2016 Wrap-Up and 2017 Plans

I hadn’t planned on writing a 2016 wrap-up post or a plans for 2017 post, but here we are. I’m not going to review every month of last year instead I want to hit some of the highlights throughout the year that are both life and gaming related.

March

During March I finished off my classes for my Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology. It felt really good to be done, but this achievement didn’t feel capped off until the commencement ceremony in June.

April

I didn’t play many single player games in 2016, two to be exact, but in April I played Papo & Yo and absolutely loved it. I was saving this game until I knew I would have time to play it in only one or two sessions. While I had planned to write an impressions post of the game I never got around to it. If you happen to have this game sitting around I definitely recommend you give it a play through. It took me 4-5 hours to complete the game. If you are going to play Papo & Yo, come for the story and the experience. The story revolves around some heavy topics such as addiction and its effects on relationships and tends to pull at the heartstrings.20160427131758_1

July

Early in July, I received an unexpected e-mail from a former professor offering me a position in her lab if I was still interested. I jumped at the chance. Back in March of 2015, I had contacted this same professor about working in her lab, but at the time she had no available positions. So in late July I started working with one of her graduate students.

August

August was interesting. I was at a church picnic and was running after a frisbee when suddenly I found myself on the ground. I thought I had run into the chair of someone nearby, but when I sat up I saw that I had broken my leg (specifically my left tibia and fibula). My first priority was making sure my sister took a picture of it for me.

If you’re curious what the break looked like and don’t get queasy when it comes to injuries do a search for the French Gymnast that broke his leg during the Summer 2016 Olympics and you’ll have a pretty good idea of my break.

I had surgery about a week later. Titanium ftw!

September/October

By early-mid October I was out of my boot, back in a normal shoe, and walking without crutches. And by mid-late October I returned back to work. I can’t describe how thankful I am for quick healing, a supportive family, and an understanding boss.

If we rewind a little bit, at the end of September I started gaming more regularly and was able to finish up the Guild Wars 2 personal story by mid-October. Had lots of spare time as I was recovering, didn’t take full advantage of the time, but at least I got that done.

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November

During November I had my last x-ray and final doctor’s appointment. I also completed Beneath a Steel Sky the 1994 point-and-click adventure game from Revolution Software. I don’t have much experience with point-and-click adventure games from this era, so it took me some time to get used to things, but overall I enjoyed my time with the game.

Leftovers: A few things that don’t necessarily fall within a specific month.

Back in May, I posted that I was going to start playing DCUO, and I did. I played it on and off, and while I enjoyed my time playing, the past three times I have played I have been getting a lot of lag and weird performance issues. So, for now, I am going to set DCUO aside and hopefully come back to it in the future.

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Something I have played more than I expected this year especially the last few weeks is Paladins. In November I jumped in after not having played for some time and found that the game felt much improved from my previous time playing it.

2017 Plans

A few of my goals for 2017.

  • Focus and simplify.
  • Slow down. Be deliberate with my time.
  • Get digitally and physically organized.
  • Draw. Draw a lot.
  • Read. I’ve got a stack of books that have been waiting a few years to be read.
  • Take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
  • Research potential Graduate Schools.
  • Apply to Graduate School.
  • Complete Guild Wars 2 Story Content (Living World Season 2 and Heart of Thorns)/Catch-up to current Living World Season 3 content.
  • Get through more sinlge player games and MMOs.

Back to Blogging

It’s been awhile since I have tried to blog regularly, but I think I am finally ready to give it a go again.

Blaugust

About 8 months ago there were 50+ bloggers typing away vigorously as they attempted to write 31 blog posts within the month for Blaugust, turns out I actually completed the challenge, and then subsequently fell off the face of the earth (read: stared at the WordPress editor for a month and then started school again). I never did a proper reflective piece on Blaugust, and I won’t do one now, but I did really enjoy it.

blaugust_2015_conquerorWhat I want to do is thank Belghast for putting the event together and congratulate all the participants. Also, I never got to show off this nifty badge Belghast made for everyone who completed all 31 posts.

One more thing. I need closure, because…

100 Noses

In April of 2015, I decided one of the firsts things I wanted to focus on as I practice and improve my drawing was the human head. It was during Blaugust that I started posting my progress on this project starting with drawing 100 noses. And while it took longer than I wanted, I drew the last one on New Year’s Eve. I haven’t decided what my next “100…” project is going to be, right now I am thinking eyes.

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Back to Blogging

Coming out of Blaugust I didn’t have a plan for when to write, and I started to question what I wanted to blog about.

I don’t think a month, or really a week has gone by since August where I haven’t told myself I should start blogging again, and I often found myself fiddling around with the blog or staring at the WordPress Editor. I even started writing a few posts, but as you can see nothing materialized.

I suppose the logical question is what changed to make me start blogging again. There are a few reasons chief among them being I have a little more time right now as I am in a transition period as I recently completed my undergraduate education. The second reason is I need something to help focus my gaming and drawing because my efforts in both are feeling a bit scattered.

So, the plan is to post at least once a week, with the focus being MMORPGs, drawing, both, or something else entirely.

A Quick Update

It’s been nearly 6 months since I’ve made a proper post, and while this blog has been severely neglected it has not been abandoned.

I’m currently finishing my last term required to get my bachelor’s degree. I have 3 weeks left…3 weeks…I have to keep reminding myself because it feels unreal, but at the same time I will be so relieved to be done.

I’m trying to focus on the next 3 weeks, nothing beyond that. Let me get through the anxiety, the near burnout, the research paper, the finals, and the waning motivation–then I’ll think about what my next steps are.

3 weeks, they’ll be over before I know it…see you then.

The Final Week of Blaugust

Blaugust Day 24

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During this last week of Blaugust (yes, one week to go) I will be posting about how I plan to tackle fall term as it starts in about a month for me. I don’t know if this will be one post or multiple posts- we’ll see. I do plan on posting about more than studying. I’m hoping to get in some more about SWTOR, drawing (I haven’t had a post dedicated to my own drawings since August 8- yikes), and I need to get back to my story The Great Blaugust Sea before Blaugust is over. And, somehow I have managed to go all of Blaugust without talking about playing my main games RuneScape and Guild Wars 2, except for mentioning some goals I had for each during the month.

Anyway, prior to fall term and during fall term I want to make some posts that have a more academic focus, but I haven’t decided whether I want to post those here or over on Tumblr. At the moment my blog feels very much like a place to talk about my hobbies, and I really can’t decide if I want to inject academia into that or keep those two worlds separate. Part of me says yes, and part of me says no.

In the beginning the posts I plan on making will likely focus on the changes I am making to studying habits, and then will transition to a summary of what I have learned during that week of studying or classes. I know there are a lot of differing opinions on having two blogs vs one blog. There are good arguments for both sides, and I plan to be having many internal debates about the subject throughout this final week of Blaugust.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Me

Blaugust Day 17

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Two of my goals for last week were to get a Blogroll page up and work on my About page. Well, I didn’t get to either but conveniently Jaedia over at Dragon and Whimsy came up with the following writing prompt at the beginning of the month: 5 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Me. I am still going to work on my About page, but I figured until I get it all squared a way this prompt would be a good way for everyone to get to know me a little better.

1. I’m currently majoring in zoology and minoring in geology. The end of my undergraduate career is rapidly approaching and I’m not sure where all the time went. The next thing after getting my bachelor’s degree is graduate school (I really need to be researching graduate programs). I plan to pursue paleontology in graduate school. Before graduate school I plan to take a year off. In that year I would love to do some kind of work with animals and gain some practical experience in paleontology.

2. If you hooked me up to an IV of apple juice I would be eternally grateful.

3. I’ve never been on an airplane.

4. I’ve never broken a bone or been stung by a bee or wasp.

saxophone-546303_12805. I play the alto and tenor saxophone. Admittedly, I haven’t played my saxophone since high school. I really do miss playing and one of these days I hope to play again.

Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook

Rambling

Blaugust Day 9

It’s incredibly easy to get stuck in the grind of life and in the process we forget what we’re moving towards. Life often gets overwhelming at times and the anxiety that pops up can come from so many places: work, education, family, friends, goals, etc. We all work so hard at maintaining. Maintaining our home, grades, careers, vehicles, hygiene, diet, and the list goes on. All these things are important but many times not all are moving us forward. I highly recommend reading this post by Julie and Brett Bean that goes into this in a little more detail.

This past year of university especially spring term which ended in June was filled with anxiety, burnout, and malaise. I should have enjoyed Spring term more than I did. I was taking some great classes particularly paleobiology and vertebrate physiology. And I did enjoy these classes- the content was interesting, the professors were fantastic, and the classes directly pertained to my career goals. Yet, I found myself wanting to do other things than study. I would rather draw, watch drawing videos on YouTube, read about technology, and read blogs.

I repeatedly thought to myself if I love these subjects, if I plan to pursue a career where this content will be relevant- why can’t I focus? Why can’t I find the joy in studying and doing assignments? Had my interests and goals shifted and along the way I forgot to send myself a memo about the change.

I think instead my interests have expanded, and I need to learn how to better nurture each one without losing perspective.

The point that I’m trying to make is don’t forget what you’re moving toward. Don’t forget what you love. You may not have found your passion or your purpose yet, I know I haven’t, but chances are you know a general direction in which you want to move, and if so, then you and I are in the same boat.

At this point inspiration has ceased and my thoughts are all jumbled up, but I will be revisiting this topic and related ones in the future. So, I’ll leave you with a quote.

Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving toward something.

Ralph Marston


Blaugust Initiative Page

Blaugust Nook