Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The FarmVille Police

When I first signed up for Facebook several friends convinced me to be their neighbor in FarmVille.  My impression of the game back then was 'a somewhat boring FarmTown knock off'.  After I acquired a few more FB friends and FV neighbors it got a little more interesting.

Around this time FV introduced "Co-ops".  It seemed like I couldn't get near the computer without someone wanting me to join their co-op.  I got IM's and direct messages: "Help me get my co-op badges and I'll help you get yours."  Right off the bat there were two major problems.  One, it seems more than a few people figured out if they joined a co-op and didn't plant/harvest they'd still collect the reward provided the goal was met.  Two, all those people I helped - I'm still waiting.  I don't have my badges, thank you.

Obviously it didn't take very long for me to begin ignoring 'join my co-op' pleas.  However, truth be told the biggest turn off came when the self-appointed FV police got involved.  You know who you are; I don't have to list names.

A small group of players separated into a splinter sect and began making threats.  "I found your name on such-and-such web site.  Remove your name and block the site or I will de-neighbor you on FV".

Seriously?  You've got time to search obscure web sites for FV neighbors names?  I think the clearest message is "you don't have a life".  Names got on these web sites via email, offers in other games or because a FB friend got hacked.  Thank you for telling me I'm on your list. 

Incredibly I got direct messages and emails regarding friends of mine, not necessarily FV neighbors whose names were found on a list.  Talk about gall - unbelievably I was informed if my friend's name wasn't removed from the site I would be blocked.   The FV police actually went through my personal FB friend's list!  At first it pissed me off.  Then I found it funny. 

My stock response was "calm down and walk away from the computer; it's just a game".  Good grief, it these people are getting all bent out of shape over a free game, can you imagine how they behave in a casino where there's real money on the line?

Heaven help the unsuspecting soul who posts a non-police sanctioned FV message or freebie.  Several times I toyed with the idea of sharing the post just to get the police in an uproar.  Alas, sanity got the better of me.  Those of you who know me personally or have been following my blogs know I have a blatant disregard for authority.  Perhaps because they are friends I've behaved, until now.

Months ago I bailed out of FV,  (see blog: Zynga and the afterlife).  Though I eagarly took the option to block all requests, postings and notices from FV, somehow I'm still getting those posted by the FV police.  Curious how theirs are getting through. 

Attention FV police: I grew tired of saying "it's just a game, chill out".  Several times I'd remarked on the irony of your bullying and whining as you have proven time and again to be the biggest offenders in the game.  (read that as meaning all Zynga games.)  It's nice to know you have the time and money to spend on something non-productive.  Imagine the impact you could make if you did volunteer work or visited with real living breathing neighbors.

This is an issue I can no longer ignore.  Quite frankly I'm tired of you.  Mostly I'm embarrassed you're still on my friend's list.


this is not a threat

Monday, February 13, 2012

My Protectors

The other day we were having some pretty good wind, as in gusts over 20 mph.  Holly is not a fan of wind storms and I can't say I blame her much.  She and I grew up in tall tree country where a good blow means flying debris, falling limbs and downed power lines not to mention whole trees toppling over wrecking havoc on anything and everything on the way down.

Now we're in the southeast corner of North Carolina, flat land - and wow does the wind blow!  A while back a shutter tore off the next door neighbor's house and came visiting.  It didn't ring the doorbell.  It tried coming through the side of the house.  Holly looked at me and said "heck of a place you brought us to Mom." 

The stove in my niece's kitchen is in the island.  Instead of having a hood, exhaust fans pull fumes down and then push them out through an opening in the foundation.  Keep this in mind.

Most the time the wind broadsides the house hitting either porch but every now and then it shifts around to hit one of the ends.  Such as was the case when the shutter got us.  Ok, regarding pertinent details of the stove exhaust system, you need to know it terminates on the north side of the house, aka, an "end".

So the other day the sustained wind had Holly and D*O*G periodically running around [inside] the house convinced aliens were dispatching zombies to steal toys, treats and pillows.  Tommy really didn't care what was going on outside, he was dozing atop the dryer. 

Around evening time I kicked back in the living room to watch television.  Holly took position between me and the French Doors to keep an eye out for alien / zombie invaders.  D*O*G gave up patrolling the front of the house and went to search his mommy's room for buried treasures. 

Suddenly the wind shifted swinging around to blast the north end of the house.  It vibrated the garage doors.  Large gardenia bushes rustled and slapped against the house.  And the wind, being wind, found an opening.  Banging and clattering it rushed up the exhaust tube.  Holly leaped to her feet prepared to challenge the enemy.  D*O*G charged out of the bedroom barking.  Not spotting any aliens / zombies, the little fellow stalked around the house growling until he was convinced all was good. 

I told the three it was just the wind.  I could tell they didn't believe me.  Tommy hopped down from the dryer and came into the living room where he promptly settled onto the ottoman.  Holly's attention was focused out the French Doors.  D*O*G was scanning the front door with x-ray vision.  Nothing and no one was going to get into the house with my three protectors on the job.

A strong gust of wind rattled the windows on the north side of the house.  The garage doors shuddered.  Bangs, clangs and a burst of fresh cold air signaled that our defences had been breached. 

Tommy jumped straight up in a manner only cats can do.  If D*O*G had a tail it would have been tucked between his legs as he ran for his bed and dove under his blankie.   Holly stood her ground, or more accurately sat on my feet.

Less than five minutes later another strong gust loudly found its way inside.  I have a brief recollection of D*O*G's toenails on the hardwood floor.  The next thing I knew he was burrowing between me and the side of the chair.  Tommy was plastered to my left arm, all four paws holding on tight.  And my beautiful blonde was tried crawling in my lap but the black small ones refused to share. 

A hoard of zombies, an army of aliens or the entire 81st Airborne Div housed down the street at Ft. Bragg would not have been able to pry us out of that chair.  Twenty minutes, a half hour; it wasn't until the family came that D*O*G raised his head out of my jacket and Tommy let go of my arm.  Holly would like you to think she was protecting her mommy from the "other two".  I think we all know otherwise.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

51 going on 6

Today I had to behave like an adult.  It was difficult.  It requires a different mindset, a somewhat alien one.  In a manner of speaking I sort of liked it, but I don't plan on making a regular habit out of being an adult.

Until recently my life has been geared around taking care of others.  Now I'm learning to focus on taking care of me.  First I had to progress beyond the feeling that I was being selfish.  Believe me, this wasn't easy after years of being told I'm of less importance. 

I think what happened was, when I ran out of demanding people part of my brain shut down.  Basically I went into shock and it took a while to find the reset button.

Chronologically I may be fifty-one yet I feel like I'm five and facing the world for the first time.  There's so much to learn and see and do.  It's bright and exciting and wondrous.  And though everything is so new and fresh I have years of experience to fall back on as a guide for what to do, or not to do. 

I'm learning it's okay to be ambitious and dream big. 

I'm learning it's okay to say this is what I want, and I'm going to get it.

My daily mantra: "The day is what I make of it.  Today is gonna be a great day." 
Pour a cup of coffee and put on a smile.  Most of all remember situations, events, and emotions ebb and flow like the tides.  My plans for the day may not materialize but that doesn't mean failure or lack of progress. 

Questions that do not apply to me: where do you see yourself in five years?  What are your retirement goals?  What are you going to do when you grow up?  The latter assumes everyone must grow up to the questioner's standards. 

I'm smart enough to know goals change.  I'll get bored and move on to something else.  Or a new opportunity will present itself.  Maybe I just have an issue with labels and being pigeon-holed.

Today the interviewer asked what I'm into; I asked how much time she had.  The world is my Disneyland.  The hardest part is having to wait to take the next adventure.  Translate "you must be this tall to go on this ride" into, "you must lay the groundwork, do research and gain experience".  Even hobbies and games require learning. 

So it won't kill me to every once in a while pretend to be an adult.  While the course maybe "second star to the right and straight on till morning" there are plenty of opportunities to visit uncharted realms.