Daily Prompt Reply: Exhale

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Today’s prompt hits me very close to home. I’m not going to be one of these bloggers that reminisce and such, so I’ll keep it as subjective as possible. Hey, maybe my experience may even help one of you out there. I can only hope…

I’ve always been a very intelligent person, and proud at that. As if you hadn’t already realized this by reading my other posts. Throughout my entire life in school all the way through high school, I had never even come close to failing a class, much less a grade. Even though I rarely made the honor roll, it was more from a lack of motivation. Whenever I tested, I tested higher than anyone else in the school, even those on the honor roll. During classes, I grasped an entire chapter from the textbook on the first day of a week-long lesson. My teachers actually got angry at me for NOT letting people cheat off of me. This may seem like me just bragging and talking about how great I am, but I’m not. I’m setting the stage for what comes next.

After I finished high school, I went to college, which is the natural course. However, I didn’t feel comfortable about it. This is a normal thing among college students. Most freshly-graduated, high school students see college as a daunting task lined with hurdles to leap over. Why wouldn’t they? All through high school, at least at the schools that I went to, we were told that college was a cut-throat place where if you didn’t flail in an attempt to swim, you would sink like a stone. While I didn’t believe all of that, I saw that I was always having to be pushed to get the small amount of homework that I did get done in the past. As I said, I wasn’t motivated. I could listen in school, never study, and still ace the test. I knew that no matter the work load, without my parents breathing down the back of my neck anymore, I was going to have issues. My father was willing to listen to these worries, but my mother wouldn’t hear it. I wanted to take a year to get my head straight, but I had $13,000 in scholarships. It’s not the most that I could have gotten, but it’s a pretty impressive amount. My mother was sure that if I didn’t take the opportunity right then, the scholarships would go away, and they might have. I couldn’t argue after that. All my life, I was told that my scholarships had to pay for college because my parents wouldn’t. Not that they couldn’t, but they wouldn’t. So I went.

When I got to college, things seemed alright. The classes were fast-paced enough to keep me involved, the people, though new and strange to me, were friendly and fun, and I was experiencing new things. I got lost in this newness partially. When the work started coming, I would do some, but it didn’t seem like a big deal. The first few assignments I didn’t even do because I couldn’t figure out the website that told us what our homework was. Essays were a nightly thing. Each class demanded a 3-page essay every time you went to class on most days. I don’t know if this is different than other college experiences, but that’s what I got. I am a very quick writer. I could write a 3-page paper that I was interested in in 15 minutes. The issue was that they had us write about these things multiple times, or they would have us write on trivial things. I lost interest, didn’t turn in a few, turned in others late. I thought my test scores would lift the slack like they always did. After a few tests, I looked at my grade. The color drained from my face when I saw the 43% on the screen. Apparently the work and the tests were weighted much differently at this college  than they were at my high school. I spoke with my teachers, and they explained that tests were quite inconsequential there. They were only there as a sort of formality or way to see what they needed to teach more of. I began not only trying to finish every project on my plate, but also everything that I had missed. Sadly, I was barely able to keep up with what I had, much less what I had let slip by. I would miss a class here so that I could finish this paper, and miss a class there so that I could finish that diorama. Eventually the teachers started looking at me sideways, as though I was the student that they didn’t want to see. I would miss a class and think, “I can’t face them after that.” A string of absences started to pull together that I could never recover from. Occasionally I would go to class to just do a test when I hadn’t been in for two weeks. I would ace the test, much to the professor’s astonishment. Then I would go back to my dorm room, and no one would see me for days. My mother lost her job. My dad fell on hard times. Now, even if I pulled things together in the second semester, I would lose enough financial aid that I couldn’t afford to stay. I became so guilty that I began to starve myself. I just wasn’t hungry. The pain of guilt that I felt overcame any hunger pain that I might have noticed. Finally, I had to tell my parents what I had been doing for the whole year, and that out of somewhere around 9 or 10 classes, I had passed two of them by the skin of my teeth. My father practically renounced me, and my mother clearly told me that she gave up on me as a person. I had nothing.

It was at the bottom of this seemingly bottomless pit that I took a breath. What could I do? I couldn’t salvage my classes. I couldn’t go back and changes what I did. I couldn’t talk or reason my way out of it. I couldn’t even manipulate people into it. What was I supposed to do? For once in my entire life, I couldn’t look to the past, and I couldn’t tactically weasel my way out of it. I was forced to look to the future. What could I do? I could move in with my father since my mother wouldn’t speak to me, much less see me or live with me  again. I could get a job to save up for community college, an idea that I loathed during high school. After I completed my required classes, I would have enough savings and aid to transfer to a good university. For once, I felt like I was in control of my own future, and my own decisions. I was calm, and I could see the light at the top of this pit, the echelon that I held myself to before college. I’m still working to get there, but I can see the light.

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Chasm

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I hate these kinds of days. I’m going to describe it, and if you think I’m batty, fine. I’m saying how I feel, and if you don’t feel the same way in this situation, then you can just see an interesting thought and that be it. Of course, if you can relate, I hope this helps.

Have you ever had those days where you run out of things to do? I don’t mean that there aren’t any chores or that you’ve finished a big project, and you’re sort of lost. I mean, you are doing the same thing that you’ve been doing for that past few months, whether it be the same game that you’ve played to death, or if you are at work doing a repetitive task, or whatever your situation might be. The day wasn’t even that bad. Nothing happened that would provoke this. You just suddenly realize, “Well, crap. I thought I enjoyed this, but I really don’t want to be doing this.” The thing is that you have that thought, but then you sort of feel like you are floating over a bottomless chasm. You feel like if you stop even for a second, you’ll fall, but you really want to do something else. Even other things that would be good to do just seem really unattractive, and everything in the world that you could do just feels like it would be seriously lame. You look down in this chasm, and you realize that you’ve been there before. Just sitting there and being completely vegetative, depressed and down on yourself. You really don’t want to go there, but it feels like the other side is slipping away more and more the longer you keep doing this thing that you suddenly really don’t want to do. It’s like you’re in activity limbo where everything else is garbage, but you really don’t want to do the entertaining thing, either. I’m in that kind of mood today, and I despise it. I wish I could get up and do something that I’ve been hoping to do for a long time, whether it be to go out and get the stuff to start learning how to smith, or to really experiment with my cooking, but you need money for all these things. Money is one of the only resources that I don’t seem to have much of at the moment. I have company, too much maybe, friends, support, safety, time, but I seem to only not have money. Funny how you can have all those other things, but without money, they don’t do you much money. Even hanging out with friends requires gas money, considering most of my friends are across the state line. So I’m stuck here, playing games, talking to people about things that I’ve spoken about more than I’d care to admit, and sitting with my thumb proverbially up my ass. Gods, I really do loathe these days.

I know that you are used to much more embellished language from me, but I am a person of many sides. Sometimes you just get the dude side like today. It was a challenge to not make myself sound like a ditz. Well, I do hope that you can relate to this. Currently, I feel kind of alone in this feeling. Feel free to comment if you have thoughts on the matter that aren’t just, “Get outside! Go for a run! Play some sports! Be productive!” We all know these people, and we all glare at these posts for a moment before glancing over to something else. You say this as though we hadn’t thought of it ourselves. You are not helping.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Good Morning!

This is something that I would definitely do. I’m a major morning person, and it’s so entertaining to annoy people with my overwhelming, morning energy. XD

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October 5, 2013 · 3:13 pm

Daily Prompt Response: Eye of the Beholder

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This is a rather hard one for me to write on. Throughout my entire life, art hasn’t really affected me. I just can’t connect. The few that I can, I find myself pondering it, which is a good thing, but I don’t see the beauty of the piece. The impact of the piece is more of how difficult it might or might not have been for the artist. I see the days, weeks, and months that the artist took on the piece. I think of the difficulty levels, the brush strokes, the shapes, the inspirations, the emotions, everything that the casual observer might not see. I never see the piece. I see the artist. I guess that’s more of an uplifting way of seeing it, but sometimes I’d just like to look at the piece and say, “Wow, that’s really beautiful.”

There is one form of art that I react to the piece. I have seen those that didn’t see it as art, but I find these people to be very misinformed on this matter. Classical music. However, I can’t listen to it on an iPod or from the internet. Speakers and headphones, no matter the quality, just don’t carry the same weight. To hear a full concert band in person, to be awash in the tender embrace of those warm vibrations, is heavenly. People talk about how they feel their music, but they talk about how they feel it in their hips or their feet. Classical music… I feel it all over. I can pick out the trumpets, the flutes, the clarinets, and even the gut-moving bass of the tuba line. I played tuba in marching band, and hearing the movement of the tuba line can almost bring a tear to my eye. Find me weird or strange if you’d like, but that’s just how I am, and it’s what I enjoy.

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Daily Prompt Reply: On the Road

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It may be a bit selfish, but the family that I would stay with while real life was paused would be one of the families in the Medieval reenactment towns where they live there indefinitely. It would be mainly to serve a purpose, though. I’ve always wanted to be a blacksmith, but lacked any way to pick up the trade. I have watched good smiths at work, and I find the methodical, rhythmic clanging of steel against steel to be therapeutic. The physical activity in itself would be needed, as well. I’ve been a bit of a lump on a log here at home. I would just want to live with the smith’s family in this town and learn as much of the trade as I could.

Some of you might ask yourselves, “Why not just live with the Amish?” Well, that’s a complicated question. While they are a bit more lenient about modern technology, if only barely, the cons would outweigh the pros. I’m not Christian, which would earn me their distrust and resent, along with the frustration it would cause me. Also, their behavioral code is far more strict than I think I could take. While I am a bit of a discipline freak, I don’t really know their etiquette. I would be in a constant state of paranoia that I might do or say something wrong. Meanwhile, I know much more about ancient history, and I could easily live alongside those in a Medieval reenactment village. It would take me a day or two to learn customs, seeing as I already know most of them. Past that, life is life. It would be nice to learn smithing, even if I only get to do it as a hobby.

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Daily Prompt Reply: Cleaning House

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Reading today’s prompt, I felt like they were talking about more than simple cleaning. “Garbage in your life,” seems more like how you deal with things on a daily basis, so you are going to get an insight into this not-so-humble blogger.

I am much more sensitive to things than I would give myself credit for. In fact, everyone in my life piles garbage onto me daily. It’s not a matter of if someone hurts me or not. It’s a matter of who hurts me less than others. As I think about it, I feel like most people are like this, though I may just be completely wrong. It’s hard to tell with these things. Some people are far more self aware than others. Because of this, even people that do feel the same way that I do might not even know it due to a lack of exploration into their own subconscious. It’s food for thought and fuel for irritation.

Considering my sensitive nature, you would think that I might be completely introverted and a bit of a hermit. While I can be a bit of a hermit due to my borderline obsession with video games once I get into one, I am actually quite an extrovert most of the time. However, I don’t really throw this garbage out on the “cleaning day.” Instead, I take a page out of every child’s book who sweeps their stuff under the bed. I shove everything that I can into the basement, using excuses to myself as the broom. That doesn’t make me bitter, although others might tell you differently. These excuses range from, “They didn’t really mean it. I just took it the wrong way,” to, “I can’t really do anything about it. I just need to not worry about it.”

I will most definitely elaborate on this in future posts under my own topic. If I put it all into one post, this would be long enough to be a college research project.

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Roleplaying Example: Dragon Age

ImageAs you read more of my random thoughts, you’ll see that I’m an avid roleplayer. Anything from Dungeons & Dragons to cosplay to improvised roleplay with video games. Lately, there has been more of my last example. I haven’t gotten to get out that much, so a D&D group or cosplaying isn’t really going to happen. I do have a D&D group, but we only meet every other week. I guess that I could cosplay at home, but be honest with me on this. That is just a little pathetic. I could work on cosplay outfits if I had the money for materials, but I don’t. So I’ve had to utilize video games as much as possible. It’s much easier than you think if you can simply forget the world for a time and put yourself into your character. Of course, this can be difficult in and of itself. A good game for this is Dragon Age: Origins. Dragon Age: Origins is a better option for this than Dragon Age II simply for the matter that in Dragon Age II gives you very limited speech options. Where as in the first, they gave you a variety of options and allowed you to take them how you liked, in the sequel you were given three options that were listed as Good, Evil, or Joking. Occasionally, you would be given extra options to acquire extra knowledge or ask the opinion of party members. Even if you could get past the “Good, Evil, Neutral” stereotype that labeled the options, the reactions of those you are speaking to only match that stereotype, no matter how you try to look at it. It’s just a much more simplified version that makes roleplay much less of an option. Add onto that the fact that they gave way from their attempt at animation to a much more “anime” inspired approach, and I see Dragon Age II as a very poor choice, anyway. 

On to my main point, though, sometimes you just feel like making yourself as a character and seeing what you would do in the predicaments that the game puts you in. For some people, this is all that they ever do. If you are used to roleplaying defined characters, exploring what you would realistically doing can sometimes open up options and avenues that you may never have had in the past. For me, however, it is difficult to do this with many fantasy games, and I’ll be using Dragon Age: Origins as my example. In this game, you can be a warrior, a mage, or a rogue. This basic class system is very accessible and easy to expand upon. However, this in itself is difficult for me. I could be the warrior, seeing my love of melee combat and enjoyment of the sport of it. I also like to defend others, and find a thrill in letting all that energy out. However, I also have the creativity and intellect to be a mage. I love to acquire new knowledge and figure out how things work. And come on. Who doesn’t want to hurl a fireball or two? I could also be the rogue because I like to show some fancy footwork, and I tend to evade until I can find an opening. I prefer to stay light so that I can move freely and not need to shrug off hits. I have some gift with two weapons, and I also love to practice archery. Plus, the ability to kick someone in the crotch as a Rogue in this game is more than worth it. However, there are just as many counter arguments for each one. For a warrior, I am a bit of a pacifist, and I can panic when overwhelmed. For a mage, I am a bit more sturdy than these squishy, support characters, and I love charging in far too much to stand back and cast spells.  For a Rogue, I am a bit more brutish than this finesse class, and I like to get the attention of my opponent far to much to repeatedly backstab. These are only a few of the counterpoints.

As if this didn’t make it difficult enough, there are specializations that you can receive as you level up. As a Warrior, you can be a Champion, a Templar, a Reaver, or a Berserker. The Champion is as much support as anything, shouting in combat and overpowering enemies to inspire allies. Templars are pure, anti-magic. They were obviously an attempt to make a Paladin that wasn’t a Paladin. The fact that they use some amount of magic as a Warrior is also somewhat enticing. A Reaver is really a sort of masochist. As they become more heavily injured, they dish out more punishment. This would be enticing if they weren’t obsessed with the sight of their own blood. Finally, a Berserker is a warrior that uses their anger to fight. The concept would be my first choice, but this is the most ramshackled specialization in the whole game, next to Arcane Warrior for the mages. Their abilities are combinations of things that the Warrior has anyway and Reaver abilities, with the best ability being nothing more than a big hit that castrates you for using up all of your stamina. That might be useful if the ratio for damage was better, but it isn’t worth it.

For Mages, you can be a Spirit Healer, a Shapeshifter, an Arcane Warrior, or a Blood Mage. A Spirit Healer is nothing more than its name. The ability to heal party members without this specializations is next to impossible, but once you take this specialization, you’ll find yourself putting every bit of effort and advancement that you get toward healing until eventually you aren’t even a combatant anymore. Also, they came up with a weak attempt for backstory based on a shift knowledge of the Dragon Age mythos. Shapeshifters are also just what their name suggests. They take on the shapes of particularly dangerous animals for combat. Without the meat and bones behind it, this might be a much less popular specialization, since it is based on the abilities of the game’s single most popular NPC party member, Morrigan. Other than that, the Shapeshifter is a way to successfully make a Mage a front-line combatant that can adapt to different situations. However, it seems that every magical opponent that you find has a strange, innate ability to change you back to your standard shape, which wipes you out, especially if you are in melee already. Also, you almost have to abandon your standard Mage stats for it so that you can be that combatant. Ultimately, it’s only useful half the time because of the Mage NPC auto-change to revert your form. Arcane Warriors are a jurry rigged attempt at combining Mages and Warriors. Sure, you gain the ability to use your Magic in place of Strength to use weapons and armor, but there is an inherent glitch in the PS3 version (which I have). It never switches the damage ratio to your Magic stat like it’s supposed to. It also doesn’t transfer over the hit chance to the Magic stat. So unless you are willing to balance everything between Strength, Constitution, Dexterity, Magic, and Willpower, it’s useless. I don’t know if this is different on other platforms, as I have never used this specialization on PC. Also, if you want to cast spells while using weapons, forget it. Your character puts away their weapon(s), casts the spell, and then draws them again. By that time, the opening you saw for the spell has already passed, and you have been hit about 8 times by whatever you’re fighting. Since the Magic stat replacement doesn’t count for Dexterity, it doesn’t work for ranged weapons like bows and crossbows, so I don’t see why you would castrate yourself in melee like that. It’s a cool concept, and the meat behind it is awesome, but the execution is atrocious. I tried playing it through with this monstrosity, but at higher levels you become nothing more than an escort target, hard to kill but dishing out no damage whatsoever and being more of a hindrance than a help. Finally, there is the Blood Mage. Possibly the coolest specialization in the game due to the mythos behind it, but sorely lacking in execution (seemingly a theme among the Mage specializations). The first two abilities that you get damage you and your allies, making them useless in this game where health is at a premium in combat, and you are often starving for health potions if you are playing on anything but Easy or Casual. Because of this, it’s not even useful until higher levels and will waste two of your skill points to get the better skills later on. The last ones are Blood Wound and Blood Control. Blood Wound does massive damage to anything that isn’t undead or demonic. Blood Control makes an enemy your ally for a disappointingly short time and does massive damage. Sadly, you will find yourself fighting things without blood just as often as you do things with blood, so this is once again only useful about half the time. Anything from undead of any kind to demons to possessed items to freaking trees are immune. Sometimes the game confuses spiders and deepstalkers for not having blood, too, so it’s hit and miss with them. Mage is good if you want to really interact with the mythos, but the specializations need a full overhaul. I get the feeling that they said, “Ok, we need some useful specializations for the Mages fast. What can we work up?”

For Rogues, you can be an Assassin, a Bard, a Duelist, or a Ranger. Assassins aren’t what you would think. They simply apply debuffs and bonuses to backstab without any true backstory or meat to it. The Bard applies buffs to allies and themselves but can’t do much while using these abilities. Thankfully the common backstory of Bards being entertainers makes up for any inconveniences. The Duelist class was a way to make Rogues a viable, front-line combatant, and this is evident in the descriptions of their abilities and stat changes. However, the backstory of them is more than worth it, and their abilities are very worth of, ranging from buffing yourself to debuffing opponents to big hits. However, they hold to their name. If they are outnumbered, they are at a disadvantage. The Ranger is possibly the only option in the game to get pets. You can summon animals for aid, mainly, and that in itself is pretty swanky. However, this class comes without any backstory whatsoever, no explanation of how you got your abilities, or any work to achieve this knowledge. It’s just there for those that want it.

With all the specializations, it gets harder. I could be a Berserker, a Reaver, a Champion, a Shapeshifter, an Arcane Warrior, a Blood Mage, a Duelist, a Ranger, or a Bard. If I really take the time to rule things out, I could still be the Berserker, the Champion, the Shapshifter, the Arcane Warrior, the Bard, or the Duelist. This completely mucks up my early gameplay as I wonder if I made the right choice. Later on, I see things that I would answer differently as different classes, and it makes my current character feel obsolete. The roleplaying isn’t quite the issue most of the time. I guess that I’m just indecisive at times.

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