474px-GameoverplSo if you’re reading this, you’re probably wondering where I’ve been for the last month or two. Frankly, I wanted to have this posted sooner, but figuring out where to start has been a bit tough.

I guess maybe the best place to start is with my health.

A few months ago, I went for a routine visit to the doctor, and ended up learning that I’ve got high blood pressure — something that runs in my family, apparently. The doctor had me revisit periodically to see if maybe it was just a one-off thing, but it didn’t really seem to be. As a result, some changes needed to be made.

One change is that I’m now on daily medication to lower my blood pressure, but I also looked into some other things to try to reduce it, too. Things like stress.

This led me to make some changes at Mario’s Hat, wherein I decided to stop updating “The Nintendo Download” and “Canadian Video Game Deals for the Week.” It may not seem like a huge thing, but making sure to keep on top of things week in and week out can add up — especially when you’re dealing with guys like EB Games who adhere to absolutely no sort of schedule for when they finally decide to post their deals, making them the most irritating part of the entire thing.

The good news is that somewhere between that and the medicine, my most recent visit to the doctor has confirmed that my blood pressure has dropped quite a bit, right back into the “safe” zone.

Beyond that, the fact that not a single person has said anything — not on Twitter, not on Facebook, not on the page itself — since I ceased updating those weekly features since the end of June seems to confirm something else for me, namely that by and large, I’m writing for an audience of one.

After leaving Examiner and Kombo, I had some hope that I could make a decent go of it myself with these websites I run on Nyteworks, but besides The Mega Man Network (which was sort of grandfathered in, I suppose), nothing has gained any sort of traction. I’ve tried spreading links, asking for retweets and reblogs and likes and for people to just spread the word, but that has done absolutely nothing for me.

Nobody writes for themselves. Rather, some do, but no one with a setup like I’ve got going on here. But from where I sit, I feel like an actor putting on a performance in an empty house.

Comments are few and far between, and outside of two very generous patrons (now one) on Patreon and the occasional “special” article you might have seen around, I haven’t made a single dime off of any of these sites. I want to communicate ideas, for people to read and respond and — if they like it — share the word. But when even something as much of a service/utility as Weekly Deals never spreads, well, it makes a person step back and take stock of things.

Now, before anyone says I’m just in it for the money — well, let’s face it, money is a factor of sorts, in that I kind of need it to live and do things. But that’s not why I do this. I do it because I do enjoy writing, and so I’ll continue to do so across these websites… just maybe a little less frequently.

NFIssue-23-Final-CoverAs it is, I’ve got other things helping on the money front. As some of you may know, I write for Nintendo Force magazine, and I’ve also picked up other work recently. Now I’m also writing for Mega Visions magazine, a SEGA-focused publication wherein I’m writing alongside such great folks as former SEGA of America President Tom Kalinske, former SEGA of America Marketing Director Al Nilsen, and Console Wars author Blake J. Harris. I’m pretty stoked! On top of that, I’m also doing work for Appstore Posts, and I may have some transcription work coming my way soon.

As an aside, I had a new wrestling magazine reach out to me about writing for them on Twitter. Sadly, they’ve not responded to anything since. That was rather disappointing; much as I love writing about video games, my interests go well beyond that (as you might be able to tell by reading through my archives here). Wrestling, food, cartoons, comics, toys — there’s a lot I would love to write about, given the right opportunity, and I was hoping this would give me the opportunity to do just that on a professional level again.

Anyway, with all that stuff going on, I’m scaling back focus on the Nyteworks sites, at least for now. I’ll still be posting here on PMO, more as a recreational thing, and I’m going to try to focus more on reviews with Mario’s Hat (though I’m not adverse to posting about other Canadian goings-on I come across), and I’ve already got a bit of a backlog to deal with. I’ve been trying to get The Pre-Order Blog rolling again as well, but I may scale that back and change things in some ways — it gained the most traction of anything the first time around, but I wasn’t able to keep up. The second time around, not so much — maybe I blew it. Guess we’ll see. Plus, I’ve got some other things I’d like to work on that I’ve put off for too long in favor of these sites.

As for The Mega Man Network, I’m doing a more in-depth update specifically for that page, so if you’re at all interested, here you go.

So, that accounts for some of my absence around here as of late. For The Friday Nyteworks Stream, I hope to get back to that soon, but the new modem we got from Rogers hasn’t been playing very nice with our consoles wirelessly. I need to call someone out here to have a look at it; currently, we have the PlayStation 4 hooked up via a wire stretching across the room — one prone to cats pulling everything down. Still, I may consider using that for streaming anyway, particularly if it winds up providing a higher quality of feed than going wireless. I’m sure Cammy, Tango, and Toothless can deal for two hours a week or so. Or at least I can, anyway.

As for the last month or so, that’s an interesting story to tell — one I decided would be better served here at the end in its own little section.

Metal Gear…?

For much of July, I found myself doing a lot of running around to try to put together my costume for Otakon. Following in the footsteps of Movie Mario and Bad Box Art Mega Man, my focus was on becoming Lieutenant Solid Snake from Snake’s Revenge:

Personally, I think it turned out pretty well. Unfortunately, however, it was lost on pretty much everyone (save for maybe the one person who called me “Blazing Snake”), including Metal Gear fans who were at the shoot:

I felt pretty good when the organizer was trying to figure out what games were in attendance, calling out “Metal Gear 1, Metal Gear 2…” I nearly spoke up there, since Snake’s Revenge is sort of a “Metal Gear 2,” but that feeling sank when she continued to call out “Metal Gear 3, Metal Gear 4…” Yeah, it turns out that she basically left the “Solid” part of the title off.

Some time later, I feel like Scott Patterson kind of validated that I really was out of my element with these tweets:

I guess that explains everything. Oh well, next year will be another year.

Beyond that, I can’t say I had as good a time at this year’s Otakon, the last one in Baltimore (for now), as I did last year. I developed a bit of a cough on Saturday, which I thought just came about from me sleeping wrong with the benefit of air conditioning. Turns out that wasn’t the case; Sunday, the rest hit me like a truck, and I had to make my way back to the hotel room, where I barely had the strength to leave the bed beyond going to the bathroom to retch.

Particularly upsetting to me about this was that I also had to miss the dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, one I’d been looking forward to — and likely the last I’d be seeing of any location of that establishment for some time to come. At least Nadia was able to bring back something for me to eat.

Monday was Hell. We went to the airport, but due to weather, our flight was canceled. Fortunately, Nadia was able to somehow manage to get us on to a flight that left many hours later, sometime in the early a.m. We eventually got home, I collapsed into bed, and Tuesday (plus half of Wednesday) might as well have not even existed for me.

Losing a day is a weird thing. When you’re younger, it’s kind of a “whoa, cool” thing, but as you get older, there’s almost a certain creepiness to it — like having a chunk of your life just surgically removed.

Anyway, I was bedridden for a good week or two after that, and when I got some strength back, I managed to get to the hospital, where it was confirmed I’d had bronchitis. I swear that throughout my entire life, I always seem to get that more than anything else, and it always hits hard. I’m pretty well convinced now that it will likely be how I meet my end someday.

The diagnosis was that the worst was over — technically true, but the post-bronchitis symptoms were (and maybe still are) hitting me pretty hard. I wasn’t contagious, at least, but I’m still coughing, the retching has eased up, and my energy is better than it was, but not exactly great. I ended up thinking I was better than I was when I went to Microsoft’s X16 event (coverage soon on Mario’s Hat), but that ended up setting me back a bit — I was in no shape for anything after getting home. At least I held up better at FanExpo this past weekend, where I finally got to meet Charles Martinet in person.

So, yeah. That’s my story of where I’ve been. I feel like if I could redo the past two months, I’d gladly do so without hesitation. I wouldn’t change everything, of course, but some things just weren’t worth it in the long run.

Finally, so that I’m not ending on a downer, here are some pics I took from Otakon! First up is the pair of Nintendo photo shoots, which I’ve combined into one gallery here:

I was actually in these (Snake’s Revenge is exclusive to the Nintendo Entertainment System, after all. And shut up, your ROM collection doesn’t count), but had no one to take my picture, so that’s why I’m not there.

Here are other photos taken while walking around:

And finally, some random shots from outside of the convention:

And that’s all for now!

David Oxford is a freelance writer of many varied interests. If you’re interested in hiring him, please drop him a line at david.oxford (at) nyteworks.net.