Ready for a snappy intro? How about this, I have not written one of these in six months and really regret it. The problem is, I ran into a little issue, somewhere between the fact I was quickly approaching 40, I gained an amazing wife and we had a perfect little son. Before you ask, this is not going to be some dad blog where I prate on for pages and pages about how wonderful it is to be a father. It’s great, it’s wonderful, there is not a better person I could have done it with, but its not my style. Let’s dip into life and what’s going in my little corner of the world. Sure there will be dad bits, but it won’t be a dad bit.
As could be expected with everything that’s happened to me within the last 6 months between moving and my pregnant wife leading to of course my baby, my video game playing time has diminished. In 2015, I’ve primarily played 2 games (not the ten or so I probably would have played by now). They are Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (HD Port) and Diablo III (in Vanilla and Reaper of Souls form).
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas 360 HD Port might not be the greatest port, in fact its a pretty mediocre one in terms of audio and gameplay but it drew me in very easily. I dealt with the radio being a mess and the game controls not being up to par. I was gaining achievements left and right. For the first time since Vice City, I was thinking holy crap I might actually finish a Grand Theft Auto game and not just spend my time crashing cars and blowing shit up.
Then the mission Amphibious Assault showed up. In that mission, you spend your time underwater, a LOT of time underwater. This would not be so bad if it were not tied to an actual stat for Lung Capacity. See if you stay too long underwater, you start drowning. This is further dampened by the fact that the Xbox 360 control interface is absolutely awful and despite what I’ve read, it is very hard to keep swimming underwater without floating straight up at the same time. In other words you cannot stay down. So, forget about going through the tunnels that you need in order to advance.
Supposedly, this is already considered a hard mission on the original PS2/PC/Xbox (original) consoles. It’s flat out murderous on the 360. Maybe, and I do mean maybe if I get my lung capacity to something like 80% or more, I could do it on the tougher tunnels. Maybe if I tear my hair out, it will regrow into a Mohawk with twenty bright and fascinating colors. Besides, tearing my hair out, that’s reserved for my son when he suddenly tells me Star Wars sucks when he’s eight. Or worse yet, Batman. I have gotten better things to do.
Like Diablo III. I played Diablo III about two years ago when it first came out. Messed with the interface a bit, played a Demon Hunter for about 30 levels I believe and then quit. I didn’t even beat the game. I picked it back up in its vanilla state again and really starting getting into it. Beat the game, in fact beat it twice before moving on to Reaper of Souls, where they add a 5th act, adventure mode and all sorts of other goodies.
It is all I play now. My demon hunter? She’s up to 70 (max level), and paragon level 42 which is basically like extra levels where you pick a stat from a list of four and increase your proficiencies. This allows you to play the higher difficulties with ease (or easier) and get better loot which in turn raises your stats anymore. It becomes a cycle of loot, experience and stats. Theoretically, it never ends unless you get bored of it.
When you do get bored of it, you usually start creating new characters out of new classes. I have done just that. I also have a Barbarian, level 67 and then a Crusader at level 30. The Crusader also has another twist, she is being played in what is known as Hardcore Mode. Hardcore Mode is based on the premise of one life. You die once, the player is dead and everything related to that character is deleted. In the regular game, your player can die infinite amount of times and the worst you might get is some broken armor that you spend gold to fix.
Naturally, there are achievements tied to this hardcore mode, and that’s my current area of focus. Speaking of achievements, I’m 37 out of the 43 achievements. The only thing left is the three hardcore achievements, the achievement where you have to break fifty things at once, 500 bounties, and level 70 with all six classes. 500 bounties and Level 70 with all six classes are huge time investments and it will take me some time to finish that (if I keep up with it for that long). I am still having fun, but I am slightly concerned that going through the game on hardcore mode and getting that character up to level 70 is going to suck the life from me.
The other thing I did not mention is that character is pretty much like starting a game in Diablo III vanilla from absolute scratch. You can’t share gold, blacksmithing recipes, stash (vault), nothing. It’s like I started my Demon Hunter all over again, and for the record, my Demon Hunter died a lot (and still does). So we will see how far we get. *fingers crossed*
Oddly enough even though my gaming has gone down, my writing has actually increased to some degree. It’s not huge or anything, but I have entered three contests in the last six months (awaiting to see how the third is going) and it is slowly improving as I continue to explore this facet of my life. The first two led to rejection letters (no surprise), one was a very nice letter, the second unfortunately was a standard rejection letter which was a let down to be honest. But I feel very good about this third and we will see where it takes me. If I actually place and/or get published, trust me this blog will be updated very quickly.
I think I have talked about my story, Driving to St Louis before. I got to Chapter 9 and put it down about a year ago. This week, I picked it back up and while the writing is still good, I noticed quite a few errors with punctuation and grammar. But more importantly, it started the wheels going again in my head. If this leads me down the path of nine more chapters, then a very big hallelujah indeed. I still say that the book has somewhere around 25 chapters. This will put the word count in the 50,000 to 75,000 word category or a novella basically. But it is good, I know it is. (or it will be).
I am also going to continue to enter contests throughout the year. I am looking at an essay contest in August where the subject matter is something very close to home. Marriage. Surely, I can write a great, 4,000 word essay about marriage. Heck, I’m a freaking pro at it, or a failure depending on your point of view. But there is plenty of material I can draw from. If I do not enter it, I am doing myself a complete disservice.
Voice Acting and Dreams
In addition to writing, as of June 18th, I am picking up the idea of voice acting. I have enrolled in Jim Conlan’s eight week workshop (2 hours every Thursday night) at his studio which is about twenty minutes from my apartment. I am quite excited since my first time at his studio during Leisure Learning, I was very much under the weather. Bundle that with nerves and it was not the experience I craved at all. I will be healthy (*knock on wood*) and I will be over my nerves after the first week.
Then comes the question, I have spent over four hundred bucks and taken up two months of Thursdays, what do I do with it? I hope to figure that out. I do not have an exact answer at this time because I have a family to support. What I hope to do is work on voice acting as a side project, maybe get some audio books to voice and see how well that turns out.
My ultimate dream, hear me out is to be a full time writer/voice actor by the time I am 60. I understand I am nearly forty years old, but cubicle office life is slowly eating me up. I come home every day and I am stressed beyond belief. Am I good at what I normally do? Yes, damn right…I am one of the best in North America. Yes, in the freaking continent. But at what expense? My sanity, taking my problems home, not being a very happy husband or parent? I do not want a third divorce, my wife is the best thing that has ever happened to me and she gave me a son. A breathing, living child. Nobody else has ever done that for me, I do not think anybody else even wanted to.
Instead, many nights I’m depressed or upset over my job. Truth be told, it has very little to do with the company, it’s with the industry the fault truly lies. And from what I can tell, it is probably not going to get much better. So I’m making a change, a slow one and I really hope it leads somewhere. Besides, when my son is old enough and has Career day, I think it would be freaking awesome for him to go, my daddy is a writer and voice actor. Really, really, can he come in to speak to us? SURE THE HELL I CAN. Right now, it’s now my daddy is a depressed cubicle jockey. Oh…sure….lovely, let me stab my eyes out with a rusty fork.
No, I am not looking for fame. Or even a lot of money like a lot of people. I just want something fulfilling, something I can say yes I truly did what I wanted with my life. The current rebuttal to that is of course, well be a great father and that’s truly the best thing you can ever be. The problem is, despite me trying to be the best father I can be, I come home nights exhausted, mentally and physically tired, and more often than not, depressed. I am thrilled to see my wife and child every day when I get home, but my dreams, my stress overcomes me. In my mind, I could be a lot better husband and father if I could make this work.
Even though I started this column saying I did not wanted to make this a dad column, in a way I did just that. It’s funny, my work made me take a personality test about three months back. I still scored like I usually do, and I was still the same person at work I have been for the last 15 plus years. But for the first time, in the evaluation session, there were strong undercurrents discovered that said I was basically at war with myself. My work life I was the same person I have always been and my personal creative side was clearly starting to rebel against that.
So, here I am, 39…nearly 40 years old…wife, kid, everything really feels new. But there is one crusty old thing that needs to change. That’s me. My wife, my child have given me new reason in that change. I just hope that in this next chapter of my life I can make them proud and put a smile on our collective faces. Thank you for reading and take care. Hopefully the next post is not six more months later.