Reading Slump – TBR Un-haul

I’ve not been reading this last week or two. Slumps are very discouraging. Usually, to lift me out of the slowdowns I read some urban fantasy steampunk historic paranormal romance kind of books and they seem to satisfy my need for fun. When I’m down they are my junk food and I love them for it but lately, even those haven’t helped me out of this hole. So, I was trying to figure out what to read and looked through my Goodreads to-read list and Amazon wishlist but found books I don’t remember adding. I realized as I looked at these books I had no plan to read them so, I started to remove them. It feels good to un-haul books on my to-read list. Almost as good as a physical book un-haul. I realize I felt overwhelmed by my own expectations, what I or others think I should read. And my Amazon wishlist was not completely a list of book I want to maybe own one day but just another to-read list probably created before Goodreads came along. Therefore, I purged and I feel better for it. Still unsure how to get out of this reading slump, instead, I have taken up playing some video games too long left unplayed and through this avenue, I have satisfied my need for stories. Currently, I am playing Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and I am loving it. This is the historical fiction adventure I needed. So glad to have Nathan Drake’s quirky, sarcastic character back, solve puzzles, and find treasure.

How do you get out of a reading slump? Have you and how do you purge your to-read list?

Ending The Last of Us

Naughty Dog has done it again. I just finished playing The Last of Us on PS3 and I am blown away. Late start, life, and responsibility kept getting in the way but I’m so happy I continued to come back. Seriously once I started playing, I don’t think I had a choice. The story line was amazing.

A fungal infects humans and spreads. Twenty years after the outbreak civilization has dramatically changed. Infected humans are everywhere and survivors turn and kill one another for food, weapons, or whatever they can get there hands on. Joel, a survivor is hired to help Ellie, a fourteen year old girl, travel across country. They meet few people that help along the way but what they face is a dark, brutal journey of infected, renegades, and cannibals.

Without spoilers I will tell you the first 10 minutes of the game will most likely have you in tears. I know I was fighting them back. For the rest of the game the characters and their relationships are developed gradually and with such care that it really helped me feel for them and keep playing. I have to complement Naughty Dog on writing dialog, especially between Joel and Ellie. They share real and touching moments that got me deeply invested. It also lead to some suspenseful scenes. This is not the standard, shoot through everyone, game. You are encouraged to sneak around your enemy. The sneak option left me on the edge of my seat with moments where I forgot I could breath while playing these scenes. (Yeah, I’m one of those type of players.) I just kept saying, “Someone’s going to die”.

One of the hard parts for me was the scene I played Joel, hanging upside down while waves of enemies come at you. I did have trouble with the shooting in this scene and some others. But I’m not always a good shot in any game (Not an expert gamer.) so I really liked the sneak option. It is a kill or be killed sort of world. The violence and killing Joel commits seems like a man who has been doing this job too long. I was shocked by the ending. Warning: SPOILERS. For those who plan to play and/or haven’t finished and are reading this, stop reading here if you don’t want to know the ending. I don’t think I can be vague anymore.

Okay. So, I was expecting a dismal end for one or both of the characters. At the end, some of the things Joel does is just hard to watch. But I understand his state of mind. No longer transporting a package, he is more like a father and he will do anything to protect Ellie. And Ellie trusts and believes everything Joel says because look at all they’ve been through together. Does she know? I don’t think so. I believe Ellie would die to cure humanity and Joel knows. That’s why Joel lies. I was not disappointed. I liked it.

Wow this almost sounded like a review. That wasn’t my intention. I just finished the game and I needed to get all this out.

The Disappearance Of The Clock

I woke by springing upright in bed. The screeching sound first coming from my dreams then somewhere in my room. The glow of my cell phone reflecting erie shadows onto my walls. Thank you NYC emergency service alert for the potential flood advisory in the area. My warning: I am awake. With this extra time I thought I would be using for sleeping I figure it was time to write on this thing.
I’ve been slacking on updating this blog. First, I thought I had nothing to write about. Second, I been procrastinating with the help of Skyrim. That game has a way of wasting hours without me even knowing they passed. The fighting and finding items in quests suck in my attention. Even the slow activities (black smithing, enchanting, and selling) seem to fast forward my clock. The true time suck, the new cable box not displaying the time. Before the disappearance of the cable clock I was focused on the game and the quest but always with an eye on  the time. Now, my line of vision has no clock to nag me with how much time I spend playing. It’s true for my writing too. When I put up the full screen document view and I have a supply of words I know I need to get down, time is not an issue. Cover the computer distractions (mostly internet browsers)  along with the clock and I’m writing. I realized, typing this out, the clock may be my enemy. I wonder if it’s just the digital clock or would the same time hover happen if I had a analog clock over my desk or T.V. A theory to test one day with my game play not my writing. 

I Killed A Dragon

I’ve been playing Skyrim. (Now the title of this blog post makes sense.) I killed a dragon and I forgot to save the game in the excitement of my victory. I go to the next location press the wrong button and now I will have to do the whole fight over. I’m sad, frustrated, angry, and tired. Grrrr. I can’t believe I forgot to save.

It reminds me of the time last week where WordPress wasn’t saving my article as I typed. When I clicked on “refresh” in my confusion and the second after clicking I cursed me. I should know better. I worked for companies with horrible blog backends. I have lost hours of work with one button before. I don’t normally type my articles directly onto a WordPress post. I usually write articles in Word and copy and paste. Why?!

What I’m trying to write is, I’m not a quitter. I have to stop beating myself up. Everyone makes the same or similar mistakes more then once in life. I will go back and kill the dragon the second time so I can right my wrongs and move on in the game. Just like I have never quit on an article or blog post. I remind myself how the article is usually better the second time. All the thoughts are outlined. And it will not take me as long as it did the first time. YEAH! Determination.

Something I will do different. I will right my wrongs another day. This isn’t a job and right now Skyrim you’re not fun. (I still love you, just not right now Skyrim. You understand?)

Image Obtained From Andrew Whemphill’s WordPress