My Sister Has a Blog!

I’m very excited to share with you all that my sister has made a blog!

She and a friend of hers started a travel blog called “Oh, hey sis! Oasis!” and it covers cool spots to visit in the Southwestern states. I have a pitiful “Travel” section to my blog, but you can bet your buttons theirs will be absolutely above-average in comparison.

Both my sister and her friend have unique voices in writing, and the locales they visit are off-the-beaten-path types of spots.

In honor of their efforts (and as a kind of filler post because work is being just a tad overwhelming right now), I thought I would dedicate this post to directing anyone who reads my stuff to theirs. They really are cool writers and their website is a thing of beauty.

Go check it out and give them an Above Average hello!

Revisiting the Major Suckage of Twilight with Good Humor: Midnight Sun Review

Okay, feel free to make fun of me for going out of my way to buy Midnight Sun as soon as it came out. But let me just remind you that I have proven to have fairly discerning literary tastes over the course of this blog (I hope), so if I want to go through the book equivalent of discount sugary cereal, I am totally within my rights.

Besides, Midnight Sun was one of the most hilarious things I’ve read in a while. I think I cackled more than a hundred times over the course of reading the whole thing.

For those of you who don’t know, Midnight Sun is just the latest installment in the infamous Twilight franchise. However, instead of covering new territory, it retreads the same ground as the original book. This time, instead of reading through the story from the human girl’s perspective, Midnight Sun gives us a tour of the same story through the eyes of the vampire boy.

Or should I say man, since the dude is over a hundred years old at this point?

When I found out the plot of Stephanie Meyer’s latest book, I knew I had to get my hands on it. I mean, it sounded like comedy gold. And I was not wrong.

Just in case you’ve never read Twilight, here is a brief summary.

  1. Human Bella moves to a new place to live with her father very grudgingly and falls in love with an elderly vampire who lives there too, named Edward.
  2. The two of them spend a lot of time talking and trying to overcome the biggest obstacles in their relationship, one of which is the fact that Edward wants to eat her (and not in a fun way or anything like that he seriously wants to fucking kill her and drink her blood).
  3. Bella’s life gets put in danger because obviously she’s chilling with vampires on a regular basis and that’s not good.
  4. After a harrowing experience where she nearly dies but Edward saves her, the two of them go to prom.

Yeah, that’s seriously the story.

And Midnight Sun is the exact same plot as told by Edward.

I’m going to be completely honest, there were some good parts to the novel. For example, Edward is a special vampire that possesses telepathy. In Twilight, when you’re reading from Bella’s perspective, Edward either tells her what he senses from other people’s minds, or Bella has to make educated and convenient guesses as to what he’s “hearing” based on his expressions.

In Midnight Sun, we get it from the horse’s mouth. And I’m a total sucker for telepathy in books. Stephanie Meyer does a good job detailing what it’s like to hear people’s thoughts, so any time that happens, it’s an ameliorating experience.

One of Edward’s vampire siblings, Alice, has the ability to see into the future, and that too is also fun to read about.

However, one of the best things about reading Midnight Sun is for those cringey moments you remember from the first book. They are made even more cringey (and thus more hilarious) in this one.

I remember when I first read Twilight, I always thought Bella came across as an insanely selfish person who was constantly directly characterized as being selfless. For instance, she makes the move to live with her dad as a bit of a sacrifice play to help her mom out. However, her treatment of her father is nothing short of abysmal. She looks at him as an annoyance and often does not seem to stop and consider how he might feel about things.

She also treats purported friends as hindrances. Other people are stepping stones to get to what she wants. Aside from Edward, she never goes out of her way to think about what another person might be feeling.

But in Midnight Sun, we now have Edward coming along, showcasing left and right how he believes Bella is a phenomenally generous and giving person.

I don’t buy it.

Another thing that sucks but is funny is how the book maintains that incredibly unhealthy notion that you can find your one true love in a matter of months and then think it is okay to die for them. Or to be absolutely devastated if they leave you. I mean, don’t you think you shouldn’t necessarily base your life around another person? Shouldn’t your happiness stem from yourself?

The book also does a poor job of trying to explain plot holes that are apparent in the first. When Bella’s life is in danger, the vampires have to take a car to get to her, but one of the things we are frequently shown in every novel in the series is that vampires can move faster than a human can see. Even if it is daytime and they might sparkle if they stepped outside, you would think Edward and his family could have super-speeded to go rescue Bella without anyone noticing.

In my opinion though, the most hilarious thing about Midnight Sun is how it seeks to pull back from some of the troublesome content it included in Twilight.

As a pseudo-erotic young adult novel, there are moments in Twilight that play into these dominant-submissive stereotypes. However, if these moments were to occur in real life, they would come across as some severely messed-up behavior. Edward stalks Bella and watches her sleep at night without her knowing. Edward tries to control Bella’s actions, even going so far as to physically man-handle her to prevent her from doing things he doesn’t want her to do. He also has a tendency to order Bella to do things he does want her to do, no pleases or thank yous.

None of these things sit well with me given the context of the novel.

And how does Midnight Sun seek to rectify these mistakes?

By giving Edward intense anxiety in his inner monologues.

Every time he says something that could be seen as problematic, he instantly second-guesses and berates himself in his mind for doing so.

This is absolutely side-splitting to read.

One second Edward is displaying a terrible temper to Bella, the next he’s mentally horrorstruck at his own audacity.

I got whiplash reading Midnight Sun trying to keep up with Edward’s mood swings.

Now, as my totally Above Average readers, you’re probably wondering whether or not you should buy this book. I’ve simultaneously bashed and praised it in equal measure. Therefore, I have constructed a guide to help you determine whether or not you should pick up Midnight Sun the next time you’re in a bookstore.

Loved ItHated It
If You Have Never Read TwilightIf you have never read Twilight, but you think you might like the type of hilarity I’ve described, I’d recommend reading Midnight Sun only if you read Twilight first.If you have never read Twilight and loathe the notion of the story, don’t pick up Midnight Sun. You will hate it.
If You Have Read TwilightThere should be enough in Midnight Sun for you to love if you are a hardcore Twilight fan. Go right ahead.Pick up Midnight Sun only if you plan to read it with good humor and wish to really poke fun at how hilariously bad the first book truly is.

I don’t mean to bash on you if you do enjoy Twilight by the way. Everyone can like whatever they want. You’ll get no judgment from me if you like to immerse yourself in the series. My personal opinion is that the story is pretty flawed, but clearly I still draw enjoyment from it.

So in all seriousness, Midnight Sun builds on the strengths of Stephanie Meyer’s writing style, but that also means it falters when it rests on the foundational weaknesses of her first book in the series.

I rate Midnight Sun an absolute-riot.

Am I Giving Up on Writing?

Lately, I’ve been feeling flooded with guilt over not giving my creative writing a lot of attention. My work has essentially overwhelmed my time. Any time that I don’t spend working, I have to admit, I’m trying to squeeze some relaxation out of it.

At this point in time, I have a minimum of three creative projects that I have on hold. (I struggle with committing to only one of them.) When I am done with my work, I could devote my attention to any one of them.

But I don’t.

I just get so tired after working, and I already spend all of my time in front of my computer for work, that spending any extra amount of time here just feels exhausting.

I keep trying to wring just an ounce of passion from my brain in the evenings. I tell myself that a true writer would just bite the bullet and power through these projects. Would ignore any and all feelings of tiredness in order to pour forth some of those creative juices. This drive to write should carry me past my fatigue.

I mean, whenever I’m asked to provide a short bio (for work of for social media) my go-to response is that “I like to read, write, and play video games, and that’s all there is to me.”

And writing feels like it’s getting the short straw.

But that’s just guilt and inadequacy talking.

The truth is, I write every goddamn day, be it for this blog, errant thoughts, or even work.

I write a hell of a lot for work.

I forget how much I work with words for my job. Not a day goes by when I’m not fixing up a sentence, editing an article, writing my own things, or proofreading an essay.

I’m not going to give up on any of my creative writing projects, but I really should stop feeling guilty about not working on them all on the time.

I’m living up to my bio. I am writing every day.

I am not losing any skills due to lack of honing.

Besides, I’m really trying to practice this YOLO-esque lifestyle. I mean, I’m not looking to take up bungie-jumping, but I do want to enjoy the little things in life instead of bemoaning things I haven’t done yet. I’m happy with what I do. And that’s all I really need.

A Short Trip to My Sister

If I could only pick one thing that the pandemic has outrageously stolen from me, I’d say it was time with my sister. Normally, during an average year, I spend months with my sister. Our time spent together during this past year can be counted using days as a metric.

A few days ago, my mother and I planned to go visit my sister. For a single weekend. That’s a ten-hour drive there and back again.

And to make matters more difficult, work was a killer the week before we were set to go. It was a veritable hell week. I was working from 8 in the morning to 7 at night; I was glued to my laptop at practically all hours of the day. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the work.

But oofs, I was burning up.

The Friday before we were set to leave, I woke up especially early to get the final bits of my work completed before the weekend. I was running on about 5 hours of sleep.

As soon as I was done, my mother and I packed ourselves into a rental car and drove over to my sister’s.

When we got there, Alya had creamy tomato soup and bread pieces waiting for us. We ate it outside on her back patio, which is easily one of the best back patios I’ve ever had the privilege to relax in.

I also got to see Ushi again!

I have missed her so much! And not being able to see her as much during the pandemic has gutted me. She’s getting a bit up there in doggie years, and it feels like the pandemic stole my time with her too.

Plus, look at that face!

After eating soup, my sister and I sang some Beatles songs together just for the heck of it, and we stayed up past midnight talking and asking each other questions. It was easily one of the best nights of my life.

I had a bit of a troubled sleep later on though, since not only had I been drinking coffee during my convo with Alya, but the pillows in the guest room are squishier than I’m used to.

I woke up to Ushi and more coffee, which made me feel better.

That morning, my mother, my sister, her husband, and I decided to take Ushi to both PetSmart and Petco. We let her pick out toys she wanted, bought her a water bowl that she actually needed, and selected some choice bones for her monching pleasure.

We went back to Alya’s house, and we gorged on Hot Cheetos Puffs while watching Muppet Treasure Island. It’s a movie we used to watch all the time as kids, and it’s only gotten better over the years.

We ordered in Chinese food for dinner and stuffed ourselves some more. Then we went to bed.

I slept terribly once again, and before the sun was even up, my mom was brightly telling me it was time to go. (At this point, I think I’ve only slept 6 hours in total while at Alya’s house.)

And just like that we were gone.

But it was worth it.

It was an incredibly short visit, so much so that it reminded me and Alya of the long ones I used to make. It sharpened our need to hang out with each other, so we’re currently planning a lengthier trip. Alya already has the vaccine since she is a teacher, and I’m in a damn-the-consequences-I-want-to-be-with-my-sister kind of mood.

She’s the one person who knows me inside and out, and you should always want to spend time with people who get you like that.

I think I passed out for the whole day after I came back. But even with practically no sleep under my belt, I’d do it all again to be with Alya.

It’s My Three-Year Anniversary!

WordPress has once again kindly reminded me that another year has gone by since I started this blog.

It’s kind of shocking to think so much time has gone by.

God, I’m getting old.

Have things changed much here since I started? Don’t know. I mean, I think I’m more comfortable saying “blog” now. That’s…improvement. Right?

All I know for sure is that since it’s my three-year anniversary, I’m going to treat myself today. I’m going to walk to Rite-Aid, get some Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, and listen to tunes while I go back home.

And then I’ll probably outline and schedule my next blog post.

You know how it is.

Can I Just Say I Have the Best Coworkers Ever?

As anybody who has worked as a freelancer can tell you, it’s not easy to make friends with people you work with.

Time spent freelancing for people feels fairly transient, so you don’t always have the opportunity to form bonds with your coworkers. It is definitely not like a traditional workspace.

For the longest time, I felt a little left out of conversations between my mother and my sister. The two of them could talk for ages about the comings and goings of their fellow teachers. Since they have similar career paths, the two of them could chat about every aspect of their work under the sun and not miss a beat.

But if I tried to reminisce about a particularly tough day at work when the internet refused to cooperate or a program was acting wonky, they’d give me oh-that-sucks murmurings, and then return to a conversation topic they were more familiar with.

However, at this point, I have been writing and editing for TheGamer and GameRant for years, and I’m so happy to say I’ve established bonds and shared experiences with the people who work alongside me there.

Honestly, this is the best group of people I’ve ever worked with.

When I first started out, I was so hesitant about talking to anyone in our Slack channel (think Discord but more work-oriented), but these days, I’m joking with everybody (or trying to) on a near daily basis.

It has been an absolutely friendly work environment, and I’ve gotten to know fellow editors and writers in this workspace I would never have met otherwise.

Side note: I even have a dedicated gaming night between me and one of my coworkers. I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned this before.

It’s been a lot of fun, and even though I worry about my job security (something every freelancer has worried about at some point in time), I know that the friendships I’ve made will extend beyond my time there.

Anywaysies, I’m feeling lucky and grateful to have had this job for so long, and I just wanted to gush about it today.

Putting Control Down For a Bit

I hate writing this. It makes me feel ashamed of myself.

But if there’s anything this bloggy thingamabob has shown me, it’s that posting stuff that paints me as Below Average is par for the course.

So I’ve been playing Remedy Entertainment’s Control for a bit, and after some immense struggles, I’m going to put it on the shelf.

That’s right.

I’m giving up on it for now.

There are several factors that have made me decide to stop playing Control, and you should all know that I’m embarrassed and frustrated by all of them. And it was only after an explosive outburst with the boyfriend that I realized I really should not play something that puts me in such a negative headspace.

So here we go…

1. Performance Issues

This is easily the most understandable and swallowable (in terms of my pride) reason to put a game down. Control is not the most demanding game I’ve ever played, but holy hell, it is just not playing as it should on my Xbox One S.

Side note: I really should get a Series X. I just have to, you know, find a store that has one available.

When you play as Jesse Faden, you have some pretty cool super powers at your disposal. You can fly, grab chunks from the wall, and hurl them at people with your telekinesis. And no part of the environment is safe from this. I can point at a random wall and Launch portions of it at enemies.

But see, when I do that, everything on my screen slows down. It lags to the umpteenth degree. And the game suffers from an uncommon amount of blurriness during combat sequences.

There’s a voice in my head that berates me for leaving Control for this reason anyway, saying that I stuck through all of Ori and the Will of the Wisps’ issues. Why not fight my way through Control?

2. The Guns Are No Fun

Actually, that’s a lie. The different gun types in Control are all awesome.

But apparently, their damage output is nothing compared to your Launch ability.

Over time, I’ve learned that to do any real damage to enemies, using Launch to telekinetically toss shit at people is the most efficient way of dealing with combat.

And it’s like, why give me all these cool Service Weapons to use if the game seems geared toward ignoring them?

The voice in my head just scoffs and says this is a baby-poo-poo reason to give up.

3. I’m an Utter Failure When It Comes To Launching Things

To Launch an object at someone, you have to look at it, press a button, have whatever it is zoom toward Jesse Faden’s hand, and then release the button to have her throw it.

During boss encounters, I just couldn’t tell whether or not I was highlighting and grabbing the projectiles they chucked my way to use against them. So I’d hold the button to grab onto it, wait for it to zoom to Jesse’s hand, and then be dismayed when it turned out I hadn’t grabbed onto the projectile, it was just making its destined beeline toward me and eliminating all of my health.

And using Launch, as I’ve stated before, just demolishes the frame rate of the game.

The voice in my head just tells me to git gud.

4. Interrupting Side Missions

I love doing side missions in games. They’re fun. Red Dead Redemption kept me so distracted, I ignored the main storyline for far longer than I should have.

I hate the side missions in Control. The main story in Control is actually riveting, but these occasional alerts will crop up that completely halt the flow of the gameplay.

And what’s even worse, the first time an alert showed up and I went to go tackle it, I died almost instantly and that was it. No opportunity to do it again. It disappeared from my mission log entirely.

These alerts are just combat scenarios you’re supposed to take on within a set amount of time with almost no relation to the story.

The voice in my head is telling me I’m a wuss puss.

5. I Don’t Know How It Wants Me To Play

Normally when I play a game, I learn fairly quickly what playstyle the game wants me to adopt. When I first played Doom (2016), I learned early on that moving was key to survival. Whenever I got placed in combat, I knew I was supposed to run around the arenas while shooting demons because doing otherwise was death. Movement was key.

In any Gears of War game, I knew that taking cover was a vital aspect of gameplay.

In Risk of Rain 2, I learned that balancing my items was important for later stages down the road.

I don’t know what the fuck Control wants from me.

At first I thought it would want me to take cover, especially given how squishy Jesse’s health bar is. But two things make that blatantly untrue. For one thing, Jesse is given a lot of mobility powers, which indicates that the game wants you to use them. For another, enemies drop little health beads when they’re downed, and you have to run over them to collect them. That means if Jesse gets hurt, it behooves her to get closer to foes.

But when I tried rushing into rooms and diving into combat, I was quickly overwhelmed by enemies I didn’t even see. I would get surrounded and annihilated.

The voice in my head is asking me if I’m just stupid.

6. It’s Too Easy To Die and So Hard To Get Back

I bet Soulsborne fans are rolling their eyes at this one. Yeah, I’m being a major whiner right now. You can mock me in the comments.

When Jesse gets hit, her health takes a nosedive. And it’s hard to recover that health aside from killing a few enemies and rushing at their corpses to try to pick up that health confetti they drop.

And when you die, you have to sit through one long-ass loading screen before the game deposits you at your last save point (called a Control point). These Control points are often not even close to where you died.

Side note: Huh, this really is sounding like a Soulsborne game.

So if there’s a boss fight that is giving you trouble, and the Control point preceding it is far away, expect to make the arduous jog to that fight multiple times, complete with an annoying loading screen. This can get especially irksome if, let’s say, the boss fight takes place over a giant chasm, and in your eagerness to start the fight again you time your flight over it a little poorly, and that one fall sets you back to the beginning before you even had a chance to ineffectually Launch something at the boss.

The voice in my head isn’t saying anything so much as he’s just staring at me in judgment.

So there you have it. I’m putting Control down.

And I’m feeling utterly humiliated by that fact.

Volatile Voyages: Sea of Thieves Review

During my neverending quest to play through all the titles on Xbox Game Pass that I can, I came across Sea of Thieves. My coworker buddy and I were both pumped for trying it out because who doesn’t want to be a pirate?

Side note: I really should ask him if I have permission to use his name here. But I keep forgetting/chickening out.

Now, I have never played Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag, so Sea of Thieves was actually the first game I played that involved using a ship and sailing.

Nothing but excitement and anticipation filled my body as my coworker friend and I booted up and got ready to sail the seas.

And after several hours of adventure, mishaps, and extensive fishing, I know exactly what to say to people who ask me what Sea of Thieves is like.

It’s okay.

That’s it.

Sea of Thieves possesses a fairly shallow gameplay loop, so long-term replayability does not sit well with me. But those initial hours of exploring the world with a crew of your friends are undeniably fun and exciting.

The game starts off with a short tutorial that you must complete solo, but afterwards, you and three other friends can comprise a crew together. There are three different kinds of ships you and your friends can use: the Sloop, the Brigantine, and the Galleon.

Their layouts are similar, with most of the differences contingent on the increase or decrease in size between each. The Sloop is the smallest and can comfortably fit two players. The Galleon is the largest, and if two people tried to run that boat, they’re asking for trouble. Between running below decks to plug leaks and running back up to lower the anchor, every voyage would be a marathon.

Once you have a crew assembled, you can go on quests together, and one of Sea of Thieves’ problems is that these are all essentially fetch quests.

There are three types of quests available at the time of this writing. You can either receive a map of an island with some buried treasure to dig up and deliver to somebody, a bounty on some evil skeletons that you have to defeat in combat and deliver their skulls to somebody else, or a commission to transport goods from one person to another.

As you can see, a game comprised entirely of this can get fatiguing as you shuttle back and forth as a glorified deliveryman.

There are a few events scattered throughout the world, and I assume these are updated regularly, but they’re still pretty much the same. Fight off bad guys, take their loot, and deliver it.

On the bright side, your pirate is fully customizable. You can purchase different skins for your equipment, weapons, instruments, and more.

Sailing your ship is honestly the most exciting aspect of Sea of Thieves. It looks and feels like what I would imagine sailing an actual ship would look and feel like.

And the water.

My god.

I have never seen an ocean look so good in a video game. The waves pushing past your ship are so enticing, it makes you want to jump overboard just to be closer to them. Graphically, the sea is absolutely stunning.

One person can manage to sail around in Sea of Thieves, but it’s far easier and more enjoyable with at least two. You can take turns standing by the helm, adjusting the sails to catch the breeze, perching in the crow’s nest to keep an eye out for ships, examining the map below decks, or playing your hurdy-gurdy non-stop to maintain some mood music.

Side note: Oh, yeah. Sea of Thieves lets you play music on instruments you just have in your equipment wheel. When you and other players pull out the instrument of your choice and start playing, the music automatically harmonizes.

While sailing the expansive ocean, you’ll notice that the atmosphere changes depending on what portion of the sea you’re sailing on. For example, one area features sparkling sea-green water, with relatively clear skies, while another area to the south contains choppy, grey waters with stormy skies almost constantly. It’s a cool way to keep the generally static environment of an ocean feeling fresh.

While you’re sailing from point A to point B, several things can happen that shoot some excitement into an otherwise relaxing endeavor. Other player ships can appear on the horizon, causing the two crews to wonder if you’ll attack each other or just sail right by, ignoring each other. There are also monstrous sea beasts, like a giant shark and a kraken, that can attack your ship. These creatures are cued by threatening music, and the kraken is usually heralded by a sudden staining of the ocean from blue to utter black.

Peppered across the sea are small islands, and it’s here that you can pick up items, find those skeletons for your bounties, and dig up treasure. Though the occasional fortress or odd cave might differentiate these islands from each other, they feel largely similar. The activities you can do on each island are also the same. You can fish, fight, dig, or collect small animals that inhabit these lonely specks in an interminable ocean.

Sea of Thieves’ biggest flaw is its complete lack of an end goal. The only end goal I can see deriving from Sea of Thieves is earning enough money to pay for your favorite paint jobs. That’s it. And if customization is a game’s sole objective instead of just a side perk, you’re going to have a tough time drawing in and keeping players invested. There is no demonstrable story to find, and your character’s skills cannot be upgraded. Personally, aside from unlocking every parrot-themed skin I can find, there is nothing else for me to really work toward.

That’s not to say I haven’t had a great time playing Sea of Thieves. My coworker friend and I have had some outrageously hilarious adventures of our own making while playing the game.

Our most disastrous outing was also one of our first. We decided to take up a contract to deliver some chickens to an outpost. After receiving the chicken coops needed to carry these birds, we set out on a search of various islands for the specific type of chicken we needed.

It took us ages. We had terrible luck finding an island that sported chickens on its shores. Pigs and snakes must have bred like bunnies; they were everywhere.

Finally, we found an island with some chickens, and after a bit of finagling, we got two of them into our coops. We brought them on board and set sail for the outpost.

However, while we were sailing there, this mighty storm appeared over our heads. The waves became gargantuan slopes in front of us, rain poured down in sheets, and thunder sounded every few seconds.

The storm tossing us around actually caused damage to our ship, springing enough holes in our boat that our bottom deck got flooded. In an effort to save the chickens from drowning, I brought them above decks, near the mast. I went below decks to start bucketing water out of it and to try patching up some of the leaks. In the meantime, my coworker friend was struggling to control the helm and make sense of our spinning compass.

During one of my trips up to dump out water, lightning struck the ship and sent me flying out into the ocean. My friend immediately dropped anchor and was able to guide me back on board.

When I climbed back up, the two of us could only see smoking drumsticks in the chicken coops by the mast.

Apparently, the lightning struck and cooked our chickens.

At this point, we’d left the ship leaks so neglected as we stared forlornly at these edible remains that our Sloop slowly sank.

With our ship scuttled, we got a new one and tried to start another delivery quest. Almost as soon as we set out on that mission, a Kraken attacked our vessel, killing me and destroying this second ship as well.

We haven’t had a wild time like that in a bit; we have instead chosen to focus on fishing. I have my eye set on a parrot-themed fishing pole, and the only way to get it is to fish and deliver “pondies” to an NPC.

It’s quite relaxing, and we don’t get sent to Davy Jones’ locker as often as we used to.

I don’t want to turn anyone away from playing Sea of Thieves because it is a fun experience in those first few hours. However, don’t expect this to transform into a game you frequently return to unless they add more content.

I rate Sea of Thieves a pirate-adventure-that-loses-charm-over-time-but-can-set-your-heart-to-sailing-with-a-mesmerizing-sea-and-a-recipe-for-good-fun-with-friends.

Life Update #9: The Arrival of Harvey

It’s been a long time (a really long time) since I wrote a Life Update post. If I’m being honest with you, I actually kind of forgot about them.

Why?

Well, a pandemic happened, and it’s like my life just stopped updating.

However, I’m here to let you know about the next chapter in a perhaps forgotten saga.

Long-time followers of the blog will recall that I made friends with a daddy long-legs that lived in my bookcase. I named him Hardcore Henry, and he ended up dying a sad death. However, he had successors, so my bookcase was never unoccupied.

This particular update is to let you know about a new acquaintance I made about a week ago.

Get yourselves ready, folks. You’re about to meet Harvey.

The boyfriend and I were sleeping in bed. It was around 6 or 7 in the morning. We were nestled in a bunch of blankets, the majority of which I was admittedly hogging. The weight of the blankets and the proximity of the boyfriend was making me almost uncomfortably warm. He did not seem to notice or care, but my raised body temperature woke me up.

I shifted around, in a state between wakefulness and sleep, possessing moderate awareness that maybe I should remove a blanket or two. As I thought this, the heater turned on, and I slid into a sharper state of being awake based purely on my growing irritation at what would be an inevitable increase in warmth thanks to the ill-timed heater.

That’s when I heard a metallic skittering far above my head, right where the air conditioning vent was on my bedroom wall. Before I could even consider that this noise might mean something was wrong with the heater, something smacked into the side of my head. I jolted awake, the innate panic of an unknown being near my face dispelling any sleepiness I had.

At first, I thought the heater had just blown out some strange gunk from the vent, and that was what had shot onto my hair. But as my fingers probed through the tangle of my bedhead, and I touched something hard and brittle, I realized that was not the case.

Especially after whatever it was moved.

In disgusted alarm, I started to swat at my hair in quick flicking motions. And that’s when the cockroach that had fallen on my head got swiped off, plopping right onto the blanket covering my boyfriend’s chest.

Side note: The boyfriend sometimes sleeps on his back. He’s really talented this way, and I’ve been a bit jealous of this ability he possesses. However, after these events, I’m not so envious. I mean, if I had been sleeping on my back during this moment, that cockroach could have landed right between my eyes. Or worse…in my mouth.

“Danny, cockroach.”

That’s all I uttered in a short, raised tone of voice. He was instantly awake, but by that time, I had already grabbed the blanket and swept it off our bodies. Our huge pile of blankets rested on the floor, and we spent a few shocked moments staring at them.

Inaction was never an option, so I retrieved a shoe for my boyfriend, he positioned himself by the blankets, and I readied my nerves for shaking out each one individually.

Of course, the cockroach was equally ready for us, and as soon as it fell from the sheets, it scuttled under my dresser more quickly than lightning strikes a rod.

During the days after this event, as I planned to write about it for my next blog post, I imagined describing to all of you what it was like living with a cockroach somewhere in your bedroom, a mysterious and rude guest you never wanted. I told myself I would name him Harvey, and I delighted myself with coming up with ambiguous endings for his story.

I even had a Hardcore Henry versus Harvey comparison post in the works.

But shortly before the boyfriend left to go back home, Harvey made one final appearance near Danny’s suitcase. Subsequently, Harvey was murdered, courtesy of my Converse and Danny’s quick reflexes.

So that’s the end of Harvey, but before I go, I just want to assure you Above Average readers that I live in a very clean house. I have no idea what Harvey thought he was doing coming into it the way he did. I also want you all to know that I will forever keep you updated on any more visitors that make their way into my life. I don’t know if that’s what my Life Updates will be from now on or not.

But given the way life is currently going, Harvey actually felt like a weird highlight.