This thing still on? Man, it’s looking a bit desolate around here these days.
There’s no big explanation for why I was gone so long. I was just off, doing stuff. Stuff that I spent time thinking about writing about but never actually sat down to write about. So there was me being gone. And now there’s me being back, just because I need a place to write things out. Because anyone who’s been in this blogging game long enough knows how cathartic just dumping your thoughts out is. Because we’re the one with ALL THE THOUGHTS. My husband? He has thoughts. He has great thoughts. But he does not have ALL THE THOUGHTS running through his brain at all hours and minutes of the day, especially those hours and minutes where you are trying to go to sleep THANK YOU BRAIN!
So I might be a rusty for a bit. Things might ebb and flow. I make no promises because, well, I know better.
In my absence, we just kind of lived. Watched some movies and shows. Ate at some restaurants. Clean my house. You know, all of THAT stuff that requires multiple lists in my Wunderlist app (which is an amazing cross-platform to-do list maker that has pretty much replaced my old tried and true method of meticulously writing and rewriting my lists in a pretty layout in a fancy Moleskine notebook. Yea, I’m a bit of a freak!)
But in all honesty, if I look back over when it was that I actually stopped posting frequently, it was in the fall of last year and that was right after we found out and were handling Steve being sick and right before we got entrenched in the time-sucking, life-changing ultimate couples bonding but highly, highly, HIGHLY addictive hobby …
Ladies and gentleman, if you value your free time, don’t ever, EVER start playing Borderlands 2. If, however, you have all the time in the world (or, you know, no children) and want to spend quality time with your spouse (and are the type of couple that can play co-op games without killing each other), feel free to pick up a copy. It has, hands down, been the most rewarding yet frustratingly addictive experiences of our entire relationship.
For the past right or nine months, this has been my view:
That right there, up above – that’s life for me. And I know, many of you are thinking “Really? REALLY? First world DINK problems!” and I know this. I KNOW THIS!
We spend more of our time playing this than any person should. It has been a great bonding experience because we learn to compromise and to help each other out and to communicate (like when I yell, “I’m down …. I’M DOWN! … COME FUCKING GET ME!” as he’s off looting chests). But this game is built completely around being addicted to it. This Cracked article illustrates it much better than I can. But the basic premise is that you are out doing missions and you’re collecting loot – ammo, money, weapons, etc. The more missions you do, the better the loot gets and the more experience points you get. The more experience, the higher you level and the cooler your abilites get and the harder the enemies get, meaning more XP, better weapons and all of that good stuff. It’s cyclical and it’s addictive as all hell. And the ENTIRE game is built for teamwork – the more people who play, the harder the enemies, the better the loot. The characters complement each other and depending on which way you level them up, they become extremely complementary for a team which pretty much allows you to wreck house.
We’re on our sixth or seventh playthrough of the story and each of us are on our second character. I played a Siren first, who has this Phaselock ability to pull enemies out of the fight by suspending them in midair. Now I’m on a Mechromancer character where I can release a robot called Deathrap that pretty much just goes around beating the crap out of enemies.
So it’s pretty much awesome but it has taken over my life.
And that, ladies and gentleman, is my uber-privileged super nerd rant about how UGH, VIDEO GAMES ARE TAKING OVER MY LIFE!
I realize how that sounds. I do not care. Part of the fun in deciding not to have any kids is to take full advantage of said decision.
But I digress. I could write a million articles about how awesome the video game and I may very well in the future, because hey, write what you know, right? But I just wanted to pop back in and say HAI! and maybe do a quick Friday five for old time’s sake since it’s an easy way to put something out there that’s semi-relevant.
So here’s today’s Friday Five, themed Austerity.
- When you have to cut back on spending for a time, what are the niceties you’re least likely to give up even though you could (or should)?
Brand name soda for me. There is a slight Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper addiction that I struggle with and I just cannot stomach generic no matter how hard I try. It’s in place of coffee so at least there’s only one vice there. For my husband, it would probably be cable. I could live without cable and am still trying to convince that a combination of Hulu and Netflix would work for us but he’s not biting.
- In leaner times, what are your go-to “famine foods”?
I usually try not to skimp on foods because I truly believe that healthy, unprocessed foods are a necessity, up there with gas and a roof over our head. I’d rather spend a couple hundred dollars on fresh foods I can cook at home over, say, getting my hair done. That being said, we’ve been known to whip a dinner of hot dogs & baked beans with macaroni & cheese. Or fish sticks. But lately, it’s been more of a homemade grilled stuffed burritos with some tortillas, chicken and veggies. Just as reasonably prices but with fresher and better for you ingredients.
- How do you keep yourself amused or entertained in times requiring great frugality?
For the most part, I’m fairly good at entertaining myself. I love to read and that’s a cheap hobby, particularly if you take advantage of the library and friends who read. If you’re taking into account slipping back into frugalness after a period where I’ve been afforded the ability to have permanent sources of entertainment, like a video game console, an iPad, etc. then those can keep me busy with just a leeched Internet connection. There’s always music and movies that I already have. Going outside and just being outside. For me, it’s not a difficult thing to do things that don’t cost any money. It’s just finding the time to do all of those things within the confines of all the other stuff going on in my life.
- When was the last time you had to go into austerity mode?
I have been blessed enough so far that it’s been some time, probably since before Steve and I moved in together. Of course, we have lean weeks and we plan accordingly but for the most part, we get by with what we have and that’s a combination of being fairly easily entertained and making the decision to not stretch ourselves too thin in life.
- What’s a necessary expenditure others might consider an extravagance?
The Internet. There will always, always been a spot in my budget for having high-speed Internet in my home. I believe that it provides infinite amounts of entertainment, knowledge and interaction for such a minuscule amount of money and it will always be a necessity in my book, so much so that we’ve not looked at houses to buy because we couldn’t get high speed Internet. Also, a car for me and gas money. This is yet another thing that I consider absolutely essential. Because Steve and I work in two different areas of the city, there is no possibility of car pooling and public transportation is not as accessible as, say, Philadelphia. I therefore consider it an absolutely necessity that I have my own way to work and that I have gas money to get me back and forth to work and any other place that I need or want to go at the moment. I’ve never really understood people using lack of gas money as an excuse not to go places. In my mind, gas is another neccessity for living and getting around. And there’s a difference between using it wisely and being wasteful.
So that’s about it for now. It’s on the agenda to try and be better around. We’re blowing through the final DLC of Borderlands so I’m assuming at some point we’ll get a break and my normal hobbies can resume. If not, I guess I’ll see everyone in November when XBox One comes out and Steve goes back to playing Battlefield on his own!