Dogs And Video Games

The six hour drive up to Monterey wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. I was never sleepy and made great time. Having an iPod and CDs (in case my iPod ran out of battery or mysteriously died on me) of upbeat music helped.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but by the end of the weekend, I felt a little disappointed. A large proportion of the time my friend and I had together was spent taking care of his dog. We went to a dog park and watched my friend’s dog mingle with the other dogs in the neighborhood while my friend mingled with the other dog owners. My friend has only had his dog for about six months, so he talked about his dog constantly.

When we were in college, my friend and I played a lot of video games together. Recently, though, I’ve found myself playing video games less frequently. I don’t have the patience to play for hours on end anymore. Unfortunately, my friend still has such patience. If we weren’t taking care of his dog, we were playing video games (often accompanied by two of his roommates, who are also avid gamers).

The one touristy thing I wanted to do was visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I haven’t been there in a while, and I’m not in the area very often. I know my friend loves aquariums as much as I do, so I thought he would be up for going. I mentioned (a few times) to my friend that I was interested in going, but we never went. Somehow, between the dog park and endless video games, we ran out of time.

I haven’t gone into everything I’m thinking about (and I left out a lot of details), but I feel like my friend and I have grown apart. Or rather, my friend seems like the exact same person he was when I last saw him, but I’ve changed somehow. I feel like something is different between us, and it isn’t him.

When it was time for me to head back home, my friend did express how he was glad that I went up to visit him. He had a lot of fun. Despite everything above, I had fun too. But I don’t think a friendship can last on video games alone. Not anymore.

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Mana Potions

I saw this new energy drink today, and I laughed really hard when I read the name and description on the display. It’s called Mana Energy Potion, and it’s just about the funniest advertising I’ve ever seen.

If you’re a big video game nerd like me, you’ll understand the appeal of a mana potion. Their website is hilarious. I could really learn a lot about sales and marketing from these geeks.

I Need A Hobby

I’m definitely a workaholic. Because I love my job so much, most of my fun and excitement these days comes from work. I’m losing the balance between work and life outside work. Even on my days off, the only thing I can think of doing (unless my college friends are free to hang out, which is rare) is to go shopping at Target, which is a lot like working. Basically, I need a hobby.

Throughout high school, college, and graduate school, I sang in a choir. With my erratic work schedule, it’s hard to schedule a fixed time every week to sing in a choir. Not only that, but I don’t really know of any decent choirs in my neighborhood (albeit I haven’t looked that hard).

Video games are a good distraction, but I haven’t been into playing them lately. I currently don’t own any games for my Playstation 3, and buying games is really expensive. My brother has our Wii right now (we share everything), but I didn’t play it very often when I did have it. Also, getting lost in a game for hours at a time can get tedious and boring, but playing for only an hour doesn’t seem worth it either.

I wouldn’t consider exercise as a hobby (it’s more of a necessary part of staying healthy), but I used to go to the gym a lot. Now that I run around all day for work, I don’t feel like exercising on my day off. It’s not like I need to lose more weight anyway; I weigh 40 pounds less now than when I was at my heaviest.

The one hobby I can think of (besides shopping) is to make my digital pictures into prints and make photo albums. But every time I vaguely choose which pictures to print, I second guess myself and end up not printing any of them. My indecisiveness strikes again.

Anyway. I have the next two days off. I haven’t had an entire weekend off since I started working at Target. I’m hanging out with my sister on Sunday (because her birthday is coming up), but that still leaves all of tomorrow with no agenda.

Hanging Out Shouldn’t Be Exhausting

I’ve been planning all week with some of my college friends to meet up in my ncck of the woods (rather than me having to drive to see them). Since today was my day off from work, we decided everyone would gather at my place around 4:15pm and play it by ear after that.

 Yesterday, while I was hanging out with my friend’s girlfriend, a friend from high school called me. He’s been having a bad week and wanted to hang out with me on my day off. I told him I had plans with my college friends, and he asked what time. I said 4pm, so he figured that he could hang out with me from the morning until then.

I didn’t want to seem like a bad friend, so I said he could stay and hang out with all of us if he wanted to. My high school friends and college friends don’t mingle too often, but the groups have met before. I generally like to keep my circles of friends separate though.

My high school friend showed up at my house around 11am. He’s the same friend with whom I played Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom for twelve hours straight. So what did we do when he showed up today? We played the same game again, from 11am until my college friends showed up close to 5pm (there was traffic). Actually, we continued to play for another hour afterwards, but we chatted with my other friends at the same time.

Around 6pm or so, we finally turned off the game, and we all went to a nearby restaurant for dinner. The food was really good. We split a family meal consisting of a huge Greek salad, tri tip, pizza, and a lot of breadsticks. After dinner, we walked to Cold Stone Creamery for dessert. I’m not sure why we had ice cream on a cold, windy night in winter, but it was still good.

When we got back to my place, we watched About A Boy, one of my favorite movies of all time. My college friends left soon after the movie ended, but my high school friend stayed so we could continue playing Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom. Again. We played for a few more hours until I finally had to call it quits. I was exhausted, and my eyes were hurting.

I understand that my high school friend had a bad week. I understand that he wants to spend time with me on my day off. But when we hang out, we keep playing the same game for hours on end. We always continue playing until I’m completely wiped out. My day off becomes much more tiring than my work days. If I had hung out with only my college friends, it would have been a simple, relaxing evening.

I’m not saying that I didn’t have fun or that I didn’t like spending time with my high school friend. But we really need to work on moderation.

Jimmy Hopkins

After yesterday’s brief awkward conversation at Borders, I relaxed by playing (and finally beating) Bully on Playstation 2. Bully is one of my favorite video games. The graphics and storyline are great, and the voice acting is hilarious. The gameplay is amazing too.

The story revolves around a teen boy named Jimmy Hopkins who is dropped off at boarding school when his sleazy mom marries a new man and goes on a very long honeymoon cruise. As the new kid, Jimmy tries to make a name for himself and, in the process, makes peace with all of the stereotypical high school factions (nerds, bullies, preppies, jocks, and greasers).

One small feature of the game is that Jimmy can kiss girls. Sometimes it’s even part of the storyline. Not only is kissing fun (and funny to watch), it also refills Jimmy’s health meter. While completely optional and not part of the story, Jimmy can kiss certain boys too. Most video games don’t include that!

The fact that Jimmy can kiss boys isn’t why I like Bully, but it’s definitely a plus. Nothing picks me up like seeing boys kiss each other. It’s hot. Here’s a video that came from an article at gaygamer.net:

Yay for boys virtually kissing boys!

Dark Kingdom

A friend came over today to play video games. A week ago, we started playing Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom on Playstation 3. Untold Legends: Dark Kingdom is a hack-and-slash adventure game, a lot like Diablo but with better graphics, and it has a cooperative mode. We already played for a few hours last time, and for some reason, my friend wanted to beat the game this time around.

We didn’t finish the game. We did, however, play for twelve hours. The only break we had was to quickly eat dinner. I couldn’t believe we played for so long. I’m exhausted. At least we’re almost done with the game; we should only have another three or four hours left (which is relatively short in video game time).

I’m not sure why my friend was in such a rush to beat the game that we would sit and play for twelve hours in one day. I guess I could have stopped playing at any time, but I didn’t really want to tell him we should stop playing. He seemed so set on finishing.

Because he works days and I work nights, then he probably wants to make the most of the time we do spend together. I understand that, but we should’ve done something else in addition to playing video games. I like playing video games, but there’s a certain limit to how much I can play at one time. That limit is definitely less than twelve hours. Playing too much at once can make the game unenjoyable.

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