Category: Real Life (Page 17 of 26)

Home Sweet Home

After three very long flights, I am safe and sound back home. I had a wonderful time visiting the SOE headquarters in San Diego, and met some amazing people. It was a trip that I won’t soon forget, and no doubt I’ll be talking about it for some time to come. I’m unfortunately also bogged down by a lot of work that I’ve got to get done for some upcoming deadlines, which means of  that my play time is even more restricted. My apologies to those who read this site for my comments about in-game stuff, hang in there, and by this time next week I should be back to my regular scheduled program and writing about my experiences in game. I know EQ2 went through a few changes but that the fighter change has been held off for a little bit. Aside from that, I’ve been playing some DDO, and I STILL plan on getting more LoTRO time in once these deadlines have all passed. 

Thank you to everyone who sent me the warm wishes for the flights, and who followed along on twitter, I really appreciate it. Looking forward to getting back into Norrath later today!

Morning!

5am, and I’m awake. My body thinks it’s 8am and that I’ve over slept. I’ve been up pretty much every hour on the hour but I think that’s to be expected when you’re sleeping in a new bed unless you’re quite used to it (and lets face it, I’m not). I did get a little bit of time to pop into Eq2 last night and let people know that I’d arrived safely, but aside from that the gaming for the next three days will be limited. Not that I really figured I’d be gaming that much.

The houses here are placed oddly, was the first thing I noticed. Along hills they’re one under the other, in rows. I guess I’m just used to seeing homes on flat streets and not on hills at all, so it caught me off guard. When we flew in I didn’t even see a city or anything below, it just looked like I was flying over a whole lot of dirt and hills and then bam, plane flew right over head. I imagine the cars driving down those roads where we barely cleared them must be used to it.

When I leave tomorrow I’ll be flying to LA first. Another first for me, I bet it’s huge.

Well, better keep prepping for today.

P.S. yes, that is my winter jacket hanging on the chair. Detroit and Ottawa were still pretty snow covered and there was no way I could go without a coat.

Free, Free Flying..

The view, from my flight from Minneapolis to San Diego. The day started at 3am for me. I boarded at Ottawa international and flew to Detroit on a tin can of an airplane where the pilot joked that we were heading to Hawaii instead of Detroit. Suited me just fine. Customs was typical, I have nothing to declare and while I didn’t enjoy removing my shoes, c’est la vie. Opened up the laptop and that was fun. I thought about smuggling over a polar bear or a beaver or something oddly Canadian but decided against it. After flying to Detroit I caught a flight to Minneapolis, window seat to myself again. Very uneventful flight except for the fact that I have never flown before and suddenly I’m flying across the country, and not even my own country.

Landed, with 15 minutes to spare to boot over to the next flight from Minneapolis to San Diego. Two gentlemen seated beside me and we’ll just call one of them ‘the mouth’. By the time the flight landed, I knew more about this man’s life then I know about my interviews tomorrow.

I got in to the hotel suite at 2pm PST and check in wasn’t until 3, so I sustained myself on gum and mints for another hour before getting to my room which is of course amazing looking.

I’m tired. It’s (checks watch and moves it three hours backwards) 6:50pm and I’m going to bed very soon. I’ll be up at 7am and hopefully coherent enough to actually do my job. No promises though. I haven’t had time to let everything sink in yet since I’m still dealing with with time difference (and won’t have time to get used to that before I go back home), the culture shock (more about that later) and just the whole fact that – I’m in San Diego. Wow. That’s pretty amazing.

P.S. that is not a bullet hole for those who are concerned, that’s ice, in between a little hole and two panes of whatever windows are made out of. I’ve not been shot, promise!

An Evening Gaming, and less then 24h until Take Off

Some times, you just get those magical groups where everything goes right. Where everyone gets along and it moves like magic. Last night, was not one of those nights but I still had fun. There seems to be a surplus of ‘if you don’t have your mythical you’re not worth anything’ attitudes that are going around, and I don’t particularly care for it. I realize that mythicals have been out a while now, but what happened to the casual player who perhaps doesn’t have theirs. Well, that’s me. The first group myself Ultann and Wpus headed into was for The Crucible (that seems familiar) to see if we couldn’t get the shield to drop for Ultann. The group was alright, but the fury refused to heal (even though they were far superior to my non-raiding mystic) and if we didn’t do things their way we were doing it the wrong way. We beat the instance though, obtaining shards. All was well. 

Afterwards the group dynamic changed a little and we decided to check out the loping plains instances. I’d never been there before except briefly to wander around picking up shard quests. The first zone tore us apart. We couldn’t defeat the first named that summons duplicates. We had no enchanter. It hurt. So we headed off to Evernight Abbey (I believe that’s what it called) to vanquish vampires. That one went far better, and even though it took a little time we did well and cleared the zone. The script for the final vampire with the bursts of light while everyone uses the god-like powers on him was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it a great deal. 

I’m slowly saving up shards to purchase my T2 set. I believe I’m up to a whole six now, I know it will take a great deal of effort. Hopefully my guild mates don’t mind doing this instances as often as possible. 

Less then 24 hours from now I’ll be on my way to San Diego. I’m still exceptionally nervous. Today I’m getting last minute things done like printing out those boarding passes (you can’t print them out any more then 24h in advance) and packing. I bought some ear plugs in case my ears gave me trouble on the flight (I am prone to ear issues and have been since I was small) as well as a few other smaller things that need to get tucked away. I feel more nervous then excited right now since this is my first time, and it feels like an incredible amount of pressure when everyone keeps telling me I’ll do well. While it’s great to know I have such a very supportive amazing group of friends, it also just makes me feel really nervous. Excited too though! Please don’t take these words for face value I’m so filled with so many emotions it’s all a jumble right now. I’m running off of 4 hours of sleep for the past two days, so I can sleep well tonight (early, we’re talking 8-9pm here) and then get up at 3am to head to the airport. Time to get the day started!

See you in Norrath San Diego!

Preperations

Sorry about the lack of posts! I haven’t been able to find the few moments I need in a day in order to recap things, and when I have my mind has been else where (namely on this trip to San Diego). I’m a bundle of nerves but it’s also exciting at the same time. I’m sure there are a million things I’ll do wrong, but hey that’s what learning experiences are for. 

I’ve been playing some W101, and some EQ2, and keep inching my way into LoTRO before I get dragged away by something else in real life.

I’m all set for my trip aside from converting some Canadian money into American, getting some new shoes, and of course the actual packing process which I’ll do tomorrow (as well as print out my boarding passes). 

I fly from Ottawa at 6am Tuesday morning, switch planes in Detroit, and then switch planes again in Minneapolis. On the way home I’ll be stopping in LA and switching again in Detroit. I have maps (thank you Gnewton) of the airports, so it shouldn’t be too bad (I hope).

Excited? Yes, yes I am. 

See you in Norrath San Diego!

The Emotions – San Diego Trip Part II

(( A recap on how I’ve been feeling and a bunch of mushy stuff in regards to the trip to San Diego, if you’re looking for gaming specific things you’ll have to skip this post, feel free! )) 

I mentioned in part I how lucky I am, and every single day I remind myself how lucky I am. I have such a wonderful and supportive group of friends and family, I hope they know just how much I appreciate them. I owe an enormous amount of thanks not only to the people at SOE for making this possible and Beckett for allowing me the opportunity, but to all of my friends and family for standing by me. They have such faith in me and even though I’ve been questioning myself and whether or not I can pull this off, I have not heard a single time from any of them that maybe I am in over my head. 

A huge thank you to my parents, Brenda, Mike, Nick, Brian, Scott, Tom, David, Flavius, Kirsteen, Cory, the Bulsara’s, Matt, and especially Cyrus for listening to me these past two weeks as I’ve been going through everything and for helping me out. I know there’s people I’m forgetting (and no, that list is not in any particular order) and I don’t mean to. If you’re name’s not there just substitute it in! Another huge thank you to the people at SOE, especially Kiara who helped me keep my sanity, and Katie for all of the email correspondence not to mention those involved that I don’t even know about. I also have to give a huge thank you to the readers of this site, it’s grown to over 3,000 daily hits over the past three years and while I would write no matter how many people read it it’s also motivation for me and I appreciate it so much. I truly do.

I realize that I’m going there to do work, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still be thankful for the opportunity. You have to understand that if you had of asked me two years ago what I thought I’d be doing, going on site to work and that work being writing would not have been one of the things I mentioned. I’m nervous, and excited. I haven’t flown since I was 12, I’ve never flown alone (though I have taken the train to Nova Scotia alone before, not quite the same thing). I’ve never been to the US alone that’s for sure. There’s so many ‘first times’ for me here if I sat down and wrote them all out there would be quite the list. I stop in a few places and I’m worried about finding where I need to be next, I’m hoping to run into some friendly airport folks who can point me in the right direction. The Ottawa international airport is not that large, and certainly not that large in comparison to lets say, LA (which I stop in at on my way home). It’s 10 hours of flight, and a 3 hour time difference from where I am now. The weather will also drastically change from where I am now. Today it’s -5F and in San Diego it’s 80F. That’s a huge difference and it’s going to be a shock to my system since we’ve been in the midst of winter for a few months. 

Above all of the nervousness and fear and stress is a huge bundle of excitement. HUGE. I am excited to meet people I’ve only written to or communicated via email with, I’ve done email interviews before with members of SOE for articles but never in person. It’s going to be one of those amazing experiences that I’ll remember for a long time to come and I’m hoping (personally) that it opens the doors to other things. Not only is this important as far as work goes but this is a huge step for me. An important step. I’m breaking out of a shell that I’ve had for far too long. 

Throughout everything the one comment that keeps popping up into my head is how proud my great grandmother would be. I’ve always been a family girl and when I was growing up I used to write her letters every month, and she’d reply. This is back when I was 13-14 years old (I’m now 27, almost 28). She used to tell me that I needed to do something with my writing, and that I had such talent. Very few people ever take those sorts of compliments at face value, we tend to shy away and shrug them off, underestimating ourselves. While it’s good not to have too much of a bloated ego when it comes to our particular strengths, it’s also important to realize that others will have faith in us no matter what level we personally feel our skills are at. I never really believed her, but I kept writing. 

She passed away a few years ago, and I finally understand what she was always telling me. I think I’ve finally listened and I know she’d be so dang proud of me. 

So what’s next? Packing and trying not to need an actual suitcase because I don’t want it to get lost along the way (overnight bag ftw), hope my laptop fits. I need to get some money exchanged into US currency, I need to do some shopping. There’s a million other little details I need to go over and figure out. Thankfully all of these little things leaves me too excited to worry that much about everything that could go wrong. Am I nervous about meeting people? Only slightly. 

I will be at the airport at 4am on Tuesday morning, flight leaves at 6am. It’s going to be a very long day, and I couldn’t be happier.

The Details – San Diego Trip Part I

(( This is a recounting of things I’ve been feeling since I found out I’d be flying to San Diego Tuesday – if you’re not interested in reading it please don’t! It’s gaming related but only on a very basic level )) 

Friday January 16th is when I found out about it. An email from Doug (my boss at Beckett) where I’ve been a contributing writer since August of last year asked me if I wanted (and would be able) to head to San Diego in the next ‘few weeks’ to do some on site work. I owe Tipa a huge amount of thanks as  she’s the one who got me working for Beckett to begin with. Not a day goes by when I don’t realize how incredibly lucky I have been despite any other hardships that I’ve had to face (we are human, we all have our hardships). Of course I said yes. I knew from the start that I would be foolish if I said anything besides that, even though a million questions and concerns started to swarm through my mind. There was ONE small (huge) issue – and that was I didn’t have my passport at the time. To drive to the US, one would typically not need a passport (YET) though you will need one starting this summer. As of 2007, you need one to fly. I haven’t flown since I was 12 years old and moving back to Canada from Germany and even then it was all done by the military and I was on my parents passports. I did some research online, which said that I could get my passport expedited with proof of travel (and there were various means of ‘proof’ listed) and so I sat tight for the weekend doing pretty much nothing because – I didn’t just need a passport. Newp. That would be too easy. I needed to get my birth certificate first. Government offices are closed on the weekends too, which put a wait on things. 

Now why (might you ask) would I not already have my birth certificate? I did at one point in time, when I was 16. I have other means of proving that I’m Canadian but for a passport it has to be that very specific piece of ID (if you’re born in Canada) and nothing else. I moved around a lot growing up, and I assume I lost it some where in Nova Scotia when I was 16 because I haven’t had it since. Filling out forms online I had to be as specific as I could, my weight at birth, the name of the doctor and the hospital just a few of the questions I had to answer. I’m sure my parents absolutely loved me last week as I frantically called them trying to get information. The birth certificate arrived quickly (and earlier then I thought) which was fantastic. I had it by Wednesday. Thursday I was told that SOE could not book my flights without my passport number. I couldn’t get my passport though without proof of flight. Panic set in. I spent Thursday running around doing everything one needs to do to get a passport. I have no idea if it’s the same everywhere else, but here in Canada you need some very specific things. You need a specific picture taken and there’s a lot of rules that go along with it, including two of the exact same picture, and stamped by an official place and then signed by a guarantor that you also need to sign all these forms that go along with the process. You need two other people aside from the guarantor who have known you for a number of years to sign the forms. You need lots of ID, and you have to fill everything out properly (and even print it out properly) or the passport office won’t accept it. 

I got up at 6am and headed to Gatineau Quebec at 7am to be at the office for when it opened at 8:30 on the nose Friday February 23rd. I had all of my papers in hand, and I was nervous because now that I finally had all of these forms together, I had to convince someone behind the counter that I needed the passport yesterday, and that I couldn’t afford to wait too long or I’d miss out on this trip all together. Papers in hand, the lady behind the counter told me that the soonest they could have it done by would be Wednesday January 28th at 10am. 

Ugh.

What happened to the 24h expedited thing that I read about on their web site?

Well, apparently that’s still there, but what the web site fails to mention is that you need to be traveling within 24h in order to get it that quickly. Other wise it could be as much as a 5 day wait. I was crushed. I figured right then and there that I’d be unable to go, because there was no way for SOE to book tickets without my number, and no way for me to get my number before Wednesday. It meant another (now second) weekend of waiting around impatiently wondering whether I would be going on this trip or not. Phone interviews were talked about and I resigned myself to the fact that I’d not be going. It wasn’t the end of the world, other opportunities would come up, and I’d still make sure to get my job done. There’s really nothing more you can do in a situation like that. I tried not to let it bother me. Up again early on Wednesday to go pick up the passport, because of course Ottawa was about to receive 25cm of snow, and there’s relatively little parking over by the building I needed. I wandered around the mall that’s attached and had some breakfast. Up to the office and had my passport in hand in less then 5 minutes. $200 later. 

I practically flew home. Emailed the information that was required and within a few hours, I was told the news that I’d be going on Tuesday (where we’re also expecting another 10cm of snow here but I am NOT THINKING about that right now). Shew. I have been through so many emotions in the last two weeks, it’s a wonder I have anything left. For those who are curious this is a completely new realm to me, I have never done on site interviews before, I have not managed to make it to Fan Faire (this year will more then likely be my first) and I am nervous to say the least. It’s one of those ‘good excited’ nervous feelings though, and not quite so overwhelming. Yet. 

Feelings and what happens next coming along in the next post!

Big News Finally Revealed

It’s finally been confirmed. After a week of waiting, braving snow storms, dealing with the passport office, and numerous other things, as well as HUGE support from the people at Sony, I am going to San Diego Tuesday. That’s right, this Tuesday I’ll be leaving behind the negative digits and headed to California, a place I’ve never been to before, and have only had a chance to visit via the weather network. 

I am beyond excited. In fact, I’m so stunned and beyond excited that this is the most coherent thought you’ll get from me for the remainder of the day. 

I’ve set up a couple of journal type posts that will talk about the entire process I’ve been through this past week and a half (yes, that’s how long I’ve known about this trip) and all of the emotions and feelings involved. It’s been absolutely incredible and the trip hasn’t even begun yet. 

Oh, and of course why am I even going to San Diego? Well, you’ll have to wait for the details on that but it’s Beckett MOG related, and you’ll be seeing a fair amount on my site too.

So if you live in the San Diego area, lock your doors and hide away on Tuesday, chances are I’ll be the bug-eyed one wondering where all the snow is at.

I’ll post more information at a later time, for now I’m still stunned that it worked out (fingers crossed).

Tempting

Quick thing I did yesterday

Just Sunday

Not really feeling in the mood to write today, so I hope everyone enjoys their amazing Sunday. Safe travels no matter where you spend it.

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