Growing Pains

Wow! I suck at posting so far this year. Have not touched this thing in at least 6 weeks. Not really sure why, but part of it is probably due to my uncertainty as to what to do with this thing exactly. Last year, I tried a thrice a week post schedule with specific topics/ideas for each day. I actually enjoyed the structure of the writing, yet I don’t know if I should keep it up within that parameter. I could revert to a more personal journal or blog style, but the random posting of whenever I feel like it does not really appeal to me at the moment. Plus, I will probably not post much if I do. So, not sure what I will do, but I think I’ll figure something out soon.

That’s kind of what this year has been so far even though it’s only been two months. I had made a few moves to get the hell out of dodge, so to speak. So far, I have only received rejection. It sucks, obviously, but it has not been as bad or devastating as I thought it would have been. Perhaps even just a few years ago, I would have been broken for a bit and stewed in my bitterness for awhile. Now, I read the rejections, made a mental not of their “suckage”, and went to perform my job minutes later. (Should be noted that I did kick some ass at work that day)

I guess that’s called ‘growth’ or something. Honestly, it was simply that I still need to leave my current circumstances and those avenues were closed off. I did what I could and it was not enough for those opportunities. That’s fine. All that really means is that I have to rely on other avenues that I am working on. Maybe that’s what I had trouble understanding before: that sometimes, no matter your efforts, things won’t workout simply because they won’t. At that point, I can wallow or move on and do something else. Before, I would do the former, but now I concentrate more on the latter. We’ll see if that makes a difference. If not, I’ll try something else. Not much else to do.

Time to get to work.

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On Outside Influence

So I recently wrote on my interest and appreciation of Salem and why I enjoyed the series. While I like show in general, there was something that kept bugging me as I was seeing it. It took awhile but I finally figured out what rubbed me the wrong way about the show; the witches. Or more specifically the witches’ power and control without hindrance.

Seriously, they can manipulate circumstances, harm people, and utterly control others through their magic and there is not really any defense against their powers. It is basically an embodiment of powerlessness. Everyone else in Salem is at the mercy and whims of a select few who have supernatural abilities. They are killed, suffer weird curses, and lose loved ones and property because of the machinations of the coven of witches in Salem.

I was trying to figure out why this bugged me so much and I finally realized that it is because it is a little too real and honest. No, really. As much as we want to envision our lives as strict results of our actions and choices, in reality so much of our life is determined by forces we have little to no control over. In this country, our laws are created and voted on by a fraction of the population that really is not a fair sampling of the country. Most of the economy is dictated and governed by a select few corporations and individuals.

Of course, in this case we are supposed to be rooting for the witches since they have been hunted and oppressed, but to me, there really are not any “good” guys on this particular show. Which can work in a lot of cases and, to be fair, Salem is still entertaining even without obvious heroes. Still, am I wrong for being a little irritated by the reminder that powerful people and forces govern aspects of my life without any real recourse against them? Or am I just reading way too much into a simple television show? (I have been accused of such a thing before)

On Leisure

Do you ever just feel utterly burnt out? As in, you just need a few days of nothing but mindless entertainment and randomness to deal with everyday life bullshit? No? Just me then? Well, then I guess you can stop reading well adjusted person. Go on with enjoying your seemingly blissful life.* For everyone else, how do you deal?

No, honestly. I am reaching a boiling point and it is barely the middle of the year. Frankly, school, at least in the U.S., gives false hope and expectations based on an idiotic and outdated farming system. For the entirety of K-12 education, we would get two weeks off in December and two to three months off in the summer. Pretty much the same, if not more, during college, but as soon as you are done with school, which is supposed to prepare you for the real world, your ass better be doing something “productive” 8 – 12 hours a week or you get nothing.

I really miss the easy, breezy days of summer being able to do whatever the hell you wanted without any real responsibilities. Now, as an adult, I apparently have to do a job and shit. I mean, I guess I could quit and go try to live in the woods away from society or something, but I really like running water and toilet paper. Leaves do not seem like a viable replacement. Even the few hobbies that I have as a means of distraction and leisure are beginning to seem like a secondary occupation.

Seriously. I sometimes fear playing video games because I know that there will be a commitment of time and energy to fully engage in the experience promised through the sweet, sweet graphics and story. Mass Effect, anyone? Hell, I started this blog as a means of continuing to try to write and take my mind off my job/home/work/life goals situation, and now it’s beginning to feel like another responsibility. Granted, it is still something I enjoy doing and sort of feel compelled to do (Not in a bad way or anything. As in, I feel bad if I don’t write and post on this thing on the basis I set up for myself, if that makes sense)

Science, and basic common sense, states that we need to space out and relax, but why must it be so difficult to do so? Thankfully, I am barely feeling burnt out at the moment, and the few luxuries and activities I have still provide a reprieve. Not sure what I will do if that ever changes, but based on previous experience alcohol will most likely be involved.

So, how do you relax and/or let loose? Are your hobbies and passions a side gig or just merely simple relaxing activities?

Lessons From…Mario Bros

Last week’s lesson, which can be found here, revolved around how Journey teaches us the value of the path and not the destination particularly because there is no real final destination. I was considering this further and realized that Journey requires the player to experience the, for lack of a better term, journey because of its lack of clear instructions or goals, but a game that better drives the point of valuing experience has been around for much longer: Mario Bros.

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That’s right! This post is about the lovable, slightly stereotypical, Italian plumbers that virtually every gamer has played. Just to be clear, this post will focus on the pre-N64 era games. If I have to explain what an N64 is, you should probably not be on a computer by yourself so go ask a parent or older sibling. Anyhow, the focus will be on the 2D side scrolling adventures of the titular characters since the basic play system altered with the introduction of three dimensional landscapes. Everyone clear? Cool, let’s get started.

The Mario Games have a pretty basic premise; you are Mario and you have to make it to the end of the level before time runs out without getting killed. Along the way you will face dangerous obstacles and enemies like turtles, mushrooms, pits, spiked blocks, etc. These things will kill you. How? Who knows? The game operates under video game logic so just go with it. After several “worlds” of this weird hallucinogen induced adventure, you have the chance to rescue a princess, for some reason and thus end your journey. However, the one rule that did not change was that you could not go back.

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Seriously, you see where the screen cuts off on the left side? That is the point of no return. The screen moves with you as you continue along and will not let you return to whence you came from. This doesn’t seem too bad in the long run since you have to get to the end of the level before time runs out anyhow, but this also means you might have missed out on some power ups just to get to the end faster. No Mario game best enabled this than Super Mario Bros. 3 with this:

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That is the world traversing Warp Whistle. With it you could transport to a another world/level bypassing dangers and obstacles. It made your path easier to get through and thus easier to complete/finish the game. However, this also means you skip over parts of the game to finish the game you are enjoying and playing faster. I never understood the insane logic of doing something like that, but that is neither here nor there.

Yes, using this in game devices enabled you to rescue the princess faster, but it also avoided the adventure and some rather enjoyable aspects of the universe you were playing in.

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See that? That is the freaking Tanooki Suit. With it you can soar the skies, use your tail to destroy your enemies, and turn to stone. (Again video game logic) There is also a Frog Suit that allowed you to be a God of the Sea without fear of losing breath or energy from the depths of the oceans. These were a few of the magical abilities you could obtain if only you had not blown on the whistle and jumped over them. Was it easy to get these things? No. Were they worth it? Absolutely!

Thus today’s lesson: You have to always keep moving forward (or to the left in this case) and can’t ever really go back after a certain point, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the game for all its worth and try your best to get every possible moment from the path you are taking.

Thus ends the lesson. See you for next week’s session.