Well, it has been some time since I have spoken (typed) about the pain in my neck, so I am going to go into it a bit today. The good news is that I no longer feel like my heart is only beating inside my head, that is I don’t have the constant head-ache anymore. As a matter of fact, I have not taken any of the muscle relaxant pills over the last couple of days, and ibuprofin only sparingly. I do have a bit of pain when I wake up in the morning, but I suppose that is to be expected. Once I am up and moving about I can actually forget about the injury altogether, unless I sneeze or cough, but those actions do both involve a bit of head whipping, so again, I guess that is to be expected. With those two exceptions, the only real pain that I am feeling is in the trapezius muscles and it is more like the pain that you get with a muscle cramp than the debilitating, ‘I am going to die for sure this time’, type of pain that I was feeling at this time last week. I think it would be a bit of a stretch to say that I am healed, but I am a hell of a lot closer to it than I was last week. I now think that I can work through the pain as long as I am able to use liberal amounts of Tiger Balm on my neck region after having been up and active (working) all day. Let us call this issue done. -Barring any unexpected recurrences of the pain-

I believe this lack of pain has left me in a much better mood than I have been in over the last couple of days for sure, and as I result I have spent way too much time playing games. There is nothing like a good game to get you back into the swing of things. First, I will talk about the game that I tried after seeing BlackChampagne link to it.

On a side note. If you haven’t noticed by now BlackChampagne is the only blog that I really read. I visit and read CalPundit pretty religiously also, but it is a bit more political than I am trying to be with this site, so I rarely (if ever) link to it. If you have never been there, and you aren’t a seriously right-wing republican, you would probably appreciate someone looking at political news objectively and presenting facts rather than misguided opinions. Time after time I am amazed by the way he can quote articles that send me into a blind rage, but he just presents facts to rebut them, with seemingly no emotion. Some of the advertising on his site does tell you which way he leans as far as politics, but you would never know it to read his writing on very hot political issues. “He is wood that will not bend.”

To the games!

The game that was linked to over at BlackChampagne was Dynomite. It is one of those PopCap games. Some of their games I love, some of them I hate, more love than hate I suppose. I went into this game after never having played the arcade version when I was younger, and as such I had no idea what I was doing for the first few minutes. The first few levels (in puzzle mode) are so easy that it doesn’t really matter if you know what you are doing anyway, so it went well. The game is, I am sure, quite addictive. I would likely have been totally into throwing several hours into mastering it, had I not been experiencing exactly the same problem that I have with Snood. That problem is that I will think I have a shot totally lined up, I will be able to clear out a group of ‘things’, then I fire the shot and it just misses the target. Maybe it catches one of the objects on the way to where I want it to go, maybe it passes the object I am trying to catch the corner of and passes a level too far. End result, I am usually screwed.

It could be that I am just not very good at this type of game, I am certainly not going to deny that. But, when you have that shot lined up that is going to clear half the board and save your ass, and it misses, the frustration is overwhelming. Sure you can load it all and do it again, but it sure is frustrating. I will probably give the game another go tomorrow just to make sure that I both love and hate it as much as Snood, but I really doubt that I will be trying to master every nuance of it.

DiabloII:LOD, on the other hand, took away many hours of my life yesterday, and for no good reason. If you don’t play that game, don’t bother reading below as I am not going to go into a breakdown of the game for what I am going to bitch about.

My brand new paladin has been in act 3 for a lot longer than I would like to admit. I have yet to find a single waypoint. I am playing is single player mode, so the map stays the same and every area that I have explored is outlined on the map, but the monsters come back. I had already gotten the first two pieces of Khalim’s thingy and I had yet to find a single waypoint. The first waypoint that I found was actually in the ‘Great Marsh’, which is a zone that I rarely ever travel through, since most of the time (in my experience) you don’t really need to. I started mapping that zone thinking that I might find another entrance to one of the other zones, specifically the flayer jungle, since I was not at all concerned about having a waypoint in the spider forest.

I spent several hours last night following the edges of the great marsh, and I did eventually find another entrance to the flayer jungle. I followed that route for another twenty minutes or so and found the waypoint, about two steps off the screen from where I went into the great marsh in the first place! I would have really been irritated if I had not gone up two levels (23-25) during this, and had my mercenary (still an act 1 archer) not gone up very near three levels (20- a kill less than 23) in this little walk.

I know that I have previously written about why I started playing single player again, and I think that a little setback like this really kind of defines it. I can not recall having a mercenary this close to my level since the expansion came out, now that I have to walk around until I find the stuff that I really want/need (as opposed to someone just giving me waypoints on, but then who on would have the act 3 waypoints?) I gain levels, and my merc. gains levels, since she is fighting things that are very close to her own level. It is like the game seems somehow ‘Fresh’ again, even though I know where to go and who to kill.

One other thing of note that has happened since I started playing my new off-line character is that I don’t really care about any sort of magic find. That is the polar opposite of my on-line characters. My on-line characters are looking for gear that they can trickle down to the other characters who can use it, or else I will trade the elite unique items for items that I want/need for my new builds. My new pally is all about resistances and extra gold from monsters, all the better to survive and to gamble, respectively. A rare ring from ‘Ormus’ is usually absolute crap on hell level, but on the normal level it could be the difference between life and death against Mephisto. The same can be said for gambling. You would never gamble a belt when you already have a string of ears, or a helm if you already have a shako, but when you have nothing if it comes up with a little bit of life steal or resistance against the next boss in the way, that is good stuff.

When you are a paladin, and you have placed only six total stat points at level 25, you are going to be looking for any advantage you can find. At the same time, I think I could just probably kick it up to players 8 and run lower Kurast for a while, then be like level 30 when I take on Mephisto and likely take him down easily. But, for now, I am still just looking for better gear.

Aren’t we all.

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