Subterranean Fallout Shelter Blues

1. Remember last week, when I was excited about getting new glasses and we weren’t living in a constant state of anxiety wondering if our President was gonna livetweet about Crooked Hillary in an attempt to distract us from the coming nuclear apocalypse with North Korea?  Well, my new specs still haven’t shown up, and at this point I’m actually kinda hoping everything goes to shit so that I don’t have to pay off my credit card debt.

Seriously, though, now might be a good time to reach out and say hello to people you haven’t talked to in a while.  Even if we aren’t about to die in a blaze of hellfire, you should touch base with people you might’ve lost contact with.  I’ve been trying to get back into lyric writing, and it occurs to me that an idea I’ve been toying with for years – songs as letters I never got around to sending – might be the key to finishing this goddamned thing sooner rather than later.

2. I’m not as up on current TV as everyone else, but I am happy to report that the wife and I were able to finish the new Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later thing.  And we loved the shit out of it.  It is weird and random and breaks the 4th wall all over the place and Chris Meloni is fucking AMAZING.

3. I’d love to be writing about Tacoma right now, but I appear to be one of the people affected by a nasty bug in which I can’t get past the “Press A to Start” screen.  So instead I’ll offer some very brief first impressions of Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, which I can load properly.  I am intrigued by it, certainly; I’m a fan of Ninja Theory’s previous work and would give them the benefit of the doubt anyway, and at first glance the game’s presentation is outstanding – both visually and aurally.  The idea of exploring psychosis and mental illness through gameplay is novel, to be sure, and while I’m still only in the game’s opening hour I’ve already seen some subtle yet mind-bending things.  Tonight I hope to get to it while wearing headphones.

4. Hey, whaddya know, Spotify is now available on Xbox One, and it’s about goddamned time.  Now I can feel a little less sad about continuing to play Clicker Heroes, because I no longer have to play it in silence.

5. Kotaku says there is no longer a best time to play a video game, and I agree with most of the points in that link even if my primary concern (Fear of Missing Out / Fear of Being Out of the Loop on Twitter) is still valid.  In any event, ever since I finished Watch Dogs 2 I’ve been in an open-world state of mind, and I’ve been revisiting some older open-world games just to stay with that vibe.  GTA V continues to be the best open world I’ve ever seen, even as the story continues to be repellent and repugnant; Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate continues to be my 2nd or 3rd favorite game in the franchise (while also being a useful refresher for the upcoming Origins) and I’m also finally getting around to giving Mafia III more of a real look.  That game is pretty good, even if all the controls feel backwards.

6. I’ve also had a strange pull towards revisiting Headlander, of all things; I wrote about it briefly last year and while I haven’t gotten far enough to encounter those boss fights, I am still loving the hell out of that game.

7.  I finished Patti Smith’s “M Train”, although I should admit that I kinda skimmed through the back half, as it mostly seemed to be the same as the first half.  I’m happy to read about a real person’s idle hours, watching detective shows and drinking coffee and taking naps, but there wasn’t much more to it than that, and even though her prose remained gorgeous it just lingered on and and on and on, like a very slowly deflating balloon.  Not sure I would recommend it to anyone that isn’t a die-hard Patti Smith fan, though if you’ve got a library card you could do worse than read the first third of it or so.

Alive And Well And All Moved In (almost)

So I was hoping to write up a big thing here talking about the events of the last few weeks – specifically, the move – but today’s been so absurdly busy that there simply hasn’t been any time.  It’s 3:19 as I type these words and this is literally the first time all day I’ve had more than 10 consecutive non-interrupted seconds to write.

Given that I’m not 100% sure what’s in store for the rest of the afternoon, let me make this quick:

1.  The new house is awesome.  The move itself went very smoothly (aside from a guy crashing his car directly into the back of the moving truck without hitting his brakes, and it’s amazing nobody got hurt), and the kid was a champion (although the poor dogs were locked in bathroom doors so as to avoid antagonizing the movers / pee on everything), and we even got the bulk of the necessary repairs fixed while we were both off work last week, which is a huge weight off our shoulders.  Really, all that’s left at this point is a few miscellaneous boxes in the office and the hanging of pictures and artwork.

1a. Also the mancave needs a new thing for the TV, but that’s not something I need to get right away.

2. Also we bought new HDTVs.  Let me tell you – we bought two Vizio 48″ LED HDTVs and the mere fact that both of them, combined, cost less than $1000 is astounding, considering that I’d bought my old 40″ Samsung about 8 or 9 years ago for over $2000.  But the TVs themselves are pretty great, too.  There’s a part of me that’s curious about 4K, but the more realistic part of me knows that we don’t really have any 4K content right now, and it seems silly to shell out that much money when a 48″ TV for less than $500 is already getting the job done.

3. Given how busy the last two weeks have been, there’s not been that much opportunity for gaming/reading/watching things.  That said, of course we found time to watch Wet Hot American Summer – First Day of Camp, which we loved.  It’s true that the transformation of a 90 minute movie into 8 30-minute episodes means that it’s not as easily digestible as a whole, and it requires more work on our part to absorb it in the same way that we did the film, but it should also be said that it was also a really funny and silly way to spend a few evenings when we were exhausted from unpacking.  I don’t really understand why anybody would watch this that hasn’t seen the original film, especially since so much of the show is surreptitiously designed to show how the film’s events and characters got to where they are, and when I think about it now there’s a few not-quite plot holes that don’t necessarily add up (like how, given the events of the Netflix show, Gene would already know about the talking vegetable soup can, whereas in the film it comes totally out of left field – as it should, when you think about it), but whatever – it’s an inspired bit of silliness, and everybody gets more screen time, and at the end of the day I’m honestly just glad it actually exists.

4. The little gaming I’ve done has mostly been cleaning up various contracts and side quests in Witcher 3, if only to be as fully prepared for the New Game + mode, whenever that starts.  But I’ve also been kinda helplessly devoted to Rocket League on PS4, which is maybe the most fun I’ve had in multiplayer since Burnout 3 (no joke).  I don’t even care that I’m not particularly good at it, or that if I’m hanging back on defense and the ball comes my way I start feeling the same sort of anxiety I used to feel when I was 6 years old playing soccer, and I’ve started getting used to and accepting that certain feeling of inevitability that comes when I miss the open ball or accidentally re-direct it to the opposing team who immediately scores.  I can live with that; I can live with myself.  (I also play online without headphones, so I can’t hear if any of my teammates are calling me names, which is highly recommended.)

Beyond that – I gotta say, I like the train in the morning.  I’ve yet to take the train home, so who knows how that’s going to work, but this morning’s commute was downright pleasant.  I even got to sit down, which hasn’t happened in maybe 20 years.

I can’t yet speak to the suburban pace, given that I’ve only been there a week and that first week was largely spend indoors, dealing with cardboard boxes and tape.  I can say that our town has a ton of cute little parks, and our son is INFATUATED with playgrounds, and so it’s really nice to be only a 5-minute drive from any number of them, none of which are filled with hundreds of people.

In any event – you are all invited to our backyard, as soon as I learn how to grill.  Also I need to buy a grill first.

Tomorrow is the release of Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, which has been high on my to-play list all year, and so I’m hoping to play that and write something up later this week.

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