And so, as the months roll on, giving way to the distinctive California winter, I suppose I’ll have to start using a whole blanket instead of just some of it.
That is, if sleep would come easily again. Multiple factors are conspiring against me, though. Last night, housemates were watching TV a bit too loud… I am not one of those people who gets sleepy listening to stuff, unless I’m already starting to fall asleep. In those cases, there are certain tonal palettes that lull me off quicker. Baritone voices, hushed tones, faint arrhythmic bass sequences. Being in a foreign language helps, too, because then I can’t get stuck on listening and trying to follow along. Well, last night it was (I think) “The Walking Dead” and then (I know for certain) “Phineas and Ferb”, and there was yelling and miscarriages and dramatic!
Well, that was the Walking Dead, at least. Phineas and Ferb, something about breaking out of food prison? My mind was at war, one side trying to get the hell to sleep, the other trying to construct the episode based on the snippets of dialogue I caught. Eventually sleep came, and I think Perry the Platypus died by the diseased claws of zombies at a run-down gas station.
I am a night owl by habit, but work responsibility has bent me into a morning… owl. After a schedule change at work a few weeks ago, my comfortable sleep span of, like, 3am to 10am has been overruled and now I have to sleep from around 11pm to 6am. Ech. I was doing fine for a few weeks, and then something happened.
The original Borderlands was quite fun, but I feel that its ambitions outpaced its execution overall. Its heralded randomization didn’t quite reach the lofty levels of madness I hoped for, and the story was thin. Thin, and even then it suffered from Oops-We-Ran-Out-of-Money Syndrome (OWROOMS), ending very abruptly with a cliffhanger it hadn’t invested any story capital into fostering. But, so far, Borderlands 2 has impressed me in a lot of ways, being the game I (and I’m sure Gearbox Software) wanted the first one to be. Everything is so over-the-top, but in a refined and knowing way. The humor is ridiculous and surprising, but focused. The story hooks are more engaging and delivered in extremely economical fashion. The variety of weapons I’ve come across is satisfyingly wide. And the sheer scale of it all… the world feels enormous and daunting, and as such, I have found myself sucked in, losing track of time. Over and over again.
The weekend was particularly bad… I slipped into my old sleep schedule on Friday, finally tucking in around 3am, which was no good, no good at all. Saturday, I woke up in the afternoon, making up for sleep I’d missed in the days previous, I’m sure. Saturday night, it was looking like I wouldn’t get to sleep until who-knows-when, so I took decisive action to fuck up my sleep schedule back to normal, staying up as long as I could, finally passing out around 11am, then waking up around 8pm, getting food and drink, playing a bit more Borderlands 2 (I have no excuse for this!) and trying to sleep again around midnight. Then, Monday, I woke up in time for work! I was wonky all day, but hey, I will chalk it up as a success. Still a bit more adjustment to do, but I think I’m good now.
My latest travails within the game were the first of four scheduled DLCs, “Captain Scarlett and Her Pirate’s Booty” (get it???) The game is so nakedly up-front about how the story will play out upon meeting the titular (that wasn’t a pun) pirate captainess: there’s a treasure, you’re going to help her find it, and oh yeah…
See that? Will absolutely stab you in the back. And yet, since Borderlands has been subverting conventions so steadily even since the promotional materials for the first game, it’s still not entirely clear if she’s going to follow through, even though she taunts you with the inevitability multiple times across the journey. (But, turns out she does!)
I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into because, again going back to this game’s scale, it was a massive amount of content. More diverse landscapes, better writing, better level design and runtime exceeding many other stand-alone shooters, it took me most of my fractured weekend to complete. It also has some of the funniest lines in the game so far, a good number of them belonging to a prudish automaton referred to as C3n50r807, or “Censorbot” in a particular homoglyph-centric substitution cipher of internet renown, who at one point tasks you with murdering those in possession of pornographic materials, “because morality”.
So many guns I’m juggling in the game, it’s easy for my “object confusion” to set in… gotta scroll through all of them before deciding that, yes, I want to use the auto-firing pistol with the sniper rifle-equivalent scope and 50-clip magazine that also covers enemies on acid. Object confusion is a real-life as well as game snag for me (but I am taking it one day at a time!)
Bearing in mind that object confusion appears to be a topic of discussion in certain computer programming languages, it is worthwhile to create a distinct term for this particular malady. If dyslexia is difficulty resulting in mixing up words, let us coin a term for the mixing up of objects, along similar lines: dystechnima (technima is Greek for a man-made object).
This dystechnima of mine has resulted in numerous momentary lapses in what-the-fuck-am-I-doing. Driving into the parking lot at work? Better pull out the remote control for my apartment complex’s gate! My phone is ringing? I’m sure this wallet holds the answers. Oh, time to pay for this food I’m purchasing? Surely, my car keys will do the trick.
And that’s what happened today when I was buying dinner from the cafeteria at work (which is actually pretty nice!) Italian sausage, rice, peppers, tomato sauce and brussel sprouts, which I’d never had before. They weren’t as bad as popular culture makes them out to be, but I doubt I’ll be running back to them any time soon. Leafy puffs of musky cabbageness. Well seared and a bit buttery, but with a lingering aura of dirt farts. That’s a thing now, I decree it. Really, why am I just now realizing? This was a meal designed to keep people far away for a day or two. Good thing I haven’t any particular plans until the weekend. More time for Borderlands!