The Slime; They Have Taken Over
I assure you this is not the case. Grandma is alive and well. We both have been extremely busy, is all. I've been working and Grandma.... well, Grandma is working too I suppose.
Sunday Morning, 1:30am
I come home from an assignment for the paper to find Grandma swearing away at Dragon Quest VIII, frustrated by her failure after many attempts to capture a bird of some sort.
"NOOO!!! God DAMMIT!! I don't want to fight!! I have to follow THIS fucking thing's SHADOW!!"
[Grandma tries to flee]
"Oh, you bitch....."
Note: In her 113 hours so far into Dragon Quest VIII, Grandma has not yet discovered that the best way out of a battle is to fight through it rather than to flee. If the escape option is chosen with more powerful enemies (like those she faces now) her turn is lost, the move fails, and the monsters get an additional attack on the party.
"Alright, YOU explain this to me. I have to follow this bird's shadow, and it's supposed to end up on the other side of this island, right? But every time I go into battle I LOSE the fucking thing or it goes somewhere I can't get a ...straight shot, you know? Like a cliff or something I have to go around. And then the thing isn't OVER there."
Me - "I don't know."
"Well you're a lot of fucking help."
Sunday Morning, 5:15am
I go to bed after a few hours of photo editing and a couple hours playing Advance Wars: Dual Strike (more on why we have this later...) Grandma is still playing and eating potato chips (Barbeque) when I head downstairs for bed. She instructs me to pull up the GameFAQ's guide for DQ8 and scroll down to the Arcadia Region chapter so that she may double check to see if she missed any Mini Medals from earlier in the game. Apparently that's important now.
Sunday Morning, 10:32am
Grandma goes to the store and buys a hole-boring attachment for her power drill and some cable management supplies for the game room. She would tell me later that she wants it to look "pretty."
Sunday Morning, 12:00pm
Grandma plays HexicHD on the XBox 360 for a while. Grandma has found that Marathon Mode loses its charm after one acquires a black pearl for the first time. The difficulty and randomness of obtaining the required silver stars and positioning them to get another pearl becomes tedious if you're not up for it. Her only motivation is seeing the higher scores on the Leaderboards above her.
"It's these fucking BOMBS that piss me off. I'll be building a flower underneath or setting up for a pearl and I have to drop everything in SEVEN moves to clear that fucker."
Grandma does NOT wish to be coached while playing HexicHD.
Me - "Here, if you highlight these three-"
Grandma - "GET YOUR HAND OUT OF THE WAY!!! I can't SEE!"
Me - "Right, but I'm telling you, you could have a sta-"
Grandma - "I can DO it! Just work on your own score!"
Sunday Afternoon, 4:50pm
Dinner. Macaroni and Cheese with corndogs and applesauce. I'm stuck on Mission 16 in Advance Wars: Dual Strike and Grandma is once again playing Dragon Quest VIII.
"Alright, now I CAUGHT the stupid thing... but now I can't STEER IT!"
Grandma levels up her characters to max-out single weapon statistics. She gloats to me about things I simply don't understand yet.
"I got the Miracle Slash!! YES! It's about fucking TIME!!"
Sunday Evening, 8:00pm
Grandma takes a break from playing DQ8 on the PS2 to hit some World Championship Poker on XBox Live. The 360 does not yet support WCP, so she has to unplug the ethernet cable and move it down to her XBox.
"You have to set this up so I don't have to keep switching this cable. This is a pain in my ASS."
"Nobody plays this game anymore!! They've all moved on to the sequel! I can't find a decent table!"
Monday Morning, 2:15am
I come upstairs from a cleaning binge to show Grandma my latest discovery while unpacking boxes.
Me - "Hey! Check out what I found!"
Grandma - "What?"
Me - "It's a wireless router!"
Grandma - "...so?"
Me - "So now I can take the cord going into your 360, plug it into this, run three cables going to all three XBoxes, and I can get Wireless internet on the laptop downstairs!"
Grandma - "So I won't have to switch anymore?"
Me - "Nope! You'll have XBox Live on the XBox, the XBox Debug, and the XBox 360 with a port to spare. I just have to daisy-chain the routers together."
Grandma - "Cool! Where did you get that anyway?"
Me - "Ally put it in with my shit before we broke up. I guess she forgot about it!"
Grandma - "Sweet!!"
Grandma continues to play DQ8 while I hook everything up. An IP Address conflict error shows up on the computer in the kitchen, I reset everything and it works beautifully. Grandma tests the wireless connection by playing some MarioKart DS with some folks online, and later contacts some friends in Animal Crossing (more on why we have this later) with no problems. For those all those living within 50 yards or so from the house, "Tim's Shitty Network" shows up in their available connections folder. We doubt anyone will notice.
Monday Morning, 10:00am
Grandma is STILL playing DQ8. It just occurs to me that I've never actually seen her go into her room and sleep. She assures me it happened, but I don't remember it.
Monday Afternoon, 3:45pm
.........The soundtrack to DQ8 starts growing on me as Grandma soars above her kingdom on some giant bird. She shows me a few new weapons she's picked up and demonstrates a quality whip attack. Grandma tells me she's almost done with the game.
"And you said there was no way I would even come CLOSE to what I put in to FFVII. I'd say this is pretty damn close."
Monday Evening, 11:30pm
Grandma is in bed. I play HexicHD for a while trying to beat her high score, now above the 100,000 mark... and fail. I try Condemned but I'm not quite ready to start a new game yet. Out of curiosity and through the benefits of a Premium Package, I utilize the free month of XBox Live Gold and create my own account using the profile name for me on the 360: "BarronVonEspie." I congratulate myself for being so damn clever before realizing just how incredibly "gay" it sounds. "Meh, if the shoe fits..."
Grandma emerges sometime between midnight and 2:00am and I surrender the chair. She plays World Championship Poker and I retreat downstairs to review my photography work from the previous week.
Tuesday Morning, Time Unrecorded
She's STILL up there. From the music I THINK it's DQ8, but she could be playing God Knows What with all the Debug games she's received from MTV.
Tuesday Afternoon, 3:30pm
Day off. I sleep in. A LOT. Grandma is already on the computer reading some document off of GameFAQ's on DQ8 when I wake up. She tells me she isn't "stuck," only "confused." We receive some voicemail from the Post Office, but whatever it was, it's too damn late now. I feel nervous about leaving the blog post-free for the past few days, but the photo-editing has eaten up all my time. Grandma notices.
"Have you posted anything recently?"
Me - "No, why?"
"Because we haven't gotten SHIT for e-mail in the past few days. People are going to think you FORGOT or something."
Thinking that she's on to me for posting about her upcoming birthday, I avoid the topic.
Me - "...Well, there was a holiday."
"They don't celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day in motherfucking UK. I guess traffic must be slow everywhere."
Me - "Yup. That's it."
Tuesday Evening, 9:40pm
Grandma is asleep in her chair with the Dragon Quest VIII startup screen playing quietly in front of her. I turn it off and continue working.
God DAMN those slimes. They really take a lot out of a person.
Grandma woke up a few hours ago to fight what she ASSUMED was the final boss of the game. It turns out she still has a ways to go....
...to be continued.