Author: stargrace Page 2 of 354

Bloodsail Buccaneers

I’ll be joining the masses who are making their way to the Classic WoW servers to check out days gone by. I don’t expect my visit to last that long since I actually enjoy most QoL changes that have happened over time – but – there is something undeniably fascinating about playing along with all sorts of others and starting fresh. Plus it gives me a chance to play on the same server as some friends that I haven’t been able to play with before.

I’ll be starting on the Bloodsail Buccaneers server, it’s a PvE RP server – and I’m glad that Blizzard has decided to allow two RP servers. They’re some of my favourites, and I’m hoping to actually see RP take off. I haven’t been able to participate in any for quite some time and the start of my WoW career was so long ago that I barely remember what I created or what faction I played.

This time around I’ll be alliance (to begin with, maybe both factions over time, we’ll see) and I’m debating between warrior, paladin, and druid. I want the ability to tank, something I’ve done very little of in WoW. I’m trying to make this play-through be as far off from how I typically play as possible. Whether or not I’ll be successful I’m not sure. I’m also hoping to get into the economy and trying to make gold. It’ll be an interesting thing even if I only stick it out for a month or so.

Are you going to be giving the classic servers a try? What server are you hoping to play on? Faction and class already chosen? Let me know in comments and as always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

LoveNote Sweater Progress

I’ve been (slowly) oh so slowly working away at my LoveNote sweater by TinCanKnits – it’s beautiful and a pretty quick knit, problem is I only get 15 minutes a day (if that) t0 get any of it done, so it’s going pretty slow. I need to knit two more inches on the body, and then I have sleeves and a collar to complete. There are live stitches being held on a crochet chain at the neck currently so I can un-do those and continue knitting upwards. The sleeves will be full length since I’ve opted to do the longer version of this knit.

I’m holding fingering yarn (merino/nylon) along with lace (mohair) to create a really fluffy soft dream like knit. I can’t wait until I can block it and show the lace better.

Pride in Learning

One of the most important things that I try to do to better myself as a person and as I age, is to keep learning. Whether it’s a new hobby, skills in an old hobby, or just some random whim, I never begrudge myself the ability to pick up a new skill – even if lessons end up never utilized and I find out I don’t exactly enjoy that new found ability. Make sense?

I think it’s important to keep challenging myself. Keep learning and educating myself. That’s why I’m so incredibly proud of the skein of yarn pictured above. I’m learning to spin on a spinning wheel and this is the first skein from start to finish that I actually feel quite proud of. It’s not perfect, it’s not the weight I wanted, there are lumps and bumps – but I can see progress. I can see where I started at and where my skill is 2 months later. I have 20 more braids of this same fiber, and I can’t wait to see how with practice I improve. Hopefully a year from now I’m able to spin sock weight yarn from fiber with relative ease. We’ll just have to see!

New Gaming Laptop

Last week a friend promoted a tweet that linked to a reasonably priced high powered gaming laptop – and I’ve been wanting one for a number of years now, so I jumped at the chance and bought it. It was priced in USD ($1299) but in CAD it was still respectable, even with the $95 I had to pay in duties to get it across the boarder. Specifics include:

Intel 9th gen i7 + RTX Graphics = real-time ray tracingKey Features

  • 2.6 GHz Intel Core i7-9750H Six-Core
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM | 1TB PCIe M.2 SSD
  • 15.6″ 1920 x 1080 144 Hz IPS Display
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU (6GB)

The SSD was a key factor in my decision. Comparable computers had a 2070 or 2080 but only 512gb SSD – downgrading to the 2060 and adding a 1tb SSD put the price point $400 more expensive than the one I purchased, not including any taxes or duties.

It arrived yesterday – the box was pretty mangled and I got worried but I think the customs folks must have just gone a bit over the top with it. Inside everything was as it should and the gaming laptop runs like a dream. It gets a bit warm and loud when you really push it, but I’m not interested in gaming for 10+ hours a day with high intensity games, so it more than covers what I want it for. It’s quiet as a mouse for regular use, and sure the battery isn’t exactly the longest lasting thing out there but 99% of the time I’m using it next to a socket some place (even my balcony has an outlet). Overall, I’m incredibly impressed and I have zero negatives to say – the fact that the power cords go out the BACK of the machine is another HUGE bonus. Every single laptop I’ve ever owned has had them come out the side, which is annoying when I place my laptop on my desk or on a table.

I started installing games right away, Sims 4, the blizzard launcher, my steam launcher, and games from each. The 144 monitor is also a thing of beauty, my PC monitors are older, and I can definitely notice the difference.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Darkmoon Faire Fun

The Darkmoon Faire is in town for the week, so of course I rushed right over to pick up my faction buff and then do battle with two of their pet trainers. I didn’t get anything particularly note worthy from their satchels (they can have pets) but I had fun and at least it was completed. I’m waiting for re-set today so I can go back to the celestial tournament, I have two more pets (6 weeks) of completing this before I own all of the pets from there, too.

My lack of game time has meant that I spend a lot of what time I DO have trying to frantically get a few dailies done or a pet quest here and there. I’m waiting for squirt day, which happens to fall on the 7th of this month (tomorrow) to level up a few more pets. I’ve stocked up on bandages and treats and my safari hat is dusted off and ready to go. I rank 95th on the realm, which broke my goal of 100 – now I want to try to reach 50th (or higher). We’ll see how long that takes.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Getting Around

There are no coordinates or maps in Minecraft bedrock edition, so figuring out where you are and where you want to go requires some actual crafting. When my husband and I started out we decided to leave the little beginner island and head west until we found an area we wanted to settle in. Above is the very slow map I’ve started to develop of the area. My castle in the broken square at the top in the center, my husband’s log cabin is the structure along the river a bit south of that. I’m hoping to continue making the map (I need more frames) until I’ve mapped out all of the surrounding area. Maybe I’ll spot something interesting.

Happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself!

Addicted to Organization

As soon as I had children, there suddenly became this whole section of my life where I had very little control. Simple things, like sleep, became something that was dependent on my babies instead. The lack of control over my own life was daunting – so I started organizing the few things I had control over. I would organize by putting things into lists, charts, graphs, and regain control over the aspects of my life that were still mine to control. Doing this helped me control my anxiety which was probably at its peak during those beginning months right after a new baby.

I use the same tactics for blogging. I don’t pre-determine what I’m going to write about but I do jot down ideas, rough schedules, save up screenshots for future posts, and all of that good stuff. It helps me feel in control, gives me some semblance of organization in a world where I have very little of it. Charts and graphs and lists actually help calm me down, which is why I’m pretty devoted to my bulletjournal, or importing excel sheets like the one above of my world of warcraft battle pets.

For a long time I felt ashamed of these lists. I felt like a ‘normal’ person wouldn’t need to write down the tiny parts of their day into a list to get them completed. Over the years I’ve decided to simply be who I am, and if that means I function better with these little bits of organization, so be it.

My google sheets folder is filled with things like the list above. Which characters I have on which servers in which games doing which crafts. Market details for games like Wurm Unlimited. Little bits and bobs that make almost no sense to anyone else, but for me, are tiny little life preservers urging me along.

If you use any of these sort of tactics to get through your day, you should not be made to feel ashamed of them. We’re all just doing what we can and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Games that Surprise You

When was the last time a game took you by surprise? A game that wasn’t even on your radar and you had barely acknowledged as being out there – suddenly you’re playing it (or reading about it) and you stop and think ‘wow, this is really something special’. I find that we tend to research these purchases far more than we research anything else we spend money on, and that tends to leave us reluctant to splurge on something we’re not 100% sure about.

I don’t look into many of my games before buying them. I sign up for humblebundle monthly just so that I get a surprise selection of games I’ve never heard of each month, and in those bundles there’s usually one or two REALLY neat ones that catch my attention.

Yoku’s Island Express is one such game. It came from the latest humblebundle and I had never heard of it before. It released May 2018, so it has been out a while.

The reason I love it is because I’m a sucker for pinball games. That’s right folks, I LOVE pinball. Rollers of the Realm? I was all over that one. Yoku’s Island Express uses pinball mechanics and it’s just an absolutely beautiful game. One I typically wouldn’t have even given the time of day, because lets face it it’s niche and none of my friends have played it.

So what are your surprise games? Ones that you had never heard of that just caught you off guard. Let me know in comments, and as always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

August Gaming Goals

Besides participating in Blaugust and tossing a mentor-esc post or two (or more) about that in here for the month, I also have a few set goals I’d like to acomplish gaming-wise. I’m currently playing World of Warcraft and Minecraft – minecraft is the bedrock edition with some friends, WoW I’m playing on both the Hyjal and Argent Dawn servers (Horde vs. Alliance). I’d like a weekly goal to complete the Celestial Tournament in WoW, along with the various battle pet dungeons so I can finish collecting the pets that come from those instances. I’m also keeping up with my auction house runs, I have a character on each account doing that at the moment.

I’m hoping to finish collecting the pets from the two latest zones, I think I’ve gotten all of the ones from the under water one, now I just need to finish the mech zone. It’s a smaller zone and easier to navigate for sure.

In minecraft I’m working on building myself a castle and then some farms. I’d like to find some cats and explore the latest update since I’ve never played the default game before.

I’d also like to make my way through some of my steam library. I have so many games that I’ve never played before, and since I subscribe to the monthly humble bundle I’m always gaining more, too. I started off by playing ‘Cinders‘ which is really quite beautiful even though it released back in 2012. It’s a visual novel where you make choices and follow a certain well known fairy tale and make decisions that can change the way you might remember the story. I purchased it for the artwork, and have zero regrets. So far the tale has been well done, and I can’t wait to see what my next decision will be. Empathetic? Make my sisters suffer? Depends on my mood.

As always, happy gaming, no matter where you find yourself.

Thoughts on Monetizing Your Blog

I’m going to start this post off by saying that there’s a pretty hefty stigma concerning monetizing your blog. A lot of people don’t believe in it, don’t want it, and don’t appreciate those who do. That’s perfectly OK, we’re all allowed to do as we wish with our little areas of the internet – but this post is for those who DO want to monetize so I’d appreciate any comments left being useful to that line of thought.

I have no issue posting advertisements on my site. I’ve done it for years, and it helps pay for things like hosting costs and domain names. Writing is a hobby for me and if I don’t make any money off of it that’s OK too, but I’d rather have those costs taken care of.

One important thing I learned from the get-go was to be reachable. You can find an email address on my mail sidebar for contact information so that any prospective advertisers can reach me. I get a handful of emails every month with requests, and I answer every one of them. I don’t always say yes, but I’ll get into details about that a bit later on. So if you’re looking for people to reach out to you, make sure they can.

Consistency is another key factor. You’ll want to be making regular posts, showing up in google searches, and all that good stuff. I don’t do anything special for this in regards to my own site, but it may be something you want to focus on.

You don’t HAVE to say yes – but it sure doesn’t hurt to listen to the pitch. Over the years I’ve heard a few different ones, but the most common I get is:

A post they write (sometimes they’ll pay more if you write the post), with a link or two to their product/site (gambling sites are pretty common), that’s relevant to your site (in my case, gaming). You leave it up as a regular post, sometimes for a set duration, and basically just forget about it. I’ve received anywhere from $75-250USD per post. I have a set amount of money that I’ll accept in these cases, and I turn them down if they’re not willing to meet my fee. I used to feel bad about accepting these paid advertisements – but honestly, it hasn’t affected my traffic and I haven’t seen any negative effects. In my top years I would have 1-2 a month, with lots of posts spacing them out.

I used to get requests for sidebar advertisements, or a page with a listed donor / sponsor, but these have become pretty far and few between over the years.

Occasionally I’ll get a request to test a product or to check something out. One year it was a VPN service, and I have no problems writing a review about something. I make sure to mention that I’ve gotten the product for free (even though it is not currently law here in Canada) just for honesty sake. Again, it’s just an advertised or sponsored post here and there that doesn’t interrupt the natural flow of my site – you’ll have to figure out what works for you, and try to blend it seamlessly.

We feel bad about a lot of stuff in life, and we tend to be really harsh critics of ourselves. I used to try to hide any advertisements that I was getting towards my blog, but honestly, I’m proud that I’ve managed to make a bit of side cash from it. As long as I’m not passing viruses or negative vibes to any readers (be sure to check out the links yourself, safely, before any linking occurs!) a post here and there is hardly a cause for concern.

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