Finish Him! Hospitality! Gameality!

Ugh! Fine, I’ll write something! Geez.

So the post-hurricane monsoon eventually hit Illinois and dumped copious amounts of fluid upon our hapless suburbs, and a friend of ours has an aunt and uncle living in dangerous proximity to a lake. Most of Saturday afternoon on the 12th was spent moving their furniture to the second floor and sandbagging his house, and we didn’t get home again until around 1am. Nothing really notable happened, but I was highly amused by the garter snake seeking high ground on a recently arranged sandbag; thankfully I didn’t step on any wildlife while wading through the knee-deep miasma back to Jen’s car.

Monday rolls around and after returning from work, I have developed a pounding headache and any movement of my head provides rivers of nausea. I take this as a sign I require bed-rest, and stumble off to assail a mattress with my carcass before 7pm after preemptively calling in sick for Tuesday. I spent Tuesday in recovery, and when Wednesday finally rolled around, I could even claim I felt “good.” It was a beautiful day, and to celebrate, I stopped at Dunkin Donuts to grab some decaf iced coffee.

Fast-forward to 11am, me still sipping my now 2-hour-old 32-ounce watered-down beverage, still only half-way through, and I start feeling… odd. Jittery would be a word, but so are: dizziness, weakness, and palpitations. Light-headed are two more, and to round-out the vocabulary, include restlessness, and salt with a sense of moving through molasses. Shit. I knew this feeling, and the tricks my cardiologist shared to forestall it weren’t helping; next would come my new pal tachycardia.

Of course, I took the opportunity to sensibly wander to the clinic–a seven-minute walk north–to see if they could catch the episode on actual medical equipment, or send me to the hospital, or both. During this little jaunt, I’d flipped my phone open and keyed in 911, you know, just in case I collapsed on the sidewalk–yes, I actually felt that physically unsound. Of course, the clinic gathered an “abnormal EKG” and with my history, wanted me on a monitor for 24-hours, so they called the paramedics to transport me to NorthShore where I spent another wonderful night covered in wires and periodically robbed of precious blood for “tests.”

Great, I thought, I get to spend my birthday in the hospital.

Alas, they didn’t find anything abnormal, but I did learn my heart-rate drops into the mid 30’s while I’m asleep. Now, I know several years of intense cardio (thanks DDR!) have really conditioned my heart, and even when my heart-rate is in the low 40’s, my oxygen level is above 95, but I’m hardly Lance Armstrong. Normal people might find an athlete-class resting heart rate comforting, but I’ve had heart surgery and my heart is chock-full of possibly sinus-node degrading scar-tissue, sketchy valves, and abnormal morphology. The last time I saw my cardiologist, she said my numbers were fantastic on the stress echo, so I’ll just chalk it up to conditioning for now. I can also support this supposition with several newly acquired blood tests indicating I’m within “normal” ranges for nearly every known measure. Somehow I escaped the facility burdened only with a Holter monitor!

Except people who are Strong Like Bull don’t feel like they’re going to pass out after imbibing trace amounts of caffeine. And for all you coffee-drinkers out there, I once numbered among you, but only because I love coffee-flavored anything. Generally I eschew caffeine, and since I’m already a human chihuahua, it’s completely unnecessary anyway. But once upon a time, I didn’t make such a distinction, and imbibed fantastic amounts without consequence. The fact I’m having problems with sensitivity now may be a clue of some sort, one might conclude.

Anyway, my birthday wasn’t completely ruined. On Saturday, after I’d removed the Holter monitor and half my chest hair, we traipsed over to The Bavarian Lodge for some wonderful German food and more Belgian beers than you can shake a stick at. I sampled both Rochefort 10 and Rochefort 8, and while I enjoyed the 10 more, the alcohol note felt like I had mixed my usual Unibroue favorite with vodka; without that, it would have been the perfect beer. Aside from that, the selection is somewhat ridiculous, and I’ll have to go again. Thanks Jen!

After that, I spent the weekend drowning my sorrows in Dragon Quest IV for the DS, a game I haven’t reveled in since its NES incarnation back in early 1993. With the graphic and translation overhaul, it really is an awesome trip down memory-lane. But if they neglect to release V and VI here again like they did back in 1994, I’mma hafta choke a bitch. Enix America closed shop around then, and American fans of the Dragon Quest line of games were indefinitely taunted with the remaining two-thirds of the trilogy. Hopefully the Square/Enix merge means better stability in that area.

And in other news, I’ve also been playing The World Ends With You, and it really is fantastic. The music is catchy, the story is unique and engaging, the battle system is confusing and pointlessly complicated–really everything a player could want! Seriously, simultaneously controlling two separate characters with two completely disparate engagement mechanisms is a needlessly mentally arduous task. I know every rose has a thorn, but I shouldn’t have to evolve to the next form of human development and ascend to a higher plane to slap around filthy creatures bent on my obliteration. Despite this, the game is a shockingly fresh interpretation of the genre, and I hope the developer has more such ideas in the works.

Until Tomorrow