Uncertain times are ahead for me. I'm scheduled for surgery at the end of this month. Basically, I have a lipoma (5cm) that's pressing against the top of my spine. If you want to get technical, it's my C1 vertebra.
For those of you who may not know what a lipoma is and too lazy to Google it, a lipoma is a benign tumor composed of adipose tissue, or in other words, body fat.
I'm hoping the lipoma isn't attached to any muscle as I've heard the recovery time can be very discomforting since the surgeon would have to scrap off the tissue from the muscle itself. As long as I can sleep, I'll be fine. If not, I'll turn into "grumpy pants" and no one would want to deal with me then.
At any rate, I have reason to believe this could be the leading cause of my back issues as of late and general discomfort throughout the day. Originally, I thought I pulled a neck muscle when inadvertently working out incorrectly one day that caused the inflammation, but that clearly wasn't the case since it's been there for over a year - slowly growing.
The surgery itself should be routine and yield satisfactory results. Funny story: I actually had another surgery with the same doctor over ten years ago that I had forgotten about. When I called to make an appointment and the receptionist asked for my number, I was surprised my name popped up in their system. I'm convinced my memory is shot.
At any rate, no one start calling dibs on my consoles just yet! Worst case scenario, I survive with a decent scar to show off and other people should stop calling me Igor. (no one actually calls me that, although I did name the growth "Fred" - is that weird?)
Anyway, with the new year already among us and having digested the fact that my surgery is just around the corner, all of this has made me want to reevaluate my gaming tendencies. I could expand upon that and go into real life stuff, but we're on a gaming website and especially since this hobby takes up a chunk of my time, I'll just stick to that.
When adjusting my games collection and reflecting, I noticed I actually borrowed/rented a TON of games (more than I currently own), and that's a crazy discovery. With that said, I plan to continue on collecting titles that will have replay value and stop spending money on games that are purely used for score and quickly tossed aside.
I mean, I'm leaving the possibility open that I could relapse, but doubtful that will happen. I didn't even enter in this year's GTASC until the very last minute and that was to help out a longtime friend. I mean, he did beg and plead with me enough. How much money did he offer me again?(I'm kidding! They may have persuaded with me a bit though.)
Being on a casual team did intrigue me, so that's what ultimately sold me on the idea on participating once again. The captain has plans to actually make it feel like we're on a team in various ways, like streaming our efforts on Twitch, having mini competitions, and just generally helping each other out with grindy achievements. I felt like that camaraderie was missing last year as we all tended to do our own thing, but this blog isn't about dwelling in the past.
Admittedly, on top of being with a casual team, striving to win the prizes that are offered during the year appeals to me most. I feel like I could last until October easily enough by my normal gaming habits alone, so plenty of opportunity to snag some nifty prizes without too much effort. Plus, the event organizers always do a great job of presenting all of those juicy statistics. I have always appreciated that.
Realistically speaking, my days of having a competitive streak are essentially over with. While these contests were a different experience and enjoyable for the most part, I just can't let myself get that consumed by gaming in the sense where it controls my every waking moment, especially when loading my card up with kid games or Indie crap is concerned. Of course, I'm not trying to knock on anyone. If that's your thing, then go right ahead and game to your heart's content. If it makes you happy, then more power to you. I'm not hating.
I suppose my only issue is -- which I don't think I made clear in my other blogs -- when people exaggerate on how they end up doing well in these competitions. Not quite sure I understand why it's necessary to sprinkle in those lies and hide behind the truth. For instance, despite their own words, it's a massive time sink to compete seriously. I don't know about you all, but I love my beauty sleep. I mean, it doesn't matter if you excel in time management, a ton of time is required to actually play the game and if you're determined enough, you'll preload just about anything to stay ahead of the pack.(for the record, preloading doesn't sound appealing AT ALL)
And, I haven't even touched base about the amount of money that is required to gain that advantage either. People try to downplay how much they spend, but you can only borrow so many games. And, not all games have a physical copy, so you're spending at least some money there digitally. Even if you got those games on sale, those dollars add up. Others could argue that most of their damage was with free games, but that's bologna. Period. Personally, I'd just rather spend that money on something practical - like supporting a family, which leads me to my next point.
For instance, the general consensus is that to do well in these contests -- Leap Frog and GTASC come to mind -- you can't have other responsibilities, like kids or a job. Word off the street is that the ones that performed well did in fact have families and children and did not live in a basement. With what I know on what it takes to excel in these contests, that tells me they neglected them. They can fluff their words all they want. It's downright impossible to balance all of that out. Keep in mind, I'm not talking about one hit wonders, I'm referring to the peeps that are constantly competing seriously every year.
To steal a line from Peter Griffin, it really grinds my gears when I read these posts and see them making those false claims. I have no respect for that. Heck, it's like me saying I just won the lottery and currently dating Kate Upton. It's not fooling anybody with half a brain cell. Negligence and carelessness is so clearly oozing from them, I shouldn't even be poking fun at it, especially when kids are involved.
I mean, I can understand someone pushing hard for a few months, but if you're competing seriously in all of these different gaming contests year in and year out, you're not fooling anybody. That's a huge time sink and financial burden you're self inflicting on yourself. If I knew I was neglecting my children (theoretical in my case) because of my gaming habit, my conscious would weigh me down something terrible that I don't even think I could make it up to them. Taking them all out on vacation to Disney or buying them a pony wouldn't make up for all of those missed opportunities on spending time with them.
This reminds me why I don't interact on Facebook anymore, mostly. Everyone is all claiming their life is full of sunshine and rainbows. Bah! I know the drama that goes on behind the scenes...(they're all just a big fat phony!)
It's just a horrible feeling to be bound by unlocking achievements. Been there, done that. I don't think anyone should be, which is why I snapped my streak. It became such an inconvenience and sometimes consumed my gaming entirely. In comparison to then and now, it's just so much more relaxing and gratifying to unlock an achievement whenever I feel like it. I do believe some of us forgot that gaming should be more about having fun than punishing ourselves to increase our GamerScore or worrying about what other people are doing. Of course, I'm guilty as charged if you looked at my tendencies these past few years.
Basically, it's all about moderation for me going forward and continuing to be selective on what games I decide to start.
Since those holiday sales are basically over, I only managed to get two things:Commander Cherry's Puzzled Journey
- Yes. I realize it may end up being a crappy game, but it's Kinect. I need an excuse to move around aimlessly around my living room from time to time.Alien: Isolation
- The Collection
- Despite already owning the physical copy and the extra content not including any achievements, I've heard nothing but great things about this game. Plus, being able to play as Ellen Ripley is a bonus in itself.
I'm thankful not much appealed to me because I'd be in an abusive relationship with my wallet!
As far as actual Christmas gifts go, I got the following:
Much thanks to Dawn and Jim/Monica for the gifts. I shall put them to good use, eventually. I may even designate one for my 500th game played very soon! I'm currently at 498 games played.
And, I'll have to expand upon this for another blog that's more geared towards my gaming setup, but Dawn went all out and upgraded my gaming chair. No details yet as I don't want to ruin the surprise.
Oh, all right. One hint.
It's got a subwoofer mounted in the back and when the bass starts thumping along during intense moments, it actually vibrates the whole chair! It's quite impressive. I mean, it just pulls me into the game even more than usual. No spoilers here, but what happens at the end of Games of Thrones: Episode One... Boy, was that more intense that it needed to be due to the chair. With two speakers on either side of me, it makes any game completely immersive even with it being a simple "point and click" adventure.
Next blog should be me tooting my own horn and about what I accomplished last year gaming wise, so stay tuned for that!
Take care all.
[UPDATED: December 31, 2015]
* revamped Boost List and other edits
Want to boost? Play some co-op? Trade games with me? If so, click the spoiler tag below: