Category: Miscellaneous/Unsorted

A data journalist’s wet dream

A data journalist’s wet dream

I’ll be honest, I absolutely wrote this blog post almost exclusively to use that pun in the title.

That’s where I peak for the day. Good night, folks.

Unfortunately I can’t just leave things there. Anyone reading this in the distant future without the context of my social media stinger would be lost.

If you are reading this way after I’m writing it, hello! My name is Jason. This is my blog. I’m here to talk about porn today.

I swear that’s not an everyday occurrence.

I wouldn’t typically bring up the subject at all unless I had a good reason to. It just so happens that this tweet sent me down a rabbit hole this morning.

Apparently Pornhub does a yearly visualization of site analytics, and the fact that I wasn’t aware of it before is a travesty. I’ve gotten very into that sort of thing recently, so alongside psychological implications of “what the world gets off on,” you’ve got something right up my alley.

I suppose 2018 is a good a time as any to find out about it, because hoo boy is there a ton of interesting stuff.

Obviously this whole subject is a bit NSFW, but I’m more interested in it from a data analysis side. However, if you’re squeamish about the topic I’ll understand if you don’t want to read on.

That said, here are some of my favorite Pornhub Insights from 2018.

… Definitely not a sentence I ever thought I would be writing.

The data that starts off the review is fascinating just from the sheer scale.

Apparently there were 92 million daily visits to the site on average, and about 115 years worth of video were uploaded this year. I know porn is a popular thing, and typically an early adopter of every form of mass media thanks to my Comm classes…

But 115 years of video just this year alone?

I’m not sure how to comprehend that much porn. Especially considering Pornhub is just one of countless porn websites.

When presented with that myriad of information, my first inclination is to ask how it filtered down. Luckily, Pornhub has a number of well-done infographics breaking things into manageable chunks. For instance:

1-pornhub-insights-2018-year-in-review-searches-that-defined-the-year

There’s a lot to say about these defining searches.

Stormy Daniels stands out in how hilarious it is that a serious presidential scandal skyrocketed this woman from being the 671 most popular pornstar in 2017 to being the most popular search result in 2018.

Fortnite, as much as I don’t particularly enjoy it, makes sense as a high result considering how popular the game is. Though in that same vein, Bowsette skyrocketing into the top ten based on that week or two she was a popular concept is astounding.

Later on they break down the highest video game-related searches, and it’s not too surprising.

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The best thing about this list is Mario being the highest male result. Shout out to that portly plumber for representing male characters.

With that said, I find the worldwide search analyses more interesting than the media-specific stuff. The fact that categories like “4K,” “Trans” and “Tinder” were among top search results says a lot about the era we live in.

It also says a lot about porn watchers that “Lesbian,” “Hentai,” “Milf,” “Step mom” and “Japanese” were the top five most searched terms this year. Especially given that the United States produced the most Pornhub traffic by more than three times its runner-up, the United Kingdom.

Easily the most interesting graphic produced in this set shows which parts of the world searched for what kinds of porn most.

maps-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-most-viewed-categories

Just look at that sharp divide between “Lesbian” porn in the Americas, “Hentai” in Asia/Russia and “Ebony” porn in Africa. The strong leanings in these parts of the world is simply fascinating to me.

Shout out to Pakistan for being about the sole representative of “Big Dick” porn too. Much respect.

The other segment that really intrigued me was the technology insights. For instance, the clear leaning toward Windows/Android devices:

4-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-operating-system

Or the fact that about 0.7 percent of Pornhub users are searching from their 3DS systems:

4-pornhub-insights-2018-year-review-console-traffic

Like who is doing that?! Who is using that janky 3DS web browser to search for porn?

I’d like to meet and interview those people.

There’s so many more things to draw out of these data sets, from the gendered search results to the periods when traffic to the site fell (including the day Big Bang Theory season 11 premiered) and which days/times are the most popular for porn watching.

But the more I talk about here, the more I’ll feel like I’m just stealing things. So instead I’ll point out the link once again and encourage you all to check out the information for yourself.

It’s a hell of a rabbit hole to dive down, and after getting lost in it this morning I’d highly recommend it.

A super palate cleanser

A super palate cleanser

Yesterday I vented all about how stressed I was by the end of the semester fast approaching.

However… That didn’t wind up being the end of the story.

After finishing that blog post at school and coming home, I proceeded to do a ton of my homework late into the night. Doing so alleviated a lot of my anxiety about being able to get things done.

As did watching the Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch about spam.

I’m not even sure the sketch itself was THAT funny, but watching my dad lose his shit the second it came on was amazing and definitely killed me.

Stuff like that helped keep me balanced today, to the point that tonight I’m feeling way better about life. Enough to work through the idiocy of my Sensation and Perception class this morning.

If you saw the tweet I wrote, you’ll understand.

Yeah.

It also made me feel better enough to justify spending extra time getting into writing on the old blog here!

Which completely defeats the purpose of my giving myself the out yesterday… But hey. I did say I have messed up priorities there.

I would also argue that going to the gym tonight helped me burn off some of the stress. Which yes, I know makes this into just another post-gym posting for me.

Except this time the topic I wanted to delve into is only related to going to the gym.

While working out tonight I spent some time listening to the Nerdsync podcast. I’m positive I’ve talked about them before in one of my “YouTube Recommendations” posts, but in essence Nerdsync is a YouTube channel that I came across while getting more into the comic book scene over the summer which really thrives on intellectual takes on subjects in (mostly) superhero comics.

Highly recommended.

After getting through all of the video content there I discovered there was a podcast starring the channel’s main head Scott and his friends Chris and Bryce. Since then I’ve been listening through the ~130 episode backlog during my daily commutes.

Episode 89, which I happened to be listening to while lifting weights, was one of their recurring Trivia Challenge podcasts where the three guys make up quizzes for one another based on obscure comic book or pop culture stuff.

Through the episode I discovered something so hilarious that it not only killed off more of my stress, but also probably added a few years onto my lifespan.

In the golden age of DC Comics, around the 1950s, there was a series of stories under the title of “Superman’s Pal, Jimmy Olsen.” It’s one of Scott’s favorite things and has become one of mine as well because it’s quite literally the goofiest stuff you’ve ever seen Superman involved with, to the point that most of it doesn’t even sound real.

That’s the case with this particular Jimmy Olsen comic, Volume 113 from June of 1956.

In essence, this was a story in which Superman tried to convince Jimmy he was in a dream after the reporter accidentally got a photo of Clark Kent changing into the superhero attire. He did so by doing ridiculous things like duplicating eggs.

If that wasn’t already wild enough, take a look at the cover in which everything is exactly the same… Except Superman is upside-down.

Image and story summary are all from the DC Wikia, by the way.

Yet even if that’s a trustworthy source, I still cannot believe that this is an actual thing that exists. Not only is it a ridiculous premise, but the fact that they decided Superman being upside-down was whacky enough to grace the cover of the book is astounding to me.

He flies! It’s not weird that he can turn upside down!

Everything is just… So good about this.

So, so good.

After hearing that this excited I needed to share it with the world. Because hopefully it can help you all feel better about life as it has for me.


Featured Image courtesy of Roland Tanglao via Wikimedia Commons

On the first night…

On the first night…

It has been brought to my attention that I was lied to by my mom and last night was not, in fact, the first night of Hanukkah. Tonight is.

I know I’m at least partially at fault for not fact checking myself… But I’ve gotten permission to blame her for it.

So if you’re in the future reading this, confused as to why I didn’t know when the actual date of Hanukkah was in 2018.

That’s why.


Happy Hanukkah everybody!

That’s right, as of sunset today, the Jewish festival of lights began. Because we’re on a lunar calendar in the calculation of hebrew holiday placement, the big events tend to fall out at different times every year.

This year it just so happened that our closest equivalent to Christmas fell out about a month before Christmas. Or as we in the Rochlin house like to call it: Two days before Alyson’s birthday.

Yeah… She got a bit shafted in that department as far as the availability of her non-Jewish friends goes for parties every year. But hey, at least we don’t have to worry about buying her presents twice-over in the same time period.

At least some years we don’t. Like this year, for instance.

Now I’m a bit tired and sore after helping a friend move some boxes today, so I don’t think I’m going to write anything too prolific. It’ll give me some more time to work on this essay — which, by the way, is the same one I talked about doing my FDA research on the other day and am continuing to have a blast with. I’ll definitely have to do another post on it sometime soon.

But for now, if you want some more Hanukkah-based content, you can take a look at this post I wrote about getting a chunk of presents early this year.

Tonight I got the rest of everything, since we gave up on the eight nights of presents thing a long time ago. The haul expanded to include a new set of Cards Against Humanity cards, a lovely check from my grandparents in Florida (who I’ll thank here as well as over-the-phone soon!) and..

Wait. What’s this?

It can’t be.

It’s…

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We’ve got new Pokémon! This is not a drill.

And I definitely did not know about it ahead of time from being in the store when we purchased the game.

Totally.

If you see a lot of posts coming out of my Twitter account in particular talking about all of my new Pokémon adventures in the near future, now you know why.

I’m thinking I’ll treat this installment specially. It has the capacity for two-player games, so I’ve considered trying to only play the game with my sister so we can have the experience together.

Whether or not I break that rule as I get too excited to play the game is a bridge I’ll have to cross when I get to it.

But that being said, hopefully you all have a great Hanukkah — even if you don’t celebrate!

I’m going to go off and spend some time with my family for the holiday.

And rest my back a bit.


Featured Image courtesy of Adiel lo via Wikimedia Commons

On social media culture and overthinking everything

On social media culture and overthinking everything

This morning I got a rejection letter from the Washington Post on my application to their summer 2019 internship program.

It’s a shame, but considering they were only accepting 27 people out of over 1,200 applicants… Yeah I can’t get that upset about it. Plus I’m not exactly new to rejection this year, so it isn’t something I’m going to linger on for too long.

Granted if I don’t get positive news from the Boston Globe internship I applied for I’ll have to figure out something totally different to do with my summer, but I already have a bit of a baseline with Gladeo, Boom and some other possible upcoming opportunities.

So I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing this post as a sympathy grab. Kind of the opposite actually!

I’m writing this post more as a symptom of how I’ve been overthinking the nature of sympathy grabs on social media and the skewed perspective that comes with a purely text-driven medium.

Sounds complicated, I know. Refer back to the “overthinking” part of that sentence.

But I’ll break it down into my thought process in its entirety.

After seeing that rejection email in bed this morning (because I’m one of those people who checks my email as soon as I wake up), I couldn’t help but deliver a corrupted, well-worn cliché to my mom this morning. Something along the lines of:

“Nothing like the sweet sting of rejection in the morning to remind you we’re living in a cruel, indifferent world.”

Clearly a bit of extra cynicism baked in from recently re-reading Stephen Jay Gould’s piece on “Nonoverlapping Magisteria” for my Evolution and Creation class, but to me it was funny nonetheless.

In fact, I thought the idea was funny enough that I considered posting the phrase up on Twitter with no context just to hopefully elicit a laugh.

Two different trains of thought stopped me from doing so.

The first was a concern that if I did post something like that, it would garner a primarily sympathetic response. Rather than having everyone laugh a little at the idea, they would just apologize and ask what happened.

That’s not to say sympathy is a bad thing, even if it is for the Devil. This just wasn’t a situation where I was actually looking to garner sympathy, and it seems disingenuous to present myself as though genuinely begging for attention online (where sarcasm and such is much harder to read).

The second train of thought ties into that idea from more of an aggression-avoidance point of view. I wouldn’t have wanted to post something like that only to receive a dozen messages accusing me of being thin-skinned and not handling rejection well.

Obviously cueing some sort of message about all millennials being snowflakes somewhere in there.

Because you know that would inevitably be included in the conversation.

Of course some of you will probably say that by backing down from my conviction to post something in light of potentially negative messages I’m just confirming the whole thin-skinned thing. I happen to see it more as not provoking a hassle that would be agonizingly predictable to deal with, but do with that as you will.

So in the end I decided not to post that particular post. All of the back-and-forth in my own head considering things twenty steps ahead that I probably don’t even have to worry about eventually talked me out of it.

What can I say? I’m a fan of overthinking simple things.

As a fun aside to further prove that point, I was a part of the chess club back in elementary school (nerd alert, I know) and one time got an opponent of mine to quit in the middle of a match by talking over a number of different steps he could possibly take as I worked on my own move.

Which makes me sound like a dick to children in hindsight… But to be fair I was also a child, so that’s not unreasonable.

Many years in the future I think it’s a funny little anecdote to reflect on.

With all that said I wanted to leave the thought experiment up to all of you for further debate.

Do you put yourself through these kinds of moral quandaries when posting things on social media? Or am I alone in grossly overthinking what should be a quick 200-character goofy, dumb post.

How do you feel more generally about the culture of essentially begging for sympathy online, or at least what becomes the perception of it by a viewing audience?

Let me know, it’s a subject I’m genuinely interested in right now.

International Entertainment

It’s never a bad day when you get home at 3:00 p.m. Especially when there’s enough of an endorphin rush from getting a solid grade on that Sensation and Perception research paper rough draft to counteract the dejection of finding out thefinal exam won’t be curved like the midterms were.

I’m not at all bitter about being told about it just two weeks before the exam.

You can tell by the way I definitely did not start this post off with a paragraph-long rant.

But hey that being said, at least I got home early right? Which means I had plenty of extra time to get started on my homework for the weekend.

Ahaha, haha, ha.

Haha.

Hah…

Yeah no, I just watched YouTube all afternoon.

Don’t give me that look, viewing public. It was a long week, okay? I just wanted to go home and veg out a little.

Oh boy, here I am arguing with the empty void that I’m pretending is a robust audience.

Let’s just stop filling in empty space on this post and get to the point.

When I talked about the somewhat bizarre international reach of my blog the other day, I didn’t realize it would make me get all deeply philosophical and thoughtful about other stuff I’ve been observing.

For instance, the YouTube videos I’ve been watching.

Yeah that’s right this is another recommending YouTube channels post. Don’t pretend like you didn’t see that coming.

Even if this is a makeshift post thanks to events I had planned getting cancelled, it is based on something I was thinking about in the shower this morning.

See I recently discovered a new video game reviewing YouTuber who has sent me down the rabbit hole of binging every old video out of sheer love for the great new entertainment.

His name is RadicalSoda, and for the most part he does a lot of Sonic-related stuff from what I’ve seen. But also his Kingdom Hearts 2 and bad Pixar PS2 games videos have stood out to me.

The reason why he’s relevant in the conversation I set up for myself is because a few videos in I found out that my new favorite long-haired dudebro is from New Zealand.

Land of the Hobbit and… Usurping old Zealanders. I guess.

I don’t know anything about New Zealand.

But that’s kind of the point! I know literally nothing about New Zealand, yet thanks to the magic of an open content creation platform like YouTube I’m able to see his creative energy and sense of humor come to life.

It’s kind of awesome to imagine, and I’m not sure I would have thought about it too much if I wasn’t already primed by seeing my own blog’s analytics.

Naturally I couldn’t help but think about other YouTube personalities I watch who aren’t based in the United States, because this would have been a very boring post if it was just lots of rambling only to have one recommendation at the end.

So I have other recommendations. For instance, Caddicarus is a channel I’ve been following for some time that’s based in England and also does video game-related content more often than not.

In a similar vein I’ve gotten very into watching another British YouTuber, I Hate Everything. He has a massive backlog of interesting videos just talking about dumb things in general or talking about dumb movies specifically.

His channel also got me introduced to Ralphthemoviemaker, who also does some fantastic movie reviews… But he’s in the U.S. so I’m not counting that right now.

The only other big international name I can think off the top of my head is RANK10YGO, but he’s arguably the most niche suggestion I can offer to a general audience.

All he does is Yu-Gi-Oh! videos. Specifically informational videos about different card archetypes in the game.

Which are fantastic if you want to find out more about the game like I did after getting real into Duel Links. But I imagine it isn’t for everything.

Unless you happen to like somewhat deadpan, meme-ridden humor. In which case he’s your man!

Also he’s apparently from Montenegro. Just in case you were wondering why he fit into this whole international shindig.

So yeah, there’s a bunch of (mostly) international YouTube suggestions that you can check out if you’re interested. For me it’s a pretty great reminder that the Internet isn’t just a cesspool of dumb crap.

It’s a place where people from literally all over the world can share their creativity for even random Joe’s like me to see.

Even if their creativity is just dumb crap, it’s still pretty awesome to think about.

If you have any international content creators you want to recommend, I’d be happy to hear all about them!

We kindred few

The longer I’ve been going to the gym regularly, the more I’ve started to pick up on patterns of attendance amongst gym patrons.

Also, yes, this is yet another random post about my reflections on going to the gym that I’m using as a crutch on a night where I didn’t know what else to write about and happened to come up with a vague idea while actually at the gym. Figured I’d lampshade this post now and get it out-of-the-way.

Also also, yes, I’ve said  ‘gym’ five times at this point, less than 100 words in.

It’s just going to be that kind of post.

Shattered fourth wall aside, let’s get into business patterns like I established up top.

For the most part I’ve noticed the same kind of thing repeatedly. During the week, particularly Mondays and Tuesdays, a lot more folks are at the gym later in the afternoon than earlier in the day — though I admittedly haven’t gone super early in the morning to check that timeframe.

But then on the weekends, and Fridays to some extent, it’s empty at night during the same periods that are booming during the week.

Though on the surface level this difference seems a little bizarre, it actually makes a lot of sense when you think about general work week scheduling.

During the week, anyone who doesn’t get up before the sun rises to work out as a wake-up maneuver is stuck in work or school for hours on end during the day. Thus they have to go to the gym at night.

Hell I’m personally a victim of long day scheduling even this semester. My Tuesdays and Wednesdays have me out from 11:00 a.m. to at least 7:00 p.m., not encompassing the drive home. Even on my shorter Mondays and Thursdays I’m not home until at least 3:00 p.m. or so.

The weekends, however, are different.

Nobody wants to necessarily go to the gym over the weekends. Those are the free days where people spend time with their families, go out to do chores or whatever they might want/have to do when not stuck in true obligations.

So unless you’re a real gym nut, or trying to keep yourself honest and get better like me, why would you go on the weekends?

To be fair I don’t even really go until late at night on the weekends despite having most of my days open because I just get lazy. I spent time with my family, I play video games, etc.

That’s how I wind up in the gym at 7:00 p.m. with a relatively small slice of gym goers, from my experience.

It winds up being a funny experience to me because I stare around at the odd collection of vaguely goth-looking girls on the exercise bikes, somewhat heavy gentlemen doing squats between the rows of machines, old folks meandering on treadmills with their walkers set next to the apparatus and so many others thinking…

What are you all doing here on a Saturday night?

Which of course leads me to the inevitable conclusions that I, too, am at the gym on a Saturday night alongside all of them. Dealing with the newly ordered machines, avoiding the construction in the bathrooms and just sweating away. To whatever ends they might be aiming for.

I do sort of wish I could just walk up and ask for their stories without it being bizarre or creepy. Perhaps I will one day if I want to do a story about that for some outlet I land in.

But for now, imagining little headcanons for each of them is plenty fun.

Plus there’s something vaguely unifying about the thought, even if most of my time is spent tunnel visioned on the routine I’ve set up for myself while listening to podcasts or watching videos.

Even if today all I found myself thinking about was whether they noticed my brand new haircut or not.

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Got that pre-shower fuzzy forehead like damn.

I’m more than aware that slipping this photo in for the sake of confirming the existence of my new doo (which I feel the need to confirm for some reason) will make it appear as a featured image on social media, thus confusing everyone about the purpose of this post and making it seem as though I’m using myself as a weird bit of clickbait.

But uhh… Guess that’s just how it goes.

Good thing I’m the only one that worries myself over things like this, right?

Hanukkah came early this year

Hanukkah came early this year

The latter half of this Thanksgiving Break has included a lot of media binging with my family. So much so, in fact, that I had planned on writing something today which could serve as miniature reviews of “Daredevil” season 3 on Netflix and “Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams” on Amazon Prime.

But then we wound up going out for most of the day, and that distraction coupled with my overall lethargy kind of killed any desire to do a serious, hard review of things tonight.

So here’s a two sentence review of each:

  • “Daredevil’s” third season, despite starting slow, becomes one of the best Marvel Netflix shows due to its compelling characters, brilliantly used set-pieces and themes of religious disillusionment and government corruption. The show is engagingly dramatic in all the right ways and builds up to a crescendo of an encounter in the last episode that serves as a perfect catharsis for the Matt Murdock.
  • “Electric Dreams” is an anthology sci-fi series in the same vein as the Twilight Zone, which tackles similar societal and psychological scenarios that are the apparent long-reaching effects of modern-day consumerism, technological advancements and fear mongering politics — all based on modernized Philip K. Dick short stories. My Dad and I watched the show on a whim and (except for one or two episodes) did not regret the experience in the slightest thanks to their varied directorial styles, futuristic concepts designed with well-done CGI and some really dark, thoughtful stories.

I would recommend both of these shows if you have the appropriate streaming services. Though, as a fair warning, “Electric Dreams” might just give you a dejected, jaded world view for a short time after.

I know I certainly felt somewhat paranoid taking out the trash after watching the final (and in my opinion best) episode. Very poignant in today’s media scape.

With that said, let’s move on. Even though Dad and I stayed up extra late finishing the latter show, we still had to get up and do chores this afternoon.

But before we went out to do chores, my Mom (for reasons I’m still don’t really know) decided to give Aly and I some of the more goofy, kitchy Hanukkah gifts she bought. Despite the fact that Hanukkah starts on December 2.

So even though the holiday is much earlier than usual on the Gregorian calendar this year, she still decided to give us some of our gifts weeks in advance?

Don’t know guys, I’m just rolling with it. Mostly because it gave me something kind of funny to talk about on a night where I don’t feel like exerting a whole lot of effort.

For instance, one gift that she got for both of the Rochlin siblings was:

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Big ol’ cotton balls that vaguely feel snow-like in texture meant to stand-in as snowballs for us west coasters in the blazing tropics.

Cool? I guess?

I mean don’t get me wrong it was fun pelting people with these things and there’s basically no way they could hurt anyone. But… Still a strange and kind of random gift.

Though I still don’t think they top this other gift in terms of randomness:

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Marvel socks!

Marvel socks?

Yeah, again I’m not entirely sure where the inspiration to get these came from. But they are actually kinda cool and much more useful than fake snowballs.

Like sure I know in my Stan Lee tribute post I talked all about how I don’t have a ton of experience with the Marvel universe outside of movies. But that said I do love me some Marvel movies.

Plus some of these socks are kind of nice. I’d wear the Spider-Man ones, or the Captain America ones or the Ghost Rider ones just because they’re nice designs.

I’d also wear the Red Skull socks because, let’s be honest, they’re so incredibly dumb that how could I not?

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What a fuckin’ goof he is.

So long story short, I may have a ton of socks already, this may be one of the strangest, most random gifts I’ve ever gotten and we completely disregarded the ‘advent calendar’ packaging for the socks (because that was something they were trying to do)…

But that doesn’t mean I won’t wear them ever. Plus even if I don’t, Alyson already stole the Rocket Raccoon socks, so someone will.

Oh yeah, let’s not forget that while we were out, we happened to pick up a copy of a certain new Pokémon game for a certain Nintendo Switch.

But I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to pretend I don’t know that yet, so more on that some other day.


P.S. — Featured image courtesy of Shlomo via Wikimedia Commons.

Because we haven’t actually broken out any of the Hanukkah stuff in our house yet.

Feasting with the Family

Feasting with the Family

Don’t have a big fancy blog post planned for today, because I think it should just be a time to spend with family and/or friends.

So I just wanted to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving!

Especially since my family is meeting earlier than usual today and I can send along those good vibes with good food:

And good dogs:

Hope you all have a lovely day and a great feast for the holiday!

Our new Toy Opening channel

Our new Toy Opening channel

After a lovely family lunch at Mama D’s with my grandparents to celebrate my Grandpa Joe’s belated birthday, Alyson made me take her over to Target.

She didn’t need anything. She just wanted to wander aimlessly and kill time.

To be fair I do that sort of thing with my friends constantly, to the point where we covertly call ourselves the ‘Loiter Bois,’ so I couldn’t argue. In fact I was pretty into the idea. Especially considering Pokémon Let’s Go Eevee & Pikachu just came out and I was interested in seeing it on shelves as I start to prepare my holiday wish list.

But then something happened. Idly wandering the video game and toy aisles making fun of things turned into more when she found this rip-off Lego Pokémon toy of one of my favorites:

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Isn’t Mimikyu just the cutest? Who needs Pikachu when you’ve got one of them, huh?

On the one hand, I don’t know why I let her convinced me to buy this thing. I just started cleaning my room up for the Thanksgiving Break, and having another little figurine to take up space seems counterintuitive. Plus, when I say this thing was a Lego rip-off, I mean it is like a real cheap Lego rip-off.

Just look at how weirdly confusing and unintuitive these instructions are.

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Somehow it manages to take a Lego figurine made out of ~20 pieces and not distinctly separate out which pieces are what for big chunks of the instructions. It took some time to figure out which parts went where.

But at the very least I suppose these Mega Construx are similar to Lego in that they have just random extra pieces for no reason.

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Where do you go, random circle piece? I don’t see you anywhere in the instructions.

Granted I did just complain that the instructions were unintuitive so maybe I’m just missing something… But oh well.

On the other hand, despite those points, I really can’t complain about the purchase. It was maybe six dollars for a pseudo-figurine of one of my favorite Pokémon and it came with a Premiere Ball, which is also probably my favorite kind of Poké Ball.

Its creepy long neck might just haunt me in my dreams, but I’ll happily suffer that fate for Mimikyu.

However, I didn’t just buy this fake Lego. I was pretty close to putting it down and not buying anything because it just didn’t seem worth it to get one item. Especially if that one item was a dumb toy like this.

So my sister made up for it by buying another toy while we were there:

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Yeah that’s right, I know you’ve seen these kinds of dumb collectible packs for every popular culture property in existence.

Well we got one to open up for ourselves just for the hell of it. Even though the movie isn’t out yet as of my writing this, so who knows if it’ll be worth supporting fringe toy-based ventures for it.

All I know is it definitely became worth it when we decided to do this jokey, vague toy opening YouTube channel parody just to put here on the old blog.

See? Even though I make fun of her a bunch on here, she’s still more than happy to make herself look stupid alongside me when the time comes.

I guess this is the part where I would tell you all to like, comment and subscribe to my channel like every cliché in the book tells me I should? But honestly I just use that thing as a dumping place for videos that I want to throw up on my blog, as WordPress has kind of terrible compression when videos and such are concerned.

But that’s going way into the weeds for no reason. I just wanted to share the fun, silly thing my sister and I did today.

Hope you like it.

Slow and Steady

Slow and Steady

I was pretty worried that the procedural aspects of my hematologist check-up this morning were going to invalidate months of trying to better myself and tarnish my motivation.

But, as an optimistic pessimist might say, my low expectations left me feeling pleasantly surprised. Even rather good about myself!

As I’ve said, toward the end of the summer I started going to the gym regularly. Two or three times a week for about an hour each.

I mainly wanted to feel better about myself. No real “goals” were set, it has been driven by an internal desire to look better in the mirror, feel better about myself… And hopefully not be as winded when I climb a large flight of stairs.

So far I’ve had decent results in the latter two departments, and even if I don’t personally see the difference my family has noted that I’m beginning to look a bit thinner.

In terms of tangible numbers, I haven’t been doing a lot to keep track. If anything I figured forcing myself to stand on a scale every week would just kill my motivation when the number moves incrementally.

Intrinsically I understand that weight loss takes time, of course.

I’m just worried that the raging, emotional segment of my lizard brain would see that result and get me to try quitting.

Thus today became the first real barometer of how I’m doing from a statistical standpoint. A month-and-a-half ago I was weighed at my annual physical and jotted down that I was about 207 lbs.

(A purely American metric that won’t help any of you off using that other, more ubiquitous system, but it makes the most sense to me.)

When I stepped on the scale at the start of my appointment this morning, fearful of anything above where my “starting point” was, I wound up (as previously mentioned) pleasantly surprised.

I was 204 lbs.

Now I don’t know if a net loss of three-ish pounds over a month+ is a good fraction or whatever. I ain’t a nutritionist after all.

All I know is the fact that I’ve been able to lose the weight I had through my exercising is a great sign that should help motivate me going forward. After all that loss comes without any significant change to my diet, which I know is equally important to being healthier and losing weight.

What can I say… I like cheeseburgers. Like a lot.

At least now I can confirm that I’m counterbalancing them if nothing else.

But wait, there’s more!

Honestly my morning was going to balance out that weight loss elation with the more dejected outlook brought on by finding out my last Sensation and Perception midterm went… Just okay. Normally not a problem except that my overall GPA dropped due to a lack of things in the grade-book.

But then the blood tests came back (since I was at the hematologist office), and we found out that my blood cell count is up right now!

I’m sure I’ve given this context before somewhere, but just in case anyone is unaware: I have ITP.

It’s a blood disorder with an insanely long actual name that basically means I have significantly a low blood platelet count. Around the 20s when an average range is in the mid-100s.

Ostensibly the disorder does nothing in my every day life. It just means I might have problems should something happen where I end up bleeding significantly.

When the diagnosis first came and I dealt with a rollercoaster of treatments that at one point landed me in the hospital (which was more than a year ago now crazily enough), I wasn’t very keen on talking about it.

But hey, it’s been more than a year and nothing significant has gone down. So I think I’m feeling way better about discussing the whole thing.

Long context aside, the lede I’ve been burying is that today my blood platelet count is up from about 24 the last time we checked to about 35 today.

It could just be a general fluctuation, but all progress in the positive is good progress I’d say!

Between that and my weight, this doctor’s appointment left me feeling pretty good about myself. From a physical standpoint especially.

Sure, those positive vibes led right into the mundane of going to Fullerton for one single class… But Thanksgiving Break technically starts tomorrow.

So who am I to complain?