Football, Cheese and Stupid Jackets

Us football supporters are coming off of a pretty exciting day. Especially if you’re me, because as a San Francisco 49ers fan I’m riding high on the wave of seeing my team in the Super Bowl. Also the wave of beers and blackberry brandy that I needed to calm my nerves after a reaaaally close game. It’s going to be my first time really getting to see them play on the big stage, being that their last appearance was in 1994. I started following the team in the late 90s, catching the waning days of Steve Young and Jerry Rice. Their chemistry was crazy entertaining to me, and I only wish I’d been a fan in their glory days.

And man, it took a long time to get back to that glory.

They went through a 7-8 year rebuilding period, after losing Young to like 27 concussions and Rice to the Raiders. But that’s changed now. They got back to their winning ways in the last few seasons, and it”s been a lot of fun to watch. Since my roommates and I got NFL Redzone and we can actually see them play, every Sunday has deteriorated into happy/sad yelling and the near-constant throwing of phantom penalty flags.

It’s probable that a lot of the reason I’ve been getting into football a bit more each season is my dad. He was a huge Redskins fan, and I can’t help but think how awesome it’d be to sit and watch a game with him. Sucks pretty hard that the opportunity has passed by, especially since the Redskins made the playoffs this year. I’d give pretty much anything to be able to talk with him about that over a few beers, so it’s just a sort of happy comfort for me.

After I’d recovered from the multiple heart attacks I suffered watching the Niners win, attention had to be turned to the Ravens/Patriots game to see what San Fran is going to be up against. I never thought that I’d be cheering on the Patriots, them being the bane of my existence and whatnot. But, halfway through the game a Ravens defender hit a Patriots player with a hard (and also illegal) helmet-to-helmet shot. The Patriots dude went from “must gain as many yards as possible” to “oh hey I’m a marionette puppet now and also unconscious” within a few seconds.

And if there’s anything I dislike about football, it’s that. A lot of people pine for the days of harder hits, but it’s not cool and it’s not needed. It seems like it’d be better for the future of the sport to limit the concussions and scary “good gravy is that guy okay” moments whenever possible. Not to mention better for the future of the human race for us to not want to permanently injure a person for a chance to get an ugly ring.

All that aside, I am pumped for the Super Bowl. The Ravens ended up winning, so the majority of the game will be spent yelling at San Francisco’s rookie QB, Colin Kaepernick, to run faster so that the Ravens defense doesn’t kill him. I finally have my fitted Niners cap ordered, so it can sit on my head from the second I wake up until the last whistle of the game when I’m either backflipping through a hoop of fire or crawling under my couch crying. I’d feel a bit more confident if I had the 80s gold starter jacket I want, but whatevs.

Pictured: me helping the 49ers win

What I know is that come Sunday, February 3rd I’ll be spending the day with good friends, a few drinks, and a cheese and crackers platter the size of a car. Win or lose, I can enjoy the game and rest easy, knowing that if my dad were here I could at least rub it in that my team got further than his.

J/k love you Dad <3

OH BABY

For those of you (all of you) who never played Earthbound, let me give you a quick summary. It’s an RPG that came out in the mid-90s for the Super Nintendo, and it’s since gained a big following. It has all the makings of a role-playing game; leveling up characters, item inventories, turn-based fighting system. But that’s pretty much where it stops being typical and starts getting weird.

I’ve never had patience for RPGs. They take a level of dedication that a person who plays video games on a one hour basis just can’t handle. Earthbound, though? Earthbound is different. You really have no problem going through the grind of gaining levels and fighting battles because everything is so ridiculously weird. All of the towns you roll through are a hodge-podge of pure 90s insanity. And the enemies! With names like “Annoying Old Party Man” and “Struttin’ Evil Mushroom,” it’s almost okay when you do end up losing. It’s one thing to get killed by a solider or warrior, but who’s going to be mad after getting mowed down by a Ranboob?

Thanks to my fiancee Caitlin, sister Jessica and brother-in-law Cliff, I recently came into possession of the actual game. It’s fairly rare, ranging in prices upwards of $200. After putting the cartridge into my SNES with the same care one normally reserves for venomous snakes, we were off and running. This is the kind of game that showers you in nostalgia, even if you didn’t play it in its heyday.

Despite adult life being fairly hectic, even limited time spent playing a game like this can bring you back to your favorite summers. Bike rides, all day football games that end in fistfights, and then inside for bouts of Mortal Kombat that also end in fistfights. I didn’t play Earthbound in the mid-90s, but every time I load it up now it feels like the world is wearing one giant pair of Zubaz.

One of the best things about the experience is the ambiance. From the non-playable characters to the unique towns, no area seems generic or a copy of another. One thing that’s crucial to any playthrough is the exploration of your surroundings. You really do need to talk to everybody you see- not just for hints and clues as to where you’re supposed to go next, but for the game’s much-lauded humor. This is an RPG that does not take itself seriously. You probably figured that out back at the Ranboob, but the speeches that the townsfolk give are just so weirdly wonderful. That’s the highest compliment I give to things, so you can take that to the BANK or whatever.

The story is great, too. Not going to go into any details, because it’s my hope that this convinces at least one other person to try it out. I will say, though, that it involves the classic story of a band of kids going up against an all-consuming evil. The fate of the world is in your hands, and you go about saving it by hitting things with yo-yos and eating cheeseburgers out of the trashcan. You ain’t accomplished nothin’ til you rescue humanity fueled by garbage.

I convinced one of my roommates, Chris, to start a game at the same time, so that we could see who got farther the quickest. As I also had an internet acquaintance and Caitlin racing me in separate games, I rapidly became in danger of losing to three people at once. My friends have a lot more gaming experience than me, and I regularly get trounced by ants in battles. The odds were not in my favor, but thanks to a marathon session yesterday, I now have a giant safety buffer on Chris’s game. Oh, and my online friend had to stop for now because his computer crapped out. I don’t know anything about that, and I defy you to find concrete evidence that I was involved

I think it’d be a lot of fun to chronicle my progress in this game, but I again don’t want to ruin the story for anyone. Also, there is the matter of pictures. There are so many amazing things to see in Earthbound- colorful and vibrate things. Great music to hear, dialogue to read, and drugged coffee to drink. You really need to experience it for yourself. And I’m just not going to crouch over the TV screen with my phone taking shitty photos for you.

Okay, just one

Here goes.

Well, it’s about time I got this blog started. I’ve never been one for new year’s resolutions because it seems to me that a person should make changes in life based on a genuine want for something different, not on what date the calendar shows. Still, I can get behind why they’re so popular. The weeks following the holidays do feel refreshing, if only because the house is finally starting to smell less like cinnamon. I love Christmas, but I’m also really glad when it’s over and I’m able to clean up and put our skull candelabra back on the table.

Maybe that’s why I feel like starting this now. I do want to make some changes in my life in the coming year, and I think it’ll help me to focus on them if they’re written down. Since one of those goals is to write on as many days as I can (even if it’s something stupid, which 90% of my posts are going to be), I’m already off to a good start!

I’d like to see how long I can go without eating meat. Last year I tried it out for a month, and enjoyed it. Mainly, it’d be something different and a personal challenge, because why not? If you go about it right and do the research, the health benefits are obvious. Aiding me in this quest is the fact that fruits and vegetables are delicious. I want to finally see a psychiatrist about the anxiety issues I’ve always had that are apparently getting worse. Or, at the very least they aren’t getting any better. It’ll be nice to take some responsibility for myself, and at least give myself a chance to get better. I’m not sure if it’ll work, but again, why not try? As a person who relies far too heavily on his comfort zone, it could be the perfect thing to get me started on the path of “not feeling like throwing up at the thought of going to a concert.” Also, a less noble goal is to finish Earthbound for the Super Nintendo, because this is my third time restarting it and I’ll be goddamned if I don’t get Ness past Moonside.

This blog isn’t going to be about only this stuff. It’s going to be about whatever I feel like reviewing, commenting on, showing pictures of, or discussing. Like I said, it’s my hope that I’ll write daily, even if it’s something small that doesn’t make it onto here. The important part is that I write, and get better at it.

Resolutions are a useful tool if you approach them correctly. For me it’s simple; change what you want to see changed for yourself. In the end, I know that I’m the only one I really need to impress.

Now if you’ll excuse me, the Mani Mani statue in Moonside isn’t going to defeat itself. I have a game to beat.