Good morning. Hello. How are you? #508

Good news everyone Simon Gallup is back in the Cure.

Good morning! Hello there, how was your weekend? Did you have a nice one? I had a lovely one, thanks. I wish it never ended. I bet retirement is going to be awesome. Some day. Now, admittedly, I spent the vast majority of the weekend playing my video game, accompanied by occasional tentative encouragements from my wife to consider going outside and checking out how nice it was. But I am completely okay with this decision. I enjoyed playing that video game immensely.

I’ve always sort of believed that me and video games were a terrible mix, and that I had a hugely addictive personality, and that it was a terrible idea for me to play video games, because I would waste my life and never get anything done. My actual history with video games, however, tells a different story. I do get obsessed with individual games, but it happens at the rate of maybe one a decade or so, and lasts from three days to a couple weeks, and it has never been horribly disruptive to the rest of my life.

In 1995 or so, I got completely obsesseed with the original Doom while living on Arden street in Lower Allston, on the Playstation 1, and I had to finish every single level, out of 200+ Levels. It took like three weeks. I tried to play a few other games on my PS 1 — the one that came closest to being an additional obsession was that driving around crashing into cars game where you could be an evil ice cream truck. I can’t remember the name. I just Googled “that driving around crashing into cars game where you could be an evil ice cream truck” and it turns out the name was Twisted Metal. That was kinda fun.

Then I didn’t play any video games for about five, six years, until I was living on Haskell Street in Upper Allston, when Abby and Seth and I got completely obsessed with SSX Tricky, a snowboarding game, on the Nintendo Game Cube. We played that nonstop for like a month. And then I was done with video games again for eleven years until 2010 when Red Dead Redemption came out. I lived in Soho and Rock Star Games was nearby, I knew this dude who worked there, and they had one of those super detailed, high-end hand-painted billboards in the neighborhood. I had bought a PS2 because supposedly it also made a great home media setup. I didn’t have any games for it. I remember I picked up Red Dead Redemption on a Friday after work and I swear to god I blinked once and it was Monday morning, time to go to work again. I played then entire weekend, nonstop. I got maybe 2% of the story done. I was too obsessed with just picking up flowers and running around and shit. The “open world” kind of games were very alluring to me. Sometime around the same time, maybe a couple years earlier, we had a World of Warcraft expert come into the Barbarian office and teach us about the game, because we wanted to understand the subculture better. On level 1, and the very beginning of the game, you have to pick like three flowers to make a medicine or something. It’s like the first thing you do in the game. And I was so enthralled. I was like “oh my god fuck real life I want to live in that game and pick flowers my entire life.” I did not do it, however, I steered clear of WoW completely.

And now here we are, fifteen years later, and it’s the next time I have become obsessed with a video game.

I should clarify that I consider the Civilization franchise — the only game I have played on a computer in thirty years — separate from console games. I play Civ in downtime, and very specific downtime at that. Civ 4 I only played on airplanes. Civ 5 I skipped I didn’t like it. And Civ 6 I play during the work day when theres’ a few spare minutes: it’s turn based, you can turn away at any time and do other things, that’s what makes it so great for a work distraction.

So, yes. No Man’s Sky almost all weekend. I learned how to feed animals and milk them and adopt them and ride them. I adopted a sort of lightning bolt thing from a sharded planet. It is my pet. I learned to garden hydroponically. I spent way too long, thanks to a bug in the game, looking for Gek pirate. I got an Emeril drive finally. I have a super cool small white round S class spaceship that only came originally with 5 storage slots and I have methodically expanded it to 28 or so. That took a long time. I have hired a scientist, a farmer, and an overseer. I am stalling on exocraft and settlements until I finish the main storyline or the game makes me deal with them as part of the storyline. And unlike Red Dead Redemption, I’m actually trying to do the main storyline(s), I am about half done. A week ago, one of you, a friend and reader, texted me about No Man’s Sky and showed me screenshots of their farms and stuff and I was like “I do not understand any of that I have not gotten to that yet” but boy have I gotten to it now.

It is a good time.

I did do other things this weekend. I got my podcast done, for one, and unlike today’s GMHHAY, it is not entirely about No Man’s Sky. I actually went three weeks without doing the podcast. I accidentally skipped a week. Completely skipped my mind. Didn’t even realize until I was mostly done. Ha. Okay maybe the video game is making me waste my life I take it all back.

Topics: Day 585, Visitors! No Man’s Sky, Bagels, malaise, NYC trip planning, leg update, nicotine update, treadmill update, wegovy update, Jane update, work update, gardening update, GMHHAY book update, Plex Additions: Nadja, Miami Vice, Amistad, Battlebots, Robot Wars, Discogs: Ultra Vivid Scene, Pop Will Eat Itself, A Homeboy, A Hippie, A Funky Dread, Unbunny, Rex, Rolf Hind, Waxahatchee, Vinyl: Six Organs of Admittance, Pelt, Swans, Taylor Swift, Emmylou Harris, Cathars, Saint Etienne, For Those I Love, Cocteau Twins, Albums: Ned’s Atomic Dustbin, Kraig Kilby, Robert Ryatt, Eartha Harris, Nick Cave and Nicholas Lens, Ministry, Strand of Oaks, Illuminati Hotties, Mdou Moctar, Geniuser, Advance Base, The Chats, Thin White Rope, Ty Segall, The Boo Radleys, Fruit Bats, Lisa Gerrard, Land of Talk, TV: SNL, What If, Mythbusters, X-Files, Lower Decks, Movies: An extended rant on the plot problems with John Wick Chapter 3 Parabellum, Books: What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker Howe, The Whore of New York by Liara Roux

Okay, that list of topics says I talk about No Man’s Sky on the podcast, but don’t worry, I only do it for a minute or two.

I also went on our lovely walk through the neighborhood every day. We do the same walk every day. It got me thinking this week about the pandemic, how long it’s been, how much it’s made me grow and change. These days I mostly think about the pandemic as a thing I want to end so I can go to New York and Boston and LA and Seattle and SF see my friends, but I have to admit I have learned so much during this pandemic, it’s really changed me. It’s changed me in the obvious ways, like a Depression-era grandma — I will be a grocery hoarder and FIFO stack obsessive till the day I die now. But I’ve also learned so much more about, like, gardening and woodworking and cooking, general domestic things, yes, but also craft things. I’m psyched I know how to compost now, built those awesome compost bins. I’m psyched can make really good bagels now, grow things, use my tools better. It’s been so long I barely remember what I was like before this. I feel like I was maybe far, far, less functional as a human being? We were on our walk yesterday, passing by my favorite tree, a Persian Silk down by the end of the road. And I chuckled because I remembered early in the pandmemic when I downloaded one of those plant identification apps and scanned every tree on the walk. And now I know them all, and knowing them all is, like, normal for me, but two years ago if you asked me what the name of any tree on the planet was, aside from a birch tree, I would have shrugged. It’s so odd, now, to think about how I used to be that way.

And, being fair to myself, let’s not forget that every morning I get Jane out of bed, change her diaper and change her clothes, look out the window with her, say hi to Grammy’s house, put her watch on, bring her downstairs, and make a full breakfast of waffles, eggs, banana, grapes and cheese. I put the dishes in the dishwasher away, refill the Zevias in the fridge. We eat together, do the dishes together, she gets on my shoulders and we hand out downstairs alone until 10:30.

I also did my gardening. I swear to god I harvested two pounds of thai peppers. Into the freezer, they go (god I am so happy about my pandemic purchase of a chest freezer). I also picked enough lettuce, spinach, radishes, radish greens, tomatoes and asian green onions to make a lovely tossed salad for dinner. And I turned the compost which longtime readers will be excited to know was easily ninety degrees, even as the temperature outdoors has dropped into the low seventies. Yay hot composting!

Question for you alaskans: Does QFALASKA mean anything? My friend saw it on a NY license place, and I’m trying to think what the QF could mean? I mean, I suppose it’s probably just the owner’s initials or something, but I feel like maybe something is slipping my mind?

Speaking of Alaska, here is a depressing article in the News Miner about domestic abuse in Alaska, and how one in two women in Alaska have suffered domestic abuse. If you had asked me to guess, I would have guessed one in three, but of course I would only be thinking about that moment in time, not historically. It’s a harrowing, horrific statistic, one of many to pile up on that state. I do suppose I’ve evolved a bit on the meaning of these stats, though. When I was younger, the dismal stats from Alaska — the abuse rate, crime, murder, and suicide rates — were patently obvious, manifestly clear evidence that one should not live in the state. Now that I live in North Carolina, my opinion about the problems of a place has become more nuanced, I suppose. It’s hard to explain. But I can now understand better why someone would choose to live in a place that is, on paper, not a great place.

And now for some good news: Apparently Robert Smith and Simon Gallup have patched things up, and Simon is back in the Cure. I wonder what important Cure-related activities and meetings he missed during this Cure haitus. Lotta big things coming up for the Cure down the road, but I bet he didn’t miss much. Maybe we should all consider micro-resignations from work, when we have to spend a few weeks not doing much, between milestones. Might improve morale.

Let’s do a mix! Lotta old hits, I was in a mood. “Hung Up” reminds me of Atlantic City. It would be fun to go to Atlantic City again with a bunch of friends and do dumb shit. Maybe not till the pandemic is over. But… yeah. Someday? I rather enjoyed those trips we could use another one. And the Jacque Lu Cont club mix of Mr. Brightside reminds me of two things: 1) Chris Ewan and Heroes, of course, because he would also play it for Emma and I all the time because we loved it so much. But it also 2) reminds me of the first time I heard it. I was hanging out at Lit Lounge, in the basement, with Lele, and they were playing the normal version of Mr. Brightside. She was like “let’s go to a different club” and dragged me from my cool, kind gothy indie club across town. “Mr. Brightside” was playing as we left. And we got in a taxi, drove across town, went to this posh club I never would have gone to on my own, got waved in past the bouncers because Lele knew everyone, and we went in an the place was packed with beautiful people and everyone was so happy and they were playing “Mr. Brightside,” just like the last club, perfectly timed, except it was this amazing remix that took the song up another level, and we jumped on the dancefloor just in time for the big anthemic “I never” and the whole place went ballistic and it was like being in another world. And it was, because I never went back. Like a dream.

Okay! Monday. BRING IT.