Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"So I'm Talking to This Girl..."

If I'd have known that this simple phrase would have led to two hours of one-sided conversation, I'd have found a good way to indicate that I wasn't interested before it was too late.

But I'm polite.  So I listened to this customer tell me his story.  Granted, he's a regular customer and someone whose company I actually enjoy.  He's in customer service and is just as cynical and annoyed by everyone as I am.  So we share stories.  And we've built a sort of rapport.

"So I'm talking to this girl..."

And it turns out that she is someone he's been into since high school, who was married--IS MARRIED--but who just started talking to him again.  She told him her husband didn't want to be with her anymore.  She fished for compliments for DAYS, then told him she hated girls who fished for compliments.  They talked about sex, and she basically told him she'd have sex with him.  But she kept telling him she was unavailable.  And she called him wishy-washy.  So he told her about his feelings for her.  And she unfriended and blocked him.  And then one of their mutual friends blocked him when he tried to talk to her about it.

And basically, this was a two hour repetitive story.  While I was trying to close the store.  It was a quiet night, but still.  DUDE!  TWO HOURS!  I think he's lonely and depressed and wanted someone neutral to talk to.  But I don't make therapist wages, and I'm gonna catch hell tomorrow for all the shit we didn't get done or that was done half-assed.

But here's the thing.  She sounds like a crazy.  She sounds like she was giving mixed signals.  And he was pretty honest from the get go about his feelings for her.  And now he feels the whole situation is unfair and he didn't do anything to incur her wrath.  BUT.  She told him she's unavailable.  She's clearly going through a divorce.  And he should have respected her enough to back off.  No means no.  Just because she flirted with you and said she'd let you take her to the beach and that she'd bang you doesn't mean you're entitled to anything.  It just means she's a crazy.  Who is mixed up.  And maybe doesn't quite know what she wants.

But that still doesn't mean you're entitled to anything.

It must be exhausting to be a woman.  I've been thinking a lot about that lately, actually.  But that's a post for another time.  Maybe tomorrow if I get a second.  We'll see.

OUT

Monday, April 25, 2016

PODCASTED...

I recorded an episode of a podcast today with a friend of mine.  His podcast is called Bombast Podcast, and is findable via search and on iTunes.  He's been doing it sporadically for a few years now, and his content is mostly comic books and movies.

He knows his stuff.  His guests are entertaining.  And I knew him in college as my honorary fourth roommate, so it's nice catching up with him, even if it is one-sided.  That's why I became a listener.

Today he had mo on to talk about NaNoWriMo, which, it turns out, he thought might be some kind of eastern philosophy.  Nah.  It's an acronym.  Sorta.  National Novel Writing Month.  Anyone who knows me well enough to be reading this knows what that is and knows that it's been a huge part of my life for a long time.  Ten years.

We chatted about that.  We chatted about fiction in general, about fanfiction, about religion, and about random stuff.  It was a good time.  It was awesome actually getting to see his face and catch up.

And I'm not sure when the episode will be out, but he says it will be the second-to-last one ever.  EVER.  That was a bomb I wasn't prepared for.  But I've enjoyed what they've put out.  And now, you can give it all a listen.

I'll keep you posted about when my episode is coming.  I'm sure I'll hate the sound of my own voice.

OUT

News Bulletin...

Hey all.  Bullet points.

 - I had my first veggie burger today.  It was pretty good.  I honestly didn't notice too much of a difference, but it was smothered with lots of stuff.

 - I learned that my friend Dave was an acolyte at Marion Zimmer Bradley's funeral.  That's kind of awesome.

 - I'm going to be in an episode of Bombast Podcast coming up soonish.  The recording is tomorrow, and I'll be talking about NaNoWriMo.  I'd be nervous about it, but it's run by one of my better friends from college.  So...that'll be fun.

 - I took my first bike ride of the season today, complete with shirtless frisbee boys and angry geese.

 - I'm running a prank that no one has caught on to yet.  It's fun having a secret.

 - I think I've decided that this blogging exercise has been sort of a failure as judged by the terms I set out for it when I started.  I've missed eight days.  But I made up three of them.  And I might make up another one today, after I finish recording the podcast.  Anywho, I'm not getting down on myself, because I've been blogging.  Maybe not that regularly, but I've been doing it.  Hopefully by the end of the month I'll have my brain trained to think in terms of what might make a worthwhile blog.

I think that's all I've got for you today.  For now.

OUT

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Anxiety is Fun...

Today I was working on some of the final puzzles in Jonathan Blow's newest game, The Witness.  They're real brain burners, and they take a lot of concentration to solve.  I shut the game off for lunch, and decided I would listen to a podcast while we ate.  So Robb started heating up leftovers from last night.

My brain was sort of occupied with this puzzle on which I'd quit.  I was getting text messages from two separate people on two separate apps.  I was trying to answer questions from both of them.  The podcast was starting.  And Robb asked me how many fish tacos I wanted.

And my brain just...exploded.  All of a sudden I wanted to throw pretty much everything across the room.  I told Robb to hold on a second, slammed down my mobile speaker, paused my podcast, and silenced my phone.  Then I stood looking at him while he stared at me like a crazy person.

"Two.  I'll have two."

I worked to calm the surge of anger and frustration that swelled inside me from nowhere.  Anxiety will do that.

If it's too loud at work, I start to get mad for no reason.  If it's been too long since I've had some quiet, I start to ball up and push people away.  I'll get my recharge one way or another.  Too many expectations have me shutting down.  Too much stimulation has me inexplicably angry.  And I used to wonder what was wrong with me.  I thought I was just mean or lazy or something.

But I found out it's anxiety.  These are all common responses to anxiety.  And now I'm learning to see the triggers and not get myself into those situations as often.  It's a helpful thing to know what to call something, even if you're not sure what to do about it just yet.

Clearly I have some work to do.  Clearly I still let it get the best of me occasionally.  But with some mindfulness, things are looking better already.

OUT

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Really Quick...

I'm working the dream shift tomorrow.  That's a midday shift where I get to sleep in AND have a night!  AND I'll probably get to leave early.

I feel spoiled.  I have nothing for you today except the full moon.  Enjoy it.  For once it didn't turn people into blithering crazies tonight.  I'm going to rearrange my Tarot cards and put them in the moonlight for the night.  Supposedly that's a good way to cleanse their energy.  I'm not sure how much stock I put into that, but it can't hurt.

Anywho...that's all today.  It was a good day.

OUT

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Too Nice?

I've run into something in the last few years on occasion that makes me feel like maybe I might be a horrible person.  Have you ever met someone who seems...too nice?  Like...you inherently don't trust them because no one is THAT nice?

I work with a guy who makes me feel that way.  He's so agreeable and nice, shares his food, thinks of his coworkers and surprises them with things, compliments them, etc.  He really is, on the surface, a nice guy.  But I don't trust him.  Like, at all.

This weekend there was an issue at work, and he was really hurt.  Not physically.  Emotionally.  He says he was told something, and that something, I KNOW FOR A FACT, isn't true.  So someone in a circle of management and coworkers is a liar.  They lied about a situation that occurred.  Knowingly.  And the only person who could have benefited from that lie was the nice guy.  So...I'm led to believe that he's feeding many people a line of bullshit so long that no one can untangle it.

But he's so NICE!

And he's not the only one who has elicited that response in me.  People who are genuinely sweet and kind and caring, I assume, must have something hidden in their lives.  We used to have a customer when I worked at a bank in town who was all smiles and concern about how we were doing and what was going on in our lives.  Her daughter was super nice and polite.  Her husband was just great.  And everything about her was damn near perfect.  We all just assumed she was a murderer.  Because who can be THAT NICE all the time?!

Why do we do this?  Why can't I just accept the fact that some people are nice?

It just seems, sometimes, that people who do favors and pay compliments are covering for something, like a perfume trying to mask a particularly pungent odor.  You know it's there, but the fog of niceness is so thick that you just can't make it out.

I dunno.  My gut often tells me to be suspicious of things that are too good to be true.  I trust my gut.  Intuition is a powerful tool that I have learned to develop over the years from reading Tarot cards and reading customer service situations.  If it seems like someone is trying to screw you, they probably are.

OUT

Top Ten: Board Games...

Hey, kids.  I'm gonna slap this up here really quick before bed.  (That's what she said.)  I thought it might be interesting for those of you in the board game world (or those of you who are looking to dive in and wondering what's good) if I shared what my top ten highest rated games are according to my Board Game Geek account.

So, in reverse order and without any further blahblah, here we go.

#10.  Ghost Stories - You want a co-op experience that will beat you down and make you want more?  This is for you.  Defend a town from invading spirits using limited means.  The artwork on this is incredible!  Check it out if you don't mind a challenge.  We've played it 17 times and never won.  So...you know...it's hard.

#9.  Tales of the Arabian Nights - This is more of an experience than a game, but it's still super fun.  You take one of the heroes from the Arabian Nights collection and journey across a board making choices and facing dangers.  It's like a choose your own adventure story book with game elements.  You might end up a sultan with vast treasure.  You might end up a sex-changed beast man who is crippled and lost.  You never know what's coming in this one!  It seats up to 6, but if you play with the full complement of players, cut the points in half.  We played this for 5 hours our first time.

#8.  Flash Point: Fire Rescue - Another co-op experience that's FAR less challenging that Ghost Stories.  This game has you fighting fires and rescuing trapped civilians before the structure you are in collapses around you and dooms you all.  Each character has a special power.  Each turn means more fire.  Work together or die in a fire.  There are some great expansions to this one available, too.  More maps, different mechanics.  It's a great time, and the difficulty scales to fit your ego.

#7.  Carcassonne - What's to be said about this game that hasn't already been said?  This is the game that got me into the modern gaming hobby.  I bought a copy randomly from Barnes & Noble, and after Robb's and my first game, I knew I'd found something special.  Lay tiles and assign workers to score points.  You're building a map of cities and fields and roads, matching tile edges and claiming features to score.  This is a fantastic entry level game that I would play any day of the week.  It's got a pretty satisfying app version, too, with a fun single player solitaire version that you don't get in the box.

#6.  Splendor - Splendor sold me originally because the coins in the box are MAGNIFICENT.  They have a satisfying weight and sound, and that's why I bought this game.  But!  I'm so glad I did.  Splendor has won awards ever since its release, and I would put it up there with the likes of Carcassonne and Settlers of Catan (now just called Catan) for games to introduce someone to if they're curious about the hobby.  Take currency, buy assets, and let those assets work for you to buy even bigger assets.  It's a slow build that really satisfies.  Check out the app version.  It's super well produced and quite fun.

#5.  Catan - You knew it had to be on here.  This game is the reason there IS a gaming boom.  Without Catan, I just can't imagine modern board games being as good as they are.  Roll dice to collect resources and build cities for points.  First to 10 wins.  Choose your starting points wisely or risk being forced to trade away hard earned resources for things you desperately need.  The economy is tight, and the robber makes things tense when you feel like you might be pulling ahead.  Give this a try.  This is another game I own in several forms--including an app version that is pretty good and way cheaper than the actual physical game.

#4.  Scrabble - I know.  I know.  This is not a hobby game, really.  But I can't just leave it off a list like this.  I've lost two games of Scrabble in my life, and they were both to the same person.  You know who you are.  To say I like this game would be doing it a disservice.  It's simple.  It's addicting. And if you have a huge vocabulary, it's almost a guarantee that you'll win.  Wooden squares and a board.  Simple and fun.

#3.  Machi Koro:  Harbor Expansion - The original Machi Koro is a good game.  It's sort of like Catan without a board.  You build a tableau of cards and roll dice to generate income to buy more cards.  First person to build all four landmarks wins.  The Harbor Expansion makes this game into a whole different animal.  Instead of having every building available all the time, this version includes the marketplace, where only ten different building cards are up for grabs.  The market rotates as people buy cards, forcing you to change your strategy based on what is available instead of what has been proven to work time and again (I'm looking at you Ranches and Cheese Factories).  Cute artwork makes this game shine.  Check it out.  It's simple and fun and one of my favorite games.

#2.  Five Tribes - The Mancala mechanic makes this game for me.  Pick up and lay down assassins, merchants, builders, viziers, and elders to score points in several different ways.  Control tiles for points.  Collect cards for points.  Kill people for points.  Invoke powerful Djinni for points!  POINT SALAD!  ALL THE POINTS!  I would play this game right now in the middle of the night with complete strangers if they asked me to.  That's how much I love this game.  Our version was lucky enough to come with a headless camel meeple.  That's right.  Headless.  Robb claims him every game.  But really, pick a strategy and run with it.  That's the path to victory in this Mancala-inspired game that's anything but tame.

And finally, #1.

#1.  Pandemic Legacy:  Season 1 - Don't be turned off by the fact that this game is a one-time-through affair.  There are very few games I've played 17 times.  You have the chance to play anywhere from 12 to 24 games, depending on whether you win or lose each of this game's in-game months.  Twists and turns galore in this one.  Create characters and take them through a year of catastrophic unrest!  Later game mechanics are extremely satisfying and challenging.  If you like Pandemic, play this.  If you've never played Pandemic, play this.  Seriously.  It's that good.  The price tag is sort of high, but after having played through it, I can say that it's worth every penny.  This is, without hyperbole, the single best gaming experience I have ever had for any platform.  And that's saying a ton.

So there you have it, folks.  My top 10, as rated on Board Game Geek.

Honorable mention goes to Traders of Osaka, a compact little economic title that I really suck at but I love.  Another game on my short list is Betrayal at House on the Hill.  The rules are a complete mess, but this game is super fun.  50 scenarios determined randomly in a randomly build mansion mean you never play the same game twice.  And lastly, Rhino Hero made my short list because it's hella fun with kids or adults.  Alcohol increases the difficulty and fun.  Stacking cards like Jenga doesn't seem like much until you realize you've played six games of it and you're sweating like a hog.  Check it out.  It's super cheap right now.

Alright.  I hope you enjoyed this look into my board gaming habit.  Stay tuned for more blahblah later.

OUT