Recently, during my lunch breaks at work or when I need to put on something in the background while I’m working at my computer, I’ve been watching a lot of Drawfee on YouTube. For those unfamiliar, it’s a funny show of varying length, usually about half an hour, where two or more artist participate in a drawing challenge, sometimes as they record themselves talking through it with the other present hosts (they have a stable of four regular hosts these days, with occasional guests or missing hosts) or as they talk over a sped-up video of them drawing something in the past. The format of the video tends to vary based on the specifics of the challenge, and there are enough different styles of video that I don’t think I’ve watched them all even after about a month or two of lunches spent watching these videos mostly selected at random. Despite the lack of dependable form, it is a pretty safe bet that you’re going to enjoy just about every video that might pop up from their channel.Continue reading
One of my favorite passtimes when I’m feeling down is to browse through videos on the YouTube channel “Let’s Game It Out.” A zookeeper friend introduced me to this creator (who goes by Josh in his videos) when one of his videos about an unethical zoo showed up in some of her zookeeper circles a few months before the pandemic kicked off in the US. It started a pleasant night of YouTube video watching, almost entirely focused on this guy’s videos, and had us all laughing so hard we were crying. It was a lot of fun for a single evening that eventually tapered out when we realized we were out of zoo-related videos to watch, and it wound up being one of the last times we gathered as a group for a long while. With everything that happened in the start of 2020 and then that happened as the pandemic revved up, I completely forgot about the videos until last summer.Continue reading
I lack the words to describe how nice it was that the weather had been in the 60s, that there’d been a decent amount of sunlight, and that I’d been able to comfortably wear shorts. Nevertheless, that’s what the rest of this blog post will be about. It just felt so nice, you know? I wanted to exult in it for a while, enjoy the end of my seasonal depression and bask in the gloriously chilly but still comfy weather we had for the few days it was here.Continue reading
Sometimes, I like to spend way too much time on something. In years past, I was not as skilled at directing this time and attention toward something constructive and positive. I’d spend hours scrolling through social media, trying to get my spoons perfectly clean (OCD’s a bitch), or getting everything perfect on a theaterical set I was building (instead of getting it good enough for something that was going to stay up for three weeks and then get tossed in a dumpster). Now, I’m a little better at directing my time. I direct this level of focus towards putting puzzles together, deep-cleaning my apartment, and various personal projects. Which isn’t to say that I can channel my compulsions into something useful, but that maybe I’ve gotten better at handling my mental health in a way that leads toward more positive coping mechanism than obsessing over whether or not my most-used utensil is bacteria free and not going to kill me by introducing rat posion/foreign bacteria/????DANGER???? into my system.
After a brief, jovial conversation at work, during which I politely asked a coworker to fuck off after he criticised my slap-dash wiring methods, I was asked by another coworker what was the most complicated and time-consuming way I’d told someone to fuck off. He was referencing my tendency to commit to elaborate bits and my willingness to spend a lot of time doing something right the first time, but I couldn’t think of any examples. Most of the time, I just tell people to fuck off directly. Ever since that conversation, I’ve been trying to think of any example of a time I spent a lot of time on something like that and I’ve drawn a blank.
Clearly, I don’t mind spending a lot of time on things other people don’t consider important or worth it. I spent hours turning in a paper because it was my degree capstone and I liked my professor a lot. In addition to the standard format copy I submitted just to cover all my bases, I took a cue from a discussion we’d had in in class the week prior and the peculiar way I’d written the title of this 20-page paper. I printed the whole thing out on several long pieces of paper, used my theatrical prop-building skills to turn them all into a properly parchment-looking sheet, and “nailed” (pieces of duct tape with the word “nail” written on them) the result to my professor’s office door the day the paper was due. It was not a cheap trick to pull for a broke college student, given that the only paper that would work for my purposes was some of the heavy-duty art-student paper I had to get specially printed at the print shop on campus.
I did a similar thing to ask a woman out, once. Wrote a short story based on some things we had discussed and some stuff we were learning about in a class we were both taking, and eventually delivered a hand-distressed “ancient myth” I’d discovered. It was fun, took way too long, and was 100% worth it. The relationship didn’t develop much further in that direction, but I enjoyed my time spent in the crafting. I’ve also spent hours wrapping presents in ways that disguised not only what the present was, but what part of the strange result was actually the present (if you twist a shirt tightly enough and then wrap the result in plastic wrap, it actually becomes a rather firm object you can use as the haft of an axe you’ve made out of tape, cardboard, and way too much wrapping paper). I’ve made various weapons, done one of the largely annoying but still fun “box in a box in a box in a box in a box….” style wraps, and even took the time to elaborately write out a certificate as a present, the first letter of each work spelling out where the recipient could actually find their gift.
The through-line of all of this is that I am willing to spend a lot of time doing things I find interesting, that I enjoy, or that I think other people will enjoy. My love of repititive and exacting tasks means I can zone out and never get bored doing something like that, so there’s generally very little reason for me not to do that kind of thing. But I’ve never spent more than a couple minutes on something that might upset someone. I’ve spent time crafting letters to establish boundaries and working out how to express myself in a situation that is emotionally frought, but I’ve never spent more than a couple minutes on something meant as an elaborate form of “fuck off.” I just don’t have the time or the energy for that kind of negativity. I was going to say “bullshit” instead of “negativity,” but I have plenty of time and energy for largely uninteresting stuff others might consider bullshit.
One of the upsides of my childhood is that I quickly learned that being mean to people isn’t worth my time. The more time you spend on telling someone you hate them, the happier they are. Bullies, trolls, and abusers are always happy to see you spend your time on them, regardless of the reason. There’s an old saying that the best revenge is a life well-lived, and while I like the sentiment, I’m not sure I entirely agree. Some people need to be punched, some people need to be told off, and some people need to be chewed out, but I’m not going to spend any more time than I feel is absolutely necessary for my own health and satisfaction (or the health or satisfaction of someone I’m supporting) on someone I don’t care about. Generally speaking, they’re not worth it.
I hope this doesn’t come off as smugly superior. I just think it’s worth thinking about that if you want to spend hours planning an elaborate revenge prank or whatever, it might be a better use of your time to just punch them in the face and move on with your life as best you can. Or just tell them to get fucked and walk away. Or offer to show up as a call-in guest to a small multi-person therapy session to tell them they fucking suck and can go fuck themselves before promptly hanging up. Lots of ways to just do it and be done, you know? Spend your time and energy one something better, life filing your taxes or picking gum out of carpet. At least you’ll have accomplished something lasting when those are tasks are done.
There is a particular feeling, sweet and sorrowful, that rises slowly in your consciousness as you near the end of something you have loved. A misty-eyed sensation you cannot address even in the privacy of your internal monologue because doing so means admitting it is real and present, and ignoring it means you can live in blessed ignorance for another day. It is a feeling as ancient and familiar to me as my own sense of self-hood, perhaps older even, because the day I was first aware of myself, this feeling was already there.Continue reading
I write about Breath of the Wild a lot. I play it much more than I write about it. I think about it much more than I play it. It would not be entirely out of line to suggest that this game is constantly on my mind. There’s a constant mixture of the desire to play the game more and my memories of past times I’ve played it, churning around in my head. Unfortunately, I don’t get to play it as much as I would like. Writing and general adult stuff, like working out and picking up extra hours to get some financial breathing space, make it difficult to get more than an hour or two in each week. Occasionally, I get the opportunity to binge it for a while, but that just reminds me of the first time I played it.
I missed my chance to pre-order a switch since I was just starting a new job and was too stressed to follow gaming news closely enough to sign up before they all sold out. Same for the special editions of Breath of the Wild. Instead, I spent all of March second camped outside the front doors of a Best Buy only to watch a bunch of shitty pre-order people show up in the last half hour and be allowed to get their pick of the peripherals because any of the people who had been waiting for twelve hours or more even got to step a foot inside. I’m still bitter about that. I got the last Pro controller, so I didn’t miss out on any of the peripherals I wanted, but I was the second person in line. The other hundred people behind me were shit outta luck.
I got home, played for an hour, and then finally went to bed at around three because I was falling asleep despite my excitement. Over the next three days (of course I took that Friday off of work!), I got maybe fifteen hours of sleep and put in over fifty hours of game time. By the end of the third weekend after getting the game, I had it beaten (except for Korok Seeds) and was sitting in the 125-150 hour range. It was amazing. I don’t think I’d ever focused on something so completely in my life. I’m not one to binge games that much, though I do enjoy a good weekend of playing only one game, so it felt strange to realize just how much I’d been playing every day. It still feels strange and other-worldly to think about. I miss it.
When I started playing, the world was new. Every corner held something new to experience or explore. I was constantly figuring out new things like shield surfing, mounting Lynels for a few quick hits, and the fun things you can do with balloons. I felt excited every day to go home and play. Wandering around a world that felt dangerous, new, and so incredibly sad was probably the happiest I felt during 2017.
The game came at a bit of a crossroads for me. I hadn’t been able to get myself and my now-roommates together in time to move out before our lease needed to be renewed, so I was stuck living with someone who was stressing me out for another six months. I’d started a new job that was so much better than my old job, but I was struggling with impostor syndrome. Home life had been stressful because stuff just kept going wrong around the apartment. My depression was at its worst because of the cloudy weather that we had for long periods and winter in general. My roommate was becoming more and more stressful, and the release of the Switch marked his decent from stressful but tolerable to intolerable and misery-inducing. I’m not exaggerating when I say that Breath of the Wild was not only the best thing that had happened to me in almost a year but that it was the last simply good thing to come into my life for another six months after that.
Even though my life has greatly improved since this time last year, I still wish I could recapture the wonder and excitement I felt at stepping into a new world. No other video game I’ve ever played made me as excited as Breath of the Wild did. No other video game has ever felt tantalizingly real as Breath of the Wild did. It made me feel like I do when I read some of my favorite books, but I can’t seem to recapture that feeling as closely as I can when I reread those books. I can still get lost in it, and I haven’t yet gotten bored with running around the world to find something new I’ve never seen before, but that’s different feeling.
I’ll cherish the time I spent with the game when it was new and all I can really do is hope that I can find that again in some other video game. Maybe the next Legend of Zelda. Current information suggests it will also be open world, so maybe I’ll be able to experience that wonder and joy all over again. Until then, I’ll content myself with my books and the few hours of Legend of Zelda I can work in every week.