Category Archives: Off-topic

Revisiting The X-Files – Beyond the Sea

“I’m afraid. I’m afraid to believe.”

It’s the holidays and Dana Scully is entertaining her parents for dinner. Her dad, played by Don Davis of Twin Peaks fame, says it’s time for them to go. Though Scully and him have cute, Moby Dick-themed nicknames for each other, the relationship doesn’t seem like a comfortable one. It’s obvious Scully loves her father, but there seems to be a lot left unsaid between them. Hours later, Scully wakes up on her couch and sees her father sitting in the chair across from her, silently reciting the Lord’s Prayer. The phone rings, stealing her attention, and when she glances back, the chair is empty. It’s her mother on the phone. Scully’s father has died.

It’s been a while since I wrote one these. I originally planned to write something about every X-Files episode in advance of the new series starting next year, but realized I just don’t have much to say about a number of the episodes. So, I’m just going to focus on the most memorable ones.

Beyond the Sea - Scully and Boggs

Beyond the Sea is the best episode of season 1. It doesn’t have a ton of competition, since the series was still finding its feet, but it’s memorable for a number of reasons. Brad Dourif’s turn as Luther Lee Boggs is outstanding. It’s over the top but totally works and is consistently compelling. This is also the first episode that flips the script and shows Scully as the believer and Mulder as the skeptic. Boggs, who’s currently sitting on death row, claims he has psychic powers that can help S&M with their current case. Mulder thinks he’s full of it while Scully believes he may know something about not only their case, but also about her father. Most importantly, this is a great character episode where we get to learn a lot about Scully. Her path to the FBI was not one that her father supported and she worries that he wasn’t proud of her.  She puts faith in Boggs because he says he can channel her father. And because everything he has to say about their current case proves correct.

There are a lot of nice touches that tell us more about Scully. There’s her discomfort at being called Dana by Mulder. How hard she tries to keep it together after her father’s death and how much harder it gets when sympathy is offered. Scully is a believer, just not in the paranormal. Her faith has more of a religious nature, which can come in conflict with her belief in science. She always wears a crucifix, and though the role of religion in Scully’s life isn’t examined too much in this episode, it will come into play in a number of future episodes.

The scenes between Scully and Boggs seem influenced by The Silence of the Lambs, with the serial killer delving into Scully’s past and into her head to tell her what she needs to hear. Gillian Anderson gets to flex her acting chops in this episode, as Scully runs the gamut between mourning for her father, undergoing a crisis of faith, and raging at Boggs when Mulder is shot.

In the end, Scully realizes she has more faith in herself than in Boggs, and that she doesn’t need him to know what her father would have said.

Saying No and Not Working for Free

Ever since I started making YouTube videos I’ve been running into something I rarely encountered when I was just a blogger. People I don’t know are asking things of me. I get requests to collaborate on videos, to join networks, to post my videos on other people’s websites. It can get a bit overwhelming. I have a hard time responding to these requests. On the one hand many of the people asking seem sincere and enthusiastic about what they do, and I don’t want to be a jerk. On the other hand, a question that has to be asked is – What do I get out of this?

It’s very common in hobby-based content creation for outlets to only be able to “pay” you with exposure. Now, I certainly don’t write or make videos for money – based on the current balance in my AdSense account I should be set to receive my first ever cheque from Google sometime next year. After 6 years of writing here and 1 year of video making. I do it because I enjoy it, I answer only to myself, it lets me talk to people with similar interests, and because I like attention and people knowing my thoughts on things. However as soon as a third party comes in asking to use my work in some way, things change. If I’m asked to share my content elsewhere, do extra work, maybe commit to some schedule, then it turns into work. And honey, I don’t work for free.

What kind of collaborations and such I find reasonable will depend on what kind of effort is required from me, and what I get in return. As of now, the only request I’ve said yes to came from the folks at 1 More Castle (which has, sadly, shut down now). One of the site founders contacted me to see if I was interested in posting my videos on the site. I was really new to making videos and honestly I was just pumped that someone noticed me. So, after some back and forth on the details, I said yes. Luckily, I had only positive experiences with posting there. The requirements from me were minimal – I just made a post in WP to embed my video whenever I had a new one ready (along with some tags and a thumbnail and stuff) and let an editor know it was good to go. My videos stayed on my own channel and there was no schedule or rules to follow. I got a few more hits to my videos, the website readers hopefully had some new interesting content to peruse, and I made a bunch of nice new internet friends.

Currently I post my retro videos as user submissions on another retro gaming site. No one contacted me about this, I just thought it would give my channel more traffic. Again, the videos stay on my channel, I just email in a link and description for them whenever I make them. I get some views from this, but have not really felt any sense of community building. Low effort, low return.

When it comes to sites or people asking for original content with no compensation I have to ask – why would I do that? My bf let me know today that a gaming site was looking for staff writers to do a weekly column. It could be a good source of exposure so I checked out the posting and the application for it. Then I got to the fine print at the bottom, which quietly explained that they could offer no monetary compensation. Sigh. Exposure isn’t pay, and writers shouldn’t be asked to work for free.

Professional writers, especially in the video games industry have a hard time making a living wage. I’m not a professional writer. I’ve never made a pitch, I’ve never worked with an editor. I’ve been paid to write something a grand total of 1 time. However, because I think that writing and journalism should be careers that are viable for talented people, I’d never write for free for any site that collects revenue. The more people that create content for free, the more people think that this is the way it should be. That people don’t need to be compensated for their work. Why pay a writer when some schmuck with no business sense will do it for free?

I’ve sort of veered off topic (see? no editor). At least I resisted the urge to go into a tangent about game companies using fans as free Alpha/Beta testers. Oh wait, I guess I didn’t resist. Coming back around to the original topic… if you’re a content creator, how do you respond to requests for collaboration or for you to share your work elsewhere? My current tactic is to ignore anything I’m not really interested in, which is not the most mature response. I don’t want to be a jerk to people who are interested in my content but at the same time, there has to be something in it for me and I want to be sure I’m getting at least as much out of it as I put into it.

Another food post?

This is for day 25 of Blaugust

I’m playing catch-up since missing a post on the weekend, so I’ve posted another restaurant review on my food blog. Head on over there if you’d like to read it.

Here’s a sneak peak.


My Gaming Spaces

This is for day 23 of Blaugust. (Aah, I’m falling behind!)

This was inspired by a post over at Soul of the Forest in which Ocean shared her gaming spaces. By the way, if you’re looking for a new Resto Druid resource, go check it out. Ocean has written guides and shared Weak Aura strings and good stuff like that.

My gaming area - desk

Here’s my computer desk. It’s just a wee little thing. I could use a bigger one but I don’t really have the space for it (the dog crate takes up the rest of the wall beside it). I use a Razer Chroma keyboard which I really like, and a Razer Naga which I’m looking to replace. The side buttons are sort of wasted on me. I use a Blue Snowball microphone for video voice overs and the occasional podcast. I have two pairs of headphones. I generally use the Beats at the computer, while I use the wireless Playstation ones to play consoles in the living room. I really need a new mousepad – I’ve never even played Black Ops 2. Also, there’s frequently a bad dog hanging out under the desk while I’m sitting at it.

My gaming area - consolesThis is the setup in the living room. Set up here are the XBox One, PS4, PS3, WiiU, Sega Dreamcast, Sega Saturn, X’Eye, NES, and Retron 5. Clearly not enough consoles. We’ve got a 5-way HDMI splitter and an A/V switch so we can plug everything in. There’s also an A/V to HDMI upscaler in the back and my Hauppauge HD PVR Rocket so I can record gameplay.

There’s also a third gaming area in the bedroom. This is where the XBox 360 is, along with a Wii, a(nother) PS3, and a PS2.

Arrested Development footage not found

Organizing Steam

This is day 14 of Blaugust.

Today on Knifesedge Blogs, there was some commentary on organizing Steam. My Steam collection is up to 151 right now (too many), and I use a few custom categories in order to sort everything.

Steam organization - GamesFirst, there’s the defualt – Games.

This has a lot of stuff in it. It includes both games I’m currently playing and games I plan to play sometime in the near-ish future. Games that I continually go back to (like Civ 5 or CS:GO) are in here, though now I’m thinking they should have their own category.




Steam organization - Games 2Next, there’s Games 2. These are the games that I plan on playing… maybe. A lot of them are games I got as part of a bundle that don’t totally spark my interest, but I plan to try them out at some point. Some, like Fallout 1 &2 are games I’ve played before but plan to play again at some point.

Steam organization - HmmThe cleverly named Hmm category is for games I haven’t quite decided if I will play. Some, like Warlock or Syberia, I’ve tried and they didn’t totally catch my interest.  Others I haven’t tried yet.

Steam organization - Go awayGo away houses the games I don’t want to see because I don’t plan to play them, for a variety of reasons. Some I never chose to add to my library, like DOTA, which seems to be forced on all Steam users. Others, like Prison Architect or Face Noir, are games I played a bit of but had no affinity for. And some came from bundles but don’t interest me at all.

Steam organization - FinishedThe Finished category seems pretty self-explanatory. These are finished, done, complete. I beat them, I won. Yay!


This is my 11th post for Blaugust.

I’ve been having a bit of a blogging identity crisis of late. Actually, it’s been going on for a while. There used to be a clear reason people came to my blog – I had a niche. I was a WoW player. I wrote about resto Druids, and sometimes hunters. I wrote guides on how to heal, tips for boss fights, the odd bit of theorycrafting, or gear advice. I got a fair amount of traffic to these kinds of posts, from search engines, regular readers and people linking to them from forums and such. My Warcraft Logs guide (which is actually up to date) and Resto Druid guide (from way back in MoP) are still, kinda sadly, two of my most popular posts each day.

It’s been a year since I’ve played WoW so, obviously, I don’t have a whole lot to say about it any more. Even in my last year playing Warcraft, I was pretty burnt out and posted sporadically. Over the last few years, my blog traffic has gone down…down…down. I’m a bit of a stats nerd and this graph is pretty depressing:

Cannot be Tamed yearly stats

It’s not so much that my views are low (they’re actually not bad), but the fact that they’ve been steadily dropping for the last 3 years, and dropping by a lot. I know, it’s not about traffic. It’s certainly not about money, as my one google ad I’ve hidden at the bottom of the page so as not to be obnoxious has earned about me about 5 (unpaid) dollars in the years it’s been there. Write for yourself, blah, blah, blah. But honestly, I like knowing that people are reading what I write. I appreciate the people who are regulars and friends, who stick around and comment more than those who come from search engines, but still, I feel like I peaked in 2012 and it’s disconcerting.

When I bring up the topic of falling blog traffic, people usually offer me two reasons for it. First, that blogging as a whole is becoming less popular. I’m not sure I believe that, and I really have no frame of reference other than my own blog. Second, I no longer have a niche. People don’t know what they’re going to get when they come to my blog. Sometimes I write game reviews – could be on a 4 year old indie game, could be on the latest Call of Duty. Sometimes I write about feminism, or what I’m playing, or The X-Files. I write about whatever’s on my mind rather than try to stick to a certain topic. The thing is, I like it that way. Just like with my videos – though my retro reviews are by far the most popular, I also want to talk about new games. Now that I’m not confining myself to WoW, I don’t want to confine myself to anything.

So… I guess I’m really just whining that my traffic has gone down, because I don’t really plan to change anything.

What do you think? Does a blog need a niche to be “successful”? Do you like when blogs stick to one topic rather than act as a stream of consciousness?

Hey, I have a food blog

I’m still playing catch up from my missed post yesterday. I didn’t really have any ideas for another post here today, so I cheated a bit (is it cheating?) and posted something on my neglected food blog instead!

If you like nice pictures of great food, then go on over to Damn Good Food and take a gander.

DaiLo beed carpaccio

This is my 8th post for Blaugust.