I had originally thought I would end up writing a big post this morning about my thoughts regarding the Dauntless launch. Instead however I am writing a different post because reasons. This weekend was mostly about recuperation for me personally given that last week was an extremely stressful one and due to the condensed nature of the coming week I expect it to be equally stressful. As a result you are getting a picture of my goofy upside-down Kenzie girl to kick off this post. The weekend was odd given that we spent a significant amount of time looking at cheap laptops and scouring their details. I wrote a bit about this on twitter but my wife has a need for something new to travel with, at least in part because she cannot synchronize her FitBit with her android phone alone. She has explored all of the avenues available through the manufacturer and she is basically stuck until at some point when she gets a new phone because for whatever reason it just doesn’t work on hers.
The problem that I find infuriating is that she has a long list of asks but doesn’t really want to pay much money for any of them. There were folks on twitter who asked what that list entailed so I figured I would kick off this mornings post by trying to catalog all of it.
Windows 10 based device
3 or more USB ports
Non-Streaming device (streambooks are out)
11 to 13 inch in size
extremely lightweight preferably in the 2 lb range
preferably as thin as possible
2-in-1 Touchscreen device if possible
real hard drive space – 500 gb or more
two finger scrolling on touchpad – pinch and zoom a plus
cheap… she doesn’t want to spend more than a couple hundred bucks
Now I can find devices with all or at least most of those features… but it is generally that last piece that completely destroys the process. You can’t get much of a machine for only a couple hundred bucks. We spent a good chunk of yesterday for example going to a couple different Best Buy locations and checking out their open box machines. Sadly Craigslist has not exactly be a hotbed of listings for what she is wanting either, and we don’t really have any good aftermarket “wholesale” options… the one we do have tends to be a scam. So as a result my weekend was a constant string of looking at things my wife linked me and having to diagnose what the weakness in every option was. Do you know how infuriating it is to try and diagnose the equivalent speed of a bunch of low end market processors? The problem is she is coming from a Chromebook right now as her travel machine… and I am afraid she isn’t going to find a “real” laptop that is anywhere near as portable.
This weekend we recorded a podcast as usual, but towards the tail end of the show we got into one of the more dark and raw topics we have discussed. I queued up the YouTube link to start round about when the conversation happens. Prior to starting up we kicked around the notion of recording a bit about using games as a means of escape from real world problems. This was largely kicked in because it seems like this is something fairly new to Kodra… but man did it take a more serious and extreme bent because Grace and I are pros at using games to escape the anxiety and stress of the real world. My good friend Nyn mentioned that this might be a decent topic to talk about in blog form so here I am doing this today. First off one of the things you need to know about me is that while I might seem to have my shit together on a regular basis… I am consistently teetering on the edge of a breakdown. I go through these periods of “turtle mode” that I have talked a bit before on the blog about where I extract myself from the world and try and pretend that it no longer exists. Twitter tends to be the only social network I can regularly engage with… and even then it is largely because even when I am saying words… it feels like I am doing so at comfortably arms length. I can drop a comment that I want to make into the ether… and then walk away choosing whether or not I actually interact with anything that comes from it. Even then favoriting a comment has become this sort of minimum unit of interaction that I can still reasonably do even when I don’t have a lot of words to say in return.
The problem comes with the fact that I can only really handle chaos in one of my environments at once. What I mean by that is I need some sense of change free stability in the three environments that I interact with: home life, gaming/internet and work. The longer one of those goes into a state of disrepair… the more likely it is going to trigger a turtle phase when I for lack of a better term “literally can’t even”. The problem that I am dealing with right now is my work is undergoing some massive chaos as part of a restructuring, and just being social and supporting in that environment drains me of all available energy to where I come home a husk of a human being. My home life also has been chaos… because the teacher walkouts required me to step up and take over almost all of the home care burden because my wife was left trying to condense an entire years worth of training in a very short abbreviated schedule. This has continued because she is still in school and staring down the barrel of having to go way longer than normal… and get out without any real time to prepare for her long summer trip to grade AP exams.
My gaming life has also been in turmoil because I am finding it extremely hard to really stick with any one game for any length of time. For the last decade I have had this rich community that relied on me to play games with… either in the form of House Stalwart or later AggroChat and the offshoot Greysky Armada. The problem here is that I seem to want to play games that are not nearly as sticky with that community as a whole. When we started recording AggroChat we were a combination of east coast and central time zone players, and over time three of the six of us have moved to Seattle leaving a massive gulf of time between our regular playing schedules. Grace suffers from the same sort of periods of “unable to deal with humans” that I do, and Thalen has largely been knocked out of the mix as he enters parenthood. This chaos has basically decimated all of the normal patterns of game play that I have been used to… essentially throwing that world into chaos as well.
Then there is the internet as a whole… which has been a relatively horrible place to be with events that started with GamerGate but have continued forward with Police Violence, Trump and School Shootings and everything in between. I just don’t have enough free bandwidth to care anymore. There are so many things that I know I should feel passionately or deeply about… but I am just numb. So just the act of trying to go to my happy place that used to my by twitter timeline… is an act that takes so much effort to keep from running screaming into the night. The thing is… it isn’t like I could just disconnect that one social feed and be okay… because the problems are everywhere. Even NPR another one of my bastions of sanity is no longer a place that gives me more good than it takes from me to just keep listening. So as a result… when these turtle modes kick in it seems like it takes me way longer to get out of them than I used to… because my entire world feels like it is in an amorphous state of change.
Ultimately I need gaming as a sort of crutch to get me through all of this. Even though it is harder and harder for me to reach that ascendant state… I still need to try and find a place where I can escape from all of the horrible nonsense happening in the real world and blend into an environment where I can in fact right the wrongs and be the hero I wish I could be in real life. Playing games and trying to shut off the noise in my brain while doing so… has become my primary way of coping with existing in the world. I don’t sleep well, and often sleep in hour or two hour bursts scattered between the hours of 10 pm and 5 am, and I think in some ways… gaming is filling the role that deep sleep might be of keeping me sane. I am not even sure if that makes any sense, but by zoning out completely while gaming it allows my brain to enter a world where muscle memory is taking over and I can relax completely. Ultimately it allows me to rebuild the walls that keep my psyche safe from the constant onslaught of existence so that I can keep going one more day.
Since this has been another fairly dark post… I figure I would end things with another of my adorable cats. This is Mollie and she is still not 100% sure what she thinks of the world. She will follow me around the house but is still super skittish when it comes to directed attention. At the time of taking this picture she was having none of my shit. Then moments after I put the phone away… she was up and running around and following me like a little lost puppy. She is a weird cat, but then again all of my babies are a bit odd in their own special ways. The thing is with this post… I am opening up about my struggles because in part I want you to see that it is perfectly okay to have issues. We all have them and mine are built up from years of other issues that I don’t really want to go into in blog form. Basically we are all weird and broken in some manner and the most important thing… is that you find your own way of regenerating the damage that has been dealt so that you can keep putting one foot in front of the other. The salve for my wounds is gaming… and if I flake out on you when I just can’t handle human contact… I am sorry.