Several hours of sleep later, I'm much more coherent and ready to try that "coping with the world" thing. I might even be able to make some progress on my comic again, something which (as predicted) has kinda ground to a halt while I work on making my mom's house fit for humans again. (Bugs. Long-exploded soda cans left to rot on the shelf. Stuff like that. Don't get me started.)
My extra-curricular activities for the past week, such as they've been, have mostly consisted of running Brick through the first Borderlands. He's just reached level 20 and defeated Sledge (simultaneously, it was in the middle of the fight with Sledge that he dinged 20) and it's sorta like, "Oh, there's the plot! I wondered where you were hiding."
I can see what people mean about there not being much meat to Borderlands 1. There are a few funny moments and you can see glimmers of the awesome-to-come that is Borderlands 2, but compared to the rapid-fire high-energy humor of the sequel, BL 1 definitely seems drab and kinda monotonous. Most of the quests are given to you through text without any voiceover, the NPCs all come off as mannequins leaning on the wall instead of other characters in the game, and so forth. The only real personalities that shine so far are the ClapTraps, Tannis, and Scooter, the last two of which are only heard over ECHO. T.K. Baha seems like he could be interesting, but after the first handful of quests, he doesn't seem to do much more.
I gather that the series found its "voice" in the DLCs, particularly The Secret Armory of General Knoxx and ClapTrap's Robot Revolution, and I have the "Game of the Year" Edition which includes all the DLCs, so I'm looking forward to getting to those.
Playing Brick is fun, but does take some having-the-right-gear. In any given fight, he tends to either a) steamroll right over everything and end up untouched, or b) end the fight with no shield at all and just a tiny sliver of health. It seems like there's no in-between for him! So I have a piddly little regenerating shield that Brick carries around in his backpack and only puts on when all the enemies around are cleared, to regain his hit points while he searches for loot. He also tends to stick with transfusion grenades, which he will toss a couple of in the middle of a big furball before going into berserk mode. (He can't shoot or throw grenades while berserking.)
Due to the time limit on Brick's berserk mode, there is a natural tendency to chase down every little red dot on your radar while you've got the berserk active. This is something you have to be wary of, because if that little red dot is far away, you'll find yourself in the middle of a whole new fight with foes spawning all over the place as your berserk ends, leaving you face-to-face with a badass corrosive skag or something, back to using your guns and a lot more vulnerable to damage. As strange as it may sound, for the best results, you have to go strategically berserk.
Oh! Speaking of badasses, the badasses in BL 1 are much more of an "event" when they show up. They all have creepy glowy eyes and most of them have unusual abilities. I do kinda wonder why they toned that down for Bl 2, it's kinda neat.