The Update of Quasi-Doom

Ahoy there, mateys, it be “Talk like a Pirate Day!” (Arrr).

Relax, I’m not going to do an entire freakin’ post in “piratespeak”. That would be akin to the deliciously evil torture of writing in l33t, and I’m just not that mean. It’s been a while since I updated, so I DO expect this to be a fairly lengthy post, so you are hereby forewarned.

It has been nine (9) days since I last posted, and I think it would behoove me to explain what I’ve been doing. I think the best way I can sum it up would be this: go read my essay. Though it is now done (I mailed it around 2:30pm yesterday), there was a LOT of final preparations that took up the past week. This would include: finishing the last few chapters, and making requested/suggested revisions to the rest of the essay, doing a final self-crit, and printing it out. The essay is 49 pages, with bib it becomes 51. NOT included in that PDF is the other 50 pages (table of contents, cover sheet, testimonials, and examples). This is partially because for formatting reasons I did them as two separate files, and partially because I’m not making the area I submitted available to the public (I chose Senex Operis because it is relatively short at around 40 rooms, and has the most real-world research in it, as all the gladiators in the area are accurately depicted from their historical counterparts).

That took up most of each day for the past week. It doesn’t help that I’ve also been sleeping in lately, for some strange reason. So basically, I’ve been waking up at 10 (or later), working on my essay until 2, and then I go get ready for my chiropractor appointment.

Yes, that’s right, chiropractic care. Mickey’s back was hurting, and she happened to notice a “come get evaluated and a spinal adjustment for free!” offer at a local chiropractor office, so we decided to give it a shot. We both got examined, x-rayed, and adjusted, and have made plans to continue to do so for the next several weeks. My neck was pretty screwed up, so I’ve been going daily for the past week (it went really well, though, so next week I’ll only be going 3 times a week). Mickey starts her sessions next week.

Wait, why is Mickey starting a week later than me? Because she’s in DC at the moment, helping her friend Mel paint a show and going to the wedding of her friends Scott and Jody. It wasn’t economically feasible for us to both go (though we wanted to), so she flew out there on her own. It actually works out pretty well: the work she’s doing this week will pay for the airplane ticket, and she’s staying with Mel, so no hotel or rental car bills. In the end, we come out a smidge ahead, even. Doesn’t change the fact that I miss her desperately, and have been a complete slacker about housework since she left (I’ll probably kick into a cleaning frenzy the day before she gets back… not that it’s THAT dirty… just needs a little neatening is all).

It’s been cold and cloudy since Mickey left, and is forecast to get sunny and warm again when she gets back, which I find interesting. Not that I’ve really minded the rain… it casts an interesting light to everything. It’s also pretty cool to see the epiphytes on the trees really start to come back after that dry spell we had.

Okay, on to other things. First, I’m a little frustrated that neither my brother nor my friend Eli have updated their blogs, in WEEKS. I realize that they are both very busy right now, and I’m not blaming or faulting them. It’s just frustrating for me, because it’s one of the ways I try to keep in touch with what’s going on with my friends. When they don’t update for so long, it really makes me realize that I’m 3000+ miles away.

Second: This may sound strange, but I’ve been going bonkers since I finished my essay yesterday. I’ve had 15 different things poking at me for months now (various aspects of the move being half of those, and the school stuff being the other half), and now that they’re all actually done, I don’t know what to do. I really just wanted to vegetate last night, but I really had trouble doing so. None of my pastimes seemed enjoyable (no game seemed appealing, likewise with dvds, anime, or books). I finally decided to just be diligent, and work on Xenosaga some more. The story is phenomenal, the graphics are great, the fights are challenging… and the game is tedious. I hate to say it, as I really do love the series (Xenogears is one of my favorite games of all time), but there it is. The game is a fucking CHORE, something to work through in order to get the story. While I was trying to get to sleep last night, I spent some time thinking about just what it is that makes it so, since it also has so many things going for it.

What it comes down to is that it isn’t immersive. This is, in my opinion, because it really doesn’t have much in the way of music. There are great, heaping gobs of game time that occur without any music at all, just the sound effects of the character running down the hall, blowing up vending machines, and the hum of the reactor of the space ship. This is a TRAGEDY, in comparison to the phenomenal use of sound and the exquisite musical score in Xenogears. If any of the folks at Monolith or Namco happen to come across this, please take it into consideration. Do NOT underestimate the use of music. I hate to say it, but I fully expect that once I do finish episode one of Xenosaga, I won’t play it again. I MAY, once the rest of the series comes out, sit down and do the whole thing, but I just don’t know.

I digress. I was talking about being so keyed up to having stuff to do that I didn’t/don’t know what to do with myself. I ended up playing video games. I woke up this morning, and was faced once again with this dilemma. I played some Final Fantasy Tactics Advance (which is excellent, if a bit campy… I preferred the story of the original Final Fantasy Tactics), and then went to my appointment. Came home, and realized that I had no idea what to do again, and that games just weren’t appealing to me. So instead, I decided it was high time I wrote an update for my website. I’ve got a few ideas on things that I want to change, but I haven’t decided yet, so we’ll see over the next few weeks.

I have hopes to get a lot done in between now and when I fly back to Vermont in a few weeks. I picked up a new domain (, and haven’t had a chance to do anything with it… hopefully I’ll upgrade my account soon to one that supports SQL, and then I’ll put it in as an IRM on this account. That way I can finally implement user accounts (assuming I can figure out how), AND set up this new website endeavor (I’ve commented on it before.. it will be a sister site to… talking about influential games in the industry, and the value of games as a communicative medium as valid as movies and books). I’ve got a lot of plans for this site, so we’ll see how that goes.

Yes, yes, web site work, that seems a good goal for the next few weeks. As is playing with Maya some more (hey, I may not be in class for it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still fool around with it), and finally sitting down and making a concerted effort to learn C/C++. Yes, I know I’ve said that before, on many many occasions. In fact, I have half a dozen books about C on my shelf right now. So what makes me think this time will be different? Because most of those books are not in fact meant for true beginners. I finally have one that is SPECIFICALLY for people who are just beginning, with no prior experience in C, C++, Java, PASCAL, or anything. We’ll see if it takes this time.

Current topics I want to write about: reviews of Zelda, Xenosaga, the Final Fantasy uber-franchise (mm, FFXI will be out when I get back from my residency), Ziggy Stardust, Dr Fate, and Seattle. We’ll see how many I actually do ;).