How I Coped with Mid-July’s Sad ‘Anniversary Week’


A screenshot from Being a DIK Here, the lovely president of the HOT sorority makes a move on the story’s protagonist. The “Yes” and “No” prompts on the left are choices that a player makes in order to move the plot forward. (C) 2020 Dr. PinkCake/Steam

 Well, it’s Monday, July 25, 2022, the start of another work week and, of course, the last week of the seventh month of the year.

As you know, July has not been my favorite month for the last seven years; my mom, Beatriz Diaz-Granados, died on July 19, 2015, and although in some ways my life has gone better than I expected on that hot, rainy, and depressing Sunday, I seriously doubt that I will ever see July in a mostly-positive light again.

Photo by Inzmam Khan on Pexels.com

I managed to get through “Anniversary Week” – as I call it – without allowing sadness and anger to affect my daily routine. Yes, of course, I shed a few tears in the privacy of my bedroom/writing study.

Photo by MarcTutorials on Pexels.com

Yes, I had moments – quite a few of them, actually – when I didn’t want to talk to anyone in the house. It helped, of course, that the Caregiver, aka my former girlfriend, was out of town for her late boyfriend’s burial in Miami until the evening of July 19; some of the sadness and anger I felt last week stem from the way our relationship ended, and also from the fact that if my mom’s hopes that my half-sister and I would get along after her death had come to pass, I never would have needed the Caregiver to step in or “rescue” me from an untenable domestic situation.

I also must admit that I was able to get through Anniversary Week by finding ways to distract my mind from everything that makes me unhappy or, at the very least, uncomfortable.

The most unusual method I found to avoid thinking too much about Mom’s death or my wishes to be in a relationship with someone a bit more compatible with me was my purchase of “adults-only” visual novels from an independent game developer who goes by the name “Dr. PinkCake.”

I know, I know. I don’t seem like the “type” of person to consume erotica or “porn” material. To most of my friends – and relatives, too – I am better known as that guy who loves Star Trek, Star Wars, war games, movies, books, and classical music. I honestly don’t think that many of the women that I have befriended online or knew tangentially in high school and later befriended after the 25th Reunion of the Class of 1983 back in 2013 ever thought of me as a guy who likes sex, much less considered me as a sexual partner, even in theory.

Well, while I am, I suppose, a “nerd” or “geek,” I am also a heterosexual male with both a pulse and a sex drive. And even though I have only been sexually active since shortly before my 37th birthday, I have slept with four women since I “lost my cherry” in February of 2000. One of my partners was, by circumstances beyond my control, a willing participant in a short but intense fling, but my other three were in long-lasting relationships with me.

So, suppose my revelation that I bought Being a DIK and Acting Lessons, two “visual novels” that feature beautifully animated (but graphic) depictions of sex acts between consenting adults shocks you. In that case, I’ll just say what Cher’s Loretta Castorini famously says in 1987’s Moonstruck, “Snap out of it!”

I sometimes watch short porn clips or read erotic stories online – I’ve written two for Literotica in the past if truth be told – but I usually find “adult movies” to be boring or silly.

Yeah, yeah, they’re fantasies to help the viewer have an orgasm, but unless the actors, especially the women, are attractive and convincing, I usually get bored quickly and turn the videos off.

And as a writer, I usually look for either an interesting plot or situations and characters that I can relate to – and those are qualities that most porn “films” seriously lack. As a result, adult movies are usually my least favorite genre.

(C) 2018 Dr. PinkCake/Steam

Dr. PinkCake’s two published games, Acting Lessons and Being a DIK (the DIK stands for Delta Iota Kappa, a college fraternity that exists in the visual novels’ shared universe) not only have visual depictions of sex between consenting adults but also feature actual stories with characters that have – gasp! – dramatic arcs. And there is humor and pathos in those two stories, too, so it’s not just non-stop sex, sex, sex.

Again, if knowing that I might even remotely enjoy looking at attractive people – or animated representations of attractive people – enjoying carnal pleasure on my computer is a shock – snap out of it.

Besides, I also killed time this weekend by reading a couple of chapters from Mike Chen’s Star Wars novel, Brotherhood, which is set shortly after the events depicted in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.

I also watched the entire second season of Star Trek: Lower Decks and the first episode of Season Two of Star Trek: Discovery. I also tried to watch Paul J. Hildenbrandt’s 2018 documentary First to the Moon, a 50th Anniversary look at NASA’s Apollo 8 space mission, the first manned flight to the Moon (December 21-27, 1968). I have attempted to watch First to the Moon at least twice since I received it from Amazon a few weeks ago, but I always fall asleep before I reach the end. Maybe if I watch it in the daytime, I can finish the documentary.

(C) 2022 Paramount Home Media Distribution/CBS Studios
(C) 2022 Del Rey Books/Lucasfilm Ltd.
“Earthrise” – the famous photo taken of Earth by Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders in December 1968. Official NASA photo.
(C) 2018 Gravitas Ventures

Distraction, folks. Find ways to entertain your mind and find some joy in life. That’s one method of coping with sad periods of life, at least for me.

(C) 2020 Dr. PinkCake/Steam

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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