This past week was E3 and a live letter for Final Fantasy XIV Online. Unfortunately, the majority of the chatting we did about those two things was in person and not on Twitch or in Discord. Still, here are a few conversations and a pretty funny video from the last week or so.
Honestly, I love that Nico and I can give each other shit. 🙂
One of our community members posted an innocuous comment about Phantasy Star Online 2 from Microsoft’s press conference and I completely freaked out. You can see the point in my replies where I did a quick internet search and found out that we’re getting PSO2 in March. I was SO EXCITED. Can you blame me, though??? This announcement came out of NOWHERE!
When Nico asked me about this, I thought he was talking about the Switch version of the game. Apparently, Japan is getting a Dragon Quest themed Switch and I had NO IDEA. Somehow I doubt they’re going to release it stateside, so my wallet is breathing a sigh of relief!
This is pretty self explanatory. I bought a Dust Daddy and this is what happened when I used it to vacuum my keyboard. Yes, I could have deleted the messages, but honestly, it’s more funny this way… Side note: I found that it works really well, so I’m not sure why its reviews are so bad everywhere. I guess it depends on what you’re using it for.
And that’s it for this episode of “Highlight Reel.” Maybe I can come up with a better title, but for now, that’s what you’re stuck with! Come hang out with us on Twitch and Discord for more banter!
Although we live in the same house, the majority of our banter exists either in Discord chat or on stream. Sometimes it’s lighthearted. Sometimes it’s serious. Either way, we thought we should share some of it with you!
We live in an old ass house. Like REALLY old. The original part of the house, which is the upstairs and where we live, was built around 1907-1908 by my grandfather’s father. I don’t know the exact date, to be honest. It’s made of wood. In 1947, it was raised and the downstairs was built underneath it using concrete. My calabash uncle lives down there. When my husband and I first moved in, I couldn’t sleep because there were so many creepy noises when the wood moves. In addition, the walls are thin so you can hear a television, computer, radio…
Recently, Nico and his girlfriend have been falling asleep while watching Netflix, YouTube, or whatever. And the volume is turned up so high that I can HEAR the Discord notifications he’s getting through the damned wall!
That video pretty much speaks for itself… I said something really ditsy… LOL
Not everything between us is a joke or frustration. 😉 Nico is great at cheering me up and making me feel better about stressful situations like work. I can only hope that I do the same for him.
I went to two tasting events last week. One for sake and the other for wine. I got drunk both times. I feel like a lot of people can relate to their mom just coming into their room rambling on about something or another while they’re just trying to beat a boss in a really hard game…
That’s it for this episode of “Highlight Reel.” Maybe I can come up with a better title, but for now, that’s what you’re stuck with! Come hang out with us on Twitch and Discord for more banter!
I’ve been trying to get out of debt for a long time. It’s embarrassing, really. I work in accounting. I should know better.
To be fair, I started working in accounting long after I had already buried myself under a pile of debt. When I studied accounting and finance in college, it was like a light bulb turned on. I excelled in those classes and now I’m a Controller for a small business.
I’m good at my job, too, so why are my personal finances still such a disaster? It’s not like I haven’t tried to tackle it. I’ve been trying for years… Too many video games, perhaps? Too much eating out? My Tuxedo Sam shopping habit? Certainly these things could be attributed to it, but it doesn’t really get to the heart of the issue. I figure it boils down to this:
I’ve been going into a raid by myself with crappy equipment and, even worse, with NO REAL PLAN.
End game raids are fucking hard. In Final Fantasy XIV Online, it takes some of the most skilled raiders days of constant work to conquer the game’s toughest foes. For the rest of the player base, tackling a raid often takes much longer: weeks, months… Some players don’t tackle these raids at all. Raids require coordination, planning, equipment, patience, and an acceptance of the fact that you are going to fail. Over and over and over again. And even with all of these factors, progress is often slow. You look at the boss’s HP bar slowly going down and you wonder if it’s ever going to die.
I’ve read countless blogs about tackling debt and working toward true financial independence. Often times, people will personify their debt. They give it a name like Debt-Monster or Debt-Dragon or even an actual name like Bob. This way of thinking hadn’t really worked for me until I realized that tackling debt is just like tackling a raid. So instead of equating my debt with some sort of creature or person, I’m choosing to equate it with an experience. I suppose I should still give it a name…
The Thousands of Dollars of Toto-Rak
This is a riff on The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak and from here on out, I’ll be referring to it as simply Toto-Rak. Technically, The Thousand Maws of Toto-Rak isn’t a raid. It’s a dungeon and an easy, low level one, at that! But damn, I HATE THAT PLACE. Its layout isn’t as straightforward as other dungeons and raids in the game, it’s long, and the last 1/3 of it forces you to walk through sticky sludge that slows your movement while walking by pods that spew poison on you when they explode. I generally have laser-focus when I’m in there so that I can get out as soon as humanly possible. Yet I still get turned around or find myself at a dead end because I wasn’t paying attention due to external distractions or whatever. Another reason I chose a low level dungeon is because debt can happen to anyone at any age or life situation. In fact, when you’re lower level (younger) and less experienced, it’s easier to fall into its jaws of hell.
Toto-Rak is a perfect metaphor for tackling debt. First of all, as much as we would like it to be, tackling debt isn’t a straight-line process. Oh sure, it SHOULD be, but let’s be real. Life doesn’t work that way. There are always twists and turns, unexpected events that may interfere with forward progress. Second, paying off debt takes TIME. It’s not something you can just fix or change overnight. So just like the dungeon, this process is LONG. Third, all that sludge and poison? That’s all the stuff around you that can slow down your progress toward reaching your debt-free goal. Sometimes you might spend when you shouldn’t. No one’s self control is completely beyond reproach. Or sometimes shit happens (like an unexpected home repair) and it can impede your progress. Once you finally defeat that last boss by making your final payment, though, I’m betting that it will feel amazing. I’ll be 100% honest and say that I have a feeling that making that last payment is going to feel better than any game victory I’ve ever experienced and I get pretty excited about beating video game baddies!
I don’t want this post to get too long. (Believe me, I know I’m already too long-winded.) But I wanted to go back to my earlier statement about going into a raid alone, with crappy equipment, and no strategy. In order to defeat a raid (or even just a dungeon), you need a few things. This is NOT a ranking. They’re all equally important in my opinion.
A strong team. And I don’t mean everyone has to already be really good at raiding. I mean a group of people you can trust that are capable of working together, communicating, and won’t just bail at the first sign of trouble. The same goes for attacking your debt. You need people who will support you, hold you accountable, encourage you, and be willing to work with you within whatever confines you set up with regard to spending (ie. friends who understand that you don’t want to go out to the bar, but you’re totally happy hosting a board game night potluck at your house). If you veer off course, these people won’t judge you and they’ll help steer you back in the right direction. When the going gets tough, they’ll stick around and support you.
Good gear. It doesn’t have to be BiS (Best-in-Slot), but you can’t go into a level 70 raid wearing level 50 gear. If the boss hits you, you’ll fall to the floor like a house of cards and if you’re dead on the ground, you’re no good to anyone. I’m oversimplifying here, but armor will protect you and other gear will give you better strength or magical powers that you can use to defeat that boss. In the realm of debt-destroying, I would say that your gear should be whatever software or system you use to keep track of your budget. Yes, you need a budget. You can’t do this without one. Your budget is your sword for attacking the boss as well as defense against its attacks. I use YNAB (You Need a Budget), but you can use envelopes, a spreadsheet, Mint, Quicken… There are options all over the internet. Aside from that, the more information you can gather about how to make more money or spend less money the better. This is your gear. And remember, if you find that a tool doesn’t work for you, try switching it out for another one. We’re all unique and you need to find the gear that fits you and your play-style.
A good strategy. If you do an internet search for the various dungeons and raids in Final Fantasy XIV Online, you’ll quickly find guides for them. These guides explain boss mechanics and effective ways to defeat them. When I’m playing with my core group of friends, we typically don’t look up guides on the internet because we like to figure stuff out ourselves. It’s more fun that way! But that doesn’t mean we go into dungeons completely clueless. There are certain basics that are the same throughout dungeon and raid experiences. (For example, no matter what you’re fighting, the tank should make sure the enemies aren’t facing the rest of the party.) As you repeatedly try and fail to defeat a raid, you learn and can develop a good strategy to defeat your nemesis. The same goes for tackling debt. Books, videos, blogs… There’s a LOT of information out there. Just like I mentioned earlier with the gear, there are a lot of different ways to go about killing your debt, but there are certain concepts that are the same, no matter who you ask. “Spend less than you earn” is a perfect example of that. You can try a bunch of different strategies for saving money. Some will work for you and some won’t. It’s up to you to formulate the best strategy to defeat your debt.
So now I’m starting off on my quest to defeat Toto-Rak. I will periodically check in here with updates and info on my team, my gear, and my strategy. The next post in this category will probably be a breakdown of my debt situation and the steps I’ve already taken to tackle it. Please look forward to it!
I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions and I never make them. They don’t stick and they’re often arbitrary. On the other hand, because so many people are talking about them, it’s hard not to think about figuring out a way to make the new year better than the last. Improving something and making it better is almost always a good thing, so I don’t believe in being stagnant, either.
Complacency is for the dead.
I actually started REALLY thinking about working toward change, growth, and improvement around October or so. Because Nico and I both are buried under a mountain of mostly student loan debt (Nico’s is all student, mine is a mixture of consumer and student), I’m constantly reading articles about money, saving, debt repayment, goals, financial independence, and the like. You’ll notice very quickly when you start reading that stuff and you’ve delved a bit deeper than the information on how interest rates work or ensuring that you’re spending less than you’re earning that there are some recurring themes that aren’t really about money, but about your attitude, your life, and what makes you happy.
It was through a blog about money and financial independence that I found out about Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I have a vague recollection of my sisters telling me about this book a year or two ago, but I didn’t really pay attention. Sometime before Christmas, I read a post about it and I went to the bookstore that day and bought it. I NEEDED it. I started reading it out loud to my husband and then on New Year’s Day, a Netflix Original show based on the book came out. I sat down and watched the first episode with him and he was so motivated, he started cleaning the house. I highly recommend checking it out:
Anyway, back to 2019… Since Twitch is my side hustle (albeit a really small one right now), I’m hoping to put more time and energy into growing that. Any money that we make from Twitch goes directly to our student loan payments. I’m also going to hold myself accountable for my debt payoff here on the blog. So once in awhile, I’ll be posting about that kind of thing. Spawn/Re-Spawn IS our side hustle, after all!
2018 Game Backlog Progress Update:
I completed the following games in 2018:
Final Fantasy XIII-2 (PS3) – 4/13
Ni No Kuni II (PS4) – 5/4
Parasite Eve (PSOne Classic on PS3) – 6/3
Kingdom Hearts II (PS4) – 7/2
Torchlight (PC) – 7/9
Torchlight II (PC) – 8/3
Octopath Traveler (Switch) – 10/28
Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age (PC) – 11/25
Cibele (PC) – 12/15
Bioshock: The Collection (Xbox One) – 12/21
Epistory – Typing Chronicles (PC) – 12/30
Not bad! I started the backlog project in April, so this averages out to more than one game per month. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you consider that I was averaging only one to two games a YEAR prior to that, this is a huge improvement! I’m definitely going to work at increasing that number. I’m currently in the process of playing GRIS (PC), Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep (PS4), and Pokemon: Let’s Go, Pikachu! (Switch).
If you’ve spent any time hanging out in our Twitch channel, you know that I’m a firm believer in the idea that attitude is (almost) everything, so I’ll sign off with the following thought:
Okay, so it’s a little (alright, a lot) late, but Nico & I went to Fanfest! It was SO much better than 2016’s event. We had a BLAST! I was still getting over the tail end of the flu, but I didn’t let that stop me. Pro tip: If you take the red-eye and there’s too much turbulence to sleep, pay the extra $30 for early check-in and get some SLEEP.
Fanfest didn’t start until Friday, but I scheduled us to arrive Wednesday morning so that I would be able to recover from traveling across the Pacific Ocean. Travel wears my ass out, so I can’t just fly to a place and go, go, go. I need at least a day, preferably two. So when we got to the hotel at 7 AM, we spent some time at Starbucks because that was too early for even early check-in. Good thing we did, because look who we ran into:
You can tell from Yoshi-P’s face that they were probably as exhausted and jet-lagged as we were.
Thursday was the day to pick up our passes and merchandise preorders. Although the lines were long, they were organized and they moved. In 2016, my husband and I weren’t even able to get into the merchandise room, so this year I was SO HAPPY that we could preorder our stuff and just pick it up. Check out all the stuff:
The next day was the actual start of Fanfest. By then, I had somewhat acclimated to the time change, although not the dryness. My god, I don’t know how people can live in such a dry place. Pretty sure I was going to turn scaly or something.
We had fun playing the mini-games and trying to defeat the Yojimbo battle. Sadly, we didn’t defeat him, but we made progress each attempt! The announcement of the new expansion and the Blue Mage job was exciting. We knew they would announce the expansion, but the Blue Mage was a pleasant surprise! They really did a great job at making the venue feel like we were in Eorzea. There was an aetheryte and everything!
This is going to sound cheesy, but I think my favorite thing about Fanfest this year was actually meeting people that I’d only ever known online and actually hanging out with them. One of our Twitch viewers, AllTheAmpersands found me in the crowd and introduced himself to me. Good thing, too, since I’m always so shy so I never introduce myself to people! Fun fact: Nico had to drag my ass to Yoshi-P at Starbucks on Wednesday morning because I was too chicken to say hi! XD
We also got to meet Derek, one of the guys that hosts the Astral Era podcast. Way cool! 😀 When my husband and I went to Fanfest in 2016, I was so exhausted and antisocial that although we met a couple of people, we never actually did anything with anyone. So this time was a billion times better!
There were a lot of great cosplayers at Fanfest, of course. Nico took pictures of them, holding a little stuffed toy that he called Mr. Bunz.
There was a wall that people could sign their names:
And, of course, a shrine to Haurchefant:
Nico & Snape ran into Yoshi-P and Foxclon again… I was so jealous!
Finally, there was a 360° VIDEO BOOTH. That was silly and fun:
To top everything off, The Primals performed!
Seriously, we had the BEST time! It was Nico’s first time in Las Vegas, so he had to get one of those yard long frozen drinks…
There was also a fabulous wine bar in our hotel. It felt like a wine cellar with a rustic feel. You didn’t even realize you were in a casino! I got to try some delicious wines, eat some great bread and cheese, and eat some delicious desserts!
I hope we get to go next time! This was our first family vacation with just the 3 of us since 2005!
[Edit] I wrote this a couple of months ago and totally forgot to post it…
I like watching Nico play Fortnite Battle Royale. I actually like watching ANY skilled player play Fortnite BR, honestly. The combination of silly emotes, toy pickaxes, fun and badass skins with shooting and fast paced building is entertaining to me. I’ve tried watching other battle royale games and they don’t hold my interest the way that Fortnite does. The building adds something that really differentiates Fortnite from other games where a bunch of people land in an area and shoot each other until only one person is left standing.
To be clear, I like to WATCH, not play. I do NOT like PvP gaming content AT ALL. Fighting against ACTUAL people gives me a sick feeling in my stomach and killing another player just makes me feel horrible. However, Fortnite’s systems looked like a lot of fun, so I asked Nico to take me into the short lived Playground LTM (the first one) once and we had a good time. I was really BAD! It took me FOREVER to figure out how to build walls around myself. And every time I had to do something else, I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to press and I’d stare at the screen, my keyboard, and the mouse with bewilderment:
Even still, it solidified the idea in my head that I would probably enjoy playing Fortnite Save the World, which is a PvE game. Chopping down trees, building structures, setting traps, etc. in order to kill cartoonish zombies looked like a good time for someone like me. So while Fortnite: Save the World was 50% off in July, I bought it. It’s definitely fun! I’m still pretty bad at it, but that’s okay. I can have fun collecting things, crafting weapons and traps, and shooting husks. Nico twinked me out with some amazing weapons, so that helps. I can pretty much one shot all the enemies right now since I’m still in the first world.
After watching the battle royale version of the game for so long, I had no idea that Save the World was so deep and complex. There are tons of classes, skill trees, support NPC’s with their own set of abilities, etc. It’s crazy! I’m really enjoying it, but I don’t have a lot of time to play it right now. TOO. MANY. GAMES.
Of course, if I wasn’t what I like to call an omni-gamer or someone who owns ALL consoles and a computer for gaming, this too-many-games thing wouldn’t be a huge problem for me. But I want to play ALL TEH GAMES!
At the original Barcade in Brooklyn after Nico graduated from college 🙂
My baby is coming home for a few months! I’m so excited!
But this means that Nico won’t be able to stream for a couple of weeks. He should be back around the first or second week of October, at which point we’ll be in the same time zone and we’ll have an updated stream schedule. We’re hoping to be able to stream more stuff like couch co-op games and board games since we’ll be in the same physical location for awhile.
In the meantime, you’re just going to have to put up with me and my JRPG’s. And maybe some No Man’s Sky, Monster Hunter World, or Fortnite: Save the World if I need a change of pace. I plan on sticking to my normal schedule and streaming solo during our co-stream times. Saturday and Sunday will be 4 hours, though, instead of 6. As much as I would love to cover Nico’s solo time slots, that’s just too much, so the channel will be dark on Tuesdays and Thursdays for now.
Also, you may have noticed that we joined the Twitch Hawaii team! So via team hosting, our channel will be hosting other streamers from the beautiful Aloha State whenever we’re offline.
Anyway, come by and keep me company! I’m currently working on Octopath Traveler, Dragon Quest XI, and Final Fantasy XIV Online.
It seems like everyone and his uncle streams on Twitch, Mixer, or YouTube these days and I often wonder why. As a middle aged woman who’s seen her share of life’s ups and downs, it really looks to me like the majority of people who stream are a bunch of young people hoping to gain fame a la Ninja or something. Young people have an absolutely amazing capacity for dreaming and optimism, which is my nice way of saying that young people are stupid. While luck is certainly a part of it, fame and success are tied to hard work more than anything else. Today’s gaming youths seem to have this notion that since they’re good at video games, they can become rich and famous just by playing them. That’s not how it works.
Do I want to become rich and famous by playing video games? Of course I do! Who doesn’t want to get paid for doing something they love doing? But on the other hand, I DON’T want video games to lose their fun factor. First and foremost, I stream because I enjoy it. I love chatting with random people who are into the same things I am. Prior to streaming, it was difficult for me to find people who loved video games as much as I do. Most of the people I regularly interface with IRL are not into video games AT ALL. If they DO have any experience with games, they consider it some weird thing that they don’t understand, but their kids are REALLY into it. (I’ve tried encouraging them to play with their kids, but that’s a topic for another day…)
Several years ago, I was out having coffee with a high school classmate and she spent the entire time complaining to me about the fact that her husband played video games. According to her, video games are for children and as a grown man, he should have grown out of them by now. She was ranting and raving about how immature gamers are and I sat there thinking, “Are you REALLY saying these things to ME of all people?” She knew I loved games. I never hung out with her again. Now I certainly don’t expect all my friends to like games. (I have quite a few non-gamer friends.) But I DO expect my friends to be respectful of me and my interests. I don’t judge my friends who are obsessed with sports, for example, even though I don’t understand at all why someone would care so much about whether or not a certain team wins a championship.
So streaming gives me a place to hang out with like-minded people and talk about games. 🙂
Another reason I stream is to hold myself accountable for working on my video game backlog. Even when no one is watching, I feel obligated to stream my progress because I SAID I WOULD. What kind of person would I be if my actions didn’t back up my words? Integrity is important to me. You can scoff at my desire to actually finish video games, but integrity isn’t really integrity if you cherry-pick the situations in which you exhibit it.
And I’m actually making progress! Prior to committing to streaming my backlog, I would start games and never finish them. If I was lucky, I’d actually FINISH maybe one game a year. That’s ridiculous. Since April, I have completed SIX GAMES and I am making progress every week. Not gonna lie, that feels REALLY GOOD.
The final major reason I stream is to hang out with my son. Maintaining a relationship with an adult child is challenging. Not necessarily because it’s inherently more difficult, but because there simply isn’t any guidance. There are books, websites, videos, and all sorts of media on how to parent babies, small children, teenagers, etc. but no one ever talks about how to relate to your kids once they’re out of the house. I think the rationale for that is that the grown child should be able to take care of themselves and don’t really NEED their parents anymore. That’s complete bullshit. Having some kind of meaningful relationship with your parents is important for your ENTIRE LIFE. Sure, it’s going to change and be very different than when you were a kid, but it’s still necessary and extremely valuable.
Nico loves games as much as I do, so playing together gives us common ground. This creates a space where we are comfortable talking to each other about other things, too. Not just games. That’s the best part. It’s really important to me that he feels that he can talk to me about anything. I don’t want to be one of those parents that has no idea what’s going on with their kid. On the flip side, I always try to respect Nico’s independence, as well. He’s too WAY too old to be coddled and cared for, but I DO want him to know that he is loved and that I have his back.
So why do I stream? When it comes down to it, I stream for me: my social interactions, my game backlog, my relationship with my son. And I love it. It’s fun and it energizes me. Sure, it can be exhausting and it certainly isn’t for everyone, but that’s okay. So come hang out! I always enjoy the company. 🙂