The Disadvantaged and the Pharisees of Our Day

This piece was an experiment.  I wrote it for a Christian periodical that normally prints articles that are non-fiction, for individual and group contemplation.  The subject is pharisees of our day (a sub-subject related to humility), and I thought a more creative piece like this could cover more, or lead to more understanding, anyway, with the limited amount of words allowed; however, it was not accepted and so I decided to post it here.  Perhaps I’ll add references/recommended reading later, but suffice it to say now that everything in the piece is based on personal experience, information from nonprofits, published articles, and governmental reports.  (The low amount provided for Disability is based on the deduction they normally make for support from other household members or other sources; the starting base amount is around $700.)  ______________________________________

Angel contemplatingBecca fed dollar bills into the laundry’s money changer. While expertly flattening out creases and bent corners, she noticed the “In God We Trust” slogan. “Who is it referring to?” she mumbled. She believed in God—in Jesus—but the savior she knew . . . well, it didn’t seem like her country knew Him. “Clank, clank, clank!” She scooped up the quarters and headed to the washers.

“Trusting God. That means seeking to know Him and please Him, right?” she asked herself. As she loaded the clothes, she searched her mind for examples of the U.S. demonstrating that kind of faith and commitment. Nothing came to mind. “Well, helping the poor and elderly through Medicaid and Medicare was something,” Becca thought.

She thought of her dad. He couldn’t move much without a ton of pain. He hadn’t been able to work for 18 months now and she and her mom were working, paying the medical bills, and looking after her younger brother as best they could. She prayed often to God, asking Him for His mercy and help, but her dad’s attempts at qualifying for disability had all failed.

“We need a lawyer,” her mom said. “Why do we need to pay an attorney for this?” questioned Becca angrily. “We all pay into that fund, my dad has the medical records, and he wouldn’t even receive much per month anyway. It’s like extortion.” Frustrated, she remembered a co-worker’s experience. The co-worker ended up paying an attorney the equivalent of a whole year’s worth of child support, and that for what was in reality a “cookie cutter” divorce.

“What is the point of child support when it goes to an attorney? Out of the kids’ mouths and into a lawyer’s hands. But, ‘In God we Trust’,” Becca mumbled again. Becca heard that attorneys charge about $300 an hour, but her dad’s disability payments might be as low as that per month. She wondered if a year’s worth of disability would actually go to a lawyer.

“Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised . . ? But ye have despised the poor. Do not rich men oppress you . . ?” (James 2:5-6).

“Heavenly Father, what do lawyers pray to you about? Are there any that pray, ‘Show me a needful family I can give my experience to’? There must be someone. Please Lord, direct my mom and dad to that believer.”

Her mood was turning sour, and the noisy washers reminded her of all the time wasted sitting in a laundry mat. Becca thought, too, as she often did, about how the amount they spent at the mat every month could pay for their own machines, if only they had a house. Her and her mom wished so much that they had their own washer and dryer! “Mom,” Becca said earlier, “Right now, I’d much rather have a washer and dryer than a European vacation.” Her mom sighed, “I know.”

Becca emptied the washers, rolled the clothes over to the dryers and filled a couple of them. She sat down and used her phone, reading through her Twitter feed. There were cute animal pictures, verses and such from Christians, political tweets and news. “Hard work made the rich rich, but the poor have rejected personal responsibility,” she read. Becca hotly responded to the unhearing tweeter, “My employer got rich through inheritance, gets richer daily through stocks, and we got poor through illness.”

She closed her phone again. The tweeter is of a group that would say, as a poor person, Becca didn’t deserve a phone (she saw such tweets). But how could she get a job, or take care of bills and daily business, without a phone? One tweeter even complained about the homeless having cars, although for some their car was their only home. Most of these tweeters labeled themselves Christians; they were so eager to judge, implying that they were so much better than the “lowlifes” and scammers they thought they knew so much about. They didn’t know Becca, though, or her dad, or her mom.

Becca made a little over minimum wage at her part-time job, working a continuously varied schedule. It made scheduling her own things—like watching her brother, doing laundry, and job training—very difficult, if not impossible at times. Becca’s mom had cried, and she cried, too, when Becca had to work on Thanksgiving. When Christmas came, it was much the same. Easter came and went . . . the same way. The family was hardly together anymore, even forced to miss every traditional family holiday. Those who complained about the poor didn’t care about this, either; not even a peep from the “Christians.” Instead of compassion or showing concern over employer greed, she was told to simply find another job.

With the prospect of zero family holidays, a feeling of unfairness began to hound Becca. Her incredibly wealthy employers enjoyed their families and the luxury of time itself, while people like her missed family gatherings. And for what? For wages that often don’t even cover the crudest of living expenses. To top it off, her employer televised traditional, family-oriented ads at Christmas time. In her short life, Becca could think of no better living example of a whitewashed tomb than her employer (see Matthew 23:25-28).

“thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind” (Revelation 3:17).

A tinge of bitterness pinched her heart. “Ok, slow down, Becca,” she said to herself. “This world is nothing, yet it’s pulling you down,” she continued. She closed her eyes and thought of Christ. Her shoulders relaxed as she focused on Him. “Beep!” went her phone, and she felt drawn to read the text right away. “Found atty to help us – pro bono! God is good! <3 Mom.” Becca’s heart jumped. “Thank you, Abba!”

Disregard for your hard work
Found at http://lovingjesus6.blogspot.com/

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part II)

Trying to go to your natural grey after coloring your hair a long time?  I was–well, am–and learned the hard way that it’s not only not easy, but that there’s a lot of misinformation online.  All the background information about that is at Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part I)

Here, I do a hair update.  Not because I want to display my hair for all the world to see, but so that you might get an idea of what to expect when making the transition from colored grey hair (in my case, it was very dark brown) to natural grey hair.  My goal is to get my hair to a silvery color in order for my own grey hair to look somewhat natural growing out.

Color removed & bleached hair, from dark brown
My left side hair, as close as I could get it, after three applications of color remover and one bleach application. Wow, so bleached . . . ;)

Previously, I had tried to remove the dark brown dye.  That only left my hair shades of orange to auburn.  Then I bleached my hair, which left my hair bright white at the roots, with the rest of it cascading from bright orange to a lighter auburn, or dark orange, at the bottom.  Not wanting to bleach my hair anymore and not wanting to go to a salon, I needed to dye my hair a cool mid-tone in order to even things out and more slowly color lighter and lighter until my desired goal.  To the right is what my hair color was like when I left off Part I.

Orange hair dyed with medium ash blonde plus violet additive
My orange hair after coloring with medium ash blonde plus violet additive. Color is darker, much more even, and very frizzy.

Left is what my hair looked like after coloring it medium ash blonde using Color Silk and having added 2 capfuls of Wella Color Charm Cooling Violet 050.  I don’t think Color Silk is the best, but as I wasn’t intending to keep my hair that color for long, I didn’t care much.  I wanted to get the cooling violet in my hair ASAP!

While the dye and the violet additive did very happily even out my hair color to a degree (the photo looks better, to me, than my hair really looked), after I shampooed it the next day it looked like some of the dye washed out!  It was quite orange again, but less severe than before I dyed it.   In Part I I said that I was going to buy Dessange Paris California Blonde Brass Color Correcting Crème and use it to show its effect, but it was sold out at Target (Target is the only general store where I know it’s available).  So, I bought L’Oreal’s EverPure Blonde Brass Banisher shampoo, along with their EverSleek conditioner to help with the frizz.  This is what I shampooed my hair with that, oddly, made it look brighter orange again . . . and, the frizz got worse, too . . . !  Very strange.

Orange hair a few days after med ash blonde
My orange hair after dying medium ash blonde and shampooing + conditioning it. It actually looks brighter than this photo.

I went a day without shampooing, then washed my hair with Jhirmack Distinctions Silver Plus shampoo.  I conditioned it again, too.  To the right is what it now looks like.  My hair needs a rest, so I’m waiting until Monday (8 days from the last coloring) to dye my hair again.  At that time I’ll use Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color LB3, Ultra Light Beige Blonde (“Lightens up to 4 levels Without Brassiness”), with 4 capfuls of the cooling violet additive.  I’ll let you know how it turns out!  My goal is to ultimately use Wella Color Charm Nordic Blonde with violet additive to make my hair silver white.  We’ll see how it goes . . .

 

These did not help bleached orange hair
Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color LB3 and Wella Color Charm Cooling Violet Additive 050.

I decided to add to this Part II instead of making a Part III right now.  I used the Nutrisse Ultra Color and 4 capfuls of Wella Color Charm Cooling Violet additive, as I said I would.  The results weren’t blonde or crazy, but they were still disappointing.   I expected a lighter result; my hair is virtually the same as it was before, despite having applied the dye combo onto the darkest areas first.  These areas had dye on for about 40 minutes.

As mentioned in my first post, I expect something clearer on these boxes from hair color companies.  This box has the statements that the results shown in the oval comparisons (see image) are for natural hair.  Ok, got that.  But, I don’t know what they consider my hair.  The earlier dye has been removed, leaving my hair color from white to dark orange (or auburn).  Should I really consider my hair still dyed . . . or ?  A small note below the ovals says that this dye is not recommended for hair dyed darker than light brown.  Ok, mine did not seem to apply to that any longer.  It is also not recommended for hair that is mostly grey.  Ok.  While my hair was orange-plus, it was also mostly grey at the roots; should the orange be considered grey?  I really don’t know, but based on the information provided, I truly thought that the dye would:  brighten my hair to a more blonde color, but not as bright as shown, necessarily, and that it would not make the roots bright blond either.

Hair result using Nutrisse LB3 and violet additive
Root color along with the darkest orange color hair from ends (held up with hair clip). In real life, the roots are not orange-tinged as they appear to some here.

The results I got seem like the dye did virtually nothing, with the change that did occur due to the violet additive.  In any case, my hair is not blonde at all, except in all the root areas, where it is a very cool blonde indeed.  The last photo I left you with above shows my hair browner than it really was (another photo I took was the opposite, being brighter orange).  The photo to the right shows my hair pretty close to the way it looks, but, it is actually a lot shinier in real life.  The Nutrisse and the additive did not leave my hair dull, though I’ve used strong conditioners.

The point of all this is, it seems true that you can’t dye orange hair–or at least orange grey hair–to a lighter color.  The orange part of my hair may be getting very slightly lighter each time I dye it, but gosh, it’s by such a small amount!  Next week I’m going to try the Nordic Blonde (Wella Color Charm), as I said, with more violet additive.  I was intending to use level 20 developer at that point, but now I may use the 40 level.  I already have the 20, but I may ask someone at Sally’s if they think the 40 will help at all.  I’m assuming that the Nutrisse used a level 40 developer, or else I don’t see how the product could lift the color so much (on natural hair, if it works as stated).  If so, would Wella Color Charm be any different?

Nordic Blonde, Wella Color Charm
Nordic Blonde by Wella Color Charm. Seems like a great grey color for having roots grow back with.

I may have to get my hair cut very short in order for the more virgin hair to get to a grey or silver color with any of these dyes and additives.  :(  Would the super white Frosty Ash by Wella be better?  Perhaps that will be my last try after Nordic Blonde.  Part III will tell.

 

Bungie’s New Low: Your Own Team Required for Etheric Light in H.o.W

Someone asked with the Help tag at Bungie’s Destiny site where one can get etheric light.  Since the Trials of Osiris started today, we found that there is NO way of getting etheric light – a requirement for upgrading new game gear – if you don’t have your own play team.  In other words, you can’t get it as a single player and there is no in-game matchmaking for the activities where etheric light can be found.  Regulation of the gaming industry is needed at this point.  Consumers should not be deceived into buying a product that they have little or no chance of getting a refund for.

We preordered the game and the season pass, based on what we knew of the game pre-release.  Well, the game has changed a lot since then.  The amount of play time a single player can get out of the game is less and less, and the latest dlc makes single player useless.  With the House of Wolves you CAN get new gear that is as high or higher than the previous gear, but if you don’t have your own teams to play the meat of the dlc, what’s the point?  To just play the old stuff that happens to have matchmaking over and over again?

Below is what I wrote at Bungie’s forums.  I need to gather information regarding game developer’s deceptive shenanigans, which of our representatives are major investors (yes, some are) or have other interests in gaming companies, what laws (if any) exist that regulate the gaming industry, etc.  I’m tired, now, of gamers (including myself) complaining all the time but not doing anything about these game companies.  If you know of examples of game makers’ deceptions (like Sony putting out trailers that they claim is one of their games, when they aren’t), or of applicable laws or legal actions, please let me know!

Since the Trials of Osiris started today, we found the only way to get it is if you do your own matchmaking, make your own teams. We thought with the Trials we’d at least have an option for getting this necessary material without having to have other friends have the game, schedule all our time, etc. This dlc, in fact, the whole game of Destiny at this point, was/is a waste of money and time. If a material in a game is required, then there should be at least one option for players to get it fully in-game! Lol. Since the only way to get it is by your own arrangement of players, which normally takes place OUT of game (and it seems that a microphone is required, another $60 investment), it makes the game absurd. We will be writing to Bungie, Activision, and Microsoft about this with the hopes of at least getting some of our money back (we preordered the game and pass); but if we don’t get any money back, at least we will have said what we wanted to say. After that, I’m going to see about regulating the gaming industry (the co.s and corp.s need their hands held by congress, apparently) since with other products you can get your money back. Bungie has continually changed the game, making it playable for those without avid Destiny friends, to one where that’s a requirement.

Even this site got weird. I had an account here that I can’t access any longer since I had to sign in with XBOX live, which is my son’s account. He’d very much approve of this message, though. He can’t believe he can’t do anything to get etheric light without an out-of-game made team. He was actually excited for the Trials, so wow, yeah, a new level of hate for a gamemaker: Bungie.

On top of that, I signed in with the “knowledge” Bungie gave me, saying I could change the app linkage to XBOX in settings. Well, I can’t. So what does that make Bungie . . . again? Bungie is the most unethical game company I’m aware of. The only way to get on this game space is through that app that you can’t unlink to your XBOX acct? Wow. No more of our business will be with Bungie.

If you like YouTube videos and listening to game commentary, you might like the following (House of Wolves, E3 Hopes, Fallout 4, Doom: Lingering Trees Talk Show 003).  These guys are pretty funny (warning – they can be raunchy):

 

You might also enjoy:  House of Wolves is [Really] Only for those Who have Their Own Teams or the much longer analytical article, Destiny’s Story: The Nature of Evil and Its Corrupting Influence.  Other Destiny articles are listed in the Table of Contents (see tab bar), too.

Destiny = Monotony

House of Wolves is Only for Those who have their Own Teams

The Terminus, an elevator to one of the House of Wolves' story missions (Polygon.com).
The Terminus, an elevator to one of the House of Wolves’ story missions (Polygon.com).

Note:  For those searching for the religious, or any possible biblical, aspect of Destiny, please see Destiny’s Story: The Nature of Evil and It’s Corrupting Influence.

Updated/edited on May 20, 2015.

If any of you have read my various Destiny articles, you might have guessed that I have a love-hate relationship with the game.  Well, you might walk away with more of the hate side of my feelings, but, I do LOVE the feel of the game.  I stopped playing it for a while because I had nothing else to do in it.  I don’t play the Crucible, and my son got tired of that part of the game, too, and I don’t do my own match-making in order to play the harder aspects of the game, so . . . there’s nothing to do in Destiny after a certain point for players like me.  And guess what, despite what the trailer may have said or implied, House of Wolves only makes matters worse.  You cannot level up without doing your own match making/team gathering.  At least that’s what is known right now.

I had recently started playing again (and my son followed suit), gearing up for the new House of Wolves dlc that was to come out.  I started a new character, too, leveling her up to 29.  We stopped leveling gear up since we didn’t want to waste our materials prior to the dlc.  So, my son has played today’s Destiny dlc a while this morning, checking out the new social area in The Reef, and doing a number of the dlc’s missions and strikes.  The new crucible matches, called the Trials of Osiris, are only available Friday through Monday, basically, so he has to wait for those.  He was able to get through the whole new story in a matter of hours.

But what do I think of the new aspect of Destiny so far?  I pre-purchased the game after playing the Beta and having fun on the maps.  The Beta allowed you to go up to level 8, which didn’t provide the final and full aspect of the game, by any means.  I thought that with the maps, the game was at least RPGish.  But it’s not.  This second dlc only serves to make that fact very clear.  The Reef opened up, but then again, it didn’t.  The player is only allowed to go to the “social” area on the edge of the reef, and to go into the Awoken’s prison in order to exterminate the population there.  There is no reef map to explore.  The new battles have their own new “maps,” and they are awesome just as all Destiny environments are, but they are not areas to explore or move around in at leisure.  The items shown on the destination map all have maps to interact with, like the earth and moon, but the reef didn’t.  But with this reef-related dlc, it still doesn’t.

So, besides the story missions, the House of Wolves dlc only really expands crucible choices and a different type of strike, the Prison of Elders.  With the Prison of Elders, you go in with two other people to exterminate the prison population in four different prison areas.  The lowest level strike features match making, but the other three higher levels require the player to put their own party together.  This is nothing new for Destiny, but is also a disappointing feature of the game.   Bungie continues to crush the hopes of single, or “non-social” players (those who don’t have their own teams), by purposefully making more game aspects impossible for those types of players.  The lowest level of Prison of Elders features match-making, yes, but players will not get the items of gear necessary to level up by playing the level 28 mode.  You need to organize your own teams and do the the higher level modes to get those items.

To me, games shouldn’t be like jobs, requiring the player to do a bunch of time-consuming stuff elsewhere, like team building (over the internet or finding actual friends who also have the game, and a console microphone, and . . . ) or trying to figure out the story (which you necessarily have to do on the internet).  I, and others, believe Bungie has been deceptive in its promotion of this game, from the beginning, but they’ve only gotten worse about it.  Anything done or gained in early game play appears to be wholly irrelevant now.

So, while my love-level of the game had been relatively high lately, it has been replaced with a new hate-level.  My son has felt the same way, wondering why I play the game.  I love the game interaction feel, yes, and I invested a lot in the game.  But there’s nothing new to explore, just more of the same player-on-player fighting and mind-boggling off-site requirements.  I had a false hope, based on the trailers, that the Prison of Elders would be more of a massive mulit-player sort-of thing, where a bunch of players went into an area (the arena) and went after a bunch of enemies.  Nope; hopes dashed.  Another issue is that the “general” storage was not increased, so players will be forced to delete armor shaders and such they they’ve been saving.  The story, too, is really nothing.  I can see why Bungie put so little into the story.   If all a player is doing is fighting, what difference does the story make?  It makes no difference at all.

Unless Bungie makes some changes to the game, and clearly states what those changes are, we will not be spending any more cash on the Destiny franchise.  Let me leave you with these comments found at a HoW Forbes article.  They are right-on:

Mad Vaz: I put in about 200 hours in Destiny and took me forever for just one character to reach 32 as I had to make a huge effort setting aside time and planning just to do the Raids to get the material I needed. Really bummed out that Destiny continue to ignore solo players and make it difficult for them to max out their armor and character. I know there are pros and cons for matchmaking but it would be nice for some of us to have another way to obtain Etheric light (Ex. Daily events, strikes). I know this game has a 10 year plan, but I’m curious to know if they continue to ignore solo players with Destiny 2, how many players will come back? I enjoy the game and don’t mind putting time to level up my weapons and gears but hate that I’ll be denied obtaining etheric light because I don’t have friends who are on at the same time and day or because I’m not “Socially” active enough.
Oddman:  you mad bro? (couldn’t resist)

@ mad vaz, I agree, the solo player has not been treated well by bungie. They marketed the game as open to all and as an inclusive title. But since last Dec, they have been abandoning the Solo player and forgetting who it was that purchased all those bungie games in the past.

But even worse has been the planned degrading of the game for players who did not buy the DLC. Bungie pulled the rug out from under those players, just a short 12 weeks after game launch. And when players asked them to create a path forward for the non -DLC crowd bungie never replied never engaged and never budged from their policy of reduced rewards and reduced modes of play …

shame on Bungie.

If you like YouTube videos and listening to game commentary, you might like the following (House of Wolves, E3 Hopes, Fallout 4, Doom: Lingering Trees Talk Show 003). These guys are pretty funny (warning – they can be raunchy):

 

PS:  I miss dinglebot.  The voice-over for the beginning cut scene doesn’t sound like either the queen or her emissary, and like the other new voices, just seems kind-of elementary.  The new voices don’t seem to match the tone of the game.  And I don’t know why my ghost isn’t talking to me anymore.

PSS:  Want etheric light?  Good luck, lol.  I’m incredibly discouraged about Destiny at this point (no more Destiny budget after this, no), and I know that once my son finds out that the only thing new about this game is more and longer head-banging sessions just to get something to POSSIBLY level up a bit, he won’t want to play.  The game has become a real waste of time, and for any who also love the story (as I’ve seen in a comment today), I have to wonder what they’re talking about.  To love the very simple escape-from-jail or the power-grabbing intrigue of Destiny’s dlc story seems to be about the same thing as loving the exciting text on children’s cereal boxes.

Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part I)

Bleached hair often turns out orange, like this doll's.
I think I’m better looking than this doll, but right now her hair looks better than mine.

No, this site hasn’t been taken over by some cheap commercial interest.  I’m the usual author (Vicki), and as I’ve had such unexpected upheaval in my life over trying to go natural–that is, altering my hair from darkly dyed so as to eventually have my natural grey hair back–that I decided to write about it.  My experience has been that hair products do not have honest descriptions, and trying to figure it out yourself can be very difficult, time consuming, and stressful (or disastrous, more like).  If you thought you couldn’t afford a salon when making the transition from dyed hair to natural, you may want to think again.  But then again, I’ve read of salon-based horror stories too.   In any case, I wrote this to help anyone in my situation, in hopes of saving you some time and a great deal of stress.

My Hair History

My hair greyed early, just like my mom’s; my son is only 17 and has a grey hair or two, even.  So, I found myself dying my naturally brown hair starting in my late 20s.  My hair was naturally almost black underneath and easily faded to brown with golden highlights from sunlight.  My mom’s hair was black, my dad’s a light brown.  After my first dye job, which instead of coming out brown was very very orangish, I knew I had to use cool or ash tone dyes.  I’m sure many of you have had this experience.

Continue reading Orange Hair: Misadventures in Going Natural from Dark Brown (Part I)

Jaws of Hakkon, DA: Inquisition’s first Expansion, is Beautiful

Inquisition camps are now tree houses.
Inquisition camps are now tree houses.

If you’re a Dragon Age fan and didn’t purchase the Jaws of Hakkon dlc immediately, I’d be surprised. I’d love to hear from you as to why. The fan base for Dragon Age just seems so loyal. As for me, Inquisition was my first Dragon Age game, and I’ve reviewed it here. I wasn’t totally impressed, and after playing it through a second time, I’m very bored with it. But . . . I did very much enjoy the Jaws of Hakkon as an expansion.

First, a mild complaint. This dlc cost about $15, which is ¼ of the price of the original game. Perhaps I’m being picky about pricing, but the expansion doesn’t contain anywhere near ¼ the content that the main game has. It doesn’t really tie in with the main quest and it doesn’t have much new in the way of dialogue or cut-scenes, so I don’t know . . . why not charge $10? If Bioware can make the game with the huge amount of dialogue (and with all the options), relationship choices, maps, and more, then why charge so much for new content that has minimal dialogue and game integration?

Other than that consideration relating to the business of gaming today, the new map is gorgeous. It’s called Frostback Basin and it’s the only Inquisition map that has day and night. Well, it’s always day before you defeat the dragon, and apparently always night afterwards. Which is an odd concept, right? But I LOVE this map at night. It has burning lamps here and there and they naturally look better at night. There are crickets chirping and other delightful and mysterious noises and lights to experience at night there. Otherwise, Frostback Basin differs from other maps, too, in its vertical dimension. Instead of having lots of dungeons the region is filled with giant trees; the movement is upward instead of downward. The walkable roots are giant, too, and many inquisition camps are actually little tree forts. Who wouldn’t like that?

Regarding game play and content, they’re the same as in the main game, but some enemies are generally (and a couple are much) harder. The dlc’s story is a fun and engaging one, in my view, but I don’t want to spoil it for you so I won’t say more about it here. As with the main game, there is humor in the dialogues and codexes. As mentioned earlier, however, there is no real connection with the main game’s story. There are no new “romance” related scenes or added dialogue. It’s too bad that this additional Inquisition content isn’t integrated more, but it’s a fun way to continue playing this third Dragon Age game nevertheless.

Avvar enemies and weapons
Yep, there’s weird enemies to combat, so weird that they are mud-painted yet have glowy glowy weapons. This is the Avvar.

A Christian’s View of Dragon Age: Inquisition

Solas
Solas: good, reasonable, rational, mysterious, sometimes annoying, and . . . .

The review below was originally posted (by me) at Christian Entertainment Reviews.  Since that site is up but no longer active, I decided to place an edited version of it here.  Enjoy!  A short review of the dlc is now up, too:  Jaws of Hakkon, DA: Inquisition’s First Expansion, is Beautiful.

If you’re familiar with the Dragon Age franchise (by Bioware), you’ve probably already made the decision to play or not to play these role-playing games.  For some, a game with swearing and “sex” scenes is simply crossed off the list of playing possibilities, and Inquisition (2014; rated M17+) is no different from its predecessors in that arena (except that the “sex” scenes are more “human” than ever before, according to fans).

But with a name out of Catholic history, perhaps you’re curious.  I was, and, having been fairly unfamiliar with the franchise (I didn’t know about the personal relationships aspect), decided to check out the newest installment.  Let’s clarify something up front before we move on, though:  viewing possible “sex” scenes is not part of any quest except voluntary “romancing”—a player can romance certain characters, or not—and avoiding romance has little impact on the rest of the game.  This game is not anything like an “X” rated film–more like an R in parts.  Certain characters who make up your party can be pretty much ignored, too, if desired.  On the other hand, there is no sex shown when romancing the traditional and humble Cullen, who is an example of someone who wants a healthy and permanent relationship.

Continue reading A Christian’s View of Dragon Age: Inquisition

“You don’t deserve a job” is like “You don’t deserve to live.” Christian based, really?

To the Cross with trans base mod - Copy
Art and design by Vicki Priest. “In truth, no human alive can fathom how much, how sweetly and how how tenderly, our Maker loves us,” Julian of Norwich.

I’ve come across this idea a couple of times from a well-regarded Christian university website:  Don’t think that you deserve a job.  The first time I saw this, I was dismayed, and after coming across it again, I had to think about it more (remember to count to ten before responding when angry!) and organize my thoughts. The statement didn’t advise that you shouldn’t think you deserve a certain job, just that you don’t deserve a job.

Most People Need to be Employed in Order to Survive in Our World

In our urban day and age, most persons rely on a job (or multiple jobs) to live.  Very few of us (and probably none that are able to read this) are hunter-gatherers anymore, and sadly, very few of us are even farmers.  Most all of us have jobs because those with the means control the land and wealth, and today, a very few people control a vast amount of wealth.  There used to be movies made about the rich, the banks, the industrious turned industrial, taking over family farms (and the like) by any means necessary.  These weren’t just movies, of course, but were made to show an unfairness and a harm in our “free” society. As our society became more and more industrial and urban, fewer and fewer people were left the dignity of working out their own livelihood.

Continue reading “You don’t deserve a job” is like “You don’t deserve to live.” Christian based, really?

Does DA: Inquisition’s Imshael having anything to do with Ishmael and Islam?

Imshael at Suledin Keep, with goat head-like statue and Red Lyrium   (unknown online source image).
Imshael at Suledin Keep, with goat head-like statue and Red Lyrium (unknown online source image).

The role playing game Dragon Age: Inquisition won Game of the Year for 2014, which no doubt increased the Dragon Age franchise’s already large fan base. At its base is a typical good vs evil theme, and good morals as well as faith are included, but it is also incredibly relativistic at its core. This is very typical fare for games these days. After all, it’s more about having the largest customer base and making the most money possible. The game even has romance in it (of all sorts)—a major draw for a segment of the fan base.

Should Christians Play Dragon Age: Inquisition? is my review of the game, but there seems to be something in the game that is not relativistic, something that finds Bioware (the game’s developer) out on a little limb, that I’d like to explore here. And this something is what the demon Imshael can be seen to represent: Islam.

Who is Imshael?

Continue reading Does DA: Inquisition’s Imshael having anything to do with Ishmael and Islam?

DA Inquisition (+ DLC): Crafting Materials Tables, Organized by Map

Weapons crafting sample.  From INCgamers.com.
Weapons crafting sample. From INCgamers.com.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Crafting Materials Locations by Map (nonvendor)

When known, cloth types are included.  Rare and Unique Items are Highlighted; Fade Touched Items are in Same Locations but rare. If a common item comes up rarely on a map, it is not listed for that map as it would much easier to find it on a map where it is common.

About Dragons:  Most of the main maps have one dragon, except Emprise du Lion, which has three, and the Fallow Mire, which has none.  All dragons drop the following on every map:  dragon scales, dragon webbing, dragon bone.  Therefore, the tables below list which maps yield dragon teeth and the different blood types only.

[For review of DA: Inquisition, see A Christian’s View of Dragon Age: Inquisition.  Thanks!]

Map: Haven
Item Region on Map Notes
Elfroot Temporary town
Iron
Nugskin From piggish rabbits
Ram Leather  
Druffalo Hide Open area outside town Buffalo-like creatures

Continue reading DA Inquisition (+ DLC): Crafting Materials Tables, Organized by Map

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