January is Over

I know it’s been a while since my last post, but January is not a good month for me. I suppose January is not a good month for many people. I have heard people often struggle with depression in January. It comes right after Christmas. The days are very short. The weather is crumby. All of those things can affect people in negative ways.

But January is the worst month of the year for me. Not only does it have all the downsides I just mentioned, but it is also the month that most reminds me of Dan. Some are good memories. Some are bad memories. All are now painful memories.

Actually, those memories start flooding in a few days after Christmas. You see, December 28 is the day Dan was found by a Macon police officer asleep in his car in a very busy intersection. His shunt had failed, and the hydrocephalus that ensued caused a chain of events that lead to multiple surgeries, days in ICU, and the discovery that his brain tumor was back. December 28 marks the day the nightmare began.

But the memories don’t stop there.

New Year’s Eve was the one holiday that Dan and I always spent together….just the two of us. After the busyness of the holiday season, it was always so nice to ring in the new year with a quiet evening at home and a bottle of champagne. But now New’s Year Eve is just dark, lonely, and depressing. It may now be the worst day of the entire year.

Then January pours in like an avalanche, bulldozing me with memories of my wedding, my honeymoon, anniversary get-aways, hospital stays, and a brain tumor biopsy.

Yeah….January is no fun.

But after spending the month hunkered down in my house like a doomsday prepper, I am finally doing better and ready to tackle life again.

Thanks, everyone for being patient with me. Hopefully, I can achieve a more regular posting schedule this year……and don’t worry…..I haven’t forgotten my Ark: Survival Evolved series. I know you have been dying to hear more about my virtual house, farm, and dinosaur pets. Well, you are in for a treat because the one bright-side to my January hermitting was logging countless hours on the Ark.

Yay!!!! Right?!!!!

*crickets chirping*

No? You’re not super excited to follow me down the rabbit-hole of video game grinding? Well, don’t worry. I promise my Ark series will not be too long, and I will do my best to make it as entertaining as possible.

See you soon…

Surviving the Ark: Day 1

Jeff and I have been playing Ark: Survival Evolved since before the game was officially released. I stumbled across it one day when he and I were between games. He said he had looked at the game but never played, so we decided to give a try.

Our original foray into the Ark world was on a game hosted by Jeff, so we basically had the whole island to ourselves….just the two of us. It was a great way to get to know each other. I even jokingly told him once that engaged couples really ought to play ark for a few weeks as part of their pre-marital counseling because it’s kind of like real life, requiring you to work together as you make epic decisions like where should we build our house, who’s going to farm and who’s going to hunt, and who is responsible for feeding the animals once they are tamed. Plus you get to have great conversations like, “hey! what happened to the hatchet I just put in this box?!” or “I um…didn’t pick up that stuff you dropped for me and….umm….it seems to have all disappeared….sorry….could you make me some more weapons….please…?”

Eventually, the beta version of Ark started to give us some issues, and Jeff wasn’t able to host our world anymore, so we stopped playing Ark for a while. Recently, however, the full game was released, so I suggested we give it a try again. Jeff tried to set up a private world, but, again, the game wouldn’t cooperate. We decided to just try one of the less crowded official servers.

Spawning into Ark for the first time is always treacherous. There are many dangers, and your character is very vulnerable, but it gets even more complicated when you are trying to find your partner. You can’t control where your character will spawn in other than picking the general zone.

We decided to spawn in the easiest zone, the south zone, but, of course, we didn’t end up spawning at the same spawn point (it’s like the game knows we want to play together, so it makes the experience as difficult as possible). Our most of our first session looked like this:

“Where are you?”
“I don’t know. I’m like on the beach with a big rock. The green obelisk is on my right.”
“The green one or the red one?”
Ummm…..it looks green to me…”
“Look at your map. What’s you longitude and latitude?”
“Oh. Ok. Uhhhhh…..like 83 lat by 57 long?”
“Huh…ok…well, I’m at 73 by 83. Just stay there. I’ll come find you.”
“Ok……Uh oh…..Oh!…..NO!
“Never mind. I just died.”

Eventually, we did find each other, and Jeff created our tribe. We picked a spot on the beach (which veteran pvp players scoff at, but this is pve so who cares) and built a little shelter. By the time we got to this point, it was getting late, and we had to call it a night before we managed to gather enough resources to create a bed which serves as the tribe’s permanent spawn point. This means, that the next time we logged in, if our characters had died for some reason, we would spawn at a random location all over again. (Yes….your character can be killed while you are logged out. This is an online game that never ends. It’s one of the coolest things about this game.)

After our first game, Jeff’s schedule got crazy busy, and he wasn’t able to play very much over the next couple of months, so growing and maintaining our homestead became my responsibility. I ended up spending a couple of my next gaming sessions dying and respawning all over the south map. Eventually, I wised up and started creating little base camps at spawn points so that when I died, I would have some basic equipment near by to get me jump started. Nothing too fancy, just a small thatch structure, a campfire, and a storage box with clothes and basic supplies. Arguably, the most difficult part of Ark is getting started, and that trick really helped. I finally got our little tribe up and running.


P.S. Don’t get all weird about this being titled “Day 1.” I’m not going to chronicle each individual day! 🙄 It just felt like a fitting title.