Tag Archives: blaugust

blaugust #31: the last day.

What I want to put here is the >It’s over!< picture from the end of Teen Girl Squad, but that belongs to homestarrunner.com so just go see it there. Ok.

Here we are, Blaugustinians, August 31. We made it! There have been a couple of days when I complained mightily, but this has been a really great month for me. I’ve had some good interactions, found some new friends on Twitter, and gotten to know some existing friends better through reading their blogs.

I’ve set myself daily posting challenges before, but this is the first time I’ve ever participated in a group challenge. The sense of community has been wonderful, cheering each other on through the days when it felt hard, and digging into a conversation when we had things to say. I’ve enjoyed it, and I’ve been inspired by how many people participated. Big thanks to Belghast for sponsoring Blaugust, managing it, and encouraging us along the way! That’s a huge task, and I’m grateful to have been a part of this.

I’ve had this blog for several years, but there are times when I let it sit idle for long stretches. There’s a funny thing about a dry spell in writing, for me: I feel like I lose my voice. It’s not that I get writer’s block, but when I sit down to write, I don’t sound like myself. This mostly has to do with me being a shy person. Over the years, I learned to cope with that by becoming a pretty adept social mimic. It’s a useful skill, but also one that can feel fundamentally dishonest, and I’ve been trying in recent years to do without it. But it’s hard to turn off a coping mechanism that I’ve used for so long with such versatility, and it creeps back in the subtlest of ways. Like the way I write. If I haven’t been writing for a while, my voice will absorb and reflect whatever I’ve been consuming lately – an author I’ve been reading, or a tv series I’ve just marathoned, or a group I follow on Twitter. It takes a little while to shake that out and hear my own voice again. It takes a while to think of what I really want to talk about, and longer to talk about it on my own terms. This gets much, much easier when I’m writing frequently. So even when it feels like a huge obligation in the day (and I’m not going to lie to you, there have been several days this month that felt that way), it’s a good practice for me to have. I’ve never aspired to being a post-a-day blogger, but after this month, I’m feeling much more comfortable with just posting something without over-analyzing it.

When the month started, I had great plans for reading at least five other Blaugust posts a day and commenting on at least one. There, I haven’t done so well. There are several blogs I’ve followed and come to really appreciate, but I have come nowhere near reading them every day, and I’ve definitely not commented once a day. I have done a lot of liking, and some retweeting, but I feel like I’ve been the recipient of more post interaction than I’ve done. Thank you to everyone who’s commented here, or started a conversation on Twitter, or used the like button on Anook – I’m grateful to all of you, and I look forward to following you as we carry on past Blaugust.

Great work, everybody! I’ll see you on the internet.

(This is my 31st and final post of the Blaugust daily blogging initative.)

blaugust #30: outliving the outlander.

I hadn’t really planned on spending the bulk of Sunday wrestling with my outlander in T2, but here we are. When I logged in this morning, I was just going to do a little fishing and tidy my inventory. I’ve had an urge to make biscuits for a couple of days now, and I have a good book that I’m halfway through. I was just going to fish while the water boiled for tea. That was four hours ago.

Ozzy’s just been such a difficult puzzle that I kept banging my head against it, dying over and over again. There were my existing problems of needing a lot of potions, and not having a lot of power to my ammo. And then my pet is really double-secret useless. I know they’ve all got the same base stats on them, so I can’t explain why this panther runs away and dies so much faster than any of my other pets. Maybe that’s a function of higher difficulty. He doesn’t have especially good tags on just yet, but neither did my other pets early on. He has the best things available equipped. Even as a warsnout in regular mob fights, he’s dead almost immediately. So I’ve basically just been ignoring him. I’ve had to step lively to keep myself going, so I’m not stopping to heal him. When I can get Vampiric Spider Eggs, that seems to do the trick for him and he’s much stronger and does great damage. [Side note: he is a blockily animated panther in a game that doesn’t take itself especially seriously, but it still feels really, really bad to ignore him while he limps away and keels over in a corner.]

So there I was, slogging away in the best gear I could equip, with my potions stacked to the rafters, dying and dying and dying. I could kill anything out in the world. I could kill anything in dungeons, but it was expensive and took ages. But I could not kill a single boss. All the Act I quests I did up to the boss fights, and then died almost immediately in those. Because I’ve not played either an outlander or this difficulty level before, I wasn’t sure what combination of those things was making this so hard. I looked for a better shotgunne, but couldn’t find any for sale. So I just kept slogging on, leaving all the bosses unfinished. It was insanely frustrating, but not boring. There was just enough progress I could make that I didn’t want to give up.

And then I finally caught a break. A better shotgunne dropped, and when I equipped it, it cracked the game open. The numbers weren’t crazy higher – about 20% more than what I’d had – but because Ozzy’s build is entirely wrapped up in shotgunne skills, it made a huge difference. I started being able to do dungeon monsters without going through piles of potions, and I went back and finished off all the bosses I’d left hanging. It still took ages, and lots of healing, but I did all the bosses but one without dying. That gave me about three more levels, which is that much more strength and dexterity, and then I got a shotgunne that was better still.

It’s still difficult, and I’m going through way more potions than I ever have on other characters. My panther is still not a great source of help. But I have a handle on surviving and moving forward now, and it feels really satisfying. A year ago, I’d have rage-quit this, and now I can keep myself going, and make progress. On top of being fun, that feels really good.

(This is the eve of the end of Blaugust, dear readers.)

blaugust #29: pluviophile.


I woke up this morning to the sound and smell of rain. That probably, doesn’t sound unusual, given that I live in Portland, OR. During the summer months, though, it doesn’t rain here. Ever. At all. It doesn’t cloud over for an afternoon. There is no overcast. We have three months of searing, unrelenting bright skies and sunshine. It’s great for agriculture, generally speaking. Nine months of rain, and three months of sunshine, and everything grows and blooms.

I’m a person who needs rain, however. A long stretch of bright days without the relief of softened light, and I start to feel disoriented. This summer has been particularly hot, and it’s felt like it would go on forever. A grey Saturday morning, with the smell of petrichor and a damp breeze coming in the window, is a great gift. The coffee is on, the windows are open, and I’m going to enjoy it.

(This is my 29th daily post for the Blaugust initiative.)

blaugust #28: face off.

Perfect glasses.

Perfect glasses.

I need new glasses. I’ve needed new glasses for almost a year now, but a hairline fracture has started in the right lens of these and it’s forcing the issue. This past week, I’ve spent a lot of time on glasses websites shopping for the right new pair. I thought that would be fun, but damned if it isn’t a little bit upsetting.


Too green

Too green

I’ve had my current glasses for at least six years; maybe longer. When I got them, they were a backup for contact lenses so I wouldn’t have to travel with lens paraphernalia, and just generally to have a simpler option. They are so perfect for me that I switched to wearing them pretty exclusively almost immediately. I still have one unworn set of disposable contacts in the medicine cabinet – probably expired by now.



This pair of glasses arrived in my life at a time when a lot of pieces of the way I present myself kind of all came together. I started dyeing my hair crazy colors and cutting it in the early version of the wedge bob I have now. I finally figured out that short skirts and cardigan sweaters were far more flattering on my body than the long hippie skirts and giant sweaters I’d been wearing for years. And I got these sexy, dark red glasses with the narrow lenses and the scrollwork pattern on the arms. They suited me perfectly, and I felt the most like myself – the most right in my clothes and my hair and my body – that I’d ever felt in my life. Peak Kateri, basically. So yeah, I love these glasses.

Good red, but too big.

Good red, but too big.

Adding to my distress over this process is the fact that when I got my current pair of glasses, it was pretty much a 30-second process. I spotted them from halfway across the room, I tried them on, they were perfect, DONE. I kind of assumed it would be similar this time around. I thought to myself, yes, these were fantastic, but it’s time to move on and there will be another fantastic pair of glasses. A lateral move to Peak Kateri, continued. Alas, not so. My options are limited because my insurance doesn’t cover eye care, so I’m trying to stick to a narrow window of providers. I’m about to struggle through a third home try-on of things that I know before they even arrive are not quite right. I am trying some that I know are too narrow because they’re a good color. And one in a good color that doesn’t come in the right shape.

These weird two-color ones are kind of growing on me.

These weird two-color ones are kind of growing on me.

I know I’ll find a good pair eventually, and then I won’t think about it again for another six or seven years. But in the meantime, I’m surprised to find how much of a difference it makes to the way I see myself – looking at my face in the wrong glasses. Probably they don’t look all that wrong.to other eyes (except for that one giant owl-eyed pair), but wow, it makes a difference to me.

blaugust #26: tickles my fancy.

Torchlight 2 - Ozzy - 8-26-15b

For one reason and another, last weekend I decided to make a third alt in Torchlight 2. My main is an engineer, but she keeps getting really good drops for an outlander. There’s pretty limited storage in Torchlight 2, so I’ve sold most of them. I kept two rings, though, so I rolled an outlander. He’s called Ozzy, short for Ozymandias, and he’s got a pet panther named Tickles. Obviously.

I’ve been playing on normal for a couple months now, so I also decided I’d kick the difficulty up a notch for this one. This was possibly not my best-laid plan. I’m concentrating on a mostly dexterity build, with some strength points every few levels to bolster my ammo. But the outlander’s coolest and most devastating skill, early on, is a glaive throw that sucks the ever-loving life out of my mana reserves. I could improve that pretty quickly by spending some skill points on focus, but I’m going for a different build on him and I want to try to do without it, at least for a while. My experience over the first ten levels has been rough going. I can use my main shotgunne skill, with the weak ammo and lack of range that entails at low levels. That means I need a lot of health potions and I still die a fair amount. Or I can use my glaive throw and fare much better, but go through expensive mana potions at a pretty alarming rate. Essentially, early level fights don’t generate enough gold to sustain me.

Torchlight 2 - Ozzy - 8-26-15My solution for this so far is just to progress much more slowly than I have before. Kill absolutely everything and collect every penny on a map before I move on. Tonight I also remembered I can fish for income, so I’ve spent a peaceful and fairly lucrative hour doing that. Next up: seeing about some better, less death-y gear.

So far, I’m not enjoying this class nearly as much as engineer and embermage, but I’m having fun with the challenge of trying to work around the limitations.

(Today is day 26 of the Blaugust challenge.)