Video Game

This Is The 3DS

Being an adult is 90% awful.  Statistically.  What you’re never told about being an adult when you’re younger is taxes and work and commuting and bills and Holiday Parties and obligations you didn’t sign up for (like Holiday Parties) and being excited by a new vacuum cleaner.  The other 10% of adulthood is great.  A week ago, I had a sudden urge for ice cream, so I got in my car, drove to the store, and bought ice cream.  Then, I had ice cream for dinner, like an adult, and I put chocolate syrup on it.  And it was fantastic.  That sliver of great is small – wafer thin – but when it’s on it is on.

Closing in on my mid-30s and owning a 3DS hovers somewhere in the middle.  It’s a phantom percentage.  A Venn Diagram of degrees, overlapping ever so faintly between awful and great, wherein I own and love my 3DS, but I don’t whip my 3DS out in public (amongst other things), given a strange social stigma hovering around the machine and the maturity of the individual holding said machine.  Now I’m not really one for maturity as a barometer for a person’s accessibility or overall judging worth, but the argument can be made you shouldn’t be forty and wearing a DEEZ NUTS t-shirt with a squirrel on it.  Hypothetically.  When my wife and I were in NYC this past August, you can be certain I made a trek to Nintendo World – my first – and it was a lot like what I assume making the Hajj to Mecca is like.  And in there I was among my people, even if I wanted to keep those people at arm’s length.  While there, though, the overlap hit, and I found myself lusting over plush Links and Donkey Kong wallets, sock-caps made from the hollowed-out skulls of countless Squirtles, and I knew, knew, I had a card with my name on it tied to a bank account with my name on it in order to buy all the Links and Kongs and Squirtles I could handle, and with that same understanding I knew, knew, there was no self-respecting way I could, closing in on my mid-30s, be seen in public with any of them, and not feel my butthole pucker every time I left the house.  Some of that’s on me.  Absolutely.  Some of that is fully self-induced and a product of me maybe not being comfortable enough in my own skin.  I get that.  But too, I believe in the way a sense of right and wrong is woven deep down into our DNA, there is a little bit of truth to my puckering too.  An overlap, if you will, of right and wrong, adult awful and adult great.

Here’s the thing though.  I love my 3DS.  It’s the only “console” I own for gaming.  I’ve owned all of them from the last generation back and done so happily, but I decided, finally, to get a PC, to use it, and to forgo the cycle of hoops and everything else gaming on a console seems to have become over the years.  And the 3DS is just fun.  It’s great.  I have my RPGs, my side-scrollers, my odd nitch-titles, and of course I know consoles have them too, but this just seems… happy?  I don’t know.  I’ve been playing a lot of Fantasy Life lately – of which I plan on reviewing soon – and it’s wonderful.  I spend evenings after work creating furniture and picking Healweed.  Seriously, how great is that?  That’s where the 10% comes back.

I don’t know how to close this out.  Just something I’ve been thinking about, and though it’s not strictly a review of the 3DS, it counts enough.  It’s also a review on the perils of aging.  But some of the good stuff too.


This Is John Wick

My criteria for movies is not complicated.  I want to enjoy myself.  Doesn’t matter how the enjoyment comes about or what emotions it elicits.  I understand there are people who dislike the Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions.  Those people are wrong, and terrible, and obviously didn’t see the human controlled mechs fighting thousands of Sentinels pouring into the crumbling foundation of Zion.  That’s entertainment.

But I digress.

John Wick.  A wonderful, tasty, bloody, delicious smoothie.  A smoothie comprised of one part Shoot ‘Em Up,  one part Only God Forgives, and one part The Way of the Gun.  It’s ridiculous and gratuitous, and I got every bit of my money’s worth.  Now arguably, I ponied up to see Keanu shoot a lot of people, and do it with style, which is exactly what I received, so if you’re looking for something else, perhaps you’re approaching the film incorrectly.  I’ll buy the need to see a movie which provokes good conversation after the credits roll – and though I personally had a giddy monologue at-length after seeing Apocalypse iDays of Future Past, I realize that’s not always the type of discussion people are looking for – and those films absolutely have their place, but if they do, so does the popcorn movie, like Transformers, where I pay my entry fee to watch giant robots fight on a highway for two-and-a-half hours.  Wick is the latter.  This isn’t to say Wick is dumb or mindless.  It isn’t.  Dialogue is sparse, which is good and fine, and what’s there is more than above average.  There’s ample amounts of world-building as well, numerous peeks beneath this underworld curtain hinting at deeper players and networks and politics.  Most of these nods are ignored (or, better, not discussed or explained), an outcome I actually prefer in this instance as it makes the setting and the story more… hefty.  There’s an incredible level of suspension of disbelief with Wick – when bodies get close to triple digits and no one is on a beach in France, there needs to be – but the possibility of a fleshed-out assassin-run city makes that suspension less necessary.  Maybe I’m stretching because I want to believe something like that exists, who knows, but the point is: I like what they did.  Could all be groundwork for a sequel, which is fine, though it didn’t feel as such, and that’s why I think it worked.  And the movie is pretty.  Stahelski actually lets you see the action, choosing not to pursue the epileptic Bourne route.  So there’s that.

Wick is good.  Well directed, well acted, well written.  People are calling it Keanu’s comeback vehicle, whatever that means, and I suppose it is if they thought he was gone in the first place.  47 Ronin certainly wasn’t it.  47 Ronin certainly wasn’t anything.  That’s an example of a movie which should have been awesome – there was a dragon in the trailer! – and it got bogged down in bad.  Too much talking, not enough golem samurai (yes, that’s one thing) and dragons.  Let that be a lesson.

Wick is recommended.  Lots of guns.  Lots of shooting.  And a dog.


This Is Crazy

The two of you who read this blog may be wondering where I’ve been the past few weeks.  Maybe not.  Probably not.  It gives me some hope someone out there stops by to check in every now and again, though with everything else on the internet vying for our attention, the odds are slim.  Still, this is my own small space which sat vacant for a time and I should at least explain why in an effort to begin remedying that.

A while back, I made a post about deodorant, in which I mentioned off-hand being a hypochondriac.  The comment was made in jest, though it’s no less true, the fear of a headache being a brain-tumor something which comes in unannounced waves I wrestle with a handful of times throughout the year.  In the past I’ve done a good enough job curbing my self-induced hysteria, not wanting to be on meds in an attempt to either prove I’m capable of taking care of myself or man enough to beat my own mind.  I don’t much go for masculinity or gender roles as a whole, but I do think, deep down, a part of me would like to feel like a guy from time to time, and I think my rationalization of ignoring personal needs fed into that desire some (which further proves men can be idiots).  Episodes began years apart.  Bad episodes, I should clarify.  I liken the hypochondria to a debate where a “normal” person has the logical side of the conversation winning – or being more forceful – than the fearful side, and I have those roles reversed to the point of shouting.  Sometimes I could grab hold of the debate and reel the argument in to a manageable level, but the times I couldn’t (or can’t) is how I would define an episode, those – again – being somewhat spaced out.  As time went on, they got more and more frequent, the latest of which I’m just getting over.  Hence the absence.

About a month ago, I got a twitch in my left eye.  Not the eye itself, but around the eye, in the corners and a bit of the lid.  This jumped to my right eye.  Same deal: corner, lid, beneath.  Not the eye itself.  They’d do their thing maybe a dozen or so times a day, twenty-thirty seconds each.  Annoying, but not debilitating.  Five days into this, I broke the cardinal rule of anxiety-prone people everywhere and checked the internet.  This led me to being absolutely convinced I had either MS, ALS, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, maybe a tumor, maybe kidney disease.  You can bet absolutely I threw out the kidney-destroying deodorant and bought now natural stuff.

As a brief aside:  the sweat-stains I’ve suffered from for years?  Gone.  Completely.  Who’d have thought.

I would like to point out, I count it a victory I did not believe I had all six of those above nasties concurrently.  Small favors.  Went to urgent care after a week.  Doc said stress, probably.  Eyes do that sometimes.  I bought it for a few hours.  When it went on another week, I went to a second urgent care.  In the meantime, I decided every-other twitch in my body was related.  Spasms in the back.  Lip.  Calf.  Hand.  Cheek.  Face cheek, not the other ones.  Told the second doc about them, and told him I was pretty sure I had MS/ALS/Huntington’s/Parkinson’s/maybe-a-tumor/maybe-kidney-disease.  He said “Yeah, you could.”  Gave me muscle relaxers and said if it didn’t go away to contact a neurosurgeon.  I’m sure you can figure how the following week played out.

Doc 2 was pretty dismissive when I mentioned the hypochondria thing.  Should have been my first red flag, but I don’t see color so well when I’m in a panic tornado.  My wonderfully patient wife, who I know I do and have taxed, convinced me to go see my doctor, and basically wrote Doc 2 off as someone I should ignore.  So I did.  After about three-and-a-half weeks I saw my doctor, still pretty sure I had a terminal cocktail, who – mostly – frowned at me, smiled a bit, and just shook her head.  But, in doing so, I finally buckled.  Asked for meds to dam the debate.  She gave them.  Happily.  I’m still twitching, a month on, but I don’t care and it’s wonderful.  She thinks I have benign-something-or-other, and that’s fine, and I don’t care.  I’m happy.  It’s an odd-odd feeling.  While I’m not a fan of Paramore, they have a song called “For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic” and, though I’ve never heard it, the title always struck me and seemed to be a good representation of how I saw myself.  In hindsight, I’m beginning to realize I was just depressed.  No real reason for it, and I never thought I was, and I never felt unhappy or bothered or whatever I should have felt when you think of depression, but I had it.  Bad.  It’s been a little over a week since I started taking medicine to quiet myself, and it’s been a really good week.  A really great week.

So that’s where I was.  Didn’t see the point of writing, and couldn’t much bring myself to write because I was dying.  Still am, just not as quickly as I was before.


This is a Cinnamon Raisin Bagel

I can’t located a good picture of the bagels I bought, and I’m not taking a picture of the near depleted bag I now own after the fiasco that was me trying to get the pic of my painting properly uploaded.  After a good hour fighting to make the thing to simply rotate counter-clockwise ninety degrees – an option labeled clearly and with a handy illustration – I gave up, left it as is, and decided not to look back.  Which leads me to here.  No picture.  You’re going to have to use your imagination to picture the type of bagel I’m about to describe.  Consider us participants both in the wonderful oral tradition.

Pastries are not my breakfast food of choice.   I like donuts, of course, but they’re more of a dessert to me.  Pancakes are my favorite food ever (seriously), and they can be on the sweeter side yes, though I’m more of a purist here with plain buttermilk being the end-all-be-all of food things.  The reason I’m explaining this is it helps to know my proclivities for what I’m going to explain.

It’s not as dramatic as I’m making it out to be.

Maple Leaf Baking Inc. has these New York Style bagels (established in 1880, supposedly) of the Cinnamon variety which are, in short, incredible.  I’m not sure what kids these days are saying, but if “the bomb” was anywhere in their vocabulary, it would be used here and liberally.  I grabbed them on a whim.  It could have been any other bag, any other brand.  I pulled without discrimination.  They sat on my own shelf until morning where I pulled one out and placed it in another bag for the drive to work, not realizing how special these circles were.  I was coming down the off ramp – or is it the on ramp?  I don’t know – merging first into the flow of traffic before removing the bagel.  Taking a bite was a moment of clarity.  I’ve heard it referred to as an “ah ha” moment, and maybe it was that too, though I would shift more toward an “oh my” or an “mmmmmm”.  The bread was soft.  Not chewy.  Not tough.  Near-enough melt against the top of your tongue the way chocolate might.  Cinnamon swirls coated some of the bites, allowing for small changes to the palate.  The raisins were, wonderfully, bright.  Some bagel-raisins turn gritty over time, making me feel as though I’m eating through a fistful of sand.  Not these.  Just the right mix of sweet and savory.

Even if you don’t like bagels, you should eat one.  If you can find them.  It took some searching on the bag to discover the name – Maple Leaf Baking is only in the fine print – and even more to try and find an online stock image, with none of those producing the same picture as what sits now on the counter.  Perhaps I have the only bag in existence, happening upon some Grimm-like tale which will end poorly once the bag has emptied.  And, honestly, I’d be okay with that.  The trade, whatever it is, may well be worth the price of the bagels.


This Is Me

Short post.  And not really a review, but I’ll review the painting by saying it’s mediocre.  So now it is a review.

My wife is in Maine at the moment pursuing her Masters (home in a month!), and asked me to paint her something last night and, needing to clear my head, that sounded like a fine exercise.  So I painted myself and my dog, Jenkins.

Yes, it’s huge.  The scaling attempt brought about anger.  So look, and be amazed.