Video Games

That Lana Del Ray song makes me super-duper sad.

I’ve recently been playing a ton of Stardew Valley. It’s a lot like the Harvest Moon games, with the premise being that you are starting out a new life on a farm near a tiny country town. Your basic goals are to make a living on your farm, collect goods to restore the town, and create relationships with the townsfolk.

Making a living on your farm is fairly easy, with growing crops being the main way to make money. The pace at which you make money correlates really well with the rate at which things become available for you to buy, or at least it did for me. I’ve worked my way through two years of in-game time, and I haven’t ever felt like I needed to work for too long to reach a goal, or that I had too much money and could buy whatever without consequence.

The town improvement aspect is probably my favorite of the three. You can do this by either 1. taking the obviously advisable route and repairing the community center by bringing goods to the tiny magical community center guardians or 2. selling your soul to the devil company that you just recently quit your job at and paying them tons of gold to do what you could have done yourself with green beans, duck feathers, and mayonnaise. I’m also easily satisfied by the feeling of having completed something. The groups of items that you collect are broken down into 7 sections, with 4 to 6 bundles in each of those. It gives a good way to measure progress, as well as increase your perception of making progress.

There are a fair few things I find amusing about the relationship building aspect, which mainly revolves around giving the characters gifts that they enjoy. You can give Shane green beans all day erry day, and he will love you so. frickin’. fast. Clint, the blacksmith, only loves minerals, and even then only specific minerals. What a fussbucket. Marnie, the kindly animal woman, loooves diamonds. Emily, who is the most quirky of all the eligible-for-marriage characters,  doesn’t like ice cream. Leah, the eligible character who is popularly regarded as the top choice, also does not like ice cream. Therefore, my character will not be marrying either of them. I’ll stick with Abigail, whose affections I can win with pumpkins, and who doesn’t like any other vegetables.

This is what my farm looks like in winter. I have beehouses!

I like video games because I’m a micromanaging perfectionist at heart. But putting those feelings into virtual reality is perhaps one of the best ways for me to find release without allowing those qualities of mine to negatively affect my real-world relationships. I’m getting more and more interested in the psychological meta-game of video and board games. That’s something I want to learn more about, and in turn, find more ways to appreciate. I also want to find communities of people who appreciate video and board games in that way, along with just having fun playing. People for whom the psychology of gaming is part of the fun – not the whole of it, but not entirely invisible either.

More to follow.


No More Apologies

If I don’t keep up with the blog, then I don’t. It just means it’s not a part of my life that day, week, or month. Or a few months. No judgement.

I’m putting a reminder in my planner to try to get a post up each week, but I’m not going to pressure myself. This isn’t an attempt at a professional blog – this is a personal blog, just for me, that other people can read if they feel like it. I do enjoy this – it helps me to get some thoughts down on paper, and in doing so I feel like I’m making my own thoughts clearer to myself. It’s a similar mental process to

I should also apologize less. I live an actively kind life. I have no reparations to make that I haven’t already made. It’s time to stop apologizing for doing nothing wrong.

Also, literally no one reads this yet anyway. Yet.

More to follow.

I Didn’t Live In San Francisco

When I tell people back east that I’m originally from California, they ask what city. When I tell them I’m from San Jose, they usually don’t know where that is. They pretend like they’ve heard of it, then ask if it’s in Southern California (which it’s definitely not). When I explain that it’s a sizable city about an hour south of San Francisco, what they say next is often something about how cool it must be to live near a big city like that, where there’s so much to do and see. They ask if I go there a lot.

I’ve been to San Francisco approximately thirteen times. I’m sure there have been a few more that I can’t recall. They must have been when I was too young to remember.

  1. College tours with my dad
  2. Wicked at the Orpheum Theater with my family
  3. Alcatraz with my family
  4. Angel Island with my family
  5. A friend’s 17th (?) birthday party
  6. DeYoung Museum to see French Impressionist paintings
  7. Academy of Sciences with my family
  8. DeYoung Museum to see the King Tut traveling exhibit with my family
  9. A friend’s high school graduation party on a bay cruise boat for a few hours
  10. SF Zoo with a friend
  11. Sightseeing/overnight trip with my boyfriend
  12. Academy of Sciences with a friend
  13. The Speakeasy with a group of friends

Like I said, I’m probably forgetting some.

That might seem like a lot of trips for anyone who doesn’t live in the Bay Area. Maybe it is, even for some who do. It’s certainly an effect of certain privileges I have (disposable income and time, access to a car, friends and family to travel with, etc.) that I am able to go to San Francisco with relative ease.

But I never lived in San Francisco. I lived in San Jose, where there was plenty for me to do. If San Francisco didn’t exist, I wouldn’t have felt like I lived in East Podunk Nowheresville. Ain’t nothing’ wrong with either city. But I’m from the one I’m from, not the more notable one an hour away.

San Jose has events, conventions, performances, farmers markets, craft fairs, restaurants, cultural centers, historic sites, parks… the list goes on.

More to follow.