The Twilight Zone - Time Enough at Last

Anti-Virus, Weeks 3-4

Week 3 can be summed up as, more or less, a duplicate of Week 2. In spite of what was happening in the world around me, I felt good about the use of my time and stayed positive and productive. I was Burgess Meredith in “Time Enough at Last” right before his glasses break.

Week 4? Oof. Not so much. I have been unfocused and distracted all week, and a general sense of unease looms.  Amanda and our little one are back, and that has been great and makes things feel more normal at home again. But, I can’t deny that it is taking me some time to adjust to being a husband and father again, even after just one week of being away from them. I apparently fell completely out of parenting shape while they were gone—my patience is still not quite at the level it should be, and I’m not proud of that. I need to do better. Easter was pretty good, but the day before, I hit a low point when I sat her in front of a cartoon just so I could have some time to veg out and do something for myself. This is something I rarely do—well, other than when one or more people in the house are sick with influenza or a stomach bug. For the most part, I’m not a “you do this thing here so I can do my own thing over here” kind of parent. Sure, there are plenty of times when I’ll tag out to Amanda when I get too stressed, but Amanda was in the middle of a project in this instance, so I sat the kiddo in front of the television and took time for myself. I felt incredibly guilty because I’m trying to spend as much time with her as I can while she’s little, since I can’t get that back, but it can be tough to do that day-in and day-out, especially with outlets for entertainment away from home (i.e. playgrounds, grandparents, cousins, and so on) currently at a minimum. We are exhausted.

Speaking of Amanda being in the middle of a project, we’ve also started some DIY home improvement work around the house while we wait out the virus. Amanda is the handy person between the two of us, without question. (She just built a small swing set for the kiddo, and I honestly couldn’t figure out how to remove the swing’s chains from their s-hooks the other day.) But, I chip in from time to time. Trying to balance that with my day job and with watching our daughter has been…well, again, tough. Working from home is nice a lot of the time, but not when my job, spouse, and daughter all need me at the same time. Those instances are pretty uncommon, but not impossible.

Simpsons - Le Grille
Me, trying to build ANYTHING.

Lastly, the economical effects of COVID-19 are hitting more and more people close to us, with jobs being eliminated and the sense of dread surrounding possible layoffs and furloughs on the rise. I already worry and feel guilty all the time—this doesn’t make it any easier.

However, in the meantime, all I can do is stay positive and keep myself distracted. I don’t look at a lot of news—I try to check no more than once a day. There’s not a lot I can do to stop rising death tolls and unemployment claims. I’m better off spending my time trying to be productive. I didn’t get much writing done in the past week, and my drawing has slowed, as well, but I am still knocking out two or three a week to stay in practice, which is a lightning pace for me when compared to my output in recent years. Like I mentioned in my previous entry, when my little girl is around, there is just not a lot of time. It’s not a bad thing—it just means being a responsible parent and changing priorities.

I have more things to talk about, but they are long discussions (including one about video games and how they fit into this isolated lifestyle), so I may just leave this entry as-is. It’s kind of a downer, but it fits the previous week. I’d rather be honest with you than try to convince you that everything is fine. On the other hand, it’s also been therapeutic to get this out. 

The good news? It’s Easter evening as I write this. A perfect opportunity for rebirth and to face the next week with renewed enthusiasm and resolve. Also, we made cookies this weekend, and if nothing else can raise my spirits, they can.

Thanks for reading, and have a great week! Hang in there.

Dr. Ian Malcolm - Life finds a way.

Anti-Virus, Week 2

Well, I guess I’ve adapted to this way of life…as much as one might be able. While COVID-19 is never fully out of my mind, I must admit that there have been a few times over the past week where I kind of forgot about it. Not in the sense that I don’t care, that it’s not concerning or scary or otherwise cumbersome to the psyche. I take in one news dump a day from the outside world, but besides that, I have been keeping busy and focusing positive energy on a variety of outlets. Oh, and housework because, I mean, if I’m gonna spend 23 and a half hours a day here, I don’t want it to be a dump.

Amanda and our youngin’ are out of town temporarily. (No worries—I wouldn’t consider it discretionary travel. They’re out on family business.) As such, I’ve been using my time wisely to get some work done (both for my day job and otherwise), reestablish good habits, and take the opportunity to relax, believe it or not!

Go on….

Homer gets the Osaka Flu

Anti-Virus

No, I don’t have an antivirus; I’m just anti-virus. More on that in a moment.

First, a quick update and a small clarification on my last post about reverting to pursuing comics as a hobby instead of a business. I do still intend to create, publish, and sell comics, make convention appearances, and so on. However, my approach is now “because I want to,” instead of “because I want to make this my career someday.” If that still happens by some wild stroke of luck, or if I can pivot back in that direction in the future, great. But, for now, I do have to abandon things like business strategy, timely and crafted social media posts to maximize reach, and trying (and failing) to monetize everything I do. Those are the things that stressed me out, the things I don’t currently have the capacity to manage. The things that make comics not fun.

Go on….

From Amazing Spider-Man #50. Image credit: Marvel Comics

Hard Reset

I almost posted a very different blog about my 2020 plans and expectations, but I had something of a revelation today concerning my approach to creativity:

It’s not working.

It made the original blog mostly irrelevant, but there are a couple of key points that will sneak their way into this one, too.

My wife noticed that I have been upset a lot, lately. Stressed. Short-tempered. I can barely hold it together for five minutes with our daughter before I lose patience. She said that I seem miserable and wanted to know what I needed to make things better.

Go on….

Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening

My Top 10 Video Games of “2019”

Check it out! A somewhat timely Top 10 Games of the Year list! By comparison, the 2018 list didn’t release until May of 2019. I’m on a roll. The Pulitzer for online rambling lies within reach!

Although, I must admit, assembling a list of ten whole games played in 2019 proved challenging! I spent fewer hours playing video games in 2019 than any year in recent memory, so I had to cheat a little bit here and there to present a full list. Normally, I don’t include games I’ve beaten prior to the year in question, with the exception of the game in the “Honorable Mention” slot. Well, in this case, I included a game I beat for the first time many years ago, but spent quite a bit of time revisiting in 2019. Sacrilege. Perhaps I’ll redeem myself in 2020. Or maybe I’ll play fewer games than ever?! Such drama in this life of mine, let me tell you. Let’s check out the list before the gaming melodrama reaches levels from which we cannot recover!

As always, the games on this list didn’t have to be released in 2019 (hence the quotation marks in the title), just that I either beat them or played the majority of them in 2019.

Go on….

Shovel Knight. Image Credit: Yacht Club Games

My Top 10 Video Games of the Decade: 2010-2019

I’ve spent the last few years recapping my ten favorite games of the year. These lists are fun to assemble, even though I usually don’t get them out until well into the new year, and most of the games on them tend to be over 20 years old.

This list, however, is a little different.  This time, I’ll be covering my ten favorite games of the decade. It’s still well into the new year, however, so that aspect of the list has stayed the same.

Now, listen. I play a lot of old games, so to tell the truth, I haven’t played a lot of games from 2010-2019, especially if they aren’t Nintendo games or indie games (or remakes/HD remasters/compilations of older games, which don’t count). Your favorite games from the last decade, or what you feel are the most thought-provoking, intellectual, or important, aren’t on this list. There’s no Dark Souls, no Undertale, no Papers Please, and no The Last of Us. Don’t get discouraged! I don’t think they’re bad or unimportant. I simply haven’t played them. But, this is the best of the best of what I have played, and even though I’m not actually qualified to put this sort of list together based on the quantity of games played, I’m still doing it because it sounded like fun. Let’s get started!

Go on….

Featured Image - Brian Still Hasn't Beat Pools of Darkness, Part 5

Brian Still Hasn’t Beat Pools of Darkness, Part Five – Whoops! Brian Beat Pools of Darkness!

[Hey, this entry is part of a series. Read all about my Pools of Darkness experience here.]

Screenshot - Boat

WELP

I beat Pools of Darkness. But what happened to the blog series?

Well, the short version is that, and I’m a little embarrassed to say, I got so into the game that I couldn’t keep up with writing about it. I took a lot of notes throughout, but apparently this was the attempt in which I figured out all the puzzles and tough fights and sticking points, and no other games got in the way of finally finishing this thing. Before I knew it, all of Bane’s lieutenants were defeated, the Realms were restored, and my party, having experienced a taxing wealth of adventures, boarded a boat across the Great Sea to paradise like Frodo & Co. at the end of Lord of the Rings. The blog was intended to be my accountability piece, the extra incentive to see the game through to the end, but it turns out I didn’t need it!

The long version is that, by introducing what would have been a fairly long-running blog series to my already 1,004-item long to-do list, I found myself—once AGAIN—trying to do too much with my life. Instead of working on those 1,004 projects already in progress, I started another one. I always do this, and I have a whole blog about this realization and maybe finally getting my life in order that is next on the docket.

So, what happened in the rest of the game? I’ll share the highlights. It’s a long read, so I hope you like computer roleplaying games!

Go on….