From the Mind of Andrew

The madness of my madness

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Nintendo… stop doing dumb things

I love Nintendo.  Their games are charming, unique, addicting, and influential.  And you can only play them on Nintendo hardware.  That’s not a problem because I love my WiiU and 3DS - they’re great gaming devices - but Nintendo has made some curious decisions in the past couple years (like calling the WiiU the “WiiU”), and I feel it’s worth pointing out.

The WiiU is one of the most innovative game consoles released (probably second behind the Dreamcast… because Sega).  The GamePad, much like the Wii Remotes, sparked an immediate reaction from the rest of the gaming industry to quickly adopt a second screen.  Implementation on other devices is still lacking where Nintendo is excelling - and that’s mainly due to the second screen being a built-in component of the console.  SmartGlass is great on my Xbox One, but only a select few games actually utilize it with the feature typically being most useful outside of games.  The GamePad is great, it really is.  But Nintendo made some baffling decisions with the chargers.

There are three primary controllers for the WiiU:  the original Wii Remotes, the GamePad, and the Pro Controller (the screen-less controller that resembles the Wii’s Classic Controller mixed with an Xbox 360 controller).  The Wii Remotes are old and stuff and use AA batteries, so we’re leaving them out of this mix.  The GamePad and Pro Controller both have internal rechargable batteries and charging cables.  The GamePad comes packaged with the WiiU and has a charging cable and charging dock (similar to the 3DS charging dock).  The charging port on the GamePad is proprietary and looks similar to, but isn’t the same as the 3DS charger.  The Pro Controller uses a Mini USB charger.  I’m running out of plugs because I need a different charger for every Nintendo device!  If you’re going to use a proprietary charger, use your proprietary charger.  On everything.  It wouldn’t make much sense if, say, Apple used a different charger for their iPads than they do with their iPhones.  It’s a pretty big inconvenience and definitely a #FirstWorldProblem, but c’mon, Nintendo, some uniformity would be nice.

That said, there’s a new 3DS coming out and it looks pretty great, but there’s also some curious decisions behind it that I think are worth mentioning.  The new 3DS has improved hardware - better viewing angles on the 3D screen, a second analogue nub, and new shoulder buttons.  All cool stuff (especially the better viewing angles for 3D), but nothing that can’t fundamentally be done on the standard 3DS with a circle pad.  However, the system also has new internal hardware - more powerful guts.  This means that there will be games made exclusive to this new hardware that will not work on older models of the 3DS.  A baffling decision and something that’s expected with a new generation of hardware, but this isn’t a new generation of hardware - this is the 3DS (just with “new” in front of it).  It’s an update in the same line of hardware that would be equivalent to owning a launch 360 or PS3 that can’t play games that are coming out for the newer, slimmer models.  It’s a bad decision that, I feel, will confuse and anger gamers and consumers.

I intend to buy the new hardware, but mainly because I’m going to need to to play its exclusive games.  In my humble opinion (as a gamer and consumer), I feel like it would have been smarter for Nintendo to release the new 3DS as a completely new line of hardware (with a possible redesign to better fit that second analogue nub).  Call it the XDS or something to let people know, “Hey, this is still in the DS family, but it’s a totally new thing - a new thing that plays old and exclusive new games.”

I feel like this is a move that may initially hurt the brand before taking off - like after they discontinue existing models of the 3DS.  And do they plan on releasing a new 2DS for those gamers looking to save a few bucks or don’t care about 3D?  They didn’t announce one, but it’d be pretty foolish not to given that those definitely helped pick up sales (especially with the timing of the 2DS release with Pokemon).  This new 3DS is going to create so many confused parents and grandparents, it’s not even funny - which, I guess, isn’t much different than any time Nintendo releases a refresh on their line of DS hardware.

Filed under Nintendo 3DS New 3DS Wii WiiU Nintendo Wii Nintendo WiiU Nintendo 3DS Nintendo New 3DS Gaming Video Games Videogames

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Looking back at 2013

So, 2013 was a big year for me.  Probably the biggest year of my life.  While it certainly had its downs, all of the positives of 2013 easily made up for all the disappointments.

Going into last year, I had my optimisms – it was the year I was graduating and I had plans to dive back into the job market, get back on my feet, and get out of Michigan.  I can’t tell you how much I want to get out of Michigan.  The cold, the nowhereness of it all, the small talk, the waiting in line to check out one item because three people ahead of you the cashier and customer are doing their catching up for the week because, despite being neighbors, they don’t do enough talking.  Small towns and cold weather aren’t my things.  But, plans change, and sometimes for the better.

While my goal going into the year was to move as far away from the cold as possible, I somehow managed to move farther north.  There was plenty of protest regarding this move, but it was the right decision, even if I loathe Marquette and its terrible road systems, weather, and small talk.  Still, sometimes sacrifices need to be made and right now I’m laying the foundation for the future by being close to my fiancé.  That brings me to another significant point of 2013.

I got engaged.  I met Kaitlyn in a research writing class, and I’d later be told by her that I always looked grumpy and unapproachable.  I tend to always look grumpy because I have a general dislike of people – this coupled with the fact that I only intended to be back in Michigan long enough to boost my resume a little made me have no desire to make new attachments.  This, of course didn’t work out according to plan, but, again, sometimes plans change for the better.

Going back to school, which brings us back before 2013, but some back story is necessary, I think… anyway, going back to school, I really had no intention to make friends.  Which didn’t happen according to my perfect plan.  I got involved in drama again and had some great times onstage and really bonded with some of my cast mates.  There was a core group of us who you’d expect to see in every play and we shared a lot of great experiences throughout my time there.  2013 saw a change to that, sadly, as our little group began to splinter.  It’s expected that people change over time, but the radical dissolution of our group happened surprisingly fast and we all had a part to play in that, myself included.  I never had any intention to hurt or offend anybody, but apparently I have and for that, I apologize.  My attempts to make amends and try to repair some of the rifts within the group were fruitless and I decided it was in my best interest to just move on.  Which I did.  Looking back, there were some good times and fond memories, but I’m not going to go out of my way and inconvenience myself if no one else is willing to put forth an effort.  I’ve grown up and am beyond unwilling to play into needless drama.

End rant.  The best parts of 2013 really began in May when I graduated.  May itself kinda sucked, but what it led into was pretty great.  During my short stint back at college, I was living with my parents in Daggett.  The name of the town isn’t really important, but to give you an idea of where that is, imagine a center point of a circle with a radius of “distance doesn’t matter but about an hour away” for every convenience you take for granted.  Daggett was nowhere and everywhere else was a lengthy drive away.  Marquette, where I’m living now, was a two hour drive.  Two hours isn’t “far” when you’re living in the UP, but when you’re making a four hour round trip every other day when you’re desperately trying to find an apartment is a little more than I’d care to traverse on a regular basis.

We were making appointments pretty much daily to view apartments and I was also making the round putting in my resume and applications so I could have some sort of income to pay for the apartment.  The worst part of this whole ordeal was the apartment we had both immediately decided “no” on was the only apartment that decided to say “yes” to us.  It’s small, crappy, doesn’t allow pets, and smells funny.  After living here for a while, we’ve come to realize that that funny smell is pot.  Knowing that the neighbors are loud, obnoxious, and getting high, we are pretty certain that there won’t be any complaints that we have a cat and a rabbit.  Fingers crossed anyway.

Yeah, May was a bit stressful.  The job hunting and apartment hunting, the drive, the knowing that I’m moving two hours farther north.  I actually signed the apartment lease the day before I started my new job.  IT work in the middle of nowhere isn’t really easy to come by, which is why I was happy to find that Geek Squad had just started hiring as I was just starting to look for work.  I may not be back to where I was, but I have a source of income with some pretty great benefits and an awesome store discount – anybody who has seen my collection of “things” knows that I like buying electronics and stuff, getting electronics and stuff for cheaper is pretty awesome.

So, that’s where we were at the start of June:  a crappy apartment in Marquette and I was starting a new job.  Within a month, I was also fortunate enough to move from being part-time to being a full-time employee.  This helps with finances and definitely helps from keeping me from having too much free time.  I can’t stress how okay I am with not having much free time anymore after being unemployed for three years.  That was a little too much, even for me.

This summer also brought little Gregor McGregor III into our lives.  A Holland lop named in honor of the man who played bagpipes at my graduation and by no means a small bunny.  But he was a great little pet.  He was fat and lazy and everything I was expecting a domestic rabbit to be.  Mild mannered and well behaved, Gregor was a joy to have around and we quickly became pals.  Like any bunny, he had his fears with being picked up, but he loved being held.  He was a cuddler and he’d just lay on his back in your arms and chill.  Petting him on the top of the head while you were cradling him would make him lean back farther and farther until he was practically asleep in your arms and it was adorable.  We did what we could to make sure that he wasn’t spending his life in his cage and would let him run around the apartment pretty regularly and we also had a harness so we could take him outside – and lemme tell you, people would stare confused with seeing a bunny on a leash.  Even with his freedom, he was still pretty chill; he’d have a few spurts of bounding around before just stopping to lie down for a nap.  Outside, we had to pretty much carry him back because he was done after about five minutes.  He was pretty spoiled and I like to think we did right by him.

I’m not really sure what happened, though.  We had him out just the night before and he was as healthy and Gregor as he’d always been.  He didn’t give us any signs that anything was wrong and we always kept a close eye on him to make sure he wasn’t getting into things he shouldn’t.  Something happened to the little guy, though, and during my shift the next day, I got a call from Kaitlyn with the bad news.  Her voice was broken and panicked and I can still vividly remember exactly how it sounded when she told me little Gregor wasn’t moving anymore.  I had to take my leave from work to help at home and do a little grieving of my own.  I loved that bunny and that it happened so unexpectedly made it that much worse.

I’ve never been the one that’s had to dispose of a dead pet – that’s something that’s always been a dad job – so picking up Gregor’s lifeless body was a challenging new experience for me.  Making the whole ordeal worse was that Gregor didn’t get a proper burial of any kind – an apartment that doesn’t allow pets in the harsh frozen wasteland, I had to carry my pal out in a bag like garbage and put him in the dumpster.  Maybe I’m overly sentimental, but I love my pets, and that was hard and felt kinda insulting for the little guy.  I miss him.  I still get choked up when I think about him or catch a glimpse of a picture I took of him.  I’ve been fighting back tears as I’ve been writing this.  That’s a lie.  I have a box of tissue beside me and snot and tears running down my face.  I loved that bunny.

In some twisted way, it turned out alright, though.  In recovering from the loss of Gregor, we got to meet Rasputin – our little Lionhead rabbit.  He’s the complete opposite of the fat bundle of laziness that Gregor was, and I think that’s something that we needed.  He’s a small little turd with quite the personality.  He’s become really social over the past month, but there was a time when he hated me.  It was kind of adorable in a way, but it also kinda bummed me out.  I’d reach down to give him some attention and he’d bark and lunge at my hand.  Never saw a bunny do that before Rasputin.  We’re pretty good pals now, though – except for that time he decided to kick pee on my Mario pajamas… that wasn’t cool.  He loves attention and he’ll stick his nose through the bars on his cage to let you know that he wants his head rubbed.  He’s a lot more active than Gregor and that’s something we’ve had to accommodate for.  We got him a pen/extension for his cage so he can have some extra real estate for his toys and activities.  We try to let him explore the apartment 3 or so times a week, too.  He’s a good bunny and a great pet.

Precious, though, my dear kitty and close companion… she gets jealous of any critter I decide to give attention to.  Most times it’s pretty hilarious.  She and Rasputin get along well and she’ll often lay down to cuddle with him or groom him when he’s out… but if I dare to pick him up and give him attention, she will walk over to his cage just as soon as I set him down and start batting him in the face.  Rasputin loves it, though, which is hilarious.  He’ll do his excited little happy bounces and run around the cage, run back to Precious, get smacked in the face, and do the whole thing over again.  He loves that cat and it’s pretty adorable.  If Precious has been hiding all day, Rasputin will wake up from a dead sleep as soon as she walks in the living room and follow her around in his cage.  It’s adorable.

So, 2013 was a big year.  A year of losses and gains as much as it was a year of sorrows and joys.  Tragic ends and new beginnings were a continuing theme this last year and, as such, I’m glad that the new beginnings outweighed the tragedies.  I may still be in the frozen arctic, but at least I have a job and a new foundation for pursuing careers when I do manage to get out of here.  And I couldn’t be more thrilled to be with Kaitlyn.  I could go into all these clichéd details about how she’s my very breath and all those other stupid, over-done things you see filling your news feed on Facebook, but the truth is, she isn’t.  My lungs + air are my very breath and to compare my fiancé to that would be kinda stupid.  I am, however, blessed to have her in my life.  She puts up with my cantankerous and antisocial ways, she makes me laugh when I really need it, she inflates my already inflated ego – which I’m pretty sure is the most important thing.  I love her and am thrilled that she is willing to share her life with me.  Of all the things that happened in 2013, that one promise is the most important highlight of my year.

Filed under 2013 Life Life Musings Musings 2013 in review Looking back Looking back at 2013 Engagement Claddagh Rabbits Cats Bunnies Bunny Cat Drama Theatre Michigan