sighs and goodbyes

Here we are, the biggest day of the nerd year.  Stranger Things 2Super Mario OdysseyWolfenstein 2Assassin’s Creed Origins.

But my head and my heart are elsewhere.

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I think we’re going to be saying goodbye tomorrow to our sweet Lily, Lilybug, Lilymonster, Lily von Pooten, Lil’ Flooferbutt.   It’s the right decision, even though it’s agonizing and heartbreaking.  It sucks.  She’s 13 years old, and she’s been in pain for a while, and dragging this out seems heartless rather than letting her go, peacefully, quietly.

I will be happy to discuss all of the goodies described in the first paragraph at some point.  (I should also mention that in my sadness/hysteria I may have ordered a Nintendo Switch and Zelda and Mario, so I will actually be able to speak to all of those aforementioned goodies.)  But I can’t right now.  Right now I just want to give her more gentle pets and bellyrubs and snuggles.  And instead I’m stuck at work.

Lilybug, you’re my super sweet little dog, and I’ll love you forever and ever and ever.

moving forward by stepping back

1. So it’s clear to me that I’ve needed to unplug for a little while.  I needed to switch off social media and the news and the internet because everything has been awful, for such an extended period of time, and I was way past my breaking point without having realized it.

My brother got married last weekend (not this past weekend, the one before that) and it was so nice to be able to focus on him and his wife and seeing my extended family and having my son play with his (new) cousins, and even just staying unplugged for a few days did wonders for my mental health.  (The wedding was amazing, by the way, and not just because my wife did a great job officiating.)

Of course, with the world being what it currently is, I can’t stay unplugged for too long.  And so last night I started to see the “me too” thing happening on Facebook, and it broke my heart – not only because pretty much every woman I’ve ever been friends with posted it, but because I wasn’t surprised.  How fucking terrible is that?

Men, what the fuck?

2.  My day job is currently transitioning to modern computer technology, but while personal email and social media and Spotify are still off-limits, I apparently still have access to this blog.  I don’t know how often I can post here – and I certainly don’t want to post too much and have my job know how much time I’m spending here not doing the job they pay me for.  Of course, “posting too much” is not an issue here, nor has it ever been, and so I hope that isn’t a problem for anyone.  But I’m still gonna be somewhat quiet here for at least another week or so, just so that I can keep under the radar.  That said, this is a big month for AAA games, and I’m sure I’m going to want to talk about 3 of them in particular (i.e., South ParkWolfenstein II, and Assassin’s Creed Origins), so I’ll probably be back sooner than you think.  Basically, ignore this whole paragraph.

in the idle hours

Well, I haven’t lost WordPress access just yet, so… here we go.

I started this post last week, but couldn’t finish it because of work stuff.  I was gonna work on it yesterday, but yesterday was awful and I felt silly for bothering with this sort of post.  Today, however, I am doing my best to engage in self-care and so I’m gonna take a cue from kottke.org and do a little rundown of all the various media I’ve taken in lately.

Ann Leckie, Imperial Radch Trilogy.  This has been on my to-read list forever, and now I’m finally getting around to reading it, and it is just as good as I’d hoped it would be.  And let me tell you, when the world is falling to shit and you can barely keep it together, there’s nothing quite like knowing you’ve got a good book to wrap yourself in.  It’s a security blanket for the soul.

Stephen King, The Bill Hodges Trilogy (Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, End of Watch).  I’m gonna give this a solid B.  It’s not top-shelf King, but it’s crime fiction rather than supernatural horror (at least the first two books are, anyway), and he does a pretty good job of keeping the pages turning.  That said, the main three protagonists are utterly forgettable, and while the villains are compelling and memorable, they’re also rather stupid, which deflates a lot of the tension; you’re never worried about the ending.  And as noted above, the first two books are grounded in the real world while the third book goes off into a telekenetic/mind-control thing, which creates a weird paradox; on the one hand, it’s probably the best book in the series because it’s the one that is closest to King’s strengths; on the other, it totally upends the very grounded reality of the first two books.

The Matrix.  I don’t know what it is, but I feel like everywhere I look, people are talking about The Matrix again.  And pretty much everything the wife and I have watched together recently has reminded us in some way of the first Matrix movie, and so we decided to just re-watch it.  And you know what?  It still holds up, for the most part.  Yeah, some of the dialogue is hokey, and the love story simply doesn’t play, and the visuals are a bit dated (if only because they’ve been copied to death).  But every single shot in the film is iconic, and the film itself is so radically ambitious, and it’s still as entertaining as it ever was.  I’m philosophically opposed to reboots, but if the Wachowskis wanted to re-make this film with current technology, I’d be OK with it.

The Matrix Reloaded.  You know, if you edit out the stupid cheesy bullshit, this is a pretty kick-ass film.  It’s not nearly as unwatchable as I remember it being.  Though I’ll always fast-forward through the end-of-the-world disco sex party, because that is just straight-up ridiculous.  And yeah, the scene with the Architect is a bit too wordy for its own good, even if the ideas discussed are interesting.

Math Rock.  I am a huge music nerd, and every once in a while I fall off the deep end into a heavy-duty obsession with old-school prog rock.  (When my son was born, this changed slightly and I became OBSESSED with live Frank Zappa from 1972-73.)  Now, it seems, Spotify has decided that I’m due for some modern math rock, and, once again, Spotify is correct.  In particular, I’ve been listening to a shit-ton of a band called Feed Me Jack, who I think I just read are no longer together, which is a bummer; in any event, they made a rather sizable amount of music in a very short amount of time, and it’s all really good.  And here is another playlist of some of the better stuff I’ve found via the Discovery playlist:

 

By the way, my Spotify Time Capsule is HILARIOUS.  I got a little inebriated the other night and considered live-blogging my reactions to this mix, if only because I haven’t heard some of these songs in 20+ years and the me of 2017 is so completely different than the me that listened to these songs over and over and over again when they were new.  I could give you 500 words on my reaction to hearing “Right Here Right Now” alone.

As for games… eh.  I’ve got a huge backlog and there’s a bunch of stuff coming out soon and yet every time I sit down to play, I’m totally unable to relax and stay involved.  Maybe I need a break.

I’m considering signing up for NaNoWriMo this year, because I need to get my brain’s writing gears moving again, and if I’m ever going to finish the lyrics for this album I should probably just get in the habit of stringing a whole bunch of words together anyway.  A couple years ago I had a great idea for a book, and I even took some writing classes to flesh some of it out… I still really like my first chapter, even if the rest of the story fell apart on me.  And then I was going to write a memoir-ish thing about my college/band years, and I could probably fictionalize that enough to keep myself from having another nervous breakdown like I did the last time I tried it.  So even if I’m not writing here as much – and I’m gonna be trying to reduce the amount of time I spend on FB and Twitter and such – I will do my darnedest to keep the words happening somewhere.

I hope you’re well.  We’re gonna get through this, somehow.