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15 November 2012 @ 08:46 am
Life, Baby, Video Games and Movies  
I'm very lucky to have what I have RE: my family, but it doesn't leave a ton of time to do other stuff. I manage to work in a halfway-decent amount of video gaming. But of course, I don't have time for much else. Posts like that last one I did? Back in freaking July? That took a week to write, and it was a bit of a stretch to pull *that* timetable off.

What I'm saying is "I don't post as much as I used to." And if I did post more, it'd probably mostly be about how much I love my wife and my son. I know people on the Netz get tired of that kind of stuff. And in all honesty, I've never been one to blog as much about my personal life as I do about geeky stuff. That's really what I talk about: video games, movies, comic books. Rarely do I come here to discuss my life.

Even so, I'll take a moment to do that now. And then I'll move onto the geeky stuff again.

Oliver's walking and damn near RUNNING without help, and he's even eating solid food. He's exhausting, but so incredibly adorable and rewarding. In many ways, he controls our moods: If he's happy, we're happy, and if he's grouchy, we're grouchy. I never thought I'd have a kid of my very own, but I also don't regret the decision. He is SO smart, SO cute, SO sweet, SO clever and SO busy!

Even so, I'm pretty sure we're done here: one is our maximum, because this is just so tiring and difficult to pull off. It's a lot of work to keep him happy and safe; kinda like having another full-time job. I have no idea how people survive having more children. Two kids? No one should really have to endure that, but I have much respect for those who can pull it off. Three kids? I hope you're hiring a full-time nanny service for that. Four or more? I should probably just lock you away, for clearly you are some kind of crazy person.

Maria is such a champion for putting up with the messes that Ollie and I make. She has to work so much to keep the house running, and I always offer to help, but there's precious little she'll allow me to do. I'm forbidden to do laundry for some reason, and this is merely the beginning. Yet she does everything the house needs with a smile on her face while listening to her favorite audio books, because she's the rock star queen.

Ollie's current favorite foods include animal crackers and Chic Fil-A. His favorite toys include the clacking alligators and anything we're holding that he probably shouldn't play with.

He's so incredibly busy that we have to watch one-hour TV shows over the course of like, two and a half hours. I can't really play many console games anymore until he goes to sleep, but I managed to squeeze in quite a few before it came to that. In fact, I'm going to talk about a couple of the last few console games I played... right now!

A while back, I played "Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon" on my Wii, which is about as Japanese a game as has ever Japaned a Japan. It's anime-style, it's got a nonsense title, it's full of esoteric spirituality, and, oh, did I mention it's relentlessly depressing? That last part's not really Japanese in particular, but it does suck out any feelings of personal pleasure about as thoroughly as Silent Hill 2. It's a tale about a 15-year-old boy who was born after a mysterious apocalypse. He travels through Japan in the hopes of connecting with some sort of live human being, but mostly encounters ghosts and occasional service robots. You find lots of artifacts from people's lives that will tell you about their personal trials as well as how they died, and that's both the most interesting part of the game and its most harrowing. As a parent, "tales of dead babies and dead toddlers" is not really something I'm looking for in my video games anymore. Plus there's more backtracking than any game, ever, and our hero can't even run, so it's super-slow go8ing. Artistically? It's very engaging, but seriously, who wants to endure this? Pass on it.

When I was done with that, I moved on to Rainbow Six Vegas 2, which is one of those games that infects your brain after a while. You start thinking about the most tactical approach to any situation, not just in the game, but in LIFE. If I want to buy a bag of Granny Smith Apples, what's the most effective way to maintain secure coverage while I approach the produce section? Hmmm, I should tell one of my squadmates to throw down a flashbang and then take cover on the right side of the apple display, while the other one secures the southern end down by the meats and fishes counter. Better tell them to only return fire when fired upon, just to be sure - some of these Hy-Vee patrons look like civvies.

Shortly thereafter, however, it became clear that it was harder and harder to play games on the TV. Ollie's needs more time and attention the older he gets, and I'm sure as heck not going to deny it to him. I've managed to work through some shorter titles like Journey and Battleship, but I primarily do most of my gaming on portables during my lunch hour at work. Hey, whatever works! This is a good way to stay on top of my favorite hobby. I've been playing a lot of my shiny PlayStation Vita lately. I utterly loved Uncharted: Golden Abyss, Resistance: Burning Skies and Silent Hill: Book of Memories. The last one had an especially awesome system of moral karma and a really engaging storyline that was told in a minimalistic way. Very clever little dungeon crawler. Now I'm onto playing the 2011 Mortal Kombat reboot, which is pretty rad thus far, but I'm not too deep yet.

Around August or so, it occurred to us in Casa Skiles that we could be watching DVDs of movies we haven't seen before. So Maria and I watched Morning Glory over a few nights. It was DELIGHTFUL. Harrison Ford has had a pretty lousy streak in recent years, but I think his salvation may lie in playing a soft-spoken angry asshole for the rest of his life, because it's pretty much Premium Entertainment, right there.

Also wonderful? Cabin in the Woods. Joss Whedon wrote it, and he didn't manage to make me enraged before the end, so kudos on having a good year with me, Mr. Whedon. Seriously, Cabin in the Woods is SO clever in about five ways. I imagine I'll be referencing it for years to come. (Especially when next year's Evil Dead remake comes out.)

Maria and I still manage to sneak out and see movies at the theater on occasion, although it's rarer than before. Thanks to a combination of Redbox rentals, taking turns going out, and using occasional babysitters (mostly my mother), we've managed to take in such sequels as Taken 2 (surprisingly strong), Resident Evil: Retribution (really, really disappointing) and Silent Hill: Revelation (almost equal to the first).

Most recently, I went with a visiting dontevenknow just last Saturday to see Wreck-It Ralph. I walked out thinking that it probably wouldn't stick with me long. However, it's already stuck with me longer than I expected. I've managed to consider its implications every day since Saturday. It's really cute, it has a lot of geek reference in the first 20 minutes, and Vanellope sticks with you. She grows on you like a fungus that you want to spray off at first but then you kinda like it after a while because you've been driven insane by its presence, and it... deserves to live too? Okay, that didn't really make sense.

That's a rapid summation of my life at current, but I'm sure I'll have more to say in the future. I'm going to try not to go QUITE this long without posting again. Maybe I can shoot for monthly, at the very least? That'd be nice.