Things have not been entirely static other than that, of course.
In the area of entertainment, in this post I'll talk about video games. Late last year I picked up some new games, one of which has become my #2 favorite RPG console game of all time: Persona 3.
Persona 3 is unique in a number of ways; one rather odd one is that it, essentially alone of all videogames I've ever played, hasn't got a single track of music I want to have in my playlist; I can't STAND the music for the most part ... except that it fits the GAME fine. What's truly ironic is that it's one of the very few games that actually came WITH its soundtrack. So for once I get the entire soundtrack for free, and it's USELESS!
What's GOOD about it is ... well, just about everything else. The game focuses on a dual world: there's the regular world, in which your character is an ordinary Japanese high-school student, making friends, going to classes, maybe going on dates (I understand the American version is slightly censored from the Japanese, alas) if you can manage to catch the eye of the right person, and so on. Then there is the secret world that only you and other Persona-users can see, the world of the Dark Hour -- an extra hour in which time stands still for most people, and in which monsters emerge to prowl the streets. There, too, is a monstrous construct, a gigantic tower of Escherian impossibility called Tartarus, from which this incomprehensibility seems to radiate.
The simple version of your mission is to explore Tartarus, figure out why the Dark Hour really exists, and put a stop to it. This is necessary because, while ordinary people are not directly aware of the Dark Hour (they exist as coffinlike, inert crystals during the Dark Hour), the Shadows (monsters) that exist within it apparently have an indirect effect, draining energy, focus, and life from them and creating people who are basically inert zombies (a mysterious malady that is called "Apathy Syndrome" in the game).
I won't spoiler more of the plot, because it's a wonderfully complex plot and well-executed overall. There's a pretty wide cast of characters, and you can interact with them in many ways depending on your own actions; some characters are impressed by academic achievement, others by your courage or charm, and you can choose how you do in these by expending more or less effort to do so in the right places and under the right circumstances. You also can gain more special abilities by making the right connections.
This is one of the games where you're sorry you've finished it... and yet the finish was very satisfying indeed.
Following Persona, I decided to revisit another game that I had finished, but not finished "properly" -- that is, there was more than one ending, and the ending I'd gotten was a minimalist and not satisfying one. The game in question is the sequel to Chrono Trigger (my enduring #1 overall CRPG), Chrono Cross.
On second play-through, I like Chrono Cross better than I did the first time, and the "real" ending is MUCH more enjoyable than the first one I got. It's a good game, and I appreciate the effort people went to in making it more now that I've mastered more of the secrets of gameplay. It still falls far short of its predecessor, and I don't like it as a sequel -- it does too much to undo or render pointless the efforts of the original crew of Chrono Trigger -- but it's a good game, and I'm glad I've finally finished it properly.
And all that has finally prompted me to once more fire up Chrono Trigger itself.
I'm going to try to keep posting relatively frequently from now on -- maybe not every day, but once every few days, anyway.