Underneath my yellow skin

Lost my game

I’m still dealing with some sinus issues even as I’m getting better every day. One of the side effects of being sick is that I just can’t play anything too intense. I don’t even mean intense in the way of Dark Souls intense. I just mean anything that I have to engage a lot in, which actually doesn’t include Dark Souls. Which, by the way, I still haven’t played since the twin not-plat runs. I was worried this would happen, and it makes me sad because I could do with some comfort Soulsing night now. Instead, I’ve played Cook, Serve, Delicious! 3?!!, which sounds like a contradiction to the no-intensity thing, I know. But, however, there are ways to make the game more or less intense, and I’m doing it as easily as possible. There was a recent update with a new area, which was a little more stressful. However, once I finished that (one of the new achievements was really frustrating because I couldn’t figure out how to actually do it. Once I read about it in the forums, however, actually doing it was simple, and it was worth it. It was so funny), I went back to cruising through each day as easily as possible.

I’ve also gone back to my roots and playing Hidden Object games. It’s mindless especially when I play ones I’ve played a million times before, and it’s something about the repetitiveness that soothes me. I still find comfort in the games, but I can acknowledge that most of the games are just lazy reskins of previous games. Most companies just crank out a game per series a year with the smallest tweaks to the story. I’m all about fantasy settings and the paranormal, but if I have to play one more game where my husband/wife/daughter/son/other relative  is snatched away by some shadowy figure that may or may not be aliens, and then you have to go to some mysterious world in order to save them, I may just scream.

In addition, they still do the thing where you can’t mess with any of your options before the opening cutscene, which means I will skip it rather than mute it every time. I play with the sound off for casual games because that’s just the way I do, and all the intro scenes are the same, anyway. I saw a remake/remaster of a HOG for the first time, and I laughed my ass off because it was so clearly a cash grab.

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I’m my own worst enemy…again

I’m an idiot of the highest order. I have been feeling pretty shitty for three or four days, and I skipped two taiji classes over the weekend. Yesterday (Monday), I woke up feeling markedly better. Not my best, but better. Enough better to try taiji class. I was fine during the warm-ups which, as you may imagine, are gentle. Then, we got to the chi gong, and this is where I fucked up.

My teacher has told us more than once that if we’re sick, we have to be careful of breaking out into a heavy sweat. If it’s a light sweat, that’s fine. If it’s a heavy sweat, we should immediately quit. During chi gong, we did 6 of 8 postures. First three, no problems. Then, four, which is the most difficult, complicated, and involved. I immediately broke out into a heavy sweat and was shaky on my toes (literally. Most of the posture is done with the heels lifted). Normally, I do not have a problem standing on my toes, but yesterday, I was terrible. I almost fell over several times, and I was very hot and sweaty.

Here’s the thing. I knew immediately that I should stop, but I didn’t. Why? A few reasons. One, I’m very loath to appear like a quitter in front of other people. I phrased that very carefully because I am a quitter. I quit when things get hard because, well, again for several reasons. One, I am naturally good at many things. I never really had to learn how to persevere at something that I wasn’t good at because there were relatively few things that I *had* to learn in that manner. Two, my family of origin is not very forgiving of mediocrity. When I was in school, they never had anything to say when I got As, only when I got anything less than an A. I graduated college magna cum laude, and my mother said I would have graduated summa if I didn’t get a B in my Intro Psych class.

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What the Covid does to the brain…specifically mine

Today, I woke up feeling markedly better than I have in the past few days, which was a relief. I’m still not at 100%, but it’s doable. I’m still exhausted, but I think that’s partly because everything is fucked up right now–and I mean everything. I had been saying one of the upsides to the Covid-19 was that I hadn’t gotten my usual bi-monthly (every other month) sinus issues.

Side Note: One of the, not solutions, but suggestions always offered when talking about how to battle depression is exercise, specifically walking. People talk enthusiastically about how their minds are so refreshed and clear after walking. It always makes me feel even worse about myself because I fucking hate walking. I used to do it when I lived in the Bay Area. I’d walk four miles a day, and I hated every step. I get sweaty no matter how much or how little I exercise, and I become uncomfortably hot. Walking and/or running actually makes me angry, and it’s nothing I’ve learned to mitigate. It doesn’t energize me; I don’t feel better afterwards. In addition, I am allergic to everything in the world, so walking outside is always fraught for me. I like to joke that the outside is where it belongs–outside. And away from me.

Anyway, not going outside at all except for a few minutes a few times a day for a few puffs had left my nose free and clear  for the past few months. I still have the tender, prickly nose, and my head is thumping. I’m worried I’m about to get a migraine headache or a sinus headache, but it’s not bad enough for me to justify taking meds yet.

I’m tired. I woke up early, and I just have no energy today. Here’s a video of Outside Xbox’s Mike and Andy competing to see who has the worse ten bad games of the two according to Metacritic, the critics and not the users. Jane was the looker-upper.

Like a petulant teenager, Borderlands 3 refuses to grow up

I think I’m done with Borderlands 3. Which is too bad because the gameplay is solid–it’s just everything else that sucks. OK, that’s not fair. The graphics are better than ever. I have always loved the cell-shaded look, and that hasn’t changed. I didn’t dig Amara when I first started because while she’s a siren, she’s a brawler. She felt very underpowered in the first couple hours. I tried all the characters as I like to do knowing I’d probably go with Amara. I had played as the siren in both of the first two games, and I was dedicated to the class. Still. Two of the other classes looked interesting, and I touched on this in my last post. I did eventually try Moze and the other guy. Zero? No, that was from the last game. Zane! That’s his name. I was definitely unimpressed by him. Moze and her Iron Bear are badass, but since Ian is playing that character, not for this go around. I may go back to Fl4k, but Amara has gotten better now that I’m Level 10 or so.

It was a mentality change. She’s a brawler, which means she’s meant to be played melee. Melee is not my forte. Oh, and apparently she’s good with elements. Which makes sense, but I haven’t been pumping that tree because I’m all about the health regen, I don’t love any of her ults, but I’ve been mostly using the ground pound. In the last game, I used the hold the enemy in the air and shoot them to death, but it’s just not as useful when there a a million enemies swarming you. For the first few hours, I played by hanging back and shooting, which is my usual M.O. That’s not how she’s meant to be played. She’s a get in there and smash them in the face kind of gal. I was already meleeing more than I ever have, but it wasn’t enough. By the way, I did switch melee to C instead of V. It’s better, but it’s still awkward.

I’m blathering about all this other stuff because I don’t want to talk about what I knew was going to happen, but I had hoped against hope that it wouldn’t. In fact, let’s talk about Scholar of the First Sin so I don’t have to talk about it for a few more minutes. I plugged in the old laptop the other day just to see what characters I had rolled up in SotFS. Imagine my chagrin when I realized that I didn’t have it installed on that machine. I can reinstall it, of course, but it’ll be tricky. First, I have almost no memory left. Second, I’m switching the power cord from my new machine back and forth every time I want to use the old machine. I can probably find the old power cord, but will it work? I don’t know. I’m really hard on my power cords.

I went to my desktop, did all the updating it needed, and checked out my characters there. I have several, and three of them are in NG+ and beyond. I was specifically looking at the gestures I had because I should have gotten the gestures achievement. Sure enough, I had all the gestures on the first character I checked, but not the achievement. This one is easy. There are 20 of them, and there are three ways  to get them. The first are the default ones. Had those, of course. All but one of the rest are given by NPCs. The final one is Praise The Sun, which you get at the Altar of Sunlight. I was pretty sure I had all the gestures on more than one character, so what the fuck? I Googled it, of course, and the best explanation is that if you get the last gesture while offline, it doesn’t count. Steam offline, I mean. I play most of the games offline most of the time, so that’s probably what happened to me.

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Bruce Banner adapted for every situation

I’m sick. No, not with Covid-19. I’m fairly sure it’s not that. How? Because I don’t have any of the symptoms for it besides exhaustion. As I tweeted:

It’s a VERY wet cough, meaning there’s gunk clogging up my throat. My throat is also raw and sore. My nose feels as if there are tiny needles pricking it, and my head hurts. It’s not migraine-level, but I’m keeping an eye on it. I don’t have a temperature because I just checked. 97.5 per yooz. Also, I am pretty much a hermit these days, so my chances of catching it are minimal. Our state did a loosening of the Stay-At-Home orders (sigh), and my brother said, “Let’s do lunch!” I said hell no, and he said we could bring the food back to my house. I said and sit ten feet away from each other? Yeah, no. Not going to happen. Nothing magically got better because ‘Stay-At-Home’ became ‘Stay Safe’.

I’m not happy to be dealing with sinus problems, but I will say that it’s the first of the year, and I haven’t had any issues in the past two months–which is a first for me in quite some time.

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Tired of being a freak

I’ve written before about the upside of being an outsider. This is not one of those posts. I have seen people on social media blasting the whole ‘introverts living their best lives’ themes, saying that they were introverts, but who is living their best life right now? The tone is ridicule/anger, and it makes me uncomfortable because while I’m not living my BEST life, I’m not suffering like other people are. Meaning, I’m not visibly more distressed. Yes, my sleep  is more fucked up. Yes, I randomly want to kill myself, but it’s not an active feeling, and I have it during regular times as well. It’s not as intense then as it is now, but it’s there. Yes, I’m having way more family time than I want. Yes, I’m having a hard time focusing. But in general, I am less anxious than I am during regular times.

In addition, I don’t really miss hanging out with people. Granted, I didn’t do it much during normal times, but the reduction isn’t bothering me. The fact that I couldn’t do it chafed at the beginning of the lockdown because I don’t like to be told what to do, but in general, it doesn’t bother me now. The state is doing a soft open tonight at midnight for very depressing reasons (Americans suck as self-denial and no political will to go hardcore), and we haven’t even hit our peak yet. I’m resigning myself to another spike after the soft reopen, and I’m just grateful that I can do what I’ve been doing and ignore the soft opening all I want.

I don’t feel like I can say that I’m not any more stressed or anxious now than I was before. I know it’s because I had an unreasonably high amount of stress and anxiety before and that everyone has risen to meet my level, but it still doesn’t sound great when I say it outside. I also don’t miss being around people except sex. For whatever reason*, I want to fuck the next ten people I see. I’ve been rewatching Chiodini’s Kitchen (from Eurogamer, well, he was, now he’s at Dicebreaker and a DM extraordinaire), and one of them has the actual voice of Geralt from the Witcher series. Doug Cockle. Johnny was brewing a beer from the games at an actual brewery, and he sent a sample to Doug Cockle. Cut to the end where Doug is sitting in front of festive stuff, wearing a Santa hat. He talks a bit in his regular voice, tests the stout, and then says something in Geralt’s voice.

Full disclosure: Geralt is one of my vidya gaemz boos. I have the hots for him, and it doesn’t matter that he’s a video game character.

When Doug Cockle was talking in his regular voice, I was like, he’s a nice guy and he’s fine, but whatever. The second he slipped into Geralt’s voice, however, I wanted to bone him. I’m a sucker for a deep, husky growl.

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Bordering on lands for the third time

is it real or am i dreaming?
Look at my hair. Look. At. It!

Still have not played a Souls game since I platted the third game a few weeks ago (yes, I’m finally calling it platting and not not-platting as I’ve been doing). I’m getting the itch, though, to play…Scholar of the First Sin. I’m holding off because I know if I do, I’ll start wandering into the not-plat. It’s another game with no cloud sync, which would mean doing it on my current character (only one on this computer) or hooking up the old laptop again. It’s supposedly the easiest of the three Souls games to plat, but no! I do not want to get into that mentality again.

I did crack and try Code Vein. I imported my character from the demo because I love her so much. It’s the first time I’ve been able to have a character with hair LONGER than my own, and I spent over an hour in the character creation. The hair is even thin and fine like mine! Two negatives with the character creator–the heaviest set is still skinny with big boobs and all the female clothing is skimpy at best. The one outfit I chose covers the most skin possible, but is tight as fuck and the leggings have holes in them. It’s Japanese, though, so there’s not much to be done there.

I immediately had issues with stuttering in the proper game that I did not have in the demo. I jiggered my settings, but I couldn’t get rid of it completely. I also had loading issues, and my game froze every time I exited the game. It was irritating, and I felt as if it was a bait-and-switch situation since I did not have that issue with the demo (the first part of the game). There were fog walls where the game wasn’t loading properly, and it was a mess. I knew there was jank in the game, but this wasn’t something I had read about in the forums. Then again, I don’t read forums very much because they’re pretty toxic in general.

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Paging Dr. Banner

Captain America: Dr. Banner. Now might be a really good time for you to get angry.

Dr. Banner (with a wry smile over his shoulder as he’s walking forward): That’s my secret, Cap. (Pauses, drops smile) I’m always angry. (Hulks out.)

I didn’t care much for The Avengers (the first movie, which is the only I saw), but this line stuck with me. Here it is in video form:

This is me, and I’ve never heard it put so succinctly. You don’t need the backstory of The Incredible Hulk to understand what Dr. Banner is saying, but it helps. Very basically, Banner’s Hulk mode runs on rage. In the earlier films/comics, he had a hard time controlling it. I haven’t read it in some time, so I might be misremembering it, but he tried to tamp down his anger and he would get caught off-guard by it and bad things happened as a result. In this movie, again, as much as I can remember, which isn’t much, he’s pretty chill most of the time. So, him saying this showed that he had gotten a handle on his temper and controlled it rather than it controlling him.

I feel this so hard. I am angry all the time, but I’m still in the ‘trying to control it’ phase. I dealt with it for two decades by numbing out. For many years, I couldn’t feel anything at all. I was seriously and chronically depressed, and everything was stuffed way down deep. It’s hard to look back at the younger me without wincing at what a hot mess she was. But, instead of embarrassment, I feel sorrow and compassion for her.

I’ve been sick these past few days. Not sure exactly what, but it’s either sinuses or allergies. Perhaps both. We’ve been having weird weather (supposedly polar vortex?) with frost warnings at night. We almost had snow last week, but it was just a bit too warm. I’m so fucking exhausted. I snoozed on and off all last evening. I’m not able to do much of anything, and I have no interest in anything.  I know that’s depression, but it’s more than that. My nose feels as if it’s being pricked over and over again by a thousand tiny needles, and my brain is full of cotton. I concede it might be the cusp of a migraine, too, but whatever it is, I just can’t find the wherewithal to give a shit.

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It’s complicated. No, I’m complicated

I’m irritable. In general, but more to the point, right now. The filters I have set so carefully in place are…shall we say…stressed. As are we all. Here’s the thing. I have a constant dialogue in my brain–dialogue? Monologue. Lots of time, it’s just anxious chatter about how I’m fucking up. But, otherwise, it’s a snarky MST3K voice sniping about everyone and everything around me. I’m pretty good at keeping it under wraps for the most part–except when I’m driving. I have bad road rage. Or rather, I used to have bad road rage. Taiji has helped with it a great deal–but then it comes bursting out at the exactly wrong time. I’ve had this issue all my life so it seems as if I overreact to something small after all the rage has built up inside me.

I was taught never to show negative emotions, especially anger, by my father. He was the only one allowed to be mad, and he was very unpleasant to be around when he was raging. He would make his displeasure known one of two ways–either by shouting at the top of his lungs or by completely ignoring you. I don’t mean just not speaking to you, but looking straight through you. Unfortunately, I’ve perfected that ability, and in my case, it’s my way of escaping an unpleasant situation if I’m trapped. It’s my safe space, and I’m really good at blocking out everything.

Side Note: I know the silent treatment is not a good thing. It has a bad rap, and deservedly so. However, as someone who has been trapped in situations in which I cannot win, it’s the least-worst of all the bad options. When I was a kid, I was scolded about whatever. If I tried to protest, I was told not to talk back. If I sat there without saying anything, then I was attacked for the sulky look on my face. I felt as if I couldn’t win, so the only thing I could do was have a blank look on my face while being yelled at.

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Recovering from not-platting…still

pestilent mist to the tree balls!
Cheesy fun on the way to the not-plat!

I’m feeling the urge. The urge to purge. Er, no, not that. The urge to play Dark Souls III again. It’s just a whisper, and I am not going to do it, but the fact that it’s in the back of my head less than a week after platting the game demonstrates how much I love the game. I’m relieved that I don’t completely hate the game any longer, but it’s still going to take some time before I want to dive back into it. I did break and buy Code Vein on sale at Steam, but I probably won’t be playing it any time soon, either. It’s very good–at least from what I’ve played in the demo (though I’ve seen on the internet that there’s plenty of jank and frustration–and the DLCs are trash), but it’s anime Souls. That’s not a knock–I just don’t know if I can deal with it right now. I’m still exhausted from not-platting, and I’ve been thinking about it lately. Dark Souls not-plat was tedious. Believe me, very much tedious. Very grindy, and it was mitigated because I could do it over several characters. That really helped do the upgrading to the fullest every kind of weapon–meaning, crystal, lightning, magic, etc. I have mentioned this before, but I’m so glad that the upgrading paths have streamlined over the sequels. Having different material for each upgrade path was a pain in the ass. I know it was even more convoluted in Demon’s Souls.

I will say that the ‘have one weapon of all kinds’ achievement in the third game was, in theory, better than it was in the first game. You just had to have one of each infusion–and you didn’t have to upgrade the weapons at all. I think it’s partly because upgrading is so much more expensive in the third game than in the first, but for whatever reason, it was a welcome change. The achievement being bugged was fucking irritating, though. I’m just lucky that I had several characters on my old laptop (and could still get the laptop to work) in NG+ many with a plethora of all the material needed to try and try again.

I have complex feelings about the not-plat of the third game. Still. I understand that they want to make it difficult to obtain the plats, and it makes perfect sense. However, the way a lot of games seem to go about it is to just make you grind for an insane amount of time. I suppose you could technically say that skill is involved because you have to kill many of the bosses twice for boss souls (and three times for *sob* Sif), and with the same character. That means going into NG++. Technically, you only need to kill Sif on NG+, but in order to get to the Giant Blacksmith to make the weapon (and that of Gwyn’s soul), you have to get to Anor Londo which is halfway through the game (if you go the normal way). So, you have to play half the game and kill one boss for the plat, which means killing all the non-optional bosses on the way.

In the third game, you have to make it to the last area save the final boss’s boss arena in order to get one of the rings you need. On NG++, I mean. So you pretty much have to play the game three times through on one character to get the rings achievement. It took me roughly two hours to get to the Giant Blacksmith in Anor Londo on NG++. It took me six or seven hours to beat the Nameless King in NG++. Not to beat him himself but to get through him as the final obstacle to the not-plat. The emotional toll that the DS III not-plat took on me made me question why the fuck I was doing it. The first game was tedious and boring  in many parts, but it never warped my brain the way the third game did.

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