Categories
Life Writing

My Vicci, Part 2

Let’s see if I can finish some more of this six months after the fact.

That last “I love you” was the last I heard. I waited all day to hear something, assuming Ivy would be able to get my number or contact me eventually, or that Vicci was just super quiet because she was undergoing emergency heart surgery or something.

I even had my volunteer team at church pray for her that evening around 6pm.

After I got home, I realized I had a message from someone in NV via Facebook telling me that she found me on Instagram via my sister who was more active and not so anonymous, and to please contact Ivy at such-and-such number, that they were trying to get ahold of me all day.

I called immediately and was asked, “Are you with anybody right now?” My heart refused to sink, and I said, “No… but please go on.”

And I heard the words, “We lost Vicci today.”

Her next words are a bit of a blur, though I understood that as soon as Ivy arrived, she went about taking care of cats for the day, gathering up a few things, continually checking with Vicci as she tried to figure out how to get her to the car and the ER.

Then she heard, “Oh God,” rushed in and found Vic gasping for breath, convulsing, and quickly asked, “Do I need to call an ambulance!?” She got a nod, and in 5 minutes paramedics were on the spot, performing CPR, trying to get her calmed down, wheeling in a gurney, and carting her out.

An hour and a half later, Ivy, still at the house, got the call that they made it to the hospital, but they were not able to stabilize her.

This conversation ended with me pacing frantically up and down my hallway, not able to think, not wanting to breathe myself… Ivy asked me if I had family I could be with. I said yes, but it was an hour’s drive. She said, “Please don’t let yourself be alone, but please be careful.”

I thanked her and kept pacing. Calling my mom, I tried to explain everything in tears. She said to get over there, that she could send Dad to get me. I told her I just needed a little bit to calm down, pack a bug-out bag, feed the fish.

On the drive there, before I could call Mom, my sister and her husband called.

They didn’t know what to say, but they offered to put me up as well, that they were heartbroken for me, that they didn’t know if it was too soon, but that they knew that I was so good for her. I told them my thoughts, my fears on her eternal soul, that …is there even any chance that I could pray for God to give her one more chance even NOW. Andy had the best words:

I think that these are the mysteries that God keeps from us. We always ask these questions, but we get no clear answers because He wants us to trust Him. If He is truly a loving Father, He has our best in mind, and NOTHING He does will be for our harm. With that trust, sometimes all we can do is say, “We won’t know until we’re there ourselves,” and at that moment, we will be given that understanding, and everything will make sense.

It was a sleepless night at my parents’. Sunday my sister invited me over. I took them up on it, talked with them, tried my best to calm down.

I was in frequent contact with Ivy, who told me that they had the family down from Cedar City, UT to look at things, that she had Vicci’s mom there, that they were really at a loss because nobody could find a will and everyone was trying to frantically figure out the legalese of probate and such. I told her I didn’t know if I could get off of work to come help, but I absolutely knew I had to make something happen.

I stayed with Andrea and Andy on Sunday night, a bit more restful, but not great.

Monday I went into work, having emailed the upper management with the details and that I may need to be taking some vacation to take care of things.

They were shocked, supportive, and said, “When you figure out what you need to do, just go. Go take care of it. We’ll be here when you get back.”

In the middle of they day, I got a call from Ivy saying, “We REALLY need your help here. The family is unable to function and we’re making very little progress with decisions.” I said I’d try to take care of it, and wracked my brain on how I could scrounge up some money when I realized I had a round-trip ticket for January 1st. Some research revealed that I could get a credit refund for almost the exact amount that a one-way trip would cost, and I would just worry about the return trip when I figured out what I was doing and how long I needed to stay in Vegas.

That night, I packed up from Andrea’s and had Dad take me to the airport. Monday night I was landing in Vegas and meeting with Ivy and Vicci’s mom, Julia. A quick trip left us at the house with the cats and a lot of memories, but no Vicci.

And this is the point at which I’ll stop for now. We’ll see if in six months I’ll be able to put in ANOTHER large portion of this story, though things are becoming easier to deal with emotionally.

Categories
Life Writing

My Vicci, Part 1

December 7, 2019 I experienced what I never thought I would so early in life. My girlfriend of five years passed away suddenly due to respiratory and heart failure in her home in Las Vegas.

She had stayed home from sick the day before because she could not catch her breath and didn’t feel like she could function at work. I told her that this sounded like the same symptoms my dad went through when he had his heart attack.

The next morning, she messaged me early asking if I could call and talk because she was lying in a pool of her own sweat having a massive panic attack over the possibility of said heart attack symptoms. I immediately called and we talked for a good hour and a half with the sole purpose of just calming her down. During this time she dozed off, but I could hear on the phone her labored breathing and was tempted at one point to even call 911 and have them redirect me to the Henderson emergency services.

She woke up and we started talking again, and she eventually asked how my dad managed to handle a heart attack and asked to hear all the details. I gave them freely, telling her that once they had him, they hooked him up to every machine and had him stable within a half hour and were super awesome about it.

This eventually convinced her that she should just pony up the $400 copay for the ER, call her friend Ivy, and have her come over to take her in.

Ivy was unavailable initially, so we talked for another half hour. Eventually she said, “Ivy is on her way over,” and then ten minutes after that, “Ivy is here. I’ll try to keep you informed. I love you.”

Categories
Computer Games Minecraft

Minecraft

History

It’s interesting that I purchased my old Alienware M14x R2 just to play Minecraft.

Years ago, a friend I knew on Achaea said that they really enjoyed Minecraft, and that I should try it out. Well, I totally did, and totally regretted it. That’s because at that time, all I had was my Dell B120 from college, and for no strange reason, the game would not run at all, or if it did, the lag was so severe that I waited for 20 minutes for the FPS to progress for one frame. So instead of the minimum desired FPS of something like 60 FPS, I was getting something more like 1200 SPF — great sunblock, terrible game experience.

A few years later, in 2013, another friend from another MUD recommended I try it out. He’d been playing for a long time before I started, and knew quite a bit, and I gave him a rundown of my experience. I also told him I was still super interested in this, and that we’d just bought my mom a new laptop, and that it would maybe be able to handle it. I gave the demo a shot on her machine, which required quite a big Java update, and pretty soon was running successfully (albeit with still-pretty-severe lag) Minecraft 1.4.7!

It got me hooked immediately. I played a good, solid week in the evenings, installing a few optimization plugins installed (namely Optifine) and managing to get it running semi-decently on my B120. However, the lag was such that after a while, I found no progress being made due to resets and deaths and all sorts of other things. Not the ideal learning environment to say the least.

So after a few months of saving up, I bought the Alienware, and did not regret the decision. After that we had a single player shared out to a port and were going multiplayer. Hooray!

Today, NoDumbQuestions!

Fast-forward to now. A podcast of which I’m a huge fan, called NoDumbQuestions, has a moderator on Reddit who goes by mvoviri. Quite a while ago he started a Discord server for some of the fans, and I jumped in on the ground floor which, in typical Discord fashion, means that I haven’t felt like the newcomer, and have stuck around. A couple months in, he asked, “Hey, would anybody be interested in playing Minecraft?” and I was quick to respond, having set Minecraft aside every since about 1.7.4.

A few weeks later, there was the announcement, and he and another guy were quick to set up a spawn area, and I jumped in, and immediately remembered why I shouldn’t have stopped playing when I started galavanting about and died immediately, lost the starter equipment, tried again from scratch, lost everything again, and couldn’t even stay alive long enough to get a chest made.

It was a couple of weeks after that that I gave it one more go, and stuck with it. And in the past few months, I’ve done way more progress here than I have in any other server or single-player world! Well, besides my own server that I run from work, and play almost exclusively in Creative Mode on.

NDQ Minecraft Base

I’ve picked a cliff-top Taiga Mountain (half snow) area on which to build my main area. This was chosen specifically due to the dark overhand just from appearance alone. At the base of this cliff is a fairly wide Sunflower Plain with a few rises where I decided to place the livestock, since a mountain-top doesn’t offer many flat areas unless I were spending the time to get good tools, which I don’t usually.

Started with a small-ish house right on the cliff edge, and dug in to create the mine. Found a few natural caverns, and popped out on the back side of the mountain into a deep canyon where I built a small run of weird wooden letters “ATWHA” at semi-regular intervals. All with iron tools, because I haven’t played Survival in 5 years and even then never learned a THING about enchanting.

Hermitcraft

At this point, I started watching MumboJumbo in Hermitcraft Season 6. And oh my gosh, if you make it your profession to play this game, can you do some really cool stuff! I had no idea that half of the things these people were doing were even possible. Elytra? What in the world is THAT? I mean, I’d heard of it, but never even tried it in Creative.

Also watched Grian in the same series, and was super impressed. My goodness, two points of view make quite an interesting source of inspiration. Needless to say, I’ve got to expand this clifftop house into more than just a building underneath which lies a boring strip mine.

In this time, watching both of those Youtuber players through the entire season to date (11/2019), I’ve started a real strip mine with two block spacing, a series of nether portals that lead to an underwater stronghold (you can’t just build an end portal? I thought you could…) and an island not far away from it where I’ve made a remote base with good ocean proximity, and found one other player on the server selling fully enchanted elytra for 1 gold block.

After watching numerous Hermitcraft episodes, I now have so many ideas rattling around in my head.

Current Activities

I’ve made a huge amount of progress in the NDQ server, touching on pretty much everything that I can think of that I never saw before (enchantments, potions, elytra, mapping, ocean monument near the stronghold, economy with other players, automated redstone farming, and the nuances of mob spawning and contemplating why the creeper “farm” I built won’t spawn creepers at all!

Yesterday I tried mapping out the map blocks in and around my area. Then learned that ClearItems for Spigot is the most annoying, most brute-force method of saving server memory that could exist. I hit the ground too hard while flying around, and died. Okay, if I run back really quick I might be able to find all that expensive armor and weapons and tools. Not behind this rock. Maybe behind thi…. <[ClearItems] Deleted 29 items to reduce lag.>

Needless, this weekend did not see much progress in terms of big, fun projects, due to having to mine up new diamonds and paper for villager trades and enchantments.

Then late last night, I made a small, but fully automated sugar cane and bamboo farm. I had another one set up on the mountain near the house, but the weirdnesses surrounding minecarts and solid blocks were faulty, plus the room I had to work was very small, so I started a new one and put it down on the flat ground in the valley. It’s not too compact, but at least it works!

This morning, while watching Iskall85 doing his thing, I remembered ConCorp‘s “logo” map item that they’d made in-game and got the idea to do the same, only with NDQ’s logo. Quick made an empty, Zoom-level 1 map, hit the “teleport me to a random place,” and found a nice, relatively flat area and marked out the corners, then pasted the map along with screenshots up in my house. Thank goodness for /home and /spawn. They’ve made life much, much easier!