My 100th Blog Post

Hey, guys.

This is officially the 100th post I’ve written on my bloggy-thingamabob.

I’m not going to do anything special for this post.

I’m just going to take it all in.

See you at the 200th.

–The 100th Below Average Thought from a Below Average Person

Life Update #3: Snow in the Desert

I went to visit my sister for a bit, and the unthinkable happened.

It snowed.

My sister lives in the arid Arizona desert near Tuscon. Deep-red rocks layer the mountains surrounding the region. Cacti and cholla line the dried-up wash behind her house.

And this past weekend, a healthy five inches of snow settled upon her neighborhood.

It was so unreal. Even though I saw snow fall during my Christmas cabin trip, I’m still not used to the sight. I felt like Alya’s sliding glass door opened onto an alien planet, a planet where a saguaro cactus could be hooded with an ice-cold powder. I spent a long time just staring out the window, watching fat flakes pile up into frozen mounds.

The funny thing is I wasn’t even supposed to stay at Alya’s this weekend. I extended my stay at the spur of the moment (with my sister’s eager consent). So it felt like the snow was destined for me. I was meant to encounter it. (Pretentious, I know.)

My sister and I stayed indoors for the most part. We bundled up with blankets and clasped mugs of hot coffee in our frigid hands. We let Alya’s dog, Ushi, outside to frolic through the meager snow drifts. She pushed through them with her paws as if they were the most diverting things she had ever seen. Her white fur, normally so bright and eye-arresting, looked dirty next to the pure white of the snow.

Despite the novelty of the experience, stirrings of uneasiness shook my heart. Climate change is real, people.

The snow falling in the desert might have had nothing to do with the effects humanity has wreaked on our planet’s climate.

But it sure reminded me of the fragility of our biosphere.

Of Couch Boats and Coffee Mugs

In a day, I’m going to go spend a few weeks with my sister.

Since I work from home, it’s fairly easy to travel to my sister’s place and stay over for extensive amounts of time. All I need to work is my laptop, a solid internet connection, the use of my hands, and my brain. The only real hassle in visiting Alya is the long drive.

I have found myself reminiscing about all the time she and I used to spend together.

We are/were each other’s best friend. We never really spent time apart from each other until she got married. This was due to the fact that we lived together, shared a bedroom, and couldn’t understand other people nearly as much as we understood each other.

As kids, we didn’t get out much. You know that ’80s nostalgia that’s been going around, with movies and TV shows about kids who leave their backyards to have wild adventures with aliens and other dimensions?

That was never me and Alya.

Our parents are of the “helicopter” generation of parents. Well, mostly my mother. We were never allowed to go out by ourselves when we were young. And since we lived twenty miles away from our school and most of our friends, we couldn’t easily walk over to hang out with classmates anyways.

So we made do with each other.

Our favorite thing to do was pretend we were other people. Cool people, not boring people. We would pretend we were in Middle-Earth slaying Uruk-Hai or that we were in Jurassic Park and a T. Rex was trying to eat us. One time, we pretended we were monkeys and we climbed our next-door neighbor’s tree. The looks they gave us made us never do that again. They weren’t mad. But they looked at us as if we were crazy.

On quieter days, Alya and I would do “Couch Boat.”

For those of you who don’t know what Couch Boat is, it’s when you pretend that your living room couch is an island in a vast ocean, an isolated spot you can only leave with great difficulty. Alya and I would gather up our most entertaining belongings (stuffed animals, blankets, action figures, books, markers) and climb aboard the Couch Boat.

And then we’d just stay there.

Sometimes we’d put on a movie in the background, but for the most part, we’d just float along alone together.

As I’m writing this down, it makes us sound incredibly unhealthy. We did run around in our childhood, okay? We got exercise. We were not just sedentary couch potatoes.

But on a Saturday morning, sometimes there was nothing better to do than good old Couch Boat.

Our Couch Boat these days has evolved. We bring tablets, lesson plans, notebooks, and coffee to the couch now. We do work together separately. But sometimes we’ll put on a movie we’ve seen a million times in the background. And we still pretend we can’t leave the Couch Boat. Well, we don’t actively pretend.

It just goes without saying.



I just came back home from the dentist.

Surprise, surprise, the sweet-tooth has got herself some cavities.

No one has ever said to me that they love to go to the dentist’s. If someone did say that to me, I wouldn’t know what to say in return. “Are you feeling well?”

Or “Are you married to said dentist?”

It’s an understandable stereotype. The dentist experience is not a pleasant one. You have to lie back on a chair with your legs higher than your head and your mouth forced open. The whirring sound of a dentist’s tool is a sound born out of hell, and you have to hear it ring through your skull as the vibrations from it scraping your teeth rattles your jaw.

And I could just be describing a simple cleaning right there.

I used to have this really cool dentist when I was a kid. I live in a small town, so he was the dentist most kids I knew had when they were younger. My friend Mia went to him as well. He retired when I was in middle school, so for a few years, I didn’t go to the dentist while my family was on the hunt for another.

When I did finally get myself a new dentist it wasn’t really a dentist. It was a dental group.

If you’ve never heard of a dental group, consider yourself blessed.

Well, I don’t know, maybe there is a dental group out there somewhere that is chill and cool. All I know is that I hated the dental group I went to.

They had several dentists working there, and you never knew who was going to see you when you went in for an appointment. Plus, there was always an atmosphere of hurry. As soon as you were in the chair, it felt like it was their job to see you out of it as soon as possible. I understand that as a thriving business, they need to see as many patients as they can per day. But I felt like a car going into a body shop instead of a living human being who needed some dental care.

They were never gentle during procedures either. Dental procedures are never fun procedures, I’ll give them that. It’s hard to make a cleaning or a filling relaxing. But they sure didn’t try. Those numbing shots they gave hurt like a motherflubber because they injected them so fast.

And the only reason I know how wrong they were doing things is because I eventually left them. At some point, I figured out that they did not provide the kind of dental care I wanted to receive. So I went looking for another dentist, this time one with a single name on the door. I found one I liked and started seeing her.

And holy moly, the difference was immense.

Those numbing shots that had hurt so much before were far lass painful. And I recognized the people who were seeing me, even though months would sometimes stand between each visit. (The oral hygienist there is the best.)

I still feel a bit embarrassed and uncomfortable when I go to the dentist. This is partially because I have lingering bad memories of that dental group. It is also due to my guilt over having someone spend time dealing with a gaping hole in my body. I feel like apologizing every time I go to either the dentist or the gynecologist.

But having a nice dentist definitely makes the experience easier to bear.

So even though I just came back from the dentist and my mouth is just starting to feel normal again, I’m glad to be keeping my teeth and gums on the up-and-up.

Braces and a puppy

Merry Christmas, My Friends!

The post for today is going to be short and sweet.

Or maybe it will end up just being short.

Anyways, as you might have already known, yesterday was Christmas.



I happen to celebrate Christmas. If you celebrate some other or no holiday in December, just know I mean no disrespect in wishing you a “Merry Christmas.” I basically just mean that I hope you had a particularly great day on the 25th of December.

By this time, my family and I will have already shared Christmas together. We’re one of those families that eats a huge dinner on December 24th. On December 25th, we just open presents in the morning, laze around together for the rest of the day, and eat leftovers from the previous day’s meal.

All I really wanted to do with this post is wish you guys a Merry Christmas after the fact. Season’s greetings and all that.

I’ll be back to you with more Below Average content later.

Catch you next time! 

Another Arcade Bar “Escapade”

This past weekend (several past weekends by the time this actually gets published) I went to an arcade bar with my sister, her husband, and his best friend.

Normally, I adore the concept of arcade bars. Yay, arcade games! I’m all for playing games with some cool people with a drink in my hand that is more sugar than alcohol.

But this arcade bar was brimming with party-going, college-age, frat-soro, whoo-people. True, I’m making assumptions on their characters and sweeping generalizations on the demographics of an entire bar scene, so please forgive me. I was peeved that two machines I wanted to play right from the get-go were broken, with nearly every other machine having an adjoining line to play it.

I was suitably soured on being social.

And I’m not that social to begin with.

Plus, bars are sucky places to try to be social. Music pumps so loudly that your eardrums don’t have the capacity to deal with anything else. You find yourself shouting at people in order to compensate, but in the end, you’re only contributing to the cacophony of voices competing to be heard.

So after finding little to entertain myself with, I decided to stand at a vacant table (there were no chairs) by myself. My sister, Alya, had secured herself a Pac-Man machine. Her husband, Carlos, and his friend, Fro, had gone off somewhere else (I had no idea where).

I had a fairly tolerable time staring at the different people mingling raucously around me. Rowdy clutches of guys pumped their fists in the air when their buddies won the games they were playing. Scantily clad (for November) girlfriends held (I’m assuming) their boyfriends’ hands and led them to wait in lines for games they wanted to play. Gaggles of friends congregated around these teeny tables with no chairs, laughing and chatting as loudly as they could against the general mayhem of sound.

Despite my reluctance to participate in bar-time rowdiness, I do take a certain delight in watching it take place. It’s the fun of observing situations you could never hope (or do not want) to be a part of.

Eventually, I came to the realization that I was being a bit of a weirdo just standing at that lone table and staring at people. I decided to buy myself a drink so that I could look more natural as I continued to stare at people.

Before I left the table, I let Alya know where I was going so that she wouldn’t worry that I had been carted away by strangers or something like that. She nodded her head in acknowledgement but beckoned me to come closer for a moment. I leaned in, and she muttered, “So far I’ve been hit on by two guys.”

I shrugged in a them’s-the-breaks kind of way and went to get myself a drink.

I bought a rum and coke from a nice girl at the bar. Then I headed back to my table to continue my duty as solitary sentinel of this arcade bar.

Just my luck that two guys had taken my spot while I had been gone.

I considered endlessly roaming the entire bar with my drink in my hand for the rest of the night, but then thought to myself, ‘Fuck it,’ and walked right up to the table.

“Do you mind if I just chill here?” I half-shouted at the two guys.

One of them said, “What?” so I had to repeat myself a little louder. Once they understood what I was asking, they graciously inclined their heads and indicated that I could join them in standing around this minuscule table.

Side note: Every word we thereafter spoke to each other was yelled.

“Thanks,” I said, and placed my drink on the table. I was wearing my over-large black pea coat so it was a bit of a struggle to lean against my arms on the table without getting it dirty. “You guys can keep talking to each other and ignore me if you want,” I assured them. “I just want a spot to stand at.”

“That’s okay,” the taller guy replied, and at that moment, as I adjusted the sleeve of my pea coat once more, I swept my glass onto its side and spilled a liter of rum and coke on the table.

I stared at it for a moment stupidly, then I looked up at the two men who were looking down at the mess and shouted, “Sorry! I didn’t mean to do that! Just so you know, I’m not drunk or anything! This was an un-drunk accident.”

They laughed and proceeded to help me clean up the spilled drink.

And just like that, I had my first truly social moment at a bar.

We started talking (hollering) about our respective jobs. One of the guys was named Joe. He lived in the area and was showing the other guy around. The other guy’s name was Jeremy (I may be spelling that wrong), and he was from Montreal. He had graduated from college and had wanted to do some traveling in the United States before committing to settling down.

The three of us conversed about a wide range of topics, and what was so awesome was that it all just came naturally to me. You might not realize what a breakthrough this was for me, but holy flubbernuggets, it was amazing.

Joe talked about his trip to Slab City and how mind-blowing the whole place was. Jeremy extolled the autumn appearance of the Blue Ridge Parkway drive he took. I was having an honest-to-god conversation with two strangers who I had just met, and I was liking it.

We even talked about man-buns and bad haircuts.

When Alya, Fro, and Carlos came up to me and told me they were ready to depart, I said good-bye to Joe and Jeremy. Before I left, Joe thanked me for just starting up the conversation. He said it’s not often that people just talk to each other normally like that, and it was really cool that I initiated it.

I inwardly thought back to my original intention in approaching them, which was to simply stand nearby and people-watch next to them. But outwardly, I smiled and said, “No problem.”

Sometimes it’s okay to do things in a way that you don’t normally do them. You could end up with a great conversation in a bustling, boisterous arcade bar.

Life Update #1: Bunk Beds!

Hey, guys!

So I’ve made the executive decision to incorporate stupid little “life updates” into this bloggy thingamajig.


Because I wanted to.

Rest assured, these updates will be sporadic and insignificant. I’m not going to show up here and announce massive upheavals in my life. Rather, I’m going to post about the little things that have changed (or been updated), and we’ll just take it from there.

Sound good?

Feel free to stop reading if you want.

So, for those of you who have been with me since this blog’s inception, you should know I’m really close to my older sister, Alya. Even though she lives in a different state (like a United States’ kind of state, not a different mental state or something like that), we still maintain the same connection that we’ve always shared.

The distance makes us miss each other a lot, but we manage to make ends meet by arranging visits back and forth between the two of us. Admittedly, I stay over at her place far more often since she has a big puppy that can’t be left home alone. We spend the early morning together, hang out after she comes back from work, and go out on the weekends. It’s great.

Alya is always trying to make my visits more permanent. She constantly looks for incentives to get me to live with her, and, I’ve got to say, her latest attempt might just work.

Whenever I stay over, I sleep on an inflatable mattress in the guest bedroom. The mattress isn’t too comfortable, but it gets the job done. Admittedly, my sleep is not as restful as it could be. My nights at my sister’s are often fitful and broken.

Alya has been filled with wroth over these circumstances. For the longest time, she has been planning to get a spare bed for the room so that I can sleep better. She brought it up to her husband, and he suggested that they get a bunk bed. That way, more people can sleep over when the busy holidays arrive and family comes to stay at their house. Alya was skeptical about the concept initially. A bunk bed, she told her husband, might be a bit too small to accommodate some tall people in the family.

Which is when her husband brought up the idea of queen bunk beds.

And they frickin’ did it.

Queen sized bunk bed

With the help of one of my sister’s co-workers, my brother-in-law constructed a queen-sized bunk bed.

It’s a homemade piece of holy-awesome furniture.

My sister and I have always wanted bunk beds, ever since we were little. I mean, we shared a bedroom when we were kids. You would think bunk beds would have been a logical sleeping arrangement for us to have. But my mom, for some reason, did not like the idea. She gets freaked out by the weirdest things sometimes. I think she was afraid that one of us would end up squished or mangled from having fallen from the top bunk.

But she can’t stop us now.

So for my first life update on this blog, I’d like to tell all of you that I have finally, for the first time in my life, slept on a bunk bed.

Who says that dreams can’t come true?

Coffee Is the Spice of Life

Game of Thrones coffee mug and cranberry juiceI love coffee.

I know I’m not the only one to say that. It’s like a hipster must to adore coffee these days. That’s why all those local coffee shops are filled to the brim with fedora-wearing, vest-sporting hoity-toity bragsters who only listen to niche music and drink the strangest alcoholic beverages.

Wow, I don’t know where all that venom came from.

Anywaysies, I love coffee.

However, my tastes run on the sweet side. This is absolutely terrible news for my teeth’s enamel and for my desire to stay more or less physically fit.

Still, I can’t help it. (Well, I could if I wanted to, but I don’t. I let my taste buds wreak their own havoc. I take full responsibility for letting them run amok.)

If you asked me how I like my coffee, I always make sure to say that I like it sweet.

Actually, I’ll say I like it sweet by using some kind of simile. I’ll say something like “as sweet as a stolen kiss” or “as sweet as a Care Bear.” You know, something creative that’ll show off my wit and personality.

This did not go over too well one time when I ordered some coffee at this coffee shop and the barista asked me how sweet I wanted it. This particular little shop sweetened their beverages with lumps of hardened sugar. So when this barista asked me how sweet I wanted it, he wanted me to indicate how many lumps he should shovel into my drink.

Instead, I looked him dead in the eye and said, “As sweet as sin.”

He stared at me for a moment, blinked once, then twice. Then he haltingly asked, “And how many lumps is that?”

I haven’t gone back there since; I’m mortified.

Anywaysies, my point is that I like my coffee sweet.

Those satchel-toting hipsters might look up their noses at me and say that I’m not truly enjoying coffee then if I like it like that. I’m enjoying sugar, they’ll sneer.

This is technically true. I’ve always found it ironic whenever I sweeten my coffee. I mean, coffee is notoriously bitter. Bitterness is its signature taste. Added spoonfuls of sugar are just spoonfuls of betrayal against coffee’s true nature.

Alas, I can’t help it. Have you ever tried to drink coffee straight-up black? My god, it’s disgusting.

There was only one time in my life when I was able to drink pure black coffee.

I was in my first year of high school, and I had an exam coming up on Friday. Unfortunately, Watchmen was set to come out in theaters on that exact same day at midnight. If I wanted to watch the Watchmen, I would need to stay up all night Thursday till 3 in the morning on Friday, wake up at 5 in the morning two hours later (for band practice), and then go to school and take my exam.

But this was Watchmen we were talking about here. I have never loved a graphic novel the way I love Watchmen. 

Side note: Seriously. I’ve asked my sister to take my ashes to Alan Moore’s house (he’s the writer of Watchmen) if I die first and then blow them into his beard.

To not be at the first showing of its movie adaptation would have been sacrilege.

I begged my parents to let me go. I told them I could handle it. My mom was skeptical, but my dad helped me out with persuading her. After strenuously promising that I would get an A on the exam, she relented and let me go.

Side note: I don’t mean to brag, but I was a straight-A student. Getting an A was something I could promise and then deliver on.

So when the night of the premiere came, I was able to ecstatically go watch the movie in the near-empty movie theater.

I came home a bit after three, excited and hardly able to sleep.

I woke up about an hour and a half later, foggy-headed, crusty-eyed, and tired.

My dad came to my bed with a mug in his hand. He told me, “Here, drink this.” I numbly drank what I thought was lukewarm water, and then started to get ready to go to school. As it turns out, my dad wanted to help give me a boost to get me through my day so that I wouldn’t get in trouble with my mom. What was actually in the mug was straight-up black coffee. I just couldn’t tell because my morning breath was in full effect.

That was a long-winded tangent.

Anyways, the point is that I love my coffee sweetened, and aside from being extra careful with my dental hygiene, I don’t see why I have to be less of a bad-ass to like my coffee with a lot of sugar.