return to rune-midgard

(Back away now, I’m gonna be showing my age XD /gg)

If I wanted to escape into a virtual world back in 2003 — I didn’t do it on websites likes, eh, what was up then? Friendster? But that wasn’t really a place that I would go too often, mostly because there was a lot of local drama mucking around and also I was too much of a noob to decorate my profile page with sparkling gifs and things like that. Wasn’t much of a talker, either, or a chatter, because I was still essentially using a shared computer and anyone in my house could walk past and ask weird questions about ickle bitty me talking to strangers.

So I went out to computer rental cafes instead, and pulled on a pair of headphones, and threw myself head-on into the world of Ragnarok Online.

For a first MMORPG experience, it was — well it was weird was what it was! I had to pay to play, and that wasn’t easy on either a college-student allowance or a pittance of a salary. The connections were sloooooooooooowwwww in the most notorious kind of way. (Why else did we call the game, only half-jesting, LAGnarok?) The mythology and backstory were a confusing mish-mash — especially to me, a long-time enthusiast of Norse stories featuring people like Thor (the one with the beard, before the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and Loki (the actualfax asshole one, not the one that’s been woobified to all the hells and back). The language that I had to learn was far more abbreviated and messed-around-with than text-speak already was.

Oh, and the absolute hassle of being a real-life girl in computer rental cafes full to the brim of overtestosteroned boys. The whole idea of being a girl in “boys’ pursuits”? I was exposed to it for the first time in this world.

(That is a story for another day.)

So there were a lot of problems to being a gamer, and to being a gamer who happened to be female, and to being a gamer who happened to be female and enjoy both swords and sorcery.

But on the other hand: I could escape into another world! I could smash and bash my way out of monster encounters! I could learn things like forging weapons and armor! I could trade for things that I might need!

And, most importantly: I had a community and we were all bound together by a shared, if pretty weird thing in common! I even had the not-so-usual advantage of my virtual gaming group — i. e., the boys I played Ragnarok with on a regular basis — being the boys I hung out with in real life.

Having that sense of camaraderie, and a sense of being able to happily interact with fellow players and enthusiasts all over the country with ease (well, the ease allowed by laggy, laggy Internet connections) — that was the real gift that we all got out of playing Ragnarok.

And then the game got shut down because everyone moved on to bigger and better games. Let’s face it, Ragnarok’s charm — if that’s the right word — lies in the cute factor of its sprites and its monsters, but that can’t hold up for long against games with much more sophisticated and evolved graphics. (Case in point, the games I left Ragnarok for, such as Granado Espada and Atlantica Online.) There’s no point in keeping up a game servers if there’s no one playing on those servers, or if those servers have been overrun by bots and similar poopy malicious things.

So you can imagine how I felt when I heard that Ragnarok was making a comeback!

At first I was like this:

omga

And then I was like this:

gg

So I’ve made my way back to Rune-Midgard and — well.

The more some things change, the more some of them stay the same, maybe?

Or maybe it’s just the fact that I’m playing a really popular game in its first few months of (closed and open) beta, and so: IT’S STILL LAGNAROK ahahahahahaha

/sigh

But still!

I have a chance to go back to this world AND DO THINGS RIGHT THIS TIME /dramatic thunder and lightning flash

(Because the advantage, of course, of coming back to a 2000s-era game is that the guides have all been made and refined and whacked around with, thanks to noodling and tweaking on private servers.)

And now, please check out my girl :)

ragna

Well you can see her character name up there in the left-hand corner. Throwback time? teleute_thanatos was my wizard’s name back during my very first foray into Rune-Midgard, and I’ve gotten attached.

This screenie was taken during the second week or so of open beta, and I was fortunate enough that the initial rush into the servers had already passed me by, which possibly accounts for the fact that this screenshot is not crowded to hell and back with fellow novices.

After getting through the oh-so familiar problems of being a noob again, here is my girl with her current preoccupation in life:

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My novice turned into a swordie, and you can find her in a crowd thanks to a nifty set of feelers. She’s been leveling off giant grasshopper-type mobs called Rockers.

And again, how fortunate can I get? I’m going to be joining a guild, and the members of the guild are people I actually interact with in real life, because they’re my coworkers :)

I’m looking forward to continuing my adventures in Rune-Midgard, with a new set of friends. Expect screenshots in the future.

(Oh, and for bonus comedy gold: What happens when a wee low-level swordie gets left alone on a map called Poring Island, at ass o’clock in the morning?

(This happens.

screenLoki004

(And now she dead of little glutinous blue blobs of monster poop. XDXDXD)

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towel day, the glorious 25th of May, and mixed emotions

I don’t mean to make this a long-winded thing, nor something so heavy. So before anything else: towels!

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Photos taken 25 May at Chili’s in UP Town Center, over margaritas with teammates from the office, who stared bemused at my insistence on walking around in public with a striped beach towel.

Because it was Towel Day, which was also the Glorious 25th of May, and this year ALSO the 40th anniversary of the premiere of Star Wars: A New Hope. So there were a lot of geeky things floating around in the air on that day.

I never would have known about Towel Day if it hadn’t been for the ex-husband. In fact, Douglas Adams, or the ghost of him, was instrumental in the beginning of the sort-of courtship that lasted all of one month before the ex and I fell headlong into our relationship. Handwritten pencil notes in a hardbound copy of The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul: and where did that man who was so teasing and kind to me go? I think of him now as having died.

I just hope he never gets to the geek nirvana that Douglas Adams must now be inhabiting somewhere completely free of Vogon influence.

(Like I said: reclaiming music and everything else. It’s an ongoing process.)

return to distant shores

The soundtrack for this particular blog post is, of course, “Distant Shores”, originally by Chad & Jeremy. The Company did a great cover of it here.

If I seemed to have disappeared over the weekend, well, I had a very good and very compelling reason: I went to the beach.

And I can’t find the words to tell you how I had missed the whole experience so much. Yes, true, I happily and constantly characterize myself as a city rat born and bred. I’ve lived and loved cities all my life.

But I also live in the Philippines, a country of islands, and way too many of those islands are host to beautiful beaches. Sand beneath one’s feet and the constant thrum of the waves rolling up to the shore, and the wide wide wide sky stretching overhead, and the sough of the wind that brings the cries of the seabirds and the laughter of people.

That’s the romantic summer view of a beach.

A view that I hadn’t seen in so many years.

(Of course I’m aware that I live in the Philippines, a country of islands, which is preeminently vulnerable to storms and similar weather disturbances — in which case the beach is not really a place of safety. I know this well. I digress.)

The thing about me is, as much as I love beaches I don’t really have a lot of chances to go. Blame that partly on my inability to drive: and the corollary is, I don’t have a car. I would have gone driving off every chance I got. Part of the blame is also my reluctance to get on public transportation, but that’s me being a natural scaredy-cat and someone who doesn’t like to mix in with crowds of faceless strangers. I’d have spent a lot of my money on bus fare, if that were the case.

I think I spent a lot of weekends being tired and burned out. (Previous job, and also ex-husband.)

So when this opportunity came along thanks to my current place of work, I jumped at it with both hands and feet. Bought the whole shebang of things that I had not owned for over five years: swimming gear, sunblock, sunglasses, the works. Since it was the company outing I was joining, I also happily chipped in for food (someone in my team was going to grill up some seaside eats).

It was pretty much worth it just for the chance to stand on a beach of fine white-gray sands. Just standing at the edge where the waves were washing the shore — it was such a relief and such a lovely thing to find on a fine cloudless high-summer day.

I guess the particular attractions of this stretch of coastline were the following: astoundingly clear waters. The beautiful powdery sand. The fact that it was possible to wade a long way from the shore and still have water coming up just to the hips or to the waist. The rippling carpet of sea grass underfoot, startlingly visible even a long way from the shore.

I must have looked like a fool to be standing on that beach, feet firmly planted in the water and in the sands, looking up into the clear skies and smiling at nothing.

I just wanted to soak it all in.

Which is what I did for most of the day: I lay down in a hollow on the sand and let the waves wash up to me, just to the point where I was okay with getting my ears drenched.

Just lying there, letting all the water roll up, letting the wind whisper its secrets into my ears.

I’m grateful and I hope to return — I mean, now I won’t wait for years to pass till I go back to some other sandy shore.

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Blue seas and blue skies, and the wind and the waves.IMG_20170506_133453[1]

Water up to my knees, refreshing in the heat of the morning, and really that clear. I didn’t do any editing to this other than cropping out my fingers obscuring the top edge of the photo. You can see the ripples of the sunlight and the fine texture of the sand just with this view.

I’ve got to go back and soon. I don’t mind going by myself. Just a beach, with the wind and the waves and the sky.

may the fourth: we remember Carrie

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(Photo actually taken on 3 May, but in my defense, it was late in the night and I wouldn’t have any more opportunities to take photos after midnight. Yes, I wore glitter right on my face at the office.)

(Quiz night with fellow alums of a science high school system? Sweet. Winning with a two-person team? Sweet.

[Thanks to my teammate for obliging me with taking this photo, by the way.]

(Winning an extended tiebreaker round because I watched a telenovela way back in the ’90s? Fucking priceless.)

I take photos of the food on the table because

Because I’m not wealthy, connected, or secure enough that I can hire assassins to storm the White House and kill multiple asshole idiots, at least where not-my-presidents (in the US and in the Philippines) are concerned.

Seriously, the opportunity presents itself. Gleefully. Kill Trump and Duterte and all of their respective lackeys all in one fell swoop. Someone please do that.

And now, food photos.

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I bought a Mickey D happy meal because I wanted to get a Kuromi mirror :) And yes, hey, it’s Chicken McNuggets, and I can’t say no to those.

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A handsome and really delicious Flat White from SGD Coffee, Quezon City, Philippines. This drink revived me after a shift. Go check that place out! It’s at 45 Maalalahanin Street, Teacher’s Village.

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Two of the most elusive donuts in the Philippines, or at least that’s what my Facebook friends believe. And I have to agree: hard to find these motherfuckers, especially when one is craving donuts in the first place. Dunkin’ Donuts, you need to stock your butternut and choco butternut donuts everywhere. I cannot live without them.

updating the pen post

You might remember this one from the very first post on this blog:

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A few months later, here are my pens and their brand-new case.

IMG_20170426_185720I’ve made some changes to the actual pens I’m carrying around — and of course it’s a different case I’m carrying them around in, made necessary by acquiring a smaller purse to schlep my things around in.

And while the new case seems more diminutive, there’s actually enough room in it to carry my blank index cards and, funnily enough, a pair of scissors in case I should need to snip something in a hurry.

The orange seems a little out of character for me, doesn’t it? Well I have to admit I’m starting to fail at looking for dark-colored things in the dark-colored interiors of some of my bags. Hence something that’s very high-visibility.

I hope to add a new pen to my arsenal this year, since there’s a lovely Lamy limited edition coming to my shores this summer.

lipstick fun

I only found out this year that I ought to be wearing dark lipstick — like dramatically dark stuff. And not even red!

How dark is dark? I’ll show you in a moment.

Now I want to comb all the local beauty shops to find dark blue shades. I might even be crazy enough to try green, but again, it has to be super dark shades or it won’t look right on me.

this or that

Two shades of lipstick here, one in very dark plum and the other in — well, the other one is black. :)

So, informal poll, which one looked better?

On the left: plum lipstick on the top lip and black lipstick on the bottom lip.

On the right: black lipstick on the top lip and plum lipstick on the bottom lip.

Let me know what you think — and suggestions for other lipsticks and dark shades are very welcome!

my hat is very pink.

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and I am wearing it because I am a woman and I am fighting for all my sisters all over the world, whatever the bodies they are in, whatever the colors of their skins, whatever languages they might speak. I stand with my sisters all over the world.

(I came up with this particular pattern on my own after looking up several other crochet and knit versions online. The yarn and hooks came from GantsilyoPH.)

this is what democracy looks like

15283961_10154225293703348_7995081024908818236_nI got this limited edition shirt from an alumni homecoming event at one of the high schools I attended: the main outpost of the Philippine Science High School. “Agham” is Filipino for “science”. And you can all see what the pop-culture rage du jour was at that time.

15284028_10154225998933348_6244023987829923142_nYes, that’s the same sign I carried on 25 Nov. I didn’t see any reason to make a new one, since the message was still relevant.

#marcosnotahero #neverforget #neveragain #hukayin