Swirling Thoughts

I had about five or six things I was thinking of writing about today, but I’m drawing a near-blank. You’d think I hadn’t had my cup of coffee this morning yet. Okay, one at a time, let’s see how many I can remember:

Book reviews: Today’s review is of John Izzo’s The Five Secrets You Must Discover Before You Die. I know it sounds gimmicky, but it’s actually a very good book.

I have three cookbook reviews upcoming soon: a Betty Crocker whole grains cookbook from Wiley; an EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry cookbook; and a New England cookery cookbook. I’ve also gotten four new cookbooks for review; two are filled with decadent desserts; one involves coffee drinks & desserts; and one focuses on olives and olive oil. I’m nearly done reading Margaret Wittenberg’s New Good Food as well.

Sayonara, Rite Aid: Imagine for a moment that you’re getting a prescription filled. It’s a medication that you have to take three pills of every day. Your doctor deliberately gives you a scrip for the time-release version so you only have to take it once a day, all three pills at once, so, for example, you won’t forget to take it at lunch. It’s a psychoactive mood stabilizer prescribed for bipolar, so it’s something you can’t mess around with in terms of blood level. You get the prescription filled. Thankfully you’ve been taking the medication for a couple of years already, so when you open the bottle up a couple of days later you know damn well your pills shouldn’t be bright pink.

Turns out they gave you the non-time-release version—without changing your instructions to take it once a day.

Imagine what could have happened if you had never taken the drug before and didn’t know any better, if you’d actually taken all three pills at once. Spike in blood level, possible toxicity effects… at best, without a consistent blood level it certainly wouldn’t have kept your moods stable.

Yes, human error exists at pharmacies. They can miss the very large ‘XR’ that indicates extended release (a later check of the carbon copy proved it had been on there). But any halfway-awake pharmacist should have realized that the direction to take three pills in the morning, combined with that drug, could be bad.

I was willing to deal with the apathetic pharmacists and ridiculously long wait times at our local Rite Aid because it was so close to home. I’m not willing to deal with careless mistakes that could truly screw me up. I’m now a happy customer of a different pharmacy, which is an extra 15 minute drive away, but had noticeably awake pharmacists and techs, a much shorter wait, and much nicer facilities.

Pirates of the Burning Sea: I love the game’s economy system more than that in any other game I’ve ever played. However, in order to really go nuts with it, you pretty much need a society (guild-equivalent) to work together. Each player is allotted ten plots of land (essentially) per server that they can put into use. On each plot of land you can build some sort of structure, like a plantation (which allows you to combine stored hours of labor plus money to harvest, for example, beans, maize, wheat, or hemp), a grain mill, a textile mill, a weaponsmith, a tanner, a hunting lodge, etc. The devs deliberately made these things fine-grained enough that you need more than ten buildings to really make anything useful.

One of my complaints in games like Warcraft is that ultimately, crafting isn’t entirely useful. There’s an end-state characters reach where there just isn’t much more you can craft that’s useful. Pirates put that to shame—there’s so much to build that’s constantly useful. Ships, ship modifications, ammo, consumable repair kits, buffs, etc. (special gunpowder, hull patches, and so on). With a good society you could really go to town playing with the economy and the pvp mechanics.

Unfortunately, everyone I know has already invested years into their Warcraft characters. Putting all that stuff together in Pirates would take a lot of time that they just don’t have. Nearly all the gamers I play with are adults, with jobs, spouses, kids. They don’t have time to do that and Warcraft, and since we already have our WoW guild kitted out and having fun, with its level 70 characters, the odds of them pulling up roots and settling down in Pirates—no matter how good it is—are virtually nil.

So as much as I’d like to play Pirates and enjoy the game, for the moment I’m not buying it. Perhaps later, if we can convince even a couple of friends to go with us, we’ll do it. But for now, it looks like we’re sticking with Warcraft.

EVE Online: Eve, on the other hand, is easier to get a satisfying experience out of without that active a corp behind you—simply because there are no levels, and thus it’s incredibly open-ended. There’s no worry that you’ll hit the top level in two months and say, “now what?”

I got my first Myrmidon and lost it again almost immediately in my first level three mission. I know, that’s incredibly pathetic. I blame the fact that I hadn’t had my coffee yet, because it’s a convenient excuse. (Actually, had my reflexes been slightly better I wouldn’t have lost my Myrmidon—I hit warp just a fraction of a second too late.) I went back with my tail between my legs, refused to drop the mission, spent a few days replacing my Myrmidon, kitting it out better, and building up shield skills, and went back and succeeded at the mission. Phew.


Okay, I don’t know if that was all I meant to talk about today, but it’s certainly enough for now. I’ll leave you with a bumper sticker that beautifully reflects my political feelings:

I vote for people not parties

Posted in Gaming, Writing Tagged with: , , , ,
5 comments on “Swirling Thoughts
  1. Melissa says:

    I need that bumper sticker. A lot.

  2. heather says:

    Melissa: Political parties just seem to mess everything up, you know? Everyone’s so busy trying to toe some party line that they don’t think for themselves, and they aren’t willing to rock the boat in order to do what’s right. I register independent, because I’ve seen candidates on both sides I haven’t been willing to vote for.

  3. Jervis says:

    If I knew how to get on Eve, I might give it a try. I’m NOT going to Pirates for all the reasons you mention…and because I know I’d be addicted. The first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem… 🙂

  4. Oh dear! I am so glad you caught the pharmacist’s error and knew what to do. Like you suggested, it would have been horrible if someone tried to take all three pills at once.

    I too vote for people not parties. I’ve never quite understood voting down a party line when I don’t agree with a candidate’s platform . . .

  5. heather says:

    Jervis: Sometime when we’re visiting and Baltus is there (since he’s got an account you can use to try it with) we’ll get you up and running with EVE. 🙂

    Feline: Yeah, I mean, I get that it isn’t exciting to work in a Rite Aid. But wow, when people’s health rests in your hands, you need to at least have some system for making sure you’re giving them what you’re supposed to!

    Here in Maryland I think the ‘people not parties’ thing has been particularly important to us. There have been candidates who, frankly, came across like they were totally nuts, yet if we’d been voting along a party’s lines we would have voted for them. I’m not willing to do that. I’d like the lesser of two weevils… I mean evils… thanks. 🙂

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