Aside

Skyrim, the Real-Life Skooma

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Let me tell you, there is one other main reason that I hadn’t posted up until the other day and that reason is a little game called Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.  I’d heard a ton of good things about it and had wanted it for a while but didn’t want to pay the initial 60ish dollars to get it, preferring to wait until I could find it cheaper.

To my surprise, my sister had gotten it for me for Christmas and since I’ve been home I’ve been playing it anytime I can.  I’ve even foregone watching some of my usual shows just so I can progress in the game.  I don’t think I’ve been this excited and concentrated/focused on a single game since the last Final Fantasy.

I played Skyrim’s predecessor Oblivion, but really couldn’t get into it.  There was something overly complex in the leveling process that just took me out of the story and gameplay, and soon after fizzled my interest.  Skyrim has totally fixed that problem (at least for me) and I have been hooked.

One of my favorite parts about it is that unlike Oblivion, you have the opportunity to have a “follower,” which is an computer-controlled character (for the most part) who will follow you in your travels and aid you in battle and stuff.

In Oblivion, I got quite lonely in that big world doing stuff just by myself.  I was used to playing Online Multiplayer Games like World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XI with other folks, and a quiet chat got kinda isolated for me.  The new follower system they have in place in Skyrim has allowed me to have a partner-in-crime and allows me to have awesome conversations with my buddy as we’re doing everything.  Of course, the conversations are always one-sided but who says they aren’t good listeners.

Just for fun I want to give you a run-down of my followers that I’ve used and give you my preference thus far. ^^

Lydia

Truthfully Sven was probably my first official follower but I ditched him rather quickly once I was made Thane of Whiterun and received the aid of Lydia.

I’ve always had a fondness for strong female characters in any game (guess it’s just the stereotypical gay in me lol), and although most of the characters I’ve made to play myself have been male I’ve always tended to go for the girls as my followers.

Most folks playing the game have probably used Lydia at some point and she’s a good strong character to have with you.  I really liked her, but she didn’t fit my play style.  I’m going the sneaky, stealthy, archer/sniper approach and her heavy armor was making way to much noise for me to play how I needed to.  She lives at my house now in Whiterun, waiting for me to need her.  I still look upon her fondly. ^^

Marcurio

After I found out that you can marry in the game, and marry a character of the same-sex, I was all for doing that.  I thought the idea of having a in-game boyfriend who could also be your bandit-bashing buddy was also a great idea.

Out of all the possible matches, I picked Marcurio to be my guy.  We were quickly wed and on our way to adventure!

Lo and behold he’s an awesome destruction mage and blew everyone and their mother to pieces.  I was rarely able to get any fighting in and my skills were taking a hit.  So I decided to leave him at home to run a shop.

He now greets me at home for being way too good at what he does.

Jenassa

Jenassa has by far been my favorite follower.  After I left Marcurio at the house, I did some investigating to find a follower who was more of a match to my character and I eventually settled on Jenassa, and once I got her suitably geared, she has been awesome.

Archery, stealthy, tenacious, she has it all.

My only problem is sometimes during some quests-lines your follower won’t be able to go with you because either you have to pick up a temporary character for the storyline or you have to do something alone.  So your follower either goes back to where you found them, or waits for you outside.

I was finishing up the Companions questline and had to leave Jenassa for a few quests.  After I finished them, I went back to go get her and she is nowhere to be found.  She’s not in the pub.  The only thing I’ve been able to find is that she disappears until after The Battle for Whiterun and then reappears around the Whiterun Stables.  Well, I’ve gotten past that point and I still have no sign of her.  I miss her and will keep checking back, hoping she shows back up.

Aela the Huntress

In the meantime, I decided to grab Aela of the Companions to aid me in my quests.  She’s working out okay for me so far, but not the same as Jenassa.

I was familiar with Aela from a number of the Companion quests and she’d tagged along with me on a number of them.  She fits my play-style pretty good too.  She has some pathing issues that are kind of weird though.

I’ve got her all geared up now and we both just sit back and pelt arrows at the enemy.  She does give me the chance to be more up front in battle now.  Taking out my sword and shield while she attacks from afar.  Jenassa always absorbed the damage for me in our duo, so with her I was the one at a distance.

Anyways, I’m itching to play the game even now, and the house is kinda quiet since the beau is in California doing shows until Saturday.  I’m definitely hooked and am anxious to hear if anyone else out there reading is playing the game!

Hugs!

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Out of the Blue

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Wow, has it been over a month already?

First, I do want to apologize to those people following me.  And I also want to give a big thank you to Charlie B. over at Shadow Void for checking up on me a bit ago.  I have to say that means a lot to me to have a readership who cares about me.

I’m not going to give much in the way of excuses but kinda discuss what’s happened with me and what had me slacking this long run of days.  I will confirm though that I am back with a passion and a renewed focus, and am very excited to bring more stuff to the blog.

1. Retail Heck

As many of you all know, I work retail and this holiday season was just a busy mess for me.  When I was working for my store back in Knoxville, we were a high volume store and had a lot more hours to give employees (thus having more people working on a day-to-day basis).

At my new store here in the Nashville area, we’re a low volume store so we had very few hours to give comparatively and thus, very few people on the floor.  Much of the time, it was just me on the registers and another person taking care of the fitting room.  Very stressful December and early January to say the least.

We were also open for crazy hours going up until Christmas and I was filling in some long mid-shifts and late nights through it all.  Thankfully, we’re in our downtime now and I’m getting my regular work hours again.  Meaning mostly mornings for the most part, and more time to do other things.

2. Lots of Traveling and Stay at Places W/O Internet

When I wasn’t working, the beau and I were traveling for a good portion of it.  We were at our lady-friends’ house a good portion of the month because we were doing a lot with them and we’re their ride everywhere.  They don’t have an internet connection AND very poor phone reception at their house, double whammy!  So my free time in front of the computer was further decreased.

During the mid-week of December I also went back home to do the Christmas thing with the family and spent most of the time at my dad’s.  He has a computer (which is bogged down with all kinds of crap), and a modem with only one ethernet port thing.  I decided not to disconnect his computer to plug my laptop in for the purpose of staying as far away from any blame as possible if something were to go wrong with it.

They know so very little about computers and how they work that they’d grasp at anything.

3.  I Had a Small Case of the Funks

And finally, this first part of January hit me and out of the blue I had a case of the funks.  I call it that because it wasn’t really a depression or anything, just a brief week or so where everything just seemed a little bleaker about my life and I had lost my passion for things and banked on the side of pointlessness.

We all feel that way sometimes and I worked my way out of it.  I knew when I was thinking about it that the rationality behind it was pretty silly.  I had no reason to be thinking the things I was and so I quickly worked my way back up.  I want to keep my eyes ever forward and motivated to my next new thing.  The beau has been super supportive through my busy month too, I’m so very lucky and blessed 😀

thanks again for sticking with me all!

Hugs and kisses!

Ste

Another Black Friday Survived

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Well, I had to work to work that day.

I know, I know, I posted earlier that by some miracle I had Black Friday off.  Turns out when I was looking at my schedule that I wasn’t paying enough attention to detail.

I missed an AM when it should have read a PM.  So I went in at close 8pm Thanksgiving night and was there through 5am Black Friday morning.  Still not too shabby if I do say so.

I spent half my shift prepping for open with absolutely no customers in the building, pretty nice.  Then the last half just flew right by.  The bad part was that I didn’t get a nap in before work so I was pretty much exhausted by the end of the stay.  I was taking in two 5hr energies, plenty of caffeine and sugar to keep me going that morning >>.

One general question came to my mind while I was ringing up a never-ending run of people…”what in the world are you going to do with with 10 $1 fleece scarves, are they really that awesome a gift item?”

OH, and my life almost got threatened outside the doors without me even knowing it.  You see, there’s a couple of other employees i work with who people get confused with me all the time.  We’re like the triplets of the store for strangers who don’t know us well enough to know we look nothing alike lol.

Anyway, one of my said triplets left the store at close Thanksgiving night and apparently his ride hit another person’s car, and when the ensuing mob standing outside in the cold saw it, prepared to argue with him.  He’s one who tends to speak first, think later, and used a number of colorful descriptors.

My boss-lady comes in around 11pm and tells me that she got approached outside and told her this story, and said I was the one who did it!  Eek!

We got it all figured out, but for a while I thought that once those doors opened…folks weren’t going to head for the fleece or coats, they were going to head for me.  *hides*

After work, I did walk down to Best Buy briefly to see if they still had some of the DVDs I wanted on sale.  And I managed to snag all three, the store was relatively empty by 5am and so it was very stress-free. My store had still been bustling and super-busy in comparison. 

Harry Potter pt 2, SuckerPunch, and XMen: First Class BluRays, and a clip-light for my Kindle once I get it in the mail.  All for around $36, I was pretty happy with that to round out my experience.

I then proceeded to head home and get some much needed sleep.  How was your Black Friday gang?

What’s Right In Your Life?

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Regardless of the retail world taking over this fine Thanksgiving holiday and making it just a gateway into Black Friday.  I also seem to think that our continued technological process is partially to blame for the day losing it’s meaning.

With transportation allowing all of us to move farther away from our friends and family with great ease, and with the mother of all family holidays, Christmas, right on its heels.  That produces quite the cocktail for it not to matter as much.

Even if we can’t get together with friends and family to share a nice, big, family meal together.  It’s also a time to reflect on your life and really bring what you’re thankful for to the foreground.  Those of us who pray probably do this on a daily basis, or try to at least.  But many of us seem to forget about the good that’s in our lives and only dwell on what’s wrong.

It differs from New Years when we aim to change things in our lives with resolutions, it’s easier to let what you’re thankful for slip through the cracks because it counts as what is right in your life.

Do take a few minutes today and consider what you’re thankful for.

– I know I’m very thankful for my journey these past two years which has led me to the arms of my beau.  He is the most awesome, caring, generous, and loving individual I have ever had the fortune to know.  I’m so very lucky to have him in my life.  I thank God for him as much as I possibly can.

– Though sometimes I get frustrated with it, I am very thankful for my workplace and my manager.  She has been wonderful to me and continues to aid me in whatever I need.  I’m very lucky to have been working for the company as long as I have and they have bent over backwards to accommodate me in my move to the Nashville area.

– I’m very thankful for the new church we’ve found and how much of a perfect fit it is for us and our needs.  Bringing the Lord back into my life after years of grasping for spirituality has probably been the best and most thankful item I have.

– Even though I’m not very close socially with my family, I’m very thankful with how loving and supportive they are of me and my beau.  They have been just awesome throughout my years and continue to be there for me when I need them.  We may not buddy around or hang out, but the strong basic connection is there and for that I’m grateful.

– I’m also thankful for the writing (this blog), video gaming (final fantasy XI), and fitness communities (Bodyspace / Bodybuilding.com – the link to my profile is in the sidebar) in which I take part which keep me focused on the goals I want to achieve through each one.

I hate not having focus and each of these three things help to bring me satisfaction that I’m doing more, and something better for myself and the people around me, than just going to work and sleeping.

There are a lot of smaller things that I’m thankful for, but these cover the big ones.  Take the time to push away what you need to work on or feel is wrong in your life, and focus on what’s right in your life today.  It may just help change your whole outlook.

Kitty Snuggles, A Cure-All For Inner Strife…

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Well, the day-of-all-days for retail quickly approaches, and with it, a lot of irregular shifts to cover.  I’ve had the oddest hours this week and with the other things I’ve had set for myself, this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down with the laptop and get a post out.

Short post tonight, and I promise to be much more consistent once this crazy holiday spread ends.  The hours are only going to get crazier up until Christmas… Shoot me now. ><

Yesterday I had a lady basically ream me for the no receipt return/exchange policy and how stupid it was.  No receipt = store credit by mail period.  No same day exchanges.  We can even look up receipts if you happened to use a card or check to pay, but unfortunately she was a cash transaction.  I was real polite and was doing all I could on my end of things.  It’s basically that way because of every shoplifter out there who would abuse the policy if it was any more lenient than that.

Yes, I’m sorry that everyone has to be treated the same but in the end you will get an exchange, just not today.  She went a little overboard irate, and then left saying that she was going to cancel her store card with us and blah de blah.  You know, cause threats help you get whatever you want.

Now, I can understand the frustration.  But I also know that one should have a bit of courtesy and responsibility.  It’s not my fault you weren’t prepared for what you may have to do.

Fast-forward to today.

I come back from a break and the first person in my line is the lady from the previous day.  She had her return, the receipt, AND a much different look on her face.

She told me that she wanted to apologize for how she acted the day before.  Yesterday was a bad day for her and that there was no reason for her to have acted the way she did, and that I was only doing my job.  She also said that she had talked to her husband all night about it and felt so bad that it had kept her up through the night.

I could see the pressure coming off of her shoulders and how good this was making her feel and it was an awesome moment.  It takes guts and humility to admit when you’re wrong, especially to a stranger you may never meet again.  I’ve never had a customer apologize to me in such a humble and heartfelt way.

So I relent from my previous bias of her as just another irrational customer and totally forgive this lady.  Not a jerk, not perfect, just forgiven.  We all have our bad days and she was having one yesterday.  I just happened to have been in the cross-hairs at one point, it’s all good.

We all may just need to step back and take the role of that single kitten who didn’t think “jerk.”

I know on my bad days all I want is to come home and be held by my beau.

So I’m sure that fourth kitten was like, “she could use some kitty snuggles.”