Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Problems, Solutions & Zombies

Remember a couple of blogs ago, when I mentioned that, over the summer, I had pushed my wife to the point where she was ready to pull the plug on our most perfect union? And remember I told you that I felt that the primary force pushing her to that point was Yours Truly? Well, I wasn't yanking anybody's chain.

I think under any NORMAL circumstances, wives often shake their heads at some of the things their husbands get into. And vice versa.

This is natural.

This is expected.

Women are from Venus and Men are from...I dunno, Hell I guess.

We are vastly different creatures, yet somehow we figure out a way to co-habitate and exist together in relationships, sometimes we even go the distance...until departed by six feet of dirt.

It's work, it's effort, and you have to have some give and take certainly.

Fortunately, Jennifer and I have some very foundational things in common, those things that are most important, which is really the binding agent for us. I'm lucky that way. We both are. Other things, like the fact that she enjoys watching football (traditionally a male activity) or I enjoy cooking (traditionally a female activity), are what I call Bonus Levels. We have quite a lot of those as well.

But there are those things that we will never meet in the middle on.

Say hello to the X-Box 360, my favorite coping mechanism, but something that Jennifer wouldn't mind taking a baseball bat to from time to time.

And CERTAINLY, at least this summer, I think she probably would have had the right to do just that. Because I went WAY overboard. This machine might as well have been a mistress.

And for a while...I got lost in it.

Especially in Red Dead Redemption, which, because of the timing of its release, came out just when I started becoming super, super depressed. Right at the beginning of the worst of my downward spiral, the sweeping landscape of the world of RDR sucked me in, and what started as a part of a solution, something I used to cope with the depression and sadness I was feeling about my life, was now becoming part of the problem, as, instead of hours dealing with some of our issues I was spending hours lost in imaginary worlds.

And it wasn't healthy in other ways either. After everyone was asleep in the house, I would sometimes just ride a horse out to one of the cliffs and watch the sun set over the virtual horizon. This might take a half an hour, maybe a full hour, of real time...with me just sitting there, contemplating, dwelling, thinking, but not really DOING. It was odd.

What was even stranger was this. Sometimes, for reasons I can't even begin to explain, I would just take the character and leap off the cliff, plunging him to his death. Sure, he'd re-spawn at a different spot, but there was no real reason to DO that.

It made no sense.

I would do that or recklessly attack people or groups of bears in situations where there was little to gain and little chance of survival or success.

Again...why? If you are GOING to play...play with a purpose, play for an outcome. I was lost in there for all the wrong reasons. In many ways, the virtual self was just a mirror image of the real self. There simply WAS no escape from the Truth. I had to start playing with a purpose and playing for an outcome IN MY LIFE.

That was part of the lesson I needed to learn. And I learned it. Less X-Box. More Life.

But...I still play, just not to the extreme that I was over the summer. And while the above was about The Lesson, the below is about The Test.

And hey...I know what you're saying. You're saying 'Hey Lilly...what's all this bullshit, huh? What about Halloweek? Yesterday yer promising us that yer gonna Theme Up, that this week is all gonna be about scary stuff related to the most frightening day of the year and now it's all this psycho-babble bullshit about you playing your X-Box and marriage issues? WTF?'

Easy...easy...we're gettin' there. What? You go out on a date and go right for the booby? No, you hold HANDS first. Now, where was I? Oh yeah...Red Dead Redemption...incredible game. Takes place in the old West. Gunfighting. Riding horses. Terrific.

Now...how do you make one of the greatest games of all time about the American West even better?

Just add zombies.

Today, October 26th, Rockstar Games has released the DLC (That's 'Downloadable Content' to you non-gamers) Add-On called Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare Pack. It is a brand new Single Player campaign, featuring reformed outlaw John Marsten, the hero from Red Dead Redemption, racing to find a cure to a disease that has unleashed a Zombie Apocalypse across the frontier. There's some new Multi-Player stuff too.

Yes of course I am going to download it, because zombies are awesome and RDR ranks up there in my Top Ten List of All-Time games I have ever played. The KEY is...not allowing myself to get sucked in and remembering the lessons I learned about maintaining a balance, because it would be SO easy to boot it up and then look back up at the clock and see 3 or 4 AM and then KEEP PLAYING.

Damn you Western Zombies, you bastards...if only you weren't so DAMN scary and sexy...

...but I'm not going to let you own me.

Can't. Got way too many things to do on the OUTSIDE.

This is gonna be a REALLY tough fight this week.

But I gotta stay focused.


C'mon man...you quit smoking, you can do THIS.

Just say NO to the Undead, man...JUST SAY NO.




  1. Oooo... Thanks for the reminder about that. I have to go home at lunch and check on our new dog. I'll get that downloading then so it will be ready to play tonight!

  2. I'm glad I've never let my husband get an xbox. He spends enough time watching sports on tv...the last thing he needs is something else to get obsessed with! Just say NO to the zombies...for your wife's sake!

  3. You're right: All things in moderation and everything's a give and take...

    Just suggestions:
    1. Stand when you play to keep time in check...
    2. Track your time with RDR so you can offer Jen break-time of the same duration where you're in charge of the kids...

    Wait ----- this is gonna be another one of those times when I make it way too obvious that I don't have kids, right???


    Take two: Hug the family, play RDR and have a fantastic time!

  4. I've just taken a bat to the screen in solidarity with Your Wife.

  5. I bought RDR over the weekend. I've been wanting this game for so long. For some reason I just love video games where you ride a horse. I've played all the way through Shadow of the Colossus eight or nine times now.

    Here is the deal. I have the same SD TV I bought when Heather and I got married 13 years ago. It ain't broke and my income ain't real healthy right now so I have trouble justifying buying an HD set.

    Red Dead is virtually unplayable on a standard def TV. I so badly wanted to get sucked in, but I have no idea what to do. My little map health indicator is cut off by the standard tv dimensions so I really can't tell if I'm healthy, where I need to go, or what the heck the icons are.

    When text is on the screen it looks like Huttese. I can kind of make out certain words like "horse" if I squint, the rest is gibberish. A typical phrase will look to me like "Devlish Amsterdam cut read to horse rum blotch." then either an icon for either the X or B button, not real sure 'cause the color on my set for the bottom right corner is all red.

    Still I have fun just running around shooting chickens and jumping off water towers.

    Maybe Santa will bring me an HD TV for Christmas.

    As for the marriage issues, they don't go away and often we can't fix them on our own. It is sort of like two people with bad eyesight trying to figure out each other's proper prescription. Heather and I did counseling for 6 months. The counseling itself totally sucked time and money, but the act of prioritizing our relationship above all else really helped us. So counseling didn't help us, but yet it did. Hopefully if you do get into counseling you'll get a good counselor. And I'm old school so I believe it is the man's responsibility to take the initiative and set things up rather than wait until the wife forces you to go.

    Just my thoughts, now back to shooting coyotes.


  6. Got the wife a lap-top computer so she can sit next to me while I kill things. She checks facebook, files pictures, watches Netflix movies...It has worked out pretty well.

    Worked well until I've played 10 nights straight to get into a new game and she wants to watch a movie...

    Tools of the devil I tell you, that's what those wireless controllers are! ;-)


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