Every Game I Played in 2019

Screenshot: Nintendo / Me

Congratulations! Your time machine works. It is January 2020. If you’re hoping to stop the COVID-19 pandemic or at least prevent the catastrophe that has been America’s handling of the outbreak, you will need to travel back farther. Much farther. But while you’re here, you can read this timely blog post about the video games I played last year.

If you’re not a righteous time traveler and are instead checking my blog for the first time in a year a while, you might read the headline and think “2019? That was a hundred years ago.” Or you might look to the right and think “That scroll bar is really small.” 

For the second point: Don’t worry, friends. I don’t expect you to read all 12,000 words of this in one sitting. That is why I have constructed a Table of Contents for you. Yes, this blog post has a table of contents. You’re welcome. I’m sorry.

For the first: Using the Table of Contents, you can — if you must — skip to my Closing Thoughts, which go into why you’re only now reading this scattered collection of reflections.

There are short entries. There are longer entries. There are entries long enough that they could have been their own blog post. I hope you enjoy reading however much you choose to read.

Screenshot: Nintendo / Me

Now then, off you go.

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Lizzie

When we left my grandparents’ house on Christmas day, there was only one possible destination. Our family doesn’t readily depart from tradition or routine, and the schedule for Christmas has never involved midday excursions. We don’t go to the movies, we don’t go for walks, we don’t leave on a family vacation. We do write Christmas lists, though, and that year the first entry on mine was a puppy. Still, it didn’t feel real until we pulled onto the farm in Mebane and saw a litter of airedales jumping at the fence. 

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When I’m Depressed, I Don’t Vent — I Heap

“It could well be said that we all live pretty well in one great heap, all of us, differentiated as we otherwise are by the countless and profound variations that have developed over time. All in one heap! Something urgent drives us together, and nothing can prevent us from satisfying its urging. All our laws and institutions, the few I still remember and the countless I have forgotten, go back to the greatest joy that we are capable of, the warmth of togetherness.”

Kafka, Investigations of a Dog

When I’m depressed, it helps me to write things down. While I’m thinking in scattershot, I can take notes, get them on paper, and then rearrange them to make more sense in a better moment. The act of writing brings clarity. It shines light. It provides exposure.

It’s a catch-22, though.

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Over the Wall

Manchester ruins wall

I’m getting rid of my Facebook.

I made my profile back in 2008 about a week after I almost missed a birthday party because the invitations were sent via Facebook event. By that point I was already a creature of the internet, and there were things about the platform that made me bristle.

I was a denizen of video game message boards, so The Social Network was alien to me in a lot of ways. It annihilated topicality. Its forces of moderation were opaque and incorporeal. And its very purpose was to reject anonymity.

But interacting with real names on the internet has never been the same as interacting with real people. Absent anonymity, authenticity doesn’t take over. And despite its stated mission, Facebook has never made me feel closer to anyone.

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I went on a run today.

I went on a run today.

I got up and did my seven-minute workout to warm up, and then I walked out to the street and started running.

It was a short loop, just through the neighborhood, around the nearby Catholic school. I closed the loop out with a short stint on the Greenway access right by my apartment. I ran, carrying my keys and my phone.

When I hit the parking lot again, I slowed to a walk and got control of my breathing.

Back in my apartment, I did another seven-minute workout, the one I unlocked that focuses on stretching.

I showered.

It was more of a jog than a run.

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Things Heard While Playing Destiny 2

Destiny 2 Dawnblade Warlock daybreak.jpg

The most important thing to know about Destiny 2 is that, if you play it, you play it with other people. Even if you start out on your own, you will meet others and link up with them on an inexorable journey. If you don’t, you’ll stop playing altogether.

For that reason, Destiny 2 is a game you experience through dialogue. Not with characters (you play as a silent protagonist), but with your companions, whomever they may be.

These are some of the conversations you should expect to have.

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Neighbors, Numbers

John McCain walks onto the Senate floor Tom Williams CQ Roll Call Getty.jpg
Photo: Tom Williams / CQ Roll Call / Getty

My neighbor introduced himself to me a few weeks ago.

He told me that he frequents McAlister’s Deli at North Hills, and that he likes to read crime novels. His favorite author is Patricia Cornwell.

(I also know from living in the apartment below him that he watches a lot of Law & Order. The “bong-bong” carries through the floor.)

He has amblyopia, and there’s a slight hesitation before he speaks. He volunteered a lot of this information without my asking.

At one point, he had a job working with computers, but he no longer works. He said he stopped after he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

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