Diablo 3 helped me understand the rich

When last we left him, my Diablo 3 wizard Spellsworth was cruising through rifts and bounties at Torment VI (not V, as I mistakenly reported), focusing especially on an Act III location for a rare drop, the gibbering gemstone. This is the final piece needed to create The Staff of Herding, which opens up the cow level.

Alas, the gemstone, with only a 5% drop rate, and on a spawn that does not always appear in the Caverns of Frost, has yet to materialize.

In the meantime, Spellsworth has killed three gilded barons (treasure goblins that just carry huge sacks of gold) and slayed another that opened up a portal upon death to Whimsyshire, a cartoon land that also showers riches on you. He’s also been to The Vault, which, as name suggests, has a lot of gold in it.

This is to say that Spellsworth now has a lot of gold now, about 243 million or so. I am quite certain this is peanuts compared to truly hardcore players, but it is way more than I have any use for. The most expensive activity in the game is crafting and upgrading gems and Spellsworth has already maxed out his gems as far as they can go…and still has that 243 million left.

And yet.

And yet, I still like seeing that number go up. Wouldn’t it be nice to have an even 250 million gold? And then shoot for 500 million? How about a billion? I don’t need it, but somehow I want it and I will relentlessly pursue the goal, while offering thin excuses (“I just want the Staff of Herding, that is totes it!”) to justify this mad, senseless accumulation of unneeded wealth.

And so I see myself emulating the super rich, never needing more but always wanting more.

Perhaps the solution is to uninstall the game. I could always re-install later, but uninstalling at least creates some friction for getting me back on this pointless treadmill of virtual massing of riches.

The allure of more when more is wholly unnecessary is surprisingly strong, though. I’ll check back with an update in a week or so and we’ll see if I’ve fought back this demon of avarice, or made him my chummy roommate.

UPDATE LATER THAT SAME DAY: Now at 253 million gold

If I had a million dollars

First, a million dollars wouldn’t go nearly as far as it once did. Heck, you couldn’t even buy a lot of fairly ordinary homes in Vancouver for a million dollars.

So let’s start with if I had ten million dollars. What would I do with my riches, assuming I hadn’t acquired the money by extorting a bunch of strangely wealthy orphans?

  • Buy a fairly ordinary home in Vancouver. That immediately takes care of about 10% of the windfall.
  • I suppose I’d get a car of some kind, something nice but not flashy. I’d have to get my driver’s license renewed, too.
  • Give a couple million to a few charities/good causes. I don’t have a list yet, I’d have to do some research.
  • Buy a 4K TV. honestly, I’d have to come into a lot of money unexpectedly before I could get past theĀ  first world guilt of getting something I absolutely positively don’t need.
  • Give some money to my co-workers before quitting. Because I’d totally quit. The last two weeks would be glorious.
  • Give some money to family and friends–equal amounts, no favorites. No limits on what the money could be used for, as long as it was legal. If someone wants to spend thousands on Beanie Babies, who am I to deny them?
  • Stash away a bunch of money in some sort of interest-generating account or investment (one that is stable, not like “I’m investing in Bitcoin because it’s going to keep going up forever!”) so I always have something to fall back on.
  • Travel. I’m not sure where. Probably across Canada to start. The U.S. is out for the moment as it seems to be in a possibly never-ending downward spiral and I have no desire to deliberately feed any funds into its current government. Or “government” if you prefer. Also, Europe and other places overseas scare me because I hate flying and taking a cross-Atlantic cruise isn’t much better.
  • Buy Twitter and shut it down. I probably couldn’t do this with only $10 million, sadly, but a boy can dream.
  • Maybe buy some Beanie Babies. Just kidding. I’d probably buy giant novelty Rubik’s Cubes instead.
  • Get one of the high end Wacom Cintiq tablets just to see what the fuss is all about. I’d draw stick men and stick trees and somewhere a poor graphic artist would cry out in anguish at the travesty.
  • Buy some macadamia nuts. I love those things but I can’t buy them without thinking they’re some stupid luxury, like caviar or Rolls Royce cars. I wouldn’t buy a lot, though, because that guilt would reassert itself.
  • Probably write a lot more lists. This is not necessarily a positive thing, as you can see here.

Book review: The Great Gatsby

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am not going to review one of the all-time classic American novels, since people with bigger brains than mine have already made much smarter comments about it over the past 89 years.

I will say that I was curious to see how I’d react to the book as an adult, having last read it as part of my high school curriculum nearly 89 years ago. I didn’t remember much about it except it involved places called Eggs, something something about cars and Gatsby, who was an enigmatic and ultimately pathetic sort of fraud. Mostly I recalled the lack of explosions, monsters, ghosts and sharks. It did have gun play and a car chase, of sorts, so there was that.

Mostly I am left with two things, having now re-read it lo these many years later: the bitter snark of Nick Carraway, the narrator, as he observes these rich and wretched people, and the utter bleakness of the story. Nick leaves West Egg essentially having gained nothing and being worse for the experience. Gatsby, of course, picks a very bad time to finally take a dip in the swimming pool. This is not the book to read when fantasizing about what you’d do if you won the lottery.

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