#169: The Hare

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Woahhh, we’re halfway there! Giant plushy hare! Take my hand, and we’ll make it I swear.

Today, I’ll be talking about the eponymous plushy hare that I got from Animal Crossing: Pocket Camp. Yes, I know, another post about pocket camp, but at least it’s not about Magic: the Gathering, right? I’ve had enough of those in a row lately, so it’s time to shake things up.

So, recently, there was another gyroidite-collecting event in the game, which means you have to walk around the different venue spots, collect as many little gyroidite blobs as you can, and turn them in for items that help you acquire leaf tickets and more. This time, though, in celebration of Easter and general springtime, Zipper arrived and we collected little eggs instead of gyroidite. It was appropriate, given the context and setting, for them to offer eggs, like it was some kind of egg hunt. Zipper, the animal dressed as a large bunny who refuses to admit that he’s just an animal playing dress up, offers a huge plushy version of himself for you to put in your campsite.

When you collect 600 eggs, you can craft the eponymous giant plushy hare, the one massive mega item offered by this event. It takes a long time to get 600 eggs, as it’s no easy task to just walk around and collect eggs for hours on end. Well, it might be easy, but it’s definitely a bit boring. When you eventually get to the end of the mountain, though, it feels great to plop your giant hare in your campsite as a signal of your accomplishment. You will always be known as the one who managed to scavenge up 600 eggs in under a week or so. It’s a badge of honor for a job well done. And I did it! Sorry, Alex.

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#168: The Dog Day

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Driving around in the morning with Alex fills me with joy and energy to start the day, as I feel a sense of beginning and ending together whenever I wake up and Alex is still around. It’s not the same when she’s got an earlier shift! I love those late shifts for that reason alone, even though she gets more time home when she works earlier. But today, we’re going to talk about how Angus must feel after spending time with me for so long. The day I’m writing this is on a Monday, the Monday after April break, and I’m a bit worried about Angus’s streak, to be honest. He’s been a good boy and hasn’t broken anything in the apartment for 18 days so far, and I trust that he’ll continue this streak further. But what happens is, whenever there’s a time when he stays home with one of us for awhile, he gets used to having company in the apartment. And when that company goes away, as it is about to during this week considering I’m not on April break any more, he tends to lash out a bit. There’s an immediate reaction from him, and he pounces at the opportunity to find food of any kind. I still remember the day when we had a 20-day streak and, after going to the gym for 30 minutes, Angus still ate half of the potato we had resting on the counter. He never reached for them ever before, but during a 30-minute break from the action, he still thought it was appropriate to go off on that poor, defenseless potato. That’s why I’m worried about our dog today, and most days when we’re not around. Who knows what he’s getting up to right now? It could be anything! Anything at all!

#164: The Mythic

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I spoke about Magic: the Gathering in another post recently, but today I’ll be diving a bit deeper into another part of it that resonates with me.

Pulling packs in Magic: the Gathering is one of my favorite, small wonderful joys. It’s fun because of the randomness that comes from it, and it reminds me so much of the loot boxes I spoke about in another post on here recently. It’s a kind of gambling, in the sense that you are spending money without knowing exactly what cards you’re going to get from the pack. You spend $4 per pack, and then whatever you get has to equal $4 in value in order to be deemed worth it. But to me, as a simple card collector, I don’t care as much about the money as much as I care about the experience and the collecting of cards. Maybe it’s not as cost-effective as I would like, but it makes the experience interesting and less stressful. I’m not as concerned about getting even as I would be if I cared only about the price of cards.

This all being said, I do care about the money to some extent. For example, a couple days ago, I went into Gamestop while Alex got her eyebrows waxed next door, and I pulled an Arclight Phoenix in a pack. It’s a mythic rare, meaning it’s even harder to find than a regular rare from a pack. I don’t know the exact odds of pulling a mythic but they’re especially difficult to find. The card is worth about $20 currently, and I have no intentions of selling it at the moment. I plan on slotting it into the Izzet guild kit deck I get and improving it further. Right now, it’s pretty damn powerful, so improving it more will just make it even more oppressive. I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do.

#155: The Accident

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For a long time, I used to pretend that I was a good driver, even though the more likely situation is that I’m a fairly lucky driver. Except for one time when I accidentally bumped someone’s car in the Branford Starbucks parking lot, I hadn’t gotten in any major accidents or collisions. One time, when driving up to UConn, I narrowly avoided getting totaled on the highway when my brakes blew out, and I had to pull over to the exit ramp and wait, patiently, for AAA to arrive, as my phone battery slowly ticked away at its last life. Needless to say, I was pretty stressed out by this, and it transformed my evening into a night of driving home in the passenger seat of a tow truck. I remember stopping at a gas station and picking up hot fries.

So, when I say that I’m a good driver, what I really mean is that I know how to react in emergency situations to lessen the potential impact of whatever accident is about to happen, or won’t happen. But that’s not always true, especially not nowadays. Accidents happen all the time, on the highway, on the roads, anywhere. And it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the need to step out and talk with the person who hit you or whom you hit, especially while cars are blaring around you, sirens and horns and angry passengers on the road behind you. As someone with anxiety, that feeling gets stressful very quickly.

In reality, I’m not a very good driver. I still don’t know how to reverse that well, and when I take turns, it’s easy to forget to put my signal on when no one is around me. Obeying the rules should be easy, but sometimes they slip your mind because you’re so focused on other things that preoccupy you. It’s okay though. It’s going to be okay.

#153: The Guild

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When I first started playing World of Warcraft, years and years and years ago, I met some friends online who had just started playing, too. We quickly became friends and bonded over our immaturity, youth, and playful attitudes. It’s so easy to find like-minded individuals online when your entire personality is shaped by your online presence and what you find on the Internet. Our guild, called “R A W R” (because we were kids who liked memes and cats on the Internet), meant a lot to me, and our regular conversations in guild chat set the standard for what I would come to expect from sociable, inviting guilds. We would set up raids of Alliance cities, and have regular hang-outs in secret alcoves on the world map that no one knew about except us (or so we thought). We discussed guild matters, like who deserved a rank promotion and, more likely, who was being annoying on a particular day. There was drama, of course, as there is in any guild, but we persevered through it. Our guild’s downfall came not because of any drama or anything like that, but because we all, gradually and slowly, stopped playing the same game as each other. I remember quitting at one point and roping in my guild friends to come play other computer games with me, but that never lasted very long. I think one was a browser game, with blue fish and matching cards. That’s all I remember from it.

Some of my friends who used to play still come on every once in awhile, though not as often any more. It’s not the same as it used to be; even if we were to try to recapture that old magic, it’s past that time in our lives. And I think we all recognize that, which is why we don’t talk as much as we used to.

#143: The Internet

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When I’m not busy doing other things, I like to browse the Internet pretty aimlessly, as a way of occupying my time and filling my attention a bit. The Internet is a source of inspiration as well as a way of getting people to be interested in new things. Sometimes, I aimlessly scroll through the same websites over and over again, not really realizing what I’m doing until after I’ve looked at the same page three times in a row without anything updating on it. If you’re the kind of person who does the same thing, you probably know what I’m talking about when I say that, when I’m bored, my brain seems to turn off a bit and leave its senses out the window. The rational part of my mind is gone and occupied elsewhere.

It’s said that when you are browsing the Internet instead of doing other, more productive things you are looking and searching for something to occupy your attention, as if everything around you currently is unable to keep you occupied and this is the one option left on the table. I don’t know if I agree with that theory totally, but I do like the idea. Sometimes I feel as if, when I’m mindlessly browsing the Internet, I’m only doing it because I’m bored and have nothing else to do. But is it true that I actually have nothing else to do? Probably not. There’s always something more productive I can be doing to occupy my time.

Most of the time, though, when I’m on the Internet I’m looking on Reddit or Twitter. Those are the two websites I seem to check most frequently. They keep my attention firmly in place, which is saying something, because my attention usually never feels stable.

The Internet is an interesting, perplexing thing.

#138: The Commute

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The commute is a miraculous thing. It’s funny because, if you’re earnestly looking for work, the commute is one of the most underrated parts to consider. You need to think about what your commute will be like, how it feels to drive or take the train or walk or all of the above to your job. If you don’t think about it, you’ll be unpleasantly surprised by it, one way or another.

My commute to my last job was about 40 minutes long, which wasn’t that bad all things considered. The worst part was when I hit traffic on the way home, but thankfully I only worked there for a couple months before summer hit and I decided to do something different with my time. It could’ve been worse for sure. When I was first applying for jobs after college, I applied for a teaching job in South Windsor, which would’ve been about 55 minutes away. I couldn’t imagine commuting that far nowadays, especially with Alex practically living in New York half the time because of her job. It would’ve been completely incompatible with our jobs.

Alex’s commute is much different. She walks to the train, then commutes to Harlem, then takes the subway, then walks to her hospital. It’s a crazy commute to think about, and I can’t believe she enjoys it, but she does! It gives her the opportunity to read, listen to podcasts, and just generally relax before work starts or on the way home. It’s not that bad, I guess.

My commute nowadays isn’t bad at all. I drive about 15-20 minutes opposite of traffic from Stamford to Norwalk and then back to Stamford when school gets out. In comparison to my last commute, it beats that one for sure. I could’ve had it much worse.

#137: The Roomba

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It’s time to talk about another invention that’s made its way into our home: the Roomba.

Angus’s hair is absurd. We clean the apartment at least once a week, sometimes more often depending on how much hair is strewn across the couch, floor, rug, and bed. Sometimes, we have to clean the comforter and mattress to compensate for Angus’s sporadic attempts at jumping on the bed at night, even when we tell him not to. That’s where the Roomba steps in.

We bought a Roomba not too long ago by the time this post will be published, and it’s been an absolute godsend for our sanity and cleaning abilities. The Roomba is set for a specific time, twice a week, and it unloads itself from its holder and goes off. It’s an incredible invention that sucks up all the hair from the rug and floor, including the bathroom and bedroom, too. I remember my uncle used to have one, and I’m not sure what happened to it, but this hunk of junk is anything but junky. It saves us time, and has already helped our cleaning sensibilities. We only have to vacuum every once in a while since getting the Roomba, and when we do, it’s usually not much.

One of my fears originally about getting the Roomba was that Angus would be afraid of it, or would chase it around the apartment. He actually doesn’t seem to mind it at all and lets it do its thing. Again, this invention has saved so much time for us.

But above all, we love Angus so much. He’s a bundle of joy and excitement and honestly, earnestly fills our lives with happiness whenever he’s around. I hope he’s doing well now, sitting at home by himself without anyone around. I always worry about him a little bit when I go off to work.

#135: The Card Expansion

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When I think about collectible card games, the first one that comes to mind is always Hearthstone, and for good reason. First of all, you can’t trade cards in this game, but you just collect them by opening packs. Secondly, it’s available on smartphones and computers and tablets, so it’s incredibly versatile and useful. When you open packs, it gives you five cards, with at least one being rare quality. There are other qualities of cards, though, such as epic and legendary, but those have a less likely chance of appearing when you open packs and they aren’t guaranteed, either.

The reason I bring all of this up is because a new expansion for Hearthstone has been announced, titled “Rise of Shadows.” It features lots of homebrewed villains from the Hearthstone universe forming an evil league to take down Dalaran, the city of magic in the sky. I have no idea what will actually take place in the adventure portion of this game, when the story is actually relevant to the gameplay, but I’m interested regardless. Whenever a new expansion is announced, I always look forward to the spoilers season, when new cards are slowly trickled in and unveiled by the development team through publishers. I always get caught in the hype and am interested in what’s coming next to the game. It’s so easy to get caught up in the hype when things are getting exciting like this!

My favorite time is when the legendary cards are revealed, as they usually have the most ridiculous, over-the-top effects and abilities. Those are usually meta-defining and absolutely shape and warp the way the game is played in standard and wild. The past few sets haven’t been that impactful, but with there being a rotation in standard with it being Year of the Dragon now, this new expansion set is bound to change things up.

#134: The Fitness Pal

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Let’s talk about physical fitness, everyone’s favorite subject!

When I first started exercising fully, I did so in my dorm room in London while studying abroad. I was motivated to get into better shape, and walking around the city by myself (or with a companion) allowed me the opportunity to do so. It was only cardio, nothing more than that, but it still fulfilled my desire to work out more regularly.

The smartphone app, My Fitness Pal, is what helped me take charge of my health and fitness, and I’ve used it off and on since then. I used it while I was in London, tracked the food I ate each day and weekend, and I made sure to put in all the foods I didn’t normally have on the app. Thankfully, the app has a great deal of options for foods and you don’t usually have to put foods in by yourself. It goes in all on its own!

When you log into the app, it puts you on a screen that marks Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snack. You can enter your food and nutritional info anywhere in any of the categories, and it fills up the amount of calories you’ve had during the day when you enter food. You can also add exercise, and it counts the amount of calories you’ve burnt and calculates those into your daily total of calories, too. It’s a wonderful little app, and without it, I don’t think I would have been able to lose weight like I did back in 2014. To think that was five years ago at this point is crazy! I can barely believe it. I’ve changed so much since then and also because of that time period. I should write about it more often.