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.

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    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!