I’ll Be Missing You

You know, it’s amazing what distance can do to people. In previous blogs, I’ve mentioned my long distance relationship and how I and my boyfriend cope with it. But even we are susceptible to family obligations, vacations, work, school and numerous other things that can keep us apart even more.

In this case, it’s a twofold situation of my boyfriend currently being on a week-long cruise and I still having to go to a job I’d rather not go to 20 hours a week. While I still have contact with him online, albeit limited due to cruise internet costs, it never ceases to make me realize just how much happier I am when he’s “around.” That’s not to say my life is completely devoid of fun without him, as I’ve spent time on the web, playing games and talking with friends. But for someone who doesn’t see her boyfriend 24/7 in general, it makes the days feel longer and lonelier than ever.

I take solace in knowing he’s having fun, since I now have one cruise under my own belt to relate to. And I’m well aware I’ll see him again by the end of the week and in person next month. I suppose the feeling of comfort and security in seeing him day by day that’s now not there is what’s bothering me. People always say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but try telling that to someone who has that in-person absence nearly every day.

Missing him, when these moments come where we can’t talk, is one of the hardest things I’ve coped with in the entire time I’ve been with him. The little things like seeing his smile or hearing his laugh being absent makes more of an impact on me than he might know. And sure, maybe I’m being too overly sentimental, but darn it, I love that man and just want him home safely.

I can remember once taking for granted the amount I got to see him on a daily basis, until he first had to leave home for a long-ish period of time. Since then, I’ve gained more and more appreciation for what we have as it is. We will always strive for better and wanting to live together some day, but until then, when these lonely moments pop up, I’ll be missing him.

My First Animal Crossing

ImageIf it hasn’t been made obvious already, I’m a gamer. I’ve been playing video games since I was a toddler and consider them my main hobby. During these 25 years, I’ve played many types of games, but simulation games have always interested me. My sisters and I used to play the likes of Harvest Moon 64 and The Sims 1 & 2 for hours on end. And, long before we ever owned one ourselves, we rented a Gamecube and a copy of cutesy-looking Animal Crossing. We didn’t accomplish much at the time, but we were sucked in. Once we had our own Gamecube, it became an easy buy for us.

It was much simpler than The Sims, in that you don’t have to micro-manage hunger and bladder control, and more carefree than Harvest Moon, where farming often felt tedious. We named our quiet village “sunkiss” (not my idea). My sisters chose female characters and I chose a male, mostly because I wanted to emulate a TV character I liked and have lots of “cool” things in my house. And for a while, the game took up our free time. We all spent hours paying off in-game debts to upgrade and decorate our houses, spent money buying neat clothes or making our own, and collected tons of bugs, fish and paintings to send to our town’s museum. To this day it’s one of a select bunch of games I felt I was actually playing WITH my sisters, not against.

But there was a downside to the first iteration of the series: Complicated town visits. If you wanted to see a friend’s town and vice versa, you had to trade memory cards. Because we knew no one close by who had the game, after a while it became dull to us.; Everything we could accomplish pretty much was accomplished save for a few things here and there. And, as more games popped into our collection, Animal Crossing soon fell by the wayside.

I revisited that town about a year ago and experienced a load of nostalgia while playing it. Characters I hadn’t seen in years, a house with roaches and my character still dressed in the same shirt as I left him. I spent some time contributing to the museum and cleaning the town’s new weed population, and then…left the game alone again. I felt the same as I’d left – there was just not much to do other than start all over.

But now I HAVE started all over with the newest game in the series appropriately titled Animal Crossing: New Leaf for 3DS. The familiar elements are there, but there are plenty of new things to do and the added bonus of visiting friends via internet connection. Plus, I can take it anywhere I wanna go! The game has renewed my love for Animal Crossing in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible back then. I can’t wait to move forward in the game and plan to not let it suffer the same fate as the original did.

“The Hangover Part III” Review

ImageLet me start off by saying that yes, I have seen the previous two Hangover movies. So, this review will judge the third based on its standing in the trilogy. But first, a little background on the other two.

In the first two Hangover movies, friends Stu, Phil and Alan have a wild night (respectively in Vegas in #1 and Bangkok in #2) and wake up hungover to find a whole mess of stuff has happened. In both, the biggest issue is tracking down two missing people, one a friend and the other a fiance’s nephew. The films also feature a criminal named Mr. Chow who gets tied into both film’s events, serving to add more humor and action.

If the two films sound familiar, that’s because The Hangover Part II is pretty much a copy/paste of the first film. Now, I will say that I fully enjoyed the original Hangover. It was one of my favorite comedies in a while. And while it was disappointing that Part II was practically the same in all aspects, there was still a lot of humor and fun to keep me entertained overall. And now we come to the final (?) film in the trilogy, the most radically different of the previous two, Part III.

In this film, there is no hangover involved whatsoever. That’s both good and bad, as it dares to get out of the formula of the first two movies, but also makes no sense from a title standpoint other than being part of the trilogy. Minor nitpick aside, this film follows Alan, Stu, Phil and Part 1’s missing friend Doug as they attempt to take Alan to a rehab center to help him with his MANY issues. They’re diverted when some goons, under the watchful eye of John Goodman, kidnap Doug and force the remaining three to hunt down Mr. Chow. Mr. Chow had previously stolen money from Goodman and now he’s come to collect. This takes the trio from Tijuana to Vegas once more as they try to stop Chow once and for all.

I’ll get the positives out of the way first. I felt Alan’s journey into becoming a more responsible adult was done well in the last half of the movie. He has a great scene with the baby-turned-kid he took care of during Part 1’s misadventure, and he matures in his own way by the end both with parting ways with his “friend” Chow and settling into marriage. The plot had moments that tied in very well with the events of the past two films. And finally, the action scenes were done pretty well and the actors seemed to be having fun.

However, I will state right here and now that this is, to me, the weakest film of the three. I realize it is the most different, but it felt like a detriment to it. The previous movies had a large focus on comedy and were billed as such, but this one felt more dark and dramatic than funny. The humor that was there tended to either get nothing out of me or at best make me snicker. There were plenty of cliched, cringe-worthy lines that didn’t help. But the biggest thing that bothered me was the huge focus on Alan and Mr. Chow.

To explain this, I’ll go back to the first film. In that film, those two seemed to get the most laughs aka had the funniest lines. It seems like the director took note of that, because Part II had a little more focus on them both individually and while together. Alan seemed to turn a little bit more prick-ish and Chow got a little bit more annoying. But that’s ramped up even more in this one. Alan, aside from those maturing moments I mentioned, is random to the point of not being nearly as funny as he was and is an even bigger jerk. And Chow, who was funny in small doses, has such a big part that he becomes an annoyance. It was really disappointing to see most of the focus going toward their characters and leaving the rest as straight men. Oh, aside from a cameo appearance by Melissa McCarthy, which was Alan-esque quirky but felt forgettable.

I went into this one with lowered expectations since the trailers didn’t wow me. I can’t really say I came out pleasantly surprised, but I did think it had good moments. Overall, though, if you’re a fan of the films, check it out but don’t expect much. I’d even recommend skipping it completely, since it doesn’t feel like there’s much to miss here. My rating for The Hangover: Part III is an average 5/10.

Venturing Into Something New (ish)

I’ve been a nerd for as long as I can remember. I started out with books and soon went up to video games, magazines, and the usual nerdy talk amongst people about TV shows or movies. While none of that has changed, there is one aspect of nerd-dom that I’ve only briefly dabbled in: comics.

Growing up, I knew of superheroes mostly through TV and later their movie adaptions. I knew comics existed as I’d see them on a rack in my local bookstore, but never had much interest in them. In fact, I can remember mainly reading lighter fare like the Sunday strips, the Simpsons comics and Disney-related comics in the old Disney Adventure magazines.

For me, I think it was an awareness of many comics being ongoing that prevented me from getting interested in them. I was one of those kids who had a set monthly allowance, and it wasn’t too long that I was using it to fuel my video game habit by buying gaming magazines. Even though I could’ve afforded comics, they just never seemed to catch my eye. But recently, my attitude’s started to change. With the consistent movie adaptions that keep being released and my entertainment from them, I’ve felt a renewed spark in comic book heroes. In fact, after seeing Iron Man 3, I’ve been interested in exploring the Extremis comic the movie was loosely based from.

But it’s not just superheroes I’ve become interested in reading about. Since I recently got back into reading books for fun, I’ve been wanting to read more stories that, while interesting, won’t eat up a ton of my time. I think comics would be the perfect way to do that, being both relatively short and in most cases less pricey. I also feel it’s time I give comics a fair shake, since I haven’t really done so in the past.

It’s going to take some research, but I’m excited to see what’s out there and find some good stories. If anyone has suggestions for good comics that a comic newbie can dive into, feel free to post them below!