Good weather has finally come, but as if wished on a monkey’s paw, it’s not without a catch. At the moment that catch seems to be an abnormally large amount of mosquitos making their base in my room. If you think I’m exaggerating, know that I’ve killed at least 7 of these little shits within the two hours I’ve been awake. When you add that with my total kill count over the past week, I’m betting it’s close 30 or 40, and that’s just the ones I’ve actually been successful in killing (Let’s pour one out for the countless bug bites I’ve endured)

Before we talk about what I’ve been up to in May, we need to rewind a bit to talk about the end of April. I forget if I mentioned it or not in my previous post, but I had been invited to a bachelor party down in Eau Claire for one of my close friends. We’ll call him Gene Starwind after his favorite anime (for any potential privacy concerns)

I initially met Gene in my first year at UWEC (2008) through my other good friend Kamina (again fake name) Though at that time we weren’t much more than acquaintances. After I became roommates with Kamina the following school year though, I got to know him pretty well. Eventually there came a point where the three of us formed our own special friend group among friend groups.

Every close friend group has their special thing or three (or I assume they do) Among ours, one of the big events was to go drinking at our favorite bar and getting chicken wings. A night we dubbed “wings and things” An evening full of reminiscing (that we often referred to somewhat jokingly as “talking shit”) and bonding. They were great and lasted up until circumstances led us to moving away from EC.

Kamina was the first to go. He ended up getting married and having to move away for his wife’s furthering education. Gene stayed with me in EC for half a year (as I finished up my bachelor degree) and then too moved away in search of better prospects. Afterwards, we still all got together, but it was not nearly as often and only once were we able to do a proper wings and things again.

Fast forward and now Gene was getting married to his Aisha (Yes, I know it doesn’t fit with Outlaw Star’s plot, but it fits more with his actual tastes) It was decided there would be a bachelor party and it would be in the flavor of a classic wings and things trip.

(Killed another mosquito: 8 kills)

To be honest, it wasn’t quite the same thing. For one we had three other acquaintances with us (we’ll refer to them as Shrek, Eggman, and Bdawg), but the other was that some things had changed. The taste of our go-to drinks as well as the high prices made it clear that a lot of things had changed since those days.

Don’t get me wrong, I still very much enjoyed the evening. I preferred it to the stereotypical image of a bachelor party (the ones you always see on sitcoms) It just had a tinge more melancholy to it as it hit me again that things would never be the same as those days. I realized it would be better if I just left them behind so that I could enjoy the different experiences for what they are.

(9 mosquitos down… Actually make that 10)

Despite some of the mishaps that happened (EC was a madhouse due to a local marathon and the TV at the air b&b we used was a piece of garbage), it was an enjoyable day. Unfortunately (11) something else was weighing on my mind that day.

You see, while I had registered that the bachelor party would be at the end of April and that the wedding would be in May, I had failed to notice that they were only a week apart until the day of the bachelor party. Upon noticing that, I realized that I still had no formal clothes and started stressing about the potential drive to downtown Minneapolis (where the wedding was going to be more or less)

Honestly, after we had all retired to our rooms after the bachelor party, I was up for a while wondering if I should find some way to back out of the whole thing. I wasn’t the best man or even a groomsman like Kamina and Shrek, and I knew I was unlikely to be able to spend much time with Gene that weekend anyway. Plus, it was a lot of money to stay at a hotel in downtown Minneapolis. Money that could be better served getting Gene and Aisha a nice wedding gift (which I’m still working on)

I went to bed that night knowing that I wasn’t going to be able to come to a decision without proper rest, but only ended up getting a few hours of sleep. It wasn’t until I got home Sunday evening and relax that I was able to really think things through.

If it was only a question of my friendship with Gene, I’d do anything for that man. My friend Kamina and I have often told him as much. He is a man I could not see myself being who I am without today.

The problem is that I struggle with a low opinion of myself. Due to past experiences, my default reaction in a fight or flight situation is flight (at least when high anxiety is concerned) I talked about it before (in my last post I think), but when life isn’t predictable, I end up short-circuiting instead of being able to just deal with it.

It’s something that always creates more regret and makes it that much harder to get out of this torrent of self-criticism I often find myself in. Though luckily in recent years, I’ve started to make some progress.

This wedding, I realized, was just another one of those tests that I needed to overcome. I would show Gene my support and I would show myself that I could face the unknown.

My drive to Minneapolis was fairly (12) good. At least in the sense that there was nothing that could be considered a “close call” in terms of accidents (though I can’t say that I enjoy the way others drive) Also once I managed to get to the parking garage, I didn’t want to leave until I had to go home.

The hotel was nice, too nice in fact. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve spent that much for a hotel ever (even when I went to LA for Anime Expo back in 2013?), and I hope I wont ever do so again. My room was okay (view would have been better if the windows weren’t dirty) but I was sad that I couldn’t get my nVidia shield to work with the TV (I had to instead settle with the TVs streaming apps)

That night I got to hang out with both Kamina and Shrek. Shrek bought me a drink (which I appreciated) and we watched Swiss Army Man up in his room. It was a pretty nice day.

The next day (the day of the wedding) I got dressed in my Amazon basics best for the wedding. It was a nice ceremony, if a bit too long-winded for my taste (I get it though, you have to make the family happy) The reception afterwards was nice, but I had to duck out of it a few hours in due to being the only person there that wasn’t family or part of the wedding party.

That night I didn’t sleep very well. I’m not sure if it was the anxiety of having to drive back or if I ate too much shit, but my stomach/chest was burning at like 3-4 in the AM. I ended up staying up and driving back at first light.

The drive back was pretty stressful. Not due to cars, but due to a bad early morning fog which made it impossible to see anything on the interstate for about 20 minutes. Scary shit.

Overall, stressful but I’m glad I went through with it. Glad that all my friends are married now so that I shouldn’t have to attend a wedding for the conceivable future

Then we come to the second week of May which was my birthday. 38 years old. Not much to show for it. Too old to get gifts anymore. Mostly just bought myself some video games and watched anime

Speaking of video games

I am still reading Sakura no Toki. Despite reading it at pretty good clip at first, when I reached chapter 5 I ended up slowing down dramatically. Partly because I’ve been occupied with other things, but partly because I’m not really finding it as good as the earlier sections (the reverse of what happened with Sakura no Uta)

I do want to pick up the pace though because I’ve got about 10 other VNs I’d like to read. Thinking I might get around to finishing it next month.

I finished replaying Miles Edgeworth 2. I’m surprised that despite playing it when it was initially fan translated, I remembered almost nothing about it, and the things I thought I remembered, were actually wrong (which kind of killed some of my positive feelings about the game) Still good and only slightly worse than Trials and Tribulations in my ratings of the Ace Attorney universe. Shame Capcom has left it in the gutter.

The big game this month would have to be Tears of the Kingdom. Though while many gaming outlets are handing out 10/10’s left and right, my rating (70% through the game) would have to be 7.5-8/10 A point higher than I gave Breath of the Wild, but still a far cry from what I like playing Zelda for unfortunately.

I like open-world games, and I do appreciate parts of Zelda’s open-world, but I have issues with Zelda being open world.

  1. Less focus on puzzle-solving. Yeah, there’s the shrines and they pseudo brought back temples in tears, but it’s not the same thing as a crafted Zelda experience where everything works together as one sort of mega puzzle (ie: things you get in one area can be used to go back to a previous area to obtain something new etc)

    Also no the puzzles you do for korok seeds don’t count (fuck those things)
  2. I wouldn’t mind the lack of puzzles if the open world aspect gave you more options with how you approach the game. Yeah, you can do anything in most any order, but there’s not a lot of freedom in who Link is as a character.

    I know Nintendo would never let Link do evil things (Well apart from Awakening where you get to steal) but even still, it would be nice if Link could just not be forced to listen to what a NPC says (like the one who keeps you out of the ring ruins in Tears) or could choose a different way to save Hyrule (like say not helping a particular group or not going along with Zelda’s plan)

    In other words, while cooking, climbing, and being able to go almost anywhere is nice, it all gets kind of tedious when the game plays out the same in the end. Like where’s the actual freedom? (Part of the main reason I grew tired of Genshin)

More specific complaints about Tears:

  1. The most interesting feature that tears added is definitely zonaite construction/fusion, but I have issues with three things.

    First, the amount of battery and the way you upgrade them is ridiculous. Most things you’re going to want to build aren’t going to last on the one puny battery they give you, and upgrading them is going to take days and days and days in the depths farming zonaite. I realize that devices let you cheese a lot, so it’s meant to be something of a preventative measure, but come on, there could be a little more leeway done in I think.

    Second making cool contraptions might be some peoples forte, but for me, I can’t seem to make shit without parts being misaligned in someway or not enough. Practically everything I build that’s not from a schema usually has a fatal design flaw in it that makes it fuck up.

    Third, is a minor complaint, but they chose the worse control scheme for unattaching stuff. Why not map it to a joystick click rather than stupidly having to waggle it back and forth?
  2. This was a complaint I had with Breath of the Wild when it came out, but why do all the interesting story bits have to happen in memories? I get that Zelda was never really a story heavy game before and they’re giving players an option to skip it, but honestly I’m always more interested in the world of those cutscenes than I am with Link dealing with the current world on his own.
  3. The depths and the sky were interesting additions at first, but after the initial awe wore off, I realized that they’re both pretty uninteresting. When you see one area, you’ll pretty much see the same stuff over and and over. All it really does, at least in the case of the depths, is pad out the completionists objectives with time consumption. When it comes to unique stuff to do in either of them, it’s easy to exhaust.
  4. I don’t know if it’s just the sidequests I’ve done, but there seems to be a lot of them that aren’t very rewarding? Like I think about other open-world games that have some really great quest-lines, but neither of the Zelda games have had quests that made me feel like “I’m really glad I saw this series of quests through to the end” Most of them are like “Hey bring me this thing, okay here’s a red/purple/silver rupee or some random fuse material”

I do still like the game. Let me be clear about that. I know some people get defensive over the Zelda games (especially the open-world) I just don’t find it to be as good as it could be as an open world game, and as a Zelda game I still like more tailored experiences better.

Speaking of Genshin (which I mentioned several paragraphs ago), I started a new gacha (questionable life decisions) Honkai Star Rail. The ads plus the anime aesthetic was getting the better of me, so I decided to give it a shot.

I have to say, I love it. I think it’s a way better game than Genshin (same developers) Main reason is that Genshin, to me, takes a little too much for a gacha game. HSR has a bit less freedom, but what you gain is the ability to play a bit more passively. I can do my daily tasks without needing to bust my ass everyday.

The story is also more interesting. I wont spoil it here, but fuck the ice planet boss was one of the more epic things I’ve seen in a game in a long time (and that’s saying something)

Of course, being a gacha, I’ve spent a bit more money than I probably should (and probably will spend more) In addition to still playing FGO, that’s not an especially smart thing for my wallet. Though I am proud to say I’ve been doing a bit better with buying physical crap I don’t need and don’t have room for. So it balances out a bit??

Though I also did just buy Street Fighter 6 and am preloading it on Steam right now, and also I bought the limited edition of Loop 8 recently.. So maybe I do need to try a little bit harder to reign myself in..

I’m getting a bit tired writing up this post (I’ve been writing it over the course of two days and I’ve killed about 25 mosquitos by now) So I’m going to quickly finish up by talking about recent anime.

I STILL have not finished YYH in Japanese. I’m just a dozen or so episodes away now. I’ll maybe get that done next month.. Maybe.. Incidentally next series that I might do in the “Saw it dubbed in English before, now going to try Japanese” will either be Eureka Seven or Blood +. Not sure which one yet as it’s been enough of a task just getting myself to sit down with YYH (again, I love it, I’m just doing too many other things)

I started watching MHA again (after dropping off after season 4) Season 5 was actually pretty good, although I don’t know if that’s because I really enjoyed seeing the students of class B as well as the villains more than the main cast of heroes. Though I also am enjoying Endeavour (actually almost bought a toy of him I saw in Walgreens the other day), so maybe my opinion of the others more. Hoping season 6 is good.

I started Yashahime. It was something I was meaning to get to as I’m a big Inuyasha fan (well more like I liked it, and as time goes on, I’m appreciating it more and more in retrospect) but I was holding off due to other stuff. The only reason I ended up starting it was due to Amazon Prime (the only streaming service I could get at my hotel for the wedding) didn’t have My Hero to watch (and I had a lot of time to kill where I wanted to catch up on anime) I’m really enjoying it. OP is certified banger

Meanwhile, I’ve been meaning to getting back to reading manga. Been stuck somewhere 1/3 of the way through Fruits Basket. Going to hopefully get that done for June if I can somehow find room for it.. Maybe if I got off this computer more.. Hmm

Well hopefully June goes as planned and I’m not dead from the lack of blood that the mosquitos have been taking from me @_@ See you all next month