Friday, July 14, 2006

5(+) Links, Just in case Just in case you want to watch for squirrels coming to a feeder in someone's back yard. I haven't seen any squirrels yet today, but I am a sucker for this sort of thing, so I'll keep looking.

Bob Bavasi's Just in case you want to know something about baseball in Japan. Today I am pondering the question of whether or not this jersey would make a girl more popular, at least with some guys.

Meathenge Just in case you were hungry for some meat. (No, that is IN NO WAY a reference to the jersey linked above.)

alt.NPR Podcasts Just in case you were looking for a podcast... (Or, how about SomaFM, just in case you were looking for music instead. I groove on Groove Salad regularly. I see that they have a "taste of the week" podcast on the alt.NPR site as well. You can usually find Groove Salad under the "radio" option in iTunes or Winamp too.)

And, just in case you were looking for an online game just a few steps off the beaten path, check out The Saga of Ryzom. There's a free trial. Yay.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

EverQuest, Before and After

I resubscribed to EQ last week to follow Sodi along on a raid. I've played a little on The Sleeper since then... I have a level 5 wizard (female erudite named Lorra) and a level 6 enchanter (male dark elf named Tamin). I am lukewarm on the progression server. It's ok, I guess, but it's not terribly exciting. I was going to be an enchanter, at first, but then I decided I didn't want the responsibility of crowd control. Dishing out the damage is always a blast, anyway, if you'll pardon that bit of wizardish word play.

I am not at all nostalgic for the bad old days, since I didn't really care about EQ for the first 18 months that I had an account. It took me 18 months to get my first character, a human enchanter, to level 18. I played 6 or fewer hours a week for the first year and a half. I only started playing seriously after I had a complete emotional meltdown, and I played pretty seriously for a long time in that sad, broken state of mind. I felt like I had to give up the things that were really important to me and immerse myself in the game so that I could be part of my husband's world and life. He played many, many hours a day, and when I asked him if he'd play with me for a while, he said he felt like time he spent playing with me was wasted time because I wasn't a serious player. The resentment in his voice really hurt me, and I felt like I wasn't going to be worth his time until I was a serious player. Something inside me snapped. It became vitally important to me to prove I was worth his time in the game. I wasn't a terribly stable person, in real life or in the game. I was moody, often angry, and unpredictable. I was trapped between a hatred for the game and all the pain it had caused me, and my love for my husband and desire to be worthwhile to him.

Things have changed. EQ isn't as important to my husband as it once was, and I am starting to return to a more normal life and exploring my own interests again. Things are slowly getting better. The side effect of my personal life improving is that when I play an online game, I do it on my own terms. I still like to log in here and there, just to mess around, but it is more like how I originally played-- just hanging out in the virtual world and fooling around. I am returning to being myself in the real world too, and it feels good.

Unfortunately, most of the people who know me in EQ met me while I was in a rather poor state of mind, and now I feel like the people who know me are expecting me to be the person they knew, and that's just not me. That was me at a bad moment in my life. That's not the person I really am or who I want to be. I don't know how to explain it to them, though. It is frustrating to me, in some ways, and it makes me feel sort of lonely and isolated because all of the people who think they know me don't know me.