Big changes, rich memories and a beautiful state. All footage is from Florida and captured on an iPhone or a Mavic Mini. Edited in Premiere as if commissioned to make a music video for the song.
(Tuesday, a few weeks ago)
I had planned to get up around 8:30am but was about two hours late. My watch was tapping my wrist nonstop, but I was dreaming about having a nervous twitch that wouldn’t go away. I texted Rob from bed: “I can’t think of anywhere to go.” I eventually got up, cleaned up my office from where I left it the previous night, ate half a protein bar and snagged a quick shower. I put on a button-down, which usually helps, and eventually left at 11:30am with my iPad and two plush friends.
Daytona could be nice, I thought. About 15 minutes later I hopped on our daily call. I half-listened and un-muted for long enough to say “nothing for me.” I ended up at Wendy’s: a tiny hamburger, four nuggets, and a diet soda while listening to a podcast. I drove out to the beach to a Starbucks I remembered had outdoor seating and beach view but their lot was closed. I parked a half-mile down A1A and walked back to find the lobby closed as well. Ah well, I need some mileage today. Sun feels pretty good, I thought as I walked back, my backpack sealed to my back with sweat. The wind was heavy and smells were everywhere: seafood, salt, smoke, exhaust, seasoning. I texted Rob: “Why am I out here?” Things weren’t bad…they just felt pointless.
Back with the 4th installment in the series! Myst IV: Revelation, a full playthrough with commentary before, during and after about the game’s development, story, puzzles, conclusion, and place in the Myst series.
(I’ve had to play whack-a-mole with the Copyright Claim system, but I eventually gave up after the 4th attempt. It just keeps tagging different parts of the video with Jack Wall’s OST. Sorry for the few edits to remove some BG music in cutscenes.)
Whether laid off and looking or stuck inside for nine months, gaming was critical in helping fill the void for many of us this year. Here are some of my standout experiences of 2020.
Phantasy Star Online Episode I & II (GameCube | 2002): A seminal experience for me in high school with my Dreamcast, PSO has continued to be an alluring, simple hum of a grind that relaxes me almost 20 years later. The household and I started new characters and I personally pumped over 160 hours into this classic this year. Our characters as of writing: a 110 HUcast, a 99 RAmarl, a 91 FOnewm, and our guest character, a 26 RAcast.
Join me for a full playthrough of the early-2000s Presto Studios adventure game, Myst III: Exile! I also discuss the game’s development and reception, and try my best to explain the story and puzzle solutions as I go.
Despite being one of my favorite game series ever, I dropped off the series after Exile. In an attempt to get back on and get some motivation to see through Myst 4 (and maybe Uru and 5) before mainlining Obduction, I wanted to revisit the first three games and share my thoughts in some form. Three years later and I’ve finally completed that self-imposed obligation! On to Myst 4!
In mid 2019, our friend Erik was nearing the end of his lease in downtown Orlando and was scoping out houses closer to work north of the city. Meanwhile, we were sitting on a house we were kind of bored with, seeing that it had appreciated 40% in value while staring down an upcoming roof replacement. We hatched an idea: what if Erik bought a house big enough for the three of us? Then we could sell our house and use the opportunity to shake off the boredom and prepare to move permanently out of Florida. Sounds exciting!
This is a visual story of how we found that house, fought through the upgrades and moves, and made it something workable to ride out the pandemic in. And mostly because I just love a good before-and-after gallery. 🙂
Why am I an internet raccoon? It’s both a simple answer and the story of my entire development as a person.
I have always had a wild imagination and been fascinated with expressive fantasy. Secret magic, fantastic worlds, cartoon melodrama, unlimited possibilities. Emphasis on cartoons—I loved cartoons. It started as early as I can remember. I remember being absolutely enthralled with an episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—the one where Mikey turns into a human—in daycare at age 4. I was also obsessed with Disney’s Pinocchio in preschool, even winning a costume contest as the puppet in my mom’s labor-of-love makeshift outfit.
I received an NES for Christmas around age 5 and took to it like a duck to water. My kindergarten journals are stuffed with drawings and references to Mario and Mega Man. In early elementary school I wrote Mega Man fan fiction on the classroom’s Apple 2. I remember poring over laminated pages of old Nintendo Power issues for whole library periods. Games back then held tantalizing secrets that were only traded on the playground and I would often daydream about all the possibilities. I wanted to be a robot like Mega Man or (eventually) a badass like Sonic so badly.
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. 🐾
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.
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!