Watch out, I’m going alternative…

The urge to write is strong.

Only problem is I have no idea what to write about. Sure, there are hundreds of things running through my brain, but why would any of it be interesting to you, the reader?

thinking

Who am I to talk about my life as if it’s interesting, significant even? Lowly little me in my average job, counting down the hours till it’s time to leave, and listening to Alternative on Amazon Music.

I suppose that’s a starting point…

I went camping last week. No cell service kind of camping. It was glorious, and it actually encourages me to disconnect more often. Granted, this could be a hindrance in my pursuit of becoming a Community Manager. I think even a CM would know when it’s time to disconnect and reconnect with one’s self. Admittedly, I feel relieved when I avoid attempting to catch up on every social media platform I have on my phone. It can be exhausting, and you never feel as satisfied as you expect when you embark on your scrolling adventure.

I feel as if I simply don’t care as much about social media as I used to, finding out what everyone’s up to. To be fair, social media feels more toxic lately than it used to be. It’s hard to avoid arguments and realizing some friends are close-minded or bigoted has made it all a bit unappetizing. This could very well be that 30-year mark creeping up on me…

socialmedia

This disconnect also stemmed from a friend stating that my music is basically old (FYI, he’s 11 years older than me…)

Do you have anything after the 70s/80s? Anything new? – Him

Uhhh… maybe… not really – Me

I do know new music, and I enjoy some of it. I guess you could say I don’t keep as up to date as some simply because I don’t often listen to radio. Anyway, now I’m on a quest to increase my music library.

So, here I am…

discovering new music

disconnecting

…and growing.

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It’s the final countdown… to vacation.

Nothing can get me down today. In less than 3 hours, I will be off work, preparing to leave for camping first thing tomorrow morning. Five days in the woods with no cell service and great company.

We usually go bi-annually, but last fall was postponed, because we now have an additional wee camper. Some good friends had a baby boy, and this will be his first camping trip. Here’s hoping it goes smoothly!

 

Don’t be salty…

I honestly am not sure where to begin with this one. It’s slightly off topic than the last few posts, but it follows a central theme. Workplace and career happiness. I suppose those would be the key words.

It’s commonplace to hear people complain about work. It isn’t unreasonable for someone to dislike their job at some point in their like. No job is perfect, I’m always hearing.

It’s true. No job is perfect. What you make of the days you have there is what matters. Don’t get me wrong. I am not preaching that you should be positive about every… single… thing. That’s impossible, for most of us anyway, especially me. There are days I feel like crawling into a hole and sobbing because of the unorganized chaos that sometimes surrounds me, but then I remember there are worse places I could be.

I recently applied to another Help Desk position because I wanted to see what other opportunities were out there. As much as I would like to work in the gaming industry, my priority is a healthy work environment. I found a great company, one where a friend of mine was already employed. His description of the place sounded enticing, a healthy work environment, good benefits, etc. I hear back from the HR department, fill out a questionnaire, my salary listed for one of the answers. Here, I appreciated the honesty. The HR representative responded back with a frank answer on what the pay range would be for this position. It was a fair bit lower than what I had anticipated and am currently making…

Admittedly, it’s a tough decision. I could stick with making more money at a place I’m only moderately happy with, or I could go somewhere I could potentially be happier and make less money.

Factors I take into consideration:

  • Insurance – my BF no longer has insurance because we are not married, and the company I currently work for does not cover domestic partnerships. Granted, I never found out if the other company did, but I’ll explain why next.
  • Money – my BF works in custom cabinetry. They make quite a few high-end products (basically, we cannot afford what he makes!) In this industry, typically it’s a small, local company. No vacation. No sick-time. My extra money compensates for when we take trips or he gets sick. Does this bother me? No. We have a very equal relationship.
  • Work Environment – Yeah, my current company can be a bit lackluster. It was disheartening that on my first day, the two other employees on the Help Desk warned me of the hell that I was coming into. They weren’t joking, in a lot of aspects. Positives of this place? For the most part, I can wear whatever I want, including my gauged earrings, hoodies, polos, etc. Dress code is lax, and it’s a pleasant change from my previous job. Good banter. No disciplinary action for dropping the F-bomb. In short, it’s not terrible. The technology is often the source of all the issues, and the fact that we are severely outdated and under-budgeted. Singing the sorrows of every IT department probably out there.

So, here we are. I decided to decline proceeding with the interview process with the other company. A better work environment would be nice, but I believe the pay cut would have stronger effect on life overall.

What was the point of all this? Well… I don’t find this place as difficult as a fellow employee, but that could be because I’m not afraid of working. I’m not afraid of working with other employees, creating a strong rapport so that we can lean on each other when the moment arises. This other employee refuses to have this mentality. He’ll pawn off anything and everything to other teams without putting a valid effort into resolving the issue, then wonders why other teams/employees are not cooperative.

It’s simple. Play the game. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. I think that has taken me farther here than him, because I’m willing to make the best of this situation. There are some days I still feel like crawling into a hole… but it’s not every day, and I can often find something that lightens my spirit.

TL; DR In the end, there are worse places I could be. I know what my skills and experience are worth. That other company could not match, so I am content to stay where I am until I can find somewhere I can grow.

Thar she blows! First gaming PC

Let’s talk computers.

If on a scale of beginner > intermediate > expert, I would say that fall into the intermediate category as far as my knowledge on PCs. I certainly do not admit to knowing everything there is to all the components, software, or the way each item interacts. I knew enough to know what I was looking for in a PC. I knew which games I wanted it to support as well as supporting a moderate amount of modding on various games (i.e., Skyrim).

I know I’ll get a lot of huffs and puffs from the elitists, but I found a good deal on a PC on iBuyPower.com for their New Year’s Sale. Here’s what I got:

  1. Motherboard: GIGABYTE AX370 Gaming
  2. Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB
  3. Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 1700
  4. Asetek 550LC 120mm Liquid CPU Cooler
  5. Power Supply: 600-Watt
  6. RAM: 4 GBx2
  7. 128 GB SSD/1 TB 7200RPM Hard Drive

The most recent upgrade included a new keyboard. Considering the price tag already, I chose to go for the free keyboard offered by iBuyPower. Big mistake. Shift keys constantly stuck, and the keys in general were tougher than needed to push.

On to the Logitech G910 Orion Spark.

I wanted a keyboard with backlighting… but not red. My case is blue/black. Why would I want a keyboard with red backlighting? RGB lighting tends to be more expensive than red. I am sure there’s a logical explanation for this, but I wanted that RGB lighting that I could modify to better match my equipment (I’m weird like that, what can I say?)

What I loved about the Orion Spark? I can modify all keys, as the backlighting is within the keys themselves rather than the whole device, like say the G710+.

Logitech-G910-Keyboard-Header

My little, nerdy heart is now in heaven. It all matches (after I find a mouse pad that matches as well). The mouse alternates between colors, which is suitable for now. It too will require an upgrade, but it was not as urgent as the keyboard.

What else needs to be upgraded? Well, the monitor, RAM, and SSD. Once again, this is suitable for now, but an upgrade looms on the horizon. Ultimately, I would like to upgrade to at least 16 GB DDR4 RAM, 500 GB SSD, and monitor with 144 Mhz refresh rate. Plus side, I currently have a decent system that will allow me to mod up Skyrim and play Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds. I’m content with my initial purchase, and it will certainly hold up until I have the funds for upgrading parts.

Every PC gamer had to start somewhere.

girlgamer.jpg

Here comes 30…

You weren’t put on this earth just to pay bills and die.

For those of us who are working in careers we chose because it was the logical path, based on the job market or skillsets, this is a tough quote to swallow. There are those of us who made a choice to avoid returning home to our parents, to be better than our parents, or sought independence at any costs. Often those costs are student loans or a career you’re moderately to satisfied. Why am I pursuing a career in the gaming industry, specifically Community Management? Because I do not want to be a statistic. I do not want to be someone who simply works to make money and gets not fulfillment out of a day’s work. It’s just a job. I clock in, work, go to lunch, work, then go home, where I feel life truly begins.

I hear many say that work is simply a means to enjoy life outside, but when you think about it, majority of your life is spent working. 40 hours/week, 5 days/week, nearly 52 weeks/year (I say nearly because at some point, someone may take a vacation).  There is a total of 8,760 hours in a year. Approximately, 5,840 of those are spent sleeping. 2,080 hours are spent working, assuming a 40-hour work week. This doesn’t account for vacation or holidays, so maybe deduct 10 days’ vacation, so that would be 1,840. Approximately 32% of your year is spent working. Approximately 66% is spent sleeping. If my math is incorrect, please feel free to say so. I work in IT, not a math major!

So, once everything is broken down… you realize how little time is available for living, doing the things you enjoy. Granted, this doesn’t consider completing chores on the weekend, which further limits your time.

TL;DR – Life is short to be working in a career in which you find no fulfillment. I have learned a lot by working in IT, particularly patience and communication. One that is naturally introverted will quickly find a means to break past those habits when you must be on the phone with someone over an hour trying to solve an issue. Silence can be excruciating, so you learn to make conversation, and you learn to express complicated concepts in a way that is understandable, yet not condescending.

So, what exactly was the point of this long, over-analyzed discussion about time? Well, I’m about to hit 30, and there are certain things you start analyzing once you hit a certain age, such as where you are in life, career-wise, relationship-wise, etc. Sometimes it takes others much longer to figure these things out, but I think I’ve finally hit it, how I want to spend my time. The key is to keep pushing, keep researching, keep networking.

For some musical enjoyment, been enjoying Bastille a lot lately.
You could say I’m drawing some inspiration from them, as of late.

A Female Gamer is Born

Let me start by saying I have never done this before…

Sure, I had a Xanga and Live Journal while I was in high school, a Tumblr while I was in college. A blog? Is it honestly considered the same as the three I mentioned? Close, perhaps, but this… it will be different.

I’ll start from the beginning.

I wish I could remember the first time I was introduced to the Elder Scrolls series. I honestly couldn’t tell you whether it was Morrowind or Oblivion, but I do remember that it was on Xbox. I remember that you could steal items from the NPCs, and I thought that was the coolest thing. A few years later… I saw another Elder Scrolls title and remembered how interesting that game seemed. In comes Skyrim and my first steps into truly engaging with a video game. My platform was PS3, and oh the struggle with loading on the PS3… I powered through, because, I mean, who wouldn’t with a game like Skyrim!?

A few more years later… I finally purchased a PS4. My original intention was to be able to play Call of Duty: Black Ops III with coworkers. Amazon had to go and had an unbeatable deal on the Skyrim Special Edition for the PS4. I delve into the description… all DLC included?! I’ve never played the DLC! I buy it and think, I’ll keep going on my PS3 character… I’ve made it so far. One day, I decide to check out the Special Edition, see how it plays. I’ll be damned, I’m never turning back. The gameplay is so much smoother on the PS4. Long live my first wood elf on Skyrim for PS3, but that lack of lag on the PS4 is too hard to resist.

As others who play Skyrim will tell you, the game is addictive. The story draws you in. What can be done feels unlimited. All the characters, builds, quests, and exploring. Even those who have played the game for years can still find something new. I feel like the word obsessed can have negative connotations, but it feels like a fairly accurate description of how I felt about Skyrim at that point. I was always excited to get home and play a few more hours. I would think about it at work, wanting to find others who shared my passion for the game. Along came Reddit. Oh, Reddit. You bring so many together for so many different reasons. Suddenly, reading about Skyrim doesn’t feel like enough. I want to see the action. I vaguely remembered someone talking about Twitch. What is this Twitch? Well, I soon found out. The first streamer I ever watched, who was playing 2x Legendary on Skyrim Special Edition for PC, was AjiraKimberly.

Little did I know that I would be watching the same streamer one year later and be a moderator for his channel. I admit it was tough initially to break into the community. Most are tight-knit groups that have viewers that been around for years or at least some months. You try to be witty and entertain the others so that you build a rapport. It’s certainly not easy when you’re dealing with a variety of ages, but I engaged it and kept coming back for both Ajira and the community he had built. You have this badass bearded gentleman from the Netherlands playing a game I’m currently “obsessed” with, and he’s doing it on a difficulty I could probably never dream of. What’s not enticing about that?!

I digress. I had found a source for enjoying Skyrim outside the hours I was able to play. The more I watched the stream, the more I realized how much a computer would serve me in my growing gaming hobby. The limitations of modding on consoles is discouraging, particularly Playstation. To be fair, there are some great titles released exclusively for consoles. One in particular for PS4 was Horizon Zero Dawn. Beautiful game, exceptional story, and beyond worth having a console for. Again, I digress, but now here I am, perturbed by my lack of modding capabilities on the PS4 for Skyrim. I’m thinking… I must get a gaming computer. Not only for the sake of modding, but for the sake of playing games with Ajira and others I had encountered on the stream. GTA V, Warframe, Elder Scrolls Online, BroForce. All these games I could play with others if only I had a gaming computer…

The long-awaited computer has arrived, earlier this year, matter of fact. It’s been a glorious month, playing games like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds, Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, Warframe, and Somewhere Out There. I have not yet had the opportunity to purchase other games that I had mentioned previously. The computer wasn’t exactly a cheap venture. Quick plug for iBuyPower. Great computer on a great New Year’s sale. Worth considering if you’re not wanting to build a PC.

So, here we are. A year later from my first venture onto Twitch. I have a gaming computer. I am a moderator for a partnered Twitch streamer. My passion for gaming and the gaming industry has grown immensely, and what do I want to do? I want to be a Community Manager.

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