Yesterday morning I awoke around 9:45. Then I discovered, a short while later, that I'd actually gotten up at 10:45. Daylight Savings time kicked in, springing us ahead by an hour. I really wasn't aware that it was coming up so soon, but here it is. I guess that's another step towards better weather.
Friday and Saturday went well again this weekend, being my days off. Sunday wasn't that bad, but I found myself in my usual funk for a chunk of it. I ended up getting angry mostly over the way my managers frequently use rewards as a motivational tool for us. My thinking has always been, I'm here to work and get paid for it, and it makes me feel like I'm being treated like a child when incentives are added to the equation. I felt like I was rude to my manager when he asked me about it, so I ended up talking about it with him a while later and explained why I felt that way. I came away from the discussion feeling a little better, but realizing that maybe some people just work better with incentives than me. Maybe sometimes I just take things personally and directly.
I watched an old comedy show of Denis Leary's the other day, when my girlfriend randomly played it. I'm sure I'd seen it before, when I was years younger, and I probably didn't like it then. But watching the show recently, I found myself agreeing more with Leary than I thought I would. Even if he was harsh and over-the-top, but most comedians are. One particular segment stood out to me, in which Leary talked about how people always whine because they aren't happy, and are always trying to find ways to become more happy:
“Happiness comes in small doses folks. It's a cigarette butt, or a chocolate chip cookie or a five second orgasm. You come, you smoke the butt you eat the cookie you go to sleep wake up and go back to fucking work the next morning, THAT'S IT! End of fucking list! ”
I hate to say it, but that's all true. I always used to view happiness as a state of mind, or a personality that certain people just have. Up until the last couple of years. Now, I don't think happiness is something you can just constantly have - in fact more often than not I feel like I'm just on my own anymore, and have to enjoy those bite-sized moments of happiness as I find them. When I was younger, I'm not so sure it was this way. But maybe you realize how difficult it is to be happy as you grow older, and see more of the real world.
Here on GS, Tom McShea took some time out to cast some more doom and gloom over the Wii-U. He seems to believe Nintendo is working towards abandoning the Wii-U in favor of a new type of 'quality of life' system, introducing said system and testing the waters to see if it is successful enough to replace it. My personal feelings were that I'd thought both would coexist. But I guess we'll see. Either way, I feel like most adult gamers just aren't on the same page as me lately. But it's a hard point to argue because Nintendo did put themselves in this awkward position.
Gamers in general are hard to reason with, though. And they always have been, regardless of what people will try to tell you. And it's not just gamers, it's anyone who can be a critic of anything, ever.
People will be mad that Zelda isn't "dark" enough, and doesn't have enough story, and they'll complain that they want a new one with super-realistic graphics... Even though Zelda could really go in many different possible directions - and not just that one popular one.
People will be mad that Final Fantasy isn't good anymore... But then most of them only really liked one or two of the games a lot anyway, and will spend lots of time debating about which FF game is the best. The problem there is most of us probably liked FF for specific games and stories, and not necessarily for everything it encompasses, since it is essentially a growing and changing experiment.
People will be mad about any game or developer. They'll be mad about anything under the sun. And they'll brag up popular moments in gaming. And people will continue to debate the fate of the Wii-U, and Nintendo.
I think a large part of my problem with gaming anymore, is the gamers. There's so many, and they all have opinions. And in this wonderful super-connected world of ours where everyone has a voice, it takes away a lot of the magic of exploration and discovery and personal enjoyment. Nothing can be personal these days, everything is social. And I never want to let that happen for me, I'd like to keep some of the personal, if I can. Some of the experience.
As much as I want to step in and support Nintendo with the Wii-U right now, I can't. I'd like to get one, but that isn't a short-term goal. I have much more pressing matters on my plate, some of the most pressing matters of my life thus far. Other things need my money. And I have a lot of entertainment right now with the 3DS. I have a PS4 that will probably one day get some game I want to play. And the PS3 and the slew of games I have for it. And all I'm even playing right now is the 3DS, and that's more than enough.
And the gamers... Perhaps I need to distance myself from them more than I have been. I visit Gamespot too often, see these other opinions too often... And it's just become too much. I also see all of these other games I might want to try, and I need to get back to limiting myself. If I want to go do things this year, go on trips and make good memories, I have to limit my spending. If I want to get married and become an adult, I gotta lay off of the excess. Because excess has always been a problem for me with games and money.
On a final note, I've been playing Zelda: Link's Awakening DX again lately, and having a good time. It's been a long time since I visited the last few areas of the game, and I was pleasantly surprised by a cutscene or two that I'd forgotten about. I've conquered the 8 dungeons, and now I have 1 piece of heart to find, a secret dungeon to complete, and a wind fish to save. It's amazing how, a game that captivated me in 1999/2000, is still so great.
I was actually a bit hesitant about continuing this blog series, for a few different reasons. Firstly, there may be other things I should do this morning. Second, I don't have the money for the Wii-U right now, so I don't want to get too excited for it.
I'm also not entirely sure what my main point is here, but at the very least these blogs should help me to figure out where I stand with the Wii-U and which games are more important to own earlier than others.
I'd like to see this through, though.
The Wonderful 101
I can still remember the E3 before the Wii-U's release. The Nintendo conference was over, but some folks from Platinum Games stuck around afterwards to show off the Wii-U game they had in the works, Project P-100. Despite my disinterest in the Wii-U, Project P-100 looked like the most innovative and refreshing upcoming game on the system.
Fast-forward to the present, and The Wonderful 101, as the game was finally named, still looks like one of the most interesting new games on the Wii-U. Nintendo even came out in support of the game and published it, and the series seems right at home alongside Big-N's first-party offerings.
Alongside Pikmin 3, The Wonderful 101 was a game that piqued my interest for the system. Controlling a group of 101 people who can transform into super sentai superheroes, and combine to form various objects, just sounds original. I still have yet to see how much use the tablet controller receives in this game, though I suspect it will be more than in some of the other games I'm mentioning.
Why?: Old IPs are great, but a new IP can be just the thing to give you a new experience - especially on a new game system. The Wonderful 101 looks charming and sounds like a great concept, and I'd say there is a pretty high probability of me wanting to try this game.
Why Not?: Of course on the other side of the coin, a new game experience is the unknown. I don't know if I will actually like W101, I just assume I will. I could be bored by the game, or irritated by the implementation of the tablet controller. I have no clue. So there's no sense of familiarity there like there is with other games on this list. Another thing to consider is that there wasn't a whole lot of buzz surrounding this game, so perhaps it is mediocre.
Super Mario 3D World
The end of 2013 saw the release of Super Mario 3D World. For some time, I actually was not aware that this was a brand new video game, and instead got it mixed up with Super Mario 3D Land. Suffice it to say, this is the Wii-U sequel to that series of Mario Bros. games.
Super Mario 3D World scored very well with critics, putting Nintendo in a position to make a comeback with the Wii-U during the Holiday season. While that didn't exactly happen, Nintendo still released a highly-regarded Mario game, giving the Wii-U another must-have in its steadily growing library.
Since I didn't play 3D Land, I'm not entirely sure what the gameplay is like in these new Mario games. It seems like Nintendo has taken their experience with recent Mario games and smooshed different ideas together to create a very platform-centric Mario Bros. experience.
While New Super Mario & Luigi U both feature the flying squirrel costume, SM3DW features the cat costume. Admittedly, it took me a few weeks to get used to Mario in a cat suit. It was just...odd at first, for some reason. But I think I see how it could be useful for climbing the sides of platforms, and running around quickly.
The game also features multiplayer, for up to four players - making it great for playing with the gf as well.
Why?: It sounds like it's a pretty good Mario game. I mean listen, I really wasn't a fan of Mario Galaxy... I just didn't care for it. A lot of people did, good for them. I'm glad Nintendo has moved on to something different for Mario, for the rest of us. All signs seem to point to this being a fun, new Mario experience - with some varied levels in the mix. And Peach and Toad are back!
Why Not?: To be frank, I am still more excited about playing New Super Mario Bros. U. Side-scrolling Mario games have always been great, and NSMB did an excellent job of bringing that 2D gameplay into the modern age. 3D Mario games aren't always a surefire hit with me. And I'm just not as moved by this game's existence as most reviewers were.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
The newest major release on the Wii-U, DKCTF is the sequel to Donkey Kong Country Returns on the Wii and 3DS. The main theme is that Kongo Jungle has been frozen over, and it features icy and snowy stages. Your enemies this time around are penguins and walruses known as the 'Snowmads'.
The game also features the return of Dixie Kong and, for the first time, Cranky Kong as playable characters.
Tropical Freeze looks appealing because it is a 2D side-scrolling Donkey Kong game, in the same vein as the fantastic SNES game Donkey Kong Country. That game had great gameplay, great music and interesting stage variety - and that's what I'd expect of this one.
That said, I'm not as big of a DKC fan as a lot of Nintendo fans. I liked DKC, sure. I didn't spend much time on DKC2 or 3, I didn't think DKC64 looked interesting at all, and I never tried Returns. So this isn't as high on my list as a lot of other games, but I am somewhat interested.
The game does feature multiplayer, but my understanding is that player 1 always has to be DK, or at least somebody has to.
Why?: I've only owned a few DKC games over the years, but the experience was always pleasant. The new baddies and frosty levels could be refreshing. And maybe the levels and music will be pretty good, idk.
Why Not?: I'm not a huge DK fan, so this game isn't as important to me as the Mario games I want to get. The game had mixed reviews, with GS giving it a 6.0 while other places gave it 9's. There are less stages in this game than in the last one, and while the levels are reportedly longer, it still seems like a shorter game.
This one I'm really not sure about, but part of me is interested in Disney Infinity. Part of the reason I'd like to get a Wii-U is because there would be lots of multiplayer games I could play with my girlfriend, and Disney Infinity could be one of them.
For the uninitiated, you buy these figurines of various Disney movie characters, and put them on this pedestal thing you plug into your game system, and the characters come into the game for you to control. You can use coins to visit different characters' worlds, like the college from Monsters University, or the city from The Incredibles. You can also visit a sandbox world and bring together elements from all of the different worlds.
My girlfriend is a pretty big Disney fan, and enjoys most Disney and Pixar movies. Recently, she really liked Frozen, and I thought she might like to play as Elsa and Anna in a sandbox game.
I'm partial to the sorcerer's apprentice Mickey Mouse myself. And I think Infinity has the potential to be a pretty fun vidja game if its developers continue to support it.
Why?: I think it could be fun to play with the girlfriend, working together and collecting figurines and building the sandbox world. The figures are cool, too.
Why Not?: There are numerous reasons not to get this game. Firstly, the long-term cost of such a game. You pay $10 here and there for a new figure, and that adds up. Not to mention various sets and accessories. I'm not even sure if I would like the game, or if it would be enjoyable for an adult to play. If the game doesn't sell well enough, it could just lose support and then I'm left with 'pieces' of a game. And based off of the GS review of the game, it seems glitchy. I was also thinking of getting the game for Wii-U since it's a newer system and it might look decent on it, though I'd heard the game has less content on the Wii version, and I'm not sure if it extends to the Wii-U version.
My girlfriend has always been a bit interested in work-out gimmicks combined with video games. When the original Wii Fit came out, I thought it was a lame idea - and hardly a replacement for exercise. Now, I'm not so sure - I think if a person has the right mindset and the right environment to do so, they can get good exercise through many different regimens.
Wii Fit-U expands upon the first game by using the tablet controller, as well as a 'fit meter' device. It also uses the balance board once again. Apparently the fit meter can be taken along with the player as they go for walks and go about their daily routines, to help keep track of their progress - presumably things like calorie burn, number of steps taken, and distance walked.
I'm not sure how I would personally feel about Wii Fit-U, if it would be just another gimmick to me or actually kind of fun and/or beneficial. But my girlfriend has expressed interest in it since the Wii version, so perhaps it is something she would use regularly. It also seems to be part of her conditions of getting a Wii-U. If we got one, she would want to get Wii Fit-U. And since we're talking about using the TV in my computer room for the Wii-U, that might work out nicely - I have lots of room to work with in here.
Why?: If Wii Fit-U works and we use it a lot, then it would successfully give our Wii-U a useful purpose outside of entertainment. It could be a very interesting game, at the very least, and may have some practicality to it. Whenever I think about it, Nintendo has always tried to do interesting things with games that could see a broader application outside of just entertainment. Brain Age comes to mind, as does Wii Fit. If my girlfriend would use the game, and enjoy it, then it would probably be a very cool workout regimen.
Why Not?: A big hurdle is the price. To get the full experience it costs $90. That's actually not a bad price since it includes a game, a fit meter and a balance board, but it drives up the cost of our early Wii-U collection by another $100. And of course there's the possibility that we won't like it, or feel like we get anything out of the product. Or my girlfriend just might continue to not use it. In that case, it wouldn't be money well-spent. So there's a lot of unknown with Wii Fit-U, there's a bit of a risk there.
I felt like I should include a few digital games on the eShop that might be worth buying. The first of which is NES Remix and its sequel, NES Remix 2.
NES Remix is essentially Warioware Inc., or a modern twist on the NES Tournament Challenge gamecards. You play bits and pieces of different first/second-party Nintendo games. And sometimes, the game will mix things up by having you control a different character in a game, or alter things in some way.
The sequel will feature a different set of NES games in bite-sized format. It will also feature the full Super Mario Bros. game, with backwards stages, starring Luigi and his high-jump ability.
Why?: Something about this game is tempting. Maybe it's all just nostalgia? I really don't know. The second game sounds appealing for the remixed version of Super Mario Bros. alone. If there is a leaderboard, or at least a high-score board of some sort, it could be fun to go for the gold.
Why Not?: The first game is expensive, the second one also might be. I would be paying for tidbits of games and not full games, and that's not especially fun. I'll keep my eye on it.
Mario Kart 8
I was never much for racing games. But Mario Kart is a huge exception to that rule. (As are some of the F-Zero games I've played.) Rather than being true-to-life and featuring cars I will never own, Mario Kart is fun and frantic. You can zoom around wild tracks complete with traps and alternate paths, and collect power-ups to help turn the tide of matches. It's quite simply fun.
Mario Kart 8 (hard to believe there have been 8 games already!) will be the next major Wii-U release this Summer. The game will feature anti-gravity racing as its big draw. Bowser's original children from Super Mario Bros. 3 will be playable racers in the game.
Why?: As far as racers go, this will probably be the best one on the Wii-U. It's guaranteed to have a strong player-base for some time, and will support 12-player online multiplayer. It may feature the ability to enable 'Double-Dash'-style play, an hopes to boast 60FPS for 4-player offline multiplayer.
Why Not?: Mario Kart goes through changes with each new release, and while it usually gains more than it loses, each new outing won't have every memorable track. Multiplayer is likely split-screen, so my girlfriend may not want to play it. We are also talking about getting Mario Kart 7 for the 3DS, and one can only have so many Mario Karts at a time. So, we will have to see.
So there you have it, nearly a dozen Wii-U games that I'm interested in as of this Summer.
But I wonder, will I make the same mistakes with games that I always have? Or is the Wii-U really the best console for someone like me?
I think as the year goes on, and I come closer to making a decision about the Wii-U, I'll have to weigh these choices again. Maybe months from now, some great new games will overshadow some of these other ones.
When I first made an account on Gamespot and began blogging here (though I was a visitor long before), it was 2008. It has been a while since that time. But for all of the things that have changed, and all of the different game systems I've gone through owning, I find myself back at the same place where I'd started. In mid-2008, I owned a Wii and a DS. Today I own a 3DS, and I'm thinking of getting a Wii-U.
Though I've gone through lots of changes in these past nearly 6 years, and my stance on different things has grown and changed, I still believe that a large part of me has always searched for that same goal - just adapting as I try to understand what that goal is. Lately, I feel like my views on video games are pretty much the same as they were when I was young. I think video games should be video games - they don't need to have some message (though they could), they just have to be fun and imaginative. Challenge is nice sometimes, good graphics can be pleasing, story can be absorbing... But I think the main thing that matters is the gameplay and the fun.
So leave it to me, the person who pre-orders a PS4 after E3 last year and gets one on launch day, to find myself much more interested in the 3DS I'd given up on a few years ago, and the Wii-U I had little interest in one year ago. I think it seems like the console that speaks to me most right now, and I wanted to talk a bit more about why that is so. At some future date, I think I am going to be a Wii-U owner. So I want to highlight games I find interesting, features that interest me, and reasons why I want - and may not want - a Nintendo Wii-U game system.
New Super Mario Bros. U/New Super Luigi U
Perhaps the best place to start here is at the beginning, with the earliest release on the Wii-U that looked appealing to me. Where better for someone who grew up on the NES to start, than with Mario himself.
New Super Mario Bros. U was, I think, one of those games that just came out originally at the wrong time. The Wii-U was announced, the new tablet controller was shown off, and people were looking for games that made interesting use of the tablet controller. And one of the first interesting games released was a traditional Mario Bros. platformer. And a sequel to New Super Mario Bros. Wii, which came out not long before.
NSMBU probably was a pretty decent game, of the same level of quality we've come to expect of a Mario game. It introduced multiplayer Yoshis, and a very cool-looking Mario flying-squirrel suit which may be one of my favorites, trial pending. As I say, I think people were just expecting something different at that time... And they got more of the same.
Since I missed out on NSMBW, I'm anxious to see what I think of the Wii-U successor. I enjoyed NSMB on the DS, and I've always really been fond of the side-scrolling Mario games. The multiplayer could be a lot of fun, and I could try out the gamepad-screen-play feature with this game.
Nintendo followed up the original game with its own sequel during the Year of Luigi, featuring Luigi as the main character alongside a strange purple rabbit character (is that Bowser Jr.?), and omitting Mario from the roster altogether. The game also 'fixed' the strangely obscene-looking gaffe from the cover of the first title, replacing the Yoshi with a shell, which is a serious plus.
According to a quick overview of NSLU, the game features 80 new stages with reduced time limits and higher concentrations of obstacles and baddies, for some challenge. Sounds like fun.
Why?: If I'm aiming for a fun and lighthearted game, and one with modern production values, then New Super Mario Bros. is probably a good bet. It might not be a new concept, but it would provide me with some familiarity going into this new system. It would also be great for multiplayer outings with my girlfriend - another thing I'd like to enjoy with the Wii-U. And with both games, there would be a lot of content.
I'm also really partial to the NSMBU Wii-U bundle. It has both games, and a Wii-U with 32 GB of memory. That would make it a very good value as well. But we'll just have to see.
Why Not?: If I'm buying a new console with new features, then classic Mario is a bit of an antithesis to that idea. From what I can tell the game doesn't use the tablet in new and interesting ways, and the gameplay wouldn't break any new ground. But it would be familiar. Perhaps another reasoning against buying is that I would probably want to get both games, but it's hard to shoot that down when the bundle is such a good value, and I could buy the Luigi game as DLC for the original as well.
The Legend of Zelda Windwaker HD
When the original Windwaker came out for the Gamecube, I was a big supporter of it. From the very first moments it was shown at E3, to the day I got it and began to play it, I knew the cel-shaded stylings and sea-faring world of this game were something special.
The HD version of the game is the first Wii-U game I've gotten to actually play - I tried a demo an in-store kiosk. And I was blown away by how dang nice this game looks in HD. I never completed the original game, and it does seem like now is as good a time as any to give it another go, what with it looking nicer than ever and all.
And the cover? Million times better than the bland original cover of the game.
Why?: Despite what a lot of critics (classmates) thought of the game when it came out, I really liked the original game. I played it, I know I like it, and I never completed it so now I could. And I can do it in a much more visually-pleasing version of the game.
Why Not?: Of course this is a game that's over 10 years old, that I owned before. Buying Windwaker again wouldn't be an entirely new experience, it would be me making up for lost time. It also isn't a new experience, and wouldn't make new use of the Wii-U gamepad. And there is no multiplayer, though my girlfriend would probably want to play the game, too. It would really be for more familiarity, with a slick HD coat of paint.
It seems that we're taking a trip down memory lane, back to the good ol' days with the Gamecube. Windwaker was a great game, but before I owned that I experienced one of the last impressive new Nintendo IPs with Pikmin. Based off of an idea Shiguru Miyamoto had while looking at ants in his garden, Pikmin puts you in control of a stranded alien astronaut, as they befriend and command groups of pikmin locals to help them battle monsters and recover missing ship parts.
Pikmin 3 is the newest iteration, and features new astronauts and two new types of pikmin - pink flying ones, and rock ones. It is the nicest-looking game in the series yet, coming the closest to realizing that Claymation-style of animation featured in series artwork, and boasting more realistic environments at the same time.
There is apparently some use of the tablet controller, though how much I have no idea. But at any rate, this is sure to be a very good game, and was probably the first Wii-U game I was really excited about playing.
Why?: Pikmin is a great Nintendo IP, and one I'm glad to see sticking around after all of these years. The core gameplay is the same, but it's so refreshing and different from most other games that that's okay. The game will probably keep me entertained for a while, and it features multiplayer, so I could potentially play a few rounds against my girlfriend, if she would play it. I think of all the games I've mentioned so far, this one would probably make the best use of the tablet.
Why Not?: Well, once again this kind of goes back to familiarity, though less so than with the other two games. I've heard countless people say that once you complete the story mode there isn't much to do in the game, which is kind of a bummer, though multiplayer could still be fun.
...And that's all I have time to discuss for this first blog. I have a handful of other games I didn't get the chance to talk about yet, which I will cover in the second blog. I think these three (or four) games would actually be some of my first buys for the Wii-U if I purchased one.
I will try to conclude things tonight or tomorrow. This is taking a bit longer than I'd expected it to. ^.^;
It's already been a week since my last blog, kind of impressed I've held out on releasing the sequel for so long. XD
In all honesty I had planned on making a new blog the other day, but decided against it because I felt like it was turning into another 'workplace rant blog', which I didn't want.
The past week was, overall, pretty good. This weekend in particular was great, and my girlfriend and I had a good night out on Saturday. I've been getting Fridays and Saturdays off of work lately, so I can't complain too much - it's been a nice and relaxing end to each work week. (Or beginning, however I should be looking at it.) The Sunday back to work was kind of crappy, but I'm not gonna dwell on it since for the most part, things have been well enough.
My girlfriend sat down and revised the list of things we'd like to do this year. It will probably be the first of many revisions, but it helped to get us on the same page and prioritize and plan things a little better. The estimated cost for the things we want to do is already kind of steep, but reasonable. But there are some things on the list, especially the potential weeklong road trip out West, that I simply can't even begin to calculate the cost of yet. The first thing on the list is, as boring as it may sound, to buy a new toilet.
This weekend I have another Friday/Saturday two-hit combo of days off awesomeness, but I am debating how to spend it. Last weekend I spent too much money, even though we had a good time. I think staying away from convenience store snack foods and the mall this weekend would be in my best interests. I'd really like to kick-start going for walks again this year, so perhaps if we get a nice day this weekend I can get back to trekking around the neighborhood - and maybe even explore some other areas.
And though nothing is official and no question has been popped, my girlfriend and I are actually starting to talk about possible marriage lately. So, maybe this year or next year or something, I'll finally take the plunge. I guess we'll see. The biggest roadblock is finding a way to afford an engagement ring. Did ya'll guys know that engagement rings cost a ton more than the actual wedding ring? I learned something new this weekend!
Work was actually good yesterday. It started off iffy, but by the end of the day I managed to finish my tasks and everything was done pretty much on-time. It was a nice contrast to how things have been going lately, with me and some of my coworkers leaving late, and lots of stuff remaining not done, and people in other departments being angry with us. I don't understand exactly what happened, but I think one of my coworkers was arrested, so I'm not sure if they are gone now or what. It's kind of crappy, especially since another one of our coworkers got fired a few days ago. I guess it remains to be seen if/how this will impact us.
I keep getting cold feet about looking for new work. I keep feeling unhappy with my job, and worry about the potential for me to lose my job one day for whatever stupid reason. But I feel like most of the other jobs out there are probably not much better than this, and they wouldn't be right down the street like this job is, and they would probably pay less. I worry I'm not a very great worker, and I cringe when I think about what could happen if my department wound up short on people and I was plunged into a position of authority or tasked with doing something I don't usually do. I think I would fail big-time. Anyway, don't really want to talk about all of the reasons why I am looking for new work, they are numerous. But I'm still not sure what to do. One thing I miss is waking up at a reasonable hour and spending evenings at home, and daytime - especially with Spring on the way.
My ability to manage money smartly...sucks. I had big plans for what I wanted to do with my tax return money, namely working towards paying off my credit card debts. Instead I ended up spending a lot of that money on restaurants and a couple of nice evenings out, and some music and games. I did manage to get my car inspected and fixed, so that's good, but I still feel like I should have done more with the rest of the cash than I did. I still need to buy a new toilet that doesn't run for several minutes after you flush it, and I still need to work on that credit card payment. I guess I'm amazed more than anything at how quickly a couple hundred dollars dwindles away into nothing. If I had this much difficulty managing that much money, I wonder how I can manage to accomplish some of those big goals I set for myself this year, to travel to different places and get away from this city for a while.
I guess all in all the past couple of days have been better since Friday. This Friday should be better since I have the day off. XD
Lately I've really grown to like the show Modern Family, after watching it here and there in re-runs and seeing a few newer episodes on-demand. Like The Big Bang Theory, it's one of those shows that I saw once or twice years ago but didn't get into, but now I like it. I've really been in a mood for comedies lately, I guess.
The show is basically about a typical modern-day family, but follows the daily lives of three couples and their children within the family. My favorite characters are, without question, Philip and Claire. They seem to strike a good balance between goofball and responsible adults, and they're just good characters.
All of the characters are pretty well done, and are funny and likeable in their own ways. I think it's one of those shows that, you have to watch more than one or two episodes to get into, but then you kind of become hooked. So now I finally understand why people have been raving about Modern Family for years.
Anything else to talk about... Running low on time... Well, I guess over the last couple of weeks I've become more interested in the thought of one day owning a Wii-U. I'm still not entirely sure about it, but I think in due time it will be a console worth owning, with a good library of fun and interesting games. I guess I keep flip-flopping on which game console I want to own, but I always come back to Nintendo each gen at some point or another.
I don't really have the money for such a purchase right now, and I'm thinking more about later this year or something. After all, I'm more interested in saving for some trips this Spring, Summer and Fall. I also own a 3DS and a PS4, so it's not like there is a need for it. I guess it depends. I have a lot of games on the 3DS as it is, and I still consider it to be my main game system. I hardly play the PS4 but I'm waiting for that must-have game to come along for it one day. I guess I keep thinking since I like Nintendo's games, maybe the Wii-U would be a fun game console for me. But idk. It's just been in the back of my mind lately.
I've also been tossing around the idea of marriage in my head a bit lately, but that's another difficult question that will deserve a well-thought-out answer.
I just got done looking through some of my older blogs, went about as far back as sometime in mid-July 2013. It's funny how a lot of the things that seem like they happened just a short time ago, happened months ago and over the course of a longer period of time. I cringed a bit when I read about how I was looking forward to last Fall. Granted, Fall was fine - I just can't see wanting to be closer to the start of Winter right now. I wonder if I appreciated last Summer enough? I probably didn't. I noticed that I was even talking about wanting to do something big by the end of the Summer, "one last hurrah", but I never got to. Maybe I've really wanted to get away and go do stuff for longer than I'm thinking.
This morning I took my car to the local auto shop for my annual inspection. I arrived at about 9:45 (my appointment was at 10),and I left at like 12:55. I was there waiting for about 3 hours. But I'm not complaining, I guess I see now that auto work is just something we gotta accept takes longer and costs more than we'd initially expect. I guess you have to expect things to take longer and cost more - after all, this is your car - a machine you trust to get you safely to and from places at unnatural speeds. Besides, I can't comprehend what all goes into that sort of work. In the end it cost me about $240, a lot more than I had anticipated, but that's because I needed a new engine belt and a new hanging brace for my muffler. They also gave me an oil & filter change. My tires were, luckily, fine. The brace actually should have cost more, except they didn't realize it required two parts when they rang me up for it (lucky!), and they recommended a fuel-line injection but I turned it down. Considering that I wasted a bunch of cash on stupid stuff the past week, I can forgive wasting more money on my car, and knowing that it will run just fine for some time yet.
Work was a bit bleh again yesterday. Once again not nearly as bad as last Wednesday, but still not great. Once again I'm really not sure what's to blame for things taking so long, though my manager did say he felt we had a lot of garden center pallets. We didn't finish pulling every last thing to the floor and clearing out the two trucks until about 12:30. At that point we had to quickly change gears to gather pallets for a pallet return, and there were more stacks of pallets than usual - I think the most I've seen. Additionally only myself and one coworker were scheduled for the full night, and our three coworkers were supposed to leave an hour early. Luckily, two of them stayed, and our manager helped us out as much as he could. If they hadn't, me and my other coworker probably would have had to leave everything in a state of disarray, or else stay late, or something. I think I heard someone say that tonight there isn't going to be a truck, so if that's the case that could suck... Though it might be a welcomed change of pace after all these nights of double trucks and mediocre results.
The main thing on my mind right now, aside from upcoming bills (and since my car is fine for now), is Saturday. Saturday is my belated Valentine's Day, and I'm looking forward to it. Gonna get out of the house, enjoy a romantic day with milady. It might not be exactly a vacation, but I'm looking forward to it nearly as much as one. You know, I know a lot of couples complain that they fight a lot and get sick of each other and need their own space, but for the most part I've found that I enjoy everything better when I'm spending time with my girlfriend. Sometimes we don't always have something to say, and sometimes we just kind of do our own thing playing games or whatever even when we're right across from each other. But I always feel like she enriches my life, and I want her around all the time, when possible. And I think that is a part of what makes a good relationship, when you feel that way with someone.
One thing I do worry about in my relationship is my incompatibility with other people. I get along just fine with my geef, but I'm not a people-person so I don't necessarily get on well with her friends. I've never tried to get between my girlfriend and her friendships, or anything like that, but I feel awkward when my girlfriend starts feeling the need to go do stuff with other people. I don't feel that need. So I have no idea how to get past that issue. My girlfriend has tried going on walks with other people for the past couple of years. First with an old friend, then with a new friend, and now since both of those didn't work out, with her coworker and his girlfriend. Now she wants to do couples-walks.
I'm just not feeling it, it is not something I really want to do. She is talking about going on walks with his girlfriend, while we go jogging. I'm not so sure I'd be any good at jogging, first of all, and I don't know what all I'd have to talk about with her coworker. I might end up coming off as being really awkward or socially backwards, and inexperienced. I don't understand why my girlfriend can't just go on walks with me, or alone. But I guess she says it's because I'm not a good motivator, and apparently she needs someone to help motivate her to do stuff. It doesn't help that I work weird hours now. I guess the solution here won't be easy, but I'm worried our relationship could hit a rough spot if I become difficult because I don't want to go do stuff with other people.
Regardless, Spring should be here soon, and with it, hopefully a better mindset. Maybe I will finally go for walks and pursue a new line of work. There's still at least one more week of cold and snow ahead, following this rather warm week. But at least I can take comfort in knowing that Winter is almost over.
In exactly 30 days Spring will be here. That's good news, since everyone and their mom is tired of the snow and cold. March is when, for me, it really starts feeling like Springtime. It isn't officially here until the 20th, but as soon as the first comes along I get the feeling that things will feel more Spring-like.
My mind keeps going back to last March, when I was in the midst of fixing up and painting this room. I kind of miss those days, maybe because I was just starting to learn the ropes at my current job - you know, before everything got all contradicting and crappy, and I felt more productive at home. I also got my PS3 last March, and experienced that console for the first time.
But I think more than anything, I miss that promise of the Spring and Summer that only comes upon us around then, before time passes and the potential of what you can do with the rest of the year starts to dwindle.
I've been admittedly doing a poor job of conserving my tax return money since I got it. I don't really regret last night, since it was fun to get out of the house, have a few drinks and snacks, and play some arcade games... But I really did a crap job of resisting temptation to buy this or that and use money like an object over the last couple of days. I think I've gotten sick of what my daily life has become, and I'm sick of the shift I work. The Winter only makes things crappier. And now I still have to accomplish the things I originally wanted to accomplish with my money. So I guess I just have to make it happen already.
My girlfriend is becoming sick of her daily life, too. She wants to do something different, maybe this time she will. Who knows. I'm worried about whether I can really do something different with my own life, or if I will just end up feeling more like a burden and a waste. I think 2014 has the potential to be a great year, or to destroy everything in its path - not unlike a Dragon.
In the meantime, I guess I should focus on setting up an appointment for my car, and I will try to enjoy my day off next weekend. And hopefully, I won't encounter another day quite as crappy as last Wednesday.
Watched a couple of recent episodes of Adventure Time, really enjoyed them. The episodes were - Apple Wedding, Blade of Grass, Rattleballs and The Red Throne. Apparently season 5 of the series is finally coming to an end - it has been, if memory serves, the absolute longest-running season of the series yet. Back when this season started, it was November 12, 2012. Wow.
Yesterday work did turn out a lot better than on Wednesday. I still got angsty and questioned my usefulness at the job early on in the day, feeling as though I was unable to keep up with things. I'm not sure if there's much I can do to curb those feelings when they creep up, all I can just do is stick with it and try not to spaz out. A good portion of my doubts were probably feelings and assumptions of how I was doing and how the day was going, but I guess time has shown me how quickly things can go from good to bad. I guess the reverse is also true. By the time we went to break and returned, I was in a better mood. And in general, it was an alright day. I think it bothers me when the managers gauge our progress and actively tell us if we're doing good or bad. When they complain and say we are way behind schedule, and scold us like we're children and not adults, I think it hurts my active working state of mind.
On Pokémon Y I got done resetting the super training stats of all of my pokemon, and was about to start fresh retraining them, but first I wanted to make some actual progress in the game. And I discovered that your pokemon automatically distribute super training points on their own if you don't train them. So now I have to reset them all all over again. u.u Seriously, this is a stupid way to utilize this entire mechanic! But I don't think I will even bother with super training anymore for now, since I'd much rather see what's ahead in the game.
On the subject of Pokémon, I think I've finally come to the conclusion that certain monsters just aren't very good for battling. I've always liked Sentret, but it just has terrible base-stats in comparison to many other Pokémon. I guess I'm okay with that, though. Not everyone in the village should be a soldier. I've always really liked Crobat, and I think I'd have to say it's kind of become my main right now. Crobat with Black Sludge to heal some damage every turn, is a beast. I'm trying to make some progress with Golurk and Mr. Mime, but they are still kind of weak, otherwise I can rely on Blastoise and Chestnaught. Pawinard is also in my party, and has become a new favorite of mine along with Golurk. (I never really got to use them in White.) I think for now that is my main team, but I will probably make changes as necessary.
Got into an argument with the Mrs. this morning, all because I'm always worried about having enough time for stuff, and being on time. Things will probably be fine, but I guess I have always been slow about stuff and that's why I worry. I always break things down and look at all of the factors that could make me late for work. It's a Saturday, lots of people will be at the mall, I would have to look for a comfortable pair of shoes while we're there, and there are only a couple of hours til work.
Anyway, it's now time for me to go to work. I don't wanna wind up late, anyway!
Today is Valentine's Day. But it really doesn't feel like it, and as far as I'm concerned, my Valentine's Day will be celebrated next week. Indeed, with all of the cold weather and snow, and all of the busyness of a typical Friday, it hardly feels like a romantic day.
Wednesday (the 12th) was a pretty dreadful day at work. I don't really want to get into talking about it, but it seemed like pretty much everyone at my workplace was angry with my department by the time we finally left. I'm not sure who should be blamed for everything running so poorly that day, it just seemed like a train wreck. And that's a big part of the reason why I'm uneasy about going into work today. Yesterday was my day off, today I go back and find out what the general atmosphere is like there right now.
Despite how things are going outside and in my workplace, I am still optimistic for the most part. Maybe I was really happy to have yesterday off, after the day before. And maybe the promise of Springtime a few weeks from now gives me hope. My tax returns also came back, so that is a plus.
I decided after some debate that I won't be spending $92 to get the collector's edition of Drakengard 3 - in fact, I'm kind of at the point where I really don't care if I get my hands on the physical version of the game anymore. I probably spent half of that on stuff for myself yesterday, and I got two games and three albums out of that, versus one game with a bunch of extras I'll look at once and never touch again. I don't think I can see myself paying $100 for a video game, especially not anymore. And games... Idk, I have to be in just the right type of mood to play this or that game anymore.
Yesterday I had trouble concentrating on most of my games. I'm at a standstill on Pokémon because I want to super-train my favorite monsters as well as I can, and I'm not sure which stats to focus on for sure. I'm still stuck on the same damn level in Fire Emblem. And I don't want to read long lines of text as characters talk over and over again so I haven't played Animal Crossing in a few days. Even the new games I bought on eShop recently, I just haven't been in the mood for them. I keep thinking maybe I need to play a new IP, maybe something like Dillon's Rolling Western. Idk. Perhaps the weather and my excessive amounts of time being cooped up at home have given me cabin fever.
I still look forward to going and doing things this year. I really just want to go do stuff, I'm sick of things.
The rest of my paycheck and tax returns, I don't want to waste much more on entertainment, so I will be using some for important necessities, and some for bills. I already used like $100 for groceries this week. I still have the weight of my credit card bill following me around, so I'd like to slam down a bunch of money on that. It still won't just go away for a while though. And I need to get my car inspected, and have some things fixed on it, which I guess just needs to be done. And there is gasoline to purchase, also. And a new toilet to buy, since I'm sick of this old one we have.
Over the last couple of days I managed to make it a lot further through Pokémon Y, my exploits in Kalos taking me toward many of the later towns and villages in the game. Despite all of the work I've put into this game over the last nearly 2 months, I was surprised to discover that I only have about 64 hours of playtime into the game. Really? I honestly thought I had a lot more than that by now!
Earlier this week I tackled the fourth gym in Courmaline City, run by Grass-type gym leader Ramos. It was a really easy gym, and perhaps the least notable one I've visited in the game thus far - of course, I did like that Weepinbell was his final pokemon - it was pretty much my main grass-type in the original 151 days. The gym was set up like a cylinder you spiraled around to the top of - not unlike one of the previous gyms I believe. I guess now that I think about it though, I really did like this gym better than the third one set in the roller rink - I had to track down my adversaries to battle them, and there were no unexpected pokemon shown off by the gym leader there. I think my main issue with Courmaline is that it didn't look like a town per se. It had a poke center and this place, and then a rail car that took you away to the outskirts of the next city.
Then I went on to Lumiose City and battled the fifth gym leader, electric-type whiz-kid Clemont. This gym was entertaining because it was set up like a game show, with each floor quizzing you on figuring out which pokemon's shadow you just saw. All of them were pretty easy, but the funny thing was I probably could have gotten even more XP by purposely answering wrong, thus enabling me to fight more trainers. Clemont has one of the more interesting character designs of the Kalos gym leaders, and Helolisk seemed like an appropriate final opponent to me somehow, alongside the interesting type combo of Emolga and the familiarity of Magneton. Lumiose is, as it turns out, a very confusing city to navigate once you unlock the rest of it - there are even taxis you can take to places and gogoats you can ride around the area. Trainers wait to battle you in alleyways and carbon-copy restaurants and cafes litter most of the city. There is even a café run by Team Flare, which funnily enough nobody - including the Professor - seems to be aware of. Even though a member of Team Flare is obviously standing right outside of the place.
I wandered through the autumny northern trails to find myself in my favorite town of Kalos thus far, Laverre City. Simply put, the town is enchanted-looking. There are mushrooms growing around the place, the music that plays is mystical, and the gym is built into a large tree! While the gym that ensued was a bit girly for my tastes, I thought its clever setup as a doll house was smart. The fairy-type gym - the first in the series - was crawling with beautiful lady NPCs, and annoying warp platforms that you had to find your way around through trial. If Clemont is the most interesting male gym leader I've seen in the games, then Valerie is definitely the most interesting female gym leader I've seen yet. She has wings, and may have at one time actually been a pokemon. Interesting. Leading with Mawile and ending with Sylveon seemed like nice fits as well, and it was good to see fairy/psychic-type favorite Mr. Mime, even though I've run into many of them already in the game. The pokeball-making factory was less exciting than I was hoping, however.
I guess one more thing I have to comment on, as far as gyms, is that the position of the gym types has stayed the same through most games. Bug, rock, fighting, and grass gyms are almost always encountered early in the games; psychic and ice-type gyms are always encountered late in the game. It seems kind of unfair, like it gives the impression that bug-type pokemon aren't very good and all psychic-type pokemon are powerhouses. I think Game Freak could do a lot more to mix things up, and show the usefulness of all of the different types.
Six gym badges down, two left to go. Since defeating Valerie, I've worked my way over to snowy Dendemille Town, and I've barely started getting through the Frost Cavern. I also had more work to do at the Lost Hotel, but apparently I can't make much more progress there right now. I also caught quite a few pokemon yesterday alone.
A few hours ago, I completely retrained my Sentret's super-training from the beginning. I decided to go for speed and attack, but after maxing out the speed and realizing that his attack is already pretty good, I tried to improve his defense and health a bit. I'm not sure if I'm entirely satisfied with the results - I'm not sure if I fully maxed out his attack and I'm thinking maybe it would have been better to have two maxed stats than one maxed stat and a partially maxed stat with two barely worked-on ones. Bah, at any rate I think my training was much more focused this time around. And now whenever I use Me First, Sentret actually seems to be successful more often. So maybe it'll do?
I made a pretty cool find tonight while writing this blog, when I stumbled onto these early concept sketches for Pokémon, which was tentatively referred to as "Capsule Monsters" in the early planning stages. I think it's interesting to look back and see how these ideas have changed and evolved since then, and to get back to the original line of thinking Satoshi Tajiri once had when he set out to turn Pokémon into a thing. I wonder, would we look at Pokémon the same way if it had turned out like this? Anyway, interesting stuff.