#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.


#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.

#358: The Week Ahead, Part 2

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I wasn’t able to fit all of my thoughts into the 300 word count, so I figured I would turn this ill-timed blog into a two-parter. It just makes more sense that way, and I’m pretty happy I get to occupy more time with more blogs regardless. Because I’m writing this on a Sunday, and because the week ahead is going to be very busy, it’s helpful to have a backlog of blogs scheduled so that I don’t have to worry about writing one or two or three a day when I get home just to catch up to myself. That can be extremely frustrating if left uncontrolled.

So Monday is stressful, regardless of how you look at it. And then there’s Wednesday, when I’ll be starting D&D for the first time with my middle schoolers. Those of you who know already are aware that I’m leading a D&D after-school club one day a week for an hour, and it’s always on Wednesdays. My kids are super excited, which makes me optimistic about everything and gives me hope that this will go well, but a part of me is always unsure about the uncertainty of the game, and whether I’m prepared enough to take this responsibility on. It’s a lot to deal with at once. I’m stressed about the unpredictability of it, but not so much that the students will be bored or have an unfun experience. I will deliver that for them, regardless.

Thursday I have a job interview planned, but that might not go through. I’m not sure yet. More on that later, perhaps.

Friday I have D&D again, for the first time, with a different group of people this time. I don’t know if I’m prepared enough for them and all their new rules and lingo.

#357: The Week Ahead, Part 1

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This blog post will go up on Wednesday I think, but I’m writing it on Sunday from the perspective of someone who’s reflecting on a crazy, ridiculous week into the future. A week that’s going to test me and make me stressed out, undoubtedly, but will hopefully give me the chance to reflect on my current job and my happiness there. For that, I’m grateful for the opportunity and hopeful that the future will benefit things further. I just need to push through this week and then hopefully things will be better on the other side!

So, here’s the deal. On Monday, also known as tomorrow for me but two days in the past when this goes up, I’ll be substituting for math the whole day because both the math teacher and math title 1 assistant have personal days planned for that day. What that means is that they needed to pull another assistant from the same building into math to help the regular math assistant teach the class as normal. I just hope he knows everything and understands the rules and all that so I can help him out, rather than having to lead everything myself. Usually when this sort of pairing up happens, one assistant takes the lead and the other naturally takes the assistant role again. When I’m working in Research & Portfolio for example, I tend to submit into the assistant role until Sean is out, and then I tend to take over the teacher role because I’m in all the R&P classes and know it a bit better than the others. That’s one of the natures of this job. It can be frustrating and weird sometimes, but it is what it is and I’m grateful in some ways that I’m being paid at all these days.

#353: The Lie

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How are you when it comes to lying?

This is probably going to be a difficult blog to write, so as to not implicate myself in anything, but I wanted to write it after I had to make a really carefully constructed lie recently. I won’t go into the details on it, for reasons I just mentioned, and I’ll try to keep things fairly even and balanced.

Lying is bad. No one should have to lie to do anything or get anything. Lying is also tantamount with immorality, ambiguity, and a general lack of clarity of character. By that I mean, character in an ethical sense. Your character as a person drains if you’re spending all your day lying. You have to then keep up with those lies over time, living second and third lives in front of different people, and then they recognize you for those lies. They expect new things of you, depending on how complicated the lie was. If you lie to someone once in a fairly innocent context and say that you’re working a second job to get extra money, for example, then people will expect you to go home and do that immediately upon getting home. If they see you on Playstation 4 online afterwards, they might be a little confused, considering you just told them you were working a second job. Hypothetically, of course. Not that that’s actually happened to me.

But again, lying isn’t good. You really shouldn’t lie. I never lie on this blog; I keep things honest to myself. When I write, I write in order to expel those lies from my system and reclaim myself and my honesty. I do so in order to stay sane amidst all the chaos of the world. Sometimes it really is necessary to lie, just to get by, but I still never feel good about it.


#351: The Difference

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The difference between you and me is I don’t usually have any idea what I’m doing any more. Some people might disagree, and they might argue that I have some sense of what I’m doing, I just don’t want to admit it. I feel like that might be true, but the evidence going against it is more reliable and tells a more consistent story about my life.

Being the type of person who can’t seem to make up their own mind when it comes to choosing a career is exhausting. I honestly want to have that part of my life down and taken care of already, but it’s so difficult to figure out, especially when nothing seems to be going your way when you want it to. I have lots of ideas for careers to transition into: grant writing, technical writing, copy writing and editing, whatever it takes to get into a new career and away from the realm of education. I live for the sake of writing, at some points, and I think writing is a fundamental part of my life, enough so that I can use it as a career. I’d like to think I can develop my skills enough so that I look useful enough for people to hire. But developing my skills and showing my skills are different, ultimately. That’s the difference.

Being the type of person who writes for fun should be enough of an indication that this is more than just a hobby for me. I write stories for fun, I write blogs for fun and to communicate with friends and family, and I do it all because I enjoy it. I hope other people can find something they enjoy as much as I enjoy writing and the feelings associated with it. It’s truly remarkable and life-changing.

#347: The Next Step, Part 2

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This blog is a continuation of the previous one, also titled “The Next Step.” Check that one out first before reading this.

Now, what do I mean by, “moving this blog in a new direction”? I don’t totally know. On the one hand, maybe I just wanted to get all meta for the sake of being meta on this blog. But on the other hand, I think I really want this thing to evolve. I’m eventually going to run out of things to talk about, aren’t I? Once I reach a year of consistent blogging, what do I aspire to after that? Do I aim for two years? Does two years really amount to that much of a difference over one year?

I think where I want this blog to go is in a direction where I don’t feel forced to write for the sake of writing. Although, I guess that contradicts what I said in my previous blog, considering I talked about how great it was to cultivate the habit of writing for the sake of writing. I guess what this really boils down to is, sometimes writing feels like a chore. Having a chore as a habit is sometimes less than ideal, considering all the other chores that life brings. But, then again, there’s obviously value in writing as a passion. It’s rewarding to build a habit that has practical value. Being a better writer is great for any career. I’m not saying I’m an outstanding writer or anything like that, but I am saying that doing what I’m doing usually leads to people becoming better writers than they were before, wherever they started at. So for me, I hope to be a little better than I was a year ago, or at least a bit more self-aware of my own writing styles.

#346: The Next Step, Part 1

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I’ve thought a lot about the future of this blog, and whether it will continue in its current form. I don’t even know what the next form of this blog would look like. To those of you who have read this thing for awhile now, you know I used to write on this back in 2013 with regular poetry updates and then that turned into just a place to publish all my creative writing endeavors. Then, for awhile during grad school and shortly afterwards, I stopped writing on this altogether. I didn’t have time to update it, and I wasn’t the type of person to spend my limited free time doing creative writing. I was fresh out of ideas and had no one to share my writing with. My energy and enthusiasm for writing totally dissipated during that time period, even though I was in an occupation where creative writing was encouraged and heavily involved. To think that I used to teach writing to kids (well, I still do, too) but didn’t actually write anything? What use am I as a teacher? But the fact of the matter is that writing is difficult and time-consuming. It sucks up your energy and consumes you inside it. In the teaching profession, I simply didn’t have the time to write.

One of the great joys of restarting this blog has been getting back into habits. I go to the gym at least three times a week, and I’ve been doing that since New Years. I’ve kept a daily blog where I write at least 300 words a day for about 250 or so days in a row. Even while I discuss potentially moving this blog in a new direction, I don’t want to give up my daily writing. It has truly become a part of me that keeps me grounded and secure, along with going to the gym, and I cherish being able to cultivate those habits into my lifestyle as an adult.

#333: The Listener

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Here’s a picture of dog ears, because this post is going to be about the act of listening to other people with purpose.

Listening is an underrated, undervalued action. Listening proves that you’re paying attention, it proves that you care and are attentive to other people’s worries and concerns. Listening is underrated because people too often speak without thinking first, without taking into account what the other person is feeling. They speak and speak and nothing really makes sense because they’re not following the conversation intently or actually caring about the other person.

I learned to listen more than speak recently, thanks to a conversation I had with my girlfriend, and I feel incredibly grateful for that lesson. It’s not the same just talking over someone else and being condescending and rude about it; you have to actually demonstrate that you’re paying attention before the other person can engage in the conversation with you.

As an introvert, I sometimes listen too much without taking the turn to speak. I have the problem on both ends of the spectrum: talking too much and listening too much. Being capable of both ends does allow for me to see things from both sides. I get to realize what it’s like to be the recipient of them all. Being introverted means having limits to your talkativeness, depending on who you’re around or speaking with.

Being a listener is underrated, yes, but not every one is one. We’ve established that much already. How can we change that so that more people are willing to listen rather than speak? First of all, it involves emulating that practice in all things we do, even in small conversations between partners. It involves working tirelessly from top to bottom, making sure people are more patient and understanding with each other.

#332: The Independence

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Instead of talking about American independence, today I’ll be discussing a bit of my own personal experience with independence. Usually independence is connected with ideas like liberty and personal success. Living on your own shows that you’re an independent person, someone capable of being a mature adult. At some point we all have to branch out on our own, take care of ourselves on our own, and make decisions on our own. Living independently is owning up to those responsibilities and embracing them. It’s not shying away from your obligations to yourself and your personal health and well-being. Independence is difficult, don’t get me wrong, but it’s achievable and it feels great. Nothing compares to having a place to call your own, where you get to make the rules, pretty much. I don’t know if I was ever expecting this to happen at so young a time in my life, to be completely honest.

There’s also another aspect of independence that I’d like to discuss, and that’s being an independent teacher. When I was teaching at the high school level, I had a classroom all to myself and it felt great. I was able to direct students and teach them all about English. I gave it my best, but sometimes your best isn’t enough to make yourself feel happy about how you did. Sometimes you need to try things differently. Being independent means figuring out when to make the right decisions for you and your health, even when those decisions might seem crazy or unpredictable or even rude at the time. You have to eventually make the choice between yourself and other people, and if you don’t choose yourself at least once or twice when it really counts, you run the risk of losing your identity and personal feelings. I don’t want that to happen.