Monthly Archives: May 2014

My Neighbour Errol: Guilt Pie

Last night:

(knock on door)

Errol’s daughters: PIE! PIE PIE PIE! (translation:  Do you want pie?)

Me: Sure!

Up in Errol’s kitchen:

Me: This is awesome pie!

Errol’s daughter: Is there enough for seconds?!

Errol’s wife: There’s one little sliver left. Did everyone get some?

Errol: No, I gave up my slice for Manda.

Me: (looks horribly guilty)

Errol: (not looking up from his knitting with stupid face) I don’t even need to look at your face. I can just feel the guilt. It’s awesome.

Me: (looks horribly embarrassed)

Errol: I don’t even like rhubarb pie.

Me: (resists the urge to snatch away his knitting needles and stab him in his stupid face)

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My Neighbour Errol: Sparklies (aka Video Games Part 2)

I have been officially moved in for a week! The Cavern is lovely. Dim and cold, but lovely and big. I will make a proper post about it once I get these insane amount of boxes unpacked. I have been pretty distracted.

One of the distractions has of course been the inevitable Errol visits. With a Playstation 3 and N64 within such close proximity, video game consumption has tripled in the last three weeks, as has juice and popcorn consumption.

Hopefully I won't turn into this.

Hopefully I won’t turn into this.

Playing video games with Errol is always an adventure. I’ve talked a bit before about Errol’s obsessive compulsive treatment of video games. And that’s no different than it was before. But WHAT he gets obsessed with and just how much he transforms into an ADD 5 year old on sugar is harder to predict.

Take Ocarina of Time. An older game rife with exploration and side quests. There are secrets and items in every corner. Characters to talk to. Ledges that just beg to be climbed. And weapons like the big Goron sword.

Seriously...this will make your game easier.

Seriously…this will make your game easier.

Does Errol get excited about any of these? No, he whines that it’s going to take too long to get the weapon which will clearly make the rest of the game far easier for him. At most, he will spend 5 minutes on a quest before getting tired and whiny.

He barely even spent time fishing!

He barely even spent time fishing!

But then he will enter a room full of rocks. And will not rest until all of those rocks are smashed or bombed. This might take ten minutes. There will be absolutely no point to it. But Errol doesn’t care. Those rocks need to be smashed.

Okay, I know there was good stuff to find, but not EVERY ROCK NEEDED TO BE BROKEN!

Okay, I know there was good stuff to find, but not EVERY ROCK NEEDED TO BE BROKEN!

Then there’s Uncharted 2. There is a pretty linear storyline and guards to avoid and take down. There is a grand mystery to solve!

Why, hello, Mr. Drake...we meet again...sigh.

Why, hello, Mr. Drake…we meet again…sigh.

But then  Errol discovered a small, sparkly thing that turned out to be a treasure. Does the treasure add much to the game? Not really, it’s just something pretty to look at. You might get a PS3 trophy at most.

Errol will spend hours scouring the landscape for small, sparkly treasure. Hours.

Every time that sparkle appears, Errol has a purpose for life.

Every time that sparkle appears, Errol has a purpose for life.

The moment we enter an area, is his first concern what might shoot at him, or what puzzles there are? No.

“SPARKLY! SPARKLIES!”

The worst part about this is that I’m not even really justified in my criticism. Because his method works. He is successful at finding and getting to the sparklies. I am pretty certain he has found almost every treasure so far in the game. And so no matter how much I may sigh or swear as he goes behind yet another statue to search, it always ends with him looking smugly over at me to rub that success in my face.

You know the face.

You know the face.

And then finally, there’s Ni No Kuni. Are there lots of things to find here? Not really. But the game is terrible for Errol’s last weird video game habit: refusal to use any helpful item ever.

This game goes out of its way to make sure you are stocked up with bread (which replenishes your health). Not only that, but you earn money from your fights so that if you need to buy more bread, you can do so. Not only THAT, but sometimes enemies give you bread!

See?! SO MANY LOAVES!

See?! SO MANY LOAVES!

Does Errol EVER use ANY of his health items? His health will be circling the drain, some little adorable pokemon type monster will be completely destroying him, his poor avatar will be gasping with breath, wishing SOMETHING would heal him.

But no. Errol flat out refuses to actually USE anything he collects. And it is STRESSFUL to watch. Not even so much because he’s dying but because IT WOULD BE SO SIMPLE TO FIX THIS PROBLEM!

Me watching Errol play.

Me watching Errol play.

And does he try to find health afterwards? No, with 5/40 hit points left, he goes barreling into another monster.

Monsters like THIS!

Monsters like THIS!

And wins. Somehow. Friggin…

The only thing that gives Errol greater joy than sparklies is watching me get more and more frustrated as he gets distracted or stressed when he REFUSES TO TAKE HEALTH AND IS ON THE BRINK OF DYING!

The same goes for Last of Us, a game which gives you a limited storage for supplies and practically forces you to use them if you want to collect any more. This did not sit well with Errol:

Errol: I wanna pick up those bandages!

Me: You can’t.

Errol: But why not?! (begins to hyperventilate as the character wildly flails around the random item he can’t pick up)

Me: Because you have to use up the other bandages you already have.

Errol: But that will use them up!

Me: But there are more bandages RIGHT THERE! Make a Molotov!

Errol: I don’t wanna get rid of the bandages!

Me: Well, let’s move on then.

Errol: But I can’t just leave an item like this behind!

Me: BAAAARGH!

What I felt like doing.

What I felt like doing.

Actually, I think I’ve figured it out. Errol is simply the hoarder of video games. The magpie if you will. He collects and keeps absolutely every useless object and then hoards it to himself for useful reason.

I think it might time…for an intervention.

Intervention

30 Sucks. An Apology.

Rushed post. No pics, because I’m moving in 2 days!

When I was 13, I made a vow that I would never swear.

At 20, I am certain sailors would call me just a bit over the top.

When I was 14, I swore I would never become one of those women obsessed with her looks, that I would be completely happy with who I was no matter what my shape or size.

At 22 I would be crying to the heavens wondering why I could not be gifted a waif-like body that all the men seemed to crave.

And between the ages of 25 and 28, I was completely content at where I was in life. And I was certain that I would never be one of those stereotypical 30 year olds who freak out that they have accomplished nothing in life.

Then I turned 30. And proceeded to go crazy.

Turning 30 sucks. It’s like a crazy switch is activated in your head. I don’t think it matters where you are in life. If you’re married, you wonder if you wasted your 20’s. If you went back to school, you wonder if you’ve made too many errors and whether it’s too late to correct them.

If you’re like me, single, not exactly rich, still trying to figure out what sort of path you’re walking, suddenly it seems as if you haven’t accomplished anything. And then you go crazy trying to accomplish all of life’s tasks in one year. You know, before you’re 31.

In my 20’s, I was confident. Oh, not 100% confident, but far more confident than I had been as a teen, and far more comfortable with myself than I had ever been. I had learned a lot about myself. I had learned to take things in stride, that it was okay that I wasn’t perfect, that imperfections were far more interesting than perfections and that I could use those imperfections to my advantage. And I was happy with myself.

But then 30 came along and ten years of hard work was sucked into the black hole of insecurity.

There were other things that happened, of course. I broke up with a boyfriend. I realized that acting, that thing I had been pursuing my entire life, perhaps wasn’t for me after all. But mostly I can trace back that crazy trigger to a few days after the big 3-0.

I began to question my accomplishments. I began to wonder what was wrong with me and why I wasn’t further in life. I doubted each and every friendship around me. I feared that everyone around me secretly hated me, that I was no longer interesting enough to be their friends, that they were only doing so out of habit.

Then I started to doubt my own talents. I thought I had nothing to offer. I lamented that I wasn’t better at activities. 20’s Manda would have sucked it up, maybe taken some lessons, tried things out, joked about the inevitable failure afterwards. 30’s Manda simply spiralled into despair and hopelessness that nothing she did was valuable.

I complained to friends. I vented. I ranted. Once or twice I even cried. I was bitter that I was not better than who I was, that so many around me had found their niche, that it was far too late for someone like me: chubby, single, with only an ability to time a good joke and maybe the logic skills to solve an adventure game.

In short, I was the most stereotypical 30 year old ever.

And then two months ago I realized I really missed 20’s Manda. And that I was extremely ashamed of 30’s Manda. I saw myself through other eyes: whiny, petulant, entitled. Everything I had promised myself I would never be.

I don’t write this to get sympathy. Far from it. I also don’t write it as an excuse for my behaviour.

I write this because even though I’ve mostly sorted myself out, even though I feel far better and far more like my “old” self, I know that many of my family and friends had to suffer through my whining for 7 months. Perhaps even longer, who knows.

And I know that there was probably some damage done in that process, damage that is even more difficult to repair than my own belief in myself.  Patience became thin, reassurance dwindled, and worst of all, trust was lost. And I had been positive that it was because I wasn’t worthy rather than “You’re being a whiny brat. Shut-up”.

And so this is both a thankyou and an apology. Thanks to everyone for putting up with my very ridiculous insanity and anxiety. And apologies for any negative effect that had on you. It’s a shame that I am living with every day. And it takes every ounce of my being not to apologize profusely to my closest friends ten times per day.

Am I still shy? Yup. Does my confidence waver? Of course it does. But I’m really glad to be looking at the future and at myself with far more optimism and hope.

I’m also glad I never got to the stage of writing bad poetry. That might have marked my demise.

Thanks again guys. I’m looking forward to having fun again.

Whitless Letters to: GlaDOS

And so I’ve done my last Whitless Letter in the Test Chamber. And since it’s the Test Chamber it was only fitting that I do the letter to GlaDOS. And because I’m moving into Errol’s, it was also only fitting that he be involved. And it’s crazy.

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