Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Puzzle Quest

I have a problem. I have downloaded Puzzle Quest 2. Puzzle Quest, if you don't know, is Bejewled, except with monsters and swords and things. Puzzle Quest 2 is an updated version of the first puzzle quest, which is a game I literally could not put down. I eventually lost my copy for the DS somewhere, which is possibly the only way I would have stopped playing. We're talking about a game that I played all the way through to beat the ending and conquer every town and capture every monster and find every rune and trained every mount, and then I started a new game and got halfway through that before losing it. So, as you might guess, Puzzle Quest 2 weighs pretty heavily on my mind and in my opinion.


It's one of the few games (the other being Tetris) that will literally continue playing in my head in front of my eyes every time I close them. It's like an acid flashback except that it doesn't end. It literally continues through anything I do. I was playing puzzle quest while frying up some crummy rib sandwich thing. I was playing puzzle quest while having intense sex. I am playing puzzle quest right now as I write this. Shitty orchestral music (seriously, this stuff is so ridiculously cheesy and dramatic) is playing in my head right now. I can hear the noises from the gems lining up. I can hear the voice-overs declaring that my combo was "a heroic effort." It's pretty thorough, this obsession. Doesn't miss much.


That said, not all my activities have involved Puzzle Quest (at least, not externally). I've been incredibly busy, something that is actually pretty noteworthy for me. It's a good thing that I am dating someone who does things and is pretty active much of the time. It really helps me decide to do stuff. She's a football fan (actually, a sports fan in general) so I get to go places just to watch sports. We went to the French quarter pizzeria (a misleading name, as pretty much every restaurant in the quarter serves pizza) and bar and watched the preseason niners game because she is a niners fan. I feel bad for her, but then I remember that I'm a redskins fan and I haven't watched football in some years because of this. It was fun. Some guy in a hat came along and sang some assorted stuff. Mostly blues, but he threw in a Hendrix song for no reason. I gave him a dollar because I can't actually afford to give him a dollar but I liked him anyway. Grocery shopping here is sort of fun. The nearest grocery store is (thank god) in walking distance, but it's right in the middle of the quarter, so I worry that I'm getting gypped on touristy prices. Being the cheap ass that I am, I mostly buy cooking things there anyway.


Anyway, it's in the middle of the whole tourist locale for New Orleans, so I see nothing but contemptible tourists most of the day. Smarmy white folk, flaunting their money and their inability to hold their liquor all over the place. There's some really cool places there, though. I dig the gay grill there (clover) mostly because it's inexpensive. I dig flanagans pub because it's all dark and pub-ish. I like the little cc's community coffee because it's all coffee place/internet repository-ish. I like the river. I like wandering down canal street and walking into hotels that are constantly having conventions (reminder: must write up writeup on deepwater technical symposium) and wandering into empty convention rooms and stealing candy and generally being a nuisance. It's strange, but either they disguise their camera's really well, or they simply have none. Which seems strange because these are pretty ritzy hotels.


I've been outside the quarter or midtown or treme a few times. The CBD (central business district) is pretty much what you'd find in a city, big ol' office buildings and related detritus. Uptown is like this place that seems so emblematic of living in the east or the south or anywhere that was built before the 1860s. Lots of grass and trees and old buildings that are short and close together and they all seem very astute, though most of them are pretty much rundown on second reflection. Still, walking down magazine street sometimes feels like walking in the sunset district in SF and sometimes feels like walking in Kalispell if it had a lot more plants and bugs everywhere and sometimes feels like walking in Gaithersburg if everyone there were actually poor. It's a strange feeling, being somewhere that just feels like a horrible amalgamation (I'm looking at you, super-skrull) of everywhere I've been before. The wal-mart here is just like the new one in Kalispell, which is weird because there is no real comparison to that kind of thing in California. Or even in Maryland. I like living here, I think, more because I'm living here than anything else, probably. I'm very content with living most anywhere, and I don't get too incredibly attached to the places I do live. I like them all, but they're not essential components of my life or who I am.


I guess what I'm saying is that I could be me from here to Tripoli. Never before have I appreciated so much purchasing a laptop until now, frankly. It's sad, probably, and a little embarrassing to say that my computer is a greater component in my life than where I live. April occasionally brings up the fact that we live in the south, usually directed towards some conservative statement or judgment or something that someone else does that reminds her that we do live in the south, but I don't quite understand what is so terrible about it. Certainly, it's a different mindset and a different way of life, but it is no more inherently bad than anything else is. It's just a worldview of a certain sect of people. New Orleans is hardly southern to boot, especially judging by all the gay bars and crazy deviant events I've been to just so far. It's in the south, yes, but it's not southern in any legitimate respect. It's urban, and further, it's an urban college town. While geographic propinquity may lead to some fairly southern attitudes, it's a town where people go to get drunk and get laid, full of tourists and college students. It's about as south as Sacramento.


I guess my point really is that I don't much understand hating a region for any reason, stereotype or not. It seems pointless to hate things that you disagree with, because all that does is burn bridges for understanding and cause conflict where there is none. I don't hate Glenn Beck or Sarah Palin even if I am a sarcastic jerk towards them and with respects to them. It's a product of the way they interact with my views, treating my views sarcastically and douche. I respond likewise because I know that they don't respect my views and thus aren't deserving of my respect for theirs. It certainly doesn't mean I hate them or resent them or will go out of my way to avoid/confront them. All of those would frankly be a waste of my time. I understand them as semi-political figures interested in the pursuit of power and influence over people and I do not begrudge them that. Heaven knows what I would do if I had the kind of fanbase that Beck does. They're celebrities, essentially, and investing oneself into the lives of celebrities is hollow and futile.


It's not that I don't hate anything, not really. Hate for me is an emotion, something I feel towards something that is particularly bothering me at a given moment. I walk past a group of cicadas being stupendously loud, I hate cicadas. Once the emotion (and the cicadas) has passed, I no longer hate cicadas. I honestly cannot hold a grudge. There are certainly some people and some situations that I cannot stand to be in, but when I am not in those situations or dealing with those people, I do not feel any particular resentment towards them. I simply can't obsess over another thing like that, I am too busy living my life. The only thing I can obsess over, apparently, is bright and colorful puzzle games.

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