Comfort Food for Your Mind – Television Edition

Ok, so I know at the beginning of the year, I said I was going to try to watch less television. I have failed spectacularly, and not just because I fell madly in love with a new show.

Sometimes, we just need to passively get out of our own way. Those days where everything is hard and there is no energy left to spend pulling yourself out of the muck, and on those days, it may just be that the best thing you can do is put on the TV and lose yourself in someone else’s problems for awhile.

Of course, what works for each of us is very different. My best friend gravitates to anything with a spaceship. My husband binges documentaries and reality TV about ghosts. I tend to watch cooking competitions and crime dramas.

So what have I been watching during the first quarter of 2020, which feels like it has lasted OMG forever and then some?

Gotham – Full series (5 seasons / 100 episodes) available to stream on Netflix

I had started watching this for the first time last fall, and all of a sudden had the urge to watch it from the beginning again. Although I still haven’t gotten through much more than the first season, there’s an awful lot about this show I really like, even if it takes a whole lot of liberties with the Batman universe.

Spring Baking Championship – Seasons 1-5 available to stream on Hulu.

This was my low-concentration show of choice until I – very very quickly – burned through all five seasons. I’m not sure why cooking competitions are soothing for me; they’re deliberately cut to make it look like disaster is about to strike at any moment. I get it – for the contestants, there’s quite a bit at stake, but in the scheme of things right now, a fallen cake just doesn’t seem like it’s worth getting upset about.

Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist – Airs Sundays on on NBC, available to watch on Hulu one day later.

I am HOOKED on this show (which if you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know). I watched the first episode back in January, and then lamented the need to wait a month for the second episode. Now, as we’re fast approaching the end of the season, I’m starting to worry about whether or not it’s going to come back, and how current events are going to effect it if it does get renewed.

Which, on the one hand shows that my priorities aren’t exactly in order, but on the other, shows that this corner of TV-land means a lot to me.

I love it for being a musical. I love it for making me laugh, and cringe, and cry in the course of 45 minutes. I love it for making me feel so very very seen because I identify with Zoe’s personality so strongly.

Nbc GIF by Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist - Find & Share on GIPHY

Mostly, I love it because it’s 45 minutes a week that I can forget about everything awful that is going on in the world and just live in Zoey’s world.

What are you watching to distract yourself from reality right now? Tell me about your comfort food television shows – either in the comments or feel free to steal the heck out of this idea for your own blog.

Social Isolation Together – Throwing a Watch Party

This post is part of a new series that I plan to keep up as long as we’re still seeing recommendations to socially isolate in the US because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie in the theater, but I do miss the experience of getting together with friends to watch a movie or a few episodes of a TV show. Obviously, that’s not a thing we’re doing during social isolation, but there are multiple technologies that will allow us to do just that while not leaving the house.

Facebook Watch Party: Probably the most restrictive of the services out there, but it might be nice if you want to show off your collection of cute cat videos to all of your friends. Whatever you’re watching has to be on Facebook, and you can only invite other Facebook users. If you want to learn more about how it all works, check the FAQ here.

Netflix Party: If you (and all of your friends) have an active Netflix subscription, and use Chrome as a web browser, you could throw a Netflix Party. Just get everyone to download the browser extension and you’re well on your way to having a watch party of anything available on Netflix.

Twoseven: For me, I think the winner as far as functionality goes is Twoseven. It does require users to set up an account, and install an extension on either Chrome or Firefox, but it makes a whole lot more content available. Free users have a bunch of options to source video to watch, and a $3 a month Patron pledge adds Hulu and Disney+ to your options list. If you’re hosting a watch party from a paid service, your guests must have their own log-ins, but they’re not required to be Patrons to watch Hulu or Disney+.

Please note: there are reports of Amazon not working for all users at this time, so be aware of this if you’re interested in an Amazon watch party.

Have you participated in or hosted a watch party? What service did you use? Feel free to answer in the comments, or take this topic and run with it in a post of your own.

Social Isolation Together – Missing MMOs

This post is part of a new series that I plan to keep up as long as we’re still seeing recommendations to socially isolate in the US because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Square Enix has put Final Fantasy XIV Online Complete on sale through 4/29/20.

I have to keep reminding myself that I didn’t much care for Final Fantasy XIV when I did a trial of it … oh … a very very long time ago. Because I’m tempted. I’m sorely tempted. There’s so much game there for the measly $36 they want for it with this sale, and I know a lot of people who are currently playing.

I think I might be starting to feel the impact of social isolation as we’re heading into week four, because I am really really craving some MMO time. Not any specific MMO, even, although I would probably default to World of Warcraft because I know I’ll have scrolling guild chat pretty much any time I wanted to log on.

That said, my Elder Scrolls Online guild did say they’d welcome me back if I decided to start playing again, so WoW isn’t my only option. I’ve also been keeping Guild Wars 2 up to date, although I don’t know if I know anyone who’s playing that at the moment.

Hell, I even considered re-downloading RIFT, and I swore I’d never go back to that.

If you are also dealing with social isolation and shelter-in-place orders, are you using gaming, specifically online multiplayer gaming, to ease the frustration of being denied face-to-face socializing? If you are, what are you playing and how is it helping you?

Feel free to answer in the comments, or take this topic and run with it in a post of your own.

A Change of Direction – #CapcoMonth

For the second time in only four months, the game I originally picked for the Community Game Along turned out to not be the right game for me. I’m kind of bummed about this one, because Remember Me looked so very very good.

Don’t get me wrong, there is absolutely some good stuff here. The concept of being able to extract memories, and even to alter them, is intriguing. During my couple hours of play time, I kept going back and forth between “This is so cool.” and “Ugh, this is really irritating.”

I think if I had loved everything about it except the movement, I would have tried to dig out my controller and play that way, but I also found the combat to be pretty awful. You set up combos, but how to make the combos work wasn’t really clear, and I ended up turning the difficulty down to the easiest level after the first major fight.

I’ve played many other clumsy console ports over the years, and I’ve certainly put many hours into older games – I’m not sure why Remember Me rubbed me the wrong way as much as it did.

Still, the month is young, and it’s far from the only Capcom game in my library. I briefly considered replaying Dead Rising 2 or starting up Dead Rising 2: Off The Record (which is basically the same game with a different protagonist), but decided instead to play something new instead. So I went to Twitter with a poll:

So, the next game I will be trying out for #CapcoMonth is DMC: Devil May Cry, a game from the same era as Remember Me, but hopefully with far fewer annoyances.

Comfort Food for Your Mind – Gaming Edition

This morning, an image detailing the symptoms of mental and physical exhaustion came across my Facebook feed, and can I tell you, I felt so seen. It seems weird to be suffering from burn out when I’m actually really fortunate right now compared to so many, but there it is. I’m burned out.

Combine this type of exhaustion with fibro-fog (which is made worse by both fatigue and stress), and I’m left with the feeling that I just can’t learn something new or get invested in a story right now. Unsurprisingly, this is putting a major monkey wrench in my oh-so-meager goals for this month.

Instead, I find myself seeking out “comfort food” for my mind. I’ve lost count of how many games I’ve booted up and then almost immediately closed out of. Everything is not interesting, or too hard, or too easy, and nothing is giving me the distraction I’m craving.

If I’m perfectly honest, I was pretty surprised by what finally stuck for me.

Cook, Serve, Delicious 2 is a game I had previously put about 35 hours into, and it gets hard fast, especially if you’re a perfectionist that wants to gold medal every single level. I elected to restart, rather than jump into my old level 46 save (although I didn’t realize I had two other level 1 saves, oops). The game is just a challenging and fast-paced as I remember and that is precisely why it’s working for me.

CSD2 is works on muscle memory I actually have (typing), rather than most other arcade-style games that work on muscle memory and twitch reflexes that I’m lacking. It’s been awhile since my fingers were so firmly planted on the home row.

I’m trying to take it a little bit easy on myself. Right now, not every level has to be a gold medal (and the coffee shop levels so far are just not a thing I’m capable of at the moment). It’s satisfying in a way that nothing else has been, and I’ll let myself indulge in this comfort food game for as long as my fingers will tolerate.

What are the games you go back to time and time again? Tell me about your comfort food games – either in the comments or feel free to steal the heck out of this idea for your own blog.

Blogger Recognition Award – 2020

I have been tagged by the incomparable Naithin of Time to Loot to do the perfect blog entry for the start of #Blapril2020. Thanks for the tag!

The Rules

  1. Thank the wonderful person who nominated you and leave a link back to their blogs.
  2. Explain your blog’s origin story or its history.
  3. Hand out two or more pieces of advice for new bloggers.
  4. Nominate other bloggers and hook us up with links to their blogs.

Origin of Nerd Girl Thoughts

Oddly enough, Naithin is also probably at least 75% responsible for the existence of Nerd Girl Thoughts in the first place (and I thank you for that as well!).

I had wandered away from my prior blog The Completion Chronicles in May of 2017. I had always intended to go back to it, but really, the whole concept had lost its shine for me.

That blog came to be after I had just come off of what I still feel was my most successful blog project – 366 Days of Gaming, in which I played a different game every day for a year – and I wasn’t quite ready to give up blogging yet, but I also was really unsure of what I wanted to be doing.

So blogging had been put on the way back burner for well over a year, when I saw Naithin tweeting about Blaugust 2019, and I felt like that was the kick in the pants I needed to get back to it. Instead of reviving one of my (many many) defunct blogs, I decided to start fresh with Nerd Girl Thoughts, and leave myself a little bit wider open to write about a greater assortment of topics.

Advice for New Bloggers

Don’t Overthink It: It’s okay if you don’t know exactly what you want your blog to be about, or what you want it to look like, or how you want to publicize your posts. The first step is actually getting words down about something that you care about. There are probably 8 million good reasons to start a blog, but if you ask me, the best reason is because you want to write. So, write something. Work out all the messy details later.

Look for community, not recognition: If you are considering blogging because you want to get internet famous, or as a side hustle to make big money, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Sure, you can absolutely treat blogging as a business, but – at least to me – that’s the quickest way to suck all the joy from your project and the odds are still against you succeeding. Unless you’re content babbling into a void (and I frequently am, so take that one with a grain of salt), you will need to build a community. Events like #Blapril2020 are great for community building – take the time to figure out who else is writing about things you are interested in, and then interact with those blogs & authors. Chances are, you’ll spark a conversation and maybe even get a follow back.

The Tags

I think this is a great topic & I personally was glad to have the prompt, but if you don’t feel the same, please feel free to just conveniently forget I tagged you, ok?

Syp, author of BioBreak.

Chestnut, author of Gamer Girl Confessions.

Rakuno, author of Shards of Imagination.

Paeroka, author of Nerdy Bookahs.

Quietschisto, author of RNG.

If I didn’t tag you, but you want to use this topic as well, feel free!

Nerd Girl Goals – April 2020

This is going to be a relatively short goal post this month: 2020 has not been particularly great thus far for blogging. With so much uncertainty surrounding pretty much everything, I’m going to try something that’s not super comfy for me – playing things by ear.

Play to Satisfaction

For me, saying “Play to Satisfaction” gives me explicit permission to drop a game that’s not working for me, but also to grind away for nerd points if I’m really loving something. I’m trying to make it a policy for myself that I will always play to satisfaction – no more, no less.

I still have a few outstanding game-related stuff I’d like to finish up over the next few weeks, but there’s plenty of stuff I haven’t already talked about I’d like to add onto my plate this month.

Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

This month, I’m going to go for something different and try out Starbound.

#CapcoMonth – Community Game-Along

For #CapcoMonth, I decided to go deep into the backlog and play Remember Me – a game that I added to my Steam library in November of 2015 and have never played.

With Blaugust being moved up to #Blapril2020, I’m going to let my blogging dictate what else I ends up on my agenda for this month. I don’t see myself really adhering to the suggested topic schedule, but I already have some ideas brewing.

Although I’d like to say I’m going to post every day, I’m going to set a more manageable goal of three posts a week. I’d like to bring back some post topics that have fallen by the wayside, and there’s a few more things I’m excited to try out.

Mostly, I’m looking forward to having a motivation to boot up some games and just lose myself in them.

In Review – March 2020

We’re now in our third week of semi-voluntary social isolation – I say semi-voluntary because I was ALL ABOUT THIS before it was pretty much state-mandated.

I have learned that yes, I am among the most introverted introverts, and you would think that would have lead to an increased amount of time spent gaming but instead it’s been sort of unruly chaos as I try to deal with two energetic pups and a decidedly extroverted husband.

Low Spend 2020

Did I mention unruly chaos? Like everything else in my life, this has been kind of beaten and bruised by the inability to do things with others in any way other than virtually.

So there was a purchase of Tabletop Simulator times two. I’d be lying if I said I was unlikely to play around with it, but mostly, it was for the D&D game that went virtual. We also took advantage of the bundle containing Citadel: Forged With Fire for less than $2 on the off-chance we could get a couple evening’s fun out of it.

I also managed to convince myself that it would be A-OK to spend a few dollars on the Origin Pack for Warframe, since I wasn’t paying for an MMO subscription or a game subscription service this month. Lastly (and within the parameters of last month’s revision), I picked up Photographs for about a buck for my phone, only to discover that I’m very very bad at that sort of puzzle.

All in all, not what I’d call a raging success, however, I am reconsidering that I should revise again to say “paid MMO subscription or equivalent in-game purchasing”. This is harder than I thought it would be, but not for the reasons I originally expected.

The Nope List

Destiny 2: I actually really enjoyed the intro to this one, but as soon as I ended up in some random scenario with strangers, I was out. Unfair? Perhaps, but I just wasn’t inclined to figure it out.

Iris and the Giant: I wanted to like this game, but the rogue-like aspect of it really killed it for me. There’s only so far you can progress on limited turns, and I wasn’t patient enough to slowly grow my power.

Community Game-A-Long – #MitsudaMarch

Unfortunately, my Screen Time app doesn’t save far enough back for me to have tracked my time in game since I mostly played this over the first week or so of the month, but I would guess I easily got somewhere between 12 and 15 hours out of it – and that’s without coming anywhere close to finishing.

That said, the comparative ramp up in difficulty in Chapter 10 required a lot of grind leveling alternate characters, and it kind of turned me off. I stubbornly kept on until I managed to beat that boss, but I wasn’t particularly enthused to continue after that point.

I’m not saying I’ll never ever go back, but I’m also perfectly satisfied with the time I spent with it.

Ten Games to Tackle in 2020

I hit a big zero in this category this month. I played a couple hours of Far Cry: Primal, and then … forgot about it, and have yet to start on anything else.

Other Gaming

There’s not a lot else to say here. The majority of my gaming time in the later 2/3 of March went into Warframe.

Sure, some of that time was spent AFK or with just the launcher open, but it’s been a hot minute since I put that kind of time into any single game. Over a couple of weeks, I got a few warframes built, and got up to sixth mastery rank. Mostly, I ran around and destroyed stuff. Lots of stuff. It gave me an opportunity to spend some time gaming with my husband and friends, and although I don’t think it is going to have too much more staying power for me, I’m glad I gave it a whirl.

I also dabbled in some demos during Steam Game Festival.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend a whole lot of time on any of them, but I did confirm that both Quench and Spiritfarer absolutely have a place on my wishlist – not like that’s an exclusive club!

Basically for the me, the first week of March was pretty normal, and everything after that was a smattering of this and that with a big ol’ Warframe binge in the middle. I didn’t even pick up a book. I watched a lot of completely unmemorable television. I struggled with pretty much everything.

But #Blapril2020 has already started, and this is – at least for the foreseeable future – the new normal. I’m optimistic that things will start to smooth out now.

#MaybeInMarch – Portal

Obviously, I procrastinated. And, I haven’t finished it, so I still am lacking that gamer cred. But at least now I can say “Oh yeah, I’ve played Portal.” right?

No spoilers here – although if you’ve somehow both never played Portal and have managed to avoid spoilers, kudos to you. I played for just short of an hour, so even though part of me is feeling super clever for clearing 14 tests in that time, part of me knows that there is still way more game in front of me than behind me.

Here’s the thing – I just don’t have the brainpower for these kind of puzzles (especially since spatial relations aren’t my strongest suit to begin with). I started to get frustrated when I could clearly see how everything worked, but I kept missing (really really easy) jumps. Finally moving through that test to one I couldn’t figure out told me that maybe, just maybe, this wasn’t the game for the moment.

Which is okay, really.

I’m glad I gave it a whirl, and I definitely plan to revisit it on a day I’m in the mood to just figure things out.


I don’t think it’s going to come as a huge surprise to anyone who reads this that I have been struggling, not just with blogging, but with gaming in general for awhile now. Although I’ve had a chronic illness for enough years now to have mostly adjusted my life & my expectations, my health has been somewhat worse than usual the past few months, and when I combine that with my social & household obligations, I’m finding it’s not leaving me with a whole lot left over for anything else.

In fact, I was just starting to consider putting this blog on some sort of official hiatus when Belghast announced that, in light of the social distancing requirements of a global pandemic, we’re going to do Blaugust early this year.

Now, I can appreciate just how fortunate I am that in a lot of ways, I am far less affected by the threat of COVID-19 than your average person. We are able to continue paying our bills, we are food secure and at zero risk of losing our housing. Even still, there is so much awfulness in the world at large, how can I not get on board with celebrating the oh-so-nerdy things that keep us going when everything is kind of awful and you need an escape?

So, I’ve signed up for Blapril. I’m going to make this a priority again.