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.
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.
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!
No, not using playing cards this time. Still playing Magic: the Gathering, just like normal. Playing Magic is a blast, but being able to draft in person is completely different from drafting elsewhere. It’s like night and day; on the one hand, drafting online is fast, easy, and you can pick up and stop whenever you want, but on the other hand, drafting in person allows you to counter each other’s strategies in a way that’s not possible online, while drafting against computers. There’s competition in drafting against each other, and although I don’t exactly have a set plan in drafting to make matters easy, I love being able to think through my picks in that way. Plus, you never know what cards people are going to play against you when you finally get to play against them. You might have a vague idea, but there’s no way to completely predict a person’s deck, given the randomness and complexity of drafting a limited set with 254 possible cards inside. It makes drafting so much more of a mental exercise.
Earlier today, while talking about something completely different, I referred to Magic: the Gathering as “mental exercise” to Alex (as a way to persuade her to let us play magic before going to the gym, which she wasn’t a fan of, unfortunately). I definitely think it’s like that; apparently, it’s one of the most complicated games ever created, and I can understand why. The sheer number of cards and mechanics and keywords and interlocking plays is maddening and frankly impossible to keep track of entirely. You have to memorize so much in order to truly call yourself a master of magic, or a judge, in other people’s cases. Being a judge would be an interesting job for someone to have, as a volunteer exercise of course.
Timewalking is a feature in World of Warcraft that becomes available every few weeks or so, and it’s become a tradition for us to take time out of our busy schedules to complete the 5 required weekly timewalking dungeons, regardless of what expansion they come from.
Let me explain what timewalking is first. So in World of Warcraft, there have been seven expansions up to this point. The game has been out since 2004, and it’s still running strong despite everything else going wrong with the game since then. Each expansion has a set of dungeons (5-player group content) exclusive to that expansion. In Mists of Pandaria, the fourth expansion to the game, you could explore the Temple of the Jade Serpent with a group of randomized players, but in the most recent expansion, you can still complete the Temple dungeon, but not with random players in an instance queue. That is, until timewalking appears, and then you are able to experience the magic all over again. Your characters are leveled down to the current level of the expansion, and then you’re forced to take on everything that comes your way with an item level appropriate to the expansion, too. Everything is normalized to provide an authentic experience of what it would be like if that content was current. For example, all the enemies and bosses are scaled up while you are scaled down to match their power levels. Mechanics are important again, and you can’t just zerg rush through all the bosses without paying attention to some of the mechanics of the game. You have to actually pay attention and work as a team, rather than rushing and rushing along through every health bar you face.
That’s it for timewalking, for now at least. I’m sure I’ll talk about it again at some point, considering how prevalent it is in WoW.
It’s time we talk about board games and how they’ve changed the way I think about gaming in general.
Board games are a blast, and I own plenty of them. My favorites that I own are probably Betrayal at House on the Hill & Kings of New York, two classics that always seem to pop up when my friends and I decide to hang out and play games together. There’s also Settlers of Catan, Clue, Taboo, Munchkin, Magic (if you count magic as a board games, it depends on your definition I guess), and more that I’m forgetting off the top of my head and I’m sure Alex will remind me of them after she reads this.
The reason why I like playing board games is because they allow a certain degree of role-playing that isn’t afforded by other games. In Betrayal, for example, people are given the chance to role-play as a person trekking through a mysterious, haunted mansion. The place is procedurally generated, thanks to the freedom that playing a board game offers, and there are tiles that you pull from to create the mansion. When you run into an Omen tile, you have to draw an Omen card, such as a Sword, Zombie, Knight, etc., and they determine what the Haunt will be. The Haunt is the moment that changes the game and flips everything on its head. Depending on what Omen is drawn, who draws it, and what room they draw it in, the game chooses a “Betrayer” who then has to fight against the rest of the party. It’s one of my favorite games because of the randomness presented by it, as well as the sheer interactions that come from playing a game that randomly pits certain people against each other. How fun is that?
I also like playing Kings of New York, but I’ve run out of words to talk about that one. Maybe next time!
Spoilers ahead, obviously, if you haven’t watched the most recent Game of Thrones episode.
In continuing the trend of discussing Game of Thrones on this blog, I’ll be talking about how it felt to watch Game of Thrones with another friend with us over the past weekend. Instead of watching on Sunday, we waited to watch on Monday with Hallie as a way of giving us something to do while we were together. We hadn’t watched Game of Thrones together in years, the last time probably being in 2014 during study abroad, but we still managed to talk about it despite not seeing each other very much. It was a wonderful experience to get to vocalize our complaints, criticisms, and thoughts to each other, like an audience that’s right there for us to interact with.
The episode featured a lot of romance, and a lot of interesting interactions and conversations between the characters. Some of the scenes felt especially fanfictiony, but mostly it was a good, quality episode with dialogue that featured conviction from the characters. One thing I will always love about Game of Thrones is the interactions between the different characters, how they respond to each other within difficult situations, their storied histories and thoughts unfurling in front of us as the story moves forward. It really rewards long-term investment and understanding of the different characters.
The episode moved at a quick pace, but also allowed for the characters to really dive into their different feelings about the previous episode, featuring the Long Night and the invasion of the white walker army (and its defeat). The final two episodes are coming, and I can’t wait to see what they do next. It’ll be interesting to follow the last two episodes, considering this has been a show I’ve been into for so long. It’s all coming to an end soon.
On Monday, I drove up to Middlebury to pick up a friend who was visiting from out of state. Her name is Hallie, and she lives in Seattle but used to live in Boston, so as part of a week-long tour of New England, she traveled from Boston to New York and stopped in Stamford to see us. It was wonderful to get to meet someone again who you haven’t seen in person in years.
Hallie and I have been friends since 2014, when the two of us ended up in London on the same study abroad trip, but from separate colleges. Hers was Brandeis, mine was Quinnipiac. Ever since our trip to London, we’ve kept in touch off and on, making sure to keep each other in the loop on our day to day musings and general things that are going on in our lives. It’s nice to have someone to bounce rants off of, and who I can depend on when it comes time to complain about something annoying. That’s what friends are all about, right?
Hallie also is the original DM of our Dungeons & Dragons group. She took a break because of work and time constraints, and I took over to compensate. Our group has been going steadily since then, with off and on sessions that take place around once every couple months. I have time at work to sometimes plan out what we’re doing during a particular session, which helps me because I’m sure Hallie doesn’t have that kind of time available.
Friends are valuable, helpful people who you can depend on, and who you help when they need someone to depend on, too. I’m grateful for the friends I have in my life. They make a world of difference to me. Thanks to all of them.
Reuniting with friends is one of my absolute favorite things to look forward to. I love being surrounded by old friends, reminiscing about old times, discussing past professors and classes and coursework and drama from when we were younger and less mature, arguably. I love having brunch together, exploring the city together, shopping in unfamiliar places together. I love overwhelming and welcoming hugs that last far longer than any other hugs you had experienced recently. I love old jokes, past through time, but still fresh and crystallized in our memories once brought up again. I love walking through living history, through places and settings explored years before, where the streets and coffee shops and restaurants immediately recall what it was like to be 22, instead of 24.
Reunions bring me back. This past weekend, I had a fantastic reunion with one of my great friends, Jac. She’s still just as lively and welcoming and friendly as ever, and we had a brilliant time just reminiscing about life and the memories we weren’t able to share together in the two or so years since we last hung out. It was a reminder of what real friends are like, what real friendship resembles after spending so much time with friends who are perhaps a bit less friendly, outwardly. You sometimes lose track of what that’s supposed to be like when you’re not used to it any more. You lose track of how respectful, how kind, how familiar friendship should be, when it’s at its absolute peak.
Alex also met Jac for the first time. We mutually hung out once online while playing some D&D, but that never amounted to more than just our first session. Our schedules never worked out again after that. It was a bit of a shame at the time, but we still managed to keep in touch after that fell through.
After a long absence without playing Dungeons & Dragons with my friends, it’s finally made its return and I couldn’t be happier.
Now, you might be thinking, hasn’t Anthony written about D&D before and doesn’t he currently DM a group? The answer to that is, of course, yes, but it’s more complicated than that. I am currently DMing a group of friends through my own self-made campaign, but I am also a player in another campaign with a different group of friends, and the latter campaign is what I’ll be discussing briefly in this blog post.
So, in case you don’t know, Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons are both owned and operated by the same company: Wizards of the Coast. As a result, the developers of D&D published a guidebook recently that allows players to explore and create a campaign using one of MTG’s most fabulous and interesting locations: Ravnica. Because all of our friends used to play MTG to some degree, it fits that we would decide to return to D&D using an MTG setting.
The DM is one of our friends who hasn’t DM’d much in the past, but his lack of experience allows us to fill in the gaps and explore options through the story. The story still has a definitive beginning, middle, and end to it, but we are allowed to make our own story out of what’s available.
I play a centaur cleric named Cassio Stormbringer, and my friends play a multitude of other races, such as minotaur, half-elf, and human. The variety of races allows for some interesting interactions in our party.
Overall, I’m super happy that D&D has made a second return in my life. It’s one of the most consistently great things going on.