Pints for the Pixels

Today’s not especially worth talking about. I took the day off in anticipation of an event I’m attending tonight. It’s my first event of being in New York City. It’s an event held by an organization called Freelancer’s Union, and the event is called Spark, and it’s being held at the Impact Hub in Manhattan.

It’s very strange to me seeing an Impact Hub in Manhattan, because I used to see an Impact Hub every single day when I lived in Seattle. I walked past it every day on my way to the internship, and each day I walked by I thought, “huh, look at that, they must be socially conscious.” Well there is one right here in Manhattan, and I’m going to it, in order to see an event.

This actually isn’t my first event that I signed up for at the Impact Hub. There was another one, about a month ago, that I signed up for, and I did travel all the way to the Impact Hub, but I was about 20 minutes late, and at that point, I completely chickened out. I was terribly afraid to walk into the event that was currently in process, and then walking in way late, a completely new face, never seen before, interrupting everyone, who, for all I knew, were all experienced and had been going to these events for some time. They would have looked at me and thought, “gosh, who is this asshole? Walking in like he owned the place, like everything around the world functions entirely at his own leisure, as if life itself is just one big luxurious adventure. Fuck this guy. I hope he has an accident on his bike.” (The latter actually happened.)

So, I left, and went to a bar instead. I drank two beers, and a sandwich. It was all somewhat subpar. Drinking in Seattle and Portland has left me a big spoiled, I feel.

 

 

Tough NYC Experiences

Writers Note: Forgive me for the length, this was mostly my attempt at length, narrative driven writing. My personal essay, if you will. This blog will likely be a mix of blog topics, and me telling personal stories. 

Yesterday has certainly been a challenging day in New York City.

The challenge came around when the chain on my new bike popped off suddenly while riding slowly and nothing harshly affecting my bike. I was suddenly forced to sit idly on my bike on the side of Broadway on Tribeca while I stared at disbelief at my bike and wondered how could the chain have possibly broken the way it did. I swore aloud, and I clenched my hands into fists and thrusted them up and down, not paying the slightest attention if anyone was looking towards me, wondering what my problem was, or possibly, what I was on.

I was in the middle of my bike job, and at the moment in the middle of an assignment, which I gleefully contemplated on the time it would take to finish the job and the commission payout that would come my way upon finishing, pushing my earnings for the day further into super success. I was happy and eager to complete the job, I was happy to be in the city, I was happy to work towards success. Then a completely unprecedented and unexpected event occurred that made my job literally impossible to complete, and these powers completely out of my control would simply occur, putting me far behind my goals. The frustration was incredible. I was only one set of bad news from considering my entire trip into the city a complete failure, and I was going to pack up and go back home to the Northwest that day.

That is a thought that I’ve played with from time to time: Leaving New York City. It’s too hard, it’s too much work, and it’s taking a lot of energy out of me just to complete a single day. Take a week, or a month, then my whole body starts to feel like it’s falling apart. Or, even worse, when I start to think about the future and how I plan to accomplish some of those plans I create for myself, which plans sound simple and easy but get complicated quick: Getting my own apartment that’s quite and empty enough to allow me to act professional, or saving up enough money to get into a top-school who has a graduate program which I currently have a place on the wait-list, but the likelihood of me getting in is very week, and even getting myself a new outfit so I cease to look like I don’t have a job or a home, but actually looking like apart of civilization. I thought about the idea of leaving the city and getting away from all this hard work that feels like it’s driving me down and feels at times like it’s not going anywhere, going back to a place what was easy and comfortable, a place that didn’t demand so much from me, but I immediately ignored that thought. Why would I leave? Why would I go to some place more comfortable? It’s that level of comfort that I left in the first place. If I left, then I’m admitting defeat. I’d be reinstating myself into a community where nobody expects much from me at all and that I might as well pursue a career in the food and drink industry in some small time bar in downtown Vancouver, Washington. Besides, I have some big goals with this school I’m trying to get into.

I’ve gotten involved with this school before, taking a class, and they charged me the cost of the class, which at the time, I was unable to pay off completely, and to this day, I owe that debt. I am working hard in this job now to save money for the debt and to secure a place in that program, but I’m also very afraid that when the day eventually comes that I’ll have to work something out and if they accept the money I’ve saved up, then it will drastically set me back in the city. But I’ll have a place in the program. Oh! The thoughts! They’re stretched so far and so thin!

Well, when the bike broke down, I was fortunate to find a bike shop nearby, not too far to walk, to where I took my bike to get its first round of repairs, which was frustrating considering I had used the bike for about a week so far, and the bike I used previously had gone an entire month and a half without needing any repairs. So I got a new chain put on the bike, and fixed the screwed up basket on my bike. I took about two hours out of my day, which was work that was not getting done, money not being made, but I felt a million times better knowing that my bike was suddenly in a much better state of use, and was more useful than it was that morning, and that I could get back to work, and start making my money. Which I did. And I felt good doing it.

But that night, something else happened that put me into even worse states; this time, the inner tube on my bike popped off, sliding from under the rubber tire, off the metal spokes, deflating entirely, and getting wrapped up around the bike chain. It got so tightly wound into the chain that the bike was almost impossible to walk with.

It was another thing that happened, the same day, that happened completely un-prompted incident that happened to my bike, completely unwelcome. How could this happen now? The inner tube? Popped off? Was I mistreating the bike? Did I ride over glass? So many things happening that day that required me to take in my bike for repairs just so I could continue doing this hard work just so I could succeed in this place that would otherwise probably care less if I disappeared. Why did this crap keep happening to my bike? What is going on? Does this bike have a mind of its own? Was the bike designed with these things in mind? Was this another way to squeeze more money out of me?

I was riding along JFK drive, a road built along the east side of Manhattan, where you ride underneath the Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan Bridge, and you get a good look at the East River. Unfortunately, I was reaching the end of my job, and I had the product sitting in my bike basket. The ride was very long to begin with, and I had already been riding for about 20 minutes with 10 to go, then suddenly my bike tore itself apart on me, and I was forced to walk the rest of the way. It was 9PM, so bike shops were closed. With the inner-tube wrapping itself around the bike chain, the entire wheel froze stuck, and the bike would not move its back tire unless I drug it along the rubber tire that barely hung onto the wheel. I was able to lift the back side of the bike and allow it to roll along with the front tire, but all the time I had to cary the bike, and with the peddles frequently smacking me into the side of my leg, it would have been very challenging.

It took a little while, but I did complete my job, and I apologized profusely, and hopefully presented myself as very apologetic, which I was. I felt terrible. I was angry at the bike, but I felt sad that I was forced to perform terribly, at a time when I wasn’t trying to. I wanted to perform the best I possibly could, even if I was tired, even if it was getting late, even if…

Getting the bike home was a challenge, but I did it, and that part is not interesting. What is interesting is that I was expecting to fork over hundreds of dollars to get my repairs taken care of. I was afraid that half my weeks earnings all would go towards this one stupid bike. To my amazement, I was charged far less than that. I am so grateful that bike shops do not over charge people who might come off like me and come in looking completely desperate and angry. I was very desperate. They could have found any additional bit of work and charged me an additional 30 dollars, and I would have paid it, because I needed a functional bike, and I needed it to work well. Instead, bike professionals take care of the necessary bit, and they do a fine job with the necessary bit, and they charge me an extremely reasonable amount.

Today, my bike is back to normal, and I’m looking forward to putting this bike to use with the repairs that it received. I have good feelings that the bike will not need repairs for… well, say another week. But until then, my time will be well used. I just hope that it stops raining. I’d probably be out with my new bike if the rain just stopped. Dang it all.

The 2nd Part of my Hyper Light Drifter Review, Sort-Of

I managed to complete playing Hyper Light Drifter.

This second play through took only half the time to complete than my first playthrough, which funnily enough, I wasn’t able to play all the way through. I got pretty far in the game, but my own impatience caused me to pass over many required items and elements that are required for the game.

The game is very interesting in the way the players are required to play through the game. Like I said, I passed over a lot of key items, but that was because I did not allow myself to explore the game world as thoroughly as the game would have liked. The game is structured in such a way that it demands the player to patiently walk through each of the games and to pay close attention on the different roads there are paved out. There were various roads in the game that were presented to me early on in the game, but were not accessibly initially, so I walked away and completely ignored them. During my first play through, I willfully ignored them, thinking the path to completion is more readily laid out. Until I got to the end of the game and I was not able to move forward, I had completely forgotten of those unavailable roads, and I would not have remembered them until my second play through, where I was forcing myself to move slowly and paying more attention.

Turns out the game is only about five hours of length, which is great for casual play. It reminds me when I was younger and I used to pick up games on a lazy Sunday and I’d accidentally get sucked into the game. It’s very easy to get engaged with Hyper Light Drifter, the combination of exploring caves and dungeons, and then the rather large fights that the player will find-themselves in (some of these fights turning out to be so tricky that the player will lose and have to re-play these fights numerous times – it can get annoying, but its not deal breaking).

The combat never lost its appeal, and only became more fun as I played the game again. I still managed to find myself in areas that were very challenging for my characters level, and would often lead to defeat, and causing me to play through the level again. Fortunately (and I mentioned this before) recovering from defeat and returning to the challenging area is never so difficult or annoying that the player spends too much time getting over that area. While the death scene and respawn are quick, only taking up about a few seconds at time, the designers to draw them out a little longer than that, just to retain a certain level of drama that the game presents. For me, though, getting defeated did become quite frustrating eventually, since I was eager to finish the game, and each time I died I had to replay an area.

There was one challenge of the game that really challenged me further than I expected to be, and I had to respawn and replay the challenge so many times that the challenge took, maybe, an hour to complete (I could be wrong, but I did replay the area so many times). Towards the end, there was a challenge where the player is expected to fight against a series of enemies that only get stronger and more numerous as the fight goes on. There were a small number of enemies that have never previously been introduced in the game, and had a certain strategy pattern that players were probably not used to. That, and the battlefield itself added to the challenge, half of which was made up of blocks that if the player were to cross those blocks, they would disappear and dropping the player down a bit, eliminating more of their health bar, which would make it even harder to recover in the middle of the fight. Man, that challenge was super hard.

I definitely enjoyed this new play through. Rather than pushing myself to rush through the game to complete it just so I could throw up a half-assed blog post, I was really engaged in the world, and the story that it was presenting. The games story was interesting because it was told through a series of cut-scenes, and there were hardly any spoken characters. There were a few characters that did have speech bubbles, but the bubbles were filled with image panels, all of them required the player to pay attention and interpret them. At first these panels don’t make much sense, but as players finish the game, they make much more sense, and really make the game world that much more dark.

Though the game is a very fun game. It makes use of its 2-D, top down perspective, and the combat and exploration are certainly good call backs to older gaming eras. Certainly from the SNES era, and potentially from the early PS1 era.

The new Blink 182 song is very un-Blink 182, and For That I Like It

It’s very interesting to see Blink 182 coming back onto the scene with their new album and their new song, Bored to Death, a song that I only turned on because it kept popping up on my Facebook, so I turned it only only because I was curious. I decided about 30 seconds in that I really liked it, because it was cool to see Mark Hoppus’ band “+44” come back around to make some cool new music.

I’m sorry, I meant “Blink 182.”

But that was a question that came up right away: Why did they even bother calling themselves Blink 182? Hoppus and Travis Barker had already come around in another band that was essentially just a Tom Delonge-less band, and this new song basically made me think of that.

Granted, +44 had a much stronger electronic bend than this new Blink song, which still holds true to its rock and roll roots, but still; this new song sounds so far from Blink 182, and sounds much closer to +44, that I’m actually punching the former into my music streamer so I can hear some of their songs.

Let’s do a fun comparison, here’s Bored to Death: 

And now +44:

Please tell me I’m only playing tricks on myself. But damn, I’m suddenly really digging on +44.

 

My Sort-of Review of Hyper Light Drifter

A couple weeks ago I mentioned that “Hyper Light Drifter” came out, and that I may have been excited for it.

In fact, I was very excited for the game; ever since the game came out I’ve had in mind another SNES game that I’ve considered my favorite for years, and the game had been popping into my head frequently since HLD’s release. My thoughts were that HLD would play similarly to my old, favorite game. It looked like it might; both games played top-down, required the player to run through dungeons, occasionally used ranged weapons, but mostly required the player to use short-range melee weapons, such as swords. Also, HLD stated frequently that it “plays like some of the best 8-bit and 16-bit games,” so right away, I thought of my favorite games.

So I decided to pick it up and play it. But my intention was to play through the game in order to get a full review up for it. I did not intent on playing through it, taking my time like I would have the old games I used to play.

As it turns out, “Hyper Light Drifter” demands a great deal of time and patience from the player.

This is how the game has gone for me so far: So, like I said, I picked it up with the intention of having a review ready for preparation within a number of days, so I rushed through the game as quickly as possible. I didn’t bother exploring the world, I didn’t’ bother thinking through the enemies intention, I didn’t bother putting any extensive thought into it other than finishing the game. So, very quickly, the game proved to be very challenging for me, slowing me down at every opportunity the game could find. There were times when I had to dedicate an entire day to a level, just to figure out what to do next; and frequently, I didn’t figure out what to do next, I simply played the areas so repeatedly that progression eventually opened up to me. I faught the boss, moved on to the next area, and wondered to myself, “Wait, how did this happen?”

And this leaves me to where I’m currently at in the game. Apparently, I have progressed to essentially the final part of the game, which will lead me to the final boss. Except I have no idea how to access the final level. In fact, I didn’t even realize I was at that point in the game until I watched hours of walkthrough footage on YouTube. And when I finally realized what I had to do next, the game would not allow me to do that. I feel like I’m essentially at a stand still.

So, what I decided to do, against my better judgement, is to admit that I have no idea what I’m doing, and to start the game over. Slowly work my way through the game, and learn how to work my way through the game.

That is, after all, the main objection by anyone who has expressed any opinion about the game: It’s a difficult game; it’s a challenge, and it’s never intended to be played through slowly, and it’s required to play slowly, and to really explore the game. So I feel like my struggled have sprouted because of the way I’m working against the game. I’m so stuck in the game that I’ve lost my patience.

But here’s the thing: “Hyper Light Drifter” certainly is a lot of fun to play. The game frequently puts the player into situations where they’re expected to react quickly or face a quick death. The player quickly learns to control the main character as quickly as they would drift through hyper light. The player will die a lot, and that death does amount to frustration, but the space between death and the next point in the game is so small that the player will get over death quickly. The player will also learn new ways to explore the landscape that secrets will open up quite often. It’s very much a joy to play.

But im stuck in the game! I can not give a full review because I’ve basically decided to start over so I can get a better idea of what to do! And that’s my review of it so far: It’s fun to play, but I have no idea how it ends. I already know the game is short, which is too bad, because I’m considering spending another 20 bucks on my iPhone to play a game that will demand hours of time. This I am looking forward too.

 

An Injury in New York City, Could Not Be Happier to Be in NYC

About a week ago I was finishing up a long day with the job that I’ve started doing since I arrived into New York City. The long night I was finishing up ended with me getting hit by a skateboarder, ruining my perception enough that I have absolutely no recollection of what happened.

I woke up the next day to find myself in the hospital that’s located on about 60th and 1st in Manhattan. The first couple days in the hospital I was completely out of it; my brain was still trying to out together what had happened. A few days later my father showed up (what? Did he really feel necessary to show?) and I spent the rest of the week in the hospital.

Before too long I began to show physical improvements and the hospital took notice, and soon decided to let met go early. So then next day I found myself in a car and I arrived back at my home in Brooklyn. I continued to let my body slowly heal itself, and today I’m still taking the day off while my body is healing. I’m lounging around at home, which is fine for the time being, but I’m looking forward to getting back to work, which I’m sure is going to quickly wreck my body.

This self-healing is only going to last for a few days; some of which settled in the week that I was resting. Resting is nice, but all the rest of not going to make my work life easier. Soon I’ll have to work as hard as I did the days before my injury; all this time off is making me too comfortable.

Though, despite the thinking I’m doing about getting back to work – These thoughts often put me as a bike messenger into restaurants that Anthony Bordaine visited on his show, like Russ and Daughters (which I did visit once) – and all the time I’m taking off from work, the more time I’m spending as a local walking the streets of Manhattan on foot. My goodness, its actually wonderful to be in this city walking around.

The first time I visited New York City I had an impression of the ity that it reminded me of another old city I visited while in college, and the more I wandered this city the more that memory came to mind.

That old city is Rome, Italy.

Yes, New York City reminds me of Rome.

Though like New York City, Rome has a lot of vendors, a lot of people selling cheap things to visitors as they walk throughout the city. New York City is full of tourists, many of which buy cheap items that are often on display on the sidewalk. But Rome is also a very old city, with many streets turning in on each other and leading to very old tourist locations, such as churches, or the Trevi Fountain, or museums, or etc. New York City is similar; at a certain point, the streets fold in on themselves and take tourists to touristy locations.

But it brings a certain level of comfort, especially when I’m sitting in a pub for lunch typing this page. It reminds me of old pubs in old cities that I’d likely sit in alone and just exist in. London probably had very similar pubs, but sadly London fades out of my memory.

I feel its necessary to say: Of all the cities I’ve been do, I’m glag I’m in New York City. The city is has not once been a comfortable city for me, and has been pointing the way to work since day one; but I also feel like I know what I’m working for and that it will be achievable in the future. Unlike other cities I’ve been in the past, this is not a fun filled place where I’m expected to sit around cozily.

I’m very glad I’m here.

to Blog a Blog.

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