Orphaned at 34

I’ve had several posts planned, I’ve not done it for a while because I’ve told myself I was busy, but the truth is I didn’t feel like I had anything to say.  I went on a trip to Tennessee with my mom, CM, and Bug and I was going to write about that, then 3 days after we came home, she died.

My mom is dead. My dad died three years ago.  As ridiculous as it is to say, I feel like an orphan. I feel lost. I feel angry. I’m mad at my mom more than anything. I’m mad at her for the 34 years of arguments. I’m mad at 34 years of making me second guess myself. I’m mad at 34 years of making me feel like I wasn’t good enough. I’m mad a her for spending the last 10 years pretending like the awful things that happened growing up were things that I made up. I’m mad that we didn’t get the opportunity to improve our relationship. I’m mad that I wasn’t more patient. I’m made that she never saw her own faults. I’m mad that after my dad died of heart problems, she didn’t take care of her own health issues, especially her weight. I’m mad that my daughter is missing two grandparents. I’m mad at myself that I am relieved that I can live my life without being constantly judged and questioned. I’m mad that Bug will never know all the good qualities my mom mad. I’m mad that I didn’t forgive more often.

For every thoughtless, unkind thing she did, she probably did half a dozen nice things.  When I was going through financial issues with my ex-husband, she let us both come stay there.  When my ex-husband and I split up, I moved in with her for a year and a half. If I ever needed clothes or money, she gave it to me. If she knew someone who was going without, she’d make sure they had it. She made baskets for battered women shelters, she gave snack boxes to programs for deployed service members. She sold make up for a living and would go to nursing homes to do makeup for old women. Any time I had a friend with nowhere to go, they had a place on her couch.

Any time I failed at something, I could be sure it would be brought up the next time we argued. I have been screamed at for things I did in kindergarten as a grown adult. I have had mistakes I made a decade ago cast up to me during arguments about current day issues. Through my childhood and up into my late teens I was slapped, hit, cornered, and had my room tore to pieces in her fury. She once caught me with a romance novel and she tore my whole room apart and smashed things on the floor. When she found out that I was bisexual she told me she couldn’t believe that she let me around her nieces and nephews, like I was an actual person. When she found out I was sexual active at 19  because she found condoms she called me a whore who’d fuck anybody.

When I moved in with my ex when I was 24, she helped me furnish our apartment.  When we told her we were getting married when I was 26, she spent the next year helping me plan a beautiful wedding.  She and my father never once worried about the money for anything.  Most times I was reigning her in and finding the cheaper option. When she started making friends with gay people she took me to go see her first drag show and she bough us all drinks. We never spoke of my sexuality but, what can you do. When I got pregnant 6 months after I started seeing CM and I had a baby 15 weeks early, she did everything she could to help. She drove 30 minutes north twice a week every week to come see Bug in the NICU. She bought baby clothes, barrettes for hair the baby didn’t even have yet, and tiny little shoes. Every mile stone we made in the NICU she’d tell anyone who would listen. Every picture went on Facebook. She constantly reminded me that I needed to make sure I was taking care of myself.

My mom got pregnant during her senior year of high school. She missed her graduation ceremony because she was in labor with me. My dad joined the Navy to support us and they both worked their asses off over the years. They were both capable of being violent and cruel. They were both capable of loving. They tried really hard all the time. They worked hard and they started a family when they were young. I don’t know that they ever had the tools they really needed. I also know they could have gotten the counseling to have them.

So today is Father’s Day.  I don’t have a mother or a father anymore. I have CM though and I know that he will be exactly the kind of father Bug needs and deserves. It helps, but it isn’t really doing much for the gaping hole that I have inside me right now. Three weeks ago I was crying and telling CM that I wished my dad was here to take care of my mom. That he could somehow fix things. Now, they are back together, I suppose.

I don’t know how long it will take to reconcile both sides of my mom. I don’t know how long it will take me to be ok. What I can say is that, she had a good last weekend. She went to go see her parents with me, CM, and her Bug. She grilled out and had steaks and she was there to see her grandbaby get in a swimming pool for the first time. I guess if I had to pick a way to spend my last weekend, it would be grilling out around a pool with the people I care about.

No pictures on this post, I’ll share pictures some other time.

Horizon Zero Dawn Review

This is a review and it may contain some spoilers.  I will try to keep them to a minimum.

 

I’ve always loved video games, ever since my parents picked up a Nintendo in the late 80s.  I remember how excited I was when the original Tomb Raider came out and how amazing it was to have a capable female in a video game.  I think that’s why I instantly fell in love with Horizon Zero Dawn.  It gave me all the same thrill of watching Lara hurtle across an expanse to catch a ledge the first time, with amazing graphics and a unique post-apocalyptic story.  I like pretty much everything about the main character, Aloy.

It was developed by Guerilla Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment using GG’s Decima engine, which you may be familiar with from Killzone Shadow Fall.  It’s actually being used by Kojima Productions for the highly anticipated Death Stranding.  In fact, there are several collectibles in the game that are pieces from Death Stranding, which is to me, very Hideo Kojima in nature, he loves to hide things.

Gameplay

The controls are a breeze!  Everything about it was easy to adapt to and there weren’t any finger crunching button combos.  The game allows for several weapon types to be equipped at once and you can quickly switch between them with a pull up wheel that allows you to create additional ammunition at the same time.  I favored the bow above other weapon and trap types, but I did try them all out.  Each weapon class, such as bow, a tripcaster that you use to set up trip lines, and a ropecaster that you use to tie down the machines that roam, come in different makes, each with it’s own strengths and weaknesses.  I prefer weapons that could use fire type ammunition.  Honestly, everything about the control setup is great, I wouldn’t change a thing.  The game includes a lot of climbing and I do feel like that’s been dumbed down a little.  As long as you are pushing the L stick in the right direction and hitting X you’re pretty much fine.  I feel like there are some spots in the game that would have been trickier if climbing and jumping was more challenging.  Battles with the machines in the game can be tough as you are usually fighting a large number and it’s easy to become overwhelmed.

horizon-zero-dawn-screen-04-ps4-us-13jun16
She is super serious all the time.

Graphics

HOLY CRAP THIS GAME IS PRETTY!  Seriously, this game is gorgeous.  Now, I’m playing on a big ass TV, its 60″ 4k, HDR and only 6 months old, so it’s gonna depend some on your display capabilities.  Even still, you could probably play this on a tube TV and it would look good. The draw distance is fantastic, if it’s clear weather in the game and you’re in flatland, you can see so far.  The green of the grass is so vibrant, the blue of the sky is bright, and the running water sparkles when it’s sunny.  Meticulous attention has been paid to the textures.  You don’t see repeated textures on the surfaces of rocks.  The face animations during conversation were amazing.  This is no Mass Effect: Andromeda, no one’s teeth are terrifying to look at.

Voice Acting

The pacing is really even with the voice acting, nothing feels rushed about the conversation.  The characters are able to pause and let a sentence bear weight before moving on to the next.  It was really great to listen to because the story is so compelling and if it was rushed it really would have been jarring and taken me out of the narrative.

Plot

So here is where is you are gonna a few spoilers, again, I’m keeping it as few as possible.  It all takes place after a world extinction event, which is pretty clear in the commercials.  There are limited animal resources, few agricultural resources, and people rely largely on the parts scavenged from the machines that now roam.  The story of how we’ve gotten to this point is slowly revealed as you delve through ruins, and discover documents and files pertaining to the last days of civilization.  The whole thing is very tragic.  It’s a situation where corporate greed and military opportunism come together and wipe us all out, it doesn’t seem too far fetched right now.

The Ending

This game was fun to play.  It was intuitive, and gorgeous.  I loved it up until the very end, and by that, I mean I loved it except for the end.  I went through hours of game play (please don’t ask me how much.  My numbers are way off as I’d leave it paused for hours taking care of the baby.)  The actual final battle was not particularly challenging.  I did it from far away from the boss and while I was treated with an interesting cut scene hinting at a cool sequel, I was infuriated by the next bit.  I got a notice that my game would be brought back to my last save point before the end of the game and I could continue to play.  I’M SORRY WHAT?!  Imagine beating Alduin and then getting sent back to just before you left for Sovngarde in Skyrim! I had hoped to finish the game and then be able to wrap up the few side quests I had left.  Instead I’m in this video game purgatory.  I have to just sit here with a game that can’t really be finished.  My choices are new game+ or wander around in a world that’s waiting for me to hurry up and save them.  It seriously irks me.

horizon-zero-dawn-the-frozen-wilds-screen-04-ps4-us-02nov17
It’s basically a robot sabertooth, so you know, be careful.

The DLC

The DLC is really good.  It ties into the main game really well and offers several extra hours of additional play and opens up additional map areas and collectables.  I would wait until just before the final battle to play it because you’ll acquire a great weapon that can be further modified and waiting will trigger plot in the DLC you might not otherwise have.  You have access to several new weapons and armor with the DLC that will certainly be effective in the last battle.

Overall

It’s a game worth playing and I look forward to the sequel, they’ve certainly left room for it.  I took half a star because I’m so infuriated by how they end it.  I’m all about that 100% and it’s making my brain itch.

3.5/5 Get the game, for reals.