Tag: Library

Rain, rain, go away

Rain, rain, go away

Today has been the most low-key day of my Florida vacation yet.

So far I’ve been relatively lucky in the weather department (humidity not included), but I was inevitably going to run into a bit of… Torrential rainfall.

Someone really let Kyogre out of its ball this afternoon.

Now to be fair, the rain did make for perfect “dunking on California” Tweet material:

And I was able to get this nice picture with Grandpa as we watched the rain come down:

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So long as you ignore my crab claw.

But those are the only “positives” to list about this crazy brief storm.

We had to cancel most of our plans, as the museum we hoped to visit is primarily outdoors, and the rain didn’t exactly cut down on the obscene heat.

Everything was wet AND uncomfortably hot.

Hurray.

At least the rain itself didn’t last long enough to become a dangerous hurricane. And staying local has its benefits.

Grandma and I went to the gym again this morning. Then we visited the supermarket to pick up some ingredients for our improvised make-your-own-sandwich dinner.

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On the way to the supermarket, we stopped by the local library so Grandma could pick up a book she put on hold.

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The West Boynton Branch

In classic voyeuristic fashion, I took the opportunity to get a good look around. Because libraries are always cool places to visit.

This one certainly was:

And they know that weebs are a key demographic.

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Beyond that we spent a lot of time figuring out what to do around the house, and there were a good amount of options.

For one we watched a lot of T.V. now that the Democratic Debates aren’t an active concern. Family Feud was, as always, a big hit. As was the two-hit combo Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy.

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I also had the personally interesting experience of finding out that there’s a version of old-school RuneScape you can play on mobile.

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Can do, game. Can do.

Thanks to Brutalmoose’s video for alerting me to its existence, I decided to give the old game a whirl again. It’s been interesting to jump back into an old favorite I played with my cousin Josh with more insight and experience.

Like… I’ve spoken with someone who works at Jagex, the company that made Runescape, fairly recently.

Wild stuff.

Good thing I wrote a bit of my book this afternoon before finding out the mobile game exists. Otherwise I would have gotten absolutely nothing done.

After all that, the night ended on an interesting note. Grandpa left to go play cards with some of his friends, so Grandma and I were left to our own devices. She whipped up some chocolate pudding that we ate while playing a family favorite board game: Rummikub.

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Usually we play with more than two players, as it’s one of my Mom’s preferred pastimes with her parents. But the game worked out all the same.

And that’s that. Like I said, it was a low-key day all things considered.

From what I’m aware, our plans before I go home Sunday night include trying to hit up the museum and that fancy restaurant we’ve had to postpone because of the weather. We might even go to the horse racing track.

Whether or not the weather allows us to keep up, we’ll have to see.

Under pressure

Under pressure

I told myself I wasn’t going to do this.

“It’s too cliché,” I said. “Everyone will make fun of you for capitalizing on a wave of popularity.”

But you know what? This is my blog and I can do whatever I want.

Also, I couldn’t come up with anything substantial enough to be a feasible alternative.

So. Taking inspiration from my pressure cooker as well as Queen after the music copyright lecture in my Comm Law class (a follow-up to lectures I watched this weekend), I decided to go with it.

Let’s talk about how pressure led to me not knowing what to talk about.

Yesterday I wrote about the cool things I learned from Archivist Therese Martinez during a brief visit to the Redondo Union High School Alumni House.

To be honest… I feel like I half-assed that post.

Everything I talked about is great, and I genuinely learned a lot from Therese. But I write the vast majority in ~30 minutes while sitting in the Main Branch Public Library with less than 20 percent battery.

The ticking clock of my power situation, on top of knowing it’s a topic I will return to, led to silly things like stuffing information into a slideshow.

However, in spite of my reservations about the execution, Therese loved it. So much so that (after I made adjustments to inaccurate dates), she shared the piece with Admin.

Then with the Archives’ Facebook group.

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I scratch her back, she scratches my back, I scratch hers.

Suddenly this interesting, somewhat half-assed look at historical goods in my alma mater made my dinky personal blog blow the hell up.

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As of 7:40 p.m., about four hours after she asked to share.

That’s pretty awesome.

Except…

I don’t know about you, but when I have a burst of popularity it comes with baggage. Most notably the desire to follow-up with something significant and not disappoint those newcomers.

I’ve been stressing over what to write for a while now.

My first inclination was to write about my recent purchase of:

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On the Nintandoh Splorch!

There’s a bit of a story behind that purchase.

Yesterday, WayForward announced that they are on the verge of releasing the fifth game in the Shantae series — a collection of games that have been around since the Game Boy.

I adore Shantae. In my Sophomore year I binged the first three games on my 3DS after finding the fourth on Kickstarter. Mostly while waiting for my history class with Dr. Paulo Simoes.

However I never got around to playing Half-Genie Hero when it came out because money.

So Shantae 5 was announced, and guess what I found out next:

It truly was a dangerously effective strategy.

That seemed like the perfect opportunity to write something about my adoration of video games.

Open-and-shut case for a blog post. Right?

Well… It would have been. If I had any time to play the game beyond the title screen. But I haven’t, and probably won’t until Spring Break.

Hold that thought. I’ll probably have a review of the game sometime soon.

With that struck down, it was onto idea #2: Honors Project stuff.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m writing a fantasy genre subversion novel for my big Senior Project — the equivalent of a thesis for the University Honors Program.

One of my favorite pieces of side-content for the project has been my world map.

You know the kind. Those continent overviews you see at the beginning of Tolkien books.

I wrote a whole long post all about my adventure in mapmaking this semester, so you can read that to catch up.

The important thing is that I’ve continued to make adjustments to my novel’s continent Drocux in the weeks since. Namely adding names to every location, but also adding details like rivers and roads for more realistic topography:

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HexTML continues to serve me well, and it has been fun writing out lore to explain outlandish names (such as the Xilbalar Canyon above being named after a prominent Elven activist).

But I’m still adding new ideas almost every day, and if I’m going to deep dive into my EXTENSIVE LORE, I would like to do so with the complete product.

Thus, two ideas have been struck down.

And I couldn’t come up with a decent third.

By the time I combed through possibilities, I was home and had my magical encounter with the InstaPot in my Featured Image.

The rest, as they say, was history.

Hopefully you newcomers don’t feel like this was a waste of time — or get too annoyed at my somewhat blatant attempt to throw a lot of my old posts at you. All I needed to add was something about my journalism awards to give the full flavor of Jason.

Speaking of, tomorrow I’ll probably have a more serious post about the next Society of Professional Journalists meeting.

Assuming I don’t change my mind, I’ll look forward to possibly seeing you there.

Giving less than thanks

Giving less than thanks

Happy Thanksgiving Break week, everybody!

What a wonderful time it is to start decompressing a bit and spend extra time with your family and friends.

Unless you’re like me this year.

Fair warning, this is a ranting vent post. So if you enjoy railing against people who do terrible things, you’ve come to the right place.

This is the first time in a number of years that Cal State Fullerton has remained open the Monday of Thanksgiving Break. Every other year I’ve been here, we’ve gotten the whole week off.

That’s annoying, but a lot of my friends have never had the luxury of a full week off, so it would feel a bit disingenuous to complain about that alone.

Everything’s relative.

The annoying part comes from the fact that most teachers decided they would either cancel their classes or just offer online coursework today. Because they, too, would rather have the whole week off as it turns out.

My Evolution and Creation professor was very eager to just not have class today. However, my Learning and Memory professor decided to keep the train going.

Naturally his class is the one that offers so much compact material that I knew I’d have to come in for it at risk of falling dangerously behind. Otherwise I would have skipped out and joined my family in Burbank.

To be fair, I also have to come in tomorrow for a mandatory internship orientation, so I would have had school this week no matter what.

The part about today that really bugged me was the execution.

To set the scene: It’s a cloudy, dreary day in Orange County and campus is next to empty (hence my featured image of the often bustling Library). The universe seems to be in agreement that things aren’t right.

Every student who is here seems downtrodden, as if the gloom of coming in during Thanksgiving Break was folding into the gloomy grey skies.

When I get to my class on the sixth floor of the Humanities building, a typically 35-ish headcount of students has been reduced to about 12.

As the professor starts to take roll amid the sound of the 1:00 p.m. clock tower chime, he pauses after a string of missing names.

He says, and I quote: “What, is it a holiday or something?”

Then he offers a cheeky grin to the audience, as if the villainous character in a reality T.V. show’s confessional booth.

How much of a dick to you have to be to crack a joke about how you’ve forced your students to come in when they didn’t necessarily have to? It’s just a cruel, self-aware form of torture.

From there it was an average lecture. Lots of densely-packed information over an hour-and-a-half. It sucked to be there, but at least I felt somewhat justified by the breadth of material.

Plus, I incurred an extra benefit by getting back my research paper final draft considering I turned it in early. It was the paper from this earlier post actually.

I got an A on the final draft. Frankly that’s all that matters.

However… He was somehow even more frustrating by proxy.

On the rough draft, he said my paper was an “excellent start” before giving me a C. It was littered with red marks, to the point where I wondered how he could justify calling it excellent in any respect.

The final draft had this message adorning the front:

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Seems like a great message to accompany an A grade, right?

Unfortunately the message feels very disingenuous when you see just how much the final draft is still littered with red ink.

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I don’t get it, man. The mixed messages are real.

But hey, I never have to think about the paper again. So I can’t complain.

I just wish that my being required to come in wasn’t accompanied by such a frustrating series of events. It doesn’t help that cancelled plans made the drive out feel like more of a waste of time.

That’s not a judgement call on the person I made plans with, since I know they’ll read this ❤

Hence why I’m sitting here in the Library writing this blog post and working on some homework to justify the time.

If nothing else I appreciate seeing campus as empty as it is during the daytime. It offers me the chance to hang out in places that I couldn’t normally.

Such as the seat by this statue’s butt near a Starbucks.

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Could have never gotten that picture normally and I kind of love it?

So long as you ignore my 5 o’clock shadow and devil horns.

I really need a haircut soon. Perhaps I’ll try to do that over the break once it starts.

But that feels like a post for another day.

Campus Architecture

Campus Architecture

If there was anything I learned while touring college campuses about three years ago, it was to appreciate the architecture that each campus offered.

For me aesthetics were a fairly big driving factor in deciding where I wanted to go to school. It sounds somewhat petty and shallow I know, but I enjoy wandering and taking in sights. So it mattered.

Honestly the look of Cal State Fullerton as a whole was a strong component in why I decided to go there. I love being on campus, and that’s important for someone who’s commuting every day and wouldn’t have a reason to necessarily stay otherwise.

But I’ve come to appreciate campus architecture overall during trips to a number of California universities because of the kind of insight I’ve gathered at CSUF. Namely the idea that the kind of architecture you see is a signifier for what era the buildings were constructed, and as a result you can essentially walk through time and see what became more important for students over the decades or even eons that the campus existed.

Cal State LA and El Camino College were pretty strong examples of the vastly different building styles on different parts of campus from what I recall.

As was UCLA when I went and wandered that campus after a Boom event some years back. But that school is also massive and ancient so it’s a whole other beast in terms of things like structural construction.

Today I found myself at Pasadena City College, where Alyson was auditioning to be a part of the Tournament of Roses Honor Band. If she gets in she’ll be performing at the next Rose Bowl Parade, so… That’s pretty fricken cool if I do say so myself.

However parents and family were not allowed to sit in on the auditions. So my parents and I were sitting out on the campus proper enjoying a slightly overcast afternoon, some clashing musical performances from practicing students all around and absorbing the nervous energy of basically everyone taking their shot.

Delicious, pure nervous energy. It’s kind of nice when you’re not the nervous one.

As my set-up suggests, I decided not to just sit around the entire time perusing Twitter or whatever. Instead I wandered the campus to get a feel for the different pieces of architecture built over time.

Because, as previously suggested, I’m the kind of weirdo that enjoys that sort of thing.

Now I’m certainly not an expert in era-specific architecture by any means, so I can’t personally tell you which buildings are from which time period just by looking at them. I’m more of a fan from an aesthetic perspective, so that’s my main purpose here.


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I’ve always liked buildings where the top portion hangs beyond where the bottom portion ends.


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For some reason there were no sculptures in the sculpture garden…


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I like how the front of the library looks like numerous faces depending on how you look at it. It’s a goof.


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The avian-looking light above the door to E Building gets a thumbs up from me.


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This kind of tree plaza in front of a building seems like something I might build in Minecraft… I’ll have to save that idea for later.


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More trees, this time in pink! With clock towers. And cops.


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This building felt vastly different from the others because it was red, and I have no idea why it was red if nothing else is.


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It’s nice that even the parking structure gets to look cute.


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Obviously the newest-looking building I could find, the performing arts center looks modern as hell. Aly probably hates it from all that associative stress.


But of course, no architectural tour would be complete without also including at least one piece of bizarre modern art.

At PCC, I think this one took the cake.

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It’s just a horse. Made of wood.

The plaque included with the sculpture doesn’t explain anything except who donated the piece and what it’s called. So I have no idea why some artist decided to make a horse out of wood.

I’ll admit it’s impressive and well-constructed.

But just baffling to me.

So yeah. Pasadena City College. Pretty place, bizarre wooden horse. If you’re all curious about how Aly did in her audition, we won’t know until later, this isn’t really the post for that discussion.

Though I guess if you see me talking about the Rose Bowl Parade later, now you’ll know why.

Blizzard at the Fullerton Public Library

Blizzard at the Fullerton Public Library

I wound up staying out much later than I expected with this one, so I’m going to go quick-and-dirty with this post to get it out before midnight.

I’ve been slipping a lot lately and want to hopefully rectify that.

That said, enough pussyfooting around. Let’s get into it.

Tonight I went to a really cool event with my friend Mimi. We got to see a few employees from Blizzard Entertainment speak at the Fullerton Public Library.

Apparently the library had reached out to Blizzard because one of the librarians was a huge fan, and I’m glad they did because it was a super fun event.

Three representatives from various parts of the company came to speak. There was Adam Gershowitz, the lead producer for Overwatch; Monte Krol, a software engineer for World of Warcraft; and Skye Chandler, a game designer who primarily also works on World of Warcraft.

One of the reasons I’d wanted to go was because I’m interested in the games industry. Obviously.

In that regard, it was a really informative little event. Adam explained the overall creation process using a very helpful analogy to making Spaghetti, Monte went through the various kinds of programmers who create the baseline for each department and Skye talked about designing characters, environments, items, quests and more.

They were all really personable, funny and had some great pieces of advice.

A few of my favorites from Adam specifically (as I really only took notes with him because I got so interested that I stopped) were:

  • When creating a game from the ground-up, find the nugget of what you want to do. The rest may be hard, but you’ll get there.

And:

  • If you can’t sit down and play your game every single night, you don’t have a good game yet.

On top of the advice, they also brought some really sick pre-Alpha development footage, primarily from Overwatch.

I tried to snag some screenshots, so they aren’t quite as cool as the videos we saw but they’ll have to do.

Having played a fair amount of Overwatch with my friends and half-following the Overwatch League last semester for my Entertainment Reporting class, some of this stuff was awesome.

Another great thing about the event was how open the Blizzard people were. One of the reasons I’m writing this so late is because, to put it bluntly, nobody knew how to shut up. In the best possible way.

Once the Q&A portion of the event started, a billion people had questions to ask, and many of them asked two-or-three questions. Some of them about hiring preferences, about skills they should develop… The kind of stuff you’d expect.

But each of the three presenters gave every single question an equal amount of love and focus. Most got at least five minute responses that were thorough.

It was really nice to see how much they cared about interacting with the fans and, often, aspiring students. Even if it got pretty hilarious when the Library around us closed for the night.

The Q&A as a whole wound up lasting until 9:45 p.m. or so. It was supposed to go until 8:45 p.m. because of closing time at 9.

So also shout out to the Public Library folks for recognizing the passion and letting it fester for as long as it did.

As a final note, I suppose it would be remiss of me not to mention my secondary, covert adult intentions for going to the event.

I’m sure you all know by now that I’m the managing editor for the Gladeo League, and I’ve been working on finding people for our reporters to interview.

What kind of a shrewd businessman would I be if I didn’t take a fun opportunity like this and use it for networking as well?

That said, another shout out to Adam Gershowitz specifically. It was very late and he was talking to a billion people at once, but he still took the chance to hear my quick pitch (because I didn’t want to steal too much of his time) and hold onto my business card so he could pass it along to their HR folks.

He was just a nice guy all around.

So, if you see me start to roll out some Blizzard employee interviews at some point in the near future, now you know the genesis of that.

To end this off with some kind of haphazard bow, third shout out of the night goes to Mimi for agreeing to come with me pretty much last second. Also for dealing with me holding her back to try and talk to the Blizzard people.

It was great, and I’m glad I was able to go and make it a friend chill time as well.

She’ll probably read this, so I’ll end it off with something for her: ❤️s around the Orc.

Whipping out the Wallet

Whipping out the Wallet

I’ve been on a bit of a cleaning kick lately. Getting the house straightened up tends to be one of my first big summer projects, as we’re coming fresh off the busy end of a semester/school year where things tend to become a pig sty and I feel a little bad about how little I’ve been able to contribute.

So far I’ve hit part of our main living room, the kitchen and the downstairs bathroom. However, I took a bit of a distracted turn when starting to look at my room.

While clearing off my desk (which you can see in a fairly clean state through this post I wrote the last time I straightened up around here), I also decided to clean out my wallet to make room for a few extra cards and such I now want to carry around with me.

I thought the state of my wallet when I started was interesting as some sort of example of my “constant carry” mental state, so I wanted to take the chance to run through exactly what I found.

Who knows, maybe it’ll be interesting to compare that to whatever I carry in the future.


The Valuables

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Here’s the stuff I won’t outright show you, but it’s the stuff you’ll expect to see no matter what.

Boils down to this:

  • My Driver’s License
  • My Cal State Fullerton ID
  • My AAA Card
  • My Family’s Health Care Card
  • My Family’s Vehicle Insurance
  • My Debit Card

Pretty generic stuff. Just don’t expect me to be silly enough to post pictures of my numbers and such to be abused by whatever internet trolls are lingering around.


My Lucky Coin

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In a complete 180 degree turn, here’s something that isn’t vital to my survival, but also isn’t something I tend to part with very often.

I can’t tell you exactly where or when I got my hands on this Lugia-printed silver coin. I can’t tell you why I wound up putting such high praise into it.

All I can tell you is that it will always be sitting right behind my Driver’s License in its special outward flap. For luck.

It’s goofy, but what can I say. I’m a superstitious guy when I want to be.


My SPJ Card

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Probably the most recent addition to the cast, here’s my membership card for the Society of Professional Journalists.

Though I’ve been interested in joining the organization for some time, I decided to wait way too long for some reason and didn’t get my hands on this until a few months ago.

Considering I’ll be aiming to get myself more actively involved in the CSUF branch of SPJ going forward, it won’t hurt to keep this sucker around.


My Library Card

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If my SPJ Card is very recent, this library card is very old. I’d argue at least 10 years, but the plastic itself doesn’t actually indicate how long ago I first got it.

All I can tell you is it’s at least old enough to warrant my mom having signed the “for anyone 18 and younger” parental signature space.

If nothing else, digging this sucker out has made me think about just how long it’s been since I used it.

Perhaps I’ll take a trip down to the Library one of these days, just to hang around and study if nothing else.


A single GameStop Gift Card

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How much money is still on this thing?

Why am I just carrying it around?

Who gave it to me?

What is making me put so much thought into the damn thing?

All of these questions and more linger as I gaze into the sleek red-black-white physique of this particular card.


Some Membership Cards

There’s a bit of a “Tale of Two Cities” deal going on with these cards, for as random a combination as they may be.

The Men’s Warehouse Rewards Card is the more bizarre of the two. I’ve really only used it once back when I needed to get a suit for my high school graduation.

Didn’t even go to Men’s Warehouse when I needed a suit for the Comm Awards a few weeks back.

On the other hand, I actually use the Which Wich Rewards Card all the time. Way more than I probably should, honestly.

What can I say. There’s a Which Wich right next to the newsroom, so it’s one of the three or four restaurants that are constantly in my circulation of places to eat.

So whether or not I’m going to carry this with me


Too many Starbucks Cards

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Okay, look people. I drink Starbucks pretty often. Like more often than I probably should – a pattern apparently.

But this is ridiculous.

Obviously most of these cards were gifts from others, but what sick delusion broke its way into my head forcing me to keep all of them in my wallet at the same time?

Actually, that’s not fair. Not all of them are in my wallet.

I also found three or four Starbucks cards sitting on my desk hidden under piles of junk.

Seriously what is wrong with me? I literally spent a good 15 minutes today just jotting down Card numbers to throw them all on my digital account for ease of access later.

Did I really think it was more beneficial to just carry all of this extra junk?!

Sighs…

Sometimes I’ll never understand past Jason.


Punch Cards

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Probably more interesting than the plastic rewards cards I pointed out earlier are these punch cards I’ve decided to carry around for some reason or another.

The one on the left is for a local car wash right around where I live, one that actually does a pretty nice, thorough job not only cleaning the outside but the inside of the car.

However… Fate can be a cruel mistress. I’ve only had the chance to go once, hence the one stamp on the card, because the back window on my car is still broken.

Haven’t been able to get the thing properly washed in months. So that’s great.

The card from the ice cream place is a bit more interesting to think about why exactly I carry it around.

I’ve only gone to that place a few select times as well, with probably my only visits coming from times I’ve hung around the Del Amo Mall with my friend Samantha.

There’s only two stamps left till we get a free dessert, so I guess we’re going to have to hang out again soon whenever she’s finished with her semester over at El Camino.


Last but not least…

Good old Washingtons.

Er… Washington.

Only have one dollar on me right now. So I guess it’s a good thing I decided to stay inside and clean rather than go out, huh?


That really wraps it up for my wallet excursion. Like I said, perhaps I’ll check back on this post in a few years and see where I’m at in my life based on the contents of my wallet.

Though in the meantime, I am curious to know if any of you have anything particularly bizarre or special in your wallets/purses/whatever it may be.

If you do and you’re interested in sharing, let me know in the comments!