#362: The Updates

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This post is a loose continuation from my previous post, called the Proofreader, because my proofreader friend gave me a bunch of recommendations on my previous chapter to apply into my writing. I took it all, updated my writing accordingly, and it feels much better than it did before. I think the parts I changed just generally flow better and feel more appropriate to the story. I also had to clarify a couple parts that were confusing despite my best intentions. Sometimes that just happens, and you have to do what you have to do. I feel good about all the changes I made, though, and generally speaking, it’s in a much better state than it was before.

Being open to feedback means not just blindly accepting feedback and all types of constructive criticism, either. You can’t just sit there and hope to take it all in and apply every piece of advice, especially if there are tons of pieces of advice to go off of. Sometimes you need to draw the line somewhere and make choices based off of where you see the story going. People might think they know where the story is going, when in reality it’s a bit more complicated than that. Being a writer means you naturally operate with a bit more knowledge than the average reader, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore feedback, either. Feedback can be relevant to what direction you’re trying to move in, too.

Unwelcome feedback can be annoying, though. After listening to my friend speak for awhile, it was very helpful and reassuring, but then I received unnecessary feedback from someone else who I didn’t really ask for feedback from. They started giving me advice, but in reality I wasn’t really looking for it at the time. Is that normal?

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#194: The Free Weekend

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Today, I’ll be talking about plans Alex and I have set for our free weekend
coming up. I usually go to my friends’ places over the weekend for a night, as a way of relaxing and getting away from stressful environments. But this weekend, I have no such plans with my friends and I am completely free to do whatever I want. That means that Alex and I are going to have to figure out something to do together this weekend, and there’s a list of options.

Usually, we get one free day together to do whatever we want, but with the added bonus of having an extra day to do things together, it’ll be interesting to see what we come up with. Maybe I’ll even go back to this post in the next few days and update it with our plans, after we’ve made and completed them.

I’ll start things off with one idea: How about we drive down to New Haven to see my grandma, who just got out of the hospital after her big hip surgery? We can definitely do that. It would be nice to see family after being away for awhile.

Here’s another idea to think about: What if we drove and got smoothies again, considering we weren’t able to get them on Monday when we originally planned on going? Robek’s is life, and unfortunately, after driving specifically for smoothies together, the place was closed and we weren’t able to go in.

I’m not sure what this blog post really is about, so I’m sorry to those of you who spent time reading it. I think this might be my most rambling and ridiculous one yet. Hopefully, by the time this goes up, it won’t really matter. We will have to see!

#189: The Dog Store

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Petsmart is basically the dog store, and today I’ll be talking about Angus and our trip to Petsmart over the weekend. I know I’ve talked about Petsmart on this blog in the past, but I run out of ideas quickly!

For those of you who know me well, you know that I used to work at a Petco store in North Haven for half a year back in 2013. It was mostly miserable, and I disliked my experience there aside from a few of the coworkers I met there, who have been good friends since then. I was a Petco loyalist until we discovered there’s a Petsmart right near our apartment, about 7 minutes away, directly next to the veterinarian and dog hotel. Basically, it was impossible to resist going to this store, and I’ve since converted over to the light side of the pet franchise wars.

So we went to Petsmart this weekend. We made sure to take Angus out in advance, because last time we went, Angus peed over the floor because he saw that another dog had already peed there. Marking his territory and what not, I guess.

When we got there, Angus was a bundle of energy. We walked down the aisles and picked out a new bed, a $60 sofa with armrests for him to lay his head on overnight. We then walked to the toy aisle, but he didn’t pick anything out in particular this time. Usually he picks out a toy based on his sniffs and that’s the one we take home with us.

At the grooming station, Angus got his nails clipped, so he doesn’t have to skid across the floor and scratch at it as much. His nails were pretty long and uncomfortable. He was much better this time than the last time. He was calm, cool, and collected for once. Occasionally, he would wrestle with the groomer, but after some wrangling, he decided to be good for enough time to complete the grooming.

#95: The Blog

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After discussing how my poetry has changed over time, I’d like to take a bit to talk about how my blogging has evolved, who I write it for, and how that feels.

When I studied abroad for six months, I was introduced to the idea of personal blogging. Everyone was doing some variation of it; whether they were chronicling their travels or just keeping in touch with family, nearly every student abroad had a photo album or online blog prepared to share with everyone. I felt that it was necessary for me to join in, too. Now, that blog is set to private and probably won’t see the light of day any more, but it existed for a time and served its purpose: it helped others know what I was up to, and it kept me writing.

Nowadays, I commit to writing at least 300 words or so a day. Sometimes I skip a day, but that’s only after writing 600 or more words the day prior. I like to overcompensate and give myself days off from writing, like going to the gym. I had a conversation with a friend awhile back in which she said she was writing every day, and that’s what inspired me to continue like this. I also write this blog so that I can appreciate the smaller stuff in life, while also making sure I have an outlet for my writing. Writing is a huge hobby of mine, and I don’t want to abandon it. Personal blogging is a strong way of holding that hobby together and keeping it consistent over time.

I should also mention that this blog, after all, isn’t for anyone in particular except for myself. I don’t aim to become popular through this, and I don’t want to achieve high engagement numbers or anything like that. This is a collection of my writings, and the occasional likes help motivate me to write more, but they aren’t my primary source of motivation. I am intrinsically motivated to write as much as possible, at least 300 words a day, and this blog gives me the opportunity to hold myself accountable for all that.

#90: The Massage

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Massage therapy makes every third of a year special. When it’s time to get a massage, my body usually feels the most ragged and disheveled. Like I’m in dire need of something new to refresh, loosen, and relax my muscles and joints. Usually, the therapist asks if there are any particular areas on my body that need special attention, and usually I’ll say my hand and back. Because my posture is never too good, my back and spine stretch forward too much, a feeling that the massage disintegrates. My hands need special help as a result of my carpal tunnel; I don’t know officially if I have carpal tunnel, but I show all the symptoms. Cramped finger joints abound. The only thing missing is the official diagnosis, confirming my status. When the therapist stretches out my fingers and twists them in just the right ways, it feels perfect for just a moment, like my body is returning back to its normal status. I know the feeling won’t last, but for the time after the massage, the post-massage feeling is the greatest.

Alex and I get couples massages together usually three times a year, scheduled around important or stressful events. When I was still a classroom English teacher, we would schedule around vacations or the start of school. A massage before school resumes is a perfect way to motivate a teacher. You don’t end up feeling so bad about the school year starting again. But this massage was scheduled awhile ago, resulting from the massage place messaging us with an awesome coupon. We didn’t schedule this one specifically for me to celebrate my new job, although I can appreciate the coincidence.

By the time this post goes up, on Thursday, I’ll have already had my massage, and maybe I’ll update this with the aftermath, reflecting on its effect on my body’s happiness.

Yet Again

You see,
it isn’t easy
coming back from the
edge and surviving

Living to
tell more tales, to
die another day,
to give it all
another
shot

Yet again, those
thoughts return
like bees to
their hives,
ears ringing and
eyes bulging

Yet again, like
residual hatred,
like time itself
it can be delayed
but always finds
its way back
home

Before

School is like jail,
sad and dry and
they don’t hit you
just send you out
just make you
suffer math problems
make you do more
and more work,
at least in jail
they just yell at you,
that’s it,
they can’t hurt me
with words,
they say we learning
but I never learned
a thing here
no projects, no homework
just guards and aliens,
weird people like me
I looked at my skin
and knew I was home
I’ve been here before,
maybe one day
I’ll go back

Not Time

You have 5 minutes
to finish
your CFQR chart

and
5 minutes to finish the
poster paper project

What happened to
all the time I
gave you last class?
 
Can I have a
copy, Ms. Stoley?
Not this time,

we don’t have enough
time, not time
Go to your seat

Hmmmph, I didn’t
do anything, what
are you talking about?

What are you saying?
I’m saying, it’s
not time for this,

Not time for this
right now

Loud

What are you thinking?
Make an observation,
“the classroom is quiet”
and so are we
Life is naturally loud

What might scientists
look for?
Predators, prey
The silent cries
underneath green

What happens to
their food?
Herbivores, carnivores,
eaters and feeders and
readers and writers

Food source declining,
pollution and pesticides
and
Human Interaction,
natural disasters,
weather and climate change,
icebergs thinning,
Freud in crisis as
ego drowns beneath
the sixth grade waves
the waves, the waves

#78: Card Games

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Instead of talking directly about Hearthstone again in another blog post, I decided to talk about card games in general, considering Hearthstone is indeed a card game.

I love playing card games, of all shapes and sizes: collectible card games, trading card games, battle card games, card games with boards. Poker, blackjack, uno, crazy eights, war, solitaire, Hearthstone, Artifact, Yugioh, Pokemon, Magic: the Gathering, Duel Masters. No matter what kind of card game I’m playing, I’m interested in it.

I spent a lot of time (and money) on Magic: the Gathering back in high school and college, as it became a common hobby among our group of gamers. We built Standard-format decks first, then moved into Modern and EDH (Elder dragon highlander) formats. EDH is still my favorite, offering players decks of a hundred totally unique cards. There’s so much room for creativity in the deck-building process, but inconsistency in the playing of the game; because the deck is composed of totally unique cards, the odds of you drawing the exact card you want at any given time is around 1-100. My friend Joe probably still plays Magic to this day, as he invested much more money into it than I ever did; however, Joe is smart and knows how to make money back by selling his old cards on eBay. He even helped me when I decided to sell my stock of cards away.

Oddly enough, despite my interest in card games, I’ve never learned successfully how to shuffle cards. I still smash two titanic halves of the deck into each other, mushing them together until it looks as if they have disappeared into one deck. Then I repeat it, again and again, until I’m somewhat confident that there won’t be any major repeats of cards when we start drawing through the deck. Every time I have the responsibility of shuffling the deck, that’s my biggest fear: that the deck wasn’t shuffled well enough, that there are repeats and errors throughout, and that we have to go back and shuffle it all again, prolonging the beginning of our game.