Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Upcoming absence . . . maybe

I thought I would give a heads up a little early about something that's coming up in my life that might take me away for a while.  I am scheduled to have eye surgery on April 29th and I'm probably not going to be staring at a computer for a while after that.

After meeting with a corneal specialist it has been determined that I need a new corneal transplant and while they are doing that they can also put a new lens in my eye.  Fixing 2 problems at once.  It's good news and I'm excited at the possibility of seeing out of my left eye again.  There are a couple of things that make me nervous and the closer it gets to that time I'm sure I'll get more nervous but it's manageable now.

The first thing I'm nervous about is the cost.  My last surgery was at the end of the year and I didn't have to shell out too much money before I met my out of pocket maximum for the year.  Since this is happening earlier in the year I'll have to pay more because I'm no where close to reaching that maximum.  It sucks because I had such great plans for my tax refund but I'll get through this.

The other thing that I'm worried about is actually a good thing.  I'm worried about seeing again.  I know that sounds weird but after not being able to see really anything out of the left eye for 7 months and then (hopefully) being able to see things again is going to send my brain into overload and I'm imaging I'll have a VERY bad headache for a couple of weeks while my brain adjusts to the new inputs.

I've got my next game all recorded and I'm starting to edit it.  I'll start posting that game next week as tomorrow is my last video for Lego Harry Potter (years 5-7).  I'm not going to tell you what game it is but I hope you like it as it's my favorite game of that particular genre.  I've also finished filming the whole things so I know how long it will take to post videos.  It will run from next week through most of June.

Now I'm sure you're thinking that that would give me plenty of time to film new things (or finish up filming old thing) between the date of surgery and the end of June but like I said before I probably won't want to do that due to the eye strain of staring at a computer screen or TV screen for a while.  I'll try to film some things in games I have in progress but I also have to have time to edit what I've already got done.

I think I'm going to spend a lot of time thinking about what I want to do with my YouTube channel going forward.  I started the channel to force myself to finish games and it has certainly helped me to do that.  But unfortunately it's a lot of work to film, edit and post videos while working a full time job and trying to spend time doing my other hobbies. 

And there's the rub.  I haven't had a whole lot of time to do my other hobbies.  I can't remember when the last time I read a book.  I know I'm in the middle of one (The Book Thief) but with all the eye drama it's just been too hard to read at times.  I also like to cross stitch and I'm working on a large project for my dad.  I've told him that he can't die until it's finished and at the rate I'm going it's going to be another 15-20 years before it's done.  He turns 80 this year.

I guess what I'm getting at is that while I love to play games and make videos and post them to YouTube, I love to do other things as well.  I just don't have the time to everything that I use to before I started YouTube.  Every time I look at the analytics and what I want to do with my life I think it's not worth the effort any more at the expense of my other hobbies.  But then someone comments on a video, or I get a new subscriber and I feel guilty about walking away . . . especially with some games unfinished. 

It's a problems I'm going to be thinking a lot about while I'm out of commission for a month or so.  So even though videos should be going up while I'm out there might be a lag before other videos get posted once the next game is done.  If you can think of reasons to keep on posting . . . or reasons to quit let me know.

(and yes, I know I need to post a Working Girl's review of Band of Bugs and Lego Harry Potter (years 5-7)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Eye update and current life evaluation

So I was out on disability for 2 months after the accident.  I returned to work the week after Thanksgiving full time and it took a while to get back in the swing of things.  The good news is that I was already working from home 3 days a week so my boss just let me work from home full time until I felt comfortable driving in the office.  It's an hour commute each way looking directly in to the sun both ways.  In January I started coming in on Fridays (traffic's lighter) and in February I'll start back on my 2 days a week in the office.

Speaking of driving, I HATE IT.  I have no depth perception and it's really scary when there's moving vehicles all around you.  I'm having the hardest time with the side to side perspective.  If I'm in the inside lane, all the traffic coming from the other direction look like they are coming straight at me.  I know they're not (at least I hope they're not) but it still looks that way to me.  I only drive when absolutely necessary.  And I might be like that for a long time.

The doctor wants to see if I can keep my original corneal transplant.  It got cloudy with the trauma but has been clearing up gradually since then.  I've been seeing my eye doctor every 2 weeks since the accident.  If it continues to clear up I won't have to have another transplant.  If it doesn't . . . then I'll have to have my name put back on the transplant list and wait my time until it comes up.  Whether my name will come up faster because I've already had one or slower . . . because I've already had one, I don't know.  They won't fix the inside of my eye until they know what the outside (cornea) is going to do.

So, if everything continues to heal and my cornea clears up I might need just one surgery to put another lens in my eye.  It's going to be more complicated than a regular cataract surgery but essentially the same type of surgery since I don't have the little sleeve pocket that the lens usually sits in so they'll have to improvise something to make sure the lens stays in place and doesn't move around in my eye.

Either way, no matter what happens any surgery is still going to be months away for me.  I've been trying to find my "new normal" and get back in to a regular swing of life.  That mostly consists of me sitting at home doing very little after work because my eyes are so tired by the time I'm done.  i also sleep a lot on the weekends (which messes up my sleep schedule during the week for work).

I have started playing video games again but most of the time my heart isn't in it.  I've started posting again this month but only 2 days a week instead of 3.  But I've been thinking a lot about that lately.  I've begone to question if I should continue recording and posting to YouTube.  There's so much time, and vision, involved that my current circumstance is only making more difficult.

I started my YouTube channel to help force me to finish games.  I figured if I took the time to post of video of a game I was making a commitment to actually finishing the game.  But since it's so much harder to play the game, and then edit the video for a game, I'm starting to think it's not worth it for me anymore.  And that makes me sad.

I've actually finished a bunch of games because of my YouTube videos.  I'm afraid if I stop posting then my finish rate will just go down.  But on the other hand it's just so labor intensive for me right now when I'm already struggling to do normal things.  And while I'm proud of each and everyone of the people who have subscribed to my channel my analytics tell me that's not who's watching my videos (and they don't watch for very long).  If I'm putting all that strain on my eyes I really have to think if it's worth it to continue.

I might be healing physically from the accident, but the emotional, psychological and mental process of healing and coming to grips with the fact that I'm now temporarily (hopefully) half blind and will be for possibly another year or more is progressing much slower.  I cry and small stupid things.  If I miss something because I couldn't see it I cry even more.  It's a process and it will take time and I know I'll get there but I have to look at all the things in my life and see what things are helpful to me and what things might actually be harmful to me. 

Spending a lot of time and effort to do a simple thing like play a video game and edit the video might be more than I can handle.  I've told myself that I will finish the games I currently have in rotation (i.e. whatever I'm in the mood to play at that time) and see how I feel after that.  Some of those games are long (like Lost Odyssey) and I might have to make a decision about those earlier than that.  The problem is I don't like to leave things half finished.  If I stopped posting videos in the middle of a play through of a game, even if I continued to play it "off line" from YouTube, it would still feel unfinished.

I've got a lot of decisions in my life and things I've got to deal with now.  I'm not an optimist.  I'm a realist.  But I know things will be better because I want them to and I will work towards that to try and make that happen.  It's just that this is where my life is now and I've got to deal with it the best way that I can for the time being.  If anything changes, I'll let you all know.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Out of Commission

So . . . I'm going to be out of commission for a while.  Possibly 1-3 months.  And all because of an innocent accident.

I was sitting on the floor folding laundry on Saturday afternoon (9/29) when I decided to give my dog a hug who was laying in front of me.  I put my hands behind her front legs and started to pull her up.  Apparently she didn't want a hug at that time and flipped out and slammed her head directly on to my open left eye.  She didn't hit cheek or nose or eye brow.  Just a straight hit to my open eye.  It happened so fast I didn't have time to blink.

If you've been following my blog for some years now you know I don't have a good history with my eyes.  Especially my left one.  The one she hit.  And this time it's not any better.  It's worse.  Much worse.

She knocked my contact lens out and my artificial lens I had implanted when I had cataract surgery.  When I got to the hospital they said I had ruptured my eye.  They took me by ambulance to another hospital where they had people trained for this type of injury.  I was only at the other hospital a little less than an hour before they wheeled me in to surgery.

The doctor said that I had lost my pupil, the little pocket that holds the lens and obviously the lens itself.  I had also lost a bunch of other stuff in my eye which I don't remember what he called it.  My corneal transplant was barely hanging on by a little flap.  The surgery that I had that day was just to see if they could reconstruct it to be a eyeball again.  I'll have to have additional surgeries to see if/what help they can do to restore any vision in that eye.

After surgery the doctor said he would be happy if I saw light and shadow and movement.  I could.  It looks like very bad shadow puppets on a very dimly lit wall.  I couldn't see enough to tell how many fingers he was holding up and I couldn't see colors or shapes.  If everything heals and is okay in a month they'll refer me to a specialist to what they can do for vision.

I will have to have another transplant surgery.  Right now I think the only reason I still have an eye is that they could use the existing transplant to close up the eye.  The doctor said they didn't have any corneal tissue at the hospital so if they didn't have that to close up the now ruptured hole in my eye I don't know what they would have done. 

I don't know know what they are going to do about the lens you normally have in the eye.  Not only did I lose the lens, I lost the pocket that the lens sits in.  They're going to have to MacGyver something in order to get that to work.

Needless to say I have a long road of surgeries and recoveries ahead of me.  This all happened about a week and a half ago so I've had time to calm down, accept my fate and get past the worst of the pain for now.  It hasn't been easy.  Even typing this is hard and I'm going to have to rest for a long time afterwords to recover. 

As for playing video games that's out of the question for now.  I do have videos in the can that I could edit and post to my YouTube channel but it hurts to much to look at the screen and those will only last so long and I'm not recording any more.  So for the time being I'm taking it easy and contemplating a lot of my life.  That's about all I can do at this point.  If things change, I'll make another post.  Right now my bad eye is watering like crazy and it's making it harder for my good eye to focus. 

So, I guess I'm out of commission for while.  This is the life for the next several months for this gamer girl.  Play on!

Friday, August 31, 2018

50,000 and counting

I did it. My gamer score is finally at 50,000.  Well . . . actually it's at 50,011 but I still finally crossed that threshold. 

It's been 11 and half years in the making.  As best as I can tell I got my first achievement on January 6th, 2007.  I actually got 3 achievements on that day.  All of them in Hexic HD which came free with the Xbox 360.  I got Flower Child, Cluster Buster and Star Gazer.  And thus my journey began.

I remember the beginning of that journey.  I was not an early adopter of the Xbox 360.  All the stories of Red Rings of Death and such made we want to wait until Microsoft got their act together.  The Xbox 360 was out for more than a year before I finally got one.  I sat and watched all my friends rack up their gamer scores and I couldn't wait to start earning mine.  Unfortunately I was big in to playing on my PS2 and didn't play much on the Xbox 360 for quite awhile.  That all changed once I got Gears of War and found a great group of guys to play it with.

I was always lamenting how fast their scores seemed to increase versus how slowly mine was inching up.  But now, for some reason, getting over 50,000 seems a decent amount.  Of course I have several friends with gamer scores over 100,000.  But they don't have much of a life outside of video games (sorry guys, but you know that's true).

I had a goal of getting to 50,000 by the end of the year.  Getting it this early was a bit of a surprise.  What achievement was the one that pushed me over the edge?  It was in Minecraft (the new version).  Delicious Fish.  Catch and cook a fish.  It was just enough to put me over the edge.  And since that version is different than the Xbox One version I have the chance to double up on the achievements and get my gamer score even higher.

I wonder if it will take me another 11.5 years to get to 100,000.  I don't think so, but stay tuned.  You never know.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

2 new (mini classic) consoles

So I have 2 new consoles.  They are classics.  They are minis.  Can you guess what ones they are?

I picked up the SNES Classic Mini first and then about two weeks later I say an article online that the NES Classic Mini was back in production and available in stores that day.  So . . . at lunch I took a little trip to my local Best Buy and bought one (after I did a bunch of research online to make sure they had some in stock).

I haven't plugged them in yet as my life outside of work has been consumed with getting my swimming pool back in service after a devastating monsoon storm.  When it's over 110 degrees outside the last thing you don't want to have working/swimable is your pool.  It's the only relief that doesn't cost an arm and a leg on your electric bill.  You still have to pay to run the pump, but if your pump can't run . . . well, you now know what I was dealing with.  Now that the pools back in swimable condition (although it's so warm it feels like a taking a hot bath) I can get back to playing video games.

One thing I would like to do with the NES Classic Mini is to play Mario Bros and finish the game by playing all the levels.  I use to play this game (along with Duck Hunt and Tetris) every time I would go babysit my niece for my sister and brother-in-law.  Once he showed me the warp pipes I took advantage of them every chance I could to skip levels . . . especially worlds with water levels.  I hate water levels. 

I've "finished" the game but I haven't played all the levels.  This will be a real test of my platforming skills as there are whole worlds in that game that I haven't even seen yet.  And there's some Bullet Bill levels that I had to play because I skipped some water levels and I hated those levels.  This should really interesting. 

I'm also excited to play the original Zelda games.  I've played later ones in the series but it will be interesting to see where/how that all got started.

I haven't decided if I'll record my play through of any game or not.  I know Nintendo has a strict policy on having their video game footage on streaming platforms like YouTube.  I don't have enough followers, or likes, or views or whatever YouTube is using to measure things now a day and I don't really care about that.   My YouTube channel is for my use/pleasure/enjoyment.  Anything beyond that is just frosting.

Is there a game on the NES or SNES Classic that you would like me to play?  If so, let me know in the comments below.

Games with Gold Challenge

I didn't make any New Year Resolutions this year.  Why?  I just wasn't feeling it.  With a resolution I was feeling the pressure of "I have to do it" . . . when in reality I rarely do.  So I didn't make any and I felt okay about that for a while.  Around the middle of January a thought occurred to me.  Instead of resolutions, why not a challenge? I had a moment of epiphany and I knew exactly what "challenge" I would undertake.

Every month I download the Games with Gold free games on Xbox . . . unless I have them already (that's happening more often than not nowadays).  Why not play ones of those?  Why not make a challenge out of it?  And so I did.

I've decided to pick one of the free games each month and try playing them.  Maybe even finishing them.  If I did that it would be 12 finishes in a year.  That might be a record for me.  I probably won't record them but I'll play them.

So far I've dabbled in Back to the Future: The Game and Zombi.   I got a little frustrated with Back to the Future because I had to go through and select every response option before I could progress the story.  It was at the Professor's house and you're trying to get the book back from Biff.  Having to go up to your dad and talk to him about 4 times before you could progress things was annoying.  But I'll keep playing.

In Zombi I got out of the training missions and was feeling only so-so confident in my ability to move on.  But it was time to go to bed so when I get back to it I might start all over to refresh my skills and be more confident in my ability to survive.  I am a serial starter after all.

It's an interesting concept for a challenge and I'm curious to see how it all plays out at the end of the year.  I'm not setting it as resolution as I don't want to force myself to do it and feel guilty if I fail.  There is no failure this way . . . just more new games to start playing.

Are you up to the challenge?  Could you pick one free game each month and play it to see what it's like?

Friday, March 23, 2018

I'm so smart . . . sort of

Guys, I figured it out.  I figured out how to record form my PS4.  I can't wait to start playing some of those games now.  Apparently you have go in to your settings and turn off HDCP.  I was under the impression that an update turned that off automatically and you had to turn it on if you wanted to.  Apparently the reverse was true.  Any suggestion of what I play first?

Horizon Zero Dawn
Ratchet & Clank
Grand Kingdom
I am Setsuna
Mighty No. 9