Underneath my yellow skin

Author Archives: Minna Hong

Monster Hunter: World grinding harder and faster

rathalos is having none of my shit.
Oh, shit. Rathalos is pissed!

Before jumping into Monster Hunter: World, I have to vent my spleen about casual games, which I’ve played for years. Before I was a ‘hardcore gamer’, I played Hidden Object, Match-3, Solitaire, and Time Management games. Big Fish Games is the Steam of casual games, and I have a membership there, which means I get one ‘free’ game a month. I should stop my membership, but I do enjoy a casual game now and again when I want to give my mind a break. The thing is, though, once I started playing hardcore games*, I noticed things about casual games that would not fly in the hardcore world. One, unskippable opening cut-scenes. Look. Devs. We need to talk. Cut-scenes need to be skippable, especially before I’m allowed to fiddle with options. The first thing I do when I play a casual game is go into the options and turn off all the sound. Why? Because I can’t stand the background music that usually plays, and the voice acting is usually atrocious. Besides, when I play a casual game, I usually have a video/stream in the background, so I want to concentrate on the latter. It’s different when I play a hardcore game because I want to be immersed in that case.

Two, the code is atrocious. There are so many more bugs in a casual game than a hardcore one, and I don’t know why. Theoretically, it should be easier to make a casual game than a hardcore one, but then again, the people doing the development probably don’t have as much knowledge. That’s just a wild guess on my part, but it makes sense. I’m playing a solitaire game that’s a murder mystery at the same time. I played the first in the series and noted a few major problems. But, because there aren’t many murder mystery solitaire games, I gave the second a shot. Well, it has the same damn problems. One, it randomly crashes. Or, should I say, not so randomly. It’s when I try to use a power up. After I click on the power up and use it, the game either freezes or I can click, but I can’t pick up any cards. Sometimes it simply freezes on its own. The other bug is that sometimes the gold cards you need to collect can’t be clicked. And, finally, at the end of a round after I’ve cleared every card, it won’t exit into the ‘you won’ splash screen.

This doesn’t happen every round, but it happens enough for me to be frustrated with the game. They are the same goddamn problems I had with the last game, and you’d think they’d fix them between games. Here’s another issue I have with casual games in general–they keep putting out the same shit. There’s one solitaire company that puts out the same game once a month or so with just a palette swap, a change in themes, and nothing else. They’ve wised up a bit and write game descriptions for a much more exciting game than they provide, but they don’t change the games at all. I’ve bought a few, and they’re good enough to pass the time, but they’re nothing to write home about.

It seems as if casual games are stuck in a rut. Devs put out the same game over and over again with a slight story change. Everything is paranormal, and there’s usually a family member who’s gone missing. I will say the Hidden Object games usually work fine, and they look good, but there’s no heart to them. I haven’t found one in a long time that had a good story or that really captured my attention. I know that’s not why I’m playing them, but I would like more than mind-numbing boredom when I play.

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Moving on up

badass asian chick with sword!
Shaolin Sword. Different, but still cool.

For the first time in two weeks, I feel like a semblance of myself. I said when I first started feeling punk that I’d rather have a few days of intense sickness and then get over it then to have something that lingers forever and ever. When I was first sick, it was a low-level, but pervasive exhaustion that sapped my will to do anything. Then, I had three days of concentrated crud, which, while it sucked, was bearable when I got marginally better the next day. Then, yesterday, Monday, I felt significantly better and went to taiji for the first time in weeks. We took it easy, and we did a little of the Sword Form, which always makes me feel better. I was careful not to overdo because I know myself. Like many people, when I start feeling better, I’d go hard at whatever I was doing and make myself sick again.

You’d think it’d be easy to tell myself, “Remember, just because you’re starting to feel better, it doesn’t mean you’re completely better.” Well, it’s easy to tell myself that, but it’s harder to truly embrace it. I’m a pretty low-energy person in the first place, but being sick makes me almost completely immobilized. When I finally can move without much exhaustion again, I want to go hog-wild (which for me means going to TWO places in one day rather than one).

I left taiji feeling a bit tired, but not excessively so. It felt good to go to class and stretch my limbs. It also felt good to see my teacher and classmate (there’s usually only the two of us on Mondays) after being absent for a few weeks. I still did my daily routine, but I learn so much in class that I don’t like to miss it. In addition, we’re going through the Sword Form with refinements and slight tweaks, and as I’ve said a million times, THE SWORD IS MY JAM. I love it with a passion unmatched for anything else. I would sleep with my sword if I could (well, no, I wouldn’t, but it’s always in my heart), and I could do sword for hours on end.

Why do I love it so? I can’t fully explain it, though I’ve thought about it more than once. I’ve told the story before of how once I ‘graduated’ from the Solo Form, my teacher mentioned the Sword Form. I vigorously said I didn’t want to learn weapons (oh, I was so young and naive back then), but she gently persisted. Finally, one day, she pressed her wooden sword in my hand, and as soon as I closed my fingers around the hilt, that was it. I was born to wield a blade, and I haven’t looked back since.

I know some of my classmates are envious of my Sword Form and how easily I learned it, but I can’t take any credit for it. It just came naturally to me, and I practice it frequently. I do something with the sword every day, and I practice the Sword Form about once a week. I understand my classmates being a bit jealous, but they don’t see how diligent I am with the Sword Form. I get a bit tired of having to play down my ability or biting my tongue from saying that I’m good because I practice. I mean, yes, I have natural talent. I’m not going to downplay that because it’s true. In addition, I’m good at learning stuff. Well, usually. When I’m not, then I don’t do that thing any longer. I’m not proud of it, and it’s not a good thing about me, but it’s the truth.

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Gonna make me sweat

The full crud hit me on Thursday, and I’ve been slogging through it ever since. I spent Thursday, Friday, and Saturday feeling like complete and utter shit. Today (Sunday), I woke up feeling a bit better, and I’m hoping it means that I’m on the tail end of this thing, or at least the legs of it. I’ve taken Excedrin Migraine (generic version) every day since then, and it’s helped stave off the incipient migraine.

Side note: I go back and forth about calling what I get migraines because there are a lot of people who are elitist about migraines. “Oh, you think that’s bad? I can’t get out of bed for three days and have to lie in complete darkness and stillness with a cold towel over my face the entire time.” “Migraine medication? How lucky that it works for you. It doesn’t help me at all.” I know there are a variety of migraines, but I’m still chary because I don’t want to have to listen to a harangue about why what I have isn’t a migraine. But, I know it is. I get nauseated, and everything starts turning gray. I feel as if I have a steel band closing around my forehead, and if I’m lucky to catch it in time with the Excedrin, then I’ll just feel the mild effects for a few hours as they slowly dissipate.

I haven’t been able to do much other than watch videos, go to Cubs, and play Monster Hunter World. I’m starting to get serious about the end game of MHW. I’ve allowed Nergigante to build up in my mind, and now I’ve freaked myself the fuck out. I still can’t get out of Dark Souls mode of thinking that each monster is a Boss (with a capital B), which means I dread each fight. It doesn’t matter that I don’t die against the monsters nearly as much as I die against the bosses in the Souls series–I still equate the two.

It’s hard for me to answer whether or not I’m still enjoying the game. I am, but there’s an accompanying sense of dread/resentment/obligation. There is just so much to do, and when I unlock additional quests, I’m more, “Oh, not more shit to do” rather than “Hell, yeah!”

It’s also hard for me to gauge how I’m doing because I only play solo. I’ve fainted maybe a total of a dozen times, and have failed a quest because of being carted three times twice (LR Diablos and LR Kirin, but as I have pointed out several times, one of the cartings on Kirin was because of a glitch/lag). I don’t think that’s so bad, but I don’t know because again, I don’t play with other people.


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Monster Hunter: World griiiiiiiiiind

here's my (guild) card.
Does this pose look cool?

There is a weird tension inside of me when I play Monster Hunter: World these days. I still get caught up in the hunt-kill-loot loop, but I’m becoming resentful that there is so much content. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but I get that way when I start feeling overwhelmed. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon, and it’s marring my enjoyment of the game. Whenever I think of playing, I think of all the quests I have yet to do and all the things I need to craft, and, and, and, my brain starts to rebel.

Let me be clear: much of this is my own fault. You can zip through the main missions and hit the credits in 30 – 50 hours, or so I’m told. I spent nearly a hundred hours in Low Rank, and I could have easily spent a hundred more. I only got into High Rank because I forced myself to make progress, which is how these things work in general for me. I remember playing The Witcher 3 and having to make the conscious decision to not finish everything in the game. It’s difficult for someone with OCD traits like me to not go after everything in the game. It’s why I ended up hating Skyrim–I tried to do all the covenant quests (or whatever they’re called in that game) and I lost all interest in the game by theĀ 50th hour.

The frustrating thing is that I know this about myself, and I still feel almost unable to stop myself. In MHW, I made myself cross the threshold into High Rank, and then so much shit unlocked. So. Much. Shit. Also, things came at me at a rapid clip, and in another ten hours or so, I had unlocked the last area of the game (and the last third of the game). I have a ton of quests still in High Rank, and I’m not ready to go to the last third of the game yet because I know what’s coming. Fucking Elder Dragons. I don’t like killing dragons because I’m Taiwanese* and because I know these are super-hard. But, all the best weapons and armor comes from the Elder Dragons, so…..Oh! Also, I’ve played solo the entire game, and I know that’s going to add unnecessary stress to the fights.

I’m not playing solo only because of my ego–I don’t like multi, and I especially don’t like multi with randos. I know the MH community is supposed to be more helpful than most, but I still don’t trust that I’m not going to get an asshole in my group. In addition, I don’t want to be the albatross around my team’s neck, and even though I’ve soloed the game and have only failed two missions by being carted three times (Diablos once and Kirin once, but one of the carts on Kirin was because of a glitch/lag), I still feel like I’m crap at it.

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Dragging through the mud

I don’t get sick often, but when I do, I–wait, that’s a lie. I get sick a lot. Or rather, I get sick in clumps. I may not be sick for months, but then I get sick, it lingers, I start getting better, I get sick again, and I can’t seem to drag myself out of it. During one epic episode, I had bronchitis for eight months. EIGHT MONTHS.

I got seven to eight hours of sleep last night, which is another reason I know I’m sick. I don’t sleep that much in one go unless I’m sick. I’m still exhausted, and I just want to sleep.

A little Monster Hunter: World talk. Just a little because I need to run to Cubs then go back to sleep. I took on the Pink Rathian with little problem except for her goddamn poison. I forgot to spec out for that (I can negate poison completely), and she got me three times with that goddamn tail of hers before I cut it off. Still. She wasn’t *that* much harder than the regular Low Rank Rathian (with whom I had very little problems), and my speculation is because I’ve fought so many goddamn dragons/wyverns in Dark Souls.

I’m back to wanting to master the Charge Blade again. Except, it’s going to take an appreciable amount of time in order to do so. I’m also back on the Insect Glaive train, having used it to totally dismantle the High Rank Tobi-Kadachi. Granted, he’s not that tough, but the Low Rank Tobi nearly wrecked my shit the first time I fought him. Anyway, I love the mobility and the range of the Insect Glaive and how easy it makes it to mount the monsters. I’m keeping it in my repertoire of viable weapons.

I just ran to Cubs and now I’m tired. I will cut this short and write more about MHW on Friday, the actual designated Fun/Video Games day. In the meantime, watch someone much better than I, Casey DeFreitas from IGN take on her most hated monster–Kirin.

General Housekeeping and ginger lemon honey tea

tzitzi ain't got nothing on me.
Did someone call for an Uber?

Hello. I am still sick with sinus issues, so I will not be posting anything of substance today. In addition, I was between phones late last week, which is why I didn’t post anything on Friday*. I’m thinking of doing an overhaul to my website in general, but it’s in the very nascent stages.

Just briefly: I made it to High Rank in Monster Hunter: World (finally!), and things have really opened up. I’m kind of overwhelmed by how much there is to do, and I wished I hadn’t wasted so much time in Low Rank. I fear I’m reaching burnout, and I’m only a third through the game.

That said, I really have to get out of the Dark Souls mindset of thinking that every monster I face is a boss. It’s not. I didn’t get carted once until Anjanath (Anjy), and I’ve only failed a quest by fainting three times twice. Once on Diablos (whom I call Derbler) and once on Kirin. The latter was horrid my first time because I brought the wrong Switch Axe to the fight. I mistakenly thought because he’s an Elder Dragon, he would be weak to dragon. He is not. Also, I glitched once at the precise time he was kicking me and got carted. If it weren’t for those two things, I would have had him.

After I failed the quest, I went back and maxed out my armor (yes, I had Level 3 Thunder Resistance already) and grabbed the proper Switch Axe (the one that does fire damage) and kicked some unicorn ass. That’s it. Actually, I bombed his ass into oblivion, and it felt good. I then watched someone else fight Kirin with a group of four, and I felt bad for Kirin. He’s a beast to fight, though, and he reminds me of the motherfucking ice area of DS II (DLC).

I’m up to tracking the old Rathian, and I’m not looking forward to it. I also still have to do the Power Couple (Rathian and Rathalos) and two other Rathians. That’s a shit-ton of Rathians, and I’m not sure I want to do it. I know the old Rathian turns into Pink Rathian, which is a higher level of Rathian. I probably should fight one or both of the other HR Rathians before taking her on, but, eh. I don’t know. I thought the HR Anjanath was going to be orders of magnitude harder, but she wasn’t.

Oh! Also, I’ve done almost everything solo so far, but I know I’m reaching the point where I probably won’t be able to do it any longer. I’ve been watching videos of people fighting the Elder Dragons (the real ones, not Kirin), and, yeah. Each fight is going to be epic. Also, I’ve come across Beetlejuice (real name Bazelgeuse) once, and he’s a dick. The Angry Pickle (Deviljho) was recently added in a patch, and I cannot wait to run into him (I can wait a very long time, thank you very much).

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Under (sinus) pressure

I’m still feeling punk. And, it’s still hasn’t fully hit, which is depressing me. I’m already feeling depressed because of my life, and I was going to get more into that this week, but I’ll save it for later. Let’s just say there isn’t one facet of my life in which I’m satisfied, and this could be a dangerous slope into chronic depression. Even though it’s been years since I’ve been there, I know it could happen at any time. I’ve had a low-grade depression for a few months now, which is bearable, but not desirable, honestly. Persistently being on the cusp of being sick doesn’t help. My sinuses are sore, I have a dry cough, and I have no energy.

So, this is your post for the day. Here is Queen and David Bowie doing Under Pressure (of course).

Rainy days and Mondays

I’m sick. I started feeling a tickle yesterday, and I was hoping it was just allergies. *spoiler* It wasn’t. Today, I woke up experiencing the full cruds, and it’s the worst. Honestly, I would rather be full-on sick for five days then feel crappy for weeks. It’s not bad enough to lay me out completely, but it’s enough to make me drag my flattish yellow ass all over the place.

I had to skip class yesterday because I just didn’t have the energy to drive myself there, and I didn’t want to infect my classmates with whatever incipient cold is brewing up inside of me. I probably would have benefited from the class, but it seemed like scaling a mountain to get there.

In addition, I’m having phone woes. My beloved Nexus 5X died on me two weeks ago. I got a Moto X4 to replace it, and it just died today. After I’ve had it for less than a week. Yeah, I’m not impressed by that. I’ll be returning it and getting a different phone.

So, yeah. I have the grumps today. That’s why I’m not doing a full post. Sorry about that. Here’s a video of Maru making pizza.

Getting stuck in Monster Hunter: World

he's kinda cute, actually.
He’s just taking a nap. Honest.

I’m sixty-plus hours into Monster Hunter: World, and I’m starting to feel a little wear-and-tear on my soul. Obviously not enough to stop playing, but I’m realizing that the way I play games is not how this game is supposed to be played. Give me a storyline and a hundred side quests, and I will do all the side quests before tackling the main mission. This happened with Skyrim, by the way. I loved it for the first 50 hours, and then I started resenting the game. I buckled down and finished the game in another 25 hours (not finishing the DLC). I loathed it by the time it was done, and it colored my whole view of the game afterwards.

I’m not at that point with MHW, but I can sense the beginning of the end for me. I’m sixty hours in and still in Low Rank. I know that’s ridiculous, and I should be done with Low Rank by this time, if not high rank. The problem is, I have this fixed view that the monsters are bosses, and I have to gear up for them like I do in Dark Souls. Remember, I lived and breathed Soulsborne games for the last few years, and it’s what I know and love. I’m elated if I beat a boss in less than ten tries, and I’ve only one-shot the joke bosses (Pinwheel, for example).

So, I went into MHW thinking that each story mission monster was a boss, and then I was surprised by how relatively easy they were once I actually fought them. I didn’t faint once (that’s dying in this game) until I fought Anjanath, and that was probably twenty hours into the game. I haven’t failed a mission due to fainting three times (hard lose), but I did have to abandon the Rathalos mission because I only had three minutes left, and he flew off again like an asshole. One of the things I don’t like about this game is that if you don’t have any hint where something is, you can wander around for several minutes without a clue where to go. I wasted an entire mission (50 minutes) looking for two goddamn lumps of meat in the Rotten Vale, and it was all for naught.

Side note: In general, I don’t like looking things up in the wikis. However, with this game, if I give it an honest shot and can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll look that shit up. That’s how I know where the lumps of meat are, but I haven’t redone the mission because I hate fetch quests. Even if I do love the Meowscular Chef and want to pump up my canteen.

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50 goals for turning 50

In taiji yesterday, a classmate was talking about celebrating her youngest stepdaughter’s birthday. She (the stepdaughter) turned 51, and my classmate said that ‘young’ is relative. She also mentioned that the stepdaughter made a crack about some old man, and her sister said that someone who had just turned 51 should be careful about calling someone old. It got me to thinking about turning 50 and how I’m not ready for it. I’m 47, and, yes, I know that’s closer to 45 than 50, but this birthday was really hard for me for some unfathomable reason. I don’t usually care about age, and I’m not upset about being 47 specifically. It’s just that it crept up on me, and I don’t know what happened to the last ten years. I’m nearing half a century on this planet, and I have nothing to show for it. It’s messing with my mind, and I think par of my current depression is because of this.

So. Resolutions.

1. Health. I’ve talked several times about not being happy about my weight. It’s not about health, though I’m sure that could be improved as well. It’s that I hate the way I look, and I want to do something about it. I thought giving up gluten and dairy would help, but it hasn’t. Probably because I started eating rice again which is SO GOOD but calorific. I haven’t eaten as much as of late, so that’s probably helpful. As much as I love rice (and I love it a lot because I’m Asian), it doesn’t really have any nutritional benefits. I’ve also cut out potato chips, added them back, and cut them out again. I’ve slowly added back fruit and veggies, and I cut down my caffeine intake by four-fifths.

Which, by the way, was by far harder than giving up dairy and gluten. I was so logy and cranky, I could barely function. It was two weeks before I felt human again, but I’m still adjusting. I have one cup of tea/coffee a day and have completely given up pop. I had some while I was in Malta, but those were extenuating circumstances. I will have a glass occasionally if I’m dining out, but more often than not, I’ll stick to water.

Side note: I want pizza right now. I want it so bad, I can taste it. There are many tasty substitutes for many gluten and dairy foods, but gluten-free/dairy-free pizza just isn’t that tasty. A local pizza joint had a fall special a few years ago that had sausage and sauerkraut, and it was amazing. So delicious! Heavy as hell, yes, but I would eat it every day all day long. I have a feeling I’ll break soon and get one because I can’t stop thinking about it, but I don’t want to fall off the gf/df wagon. I did while in Malta, but again, it was extenuating circumstances. How the hell could I not try pasta in Malta? Especially pasta with cheese in it?

I need to start cooking. I’ve said it several times, but I’ve yet to do it. I’ve boiled gf macaroni and added spaghetti sauce to it, but that’s not exactly cooking, now is it? I should get a pressure cooker because it’s magical, but it seems like a lot to learn. I could be wrong and probably am, but that’s how it appears to me.

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