sandrian

Bad News

I got told today that one of my close friends has cancer. She’s my age (30), has her whole life ahead of her and now the entire world is turned upside down. It’s breast cancer and it’s aggressive. I don’t know yet what the treatment plan is and honestly right now everything is just sinking in.
I don’t really know how what to write down about this situation. My thoughts are nowhere and everywhere at once. It’s scary, it sucks. It makes everything else seems insignificant in the grand scheme of things. It makes me even more focused on getting my own health and life on track again because with one bad spot during a scan can shatter everything.
I want to cry and scream and throw stuff. It’s not fair like nothing in life ever is. Cancer is such a horrible disease. I’ve seen how much of a life destroyer it can be. I almost lost my dad to it in 2012 and it feels like any time I’ve had with him since is borrowed because it will come back at some point and then there’s no more treatment to be had. But I try not to think about that.

I hope against hope that my friend won’t have to give up her breasts. That they can extract the cancerous cells and leave everything else intact. That she won’t need heavy chemo therapy or radiation. That it’s been found on time and her chances of survival are good. But for now we know nothing except that it’s bad and treatment is needed. And now we wait.

Sandy’s Sunday: Work Sucks

As I’m sipping on a coke I figured I should sit down and write something.
Basically the past week has once again been super busy and chaotic when it comes to my job. My team is gradually growing smaller and as such we need everyone to be able to do everything. So my colleagues have been busy learning new tasks and I’ve been keeping an eye out for everything else that needed to be done. Couple that with a week with a ton of meetings and I was happy when it was finally time for the weekend so I could recharge a bit.
On Thursday I went out to dinner with a colleague/friend, which was really necessary to lift my spirits a bit. We had an awesome evening just chatting about everything and unwinding. Being in a warm and cozy restaurant enjoying a three course meal while outside it’s pouring has it’s charm. Luckily by the time we were ready to leave the weather had cleared up so I didn’t get home completely drenched.

Due to me getting home tired a lot I didn’t get much gaming time in. After I’ve finished leveling Ninja to level 80 and using Bard to level up my Trusts a bit I’ve been having a bit of a burn-out on FFXIV. I just didn’t feel like starting up the game at all so my Bard is still sitting at level 73 and otherwise I’ve not been making any progress. However I’m feeling the itch to log on again so I may do a few Trust dungeons today so I can finally leave Holminster Switch behind me and focus on the next dungeon in the bracket.
The game I did start up a few times over the week has been Pokémon Sword. I’ve been diligently working away at filling up my Pokédex and am currently sitting at 177 Pokémon registered. Only 23 more to get to my goal of registering 200 for this month! It’s actually gone surprisingly smooth. I’ve been focusing a lot on just evolving all the Pokémon I already caught and then I moved on to catching, and evolving, new Pokémon. I’ve also been participating in a lot of Max-Raids to try and obtain Pokémon that have Gigantamax forms, instead of just regular Dynamax ones. So far I’ve managed to catch a Gigantamax Snorlax, Butterfree and Coalossal. I’m still on the hunt for more!
In other Pokémon news, I haven’t actually watched the Pokémon direct but was nonetheless hyped when they announced an expansion to the Pokémon Sword and Shield games. Even though I wish that Game Freak wouldn’t be a sell out and just release a complete game from the start I can’t deny that I’m pretty happy to be getting more content to the game. As I’ve mentioned before I think the overall story of Pokémon has been a bit short this time around. Getting two new areas, with a lot more Pokémon introduced to the Pokédex, plus more story content, is exactly what I and others have been hoping for. As such I actually pre-ordered the expansion straight away so it will ready for me to play once June and November hit.

Finally instead of gaming I’ve been spending my time watching Netflix, specifically two documentaries: Don’t Fuck With Cats and Cheer.
The former has just been disturbing on all counts and I’m not sure if I would’ve watched it if I had known exactly what it would be about. It just goes to show that some people are deeply disturbed and should be locked away from society forever.
Cheer however has been a fun documentary to watch. I was a gymnast on a decent level from the age of 6-12. I never made national championships or anything but I was once in the top of my district for my age group aswell as making it to province (state for the US folks I guess?) championship. Where I was quickly desillusioned with my actual skills because my and our club actually performed pretty bad compared to the rest. Oh well. Anyway, Cheer is a documentary following the Navarro College cheerleading squad who have won a lot of titles. They pick out a few of the cheerleaders to follow more personally and basically show the preparation for the big National Championship that is held every year in Daytona Beach, FL. Cheerleading on that level is basically brutal. It’s gymnastics, tumbling, acrobatics and dancing all in one. Serious injuries happen, as shown on the documentary, and getting on the team that actually will perform the act on the championship is a struggle. Due to the stunts and acrobatics trust in your teammates is required. You need to be able to know that you will be caught if you fall. If someone fails to catch you the entire team gets punished. This sounds a bit harsh but is also understandable. You win as team but you also fail as team.
Watching that made me think of my own gymnastic days and give me a sense of missing out in a way. I think if I grew up in the US being a cheerleader would be totally up my alley, even with all the injuries. I think I would’ve absolutely loved it. Now however I can only look at these girls and hope they haven’t destroyed their bodies too much while doing what they love.

All in all it’s been a week of trying to get back into the work rhythm and giving myself plenty of time to rest up and relax after making long days in the office. Next week should be a bit more relaxed and with that I hope that I can get a bit more game time in when I come home!

On A Roll

I texted my best friend earlier this week how for some reason I’ve been feeling more relaxed than I have in a very long time. Even if I did get called out of bed in the morning by a delivery driver. And honestly? It’s the truth. I feel like some sort of calm has finally settled into my erratic brain and because I’m not forcing myself to do anything now that I have a few days off I can finally focus on doing fun stuff instead. I still got some adulting done though, but not with as much pressures as I normally have when I have my regular weekends where I need to fit everything into two days. So with this stated I can proudly say I’ve been on quite a roll gaming wise these past few days.

For starters I sat down for a bit and moved my way through the Pokémon Sword post-game questline. All in all it took me a little under two hours to complete, with a lot of traveling back and forth and a lot of battling. I finally caught Zacian (the Sword Legendary Pokémon) and unlocked the Battle Tower in Wyndon. I’m not sure when I will be checking that out though, seeing as I spent quite a bit of time hunting a shiny Magikarp yesterday because of a special event. I managed to get one on the last max raid I did during the evening, so I am the proud owner of a shiny red Gyarados now. I also managed to catch a Lapras and a Gigantamax Butterfree aswell as start working away on evolving all the Pokémon in my bank.
All in all I’m quite content with how much time it has taken me to get to this point in the game. Granted, the game feels rather short compared to some of the older entries. I have over 70 hours clocked in Pokémon Black for instance and am not nearly finished with filling up the Pokédex there. It’s the one big flaw of the game for me, except the lacking of a National dex and all available Pokémon. It feels like with every new entry into the Pokémon series the stories have been getting cut shorter and shorter and the post-game has been made smaller aswell. Gone are the days where you’d have an enormous post-game riddled with mysteries and interesting ways to catch multiple legendary Pokémon. Now it’s a questline which opens up the Battle Tower after you’re done… And that’s it. Granted, I still need to fill up my Pokédex so that will take some time. However, unlike many die-hard Pokémon fans I’m going to stop the moment I have all the Pokémon registered in my dex. I have no interest in keeping a “living dex” where you have every single Pokémon as captured Pokémon in your boxes. I’m also not a huge fan of hunting shiny Pokémon. I think I’ve managed to capture two in my lifetime, not counting the shiny Magikarp of this event. One in Pokémon Black, a Golbat, and one in Pokémon Moon, a Rattata. Not the most thrilling Pokémon to have as shinies but I got them nonetheless. I also have a few shiny Pokémon from distribution events, but those don’t really count. So yeah. Right now I’m on about 33 hours played, mostly caused by the hunting for the shiny Magikarp, and I’m quite curious where the timer will be on once I manage to fill up the dex.

In Final Fantasy XIV I’ve been making a ton of strides in clearing out sidequest content and leveling my Ninja. Not only did my Ninja hit 80, before that I managed to clean up all the side content in Raktika Greatwood, earning me the Ronkan Serpent minion aswell as finishing up the final quests I had in the Tempest. I also took some time to do some FATEs in the Tempest untill I had my “do 10 FATEs” challenge from the challenge log done. Luckily for me there were a few other people doing FATEs there aswell so we had a nice little train going. I even had a shimmer of hope that we could spawn the big boss FATE at some point seeing as how we got to the final prerequisite FATE but alas, the chain reset. It’s the one FATE achievement from Shadowbringers that I’m lacking. Maybe I should join a hunt discord or ingame channel seeing as how they usually keep tabs on the big FATEs and S-Rank hunts.
Speaking of hunts. I’m slowly working towards getting the mount from the Shadowbringers hunt clan. I don’t actively participate in the A-Rank and S-Rank hunting but I do try to do my daily hunts atleast. Doing those every day gives 110 seals a day, which isn’t actually too bad. Maybe I should look into doing the weekly B-rank aswell. For now though, if I keep going like this, I should have the mount by next week!
Finally I’ve started working way on my Bard. I’ve chosen to go the Trusts route here though. I want all my Trusts leveled and I only have a few classes left where I can do that on. So I’m taking my Bard through the motions with one team and one of my tanks with the other team. I’m probably going to keep it down to one Trust dungeon per day, mostly because running the same dungeon over and over gets tedious fast. Even if they upped the experience the Trusts get. Pixie dailies and cleaning up the remaining sidequests are also on the agenda for Bard, but I will skip roulettes for the time being.

All in all I’ve been diligently working away at my gaming goals. Having the extra time off has really given me a bit of motivation to push trough and get stuff done. I may even need to set some new goals at this pace!

Pokémon Sword “Finished” and January 2020 Goals

I figured I would start the New Year with a bang and as such have spent some time grinding away on the Pokémon storyline untill I saw the credits roll. Spoiler, it happened after I won the championship (shocker!). It took me about 22 hours to get through the story and when I was finished I had 86 different Pokémon species registered as “owned” in my Pokédex. I managed to do almost all of the content with a team of Galar only Pokémon but I have to admit that I had to swap in an Ice-type not from Galar at some point to defeat the Dragon Gym-leader, since I didn’t have anything that was effective against Dragons before I captured one of the two Legendary Pokémon that you can capture in Pokémon Sword/Shield.
I’m pretty happy that I’ve managed to finish this game in under two months from getting it and for now the focus will go out to completing the post game storyline so I can get the other Legendary Pokémon and slowly filling up my Pokédex. I’ve actually started that part already and I am now up to 106 Pokémon registered. Only 294 to go!

I also took the time today to finally do the World of Warcraft anniversary raid event before my sub would run out (it has less than two days to go at this point). I did the raids, they were fun, people suck at the Plague Dance for Heigan and then I got the Deathwing mount so all is right. I know that I could run the raids more often so I can get some gear from them but for now I’m satisifed. I think I’m going to let my subscription lapse for the time being, seeing as how I’ve not really touched the game ever since I unlocked flying and got Exalted with the Mechagon and Nazjatar factions. Maybe I’ll come back when they release the next patch or a bit before Shadowlands so I can gobble up a bunch of the story content that I’ve not done yet but for now I’m taking another hiatus.

So, with that information out of the way let’s look at what I want to do in the first month of 2020! I predict Final Fantasy XIV to still be my main MMO so I will set some goals there first. I think it’s the game where I will put most of my time so I want to set a generous amount of goals!

  • Get more battle classes to level 80. I have 6 to go, with Ninja currently being 77. I hope to get Ninja and atleast two others to 80 by the end of the month.
  • Work on getting my first crafting classes to 80. With Ishguard restoration this shouldn’t actually be too hard. My Carpenter is 77 as we speak so that should be able to get to 80 fast. Ideally I want 3 Crafting classes to 80 by the end of the month. Let’s say Carpenter, Weaver and Leatherworker?
  • Level up Fishing. I’m currently sitting on level 64 and I want to get atleast to level 70 this month.
  • Level up Blue Mage. I want to hit atleast level 20 by the end of the month.
  • Complete all the side quests that are still up in the First
  • Work towards rank 3 FATEs in Ahm Araeng and the Tempest. Preferably I’ll have both done by the end of the month

In other MMO’s:

  • Make progress in LOTRO. I’m level 3 and at the absolute beginning of the game. I have no idea about the layout of this game yet and how zones and other stuff works so I just want to head out and explore and see where that ship strands.
  • Finish off the current zone I’m in on my character in Guild Wars 2.

In single player games:

  • Finish the Pokémon post-game questline
  • Get 200 Pokémon registered in my Pokédex (atleast!)
  • Pick Spider-Man back up for my PS4 and play through/finish the game

All these goals should be easily doable. Especially the FFXIV ones. One of the things I want to (again) start doing is pick a game from my massive single player games backlog and just play through it in a month’s time. Some games are shorter or longer than other games but I want to start making a dent in my massive collection. I also don’t have any plans to pick up full games this year for now. I’m probably getting the Kingdom Hearts 3 expansion and the new expansion for World of Warcraft but other than that I have nothing on my radar that I desperately want to get. But let’s start with Spider-Man for now!

December 2019 In Review

So here we are. The final month of the year. The final month of the decade even! I can’t believe how fast things have been flying by. I’ve been living in my own apartment for eight months now. I’ve been working my new job for four. I’ve had a lot of struggles throughout the year and unfortunately December hasn’t been much different. Despite it all I have made some progress when it comes to gaming and then especially in FFXIV. Let’s see what I’ve been up to, eh?

In Final Fantasy XIV
I’ve been steadily leveling battle jobs. The last time I wrote about this my Dancer was still sitting at level 60-something. Right now my Dancer is level 80, my Dragoon is level 80 and I’m slowly leveling my Ninja up to 80 aswell. I’ve been taking it slower on this job though. Instead of grinding out roulettes and whatever else I could get my hands on I’ve opted to do only one or two roulettes per day and instead focus on clearing out all the sidequests that I still have around. Oh and do pixie dailies and hunts because they are fast and easy. Right now I’ve just hit level 77 so I think I will be 80 on that by the weekend, even with taking it slow.
I’ve also been grinding out a lot of FATEs to get to max rank in all the areas of the First. And it’s been actually going quite well! So well in fact that I only have Ahm Araeng and The Tempest to go. It helps that you get a challenge log bonus for completing five and ten FATEs with a gold medal respectively. I’ve also been using it as a medium to level my Chocobo who, finally, hit rank 10 this month, earning myself the White Mage Barding seeing as I specced my Chocobo to be a Healer.
Finally I’ve been mopping up sidequests in various zones. I still have hubs to go in the Raktika Greatwood, Kholusia, Ahm Araeng and a few quests in the Tempest. It’s going to feel so good to finally not see any exclamation marks on my map anymore though!

In Pokémon Sword
I’ve gotten all 8 gym badges! It’s currently idling on my TV because I’m probably going to go into 2020 while playing this game and hopefully get closer to the credits as I do. I really only have the Pokémon League and whatever postgame is after that left and then I can kind of scratch the game off my “to-do” list. I’ve played for about 18 hours so far so that’s not too bad. I am going to try to finish up the Pokédex so I think I will have many more hours to go.

Next to Pokémon I’ve actually not really touched any single player games. There are a few that I may go back to after finishing up though, with Spider-Man on the PS4 and Link’s Awakening being the biggest candidates for that. I really want to make more of an effort to tackle my significant backlog of games in 2020 and seeing as how I’ve been able to complete games in 2019 I’m sure that with the right planning I can do it. I have so many amazing games that are just waiting to be played and for the first time in a while I’m actually really motivated to pick stuff up and finish it.

In other MMO’s…
I’ve logged into WoW to pick up the presents from the tree on Christmas day but that’s basically it when it comes to Azeroth. My sub is about to expire and I only have a few days left to complete the Anniversary Event and get the Deathwing mount so I may just reserve an evening to do exactly that.
I’ve also installed Lord of the Rings Online to see if I can get somewhere in that game. I want to expand my MMO horizons and it was a toss up between that and Star Wars: The Old Republic. Apparently both games are okay to start with on a F2P basis so I’m just going to roll with that and see if LOTRO captures my interest enough to want to put down money. So far I’m mostly trying to get over the outdated graphics and get used to the gameplay. I’ve only really played the tutorial fight though so I can’t really say anything just yet. I can say that I rolled an Elf (sorry Syp!) Archer because it’s my favourite fantasy trope. Let’s see how things will unfold there shall we?

In offline hobbies…
I’ve decided to pick back up puzzling again and bought myself a 1000 piece puzzle as said in my last post. I also have a diamond poster thing going on that I want to start on next. I’ll take a picture and explain better what it is when I get there. I really like just doing stuff like that, it helps me calm down and unwind without having to stare at a screen. I also let my eye drop on a very pretty, yet very expensive, Lego X-wing. I really want to build one but I have no idea where to put it once it’s finished so I’m holding off on buying it for now.
I’ve also been picking up reading again and am spending a bit more time watching movies and shows on Netflix and Disney+. I pay for both services so may aswell use them! I managed to devour the Witcher in one sitting and I’m currently rewatching the entire Star Wars saga after seeing Episode 9 in the theatre two weeks ago.

Finally…
I’ve decided that after this little experiment I do take kind to setting myself goals on a monthly basis. Even though I don’t always do what I want to do it helps me sort of make sense of what I want to achieve for the month. So starting tomorrow I will do a goals for January post again. For now I wish you all a nice New Years Eve!

Sandy’s Sunday: Checking In

Hello everyone! It’s me! Just wanted to do a quick post as a sort of checking in on my blog.
I’ve not really felt the need to write anything for the past two weeks. Mostly because holidays and work getting in the way and also because I honestly didn’t know what to write about without spoiling too much for my December in review post that I will put up on New Year’s Eve.

It’s been a weird few weeks with a lot of days off and people not being around. A colleague unexpectedly found a new job, effectively leaving my team with one person short. We’ve also been dealing with all the people having time off around the holidays and as such I’ve had a lot of time where I was the only person who would be around. It was great for a while since it gave me the opportunity to finally get around to cleaning up my overflowing mailbox, I went from 100+ emails down to 8, and checking up on aswell as preparing various projects for the new year. Work is still busy as ever but now that I’ve sort of “caught up” I’m confident that things will work out better in January.
I took January 2nd and 3rd off myself so I effectively have 5 days off starting Tuesday afternoon. Usually we go home earlier on New Year’s Eve so that’s nice. To keep myself entertained for this extended weekend I decided to pick up a hobby I haven’t touched in a long time: puzzling. I bought myself a brand new nice looking 1000 piece puzzle yesterday and I will take full advantage of my five days off to get it finished. I actually started yesterday evening with sorting all of the pieces and putting down the edges. It gives me something to do besides gaming and I’ve noticed that once I get into the zone of things I find the relaxation I’ve been looking for.

All things considered I’ve been relatively doing okay. I’m still very much exhausted although having days off around the holidays have helped me to kind of catch up on much needed sleep and relaxation. I’m still going strong when it comes to leveling stuff up in FFXIV, which I will tell more about in my December in review post, and I’m trying to find a set time every weekend to dedicate to single player games. I’m almost finished with my Pokémon Sword playthrough and it has helped tremendously to just pick a timeframe to start up the game and make progress in it. My best friend already beat the game so I can’t lag behind for too long and after that I may turn my attention to a new game or keep the slot for Pokémon for a while so I can work on completing the Pokédex. A feat which I’ve never accomplished in all the years I’ve been playing Pokémon. I think the closest I’ve gotten is in Pokémon Blue where I caught 146 out of 150 of them and maybe in my Pokémon Moon playthrough where I was on 2/3 of the Pokédex completed. Right now I’m around 80/400 Pokémon caught in Sword so I still have a way to go but it’s not the 1000+ Pokémon I would have to be staring down if they implemented a National Dex.

So yeah. I’m still alive. I’m still gaming. And a true gaming update post is coming up!

Good Days And Bad Days

Fair warning! Personal and pretty depressive post. Be aware that I’m not in a very good state of mind right now, but I’m not causing myself any harm.

As of right now it’s 23.45 and I should be getting ready to go to bed. Even on a Saturday I’ve made it a habit to not go to bed too late, seeing as how it majorly disrupts my sleeping patterns and I pay the price for it later in the week. Yet even as my body tells me that it’s time to go to sleep my brain is still in overactive mode. I thought I would have a good day today. I caught up on some much needed sleep and made my way into town to get some new clothes. One of my jeans suddenly had a massive hole in a place where there shouldn’t be one and I have been discovering holes in some t-shirts aswell. Wearing holey clothes isn’t something that you should do in general so it was time I went shopping for replacements.
And that actually went smoothly! I got back home with five t-shirts and a blouse, a new pair of jeans and two sweaters only two hours after leaving my house. After that I made sure I got groceries before it started to rain and then I settled in to a session on the Dancer in Final Fantasy XIV. And that was kind of that.
I played untill 19.00 and skipped dinner. I put up some shows on Netflix and let those play as I scrolled on my phone and was slowly sinking away into all kinds of wrong things to think about, slowly turning a good day into a bad day. Instead of getting my apartment cleaned up a bit and doing laundry and other mindless yet soothing things I let myself think about all the regrets I have and all the things that are not going well right now. It doesn’t help that work has been a major source of stress the past few months and that I can’t seem to flip the switch on working on my health. For some reason I’m so anxious to go to the gym that I just freeze up and block and do other things instead that are pretty detrimental to my health, both physically and mentally. Looking at my gym membership and seeing that it’s been well over 2.5 years since I last went hasn’t really helped either.

It’s at times like these where I feel the most fragile and just decide to air all of this in public into the ether. It helps because I get rid of the feelings and I feel like I’m talking to someone, even though that someone is anonymous. And I know that this isn’t the content that people necessarily are interested in but it’s just extremely soothing to get it off my chest. Like anyone else I’m insecure and have doubts. I have good days and I have bad days and sometimes days that start out good turn into a lot of bad. I am overwhelmed at work and one of many people that’s balancing on the edge of a burn-out. I’m overweight and having numerous health issues because of it. I want to get breast reduction surgery but to get that I need to lose weight. I love living on my own but it gets extremely lonely at times. I get jealous of my best friend who has her hubby and two kids and, even though she has her own struggles, has the life I kind of want aswell. The worst thing is the overwhelming and paralyzing anxiety. Being scared of doing the wrong thing. Being scared of how other people view me. Being scared of ending up alone and with no one to notice when things are bad. These are all things that come to the surface every now and then and pull me under. I let my house get a mess. I let myself get a mess. I stop caring about anything and everything and go through life in a daze, wondering where all my precious time has gone.

I know change starts at myself. And it starts with one step at a time. One step, like not skipping brushing my teeth during the evenings because it feels like more of an effort than it actually is. Starting with getting my ass to that gym so I can start working on getting in a better shape so I can actually elevate some of the problems I’m having. Even if that gym visit is only for half an hour. It’s still half an hour more than I’m doing right now.
Start by having my kitchen counter tidied and cleaned with no dishes left before I go to bed at night. Expand that to a clean dining and salon table so I don’t pile up the mess as I get home from work. Start to fold laundry as it’s dry instead of leaving it on the rack for a week. Establish the good things. Create order in the chaos that is my house and my head.

It all seems so simple and yet it feels like it’s the hardest thing ever right now. I’m being pulled under and I don’t know when I can break the surface again. It sucks. I look at myself in the mirror and I’m disgusted with what I see. I wish things were different. I wish I was different. But I mostly wish that things weren’t as hard as I’m making them for myself. I am my biggest demon. And today the demon has won.

A belated Sandy’s Sunday: Flying beats Fighting

Disclaimer: I actually wrote this post on Sunday with the intent to post it that same day. Apparently I didn’t, I’m still posting it now though! So this is my belated Sandy’s Sunday.

This morning I finally pushed myself to start up Pokémon Sword and gently get back into the game again. I haven’t had time to sit down for a proper session this past week and it was high time I made some progress again. So I pulled out my Switch and finished up route 6 and made my way to the next town. My starter has evolved to it’s final stage, the average level of my party is somewhere around 34 and I was very confident I could take on the next gym like this. And I was right.
The fourth gym is populated by trainers who use Fighting-type Pokémon. I have two counters in my team to that. Corvisquire (Flying) and Orbeetle (Psychic). The trainers during the gym mission were a breeze. Corvisquire took all the Pokémon down in one shot using Drill Peck. The Gym Leader was slighty more challenging. Her second Pokémon fainted my Corvisquire and was also super effective against Orbeetle due to it being a Dark type ontop of a Fighting type. So I switched in Cinderace (the starter) and used a Revive on Corvisquire and a Super Potion to get it battle ready again. In the end I was victorious and am now the proud owner of four badges. On to badge number five!
Right now there’s a few events going in Pokémon Sword/Shield where you can catch a Gigantamax Butterfree and/or a Gigantamax Snorlax. Apparently there is a difference between Dynamaxing and Gigantamaxing your Pokémon. When they Dynamax they just grow very big, get more HP and their attacks turn into stronger versions of themselves, kinda like Z-moves in Pokémon Sun and Moon. With Gigantamaxing they also change their appearance and get even more special attacks. So far I’ve not encountered either of them but I still have quite a while to do so, since the event runs for atleas the rest of December.

In Final Fantasy XIV I’ve been leveling up my Dancer. She’s currently sitting very close to level 66 and I’m sure I will have hit level 67 when I’m done with all the roulettes after reset today. Simultaneously I’ve been leveling Dragoon via Pixie dailies and FATEs. Today I sat down and grinded out the FATEs I needed to get to rank 3 with the gemstone seller in Lakeland. It took me somewhere around an hour and a half but in the end I hit rank 3 and my Dragoon hit level 72 so that’s a win! For my efforts I got a new barding for my Chocobo, as seen in the above screenshot, and one of two music scrolls that the vendor had on sale. I’m planning to keep doing FATEs in level appropriate zones, meaning that the next zone for this is Il Mheg. With the Pixie dailies being there aswell there’s usually a steady stream of people doing FATEs around the zone so I’m quite confident I can get that zone done in not too long aswell. I think I need to do around 30 FATEs for it, but if there’s a train going that won’t take that long at all.
As added bonus Dragoon as class is pretty sturdy so I don’t have that many issues tanking mobs in FATEs, especially when I remember to call out my chocobo, who I’ve trained as healer.

I’m really hoping work will slowly calm down next week so that I come home less exhausted and more ready to game. I feel like I’m losing a lot of time just sitting on the couch and staring at the TV because I feel too tired to do anything else. I know that sometimes just sitting down and doing nothing can be very beneficial, I don’t have to be doing something all the time. But right now the time I spend on doing nothing is just too much. I feel annoyed with myself about it and I need to change that.
As Christmas and the end of the year are edging closer I can’t believe we are about to start a new decade already. It feels like yesterday that I graduated High School and went on to University and yet here I am, 10 years later doing a job that is nothing like the field I’ve studied for. Finally living on my own in my own house and owning my own car. If you asked me 10 years ago if I thought I would end up like this I would have responded with a look of horror. Unfortunately life doesn’t always deal fair cards and I’m actually feeling quite lucky to be where I am today after years of struggle. With me not having to worry about finding a job, a house or even transportation anymore I can turn my attention fully to my next life goal: getting physically healthy again so I feel better in my own skin. Is it an early New Year’s resolution? Maybe. All that I know is that with everything else out of the way I can finally focus on stuff like this again. But first I’m going to enjoy a very yummy Christmas!

Controllers and Tiny Hands

I told Belghast from Tales of the Aggronaut yesterday that I really enjoyed his post about finding a controller that would suit someone who has big hands. Mostly because I suffer from the exact opposite. My hands are, by all standards, tiny. It comes with the total package of being only 1.60m (or 5f3in for my US friends) tall. I have a small shoe size and smaller than average hands. Just to draw an equation: My best friend’s daughter, who is only 7 years old, almost has as big hands as I do.
Having these tiny hands can be very handy in some situations but for someone who likes playing games, a lot, this has caused it’s share of issues over the years in finding what controller and mouse fit my hand nicely without feeling too uncomfortable.
I can honestly say that I’ve not yet found a controller that is truly comfortable to hold for me, but there are a few that come very, very close.

Playstation’s Dualshock


I’ve been a Playstation gamer since I was very young. Their dualshock controllers have therefore always made the most sense to me layout wise and I guess I trained my hands from a very young age to handle this specific controller. Is it completely comfortable for me to hold? No. However this comes closest to taking the cake. It’s one of the smaller controllers out there and ergonomically it’s pretty good to be holding for longer amounts of time. In it’s current incarnation I can reach all buttons, although I have some issues with using the touchpad itself. My thumbs sort of reach the lower bottom corners so I can press it when needed but when I need to use the navigational features I have to take one hand off the grip and navigate that way because my thumbs just don’t extend enough.
Any variation of the Dualshock usually turns out bigger and bulkier and as such I never bought anything else to play with, with the so called “Pro” controllers being completely unusable for me. I currently own two Dualshock Controllers. One that came with my Original PS4 and one that I bought on sale a few years back so that I always have one to use while the other one charges. They’re very sturdy and I think they will serve me well for a few more years atleast.

The Nintendo Switch Joycons

Surprisingly, I really enjoy handling the Nintendo Switch Joycons. I guess this stems from the fact that the Switch has been partly developed to be handled by children and as such the Joycons are pretty small by any standard. I actually really enjoy just taking the Joycons off the Switch and play with holding one of them in each hand. They fit snugly and I can easily reach all the buttons. And even though I show them in the picture with the wrist straps attached I actually prefer playing without those. It’s kind of a shame that Joycons are so ridiculously expensive, €75-80 for a pair. I currently own two pairs. The pair pictured here and the neon blue/red ones that came with my Switch when I bought it.
Compared to the Dualshock the Joycons do feel way more fragile and “cheap” in a way, but then again they are much smaller and still hold all that technology to make them work. For me the small and flat shape of the Joycons is ideal atleast and I have no issues playing for hours with them. I even want to go as far as to say that these are the best controllers Nintendo has made for me so far since the NES/SNES area where controllers were still much smaller. And even back then the NES/SNES controllers were inferior to the SEGA Mega drive (Genesis in the US) controller for my tiny kid hands since the Genesis controller was curved whereas the NES controllers were square bricks and the SNES controllers just made no sense to my kid brain. And as far as the rest of Nintendo contraptions go.. Let’s just say I’m happy that they went with Joycons.
I think the only downside to the Joycons is that they’re miss a bit of grip on the backside of them. If they had a place where I could comfortably rest my fingers they would most definitely take the top spot for me.

And I think for me the list ends here with controllers that I actually use without feeling like my hands cramp up from having to hold them for a longer amount of time. It may be a bit dull but I’ve not really owned many different types of consoles and thus controllers in my lifetime. I was always a handheld gamer, which was pretty nice for someone with small hands. Even there I notice that I can’t really use some handhelds properly though. When I was a kid I got a Gameboy Pocket because the bigger original Gameboy was just way too bulky to hold. I’ve always owned the smaller versions of the Nintendo handheld lines and even though my “main” handheld is a 3DS XL right now it’s actually a bit too big to fit my hands properly and as result I can’t play with it for very long before my hands get tired from holding it.

There’s two more controllers that I can handle okay, but that I don’t really feel belong on this list, and that’s the Switch Pro controller and the Wii-U Pro controller. They’re both slightly too big for my hands, for instance on the Wii-U controller I can’t really reach the Home button well but ergonomically they do work, with the button layout on the Wii-U one being a bit more sensible to me.

And for all other controllers out there.. I’m sure I’ve not tested enough to really form an opinion. There is however one controller that is just a HUGE no for me.. And that’s the XBOX one. Sorry Microsoft.
I own a wired 360 controller that I bought before I got my PS4 to play games with a controller on my PC. I managed to make it work but ever since I got my PS4 I switched to the Dualshock and basically chucked that controller into a corner and never looked back. The layout is horrible for my hands. The controller is too big and just so unwieldy for me to hold, I really don’t enjoy playing anything with it at all. This has been true for all incarnations of the XBOX controllers and I don’t think that will change anytime soon.

All in all I feel the scope of controllers for people with small hands is rather limited. I know that in the PC gaming world they’ve developed some mice for women, which are smaller, but maybe the console world should start looking into this aswell. Not all gamers are men and there are some of us out there that could do with smaller and less weighty controllers that are easier to wield. I think Google has tried to make an effort with their Stadia controller, which they designed with smaller hands in mind aswell so they can appeal to a larger audience. Unfortunately I don’t think I will ever get to test that controller since I don’t ever plan to subscribe to Stadia but atleast there’s one company making an effort.

So if any representative from Nintendo, Playstation or Microsoft happens to come across this post, design a controller for small hands! You have so many women and girls that play your consoles and I for one would be so happy to own a controller that is truly nice to hold, where I can actually reach all the buttons and that isn’t heavy after an hour of play.

Pad Thai and Samurai Shenanigans

Last monday my Samurai hit level 80. It was actually pretty fast as far as leveling up went, faster than I expected. I’m quite happy that it’s over because overal I’m not a huge fan of Samurai as a class. I kind of miss the logic in the class. The self buffs you put up don’t really time out like the Monk and Dragoon stuff does so you’re not really forced into a steady pattern of attacks, besides activating the right stuff so you can use Midare Setsugekka. I also find that Samurai has a lot of skills outside of the global cooldown and they’re kind of hard to manage. It just doesn’t make sense to me and I doubt I would enjoy this class playing it fulltime at 80. I had the same thing with Black Mage and like Black Mage I will probably put Samurai in a corner and won’t pull it out again unless I’m extremely bored or untill the next expansion drops, either one.
This sentiment may change over time though and I might just do some shenanigans on it but for now it’s another notch on the level 80 belt and I’m moving on to my next class, which is Dancer. I’m kind of enjoying the class, although the scope of it is limited since I’m only level 62. I hope I can level it up decently fast so I unlock more skills and steam to 80 before the month is over. I also decided to grab some nice gear for my Dragoon and take that through atleast the Pixie dailies every day to start slowly leveling that up to 80 aswell. Since I’m max rank with the Pixies that’s actually a nice amount of experience every day.

In real life work has not really let up that much. I’ve worked overtime most days again but I managed to connect with an old friend I met through World of Warcraft this Thursday. He had to be in the area for work and messaged me if I wanted to go out to dinner and catch up. I accepted and we wound up at a local Thai place where I ordered the Pad Thai and was kind of blown away by the true mountain of food I had on my plate.
For reference, Dutch portions are quite small usually. I can order an entree and a main course and be full from that most of the time, with very rarely having room for dessert. These are decent plates of food, nothing to extravagant but enough to fill you up properly. This Pad Thai though was of another level. I ate about half of it and took the other half with me to eat at home today and it was still a full plate of food. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten such a big portion anywhere and it was the first time I actually took food back home. Meeting up with my friend was nice though and we dredged up memories of the good old days of raiding in WoW and the guild we were in. It made me realise that my life looked very different 8-10 years ago and that I’ve grown as a person a lot in that time. Sometimes I miss those days where I had a tight knit community of online friends that I would play with almost every night but life does its thing and you end up getting out of touch with many people over the years. I don’t think I could do the 4-5 days a week raiding schedule anymore now that I have a fulltime job and other obligations and I salute anyone who can. I’m firmly in “casual” gamer mode these days and in some ways that’s probably the best thing that has happened to me.
For now though I’m looking forward to a nice relaxed weekend filled with gametime again and taking my car for a spin, if the weather allows it.