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Personal

When You Plan to Lose

I’m walking down a local bike path just trying to breathe as the storm rolls in. I have reasons to hope and plenty to worry. We’re going to have a great dinner, focus on Mario multiplayer, and let whatever happens happen—it’s all we can do.

Four years ago I was complacent. I weighed too much, didn’t exercise at all, ate and drank whatever I wanted, and didn’t care about myself all that much. Progress was alright and politics could be put out of mind. Everything would work out in the end.

I remember shaking all election night, from 8pm until I tried to go to bed and beyond. I remember having trouble breathing. The next days, weeks and months were harrowing.

I suppose I got over it eventually. Humans are able to acclimate to even the most negative changes. But an important thing came out of the last four years: a sense of weight to life. To quote Jia Tolentino, “…the way we live is not inevitable at all.”

Since Trump got elected, I’ve: lost 90 pounds; helped my partner learn how to ride a bike and biked hundreds of miles together; fought for multiple salary increases; visited every state park in Florida; experienced therapy and learned a ton of techniques to battle negativity and anxiety; acquired multiple certifications; and for the first time in my life, really started to respect myself—tracking goals, budgeting seriously with my partner, dressing up, and really believing I could do the hard things. And it took Trump’s election to enable all these things by making me realize what I was taking for granted.

During this pandemic I started triaging my belongings in an effort to donate as much as I could. I literally made an inventory in Airtable and marked every item as “keep”, “donate”, or “use and donate.” In the months that followed, I read more books, played more video games, and enjoyed more of my belongings than I ever had in any period prior. It’s all gone and I don’t miss any of it. I enjoyed the things I ditched more than I probably would have if I’d never thought to ditch them in the first place. When I planned to lose something it mattered a lot more to me.

Whatever happens tonight (or this week), let’s not forget what we stand to lose. There is no narrative arc to your life, this country or this world. Our time is limited, and there will never be a better time than now to tackle the things we’re all putting off. It is up to us to treat our lives as finite and valuable no matter how great or terrible things are outside. And if you need any help, drop me a line. 🐾

Categories
Personal Yearly Updates

35

Another year, another birthday blog! This year I decided to ask those that wished me a happy birthday to contribute a writing prompt they’d like me to answer. Special thanks to Alex, Balt, Brian, Camus, Chance, Copper, Dakota, Doobie, Drakon, John, Kyne, Landis, Leeroy, Lokai, Milo, Mitri, Ray, Rosco, Sarge, Sepf, Simia, Soli, Tailsy, Toya, Tugs, and Vic for questions.

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Personal Travel Video

Hiking in a Pandemic

Despite going to the Boone / Blowing Rock area every year for the past few years, we were pretty hesitant this year. With face masks and caution, we ventured up for ~12 days and braved the crowds. With significant rain in the forecast starting at Day 4, we decided to liven it up by shooting a lot of video and trying to document what a weird year of hiking it was. Enjoy!

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Monthly Updates Personal

COVID Town

I started this year dealing with the loss of my grandmother after a wonderful week-long speed-running convention, thinking about how my year was going to shape up. Seven months later and every convention has been canceled, my cousin‘s sudden passing was nothing more than a family text, and I don’t really even remember what it’s like to have office space.

The transition was so sudden. Both my and my partner’s workplaces shut down overnight, and it doesn’t look like there’s any chance we’ll be back at the office in 2020. Our living situation was intended to be temporary, and as such we don’t have one dedicated space for working, much less two. It’s been a challenge transitioning from being very mobile individuals that fed off of the opportunity that mobility provided to being stuck in a small two-story rental with no natural division between work and home.

Emotionally, the pandemic has dialed up the amplitude on an already-jagged rollercoaster of a year: higher peaks, lower lows, and an even larger gulf between how grateful I should be vs. the emotional state I find myself in.

Despite the fear and anxiety of death and sickness, this crisis lit in me a fire of opportunity and possibility. I didn’t expect the situation to last long, so I figured I’d better make the most of it. That fire is now a pile of embers—still hot, but without much fuel, and limited by a difficult struggle with disgust, restlessness, frustration and helplessness. It has been a strange period of golden opportunity and crushing loneliness. Let’s talk about it.

Categories
Gaming

Super Mario Maker World

The “Super World” update for Mario Maker 2 could not have come at a better time. To generate some spice during the COVID-19 lock-down (and as a break from studying for the PMI-ACP), the roomies and I spent May and June building our own Super Worlds and played them together in early July.

It’s nothing too special in a Mario Maker sense, and it’s my first real shot at designing challenging (but not super challenging) levels, but I took it pretty seriously and I’m pretty happy with the results! Enough to make a trailer at least.

Below are screenshots, level codes, and some narrative bits I wrote for each world to read during our livestream. I even wrote this…ridiculous prologue story to set the scene in the hour prior to the stream that you all have the sad privilege to read now. If you want to play the Super World yourself, my Maker ID is: GCG-9QN-TMG

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Gaming Personal Video

Shooting Stars: New Horizons

What happens when you mix the star-struck owl from 2020’s chillest anti-viral videogame with the hottest celestial meme of 2017? Animal Crossing: New Horizons Shooting Stars!

Categories
Personal

Why I Write

This pandemic has taken my mind to a lot of places and other temporary pursuits, so I figured it was time to come back to the trusty ol’ blog and write something about writing to get me back in the groove.


I write because: I cherish the opportunity to be understood. I love sitting down to focus, losing myself in my own head, blocking out the world and recording my thoughts. Writing allows others in, into the details that make me a tangible person when they otherwise can’t, due to distance or time.

I write because: I want to live in other worlds, real and imaginary, through a medium that naturally obscures every other bad thing in my mind with the simplest tools.

I write because: I miss LiveJournal. It was a fascinating look into my friends’ (and potential friends’) lives and was always so rich and full of special, individual details. These days, social media has become a performance medium, and writing trades the public badges of success and performance metrics of faves, likes, and retweets for personal follow-ups with friends.

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Personal

Riders Style

An amazing wing-it style commission I jumped on at the beginning of this whole pandemic mess from the comic artist himself, Dreddstar! I’ve kind of fallen off of the IDW Sonic series since shifting to owning less material stuff, but maybe I should pick it up digitally! There’s just something awesome about having the artwork tangibly for display.

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Personal podcast

Bunker Club

Welcome to Bunker Club! I finally broke down and made a podcast with my partner using our characters, and it only took a worldwide pandemic to do the trick.

Bunker Club

Two furry partners ride out the COVID-19 pandemic together. World updates, coping with the new normal, checking in with friends, staying positive, and supporting each other.

By Radix and Lokai

Seeing all the madness escalate around the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19 fears, we decided to try our paws at doing a podcast that focused on how we and our friends are affected, are coping, and are generally trying to look ahead to a troublesome, uncertain future.

Our first episode, “Roll Call”, we introduce ourselves, discuss our first week in lockdown, call our roommate, and look forward to the weeks and months ahead. We talk about Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Pokemon Mystery Dungeon: Rescue Team DX, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and the double-edged sword of scheduling your time to focus on specific things.

We’re starting small (this is new for us!) but the podcast should be available on most platforms (Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, etc.) in the next few days. Our hope is that this podcast is just one more little pick-me-up for all of you out there stuck at home, dealing with disruptions, or (god forbid) sick.

It would mean the world to us if you gave it a listen and shared it with a friend. We’re all in this together.

Categories
Personal Yearly Updates

Goals for 2020

Happy February friends! True to form, I’m here writing about my 2020 goals a month into the year. But that’s okay! Don’t let small setbacks or mismanaged expectations derail you.

Twenty twenty. It’s been set up as a pivotal year for me, for the country, maybe (probably) for the world. I’m choosing not to let the anxiety of the moment change my perspective on what I want the next ten years to be about: taking chances in exchange for something new and something better.

I want to be something more than the little boy that grew up and lived his whole life in Florida. I owe this swamp a lot and I love many parts of it, but it feels impossible to reconcile how much of the world is out there to explore with how little time I have left, comparatively. How can I spend my whole life in one state? I want to experience seasons. I want close access to deep woods and cold mountains. I want to walk several miles a day most of the year, not just in the Florida winter.

My first steps on this journey started in 2017 with my weight loss goal. It fueled an interest to see more of Florida, to make sure I got out of it what I needed to before leaving. 2018 involved some surprise job opportunities for Rob and me, so we pumped the brakes on leaving to try to enjoy the ride. 2019 finally kicked us into action: we helped a friend buy a house, moved him in, moved in with him, and sold our house. We’ve spent most of the past four months working on improving said house (future post!) and now we’re ready to focus on what’s next.