My Book List: Some Statistics

Hello!

So, yesterday I took a couple of strolls around the antique market that happens every Sunday in the market square near where I work. I went quickly before work and then after work too, having a lovely conversation with a friend I haven’t seen in a while. It turns out that his girlfriend and I are going to be sharing our PhD program starting September!

Though, I hadn’t expected the conversation I will fully admit that I went looking for cheaper books: markets are a pretty cool place to check and I ended up finding 3 books that I’ve had my eyes out for (paying just $10 for all three combined).

Once I got home, the first thing I did was to add them to my book list. Yes, I have a book list. I mostly have it because the majority of my books are actually in storage since I don’t have the space for the necessary book shelves. The list is on Excel and includes the title of the book, author’s name, category, publishing company, year of publication, and a note as to where the book currently is (A for Apartment and S for Storage). Now, the list isn’t perfect, especially the publication year where I have totally failed to consistently use either the original publication year or the year of that specific edition, but it helps get the job done. The job being to make sure I’m not repurchasing books I already have.

But last night, as I was adding my new books, I realized that the book list can have other uses too! So, as I explored my list, I thought I’d bring you a few statistics!

Number of Books Owned

349! I am just one shy of making 350 which makes me a little sad and also makes me want to run out and get another book but I need to resist that urge!

Largest Category

The list is split into a variety of categories which also aren’t perfect. The largest category is Fiction. In the category section I do make notes of genre (so something will appear like Fiction: Mystery or Fiction: Fantasy) which is why the Fiction category is so broad (130 books). If I were to chop up the section into those sub-categories then the History section (because my Non-Fiction is chopped up) would probably win out with a (measly) 57 books. Man, you can tell I took a lot of literature courses in my university career. Philosophy comes in third with 42 books!

Top 3 Fiction Authors

If I did just top 5 Authors in general then there would be no chance for any one by fiction authors. As much as I’m currently on a non-fiction bent, I tend to buy books based more on subject rather than if I like the author. Fiction authors, well that’s a little different. I tried to predict this a head of time and was pretty confident about my order. Turns out, it was a much closer race than I expected!

  1. Rick Riordan: 15 books

The completed Percy Jackson series, the completed Gods of Olympus series, the complete Magnus Chase trilogy, and the first books in both the Kane Chronicles and the Trials of Apollo.

  1. K. Rowling (and some pennames): 14 books

The completed Harry Potter series, The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Fantastic Beasts (the original little thin book) and the current 4 books in her Robert Galbraith mystery series: CB Strike.

  1. Bernard Cornwall: 13 books

This one leads me to believe that I’ve somehow missed a box of books in the storage unit when I first built the list because there was a trilogy that I SWEAR I owned completely but my list only has the first book. Oh well, maybe I actually borrowed them from the library (my BA summers were mostly just work and library visits) and don’t remember.

Books 2,3,4,6,7,9 and 10 (ouch!) of the Last Kingdom series, The Winter King (first in the Arthur series, seriously I’ve read the other two??), Books 1 and 3 of the Grail Quest series and its follow up 1356, Azincourt, and Fools and Mortals.

Top 3 Playwrights

  1. Shakespeare (of course): 11 plays (and 4 manga versions)
  2. Euripides: 6 plays
  3. IS A TIE!

Sophocles: 3 plays and Aristophanes also at 3.

Top 3 Philosophers

  1. Plato: I own 4 books of Platonic writing but, other than the Republic there are multiple works by Plato 3 of them so Plato wins (about 14 different dialogues??)
  2. ANOTHER TIE!

Aristotle: Not included repeated texts Aristotle comes in at 4 as does Nietzsche! (welcome to the fact that I’ve done a lot of political philosophy in my academic career!)

Top 3 Non-Fiction (not including philosophy)

  1. Joseph Campbell: 4 books

Romance of the Grail, The Power of Myth, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, Myths to Live By. (Did not study this man in school at all, was just curious because he’s name dropped a lot)

  1. ONE LAST TIE!

Thomas Cadhill with 3 (How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Gift of the Jews, and Heretics and Heroes which are all part of his Hinges of History series) .

John Man’s 3 (Saladin, Samurai: The Last Warrior, and Ninja: 1,000 Years of the Shadow Warrior)

Top 3 Books I Own Multiple Copies Of

  1. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics. This is why I had to specify non-repeated books above. I OWN 3 COPIES OF THIS TEXT.
  2. R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I have 2 full sets: one the traditional 3 books, one where each “book” receives its own text as does the appendixes making a box set of 7(?).
  3. K. Rowling’s Philosopher’s Stone of which I have 2 copies, one being the special edition for the 20th anniversary (Hufflepuff colours cause fight me)

Favorite Book

WHY WOULD YOU EVEN ASK ME THAT??!  I CAN’T CHOOSE!!!

On Misleading Book Titles

Hello!

April was a slow reading month for me, but I did manage to slip in two books right at the end of the month: ‘Ghostland’ by Colin Dickey and ‘Arthur and the Kings of Britain’ by Miles Russel. Neither of them was what I had been expecting when I had picked them up but I did enjoy them anyway. In fact, I liked the direction ‘Ghostland’ took so much that I’ve decided to do a quick review of it on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6fNcFG2lZ8

‘Arthur and the Kings of Britain’? Well, like I said: I did enjoy it. I’m just not sure that it was what the title was telling me.

You see, Russel’s text is about Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘The History of the Kings of Britain’. Geoffrey was attempting to write a grand linage for the kings of Britain and thus tries to fit a lot of historical, semi-historical, pseudo-historical, and made-up (?) characters into one long story. There are points where its just lists of names and other times when people just invade Rome a lot, and then, when you hit the Arthurian parts, there is magic and dragons and no one takes this seriously as history, do they???

Most people don’t. But that’s what Russel is trying to address: in reading Geoffrey of Monmouth’s text can you gleam any actual history of the kings of Britain from it? Russel’s answer: yes, if you’re willing to recognize that time mangles a lot of things.

Throughout the whole book Russel takes the time to consider what type of sources Geoffrey could be using and whether we are seeing the ‘mistakes’ in Monmouth’s work repeated in other ‘historical’ texts like Nennius and Bede. There are points where they align for sure: the discussions of the Roman invasion of Britain by Julius Caesar are fascinating because there were likely enough sources, written and oral, that the event ended up being multiplied and both Nennius and Geoffrey end up recording some three different invasions by the Romans rather than the historical two recorded in Caesar’s own written account.

Russel takes the time to differentiate the different styles of writing in the ‘History of the Kings of Britain’ and thus pointing out when Geoffrey is likely using different sources. The narrative is starkly different when all Geoffrey has is a list of names from a family vs. when he more than likely had lost ‘epics’ or ‘praise’ poems to work off of. The difference being which ever Geoffrey recreates: a list of names or a visceral description of certain battles even if he’s willing to skip over far more important ones because his sources probably didn’t describe them.

Russel is also careful to try and pull apart some of the damage that occurred over time and simply resulted in what we have by Geoffrey rather than purposefully done by him: the tendency for duplicated events and the garbling of names over generations and recountings. It’s an absolutely fascinating book, especially if you have had any prior interaction with Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘The History of the Kings of Britain’.

However, from the title of the book I was expecting more on Arthur. ‘Arthur and the Kings of Britain’ tells me that, while the author is exploring Geoffrey of Monmouth’s work, it is done so with the intention of exploring King Arthur. The back hypes this up as well:

“Written in 1136 by Geoffrey of Monmouth the ‘Historia Regum Britanniae’ (‘History of the Kings of Britain’) purported to chronicle the British monarchy from the arrival of the Trojan Brutus, grandson of Aeneas, through to the seventh century AD. The ‘Historia’ was a medieval best-seller and copies spread across the whole of western Europe. It was the first work to outline the story of King Arthur. The ‘Historia’ has long been dismissed as an unreliable piece of medieval propaganda. A new examination of the text, however, shows that it is very much more than that. Miles Russel explains how individual elements can be traced back to the first century BC., a time when Britain was making first contact with Rime. Geoffrey of Monmouth’s skill was to weave these early traditions together with material culled from post-Roman sources in order to create a national epic. In doing so, he also created King Arthur, a composite character whose real origins and context are explained here.”

King Arthur is mentioned twice but, no, the text does not even try to explain the “real origins and context” of the character in any depth. Seriously, for the fact that the back hyped up Arthur and that he’s mentioned in the title of the text, the discussion of Arthur begins on page 259…of 300. It ends on 289, giving us 30 pages, most of which simply recounts what Geoffrey says about Arthur. Geoffrey’s own text, as translated by Michael A. Faletra and published by Broadview, is only 217 pages long with Arthur discussed from 163 to 204 (though Arthur’s death occurs on page 199 and the last 5 pages are the immediate aftermath). Geoffrey devotes more time in a shorter book to Arthur who is only part of his lineage and not mentioned in the title.

I wouldn’t have minded the use of Arthur in the title and on the back if the book had delivered what it said it would: a discussion of the origins of Arthur. Instead, Russel devotes much more time to the origin of previous kings, discussing struck coins, additional sources, and places and names that could fit the context of the history. For Arthur, well Russel recounts the history says that Aurelius, a previous king mentioned by Geoffrey and a person many believe to be the ‘real’ Arthur fought the Battle of Badon (which both Nennius and Geoffrey attribute to Arthur) and that Arthur was probably just an amalgamation of folk tales and actual people. You know, what a lot of people figured. And like I said, its not explained, not to the detail that he explains who Brutus may have been (pages 58-90) or how the, comparatively short, discussion of Leir was likely Llyr/Lir/Ler and may have been a Pagan deity Christianized and connected to Rome through the historic Agrippa (and would go on to be the basis for Shakespeare’s King Lear). Nope, the discussion on Arthur isn’t nearly so in depth or interesting: it’s retreading old ground that many Arthurian scholars have already done.

Which, AGAIN, I would not have minded if Arthur hadn’t been set forward as the focus of the text, which he is not. The entire ‘History of the Kings of Britain’ is. The title would have been far more accurate and informative of the focus of the book would have been ‘Geoffrey and the Kings of Britain’ since the work focuses on Geoffrey’s work, sources, literary goals, and so on. Arthur is coincidental because he’s part of Geoffrey’s linage.

Things like this frustrate me because I understand why they do it. ‘Geoffrey and the Kings of Britain’ isn’t going to draw in the readers because you already have to know Geoffrey and Monmouth as the author of the ‘History of the Kings of Britain’ to understand the title and want to read it. But practically everyone knows who King Arthur is: you don’t even need to give him the title, just include it somewhere nearby and everyone knows who the Arthur in ‘Arthur and the Kings of Britain’ is.

More people are liable to read the book because of the name recognition, sure. But how fair is it to tell someone that they’re going to get a discussion of Arthur through the lens of one of the first historical authors to mention him but what they actually get is a discussion of the author himself and ‘Oh, yeah Arthur’s here – he’s just way in the back over there’? It’s not.

We’ve come to trust titles, especially on non-fiction and literary criticism books. When I pick up a book called ‘The War of the Roses’ I can safely assume it’ll be about the War of the Roses and would, understandably, be upset if it actually discussed Shakespeare because he has a couple of History plays that cover parts of the War of the Roses.

Yes, the back of the book does say we’ll be looking at Geoffrey of Monmouth but it keeps mentioning Arthur too, like he’s going to be the focus. There’s a balancing act and ‘Arthur and the Kings of Britain’ didn’t stay upright in my opinion: I wanted a book about Arthur and that isn’t what I got.

Does enjoying a book anyways erase the fact that I feel like I was tricked into reading it? Not really. I’m just not sure how to avoid this problem in the future.

Musing on Moana

Hello!

I decided to rewatch Moana the other night. It was really nice to know that I could sprawl out on the couch and sing along and not be concerned whether or not I was invading any one else’s space or if they were tired to me rewatching Moana (my mother flat out refused to let me watch it while she was in the apartment). It’s one of my favorite movies for a lot of reasons; not the least of which is Moana coming to the realization that she has a much more active part in the story than just delivering Maui to Te Fiti. Instead, she ends up being the one to return the heart.

This change between the unsuccessful attempt and the successful one has made me realize several things on repeat viewings.

Maui CAN’T be the one to return the heart of Te Fiti because, while he does learn over the course of the movie, he is also the one who caused the damage and trauma in the first place. It’s not usually the abuser or attacker who is ever going to help the victim, especially since the movie explicitly lays out the damaged caused by Maui (though this is much easier to spot on the second viewing). In Tala’s (Moana’s grandmother’s) story which opens the movie she calls Maui “a demi-god of the wind and sea”, something he will be called throughout the movie. It’s one of his defining features, something he and others always call back to. But very shortly after Tala gives him this name, she goes on to talk about the arrival of Te Kā (who is revealed at the end of the movie to be some alternative form of Te Fiti) who Tala names “a demon of earth and fire”. Te Kā (and thus Te Fiti) becomes the very antithesis of Maui the one who assaulted and traumatized her. Te Kā is created out of the violence down to her by Maui and becomes a being that can fight him. And that’s all they end up doing: Maui is constantly fighting Te Kā and never pauses to consider that a non-confrontational approach is best.

Like I said before, Maui does learn throughout the movie, in many ways he comes to respect Moana’s agency and strength. In fact, that lesson is how he becomes most useful in the final scene with Te Kā. After having lost his fishhook but still feeling the need to defend Moana, Maui challenges Te Kā directly with a haka dance. HOWEVER, just before Te Kā strikes Moana holds up the heart of Te Fiti and asks the ocean to let Te Kā come to her. The choice Maui makes to NOT TRY AND INTERFERE FURTHER is the best choice that he can make. He has come to trust Moana enough that he steps away from an active roll and lets Moana face Te Kā despite the “demon” charging Moana like she is a threat.

Maui cannot successfully return the heart of Te Fiti because he caused the damage; he cannot just decide whether or not things are fixed. He can certainly try to make amends: working to return the heart, supporting Moana in her attempts to do so, stepping back and shutting up when necessary and directly apologizing and admitting he was wrong to do what he had done. Again, it is Te Fiti’s choice whether or not she forgives Maui and by her unimpressed look when Maui attempts to avoid a direct apology, she is aware of it. She replaces his fishhook for several reasons: a sign of forgiveness to him, a sign that she is letting go of the trauma for herself, and likely, also that Maui has a tool through which he can continue to improve and make the world a better place. Maui does say that he thinks Te Fiti liked it when he pulled islands out of the sea so that Moana’s people could travel to and habitate them: Maui would be able to help fix the damage he caused a thousand years previous by using his fishhook again – to punish him further would cause further harm so Te Fiti takes the high road.

And what I found most interesting in this last rewatch is that Mona did not expect Te Fiti to do such a thing. Hear me out.

Moana successfully returns the heart of Te Fiti because she takes a step back and recognizes Te Fiti in the form of Te Kā. She recognizes that trauma (the removal of Te Fiti’s heart, her power, her trust) HURTS people, CHANGES them. She sees who Te Kā used to be and understands almost immediately that Te Kā is not the enemy here but the victim. In one of the most beautiful scenes in the movie Moana walks to meet Te Kā head-on, singing softly: “I have crossed the horizon to find you/ I know your name/ They have stolen the heart from inside you/ But this does not define you/ This is not who you are/ You know who you are”.

This song is meaningful in a lot of really interesting ways. The very first two lines connect Moana to Te Fiti/Te Kā  both in the journey she’s made but also in the recognition that Moana can see Te Fiti despite the change in her, despite the damage that’s been caused. And I just love how softly Moana sings the entire thing. Maui tends to shout, to be big and loud but Moana is small and quiet and willing to listen as much as she’s willing to talk.

Going further, Moana also admits that humanity had some roll to play in the trauma done to Te Fiti, she says “They” and Maui has insisted from the get-go that he stole the heart for humans (who never accepted him no matter what he gave them). Moana can see the trial of trauma and abuse that’s created more abusers, even if those abusers can’t necessarily recognize it themselves. But, in reigning Maui in when speaking with Te Fiti later, Moana is still recognizing that the experiences may EXPLAIN Maui’s toxic actions but they do not EXCUSE them. She says something similar to Te Kā when she reminds her “This is not who you are” but then steps back and allows Te Kā her own agency “You know who you are”. That line could easily have been “I know who you are” just like “I know your name” but Moana can’t say that. She can recognize the relationship between them: she can recognize the womanhood in Te Kā despite her anger and hurt, but she cannot FIX that anger and hurt.

Nor does she expect returning the heart will magically make things better. She meets Te Kā face to face, a loving moment mirroring the other female relationships in Moana’s life (with her mother and grandmother) and returns the heart. But when Te Kā transforms back into Te Fiti Moana sounds surprised and in awe. In recognizing Te Kā as part of Te Fiti Moana actually seems to recognize that the trauma Te Fiti/Te Kā faced is part of them, a valid part that isn’t gone just because the heart is returned. An apology and restitution does not make the initial experience vanish or any less valid. If Te Kā remained Te Kā even with her heart, that was something Moana was prepared to accept (because she had accepted Te Kā as she was and allowed her the agency to express herself in spite of the drama and how ugly expressing it looked).

It is Te Fiti’s strength of spirit in accepting Te Kā as part of her but not letting the anger and hurt rule her when she has another choice that really speaks in this moment. Te Fiti makes the choice to work on her healing, even when Moana recognizes that healing fully isn’t possible. She makes the choice to forgive Maui.

I don’t know…all of this just kind of hit me the other night making me excited about a movie I love. You guys get the jumbled result. What can I say except you’re welcome?

Matching Music to Books, Part 2!

Hello!

As I took a look back at my blog I remembered one of my favorite posts to have put together: Matching Music to Books (https://nerdycomplexity.com/2018/09/03/matching-music-to-books/). Since I had so much fun putting it together, I thought I would do a second part and have a little more fun, though its actually pretty hard thought experiment. (I find it helpful for my own writing too). Speaking of my own writing, I started the last music/book post with two songs I connect to my own writing so I ought to do that here.

Last time I did the first two books in the trilogy I’m writing: Wolves Rising, and Eagles’ Flight. So I should finish up the trilogy before I move on. The third book is Crow’s Song, the end of the trilogy and currently only half-finished so I don’t have the firmest grip on what I want it to be. With that in mind, a song that I do find fits what I have on the page currently is “Zombie” (the cover by Bad Wolves specifically): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XaS93WMRQQ

I suppose I did two for my own writing last time so… Now I’m not saying you should always follow a pattern but I’ve already mentioned my other current writing project this year in my 19 Goals for 2019. That project is called When Summer Magic Sleeps and if I had to pick a song for it, I’d go with Panic! at the Disco’s “Dying in LA”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iahWWAr82Q0

-~-~-

Now that I’ve gotten my own music out of the way, let’s get to the main event: books that are not mine!

Let’s start kind of easy on me with and go with Rick Riordan’s novels. Yes, all of them. Well, less all of them and more like I’ve found a song that I think suits the mood of a lot of the novels. While the many series have their comedic moments, you are ready books about literal kids who, thanks to who their parents are, are stuck fighting for their lives. So the song I find that really suits that problem is Celtic Thunder’s “Crow on the Cradle”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j-a0bTNzF4

Going a little more old fashioned but sticking with the mythological stories, I’m going to think about Le Morte D’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. This one’s also probably a cheat because really  a lot of Arthurian tales retread the same ground. I’m picking Malory specifically because it’s one of the older accounts and its focus is on Arthur mostly. I mean a huge portion of the text, especially in the middle, is about different Arthurian knights, but I’m sticking by my choice because Le Morte D’Arthur also gives the story from beginning to end without presenting the Arthurian story in the middle of others (if I could just choose a portion of a story I’d be more likely to pick the Arthurian portions of the Mabinogion for this song choice because its one of the older, older tales). For this one, especially the earlier accounts of Arthur’s life or the early parts of Arthur’s reign, it’s Starset’s “It Has Begun”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZp3Mtn-YsI

Switching up a little bit by getting modern and forcing myself to focus on a single book out of a series, I’m taking a look at The Cuckoo’s Calling, the first C.B. Strike novel by Robert Galbraith. The beginning of this character-driven detective series offers not only an interesting mystery but also sets up some fantastic character interactions between the two leads: Cormoran and Robin that makes you so curious where their relationship may lead. I’m going to have to pick another Panic! At the Disco song, and off the same album too! But, hey, this is my blog and I make up my own rules (though I haven’t actually set up any rules so I’m also not breaking any rules so I’m good??) Because this is the first in the series and the two leads get a peek at what their future could be, I’m going with Panic!’s “High Hopes”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPXIgEAGe4U

Next up is S.E. Hinton’s The Outsider’s. This one was one of my favorite books in high school and, admittedly, its been a while since I’ve had the chance to read it. I’m not even sure if I have a copy in my book collection any more. But the plot is easy enough to remember so I can figure out a musical connection to play up. And this one might sound strange, because the song was specifically made for the soundtrack of an (awful) movie but I still love it none the less. So, here’s a song for Ponyboy’s struggles and continuing on after everything, Rihanna’s “Towards the Sun”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MPQdQd7vY1g

How bout we do one more? Hmm, trying to think of a good book/song combo to finish the second part of the list off. Ahh! Okay, think I have one!

We’ll finish this post with one of C.S. Lewis’ adult fiction books: Till We Have Faces. This is actually a retelling of the Greek tale of Eros (Cupid) and Pysche but focuses on Pysche’s older sister Orual who is convinced that the gods don’t care for humanity. She realizes her mistakes when Pysche is punished for having looked on Eros’ face, something Orual convinced her to do, and Orual comes to realize that it was she, and not the gods, who was bitter. This journey isn’t easy and can actually be hard to read, but I appreciate how Orual struggles and develops throughout the story. I’m going with Natalia Kills’ “Devils Don’t Fly”:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lrFqGoBSBzM

And there we have it. It took me some time and thinking to make this list, but I’m pretty happy with it. Maybe I’ll do a part 3 in a few more months!

Picking My Next Game

So recently I realized just how stressed I am currently feeling. I’ve been trying to pinpoint why I’m feeling so poorly lately but there doesn’t seem to be a single source of the problem. (That would be too easy, right? Solve the source, solve the problem.) Instead, its been a process of trying to limit my stress and answer several smaller problems that have risen along the way.

For example, food. This passed week I’ve been working some longer shifts in the lead up to the start of our season. These shifts haven’t necessarily been particularly stressful for me, things will work out and all I can really do is do my job. However, problems arise when I get home from these shifts. Unless I work a purely opening shift (which is rare) I don’t get home until closer to 6:30 due to timing with buses. That is about an hour later than I was used to when my parents were able to pick me up from work and usually already had food on the go. Now I need to get myself home and fed. And usually I don’t feel like cooking after such a long shift, usually I don’t feel like doing much more than curling up into a ball and doing something to relax. Problem. Solution: yesterday I had the day off and I spent it doing a lot of chores that needed doing; laundry, grocery shopping, and making a large meal with lots of leftovers. Now I can get home after a long shift, or even just a normal closing shift, and be able to eat right away.

I wish other issues were fixed just as easily. My anxiety about the future and my current problems sleeping have yet to present a solution. However, while I ponder those issues, I also get to ponder a nicer question: what video game should I get next.

I mentioned above that I like doing something to relax and entertain me when I get home from a shift. Sometimes that’s reading, sometimes it’s watching a movie or YouTube and sometimes it’s playing some video games. But I’ve played most of my current games to death and they just aren’t holding my attention any more.

I can’t afford to get ten new games when I want something fresh so I have to be careful to choose my next one wisely because its likely the only new game I’m going to get at least for the summer months. So, what do I pick, especially since there’s so many good options?

In my previous post about Me and My Switch I mentioned my interest in trying my hand at Dark Souls. While that’s still on my list it probably isn’t going to be something, I pick up right now. While I’ve very interested in the hinted lore and storyline as well as the customization, but the difficulty might not be what my messy-stressy brain needs right now. Dark Souls is on the list, just not at the top at the moment.

I spotted Detective Pikachu on a store shelf recently. My Switch is the current console I’m mostly paying attention to I do have my 3DS still and Pikachu reminded me that there’s still a whole host of Pokemon games I haven’t had the chance to play. I’m not sure the different style of Let’s Go Pikachu or Eevee is for me, if I feel like breaking away from the regular Pokemon formula I think I’d rather go for Detective Pikachu (especially with the movie coming out??) and I could also pick up one of the main games too; maybe Sun or Moon or I could wait a while and pick up Sword or Shield when they’re released later this year.

Another tempting one is Mario Odyssey. Again, I’ve skipped over a lot of Mario games. My favorite has always been Mario Sunshine and I loved replaying that one. Unfortunately, in all the moves I’m made in my university career Sunshine disappeared somewhere along the lines. If I ever find it again, its surprisingly rare in used game stores, I would grab it in a heart beat, but Mario Odyssey might just be the Mario fix I need. From what I’ve seen of it, it’s a lot more of the open world style Mario game rather than the side-scrolling type and the hat feature seems to be an interesting mechanic to play around with. This one’s pretty high on my list.

I’d add Mario Party to the list too if I didn’t have to pay for additional controllers so that I can throw a literal Mario Party. Maybe a little further into the summer when me and my friends need a party break from work.

I’ve also missed out on a couple of the latest Harvest Moon/Story of Seasons games for the 3DS. I’m still missing Harvest Moon: A Tale of Two Towns, Story of Seasons, and Story of Seasons: A Trio of Towns. I’m leaning towards something like this for the summer game because it’s a little more laid back and relaxing but doesn’t have the real-time mechanic of Animal Crossing that eventually made that series such a chore. The problem is that, much like Sunshine, Story of Season games aren’t the easiest to find outside their initial release window so might not be a viable option for me. With that said, I think the best option I have for my “Working Season” game-pick might just be My Time in Portia. It’s available on Switch via Steam and seems to combine a lot of different styles of the building/farming genre. I’ve heard some mixed things on it but I’d always rather judge for myself so picking up something new could be really fun!

I still haven’t made my full decision yet, it’s actually a pretty hard decision to make when I really get to thinking about it, so I’ll try and remember to let you know what I pick whenever I (finally) make my decision!

Short Story: Theatre Normalcy

Hello!

This week I thought I might give you a short story based on a strange dream I had a while ago. I think my brain has been telling me that it misses theatre work.

~-~-~

“Right, okay. We’ll start with you on stage please. I’d like you to read over…” the director, who had introduced himself as Will, paused and began flipping through the stack of papers he had clipped to the board he was holding.

Ryan scrambled onto the stage, dusted off his pants, and faced Will. His left foot bounced nervously, and he rubbed his hands together.

“I have it here somewhere…maybe we ought to start with your prepared monologue, instead.” Will dropped the ends of the papers and adjusted his glasses. “Yes, let’s do that. Whenever you’re ready.”

Nodding, Ryan swallowed the sudden lump in his throat. “I’ve prepared a speech of Claudius’ from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.”

“Yes, go ahead.” Will continued to stare up toward him from the second row of theater chairs.

“Right, right!” Taking a deep breath, Ryan turned away from the invisible audience, took 10 seconds, then turned back. “O, my offense –”

The lights of the theatre dimmed, flashed, and returned to full power.

Blinking, Ryan glanced around. “O—”

“Anna!” Will yelled over his shoulder, his voice loud, taking advantage of the theatre’s acoustics.

“I saw it! I saw it!” A young woman, bright pink hair stacked into a messy bun high on her head, hurried into the room from a side entrance. “Give me a moment. I’ll figure it out.” She vanished through another side door opposite from where she had entered.

Will looked to Ryan expectantly.

“Right…right.” The lights flickered again, but the director was looking rather bored, so Ryan forged ahead with his monologue.

Throughout the speech Will scribbled some notes, but by the time Ryan was finished he was back to flipping through his papers.

“Good, good. I’ll just find that excerpt from our show and –” He broke off as Anna sprinted back into the room. Without looking up he shot a question over his shoulder, “Find the problem?”

“I sure did!” Anna bolted out the first door she had come through.

Will kept flipping through his clipboard.

Ryan rubbed the toe of his right shoe into the stage flooring.

“Just give me a minute, it’s here some—” Again he stopped as the sound of pounding footsteps heralded Anna’s return. “What is it then?” He still didn’t look up.

“Probably the thing on fire!” Anna rushed passed, holding a fire extinguisher before her as though it was a rifle with bayonet affixed. The door slammed behind her as she disappeared.

“Ah!”  Will’s exclamation made Ryan jump.

Rather than rushing out to help with the fire, however, the director merely removed some sheets from the clip board and held them up. “I’ve found it!”

From the next room Ryan could hear Anna shouting loudly, “Remember PASS. P – pull the pin! A – aim for the source of the fire!”

“Shouldn’t we help her?” Ryan asked, eyeing the door nervously.

Will, coming down the aisle, script in hand, shook his head. “She’s fine.”

“S – Squeeze the trigger!” There was a rushing noise. “S – Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeep!”

“She doesn’t sound fine.”

“That’s how she remains calm. Here you go. I want you to read Antiono for me, if you would. I’ll read Leah’s parts, if I can find another script.” Will handed the sheets over, and started back to his seat, digging through his papers again.

Anna was still yelling “Sweeeeeeeeeep” the next room over.

Clutching the script close to his chest, Ryan contemplated running for the door. “Is this normal?”

“Yep!!” returned the director, rifling through his pages once again.

~-~-~

If you’re wondering, I’m pretty sure in my dream that the director Will had been William Shakespeare in modern times. I couldn’t tell you what was on fire but Will seemed very confident that Anna could handle it despite her screaming.

Sometimes dreams can be weird but this one wasn’t too bad. I didn’t wake up scared, just laughing.

If you’re wondering, the whole PASS thing was actually how I was taught to use a fire extinguisher: it’s pretty easy to remember though getting a broad-enough sweep can be a little hard. Apparently, the hardest thing to remember is that, even if you think you’ve extinguished the fire completely, you should never turn your back to it. Flare-ups can be dangerous so if you try to walk away you should always walk backwards the way you came and be prepared to attempt extinguishing it again.  So, now you know! A story and a lesson (I’m good at this) [I’m really not.]

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!