#374: The Peeling

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My tattoo is starting to peel, which makes it incredibly itchy and makes me want to itch it badly. Unfortunately, I cannot touch it or else I risk ruining the tattoo and its coloration, which I’m not about to do. I don’t want to waste what was an amazing job done by an amazing artist, and I feel like I’d really be throwing it all down the drain by itching it. So I resist the urge and work without it.

Along where the tattoo artist shaved before he started drilling into my skin, hair follicles can be seen and are starting to build up there and around that spot. I can see buds of hair starting to form, and I have no idea yet what I’m going to do about that, because I’m a hairy person and I can’t tell if I want the hair to grow back on that spot. I mean, it’d be weird to just have a part of my body that doesn’t have hair at all, and it’d also be weird to just shave around the tattoo. There’s really no way of fixing it without it looking weird in some way or another, and I think that’s due to just my terrible genetics more than anything else.

When tattoos start to peel, the right thing is just to ignore them. Unfortunately, they apparently peel and look this way for a long time, so it’s difficult to ignore them for that long. I prefer pretending it doesn’t exist, but then again the tattoo is still there, it still itches, and it still looks fantastic. When I was taking a shower the other day, I saw the tattoo so clearly on my arm and I couldn’t get over the fact that I actually got it. I love having it around me now.

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#373: The Nature

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Living in nature is great, isn’t it? I mean, when you abandon all responsibilities and push yourself into the outside world, like you’re a renegade college student born to run. Like you’re Henry David Thoreau, except your mom isn’t doing your laundry for you, and you have to pay your taxes still. Nature is where we all came from, in nature is where we ultimately belong. Nature is where life started, and no technology exists in nature except for whatever you can create and work with your own two hands. It’s marvelous to imagine.

Recently, at work, students in the 6th and 7th grades left to go to Nature’s Classroom, a four-day field trip adventure where they interact with the outside world in ways they likely haven’t before. They go on nature walks, hikes, and museum visits, and it’s all inclusive. Students pay to be there, but they get room and board, as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. I believe the food is all you can eat, too, which is perfect for these kids’ stomachs. They are hungry kids and they don’t like the lunches normally served at school, so this should suffice them for awhile.

The best part is that school is mostly quiet these days, and no one has to worry about kids showing up and roughing around the school. The eighth grade is around, but they handle themselves and they’re generally well-behaved and self-regulatory. They know when to stop, usually, when things get out of hand. The other grades usually work differently and at different paces. Not having them around the school at all makes these days fly by like they’re nothing, which I highly appreciate considering I don’t have much to do. I appreciate the change of pace and scenery this week, leading into Animecon.

#368: The First Tattoo

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By the time this post goes up, I’ll have gotten my first tattoo. To say I’m not a little bit nervous about it is putting it lightly, but I’m eager to see how it goes and excited to have the final product on my body soon.

For those of you who know me well, you’ll know I’ve played World of Warcraft on and off for the past 10-12 years. It’s been a consistent fixture of my life, something even Alex knows a lot about by virtue of our conversations about it and from watching me play.

Inside the world of this game, there are two major superpowers that are in a military deadlock with each other: the Horde and the Alliance. Each faction has its own set of races (orcs, trolls, tauren versus humans, elves, dwarves) that are exclusive to the faction.

One of my favorite raids in the history of the game, Siege of Orgrimmar, takes place in the Horde’s main capital city. No matter what era of the game I’m playing, I’m usually maining a character on the Horde side regardless.

My original main was a Blood Elf Mage, and then I race-changed to an Undead. I played that character throughout Burning Crusade all the way until Battle for Azeroth. I still have him at max level, even though mage isn’t that fun to me any more.

Horde is also a place where I met a bunch of lifelong, lasting friends. It’s where I first joined a guild, it’s where I first started raiding in Wrath of the Lich King, and it’s where I still reside even all these years later. I feel an attachment to this faction even though it might seem a bit silly. It’s personal to me, like anything else. It represents a special type of connection between friends.

#367: The Haunted

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Have you ever played a game called Luigi’s Mansion? It’s one of my favorite games of all time, and I think I’ve written about it before. Regardless, I’ll be writing about it again, and hopefully under a new title this time!

Luigi’s Mansion is one of those games where, regardless of how many times you play it, the gameplay never gets old. It’s a game whose gameplay is timeless and plays fluidly regardless of what year you’re playing the game in. The core of the game, sucking up ghosts into your super-powered vacuum and turning them into portraits at E Gadd’s lab, has stayed the same throughout all of its iterations. But the nature of the game has adapted over time, leading us to Luigi’s Mansion 3, which has really turned the series back to its roots more than before. Instead of it being about five different haunted places with individual levels and segments between each place, this new game returns to one big haunted place for you to explore and discover treasure inside. It’s truly capturing the feel of the original in a way that makes me pretty happy.

Luigi’s Mansion also has some personal history behind it, and I think I’ve mentioned this in the other blog post I did about the game. My friend Jimmy and I used to speed run through the game, and we took turns beating each other. I used to beat him more often than not, though, and I learned the ins and outs of the game quickly. It’s the kind of game that incentivizes multiple playthroughs because you earn a larger and more elaborate mansion at the end depending on how much money you collected and how rare the portraits are. Essentially, the game may be short, but you are expected to play it more than once to get the full experience. I kind of love that about games.

#366: The Math Day

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Math days aren’t fun. I don’t know math as well as I used to; I don’t remember the formulas for completing long division and advanced multiplication on paper. I just complete them in my head, and I do it the long way. If I’m multiplying 60 * 510, I’ll multiply 60 * 500 first and add 60 * 10 to the end of it. It’s just easier for me to do things that way, even if it’s more complicated in the long run. Being able to complete that level of complicated math just isn’t part of my day to day life, and if I need to figure something like that out, I just google it instead. It’s tough to justify teaching quantitative literacy in our current world environment, although it is important regardless.

Math days aren’t fun because I have to pretend to know more math than I actually know. I have to walk around and help people who need help, when in reality I’m the person who needs help on this stuff the most. It’s a bit complicated, having to learn and relearn and remember what I was taught in middle and high school, then teaching that back to other people. It all happens pretty much on the spot, regardless of what else I’m doing. I have to think on my feet, adapt to whatever situation is presented in front of me, and move quickly, especially because I’m in mostly unfamiliar territory. I don’t normally work in the math room; more often than not, I’m either in the computer lab, the humanities room, or between 4th and 5th grade. My schedule doesn’t allow me to spend much time in either math or science, so thankfully I’m not usually expected to know those subjects as much as I have to know and follow along with humanities. That’s just one of the perks of my job.

#364: The Great Release

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I’m not sure what kind of mood I’m currently in, as I’m having difficulty articulating my feelings which are so overwhelming and all-encompassing. More than anything, what I want is to feel comfortable. Comfort is essential, as are safety and security and those other important values.

“Great Release” is a song by the band LCD Soundsystem, and it’s fairly underrated. It’s a bit on the long side, at about six minutes long, but I’m currently listening to it as a way to calm myself down. It helps me get back into a better mood, or at least relax my senses and calm myself down.

The song is about space, it’s about love, it’s about releasing and letting go and making yourself happy again, by whatever means necessary. It’s about dying, it’s about letting go of inhibitions and drifting off into space. It’s relaxing, and the music applies to the themes of the song. I love when songs are consistent like that because it actually makes me motivated to write, too, believe it or not.

The song is either heavily inspired by Brian Eno, the famous music producer, or he’s actually involved on the track. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was, considering he’s friends with the guy who runs the band. They both play with each other frequently.

To me, sometimes you need music to calm yourself down. Not all tracks are going to have the same effect, and not all people will feel the same way because of the same music. More often than not, I realize I don’t have the same music taste as other people, and because of that, I’m a bit isolated. I can’t talk about the same subjects as other people when it comes to music because I don’t relate as heavily with other people. Such is life.

#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?

#361: The Proofreader

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I’ve written three chapters of my series in about three weeks, somehow. It’s been a long journey getting to this point, but having established such a pace means I have to keep up with it, right? I’ve made it clear that I have time to write 4.5k words once a week, so with that in mind, shouldn’t I be able to do it again? This is of course on top of the other stuff I’m writing, like the fandom week that’s coming up in January, and the blogs that I try to maintain regardless of the fact that they’re becoming more and more difficult to write.

The proofreader is about having a good friend who’s willing to proofread and edit my writing for me, even though I don’t pay the person to do so. Should I? Probably. But they’re a friend of mine, and they do it for me anyway because they want to help out. It makes the story infinitely better, having people around who are willing to help out with the creation of it. I always credit them at the end of the stories, too, because I’m not irresponsible or unappreciative of the work they’ve done to help me get to where I am.

My proofreader is currently, as I type, reading my third chapter and preparing to give feedback on it. I’m excited to see what they have to say, as well as whatever they have to contribute next. I love sharing my writing with other people, and I’m always eager to get feedback, even if it’s negative. So long as it’s constructive, it’s worthwhile in my book. I want to make sure that people feel interested in where my story is going and aren’t just reading for the sake of it. Having genuine interest in a story of my own creation is really, really great.

#360: The Xbox

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Get it? Because it’s #360 and the Xbox 360 was the previous generation’s console title?

Before I became a huge PC gamer, I was invested in my Xbox 360, a white and grey-colored console that sometimes flashed red with the ring of death whenever it screwed up. I used to play tons of games on it, namely Rock Band 2 with my friends at sleepovers and gatherings, Gears of War 1 and 2 with other friends during other gatherings, and Halo 3. I’ve talked about Halo in a previous blog post, I’m sure, and I think it was #343 (because of the number again.) Halo was meaningful to me in so many ways, and I couldn’t begin to encapsulate it all in 300 words. But today I’ll be discussing some of the other games that mattered to me on that console.

Castle Crashers, which wasn’t exclusive to the Xbox but I owned via the Live Store, was how I spent many nights of the week online. Bashing and crashing monsters and foes of all types with my trusty sword (or other weapons, who knows) was one of my favorite pastimes. I liked going into the desert levels especially, because there were tons of foes to fight and they served as great practice dummies. To me, sometimes the simple things matter the most.

I also played a ton of Worms: Revolution, another game that wasn’t exclusive to the Xbox but I owned anyway. My friends and I had tons of fun nuking each other across the map with missiles and projectiles and other ridiculous, wacky weapons. The game had a light-hearted feel to it and everything worked together well. I would still recommend it, to be honest, even though I haven’t touched it in years. It has a lasting appeal that’s memorable to me regardless. I also used to play it with some of my Twitter friends.

#359: The Artist

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I sometimes have the urge to teach myself something new, to branch out and learn something and expand my skillset. I like the idea of watching YouTube tutorials on how to draw and using that as inspiration to get into drawing, even though drawing has never been something I’ve been good at. I still stick with stick figures and rudimentary shapes. In fact, I’m so bad at drawing that I used to sit out of pictionary with my friends because I was worried my drawings would be incomprehensible because of their weirdness. Things have changed since then, and I’ve gained a bit more confidence in my round-about ways of drawing things, but I still sometimes get the urge to learn more.

I think it’s because I saw the wonderful progress made by one of my friends on Twitter, who started by drawing a basic idea of Kirby and then it evolved into drawing whatever he wanted. I want the freedom to be able to create the visions I have in my head, and I want to actualize those visions. It’s frustrating to have these images bouncing around in your head and then have nothing to do with them. It’s like they exist only for you to enjoy.

I recently commissioned some art from a friend, though, which was a lot of fun and got a ton of likes on Twitter. It was really cool and I’m grateful for their participation in it, but I’d like to be able to have an idea for a character without having to collaborate with another person to create it, you know? It’d be nice to have that ability myself.

So that’s where I’m at. I don’t know where this journey will take me, or if I’m even going on this journey at all. Who knows, honestly.