Blogger, gamer, proud blond and overall former transgender geek chick!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Borderlands 2: Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate Booty DLC Review

This time they don't mess around!

Hey, it's me again and here is a little review of the FIRST real DLC (downloadable content) that Gearbox has released for my favorite game of the year, Borderlands 2. There is obviously a lot more content in this DLC than the Mecromancer DLC (which you can re-read my little review about there right here).

The first highlight for me in this new DLC are the new areas and out of all the new places in this new area of Pandora are Hayter's Folly and Magnys Lighthouse, but why? These two areas not only have the best visuals out of the DLC (especially the GIGANTIC LIGHTHOUSE!), but these areas also have the best music to the new areas; all of the new DLC has the best music in the game, but the tracks for these areas just ooze quality and make my ear-balls orgasm.

Just check out these tracks!

Hayter's Folly

Magnys Lighthouse

Don't trust her ONE BIT or she'll stab ya
right in the back!
OK, first off the game-play to these new areas play a lot like the old areas... you've got your Pirates, your Buccaneers  your Sand Worms, your Crystalisks, etc... pretty much buffed up alternate versions of your favorite and most hated baddies from the borderlands. These enemies are fast, more powerful, the AI seems a little bit smarter when it comes to teamwork and all of them are re-worked with pirate infused insults and lines to through at you while they run and gun towards you; I prefer these versions over their cousins outside of the DLC.
These cousins are tougher then the originals!

Digging the eye-patch!
I played through every single bit of this DLC and while I can say I love the variety of enemies, the new areas, the new characters (Shade's attempt at voicing his...erm former... townsfolk will leave you laughing but frightened... ), the new bosses and the music... there is one thing that left me disappointed after I beat the Leviathan and Scarlett... the loot... THE LOOT is very underwhelming throughout this whole entire thing, which you'd think would be a big part of something dealing with PIRATES!... Sure, there are many, many, many chests that you open that just vomit cash at you and the Crystalisks have so many crystals worth up to $1000 each time you kill one, but these really isn't that much good loot at all in this whole package; sure, you can get some pretty nice loot after defeating bosses but the random chests and drops from baddies made me stick to my standard weapons all the way through; there was no need to change guns, shields, grenades, or mods PERIOD. The only real piece of "loot" I felt was awesome was the new head I got when I completed this mission.

Do I recommend this DLC? Absolutely, just simply for the new areas, plot, (and I simply love the new Sand Skiffs, best vehicle in the whole game so far!) and DA MUSIC! If you want a challenge, go get it... if you are expecting BIG PRIZES, then forget it---you can wait for this!

See ya out in the Borderlands...

Julie Schippnick

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Favourite Things

I love so many things, many many many simple things. Of course I love games, the internet, music, sex (oh yes), my job, my family, my friends and so many things, but that is not what this about.

There are some things I just simply adore and while my tastes may seem unusual and different than what others may like, these are things I simply never want to go without and in an attempt to help those better understand me, these posts will be just that: my favorite things.

After I get home from work or on my days off, I like to leisure when I do not plan on leaving the house.. and how do I do that? My pajama bottoms of course!

Oh my gosh these are probably my most comfortable
pair of pajama pants...oh yeah!
They're soft, they're easy to put on, they're comfortable and oh my gosh I never want to take them off (unless duty calls!). Yeah.. I have quite a few...

I've had so many pairs over the past few years of being Julie and my collection grows about two to three pairs a year. I know it's silly to obsess over something so small, but little things like this help me get through life... as the quote goes:

"It's the little things that make life great."

Of course, there are other things that help me get by...

Julie Schippnick

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Self Esteem Building introducing G+ Geek Talk

Well, as some of you know I've had some problems with fighting depression for a long time and sometime there are things I can do to help with that... listen to music, watch movies, play games (either on 3DS/DS or PC) and while I love all of those things, sometimes it's my friends that help me.

I've never had many real life friends, ever since I began using the internet all the way back in 1996 (WorldOfNintendo and VGMusic represent!), but instead my stable of friends have always been here on the Internet and while many of the my original friends are no longer in my life, there are always those out there faraway online that have helped me cope with who I am and the problems that come with being my friend.

So now I've decided to expose myself. I am going to try to do a weekly video of myself and my friends talking about various things. Sure, I'm going to be geeking out but I'm also going to use this as some sort of therapy to make myself feel more comfortable with myself and with myself around others.

No, this is not only a blatant attempt at advertising myself (and things about me) but it is also a tool to help others get to know me better.

G+ Geek Talk, pre-alpha?

I am going to use this as a self image test. Do I feel awkward? Does my voice sound right? Do I even know what the heck I'm talking about? Probably all of the above...

And yes, I still do hate The Big Bang Theory and no, it will never be talked about. EVER.

Julie Schippnick

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Transgender Married Life, Part III

Did I mention how much depression sucks? It really does!

I think tonight me and Kelly had a huge breaking point. Remember those boots I mentioned in my last post?  Well, Kelly got them.

Anyways here is the beginning of the night as soon as I got off work:
Kelly picked me up around 9:42pm CT and I mentioned how crappy I felt all day; my stomach, my head, the eye on the right that I still can't see very well out of.. all of it. I didn't feel very motivated at work but at least I was off work and can spend time with Kelly! So then we went to pick up our kids from their grandmothers and all was good. Sure, I was arguing with people on Twitter at that time (you should really check THOSE posts out, yeesh!) and for the most part, it wasn't bothering me too much. Kelly and I then drove to the local Neighborhood Market and that is when I noticed that Kelly had got the boots... I was completely jealous and made a point to her how jealous I was... and little did I know this night would go in a horrible direction.

Kelly replied, "That's not all I have to deal with." I was wondering what I meant, but for the next 20 minutes or so we had a pretty big argument. She said she feels good about her body, even though of course she has been vomiting up her weight for the past two and a half years and progressively losing weight... I told her at least I've been trying to deal with my problems (transition, depression, anger problems) by the use of anti-depressants... no hormones yet. She then quipped that at least she can be happy with her body "without cutting off parts of my body and taking pills", this obviously an insult towards trans people who sometimes go through a sexual reassignment surgery where some male-to-female transwomen will have their penises removed... I never want to do that (too scared, too expensive, too ick)... and of course the pills comment was about hormones. She said everyone she talks to is against me, thinks I am the problem because I was too scared to tell I was trans for over five years, she said how much her therapist hates me (seriously? how professional is that?!), her mom hates me (has since we got married), and all of her friends just simply hate me.

So much for my side of the story eh?

I'm not completely innocent, she said that she can understand a lot but she still can't fathom of being born in the wrong body and how morally wrong it was. I called her out for being close minded and for being, "a small-minded peon"... yeah not my proudest but I just wasn't going to take it and just lay there. On our way home, she accused me of giving her an STD towards the beginning of our marriage (years before I did have a two-and-a-half week affair, and no, there was no sex) and of course, outside of our house. There was a lot of accusations, a lot of hitting (I punched my upper calves a lot in the car when I mentioned how many times she's used physical force, not in an aggressive way) and a lot of crying on my part... I went upstairs, yelling at her and yelling at myself and I just started to cry. I ran through my whole head on worthless I really am and how I can do nothing right.

I do a bad job at being as kid, an adult, a boy, a girl, a student, a husband, a father, a mother, a wife, a friend... I just feel like I'm not very good at anything. Sure, the anti-depressants have helped me and therapy has helped... but at this point I wonder if there is any reason to live anymore. I probably won't end my life, but I just feel hopeless.

Since the past couple of hours, Kelly and I have talked a bit and she's sleeping on the couch right now while in the middle of her working on her school work... but it just gets worse, it doesn't get better...

Julie Schippnick

Friday, October 12, 2012

Borderlands 2: Mechromancer DLC Review

Believe it or not, sometimes I like to talk about other things than just myself and video games is a topic I know a little thing or two about for the past 24 years...

Meet Gaige, the Mechromancer... Pandora's latest asset to find the Vault.

I was a big fan of Borderlands; I read everything about it before it came out, I bought it the day it was released and I spent several hundred hours on Xbox Live playing everything in the game and all of the extra content (downloadable content/DLC) that the game had to offer... so when Borderlands 2 was announced, I immediately knew I had to get it.

Well, I've played about 35 hours of Borderlands 2 and while the second DLC is expected to be released some time next week, I've spent a lot of time playing with the Mechromancer class that the developers at Gearbox have given us.

Gaige is a Mechromancer. Her class a little bit different than what is currently offered with Borderlands 2, but at the same time it is familiar for any fan of the series. She performs very much like the other Vault Hunters, but I noticed that she seems to better fair with Pistols and Rifles, compared to Maya's skills with SMGs or Zero's Sniper Rifles abilities. Gaige seems to maneuver better than Salvador, Maya, and Axton and I'd say only Zero could outrun and out-dodge attacks from Psychos better than she. In the original Borderlands, the character of Mordecai's skill tree primarily involved his companion Bloodwing which could use to seek and attack your opponents... well Gaige's Deathtrap is a very much the same, but with a little twist.

The mechanical companion, Deathtrap, can be summoned at will... depending the cool down timer has reset itself.
Deathtrap is very large, much larger than Axton's Turret gun. The beauty about Deathtrap is that during 60 seconds (that is, 60 seconds with leveling up the skill tree to grant a longer deployment timer), this chrome-plated companion has several attacks and support skills at your disposal, depending on what type of approach you take with your character. Do you want a your Deathtrap to be stronger and dish out more damage or do you want it to last longer but be able to help heal you and your teammates? Sure, Borderlands 2 still hasn't perfected the Skill Tree, but there are several combinations of skills you can level up throughout your (for now) 50 LVL cap...

I've chosen the aggressive path. While I've barely unlocked much throughout the chain, there is nothing better than watching my Deathtrap shoot lasers at long range targets and slicing up close range targets like Marvel's Wolverine. My Siren build, however, is less aggressive.
If you pre-ordered Borderlands 2 you're definitely getting more bang for your buck since the Mechromancer is included with your price, but you didn't you'll have to shell out for this character and I can most certainly say that I'd be more than happy to pay upwards of $20 for this character just based on her abilities and her personality alone; I'd peg her personality as a slightly more mature version of Tiny Tina (and that's a good thing!)

Should you buy it? If you're a hardcore fan of Borderlands 2, definitely. If you're a newcomer in this series, I promise you won't be disappointed if you buy her separately. 

Julie Schippnick

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Before Julie: National Coming Out Day

Before I was Julie, I probably would best describe myself as a misfit. Now, a lot of people throw that word around a lot but that probably best describes me on what I was before I became Julie.

Of course, Julie was not the name I was given and while I will not say what my first name used to be (for various reasons, some of which I don't prefer to say at this time, sorry folks!). Well, let me show you exactly what I used to look like before everything...

Feb 2011, two months before I went full-time

It was February 2011 I was still working for AT&T (Mobility) and I decided to let my friends and family members know that I was transgender. My wife, as I've mentioned previously, did not take it so well but for the most part my friends and most of my co-workers took it very well and even started using different pronouns.. now at this time I hadn't decided on a name so I still went around under my male name... I also let my direct supervisor know because obviously it was very important for him to know (Miss ya, CP!). The funny thing is that nearly no one else really noticed... my hair was getting longer and sure those who didn't know were making jokes about my hair being longer, but they never noticed I was wearing makeup, wore women's clothing, perfume, the WORKS and despite my best efforts, people still thought I was male for the most part.

Of course, I've been full time since April of 2011 and I haven't really looked back at me then. Do I miss the old me? Nope. I'm still personally the same person and while my appearances and some of my mannerisms have changed, I've essentially been the same person since I've ever been, just Julie instead. :)

Julie Schippnick

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Transgender Married Life, Part II

Depression sucks.

At this point, I would have thought things would gotten a bit better between myself and Kelly, but honestly I don't know what to say. Kelly kept citing she was mostly upset I was transitioning because when I start HRT (hormone replacement therapy), I'd become sterile and we wouldn't be able to have anymore kids however as I write this, she is nearly ten weeks pregnant (I think), so she can no longer use this as an excuse but somehow I knew she'd still be very upset about my whole transition.

You'd think that would have made things better, but nope, she is still very adamant against this change even though it's been more than a year and a half of being Julie and full time female, except the whole part where I should have estrogen and other blockers running through my body. As more time passes and I of course become more passable I can just feel the awkward-ness she feels every time we go out in public especially when we're together and get different people say, "Hi Ladies", or some variation of this... she doesn't want people to think she's a lesbian because in her mind that is morally wrong and disgusting which of course I blame it on her Christian upbringing that she came from growing up in Oklahoma her whole life and having very close minded parents; thank the heavens the minds of our children aren't like that! The other day I asked her if she was worried about our kids and she said, "No, they're well adjusted and they seem to feel normal in their bodies."... WOW, not a very subtle insult towards me at all!

So as both Kelly and I move into the second part of my second year of being female, things have gotten worse and honestly I don't know what is going to happen next.

I made an appointment to finally see the endo to get on a prescription to start my hormones, however the doctor I found put me on a waiting list for over a month from now, and I'll have to pay $200-$250 upfront just to see the doctor and that does not include the cost of my prescription (Kelly wasn't happy about this, of course), and I've worked quite very hard at work to earn extra money to spend on myself (clothes, hair, hormones) in a way so she wouldn't guilt me about spending money (I earned nearly $800 bonuses working my ass off last month for just this purpose!), yet she's talking about buying herself some really expensive boots ... which she claimed about six months ago they were ugly until I started mentioned how I wanted to get some for myself ... it's like she is trying to spite me now. I'm not much of a money spender anymore, so I figured if I busted my butt and earned EXTRA money, with plenty of money for bills and can even save some back, she goes ahead and spends the money from my first paycheck, meant for rent, and decides to just use my big check, so this means leaving rent late by about ten days and instead buys herself things.

The boots I've been wanting for a while... suddenly Kelly wants them because I wanted them.
I guess it's just one of those things that people go through, in-fact one of my co-workers who just started HRT is now going through a divorce so looks like I'm just becoming another statistic I was hoping wouldn't happen... and of course my depression has been hell with all of this on my mind... she's been dressing more sexy even as she is nearly done with her first trimester (which BTW, I have no problem with because she looks fantastic), but I feel like she's doing this all of a sudden to put me on some sort of guilt trip and as I laid in bed last night crying and having difficulty sleeping, I just felt like my whole world was crashing down and it didn't ever seem like I'd be able to fully become a woman because it all feels like she is doing everything in her power to stop me. Now people are already thinking, "Leave her!", and as mentioned before it is not that easy... I can't just simply leave her because it would be difficult to get a second car for just my use, pay rent on two places and not being able to see my children everyday would literally break my heart... but there has to be something I can do or find someone else who could help me.

Well, that is my rant for today... thanks everyone for reading.