Don’t Move

One of the items on the list I posted last time was to “just sit and listen to music”. It was about a year ago that I realized that, even though I love music, I didn’t make space to just sit with it and listen. I have music on almost constantly throughout my day, but always as I’m doing something else. And sure, there’s points where I’ll stop and listen, or jam out, or sing along. It’s not that I’m not hearing it. But the experience I had a year ago was different.

My boy was about 10 months old at the time, and (as he still does) he needed to be held and rocked to sleep. So you create a quiet, dark space in his room, and of course bring headphones along because you’re gonna be there for a while. Sometimes I’d listen to an audiobook or music on shuffle, but recently I’d learned about something called Vinill Vikunnar. It means “Vinyl of the Week”. An Icelandic radio DJ talks for a few minutes, then plays a record front-to-back without interruption. Every show goes online and stays up for a year afterward. And when I can’t decide what to listen to, I just hit play on the next thing on their list.

The next thing happened to be this:

Floating Points by Pharoah Sanders & The London Symphony Orchestra

This album is actually one continuous 46-minute track, divided into ‘movements’ as it rises and falls. There’s a pattern of notes established in the very beginning that persists the entire time. And while I rocked my boy and listened, I was enthralled — though the album was so unusual to me that I couldn’t have said that I was really enjoying it at all.

Still, the experience of sitting quietly and just…going along for the ride left a big impression on me. I kept returning to the album on Spotify because I wanted to hear the pattern of notes again, and usually got pulled into listening to most or all of it every time. Eventually I could say: yes. I do enjoy it. It was initially pretty far from the kinds of music I enjoy, but like good art does, it stayed on my mind afterward.

To bring the story back around to my initial point, that kind of experience is something I want to try and keep making space for. I don’t expect everything to make an indelible impression, but I do want to relax and let my mind voyage, and maybe discover something brand new.

Thing I Saw: I tried to find one years ago and gave up, wondering how anybody ever got their hands on them. Suddenly, today, a local department store has aluminum can crushers for sale. Big stack. Too bad we hardly drink cans of things around here anymore 😐

Thing I Learned: You can substitute coconut oil for butter/margarine on a 1:1 basis in recipes. But! If you melt the coconut oil and don’t mix it fast enough it can start to harden again and then you’ve got big chunks that you’re not sure what to do with (melt again)

I’m Grateful For: Financial stability. I can go out to the shops and pick up random lil’ things without worrying how they’ll impact our budget. It’s a big privilege!

I may have posted this before but I’ve been obsessed with it lately so it’s time for you to rewatch as well

My One Hundred Percent for 2023

‘Round these parts, we don’t like to use the word “resolution”. Too many made and too easily broken (by me). Lori suggested I approach the New Year list like our Saturday to-do lists, which we call our 100% List.

I got the idea from a MetaFilter post I saw one million years ago. The idea is that you jot down everything you would do if you had things 100% your way, all day long. Work things, relaxing things, fun things, whatever. We both write things down on the same sheet of paper in the morning, usually over coffees, and then set about prioritizing the items and discussing how we can get them done. Importantly, the expectation is not that we will get everything done, because that is almost never possible. But it’s good to identify the important stuff and communicate our wants to each other.

So this is my 100% list for 2023. I’m not gonna get all of it done, maybe not even most of it, but here’s some things I’m aiming for!

[Update: The day after posting the original list I decided it would be fun to make this a sort of “living post” that I’d update throughout the year, both as I do things and as I think of more things. So check back from time to time for my progress, if I remember to mark it haha]

  • Finish Final Fantasy VI on the SNES We did it!
  • Continue organizing my games room / office

(The games room / office downstairs has been in a perpetual state of disarray since we moved here almost a decade ago. Sometimes it is more under control than other times, but it has never been entirely Organized and Tidy. Made some strides last year though!)

  • Make more music
    • sub-item to this, learn one (1) accordion song
  • Make a new site banner for my comics

(The current one is [1] missing my son and [2] includes a dog that is no longer with us)

  • Keep playing Disco Elysium with my neighbor across the street
  • Keep working on mental health
  • Update my work procedures

(There are some critical tasks at my work that I’m the only one that knows anything about. I should probably write something down in case I’m not there for one reason or another [i.e. I’m in Acapulco, or just really sick])

  • Travel somewhere by aeroplane
  • Play through Super Metroid at least once
  • Finish the books on my nightstand
    • That’s Ducks by Kate Beaton and The Highly Sensitive Child by Elaine Aron
  • Install Christmas lights on the house

That’s a pretty solid list! Probably I’ll think of more as I go throughout the year. Let’s check in at the end of 2023 and see how I did.

[Below this line: items added after the original post was made]

  • Get my Raspberry Pi-powered arcade machine up and running properly
  • Just sit and listen to some music sometimes
  • Blog more times than last year

(That one should be easy, because last year’s total number of posts was six)

Thing I Saw: Curiously mild winter conditions frosted the trees in the area for several days on end, and it was beautiful. The effect is usually rare and doesn’t last very long, so it was a treat to get to see it every day for a while.

Thing I Learned: There’s an upstairs bathroom at my in-laws place. I’ve been there many times in the ten or eleven years I’ve been with Lori, but all this time I thought there were only bedrooms up there. In fairness I didn’t go upstairs super often, and I guess that door was always closed when I did? Still, this is the perfect moment to go join those redditors who are convinced that reality has been altered because they misremembered or didn’t notice something lol

I’m Grateful For: Managing to stock up on cold/flu/infection medicines today. Viruses have been running rampant in the area and a lot of pharmacy stock is depleted, so it felt very pleasant to be able to find a few things we’d been keeping an eye out for.

After multiple listens I’m pleased to announce that Sloan’s latest album is: Good!

2022 Gaming Roundup!

Since 2019 I’ve been keeping track of every game I’ve completed throughout the year, but until last year I didn’t really do much with that information. I liked having the end-of-year roundup I did last time, so I’m going to do it again, along with links to my tumblr reviews of some of the games. You do know I have a tumblr, right?

The Complete List of Completed Games

  • FAR: Lone Sails (Switch)
  • Metroid Prime (PC)
  • Outer Wilds: Echoes of the Eye (XSX)
  • Ratchet & Clank (PS3)
  • The Gunk (XSX)
  • Diablo 3: Reaper of Souls (XSX)
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes (PC)
  • Ynglet (PC)
  • FAR: Changing Tides (XSX)
  • Kirby and the Forgotten Land (Switch)
  • Lego Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy (360)
  • Black Mesa (PC)
  • Pikuniku (XSX)
  • Hexcells (PC)
  • Hook 2 (PC)
  • Gears of War 5 (XSX)
  • Beasts of Maravilla Island (XSX)
  • Cave Noire (GB)
  • Immortality (XSX)
  • Cyberpunk 2077 (XSX)
  • DOOM (2016) (PC)
  • Mega Man X (SNES)
  • SOMA (PC)
  • Grant Theft Auto V (PC)
  • Super Metroid (SNES)

Interestingly, this year saw my lowest number of completions since starting the list in 2019. I wonder if having two rambunctious children in the house had something to do with that? Anyway, unlike last year, I played a decent amount of Game Pass games but actually completed very few of them. And I got a pretty strong gaming laptop early in the year, so a good amount of time was spent on games like Horizon Zero Dawn which I’m not quite done but can’t convince myself to finish. But Here’s:

The Top Five Games I Finished in 2022

  1. Immortality
  2. SOMA
  4. Doom (2016)
  5. Outer Wilds – Echoes of the Eye DLC

The Top 5 Games I Finished That Actually Came Out in 2022

  1. Immortality
  2. Kirby and the Forgotten Land
  3. Uh, welp
  4. It was just those two
  5. It is what it is

Honorable Mentions

This year I spent a lot of time playing three games in particular that I haven’t completed, and I wanted to shout them out: Horizon Zero Dawn which I’ve already mentioned, Vampire Survivors which I’ve just now gotten my friends hooked on, and Final Fantasy VI. I started FFVI near the end of January and have been picking at it off and on for the entire year. I’m now at the final dungeon of the game, and you better believe I’m gonna be telling everybody I know if I finally manage to beat the game that’s hung over my head since junior high.

Dishonorable Mentions

A new spot for notable games that I played a few hours of and dropped because I didn’t like them. Usually, when I stop playing something it’s because a shiny thing has drawn my attention elsewhere. But sometimes I actually get a ways in before deciding I don’t like a thing! This year, those games were:

  1. Red Faction Guerilla – ReMARStered (Switch)- Loved this when it came out, but playing it now I really do not. Time has not been kind.
  2. Watch_Dogs 2 (XSX) – I actually didn’t dislike this game and put in lots of hours, but it just didn’t compel me to see it through.
  3. The Ascent (XSX) – Played lots of hours in single player and co-op, but when you’re doing the same things over and over forever it’s hard to stay interested. Unless your game is Tetris I guess
  4. Castlevania: Circle of the Moon (GBA): so stilted, so many boring rooms
  5. Castlevania: Harmony of Dissonance (GBA): a bit less awkward but too much backtracking

What Am I Looking Forward To In 2023?

The new Zelda has a date of May, and I’m 100% there for it. Also, this might actually be the year that Metroid fans hear something about Prime 4 lol. I’m stoked for Silent Hill: Townfall, because I’ve really enjoyed the developer’s previous games, but there’s no date on that one so we’ll see. I mentioned Starfield already last year and of course I’ll give it a go when it hits Game Pass. Diablo IV will probably make me want to play it.