May 30 2013

Denaug

The other day I was doing some tech support for some longtime customers, a couple in their mid-80s (he uses a Mac, she uses a PC).

While I was there the topic of the next bloodmobile date came up.

“They don’t like my blood,” he said.

“Why not?” I asked.

“I lived in Africa for a while, and I had malaria and denaug.”

“I’ve never heard of denaug,” I said.

“It’s like malaria,” he said, “except worse. First you’re afraid you’ll die, then you get a little better and you’re afraid you won’t.”

It turns out he was taking about dengue fever, which is also known by the Elder Scrollsy name “bonebreak fever.”

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Jan 17 2013

Sooo…I’m all Skyrim’d out

Am I even allowed to say that? I’m afraid Kaleb, Todd Howard, and Mr. T are going to come to my house and I’ll find out firsthand that they all pity da foo.

Anyway, as I was saying, I think I’m done with Skyrim. For a while anyway. Compared to writing and producing VBS skits, the rush of sneakybowing bad guys is kinda weak. Maybe once I am done or at least have all of my major story problems solved I will indulge myself in some more Bethesda goodness–maybe even pick up all the DLCs.

Until then, I have work to do!

And I love it.

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Aug 20 2012

Fus Do Clean!

So I was cleaning my study.

I hate cleaning.

But once in a while, usually while on vacation, I get this urge to clean. Everything. Yes, I’ve seen the meme.

The problem with me cleaning, even when I am enjoying it, is that I clean the way I play Skyrim. No, I don’t mean I enter every room, pick every lock, and kill every organism that opposes me (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

What I mean is this: I used to play various games that were entirely linear, like Halo, Halo 2 and Crimson Skies, and Tomb Raider. They are awesome games. And so I played the heck out of those games. Thoroughly. And so finally one day I was bored enough to play a game Heather got from a video store that was going out of business. ‘The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind.’

I hated it. You pick stuff up, people kill you. You walk outside, the fish kill you. People threaten to take your money–then kill you.

So I did not play the game. It stunk and I hated it.

And so I went back to playing HaloHalo 2 and Crimson Skies, and Tomb Raider. They are awesome games.

And so finally, I was bored with them.

I gave Morrowind another chance. It was what they call a ‘sandbox play’ game. That means instead of a linear story, you wander around and do what you want. If you don’t want to do something, don’t. If something is too hard, come back later. You don’t want to do something a certain way, use your problem solving skills and learn a better way to do it–be it killing a skeleton, obtaining a treasure from a festering sick ward, or getting from one island to another.

It still took some getting used to.

“This game’s OK, but it still kind of stinks.”

“This game’s pretty good, but it still bites here and there.”

“THIS GAME IS SO AWESOME!”

And so I was hooked. Then I got The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for my birthday, and it was even BETTER. Now I’m playing The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim.

And so on Sunday afternoons when I was resting, and the weather outside was not delightful, I would sit inside adventuring all over the grass and tree covered hills that filled the expansive virtual world. It was one of the things that my brother and I would do together. I’m not saying The Elder Scrolls is a multiplayer game–it’s not (in fact there is an in-joke about the lack of multi-playability in Morrowind). It’s just that the world was so expansive and so many ways to accomplish tasks that we loved to sit on the couch and watch the other one play. To an extent.

He hated watching me play. When he played, he would get a quest, do it, get the next quest, do it, and so on. Just like A, B, C, D, etc. No matter where those quests took him, he was always about the mission. Me, I loved the open world and its vast choices. I fulfill ABCD quests every day. I don’t get to wander off and just do whatever (I have heard that is frowned upon by many employers, especially ones open 24/7/365).

And so I would start on quest A, and then get distracted.

“Ooo, what’s that?” I would ask.

“What are you doing?”

“I’m going to go check out that house.”

“What? You’re almost to the city. Just finish your quest and then go check that out!”

“Nope.”

And I wouldn’t either. Mr. Mission-Oriented had to sit there and watch me play Oblivion like a kid with ADD trying to read Wikipedia. I would wander here, there, maybe back where I came from, and frequently just plot a compass point and start wandering on purpose just to see what I might find. I don’t do that IRL because that is how you end up on 12th street in downtown Kansas City with people asking if you ‘NEED something;’ but that’s another story.

And so, to tie it all up finally, that is how I clean.

“What is this sponge doing in my study? I will take it to the kitchen.” Walk to kitchen, place sponge, and decide to make coffee.

“While the coffee is brewing I will clean my study some more,” I think. Head back to the study, pick up bucket of car wash stuff.

“This belongs in the car,” I say, in the same way Indiana Jones says, “This belongs in a museum.” I take the stuff out to the car, only to find the trunk is full of stuff. Might as well clean it out. I’m on vacation, I don’t have time to clean it out during the regular work week. Clean the entire trunk. It looks amazing, put the car wash stuff in the trunk. Full of dopamine from completing my task (“Happiness comes from the achievement of goals!” as Darwin Mayflower would say), I enjoy the cool autumn morning air.

“I should vacuum the car while it’s nice out.”

That’s great–but I have to clean the car first. I can’t divert a river to clean something like Heracles, so I do it myself, sort things into ‘goes in the house’ and ‘goes in the trash.’ I goes in the house. Coffee’s up! I grab some coffee, but my travel mug is in the car–the only thing that belongs in the car. Nevermind, I’ll just put it in a non-travel mug and take it with me.

And so I head to the car wash–carp, no quarters. Off to Walmart, pick up things I need, get cash for quarters. Back to car wash, vac the car. Coffee is now cold. Autonomic brain orders another dump of dopamine as a reward to the volitional brain, which fuels promises.

“I swear on the lives of my daughters and all future unborn grandchildren that I will never ever again let my car get so messy!”

GROWL.

My stomach hurts from drinking coffee all morning and not eating food. I’m too busy to eat food. I’M CLEANING DANG IT!

GROWL!

Fine, stupid stomach. I’ll stop what I’m doing, which is CLEANING just so I can put food in YOU, baby!

But the stomach doesn’t care. He knows I love him. I want breakfast, but now it’s too late to get it anywhere. But Casey’s has donuts all day. And it’s kind of a ripoff to buy one or three when you get a discount for buying six. Six it is.

Now I am full of caffeine, dopamine, and donuts. LIFE IS GRAND! I’M ON VACATION AND I’M CLEANING AND I ACCOMPLISHED STUFF.

Back home, back in the house with the mug THAT DOES NOT BELONG IN THE CAR BECAUSE I WILL NEVER AGAIN ALLOW MY CAR TO GET MESSY.

Back to the kitchen, hey, maybe some more coffee? Nope–the coffee is now scalded, while I was out cleaning. Whatever.

I walk back to my study. It’s still a complete wreck because I have cleaned the trunk. And vacuumed the car. And bought stuff for the house. But only have removed one sponge and one bucket from the study.

“Why didn’t you just clean one room and finish that quest?” asks my brother’s memory, squeezing all the dopamine out of my brain. If accomplishing goals makes you happy (which it does for me), the lack of accomplishment brings abject soul-wallowing depression.

Might as well play Skyrim.

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Apr 13 2012

jesus vs. santans

One of my Facebook friends posted the following graphic:

I didn’t know who or what santans was or were, so I did some googling. It turns out that Santans is a commune in France (not a hippy commune, but our equivalent to a village). It has a population of about 300 people. Here is a picture from their travel page:

You would think they would make that cute little flower tree their logo, instead of the horned guy in the picture. Is that Mehrunes Dagon from Oblivion? Is Elder Scrolls really that big over there? I hope so; that would give me something in common with the French besides a love of André the Giant and being rude to people.

At any rate, the town sounds totally adorable.

It makes me sad, however, that I must pit my love of Jesus (or at least European, Catholic, long-haired Jesus) against my love of this little French town I’ve yet to visit.

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Dec 5 2008

My TV is a goner

My 4 year old RCA TV is on its way out, and the viewable area is now so thin that everything I watch has an all-midget cast. We don’t even receive television–broadcast or cable–but we do play X-Box and watch DVDs.

The initial result is that I have stopped playing Oblivion. The secondary result is that I have started drawing and writing again. This has not only made me more productive, but it has made my brain more active, and therefore, harder to sleep.

Interestingly enough, though, instead of making me tired, I actually feel more rested.

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