Accidental Early April Fool’s Prank??

Hello!

So, for April Fools this year I got particularly tricky and played my prank on March 31st so that no one expected it – even myself!

Yes, my special super fun prank for April Fools 2019 was probably making a bunch of people think I had measles!

It’s an allergic reaction. But I am covered in a red spotted rash.

It’s not pretty.

You see, I’m actually allergic to certain antibiotics that are penicillin-based. We found that out last…October(?) when I had antibiotics to deal with a tooth problem. This time around it was for the removal of my wisdom teeth. But I only react about two days AFTER I finish the round of antibiotics.

But I at least understood what was happening when it started again.

What we weren’t expecting is when it attacked my face and made my neck swell up. You see, the scary things about allergies like these is that they can affect your breathing. So my neck swelling got us concerned about my throat so my Mom and I headed for emerge at like 9 Sunday morning.

Turns out the 31st was a busy day for the ER and me, sitting there with really freaking obvious red spots, got a lot of looks. The triage nurse came out to check with the new people in the line because they don’t operate on a first-come-first-serve basis. If you are in a lot of trouble you skip up the line: problems with copious amounts of blood, chest pains, and trouble breathing. She took one look at me, checked if my tongue was swollen, and pulled me in next.

There was still some waiting and still some parents moving their kids away from me when I sat down, but I eventually got a bed. In a hall. It was a VERY busy day.

The doctors and nurses went with checking the worst-case scenarios with the evidence they had, which was a question of measles. That was debunked pretty quickly and I noticed the news spread around the doctors, nurses, and EMTs pretty quickly. Probably to then assure any concerned patients that “No, that red spotted lady over there is not contagious”.

They were still concerned about my swollen face and neck so they took some blood and urine samples and got me onto some fluids and Benadryl via an IV. I was there for most of the rest of the day (we left about 4:45) under observation. My mother went in and out which just shows you how well Dr. Emily and Nurse Christine were because they were able to handle my anxiety (by giving me a dose of something which was just the best), answering my questions, and letting me doze in the corner of the hall as stretcher after stretcher went by from the myriad of ambulances that came in.

When I was paying attention, I could see the looks I got from other patients. People still moved their kids away, but it was funny at that point because I knew I wasn’t spreading anything.

I’m still spotted. It’ll take a while for it to disappear entirely. But my face and neck aren’t swelling up anymore and the rash is already easing from there too. Soon enough I’ll be right as rain, I just need to keep up on the Benadryl.

Since my reaction got worse from last time, we’re planning on getting a medical alert bracelet since it could be very dangerous for me to get a bigger dose of penicillin or anything in its family during an emergency situation. The doctor also suggested an EpiPen.

So I guess part of the April Fool’s joke is on me: I now need to actually remember that I have allergies if someone asks. I’ve gotten so used to answering no!

Two Nerdy Questions

Hello!

Do you think that lantern light could actually shine through Harry’s invisibility cloak? Like, the first movie shows us Harry carrying a lantern underneath the cloak and using it to snoop around the Restricted section of the library. He drops the lantern and flees when he’s almost caught by Argus and his cat.

But, if the invisibility cloak makes everything underneath it invisible to the outside, including Harry and the lamp, can the light from the lantern even pass beyond the cloak in order to light anything up for Harry? Because wouldn’t the light then be visible to people outside the cloak? Sure, people couldn’t see the lantern itself but they could see the affect it has on the surroundings, right? Because we’re later shown (in the third movie during the Hogsmeade scene) and told (I think at least in the 7th book?) that footprints show up. And if you knock into something then everyone can perceive that bit too (Harry either taking Neville’s bloody pop in the third movie or alternatively, I’ve heard suggested, when the pop gets stuck to the invisibility cloak).

So wouldn’t the lantern be more of a give away than is worth the risk?

-~-~-

In the Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, the hobbits meet up with a character by the name of Tom Bombadil. Not in the movies, he was cut out of those, but in the books, he actually saves the hobbits at least twice. First, he finds them under attack by a willow tree that is trying to consume them into its roots and after saving them, brings them to his home to recover. When the hobbits leave to continue their journey, they actually have to cross a barrow field that’s just covered in ancient graves and they end up getting trapped inside one of them. Tom comes along and gets them out and sends them on their way.

Tom’s a super interesting character who’s never fully explained in the books because no one really knows what the hell he even is. Like, he’s presented as some sort of primordial being who was living in Middle Earth before the elves came east and possibly even before they were created. It’s even shown that the ring has no effect on him! This leads Frodo to wonder if they could leave the ring with Tom because he would be powerful enough to protect it without being tempted by it. Gandalf cuts that idea down because Tom is just not what we would call a moral human being. He doesn’t understand the dangers the ring would bring about and would ultimately forget he even had it, never mind protect it.

Frodo really should have realized that because its Tom’s influence that first convinced him to try the ring on. Yes! The first time Frodo puts the ring on isn’t a wacky accident in the Prancing Pony but a conscious choice on Frodo’s part. You see, Tom tries the ring on, nothing happens, he then makes it disappear and reappear before giving it back to Frodo who then puts it on because he wonders is Tom switched it! Why did Tom show off a little magic trick with the ring that might destroy the world? Did he really not understand what it was and what damage it could cause? Because if Tom is meant to represent a figure of primordial nature then, surely, he has some understanding of the damage to the earth itself that someone like Sauron could cause. The movies took this route: they gave some of Tom’s lines to Treebeard the Ent, very much a figure of ancient nature.

There are two other possibilities though, both of which consider Tom as someone with enough knowledge to know the consequences of the ring. Could Tom be evil, purposely playing a trick with the ring in order to get Frodo to put it on?  This was suggested by a classmate of mine when we were studying the Inklings and, originally, I didn’t give it much thought but the idea has grown on me. See, Sauron is destructive to nature but so too are human beings and the next age is meant to be a human age. So maybe Tom’s trying to throw the two groups at each other so that they destroy each other and ultimately save nature.

The other possibility seems to be the more moral side of this idea. That Tom got Frodo to put the ring on for the purpose of prompting Frodo to try and destroy it. Like, Tom knew the consequences and so tried to find someone who would take the ring to Mordor. Seems like Tom could have easily done it himself but nature doesn’t tend to fix societies problems for us?

Getting My Wisdom Teeth Removed

Hello!

This week is likely to be an extremely anxious for me. I’m halfway through a six day work week (Friday-Wednesday) and then, first thing Thursday morning, I will have my two right wisdom teeth pulled.

I’m not super great at handling my anxiety, and I’m especially squeamish about doctors and dentists. That’s why they’re going to put me out for the removal; the dentist actually laughed a little bit about that. But I reacted badly to being put out last time for a tooth removal so I’m not feeling fantastic this week.

I’m not sleeping well and I find myself getting overly anxious at moments when there’s nothing to be anxious about.

At least at work I’m able to focus on a system change-over we’re in the middle of. It’s a whole lot of finding products, pulling off old stickers, and sticking on new ones. I’m already absolutely wrecked two of my nails. But in the grand scheme that’s hardly important.

The problem is every other time. It’s dealing with the anxiety when I’m on the bus and at home and when I’m trying to sleep.

Part of the trick seems to be to focus on doing things that I enjoy. It doesn’t solve my problem completely but its another way of trying to deal with things.

Lately its been mostly video games and books.

Books and reading have always been a big part of how I relax and entertain myself. My Mom loves telling me how I always loved books even as a baby. Even before I could speak I apparently used to love holding books and babbling as though I was reading the story outload. I was also slow in talking, I wanted to get to whole sentences before I really started. I always carried a book around with me and I still do. Thanks to university I feel the need to read multiple books at once.

Currently I’ve got two going. For fiction I’m on the fourth C.B. Strike novel, ‘Lethal White’ by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling). I’ve just eaten through the other three novels and introduced them to my mother who ended up buying the fourth one herself. It means it’s a hard back, which is not my preference as it’s a little harder to read, but I’m working my way through it. For non-fiction I’m reading Alison Weir’s ‘Lancaster & York: The Wars of the Roses’. I’ve previously read Weir’s biography of Elizabeth I and I found it both informative and well written. Her discussion of the Wars of the Roses is also proving fascinating.

However, my anxiety is currently making reading difficult. My ability to focus on the text comes and goes depending on my level of anxiety. If it’s high, then reading, even as a means of distracting myself, is useless because my mind wanders too much and starts giving into all the worst case scenarios running around my head.

But I’m learning more tricks.

You see, often video games can be the same thing: not enough of a distraction when I’m very anxious or too anxiety inducing in-and-of themselves. I’ve actually gone into a total panic attack from two different Legend of Zelda games (Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask). I still enjoy both games but I need to be in a really good mind space to play either of them.

When I get anxious and want to distract myself I tend to go for Harvest Moon games (the old ones that were actual Harvest Moon games before the companies split and the main games changed names to Story of Seasons (check this video out for an explanation of that whole thing if you’re curious: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPZ1oLSh7ec). I tend to go to these games because I can play them without having to get involved in large time-consuming events and dungeons. I can play as long as I’d like and then stop whenever I want without losing progress or having to limit what I do while I’m playing.

Now Harvest Moon could come across like Animal Crossing for me (https://nerdycomplexity.com/2018/08/20/loving-and-leaving-animal-crossing/) except for the fact that it’s not set to real time. I can stop playing for months and go back and face no consequences for the break. So it gives me the same benefits without the feeling of playing becoming a chore.

The tricks I’m learning is to double up. Yeah, sometimes I’m so anxious that reading and playing video games by themselves doesn’t help. I can’t focus on the game or book fully because my mind keeps wandering. So I double up.

When I play video games (currently Harvest Moon: Magical Melody) I usually have YouTube playing on my computer or phone and playing theory videos and video essays. Discussions of ‘Game of Thrones’ are a big favorite of mine right now. Doubling up like this gives me the ability to do something with my hands (playing games) and something for my mind (listening to and thinking about movies, books, television, and the like).

For reading, I’ve had the most success with this week by taking my books on the bus with me. This is usually when I’m heading to and from work. The movement of the bus and the fact that I am currently in the process of heading somewhere and thus only have a certain amount of time to read, allow me to focus better on my book rather than my anxiety. It means my reading is slow going but that’s okay because sometimes I just eat up books so things balance out.

I’m still going to be anxious, especially going into the dentist on Thursday. But I’m going to do my best to stay calm and grow up a little more as I do. I’ve been working on getting better at dealing with my anxiety and gaining new skills and memories as I do. I got my G2 license and learned to drive. I kind of even like it. I defended my Master’s thesis. I can get my wisdom teeth removed and then enjoy some video games and books with a little less anxiety!

Retail Lessons: Do It Anyway

Hello!

I realized today that I’ve been learning more and more about myself from working retail this winter. Part of it might be the fact that this was really my first year round job that wasn’t limited to the summer or semesters of school. But it also might be the people I’m working with, the job itself, the fact that its retail, and the other things happening in my life.

This morning though, I realized a new lesson that I had been learning at work and planning on trying to consciously implement it in the rest of my life. You know it from the title but here it is: Do It Anyway.

Now this might sound really bad, especially if the work environment is at all toxic or if the insistence that you do it anyway is coming from a boss who isn’t thinking things through.

No, the reason that this lesson really jumped out at me is that my work place is laid back enough that I’m the one teaching myself to Do It Anyway. It’s something that I started doing on my own because it seemed like a good way of looking at things; a good way at getting things done. Which should mean that I’ll be able to implement it all the more easily into other areas of my life.

By Do It Anyway, I mean this as an answer to those moments of “But”.

I should sweep and mop “But” I don’t feel like it. Do It Anyway (because it needs to get done). I should dust “But” it doesn’t look really bad right now. Do It Anyway (because it needs to get done at some point so why not now?). I should replace the shopping bags “But” they aren’t getting super low yet. Do It Anyway (because it’ll need to get done and I can do it, so why not help out when I can?).

It started out with basics that we’re supposed to do during open or close that sometimes seems pointless. Like, you’re supposed to recount your till first thing in the morning to make sure everything is at $200 each for the day. However, sometimes this really feels repetitive because the person that closed the night before should have set the tills back to the $200. However, I’ve always told myself to Do It Anyway so that I know for sure that everything is good. It makes me feel better. And Do It Anyway has caught problems, times when the till isn’t set properly. Points where everything would become more complicated because I hadn’t caught it earlier but were fixed because I Did It Anyway.

Do It Anyway might make things a little harder at the time. It means I need to take the time to do the thing I need to do whether that’s go dig around the basement storage to find those shopping bags, or dust for the third day in a row. It can also mean short term annoyance and aching like when I have to sweep and mop which leaves my back hurting or doing something that I feel like someone else should have done.

But I’m trying to Do It Anyway because I CAN do it even if I feel like someone else already should have. Because I’m trying to make myself better and that means letting go of assumptions of what other people should or shouldn’t do. Maybe there were other reasons that those people didn’t do those things but I don’t have that excuse so I’m going to Do It Anyway.

So at work alone I’ve been learning to take accountability for my own actions but not to assume the accountability of anyone else. All because I tell myself to Do It Anyway at work in a retail job.

What else could I teach myself if I applied Do It Anyway to other areas of my life?

I want to start going to the gym and that’s going to be a lot of work and discomfort from the very beginning (I hurt myself running half a block to catch a bus). But I have to keep telling myself to Do It Anyway because it’ll be good for me. I’ll feel more comfortable in my body. And maybe I won’t hurt myself running for the bus anymore.

I’ll have to start keeping the apartment clean on my own as everyone else heads off soon. I’ve started making a plan that’ll having me do one chore a day to keep on top of everything. Right now, that doesn’t seem so bad but I know there will be days I’m tired and don’t feel like doing anything and I’m going to have to Do It Anyway. Because I’m more likely to Do It Anyway if its just one job and not leaving all of them until one day.

I’ve been making plans with friends and then going, even when my anxiety and depression tells me not to, because I need to Do It Anyway. Because my anxiety and depression lie to me about people not liking me, not wanting to hang out with me so Doing It Anyway reminds me of the truth: if they didn’t want to hang out with me they wouldn’t have invited me.

Remembering to eat because I need to and Doing It Anyway. Remembering to keep drinking water and Doing It Anyway even if I want to drink pop. Flossing, groceries, talking with my best friend. Do It Anyway even when things get in the way, it seems hard, especially when it gets hard.

When Subjects Connect

Hello!

I’ve noticed something kind cool recently. I mean, its not exactly a new concept and I’m hardly the first person to notice it. And I’m not even sure how to articulate it. I’ll do my best.

So have you noticed those moments when you learn a new word and suddenly you notice it everywhere? The most recent example for me was charcuterie (a type of meat/savory plate that often accompanies cheese plates). I learned the word from Binging with Babish’s video about charcuterie and cheese plates which I watched before heading to work. That day I was actually at a Christmas craft show helping advertise the company I work for. I ended up buying food there, specifically a charcuterie box.

It’s kind of like magic. You weren’t aware of something and then suddenly you are and you find it everywhere.

What I noticed recently is something similar though not as pervasive. It only really hits me in the right circumstances.

I’m talking about those moments and times when I’m reading something (usually history though sometimes popular fiction) and can remember bits and pieces. Not magically out of no where, of course. I mean I’ve heard about this subject and am now learning even more about it.

I don’t think I’m being very clear about this so I think I’ll try to clarify through the most common way that this occurs. It’s the Extra History channel (part of Extra Credits) that does this to me the most.

You see, on Extra History, the narrator will discuss a historical event or historical person in a single or, more common, series of five or six animated videos. I find them very interesting to both watch (the animation style can vary depending on the artist) or just listen to. They are very informative but they are necessarily going to be the basic information. Due to the set up of the series which maxes out a series at 6 videos (though sometimes they will do a second series on the same character or multiple series on big historical event like WWII). It’s all about taking really broad concepts or events and consolidating it down into an informative but not cluttered series of videos.

I find these videos fantastic for precisely that. The way they use animation style, the type of narrative, the use of humour in both visual and audio senses. Extra History makes history both interesting and education without being utterly overwhelming.

What’s even better is the fact that they follow each series up with an episode of “[Such and Such]: Lies”. This is a video where they admit to any mistakes they have made. This is so cool because it denotes the fact that these people are willing to admit they are experts in these subjects. They have done their own research and sometimes they misunderstand, don’t know all the details, or sometimes outright just make mistakes and don’t catch them (flags and their colouring through history is a big one here). The Lies video allows them to learn from their own audience and pass that information on.

But the Lies videos have other uses too. If the series has been written by a visiting writer who is an expert in the subject you get introduced to them here. You also get introduced to the sources where the information has been drawn from. And they take time to point out interesting information that didn’t fit in the video due to length or subject matter. Or interesting anecdotes that they haven’t necessarily been able to confirm across multiple sources.

They are a fantastic starting place. And that’s the effect I’ve noticed recently. I did not realize how much these videos have been a starting point for me. The fact that they’ve had to trim down what they can talk about on a subject due to video length they serve as an excellent overview. And then from there you can go nuts.

You can dig into their sources, you can dig into different sources, you can dig into semi-related events or specific people and so much more. They are a starting point that will get you interested and not teach you everything. You have to decide to learn more after that point.

And sometimes you won’t, at least not right away. I haven’t been able to do that in a really long time, to get interested in a specific topic and go crazy (I blame having to do something similar with my thesis meaning I didn’t really want to do it in my down time).

But sometimes you learn something and it sticks with you without realizing. Recently I’ve been reading on the events leading up to the First Crusade, “Infidel Kings & Unholy Warriors” by Brian A. Catlos specifically. And, as I finally arrived at the First Crusade, I found the people sounded familiar and that I recognized certain events that were happening. I was remembering Extra History’s video series on the First Crusade. It was helping even though I hadn’t watched it recently; it was making the topics more recognizable and familiar.

And this doesn’t just happen with Extra History, though that series is very prone to it. But this happens with other texts too. Documentaries, biographies, history texts. They all can start crossing over and reaching out to touch on each other. This is because no event or person can be cut off from society and history in general. You cannot understand Churchill without WWII nor can you consider the Second World War without men like Churchill. Topics bump up against each other all the time.

That’s the hard part for texts about history, philosophy, politics, or even texts about texts. Sometimes people really know where to start but not where to end. Or sometimes they don’t know where to start either because both start and end are actually kind of arbitrary. If you’re writing about Harry Potter then you have to narrow your topic. I looked at the virtues of the Houses as compared to Aristotle. Narrow topic. Except there was so much more I could have said because thoughts and topics connect to each other. At some point you just have to decided: that is not connected ENOUGH to be considered here. And that can effect your beginning too. Say you want to talk about WWII. Well, how much about WWI do you discuss. Because the road to WWII can be followed back to WWI, especially in places like Germany, but you’re not going to have a text of manageable length if you include both WWI and WWII and you can’t necessarily say your text is about WWII if it also considers WWI to any significant degree. People will say its misleading.

Instead you need to pick somewhere to start, somewhere to stop, and what information stays in the main series and what gets delegated to the Lies video, or what doesn’t even get mentioned there and is left to the viewer to dig further on their own.

But when you have the moment where two subjects or mediums connect to each other you can appreciate everything that had to come together to get to that point. It’s someone reaching out and taking your hand, teaching you, showing you something new. It’s fantastic and I hope you get to experience it often!

Little Victories

Hello!

Over this past weekend I’ve really been trying to focus on and celebrate the little victories. I’ve been reminding myself of what I wrote a couple weeks back: how it’s alright to have a good life even if its small. Because the past week has been super good in small ways.

Last Monday I got to go out with a friend, Dan, and see Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse which I absolutely loved. I enjoy the action, the storyline, the characters and how they interacted. I cried a bit, laughed a lot more, and was cheering for Miles by the end of it. This Monday morning Spiderverse has even more reasons to celebrate because it won best Animated Feature and it deserved it!

After the movie the two of us took a bus to get to our separate buses and we talked about a lot of things. About the movie. About how sometimes things don’t work. About how sometimes things work out amazingly. It was a nice way to come down off the post movie high and back into the real world where you can’t be Spiderman but maybe you can be Miles.

I worked for the rest of the week for the most part and when I wasn’t at work, I was working to begin the decluttering process. It’s one of my goals and, overall, I put it in my bullet journal because I’m just tired of being such a consent mess physically and mentally. I figured maybe if I worked at solving the physical mess then maybe that will go a long way to helping solve the mental mess.

So far, I’ve made some progress, but things aren’t perfect. They never will be, I have to keep reminding myself of that. But making progress is important too. I managed to clear some clothes I haven’t been wearing out of my closet and drawers and donate them so, hopefully, other people can use them. I moved my movie collection out of my bedroom bookcase and into the livingroom so that I don’t have to have books two deep on said bookshelf.

My desk is still an absolute mess right now. Like absolutely terrible and covered with just stacks of books I still have to read that do not have room on my bookshelf unless I go two deep again. Like I said, its been about the little victories.

I know what I want to do to make my desk more manageable, but I need the time to go looking for the shelf I need and the luck to find it so, right now, I just need to clear my desk in order to do my work or film. That’s not the worst thing in the world. And really, all of that just comes down to the complaint that I have too many books and for a nerd like me, that’s no complaint at all.

On Saturday Dan and I went out shopping and while I might have added some books to the collection, they were second hand and super cheap. And I actually resisted getting a lot more stuff as we jumped around stores and just walked the aisles. I did pick up a shoe rack for my closet (which makes it look so much better and so much more organized!!) and a new glass water bottle which I really needed. In fact, most of the shopping we did was the adult variety of “these are things we need” rather than “these are things we want” or “these are things we don’t really need”. Knowing that I’m working to declutter my space rather than add more to it certainly helped curb my craving to impulse buy. Having a car to just drop stuff into also meant we could skip getting a bag or two.

Oh yeah! I suppose that’s my biggest victory of all this passed week. On Friday I passed my G1 Exit Road Test. I now have my G2 license. Since I’m over 19 practically every restriction for me is now gone: I don’t need a licensed driver in my car, I can have as many passengers as I have working seatbelts, I can drive any time, and I can now drive on highways! Really, the only restrictions are the seatbelt thing and that I need to have a 0.0 blood alcohol level. Which is duh!

For most of my life I was so scared of driving, so anxious about everything that I just didn’t want to do it. Then I realized that I was hamstringing myself. My parents weren’t going to be around forever to drive me where I wanted to go. And I might not always live someplace with good public transit. There have been a lot of good jobs that I didn’t apply to because one of the requirements was having a driver’s license.

I mean, there are people who can’t drive for a myriad of reasons. One of my best friends will never be able to because she has a lazy eye and thus no depth perception. Her family has never had a reason or the finances to afford a car anyway. But I realized that I’m in the privileged position where I can safely drive a car that my parents have just handed to me. All that has been holding me back was fear.

And I’m tired of being scared.

I want to be able to go and visit Rach. I want to be able to drive Dan and I around as we do some shopping. I want to be able to apply for more jobs and take road trips. I guess I just want the opportunity for more little victories.

I’m feeling reflective today. Sorry, guys, not the nerdiest of posts. Though if you want to nerd-out and you haven’t seen Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse then you need to do it! It’s so good and I’m getting a copy as soon as its released on Blu-ray!

Studio Ghibli and Academic Conversations

Hello!

I’ve been rewatching some Studio Ghibli films recently. I only own a few: Spirited Away, The Cat Returns, Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, and, my newest purchase, Kiki’s Delivery Service.

I couldn’t even tell you which of them is my favorite. I actually had to take all of them out to my mom and turn my back so she could pick one for me. It was Spirited Away.

I cuddled up in my fuzzy housecoat in bed with some cake and chocolate milk (I know, the most adult of adulting) to watch it. It was a lovely evening where I got to recharge my introvert batteries. In reference to last week’s post, I wish I could watch it out in the living room on the big tv but that’s a first world problem at its first worldliest. It was nice to just unwind and not having to worry about getting up the next morning (which set to bring a massive snowstorm into the area too).

And then I started thinking. A bad sign all around.

No, hear me out. I’m a student. I mean, I’m currently a graduated student (Hey! Goal #1 of 19 achieved!) but I like to think I will always be a student for the rest of my life. I’m used to thinking about things in a little more depth. Sometimes it can ruin the enjoyableness of something, especially if my little academic heart is picking out the problematic issues with said media.

However, sometimes I just start enjoying the thing more. And that’s how the Studio Ghibli films have been going for me. Sitting in bed the other night watching Spirited Away I got to thinking about the mirroring aspect happening throughout the movie. How Sen ends up mirroring off Haku and how that leads other characters to mirror off Sen at her best and worst. I literally started writing an essay in my head as I was watching and it was actually kind of fun!

I think I found it really fun because it reminded me of doing something similar while I was still in my B.A. For the last two years of my Bachelor’s degree I was living in an apartment with one of my best friends. Often times we liked to introvert hang out; aka, she and I would enjoy a movie together, or play on our computers in the same room, or read and sew, basically anything where we were just quiet together.

Usually though, after enough quiet time we would get talking. And not like small talk, talking. Like actually talking in depth because we are friends and were both doing our degrees. And the topics could vary wildly from books were reading in class, things that had just discussed in class during the day, or something we found on the internet. Five Nights at Freddy’s because who needs sleep. Or events coming up.

Or a movie we had been watching. That time around it had been Castle in the Sky. My roommate had never seen it and so we lounged in our living room of our second apartment with snacks and watched it on a Friday night.

We spent two hours after the movie talking over the movie and how it reflected some texts we had been discussing in our shared class over the passed month and the passed few years.

It was a fascinating discussion and I miss moments like that. During my MA I was on my own. It was a very small class (of five students including myself) from very different areas of thought and interests. The only other girl in the class had absolutely no interest in literature or media of any sort. She asked me what I was writing before one class one day and I told her that I was writing a series of novels based off of King Arthur. She had no idea who that was and when I began to explain she told me to stop because she just didn’t care.

I felt winded. I was used to talking about the crossover between literature (including movies, television, and music) and its philosophy, its connects to other texts, and its connections to the world and its history.

I was hoping for a discussion like those I used to have.

But I was in a different situation. I wasn’t hanging out with my friends any more discussing whether or not lantern light could be seen through Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak. I wanted discussions about bad fanfiction and bad philosophers and trying to be better writers and thinkers and people.

Instead I got told off because I was trying to engage the lady in a conversation about anything other than politics. Ah, yes, because random conversations about politics never go astray. I learned pretty quickly in that particular class that out of class conversations were going to be limited to small talk quality with everyone except the 70ish year old gentleman working to finish the MA he had started way back in his 20s.

Now adays I use my YouTube and this blog to talk about more and more of this stuff because I miss these discussions that I used to have. I might not be living in the same city as my best friends but we still have some fascinating discussions across text, video, and messenger. And I write papers as I watch movies and have doing it.