Cheesequake Wild Flowers Grillin' Who Needs Toys? Marine Park
Monday, September 1, 2014

Anna — 11 Months

In Marine Park.Our little Anechka is 11 months old today! She is such a delightful baby — very serious, but at the same time easily amused. She is so curious about the world around her. Anna loves picking up everything from the ground — be it twigs, stones, candy wrappers or empty water bottles and other garbage.

Anechka adores dogs. Every time she sees one, she stops whatever she is doing, and rashes towards it. She then squeals in excitement, and tries to touch a dog, although she is kind of being cautious at the same time and not really touches it. Anюta also makes high pitched “aaa-aaa” sound when she sees a dog — very similar to what Arosha did at her age. And of course the smaller the dog, the more she likes it. Big ones, even though still very interesting, are more scary. Which makes perfect sense, you know.

In Marine Park.Anechka still is very weary about strangers. She even refuses ice-cream and toys from the children on the playground which are not familiar to her. She does not like when adults other than family pick her up or touch her. I think it’s not so bad, especially for a girl. Arosha was different — more open, less cautious. He is still a conversation starter with anyone who can understand him (who speaks Russian that is).

Anechka’s vocabulary still consists of two words — mama and “dai” (give). I wonder if she’ll be an early talker like her brother was.

She can play by herself for a pretty long periods of time. Enough time for me to do things around the house oftentimes, like start cooking something, vacuum, etc. When she gets bored by herself, she likes to follow Arosha and tries to play with him. Sometimes he does, sometimes he does not. You should hear how those two laugh and/or squeal together sometimes. Their favorite place to do this is the elevator. OH MY GOD! I have to cover my ears sometimes because of how loud they get.

Ready to go.On playground people often comment on how independent she is.

Arosha is starting pre-K next week. I can’t believe it! He is such a big boy already. I hope it will go well. I am so curious to see how he’ll handle being away from me for such long periods of time. I am so curious to see how long it will take him to start speaking English. I hope he’ll get a good teacher and nice classmates.

I think we’re finally done celebrating his birthday. He was lucky this year and got 3 cakes! The first one was on his actual birthday, the 8th. Just the three of us (Anюta was asleep) celebrated. It was funny when during the birthday song he said — “enough already” (he really wanted to blow out the candles). I don’t think he realized that it was a little rude, so we just laughed and finished singing.

There is no fence we miss.The second celebration was with some of his and our friends — Alisa and her parents, Emma and her parents and Misha. Danya’s parents were away on vacation. I did not cook — just made two salads, and the rest we ordered from the Uzbek restaurant “1001 Nights”. This was definitely Arosha’s favorite party. Every time he has kids over, especially Alisa, he has a blast. He proclaimed on numerous occasions that he’ll marry her when he grows up. Alisa said that she does not mind. Those kids are too funny! By the way, when we ask Arosha why he wants to get married, he tells us that he needs a good wife to have children with.

Arosha's guests.Arosha got LEGO sets, school game and money for ice-cream (I say, we got all summer worth of ice-cream covered by the generous Misha) as gifts. Danya helped him to assemble some of the lego things already. I think you can never have too much of those.

Anюta seemed to enjoy all the birthday activities too! She ate well together with everybody and then followed children around and played with balloons and new toys (Ignat and Vika bought her a present too).

Playing.I was pretty tired by the end — Anюta got up really early that day and I did not have a chance to get any rest during the day. I even had to do laundry after putting Anюta down for the night (I wash cloth diapers every other day). Still, I was very glad how the party turned out. I honestly think that at this age celebrating at home with 1-2 friends is much more enjoyable for children than going to childrens’ gyms or a restaurant with a large group of kids for 2-3 hours.

And the last party to celebrate Arosha’s birthday was with his grandparents and aunt Lina and uncle Lenya. We also invited Misha again — he lives just a few minutes away from us and we thought that it’ll be more fun for everyone if he comes. I cooked wine-brased beef and garlic potatoes and a few salads. Danya said that he liked the food more than shish-kebabs from the restaurant that we had a week before.

Our guests.I am not sure how much fun Arosha had without children, but I liked his party still. And the cake, which we don’t have a picture of, was the best from all three. It had lots of berries and a very light cream inside the thin crust.

I am not sure how we’ll be celebrating Anюta’s birthday in a month, but I hope that we’ll contain it to just one party.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Germany Austria Vacation

MapIn a great turn of events my parents have agreed to take over our kids for a week in late November allowing Alena and I to take another what we hope to be a great vacation for our eighth wedding anniversary.

We had an approximate plan in our head for a while now, but this week we actually did a good amount of preliminary research and have finalized our core itinerary. After having done that we have booked the plane tickets and our hotels.

We have a pretty good idea of what we want to see at each destination and how we are going to get around. Trains will be the main form of transportation. However we are planning to rent a car for one day and have a side trip as we did in Italy.

It seems that train pass doesn’t make sense for us yet again, as we’ll only be taking the train two times. I looked at approximate pricing of train tickets on the routes that we have to take to make our plan more solid. Same with the car rental.

Now in the coming month we’ll just do a lot of reading to make sure we don’t miss something interesting as well as what food we should try beside the obvious bratwursts and beer. Basically we’re going to start building on our initial plan. One thing that we know we want to try avoid is anything related to World War II. But I think that will be in our minds anyhow throughout this trip.

The short summary of the plan is as follows. We leave on late night of Friday, November 21st. We fly1 to Berlin with a change over in Frankfurt on our way and land on November 22nd. We couldn’t find a decent direct flight. However I finally do get to fly Lufthansa and Boeing 747! We’ll be coming back on Monday, December 1st on a direct flight from Vienna with Austrian Airlines.

We were thinking of which cities to visit and ended up decided not to spread ourselves to thin and limit it to only 3 cities — Berlin, Munich and Vienna. As before we’re going to stay in Hilton hotels. At this point we booked hotels for a combination of points and euros, but by the time November rolls around we plan to have all of them upgraded to points exclusively.

By taking advantage of our Hilton Diamond VIP benefits we expect to get rooms upgraded, access to executive lounges, free breakfast and Internet access.

Our trip will start in Berlin. We’ll spend 3 nights2 in the city. Judging by our Italian vacation the first day we’ll feel very much like zombies, so we’ll just grab some dinner and go to sleep.

Our hotel is located right in the center of the city. Guides suggest that people visit Gendarmenmarkt square and it’s right across the street from us. Brandenburg Gate is also within a walking distance. We also want to visit Fernsehturm — a TV tower built during soviet times. Also we will possibly visit Tiergarten — Berlin’s Central Park. And we will try to climb to the top of Reichstag.

On Tuesday of November 25th we take a train to Munich. We’ll spend 3 nights3 there. In Munich we plan start start with Marienplatz (the main square), climb to the top of the tower at Rathaus (city hall), visit Frauenkirche (Munich’s largest church). We will also try to visit the English Garden and have some beer at the world’s most famous beer hall — Hofbräuhaus am Platzl.

One of our Munich days we’ll dedicate to renting a car and driving south to visit Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles.

On Friday, November 28th, we will depart to the final stop of our trip — Vienna, Austria. We’ll also spend 3 nights4 here as in the other cities. Our hotel is located right in the city center, so we’ll be mostly walking around without having to use any transportation. We’ll try to visit Hofburg Imperial Palace, 12th century St. Stephen’s Cathedral and we’ll try to climb to the top of one of its towers.

We still need to do a lot of reading about other places that we want to visit in these 3 cities and build out a more detailed plan of getting around the cities and from city to city. We made the reservations in the beginning of April, but still have not made a lot of progress as far as t he exact plan goes. Hopefully it will be another great trip filled with memories.

  1. Round trip tickets came out to $2,155 for the both of us. Very expensive this time around. But we do get to fly Lufthansa and Austrian. []
  2. Hilton Berlin — 60,000 points per night. Expensive! []
  3. Hilton Munich City — 60,000 points and €195 for all 3 nights. []
  4. Hilton Vienna — 48,000 points and €149 for all 3 nights. []

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Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Arosha — 4 Years

Birthday balloons and a lightsaber.Нашему фантазёру, баловнику, лазателю по заборам и деревьям, любителю девочек и компьютерных игр, мелодраматическому хныкателю, высокому блондину, красавчику и просто любимому сыну уже 4! С Днём Рождения, Арошенька! Расти умницей, не болей, будь счастлив! Мы тебя очень-очень-очень любим!

Ароша очень ждал свой День Рождения. Последние недели две он чётко знал сколько именно дней осталось до его праздника. Еще он хорошо запомнил, что родился он в августе, хотя конкретную дату обычно забывает.

Morning "almost" surprise.Наши дни очень похожи друг на друга. Мы много гуляем на улице — хорошо, когда есть кто-то из его подружек — каждый день читаем книги, играем в “пьяницу” (причём Ароша жутким образом мухлюет, но я ему это позволяю) детскими картами, спим, едим, играем на iPad. Ароша очень любит смотреть как Даня играет в Star Wars, а я в Hearthstone. Мы, конечно, очень ограничиваем его время у экрана, но практически каждый день он минут 30 тратит на это занятие. Причём, что интересно, в моей карточной игре он хорошо знает что какая карта делает, знает все классы игроков и тому подобное. Когда он придумывает сам какие-то игры, то часто интегрирует какие-то элементы из обоих этих компьютерных игр в свои фантазии. Ну, например, что он маг и у него есть лайтсэйбер и что он нападает на “плохих” и их побеждает. Вобщем, типичные мальчишечьи “войнушки”, только в реалиях его жизни.

Birthday ice-cream cake.Всвязи с такой любовью к Star Wars, мы купили Ароше в подарок лайтсэйбер. Сабля очень понравилась, и Ароша вот уже несколько дней с ней всё время дома играет. Еще мы купили ему новый двухколёсный самокат на замену старому трёхколёсномы. Выбор пал на Razor Cruiser. Пока у него не очень получается на нём кататься, но это дело времени.

Battle.Еще мы записали Арошу в школу, которая находится напротив нашего дома. Сперва его туда не взяли, а взяли в другую, на Манхэттен Бич, но на прошлой неделе из нашей школы позвонили и сообщили, что всвязи с большим количеством желающих, был создан еще один клас pre-K, и если мы хотим, Ароша туда попадёт. Мы подумали и решили, что несмотря на то, что школа на Манхэттен Бич лучше, преимущества нашей всё же перевешивают. Во-первых, сюда намного удобнее добираться — максимум 5 минут пешком. До другой школы пешком занимает 40-50 минут в каждую сторону, а машину я не вожу. Дедушка согласился отвозить Арошу, но для этого ему надо каждый день в течение года планировать вокруг Арошиных занятий. Ну, и последнее — в нашей школе занятия с 8 до 14:30, а в другой – с 11:45 до 14:15. Думаю, что 6.5 часов школы (которая, вобщем-то еще не школа, а больше детский сад) для всех нас подходят больше, чем 2.5. Надеюсь, Ароша сможет быстро адаптироваться и выучить английский. До начала учебного года осталось меньше месяца. Кстати, Арошина подружка Рэйчел тоже пойдёт в этот класс. Надеюсь это облегчит для него процесс адаптации.

Balloons.Еще Ароша что-то снова немного приболел ко Дню Рождения. Ничего такого серьёзного — немного повышена температура, немного сопли, немного кашель — но мы перенесли празднование на неделю. Анюта, похоже, тоже заразилась. Надеюсь, они успеют придти в себя к следующей субботе.

Arosha with his lightsaber.Мы, правада, купили шарики (в этом году этим занимались дедушка и папа), праздничный торт и шашлыки, так что Ароша всё же почувствовал себя именинником. Но всё равно хочется, чтобы к нему пришли в гости его подружки и он получил даже больше удовольствия. Дедушка и бабушка в этом году на Арошин День Рождения как раз улетели в отпуск, но они успели его увидеть и поздравить до отлёта.

Making faces.Ароша очень любит природу — всё растительное, всё живое (вклучая жучков, червячков и гусениц) и неживое (камушки, палочки). Мы 9 августа ездили на ферму, и там собирали ежевику, баклажаны, помидоры, кукурузу, чернику, персики. Так вот кто же был самым лучшим сборщиком урожая? Ароша! Особенно много он насобирал ежевики — она была первая на нашем пути, и энтузиазма было еще через край. Причём, несмотря на то, что мы советовали Ароше часть ягод собирать прямо в рот, он упорно хотел собирать именно в коробки. Анюте, кстати, на ферме тоже понравилось. Она всё перепробовала, но особенно много сьела ежевики.

Kids.Ароша любит знакомиться со всеми на улице. Обычно он подходит к понравившимся детям и начинает спрашивать как их зовут. Естественно, по-русски. Некоторые отвечают, некоторые игнорируют, некоторые говорят грубости (“не твоё дело”). К счастью люди из второй и третьей катогории Арошу не смущают, и он продолжает быть очень общительным.

Serious business.Ароша очень много болтает и средне слушает. Когда ему звонили и поздравляли его с Днём Рождения, он не давал людям на другом конце трубки что-то особо сказать, а перебивал их и рассказывал о себе.

P.S. Мы измерили Арошин вес и рост — 41½ фунтов (19кг) и 45½ дюймов (116см).
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Saturday, August 9, 2014

Стихи

Ароша выучил стихотворение ко Дню Рождения бабушки Оксаны. В прошлом году мы делали ей открытку, ну а в этом хотелось удивить чем-то новым. Стихотворение Ароша выбрал сам, и на заучивание ушло 4 дня. Он до сих пор иногда сбивается, но в принципе помнит его неплохо.

А еще мы наткнулись на старое видео, где Ароше год и 4 месяца. Мы никогда его не ставили потому что для нас оно было слишком обычным. Теперь вот смотрю и поражаюсь, сколько он всего знал, понимал и мог сказать.
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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Anna — 10 Months

Us on grandma's birthday.Вот Анютке уже и 10 месяцев. Она такая славная и весёлая! Утром меня неизменно встречает её смеющееся лицо.

Анечка всё лучше и лучше ходит. Она часто пытается увеличивать скорость. Еще не бегает, но, думаю, скоро у неё получится. Она неплохо залазит на горки, поднимается ползком по ступенькам, ходит по наклонной плоскости вверх и даже вниз. Вобщем, умница. Все очень удивляются, когда узнают её точный возраст, ибо двигается она как годовалый (а то и старше) ребёнок.

Eating.Анютка очень любит каши, особенно овсянку. Гречку и пшёнку она тоже ест, но они более сухие, и, наверное, поэтому меньше нравятся. Еще она всегда с удовольствием ест чернику, бананы, варёную морковку. На днях она с огромной скоростью трескала помидоры и сладкую картошку. Вобщем, репертуар увеличивается. Я ничего не пюрирую, и покупное пюре из пакетика она тоже есть отказывается, за исключением мангового.

Arosha with flowers for grandma.Грудь Анюта стала брать намного реже, в среднем выходит около 3-5 раз в сутки. В идеале я бы хотела прокормить её до 1.5-2 лет, но не знаю как с такими темпами получится.

Mama with kids.Она неплохо говорит ма-ма-ма-ма-ма-ма-ма, но пока только когда хочет сама, а не по заказу. Но это явно относится ко мне. Еще, когда она чего-то хочет — например, чтобы Ароша угостил её мороженым — она издаёт громкое “аааа”.

А вообще она приносит мне очень много радости. Конечно, и Ароша тоже!

Anюta.Ароша, кстати, обожает играть в игру, в которой я делаю вид, что у меня нет детей, а он потерял маму и решил выбрать меня своей мамой. Ну и потом еще радует меня, что у него есть маленький братик Ари (или иногда он говорит маленькая сестричка Анюта).

Aroshka.Мы очень много гуляем на улице каждый день. По 3 с лишним часа утром и 1.5-2 вечером. Анюта, кстати, очень любит шарики с водой. Она их лопает. Надо отдать должное Ароше, он никогда не против, чтобы я надула первой ей, да и всегда готов поделится с другими детьми на площадке.
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Friday, July 25, 2014

State Capitals and Washington

Washington, DC. View from WWII memorial towards Lincoln Memorial.As a side trip(s) or objective of our Tennessee vacation was to visit some of the state capitals and their respective capitols and a capital of our country. Arosha hasn’t been to Washington, DC yet and we thought that it would be fun for him to see some of the National Monuments that our capital has an abundance of.

Harrisburg, PA.Our first state capital stop was on the very first full day of our vacation. We stopped at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. We’ve visited this capitol complex back in 2010 during our first trip to Shenandoah. Arosha too was there. Only he was only 3 months old. Also this time we were able to get inside and it’s as impressive there as it is on the outside. Probably one of the best looking capitol complexes that we have seen.

Dome in Harrisburg.Also while Brooklyn was still asleep spring was all over the place in Harrisburg. It was a very pleasant stop of our trip. We also got a proper state capital stamp inside the capitol building. And Aroshka clearly seems to be afraid of heights in certain places. When we were on a balcony of senate assembly he really wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.

Inside Pennsylvania Capitol.On our way home — after Great Smoky Mountains we made a pair of stops in two other capitals that we haven’t been to before. The first one was in Raleigh, North Carolina. It was a nice looking capitol and pretty nice people inside. We also got a stamp there.

North Carolina Capitol.The thing that stands out the most for me about this capitol is the fact that it burned down to the ground some time ago because of an accident that happened while they were fireproofing it. Doesn’t get any more ironic than this.

NC senate.Another stop was in Richmond, Virginia. Now even though the capitol building was unusual the thing that stands out the most about this experience is an extremely rude elderly woman in charge of tours. We’ve been to numerous numerous capitols and have never seen anything remotely like this.

Historic room.She was rude to the point that she made Alena cry. Sadly I haven’t noticed it at the time or I would’ve raised an issue and would’ve demanded to speak to her boss. Anyhow. We didn’t see the inside of this place.

By the capitol building.Outside it had a nice park with a lot of statues. We walked around, kids ran around and played in the grass. We spent a decent amount of time here and if it would’be be for a crazy lady it would’ve been a nice experience overall. Alas.

Washington in Raleigh.To Washington, DC itself we dedicated a full day. Thus we spent two nights there. We originally were looking to stop at a hotel right in Washington itself as we did many times in the past, but the prices were quite high and those hotels only had valet parking (which we hate) available, which was priced at $40 a night or so.

Virginia Capitol in Richmond.So we figured we’ll just stay somewhere close, but outside and will spend the money for parking when we go to visit destinations instead of overpaying for the hotel itself. Either way we would have to take the car since you can’t walk too far with two little kids.

Capitol grounds in VA.We picked a hotel right outside the city in Arlington, Virginia. It literally was 3 minutes away from Washington itself. In fact when looking for our hotel we missed an exit off the highway (they actually changed the roads a bit, so our GPS was confused) and ended up crossing the bridge over Potomac river right into Washington.

First of many fountains we saw during our hike in DC.By the end of this day we were quite tired as we drove all the way from Chapel Hill with two long stops at capitals I wrote about above.

Einstein climbing.On the next day we ate our breakfast and were on our way to tour the capital. Remembering how hard it is to get into the capitol we didn’t even try it. Instead we decided to visit open famous monuments such as Lincoln Memorial.

Vietnam War Memorial.We didn’t have much trouble finding parking, although we did make a couple of large circles trying to find a spot as close to Lincoln Memorial as possible. In the end we parked some where closer towards the middle of the National Mall and settled in for a longer walk. And a long walk it was.

Inside of Lincoln Memorial.We started with a visit to a famous statue of Albert Einstein done by sculptor Robert Berks. Even though Arosha doesn’t yet know who Einstein is he liked the statue because it is very climbable. He was all over it. Next we set course to Lincoln Memorial. Arosha was impressed by a giant statue, stairs, columns. We also walked through Korean War Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial.

Lincoln Memorial. The sun is too bright.Then we set course towards the middle of the mall again and on our way made a detour to see a new Marin Luther King Jr. Memorial. I haven’t seen it yet and it’s an impressive sculpture.

Korean War Memorial.We also got a whole bunch of National Park stamps for our passports. Arosha had many new additions and I got a few new ones too. And then we walked back to our car through World War II memorial.

MLK Memorial.We were quite tired after this gigantic circles and were yet again impressed by Arosha’s stamina. This is the point where we decided to buy him a hot-dog which he really wanted since the moment we parked near a street hot-dog vendor cart.

World War II Memorial.The funny thing is that when later when we asked him what was his favorite part about Washington he would reply — a hot-dog. Naturally.

Us at WWII Memorial. Lincoln Memorial in the background.We all were ready for lunch. At first we found some Greek place via Yelp, but then while we were circling in search for a parking spot we somehow got away from that place and ended up in Chinatown. We parked in the first spot we saw and went to eat our lunch in to a place right next to where our car was.

Our dinner in China Town.The place was called Chinatown Express. It was very cheap, but the food was made right there (we saw a cook spinning the noodles out) and it was really fresh and delicious.

US Capitol Building in Washington.We spent the day with a nice walk around the Capitol Building. Originally we planned to visit Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, but we were so tired that we decided to leave it for the next time.

Spring in Harrisburg.We just went back to the hotel and rested. In the hotel we actually made an attempt to visit a pool which resulted in a parental epic fail, but I wrote about that before. Overall it was a great day. Arosha was excited about visiting Washington all throughout the trip and hopefully he’ll retain some of the memories of that day.

Dome of Pennsylvania Capitol.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

MMO Keybinding

Young Lord Skaf.I’ve come to a realization that I’m a gamer after all. Took me twenty years to finally admit to it. But more often than not I’m playing something. Computer games are making my mind run amok. The more complex the game the more fun it is. I love the “theorycrafting” aspect of all gaming and MMOs will certainly have that — learning how things work, how to be more efficient.

Skaf's talent build.From all my close friends I probably spend more time with computer games than anyone else, save one guy. And that one guy who in my mind was a super-gamer all the time that I know him (close to 20 years now) has lately decided to “degamify”, therefore leaving me to playing all by myself. Come on, dude! Regamify! Yes, you.

Darth Skaf.Anyhow, long story short — after approximately a year long break I have reactivated SWTOR. Since the early days of WoW I’ve only been playing PvE — Player vs Environment. After I was left all alone in SWTOR I decided to try my hand at PvP — Player vs Player. And did I end up loving it or what? However I faced a big problem stemming from a fact that I’m a clicker — a person who keeps clicking on their abilities instead of using keybinds — keyboard.

Skaf.Clicking worked just fine in PvE, but at PvP everything is moving at a neckbreaking speed. At the same time I always gravitate towards melee characters. And by the time I would reach somebody and start executing my rotation by clicking my abilities that somebody would be long gone or I would be dead. So that didn’t work at all. My solution was to switch to a ranged class that had the longest reach in the game — Sniper.

Agent Glaz.I was often able to be on top of DPS charts with my clicking. Those numbers could’ve been better and my survivabilty would’ve been better if I wasn’t clicking, but it worked. However the thing with Sniper is that you’re playing like a stationary turret. You just sit there and shoot. PvP game objectives often don’t revolve about being top in DPS and being a turret you’re not bringing too much utility to your team.

PvP match scorecard.I created a new character that I wanted to try for a long time now — Sith Juggernaut. Juggernaut is a melee class that can perform a role of a tank, but has a potential to put out decent DPS and has a decent level of survivability. But in order to be effective the clicking had to stop. So after all these years I’ve made an effort to teach myself to use a keyboard starting from level 1 with my new character.

Final look.Now being at level 55 I feel extremely comfortable with keyboard. I play blind without having too look anywhere at the screen and I do ZERO clicking as far as abilities go. Mouse is used for moving and sometimes targeting, although in vast majority of cases I target with the keyboard as well.

Juggernaut has incredible mobility and control of the situation with multiple jumps and defensive cooldowns. I can confidently go pretty much against any character and dish out a serious beating. For a change I feel in complete control in most situation.

UI, Keyboard and Mouse Setup


The first step for me to get comfortable with the keyboard I’ve redesigned my UI. I layed out my action bars as the 4 rows of the keyboard. This way I can easily monitor when my cooldowns are up and my fingers learned where to go because the layout of spells is exactly the same as the layout of buttons on the keyboard.

First UI attempt. Too much clutter.Second step was to unlearn turning with a keyboard. This is easily achievable by unbinding some of the default settings. The standard setup is W, S to move forward and back; A, D to turn; Q, E to strafe. I got rid of binds for S, A, D. If you are not used to strafing much yet, I would remap Q and E to A and D. But my mnemonic memory was already hardwired to Q and E, so I let them be. In addition to that I shifted them all by one key to the right to free up another easily reachable row on the left side of my standard hand placement.

Keyboard. Diagram built via WASD Keyboards site.I also did bind Shift+W, Shift+E, Shift+R (my movement keys) to some abilities that are not used over and over again. My standard defensive and DPS (damage per second) rotations are bound to the rest of the keys around those movement keys.

User interface. Final version.My standard damage dealing rotation goes in a circle around the movement keys. D, 2 is bound to starting of a fight. And then S, F, G, T, 5, 4. Defensive CDs are on A, C, Y, 3. Situation control is on Z, X, V, H, Shift+W, Shift+R. Utility spells are on 1, Q, B, N. Everything is extremely easy to reach and I do not have large hands. And everything gets used.

As I said earlier mouse is used for turning, by holding down the right button. I also mapped several key important spells with short cooldown, lots of damage and a little bit more reach to side buttons on my mouse. 4 and 5 from the list above are those spells. And I mapped one additional defensive spell to the 3rd most comfortable buttons to hit. It’s nice to see somebody casting something massive on you and reflect it right back to their face with a click.

Skaf. Another angle.A couple of words on the mouse itself — after some consideration I have bought a gaming mouse. (Spoiler: I didn’t like it.) I was picking between Razer Naga (12 buttons on the side) and Razer Naga Hex (6 buttons) — having Razer BlackWidow keyboard that I do like very much after getting used to it. I went with the Hex edition because there is no way I was going to use 12 buttons on the mouse. And button placement felt too crowded. Even 6 seemed like an overkill.

Razer Naga Hex mouse.After trying Razer Naga Hex for a week I hated it. My hand hurts, buttons are still not very comfortable to hit, mouse is not well designed ergonomically and it had a wire. I went back to my trusty Logitech and I love it. Four well placed buttons and the hand is relaxed and well placed. Razer Naga Hex went back to the store. This rarely happens to me — returning something.

And that’s pretty much it. Hopefully this a little bit of a guide will be helpful to somebody like myself. It definitely will improve your PvP performance. And I am truly enjoying playing my character.

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