Growing Older

One of those constant tropes you hear when you’re a kid is that you think the world revolves around you.

“Oh, kids these days, they’re so selfish. They think the world is their oyster. They don’t believe they’re going to grow old. They don’t think time will happen to them.”

As a kid, I used to think that was bullshit.

‘Of course I’m going to get old,’ my younger self thought. ‘That’s what happens to everybody. We all get birthdays, we all get taller, and we all get old.’

But I didn’t really know.

I fell into the stereotype of a kid that I bristled so much at. But it’s like a Catch-22. You’re not truly a young person if you have the mindset of an older person, no matter how much you might want to avoid preconceived notions.

Side note: Preconceived notions have and always will be the bane of my existence.

Now that I’ve grown some, I’m hyper aware that I’m…well, I’m aware that I’m older. And with this awareness has come this kind of resignation, a this-is-it weariness.

‘Cause, I mean, after high school, it was all about “what comes next.” Where are you going to college? What do you want to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in five years?

And now that I’m past that point, all I can think is, “Oh well. That’s all there was to it.”

From where I’m standing, life is all about the future. Life grows, life moves forward, or, to quote Ian Malcolm, “life finds a way.” When you’re a kid, you embody that potential. It’s annoying to hear all the time, but kids are the future. When you grow up, the future stops being you.

This all sounds very depressing, and while the concept can get me down in the dumps, I’m not always upset about it. With resignation, there’s also this kind of relief. It’s like expectations have been lifted from me and now I can focus on just trying to be happy.

And just because I’m no longer the future, doesn’t mean I can’t contribute to it, right?

I know some people take this in a very literal sense, and they physically contribute to the future by having kids. This is a dubious decision for certain persons (won’t name names, but my god, haven’t you ever thought that certain people should never in the history of ever attempt to be parents), and I’ve seen my fair share of people who fall into the trap of having kids as a way to remain relevant to the future.

But I do not want to have a child. Have you guys heard of the goddamn changes women have to go through in order to have a baby?! I cringe when I watch a horror movie; no way am I actually gong to live through one.

So I sometimes wonder how I can contribute to the future as I grow older.

And funnily enough, it’s that living-in-the-moment bullcrap that has become my go-to answer.

I want to live in the now with the idea that anything I say or do can have a positive effect on a person, be it a kind word or a particularly moving blog post or a fun multiplayer match of Halo. I want to pepper my life with kindness to others in the hopes that I might be helping them through a tough time or something like that.

I feel like that’s what I can do with my life.

And yeah, as I grow older, I don’t just think about these moral obligations or philosophical musings like a dweeb. I think about dying like a normal person would, too.

But I think about dying the way I used to think about growing up.

It’s not real for me yet. Not really, not in a way that counts.

I know it’s going to happen, I just haven’t completely wrapped my brain around the concept of not existing. It’s easier to think about death this way because I don’t want to get uber fixated on it or anything. I just want to live life to the fullest, being happy and making other people happy, too. Small things.

And this all sounds so stupid and lame and corny and emotional, but it’s just what I was thinking about right now.

I promise I’ll go back to writing about fun video games next time. Today, I was just feeling kind of thoughtful.

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?

Wince-Inducing Literature: Dealing with Dated Perspectives in Older Books

I love reading books that were written way before my time. People constantly describe books as portals to other worlds (bet you’ve heard that a million times), and I have found that the best books for experiencing that sensation are older books grounded in real history, without any fantastical trappings. You get a glimpse of how people who have died years ago used to speak, used to act. You can make comparisons, draw sharp contrasts.

Fantasy and science fiction books are great, too. I’m not saying they suck eggs or anything like that. (Sci-fi is my jam!) Finely crafted fictional worlds are engrossing. But it’s difficult to beat a story that is grounded in a distant reality and that seems simultaneously familiar and unfamiliar in its themes.

I mean, come on, who hasn’t read Pride & Prejudice and snorted over what used to pass for flirting back then?

Books like Anna Karenina or A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man give you so much insight into people, what’s remained constant and what’s changed. I never really get “lost” in those kinds of books; I get found.

Side note: I swear, that’s as corny as I’ll get in this post.

Unfortunately, there can be passages in these books that slap you in the face and remind you that the past wasn’t always pretty and idyllic. These moments can shatter your immersion and take you out of that blissful self-actualization session you were just having.

About a month ago, I was reading a collection of pieces by the author Washington Irving. You might know him as the guy who gave us the stories of “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.”

I first discovered him in middle school. And damn, let me tell you, son, he used descriptive language like Leonardo Da Vinci used a paint brush. I could sink into his paragraphs describing the natural beauty of a moonlit night in post-colonial America. I love dialogue and action and all that jazz, but Irving ensnared me with his flourishing descriptions. I never thought I would drool over how dusk is described.

Anyway, I was reading some of Irving’s work (I had bought a collection of his essays and short stories), when I came upon an essay that described the condition of Native Americans in those times. I hadn’t even finished the first paragraph of this essay before I had to stop reading and go splash my face with the cold water of repugnance.

At the time of Irving’s writing, Native Americans were being forcibly ejected from their homelands by encroaching settlers. Irving was intensely sympathetic to their plight, but his sympathy was tinged with this casual disdain. His attitude was a total case of “don’t be mean to them for they are just poor, ignorant savages.” He even freakin’ used the word “savages” more than once.


I felt guilty simply for having purchased Irving’s book. No stunning descriptive language could save the esteem I used to hold Irving in.

Older books (and some current ones too, now that I think about it) can make you wince in abhorrence over how out-of-touch and dismissively cruel they can be. Like children raised by bigots, they are wretched products of their time.

Take Gone with the Wind, for instance.

It’s pretty well-written in terms of prose, but its views on slavery are cringe-inducing, face-palm-producing, and enraging all at the same time. But at least with an infamous work like that, you kind of know what you’re getting yourself into. I mean, with a protagonist born and raised in the South, Margaret Mitchell was hardly going to make slavery appear to be as horrendous as it actually was.

It can be hard to continue reading something that shocks your values in such a way. I know it was for me after I finally finished Irving’s disquieting essay. You feel sullied for just having read the thing, and you may begin to worry that all your favorite authors have a close-minded skeleton in their closet as well.

What’s important to remember is that what you read and what you learn from what you read are two different things. No matter what form literature takes, it is all about perspective and understanding. Books are bridges that help us make connections. Sometimes that connection is to the author and his/her point of view. Other times, it is a connection to free-thinking and a difference in opinion. (Does that make sense?)

Irving was a different person from me, who lived in a different time and at a different place. Despite the fact that I can hold his words in my hands, we are still worlds apart. So while he can teach me a thing or two about how to use descriptive language, he can also teach me what not to do when it comes to perceiving and approaching other human beings.

So to ye who would read ye olde books, be mindful of what you’re getting yourself into.

Side note: Did you know that “ye” is both a plural form of “thou” and an antiquated version of “the?”

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.



How Hogwarts Are You?

My friend Andreya and I have spent a lot of time discussing the nuances of Hogwarts House personalities.

And by a lot of time, I mean a lot of time.

At first, we were just interested in our own. We took the Pottermore quiz (you can find it right here if you haven’t already taken it yourself) and focused a lot of our discussions on the results.

Eventually though, we started using the Hogwarts House personalities to describe people to each other.

If, for instance, Andreya was trying to tell me a story about a fellow classmate of hers who I had never met, she would say something like, “He’s annoying, but in a Gryffindor kind of way.”

Things escalated quickly, and we began to talk for hours about how each House differed from the other.

Just in case you have no clue what I’m talking about when I say “Hogwarts Houses,” let me get you up to speed. Hogwarts is the magical school that Harry Potter goes to in J.K. Rowling’s famous book series. The students at this school are separated into four different houses based partially on their personality and partially on their desires.

The Houses and their base traits are as follows:

Gryffindor–Bravery and determination
Slytherin–Cunning and resourcefulness
Ravenclaw–Intelligence and Wisdom
Hufflepuff–Loyalty and Patience

Now, obviously a person can’t be summed up with just a few adjectives. I’ve met more than a few Ravenclaws, and none of them are solely “intelligent” and “wise.”

When Andreya and I discuss a person using Hogwarts Houses as descriptors, we attribute more than these traits to them. We have also gone into more depth concerning each House and what they are like.

And here are our thoughts for your reading pleasure.

  • Gryffindors: Alongside bravery, Gryffindors are also very outgoing. They enjoy trying new things, meeting new people, and going to new places. New experiences are part of what they love about life. If you have a group of friends, the Gryffindors are the go-getters, the planners, the leaders. They always have an idea about what to do next. It may not be a good idea, but at least it’s an idea. The best thing about them is how engaging they can be. They ooze personality, so they draw people to them like a magnet. You’re never bored when you’re with a Gryffindor. You might get exhausted or drained after spending a day with them, but never bored. The worst quality a Gryffindor can possess is how unabashedly insensitive they can be. In their rush to find the next thing, they can be pretty inconsiderate. They are not even trying to be mean. They’re just heedless. My sister is a Gryffindor, and she’s responsible for all the scrapes we’ve gotten into. However, she’s also responsible for the best times we’ve ever had as well.
  • Slytherins: A huge misconception about Slytherins is that they’re all evil. In the Harry Potter books, the whole of Slytherin House is filled with jerks. In real life, Andreya and I have made Slytherins less one-dimensional. They have a good dose of self-interest and the ambition to achieve their goals. That doesn’t make them bad. If anything, that just makes them honest with themselves. Andreya and I agree that one of the best things about Slytherins is how self-aware they can be. A Slytherin may lie to other people about how things are going, but a true Slytherin will never lie to themselves. And yes, just in case you were wondering, Andreya is a Slytherin. One of the reasons she’s one of my closest friends is that she has a firm grasp of her flaws. She knows she’s a tad self-absorbed and she knows she’s a “trash” person (I have never called her that). But the best thing about Andreya is her ability to adapt to fit a situation. And Slytherins make the best of friends. When you’re mad at someone, a Ravenclaw will be logical about the whole situation and try to smooth things over. A Slytherin will be able to suss out what you want to hear and give it to you, whether that’s some good old trash-talk or a complete denial of the real problem.
  • Ravenclaws: I know two Ravenclaws really well: my boyfriend and my long-time friend Mia. They are perfect embodiments of everything the House stands for. Reason is the underlying force that allows them to function, but one thing I’ve noticed is that they can be very passionate. People assume that Ravenclaws are these dried-up scholarly types, but I have found that Ravenclaws usually have an undercurrent of enthusiasm for whatever it is they want to set their minds to. Mia, for example, loves The Lord of the Rings. Even though it is a fantasy series, Mia knows more tidbits and facts about that world than a mathematician knows about Calculus. I swear, enthusiasm that is supported with rationality is one of the most refreshing traits I’ve ever encountered in a person. The best thing about Ravenclaws is that they can always tell you the logical approach to a situation. I don’t know how many times I’ve face-palmed in disbelief at my own stupidity when Danny or Mia told me how to go about a certain scenario that I originally had no idea how to handle. Unfortunately, Ravenclaws can forget about emotions, and in this regard they can share the insensitivity that Gryffindors have. They also have a tendency to get hung up on the little things.
  • Hufflepuffs: I’m a Hufflepuff. So I’m probably a bit biased. Just putting that out there. Hufflepuffs are kind of considered to be the throwaway House in Hogwarts. When all the other Founders of Hogwarts were fighting over who would keep the brave students, the cunning students, and the intelligent students, Hufflepuff’s founder simply said that she would “take the rest.” I feel like that’s the undercurrent that should run through every true Hufflepuff. It’s an acceptance of others and a willingness to trust in others no matter how lowly, unqualified, or dumb they appear to be. I think the best quality about us is that we’re the best kind of support anyone could ask for. We know how to bolster others. We’re indecisive as hell though. We have no standards. We’re occasionally too trusting. Being in Hufflepuff is a bit of a running joke. We’re considered the lame ones. The average ones. (Or below average, in my case.)

Andreya and I both agree that the traits of several Houses can reside in one person. I, for example, have a bit of Ravenclaw in me aside from Hufflepuff. (We blur the lines between each House and allow people to be more than one adjective.)

And we both agree that Pottermore can sometime not truly capture what a person is like. Instead, based on the answers people select in the quiz, Pottermore will give them the House they want to be in.

Still, it’s fun to talk about. Both Andreya and I are avid Harry Potter fans (along with most of the world), so we clutch onto any reason to talk about Hogwarts.

Any fellow Puffs out there? What Hogwarts House are you in?

Till next time!

RIP AND TEAR: An Ode to Doom

Doom 2016 alternate cover

I get strange looks when I’m driving down the road and I have the Doom (2016) soundtrack belting from my speakers. Granted, I’m being a bit of a dick by playing the music so loud, but you can’t NOT listen to this stuff on a low volume. That’s like saying you should never sing along to “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

(Here is a link to some Doom sounds while you read this.)

I also get strange looks from other people when I tell them that I adore Doom. What, is it weird to like a fast-paced, first-person shooter where you roam the citadels of Hell slaughtering Demons with Super Shotguns and your bare hands, bathing yourself in the fresh blood of your enemies as you Glory Kill them to extinction?

Some people can be so judgy.

My first introduction to Doom was actually from a book. I was 13-years old, and I was browsing through the library of my middle school.

My middle school had one of the best collection of books I’ve ever seen. I feel like the librarian just stuffed the shelves with thick books, most of which were fantasy or science fiction. I don’t think she read them. People forget how adult-themed fantasy books can be. So while my librarian might have just looked at the cover and thought, “Oh, what a pretty dragon,” I was reading its pages, wide-eyed, and learning about period sex. (I am not even joking.)

I’m totally getting off topic.

Anyway, one of the books I picked up was a nonfiction book (which is freaking rare for me). It was called Masters of Doom, and it was all about the young men who were responsible for making the original Doom game. Those guys (John Romero and John Carmack) were video game rock stars!

Prior to reading that book I had never heard of Doom, but afterward, I spent a lot of my downtime finding out everything I could about it.

For those of you who don’t know, Doom was one of the first first-person-shooter games ever made. It was released in 1993, and it was fast for its time. Speed in a first-person shooter these days is now ubiquitous as fuck. But back then, it was practically unheard of.

The “story” of Doom was not the main focus of the game. Your character was just “Doomguy,” and he roamed the game shooting the faces off of the various demons he came across.

Doom had its sequels (some better than others), but it received a reboot in 2016 that truly struck you in the nostalgia feels while simultaneously revealing itself as a fantastic game in its own right.

If you’re a fan of the FPS genre and you haven’t played Doom (2016), you ARE MISSING OUT.

The reboot is phenomenal. Your character seems to be set to sprint everywhere he goes. All sprinting. All the time. He never has to reload his weapons. That would take too long, and Doom is all about speed. (And ripping and tearing.) Upgrade systems for your weapons were added to the gameplay, as were Rune Trial challenges. A story also graced Doom, a story that was surprisingly good.

These changes might sound like they would alter the original Doom experience, and they do, in a way. But the 2016 game captured the spirit of the original Doom. 

Side note: I am talking about the single-player campaign of Doom (2016). The multiplayer left much to be desired.


I’m going to be 100% honest with you. I was shit when I first played the game. But that didn’t stop it from being fun. Cacodemons, Pinkies, and Imps might have ganged up and destroyed my Doomguy, but every encounter with them was an engaging challenge.

And the second time I played it, there was noticeable improvement.

Now, the game is a gratuitously gory game. I won’t deny that. And there’s a Glory Kill system that gives you health if you beat the Demons with your bare hands, basically forcing you to witness the copious amounts of blood. I understand why there might be trepidation in playing a game like this.

But the exhilaration I feel as I massacre Demon after Demon in arena after arena does not stem from the blood spatter that follows in my wake. (That would be disturbing.) It honestly is the speed and the skill you have to wield while playing that thrills me to my core. If there were a game about frantically picking flowers in a meadow that required as much speed and strategy as Doom does, I would be all over that too.

Though I think everyone can admit that slaying the Hordes of Hell sounds way more bad-ass than picking flowers.

End Credits Doom 2016 scene

I cannot recommend Doom highly enough. It is NOT a below average game. It is above above average.

Side note: The campaign. Only the campaign. Remember that.

Doom is set to get a sequel sometime next year. It’s called Doom: Eternal, and it looks godly.

You can bet your buttonholes that I am going to play that game.

And it’ll hopefully get a glowing review from me right here.

Whoops, shouldn’t count my Demons before they’re slaughtered.

Still…fingers crossed!


New Way To Say You’re Cool

Do any of you remember this kids’ book called Frindle by Andrew Clements?

It was about a boy who decided to test the power of words by calling pens “frindles.” He does this as a prank, but he’s able to effect change when he gets his whole class, then his whole school, then his whole state, and then the whole country to begin calling a pen a “frindle.”

The plot was unrealistic to me, even by my formerly childlike standards. However, I’ve never been able to get out of my head how awesome it would be to create a new word for something or to change the regular meaning of a word into something else.

Words are constantly re-purposed, it’s a natural part of a word’s life, but wouldn’t it be cool to be the person at the head of such a movement?

That is why I’ve decided to try and popularize the use of the word “primary” as meaning “holy-freaking awesome.”

This endeavor started months ago. I was at J.C. Penney’s with my friend Andreya (more on her here) picking out clothes for my Comic Con Speed Racer outfit (more on that here). The bright blue of the shirt I eventually found, necessary for any classic Speed Racer costume, was dazzling under the fitting room lights. When I stepped out of my stall to show Andreya the shirt, we were both enthusiastic about it. The only word I could think to use to describe both my appearance and my delight in it was “primary.”

Side note: Being one of the best friends a person could ask for, Andreya totally agreed with me that “primary” should be a thing.

“Primary” popped into my head partially because the blue of the shirt was inescapably indicative of primary colors. It was the exact shade of blue you use when teaching that basic art lesson. It was also a prime example of Speed Racer shirt-wear. And it was an all-around first-rate shirt.

Sadly, despite my best efforts, “primary” hasn’t caught on.

Side note: Yet.

For one thing, I don’t go out and socialize much. I’m a complete and utter home-body. When my sister took me out to a restaurant a few days ago, she noticed I seemed a tad flustered being out in public. I was loath to admit it, but she was right. I don’t always know how to act when a lot of people are around. So my chances of using “primary” in social company are lessened by the fact that I just don’t go out in social company. My boyfriend Danny once took me to a bar to hang out for one of his friends’ birthdays, and I sat at a table reading for most of the time in very dim lighting.

Side note: That was not only poor social etiquette, that was bad optical-care behavior as well.

Another thing I’ve noticed that is hindering “primary” is the fact that a lot of my friends think it’s stupid. I’ve outright asked some of them if they could start using it in conversations, and they just stare at me blankly and say, “Yeah, I’m not doing that.”

Side note: Maybe I should start calling them “friends” with air quotes, since clearly they don’t understand the true meaning of friendship.

I’m going to persevere, and who knows? Maybe in a few dozen years I’m going to start hearing the young ‘uns say how oh so totally primary that new Star Wars XXVII movie is.

Until then, so long from your dose of Below Average thoughts.



Top Ten Most Usable Movie Quotes of My Life

Time for another top ten list!

This time I decided to make a list about the movie quotes I use most often during my day-to-day life. So while a lot of these quotes are missing the unique factor of some popular movie quotes, I’m listing them based on how often I say them, not popularity.

Because seriously, I’m never going to get the opportunity to say “I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse” or “I love the smell of napalm in the morning.”

Anyways, here we go.

10. “They’re moving in herds. They do move in herds.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Jurassic Park. When Alan Grant first encounters dinosaurs at the park, he sees them clustered together by a lakeside. He gazes at them in awe and slowly breathes out, “They’re moving in herds. They do move in herds.”

HOW I USE IT: Whenever I see a collection of people or animals roaming together, I just have to let loose with this line. The most perfect instance of this happening was when I was in a car with my friend Bubba. A group of bicyclists passed us on the street, and I softly murmured, “They’re moving in herds.” Bubba responded with a perfectly timed, “They do move in herds.”

9. “Good. Our first catch of the day.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. When the Rebels are fleeing from the planet Hoth, one of their ships passes close to where an Imperial Star Destroyer is lying in wait. Within the Destroyer, a junior officer approaches his superior and informs him of the encroaching Rebel ship. The superior then responds in the most robotic voice possible, “Good. Our first catch of the day.”

HOW I USE IT: This quote is definitely not the most memorable quote from Star Wars, but it sticks in my mind because it made my sister and me giggle so much when we heard it. The tone of that Imperial officer was priceless. So now, whenever anyone lets out with a terse, “Good,” I have to stoically, and nonsensically, reply, “Our first catch of the day.”

8. “My god, it’s full of stars.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: 2010: The Year We Make Contact. Contrary to what most people believe, this quote is not from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, but rather from it’s sequel, 2010. These words are the final recorded words of astronaut Dave Bowman before he entered the strange portal in the first film.

HOW I USE IT: When I’m shocked at something and the words, “My god,” escape my lips, I feel compelled to follow them with “it’s full of stars.” Several times I have uttered this parting phrase to an acquaintance’s confusion since there were no stars visible in the area we were currently occupying.

7. “Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: The Princess Bride. This is the refrain the skilled swordsman Inigo Montoya rehearses to say to his father’s killer.

HOW I USE IT: This is perhaps the most famous of all the quotes on this list. I can’t help saying the whole thing every time I hear a simple “hello.” I have to admit, I restrain myself from saying this far too often. I should probably just let loose with this, but I have a healthy dose of self-consciousness streaming through my body.

6. “It should have ended that day, but evil was allowed to endure.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Elrond speaks this line to Gandalf the Grey when he laments the fact that Isildur did not destroy the Ring at Mount Doom when he had the chance.

HOW I USE IT: Okay, I need no impetus to say this line. Mia, my friend and fellow LOTR enthusiast, and I just quote The Lord of the Rings all day long. We even use a deep, imposing voice when we have to.

5. “‘Tis but a scratch.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Monty Python and the Holy Grail. King Arthur comes across the Black Knight. The Black Knight refuses to let Arthur pass a certain bridge. They engage in a fight, and the Black Knight gets his arm chopped off. To Arthur’s surprise, the Black Knight treats this grievous wound as if it’s just a scratch.

HOW I USE IT: If you haven’t seen Monty Python and the Holy Grail, you are missing out on some high-quality laughs. I let out a haughty “‘Tis but a scratch!” any time I get wounded. Oftentimes, my wound is indeed just a scratch.

4. “I know, I know!”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Cloud Atlas. When Timothy Cavendish finds himself held prisoner in a nursing home against his will, he bands together with some other retirees in order to escape. One of these gentlemen is the affable Mr. Meeks. Mr. Meeks does not say much. In fact, all he seems capable of saying is an endearing “I know, I know!”

HOW I USE IT: Well, I have to say something whenever someone tells me something I already know. So instead of being a dick about it, I adopt Mr. Meeks’ agreeable tone and words.

3. “You have done that yourself.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Star Wars Episode III: The Revenge of the Sith. Anakin Skywalker turns to the Dark Side, and when he force-chokes his wife in anger, he insists on blaming his old mentor, Obi-Wan Kenobi, for his matrimonial troubles. He claims that Obi-Wan turned his wife against him. Obi-Wan rejects this statement with a dignified, “You have done that yourself.”

HOW I USE IT: Anytime someone places blame on me for anything (even if it really is my fault), I’ll tell them that they have done that themselves. For those of my friends who have seen Revenge of the Sith, this usually earns me a chuckle. It doesn’t go over too well with strangers though.

2. “Marines! We are leaving!”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Aliens. The space marines have bit off more than they can chew when they enter an Alien nest on the planet LV-426. Once he realizes that his group can’t handle that much Alien menace, Corporal Hicks yells out hoarsely for his marines to get the hell out of dodge.

HOW I USE IT: I know that the actual line is “Drake! We are leaving!” I know that. (Drake is one of the marines in the nest alongside Hicks.) But the line has definitely been popularized as “Marines! We are leaving!” Besides, I only ever use this quote in my D&D group. We’re not the smartest group of tabletop adventurers out there, and often we find ourselves out-leveled by the monsters we face. At which point, one of us will scream, “MARINES! WE ARE LEAVING!”

1. “He left us. He left us.”

WHERE IT’S FROM: Jurassic Park. When the T. Rex makes his epic escape from his enclosure, visiting lawyer Donald Gennaro decides he’s had enough of this Park. He gets out of a tour van and stumbles to the bathroom to hide, leaving two children in the van with no adult to help them out. As he leaves, one of them whispers in a panic, “He left us. He left us.”

HOW I USE IT: I know, I know, another Jurassic Park quote. I say this anytime a male person leaves my presence. My sister also uses this quote a lot too. But unfortunately, it kinda makes us seem like needy people who can’t be left to ourselves, when the exact opposite is true.

So, do you use any of these quotes? Do you like any of these quotes? Are there any movie quotes aside from these that you use yourself? I’m curious to see what you guys say! Until next time!

Being a Floor Person

A perfectly acceptable chair could be available, but you can usually find me on the floor right next to it.

I’m a Floor Person.

There are many of my kind around the world, I’m sure.

Chairs are confining to us. Floors, most especially carpeted ones, are our thrones.

All of my close friends are aware that I’m a Floor Person. (And now, so does whoever reads this post.) Mia, one of my closest friends, often invites me over to her house for a relaxing morning of coffee and old Star Trek episodes. Whenever I go over, my preferred spot is the rug right in front of the television screen. I’ll squat there with my mug of steaming coffee (as sweet as sin and as white as most of our gosh-darned politicians) in my hands. The one time I chose to stretch out on her couch, Mia stared at me as if she thought I was dying.

Even now as I type, I’m sitting on the floor. My desktop computer rests on a low-lying coffee table that stands no higher than my knee.

I don’t know, maybe I never grew out of hanging out on the floor when I was a kid. Maybe that’s why I’m a Floor Person.

All I know is that it is my preferred area of relaxation.

The downsides of being a Floor Person, as any Floor Person will tell you, are the ashy knees and elbows you acquire over time. Years of being on my knees (that’s what she said) and my elbows have made lotion a necessity.

I could give two fiddlesticks if someone looks down on me for being a Floor Person. (Which is convenient, because I don’t own any fiddlesticks.)

But of course, I’m not an impolite bastard. If I’m your guest and I don’t know you too well, I’m not going to just sprawl all over your newly-bought rug.

I’ll ask if it’s okay first.

There are total upsides to joining the Floor People. Adjusting your posture is infinitely easier when you aren’t constrained by the confines of a chair. You never really need a desk since the floor is both your desk and your chair. Plus, buying furniture in the future will be less expensive if you forego purchasing chairs.

All you have to do is invest in a nice, comfy rug.

Here’s to you, my Floor People!