I had a whole post written and everything, but I decided not to post it. I don’t have time/energy to write another one, so you’ll have to settle for this lovely little video about a tour of Rory’s (from RKG) island in Animal Crossing New Horizons…that is apparently alternatively known as Murder Island.
Even before self-isolation, I used to keep something in the background as a way of white noise. Podcast, Let’s Play, old episodes of the original GBBO, etc. It helps me concentrate, though I do admit that I will take mini-breaks in order to listen/watch the program at hand. Of course, many of the Let’s Players I watch are now self-isolating as well, which means more solo livestreams. In particular, the members of RKG are used to working in a group. Mostly three, sometimes two. I don’t think there’s ever been a solo stream by any of them before the move to self-isolation. They are Brits, which means now they are in lockdown. They put a post on their
Patreon about the solo streams they were going to be doing, and the one that had me most excited at first was Krupa’s Dark Souls plat run, part 2 for obvious and not obvious reasons.
Obvious reason: Dark Souls. Also, this is a producers stream, so it was more intimate than the other streams. It’s a great community, and the producers streams are a nice way to relax and chat with like-minded folks. Not so obvious reason: Krupa is the reason I clicked with the group in the first place. I was watching an episode of them playing Dark Souls III, and Gav said something about Krupa being a great teacher, the kind you were terrified of at the time but realized years later how great he actually was. After some bantering, Krupa shouted, “I’m not telling you what a sestina is again!” (He had been studying for his English PhD and had to student teach as part of his studies.) That he had worked ‘sestina’ into an episode of a Dark Souls Let’s Play reeled me in. Also, he’s the one who’s the most similar to me, so there’s that as well.
The stream was great as Krupes ran through NG+, the second part of the game, with the help of many summons and crushed out the Dark Lord ending. Every time he finished upgrading yet another kind of weapon, a trophy would pop, and he would put on the achievement music. We would all crow about it and praise that sun HARD. \[T]/ Which is really fucking hard to do in the Dvorak system. It went for 7 1/2 hours with cameos by Ramen, his Maltipoo, who is incredibly adorable. A few of the other members and I started the Cult of Pyros in which we praise Vamos, our lord and savior. He is the blacksmith who deals with all the fire weapons, and he’s really hard to find. Hm. I think we should add Izalith as our Goddess. She was the witch who tried to recreate the First Flame with disastrous results. Anyway, it was hilarious, and we’re thinking of getting a t-shirt.
There was a real feeling of community as we helped Krupa on his journey for platinum. I don’t play on the PS4, so I was mostly moral support and Google Maps when Krupa needed to find something. Sometimes, a know-it-all can be helpful! The reason I know the game so well is because I died so. many. times. In addition, there is no map, so I was forced to rely on my memory. I have a great memory, but I’m terrible with directions. It was only with repetition that I could remember where everything was. Even then, I had some pockets in my memory. Such as trying to get Power Within in Blighttown going backwards through the area.
Side Note: I feel as if I’m the crazy auntie of the group since I’m one of if not the oldest of the group. I’m pretty sure I’m the oldest, but I’ll allow for the fact that there might be one or two who are older.
The stream was 7 1/2 hours, and he’s still not finished. He needs to make all the unique weapons and that’s it. He has to kill Quelaag, Sif (sob), and Gwyndolin one more time, which means making it to Anor Londo once again. That’s gonna be another two to three hours of Dark Souls goodness! It’s a very chill way to spend a day, but there’s also a sense of accomplishment as well when he gets one of the trophies.
I was watching the RKG producer stream (for producers and posh slugs, long story), and the discussion turned to Sekiro, of course. The boys got their start with Dark Souls, and they’ve done every FromSoft game* except Demon’s Souls and Sekiro. They’ll be doing a Sekiro playthrough later in the year, and I’m profoundly grateful they waited to do it because I wouldn’t have been able to watch it if they did it at release. I won’t watch anything about the game I’m playing, and it would have made me sad to have to delay my viewing. I know they took that into account when deciding upon the timing of the playthrough. Plus, they were still doing Scholar of the First Sin (DS II), and they plan on doing the remake of Resi 2 next. In addition, Daniel has to play through the game first because he’s the lore master and the one guiding Rory through the game. The lore side of it won’t be too hard as much of it is explicitly transferred in text or dialogue. There is some subtext, and if you’re going for the best ending, there’s a ton. In general, though, it’s the most accessible of the FromSoft games, lore-wise.
Anyway, in the chat, someone asked about the difficulty of Sekiro compared to the other games. I said for me, it was by far the most difficult. Someone else said for her, it was on par with Bloodborne (she’s only up to Genichiro, but she has beaten him). Someone else said it was the easiest game because you just needed to learn the movesets. That, of course, was a guy. Dudes tend to state their opinions as if they’re facts, regardless of what the opinion or the subject is. In fact, there was a study that showed dudes (especially white dudes) thought the most expert opinion in any subject was…themselves. I’m exaggerating slightly, but not much. It’s from being the center of attention all their lives and having everything catered to them. Look how many of them lose their shit when something isn’t focused on them. A Star Wars movie dares to have a woman or PoC character? It’s an outrage! It’s giving into the dreaded ‘diversity’ ‘identity politics’ as if having all white men isn’t an identity politics thing.
I will tear myself away from that rant with difficulty because I’ve done it many times before and it’s not worth getting into again. It’s also not really relevant to this post except that I wish I had a tenth of that confidence. I know I undervalue myself in many ways, but I really don’t think I’m overstating it when I say I suck at Sekiro. With over a hundred hours put into it, I suck much less than I did when I first started, but the game still goes against everything I find instinctual. In Dark Souls, I’m a turtler. I hide behind a shield, and I rarely let it down. I’m also a caster, so then I just stay out of range and hurl my fireballs/hexes. I’ve learned not to have my finger glued to the LB, but I still tend to keep my shield up more often than not. It’s one reason I had a hard time with Bloodborne. In addition, arcane is not viable until the very end game, so I really put myself at a disadvantage when I started out. I knew I would because I had heard the warnings about not doing an arcane build on your first try, but I’m stubborn. I am a caster through and through, and I’m going to play the games my way.
I am always on the outside looking in. Even when I’m participating in a conversation, I feel outside of it–with very few rare exceptions. I’m gauging the other person(s) and calibrating my own responses. That’s not terrible in general, but taken to the extreme, it can be debilitating.
I’m a weirdo and a freak. I’ve discussed this with my taiji teacher because she is, too. The plus side to being an outsider is that it’s much easier to do things that others might consider odd because I’ve been doing that all my life. It’s always amusing to me when people get hung up on a certain band, TV show, movie, or whatever, insisting that you must like it as much as they do. Try saying you don’t like the Beatles on Twitter and see what happens. Or Breaking Bad. Or Titanic. The pushback is strong, and there are people who literally cannot fathom someone not liking __________. Well, not the last. There are plenty of people who agree with me that Titanic is shite*.
It’s the funniest when people tell me that my taste is horrible, especially in music, because I’ll cheerfully agree. It flummoxes them, and that’s when I know their intent is to put me down rather than have an actual conversation. I like to say I have no guilty pleasures, only pleasures because I don’t feel guilty about what I like (99% of the time). It’s weird because I feel guilty about almost everything else in my life, but not the pop culture I consume or not.
The downside, however, is that I just assume no one will want to hear about what I’m interested in unless there are plenty of indicators to the otherwise. When I think about dating, for example, I have a difficult time envisioning someone who will have the patience to put up with my oddities. Taiwanese American, bisexual, fat, agnostic, child-free (and do. not. want. children or steps), not interested in most mainstream popular stuff, and just plain weird. Add in video games as an old person and taiji, and the fact that I don’t want a traditional relationship, and, yeah. Prospects are dim.
The problem is that I’m so inclined to discount that anything I have to say is of any interest to anyone because I’m used to being ignored and invisible.
Side note: It’s fucking 2019. There is no excuse not to have more PoC and queer folks (and other minorities) in popular media. If I see a trailer for a show that is all white people, I immediately tune out. There was a stretch where all the trailers for new TV shows fell into the category I called, “White guys doing white guys things”. I have no interest in that bullshit, and I never gave any of them more than a second of attention.
The centering around white straight dudes in media has definitely affected how I see myself in general. Add to that a hobby (video games) that is all about white straight dudes, and my negative self-esteem is reinforced on a daily basis. I’ve mentioned before how I can get into some aspects of gaming, but I never feel truly accepted. It’s as if I’m tolerated as long as I don’t make a fuss or stand out in any negative (in their eyes) way. It’s gender, but it’s also age and race. I’m too old to be a gamer, and it stops me from fully participating in the community in general. It’s not hard to see that 95% of the visible gaming journalists/YouTubers/Twitchers fall into this category. Maybe it’s not quite that high, but it certainly seems like it. I’ve searched out women, but they are few and far between.
The night before the new classes, I was hit with a migraine. I didn’t catch it in time, which I think is a shorter window these days. I’m also not sure my Excedrin Migraine (generic) pills are enough any longer. That would be a shame as it used to be I could pop two if I caught it in time, suffer through a low-level headache for an hour (and maybe some nausea), then I was fine. For the last three instances (in two weeks!), I didn’t catch two in time, and the one I did, it the pills didn’t have the same effect. It took longer to work, and the pain was more intense.
I’ve written before that I’m relatively lucky when it comes to migraines because I can still do work even though I’m not as productive as long as I take plenty of breaks. I think it’s because I have a very high pain tolerance, but whatever the reason, I’ll take it. On the other hand, it’s possible if I completely rested while I had the migraine, it might not last over twenty-four hours.
I just went to the grocery store, and I knew in an instant my migraine wasn’t over. It’s a gray and gloomy day, but there is sun. I winced as it hit my eyes*, and the bright lights in the grocery store made me nausea. I had to press my lips together several times even though I don’t throw up in general,** and I got out of there as quickly as possible. I hate nausea and dizziness. I would much rather have a backache or even a headache rather than nausea and dizziness–or my eyes hurting. It’s the weirdest feeling. It’s like the lenses of my eyes aren’t even there, and the sun rays are boring into my pupils.
Anyway, migraines suck. I don’t know why they’re popping more lately, but I need to figure it out. I hate having a whole day and a half (or two or more) wiped out because of them, and I haven’t had a full migraine in quite some time. I experience many of the triggers for migraines. Lack of sleep, stress, and depression are on the list. Also, certain smells, foods, and even sunlight can be triggers as well. That’s basically my whole life right there. The only one I am mostly clear of is the food trigger. I don’t consume caffeine any longer (which has been hellish, let me tell you); I don’t drink; and I don’t eat cheese any longer, either. Those are the biggest migraine triggers food-wise.
Veering wildly to another topic. The one YouTube series I watch consistently is the Prepare to Try lads. Well, it used to be. They were a group of three lads from IGN who started this as a lark. Apparently, Krupa (Daniel Krupa, who loves the Soulsborne series) floated the idea before the release of Dark Souls III of having a newbie (Rory Powers) play through the original Dark Souls with him, Krupa, as the guide/loremaster. Gav (Gavin Murphy) was along for the bants (banter. He drives the banter bus). I found it way after they did it, and I gobbled up the whole thing. I bingewatched the original series plus the Dark Souls III series. They’ve done a bunch of one-offs as well as Bloodborne, and I was excited when they finally announced they were doing Dark Souls II (which Krupa hates. I think it’s a very good game, though not a great Souls game). This was in November of last year, then they said it was being put off until February of this year because reasons.