Adulting Hardcore [Artist’s Way, Overwatch]

I’ve started the Artist’s Way again- specifically the Finding Water, the Art of Perseverance book.

I have a weird relationship with The Artist’s Way. I’ve found it very useful. But it’s hard to read as an atheist; Cameron does her best to accommodate everyone, sometimes calling it God, sometimes the Universe. Essentially when you open yourself up to being creative, then God (or the Universe) sends you opportunities and gifts and stuff.

To reconcile this with my own beliefs (or lack thereof) I see it as opening yourself up to creativity just makes you open your damn eyes and look around you. Opportunities are there all the time, but usually we don’t think they’re for us, like the delivery person standing on your stoop with a bouquet of flowers. “Sorry, you must be at the wrong house.” Or you don’t even see something as an opportunity. But doing the Artist’s Way helps you look around and maybe just try something you wouldn’t have otherwise.

Julia Cameron either is brilliant or she is knows a good thing to milk: all of her programs have the same basic principle: write 3 pages of longhand every morning. Go on an “artist’s date” alone during the week. She’s also included walking in the program by now, but I don’t think it was part of the first one. But they all focus on a different part of the artist’s life, usually in memoir form.

Finding Water came to me right when I needed it. It’s a meditation for artists who have a career but may be feeling a slump, or imposter syndrome, and how to get your focus back. I picked the book up last year when I was feeling some particular professional jealousy, and read the first chapter. It was just what I needed. (note I said least year; I didn’t start doing the program hardcore until recently. Honestly I hate morning pages. So I do them, drop them, pick them back up.)

I’m starting week 3 now, and I’ll report back in later to say how i’m doing.

I started playing Overwatch (PS4). It was hard for me to warm to because I a) am not good at shooters and b) hate playing online games with strangers. But I should have trusted Blizzard. The only game design they’ve ever done that I’ve disliked is Hearthstone. (I just don’t get it. It’s a card game when I’ve played better card games on other apps. What am I missing? Anyway. I digress.) Overwatch is designed with four kinds of characters: offense (high damage), tanks (high defense), defense (neutralize the other team), and support (healing, buffing.) The vastly different characters offer a style of play that works for different people.

Junkrat, totally not the Evil Midnight Bomber or the Joker.

“You’ll never prove a thing, copper, I’m just a part time electrician…bad is good, baby! Down with government!”

I find myself liking the support characters (Mercy the valkyrie and Zenyatta the robot monk) and the occasional defense characters (Junkrat the Evil Midnight Bomber What Bombs at Midnight and Mei the climatologist). When I play offense I just turn into a smear on the ground, and I have never enjoyed tanks.

What Blizzard has done so brilliantly is take an idea from Splatoon and take it a step farther. To keep people (teen boys) from frothing all over the game with homophobic and sexist slurs, they don’t have a chat function on the console. There isn’t an obvious way to choose a team, although my daughter says it’s possible.* You can do vocal team chat, but since you can’t choose a team you could be playing with people all over the world. The options to communicate with people are signaling in game things like Hello and I need healing. There isn’t a gay slur among them.

You can unlock other things to say. (I unlocked Zenyatta’s saying “I dreamt I was a butterfly,” which I love) You can unlock things to spray on the wall. I am of course unlocking all sorts of awesome skins and sprays and sayings for people I don’t play at all, but I figure the more I play, the more shit I will unlock.

When we got Overwatch, my daughter started playing on my account (long story, misunderstanding, let’s move on) and pushed my level up. I feel like I should apologize to people because it says I’m level 16, but I promise i’m not playing like a level 16 player. So if you see mightymur out there flailing about, blame my kid.

Yeah. All her fault that I’m not good at this game. Totally…

Anyway. I love it. Despite my moans of despair when we are against a team of fucking sniper campers who destroy me the moment I respawn, I actually am having fun. It’s what I needed after last week’s stress of book launches** and turn in.

And so he says to me, you want to be a bad guy? and I say Yeah Baby! I want to be bad! I says Churchill space ponies I’m making gravy without the lumps! Ah ha ha ha ha haaaaa!!!!!

* This is not an official review. I’m just saying this from what I’ve experienced playing the PS4 version. You may indeed be able to do these things, but I choose not to.
** The books are still getting great reviews. I got a very flattering email from someone Friday night – I won’t say who, cause I don’t have their permission, but goddamn, did it make my weekend.

STORIUM, News, and Skyrim tales

The amazing storytelling site I’ve been involved with, Storium, has launched an awesome interactive demo to help new players. It’s free and doesn’t require a signup. You literally have nothing to lose except for 5 minutes of your time. Check it out!

Library Journal just gave Six Wakes and Bookburners some love as well! And Six Wakes got a star! (You DO know that you can really help a book out by pre-ordering, right? Get Bookburners here. Get Six Wakes here.

We’ve gotten the new shiny Skyrim with mod support and better graphics and we’re all playing it with great glee. It helped to kill things during the month when we saw our nation crumble in a dumpster fire.

There are still interesting bugs with a game so intricate. The latest one I encountered had my adopted son begging for a present when I got home. I had a shirt for him, so I gave it to him. He was then immediately naked (with undies, natch) and ran around playing in the rain. Then he went to sit under a tree. In the rain. With no clothes on.

I followed him and tried to talk to him, but “get your damn clothes back on, you fool child” was nowhere in the dialogue tree. So I decided it was my housecarl’s problem and went on adventuring. (I just discovered others have noticed this bug.)

Then there was the time I was being chased by a wolf, ran into a bear, and then a dragon landed on all of us. But that’s another tale.

Call Furiosa. I need help.

I love city building games. Resource management, man, I can play all day making sure that there’s enough power, food, gold, mana, whatever. Make my people happy, that’s my jam.

I also love Fallout. Mix the Stepford 1950’s optimism with a futuristic dystopia, throw in some giant moles and roaches, and you have got yourself a game.

So I got all excited when I saw that Bethesda has done an iOS game called Fallout Shelter where you are an overseer in charge of one of the vaults, and your job is to keep your people working and happy. Fallout and city building. Peanut butter and chocolate, man. We are THERE.

I’ve already brought down two vaults. One fell to a radroach infestation when I wasn’t looking, bodies EVERYWHERE, and the other one is struggling along, trying to make enough food but everyone is dying of radiation poisoning anyway. I’m trying to bring it back but wondering if abandonment isn’t the way to go.

Then I started a new vault. Vault 777. Vault 777 was going to be me learning from my past mistakes. I was set. I had a plan.

A bit of gameplay: the way you unlock new rooms to put in your vault is to increase the population. Sometimes new dwellers show up outside, and later in the game you can build a radio room to encourage other outsiders to come and move in, but until then you have to increase your population the old fashioned way. Not wanting to have my people die at the mandibles of roaches (do roaches have mandibles? I can’t remember…) while their skin is melting off from radiation, I decided to increase my population as fast as possible. I put the women in the living quarters with various men, and the bad pickup lines started flying. Sometimes they danced. (When they’re unhappy, they may still start a courtship dance, and it’s fascinating and terrible to watch. Very emo.) Sometimes magic happened, other times I had to try a new dude in the room.

Then I started feeling uncomfortable. The women come out of the rooms in yellow maternity sweaters and go back to their jobs, and and no one seemed to object to being a brood mare (at least they weren’t painting WE ARE NOT THINGS on the walls), and you can’t accidentally have children sleep with parents (the dialogue is, “it’s so nice to spend some time with my family,” and there is no dancing) but I realized…

I’m Immortan Joe.

pipboyThis? joe

Or this?

All right, I’m not REALLY Joe. I’m not keeping these woman as MY wives. And it was clear that if the romance magic wasn’t happening, the dwellers were content to just dance sluggishly until I gave up and put them back to work – and the women do have important jobs in medicine, water, food, and power to keep the vault running. They’re more important than their lady bits.

Not to mention I’m not a hideous dude with boils.

But still. It’s the future, the world has gone to radioactive shit, and I’m fixing it by making women pregnant. Paint me white and bring me my WarBoys. Valhalla is calling. WITNESS ME.

  • I really hope they fix the crash bugs.
  • Women can’t wear the mayor suit or the tunnel snakes jacket. Are you KIDDING me, Bethesda?