Like many folks, I’m in the midst of yet another at-home week. Currently for me, it’s week seven, which is just bizarre. Even more so is that fact that this at-home tenure isn’t “scheduled” to “end” until at least week twelve. And while I have plenty to do, I must admit that I’ve been hit with a recent wave of…sadness? Um, melancholy might be a better word for it. It feels like a sort of limbo where the days are filled with both meaning and listlessness. I realize that there is an end point, but having floated here for awhile now, the thought of hitting the ground in a few weeks is almost as scary as floating forever.
But, I’m not here to complain, because life could be a whole hell of a lot worse. Instead, I’m here to get some thoughts out of my head. They’ve been clogging up the joint, and it’s time for some cleaning.
Thought #1: I didn’t think it was possible, but I find that I’m liking Better Call Saul more than Breaking Bad. I’m currently in the midst of BCS season three, and just like with BB, each episode has just left me wanting more. In a way, there’s something It’s-Always-Sunny-In-Philadelphia with BCS – just as I could literally watch non-stop The Gang’s hair-brained scheming and flailings, so too could I watch the magnificent unfolding of the story of Jimmy McGill, aka two-bit lawyer Saul Goodman. Interweave with that the story of Gus Fring, the drug/fried chicken kingpin of the American Southwest, and his jack-of-all-dealings, Mike Ermentrout, my god…I just don’t want it to end. While BB will always hold a high place in my own personal TV rankings, BCS is, in the end, more likable and, in a sense, relatable. The story of Walter White’s mad brilliance, while immensely compelling, also became “something out of the movies.” At a certain point, relating with White’s route and reasoning became almost impossible as we watched his choices unfold. With Jimmy, however, his story is less outlandish and more grounded in some form of reality. (Which, yes, has it’s extraordinary moments, but they ring much closer to home than Walter White taking on the literal world.) In BB, I rooted plenty for Walter to succeed while knowing he would have to get his in the end. With BCS, I feel a sort of devilish glee watching Jimmy take on the system and win in the wildest, and often, most heartwarming of ways. Sure, his life is flecked with plenty of tragedy, but he’s the best kind of underdog; the one that appeals to a boot-straps mentality rather than the Heisenberg facade.
Thought #2: On the comedy side of things, What We Do in the Shadows is just the best. Honestly, after the movie, it seemed to me kind of dumb to filter it into a TV show, but the show works. It really works. It’s fantabulous cast of vampires (to varying degrees) who have “taken over” a street on Staten Island (NY) is smart, funny, and very well-balanced. Though, as my husband recently noted, “there’s a lot of puking” on the show, which is true, so it may not make for the best to watch during dinner. But at all other times of the day, What We Do in the Shadows is preferential to almost anything else.
Thought #3: Since I’m still thinking about TV, I do have to give a quick shout-out to two Apple TV+ offerings: Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet and the just-released Beastie Boys Story. The former, featuring Always Sunny’s Rob McElhenney, was truly and thoroughly enjoyable, more so than I thought it was going to be, and the promise of a second season might be enough for us to renew our sub to the channel. As for the Beastie Boys Story, folks…Just. Watch. It. Doesn’t matter if you don’t like/don’t know the group, Just. Watch. It. As far as new forms of documentaries go, it is outstanding, poignant, and amazingly fun. I really do hope that it becomes available through other mediums, because I don’t presume that the world’s greater population is subscribed to Apple TV+, because it’s unpretentious and yet spectacular and should be seen by everyone.
Thought #4: I’ve been playing a lot of Elder Scrolls Online lately. Like, A LOT. And I can tell it’s starting to wear out it’s welcome a little. I currently have two characters going: Narothe and Dread-Water. Narothe is a tank-ish, sword-and-shield wielding Dragonknight Orsimer; she’s my go-to for groups. Dread-Water, an Argonian warden who’s mean with a bow, is for solo romps through Tamriel. While Narothe has been all over the place, I’ve been trying to keep Dread-Water’s travels in check by alternating between main story and zone-quests, which are essentially side missions. Frankly, though, I’m finding that following the main story, which involves Dread-Water’s hunt to regain his soul, is a bit of a strange slog. Story progression seems to make sense until…it doesn’t. And on more than on occasion, I thought I was following the main story only to find that I had unwittingly switched over to starting a particular zone’s story. I don’t necessarily mind ESO’s non-linear-ness, but with the sheer amount of quests generally, it’s far too easy to veer “off course.” And getting back on course with the main story can feel daunting, like picking up in the middle of a book you’ve not read in a long time.
Thought #5: GTA Online is still first and foremost in my PS4 library, too. But the decision to play it is mostly relegated to the quality of the Rockstar’s weekly offerings of various in-game bonuses. One of my small goals with the game was to make $5 million. I’m now at $6 million, and it looks nice in my bank, but I’ve no clue what to do with it. I don’t play the game often enough to invest in any of the game’s money-making schemes or heists. So, maybe I’ll just keep hoarding. And exploring, maybe. There’s an in-game incentive to locate various collectibles hidden around the map, which sounds like a decent way to pass some time, especially since I never did much roaming across the game’s map while playing as Michael, Trevor, and/or Franklin.
Thought #6: Why am I playing Fallout 76 again? Shit, I don’t know. Wastelanders is fine but… I should be jamming through stuff in my years-long backlog, but, but…honestly, these games are like comfort food, in a way. Warm. Fuzzy. Familiar…but not too familiar. I’m mean, it’s not like I’m replaying Dragon Age or Mass Effect for the umpteenth time…yet… Oh, but The Sims 4! That’s still regularly in my queue, too.
Thought #7: Might be weird to admit, but I experienced a weird bout of loneliness the last time I played Fallout 76. While traveling solo, I encountered a Mr. Handy robot that claimed to be in dire need of repair. I had the parts to fix him, and so I did. He was extremely pleased and gave me a stimpak as a token of thanks. And then, he went on his merry way. I literally said out loud,” but how about joining me for a little while…?” I sadly watched as he became a speck above the tattered roadway, and then I was alone again. Sigh.
Thought #8: Have you heard of Gramatik? If not, now you know the name and should go seek out his music. Look, here’s a link and everything: www.gramatik.net. My love of chill/downtempo has only risen in recent weeks, and I swear that some days, Gramatik’s EP Water 4 the Soul (2014) is the only thing that gets me through.
Thought #9: You know how everyone’s suddenly become bakers and cooks extraordinaire thanks to lockdowns and such? Well, there’s no such doings in my house. About a week after the stay-at-home order was given in my state, my husband had a serious (non-COVID) health scare that ended up completely overturning our apparently terrible diet. Overnight we went from whatever would be considered “’regular fare” to low-salt and low-sugar e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. Like most everyone, I’ve tried various diets over the course of my life, but never before did I pay much attention to those ubiquitous food labels. Now that I’m doing exactly that, about half to two-thirds of what’s in the grocery store has been cut out of our lives. But, we can’t argue with losing weight and feeling better as a result. Unfortunately the general sense of stress that pervades the air might be negating some of what we’re doing, but it’s a good change.
And…I thought I might have made this an even ten musings, but my brain feels pretty empty right now. Thanks for listening, as it were. Stay safe and awesome out there.