Return to a neglected blog.

Normally, when I haven’t posted here in a while, it’s because I’m playing an MMO and am in the “eat sleep work MMO” phase, and this particular gap is no exception. I’ve been playing a surprising amount of WoW, and a lot of other stuff has been pushed to the side because of it.

The thing that’s kept me in WoW this time is their Mythic Dungeon system, which has you repeating essentially the same set of 8 dungeon instances over and over again, with different difficulty modifiers.

For an example, this week presents its dungeons with “Bursting” and “Volcanic” modifiers. This means that, when you kill any enemy in these dungeons, they explode, doing damage to the party. In addition, while you’re fighting there are periodic and random little lava vents that erupt around the fight area, meaning that you need to avoid getting hit by those.

The effect is that fights are very chaotic affairs where you need to dodge effects in the environment as well as all of the stuff that the opponents are trying to kill you with, and then at the end of the fight people have a tendency to fall over because of the damage you’ve taken from the enemies exploding.

It’s a …moderately cheap way of extending the value of content without actually needing to make something new, to be sure, but I’m enjoying the way that different combinations make repetitive content into something considerably more dynamic. Map chokepoints that would have been good ways to funnel groups of enemies become death traps from many little lava vents in a small area, and trying to speed run dungeons by pulling huge groups and using area-of-effect spells to burn them down becomes borderline-suicidal as the group suddenly needs to absorb huge AOE damage in return.

And all of this will change next week when the modifiers change again, and we’ll need to adapt to whatever those bring.

Anyway, there’s a rating system linked to this, and while I’m not SUPER competitive I am enjoying watching myself climb the rating ladder.

But, setting WoW aside, I have been dealing with some aging-related and clutter-related stress, and I’m not sure I’m handling it entirely well.

I have a long-term goal of moving to Japan and living there for some time. Obviously, thanks to the ‘Rona, this is not happening any time soon, but there are other things getting in the way.

First, I’m getting older, and this is manifesting itself in annoying ways. I had a fall a few weeks ago, resulting in torn intercostal muscles, and it took nearly two weeks before I could comfortably lift things again – and I’m still getting the occasional twinge from my side when I get into or out of our car. This is just one example, but the larger issue is that making sure that my wife and myself have health insurance and access to medical care is suddenly a Much Bigger Concern than it would have been in our 30s.

Second, while I still have both of my parents, THEY’RE getting older as well. My mother, who was already borderline housebound before the world went to heck, basically doesn’t leave the house any more from Covid fears. And my wife’s parents are getting older. Moving away means that we’re not available in case of emergency.

To say nothing of the hassle of moving cats internationally.

Third, even after years of trying to (a) sell / donate stuff and (b) not buy too much more stuff, I still feel buried by the amount of things we own. Some of it doesn’t really matter all THAT much, in the grand scheme of things – while I enjoy having a workbench and a wide selection of tools on hand, I could also easily walk away from all of it – but there are also a staggering number of oh-this-is-collectible or oh-this-has-sentimental-value items.

Fortunately, a friend of mine is an AVID ebayer and has been helping me with the collectibles, for a cut of course. We’re hoping to get as much of that done as possible before the new tax law kicks in next January. This is basically the only thing that is going WELL right now, and it’s a little depressing that it’s only happening because she has been unemployed due to the pandemic and needed something to help pay the rent.

I also took three modern games consoles and a bunch of accessories down to the nearby GameStop when they were offering a sizable trade-in bonus, and walked out with nearly $1K in trade in credit and some gaping holes on shelves where the consoles were previously living. That was also a big win for space.

Something that I haven’t been able to get rid of, but fortunately will not need to move, is the stupid amount of computer hardware I have on-hand, most of which is used to set up test environments for my current job. That’s less of a clutter concern, fortunately, since when I inevitably get fired I can take most of it to the electronics recycler and wave goodbye to the dozen-or-so mostly-obsolete desktops and laptops that are currently taking up an entire, fairly sizable, closet.

So my long-term goal is basically:

  1. Wait for an international pandemic to burn itself out.
  2. Figure out what sort of visa I could possibly qualify for in moving to Japan. Whether that be working as an English teacher, studying in a language school, or the mysterious “designated activities” visa that requires you to have a huge hunk of cash in a bank account and doesn’t allow you to work while living there.
  3. Make sure that whatever visa I get also allows me a spousal visa.
  4. Figure out living arrangements that take foreigners and allow us to have a gigantic spoiled cat.
  5. Decide how the things that are actually important to us can make the move, and get rid of anything that’s not important.
  6. Oh, and do all this with while dealing with all the joys of getting older and having older parents.

No pressure, right?

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