Monthly Maunder: June-August 2021

There once was a time when August was my most favorite summer month. Something in me has always taken to working decently well under pressure, and when I was a kid, the pressure of squeezing in as much summertime fun in August before school started was truly a task. I also don’t remember being so phased by August’s trademark “hazy, hot, and humid” days. But I was just a kid then, trying to enjoy as much summer silliness as I could.

This particular August as been the worst. And I don’t mean weather-wise, as really this whole summer has been pretty shitty in that regard; I mean just as far as life goes. It somehow feels like everyone skimmed over June and July and now absolutely EVERYTHING in the world needs to be done before September. My August calendar has been full of nothing appointments and meetings, it seems; we’ve still got a couple month left in the month, and if something doesn’t give soon, it feels like I’m going to drown…and that September is going to be even more dreadful. UGH.

I realize that in the grand scheme of things, I’ve little to complain about. Life could always be worse. The herky-jerky year that I’ve had at work isn’t mine alone. I see the pandemic stress in people’s faces, and their emails. We’re all just trying to make things work somehow. It just sucks that the light at the end of the tunnel seemed so close just a few weeks ago, and now we’re back to chasing that light once again. It’s perfectly exhausting.

But some good things have come out of this summer. Just check out our butternut squash!

The plastic “covers,” by the way, are just to keep critters from pecking at them. Goddamn if we didn’t see a groundhog in the garden not too long ago, and then shortly after the sighting, we found that another squash farther along this same vine had been gnawed upon by something with big teeth. Goddamn groundhog.

I don’t talk about our garden much here, but it is the one thing that has helped keep us sane — err, mostly, when were not swatting away birds, squirrels, and now goddamn groundhogs — during the summer months. We’re in our 10th season of gardening, and it’s been one of the best yet. For one, we actually have squash again! The past couple seasons we had huge problems with squash bugs, which completely decimated our plants. Something must be shining down upon the garden this year, for we’ve not seen a single squash bug anywhere. (*crosses fingers* *knocks wood* *avoids ladder*) Granted, the weather this season has been shitty, as we’ve already established, so we lost a couple squash plants early on. But the ones that have survived are producing nicely. While waiting for these puppies to ripen, we’ve had plenty of tomatoes and cucumbers and beans and potatoes with which to keep busy. It been a good summer in the that regard.

Inside, when we’re forcing our air conditioning units to work overtime or fix leaky faucets or rearrange entire rooms just to fit a new video game console somewhere (the Xbox Series X, in this case. Fuck know what we’ll do if we ever get a PS5 — add on a whole damn room?! XD), we been having one of the world’s most useless debates: do we ditch Netflix in favor of the Disney+Hulu bundle?

Look out high school debate team, cause here we come!

Also, /sarcasm.

Anyway, its dumb, I know, but it’s a thing. We had a free trial of Disney+ awhile back that allowed us to watch The Mandalorian, which was great. At that point, we could have signed up for the bundle thing, since we already have Hulu, too, at a discounted rate and said goodbye to Netflix. But…well…just blame Stranger Things. And maybe a couple other shows, too, but mostly Stranger Things. It’s pretty much the only reason we’re holding onto Netflix. We continue to hold out hope that its fourth season is reason enough hang onto Netflix. Truthfully though, we would much rather be watching WandaVision and Loki. But damn if that Stranger Things hold isn’t something else. Frankly, the whole subscription TV thing roundly annoys me. Is my life any more fulfilled since binging Community. (For the first time; sure, it was fun.) Not really. Will I continue to watch the sincerely awesome Reservation Dogs? Sure, it’s really good. But does my life depend on watching it? No. Will I want to punch Dave in the face every time it pops up. Yes. Does that make me happy? No.

You guys know well and good what does make me happy, and that’s playing video games, because that’s always time well wasted spent. Most recently, I’ve been re-adventuring in Fallout 76‘s newest content, “Steel Reign.” I’ll eventually have more to say about it over on Virtual Bastion, but suffice to say, it’s about as interesting/disappointing as I expected. It’s interesting in that it presents a pretty good story about the Brotherhood of Steel’s purpose and internal conflicts. It’s disappointing in that by the time I really latched onto that story, it was over. With three characters at my disposal, I’m playing through the content in different ways to see if/how it changes my own attitude towards it. So far, one character has supported the BoS’s traditional ways, while another has supported its “new” ways. In either case, the BoS was still left as a necessary force in Appalachia. Eh, fine. My third character is my wildcard, Enclave-loving, raider-supporter — which makes no sense, but still — who thinks the BoS should just fuck off entirely. I’m sure her outcome in “Steel Reign” won’t be groundbreaking, but hopefully the journey will be interesting.

Before moving back to Fallout 76, I picked up Dragon’s Dogma: Dark Arisen on the Xbox and was subsequently having a blast. It is a really good game. It had been on my radar for awhile, but as other “dragon” games with people in them named Alistair had wholly caught my attention around the time DDDA came out, the game just sat in the background for the longest time. Now that I have it, I think it’s one of the best purchases I’ve made in awhile. I left the game somewhere around level 30, having barely scratched the surface of all that it offered. I can’t wait to get back to its grand world of Gransys once my time in Appalachia is through.

Speaking gaming radars, mine feels just as full right now as life does generally. Not with anything new, only “new to me” stuff, like DDDA. I’m still plodding along in Mario + Rabbids Kingdoms Battle – it’s such a wonderful game that’s perfect for playing in short bursts. And for some reason I found myself back in Saints Row IV, because I always wanted to go back and play it as President Nolan North. While he’s downright hilarious, this second time through will be a speedy run, as I had forgotten how tedious it’s sidequests can be. I also recently picked up the Hotline Miami collection on the Switch, and something is scratching at the back of my head to play Skyrim again, maybe the fancy special edition this time. But considering that I’ve pretty much ignored The Elder Scrolls Online for months now, maybe I’m not ready for any Fus-Do-Rah-ing again. Also, I still kinda want to record a speed run through Dragon Age: Inquisition, like I did with the first two games, but…geez…it’d probably take another lockdown for me to find the time to do that. Ha!

Also, not “Ha!” I really don’t want to go through that again.

Wear your masks, get vaxxed, stay safe. And play your games, because they ain’t gonna play themselves!


  1. Definitely hope you do an Inquisition speed run at some point. Just started my Dragon Age II platinum trophy hunt and will be checking out your playthrough of that one soon 😁

    Liked by 1 person

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