Whether ’tis Nobler in the Mind to Suffer…

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for getting sort of near the end of Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Ok, shot up an oil field. I found that bit a tad harrowing. Rain Falls there begging his son not to go and die was tough to watch. Yes, Dutch did turn his back on Arthur there, didn’t he? I still don’t get how the rest of the gang isn’t seeing this. Maybe it’ll be explained.

Two thoughts! Well, a thought and a question:

Thought: I read in reviews when this game came out that they had a major problem with fights and it became apparent last night. That problem? Kevin be Kevin. Now, yes, Kevin is always, to some extent, Kevin. But last night I was reminded that he REALLY is in this game.

In this shootout, there was a little cutscene where the train opens and HEY! A Gatling gun! It was so unique in this game that it jarred. I realized that there is no variation in Kevin. We’ve been shooting the same damn Kevin this whole time. Maybe some have shotguns and some don’t or whatever, but there’s no visual cue to who is who, which means a) you can’t really plan a fight in terms of “Ok, gotta get him first, then them, then him…” and b) the only way they can make fights harder is to throw more of the same Kevin at you.

Now….I get realism. In reality, that’s how it goes. Everyone wears the same uniform, you don’t coincidentally keep running across dudes with weapons or night vision or anything you’ve never seen before the deeper you get in the story. I get it. Arthur would be facing wave after wave of indiscernible Kevin. But it’s making these late game fights tedious. It’s hard to justify being a slave to realism in one sense of combat (they’d all be the same!) and not others (our guys never die and we can get shot a million times and heal with corned beef!).

This is getting old.

Question: What was with, after the coughing fit, him being nursed back to health by the German family he saved/evicted way back in Chapter, what, two? That was a pretty extreme callback. Them helping, wanting to help more, him pushing them away….game was trying to say something but damned if I know what. Shit, was that even real? Or was he dreaming of those people? If that’s the case, why?

What was your take on that?

Feminina:

It is getting old, but, recalling yesterday’s discussion, maybe that’s also brilliant because it’s both realism AND a reflection of how Arthur feels about things right now. How tired is HE by now, of fighting the same old fights against the same old enemies, all random strangers he can’t tell apart and doesn’t personally know from anybody? Probably very tired.

As for the bit with that family…yeah, I was also confused by that. It certainly SEEMED as if it was the same people: “I’m so glad we get a chance to help you the way you helped us” or whatever. But they were heading west last we knew (I thought), so why are they up there in the north? I suppose plans can change. Why shouldn’t they have heard of an opportunity in the north, and thought “hey, that sounds just as good as whatever we were planning to do in the west! Let’s go!”

But then why did they apparently just dump him out on the street in Annesburg while he was still only semi-conscious? I basically figured they must have done as much as they could for him and he was raving that he couldn’t get too far away from the gang, so they dropped him off in the nearest town and continued on their way, but…it was all a confused haze, for sure.

Butch:

Yeah, ok, true, weariness, but it’s not the same fight. It’s a fight with A LOT more Kevin. The game is trying to make itself harder, but doing it in a really blah way.

And maybe it is harder! Maybe they do have better guns or something! But damned if I know cuz they all dress the same and act the same.

It certainly was the same family, what with the “way you helped us” bit. And he does affirmatively leave. You see him saying “I can’t stay” or something and stumbling out the door. So he does go on his own, which explains why he’s not with them, and why they didn’t dump him on the road. But as for the “They weren’t supposed to be here,” I’m not so sure it WAS them. Maybe he hallucinated the whole thing and he was on Roach until Annesburg. Maybe another family helped him, but, in his delirium he thought they were the Germans, and it was a half dream where his mind was trying to point out the good he did or something.

It was different, that’s for sure.

Feminina:

It was different. And since you were just complaining about how Kevin isn’t any different, you should be delighted with that!

At last, a change of pace! Throw the game some praise here, it’s trying so hard.

And yes, whether imagined or real, I think it was trying to demonstrate to Arthur/us that even though he’s done a lot of bad things, he’s also helped some people (however reluctantly, and even if only because Charles insisted), and to show that the good we do, as well as the bad, can come back to us when we least expect it.

Oops, you reluctantly beat up a sick guy and now you’re dying of TB!

But oh, look, you reluctantly helped a family and now they’re nursing you back to some semblance of health.

A sort of “you never know the consequences of your actions” message, perhaps.

Butch:

Hmm. Perhaps. But that would be odd in a game that is, at some level, about predictability. We’ve known the end of this game since the beginning (and we didn’t even play the first game!). It’s been so bad (good?) about telegraphing its “twists” that we wondered if it was doing it on purpose (I still think maybe it is). This game has been a march towards the known inevitable. Why have a “Hey, man, you never know?” moment in a game where we’ve known everything all along?

I dunno. I kinda feel that, after being very consistent in its narrative and metaphor, the game is drifting a little bit.

Feminina:

I’m not going to argue with you on that, for as you know I have thoughts about the end. And the long, drawn-out final approach to the end. Which, I may have mentioned, goes on for a long-ass time. One might possibly say, longer than it really had any need to. But maybe I just don’t understand how deep and meaningful it all is.

But we shouldn’t get too sidetracked from a point you made at the beginning, about how harrowing it is when Rain Falls begs Eagle Flies NOT to do all this, but he does it anyway. I agree, that was a tough scene. The father (who is a character I quite like) tries so hard to explain himself to the son, begs the son not to go get killed, but to no avail.

And we’ve talked before about how Dutch is always saying that Arthur is like a son to him, and I wonder if there are some interesting parallels here. We have two (real or symbolic) fathers, one pleading with his son to stay home and not fight because, in the long run, he wants to preserve the lives of his people: the other actively goading BOTH sons to battle because he hopes to twist their likely deaths to his own advantage so HE can escape to Tahiti or whatever.

As we mentioned at the very end of yesterday, the Indians can’t win this conflict with the US Army by fighting, and I said they can’t win by not fighting either, but on reflection, I’m not sure that’s right. They can’t defeat the army, but they can, perhaps, outlast it. I think victory, as Rain Falls sees it, comes in surviving, in not allowing his people to be eliminated. As, indeed, they were not. They’re still around today (though also still dealing with the repercussions of the unjust treatment shown in the game, so it’s not like everything is sunshine and puppy dogs, yay!). So maybe in the long run, we ARE meant to see that Rain Falls was right. Sort of, anyway.

Eagle Flies rushing off to die in a blaze of glory is noble and dramatic, and I totally get his anger and understand where he’s coming from, but if surviving is the goal…does this help his people survive? No. It does not. At best, it removes several sets of genes from a shrinking gene pool, and at worst it brings down the army on the survivors’ heads and makes their lives harder.

I wonder if maybe Eagle Flies is a bit like Dutch here, thinking mainly of his personal story and how he looks to others (I can’t stand for this! people can’t treat me this way!), while Rain Falls and Arthur, though they understand and have also suffered, are mostly concerned at this point with making sure SOMEONE gets out of this alive.

They both see the end coming in a way that Dutch and Eagle Flies maybe refuse to do, and while they don’t expect to survive it themselves, they want someone else to. When you know the apocalypse is coming, get your people into the Vault!

Butch:

Hmm. It’s very true they are similar in a lot of ways. Maybe they’re more similar in how they see the endgame (or lack thereof) as well. There were certainly a lot of parallels between how Rain Falls acted at the end and how Dutch has acted the whole game: When shit goes bad, you have to move. Have to run. Have to go where they can’t find you. We see Rain Falls breaking down his camp. Dutch as done that every chapter.

Dutch has even said, several times, that “We. Are. Surviving.” That’s been the doable goal each time. I think the only difference between Dutch and Rain Falls is that, for Dutch (and to Eagle Flies), surviving is a means to an end, the end being some place where they can be left alone and have their lives, a metaphorical Tahiti. To Rain Falls, surviving IS the end. This is it. Saying “Well, not dead yet” is as good as it gets. Part of his plea is trying to get Eagle Flies to believe that saying “No reason to fight, there’s nothing better than this” isn’t weakness, it’s strength. He IS strong because he sees the goal (not dying) for what it is, and he’s achieving that goal. Whether you’re a success or a failure, strong or weak, depends on what test you apply to yourself. Rain Falls has a different standard. We like him because he gets what the standard really is in real life, whether you like it or not. Dutch would be much better off if he just tried to survive.

I’m not so sure that Eagle Flies is selfish enough to be worried about his own story. When Dutch says he’s all about the gang and nothing else, you can smell the bullshit a mile away. I got the sense that Eagle Flies really was earnest, if misguided. He did care about his people. When he’s all “Better to die a glorious death than a slow one,” I don’t think that’s so much HIM, but he sees the bet of either winning everything or losing everything, right then and there, as what is best for his people, even if they lose. If they lose, at least the suffering is over.

Dutch, on the other hand, is full of shit.

Feminina:

Very true. Eagle Flies is sincere, and I think you’re right, he IS thinking about what’s best for his people, to his mind. I feel like maybe to him the important thing is to call the government on its bullshit, basically.

“You’re pretending this is all OK, you’re pretending it’s fine, it’s legitimate, and that we’re just going along with everything because there’s nothing wrong with it, but that’s not true, and if we come and fight and die for this right now it at least shows that it’s not true, we didn’t just accept your lies and broken promises as if it was all totally cool.”

Again: is that going to help them all survive as a people? No. But maybe dying to make the statement that THIS IS NOT OK is worth it to him.

To him, Rain Falls’ quiet acceptance of every slight and every abuse and every broken treaty is a sign of weakness, a sign that his people agree with their treatment, an implicit acknowledgement that the US Government is in the right. To Rain Falls, it’s not condoning, it’s just pragmatism, a recognition that sometimes you have to take the injustice even when you know it’s wrong because if you survive it, maybe it will be better for someone else later.

But I think Rain Falls, with the experience of age, and Arthur, with the experience of approaching death, are both thinking about others living on beyond them, generations yet to come, while Dutch and Eagle Flies are both thinking in the present. I don’t think Dutch has any concept of a future beyond his own life, and Eagle Flies maybe just sees himself dying slowly and miserably in captivity and can’t look any farther than that for his people either, so, as he says, better for all of them if they go out now in a fiery protest than linger on.

Butch:

I see that. I certainly think we see some thoughts on future generations with Arthur in regards to John, Abigail and Jack. Arthur genuinely cares that they turn out ok, even if he isn’t around to see it (and, let’s face it, he won’t be).

Though that differs a lot in regards to Rain Falls. Rain Falls wants his people to survive, but to continue the ways of the past. Arthur is telling John to take his wife and kid and do something completely different. To change.

Now, true, what John is doing is something that really should change. They are bad people, the Native Americans are not. But, all the same, we don’t see Rain Falls saying “our ways are doomed, you young people should go learn accounting” or some shit. Arthur is saying that (well, metaphorical accounting) to John.

And really, you gotta say that Arthur’s take on everything is correct. Whether you live in the now, or the past, or care about the future or not, the best way to survive in the 20th century is to adapt. Trying to preserve the present, even if that means running and living in peace, like Rain Falls, isn’t going to work, whether the people trying to preserve the present are good people or bad.

Feminina:

Hm…yeah, Arthur’s take is correct, I guess, in a “do as I say not as I do” way. Even before he knew he was dying, it never seemed as if he was going to actually change or adapt or do anything different himself.

He can see enough to realize that adaptation is the path with the greatest chance of success, maybe, but he can’t manage to do anything practical about it.

Maybe he’s taken more of a lesson from that old slave-catcher than we thought. As we discussed, that guy tried a number of jobs once his old livelihood collapsed, but nothing worked out for him. Maybe part of the reason Arthur was so mad at him was that he seemed like a valid prediction of what would happen to Arthur, if he were to quit his doomed gunslinging career and tried to get a job on the railroad or something. It’s easy to imagine that, indeed, Arthur would keep getting fired and would eventually end up wandering around drinking, reliving past glories of when he and the gang were free and respected, and being, in the present day, nothing more than an irrelevant annoyance to the people around him.

Butch:

Hmm. Good point. But then, he believes that John can avoid a similar fate (something I’m sure the millions of people who played the first game could comment on, but we ain’t them). Is John, like, that much younger or something? He’s old enough to have a, what, six year old or so?

I can’t figure out how old the game wants Arthur to be. I think they want to play it so that he’s older than the average gang member. They’re betraying themselves on that with pesky things like narrative timelines, but the whole thing plays like an older dude all “Don’t make my mistakes young man.” There’s that picture where it’s just him, Dutch and Hosea, younger. The fishing conversation where it seems they were the original three. The fact he looks far younger in the picture of him and Mary that she mails him (though she doesn’t look all that different….). I dunno. Inconsistencies aside, I think we’re supposed to buy that Arthur is older, almost a father figure himself to John, Lenny, Sean et al.

And if that’s so, most of Arthur’s “children” didn’t make it. Just like his real child.

Feminina:

I concur, it’s a bit confusing that it’s presenting him as a wise older figure (to Lenny and Sean, etc.), but he himself is a son-figure for Dutch and Hosea. So…he joined up with them in his early teens (based on his statements), and if we figure they were, what, maybe in their early-to-mid-twenties? Old enough to seem like grown-ups to a kid, but still not actually that old themselves. And if that was about 20 years ago, as has been suggested in conversation, then he’s maybe 35 and Dutch is in his 40s. And 10-ish years IS the kind of age difference that seems very large when you’re younger but steadily diminishes in importance as you get older, so it could work out.

There’s also the fact that experience can make make one person seem older than another in certain situations, so maybe it’s just his years of outlaw-livin’ and his experienced calm in gunfights that make him seem like a grizzled elder to the newer members (and to himself), even though they’re maybe in their 20s, and therefore not that much younger than he is. Plus, all those years of riding the range, getting sun and windburned on a daily basis, hardly ever bathing and probably NOT moisturizing regularly…that’s hell on the skin! No wonder he looks so weathered compared to 10 years ago or whenever he had that picture taken with Mary. It’s a hard-knock life.

But John, that’s especially confusing, because John really doesn’t come across as a young kid like Lenny (LENNNNNNYYYYYY!!!!!). Even setting aside the fact that he HAS a kid, he just doesn’t seem that much younger than Arthur. Maybe it’s not so much that he’s that much younger in years, as that Arthur thinks he might still have the capacity to change, where Arthur himself does not? And/or the MOTIVATION to change, based on the desire to take care of Jack, that Arthur doesn’t think would be enough to compel him to follow through (though he certainly cares about Jack), but might be enough to compel John?

I don’t know. And it might mean more to us if we’d played the first game and had some sense of whether or not Arthur’s belief was accurate or not, but we don’t, so whatever.

Hm…OK, just read the RDR summary. Don’t, it has spoilers, and anyway I think this one needs to be evaluated on its own, but…hm.

We can make a note to talk about it later.

Butch:

Certainly a lot of hmm.

At trumpet. Back to the grind.

Feminina:

Ah, trumpet.

The question now becomes: Does riding the range getting sun- and windburned and never moisturizing age and weather one as much as getting children to their activities?

Butch:

Dude, you’ve seen me.

No doubt at all that I’m older than everyone.

Feminina:

This explains why you take on the role of grizzled, fatherly adviser even for those barely younger (or even older) than yourself. Not that we ever heed your hard-earned wisdom.

Except that one time when it was about goats.

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ONE WEIRD TRICK for Giving the Perfect Gift to Everyone You Know

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for story late in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Ok, so watched that scene from Butch Cassidy…I mean, did the bit where we create a diversion and jump off a cliff (Seriously, game, don’t steal from people named Butch), and rescued Eagle Flies (that won’t end well, will it? Nope).

I found it interesting that Dutch seemed to think it mattered that “Your guys shot first!” It was the kind of straw man argument that we often hear in today’s politics (“Well, what about the emails? Why aren’t we investigating them? THEY DID IT FIRST!”). It kinda doesn’t matter, does it?

I also kind of liked the symmetry of the missions having rapids, this idea of both Dutch and the Indians being swept away, quite literally.

Nice stuff.

But what I really want to talk about is something more gamey. We talk a lot (like, A LOT), about times in games where games are doing artistic, narrative things that are innate to gaming and why/if they work/don’t work. I think the game is doing that here.

This game is going on, and on, and on. We’re watching one story line end at a time, saying goodbye after goodbye, etc. etc. etc. I think the game is actively trying to make us feel the way Arthur and Dutch and everyone is feeling, that things are grinding slowly towards this inevitable tragedy. The game, I think, wants us to FEEL this futile grind, to feel this sense of slowly increasing finality.

On one hand, I respect that. That’s something other media can’t do. They can’t make us, the viewers/users/players share that emotional connection with the characters. This game is doing this gamey thing well here.

On the other hand…..ok, good, I get it. Now get on with it. Ready to get on with it, here. I’m ready to not be doing this anymore.

But see, that means the game has painted itself into a corner. It’s done very well putting me in the shoes of Arthur and Dutch and the gang. However, once they do that, they kinda have to follow through. If they now go “And now Milton shows up and it turns out he’s an alien taking over the world and everyone goes out in a heroic blaze of glory punctuated by exciting gunfights and nudity in cutscenes!” it wouldn’t make any sense. They have to follow through. And it’s good, I guess. It’s making me have that emotional empathy with the characters in that way that only games can do, and I like when games do that.

But……get on with it, game.

Feminina:

I agree. I think it’s all kind of grinding slowly but inevitably on because that’s how it feels for Arthur. He KNOWS its going to end, any time now, and yet he doesn’t know exactly when, and he kind of almost wants it to just be over with, even as, no doubt, he wants to stay alive to see some traces of good, like if he can get John and Abigail and Jack off to safety or something.

The weary sense of “OK, I get it, it’s all coming to an end” but still having to slog through things, but also kind of wanting to see how things turn out, but also being kind of just tired of it, is very intentionally corresponding to the way the main character is feeling. Which is effective, and nicely done, and I salute it.

But also, I was just kind of ready for it to be over.

But also, on another topic, I wanted to kind of give Dutch some half-hearted props here, because he came up with a plan that wasn’t entirely bad. I mean, it was MORALLY bad, pretending to sympathize while using the Indians to draw the army’s attention is reprehensible and clarifies that he’s a terrible person…but strategically, it’s a lot smarter than “bandannas on and let’s go!” It didn’t completely work out, since the Pinkertons showed up anyway, but the basic idea of stirring up conflict somewhere else to create a distraction from his own activities isn’t terrible.

But of course it is morally reprehensible, taking advantage of other peoples’ troubles and basically encouraging them all to go get killed, knowing the army will likely take it out on the survivors as well…that’s a long way from “we rob folks that rob other folks.” And just in case we missed how far he’s come from being the best man Arthur knows, we see him sidle off quietly, leaving Arthur to face the Pinkertons alone, and then flat-out deny it later. “No, I never left you!”

It just highlights the fact that whatever Dutch once was, and whatever moral ideals the gang once held, those days are gone.

Butch:

Yup. I salute it, but stop it.

That said….

Here we go again being annoyed at the game and hearing the game going “Dudes, what do you WANT from me? That’s the PLOT man! You knew it was the plot! If we ended this some other way, you’d be PISSED.” And, again, the game is correct.

This game can’t win with us.

Whoa, you thought that was kinda not entirely bad? It was so going wrong. Totally. And Arthur did make the very valid point that maybe, just maybe, fucking with the US Army might not have been the best plan. He points out (also validly) that there’s already a whole mess of people out to get them, why add?

It’s also a painful metaphor given our current political situation: Even when Dutch comes up with some idea that doesn’t totally suck it’s a) morally awful and b) he undermines it with his own need to be the center of attention. Had he really wanted to stir something up, to distract with the actions of others and slip away, he would’ve said “Hey, Eagle Flies, do this. We’ll give you the dynamite, good luck” and he’d leave. But no, he had to be there, guns in each hand, yelling, being the star of the show. In doing that, he got seen, it became HIS actions (and the actions of the gang) and so much for the distraction. He can’t leave well enough alone.

Ummmm…….what? Abandoning?

I’m not there yet, Femmy……

Feminina:

Oh…sorry. I thought that came right after the…uh…

Well, it’ll happen soon! Or not! In the meantime, forget I mentioned it.

But yes, true, stirring up trouble among other people so you can do your thing is a not-bad plan, but if you want to be RIGHT THERE in the middle of it, it’s less great.

But hey, bandannas on! No one will ever know it’s us! Hahahahahaha CHARGE!!!!

Oh, Dutch. I guess it’s really just the bare bones of the idea that I gave him halfhearted props for. Because you’re right, the execution was terrible, as are all of Dutch’s plans.

Butch:

Absolutely terrible.

Though, oddly, he must’ve been good once. I did find a cigarette card of “gunslingers of the west” with him on it.

Although….

It also had all the other gunslingers on it. Take that as you will.

His “You’re men started first” argument also didn’t hold much water.

This game will end at some point, right?

Feminina:

I don’t know, man, I just stopped playing it when I ran out of dinosaur bones. There never was exactly a conclusion.

Just kidding! There is a conclusion, and it does end…eventually. Not when you think it’s going to, though.

I mean, you’d think you’re very close to the end right now…and yet you are not.

We’ll talk later.

Butch:

I’m trying, man! Just….read a lot of books before you start another game. Read slowly. If you start something now, we’ll never be on the same page again.

I’ll go fast! Honest!

Feminina:

Yeah, I have stuff to read. Plus I’m going to a conference in Chicago in a couple of weeks, that’s several days I wouldn’t be able to play anyway. And I’ve always got Pokemon Go.

It’s not your fault. It’s just this game. And as you say, once again it’s not really the game doing anything wrong! It’s not the game’s fault either! We’d probably complain just as much if it wrapped up with a single dramatic showdown full of fire and explosions and nudity and wave after wave of nude enemies who caught on fire and then exploded–we’d say “come on, that’s not narratively or thematically consistent!”

So it does narrative and thematic consistency and we still complain, because there is no pleasing us. Although let’s keep in mind that there is pleasing some people, because lots of people ADORED this game. So maybe we (and by ‘we’ I largely mean ‘I’) are just the whiny outliers who don’t appreciate the art or whatever.

Because dude, this isn’t even about not knowing how to save properly, which I acknowledge is on me. My feelings about the entire final 20% of the game are not based on anything to do with save issues, and I still have…things to say about it.

We’ll talk later.

Butch:

Ok, good. I feel like I’m depriving you of your hobby what with my slow play and trips to Nashville and my crazy assed kids. I do not want to deprive you of your hobby! But maybe your hobby is really just blogging and it’s cool.

We would complain about melodrama. And then we’d be all “Why did we do all that other themey stuff if it was going to end this way?” and there would be white hot rage.

Game can’t win.

And, I do get the sense that lately, some six months after its release, it’s getting to that “And now it’s hip to hate on this thing everyone adored” phase. One can never tell, though, if criticisms in this phase of anything are legit or just being leveled cuz everything everyone loves always goes through this “hip to hate on it” phase, which usually precedes the “no one is saying anything about it” phase, which precedes the “everyone now embraces the fact that they were right the first time and it was a classic” phase.

So who knows? Maybe they read our blog and are seeing its warts, or maybe this is just the natural progression of everything that eventually ends up a “classic.”

You’ve said “we’ll talk later” enough that I now realize this is not you doing your usual riff on the title of the blog but it is because you have capital T Thoughts that you are dying to discuss once I solve the issues of my lack of free time, trip to Nashville and crazy assed kids.

Working on it, dude. Working on it.

Cuz there’s gotta be something very unexpected a comin’. I’m curious, too.

Feminina:

I mostly just have one major thing to say about it, but I’m ITCHING to say that.

I mean, there are other observations, I’m sure we’ll have thoughtful discussions about how the final 20% works with the themes of the first 80% and so on. We’ll talk.

It’s going to be great.

Butch:

I feel so bad. You’re ITCHING, you have nothing to play, I’m a terrible friend.

I blame my family.

Feminina:

Nah, I really just want to complain about one thing.

I’ll come rushing in saying “OK you played it so [ALLCAPS WHINERANT] all right I’m good let’s talk about narrative or whatever.”

Butch:

So really, just another day at the blog?

Feminina:

Pretty much.

Butch:

You know, it just occurred to me…….

Finishing the last traces of hidden Easter candy and it occurs to me that the Easter bunny and Santa have a weird quirk: they give chocolate replicas of themselves as gifts.

I can’t tell if this is a little weird or something we should get on board with. Imagine: if we made a tradition that we just got little chocolate Butch and Femmys made, and made it tradition that that’s what we gave out, ever, every year, then a) we wouldn’t have to think about what we were giving and b) no one would complain cuz who doesn’t like chocolate replicas? People LOVE chocolate bunnies and Santas. People really just want chocolate replicas!

I should have thought of this sooner.

Feminina:

That is…that’s a bit weird, but I kind of like it! It’s outside the box. Or inside the chocolate box, which is a good place to be. Because as you say, who doesn’t like chocolate figures? Great for every occasion! Never worry about what to give anyone, ever again!

I’m getting a mold made ASAP.

Butch:

If the Easter Bunny can get away with it, why can’t I?

Seasonal T SHIRT!!!!!!

I think it’s genius. Or I’ve had too many old jelly beans. Or both.

Feminina:

Definitely both.

Of course we do have to remember that both Santa and the Easter Bunny are famous not only for chocolate statues of themselves, but also for being hard to pin down when it counts.

They sneak down chimneys or scurry around the garden in the middle of the night leaving their chocolates, but they’re never around later when someone starts saying “so, dad, how come we all got the exact same present as mom and grammy, and it’s a chocolate figurine of you?”

Butch:

Dude, who’s gonna ask? Chocolate, man! If it was socks every year, people would be pissed, especially socks with pictures of yourself on them. But chocolate? No one wants to pin down Santa and the Easter bunny over that. You just gaze upward, offering a silent thanks for chocolate!

If anyone asks, you just say “Cuz chocolate, that’s why!” and they say “Oh yeah, right!”

Have you ever bitched about getting chocolate? No. There ya go.

Feminina:

“Cuz chocolate, that’s why!” IS a pretty inarguable answer to any potential challenge.

All right, I like it. Off to “Chocolate Figurines R U” to order a nice mold!

Also consider, if we have the mold, we can really customize…some people could get chocolate figurines filled with caramel! Some filled with jam! Some filled with other chocolate! Some (the ones you don’t like as much) filled with nothing!

Some milk chocolate, some dark…the possibilities are endless. And delicious.

Butch:

And the ones you really don’t like get the hollow ones that crumble when you bite them!

Feminina:

Yeah! Truly, the perfect gift for everyone, including people you don’t want to give gifts to at all.

Butch:

I have a feeling I’m going to get a lot of hollow, crumbly Butches.

That’s gotta be a NEW SENTENCE.

Feminina:

I’m pretty sure neither I nor any normal person has ever heard it before.

Butch:

Well this took a hard left turn.

I guess I really did eat too many jelly beans.

Feminina:

Yeah…you played, too! It’s not as if there was nothing to talk about!

We had the military, shabby treatment of the Indians by the military AND some random guy who pretended to be their friend…and we didn’t even get to the conflict between Rain Falls and Eagle Flies.

I mean, we understand Eagle Flies’ frustration, right? And in an actiony video game, we’re kind of PRIMED to expect that the solution to any problem will hinge on violence. Obviously he and his people should fight! Kick some US Army ass! Let’s go!

And yet, just as with Arthur and the gang, we can tell it’s not going to end well. Rain Falls, who’s trying to just keep his people ALIVE, is the more rational one. But we, and he, and Eagle Flies, must all be chafing under the obvious injustice. It feels wrong to say his approach is the right one, because it’s a choice they shouldn’t have had to make. Injustice was done, and it’s not right, and siding with Rain Falls feels wrong…but so does siding with Eagle Flies because we know in the long run all he’s going to get is dead. He/we can’t win this by fighting.

Butch:

Still…it’s a lot like the gang, too, where you know that either way, Arthur’s cautious way or Dutch’s nuts way, they’re doomed. The game takes place in 1899. We’re here in 2019, and we know what happened to outlaws and Native Americans. Doesn’t matter who did what, who does what. It’s not like outlaws and Natives all died because they should’ve listened to the other guy. They died cuz the future showed up. There is no “right” way. We know how the story ends.

It’s much like Arthur’s TB. He’s gonna die. As he said to Charles “It’s bad…and it’s gonna get worse.” There’s nothing he can do.

The game has kind of tricked us into forgetting that, too. We’re here wondering on whether Eagle Flies or Rain Falls is right, and who has the better plan, etc. We forget that dude, this was 120 years ago. We know how it ends.

Feminina:

Well, no. I’m not forgetting that we know how it turned out (or how it has turned out to date, anyway).

I originally wrote “he’s not going to win this by fighting. Or by not fighting” but then I started to mentally wander off into the weeds of “the US Army, like the future, is steamrolling through and there’s nothing anyone can really do about it,” and then I had to go check a work thing and didn’t want to get into it, so I just sent it without that.

But yeah…I think we are, generally, aware of the overall history even if we can briefly pretend in the middle of some game battle that that specific game battle could potentially make a difference.

Tying Up Some Ends, Apparently

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for O’Driscoll storyline in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, played a ton, but my family derailed this morning and my brain is shot, and I haven’t had time to really ponder today’s open, but what the hell, I blog on.

So…what did I do? I gave some money to Sister whoever that is, I like her, I watched Colm hang, not sure what the game was trying to say there other than “Getting late! Gotta tie up some plot loose ends!”

Saved Monroe, which, again is…what? It never ends well when you try to do the right thing? Or is it “It’s getting late, gotta tie up some plot loose ends?” That also had him saying goodbye to Tranalay (I will never spell that right) which, again, tying up stuff.

Got Mary’s note. He really blew it. Thought the picture was kinda sad, which is odd cuz I haven’t really been mourning the end of anything in terms of the gang, but that was touching. That whole “What could’ve and should’ve been” thing.

Shot up the last of the O’Driscolls. Found it interesting that, in this playing session where everyone is telling Arthur how great he is, Sadie is all “They made me a monster.” That’s an interesting twist, really. Arthur thinks he was born bad, and everyone is telling him he’s either a) wrong or b) changed. Sadie knows she was born good, but thinks (knows?) she’s been ruined and turned evil. Having her say that covered in blood was pretty heavy.

But two thoughts:

I’ve kinda lost the metaphor. The game, all along, has been talking on this end of an American ideal way of life, but has been rather mum on making any judgments as to whether that’s good or not. Now…what? Everyone telling Arthur he’s great means that this way of life is good? That we SHOULD be mourning the loss of the great American ideal? That big, white, growling, macho Marlboro men really are the bee’s knees? Or is there still some complexity here?

Second: I’m not gonna google cuz spoilers, but is this the way it would play if we were playing Arthur as Awful? I don’t think so. After all, had we blown off the monk in the first place (which we could do), we never would have met the nun, and this conversation never happens (it was a great conversation. I like the nun. And I found it interesting that she, too, “gets away.” Another person that Arthur watches fade into the distance as she gets what she wants, far away). We could have blown off Mary WAAAAAY back when. We didn’t have to help Sadie. So if we played the game as assholes, does all of this happen? If so, does that change the metaphor? Is this game less linear than we thought and, if so, does that fuck up the metaphor like the metaphor gets fucked up in non linear games?

I do find it interesting that, after helping Sadie shoot the fuck out of everyone, I got a trophy that was “complete all honor quests.” Hmm. What happens if you don’t complete all honor quests? What’s with the idea of honor quest, anyway? Shooting up O’Driscolls?

Ok, third thought: This game is wrapping everything up. Like, EVERYTHING. I’m doing nothing but tying up loose ends and ending story arcs. That said, you finished at 82.3%.

I’m at, like, 68%.

What the hell? I’m running out of story lines to tie up. How many animals did you study?

Feminina:

I know, man. I know. You’re wrapping up everything! And yet there is so much game left. Not even optional game: it just keeps going.

We’ll talk later.

I did find the ending bits of the O’Driscolls interesting…Colm’s hanging felt like just an excuse for a bit of action while wrapping up a loose end, but going after the rest of the gang with Sadie had something going on.

“They were good people”, the Adlers. And these guys killed her husband and made her a monster. There’s an interesting parallel here between Sadie coming back to get the O’Driscolls, and Mr. Downes’ TB coming back to get Arthur… The sins catching up to the sinners, in a way.

Sadly, it’s hard to write coherently on the phone, constantly having to correct the autocorrect, so I know I’ll be lax today. Back to work tomorrow!

Butch:

Yes! Get back to work so you can blog! Or something!

As for the sins and sinners….

It’s kinda different. TB isn’t a sinner. It didn’t decide. Sadie decided.

On that, and we can back burner this until you have a keyboard, it kinda didn’t sit right with me that they heavily implied she had been raped. That whole “Woman finds her inner badass cuz sexual assault” trope is tropey. Why couldn’t she have just been a badass?

I’m glad they didn’t go into detail about it, for any number of reasons, but I don’t think they should have gone there at all.

Feminina:

Yeah, I wondered about that as well. I kind of chose to read it as “that specific dude horribly tormented my husband before killing him in front of me” instead, because in my mind I wanted to make it something besides the tropiest of tropes, and I suppose we could give them a bit of credit for leaving it just vague enough that I was able to do that, but as you say, I would have given more credit if they hadn’t gone there at all.

Yes. Back to work so I have free time to write! I mean…while waiting for all those work files to save…or something…

Maybe If We Knew Him Better…

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Minor spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2 plot points

Butch:

It’s Tuesday, right? Right. My internal calendar still hasn’t reset from Nashville.

I miss Nashville.

Anyway, what did I do….stole some medicine from a stagecoach, lost honor. The recap would’ve given me a check mark had I stolen it without being detected, but what the fuck? It was on a moving stagecoach. The only option I saw was “threaten,” so I did that, and they shot at me and I shot back. What was I supposed to do?

That and I spent the time wondering if they really had vaccines back then. I’m not sure they did.

But did that.

And then blew up a bridge with John.

Now….there’s real themeage there. Someone who only had loyalty, only had one way of life, wondering now if that was right, and deciding to “be loyal to what matters.” This all had the feel of a parent urging his kid to be the first one in the family to go to college, sort of saying “My way of life is ending, but you….go live a different way of life. I may not understand it, shit, I may have spent my whole life hating people who had that way of life, but go get it. It’s your only shot.” That’s a tough conversation that people have been having for generations, and a conversation that may well be happening far more now. John’s hesitation worked, too. He’s a) not sure that he can just run and b) he’s not sure he wants to. That was a great scene.

But here’s what I wonder: This is a prequel. People know what happened to John. I know he lived, cuz he’s the protagonist in the next game, but I don’t know how, where he ended up, etc. That said, lots of other people do. People know if he ended up on his own, a criminal, a rancher defending his own, still with Dutch, etc. I am not one of these people.

So what does the game want, here? We see Arthur pushing John towards a future, and John struggling with it, and it’s a great, great scene. But I think it’s great because of that uncertainty. Is John going to do it? That uncertainty, I think, is part of the metaphor. If this was a modern drama, and Arthur was a coal miner pushing his kid to go to college, that uncertainty would BE the drama.

So…what? Are we supposed to pretend this isn’t a prequel and erase all knowledge of everything from our minds (or just studiously avoid spoilers)? Are we supposed to judge this game as a separate work of art and see the drama for what it is? Does the game want me to know the outcome because that would change the metaphor and that’s the metaphor they want? Or is it just cool that millions of people will play this game and they will have different reactions based on what they know of the first game?

I’m leaning towards the latter, which is kinda cool. But I may be wrong.

Feminina:

It was a well done scene, I agree. And certainly it works in different ways depending on what you know about the first game. Is it kind of ironic that Arthur’s urging John to leave, given that we know all about where he wound up? Does it make perfect sense now when it didn’t before?

Or, since we know nothing except that he survived, does it just feel like interesting prequel drama? Or if we don’t even know that, are we genuinely wondering whether or not he’ll make it out of the game alive?

I think it works OK regardless. Although…I honestly just can’t get into John Marston. Even though I know he’s a protagonist later, he’s just not that interesting to me. I appreciate the tension of his situation, but I don’t CARE about it that much.

Butch:

I’m sorta with you on Marston. I think they were expecting people to care because they spend sixty hours or so being him in the first game, like, if you played a Witcher game as Ciri, say, (which needs to happen but I digress), you’d still care a lot about Geralt because you played a game or two or three as Geralt. That said, expecting people to have played the game, and using that as a short cut to making someone care about character (instead of, say, good writing) is too much of a cheat. If they used that cheat in that hypothetical (but make it happen CDPR) game, we’d be all “DUDE! Geralt!” and people who hadn’t played it would be all “what’s with gravel voice? Why do people care so much?”

I’m only sorta with you because I care about Marston, not for Marston, but because his fate, it seems, is linked to Abigail and Jack and I care about them. They did a good job making me care about Jack with the fishing trip and getting him back from Bronte and whatnot, so when Arthur’s all “Get out of here…save yourself…” I care that Marston does because I want Abigail and Jack to be ok.

Feminina:

I agree, I care about Abigail and Jack. It meant a lot more to me when Arthur was talking to Abigail about getting out–they could have spent as much time on that as on the conversation with John, for my money. John is just…bland. I can’t get into him.

I’ve come to care a bit about Arthur, after not liking him at all at first, but I can’t get into John.

Butch:

Yeah. They’re relying way too much on us knowing him from before.

Feminina:

Though a note on something I did like: I thought it was cool how they did the bridge blowing up. The tension leading up to it was all right, I thought it was effective, and then they actually push the lever and the explosion is…almost muted.

It felt a lot more realistic than the smoke-billowing, flame-spewing run-run-leap-ahead-of-the-boom explosions we’re so used to from movies and other games. I mean, it was an explosion, it was destructive, but it felt appropriately minimalist for the distance they were watching from, not all cinematically overdone.

So props for realism on the explosions there, folks.

Oh, and the internet says Edward Jenner developed the first smallpox vaccine in 1796, so they’re good there too. Potentially. I mean, they don’t say what the vaccines we’re going after here were for, so who knows. But it could be.

Kids: They’ll Break Your Heart

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for some Rain Falls story and the veteran’s entire storyline in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Well, maybe not white hot rage over the weekend, but certainly sore hands.

Did the bit with Eagle flies. Which conversations did you have? I asked about his son, about Monroe, and, strangely, about Arthur’s son, which was news to me. Has that ever come up before? I found that an interesting twist on the character, and one that was very easy to miss. I wonder why they made that so easy to miss. It certainly puts Jack (and, thus, Arthur’s complex relationship with John and Abigail) into perspective, as well as the debtor with the kid. (On that, found it interesting it was the only time you couldn’t take the debt at all. Your only choice was to give money or not. Even the deserter you could still take his locket.) Did kill one soldier. Felt kinda bad about that.

But as we were on honor and Strauss yesterday, how come we gained honor for casting him out but LOST honor for killing a drunken asshole who destroyed Eagle Flies’ camp? What’s with THAT? Interesting choice of values, game.

And what did you make of the “Where are you from? My uncle married an Indian. Where’s France?” conversation?

But then sore hands.

After that, got plopped by the veteran’s cabin there. I liked that guy. Had some themes. Maybe there’d be more, I thought. So I went and talked to him and got to the bit where you had to catch the legendary pike, and COULD NOT DO IT. I just got caught in this endless loop of fighting and reeling and fighting and reeling and fighting and reeling and eventually just gave up, quit out, reloaded, because my hands just couldn’t do it anymore. I was so sore I cut myself making salad afterwards cuz I couldn’t hold the tomato right cuz my hands hurt. Seriously.

And I should be mad, right? Stupid game, right? But it’s the same beef we had with the lasso. They’ve TAUGHT us this. We KNOW how to fish. It’s not a complicated, unknown or unfair mechanic. I SHOULD have been able to catch the damn fish.

So here we go again. Yet another thing that, on the surface, is not the game’s fault.

But god DAMN have there been a lot of things that aren’t the game’s fault in this game.

And is that the game’s fault? I JUST DON’T KNOW!

I’ll stick to yellow quests from here out. Unless I drift back up to that widow. I liked her. She’s likely dead, though, isn’t she?

Feminina:

So you got that impression too, that they were saying Arthur had a kid. I got very confused because we’d never heard of it before and then the conversation seemed mostly as applicable to Eagle Flies as to a hypothetical Arthur Jr. And then, spoiler, it is literally never mentioned again that Arthur possibly had a kid, so I thought maybe I was just misunderstanding the entire thing. Because the way it was on the screen it just said “Arthur: Son” right? Which made me say “Arthur had a son?!” but which might have just meant (awkwardly) “Arthur asks about Rain Falls’ son.” But I was confused.

The widow is actually not dead! You can go talk to her again. It’s not super themey, but it’s kind of interesting.

Likewise the veteran. There’s nothing critical there, and I can just summarize it for you if you want. It doesn’t end with the catfish, so if you do want to do it be aware you have to visit him another couple of times for more hunting tasks.

I managed not to kill any of the drunken soldiers who destroyed the sacred site, so I didn’t lose honor on that, but it is really interesting that not killing these guys was such a positive thing, considering how many other guys we’ve killed without a second thought. I get that from a practical standpoint it’s a good idea not to antagonize the army (especially for Rains Fall and his people, who have to try to live with this situation, while Arthur and the gang are trying to flee to Tahiti or whatever), but why is that a matter of HONOR? Honor is a bit of a loaded concept here.

I suppose maybe it means the dishonor to come more from failing to comply with Rain Falls’ wishes and causing trouble for his people, than specifically from the act of killing a dude, but it’s not clear.

Butch:

What? Dude, I think you hit the wrong button. He certainly had a kid. “We were just 19, she was the waitress. I tried to do right by them, but, you know. Saw them three or four days a month. One time, I come back, and I saw two crosses and I knew. Shot dead by robbers. All for just ten dollars….” I think that’s pretty clear. He starts by saying “I hardly ever talk about it..” No shit, Arthur. But no, certainly a son. Certainly dead. Certainly killed by someone just like Arthur.

Summarize. Fuck that fish. Never again. Not only did it hurt, not only did I cut myself, I sure as shit can’t do it anytime soon cuz I just raked the damn yard and now I have blisters and fuck it veteran, I got your damn leg be happy fuck you.

As for honor, I dunno, man. When I came back to give him his chalupa (sorry, couldn’t not hear chalupa) he asked “Was anyone hurt?” and Arthur says “Yes” (something he probably didn’t say in your game) and Rain Falls just nods sagely and says something like “violence, it seems, can never be avoided” or something. He hardly says “I told you not to! The fuck is wrong with you?” So….yeah. We’ve killed a lot of people for less. Shit, we’ve gotten the white hat for killing people for less.

Feminina:

Oh, huh. I guess I must have hit a different option when I meant to hit “Arthur: son” then. I didn’t get that conversation at all. No wonder I was confused!

Well, in that case, yeah, interesting that this is the first he’s mentioned it, though I guess it’s kind of tied into Rain Falls’ disagreement with his own son. And the fact that Arthur’s son was killed by, basically, people in Arthur’s own line of work, is interesting.

When I got back to Rains Fall and said “no one died,” he kind of nodded and said “good,” but nothing more. So it certainly wasn’t a major plot point.

As for the veteran… If you finally catch the fish, he’s kind of weirdly melancholy about it, like he’s sad this longtime foe has finally been defeated. I thought it was interesting for how it suggested that victory, or achieving a goal, doesn’t necessarily make someone happy. But he still tells Arthur to stop by again if he’s ever in the neighborhood, and after a while there’s another quest market and you go back and he asks you to hunt a wolf with him.

So you track a wolf into the mountains and it turns out she was leading you into an ambush and you have to fight four wolves, but you get a nice pelt out of it and he tells you to come back sometime. And that was mildly interesting, I guess, because you shouldn’t underestimate your opponent or whatever, but still not a huge theme or anything.

And if you do come back, he asks you to hunt a big boar with him, and you track the boar, and you split up and the veteran gets gored. And Arthur kills the boar, but the veteran is dying, and asks Arthur to take Buell, his horse. So you get a decent horse out of it, although he’s not spectacular in any particular way, but by that point I was so bonded with my little Morgan that I never really did much with Buell.

It was moderately interesting, OK if you wanted reasons to do some hunting, but not critical to the story at all. And since you’ll never give up Roach, completely unnecessary for you in terms of the reward.

Butch:

It is interesting that his own line of work killed his son. But does he give up his line of work? No. No, he does not.

Hey, thanks! You just saved me a couple hours. I ain’t hunting. I’ll let the guy live. He seemed an ok sort.

Cuz yeah, never giving up Roach. I somehow got a temporary horse, and that horse shows up next to Roach sometimes after I travel or something, with these big, sad eyes, all “Hey…can I maybe…” and nope. I break his heart every time.

 

Heartwarming Mother’s Day Musings

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No spoilers

Butch:

I got nothing. Mrs. McP came home early, the kids went nuts, I spent the rest of the night being a shrink and drinking booze. I even missed the end of the sporting event I was interested in.

I gotta play today. I’m getting itchy.

But I gotta buy food, get a haircut, go to the cleaners and, most importantly, buy more booze.

But I gotta play.

Can we talk about Mother’s Day or is that too dull?

Feminina:

I don’t have anything either. I looked wistfully at What Remains of Edith Finch (as you reminded me, free this month, we can play it eventually) while the kids were getting a video, but I had to do lunch stuff. By the time that was done, forget it.

Also, I’d forgotten Mother’s Day was this weekend until last night, so I don’t even have anything to say about that except that I’m a terrible child.

Butch:

Terrible child? Dude. Once you have two, and one is old enough to understand the basics, the day is about you. You are a mother. You can not be terrible this weekend. Mr O, Blasto and Grigio can.

As can I, as I have no fucking idea what to do for both my own mother and the mother of my children. It’s a twofer.

I’d ask you what mothers want, but you’d likely say “I’d be good with a couple hours with the PS4,” which isn’t much of a help in my household.

And the weather looks shitty, so I can’t even grill and satisfy them with cooking.

Going out isn’t an option, cuz the kid’ll be nuts.

Maybe I’ll just let Mrs. McP play some games.

Heh.

Feminina:

I still HAVE a mother, though, man! I’m still supposed to remember my own mother. And my grandmother. And my mother-in-law. And possibly my sisters and sister-in-law who are mothers, although honestly they’re on their own. I’ll send them a text on Sunday.

Yup, I’m a terrible child. And mediocre sister. I’m just going to go with it.

As for what mothers like…probably booze? Mostly?

Make them some fancy cocktails and they’ll never even realize it’s too dreary out to grill.

Butch:

Terrible child, but a great mother. Even if you let them watch weird cartoons. Who doesn’t?

I, however, have to fete my wife. It’s very important to give a mother a day off from making snacks, feeding everyone, doing household chores, putting everyone to bed, making sure everyone has brushed their teeth, that sort of thing. It’s thankless work! And really, celebrating the people who do it once a year is, when you think about it, nowhere near enough.

So here’s to all the mothers out there. Where would we be without them?

Feminina:

Hey, I do some of that! Sometimes!

Oh, sorry. I thought you were being sarcastic. More sarcastic.

I don’t even aim for great. I aspire to be an adequate mother who, before my eventual, inevitable, impalement on a rusty spike, is able to give my children the skills they need to move on and survive in the fungapocalypse.

Butch:

Sarcastic? Never.

Just throwing out observations. Observations laden with irony.

Maybe my kids are already infected. That would explain a lot.

I should just get Mrs. McP a spike for mother’s day.

Feminina:

I’m not sure I can improve on Hotmail’s suggested responses:

“Sorry.”
“I agree with you.”
“Ok.”

I mean…I can’t pick just one, those are all on point. Although I prefer to spell it “OK.”

I mean, I know it’s arguably not a proper acronym because it doesn’t really stand for anything (possibly-apocryphal explanations about ‘oll korrect’ aside), so maybe it’s not WRONG, to spell it with a capital O and a small k, but…no, it’s wrong. It’s just wrong.

Ok spells something pronounced like “ock” or “oak.” It’s not obviously pronounced O-K unless you capitalize both letters.

WRONG, Hotmail. Wrong wrong wrong!

All I want for Mother’s Day is for Hotmail to use correct spelling and grammar in my auto-suggested responses. Otherwise, how can I ever trust it to write our blog posts for us?

Random side-thought…do you suppose it IS smart enough to pick up on common nonstandard linguistic habits, like, I don’t know, “lol” for when you want to say something is funny, and to use them in the suggestions for people who themselves use them? For people who habitually use “lol,” will it fill that in as a response for things that the program interprets as potentially amusing?

I can’t test it without sending a lot of messages from another account that I set up just to send lolz from. I’m not going to do that. But someone should work on it and get back to me.

Anyway, if it doesn’t do that now, you know it soon will.

I…feel just fine about that. It’s going to be great. We’re gonna love it.

Butch:

You have another account? That’s like blogdultery. I feel so unclean.

Okay is also OK, you know.

See?

http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/where-does-ok-come-from

Lots of possibilities.

I intentionally use “cuz” in the blog because (intentional linguistic irony, and to show I know how to spell because) I am going for the conversational style that is our blog’s shtick. If we’re going to really get angry at hotmail, then let’s take a moment to mention that it thinks it’s spelling “OK” (or “Okay,” if you like) correctly, but it thinks I’m misspelling shtick. And schlep.

Probably thought Strauss was a-OK (or a-okay if you prefer).

Feminina:

No, no, I DON’T have another account. And I don’t want to set one up for that purpose. Which is only one of the reasons I’m not going to test out the autosuggested responses to various informal linguistic quirks.

I’m OK with okay. I don’t prefer it, but I acknowledge it. If you don’t like anything in all-caps, it’s the way to go. But “Ok” is not O.K.

Interesting article–I didn’t realize ‘oll korrect’ was actually the best-evidenced explanation! Way to go Boston journalists.

I have no problem with ‘cuz,’ either. But if you suddenly start spelling it ‘cuzz,’ I’ll think “all right, what the hell is this nonsense?”

Because there’s an established tradition here we gotta work with! Speaking of, “gotta” and “gonna,” I use those all the time. But I don’t spell them got’a and gunna or anything. I spell them the way they’re most commonly spelled, because that’s the way most people are going to recognize them and understand what I mean.

Which is another point: I’m not really trying to lay down the law and say ‘Ok’ is objectively wrong and no one can use it. I mean, I kind of did, but mostly for funny. I don’t actually care if other people write it Ok — I can generally figure out what they mean and they can obviously do what they like.

I’m mostly trying to lay down the law on what I MYSELF would use, the better to educate Hotmail into providing me with plausible autoresponses.

And I’m sure it’s taking copious notes, so I expect results any moment now.

Butch:

Ah. Good. I’m sorry I doubted you. I feel better now. Phew.

Though this is what we’ve come to. I wish I had played. I didn’t play. I was putting a new weed whacker together. Why’d I buy a house again?

Hey yeah! You do do that with gotta and gonna! OK, now I’m not so down on cuz.

I wouldn’t expect much from Hotmail. Remember, it thinks I’m a Mexican miller high life drinker who likes show tunes. And is always in the market for a new car. Much is getting lost in translation.

Feminina:

Or…is that just what it wants you to think it thinks?

Putting a weed whacker together…dude. You sure know how to live.

Buying a house really sucks the fun out of everything, doesn’t it? I mean, I can’t even properly enjoy the lovely flowers that came up, because I also see all the weeds I’m not pulling. Or whacking.

Maybe I’ll make the children pull weeds on Sunday while I play video games. Now THAT’s a luxurious day for me.

Butch:

Dude, that’s living the dream.

Maybe I’ll let Mrs. McP weed while I play video games. She might actually like that.

It’s a really nice weed whacker! It’s adjustable and cordless and flips up so you can edge and oh who am I kidding. I’m gonna go weep.

Feminina:

I also weep for you, my friend. I weep for you.

And myself. Because of the weeds.

But at least there’s booze! And video games sometimes. Having a room in which to play video games is pretty much the primary purpose of a house.

Sleeping is secondary.

And cocktails for mothers, that’s up there.

Butch:

Oh that’s a given. Holy lord, is that a given.

My mother has cut way back on the red wine cuz of reflux (woman drinks nothing but coffee and red wine, and often goes through the day eating nothing but yogurt and cranberry sauce until dinner….gee, wonder why she got reflux?) but she doesn’t want to give up booze, what, you know, being a mother and all, so I’m trying to up my cocktail game. My mixology chops were pretty much “Pour whiskey in glass. Add an ice cube,” and I was very, very ok with that. Maybe a gin and tonic, maybe a martini if I was feeling really fancy pants, but cocktails? Who needs those? Who even WANTS those?

Turns out, my mother.

I’ve gotten very good at negronis, I must say. That’s been a hit. And cosmos. Old fashioneds have gone over well with my father.

I’ll stick to the whiskey in a glass, though.

Feminina:

Fancy cocktails, fancy finger sandwiches and tiny fancy cookies with gold leaf or something, they’ll feel all decadent and feted, and then they’ll pass out and you can go play games.

It’s gonna be great.

Although that does still leave you on the hook for gold-leafed cookies. Maybe make your dad bring those. He has to chip in too!

Butch:

****pictures father making gold leaf cookies****

****correction: tries to picture father making gold leaf cookies****

****realizes there are limits to the capacity of the human brain****

And, sadly, both mother and wife talk louder when they drink. This is not conducive to game time.

Feminina:

Drat. I thought I was onto something there. But those are significant hurdles, indeed.

Butch:

See? It’s one obstacle after another. This is why you’re always ahead of me. Life just doesn’t want me to play games.

I might as well just have cocktails, too. And by cocktails I mean my specialty: pour whiskey in glass. Add ice cube.

I make a mean one of those.

Had a lot of practice.

Feminina:

No, you’re right. Mix up your mean one of those or three and relax. To the extent that you can, with all the talking and weeding distracting you from video games.

Happy Mother’s Day, mothers out there. I hope you play some games.

Not Really Feeling the Honor Here

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for the debt collecting storyline in Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

Late start today because I had to buy food.

Ok, did the thing for Micah (Why does ANYONE like Micah?) and finished the debtors.

I’m gonna come right out and say it: I’m offended by how Strauss is portrayed. It sucks. This all ends by Arthur “absolving” two people, then throwing the foreign probably Jewish guy out of camp, saying “get a job,” and getting honor for it? HE’S the bad guy? The Jewish foreigner?

No. Sorry. Taking the high road against the foreign Jew when you’ve been doing all this other shit doesn’t sit right with me. It would be one thing if they left it morally ambiguous, but by giving the player honor for it, that ain’t right. That’s the game explicitly endorsing Arthur’s actions, and, well, it a) should’ve been more complicated than that and b) there was no reason to go there on making the money lender that sort of ethnic.

I call bullshit.

Feminina:

Yeah, I was left unsettled by the Strauss thing as well. The forgiving debts, giving people money, that all worked thematically: Arthur did something wrong and was basically felled by his misdeeds, and now he’s trying to do better. And yes, Strauss has been the sort of mastermind of all these misdeeds, so…yeah, in a simple narrative it makes sense that one of the steps towards doing better is to dramatically overthrow the mastermind.

But…that doesn’t in any way address the issues we’ve had with that character from the minute he showed up. Ritualistically casting out the (probably Jewish) moneylender and having that be the RIGHT (honor-gaining) action says…a very specific thing. And it’s a thing that I felt really not great about.

Hm.

Butch:

Ok, good. I’m glad it wasn’t just me. Cuz yeah, I totally agree that narratively it made perfect sense, but why oh why did it have to be so overt?

What is kinda interesting is that it was all skippable.

But still….could’ve been handled differently. Should’ve been handled differently.

Feminina:

I know! So overt, and unnecessarily so! Why did they choose to do that?

They could so easily have just had him wear a cross or mention his Calvinist forebears or something. Did they not think about the Jewish moneylender stereotype, or did they intentionally leave it there? Because if that was intentional, it was very uncool. And if unintentional…clueless. Which is also kind of uncool because it’s not like this is some obscure historical footnote with no modern relevance.

Brush up on your stereotypes, dudes.

So that you can either avoid them, or thoughtfully work with them to some purpose other than leaving the distinct impression that you’re saying “tossing out the money-grubbing Jew sure was the right call!”

I Wanted More Layers of Meaning From This Savage Gunfight

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Some spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2 plot points

Butch:

Maybe I’m tired and grumpy, but even with metaphor, I feel kinda meh about last night.

Did that Micah thing. Saw Dutch shoot Cornwall. Didn’t expect that at this particular point. Sure, I knew that Cornwall was going down, but not then, and not so summarily. Listened to Dutch all “This is America…” and just had a minute of “Yeah….yeah….been blogging on that a while….”

I kinda get it, Dutch.

Sigh.

I only got three hours of sleep last night, though. So maybe I’m grumpy.

Then talked to Strauss. Told me to find a couple dudes. I should find that first dude, you say?

I will say that a twist on the metaphor, as it relates to real life, is that Dutch wants out of America. He’s done with it. He wants that idealized American lifestyle, but not here. In the world we live in, the people who cling to the idealized American way of life do not want out of America. They want everyone else out of America. People do not wear red hats that say “Tahiti or bust.” The idealists are ready to defend what they think is theirs. Dutch just wants his shit wherever he can find.

I’m eager to see how all that contrasts to the Native Americans, but I haven’t gotten that quest yet.

Feminina:

Yeah, the Cornwall showdown was pretty abrupt. Like…OK? I guess he had to die, so why not now, out of nowhere? Although the seeming abruptness of it to us was, I think, a sign of how Arthur is no longer really in Dutch’s confidences. This plan has no doubt been some time in the making, it’s just that Dutch was working on it with Micah, and not us.

But on the plus side, a plan of Dutch’s didn’t end in half the party dying and everyone having to move camp again, so yay! The dream is still alive! Tahiti or bust!

It’s a good point about the dream of escape…but when you think about it, the Tahiti dream could be argued to be a very American one for that expansionist time period.

“Don’t like things where you are? Go somewhere else! Maybe there’s already someone else living there, but never mind, just move them along! Go forth and seize some land and live there like a king! It’s your birthright as a proud (white) American!”

Today, as you say, it’s much more a sense of “don’t like things where you are? Make everyone else leave!” but in the era of the US adding new states left and right, the urge might have been different. And in both cases, I think, it’s fundamentally about a desire to be free from having to think about what OTHER people want and need.

Freedom!–from all the demands and compromises and negotiations that come with living in a large, complex society of other humans bristling with opinions and desires that are not exactly the same as mine. That’s the real dream.

I mean, I get it. Other humans suck. And their stupid rules about not robbing stagecoaches and killing people are a serious inconvenience. But for most of us, trying to live alone in the wilderness with no contact with other humans sucks even more.

I don’t want to spend all my time hunting and gathering and repairing my shelter, man! I need those hours for video games! Which I depend on other humans to make for me and sell to me!

Priorities.

Butch:

Hmm. True. He did plan it with Micah. Which is, again, still, weird. Micah is obviously a bad guy.

True. I see that as “the dream”. But still, to have a major character say “I’m done with America…” That’s a heavy sentence. That’s pretty much the opposite of hugging a flag.

I still am pondering if Dutch really means it when he says that Cornwall is America. Or, if he does, what that means, metaphorically.

Very sound priorities. Very sound. Especially as I really need a nap.

My fitbit, which yes, I still wear, says I got three hours and two minutes of sleep last night. Those extra two minutes are not making much of a difference.

Feminina:

Two minutes doesn’t help a lot, no. Nice of it to let you know you got them! Wouldn’t want to miss out! But they don’t help a lot.

I am actually wearing a fitbit right now too! I joined a ‘walking challenge’ at work. They gave away fitbits if you signed up! How could I resist a free gadget? I could not.

Mine says I got 6 hours and 36 minutes of sleep, which did not seem like enough when I woke up this morning, but which is still a vast, rich bounty compared to your sad and wakeful night. Many sympathies. You should seriously take a nap. Three hours is not enough to keep the brain running smoothly.

It’s true, “I’m done with America”–those are strong words.

“America has failed me! It’s all about those rich bastards now!” Which…there’s a legitimate complaint there. And yet, again, one feels the complaint is that America isn’t serving DUTCH well enough, not really that it’s not serving poor bastards in general.

Dutch doesn’t really care how many poor people Leviticus Cornwall screws over, as long as he’s not one of them. HE (and to an extent his gang family) matters. Everyone else is without consequence in his estimation.

Oh, and you asked which of Strauss’ debtors you should go after…actually, they’re both pretty on-theme, so either one is good.

Butch:

Oh no. No. Oh no. Soon you shall be in its thrall.

It’s because we play games, you see. It makes a game out of everything. Scores. Green happy things. Badges. Little rocket ships. Competing with Mrs. McP.

Soon you will be walking in circles just because.

You poor thing.

I really should nap, and soon.

Help.

But true about Dutch. And his “I kill, you kill. I rob, you rob. But I choose who I rob and kill and you rob and kill everyone” seemed a flimsy defense, to say the least. Dutch thought it was perfectly legitimate, but Cornwall’s reaction of “Dude, seriously?” was a rather rational reaction.

Feminina:

Dude, I can already feel it sinking its claws into me. It buzzes at me if I don’t have enough steps in an hour! So I get up and walk in circles (or go to the restroom), just to satisfy it. It’s going to be nothing but trouble.

But it was free! Free trouble!

And yes, “I leave some people unrobbed, and you don’t” is at best a matter of degree. I mean, sure, is a disaster that wipes out half the town better than one that wipes out the whole town? Of course! But that doesn’t mean it’s not a disaster. And “hey, I only wiped out half the town, that guy wiped out the whole town, you should love me!” is unlikely to go very far.

Nap now. Quick, while you still can!

Butch:

Oh no. The reminder. Yes, the awful, awful reminder.

You can not ignore the reminder. You….must….step….

Feminina:

Bzz. You should walk.

But first nap. Take a nap, man, you’re going to collapse!

Think of the happy moon of sufficient rest!

Butch:

Oh dude….the happy moon is elusive. I only get it when I’m not in Massachusetts. Or when I take a whole mess of benadryl.

What’s hilarious is that cardiovascular score that’s based on your resting heart rate always thinks I’m all fitter and shit after I take benadryl.

Better health through sedatives!

I mix it with tequila I’m a fitness machine!

Feminina:

Better health through sedatives! That tip is going in our fitness book for sure.

It’s Hard to Come Back

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

Spoilers for Red Dead Redemption 2

Butch:

OK…back.

Did some. Still processing.

Busted John out of prison. Fun little mission, but not sure about themeage. Weird that Dutch wasn’t happy that they busted him out.

An interesting pattern with Dutch (and one that could be related to certain leaders of the day) is that before anything happens he says “I’ll have a plan any second now” and then when someone else does something he gets mad and says “I HAD a plan!” Dude, you did? You came up with it as I was doing something? He’s always full of shit, really. One wonders if he always was.

Well, the two times we did see him with a plan, one was pointless and vindictive (killing Bronte, which accomplished nothing but revenge and got the law down on them, the very thing he’s mad at Arthur for with John) and the other wasn’t much of a plan at all (bandannas and yippie kai aie! in broad daylight). Also reminds me of certain present events.

Anyway…..

But then….met up with the lovers again. Did you meet up with the lovers again? Got that note from Penelope, and couldn’t resist.

Went back to Braithewaite manor and, well, I guess the fact that Lady Braithewaite’s burned body is just there waiting to be looted is a good tip off she died. But strolled in and got dead. So did the sneaky next time and did the mission.

Did you do that? Cuz…..I’m not sure what to make of that. I kinda have a lot to say about that. The more I think about it, the more I have to say.

But after that, found myself way the fuck out by Riggs station, middle of nowhere, and, for some reason, dude wouldn’t sell me a train ticket. So rode to Strawberry to get a train ticket, and there’s no trains there. So rode back and THEN he sold me a ticket. Took the train to Annesburg, decided to do Downes’ mission, decided that might take a while, called it a day.

I’ll do that next.

So you do the lovers?

Feminina:

Dude, I know! “I HAD a plan! And YES I came up with it just as you were doing that, I do all my best thinking when people are taking actions I didn’t officially approve! Which is why…uh…people should not take actions so I can think…look, the point is, I was GOING to save him any day now.”

Whatever, man.

And yes, the lovers. “Ah, Boston. Good. They’ll like you up there.”

Thanks! I think. It was amusing that Penelope just straight-up robbed her family and took off. And Arthur’s reaction: “they’re not chasing us because they’re upset about the romance, they’re mad because she robbed them blind! Good for her, I guess.”

The bit I found oddly entertaining was driving the train. There was no real challenge or danger to it, you just…drive the train. And ring the bell! And blow the whistle! Made me feel kind of like I imagine Arthur might have felt: “hey, I’m driving a train, this is kind of fun! Whooooo-whooooo!” And…then you’re done and you move on. It was both completely pointless, and quite pleasant.

And then they offer you some jewels, and I turned them down and got honor, although I have no idea why it would have been dishonorable to accept them. I mean, it was payment for a job done–why is that wrong? But I was thinking “nah, these kids probably need it more than I do, considering I have $3000 in my pocket and am dying and all.” Maybe that’s the honor: thinking of someone else rather than yourself.

Butch:

And what was interesting is that people are starting to go “Whatever, man.” Indeed, the more people make other people go “whatever, man,” the more Dutch screams “DISLOYAL!”

Metaphor’s getting a little upsetting.

Good for her robbing her family at a time when Arthur is starting to doubt his own family. We’ve talked before about how the Rhodes families are kinda like the gang. We’ve seen the families and Dutch prattle on endlessly about loyalty. Here, we have Penelope being totally disloyal, and Arthur’s reaction is, as you say, “good for her.”

Hmm.

“I didn’t know you could drive a train.” “Neither did I….”

The only real stressful bit was that Roach, for some reason, insisted on following it. I couldn’t have dealt with running Roach over with a train. Too traumatic. But he was ok, so it’s all good.

I did the same thing with the jewelry. But on that, the thing I kept thinking on was the moment before you decide to take it: Arthur’s there holding the bracelet and says, half in awe, half in disbelief: “The Braithewaite treasure…” Turns out there was (some) gold there, right? And after all the fighting and scheming and bloodshed (shit, she even talks about unnecessary, stupid bloodshed on the way to the train), here he is finally holding it. And why? Because Penelope and Beau, the naive, weak dreamers stole it, not the gang. Moreover, Arthur has it not because he pulled a gun or threatened them or beat them, but because she is giving it to him freely because he helped her. He helped two people find love, and THAT’S why he’s finally holding the Braithwaite gold. I think, in the way that line was delivered (as an aside, dude who plays Arthur is really good at these subtleties), Arthur finally gets it, that maybe, just maybe, doing the right thing is what works.

I think it’s good storytelling that that moment had to happen after Arthur knows he’s gonna die. His realization that THIS was the way to the treasure, helping the lovers, comes too late. By the time it dawns that maybe killing everything that moves isn’t the best possible way, he can’t really change.

And before you go all “Hey, Butch, wait. We killed a lot of people here. It’s not maybe ‘the right thing,'” I’d say “But Femmy, the gang would not have thought ‘Hey, maybe the way to get all those hicks’ money is to help these kids.’ They’d have dismissed that, as they thought that killing everyone and burning fields and houses and everything was the only way. Compared to that, this is the right thing.'” Shit, admit it. Even we, as players, thought this was, at best, an amusing diversion. We both said “Of course there’s no gold.” Turns out we were wrong. Turns out we got the gold….at the end of the quest we thought was, at best, an amusing diversion.

Good stuff.

Feminina:

Yes, at this point, the only way to be ‘loyal’ seems to be to either sit quietly without complaint, or actively reassure Dutch how awesome he is, while he broods and speechifies and probably steers them all straight to disaster. Troubling, indeed.

And it’s true, the Braithwaite Treasure did exist after all, and as you say, the gang never came near it with their plans and playing one side against the other while getting played themselves…but Arthur, by helping out a couple of people with no real expectation of reward, gets his hands on it eventually.

And now he’s dying and can’t do much with it. It’s an interesting mechanic, as well, that Arthur CAN’T simply fund Dutch’s plans with his own earnings, or I’d think “well, maybe he should have taken it to help the gang out.” As we’ve said before, at least he could call Dutch’s bluff, if there were ever a specific amount named, but there never is–no tally of “$350 gained out of $10,000 needed to head to Tahiti” or anything. I regularly donated all the loot I picked up to the gang’s treasury (easier than going to a fence), and the book neatly shows everything I gave, but the total, once you’ve upgraded camp as much as you can, doesn’t seem to mean anything and eventually I kind of stopped caring.

“I can give and give and never get any closer to pleasing Dutch, so why bother?”

Butch:

I have no idea where they got an idea for such a character. Nope. No idea.

Right! The treasure was an unexpected irony. Arthur gets it by saying “Aww, what the hell, I like these folks,” where when Dutch tries, and underestimates everyone, not only does he fail, he gets Sean killed and uproots his gang.

And “why bother?” is, oddly, the most hopeful part of the metaphor, right? I mean, if Dutch does have a real world equivalent, right? Here’s his followers realizing there is no pleasing him, no way he’s ever getting them to “Tahiti…..”

I’m also starting to think that the mechanic you mentioned isn’t there because Dutch has no intention at all of taking anyone to Tahiti. He is, after all, the best dressed one, right? He’s a con man. Why do we believe his intentions? It wouldn’t surprise me at all if he just, at some point, says “See ya later, suckers!”

In real life, demagogues often try to enrich themselves at the expense of their most ardent supporters. So I’ve heard.

Feminina:

I have also heard this! But you never know…history teaches us many things that we may be better off ignoring. He’s probably only the best-dressed (and the one with the nicest tent) because he…uh…needs that extra comfort to keep his brain working on all those brilliant plans he’s totally thinking up on a daily basis. Seems legit.

Con men only con OTHER people! Not us! Not his biggest fans!

Definitely not going to be the ruin of us all. No sir.

And I’m certainly not weeping quietly at the keyboard right now in abject terror, that’s for sure.

Butch:

Yeah, we’ve gone dark after vacation. We gotta cheer up.

I was just in Nashville!

Food! Booze! There. I feel better.

Feminina:

I have company coming! I have to clean things and set up beds!

I’m not sure if I feel BETTER, but I’m distracted.

Perhaps that’s enough, in these troubled times.

Butch:

Stop being dark, dammit!

At least you’ll have booze.

Feminina:

I will have booze!

It’s gonna be great. We’re going to love dying in the fiery wreckage of our democracy.

I mean, hacking up blood from TB. Whatever.

Ooh, ooh, I do have something less dark: we went to the circus while you were on vacation! The in-laws wanted to take us since the kids had never been, and Mr. O’ and I were both pretty unenthusiastic, but it was actually a lot of fun.

I had forgotten that it’s just kind of cool to watch human beings do weird, improbable things. No special effects except costumes and some lights, just people juggling lots of blocks, or leaping recklessly around on trampolines, or contorting into strange and unlikely positions while balancing on each others’ heads. Good old-fashioned, simple entertainment, you know? It was weirdly heartwarming, for something garishly colored that cost hundreds of dollars (which I fortunately did not personally pay).

And I kept thinking of Arthur cheering at the vaudeville shows, and you at the honky-tonk, and wanting to yell out “woooooooeee! Those guys can JUMP!” or something.

So yeah. Circus. Thumbs up.

Butch:

I, too, like circuses. There is something rather heartwarmingly, old timey about it all.

You SO should’ve cheered like that. Turn to people all “You seein’ this?”

Probably shouldn’t have said “Show us them knickers!” though.

Feminina:

“You seein’ this?!” would have been awesome.

Butch:

I do like circuses. I even like the weird French ones!

I can’t believe you missed a chance to cheer like that.

Feminina:

I have never been to the weird French circus, but would probably like it. Especially if I remembered to cheer like Arthur. Weird French circus folk LOVE that!

Butch:

They do! Especially if you shout “Dance the Can can!”

Ok, for the sake of us all, played some more.

Helped Downes’ son, helped Downes. I guess.

Not sure what to make of that. Quest was called “Do not seek absolution,” and maybe I haven’t been absolved. They just took my ninety bucks and left. I hope.

I also helped a widow learn to hunt and gave her a chance. I got jumped by Murphrees right after. She’ll probably get killed. She will, won’t she?

I don’t know what to make of Downes. I am intrigued that this all was very much a white, skippable bit.

What did you take from it?

Feminina:

I thought it was very much about Arthur trying–not to put things right, because as he himself keeps saying, there’s no way for him or anyone else to do that–but to make things a little bit better. To BE a little bit better as a person than he was when he first met these people.

He’s dying, and he realized he’s spent most of his life hurting people, and he’s trying to do something different.

Butch:

He is. That he is.

What did you make of the line “This country is man unleashed?” Someone certainly was proud of themselves for that one, but I’m not certain if it’s true. Or what it means.

And what did you make of the fact you could skip all of this?

Feminina:

It is very interesting that a lot of Arthur’s trying to be better is stuff you can skip. So…you don’t HAVE to try to be better.

Maybe your personal reaction to learning you’re dying of TB isn’t to try to be slightly better in your remaining days than you were in the ones leading up to the discovery. Maybe you figure hey, the damage is done, no point worrying about it now. Let’s skip these ‘helping people’ things and just rob stagecoaches and shoot people full time!

Your call.

As for this country being man unleashed…I dunno. This, unlike other countries, is where all the impulses of humanity (both good and bad?) are allowed free rein? I don’t know if that’s true, or if it’s just the kind of wild boasting that’s to be expected in a very young country that’s growing rapidly and (in some quarters) is full of its own imagined destiny.

Butch:

It was one of those lines that someone thought sounded really deep. It was even delivered with MUCH GRAVITAS. Slightly overdone gravitas, you ask me. Or even if you don’t ask me.

So all I have left is Micah. Is it long? Like, long long?

Feminina:

Oh, you probably have a lot more left than Micah. Have you talked to Strauss? You gotta talk to Strauss.

But if I recall correctly, this particular bit of Micah is not that long. It’s one of those ‘first step in a series’ things, and later ones will be longer, but I THINK the first one is pretty short.

Although it’s been a while, so I apologize in advance if that’s completely wrong.

Butch:

I have not talked to Strauss. He’s had a white thing in camp for ages. I figured it was more debtors, and fuck that. I ignored him in Shady Belle, too. He hasn’t had a yellow thing in forever.

This is the bit of Micah in Annesburg. The first bit of Micah in Annesburg.

Feminina:

It is more debtors, but you might want to do it anyway. It’s actually related to the theme we’ve been discussing.

Or if you’re in a hurry and want to continue to say screw it, that’s fair–I can just tell you what the story was.

I’m pretty sure the Annesburg part of Micah was fairly short, at least. I remember meeting him there and I don’t think it took up that much time.

Butch:

All right, I’m on it.

Really? I FINALLY blow something off and I shouldn’t?

Next you’ll be telling me to go back to Strawberry to do bounties.

Ha.

I think ha.

Feminina:

You HAVEN’T DONE the Strawberry bounties?! My god, man! That means you’ve missed the entire 12-part nude orgy storyline!

Ha. I think ha.

I mean, I missed it too.

But yeah, that’s exactly what this game would do, wouldn’t it? The time you decide to skip something is the time it actually has implications.

Butch:

Ok….which one of us is going to break down and google just to make sure that bounty isn’t the bit with nudity?

Cuz I STILL haven’t seen the promised nudity.

Feminina:

I haven’t seen any nudity either. It probably WAS just the grainy photos you found in that campsite or whatever.

But I think I did all the bounties, so it can’t have been that.

Maybe there’s just a big nude scene after the credits or something.

OK, check this thread. Apparently there is limited potential to randomly see some naked people. I guess we both missed it.
https://gtaforums.com/topic/917855-esrb-says-nudity-where/

Butch:

I knew you’d be the one to break down and google.

And to think this day started all dark and stuff.

I feel gypped. Our next game better have nudity.

Feminina:

You were right, I could not restrain myself.

Apparently there’s even MALE NUDITY, though! This should have been my favorite game of all time! Equal opportunity random naked people!

And somehow I missed them all.

This is the final straw, game. I’ve had it with you. RAGEQUIT FOREVER.

I mean, if I weren’t already done.

Butch:

You know, you missing the male nudity in this game, given your experience, makes perverse, perfect sense.

Feminina:

I know, it really does just put the perfect finishing touch on my entire experience of this game. Every possible thing goes wrong, repeatedly…and I missed all the male nudity.

Siiiiigh.

Butch:

I have to be close. I kinda feel I’m doing endgame stuff, wrapping up the Downes, wrapping up Penelope. When you start wrapping up the side shit that’s when you’re about to wrap up the main shit. Right?

Except you did all this long ago and you only just finished.

I’m so confused.

We, at some point, do need to discuss what we do next. I keep thinking we need to do that soon, but…….

You have AC:O in the house. I’d be willing to do that. Might be a nice, light, refreshing change.

Feminina:

I have to be honest, I’m a little confused myself about why this game didn’t wrap up a few hours before it did.

But we’ll talk later.

Travel Themes! Because We Care.

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Puncherson_64LadyBrain_64

No spoilers

Butch:

Let’s begin with some notes from the weekend!

Saturday:

Ok once this hangover clears I’m continuing my Arthur themed trip. What? I cheered. He eats. He drinks. I’m sure that guy at the honky tonk was named Lenny.

The Cornwall estate there was one thing. Today I’m off to see Andrew Jackson’s hermitage.

We have done much blogging on this game and who gets to write history. I’ve seen many historical sites but not…how should I put this…in these parts of the country.

I’m very curious as to how this is gonna go. I have a feeling I’m gonna be thinking on who gets to write history.

Feminina:

Vacation themage! Impressive.

As long as it doesn’t slow down the boozing.

Butch:

Hmm.

Well…so far, props for mentioning slavery and the Indian removals and admitting they were evil. But DUDE they are making every apology, even “hey, 100 years from now people might think we were evil…” like, ok, but…

This is like if Dutch had a museum.

Interesting.

Dude.

Dude.

I think this was used directly to make Braithwaite manor. I shit you not. Dude, I knew where the gazebo would be BEFORE I SAW IT and there it was. It has the trees, everything. The whole layout…

If there’s a dude in the stables I’ll apologize for killing him.

This is creepy.

Feminina:

“I’m so sorry about murdering you and running off with those horses that were your pride and joy. At least we didn’t literally eat them, OK?”

Then best just hurry along.

Butch:

Dude this place…they must’ve used it.

I’m trying hard not to loot the nightstands.

It does make me respect the game, though. They nailed it. The furniture even looks right.

And this place went bankrupt in the 1880s, etc. it’s pretty cool being here.

Feminina:

That is cool. Nice to see that all those details were well researched (not that I would have expected them not to be, but it must be fun to see the environments of the time period in person).

Butch:

And it wasn’t as sugar coated as I thought it would be. It was, but… like they did have quite a bit about slavery, but you had to go on an extra trail loop to see it. Hmm. Who writes history, and who gets to pick how to emphasize stuff.

Best part? Jackson is buried in the garden. Big temple thing over his grave. He died in 1847. But in 1901, uncle Alfred, his “servant” since 1830, died at 98. He convinced the keepers of the estate at that time, to bury him next to Jackson in the garden because Jackson “liked him so much.” There he is, right next to Jackson. The museum obviously portrays that as evidence that everyone in that graveyard was so progressive, but it was pretty obvious to me that Alfred, bless his heart, got one last, subtle, passive aggressive fuck you in towards the people’s president.

Even red dead couldn’t beat Alfred at the themeage.

Feminina:

Nice one, Alfred! We salute you.

No themes here. Siiiiigh.

Butch:

This place does have themes. Well, for this game. If we were playing Mass Effect less so.

I’m certainly walking. Set a step record Friday. Justifies the seven course tasting I plan to have tonight.

(I’d mention I had the best ribs I’ve ever had last night, which is saying something, but you’re a vegetarian. Shout out to Jack’s anyway)

On to Sunday:

Now I’m in a hotel that was build as a rail station in 1900. Like….

Yeah….would’ve taken more than bandannas.

This was a well timed trip.

Feminina:

Bandannas used to have magical powers! Such as not making any difference to whether or not you got in trouble for committing crimes.

Butch:

And now catching up to Monday:

And, as I think back on chocolate bread pudding with smoked caramel, cherries and black tea creme anglaise, I start to pack. Still have a day, and lord knows how I’m gonna spend it cuz I thought the flight was at 630 am and is pm.

Was such a nice trip. Mrs McP needs to do more conferences.

Feminina:

Ooh, bonus day! Win!

She does need to do more conferences.

I have a conference in Chicago next month, but I’ll be working so it’s not the same as a vacation.

I mean, it’s close, in that there are no kids, but not as close in that I have to attend a lot of meetings instead of touring historic estates. My travel blogging is much less interesting.

Butch:

Dude, just ditch. Chicago is nice. You at least deserve a walk by the lake.

Take an extra day. It’ll give me time to catch up to you.

Getting home too late to play. Sigh.

I’m eating something called a redneck taco.

It has meat.

This is quite the place.

I have to get on a plane in six hours. I’m going to regret this. But fuck it. Only live once, right?