#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.

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#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?

#256: The Flyers

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Anyone who plays World of Warcraft can recognize that the game changes completely as soon as you unlock flying for the first time. Once you’re able to soar through the sky on your flying mounts, everything on the map becomes more enticing and travel is significantly less tedious. You don’t have to worry about running into mobs any more on the “safe” path to that one world quest, and you can freely escape a dangerous situation if you manage to get out of combat and have a few seconds to load up your mount. For world quests, even in enemy territory, it’s easy just to drop in, kill something, and then load up your mount again. Flying takes away so much of the tedium and trials of the game, making so much of the game accessible to someone like me, who doesn’t as much enjoy his ground mounts.

Being able to fly is great and all, but one of the best benefits of flying is exclusive to the druid class: flight form. Druids are shapeshifters, taking the form of beasts and animals to suit the situation they’re in. When they enter water, they can take the form of an aquatic animal to increase their movement speed while others swim at slow speeds. But in flight form, they can fly around and collect herbs easily, without ever having to leave their transformed form. (Does that wording make sense? Hopefully…) They can swoop down, collect an herb safely, and ignore any potential danger. It’s like having a free pass to level your gathering professions. I love that so much about flying, and right now it’s what’s motivating me to play my druid, after a while of having that character sitting on the bench. The transition is as smooth as butter and nothing really compares to it.

#246: The Mask

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Do you find that sometimes you wear a mask around certain people? Do you conceal your true self when around others? Are there people you simply cannot let loose around, for whatever reason, be they your boss, your parents, or what have you? That’s what I’d like to discuss today.

As I write this, the instrumental version of “Beneath the Mask” is playing in the background, filling up my brain with ideas for what to write about on here. It’s a beautiful song, and I recommend it as some good studying or writing music. It also plays on my new PS4 theme background, thanks to the $2 I spent on it. It serves as good inspiration music for my writing.

As a student, I learned that being honest about yourself invites ridicule from others, and that the only way to avoid being ridiculed is to completely hide all uniqueness from yourself, to blend in with the background as much as possible so as to become invisible to those judgmental eyes. That’s why I sometimes have a difficult time expressing my true feelings to others. When it comes down to it, we’re taught the virtues of honesty, but not the vices. We’re lead to believe that integrity, honor, honesty, and other positive values are inherently just, but not how to handle ourselves when those values are questioned and put to task. As a young, impressionable kid, it’s easier to relinquish them and accept defeat.

Being behind a mask means being fake, to some degree; you’re not disclosing your face, where others can see how you feel based on your body language and expressions. You’re concealing that which you have learned to conceal for your own safety and security. I no longer live behind a mask like I did way back when, but occasionally I slip into my old teenage habits because of those days.

#243: The Group Chat, Part 2

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This one is coming in two parts!

Two of my friends on the chat are huge anime fans, for example, so I feel like I know a decent amount about Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure just from them, even though I’ve only ever watched the pilot episode with Alex in Boston one night.

The group chat started back in 2016 or 2017, when I was still on Twitter under a different account name. I had an account I used to follow people from hobbies I was a fan of, and I found a bunch of wrestling fans who shared similar interests online. We bonded over the wrestlers we liked, but most of all, we bonded over our shared connections and long-winded discussions about heated topics, such as booking, match results, and video games. There were lots of things to be angry about back when we watched the shows regularly, but also lots of great, memorable conversations involving people I’ve never met in person. These people are some of my greatest friends, and yet I don’t know when I’ll ever get the chance to see them. Does that really matter? Aren’t online interactions just as genuine and worthwhile as interactions in person? I’m not sure, but I’d like to think they are. A person you communicate with, by whatever means of communication are available, can still be a friend of yours. A pen pal from across the country is still a friend regardless of the fact that you may never meet them, either.

When I was in high school, I had a difficult time making friends, so to be able to have access to the internet meant having access to a world of online friendships, too. I knew people on the internet from World of Warcraft, the Rock Band forums, Last.fm, and more, and all of those people I owe so much to. I don’t know where I would be without them, so they definitely mean as much to me as any of my other friends do.

#242: The Group Chat, Part 1

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This one is coming in two parts! Here’s the first one, about a fantastic group chat I’m a part of.

While scrolling through Twitter, I discovered something worth writing about: the group chat I’ve had for so long, and all the wonderful people I’ve met because of it. I was playing Persona 5 earlier today when I remembered that I could share my experiences in the game with my friends who recommended I play it in the first place, years ago. I remember reading the group chat, also known as “Paige fam” or whatever other title it has on a given day. It usually changes with the season, but that’s one of the more endearing parts of the chat. I’m not going to mention any of the chat members’ names, as I haven’t told them that I’m writing about them and don’t want to spoil their privacy. But it’s a great group of about 9 people, all of whom I’ve spent a lot of time talking with. We’ve gone through stages of allowing more people into the chat, only to have them either spoil who’s in it to others or just not participate very often. Those people aren’t part of the chat any more. There was a time when the chat had 11 people in it, for example.

We’ve talked about and shared opinions on all kinds of topics, from Game of Thrones’s latest season (and its ultimate failure) along with football championship victories in Europe and earthquakes in New Zealand. The people in this chat span across countries; the diversity isn’t just in location, but in gender, ethnicity, and personality. It’s that kind of diversity that makes the chat so great, and so wonderful to come back after taking a few days off from looking at Twitter or social media. There’s always a fruitful, interesting conversation to look at afterwards.

#239: Social Media

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Social media is funny. For starters, it allows us to connect across the world with friends we might never hear from otherwise. Without Facebook, I probably wouldn’t know a damn thing what my friend Rachel, who lives in Australia currently, is up to. It’s nice to see updates from friends who mean a lot to me, even though we don’t talk super frequently. I also have friends on there much older than me, people I met and became acquainted with during my various internships, and whom I owe so much of my professional success to. It’s nice to see them comment on my professional updates, especially when I’m really trying to take care of myself more. Social media is what allows all this flourish, and I’m thankful for it in that sense.

Though, social media also gives me anxiety from time to time. Sometimes I think life would be simpler if I didn’t constantly see updates from people I went to college with, telling me what they’ve been up to since then. Some of them are completing their second year as teachers, and while that’s very exciting for them, it leaves me with a feeling of emptiness. Not everything I do needs to be compared to other people’s lives, but social media almost encourages us to compare the two. It’s a part of social media’s DNA. Every post you make, every story you upload, every status you write, every like you share, every click you make, everything eventually is tied to someone else, and it’s connected to your online profile, either through Google, Facebook, or what have you. The people who “like” it, the people who ignore it, the people who are online but have better things to do. It’s tough not to take personally.

Was social media a mistake?

#237: The Fireworks

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Today is July 4th, which means today is fireworks day. Fireworks all night long, across the city skyline and heard from our apartment regardless of distance. Fireworks blaring upward into the air, exploding in an instant or in bursts, and then descending quickly back to the earth, to pollute the streets with firework residue. Imagine being on the streets of Stamford watching the fireworks at 8pm, only to then be a sanitation worker the next day, forced by the city to clean up the endless parade of messiness on the ground. I would hate to be that person, but I can relate to them very much so.

When I was younger, my father loved the fourth of July. It was probably his favorite holiday. We used to have a large house together, with a large backyard where we invited pretty much everyone we knew to come over for a large party. Hot dogs, bounce castles, outdoor pool, radio music, tents and food and more. They were a lot of fun, and I got to hang out with my friends over the summer so that made it all worth it, but perhaps the biggest waste of all was my father’s incessant need to fill up the sky with fireworks. He bought thousands of dollars worth of fireworks every year, every fourth of July, just to impress his friends with how much money he was willing to throw away into the sky for big explosions. Imagine if he had saved that for our college educations instead? What if? Hmm.

It seems self-serving, but ultimately it was for us, too. We wanted the fireworks just as much as he did. It represented something special to us, a sort of familial tradition passed through time. It doesn’t happen any more, for obvious reasons, but when it did, it was special.