The Trials of Real Life
At the start of 2019, I had three big goals in mind. Moving to a larger more diverse job market, leaving the Business Intelligence space and completing a novella. Deciding to move away from my family and friends was a hard decision. I’d been wrestling with the idea of moving for a couple of years at least. Establishing a 5-hour drive as the furthest I was willing to go, didn’t leave many cities I had an interest in moving to. And I didn’t really want to be five hours away. I was hoping for three or less. Career-wise, I was completely burned out in the BI space. Every paycheck felt like blood money with a drip-drip loss of my soul. My third priority was establishing a consistent writing routine to help achieve my dream of completing a novella as a step toward returning to one of my unfinished novels. Writing fiction is what I want to do in retirement at the latest, achieving it sooner would be awesome.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working on these goals. In March I received a job offer that would move me 3.5 hours away, and take me into the banking industry. The act of moving was crushing. I cried when my middle daughter told me that she was devastated by it. Ugh, that’s the last thing you want to hear from your children, even if they’re grown and starting families of their own. We’re extremely close and it felt like a gut punch to all of us.
It’s nearing the end of September and the goals I set out for 2019 are well underway. I’m still a Product Manager leading software development teams but being in a new vertical market as breathed new life into my day. It’s no less stressful. In fact, some days it’s considerably more worse given the stakes of the solutions I’m managing. However, I enjoy learning new skills and meeting new people. Add to that, I love where I live. I miss my house but adore my apartment – the views, the big open sky, the energy, and convenience. And I rented a place large enough for two sets of my kids to come at the same time and stay here comfortably for the weekend, which they have.
On the writing front, I started a small support group that meets on Monday evenings. I wish I was further along but being 30K words into my novella is nothing to sneeze at. I’ve settled into a routine and have found writing software that works for me. It doesn’t have snazzy features – something I don’t need. I’ve always enjoyed writing in the barebones world of Google Docs.
The issue that StoryShop solved for me, was the tedium of tracking the elements of world-building. I’ve used tables in MS Word, spreadsheets and a custom database, all of which became a distraction after a while. Struggling to find what I called an item, place or minor character 10K words ago often ended in annoyance or continuity issues. Keeping track of ideas for future elements was equally annoying. Oftentimes, struggling with this issue tainted a writing session with frustration. StoryShop isn’t perfect but I really enjoy the features and it’s helped me to keep going. I’m hoping to turn up the volume in the last quarter of the year in order to complete my first draft.
I miss my family. I ache over not being able to see them multiple times a week which was our norm. I hate that I’ve missed birthdays. Unfortunately, driving that distance during the week simply isn’t feasible. However, I do feel blessed that missing my house and family aside, I’m happy where I am, enjoy my new job and have done more writing for a single story than I have in many years. I think this is the first year in many, where I’ve made serious progress on all the goals I’d prioritized at the start. I guess it’s feeling the tick tick of the clock reminding me that I’m not getting any younger. *Smile*
What’s Up Star Citizen?
All of the above means I have very little time for gaming. Additionally, I sometimes have a love-hate affair with the development pace of Star Citizen. I believe in the dream and their continued intent to deliver on what they’ve promised. However, I think there will be compromises that feel painful to some backers in order for this extremely ambitious game to BETA and out as an officially released game. Plus there’s the war of focus between Squadron 42 and the MMO game. Having the number of released ships that are still missing meaningful mechanics does start to grate.
Yet out of the dust storm, they routinely release content that makes your jaw drop which breathes more patience into most of us. I put SC on dark mode when I feel overly annoyed. This is my last hoorah. There aren’t any choices with even half of these features, let alone the ones I’m most interested in consuming. Trolls like to wanker on about sunk cost fallacy but that’s not why we wait. We wait because you can’t point us to a legit alternative. If you could, I’d be playing that in the interim.
The Q2 patch was very very late and for me, the shining star of what was being delivered had to be pushed to a dot release. The granddaddy of luxury ships, the Origin 890 Jump was released a few weeks ago. The first flyable capital ship is a space yacht. It’s 4 levels of enormity. I’m cobbling together an interior map so I can stop wandering around in circles.
The ship is a full-featured luxury experience – Captain’s Quarters, 4 guest suites, 5 crew cabins, galley and rec room for the crew, dining, bar, conference room, saunas, swimming pool, lovely vistas, a and two-level atrium for guests to relax and mingle in. I’m not sure how I feel about owning such a large ship given my playstyle but I’m hoping to host community events for a change of pace. My first use of the ship is as the backdrop for a story I want to write in the SC universe after my novella. The plot is already worked out. It’s what I’ll do in between doing edits on the novella.
My biggest pet peeves about the 890 J are that someone decided that luxury is cold stoic colors and angles. It doesn’t at all match the vibe of the concept images. The whole ship should be styled more like the saunas which is a better representation of the original concept images. Hopefully, we’ll be able to change some aspects of the interior lighting and color themes. Second, it feels like they didn’t bother to check to see if you can actually see that magnificent views when seated in the designated areas around the windows because you can’t. It’s the same thing with the Origin 600 i. You have to stand to see outside which is very very silly. They need to adjust the thick waist high trims and ledges so they don’t block the views. Last is that they didn’t bother adding a large enough landing pad for it at Port Olisar. You can only spawn the 890 at Lorville and Area 18, which is very inconvenient. It also means it can only be fueled at those two locations. I’ve seen lots of 890s crashing to the surface as they run out of fuel trying to make it down the gravity well to refuel. Then after wasting the long trips to refuel you get to dump 25% of it getting back out of atmo. Grrr. Please fix soon!!
Patch 3.7 is Coming
The Q3 content patch for Star Citizen will finally add something to do on the planets other than FPS and take screenshots. Caves and harvestable items are coming to a planet near us, along with handheld mining tools. I’m the odd type of solo exploration styled gamer who enjoys farming/harvesting in MMOs. I find it a relaxing activity to do at the end of a gaming session to unwind. I often use it as a passive activity to do when I simply want to be in the game world without doing a whole lot of thinking or interacting with others. The items will be rare gems that can be mined, harvestable produce, dropped salvage, etc.
I’m looking forward to having an activity I can do under my own steam and timeline, using any of my ships I want. I remain disappointed that I have 7 flyable ships and only 1 of them has the planned game mechanics – Sabre for combat. Sure we can go do missions to carry crates but that got old a long time ago. Now, if I can reliably relog aboard my ship, a feature that’s supposedly coming in 3.7 – whew, we’re starting to feel like a space MMO.