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Here they come!

My order of vegetable plants arrived today. Burpee packed them up very cutely in green plastic containers, but I was annoyed to discover that one of the Fairy Tale Eggplants was bone dry and half shriveled up. After a generous watering, it perked right up. Jeez! What would have happened if I didn't ask for overnight delivery?

All my recent transplants are doing well. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to have any Shirley poppies this year. =_= Starting plants from seed in the spring as opposed to the summer is so tricky in New England. I would have sowed the seeds outside per the package instructions but we have a HUGE problem with birds. Thankfully, I have some breadseed poppies arriving as live plants in a few weeks. Let's see what I make of them!

Whenever I think that I really must have a black thumb, I remind myself that my yard is running wild with immortal clematis. A clumsy gardener who won't be named (it wasn't Kristen) ripped out the nice blue-violet one we had growing against our deck. The one I showed in photographs last year featuring my rerooted Snotty Cat II Koron? Well, someone tore it right out of the ground last fall, thinking it was a weed, but this spring it's growing back stronger than ever. I nearly wept with joy when I saw the vines coming up! So I really have to concentrate on the successes rather than the failures. Gardening is always an uphill battle, but now I have Neptune's Harvest! I swear I'm going to save that yellow lilac this year!

On the gaming front, I've been coping with the loss of the PSN by replaying even older Atelier games, both Marie and Elie. Every time I see new promotional material for Atelier Meruru it makes my skin crawl. It would be bad enough if Gust just overdid the Lolita fan-service, but both Rorona and Totori are actually bare-bones compared to the older Atelier games. Even the GBA Marie, Elie and Anis has more content...

Atelier Marie is a good starter game, but as the first in the series it has quite a few problems with game balance. It starts off too hard and finishes too easy. The adventurers you hire to help you out in battle are generally terrible. I think I've gotten killed while out gathering in Marie more than any other Atelier game, except maybe Viorate. On the other hand, it's very easy to create every item in the alchemy dictionary. In fact, this time around I got the special "Marie Creates Every Item in the Dictionary" ending, and I only peeked at a FAQ once or twice.

The events are scarce and hard to trigger. The side characters in general are either boring or annoying...especially Schia...oh, God, Schia. At the same time, I can't feel too much animosity for the game, because it is the first in the series. I might not play it a third time. On the other hand...

Atelier Elie is a fabulous game if you know what you're doing. This is coming from someone who's played the game three times already and still failed to get the True Ending. The adventurers are mostly strong enough to stand up in battle, though there are some weaklings (Eisel, Nordis, etc). They usually don't go down in one hit, though! The challenge of the game is time management as opposed to survival. There are a ridiculous amount of flags you have to trigger to get the best ending, and if you miss one, well....you can always go through it again!

I did manage to trigger a lot of new events and beat the arms tournament in this playthrough. Unfortunately, I was aiming for the Marie ending, so it didn't do me any good. ::sniffs:: I'm not giving up. I'm going to wait a few weeks and try again.