So, uh, I haven't really kept up with this, but I'm going to try to post more often than biannually. :/
Anyway, here's a rundown of what I've been up to:
* Been playing lots of Magic: the Gathering. Easily my #1 hobby now. The last few months I've been paying more than ever. I keep growing as a competitive player, which is both good and not-so-good. Good because I like winning, and I like being good at something that I enjoy doing. Not-so-good because not winning hurts more than it used to. I had fun at the Gatecrash prerelease events recently, but after going 1-3 in both events and not getting any prize product. I've since bounced back by going undefeated in my last two Standard events.
* I met a woman, who quickly became my Serious Girlfriend. She's a geek/dork/nerd tri-brid like myself, and we're really good for each other. Things aren't perfect, for reasons I'm not sure I want to get into in this public venue, but ... We have a very good thing.
* I got bit by the "modern console gaming" bug. It started when visiting my girlfriend's friends over a holiday break, and he showed me the glory that is Skyrim. So when I had a couple-three hundred bucks, I splurged and dove right in. Then I got into MLB 2K13, which was the first baseball video game I've played since the days of the NES/SNES. Then I started playing Mass Effect, a series I had heard of but didn't know much about. Once the story of the first game got me hooked, I pretty much dropped everything not related to work or Magic and plowed through the whole trilogy over the course of the next few months. And yes, the ending sucks.
* I still listen to quite a bit of video game music and chiptunes, but perhaps not quite as much as used to. I had a lot of fun at the two Magfests I've been to. I'd love to start a video game music cover band, though. It'd be less metal and more prog-rock. Like if Genesis time-traveled from 1976 to start a VG music band.
* Speaking of prog-rock, I got to attend the final NEARfest. It was glorious, and so much fun. I found myself just smiling to myself walking around the venue, taking in the scenergy (unintentional portmanteau there). And the concerts were [mostly] fantastic. Aranis was loads of fun, and despite the clear Univers Zero influence, they almost instantly became one of my favorite "new" bands. Unfortunately, I was a little underwhelmed by Anglagard, both by their new album, and by their performance. It felt like the passion was just gone, and the new album felt like more of the same. I was looking forward to UK, but I was so tired by the end of the that I couldn't keep my eyes open. Also .. I like the new Rush album a lot, and I look forward to seeing them live when they roll through the Dairyland this summer.
* Speaking of not-prog-rock, I've rekindled my childhood love of Weird Al Yankovic. I hadn't paid a lot of attention to him or his music since .. well, 20 years ago. I knew he's been active, but I didn't realize that he still "had it." I once saw him say in an interview, "What I do never gets old," and it's really true. And he's a master. I got to see him in concert this year, and it was definitely the most FUN concert I've ever seen. I think I was smiling and/or laughing for the entire show.
My mental and emotional state 3-4 years ago was not that good. I was in turmoil after separating from my [now officially] ex-wife, struggling to keep my head above water and find something to keep living for. It's amazing how just finding simple joys and pleasures can lead to sweeping life changes. Rediscovering old hobbies. Making new friends, acquaintances, relationships. Trying new foods, traveling to new places. Suddenly, life isn't all bad. Then, somehow, life regains some meaning that you never knew was there. Funny how that works.
Moving forward, I'd like to try to keep up with this thing. It's not that I have nothing to [a-]muse about, it's just that I don't get around to posting it to this thing. For I've decided to start a new, separate blog for my Magic-related thoughts, including detailed tournament reports. (EDIT: here it is!)
Okay, that's it for now. Thanks for reading!