Even a hippie has an off day once in awhile…

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Mornin’ all.

The funk continues.

Hang on, sit back down. I’m in the fifth stage of a bad mood: acceptance. I’m not going to yell or snark. I’m not going to moan and groan. I’m not even going to bother trying to deny the facts. I’ve accepted it. My funk is here, and I accept that.

Hello, my name is Beth, and I am grouchy.

I popped on some non-Christmas music. One of my favorite calming hippie songs, Daniel’s Jojk, the Jonassi remix. I highly recommend it. You can find it on YouTube. Go on. Go check it out right now. I’ll wait.

Nice, huh?

Don’t worry, I didn’t break out any crystals and I totally washed my hair and put on a bra today, so I’m not going full hippie or anything. Besides, I call it hippie music, but it’s actually traditional Sami chanting. Totally different.

…really.

I’ve been working on crafts the past few days. Usually that makes me feel better, like writing. If I’m in a funk, nothing beats it like creating something. I got two interesting needle point samplers and some cool bead work out of the deal, but I STILL couldn’t stifle my brain and get some sleep last night.

I said bead work, NOT macrame. I am NOT a hippie.

Though really, I don’t suppose there’s anything wrong with macrame, per se. A neighbor we had when I was growing up was a macrame freak and she made some really killer stuff with nothing more than rope and beads. I’m talking next level shit here, patterns so complicated that I gave up trying to duplicate them and stuck with…

…oh. Uh…heh heh…did I say that out loud?

Okay, so maybe I’ve dabbled in macrame. It’s not like I’m sitting on my back deck, barefoot and listening to folk music while I twist and knot hemp fibers in yet another hanging plant basket while Mother Sun shines rainbows through my prisms. That would be ridiculous. I only bring the prisms outside in the spring, sillies.

….

I said prisms, not crystals.

….

*sigh* FINE.

Hello, my name is Beth, and I am a grouchy hippie. But I’m still going to wash my hair and wear a bra. Guess I’m still partially in the hippie closet. Baby steps, folks. Baby steps.

It’s been rainy here. The boys had their first “snow” day which really turned into nothing major. I think it was still good to cancel, because it was just a few degrees of temperature away from the roads turning into skating rinks. For those of you who don’t live in a colder climate, there is nothing more dangerous than “maybe” for road conditions. If the temperature is hovering right around freezing, the wet roads could be just wet…or they could be icy. At that temp, the ice looks the same as water. I would greatly prefer that the kiddies go an extra day in the summer than risk their bus suddenly trying a Michelle Kwan routine on a side road.

…and if I wasn’t too busy grooving on this sweet, sweet folk music, I’d find the axel/axle pun in there.

That was Tuesday, and since then, it’s just kept right on raining. Not heavy rains, but drizzle yucky rains that feel like a million little sprites are gently spitting cold water in your face. I’m going to be honest…that’s not helping the mood. According to the weather report, on Sunday we might just have a bit of sun. If there is any possibility of soaking up a few rays, you can bet your ass I’ll be out there. Mama needs some vitamin D.

So we’re gamers, as I’ve mentioned. The whole lot of us. My littlest is 8-going-on-42, and he came home from school yesterday talking about a game his friend plays. It’s a horror shooter, meaning exactly what you think. You’re playing in the middle of a horror movie and you shoot things. I know the title, I’m familiar with the series, though I’ve never played it myself. Horror games get me too het up. I get sweaty-palmed and have to pause often to get a drink and cool the adrenaline. One time I got so startled that I actually jumped and hit myself in the face with the controller. True story.

Yes, these “games” can feel that real.

My dad was a gamer. He was absolutely blown away by Myst.

*gaming reference fistbump*

For those who are suddenly lost, Myst was a ground breaking game. Released in 1993, it was one of the first computer games that put people in a visually stunning 3D world. It had all the things we take for granted now: full music score, ambient environmental sounds, more than 16 colors… If you’ve never seen it and you looked at it for the first time now, you’d say, “…so?” But take my word for it…when it came out, Myst shattered what people thought of “gaming”. It honestly did feel like being in a movie, being part of it instead of an outside user.

Interesting side note: the system requirements to play this epic game were Windows 3.1 or Windows 95, 386DX 33MHz, 4 MB RAM for Win 3.1 or 8MB for Win 95, Super VGA running a resolution of 640×480 with 256 color mode enabled, and a CD-ROM drive. I can say this for fact because I just pulled out my nostalgia copy from the bowels of my gaming desk and read them directly from the user’s manual. Ah. Myst. Good times.

To put this in terms even non-geeks can understand: When Myst came out, you needed a fairly decent computer to run it. Not top of the line exactly, but not that far off. Today, this game could be run by your phone, in the background, as an on screen gadget, taking up little more for resources than your clock.

Now it’s lame, but back in the day, Myst kicked off a trend. Before Myst, there were great games, and I’m not saying any different. But Myst was pretty. Really, really pretty. Pretty enough so that if you stretched your imagination just a bit, you could pretend you were really on that island solving the admittedly easy clues. It was beautiful…but the game itself, meh. I was 15 when it came out and I beat it in no time. The game play was not the best.

That wasn’t the point, though. The point was to prove an idea, to make a gamer actually part of the game, to prove that there was now a medium that could combine story line, gaming, action, and sound in a way that had been yet unseen but often imagined.

It worked. It worked so well, in fact, that it fueled a technology race that has just finally begun to slow. Gamers saw the possibilities in Myst and demanded more of the same, but with a decent story line. They got it, then wanted better game play. I mean, making things look and sound pretty is only part of gaming. Let’s have some difficult, innovative maneuvers through this new terrain of beauty! Game houses turned their attentions towards the gaming aspects, but then noticed that, while three dimensional, the trees still looked flat, the mountains were papery planes that disappeared when people started to trek past… The graphics and processor companies saw there was an eager market and spent the rest of the 90’s, 00’s, and 10’s (so far) trying to up the game.

Yes, gamers are responsible for your speedy phones and pretty desktop slide shows. You’re welcome.

…what? Don’t think so?

Look, the vast majority of computer users in the 90’s were using their rigs for typing. TYPING. Data entry, accounting, ordering, writing, taxes… That was what the bulk of computer users did on their electronic work machines. Hell, that’s STILL what the overwhelming majority of computer users do on their machines…that and surf the internet. I have an old electric typewriter in my closet that’ll pretty much type as well as this program I’m using right now, and you could easily surf the ‘net in 2D. If there were no gamers, we’d still have work machines and nothing more. Gamers DEMANDED more, and were willing to pay. Companies like Intel, nVidia, and AMD decided to out-think each other to fill this demand.

Now we have video games that feel so real I need to ice my eye and promise people that the only person abusing me is Bethesda. Damn nazi zombies.

**NEWS FLASH: We interrupt this Musing for a weather update: The rain has stopped. It is now snowing. *eye twitch* *spasm* We now return you to your regularly scheduled Musing… **

These games are real. They are really happening while you’re playing them. The sound of a floor board squeaking when your character steps on it is exactly the same as one would make if you stepped on a half-rotten floor in real life, and the directional sound programmed into the game honestly makes it sound like someone is maniacally snickering juuuuuust behind you. The graphics have come so far that many times it’s nearly impossible to tell if a cut scene is live action footage or CGI. The blood dripping off the fangs of a monster looks so real you can almost smell the metallic tang, and it doesn’t matter a bit that your ass is actually firmly on the couch of your mother’s living room. Games are so well done that in those moments, the experience is real. To your brain and body, it’s real.

My son asked if he could check that game out. There is no way in hell that’s going to happen. I’ve mentioned before that I’m the daughter of a librarian. As such, I’m not big on censorship. However, there really are some things for big kids that are not for little kids. It’s not like he’s an advanced reader asking if he can take a stab at Catcher in the Rye. He’s a little kid asking if I’ll let him play a game where the sole purpose is to make the user truly feel like they are being hunted.

Nope.

I can’t believe other parents let their 8 year olds play that, either. It boggles the mind.

The Grand Theft Auto series. That’s another one I don’t understand parents letting kids play. In that series, you’re basically a thug going about a thug life. Killing, selling drugs, running over prostitutes. The whole point of the game is to be a thug. I support the series, though it’s not my cup of tea. I’m all for people creating it and adults getting enjoyment out of playing it. It’s entertainment, not reality. It’s an escape, an exploration of something different, not real life. I can’t support one art form and piss on another. It doesn’t work like that.

I just don’t support kids playing it. Really, what’s the harm in waiting until your kid even knows what a hooker is before you let them run one over with a car?

Wait a second. I support a game that allows users to mow down prostitutes, rob little old ladies, and sell stolen goods to amass a pile of stinky, materialistic money. You know what this means, right?

Hello, my name is Beth and I am NOT a hippie.

Maybe today holds a ray of sunshine after all.

Thus concludes a rather rambly Musing for Thursday, December 11, 2014. I’m going to go do some more beading and ignore the snow. It’ll go away if I ignore it. Right?

RIGHT?!

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