(It was a year ago that I said I was going to try to post here once a week. We see how well that’s gone!)

Wildstar continues to be fun, although the lag is frustrating. It’s much more of an action MMO than I’m used to – more so than GW2, which has a similar dodge mechanic that I never use – and while getting out of telegraphs was doable early on, the difficulty ramped up around level 10 and I found myself constantly taking damage.

Still, I persevere. Theande, my Mordesh medic, is level 16 now, and doggedly pressing onward. I’ve been able to assemble a mix of damage and healing skills that allow me some additional survival without sacrificing too much killing ability, and I’ve been paying more attention to Optimal Builds so that I can keep my killing capacity up. Ultimately, I can take at-level NPCs without too much trouble, and that’s really all I need. (If a higher-level enemy, or a strong at-level enemy, shows up, I can just wait!)

The game is still lovely to look at. Celestion, the Aurin/Mordesh starting area, feels like it’s been designed to ease the transition for players coming from Pandaria, with its rolling green hills and flowing rivers (and they do flow – this is the first MMO I’ve seen with water that moves your character). Thayd, the main Exile city, feels like a mishmash of each race’s sensibilities, just as a refugee city should, plus a central section lifted straight out of William Gibson’s Sprawl.

One thing I do have trouble with is Challenges. They’re intended to be done as you pass through an area – typically, they match something you’re doing anyway – but they’re timed, and since killing mobs and completing objectives takes me longer than other characters (because of both my lag and the suboptimal build I have to use to compensate for it), I rarely come through and complete a challenge on my first try. Thankfully, you can come back and try again later; at higher levels you get less XP and rewards that are less meaningful, but the completionist in me appreciates that I can finish them.

Ultimately, Wildstar is not just World of Warcraft with a hat on; it’s its own game in its own world with its own mechanics and quirks. (And lots of fun jumping puzzles – those I can do!) Someone who is expecting WOW 2 is going to be disappointed – and I know a few people who were and are – but if you can break out of the WOW mindset, it’s worth playing.

(The UI is still pretty awful, though.)

 

On Tuesday I bit the bullet and bought Wildstar – in a box, because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to play until nearly July! (Downloading large files – Wildstar weighs in at over 20 GB – over a rate-limited, metered connection is an exercise in patience.) I still ended up downloading nearly 1.5GB in patches during the install, but it was finally ready to go Sunday morning.

(An aside: Wildstar comes on three DVDs. Remember when World of Warcraft came on four CDs? That’s a maximum of about 2.6 GB, as I recall. How times have changed!)

Wildstar feels an awful lot like Guild Wars 2 mixed with Star Wars: The Old Republic. Like GW2, it has a very mobile combat system; in fact, Wildstar‘s is even more mobile and quick-paced, since nearly every ability can be used while moving and abilities are generally skillshots rather than attached to a specific target. Like SWTOR, the quest system is dynamic, and again Wildstar takes it a step farther. While I haven’t run into class-specific or race-specific quests, a third character customization, path, has abundant custom quests, and certain aspects of the world do change based on your race and class.

The races of Wildstar are divided into two factions: the Dominion and the Exiles. This actually is a little frustrating, not only because faction-based player divisions feel a little outdated but because the Dominion are so blatantly the Bad Guys in a way the Horde and even the Sith never were. They are an empire based, at least from what I’ve seen, almost entirely on the idea that they deserve to rule, and the Exiles having rejected their rule – in at least two cases because the Dominion destroyed their planets – is seen not only as an affront but as a reason to treat the Exile races as Less Than.

The Dominion are so outright evil that I almost expected the Emperor to be Snidely Whiplash. A recent post on Mapjabbit talked about an Exile-side “torture” quest, a fair way into the game, that turned out to not actually involve significant torture at all. Meanwhile, one of the very first quests as a Dominion character asks you to assault citizens with a shock prod to convince them to undergo a mind probe, and when some of those citizens are identified as disloyal, they are, in groups, incinerated, dissolved, or transmuted into horrifying ooze-beasts that provide the character’s first combat encounter.

If you’re prepared to accept comedic sociopathy, you can probably withstand Dominion-side play. If you’d rather a more light-hearted game… well, Exile appears to be the more common faction for a reason.

Anyway. I’ve logged less than 10 hours playing so far (across four alts) and I haven’t even reached level 10 – but if someone asks you what I’ve been playing, now you know!

 

I’m retiring from World of Warcraft.

(It’s not just because of the issues brought to light by Rob Pardo’s recent interview and comments, although that’s part of it.)

Mostly, I realized this week that a lot of why I was playing WOW was nostalgia. I first started playing in February 2005, when my friend fade brought me a copy from her store in California (back then, Blizzard hadn’t predicted how massively popular WOW would be, and it was incredibly difficult to find for a few months). I even remember what got me to try it: her description of the harvest golems in Westfall. Thottbot had screenshots, but she told me I really had to see them in action and hear the sound effects. So I threw down the $64.19 (sales tax!) and bought a copy, and I was hooked.

My first character was a human warrior named Corver. He made it to level 15 before I rolled an alt. As far as I know he still exists; he started on Lightbringer, but between server splits and migrations I have no idea where he is now.

My first character to reach the massive wealth level of 1 gold was Lishan, a night elf hunter. She was also my first character to level 20.

The first character I really took seriously was an undead priest named Stazane. I leveled her as Shadow, and made it to Arathi Highlands before meeting some friends at college (the second time – long story) and creating a character on their (PVP) server.

That character – a Tauren hunter named Takareg – was my first character to reach level 60, a little while after Burning Crusade launched. I busted my ass to get him to level 60 so that I could join a Molten Core run my friends were putting together.

Takareg is currently level 65, and sitting in Zangarmarsh with his pet gorilla. He likes it there, I think.

Soon after that, the guild fell apart, and I joined another group of friends on a different PVP server (they wanted to play Alliance characters, and back then you had to pick a faction and stick with it on PVP servers). I’d created Theande, a Draenei priest, on Burning Crusade’s launch day, and she became my main. (Looking back, I wonder what I was thinking, maining a priest on a PVP server.)

Theande was my first character to reach the level cap, and the first character I raided with. I spent hours grinding battlegrounds to get an epic mace, which helped me get into heroic dungeons and thereby into raids. When I fell out with that group of friends, I stuck with Theande, transferring her to a PVE server and joining a raiding guild there. (In fact, Theande has been through two server transfers, ending up on the role-playing server Moon Guard.)

Theande was my first character to 70, to 80, to 85, and to 90. She’s not my only level-capped character; I’ve brought one death knight, Sisuphe, to 80 during Wrath; a different one, Ixtamna, to 85 during Cataclysm, along with Rusted, a goblin shaman and my first Horde level-capped character; and a paladin, Rolastra, to 90 just a week or so ago.

All of my characters have stories and meaningful names (part of why I ended up on an RP server). Tiryns, my faithful rogue (now level 70!), is named after an ancient Greek city, and lost her father when he was corrupted by the Nightmare. Ixtamna, named for an Aztec god, was a druid before the Scourge killed her, and still prefers to dress in leather when she can. (She misses being able to heal.) Rusted Screwloose, the goblin shaman, should have been Trade Princess and won’t let anyone forget it.

I put so much meaning into WOW that it seems almost like losing a chunk of myself to walk away from it.

But ultimately, WOW isn’t the game I got excited about when I was 25 – and even if I could turn it back into that game, it wouldn’t make me 25 again. I know all of these characters, and I don’t need to keep grinding away levels in order to keep them close. I can continue to write their stories if I want to – or just revisit them now and then as old friends.

For now, Rolastra’s training with the Shado-Pan to prepare for the next big threat to the world. Tiryns is camped out at Stars’ Rest, keeping an eye on the dragonflights. Rusted is in Orgrimmar working on gadgets and trinkets.

And Theande is sitting in her farm in Halfhill, tending her crops and fishing in Jogu’s pond, laughing and drinking with Farmer Joon and the Tillers, or just leaning back and watching the Vale, her Weathered Fishing Hat tilted down to shade her eyes.

It’s a nice retirement.

 

(idea via dee, crossposted from Tumblr)

“Theande was a proud Alliance healer, but something changed during the Pandarian campaign. She’s followed Garrosh to the past not to aid or stop him, but to take revenge on the orcs who caused the destruction of Draenor.”

Theande is a multi-phase fight; the phase shifts depending on her health.

Phase 1

Theande begins the fight in Shadowform, which reduces damage dealt to her by 10% and heals her for 0.5% of the spell damage she deals. Two tanks are usually recommended due to her Mind Blast effect. She attacks the player at the top of her threat list physically, and casts the following spells:

  • Mind Blast – Theande casts Mind Blast on her primary target every ten seconds, on average, which deals substantial damage and reduces healing done to that player by 30%. This debuff lasts 15 seconds and stacks, with the duration refreshing every time she successfully casts the spell. Tanks should switch off immediately after the spell hits. Mind Blast cannot be interrupted.
  • Mind Sear – every thirty seconds, Theande casts Mind Sear, targeting a random player. This deals moderate damage every second for three seconds to everyone within 20 yards of the targeted player. Theande emotes with the player’s name before beginning the channel, and does not attack the tank during this time, so players should move away from the named character. The Mind Sear channel can be interrupted.
  • Summon Shadowfiend – Theande periodically summons a Shadowfiend at one of four locations around the room. These have a threat table, but start off attacking the nearest player. They deal moderate physical damage, and increase Theande’s spell damage by 50% for 30 seconds if they are killed, so they should be kited around the room. This spell is instant and cannot be interrupted.

Phase 2

When Theande reaches 50% health, she will leave Shadowform, and all Shadowfiends will despawn (without giving her their spell power bonus). At this point she loses her threat table and begins healing herself. She uses the following spells:

  • Heal – Theande heals herself for 10% of her maximum health. This spell takes two seconds to cast and can be interrupted.
  • Power Word: Shield – A spirit barrier appears to protect Theande, absorbing damage equal to 5% of her health. This cannot be interrupted but can be dispelled.
  • Penance – Theande targets a random member of the raid and attacks them magically, dealing massive damage in three bursts over 1.5 seconds. This channel can be interrupted. Theande emotes with the name of the player she is attacking when she uses Penance.
  • Holy Nova – This deals moderate damage to anyone within 20 yards of Theande and heals her for 5% of her maximum health. This cannot be interrupted.
  • Renew – This heals Theande for 25% of her maximum health over 10 seconds. It can be dispelled, but not interrupted.

If Theande reaches 65% of her maximum health again, she returns to Shadowform and Phase 1.

Theande’s focus shifts from damaging the players to healing herself as her health drops. If she drops below 11% of her maximum health, she casts Inner Fire, which doubles her casting speed (but not casting frequency) and the effectiveness of her healing spells. This effect falls off when she rises back above 25% of her maximum health.

If the fight with Theande lasts longer than twelve minutes, she enrages; her casting speed, casting frequency, and area of effect double, and the effectiveness of all of her spells triples.

When Theande is reduced to 1% of her maximum health, she surrenders, turns friendly (for Alliance characters) or non-hostile (for Horde characters), and offers the victors her cache of trophies.

Achievements

  • [Make Up Your Mind]: Allow Theande to return from her healing form to Shadowform four times in a single battle before defeating her.
  • [Stronger Than You Can Imagine]: Destroy four Shadowfiends within 10 seconds, then defeat Theande.

Notable loot

  • [Tea Chalice]: Spell power trinket. Use: change your character’s gender for 10 minutes.
  • [Falling Star]: Two-handed DPS mace. Best in slot for retribution paladins.
  • [Roll of Adhesive]: Off-hand frill; increases intellect, haste and critical strike.

Quotes

  • Aggro: “Why do you insist on delaying my revenge?”
  • Mind Blast: “Your mind cannot withstand these torments.”
  • Mind Sear: “Watch, [name], as your friends run in terror!”
  • Summon Shadowfiend: “My friend from the Nether would like to meet you!”
  • Phase 2: “No! I must gather my strength!”
  • Penance: “The Light will show you no mercy, [name].”
  • Holy Nova: “Get away from me!”
  • Re-entering phase 1: “I feel so much better now.”
  • Burn phase: “I won’t let you stop me!”
  • Enrage: “You’ve wasted enough of my time.”
  • Player death: “Tragic.”
  • Surrender: “Enough! I see… the error of my ways.”
 

I had the opportunity at the beginning of the month to update SWTOR to the latest patch, so I’ve been spending a lot of my gaming time trying the game out again. My main account has Preferred status (since I was previously a subscriber), and I had a handful of their Cartel Coins currency saved up (Cartel Coins are what you use to buy stuff from the in-game store), so I’ve bought back some of the functionality you lose by not being a subscriber. I also started a second account, as a free-to-play member, just to see what the differences are.

I suspect that if you were coming in fresh – that is, you hadn’t been a subscriber before – the basic account would seem perfectly fine; all of the complaints about “restrictions” that I had were because I’d gotten used to the game as a subscriber. That said, if my biggest complaint about the restrictions is “I’m not getting for free now what I was paying for before”, it’s a pretty petty complaint! Beyond that, in comparison to, say, the first incarnation of World of Warcraft (I dislike the term “vanilla”, but that’s a different post), it’s actually roughly similar to the privileges we got as part of the base game, and there are quite a few additional benefits (for instance, being able to craft directly from the bank/storage, which WOW still doesn’t implement).

On the other hand, as a Free or Preferred player, Bioware does tease the extras you get as a subscriber in the interface (“Subscribers get extra reward options when they complete a quest!”, “Subscribers can hide their head-slot item!”, “Subscribers get a full set of action bars!” etc.), which means that even if you’re not a subscriber, you know what they get that you don’t – which is, I have to confess, a pretty good way to get people to pony up the $15 a month.

The two biggest complaints that I had do still hold: you can’t disable Auto Self-Target on buff and healing abilities (meaning that you have to target the person you want to affect before you start casting; this is really only an issue because I got into healing classes in WOW and RIFT, where you could toggle the spell and then click the person you wanted to affect, and so my muscle memory is wrong); and there’s still no water in the entire game that’s more than calf-deep, which means that there’s no swimming. The latter sounds ridiculous, but it’s a matter of verisimilitude; if, for example, you have to cross a body of water (as you do in the Republic trooper and smuggler starting zone), you’re just wading, instead of having to swim across it.

There’s also the issue of same-sex relationships; these have been teased and promised since before the game launched, and they’re still not implemented. Part of this, I suspect, is that they want to add new characters to have same-sex relationships with, instead of, say, letting my female Imperial Agent have a relationship with Kaliyo; I’m not sure I understand the justification, but that would be a stumbling block. And, to be blunt, the percentage of players for whom this is an issue is smaller than the percentage of players who want to see additional endgame content and off-rails starship combat, so that’s what’s getting the developer attention right now. Still, I hold out hope.

All in all, I am actually having fun with SWTOR again now that I can play it, and I’m hoping that this time, I can keep it updated and actually be able to play in the long term – since being a Preferred member seems to be enough for me right now. (Although Bells gave me a week of Subscriber status as part of SWTOR‘s recruit-a-friend program, and the subscriber benefits are pretty sweet…)

 

The trouble I’ve been finding with playing games is that I haven’t been going in with goals. I’ve just been logging in to log in; and without a goal, I find myself just logging out again five minutes later. (Or shutting the program down, or closing the book – you know what I mean.)

So this weekend, I experimented with gaming with intent. When I logged in on Friday, I decided that my goal was to get Rolastra to level 72 and to complete Howling Fjord, and I was involved enough that I made my goal. (I wrote an addon, a while back, that tells me to get up and do something else every half-hour, and starts giving me grief if I stay logged on for more than four hours at a time, so I’m not just plunking down and not doing anything else until I meet my goal; in that time I also cleaned up the house and wrote about 1500 words on a different project.) On Saturday, I decided to get to level 73 in Dragonblight, and made it with plenty of time to spare. And while I didn’t log on for more than a few minutes yesterday, I’m looking forward to the next time I get to log in and play the game – for the first time in quite a long time, the game is something I want to do, and not just something I do because it’s there, and it’s because of the goals I’m setting and achieving.

Now, granted, there are some caveats. You can’t make yourself enjoy an otherwise-unenjoyable task with goals; these mini-endpoints would mean nothing for my motivation if there weren’t a fun (for me) game underneath. You shouldn’t set your goals too high; I’m not setting my bar at “80 the next time I log in”, for what I hope are obvious reasons. And you shouldn’t set goals that rely on the random number generator; if your goal is “win [whatever the best and brightest loot is] when it drops”, you’re assuming a) that it drops, and b) that you’re going to win it. Don’t base a goal on an event whose resolution is fundamentally out of your hands; it’s just as bad as saying that your goal is to win the next time you pull a slot-machine arm.

Still, the magic of explicit goal-setting has been a great way for me to rediscover an interest in the game (especially since it’s been so long since I went through Northrend that I don’t really remember it very well), and for the first time in a while I’m actually enjoying playing games, so that has to count for something.

 

Well, I caved. After nine months away from the game, I finally bought 30 days of game time for World of Warcraft. Amusingly, it was with the intent of playing with Alex – and we haven’t managed a single minute of play time together since I bought in. Instead, I’ve been largely playing my draenei paladin, Rolastra. She’s currently in her early 70s (I think I hit 71 the last time I played), and wading her way through the Howling Fjord up in Northrend. (She hit 68 less than halfway through Nagrand, and her hearthstone’s been set in Dalaran since Wrath was the current expansion, so it was easy to just pop on up.)

Rolastra is actually the character I created with the express intent of seeing how far I could get her just by running dungeons, and I intended her to be my tanking character once I hit max level (which was 80 back then). I spent a lot of time running a lot of dungeons with my friend Jess’s priest Noore, but between Jess quitting WOW and my connection moving from smooth, buttery cable to “an internet connection only in the broadest sense of the term” satellite, I haven’t run a single dungeon since before Mists of Pandaria was released, and in light of that, I figured I’d see how Rol did in the wild.

Turns out she’s pretty fun to play. She was 50 when I stopped dungeoning with her, and while I won’t say those 21 levels have been easy to come by, they’re a lot easier than I thought they’d be. For some reason, too, I have much less trouble with her than I do with my Death Knight Ixtamna, which is why Rol is getting my attention and Ixy is sitting, unloved, in Paw’don village. (Let’s not mention poor Theande, who is currently on the Timeless Isle waiting for me to get her the hell back to the Alliance Shrine because between my connection and her squishiness, the Isle is a deathtrap, of the “literally spending more gold in repairs than I’m getting in drops and grey items” variety.)

 

Of all the things for an ex-raider to be playing and enjoying, I’m actually spending most of my gaming time on a web-based dragon-breeding game called Flight Rising these days. Gathering treasure and items, breeding dragons, and fighting with them in the Coliseum is, unexpectedly, really compelling.

Of course, the fact that the wiki is woefully incomplete has been taking up a lot of my time, too. I’m pretty sure I wrote half of the non-item pages on the wiki at the moment, in addition to building templates and doing behind-the-scenes stuff for other editors. Again, it’s weirdly compelling.

If you’ve a mind to join me, my username is res_umbrarum; look me up.

In actual MMO news, I went back and tried RIFT and WOW for a little bit. Because of how RIFT‘s network interface is structured, the game is actually pretty much unplayable on my internet; if I can log into the server at all, none of the NPCs load (I sometimes get voices and the “column of light” that means that a figure is being drawn from the server to render), and it takes several full seconds just to open my bags (which is weird, because I would have figured that would be client-side). Also, patching is still a pain in the ass; I talked to the official rep on Twitter, whose response to “it sucks to have to get up at 2 AM to log in so I can patch” was “yes, players in your situation have to do that”. Not exactly the response I was looking for.

WOW, on the other hand, still works decently well. I didn’t log into my main account; instead, I started a trial account. The new-player experience is actually kind of invigorating; I can’t mail myself heirlooms, bags, or gold, so I’m stuck doing things the hard way, and despite what all the old hands (who have leveled from 1-90 with heirlooms, 20-slot bags, and thousands of gold) say, there’s still quite a bit of game there. My favorite character at the moment is a level 5 undead rogue, but she’s by no means the only character I’ve put any time into. (And, again, without heirlooms, gold, or bags, it actually does take more than five minutes to get out of the 1-10 area, which is nice.)

And, of course, Guild Wars 2 is still playable; I ran around on the last day of the dragon festival hitting piñatas and racing moas, and it was great. My friend Jess and I talked about the difference between RIFT and GW2, and she summed it up nicely: “Compared to RIFT, GW2 feels as advanced as RIFT felt compared to WOW.” It’s true; the game is, frankly, just better.

(I haven’t even touched SWTOR. The same problem I have with RIFT continues with SWTOR, and unlike RIFT, I have a lot more of SWTOR to download before I can play…)

So that’s what I’ve been playing recently. What have you been up to?

 

Yet another filk. I’ve been wanting to write this one for six years.

The Darkmoon Faire’s falling down on its knees
The vendors are all shutting down
It’s raining in Orgrimmar two flight paths east
Where you should be, no one’s around

I need a queue pop
I need a good tank
I need a gear drop
I need a queue pop

These trained mobs and bosses are running me down
And I don’t have damage to give
You get what you’re geared for
But soloing dungeons is no way to live

I need a queue pop
I need Consecration
I need a trinket
I need a good tank

And I get no answers
When I post my Recount
It’s raining in Orgrimmar, baby
And I might as well sit on my mount

There’s strats I remember and strats I forget
I miss running with you; I should
But you’re off playing some other damn game
I hear it’s not even that good

I need a queue pop
(Maybe I should buy that new game)
I can always hear LFG
(But the players who use it are lame)

And I wish, I wish it was the same game
Because I’m lonely for vanilla
I’d like to hear a little “u rdy?”
I guess it’s time to put the cash down

I need a queue pop
I need a good tank
I really need a good tank
I really really need a good tank
I really really really need a good tank
I really need a good tank

 

In a fit of productivity, I decided that I was going to start posting here again.

It was only when I actually opened the Add New Post page that I realized that I’d stopped because, well, I’m not really playing any games seriously anymore.

Part of that is the latency problems that I mentioned in my last post. When my average ping in an online game is around 1700-1800ms, they just aren’t very much fun to play – at least not on the level that I was used to playing them – and I can’t justify paying a subscription fee for them. So I got Theande to level 90 in World of Warcraft and then just petered out; I realized that I was logging in, doing dailies, and logging out, or just running Nashoda in circles around Eastern Plaguelands gathering herbs while I watched DVDs, and that doesn’t merit $15 a month, especially when I was never going to get to use anything that I could have spent the daily rewards on and there didn’t seem to be much point in just piling up more and more herbalism gold.

My internet situation also makes playing RIFT and SWTOR difficult. I have a strict limit on the amount of bandwidth I can use each day, and can only download with impunity between 2 and 7 AM Eastern time. Normally, this is okay – I can just use a download manager (my ISP conveniently provides a pretty good one) or, for programs that require updates, schedule the program to run overnight. But RIFT and SWTOR won’t let me schedule them to download overnight; both launchers require that I log in before they’ll give me updates, which means that I either have to get up at 2 AM and launch the launchers, or log in before I go to bed, pause the download, and rig a program that simulates a mouse click to resume the download at 2 AM. (Incidentally, a few other games follow this model; I believe Star Trek Online does, for example, but I’m not sure.)

Or, as I’ve done, simply not play the games. I haven’t logged into RIFT or updated SWTOR since July 2012 – and I’m certainly not paying subscription fees for them. (And that’s actually kind of sad for me – I had a character, Agystha the cleric, at max level in RIFT before the expansion, and one, Tipanyu the Sith Sorcerer, in SWTOR who was almost at max level but who’d finished her personal story – and I miss playing them. But even though SWTOR is free to play now and RIFT is going there, I still can’t update the clients without logging in. There’s not even a paywall in place anymore, guys; cut it out.)

And then there’s Guild Wars 2. I bought the game back in December, when I had a little extra money, thrilled that it was an online game without a subscription fee and that it would let me update the client without having to be logged in. (In fact, it keeps you logged in unless you explicitly log out.) I got an Engineer to her mid-30s, and a couple of other characters to the late teens or early 20s, but I haven’t actually played GW2 in several weeks. (I still have the launcher updating every night; I just don’t play it.)

The problem has become that because of my lag, I have a hard time participating in events, and I can’t run dungeons or do PVP at all – so I find myself just doing the same things over and over, with different locations and different skins. And the automatic level adjustments – when you enter a lower-level area, your level and stats are lowered to match, rather than decreasing the XP and gold you get from doing the activities – actually hinder me, because despite the fact that my Engineer is level 35, I still struggle with certain mobs in low-level areas (the cave full of wurms in the Norn 10-15 area comes to mind), and because I can’t run dungeons or do events easily, I can’t get the gear to bring myself to a level where I can handle them.

So why am I still writing here?

Because I used to love playing games, and I’m hoping that writing here will help me rediscover that desire to play and to excel in those games. Right now they’re just another thing I do if I have time and nothing else has grabbed my attention – it’s really on the level of “dust the shelves” or “straighten up my desk” – but I’d like them to be something that I want do. So that’s the goal: one post a week, on Wednesday, to figure out how to get my groove back. That’s what I’m doing here.