I am kaitco

a writer's log

First Days of a New Life Saturday, March 19, 2022

Filed under: Dorienne — kaitco @ 10:08 am
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A got a new job. After 15 years and half a dozen positions, I’m leaving the bank and I’m about to start a new venture altogether. It’s a bit fun and scary all at the same time.

For the first time in 15 year also, I’ve had to do the things that one does when starting a new job such as the usual drug testing and background checks. My mother remarked to me how good it feels to partake in such things without having to worry about the results, and it does, indeed, feel very good. It was just the extra icing on the cake to get those additional “welcomes” from the recruiter and my soon-to-be managers.

That said, I can’t help a tinge of sadness at these changes. For one, I’ll be leaving a boss who has been such a dear friend to me over the years. We’ll still talk and all, but I’ll miss sending her work memes just the same. What’s really hanging on my heart however is the thought that I’m really starting on a new part of my life and for the first time without being able to mention it to my dad.

With my parents’ birthdays falling on subsequent days, I’d always approached them as a time of some happiness. Joking with my father about being an old man and following it up with similar jokes to my mother to next day has just been something I realize I’d definitely taken for granted.

This time last year, I took both of their birthdays off. Now, it’s a time to think of the fact that I’ll have to continue through life’s changes without being able to tell my dad. My father worked in a lab that often did the drug testing for multiple companies and he’d always share stories of all the people trying their hardest to juke the system. After leaving my drug testing, the only thought on my mind was how much I wanted to call my dad and tell him about finally getting a new job and how I had to get tested. I would have told him about the site and what I’d observed and he would’ve told me several stories about his time in the labs. But, we don’t get to have that conversation, and it’s painful, I’ll say.

I think what’s fascinating in this life journey is how to handle my grief. I got through Dad’s birthday with no tears or really any melancholy outside of the ordinary. But it wasn’t until two days later that I sat replaying Mass Effect and came across a scene I’d played 6 or 7 times that I found myself just bursting into tears. Granted, it was an emotional scene, but not one where I usually cry. (“Legion, the answer to your question is yes.”) Subconsciously, I knew I needed to let it out and so I put on the North & South mini-series that I’d been avoiding for the last nearly two years.

North & South is a very favorite read and for a while there an annual re-read on my Goodreads list, and the adaptation with Richard Armitage does it extreme justice, though it does remove so many of the religious themes. The story is notable for the amount of family and friends the heroine loses over time, including the loss of her father. After my own father’s passing, I had to slowly re-engage with any media that referenced fathers. Even heart-warming moments on The Simpsons between Homer and Lisa were a bit too much in the beginning.

I usually cried watching (or reading) North & South, and I’ve not been able to bring myself to watch it since May 2020. I’d found myself watching a Jane Eyre adaptation from about 15 years ago to “reset” my mindscape after finally finishing The Wire (good God! what an amazing show), and then I decided to bring up North & South, because why not? I knew what was coming, but I pressed on anyway. After crying so hard that I had to pause and write a little, I think it’s fair to say that I did need some time to weep following my father’s birthday. Perhaps not on the day itself because others are so good to check in with me and make sure I’m okay, but I can probably expect that I’ll have moments like this in the future as well.

It’s hard taking new steps, especially when they’re not always wanted. I do my best to treasure what I can do, however. The Discord has helped me regain a writing streak and keep up writing over a thousand words a day, and I’m looking towards the future with renewed vigor and hope. After months of patience and lots of effort, God has given me what I’ve wanted. Noting that God’s got a sense of humor and that I’ve been given what I thought I’d wanted only to realize it wasn’t what I wanted at all, but I’m taking this rare instance to be optimistic for once.

Upon hearing about my new job, my mother told me the next day that it was the first day of my new life. I’ll likely find the same old nonsense at the new job, but at least it will be new nonsense with more pay and permanent work-from-home. This is going to be a real new venture for me. I’m sad to leave behind old ways and friends and I’m sad not be able to share this with my dad, but the optimism is there. These are first days in my new life, so cheers to myself for holding on and staying positive.

 

Why, Despite 250+ Steam Games, I’m Returning to Consoles Sunday, September 24, 2017

Filed under: Gaming — kaitco @ 9:40 pm
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As I sit typing, I’m waiting to re-download Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic. I’ve got another 11 minutes to go. You’ll notice that I’m RE-downloading KotOR from Steam.

Earlier this weekend, I finished another Mass Effect playthrough on Xbox 360 and decided that I should go back through my game library to play something else before attempting another Mass Effect run. I chose KotOR because of the acclaim and the fact that Drew Karpyshyn seemingly can do no wrong.

I’d bought KotOR for original Xbox eons ago and I, literally, dusted off the disk to see if it would even play on Xbox 360 years and years after the original backwards compatibility for the game was announced. Though the game doesn’t play in Widescreen, I began exploring Taris and was having some fun getting into the game until I died and decided to take a break.

The smaller screen was getting on my nerves, and it’s usually within that first game death that I find myself “taking breaks” in games, not to return for another five years. After research advised that there was no way to “stretch” the image on KotOR for Xbox, I recalled that I’d purchased the game on Steam during either a Steam sale or a Humble Bundle. Whichever it was, the fact that I had a physical copy of the game was not enough to combat some minimal price tag for PC (I have the game on iOS as well, but that’s for another post). I imagined that I could get the game to play in widescreen and play a lot better and also easier through Steam than through playing on Xbox. This is where troubles of epic gaming proportions began.

After 20 minutes of downloading the game through Steam, I started up the game with my Xbox for PC controller and tried to see what the game looked like. Not only did the game not appear in widescreen, it was instead a tiny box in the middle of my 1920×1200 resolution. If that was not bad enough, the game would not run. No matter what I did, none of the options would select, even though I could see the mouse moving.

I unplugged my Xbox controller, restarted my laptop, and tried again under the tried and true troubleshooting method of “turn it off and try again”. I restarted the game sans controller, and still nothing; tiny screen and nothing would click.

I think most people would have probably quit at this point and just returned to the game on the Xbox, but I refused to be daunted. Whether I spent $2 or $10 on the game through Steam, there was no way I’d have a game that I couldn’t play. Many, many, MANY searches later, I learned that the game would only run and register the mouse clicks by turning off Steam overlays and still running directly from the executable. To get the image to display at widescreen, I had to download Flawless Widescreen and then I still needed to finagle with the .ini file settings to make sure the mouse pointed correctly. I haven’t attempted to run the Xbox for PC controller yet, but that, too, requires Pinnacle Profiler, which I’d purchased years earlier for an equally irritating PC gaming adventure. About 72 hours after first sitting down with the intention to play the game, I think I’ve finally got the game moderately running the way I’d like.

With the Xbox One X coming in just a few months, I’ve been contemplating where my next steps with gaming will go. I’ve got 250 games in Steam (about 5 of those are probably games that are just Steam shortcuts), yet out of all those titles, I’ve only played 6% of those and even out of that 6%, the majority of the time in Steam has been spent in either Civilization 5 or Banished. It makes more sense for me to continue pursuing PC gaming as you can always do more with PC games than you ever could with console games (modding, textures, etc.), and I’ve also got 250 games waiting to be played. The massive library notwithstanding, the new Xbox is calling me for the simple fact that it is highly unlikely that I’ll need to go through all the above steps just to get a game to run.

With Xbox specifically offering backwards compatibility for Xbox, 360, and One games, my last major rationale for staying with PC gaming is slowly failing. With consoles, you put in the disc, download whatever is necessary, and off you go. With PC games, it’s a matter of ensuring both OS and graphics card updates haven’t disrupted the game, working all kinds of magic to make a console controller on the PC, and then using every digital gymnastics trick in the book to make the visuals what they ought to be.

I should have gone into PC gaming with a little better understanding. I’ve been playing The Sims 2 since 2004 and a fair bit of the “fun” of the game is troubleshooting why the game isn’t working. Obviously these problems are less likely to exist with newer games, but my gaming preferences keep pushing me towards consoles.

Outside of games like Civ 5 that are specifically made for PCs, I really prefer a console controller to trying to use a keyboard. WSAD is never going to connect in my mind; even my Minecraft controls are switched to FVDC instead of WSAD and that’s just not conducive to more complex gaming.

I’m also a “patient gamer” in that I like playing older games more than brand new games. Part of this is because most games these days are all about microtransactions and multiplayer, which is a completely different rant in itself, but with older games, the same problems I’ve experienced with KotOR, I’ll likely see in other older games as well. This is going to be ongoing problem as OSes and graphics cards get sporadic updates. Then…that Xbox One X starts to beckon me more and more.

I’ve got a decent 360 library that will all be playable on the One X and, though I’ve repurchased a fair amount of those games for Steam, I’m a little apprehensive about repeating my same KotOR experience.

The game has now downloaded and I’m ready to try again with KotOR for PC, but I still worry that there’s a good chance that I’ll slowly abandon all 250+ Steam games in favor of a system that just lets me sit down and play.

 

Addendum: I can’t decide on key bindings that fit my hands best. After keeping up the keyboard controls on another PC screen to reference as I play for several minutes, I’ve decided to give up and return to KotOR on Xbox…

 

 
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