I was looking through McSweeneys the other day when I came upon this section of writings that intrigued me. Apparently a request was sent out to writers to write a short entry in 20 minutes. I guess the idea was that you could think about it for a while, or whatever, but once you started writing, you got 20 minutes, and then you were done, and that was it. For reasons not certain, perhaps my tendency to write for hours upon hours, or my habit of writing stream of consciousness type blogs on occasion, I thought that was a really kewl idea, and as such, I’ve set the timer.. I’m giving myself 30 minutes to write about stuff that’s been going away. The hope is that I’ll be able to hit on a few things of very little relevance without this turning into another long drawn out entry about how I’m pissed off about something, or how I wish Deedre would just fall head over heels for me. (Lest you wonder, I’m currently pissed off about very few things, which is good, and I still wish Deedre would just fall head over heels for me.) With that out of the way, the counter is started.
2:23 – Mario Kart
Swac and I threw a decent amount of time at it, and last weekend we finally beat Mario Kart: Double Dash. There were a number of things to unlock (Tracks, racers, cars, and additional play modes), which made playing through it interesting. But now a quick review of the game.
I’m a huge fan of the Kart series. Josh and I had a very heated rivalry on the SNES version, with tracks that each of us was guaranteed to win every single time, and others that were kinda up for grabs, and would ultimately decide who won.. We played that game a lot, and it rules. Consequently, when he and I lived together, I had to buy an N64, so we could get the next version (admittedly, I bought the N64 for Zelda, but getting Kart was a perk.) Anyway, that game improved upon the SNES version, upping the graphics, adding changes in elevation, and introducing some kewl additions, like the ability to hold toys behind you to block heat seeking red shells, the power-sliding speed burst, 4-player mode, and the blue shell… There really weren’t any huge flaws in the game that I could see. It seemed a perfect update to a beloved game. Now we’ve got the Gamecube version…. There were some improvements that I really liked: The graphics are updated again, and they look wonderful… flying by at 60 frames a second even in 4 player mode is impressive. Giving each character special toys was an interesting addition that that I think works pretty well… and having many things to unlock was a great idea that kept me playing the game in single player a ton more than I ever did with the N64 version. But… the problems: First off, there wasn’t that big noticeable change like there was jumping from the SNES to N64… When I got the N64 version, I just sat back and thought “wow.. this is amazing”. With this version I sat back and thought “Yup… I guess this is what that game would look like on a better system.” Not a huge deal, really, as the N64 rules.. just being able to play that game with upped graphics would be fine enough for me… But then they went and took some stuff out: like the hop… I miss being able to make the kart hop when you press the top button… and I really miss being able to slam on the brakes to keep from spinning out when you hit a banana peel. You can’t hold toys behind you anymore.. Now they warn you when something is going to hit you, and you’re supposed to throw something behind you to stop it.. only it’s a bit unreliable, as you don’t know how far the thing is behind you, and so it’s all a guessing game as to when to fire.. and they don’t always warn you… and it’s just dumb not to be able to hold the thing behind you in the first place. The tracks themselves are alright, and I’ll admit, they’ve really grown on me.. but I remember being less than impressed with them at first… They seems fairly ordinary, without much imagination thrown into them…. With the exception of the Special Cup tracks, which, once unlocked, completely redeemed the entire track selection. Each one of them is pure gold. You have two characters to chose now.. a driver and a “weapons guy”… but they don’t matter much, besides choosing specific people for specific karts (Bigger guys don’t fit in smaller karts, and smaller guys don’t get to pick big karts). As for having two people in the kart… it allows you to hold two toys at once, but that doesn’t alter game play much, as you could have two toys before by holding the one behind you, which you can’t do now… All of these are relatively minor complaints though. I have 2 big complaints that at times made me seriously wonder if I liked the game at all.
- Battle Mode Sucks: I very much hope this is simply a case of “you have to get used to it”, but I was horribly disappointed in battle mode. They’ve come up with 3 different games in battle mode (verses the 1 standard mode in the SNES and N64 games). First is your ordinary 3 balloon game, where each driver has 3 balloons, and each time you get hit, you lose one, until you’re out. Here’s the thing, though: in the N64 version, when you died, you turned into a bomb on wheels, and could then run into someone else to take out one of their balloons. Being a bomb was one of the kewlest ideas I’ve seen in quite some time, and resulted in hours ‘o fun. (Imagine being bomb man with three green shells, and taking down the as of yet untouched bastard that killed you with all three shells… sigh.. good times) Anyway, Bomb man is gone in the ‘cube version. Why!? Were you afraid people would like it too much? And the first 3 maps for battle mode s u c k. Hard. The one remaining, and two that can be unlocked are better, but don’t make up for it. Rather than the fun game of pursuit, skill, and planning that the first two games were, it’s turned what I’m sure my wedding night will be like: Over very quickly, no one’s sure quite what happened, and no one else seems to have enjoyed it all that much. The other modes are interesting as a novelty, but just haven’t really caught on.. again, because they’re the same maps, and those maps suck.
- The computer plays like a bitch: It was a problem with the earlier games, where the computer just played cheap. It’d magically get exactly what it needed at the perfect time all the time, and it was annoying. Well that got multiplied by a thousand for this game. Being in first for the first lap and a half is completely meaningless, except that it guarantees you’re going to get utterly screwed over the remaining lap and a half. It was so frustrating that it made the game not fun to play at times, and caused me to come up with whole new strings of obscenities. I caught myself in a loud voice instructing Wario to forcibly insert his apparently hell-bound vehicle into his rectum, and many a driver was instructed to have intercourse with themselves. Apparently, winning a race was also cause to invite all the other drivers to provide me with oral pleasure. Anyway, they game cheats, and it doesn’t even try to hide it this time, and that really annoyed me. If you want to make the game harder, make them better drivers. Have them simply race smarter. Don’t just give them blue shells when they’re in 2nd place, then have them all magically pass you inches from the finish line. Oh.. and Wario is the biggest bitch of them all.
Time: 3:00. Verdict: I suck at this time limit thinger.
3:01 – A list
I was thinking the last few weeks about things I hate, and I came up with this list:
- Being ignored
- Being forgotten
- Being annoyed
- Being hated
I was just thinking about different ways in which one person could hurt another person, and what things bothered me, and I decided on this order. I’d much rather someone hated me, and sought to do me harm  then someone repeatedly do something that drove me insane and not realize that they’re pissing me off . While 3 offers the possibility for the person doing the annoying to be informed, and perhaps they’ll stop, it still irritated me more to know that they didn’t/don’t realize what they’re doing was/is annoying. Being forgotten is horrible, as it essentially means you weren’t worth remembering, which is a pretty heavy slap in the face, but it doesn’t hold a candle to being ignored.. when you’re remembered, and purposefully avoided. At least when you’re hated, there’s a level of emotion devoted to you. Your presence has made an impact on someone else. Love and Hate aren’t that sharply divided.. which is why all those sitcoms and TV movies has the guy and girl who hate each other, then fall in love. The opposite of love is apathy, I think. I really can’t handle being ignored.. or the perception of being ignored. It drives me insane. It doesn’t offer any reasoning, either. When you’re hated, odds are you’ll get to find out why.. When you’re ignored, you’re just left to wonder. Anyway.. yeah. I was thinking about that the other day.
Time: 3:13 – Screw the time limit this time. It’s been a while since I’ve written about stuff.
3:13 – Widows
As part of my deacon duties, I had to deliver poinsettias to widows and shut-ins from my church this past week. It turned out to be a good experience. Needless to say, I was terrified, as I didn’t know what was expected of me, I have a tendency to get lost when traveling to places I am not familiar with, and I was fairly certain the ladies I visited would be angry old ladies who would gripe about the kids these days, and how they don’t appreciate anything. I did manage to get fairly lost on the first delivery (It was pitch black, and the addresses were all in different locations on the houses, and none of them were lit, and there were two streets: Legion Park and Legion Court, and I wound up on the wrong one. Anyway, I finally got that figured out, and talked with her for a short time (She had to head off to see her grandchildren perform in a Christmas program in Grand Rapids). She I knew fairly well already, so I wasn’t too nervous about seeing her agian… My next visit went well as well.. I was invited in, and talked for a while about my family (Everyone from my church wants to know how my family is doing whenever they see me.. which makes sense, as my Dad was the minister for many years there.) One of the things I came to appreciate even more than I had already known is just how amazing a man my father is. These people all really loved him, and he really made an impression on all of them… so much so that my reputation precedes me to people I’ve never met based solely on my last name. I’m at the same time grateful and nervous, I really don’t want to do anything to tarnish his reputation, and I know I can hardly live up to the standard he set. I’m doubting they expect me to be him, and all, but still, there’s likely some expectations that I’ve got to live up to… Okay anyway, my 2nd visit was good. I knew her pretty well as well, so I wasn’t uncomfortable or anything. The 3rd person took me a long time to find (including a walk around a nursing home that turned out to be the wrong address.. but their address wasn’t posted anywhere, and it was in the right location… stupid Zeeland). Anyway, it was an older lady (94), whom I didn’t recognize or know at all. She remembered me from when I was 13 (and apparently 2 feet tall, according to her hand motions [“back when you were about yeah big”])…. but again, she knew my father quite well. She and I ended up talking about all sorts of things which i found … well, fascinating, quite frankly. We talked about languages (she spoke and wrote Dutch, and I’ve dealt with a number of languages because of my job, and took 4 years of Latin in high school), Music (apparently, some music was written up and down, instead of side to side back where she grew up in the early 1900’s.. we both thought that was really dumb, and had no clue how it would work.) I talked about my work, she talked about her family, and just random things here and there. She said something which caught my attention, and stuck with me [especially that night].. She was talking about her sister, who is 107, and about herself being 94.. and she said that time just continues to go by so quickly… you don’t even realize it, and whole years have slipped by. Now, I’ve been struggling for some time now with the fact that I’m getting older, and I’m just not where I thought I’d be at this age. Stripping it down a bit, my biggest problem is that I’m 25 years old, and I seem to be no closer to a wife than I was at 16.. and that’s not even true, cause at 16 I had an unwavering faith in myself, and confidence that a woman would want to be with me, and now at times that’s been replaced by doubt and serious bouts of self loathing.. It’s not that I wish I was married right now, cause I don’t, really (Though certain aspects of it do appeal to me [psst, he means “Sex”]) But I’d really like to believe that it’s going to happen for me, and not when I’m too old to enjoy it, either. Anyway, with that as a big problem rolling around in my head, I’m constantly grinding on what it is I ought to be doing to make life more like what I want it to be… It’s hard to seize the day when you don’t know what the day is… or when the day says it doesn’t want to be seized. Oh, yeah.. the other hiccup: I’ve waited this long, so I’m not settling for anything but exactly what I want.
I delivered the last flower today. That visit went well also. I plan on visiting a few of the ladies again in the near future. I didn’t expect that to happen, but it did. Things that caught my attention:
- Whether out of politeness or real interest, all of them wanted to know a lot about me and my life, and that made me feel good.
- My father had an impact on all of these women’s lives that they still speak of with great enthusiasm to this day.
- If given the opportunity, people will share just about everything, including things that would make a young man who gets queasy about blood and guts stuff pass out or die.[I managed to keep my composure somehow]
- I’m a better person than you are. Life owes me more happiness than you, and it ought to start paying up right now.
Time: 3:46. I’m an idiot.. and now I will sleep…. Crap, I’ve got pictures to put up too.
We’re moving cubicles around, and pretty much redoing the entire back room where we work, so here’s some pictures of my cubicle as I cleaned it out.
It’s 4:35. goodnight.