[rant] urgh Gardenscapes why

Gardenscapes header

So I love Gardenscapes. Made by the people at Playrix, it’s essentially a match-3 game that has a lovely story attached to it, filled with characters that come to life through the things you do in-game. I’ve reached puzzle 1324, which is not too bad since I started playing this game almost a year ago.

The person who takes you through Gardenscapes’ main story is your butler Austin. Yes, your butler, though from the way he orders you around I kind of doubt that. He comes across as a somewhat enthusiastic and friendly chap at first glance.

However, as I play the game more, I’m discovering inconsistencies with his character. I’m not sure if it’s lazy writing or a suspension of disbelief, but there are some things he’s done recently that make me wonder if the writers actually thought things through.

About 300-400 puzzles ago (I think it was then), Austin asked his friend to Robbie (who happens to be black) to help fix the bridges in the garden.

Robbie says that he can’t as he has too many orders for the day and that he could do it tomorrow, but Austin forces him to anyway. Robbie quickly comes over and does a quick job and then has to rush off.

The bridge falls apart later, turning Austin indignant, who believes Robbie had endangered Austin’s potential love interest. Austin goes into a fit, says some mean things to Robbie, and then more or less sulks. When the truth comes to light, Austin “apologises” to Robbie by buying an expensive tool he knew Robbie was eyeing.

Now, here’s the thing that pissed me off. From what I can see, Robbie did the best he could with the bridge, given the time constraints that he had. When it fell apart, it had nothing to do with his skills (beavers are to blame). But he gets the blame anyway.

There’s also the fact that nowhere does Austin acknowledge that he emotionally blackmailed Robbie. Nor does Austin, at any point, directly apologise to Robbie for blaming him falsely.

It feels a lot like Austin is taking advantage of his privilege as a white man, even if he isn’t aware of it. He seems to take most others for granted and his interactions with the few people of colour in the game is subtly different compared from the others we see as white. His “apology” took for granted that Robbie would forgive him, would always forgive him.

Which brings me to the current storyline.

[DETAILED SPOILERS AHEAD]

Alex is an intern at a cleaning company. She’s to help Austin clean the garden. During the cleaning process, they uncover gorgeous ballgowns and learn that that part of the garden is suitable for hosting parties.

Austin decides that the ballgowns are no longer needed and should be sent to a museum, since they’re early 1900s (maybe?) pieces, and in really good condition. Alex, who had been hoping to dress up in said gowns, is disappointed, but she can’t really ask Austin to give the dresses to her. Who is she anyway?

During this plotline, we see that Alex is an enthusiastic, well-meaning girl who is a real romantic. She’s so romantic, that when a random person comes up asking Austin for help with his wedding car, she takes it upon herself to decorate the car. Alone.

So, we’ve established she’s a romantic. She’s good with wedding stuff. And she loves music and to dance.

What happens?

Alex sends the ballgowns to the museum on behalf of Austin. That night, the player and Austin are awoken in the middle of the night by a mysterious sound and subsequently a figure that runs through the garden to escape them. This figure tracks mud all over the garden including areas you, the player, have already fixed.

Oddly, while Austin is alarmed, he doesn’t seem as spooked or angry or surprised. This is odd, considering how he panicked earlier in the game to the point he insisted on getting a dog.

The next day, as they are cleaning up, we discover that the intruder was Alex. She had taken one of the gowns for herself and decided to have a little midnight dance.

Her uncle/family decided to punish her (at least from what we see in the game) by making her clean a spooky old basement filled with spiders and other creepy crawlies. What is Austin’s reaction?

“Oh no, we must help her! Let us ask this other guy who is handy with vacuums to give her one as she asked so she can finish her job quicker.”

The thieving model with her sculptor takes a break
More or less. Alex is thus freed to “model” for the sculptor, who is recreating the romantic story that led to the ballgown’s discovery earlier.

Throughout it all, Austin’s reaction to Alex breaking his trust and stealing from the player has been sympathetic and forgiving. In fact, he never brings up the point that she abused his trust and/or she had stolen things but instead helps her to finish her punishment quicker.

It seems Austin is so desperate to win the approval of the eligible females in the game that he doesn’t just overlook their horrendous behaviour, he encourages it. I’m terribly disappointed with Playrix because they had started so well with the game’s earliest chapters.

Well that's nice of Austin
Contrast this to the way he treated Robbie. To say that he threw Robbie under the bus without even apologising is a major understatement. Heck, even when Claire couldn’t make it he is nicer to her than he was to Robbie!

Really Playrix, you can and should do better. Gardenscapes is a really fun game and I like the touches you’ve added to the match-3 component. I like the characters. What I don’t like is your lazy writing; glorifying Alex’s criminal transgressions while making light of the hard work like Robbie does.

When Windows breaks your MMO…

This is the culprit of that Disconnected from patching server before patching completed error

So, for those wondering what “Disconnected from patching server before patching completed” here’s a quick guide to figuring out what’s the problem:

As of August 11, 2017:

  1. If you have updated to Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update, check your App Settings. This can be done through Settings > App Settings > Apps and Features.
    • Change your settings if it’s set to install Store apps alone. I have temporarily enabled all apps to ensure my update works
  2. Otherwise, check your WiFi settings.
  3. Run the .exe as Admin after that (Right click > Run as Administrator).
  4. Pray it works.
  5. Have fun!

How I discovered this (aka I want to curse the idiot that is myself)
So, about 6 days after Fall of Oriath dropped, I finally decided to install the patch and PLAY. GGG (Grinding Gear Games) usually has an “Allocating Space” step before actually downloading the patch, so I went for a nap to let Kuro (le PC) do its thing. Woke up to find the update stalled so I cancelled that process and started again.

Allocated Space went through just fine. Then I had the “Disconnected from patching server before patching completed” error. This happened twice and I am now kicking myself because I decided to do the whole “delete your content.ggpk file and force the client to REDOWNLOAD the entire game (8GB and counting) in a single file” step as a solution.

You see, right after that I got an error from Windows saying “Oh this app isn’t from the store, installing it is a bad idea” and it clicked in my head that my update had probably failed because of this and not because of GGG. Unfortunately as the file has been deleted, I now needed to wait for the Updater to re-run the Allocated Space (about 45 mins minimum) AND download the game again (hello Unifi why am I getting speeds of only 200+KB?).

Moral of the story? Be patient kids.

What does “new preview” mean for Facebook Pages?

Facebook new preview

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been getting notifications from Facebook that my various pages have had new views or a new preview.

Now, “New Views” has a very simple answer. They are simply how many people have gone to your page for the first time to see what your page is all about. More New Views basically mean more people discovering your page. Whether they like is another matter.

“Previews” on the other end, was much more nebulous. What did a new preview for a Facebook page mean?

The answer, as it turns out, was stupidly simple, but in Facebook’s usual way, obscured. And the fact that this surfaced for me in a Facebook business post instead of a news post means they’re either testing it or they’ve introduced a new feature that no one has found useful.

What does a Facebook page preview mean?

It simply means that someone hovered over your Page’s name to see a preview of your page’s content. That’s it.

At a glance, it may not seem useful, but if your business depends on people discovering your Facebook page and liking your posts then these Page Previews are a good way to see why potential fans are not converting.

Also, there are new metrics to show the age and gender of those who previewed your page but didn’t like it, so you can determine if you’re hitting your age group or not.

Useful or not? Depends, but I’m hoping at least this answers the question. The first answer on that Facebook business page is a completely useless error message. It was Benji’s answer that made more sense.

Journalling a habit

Book with the phrase It's about to get nostalgic in here
Keeping track of what’s happened to me is the current reason why I am journalling

Notables:

  • Got reassured by my boss that she loves the work I am putting out
    • Could be a bit more meticulous but part of it is the insane workload we all have – understanding boss is really awesome
  • Ontama curry from Hanamaru is delicious and cheap
  • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MANMARU CLOSED DOWN
  • Epic failing at writing my journal reflection this morning
  • Took a nap that almost lasted three hours

~~~~~

Ever since I started my new job, I have started listening to a lot more podcasts. As it is I am completely up to date with Welcome to Nightvale (CARLOS X CECIL 4EVA and knowing that Carlos’ actor Dylan Marron is also gay and a POC who IS as sweet outside of Nightvale as Carlos is a life goal), Our Fair City (OMG it has an end date but why), discovered the Orbiting Human Circus (Julian why you so adorbs) and have recently started listening to Productivity Alchemy and I already love it (thank you tenta!).

The Podcast habit was easy to start, because the new car has auto Bluetooth connection, so I just start it up when I get into the car. I have never been more glad to dump radio, and even if I have to drive my mom to church I now put on Spotify’s Top 40 list instead of Mix FM.

There have been other habits that I have tried and not quite succeeded though. Writing daily journal entries is one of them. This post is an example of how I’m structuring it.

The Notable section is a way for me to gather my thoughts and reflect on what has happened between the last time I wrote an entry and now. I have a tendency to oversleep, which cuts into the morning session, and by the evening I’m usually too exhausted.

I’m compensating by writing when I need some space to think at work, and by continuing the weekly habit I already had before this. It’s been almost two months since I started this journey, and while it is on its way to becoming a permanent habit, there are still enough times where I feel like I’m failing.

I can’t remember where I began the thought dump process, but I know that it required me to get over my tendency to listen to others and really just start examining my own habits. I needed to convince myself that it was alright to take 10 minutes to simply write whatever that came to mind, that it was fine to thought dump and not censor myself.

The hardest part has been to write to be forgotten, because I don’t want anyone else to read it. A pen and paper notebook, while romantic, is also impractical for this. I would rather write on the computer with the ability to edit; my fingers can keep up with the speed of my thoughts.

So what I have learnt?

I need a little structure

I was talking to Tenta about journalling and I realised that what put me off bullet journalling was the whole “oh you need to structure your day HERE IS LIMITED SPACE TO MAKE IT LOOK PRETTY WHILE GETTING SHIT DONE” and the whole productivity thing was not something I like.

The format of writing what was notable in the past few hours however, worked well to remind me of things that are memorable. They didn’t need to be things that are good, though I always want to start with that; I want to remember the happier moments and wins instead of the negative bits.

I also got myself a paper journal (thanks Rin!) that was more for those moments I didn’t want to whip out the Bluetooth keyboard and yet wanted to write. It has since been turned into an ideas book, with little snippets and practising of my penmanship.

Journalling is therapeutic

There’s plenty enough said online and in studies that highlight the benefits of journalling, but I would like to confess something it has made me realise; journalling allows me to put into words insights and ideas I have had for the longest time, but lacked the courage to say or admit. It is brutally honest, but only if I am with myself.

Writing, to me, is half an art, half a science. Perhaps the hardest part is to be gentle to yourself, especially when dealing with emotions.

Self-care is not selfish, and if it means you need to take time out to go pay your bills, have a mini mental vacation or treat yourself to a good meal, it will allow you to go back to work or whatever it is you need to do.

My habits have noticeable dip and high tendencies

Probably not going to happen to everyone, but I noticed this about myself. Journalling allowed me to record and somewhat track this. More importantly, it gave me the space to process the emotions that led or did not lead to the decision.

Another side benefit of journalling on the PC or via a service like Google Docs; it makes looking up more of the same that much easier.

Journalling has made me more empathic?

Still not too sure about this, but journalling has made me more sensitive to others. I’m learning to read between the lines with a finer sift, and there is less hesitation when it comes to reaching out. However all this extra writing on top of my current job writing has led to an unexpected (though unsurprising outcome):

I find it harder to craft stories

My brain can think up scenarios but rarely pursue it to fruition. I can attribute this somewhat to having just come out of an environment where EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR TIME MUST BE PRODUCTIVE AND YOU ARE COSTING US HOURS AND MINUTES but that is not the whole of it. The drive has been lost, and I want to find it again.

So… how was YOUR day?