Monthly Archives: April 2017

Avid: Things That I Really Love

via Daily Prompt: Avid

I am an avid lover of many, many things. Rather than write separate blog posts about them, I thought I’d share each of the things that I enjoy here.

#1. Anime

Yes, I am a huge fan of anime. I also love cosplaying, but that is a separate post for another time. Anyway, here’s an overview of some of my favorite animes:

Clannad & Clannad: After Story

If you want an anime that is filled with moments that will make you laugh, reminisce, relate to the characters, and bawl like a baby, then this is definitely the one for you. It follows the story of Tomoya Okazaki and Nagisa Furukawa as their relationship develops from friendship, to dating, to marriage. Nagisa is sick all the time, so she and Tomoya have to deal with that and make the best of it. This is a story of love, happiness, school adventures, and sadness all rolled into one. I won’t give anything away, but you definitely need to check this out. In my opinion, this is one of the best animes of all time.

ItaKiss

ItaKiss

ItaKiss, often known as “Itazura Na Kiss” (translates to “Mischevious Kiss” in English), is probably my second favorite anime of all time. This is also a love story, but unlike Clannad, it’s a romantic comedy, rather than a dramatic comedy. The main character, Kotoko, is a bit of a klutz, and she is desperately trying to impress her fellow classmate, Naoki Irie, who happens to be the smartest kid in the class. At first, Naoki (almost always referred to in the series as “Irie-kun”) finds Kotoko annoying, and dismisses her advances altogether. In fact, he’s the character you love to hate, as he can be downright mean to her at times. However, as time progresses, he learns to love her, and it becomes a very cute, very sweet story.

Sword Art Online

SAO

Of course, you can’t forget Sword Art Online. I’ve watched both seasons so far, and I absolutely love it! It’s a combination of The Matrix, The Hunger Games, and many other interesting movies. It’s a futuristic show about a video game that traps players inside of it, and they have to fight to the death to make their way out of it. There’s just one catch: if you die in the game, you die in real life. Can protagonists Kirito and Asuna make it out alive? You’ll have to watch this epic anime to find out.

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex

Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex

Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex is one of the best action/sci-fi animes of its time. First, it borrows from The Matrix, but it is a lot more than that. Cybernetic bodies are becoming more and more prominent, and it is getting to a point where it’s hard to tell who’s the human and who’s the cyborg. The Major (Motoko Kusanagi), is the most prominent character in the show, and she is a member of a classified police force known as Section 8. She goes on top secret missions, collects research, and more. In general, the show is fast-paced and gripping. Definitely a must-watch for all action and sci-fi fans!

#2. Horses

The second thing that I am an avid fan of is horses. Specifically, Arabian horses. I think that they are absolutely the most beautiful horse breed around. I would love to own one some day. As if that’s not enough, I collect Breyer Horses, and I have all kinds of books and movies about horses. Heck, I even like to play horse video games.

#3. Photography

I love photography! Everything about it. I’m an amateur, but I hope to be a professional one day. I’m working on honing my skills, and I feel like I’m getting better all the time. Now to just get a professional camera.

#4. House M.D. and The Office

These are two shows that I could binge-watch all over again. First, you’ve got House M.D., the brilliant, yet extremely unorthodox doctor. No one will fire him, because he’s the best diagnostician in the state of New Jersey. This show is a drama, with lots of romance and emotional moments. If you want a show that is extremely relatable and will make you laugh and cry, often in the same episode, then this is the best show for you.

Motorcycle Details
Seen on allwallpapersfree.blogspot.com

The Office is also an amazing show. This is by far one of my favorites, and I actually watched it before House. I bought the whole series of The Office on DVD, it’s that good. of course, I plan to buy House on DVD/Blu-Ray as well, but that’ll come a bit later. As for the office, it’s a sit-com/drama about life in an office building. You follow the lives of Pam, Angela, Oscar, Kevin, Dwight, Meredith, Phyllis, Stanley, and many others, along with their eccentric boss: Michael Scott. While the show can be inappropriate at times, it is quite funny, and just the thing to watch if you’ve got nothing planned on a weekend, if you want something good to watch, or if you’re looking to watch something while you’re at home sick. Dwight Schrute is by far the best character in the show, though it is the chemistry between Jim and Pam that really makes the show, at least in my opinion.

Dwight Schrute

These are just a few of the things that I am an avid lover of. Who knows? I may post another “avid” post later on.

 

 

Gray Skies Can’t Ruin My Day

via Daily Prompt: Gray

Where I live, the skies are gray quite often. Fortunately, there isn’t really anything going on right now that can cause those skies to ruin my day. I’ve been spending time with friends and family, celebrating different fun events and occasions over the course of this month, and even interviewing for a few jobs. I actually just interviewed for one today that seems extremely promising. In fact, they’re having me come back tomorrow, and I will get to interview with their CEO, who operates out of their location in my city, so I’m hoping that I get offered the job. It would be something that I would really enjoy, the pay is exactly what I had hoped for, there are benefits, paid vacation, major holidays off, and they’re very family-oriented, which is exactly what I’m looking for. They seem like an awesome place to work. I’m super excited, and I hope that I get the job. I’ve been looking for something like this for a while. Fingers crossed that I get it! Is it wishful thinking to hope that I get offered the job on the spot? Probably. They said I probably won’t know for about two weeks until they’ve made their decision, but whether the answer is yes or no, they’ll for sure tell me either way. The interviewer and I had a great conversation today, and it was actually quite fun talking to her. I hope I make as good an impression on the CEO tomorrow, if not better than I already did with the primary interviewer today. Wish me luck!

So in short, the skies may be gray, but in my world, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, life is good, and nothing can get me down! I’ll post updates tomorrow, hopefully, if time permits.

Fallout 4 Meets House M.D.

fallout 4

I’m doing my second play-through of Fallout 4. The first time I did it, I played as a woman, as I am a woman, and I made decisions and responded to characters based on how I would personally make decisions or respond. This time around, I’m doing things a little differently, and having a lot of fun with it in the process. I’m playing as Gregory House, from the show, House M.D. I didn’t get the look of the character exactly right, but since I don’t think you can change your character’s looks once you’ve made them, I guess I’m stuck with it. And hey, making him look as realistic as possible is rather challenging. Hugh Laurie has a rather distinctive look that’s hard to replicate, okay? 😉

Motorcycle Details

So of course, I’m having loads of fun on this second play-through, because I get to think with House’s mind, do what he would do, and respond just like he would respond in almost any situation. It’s pretty great. I’ve got his intelligence stats maxed out, and his perception is almost completely maxed out as well. I know I didn’t assign more than three stars for his charisma, as House doesn’t exactly have the best people skills. All the other categories I assigned various degrees of stars on a whim and have been adjusting them as necessary.

Now, since House walks with a cane, I tried to find a cane early on that I could have him walk with at all times. Didn’t work. I got through quite a few quests with an able-bodied House, simply because I couldn’t find anything that would work. At one point, I found a pool cue that I thought I could use as a cane, but this didn’t work out too well. Then, one day, I got lucky, and while bartering with Percy in Diamond City, I came across this little gem (controls shown in picture are for the PC, I am playing on the PS4):

house cane

I immediately set to work modding it with barbs, as I knew this would make a fine weapon for Dr. House. However, I was still disappointed to discover that I couldn’t simply walk with the cane and also have a weapon in one hand. The cane was my weapon. I really liked using the variety of weapons at my disposal in the game, so I didn’t want to just use the cane all the time. Besides, House would be a ranged weapons user, anyway, he wouldn’t just be up close and personal with his adversary and simply use his cane against them.

So this is my challenge. I am working on utilizing various weapons mods, and I like where I’m going with them so far. Part of me wants to keep using the weapons, and the other part of me wants to force House to rely solely on the cane. I’m looking for reader input here: what do you all think I should do? I know that using only his cane would make the game significantly more challenging, and it would make his character even more realistic, but at the same time, there are just some characters that you can’t easily defeat with a cane. Besides that, there aren’t many mods available for the cane, anyway, and it doesn’t do much damage.

house-md_22691_2

Of course, House’s character in-game uses Med-X on occasion, but I like to keep that to a minimum, as I have a bit of a moral issue with this one. Personally, I was more a fan of house when he got off the Vicodin and was clean for two years than when he was ever on it. I want him to find peace and happiness in the game, and to be that which he never got to be in the show: a man who has love, a family, and hope. Seriously, was anyone else mad at Cuddy when she dumped him? I remember shouting at the TV, “No, Cuddy, why? Now he’s going to go back on Vicodin! Why would you do that?” And while I understood her reasons, I also looked at it this way: she knew he was like that when she started dating him, she promised she wouldn’t try to change him, and that she could deal with his personality. Evidently, she couldn’t, and House knew it all along. I was so mad! I wanted them to be happy together, forever! They were so good together!

Anyway, back to the game. I’m trying to avoid using Med-X except when necessary, which is usually only when he gets a broken leg in the game. I want to get him off the Med-X altogether, though, because, as I said, this is the happy version of House’s life, or at least, it’s going to be. So I may get some Addictol, or simply pay a visit to Dr. Sun the next time I am able to, and stop having him use the Med-X altogether.

Fallout 4_20151108210715

Speaking of House’s happiness, I think I might honestly set him up with Piper. Right now, I have Nick traveling with me as my companion because, well, let’s face it, he can really hold his own in combat. Plus, he’s got the lock picking and hacker perks needed to help you get through when in a jam. On the other hand, since I want nothing but the best for House, I may fast travel back to Diamond City, go get Piper, and then talk with her whenever possible, and travel with her as my companion. I would like to see a Piper/House relationship. I think it would be really sweet.

So where am I at in the game right now? Not very far. I just accepted the quest that Jack Cabot gave to me. I have since left Cabot House, and am headed to the asylum that he told me to go to. However, I keep getting attacked by blood bugs and all kinds of other nasties. After my last run-in with super mutants, I decided I should just come back to the game another day. Fortunately, this was a quest that I didn’t even know of on my last play-through, so this is new for me. I’m doing a lot more exploring in the game than I did on my first time around, and I’m trying not to fast travel unless the place I need to get to is really far away and I have already been there, or if I need emergency supplies in a hurry and need to head back to Diamond City. That seems to be my trading post of choice, for some reason.

So friends, what do you think? Does this play-through do justice to the character of House M.D.? What should I do, what should I stop doing? Does using the cane as my sole weapon work, or should I keep using what I already have, and keep modding whenever possible?

Getting A Chuckle Out of the Little Things

via Daily Prompt: Chuckle

There are many things that will rouse my coworkers’ sense of humor, but it often seems as though many of the things I say and do are things that cause said chuckling. I don’t mind, it’s just part of life, and if it makes people happy, then that’s awesome!

I want to share with you something hilarious that happened a few days ago. I had been nearing my limits of how long I could hold having to pee, as I’d had to go for a while and hadn’t had the opportunity. Everyone was out of the office, so I couldn’t leave, and customers kept coming up and needing things, and so did sales consultants. Finally, my boss and one other person came back in, and I was so happy to see them, because it meant I could finally take a break and go to the bathroom.

Since I didn’t want to be interrupted again and thus forced to hold my pee any longer, I looked at my boss as soon as she walked in and said, “I have to pee, I’ve had to pee for the last two hours,” then walked out the door without waiting for acknowledgement, and scurried off to the bathroom. Fortunately, the bathroom is just around the corner, so it wasn’t too far of a trip.

Apparently, my boss was left standing in the office wondering what the heck just happened, and one of our buyers was coming around the corner and saw me running to the bathroom. I didn’t even see him, so I must have been in a blind frenzy to get to the bathroom undeterred.

Of course, after having a day off, I come back into work, and everyone in the store has heard the story. My boss printed out a document with clipart from the Animaniacs, and the words “I have a potty emergency!!!” She gave it to me, and I got a chuckle out of it. I jokingly said that I should just hold up that sign the next time I needed to go to the bathroom, then walk out. She agreed. She also said, “but you have to say, ‘I have a potty emergency’ in a British accent.” Then she showed me this clip, which inspired the sign she made for me. I thought it was absolutely hilarious.

Everyone in the store had to take turns joking around with me about it, and the story got told at least three more times. In all honesty, I had only said that because I wanted to make it clear that I needed to go to the bathroom before anyone asked me to do anything else, so that was my intent. However, it got taken in a much funnier way, and I’m actually quite glad that I now have something to joke about on an almost daily basis with my coworkers, as I can shout “I have a potty emergency” any time I have to go! 😛

A New, Exciting Update on the Tattoo Situation

This past Friday, I went to the best shop in my town and had a consultation with the owner, who is also the artist I wanted to do my tattoo. He is, in my opinion, the best tattoo artist in town, and his art is very realistic and similar to what I am looking for, which is why I chose him.

I went down there and showed him the design I am thinking of. We discussed pricing, design options, where I want the tattoo, etc. He explained that he would have to make a few changes to it in order to get it all to fit on the back of my right calf without overlapping to the sides or the front too much. I explained that was fine. He said that the type of design that I want is right up his alley, and definitely something that he would love to do, which I figured he would, after seeing his portfolio.

The only issue I have is my pain tolerance. It’s basically zero. I mentioned this to him, and asked what his recommendations were. He asked if I had any tattoos right now, I said, “No, this would be my first.” He then explained that because I am coming into this as my first time, with such a big piece, that I am obviously committed to it, and that alone will help me get through the pain. He said he often sees people who come into the shop wanting smaller pieces, and they aren’t sure about it, and they’re in a lot of pain. But he helped me to believe I can get through the pain, just because of how badly I want the tattoo. He also explained that they do the best they can to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during the tattoo process. Based on my conversation with him, I felt reassured and confident that I had chosen the right shop and the right artist to do the piece that I want, and I know that while it will hurt, it won’t be as bad as I imagined. Plus, he is kind, caring, and professional, which is what I want from a tattoo artist, especially given that this is such a big piece, and since it is my first one. I want it to be perfect, and I know he will be able to get it just right.

Due to how good this particular artist is, he literally has people coming from all over wanting to be tattooed by him. As a result, he is booked farther out than most tattoo artists. He explained that he is booked out for about a year-and-a-half, but will still do my tattoo if I want him to. If I wanted it done sooner, I could get an appointment with another artist who does a similar style of work. I said that waiting is fine, because it gives me time to save up, and because I really want him to do it, as I like his style. He reiterated, too, that this is a piece he would love to do, based on the style and the elements in it. While he and I both agreed that we want to get the whole tattoo done in one sitting (he estimates it will take about four hours), he said that if I wanted to, he could make me two appointments spaced two weeks apart, so I could do the outline one day, then the rest of the tattoo the next day. I agreed to this, and he booked me two appointments. They are both in October 2018. Yes, it’s an 18-month wait, but I don’t care. With how good he is, it’s worth the wait.

I asked the person who actually scheduled the appointment what happens if I do decide to do the whole thing in one day and don’t need the second appointment. He said, “nothing, at that point, it would just become an open day in the artist’s schedule.” Which made me feel good, because I wouldn’t be expected to pay any sort of a cancellation fee if I didn’t need the second appointment. I am going to try to be brave and get the whole thing done in one sitting, if possible, as I am not a patient person, but we shall see how I am feeling pain-wise when the time comes.

After scheduling the appointments, I was told to send in reference photos, along with a description of what I wanted. The artist had told me to send them after making my appointment, but the scheduler said I didn’t have to until the Sunday before my appointment. The next day, I contacted the shop, and they said I could send the email whenever I wanted, as the artist would get it, print it and all the photos out, and put it in my file, then just hold onto it until it came time to draw the design for my tattoo, which would be a few days before the appointment, or even the day of the appointment. So, I happily sent in my idea for the main design, as well as reference photos for ideas on how the rest of it should look (or rather, should look similar to), along with a description of what I want and where.

Originally, I wanted the tattoo to be as close to the original design I had found as possible, but after I thought about it, and after remembering that the artist had mentioned needing to change a few things or at least move them around to get everything to fit the way I want it to, I decided that I don’t want to copy someone else’s design. I want it to look similar, but I want it to be unique, designed just for me. So, I mentioned that in the email. I told the artist that I wanted the tattoo to have a similar style to the main design I sent him, but that he could add or remove components as he saw fit. I told him I wanted him to make me a unique, one-of-a-kind, awesome tattoo! I mentioned that the only parts of the design that I am picky about are the compass as a main focal point, along with the quote that I want. Other than that, he can use the reference photos I sent in just as ideas for inspiration, but beyond that, he can feel free to be as creative as he wants to be with it. I think that was the right call. Now I know for sure that I will have something awesome, and I won’t feel like I’m copying something that someone else has. It will be even more personal, because it will be designed just for me. I’m so excited! I can’t wait!

So, that’s where I’m at right now. My credit card should be paid off this September or October, and once it is, I’m going to start saving up as much cash as possible so that I can pay for this. The tattoo itself will probably cost around $500 or so, and I want to tip him at least $100, as I know the work will be absolutely amazing. I’m thinking of saving up about $1200, just in case it takes longer than expected, or in case I need to use both appointments, and so that I have enough to tip him with. That’ll be what I work on doing once the card is paid off, which shouldn’t be too difficult.

That’s all the updates I have on this adventure for now. My next tattoo-related update won’t be until late 2018, as that’s when my appointment is, but keep reading my blog, as I will have more interesting, non-tattoo-related things to share with you in the coming days!

Jolted Awake

via Daily Prompt: Jolt

This morning, I was jolted awake. I had come out of a dream, my cat was meowing far too early, wanting us to play, and I was not happy. Now, while I was already awake because of this, I wasn’t quite aware of my surroundings yet. Being overly tired, sometimes I think I see things that aren’t really there, or the things that are there look different than what they really are.

The bedroom door was open so the cat could come and go as she pleased, which is fine, that’s normal. I looked over and saw the glowing red light coming from the fish tank out in the living room, and I jumped a little. Why? Well, at the time, I didn’t realize what it was, so it looked like the doorway was filled with a red light, and it was…a little unsettling, to say the least. In reality, it was just the light from the volcano my husband had put in the fish tank a few weeks ago. I hadn’t put my glasses on yet, and just happened to look over that direction and saw the doorway flooded with red light. So yes, it startled me. But I got a little bit of a laugh out of it after I realized what it was.

Shopping in a Timely Manner: The Biggest Ways You Can Help Yourself and Store Associates Everywhere

via Daily Prompt: Timely

Working in retail has taught me many things: namely, what not to do as a customer. One of the biggest things that you should never do as a customer is shop when you are in a hurry. It just creates a huge problem for yourself, the store employees, and everyone involved. Here are a few dos and don’ts when it comes to shopping in a timely manner and not being “that” customer:

Allow Yourself More Time Than You Need, and Set Realistic Expectations

One of the biggest things you should do when shopping, whether that’s grocery shopping, stopping to pick up a snack or small item, or even making a big purchase like a new computer or a car, is to allow yourself significantly more time than you think you will need, especially if you already have an appointment or something planned for later in the day.

If you are planning on buying a car, and you expect the process to take only an hour, you may want to come in when you have more time. Even if you are paying cash, you still have to test drive the car, do some paperwork, etc. On a good day, with cash, you can expect the car buying process to take about an hour from start to finish, but even then, you must prepare for the worst: technical difficulties in the computer system (they happen), your own failure to sign the documents correctly, thus generating reprints (again, it happens), or simply a delay because a manager is taking a few minutes to get another employee what they need. It happens. And planning your car shopping around your schedule is unrealistic if you don’t have realistic expectations. If you know that you have somewhere to be in an hour, don’t come in an hour before that thing. Come in either three to four hours before the event, or come in after the event is over. That way, no one is on a time crunch, and you can be sure you are getting exactly what you want/need, with the best service possible, without stressing out the employees around you.

Even if you are buying something small, like a snack or a CD, you should still go in earlier than you need to. If you are heading to an appointment after you run your errand, try to make your errand for at least two hours before the appointment, if possible. That way, should the computer crash, you get stuck in a long line of people with only one cashier, or the customer in front of you wants to talk to the cashier for a long time, you won’t be late.

Don’t Shop With Less than Half an Hour to Be At Work

While I mentioned above that you should typically allow yourself two to three hours of shopping time in advance of any appointment, there is an exception to this rule. You can shop up to half an hour before you have to be at work, as long as the place that you are shopping at is less than ten minutes away from your place of work. If it’s not, you’re better off waiting to get that item until you get off work, or picking it up on your lunch break, if you’re able to, if it’s truly that important.

At many car dealerships that I’ve been to, I’ve seen people come in with a trade-in vehicle, they want to test drive the car, get financing, sign the paperwork, and be out the door in fifteen minutes, because they have to be to work in fifteen minutes. Ok, if you’re going to do that, come back later. With everything that you’re needing to do, the process is going to take a MINIMUM of forty minutes. Ask the dealership to put a hold on the car for you until you can get off work or have a day off. Just because you see something doesn’t mean you have to buy it right that second. If you want to make sure it will still be there on a day that is more convenient for you to go buy it, ask the store or dealership if you can put a deposit down to hold the item or vehicle. Nine times out of ten, the answer is yes, and many times, it either won’t require a deposit at all, or won’t be a very large deposit. If you do put an item or vehicle on hold, however, please make sure you ask how long the hold is good for. Most stores will only hold items for 24 hours, and most car dealerships will only hold vehicles for a week, so it’s good to know what their policy is so the item doesn’t get returned to inventory and sold out from under you.

Don’t Create A Complex Transaction Or Be A Difficult Customer When On A Time Crunch

When I was a cashier for a big box electronics retailer, we had customers who would come up to the register with over $200 of small items, would ask me to verify the price of every single item as it was being scanned, then wanted to pay with cash, debit card, a gift card, and an in-store coupon. If an item’s price came up higher than what was listed, they would then ask me to go verify the price and correct it. They also would want to price-match an item to one of our competitors, would have no sort of ad with them from said competitor stating the price, so we would then have to look the price up online or call the store to verify inventory and pricing. OR, they would be tax-exempt and not tell us until halfway through the transaction, or would refuse to let us see their ID or credit card as necessary for processing the transaction. Then, of course, there would be some sort of issue with the machine, or the customer would request a manager for something, and then complain because of how long everything was taking, stating, “you know, I do have places to be,” or “can we hurry this along somehow? I have to be to work in X amount of time.” Then for Pete’s sake, please! I can’t stress this enough, if shopping before work or when on a time crunch, keep the amount of complexity in your transaction to a minimum. If you MUST get that price match or extremely expensive item, and you MUST use three or more forms of payment, PLEASE shop when you have more time.

If Making A Big Purchase On A Debit Card, Do it During Normal Business Hours, and Call Ahead to Verify That Your Card Limit is High Enough for This

This is perhaps the one thing that I must stress, because I see it all the time. Whether you are purchasing $2000+ worth of computer products, or if you are trying to pay a down payment on your vehicle, if you’re doing it on a debit card, please do so during normal business hours, if at all possible. It is crucial to keep in mind that, at least in the United States, banks typically close at 5:00 PM, so if you’re shopping after 5:00 PM and making a big purchase, if you have to raise your card limit with your bank to get the transaction to go through, the odds of you being able to reach a representative who can help you are fairly limited.

If you cannot avoid shopping outside of normal business hours, then what you should do while the banks are still open is call and let them know that you will be making a larger-than-normal purchase later in the day. For example, if you typically only spend about $20-$100 per day on your debit card, and you are suddenly making a $500+ transaction, you need to call your bank and have them temporarily raise your daily spending limit. Most debit cards will only allow you to spend about $500-$1000 per day, regardless of how much you actually have in the bank. Therefore, if you know you will be making a big purchase, it is best to call the bank and have it raised at least $200 above what you actually need to spend, that way, you can have confidence that your transaction will go through smoothly, even if you’re purchasing the item at 8:00 at night, and you won’t have to worry about being locked out of your card should you also need to purchase groceries or additional, smaller items, later that night.

Shopping can be a daunting task, and shopping when in a hurry can be frustrating for both customers and employees alike. Should you ever find yourself contemplating shopping in a hurry, please consider the tips mentioned above. If you follow all of these guidelines, everything should go according to plan, and will be stress-free for everyone involved.

 

INFJ: Or, The Quest to Unravel the Mind

via Daily Prompt: Unravel

As previously mentioned, I am an INFJ personality type, which is one of the rarest in the world. Because of my introverted intuition, I quietly observe things that most people don’t even pay attention to. I also make connections in weird ways that other people wouldn’t normally draw connections to. Here are a few examples:

When In Public

When I’m out and about, shopping, at an amusement park, or even driving, I notice small, subtle things that others don’t. One of the biggest things I notice is when someone wants to get over when I am driving. They don’t have their turn signals on, they’re making literally no indication whatsoever that they intend to get over, but I can always tell that they will do so within a few miles–usually, just by the way they hang back or maneuver their car in general. And 90% of the time, I’m right. Also, they typically don’t use their turn signals when they finally do decide to change lanes.

Another thing I do when I’m out in public is notice particular attributes of people or things, or even places. For instance, “that girl in the food court has a Macbook, I want a Macbook, I think I’ll save up and get one.” Or, “hey, look, that guy looks like Jesse Spencer (doctor Chase Cameron from House, M.D.)!” True story, I saw a guy in the mall who looked just like him the other day.

I also observe more subtle things. For instance, if I’m eating in a food court in the mall and someone gets up from their table a few rows down from me, I can see that. I see everything that they do. And I’m not being creepy about it, it’s just me observing. If the same person gets up five times in a row to get a napkin, I notice it and then look for the inevitable mess, or else try to figure out what’s going on. It’s strange, but that’s how we INFJs think.

In Conversation

Another strange way in which I make connections is that when I am having a conversation with someone, I often will relate things that I’ve seen or heard or read to whatever it is we’re talking about. It usually makes sense, but my coworkers in particular often say, “how did you make that connection with what we were talking about?” Or “what does that even have to do with this conversation?” This usually leads to a more in-depth explanation about why I thought it made sense, followed by some pretty strange looks.

One example of this: I don’t remember the conversation at all, but somehow, I went off on a tangent about The Matrix, and in my mind, it perfectly related to what we were talking about. My friends were very confused, but it made sense to me, and I ended up being able to explain it in a way that made sense.

Here’s an even better example of how I’m actually thinking during a conversation:

Coworker #1: “My wife and I went to this really neat shop yesterday. They had all kinds of antiques, many of them pre-Civil-War. It was pretty cool!”

Coworker #2: “Wow! Pre-Civil-War era? That’s cool! What kind of stuff was in there?”

Coworker #1: “Mostly old guns, a few pieces of military insignia, old American flags, stuff like that.”

Me: (In my mind: “Wow, that’s pretty awesome! I’d love to see that! The old guns, the flags, and the military uniforms all sound neat! Oh! You know what else is cool? The movie, Glory, with Denzel Washington, and Matthew Broderick. I wonder if they had anything like what was used in the movie!”)

Me: (Out loud) “That sounds awesome! I really like stuff like that, especially from what I saw in Glory!”

Coworker #1: “What does that have to do with anything?”

Me: “Well, Glory is about the Civil War, I just thought maybe the shop would have some of the stuff similar to what was used in the movie.”

Coworker #2: “You do know that the movie was made just a few years ago, right? And that the Civil War was a few hundred years ago? The stuff they used in the movie is nothing like what was in the antique shop.”

Me: “Well of course it wouldn’t be the same stuff they used in the movie, what I’m getting at is that some of what they used in the movie may have been similar in design to the real thing. I’d like to see it sometime, that’s all.”

These conversations usually end up leaving people confused or thinking that I am reading way too much into something. Which I probably am, but that’s my mind for you.

Well, that about sums it up for today. My mind is WAY too complex to unravel in just a space of a few minutes. However, if you’d like to continue on this journey with me, stick around for some additional blog posts, as there will most likely be plenty more on this subject later.

Blindly Cycling: The Most Terrifying Bicycle Experience of My Life

tunnel
The above photo is an actual picture from the inside of the tunnel I am referencing in this post.

via Daily Prompt: Blindly

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that I attended an alternative middle school with a unique dress code and a different style of learning. What I didn’t tell you was that this middle school was what they call an “expeditionary learning” school. That meant that you didn’t just learn the content in class, take notes and do homework over it–you also had a real, sensory, hands-on experience with the content to help you absorb it better. At least, that was the goal.

I  can’t remember the reason behind us taking this particular field trip, but I remember that we took a bicycling trip on a popular trail in my state. It was the longest bike trail we had, if I remember correctly, with a long tunnel that went on for miles. There was no way to avoid the tunnel, you had to go through it in order to complete the trail. Our school had told us in advance to purchase a lamp for our bikes that could be mounted to the handle bars, as the tunnel was dark. What they didn’t tell us was just how dark it truly was.

The light from outside the tunnel was visible for about 100 feet after entering the tunnel, and then about 100 feet before the end of the tunnel. But the rest of it was pitch darkness. As I mentioned, this tunnel went on for miles. My bike lamp didn’t do anything to help me see at all, I couldn’t even see a foot in front of me with that lamp. Not to mention, it kept spinning around and around on my handle bars and wouldn’t even stay mounted in its proper place. So for me, there was no light at all for the duration of the trip. It would have been better to have a floodlight mounted to my bike, but I don’t think that was really an option. In fact, I probably would have gotten in trouble if I did that.

In addition to the pitch darkness (I literally couldn’t even see my hand in front of my face), the tunnel had trenches on either side of the road. If you weren’t careful, you could fall into them and either harm your bike or potentially injure yourself. So that was a terrifying thought to keep in mind as I was trying to blindly navigate through this tunnel. Then, of course, you had riders trying to pass you on either side as well. I would be riding along, and someone would come up behind me and say, “on your left,” so I’d move over to the right, only to then hear someone say, “on your right!” This pattern continued so frequently that I finally gave up on riding the bike and just started scooting along with my feet, or walking the bike through the tunnel. I had determined that this was ultimately the easiest option, and the one that wouldn’t get me taken out by some unforeseen enemy in the depths of the darkness.

Finally, I reached the end of the tunnel. Let me tell you, there is no feeling so glorious as when you see the literal light at the end of the tunnel. Because of how I was used to riding bikes, I usually would scoot along a few feet on the bike by pushing my feet along the ground, then when I felt balanced enough, I would put my feet on the pedals and ride away. That’s what I was trying to do when I exited the tunnel. A few students were clustered outside the tunnel, waiting for their friends, but we had the option of riding all the way to the other side of the trail if we wanted to, which is what I opted to do. One girl, (whom I did not get along with very well) saw what I was doing and said, “Pedal, Bythnia!” as I was leaving the tunnel. I finally did pedal, but not to satisfy her, and then went about my way.

That was probably one of the most terrifying experiences of my life, and definitely NOT something that I would ever do again. Blind cycling, friends. What a great idea for a group of seventh and eight graders (I was in 8th grade). Huzzah! Fortunately, we all made it through the tunnel and lived to tell about it, but I’m still not sure what the point of that trip was. I don’t even think it related to anything we were learning about in class, to be honest.

The Tenacious Life of the American Kitty

via Daily Prompt: Tenacious

My cat, Saber, is truly something to behold. She’s a sweet (most of the time, when she wants to be) Domestic Shorthair that my husband and I adopted from our local animal shelter in September 2016, when she was just three months old. She’ll be a year old in June, and she’s already gotten so big. Here’s a picture of her:

Saber

While she is sweet and beautiful, she can also be rather…tenacious at times, and I mean that in the most literal sense of the word. A Google search of “tenacious” yields this definition: “tending to keep a firm hold of something; clinging or adhering closely.” And another definition: “not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined.” This is my Saber in a nutshell. She is probably one of the most tenacious felines I have ever met. Let me tell you why:

1. She Literally Holds a Firm Grip

Saber often likes to pounce on my leg and dig her claws in, and occasionally even bite me while doing it. Of course, she’s just trying to play and utilize her hunting skills, but it really hurts! She’s been good about not doing it in the last few weeks, though, at least not on my right side, which is typically her leg of choice. Maybe she knows I’m getting a tattoo there, and that’s why she hasn’t chosen to do this as much. For that, I am grateful, because she really knows how to be aggressive when she wants to play in this manner. Usually a firm, “no!” and picking up her favorite toy and playing with her is enough to get her to stop. Most of the time.

2. She is Persistent about Playtime

Ever met a cat who is absolutely persistent about being played with 24/7? Probably not as persistent as my cat is. When she wants you to play with her, she lets you know by meowing as loud as she can. Her meows often turn into shrieks or screams at times if you aren’t paying attention to her the second that she wants you to. The cutest thing she does, though, is when my husband and I come home from work, she will meow at us and rub up against us until we acknowledge her. I’ve noticed that if I go do something in the apartment before acknowledging Saber after I walk through the door, she will meow, and meow, and meow, and meow, while following me around, until I pet her and say hi to her. But I love this, and think it’s absolutely adorable.

Another way in which Saber is tenaciously persistent about playtime is that she will do things to get your attention–often messy things, to let you know she wants to play. She may unroll the toilet paper, start scratching in her litter box just to see how much litter she can kick out onto the floor (thank heaven for litter mats), drag food out of her food bowl and then bat it all around the bathroom floor, or jump in and out of the bathtub and run back and forth through the house at mach speed. But I love her through it all. She’s cute, and she’s just trying to get a little attention. And I, as a good kitty mommy, am happy to oblige.

3. Speaking of Playtime…She Thinks She’s Our Personal Alarm Clock

Saber has a job in this household, or at least she thinks she does. 🙂 She operates as our personal alarm clock on a daily basis. When she was a very small kitten, she would sleep curled up on my chest most of the night, then would wake up at 4 A.M. and start getting into things. However, she eventually grew out of that and now, she starts out by sleeping on my chest, then migrates to the foot of the bed by morning. She generally likes to wake us up between 6:00 A.M. and 7:00 A.M., which is fine, as we have to work, but she’s persistent! She’ll start chirping, as though she sees a bird, at about 6:15 A.M, which is code for, “Mom and Dad, wake up!” Normally, it’s mostly, “Mom, wake up and play with me!” but she’ll take whoever wakes up first. I try to ignore the chirping until at least 6:30, but this usually results in her pouncing on me and playfully biting me, or she’ll jump up on the bed, lay on my chest, and start batting at my face until I get up and go play with her favorite toy out in the living room. Speaking of toys, want to know what she has chosen as her favorite? It is literally a piece of fleece cut into strips and attached to a string. Similar to this, but slightly larger:

Wand Toy

Yes, my cat is a tenacious little girl, but I love her despite everything. Often, when she and I are relaxing at home on one of my days off, she will curl up on my lap, purr, and fall asleep as I am lying on the couch watching Netflix, Hulu, or playing video games. When she does this, my heart absolutely melts. I love cuddling my kitty and bonding with her, any chance I get.

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the tenacious life of the American kitty. I’m sure if Saber could talk or type, she would add more to this blog post, but that is all that I could come up with for now.

Tricks of the Trade

One last thought that I will leave you with. If you’re looking for some good supplies for your cat, I highly recommend PetSmart. They have quite the selection for cats, both online and in-store. Here are some of the things that I use to keep my kitty happy and healthy, and to also maintain nice, clean, scratch-free (relatively, except for our furniture) living quarters:

  • Whisker City Litter Catcher Cat Mat–This thing has been an absolute life saver for me! At our old apartment, whenever Saber would use the litter box or play in it, she would throw piles of litter everywhere and get it all over the bathroom floor. I actually ruined a vacuum cleaner because I was constantly vacuuming it up all the time. Now that we’ve moved to a larger apartment, we have this litter mat, and it is extremely convenient. Any mess she makes is confined to the mat, and I can just shake it out onto the floor and sweep it up whenever I replace her litter.

 

  • Good Natured Kitten Food–This is the PetSmart brand of cat food, and it is what I am feeding Saber right now. It’s first ingredient is chicken. It’s mostly chicken and vegetables, and has no by-products in it. It’s super healthy, and super affordable! I’ll keep feeding it to her over the course of this month and next month, then when she turns a year old, I’ll switch her over to Good Natured Adult Food. She only likes dry food, but they do also offer wet food for cats and kittens, should you desire this over dry food.

 

  • Tidy Cats Lightweight Cat Litter–This is literally the best cat litter that I have discovered so far. As far as odor control is concerned, I’d probably give it about a seven out of ten, but in terms of effectiveness and weight, I’d give it a ten out of ten. It’s so easy to scoop when cleaning the litter box each day, and because of how lightweight it is, it doesn’t hurt my arms carrying it up to our third-floor apartment, like other types of cat litter do. This is the only cat litter that I will buy, now that I know of its existence (I was using Fresh Step with Febreeze before, which is also good, but very heavy), and will be sad if they ever stop making it.

 

  • Comfort Zone Spray with Feliway–This is one of my favorite cat products so far, and one that I will probably keep using with every cat that I ever have. It has several different functions, all of which are absolutely wonderful. The biggest thing that we use it for is to keep Saber from scratching at our bedroom door when we have to close it, and to keep her from scratching walls in general, or trying to jump up and get at the fish tank (which, thankfully, she hasn’t done, yet). It works like an absolute charm! We also spray it in her carrier a few minutes before we have to take her somewhere, and it calms her down enough to where she will just meow in protest, but won’t frantically try to find a way out of the carrier like she used to when she was younger. This also works as a deterrent for cats to stop urinating in the house, though we have never had to use it for this purpose, as she only did that when she was sick when we first adopted her, then stopped doing it once she got healthy, and has used the litter box ever since with no problems. Therefore, I can’t speak to its effectiveness as a deterrent to urinating, but others say it’s effective. It’s also safe for cats, as it only has two ingredients: Feline facial hormone/pheromone, and ethanol. We have never had any problems in using it, and will continue to use it indefinitely.