Luckless.

It should be a crime, lying to youth.

 

They told us that we could achieve anything; told us that we ought to follow our dreams – our passions.

 

How wrong they were.

 

All those videos, those countless hours of talk about how wonderful our futures would be – what great leaders we will turn out to be.

 

Look at us now; highly educated and underemployed.

 

The agencies of change deny us; the agencies of power reject us.

 

They call us entitled, spoiled – ruined by our oblivious attitudes and mindsets.

 

They never told us what reality would be; how difficult it would be to attain what they told us would be a walk in the park.

 

Officer commissions, politics, policing, management – every rat who went through public education within the past decade has these grand notions.

 

After school we ended up jobless, luckless and rejected – post-secondary brought us into debt and those lofty goals are far out of reach for many who once dared to dream.

 

It should be a crime to tell us that dreams are attainable.

 

Dreams are just that, dreams: when you wake they end.

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Audible, Kill Team, and other thoughts. The Coffee Break 1 Dec 2018.

Audio books for days: that is what I have been spending more time and resources on as of late.

 

The current job I am engaged with allows me to listen to books for the entire day with little to no interruptions – a real perk given the fact that some people are, instead, listening to complaints and rude comments day in and day out.

 

Audible has been a great help in this category; though my time with the service started back last year alongside my current occupation it has nevertheless been an important tool in the arsenal that has enabled me to really dig into some subject matters that I would have otherwise neglected altogether. The slogan: “listening is the new reading” is rather accurate as I find I have less free time to physically sit down, tune out everything and flip through pages in order to complete the book: thanks to Audible I can listen while I paint, while I do chores, exercise, cook, and so on.

 

Subject matters as noted above include civil-military relations, leadership, professional development, the effects of war on the individual and society, the arguments for just and unjust wars, and so on to name a few. Indeed such subject matters are usually found in 500+ page books and can take quite a lot of time to complete; with Audible it boils down to mere hours – much more manageable given the busy life I tend to live.

 

Like cooking, if I can pseudo-automate certain tasks in order to maximize the time I have available, then I will do so in order to better improve myself and be better than my current state. Expanding my understanding of certain topics is what fulfills me, and finding Audible has been a great help in this regard – a real library in the palm of my hand.

 

Moving on, as mentioned in an earlier piece I recently returned to playing Warhammer 40,000; though this time around I have only deployed small squads of soldiers as I have taken the step into learning how to play Kill Team, Games Workshop’s skirmish game based in the 40k universe.

 

Rather than deploying large 1500 to 2000 point armies, a player simply sends forth a 100 point or 200 point (if you have the Commanders expansion) Kill team to fight against other kill teams: models move individually, have more wounds per se (the flesh wound roll is sort of a last-stand after your model’s actual wounds are exhausted), and are more character-driven than their 40k counterparts who are simply another piece on the board.

 

Thus far the mechanics of the game are taking a bit longer than expected to learn: the various phases, wounds, command points and so on are quite different from that of 40k despite sharing similarities. After that is said, however, I am enjoying myself immensely; small squads means more opportunities to customize models and paint unique colour schemes that would not be possible in large army settings where the goal is to pump out a 60 – 90 man army fast in order to play.

 

Time management has been tricky at certain moments, and while Audible and Kill Team have helped somewhat (smaller portions, automation, etc) there are times where I feel there are just not enough hours in a day to do your own things after work. Skipping out on sleep will lead to negative health effects (you can be macho all you want, but eventually your body will disagree with you and you will be going to the doctor’s office more and more as you age), skipping out on work means you will end up jobless and broke (homeless too if you are in that situation), and not doing chores or taking care of personal hygiene will lead to disease and malnutrition (eating supplement pills and protein powder alone is not a healthy diet) – this leaves maybe one to two hours of free time to paint, play games, write and so on.

 

Sometimes I notice that it isn’t so much that I have little to no time, rather I have enough time but I can lose track of it either by thinking too long on a subject matter, taking too long in the shower, taking too long to get out of bed in the morning, and other similar activities. Writing the time allotments down on paper shows that there is enough time, but managing it can be tricky at certain stages – something to note for those out there analyzing their own time management patterns.

 

Anyways folks this concludes the Coffee Break for the 1 of December 2018 – thanks for reading and we shall see you next time.

November already, and I haven’t posted since October.

Work, gaming, re-entering Warhammer, and other nonsense – these are the main activities that have kept me away from this lovely blog for a while.

 

A lack of discussion topics is also a contributing factor.

 

“What is new with the Writer since we last heard from thee?”

 

Well aside from work, I have been playing a lot of World of Warcraft; lately I have felt burnt out so I switched over to Warhammer (of all things to pursue).

 

Kill Team is the skirmish version of 40k; you control a squad and a half of soldiers and fight on a 24×24 size board and it features a more narrative, in-depth game than 40k where it’s formations and blobs of infantry.

 

Already I am enjoying Kill Team, though there are a few differences to the rules than what I am used to back when I played 40k on a regular basis.

 

Definitely a lack of discussion topics is the main culprit; lately I have had a lack of interest to talk about gaming, and seeing as how military news is largely irrelevant to the reader base it pretty much left me with nothing to talk about other than: “this is what I did this week,” and “politics, politics for days.”

 

The latter I’d rather avoid; internet discussions on politics seldom lead to civil discourse.

 

That said, I may pursue the former; I think talking about what I read, what I painted, and so on might breathe some life back into the blog – we shall see how things go from here.

 

Anyways this concludes the quick update; still here, and the blog is not abandoned – just a lack of topics to discuss has lead to a drought here on Thoughts and Topics. Keep on marching readers, and I shall talk to you later.

Still here, still kicking. Coffee Break 6 October 2018.

“WHERE DID YOU GO WRITER – WE NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EV- ”

Right right, calm down I am still here; I’ve been busy and had little to talk about so shut your chili hole and let me update you on what is going on.

 

Welcome back to the Coffee Break by the way; World of Warcraft, Magic the Gathering, and Heroes of the Storm have occupied my time as of late (though WoW took the majority of the time with the last two being more recent phenomenons).

 

Well I am semi-burnt out with the Battle for Azeroth expansion. Lately I have abandoned my two Hunters in favor of a single priest – discipline spec naturally, and it is a lot of fun. Prior thought on priests have led me to think that it would be nothing but stress and constant deaths due to a lack of damage; yet upon further examination of the three specs available – discipline, shadow, and holy – I discovered that playing a priest was quite the nice fitting pair of shoes and so I dawned them and have never taken them off since.

 

Though another side to the story was that I liked the artifact weapon for discipline priests so I went that route – turns out weapon skins are also spec-specific so if you are running a holy priest you will be unable to use Light’s Wrath as a transmog for your character until you change specs.

 

Laddering onto the priest fever I re-started my interest in Magic the Gathering. Presently I have a White-black mana deck and after (and only after) I built a new deck that I discovered how much I liked the Dominaria set of cards for the plains (white) mana. Now the angel creatures were not too appealing but I really liked the focus on knights: Benalia, like Innistrad, just stood out to me as something worth pursuing and so I acquired a bunch of cards for Dominiaria and have re-built my new deck (it was previously Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon cards mostly) so that it comprises mostly of Benalish knights and Benalish soldiers (Benalia is a nation in the universe). Going forward I might focus more and more on the modern format as it enables me to play with a good set of older cards and not have to build a new deck every time standard updates and previous blocks are rotated out.

 

Those of you unfamiliar with Magic, basically for constructed (build your own deck) standard is the most current set of cards available. Every so often the company that prints Magic cards will introduce a new block, and so the two oldest blocks are rotated out – this makes them unavailable for competitive play under the “standard” format. “Modern” is any set printed from a particular set onwards (modern format list here: https://magic.wizards.com/en/game-info/gameplay/formats/modern) and so older sets like Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon which were rotated out a year or two ago are available for use – in essence you can use your collection and not have to update or build a new deck every time a new block is released.

 

There is more to the title: “modern,” but I will leave that for some other time.

 

Heroes of the Storm; did I mention I liked to play as Whitemane? Well she was the inspiration for my priest phenomenon so to speak. When I picked up Whitemane in Heroes and played a couple matches I discovered that priests can also be Inquisitors per se: since then I have accomplished the above, and have reduced my list of favourites in Heroes down to two – Whitemane and Stukov (though he is up for removal and replacement if I decide to do so).

 

Why two? Simple, I abide by the Rule of Two: concentrating time and effort into two so that all the knowledge and practice is focused rather than spread out.

 

Yes readers, I got my inspiration from Darth Bane and his Rule of Two: one primary, and one secondary.

 

No more, and no less.

 

Stukov might be replaced with Jaina: she was my primary up until recently and since I enjoy playing her in Heroes in the past she might replace Stukov who feels more of a novelty than a character I can dedicate time into mastering.

 

Apart from gaming I have continued reading via Audible when at work – the nature of my job enables me to listen to audiobooks while I work so the program has been a constant ever since. Lately I have gone through some short dramas from Black Library (Games Workshop’s publishing company) and despite being 20 minutes in length I have thoroughly enjoyed them. Between 12-hour long books it was nice to listen to something for 20 minutes and return to the book with a bit of a refreshed mind so to speak. Sometimes you need something short to break up a long stretch of reading and these dramas fill in the gap nicely.

 

Should you wish to check out some dramas, I recommend “Guns of the Black Eagle: Warhammer Age of Sigmar (or just “Guns of the Black Eagle”)” and “A Lesson in Darkness: The Horus Heresy (or just “A Lesson in Darkness”),” both were good stories and I think they do an excellent job in establishing the atmosphere with the given time available in these short listens.

 

That’s all for today folks; thanks for being patient and for reading, and we shall see you next time.

Going to war, continuing the fight. The Coffee Break 4 August 2018.

Being more precise, going to war in Azeroth (because I doubt I’d write much if I was actually going to war – too busy with work-up training, finalizing paperwork in case I die in action, and so on).

 

Earlier this week I finished the burning of Tendrassil quest line and earlier on Thursday I did it on the Horde side just to see if there was anything I missed in regards to story content (I even boosted a character just for the occasion – the price tag better be worth it). Suffice it to say while a lot of people are afraid that Sylvanas is going to become another Garrosh I have different thoughts on this matter entirely.

 

During this week I watched some videos on fan theories as to how Sylvanas will evolve in this expansion, and one theory was that she will eventually be forced to make a hard decision that saves the soul of the Horde but will cause her to voluntarily walk away from the position of Warchief – she survives but is no longer leader as she walks off to find meaning and purpose or to be alone with her thoughts. This felt the most logical direction as I doubt Sylvanas will simply die off like some past characters we have encountered; Thrall is still alive and well last time I checked, and Illidan is alive and acting as a jailer for Sargeras so chances are a major character like Sylvanas will have more to contribute to the story as time goes on.

 

Back to the action, thus far I am quite happy with how things are progressing because we seem to be getting a good fantasy war drama – two factions locked in bitter struggle with shit leaders and great leaders to go around. Both powerful factions are fighting over resources, both are bitter rivals, and both are going to take more aggressive approaches to how they deal with the enemy as time goes on – a real genuine war in my opinion.

 

Thursday also saw the release of the “Old Soldier” cinematic and this is the first time we see a character suffer from confusion and possible survivor’s guilt with a smack of PTSD (watching Teldrassil burn could have been a triggering event); I really like this new aspect to the war. When it comes to war, often at times both sides will claim that their cause is just, and both sides will be just to some degree. However despite this both sides can easily lose their just cause because it can only exist if they remain within a very narrow set of limitations – quite often in war these limitations are tossed aside in the pursuit of victory for one cannot justify going to war if one does not seek to win: either to conquer, subdue, repel, liberate, or retaliate (among other causes).

 

 

Perhaps I am overly optimistic about a game, and perhaps I am looking far deeper into a fantasy world than is necessary – this is part of the fun for me, and this expansion isn’t as clear cut as a daemonic invasion or some other-worldly threat. Instead what we have is a war, and in war innocents die, honour can be lost and gained as easily as one drinks water, combat flows and changes, and nothing is permanent. One would imagine that while Sylvanas is acting in an aggressive manner in the early stages of the war the Alliance could one-up her and set the bar higher as they strive to gain the upper hand either through terror tactics like striking at civilian targets or developing a super weapon akin to a nuclear arms race. This will test Blizzard’s ability in storytelling as they are now required to write two morally grey stories and have both sides commit atrocities and acts of selfless sacrifice all in the scope of this evolving conflict – BFA will be a story of two factions struggling for dominance and survival, rather than a ‘Mary Sue’ faction against the ultimate evil of the universe.

 

One can also argue that the Alliance has their own genocidal heroine in the form of Jaina Proudmoore. Going into spoilers for her book Tides of War (released prior to the Mists of Pandaria expansion) Jaina almost drowned Orgrimmar in an act of vengeance for Garrosh bombing Theramore and destroying it – she relented and did not execute her plan but she has never recovered from the events of the book and she still grieves over the loss of her little City-state. Where Sylvanas burnt the world tree in, what could be described as, a terror tactic and a strategic one (removing a possible staging ground for Alliance forces as well as an unwinnable guerrilla war if she occupied the tree) Jaina could very well seek to strike civilian targets for the sole purpose of demoralizing the Horde forces while neglecting military targets altogether.

 

Yet with all that said I stumbled upon a lore video late Friday night that detailed quite a lot that wasn’t in game (a shame too). According to the books: “A good war,” and “Elegy” the War of Thorns (as the campaign for Darkshore is called) was more calculated on the Horde side that what is initially given to us. The story “A good war” details how the Horde wanted to break the Alliance’s sense of unity by forcing them to choose between Teldrassil and Gilneas as to which area to liberate first – thereby forcing the Worgen as well as other nations to break away from the Alliance and thus helping the Horde win the war and achieve peace on their terms.

 

Meanwhile on the Alliance side in “Elegy” we have a detailed account of what was going on with the Alliance during this time. Rather than breaking apart, Genn Greymane reaffirmed his people’s commitment to the Alliance in a heartwarming conversation with the king of Stormwind and thus the Alliance actually pulls together in this time of crisis.

 

The final part of Elegy was quite depressing to say the least; the priestesses that remained behind with those still trapped in the tree were burned to death. During this final moment a priestess called to their goddess for a final blessing of mercy and they passed peacefully into the afterlife knowing that justice will be met but it will be others who will witness the event and not those who remained.

 

 

There was also a part where the priestess sang to her people as they burned alive together – quite a depressing conclusion actually, and one that further adds gravity to the situation in which we find ourselves. Indeed we have Saurfang in his video unable to rest before the battle of Lordaeron because of his memories haunting him (in particular the screams of those dying inside Teldrassil) and now we have details of those who remained in the tree after the portal to Stormwind collapsed in order to comfort the trapped souls who couldn’t make it out in time – sacrifice and a lack of heroes seems to be a reoccurring theme.

 

Here is hoping Blizzard really makes us think about our allegiances and how we view the world from certain perspectives in this coming expansion – a challenge in storytelling as they are unable to write one side as pure evil (ie: the Legion, the Iron Horde etc) and must instead paint both factions as just what the box says, two opposing factions. Anyways folks this is all I wanted to cover for this coffee break; back to WoW for me, though I feel like some Gears 4 today so we shall see what happens after I conclude this post. Thanks for reading everyone, and I shall catch you next time.

Re-subbing to WoW, some 40k Armageddon, and other topics. The Coffee Break 7 August 2018

Hello folks,

 

Been a while has it not? Well suffice it to say I have been diving deep into a couple of games: I re-subbed to WoW and picked up the Legion expansion-Battle for Azeroth double pack and have been digging through the endgame content for Legion and getting ready for BFA. While that has been happening I have also been playing some Warhammer 40 000 Armageddon; a turn-based strategy game available on GoG and Steam (I picked up the GoG version – felt it was the better deal).

 

WoW has come a long way since vanilla; I can’t get what all the fuss is about when it comes to the upcoming expansion. While it is frustrating to see our Artifact Weapons lose their power (especially since I came in at the tail-end of the Legion expansion) the game is a living world of sorts – things change in a living world and sometimes that change hurts more than it makes us happy.

 

Alongside this issue of sorts is the whole: “why are the Horde and Alliance fighting – they need to team up against (insert magical threat number something-something here)?” Well the name of the game says it all – World of Warcraft: war is the primary theme here, a struggle between two factions. Now if the game were to move away from that then “Warcraft” might not be an appropriate name to use – can’t have “Warcraft” without war, otherwise it would be: “World of Peacecraft,” much less entertaining in my books.

 

Speaking of WoW the first of three animated shorts was released earlier this week – Jaina was the first out of three (the other two being Sylvanas and Queen Azshara) and it was done in the form of a sea shanty with Kul Tiras being the main theme – more specifically the Kul Tiran memory of Jaina betraying her father (according to the culture). All week-long I have been listening to the song over and over, and while I can recite some of the words, I’d rather just link the video to you readers to watch – all in all it was amazing and I really enjoyed every second of it.

Moving along Warhammer 40 000 Armageddon was the next game in the title; for a turn-based strategy game done in the old style like Final Liberation it was quite enjoyable to play. Now I will be honest, I only poured in some four to six hours maximum but from the short time I did spend on it the game did not leave me frustrated and disinterested.

 

Set during the first, second and third wars for Armageddon (DLC needed for the other two I believe) you play the Imperial forces fighting against the Orc menace as they attempt to conquer Armageddon while you attempt to repel them – shoot all greenskins, right? Unlike games such as Dawn of War when you click on units you will hear no voice overs, but during the campaign the in-game cutscenes have voice overs, and the voice-acting is quite good. Being what it is I rather quite enjoyed it so here’s to the company who developed this title: may you succeed in all future endeavors.

 

Being around 27+ degrees outside it was high time I sat down to some serious PC gaming (and to avoid roasting like some bacon or chicken) – after playing on console for a bit it was nice to return to a familiar setting and just jump right into the action. Speaking of action I picked up the Razer Tartarus V2 gamepad recently while it was on sale at a local retailer here in Canada – the device is basically a quarter of the keyboard with just the main keys of 1 – 5, wasd, qe, rf, alt, caps lock, tab, shift, alt, and spacebar (with a thumbstick section for the arrow keys – RTS in mind?). Due to space limitations on my desk I was searching for something to replace my second keyboard which I was using for gaming as it provided me with the flexibility to angle the device to fit a more natural shape of my wrist and thereby prevent any sort of injury. Suffice it to say the device works exactly as advertised, though some adjustments to any future designs would need to be made in order to make it even more ergonomic – specific attention needs to be paid to the position of the spacebar key.

 

Now when I purchased it I was skeptical and thus immediately fired up Steam and WoW to throw the device into a quick test of sorts – see if the device performs according to my needs. Now a week into using the device I can say that it does what you expect a quarter of a keyboard to do; I do not need the keys past R and F and so it was nice to be able to save some table space for other things like cups and note pads – this is more myself adjusting my work/gaming station to suite my needs but I would recommend the device to those who are looking for something more compact. Sometimes a few inches of space here and there can make a difference – sometimes.

 

Right well that about covers what I wanted to say for this coffee break post – Re-subbed to WoW, 40k Armageddon is fun, and a new gamepad (quarter of a keyboard) works nicely for what I need it to do. Thanks for reading folks, don’t forget to hydrate and we’ll catch you later.

The enemy doesn’t care so get used to it.

“As for sleep, the enemy doesn’t care so get used to it.”

 

The enemy also doesn’t care about the use of chemical weapons, napalming civilians, firing on their own soldiers without warning to deny the enemy ground, ergonomics, nutrition, and pay and benefits so we should all get used to it.

 

No need for morality, rules of engagement, or veteran benefits – the enemy doesn’t care so get used to it.

 

We can spend the lives of our own citizens as easily as we spend ammunition and food – the enemy doesn’t care so get used to it.

 

We don’t need to care for veterans – they are disposable, because the enemy doesn’t care so get used to it.

 

We don’t need to tend to our wounded; let them suffer and die because they were too weak to dodge bullets and survive gas shells – the enemy doesn’t care so get used to it.

 

Raping pillaging is fine – the enemy doesn’t care so get used to it.

 

Callous attitudes towards the well-being of citizens shall be the norm; the enemy never cared about anything except total victory at all costs so we should all get used to it like the animals we are.

 

Filthy, savage, brainless.

 

Yes, what a wonderful logic – the enemy doesn’t care so get used to it.

 

I think we are better than that.