#300: The Good Boy

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I’m dedicating blog post #300 to the good boy himself, Ango. He’s been a consistently great part of my life, despite his tendency to be a bit of a butt from time to time, and I don’t write enough blog posts about him. So today, it’s Ango time. Well-deserved, little dude.

Earlier in the day, when Alex and I were about to leave for the gym, Alex had Angus’s kong in his hand with a treat inside, and Angus jumped up and put his front paws on the table, knocking over all the magazines we had stacked up there. We were in the middle of talking about how Angus had been a good boy recently as this unfolded, which was perfectly ironic.

Angus is a wonderful dog, and I’ve learned some of his sweet spots too. If you rub his ears and head and push him towards you, he loves it. He just loves being pet and having rubs all over his head. When he leans into you, and his head is almost right up next to yours, that’s also a sign that he loves it and wants more. He really takes it all to heart. I love when I pet him on a specific spot, and then seconds later he rubs himself on that spot, either with his paws or mouth. It’s like he’s asking for it again but is only able to do a half-hearted job with his own two paws. A shame, but he tries his best and that’s what matters.

If Angus had the ability to pet himself wherever he wanted, he would definitely do so. He’s the type of dog who would definitely do whatever it takes to get there. Sometimes I get the chance to see what that reality would be like when he really gets into the self-petting.

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#298: The Minivan

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I wrote a tweet the other day about how funny it is that the main characters of Persona 5 drive a minivan. They’re meant to be these radical, paradigm-shifting vigilantes, and though I have nothing against the minivan as a vehicle, I think the stark contrast between the characters’ attitudes and the general public perception of minivans adds some humor to the game.

The game is normally very funny, and this isn’t the first instance of irony showing up. Each character has a distinct irony that defines their personality; Ryuji is a low-brow, immature teen who bleaches his hair and isn’t afraid of anything, but he also shows remarkable maturity when it comes to understanding how hypocritical and immature adults can be. He has wisdom even through his tactless attitudes. Makoto is an over-achieving honors student and student council president, but she’s insecure about her looks and social status. I enjoy how diverse the characters’ personalities are.

But this blog post is about minivans. Let’s talk about those some more. When I was growing up, my mom owned a minivan, and it was fantastic. It had a DVD player in it and we would watch Disney movies (or Barbie movies, if Miranda was around in the car) and whatever else was around. I’ve seen the first Cars probably a hundred times, along with Finding Nemo. Bella loved Finding Nemo, and who can blame her? It’s a fantastic movie, but on repeat viewings like that, it becomes a bit annoying to watch.

A lot of my childhood memories took place in that minivan, and I remember it pretty well despite not remembering a lot of things from that period of my life. It’s good to be able to look back not in anger but in a sense of quiet nostalgia. It’s very good.

#273: The Twitter, Part 2

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This blog post is a continuation of a previous blog post, so if you haven’t read that one, you may want to go back and do that first.

Most importantly, there’s joy in being able to share in online experiences with other people. I’m happy to share details about myself, though I wish I were more talented in the ways of art or drawing or video editing, so that I could be of a better use to the fandoms that I claim membership of. I’ve recently started talking with more people on Twitter who are part of the Persona fandom, and it’s been fantastic thus far. We may even play some Monster Hunter: World together sometime in the future. I look forward to whatever that has in store. It’s exciting to think about.

Twitter is there for cultivating friendships, and I’m thankful for its existence in that respect. I don’t know where I’d be without some of the friends I’ve made on that site.

Using Twitter, though, is like staring into the abyss; you never quite know what you’ll find inside it, but you’re interested enough to stare into that black mass anyway. You look because you’re bored, or craving some kind of excitement or news or something. You want to be thrilled again. Having a Twitter in and of itself is great for networking and communication, but not always there for professional purposes, as evidenced by the fact that I haven’t used my professional teacher account very much so far. I think that the main purpose of the site is to keep yourself occupied while you want to be occupied by it; if you aren’t interested in what Twitter has to offer, it’s pointless. But the catch is that you cultivate the feed yourself, so you create whatever the site has to offer, if that makes any sense. It’s a conundrum.

#272: The Twitter, Part 1

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Having a Twitter is, in some ways, a blessing and a curse. It provides you with endless entertainment, memes, news, or whatever you really want to fill your feed with, but on the other hand, it can be a deadly distraction. You might be tempted to keep scrolling through your Twitter feed even while new tweets keep coming up, and you might be tempted to wait and see how your group chat feels about the recent news. I’ve already written about how wonderful it is to have a group chat available with friends from all types of backgrounds and interests and hobbies, but today I want to focus more specifically on what having a Twitter feels like, how it affects the day-to-day.

On a given day, I probably check my various Twitter accounts at least three or four times, some accounts more than others. It depends on what I post and whether it’s attracting any attention, too. Sometimes, if people are responding more to my tweets, then that means I’ll be on the app more than usual. I don’t frequently check my teacher account because I don’t frequently post there, but on my hobby account and my private account, I post much more often. I have made and met some friends there already, reminding me of what it was like to do so years ago, during my senior year of undergrad, when I first met the friends that would later form the group chat I have. I look forward to potentially having more group chats to share in, and I look forward to meeting new people online.

As a teenager, I made lots of friends online, so I feel familiar with this whole process. But it’s still a bit nerve-wracking at first, not really knowing anyone who you’re talking to really.

#265: The Alone Time

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When the time arrived, we gathered our things — the backpack, the watermelon salad in a grocery bag, Jimmy’s clothes and things — and left the apartment. It was 11:00am, and we knew we wouldn’t be back for awhile longer. It’s on days like these when I worry about Angus, our dog, who hasn’t been alone for very long over the summer. He hasn’t run into any problems in 52 days, hasn’t tore up the incense holder but has certainly torn a bunch of his toys. He’s been a busy boy, spending time mostly home with me, taking walks or casual strolls around the apartment and back and forth a few times until he decides to pee. He’s a long walker, and he’s got ambitions of his own when we take him outside; sometimes those ambitions include walking around and dragging me through the park until he finally decides it’s time for him to plop down and poop.

But there are other times when Angus is alone, and I feel bad for him. He’s a good dog and I don’t like the image of him sitting on the couch, waiting for us to eventually come back and greet him again. I feel like it must be lonely for him to sit there by himself, eagerly anticipating our return only for it to not come for another hour or more. I know it’s normal, and eventually he’ll get used to it again after I have to return to work, but when that time comes, I’ll still be feeling bad about our dog. The alone time is never fun, and I know that already based on what it was like while I was unemployed not too long ago. This is what the alone time is; Angus mostly being by himself when there’s nothing better for us to be doing with him.

#263: The Bathroom Spot, Part 3

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Again, this post is a continuation of the previous two posts, so read those if you haven’t already before this one!

Last time, we were on the topic of Angus and his communication skills, and how novel it is that he’s able to talk to us through his actions.

The silence and stubbornness is, of course, not the only way that Angus communicates with us though; he wags his tail when he’s excited, he barks when he’s angered or alert or in pain, and he lounges the rest of the time, communicating to us that he doesn’t want to be bothered for the foreseeable future. I don’t blame him, of course; I would want the same thing if all I had to do every day was lounge and relax like a big lard boy. It’s almost as if he’s a very old man trapped in a dog’s body, which I say but then remember as I’m writing that he’s 6, not totally a new dog on the block. He’s been around a few times before.

Like Walt Whitman, this dog contains multitudes. He’s full of energy and complexity, whenever I get the chance to take a good look at him. I hate when people say that dogs don’t have real personalities, memories, or affections for their owners; I can absolutely sense a desire for closeness with us whenever Angus is around. He loves attention to the point that he will whine for it sometimes, but not often. When he lets out a moo or a moan, it’s communicating to us that he wants something, or that he’s just gotten into a really comfortable position and does not want to be disturbed. I’m envious of him whenever he gets like that; I can only imagine how comfortable life must be as a dog, when you’re made of fur and hair and able to get rubs whenever you ask for it.

#262: The Bathroom Spot, Part 2

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This post is a continuation from the previous one, so if you haven’t read that one, you may want to go back and check it out so everything makes sense!

When Angus starts to wander around outside, it’s best to just let him do what he does. If you try to stop him in the middle of a jaunt, he’ll once again stay completely still and wait for you to give him rubs on his head. Again, this is a fickle animal with fickle needs and desires. His stubbornness is one of his defining characteristics, after all.

But even though I write about him in this way, I hope you understand that I do so out of love for him. It’s all playful and meant not to deride him as a pet, but to poke fun at his idiosyncrasies. His uniqueness is what makes him so lovable to us, and when he decides to stand completely still while waiting to go to the bathroom, it feels like he’s communicating to us through his behavior. I like that feeling, that he’s trying to speak to us in some way and this is the only appropriate way he feels able to communicate whatever he’s feeling.

Angus is an absolute blessing on our lives and I don’t know what life alone during the summer would be like without my constant canine companion by my side. I’m so happy that Alex and I were lucky enough to find the perfect dog for us while we were at a local adoption event at Petsmart in North Haven, almost out of the blue. We were looking for another dog in particular that we saw online, but when he was taken, we decided on looking around elsewhere. I convinced Alex to check out the big boy in the crate, and she acquiesced. It just worked out perfectly, like it was meant to be or something.

#261: The Bathroom Spot, Part 1

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Sometimes, when Angus is being a bit frustrating, he refuses to do much outside.
If it’s raining or even snowing, he’ll stand at the doorway into the apartment complex and just wait for you. Nothing especially interesting going on in the lobby, just Angus being completely still, almost invisible. When he gets like that, you have to give him rubs or talk to him a bit before he eventually starts moving again. It takes time to get Angus back in his groove, with him moving around energetically after standing still and silent for so long. It’s a phase that he goes through, but occasionally it happens more than once per visit outside. In those moments, head rubs are again essential, but usually those silences take longer to bust through.

See, if you haven’t already gleaned this from reading the blog in the past, Angus is a stubborn boy. He’s a bit of a loner, likes to sit by himself and put his paws next to his head, and his favorite spot in the whole apartment is nestled between the pillows on our bed. This is made better when you end up in the shower or are momentarily on the computer, because he likes attention and if he’s not getting it, he’s going to be on the bed instead. He’s got a mind of his own, this dog. I could write essays about his personality and inclinations, but I doubt anyone would want to read them.

When you take him outside, sometimes he doesn’t find a bathroom spot right away. Sometimes he walks in circles in front of the apartment complex lobby and just waits for some inspiration to hit him. He needs a very specific spot and a very specific temperament in order to pee appropriately. This is the way of the Angus, and nothing will get in his way of it.

#259: The Good Sleep

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Sometimes, after a long night’s party and a deeply tired Anthony, I like to lounge off to bed in the best way possible. This is the Good Sleep. The Good Sleep is the best type of sleep available.

I guess you could call this a continuation from my most recent blog post, the Late Late, because they’re both discussing the same thing, and this post will continue the line of thinking expressed there.

The Good Sleep is a few different things. Sometimes, it’s after a long party and I feel like resting more than ever before, when my entire body just feels like it’s about to collapse into itself and the muscles just want to relax. Too much activity, too much running and messing around outside or indoors. That’s about all we do when we hang out together. Not so much outdoors nowadays, as it’s way too hot. But sometimes we play Betrayal or Magic outside on Alex’s porch. It’s a great spot for us to just unwind, but with the heat recently it’s become a bit unbearable. Instead, we stay inside and do the same things. That’s the good thing about having versatile playing opportunities!

The Good Sleep is also after a late night. Sometimes, when I stay up exceptionally late (I’m talking as late as like, the early early morning, while Alex is still getting up to go to work) I feel exhausted the next day and can’t seem to catch up on sleep at all, so I tough it out throughout the day and wait until at night again to get sleep in. That’s the good stuff. After that long day of exhaustion, the next sleep feels perfect and heavenly. That’s what the Good Sleep is all about.

I hope this post doesn’t encourage people to stay up super late and destroy their usual bed times; I’m just mentioning my summer hobbies!

#258: The Late Late

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Sometimes, when I’m feeling mighty adventurous, I stay up exceptionally late. It’s one of those things I remember doing in college that brings me back to my college years, like looking at pictures or old keychains and feeling nostalgic about a time gone by. When I stay up super late, it’s not because I particularly want to; it’s because I just don’t want whatever is currently happening to ever have to end. I like staying in a constant state of “never knowing when this party will stop.” Sometimes that party is solo, sometimes that party involves lots of people. Either circumstance, the party should never end, and I feel obligated to keep it going because the rest of life isn’t as fun as this.

Sometimes anxiety plays a role, too. It’s not every day I feel like dropping everything and readjusting my sleep schedule to fit that of a hermit with no social skills. Sometimes it just so happens to end up that way by a matter of chance and nothing else.

Is it weird for a 24-year-old to still be experiencing these issues? Should they even be called issues at this point? I’d like to think I’m not alone, but also, does being alone really matter any more? I think I concern myself sometimes with what other people would think of my actions, to the point where I let them define who I am and what I decide to do. Being a teacher, it’s hard not to make yourself malleable, flexible, and adaptable to everything a student says; it’s part of your job to be all of those things, to answer the call of duty whenever it appears, to help those in need. That’s part of our calling. It’s what makes us teachers. Is there any wonder then why teaching became such a difficult profession for me to uphold?