Life Update #1482

It feels like I haven’t been blogging much recently, and when I look at the post counts for recent month that feeling is confirmed. There’s been a steady decline in my content production, though the podcast has turned back around to a weekly affair, and I feel like I’ve managed to share most of what I’ve been doing on there. I rarely break off topic to talk about real life stuff, and sometimes that’s the best thing to talk about when you have nothing else to talk about. I do actually have gaming stuff to share too, but they’re smaller bits and not full on post worthy.

Being a gamer can be a full-time pastime. We’ve all had endless discussions of about our passion, and how sometimes that means having a backlog full of games and sometimes that means trying to play all the biggest titles and sometimes that means having to finish or uninstall games to make room for the new ones. Having any semblance of responsibilities or a social life (or both) means not having the time to play all of those games, particularly when you’re subscribing to Humble Monthly and all of the best games from last year keep piling on the DLC to vie for your time — and don’t forget about endlessly playable games like MOBAs or MMOs or Competitive Shooters; they take up enough time on their own. Anyway, I do have the time to write more, or record more videos, but sometimes you need to unplug and get away from it all.

A couple of weeks ago I went out of town to visit my Mom and some friends. Between then and now I’ve had some other excursions, and at this point I’m in the middle of a four day weekend. I recently had a review at work and got a raise, and right after that I was given weekends off for the summer, as a co-worker needs more hours and it just happened to work in my favor. I decided to spend some time with the guys, so from Thursday night to this evening, I ended up hanging out with some of my friends. We spent most of the weekend gaming, but had some fun otherwise and it was fun overall. I’m home now and relaxing for the evening, but for the next couple of days I have some errands to run, chores to do and a new episode of the podcast to produce. It’s been fun bouncing around between work, school, social activities and the newest games, but it still feels like I could be doing more. Perhaps I’m just lazy, I don’t know what it is, but I’m sort of content with the way things have been going, so don’t expect a sudden turnaround in posting or anything like that.

Basically, I’m in a good spot. I’m happy with my work and with life. An old friend I haven’t talked to in years randomly made contact with me a few days ago and we’ve been chatting it up ever since. They no longer live locally, but we are attempting to make some plans to hang out sometime soon, but that will require a road trip for both of us. I’m totally looking forward to the adventure though!

I’ve tried to do some minimizing recently. As I alluded to earlier, my backlog is considerable and I started looking at things rationally the other day. I poured through my Steam library and my PSN account, deleting games that I barely played, didn’t like, and otherwise have no plans to play anytime soon. I don’t mind having a large collection of games. In fact, I’ve been trying to grow that collection and add older games from past consoles to either of those libraries. Between the PS3/4 I can pick up most of my favorite games from its predecessors, and new ports of old classics are popping up on the Internet all of the time. However, I have to be honest with myself. Just because I bought a game, doesn’t mean it has to be installed, nor does it mean that I have to play it right now. I’ve owned games for years before playing them for the first time, and longer still before completing them. Sometimes a game won’t grab you right away, sometimes you’ll need to finish something else before being able to give it its proper due. In the case of many of the games on my Playstation account, they were freebies and I could care less about never playing them. In the case of the big titles I’ve bought recently, those are staying and I’m playing through several titles at once. For my Steam account, bundles have brought in the most crap, and those games have been trimmed from the library like excess fat. I’m okay with having them there for that rainy day when I need something new.

I’ve also done the same sort of thing with my content intake elsewhere. I have a long watch list on various streaming services, and for a while it felt like I had far too many shows on the DVR to really want to keep up. Right now it’s looking good. I’ve caught up on any original series on that I’ve been following on streaming platforms, and I’m only watching TURN on AMC and Game of Thrones on HBO. I know more shows that I like are on the horizon but many of the shows I was watching have either ended or were cancelled, and I’m not really jumping on new shows. I hear the creator of The Walking Dead has a new show coming out, that sounds interesting, but otherwise I’ve sort of kept a more manageable list of things that I’m watching.

I have a happy mix of things going on, and I’ve managed to clear up some of the clutter in my life, while simultaneously adding more. Yeah, I’m a victim of a good buy whenever I see one. I picked up Uncharted 4 for full price, but ended up getting a deal on DOOM. I finished up Stories: The Path of Destinies and The Banner Saga 2, but then Far Harbor and a new DLC for Vermintide came out. I also picked up the Witcher III + expansions for $45 bucks, and now have another long title to work though. I’m primarily engaged with UC4 and DOOM at the moment, but have still been playing healthy amounts of League of Legends and SMITE, plus some Black Ops III for good measure. As I finish one game I’m adding another to the playlist. The new Humble Monthly will be here in a few day as well, so there will be even more shit to sift through. Man, it’s great but stressful at the same time! I still haven’t even touched Mad Max from last month’s bundle! I still need to finish GTAV! I still need to finish Bloodborne! Argh it’s too much. I’m so glad that No Man’s Sky was delayed and that Civilization VI doesn’t come out until later this year, because I simply have far too many awesome games to play through!

Okay, that’s it for my rant of the day. I’ll see you guys soonish. Will try to get some more posts in before the end of the month so that my post count is more respectable.

P.S. NBI posts of all sorts coming in June.

The Dragon Cometh #NBI2016

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Wow, time sure does fly. It was two years ago that I first got involved with the Newbie Blogger Initiative, and just a few months before that where I had even really paid attention to the idea. Since then I helped with some of the organizational stuff and ended up nearly running the whole thing by myself last year, for good or ill. I should mention now that there were talks earlier this year about the NBI and when it would be happening, but it didn’t seem like anyone had the time or inclination to lead it. Personally I didn’t mind helping out but I didn’t want to become solely responsible for the event again, so I bowed out of any leadership role, only offering support. Once May rolled around it seemed that the general consensus was that perhaps the event would take a year off and be resurrected in the future.

The man responsible for getting me more involved with the NBI, Mr. Doone himself, was prodding about on social media wondering if the event had been forgotten. When I told him that it was being postponed for a year, he wasn’t having it. Soon thereafter, there was an announcement from the man himself, proclaiming that June would be the month of the NBI this year. He has rallied the troops and it seems that the Dragon is coming back to town after all.

Unfortunately, the owner of the NBI domain Mr. Peril, formerly of the Contains Moderate Peril blog and podcast has gone into a retirement of sorts, and as such the domain was transferred to other ownership, and nothing was done with it otherwise. It seems that the forums are still online, but they were sort of janky and filled with redundancies. I though it would be a good idea to utilize a program like Slack or Discord to organize the event in lieu of forums, as many gamers and/or bloggers are already using these platforms to meet up and chat. It was decided that Discord was probably the better option due to its built in voice chat features, which could come in handy during gaming events that run during the month. As such, there is now a Discord channel devoted to the NBI, and that will likely continue to be the best place to get involved, outside of Twitter and of course on your own blogs. So, here’s a list of some handy information:

Newbie Blogger Forums

Newbie Blogger Twitter

Discord Invite Code: https://t.co/bZLA0YGZSk

Once you’ve followed the appropriate channels, stay tuned for more information. The event will kick off on June 1st and run the entire month. There will be writing prompts and gaming get-togethers. Feel free to follow me everywhere, my social media links are at the top of the page. I will try to repeat any pertinent information as I see it. I look forward to seeing new faces and reading new posts!

Couch Podtatoes Episode 87: HPH – Movies and More

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We’re back with another episode of “Hot Podtatoe Headlines!” This week we’ve gathered up a bunch of news stories from around the web, and the overall theme seems to deal with video game movie adaptations. We spend a chunk of time on that, and then dive into some of the biggest recent releases, DLCs, and some other smaller nuanced stories that have come up as of late. It’s all over the place, and yet still distinctly podtatoe flavored. We’re also starting to look forward to our 100th episode which *should* be occurring in August provided we don’t miss any weeks between now and then. We think we’ve come up with a cool way to have some audience interaction, by recording live and allowing audience feedback/questions. If that sounds like something you’d be interested in, let us know! We’d love to have an AMA or something like that with live on the spot questions and comments from our audience.

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 87: HPH: Movies and More (runtime: 1:10:16)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:22)
Discussion: HPH (starts at 15:31)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Eri
Blog: Healing The Masses
Twitter: @ausj3w3l

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“Brains Out” by Error (from the album Error)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!

A Lack of Faith

1024px-ScarletLetterI am an Atheist.

This is no secret. I’ve mentioned it on the blog before, but I rarely delve into religious (or anti-religious) conversation here. The only time I really delved deep into the topic was on a Couch Podtatoes episode from over a year ago. In that show, my goal was to discuss religion in the gaming sphere, but also share personal experiences with religion. I wanted a balanced panel of guests, but the ones I managed to get onto the show were mostly non-religious or didn’t really practice much of anything. This means the discussion wasn’t as balanced as it could have been, but quite frankly I probably enjoyed the conversation more as a result.

I’m writing this post as a response of sorts, to a fellow blogger who wrote about his own feelings regarding gaming and religion. Not necessarily how the two correlate as we discussed on the aforementioned podcast, but rather about how his time spent gaming might be better spent worshiping God. His is a very nuanced post and I encourage you to read it, regardless of your feelings on the subject matter. Braxwolf is someone I consider a good guy, and I respect him and his feelings about religion, despite the fact that I wholly disagree with them. Let’s start with some back story.

My father went to a Baptist school. He was raised in a religious household to some extent. I’m sure my mother was exposed to it as well, but she doesn’t talk much about her childhood and it seems that she wasn’t particularly religious until later in life. Either way, I wasn’t exposed to church, the bible or religion in general at an extremely young age as most people are. I was probably nearing 10 years old the first time I stepped into a church. I remember Sunday school feeling fun and exciting. I remember sitting in “adult church” as being rather boring, but the songs were alright. I remember reading the bible from cover to cover, but not much of it sticking. Indoctrination still tends to work at these early ages though, and my doubts seemed to crumble when surrounded by like-minded individuals. Fast forward a few years, where surging hormones dictate many of your actions, and I was soon cursing the existence of the bible, Jesus, et al.

Sure it sounds like an extremely selfish reason to forsake my eternal soul, but this young man had needs, and his first real girlfriend was “saving herself for marriage” and was further pressured by a mother that worked at a church full time to wait. That was the beginning of the end of religion for me. If a book can dictate the way I’m going to live my life, then I’m throwing out the book. If a ticket to an eternity in hell is being punched for me due to having some fun in my youth, then so be it. I seriously doubt if a hell truly existed, that it would be all fire and brimstone, nay I’m sure it would be filled to the brim with down to earth, awesome people who just so happened to say the lord’s name in vain, hurt someone vengefully, or happened to enjoy drugs a little too much while dining on bacon wrapped shellfish and performing consensual sodomy on their loving partner. It was made clear to me that most of the things I enjoyed, “pleasures of the flesh” if you will, are considered sins and that was enough for me to question everything about this religion I was supposed to follow.

Over the years, between music, popular media, my own research and life experiences I’ve grown further from that child that innocently accepted what everyone was telling me to be true. I cannot accept things that cannot be proven by the scientific method. No, I don’t worship science. I don’t worship the god of tech or the god of tits and wine. I would be more likely to worship the latter two than the Christian God though. Unfortunately, this religion has been a part of western culture for so long that it’s impossible to keep myself from saying phrases like “Oh my God” or “Jesus H Christ!” Like Braxwolf, I do notice religious connotation all around us, and have even seen things that many would say was “God’s way of showing himself to me.” However, I can’t buy anything on blind faith. I’m sorry, but that’s not how the world works. Some would have you believe that heaven lies somewhere between the earth’s crust and the sky, but we’ve been to space and know what’s really up there. Hell is supposed to be below, but all that lie there is molten rock at the core of our planet. There is little (misconstrued) to no evidence of any of the events in the bible even happening. I don’t even think that Jesus was a real man no, more of a Herculean figure used to inspire. Men have told tall tales for millenia, why is Jesus anything different?

It’s not just Christianity that turned me off though. No, I’ve done research into many other religions and they’re all simply too hard to swallow. But let’s be clear now: I don’t judge anyone for having made a choice to stick with their chosen faith. It’s your right to do so just as much as it’s my right to not participate. With that said, I’d like to circle back around to some of the commentary Braxwolf made when considering gaming’s compatibility with his faith. From what I gather from the article, his most difficult issue to deal with is the fact that gaming is such a time consuming hobby, and he feels like he should be spending more time being pious. To that, I only have one answer, and it’s not one many will like. Simply put, don’t worry about it.

If my understanding of the Christian faith is correct, it seems to me that you are already walking the righteous path. You have already chosen to live your life by the golden rule and do your best to be a good person each day. You wake up, you work to support your family, you seem like an amazing father, and you do your best to take the lemons life gives you by turning them into lemonade. If Jesus/God really exist, I’m sure you’re on the good list and have your eternity in heaven waiting for you, regardless of if you cut out gaming in favor of religious pursuits. Really, I’d say you could throw religion out of the window, because I feel like I do the same sorts of things in my daily life, and I’m not waiting for that heavenly reward. You don’t need religion to be a good person. Just be one.

So instead of stressing yourself out on the little things you aren’t doing to increase your faith levels, focus on the good things you did today, and maybe reward yourself with a little gaming. It’s not going to hurt anyone.

Couch Podtatoes Episode 86: Consequences

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Welcome back y’all! We had a supergroup episode planned for this week, where Eri and myself would not only be joined by Doone, but also Tacktix. Unfortunately Eri’s Internet has been out for a while, so she was unable to join us. As a result we changed the topic up a bit because the show we had planned was her brainchild. Still, we settled on talking about consequences in gaming, relating it to both in-game communities but also real life. There were some recent news stories that coincided well with the topic as well, so they were peppered among the discussion. We also had some issues with the recording software, which is nothing new for podcasters, so we ended up splicing a couple different takes together into one cohesive package. We tried out the Zencastr software which was rather reliable and may be what we use in the future, provided it continues to impress. Anyway, take a listen and as always thanks for your support!

 

Download this Episode Subscribe via RSS Download on iTunes Listen on Stitcher

Couch Podtatoes Epsiode 86: Consequences (runtime: 1:27:26)

What are we playing? (starts at 1:53)
Discussion: Consequences (starts at 13:29)

Host Contact information:

Izlain
Blog: Me vs. Myself and I
Twitter: @mevsmyselfandi

Doone
Blog: XP Chronicles
Twitter: @doone_buggy

Tacktix
Blog: Tough Love Critic
Twitter: @TaCktiX

Music Credits:
“Bit Rush” by Riot Games
“Starseed” by Mimosa (from the album Sancturary)
“Enchanted Rose” by Bury Your Dead (from the album Beauty and the Breakdown)

Couch Podtatoes is a podcast about gaming, though we might stray into other forms of media. Sometimes we use strong language, but we try to keep that to a minimum. All opinions expressed by us or our guests are our own and are in no way to be interpreted as official commentary from any companies we discuss. You can visit our official podcast page at Libsyn.com. Be sure to follow us on iTunes, and/or Stitcher Radio.

You can also find the show in video format at The Gaming And Entertainment Network YouTube page.

Questions, comments and feedback are welcomed and encouraged!