Ring Fit Update

At the start of March, I got sick for like a week, and a week off from Ring Fit Adventure signaled the start of a lot more sporadic use. When I got back to the game, I also hit somewhat of a plateau with an abdominal fitness gym in the New Game Plus that I was not quite prepared for. It’s weird to dial back on something when the way to overcome the obstacle is to keep practicing, but it’s what happened. I’ve diverted from Adventure mode, using the Custom mode to try to work on improving my weak areas, but I’m just not playing as much now without the steady narrative progression. I’m still typically getting in two or three sessions a week, and I’m trying to be more active in other ways in my life, but it feels weird to not have Ring Fit Adventure as an everyday thing anymore, at least for the moment.

In some ways, stepping back a little was probably healthy. It’s definitely true that the extra exercise every day was good for me, but it often came at the cost of cramming in activity, with even more screen time, at the very end of a busy day. I tried to hop into the game by 8 PM, but there were many nights where I’d be working late and end up finally carving out time for a 15- or 20-minute session at 10 or so at night. Now, if I’m running later with work, I’ve tried to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep. But it’s certainly the case that several nights, I’ve just made a series of lazy choices.

This doesn’t lessen my opinion of Ring Fit Adventure at all, by the way. I am, after all, still using it. And it prompted me to start being more active in general, often in little ways, even when I’m not playing it. Plus, it had me going back to it daily for several months, which is worth a recommendation by itself, I’d think.

I’ve also introduced another effort to have a little healthier lifestyle by subscribing to Noom. I’m not a huge fan of everything–the coaching aspect and the group component, even while elements that can be kept to a minimum, just aren’t my cup of tea. But it does provide a lot of helpful ways to think about what I’m eating and how to live a healthier life, and the in-app encouragement and reminders, coupled with a one-stop source for step-tracking, calorie-counting, and daily weight-recording, have really helped me to make better choices AND to reflect on how far I’ve come. So far, I’m actually losing weight, more or less in line with my goals, so it seems to be working well enough.

Between Ring Fit Adventure and Noom, I may have inadvertently stumbled on a combination of diet, lifestyle changes, and fitness that works for me. We’ll see how it goes long-term, but I’m happy with where things are at.

Eliminating Illithids

Just finished the Captured by Mind Flayers quest in Baldur’s Gate II. That was hell. So many tries to get through that. The room right before you get to the area that leads to the Master Brain was the worst. Just a lot of Illithids. A lot. The worst. I had to step away from the game a little bit, but I found if I’m persistent, and take a week or so off if I get too frustrated, I’m eventually able to get through anywhere in these games. After that fight, the penultimate fight against a small room of mind flayers and the final Master Brain fight were far easier in comparison.

BG II is really fun when it’s focused on plot, characters, NPC dialogue interactions, puzzles, and so on. But the combat can range from a laughable breeze to INCREDIBLY FRUSTRATING AND HARD, and it’s hard to predict what each encounter might yield.

Oh well. Old games were like that. Anyway, just wanted to share. I’m glad to put that hellhole behind me.

Pit stop on Ring Fit Adventure

I finally missed a day in Ring Fit Adventure last night. Work’s taken up a lot of my time and mental capacity lately, and I was exhausted by the time I got home. The tendency to get home after dark, which is so easy to do in the winter, doesn’t help with that. My wife and I ordered delivery from our favorite Chinese restaurant and finished off a familiar movie we’d started the night before, and I fell asleep shortly after the end, reclined in an armchair. When I awoke a bit later, I felt too exhausted to even attempt the game, so I went to bed, feeling a bit guilty about skipping.

But I hopped back into the adventure again today, and I was greeted with the same cheery welcome as ever, with an oft-repeated bit of advice reminding me that breaks are important. It was random that I happened to get that advice today, but it felt nice. The guilt dissipated quickly, I had a good workout, and I moved on with my day. No negative vibes from it at all, just a continued positivity. Just what I needed to rebuild my motivation moving forward.

Holiday Special

Happy holidays, everyone! If you’re looking for something different to watch instead of or in addition to the old holiday classics, might I suggest The Lego Star Wars Holiday Special? It’s heartwarming, cheeky, and fun. Its time-traveling shenanigans don’t make a whole lot of sense, but Star Wars, especially its Lego alternate version, doesn’t always make sense. No deeper analysis here; this was a cute little movie appropriate for the whole Star Wars-loving family, and it’s far more watchable than the non-Lego version.

Going Pew-Pew: A Revision

I decided to change the site header a bit. When I first started the blog, I’d run through some jokey names with my wife, including the one we settled on, “Overthinking Things Going Pew-Pew.” I liked the implication that everything I was writing was a little overblown and self-important. I liked what I perceived as somewhat self-aware winking at the idea that I knew I was spending way too much time thinking about pop culture interests.

The thing is that plenty of people are thinking and writing and podcasting and recording video series about many of these same topics! I’m hardly overthinking these things, I’m just part of a vast sea of people obsessing over the pop culture topics they’ve become invested in. At some point, I began to see “overthinking” as something of a humble-brag, though I’d never intended it that way, as though I was indicating I had some special level of insight or devotion. It also seemed more and more dissonant with the types of blog posts I tend to produce, which are often rather light and airy, not over-detailed analyses. There was a time in my life when I did lean toward the latter, mostly before I’d considered blogging at all. I find I don’t have the time or energy (or even the smarts) anymore for those sorts of posts ordinarily, and this blog long settled into me just writing about things I like (or happened to dislike, from time to time).

It also appeared to me that I wasn’t really limited to a narrow focus anymore–if I ever really had been, that is. I write about sci-fi and fantasy sometimes (all too often big IPs like Star Wars or Jurassic Park), but I found over time that my focus was broadening, volatile, hopefully eclectic. I wasn’t “overthinking” any one thing, just mulling over a lot of different subjects. Anything of interest to me eventually gets folded into the site in some form, whether that subject of interest is crime dramas or ufology and cryptozoology or paleontology or Filipino film or whatever else I might be spending time with in a given week. While I’d always intended this to very much so be a personal blog, I’d tried at first to keep somewhat of a narrow topical lens, but over time, I couldn’t help but have the site reflect who I am as a person: someone with a breadth of interests, rather than someone with particular depths of unique focus. As I’ve come to recognize that shift, I’ve allowed more and more of my interests to leak in, and I expect that the site will become even more varied as I continue this process of relaxation into self here. (If there’s something I want to try to incorporate more than anything else in 2021, it’d be dabbling in some of the fiction I’ve suggested on this site for a while now.)

Another thing that bugged me about the name of the blog was that it was just a bit too long. There was a reason I’d settled on goingpewpew.com as the site URL. It would be nice to have a punchier name. To say “pew pew” is common onomatopoeia. Kids might use it when playing make-believe with their toys. Adults might use the same phrase in an attempt to do the same thing, if with a bit of acknowledgement of their childishness. My wife’s always been a fan of that component of the title. When I considered changing things up, she took the opportunity to point out that the common core phrase worked just fine.

So here I am: “Going Pew-Pew.” It’s enough. It reflects what I hope is often a whimsical, childlike (or childish) engagement with the stories and ideas that I’m most interested in. That’s what I think the site’s become, and it’s how I hope it will stay.

With the change of the title, I felt the subtitle needed a refresh. “Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Video Games, and Other Miscellany” felt a bit clunky, simultaneously too much and too little. I figured I’d instead grab two of the things that draw me most: spaceships and dinosaurs. The rest could all get swept up in that miscellaneous category.

All that said, welcome to the newly renamed “Going Pew-Pew: Spaceships, Dinosaurs, and Other Miscellany.”

Out with the old, in with the new–thank god

I’m glad to see that Joe Biden appears to be set to be the next President of the United States, but I’m really, really, really thrilled to see that Donald Trump appears to be approaching the end of his presidency after one term, leaving a legacy as an impeached president who lost the popular vote twice. It’s disappointing to see that so many people still clung to Trump to the bitter end, whether because they liked his personality or liked his policies or liked his implicit (and sometimes not-so-implicit) blessing to openly foment white nationalist domestic terrorism or simply because they always voted Republican. And while our antiquated, autocratic electoral college system (and delays in processing and counting absentee votes) made the election seem way closer than it should have been, Biden did have more votes for him than for any other president ever, so that’s something.

While we’ve still got a couple months to play out while Trump and his allies insist he won as they pursue pointless and mostly meritless litigation, and while we might be looking at another Republican-majority Senate playing eternal opposition party, and while I’m already over the hot takes from centrists and “moderate” Republicans that the lesson Dems should learn is to cooperate with them yet again rather than build on and listen to their progressive base, I’m feeling hopeful about the future. That’s a good Sunday feeling.

Level 100 in RFA; no post next week

I’m going to a virtual professional conference this week, and I’m going to be using some of today and a lot of this week’s evenings to catch up on some normal work stuff. So I don’t think I’ll have a post at all next weekend, and this weekend I don’t really have the motivation to write anything longer than this.

I do, however, want to call attention to the fact that I’ve now surpassed Level 100 in Ring Fit Adventure. Woohoo! I’ve actually made it to level 101, because my last fight today was against some Rare Hoplins, whose beefy experience drop was heightened further by the use of an experience-enhancing potion. So I jumped from 99 to 101 by the end of that encounter. But it’s not as eventful a milestone, so I’m here to celebrate LEVEL 100!!

Voting today

I voted today, on the first day I could. My employer allowed everyone to take time off to vote–paid time that would not be counted as time off! Pretty incredible of them, and it made the wait I was facing easier. The line outside already wrapped around three sides of the city-county building and did a zigzag course up and down half a block on the furthest side. It took about four hours for me to vote, but I did. A LOT of people did. And many people were out there trying to make sure people stuck it out, volunteers handing out water bottles and chips and pizza. I declined it all; the one thing I needed was a restroom, and the county did not make any available to the public. In a last insult, a security guard just outside the polls informed me that public restrooms in the building were only open to those who went through a security entrance, not those in line to vote. In short, enthusiastic volunteers did a lot to encourage voters, while the government (outside of its representatives in the form of hardworking poll workers) was apathetic at best.

Regardless, for me, it’s done! I hope everyone who can vote in the elections has a plan to do so.