Skyrim: The Best and Worst Game

Well my friends, I’ve recently found myself trapped in the time-sucking black hole of a video game, known as Skyrim. Skyrim is a video game that was released in 2011 on PS3, XBOX 360, and PC but has since been re-released about a billion times to every other video game console since then. It’s a fantasy game where you explore a massive world and fight off bandits, bears, and dragons with swords, bows, and magic. The main story of the game takes probably about 20ish hours but the game has just SO MUCH OTHER STUFF to do that my current playthrough is at 110 hours and I’m just now coming close to the end of the game (but still lots of side stuff left).

The game is interesting because it really is one of the best games of all time (in certain aspects). The world is so big, with so much that can happen. The story is good and the subplots with the different factions are usually pretty great too (Thieves Guild is my fav). You can also do a lot of fun side stuff like buy a parcel of land and build a house and design each room and find objects necessary to make the furniture and stuff. You can then get married and adopt some children to live with you. Plus it controls really well and the action is usually paced very well.

However… it is also somehow just the worst and it really frustrates me. The game is still riddled with bugs that can break quests and just certain areas won’t work sometimes. I was on a quest to solve a serial killer case in this big northern city, but for whatever reason, one of the guys I’m supposed to talk to just doesn’t respond and so I can’t clear the quest and every time I walk into the room it plays this little cut scene of two characters talking about the war over and over again. I built my one house and then I bought land to build a second house in a better location but then the building menus just won’t pop up at my new house and every time I go there it messes with my first house so now I have to basically just avoid that whole area of the map where my second house is supposed to be. Also despite being super strong and having the best weapons and armour in the game, every once in a while I’ll just get killed in one hit by random enemies. They aren’t even supposed to be strong enemies, they’re just… I don’t know lucky I guess?

And while those things are certainly frustrating, I think the thing that has started to bug me most is the tediousness of the game after a certain amount of hours. Your character can only carry so much weight, but you constantly find good items that can be sold in dungeons and caves. So after a bit, you’re carrying too much and you have to either throw stuff away or go to a town and sell it. Run to the nearest town, sit through the loading screens, go to the shop, sit through a loading screen, and then talk to the shopkeeper. But each shop only has a certain amount of money. So depending on the quality of stuff you have, you might have to hit up three or four shops. This whole process takes like 5-10 minutes which doesn’t sound bad… except you’ll probably have to do this every 20 minutes or so. I’m at the point now where I just try to ignore treasure so that I can finish the game faster.

I wrote this post because I do love the game a lot. I am currently going for the platinum trophy (finishing it 100%) and just needed to vent about some of my frustrations. If you’ve never tried the game, I would definitely recommend it but would warn you about how much of your free time this monster of a game will destroy.

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Suburban Sasquatch

Hey everybody! This year for my birthday party (ITS MY BIRTHDAY TODAY!!) I had some friends over for a party and I bought some food, drinks, moved my furniture around and set up a projector to watch some bad movies. One of the movies we watched was called Suburban Sasquatch and it has become a new favourite!

It’s really funny. The plot of the movie is uhh a sasquatch starts attacking people in I guess the suburbs (but really it just looks like the woods most of the time) because uhh the suburbs are built in the sasquatch’s woods. A “native american” woman is hunting the sasquatch with bow and arrows but she only ever carries two arrows on her at a time so most of the time she’ll show up, fire two arrows, and then just leave. There’s also a guy who wants to be a journalist or something that kinda follows her but most of the time he does nothing. There are also 2 cops who are kinda investigating the kills and one of the cops has a personal vendetta against the sasquatch because the sasquatch kidnapped his wife? But these guys don’t really do much.

The sasquatch costume is hilariously bad. It has weirdly huge boobs with nipples that look like hershey kisses. The mask looks like a gorilla mask that is a different colour than the rest of the costume. It also has a… well something that looks like a tail, but in the front. Its’ weirdly distracting and there’s no reason why it needs to be there. The sound effects are also real bad. It makes the same kinda chewbacca-type noise the entire time and it plays on like a three second loop that just goes nonstop whenever the sasquatch is doing its thing.

But the REAL JOY of this movie is the sasquatch attacks. A person (or group of two people) will be doing something like fishing, or driving in a car, or hiking, or looking for a dog, and then sasquatch will show up and just start ripping off limbs or smashing heads or picking up cars and throwing them. Sometimes he’ll hit someone so hard that random bones will just come flying out. Sometimes limbs will go flying and then it will cut back to the person and all of their arms and legs will be fine. Sometimes people will try to shoot sasqautch by running straight towards him while holding a gun and he will just smack them aside. Other times he’ll pick up stuff to throw and it is the worst CGI ever, it’s really funny.

The non-attack scenes are just very boring and poorly written talking scenes and it just repeats this pattern of attack-talk-attack-talk that goes through the whole movie.

It’s really funny. I don’t think there is anything super inappropriate in it, except for the most unrealistic gore ever. If you get a chance to watch it, you should definitely check it out!

Netflix’s Punisher

Hey!

I recently did a post about how disappointed I was in the Defenders. Well I heard good things about The Punisher so I decided to give that one a chance and… it is pretty solid. I liked it. It’s rough, and violent, and gritty, and I think some people might find it a little graphic. But I really liked it.

The story is solid. The Punisher is a hard character to work with because after his revenge story is out of the way, what do you do with him? The hyper-violence and the borderline sadism work when Castle is getting revenge for his murdered family, but without that motivation its so easy for the Punisher to just become like… a psychopathic villain pretending to be a hero. However, I think the series handles this well. The Punisher won’t kill people who aren’t criminals and he even jeopardizes himself to save the life of innocent people who get in the way.

The cool thing about the Punisher as a character is how many different themes that can be explored that other heroes aren’t as disposed to. Like this show looks at PTSD, it looks at war-time crimes and the weight that it puts on a soldier who is just following orders, and it has someone who sort of loses his humanity making feeble attempts to rediscover it.

I like the characters. I really like that Karen comes back because I totally have a crush on that character. She spends a bit too much time crying in this, but she’s still great. Micro is a cool character too and his complex relationship with his family is very good.

It’s pretty good. It isn’t perfect but it is really solid. I think next I’m going to check out Daredevil Season 3 and then take a break from the comic book shows for a while. Anything you can recommend for me to watch next?

Trying to get Excited About Things

I don’t really know what I want to talk about today but I feel like writing something so I thought I’d maybe talk a bit about my current mental health. I feel like online mental health discourse is always about people doing okay or people at their very lowest. I’ve done posts about being at my lowest with depression and suicidal thoughts, and I’ve done plenty of posts about when I’m really happy and on top of the world. What about the in-between times? For me, anyway, I feel like my depression never comes on all at once. It will start with a couple of rough days and a couple of crushing factors that make life feel hopeless and it will kind of spiral downward from there.

I’ve always felt like I could overcome my depression if only I could like… catch it before it became really bad. You know sorta like heading it off at the pass pardner (sorry been playing Red Dead Redemption 2 lately and its made me a lot more Western). I’ve sought help in the past from counsellors and stuff and in my experience this is what they often try to do. So why not just do that for myself and cut out the middle man?

One of the first things that happens when I get depressed is that I stop being excited about things. Like, I’m not looking forward to anything because I kind of feel like “what’s the point?” or “it all sucks anyway”. I get very bored with my life and don’t see anything in the future worth getting excited about. This goes hand in hand with a lack of energy because if you can’t get excited about something, it is really hard to muster up the energy for the day.

So I’m experimenting with ways to get myself more excited about things. I’m planning myself a real birthday party for the first time in like 5 years. I’m going to do a bad movie night with a projector in my basement and set up a little mini-theatre. I’ve already found the movie and set up the projector and am trying different ways to make that work. I’m also trying to start working more hours and exercising again. I feel like it would be easier to be excited about the future if I could envision a future where I wasn’t broke and fat.

I’ve also set some goals for myself using this process called a PATH that they use at my work. I could do a whole post on the PATH process but basically, you write down a few of your dreams and then set a realistic goal of where you want to be in 1 year. And then you kinda work backwards and think “Okay I want to be here in 1 year, where do I need to be in 6 months? 2 months? 1 month? What do I need to do in the next 24 hours to put myself on track?” I think its a very cool idea and I’m giving it a try. No idea how effective it will actually be but I won’t know until I try.

Anyway, this post feels a little like pointless rambling and I should end it here. I’m curious to anyone reading this if you ever struggle with a lack of excitement about life. Do you ever lose excitement for the future and get caught up in the monotony of everyday life? What are some things that have helped you?

Marvel’s Defenders on Netflix

I’m a year late to this, but I finally watched this series and really want to talk about it. I didn’t get around to it right away because honestly after Daredevil (which I loved) I’ve been disappointed with all of the other little Marvel series that they’ve done on Netflix. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage weren’t great and Iron Fist I couldn’t even make it through the first episode. I wanted to watch Defenders because I thought it would be the Netflix version of the Avengers and uh…

Mostly I was very disappointed. It has some moments… I think the episode in the Chinese restaurant is pretty good. There are some decent karate/sword fights. I like the Daredevil parts.

But there are some real problems with this show. And because my brain is the way that it is… I’m gonna make a list. Here are the main problems with The Defenders:

  1. Heroes who don’t want to be heroes

Matt Murdock starts the show talking about how he’s giving up being Daredevil and when he starts doing hero stuff again, he like feels guilty and bad about it and doesn’t take any joy from it. Jessica Jones doesn’t want anything to do with what’s going on and actively tries to get out of helping. Luke Cage has just gotten out of prison and doesn’t want anything to do with vigilante work. Danny is the only one who wants to do the hero thing and he’s the worst one. Even just looking at them… Daredevil is only one who even looks like a hero. Jessica Jones wears jeans and a jacket and Luke and Danny both wear hoodies. When they do the hero team pose they look so ridiculously unheroic.

2. Teams that don’t want to work together

The heroes don’t want to cooperate at all. They won’t tell each other what they know, they keep trying to go off on their own, and they’re just generally pretty rude to each other. They don’t want to be a team. And it takes them like half the episodes before they are even all in the same room. Compare that to Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, or like… any of the superhero team movies. And it’s not just the team either. They won’t work with the police or any of the side characters. The bad guys refuse to work together and are constantly betraying each other and stabbing each other in the backs.

3. Side characters that do nothing

Some of the great side characters from the other series are present in the Defenders and… they add almost nothing. Foggy, Karen, Claire, Misty, Trish, Malcolm, and Hogarth all show up in this and they spend most of the series doing nothing at all. Seriously from like episode 5-8, the majority of the side characters are just waiting at the Police Station where they will be kept safe. Why even waste time adding them to the show if they aren’t going to do anything?

4. Nobody knows the plan

For 7 of the 8 episodes, it is never made clear what the bad guys plan is. All they know is that there are bad guys around and they have some kind of evil plan and they gotta stop em. Sometimes stories do this well by making the heroes think they know what the plan is only for a big twist to reveal that the heroes were wrong and the bad guys had something much worse planned… but they don’t even do that in this! The heroes are just clueless. They know there are bad guys. They know the bad guys have a bad plan. No clue what that plan is. They think it involves a building and that they are going to kidnap Iron Fist. Really hard to feel the stakes of the situation when the audience never finds out what the situation is.

5. There’s no escalation

You meet the main bad guy like… the first or second episode. They never add anything to this bad guy. She fights with swords and the first fight with her is almost the exact same as the last one. I’m trying to think of a good way to explain this… imagine if in Avengers, Loki doesn’t bother opening the gateway for the aliens to come attack he just does the same thing that he does at the beginning. They open this gate using the Iron Fist’s power and then like… nothing really seems to happen after that.

This post is getting longer than I had intended. I don’t think this show is terrible and if people like it I wouldn’t judge them for it. I just personally kinda hoped for more.

Random Halloween Thoughts

Hey pals! I didn’t really have anything I wanted to write about, but I’ve got a bunch of scattered thoughts that I can make into some kinda blog post.

  • So I got dressed up this year. Twice! I went to a wedding reception/halloween party on the Saturday prior to Halloween and then on Halloween when I went to help hand out candy at my friend’s house. Instead of buying an expensive costume, I just went to the dollar store and bought like $10 of random stuff. I got a cool masquerade mask, a top hat, a cape, and a thing of fake moustaches. I thought I could be like a magician or a Snidely Whiplash/vaudeville type villain. I ended up just wearing a fake moustache and calling myself evil Sheldon. Then on Halloween I looked at the moustaches and realized that I could make a pretty solid Bob’s Burgers costumes if I had an apron. So that was that! I had fun.
  • On the news I saw this thing arguing about how they should change Halloween from the 31st to the last Saturday of every October. They argued it would be safer for kids/easier because they wouldn’t have to wake up early the next day for school. Well I think that’s dumb. First off, young kids probably aren’t going out later than 8pm anyway and most houses turn off their lights by 9 so kids shouldn’t be getting to be that late. Secondly, if you put it on weekends, that just means that more teens will be at parties/causing mischief. Also they won’t get the chance to show off their costumes at schools. I just don’t like this trend of people deciding that they know better than everybody else and trying to change something to what they think will work best… instead of just making the current system work as best as possible.
  • I finally watched the original 1978 Halloween movie with Jamie Lee Curtis and I loved it. What a great movie. Michael Myers is such a fantastic bad guy and that movie is so simple yet effective. I never imagined the image of a door being left ajar could cause so much anxiety. Disclaimer: there’s a bit of nudity and murder, but if that doesn’t bug you, its one of the best horror movies I’ve ever seen.
  •  I saw a bunch of really annoying social media posts surrounding halloween that I want to complain about, but I’m trying to be less of a cynical jerk so I won’t say too much about it. I’ll just say this… some people will make up things to get attention online. So before you go sharing some post about “drugs hidden inside box of smarties!” just ask yourself if it makes sense. Why would a drug dealer/addict give up their stuff for free? Why would they give it to a little kid? These posts pop up every year (including stuff like apples with razor blades in them) and they are also constantly being debunked. I know that there are evil people out there, but there are also a lot of people who are very paranoid/delusional and they will do their best to convince you to see the world as scary as they do.

I don’t really have too much else to say. I’ve been kind of sick, and just really extremely tired lately, so haven’t been going out to do fun stuff or even writing as much as I would like to be. But hopefully I can still keep posting on here fairly regularly. Peace out my friends.

How the Advice “Fake It Til You Make It” Almost Ruined My Life

Fake it til you make it. I remember hearing this idea back when I was in college (for the first time). It was the magical trick to help a guy develop confidence. Women like a man with confidence so if you simply act confident, ladies will respond to you and you’ll start to feel more confident in yourself. And it works for things other than confidence. I remember seeing this about happiness and fun too. When you smile, apparently it triggers the happiness response in your brain so if you pretend to be happy, you’ll just naturally start to feel it. If you laugh lots and act like you’re having fun in a crowd, people will think you’re a fun person and want to have fun with you. It kinda matches up with “The Secret” type thing, where if you put an idea out there in the universe it will manifest for you.

It isn’t terrible advice I guess. It kinda works and fairly quickly too. You start to act confident and make a move on a girl and then you realize that you had the power all along and you realize your confidence. I did it all the time and for a while it worked so well. But there’s a problem with it. After years of pretending to be confident/happy/whatever, I felt more like an actor than a happy, confident person. My outside shell felt very polished but there was nothing underneath that.

Its hard to deal with serious issues when you’re constantly pretending that you don’t have issues. Pretend to be happy! Smile! Don’t admit that you’re sad and try to figure out why. Walk tall with your head held high. Be confident! Don’t question what issues are undermining your confidence in the first place. The whole point of pretending is to trick yourself into feeling a certain way, which means if you look inwardly you shatter that illusion. The underlying issues that plagued me for years were just swept under the rug hoping to maintain the illusion.

After a while, I felt most of my friends didn’t really know me. They knew this version of me that I had projected out there. Not saying that I was never happy or never confident, but it wasn’t the majority of how I felt or who I was, but it was the only version that people really knew. And then if I ever did express my depression, my sadness, or my anger at the world… people would not know what to do or even ask me why “I wasn’t being myself”.

That’s not the worst part though. Not only did my friends not really know me, but I kinda didn’t know myself. The more I pretended at stuff like confidence and happiness, the more that I found myself pretending at other things like personality traits and interests. Oh the people I’m around really like sports? I just kind of naturally found myself pretending to like sports. Eventually I got to this real dishonest place where everything I did felt fake. And people would ask my honest opinion on something and I would just be clueless. I was psychologically fractured.

It reminds me of that thing Jesus talks about in the Bible about the foundation on which you build a house. Building your house on sand, leads to a completely unstable foundation which will wash away in the first storm. If you attempt to build your personality on pretending… you’re building your foundation on nothing at all.

I don’t know how to end this post. I’m doing a lot better now. I had to kind of drop the act and really try to be more genuine. Its been challenging because I feel like I had to figure out how to relate to people when I never really had that problem before, but ultimately I feel like my mental health is in a much better place. I know this conclusion is lacking but I spent 15 minutes writing the top part and almost an hour on this paragraph so I’m just going to admit defeat. Thanks for reading and drop a comment if you have any thoughts on this.

On That 9-5 Grind

Hey everybody. My posting has become a little more inconsistent lately and I wish I had a good excuse for why that is, but truthfully, I’ve been feeling a little mentally and creatively drained recently.

I could blame the weather. I feel like there has been 2 sunny days in the last month, and I’m definitely the type of person who really feels the seasonal shift. The gloomy, cloudy, cold, and rainy/snowy weather has just made me kinda gloomy and cold (not rainy though thankfully). I could also blame video games. I recently got back into Skyrim as something to do while I listen to podcasts, but then I started finding that it stole hours and hours of my free time. Then very recently I got that new Spider-man game for PS4 and HOO BOY! I like it a lot.

However, I feel like the change has more to do with my work. There’s been a few changes at my work recently and I went from having two long days, 1 short day, and 2 medium days to just 5 normal days. There’s something about the 9-5 thing (or in my case 8-3 with lunch break added to the time card) that really just drains me. I’ve been feeling so bored with life. And then recently I’ve sort of reconnected with a couple of my old flames, both of whom are engaged to other men. So I have nothing really exciting going on in my life. My work life is boring, my romantic life is boring, and my social life is nonexistent as most of my money goes to bills. It’s hard to be creative when life just feels heavy like that.

I’m going to try to keep as active on here as possible. I also have a possible lead on a cheap new laptop, and if I can get it, I hope to experiment with other creative endeavours. But for now… things are just kinda boring.

The Curious Case of Jordan Peterson

I’ve been thinking about writing this post for a while but I didn’t quite know how to say what I wanted to say. This past week a lot of people have been randomly mentioning this man and he’s someone that I have very complicated feelings toward. It seems like a lot of people either worship the man like an intellectual guru or despise him like he’s the second Hitler. I often see articles misrepresenting and slandering him, and people talking about him that are clearly demonstrating they have no idea what he’s really about. So I just want to write down my own thoughts on the controversial figure of Dr. Jordan Peterson.

I first found out about him through videos on youtube of people protesting him. The protesters are shouting over him and repeating the same phrases over and over while he’s calmly refuting them. I remember one specific video of a Black Lives Matter protester debating with him and even though he disagrees with her, he doesn’t say anything racist or anything, he just challenges her pessimistic worldview in regards to race. Then the part that impressed me was at the end he praises her ability to articulate arguments and encourages her to keep doing what she’s doing.

After that I found some of his actual lectures and some of them were really great. They were intelligent and based in psychology. They had references to the Bible and classic fairy tales. They were sometimes optimistic but never blindly optimistic. I feel like he gave me more hope than many of the current university/social issues speakers I have heard who usually preach lectures like, “The world is horrible in these ways and you have to accept responsibility for it.” I’ve just often felt like our society has deeply embraced messages of identity politics and letting race and gender define you, while I’ve always been a strong believer that it is what is on the inside that counts. I also firmly believe that self-improvement is one of the greatest goods a person can work towards, and so Peterson’s book “12 Rules for Life” was extremely helpful for me and I really enjoyed it.

BUT. There’s more to Peterson than just that. The thing that helped him rise to prominence is his opposal to Bill C 16, the transgender language laws. He maintains that he fought against it because it severely restricts freedom of speech by being the first law to not prohibit hate speech, but to require prescribed speech (instead of “don’t say this or you’ll be in trouble” it is “say what I tell you or you’ll be in trouble”). I’m pretty iffy on this one. I feel like he overemphasized the threat of this law, while also failing to keep it focused on the free speech issue. He would often mention the “made up pronouns” and stuff and to me that’s a whole different debate that is arguably bigotry.

He also started speaking more and more about politics which I don’t care for and going against postmodernism which would be okay except for one thing. Peterson often makes these sweeping claims with little to no explanation or evidence to back up what he’s saying. This is stuff like him calling out specific major postmodernist thinkers (Foucault, Derrida) but not actually refuting anything they’ve actually said. Or stuff like him saying “Disney’s Frozen is nothing but horrible feminist propaganda”. Umm any further elaboration? No? Okay.

It’s put me into a really weird place. On the one hand I can’t deny how helpful I think his lectures are and how much of an impact his book had on my life. But on the other hand, every single time I see a tweet from him or see a clip of him on tv now its like… I become ashamed to admit that I even loosely connect to him or his writing.

I don’t really know how to end this. I just have a lot of conflicting thoughts and feelings about Jordan Peterson and everytime his name comes up I kinda go through some inner turmoil and thought maybe writing it out would help me.  It didn’t help, but it was worth a try. I’ll try to be back soon with something a little more fun.

Bad Month

Have you ever had an entire month just go really badly for you?

Like things in your life are generally going well and you’re moving in a positive direction and then everything just kinda starts to go wrong? And at first you think, “Oh everyone has bad days” but then that day stretches to a week, and then another week, and before you know it, the whole month of September has gone by and it was all bad days?

Yeah that’s what my month has been like. My finances, my job, some of my relationships, and now my mental health is all kinda going in the toilet. I had a few really big unexpected bills fall simultaneously with a drop in my hours at work which has really put on pressure. I have three clients at work, one of them is taking two months off, one of them has been in terrible moods lately and has been impossible to work with, and my most reliable sweetest client just announced that he’s moving and leaving program. I’ve gotten into random fights with friends and even a family member which is pretty rare for me. And then Friday I was surfing facebook and twitter and the amount of just caustic and bad opinions I saw flying around really made me lose all hope for society. This whole past week, I’ve just been starting to sink into a depression.

On the one hand it sucks, but I also realized that the only reason this hits so hard is that my life has been going kinda good lately. I mean, a year and a half ago this was what my life was like all the time. Even with everything going wrong, things are still better than they used to be and that makes me hopeful.

So I’m going to make a couple of changes in my life. I’m going to try take a bit of a social media break for my own mental health. If I do go on, I’ll probably end up muting anyone talking about politics/social issues. I’m going to try to find a second job to help boost my income and also so I’m not so dependent on my current clients. I’ll keep slugging away with the writing and try to keep on track with the health stuff.

What do you guys do when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your yeeeeear? Haha sorry I had to work that in somewhere. For real, how do you recover from a month when everything goes badly? I’d love to hear your suggestions.