Underneath my yellow skin

Stuck in a rut

I have a habit of getting into a rut because I don’t like change. I adhere to a schedule, and it can be really uncomfortable when it changes on a dime. Small example: Yesterday, I had planned to do the laundry and go to Cubs. I told my mother the night before, but I made the fatal mistake of assuming she knew that meant going to Cubs right after I did my morning routine. Why would she know that, I don’t know, but it was so obvious to me, I didn’t mention it. She was on the phone as I was getting into the car, and she came running after me to inform me that they needed the car in half an hour. I lost my shit even though on the face of it, it seemed like a minor thing. There are many reasons this is like fingernails on the chalkboard for me, but suffice to say I did not take it graciously.

I waited for them to come back, and then after putting the first load in the dryer and the second load in the washer, I went to change. My parents went to take a nap, and I breathed a small sigh of relief. As I was in the bathroom changing, I heard a voice–my brother. He was in the neighborhood and thought he’d stopped by. I had  to talk myself down because I was on the edge. I love my brother, and I love spending time with him, but once a month is about my speed. Four times in a week on top of my parents? No. Admittedly, it was more my parents than my brother, but the fact that he came just as I was going to Cubs was the urine icing on the shit cake.

I told him I had to go to Cubs and invited him along. Then, my mom popped her head out because she hadn’t actually fallen asleep, and she wanted to go, too. Part of the reason I was going to Cubs was to have time alone, which quickly went down the shitter. Then, my mom spent an inordinate amount of time at the medicines, questioning each bottle. I grabbed a smaller cart and went about my business because I was losing my mind.

Side note: My mother has always been an over-talker. We all are, and it’s funny to hear them complain about each other with no self-awareness. I know I talk a lot. I know sometimes, my mouth just gets going and won’t stop. I’m trying to correct it, but it’s not easy. In addition, it’s in dire contrast to other times when I don’t say a word for hours. I don’t seem to have a stasis that is a comfortable medium. But my mom is bad is that she’s also an over-sharer. She likes to say she’s being frank, but she hasn’t yet learned you don’t have to say everything. I think it’s in part because she has to bite my tongue with my father so much of the time that she goes overboard in other times. When we were in Malta for her conference, she would tell anyone who would listen all about my father’s physical woes. If I were him, I would have been seething. She’s done it to me and to my brother as well, and it’s irritating every time.

She also has a habit of narrating what she’s doing no matter how trivial. “I’m washing the apple, and I like to soak it for twenty minutes because that’s the way to get all the (mumble mumble) out.” She’s not exactly sure what she’s getting out, but she knows it’s bad. I don’t care, Mom. That should be an inside voice thing, but she’s becoming more vocal about those kind of things in time.

Wow! I did not mean to go down that track, so I’ll pivot back to the point of this post. I’m in a rut when it comes to gaming. I reinstalled Binding of Isaac: Rebirth (Afterbirth/Afterbirth+) because reasons. Ostensibly, it was to get me refamiliarized before the release of the last expansion, but more honestly, it was just because I wanted to play it again. Oh! Also, I rewatched Johnny and Bratt do the Late to the Party of the OG Binding (at Eurogamer. They are both gone now), and it reminded me of how much I loved the game.

I became obsessed with it again, playing it compulsively for hours. I’ve mused about how aside from FromSoft games, I’m basically a rogue-like aficionado even though I am not very good at them. Nuclear Throne, BOI, Dead Cells, Streets of Rogue. Of those four, I’ve quit two (NT and DC) because they became above my paygrade, and I’m reaching that point with SoR as well. All of them have a huge difficulty spike in the end game, and I simply can’t get past it. Or, in the case of NT and SoR, I get over it so rarely, it doesn’t feel very satisfying. BOI: R is really well crafted, and the ramp up is not too steep–if you get at least one or two damage ups before fighting Mom.

I might be retconning my experience with the game, though. It came out four years ago, and I hadn’t played it on the regular in a year. How do I know this? There’s a glitch with BOI: A+ that when you install it, all your achievements from the past iterations don’t show up. Specifically, achievements on the Post-It Note. I have done all of them except Mega Satan with the worst character–The Keeper. I’ve done everything with The Forgotten, which is a new character added with A+ while The Keeper is from A. I even like The Lost better than The Keeper, especially since I have the Holy Mantle as a starting item for The Lost. You’d think The Lost would be more difficult as they can only get hit once per room, but they also get all Devil Room items for free as well as Cursed Room access. The Keeper, on the other hand, can’t take Devil Room items unless there’s a health up as a reward somewhere on the floor (if you don’t want to permanently be on one ‘heart’–in their case, coins) and each hit takes away one of the two coins.

Before unlocking the Wooden Nickel as a starting item, The Keeper has to rely on coins on the floor to replenish their health. With the Wooden Nickel (which recharges every room–well, after killing enemies in a room), there’s a chance of having a coin drop when it’s used. It’s not certain, but it’s better than nothing. Like I said, technically, The Lost and The Keeper can take the same amount of hits per room, but The Keeper feels way more restrictive. Plus, they have triple shot to start with and a slooooow shot rate. Also, The Lost can fly! That’s a huge asset in this game. In fact, the times when I don’t get a way to fly by The Womb, I know I’m pretty much fucked.

Anyway, my point is that, yes, RNG matters in BOI: R, but not as much as in the other games. I feel like I can rely on my skill more in BOI, but maybe it’s because of the ungodly amount of time I’ve put into the game. I know it inside-out, and I’ve noticed that I’m not comfortable with the enemies introduced in A+ unless I’m OP. The thing is, though, it’s not as hard to get OP in BOI than it is in the other games. I’ve reached a level of comfort with BOI that even if I’m not OP, I can hobble my way through a not-optimal run.

I uninstalled it yesterday, but we’ll see if that sticks. I’ve uninstalled games in the past only to reinstall them the next day. Speaking of reinstall, I reinstalled Dark Souls III. I have a terrabyte of memory, so I might install the whole DS franchise. DS III does not save on the cloud for whatever reason, so I started a new game. I’m fine with that because why the hell not? Even though I was up to the DLC (which means I finished the main game) on my other computer, I’m not mad.

I’m playing as a Pyro, of course, and it’s like going home. It’s so comfortable, I can do it with my eyes closed. Well, not really, but almost. It runs like butter on my new lappy, and I’m running through it like I was a speedrunner, except, not. I kinda want to go back to DS, though, so I might have two games simultaneously running.

Remnant: From the Ashes is a Souls-like game but with guns. It’s gotten good reviews, and I’m intrigued by the concept. It’s both multi and single-player, but more than one review has mentioned that some of the bosses need a team to take them down. That’s a negative in my view because while I might be willing to play multi, I want the option to tackle it solo. It’s interesting because the dungeons are random, and you can run into the bosses at any time. I’ll probably give it a try when it goes on sale, and maybe I can move out of my rut.

Video note: I added the video after writing the whole post (without watcihng it first), and I had to laugh when I saw that it was a Keeper run. even Northerlion hates The Keeper!


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