

    2.) Now that Bill and Sookie (HBO Series: Trueblood) have humped like rabbits that certain spark that made the show different has started to fade. I still like the show, but I find myself loosing enthusiasm in worrying about it.

    3.) I have a million things I always want to do. I am the world's greatest procrastinator. I want to repaint this picture. I want to sit down with my sketchbook and practice. I want to work on rusty CSS skills. I want to get back into fiddling with layouts. I want to make graphics and icons. I want to role play. I want to write. I want to make money online. I want to try Nano this year (I made an account. Haven't even started and probably won't lololololol.) I want to write poetry. I want to learn how to write better. I have things to clean--this goes through my head and more, everyday. Generally, I clean and dick around the internet. Woo.

    4.) I forgive easily but I do not forget. If some one wrongs me, even if I say I have forgiven them--I tend to start building walls, or shutting them out quietly bit by bit until I have placed suitable distance. What I mean by that, is, I sort of slowly remove myself from them while being as polite and nonchalant as possible--and generally tend to make them have to some how earn my trust again to get the process reversed...Or they don't, and eventually I am just completely gone all together. Bad habit, that!

    5.) I never used to have a shoe fetish. As I have neared and now passed 30, I have a drive to want to own every shiny pair of shoes I pass. Pretty shoes, comfy shoes, slipper-shoes, funny shoes, high heels...I would literally have many pairs to wear different shoes a day. I do not know where this came from. When I was a child, we had money enough for a pair of shoes. Normally, THE pair that fit me at the time and I did not get another pair until I either grew out of them or they were falling apart. When I first met Shawn, I had a pair of WALMART sandals. That was it. I wore those for two years before I met him and wore them for another four/five after. Eventually, I wore the soles out until there were holes where my toes and heels were and had to get new shoes. Perhaps the sandals were magic sandals against shoe addiction--after that, I have turned into a payless beast. Well. I would. If Shawn would let me.

    6.) I am going through my pink and sparkly phase for a second time. The first time was probably between the ages of 3-10. I wandered away from it for a while and now that I am 30 I am once again obsessed with the color pink and/or glitter. Some times the two of them together. I want to be surrounded by pink things and I am not sure what that means/where it came from.

    7.) Significantly growing more foul in the vocabulary area as I grow older. I have to catch myself from saying "fuck," in public with people I don't know, because, "I don't fucking know, that fucking guy with the fucking face," is the nominal frequency fuck is used when I talk to Shawn some days.

    8.) This last year I just up and developed dandruff. I have never had a damn flake. I have switched to a different regiment of washing and conditioning and finally caved in to trying Head & Shoulders. Both my parents had psoriasis and mentioning Head & Shoulders brought nightmares of this bright blue shit that smelled like medicine cabinets in hospitals + some kind of poop. I am happy to say Head & Shoulders has since then, VASTLY improved, the shampoo & conditioner I have right now smells awesome and not like poo.

    9.) I had three sparkly head bands from Target purchased last year. Cheap kind, not for holding hair back per se but for glittering and shimmering on your head. Secretly, I pretended the silver leopard sparkly, red and black head bands were tiaras. This appeased me for some time until 2 of them snapped. The last one, my sparkly leopard spotted one is still alive but the plastic is creaking. I will be very sad when it goes.

    10.) Some times my cat is so overwhelmingly adorable I scoop her up and tell her that she's so cute that I have to eat her. So I gum on her head like a retard while making fake chewing motions, get hair all in my face and mouth and top it off with really loud OUM NOM NOM noises.

    Welp, there's my ten random FAQ's ya'll probably really didn't want to know about me! How's about you?

    Oct 28, 2008


    Pastel touches canvas,
    giving light to shaded background.
    I'm coloring myself unwanted.

    Memory coughs down another lecture of perspective
    and I'm ignoring it, blending grays away until
    I explode; whispering bright patterns against the dull.

    I live my pretend life in pretend beauty,
    crying with angels,
    dancing with spirits,
    kissing pretty boys on their pretty mouths;
    happily forever after into a sunset I painted lemonade.

    My reds bleed to wistful pink mists,
    my forest greens to neon envy.

    If I painted reality it would be black and gray and
    tears all over.

    My mind is the turpentine to all my dreams

    Oct 25, 2008

    This is what I dreamed last night

    My name was Vanlanthiriel. My hair, caught in spirals and waves was as pitch as the night without any moon or stars and my skin was white as new milk. Long lines and bones for my beautiful hands, which time had never touched.

    It could be said that I was the epitome of beauty, the cliché of elven standards. And I did not care, as a piece of me had been irrevocably torn from me.

    I was one part of two, one half of one whole--a twin for my brother, Valdaglerion. A spear, a silly little piece of metal was all that it took to shatter the bond of two minds entangled since the womb. My days of having my words finished for me, of laughter, of childhood secrets with heads bent together were no more.

    All that I had left was the echo of words and thoughts which belonged to me. They lacked any life without him, they lacked color. Everything I did in the time after his death became a gray smudge of memory I will never recall.

    Like my namesake, I have always been drawn to water. The peace of the slow winding river, the glitter of evening sun on waves. So it was that I chose the lake my brother and I spent our childhood. Here, the willow, the spruce, the oak and the ash seemed to bend down in quiet respect to the beauty of the water in fresh morning mist. No wind stirred a leaf to sound, only to bob and sway, reflecting little bits of golden sun in the endless sea of green before me. How sweet that the forest mourned me already.

    Barefoot, dressed in white as if a bride, I knew that with my heart turned lead all that I must do is walk forward; I would sink forever and no more would this hole left by Valdaglerion's death ache. So I sank my feet within the cold water and did not think to look behind me, not once, not even when the clear lake eagerly lapped at the edges of my eyelids, wiping away tears I did not know I shed.

    Beneath the water the sounds of the world rushed passed in muted currents, so too were all the colors. I thought this befitting and suitable for my sorrow and was confused for a moment as all of it went away--to the now harsh brightness of day once again. My spine and my shoulders hit something harsh enough for air to leave me, above me sky stretched on forever.

    It was Darson, still in his mithril armor from Valdaglerion's funeral. Our protector, a friend of father's from his younger days. The dwarf, to me, shone so brightly as that I mistook him for a star fallen a moment. How ridiculous, for no star held sun baked skin, long brown beard proudly woven, grizzled features, or tear filled blue eyes--

    "My lady," his voice shook as he berated me. He said things, things which were awful and true. He asked of me if I thought this was Valdaglerion's wish. If I thought this is what he would have wanted of his legacy, what he wanted for his sister. There were little red flowers on the ground as I rolled from him to sob shamelessly into the grass, the same color as the bloom of red upon silk. He bade and begged me to listen, his rocky voice wavering between choked and angry. I did not want to hear, but it was when it sounded as if he would go--that I wailed like a child and caught his hand.

    "Please, don't leave me alone!" There was no music in my words, my voice did not sound like my own.

    It must have been what Darson wished to finally hear, for through the tears in blue eyes, he sat with a great rattle of metal right upon the ground near me and took my hand to his breast. There, he enfolded it in both of his, battle-scarred paws which swallowed the white of my own.

    Shivering wet, sprawled upon the lake of my almost-death, it was there that we both spoke of Valdaglerion, and my sorrow was no longer selfish.

    And then I woke up. Most vivid, realistic dream I have had in ages.

    Oct 23, 2008

    I hate epaulets

    I've been bitching at myself lately to go re-do a lot of the art I drew last year, because it sucked and I have learned a little. Not a lot, but a little to make some of it not suck so hard. Here's one of the images I've reworked:

    Jodiah II by =EpicureanPoetry on deviantART

    As always, visit and click via links if you really wanna look at this horror close up.

    Oct 19, 2008


    Insomnia called, it said: "HA HA LOSER."

    So I practiced drawing my chublicious hands.

    Oct 9, 2008

    What's on your desk?

    Over at SuiteJ, J is inspired by a neat question and after watching his video, I was inspired to see how many of you I could frighten away and take a break from anything too official-sounding. Can't let you guys think I've gone all normal on you, can I?

    So I made a video showing off all that's on my desk, too.

    What's on your frakkin' desk?

    Oct 1, 2008

    Two Phat Geek's simple secrets to a happy marriage.

    I see them every where on the internet, “top ten ways to make your relationship last!” and, “top seven ways to make your wife happy for the man who really likes to kick himself in the groinal area.” Let’s not mention the ads on television for 29 dimensions of pay-us-and-you’llOMGTOTALLY be so happy! Shove all this crap the internet is telling you about relationships and how to make them last, and let us crotchety geeks tell you how it’s really done.

    It’s okay to fart.

    And I don’t mean for you to run down the hallway to your loved one right now and let one rip that would make any burly woodsman proud.

    What I mean is this: be honest about who you are. Don’t present a false you for someone to fall in love with, because chances are that several weeks, months, or years into the relationship when the curtain finally arises on the real you…Your partner may end up disenchanted, to say the least, in what's happened to her 'perfect prince,' or his 'princess.'

    Read the rest of the article here.

    We've an RSS feed if you'd like to follow it with your favorite reader: 2phatgeeks RSS

    And last but never least, you could just visit, bookmark us, and tell me I'm as weird as I am on Blogger, there.

    Sep 29, 2008

    I have a horrible secret. It's been burning in my guts for...all day.

    Guys, guys--I'm not perfect.

    I have proof. I have video proof.

    Over at 2phatgeeks I posted a nice video clip of my recent bloopers.

    You can watch me humiliate myself here: Video bloopers


    Sep 27, 2008

    The Top 10 surefire ways to make your husband think you are absolutely insane

    A new post over at 2phatgeeks I thought you'd particularly enjoy.

    The Top 10 surefire ways to make your husband think you are absolutely insane

    "....Stay up more than twenty four hours. In fact, go for beyond three days if possible until the carpet starts waving like the ocean at your feet. When you finally feel like your brain is ready to let you slip into a sweet, sweet coma grab your pajama pants and:
  • Attempt to put your foot into them without looking. Trust me, when you’ve gone forever without sleep and you feel like you’ve just gone the distance with a kegger or two, it’s nigh impossible to do without killing yourself and taking several other people with you.
  • Fall flat on your face immediately after trying to put one single toe in a leg of your pajamas.
  • Rise up triumphantly, giggling madly, and wrap the jammie bottoms around your head as if you were a beggar woman from Soviet Russia (where Jammies eat YOU). Ask him clearly if he “would like some bread?” in an awful Russian facsimile accent."

  • Read the rest of the article here.

    We've an RSS feed if you'd like to follow it with your favorite reader: 2phatgeeks RSS

    And last but never least, you could just visit, bookmark us, and tell me I'm as weird as I am on Blogger, there.

    This moment of proud WordPress whoreage was brought to you by the letter Mel, the number: Shawn, and the words 'Proud to be odd.' This has not been endorsed by the millions of dollars I wish it was.

    Sep 25, 2008

    Five Signs that your pet cat may be Sick.

    Originally written and posted on

    Cats can't rely on the power of words to tell us something is wrong. How are we to know if they're sick or not? Here are five simple signs to look out for when kitty is feeling bad.

    Cats and humans have coexisted for thousands of years. They're warm bundles of precocious sun-napping love that can change a cat-owner's life for the better. From filling an empty house with sound and mischief, to comforting us when we least expect it--living with a cat can be rewarding in its own right.

    Just like us, however, cats can and often do fall prey to numerous things; aging, disease and illnesses. Unlike us, however, cats can't tell us what is wrong. The natural instinct for most cats when falling ill is to hide symptoms as long as possible. This is a throw-back from when most cats roamed about in the wild. Predators often look to hunt the weak and the sick; the longer a cat could hide his or her illness, the longer they could stay off the next-to-eat food list.

    Given their habit to hide their illness, one would think it'd be next to impossible then to actually tell if they are sick or not. This isn't exactly true! There are subtle behaviorial changes a sick kitty will exhibit and with a little education and a sharp eye, you can learn how to spot when kitty isn't feeling well and is in need of Veterinarian help!

    • Drunk and or stumbling about. For those of you who may remember what kitty was like after he or she returned home from his or her surgery to be spayed or neutered, you may already know the behavior above. Kitty tends to be very, very groggy, as if unable to wake up fulling. He may stumble into walls, chairs, or other furniture pieces that he has never stumbled into before. She might have trouble opening her eyes fully or trip over her own paws. Cats which are weaving and wobbling about suddenly are a blatant indication that something is wrong with him or her.
    • No longer using the litter box. A cat that has never had issues using the litter box, suddenly begins peeing all over your favorite clothes, carpet, bed or any other place other than the litter box, pay attention! Cat's that abruptly change behavior for no reason are often trying to tell us in their own way, something is wrong. Granted, bringing in a new cat, changing the kitty litter brand, not cleaning out the litter box often enough can bring about this behavior--if you have: a clean litter box, been using the same brand, haven't introduced any new cats? Consider this a signal that kitty is giving to you that something might be wrong! Note: a cat straining in the litter box, meowing and/or crying while using the litter box is an emergency situation. Do not hesitate! Call your Vet or an emergency animal hospital A.S.A.P!
    • Excessive Lethargy or listlessness. This one might seem a little more difficult to diagnose, as we all know, cats just love to sleep! Cats are known for sleeping at all hours of the day in between play, so often it is easy to mistake lethargy at first, for normal cat behavior. Some things to keep an eye out however is excessive lethargy. Has kitty suddenly stopped responding to your voice, your touch, or his or her favorite toy? Is there a sudden delayed reaction to any of these? The actual cause of lethargy can be many things but it is definitely an underlaying symptom of something wrong!
    • Sudden complete change of behavior. Perhaps you have a very anti-social cat which tends to like to be left alone and hides most of the day. Suddenly, he's in your lap and begging for pettings, following you around the house and generally being the complete opposite of what he's been for years. Maybe your cat originally was very affectionate, friendly and social. Out of no where one day, she turns into a hissing, biting, scratching fur-machine, making your life miserable. Abrubt changes in behavior are a loud and clear signal that something is wrong.
    • Changes in appetite: ravenous or refusal to eat. A dainty eater that picks and chews at a few of her dry food pieces, overnight, starts ravenously gobbling down all of them and cries for more. A messy, enthusiastic cat who tends to eat his share and then tries to eat the dog's food and yours, abruptly stops eating all together or eats too little. Severe changes in a cat's usual appetite is another major signal that things aren't all as they should be.

    The most important thing to remember when keeping an eye on your cats health is this: generally cats have subtly been trying to tell us something is wrong for days, weeks, and sometimes months. Most often, by the time cats are displaying some of these behaviors, it is often because something serious is going on. If you have a cat exhibiting any of these behaviors, consider taking them as soon as possible to your local Vetrinarian! There's no way of telling how long our cats have been hiding symptoms to a larger problem and how long they've been sick!

    All it takes to make sure our pawed-companions lead a longer, healthier life is just a little more observation on our parts!

    Sep 24, 2008

    Guppy and I practicing our evil laughs

    Practicing my evil laugh with my buddy Guppy as well as a rousing game of Peek-a-boo.

    Sep 23, 2008

    Why I fell in love with a game I'd never heard of.

    I can't remember how I originally heard of the game, The Saga of Ryzom. It happened just when I finally lost interest in struggling through grinding villas day in and day out in Age of Conan.

    Age of Conan? I still love, I really do. It is without a doubt a game that actually outshone Vanguard, and when I played Vanguard, I thought it was the most amazing graphics MMO wise (that I'd seen,) yet. AoC blew this out of the water, several times and twice on Sundays. I reflect and think about AoC on occasion, much like I did with Vanguard. But it was over, this love affair. AoC forgot to give content to those of us over 50. Quests that did not take a full group to do any of them disappeared, crafting was FUBARed beyond recognition, and hitting the same 20-40 minute instances with the same mobs, with the same drops, every day (because there was a timer on the villas. You could only do them once every 24 hours) was not my cup of tea.

    But what did that leave me? Nothing but the quest to fiddle with free to play games.

    I tried to get a hold of the international Perfect World (as I had the Malaysian version)--that didn't work out. It took them four days to send me the first account verification e-mail. By the time I got it, it was no longer valid. The second try, I made an account but could not sign into the site nor the game itself--no matter how many times I changed my password at the site itself. So needless to say? I gave that up too.

    And then I found Ryzom in my boredom inspired search. I was actually entertained.

    What's a sandbox MMORPG?

    A sandbox MMORPG can pretty much be summed up by saying there is no limit on what you can do. There's no one forcing you to do quests, to collect this-many-whatevers, there's...nothing hampering you doing whatever it is you want to do. They give you a MMORPG world, you create a character, they slap you on the back and tell you, "Good luck!"

    What are the classes?

    There are four main/base classes: Fighter, Magician, Harvester, Crafter. Those are just the base classes. Each of these classes split into several different talent trees (those of you familiar with the old SWG will get what I mean.)

    If you don't know what I mean by talent trees, it's sort of like this: You decide to work on your fighting skills. You put on some armor and a sword, and from roughly levels 1-50, you work on fighting. You hit 50, and suddenly your fighter xp branches off into four different trees. (This is just an example, not 100% accurate.) Now your xp trees are: sword, spear, mace, hammer, and depending on what weapon you equip and use you gain experience in that tree and are able to use special attacks tailored to that tree.

    Magician, of course, can also be healer as well as offensive magic slinger. Crafters can focus and craft anything--jewelery, light armor, heavy armor, weapons, tools.

    Here's the deal though: you can be a magician fighter crafter harvester. All at once. There are no penalties and the base skill trees all go up to 200. But wait, it's not just the base skill trees that go up to 200. It's all the trees that split off from the base trees too.

    You could, literally, spend years trying to level everything up if you wanted too without fear of penalty. Other than leaving other skills behind in the dust.

    What are the graphics like?

    I won't lie to you. They're severely outshone and outdated compared to other games. If you want to get right down to it, WoW in it's Alpha state might be on par or equal to Ryzom. This might drive some of you off, as I know it did for my husband. He just did not like the look of Ryzom, to him it was too brightly colored and cartoonish.

    On one hand, I can understand and agree with where he comes from. Comparing it to Age of Conan, Hellgate London, Vanguard, even Warhammer Online? They make this game look closer to an 8-bit creation. But Ryzom has its charm that I cannot deny.

    The world seems absolutely huge. When it is laid out before you flat on the map, it doesn't look so bad. And then, when you try to get to point A to point B for the first time, you realize how difficult and how expansive the world of Atys (the planet the game is placed on) really is.

    If the world is so huge, what's travel like?

    The world can be traveled somewhat, however, without the use of feet. You can use "teleporters" placed by two of the world's factions, Kami or Karavan. Of course, you aren't limited to picking a side to actually use them. There are Kami/Karavan neutral teleports all over Atys.

    There are also mounts for sale--the downside to both teleports and mounts is that they both cost money, and they aren't cheap when you are starting out. You'll need to spend some time either farming materials, harvesting or crafting/selling in the beginning to get around.

    I don't like to farm. I don't like games where I have to farm.

    Show me a MMORPG where you never have to do this and I'll put something here other than me rolling my eyes.

    Okay, maybe that's me being the usual cranky h0r. Some games are more clever at hiding the farming, some games aren't. I will admit that Ryzom isn't--but I am having fun with this game so I really don't notice it. I guess that's what will predetermine whether or not its farming or fun to you.

    Aren't there Quests?

    Yes and no. Once you are out of the beginner area, called Silan, there aren't any real quests as there were on the "newb island."

    They're not even called quests in Ryzom, but Missions. Almost all of the Missions on Atys proper (away from Silan) are for faction points.

    How do you level in Ryzom?

    Kill, craft, or harvest. It seems pretty simple and presented that way, it is.

    Can I customize my fighting abilities/magic/harvesting/crafting?


    Everyone starts off with the same basic spells/skills and can then, as they level, earn points toward "purchasing" upgrades which made each skill/spell unique. A better explanation of this system can be found here:

    While the post is a bit outdated, you can get a gist as to what it's like.

    What makes it fun, then?

    There is nothing in this game forcing me to do anything I don't want to do. If I don't want to group and mindlessly kill for hours on end? I don't have to. I can find a nice patch of resource rich land, keep an eye out for things that will aggro me, and dig away to my hearts content or craft away until my eyes cross.

    If I get tired of crafting, I can ask if anyone is interested in killing anything that moves for levels and do so. If I get tired of all of that, I can wander off and role play.

    The community I have found within Ryzom bears a striking resemblance to the community I first found years ago in SWG (Star Wars Galaxies), and in fact, a lot of the player base purportedly comes from SWG pre Sony-FUBAR...And I believe it. Though I haven't found any names familiar, the attitudes, the "tone" of people as well as the general way people treat one another remind me greatly of my early days playing SWG. Where the people made the game stand out, not the game itself.

    Too long; didn't read:

    Ryzom Pros:

  • A great community
  • Endless customization level wise
  • Complex crafting/harvesting system
  • A huge world with great environments despite the limited look an aged game has
  • A small, thriving community of role players
  • Free to play at this moment

  • Ryzom Cons:

  • Learning curve: it is steep for those of us used to having a game give us a tutorial or walk through in the beginning. A lot of the missions aren't explained very well, there is no "quest book" that records NPC instructions. You have to pay attention to what the NPC's say to you in speech bubbles when you first pick up their missions because that is the only time you get any in depth information as to what you are doing.
  • Travel is expensive by transporter/mount and very dangerous by foot
  • Missions are generally not worth it but for faction
  • It's an old game with aged graphics
  • There are bugs with the system used to mark flags on user map. If the game crashes, you some times lose the file
  • Some players complain of lag (I haven't seen any of it yet.)

  • So there you go. I play Ryzom for the people. The fact that it is, as of right now (they may not always be) free to play helps but it wouldn't make me stay as much as the group of crazies I'm occasionally thrown into. There is something about Ryzom that charms me which I cannot quite explain as well as I could with other free to play games which captures and keeps me.

    Screen shots by House Etchmarc and yours truly :D

    Sep 22, 2008

    So you want an uber guild, eh?

    Medieval Carpenters guild etching

    In MMORPG’s, the guild is often a welcome addition to any game. Should you PVP, your guild generally has your back but that’s not the only plus in having an excellent guild! Here’s a chance to socialize with people like minded, often online when you are and generally available to group with, without the rigmarole of ‘you get what you LFG’ for as well as PUGS.

    Running and maintaining a guild however can often suck the fun right out a game for guild leaders and officers. When they aren’t having fun the entire guild often picks up this emotion and echoes it back. Throughout my rather illustrious (read: geeky) career of MMORPG’s, being a guild leader and officer, there have been some really interesting opinions and things I have learned as to what I think makes or breaks a good guild and lucky for you, I’ve written them up and offered them here.

    By no means am I saying that a guild has to be run this way. These are just a collection of my thoughts and opinions and I hope they help you!

    DO NOT:

    • Mock your members openly in public places. And I’m not talking the fun mock you do in guild chat when they slip up and mistype or misspell. Calling your members stupid, their issues or anything they wish to privately share with you stupid is a great way to alienate guild members from you.

    • Allow your guild officers to do whatever they want because they’re officers. Nothing sends a clearer “You’re not important, we’re not really a group, you’re not as awesome as we are, poo on you” than this do as I say, not as I do behavior.

    • Allow your fellow guild leaders to do whatever they want because they’re guild leaders.

    • Allow yourself to do whatever you want because you created the guild and that somehow makes you moar speshul than everything else.

    • Forget to make some place some where for fellow guild members to meet and chatter that is outside the game. A message board, a web site, a chat room--anything to help bring a sense of community to your members is a plus.

    • Ignore what your members have to say, no matter how annoying and repetitive it is.

    • Believe most guilds are a democracy. Few are.

    • Have officer and guild leader drama spill publicly—be it in guild chat or boards. Present a united front whenever possible. If and when you lose an officer in a particularly nasty /guild leave, save face by staring down anything nasty they have to say by remaining calm and polite. Who do you think will come out looking like the better?

    • Snap, treat discourteously, or be rude intentionally to your guild members. Even if you think they deserve it. Your members are your guild’s life. You don’t HAVE to like them, but as an officer or guild leader you do have to work with them.

    • Be unavailable to members when online with your guild leader or officer character. When you signed up for this gig, you signed away your privacy in game for that officer/leader avatar/toon. Be prepared to be PM'ed and in-game mailed.


    • Keep your gripes about members, rants, issues to a private place far away from member’s eyes. I don’t begrudge guild leaders or officers the right to blow off steam. Make sure it remains private, however.

    • Expect and demand your guild officers to uphold and follow your guild’s rules and charter just like every other member must. If they break a rule, then they should be punished in the exact same manner you have deemed fit for a member.

    • Listen to your guild members, even when it’s the fiftieth time George the Wizard has complained to you about the epics purple unicorn hat that has been bugged for weeks that everyone knows about. George probably just needs an ear to listen to him, and guess what? As guild leader or officer you unofficially signed up to do this. If listening to people gripe and complain gets on your nerves you might want to consider rethinking your position—because you will be doing this for your entire tenure as guild leader/officer.

    • Be courteous, kind, and polite. Whether you know it or not, part of the job guild leader/officer is customer service. You signed up to be the ears and eyes for either the guild leader as officer, or the head/boss of a group of people. Therefore, not only are they all going to look at you as well as to you for examples being lead, they’re going to want to talk to you and bring their issues or problems to you. Officers will either be expected to bring such issues to the guild leader, while working to keep any ruffled feathers smooth. If you are a jerk to your members, the only message you’re getting through is that your guild doesn’t care and you might find yourself out of a few dozen members. Quickly.

    • Know the difference between being honest and just being crass and rude. Honesty is a hard pill to swallow, but you can still be bluntly, brutally honest with someone without calling them names, resorting to swearing, mocking or dragging their name through the mud. For example: “Well you can’t get that piece of epix gear because, quite frankly, you suck.” Or“Well, I think that you might not be able to get that piece of epix gear because you might be doing something wrong. Here’s what I think: …" See the difference?

    • Put your foot down and don’t be afraid to do so. There is no reason for any guild leader or officer to put up with really nasty crap for a long period of time. Despite all your best efforts of being polite and reasonable, some members or people just won’t get it. Don’t be afraid to cut these members loose. Deal with continuously problematic members without hesitation or fear, courteous does not mean you need to be a welcome mat. You can be a nice hard-ass and you will no doubt learn how to do so as a guild leader or officer.

    • Have as much fun as possible with your members and fellow officers, leaders. If you aren’t having fun in a game you’re paying to play—well—what are you doing playing it?

    • Try and keep your officer and fellow guild leader roster full. No one can run a guild by themselves, no matter what they say. Burn out happens, real life happens, computer trouble happens. Eventually the inevitable might come to pass, and if the guild only has one leader, where does that leave the guild?

    • Take breaks. When you find that you just want to throttle someone, find yourself yelling at the monitor or disliking the game that’s a good sign that you might want to take a break. It’s also a great way to avoid burn out which happens a lot in officer/leader positions. Tell your leader or fellow officers that you need some time away and go do other things to refuel and recharge.

    There are no doubt hundreds of other little things you, as a member, officer, or leader can do to ensure a kick-ass guild experience, but these to me are the most important. Hope these have helped you in some way and happy gaming!

    Mar 29, 2008

    First: I'm really sorry that I haven't updated here.

    That doesn't mean I am not updating, however. Shawn and I have recently re-upped a self-hosted WordPress blog at

    In it, my husband and I (mostly I) update nearly every day with more of my witty comments about body hair and gas with cat poop and socks. Should you like, (I know I would!) you can join me over there at and read more about us, check out some of my digital photography, comment, rate articles, poke me on twitter and be nosey about all kinds of things!

    I look forward to seeing you guys there!

    Feb 21, 2008

    Aging with grace and style

    My body doesn't want to do that at all.

    Really. Because if it did? If my body wanted me to age with grace and style? I wouldn't notice every month or so while scrubbing my face at the mirror the small fucking beard of blond hair on my god damned chin.

    It started with one. Just one, innocent, fat, long blond hair that was thicker and far more rude than the fine blond hair that has covered my entire face for my entire mammalian life. Eyeing it with suspicion and hatred, I did what many braver women have been doing long before the dawn of chemicals--I grabbed an implement of tor--I mean, tweezer, and yanked that motherfucker out of my chin. Satisfied, I continued on about my life marginally pleased with my beardless face.

    And then it happened some time last year.

    There were more. There were more of these longer, thicker christly little hairs on my god damn chin.

    Well. They weren't dark, it wasn't like I was growing something that I could mousse and style into a fine upstanding British monstrosity that shits the queen--but, I had noticeable hair. On my chin. Longer, thicker, hair. On my chin!

    So I pluck again. But instead of a one second of pain that passes quickly, I now have four or five seconds of eye watering, butt clenching pain. Have I tried slathering sticky shit all over the bottom of my chin, then pressing a piece of fabric or plastic over it, smoothing it in, then ripping it away with a sound that I imagine flesh being shred from bone sounds like? Have I for that moment, experienced the shrieks of my skin as I tear hair, root and all? I have. Did it work? No.

    It got some but not all. Forcing me to still pick up those hellish little forceps of face-rape known as tweezers.

    And so this morning, as I am recovering from another round of grooming myself before I turn into a passable beer-gutted trucker from Mississippi, I try and reflect upon aging gracefully with style as I imagine other great ladies in my family, past and present have done.

    None of them warned me about the growing a god-damned beard.

    I suppose by the time I hit 60+ and my hands get too arthritic and palsied to hold a tweezer, I can always buy myself a packet of those terribly pretty little glass beads and make myself look like a female Captain Jack Sparrow.

    Feb 11, 2008

    I Love love

    I hated valentines day with a passion. I was the greasy haired, too-large-for-face aviator frame glasses, chubby cheeked, awkward, no-sense of fashion high school girl. I typically crushed from several miles away or crushed on the unobtainable.

    I had little to nothing going for me until puberty hit and I grew boobs.

    Boobs, however, did not help you out on Valentines day, when watching from the sidelines all the pretty golden blond girls received their 34232323232 valentines day gifts, single roses, cards or what have you from friends and admirers as the rest of us just peered out from over our copies of David Eddings fantasy books or D&D manuals.

    Some times the feeling would ease when I was in a relationship; but I admit that all of my relationship choices before hand were simply awful. Most of them didn't even show much affection day to day, let alone on one day out of the year.

    I chalked it up to being a day marked for forever-bitterness and shoved it out of my mind.

    And then something really odd happened this year, and I don't quite think it all has everything to do with my husband, Shawn. (Sorry babes!)

    Between the raging emo of my twenty ninth birthday, disillusion of Christmas and the mouse like quiet passing of New Years--I realized that not only was I alright with Valentines day--I was looking forward to it. Yes, I knew and still know it, like every other holiday, is over commercialized and most tend to focus on the money-end of it...But something about the day just appeals to me greatly.

    Maybe it's my vow to self-improve. Maybe it's because I am tired of beating myself up day in and day out as well as reading it in some pretty amazing, astonishing and beautiful people. Maybe I just love the fact that on top of taking everyday to tell the people I love, (not just romantic love, or sexual love, or crush love) how much I love them--we have an entire official day dedicated to love.

    Realistically, I'm probably just turning into a sappy bitch. But I like it all the same. Spread the love, or don't. It's all up to you.

    Feb 7, 2008

    She also bakes cookies at three in the morning

    Yes. You heard me. I started the dough too late, it's one of those recipes you have to the dough in the fridge for 2-3 hours after making it so....I didn't get to making the cookies themselves until midnight.

    When I started everything it was midnight. Now that I am finished and finally posting about it, it's almost six am. Wow. I am a slow cookie maker!

    I don't mind too much, I've screwed my sleeping schedule up again to being up at night and asleep during the day now, so why not. It's not like anybody thinks I'm normal anyway, why not bake at three am?

    We didn't have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, so Shawn brought home one of these heart-shaped little vase/desk top pen holder things. The first few cookies that came from me using that are just AWFUL. The cookie shape came out like, "woop, Grandma's been hittin' the bourbon" squiggily and..lumpy.

    So I cut out a piece of the cover on my construction paper pad in the shape of a heart and have been using a knife to cut out hearts in the dough. For your viewing pleasure, I present to you:

    The speshul cookies

      1 cup butter or margarine, softened
      1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 egg
      2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1 teaspoon cream of tartar

      Powdered Sugar Glaze, if desired:
      1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
      3 to 3 1/2 tablespoons milk
      Decorations, if desired

    1. In large bowl, beat butter, 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, the vanilla and egg with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover; refrigerate 2 to 3 hours or until chilled.

    2. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured cloth-covered surface, roll each half 1/4 inch thick. Cut with 3 1/2-inch heart-shaped cookie cutter. On ungreased cookie sheet, place cutouts 2 inches apart. If desired, sprinkle with colored sugars.

    3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until delicately golden. Remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.

    4. In small bowl, mix glaze ingredients until smooth and spreadable. Spread glaze over cookies. Decorate with decorator icings.

    High Altitude (3500-6500 ft): No change.

    ...So. Uhmm. Who's coming over for some cookies?

    Feb 6, 2008

    God damn game is god damned cute. God damn it.

    As some of you might notice from shuffling through the games tag of my journal, I've sort of become a free-game addict. I think it all started with joecifur's urgings to try Trickster Online.

    Recently trolling through the long list of unending grind fests, I found myself bored with what to do in between waiting for Shawn to come home and play guild wars with me and everyday chores.

    Enter Dreams of Mirror Online. Is it the cell shading that I love? Perhaps the fact that they have mimicked a lot of what worked for each free game and muddled it all up in one ball. It helps that the game is 100% free to play.

    Or maybe, it is because the god damn game is so god damn cute.

    Feb 4, 2008

    Don't it make my bad pics, god?

    With film, photographers can fiddle with things in the darkroom, play with chemicals and other things to make unique photographs, or help their image stand out.

    With digital photography, I am learning that a good editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop, becomes my dark room.

    At the moment, I am experimenting with adjustment layers, burning and dodging, color and saturation adjustment. When I am comfortable tweaking such things, (As in: learning how to not take it so far as for an image to be glaringly unnatural looking) I'm going to move into other effects--such as vignettes, perhaps fake dirt, dust, noise and aging as well as other digital touches.

    I'd like to think that despite the medium, digital or traditional, practice makes perfect.

    Most of it depends on how well of a shot I got. I still can't fix stupid in adobe, so that's good. But I can at least learn how to fix overexposed or too much grain. :p

    Here are some before and after shots of my learning. They aren't going to be stunning or perfect, but I'm open to any advice or reactions!

    Yellow flower before and after:

    Before editing|

    After Editing

    Before editing

    After Editing

    If anyone is interested in how I came about these changes in photoshop, I learned the basics of it from a video tutorial at deviant art, uploaded by an amazing nature photographer, Kev Lewis. The tutorial is here: Image Processing in Adobe Photoshop. Keep in mind before clicking that it will play as soon as it loads.

    Feb 3, 2008

    Surrounded by people, she played with forks.

    I missed my walk tonight because there was an award ceremony for the SCCU (Space Coast Credit Union) workers. As part of my little 'self-improvement' promise to myself, I told myself I'd get out to socialize. This, I thought, would be a perfect opportunity to do so, and it was.

    Robin and Laniese (or, the Twins, as I was wont to call them) are really, really kick-ass.

    I enjoyed the evening's mocktivities with these two lovely ladies, who are also able to work with Shawn.

    I took 160+ pictures of the evening and no one seemed to mind. Out of those I only think a small handful turned out really, really well.

    Feb 1, 2008

    My Moment of Brilliance

    My moment of brilliance starts by me making tea. Tea at the moment is not a complicated sort of deal since I have run out of loose leaf and am back to using Oolong tea in bags.

    I found a lovely little thermal mug in a neat shape on my way to making tea. It's small at the top, then ballons outward. I was happy to find this, because often I make tea or coffee for an accompaniment to whatever it is I am doing. Surfing through Stumble Upon, looking through Deviant Art, and lately, painting or writing. So this little mug will help me keep my tea and coffee nice and warm, because I am a picky whore and like hot things hot.

    So, I do my tea-thang, yo. Put water in microwave, heat, remove from microwave. Pour into cup with tea bag and bring it back to the computer. I sit down, put the little two-holed cover over it and settle in to paint a bit and browse in between. All is well.

    OR IS IT?

    A few sips here and there go well. I filled it a little too full and it floods the cap a little. No big deal, right? So without paying attention I tip it. A lot further than I should have. After that, I really didn't think because:

    a) I had a mouthful of blistering hot tea
    b) I wanted it out of my mouth THAT. VERY. INSTANT.

    So what did I do?

    Open my mouth and spit it out into my hand.


    Which I promptly flailed and shook it about as any idiot realizing they had HOT TEA in their HANDS.

    This of course, meant the rest of the HOT TEA landed on my right tit.

    I now have a burnt mouth, a burnt thumb and forefinger, and a burnt right boob.


    Have you had a moment of 'brilliance' lately? What did you do?