Second Daith and A New Tattoo

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, No Whining, Too Long For Twitter, Video

There was supposed to be a vow renewal ceremony with our full family and closest friends. Then the guy that we long planned to officiate moved on to greater adventures, beyond this world. 

Still, I really wish you were here, P.G. I know any words you’d haven given us would have been perfectly grumpy. And perfectly wonderful. 

We figure he’d approve of our revised plan – saving vow renewal ceremony/reception money to spend instead on a spontaneous, bonding-heavy, anything goes vacation with our kids and family. We did that a few weeks ago, and I lost yet another wedding bond.

I have been using cheap fake wedding rings for years, since I lost my engagement ring. Big, chunky and silly, but very clearly representative of being married. The real deal is locked up. Fibromyalgia “fog” and medications to fight pain make my memory horrible. No matter how crucial the memory, I have no power over whether I retain it or not. It’s truly crushing sometimes.

So FINALLY, before this big hop from the Blue Ridge Mountains to the Sandia Mountains, we’ve ensured that I can’t lose my wedding ring again. The original will stay locked up and safe for the duration of the move. It’s perfect.

 The design we settled on is a “rupee” (gem) found in the Nintendo game, Legend of Zelda. It’s outline-only, in dark purple. (Purple is my favorite color, and my skin grabs it nicely.) Plus, dodging black for now gives me more options later.

No,
Chooch did not get one because he’s our financial provider and who knows when employers that can’t see beyond the exterior may come in to play?
But he designed it along with me, just like our original wedding rings. #DayJobSecurityFTW #FamilyLife #FamilyLove
Now, because it’s a finger tattoo, it will blur and muddy over time more than other tattoos, as is often reported. Since that news, it’s taken us years to decide on the design, deciding to embrace that imperfections inherent, rather than abandon it something we love.
 
With this in mind, wanting more than just the rupee itself, there are little dots and bigger dots making up a disconnected “band” below the stone.
 
Happily, over the years together, we’ll get to watch as the natural process of aging blurs the series of dots into a strong, solid yet imperfect band. The longer we live, the stronger our bond and our band, as has happened all this time.
#ArmouringUp#EndingThisEra #StartingANewOne #FinallyWedding Ring Tattoo and new daith piercing. +200 to armour and mystery roll on migraine relief.

Couple of Thoughts This Halloween

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Cool Links / Clicky Linky, Fibromyalgia, Games, Health, Too Long For Twitter

 

First thought:

I again surveyed my blog land, and I have about 60 draft pieces that I’m trying to edit to post. With my neurological and physical health issues, I struggle immensely to get the wording right before a migraine hits or dizziness/nausea forces me to leave the computer screen.

My goal will be to post at least one a week and CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED:

  • I am lowering my self-editing in order to get the thoughts out before I lose them. This blog has turned into more of an online journal than originally intended;
  • I need to keep posting to the outside world to stop feeling so isolated from it. Personal in nature and likely emo at times;
  • There will likely be multiple and unrelated topics within one post. I ache for brevity;
  • If you’ve not had a comment approved here before, I have to Allow it to be visible on my page. I don’t gather lists or info to sell or use either nefariously or for the Greater Good. (Morally and also, “Rawr!”);
  • My site, my rules.

Second thought, which I also posted in Twitter and Facebook:

Dunno where, but I may do an chat as a movie/game lover w/limiting health issues. Do Creators even realize when they deny their loyal fans?

I’m planning on something super short and solo, since I can’t wrangle moderating the discussion and/or Google+ Hangout, which is where I’d do it.

On this subject, please direct responses to me at VivMuse@gmail.com, as my hope is to maintain privacy and no spoilers for what the episode may contain. I’ll likely include your suggestions/thoughts/experiences.

I’m really just wanting to get the word out there, since I’ve only seen one Creator in my social media circles offer up something with folks with vision and other accessibility limitations in mind. I find myself bringing it up (likely too often) on SpecFicMedia.com Presents: Consumption ‘Cast, which is a weekly attempt to join hubby Chooch and friends P.G. Holyfield and Christiana Ellis. Last night it occurred to me that Creators, especially of visual mediums, might like a few experiences to help widen their audience of prospective future fans.

(If I get my IT guy in to help with the running of the show, I’ll consider guests, too and other than those in my dream cast, responses VIA EMAIL will be first considered, if and when I do this project.)

Related thought:

The Creator thinking outside of the box by designing a game with Accessibility in mind is the very talented musician and game designer, Russell Collins. His successful Kickstarter for his game, “Tears of a Machine.

I backed it and I’m hoping to do a review after I play with some friends (possibly recorded for posting). I’m so very excited to try it, as J.R. Blackwell and Jennifer Rogers are also a part of the project and I’ve LONG been fans of theirs. Check it out!

Third thought:

 Happy Halloween!

May your fun be safe but skurrrry! Our Housies are all sick/just getting better, so healing vibes, prayers, or sacrificial meatballs to the SMitS would be greatly appreciated. It’s a super fun night in our home, and I’d hate  for our Wee Housies to miss out on any planned fun.

Wee Housies' Halloween excitement = each of my departures via garage until it comes down, since it is now the perfect hiding spot for real spiders.
Related Thought:

I’m linking to a segment on The Daily Show with a fave new comedic actress of mine Kristen Schaal. I loved her on Wilfred and 30 Rock, AND she does/did voice work for many of my fave animated movies/TV shows, like Gravity Falls (voice of Mabel, my spirit animal) and Adventure Time.

In the segment I link to (WARNING: NSFW or with kids in the room unless you want to spend some time explaining the whats and whys of a vagina costume.), she chimes in on the annual sexy-female Halloween costume debate and presents THE best sexual female costume EVAR. It went up for auction later to benefit a charity, so if you just want to see the picture and skip the interview you can do so by clicky THIS linky.

Yes, I wanted to own it. No, I wouldn’t have ever worn it out in public, tempting as it would be…

Fourth thought: 

If I am able to type coherently tomorrow, you’ll learn one of the reasons why 2013 is Lucky ’13 for me.

 

Whaddya Mean I Gotta Stop Using ‘Absorb Pain’?!

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Computer, Mental

 

So therapy has been interesting. As I hit more and more health snags, hubby’s frustration in various areas grows stronger and I finally take on some losses and some progress on my stirred-up past, we are also surrounded by some of the most important people in our lives going through such pain, grief and turmoil as to be unbelievable.

All of this has caused many unknown Dark and Uglies to surface. Strangely and understandably given the circumstances, my City of Heroes gamer girl training kicks in, and I use the various tools available to me in the given situation to try and “heal” or “buff” the troubled person or animal. For those that never played a Defender archetype in the specific MMORPG I’m talking about, you can find the entry from the City of Heroes Wiki below my blatherings.

Essentially, one of the most powerful heals you can deliver using the empath defender powerset is “Absorb Pain.”  I played the powerset almost exclusively as a “Healer” for several years and learned through many failed Atlas Park sewer runs or missions scattered across the Hollows — that you never, ever take Absorb Pain as early as it is offered (level 2, FFS).

Ever.

Unless you are well-practiced, you are just likely setting up your team for at least one complete wipe, if not countless wipes because you targeted and fired off AP on someone in trouble right before a Vahzi or street thug hit you from behind. Down you went, no longer able to keep your heals going to power the team. No buffs. Nuthin’ but “Sry guys!”  They are disastrous, confusing, hilarious team wipes, if you are lucky and have good team mates. (I was quite lucky in the team mates that we played with the most often and I learned all the most fun ways to end a battle in a cataclysmic way that left us laughing and w00t’ing long after went back for another attempt.)

This was especially true because, not surprisingly if your moniker is T-Pain (pseudonym of my therapist), I would watch everyone else’s health bars except my own. My hubby’s most frequent statement during a balls-to-the-wall battle royale? “Watch your bar, Shuro (my main’s shortened name)!” Everyone else would have full bars, but I’d be on the edge of wiping. I finally had to rearrange my entire screen layout, to ensure that my wipes were less frequent, and to prevent from negatively impacting the team.

Make no mistake, I’m a lapsed player and I have no idea if anyone even does those xp rich runs anymore. I’m sure there are better places now to muck about in my favorite way in that game. I miss the intense chaos and my pulse racing as we danced near the edge of a team wipe and Super Hero Greatness. And it was a full year at least before I risked my own health bar to vastly enrich a targeted player’s health bar. It sounded like suicide, and this was my only my second MMO. Once I finally girled up and chose Absorb Pain as a power, I never looked back and it became a game changing and favorite tool in my empath tool kit.

The point is, during therapy last week, T-Pain was trying to break through one of my core beliefs in a way that would allow me to reconstruct it in a healthier way.  As we talked, she expressed that instead of feeling bad for someone when something bad happens, I actually make myself feel their level of pain, as fully as possible. I’m not 100% convinced she’s right, but it is certainly seeming more and more likely.

Even just last night, I had to remind my immediately broken heart that the death of the grandmother of one of my best friends was not my death to grieve. This reportedly amazing woman that I never met was not my grandmother. I had to remind myself of this because I was shutting down and starting to deeply grieve the loss of a woman completely unconnected to me as if she were my own flesh and blood and lifelong source of love.

[Sidebar: I think the timing of our discovery of his grief is somewhat interesting. I had been having extremely intense feelings of loss and grief of closeness with the couple in question, so powerfully that I messaged them, trying to express that I loved them and hoped for more fun with them in the future.]

Hell, when watching Game of Thrones this season, I was beyond devastated by the death of Lommy, an inconsequential-yet-named character on the show. (Note: If that’s a spoiler, sorry. But when you read here, that may happen. Also, WTF, get caught up so you can listen to my GoT podcast, SpecFicMedia.com Presents – Beyond the Wall: A Game of Thrones Podcast! (Or as I like to call it, SFM.comP-BtW:AGoTP.)

Here’s the crazy lady part: My magnificent nephew has hair (when much younger) that was identical to Lommy’s. When they showed him, I would smile to myself and think of his blond curls and wonder how he’s doing. When he died, I lost my shit. This nephew, who I have always referred to as GK, is in the military and although stateside, my fears for him are not difficult to figure out. I cried and cried and cried and cried. Chooch heard me say, “They killed (GK)…”, and he said, forcefully, “That is not (GK). He is safe and fine.” I repeated that over and over until it sank into the dark corner it needed to, and then felt like a fool.

Well, when T-Pain finally made her point in a way I could process, I started laughing and said, “Holy shit. I’ve been using Absorb Pain instead of Ally Heal.”
T-Pain gave the expected puppy dog head tilt and I explained it to her quickly. She clapped her hands and said, “Yes! Exactly! That’s it!” She then leans forward in her rocking chair and says, serious as a heart attack, “Don’t do that anymore.” I cracked up, and a discussion followed on how to halt an (who knows how long) unhealthy habit.

While I’m proud of myself for catching those — a result of her making me examine every negative reaction to determine the appropriateness of my natural response –, I feel as though I short-changed the friend and the grief his family is experiencing. So in exchange for dodging possibly debilitating grief at a time when there are things in mid-air about to crash to the ground in some areas of our life, I ended up in a shame spiral. I still call it a win, because I caught and adjusted the framing of the loss. And I’ve finally worked through the shame, thanks to My Viking.

So, yeah. I’m going to burn a respec and drop Absorb Pain from my powerset, until T-Pain tells me otherwise.

And I need to see if I ever posted about my prison yard epiphany. It keeps getting proven true.

Happy July, Dear Readers!

~~~~

City of Heroes, Defender Archetype

The Empathy powerset is available as a primary set for Defenders. The following table shows which powers are available and at what level:

Power Level Effect
Empathy HealingAura.png Healing Aura 1 PBAoE, Team Heal
Empathy HealOther.png Heal Other 1 Ally Heal
Empathy AbsorbPain.png Absorb Pain 2 Ally Strong Heal, Self Moderate Damage (Special)
Empathy Resurrect.png Resurrect 6 Ally Resurrect
Empathy MindWall.png Clear Mind 8 Ally Resist Disorientation, Hold, Sleep, Immobilization, Fear, Confusion, +Perception
Empathy Fortitude.png Fortitude 12 Ally +Defense (All), +Damage, +Accuracy
Empathy RecoveryAura.png Recovery Aura 18 PBAoE, Ally +Recovery
Empathy RegenerationAura.png Regeneration Aura 26 PBAoE, Ally +Regeneration
Empathy AdrenalinBoost.png Adrenaline Boost 32 Ranged, Ally +Endurance, +Regeneration, +Recharge, Resist Slow

New Podcast – HBO Series “A Game of Thrones”

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Friends, Games, Podcast

 

Last night Chooch and I recorded Episode 0 of SpecFicMedia.com Presents: Beyond the Wall – A Game of Thrones Podcast with SpecFicMedia founder and Murder at Avedon Hill author, P.G. Holyfield. Rounding out the panel is Nuchtchas Nimalas of the Nutty Bites Podcast.

*Phew* That’s a lotta linking! Now that’s done, I can tell you that the podcast will be recorded every Monday after the Sunday night airing of the HBO series “A Game of Thrones and we will discuss it, along with the book. The podcast should be released by Thursday of each week.

From the announcement on the SpecFicMedia site, “While we’ll be focusing on the television series, we’ll also spend time on most of the other forms of media tied to the Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin, including (of course) the novels, the RPG and board games, and anything else we can sink our respective direwolf-loving teeth into.”

“Winter is Coming,” indeed!

Joyful After Losing My iPod

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Consumer Info, Droid, Household, Podcast

When I searched repeatedly and couldn’t find my Nano a few weeks ago, I finally took up the initiative to start using my new Droid X as my mp3 player. I was willing to do so because Chooch related he was having so much luck with his. I’m using the app he recommended, called “Listen” in the Droid store, and it is so simple even a techtard like me can use it. It uses Google Reader to manage the individual RSS feeds (subscriptions to text, video and audio posts) and syncs immediately without needing to connect to your computer. It’s managed remotely, updated as often as you tell it and the episodes are either streamed or downloaded to your device.

With Google Reader, I still have a desktop option for loading the X with all the tasty podcasts and novels that I listen to. Even better, I no longer have to wait until I’m home to add something. This has already proven useful as I always had trouble remembering what I wanted to add by the time I made it back to iTunes on my desktop, and my phone is almost always at hand.

By the way, it turns out that “lost” was an overstatement. I later found my iPod in my purse even though I’d searched it several times. Yes, my purse is too big but comes in handy when I need a notebook to track things for my failing memory; when I need to drag the H4N recorder around and when I taking the better and larger digital camera. Plus, batteries for the last two items.

Since finding it almost immediately after loading up the X, I’ve only used it a handful of times. I won’t be going back. Until I get a secure strap of some sort for running, I’ll continue to use my iPod. Beyond that, I can really see no reason for switching back. By streaming podcasts instead of downloading them, I have TONS of space available for music, at least as much as is available on the iPod.

So farewell, Uncle Steve. This old girl is finally able to move on from well over five years of crappy experiences in iTunes. You’ve made plenty of money off of us and our kids, and now it’s time to say goodbye.

*waves gleefully*

Thanksgiving 5k Race Results

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: 5k, Chooch, Computer, Exercise, Firsts, Health, No Whining

Chooch and I headed out early on Thanksgiving morning for the local Turkey Trot. It was cold, but we’ve run in colder and felt well prepared for it. I had my mittens and my hoodie over yoga pants and long sleeve race t-shirt. I had been tempted to wear shorts, as I’d overheard a hard-core runner tell incredulous friends at a January race in 25 degree weather that he runs faster in shorts because after a while he can’t feel his leg soreness due to numbness. Luckily, I’m not that insane. I haven’t baby stepped my way back to 5k’s by taking risks that could cause a long-term setbacks.

I was super excited because this was my first race since all the silly health drama started. We had to forfeit our registration in 2009 as that was the beginning of my health issues and I was having a ton of tests for scary illnesses being run. I was not running, exercising or psychologically prepared in any way last Thanksgiving.

This year’s race was held at a new location on an unfamiliar route, and I secretly hoped there wouldn’t be many hills since I seem to have knee pain more on the hilly routes. I’ve altered my stride when going down hill using lessons learned while covering hilly lands in the Lord of the Rings Online MMORPG. Laugh if you like, but in game you can run up hills as fast as you like, but running downhill at the same speed you’ll get a “broken bone” injury.  I now take what I call “gentler landings” and I’m already seeing improvement. Genius that I am, it took me forever to put the two together, and maybe they are unrelated but I’m certainly having less knee issues since I’ve made the change.

We made our way to the race start to pick up the optional race time chips. These are small, lightweight loaner chips you strap to your ankle to track your start/finish time since it’s impossible for everyone to cross the start line at exactly the same time. It also allows you to track your pace. After the race, the results are provided with your race time and pace. I have no expectation of having a winning race time, rather this is how I track my progress across races, as do many others.

We next headed over to the start line along with the other racers and walkers. We again survived the push and shove of over-adrenalized and aggressive runners wanting to start as close to the front as possible. Having been stuck behind walkers and strollers in the past, I can understand wanting to ensure you don’t have to try and run an obstacle course to keep your running pace. Still, there is no need for such rudeness. Personally, I would prefer if they said, “Excuse me, but you’re clearly not an elite athlete so I’d like to get in front of you now so I won’t have to run around you in a few minutes.” I’d find it far less rude than people averting their eyes as they elbow past. Chooch and I just shook our heads and laughed at their need to be “first” at the start. They should consider arriving earlier next time. Just sayin’.

The race started and off we went at a steady pace. Chooch was having trouble breathing because of his recent illness, and we’d already discussed the possibility of me continuing running if he needed to walk. I’m supremely proud of him pushing past the 1 mile marker before stopping to catch his breath and I continued on alone.

I had no music with me, so I just ran with the street noise and conversations of runners around me. I told myself I could stop when something hurt. I told myself I could stop at the water station at the 1.5 mile mark, but only for 10 seconds. I never had pain, only muscle fatigue. And I was stopped less than 5 seconds at the water station. Adrenaline wouldn’t let me stand still for long while the clock was ticking, but I truly needed water for my throat. The cold air had my throat very sore and very dry, but three sips were all I needed and off I went. Honestly, if I didn’t think it was bad manners to snatch a cup from a volunteer, suck it down and throw it on the ground as so many other runners do, then I wouldn’t have stopped at all. I make sure and say thank you and put the cup in the trash next to the station and continue on my way. Nope, I’ll never win any races that way. And nope, I don’t care.

I’m very happy to report that I ran the entire 5k for the very first time. And the race results showed that I solidly beat my previous best time by more than six minutes. I still have a very slow pace, but I’m thrilled with these improvements. Chooch also had a great improvement on his last race time and I’m proud of him for going when he had an excuse not to go. He’s got a warrior spirit, just as I’ve always known.

I also want to give a Universal thank you to those that cheer for runners along the route. As with all the races I’ve done, there were people that had put up signs or were standing outside on the streets or their porches lending their strength to us as we plodded past. I’ve always appreciated it, as it does indeed add a spring to this gal’s step.

I know hubby took a tally of the oddly costumed folks at the race, and I’m hoping he’ll post those in the comments. There was one very memorable one that had us laughing and wishing we could snag a photo, but it wasn’t meant to be.

The next race is in 2 weeks, and I’m not so cocky as to feel that my successful completion is assured. Even if I’m a bit slower, or can’t run the whole damned thing, I’m just happy to be in motion again.

Baby steps, indeed.

Fun in Measured Doses

Author: Chooch  //  Category: Dizzy, Games, Movies, Music, Uncategorized

For some reason, the potential impact of a concert-triggered migraine didn’t really occur to me until I was mired spinny and owie in a doozy at the They Might Be Giants concert earlier this year. While I was fine and happier than a newb geek has any right to be during Jonathan Coulton’s opening set, the much higher volume and lights sent me running from the venue for relief during TMBG. The horns certainly didn’t help. I was really bummed, since it was my first time actually making it to one of their shows and also because we were with friends Pat and Lisa, who we rarely get to spend time with.

Since then, I’ve been afraid to buy tickets to any shows. My recent heartbreak was newly found Metric playing in Richmond last month. My Scott Pilgrim Fangirl heart was broken at missing them (Their “Black Sheep” was performed by The Clash at Demonhead in the flick. Easily my fave song on the soundtrack.), but we couldn’t justify springing the dough for a show I might have to bail on.

My new heartbreak is the Linkin Park show in February. Their Hybrid Theory album literally catapulted me singing and screaming through a lot of rage and heartbreak at a dark time in my life. That album unsurprisingly resides on my “Perfect Album” list and I’ll always have a soft spot for them, regardless of what I think of their recent releases.  The Projekt Revolution concert I went to in Fairfax, VA was a high-energy, face-twisting, lustful-singing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs show and I loved fangirling after the show when I met them. Yes, I told Mike Shinoda what the album meant to me and how it helped me in a wrenchingly cathartic way.

Not surprisingly, I’ve also had to show restraint with movies although it’s only been recent ones that have really triggered the symptoms in any notable way.

After viewing Scott Pilgrim vs. The World three times in the theater and once at home, I’ve yet to see the ending boss fight. The visual effects drive a spike through my brain and I have to close my eyes and cover them to negate them. Bummer, but not unexpected. Video games have reportedly caused seizures in people before, and the movie is pretty heavy with video game effects. I was disappointed that I was unable to view it at home, as I was sure that the smaller screen would help. I was wrong.

Seeing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows on the big screen last week hit me harder than I anticipated. It’s possible that the long day played a part in this, however. I was up at 6 a.m. and we went to the midnight-oh-one showing. There were a few scenes that were particularly harsh,  the one where Harry departs Privet drive, one with Hermione and a snatcher in the woods, the battle in the Ministry and the ending battle.  I was quite loopy after the end and needed to remain seated for a bit, and kindly Jett offered me her arm as we exited for stability.

I’ve already reduced my video game time, especially those that have a 3D effect. There have also been nights were I’ve had to log off of Lord of the Rings Online because of dizziness when navigating the Misty Mountain trails, among other things. But these don’t surprise me as much as concerts or movies since they are far more immersive.

I now have to stop and make a concerted effort to evaluate the possible effects, and even carry ear plugs with me, as I did the night of the Geek Radio Daily Pub Crawl and Chooch’s band practice the other night.  Although so far it’s only been the visual inputs that trigger dizziness, both the visual and the audio can trigger the migraines.

Talk about a buzz kill.

Sharing Scott Pilgrim

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Family, Friends, Movies, Music, Video

Approximately two years ago, Chooch and I invited my family over for dinner and a movie. The impetus for this was that no one in my local family of 11 (at that time) had seen Firefly or Serenity. The shame I felt was immense, so we went about correcting that. Each one of them loved the movie, but I was unable to get anyone to commit to a viewing of Firefly, either in marathon or across multiple nights. Still, progress.

Once again, Chooch and I are having dinner and a movie for the fam. Some have moved away, so the count is lower.  But, having discovered how cool he is in the last few months, we are including my BET (Bro’s Ex’s Twin).  Our count is 8, possibly 9 if BET brings his son.

If you’ve seen the movie, then you’ll appreciate that I’m serving garlic bread and chicken parmesan. In lieu of the gelato, I’m serving turtle pecan cheesecake as a belated birthday cake for my Baby Sis. I may yet pick up some gelato as I’ve always wanted to try it and it certainly seems like the right night.

I fell in love this movie, from the first second of the Universal logo. I didn’t understand the hub-bub around it, but was happy to see it with Chooch and the visiting P.G. Holyfield. I literally had to use all my willpower not to dance on the seats in the theater. The music, cinematography, editing, acting and every other aspect of this movie made me swoon and giggle at the same time. I have been absolutely joyful upon all three viewings in the movie theaters at its utter perfection. It’s not an exaggeration when I say that, for me, this movie was game changing. I love it deeply and fiercely, but will try not to judge you if you don’t. No promises.

I could gush for a few thousand words on why, but I won’t bore you with that. Instead, I’ll give you a quote from a recent chat between director Edgar Wright and Guillermo Del Toro. At the end of the article, Guillermo says something similar to what I’ve been saying since it came out in August:

“To me, [this] is a really important screening because I think we all can go out to the world after this screening and tell every motherfucker out there to watch the movie,” said Del Toro. “Why? Because anyone that didn’t watch it is a motherfucker. We can tell them when they ask why does Hollywood make such shitty movies because when they do great ones, you don’t fucking show up.”

Rent it. Buy it. Share it with others.

Droid App – Wordfeud

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Chooch, Droid, Friends

Over the weekend Chooch and I lucked into a great deal when we changed carriers and were able to upgrade our G1’s (original Droid phones) for Droid X’s. I’ll leave it to Chooch to give the full poop on how awesome they are, but will briefly mention that although I love the larger screen, it does feel a bit strange using it to make calls. Most of my use is text based, so this is not truly a drawback in practical terms.

We decided to try and find a game similar to “Words with Friends” which, for now at least, is exclusive on Apple devices. It’s a shame because it would be great to be able to play with more friends across the great divide of Droid vs. Apple, but such is life!

The game we’re currently testing is “WordFeud” on the Android market. It reportedly will not work on G1’s because of the older operating system, but works smoothly on Version 2.2. There are other games, so may end up jumping to another, but for now I’m enjoying the 8 games I’ve got running.

If you’re playing it, feel free to throw me an invite, my username is Vivid Muse, natch.

Playstation Network Hack – Resolution

Author: Vivid Muse  //  Category: Consumer Info, Games, Video

As I posted previously, my Playstation Network account was hacked in the wee hours of Saturday morning. Because my credit card info was unintentionally linked, they were able to not only empty the $10 or so that remained after previous purchases but were also able to steal $140 from my bank account to load the account with before emptying it out with purchases.

The customer support was great, as they created a service request and walked me through changing my password after 2 escalations. Due to it being a Saturday, they were unable to reimburse the bank transaction and I was given a service number and told to call back on Monday. In speaking to an extremely helpful gentleman yesterday, I am very happy with the customer service I’ve received as a result of the early morning drama.

Not only is my bank account getting credited, but they were easily able to trace the consoles involved. In seconds, Paul was able to see that our console was not used to load the PSN wallet or download any games, so he continued the investigation to track down the console that hacked my account.

It seems that one PSP was used to load the PSN wallet with funds from my bank account, and that multiple PSP’s then used my account info to download games. Not surprisingly, this was identified in moments, down to the serial numbers of the PSP’s. All those involved have been permanently banned from the PSNetwork.

Odd as it may sound, I find this swift shot of justice more enjoyable than the recovery of my funds. In a world where people routinely do harm to people just trying to get by in this difficult life, I have no problem when justice (or karma) gives them a swift knee to the groin.

So, to prove that you’re smarter than me by not becoming a victim:

  • Don’t use your credit card to make purchases from the PSN Shop. Buy the PSN cards instead. I didn’t even know these existed, nor did I know that the transaction in February retained my credit card info. So my next suggestions is…
  • Login to your account and delete any credit card info that is stored there. It’s quick and simple to do.
  • While it’s still possible that your account will get hacked and any money that you loaded in your PSN wallet will be pilfered, if you do the previous step at least it won’t hit your bank account, too. The wallet reimbursement was much faster (moments) than the bank reimbursement will be (days). I have no reason to believe there will be an issue, but if there is you know I’ll post about it to help you avoid any other pitfalls I stumble across.

My last remaining hope? That they were PSP Go’s. They only way that content can be loaded onto those little darlings is via the PSN Store, which they are now banned from accessing. Now that would be heavenly.

*sigh*

***Edit***

Refund from Playstation Network was processed yesterday. I’m a happy panda. 🙂